Monday, March 16, 2015

Love Fed (Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts) Book Review & Recipe

I am very excited to be a part of the Love Fed Blog Tour by reviewing, Love Fed (Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts) by Christina Ross and published by BenBella Books.  Check out the links above for more exciting reviews and recipes during this awesome tour. 

Love Fed  is a beautifully illustrated book that can help you achieve better health. Christina has eliminated harmful sugars and refined ingredients to all her recipes.  I love that  they are also raw and full of flavor. Raw food is more "alive" and retains its enzymes, hormones, vitamins and minerals, that otherwise might be lost. Many dessert books claim to be healthy,  but what you are really getting is high fat, sugar loaded dessert bombs.  Not so with Love Fed! Christina's book has 80 delicious, easy recipes, without a touch of gluten, dairy, or refined sweeteners. Very little sweetener is added to her recipes. At first you may even think they need more sugar, but they don't.  It is just your taste buds that are use to very sweet treats. Sugar is an addiction that contributes to a huge collection of health problems. These health conditions are easily eliminated by just reducing or eliminating most of your sugar intake. A great goal to add to your New Years resolutions (2015)  is to eliminate these harmful sugars. Clean out your pantry and start today!!  A book like Love Fed can help all of us still enjoy treats, but achieve this goal.  

The recipe I decided to share with all of you is on page 117, Red Velvet Chia Parfait.  Doesn't that just sound scrumptious?  It was very light, delicious, satisfying and turned out beautiful (See my photo below)

Red Velvet Chia Parfait
Yield: 4 parfaits
Prep time: 15 minutes

Parfaits provide a lot of payoff for very little effort—in 15 minutes you can have a beautiful, deliciously creamy dessert. This parfait is notable for the raw vegan cream cheese frosting on top. It’s wonderful spread on cakes and cupcakes, too. If you like a sweeter frosting, feel free to add 2 tbsp. of your favorite sweetener.

¼ c. chia seeds (black or white or a mix of the two)
1 tbsp. cacao powder
2 c. almond milk
2 tsp. beet juice or natural red food coloring
1 ½ tsp. coconut nectar
¼ tsp. vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract

4 tbsp. melted coconut oil (see page 28)
2 c. chilled coconut cream
1 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice (regular lemon juice works, too)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate curls or cacao powder, for garnish

To make the parfait base: Combine the chia seeds, cacao powder, almond milk, beet juice, coconut nectar, and vanilla bean powder in a medium bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to thicken. Make the frosting.

To make the frosting: Place the melted coconut oil, coconut cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl. Beat on medium speed or whisk by hand until the mixture is whipped and well incorporated. Don’t overmix or the frosting will be runny.

To assemble: Divide the chia mixture among 4 parfait glasses or bowls.

Place a frosting bag (or plastic bag) inside a glass, allowing the top of the bag to fold over the outside of the glass. This will allow you to scoop frosting into the bag without the risk of it leaking. Fill the bag with the frosting, then squeeze a dollop into each parfait glass on top of the chia mixture. Add the garnish and serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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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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