Delicious and easy to make. Can make this with either organic lemons or oranges
Make sure the zest is organic. Make sure your baking soda and baking powder are not expired.
Line 2 twelve cup muffin pans with cupcake paper liners. I used unbleached standard size, greaseproof paper cupcake liners from Amazon. The paper liners makes for easier clean up and serving. Makes 24 cupcakes.
Preheat convection oven to 325 F degrees (regular bake is 350). I prefer convection bake because it bakes more evenly.
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup oat or soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cup table sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, add olive oil, apple sauce, milk, lemon juice, zest, and sugar. Mix together.
In another bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Carefully fold in the flour mixture into the liquid mixture. Whisk. Stop when flour is blended in. Don’t over do it.
Spoon in about 2 large tablespoons of batter into each cupcake liner. The batter should fill about 3/4 of the paper liner.
Bake in preheated convection oven for about 20-25 minutes (regular bake is 10% longer).
Cupcakes are done when tops are light golden and cake-like when you break upper part of cupcake it with a fork.
Trying to eat healthfully, one hears all this advice about healthy food. Eat this; it is good for that; this is an antioxidant and that is an anti-inflammatory, etc. It can be overwhelming. There are so many recommendations. I cannot eat this much food in a single day – too many calories.
Why not put some of these healthy recommendations into a morning drink? I tailored the healthful recommendations for my situation: a mixture to help prevent cancer, diabetes and to support brain, heart, and immune function. Drinking my Daily Smoothie makes me feel good because I started my day on the healthy side.
Keeping the preparation simple and quick, I have all the ingredients lined up and ready to go. Using a Costco Ninja smoothie blender, I blend it twice on the smoothie setting to minimize the small bits that would get stuck between my teeth. I keep the blender undercounted cabinet, so I can close the cabinet doors during blending to reduce the noise.
Pick and choose what you think is best for your own health needs. Add enough fluid, so it blends into a drink. Most of the calories in this recipe are from the nuts. So be mindful of that.
Fingertip grab of mixed nuts (protein, healthy oils, fiber)
Fingertip grab of walnuts (omega 3, 6, antioxidants, protein, fiber. If you have to choose only one nut, go with walnuts)
Frozen blueberries and strawberries (antioxidants, fiber – total 1 cup)
Frozen or raw broccoli pieces (about two pieces with a pinch dry mustard powder to enhance antioxidant and anti-inflammatory sulforaphane release)
Powders: (note powders are potent and can be potent enough to interact with medications).
– beet powder (nitric oxide – brain and circulatory system)
– turmeric and ground black pepper (Anti-inflammatory – brain and pain. Definitely drink with a straw or your teeth will stain. For that reason, consider leaving this out of your smoothie and take it as a capsule)
– Sri Lankan cinnamon (blood sugar) *
– mushroom powder (depends on the mushroom – immunity )
– matcha or coffee or cacao or carob (caffeine free) is optional (adds caffeine and flavor)
– fiber – psyllium or ground flax seeds (after adding fiber, drink it immediately, or your smoothie can start to thicken and make it difficult to drink through a straw)
– Favorite non-dairy milk. Soy or oat milk are good choice. To form a complete protein, need two of the three from this list – Nuts, Whole grains, Legumes. Soy is a legume, and Oat is grain. To reduce calories, can substitute milk with water. Read the label for the amount of calcium in the non-dairy milk. Some do not contain any calcium.
To save time, you can premix powders like cinnamon, seaweed, and fiber. Be familiar with your proportions and ratios. For example: 1/2 tsp cinnamon: 1/2 tsp dulse flakes: 1 tsp ground flax seeds. Same as 1/2 c: 1/2 c: 1 cup, respectively . From this mix, you add 2 tsp to the smoothie.
Optional to add sweetener – dates, banana, pineapple, apple (be mindful of the extra calories)
Other options for greens are frozen (frozen keeps longer than fresh) spinach, kale, avocado.
Pour this into a travel container, and off you go.
These are easy to make and such a unique delicious flavor.
Fresh bread, sliced. Baguette is a nice size for appetizers. Toasted is optional for crunch.
Mix equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar onto a bread size plate. Dip sliced baguette face down into mixture. Top the dipped side with a slice of tomato, then sprinkle w capers, top with chopped mint, salt and pepper.
Peel and slice potatoes and onions. Place in a sauce pan. Add garlic. Sprinkle w fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Pour in vegetable broth, enough to almost cover potatoes. Add just enough oil to cover mixture. Cook with high heat until boiling. Then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 15mins. You can substitute the garlic cloves with either garlic salt or garlic powder to taste.
Can serve this as a side dish with a vegan burger and salad.
All of these portions can be customized to your own taste preferences. Serves 6-8.
2 1/2 cups of dried red kidney beans (Prepare in Instant Pot pressure cooker. You can also prepare with traditional method of soaking for several hours and boiling)
6 cups of vegetable broth *
1 cup raw coarse bulgar **
1.5 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Olive oil to sauté
1 cup each, chopped:
sweet green peppers
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice ( juice from 1/2 lemon)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili powder (more or less, depends on how spicy you like it)
3 Tbsp of tomato paste
3 Tbsp cooking wine
Salt and pepper
Rinse beans. Place in Instant Pot and add vegetable broth. Make sure there is a few inches of liquid above the level of the beans (water height should be at least double height of dried beans). Cook in pressure cooker, high pressure for 20 mins. You can do quick release of pressure for al dente beans or let it slow realize for softer beans. Strain beans and set aside.
Meanwhile, add bulgar to tomato sauce. Let sit until all the liquid is absorbed. Let it stand at least 30 mins.
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add rest of carrots, celery and spices. When vegetables are almost done, add peppers.
Combine all the ingredients and heat by simmering, stirring to prevent burning. If too thick, add more fresh vegetable broth. Simmer until veggies and bulgur have the texture you desire. Takes about 15-20 mins.
Serve topped with chopped parsley.
*I do not reuse the bean broth. Although tasty, it is high in sugars that can cause bloating and gas. If you want to thin out the chill, add more fresh vegetable broth. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12489819/
**The grain used in this recipe is for texture. It need not be bulgar. I tried the grain Folio the other day (in photo). It’s from Africa, grows in poor soil conditions and drought tolerant. Follow the package direction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonio
If you like dark chocolate, you will love these cupcakes. The secret is in the zucchini. It adds moisture and a “vegetable”. Yields about 18-24 cupcakes. Make them various sizes to give people some choices. Some may want more, some may want less. During Covid serving cake in the form of cupcakes is a great idea. It is much more sanitary and easier to handle.
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup soy or oat milk
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp organic canola oil
3/4 cup of organic cane or coconut sugar (can use 1/2 cup if you prefer a semi-sweet bitter chocolate taste, my preference)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 medium zucchinis, finely shredded. With water squeezed out should be about 1 heaping cup
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chip
Preheat Oven 350 degree F. Line cupcake tray with (unbleached) paper cupcake liners.
Prepare the zucchini by finely shredding and putting a handful of it in a cheesecloth or tea towel and wring out as much fluid as you can. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda, salt.
In another bowl, mix together milk, oil, sugar, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, apple sauce.
Gradually mix liquid mixture into the into the flour mixture. Mix well.
Then fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Spoon into cupcake tray.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Ready when the tops start to crack open.
If you haven’t watched it already, Queer Eye is a Netflix series where 4 guys and a person AKA the Fab Five go around solving people’s life problems. In each episode, they coach someone who is stuck in their life, move on and thrive. Each of the Fab Five specializes in different life topics that the writers of the show believe you need to optimize in order discover your bliss.
What are the life topics? You need to have a beautiful cut hair and updated flattering clothes, which help to increase your self confidence. A home makeover, designed to reflect your personality and lifestyle. How eat better and to cook something delicious. Lastly and the most important aspect, to find clarity in your mental health. They bring joy and laughter through kindness and affirmations by basically being their fun and loving selves.
It is a dream makeover. Oozing with empathy and compassion, while cheering everyone on.
They presented this easy and delicious plant based recipe that I actually made.
It is from the episode “The Anxious Activist”.
WARNING. This recipe is very high in sodium. If you have a medical condition that requires you to limit your daily salt intake, this recipe is NOT for you. Although you could skip the step where the eggplant is sprinkled with salt. But it will taste different and have a different texture. I have not tried it this way.
Brown Rice, Vegetable broth, Lentils, Eggplant, Salt, Onions, Garlic, Bay leaf, cooking oil like Avocado or Almond
1 1/2 cups of dry brown rice to be cooked in vegetable broth (buy rice grown in California, organic preferred. Rice from other parts of USA have been found to be higher in arsenic. If concerned, soak brown rice over night in water. Throw out that water and rinse rice well. Might help remove some of the arsenic).
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed. Put four cups of water into a pot. Add lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a very low simmer, cover and set your timer for 20-25 minutes. Drain.
1 medium to large eggplant, sliced thinly (like 1/16-1/8 inch). Sprinkle both sides of eggplant slices with salt and let weep for 30 mins, then rinse and dry to remove salt. Note, I just swipe off salt and water with a paper towel. This gives the eggplant a real salt punch, which I like but it does add a lot of salt to the dish. How much salt you can consume is between you and your doctor. Heat some oil in frying pan and fry eggplant until brown. Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces.
2sweet onions– cut in half and slice thinly
Garlic minced, as much or as little as you like
Pan fry onions, garlic with oil until very brown.
Mixed the above cooked ingredients together. Serve hot with a side salad.
Please leave any comments or questions. Look forward to them.
Other helpful ideas are: humidify the air. Indoor heated air can be super dry. To increase the humidity without a humidifier – try hanging a damp towel over a chair and place near the heat vent or radiator, Vicks steam vaporizer ( It is very powerful. Might see streaks of water on your walls. If not careful could increase risk of mold), boil some water but need to watch it so you don’t burn you place down by causing a fire, Diffuser, facial steamers, steam from a hot cup of tea. The humidity helps ensure more intact mucous membranes in your nose and some viruses seem to thrive in dry air.
Acupuncture can boost your immunity.
I am not going to recommend any supplements here because if taken incorrectly, can potentially affect autoimmune disorders, trigger malignancies, allergies. Plus the quality of supplements in the USA is not reliable. Best one can do is to find a product that is GMP certified or 3rd party tested from a certified lab. Always check with your doctor if you have any personal concerns.
*1. Toum = 3 heads of garlic (it has to be fresh, smashing with a knife is the fastest way to peel them). Put peeled garlic cloves in food processor or blender with 1 tsp salt. Add juice of 1 lemon (1 tsp of juice at a time alternating with 1/2 cup of Canola oil or avocado oil. Do not use olive oil). I usually use a total of 1 1/2 cups of oil. Blend until looks like mayonnaise. After you eat this, your breath will be so bad that no one can come within 6 feet of you. LOL.
*2. Ginger and scallion tea- slice about 1 tbsp of fresh organic ginger and scallions (AKA green onions). Add to boiling water. Steep 10 mins. You can freeze them down so they keep longer.
*5. Mushrooms – I slice up the mushrooms and toss in olive oil salt and pepper and then put in air fryer at 375-400 deg for 5-10mins…watch it does not burn. Cooks up fast.
Have 1 piece of pineapple- its up to you how much you can tolerate- too much gives me canker sores
Please let me know what works for you in the comments.
What are your home remedies?
This blog is in no way meant to give any medical advice, diagnosis or treat.
These super fast home-baked organic cinnamon rolls are from Costco. When you and your friends/family are together for the holidays, this is one of the comfort foods. On top of being organic, they are also vegan/plant-based.
Prior to baking it in my toaster oven, I did not space the rolls out like it recommended on the label. Makes for a prettier presentation with the rolls touching side by side. In the box, there are 3 individual containers containing 5 rolls per container. Fifteen cinnamon rolls did not last long at our house. Label does say potential milk contamination. So many labels say this for (maybe) liability reasons. But if you have a serious allergy or intolerance, better not risk it as cross contamination is a real thing.
For the purist, this is a cheat. But a good cheat nonetheless. Not the healthiest but not the worst. Who has time to make this from scratch? Your time is better spend relaxing and enjoying your family and friends.
I love Costco and the affordable organic options they have. My biggest concern with Costco is the packaging overkill. The double packaging leads to excess garbage. I sent Costco an email about my concerns. If you agree with me, please take the time to send them an email too. Hope they take heed especially if many of us write in.
This is a great smoothie. Easy to make. Healthy ingredients. Sugar free. Tasty. I make it the night before, leave in fridge overnight and grab it on my way out the door in the morning. It will be my lunch. All of the ingredients are from either Costco or Amazon.
The amount of each ingredient is variable. How much you put in will be dependent on your current diet, supplements and health status. Remember to treat food as medicine. The right balance both in ingredients and amounts (calories) is important. You want to get the correct nutrients by eating foods that will prevent disease and the right amounts to prevent obesity. You don’t overdose on your medicines, so you don’t overdose on your food.
With all of these ingredients, you can check the packaging for serving sizes and nutrients.
Here is how I make mine. I start with a pinch of mushroom powder and Dulse seaweed. Then a teaspoon of beet powder. Then scoop of protein powder.
Add one frozen fruit smoothie pack, few spoons non dairy yogurt, some green drink and fill up the rest of my smoothie container with a non dairy milk (I have been avoiding the organic almond milk from Costco because it lacks calcium and protein). Shake and refrigerate.
You will need a thermo container that comes with a shaker ball. This is a must because the protein powder clumps and the shaker ball breaks it up.
Other options to add instead of fruit or green drink.
To wash my smoothie container, I put in some hot water and dish soap then shake it around. If the water is very hot be very careful when opening the top. It can be under pressure and spray all over. Need to open it gently as possible as far away from anyone and yourself as you can. Release the pressure first before you continue to open.
*Raw mushrooms or powders may contain a naturally-occurring toxin called agaritine. it can be deactivated by cooking, boil for 5minutes, heating in microwave 30 seconds or freezing. I store my powder mushrooms in freezer. Reference: How Not to Die by Michael Greger Part 2, Dec 2015. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Final note: This blog is in no way meant to give any medical advice, diagnosis or treat.
Topped with Kim Chi and Asian Pickled Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach
This recipe is for the Baked Tofu. The bowl is filled with Brown Rice, then topped with Seasoned Tommy’s Sweet Potatoes from Costco, Spinach, Pickled Veggies, Baked Tofu recipe is below. To keep it low carb, you can skip the rice and use a bed of your favorite lettuce.
Set Oven for 400 degrees.
One package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (14oz). Do not buy the super extra firm because it is so hard, it does not absorb the marinate, hence lacks flavor.
Drain fluid off Tofu. While still in box, cut Tofu into 1/2 x 2 inch pieces.
Cut Tofu in the box
Place into a medium glass dish and pour in enough marinate to cover the tofu pieces. Examples of marinates are Teriyaki, Curry or Gyoza dipping sauce. Cover. Marinate at least 2 hours to over night in refrigerator.
Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Spread out the Tofu pieces evenly onto sheet.
Bake at @ 400 degrees 15mins x 2 -> At 15min mark, flip tofu over and continue to bake for another 15mins. Although I don’t bother with flipping. It seems to turn out ok. You could use a metal rack to have the underside bake. I prefer to use Pure Convection setting on my oven. You get crispier results. For my oven, if I am using convection, I lower the temp by 25 degrees and reduce time by 10%. You need to know your oven…bon appétit.
This is a recipe from the Island of Malta. You can shape them into Hearts and decorate with a Maraschino Cherry (Whole Foods has sans food coloring). These cookies have 2 versions: vegan and traditional with egg whites.
Bake @ 400F for 8-10 mins. Makes 84 x 2inch round cookies
4 cups ground almonds
1.5 cups oat bran
2 cups sugar
5 egg whites (or egg substitute)
2 Tbsp Almond Essence
Pinch of salt
Sliced Almonds or Maraschino Cherries, cut cherries in half, let it drain, set aside.
Edible Premium Wafer Paper 8.25″ x 11.75″ Pkg of 20 for Cake or Food Decorating (I bought these on Amazon) – cut these into circles or hearts for Valentines one sheet should give you 12 circles (about 2 inch or so diameter) or 4 hearts
Mix almonds and bran in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients (except decorating cherry and sliced almonds) and mix with an electric beater until well mixed. Fold this into the dry ingredients.
Put the Wafer Paper cutouts on baking pan. Roll the cookie mixture into 1 inch balls and place on Wafer Paper. Use dampened fingers and press down dough, leaving a small edge of Wafer Paper.
Be careful not to get the dough onto the baking sheet as the dough will stick to the pan. Decorate with sliced almond or cherry before baking.
Bake 400 degree F x 8-10 until cookie edges are a very light brown
Spices- 1/2-1 tsp Curry powder; 1/2-1 tsp Cinnamon; 1 tsp Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 cup Dried Cranberries or Cherries
1 cup fresh Parsley, then chop (save 4 pieces for garnished)
1-2 tbsp fresh Sage, chopped
1/4 cup Walnuts
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add wild rice. Stir until rice is well coated and slightly toasted. Heat 2 cups of Vegetable Broth in microwave for about 2 minutes. Put broth and wild rice into Rice Cooker. Cook as per your Rice Cooker. Rice grains will split open when done.
Microwave Acorn Squash one at a time for 1 minute (this will make it easier to cut in half). Let it cool and cut each squash into 2 equal halves. Remover the seeds. Place 2 halves face down in a microwavable dish, with about 1/4 inch of Orange Juice in dish. Microwave until soft – about 8-10 minutes. Repeat with the other Squash. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the center of squash, leaving 1/4 inch rim of squash on rind. Set aside.
Add rest of oil to pan, medium heat and then add onions. Stir until onions are browning. Stir in the rest of the ingredients ( except walnuts) including scooped out Squash pieces and cooked rice.
Scoop this mixture back into the Squash Halves. Sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with parsley. Serves 4.
For sides you can serve Miso Soup, Mash Potatoes with Kim Chi, Stir fried Spinach or kale with garlic and onions.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I want to hear…
This meal’s prep time is not 10 mins but around 25 mins with some pre-planning.
Pre planning –> Make ahead:
Miso dressing (See Sept 2017 blog for recipe or way down at bottom of this recipe) and set up rice cooker with brown rice. Turn on rice cooker few hours before guests arrive. Serving a whole meal in a bowl is simple and it was a hit with guests.
The base is organic Brown Rice or whatever grain you prefer. You can buy precooked rice in frozen food aisle. I like to use my Rice cooker because once it is set up, I don’t have to think about it until I am ready to serve the rice. For added flavor, I prefer using vegetable broth instead of water to cook up brown rice.
Best to soak rice over night to remove most of the Arsenic and then make sure you rinse the rice out well. (1)(2)
Set your oven for 400 deg. Toss precut Butternut Squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Best if all the Squash cubes are about same size so cubes can bake consistently, preventing small ones from burning and bigger ones from undercooking. Bake 20-30 mins, until soft.
Meanwhile: Toss ready to serve pre washed Baby greens with Miso dressing.
Heat/prepare your protein. You can use, for example, Smart Tenders (see below) or some chickpeas or tofu cubes.
I added some sliced pre cooked beets and Kim Chi for sides.
Best to serve Bowl Meals in some 6-8 inch diameter bowls. Asian markets are the best place to find these.
Putting it together –> First layer in some brown rice, then the Miso greens then squash, beets and Kim Chi (can use Sauerkraut too) on top.
Needs to get these ingredients together from Trader Joe’s and some basics from Costco.
Prepare Carrots as per package but bake convection oven at 400deg for about 8 mins to brown carrots. Then Microwave covered for about 2 minute to soften (depends on wattage of your microwave). Salt and Pepper optional.
Then for stir fry –
Add to frying pan, olive oil, garlic, ginger, stir a little and add veggies, and sliced sausage. Keep on medium – low heat, stirring as needed to prevent from burning.
Meanwhile in microwave heat up rice and use Coconut Aminos to season to taste.
You can make this in 10 mins- I was at Costco and bought these 3 things-
Potato and Spinach Pierogies, Korean Gondre Herb Rice and precooked Beets
I pan fried the Pierogies with avocado oil over medium heat, covered, 4 minutes on each side with a splash of water in the last minute to steam and soften a bit.
The Rice was heated in microwave. Beets sliced and served cold. It was deliciously simple!
You might think this is cheating because I did not make everything from scratch. But it is still higher quality food than fast food, and you know the ingredients. This meal not as expensive as restaurant food, saves time because a trip to restaurant takes more time than you think, and finally you can certainly have food delivered but there is an energy carbon foot print cost to that if it is a gasoline powered car (plus some electric car depending on how the electricity is generated). The amount of foods that I bought is enough for several meals too.
1/3 Cup Chickpea/Garbanzo Flour (Sprouts or Indian grocery store)
1/3 Cup chopped red onions
1 tsp of grated Ginger
2 tsp minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp of Curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 tbsp. of healthy cooking oil
1 tsp psyllium powder mixed into 2 Tbsp water (binds burger together)
Coconut oil spray for pan / grill and olive oil spray for buns
Burger buns (I used TJ Whole Wheat Slims – photo below)
Condiments of your choice – see below for suggestions
1. Boil the green jackfruit in enough veggie broth till fork tender. Drain the water and transfer to a food processor along with the chickpea/garbanzo flour, chopped onions, grated ginger, garlic, cilantro, curry powder, paprika, Sriracha, salt, black pepper , oil, and psyllium mixture.
Give food processor a few pulses till everything comes together. Don’t over blend or the texture will be like a smoothie! Keep it the texture of ground meat. See below for a picture.
2. Take the patty mix out and place in a bowl. Add little more chickpea flour if the mix feels too sticky. Shape into patties (about ⅓ cup each) and chill for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Heat pan sprayed with coconut oil. Fry the patties for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until desired brown.
4. Spray the undersides of the hamburger buns with olive oil spray. Toast on same skillet (if you have room do it at the same time)
5. Serve with buns and condiments – ketchup, pickle, tomato, lettuce.
This recipe is only going to work easily if you have a Trader Joe’s near by. You could make everything from scratch but that would take much more than the 5 minutes it takes to make this meal.
Mix about 1/2 cup of canned coconut milk (note this is not the coconut milk substitute for drinking but the cooking coconut milk that comes in a can) to the 20 ounces of Lentil Soup (this soup also comes in a tetra box). The amount of coconut milk depends on your personal taste. You can start with 1/4 cup, taste it and then add more if you want.
Add 1/4-1/2 tsp of turmeric (optional). Mix well. Put into a glass or ceramic bowl. Microwave until desired temp.
Mango slaw just toss together. TJ Beets are ready to eat. I served it cold, but could be warmed too.
My motto for cooking: healthy, simple, fast, plus delicious.
Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens
Avocado (right now in California, Avocados are everywhere)
Dark Chocolate Tequila Strawberries (Fondue optional)
The trick is to have a dish that looks like this. Any food served in this heart shaped dish will be “Valentine’s” appropriate.
Main Dish: Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens
Large bunch of collard greens, washed, tear leaves up into small 2-3 pieces. Do not include any of the stems
Vegetable stock plus water, enough to boil greens
Red Onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning or Kirkland Organic No-salt Seasoning to taste
1 tbsp White Miso paste
1 14.5 oz can organic diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 15.5 oz can organic black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Ground black pepper to taste (adds to healing effects of turmeric)
Boil water and stock. Add collard greens and simmer for about 20mins until greens are soft. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.
Add onion, garlic, paprika, turmeric and Everyday Seasoning to reserved cooking water. Simmer until onions are soft. Add in the rest or the ingredients, including collard greens. Stir until heated throughly.
Serve with rice, quinoa, sliced avocado.
Dessert: Dark Chocolate Tequila Strawberries
1 bag of dark chocolate chips or chunks
Optional- 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp Tequila
Organic strawberries with green tops
Soy based wax paper
Wash strawberries. They must be dried completely. I use paper towels. If they are wet, the chocolate dip may harden.
Put the dark chocolate in a microwavable ceramic or glass bowl with the other optional liquid ingredients and microwave gently until the chocolate is melted. For stove top melting, you need a double broiler. Microwaving is much easier. I was inspired to make this fondue because I found a brand new fondue kit at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop. It looked like something form 1970’s.
Hold the strawberries by the green tops, dip into chocolate mixture half way, twirl to stop the chocolate from dripping. Place onto wax paper to cool. Use the fondue skewers if you have and eat them directly. Recommend you put down extra table protector’s because the chocolate can be very messy but fun!
Why are probiotics important? These healthy microbes are an essential part of our body. Without them we would not survive. Most of these healthy bugs are found in our gut. Also 70% of our immune system is located in our gut. There is communication between our gut microbes and our immune system and even with our brain via our vagal nerve. Our immune system and brain cannot be healthy and balanced if we have the bad gut microbes. Healthy gut microbes tell our immune system and brain that everything is “OK”. Our gut microbes affects a lot of disease processes such as – infections, cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, obesity, arthritis, mental health etc. Isn’t it amazing that these bugs have such a huge influence on our health?*
Our microbes are one of our forgotten organs. It is unique in that this is our only organ that not contain our own DNA. Yet these microbes have profound affects both good and bad on our health. The good news is that we can directly affect this organ’s DNA. We do this by what we eat and with whom we hang out! Yes, it’s composition can be changed by our actions.
So sterile environments prevent us from getting good microbes*. Some examples where we lose the opportunity to get good microbes: Vaginal vs C-section babies, breast vs formula fed babies, drinking chlorinated vs filtered water, eating foods that contain pesticides vs organic foods, antibiotics, diets high in sugar, alcohol.
Other probiotic boosters that come to mind are sharing your home with a dog or cat. Our furry friends are beneficial in more than one way. Our dogs give us love and beneficial microbes!
We also share microbes with family, friends and community. There is now something called fecal transfer, where a person with a certain health problem gets inoculated with fecal material from a healthy donor by swallowing capsules of donor feces.
If your gut is not healthy, you are not healthy.
Correcting your gut microbes (esp if you are on and recently taken antibiotics) is essential.
This is so powerful, that the right microbes, can even reduce our anxiety and worry!
Hence I am recommending you eat some food rich in probiotics with each meal.
FOODS RICH IN PROBIOTICS
Remember: Probiotics when heated will destroy the beneficial bacteria. So you can’t eat these foods heated or microwaved. Also avoid chlorinated water. The chlorine disinfects and can disinfect some of your your gut bacteria too. Drink filtered water only.
Yogurt / Kefir – Non dairy preferred. It is possible that the fermentation process of dairy reduces the pro-inflammatory factors in cow’s milk. Although this has not been my personal experience.
Kombucha – fermented tea. Saccharomyces Boulardii is used in the fermentation process. This probiotic is in the yeast family and can survive the antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. Hence it is useful in treating Clostridium Difficile infections.
Miso (paste) salad dressing
Natto- fermented soy beans
Fermented Bean curds
Hard cheeses e.g. Comte (Dairy)
Apple cider vinegar- dilute with water
Manuka Honey (helps immune system fight off upper respiratory infections) or any raw honey (mix with 1 cup water 1/4-1/2 tsp vinegar and honey)
Kim Chi, SauerKraut (might be too salty for some people)
Pickled foods e.g. Pickled beets, olives, cucumbers, radishes, etc
Asian Fish sauce
Probiotic capsules (Brand and storage matters. Some have been tested and found to contain nothing. Vary the brand to increase the variety of probiotic stains.)*
How Best to take your Probiotic Capsule:
I recommend to take on empty stomach with a glass of room temperature filtered water and adding some “Just Like Sugar” which contains Inulin, a prebiotic derived from chicory. Just Like Sugar has is a natural sweet taste to it and calorie free. Ingredients are Chicory, calcium and Vitamin C.
I have asked around my contacts about whether to take probiotic with or without food. No clear answer. I could not find any studies to say which is better either. Until there is more reliable information, I am going with the FDA recommendation for the use of oral live vaccines (which by the a way is like a probiotic because the goal is to colonize your gut with the microbe in the vaccine to give you protection from that particular disease).
For example, for oral typhoid vaccine, this is how it is taken:
Take each capsule on an empty stomach (1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating)
Take each capsule with a full glass of cool or lukewarm water. Not hot.
Keep capsules in refrigerator; The purest Probiotics should be refrigerated.
No drinking Alcohol at least 2 hours after
Please leave me your comments.
* There still is a need for sterile environments such as during a medical procedures. If you are immunosuppressed, please ask your doctor if extra bacteria could harmful to you or not. Examples – AIDS, Chemotherapy, genetics
The balance between a healthy Vegan lunch and the rush to get out of the house before 6am to beat the traffic. This is easy. You will need some ceramic or glass containers. A Trader Joe’s helps…
My base is some pre washed organic dark greens, frozen Vegan bean/grain mixture (see below), top with Coco Amnios, favorite hot sauce, pickled beets or Olive tapenade. I warm it up in microwave at work. Yummy.
It’s not peas that you are seeing but Green Garbanzo Beans.
Here are the package photos:
Hope you can see the ingredients by zooming in. Otherwise contact me for more details.