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


 

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The Queen of Spices – Cardamom Transforms Muffins from Everyday to Exotic

cardamom cardamom pods

Cardamom, known as “The Queen of Spices” is a wonderful aromatic spice that you’ve probably tasted but didn’t know it. If you have ever enjoyed the exotic flavor of Chai tea, (and if you haven’t you really need to because it is just that lovely) then you have enjoyed the unique and deliciously Eastern flavor of cardamom. This fragrant spice is also a key element of garam masala one of my favorite Indian cooking spices. Cardamom plays nicely with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, so it is no surprise it is a good spice choice for baking. BONUS – baking with any of these spices will make your home smell so marvelous too. Cardamom not only adds a wonderful, exotic, citrusy flavor to your food; it also offers some great health benefits.

Awesome Health Benefits of Cardamom

Cardamom is full of important nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in improving cardiovascular health including improving blood circulation and controlling cholesterol levels,  relieving sore throats and upset tummies, supporting urinary tract health and respiratory health, and inhibiting the growth and spread of microbes that cause food poisoning.  Minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc are abundant in cardamom as are vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and B6 and C. Cardamom is also a good source of dietary fiber and protein while being low on the caloric scale.  Cardamom pods and seeds can also be chewed to keep your breath fresh. Cardamom has excellent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties and Cardamom essential oil is also credited with having anti-depressant properties. Cool, right?

Cardamom Apple Muffins – Plant-Based Deliciousness

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Muffins are a great breakfast food, are a healthy snack especially with a hot cup of chai tea, and are easily transported for a picnic or sports outing – so what’s not to love! With muffins, size does matter even though they have nutritious ingredients. Monster-sized muffins can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake – especially the ones you find at your local coffee shop or bakery; so keep them on the smaller side to manage your caloric intake.

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 23 minutes

Total Time: 43 minutes

Yield: 12 medium sized muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Cardamom Apple Muffins

These muffins are delicious. The fresh apple pieces add some light crunch, great flavor and additional moisture - not to mention more fiber (and who doesn't need more fiber, right?) Apples are definitely a food you should only buy if they are organic due to the use of pesticides in non-organic orchards. Fill your muffin tin to just below the top to make the perfect sized muffin.

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
    Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 apple cut into small pieces (leave peel on)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your over to 350 F
  2. Lightly grease muffin pan with small amount of coconut oil
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Make sure they are combined well.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except the apple and mix well.
  5. Add apple to wet ingredients and mix again.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently stir until mixed. Be careful not to over mix as that will make your muffins dense and tough.

Notes

Let your muffins cool on a rack. They are delicious warm or cold. Freeze any muffins you won't be able to eat in a couple of days. To add additional protein, substitute 1/4 cup of quinoa flour for 1/4 cup of the spelt flour.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/03/the-queen-of-spices-cardamom-transforms-muffins-from-everyday-to-exotic/


EARTH DAY 2016-2

Earth Day 2016 is April 22; but don’t wait till then.  Plant a Tree for Earth’s Sake now!
Go to www.earthday.org to learn more about the things you can do to help our planet get healthy.  There will be events all over the world – so hopefully there will be one in your community. If not, plan one – www.earthday.org has all the tools you’ll need to make your event a great success.

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Heart Health Matters So Listen Up!

 

A heart shape held in handsFebruary is National Heart Month. Over the next 28 days, you will hear a lot about how to get and keep your heart healthy; but here’s the thing, February has been designated as National Heart Month since 1963 and heart disease is still the leading cause of death so we are clearly not taking this seriously!  Heart disease does not discriminate between genders. It has long been thought that heart disease was mostly a “male” problem; but the reality is heart disease is an equal opportunity health problem. In the US, more than 610,000 people die each year of heart-related disease and nearly half of those are women.  (stats for Canada are equally alarming).  We can fix this but it will take commitment and real effort to get heart healthy. Are you ready to make this a priority?

Heart disease causes premature death and, for the most part, these deaths are preventable. It is not just the unnecessary loss of life that is staggering; it is the astronomical economic costs that should get our hearts beating harder too! In 2011, heart disease cost the US economy over $320 Billion in health care costs and lost productivity. In 2011 the cost to the Canadian economy was $21 Billion. This is money that could be going toward solving other problems like food insecurity and homelessness. By the way, this is not just a North American issue, it is world wide – although my friends in Chile seem to be doing something right as they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world.

What Can You Do to Get and Keep Your Heart as Healthy as Possible?

Start by eating a healthy breakfast every day. Your body needs fuel to help you power through a busy schedule. You wouldn’t leave home without gas in your vehicle, don’t leave home without healthy, nutritious food in your body. Check out my 5 Healthy Plant-Based Breakfasts for some simple ideas.

Heart Month

 

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5 Healthy Plant-Based Breakfasts that Taste Great

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast really is important; but, let’s be honest, most households most mornings are chaotic.  Am I right?  Getting everyone up and dressed, collecting homework and briefcase contents, and coordinating school drop-off and pick-up takes a lot of energy, and if your home is like most, it is a wonder any of us get out the door on time and with matching socks and shoes! (A first world problem, to be sure!) But, here’s the thing: our bodies need the right fuel to get the day off to a good start and to sustain us through the first several hours of what’s to come. Therefore, starting your day with breakfast needs to be on top of your daily priority list.

 


Tip: Get in the habit of “mise en place”,  which means to organize and prep what ingredients you can in advance so putting your meal together is easy and efficient.


 

5 Easy, Plant-Based Breakfasts That Taste Great

 

Jazzed Up ScrambleJazzed Up Scramble  This is a really nutritious and delicious breakfast scramble that really doesn’t take very long at all.  You can prepare veggies the night before, add some delicious vegan bacon or sausage, or maybe “cheeze it up” with some delicious Heidi Ho (my favorite is the Creamy Chia Cheeze).

 

Chia Seed Breakfast PuddingPudding for breakfast! Trust me, this is so delicious and the nutritional benefits are great. Chia seeds are packed with goodness and are one of the most nutrient dense foods available: a 1 ounce (28 gram) serving has 4 grams protein, 11 grams of fiber, is rich in Omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Chia seeds also provide since, vitamins B3, B1 and B2 along with potassium.

I make my own plant-based milks. It is really very easy and very, very budget friendly.  My post “Why I Love Homemade Soy Milk and You Should Too” My video will show you just how easy it is.

 

Steel Cut Oats

Porridge, or as some call it, oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts. I use steel cut oats (picture here) because they have a chewy texture and don’t get mushy when you cook them. Oats are a great source of protein, many minerals and very importantly, fiber.  I cook porridge with homemade almond or soy milk because it is lovely and creamy and it adds some extra protein and calcium. Add some fruit and nuts and a pinch of cinnamon to make this a super-delicious breakfast. Bonus benefit of porridge is it will keep you feeling full all morning!

 

 

fruit-smoothieA smoothie is full of nutrition, filling and delicious. Cool thing is there is no limit to the variations you can make. I love to use spinach and kale as my base – green is such a beautiful color and oh-so-nutritious!  I add in some frozen blueberries and whatever other fruit I have available (banana makes it really creamy). I use a cup of homemade soy or almond milk, add a tablespoon of chia seeds and a teaspoon of ground flax seed too.  Pineapple is awesome in a smoothie. You might like to use coconut milk and maybe some organic raw cacao powder.  I also like to add some soaked goji berries from time to time.

IMG_0005

Yogurt and fruit, as a side to a small bowl of ancient grain cereal, is a quick and easy option when time is really a challenge.  I love Kite Hill artisan almond milk yogurt. 1 serving provides 5 grams of protein. Add a chopped apple for fiber and vitamin C and maybe a tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds for vitamin E. Any berries would make a great addition too.

 

Take A Food-First Approach to Health.

Hippocrates

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Can a Plant-Based Breakfast Sizzle?

There is just something about the sounds and smells of cooking that get the juices flowing. The aroma of freshly ground coffee brewing and the sizzle of breakfast cooking on the stovetop draws us into the kitchen like a bee to pollen.  You might think a sizzling, and oh by the way nutritious, breakfast can only be enjoyed on weekends, but I’m here to change your mind.

Can’t you just taste these delicious vegan sausages and (b)acon strips. The aroma in our kitchen this morning was awesome! It didn’t take long to hear the familiar sizzle and by the time our scramble was ready so were these. Just look at how appetizing this plate is. Mmmm!
Click here for our recipe for Jazzed Up Scramble.

There are several great options for Breakfast Sizzlers on the market. My favorites, featured in the outstanding photograph taken by Graham Berry @Berry Creative, are:

Benevolent Bacon by Sweet Earth Natural Foods
Fakin’ Bacon, Organic Smokey Tempeh by Lightlife
Italian Sausage & Spinach Pesto Sausage by Tofurky

Of course, these great tasting, plant-based foods are not just for breakfast. The Benevolent Bacon tastes great in a VBLT, the Fakin’ Bacon is wonderful crumbled up in a salad, and the Italian or Spinach Sausages are awesome for dinner in a pasta or with a side of veggies.

If you have tried other plant-based breakfast sizzlers and liked them, please share your experience with us. We are always on the look out for new ideas. On our schedule in the coming weeks we will be learning how to make homemade, plant-based (b)acons. This should be fun. Stay Tuned!

 

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Breakfast not a priority? It should be.

Who among us hasn’t skipped breakfast? I’m betting it happens more than we all care to admit. We know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but mornings in a typical household, whether there are two of you or ten, are usually very hectic. The idea of actually eating, let alone enjoying breakfast as a family, probably seems crazy, right? Maybe; but, while it takes some planning and organization, I believe it is not only possible, but breakfast as a family has so many positive consequences that it is worth the effort.

BENEFITS OF BREAKFAST

  • provides energy and nutrients that support physical activity and cognitive skills
  • helps stabilize blood glucose levels
  • promotes efficient metabolism
  • aids in maintaining a healthy body weight
  • enhances mood

BENEFITS OF BREAKFAST TOGETHER

  • sets a positive tone for the day
  • supports family communication & bond
  • reinforces family focus on good nutrition

A PLAN TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

  1. Discuss, as a family, the importance of starting the day with great nutrition and taking time to connect with each other. Make adjustments in your family calendar so breakfast together becomes a priority.
  2. Include breakfast in your weekly meal planning.
  3. Choose nutrient dense foods and easy to prepare recipes to get the best bang for your time.
  4. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with staples. Remember variety keeps it appealing.
  5. Set the table or breakfast bar the night before so everyone is reminded that you will be sharing breakfast together in the morning.
  6. Prep whatever can be prepared ahead so the morning rush doesn’t get bogged down. Thaw any frozen items in the refrigerator so they’re ready in the morning.
  7. Share these activities. It is another opportunity to make nutrition a family affair.

Here is a quick, easy, protein and nutrient packed recipe the whole family will enjoy.

Jazzed Up Breakfast Scramble

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Jazzed Up Breakfast Scramble

This recipe is full of flavor and nutrition and takes only 10 minutes to cook. For best results, remove as much moisture from the tofu as you can before cooking. You can add a little kick to this dish by sprinkling with Sriracha or Cholula Sauce to taste. Substitute your favorite herbs or use spices like turmeric and cumin instead. This scramble is also great with small broccoli florets.

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz package organic/non-gmo firm tofu - drained & pressed
  • 2 cups baby spinach - roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion - chopped
  • 2+ cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes - quartered
  • 1 small red pepper - chopped
  • 2 Tofurky Spinach & Pesto Sausages - chopped
  • 1/2 Tsp basil
  • 1/2 Tsp oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp thyme
  • Pinch paprika
  • 2 Tbsp virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare tofu the night before by draining and wrapping tofu in a tea towel. Press with a weight on top to extract as much moisture as possible. Store in refrigerator. When ready to cook, use a fork to crumble tofu.
  2. Heat olive oil on medium. Sauté onion and garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add chopped sausages. Sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Sprinkle basil, oregano & thyme over mixture.
  5. Add crumbled tofu.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper over mixture. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  7. Add chopped spinach. Stir and let wilt about 1 minute.
  8. Add chopped tomatoes.
  9. Cook for 1 minute more.
  10. Taste - add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Transfer to individual dishes. Sprinkle pinch of paprika on top.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2015/09/breakfast-not-a-priority-it-should-be/

 

 

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