Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baked Ziti with Zucchini and Olives

Like I've said before, the weather has been a little erratic in NJ lately. I made this baked ziti a few days ago when it was chilly. The recipe is from the Supermarket Vegan. It's made with tomatoes, zucchini, olives, rice pasta and herbed breadcrumbs (gluten-free, of course!). I topped it off with a little Daiya cheese. I think I made too much pasta, because after I mixed everything together it seemed a little light on veggies. It was super tasty though! Served with a salad, this is a perfect meal!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zucchini Pasta al Pesto

This is really delicious raw dish that's perfect for a warm spring evening. It's zucchini "pasta" with pesto sauce. Zucchini pasta can be made in several ways. I have a spiralizer that transforms the zucchini into either long thin angel hair pasta or thick ribbons. I usually make angel hair pasta, but I accidentally had the blade set to ribbons. It doesn't matter, because either way it's delicious! If you don't have a spiralizer, don't worry! "Spaghetti" can be made using a julianne peeler, and ribbons can be made using a standard vegetable peeler. I made a simple pesto using basil, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but I used cashews instead. I sprinkled nutritional yeast and olives on top of the dish when it was done for a little extra flavor.

Botanically, zucchini is considered a fruit, but it food terms, it is treated as a vegetable. It is high in Vitamins C and A, folate, lutein, manganese and potassium. Zucchinis contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spicy Pepper Pizza

Yes, I just had raw pizza, but sometimes a girl just needs some cooked pizza with gooey cheese and fluffy crust. This was another "clean out the fridge" pie. It just so happened that I had the ingredients for a nice Mexican style pizza. I used onions, shallots, bell peppers and spicy peppers. I also used some spinach to get my leafy greens in. Once again, I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free crust and Daiya cheese. It was super yummy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Raw Pizza Italiano

This pizza was inspired by the Pizza Italiano recipe from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden, but the base is Ani Phyo's Sesame Sunflower Bread. There's a layer of sunflower seed cheese, then a layer of raw tomato sauce. The pizza is topped with fresh basil, oregano, chopped red peppers and marinated mushrooms. When I made this, I didn't think two "slices" would fill me, but it did - it was really filling and satisfying. The cheese is rich and delicious, and the tomato sauce is tangy and flavorful. The mushrooms really did taste as if they were marinated and cooked - not raw at all. This was a really great meal, and I now need to make more bread so I can use up the rest of the tomato sauce and cheese I made!

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sweet and Sour Roasted Pineapple and Peppers

This recipe is from The Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein. It's a simple dish with onions, peppers and pineapple that have been roasted in the oven for about 45 minutes. I served it with sautéed chard and brown rice.

Pineapples one of my favorite fruits! They are high in manganese, vitamins C, B1 and B6, copper and dietary fiber. Pineapples contain a compound called bromelain that is known for aiding digestion. Other compounds in pineapples are known for their antioxidant protection and immune support.

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Raw Vegetable Chips

My friend Irina and were browsing through the cookbook section and Barnes and Noble, and I came across the book Raw Energy by Stephanie Tourles. I had never heard of it, but I'm always intrigued by new books. The recipes are mainly snacks, and many of them looked really tasty, so I decided to buy it.

There are three chip recipes that looked really good: Sweet Potato Chili, Zesty Zucchini and Sea Salty Squash. I thought I'd make all three so that Dennis and I would have plenty to snack on. Luckily, they fit into my new dehydrator nicely.

The sweet potato chips needed to be sliced really thin so they would turn out chip-like. I used the mandolin slicer that I bought last year at a friend's Pampered Chef party. I'm not a big fan of those Come-To-My-House-and-Buy-Stuff-So-I-Can-Get-Free-Merchandise parties, but I am a fan of kitchen gadgets, so I bought this really nifty mandolin slicer. It came with four different blades and it has a safety feature so you don't slice bits of your fingers off. I've only used it a few times, but I consider it a worthy investment, because when I do need it, it does the job well. It sliced the sweet potatoes thinner that I would ever be able to by hand.

The sweet potato chips are seasoned with olive oil, chili powder, Braggs Liquid Aminos, and sea salt.

Yellow squash and zucchini are easy to slice by hand, so I just used a knife with them. The yellow squash is seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.

The zucchini chips are seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and Italian seasonings. I don't have a jar of "Italian seasonings", so I mixed together oregano, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and basil. There was a slight accident with the oregano shaker, so the chips were a little heavy on the oregano. I would probably omit it next time I make these.

Zucchini, yellow squash and sweet potatoes are all high in water content, so the chips all shrunk down considerably while dehydrating. The zucchini chips ended up being teeny tiny! I think they were all a little too oily, so I will cut down on the recommended olive oil amount when I make them again. They were more chewy than crunchy, so I think they may need to be dehydrated longer next time. I'm going to try making these again at some point but I want to experiment with them a little to make them crispier and less oily.

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raw Sandwich

This is very similar to the pizza/sandwich I made last week. This time, I made raw bread from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen. I messed up while mixing it and added too many flax seeds, but it came out just fine anyway. The bread held together nicely and held up to the toppings.

I also made a raw cheddar cashew cheese in the food processor. The orange color comes from a red bell pepper, which is what gives this cheese it's "cheddar-ness". Did you know that most of our taste comes from what we see and smell? If this cheese didn't have the pepper, it would be white and would probably be considered ricotta, and therefore taste more like ricotta.

The bread and cheese together make a great snack! For the sandwich, I topped it with pesto, tomatoes, olives and avocados. I also made some collard wraps with the cheese, sprouts, peppers and zucchini. This was the perfect lunch!

Become a fan on Facebook!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pad Thai

It's been a while since I've made Pad Thai. It was a little chili outside, so I wanted something warm. I have been eating a lot of raw foods lately, but since it's not warm, it's not very comforting, and we all need comfort food from time to time. There is something about spicy peanut butter than I really enjoy too. I mixed together broccoli, sugar snap peas, red peppers, onions, mushrooms and peanuts. After the veggies were almost cooked, I added spicy Thai pepper sauce, peanut butter, a touch of rice wine vinegar, lime juice and a little peanut oil. After a few minutes, I mixed in mung bean sprouts and served the whole thing over rice noodles. This dish has become one of my favorite meals!

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food Allergies and Asparagus Spinach Pizza

Sometimes I just have a hankering for pizza. This was one of those times. I used asparagus, spinach and olives. The crust is Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix and, of course, the cheese is Daiya.

If you remember back to December, asparagus and spinach were on the list of foods I needed to avoid. I've slowly added most of those foods back into my diet, without noticing any symptoms. I am still avoiding most nuts, wheat, corn and soy. There have been times where I have had some nuts and my mouth has begun to itch shortly afterward. My eyes tend to itch as well. For years I've haven't been able to wear contact lenses, a problem my optometrist hasn't been able to figure out. I can't wait to go for a check up and tell him it was from food allergies!! If your eyes itch in the inside corners, it's probably a food allergy. If they itch all over, it's more likely that it's an environmental allergy. Food allergies tend to show as strange symptoms though, so if you suspect you have a sensitivity to something, you should get tested. It is possible to try an elimination diet, but I've found that most people with food allergies have multiple sensitivities, so it's difficult to pinpoint the culprit without testing. There are several different types of allergic reactions, so both skin and blood tests are recommended.

In the meantime, enjoy some pizza!

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Potatoes for Brunch

I usually like to have smoothies for breakfast during the warm months. The weather has been a little erratic here in New Jersey lately, and it's been a little chilly in the morning, so I decided to make something warming for brunch on Sunday. I made potatoes with spinach, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms with a little bit of red pepper flakes. It really hit the spot and was the perfect dish to warm me up.

Unfortunately, most Americans only consume potatoes in fry or chip form, which is extremely unhealthy. But potatoes do contain many nutrients. They are full of vitamin C, B6, copper, potassium, and manganese, as well as dietary fiber. Potatoes have been important food staple in human history and the continue to be the number one vegetable crop in the world. They are available year-round as they are harvested somewhere every month of the year. I always caution people who have arthritis to stay away from potatoes, as well as other foods in the nightshade family, because they contain compounds that can trigger arthritis flare-ups.

Become a fan on Facebook!

Monday, May 17, 2010


During the warm spring and summer months, I like to start the day off with a smoothie. They're packed with nutrients and I always feel energized after drinking them. Adding greens to a smoothie gives it extra nutritional value, since greens are so nutrient dense, and they won't change the flavor if the smoothie is also full of fruit.

I always use bananas as a base for smoothies to make them creamy. Then I add frozen fruit, water or nut milk, a handful of greens (spinach, kale and chard work best), flax seeds and hemp seeds. Raw cashews or nut butter can also be added for an extra protein kick. My favorite combination is bananas, pineapple, mango and spinach. Berries also work really well in smoothies, but the greens will change the color to mauvish-brown. It will still taste delicious, so don't let the color fool you.

Smoothies are also good for dessert! My friend Jenna introduced me to the Peanut Butter Cup smoothie. It's made with frozen bananas, nut milk, peanut butter and chocolate. (I also add hemp seeds to give it a little more protein.) Be careful if you're using raw cacao in your dessert though - it could keep you up all night!

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Get Organized!

My kitchen has been a mess. It's small and I have too much stuff. The overcrowded messiness has been stressing me out. So I decided it was time to tackle the cabinets and get rid of things that are no longer needed. I also took everything out of the fridge, scrubbed it and put everything back in an organized fashion. I'm a very organized person, but lately I've been busy and things have gotten out of control. When things are messy and disorganized, it stresses me out, so spending the time to re-organize was a worthy investing.

People like "stuff". We tend to hold onto it year after year. We save and stock up on things that we don't know what to do with anymore. Maybe we keep things because they hold precious memories of days gone by, or they remind us of our parents, grandparents, past loves or childhood. To part with these precious possessions seems out of the question. There is a saying that goes, "You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new." If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in your life, try spring-cleaning. Throw out some of that stuff, say goodbye to your past and welcome the new energy of your happy, healthy future.

Become a fan on Facebook!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pasta with Beans and Greens

I've made various versions of this meal over the past few months. This has become my "go-to" dish lately, because it's quick, easy and delicious! It's perfect for busy week nights, and I've been really busy lately. This time around, I used shallots, fennel, kale and sun-dried tomatoes and rice pasta. I topped it off with chopped olives and nutritional yeast. Perfect!

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fast Food

It's been a busy week! I had a lot to do last night, including grocery shopping. While at Whole Foods, I decided to pick up dinner. I noticed that they had a vegan "tuna" salad made with sunflower seeds, so I decided to try it to see how it compared to the sunflower seed tuna I made last week. Mine was definitely better, if I do say so myself. Even though the ingredient list didn't say it, I'm pretty sure the Whole Foods tuna salad had almonds in it, which I would have rather had avoided.

I also picked up a garden salad and an heirloom bean salad. It was a pretty good dinner for something quick and easy. Being busy and getting food "to go" doesn't mean you have to eat unhealthy!

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raw Pizza

I'm not really sure if this does qualify as pizza. It may be considered an open-face sandwich. Either way, it was delicious! This was an attempt to recreate the raw pizza I had at Om Garden in Miami back in March.

I made RAWvolution's Famous Onion Bread in the dehydrator. It took a total of 36 hours to make, and my house smelled amazing! It didn't come out perfect because I didn't grind the flax seeds properly and the onion slices were a little too large. I was expecting it to be like a flax cracker, but it was pretty soft and fell apart easily. It was really tasty though, so it didn't matter.

Then I made sunflower seed cheese and a quick pesto sauce. I spread them both over the onion bread, then added large slices of tomatoes, sliced sun-dried tomatoes, sprouts, olives and avocado. It was difficult to pick up, but it was really yummy. I looking forward to experimenting with more breads and crusts in the dehydrator and trying out other pizza recipes.

Become a fan on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kale Chips

I got a dehydrator! I'm already having fun with it, and I can't wait to make more raw concoctions. My friend Donna made goddess kale chips in the raw class we taught together a few weeks ago, and I couldn't wait to make them myself. Goddess dressing is made with tahini, apple cider vinegar, garlic and lemon juice. It's then drizzled over the kale and mixed in, and the kale is dehydrated for about 6 hours. These chips are really addictive, but their so healthy that it's okay.

If you don't have a dehydrator, don't worry - you can still make kale chips. There's a basic recipe below. Feel free to experiment with it. Add a little apple cider vinegar and some nama shoyu for a different taste. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

1-2 bunches of kale
Olive oil
Sea salt
Optional spices: garlic, onion powder, cayenne, curry powder, nutritional yeast

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Wash kale, cut stems off and cut or tear leaves into small pieces.
• Place kale in a bowl, drizzle olive oil over kale and mix until leaves are well covered.
• Lay kale out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and spices, if using.
• Bake for 10 minutes or until kale turns a bit brown, keeping an eye on it as it can burn quickly.
• Turn the kale over and bake the other side for about 5 minutes or until crispy. After a few batches the kale will be done quicker and there will be no need to flip.

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Raw Chocolate Mousse Pie

This recipe is from Alissa Cohen. The crust is made with dates, coconuts and walnuts. Yes, I'm allergic to walnuts, but I've been avoiding them for months, and I think it's okay to have them on special occasions. (In this case the special occasion is a book club meeting with my vegan group!) The filling is made with avocados, dates, agave nectar and raw cacao powder. The group couldn't believe it was made with avocados because it was so rich and decadent. Delicious desserts don't need to be unhealthy!

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I've been eating super healthy lately - mostly raw, nothing processed - but that changed on Saturday when I spent the day in NYC with my friend Irina. That's okay though. I'm a firm believer in the 80-20 rule: eat healthy for 80% of the time and then the rest of the time eat whatever strikes your fancy. Food should be nourishing and healing, but you should not feel deprived. If you eat healthy food most of the time, splurges are okay once in a while. And following my "never feel guilty about what you eat, consider it a science experiment" philosophy, I wanted to see if my energy level and good spirits were affected by a change in diet for a day. They weren't.

Irina and I went to Pala Pizza for lunch. I've been thinking about their delicious patatosa pizza since I ate there in February, so I ordered it again. Irina ordered a gluten-free mushroom with dairy cheese. She's not vegan and was worried about not liking the dairy free Daiya cheese. I gave her a small piece of my pizza and she said I definitely had the better pie. We also had large salads. I was super full, but I had to finish it all because it was so delicious!

After lunch, we wandered around for a bit and then ended up at Babycakes Bakery. Babycakes is known for their gluten-free vegan treats. They also have a cookbook, which I've made a few treats from in the past. I've had people tell me that they make the best cupcakes in the world, and others tell me that they have the worst cake they've ever tasted, so I really needed to try it out for myself. I usually go for anything chocolate, but it seemed like too much after the pizza, so I ordered a carrot cake cupcake. Irina ordered a donut with chocolate frosting. Babycakes is about the size of a small closet, so we took our goodies outside to enjoy in the sun and wind. The carrot cake was moist and a little too crumbly, but was pretty tasty. I've had better, but I've also had a lot worse. Irina's donut was more cakey than donuts usually are, but it was still really good. The chocolate frosting was messy and divine. I'll definitely go back.

I've been caffeine free for a few weeks now, but I had a huge amount of iced teas over the course of the day. I think it was the tea that affected me more than anything else I consumed, because I was really buzzing, even late in the evening. I have no regrets though - the food was delicious, the company was great, and it was an awesome day!

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunny Raw Nori Rolls

This raw sushi recipe is from Vegetarian Times. The "rice" is actually a sunflower seed paste. This was my first attempt at making any kind of sushi at all, and it didn't turn out too badly. Since I don't have a sushi mat, they weren't rolled very tightly, but they were really good.

I've been eating a lot of sunflower seeds this week. It wasn't planned, I just found a lot of recipes that looked good and happened to contain sunflower seeds. They're really nutritious though, so it's a good thing. They're high in the omega 3 fatty acid linoleic, as well as cholesterol lowering phytosterols. They are also high in fiber, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spicy Thai Vegetable Wraps

This recipe is from Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melngailis, but I have to give my friend Donna full credit for introducing it to me. She made these when we taught our raw food class together a few weeks ago.

The recipe calls for almond butter, but I used cashew butter instead. It wasn't raw cashew butter, but it was what I had. Red chile peppers, ginger, lemon juice, maple syrup, nama shoyu and sea salt are mixed in. The book calls for sliced mango, carrots and sprouts to be mixed in but I followed Donna's suggestion and mixed it in broccoli slaw. The whole mixture is then wrapped in a collard leaf.

Collard greens are cruciferous vegetables, which means they are from the same family as kale, broccoli and cabbage. They are a good source of vitamin C when eaten raw, as heat destroys the vitamin. They are jam packed with nutrients and have potent anti-cancer properties. They're also very low in calories and they're high in fiber. Leafy green veggies are one of the important foods that missing from most diets today. Collard wraps like these are an easy way to fit some greens in!

Like what you're reading? Then sign up for my healthy living newsletter!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sunflower Seed Cheese Collard Wraps

I've mentioned these wraps in my posts before. I like to make them and take them to work to snack on. They're really simple to make and they're delicious. Wash and dry a collard leaf. Cut the leaf in half by removing the stem. Place the outside of the leaf down, spread the sunflower seed cheese across the leaf and then place the cut veggies of your liking on the bottom part of the leaf, leaving about half an inch empty. I used thinly sliced red pepper, zucchini and avocado along with some sprouts and sliced olives. Then roll the leaf up tightly.

The sunflower seed cheese recipe originally came from RAWvolution by Matt Amsden, but I've made changes to it.

2 cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 hours, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Enjoy!

Become a fan on Facebook!