Tag Archives: plant based diet

Butternut Squash Soup

This simple and delicious soup is a staple in my home, a favorite amongst my friends, and a recipe I give out often. It’s a smooth, warm and satisfying meal that can be made in advance. For a heartier version, serve with flax crackers.

Ingredients
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (approx. 1 medium squash)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons ghee**
1-quart organic vegetable broth (Imagine or Pacific brand)
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 pinch of saffron threads or powder (optional) Flaxseed oil or Udo’s Choice Oil Blend for drizzle
Directions
In 4-quart saucepan, sauté onion and butternut squash in ghee until vegetables sweat, but do not brown. Add vegetable broth, saffron, and sea salt. Cook on medium/low heat until vegetables are tender and soft, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly. Place immersion blender directly in a pot and blend until pureed, or to desired consistency.
If you do not have an immersion blender, cool and transfer mixture to a standard blender and puree for 20-30 seconds. Return mixture to the saucepan and bring back to desired heat. To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with flaxseed oil or Udo’s Choice Oil Blend.

**Ghee is clarified butter without solid milk fat particles, this lactose-free. It can be found at most health food stores. Feel free to substitute coconut milk for a 100% vegan version.

The One Missing Ingredient to True Love

It was imperative that I address ‘True Love’ this month, as it isn’t only Valentines Month, but it is Heart Health Month as well.
And I began to think about how we love and what love means to us.
As a collective, we look at love as a feeling in ways outside of ourselves.

I love you.
I love this movie.
I love burritos
I love driving long distance
I love fashion and chocolates.

And it is seldom, as a collective, that we really look at Love as a universal truth, a way of being in the world, a way of feeling each day.
How can we feel the universal truth, when we are so caught up in our ways of thinking?

I am busy
I have so much to do today
I am exhausted
I don’t have a boyfriend
I need a drink

And in the way that we all think and live is our way to survive. We know and understand..what we know and understand.
And the far-reaching truth is there are some things we just can’t wrap our heads around.

And that is Acceptance.

Acceptance of what is…..

Now, I can hear your ‘ monkey mind’ saying, well that’s just lazy to settle for “what is” that is not proactive and productive.
How does “acceptance” pay the bills, and give me the life I want?
“Acceptance is a failure to move forward, and how can I accept that my car won’t run, or my cat is sick, or I hate my job”?

And herein lies the work.
Acceptance is not “being ok” with what is.
Acceptance is seeing life for what it is and changing your perspective on the story.

“It may be time for me to get a new car, or look into getting it fixed.”
“My cat is getting older and she has had such a good life and brought time so much joy, it may be her time to go to the heavens”
“I am opening myself up for a job that allows me to thrive and grow- and then I can buy a new car”

The One missing ingredient to true love is Acceptance of What is…..Acceptance of Yourself.

True love is loving yourself when:

You are fat
You are skinny
You are beautiful
You look a little ragged
You are annoying
You are tired
You are funny
You are rich
You are poor
You are having a bad day
Your car is broken and you are kvetching about life

On this Heart Healthy Month, this White and Red themed Heart-centered Valentines, sweetheart and Love ladened month, take a moment if you will and look at your life through Acceptance.
And there you will find True Love.

Written by Diana Stobo

Life transformation and Spirit Coach
Health and Wellness Expert

Grain-Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookie

I went a step beyond gluten-free for this recipe. And if you don’t have almond butter on hand, you can substitute for peanut butter or cashew butter. The flavor will change a little bit you’ll still have a decadent little cookie!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup almond butter

3/4 cup coconut sugar

½ cup raw cacao

½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Blend ingredients until well incorporated. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop or roll dough into 1 inch scoops, place 2-3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 Minutes. Place on mesh rack to cool, about 5 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Peanut Butter & Jam Grain-Free Thumb Print Cookies

I upgraded this classic recipe and even went a step beyond gluten-free, there is no absolutely no grains. And who doesn’t love peanut butter and jam?

These are a pretty addition to any Holiday dessert spread made with ingredients everyone has in their pantry.

 

1 cup Peanut Butter

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

½ cup of your favorite jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Blend ingredients until well incorporated. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 1 inch scoops, place 2-3 inches apart. Make a little divot in each cookie with your thumb. Gently scoop a little jam in each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 Minutes.

Place on mesh rack to cool, about 5 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Cauliflower Creme Brûlée

Crème Brûlée is one of my favorite desserts.

The crunchy sugar topping, the beyond decadent cream.

It is my go to after a fancy meal at most restaurants.
It is a special occasion treat, an Anniversary dessert..
Well, I wanted to create my “Naked” Version, so it didn’t have to be a once in a while kinda thing.

It could be a whenever you want kinda thing.

And you’ll never guess the start ingredient…. Cauliflower.
That’s right, I created Cauliflower Crème Brûlée and it is perfection.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee

CremeBrulee

Ingredients
2 cups steamed cauliflower
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
½ Teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut sugar for topping

Directions
Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes until soft.

Drain and put in a high speed bender or food processor.

Add coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and salt.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into a small pot and heat on medium heat, stirring frequently until hot.  Add the unflavored gelatin and stir until smooth.

Pour mixture into ramekins and refrigerate for 4 hours. When is ready, put a little bit of coconut sugar on top and melt with a torch making a crust. Or you can place the ramekins in the oven on highest rack and turn on the broiler to high. Broil for five to 10 minutes, watching very carefully and rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Serve immediately.

 

Grain Free Tahini Gingersnap Cookies

Grain Free Tahini Gingersnaps

The perfect recipe for the Holidays, that replaces the “naughty” ingredients for healthy substitutes. A completely grain free sweet treat.

I bet you’ve never heard of a tahini base for cookies, but these are pure perfection.  Would you believe this cookie is actually an immune system booster?

Tahini is high in protein and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It’s a great way to obtain B vitamins like thiamine, along with minerals, including magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, iron and zinc.

And don’t get me started about ginger. Ginger is a powerful little root that aids in digestion and inflammation.

Plus we then sweeten with Black Strap Molasses, which is high in trace minerals (iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium) making it more nutritious than most other sweeteners. It’s strong flavor adds a richness to these cookies.

1 small (10.5 oz) jar of Tahini

½ cup coconut sugar

½ cup black strap molasses

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend ingredients until well incorporated. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop or roll dough into 1 inch scoops, place 2-3 inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 Minutes.

Place on mesh rack to cool, about 5 minutes.

Store in airtight container.

 

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese with Lentil Pasta

If you are familiar with my original Naked Macaroni and Cheese  (my daughter affectionately named “Mac-a-faux-ni”) you really love this updated version.  I’I’m currently obsessed with red lentil pasta, it cooks ups nicely and really holds it shape, I find most gluten-free pastas get mushy. It also is loaded with protein, so a small serving is very fulfilling.  I know the recipe calls for Ghee, which is not vegan but has all the milk solids removed. That’s why I love using it, it has the buttery flavor without the inflammatory dairy reactions. Please feel free to use coconut oil for a completely vegan version.

Ingredients

2 heaping cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tomato cubed

11⁄2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil for a 100% vegan/dairy-free version

11⁄2 teaspoons sea salt

1 cup almond milk (freshly made of course!)

1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons soaked and drained cashews

1 tablespoon lemon juice

12-ounce package lentil penne pasta

Directions

In a 4-quart pot, prepare pasta according to package directions. Cook al dente (test by chewing), strain, and run under cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. Pour cooled pasta back into pot.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt
ghee or coconut oil and gently sweat
the sweet potatoes and tomato, do not brown.
Add sea salt and almond milk (for recipe please watch this VIDEO)  and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Carefully pour hot sweet potatoes into blender and add
drained cashews, nutritional yeast, and
lemon juice. Blend on low with the center cap on lid
removed to release the heat while blending. Slowly increase speed until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour over pasta and stir.

Heart Healthy Chocolate Cake

This recipe is absolutely perfect. Not too sweet, just the right amount of richness from the Dark Chocolate.

I brought a slice to my acupuncturists, and she dubbed this the Heart Health Cake.

Beets lower risk of heart disease. Beets are a good source of folate and betaine. These nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine, which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery-damaging inflammation.

And Dark Chocolate helps to lower your blood pressure naturally. … The other surprise was they reported no increase in heart rate with chocolate consumption, once again confirming the benefits of dark chocolate for heart health.
Savory Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ganache

BeetChocCake

For the cake:

2 medium beets (1 cup beet puree)

2 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups oat flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon of sea salt

For the frosting:

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache:

1 cup dark chocolate

1/2 cup coconut milk

To puree beets

Boil beets until smooth and then cool. Peel and chop.

Place beet chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary. You may have to add a bit of water to encourage the beets to puree. Scoop out 1 cup of puree for this recipe – the rest is leftover.

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with coconut cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, set aside.

To the coconut milk mixture, add 1 cup of beet puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer), beat until foamy, about 30 seconds.

Mix together remaining dry ingredients. Add liquid to dry ingredients and beat until smooth

Divide between the cake pans. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 30-35 minutes.

Remove and cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

To make the frosting:

Ganache:

Reheat the water to a simmer in the pot on the stove

Place another medium bowl over the water and add chocolate and coconut milk

Stir until completely melted and add coconut milk

To assemble the cake:

Place the first layer on your cake stand or serving plate. If the top is uneven, carefully even it off with a knife. Smooth on about half of the frosting, and top with the second cake layer. Smooth on remaining frosting and add any decorations you like! (If you made 1 9-inch layer, you will have enough frosting to coat the sides, if you want.)

Refrigerate before serving. The cake can be served immediately, but I like it best after being refrigerated overnight. Enjoy!

Vegan Spiced Cupcakes With Orange Cream Frosting

How do you make cupcakes without flour, eggs, and milk? Easy! This is a fun recipe with a delicious sweet orange frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.
SpicedCupcake
Spice Cake
Ingredients
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup shredded dried coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pecans
½ cup medjool dates, pitted & packed
1 teaspoon orange zest (1 orange)
½ cup raisins
Directions
Place almonds, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in processor fitted with S-blade and process until finely ground. Add walnuts and pecans. Process until finely ground. Add dates, zest and raisins until mixture begins to stick together. Do not over-process.
Line a cupcake tin with paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full with mixture. Press down gently to compact each cupcake. Set aside.
Orange Cream Frosting
Ingredients
1½ cups coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews, soak 2 hours, rinse & drain
¼ cup raw agave nectar
1 teaspoon orange zest (1 orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lecithin powder, non-GMO
1/3 cup raw virgin coconut oil, melted
Directions
Put coconut milk in blender, add soaked cashews, agave nectar, zest and vanilla and blend until creamy. Add lecithin and oil until incorporated, using a spatula to scrape down sides. Place in airtight container, chill for at least two hours until set.
Assembly:
Use a pastry bag to pipe or spatula to spread frosting over cupcakes. Garnish with orange zest. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw as needed.

Eating the Healthy Egg: How to find a good one

A Good Egg is Easy to Find

With so much information scrambling around about eggs, it’s hard to separate the yolks from the whites. Are they good for me? Too high in cholesterol? Which came first?  The importance of eating healthy and naked are always essential, one should always keep the “5 know no’s” close to heart. But if you occasionally want to indulge in a luscious poached egg served over sauteed rainbow chard, I implore you to find the best egg possible.

Eggs provide us with an egg-celent (wink wink) source of protein, which can keep us full longer. Eggs contain choline, which helps our bodies maintain proper B vitamin levels and promote brain function. Also vital is lutein, an antioxidant that protects our eyes and lowers our risk of cataract development. Although we can obtain our lutein from our yummy and beloved dark leafy greens, the lutein found in egg yolk is more easily absorbed into the human body. Bottom line: if you love your morning egg, your morning egg will love you back.

That being said there is still the conundrum of what type of eggs to purchase.

Fresh eggs at a farmer's market in Olympia, Washington.
Fresh eggs at a farmer’s market in Olympia, Washington. Image: news.livinginolympia.info/

White vs. brown

The nutritional benefits of brown and white eggs are exactly the same. Different breeds of chicken produce different colors of eggs. If you shop local farmers markets, you can find them in a variety of colors including green, blue, and speckled. Just the variety of life!

Cage free vs. free range

Cage-free eggs are from chickens not kept in a cage — simple enough. Even though these chickens are kept free from the confinement of a cage, they are still kept inside barns or warehouses.

Free-range chickens are housed inside barns and warehouses but are allowed access to an outside area.

Organic vs. non-organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range humanely raised organic!

Organic eggs come from chickens that are fed exclusively organic feed with no hormones or antibiotics.

Vegetarian eggs are produced from hens given feed containing no animal by-products, such as fish or (gasp) other chickens.

Humanely raised means just that: the hens are given the freedom to roam, eat grubs, and play in the sun (okay not really, but you get what I mean). Hens raised in crowded cages pass on their stress hormones to their eggs, and we certainly don’t need more stress hormones in our lives!

What’s best?

So what does it all mean? Nutritionally all eggs are basically equal, but a fresh egg tastes remarkably better and has more nutrition than a mass-produced store-bought egg. Some store-bought eggs are more than a month old before they land in your fridge.

Also, keep in mind that an egg from a healthy hen is nicer for your body than one from a sick hen. So only buy eggs from chicken fed their natural diet of grains.

I say, when you can, buy from your local farmers market. There you are given a chance to see the source, ask questions about how their hens are raised, and support your local agriculture. It feels right and you are getting a fresher, higher quality egg.

Enjoy your Easter eggs! Image: Franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Enjoy your Easter eggs! Image: Franky242/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Fresh eggs keep refrigerated for 2 weeks. They are better when fresh, so you might as well use them right away. Eggs require a consistently cold temperature, so always keep your eggs stored inside your fridge, not in the refrigerator door.

Now go and enjoy your big-kid egg hunt and Happy Easter!

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