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Baked Black Bean Croquetas

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I love it here in Vancouver. The people are friendly, the mountains are amazing, & the gorgeous summers are for enjoying the outdoors. However, the rainy, winter days (that sometimes last weeks!) are awful! They’re cold & gloomy. It’s been like this for days! Needless to say, I’ve been missing Florida & all it’s sunshine!

Anyway, I felt like making something that would remind me of home in South Florida & my Cuban roots. How about croquetas (croquettes)? Perfect. Now, the challenge was to make them healthy & vegan. (Crazy the work I’m willing to do to satisfy a craving & not feel guilty!)

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They don’t look as pretty as the ones at the Cuban bakeries in Miami, (how do they get them so perfectly shaped?!) but they are very, very tasty & easy. Also, since they’re healthy, you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating 2 or 3…or 4 or 5…

Ingredients:
– 1 can (14oz) Organic Black Beans – drained & rinsed
– 1/2 tsp Cumin
– 1/2 cup Chopped Tomato
– 1/4 cup Onion
– 2 tsp Minced Garlic
– 1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
– 1/4 cup Fortified Nutritional Yeast
– 1/3 cup Cooked Quinoa (room temp.)
– 1/3 cup Bread Crumbs
– 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Steps:
– Preheat oven to 425F
– Place beans in bowl & mash with fork or potato masher.
– Combine cumin, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, nutritional yeast & quinoa. Mix well with mashed beans.
– In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs & evoo.
– Divide the bean mixture into croqueta shapes & press firmly onto breadcrumbs, turning to coat.
– Place croquetas on non-stick baking sheet & bake until golden brown. About 25 minutes.

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* Serve with salsa of your choice or guacamole…yum!

If anyone has a tip or an easier way of forming the mixture into the croqueta shapes, please share!

Happy Eating!

– Lesley

The Art of Salad Making…

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One of my favorite things about visits to a Whole Foods grocery store is stopping to treat myself at the salad bar. Although salads are a regular menu item at home, the plethora of salad toppers at Whole Foods makes me feel giddy! I circle & circle around until I decide what type of salad I want…light, nutty, fruity…

I watched some folks as they built their salad. Some did a wonderful job of getting in proteins & leafy greens but, others (tisk, tisk) just plopped some lettuce, croutons & ranch dressing. Salads don’t just have to be a side dish! So, I encourage you to make it a salad week! Everyday this week, make a salad the main entrée of your meal. Make it a big salad! Add healthy fats & leafy greens & any vegetables or fruits…the possibilities are endless! I’ll try & give you some inspirations…

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Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Red Onion, Cucumbers, Black Beans, Tomato, Chick Peas, Roasted Garlic, Shredded Beets & Carrots, Avocado & Cashews. (Tahini Garlic Dressing)

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Avocado, Chick Peas, Parsley & Sesame Seeds. Simple yet filling! (Dressing: sea salt, extra virgin olive oil & fresh lemon juice)

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Shredded Purple Cabbage, Lettuce & Tomato (Dressing: fresh ginger, miso, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil & minced garlic)

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Spinach, Sunflower Seeds, Chick Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Onion & Hemp Seeds (balsamic glaze dressing)

Other Salad Ingredients I Enjoy:

– Strawberries
– Almonds
– Arugula
– Chia Seeds
– Flax Seeds
– Mushrooms
– Nutritional Yeast
– Walnuts
– Olives
– Apple
– Pineapple
– Roasted Seaweed
– Quinoa
– Cilantro
– Dill
– Green Onions
– Whole Grain Pasta

You get the idea!
I would love to hear suggestions so feel free to share your own salad creations!

So, try & get your veggies in & make it a salad week!

Happy Eating!

– Lesley

Weekend Chili to the Rescue!

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Weekends at our house are for exploring! Being from Miami, Florida, the move to British Columbia is a whole new world for us! Mountains & hiking & snow…oh my! I like to pack our picnic basket, head out early, & come back in time for dinner. The only problem is, I usually have to get home from a long day of adventures & start cooking. That’s no fun! Until the Weekend Chili came along! Slow-cooked in the crock pot while we’re gone, & hot & ready by the time we get back! We especially love this hearty, protein-packed meal on cold & rainy days.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Total Vegetable Protein
  • 1 can Organic Black Beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 can Organic Pinto Beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 cup Chopped Carrots
  • 1 cup Chopped Celery
  • 4 Diced Tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Chopped Onions
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2-3 cups Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Steps:

  1. Set your crock pot to the low setting.
  2. In a pan, sauté carrots, celery & onions in some of the vegetable broth.
  3. Place sautéed vegetables & remaining ingredients in crock pot. (Add more or less broth depending on your desired density.)
  4. Stir & cook on low for 6 hours.
  5. Top with vegan sour cream & chopped green onions & enjoy!

* Tip: Serve it over quinoa or as a taco filling!

Have a wonderful weekend & happy eating!

– Lesley

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