The Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life | Vegan, Cheap, Meat Eater Approved

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a plant based dietitian job interview at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  They had me stay at their guest house, The Baker House, with interns who are occupants there for the summer.  If you haven’t already heard of the PCRM, it is an organization whose mission is ultimately to provide evidence based expertise to save the world. You can imagine how nervous/excited this wanna-be superhero was for this interview!!!

Back to the ziti- The ladies residing at The Baker House, Sofie and Catherine, are two brilliant, friendly, open minded vegans that became my close friends insanely quickly.  Catherine has made this dish a bunch of times and raved how it is always a win. Girl- you got that right!  Pool money to make dinner and eat it together!? Of course!!! Which lead me to enjoy the dish that I am sure will get anyone to give more vegan meals a try. Thank you ladies!

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Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life

Adapted from One Green Planet’s Recipe

Ingredients (total cost at Whole Foods: $21)

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 24oz jar marinara sauce (we used an organic fat-free option plus some that was already open in the fridge)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds (we used 1 bag of daiya shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (we used 1/2 of a container of tofutti)

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook ziti to manufacturer’s instructions and preheat oven to 425*F
  2. For ‘ricotta’: crumble tofu in a large bowl and add in nutritional yeast (or parmesan), salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Mix fully with a fork or large spoon.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta, most of the marinara sauce, and ricotta in a large bowl
  4. In a large baking pan, add some marinara to line the bottom, transfer the mixture in, and spread it out evenly.
  5. Top with the rest of the marinara and finally the layer of mozzarella shreds
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake ~20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Eat with a side of greens and those people who actually get you and still like you! 😉 xo
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Catherine, Sofie, and I eating takeout from ‘Hip City Veg’ on the Smithsonian Steps

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5 Vegan Barbecue Family Favorites | Burgers, Mac N’ Cheese, Cornbread, Fries, Grilled Veggies

VEGAN

The thought of grilling gatherings used to give me the heebie jeebies! As a vegetarian / vegan / high raw / w.e., I try to stay away from the classic American foods.  These recipes are absolutely perfect for meat heads and vegan, gluten-free, even nut-free health nuts alike 😉 .  Last year I made my favorite Watermelon Mint Salad. Check out the recipe video honoring my Grampa here.

1. BBQ Black Bean Burger

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This is my favorite black bean burger that I have made so far – adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers. My adapted version of the recipe is here.  I love it served with cucumber and avocado because the burger has so much flavor! The cooling veggies help to balance it out perfectly. These babies are:

  1. Easy
  2. Cheap
  3. Quick
  4. Healthy*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off.  Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce*(Look for a BBQ sauce that is free of high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, >300mg sodium / serving. I used Annie’s Organic Original BBQ Sauce. I also really liked Sprout’s brand Pumpkin BBQ sauce that I got in the fall. Check out http://www.fooducate.com to compare BBQ sauce products to find a healthier option.)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  4. Either mash black beans with fork/mashed potato masher in a large mixing bowl or pulse them in blender or food processor.  It is nice to leave some whole beans for good texture
  5. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms.  If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  6. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  8. Serve over a toasted bun with all the fixin’s like thin cucumber, avocado, tomato, and red onion 😛

2. Creamy Macaroni and Peas

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This is adapted from the star item special at my home base Organic Garden Cafe ❤ It is unbelievable. My sister, (the cheese hound who without shame scrolls through #macncheese on IG on the reg), asked me to make this for her the very day I got back from my 10 day road trip from grad school in Texas.  Yup it’s that good. And it happens to be gluten free, nut free, low fat, high fiber, cheap, and effortless!

Serves about 6:

  • 1 cauliflower, roughly chop into large florets
  • 1 yellow onion, discard outer layer and chop into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 12 oz dry elbow macaroni pasta (I like using brown rice pasta!)
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  1. Steam onion and cauliflower until super tender (about 30 minutes) and boil elbow macaroni to manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Combine steamed vegetables with salt, pepper, olive oil, and nutritional yeast, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor S blade or high speed blender and blend until creamy creamy baby
  3. Pour sauce over macaroni and peas and mix well. Transfer to casserole dish for serving.
  4. Garnish with paprika, parsley, and serve to the cheese lovers in your life!

In the photo above, I used 12oz bag bionaturae brand elbows for the gluten free pasta, I thought it was pretty good! I always try new brands, what is your favorite??

3. Blueberry Corn Bread

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My mother adapted this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen’s Sunny Corn Muffins and she usually serves it with chili as in the recipe here. My mom puts in less sugar and apple sauce instead of yogurt.

Yield: 24 mini muffins

  • 1 C gluten free all purpose flour (I used a brown rice GF mix)
  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 3/4 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 Tbls apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C blueberries
  • fine grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F and grease 2 mini muffin tins with coconut oil
  2. Combine dry ingredients (except blueberries) and wet ingredients in separate bowls and whisk separately.  Fold into dry and halfway through mixing, add in blueberries and distribute well.
  3. Pour in 8 inch pan and sprinkle a little sugar on top.
  4. Bake for ~18-20 minutes. Mmm sweet cornbread perfection

4. Sweet Potato Fries

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The image above is one sweet potato and one purple potato.

  • Cut into fries.
  • Thrown in a bowl
  • Tossed with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and a few dashes of cinnamon
  • Baked on parchment paper at 410* F for mm 30-40 mins?  Nope, didn’t even time it. Just make sure they’re soft to perfection.

It is that easy. I LOVE cinnamon on my sweet potatoes but you can certainly get creative and use paprika, or herbs.. spice it up to match your flavah. Ginger powder would have been bomb too.

5. Grilled Vegetables

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I have never and will never operate an actual giant grill. These were made in the panini press at 375*F. (Thank you college life #necessity=invention). Just greased the press lightly with coconut oil, and threw on some sliced mushroom, eggplant, and peeled asparagus, and BOOM!  Nope, didn’t  put any spices.  Feel free to show me up and let me know what you did!  If you are capable of operating an actual grill, my favorite veggies on a skewer are onions, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Yumm. !

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Well, there you have it! Let me know how your memorial day weekend festivities go. Feel free to comment below, follow me @reinesandshine on instagram / twitter, and contact me anytime at reinesandshine@gmail.com. Cheers to life in good health! Enjoy!

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Rainbow Ginger Citrus Zoodles | Raw, Vegan, Simple, Delicious.

The research I am doing for my graduate program is on plant foods and cancer- I am on cloud 8374378457 with all the EUREKA WHATT research that is out there!! Sulforaphane in broccoli, sweet potato protein, flavanols in cacao, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, the plant kingdom cures cancer!! Amazing! The best is to get organic and picked ripe because plants produce natural components called salvestrols to protect themselves from harm similarly to how the plant foods protect us.  It. Is. Unbelievable. Potent cancer killers without harming the body, truly healing it. Mind, body, spirit, immunity, vitality, sustainability ❤ Eat the rainbow, reap the success, love, beauty, and happiness *starstruck*

Rainbow Citrus Zoodles

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The Noodles:

  • 4 small zucchini, spiralized
  • 2-3 medium carrots, spiralized
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 purple cabbage leaves, sliced thin

The Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh scallion
  • a quarter sized chunk of ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
  1. Combine noodles in a large bowl
  2. Blend sauce ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
  3. Drizzle over noodles, mix and devour with some people you love!

History in the Making: Dietitians of South Texas Tour Their New 100% Organic Grocery Store

In a city of McDonalds, Whataburger, Wal-Mart, obesity and diabetes, a world saving beacon of health and sustainability opens; fully equipped with the highest quality produce/products, demonstration kitchen, vitamins/herbs/supplements, beauty products, books, and, it’s love!

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Natural Grocers 100% Organic Grocery Opens March 15, 2016

Today, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the store with the Corpus Christi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics group lead by the wonderful dietitian there, Kelsey. I was extremely impressed by this tour. A grocery store tour to dietitians? Please, as if they could learn anything more, but we all did! Like how Kelsey pointed out that the hemp seeds, walnuts, and other unstable fats are kept in the refrigerated section (polyunsaturated fats become rancid very easily, creating free radicals, so they must be kept cool). I have learned this previously but I have never seen a grocery store actually put their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator!

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The sign above us says, “100% organic produce,” yes, I am the obnoxious intern that made everybody get in front of the produce section and asked the cashier to take our picture 🙂

The Tour~

Kristen gave us all a LONG list of things that Natural Grocers will NOT carry.  Including ingredients that I am quite familiar with like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), bleached flours, parabens (mimic estrogen and cause reproductive disorders), dairy products from cows given rBGH (recombinant  Bovine Growth Hormone), artificial sweeteners (all of them), and artificial colors and flavors, as well as so many that I have seen before but even (a nutrition nerd grad student studying nutrition) have seen but no clue what they are!

Ingredients like DBP (dibutyl phthalate) which is a fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, and solvent that is a reproductive and developmental toxin, endocrine disruptor, and a known human respiratory toxin.  Also, BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are preservatives that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions in humans.  I could go on..This place doesn’t even carry chemical based sunscreens or antibacterial soaps! Amen!

A few more reasons why I’m in love with this place:

  • No bags, you have to bring your own! (or they use a cardboard box)
  • GF (gluten free) items are all marked clearly next to price on shelf
  • Local is emphasized and marked clearly with a Texas flag on shelf
  • Lots of cheap “Health Hotline” sale items
  • Bulk specialty items from mulberries and goji berries to raw buckwheat groats
  • WIDE variety of vegan items
  • Reverse osmosis water filter, only $0.25 to refill a gallon
  • Nutrition experts- these people know their stuff!
  • To reduce waste and cut cost of items: no deli/freshly prepared items (ever wonder where all the fresh baked goods from Whole Foods goes at the end of the day? Yup, in the trash #wasteful. !
  • No self serve bulk bins but still has large packages of items in bulk – reduces contamination and food waste
  • Huge wall of shelves with high quality nutritional reference and cookbooks

They even have cool events like this Saturday they have a gluten free tasting expo and health fair! Aw chocolate avocado pie food demo, and “How to live an alkaline lifestyle” is on Monday April 11th. Check out their website for more info on events.

A little bit about my internship…

I can’t believe it, I completed my food service and community rotations last semester and am now half way through my clinical rotation! Eeek! As a snob from the Boston area who  works at a raw vegan cafe called “Organic Garden Cafe” back home, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get to learn new innovations of nutrition while working as an intern in a program that emphasizes the low income communities of South Texas.

I could not be more pleasantly surprised and excited about my feelings towards this internship right now.  It brings me such joy and power to have worked with the people of this community. Diabetics who do not know what a carbohydrate is, teen mom’s going out for a cigarette, and people who are truly afraid to lose weight because they have (and their family and friends) have always been big, so if they lost weight, what would they think!? Many of these people do not want to change, and even if they did, where to even start? As my sister, the writer, put it, “You need to learn the script before you can re-write a new one.

My clinical preceptor now, Shannon Aguilar, has helped me to not only be a much more confident clinical dietitian, but to take it a step further, too.  It is one thing to study nutrition, it is quite another to actually care enough to reflect on our own lives and practice what we preach.  My preceptor, Mrs. Aguilar, is more than a dietitian, she is also a health coach, and helped me to see how important it is to learn who our audience is before we try to help.

Seeing a grocery store like this open in Boston or Vermont would have been a, yawn. Another natural grocery? But, HERE! I get to see history in the making. These people having access to this kind of world saving expertise is dream come true for me.

There is something really cool about the idea of helping people who really need it AND want it. I could talk coconut oil and kale to the organic junkies back home all day every day, but that doesn’t reverse our obesity epidemic now does it? I may have thought that my second round match was a mistake, but actually, it was the best eye-opening and invigorating experience.  To be able to explain what a carbohydrate is to someone who has no clue? Check. Next: to reverse their disease through diet and lifestyle! No matter where I end up, I hope to make a positive impact and continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that I learn from the experience.

Spaghetti Squash Stir Fry with Creamy Peanut Sauce | Oil Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

I love not following recipes, don’t you? This is just a crazy good experiment of mine inspired by Healthy is a Verb and Ambitious Kitchen.  Came out pretty bomb.  I have no idea what the exact measurements are, I was just throwing stuff together.  Feel it out, and make it with whatever veggies you like. With V day coming up, this is the perfect one to share with your hubby.  Or, save the rest for later gator! Have fun!

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The Stir Fry

  • 1/3 cup water, (keep a glass of water close by, this is used to prevent sticking to pan without added oil)
  • 1/3 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated finely using cheese grater or minced
  • 1 small chunk of fresh ginger, also grated finely
  • 1/3 head of broccoli with stem, chopped
  • 2-3 red cabbage leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of mushrooms, rough chop
  • 2 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced, stem and all!
  • 1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, scraped
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (I totally forgot about these until after I took pic and ate some of it, makes a great crunch!)
  1. If you haven’t roasted your squash yet, prehead oven to 400*F. Cut it in half the long way and place it open side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for ~45 minutes or until soft
  2. In a large frying pan over medium to high heat, heat the water, onion, garlic, and ginger, about 3-5 minutes, mixing often
  3. Throw in the broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper, and mushrooms, let it get happy for another 2 minutes
  4. Next comes the bok choy and mix another minute, feel free to add water if needed
  5. Scrape out half of the spaghetti squash (keeping seeds- yum love squash seeds!) and mix that in
  6. Mix in ~1/2 cup of peanut pinto sauce and mix until well combined
  7. Peel orange and cut it into slices perpendicular to the way the sections go to make nice little orange pieces like in the picture. Makes for a delish orange, peanut, gingery kind of asian vibe
  8. Mix in orange chunks, and top with lime to squeeze and crushed / chopped nuts. YUM!

Peanut Pinto Sauce

  • ~1/2 cup dry pinto beans, soaked for 6 hours and boiled for ~30 minutes, [or feel free to use canned no salt added pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I like Eden’s brand the best, if using Eden’s, drain, but no need to rinse)] 
  • ~1/4 cup of peanut butter (the kind with one ingredient only: Peanuts. if there are “hydrogenated oils” on the ingredients label, toss it)
  • ~2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ~1 cup boiling water (from cooking beans)
  • juice of ~1/2 lime*

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.  Not sure about the measurements but I think it would be hard to make this combo taste bad. Hope you’re hungry!

*I put lime or lemon juice on everything, for flavor, for peak iron absorption, and it makes me feel amazing!

Spicy, Cheesy, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Quesadillas

It’s funny- I  really don’t like foods that are too spicy.  Currently giving myself a lil pat on the back for successfully making a dish with some definite kick, that I can eat without, you know, crying. This is one you’ve got to share with friends. Have fun, sizzle sizzleee

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Makes about 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 8 whole grain tortillas, 9 inch (I used these gluten free brown rice ones)
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and skin removed (save the skin to eat later)
  • 3/4 cup no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if using canned)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced tiny
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • oil for cooking (like unrefined coconut or olive oil)

Steps:

  1. Using a large frying pan, heat ~1 tsp. oil over medium and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl when finished cooking
  2. In the meantime, using a large bowl, mash boiled skinless sweet potato with a fork with diced tomatos and add in nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder and mix well to combine. Stir in black beans, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  3. Using the same frying pan as before, heat and spread ~1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla flat on the frying pan and spread ~1/2 cup of sweet potato mixture evenly over the tortilla, then spread ~1/4-1/3 cup of sauteed onion vegetable mix on top of that so it looks kinda like this:20160124_123241
  4. Place another tortilla on top, flip after ~3 minutes of cooking (to flip I placed my plate on top of the second tortilla and flipped it into my plate and slid it from the plate back onto the frying pan)
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 sections.  Serve with salsa and guacamole.  I made avocado cream with 1 mashed avocado and the juice from 2 limes, mixed well.  So good! Go pats!

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Barbecue Black Bean Burger. Easy. Cheap. Vegan. Irresistible.

I know, eating heart healthy is hard. You just. You love meat way too much, you can’t give it up.  I know the feeling.  Like a meatless meal is a deprived, sad, flavorless, unsatisfying sounding situation, right?  Well- these burgers and fries.. you’ll never look back.  Welcome to the earth shattering world of f*ing BOMB healthy food!!

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BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Adapted from the incredible Minimalist Baker. Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce (reach for one without high fructose corn syrup that has <140 mg sodium per serving)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. If your brown rice isn’t cooked yet, I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off.  Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  5. To a large mixing bowl, add drained black beans and mash well with a fork (nice work out, takes about 3-5 minutes, if you don’t feel the burn, you ain’t doing it right! Gotta love it.) Leave some whole beans for good texture though.
  6. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughally with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms.  If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  7. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  9. Serve over a toasted bun with kale, super thinly sliced cucumber and red onion,  avocado, and another drizzle of BBQ sauce. The cooling cucumber and avocado complement the heat from the BBQ sauce deliciously.
Based on one out of five burgers made:
Calories 337
Protein 10 grams (1 egg has ~6 grams)
Carbohydrate 37 grams (2.5 diabetic exchanges)
Total Fat 18 grams of healthy plant based fat!
Fiber 6 grams
Cholesterol 0 grams

^estimation based on USDA’s http://www.supertracker.com

For a side of fries, I have been loving my Deliciously Ella cookbook and recommend trying her Perfect Potato Wedges or Cinnamon and Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges

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Orange Glazed Tempeh | Fat Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

Orange Glazed Tempeh

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What even is “tempeh”???  It is made by cooking and fermenting soybeans and forming them into a condensed patty type thing.  I prefer its texture to its similar tofu brother, however, this is my first time actually experimenting with a soy product, so we’ll see!westsoytempeh  I love how it has a meaty texture and picks of flavors really well.  It has a slight bite of chewiness and is full of protein, calcium, and iron.  I used the WESTSOY Five Grain tempeh (which has gluten), but I’m sure any kind would be superb. Just be sure the version you get is GF if you have a sensitivity.

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Serves one. About 230 calories and 14g protein per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 block of organic “west soy” tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • juice of 1 key lime or about 1/2 regular lime
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • juice of 1 orange or about 1/3 cup orange juice

Steps:

  1. Using a knife and a cutting board, cut off 1/3 of the block of tempeh.  Turn this on its side and slice it in half so that you have 2 skinnier third pieces. Cut these two third pieces into triangles.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the orange juice, lime juice, maple syrup, and ginger, and mix with a spatula to combine
  3. Put the tempeh triangles in the pan and allow them to sizzle on one side, moving around while sizzling.
  4. Flip the tempeh when ready, and allow it to sizzle on the other side. Be sure to keep it moving so it doesn’t burn and add a little more oj (or whatever you’d like to add to make it even better!) if needed.
  5. When the tempeh has soaked it up, time to eat! I had a little orange glaze left over in the pan so I stir fried some rice in there, delish! Serve with kale, rice, scallion, avocado, sunflower seeds – whatever you got! 🙂 xx

Chickpea Scramble | Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Happy Sunday! This scramble is savory, satisfying, easy, and CHEAP! Use produce from your farmers market ❤ Inspired by Minimalist Baker’s tofu scramble… I invite you to take this as inspiration and run with it using whatever vegan goodies are in your kitchen to create something that makes you love yourself from the inside out feeling relaxed, cozy, and grateful :-*

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Chickpea Scramble

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpeas (cooked from dry, no salt or fat added)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-small sized potato, cubed
  • 1 leaf lacinato kale, rolled up and sliced thin
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh green onion
  • Extra love ❤

Steps:

  1. Dry chick peas triple in size when you soak them so make sure they have plenty of water and plenty of room to grow when you saturate them and soak them for about 6 hours or over night.  Drain chick peas, rinse, and boil them for about 30 minutes or until desired softness
  2. Frying pan on medium to high heat, have water handy.  Add a little water (enough so the potatoes don’t stick) and the cubed potatoes and mix to prevent sticking.  Add water as needed
  3. After the potatoes have gotten a little soft, add red bell peppers. Continue mixing and adding water if needed
  4. Add kale, scallion, and dill and mix.
  5. Measure 1 cup of chick peas and add those to the pan.
  6. Serve with 2 cups mixed greens, 1/4 avocado and plenty of lemon or lime (the vitamin C in the citrus and the red bell pepper helps absorb all the non-heme iron!! 😀 )

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What I Ate Less Than $4 / Meal Nutrient Breakdown

Save money and eat a healthy diet? Easy!

Click here to watch video
Click here to watch video

Saving money on a vegan diet is simple, as long as you’re willing to eat simply, haha. Every day is different and variety and adequate hydration are important. It doesn’t matter what I eat, what matters is what you eat and what makes you feel good. Just because I eat this way doesn’t mean you have to to be healthy. (I happened to get 3 boxes of bananas for free and feel great eating them!) The nutrient breakdown of this day will be on my blog to see what vitamins and minerals are lacking. I recommend that you log your food every so often to see what vitamins and minerals you might be low in so that you can research what foods contain those nutrients and begin incorporating more of those foods in your balanced vegan diet.

Today, I am definitely vegan for the animals after seeing a cute kitty smeared on the side of the road. Hope he didn’t know what hit him, unlike all the mass produced animals for food these days. I hate to be a vegan pusher, but I really can’t stand to see people supporting that business, it breaks my heart.

According to supertracker.com. I color coded green = good, yellow=warning to look out for, and red = do something about this! warning: these recommended values are based on a 2200 calorie diet and I wasn’t that hungry today so I only ate 2045 calories.  I am sure I would have met pretty much everything based on a 2000 calorie recommendation. Had I eaten more calories – I would have had higher numbers. Kapeesh!?

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Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.
Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.

Reds:

Vitamin B12: I take a supplement and normally like to drink fortified hemp milk that has B12 in it (I ran out).

Vitamin D: Sunshine baby! I spend at least 30 minutes in the sun everyday exercising, or just sitting, haha 🙂

Yellows:

% Protein: This is up for debate considering I clearly consumed plenty of protein.  I am only 1% low as well, 10% is recommended and I ate 9% of my diet from protein.  Should have eaten a few more lentils, huh!

% Carbohydrate and % Total Fat: Clearly I ate a high carb diet today.  I feel good and energized eating mostly carbs and have noticed though documenting food in the past that a higher fat percentage for me makes me sleepy.  I used to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches and handfuls of nuts but I honestly noticed they slowed me down a lot, both in my digestive tract and just throughout my day.  So, this is a personal thing, but just shows it wouldn’t hurt me to consume less calories from carbohydrates and more from fat.

Linoleic Acid: This is a very important essential fatty acid that is necessary for formation of hormones, brain function, and cell membrane stability.  It is great for me to see how my high carb diet is effecting my intake of essential fatty acids.  Looks like I need my hemp milk!

Calcium: Also a little up for debate, it has been questioned whether clean eating vegans really need that much calcium since fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase the absorption and utilization of calcium. However, this tells me I could stand to of course eat my fortified hemp milk that I love (the chocolate version is SO GOOD!), as well as more okra, figs, broccoli, almonds, collards, and kale in my diet to get some more calcium.  Calcium is in lots of plant foods, even oranges!

Iron: I was a little low in iron today, 16/18mg. Lentils and greens and beans are great sources of iron.  This worries me a little because plant based iron (non-heme iron) is less readily absorbed than iron from animal products (heme iron). To absorb it better, it is necessary to combine it with a source of vitamin C like red bell peppers, lemon juice, oranges or tomatoes.  Last time I got my blood checked I had more iron than my doctor, so I am not too concerned about it.

Selenium: a little low 46/55. I like to eat brown rice which is a decent source for me, (1 cup has 19 micro grams) also brazil nuts are high in selenium and I like to eat a couple of those once in a while when I get a few from the bulk section at Sprouts.

Vitamin E: This should definitely be higher.  I usually eat more greens, (5 cups of spinach has 6mg vitamin E) I am running low so I am trying to make my last bunch last me for the next two days.  Greens are a great source of the essential cell membrane saving fat soluble vitamin antioxidant vitamin E! I could stand to eat a few more sunflower seeds and almonds too.  Even fruit has vitamin E, 1 ripe mango has 2mg.

Choline: Pinto beans (which I have been loving lately) are high in choline, as well as soy products like soy milk and tempeh, also quinoa, broccoli, and green peas, even oranges, bananas and dates have choline.  I should try some tempeh next week to get some variety 🙂

There you have it! Hope this helps, and I hope you do the same once in a while to make sure you are on track! Not to get obsessive! I don’t record what I eat everyday! Very rarely do I actually measure out my food unless I am doing something like this.  There are lots of sites out there these days, I use http://www.supertracker.com because that is the USDA’s website affiliated with RDs. I like http://www.loseit.com and http://www.cronometer.com and http://www.myfitnesspal.com as well. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.