Tag Archives: health

Crazy Carrot Wednesday- 20 Carrot Recipes to Try!

27 Feb

A rainbow of carrotsIn my quest of having the family get in the habit of trying new foods, I bought some purple, orange and golden yellow carrots.  If anything, it was worth seeing the expression on their faces that made it all worth it!

I happen to need to eat with my eyes first so the more color on our plates, the happier I am that we are serving a nutritional plate of goodness for each of us.  If you can’t find purple and yellow carrots at the store, keep an eye out for one day that they may have them in the future.  In the meantime, if you haven’t eaten many carrots lately, I’m sure you will be successful in finding a recipe or three that you and whoever you are cooking for, will love!

Fun carrot facts:

  • Carrots were not originally orange.  Back in the day they were purple or red with thin roots
  • What’s up, Doc?  Maybe Bugs Bunny was on to something since the first carrots were grown for medicine
  • Research shows that colorful carrots may help prevent heart disease and cancer & reduce cholesterol
  • Eat/drink too many orange carrots and you WILL take on an orange/yellow pigment in your skin (called Carotenemia) because of beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in the carrots

Question:  Are carrots better for you eaten raw or cooked?

No one loves a glass of fresh carrot juice better than I (although, I will admit, I will stick with drinking orange carrots since the purple carrots have a slight peppery taste and the yellow are a bit sweet and mild).  I happen to eat half of my meals raw each day because there are many nutrients that are lost when cooked one way or another.  However, there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to eating and being able to process certain foods.  (So the answer is both!)

colorcarrotstryitveganPicture bubble wrap for a moment:  when it comes to nutrition and eating certain foods, there are a ton of nutrients that are inside the item but you have to pop all the nutrients out.  This is one reason why it is SO important to chew your food well which most of us are very guilty of NOT doing.  50-100 chews per bite is what is recommended to ensure that you break down the food and make it accessible for your body to absorb the nutrients.  This is why juicing is a great thing from a nutritional perspective because it pops all the “bubbles” releasing the nutritional benefits (especially kale!)

  • Research has shown that when you eat a raw carrot, only 3% of the entire beta-carotene (Vitamin A) is released.
  • Falcarinol is a substance found in carrots that has been found to reduce the risk of cancer (cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to it)
  • When boiling or steaming whole carrots, you lose 30% of falcarinol
  • When boiling or steaming pre-cut, small carrots the loss is higher at 60%.
  • Boiled/steamed carrots are easier to digest and preserved antioxidants (carotenoids) rather than frying.

Ok, now that you know more than you thought that you would ever want to know about this common (or not so common) root veggie, go on out and try some of these awesome ways to enjoy this nutritious wonder!

(Common sense input:  if honey is called for, substitute with agave or other sweetener.  Butter, use earth balance.  Etc)

  1. Fresh squeezed carrot juice  (can be as addicting as cigarettes?)
  2. Roasted Carrot Soup
  3. Carrot salad
  4. Roasted carrots
  5. Carrot muffins (using earth balance as opposed to butter/margarine)
  6. Hummus and veggie wrap
  7. Vegetable sushi
  8. Potted carrots (great idea for the kids!!!  with a vegan ranch dip)
  9. Simple carrot fries
  10. Moroccan Carrot Dip
  11. Marsala glazed carrots with hazelnuts
  12. Carrot cake cupcakes
  13. Marmalade Candied Carrots 
  14. Roasted Vegetables with Pecan Gremolata
  15. Carrot cake oatmeal
  16. Carrot pancakes
  17. Lunch Box carrot slaw with apples and vegan yoghurt
  18. Carrot, Avocado and orange salad
  19. Marinated dill carrots
  20. Brown sugar sweet overload carrots

Enjoy 😉  TiV

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Warning: these resources have been known to breed Vegans, read with caution

16 Jan

Breeding Vegans?    No worries, I’m not contagious so you can’t catch the Vegivirus but you just may WANT TO after watching and reading these books and movies.

Oct. 2009 “Do you know of any books that I can read?  What movie do you recommend that is educational but won’t leave me bringing up my last meal?  Are there any magazines?”

I had my share of questions and it’s kind of ironic that I am asked often the same questions that I had back in the day.  The great thing to know is that there are so many more resources today than there were a few months ago compared to years ago.  Let me ask you:

  • Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?
  • If there was a way of eating that resulted in you having beautiful skin, energy and a maintained healthy weight, would you be curious to at least learn of it to see if you would even want to try it?
  • Did you ever wonder exactly what “Vegan” means exactly but didn’t want to be intimidated into “doing it” or “becoming one”?

One morning back in October of 2009 I had a day like many people do, having milk in my cereal, cheese on my burger and enjoyed my bacon extra crispy.  I had to stop at the local Costco to pick up some dinner and as “luck” or “destiny” had it, I spotted Alicia Silverstone on the cover of some book called, The Kind Diet.  I always adored her and the title of the book wasn’t the “IN YOUR FACE” type of a diet book so I picked it up and went about my shopping.  That night I read nearly the entire book and I felt as if someone had lifted a veil from my eyes.

In a very gentle way, Alicia gave me enough information to eliminate meat from my diet forever.   That, my friends, was the beginning of a new chapter in my life I was NOT expecting.

IF THAT MORNING, someone would have told me that the last time I ate meat would be then, I would say that you are OFF YOUR TREE.  I had NO INTEREST in becoming a Vegan prior.  Neither did my teenage daughter who at the time, was 12  when she read the book and hasn’t touched meat since.

I also had never made the effort to learn more about where my food was coming from and I’ve got to tell you, once you know, you look at food entirely in a different way.

PLEASE don’t take my word for it!!  I’m not trying to convince you.  I’m trying to lead you to some information so that you can make your own decision but at least know about what you are putting into your body and where it is coming from.  You may be surprised to find out why you or someone you love may have some issues like digestive issues, colitis, acne, bloating, excess phlegm, excess weight, diabetes or even heart disease JUST TO NAME A FEW.

Some of the more memorable books that opened my eyes:  (More educational than recipe books…I will be posting my recipe book recommendations soon although a few of these do have some.)

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    Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

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    Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking… by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman

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    Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your… by Kim Barnouin

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    The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone and Neal D. Barnard

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    The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet… by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, Howard Lyman and John Robbins ( not the easiest ready but stay on it!  This book made one of the impacts on me, don’t skip it!)

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    The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the… by Rip Esselstyn

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    Diet for a New America by John Robbins

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    MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard F. Lyman and Glen Merzer

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    Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition by Joel Fuhrman

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    Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set) by Joel Fuhrman

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    Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living by Alisa Marie Fleming

I LOVE these magazines:

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    Vegnews

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    Vegetarian Times

  • ****Brand new Vegan Magazine is called Laika Magazine, check it out at laikamagazine.com  Very well done!

Some movies to get you started that aren’t going to make you lose your lunch:

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Food, Inc.
  • Vegucated

Movie that is incredibly good but hold the popcorn… it’s powerful and is a Vegan breeder for sure.  I don’t think anyone can go back to eating meat after watching this in all honesty.

  • Earthlings

After all is said and done, it’s your choice entirely, right?  No one can force you to watch, read or learn.  Don’t do it for anyone but yourself.  At least you will be able to say, yes, I read the books and saw the movies and finally, I made the decision to do _____ for me.  Best wishes and as always, I encourage you to…

Try it!

~M~

Vegan Diner Classic: Scrambled Eggs, Garlic Chive Home Fries and Bacon

11 Jan

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One of the biggest favorites at the local diner is your traditional scrambled eggs with home fries, bacon and toast.  We went ahead and recreated this classic American breakfast and found it to be…well, surprisingly better than the original.  When we first started consuming a vegan diet, the comfort foods were necessary in making a smooth transition and before our taste buds were completely converted over, we were thrilled with the tofu scramble and surprisingly, the bacon-style tempeh.

Scrambled Tofu Recipe:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 block firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or other oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Once oil is heated add onion & tofu and cook for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, breaking up the tofu into smaller pieces, about 5 minutes more.

Bacon Tempeh      tempeh_smoky_201210

We enjoy Light Life’s “Fakin Bacon” but there are other brands that are crunchier, also in the refrigerated section of your “faux meats”.  Add some oil to the pan and heat for a few minutes on each side, super easy and very tasty!

Garlic & Chive Home Fries  (we had a craving for mashed… keep them in bits if you prefer 😉

  • 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan  butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or Vegan butter
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives
  • 1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, 8-10 minutes, drain water.  Add oil or butter to pan and cook onions until transparent, add garlic for 1 minute.  Toss potatoes, chives and a dash of salt and pepper to your liking, mixing well.

Pop some bread in the toaster, finish it off with your favorite cup of Joe & don’t forget to tip your waitress 😉

Vegan, Simple, Fast and Delish! KID APPROVED Jason Wrobel’s Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta is a MUST TRY!

8 Jan

20130108_185640

“Dinner is ready!!!!!”

Have you ever heard a child SCREAM because his entire meal is green and they decide that, due to color, it will not taste good?  (Let’s not kid ourselves, children aren’t the only ones)

After an absolute dinner FAIL the other night, my guilty conscious went recipe hunting and landed on Jason Wrobel’s recipe for Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta.  (Jason is a Vegan cook and also has the Cooking Channel’s, “How to Live to 100” a new, humorous but educational show that just aired for the first time Sunday.  Check it out, it’s worth it!)

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Dinner was served in record timing due to the fact that the recipe is filed under the category of “easy” so even a non-cook can’t mess it up. (Ahem)  I made my signature “No less than 15 ingredient salad” and you see the end result which I was pretty proud of.  My one son, on the other hand, gave me an expression that I will do my best to imitate…

20130108_185526

“Really???  Green pasta?  Oh no… are those…(dun dun dunnnnnn) OLIVES??  Great, another Mom dinner fail”

(Ironic Mommy side note:  Even when we make zucchini pasta, it isn’t as “green” as this dish.  Not that it should matter but if only this kid KNEW what he ate at times!”)

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I was hoping that this would at least make up for my last disaster and not only did it, it far EXCEEDED the expectations of everyone.  What a DELICIOUS spin on pesto!  My only addition were some roasted organic cherry tomatoes that I threw in the oven while the pasta cooked to add some more color.  It was like winning the lottery you guys, I had five very happy FULL people and I was redeemed!  “Mmmmm’s” and “ohmygodthisissogood” came from the (full) mouth’s of babes so with that said, I recommend for you to TRY IT!

 

(No animals were injured, hurt (or eaten 🙂  ) during this cell phone photo shoot.  This Jersey girl likes her leopard, what do you want me to say.)

So what do you need?

  • olive oil
  • pasta (we used a lb instead of 8oz. with the remaining amounts of ingredients)
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably cold pressed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons nama shoyu or tamari (oops, I did forget this one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • hemp seeds, for garnish (and this one)

Directions

Make the pasta according to directions.  Original directions called for a tablespoon of olive oil in the boiling water which I chose to skip.  Once al dente, drain and empty into a mixing bowl where you want to add the olives, red bell peppers and pumpkin seeds and mix well.

Easy pesto:  Grab your Vitamixer/blender or food processor and put basil, olive oil, cilantro, pine nuts, lime juice, garlic, nama shoyu, salt, pepper and cayeene and blend.  Combine the pasta with pesto and mix well.  Serve with a sprinkle of hemp seeds, black olives and pine nuts.  I also roasted some cherry tomatoes and added them for more color.

To view the original recipe click here

Apple Match Stick Fries: Reducing the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes

7 Jan

20130107_094003

This morning I posted a link on Twitter that speaks of the great health benefits of apples (HERE)  Thanks to my mandoline, we have found some creative  ways to make snacking on an apple a bit more appealing to even those who insisted that they didn’t like apples.  
 
With much more focus on eating smaller meals with healthy snacks twice a day, apples are a great go-to for all ages.  With over 7000 different varieties around the world, there are at least a handful that will make your mouth water.  (For an apple directory, try HERE)
 
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two top killers in North America, choose apples for preventative measure considering they are loaded with phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that are known to reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes.  (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/5)
 
Give your palate a treat, pick some apples the next time you are out and make a point of including an apple once a day in your diet, however you choose to slice, dice or bite it 😉  Your body will thank you!
 
Try it!
-M

 

 
 
 
 

Check out what the kids (big & small) had for lunch: Vegan Steak Marsala…

1 Jan

Vegan Chicken Marsala

Maureen:  “JUST SAYIN’… The 13 year old thanked me for his lunch today.  If that gives you any idea if the kids would like it…”

Ok, we will say it.  There are some vegetables that we like better than others and mushrooms are definitely classified under the “other” category.

YET, we have made them a staple in our weekly diet because when a few other ingredients are added to cover up enhance the taste, you are left with a delish’ dish that has the consistency of meat while tricking your eyes and taste buds.

Personally, we like sauces and lots of it so we do make more for us but for you, play around with the recipe and Try it!

For two hungry people (or for you and gift yourself of a leftover!):

  • 3 Portabella mushroom caps (look for organic if you can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tbsp oil (olive or grape seed)
  • 3/4 cup of Whole Wheat or Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • pasta, rice, quinoa or couscous for underneath (we used pasta this time- you decide but start it before your “steak”)
  1. Slice up one mushroom cap into flat slices the size of a penny or dime.
  2. Dice Green onions and mince garlic
  3. Add oil to pan on medium heat
  4. coat the two whole mushroom caps with flour and place in hot pan.  I cooked them for 3-4 minutes on each side and removed from pan
  5. add chopped mushrooms, garlic and green onions and cook until soft, just a few minutes
  6. I added the wine and broth with a couple of tbsp of flour and thickened up the sauce putting the temperature on simmer
  7. I added a little salt and pepper
  8. place both mushroom caps in sauce and allow to absorb the flavor…
  9. serve over your rice/pasta/seed/grain

Once again, the technique may not be the best but as I’ve said before, I’m not the best cook.  With that said, I need to eat with my eyes and then my mouth and I like tasty food that leans on the healthier side.  I wish that I had learned of this earlier because I think I would have enjoyed this back when I was eating meat, in case you have any omnivore friends or family 😉  Try it Vegan!

 

Having your Kids Eat More Fruit 101: Have fun and PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

30 Dec

Apple Slices

We WILL get to vegetables next but in the meantime, this is definitely one solution to the question, “How do I get my children to eat more fruit?”

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

It goes against every principle that we were taught as little ones but the truth is, we eat with our eyes first.  This is a very simple and incredibly easy snack but one that is incredibly popular in our house.  Sometimes it’s how it’s sliced and the convenience.  Other times it is the sound a food makes when you bite into it that grabs the kids attention.

What you need:

mandolines-slicers

A mandoline slicer (Since purchasing one, I literally use it every day throughout the entire day. I bought this particular one online here)

Apple (Treat yourself to an organic apple reducing the pesticides and free radical damage in your body but also, TASTE!  TASTE!  TASTE!  Go crazy… eat the skin too which is LOADED with nutrients!)

beesknees

Peanut Butter is optional (We love Bee’s Knees by Peanut Butter & Co.)

There are different attachments but what we enjoy most is slicing up the apple and then putting it back together like a puzzle, wrap it and slip in in a lunch box.  When it comes time to eat, you just slide a slice off and the browning due to the oxidizing is at a bare minimum!  Enjoy!!

****BONUS****  This particular mandoline has an attachment where we also make apple “match sticks” that are tiny and fun enough for everyone to snack on and a huge hit when we are serving lunch at home (they brown too quickly to send to school for lunch)

WARNING:  If away at, let’s say, a soccer game or school, pack more than one because there WILL be others asking you for a piece!  It’s a fun way to eat an apple, convenient and as some kids tell me, “tastes better this way.”  (wink!)

Serious WARNING:  A mandoline slicer is NOT a toy and is incredibly sharp!!  To keep all of your digits, I highly recommend investing in a cut resistant kitchen glove.  This little glove has saved me a few times.

So go on out there, Try it!

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