5 Soy-Free Vegan Protein HACKS + “TUNA” MELT SANDWICH RECIPE

So if you really knew me, you would know that I have considered myself vegan for 8+ years and I LOVE SEAFOOD. I grew up north of Boston where lobster rolls, clam chowdah, tuna melts, cod, haddock, salmon, scallops, muscles.. all of it. Were what I grew up on and 😛 I’m obsessed with. AND I chose not to purchase those foods anymore because of many reasons, a few I mentioned in the video. My mom’s birthday was Sunday May 19th and I know one of her favorite meals is a simply divine tuna melt. So I made, in honor of her, the best damn vegan tuna melt everr

!!  TuNa MeLt  !!

Chickpea “Tuna” Adapted from the amazing forks over knives website

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and mashed
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 tsp mustard
  • ¼ cup onion
  • ¼ cup celery
  • ¼ cup pickle
  • kelp
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Mix well!

Ooey Gooey Melty Cheez:

  • 2 C. potatoes, diced large
  • 1 C. carrots, diced large
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/4 C. olive oil (or just use 1/4 an avocado)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1/2 C. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 garlic clove (or 1/4 tsp powder)
  • Dash of cayenne
  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots until soft.
  2. Blend potatoes and carrots with the rest of the ingredients on high in blender until the cheese is extremely smooth. I use my high-powered VitaMix blender.
  3. Store in refrigerator for up to a week

Enjoy!!

signature1

Advertisements

Self Acceptance, Self Compassion, Self Love | Cara’s Kitchen Interview

No one is you, and that is your super power

What if today was your last day?

Who would you want to give one last hug goodbye? To express how deeply you care. To allow them see how amazing they are in your eyes, and how grateful you are for them.

What about giving one last hug to yourself as well?

Don’t go another day…

Wishing you could be any different than exactly as you are right now.

Counting your burdens instead of your blessings. Forcing yourself upstream, working towards goals that don’t nourish your heart and soul.

Not seeing the beauty in each moment- not realizing dreams due to a self worth deficiency. A love deficiency.

Love is an essential nutrient.

At the end of the day, I won’t need more money saved, certifications gained, or visions created..

all I will want to do is express and receive love.

Don’t look back on your life and regret all the days you spent lost in your own head.

Get swept away by the magic that you already are~

  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • A thank you letter to yourself
  • A forgiveness letter to yourself
  • Look at yourself straight in the eye in the mirror for at least 5 minutes and tell that beautiful miracle human you see how much you love them
  • Write “get to-do” lists instead of “to-do” lists
  • Count the moments that make you feel in awe
  • Feed yourself beautiful vibrant food because you want to
  • Dress up because you know you’re an absolute goddess
  • Sing, laugh, and create what you want.
  • What you want is what the universe wants.
  • We are the universe.

sending so much love. I hope this helps someone out there

signature1

 

 

 

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.

enchiladas2

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. 😛

enchiladas4

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

signature1

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.

My Favorite Oil-Free Salad Dressing / Kale Stone Fruit Salad Video

Look no further for your bomb-@$$ salad! This baby is so good. And medicinal. Here are just 5 reasons why this salad needs to GET IN YOUR BELLY:

1. Vitamin C + Iron Combo

Vitamin C is needed for peak absorption of plant based iron.  So the vitamin C from the orange and lime in the dressing combined with all of these iron packed greens?! Watch out world, you’re blood is builllttt!

2. Bones of STEEL

Plant based sources of calcium: kale, collards, sesame seeds, oranges… they are all great sources! Throw them all together and you are left with nothing but a mineral dense delicious meal fit for a superhero.

3. Anti-inflammatory + Protein

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory aid, shown to help not only with stomach issues, but migraines, arthritis, and any kind of ache or pain.  It is truly a great go-to cure all.

4. Protein + Fiber Packed

Did you know that 50% of calories from green leafys is from protein?  Plus, sesame seeds have more protein per weight than any other nut or seed.  Protein and fiber are important to turn off hunger hormones.  Plus healthy sources of fat (sesame, walnuts) help curb cravings a lot too.  So this salad will get you shredded baby. Yes, shredded.

5. Simple, Fresh, Versatile

Make this dressing with whatever ingredients you have on hand. No sesame? Use cashews or hemp instead. Or whatever seed or nut you have on hand honestly.  This is delicious with mint, basil, or dill instead of cilantro, and can be used as a dip, filling, or topping for any plant based burger, falafel ball, or, even throw a banana in and drink as a smoothie?! The sky is the limit.  Enjoy 🙂

PS: I have a few spots open for one-on-one counseling with me! Click here to schedule a free consult with me to see if I am right for you 🙂

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

snickerdoodles.jpg

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

signature1

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

powerplategraphichirez

Here are the three main bowls:

1. Mexican Bowl

28809647504_06e6169971_o

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

29399254976_b386292f42_o

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

29399247216_1ce82809ac_o

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!

 

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

vegquesadillas

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!

Processed with VSCO

Nut, Ginger, and Chocolate Radiance Bars

Your search for a healthy crowd-pleasing holiday treat ends here. These are perfectly sweet and satisfying with a warming hint of ginger, and an irresistible combination of crunch and chocolatey creaminess.  Please watch the recipe video from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com for the original recipe.  It is my favorite recipe video of all time, beautiful videography ❤ and the recipe is truly delicious.

20151224_105109

Makes about 24 bars

  • 10 coconut date rolls
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3.5oz 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Watch video
  2. Combine date rolls together by smushing them with a fork on a plate and add to a medium saucepan over low heat with coconut oil, almond butter, and grated ginger. Mix well to combine
  3. Add in millet, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and salt and mix well
  4. Line a 13” x 9” pan with parchment paper and press mixture evenly into pan
  5. Melt chocolate and spread over the top. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  6. Cover and freeze for about an hour. Cut into 24 bars. Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

20151224_104939-1

1 Bar (based on 24 bar yield):
Calories 140
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 8g
Total Fat 12g
Fiber 2g
Cholesterol 0mg

20151224_105132

Why these bars make you radiant?

  • Sweetened with fruit with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; preventing blood sugar spike and crash which ultimately prevents depression, fatigue, and cravings for more sugar
  • Coconut oil, although the gold standard saturated fat source, should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some unrefined high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. *read more about coconut + coconut oil in article below!
  • Almonds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from damage; preventing disease, inflammation, muscle soreness, and keeping skin glowing preventing wrinkles
  • Ginger is well known for its powers of healing indigestion and migraine headaches. Ginger also has potent anti-inflammatory properties
  • Millet is a whole grain, a complex carbohydrate helping to maintain stable energy levels throughout the day. It also has protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Walnuts contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which convert to the most abundant fatty acid in our brains, DHA. Omega-3s in the diet improve focus and cognitive function, and they have also been shown to decrease inflammation leading to heart disease.
  • Raw pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of minerals like zinc, which is important for immune system function as well as formation of proteins and DNA. Pumpkin seeds also have vitamins like the antioxidant vitamin E mentioned previously.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These flavonoids may decrease oxidation (damage) from LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Also, chocolate contains many minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium

20151224_105232

20151224_105331

*Coconut Oil Info:

“Few foods have been at once as maligned and acclaimed as coconut oil. Because it’s the most concentrated source of saturated fat in the food supply—even higher than lard or butter—some view it as a notorious health villain. Not surprisingly, it rests atop the “avoid” column of mainstream healthy-heart-food lists.

Others view coconut oil as a fountain of youth and the greatest health discovery in decades. These advocates claim that coconut oil can provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, digestive disturbances, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV, kidney disease, osteoporosis, overweight, Parkinson’s disease, and many other serious conditions. So what’s the truth?

Based on the available science, coconut oil is neither a menace nor a miracle food. Coconut oil should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. On the other hand, whole coconut should be treated in much the same way as other high-fat plant foods—enjoyed primarily as a whole food. As such, it’s loaded with fiber, vitamin E, and healthful phytochemicals, and has powerful antimicrobial properties.

The relative health effects of coconut oil consumption remain somewhat uncertain. Some people believe that eating coconut oil does no harm because it’s cholesterol-free; others claim it’s harmful because it lacks essential fatty acids. But we can’t ignore the fact that in many parts of the world where coconut and coconut oil are the principal sources of dietary fat, the rates of chronic disease, including CAD, are low. There is one major caveat: the benefits seem to apply only when coconut products are consumed as part of a diet rich in high-fiber plant foods and lacking processed foods.

The people of the Marshall Islands provide a poignant example. The traditional Marshallese diet employed a wide variety of coconut products, which furnished an estimated 50 to 60 percent of total calories. Seventy years ago, when this diet was standard fare, diabetes was pretty much unheard of. When their indigenous diet gave way to a Western-style diet of processed foods and fatty animal products, diabetes rates escalated even though coconut products continued to be featured prominently in the diet.

Coconut oil is so often blacklisted by health-care providers mainly because approximately 87 percent of its fat is saturated. Many people imagine saturated fat as a single tyrant that clogs arteries, but different types of saturated fats exist. They contain fatty acid chains whose lengths contain from 4 to 30 carbon atoms. Depending on the length of the carbon chain, these fatty acids have very different effects on blood cholesterol levels and on health.

The most common saturated fatty acids are lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Their carbon-chain length and main food sources are:

  • lauric acid (12 carbon atoms): coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil
  • myristic acid (14 carbon atoms): dairy products, coconut, palm oil, palm kernel oil, nutmeg oil
  • palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms): palm oil, animal fats
  • stearic acid (18 carbon atoms): cocoa butter, mutton fat, beef fat, lard, butter

Saturated fatty acids with 12 to 16 carbon atoms increase LDL cholesterol levels, while 18-carbon stearic acid doesn’t. However, stearic acid isn’t completely off the hook; some evidence shows high intakes could adversely affect other CVD risk factors, such as lipoprotein(a) and certain clotting factors.

As it happens, approximately three-quarters of the fat in coconut oil comprises saturated fatty acids known to raise blood cholesterol levels: 15 percent is saturated fatty acids with small carbon chains (6 to 10 carbon atoms), 47 percent is lauric acid, 18 percent is myristic acid, 9 percent is palmitic acid, and 3 percent is stearic acid. Case closed?

Well, not exactly. The predominant fatty acid, lauric acid, does raise total cholesterol, but it appears to raise HDL cholesterol to an even greater extent than LDL cholesterol, favorably altering the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. In addition, lauric acid is converted in the body into monolaurin, a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic compound—and coconut oil is among the richest food sources of lauric acid. There’s also evidence that coconut products have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. However, the compounds responsible (which include a variety of phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids) are largely eliminated when coconut oil is refined.”

– See more at: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/coconut-oil-menace-or-miracle/#sthash.ld9rrM3w.dpuf

6 Tips to Positive Self Talk

Look good, feel good. Honored to have an article published on my fashionable friend: Kelly Schneider’s blog diamondsfordimes where she shows how to make all the latest looks affordable. Check it out!  Thinking about my love for fashion, I am reminded of the dark side. The perfectionist part of me that always wished my waist was smaller and my boobs were bigger.. anyone out there relate? Let’s love ourselves in our own skin! Gawd Dangit!

6 Tips to Positive Self Talk:

fullydressed

Here are some tips to turn off those thoughts going off in our heads that are just, unnecessary. Since I began making these simple changes, I have been feeling more free and beautiful everyday. I hope that you feel the same.

  1. Notice Negativity: The first step to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is noticing the negative thoughts in the first place. Those thoughts we throw around casually, “This sucks”, “I’m so dumb.” We all do it. Once we notice it happening, we can harness it and change how we think, “I am growing and learning from my mistakes.”
  2. Get the Gratitude Attitude: Instead of thinking about what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do Try thinking through things to be grateful for when the negative thoughts come.
  3. The Opinion That Matters: The approval from others may seem important, but actually the approval from that we give ourselves is what really matters. The opinions of others will always change, but our opinions of ourselves will last a lifetime.
  4. Embrace Uniqueness: Remember in middle school when all we wanted was to fit in? Well, in adulting, only the standouts are the successful ones. Embrace what makes you special and use it to your advantage. Only after doing this can we create the best version of ourselves.
  5. Practice Self Care: Eating healthily, keeping good hygiene habits, and doing physical activity that we enjoy regularly will effortlessly add up to a positive outlook on life.
  6. Are your peeps positive? Notice the influence of others; it is easy to chime in when people are complaining. Try to be that one voice that says, “hey, things really aren’t all that bad, I’m not going to let that ruin my day.”

rholddahlquote

Fashion is nothing without a healthy body to show it off. I hope this article helped you to take control of your health and well being to shine every day in your own beautiful way. ❤