Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Health and Weight Control Tips

As a dietitian, this is the one time of year where I feel like the "tips and tricks" could just keep coming out of the bag. The amount of dieting around (and right after) the holidays annoys me. Mindful eating people. Mindful eating. I'm not going to tell you skip the gravy and avoid the mashed potatoes. Because, let's get real...even in my book, it's all about the gravy, baby. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loaded Sweet Potato Slices

I've been wanting to make my version of sweet potato skins all college football season long. Yet, for some reason or another, something got in the way...maybe it's because we could only watch a fraction of the games at my place (no cable in this chica's crib). College football season is wrapping up, so I figured I better make a move before bowl games are here again. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pumpkin Chili

Hey pumpkin....I think we should start seeing other foods....

Or maybe not. 

My pumpkin love affair is still going strong. Pancakes. Pie. Oatmeal. Soup. Chili. There are officially no signs of slowing down... savory or sweet. Super healthy or a bit of an indulgence. There is always something pumpkin can meld itself into. This time around, it's chili.
About to enjoy some rustic chili...while it's still 80+ degrees outside...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

80/20 Approach

“I just ate a cookie, I’ve TOTALLY blown it!”

“Either I’m completely on my diet or I’m completely off my diet.”

"I can't eat that. It's not on my diet."

The holidays are here and I have officially heard all of the above statements more than once. These statements are examples of All-or-Nothing Thinking. In All-or-Nothing Thinking everything is considered good or bad, black or white. There are no shades of grey or middle ground. This type of thinking will undermine your health and weight loss efforts by leading you to give up when you stray from your plan.

So what’s the alternative? Ease your mind and try the 80/20 approach.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy Single Serving Pumpkin Pie (Vegan!)

Thanksgiving is about a week away but I've been trying to master pumpkin pie for the last couple of weeks. My excuse was that traditionally, vegan pumpkin pie can be tricky (to get it to set) and I needed some practice. Totally lame excuse. Truly, this recipe was so incredibly easy to put together and I can't quite get enough pumpkin...ever.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life is about the simple things...

Well, one best friend is officially married. She looked divine, in the perfect combination of sparkle and lace. It was chilly outside (Minnesota in November, enough said for Ms. Florida), but rosy pink covered everyone's faces as we celebrated remarkable love shared by two people.

It got me thinking...life really is about simple pleasures. Just like the beautiful wedding day, not showy or snobby, but genuine smiles. It seems like as we get older, life gets more  complicated. We forget about the simple pleasures or all of a sudden, it's not enough. Watching the sunset all of a sudden seems overrated when we're so focused on tasks at work to land a promotion. Or, savoring a home cooked dinner may seem inconvenient when we're hustling from one thing to the next.

The simple things should bring us joy, everyday. However, the more stressed out we get, the less time we spend on these moments. What IS making you happy these days?? Cuddles and kisses or expensive cars and clothes? Instead of trying to 'have it all' or 'do it all,' relish and feel content with the present moments. Appreciate your life for what it is and where you are.

This next week, focus on the simple things and notice any differences in your attitude and happiness. It could be anything from slowly sipping your coffee in peace and quiet, even if you have to get up before the kids to talking a lunch break walk to notice the change in leaves.

On a final note, in light of love in the air this past weekend...

"Love doesn't make the world go round, but it makes the ride worthwhile."

What are your simple pleasures??

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal

I'm often asked what I eat for breakfast. Breakfast seems to be a meal that people love or hate. I love it; easily my favorite meal. I understand not everyone relates to my breakfast sentiments. Part of the reason we have so many non-breakfast believers is partially related to eating dinner too late. A large dinner at that. If this is you, I could blanket you with suggestions. Most obviously, the portions and time of your meal need to be scaled back. That way you can make room for a delicious breakfast, like spiced pumpkin oatmeal.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Poor beans. The unsung super food. I encourage my patients to eat 1 cup of beans per day. Some accept the challenge. Others look at me befuddled, "Did she really say 1 cup of beans?!" Yes, I did. Not sure how you're going to get there? Everyday? Make this split pea soup. Its' simple, hearty, and the mild flavor will please the not-sure-I-like-beans bunch. Now I'm looking at you befuddled, "How can you not like beans?!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Roasted Kale and Apple Flatbread Pizza

I'm a sucker for new (healthy) products, so when I saw the new Flatout Thin Crust Flatbreads, I decided to give them a whirl. They were on sale after all. Oh, and I should preface this post by saying I'm not the biggest fan of Flatout breads in general, but this one, and this combination totally sold me. If you don't want to try the flatbread, the combination would work just as well on a large homemade pizza, or my favorite, Pita Pizza.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Tips: All Treats, No Tricks

Halloween is a fun day for children. Annnnd adults. We get to wear costumes, go through haunted houses, gather at Halloween themed parties, and for the little ones, trick-or-treat for candy.

Most people realize that overloading on candy is not the best option, but often feel trapped by the notion that Halloween revolves around delicious, sweet confections. We usually think of Halloween as trick-or-treating for kids, but adults are not immune to Halloween snacking either. These tips will help you prepare you and your child for a ghoulishly fun Halloween evening/week/weekend without the ghastly sugar highs and upset stomachs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Corn

I'm currently writing to you from the mountains of Colorado, staring out the window at a picturesque fall scene...colored leaves. Crisp cool air. Mountain backdrop with snow capped peaks. Divine fall beauty. 


 
Inspired by my surroundings, and my fabulous sister's request for pumpkin soup during my visit, this chipotle pumpkin soup with roasted corn simply feels like fall. Thankfully. To say I was nervous making this soup is an understatement. The results of my last attempt while visiting turned out less than optimally. This time I came armed with a mission: create a great tasting soup (and lots of other vegan goodies for her!) using the few, very few, spices she has. This way, she can re-create the goodness and I won't have to hear about how I stocked her place with foods and ingredients she can hardly pronounce, let alone use.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ginger Tofu and Glazed Eggplant

Lately, if I'm not eating something fall infused (pumpkin, apple, squash, warm cinnamon), I'm eating an Asian dish. Call me crazy (or maybe), but Asian inspired dishes calm me heart, soul, and center. And with the last few busy weeks between Veg Fest festivities and getting pumped to see my sister in Colorado this week, I've been needing a little centering.

That and they can be really freaking fast. Like this complete meal with scrambled ginger tofu, glazed eggplant, and brown rice.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What's the deal with 'natural' flavorings?

If I asked you to choose between a product that has 'natural' flavorings and one that has 'artificial' flavorings, most of us would choose the 'natural' flavoring option. Rightfully so, it does sound healthier. But is it??

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Save the Ta-tas. Chocolate Cherry Smoothie.

This October in light of all the breast cancer awareness merchandise and save the lid campaigns, I decided it was time to encourage real breast cancer prevention...with good, wholesome nutrition. 

See, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 50-75% of all cancers are lifestyle driven, meaning that what you eat, how often you exercise, and whether or not you smoke eventually takes it's toll. Or doesn't take it's toll.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Give yourself a break!

We're constantly pushing to lose 5 pounds, get stronger, stay lean...do this, do that. Stop it! Give yourself a break, even if just for a day and I'll tell you why...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Whole Grain Pumpkin Apple Pancakes

Changing color of the leaves. Dropping temps. Crisp breeze. Oh wait, that happens in the fall?? If I hadn't lived here for a few years already, I'd think it was still August. But by golly, it's practically October. How did that happen??

I recently learned that October is apple month. Check out my ode to apples here. And if it's not official, October should be pumpkin month too. So, why not combine the best of two worlds into cozy breakfast that will warm your soul and slow your morning?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple Season! How to Cook, Eat, Buy, and Store Apples

Anyone who has experienced a winter up north is well aware that between November and March the fruit looks dead. Wilty. Wrinkly. Pale. And dead. Only a few bright and shiny pieces of fruit gleam in the drone of listlessness. One of those are the apples. Thank goodness Johnny Appleseed was around in the 1700s to spread apple seeds across numerous states because now we can enjoy these beauties year round.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Miso Buckwheat Noodles and Greens

One bowl wonder. That's what you can call dinner. Rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, the buckwheat noodles pair nicely with beans, greens, and a calm miso coating.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fig and Blackberry Smoothie

I LOVE figs. They weren't something I ate until I moved to Florida and quite frankly I always thought figs tasted like the sticky mess inside fig newtons. Nope! They taste a million times over the moon better. I dare say figs are becoming one of my favorite fruits, but maybe that's because they are around for such a short time. The lovely Publix grocery stores had them buy 1 get 1 free during peak season. I stocked up. There's still at least 2 containers (1 pound a piece) in my fridge. All is well in fig overload world until their delicate skins and fleshy insides start to go bad...all containers...all at the same time. ...make fig preserves. Check. Now what? ...if you google 'fig recipes,' virtually all of them contain cheese. So, I resorted to what I do best with ripe fruit, make smoothies.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Easy (Easiest) Fig Preserves

Jam is an ideal way to use up fruit that is too ripe or not ripe enough. In this case, over ripe times 10. As I was washing and cutting the delicate figs, some had to be tossed. Cringe. 

If you're new to making jams and jellies, hop on the figs preserve train. You only need 1 pound, or 1 package, some sugar, and some lemon juice. Fruit has pectin (the binding goop) and figs have a little more than normal to hold it all together. Bonus: compared to hours for canning jam, fig preserves only take about a half hour. It's far easier than more traditional preserve processes. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Simple summer vegetables. Roasted. Flavors enhanced. Instant Yumminess.
Still have some summer vegetables piling up from your garden, farmer's market, or grocery store? Roast or grill them and add into your favorite pasta for a deliciously quick and satisfying light meal.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School Nutrition Tips - Packing a Healthy Lunch!

We know the best way to positively impact food decisions is to make sure that you provide a nutritious lunch and snacks for your children each day, foods that you know your child will want to eat. Too many times, lunch is packed without the child’s input. While the intentions of packing a healthful lunch are there, your child may get to school, trades your banana for a mini candy bar, eats some of a friend’s chips, and then throws the rest of your lunch away. If you want to help assure that your child will eat what is packed, involve your child in making the lunch.
 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

15 Minute Tofu and Pineapple Fried Rice

Well, school traffic has officially returned. The renewed sense of energy kids have running too and from the school bus is just adorable. They climb aboard, jumping and frocklicking. But then it hits me...I've got to follow this darn bus for another 15 miles. Blah. I would rather be blissfully dancing through a school bus aisle, but instead I sit on my worn driver's seat dreaming about passing the bus and gobbling the pineapple fried rice waiting for me at home.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Single Serving Double Chocolate Cupcakes {Vegan!}

There are those days that all I can manage to think is, "I need chocolate. I need chocolate. I need chocolate. Chocolate!" I've had enough of the constant chocolate button on repeat, and know the only way to hush it is to eat some freaking chocolate. The rich, velvety goodness.  
Turns out I'm not alone. Even in ancient times, people thought chocolate, or the cocoa bean was a food gift from the gods. Got that right. The sweet stuff contains micro amounts of cannabinoids, the stuff that gives you a 'high' with marijuana. Chocolate also has tyramine and tryptophan. Put the 3 compounds together and the brain converts them into the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Simply put, chocolate stimulates the brain pleasure centers. 

Yet, we all know it can be calorically dense and can do damage to our waist lines. But avoidance is just absurd, it's science people...chocolate makes us happy. I have the perfect solution...cupcake recipe that takes 5 minutes to stir together and makes 2 rich chocolate cupcakes. I wanted to make just one, but it's tricky!

If you don't want chocolate, you can substitute the cocoa powder for another tablespoon of flour and omit the chocolate chips.

Single Serving Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves 2

1 tablespoon earth balance margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons almond milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons (heaping) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
2-3 tablespoons chocolate chips, as desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
2. Stir dry ingredients together. Add in wet. Fold in chocolate chips. 
3. Bake in oven ~15 minutes until baked throughout. 
4. Yes, it really is that easy...now savor the cupcake and be happy! :)





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sloppy Lentil Joes

One of the things I love most about plant based eating: I get excited over every meal.

Even the kid-friendly favorite sloppy joe gets me wiggling my behind as I stare at my big fat plate of goodness. These are not common sloppy joes, darling. These are bangin' lentil sloppy joes that forgo the junk in processed meat analogs. Wholesome plant foods with familiar flavors. Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chia Seeded Asian Dipping Sauce

I've been adding chia seeds to anything I possibly can. With their slightly nutty texture and blissful nutritional value (about 3 times the omega-3 fatty acids as ground flax seeds), they are a dietitian's dream come true.  Except... it can be tricky finding recipes they work well in...other than on top of oatmeal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vegan BLT with Avocado and Lemon Basil Mayo

Is it just me or is summer the most manic season of them all? What happened to soaking up summer days by the pool?? Last week on my fabulous day off, I ran 4 miles, lengthened it all out at a free birthday yoga class, grocery shopped, cooked lunch/dinner, cleaned the apartment, planned bachelorette party games/fun "things," and added laundry as the back drop. Then just before 2pm, I plopped down with fuzzy head and wondered...Why am I so tired? I asked myself this for 22 seconds, easy. And then I looked at my crossed out to-do list....oh.yeah.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Collard Wraps...Bonus: How to Make Fail-Proof Wraps!

Typically, wraps are all about what's inside. I suggest going against social norm because, it's the outside that counts too. Only in the case of the collard wraps. Dark green leafy vegetables are easily some of the most nutrient dense foods around, and collard greens are no different. They are brimming with vitamins (A, C, K mostly), minerals (calcium, iron, potassium), and fiber. We're talking 10% of your calcium intake in just 2 cups chopped, or about 1 large leaf. Incredible.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Banana Dogs!

Why is that the number of (veggie) hot dogs in a package never correlate with the number of buns in a package?? You're forced to buy 2 packages of dogs or have leftover buns. I'm not feeding an army, so I'll stick with the leftover buns. Still, annoying. Until....there's that blissful moment when you realize a banana fits just about perfectly in a hot dog bun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sweet Basil Dressing

Refreshing dressing for summer. That's all this girl asked for. I did my fair share of experimenting without many of the dressings turning out the way I hoped. Huge bummer. Especially when you're the one who gets stuck eating the "oopsies." I could do the obvious and buy one, but so many of them are chemical storms.

While flipping the pages of who knows what magazine, I skimmed an article detailing a cool, rejuvenating, spa-like 'basil lime-ade.' The cocktail incorporated fresh basil leaves and lime juice. Now, that sounded refreshing. Combining the powerful forces of basil and lime only makes sense for a dressing too, right??

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Easiest Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa is technically a seed, but we cook and eat it like a grain. It looks a little like couscous, but with a nuttier fluffy puff texture. ...if that makes sense! The most traditional American way to serve it would be to serve it as a pilaf, cooked in broth, or with a saucy substance to infuse the little kernels. I've dabbled with a few preparation methods and I have my favorites depending on the dish... Black beans and quinoa. Chili with quinoa (not rice). Berry Breakfast Quinoa. Quinoa mixed into seasoned taco filling. And then we have my easy quinoa. It's straightforward and uncomplicated. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Taste the Tropics Salad

Taste the Tropics Salad has too many inspirations to name. Maybe it was the papaya. Maybe it's this heat wave after returning to Tampa from our fabulous trip. Maybe it's just that I freaking love salads. I crave them. I could create and photograph salads all day and be a happy happy girl...and hopefully inspiring others to eat that same real, nutrish food. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy 4th! Mango-Jicama slaw! Vegan Potluck!

I LOVE the 4th of July, mostly because in Minnesota this meant summer was in full swing. Fresh berries, garden zucchini, and backyard bar-b-ques were everywhere. Super exciting stuff to a (future) dietitian! In Florida, this holiday isn't celebrated quite the same, but I like to pretend it is. Afterall, it's still America's birthday.


In the season of bar-b-ques, birthdays, and potlucks, here's a recent (vegan) potluck we had at work to celebrate a couple lovely ladies and their birthdays. The meal was impressive, colorful, and delicious. The spread included (clockwise from left): chips, vegan sour cream, guacamole, vegan chocolate cake, fruit, veggie taco crumbles, black bean and corn salsa, mango jicama slaw, and taco veggies. Perfect combination! All attendees...including non-vegans and a 5 year old...loved it.

Few thoughts on healthy dishes to bring to summer or 4th of July potlucks:
* Mango Jicama Slaw (see recipe below)
* Black Bean and Corn Salsa (short on time?...Buy store brought salsa, add onions, can beans/corn, etc)
* Berry Bliss Fruit Salad (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana, pineapple, etc)
* Smoothie Popsicles (freeze smoothie in ice tray, inserting stick when firm, continue freezing)

Mango-Jicama Slaw

2 ripe mangoes, cubed
1 medium jicama, skin removed and sliced, diced, or cut how you prefer
1/2 red onion, diced
1 lime, juiced (a couple tablespoons)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar or agave nectar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Combine all ingredients and let set for at least a half hour for best flavors, but overnight will be even better!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Salad in a Jar - Best Way to Pack Lunch!

We've all seen the cookies-in-a-jar and bread-in-a-jar, but these salads in a jar are just genius. And cute. Sooo cute. It's got to be the best way to take your lunch to work. Grab and go has a new definition with these functional gems. Plastic has it's place, but there's something so innovative about using a mason jar. Why you ask? They are obviously cute. If this isn't reason enough, the jars are BPA free, won't stain, travel well, won't leak, and are microwavable/dishwasher safe. Convinced yet??

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fruity Watermelon Frosty

It's the middle of June with a midweek day off. Time to lay out, read, and work on those tan lines, right?! Nope. That lasted a whopping 15 minutes...who's idea was it to surround a pool with concrete slab buildings, minimal shade, and the parking garage?? Not exactly refreshing. I did however plan ahead toting this frosty along with me: 1. Helped beat the heat, 2. Used up all this darn watermelon. Note to self: when Dan travels do not buy a whole watermelon to consume solo. It's just so hard for me to pass up great prices on seasonal fruit, but I'm not the biggest watermelon fan. This melon was better than most. Only because I learned a trick: buy one that has the yellow, flat patch. This means it wasn't touched during the ripening process and should be extra tasty. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

June is Papaya Month!

Want a piece of the Caribbean without forking out $1000 to get there? No worries, just pick up a papaya. For some reason, this tropical fruit hasn't increased in popularity here. Truth be told, I didn't even know what one tasted like until Dan picked one up and placed it in our grocery cart. My initial reaction was: "What, why are we spending X amount on a fruit?" Yet, my Dietitian ways gave in because I know healthy food is the cheapest insurance policy anyone can buy. My frugal budget would just get stretched elsewhere (goodbye for now Genesis 1:29 sprouted grain and seed bread). That shopping trip I would have been perfectly comfortable getting the tried and true strawberries, blueberries, and the apple-orange-banana crowd pleasers. That was before my papaya popping days.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cool California Salad with Avocado Dressing

Post Marathon Morgan is back and ready to cook, create, and blog! I enjoyed my stay in Minnesota and while my mom and I did our fair share of created some concoctions while I was at home, this one was developed first. Don't worry, once I get back to the grind I promise to give you all the tasty treat recipes my mom weighed in on. 


But first....

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Itty Bitty {but loaded} Energy Balls

My first marathon is in 3 short days! I must say my favorite part has been tapering, but ....Ahhh!....the restlessness! Less running seems to increase my nerves and apprehension. I've been cooking and creating more often to keep the butterflies at bay.  


I guess it doesn't take much; turned a few ingredients into healthy balls of fun. Fun and full of energy. Energy for running 20 miles, running errands, or running around the playground, these energy balls are totally athlete, kid, parent, and dietitian approved. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry

Tempeh is my new favorite plant protein source. It has an earthy, nutty texture that tends to take on the flavors it's cooked with. It's a fermented soy product (that means you'll get probiotics!) that comes in firm blocks that you can cut, crumble, or leave whole to cook. I have to admit though, the real reason I'm blogging about tempeh is because the nutrition geek in me loves that it's a metabolic motherload of nutrition.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Easy Black Bean Burgers

     So, when it comes to late summer/fall meal planning, it's no wonder we turn to minimal time meals. We're transitioning into new schedules and responsibilities and sometimes cooking takes a back seat. Well, time to jump into the front seat!

     These black bean burgers are a fantastic meal solution. Other homemade bean burgers have an annoying long list of ingredients. Or once I made them, they might as well be called bean crumbles because the whole thing falls apart at the first bite...super annoying. When you can't find what works for you and your family, create something that does. Although, I'm convinced these burgers will get pretty darn close. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

ACDC (Apricot, Cranberry, Date, Cinnamon) Muffins

I'm by no means an ACDC music buff. About all I can tell you is they were all about heavy hard rock and roll. That's exactly what this muffin creation reminded me of; they are heavy, dense and will have your bowels rocking and rolling (in a good way!). Plus, they are incredibly moist thanks to the applesauce and fruit without using any added oil. 


So, if you are an ACDC fan, enjoy while rocking out. If not, still enjoy!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Tostadas

If you're like me, weeknights are crazy. If dinner isn't planned, there's a good chance cereal or a frozen Amy's meal will be calling my name. Apparently, I'm not alone as millions of Americans rely on prepackaged and fast food for their dinner every night. I don't know if you've heard the fat forecast this past week, but by 2030, 42% of us are supposed to be obese. Not even overweight, straight up obese. Mainstream convenience is conveniently making us fat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Penne with Vodka Sauce

This week I really tried to think of a 'Mother's Day' recipe, but quite honestly this recipe reminds me of my sister in oh so many ways. See, she loves vodka sauce. We weren't a pasta family growing up, but every time I visit her she has a jar of vodka sauce nestled neatly along side spaghetti sauce and canned beans. The dietitian in me mindfully says, "Oh lovely, vodka sauce...cholesterol and fat lathered sludge." I know it may taste good, but it hardly gets near ranking on the healthy scale.

Well, wait until you discover this plant based version that uses cashews for the cream. Absolutely unbelievable. My sister has yet to try this deliciousness (I promise it's MUCH better than that Shepard's Pie I so horribly failed at), but I know she would be wooed and wowed.
Penne with Vodka Sauce
Serves 4-6

1 pound whole wheat penne
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup water

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add cashews and boil for 10 minutes to soften before blending. Drain and reserve 1 cup water.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add whole wheat penne and cook according to package. Drain and reserve.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in crushed tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper, adjust to taste as needed. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vodka and cook 10 additional minutes, continuing to stir occasionally.
4. While sauce is cooking, add cashews and reserved water in a blender. Blend on high until cashew cream is very smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Stir cashew cream into tomato sauce and turn off the heat. Adjust seasonings as you need and pour over hot pasta. Enjoy!

Note: I added 1/2 onion and 1 cup mushrooms while garlic was cooking as we like chunky pasta sauce. Feel free to do the same or omit for a more authentic vodka sauce.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cinco de Mushroom Tacos and Festive Mango Salsa

Like many Americans, in just a few short days we will be celebrating Mexican culture and heritage with Cinco de Mayo by eating tacos, enchiladas and washing it all back with a Corona or margarita. Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays that commercialism has taken it to new heights of popularity. You know, like how everyone comes out of the woodwork to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Irish or not. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemongrass Tofu and Broccoli

When I first tasted a lemongrass infused dish, the unique flavor was absolutely delightful. Truth be told, I had no idea what lemongrass was other than the Thai restaurant used a lot of it. I could see why though. Lemongrass has a light and delicate lemon/citrus-ish tang that counters the more zesty spices like ginger, garlic, and onions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Triple Berry "Yogurt"

Creamy. Cool. Refreshing. Yogurt has always been one of those snacks that I love and look forward to. Non-dairy versions can be more expensive and harder to find. So, why not make a similar version? It's simpler than you think and I promise, kids and adults alike will never know the secret ingredient is tofu. That is, unless you tell them. If you aren't quite ready to jump into 'tofu yogurt'...I know, it sounds funky...you can add the silken tofu to a fruit smoothie for added protein and isoflavones. You taste buds can't tell, but your body will be thanking you for all that plant based protein.
Triple Berry "Yogurt"

1 12oz package of silken tofu, drained (I used the Nasoya brand found in the refrigerated section with other tofu)
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix evenly. Adjust fruit and sweetness to your liking. Top with Kashi GOLean Crunch (as pictured), other favorite cereal, or additional fruit. 



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taste the Rainbow Salad

When was the last time you tasted the rainbow? I'm not talking about the artificial neon colored rainbow in foods or candies, but rather the rainbow in fresh fruits and vegetables. This light lunch salad or dinner side salad has an awesome range of colorful toppings. Zesty sweet no added oil dressing lightly coats crisp, dark green spinach leaves. With every forkful there's complex textures and flavors. Chewy but crunchy. Sweet but salty. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cornbread

Early pioneer and Native American cornbread was nothing more than water, salt, and cornmeal that traveled well on long journeys. The natural properties of corn allow it to rise (think popcorn) without needing yeast like traditional quick breads. Cornbread is best served alongside soup, stew, chili, or salad. 


Forget instant cornbread mixes; this recipe is super simple and out of the oven in 30 minutes. I particularly like the crunchy sweet texture of the whole corn kernels...good luck finding that in a mix.