Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summertime Pasta

 Every afternoon this week we have been going to our HOA pool.  We play until about 5:00 p.m. and then hurry home to make dinner.  I have had to seriously "wing it" this week for meals.  This is one I made that turned out pretty darn good!  We have an onslaught of tomatoes and zucchini, so this made for a very easy and cheap meal!  I hope you enjoy!

Summertime Pasta

1 bag or box of whole grain noodles (any variety will work)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 zucchini diced
4-5 tomatoes quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon oregano, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Cook noodles according to instructions on the box or bag.  In a large skillet, saute zucchini and spices in coconut oil until zucchini is tender.  Add tomatoes and heat through.  Drain pasta and toss with veggies.  Serve hot or cold.

My kids loved the leftovers cold!!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I love how quick and easy this recipe is.  They taste great with coconut oil and honey or homemade jam!  Enjoy!


2 cups spelt flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ground flax soaked in 2 tablespoons water for 5 minutes
1 cup almond milk

Mix dry ingredients.  Add oil, flax mixture, and milk.  Stir only until ingredients are combined.  Drop onto a well greased (nonstick sprayed) stainless steel muffin tins.  Bake at 425 for 14 minutes. Yield:12 large biscuits.

Planted and Blooming

My brother Matt and I at the Saddle of Timpanogos Peak

 August was an incredible month!  I'm sorry for my lack of posting but we had some great things planned as a family.  I'm anxious to start posting some great recipes again...

This month we had the opportunity to go with our two oldest girls to Moab.  Our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds an annual Girls Camp where all the girls, 12-18 in our ward (a specific area in our neighborhood) go for a 4 day camping trip.  This year we visited Moab, UT.  It is one of my new favorite places!  The red rock and amazing cliffs, are beyond beautiful!  We were able to visit Corona Arch as well as Delicate Arch (the arch featured on Utah's license plates).  We also were able to take a 6 hour river run down the Colorado River.  It was so much fun for Dan and I to spend some time with our girls.

Before this trip we contemplated how we would make it work eating a plant based diet.  We decided to pre make some granola bars (posting soon) and some granola for quick breakfasts.  We also brought along our own cooler with washed lettuce and apples/oranges.  We packed almonds and raisins as well as canned beans.  We brought bread and Adams Peanut Butter and honey for sandwiches.  Each day we would eat whatever fruits or veggies our ward provided.  We ate sandwiches for lunch and would excuse ourselves to eat a quick salad for dinner and then join our group.  I will say that Dan and I focus on eating a plant based diet, but sometimes it isn't always available to us!  We are not Vegan.  We love foods that are plant based, but we can't maintain the title of Vegan (eating NO meat or dairy at all).  Sometimes eating a little meat or dairy is unavoidable.  We found this to be true as some of our lettuce went bad the last day and ate what meals were provided the last day we were at camp.  Many people ask questions and I'm sure think we are completely weird and/or snobby about food, but that is NOT our intention.  We truly are finding an incredible treasure in eating this way and choose to maintain it.  We do not in any way judge or put down the way other choose to eat, because I truly believe there are many ways to maintain good health.  This is just the way we've chosen to eat and have found great happiness in doing so.

 Dan, Me, Hailey at Delicate Arch (above)
 Me at Corona Arch.
 Our Young Women's Group at Delicate Arch
 Hailey and I right before our river run.

Just recently we visited my Sister-In-Laws family cabin.   Every year my parents and 3 brothers and their families go on a camping trip.  This year we were excited and grateful to be able to go to the cabin where there is running water, flushable toilets and comfy beds!  It was so much fun!  I was able to go hiking up the back side of Timpanogos Mountain with my 3 brothers and my nephew.  It is a hike I truly LOVE!  It is about 14 miles round trip and extremely tough!  My 3 brothers are all in amazing shape, 2 of them eat plant based like me, making for fun conversation and lots of yummy dishes while at the cabin!  I always struggle to keep up with them and their endless energy.  I am so grateful that they include me in their hiking, as I hate hiking by myself.  It was a beautiful hike!!!  I have posted a few pictures of that hike.  As mentioned most of my family has switched over to eating plant based.  We had so much fun juicing and enjoying food while we were together!  My Mom made an amazing Vanilla Bean Frosting (found in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook) that we put on my Banana Bread.  We ate fresh salsa on crackers with cucumbers.  We had Carob Truffles, Tahini Casserole (made by my brother Matt), Veggie Lasagna, Taco's, Potato Curry and Naan.  We ate granola, and Oatmeal, fruit and spinach shakes for breakfast, huge salads with leftovers for lunches.  We had fresh peaches and yes, we even ate some junk food :)  It was so much fun spending time with my family!!!

I write this long post with the focus on one thing.  I have NEVER felt better!  I have NO struggles with eating food.  I don't feel guilty when I eat too much.  I don't feel guilty eating a little junk.  I feel relaxed and happy listening to my body.  I know when to stop eating because of how I feel.  I feel energized and so very happy!  I have never felt this way before.  I am so grateful to have found something that works for me.

About one week ago, my husband begged and pleaded for me to weigh myself.  I haven't weighed myself since February.  My focus has not been my weight but my health.  I want to listen to what my body tells me and my weight doesn't matter.  If you look at my very first post, you will notice that I make no reference to how much weight I've lost because I had no idea...until last week.  I gave in to peer pressure and got on the scale.  The number shocked me!  Was is really that easy to get there?  For years I have dieted and worked out hard to reach THE number on that scale only to have it vanish as I gave into cravings and battled my food addictions.  It is so HARD to lose weight until I decided to go plant based.  People often comment to me that I have amazing willpower.  This has NOTHING to do with willpower, for me.  Giving up meat and dairy (besides maybe cheese, ha ha!) was not hard to do.  I remember my cravings, I have the memory of them but I don't feel them like I did before I changed to a plant based way of life.  I am so excited about the number on that scale.  I don't think I'll weigh again, because I truly enjoyed not being shackled to that number.  For me, focusing on healing my body and mind is more vital than then number on that scale.  I feel amazing and hope that I can inspire others to research for themselves how to heal, lose weight, and have more energy by eating plants!  Thanks for reading!!

Now...back to posting!
 Sunrise on the Timp.
The view from the top of Timpanogos

Friday, August 10, 2012

Easy Granola

I don't know about you but getting away from boxed cereal can be difficult.  We eat lots of different hot cereal, most of which I will post over time...things like oatmeal, mighty tasty, 9 grain, and quinoa.  However, sometimes, as a Mom, you just want something quick!  I make this up about once a week and it usually lasts.    I encourage my kids to take 1/4 cup dry granola and add fruit, raisins, flax and almond milk.  It fills them up! If your kids are used to eating 1 cup of cereal, beware of eating 1  cup of granola!  It expands in your stomach and is just too much!  Start small and have more if hungry!  Hope you enjoy this simple recipe my sister-in-law gave to me years ago.

Easy Granola
12 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup honey or agave
1 cup canola or coconut oil
1 cup warm water

Heat your oven to 300 degrees.  In a very large bowl, combine oats and salt.  Mix very well.  In a quart jar or measuring cup, combine the honey or agave, oil and water; mix well.  Pour over the oat/salt mixture and using a large spoon, keep mixing until all the oats are wet.  Take two large cookie sheets and line them with parchment (a must, less sticking!).   Split the mixture between the two and spread to edges.  Make sure you oven racks are not too low.  Place both cookie sheets in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, switch the pans, mixing each cookie sheet a little.  Bake another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Stores well for a few weeks!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pineapple Peach Upside Down Applesauce Cake

Now, say that 10 times fast.  Sorry about the long title, but you just need to know all that is in this cake!  It's so good!  I've made this a few times and to perfect it, I made it for breakfast.  The kids were so excited!  Cake for breakfast, what a good idea!  Dan and I invested in Saladmaster stainless steel pans.  Let me just say that I am happy we made the investment, but before you buy a used car (what these pans cost us), there are others that are excellent in quality for half the price.  I am happy to answer any questions about that if you would like to email me.  The wonderful thing about the Saladmaster pans is that you can cook most things without water or oil.  For instance to "saute" my onions and garlic I put the chopped onions/garlic in one of my small pans with maybe a teaspoon of water, put the lid on and turn it to medium heat.  There is a small little "clicker" on top of the pan, and when you hear it clicking, then you turn the temperature to low heat and cook for a few minutes until my onions/garlic are soft.  I love not having to use oil and nonstick spray for everything!  I do use nonstick spray for a few others things, like my Naan Bread and to spray my muffin tins for muffins, but for my veggies, no oil necessary! Also, by cooking it at a lower setting it keeps a great deal of the live enzymes in my foods.  I have read so much on the importance of getting in those enzymes and how we need to NOT cook at high temps!  I try to do this as much as possible.  It also improves the flavor tremendously.

For this cake I used my "oil core" round Saladmaster pan.  It worked beautifully!  I was so excited!  I did try it in the oven as well and it turned out doing that too.  I did take Saladmaster's recipe Pineapple Upside Down Cake as well as a recipe from the book Set For Life Applesauce Cake and modified them to make them Vegan.  I hope you like this recipe!

Pineapple Peach Upside Down Applesauce Cake

1 can pineapple tidbits
1 cup frozen peach slices, thawed slightly
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
For the Cake:
1/2 cup oil (I used Canola)
1/2 cup honey or agave
1 cup applesauce
2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

In your oil core Saladmaster pan or in your 9 x 13-inch pan, spread the fruit evenly.  If you are using your oven, turn to 350.  Sprinkle the oil and brown sugar over the fruit.  In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients of the cake, mix well, add the dry ingredients.  Mix well again.  Pour over the top of your fruit.  In your oil core pan heat the temp to 350.  When it is up to temperature, turn to 275 for about 5 minutes.  Turn to low for an additional 15 minutes.  If your cake is still not done, bring back up to temperature for about a minute, then turn off, let sit an additional 5 minutes.  If cooking in the oven, cook for 30 minutes.  Using a toothpick check the center of the cake to ensure that it is baked through.  Take out of the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes. Turn the cake over and serve topped with Banana Ice Cream.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mock Cheesy Kale Chips

A few months ago, my Sister-in-law found this amazing recipe and brought it to a family function.  I couldn't stop eating them, they were incredibly delish!!  These are seriously addictive!  So make up a batch, just for you and don't feel guilty about it, cause I didn't!

Mock Cheesy Kale Chips
Adapted from Pride and Vegudice

1 bunch kale
1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
1 red bell pepper, deseeded
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make sure your kale is washed AND dried.  Remove the stems from the kale and cut into large pieces.  Place the kale in a large bowl.  Strain almonds and cashews and place in a high speed blender.  Add the red bell pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast powder and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Pour the "cheese" sauce over the kale leaves and using your hands make sure each piece of kale is covered.  Place in a dehydrator and dehydrate at 115 until crispy.  You can also bake these at 300 for about 30 minutes or until crispy.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spring Rolls - Guest Post

 This is another fabulous recipe that my friend Cindy has shared.  This is one of my favorites, because it is again so simple but the combination is so delicious!  Get's just veggies!  I love it!  Cindy shared these with us months ago and the presentation was beautiful.  She had used Daikon Radish on the bottom with a little Bragg's Liquid Aminos on the bottom and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.  It was beautiful. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Spring Rolls
Green Onion

Slice zucchini in very thin, long strips; set aside.  Slice cucumber, carrots and green onion into 3 inch matchsticks.  Remove stems from cilantro.  Slice avocado into 1/4 inch slices.  Place a zucchini strip on a flat surface.  Layer the end closest to you with a few matchsticks of each vegetable, slice of avocado and cilantro; roll up on a slight diagonal to secure fillings inside strip.  Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.  Serve with Dipping Sauce.  Refrigerated, sauce will keep for 4 days; rolls will keep for 2 days.

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice blend
pinch of cayenne pepper
Piece of green pepper
piece of green onion
grated lime rind

Blend all together in a food processor; thin with water to desired consistency.