Healthy AF Enchiladas + Caloric Density & Weight Loss| Vegan, Gluten Free, Oil Free, Disease Reversing Info

enchiladas

These enchiladas are by no means at all traditional.  Traditional as in white flour tortillas and cheese and meat… blegh! Sounds like a mess of weight gain, and heart disease! Time for a neeeeeew recipe.  This recipe has got kale, shrooms, quinoa, and all simple wholesome ingredients. Mmm what could possibly be more deliciously satisfying and nourishing.

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Completing my master’s and dietetic internship in South Texas where cola, taki’s, breakfast tacos, and bacon fat laden pinto beans are unfortunately staples, the statistic that 3/4 of Americans are overweight or obese made sense to me.  What’s crazy is that, a calorie dense, nutrient poor diet is actually quite common. Even where I live now in Los Angeles, California.  I have a couple of clients who, prior to working with me, had never chopped a vegetable before.  Gawd. I love my job.  And these enchiladas.  They’re not insanely overly stimulatingly like oh my gawd so f***ing good (if you’re comparing to something thats been salted, oiled, idk.. fried and oober processed) . Recalibrate your taste buds. And these will knock your socks off. 😛

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Healthy AF Enchiladas

Adapted from Food52’s Wintry Mushroom Enchiladas

The Homemade Saucy Sauce 

  • tablespoon water
  • cup onion, diced
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried thyme
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes (I like the Fire Roasted diced tomatoes from Muir Glen – no salt added)
  • teaspoon maple syrup (optional)

The Enchiladas

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 pound baby bella or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced jalapeño peppers (or for V mild version, use poblanos
  • cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 10 6-inch organic corn tortillas (I used masienda brand – just corn, lime, water)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • avocado on avocado on avocado

Steps:

  1. To make the enchilada sauce, heat water in a medium skillet or pot. Saute onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, thyme, tomatoes, and maple syrup
  3. Transfer sauce to a blender or food processor, and blend till smooth. Add a little water to adjust the consistency as you wish. Set sauce aside till you’re ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp water (have some handy to add if burns off). Saute onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has been released and evaporated.
  6. Add the chilis to the pot and give them a stir. Add the kale and allow it to wilt slightly. Add the cumin, sea salt (optional), black beans, corn, and quinoa. Continue heating mixture until it’s completely warm and well mixed.
  7. In the bottom of a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of the enchilada sauce. Place about a quarter cup mushroom and quinoa mixture in the center of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place it into the dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Cover them all with a layer of enchilada sauce and bake for 25 minutes. Top the enchiladas with chopped cilantro, avocado, and pumpkin seeds, and idk. More corn because noooom!!!
  8. Also, squeeze a lime on there and, call me crazy, but I put a little cinnamon on mine and it was off the charts

So.. why is this recipe so generally disease reversing?

  1. No Salt: although 0 calories, it is a super processed white powder (aka crack cocaine) that causes responses in the brain to make us not only want to eat more, but that makes wholesome food taste less flavorful.  Cut the salt, and all of a sudden, celery, cilantro, avocado and lime dance on your tongue like a tap dancer in times square.  Flavors so very exciting, no white powder added.  Plus plus, high sodium intake has been shown to decrease calcium absorption / utilization. That ain’t good!!! Also also. Sodium is important. This is different than salt. Naturally occurring sodium is sufficiently found in wholesome plant foods like the veggies I mentioned a second ago.  No stimulants needed.  Excess sodium causes water retention, causing blood volume to increase, leading to high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, etc.
  2. No Oil: Talk about caloric density. Not many foods are more calories per pound than oil… are any foods more calorie per pound??  Just a tiny bit of oil adds a lot of calories with not much benefit.  All it really does is make you eat more calories than you’re designed to eat plus make you want to eat more. The fat from the avocado and pumpkin seeds is fantastic. You got fiber and zinc and fresh phytochemicals and antioxidants.  Avocado oil and pumpkin oil?? Mmm I’ll pass.
  3. Nutrient Dense: Self explanatory.  Every calorie is full of nutrition.  Helping you to feel calm, balanced, satisfied, energized, clear headed.. not to mention beautiful bowel movements. Which is actually a huge fricken deal these days.  If there’s a magazine rack in your bathroom… call me!!! You need help!!!
  4. Intact Grains: Ok, obvi the tortillas are made of corn flour, which is not intact. The quinoa tho- that’s good stuff.  And the tortillas I used were just 3 ingredients: non-gmo corn, lime, and water.  That’s all you need. No gums, oils, preservatives, or fortified etc etc. Keep it simple.  The more whole the better.
  5. Beans: Resistant starch is liiife.  Did you know that resistant starch in beans actually decreases the glycemic load of your next meal?  Also, beans are such great sources of protein, iron, fiber. Eating them has been shown to help decrease risk of so many diseases and cancers.  If you’re afraid of fartiness. Don’t fret.  The resistant starches may take a couple of weeks for your gut to adjust to.  Start with a little bit like 1/4 cup a day for a week and work your way up to ~1-3 cups or so / day.  A healthy gut can process beans just fine.  Little to no fartiness.  If you’re used to eating a V low fiber diet. Warn your friends and family your increasing ahead of time hahaha.
  6. Greens: The most nutrition per pound possible.  Everything you need. Just amazingness.
  7. Mushrooms: Should be eaten cooked. Mushrooms help decrease excess estrogen that may cause breast cancer- very well targeted, doesn’t cause low estrogen if you are healthy. Also, mushrooms contain lectins (ABLs) that recognize cancer cells and prevent them from growing and dividing. Also also, mushrooms upregulate IgA antibody secretion, helping the immune system. Also also also, they have beta glucans which also boost immune function. PLUS they make their own vitamin D if exposed to the sun!! Honestly. All plants are amazing. I just don’t have all day to tell you every magical component of everything gawd!
  8. Onions: Eaten raw the allinaise enzyme is active and is potent cancer fighter. Onions also help to blunt blood sugar spikes. Onions and garlic are antimicrobial and help the immune system to fight viruses and fend against cancers. Scallions are great too.
  9. Healthy Fat: Includes fiber 🙂 Necessary for healthy hormones, satiety, clarity, and overall optimal health. It doesn’t take much though.  A little dab will do you.
  10. Peace of mind: Honestly, of course.  A favorable health destiny is priceless. HOWEVER I say “generally” disease reversing because I do have clients with eating disorders, amenorrhea, and anemia, and athletes who aren’t getting in enough calories and wasting away, or frail adults, etc. Who, it is healthier for them to eat more refined foods. More calorically dense foods. More stimulating foods.  These recommendations are for the general average American looking to lose weight, lower their cholesterol, blood pressure, have regular bowel movements, and reverse type 2 diabetes. Have your healthy AF enchiladas, and your vegan cookies too maybe. Ok? All depends on your goals and what you, you beautiful individual, need.

That is all. xoxo

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Two Quick, Easy, Vegan, + Gluten Free Bean Pasta Recipes: Prescription Pesto + Sesame Ginger Sauce

Who doesn’t Love pasta? Yes, love with a capital “L”.  For these recipes I used banza pasta made from chickpeas.  Bean pasta is awesome! It is super high in nutrients like iron and beneficial fiber. Plus it is loaded with protein. It’s gluten free and only takes 7-8 minutes to cook. Obsessed. I particularly like the Banza brand because it looks just like regular pasta and has a really nice consistency.  Some bean pastas that I have tried are a little mealy and chalky, this brand is nice and noodle-y.  I don’t know how else to describe it 😛 Hope you enjoy these recipes! xo

Purchase Your Box Of BANZA Here:

Banza Chickpea Pasta, Variety Case, Shells/Elbows/Penne/Rotini (Pack of 6)

Sesame Ginger Pasta + Veggies

Mmmm when I had this recipe the first time I could have sworn it had peanut butter and sugar in it with its gingery garlic creamy deliciousness.  Its just sesame seeds and dates!? What!? So simple and I can assure you this recipe will not disappoint!

Adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Quick and Easy Chilled Sesame Noodles

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bean pasta, cooked according to package directions, rinsed under cold water, and drained
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 pound mushrooms, chopped + steamed (or use another pound of broccoli or any other vegetable you love!)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds, lightly pan toasted
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw almonds or cashews (preferably soaked / sprouted)
  • 7 medjool dates or 13-14 regular dates (like deglet noor), pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (or rice vinegar / apple cider vinegar)

Steps

  1. In a high speed blender, puree all the sauce ingredients until smooth
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta, bell pepper, scallion, steamed broccoli, and veggies with the sauce until thoroughly coated.
  3. Divide among 6 plates and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Prescription Pesto

Yaaas pesto :-P. This recipe has got all the medicine in it, and TBH: there is nothing I crave more. This pesto is BOMB. Don’t be fooled by the word, “medicine.” Back in the day when you used to plug your nose to get the stuff down.  This powerful pesto has got the most potent DNA protecting and disease reversing foods like greens, turmeric, beans, walnuts, and garlic.  And this medicine, baby.  Just can’t get enoughhh yuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adapted from Dr. Michael Greger‘s Eight Check-Mark Pesto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch (or about 2 cups) fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup raw or sprouted walnuts
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 of a peeled lemon
  • zest of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans (I recommend no salt added like Eden’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup liquid from canned beans or water
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso (equal to or less than 270mg sodium / serving)
  • Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth. Scoop onto a cup and a half of cooked bean pasta.

SNICKERDOODLES + How To Bake No Flour, No Oil, No Sugar, Vegan

Growing up in a home with a perpetual aroma of freshly baked bread and an ever-replenishing plate of homemade muffins, cookies, or brownies, I could never give up milk, butter or eggs. No way. How could I? Oh, and I definitely could not ever give up muenster cheese. The divine moldy cow teet fluid suffocated in sodium and grease, in between sour dough smothered in 100% cow fat, and grilled. Divine. Delicious acne. Heavenly mood swings, bouts of depression, energy crashes, and stomachaches.

Although I am not a French trained gourmet baker, my taste buds do not lie. There are certainly ways to enjoy baking, without the harmful baggage. Here, you will learn how to make scrumptious baked goods taste the way you like, and make you feel that glowing radiant health that you deserve. What is life without energy. Only alive radiant energy in my baked goods. peace sign  

  1. Flour

“The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” ~Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Ideally, we want to transition from white flours to more wholesome flours or products.

Instead of 100% white flour, try:

  • ½ whole grain or bean flour + ½ white flour
  • Make your own oat flour: blend rolled or quick oats in the blender or food processor until flour consistency

Does what you are making really require flour? I used to think that cookies and brownies needed flour until I tried white bean snickerdoodles and black bean brownies that use beans for a base instead.

Little cholesterol and saturated fat bombs. There are lots of healthier alternatives.

The tried and true is the flax or chia egg:

1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds + 3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water

Mix until well combined and let sit until it forms a gel.

For a light and fluffy product, instead of 1 egg, try:

  1. 2 tsp baking soda + 2 Tbsp warm water
  2. 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder + 1 tsp. vinegar
  3. 1 tsp. baker’s yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water

Mix until well combined and gelatinous

For thick and dense products, like brownies and cookies, instead of 1 egg, try

  1. ½ cup mashed ripe banana
  2. ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  3. ¼ cup canned pumpkin or squash
  4. Ener-G Egg replacer product
  5. 2 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water
  6. 2 Tbsp potato starch + 2 Tbsp water
  7. 2 Tbsp. instant mased potatoes
  8. 2 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

Mix until well combined and gelatinous

Tip: if you need to replace just an egg white, try:

Aquafaba: Don’t pour the canned bean liquid down the drain! Aquafaba in latin means “water bean”. It is the bean water from a can or from cooking beans.

Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to whip it up and after beating for five minutes, the liquid will start to form stiff peaks, just like egg whites. To stabilize the aquafaba, add an acid such as lemon juice, vinegar, or cream or tartar. Use ½ teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar or ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar for ¾ cup of bean liquid. Adding an acid is especially helpful when you are making something that will not be eaten right away as it helps the aquafaba to remain aerated.

Aquafaba in Recipes:

  • 1 tablespoon for one yolk
  • 2 tablespoons for one egg white
  • 3 tablespoons for a whole egg

Another egg white alternative:

1 Tbsp plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp water, whipped, cooled, and whipped again for each egg white.

There are lots of other egg replacements out there. Have you tried tofu scramble? For quiches and custards ¼ cup of pureed soft tofu works tremendously.

  1. Milk

For a cholesterol, hormone, and unfavorable protein-free alternative try unsweetened and unflavored varieties of plant milks. Soy, almond, and rice milks are common neutral good ones.

Instead of buttermilk, try:

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar.

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined and creamy. Equal to 1 cup buttermilk

  1. Butter / Oil

            Solid or liquid, animal or plant, it is still 100% fat, absorbed way too quickly, very calorie dense, and not health promoting. Usually, these are added to moisten the product. What’s fabulous about vegan baked goods, is that they do not need to be cooked all the way since the ingredients do not harbor food born illnesses like salmonella. So, they will certainly be ooey, gooey, and moist. Yet instead of doing so with butter or oil, replace with applesauce, mashed banana, or another chia egg.

  1. Sugar

            White sugar is stimulating, like a drug. It excites us and gets us addicted so we can’t stop thinking about it. After we have a hit of white sugar and our blood glucose levels spike, a crash follows. Leading to fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even headaches post-sugar hit. My recommendation? Stay away from drugs. Crack. Cocaine. White sugar. Etc.

Whole fruit is sweet enough! Dates are loaded with potassium (more potassium than bananas), fiber, and even have great iron and calcium too! Instead of sugar, blend pitted dates into your recipe. Make sure they are moist enough by soaking them in warm water for at least 15 minutes before using if they are too hard. They should be nice and mushy and combine easily.

Baking healthy vegan is the best. It’s super easy cleanup, no grease, no scrubbing, no flour everywhere. I love it. You actually feel like you did a service sharing these goodies with people too. No more giving away stomach aches and post-eating purging episodes. This is a real issue people. Now’s the time to inspire others with how delicious healthy baked goods can be! Your homework: Fail. Try and try again. I am certain you will make some incredible things. And I am certain some things won’t be the bees knees. That’s ok. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Have fun!

SNICKERDOODLES

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Makes 10-12 cookies
Equipment:
– 2 baking sheets
– parchment paper
– food processor
– oven

Ingredients:
– 1 can white beans
– 1/3 – 1/2 cup pitted dates
– 1 ripe banana
– 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 cup nut butter (1 ingredient only)
– 1/2 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– chopped raw walnuts to garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a food processor with an S blade, blend all ingredients except walnuts
  3. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of dough onto parchment and using the back of a spoon or a knife, spread into a cookie shape
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes
  5. Once cookies are dry enough to get off of the parchement easily with a spatula, press walnuts into cookies and transfer to a plate or cooling rack
  6. Enjoy 😛

I would love to help you however I can.
Schedule a Consultation with me: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=13878540

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Vegan Brunch: True Bistro with STEPH’S PLATE + Why Try A Vegan Restaurant?

First of all, I am so honored to have met Steph from Steph’s Plate! She is such a doll you must watch her videos and get inspired on IG.  Secondly, True Bistro is one of the most classy vegan restaurants I have ever been to.  It is definitely swanky enough for impressing a date, yet not intimidatingly so.  Their lunch menu offers brunch options of waffles, crepes, tofu scrambles, as well as classic sandwiches with burgers, salads, and they feature incredible sweets like local FoMu ice cream and fresh cinnamon buns.

 

Steph ordered the crepes with FoMu lavender ice cream and blueberry compote, I went for the more savory mushroom and red pepper tofu scramble with fresh home fries, salad, and a side of their smokey mac and cheese.  Steph’s crepes were incredible.  They didn’t, you know, “taste vegan” at all!  It was so good, like an incredible dessert to me!  My scramble had such a refined savory flavor profile, I was really impressed.  It didn’t taste like eggs necessarily but the combo of herbs and veggies were brilliant- so delicious.  The mac and cheese I actually got to take home for my sister (the cheese lover). It had a LOT of smokey flavor, almost sausage-y.  Anyone who enjoys those smokey tones would adore it.  Can’t wait to try the waffles and I must go for dinner!

 

4 Reasons: Try A Vegan Restaurant:

1. Plant Foods In Your Diet

A whole foods plant based diet has been shown to be the most effective at preventing and reversing disease. According to the USDA’s Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines:

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2. Environmental Impact

It is without a doubt that eating more plant based meals is more sustainable for the long term and environmentally friendly. As described in the USDA’s Scientific Report, and watch Dr. Michael Gregor’s Video:

3. Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

Saturated fat and cholesterol are well known for their association with causing the leading causes of death: heart disease and cancer.  Fortunately, plant based diets high in whole foods with fiber containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

4. Get Inspired

Once you find out how delicious plant foods can really be, you are much more likely to want to get in the kitchen and start cooking!  Keep trying more restaurants and dishes, and before you know it, every meal will be whole foods, plant based, and simply divine.

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3 Easiest Favorite Healthy Lunches | Gluten Free, Vegan, Affordable

School, work, packing for kids, or just want easy healthy lunch ideas; I’ve got you covered!  Three of my favorite and most simple lunch combos. Watch this video to get the tips, snacks, and full recipes.

I base my lunches off the Physician Committee’s “Power Plate“: everymealpowerplate

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Here are the three main bowls:

1. Mexican Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Black Beans (I like Eden’s Brand)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Corn
  • 2 Tbsp Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Natural Salsa
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

2. Harvest Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Diced Organic Apple
  • 3-4 Tbsp Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Red Onion
  • 1-2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 tsp Maple Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

3. Italian Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1/2 Summer Squash Spiralized
  • 3 Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 4 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Red Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Cannellini Beans
  • 1/2 Cup Engine 2 Brand Low Sodium No Oil Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Kelp Shaker
  • 1/2 tsp Kale Chip Shaker
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

These can be modified with whatever whole grains, veggies, beans/legumes you’ve got on hand. Make them the way you like, and enjoy!

 

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

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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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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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