Archive for ‘Vegan’

December 3, 2015

Holiday Detox Series: Publix Edamame Steam-in-Bag

by ashley

 Like most of the country this past week, I ate waaaayyy too much over Thanksgiving. Too many desserts to count – who can say no to ricotta pumpkin cheesecake? I learned I definitely cannot! And so many savory carbs like bread, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, rice and gandules, russian potato salad….ehhh. Needless to say, it’s only the beginning of December and already the holiday pounds are starting to creep up on me. I don’t want it to get out of hand so I’ve decided to start my “new year’s resolution” early – instead of January, why don’t we start in December IN BETWEEN all of the horrible eating that accompanies this time of year? This will be a mini-series of posts as I go along my holiday season natural detox diet. There will be cheat days, of course, on the days that I have a party or family gathering, but I will limit them and also keep portions in check. Everything in moderation!

This time of year is also one of the busiest, meaning that I don’t have a lot of prep time for my healthy meals. I’m looking for quick, cheap and healthy meals and snacks. So far I raided my local Publix who had a sale on their steam-in-bag vegetables. I love edamame, but had actually never made it at home. Typically in restaurants it comes covered in salt or sauces, which are not part of my holiday detox plan, so the Publix brand edamame is a perfect snack or side dish being that the ingredients listed are just: edamame!

Since I’m a glutton, I need these nutrient dense, low calorie options so I can eat large quantities. I ate the ENTIRE BAG as part of my dinner yesterday and it came out to only 275 calories, 8.8 grams of fat, 27.5 carbs and it gave me a whole 12.5 grams of protein. A great way to add bulk to your diet without packing on the calories. It’s super easy to make: pop in the microwave for 5-6 minutes, let sit for a minute or so to cool and then eat. For the holiday detox, make sure not to add any salt or sauce. The more you eat veggies on their own, the more your taste buds will become accustomed to not needing as much salt. Also make sure to drink as much water as you can throughout the day. I try to drink about 16 oz an hour, sipping constantly. Your body will adjust to the increase in your water intake after a few days, but the first couple of days you will go to the bathroom a lot more often. This is great for your whole body, giving your skin a great glow and also cleaning out your organs.

You don’t need to do an expensive juice cleanse or detox pills to really clean up your body and your nutrition. Focus on lots of water, cutting back on refined sugar and sodium, as well as eating lots of whole foods. If you’re struggling with flavor, try adding fresh garlic or herbs to your food. Make sure you don’t use any mixed seasonings that have sodium. You’ll want to limit your sodium intake on your “clean” days as much as possible!

November 16, 2015

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Spinach Tagliatelle with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

by ashley
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Photo by: Paolo Margari

Before we start cooking, let’s first imagine we are gliding down a canal in Bologna, Italy in spring with beautiful flowers gracing the balconies and friendly Italians waving as we pass. Somewhere off in the distance a man with a deep baritone voice is singing as he kneads dough to make delicious spinach tagliatelle pasta. We stop at a market to pick up the freshest, most vibrant cherry tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, some robust balsamic vinegar and a basil pesto sauce made fresh that morning by the world’s most adorable grandmother. Of course we can dream up the best ingredients possible, but we all know that I’m stuck in a city apartment the size of a closet and cooking with the best I can find in my local market. I was able to find some amazing fresh spinach tagliatelle, you can substitute dried if you don’t have this luxury. And I purchased a jar of great basil pesto as well as a jar of fire roasted red peppers, both of which should be easy enough to find in most supermarkets. I already had a great Modena balsamic vinegar at home and some cherry tomatoes that needed to be used – and voila, the quickest gourmet weeknight dinner ever.

If you have 15 minutes, you have enough time to put this on your table tonight. The below recipe yields enough for a quick dinner for one or two, but can easily be adapted into dinner for a family of any size.

Spinach Tagliatelle with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

Serves two

Ingredients

  • 4 oz spinach tagliatelle pasta (fresh, if available)
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto (typically found in your grocer’s sauce aisle)
  • 1 whole fire roasted red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar

Boil water in a medium sized pot and cook the spinach tagliatelle until al dente, time will vary depending on whether you purchase fresh or dried pasta. In a separate pan on medium-high heat, sauté the halved cherry tomatoes, the minced garlic, and roasted red pepper strips until heated through and slightly browning. Add the basil pesto and the balsamic vinegar to the pan and turn off the heat, stirring constantly until heated through and well incorporated. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta.

  

 

May 19, 2015

Summer Ice Cream Options

by jem614

Believe it or not the Halo Ice cream has less calories in one pint than this Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich.  Actually, half of the Coolhaus Ice Cream sandwich had the same calories in the entire pint of Halo Top.

If you’re looking to enjoy something really sweet and decadent, go for the Coolhaus, if you want something that tastes like a Wendy’s frosty in ice cream form, go for the Halo Top.

Coolhaus- This melt in your mouth sandwich had a “made at home” feel. The cookie wasn’t factory perfect but it was delicious- it’s fun for a summer day when you’ve been out at the beach or the pool (or the lake) all day and you need some ooey gooey sustenance.   Just remember to share it with a friend (or when you’ve decided to do a cheat day) because this gigantic sandwich tops out at about 500 calories.

Halo Top- Let’s get real here, there is nothing like slamming down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching a great movie on a Saturday night but there is usually regret following that last scrape at the bottom of the cardboard bowl.  Halo Top clears all that guilt by creating this wonderfully filling (I only at like 2/3 and I couldn’t eat another bite) fiber and protein-rich ice cream at only 240 calories.  It’s also 24 grams of protein in one pint (holla at you IIFYM people!) which is ridiculous.
You might think the ingredients are crazy and totally out there but almost every single ingredient is whole and something you can pronounce.  I was honestly surprised because I would have eaten this thing even if I couldn’t pronounce the ingredients.  There are other flavors but I chose chocolate because I felt that would be the one I could enjoy the best.

Coolhaus: https://eatcoolhaus.com/

Halo Top: http://www.halotop.com/

May 11, 2015

Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake – Ashley’s back!

by ashley

Do you ever just get in a rut? You feel sad, overwhelmed, unable to concentrate on things that you once loved. Daily stresses combine with big stresses and everything that doesn’t involve laying on the couch becomes too much to handle. That’s how I’ve felt for the past six months. Many things happened in my life that just snowballed into this overwhelming feeling of just not wanting to do anything at all. I don’t cross promote, and still won’t, but I do write a couple of other blogs. All of them have had the same theme lately: either incredible sadness or absolutely nothing at all. When I fall into these bouts of depression I tend to write for myself more than anything else, and being a perfectionist, I cannot just throw something on a page and not be proud of it. I wrote a lot of poetry over the past few months, none of which will ever be shared with the public at large, but it helps if you’re suffering from the same feelings.

The point of telling you this is that I haven’t forgotten about you. I have thought a lot about this blog, and Jessica, over the past few months. I just couldn’t force myself to write. It’s foolish, I know, but it is the truth. But I’m here now. And I had a lot of extra plantains that were about to rot in my house – so I decided to make up a recipe for you J

The plantain is a staple in most Latin households. It can be eaten green or yellow, unripened or ripened. Green plantains are used mostly for frying – in my house either for cutting in slices, frying, mashing and then refrying into tostones or patacones (we are a mixed Caribbean/Central American household, so yes we do use both words). I also mash them up into a vegetarian mofongo (the most delicious thing on earth when paired with a robust tomato or vegetable broth – make sure to add some smoked paprika to imitate the flavor that meat imparts on the traditional mofongo). Sweet (also called yellow/ripened/black plantains) can also be sliced and fried into maduros or tajadas, or you can make a pastelon, or plantain “lasagna”, with strips of fried sweet plantains instead of noodles. There are also plantain empanadas (which I have already given you a recipe for here), plantain soup, simple boiled and mashed plantains instead of potatoes – the plantain is a very versatile vegetable.

Well, I could have done any of these things with my blackening plantains, which by the way is the best way to use sweet plantains – when they are almost completely black. But instead of the traditional, I decided I had a craving for banana bread. And of course I didn’t have bananas, only sweet plantains, so I made Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake. It’s very sweet, with a nutty flavor from the flaxseed, and completely vegan. It also can easily be made gluten free by using a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat flour.

Sweet Plantain, Maple and Brown Sugar Cake

2 very ripe plantains, black almost to the point of rotting

1 cup cane sugar (I like to use Sugar in the Raw)

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract (I like to use Madagascar)

2 tsp maple syrup (use pure, real maple syrup, if you can)

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¾ cup water

½ cup almond milk

½ cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance Coconut)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups whole wheat flour (or a gluten free flour of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350’F.

Start by combining the ground flaxseed with water until incorporated. Set aside. Cut up the plantains into small slices and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the cane sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, maple syrup, flaxseed mixture, almond milk and butter. Mash and mix together until a batter is formed. Add baking soda, baking powder and whole wheat flour. Continue mixing until fully incorporated.

Grease your baking pan (I used two small loaf pans) and pour in the batter. Bake until golden brown and set in the middle, about 30 minutes.

September 2, 2014

Starlite Vegan Enchiladas Rojas

by jem614

I’m so happy I found this Vegan Enchilada meal!

It’s a new brand for me, I’ve never heard of Starlite Cuisine but I found them at Nutrition S’mart last week.  I have to fill my macros by eating higher-protein meals and this one did semi-ok with 11 grams of protein.   Also on the plus side, you can actually pronounce their ingredients.  The taste was pretty good and somewhat spicy.

What sets this aside is that it uses a “pea protein” for the “meat” of the enchilada.  It didn’t taste OFF like I expected to so I was pleasantly surprised.  I think the packaging kind of throws me off, something about it makes me think it’s not going to taste good but I’m glad I pushed past it. Looking forward to other products from this company…

more pics 001

For more info go to http://www.starlitecuisine.com/.

July 16, 2014

Bennachin Restaurant, a taste of Africa in New Orleans

by ashley
Akara - Black Eyed Pea Fritters

Akara – Black Eyed Pea Fritters

I’ve been so busy these last six months and it was left up to Jessica to keep up the blog (she did a great job, thanks Jess!!). Finally I am back in town and ready to share all of my experiences with our readers. Since I last posted I’ve been to Orlando, Denver, New Orleans, Lisbon (Portugal), Vaduz (Liechtenstein), Munich (Germany), Baden Baden (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), Chur (Switzerland), Fussen (Germany), Frankfurt (Germany), Strasbourg (France) and several other cities in Europe that would make this list way too long. I won’t have updates from all of these places individually, but I plan to post as much information as I can on vegetarian eating in these regions.

A while ago I posted some pictures on the Facebook page (if you don’t follow us on Facebook, please click here!) of a meal I had in New Orleans that was amazing. Away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy side of Bourbon street lies Bennachin Restaurant, an African restaurant with amazing food and prices. If you are looking for a unique experience while visiting New Orleans, you should definitely give them a visit. I have been wanting to try Ethiopian food, but could never find an African restaurant from any country in South Florida. Bennachin focuses on cuisine from Gambia and Cameroon, catering heavily to vegan and vegetarian diners as well as meat eaters.

Kone ni Makondo - Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains

Kone ni Makondo – Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains

The interior has an intimate, homey and inviting atmosphere that put us at ease immediately. The staff were so friendly and all of the guests were also helpful when it came time to order. The menu was foreign to us, but we asked guests around us what they were eating and chose items that looked good. I ordered Akara (black-eyed pea fritters, $4.50 VEGAN), Kone ni Makondo (Black-eyed peas in onion and tomato stew served with coconut rice and fried ripe plantains, $13.95 VEGAN) and Makondo Yogurt (fried plantains with yogurt sauce, $5.00 VEG/DAIRY). The portion sizes are enormous here and I really didn’t need any appetizer or dessert, but I was so intrigued by everything I wanted to try as much as I could. Unfortunately we only learned of their famous Jama-Jama (sautéed spinach, $4.50 VEGAN) after ordering, which is a hit at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. When I am in New Orleans again, I will definitely go back and order it.

Makondo Yogurt - fried plantains with yogurt sauce

Makondo Yogurt – fried plantains with yogurt sauce

The restaurant has been a staple of New Orleans since 1992 yet many tourists don’t get to experience it, even though it is well within walking distance of the tourist area. Located at 1212 Royal Street, it is only one block off of Bourbon Street and less than a mile from Canal Street. Their full menu and more information about the restaurant can be found on their website at http://www.bennachinrestaurant.com/.

June 20, 2014

A Cosmo In Your Freezer (and other delicious combinations), Pop Lab Brings It!

by jem614

 

On Thursdays, at Whole Foods, there is a great little Farmer’s Market happening in Pembroke Pines.  We found homemade nut butters, soaps, vegan Jamaican food, pie in a jar (amazing), gluten free nut free sugar free desserts and much much more.

I also found this great “Pop Lab” ice pop bar.  Delicious, all natural and they do parties!  This pop was literally coconut milk and a chai latte- kind of spicy and creamy at the same time.  It was refreshing and the Chai latte was an interesting twist to your regular, boring ice pop flavors.  They do have milk and non-dairy options available and you can have them shipped.  They also have some pretty delicious combinations like banana milkshake and dulce de leche for those of you that just have to have some dairy.

But these guys don’t stop there, no!  They are the THE people to go to when you want to throw a party, if you know what I mean.  They have Sangria, Cosmos, Watermelon Mojito, even a Bloody Mary popsicle.   So, sit back, relax by the pool and let them bring the party to you in the form of a delicious, ice-cold popsicle.

For more information, go to www.poplabusa.com.

August 12, 2013

Vegan Thai-Inspired Shiitake Coconut Curry with Baby Bok Choy

by ashley

Vegan Thai-Inspired Shiitake Coconut Curry with Baby Bok Choy I was inspired by Campbell’s, of all things. Can you believe it? Campbell’s is making some amazing-sounding soups in their “Go” collection. There are a few veggie options that I will be reviewing soon. Unfortunately, their Thai Shiitake Coconut Curry soup also includes chicken, but that’s okay, because I was able to create a healthier version at home. I melded a few recipes that I found online, along with adding baby bok choy that I found at the farmer’s market this weekend. Yummy and healthy, great for this cold that I’m battling still.

Vegan Thai-Inspired Shiitake Coconut Curry with Baby Bok Choy

1 head baby bok choy, separated

Handful of shiitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small onion, cut in slices

1 tablespoon coconut oil

3 springs lemon grass, tied

3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

1 can coconut milk

2 cups vegetable broth

1 lime, juiced

Cilantro for garnish

Sriracha, to taste

Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Once smoking, add the shiitake mushrooms and saute until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the onion, baby bok choy and garlic to the pan. Saute until onions are tender. Add the red curry paste and stir until incorporated. Add the vegetable broth and tied lemon grass. Stir to incorporate and then allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove lemon grass and stir in lime juice. Pour over brown or jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro. I also add some sriracha for added heat and flavor, because everything is better with sriracha.

Serves 2-3 when served with rice.

Enjoy!

May 22, 2013

Beyond Meat is now served at Tropical Smoothie Cafe!

by ashley

I just received an exciting e-mail that I thought I’d share with our readers. Beyond Meat, whose products I’ve been anxiously waiting to try, are now available at any Tropical Smoothie Cafe nationwide. I will be visiting Tropical Smoothie Cafe  soon to try their Beyond Meat menu items. Below is the e-mail sent out today from Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown:

Beyond Meat™’s vision has always been to perfectly replace animal protein with virtually indistinguishable plant protein—delicious and super clean protein, at an affordable price, and on a large scale.

I am personally thrilled when we come across a progressive retailer who has a vision that shares space with our own.  Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to meet up with Mike Rotondo, the CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café, a chain of over 300 locations across the country. Within a matter of minutes, the strength of Mike’s personal and business vision of delighting consumers with healthy food and drink became clear, as did the work that we could do together.

Fast forward a few short months and I’m so pleased to announce that you can now go into any Tropical Smoothie Café across the country and substitute Beyond Meat™ Chicken-Free Strips in any chicken wrap, sandwich, flatbread, or salad for no extra cost.

With a full menu of tasty meals and real-fruit smoothies, Tropical Smoothie Café reflects our belief that eating nutritionally dense foods can and should taste great. With locations in 36 states, Tropical Smoothie is the first national chain to roll out our plant-based chicken line.

I’m passionate about this launch because I believe it represents a milestone for Beyond Meat and the people who believe in our Company and broader mission.  A national chain has now made the seamless switch from animal to plant protein easier, tastier, and more affordable.

It is my hope that we can reward Tropical Smoothie for leaning forward by enthusiastically embracing the chain and spreading the word—together mainstreaming plant protein one yummy sandwich at a time.

Visit a Tropical Smoothie Café today and tell us what you think!

As always, thank you for all your tremendous help and support.

Keep going beyond,

Ethan Brown
Founder and CEO,
Beyond Meat™
www.beyondmeat.com

April 24, 2013

Anniversary (and Earth Day!) Giveaway 2013

by ashley

***UPDATED – NO PHOTOS NEEDED! JUST TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU LIKE TO VOLUNTEER!

Visit our Facebook Page to enter!

Announcing the Two Year Anniversary (and Earth Day) Giveaway!
We are giving away a $30 gift certificate to VeganEssentials.com, with over 1200 different all-vegan items to choose from. A winner will be randomly chosen from our readers who complete the following steps:

1. Like us on Facebook
2. Share the post with your friends
3. Tell us on Facebook about where you like to volunteer!

“The highest of distinctions is service to others.”
King George IV (1762-1830); King Of Great Britain, Ireland And Hanover

A winner will be announced on Friday, 03rd May 2013!

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