Monday, February 28, 2011

Burgers and Fries - a healthy version

This  past weekend my family and I went to the mall to do some shopping. We ended up eating at the food court which is always kind of a gross experience. My kids ate Chick fil-a, I had tuna sub from Subway and my husband had a Philly cheese steak sub. We all indulged in Wendy's new "Natural cut fries with sea salt."

See, we are not perfect at healthy eating. Eating out, especially when you want fast food is hard. And to be perfectly honest some times I just feel like eating bad food. I am still trying to get over my tendency towards emotional eating and overcome our addictions to bad, processed foods. It is a journey and a long one. 

So when we are at home and we get a craving for some "junk food" I make this version of burgers and fries that really are even better tasting than what you can get at a fast food place with none of the guilt.

The burgers are these veggie patties we get at Costco.

Bake them up in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
Serve on whole wheat bread, buns, or skinny buns.
Serve with ketchup, mustard, whatever
Add lettuce, tomato, sprouts, avocado, whatever sounds good. To me the avocado is really what takes this burger from good to great.

The Fries come from a recipe I got from my sister, Jen. I changed it a bit. To see her original recipe click here.

A lot of times we will eat this all with a salad or a green smoothie.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Healthy Sweets - A how to and the Best Chocolate Shake Ever!!!!

A few months a go I made a deal with my kids that if they would stop asking for store bought treats and turn down treats offered them by well meaning people I would make them all the treats they wanted at home. The treats you make at home will almost always be healthier than what you buy at the store and they will taste better too. Here are some tips on how to make your treat recipes even healthier.

1. Eggs - try to buy  free range organic, preferably from a local source.

** If you don't want to eat eggs at all. You can use a mixture of 1 Tbsp ground flax seed and 2 Tbsp water for each egg in your baked goods.

2. Use Whole Wheat Flour. Soft white wheat is the closest to white flour. You can also get Whole wheat pastry flour at some stores but it is more expensive.

3. Consider using Virgin Coconut Oil instead of butter or margarine. Here is a link that describes the health benefits of coconut oil. Here is a link for a great place to buy quality coconut oil for cheaper than you can get at the health food store. You want the virgin, unrefined one.  If you don't want to use coconut oil, use butter.

4. Replace the sugar with Sucanat, which is dehydrated, unrefined organic cane juice. You can also try Coconut or Palm Sugar.*

*I really like the palm sugar, nutritionally it is probably one of the best suagrs you can use.

5. Use Aluminum Free Baking Powder. You can find this at health food stores and most grocery stores.

6. Get Alcohol Free Vanilla Extract. Did you realize it had alcohol in it? I didn't until a few years ago. Finding alcohol free can be harder and it is more expensive. I have found some at Trader Joe's and my local health food store. I really like this brand.

7. Use Sea Salt (or Original Crystal Himalayan Salt) for all the minerals in the whole food rather than the processed salt stripped of nutrition, and cut the amount of salt in half.

Best Chocolate Shake

The only sweeteners in this are bananas and dates.

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 - 6 frozen bananas (Important – they must be frozen or it won’t be a “shake”)
2-3 medjool dates with pits out (we like 2)
1-2 Tblsp of unsweetened cocoa (we like closer to 1)

2- 3 Tblsp of natural peanut butter (optional)

Blend it all in your blender

** You can use regular milk if you want. We use Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk. You can find it at health food stores and some grocery stores.

** Whenever your bananas start to get too brown, break them in to pieces and freeze them in ziploc bags. I always have a ton of frozen bananas in my freezer. If you don't have a powerful blender, let the bananas defrost a little so you don't kill your motor.

**Start out with the smaller amounts of cocoa and dates and taste it, if you want more, add them.

**These are seriously so delicious. They taste like a shake you can get from a malt shop. So good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What up Wednesday - Back issues and an easy Vegetarian Chili

I have been thinking that a blog purely of recipes may not be the most interesting or most helpful. I still plan on doing a TON of recipes but I thought I would also talk about health in general and the stuff going on in our family.

Lately we have been dealing with a major health issue - my back. I have had a herniated disc for about 6 years and during that time I would have periods where the problem would flare up and really cause me a lot of pain. Sometimes it would be so bad I could do nothing more than lay on the couch and make trips to the bathroom. Of course it is really hard to be the mom when you have this sort of thing going on.

E and A are super surprised and excited that Dad has inexplicably filled
their stockings with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars!

The latest episode started the week before Christmas (It was a great Christmas!!) and I am still recovering. My doctor thinks my disc is only part of the problem. I also am having issues with my hips and pelvis being all out of place from being pregnant. It has been a long, frustrating recovery.

A finishes up her huge lolli

For years I have not been very good at doing my back strengthening exercises. I would exercise but I wouldn't take the time to do the stretches and exercises I had learned at physical therapy. And I think I am paying for that neglect. It just makes me think why don't we do the things that we know will help us be healthier and happier? I mean I know the reasons: time, motivation, etc... But when will my health take the priority that it needs to be in my life?

This is what sugar overload looks like.

With this last episode I have made myself the promise that I will do my exercises every day. I have made that promise before, hopefully this time I will keep it.

"So, this is Christmas?? - G luckily escapes all the sugar

Well, here is the chili we had for dinner last night. This is a super easy recipe. You just open up a bunch of cans, oh and cut up an onion and add spices but that is it!

Vegetarian Chili

3 cans beans with liquid ( I usually use a combination of kidney, pinto, and black)
2 cups water
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 diced yellow onion
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
3 bay leaves
3/4 tsp sea salt

optional: 1 diced green pepper
4 stalks diced celery
1 cup barley

In a large pot bring stir all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer, put on lid and let cook for about 1 hour. If you are putting in barley add it the last 10 minutes.

** This is an old stand by at our house. My kids eat it with shredded cheese and crushed up tortilla chips. I eat it without cheese and it is still good!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Really Fudge

Here is another quick and healthy treat. I got this recipe originally from of course I changed it a bit and of course we added peanut butter. Our motto is "everything tastes better with peanut butter.

1 banana
1/2 cups soaked and pitted dates (soak at least 15 minutes)
1 heaping Tbl of coconut oil
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (I like to soak mine for a few hours but it is not necessary)
1/4 cup cocoa
natural peanut butter (optional)

process all ingredients in a food processor except peanut butter
smooth out onto wax or parchment paper on a small cookie sheet or casserole dish
swirl peanut butter through fudge with a knife (or spread on top once fudge starts to freeze)

serve frozen in bite size pieces *

*This fudge thaws really quickly. It cuts easily frozen and by the time you get it on your plate or pop it in your mouth it is perfect.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Do you like Indian Food? - Vegan Korma

The first time I ever ate Indian food I had this really bad experience which involved stomach cramps and running for the bathroom. But through the years I always wanted to give Indian food another chance. A few months ago we went out to an Indian restaurant with some friends and I had another disappointing experience. I had a hard time finding a vegan dish that looked appealing. The dish I ended up ordering was so spicy I couldn't eat it. When it comes to spicy I am a bit of a wimp. My husband, on the other hand, got a really delicious creamy dish and I was feeling very jealous.

Since then my husband has been begging me to learn how to make Korma for him. I found this vegan version on the Post Punk Kitchen blog. I changed it quite a bit, making it not so spicy. If you want to see the original version go here.

Here is what I did:

For the cream:
2 cups raw cashew pieces (plus water for soaking)
2 cups vegetable broth

Veggies to boil:
1 pound red potatoes (1 1/2 inch chunks)
1 head cauliflower in large florettes (don’t cut em too small or they will fall apart)
1 lb carrots, sliced on a bias 1/2 inch thick

1 medium sized yellow onions
1 inch nub of ginger
4 cloves garlic

Everything else:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 tablespoon coriander, crushed
1/2 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon garam masala
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (see note)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk

First, soak the cashews. This will get them really soft and make them easier to blend really smooth. Place them in a bowl and submerge in water. Set aside for at least an hour. In the meantime prep everything.

Boil the veggies. Place them in a big pot and cover them in cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer (so you don’t overcook the veggies), for about 15 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender. Drain and set aside.

Next, puree the onion, ginger and garlic. It shouldn’t be completely smooth, some texture is good.

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Cook the puree in the peanut oil with a sprinkle of salt for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s nice and browned.

This is a good time to puree the cashews. Drain them and place them in a blender along with 2 cups vegetable broth. Puree until smooth. This can take up to 5 minutes to get it as smooth as possible.

Back to the puree. Once it’s browned, add the coriander  and saute for about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, garam masala, several dashes fresh black pepper and salt and saute for another minute.

Transfer to the pot you cooked the veggies in. Add tamarind, tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Now add the coconut milk and the cashew cream. Let cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, it should thicken a little and be really creamy.

 Now fold in the boiled veggies, put the lid on the pot and let it heat through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve garnished with cilantro if you like.

** I'm not gonna lie to you this took a bit of time. I also had to find an Indian market to buy garam masala and tamarind paste. But all the effort was oh so worth it. So creamy and good.

** This makes a lot of food. We served it over brown rice and for leftovers I ate it over whole wheat couscous.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I heart This Cake - Chocolate Beet Cake

I made this chocolate beet cake for Valentine's Day. After My husband took his first bite. He dropped his fork, turned to me and exclaimed "This is SO GOOD!" Well I thought it was great but I don't know if it was all that. But he could not stop gushing over it. In fact he only let himself eat one slice because he felt guilty eating more.

For this recipe I used coconut sugar for the first time. I bought this Sweet Tree brand at my local health food store. It has a very mild taste and itis great because it is organic, not highly processed so it still has a ton of nutrients in it and it is low on the glycemic index.

I got this recipe from greensmoothie girl but I changed it a bit. Here is my version:

Chocolate Beet Cake
3 eggs (organic, range fed)
¾ cup coconut oil (can substitute applesauce for half of this, if desired)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups baked or steamed beets (about 2 medium-large beets, peeled)
4 Tbsp. baking cocoa (nonalkalized)
2 cups whole-wheat flour (soft white wheat, ground fine)
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp sea salt

Puree beets in  blender with  eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and add chocolate and other ingredients. Bake in 9”x13” oiled pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
1 ½ cups Coconut sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa ½ cup coconut oil
½ cup powdered coconut sugar - to do this I blended up the sugar in the blender until it turned into a powder.

Cream together:

** Everyone liked it. My husband liked it best. E said "Mom, this is so good, it only tastes a little bit like dirt!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do you have to give up creamy dishes when you go vegan? N0! - Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometimes I just miss creamy dishes and so lately I have been on the hunt for creamy vegan dishes.

I got this recipe from . It is super fast and easy. Here it is with my adjustments.

  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish ( I didn't have lemon zest and I just used bottled lemon juice)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste (I used 3 and it was quite garlicky, but if you are not a big fan of garlic use 1 clove)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil, ( I used a couple shakes of dried basil)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

** I doubled this recipe.

** This doesn't reheat very well. But I loved it the next day cold.

** My kids didn't love this but it was a big hit with me and the husband. This was so creamy and yummy. It was a nice change from all the tomato sauce we have been eating.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Moroccan Chickpea and Potato Soup

I got this recipe from but I like it a little better as a stew, not so much liquid and the we serve it over whole wheat couscous. 
Moroccan Chickpea and Potato Soup
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
pinch or two of sea salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 large carrots, chopped (3 to4 cups)
4 to 5 yukon gold potatoes, diced large (4 to 5 cups)
8 cups water or bean cooking liquid (reduce this to 4 cups water if you want more of a stew.)
3 to 4 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup tomato paste (one 7-ounce jar)
2 to 3 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1 cup chopped parsley

Heat a 6 to 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then onions and a few pinches of salt and saute for 5 to 10 minutes or until very soft. Add garlic, spices, carrots, and potatoes and saute for a few minutes more.

Then add water (or bean cooking liquid or a combo of both), cooked chickpeas, tomato paste, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 to 60 minutes.

Once veggies are very tender, remove from heat and add lemon juice and parsley. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy the flavors! Source:
** The kids don't love this one so much but my husband and I love it. Like I said we serve this over whole wheat cous cous which can be hard to find. My health store doesn't even carry it. Your's might. I get mine at Trader Joe's.
** I use red potatoes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fast Dinner - Pita Pizzas and Cauliflower soup

Sometimes Dinner just needs to be fast. This soup takes 30 minutes to cook but the prep time is super fast. You can use this same recipe for either a head of cauliflower or a head of broccoli.

Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
3 cups vegetable broth

1. Put everything thing in a large pot and bring to boil
2. Reduce to low and simmer for about 30min.
3. Puree everything in a blender
4. Season with salt and pepper, if needed

** For the broth I use a powdered broth made by Rapunzel. I add 3 teaspoon to 3 cups of water.

** If you aren't worried about making this vegetarian you can use chicken broth.

** This soup is really tasty and simple. My kids love it, even the baby. But it doesn't keep great as leftovers so eat it right away.

Pita Pizzas are even quicker. We start off with store bought whole wheat pitas. You can find these at most stores. If you are really ambitious (I'm not) you can make your own homemade pitas. My sister has a great recipe for those here. We use store bought spaghetti sauce as well. This Ragu below is great because it has no added sugar. Again if you are ambitious (I'm not). You can make your own sauce).

Pita Pizza Recipe

1. Lay out whole wheat pitas on cookie sheet.
2. Spread sauce on.
3. For dairy eaters sprinkle with shredded cheese of choice. We get a Tilamook Medium Cheddar baby loaf from Costco.
4. For non-dairy eaters pile on the veggies. My favorites are mushrooms, artichokes, red, yellow, or orange peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
5. Brush veggies with extra virgin olive oil
6. Sprinkle veggies with salt, pepper and basil
7. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes
8. Then take out the cheese ones
9. For the veggie pizzas switch the oven to broil and watch them so they don't burn.

** We usually eat these at least once a week. I usually toss up a salad to go with it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Getting Started - Green Smoothies

I realize now that this should have been my first post. I think when we have the desire to help our family eat more healthy foods it is sometimes hard to know where to start. There are a lot of good ideas and recipes out there but it is hard to translate that into habits for our families. When people ask me where they should start I always say green smoothies. Well, in reality I am not sure how many people have asked me that but let's just pretend you asked for this advice.

Green smoothies are awesome because they contain lots of fresh, raw leafy greens, which are some of the most nutritious foods on earth. Green smoothies are also easy to make and most people like them once they have given them a shot. The only special tool you need is a blender. Now I have a Blendtec blender, which is like a $400 blender. It seems really ridiculous to spend that much on a blender. But the good news is you do not need an expensive blender to make these. I made these for a long time on my $40 blender from Target and they were great.

Okay here are the steps to making green smoothies:

1. Fill blender with 2-3 cups water. ( I like mine thin so I put in a little more than 3 cups)
2. Put in several handfuls of greens - really pack them in (When first starting with kids put in less)
3. Blend the greens and water for about 1 min,
4, Add 2 ripe bananas ( not overly ripe like for banana bread but not green)
5. Blend again
6. Add whatever fruit you like ( I usually do frozen fruit because it is convenient and we like these smoothies cold)
7. Blend again and drink up! - (I stick my husband's portion covered in the fridge and he drinks it when he gets home. He usually just stirs it up before he drinks it)

** You don't have to blend up everything seperately but I think it comes out with a much smoother consistency when you do.

**The easiest green to start with I think is spinach - it's easy to find and if you have a Sam's Club or Costco membership you can get big tubs of organic spinach for cheap. Spinach has a really mild taste that is mostly masked by the fruit. Other mild greens are:

beet greens

It's great to mix and change up your greens but for now just start with spinach till you get the hang of it.

** The choices for fruit are almost endless. I have used apples, pears, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, oranges, mangoes, pineapple, etc... Lately I have been using a frozen tropical mix from Walmart.

** There are lots of other things you can add to smoothies but don't make them too complicated at first.

** I would love to get you feedback on these. So if you try them, let me know!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Comfort Food - even better than the real thing? Spinach Artichoke Dip and Cheesecake

Sometimes you just need something creamy and comforting, or is that just me? The other day I was having kind of a stressful day and then I found this recipe on and she got it from and it was exactly what I needed

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Yield: About 2.5-3 cups
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced (~2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece bread + 1 tbsp earth balance (processed into crumbs) OR 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 (15oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (or cheese if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8th tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Add 1 tbsp olive oil into a very large skillet and add in the 2 cups of chopped onion. Cook about 7 minutes on medium heat until onion is translucent.
2a. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the bread into crumbs with 1 tsp earth balance. Remove and set aside. Omit this step if you use pre-made bread crumbs.
2b. Now process the drained and rinsed navy beans, 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp kosher salt, basil, and red pepper flakes.
3. Add in minced garlic to skillet and cook for another few minutes on low. Add in your 4 cups of packed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts to the skillet and heat until spinach is wilted over low-medium heat.
4. Add navy bean processed mixture to the skillet and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in 3/4 of the bread crumbs. Pour into an oven safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex dish). Sprinkle on the remaining bread crumbs (and cheese if desired) and cover with foil.
5. Cook, covered, in the oven at 400F for 20 mins. Now remove the foil cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes watching closely so as not to burn. Makes 2.5-3 cups. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve immediately with sturdy chips and crackers. 

** We ate this warmed up with wheat pitas. E said it was the grossest looking thing she had ever seen but I told her she had to try it. She hid a spoonful in her pita and the chanted to herself "There is nothing in there.. There is nothing in there." As she started chewing I could tell she liked it. She said "Mom, this is actually delicious!" A didn't like it and wanted to spit it out. It was a hit with my husband and me.

** It doesn't taste like the spinach artichoke dip you are thinking of but it is still warm and delicious.

** Nutritional yeast is a yeast grown just for it's nutritional value (hence the name!). Vegans use it a lot to create a sort of cheese flavor and it is a great source of vitamin B12. You can find it in health food stores or buy it online. Store it in your fridge.

My husband gave up refined sugars over 3 years ago (I know, he is amazing) and the one thing he has really missed is cheesecake. So this last Sunday I finally tried a raw cheesecake recipe. I found a bunch of recipes on the sunny raw kitchen blog and here is the one I used with my alterations.

Raw Cashew "Cheesecake"

Crust:2 cup of pecans (I get mine at costco - you can also get them anywhere where they sell bulk nuts)
1/2 cup medjool dates ( I get mine at costco)
a dash of salt (use sea salt)

Process the ingredients in a food processor until they are crumbly and will hold together. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan and set aside. ( I used a round cake pan lined with saran wrap and then once the cheesecake was set I just pulled it out.)

3 cups cashews soaked for a few hours
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey or agave ( I used 1/2 cup agave)

1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup coconut oil (warmed up in dehydrator or in bowl of warm water)
2 " piece of vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla)
1/4 cup of water (or maybe a little more)

Blend everything in a high power blender or food processor until smooth. If using a FP, stop to let it rest a few minutes so as not to stress the motor.

Some of us topped our slices with this raw whip cream:

1 1/2 cups of cashew almond mix - ( I used 1 cup cashews and 1/2 cup almonds)
3/4 cup water
2 Tblsp pure maple syrup
1/ tsp vanilla

** This was soooo good. It was a big hit with everyone. The consistency was divine. The only thing is it doesn't taste like real cheesecake but we all agreed it was still yummy and creamy enough to hit the spot.

** So the moral of the story is you can find healthy alternatives to comfort food. They might not taste exactly the same but they will still be delicious!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baked Falafel

Here is a much healthier version of the traditonal Falafel sandwich. Hummus and raw veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion...) go great on a whole wheat pita with this falafel. I got this recipe off the internet somewhere and for the life of me I can't remember where. So if this looks familiar to you, please let me know and I will give you credit. I always double this recipe.

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.  Put in a medium bowl and smash with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Form into small balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and flatten slightly.  Place onto an oiled baking pan.

Bake for 15 - 30 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it's baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy)I like mine as crunchy as possible.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Best Hummus

My husband is Arabic so we eat a lot of hummus around here. Although I think I love it more than he does. This has become our favorite hummus recipe.

3 cloves minced garlic (I just use the jars of minced garlic)
1 can 15 ounce garbanzo beans ( drain the liquid but save it for blending)
3 Tblsp of Tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 Tblsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend it all in a blender. Themixture should be moist and spreadable - if it is too dry add some of the reserved bean liquid.

*Ways we like to eat hummus
- on baked falafel sandwiches
- with boiled eggs and warm wheat pitas
- with raw veggies
- I recently put it in my salad with some romaine lettuce, diced boiled egg, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber, then I drizzled some of the Basil Parmesan Vinaigrette on top and it was DELICIOUS.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Vegan Raw Fudge balls

I got this recipe from a friend who got it from a book called Living on Live Food. We have changed it a bit.

2 cups medjool dates (pitted and soaked for at least 15 minutes - save some of the soak water)
2 cups almonds (soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In food processor, blend dates to smooth paste - might need to add some of soak water

2. Add the remaining ingredients and process till smooth ( I always need to add some soak water to get it smooth)

3. Form into round balls and freeze or refrigerate.

**I have rolled these in unsweetened coconut flakes and sesame seeds and after they freeze for a while I smear natural peanut butter on some. My family just LOVES these. My friend refrigerates hers but we like them frozen.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I've finally found the love of a life time - Favorite Vinaigrette

We eat a lot of salads over here and we try to only eat homemade salad dressings since store bought ones usually have yucky stuff in them. We have tried a couple of different dressing recipes that have been alright and then I came across this one from greensmoothie girl and it was love at first bite.

Basil-Parmesan Vinaigrette
1/2 -3/4 cup basil leaves ( I just used about 1 tsp. dried basil)
1 cup oil (2 Tbsp. flax, the remainder olive)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. sea salt

Put in frig to blend flavors for 2 hours.

** Post edit - I was feeling kind of bad about the parmesan cheese in this so tonight I didn't put it in. The kids still loved it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beets, Bears, Battlestar Galactica - Raw Beet Smoothie

This year one of the things I want to focus on is adding foods to our diet that we haven't really eaten before. First up is beets. When we bought our first beets the boy at the cash register asked us if we wanted these free "Beat Cancer" t-shirts. I thought it was because we were buying beets and then I realized they aren't spelled the same. Duh! Anyhow, beets are actually really good at "beating" cancer. Read this for more information about the greatness that is beets.

So in my first attempt with beets I peeled them (no small feat - the skin is hard) and then grated them raw on top of our salad. I also made up this beet smoothie:

I don't have exact measurements but I used:

plain yogurt
almond milk
3/4 of a beet
1 banana

** Everyone liked the salad and the smoothie, although several people mentioned the dirt taste. I think that is just what you get with a root vegetable.

** Also - DO NOT throw away those green leaves on top. They are super nutritious and go great in a green smoothie. I added them to our regular green smoothie and no one could tell a difference.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

This is my altered version of the recipe I found on this blog.
1/4 cup plus 2 T poppy seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 t grated lemon zest
1/2 cup nondairy butter ( I used 1/4 c regular butter and 1/4c unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1 T arrowroot powder ( I used cornstarch)
1 cup nondairy sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
2 cups spelt or whole-wheat flour ( I used white wheat flour)
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t Celtic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a blender, combine the poppy seeds maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, dates, arrowroot, and Vegenaise.

In a large-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to overmix. Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

** Everyone in the family loved these. They were just the right amount of sweetness for us. If you are used to eating a lot of sugar these won't taste very sweet to you. I think next time I make these I will add a bit more lemon juice and use coconut oil instead of butter.