Archive of ‘Vegan’ category

Tasteful Banana Nut Muffins

image1(22) Bryee Shepard, M.S., R.D. | Tasteful Wisdom

Ok so here we are, almost at the end of January. And look, we survived the New Year’s resolution craze! … While most of us have probably ditched that resolution by now, this is the perfect time to consider making healthy choices and cooking/baking delicious things on the regular. Let’s forget about that extreme makeover, impossible expectation, set-up for major disappointment plan, and think about how we can take it easy and simply nourish ourselves to the best of our ability. (more…)

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Stop Drinking Your Smoothies!

Smoothie Bowl Resized

Super Smoothie bowls better    As we know, the “health trend” of the smoothie is absolutely out of control. I outlined in my previous post the unhealthy truths behind these drinks. I also gave tips to turn your smoothies into health elixirs, and I will share two recipes here. You will notice that these are not your average smoothie…they are in a bowl…and you will eat these with a spoon. Why? Because it is a better! Let me explain. There are two main reasons why you should “EAT” your smoothies, instead of “DRINKING” them:

  1. More complete digestion and absorption. Believe it or not, digestion starts in our mouths. Amylase, a digestive enzyme used to break down complex carbohydrates into more easily absorbed molecules, is produced in our salivary glands (and pancreas-but that’s another story). It is released into our saliva as we chew our food to kick off the digestive process. By starting digestion at this early stage, food is broken down and absorbed more easily as digestion progresses. When we blend up our healthy smoothies, we are obviously aiming for optimal absorption. This cannot be achieved if we completely bypass our mouths by gulping it down. Rather than gulping, we should be chewing. Weird? Yes…but the whole point of making smoothies rich in nutrients is to reap the benefits of the nutrient absorption. By eating your smoothies with a spoon and permitting your saliva to mix with the nutrient-rich elixir, you will allow for more complete absorption and digestion, and thus receive the full benefits from your smoothie. This will also cut down on the common complaint of bloating after drinking a smoothie. So CHEW your smoothies!
  2. Mind tricks. This may sound all too simple, but guess what- it works. Typically, we blend up our smoothie concoction, throw it into a glass or an environmentally-friendly plastic cup with a straw, and gulp (or chug) it down as we frantically run out the door or around the house like a crazy. There are definitely occasions for this type of ludicrous behavior, but this should NEVER be the norm. When you guzzle a smoothie, all it becomes is a drink….a thirst quencher. Not a meal. However, as I discussed in my prior post, there are quite often enough calories and macronutrients to call this “drink” a meal. So now you have successfully downed 400-500 calories without even noticing that you just ate breakfast. What happens next? You will be actively seeking out breakfast in 45 minutes to an hour at the office, or worse, contemplating the drive thru on your way in. Don’t do it. Slow down and eat your smoothie with a utensil. This is a meal! Treat it like one, and you will be surprised how far it gets you. Not to mention, straws have an evil side effect of eventual upper lip wrinkles (smoker’s lines around the mouth), as my mother-in-law so graciously brought to my attention. Since then I have effectively destroyed all environmentally-friendly straws in my possession-and I suggest you do too.

Here are two absolutely delicious, healthy, dietitian-approved smoothie bowls to start your day off right!

Classic Strawberry Banana

1 Banana, reserve ¼ for garnish

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, reserve 1 Tablespoon for garnish  

2 Cups Baby Spinach

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

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Blend up banana, strawberry, sunflower seeds, spinach and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!

 

 

3/4 Cup Frozen Mango Chunks, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

½ Banana, garnish optional

2 Tablespoons Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas), reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

2 Cups Chopped Kale

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

 

Blend up mango, blueberries, banana, pumpkin seeds, coconut, kale, and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!

 

       

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“For the Birds” Granola Bars

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Edited with wording

Waking up early enough for a sit-down breakfast has never been my style. I have just enough time to shower and walk the dog before I’m out the door. That being said, I will not sacrifice a healthy start- I simply make sure I always have grab and go bites to eat as I’m on the run.

These “For the Birds” Granola Bars are fiber-filled, protein-packed, ultra delicious and are perfect as a meal or a snack thanks to their secret ingredient. They remind me of food for the birds because there are lots of small seeds and morsels that look like they belong in a bird’s house. These bars are just sweet enough to satisfy but, however, have real staying power thanks to heart-healthy fats and plant protein. The secret ingredients, garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas) keep them moist and only add to the nutrition of the bars. With loads of fiber and a generous supply of protein, they are the perfect for starting the morning off right. Plus, their flavor is so mild that no one would ever guess beans are inside!

Having no flour, this recipe is easily gluten-free and vegan friendly. Although oats don’t actually contain the proteins comprising gluten, they are often processed in the same facility, and on the same conveyor belts as wheat, barley, and rye. Bob’s Red Mill makes gluten-free oats that are processed separately and now widely available at most supermarkets. Because most chocolate chips contain dairy, it is important to look for vegan chocolate chips if you are making these vegan friendly.

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The food processor does most of the work by pureeing beans, dates, honey, and salt to a smooth consistency. Then you simply add the remaining ingredients, stir and bake on a quarter sheet pan or square 8 x 8 inch pan. The bars should cool completely before being cut. Depending on the size of the bars, this recipe should yield 12-15 bars. Enjoy!

“For the Birds” Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 - 15 oz Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 12 Pitted Deglet Noor Dates
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds
  • ½ Cup Raw Honey
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Oats
  • 1 ½ Chopped Nuts or Seeds of Your Choice (I like a mix of Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sliced Almonds)
  • 1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine beans, dates, flax seeds, honey, and salt. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Remove mixture from food processor, add remaining ingredients, and stir well.
  4. Press onto a greased quarter sheet pan and 8 x 8 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Allow completely cool and cut into 12-15 bars.
  6. Bars can be stored in refrigerator for one week. Enjoy!
http://tastefulwisdom.com/birds-granola-bars/

 

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BYOL Coconut Curry Soup

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One of the “perks” of working as a clinical dietitian in a hospital is eating in the cafeteria at no charge. Although the wide array of food to choose from is far from healthy, there is a salad bar that is doable. As its reputation suggests, hospital food is not quite gourmet, but it is easy in a pinch. So after all of my pleas to BYOL (bring your own lunch), I myself had fallen into the trap of not bringing my own food every day. I have to admit, it was quite enjoyable not making lunch the night (or weekend) before, or dealing with the burden of preparing the lunchbox in the morning and then actually remembering to take it with me when I left the house. Not to mention the cost savings. So with all of these positives, there is no reason to go back to making my own lunch, right? Wrong- and here is why.

As I said, the healthiest option is the salad bar, and although it is full of color and selection, this selection NEVER changes. It is virtually the same salad every single day. So there I was, with this great opportunity to eat salads everyday for free. However, I quickly began to notice that this may not be so “great” after all.  I was finding that in order to spunk up the salad, I fell into the habit of adding buttery croutons, or wontons, or more than a little cheese, or changing the dressing to a creamier one because oil and vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with adding a few croutons here and there, or enjoying a creamy dressing on occasion. My problem began after lunch, when I got back to my office and attempted to return to work. It was near impossible. My brain fog was so thick that I needed to work twice as hard to focus. Every day I felt like I could just close my eyes and take a snooze. It was difficult for me to express my thoughts or use clinical judgment with my patients. I attributed this to not sleeping enough at night. So I made it a point to get to bed earlier to ensure proper sleep. This made no difference. I began drinking coffee in the afternoon in an attempt to regain my consciousness. As you can imagine, hospital coffee is far from hospitable, so of course I needed a little half and half to get it down. This became a daily cycle, until I started thinking about my past experiences at work. I never felt this crappy. Was it the job? Is this just me now that I am almost 30? Do I have chronic fatigue syndrome?! What’s going on here!?!?

It was this after-lunch malaise that forced me to reevaluate my lunchtime habits. I was completely sick of that salad bar anyway, so I decided to go back to my BYOL philosophy. By going to my local farmer’s market and keeping my lunches meat-free, I am able to load up on veggies and not break the bank. This way I don’t feel too bad about giving up my free lunches. As soon as I put the BYOL back into effect, I experienced a night-and-day difference in mental clarity. I had energy to complete the day strong, there was no more mid-afternoon coffee breaks, and I was able to rest assured knowing exactly what was in my lunch. Plus I really enjoy knowing that I am giving my cells the best possible nutrition. I implore you to do the same! photo 1

 

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I have expressed my love of soups in previous posts. They are such a great way to jam a plethora of vegetables into one bowl. I also love the fact that I can make a big pot on Sunday and have lunches for a week. I can usually even freeze some for those Sundays I don’t have time to hit the farmer’s market. This Coconut Curry Soup is a staple. It is loaded with amazing benefits. The coconut milk provides healthy fats while providing a rich mouth feel.  The curry, ginger, and garlic offer anti-inflammatory effects, while broccoli and onions provide the cancer-preventing punch. Now, rather than eating who-knows-what for lunch, I treat myself to this healthy midday elixir- and I hope you will too!

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BYOL Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 2 2-inch Knobs of Ginger, Peeled
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 5 Large Carrots, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons (good) Curry Powder
  • 8 Cups Water
  • Salt to Taste (start with 2 teaspoons and add more as you like)
  • Broccoli Florets from 1 Head of Broccoli
  • 2 Cans Light Coconut Milk
  • 6 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • ½ Cup Cilantro, Chopped

Instructions

  1. Sautee onions, whole ginger, garlic, and carrots and curry powder in coconut oil until onions become soft and translucent.
  2. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil until carrots are tender and cooked through (usually about 15 minutes).
  3. Add the broccoli to the boiling soup and allow it to cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk, scallions, and cilantro until just before the soup comes back up to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the whole ginger peices before portioning into smaller lunch containers.
  6. This soup is easily reheated in the microwave. Enjoy!!
http://tastefulwisdom.com/byol-coconut-curry-soup/

 

 

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“Boneless” Cauliflower Hot Wings

Framed fork

Boness Wings 1

When I attend cocktail parties, my favorite part is (no, not the cocktails or the good company), the hors d’œuvres!….The small mouthfuls that burst with flavor when you bite into them. I’m talking about those finger foods that are packed with so much flavor so as to satisfy with just a taste. Sadly, these little pieces of heaven are likely to be dripping with grease and packed with an unfavorable amount of saturated fat. Why? Because fat has flavor, and fat tastes good….cheese is fat…bacon is fat. Keep enjoying these and our buns will be…well….generously proportioned. Don’t get me wrong, fat can also be very healthy in the unsaturated form, such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Unfortunately, animal fat is just not very healthy. Predominately of the saturated variety, animal fat may be heart stoppingly delicious, and simply heart stopping. So let’s find ways to still enjoy our fats and our fun without near death experiences.

With that, I present to you “Boneless” Cauliflower Hot Wings. These suckers are so good you will never remember you are eating a vegetable! With a crispy crust and a creamy, yet crunchy interior they are to die for. I do dip these in a blue cheese dressing, and yes this is high in saturated fat – but c’mon we just knocked off like a million calories by using cauliflower – so live a little, will ya.

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We start by trimming the cauliflower into small pieces and dipping them in a seasoned batter before baking them. I had on hand a few samples of an all purpose gluten-free flour that I was interested in testing out, so I used this- but regular whole wheat flour works great as well.

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Once the cauliflower pieces are coated in the batter, bake for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and coat with the hot sauce mixture (cayenne pepper sauce, I like Frank’s Red Hot, and a dollop of coconut oil). Return these little jewels to the toasty oven to cook for an additional 12-14 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. If they aren’t crisping up enough, place them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.

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I like extra sauce, so I prefer to drizzle additional hot sauce over the “hot wings” when they are fresh out of the oven. Serve with your favorite blue cheese dressing and celery sticks, and enjoy!!

Framed fork

“Boneless” Cauliflower Hot Wings

Ingredients

    Wings
  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • Batter
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Gluten-Free or Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Sauce
  • ½ Cup Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut or Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Trim and cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Mix together batter ingredients
  4. Add cauliflower pieces to batter and coat evenly
  5. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and coat with sauce mixture. Bake for an additional 12-14 minutes
  7. If “wings” aren’t crispy enough, place under the broiler for an additional 3-4 minutes
  8. Coat with extra sauce if you so choose. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!
http://tastefulwisdom.com/boneless-cauliflower-hot-wings/

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