Friday, June 29, 2012

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

 Shepherd's Pie

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
3-4 cups spaghetti sauce
6-8 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup approximately almond milk
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic cloves in a small amount of water.  Add green beans and spaghetti sauce and let simmer while preparing the mashed potatoes.  Add the potatoes to a large pot of water, boil the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl and with a hand mixer, mash the potatoes while adding a small amount of almond milk at a time until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.  Add salt and pepper last, to taste.

In a large shallow baking dish, pour in the green bean/spaghetti sauce mixture and spread evenly.  Take a spoonful of mashed potatoes and place evenly over the green bean/spaghetti sauce mixture.  Spread the mashed potatoes until it cover most of the sauce.  Sprinkle with herbs and bake for about 25 minutes uncovered.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dill Citrus Salad

We buy oranges, grapefruit, avocado, lemons, romaine and kale by the box every week from a local grocery store that gives us only a 10-20% markup versus the 40-50 % when paying per head of lettuce or per pound for fruit.  That being said, I never worry about how much of this stuff we eat.  The kids eat fruits and veggies freely because that's all we have in the house!  I am always trying to put variations on our green salads.  I also have dill growing in my garden and it is coming on in full force!  I'm love this herb!  It smells so heavenly!  My girls will gather flowers in the yard along with the flowers from the dill.  They think they are so pretty :)  

This recipe is one variation of many that I threw together for lunch the other day.  Many people ask me what I eat every day.  I eat fruits and veggies, lots and lots of them!  I usually juice in the morning before my workout (I will post about juicing shortly), eat a piece of fruit after my workout.  For lunch, I eat a huge salad with some kind of variation of fruits and veggies, sometimes beans, in the form of hummus or a quick chili (that post upcoming as well!).  For dinner, I again eat a huge salad, as big as the plate above with whatever I make for dinner that night.  If I'm hungry in the evening I might have a piece of fruit but usually I'm very full.  In all my reading, healing the body begins and almost ends with fresh, live foods, namely fruits and vegetables!  (Take a quick look again at the Alkaline Food List, most of the alkaline foods are vegetables.  The more alkaline your body, the less sickness and degenerative disease).  Legumes and grains are important but not as important as fresh fruits and veggies.  NEVER feel guilty about eating too many of them!  I haven't and I've had so much success in how I feel!

Dill Citrus Salad

2-3 cups fresh romaine lettuce, chopped
Finely shredded Cabbage, to your liking
1 grapefruit
1 orange
1 avocado
1/4 cup chopped nuts, your choice
2 -3 tablespoons fresh dill

Assemble your romaine and cabbage on your plate.  Set aside.  Slice your grapefruit and orange in half.  Cut the skin off of one half of the orange and grapefruit, then slice the fruit on your salad.  Peel and chop the avocado into chunks.  Chop your preferred choice of nuts, (I used walnuts, but I usually like almonds).  Finely chop the dill.  Place the avocado, nuts and dill on top of your fruit and greens.  For Dressing: take your remaining half of grapefruit and orange and squeeze the juice over the top of your salad.  
Serves 1-2

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raw Brownies & Banana Ice Cream

Raw Brownies
adapted from The Rawtarian

1 cup pecans
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup prunes
5 tablespoons cocoa or carob (I prefer carob)
4 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)
2 tablespoons honey or agave
pinch of salt

In a food processor, process your pecans until they are crumbly (not  too long or they turn to pecan butter).  Add dates and prunes and process again until combined well and in small chunks.  Add the cocoa or carob, coconut, honey or agave and salt.  Process again until well mixed.  If it seems to dry, add a little water.  In an 8x8 glass dish, press the mix into the bottom.  Top with Raw Frosting.

Raw Frosting

1 cup dates
1/4 cup cocoa or carob
1/4 cup organic cold pressed coconut oil
3/4 cup water

In a high speed blender combine these ingredients and blend until smooth. 
I blend these for quite a while in my normal blender, but when using a Vita-Mix they blend up quickly.  You may need to add a touch more water, if needed.

Banana Ice Cream

frozen banana's
almond milk or water

I gave no specific amounts on this because it depends on how much you want to make.  Place frozen banana's in a blender (I like the Vita-Mix) and just a very small amount of almond milk or water, adding a little more each time you blend, if needed.  Blend until you get ice cream!  You can do many variations on this...adding any kind of fruit or adding carob or cocoa for something chocolaty!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup extra virgin organic coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unrefined sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2-1 cup raisins

1 2 lb bag powdered sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin organic coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

Divide dough into 2 sections (4 sections if you want less, can make bread, Naan or breadsticks with remaining).  Roll into a large rectangle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (I like mine quite thin, for more layers).  Spread coconut oil thinly on the dough, sprinkle brown sugar, unrefined sugar, cinnamon and raisins and roll lengthwise.  Cut  the cinnamon rolls about two inches thick and place in a nonstick pan and let raise for about 20-30 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

For the frosting, mix 1 cup powdered sugar to 1/4 cup coconut oil softened.  When mixed well add the remaining ingredients until smooth.  It doesn't need to be thick.  I like mine thinner so it soaks into the insides of the cinnamon roll.  Spread over the cinnamon rolls while warm or store in the fridge for later!  So yummy! I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

5 cups warm water (shower hot)
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup oil 
1 tablespoon salt
6-7 cups whole wheat flour 
(12-14 cups total, adding the rest later)
2 heaping tablespoons saf yeast

Add these ingredients to your mixer in this exact order!  Mix well for 1 minute.  Then add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until it cleans the sides of the bowl.  Knead for 6-8 minutes.  (sometimes I use all the flour asked for, other times I don't.  It really depends on many things: the moisture in the air, the elevation, etc.)

Spray 5 bread pans well with nonstick spray.  Shape 5 loaves and put into the bread pans.  Let raise 20-30 minutes or until double in size.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.

My bread fell just a little, if you can see in the picture above. This will happen if your dough is too sticky or wet or if it is too dry.  It could be the result of a draft in your kitchen, like an open window or door that blows air in.  It could be any sudden change in temperature in your kitchen.  Sometimes it just falls slightly no matter what you do!  So, just slice it and eat it as usual and don't worry about it!  



5 cups warm water (shower hot)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
6-7 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
(12-14 cups total, the rest will be added later)
2 heaping tablespoons saf-instant yeast (add last)

Add these ingredients to your mixing bowl in this order! Mix for about a minute. ADD: the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until it cleans the sides of the mixing bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes.

*For more detailed instructions about mixing this dough click here

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Take one part and roll into a large rectangle about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips. Place on a large cookie sheet prepared with nonstick spray. Brush with coconut oil and spices you desire. We like onion powder, garlic powder, and basil (1 teaspoon each to 1 cup coconut oil), salt is optional to taste. Let rise for about 10 minutes and Bake in a 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.

Whole Wheat Naan

Naan bread originally came from India...but it is found in many middle eastern countries and is quickly becoming popular here. Dan and I first tried this yummy flat bread at a local Indian food restaurant several months ago. We came home and decided to try to find a Naan bread recipe. We found several, but many contain yogurt. We finally found one that used almond or soy milk instead. We made that recipe and liked it a lot and it soon became a staple in our home. I have a bread recipe that I have used for 10 years or so and I make bread for my kids once each week, and I decided to try that recipe for making Naan and guess what?! It worked! I like the simplicity of it. Keep in mind, many of my recipes will be HUGE. I have 5 kids and when I make food, I'm not sure how to make a small amount, so if you want you can always request a recipe that will make only a few or you can half this recipe so it works for you.

As I mentioned this is my bread recipe. I will post my bread recipe right after this with pics but it is the same recipe I use for so many crust, naan, bread, breadsticks and cinnamon rolls! I will be posting pics of all of these things today!

One more quick note about Naan bread. I like mine plain, but my kids love theirs flavored with spices. There are so many kinds of Naan bread....some infuse theirs with garlic or stuff them with meats, veggies or potatoes. This is a very simple recipe, so play around with it! We have used this recipe to stuff with hummus and veggies, taco's, spread with coconut oil and honey...the possibilities are endless. Hope you enjoy!

Whole Wheat Naan
5 cups warm water (I like my water on the warmer side, maybe shower hot)
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup oil
1 Tablespoon salt
6-7 cups whole wheat flour (*NOTE 12-14 cups flour will be used total, see below!)
2 heaping tablespoons saf-instant yeast (this is the BEST yeast! Make sure you add the yeast after the 6-7 cups flour, as your warm water might kill the yeast if added straight to the water)

When making this bread, it is VERY important to add the ingredients in this order! Mix it well for about 1 minute.

ADD: 6-7 more cups whole wheat flour ONE cup at a time until the dough cleans the sides of your mixing bowl. Knead 6-8 minutes.

This next part is my daughter, Hailey's job! She loves to roll it out and cook it, and it's so nice because it takes about an hour to roll and lightly cook all the dough.

Using a large griddle or frying pan, roll out your individual pieces of dough as seen below. I'm not going to give you a precise measurement for these because how big you make them is up to you!

Mix about 1 cup of softened coconut oil with about 1 teaspoon of basil, onion powder, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (this part is optional!) If you choose not to put any spices on your Naan (remember, I like mine plain), then just spray this side with nonstick spray before flipping.

Spray your frying pan or griddle with nonstick spray and put your Naan pieces in the pan. They will begin to bubble a little. While they are cooking on one side, brush on your coconut oil or spray with nonstick spray if you want them plain.

After about a minute or two, flip your Naan. Watch them closely! Our pan doesn't cook these very fast, so we don't worry about them burning.

This is how they look when flipped. These make 24-36. It really depends on how big you make them. They keep well for about a week at room temp. We keep our in the fridge and they should be good for about a month. Ours are usually gone in a few days!

*Lately I have been making these with spelt. Spelt is an ancient grain and in reading the book The pH Miracle, Robert Young, the author talks about using grains that are less acidic and how that influences the pH balance in your body. Basically cancer and sickness can't thrive in a body that is more alkaline. Most all vegetables are alkaline. Very few grains and beans are alkaline. Soy is alkaline. I have tried to make a few changes to help with this. Spelt is actually a +.05 on this ALKALINE FOOD CHART. There are many food charts that will tell you which foods are alkaline and which are acidic. Some are conflicting. There is a chart in the pH Miracle book but I also like this chart by the Alkaline Sisters. This is a great blog with some fantastic recipes! I will write more about this in upcoming posts and will label this so it is easy for you to find for future reference.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Vegan Lazagna

One of the changes we had to make as a family when it came to eating a plant based diet was how we would eat on holidays and special occasions. We have actually had a lot of fun coming up with fun meals centered around veggies. We love researching cook books and websites. I asked Dan what he wanted for Fathers Day for food and he said... Lazagna. I was excited to make this for him. I did go online and looked up many recipes and just couldn't find one I liked, so I created this one myself! Wow, right?! LOL. I'm not gonna lie, this was soooo yummy! It makes a lot, so if you aren't planning on feeding an army, then scale it back or half the recipe.

Fathers Day Vegan Lazagna

1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 handful fresh oregano and basil, finely chopped (optional)
3 jars Light Ragu Tomato & Basil Sauce (no sugar added)
3 teaspoons dried basil
3 teaspoons dried oregano

Over medium heat saute onion and garlic for about 3-5 minutes. Add fresh herbs and saute for additional minute until fragrant. Add spaghetti sauce and dried herbs. NOTE: Part of what makes this taste so yummy, is adding plenty of herbs. Add more dried herbs if you don't have access to the fresh ones. Turn to low and let simmer while preparing the veggies.

3 small zucchini, thinly sliced
5 ounces spinach
1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I used white)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Saute on medium heat Zucchini in 1 tablespoons oil, sprinkle with dried herbs (oregano, basil). Saute until soft and slightly browned. Set aside. Saute mushrooms in 1 tablespoon oil for about 3 minutes, add spinach and cover for 1 minute. Set aside.

1 13.25 ounce package whole wheat lazagna noodles
1 large pan
basil and oregano for sprinkling on top

Layer 1 - spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce, to barely cover the bottom of the pan
Layer 2 - evenly spread lazagna noodles over the spaghetti sauce
Layer 3 - Place zucchini evenly over the noodles
Layer 4 - spread half the the spaghetti sauce over the zucchini
Layer 5 - evenly spread another layer lazagna noodles
Layer 6 - evenly spread the mushroom/spinach over the noodles
Layer 7 - spread the remaining spaghetti sauce over the mushroom/spinach

Sprinkle basil/oregano over the top of the lazagna. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from oven, UNCOVER and let sit for 10 minutes.

  1. For years, my lazagna would be too watery or runny. I learned that using less sauce is best. I used to worry that I would see the lazagna noodles along edge and had to make sure it was completely covered. Don't worry about seeing some of the noodles.
  2. Make sure you let it sit for 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven, uncovered. It allows it to set. Even though you aren't using egg or cheese, it still needs that time to settle.
  3. Pre-boiling your lazagna noodles just isn't necessary. In fact, it makes them too mushy. I have never done this. Your noodles will be perfect if assembled dry. The dry noodles also soak up the extra water from your sauce and veggies, making your lazagna perfect!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coconut Cinnamon Popcorn

It's time to share something sweet! Hailey and I were hanging out last night watching Thor and decided we wanted a snack. This is what we came up with. It's pretty simple and I'm sure I'm not the only one to think of it!

Coconut Cinnamon Popcorn
4-6 cup popcorn
1/2 cup coconut oil (heat on low, if not liquid already)
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon

Pop your popcorn. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl. Drizzle the coconut oil over the popcorn and then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture and mix well.

After I did this I thought about mixing the sugar and cinnamon with the coconut oil BEFORE putting it on the popcorn?! You might try that! Who needs butter?! :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hot Curry Hummus

There are many recipes for Curry Hummus, so I'm not about to claim this marvelous idea, however, I tweaked many recipes to create this, so I guess I can claim this one as my own :)

Hummus is such a great invention to replace so many condiments that are filled with fats, sugar, dairy and other icky things that just make us feel yucky. The trick to great hummus is getting the texture right. I love using my food processor and adding all the ingredients except the water. Adding the water last and only about a tablespoon at a time and then checking the texture before adding more. Here's the great thing, if you happen to get your hummus too thin, it makes for a great salad dressing or for a yummy sauce on a veggie pizza instead of your traditional tomato sauce. So, not all hope is lost if it doesn't turn out just right.

My favorite way to use hummus is as a spread on toast. I will post my yeast free bread makes amazing toast and with this hummus recipe on it, it's so good!

Hot Curry Hummus
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups freshly cooked garbanzo beans
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons curry powder
hot sauce to taste (any hot sauce you prefer will work, I used Tapatio, I also used about 1 teaspoon)
Water to consistency

Using water, steam your onion and garlic until they are soft. Add onion, garlic garbanzo beans, lemon, grapeseed oil, salt and hot sauce to your food processor or blender. Blend well for 15-20 seconds. Slowly add water until your hummus has reached the desired consistency.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spelt Thins

Spelt Thins
modified from Wheat Thins recipe on Oh She Glows website.

1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons chilled extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water (maybe more)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter, cut in coconut oil until the mixture is in fine crumbles.Mix vanilla and water and then pour into the flour mixture. Stir this mixture until it comes together. Flour your hands and get in and work the dough with your hands until the mixture is soft and pliable. Split dough in half and flour your counter. Roll the dough very thin and cut into squares or with a small cookie cutter, cut shapes into your dough. With a spatula, move the cut pieces to your large baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Watch closely. Rotate your pan halfway through baking. (I did overbake my first batch and they were still very yummy)

*my variations were using coconut oil instead of Earth Balance. I also decreased the amount of salt, but did sprinkle some on top of the crackers. I used spelt instead of wheat.

Rice Noodle Stir Fry With Tofu

Rice Noodle Stir Fry With Tofu

1 package firm tofu
1/3 cup Braggs liquid aminos
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Agave
1-2 Teaspoons freshly minced ginger
3 cloves garlic crushed and minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 zucchini cubed
3 carrots thinly sliced in strips
1 bunch broccoli
1-2 cups green cabbage
1 large package rice noodles
3-4 fresh scallions thinly sliced

Cube the tofu. In a large gallon bag combine the cubed tofu, Braggs liquid aminos, rice vinegar, agave, ginger, and garlic. Let marinade for at least 1 hour.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the rice noodles for about 5-6 minutes.

Rinse with cold water. Set aside.

While the noodles are boiling, add the tofu to a large wok or skillet along with the marinade and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the veggies all at once on top. Let steam for another 5-10 minutes medium low until veggies are tender.

Combine the veggies and rice noodles and serve!

Serves 6.

It Began When...

For years, Dan, my husband, has bugged me about eating a plant based diet. This meant NOT eating meat and dairy. We tried it a few times but several things worried me each time. Some of the questions I had about eating plant based were; Am I getting enough protein? Will I lose weight and keep it off? Where is the variety?! It wasn't until we had been eating low carb on and off for several years that we became extremely frustrated with the constant weight loss and weight gain. The weight was never something we could keep off. We missed bread, beans and fruit. We were overwhelmed with counting everything...calories, fat, carbs, etc. Dan was also frustrated as he hit his highest weight ever! We noticed over the last year as our girls started to turn 11 and 13 that they were gaining weight because of our eating habits. We were frustrated. What were we doing wrong? What do we eat? We tried just eating a balanced diet. Still we would find ourselves giving into cravings. Dan fought the desire to even exercise. He was so tired. I had been exercising regularly for many years but could never keep the weight off. We would constantly ask ourselves, what should we do? We had to make changes.

Dan asked me to watch a documentary called "Forks Over Knives". I changed my life. It didn't end there, in fact, it still hasn't ended. We believe in research. We believe in study. We believe in knowledge. We had been searching all along. Nothing fit, until now. This was just a few months ago and we decided to sit down with our 5 children and watch it together. We decided to cut out all meat and dairy (animal based foods) immediately. The first week was very difficult, mostly for the kids. We began searching for recipes that would work for our family. We created our own recipe book and started making notes about what worked and what didn't. As the weeks went by we watched a few more documentaries "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead", "The Beautiful Truth", "The Gerson Miracle", "Food Matters", "Food Inc." (We had seen this one about a year ago). We immediately ordered the book "The China Study". We were amazed that we had no knowledge of what we were doing to our bodies. We were amazed that from the time we were young we were told that in order to survive we had to have so many servings of dairy and meat every day. We were amazed that as children we were told of the importance of fluoride in our water and toothpaste (I had one doctor while living in Portland tell me that I had to give my children fluoride tablets if it wasn't in my water). All of it was unnecessary and in fact very dangerous. It is all funded and supported by BIG dairy and meat companies. There is a lot of money behind the food pyramid our government has issued. We then learned about The Gerson Therapy. How fascinating that you could heal yourself by what you ate. We ordered the book. We loved this book! We studied all we could about juicing and eating plant based foods. We studied all we could about eating raw. This wasn't something that sat well with us but as we studied we began to realize the importance of slow cooking, or cooking at low temperatures to ensure that we weren't losing the nutrients we needed in the foods we were eating. We read a few more interesting books, "The Ph Miracle", "Pleasure Trap", "The Engine 2 Diet". The one book that seemed to encompass many, if not all of the same ideas found in these books was "Eat to Live" by Doctor Joel Fuhrman. We were again, very fascinated with what people were doing to heal themselves, lose weight, and feel better. All of this study has been since we began this journey around Valentines Day of this year (2012). While studying we were continuing to eat a plant based diet. We began to notice changes. Dan wasn't suffering from allergies! This was huge! We have been married for 15 years and he can't even mow the lawn without being flat in bed for the weekend. He has suffered from them for as long as I've known him. He hasn't had so much as one sneeze. He put together our entire backyard garden this spring, working in the yard all day, skateboarding with the kids, with no allergies. I had been suffering from a very bad case of anxiety for about 4 months and within 2 weeks, I had no anxiety! I noticed my skin looked clear. I noticed my dandruff had disappeared within a couple of months. My nails and teeth were whiter. I was losing weight, albeit slowly, it was coming off. Dan has lost an average of about 10 lbs a month. Our eyes were clear, we had a lot less tarter and plaque. Our 13 year old daughter has lost 20 lbs. These are just a few changes we've seen. We were sold within the first month. In the beginning we hesitated telling many of our family and friends about what we were doing, but as time goes by, we realize that we have to tell others about what we are doing. It has changed our lives. We don't need to be at our ideal weight or have been practicing vegans for years to have a voice about what we feel has made our lives so much better!

On this blog we intend to share mostly fun recipes that we love. Dan cooks for us once a week and has found some amazing recipes and will share what he can. I will share anything and everything from yummy recipes to interesting info. WE are so grateful for what we've learned and our hope is that you will feel the desire to Plant Yourself, like we have. It doesn't have to be 100% plant based, in fact much of our reading encourages small changes, even if it is just one meal a week. Find out what plants can do for you and your health, GO PLANT YOURSELF!!