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.


  • 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)


  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.

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… 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!



  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


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.

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

10 Heart Healthy Proteins – Plant Based of Course


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.

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.




Decision 2016 – Prepare for a Healthy Future


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 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!



The Best Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo Ever

You Are Going to Love This Recipe!

This is a delicious vegan recipe that is easy to prepare. Perfect for this very busy time of year!  I know your family and friends will love it and will be eager for seconds.

The Best Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo Ever

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

The Best Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo Ever

Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce is made with cashews. It is so creamy and delicious you don't really need to add all the other ingredients; but I believe the other ingredients make this dish "guest worthy". This is a hearty meal everyone can enjoy.


  • 1 18 oz jar of Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 7 oz package of Explore Asian Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine
  • 1 9 oz package of Gardein Home Style Beefless Tips
  • 1 8 oz package of Crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup organic petite green peas
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp Harissa


  1. Open Beefless Tips and place in small bowl.
  2. Mix paprika, garlic pepper and Harissa together and sprinkle over Tips. Allow to marinate while preparing other ingredients.
  3. Wash and slice mushrooms. Saute for 3 minutes then allow to simmer 5 minutes in white wine.
  4. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid.
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook.
  6. Saute onions for 1 minute. Add Beefless Tips, mushrooms and reserved liquid. Simmer 5 - 6 minutes.
  7. Add peas and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  8. Add prepared pasta and allow to heat through.
  9. Serve immediately.


Vegan, Gluten Free, Kosher, Organic, Non-GMO Verified

The two time-savers in this hearty meal are the already prepared, delicious Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce and the Explore Asian Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine. There are links to these two companies in the recipe.  You can feel good about serving these foods because they are organic, vegan, gluten free, and kosher.  They are full of protein, very low in fat, sodium and sugar, and high in fiber.

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.


  • 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


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


  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.


  • 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


  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.



Quinoa – A Simply Perfect Plant Protein

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa Plants

Quinoa is a complete, plant-based protein. It includes all nine essential amino acids necessary to nourish your body. It tastes wonderful alone or included in your favorite salad, as a bed for a vegetable medley, or as a base for vegan burgers. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and fiber.Quinoa is an ancient food, actually a seed really, and has historically been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia. It comes in a variety of colors and forms i.e.) seeds, flour, pasta, leaves and is available year round.

Quinoa is definitely a SUPERFOOD!

I believe it is important to support the farmers and the communities they live in when purchasing food; so I make it a point to choose organically and sustainably grown, responsibly sourced, and sustainably packaged quinoa. Check the packages at your local market. Some good providers are Alter Eco and Bob’s Red Mill.

Preparing quinoa is easy.Just remember 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat. Your quinoa will be ready in about 20 minutes. You should rinse your quinoa seeds well before cooking. This will remove the bitter coating on the seeds. I usually cook enough quinoa for a week then freeze in individual containers. When needed, I thaw the quinoa, remove any excess moisture using cheese cloth, and add to my meals. They say variety is the spice of life: well, with quinoa, there is no limit to the variety of ways you can serve it. Here is a link to a recent recipe I posted using quinoa:

**Flavor the liquid you use to prepare the quinoa with broth made from your favorite veggies such as celery, roasted carrots, onion etc.
**Add spice to your pot: curry, coriander, turmeric, harissa
**Add herbs to the finished product: basil, thyme, parsley
**Serve cold in a salad
**Serve hot as a side dish
**Use as a base for veggie burgers

My favorite market, Whole Foods, has a wonderful website full of great recipes and ideas for incorporating this incredible superfood into your diet. Just click on the link.

Quinoa Mantage

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, I hope you will. Let me know what you think and please share your recipes in my comments section.

Off to the Market – A Plant-Based Grocery List

For some, grocery shopping is a pleasure; for others a chore. I actually love grocery shopping. I enjoy taking my time looking at all the beautiful colors and textures the produce section has to offer. I get excited when I discover an unusual fruit or vegetable and love talking to the produce manager or other customers about how they prepare certain foods. Today there are so many varieties of fresh organic foods to chose from it is often hard to decide. I do, however, make every effort to buy what is locally in season; being cognizant of supporting area farmers, being mindful of the carbon footprint left by transporting foods from other parts of the world to my city, and being aware of the importance of sustainable practices in agriculture.

I’m probably going to make “list makers” uneasy with my next statement; but I have to say I am not a fan of traditional grocery lists. I know they can be good tools to keep us from buying more than we need, but I prefer to be inspired by what I see at the grocery store – especially because 80% of my basket is fresh food. For the other 20% of my basket I keep a reminder in my phone of things I need like TP, parchment paper, cheese cloth, soaps, backup canned or frozen foods, etc. so I can take advantage of special prices or ensure I don’t run out. Having said this, here are some very general suggestions of things you may wish to purchase on your next excursion to the grocery store (or better yet, Farmers’ Market).

NOTE: Choose organic and NonGMO Certified foods whenever possible. Many people have heard about “The Dirty Dozen” – a list of foods you should always buy organic because of the high pesticide loads found in these foods. The list is available at For a list of NonGMO Certified Foods check out this website:

Awesome Sources of Plant-Based Proteins

    beans & legumes (ex: soy,chickpeas,fava beans,black beans)
    nutritional yeast
    seeds (ex: sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin)
    nuts (ex: raw almond, raw cashew, raw walnuts)

Amazing Sources of Vitamins & Minerals

Vit A: carrots, spinach, kale, parsley, bell peppers, romaine lettuce,Swiss chard, sweet potatoes,collard greens,winter squash, broccoli, tomatoes

Vit B1: romaine lettuce, asparagus, Crimini mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, brussels sprouts

Vit B2: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, romaine lettuce

Vit B6: spinach, bell peppers, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, asparagus, cabbage, kale, watermelon

Vit C: bell peppers, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, lemon juice, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, cabbage, tomatoes, swiss chard, collard greens raspberries, asparagus, celery, spinach, pineapple, green beans, summer squash

Vit E: sunflower seeds, almonds, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, olives

Vit K: parsley, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, basil, tomatoes, celery, sea vegetables, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage

Zinc: Crimini mushrooms, spinach, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds

Magnesium: Swiss chard, spinach, summer squash, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cucumbers, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, ginger, quinoa, buckwheat, black beans, beets, tofu

Calcium: spinach, collard greens, basil, cinnamon, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, tofu, oranges

Chromium: romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes

Copper: Crimini mushrooms, Swiss chard, spinach, sesame seeds, kale, eggplant, cashews, ginger, pumpkin seeds, asparagus, summer squash

Manganese: cinnamon, romaine lettuce, pineapple, spinach, turmeric, black pepper, collard greens, raspberries, kale, garlic, brown rice

Other Great Foods

Fats: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, seeds, soy

Carbs: teff, bulgur wheat, barley, buckwheat, brown & black rice, beans, fruits, most vegetables

****These suggestions are not exhaustive. Have some fun, read, & explore your market. Variety is the spice of life so try new foods and prepare those you love in a different way

****Keep in mind when shopping that the vast majority of your grocery basket should be filled with fresh foods. Many canned foods such as beans and frozen foods such as peas and fruits are also very nutritious so keep some of these on hand for days when you can’t get to the market.

****Most importantly, remember that nourishing your body with the best foods available is your ultimate goal. Be good to yourself.

My Name is Cate and I’m a Vegan

Image of Chicken with an apron stating I Love Vegans Several new studies declare veganism is going mainstream which is important and exciting news as it means people are beginning to realize how we fuel our bodies really matters. Perhaps the epidemic of obesity in first world countries has really jolted us into realizing it is critical we change our diet. I hope, however, that people choose to live a vegan lifestyle because it is good for them; not because it is the latest trend. The adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is simply not true: I am learning every day and I understand that my vegan lifestyle is a lifelong journey. I don’t expect myself to be perfect, but I am working to be conscious of every choice I make. It is rather liberating to be in such control.

My lifestyle choice doesn’t only impact me in a very positive way, but it also impacts our planet in ways I’ve never considered. The bigger picture is: a plant-based diet is the best thing for our Earth. Several recent, revealing studies show the stunningly negative impact the production of animal-based foods has on our world. First is the catastrophic depletion of our water resources, then the enormous consumption of petroleum products necessary to make it all happen, and last but not least, the damaging impact of all the chemicals, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals used to make the industry highly profitable. These realities of the animal-based food industry contribute in a monumental way to the downward spiral of our planet.

I’m mindful about every aspect of my life. To be healthy, have the energy needed to be an active participant in my time on earth, and to bring my best self to my relationship with others, I need to truly nourish my body, mind and soul. To nourish my body I fuel it with plant-based foods. I buy these foods from local farmers or, when what I need is not locally available, from trusted local organic grocery stores. I choose foods as close to their just-picked, natural state as possible and live by “the-fewest-ingredients-makes-the-best-food” rule. For example, the produce we picked fresh at Gilcrease Orchard this week: garlic, Spring onions, baby carrots and zucchini squash, doesn’t need anything else added to taste delicious. The almond butter and peanut butter we purchased are also “one ingredient foods”. Who doesn’t want to dip a piece of celery into that nutty deliciousness! (BTW: nut butters are so easy to make yourself and you get to control the amount you make as nut butters will only keep in the fridge for about a week.)

If time to visit a farm or farmer’s market is not in the cards for you this week, the produce section of high quality, conscious markets such as Whole Foods is filled with “one ingredient” organic scrumptiousness: kale, spinach, mushrooms… get the picture. Frozen organic fruits and vegetables are a good alternative when fresh is not available or if you won’t consume all the fresh food before it begins to spoil. When wholesome, organic foods are frozen shortly after picking, they retain most of their nutritional qualities. In fact, they often retain more than fresh foods that have to travel long distances to market. Whole Foods Private Label 365 Organic, Earthbound Farm Organic, and Sprouts Organic Frozen Fruits and Vegetables are good choices. Whichever market you trust to purchase your foods from, ask the produce manager for information and check labels on frozen items. It shouldn’t be hard to find great foods where you live – you just have to scope out sources then make visiting them a part of your routine.

Probably the most common question I am asked apart from “why” is, where do you get your protein from? This is an easy question to answer because there are so many great sources of plant-based proteins, vegans have no difficulty reaching recommended protein consumption goals. Here are some of the great sources of plant-based protein for vegans: spinach, Crimini mushrooms, asparagus, tofu, broccoli, swiss chard, lentils, nuts and seeds. NOTE: many plant-based sources of protein do not offer the full spectrum of essential amino acids your body needs to operate so it is important to include a variety of plant-based protein sources in your daily intake. One of the great exceptions to this is quinoa.

Quinoa is not only high in protein, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids. We love quinoa in our home. We use it as a side dish, sprinkled in our salads, as a breakfast food, as the key ingredient in burgers….the list goes on. I make a large batch at the start of the week and freeze in serving sized containers – ready to be added to our busy household’s week-day meals. My favorite source of sustainably grown quinoa is Alter Eco. Check out their website. Even their packaging is sustainable. Got to love that! Another great source of organic quinoa is Bob’s Red Mill. Read up on this incredible seed (yes, it is actually a seed but most people think it is a grain). Give it a try. You will love it.

I’ll leave you with some interesting reading about protein from The Harvard School of Public Health. I’ve included some excerpts and the link so you can read more. It is much easier to make good choices when we have good information, right?


Here is an article from BBC News about the adverse affects of the animal-based food industry.
Here is an article from Harvard School of Public Health on the benefits of plant proteins.

A 20-year prospective study of 82,802 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat or protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared with women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets. But women who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in animal fats or proteins did not have a reduced risk of heart disease.

Diets high in plant-based proteins and fats can provide health benefits, so try mixing some vegetarian proteins into your meals. Going meatless can be good for your wallet as well as your health, since beans, nuts and seeds, and other minimally processed vegetarian protein sources are often less expensive than meat. Eating plant protein in place of meat is also good for the planet. It takes a lot of energy to raise and process animals for meat, so going meatless could help reduce pollution and has the potential to lessen climate change.