Monday, April 25, 2016

Mexican Rice Fiesta

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."
~John Steinbeck

Oh how often we try so hard to be perfect.

I know I do.

Try to look perfect, eat perfect, dress perfect, have a perfect home...the list goes on.

It can be stressful. It can be hard to let go of.

Sometimes you need a reminder that everything doesn't have to be perfect to be good.

Imperfection is what makes life real. Makes us laugh. Makes us human.

Today's recipe is meant to be a little imperfect. I've accepted it and you can too.
Basically you just throw everything together and boom you have dinner...
It may not look perfect - but it is good. (and healthy)

This recipe is a one dish wonder!
You can make it for dinner and serve it on its own, sauté it up for breakfast the next morning with diced potatoes for a nice hash, put it in a wrap with some avocado for a great lunch and warm it up over nachos for a  yummy yet healthy snack. I've even put it over romaine lettuce for a twist on a Mexican style salad. It is quick and easy to make - leaving you plenty of time to attempt to perfect other areas of your life ;-)

The black beans are packed with clean protein and iron plus fibre and antioxidants - remember when you get your protein from animal sources it comes with inflammatory protein and iron only and lacks any vitamin, antioxidants and fibre that keep you healthy - clean proteins like beans give you the whole package making them a healthier choice. The red pepper is full of vitamin C for your skin and immune system and the cilantro and cumin are amazing for a little organ refresh.


Mexican Rice Fiesta

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup frozen corn (non-GMO)
1 red pepper, chopped
6 green onions, diced
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup Daiya vegan shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)

Cook brown rice according to package directions.

Heat the oven to 375 and rub some olive oil on a medium size baking/casserole dish.

Once the rice is cooked transfer it to a large mixing bowl and stir in the salsa, red peppers, corn, green onions, black beans, cilantro, spices and Daiya cheese.

Once combined, spread the mix into the oiled baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Can be served on its own with sliced avocado or a side dish to avocado toast, in a wrap, over lettuce, over nachos or for breakfast...the options are endless.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Radish and Black Bean Salad

“True friendship isn’t about being inseparable, its being separated and nothing changes”

Food is nourishment for our body and soul. 

Food is also something that brings people together.

In these beautiful days when the sun stays out a little longer and the evenings stay a little warmer, it is the perfect time to gather with friends for parties, BBQ’s, etc… 

This Spring make time for your friends - or maybe meet some new ones. Play music, dance, cook together, eat together and linger over drinks together. 

Light some candles, cut some flowers - it doesn’t have to be perfect...

Sharing a delicious meal brings laughter, stories, memories and makes you healthy in a way a million green smoothies can’t. 

I personally am so grateful for the amazing friends in my life and wouldn’t be who I am today or writing to you each week without them!

Today’s recipe is an awesome Spring Black Bean and Radish Salad. It is the perfect dish to bring to a dinner party or BBQ because it is easy to make, tastes great and is brimming with healthy ingredients. And if you are plant based or gluten free it can honestly be your meal and you won’t be hungry. 

The radishes in this salad are a great “spring detox” ingredient. They contain antioxidants that help clear toxins that may have accumulated over the winter months. These antioxidants also work to reduce inflammation, prevent disease and boot immunity. In this salad their sharp flavour is is nicely contrasted with the sweetness of the fresh orange. 


Spring Black Bean and Radish Salad

6-8 cups of spring mix
1 navel orange, peeled and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp maple syrup
fresh ground pepper and sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and spices.

Add all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Dress and mix the salad when you are ready to serve.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado Sauce

The spice turmeric is getting all the attention these days...
And for good reason - it has crazy anti-inflammatory compounds that basically work to fight every disease.

What you might not know is there are a variety of spices that have tons of antioxidants and keep inflammation down. My current fav is the less popular yet equally tasty cumin.

Its a good addition in all the usual suspects like guacamole, chili, taco's and todays MM recipe: Black Bean Quesadillas.

Its also awesome sprinkled on hummus, on avocado toast, on roasted veg and even on kale or zucchini chips.

Ground cumin supports heart health, fights infection and combats inflammation.

Half a teaspoon of cumin has double the amount of antioxidants of a carrot.

So while turmeric has the spotlight right now - if you want to spice it up a bit ;-)  search through your spice drawer and try the lesser known but equally healthy cumin. Its pretty awesome too!

"Comparison is the thief of joy"
 ~Theodore Roosevelt

Quesadilla Ingredients
makes two full size quesadillas
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
3 large kale leaves, torn
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
handful of cilantro
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup water
4 sprouted grain or gluten free wraps
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar cheese (optional)

Quesadilla Instructions
Sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil on medium-low heat for 5 - 7 minutes. Add the kale and sauté for another 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the lime juice, cilantro, black beans, cumin and water until it resembles a "re-fried beans" texture. 

Heat a large skillet on low heat. 

Spread half the bean mixture on one side of one of the wraps. Place it bean mixture side up on the warmed skillet. Top with half of the sautéed veggies and a sprinkle with some Daiya cheddar shreds. Place another wrap on top and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat then carefully trip it with a spatula and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 

Follow the same steps for the additional two wraps. 

Avocado Sauce Ingredients
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
handful cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic
juice from 1 lime
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup water

Avocado Sauce Instructions
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. 
You may need to add more water depending on your desired consistency. Add less water if you want it more of a dip and more water if you want it more like a sauce. 

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Picky City Guide: Vegan in Vegas

Introducing the first "Picky City Guide" with real info on where and what to eat in different cities.

No need for Google - this blog will show you where to eat that totally works if you are Plant Based, Gluten Free or just want to be healthy when travelling.

First stop for the "Picky City Guide" is a Vegas Weekend...

If you really want to make things easy (i.e. not having to leave the hotel for every meal) stay at the Wynn/Encore. Every restaurant has a vegan menu - from breakfast cafe to fine dining - which makes it so easy to order - no long chats with the waiter and no studying menus searching for what you can eat.

Breakfast at the Wynn was great - usually a difficult meal for plant based peeps to eat out - The Terrace Point Cafe that overlooks the pool had amazing vegan waffles, delicious green smoothies and a savoury tofu breakfast scramble.

Key Lime Green Smoothie at Terrace Point Cafe at the Wynn

Tofu Breakfast Scramble at Terrace Point Cafe at the Wynn

Costa D'Mare (Wynn) is a gorgeous fine dining restaurant where I had a beautiful mushroom risotto (right from the vegan menu) paired with some fab champagne.

Where else to eat?

Giada - do I need to say more? This is Giada De Laurentiis' first restaurant and its at The Cromwell Hotel. Needless to say the food was totally delicious. I was there for dinner but they are open for breakfast and lunch. I had some fabulous vegan arancini (rice balls) as an appy, an amazing kale date salad and swiss chard rolls stuffed with rice and veggies with tomato sauce. Yum. Super accommodating and a gorgeous restaurant.

Prosecco at the bar at Giada at The Cromwell

Swiss Chard Rolls at Giada at The Cromwell

Harvest - this is a new restaurant in Bellagio that focusses on "Sustainable and Seasonal" dining. They had a few vegan options on the menu and were very accommodating. The Spring Harvest Salad is delish and they list the local farms the veggies come from. Also some of their cocktails are made with fresh pressed juices - might as well get your greens any way you can...

Lavo - located in the Palazzo this swanky Italian restaurant has good atmosphere and good food. Great salads, pasta or brick oven pizza. I liked the roasted beet salad and they had an awesome fresh tomato and basil pasta.

Enjoying some Pinot at Lavo

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - so I was totally craving pizza for lunch and ended up in the Aria at FIVE50. How upset was I when I found out there was dairy in their dough (yes this happens which is why you always have to ask). Anyways they were about to be scratched off my list when they redeemed themselves with a gorgeous hummus and veggie platter and a light lemony dressed arugula salad. In the end my lunch was delicious so they made the list. I do know that if you are craving dairy free za, Cucina by Wolfgang Puck in the Crystals has dairy-free dough - load it up with veggies and you are good to go.

Next time you are in Vegas and want somewhere healthy to eat - check out a couple of these great spots.


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Green and Gold Smoothie

This green smoothie is in honour of Masters Weekend - the greatest tournament in golf and the winner receives the prestigious "green" jacket. Since I am a lover of the game and a competitive player, this weekend sparks a lot of emotion for me and always reminds me why I love the game.

"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies." 
~Bobby Jones

Enough from the green and on to some healthy green food...

I'm super picky about my smoothies - I really have to love them - they have to taste delicious and actually have health benefits for me to post them.

This little number made the cut!

We all know spinach is full of health benefits and flax does some hard work keeping your brain and heart healthy. 

Mango is full of vitamins A, C and E - all of them making your skin gorgeous and acting as antioxidants to fight off those nasty free radicals. Plus it adds a gentle sweetness and a creamy texture. 

The refreshing twist of parsley tastes great, aids in digestion and soothes your tummy. To read more about the amazing benefits of parsley check out this post:

2 cups packed spinach
1 large handful of parsley
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 Tbsp flaxseeds
3 cups fresh water

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Add more water if you desire a thinner consistency.


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Monday, April 4, 2016

California Protein Wrap

Eating healthy or with food sensitivities and travelling don't always go hand in hand.

So many great restaurants, so much delicious food - its so easy to say ciao to your willpower.

The great news is it doesn't have to be all salads and dressings on the side...

When I travel I use a few tricks that almost always guarantee me a healthy, plant based, delicious meal.

Whether you are gluten free, plant based, have an allergy, or simply want to eat healthy while travelling these little tips are here to help:

  • check out the menu online before you go to see what options you have 
  • if you don't see any options - call ahead and see if the chef can prepare something for you - they usually will and its usually great!
  • work with ingredients you find on the menu- for example if they offer kidney beans with a dish that doesn't work for you see if they can add it to something you do want for some plant based protein 
  • be nice to the waitstaff and really talk to them - make them your friend since they are the communicator between you and the kitchen
Today's recipe is a re-creation of a dish I ordered for breakfast at a great spot in California. I took veggies they had listed as omelette ingredients, black beans from another egg dish and had them make it into a delicious, plant based, protein filled, totally yummy wrap. 

This wrap makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be served warm right when you make it or keep it cool until your lunch break - totally a versatile, easy recipe.


"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."

California Protein Wrap
makes 2 wraps
3 crimini mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large kale leaves, sliced into ribbons
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 wraps - gluten free, sprouted grain or lettuce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp  cumin
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp hummus, divided
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Sautee all the veggies, beans and spices in olive oil for 7-10 minutes on medium-low heat.

Spread the humus on the wraps.

Divide the sautéed veggie bean mixture between the two wraps, wrap them up and eat!

Serves beautifully with a little sliced avocado on the side. 

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