Tag Archives: vegan

A tree hugging kinda weekend

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This weekend was fabulous.   The sun was shining, so that is always an instant mood booster and guarantee of a great day.

Here are my highlights from this weekend:

1.  We have new additions to our family/home.

Plants!


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How cute are they? I almost want to give them names…almost.

I got plants for two reasons.  1) We needed more life in the house.  Anything living (and non living in some cases) has energy and it definitely can be felt throughout the house.  I love looking at them and appreciating their energetic presence.  Even hubby noticed their energetic presence and said the house feels more “peaceful”.  I agree.  2)  These plants in particular are great for improving the air quality in a home.  I used this article here as a source and inspiration.  The plants I have are a dracaena plant, a snake plant, peace lilies, and calla lilies.

2.  Sunday was our day to relax and do whatever we pleased.  We slept in.  Enjoyed a piece few pieces of Easter chocolate and headed off for some adventures.  We took a mini hike through Cold Spring Harbour state park and sat on a log to enjoy the gorgeous view of the Long Island sound.  Very relaxing.


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*Hippie side note:  I once read that hugging a tree can be very therapeutic.  Think of all that energy and life force that is running through a solid, hunky looking tree that has been around for years, even decades!  That is good stuff there.  So, I hugged a tree 🙂  I couldn’t help it.  It just looked so…handsome (yes, I called a tree handsome) and huggable looking.  But, let it be known that my inner diva made sure there weren’t any bugs crawling all over the trunk before I went in for the bear hug 😉

After some tree hugging, we drove along the north coast and found a tiny little beach in Bayville to have our lunch.  Very calming and peaceful.  I could have stayed there all day if it wasn’t just a tad chilly.

Followed by our lunch at the beach, we went to my parent’s house to say “hullo” and visit our pet bird Dora a.ka. little punk.  He really is such a little spoiled punk now that grandma lets him do whatever he wants 😉  Mom was gracious enough to let us inherit her huge peace lily plant! I really feel this fifth and final plant completed our little plant family.

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Welcome to the home, buddy!

3.  I have recently decided to make majority of my diet vegan based.  I still eat meat (especially when there is homemade lasagna and mom’s beef stew on the menu), but it will be on occasion and not a staple source of protein.  There is no real big reason why I decided this, I just simply wanted to, like as if my soul was asking for it.  I am having fun exploring new recipes and finding different ways to include protein that is not animal based.  It’s funny how easy it is to get caught up on the whole “need to get massive amounts of protein” mentality.  I have to remind myself that my body doesn’t need a lot of it and the plant based sources of protein I am including are enough to fuel my body.  Sunday night I made this recipe here from http://www.onegreenplanet.org and during prep I started to panic “where is my source of protein??!!” Duh- the recipe calls for a hummus type dressing, hummus includes sesame seed paste and beans which equals…protein!  Crisis diverted.  I felt silly.

4.  I used coconut oil to wash my face.

WHAAATTT???!!!!

You heard me.

I thought it was crazy at first too, but after doing some reading I was convinced enough to give it a trial and see what it was all about.

I realized that 1) my husband is extremely patient and understanding and overly supportive of my crazy hippie antics and 2) my face was as smooth as a baby’s bum and not at all greasy/oily.  I only did it last night for the first time but I am curious to see what the results are in a few weeks.  

Watch this video here:

and read this blog post here to get more info on why its a good alternative to factory made face wash. (you may need to sign up to read the blog post, but that is okay, I absolutely adore this blogger and its free to sign up.  I think you will like her too).

I really could go on and on about how fab this weekend was, but its a bunch of small things too that made it awesome.  Small things that fueled my soul and kept a smile on my face for two days.

I feel truly blessed.

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What did you love about your weekend?

 

 

 

 

Krazy about Kale

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I will honestly confess that I always found kale to be intimidating.  How could a vegetable be so scary? Crazy as it sounds, I was always just so weary about trying it.  What if this amazing super food tasted awful? I would be so embarrassed to admit it.  How do I even begin to cook it?  It was better off chilling in the veggie section of the supermarket until a more appreciative shopper would come along and buy it.

But I kept reading about the wonderful health benefits of kale and finally the curiosity got the best of me.  For starters, Kale is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables out there:

  • high in fiber- great for lowering cholesterol and keeping your bowels healthy and active
  • high in iron
  • high in vitamins and minerals
  • great source of non animal protein
  • high in antioxidants (cancer fighting properties)
  • good source of omega 3 fatty acid

For more in depth information about Kale, click on this link here.

I finally became a proud owner of a juice extractor and I thought to myself “now is my chance to experiment with kale!”  So I started to juice with kale and immediately became a fan.  Next step, cooking! At first I added it to an egg muffin recipe to replace spinach.

Success!

And finally, I became brave enough to throw a whole bunch in a pan and sauté it with some beans and crushed tomatoes…jackpot!  It was absolutely delicious and so flavorful.  It was even tasted tested and approved by some family members, some who have never tried kale in their life and probably would have liked it to stay that way…until they tried my recipes! 🙂

KALE, SUNDRIED TOMATO AND FETA EGG MUFFINS (gluten free)

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups chopped raw kale

1 dozen extra large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

PREHEAT OVEN @ 400 DEGREES Fahrenheit

1.  whisk the eggs together. in a sauté pan, sauté kale in some olive oil and sea salt for five minutes.  set aside to cool. then add to egg mixture.saute kale

2.  add the other remaining ingredients

3.  in a one dozen muffin baking dish, drizzle some olive oil in each muffin cup, take a paper towel and kinda smother the oil inside each cup.muffin pan

4.  evenly distribute the egg mixture in each muffin cup .egg mixture

5.  bake for 15 minutes.

carefully take out the egg muffins.  serve 3 muffins per person and feel free to serve it along side some crispy cooked bacon, tasty smoked salmon or some freshly toasted bread.egg muffins bakedegg muffin

KALE, TOMATO AND WHITE BEAN CASSEROLE (vegan, gluten free)

YIELDS 2-4 (DEPENDING IF IT IS A MAIN DISH OR A SIDE DISH)

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 large tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt to taste

olive oil

1.  add olive oil to a sauté pan.  sauté onions on a medium heat for about 8 minutes.  add garlic and saute for 1 minute until the garlic as become aromatic.   Add kale and sauté for 3-5 minutes, adding a splash of water while sauteing.saute kale

2.   Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and manually crush them right over the sauté pan.  That’s right, take your day’s aggression out on those lovely red fruits and squeeze the living daylight out of them!   It’s a very rustic approach to crushing tomatoes, I felt like Jamie Oliver for a few seconds there 🙂 … crush tomatoes

3.  once all the tomatoes are crushed into the pan, add the tomato paste, stir into the mixture and allow it to simmer.

4.  while the pan is simmering, drain a whole can of the cannellini beans, rinse them under water to wash away any residual sodium and then chuck them into the pan as well. simmering bean casserole

5.  Continue to simmer over a medium high heat for about 10 min or until nearly all the tomato juice has evaporated.bean casserole

6.   serve into bowls and enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW….Kale can be a little bit of a diva??  It is recommended that you give kale a little TLC by giving it a hand massage before eating! Ha! I have a hard time getting a massage from my spouse and here is this lovely little green leafy veggie getting a 5 minute rubdown before consumption!

It turns out that rubbing kale leaves between your hands for five minutes breaks down its cellulose structure, thus taking away its bitter, tough taste and texture and making it wilted, silky and even a little bit sweet.  This is perfect if you plan on adding kale to a salad or eating it raw.  It is recommended you use some olive oil and salt while massaging…might as well kill two birds with one stone and dress your salad while massaging it!

Tips for cooking Kale:

  • chop leaves into 1/2 inch portions and stems into 1/4 inch portions
  • steaming kale for 5 minutes is the best way to bring out its phytonutrients, as well as drizzling lemon juice over kale and letting it sit for a few minutes before cooking/consuming
  • give it the best massage of its life!

The Mighty Stuffed Pepper

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Love when my creative juices start flowing…Last week I made a Vegan, Gluten Free Stuffed Pepper- created entirely by me!  This recipe is health, stuffed in a pepper! I feel like a scientist 🙂

I was able to get my hands on some Quinoa, one of my favorite “grains” that is becoming increasingly popular.  If you haven’t heard of it yet, allow me to introduce to you the “Mother Grain” that is Quinoa (pronounced:  Keen-wah).  To be clear, Quinoa is not a grain, it just happens to fall into the category of grain.  Its actually a plant crop that is grown primarily for its seeds, and it is the “seeds” that we cook and consume.

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Nutrients in
Quinoa, uncooked
0.25 cup (185.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

manganese58.5%

tryptophan31.2%

magnesium29.6%

phosphorus28.1%

fiber20.7%

folate19.4%

copper18%

Calories (222)12%

Check out this website for the history, origin, health benefits and nutrient analysis of Quinoa http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice#nutritionalprofile
Or you can just let me sum it up for you and tell you that you NEED this food in your diet.  Its high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and contains a good amount of amino acids, antioxidants and even essential fatty acids.  Who knew such a small food could make you so healthy and strong?!
On to my recipe!
Vegan Stuffed Peppers (gluten free) (4 Servings)
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli
4 Red Bell Peppers
Fresh chopped Basil
Fresh chopped Cilantro
1 teaspoon of Cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Get a large pot of water to boil.  Cut the tops of the red peppers and remove the seeds and linings of the pepper.  Place them in the boiling water pot for ~7 minutes.  ImageImage
  2. In another pot, start cooking the quinoa.  Add 1 1/2 cups water to 3/4 cup dry quinoa.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed (just like rice!).  Remove from heat for about 10 minutes and fluff with fork.   Image
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan, add some oil, sautee onions for about 5 minutes, followed by broccoli, mushrooms, and chopped tomatoes.  Sautee for another 5-8 minutes.  Image
  4. Once quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the vegetable mixture and toss until combined.
  5. Scoop the quinoa veggie mixture into the hollowed out red peppers until topped off. Image Grill the stuffed peppers until the sides are charred.  (You may have to turn them once or twice)  ~ 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, peel the charred skin off the pepper to expose the soft, tender skin underneath.
  6. Enjoy a gluten free, karma free dinner!

TIPS:  I realized that what really made this dish so tasty and delicious was the herbs that I chose to use.  its amazing how much flavor some fresh or dried herbs can give a dish.  Feel free to use your favorite herbs and explore. Remember, the beauty of most vegetarian dishes is you can use whatever veggies your heart desires- have fun with it and if you create your own variation of the MIGHTY STUFFED PEPPER, please feel free to share with us…it may even be tastier than mine! 🙂