Nourish Your Body. Feed Your Soul. Shine Your Light.

Tag: vegan (Page 1 of 3)

Homemade Pizza Combos {Paleo, Vegan}

If you grew up in the 90s or knew a kid who did, chances are you at least knew about the tasty snack gems known as Combos.

These little hollowed out pretzel logs were stuffed with all sorts of flavor-packed goodness, from cheddar cheese to pepperoni pizza.

I could house a bag of Combos in a matter of minutes, and my absolute favorite flavor was Pizza. They were addictive!

And after taking a look at the ingredient list, I can see why.combos info

As a kid, I couldn’t have cared less about the ingredient lists of the foods I was eating.

(Which would explain why things like Toaster Strudels, Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, Sour Patch Kids, Dunkaroos, Funyuns, and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls were perfectly permissible snacks on a regular basis :))

But, as an adult, who feels better than I’ve ever felt, I do care.

I don’t follow a strict set of “rules,” per se, but I do make sure that the food I eat is real (not a chemical concoction), whole (an avocado vs. a Cheeto), unprocessed (is a plant vs. made in a plant) and health-promoting.

I prioritize the “fuel” I put in my body and make sure it’s high quality, going to give me energy, and make me feel good…because I like feeling good.

Don’t you? 🙂

I was inspired to “upgrade” Combos and bring some of the same flavors to a healthy snack bite. When Bill and our friend, Brian, tried one for the first time, they said it tasted like Pizza Combos…YES!

One of the best parts is that they are no-bake, so they come together quickly. These are snacks you (and your kids) could have every day!

paleo poppers pizza bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (I used Trader’s Joe’s jarred ones, since they were soaked in olive oil. If you only have dried tomatoes, soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes to soften them and add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the final recipe for moisture.)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
Some of the ingredients in this yummy recipe!

Some of the ingredients in this yummy recipe!

Coating (Optional but awesome)

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Process almonds in a food processor until they reach a fine meal, about 30-45 seconds.
  2. Add remaining ingredients through hemp seeds and process for about 60 seconds, or until the mixture looks like this and clumps together.clump The longer you process, the longer the oils from the nuts and seeds release and bind everything.
  3. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and set aside.
  4. In a mini food processor (or the bigger ones you just used), make the cashew coating, and process until it reaches a fine texture.
  5. Roll the dough balls in the coating and store them in a glass container in the refrigerator.
  6. Enjoy!IMG_9367

    And this is what my kitchen looked like afterwards...:o)

    Aaand this is what my kitchen looked like afterwards…:o) It’s okay to make a mess. It makes me feel like a mad scientist!

Beautifying Raw Purple Cabbage Slaw {Breast Cancer Prevention Month Recipe}

beautifyslaw

October is breast cancer awareness month.

I know several women who have survived and others who have lost their battle with this terrible disease. Chances are, you or someone you love has been affected. Cancer is a complex disease, so I don’t pretend to have all of the answers or solutions for how to fix or heal it.

Because this blog and my overall food philosophy focus on empowering you to nourish your body and transform your health, today’s post features a recipe that is full of beautifying, anticancer nutrients.

As many of you know, I strive to “upgrade” my diet and “add in” more of what is healing, nourishing and energizing…so we’re going to flip our focus today to breast cancer prevention.

All of us are aware that breast cancer exists and know that we don’t want to have it, but what have we learned about how to prevent it?

What can we do proactively to give our body the best chance to be well and protect ourselves against diseases like cancer in the first place? 

I’ve learned a lot from some incredible doctors, researchers and nutritionists over the years about what we can do help our body’s chances of staying well by eating a nutrient-rich diet.

Dr. Fuhrman, whose focus on anti-cancer nutrition has influenced how I eat, outlined his top tips for breast cancer prevention here.

One of his tips is to eat more foods like the ones outlined in this recipe, especially cabbage.
IMG_4355

Up until about a year ago, I had never bought purple cabbage and certainly hadn’t cooked with it.

I had tasted it sprinkled in to salad mixes before but never thought much about it until reading The Beauty Detox book by Kimberly Snyder and being introduced to this recipe, which Kimberly spins as a way to reduce crow’s feet.

Red cabbage is one of Dr. Fuhrman’s anti-cancer, anti-fat storage foods called GBOMBS. It contains powerful nutrients that help our body reduce inflammation and detoxify (get rid of harmful toxins that build up).

Those two processes are the SECRETS to losing weight, having clear and beautiful skin, and not getting sick. The more inflammation-fighting, detoxifying foods we eat, the better off we will be.

This recipe is also a much healthier option than most mayo-loaded slaws that we’re used to eating 🙂

And it’s really easy to prepare. Just like this paleo cole slaw I featured a few weeks ago that was a hit!

beautifyslaw

**If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you should have all of the main ingredients below (ACV, tamari, tahini and nutritional yeast or “nooch”). If not, check out this point where I covered what they are, why they’re good for us, and where we can buy them. Stocking a healthy pantry is KEY to eating well.**

Ingredients (Organic, when possible)

Optional Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • A few avocado slices
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives

Click here for the full recipe from Kimberly Snyder’s website and here to read all about nutritional yeast!

Happy National Kale Day! {Plus a NEW Kale Salad Recipe to Try}

Happy National Kale Day!

In all honesty, I had no idea this was even a “thing” until I woke up this morning and saw it all over twitter.

We love kale and all of the amazing health benefits it provides. It’s a super versatile super food.

kale

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore and had the privilege of meeting Mr. Kale himself – Brad of Brad’s Raw Kale Chips

Total food nerd moment 🙂

brad

I’ve featured kale in several recipes on this blog in addition to the one I’m sharing today! I use it in everything from salads, soups and sautees to smoothies and frittatas.

To celebrate National Kale Day, try one of these recipes, the *new* salad below, or one of the others on the National Kale Day website:

  1. Taste the Rainbow Kale Salad
  2. Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
  3. Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
  4. Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
  5. Peachy Keen Kale Salad
  6. Tuscan Bean Soup (scroll to the bottom of the page next to the picture of the soup)
  7. Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

Kale leaves after being pulled off of the pretty purple stems

I was on Facebook the other day and was intrigued by the headline, “The Recipe That Will Make You Fall In Love With Kale All Over Again” on MindBodyGreen’s page.

Being the kale lover that I am, I had to click on it.

Reading through the ingredient list piqued my interest, so Bill and I made it for dinner using the purple kale that we had in our fridge. I’m so glad we did!

The lemon juice broke down the bitterness of the kale (as it always does!), and the combo of the sweetness from the dates, complex flavors of the curry powder, bite of the ginger, tanginess of the tahini and crunch of the pumpkin seeds was a real mouth party!

kale salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 big bunch of kale (any variety), thinly chopped (about 5 cups)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (usually in the international section of the grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 3 Medjool dates, pit removed and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

We topped ours with some raw pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch 🙂

Click here for the full recipe from MindBodyGreen!

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we've found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

Ingredients for the salad. This is the best (and cheapest!) tahini we’ve found. We bought it at a Mediterranean grocery store/cafe nearby called Cedar Cafe

Minty Watermelon Mojito Salad

Mojitos are my favorite cocktail.  The combo of tart lime and smooth mint is so cooling and refreshing and perfect for summer!

Mmm, fresh mint, limes, and seedless cucumber

Mmm, fresh mint, limes, and seedless cucumber

I remember my first mojito experience.  

I had just come home from a semester abroad in Granada, Spain and was really into everything about the Hispanic culture from the food to the music and dancing. I loved their energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life!

When my friend Allyson invited me to go with her and some friends to The Latin Palace in Fells Point shortly after returning from my trip, I was all in. I had a blast as I was led through all sorts of Latin dances for hours!

When it was time to take a break from dancing, I was introduced to what would become my favorite mixed drink – mojitos.

WOW!

It’s been almost 10 years, and I still don’t think I’ve had a mojito that was as perfectly prepared as my first.

As I was looking for recipes to prepare today for a Memorial Day cookout, I stumbled across this one for a minty watermelon mojito salad.

How could I resist?? 

Watermelon + mint + lime + cucumber = the ultimate warm weather refresher.

It’s DELICIOUS and was really simple to prepare, too. This will be a hit at any cookout, picnic or party, and I guarantee kids will love it, too!

Minty Watermelon Mojito Salad

Ridiculously refreshing minty mojito watermelon salad

Ridiculously refreshing minty watermelon mojito salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (here’s how to pick a perfect watermelon)
  • 1.5 cups seedless cucumber, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, sliced thin (“chiffonade” if we’re being fancy about it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • Zest from two limes (here’s the zester I use)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Click here for the full recipe from one of my new favorite blogs – Stupid Easy Paleo!

Thank you to all of the men and women who selflessly serve our country, especially our friend, Joe, who recently left for a multi-year tour in Germany!

Super Simple Asparagus Spears

Asparagus is in season, so I couldn’t wait to make one of my favorite, super simple springtime recipes starring this beauty detox vegetable. Check out all the cool things asparagus helps your body do!

  • Create the proper electrolyte balance (and reduce puffiness) because of its potassium content
  • Cleanse the digestive system and get rid of toxins because of its high fiber content
  • Better absorb calcium
  • Prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones

To prep asparagus spears, you’ll first need to snap off the “tough” bottom part. Hold the spear with both hands and bend until the bottom snaps off. It will naturally break off where the tender portion ends and the tough, woody part begins. Use one spear as a guide for where to cut the rest of the bunch.

One of the tastiest ways to prepare asparagus is to roast it, but I also enjoy it in salads and soups. If you prefer, you could grill this recipe, too!

Super Simple Asparagus Spears

Perfect for the spring!

Perfect for the spring!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: toasted almond slices

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss asparagus in the oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place stalks on a foil-lined baking sheet, so they’re not touching, and roast for 8-10 minutes. (Well-cooked spears are tender when pierced with a fork but still bright green in color. Be careful not to overcook. We don’t want limp and dull green asparagus!)
  3. Remove the asparagus from the oven and dust with lemon zest. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top for extra flavor, and top with toasted almond slices for some crunch!

Is it your first time trying asparagus? You might notice that your pee smells funny when you go to the bathroom after eating asparagus, but that’s totally normal!

10-Minute Broccolini with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic

Aside from being delicious, the best part about this recipe is that you can whip it up in 10 minutes!

It’s simple, flavorful, and really good for you.

I just started cooking with broccolini in the past few months and really love it! The stalks are thinner than broccoli, so I find that I’m able to eat the whole stalk, which means less food is wasted.

Making this dish also gave us an excuse to keep using our perfectly paleo parmesan cheeze – we couldn’t stop eating it!

If you missed the post from a few months ago about broccoli, here’s why broccoli and relatives of broccoli like broccolini are so good for you! Tom Malterre, one of the most renowned nutrition experts, even calls broccoli “the DNA whisperer.”

10-Minute Broccolini with Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic

This dish was incredible! We will definitely be making it again.

This dish was incredible! We will definitely be making it again.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 bunches of broccolini, trim off about a 1/2 inch on the bottom end
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups (about one container) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat.
  2. Add garlic and sauté  for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  3. Add broccolini and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add water and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 3 minutes.
  5. Add salt and black pepper; cook, uncovered, 4 minutes or until broccolini is crisp-tender but still bright green.
  6. Top with paleo parmesan cheeze and enjoy!

Green Goddess Guacamole!

Think of a food you dislike.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you know you don’t like it, and there’s no way anyone can get you to try it…right?

Until about 4 years ago, guacamole was one of those foods for me. Why? Because I was CONVINCED that guacamole had mayonnaise in it…and I’ve always disliked mayonnaise.

One day at work, we had a healthy cooking demo taught by a health coach like me, and we were learning to make none other than…guacamole!  I had all but made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I realized that it was NOT made with mayonnaise and that everyone else was trying it, so…

I gave in to peer pressure and was shocked to find out I LOVED IT!

What had I been missing??

Ever since that day, I’ve been an avocado and guacamole lover.

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat AND are known as a beauty detox food. Here are just a few of their awesome health benefits:

  • Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals promote moisturizing from the inside, which means healthy, smooth, radiant skin (a true beauty food!)
  • The healthy fat helps our bodies better absorb antioxidants from other fruits and veggies
  • The antioxidant they contain – glutathione – is a powerful cancer-fighter
  • The combo of good fat and fiber helps control blood sugar

My favorite ways to use avocados are in dips, soups, desserts, mixed in to salads, and (of course!) in guacamole. I found a super simple recipe that used a slightly different combo of ingredients than the usual ones, so I thought I would test it out.

Two of the other ingredients in this guac – cilantro and scallions (AKA green onions) – are also great for you. Cilantro helps the body detoxify and onions are one of the top anti-cancer GBOMBS foods, so enjoy them all you want!

Green Goddess Guacamole

Creamy guacamole goodness

Creamy guacamole goodness

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled (here’s how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH lime juice (don’t sub the bottled kind)
  • 3-4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced (also called scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours to be a bit chunky, so we don’t mash it too much.

We love dipping fresh veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, red peppers, and sugar snap peas into our guac, along with these tortilla chips!

Perfectly Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Broccoli with non-dairy "snow" sprinkled on top. Yum!

Broccoli with non-dairy “snow” sprinkled on top. Yum!

When I found out that dairy products were triggering a lot of the health issues that had plagued me since childhood, I started to give them up little by little. I had been eating foods that I thought were good for me my whole life that had actually been harming me.

The more I cut out, the better I felt. It seemed like a miracle!

The last two foods I took out of my diet (after much resistance!) were yogurt…and my beloved Parmesan cheese.

Pasta, pizza, zucchini, ravioli, Beefaroni, zucchini, summer squash, and broccoli all tasted infinitely better when covered with a generous coating of Parmesan cheese.

I used it so often, I didn’t know how I would live without it and struggled to find alternatives that were even remotely comparable. Fortunately I’ve found a recipe that looks and feels just like it and tastes “cheesy” enough to satisfy! It’s considered paleo, too, because it doesn’t contain any dairy. (I don’t follow the paleo diet exclusively, but whenever I’m looking for recipes, I use it as part of my search since paleo automatically means it’s dairy and gluten free.)

The best part? It’s one of the easiest recipes I’ve made and has only 3 ingredients 🙂 Hooray for simplicity!

Perfectly Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Parmesan cheese made with "nooch" and cashews!

Parmesan cheese made with “nooch” and cashews!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest!)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix it in a food processor until it is the texture of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle it on cooked veggies, salads, pasta, or on anything else you’d normally use Parmesan cheese. I used it on sauteed broccolini with tomatoes and garlic the other day and on my salads throughout the week, and it was so good! YUM!

You Had Me at “Fudgesicle”

With the weather finally resembling spring and the temps hitting almost 80 degrees today (yay!), I was inspired to share a new recipe for a deliciously decadent summertime (or anytime!) treat…

Fudgesicles!

I remember buying 18-count boxes of fudge pops when I graduated from college and enjoying them every day. Since they were a low-calorie AND sugar-free treat, I thought I was making a healthy choice!

Yum! Homemade fudgesicles!

Yum! Homemade fudgesicles!

Out of curiosity, I looked up the ingredient list for Popsicles Sugar Free Fudgesicles, and this is what I found:

nonfat milk, maltodextrin, lactitol, polydextrose, cocoa (processed with alkali), sorbital, whey, coconut oil, microcrystalline cellulose, tricalcium phosphate, mono- & diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 65 & 80, carrageenan, malt powder, salt, cellulose gum, aspartame, artificial flavor, acesulfame potassium, citric acid

Really? Do we need over 20 ingredients in a fudgesicle?? I don’t even know what half of those things are, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need them in my body.

I’m excited to share this recipe because it’s 2-in-1. The same recipe that makes fudgesicles ALSO makes creamy chocolate pudding if you leave it unfrozen. How cool is that?

This recipe is dairy-free and doesn’t contain any refined sugar (or the laundry list of chemicals in the store-bought kind!), and it results in a rich taste and creamy melt-in-your-mouth texture because of the avocado and coconut milk.

Bill and I and two friends tried these for the first time the other day, and we couldn’t tell the difference between these and the “real thing!”

Creamy Chocolate (Avocado) Fudgesicles (Dairy-Free!)

So decadent, chocolately and delicious!

So decadent, chocolately and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 6 medjool dates (pits removed, soaked and then drained)*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk) – I used full fat coconut milk to make these nice and rich. You can find the coconut milk at any grocery store, often in the international aisle. I use this kind.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Click here for the full recipe from Tasty Yummies!

Ingredients laid out for the fudgesicles!

Ingredients laid out for the fudgesicles!

We bought the popsicle holders at Home Goods, and they were really cheap! You can also order them online here.

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce!

It'll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

It’ll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

One of the reasons a lot of us don’t take the time to cook or try out new recipes is because we are afraid of failing, fearful that we will “mess it up” and that it will have been a waste of money on food.

We’ve all been there, right?

I often experiment with recipes I’ve never made before and ingredients I’ve never used. I learn what I like through trial and error and take the “will this really taste good?” guesswork out of it for you 🙂

As I continue to focus on a dairy-free lifestyle because of how much better I feel eating this way, I’m sometimes challenged to find comparable alternatives to dairy-based favorites.

In my last post, I shared one of the key ingredients I now use in my cooking to impart some “cheesy” flavor. I promised that one of the recipes I would share with you would be a dairy-free nacho cheese sauce (AKA “noocho” cheese, since nutritional yeast or “nooch” is what gives it its “cheesy” taste).

Most of the time when I prepare new recipes, they turn out great and taste delicious, and I can’t wait to share them with friends and family.

Other times…they don’t. That’s what happened with noocho cheese attempt #1.

Not-so-nacho cheese...first recipe attempted - won't be making this one again!

Not-so-nacho cheese…first recipe attempted – won’t be making this one again!

It lacked flavor, and no matter what I added or even if I heated it up on the stove, I couldn’t get it to taste right…and it definitely didn’t resemble nacho cheese.

Fortunately, using a recipe from this cookbooknoocho cheese attempt #2 was a HIT!

Bill and I made it on Friday night and brought it to a friend’s house as an appetizer, and they liked it, too. Check out the recipe below. You will not regret making this stuff! 🙂

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Ingredients*

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and then rinsed (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 roasted red pepper (rinsed from a jar or prepared from fresh)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (tamari is gluten-free soy sauce and is in the Asian food aisle…or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Click here for the full recipe!

We served it with our favorite healthier chips, which I will share more about in my next post! I enjoyed some leftover sauce the next day with baby carrots.  You have to try this!

*There’s a good chance that a couple of things in this recipe aren’t already in your pantry…don’t let that stop you! Ordering online at Amazon or Vitacost is super easy, or you can pick them up the next time you’re at the store.

If you don’t know where to find something, ask. I’ve found that people are happy to help!

  • Tahini (find in the international section of most grocery stores, in any natural food store, or online.)
  • Roasted red peppers (sold in glass jars in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • Nutritional yeast (you can buy this online at Amazon, Vitacost or other retailers, or at any natural food store, Wegmans, Whole Foods, MOMs, or Roots)

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