Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook Review & Sweet Potato Chili with Kale

Following her bestselling The China Study Cookbook, Leanne Campbell brings together top names in the Plant-based community to share their favorite and most delicious recipes in this awesome THE CHINA STUDY All-Star Collection. LeAnne Campbell, PhD, lives in Durham, North Carolina and has been preparing meals based on a whole foods, plant-based diet for almost twenty years and for her two sons - Steven and Nelson, who are now twenty and nineteen.  As a working mother, she found ways to prepare quick and easy meals without using animal products or adding fat.

More and more doctors are recommending a plant-based diet as the foundation of your healthy eating plan. When you have a strong foundation, your body can resist disease and illness.  A good diet is the most powerful weapon we have in the fight for real health.  Pioneering chefs (like myself), and those contributing to this book continue to demonstrate the ease and pleasure of using a plant-based diet. Their are so many possibilities and a lot of recipes are just simple with a few ingredients.

The cookbook author contributors include: Chef AJ, Ani Phyo, Christina Ross, Christy Morgan, Del Sroufe, Dreena Burton, Heather Crosby, John and Mary McDougall, Laura Theodore, Lindsay S. Nixon and Tracy Russell.  You should definitely add this beautiful book to your collection.  You won't be disappointed!!

The recipe I choose to share with you is Chef AJ's Sweet Potato Chili with Kale. Since cold weather is right around the corner, I am starting to think about what kind of healthy, warm soups I will make and this chili caught my attention.  I love this recipe for many reasons.  First,  it is bursting with so much flavor having not one grain of salt or any fat added.  AMAZING!!! Second, I love that it is bursting with nutrition, and far beyond. Third, it is a gorgeous, hearty and satisfying soup. I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it.

There is no dish that can’t be improved by the addition of kale!

1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced
3 cups orange juice, divided
2 pounds sweet potatoes, diced (no need to peel if organic)
2 15-ounce cans sodium-free kidney beans
2 14.5-ounce cans sodium-free fire-roasted tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon sodium-free chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or more to taste
8 ounces Lacinato kale, finely shredded

1.      In large pot, sauté onion and bell pepper in half of the orange juice for 8–10 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
2.      Add all remaining ingredients except for the kale. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat to let simmer for 25–30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft but not mushy.
3.      Turn off heat and stir in kale so it wilts, then serve.
4.      To make in an electric pressure cooker, place all ingredients except for the kale in the cooker and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Stir kale in before serving.

This dish is great with a piece of corn bread on top!
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Adorable Bubble 'n' Bee Skirts & Kids Can Cook (Vegetarian Recipes) Cookbook Review

Isn't this skirt by Bubble 'n' Bee Boutique absolutely adorable with the hippos, zebras, frogs, birds & elephants. Lola, my granddaughter, was so excited to model for me in my backyard. The skirt is a Michael Miller designer fabric, which is why you can see and feel the quality. And, your little girl will be so comfortable in it. Bubble 'n' Bee Boutique has been in business since 2010, so you will find a huge selection of skirts that include holiday designs and all are created with lots of love♥. You can also check out her website Bubble 'n' Bee.
Dorothy Bates is the author of this fun 'Kids Can Cook' recipe book.  It has delicious vegetarian foods that kids like to eat and cook themselves.  A growing number of today's young people are interested in becoming vegetarians or having a diet that consists of mostly plant-based foods. This book has easy recipes for beginners and are kid-tested, kid-approved.  Dorothy has written or collaborated on eleven vegetarian cookbooks and has spent many years teaching young people how to cook their favorite vegetarian dishes in her home in Summertown, Tenn. 

Vegetarian and plant-based diets that contain adequate calories and a variety of foods can meet all of the nutritional needs of kids and teens and are associated with health advantages.  Even so, when it comes to designing a vegetarian diet, a few key nutrients deserve special attention. On page 4-5 Dorothy explains what these key nutrients are and how to easily get them.  Page 10- 11 shows useful tools for the young cook and secrets of successful cooks.  Kids Can Cook is perfect for kids who want to try their hand at creating their own tasty meatless dishes and for parents who want recipes that are nutritious and easy to prepare. Below is a recipe from the book.  It was a hit with my hubby and other family members.  Notice the yummy homemade salsa on the side.

Makes 8 Servings

 1. Have ready:
 8 gluten-free brown rice tortillas
 1 pound fresh organic baby spinach
 1 cup grated pepper jack rice cheese

2.  Steam baby spinach until slightly soft.

3.  Heat a skillet or griddle, and cook the tortillas one at a time. 30 seconds on a side.  
Spread a little spinach and about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese on half the tortilla,and fold the other half over.  Continue until all the tortillas are filled.

4.  Cook about 1 minute on each side, until the cheese melts.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts with Herbs

In this beautiful dish of sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, two herbs were teamed together to bring out a delightful experience your taste buds will love! Rosemary and fresh basil are always favorites for many of my dishes and I especially love it in this one. The natural sweetness of the potatoes blends nicely with the brussels sprouts.

Did you know sweet potatoes are very good for keeping your skin clear, smooth and young looking?  The orange color in the potatoes comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in your body and switches on DNA that is responsible for producing new skin cells and getting rid of old ones.  That is an idea I love and we can all use smooth and clear skin. Brussels sprouts, believe it or not, have unique health benefits when it comes to your DNA as well.  A recent study showed improved stability of DNA inside our white blood cells after daily consumption of brussels sprouts. The repair and protection of our DNA plays a critical role in preventing cancer and slowing aging. Also, our bodies detox system needs ample amounts of sulfur to work effectively and brussels sprouts are rich in sulfur containing nutrients. Eating these two foods 3-4 times or more weekly helps to improve your immune function, provide you with an abundance of rich nutrients, protects your DNA and helps your body to detox more effectively.

I hope you love sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts as much as I do and will choose to add them to your diet, if you don't already.  There are a few different ways to make this dish.  You can steam the vegetables slightly and then mix with some olive oil, herbs, sea salt and pepper. Then bake for a short time at 350 degrees. The other method is to peel and chop the sweet potatoes, mix with brussels sprouts, olive oil, herbs, sea salt and pepper and bake for 1 hour at 350. Both methods work great.

Many diseases and health problems start with nutritional deficiencies. To avoid these deficiencies, fill up on foods rich in vitamins and minerals (like sweet potatoes & brussels sprouts) every day and limit or eliminate foods that have no benefit to your health.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Herbs
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

2 Sweet Potatoes (peeled and chopped)
1 pound fresh or frozen brussels sprouts
1/4 - 1/2  cup fresh basil (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1-2  tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Peel sweet potatoes and chop into cubes.  Mix with brussels sprouts, basil, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place in 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour.  Do not overcook.  As soon as the sweet potatoes are tender, remove from oven.  ENJOY good health!!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Tasty Vegan Meatloaf

This is a ridiculously good plant-based meatloaf that is so super easy, inexpensive and full of fiber. You can put this loaf together in about 10 minutes, which makes it a good choice when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, but are desiring some good comfort food. Walnuts can be a huge boost to your health for many reasons.  Recent studies show that eating one ounce of walnuts each day for a period of 2-3 months reduced several problems associated with metabolic syndrome and inflammation within the body. Walnuts high omega 3 content, including the (ALC) Alpha-linolenic acid present, has repeatedly been shown to improve a wide variety of cardiovascular functions.

This nut loaf is delicious, has tons of  health benefits, easy on the budget and super fast!  You can serve it with a huge salad and steamed vegetables. 

Tasty Vegan Meatloaf
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped in processor
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 1/4 cups brown rice (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
2 Tbsp. oat bran
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 
2 Tbsp. spaghetti sauce (or tomato sauce) 
1 flax egg (made with 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed & 3 Tbsp. water)
salt & pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. ketchup (for top of loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.) Make a flax egg by mixing one tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons water and let it sit until it becomes egg like. Set aside.

2.) Mix walnuts, onion, cilantro, lime, brown rice, oat bran, nutritional yeast, spaghetti or tomato sauce in bowl while flax egg is sitting.  Add flax egg when it appears to be egg like.  Mix well.  

3.) Use coconut oil to grease loaf pan.  Pack ingredients into pan and spread ketchup on top as desired.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Better Than Vegan Cookbook Giveaway Plus Author Question & Answer

Many of you know Chef Del Stroufe because he is also the author of the cookbook Forks Over Knives.  Forks Over Knives was a New York Times bestseller and every recipe in the book is easy and delicious.  I am very excited that I have the opportunity to review  Chef Del's new book, Better Than Vegan, and provide you with a question & answer from him, a giveaway and share one of his fabulous recipes. Today many bloggers are taking part in a Vegan Book Blog Tour.  During this tour we will all be talking about Chef Del’s Better than Vegan cookbook....... pretty exciting and well as getting some of his fabulous recipes and trying them.

Eating healthy just got a lot easier with this beautiful cookbook coauthored with Glen Merzer. You will not find a drop of oil in any of the recipes in this book.  They are all low-fat, whole-food vegan recipes.  The reason for the low-fat recipes is Chef Del gained more than 200 pounds on a vegan diet swimming in oil, and he lost more than 200 pounds on a vegan diet without any oil.  Developing an understanding of what foods to eat and how to prepare them is important for many health goals. When we include the right kind of foods, they feed our cells, protect us from disease and keep our weight in check.  When eating the wrong kinds of foods, our cells are deprived and can't perform their functions as well.  Nutrients are lost, minerals leached from our bones,  arteries become clogged, our brains foggy and we become fat and unhealthy.

Why are the simple lessons of life sometimes so hard to follow?  The simple answer is addiction to the nutritionally vacant substances in our foods.  When we learn how to remove these empty calorie foods and replace them with healthy alternatives, we can free ourselves from them forever.  This is what Chef Del's book is all about.  He states on page 25, "If you had to sum up in a couple of words what's most wrong with the American diet, what lies behind the epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer -EXCESSIVE FAT- would probably be the best answer."

Below you will find the Q&A with Chef Del, his Artichoke & Basil Hummus recipe and giveaway.
 Q&A with Chef Del Sroufe 
The Health Seeker's Kitchen: Please describe your cookbook to us and what readers should expect? 
Chef Del Stroufe: The first chapter of the book tells my story with a little humor thrown in, I tell how I ended up on my first diet at age eight, spent many decades on yoyo diets, and how I got to weigh 475 pounds on a vegan diet several decades later. In chapter 2 I describe in detail the low fat, plant based diet that helped me lose the weight, and how I changed the word diet from a verb to a noun, meaning that I went from being on a diet, to adopting the right diet that I would live on for the rest of my life, not just until I lost the weight. I also discuss 10 dietary mistakes--avoiding the excess consumption of fat, saturated fat, protein, processed foods, and hunger. In chapter 3 I discuss the kitchen tools, ingredients and techniques I use daily to cook with plant foods and maintain the healthy diet that sustains me. Finally the last section of the book has 101 recipes, including sauces and salad dressings, breakfast foods, soups, pizza, and even a few desserts. 

The Health Seeker's Kitchen: You are such an inspiration to all people battling weight loss. Can you tell us about your own battle with weight and how you gained 200 and then lost 200 pounds on a Vegan Diet?
Chef Del Stroufe: My unhealthy vegan diet included a lot of high fat processed foods like potato chips, beer, pastries made with margarine, white flour, and sugar, vegetables fried in oil, coconut curry, peanut butter sandwiches, donuts, and vegan ice cream. These foods can indeed be vegan, but are not health promoting and, when eaten in excess, can promote weight gain. The healthy diet I eat now is low in fat, protein, and processed foods like sugar, margarine, or oil. I avoid high fat plant foods like avocados, and peanut butter, and I rarely drink alcohol. I eat tofu on special occasions and while I occasionally eat pizza, it is made with whole grain flour and has no or very little added fat. My new four food groups include beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

The Health Seeker's Kitchen: What are the dietary mistakes we all need to watch out for? 
Chef Del Stroufe: There are 10 dietary mistakes I list in the book, the first seven are sins of excess, and the last three are sins of deficiency. Each is described in detail in the book:
1.    Excess fat of any sort
2.    Excess saturated fat
3.    Excess protein, especially animal protein
4.    Cholesterol
5.    Excess flours
6.    Overly processed foods
7.    Concentrated sugars
8.    Insufficient fiber
9.    Insufficient water intake
10. Insufficient phytochemical intake

Artichoke and Basil Hummus
Printable Recipe
Serves 6 to 8
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained, and warmed
1/2 cup fresh basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (about 2 cups), drained

Combine the garbanzo beans, basil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.  Add the artichoke hearts and pulse to chop well, leaving the artichoke hearts chunky.
From Better Than Vegan by Del Sroufe. Used by permission from BenBella Books, Inc.


Better Than Vegan Cookbook Giveaway 

Enter for your chance to win Del Sroufe’s Vegan Cookbook by leaving a comment below with the answer to the following question:

“What will you do in 2014 to better yourself?”
US and Canada residents only, please. 

The drawing will take place on Tuesday, January 21st and the winner will be announced that day.

Best of luck!!  I can't wait to read all your 2014 goals:)



Congratulations Lyz, you are the winner of Chef Del's Better Than Vegan Cookbook. Please contact me with your email so I can get your address:) Your goal to exercise more and eat less sugar will definitely bring you better health in 2014. Good Luck! I hope you enjoy the new book and that it helps you toward your goals.

Thank you to everyone that added a comment. I loved reading your goals and I know they not only inspired me, but many who read them. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2014 to all of you!!! 

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