Kale, Kale, and More Kale – Greens Prep

week prep

My kitchen counter during my weekly greens prep looks a little something like this. Towels everywhere, water everywhere, greens everywhere. I would say it takes about a good hour to wash everything, dry, chop, and bag. However, it does make for an easier week.

The flashlight? I live in a tornado-prone area so that is always handy. Vega One? New all veggie protein powder which I love. Got that last week at my local nutrition store. Great to add to smoothies but also to bowls of oatmeal with fruit. What else is in there….a 99 cent pineapple from Aldi, plenty of bananas, a mango hiding behind the toaster, red wine vinegar, and ground peanuts from Whole Foods.

So this week I had some homemade hummus in the fridge and decided to make a kale salad with it. Put the hummus in a large bag…

hummus

Add chopped kale….

kale hummus

Massage and mix….

kale

Now you could eat it up just like this all by itself, but of course you KNOW I had to put it on a pizza!

kale pizza 2

So good! Just make sure your hummus is nice and spicy! Have a great weekend! ~Amanda Rae

 

Kabuli Pizza Crust – The Best Veggie Pizza So Far

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I found and tried a Kabuli pizza crust after reading about it on the Engine 2 Diet website. It was listed as one of the “allowable foods” for that plan which stresses “plant strong” foods.

The Kabuli crusts were hidden in the frozen section of Whole Foods (about 45 minutes away) but when I went to another location today (about 30 minutes away) they didn’t have them. So, apparently not every WF carries them.

I did see where you could order 16 crusts for $49 plus shipping from their website (UPDATE: I can’t find Kabuli anywhere anymore! After some research, trying this soon! Will let you know how it compares!) which is a good deal considering I paid $5.67 I think for just one? Warning…pizza crust is amazing, website is horrible, but it looks like they have decent customer service via phone.

I used Dei Fratelli pizza sauce which I found at Publix and tasted really delish. Next time I will use less sauce because 1) I thought a pizza without cheese “needed” more sauce. Not true. 2) There are 4g of sugar per serving in this sauce. Tastes great, but too much sugar. I think I will cut this sauce in half next time with some no salt added tomatoes. Since I was making the pizza for more than just myself, I had to be a little bit flexible.

I topped the pizza with basil from my happy basil plant (which is just temporary until the basil my mom planted grows a bit more) also from WF for $2.49.

happybasil

Then I added green peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and sundried tomatoes (no oil). It was so Yummy! Having a pizza like this really makes you rethink the Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s I used to get. This had no grease, no added fat, and lots of veggie power.

Hopefully I will find this Kabuli crust again when I go to the far away WF. I will post the nutritional info when I get the next crust as I already threw the wrapper away! Enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

 

Rock and Roll-y Guacamole Wrap

guac

I crack myself up..Rock and Roll-y.  Here is the breakfast I made for today- a fresh, gorgeous, healthy, satisfying guacamole wrap. On some days, I just want simple without a lot of fuss. I have major projects and assignments due today and more on Friday so this is how it is going to be all week! I am happy to report that even with a bit of end of semester stress, I am still MPD (More Pounds Down)!

Guacamole Wrap Recipe

Gather:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • Handful of cilantro (chopped)
  • Ground pepper to season
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • 1 Ezekiel sprouted whole grain wrap
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Daiya cheese

Create:

Peel and chop the avocado. Place into bowl. Add chopped tomato (I leave the seeds and everything in but that is up to you). Add chopped onion and cilantro. Mash and stir together. Season with ground pepper and lime juice.

Place the wrap with spinach and cheese on top in the microwave for about a minute. Top with two teaspoons of guacamole. Wrap and enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

Time to Grill Vegetable Kabobs

veg skewer

You know summer is upon us when we start to whip out the wooden skewer sticks. It is time to grill vegetable kabobs! Open the farmer’s markets, fire up the grill, get to chopping and welcome the warm weather with fire-kissed veggies! Very much a summertime favorite of mine even during times when I was not dieting. There is something special about grilling vegetables (and fruits for that matter) – a completely different assault on your taste buds.

PS – Don’t be concerned with grilling veggies and cancer. Heterolytic amines are formed when grilling meats but there is no associated danger with plant foods. Just don’t overcook them and enjoy!

Gather:

  • Sliced zucchini
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Onions cut into chunks
  • Peppers, red, yellow, green, orange
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • Braggs aminos (optional)

Create:

Usually you need to soak the wooden skewers in water first to keep them from burning. Toss all of the chopped veggies in a bowl with Mrs. Dash, minced garlic (optional), and about a teaspoon of Braggs aminos (optional). Next take all of your chopped veggies and stab the heck out of them with the skewers. I like to put something larger on the bottom and work my way up.

Then once the grill is ready, lay them across the rack but try to avoid the tempation to turn them constantly. Keep a close eye as the cherry tomatoes in particular like to “melt off” the stick sometimes. You really don’t need to over cook these. I go about 10 minutes with about 3 turns throughout that time. Serve with brown rice.

Revise:

One of the best revisions of this includes pineapple and other fruits like pears or mango chunks. All give each kabob a different flavor. One combination I want to try is tomato, mango, onions, and jalepeno. After cooking, take of skewers and blend just a few seconds in the mixer. Add cilantro. Grilled salsa!? Get creative! ~Amanda Rae

Hearty Black Bean Soup

bean soup

Another very simple recipe that I thought I was throwing together to just get some food in me but turned out to taste really great as well. This has just a small amount of brown rice as I am trying to reduce whole grain intake each day. Getting off of the Dr. McDougall starch train and back on to the Eat to Live bean train. I ate this on a rainy night while watching Bates Motel (fantastic show!) curled up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket. Perfect end to a stress-filled day!

Hearty Black Bean Soup Recipe

Gather:

  • 2 cans of low sodium black beans (1 can rinsed, 1 can not rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1 can of low sodium tomatoes
  • 1 cup (packed) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
  • ground pepper

Create:

Throw everything except the spinach into a pan and cook about 10 minutes over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Add spinach and allow to wilt. Next time I make it, I will probably add more spinach! Enjoy!~ Amanda Rae

There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can. Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’ 

Ezekiel Wrap Pizza – Vegan Recipe

pizzawww

In my attempt to find more meals that I do not have to eat out of a bowl, I made this Ezekiel wrap pizza and I am hooked! I really thought it would be just so-so because I didn’t have any “pizza sauce” and only had about a small teaspoon of Go Veggie Dairy-free cheese left. I threw everything together anyway and was thinking to myself “Well, just get it down. It is a meal.” Ha! Little did I know that I was about to stumble upon my next great recipe! That is how it works sometimes. You just throw stuff together and wala!

I am a big fan of the Ezekiel products and I use these wraps about 1-2 times per week, usually for breakfast. The ingredients in the Ezekiel 4:9 wraps are Organic Sprouted Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Spelt, and Sea Salt. Each wrap is quite large and is 150 calories if you are counting. They do sell “taco size” wraps that are 80 calories each, but I haven’t found those yet in any of my stores.

Ezekiel Wrap Pizza Recipe

Gather:

  • 1 Ezekiel 4:9 wrap
  • 3-4 tablespoons of diced tomatoes (I used no salt added canned tomatoes, drained really good, but you can also use a homemade pizza sauce or a low salt pizza sauce)
  • Garlic powder
  • Toppings: 1 teaspoon of Go Veggie Dairy-free cheese
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Basil

Create:

Place wrap on a cookie sheet. I put mine on a piece of parchment paper so no sticking. Spread out tomatoes and then sprinkle on some garlic powder. Add mushrooms, spinach, onion, zucchini, and basil and top with the cheese. Now this cheese goes a long way as far as taste and texture (yes, it melts!) so you do not need a lot to have a great impact. Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes. Mine was done when the edges of the wrap curled up like a bowl and were very crispy. Cut into slices and chow down!

Revise:

You can do so much with these! I may have a different post each week with my new creations. I am going for mexi-pizza next time! Send your pictures of your Ezekiel pizzas so I can get some ideas. Enjoy!~ Amanda Rae

 Pizza is like the entire food pyramid! ― Madeline Oles

Simple Stir Fry – Earth Day Veggie Recycling!

StirFry2

Sometimes my collection of veggie bits and pieces starts to take over my fridge. When this happens, I whip out the wok and throw in all of the leftover, lonely veggies I can find and make this simple stir fry. Much better than having to throw things out because you just don’t get to them. I have little baggies of veggie scraps that I know I am going to use some how, some way soon.

I didn’t used to be this way. I didn’t used to save a one inch chunk of onion, or the little sword of carrot that remains after using the veggie peeler all over it. In fact, we (my sister and I primarily) would make fun of my grandmother for all of her little plastic containers with 5 peas inside, or how she would incessantly scrape all of the butter off of the paper wrapping. She has transitioned but she left her need to use every last bit here with me on Earth.

Now, don’t get me wrong. She was WAY better at it than I am, but I do try, and for that I think she would be very proud. So on Earth Day, make the commitment to reduce your food waste, as well as other waste. I am personally going to conquer plastic water bottles this year!

Simple Stir Fry Recipe

Gather:

  • Whatever veggies are in your fridge! Onions, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, peppers, etc.
  • Braggs Amino Spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium veggie broth
  • Wok or a large pan

Create:

The key to stir frying is to make sure the pan is hot enough. Since no oil is used, essentially you are steaming the vegetables instead of frying them, but they taste just as great. The next issue is the length of cooking time required for each type of vegetable and your preference for “doneness.” For instance, some people only like their peppers very soft. I like mine a bit more on the raw side. This will be a factor when it comes to the order in which you add your veggies. I usually put the carrots in first as I like those to cook a lot more than the other things I add. Save things like spinach for last as it will wilt quickly.

Make sure you cover your pan while cooking to get a good amount of steam going. When everything is ready, add the chili paste, a few sprays of the Braggs and mix. Pour into a large bowl and top with a few sesame seeds (optional).

Revise:

Of course you can serve this on brown rice, but if you are doing the 6 week plan, you may want to omit the rice. For the most part, you will not really miss it as long as you have plenty of vegetables. Other options are to add minced garlic or beans. At one of my favorite restaurants, they have a tri-bean blend (black, garbanzo, and soy) that goes into all of my dishes I get there. For some reason, I have not tried it at home yet, but it is on my to do list. Happy Earth Day! ~Amanda Rae

The earth is what we all have in common.  Wendell Berry

 

Rooty Tofuty Breakfast Wrap Vegan Recipe

Tofu bf wrap

Having a serious breakfast party in my mouth with this tofu breakfast wrap. Soooo good! My only complaint is that it is a little messy. I would save this one for the weekends because it just takes a little bit of time to prepare. Not like my potato wrap that I can keep in the fridge and microwave as I am heading out the door. But…this one tastes a smidge better :)

Rooty Tofuty Breakfast Wrap Recipe

Gather:

  • Extra Firm tofu, dried and cut into cubes
  • One small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of diced red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of diced green pepper
  • Big handful of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of Go Veggie dairy free mozzarella cheese shreds
  • 1 Ezekiel sprouted whole grain wrap
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh, low sodium salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
  • 1/2 teaspoon of regular Mrs. Dash
  • Black pepper
  • A few pieces of avocado (optional)

Create:

In a medium size pan, place the onions, red and green peppers, and tofu cubes. Cook over medium to high heat until the tofu has browned a bit and the onions are translucent. You may need to add about a teaspoon of water every few minutes. Just eye it and if it starts to look like something is burning, just toss in a little water and stir. No oil needed!

Add the salsa and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and everything is heated through (about 3-4 minutes). Put the Ezekiel wrap on a paper plate and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Place vegan cheese down the center and top with tofu mixture and avocado. Roll it up and get lots of napkins before you eat it. It can get a little drippy from the salsa. Seriously…so good! Enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

All  happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. John  Gunther

Spicy Greens and Beans Vegan Recipe

greens and beans

Stalks everywhere! I almost choked on one actually when I was eating this bowl of spicy beans and greens. Now normally I would cut off all of the stalks of the greens and toss them, but in an effort to be more aware of food waste, I decided to use them in this dish. Another reason was that I recently came across a video where a women was explaining that nutrients come from the roots of plants so it is important to eat the “bottoms” because that is where the good stuff is found. I don’t know how true this is, makes sense, but I decided to give it a try.

The first bite of this dish was kind of bitter. But I kept chewing and eating and by bite number three I was exclaiming “Oh yea, this IS good.” It just took my mouth a minute to adjust to the new flavors. I will continue to use the stalks but I will definitely cut them into smaller pieces next time!

With this bowl of beans and greens and big salad before hand, I was VERY full. About an hour later I had “dessert” which was strawberries, banana, and pineapple. I really was not very hungry but I needed to get more fruit in for the day.

Spicy Beans and Greens Vegan Recipe

Gather:

  • Bunch of turnip greens, washed, and chopped
  • 1 can of low or no sodium cannellini beans
  • 1 can of low or no sodium red kidney beans
  • 1 carton of Pomi chopped tomatoes (or any low sodium brand) These are my favorite though!
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 5-6 shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Create:

In a large pan, saute the chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms, and veggie broth covered over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add carton of tomatoes. and turnip greens. Cover and allow greens to wilt, stirring occasionally. When greens are soft and wilted, add cans of rinsed beans. Simmer for 5 more minutes, continue to stir until everything is heated through.

Revise:

You can use any kinds of greens with this recipe. Spinach would be the easiest choice and would probably “blend” best but the turnip greens are thicker and a bit heartier. Enjoy! ~Amanda Rae

The name of your diet is the “greens and beans diet”; green vegetables and beans should make up most of your diet. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live

Baked Tofu Bites

IMG_20130315_165916

These are “like” crackers…sort of. But they were good! They are chewier in the middle as they don’t totally firm up, but the edges are crispy so they are close. They were easy to make and really good for something to snack on while watching a movie or something like that. They take some time to eat so they will not be gone in 30 seconds. I liked the seasoning I used and it went well with the salsa.

Baked Tofu Bites Recipe

Gather:

  • 1/4 package of extra firm tofu
  • Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
  • Fresh salsa with lower sodium content

Create:

Dry tofu by patting it with several paper towels or a clean kitche towel. You can squeeze tofu slightly to get all of the moisture out. Slice into very thin slices for your bites. Place on a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle generously with seasoning. Turn over and sprinkle again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn bites over and bake an additional 20 minutes. When you take them out, they should have browned and turned crispy on the edges. Serve with fresh salsa or a store bought low sodium brand. I have tried the Engine 2 salsa. It was OK, but I prefer the salsa found in the produce section of Publix.

Engine2_cantina_style_salsa_medium_16ozF

Revise:

You can use many other seasonings for this. Garlic and serve with marinara. Greek seasoning and cucumber sauce. Herbs and hummus. Lots of combinations are possible. Enjoy! ~ Amanda Rae

Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger, but a heart as soft as tofu. Chinese proverb