North Carolina Summer Harvest: Rainbow Swiss Chard!!!

HI all!!!!

Long time no talk! I so super duper apologize for not blogging sooner, but I have been absolutely loving my new locale: North Carolina. Today I heard tons of people complaining it was hot out…yeah it was 84 with a mountain breeze. That’s pretty much heaven to me!!! And this state actually has seasons!!! Big change from Florida. Along with the seasons are SEASONAL VEGGIES!!! A girl can’t ask for much more than that! I get to drive past THREE…count them….THREE different local farm stands on my way home from work everyday. Today I stopped by and this huge bunch of rainbow chard was talking to me. It was exactly like those Pier One commercials where the sock monkey talks to mid-20 something fashionable girl into buying him. Only mine situation was rainbow swiss chard screaming at this 30 something saying “damn I would look good in your saute pan with some garlic!”.

 

RainbowSwissChard-1-2-590x825

 

GARLIC RAINBOW SWISS CHARD

2 tablespoon of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (ok you can do two cloves if you are whimpy!)

1 teaspoon of red pepper flake (I know, I know! almost all my recipes start like that!)

1 large bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped, leaves roughly chopped

Sea Salt

Splash of red wine vinegar

1. Add the oil to a large saute pan with the garlic and red pepper flakes.

2. Cook over medium heat until the garlic turns golden. Remove the garlic and discard. Be sad because you just discarded garlic!

3. Add the chopped Swiss chard ribs and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the Swiss chard leaves and season with salt, to taste. Cook until the leaves are wilted.

5. Stir in a splash of red wine vinegar. Serve immediately.

swisschard

Easy Vegan Dessert: Banana Pudding

OK who knew vegan dessert could be so easy!!! I’m not big on sweets, but I do crave them every once in a while.

Vegan Banana Pudding

banana pudding

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least one hour or overnight. Drained and rinsed
  2. 1 cup unflavored almond milk
  3. 1 medjool date, pitted
  4. 2 bananas sliced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1/2 cup maple syrup (or any sweetener you love. agave would work well, too)
  7. pinch of sea salt

1. Throw everything into your blender and blend. Let set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but it’s best to set over night.

You CAN choose to lay this over vanilla wafers which are normally vegan, You can add more bananas to the top…but this tastes good as is…so why mess with it! Here I am in Puerto Rico for my 30th birthday! best bananas ever!!!

bananas

Reflection!

Hi everyone!!!

Running the Greenway in North Carolina 5/26/2014

Running the Greenway in North Carolina 5/26/2014

Most of you follow this blog for the vegan recipes, but some of you know that this blog was originally created as a way to replace my old school “Fat Diary” that I was keeping as I was on my journey to a healthy lifestyle. Let’s face it, these days kids don’t know how to write…but they can type faster than most adults. I am one of those…my handwriting says I should be a doctor, but my spelling and grammar ability says I should go back to third grade :-) None the less, I would like to litter this blog with more reflective moments while continuing to give good food recipes.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a reflection in this blog, so I’ll give you the quick readers digest version of what’s going on with me. When I was 29 years old, I was approached by the owner of Zen Fitness to be filmed for a weight loss documentary called Unsupersize Me. You can see the film at Unsupersize Me. Film was completed and premiere and have inspired many. Numerous proud moments happened along this journey…but then what?!? I have completed a marathon, made friends, lost friends, changed jobs a few times, inspires some, and made others upset. Guess what, life goes on

Yes I continue to journey to inspire others to be healthy and happy and I have quite a few upcoming speaking engagements to do so. I love telling the story of how I went from 345 lbs to a much healthier weight now (see how I didn’t mention what that was?!?!?- tricky!).  I’m SO VERY HONORED to be speaking at the 2015 SuperHero Weekend in LA,  to talk about my villains and my “superhero powers”! Vegetarian Summerfest will be a blast too! I’m also excited to speak at the local running group about how I went from not being able to run a block, to completing marathons. BUT….I think the #1 thing that people need to realize is that SO MUCH more goes into being healthy than what you can do in the gym and at the dinner table. So I’m just gonna spit some stuff out for all to read and maybe digest a little.

1. I will gain weight. I will also lose weight. And I KNOW exactly how to do both. You also know what to do to as well, there are no secrets.

2. Weight is NOT a reflection of my happiness. I will have happy days, sad days, crazy days, sane days, mad days and glad days. The challenge is to find out what makes each day happen and embrace them.

3. No one can tell you what you should be, ought to look like, how to act, who you should be friends with and what type of job you should have, but yourself.

4. EVERYONE makes mistakes. Mistake making is easy….figuring out how to not do it again, is the tough part.

5. You do not have to follow the crowd. You also do not have to lead them. You just gotta move ahead at your own pace.

6. Friendships and relationships should never have limits or barriers.

7. And finally if you are reading this and saying “heck yes!” you should make a list of your own. Don’t follow exactly what I say or do.

 

Since losing weight, I have had much time to grow as a person. I moved to another state and refreshed my eyes. I’m making new friends and allowing myself to be vulnerable in relationships. Most of all, I’m realized that I have accomplished an extraordinary goal, but that it continues. My weight will always fluctuate but my happiness does not have to follow. Inside of my happiness being a result of the weight, I’m going to turn it around and make my weight a result of my happiness. And with that, I wanted to sincerely thank every last of your who follow my blog (I’m about to hit 5,000) and to warn you that my next recipe will be a dessert. HAHAH! It’s ok, I ran 6 miles today!

Much Love and Positive Energy to you all!!!

 

Curry Lentil Risotto: Slow cooker recipe!!!

I love Italian risotto…but wanted some Indian heat. Enter Curry lentil risotto!

Lentil Risotto

Lentil Risotto

Ingredients:

2 cup lentils

1/2 cup jasmine rice

3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth

1/2 cup of marsala or red wine

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

4 large garlic cloves minced

1 cup of frozen peas

2 tbsp of yellow curry powder

1 tbsp of red curry paste

1 tbsp of garam marsala

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. In medium saute pan, over medium heat saute onions and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil until clear. Add the remaining oil and the lentils to the pan and saute these to slightly toast them.

****this is typically how you start a risotto but you should not try to toast the jasmine rice in this recipe. It is too thin and delicate of a grain, it will burn.

2. Add wine to the saute pan while hot and use this to “deglaze” the pan, ok this is the fancy pants term that really means to add fluid into the pan to scrap the goodies from the bottom of the pan, haha.

3. Add everything from saute pan, and all remaining ingredients (except the peas) into the crock pot. You have a few options to cook this and honestly it’s impossible to mess up a crock pot recipe. You can cook it on high for 2 hours, or low for 4-6 hours. Just make sure the lentils and the rice aren’t crunchy. The more you let those Indian spices cook, they better they are!

4. About 30 minutes before you want to serve the lentils, throw in the peas (trust me…don’t put them in early..they turn to brown mush).

I like to garnish this with fresh tomatoes, but I think I just put tomatoes on everything.

LENTIL LESSON:

So I used yellow lentils for this….but look at the whole rainbow of the variety of lentils…test them all!!!

lentils

 

 

 

 

 

Kale and White Bean Soup

This is a very simple and basic recipe that is tasty and holds well. It’s actually better the second day!! I love kale especially from the farmers market this time of year. And kale love me…it told me to make it into a soup today.

kale1INGREDIENTS:

6 cups of de-veined and stemmed kale

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 large yellow onion choppedkale20

2 cups of vegetable stock

2 cups of water

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 cans of northern white beans (or any other bean…honestly you can use of them and it will still be tasty

Salt/pepper/red pepper flake to taste

Directions:

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are clear and soft, in a large pot.kale21

2. Add all other ingredients to the pot and simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until kale is soft.

3. EAT!!! I like to add some garlic salt and red pepper flake at the end. Some even liked some nutritional yeast on it. kale22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy…Just like The Top’s!!!

Recipe recreate: from The Top in Gainesville, FL

Recipe recreate: from The Top in Gainesville, FL

Hi everyone!!!

Thank you all so much for continuing to read my blog and grow my following!! Big things are happening and it’s such an exciting time. As my last blog post mentioned I have moved from my native Florida to the mountains of North Carolina. I am loving the “no-ac-needed” type of weather. I love putting the top down on my car and driving through the blooming mountains, and I really love making new friends! But even with all these awesome things happening for me, I was still a little homesick last weekend. Sunday’s in Gainesville, FL are known for brunches! So many restaurants serve an amazingly vegan friendly brunch in Gainesville, and here in the mountains….well you can go to the pancake breakfast at the church, but it’s not very vegan :-) Anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t give up without a fight though, so I decided I would try to recreate the famous Top’s Vegan Biscuits and Gravy. I expected to have to test the recipe out many, many….MANY times, but actually I rocked it on the first try. So without any more rambling, here is the super easy, super yummy, not for everyday, recipe!!!

Biscuits:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp of Baking Powder

1 Tsp of Sea Salt

1 cup of original almond milk (or soy milk…just not flavored)

4 Tbsp Earth Balance (or non-dairy margarine)

Directions for Biscuits:

1. Preheat over to 425

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. Using a fork, press margarine into the flour until there are little flour coated pebbles in the bowl

4.  At milk and combine till dough is slightly uniform. It will be lumpy…don’t over work the dough.

5. Spoon balls of dough onto an ungreased baking pan. Place them so that they touch (biscuits like to be close to one another and will rise together.

biscuits raw

6. I dropped a small droplet of olive oil on the top of each dough ball and then salted the tops.

7. Bake for 12 minutes

GRAVY TIME:

2 cups of tempeh chopped

1 cup of unflavored almond milk

2 Tbsp of olive oil

1 Tbsp of corn starch

salt/pepper

*added seasoning could be a Cajun hint to the sauce…I used Old Bay seasoning because it reminds me of southern foods

sausage startDirections for Gravy:

1. Saute tempeh chunks in 1 tbsp of olive oil to brown. Use medium heat.

2. After tempeh is browned, do not remove from pan, but push to one side of pan. Add the additional 1 tbsp of olive oil and cornstarch. Lower temp to medium-low heat and whisk the oil and cornstarch. You just slightly want to cook this combination, probably won’t take longer than a minute.

3. Add almond milk and whisk together. Simmer for a few minutes as it thickens. This should happen quickly.

 

When the biscuits are done, split one open and spoon that gravy over it! Yummy!!!

finished
biscuits cooked

 

Spring Allergy Clearing Recipe: Garlic Ginger Soup

Hi all!!!

Huge news!!! I have moved to North Carolina and love it!! I have a wonderful boyfriend in the area, as well as his amazing family. There are awesome UNBELIEVABLE running trails. I have truly enjoyed moving to a new state and making some new friends. I have found some of my “go to” ingrediants, checked out the local farmers market today, and most importantly joined the local running group. Worse part of the move: POLLEN!!! While the netti pot works wonders, so does a nice warm soup!

I have tested a great low budget recipe in order to clear those sinuses and feel amazing….introducing

Garlic Ginger Soup

Yes this is my wrist tattoo

Yes this is my wrist tattoo

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups of  Vegetable Broth
  • 3 – 1 Inch Pieces of Ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 5 Unpeeled Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 A Block of Extra Firm Tofu, drained, and pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tamari
  • 4 Teaspoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sriracha
  • 1/8th A Cup of Chopped Cilantro
  • 8oz Of Rice Noodles
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder

 

 

 

1. Dice tofu into small squares.Add tofu, bell pepper, garlic powder, and ginger powder to a non stick pan. Cook until tofu is brown.

2. In a pot, add broth, ginger pieces, and unpeeled garlic. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low heat. Add soy sauce, sriracha, lemon juice, and cilantro to pot. Cover and continue to simmer.

3. In a separate pot, cook rice noodles according to directions on package.  Add cooked noodles, tofu, bell peppers, and cilantro to the broth. Let sit covered for 5 minutes.

Stir, serve, and enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Soup