Day 20: Tomatoes #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 20: Tomatoes

Add flavor to so many dishes with tomatoes!
There are so many varieties and ways to use tomatoes to spice up your cooking. If you don’t like tomatoes it may be because you haven’t found the right variety yet, there are so many different textures and flavors out there, keep trying.  Some of my favorites are heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. What about you?
It’s actually so simple and delicious to make your own tomato sauce. Just food process a few tomatoes, sauté them with some garlic, seasonings (red chili flakes, garlic powder, oregano, basil, cayenne) add spinach or veggies, add a can of organic chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce and a few tbl. spoons of tomato paste and that is all you need!
Paired on top of some gluten-free pasta and you are good to go! You can even add lentils to your sauce to create that bolognese flavor!

  • Tomatoes are full of anti-oxidants and are linked to heart health.
  • Tomato paste is an excellent source of iron! If you are a ketchup fan, make your own with tomato paste! It’s so much healthier and super easy too.
See you tomorrow for letter “U.” ♥

Day 18: Rice + Rice Cakes #27DaysOFThanks

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Day 18: Rice

Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter, Julienne Peeled Apple, Sprinkled with Cinnamon and Coconut!

 This makes the perfect after dinner snack if you’re having sweet tooth, it really satisfies your craving and is a good carb to have before bed because the apple will give you some fiber and the rice cake will give you some good carbs to help you get to sleep…

Arsenic and Rice:

There is a lot of controversy about rice right now because of high arsenic levels. Research shows that it is highest in brown rice, so I would avoid it altogether. White rice is a safer choice (organic doesn’t  change arsenic levels), it’s also easier to digest. It’s best when it’s grown in California or Asia (no where else in the U.S.). Also, rinsing it first helps. I would avoid giving it to children or very sparingly.
It’s too bad about rice, because it is an absolute staple for me and my gluten-free, hclf diet! I am still eating it (white, black or wild rice), but I am going to start eating it less often…What are your thoughts about rice?
See you tomorrow for letter “S.” ♥

Day 15: Oat +Baked Oatmeal #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 15: Oats

There are so many delicious ways to eat oats, do you ever forget they’re healthy?
You can bake them in cookies, use them as bread crumbs, add them to your smoothie or make baked oatmeal with fresh fruit like I did here…

3 Reasons to eat Oats:

  1. Oats are great source of whole grains packed with energy fueling carbs, fiber and protein.
  2. Eating oats helps stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and control blood pressure.
  3. If you are Gluten-Free like me, you’d like to know that recent studies show that eating more oats will enhance then nutritional value of your GF diet by increasing your mineral, vitamin and antioxidant level!

I’ve been wanting to try baked oats for so long and was excited when I found a pack of 3 baking ramekins at Ross for $3.99! This recipe is SUPER simple, there are so many possible combinations you can use, it will be fun trying new things…
I used gluten-free oats, no refined sugar and no oil.

Baked Banana Apple Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/2 cup GF oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 teas. baking powder
1 banana
1 date
1 small apple
cinnamon

(Other options are adding 1/2 teas. vanilla extract, blueberries, cacao or maple syrup)

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350f.
  • Combine Oats and almond meal, let soak for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut your banana in half.
  • Mash half your banana and one date and mix with oats.
  • Add cinnamon.
  • Pour mixture into your ramekin.
  • Top with banana and apple slices.
  • Bake for about 20 mins until slightly brown on top and crisp.
  • Top with coconut flakes

Enjoy!

See you tomorrow for letter “P.” ♥

Day 12: Lentils +Lentil Soup #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 12: Lentils

Lentils are one of my top favorite go-to foods. They are so versatile, I try and throw them in as much as possible because they add so much flavor, protein and nutrients to so many dishes.

Lentils make a great substitute for any dish requiring ground meat because the flavor and texture is very similar. Even more healthy than meat, less fat, great protein and added fiber! You can use them to make things like bolognese sauce, meatballs or shepherds pie.

Yesterday, I threw some black lentils in a slow cooker and made a big pot of delicious lentil soup. It was so easy and tasty I can tell it’s going to be one of those staples for the winter… #27DaysOfThanks for lentils!

 

Easy Vegan Lentil Soup

I made this soup in a slow cooker (or crockpot) but you can make it on the stove top as well, just follow the cooking instructions for the lentils, add veggies and cook until tender…

Ingredients:

One bag of any color lentils (I used black lentils this time but green, brown or red work great too)
Carton of veggie broth
Can of diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1 potato (your choice, I used a gold but sweet would be good)
2 carrots (diced)
3 stalks of celery (diced)
One bag of cut up butternut squash (optional)
2 large garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
spices (I used a dash of cayenne & garlic powder)
Dash of salt/pepper

 Instructions

  • Wash and sort lentils – throw in the pot
  • Wash and chop all veggies – thrown in the pot
  • Add broth, chopped can tomatoes, garlic and spices
  • Put the lid on and you are done!
  • Follow slow cooker instructions or wait a few hours you will know when it’s done…usually 4-5 hours on high, 6-7 on low.

Enjoy a wonderfully nutrient dense delicious hot soup that should last a few days 🙂

Day 11: Why you should eat Kale #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 11: Kale

To be honest I haven’t always been a fan of kale…if it isn’t prepared right or just blended in a smoothie, it’s hard for me to get it down. It isn’t until recently that I’ve experienced a few amazing salads that have opened my pallet to this nutrient dense cruciferous green. The key is finely chopped, massaged kale with the stem removed, lightly covered in a tangy, garlic, lemon, dressing and a hint of a sweet dried fruit. This is exactly what I have created here and it’s the kind of salad hardy enough to stand on it’s own. It fills you up and makes your body feel good as if it’s been given the nutrients it craves. In fact, kale is among the most nutrient dense food you can eat. It has essential nutrients hard to get in other foods, for both vegans and non-vegans.

Why to eat Kale:

  1. Kale is low in calories and high in nutrients; eating more kale will quickly increase the total nutrient content to your food.
  2. Kale is a great source of hard to get nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, C, K and B6.
  3. Powerful antioxidants and other nutrients in kale can help with anti-aging and can fight against cancer cells.
  4. Kale also has protein! Mixed with it’s high fiber content and zero fat content, it can help you lose weight.
  5. Kale contains Omega- 3 which is anti-inflamitory and great for your brain.
There are tons more good things to say about kale, but this is a good start. Combine this knowledge with some tasty recipes and you are good to go!

 Edible, Tangy, Crave-worthy, Kale Salad

Ingredients:

Head of Kale
1 lemon
1-2 Tbls. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
Paprika
Cayenne pepper
Sea salt and pepper
Cranberries (or other dried fruit)

Nut parmesan

Almonds (or any nuts you prefer, pecans, walnuts, cashews…)
Nutritional Yeast

Directions:

  • Clean and dry kale.
  • Peel (or cut) all the kale leaves from the stem. (You will not be using the stem)
  • Chop up remaining leaves as finely as you can and place in a large bowl. Or use your food processor to chop it even finer!
  • Mix half of your lemon juice with half your olive oil and a few sprinkles of sea salt and pour over your kale and begin to massage the leaves until they become slightly wilty. (About 2 mins).
  • Set aside.
  • Mix remaining lemon, garlic, olive oil and seasoning into a cup and stir to make the dressing.
  • Pour over Kale and mix thoroughly.
  • In a food processor chop up almonds until the the texture is fine, similar to parmesan cheese.
  • Plate your salad and top with cranberries, nut parmesan and nutritional yeast.

Enjoy!

See you tomorrow for letter “L.” ♥

Day 8: 3 Reasons to Eat Hummus! #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 8: Hummus

Lowfat, protein rich, highly nutritions, guilt free  & delicious hummus!
Hummus is one of those super easy to make dishes that is an absolute essential for every vegan kitchen…or just every kitchen! 
It’s tasty on so many things from veggies, to sandwiches to salads to crackers to you name it! It’s super healthy too because it is low fat high in protein and full of nutrients.

3 reasons to eat hummus:

1.Chickpeas are full of fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, minerals and help balance blood sugar.
2.The fresh garlic in hummus is anti-infalmitory antibacterial and antiviral.
3.The fiber and protein in the chickpeas and tahini will fill you up and keep you satisfied on the go.

I made a pot of chickpeas today and blended this together in no time at all. The hardest part is planning when you want to eat them because I like to soak the beans for at least 24 hours; soaking beans breaks down the enzyme inhibiters that can cause digestive issues and gas, it also helps you absorb the nutrients more easily and it also cuts down on cooking time.
Simply food process together:

chickpeas
fresh lemon
tahini
garlic
paprika
cumin
a little salt

Add a little water and blend until smooth and fluffy. What other ingredients do you like to add to hummus?

#27DaysOfThanks continues tomorrow with letter “I.” ♥

Day 7: Ginger + Healing Ginger Tea

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Day 7: Ginger

There are so many wonderful things to say about this special root, I’m not sure where to start…Its not only delicious in so many recipes it is also a super powerful healing aid.

Here are some top reasons to give thanks for ginger:

  1. Soothing to your digestive track; it relieves gastrointestinal distress including upset stomach, gas and nausea. Its safe for pregnant women and very effective in reducing vomiting without any side effects.
  2. The gingerols inside of ginger are very anti-inflammatory, they have been known to reduce pain in injury and arthritis. Consuming ginger regularly can help keep you active and pain free.
  3. Powerful against cancer, its been known to kill ovarian cancer cells and colorectal cells.
  4. Ginger is Immune Boosting, it contains natural antibiotics and can kill bacteria!

I want to let you in on a little remedy that you may (or may not know about) that will knock out anything trying to attack your respiratory system pretty much overnight. This tea is so healing, anti-infalmitory and immune boosting you will be drinking it all winter.

 Healing Ginger Tea

  • For a one cup serving just boil water and a few inches of chopped ginger root.
  • After about 10 minutes pour in your teacup and add 1 tbls. apple cider vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, turmeric powder and/or honey (if you eat it/vegan honey). This has worked wonders for me when I feel a sore throat or cough coming on!

What’s your favorite ginger drink?

P.S. I want to thank @bebe_glow for her shout out today and for all the new followers on Instagram! Feeling blessed by all your support!! ♥

Check it tomorrow for letter “H.”

Day 5: Eggplant #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 5: Eggplant

 What I love about this challenge…

that I have laid out for my self, (#27DaysOfThanks for 27 different foods from A-Z) is that it is causing me to experiment and try foods that I may not typically eat, and learn a lot about them too. Case in point, Eggplant. I don’t usually buy it, but when I saw these cute little purple bulbs at the FarmersMarket, I new I wanted them to be “E.”

I ended up making this Asian inspired stir fry and I’m glad I did, the eggplant added a lot to the dish and I seasoned with some new ingredients. Here is the recipe…

Eggplant Stir Fry~

Ingrediants:

eggplant
green beans
2-4 garlic cloves
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
gluten-free soy sauce
1 inch shredded ginger
lemon or lime wedge
1 tbls maple syrup
1 tbls coconut oil (or veggie broth for no oil)
fresh parsley
sprinkle of sesame seeds
white Jasmine rice

Directions:

Chop up your eggplant and green beans.

In a skillet combine coconut oil, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté on low/med heat for a few mins.

Add in your veggies along with a few splashes of soy sauce, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Sauté for a few minutes on medium heat.

Add a few tablespoon of water and cover for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Shred your ginger and add to a separate bowl with maple syrup, lemon, a little more soy sauce and another tablespoon of water.

Add sauce to your skillet and cook for another few minutes.

Add your parsley and pair with your Jasmine rice!

Enjoy!

Reasons to give thanks for Eggplant

  1. The anthocyanin in the skin acts as a powerful antioxidant, is anti-infamitory and helps detoxify your cells. This helps cognitive function, heart health, and prevents tumor growth and the spread of cancer cells.
  2. It can lower blood cholesterol because of large amounts of chlorogenic acid which decreases LDL levels and also is antimicrobial and antiviral.
  3. It is a #beautyfood that promotes a #healthy weight, glowing skin and #antiaging.
What are your favorite dishes with Eggplant?
Check in tomorrow for letter “F.”

Day 4: Dates #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 4: Dates

Dates are one of my top favorite foods, I really started to love them once I realized how nutritious they are and how many ways you can use them.
I recommend getting them from the Farmers Market because they are so fresh and tender…my favorites are from Bautista Family Organic Ranch.

Some reasons to be thankful for dates:

  1. Dates energize, revitalize and hydrate the body instantly.
  2. Then are full of vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and B-complex and are anti-inflamitory.
  3. They are rich in fiber, very easy to digest, promote digestive health and relieve constipation.
  4. They prevent stroke, lower blood pressure, boost heart health, brain health and increase sexual stamina!
  5. Dates also aid in a healthy pregnancy, delivery and are wonderful for kids.
Did you know dates did all that? That’s why you should eat them every day and at plenty, they are amazing in smoothies and make tasty Holiday treats too, like the ones above…here is the super simple, delicious recipe…

Holiday Date Rounds~

Ingredients:

dates

coconut

cinnamon

chia seeds

Directions:

Just pit dates and food process them with some shredded coconut and a few sprinkles of cinnamon.
Roll them into balls and then roll them over some chia seeds and more shredded coconut.
You can put them in the freezer to harden and Enjoy!

Day 2: Butternut Squash #27DaysOfThanks

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 Day 2: Butternut Squash

For today’s #27DaysOfThanks, I’m sharing a picture from @bebe_glow’s instagram account of “Millet Mac and Trees.” This is an awesome take on Mac and Cheeese with broccoli and butternut squash! Below is her original picture and recipe. Check out her page for more vegan & gluten-free inspirations! I love supporting other actor/performers who are vegan because it’s not always easy to tell people you are vegan because not many people accept it…but I believe times are changing and getting the word out is key! So cheers to actress Andree Vermeulen and her awesome page!

Millet Mac N Trees I really wanted Mac N Trees for dinner (Mac w broccoli) but the adult in me was like “you made so much millet yesterday, you better use some of that before you go making something new.” Sigh. Rules, right? Anyway, you can make this with millet or pasta, or rice– whatever you want. Super simple cheese sauce: boil 2 cups cut butternut squash (I buy pre cut at Trader Joes bc I can’t be bothered to cut a squash. Lol) and 1 Yukon gold potato for about 20 mins. Drain. Add about 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk and blend either w a handmixer or a blender. Pour back into pot if you dumped in a blender. Add about 5 or 6 tbs nutritional yeast and stir it in. Add salt to taste. Optional: add a half a cup of Daiya cheddar shreds. And the rest is easy: steam your broccoli, sautée your mushrooms if you want them. I sautée mine in low sodium veggie broth. Then mix everything up in the cream sauce! — side note: I did not use salt or Daiya. I’m trying to get back on track. With all the weddings and traveling I have eaten oil more than Id like to, and it’s affecting my skin and my energy, and even my weight a tiny bit. And once I eat really oil heavy foods, it triggers cravings and I want them more often. It’s a slippery slope. But when I don’t have them I don’t crave them anymore. But yeah I ate some oily stuff and now my skin broke out a little. Sigh #vegan #whatveganseat #vegansofig #glutenfree #glutenfreevegan #hclfv #hclf #highcarb #lowfat #nosalt #nooil #oilfree #saltfree #dairyfree #starchivore #starchsolution #mcdougall #unlimitedcarbs #absaremadeinthekitchen #eatclean #cheesy #cheesesauce

A photo posted by Andree Vermeulen (@bebe_glow) on

Check out these cool nutritional facts about Butternut Squash!

1. It has more vitamin A than pumpkin!! That’s a lot! Which is key for optimal eye sight! And you can potentially prevent and reverse Macular Degeneration by eating a #diet rich in foods like this!

2. Minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, which will help keep your immune system up this time of year!!

3. Did you know you can roast the #seeds? It’s a great source of protein and concentrated minerals!

Check in tomorrow for letter “C”