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Simple Snacking: Kale Chips

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Kale chips are a wonderfully healthy & tasty snack. You can season them with just about anything: garlic powder, sea salt, nutritional yeast, etc…

Steps:

– Preheat oven to 350F

– Get a bunch of kale, wash well, & remove the stems by just tearing the leaves with your hands.

– Toss kale in a bowl with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

– Place kale single layer on a baking sheet.

– Bake until crispy. About 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it!)

– Remove from oven & let cool.

– Toss back in bowl with seasoning of your choice. (I used nutritional yeast.)

That’s it! How simple is that?

*Tip: Crumble some kale on warm miso soup or on a salad for some added crunch!

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Here are some links with info on kale if you’d like to know more about this über nutritional veggie!

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/kale.html

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale

http://www.kalenutrition.net/

Happy Eating!

– Lesley

Mini Eggplant Pizzas!

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We love pizza! The boys ask for it just about everyday, but I compromise & serve it once a week. The problem? It’s just so darn messy to make the dough! I needed an easier solution for days when I don’t feel like dusting the whole house due to an indoor flour storm. (Seriously, I’m a bit of a mess in the kitchen. It happens when I get “in the zone”.) So, I found a big ol’ eggplant in my refrigerator just waiting to be sliced. I had seen recipes for eggplant parmesan but had never tried it. It was all an experiment & I was afraid of how they would turn out since I didn’t use eggs or cow’s milk for the breading.

However, they were so good! I mean, really, they came out delicious! My “tasters” liked them so much I could barely snap any pictures before they were all gone! They’re crunchy & a perfect size for little hands.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Eggplant
  • 3/4 cup Flour (any type will do)
  • 4 tbsp Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 cups Bread Crumbs
  • Garlic Powder to taste (appx 1 tbsp)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Pizza Sauce of choice
  • 1 cup Dairy-Free Mozzarella Style Shredded Cheese (Daiya Foods)

Steps:

  • Combine ground flax & almond milk in a bowl & set aside.
  • Place flour in a bowl & season with salt & pepper.
  • Place bread crumbs in a bowl & season with garlic powder.
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Peel eggplant & slice into 1/2″ thick circles.
  • Coat 1 eggplant circle at a time in flour covering both sides & then dip in the almond & flax bowl. (Allow excess to drip back into bowl.)
  • Coat in bread crumbs & place on a non-stick baking pan.
  • Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until circles are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven & top with pizza sauce & shredded cheese & bake until cheese is melted.

The hubby & I used them as a side to our three bean & veggie soup instead of bread…

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You can also top them with bruchetta, hummus, pesto or even guacamole! The possibilities are endless. If you happen to make this recipe, let me know how you enjoyed it! I’m sure you could also try this recipe with zucchini instead of eggplant. I just so happen to have one in my fridge. Hmmmm…

Happy Eating!

– Lesley

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

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

Super Breakfast Smoothie

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I’ve decided that my 1st recipe post is going to be about the 1st thing we eat every morning here at home…the SUPER BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE!

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I pack our smoothies with as many nutrients as I know how while still keeping it tasty, of course! After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no? Yes.

It’s very easy to make. All you need is a blender & the following:

– 1 Ripe Banana
– 1 cup Frozen Strawberries
– 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
– 2 tbs Vega Smoothie Powder
– 3 tbs Shelled Hemp Seeds
– 2 tbs Milled Flax Seeds
– Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice from 1 Orange
– 1 cup Almond Milk (you may add more for a thinner consistency)

That’s it! Just blend all the ingredients together, pour it into a to-go cup, & go! (Makes about 16oz – One 8oz smoothie has about 16 grams of protein, 339 calories & 12 grams of fibre.)

Here’s why I use what I use:

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Banana,Orange, Strawberries & Blueberries: I’m not going too in depth here. We all know fruit is super healthy & should be eaten everyday. Fruit is a wonderful source of fiber, antioxidants & other nutrients. I found this nifty little site with lots of facts & information on different types of fruit: Link to nifty fruit site.

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Vega Smoothie Powder: I love this stuff! 2 tbs of this is packed with all types of natural plant-based ingredients. It’s a great source of fiber, protein, & Omega 3. It’s sugar, dairy, gluten & soy free. I even use it when I bake sometimes if I want to hide some veggies in dessert. (I’m a sneaky mom.)

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Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds: I discovered these when I was Googling around ways to add protein to our diet. These tiny seeds are chewy & have a very mild nutty flavor making them easy to use anywhere: smoothies, salad dressings & topping, dips, sauces, etc…
They contain 10 essential amino acids, antioxidants, & an array of vitamins & minerals including iron & vitamin E. Oh! & all the protein I was looking for…3 tablespoons = 10grams of protein!

Flax Seeds: An amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids & fiber. It’s also been known to lower cholesterol & prevent cancer growth. American Cancer Society for more on flax.

Fortified Almond Milk: Tastes delicious & creamy! We actually prefer it over cow’s milk at our house. Contains calcium, vitamin D & B12 which is extra important for those of you on a vegetarian or vegan eating plan.

I had to make a lot of smoothies, & try to calculate nutrition facts, & all sorts of trial & error to come to this recipe. I really feel this is the most nutritious meal we have everyday! Give it a try!

Happy Eating!

Lesley

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