December 2012 archive
As another (another!?) year comes to a close, it’s always nice to do a bit of reflecting.
2012 was a great year for me. Between moving to a new condo last winter, job promotion in the summer, collaborations and projects with DK, and traveling the country, it was a whirlwind.
I remember my mom used to always remark how fast life goes by when you are older. Only in the last few years have I realized how right she was, and how much I wish that time moved a little slower.
Do you make goals for the upcoming year? I’m not a huge fan of resolutions but I do appreciate setting new goals and plans for yourself. One of mine is to really get more into blogging, creating new recipes, posting exercise videos, and improving my photography.
While it’s not always easy balancing this with my demanding private practice & full-time job, this project brings me so, so much enjoyment and a way to connect with fellow foodies. To all you loyal followers & friends, thanks for continued support over this past year.
With that, here are my favorite recipes from 2012- some mine and others from my favorite veggie blogs.
Eggplant Pesto Stack
One of my favorite recipes this year, I ended up making it for lunch on Christmas Eve to share with my family. I know eggplant isn’t in season but I couldn’t help it. If you haven’t tried it yet it’s really, really, really good
Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Smoky, hearty black bean soup with a hint of chipotle peppers. Great as a chili or spooned over chips for Nachos.
Smoky Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
It wouldn’t be an official roundup if I didn’t include a pasta or some type of macaroni and cheese. If you read this blog you know how much I love creamy pastas, especially mac and cheese. I am well aware that my favorite food is the same as most 5 year olds. At least this one has butternut squash, upping both the vitamin A and fiber content. It’s almost health food right?
Recipe and Photo Source: Manifest Vegan
Apple Pie Oatmeal
I have a whole new appreciation for oatmeal after making this. It’s quickly becoming my favorite weekend breakfast!
Herbed Cashew Cheese
2012 also marked my love affair with cashew cheese. Yes, you can by it in the store but c’mon- those small tubs are $6 a pop. I can eat an entire one in a few days- (or a few hours if I have an open bottle of wine and some crusty french bread. Sad but true.) I’ve tried a lot of different variations, but this one is my favorite. The pro biotic addition is necessary and changes the recipe completely.
Photo Credit: Cest La Vegan
Recipe: The Conscious Cook
Wishing you a happy end to 2012 and a merry 2013!
I admit, I am kind of glad the holiday’s are over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am loving my week off from work, catching up with family & friends I haven’t seen all year, but I’m a little over the excess that happens every November & December.
What is it about coming home that turns me into a teenager again? You would think I had never had my mother’s cooking before!
Since I only return to Virginia about once a year, I try to cram as many things into one week as I can. This notion also applies to food. Making sure I hit all of my favorite spots, all in one week, is no easy feat.
Somehow though, I manage to do it year after year.
Gah! I’m full just thinking about it.
And that’s about the time I return to green smoothies & kale.
I mentioned a few weeks ago the magic of kale, and it is just as fitting as I write this today. There is something so nourishing about this little leafy green that wakes me up from too much junk and snaps me right back into place. Better than any pill or cure-all tea, I feel instantly better after incorporating more kale salads into my diet.
The nice thing about this salad is while it’s so very healthy for you, it also feels a bit naughty. Almost like I’m easing back into my clean eating plan for January. Baby steps.
I call this my protein-kale salad because it is loaded with satisfying protein. Crispy bits of tempeh, sesame seeds, and lentils. This salad will keep you full for hours- perfect for lunch after days of grazing.
Make extra of the dressing, you will want to put it on tofu, brown rice, or as a dip for vegetables. I sometimes even make it a little thicker and smear it on sprouted bagels & toast.
Creamy Kale Salad
6 cups kale
1 cup shredded carrots
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1 avocado, diced
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked french lentils
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 tbsp. oil
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. white miso paste
2 tbsp. water- or more if you like a thinner dressing
To make crispy tempeh: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large skillet. Add tempeh and spices. Stir occasionally, until most sides become golden brown and crispy. Line a plate with a dish cloth or paper towel. Spoon the tempeh onto the towel to absorb excess oil. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small blender or whisk by hand. Taste before serving- depending on the brand of tahini and miso you might need more/less salt.
To assemble: Combine kale, cabbage, & carrots for salad in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Don’t be afraid to get messy! Massaging by hand helps to break down the tough kale! Add cranberries, avocado, sesame seeds and lentils. Toss together and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with crispy tempeh and serve!
You know what I love? (Besides yoga, chocolate, & BL of course)
Sweet, caramelized, crispy, I don’t know ONE vegetable that doesn’t taste better roasted. Cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, the list goes on and on.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “Gadget Gifts”, RD’s sharing our favorite kitchen tool and an accompanying recipe. I thought long and hard about this theme- what gadgets do I use the most? My blendtec, food processor &kitchen-aid mixer get almost daily billing but those puppies are also pretty expensive. Great for wedding and splurge gifts, but not so practical for the average gift.
The baking stone however is not only affordable, it’s also a healthy game-changer. This gift will actually make your friends & family eat more vegetables. It’s magic!
I roast a big batch of vegetables almost every week- perfect as a side dish, combined with rice or pasta, stuffed into a burrito or pita pocket, nothing is off limits when it comes to these vegetables. I have no affiliation with the Pampered Chef but it’s the brand I have been using for years and highly recommend their bakeware.
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite winter dishes: angel hair pasta with balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions. I swapped the pasta for butternut squash for a great side dish for the holidays.
Balsamic Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes
1/2 medium onion, chopped into small strips
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. brown sugar (or other sweetener)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the butternut squash, onions, vinegar, oil, brown sugar, oregano, and salt in a large bowl. Toss well until everything is mixed together. Spread onto baking stone and bake for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and uneven browning.
Remove from oven and toss with parsley- taste great hot or at room temperature!
Let’s chat about supplements.
While not everyone needs a dietary supplement, they can be of great value if you are lacking nutrients in your diet. As vegetarians, I am specifically talking about B12, calcium, iron, and vitamin D.
YES. I know, you can find these products in whole foods (except for B12) and don’t need to rely on supplements, but does your diet stack up? Personally, while I think I have a pretty good intake, I do take B12 and occasional calcium, D, and Omega-3.
For me, supplements are just that- meant to supplement healthy eating, not substitutes for a healthy diet. We still can’t eat mac and cheese all day, pop a multi and call it a day.
If you are one for taking supplements, do you know the source & purity? A lot of commercial supplements are junk, a sea of drugstore choices that can be pretty confusing if you’re not sure what you are looking for.
Whenever I evaluate nutrient supplements, I scan the product to see where it’s derived from. First off, is it a vegetarian source? Next up- does it contain the word oxide? Typically, the oxide form of any supplement is the cheapest source & poorly absorbed… Skip it!
There are some great supplement companies out there: Designs for Health, Thorne, Body Bio, & of course Arbonne to name a few.
I was recently introduced to Arbonne and highly recommend both their skin care & wellness products. My favorite part? Their commitment to purity. All products are vegan, not tested on animals, and are free from parabans, petroleum-based ingredients, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or formaldehyde-donating preservatives. Whew! That’s a long list but a huge testament in the quality of their products.
As a beauty side-note, it is so so nice to find a brand whose makeup is not only flattering & wearable but also committed to the same standard I hold my food to. That’s another post though- today it’s all about dietary supplements.
I don’t know about you but I have tried a ton of different protein powders. As someone who works out almost every morning before work, I love the idea of grabbing a shake to take on the road with me or to enjoy at my desk. These individual packets or protein in either vanilla or chocolate deliver 20grams of vegan protein + 20 essential vitamins and minerals per serving. I mixed mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk & handful of kale.
While some protein powders leave an awful, chalky feeling in my mouth- both flavors were silky and smooth. The one caveat? I don’t like stevia. I wish I did. I really try to enjoy the sweetener but can’t. I have noticed this with a few other products as well. If you like Stevia, you will LOVE these. They aren’t super sweet, but you can tell they contain Stevia.
Looking for a caffeine free energy fix? Try the Energy Fizz sticks! Packed with B vitamins, antioxidants and chromium they add a sweet boost to your water. Arbonne Essential Energy Fizz Sticks comes in two flavors, Pomegranate and Citrus.
Lastly, I want to share with you my new favorite produce from Arbonne: Digestion Plus
These single-serving sticks contain prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes that help support optimal digestive help. Those who suffer from IBS, digestive issues, halitosis can benefit from adding probiotics to the diet. Even those without GI problems can support their natural microflora in the gut by adding pro and prebiotics to the diet.
If you are looking for supplements, protein powders, skin care, make-up, Arbonne has it! As special DK readers, all new clients will receive 20% of their first orderand can sign up for ongoing discounts! Every order with a retail value of $150 or more will receive a complimentary single product of their choice!
Disclaimer: I have received samples from Arbonne but have not received financial compensation for this post. All opinions are my own. I don’t do product reviews often but when I find a company I like, I want to share! I have made a great contact at Arbonne, Karen Cunningham. Please contact her more information or to place orders. Karen is also running a Jumpstart 2013 – Healthy Eating Program. Find out more information on Facebook.