Saturday, July 25, 2015


When I have something left over, I figure out SOMETHING to make with it because I cannot stand throwing food out (unless it's growing something on it!). For dinner last night and lunch today, we had Mexican Potatoes, so we had three baked Yukon golds left that we didn't use. Thinking quickly, I grated a big 'ol zucchini, one carrot, and chopped up half a package of Sweet Earth Chipotle Seitan Strips left over from the paninis we made the other day.  I added some smoked paprika and a little pink salt and gently mixed it all together. I spread the mixture out in our gargantuan skillet and cooked it over medium heat, letting the moisture cook out and become a little crispy before flipping the "hash" around. The result...a really tasty healthy, oil-free meal!

Don't throw away leftovers. Figure out how you can incorporate them into another meal!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Educations Lessons: Reviving Greens

Don't throw away your lettuce, kale, chard, or other greens just because they're a little wilted. If they still look green, you can easily revive them with a simple trick. Place wilting greens in a large bowl of room-temperature water for 10-15 minutes. This causes the turgor pressure to fill the plants' cells back up with water, which has dehydrated over time. Refrigerators and freezers tend to be low in humidity, so produce can dehydrate quickly. That's why your fridge has a produce bin. The bin holds in humidity to prevent dehydration. After your greens have soaked in water, add three to four cups of ice into the bowl, moving the cubes around so they can melt. This raises the water temperature and crisps up your greens. When the ice is all melted, you can then spin the water out and serve. It should be crispy and delicious, just like you bought it in the store!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sweet Potato Tostadas

I love a combination of sweet and spicy, so these layered Sweet Potato Tostadas fit the bill. Also, this is a great meal to make that allows your family members or friends choose their own toppings!
Serves 4.

8-10 Corn tortillas*
2 cans of fat-free refried beans (we used Trader Joe's), warmed in microwave
4 baked sweet potatoes (these can be made ahead of time and warmed just before you eat)
Frozen organic corn, defrosted (we used Trader Joe's)
2 tomatoes, chopped
Lettuce, chopped
Salsa (we used our homemade Salsa Fresca)
Mashed avocado (optional)

* To bake your own OIL-FREE tostada shell/base, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tortillas directly on rack and bake for 13-16 minutes, until lightly brown, watching them closely so they don't burn. Test to see if they are done by pinching off the edge of one. If it's crispy, they're ready!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Education Lessons: Making the Transition - Cold Turkey!

This post may seem a bit hard-core, but track with me until the end. :::::::::evil grin::::::::::

If you've come to a place in your life where you know that becoming a whole foods plant-based eater is the path you need to just have to take it. That literally means cleaning out your home of all animal products, dairy, and eggs and re-stocking it with whole foods, plant-based, life-giving foods. Some people want to "eat up the meat in the freezer" and transition slowly. This is definitely one path you can take. You can still get some great benefits from this gradual transition. However, I am going to try to convince you that going "cold turkey" is actually the easiest way.

I just watched an awesome video about a woman who had cancer. She had the cancer removed through surgery. Then, she had to go in for periodic checkups every three months. During that time, she could never get her mind off cancer. Scheduling and going in for checkups was keeping her mind perpetually on cancer. Finally, she stopped going to the appointments and getting scans done. She focused on healing her body through a WFPB diet and exercise, and she started to really live life. I am using this story as an analogy. When we transition slowly into a WFPB diet, your mind is still on the food you are trying to move away from.  You're wondering how much you have left, you feel guilty when you eat it, and you become conflicted in the process. Your mind is not 100% on becoming a whole foods plant-based eater. Your energy is being shared -- with your old lifestyle and your new lifestyle. Making a clean break allows you to truly walk through the door into your new life, not leaving your shoes and car keys behind in another location. Everything about you is "all in" and that, in and of itself, is the recipe for success.

So, will jumping in 100% be easy? No, it won't. However, with the right mindset, you will fully enjoy the excitement of cleaning out the old and bringing in the new. Will this cost a lot of money? The answer to that question varies. You CAN do this inexpensively if you're willing to put in a little work upfront. You will stop spending so much money on healthcare, and that can be re-purposed for cookbooks, foods, and conferences. Once you cross over to the other side, you will snap off that rope-held bridge to your old life and walk with a new spirit. Your old life was on shaky ground anyway. A time bomb ticking. Why not beat the clock?

One of the things I told myself when we (as a family) decided to go cold turkey was that it would be like visiting a foreign country. I would have to eat the food they ate in that country. I would have to have an open mind. I would try things I wouldn't normally try -- maybe to avoiding starving!! If I thought of this new lifestyle in the same way, it would help. I would be going to a new place that would heal me -- inside and out.

Also, it helped to remember that the foods I used to love (McDonalds McGriddles, salads loaded with creamy dressing, baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, and bacon bits etc.) had not served me well. They led to becoming a Type 2 diabetic and grossly obese. There was no turning back.

I know this is a trite and old saying, but if *I* can do this....ANYONE can! I became enthusiastic about cooking. I scoured WFPB cookbooks, read books on the topic of plant-based nutrition, and shared my findings with like-minded (and even NOT like-minded) people.  I put my energy into getting well and helping others do the same. I never felt better in my life!

So, consider walking swiftlythrough that door into a new lifestyle. Honestly, it's much easier than a slow transition. I have talked to hundreds of people who have transitioned, and the people who went cold turkey said it was actually easier than they thought. Those who eased into it struggled more. It's that "thinking about cancer" mentality. It's hard to get over a break-up when you go to every place you and your love went on dates. So, LET'S DO THIS!!!!

“The Secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Monday, July 20, 2015

Un-Planned Meals: Sandwiches, Pizza, Burgers, Baked Potatoes, Tacos

Roasted Red Pepper Panini Sandwich
Here are a few of our favorite quick meals that have the veggies (and sometimes beans) right in them! It's OK to have sandwiches for dinner!!!

Paninis (Toasted Sandwiches)
You can make these out of anything you'd like in a sandwich. I love roasted red bell peppers (roasted without oil), spinach, mushrooms, low-fat or fat-free hummus, mashed avocado, BBQ sauce, and tempeh bacon (if I have some made up!). You can add tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, or anything you like! And, you don't need oil on the panini press if its non-stick (which mine is, thankfully!).

Spinach Black Bean Burgers
NOTE: Makes 4 small patties, so double recipe if you need more!

1 cup spinach, tightly pack and chopped finely
15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup frozen corn (optional)
2 T ketchup
1 T yellow mustard
1 t onion powder (granulated)
1 t garlic powder (granulated)
1/3 cup instant oats
1/8 t salt (optional)
a couple of grinds of black pepper
NOTE: For spicier burgers, add Sriracha sauce to the mix.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mash beans in a bowl until no full bean shows, but is not too mushy.
Add chopped spinach, seasonings, ketchup and mustard and stir well.
Form 4 patties and place on cookie sheet on parchment paper.
Bake 15-20 minutes, flip, and bake for 15 more minutes.
Serve on buns with avocado, steam-fried mushrooms, tomato, BBQ sauce,
or whatever else your little heart desires.

Adapted from “My Beef with Meat”

Make-Your-Own Pizzas
Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (or any pre-made crust made from whole foods and no oil)
Sauce (I like to make a simple oil-free marinara or pesto as a base to my pizza
Suggested Toppings: Mushrooms, Spinach, Colored Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Artichoke Hearts, Black Olives, Kalamata Olives, crumbled baked (marinated) tempeh or tofu, etc.)
Homemade vegan parmesan cheese to sprinkle on after baked

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Spread pizza dough on parchment paper on a baking sheet or on a non-stick pizza pan. Spread on your sauce or pesto. Add toppings.
Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until dough is crispy and lightly browned.

Cheezy Baked Potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and prick potatoes. Place on a silpat on a baking sheet in oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (for large potatoes) or longer if needed.
Cut potatoes open. Mash up potato with a fork.

Either add 2 T. of nutritional yeast flakes, a pinch or two of salt, and some unsweetened plant-based milk. Mash that all in to create a creamy, cheezy potato...


Make "Oat" Cheese Sauce and pour it on your potato!
Serve with steamed broccoli.


Add black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, cilantro (if you like it), and salsa to make Tex-Mex potatoes. You can even add nutritional yeast flakes or "Oat" Cheese Sauce to "cheeze" it up!

Hawaiian BBQ Tempeh Tacos
1 package of tempeh
1 package organic button or baby bella mushrooms, washed and
chopped into small pieces (optional)
2 T. tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 - 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Taco shells
Fresh pineapple, cut into tidbit-sized pieces
Romaine (or any other kind of) lettuce, shredded
Tomatoes, chopped
Fresh cilantro
Avocado slices

Cut block of tempeh in half and steam in vegetable steamer for 15 minutes (just like you would broccoli). Let cool. This removes any bitterness in the tempeh.
Crumble tempeh into a large skillet. Add mushrooms and soy sauce. Cook on medium high until mushrooms cook down a bit.
Add BBQ sauces and warm through for 3-5 minutes.
Serve in taco shells with fixins.

Adapted from “My Beef with Meat”

Fat-free refried black or pinto beans
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
Corn Tortillas (baked flat in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crispy)