Garlic Lovers Edamame Harissa Hummus

Edamame Hummus

Who doesn’t love hummus? Most commercially available hummus is made with garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and usually contains add-ins such as garlic, artichoke and sun-dried tomato.Hummus is available now in most grocery markets; but if you are going to buy commercially made hummus, please read the labels. Pay particular attention to the amount of sodium listed and be concerned if you see a list of unpronounceable additives. Better yet, consider making hummus at home; at least there you can be in control of the ingredients; including adding a variety of foods to suit your family’s tastes.

Ingredients for Edamame HummusHummus, whether made with garbanzo beans or edamame (see recipe below), is an excellent source of protein, fiber and minerals. When you add foods such as red pepper and garlic, the nutritional benefits skyrocket. Making your own hummus gives you control over including the very freshest ingredients available and you are not limited to mass market driven flavors. You can have some fun experimenting with different herbs and spices (I’m in love with the harissa I used in the recipe below) and you can incorporate foods you may already have on hand. I guarantee you will taste the difference.

Here is an easy and absolutely delicious recipe for Edamame Hummus.

Garlic Lovers Edamame Harissa Hummus

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: Serves 8 as an Appetizer, Serves 4 as a light entree.

Incredibly delicious and nutritious, this recipe is a tasty alternative to traditional hummus. It is really quick and easy to prepare with minimal clean up. It's fun to change things up a little. This is great for an appetizer or as a light lunch with plenty of protein & antioxidants, and is loaded with vitamins A, B6, & C.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb edamame - shelled (frozen is ok)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (adds a great kick - adjust to suite your taste)
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in strips (orange bell pepper also works)

Instructions

  1. Prepare edamame (thaw, shell, wash). Add beans to saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, strain in colander and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place edamame, prepared garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper, harissa paste, and peppers in food processor. Pulse, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Transfer mixture to serving bowl and cover. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight if possible.
  4. Serve with fresh raw veggies such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber or your favorite vegan breads or crackers.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2017/04/garlic-lovers-edamame-harissa-hummus/

Why Choosing Glass Over Plastic Matters

Infinity Jars for Food and Home Storage

 

Please Stop Using Plastic NOW

In a perfect world plastic would never have been invented.  I know, that is a bold statement; but had we known in 1907 what we know now about this harmful and insidious chemical product, we would have banned it immediately. Did you know that the first plastic based on a synthetic polymer was made from phenol and formaldehyde, with the first viable and cheap synthesis methods invented in 1907, by Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Phenol is both corrosive and toxic. Formaldehyde, aside from ALS risk or other nervous system consequences, is a respiratory irritant that causes chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and nose and throat irritation, according to the ATSDR. (The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) It can also cause cancer, and has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and allergies in kids. Plastics contain phthalates (click on the link to learn why the United Nations and World Health Organization view phthalates as a global threat) and are, among other bad things, on a long list of harmful endocrine disrupters. YIKES!  Why would we want to be exposed to this stuff?

Choose Glass Instead

Here is some trivia for you.

  • Americans consumed about 9.67 BILLION gallons of bottled water in 2015. Each gallon represents 7.5 individual plastic bottles 90% of which end up in landfills.
  • It takes 203 ounces of water to make a 16.9 ounce plastic bottle. Anyone see the problem with that?
  • At last count in 2015, there were 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.(Source)
  • Plastic bottles in landfills will take thousands of years to decompose.
  • Glass has been around for thousands of years. It was first used to make jewelry and amulets and then much later for vessels and building materials.
  • The first hollow glass container is believed to have been created around 1500 BC.
  • While glassmaking was originally thought of as creative and artsy, science entered the game in the late 1500s with the invention of glass telescope and microscope lenses.
  • The first American glass was made in 1608 in Jamestown, Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Modern glass making is energy intensive. Approximately 22% of production costs are consumed by energy.  This, however, is far less than the 40% figure in the making of plastic.

5 Reasons Glass Over Plastic Is the Right Choice

  1. Glass is non-porous.
    Glass is inert. This means it is safer for storage of food and skin care products as there is no leeching of chemicals into the contents like there is with plastic, no odors or other external pollutants can penetrate the glass so your food retains its original flavor and no cosmetic scents can bother the person next to you, and nothing (no bacteria, detergent etc) is left behind after cleaning.
  2. Glass is a durable good.
    I love “economics speak” don’t you? Anyway, glass containers have a much, much longer “shelf life” than plastic. For example: plastic water bottles are single use. You buy it, you drink it, you throw it away.  Americans purchase approximately 42.6 billion individual 1-liter bottles of water each year (2015 figures). Globally, people go through roughly 200 billion plastic water bottles annually. Now, consider this. If you took a glass water bottle with you in the morning, full of life-saving water, then refilled it at work and at the gym; you will have personally reduced the number of plastic water bottles hitting the landfill by 3. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you will reduce the number of plastic water bottles in the landfill by 1,095.  That’s just you. Something else that should impress you: water from your tap or filter at home costs you about 3 cents per bottle. Water purchased in that nasty plastic bottle will cost anywhere from 50 cents if you buy it by the caseload to over $3.00 if you buy it at the airport.  By using glass you will save money in the long run and help save our planet. This same theory applies to food storage containers and skin care product containers. With proper care (like not dropping them on concrete or knocking containers together in the sink or dishwasher), glass storage containers will last for many, many years. In fact, the Infinity Jars, pictured above, are incredibly strong. Let’s see: save money, save the planet —- looks like a win-win to me.
  3. Glass is 100% recyclable.
    When the time comes years down the road, to part with your glass storage containers, you can be confident that those containers won’t need to take up space in a landfill.  A glass jar can become a glass jar again, and again, and again. It can be reused by someone else, it can be repurposed, it can be crushed to be used as a soft surface for playgrounds or for pipe-bedding in the construction industry. or become part of the glass industry’s recycling process in the production of new glass products.It takes up to 60% less energy to make new glass products from recycled glass. Plastic, on the other hand, has little chance of becoming something valuable again and again. To give you a good picture, figuratively and literally, of the importance of the recyclability of glass versus plastic, please watch this TedTalk.
  4. Glass is efficient.
    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any more clean-up than is absolutely necessary in my kitchen. Glass can help with that. Glass is so efficient you can prepare much of your food, serve it, and store leftovers all in the same dish.Side note:  I don’t think plastic tubs have a place on the dinner table!  Glass can go in your dishwasher on high temp settings as well.  Awesome, right? While these are great benefits there are more. Glass containers preserve their contents much better than plastic. You will see a dramatic reduction in waste due to spoilage and degradation. One of the best features of the Infinity Jars shown above is the preserving qualities of the dark violet glass on light-sensitive contents. I’ll talk more about that below.
  5. Glass will raise your consciousness.
    As a consumer, you have a choice. You can contribute to the deaths of our oceans, to the demise of global wildlife populations, and to the decline of human health by continuing to live a throw-away lifestyle; or, you can shift your mindset to a more sustainable lifestyle by making a simple yet powerful choice of glass over plastic. Of course, this is just one step of many we all need to take if we are to make a difference, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

Feature Review – Infinity Jars

Infinity Jars for Food and Home Storage

The glass containers featured here are from Infinity Jars. Let me first say they are beautiful and perfectly sized for the uses I have committed them to. Pictured here are the 5ml Glass Push Pump Bottle, 15ml Glass Push Pump Bottle, 15ml Glass Pippette Dropper Bottle and 150ml Glass Tall Screw Top Jar. There are over 30 different containers available from Infinity Jars, but as I will be traveling soon the three small ones seemed like a perfect fit for now. Based on appearances, these containers get a solid “10” from me for form: now for the function.

Infinity Jars are made from dark ultraviolet glass which is not just aesthetic. According to the company’s information, this type of pigmented glass blocks harmful visible light rays from degrading light-sensitive contents on the inside and lets beneficial light rays in to extend the shelf life of the contents. I’m not a scientist but this makes sense to me. I know that beer and wine companies use dark glass for many of their products to keep their light-sensitive products from spoiling. Sure, there are lots of products in clear glass containers but my research tells me these are products not typically affected by light. The dark glass is quite attractive and serves a good purpose; but it is impossible to see what’s inside. Don’t worry, Infinity Jars has you covered. They provide attractive, appropriately sized labels for listing contents and dates.

I’ve chosen to use the three smaller bottles for my skin care products. I use and highly recommend KINDri.  KINDri is a line of organic, cruelty free skin care. It is incredible for many reasons not the least of which is there are no harmful man-made chemicals in them, unlike those found in most commercially available skin care products. For this reason, my KINDri products have made their home in my small Infinity Jars. I know my KINDri skin care products will stay well preserved and protected even in my carry-on bag. NOTE:  TSA rules limit liquids in carry-on bags to no more than 3.4oz per container and all liquid containers in your carry-on bag must fit into one (1) quart see-through sealable bag for screening.

The small bottles are perfect for essential oils too. My bucket list includes learning to make my own essential oils – especially lavender. What I do know already is that essential oils are really sensitive to light. It doesn’t make sense to put in all that work to realize something so lovely only to have it quickly degrade because of the container it is in.  I think the small bottles, especially the one with the dropper, are perfect for tinctures too, like Black Elderberry during cold and flu season from Mountain Rose Herbs as well as my liquid B12 and D3 from Garden of Life.

The large 150ml screw top Infinity Jar is now the home of a blend of fresh, beautifully fragrant herbs from our local farmer’s market. I use a lot of herbs in my food preparation and they are sometimes quite dear in price. I don’t want to lose any of their quality so I am glad I have this jar to keep them as fresh as possible. **Note: this jar does not meet the TSA requirements so my herbs will not be accompanying me on my journey.


I hope you have found this post useful. My goal is to help my readers live a healthy, happy, plant-strong life and to encourage everyone to take care of our planet. I love sharing my recipes, educating people about the power of food to heal and maintain good health, and learning about the many conscious entrepreneurs who are working hard to make this world a better place. I would love to hear from you about this or any of my posts.


Looking for information on how to begin a healthy, whole food, plant-based lifestyle? Why not join the more than 16,000+ people on the 2017 Engine 2 7-Day Rescue Challenge. In just 7 days, the healthy results you will experience will blow your mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Perfect Sushi

 

Vegan Sushi

Before we get too far into this post I want to offer this bit of advice about preparing this delicious plant-based food.  You need a sense of humor, a willingness to laugh at yourself and in my case your partner, and the understanding that perfection is a “state of mind”.  Armed with these defenses and delicious whole food ingredients you will have a lot of fun making these tasty sushi rolls.

Sushi, or more accurately sushi-meshi, is the vinegar-flavored cold cooked rice that is the basis for what we generically refer to as sushi.  Once the rice is prepared, it is topped or wrapped with other ingredients such as the raw vegetables we prepared for this meal. Our Plant Perfect Sushi was rolled in Emerald Cove Organic Pacific Nori, verified by the NON-GMO Project and purchased at Whole Foods Market (I do not receive any compensation for these links. They are simply provided as a resource to help you find ingredients.)

Our recipe for this Plant Perfect Sushi is below but, before you proceed, let me say once again a sense of humor, a desire to have some fun, and the mantra “if at first I don’t succeed, try, try again” is necessary and well worth the effort.

Plant Perfect Sushi

Plant Perfect Sushi

These Plant Perfect Sushi rolls are delicious. They do take some practice to roll but keep trying. It will definitely be worth the effort. Asparagus would be incredible in these rolls. You can also use fruit like mango. Whatever filling you choose, the key to success is ensuring your rice is cold and sticky and you do not try to build too big a roll. This is a case of "size really matters" if you want your sushi to look and taste as ours eventually turned out. Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • Nori Sheets
  • Slivers of your favorite veggies: carrots, cucumber, Roma tomato, avocado, celery, bell pepper, etc.
  • 1 cup (uncooked) short-grain brown rice rinsed
  • 2 cups water (depending on your cooking device)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Soaked raw cashews
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

    For The Rice
  1. Rince 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  2. Add to cooking device (I use an Instant-Pot)
  3. Add water (I use 1.5 cups of water in my Instant-Pot)
  4. Cook rice until water is absorbed - test for doneness
  5. Transfer cooked rice to glass bowl.
  6. Mix together rice vinegar, cane sugar and salt and add to rice
  7. Stir rice gently to mix and cool quickly. Rice will become sticky as it cools.
    For the Filling
  1. Prepare slivers of your favorite vegetables
    Putting the Roll Together
  1. We used a Sushezi Tube, but you can use a bamboo sushi mat or clear plastic wrap to create your large roll.
  2. Form two half logs of the rice approximately 6" long and about 1" wide and using approximately 1 cup of the cooked rice (dampen your fingers to keep rice from sticking to them)
  3. Make a small channel in each half of the rice log to fill with your veggie slivers. Don't overfill.
  4. Put the two halves together (this was relatively easy with the Sushezi Tube)
  5. Make sure the two halves are well "put together".
  6. Transfer onto one end of a sheet of Nori
  7. Begin to roll.
  8. Once rolled to the end of the Nori sheet use a bit of water on your fingertips to seal the edge of the Nori.
  9. Using a serrated knife, cut your sushi rolls in 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces.
    For the Dressing
  1. We blended a quick dressing with avocado, some soaked cashews, fresh squeezed lemon juice and a wee bit of stone ground mustard; but you can simply use some Tamari with a bit of wasabi.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2017/03/plant-perfect-sushi/


NOTES ON NUTRITION

Brown Rice:  All rice is not created equal. White rice has had most of its nutrition removed through the milling and polishing process it goes through. Why fill your tummy with something that does not provide nutrition when you can enjoy delicious and nutritious brown rice in your sushi? Short grain brown rice is best for sushi as it has the highest starch content making it suited for “sticky rice”. Brown rice promotes digestive health because it is high in fiber. It is also excellent for promoting heart health as it is a good source of selenium, magnesium, and ferulic acid.

Sea Vegetables – NORI (seaweed):  Sea vegetables are extraordinarily rich in iodine, Vitamin K, folate and magnesium. Iodine is essential to the function of our thyroid. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in every cell of our body so ensuring we have enough iodine in our diet is of real importance. Sea vegetables can help reduce inflammation in the body, inhibit blood clots and protect against viruses. They are loaded with iron and calcium and contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.  BONUS: sea vegetables provide great nutrition and are very low in calories.

The “Blues” are #1

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/07/the-blues-are-1/

Blue is the rarest of colors in the comestible world. Bet that is a little tidbit of information you’ve never given much thought to, am I right? Go on, try and name more than one or two blue-colored foods! While this is a tough challenge, chances are good almost everyone came up with a little blue fruit called a blueberry.  Native to North America, blueberries are the second most popular berry (next only to strawberries) contributing to their expected 2016 commercial cultivation reaching 750 million pounds on this continent and 1.4 billion pounds worldwide. While available year round blueberries are at the peak of perfection right now, so enjoy them.

I can remember when I was a little girl, I spent hours gathering wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  I ate most of the berries I picked, despite having a basket to bring berries back to the house for everyone to share, and didn’t mind in the least being scolded for it.  I was pretty sure then, (and now) that God must have created blueberries just for me.

They may be small, but blueberries pack a lot of nutrition into their tiny packages. Blueberries are #1 in antioxidant capacity among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.  The antioxidants in blueberries support our whole body and have particularly awesome benefits for our cognitive health and blood sugar management.

Blueberries are definitely a food you should buy organic.  The pesticides used in conventional agriculture today are particularly problematic for foods like blueberries.  For more information on The Dirty Dozen – Foods You Should Buy Organic, check out the Environmental Working Groups website by clicking here.  To get the most nutritional benefit from blueberries consume them in their raw state. They are perfect to take to work or school, make a great mid-day snack, are delicious on top of your favorite non-dairy yogurt or ice cream, and are a quick and easy addition to your morning cereal.  Here is one of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries!

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/07/the-blues-are-1/

Check out the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds in my blog “Pudding for Breakfast”.


Nutrition Facts – 1 Cup Raw Blueberries (84 Calories)

Vitamin K 28.5 mcg 32% DRI
Manganese .50 25% DRI
Vitamin C 14.36 mg 19% DRI
Fiber 14% DRI
Copper 9% DRI


 

This Holiday Week-end Let’s Play a Game of “Instead Of”

This game is designed to challenge you to think about healthy alternatives to your usual holiday week-end food choices.  I am always surprised at how quickly people abandon their commitment to nourishing their bodies when celebrations come along.  For example, birthdays are often celebrated with rich, sugar-filled cakes covered in sugar-filled icings and laden with fats and artificial ingredients. Yet, there are wonderfully delicious, much-healthier alternatives like my Chocolate Cake made with quinoa and cacao. And, don’t get me started on the consumption of soft drinks at parties. One small can of Coke contains 39 grams of added sugar, 45 grams of sodium and 34 milligrams of caffeine. YUCK!  So, one can of coke contains more than the World Health Organization’s recommended total daily sugar intake of 25 grams of sugar (natural and added) for adults. And we give this junk to children!!!! So, to make a point:  one 12-ounce can of Coke contains 156% of an adult’s total recommended daily sugar consumption. 

Instead Of Soft Drinks

Instead of choosing beverages that have absolutely no nutritional value, way too much added sugar, and in the case of Coke that also has caffeine known to contribute to dehydration, choose one of these thirst-quenching beverages. Yes, fruit and veggie drinks have some natural sugars, so drink lots of plain or infused water and unsweetened iced sun tea throughout the day as well.

Instead of Salty Snacks

I can’t remember ever being at a celebration where these salty snacks were not a big part of the party food fare.  Potato chips (or crisps as my husband calls them) and pretzels are easy and inexpensive snack foods to serve but they are nothing but fat, sodium and empty calories. A 1-oz serving of potato chips – and, let’s be honest, who only eats 1-oz – contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat and anywhere from 170 to 215 milligrams of sodium depending on the type of chip. While sodium is important to our bodies, we get plenty of it from other more nutritious foods, so the added sodium you get from these salty snacks simply can’t be justified.

Roasted Veggies – asparagus, cauliflower, carrots – are really delicious served cold and make an awesome, healthy snack. Raw, unsalted nuts and edamame are great finger foods packed with protein and fiber; and raw veggies such as celery, carrots, red peppers, broccoli and cherry tomatoes have a great crunch and flavor factor as well as lots of vitamins and minerals to keep your body in peak shape.

Instead of Meat

Grill a delicious homemade Black-Bean Burger that is a much healthier not to mention cruelty free alternative to ground beef or hot dogs. Another tasty option is to grill some Tofurky Artisan Sausage. I love these with some grilled onions! A lovely selection of salads such a my Carrot, Cumin and Coriander Salad and Simple Summer Chickpea Salad as well as my Bits and Bobs Salad will add nutritious variety, color and texture to your meal.  Add some traditional sides such as my Picnic Perfect Potato Salad or try something new instead of a coleslaw like Wildbrine Beets & Cabbage Sauerkraut.

Wasn’t this game of “Instead Of” fun?  There are so many wonderful foods you can bring to your holiday picnic or while enjoying time with family and friends at home.  Nourishing your body is easy. Make the choice now to live without regret.

THIS HOLIDAY WEEK-END, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

4th July

 

 

Lettuce Does Not A Great Salad Make

That Was Then!

A few years ago, whenever we would go out to a restaurant, I would cringe at hearing our server say “I can make you a salad” when I told them I was vegan. I knew their idea of a salad was dropping several leaves of lettuce on a plate, popping a cherry tomato on top, and serving it with a pitying smile.  My response to these meager attempts was usually “Don’t you have any veggies? Why not slice up some red pepper, raw broccoli and cauliflower, add some red onion and pop in a few seeds or nuts.” Inevitably, I would end up with a plate of veggies whose presentation looked like a platter for the kids’ table at some holiday celebration.

This Is Now!

Today most restaurants have “discovered” fresh produce and are creating innovative, delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes to please the palate of even the most ardent carnivores. We are no longer hard pressed to find a restaurant meal worthy of our hard-earned dollars and I am not afraid to order a salad anymore, knowing that most chefs have learned lettuce does not a great salad make.

Looking for some ideas on a sumptuous salad to enjoy at home or take to work? I made this salad today from bits and bobs I had in the fridge.  That is the greatest thing about salads – they don’t need to be rigid; just use what you have on hand to make your salad interesting. There really are no rules.

Bits & Bobs Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Bits & Bobs Salad

A great salad incorporates lots of color, textures and flavors. Try using dandelion greens, arugula, red or yellow peppers. Spice things up a little with some hot peppers. Add some beans - garbanzo and red kidney beans work great! I used sunflower seeds in this recipe but pumpkin seeds would be great too. Got some beets in the fridge? Add those for some sweetness and awesome nutrition.

The bottom line is there are no rules. You are only limited by your imagination and the ingredients you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower Florets - Chopped
  • Carrots - Shredded
  • Cucumber - Seeded & Diced
  • Celery - Diced
  • Radish - Diced
  • Chard - Chopped
  • Spinach - Chopped
  • Green Leaf Lettuce - Torn
  • Microgreens
  • Pine Nuts
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Vegan Salad Dressing

Instructions

  1. Wash ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Chop & Toss.
  3. Add salad dressing just before serving.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/lettuce-does-not-a-great-salad-make/

Simple Summer Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The summer heat is on! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is here literally and figuratively. In the desert, where we live, the temperature has exceeded 110F several times already with more HOT.HOT, HOT days to come! Cooking meals in the summer not only adds to our external discomfort, but our bodies are already pretty busy trying to manage temperature making digesting a heavy meal a burden no “body” really wants. One way to keep your kitchen cooler (saving some money on expensive air conditioning) and aid your digestive system, is to make meals that don’t require cooking. This is just one of the many awesome reasons a plant-based diet makes perfect sense. There are so many options for plant-based meals that don’t require “heat”.  Here is one very flavorful summer meal that is quick to make, perfect for a picnic or to take to work, and, most importantly, has outstanding nutrition.

Simple Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simple Summer Salad

This recipe was inspired and veganized from one of my favorite recipe books "Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365" by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. It is fresh and full of flavor - not to mention an excellent source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 2 19 oz cans chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
    For Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp Eden Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 3 cloves freshly chopped organic garlic
  • pinch of chili powder

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing, blending well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, capers and quinoa.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and blend well.
  4. Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Notes

I like to batch cook quinoa and keep in the refrigerator or freezer so it is always handy for a quick meal like this Simple Summer Salad.

Italian Parsley is recommended for this recipe as it is very much more flavorful than curly parsley. Curly parsley also changes the texture - although that is not a bad thing!

I recommend Eden Organic Yellow Mustard because the ingredients are simple and healthier than most other options. Read labels to be sure of what you are consuming.

Capers are very flavorful but do add sodium to your meal. You will not need to, nor do I recommend, adding any additional salt to this recipe.

Chili powder adds a little "zip" to the dressing. If you like things a little spicier, try using a pinch of cayenne instead.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/simple-summer-salad/


Quinoa RecipesThis recipe book, “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is one of my favorites. While not all of the recipes are Vegan, most can easily be Veganized. The very cool part of this recipe book is that is demonstrates all the incredible ways you can enjoy the SuperFood – Quinoa. Check it out.

 

 

 


Nutrition Information 

Quinoa – 3/4 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, quinoa provides all the essential amino acids so it is considered a “complete protein” source. One serving of quinoa supplies 8.14 grams of protein or 16% of DRI.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 5.18 grams or 21%
  • Very good source of manganese and good source of phosphorus, since, magnesium, and copper.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. 14.53 grams or 29% of your daily requirement for protein.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 12.4 grams (3.9 g soluble/8.6 g insoluble) fiber or 50% of your daily requirement.
  • Chickpeas are also a excellent source of molybdenum, folate and choline; and a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Italian Parsley – 1/2 cup

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K (554% DRI) and Vitamin C (54%DRI)
  • Good source of Vitamin A (14%), Folate (12%) and Iron (10%)

Capers

  • Good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Excellent source of flavonoid anti-oxidants rutin and quercetin. Rutin is known to strengthen capillaries and quecertin has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. In fact the quercetin levels found in capers is second only to the quercetin levels found in tea leaves.

 

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Fresh CarrotsSummer is the best time of year to find fresh, crisp, delicious carrots at your local farmers’ market. While they are available year round, there is nothing like the taste of picked-today veggies; not to mention these wonderful foods are at their peak nutritionally during the summer months.

Some people think carrots are not very exciting.  They often see them as low-calorie snack foods to endure or merely some “color on a plate” rather than the incredibly versatile food they truly are. Carrots are indeed a great snack food (and they are certainly a low calorie option) but they are also excellent when made into soup, included in a stew, roasted with some herbs as a side dish, added to muffins and, my personal favorite, as the lead actor in my Carrots, Cumin & Coriander raw summer salad that is so full of flavor you’ll want seconds.

For my salad recipe, I happened to use the more common orange carrots; but you can certainly use a variety of colors: red, purple, yellow, white and orange to make your salad a beautiful rainbow of color on  your plate.  Make sure you select the freshest, brightest carrots available – the ones with the tops still on are a good bet!

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) for up to 24 hours. This will allow the flavors to blend together and will save time when ready to serve. Make sure the avocado is not too soft - you want it to be a little firm so it will hold up. While the cayenne or chili pepper is optional, it does add a lovely little kick to this salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 4 stalks fresh crisp celery
  • 1 medium avocado
    For Dressing
  • 1/4 cup organic EVOO
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Tsp chili powder or pinch of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim carrots. There is no need to peel. Shred in food processor and remove to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop celery and add to bowl.
  3. Chop avocado into small pieces and add to carrots and celery IF serving immediately. Otherwise, prepare avocado just before serving and toss into salad at last minute to avoid any browning.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Add dressing to veggies and toss.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/carrots-cumin-coriander-salad-a-trifecta-of-flavor/

Why Carrots Make a Healthy Food Choice

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A – especially important for eye health as well as having overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, 1 cup of carrots provides 113% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Carrots are also a very good source of biotin (an important B Complex vitamin that helps convert food into energy), Vitamin K for cell health (particularly brain cell health), molybdenum to help our bodies detoxify, 14% of our daily requirement of fiber to keep our digestive tract in good shape, 11% of our daily potassium requirement, and 10% of our Vitamin C requirement.  Carrots are also a high water-content food so they make a great addition to your hydration needs. NOTE:  Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated – foods like carrots, celery and watermelon are awesome supplements.

BONUS:  Carrots are a low calorie, nutritionally awesome, very affordable food. They are easy to prepare and very portable.  Take them on a picnic, add them to your lunch, enjoy them after fitness class or school…. they are a healthy whole food to enjoy every day.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Summer

Hooray, it’s picnic season! Who doesn’t enjoy packing a picnic basket full of delicious summer foods and heading to your favorite park, or beach, or a secluded hilltop to enjoy the great outdoors and break bread with friends and family or maybe even spend some alone time to destress from a busy week? It is easy to work up quite an appetite when enjoying the outdoors: swimming, building sandcastles, hiking, playing games etc; so the temptation to fill up on empty calories from salty chips, sugary sodas, and fat-filled sweets is very strong; however, taking good care of your health by eating nutritious foods is just as important on a picnic as it is every day at home. Yes, your choices need to be fairly portable, easy to prepare and serve, and packed safely to prevent food-bourne illness; but this is pretty easy to accomplish with a little preparation.

There are many great recipes available for simple yet nutritious picnic fare. One I particularly love is my Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad.  Should you want to “cook” while enjoying the outdoors, my Black Bean Burgers are a great choice. They will sizzle in no time on a grill or outdoor cooktop and I know will be a big hit with everyone. A delicious staple of picnics everywhere is a potato salad but it can come with some hefty calories and often unhealthy ingredients.  Here is my recipe for a delicious but healthier, plant-based version of this picnic favorite that is truly easy to prepare.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash, halve and steam potatoes until just fork tender (about 25 minutes) Drain and rinse gently with cold water to stop cooking process. Cut potato pieces in half again. Let cool.
  2. Use the Healthy Saute method to slightly soften and bring out the flavor of the chopped peppers (Healthy Saute: bring 3 Tbsp of vegetable broth or water to bubbling, add peppers, cover and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain.) Let peppers cool.
    For Dressing:
  1. Combine Just Mayo, Yellow Mustard, smoked paprika, dill weed and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to blend into potato mixture.
    To Pack or Serve
  1. In a large bowl add potatoes, celery and sweet peppers. Add dressing. Mix gently.
  2. When serving, sprinkle potato salad with small amount of dill weed and paprika.

Notes

Keep all picnic foods cold with ice packs/bags of ice in your picnic basket/cooler until ready to serve. Serve only when ready to eat. Do not let foods sit out in the sun/heat.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/picnic-perfect-potato-sweet-pepper-salad/

Plant-Based Nutrition Information

potatoesPotatoes are the stars of this recipe.  Often considered inexpensive comfort food and frequently consumed as unhealthy fast food; potatoes can actually provide awesome nutrition if they are prepared in a healthy way! This recipe calls for steaming the potatoes rather than boiling them.  This prevents the nutrients from being boiled away into the water and ensures the potatoes do not become too soft. Leaving the skins on the potato also increases the already high fiber content of this important food.

Potatoes are a very good source of Vitamin B6 – the cell-builder vitamin. B6 is very important for keeping our brain cells functioning and for supporting our nervous system. Our body’s production of serotonin (happiness), melatonin (sleep), epinephrine and norepinephrine (for stress management) needs vitamin B6. B6 also supports our cardiovascular system by helping to keep homocysteine levels low (homocysteine damages our blood vessels). Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Sweet Bell Pepper

Sweet Bell Peppers are AWESOME! One cup of these incredible veggies has only 29 calories – pretty incredible for a food that tastes so good, right? Sweet Bell Peppers are an outstanding source of Vitamin C – just one cup will give you 157% of your recommend daily intake of this important vitamin.Sweet Bell Peppers are also a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and folate. BONUS: these peppers have 30 different carotenoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support to our bodies. Good things do come in small packages!

The nutrients we derive from these delicious veggies are at their peak when the peppers are fully ripe.  How do you know if they are ripe?  Your best evidence is in their color: when the color is deep and vivid they are likely ready to eat.  Another bit of evidence is if the pepper feels heavy for its size and if the pepper feels firm but yields very slightly to pressure.

celeryCelery is an awesome veggie that adds great texture (crunch) to my potato salad and a lovely color against the white flesh of the potatoes. Celery has been a go-to veggie for anyone trying to keep their caloric intake in check; but I wonder how many people really understand how valuable this veggie is to our daily nutritional requirements!

Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K – a vitamin necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K is also very important for our bone health.

Celery also has very special anti-inflammatory benefits – particularly for our digestive tract.  Celery is an important source of molybdenum – a mineral that helps our bodies detoxify by keeping the sulfer in our system in balance. Celery is a good source of folate, potassium and manganese as well.

I’ve talked a lot about the need to stay hydrated – especially in the summer – and celery can play a role in this essential task. Celery is 95% water – and while just eating celery won’t keep you hydrated, every little bit helps.


NOTE:  If you are unable to find Just Mayo from Hampton Creek for this recipe at your grocery store, Veganaise from Follow Your Heart is a very good alternative. In fact, I use both these products regularly.

12 Fabulous Fresh Fruits to Buy Now

I Love Fruit

Fruit has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember.  When I was a young girl, my mom always knew where to find me;  sitting under our peach tree reading a good book and enjoying this incredible fruit until I nearly burst. My mother used to tell me I was going to turn into a peach one day – but I never did.  Guess that was just a “momism” right? I eat several servings of fruit everyday.  I just love everything about fruit – its taste, texture, rainbow of colors, its portability, its accessibility, and now that I am a grown up its awesome nutrition. Really, what’s not to love?

With summer here (unofficially) it is the perfect time to enjoy all the mouth-watering, fresh, delicious, nutritious, in-season fruit available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Why buy in-season? Well, in-season means flavor and nutrition are at their peak. Moreover, when you buy in-season and local you are also supporting local producers, minimizing the carbon footprint of your purchases, and reducing your food costs. There is a lot to be said for picking your own food or speaking directly with the grower. Its a great experience.

What’s In Season?

Let’s start with stone fruits.

Peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines are delicious and nutritious, very portable, and add awesome taste, color and texture to fruit salads and non-dairy yogurts. Stone fruits are good sources of Vitamins A & C and calcium and are excellent sources of potassium and fiber. BONUS BENEFIT of choosing stone fruits – they are low in calories and their natural sweetness will satisfy your need for something sweet without the guilt.

Who doesn’t love berries?

I’m going to confess that I could easily eat berries everyday, all day.  I love how they taste and how juicy they are and their rich colors. I remember spending a lot of time as a child picking wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home. As an adult, I still seek out opportunities to pick my own berries – it is such a great way to spend a morning and the payoff – a basket full of beautiful, delicious berries – is well worth the dirt on my knees and stains on my fingers.  Berries  are the quintessential finger food. You can take them to work, enjoy them while watching a movie, snack on them while reading a good book….really they are great anytime, anywhere. AND – NO GUILT! Berries are also low calorie foods.

Berries in general are an excellent source of Vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and are an exceptional antioxidant-rich food.  Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese too.  Raspberries are also high in potassium, and a good source of iron, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Blueberries (I particularly love the flavor of wild blueberries) offer great support to our brain function: in fact, several studies show blueberries can improve memory. Delicious, juicy blackberries are plentiful – growing often uncontrollably along the slopes of many roadsides and walking paths.

Melons are awesome!

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet, juicy cantaloupe and watermelon.  I love these two fruits just by themselves; but there are so many other ways you can incorporate them into your diet. They are awesome in a fruit salad or stirred into non-dairy yogurt. You can add them to your fruit smoothie or just juice them on their own. Some people like to grill watermelon too.

Did you know watermelon is one of the best fruits for hydration?  Watermelon is 92% water – this is why it is so popular on hot days. Watermelon is a very good source of Vitamin C, like other fruit, but it is also a heart-healthy food. Watermelon contains lycopene, an important carotenoid that fights free radicals. Lycopene gives watermelon  flesh its red color – the redder this fruit’s flesh, the higher the lycopene (a very good thing).

Cantaloupe is an incredible source of Vitamins A & C. In fact, a small melon can provide over 375% of your daily requirements of these two vitamins. Pretty awesome, right?  Cantaloupe is also a good source of Vitamin B6, iron and calcium too.

Both these melons are low-calorie foods too.  Don’t you love that????


There you have it – 12 fabulous, fresh, in-season fruits you can find in your local farmers’ market or produce section at your grocer. Want to know more about what’s in season?  Check out this handy chart from CUESA http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts/fruit