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 fun.....as 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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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jazzy Vegetarian Classics Book Review, Recipe & Giveaway

I am very excited to be reviewing Laura Theodore's new book, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics and giving one away.  You may know Laura from her PBS cooking show Jazzy Vegetarian, which is now in its third season and can currently be seen on the Create Channel on Tuesdays and Thursdays (See video at bottom of page).  For eighteen years, Laura has helped people all over the world to understand the relationship between diet and health and that eating a well-structured plant-based diet can prevent, stop, and even reverse some degenerate diseases.

On her television show and in her book, she entices people, regardless of their current eating habits to want to explore new foods and dishes.  Her book has a beautiful hardcover, high quality pages and was published September 3, 2013 by BenBella Books.  The book is 312 pages and features gorgeous photos throughout. In her introduction she quotes Albert Einstein, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as a much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

It is written for everyone - from seasoned vegans looking for innovative new dishes, to casual home cooks interested in adding one or two plant-based meals a week to their repertoire.  Jazzy Vegetarian Classics includes guides to the basics of vegan cooking coupled with a glossary of common ingredients. I love that she included 10 full menus, besides all of her awesome recipes.  For example,  All-American Burger and fries (Menu 5) includes:  Mushroom-Nut Burgers, Confetti Oven Fries, Pretty Purple Coleslaw, Banana Milk-less Shake and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Festive Family Meal (Menu 8) includes: Apple, Walnut, and Cinnamon Salad, Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes with roasted Garlic, Steamed Green Beans & Carrots with Orange Sauce , and Coconut Vegaroons. All of these menus make it very easy to plan for a special day. 

If you are wondering why Laura is called the Jazzy Vegetarian, it is because she is also a good jazz singer.  The bottom of her books pages even include faint piano notes.  Her book is of the highest quality to give away at Christmas or any time.

I decided to make Laura's Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage, which turned out absolutely fabulous and delicious. The recipe was based on her mother-in-laws traditional family recipe.  This is a fabulous holiday or Sunday night meal which I highly recommend!  I used leftover brown rice and instead of the canned tomatoes you can use vine ripened tomatoes that have been chopped in quarters and smashed a bit to equal 3 1/2 cups. I  received permission to share this yummy recipe with all of you.   I hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to enter for the Giveaway.  Instructions are at the bottom of the page.  

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Based on my mother-in-law’s traditional family recipe, this dish is totally tasty! The freshly squeezed lemon juice balances beautifully with the brown sugar, making a truly sweet and sour sauce for these hearty, savory stuffed cabbage rolls. A fabulous holiday dish or satisfying weeknight meal!

1 cup diced onion
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
½ teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid, lightly mashed
⅓ cup brown sugar or maple sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic

Large head of green cabbage
2 cups cooked brown rice (long grain or basmati)
¾ cup walnuts
1 slice whole-grain bread
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup onion, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the sauce, put diced onion, ⅓ cup vegetable broth, all-purpose seasoning, and
tamari in a medium sauce pan. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ⅔ cup broth, tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, and garlic. Cover and
simmer for 15 minutes while preparing the cabbage rolls.

Fill a large soup pot two-thirds full with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, remove the core from the cabbage. Gently separate 12 whole leaves from the
cabbage (it’s fine if they tear a bit). Reserve
remaining cabbage for another use.

Remove the pot of simmering water from the heat. Carefully place each cabbage leaf in the pot of water until they are all submerged. Cover and let stand for 4 to 5 minutes to allow the cabbage leaves to soften. Remove the leaves and place them in a large colander to drain and cool.

To make the filling, put the brown rice in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the brown rice. Put the bread, all-purpose seasoning, and salt in a blender and process until coarsely ground. Add the bread mixture to the brown rice.

Put the mushrooms and 1 cup diced onion in a blender and process into a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the brown rice. Stir gently to combine all of the filling ingredients. Spread ¾ cup of the tomato sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch casserole dish. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a large dinner plate. If the leaf still has some of the thick stem attached, carefully cut around it with a small paring knife to remove. This will make the leaves easier to roll up around the filling.

Mound ¼ cup of the filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides inward and roll the cabbage leaf firmly around the filling. Place the cabbage roll seam-side down in the prepared casserole. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover tightly. Bake for 70 to 90 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


It is VERY easy to enter - just leave a comment after this post and check back in one week to see if you have won. You can also leave a link or your email with your comment where to contact you. Deadline for entering giveaway is December 18th.  Drawing will be held on December 19th. Good luck!!  



Congratulations Jenny!

Thank you to everyone that added a comment. I wish I could send each one of you a book. Look for the next Giveaway book on January 14th, 2014.

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