Saturday, October 5, 2013

Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Roasted Corn soup

Made this last week and I loved it so much I had to make it again! Great for the chilly fall weather. 

Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Roasted Corn soup
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of baked, peeled, chopped sweet potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen roasted corn
  • 2 cups black beans (rinse first if using canned beans)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. thyme (dried)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used Chile Molida)
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp. ground Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Lacinato kale (chiffonade style, add at end or just into bowl before serving)
  • Cilantro (chopped), added as garnish (as little or as much as you want!)
  • Cashew sour cream (recipe below)
  • Avocado (optional)
  1. Add onion to a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until it begins to become translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook another 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Stir in frozen roasted corn and let cook another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans (make sure they are rinsed well if using canned beans)
  4. Add the chopped cooked sweet potatoes. 
  5.  Add vegetable stock and add the following spices: cumin, thyme, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipotle powder) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove 2-3 cups of the soup and puree in a blender (I used my Vitamix). Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the puree.
  7. Return to the pot and stir.
  8.  Add kale to pot and stir. Alternatively, you can just put some of the kale into each bowl, add the soup on top and then stir. This helps to soften the kale but not overcook it so it retains all its good nutrition! But if you aren’t keen on chewy kale, feel free to add it in towards the end and cook it a bit to soften it.
  9.  Add a dollop of cashew sour cream to the top, along with some chopped cilantro and chopped avocado and serve. Yum! 
    Cashew sour cream:
  • Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
  • Discard soak water and put cashews in a blender (used my VitaMix)
  • Add juice from 1 lemon
  • Add 1/4 -1/2  cup water (start with 1/4 and add more as needed)
  • Add ground Himalayan sea salt to taste (usually about 1/4 tsp.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yum, just yum...

Just had an amazing dinner (if I do say so myself!) 

Baked Cheezy Spicy Cauliflower 
Quinoa Falafel with Tahini Avocado Dressing (I didn't have Vegg so I used ground flax/water for the egg substitute - need to experiment with the right amount as they were a bit crumbly. I baked mine and left out any oils. The dressing was good, but I added more lime to mine.)
Green salad with cucumbers, tomato, red bell pepper, Caesar dressing

The cauliflower was seriously to die for. I almost at the entire thing! 

Baked Cheezy Spicy Cauliflower: 
Heat oven to 375
1 large head of cauliflower (wash and cut into bite size pieces)

In a ziploc bag add the following spices: 

5 TBS Nutritional Yeast
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (Trader Joes' comes in a grinder) 
 - ingredients of smoke blend: paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, basil
1 TBS sesame seeds
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Shake up the seasonings in the ziploc bag, add the freshly washed cauliflower and shake away. 

Put coated cauliflower on a cookie sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Delicious! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another day...lots of yummy plant based foods!

Continuing my theme from yesterday of "what do I eat in a day" I thought I'd repeat that trend for what I ate on Monday. Started my day off with my typical "go to" breakfast. 

Breakfast - Big bowl of rolled oats. When I say big, I mean big! It fills me up and I am not hungry again until lunch...not to mention that oats are SO good for you. 

1 cup cooked rolled oats
3/4 cups blueberries
1/3 cup raspberries
1/2 banana
1 TBS raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 TBS chia seeds
1/2 TBS ground flax seed
1/2 white nectarine 

I was busy doing yard work so I kind of snacked for lunch
I had an apple and a white nectarine
Had some oil free tortilla chips and fresh salsa

Late afternoon snack - I made a chocolate mug cake from Happy Herbivore. I wanted a little treat after all my yard work. I make it like the recipe, but put half in the mug, drop in 1 TBS peanut butter and then the rest of it on top, then cook as noted in the recipe. It's just a little single serving cake. 

Sweet potato/black bean taco- easy peasy - just mix up black beans, sweet potato, cumin, chili powder, nutritional yeast, onion powder, cilantro and salsa and then put it into a warmed corn tortilla. I always bake a couple of sweet potatoes in the oven and then put them in the refrigerator for use during the week. During the warmer summer months I do it in the morning so it doesn't heat up my kitchen when it gets warm later in the day. The other great thing about doing this is that after they have cooled in the fridge, the skin just slides right off! 

1 head of lightly steamed broccoli - drizzled a little of my oil free Caesar dressing on it.

1 large mixed greens salad with cucumber, red bell pepper, tomatoes and my oil free Caesar dressing.

Yummy dinner. As a will not go hungry on a plant based diet! It fills you up and you don't feel stuffed and uncomfortable. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

What do I typically eat in a day?

Someone once asked my what a typical day of eating looks like from me. It was someone who was not plant based and having a hard time figuring out what I would eat. So I figured that during the month of September I would post what I eat several times during this month. 

Sunday, Sept. 1: 

I did a long run this morning so I wanted a little bit more than just my big bowl of oatmeal after I got back from my run. Before my run I had half a large banana...gotta fuel! 

Breakfast - Tofu scramble with black beans, red potatoes, kale, red onions, salsa (ended up with leftovers remaining)

Snack - Apple with a TBS of natural organic peanut butter (just peanuts, no added oils or preservatives)

Lunch - Big mixed green salad with cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and my vegan oil-free Caesar dressing. Toasted a whole wheat lavash wrap from Trader Joe's and sopped up the left over dressing with it! I LOVE this dressing. The whole wheat lavash wraps from TJs are vegan and also oil-free. 

Afternoon snack - Almond milk latte (home made) and a TBS of vegan chocolate chips (I needed a little chocolate fix).

Dinner - Leftover tofu scramble - I decided to have my leftovers from this morning, but I wanted to mix it up a bit so I made brown gravy, whole wheat drop biscuits and a cucumber salad from my home-grown green and lemon cucumbers. I never liked gravy when I was younger. Heck, I would probably only put two drops on mashed potatoes during Thanksgiving dinner. But the brown gravy from Happy Herbivore ROCKS! It's in Happy Herbivore CookbookI drizzled the gravy over my tofu scramble and then used it for my biscuits also. 

Dessert - Had my leftover half banana which I had cut up and frozen and drizzled one tablespoon of melted chocolate chips over it. 

A good day of yummy plant based goodness. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Live Healthy - Live Plant Based - Prevent, Reverse Heart Disease

Obviously, everyone has their own right to have their own beliefs and to live their life as they want to live it as long as others are not hurt in the process. 

I had a discussion the other day with a colleague who said to me, "if you could just eat anything you wanted and die 10 years earlier, would you go back to eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc? Would you die at 75 instead of 85 to have the pleasure of eating animals again?" My answer, of course, was absolutely NOT! His was that he would rather continue eating tons of meat, etc. and die at 75 than to have to eat healthy and die at 85. I'm pretty sure that with the way he eats he'll never make it to 75, but that is his choice. Sad for his son, but hey it's his choice. I was a bit taken aback by his answer. But then I realized that his idea of what eating a plant based diet consists of would be horrible tasteless food. While that may have been the norm 10 or more years ago, that simply is not the case now. I wasn't even sure how to deal with this answer and his belief. I had to think about it for a long time to figure out why someone would want to cut 10 years off their life for the 15 or 20 minutes of "pleasure" that they get from eating meat. His deal was meat, not cheese, not eggs, not milk, but meat. He'll eat any type of meat, and I mean ANY TYPE from any part of the animal. Glands, organs, sweet breads, head cheese, brains, hot dogs, etc. 

I finally figured out that his assumption is that I get no pleasure from the food I eat. I even described this amazing butternut squash veggie lasagna that I had made and he just said "yeah, right I bet that was tasty" (sarcasm, of course). The truth is that the food I eat is EXTREMELY satisfying, tasty, delicious and pleasurable - not at all tasteless. There are SO many plant based choices out there that are not only delicious but also healthy. Options abound. 

I then thought back to the fact that he didn't care if he cut 10 years off his life. Immediately, I thought of James Gandolfini who just recently died of a heart attack at 51. 51 is WAY too young to die. He had not been diagnosed with heart disease. Yes, he was overweight and we don't know what other medical ailments he may have had. It was reported that he had eaten a very meat laden, fat filled meal right before, including foie gras. He was an amazing actor, an advocate for pit bulls, a father to a teenage boy and a 1 year old daughter and died way too young. 

What you eat DOES make a difference in your health. Many people who have heart attacks aren't diagnosed with heart disease until they have a heart attack. And unfortunately, for many of them their first diagnosis of heart disease is the fatal attack and no treatment will help them. It's very sad because heart disease does not need to exist and can be prevented and reversed by eating a plant based diet. Tons of proof out there and I wish more people would believe it. 

I've been asked by several people "what, are you trying to live forever?" No, of course I'm not. But for as long as I live, I want to live healthy, pain free, medication free, and functional. I don't want to suffer from chronic illness and declining health. I want to live a vibrant, functional life. I want to be able to run into my 70s or further, to travel after I retire (that's a long way off), to be sharp of mind and wit, and to not depend on others to take care of me in my old age. I am willing to eat a healthy whole foods plant based diet in order to make sure I live this way because I truly believe in the science that shows how much better it is for us to eat this way. Do I think I am making a sacrifice? Absolutely not, the food I eat is delicious, healthy and nourishes my body. 

It made me think to talk to him about this and realize that as much as I want everyone I know to live a healthy, long life some just don't care if they do as long as they have that meal that gives them 15 or more minutes of pleasure. Sad, but true!