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/

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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.

 

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Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burger

It’s The Unofficial Start of Summer

This Memorial Day Week-end please take time to honor our fallen heroes. Freedom isn’t free – we need to pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Country.

Summer is the perfect time for gathering friends and family for a casual dinner particularly if you live in a climate suited to dining outdoors. Burgers are a summertime tradition and plant-based options for burgers are delightfully plentiful. Vegetables, grains, nuts and beans make for incredible flavor and texture; and of course, they nourish our bodies with important protein, vitamins, and fiber. It is a familiar ritual at our home to enjoy each other’s company, sipping a refreshing beverage, and lounging on the patio while the grillers commiserate over the perfect time to “flip”. The sound of laughter and conversation always gives me pause for thought about the pleasure we take at sharing a meal together. Preparing food, for most people, is a true labor of love; and the love of those gathered around our table is clearly evident.

The primary ingredient in this recipe, black beans, is a very low cost, high value food source; and, the availability of fresh produce to accompany a summertime favorite like burgers, makes it an especially delicious, nutritious and budget friendly complete meal. Our recipe below for Black Bean Burgers is not difficult to prepare and affords a wonderful opportunity to get everyone into the action. Many of the ingredients for this dish can be prepared ahead, so when your guests arrive, and you are ready to cook, very little time for assembly is required. But first, enjoy our Jazzed Up Veggies video of “Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist”.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist from Berry Creative on Vimeo.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Ingredients

  • Black Bean Burger Patties - Serves 6
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I use black rice, red rice and flax cooked in veggie broth)
  • 1 15oz can organic black beans (1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (more if you love garlic like we do)
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • olive oil
  • celtic sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Chipotle Sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for minimum of 2 hours)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • water or non-dairy milk to thin if needed
  • Pineapple Salsa
  • 2 small avocado, diced
  • 1 cup fresh (not canned) pineapple, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Patties: Mix smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and Harissa, salt and pepper together. Add small amount of tamari and olive oil to make a somewhat thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Prepare rice. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine shredded carrot, onion, diced celery and diced red peppers. Sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread on grill pan and roast for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans. Place in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork or masher. It is good to leave a few beans whole.
  5. Once cooled, add all ingredients into bowl with black beans. Combine well by hand or with a mixer. You do not want to over mix so use care with a mixer.
  6. Form mixture into 6 patties. Place on plate, cover, and refrigerate while preparing sauce & salsa.
  7. Chipotle Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth. Add very small amount of liquid if needed. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Pineapple Salsa: It is best to make this salsa just before serving. Mix pineapple and avocado together. Squeeze fresh lime juice over ingredients. Toss gently. If making ahead, cover to prevent any air from reaching the avocado and refrigerate.
  9. Putting it All Together: The patties can be cooked on a grill-pan on the BBQ over medium heat; or on the stove with a small amount of non-GMO oil. Avoid crowding. Patties should be allowed to get crispy on one side before flipping (about 4 - 5 minutes).
  10. Place a green leaf of lettuce on your plate. Place burger on lettuce, top with chipotle sauce and salsa. Serve with tomato and avocado slices and baked sweet potato fries.
  11. Buen Apetito!
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/05/449/

Enjoy this delicious meal with a classic Mojito or some mint & citrus infused sparkling water.

Can’t wait to hear how you like it.

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Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

Cooking fettuccine with red chardEvery once in awhile I amaze myself by coming up with a meal that is so incredible I have to remind myself it wasn’t catered.  This is definitely restaurant quality without the restaurant price.  This fettuccine recipe is so simple, is ready in just 20 minutes, and costs only $1.50 per serving.  What’s not to like about that!

The ingredient that makes this recipe so special is Organic Red Chard.  I know what you are thinking ’cause I used to think it too: what am I supposed to do with those great big chard leaves and should I eat the stems?  Well, what you do with them is wash them,  chop them up stems and all into bite sized pieces, and add them to any number of recipes: salads, sandwiches, smoothies…..you get the idea.  The color is fantastic – the bright green leaves and lovely red stems will make any plate look terrific; and the taste and texture are simply delicious. However, what really piques my interest in this awesome veggie is its nutritional value and its just so budget friendly there is really no good excuse for not including it in your daily whole food, plant-based diet.


red chard leaves and stemsChard Nutrition Facts

Chard is a very low calorie (only 35 calories per 1-cup serving), nutrient rich vegetable. It is an excellent source of many important vitamins and minerals and is rich in carotenoids (beta-carotene & lutein) that protect your cells from free radicals, help your immune system function, and promote lung and eye health. Chard is especially rich in Vitamin K, an important vitamin that prevents oxidative cell damage, allows your blood to clot normally and protests against osteoporosis. Chard is also an excellent source of Vitamin A that supports our eyesight and helps us fight viral infections. A nutrient most of us do not get enough of – FIBER – is a key nutrient in Chard as well.  There are nearly 4 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving.

What about protein? This recipe offers lots of protein, including that provided by the chard. A 1-cup serving of chard provides 3.3 grams of protein. Add that to the fettuccini, tomatoes, non-dairy yogurt and non-dairy milk and you have more than enough protein  in this delicious meal.

To get the most benefit from chard, you can add it raw to your morning smoothie, toss it in a salad, use it in a sandwich, or, as in this recipe, just cook it for a few minutes. The longer you cook it the less nutrition you will derive. The bonus to only cooking for a very short time is the stems will have a tiny bit of crunch which just adds a textural layer to this dish that everyone will enjoy.


Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

This is a super easy, very quick recipe you can have on the table in 20 minutes. The bona chia spinach fettuccine provides 8 grams of protein per serving (1/2 cup). The chard, yogurt and non-dairy milk add another 6 grams per serving. You will also be getting lots of vitamins and minerals in this dish; but the best part is it is scrumptious. Try it!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium on stove top
  2. Add garlic - saute for 30 seconds
  3. Add onion - saute for 1 minute
  4. Add chard and tomatoes - simmer while preparing fettuccine
  5. Bring pot of water to boil for fettuccine
  6. Add spinach fettuccine - reduce heat to medium high
  7. Cook for 3 minutes - DO NOT OVERCOOK
  8. Remove fettuccine and drain
  9. Combine yogurt, milk and Go Veggie parmesan in bowl
  10. Add to chard mixture
  11. Add drained fettuccine to chard mixture
  12. Stir gently for 1 - 2 minutes
  13. Serve with vegan parmesan sprinkled on top

Notes

To add a little extra pizazz to this recipe, chop up a few sun dried tomatoes to add with the fire roasted tomatoes. You don't need many but sun dried tomatoes will add an extra layer of depth and flavor to this already awesome meal.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/04/fettuccine-that-will-rock-your-world/


EARTH DAY 2016-2Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22 but you really don’t need a special day, once a year, to celebrate the beauty and abundance our Earth provides.

You can help our planet by planting a tree. You will be providing a home for birds, perhaps some blossoms for bees, some shade for humans and contribute to clean air for everyone.

Check out the celebrations going on in your community or plan your own celebrations.  There are plenty of ideas to get you started at EarthDay.org.

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Asparagus – I adore this awesome antioxidant-rich veggie

IMG_3538

Asparagus is one of my very favorite veggies.  As a warm side dish or a cold snack, fresh asparagus is so delicious, has a satisfying crunch, and for a bonus, is packed with awesome nutrition. I even loved asparagus as a child – mom didn’t need to keep telling me to eat this vegetable!  Fresh asparagus is now available in many farmers’ markets and shops, and as this is the season for asparagus, the price is great. I purchased 2 pounds of fresh organic asparagus for a dinner party this week and paid only $1.99 per pound.  There was plenty for all six of us and enough left over to send in my husband’s lunch the next day.

A POWERHOUSE OF NUTRITION

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C & Vitamin A
    Vitamin K supports bone health, helps your blood to clot normally, and protects your cells from oxidative damage. Folate supports our circulation and prevents our blood from high levels of homocysteine (associated with cardiovascular disease). Folate also helps make red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies, supports cell production( i.e. skin cells, intestinal cells), and provides critical support to our nervous system. Vitamin C offers excellent antioxidant protection, regenerates our vitamin E supplies, assists with iron absorption and is believed to lower cancer risk.
  • Protein and Fiber
    Yes, asparagus is a very good source of protein – 4.7 grams per cup. The cool thing is, this awesome plant food also supplies 2.9 grams of fiber per cup – animal protein does not offer any fiber (just sayin’).
  • Other Nutrients
    Asparagus is a very good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin – important B vitamins; phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.  It is also a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium and calcium.

It is remarkable that such a small, unassuming plant can be so powerful, right? Now, here’s even better news: asparagus is a very low calorie food too.  There are only 43 calories in a 1-cup serving.  So to recap: you get great flavor and texture, awesome nutrition and almost no calories. Who wouldn’t like that?

The best way to prepare asparagus is to cook only until it is al dente. Asparagus is great on the grill, but I like it roasted. Here is my simple recipe for delicious roasted asparagus that is awesome warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6

Serving Size: 4 - 5 stems

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest

Roasted asparagus is great cold so add it to your packed lunch. It is delicious in a salad too. Of course, it makes a wonderful side dish for a light lunch or dinner. For a slightly fancier and even more nutritious side dish, toss the cooked asparagus with slivered almonds.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh, organic asparagus - washed and thick ends removed
  • Organic Virgin Olive Oil (only enough to very lightly coat asparagus)
  • Lemon Zest ( I prefer to use Meyer Lemons)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up)
  3. Add oil and lemon zest to glass baking dish
  4. Add asparagus and coat evenly
  5. Spread evening on baking sheet - leave room between each stem for even cooking
  6. Roast for 10 minutes - until just al dente
  7. Serve warm as a side dish or cool and refrigerate for a snack

Notes

Don't overcook asparagus. Cooking too much will deplete all the incredible nutrients this wonderful vegetable offers. No one likes mushy asparagus so less is definitely more when cooking.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/03/asparagus-i-adore-this-awesome-antioxidant-rich-veggie/

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Score Points with This Vegan Chili

 

Cookin ChiliSure, you can buy ready-made chili but why would you when you can easily make homemade chili that tastes this good! The best ingredients make the best chili so by making your own you have complete control over the ingredients you choose to use. My recipe for Vegan Chili makes 8 dinner-sized servings and cost only $12.75 to make. I used all-organic ingredients too.  Cost per serving $1.60.  Don’t have 8 people to serve? You can freeze extra portions of this delicious and very nutritious chili for later in the week.

The Best Vegan Chili Ever

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 7 hours

Yield: 8 servings

The Best Vegan Chili Ever

This chili looks as good as it tastes! A bowl of chili is perfect served with a small piece of bread to soak up the juices. This is a great meal to prepare in a slow-cooker. If you like a spicy chili, increase the amount of chili powder. The Pasilla pepper is not overly spicy so if you like a kick perhaps use some Jalapeño pepper instead. You could choose to leave out the tempeh; but I encourage you to try it if you haven't done so before. The tempeh adds great texture to this chili as well as added protein. The beans I chose to use are my favorites but you can substitute the type of beans. Just keep in mind that dried beans should soak at least overnight. The volume will increase considerably - especially for the black-eyed peas and the kidney beans. Dried beans are much less expensive than canned and you don't have to worry about the high sodium levels and even sugar often found in canned beans. This chili freezes well too.

Ingredients

  • I 8oz package Organic Tempeh with Flax crumbled
  • 1 cup dried black beans (soaked/drained)
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas (soaked/drained)
  • 1 cup red kidney beans (soaked/drained)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium leek sliced
  • 4 stalks celery diced
  • 1 small Pasilla chile pepper diced
  • 1 small yellow pepper diced
  • 3 small Roma tomatoes diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp EVOO

Instructions

  1. Heat large skillet
  2. Add oil & heat
  3. Add onions & leeks & cook for 1 minute
  4. Add celery, yellow pepper, papilla pepper and saute for 2 minutes
  5. Add salt, chili powder, black pepper & paprika and mix through
  6. Add crumbled tempeh and saute for 5 - 6 minutes to blend flavors
  7. In large soup pot add all drained beans
  8. Add tempeh mixture
  9. Add chopped Roma tomatoes
  10. Cover with vegetable broth
  11. Bring to boil then reduce to low
  12. Cover and let cook for 5 - 6 hours or until beans are tender
  13. Adjust seasonings
  14. Serve
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/02/score-points-with-this-vegan-chili/


 

A heart shape held in handsFebruary is Heart Health Month.  Do something good for your heart today! Choose a Whole Food Plant Based Diet (#WFPBD) Our recipe for chili includes beans and tempeh  which are very valuable for heart & digestive health and go a long way to meeting your daily protein and fiber requirement.

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10 Heart Healthy Proteins – Plant Based of Course

HEART HEALTHY

We need protein to build, maintain and repair our body’s tissues. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For the average moderately active 135 pound woman this translates to 48 grams of protein per day. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, there are plenty of myths about protein resulting in many people consuming far more than they need. In fact, few people truly understand the risks associated with over-consumption of protein. Check out this important information from PCRM.

One of the most prevalent myths perpetuated about protein is that you can only get protein from eating animal-based foods.  This is absolutely not true. Not only can you get all the protein your body needs from plant-based foods, you also get many added benefits you can’t get from animal products like fiber and complex carbohydrates.  Here are 10 heart-healthy plant-based proteins that I encourage you to consume in place of animal protein.  You may already be consuming many of these delicious foods and not know they are great sources of protein. Try them in new ways and certainly consume them more often.

  1. Tofu/Tempeh/Seitan/Edamame
    Let’s start with Organic Tofu – such a versatile, easy to prepare, and extremely budget-friendly food. A 14oz package of Organic Tofu costs about $2 and contains 5 servings. Each serving provides 7 grams of protein and 210 mg of potassium (an important electrolyte that helps our muscles and nerves function properly). Tofu is also a very low calorie food. I often serve a tofu scramble for breakfast and love to serve baked tofu as a main course for an evening meal.Tofu with Mango SalsaOrganic Tempeh is such a versatile food and delivers 15 grams of protein, 260 mg of potassium and 7 grams of fiber in a 3oz serving.  You can purchase tempeh already prepared for you or learn to make it yourself.
    Seitan packs a whopping 18 grams of protein in a 3oz serving. It is made from wheat gluten and for many transitioning to the world of plant-based meat alternatives, it has the look and texture of meat that may aid in making the switch. Seitan can be purchased ready-made or you can learn to make it yourself. The benefits to making it yourself include controlling ingredients such as sodium and experimenting with flavors you and your family enjoy. Seitan is often available in restaurants so ask your server.
    Edamame BeansEdamame is a real favorite in our home. I love to add edamame to my salads and make hummus with it. Check out my recipe for Edamame Hummus here! Edamame are fresh, green soybeans cooked right in their pods. Edamame are easy to cook – just barely cover frozen organic edamame in water, bring to a boil for 30 seconds, drain and serve. A 1cup serving provides 17 grams of protein, 676 mg potassium, 8 grams fiber and only 189 calories.  Edamame is also an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is a macro mineral  that builds and strengthens our bones, keeps our blood circulating smoothly and relaxes our nerves and muscles.
  2. Lentils
    Group of lentilsLentils may be small but they are mighty! Lentils fall into the category of legumes and are believed to be one of the first foods to be cultivated. Lentils come in a variety of colors (green, brown, yellow and pink – NOTE each color cooks slightly differently) are very inexpensive, and easy to prepare. I believe it is best to buy dried lentils and store them in tightly sealed containers. If you choose canned lentils, pay attention to any added sodium or sugars. Lentils offer a whopping 18 grams of protein per cooked 1-cup serving, 15.6 grams of dietary fiber and are an excellent source of folate, a B-Complex vitamin that supports red blood cell production and allows nerves to function properly.  Lentils can be eaten as they are for a main course, added to soups and stews, used to make plant-based burgers, added to salads, and are a staple in delicious East Indian dishes.
  3. Beans
    Edamame HummusMy favorite, go-to beans are garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). I use them for everything from sandwich filings, to curried East Indian dishes, to hummus (of course) and in salads. Garbanzo beans offer 14.5 grams of protein per cup, 12.5 grams of dietary fiber and are an excellent source of manganese that helps protect our cells from free radical damage, keeps our bones strong and healthy, and helps us maintain normal blood sugar levels.  I also keep dried black beans, navy beans, white beans, kidney beans and soy beans in my pantry (all organic).   I make milk every morning from the soy beans! Beans, especially dried beans, are very inexpensive and easy to store. They are all excellent sources of protein, typically ranging from 14 – 16 grams of protein per 1-cup serving.  Beans are very versatile; they can be served any time of day, are easily portable to work or school, and are excellent a satiating your hunger.
  4. Quinoa
    Quinoa PlantsMy regular readers know I am a big fan of quinoa. This very versatile food is not only an excellent source of protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein that includes all nine essential amino acids.  Quinoa promotes heart health because it is an excellent source of magnesium – a mineral that relaxes the blood vessels. 1 cup of cooked quinoa delivers almost 6 grams of protein (remember that is complete protein), nearly 22% of the recommended daily requirement of iron and is an incredible source of phosphorus and manganese.
  5. Nuts
    160379603I love cashews but they can be pricey in the market so I buy my organic cashews in bulk (usually a 10lb bag) from an online supplier. Send me a note if you are interested in knowing more.  Cashews make wonderful milk and they are essential to making my salad dressings, cream, burgers, cheese cakes, and for snacking (in moderation of course). A serving of raw cashews (1/4 cup) provides 5 grams of protein and a good dose of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. A bonus benefit of eating a small amount of cashews is they contain tryptophan that helps to promote sleep. I also keep a good supply of almonds on hand. Almonds make delicious milk. I recommend you make almond milk at home rather than buying it already made. It is so much better from scratch!  Almonds are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin E and are a concentrated source of monounsaturated fats which make them an excellent food for heart health. One-quarter cup of almonds provides 7.62 grams of protein. Other great nut choices are walnuts and pistachios.
  6. Seeds
    Chia SeedsKeep a good variety of seeds on hand because they are so good for you, taste awesome, add great texture/crunch to foods and are, once again, an excellent source of protein, omega 3s, minerals and fiber,
    Let’s start with one of my favorites, Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs in baking, make an incredible pudding, are easy to add to your favorite smoothie, and can be popped on top of cereal for added nutrition. Flax seeds are another favorite. I buy them whole and grind them when I need them (just use my coffee bean grinder). I add ground flax seeds to my baking, smoothies, and cereal. Flax seeds are a particularly excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids – important for optimum cardiovascular health. Sesame seeds (the tahini in hummus recipes) are a very good source of copper in addition to the 6.4 grams of protein and 4.24 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup. I buy shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds in 20lb bags. I add sunflower seeds to my almond yogurt, I eat them as a snack, I grind them up and add them to baking, and I add them to salads for added protein and crunch.  Sunflower seeds are another excellent source of Vitamin E along with 8.2 grams of protein and 3.78 grams dietary fiber per 1/4 cup serving. Try some pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds on your cereal or salad. You will get a great protein boost and treat your body to essential fatty acids and fiber.
  7. Vegetables (Yes, vegetables provide protein!)
    BroccoliSpinach is probably the best known vegetable source of protein. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach provides 5.4 grams of protein and you get the awesome added benefit of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, B2, calcium, and potassium. A lot of nutrition in that little green leaf, right? While Swiss Chard doesn’t have quite as much protein, it is also an excellent choice to keep on hand. Other great vegetables that offer good protein are asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli. Note, the bonus you get with broccoli is a 1-cup serving provides 100% of the daily requirement of vitamins C and K.
  8. Mushrooms
    Mushrooms for GravyMushrooms are fantastic. They are very low in calories and exceptionally high in nutritional value – so what’s not to love! I love to experiment with different varieties of mushrooms. I tried the mushrooms pictured here in my recipe for mushroom gravy and WOW, it turned out great. An 8oz serving of shiitake mushrooms only contains 87 calories but you get 5 grams of protein, 3.6 mg of iron, 6 mg of vitamin C and 2.5 grams of fiber in return.  Now that’s a great return on your caloric investment! Crimini mushrooms are very commonly found in grocery stores and are an excellent high nutrient, low calorie food choice for everyday use. Mushrooms can be incorporated into all kinds of meals including salads, stews, spaghetti sauces, plant-based burgers, in your tofu scramble or just as a side dish.
  9. Whole Grains
    Steel Cut OatsOats are an outstanding source of protein and fiber. I typically purchase steel cut oats, pictured here, as they are the least processed. Oats offer 6.1grams of protein in a 1-cup serving as well as 4 grams of dietary fiber and several minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. There are actually over 60 nutrients available in oats! Rye provides a whopping 8.3 grams of protein in a 1-cup cooked serving and 8.2 grams of fiber.  Brown rice, with which I batch-cook an awesome brown rice pilaf, has 5 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of dietary fiber per cup. Brown rice is a good source of selenium, a mineral known to keep our blood vessels in good shape, making it an important heart-healthy food. Whole wheat and buckwheat are also great choices – good sources of protein, and high in fiber and minerals too. Choose whole grains for the best nutrition.
  10. Vegan Meat Alternatives – (meat analogues)
    There are many packaged and prepared vegan meat alternatives on the market and quite a few are not only nutritious but really delicious.  When time is a challenge, you’ve run out of ideas, don’t feel like cooking something from scratch, or have a crowd to feed, try some of these awesome products available in most grocery stores.
    www.beyondmeat.com
    www.gardein.com
    www.fieldroast.com

The bottom line is this: plant-based protein rich foods not only provide all the protein you need but they also provide fiber, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins your body needs. Just as importantly, plant-based foods are cruelty free and much better for our planet than animal-based products. Your body will be grateful for the nutrition you provide through plant-based foods, our planet will benefit and the animals we share this earth with will live long, healthy, happy lives.  Pretty much a win-win-win!


A heart shape held in hands

February is Heart Health Month. Take good care of your heart by choosing a WFPBD.

 

 

 

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Decision 2016 – Prepare for a Healthy Future

PREPARATION-1

Jumping in with both feet is an exciting part of most any adventure. Being spontaneous is thrilling when it comes to travel and entertainment and yes, even shopping.  Yet, there are events in our lives, like making a major lifestyle change for example, when taking the time to lay the groundwork is critical to success.

Here are some tips for helping you get started on your journey to good health.

Purge: Take some time over the next day or two to clean out your pantry and refrigerator.  Determine if the food you find promotes optimal function and healing for your body or if it will create damage. Read the ingredient list carefully. Whole foods (1 ingredient) are best but, if you have any packaged foods, remove items that have a laundry list of ingredients – especially if there is a lot of sugar and/or sodium, and particularly if they contain additives and preservatives.  Keep in mind that sugar isn’t always called “sugar”; if the ingredient list includes words that end in “ose” those ingredients are a type of sugar. Additives and preservatives are listed at the end of the ingredient list. They are chemically produced to significantly increase shelf life, change or add color, and alter flavors.

Finger Food FunPlan: Put together a shopping list that will fill your pantry and refrigerator with healthy, healing, delicious plant-based foods.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

*Pantry Items: brown rice, oats, quinoa, lentils, dried beans (pinto, black beans, chickpeas), dried fruit (apricot, dates, raisins), peppercorns, sea salt, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, grape seed oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, tamarin or soy sauce, nut and seed butters, nutritional yeast, dried herbs, spices.

*Produce: lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads,

Procure: There are several important things to be aware of when shopping for the best quality foods. Being prepared for your grocery shopping excursion will help you avoid the pitfalls that await in every grocery stores. Know before you go!
*Grocery Store Design is very scientific. Most of the good-for-you foods are located around the perimeter of the store. This is designed to get you to have to see and hopefully purchase all the packaged, not-so-good-for-you high margin foods along the way. Packaged foods that have your health in mind are located on bottom shelves while the foods that are again high margin, low value are located right at eye level.  You can’t miss them! Then you have all the high sugar items placed right at the cash register so while you’re waiting you can be tempted to pop them into your cart.  Don’t do it!!

Organic

*Organic vs Conventional Whenever possible, choose organic foods. If organic is not available or the price difference is too much, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 Clean Fifteen Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce and 2015 Dirty Dozen Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. These guides provide information about the level of pesticides in produce and will help you decide to either forgo a purchase or choose an alternative. The EWG website is a good one to bookmark.
Grocery Cart Fun*Tactics for Shopping Success Make a list and stick to it. Your goal is to satisfy your need for plant-based proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber and fats. Know the layout of your store so you can avoid the aisles that don’t contribute to your goal of healthy eating. Buy produce in season – it will be higher in nutrients and lower in price. Ask for help! The managers in your store are good sources of information. Take advantage. If your store doesn’t carry something you would like, ask them if they can get it.  More and more stores understand the shift that is taking place with respect to healthy food choices making them much more receptive to carrying products that matter to their customers. Shop two or three times a week. This will mean your foods will be fresher and you will reduce or eliminate the risk of having something spoil before it can be eaten.

Get ready to eat with your future in mind. Prepare for an epic year!

 

 

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Decision 2016 – Fact Check on a Plant-Based Diet

PLANT BASED DO A BODY

Fact #1 – A Plant-Based Diet has Plenty of Protein

Black Bean BurgerTrue: Sources of plant-based protein are many, delicious, easily digestible, delicious (sorry, I am repeating myself) and very capable of satisfying our daily requirement for this important nutrient. Vegans have no trouble meeting their daily protein needs by eating legumes like peanuts, lentils, chickpeas and black beans; grains such as amaranth and oats; seeds such as quinoa, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and chia; nuts such as almonds, cashews and hazelnuts; vegetables such as artichokes, green peas, broccoli and asparagus; and some other foods like tempeh and tofu.

Fact #2 – Whole Food Sources of Carbohydrates are Good for You

Jazzed Up Chickpea SpreadTrue: Carbohydrates have really gotten a bad rap over the years, but whole food, healthy sources of carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet. The benefits of eating complex carbs sourced from whole foods are well documented including things like digestive health, support for our muscles, and energy throughout the day. Complex carbohydrates are available from beans, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

 

Fact # 3 – Variety is the Spice of Life

True:  A plant-based diet offers such variety the options for delicious, interesting meals are endless.  Did you know there are over 400 varieties of vegetables to tickle your tastebuds and nourish your body? There are also dozens of varieties of beans and legumes, oodles of nuts and seeds to eat or make milk from, and a list as long as your arm of wonderful herbs and spices to add delightful interest to your palate. A plant-based diet also has a myriad of food colors and shapes to afford the most visually stunning meals you can imagine.  There is no shortage of texture either.  In short, a plant-based diet provides all the nutrition your body needs AND all the flavors, textures and imagery we humans can desire.

 

Fact #4 – A Plant-Based Diet is Suitable for All Ages

Finger Food FunTrue:  All tastes are acquired. We are not born liking the taste of any food. What we choose to serve our infants and children is based solely on our own likes and dislikes. Our SAD diet (Standard American Diet) is not a result of any genetic predisposition for the taste of fat-laden cheeseburgers or greasy french fries.  Our SAD diet is 100% a result of our poor choices. I’ve seen children as young as 12 months old sitting in a high chair eating french fries! Remember, the quality of the inputs (food) affects the quality of the outputs(our   bodies) so you will get an entirely different quality of life if you feed your body with junk food rather than whole, organic plant-based foods.  It is really simple. Plant foods can be prepared to accommodate every life stage so there is nothing to prevent anyone from enjoying all the nutrients a plant-based diet provides.


Choosing a food-first approach to our health, eating foods that have the power to heal and drive optimum health, and eating with the future in mind are all positive choices in your journey to achieve your best life.

You Can Do This!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Week Grocery List

Keep It Simple

Put These on Your List

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to nourish our souls by spending time with family and friends: laughing, sharing stories, listening to music,and just generally being with each other. Over the next six weeks there will be more hugs and kisses, hand holding and gentle touches than there has been the entire rest of the year!  It just feels good! While we are nourishing our souls, we need to nourish our bodies with delicious and healthy foods too. To help, I’ve prepared a quick list of items to pick up at the grocery store, most of them in-season foods that are at their peak of nutrition and easy on the budget, and a few healthier, prepared foods to help free up some time.  As with all my recommendations, I really encourage you to buy organic whenever possible.  Here is a reminder from the Environment Working Group on the top non-organic foods to avoid. 

Organic Prepared Foods

Vegetables

  • Squash – Red Kuri, Delicata, Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti
  • Mushrooms – Cremini, Portobello, Shiitake, Oyster
  • Onions – Red, Yellow, Leeks, Scallions, Shallots
  • Carrots
  • Beets – Yellow and Red
  • Greens – Bok Choy, Kale, Arugula
  • Tomatoes – Cherry and Roma
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Peppers – Red, Yellow, Orange, Green

Fruit

  • Apples (see Dirty Dozen)
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Dried Goji Berries
  • Lemons, Limes
  • Frozen Fruit – Blueberries, Raspberries, Peaches
  • Dates

Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds

  • Farro
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Hazelnuts (these can be ordered online for a great price and delivered to your door to save time. Check out Food to Live.)
  • Steel Cut Oats and Rolled Oats
  • Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, White Beans, Adzuki Beans, Red Kidney Beans
  • Flax Seed (ground)
  • Chia Seed

Herbs, Spices & Seasonings

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Harissa
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutritional Yeast

Other Essentials

This may seem like a long list, but there are probably many items here you already have on hand. The idea is to keep your Thanksgiving menus simple, using whole, fresh foods whenever possible; and to use time savers like those listed in the prepared foods section above. A rule of thumb I always use at the market: if there is a label on the product I am considering, the fewer ingredients listed the better. If I can’t pronounce the ingredient list I put the product back on the shelf.

Many foods for your holiday meal can be prepared ahead of time so take advantage.  Remember, too, that many hands make light work; so ask your friends and family to help. Cooking together is a wonderful way to share time with each other.

To Do List

 

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