Category Archives: Beverages

Coconut Berry Smoothie

We love smoothies in this house. I especially love them because they are quick and easy.  On school days when we are running tight on time, it’s easy to throw a bunch of healthy ingredients into the blender.  It’s also quick and easy to slurp down.  It’s a great way to get a lot of nutrition and still get out the door on time.

Today we made a Coconut Berry Smoothie. The kids downed these in mere minutes and, of course, I thought it was pretty tasty too!

Coconut water is very hydrating and has an amazing amount of potassium.  It also boasts plenty of electrolytes and minerals, making it a better choice than store bought sports drinks.  Just be sure to buy coconut water with no added sugars or juices.

And I don’t think I have to tell you how nutritious berries are, right?

 Coconut Berry Smoothie 1

Coconut Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries (I used Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Mixed Berry Blend)
  • 1 cup Coconut Water (I used Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Coconut Water)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • a few ice cubes if using fresh fruit

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
  2. Blend about 30 seconds until smooth

Kale: Versatile and Nutritious

This week is all about Kale in our house.  We grow it in our garden and we are never lacking.  It’s super easy to grow.  It does well in high and low temps, humid or not, lots of rain or draught…this veggie is hard to mess up.

Kale was quite the “trendy” veggie among the health conscious for several years and now “they” seem to be trending away from it. However, you can’t deny the health benefits of this green goddess.  Kale is considered a superfood for many reasons.  It is incredibly high in Vitamin K, A and C.  It also boasts lots fiber, iron, calcium, folate and magnesium.  In fact, per calorie, kale is higher in iron than beef and higher in calcium than dairy milk.  Kale is high in antioxidants and can reduce your risk for many different cancers, including breast and prostate.

Kale is very versatile.  You can add it to just about anything from smoothies and dips to casseroles, soups and pastas.  I often use it interchangeably with cabbage…it is part of the cabbage family after all.

Here are a few of the kale recipes we enjoyed this week:

Kale Grapefruit Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 extra ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 1/4 – cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or more depending on desired consistency)
  • 1/2  cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 red grapefruit, peeled and seeded
  • 2-3 cups kale, ribs and stems removed

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend for a couple minutes until smooth.  Add more almond milk if your smoothie is too thick.

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Cilantro Lime Rice w/ Kale

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I added mushrooms to the kale mixture.  It would have been great just like this before even adding the rice!  The original recipe served it alongside a filet of salmon, which obviously I did not do.  So, just make sure to leave out the directions for that if you check out the recipe.

 

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Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

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This was probably my favorite kale recipe this week.  At first we just enjoyed this with whole wheat crackers.  Yum!

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Then, I whipped up a grilled cheeze on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread.  I spread a little Earth Balance on the outside of the bread, slathered on a good amount of this kale hummus on the inside and topped it with a Daiya cheddar slice and the other slice of bread and seared until golden brown.  No, not the healthiest thing around, but it was yummy!

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Since the grilled cheeze was such a hit, I decided to try a vegan version of a BLT.  I toasted up two slices of Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, slathered on the kale hummus (instead of lettuce), topped with 4 slices of Tofurkey Tempeh Bacon (seared for a few minutes in a pan) and tomatoes.  This was super yummy as well!

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I also think this kale hummus would be great thinned out just a bit and mixed with pasta or rice.  How else would you use it?

 

Kale Chips

Last, but not least, what kale story would be complete without kale chips?  This is by far the easiest recipe I have come across.  I have tried “cheezy” kale chips too and they are great, but I thought I would keep it simple here.  These only take 15 minutes in the oven and a couple minutes of prep before that.  Super easy, super crunchy.

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There are so many more yummy ways to use kale.  I LOVE to throw a few handfuls into soups in the fall/winter.  And a cupful in almost any smoothie won’t be tasted but will up the nutritional benefit.

How do you like to eat your kale?

 

 

All About Cantaloupe!

This week’s plant based ingredient is: Cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe is really nutritious, high in Vitamins C, A, several of the Bs and K.  It is also high in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

We eat a lot of cantaloupe in this house.  It’s a favorite of the kids and they like to eat it in bite-size cubes.  The beginning of the week almost always finds a container of cantaloupe cubes in the fridge.  A mere 2-3 days later and the kids have licked it clean.  While we did enjoy a good amount of plain cantaloupe cubes this week, I decided to see just what else this juicy orange fruit might be good for.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good in pasta, smoothies, salsa and even bread!

 

Orechiette w/ Cantaloupe and Avocado

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I left out the mozzerella and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  I loved it.  A perfect light summer meal.

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

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  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 frozen bananas

Blend.  Enjoy.

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Cantaloupe Quick Bread

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I was intrigued by a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it contained eggs, oil, white flour and 2 full cups of white sugar.  Yikes!  I didn’t think it would be too hard to veganize and I was right.  I replaced the oil with smashed banana and because of the sweetness of the banana, I was able to cut down the added sugar to only 1/2 cup of maple syrup.  I replaced the eggs with “flax eggs” and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  Here is the new, healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pureed cantaloupe
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the flaxmeal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease 2 9×5 loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flax eggs, smashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and cantaloupe puree.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture and combine, but do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from loaf pans and enjoy.

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This bread is delicious and just sweet enough.  It has gone great with my morning coffee as well as acting as dessert.  The kids all love it too!  You can’t really taste any cantaloupe flavor, however.  This quick bread would be a great use for that overripe cantaloupe you let sit on your counter for one too many days.

 

 

Cantaloupe Salsa

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I’m a huge fan of peach salsa, so when I came across this recipe for cantaloupe salsa, I knew I just had to try it.  It’s light and refreshing…perfect for a summer appetizer.  We ate it with tortilla chips, but if you are an omnivore, check out the link to see how the original recipe was paired.

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And now for an exceprt from my girls’ favorite book (for the moment anyway), What Color Is Your Apple?:

“Fruits and vegetables come in many colors.

Each one a yummy treat!

Red, orange, yellow, purple, green.

Crispy, crunchy, sweet!

What is your favorite color food to eat?”

All about Beets!

Happy Blogiversary to ME!!!  I can’t believe this little blog is a year old today.  Seems like just yesterday it was a fleeting thought in my head.  Thanks again to all of my readers.  If you know of anyone else who is interested in plant based healthy eating, I would love it if you would share my site with them.  And I always love hear from you guys…what foods or cuisines you would like featured…what you tried from this site and what you thought about it, or any questions you might have.

I asked last week for recommdations on which ingredients you would like featured and the winner this week is BEETS!!  I think its pretty common to be intimidated by beets.  Let’s face it, they can be messy with all their beautiful redness.  They may stain your clothes, so you do have to be careful, but they wash right off of your hands and dishes quite easily.  I even stored some roasted marinated beets in a plastic container in the fridge and it didn’t stain at all.

Beets are super healthy!  They belong to the same family as spinach, chard and quinoa.  They are high in folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6.  Beet greens are really high in lutein, very important in eye health.  Beets also have antioxident and anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial in preventing and reversing disease.  With only about 59 calories per cup, you will want to eat up!!

I’ll admit, I don’t use beets very often.  If they are on my plate, you will most likely find them atop a salad.  And I grew up in a family of borscht lovers (that’s beet soup in case you didn’t know).  While those are both good choices for using beets, I wanted to get a little more creative.  Drawing inspiration from Pinterest, I came up with two quick and easy recipes to use the beautiful red beets I found while shopping with a friend at a local co-op in Madison, WI.  Save those beet greens my friends….while I don’t use them here, there are plenty of ways to get those in your diet as well.

First, let’s roast some beets.  (I used 6 small beets for these two recipes).

Roasted Beets 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Cut the greens off, trim the tails and cut each beet in half
  • Place beets on a foil lined baking sheet and cover with an additional sheet of foil
  • Bake for about 50 minutes or until the beets are fork tender
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool
  • Once cool, peel the skins off the beets

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Marinated Beets

  • Place roasted beets in a container or plastic bag with 1/2 cup orange juice and stick in fridge until you plan to use them.  They should keep for several days.

 

Strawberry Beet Smoothie

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  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (WestSoy is my fave…just organic soybeans and filterd water. Almond milk would work too)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2-3 small roasted marinated beets

Place all ingredients in a blender and watch the magic happen.

This turns out the most beautiful pink color.  My girls were in heaven!  My son loved this too!  It’s sweet from the banana and strawberries and has just a hint of the earthiness of the beets.  Will definitely be making this again!

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Roasted Beet and Walnut Spread

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  • 4 small roasted marinated beets (these don’t need to be marinated…it’s just what I had)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted if you prefer)
  • heaping 1/2 cup of cooked white beans (chickpeas would work here too)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy.  You may add a little water or more EVOO if you need for consistency.  Or on the flip side, if yours is too runny, add more beans or walnuts.

This was SO good!  It has a wonderful sweetness to it while still be savory.  Again, the kids ate this up.  The girls were BEGGING for more!  Wow!  We snacked on it with whole wheat crackers and cucumbers.  This spread would be an excellent addition to any veggie tray…especially for Valentine’s Day or Christmas.  I think it would be amazing as a spread on a veggie sandwich too.  How else would you use it?

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I’ve got more beets to use up and I am so excited to try a burger recipe later this week.  Stay tuned!!

 

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

This smoothie tastes more like a decadent dessert than breakfast and that’s why I love it so much.  Of course, my kids love it too and since there is NO sugar or sweeteners, I feel good about serving it to them.

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Cherries are high in potassium, Vitamin C and beta carotene and are loaded with antioxidents.  They taste pretty darn good as well!  Fresh cherries are so good in the summer, but I keep frozen cherries in my freezer most of the time to make smoothies such as this one.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 heaping tbsp natural peanut butter (or 2 tbsp if you really love PB like I do!)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well in a high speed blender and enjoy!!

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This smoothie makes the perfect breakfast, snack or dessert!  And I bet it would make awesome frozen pops, but I haven’t tried that….yet.

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Taquitos, Soup, Pumpkin Chili, Sweet Maple Cornbread, Pancakes and Hot Pumpkin Mug! I love Fall!

So many good recipes to share!  Hopefully, this recipe roundup will inspire you to try some yummy fall favorites too.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Taquitos

The recipe is not vegan, but easily adapted to be.  Just use vegan butter, vegan sour cream and vegan cheddar…or just leave it out…it won’t be as creamy, but would still be great.  These were really yummy and super easy.  Easy for my toddlers to pick up and eat by themselves too!

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Cannellini Bean Soup

I’ve had better white bean soups than this, but it was quick and easy and good.  My 5 year old  really liked this and requested it several times last week.  Winner!

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Crock Pot Vegan Pumpkin Chili

I love anything that can be done in the crock pot!  This was really good, except next time I think I will leave out the cloves.  I usually like cloves in all things pumpkin, but for some reason, I thought it was a bit overpowering in this.  I even added extra tomato paste and chili powder to try to cover up some of the clove flavor, but it didn’t really work.  Like I said, it WAS good, but would be even better without the clove in my opinion.  If you love cloves, go for it!

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I served the chili up with this awesome Sweet Maple Cornbread by Alicia Silverstone of The Kind Life.  I have made this cornbread too many times to count.  It is SO good!  If you like your cornbread on the sweet side, this recipe is definitely for you!  It comes out of the oven with a crunchy almost caramelized crust….so yum!

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups soy milk
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 9×9 or similar size baking dish.  Combine maple syrup, soy milk, and oil in a medium bowl and mix well.  In another bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and mix just until well combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  They will be golden and crazy delicious!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

We made these pancakes this morning.  They come together in a snap and with no added sugar you can feel good about serving these up to the whole family all week long…so make a big batch!  FYI:  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the blog where I got the recipe, My Whole Food Life, is AWESOME.  So many great recipes using only whole food plant based ingredients with little to no sweeteners.  Love it!  Check it out!

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Hot Pumpkin Mug

If you like to cozy up with a warm mug of hot cocoa this time of year, try this next time!  I would add more pumpkin when I make this again, but other than that, yum!  If this doesn’t make you want to snuggle up with your significant other while watching your favorite tv show or movie, I don’t know what will!  🙂  (She has a much more inviting picture on her blog, so go check it out!)

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So many great recipes!

Well, I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.  It’s been a very busy few weeks, but I haven’t been neglecting my scrumptious meals. So, here are several to get your mouth watering.

SAVORY

Curried Quinoa and Wild Rice Savory Cakes

These little cakes were pretty good.  I served them with a non-dairy yogurt sauce alongside green peas and roasted carrots.  Easy peasy.

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Southwestern Black Bean Salad and Creamy Coleslaw

I made the Black Bean Salad and used it as a taco filling.  I topped the tacos with a little vegan sour cream and served them in tortillas.  Alongside, I made the coleslaw, which could not have been easier.  Really yummy!!

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Stuffed Pepper Enchiladas

These were great!  And what a great idea to stuff peppers with enchilada filling for a hearty low carb dinner.  I swapped out the zucchini for corn and I used actual dairy cheese….gasp!  I had some in the deli drawer because….well, there is no good excuse really….but since you know better, you will use Daiya shreds or better yet, just top it with some creamy avocado slices and you likely won’t miss the cheese anyway!

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Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

I made this sandwich for lunch today after reading EVERY SINGLE blog post from Thug Kitchen.  He put his sandwich filling between two slices of bread, but I chose to wrap it up in a spinach tortilla with tomato slices fresh from the garden.  I have recently discovered Thug Kitchen and am in love with this blog.  Not only does he post wonderful whole food plant based vegan recipes, but he is HILARIOUS as well.  He uses some choice language, but it’s all in good fun….and in good health!  Check it out and once you stop laughing, go make some of his delicious recipes.

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SWEET

Maple Banana Bread Muffins

Delicious!  These were a huge hit with the kids too!

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Peach Almond Smoothie

I have been drinking this as I write this post.  I don’t have a pic because I was too busy slurping it down, but trust me, it’s great!

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well and enjoy!

More Lunchbox Inspiration (*Disclaimer, I don’t guarantee that lunches are 100% vegan)

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Whole wheat bagel w/ peanut butter and fig jelly on one…peanut butter and strawberry jelly on the other, string cheese, orange and red bell pepper slices, cubed cantaloupe and 3 small cinnamon shortbread cookies.

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A2Z muffin (from My Beef With Meat), orange slices, green peas and cubed cantaloupe.  I think I served this alongside a small thermos of leftover pasta marinara.

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Spinach tortilla rollups with turkey slices, cheese and bell peppers, raspberries and blueberries, wheat thins, pickle spear (in parchment paper) and cinnamon shortbread cookies.

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Almond butter and banana sandwich on sprouted rye bread, sugar snap peas, red and yellow bell pepper slices, raspberries and blueberries.

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Cinnamon raisin bagel, string cheese, leftover Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad (see above post), nectarine slices and a few chocolate chips.

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Almond butter on a cinnamon raisin english muffin, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber slices and a small piece of dark chocolate.

Workout

So, I have a confession to make….I haven’t been keeping up very well with my 30 Day Plank Challenge.  I think I got to day 20 and then missed a few days.  I have been running about 2-4 miles 3 days a week, walking 3-4 miles about twice a week and usually once a week I do a TaeBo DVD and full body circuit or tabata workout that I find on Pinterest.  Sometimes, I do those workouts on the days that I walk, so I still generally have 1-2 rest days as well.  But, I would still like to get back to my plank challenge.  So, I think I will just pick up with day 20 today and finish it out from here.  3 minutes is a LONG time to hold a plank and I found I just couldn’t do it the whole time. So, when I felt like I couldn’t hold it for a second longer, I would push up into downward dog for about 5 seconds and then drop back to plank and continue.  That worked out to about 2-3 downward dogs in a 3 minute span.

Happy Monday!