Monday, September 7, 2015

Inspiration on Finding Ways to Keep Vegetarian & Vegan Eating Healthy and Organic

Spaghetti squash is great substitute for pasta in recipes

Even people who eat healthy on a regular basis get bored. For me, I go through phases where plain water is just plain boring. Depending on the season I mix it up.  For example, in the summer I make diluted green tea with lemon grass with one teabag soaked in 48 ounces of hot water, chill and drink. Personally I find that what I like to drink for hydration depends on the season. This is all in attempt to get at least 60 ounces of water intake per day. Water intake is particularly important if you eat a high fiber diet.

Eating foods that are healthy, but you'd rather not

Another challenge for me is I love vegetables, but I don't like fruit. How do you eat healthy foods that you would rather not eat? I make a point of putting fruit in my green smoothie with vegan protein powder. Or put a bit of fruit in your  daily leafy green salad. If all else fails, cut that apple in half and share it with someone (thanks hubby!!)

Protein

If you don't eat meat you need to make sure that you get enough healthy lean protein. I rely heavily on nuts and seeds. The challenge is finding them in raw form. If you are lucky enough to find huts in raw form, it's important to prepare them properly to avoid digestive problems and a broken tooth!! I soak my raw almonds for 12 hours in cool water. Then rinse them, put them in a food processor to grind them slightly, and spread them on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture.  Next put a thin layer of coconut oil on a cooking sheet, spreading out the almonds in a single layer, and bake at 250° for 20 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and mix them on the baking sheet with a spatula and set to cool. After they cool, I grind them one more time to help reduce the size of the pieces.

Beans and lentils are also a great source of protein.further. I recommend searching on the Internet for healthy gluten-free vegetarian  and/or vegan recipes  to give yourself ideas and inspiration on adding variety.


homemade veggie burgers
The most important thing is to start with healthy ingredients. 

Fruits & Vegetables

Remember, fruits and vegetables with thin skins MUST be purchased organic. Thin-skinned fruits and vegetables absorb pesticides and you don't want to inadvertently ingest something unhealthy or harmful. 

Produce Labels

When reading produce labels remember what the first digit represents:
  • 9 is fine (code for organic)
  • 8 you hate (code for genetically modified aka GMO
  • Four digit label is conventionally grown

Bottom line: preparing your own meals with quality items is less expensive than eating out and healthier too.

READERS:  I would love your feedback on what you do to keep your healthy eating from being boring. Please post comments and share with others.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cutting the Cake: Life Balance & Time Management in a Busy Life

Cutting the Cake:  Life Balance / Time Management

Normally when one reads about 'cutting the cake' they think of that sweet confection served on a special occasion (wedding, birthday).

In this case, I'm talking about all the activities of your daily life being represented by a pie chart.

For many of us, working a job and sleeping are close to equal, and take up the majority of our day. If you add commuting to and from your job, job related time is the most time consuming part.

I'm looking at starting a new job next week (have been a freelancer for most of the last 15 years). The major change for me is the huge shift from working from home and not being at home with my aging dogs and semi-retired husband.

Trying to have a life balance between the necessity of working, wanting to be healthy, and keeping the effects of stress at a minimum I plan to extend my "away from home" time to include a workout at the end of my work day or on my lunch hour. 

It sounds like a cliche, but there really aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish our daily 'to do list.' Personally, there won't be enough time or energy to cook dinner or clean the house to the level that makes me happy. A luxury that I would LOVE to afford, but cannot is to have someone come in once a month to clean. 

Weekends will be even more precious to de-stress and enjoy non-work activities. How do you de-stress and add fun and exercise to your work day?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Must ALL Foods We Eat Be Organic?



I admit it. I'm addicted to eating healthy, almost to an obsessive level. I'm  a raw foodie as much as I can be. Ultimately, the most important nutritional discipline I have in my house is FEW processed Foods.


HEALTHY EATING TIPS

NO GMO

When you buy produce pay attention to the code to avoid GMO. 
1) If it starts with a 9 it's fine. 2) If the code starts with an 8, YOU HATE (don't buy it, it's GMO).

AVOID white foods

white sugar, white bread, white flour, white rice, white potatoes etc. They are refined, metabolize too quickly, and can cause insulin spikes and have you crash.

Eat naturally grown (no chemicals)

Try to get organic or heirloom products that are grown naturally, non-GMO, and no chemicals.

Portion control

1/2 cup to 1 cup is the range of serving sizes for most foods.

AVOID

Fruit juices, sports drinks, and sodas. DRINK water and herbal teas instead (64-90 oz).


Must ALL Foods We Eat Be Organic? (No for 5)
*According to 1/31/2014 article by the Institute for Natural Healing (GREAT TIPS, go here to read/subscribe http://institutefornaturalhealing.com/ 

We hear it almost daily. Eat your fruits and veggies for a long life.
Thinner skinned produce is more vulnerable to pesticides and other chemicals.

Non-Organic Versions of these Five Foods are Safe to Eat

[Paraphrased from today's Institute for Natural Healing's News Article]

1. Onions: multi-layered means less likely to be penetrated by pests or chemicals. EAT them for gut health and to help regulate blood sugar. 

2. Avocados: that skin is mighty tough and less likely to be penetrated by pests or chemicals. EAT them for their rich antioxidants, vitamin E, and lutein (maintains clear vision). They’re also a GOOD FAT to consume, helps you feel fuller longer, helps balance hormones and the absorption of nutrients.

3. Sweet Potatoes: this type of potato is NOT dosed with chemicals and are high in fiber and vitamin A (good for vision and reproductive health). GREAT for after a workout to restore glycogen -- but HIGH in carbohydrates, so don't over do it!

4. Asparagus: pests just don't like to eat them so they're not heavily dosed with chemicals. They do not have a thick skin like other foods on this list, but the consumption is mainly the dense tips and not the stalks. High in vitamin B2 (helps reduce migraines by 50 percent)!!
Asparagus is also a good source of vitamin K (protects heart and keeps bones strong).

5. Coconuts: that outer layer is virtually impervious! NO bug or chemical is going to penetrate it. 

Drop me a line if you have ideas for future blog posts.

*Excerpted from 1/31/2014 article by the Institute for Natural Healing (GREAT TIPS, go here to read/subscribe http://institutefornaturalhealing.com/ 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mama’s Pepper Spinach Rice Cheese Bake












Mama’s Pepper Spinach Rice Cheese Bake

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked rice
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dry thyme
1 tsp molasses
¼ tsp epper
5 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups of chopped raw veggies of your choice (we use red and yellow peppers)
¼ chopped yellow onion
2 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 cup milk

PREP

1.       Melt butter, soy, and thyme in small Pyrex, add chopped onion and set aside
2.       In medium bowl beat with mixer the eggs and milk
3.       Add melted butter mix, egg mix, and white wine vinegar to rice  and stir well
4.       Mix in the spinach, then the chopped veggies
5.       Add shredded cheese to final mix and spread evenly in 2 quart baking dish
6.       Bake at 300 degrees F for 50 – 60 minutes until center no longer appears liquid
7.       Garnish with sliced tomatoes and serve hot

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookie Recipe

Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookie Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

This recipe is a variation of the one that I found at http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/

Hubby and I LOVE crispy, thin ginger snap cookies. We’re quite the cookie monsters in our house and this is one of rare indulgencies. Rolling the chilled dough between parchment paper sheets makes cookie cutting pretty simple.

SUPPLIES
Large baking sheets (I used three), parchment paper, plastic wrap, rolling pin, cookie cutters**

WHISK DRY INGREDIENTS in a large bowl
1 cup gluten free flour (I use Red Mill’s GF flour) 1 cup potato starch
 ½ cup of coconut flour                  1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger                  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg          1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt                  1 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
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1/2 cup coconut oil
½ stick of organic butter
1/2 cup unsulphured black strap, dark molasses
4 tablespoons milk (whatever variety you like)

DIRECTIONS

  • I don’t have a whisk attachment or pastry cutter to cut the butter, oil, and molasses. I used the back of a tablespoon to cut the cold butter, cold coconut oil, and molasses into the dry mix (see above), but it’s a LOT of work. The mixture will be sandy and crumbly.
  • Add the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each spoonful.
  • Remember, the mixture will be sandy and crumbly.
  • Divide the dough in half, wrapping one half in plastic wrap (place in refrigerator to chill while you work with the other half).
  • Split the half dough ball in two and place in the center of the parchment paper on the counter.
  • Use your palms to press the dough into a slightly flat round shape.
  • NOTE: pay attention to how the dough feels while you are working with it. I found that it started to warm/soften up as I worked with it, and needed to put the remaining first ball of dough into the refrigerator to chill…taking out the second, chilled ball after baking one or two sheets.
  • It is recommended to place a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the dough for rolling, BUT I used a second piece of parchment paper. 
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the cookie dough evenly to ¼” thickness, remove top layer of parchment (save it for next batch) and cut out your shapes.
  • It is recommended to not move the shapes you cut, but I used a butter knife to carefully lift them off and place them on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  • If you CHOOSE to keep cut cookies on the parchment, just pull away the pieces of dough surrounding the cookie shapes, leaving the cookie shapes themselves (use a butter knife to help). When you're done you'll have a sheet of shapes ready to bake! Roll up the excess dough to reuse.
  • Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes (my oven baked them well at 8 minutes because we roll them thinner).
  • The cookies will crisp as they cool. When you take the sheet out of the oven, left them sit on the sheet for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining cookie dough.
  • I baked one sheet in the center, rotating three sheets until all dough is used up.
  • When the cookies are cooled put them in cookie jar and/or store in double plastic bags for storing in the freezer.
  • Makes 3 dozen cookies, depending upon the size of the cut-outs.

Gluten Free Vegetable Quiche (home made crust)

Gluten Free Vegetable Quiche (home made crust)


 Gluten Free Pie Crust

20 min prep time - 1:35 total time      BAKE shell 475°F, 8-10m or until lightly browned
                                                                 BAKE filled quiche at 375 for 30-45m

1 1/4 cups        GF Flour Blend (2 c rice flour*, 2/3 c potato starch, 1/3 c coconut flour, 1 tsp xanthan gum)**
1 tblsp               raw sugar
1/2 tsp               xanthan gum
1/4 tsp               salt
½ stick               cold butter
1/2 cup              coconut oil
1                          egg
3 tblsp               cold water
·       Combine dry ingredients (flour** blend, sugar, xanthan gum, salt) in large bowl
·       Cut in cold butter / cold coconut oil with fork until coarse crumbs
·       Combine egg and cold water in a bowl; beat with fork
·       Add egg/water mix to flour mix; stir just until moistened
·       Shape into a ball; flatten slightly, wrap in plastic  and chill (~1 hour) ·       Remove from refrigerator and let stand room temperature (~15-20 min)·       Place unwrapped pastry ball on lightly floured (gluten free blend) parchment paper
·       Lightly flour top of pastry with GF flour and add another piece of parchment on top
·       Roll out pastry into 12-inch circle
·       Transfer to pan, pressing down firmly, poke with fork (prevents crust from bubbling up)
·       Crimp or flute edge and back empty shell for 8-10 (until golden brown)
·       THEN, fill and bake (see veggie quiche filling recipe below) 

VEGGIE QUICHE FILLING

2 Tbsp olive oil                                    3 handfuls fresh baby spinach or 2 c broccoli
1 small onion, chopped                       1 c mushrooms
4 eggs                                                 3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp GF flour                                   1/2 tsp baking powder            
1/2 tsp salt                                           1/2 tsp sweet paprika             
1/2 tsp dried thyme                             ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
1/8 tsp black pepper                            4 oz cheese of our choice (I use cheddar)
OPTIONAL (fresh tomato, cut)

·       Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms, and sauté for 5-8 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat.

·       In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, milk, salt, paprika, thyme, and black pepper Stir in the sautéed vegetables and fresh spinach, and stir until well combined

·       Pour the egg and vegetable mixes into the crust, and use a spoon to level the top. Bake in oven for ~30 minutes, add sliced fresh tomato across the top and back for another 10 minutes. Quiche will be done when butter knife inserted comes out relatively clean. NOTE:  the quiche will rise, but will settle back once its cooled from the oven. Cool from oven for at least 5 minutes, slice,  and serve.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Non-Dairy Vegan Broccoli Soup

Non-Dairy Vegan Broccoli Soup

SAUCE PAN INGREDIENTS:
(read instructions below)

1 tblsp oil (olive or coconut)
1 onion, minced
1 tblsp finely shredded, fresh ginger
1/2 cup of dry white wine (optional)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tblsp potato starch (non-GMO)
1 tblsp gluten free flour (I use ground oats or ground pumpkin seed)
2 cups of vegetable stock

2 cups of broccoli florets
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery

2 cups of fresh organic spinach leaves

INSTRUCTIONS
-In a medium sauce pan warm coconut (or olive) oil, add minced onion and finely shredded fresh ginger.

-Stir in dry white wine (optional), dried organic thyme, potato starch, and gluten free flour of your choice.

-Add vegetable stock

-Steam separately the carrot, broccoli, and celery until soft (cool and set aside - KEEP veggie water).

-Let liquid mix in pan cool to slightly warm (don't want hot liquid in the blender).

-Pour steamed veggies into the blender and add 1/2 of the liquid, process as chopped--stop the blender and add remaining liquid - process as pureed.

NOTE - if  soup is too thick, add small quantity of water from the steamed veggies, blend until you are satisfied with the consistency.

Pour desired amount into microwave wave container, heat, and serve.