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.