“Beauty Cocktail” A purple ‘green’ smoothie

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I am a firm believer in using food to help with health, and on my never ending quest for new combinations, I stumbled upon an article referring to a “beauty cocktail”. As I skimmed the article, I found that

a.) The health claims were pretty fantastic
b.) I already had a lot of the ingredients on hand!

So as promised in the last post, here it is…a smoothie that will either inspire or traumatize you! I will include a brief explanation to why each is included…

Ingredients:

leafy greens
frozen berries
hemp seeds
chia seeds
almond milk
lemon
ginger
honey

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Here is why:

1.) Leafy green veggies, 1-2 cups. I used kale, but others work as well. This ads vitamin A, which helps with nails, hair, skin, eye health. There is also vitamin B and of course fiber! Also, this is an easy way to get one of your daily servings of veggies out of the way!

2.) Frozen berries, 1 handful (or more!). This helps make the smoothie cold, and smoothie like. Berries have antioxidants (heart, skin, mood help) and of course vitamin C. [I also added some fresh blueberries as I had them on hand]

3.) Banana (I used a half). While it is not in the original recipe, bananas help thicken smoothies. Probiotic, potassium, fiber, and helps with calcium intake.

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Chia left, Hemp right

4.) Hemp seeds, 1 tbs. This is new for me, according to the internet, hemp seeds are a must have. They contain an impressive amount of protein (including the one that starts collagen production), omega-3 fats, are anti-inflammatory, and have fiber! Also, you can’t really taste them when you add them to a smoothie…so it is a win-win. The only downside I have found so far, is that they are a bit pricey. Hailing at $21 a pound at Whole foods, they may not be the most cost accessible. The good news is that a pound is A LOT of hemp seeds. Especially if you are using them a tablespoon at a time…

5.) Chia seeds. Also new to me, but similar to the hemp seeds, they seem to be packed with important things. Chia seeds include omega 3s, iron, essential fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.

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The ingredients in a blender so far!

6.) Almond milk (~1 cup). I love almond milk! More calcium than traditional milk, filled with vitamin E, and vitamin B. (it is also Gluten free!) I use the vanilla version, which adds a sweeter side to the smoothie.

7.) Lemon (the juice of half of one). Lemon cleans out everything, it breaks down the gunk in your digestive track. Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C.

8.) Ginger (a few shakes…or a small amount of fresh ginger). Ginger helps with digestion and blood flow.

9.) Honey (to sweeten). The website suggests using something to sweeten the smoothie. I prefer honey, as it has antibacterial, anti fungal, and throat health qualities.

The final result is a sweet smoothie, full of health benefits. It may be considered an acquired taste…and if not blended fully, you may have a chewy piece (I know that sounds less than pleasant). I really enjoy the taste, and with the ingredients, it is easy to live a happy and healthy life!

Has anyone else tried this? What would you include?

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Wilted Kale/Spinach and asparagus

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One of the hardest parts of eating vegan is not forgoing ice-cream (there are great substitutes!), missing out on fast-food (it isn’t good for you anyway, and there are veg friendly options!), or even eating at a friend’s house (my friends are awesome!), the hardest part of eating vegan is turning down the nice people at publix when they offer you a sample of the latest concoction.

Thursday was no different. The dish looked amazing, wilted kale (which I love), tomatoes (favorite!), something that looked like onions, chopped asparagus, it was easy to tell that vinegar was involved and it smelled lovely. I saw chicken, which could be picked out easily, but my heart sunk when I noticed that it was sprinkled with parmesan. Living vicariously in dairy adventures through Josh, I watched with jealousy as he devoured the sample dish. My spirits, however, were lifted when he not only proclaimed that the dish was phenomenal, but would have to be cooked by us, really soon.

Soon ended up being dinner that night.

Ingredients:

Olive oil (2 tbs)
Shallots (2, or one package, chopped coarsely)
Tomatoes (one pint!)
“Garlic spice mix” (2 tsps, I mixed together garlic salt, basil, parsley, onion powder)
Kale (chopped 5 oz, kale and spinach mixture)
Asparagus (chopped 1 inch pieces 4 oz)
Mushrooms (as many as you want, not part of the original recipe, but added in place of chicken!)
Sugar (3 tbs)
Red Wine Vinegar (1/4 cup)
Fresh Basil (1/2 cup chopped)

Heat oil in a large frying pan and add shallots, tomatoes, and half of the spice mix. Cook until tomatoes are soft. A mushrooms and sauté for a minute or so as you mix the sugar and vinegar.

Let sit for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add asparagus, wait a minute, add the kale, basil, and the rest of the spice mix. Cook until the green leafy vegetable of choice is wilted.

Remove from heat and serve. Josh added cheese to his…feel free to also indulge in dairy!

While this dish was simple, it was really good! The vinegar and sugar gives an unexpected glaze to the usually savory vegetables. The shallots were surprisingly awesome…given my hatred for onions, I am excited to announce that I ate all of them!

For those of you interested…here is the original recipe

Cooking in the New Year!

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Hello all you out there! The past year has been busy, intense, and full of good food that unfortunately went unclogged! Along with a long list of resolutions for the new year, I am going to pick up blogging again…and maybe Kristina will join me 🙂

Last night, Josh and I decided that we wanted a dish with mushrooms and kale…we just weren’t sure what form the dish would take. Since publix was closed early for the new year, we roamed the aisles of Walmart searching for ingredients to meet our very vague culinary desires. Grabbing portobello mushrooms, a box of baby bella mushrooms, and the only fresh kale to be found (a spinach and kale duo bag) we decided to make a kale/spinach pesto to go on top of simple sautéed mushrooms.

Ingredients

Kale/spinach (about half of a 13 oz bag)
Garlic (Josh shares my love of excessive garlic so we put in seven cloves of garlic…between 3 to 5 would have been sufficient!)
Walnuts (a handful)
Juice of a lemon
Dried basil (1-2tbs)
Olive oil (add slowly until mixture is creamy)
Mushrooms

To make the pesto, chop garlic and first round or olive oil in the blender until the garlic is fairly demolished. Then add half of the kale, lemon, and walnuts. Blend until creamy, adding olive oil as needed. Once the first round is done, add the remaining lemon, kale, basil, and walnuts and blend. Josh removed part of the top of the blender to push around the ingredients, which worked for a little while. Unfortunately, the utensil he was using caught one of the blades in the blender and pesto was slung all around his kitchen. The biggest tragedy was that the cabinet above the blender was open and the herbs, spices, and collection of oils was painted a dark green! The ceiling was fortunately spared. I therefore advise extreme caution when experimenting with the top of the blender! (Side note…mom, I remember you telling me this would happen one day!)

While the pesto is combining, chop the mushrooms into large chunks, and sauté in olive oil. Remember, mushrooms provide their own juice when heated, so minimal olive oil is required.

Once the mushrooms are done and the pesto is to satisfaction, divide the mushrooms, top with pesto, serve and enjoy!

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Epic protein packed salad!

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I have recently rediscovered Boca Chick’n Patties, and have fallen in love with them in buffalo wing sauce! With a surplus of vegetables in my fridge from the farmers market, I decided an epic salad was in order. This salad has healthy fats (avocado and olive oil), super greens (kale AND spinach), protein (boca patties and sunflower sprouts), and overall delicious happiness (tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers). Not to mention a whopping 831% of your vitamin A intake, 2,216.8 mg of potassium, 456% vitamin C, and 26.8 grams of protein (imagine if I had placed beans in here!)! Whenever someone asks me where I get my protein from, I should really just link them to my blog…

To those counting carbs, this dish is high: 61.9 grams, and 682 calories. It does, however, make a formidable salad…and I was full for a LONG time after! The photo only shows a small portion of the salad…

I have posted the full health benefits on the bottom of this page for those of you interested.

Ingredients:

Kale, 2 cup, chopped
Spinach, 1 cup
1/2 Hass avocado (finely diced)
6 cherry tomatoes
1/2 fresh medium size tomato
1/2 bell pepper
3 medium mushrooms
1 scallion stalk
1 cup sunflower sprouts
1 Boca Original Chik’n Patties, 1 serving
1 tsp of your favorite wing sauce
1 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 a lemon squeezed
3 basil leaves
chopped oregano

Place the boca patty in a greased frying pan and cook over medium heat for 12-14 minutes, flipping occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine all of the vegetables into a container with a lid. Add olive oil and lemon juice, cover and shake vigorously. This ensures that everything is evenly coated. The avocado will disintegrate a bit, adding to the dressing.

When the patty is almost completely cooked, add the wing sauce. BE CAREFUL! IT WILL BUBBLE AND MAY SPLASH OUT!! Flip one or two times, remove from heat, dice, add to container, cover, shake, put on plate. Voila! an epic protein packed salad!

Due to the explosive flavors in this dish, dressing other than the lemon juice and olive oil is not needed!

If you are not comfortable using the boca burgers, regular chicken will work too! (nutrition facts will change…of course)

Nutrition Facts

1 Serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 682.7

Total Fat 49.9 g

Saturated Fat 4.3 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 4.8 g

Monounsaturated Fat 18.7 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 1,051.1 mg

Potassium 2,216.4 mg

Total Carbohydrate 69.1 g

Dietary Fiber 22.9 g

Sugars 13.3 g

Protein 26.8 g

Vitamin A 831.0 %

Vitamin B-12 0.4 %

Vitamin B-6 62.2 %

Vitamin C 456.4 %

Vitamin D 10.3 %

Vitamin E 27.5 %

Calcium 45.4 %

Copper 53.3 %

Folate 73.4 %

Iron 62.1 %

Magnesium 40.3 %

Manganese 110.5 %

Niacin 36.9 %

Pantothenic Acid 26.6 %

Phosphorus 27.8 %

Riboflavin 45.5 %

Selenium 13.5 %

Thiamin 32.3 %

Zinc 16.9 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Awesome Salad, with Nutritional Information

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One of the first questions I get when I tell someone that I am vegan is “Where do you get your protein/calcium/vitamins/etc?” While I am really careful about eating a balance of food every day, I was particularly curious over the weekend to see how my salad would stack up in the world of nutrition. Having just returned from farmers market, the salad was fairly epic, I wanted to try out my newly acquired vegetables!

Salad Ingredients

1 cup of fresh kale, cut into salad size pieces
1 cup of fresh swiss chard, cut into salad size pieces
.5 cup of sunflower sprouts, chopped into salad size pieces
.5 cup of chopped green bell pepper
.5 cup of mushrooms, chopped
.5 cup of celery, chopped
.25 cup of chickpeas (dried and cooked)
handful of cherry tomatoes

Dressing:

3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
black pepper to taste

I placed the chopped kale and swiss chard in a container with a lid, added dressing, covered, and shook container to evenly coat leaves. I then arranged on a plate with the rest of the ingredients.

The salad was beautiful! And so healthy!


While eating the salad, and marveling in how something could taste that good, I entered the ingredients into the nutrition calculator at spark people. The results were incredible.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 1
Serving Size: 1 serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 352.8

Total Fat 18.3 g

Saturated Fat 2.4 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 10.1 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 532.4 mg

Potassium 1,725.2 mg

Total Carbohydrate 47.5 g

Dietary Fiber 16.3 g

Sugars 9.8 g

Protein 13.6 g

Vitamin A 579.5 %

Vitamin B-12 0.2 %

Vitamin B-6 35.3 %

Vitamin C 288.2 %

Vitamin D 6.7 %

Vitamin E 25.7 %

Calcium 27.5 %

Copper 35.0 %

Folate 17.5 %

Iron 41.8 %

Magnesium 48.6 %

Manganese 71.7 %

Niacin 16.2 %

Pantothenic Acid 11.3 %

Phosphorus 16.7 %

Riboflavin 26.3 %

Selenium 11.3 %

Thiamin 17.0 %

Zinc 9.0 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Rethinking Sweet Potatoes…Sweet Potato, Kale, Black Bean Quesadillas

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While at the farmers market, I came across some lovely sweet potatoes. Having grown accustomed to eating sweet potatoes as part of a, well, sweet dish, I was fully prepared to find some way to recreate a childhood favorite. Instead, I ended up with the exact opposite, a savory, tangy dish…and I couldn’t be happier!

While looking up recipes for sweet potatoes on Pinterest, I came across the concept of sweet potatoes in a quesadilla with spinach and black beans. While I am in possession of a fine bag of spinach, I needed to conserve my resources for my daily lunch spinach salad. I decided to use google to find the combination with a different kind of leafy green…Kale. The following recipe is a mixture of Milk Free Mom’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Spinach quesadillas and Oh my veggies Kale sweet potato quesadillas.

This recipe should take 15-20 minutes to make. If you are like me, it will take an hour and a half. I wanted to cook my dried beans (that took about 45 minutes), make my own tortilla (recipe here) and my own salsa (see below) this meal took much longer than necessary. Assuming you like to keep things simple, here is what you need for the dish


Quesadilla Ingredients (makes 2)

4 tortillas
half a cup of black beans (more or less depending on taste)
4 leafs of kale
2 sweet potatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat your oven to 450.

Cook the potatoes, I used my potato bag in the microwave for four minutes. While that is cooking, sauté the garlic in the olive oil, and add the kale leaves. Cook the leaves until they are slightly wilted.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, skin them, place them in a bowl, add cumin, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and mash until smooth. Remove kale from heat, and chop into small pieces.

On a baking sheet, lay down two tortillas. Spread the potato mixture over both, add kale pieces to each tortilla. Finally, add black beans (drained if from a can).

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Place the remaining two tortillas on top, and place in the oven. Cook on both sides for about 5 minutes. Cut and serve! I ate mine with a sweet salsa (recipe below)


Sweet Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:

2 plum tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh cilantro
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup black beans

Blend all of the ingredients together, taste and adjust. This salsa is a refreshing change from the traditional spicy salsa!


Together the quesadillas and salsa make a healthy, filling, and vegan meal!

Fresh Vegetables Lightly Sautéed…and a quick note about my hair!

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This weekend was a whirlwind…I had attended a double bachelorette party for two of my good friends, my former roommate of four years, Kaylee, came down to Orlando to visit, and I was a hair model for Mosaic Hair Salon and Blow Out Bar during the Orlando ‘I do’ Bridal Crawl. During the Bridal Crawl, I acted as a hair model getting extensions, and now I have lovely long hair! I could not be more excited!

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I have not had hair past my shoulders for 10 years, and I am near clueless on what amazing things I can accomplish with my new hair. To aid me in my journey, I enlisted the help of Christine, who works the marketing side of Mosaic. It was during one of our ‘lets teach Jenni how to do hair’ sessions that I came up with the following recipe (see! I had a food related point to make after all!)

Fresh vegetables Lightly Sautéed

2 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
2 yellow squash, chopped
handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
1-2 cups of fresh kale sliced
1 red/green combination pepper chopped
fresh basil to season
fresh oregano to season
juice from 1/2 lemon

This is a great way to clean out the fridge! Lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Add the squash, tomatoes, kale, and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes. Add basil, oregano, and lemon juice. Lower heat and cover. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

This colorful dish is a healthy snack, or meal! (I had been grazing all day, and needed a healthy snack!) As this dish is quick (under 15 minutes, if timed correctly) it is great for when you need to throw something together! Did I mention cleaning out the fridge?

Kale and White Bean Soup

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Happy New Year! Over the last few days, the Mayans were proved wrong (we are still here!), 2013 started without much of a hassle, and our blog has reached over 1000 views! So here is to a healthy, prosperous, fun, and recipe filled new year!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the abundance of Kale, and the acceptance of soup. Living in Florida, it is sometimes hard to justify making a large vat of soup when it is excessively hot outside.

I discovered kale last year, and have a good portion of my pinterest board dedicated to cooking it. Kale is an amazing leaf vegetable, full of vitamins, and is currently buy one bag get one free at publix. A bag, by the way, is eight cups of Kale. Needless to say, you may be reading a good deal about kale in the next few days!

The following soup is incredible and filling! I followed the recipe from Real Simple but of course, altered it a bit. Below is what I used:

2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups of great northern beans (2 cans, or 1 cup of dried beans cooked)
8 cups of kale (one bag from publix!)
8 cups of water
2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a very very large pot. The first time I made this recipe, I glossed over the 8 cups of water needed (in addition to the 8 cups of kale) and had to transfer cooking vessels, twice.

Add the garlic, celery, salt, and pepper, and cook until tender. Then add beans, kale, rosemary, and eight cups of water. Yes, it will look slightly daunting as the pot will fill up quickly. Kale, similar to spinach and escarole will boil down! Place a lid on the pot, raise the temperature to a boil. Once boiling, lower the temperature and simmer for a few minutes (4-5). Squeeze in lemon juice and serve!

The recipe writers at Real Simple suggest that you eat bread with this dish. Up for a challenge, I decided to make my own bread! That recipe will be posted soon, as will tales of my new favorite appliance, a juicer!!