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Archive for the ‘Healthy eating’ Category


CleanEating

Staples to begin the 10-Day Clean Eating Challenge

A friend recently told me she is going to take some time to eat foods that are both clean and vegan.  She said she has done this before and ended up feeling fabulous. I’ve decided to accept the clean eating challenge for 10 days, beginning this Thursday, April 13. Today I ventured to Whole Foods and stocked up on lentils, greens, grains, walnuts, berries and other staples that will help me to cook vegan, clean food that is also yummy. I also bought some organic flour and yeast, because I’m going to be making bread.

 

In case you’re unfamiliar with what clean eating is, it basically means you avoid processed foods and eat whole foods. I’m vegetarian, not 100% vegan, so I’ll also be adding the vegan component to my challenge.

Join me in the 10-day vegan, clean-eating challenge!

 

* I will take a break from the challenge Easter Sunday, but be back at it the following Monday.

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Crispy Chiimichangas with black bean filling

Crispy Chiimichangas with black bean filling

I had never made chimichangas before but I liked the sound of them: yummy rice, beans, corn rolled up into a crispy tortilla and served with guacamole and salsa. They are not hard to make. This version is vegan and because they are baked in a hot oven instead of fried in oil, they have less fat. Even though baked, not fried, they still turned out crispy and delicious.

Chimichangas

1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup brown rice, cooked
¼ cup black olives, sliced
½ cup corn kernels – frozen works well
2 tbsp. green chilies (you can buy these canned)
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves or ½ tbsp.. dried cilantro
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
Salt & pepper (to taste)
5 or 6 whole wheat taco size tortillas

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  1. Mix together all ingredients except tortillas.
  2. Scoop about 2/3 cup of filling into the first tortilla. Fold the ends over and roll up the tortilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
  4. Place chimichangas on the cookie sheet, seam side down. Brush with olive oil.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, turn tortillas over and brush other side with olive oil. Return to oven for another 5 minutes. Should be crispy and light brown.
  6. Serve with guacamole and salsa.

Serves 2 to 3 people, depending on appetites.

Chimichangas with fresh cilantro and avocado slices

Chimichangas with fresh cilantro and avocado slices

 

* This is week 4 of my “quest” to make a vegan recipe from every state in the U.S. during 2015.

 

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Crock pot of Borscht

Crock pot of Borscht

What type of foods do they eat in Alaska? I would guess they eat a lot of hot soup because it’s cold. When I researched info about Alaskan cuisine online, Borscht came up several times. Makes sense because Alaska is only separated from Russia by a narrow body of water, and Russians and East Europeans, including the Polish, favor this dish.

Borscht is a hearty, nourishing hot soup. It contains a powerhouse of healthy ingredients. I found several recipes online and created a version for the crock pot. It turned out great. I highly recommend this savory soup for a cold winter evening.

Borscht

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/3 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup (about ½ can) white beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup canned beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
32 oz. container of low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 tbsp. chopped dill
1 tsp. onion powder
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper

  1. Place all ingredients except canned beans and beets into crock pot. Stir to mix them together. Set to low heat and cover. Crock for about 5-6 hours.
  2. About 20 minutes before serving, add the white beans and beets.
  3. Serve. Delicious with a veggie Reuben sandwich!
    Makes enough soup for about six or seven people.
Hot bowl of Borscht and a veggie Reuben sandwich

Hot bowl of Borscht and a veggie Reuben sandwich

* This is week 3 of my “quest” to make a vegan recipe from every state in the U.S. during 2015. Since there are 50 states and 52 weeks, the first week is a Native American recipe and the last week will be a holiday recipe. Inspiration for my quest came from Chris Guillebeau and his recent book The Happiness of Pursuit. Check them out!

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Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
with Black Beans and Spinach

While researching the foods of Native Americans, corn kept appearing as a common ingredient. Other vegetables eaten by early Native Americans included sweet potatoes, squash and beans.  I thought about making a fry bread, which seems to be a popular Native American recipe, but decided instead to make a chowder. I used ingredients that would have been available to Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

The chowder turned out great. I put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cooked it on low for about five hours. Native Americans might have left it stewing over a fire for a while and gotten the same effect.  This is a heart-healthy, gluten-free, vegan dish. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato/Corn Chowder with Black Beans and Spinach

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into square chunks
1 cup frozen baby corn
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh baby spinach
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 tbsp. parsley
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper

  1. Place all ingredients except spinach and black beans into crock pot.
  2. Cook in the crock pot on low heat for about 5 hours.
  3. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the black beans and spinach.

Makes 3 servings.

* This is week 1 of my “quest” to make a vegan recipe from every state in the U.S. during 2015. Since there are 50 states and 52 weeks, the first week is a Native American recipe and the last week will be a holiday recipe. Inspiration for my quest came from Chris Guillebeau and his recent book The Happiness of Pursuit. Check them out!

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Fricasse de Seitan

Fricasse de Seitan

Recently I discovered a new dish – Cuban Fricase de Pollo. It is an ideal Sunday dinner dish because it takes a bit more time and effort to make than you might want to spend on a weeknight and it also provides great leftovers for a lunch or two during the week. And it is absolutely delicious and 100% worth the effort. The mixture of sweet and savory in this dish make every forkful a treat. Nutritious too. I substitute seitan for the chicken, and it works superb. Here is my vegan version of this oh so tasty Cuban dish:

Cuban Fricase de Seitan (Cuban-style stew)

¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup orange juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 oz. package of seitan strips
1 green pepper, thinly sliced (stem and seeds removed)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1” pieces (peel optional)
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
2 tbsp. capers plus 1 tsp. caper juice from jar
¼ cup raisins
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. cilantro
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Fricasse de Seitan with white rice

Awesome Cuban stew. Works well with white rice.

1) Mix together the lime juice, orange juice, garlic and ground black pepper. Add the seitan strips. Let sit in marinade for about 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sauté the onion in olive oil in a deep skillet on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and sauté another 5-10 minutes.
3) Remove pepper and onion from skillet. Add diced potatoes and more olive oil. Stir fry about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Add the seitan and stir fry with the potatoes a few minutes. Add more oil if, needed. Add in all of the remaining marinade.
4) Then add all of the remaining ingredients and stir together, including the pepper and onion and all spices. Add a little water if needed. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes so flavors can meld together.
5) Traditionally served with white rice.

Makes four main-dish servings.

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Vegan Creamy Ranch Dressing

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

Bottled dressings don’t compare to homemade. Making salad dressing from scratch is much easier than you might think. This creamy ranch dressing was so delicious I had to share it on the blog. AND it is vegan and easy to make.

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

4 tbsp. Vegenaise
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes

1) Whisk all ingredients together.
2) Pour over salad and toss. Toss with greens about 10 minutes before serving for best taste. Delicious with any types of greens but stands up well to hearty lettuces and sliced veggies like cucumbers. Great with a chopped salad.

DELICIOUS!

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Snacks for your game day celebration don’t have to be fat-laden dips and deep fried. Appetizers can be both healthy and delicious. What’s better than guacamole when watching the game? It’s good-for-you when paired with whole wheat crackers or tortilla chips (especially if you use low-sodium organic corn chips). If you like spinach and artichoke dip, I have a recipe for one that replaces all of the saturated fat with healthy fats, but doesn’t short you on deliciousness. I’ve included several healthy and yummy appetizers below! Enjoy!

Guacamole

Delicious and easy to make.

4 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced  OR 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 purple onion, diced fine
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed OR 1/2 tbsp. dried cilantro
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Low-sodium salt & pepper

1) Peel avocados and remove pits. Mash with potato masher or fork until only slightly lumpy.
2) Blend in other ingredients.
3) Serve with tortilla chips

Note: In a pinch and short on ingredients – avocados mashed with garlic powder, salt & pepper will still make a tasty dip.

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Chickpea Spread

Hearty and Yummy

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Chickpea Spread

Chickpea Spread

½ red pepper, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. Vegenaise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper

1) In large bowl, mash chickpeas. Can be chunky, but there should be no whole chickpeas left. I used a potato masher.
2) Add diced red pepper and stir.
3) In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture and blend together.
4) Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or your favorite crackers.

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Cranberry Salsa

Deliciously different

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sectioned and chopped
2 tsp. grated orange rind
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1-2 jalpeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (dried ok if no fresh on hand)
1/8 tsp. salt

1) Mash cranberries with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until cranberries are coarsely chopped.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients.
3) Cover and chill at least two hours.
4) Serve with sweet potato chips or your favorite tortilla chips.

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For the spinach artichoke dip recipe and other healthy Greens recipes, check out the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Greens at www.fiftyshadesofgreens.com

 

 

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