Tag Archives: dairy free

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

What to do with all that summer zucchini…

If you are anything like me, you find yourself with an over abundance of zucchini somewhere in the middle of summer.  It’s high in fiber and low in calories.  It’s mild taste lends itself well to almost anything from stirfrys to sweets.  Along with zucchini’s antioxidant properties, you will find folate, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C among the health benefits.

Here are a few ways we enjoyed our zucchini last week:

Deli Macaroni Salad

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By far our favorite pasta salad for picnics or potlucks.  Read my original post about this delicious vegan macaroni salad here.   I change it up a little every time I make it to incorporate the veggies I already have on hand.  This time I omitted the peas and added shredded zucchini instead.  And I always double the amount of veggies.  Yum!

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Summer Veggie Tart

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I admit I melted a tiny bit of mozzarella on one half for the hubby and kids.  My half was cheese free.  This was great.  I served it with a big salad made of green leaf lettuce, spinach, red pepper strips, fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Zucchini Bread

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Who doesn’t love zucchini bread?  This one did not disappoint.  Sweetened only with dates, it’s super healthy.  I love the addition of the nutmeg.

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Roasted Zucchini with Thyme

We also enjoyed zucchini simply roasted with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. I didn’t take a photo of this, but you know what roasted veggies look like, right?  Hubby and I probably enjoy them best this way. Easy and flavorful.

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together and place on baking sheet in one even layer.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is just tender.  We like it best with a little bit of bite left.  Enjoy!

Kids LOVE Red Bell Peppers!

This week was all about red bell peppers. To be honest, every week is all about red bell peppers. The kids just love them. M’s lunchbox last year had raw red bell pepper strips on average 4 out of 5 days. We eat them raw, sauteed in a stir fry, grilled in fajitas, wrapped up in a tortilla, roasted in dips and spreads and the list goes on and on.

Bell peppers just happen to be one of hubby’s favorite foods as well. His favorite recipe growing up (and still to this day) is pepper steak. His mom makes an awesome recipe using red bell peppers instead of green.It’s a nice change and works so well. That recipe contains beef steak, but you can try it using tempeh or seitan instead…or just lots of meaty mushrooms.

Red Bell Peppers are incredibly high in Vitamin C. Just one cup has over 150% of your daily needs. Vitamin A and a few of the B’s are also found in decent amounts in these red beauties. Red Bells also have plenty of antioxidants and anti-cancer benefits.

Peppers of all kinds are super easy to grow at home. My green bells, jalapeno and banana peppers are all doing so great this year. I kept waiting and waiting for my red bells to appear. Upon closer inspection….I forgot to buy a red bell plant. UGH! No wonder they weren’t growing.  🙂

Here is how we enjoyed our red bell peppers this week:

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

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The girls and I really liked this.  Hubby and son thought it was just ok.   The sauce is creamier than a tomato based sauce.  You could always add a little veggie stock to thin it out if you like…or maybe just leave out the cornstarch.  And, if you are in a time crunch, feel free to cheat and use roasted red peppers from a jar instead of charring your own.

 

 

Veggie Tortilla Rollups

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I have made these several times, usually for an appetizer for a party.  They are always a hit!  They also make a great lunch for the littles.  Easy for little hands to pick up and a nice change from the everyday PB&J.

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It also makes a great lunch for a grown up…just cut in half as a wrap instead of slicing into bite size pieces.

 

 

Stuffed Peppers

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I replaced the hummus in this recipe with the leftover bean spread from the Veggie Tortilla Rollups (see recipe link above) and it was delicious. I’m sure the hummus would be great too, I just wanted to use up what we had. Little did I know I would be making hummus the next day anyway.  🙂

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I served it up with a side of fresh sweet corn bought at the famers market that morning. Can’t go wrong there!  Kids and hubby all loved this as well!

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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This is so easy.  I just use my favorite hummus recipe and add a roasted red bell pepper (again, you can cheat and use jarred…I won’t tell!)

  • 1-2  garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp  sea salt
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Hummus will thicken when refrigerated.  Enjoy with raw veggies, pretzels, crackers, pita chips or a spoon!

 

Is anyone growing red bell peppers in their garden?  How do you use them?  Share with me in the comments section!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lentils!

This week’s ingredient was lentils because I use them ALL THE TIME.  I love them and they are so versatile.  Lentils are part of the legume family and are high in B vitamins (especially folate), fiber, iron and protein (18g in 1 cup). Lentils can help to stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy and keep you feeling full.

I often use lentils in place of ground meat when “veganizing” a recipe.  They are great in sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, bolognese, burgers, salads, soups, etc.

Here are a few ways we ate our lentils this week:

Red Lentil Cauliflower Burgers

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These held together really well!  I did end up having to add a bit more chickpea flour, but ultimately, it worked out great.

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Delicious and the kids ate them up too!

Lentil Grape Salad

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I have been making this salad since long before I decided to eat plant based.  It is one of my favorites for potlucks, BBQs or just a big crowd.  The original recipe calls for honey and feta cheese.  You can sub agave or raw sugar for the honey and just leave out the feta.  If you are a salt person (I am not), you may want to add some extra salt to make up for the lack of feta.  Maybe use salted roasted walnuts instead of raw…or maybe add some olives (no idea if that would work,  I despise olives, but they would definitely add that salty flavor).

Massor Dal Tadka (Pink Lentil Stew)

Masoor Dal Tadka

I love lentil soups and stews of all kinds.  I actually wasn’t sure about this one going in.  I usually would chop my garlic very fine…not generally a big fan of bigger garlic slices.  And I was worried about the spice level.  I did use a jalapeno instead of  a Serrano because I have an abundance of them in my garden.  I LOVED this!  I wish I would have doubled the recipe because I ate the whole thing (myself) in one day.  The garlic melts right into the soup and you can’t taste any bits of it or the cumin seeds (another worry I had).  It all just blended so nicely and the seasoning was perfect, not spicy.

Cheeze Lentil Rice Bake

Sadly, I did not photograph this one.  I’ve made it at least 5 times now over the past year and I have not one picture.  Wha?  But, just trust me, you will love this.  My kids all love it too!  In fact, recently, I’ve been doubling the recipe cause we end up eating all the whole thing in one sitting.

In other news:  I am super excited that I have been accepted as a recipe tester for Vegan Richa.  She is a vegan food blogger and working on a new Indian cookbook.  Obviously, I can’t share any recipes with you, but I may post up some pics every now and then about what I’ve been testing.  I’ve already made a few very tasty dishes!!  FYI:  two of the recipes I made this week with lentils were from her blog and I didn’t do that on purpose; I had them on the menu before I even knew of the recipe testing opportunity.  I just really like her food!

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets and Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

I’m so impressed with my kids this week. The girls (2.5 years old) have been eating the Roasted Beet and Walnut Spread like it’s candy. They’ve been dipping crackers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and spoons into this stuff all week. I have a feeling this is going to go in the rotation quite often. They were asking for more today, but they already ate it all! And my son (6 years old) is asking when we are going to make the Strawberry Beet Smoothie again. FYI: Trader Joe’s sells packaged roasted peeled beets. Obviously, they are more expensive than buying loose beets, but if you don’t have the time to roast them yourself, they are a great alternative. Beets are so nutritious that I say go for it!

I’m wrapping up “Beet Week” with 2 outstanding recipes! The first is a light summer salad and the second a fudgy decadent dessert.

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large golden beets, scrubbed and trimmed
  • Beet greens, chopped
  • 1 cup orange slices
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked farro

 

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut beets in half or quarters and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with another piece of foil and roast until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool.IMG_1073 IMG_1074
  3. Peel off the skins, then cut the beets into bite-size chunks
  4. In large bowl, combine cooked farro, beets, beet greens, celery, and oranges. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the farro mixture and toss well to combine.

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Vegan Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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I mean, who doesn’t love a good cupcake, right?  And if it’s packed with nutrition, even better.  These do have more sugar than I would normally use, but they sounded so intriguing, I just had to try them.

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Mmmm, fresh out of the oven.  I could ever so slightly taste the beet flavor, but I can pretty much guarantee if you didn’t know it was in there, you wouldn’t taste it.  So, feel free to serve them up to your healthfood adverse friends.

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I have just recently discovered the blog where this recipe came from, The Minimalist Baker. I’m already a fan.  Lots of good looking recipes there, so take a look around after you download the recipe for these cupcakes!

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Are you a beet lover?  How do you like to eat your beets?

Next up will be all about Cantaloupes!  It’s M’s favorite food.  I can’t wait to experiment with all the yummy ways to use it.

 

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!!

 

 

Broccoli Grape Salad

Picnic and BBQ season is finally among us!!  Here in the midwest, I was beginning to think it was never going to happen. (What was with that snow last Friday?!?!). Now that it IS here, you are going to need some delish dishes to take to all those parties you plan on attending, right?  I have the perfect potluck salad for you!  Just swap the mayonaisse for Veganaisse and you’ve got yourself the most amazing vegan side dish.  I have made this three times in the last two weeks. And I haven’t gone to any BBQs, parties or picnics…it’s just for us. I’ve been eating it for lunch most days or a little afternoon snack.  Its THAT good!

Broccoli Grape Salad

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The Broccoli Grape salad is on the right (don’t forget to use Veganaisse instead of mayo).  On the left is a Three Bean Kale salad, which was also terrific.  I actually mixed the two together one day and it worked out great…so yummy!