Healthy Pitaya Bowl

Am I the only person who didn’t know that dragon fruit was also known as pitaya?? I was strolling through the frozen aisle at Publix last week and saw this bag of frozen Pitaya chunks. I have bought fresh dragon fruit in the past and quite honestly, it tastes like nothing. It’s very pretty when you slice it open, but it doesn’t really have a flavor.

Dragon fruit has so many beneficial nutrients, though, so we should try to add it into our diets when we can. It’s rich in antioxidants and it’s full of fiber, which helps keep you full. This gorgeous pink fruit is also high in vitamins B3, which I learned can help your skin recover from a sunburn faster. Dragon fruit is also considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is great for anyone who suffers from arthritis.

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For lunch today I decided to make a Pitaya Bowl. I always have a supply of frozen bananas and other frozen fruits in my freezer, so this came together quickly. And lucky for me, I still had some granola that I made over the weekend. I highly recommend adding granola to your bowl. Fresh fruit is also a must––gotta have those antioxidants in your diet!

Healthy Pitaya Bowl

  • Servings: one
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Ingredients:

  • one banana, frozen in slices
  • 1/2 cup frozen pitaya chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (you may need to add a little more, if too thick)
  • granola and fresh fruit to garnish

Directions: In a high speed blender, combine banana through almond milk.  When you are using all frozen fruit, it will be thicker and you may need to add a litle more almond milk. Pour into a bowl when done and garnish with granola and fruit. Enjoy!!!

 

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This is a filling and healthy treat that you could easily serve for breakfast, lunch or even as a dessert.  Let me know how much you like yours by leaving a comment. What fruit did you use? I’d love to know.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

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Plant Based Cheezy Portobello Sandwiches

Can you believe I used to NOT like mushrooms? True. Until about 2 years ago I just never really cared for them. But since I’ve been following a whole food, plant based way of eating, I am in love with mushrooms. But, they have to be cooked––still not a fan of raw mushrooms.

So, when I discovered this amazing vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, NY last week, I knew the only choice on the menu was the Portobello Sliders. You can read all about my meal in my last post. I was so inspired by that meal, that I decided to try my hand at my version of the same sandwich. I think it came pretty close and I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in antioxidants, like selenium and glutathione, which is believed to “reduce inflammation, protect cells from damage and reduce chronic disease”, according to a nutrition column in the New York Times.

The mushroom base starts with portobello mushroom caps that I chopped and sauteed along with some sweet white onion. The tasty “cheeze” sauce is such a great vegan hack that you must try it. The original sauce I had in Brooklyn was a little spicier and next time I think I’ll try upping the heat level, but this recipe has a little smokiness from the added smoked paprika.

The original sliders were served on a pretzel roll. I had a hard time finding a vegan pretzel roll at my supermarket, so I opted for a whole grain seeded ciabatta-type roll. I loaded mine with arugula for a spicy twist.

 

Plant Based Cheezy Portobello Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients: (for the mushroom mixture)

  • 2 Portobello Mushroom caps, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 t. dried french thyme
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • Whole grain buns or bread of choice
  • Fresh arugula

Directions:  In a medium nonstick skillet, water saute the onions for about 5-7 minutes until softened. Add in the chopped mushrooms and seasonings and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through. Keep on low heat until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Ingredients:(for the Cheezy sauce)

  • 1/2 C. old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 C. nutritional yeast
  • 2 T.  corn starch
  • 1/4 C. white onion
  • 1/4 C. jarred roasted red pepper
  • 2 C. water
  • 1/2 smoked paprika
  • 1 t. kosher salt

Directions: Blend all the above ingedients in a high speed blender. I use a Nutri ninja which works very well. Pour the liquid in a saucepan and heat over medium until the sauce thickens. Keep a close watch and use a whisk to stir as it will thicken rather suddenly and quickly.

When ready, assemble your sandwiches. Add the mushroom mixture, top with the cheeze sauce and add a heaping pile of arugula. Enjoy!

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I really hope you give these a try. They were a big hit for Sunday dinner and are now officially added to my regular kitchen menu!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

Bittersweet in Brooklyn

Hey––just returned from a whirlwind trip to Brooklyn, New York where I was helping my recent college grad daughter get settled in her new apartment before she starts her new job. I titled this “Bitterweet” as it seemed nothing went as planned but if it had we would have never discovered a new place!

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Of course, my mind was on the food. Before we left, I researched all the fabulous Vegan restaurants that we’d have to try. I was so excited that I’d get to see all the wonderful places the I had coveted on Instagram. We had a list of some favorites––Modern Love Brooklyn, The Butcher’s Daughter and Wild Ginger. I was only staying two nights, but we thought we had a plan?!!

Thursday night turned out to be a monsoon rainstorm. It was raining so hard that we couldn’t leave our hotel. Seamless food delivery came to the rescue to bring us some Thai food from a nearby place. It was just so-so. OK, moving forward, there was still Friday, right?

Friday brought a new set of problems involving plumbing and furniture delivery issues. Lunch had to be delivered. Luckily we found a great place to order falafel and hummus. After a whole day of problems, we were determined to make my last night a good one. One in which we could actually have a sit down dinner.

We didn’t want to venture too far from the area and we preferred a short subway ride, if possible. We found a place online that looked rather intriguing. It was called Greedi Vegan. I hadn’t heard of it before, but the website looked really nice and I liked the owner/chef’s story.  So, on the subway we went.

Wow. That’s all I can really say. We walked up to a modest storefront located on a quiet residential street located inwhat I think bordered Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy.  (Excuse me if you have to correct my geography). We walked into a cozy little place where three people busily workded behind the counter. We were greeted with a friendly hello as we seated ourselves at two of the four sets at the counter. Latisha, chef and owner of Greedi Vegan, was busy cooking and chatting with a few diners. As she wrapped up some dessert to go for a customer, she asked if we had been here before.  I told her we were here to move my daugher and I mentioned that I was a plant based blogger. We explained that everything had gone wrong and this was our first sit down meal since we arrived the day before.

After taking a look at the menu, we had a tough time deciding because everything looked THAT good! Latisha told us there are a few things not on the menu that she could also make for us. We decided on the “beef” nachos to start, followed by the Portobello Sliders (me) and the Loaded Grilled Cheeze (not on the menu-Darcy).

As Latisha cooked, we chatted about her place and how she got there. She told us she was raised as a vegan (at a time when it wasn’t really a thing). She had gotten away from eating that way, but slowly came back to it and opened Greedi Vegan only a year ago, And from what I could see in my short time there, it is quite a success. Regulars were streaming in and out with take out orders and a few others joined us at the counter to order as well. Even in the tight space, no one felt rushed to give up their place. It was like eating at the kitchen counter in your own home. If your own home served the most delicious vegan food EVER!

Latisha’s attitude and delicious food really inspired me when I returned home to Florida. Last night for dinner I made some quinoa “taco meat” and some air fryer corn tortillas to try to replicate the nachos. I was short on time and wasn’t able to make a “cheesy” sauce, but next time I’m craving those scrumptious nachos, I will be ALL IN! Watch my blog for some new recipes inspired by Greedi Vegan. And please stop in and say hello and get yourself some fantastic vegan eats next time you’re in Brooklyn.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

Gossip Girl Waffle (Fries)…and an ode to Rufus Humphrey

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, I was immersed in a complete Gossip Girl binge-watching frenzy. What started out innocently when I scrolled through the Netflix menu turned into a months long obsession of Blair, Serena, Chuck, Nate, Dan and the rest of the gang. My every spare moment was taken with wondering who Gossip Girl was and when will (s)he be revealed.  SPOILER ALERT: It was Dan Humphrey!!! I even downloaded 10 episodes to watch on my tablet while I was on a 5 day cruise.

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I know I’m extremely late to the party where all manner of GG is concerned. The show began its run in 2007 and lasted for 6 seasons.  Thank you, Netflix, for allowing me to peer into the lives of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and giving me more than a mere glimpse into their complicated and seriously dysfunctional lives. Between all of Blair’s schemes, underage drinking, dating crises and cynical plots were the waffles!

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Waffles seemed to be the star of almost every episode. During season one, Rufus had waffles ready for Dan and Jenny as they made their daily trek to their exclusive private school from their humble Brooklyn loft. In subsequent seasons, after Rufus finally married Lily and he moved into her luxurious penthouse, waffles were always on the brunch table. It became a running joke, pretty much, that everyone involved in a Humphrey breakfast was consuming waffles.original-22033-1425680648-47

I love a good breakfast waffle as much as the next gal, but today I’m giving you a much better option. And believe me, these are appropriate for breakfast too, if you want. I present to you…Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

  • Servings: 4-6
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This is a pretty simple recipe. You will need Yukon Gold potatoes. I usually buy a 5 pound bag so I always have them on hand. You first need to wash the quantity of potatoes that you would like to have. I suggest baking a LOT of potatoes, because once you taste how delicious these are, you won’t want to share!

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The cooking time depends on the size of the potatoes. When the potatoes are almost done, heat up your waffle iron.

Once the potatoes are done, you place a potato on each side of your waffle iron. My iron only has two plates, so I place one potato on each side. Next, close the lid and smash the potato so that the lid closes completely. Now you wait patiently. The key here is NO PEEKING. Let the potatoes cook for at least 8-10 minutes. Carefully lift the lid and remove your “fries”.  Continue until you have used all your potatoes.  If the potatoes are large, you can cut them in half before you press them into fries.

Enjoy with ketchup or your favorite condiment.

These waffle fries are Oil Free, Fate Free and absolutely delicious. They make a great side dish or you can make a whole meal out of them, as I typically do, adding some green vegetable and perhaps a side of beans.

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Snap a pic of your waffle fries and tag me @heidicooksplants on Instagram. I know you’ll love these as much as I do!

XOXO, Heidi Cooks Plants

P.S., Dorota is still the best character on the show, just sayin’

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Air Fryer Wonton Chips-3 ways

I love chips and I’m not choosy. Give me a potato chip, tortilla chip, pretzel, or sweet potato chip. You name it and I’m there. But, since I’ve been following a WFPB way of eating, I really try to avoid the chips and crackers because we all know it’s just empty calories and no one can ever eat just one. So now you can make these today and enjoy this guilt-free snack while you watch the Super Bowl (or Netflix)!

Enter my beloved air fryer. I just knew there must be some way to make a fat free, oil free yet tasty chip to replace my greasy, calorie-laden kettle chips. While scrolling through the grocery store the other day I spotted a package of wonton wrappers and I quickly looked at the ingredient list and I decided this could be my new chip material. So, I hurried back to the “test kitchen” to see what I could come up with.

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I began with some lofty ideas about making little dessert wontons stuffed with chopped apples and my chocolate hummus, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. With a few more tries, I came up with 3 chip varieties that anyone can make. The seasoning I used could be adapted to any cuisine. I made some plain, some sweet and some savory. These take just minutes to prepare and are an easy and satisfying snack when you are craving that crunch.

Air Fryer Wonton Chips

  • Servings: varies
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Ingredients:

  • One package of wonton wrappers
  • Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Zatar seasoning
  • 1 T. sugar mixed with 1 t. china cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:   Set your air fryer to 350 degrees. On a flat work surface, lay out 4 wonton wrappers and brush just the tops with the aquafaba. Sprinkle with seasoning and lay the 4 sheets on the air fryer rack. ** You use each seasoning separately to make the flavor you want***  Cook for about 6 minutes, shaking and looking once to make sure they don’t burn. Every machine is different––mine took about 6 minutes. They tend to stick together, but it’s easy to separate the chips once they are done. Continue with the quantity of chips that you desire, sparkling with your seasoning of choice. I made some plain (salt and pepper), some cinnamon sugar and some with the zatar seasoning.

 

 

These would also be delicious served with hummus or guac or even salsa. The next time I make these, I think I’ll use some smoky seasoning to serve with chili. Make them your own with the seasonings and flavors that you like and you will never have to reach for the Lay’s (or Cape Cod Kettle Chips).

I hope that you give these a try. Please tag me on Instagram @heidicooksplants and let me know how you like them. See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Oil Free Chocolate Hummus

I love chocolate. Rich, dark, creamy decadent chocolate. Guilty as charged. As a whole foods, plant based eater, I still like (and eat) chocolate. I’m human––and I’m guessing you are too. I’ve found a great way to satisfy that chocolate craving with fewer calories as well as adding some nutrient dense goodness.

Have you seen Chocolate Hummus in the grocery store yet? Our Publix sells it for almost $4.00 for an itty-bitty container. I even spotted it this morning at Aldi for $3.49. I picked it up, put my readers on to see the ingredient list and quickly placed it back in the cooler. The ingredients included coconut oil and tahini and I knew those were definite no-no’s. As soon as I got home, I knew I could make my own and now I can share with all of you!

 

Oil Free Chocolate Hummus

  • Servings: varies
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates that have been soaked to soften (reserve the water)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • Unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:  Add rinsed and drained chickpeas and the drained dates to the bowl of a food processor (reserve the soaking liquid from the dates) and blend until very smooth. You may have to stop and scrape the sides a few times. I added about 4 tablespoons of the date water to the mixture to get it to the right consistency. Next, add the cocoa powder, extract and salt and continue to blend. Add in the almond milk by the tablespoon if you need to. I added 2 tablespoons and then gave it a taste. I wanted mine a little sweeter, so I added just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and blended again. Transfer to a serving bowl or a container and store in the refrigerator. Makes about a 2 cup serving.

Perfect as a dip for pretzels or fruit. I dipped some strawberries in mine and they were delicious.

 

Strawberries and chocolate are a favorite combination of mine. Back in my (non vegan) days, I was well known as the chocolate covered strawberry lady. I used to make them for parties or as a hostess gift. But, now, I’ll trade the high calorie chocolate for this!

You could spread on graham crackers or even apple slices. It’s a guilt free treat with no oil added and sweetened with just dates (and maple syrup if using). Healthy and nutrient rich and a lot less expensive than store bought.

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Decide to make your own? Tag me in your Instagram picture @heidicooksplants and let me know how you like it.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

 

Why should you go plant based?

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to a group of men and women at a local senior center. It was my first time speaking to a group such as this and I wasn’t sure what to expect or even how I would be received. The organizer from the Meals on Wheels program told me that they like to have a snack, preferably sweets, and suggested I bring something for them to sample and incorporate that into my talk.

I had about a month’s notice to prepare for the talk which was going to be with “The Lunch Club” at the center. I had my keynote (Power Point) all set up and rehearsed and my speech notes were all ready to go. I wasn’t nervous, well, maybe just a little. Why would they want to listen to a talk about plant based eating?

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Yukon Gold “waffles”-side of chickpeas and roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic glaze

I started talking, and a few latecomers walked in, and one woman said that I should start over. I had only gone through one slide, so she said..”oh, go ahead and start again”. I though to myself…Hmmm, they’re actually listening––and they’re interested!! In all honestly, I did offer the chocolate chip banana cake FIRST!

My talk progressed, and I had a few questions along the way. And everyone took an interest in what I had to say. We had a really great discussion afterwards. Only one or two people left when I finished talking, but the rest sat around and had another piece or two of cake. These men and women had at least 20 years on me. A few ladies had just come from the chair yoga class. One woman proudly announced that she is in her 70s and she does not take one single pill. She said she only eats organic (but she is not vegan). We had a great discussion on my why.

I am asked almost daily “why” I eat this way––vegan, plant-based, whole food––whatever you want to call it. My simple answer is that my body feels better when I eat this way. After more than 2 years of eating this way it has become my lifestyle. Although my motivation to begin this was purely for my health, I am definitely more conscious of the toll that animal farming is taking on the environment. After watching documentaries such as Food, Inc , Eating You Alive and Forks Over Knives, I believe many of you would think very differently about what you put on your plate.

Just yesterday, the Canadian government issued their 2019 health guidelines. And what do you know….their new food guidelines eliminates dairy as a food group and features fruits and vegetables on half your plate! Water is also encouraged as the beverage of choice and protein includes plant protein choices. I wonder how long until the US catches up??

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“Clean out the fridge” salad–tons of colors and flavor!

In our country, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are all preventable lifestyle diseases that can be reversed and prevented through a plant based, whole foods diet. The scientific evidence is out there. It’s as simple as changing what’s on the end of your fork. I know that I will continue to choose plants over pills, how about you?

Do you like my food photos? Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll show you how I made those waffle fries and how I cook with no oil.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

“This post is part of the wellpreneur blog challenge.”

http://learn.wellpreneuronline.com/blog-challenge/

 

Vegan Summer Rolls

Whenever I visit a Vietnamese restaurant, I have to order the Summer Rolls. Typically, they are white rice paper wrappers filled with shrimp and vegetables and usually some type of thin noodle.  As a plant based eater, I have to special order mine (welcome to my world) so that they leave out the shrimp or other meat. Most restaurants also serve them with a yummy peanut dipping sauce.

I was asked to bring an appetizer to a friend’s party and thought this would be a real crowd pleaser. They’re a refreshing change from a crudite platter or a bowl of chips and salsa. My rice paper summer rolls are filled with fresh mint and basil, as well as cucumber and peppers for a snappy crunch.

The other healthy twist to the restaurant version is that I use brown rice paper wrappers. They can be found in the Asian section of many grocery stores, or you can also order them online.  I chose the vegetables here based on my preference and taste, but you can certainly adapt the recipe to include what you like.

It may seem like a lot of steps and preparation –– and it is, but in the end, it’s all worth it. Your first two or three rolls may look a little wonky, but by the time you’re done rolling, you’ll be a pro.

The easiest way to do this is to set up an assembly line of small bowls filled with each individual ingredient. The order that you fill your roll isn’t that important, except for the first 3 ingredients. You want to put the mint and basil down first, top with the noodles and then add the avocado. I found that if you put the avocado here (in the middle), then it is less likely to ooze out the sides. (You really don’t want to lose any avocado.) Then just follow my instructions in the recipe box to complete the rolls.

Vegan Summer Rolls

  • Servings: 8 as an appetizer
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Ingredients:

  • 8 sheets of brown rice paper wrappers
  • 2 packages of brown rice ramen noodles, cooked (do not use seasoning packet
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 C. broccoli slaw
  • 1-2 colored peppers, sliced thinly (your choice of color)
  • 1/2 large seedless cucumber, cut into long strips
  • Fresh mint leaves, approx. 16 leaves
  • Fresh basil, approx. 8 large leaves

Directions:

Cook the rice ramen noodles according to package directions, drain and cut noodles with kitchen shears. Set aside in a bowl. Prepare all the other vegetables that you’re using. Set up an assembly line with each ingredient in its own bowl.

Take a round pie plate or other shallow bowl that will accommodate the rice wrappers. Fill the plate with warm water and gently dip one rice wrapper in the water. You have to work quickly and also not soak the wrapper too long or it will fall apart. Lay the wet wrapper on a flat work surface and start layering the fillings. I go in this order: mint and basil first, then a small layer of noodles, add the avocado slice next, and the rest of the vegetables. Try not to overfill, or it will be very difficult to roll.

Next, very gently pull the bottom edge up and over the filling (away from you). Then, fold in the sides (like a burrito) and continue to roll away from you until it is in a tight package. You should have a dish set aside with some parchment paper to lay each roll on. The outer skin gets very sticky, so try to have parchment around each roll to prevent them from sticking to each other. When you have finished all the rolls, you can store in the fridge until ready to serve. These can be made ahead of time, but should be served the same day.

You can buy already-prepared sauce for dipping, or try my peanut sauce from my recent Buddha Bowl post.

The wrappers are very sticky, so if you are not serving them immediately, I recommend wrapping each one in parchment paper and storing in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, they look really nice cut in halves and served on a platter with dipping sauce. Once the rolls sit out for a while, they lose their “stickiness” and are especially delicious.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you made these. You can also snap a pic and tag #vegansummerrolls on Instagram.  See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Buddha Bowl Basics

Countless variations on the Buddha Bowl can be found on any Pinterest or Google search these days. I’m throwing my recipe in the ring because I think it’s an easy way to get your greens and other essential nutrients into one big bowl of deliciousness.

Some of you may be asking what exactly is a Buddha Bowl? Typically  it’s a big bowl (duh), filled with a variety of greens, grains and beans and topped with a tasty sauce. Almost every vegan cookbook, website and blog has some variation of a bowl.  According to collinsdictionary.com “a buddha bowl is a meal-sized bowl filled with vegetarian food.” That certainly leaves a lot of room for interpretation, wouldn’t you say?  Delish.com says the bowls were named as such because they resemble the belly of a giant buddha.  I find it ironic that it’s named for the buddha’s belly, because eating this bowl shouldn’t make YOUR tummy look anything like a buddha’s! Regardless of its origins, I find that my Buddha bowl makes for a healthy, delicious and nutritious meal.

I’ve been on the “bowl” bandwagon pretty much from the beginning of my plant based journey. Making up bowls is one of the easiest ways to combine all the healthy ingredients that you love into one fabulous dish. And it goes back to my mantra of batch cooking as well. When you have grains and vegetables already prepped in your fridge, then throwing together a bowl is a simple and fast way to get lunch or dinner on the table. It’s also completely customizable –– so you can have an ingredient buffet set up for all of your family and everyone can make their own bowl.

The bowl I’m featuring today came about because I had half  a red cabbage in the fridge and I wasn’t quite sure what else to do with it. I also had some zucchini and squash to use up, so that was going in the bowl too. My recipe can be tweaked with what you like –– but the basic formula is: a grain (could be quinoa, brown rice or whole wheat pasta), several veggies, both raw and cooked, some beans and a sauce. I tend to favor asian flavors, so this peanut sauce is my go-to. If you like Mexican flavors, you could use salsa or hot sauce and add in some avocado and maybe some homemade baked tortilla chips. You could also make a falafel bowl with mediterranean toppings like tahini, sesame seeds and cucumber and tomato. I have never made a bowl that wasn’t great!

Heidi's Buddha Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 each, yellow squash and zucchini, cut into zoodle shape or julienned
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 cups of chopped, cooked broccoli
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa, cooked
  • 1 batch of peanut dressing (see below)

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions and set aside. Take the raw zoodles and microwave for about 2-3 minutes until tender, and then drain them. Combine all the ingredients in individual bowls and drizzle with the peanut dressing. Note: The serving size will vary with the bowl size used.

Peanut Dressing:

Note: Dressing adapted from The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook

  • 1/4 cup of fresh ground peanut butter
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 T. sriracha (to your spice level)
  • 2 t. jarred, minced ginger
  • 1/4- 1/2 C. water (depends on how thick or thin you like your dressing)
  • Juice of one lime

Directions:

Blend all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender. Refrigerate any unused dressing. It will last for about a week.

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I hope you give this recipe a try or maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Make it a Revolution, not a Resolution

The New Year is right around the corner and who hasn’t already thought about those dreaded “resolutions”?  You know, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” “I’m never eating fried foods” “I’m going to the gym every day” and on and on they go.

Two years ago, what started as a resolution for me became a revolution. A close friend suggested that we sign up for Veganuary.  According to their website, “Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year.” I signed up and at the same time, I also joined a new group on Facebook called the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue, which is a plant based lifestyle program. So, between the two groups, I was committing myself to some pretty significant changes.

I had thought I was a pretty healthy eater until I began following these programs. At first, I felt that I was giving up so many of the foods that I enjoyed-and I did struggle initially. They say your tastebuds will change when you give up all the processed foods, and it’s true. Simple, unprocessed foods really do taste better. Fruits and vegetables and whole grains are delicious when they are prepared without oil and extra salt. I’ve learned to cook in a completely new way. I have found friends online and in real life who eat and cook this way and it is exciting to have people to share this with.

So, I’m going to throw a little challenge your way. How about starting with some small changes. And here’s the twist-start now! Don’t wait for January 1-you CAN do this now. When you’re done reading this, go for a walk. If you’re up north where the weather is frigid, walk in place while you’re watching tv. Start with 10 minutes, if you’re not used to exercising. The goal is to just get moving.

Next, I want you to stop using oil. Yes, even olive oil, which is not the health food that it claims to be. The olive itself is healthy, but the oil is stripped of all the nutrients and is a processed food. Did you know that you can sauté pretty much anything with just water or vegetable broth? I am not kidding-give it a try and you will be as surprised as I was the first time. Vegetables like onions just need a tablespoon, and mushrooms give off their own juice, so water isn’t even necessary. Use balsamic vinegar glaze as a salad dressing or just a few squeezes of fresh lemon on your greens. Thin out some hummus with a little water-it makes a great salad dressing too.

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Roasted Brussels sprouts and Sweet Potatoes-NO OIL

Start your week with “Meatless Monday.” Take a look at Pinterest or scroll through my blog to get some ideas. My son is a total carnivore, but I showed him how to make an easy rice and beans dish and now he cooks that on a regular basis. Once you repeat these small changes, they’ll become a habit and you’ll be on your way to better health.

Find foods and flavors that you love and look for recipes that are easy. If it’s simple, you’ll go back to it over and over. I love basil and I found a fabulous oil free basil pesto recipe from Oh She Glows. I make it at least once a week and use it as a vegetable dip, a spread on pita or even thinned out a little to serve over pasta.

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Oil Free Basil Pesto

The Engine 2 group that I mentioned earlier started on Facebook as a support for the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue book. When I joined the closed facebook group two years ago, I think there were a few hundred members. Today, there are over 31,000 members! Clearly, people are joining this revolution!

If you’re interested in individual help and guidance, I am available for one-on-one consultations. I want this to be YOUR year of revolution, not just a resolution.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi