Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sprouts Vegan Burgers - A Review

No matter what I do to this photo it will not let me rotate... grrr
 For those of you lucky enough to live next to a Sprouts Farmers Market, you may just have a new best friend. Seeking to expand their store brand, they are rapidly offering many well made products. One of the latest to catch my eye was their vegetarian burgers. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all three flavors- original, southwest and quinoa are actually vegan. I bought two, original and southwest, to give a try.

First, these have the ‘typical texture’ of many of these patties but I am used to that. They have a pleasant smokiness even when prepared in a skillet on the stove that I found quite appealing. The overall flavor, appeal and presentation of the burgers was amazing, and they had a great amount of protein and fiber. Best of all these lacked the slightly chemical aftertaste that I normally find in Boca burgers.

Won't let me rotate this either... double grrrr
The price is not bad, $3.99 a box when not on sale, and you get 4 in a box. I personally paired these with Rudi’s whole wheat buns, making each hamburger about 240 calories before toppings. Be careful and aware! Not all Rudi's products are vegan, so check labels! For wanting something slightly similar to a ‘fast food’ burger, these are an excellent choice.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tortillaless Burrito Soup with Recipe, an escape from Cthulthu madness

If you read my other blog you know that I am trying to reduce the size of my booty, and most other things on me, too. Ok, never mind. I would like to keep my big booty, big chest and big hair, but the rest of me can shrink a bit, thank you. Because I have been keeping track of calories, nutrition, etc, I have been eating more beans than normal, and normally I eat a lot of beans.

Right now, the bean vehicle of choice is a black bean burrito in a low carb tortilla with onion. It doesn’t sound great, but it tastes pretty wonderful. However, horror and damnation stuck two days ago when I went to make my precious bean burrito and I was out of tortillas!! The horror! The insanity! The wailing and gnashing of teeth! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!!!

Instead of giving into the gibbering horrors creeping upon me I decided to create a new dish. This one was tasty, filling, and used things I had around the house. Try this the next time you are without tortillas. :>

Tortillaless Burrito Soup
Makes 3 cups

1 can of black beans (15 oz), drained
1 jar of picante style salsa, mild (I used Trader Joes Garden Salsa)
1 can of diced green chilies, 4 oz
1 medium tomato
½ a small red onion
¼ a cup of Daiya vegan cheese shreds  

Combine the black beans, salsa and green chilies in a small pot.
Dice the tomatoes and onion, then add. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes so the onion and tomato are slightly cooked.
Remove and stir in the Daiya cheese. Divide into three bowls, about 1 cup each.


Each cup is

193 calories
2g of fat
34g carbs
8 g fiber
11g protein
5 Weight Waters points

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A review! Dr. McDougall's Vegan Chicken Ramen

 I was working away on finishing my sandwiches for pictures in the kitchen and it hit me – the most intense and wicked craving for ramen – EVER! This was not completely out of the blue. Last night Jason and I were talking about ramen and other horrible things we used to eat, so the seed was planted in my brain. I went into our pantry, which is the best stocked vegan grocery store in the area. There, I found a cup of Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Chicken Ramen that I purchased on an earlier travel adventure. These cups are a healthier version of the traditional cup of noodles that got many of us through high school and college. Based on previous experience with this line, I also grabbed the salt shaker. Dr. McDougall is a champion of good health and would probably frown with me over salting is soup, but if you are having a junk food craving, you’re having a junk food craving.

I waited with some great anticipation. After all, this was either going to be really good or really bad. In the meantime, I calculated the WW Points per cup (4 points if anyone else cares) and waited for my noodles to cook once I added the boiling water.

After adding a pinch of salt, the result was magical. This tasted exactly like chicken – so much so that I think it would fool people who still were meat eaters, and made my own vegan self check the label again with a ‘is this vegan?’ moment. The bright intense flavor and the starch of the noodles was magical. I ate it all and my craving for ramen went away, filed under ‘satisfied’. 

In this, there are 200 calories, 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. My biggest gripe is that the label says there are two servings inside. Who are they fooling? This cup is about 1 ½ cups, but not enough to share. I have noticed that some people, especially some of the vegan doctors prescribe bird size portions of food that would not satisfy a kiddo as a way of keeping calorie and fat count low. Maybe it’s just me, but this cup was perfect. Half would not have made me feel full or happy.

That being said, I love the portability of this product. After the “Great New York Starvation” I always travel with two of these McDougall soup cups. Because they are dry inside and light, they are perfect for carryon luggage. If you are on a long flight you can get hot water for tea and pour it inside – instant meal!

So with a little salt and the understanding that you are going to eat the whole thing, I love this product. This is something I will seek out and buy in the future.

Highly recommended, and 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A girl and her blender. A blog about aging, travel, and eating well

This year, with some great deal of fuss and trauma I turned 35. This meant I was officially in my MID-THIRTIES!! We have several fur babies at home but a human baby has not shown up yet. I bit my nails, was cranky, and dreaded May 27th even though it was the 4th anniversary of my first date with Jason. Luckily, my husband and family rallied to support me, and on the 27th, I was still alive, still myself, and did not turn into an instant mummy like the archeologist that chose poorly at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
He's making a poor choice!
Partially because I have a lot of stuff, and partially because I was a depressed mess in that week leading up to THE DAY my mother-in-law, Patti offered to take me shopping and let me pick out what I wanted. She usually does this, and I was prepared. I racked my brain coming up with what I might want. I decided that with all the traveling I do I could really use a small blender. After doing some research (I earned my nickname of Hermione) I decided on the Hamilton Beach blender. We went to Target and she smiled, then told me to pick out some more. After that, we headed to the makeup aisle. :>
What I thought would happen when I turned 35. It didn't.

This last weekend  I went to Lincoln, NE for business. With a desire to make sure I ate SOMETHING for breakfast I went to the store and picked up soymilk and cherries. I was lucky that this hotel had a fridge. That allowed me to defrost these and keep them cold.

 The blender works like a dream. It is light and traveled well. I wrapped it up in my clothes to bring it there and back, and checked it. In the room, I reassembled it, gave it a rinse, and off it went. The quiet motor did not disturb the rooms next to me and the size of the container makes the perfect smoothie for my 5’ 1” hobbit self. I loved making this so much that I ended up using this personal blender instead of my VitaMix. I love Mr. Vitamix, but because the canister is so large I often make smoothies big enough for Andre the Giant, then I drink them out of guilt. This leads to having WAY more calories than I really should. This gives me the perfect amount of breakfast calories.
The Hamilton Beach mini blender in my go-to colors

If you decide that you can’t live without your own personal blender, I have the link below. Of course, mine is black since that is my ‘go-to’ color, but these come in all colors, including purple. If there are two of you that will be using this, there is a white Hamilton Beach that has two blender tops that is only about $24 on

I will say this is now a must have for trips, and drinking smoothies out of this will make 35 a healthy year.

Blender image from

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Confessions and Salads, with TWO RECIPES!!

So  I have a confession to make. I am a chef, culinary educator, vegan, and I have horrible migraines. This is not something that I talk a lot about. I feel there is a mystique around being vegan, that it is a panacea that cures all ills. It cures most ills. Even my migraines are not as bad as the other women in my family and I can control them with more mild medication than they take. Still, migraines are a pretty embarrassing affliction in many ways. I try to cover it, but when mine hit my brain stops working quite right. I mix up my words, sentences are harder to form, and I have problems with my balance. Basically, I look and sound drunk. Talk about bad for business. :<

 I decided it is time to do everything I can to help this. I am by no means super thin, so I am cutting back on some of the awesome vegan treats and really building in all the fresh fruit and vegetables to help take off a few pounds. The only hitch in this awesome plan? I have a horrible ulcer from my misspent youth that hates raw veggies. I mean, really, really hates them at times. But there are other things I can eat and drink, like smoothies.

I am sharing this not because I want sympathy, but I feel like I need to let everyone else know that you can be vegan and still have stuff in your system go haywire. But, as vegans we have better tools to cope, and a better support network of other people who are eating healthy and leading active lifestyles.

Plus, in sharing this I want to let you guys know I am taking my blog in a more personal direction. I want to share reviews, recipes, and even just some random things I am loving. I opened up a new blog that will be like an open journal, so if you want to know what is going on with me, I will try to be open and honest there about everything, the ups and downs.

In the meantime, I have this wonderful recipe for a great, easy salad dressing and salad. I have really been craving the spicy and sweet combination lately, so here is a great and easy salad that fits those flavors. When I made this I ate half and packed the other half. Later I took it to Starbucks for a nice refreshing meal while I drank unsweetened green tea and worked away. It traveled well, but the dressing made the juice of the tomatoes come out a bit so make sure your lid fits well before you take it with you.


Sweet and Spicy Dressing/Marinade

Makes 1/3 cup

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons agave
2 teaspoons ancho powder
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and stir to combine.
Allow to rest at least 15 minutes for the flavors to meld.
Use as a salad dressing or marinade.

Sweet and Spicy Lunch Salad
Makes 2 servings, or enough for 1 really hungry Madelyn

 2 medium heirloom tomatoes
½ cup of loose cilantro leaves
4-5 green onions
½ cup of black beans
½ cup of cubed, marinated tofu (I used Trader Joes savory
½ batch of the sweet and spicy dressing

Cube the heirloom tomatoes.
Wash and mince the cilantro.
Slice the green onions.
Discard the roots.
Rinse and drain the black beans.
Cube the tofu.
Use ½ batch of the Sweet and Spicy Salad dressing (about 2-3 tablespoons for this size batch).


Friday, June 7, 2013

Cooling Off - Coconut Chai with a recipe!

Well, here it is hotter than the sun in Phoenix, Arizona. Once the weather is hotter than 110 degrees I become a little preoccupied with finding ways to stay cool. After all, when it is so hot it hurts to run errands, that is a little scary.

One thing I noticed was that with the spike in heat, it becomes dangerous to do things outside between about noon to 5pm. Jason and I have been spending a lot of time going to Starbucks to write recipes. There is nothing wrong with this at all. I love going a few times a week, but I suck down the green teas. Each one I get with 4 pumps of sweetener, so two is 200 calories of just sugar. Kind of scary, depending on how many times you do this. Also, cost can be a factor. Yes, I am a gold card member (many times over) but my green tea is about $3.89 with tax. Not the most expensive drink at Starbucks, but with trying to cut back and save more money, not something I want to do every day.

I looked in the pantry and we have a lot of tea. And when I say we have a lot of tea, I mean we have a LOT of tea. A while back, Sprouts was clearing out their better teas and we were getting Zhena’s Gypsy Tea for .99 to 1.99 per container. We bought them all. Then we stopped drinking tea at night shortly after. They just were in our pantry, wanting to be used.

Looking at the pantry one day, I realized I could solve multiple problems, so I started making various dressed up teas, and keeping them in the refrigerator. Now, Jason and I reach for these, and I do not find myself wanting to go out as much.

Other than whipping up teas for easy summer entertaining, even if I am just entertaining myself, I have been working on recipes for the next issue of the Vegan Culinary Experience, teaching some classes, and working on 2 cookbooks at the same time, because I am like that.

I will try to post pictures soon of all the tasty things being made over here both on the blog, facebook, and my new twitter account. I am on Twitter under Madelyn Pryor is anyone is interested.

Hugs to everyone and stay cool!



This recipe is for coconut chai. The original flavor is Coconut Chai with Black Tea . I made this with a whole tea kettle full of water (about 8 cups) and 6 teabags. I boiled the tea and stepped the bags for five minutes. Then, I added to sticks of Mexican cinnamon and 1 can of light coconut milk. At Trader Joes these are only $.99.  Then I added ¼ cup of real maple syrup, grade B. This is a sugar, but also is unrefined and has its trace minerals. I place all this in the refrigerator to chill, then we can drink it when we choose.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Birthdays and Spicy Tofu Scramble (with recipe!)

Yesterday, I had one of those milestone birthdays. Milestone. More like millstone around my check. Somehow, I thought that my last night on earth would be Sunday night and the next day when I reached the venerable age of 3something, the world would just swallow me. It didn’t. I woke up Monday with my beautiful husband, my kitties, and a knowledge that I needed to start taking better care of myself.

Wakeup calls come in many forms. For some of us, it is hitting a certain birthday or age. “Now that I am X, I need to be more careful.” Yeah, I had that along with another wakeup call. Recently, my friend landed in the hospital with some scary problems. I knew that could be me. After all, I had been taking care of myself, but not perfect care to be sure. Some days I don’t get enough beans, most days I don’t eat enough greens. But seeing her laying there and knowing how close we are in age made me realize that shizznit needs to come to a close. I need to handle my life with more authority and grace.

One huge help has been my review copy of Vegan for Her, Virginia Messina’s new book. I have dropped all my other reading to plow through his book and take notes. If you can’t wait to get your hands on a great book on vegan nutrition or if you are a guy, check out Vegan for Life by Messina and Jack Norris which is a great work as well. With these you can see if you are eating as well as you think you have been and check out any places to improve.

I knew that I needed to improve the way I approach breakfast. Since I hate the first meal of the day I ignore it exists until my body starts getting very cranky with me. By then, I am usually messed up and super hungry! I overeat and then feel like crap. Not the best way for me to start the day.

Today I made myself a simple, spicy scramble. At just around 200 calories and 12 grams of protein, this was a great choice for me to get myself going. The spice in the scramble also made me feel awake and significantly more bright eyed.  If you need a little something to help you get out of bed, then read on.

Spicy Tofu Scramble

Makes 1 serving

½ tsp of oil
½ a poblano pepper or ½ a jalapeno, depending on taste
¼ tsp turmeric
1 pinch of black salt (use regular salt if you can’t find black salt)
½ package of firm, aspic packed tofu
1 can (4 oz) of mild diced green chilies
2 tbsp daiya cheddar ‘cheese’ or other vegan cheese
A vinegar based hot sauce such as Tabasco or Cholula

Heat a skillet or wok over medium heat.
Dice the pepper, removing stem and seeds.
Add the oil to the pan and the pepper.
Cook the pepper until slightly tender.
Add the tofu by crumbling it slightly and the turmeric and salt.
Stir and add the green chilies.
Cook for about 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the ‘cheese’.
Place on a plate and add the hot sauce.




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Try new things, like this awesome Bell Pepper Chili!!! (Recipe included)

You can add some extra color with cilantro or green onion!!
You can’t be afraid to try new things. Well, you can be, but you shouldn’t be. I just spent an hour gluing on fake fingernails. Why? Because I have not done it for 15 years and last night I thought “I don’t like my real fingernails, why not give fakes a shot again?” Is it perfect? No. Did I have fun? Yep. My friend Liz started going to a local project called Market on the Move, where $10 gets you up to 60 pounds of produce. She brought some for me, and I immediately resolved to try going myself.  Something new to try!


Rocking blue sparkle fake nails!!
Sorting through the produce, I noticed that some of it needed to be used sooner than later. There were beautiful bell peppers with just a few bad spots, easily cut off, and VERY ripe romas. They were perfect at the moment but in two days they will be in roma tomato heaven.  I wanted to make something tasty and beautiful to honor the gift. Gathering a few things from the kitchen, I got to work.


The result was the chili you see below. It was very delicious and rather mild. The best thing about this chili is that it is delicious, low calorie but hearty, and would freeze very well!! Interested in making your own frozen dinners? This is a great one for you.


So get out there and try new things? Try that hike you’ve been meaning to do, or even that bright eye shadow that has been scaring you. If Liz hadn’t tried Market on the Move for the first time, we would not have this chili. So try making this chili for the first time because it is amazing!


Bell Pepper Chili

Makes 4-6 servings

2 large yellow bell peppers
3 large red bell peppers
10 large roma tomatoes or 13 medium roma tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 cans of black beans, whole, undrained
1 package of soy chorizo (12 oz)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon or more of salt

Remove the seed packets from the bell peppers and dice the rest. 
Dice the onion.
Dice the tomatoes.
Place all in a heavy pot, such as a cast iron enamel pot.
Heat over medium for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the onion is translucent.
Add the garlic, beans, soy chorizo, cumin, Mexican oregano and salt.
Cook for 10-15 more minutes, until the veggies have reached your desired level of tenderness.
Remove from heat and salt to taste.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

I HATE mornings, but I love my Lemon Breakfast Bites! (recipe included!!)

A sample serving with two lemons from our tree.
I hate breakfast. Those that know me well know this. I envy the people who wake up in the morning rosy cheeked, refreshed and ready to face the day. I wake up pinch faced, crabby, and always feeling like I need two more hours of sleep no matter how much I just got. I stumble into the kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee before setting off to see what the cats destroyed and what dishes need to be done. I sip my coffee while I get ready and then just fall into managing the challenges of the day. Two or three hours later I might figure out that I need to eat something, and by then I am usually shaking and cranky.
I have learned that not eating breakfast, even when I don’t feel like it, is one of my bad habits. Matter as fact, it might be one of my worst habits because it sets me up for being cranky and overeating the rest of the day. People who eat breakfast are more likely to be thinner. I could definitely be thinner.
I also have a goal of eating at least 50% raw foods. Through experiments on myself, I have learned that blend of raw and cooked is helping me control my horrible migraine headaches. My headaches leave me drained, dizzy, and worried that I will sound like an idiot. A frequent symptom of my migraines is my thoughts and words getting jumbled. The less of that mess, the better.
Raw breakfast bites are one of my favorite things in life! I keep inventing new combinations and flavors. Based on my love of lemon desserts and the fact I have lemons on my tree, I made these – lemon breakfast bites. Hopefully these will allow you to help enjoy your morning. Personally, I eat 2-3 and a bit of fresh fruit. The combination leaves me feeling refreshed and full. More importantly, it helps me face the day.
Lemon Breakfast Bites (Raw)
Makes about 24 (1 tablespoon each)
2 cups of raw cashews, unsoaked
½ tsp lemon powder (powered lemon peel) OR 2 teaspoons lemon extract
¼ cup lemon zest, loosely packed
½ cup of lemon juice, fresh
½ cup of raw agave nectar
1 ½ cups of shredded coconut, unsweetened
Place all ingredients except for the shredded coconut in a food processor and pulse until you have a thick paste with some texture.
Add the shredded coconut and pulse until the coconut still has texture, but is broken up slightly.
Place tablespoons of mixture onto a dehydrating sheet and press with your fingers so you have more of a flat cookie shape.
Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 3-4 hours, turning the cookie over after 2 hours.
Remove from the dehydrator and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thirfting, Finding Time and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Recipe!

HI Everyone!

Yesterday I got to teach at Banner Good Samaritan hospital. It is such a lovely place full of nice, kind people. More importantly, we had a bunch of great meals with quinoa! I think I made a few converts to that particular super food, and even cooler, found out that someone gave up dairy for her whole family because I let them know about insulin like growth factors (IGFs).

Here at home, it has been crazy and busy as usual. Trying to keep the house clean with the construction going on with our outdoor oven has been a little extra challenging, but I remind myself that sweeping and even folding laundry burn calories (no one tell me any different!)

I did make sure to take some time for myself today. I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and was pleasantly surprised to find the best Mother of the Bride top from the 1980’s! It is 100% beaded and beautiful. It only needs a few small alterations (like taking out the zipper and shoulder pads) and it will be the perfect evening jacket! Score, and all for $4.

This thing is heavy!
It is important to steal away those few moments for yourself, even when life and work seems impossible. It helps when you have quick, healthy things to nibble on. Remember the chocolate peanut butter truffles from the last blog? They are quick and easy to make, as you see below. Remember that these amounts are approximate, so follow your gut and taste buds while you work away!

 Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Makes about 12

1 cup organic peanut butter (or almond butter)
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup to 1/3 cup raw agave syrup
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until the dough stops sticking to your hands. Roll into 1 inch balls, and place in a container. Use in a few days, or refrigerate up to 1 week.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Going to the Movies!

I love going to the movies. When I was an omnivore (or Muggle as I like to call them) going to the movies held a few extra joys. Giant sodas, massive boxes of candy, and buckets of popcorn that were bigger than my torso. I would eat and watch and eat more… then I would leave the movie logy and full of calories. Little did I know that bucket of popcorn had more calories than I was supposed to be eating in a day! No wonder I was gaining weight and feeling badly.

Once I started eating vegan, I noticed there was little or nothing I could have at the movies, other than a bottled water for $4. I would have been happy to pay for fresh fruit or even baby carrots, but there were none to be found. The week I became vegan, I was due to watch a Friday morning movie with a friend. I knew I didn’t want any of the unhealthy food or candy so I brought dried blueberries. I bought two packages, one for me and one for my friend. I ate mine, she ate hers, and both of us were full of energy and fiber when we left the theater. That started a tradition.

Now, I always bring my snacks to the theater. If you are a guy, it’s harder. Settle for dried fruit or nuts. Place them in a baggie and throw them in your pocket. Women, you have more options. Just think about what you can fit in your purse.

I have included a picture of what I brought to watch Evil Dead this morning. I brought slices of organic fuji and red delicious apples, and organic peanut butter chocolate truffles. I also brought a bottled water for both Jason and I. Our friends ate popcorn, but I had a great time chomping away on my apples. I didn’t even finish what I brought even though I had not yet eaten breakfast. I left the movie today feeling full, hydrated, and refreshed.

Bring your own food and your own snacks when you go places. Only you know what your body needs on any given day. Listen to your body, and bring the fuel it needs to pick up and go.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Grab life by the… peanut butter

So last time I was on here I talked about how crazy busy my life can be! This is very true. My life can be and often is crazy busy. This can lead to lots of eating on the go, which is not always good for you or your waistline. In a matter of weeks I shall have a big birthday. It is one of those milestone birthdays that bug you when you’re a woman. How old will I be? It involves a ‘3’ and we will leave it at that. I have started paying a lot more attention to what I eat. I am already vegan, but there is a lot of vegan junk food out there.

Today’s lunch was crazy healthy and crazy good. I made flavored peanut butter and rolled it into truffles, or really, I just rolled it into balls. I can throw a few of these into a small container, throw it into my purse and go. That makes these flavored peanut butter balls great travel food. Also, it is amazing to make flavored peanut butter sandwiches.

The basic recipe for my cinnamon peanut butter is…

¾ cup of peanut butter (organic is best)
2-4 tablespoons of raw agave depending on your sweet tooth
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of almond extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice

Mix together. Either roll into ball shapes or place in an airtight container and use on sandwiches.

For lunch today I ate some of these with a bunch of fresh strawberries. Four hours later I feel full and refreshed. Last night I used this to make some sandwiches with whole grain bread. I smeared this peanut butter on one side, sprinkled the other side with a little agave, and placed slices of fresh gala apple in-between. Kids and adults both in my class loved this recipe and declared they were making it for lunch. Success!

So enjoy this recipe for your own busy schedule and grab life by the… peanut butter.

P.S. This would also work great with almond butter if you are peanut avoidant.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nature's Candy


Sometimes, simplicity is best. I forget that sometimes because life can be complicated. Often, my life is a chaos of commitments to friends, teaching classes, checking in with extended family, wrangling kitties, and housework. In this complex juggling act, some things can fall by the wayside. Like my blog (sorry everyone) and surprisingly, eating optimally. When you are often on the run and always on your feet, it is sometimes simpler to eat a nutritional bar than a huge, fluffy salad, and it is easier to sneak a vegan cookie than peel and section an orange.

However, wonderful solutions are often right before you. If life is complex, choose things that are simple and nutritious. While I was out weeding my yard, I noticed that my tomatoes had a bunch of bright, beautiful fruit. I rinsed some off with the hose and ate away. My yard took care of my snack needs without me even having to go in the house.

Yes, vegan cookies are easy to grab and eat, but so are bananas! They even have their own wrapper provided by nature. The same is true with ‘cuties’ when they are in season. Eating big salads take a lot of time, so now I make sure I have raw kale chips and other dehydrated treats on my counter so I can grab a few of those on the go. Already, my body and mind feel better.

We have the tools to set ourselves up for success or failure in all things. Be nice to yourself and give yourself the tools to succeed. Have around simple healthy things, and if possible, give yourself the time to eat them. If you can’t, then make sure you have classic and simple grab and goes.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Make Amazing Flavored Water

While living in a healthy world, you do not have to suffer from a lack of amazing flavors. Actually, the more amazing flavor combinations you can cram into your life, the better. Given that thought, I have started making pitchers of flavored water.  

Making your own flavored water is inexpensive, easy, and quick. You throw the stuff together in five quick minutes, let it sit overnight, and then in the morning you have an amazing flavor festival! The next time you pass expensive flavored water at the store, just turn your nose up at it. It is not good for you and a waste of your money.

All you need to make your own is a pitcher, water, and fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even spices. My favorite combination is mint, basil, an orange and lots of ginger. I also like apple, sticks of cinnamon, orange and star anise. The only limits on this are your imagination, but I think kale flavored water would not be my favorite.

Simple directions

-          Make sure all your fruit, veggies and herbs are washed.

-          Slice the veggies and fruit thin.

-          Add to the pitcher with the herbs and spices.

-          Fill the rest of the way with water.

-          Place in the refrigerator overnight.

-          Enjoy the next day. 

There you go! Healthy fun!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Eat Right with Rosemary Carrots! Recipe Included!

In the spirit of eating lighter, I have been eating more fruits and vegetables now than I have in years. It is a lot easier to eat right when you are consuming a pound or more of veggies a day and at least a pound of fruit. Some of you are thinking that does not sound like a lot, and some of you are wondering how I find room to eat anything else.
Some veggies I love eating raw and just as they are. One of my favorites is cucumber slices. Those are just epic. Cauliflower that is raw but dipped in my miso Dijon dressing makes my toes curl. Other veggies are a little better cooked. I like roasted cauliflower (have you noticed I love cauliflower?) I also love making large pots of all veggie soup. Those are great when I need something late at night that is warm, comforting, and low in calories.
Another quick and easy favorite of mine is rosemary carrots. This takes just 20 minutes to bake, and it is easy to throw in the oven when you are making other tasty foods. Best of all, this lets me use some of the metric ton of rosemary that is in my yard. I got a cute baby rosemary plant for our wedding, planted it, and now it is a monster!! I love it because it means these carrots are always easy to make.
When you need a nice side dish, or want to eat the whole thing like popcorn while you are watching a movie on Netflicks, this is a great option!!
Rosemary Carrots
Makes about 1 pound
1 pound of baby carrots
1 baking dish, either a 9 inch pie plate or 9X9 baking dish
3-4 sprigs of rosemary, 3-4 inches long
2 cups of water
1 cube of bouillon, enough to make 2 cups of broth
2 cups of vegetable broth
Combine all ingredients and roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
Yes, it is that easy.
Now eat and enjoy.
P.S You can use other herbs that you really like, too! These would be great with thyme, oregano, or you name it! Have fun!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black Bean Veggie Soup with Recipe and Gossip!

A big bowl of love!

About 7 years ago I started an amazing weight loss journey where I lost 50 pounds, and tons of my own self doubts. Was I pretty enough? Was I healthy enough? There was a bit of that, but the first time I felt confident, especially when I could buy jeans in the lowest numbers possible. In America, when you are a woman, being skinny equals winning, and I was winning.

When you least expect it in life, you hit those brick walls with your face, breaking bones and spewing blood. I had a health problem (non-diet related) I never thought that I would encounter, and boom! 10 pounds was back on. I had to buy more new jeans, and fold the ones I had bought in those precious low numbers away… temporarily. I would be back in them soon enough. I wasn’t. The first 10 pounds crept into another 10, and then three years later another deep depression was followed by another 5 pound weight gain. Maybe it was all the wine.

Now I am back to my old habits, which is really building in the fruits and vegetables. I aim for 2-3 pounds of veggies a day. Yes, you read that right. 2-3 POUNDS. I am also eating about 1.5 pounds of fruit a day, which is leaving my skin glowing. So how am I doing all of this? I thought I would start posting up some of my recipes, ideas, and ways of getting things done while building in the veggies, or saving time. Both help.

One of my favorite new recipes is this easy black bean soup that is light, easy, and goes together in no time. I even included a calorie count!!

Black Bean Veggie Soup

Makes 10 servings (1 cup each)

2 cans of black beans, 15 oz each, rinsed and drained
4 cups of water
2 cups of corn kernels
2 cubes of vegetable bouillon (each should make 1 cup)
4 medium to large roma tomatoes
2 cans of diced green chilies (4 oz each)
1 tablespoon of fresh Mexican oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried, crumbled
2 small chili peppers
2 bunches of green onions
½ bunch of cilantro, diced
½ cup of shredded Daiya cheddar cheese or other vegan cheese
Drain and rinse the black beans.
Add to a soup pot along with 4 cups of water and the vegetable bouillon cubes and corn.
Dice the roma tomatoes and add to the pot, with the diced green chilies.
Add the oregano if using dried oregano.
Heat to a boil and allow to cook until the tomatoes are starting to soften, about 5 minutes of simmering time.
Meanwhile, slice the chili peppers thinly.
Remove the roots from the green onions, slice, and add.
Mince the cilantro.
Mince the oregano if using fresh.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the fresh oregano, cilantro, green onions, Daiya and chili peppers.
Allow to steep for about 5 minutes, then serve.


I actually eat this 2 cups at a time, because that fills me up better. However, the information below is based on a 1 cup serving. That way, you can portion it how you like it.

1 cup is 150 calories, 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.