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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

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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

Vegan French Toast – A Brunch for Dinner Valentine

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I love French Toast & I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t agree. So, I thought, why not make a meal we all love on a “lovey-dovey” day like today? (I also figured the boys would be thrilled &, hopefully, stuffing their faces which meant the hubby & I could enjoy a somewhat peaceful meal.)

Now, I’ve made vegan French Toast before & I’ve always used Ezekiel 4:9 Bread (which you’re more than welcome to use in this recipe) but I wanted something extra special tonight. Something that breaks a few “rules”. Something like…Texas Toast! *gasp* Ooooh calm down, it’s only 1 night!

Like I said, we usually eat the sprouted grain breads, but when I managed to find 100% Whole Wheat Texas Toast, I thought, “It’s still kinda healthy & perfect for the occassion!” Was it ever!

Ingredients:

  • Bread of your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Milk
  • 1 tbs Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 4 tbs Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Pure Coconut Oil

Steps:

    1. Put all ingredients (except for the bread) in a blender & blend until smooth.
    2. Pour the mixture from the blender to a bowl.
    3. Dip your bread in the mixture to coat. (Make sure you let excess mixture drip back into the bowl.)
    4. Place bread slices on a medium-heat, non-stick, pan or skillet & cook until golden brown on both sides.

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*Served with Tempeh Maple Bacon, fresh fruit, & orange juice.

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It worked out perfectly…stomachs were full & hearts were happy. I hope you try it & enjoy it as much as we did!

Happy Eating!

– Lesley

Hello! My very 1st blog post…

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Finally! After debating the idea of a food blog, I’ve finally given in & decided to do it. Thanks in large part to my amazing family & friends that have pushed & encouraged me…you know who you are & I love you.

So, down to business…

Eating healthy (like really healthy) in my house started almost 2 years ago after my hubby & I moved with our 2 kiddos to Vancouver, British Columbia from Miami, Florida. Huge move…heck yeah! However, it was the best decision we could have made. We decided to embrace the way of life here &, little by little, away went fast-food joints, fried foods, sugar, etc…

The intentions of this blog are not to point fingers but simply to share some vegeterian, vegan, raw, or just really healthy stuff we eat at home or around town.

I’m a baby at this & try to learn something new about healthy eating & living everyday…follow me on my journey!

– Lesley

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