Saturday, February 21, 2009

Marvelous Taco Salad

I've done a few different taco salad blends, but this one took the prize!

Marvelous Taco Salad

2-3 ripe avocados, diced
3 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
approx 1/4-1/2 cup diced onion (I mixed yellow and red.)
1/4 red pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
approx 3/4- 1 cup corn kernels
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 tbsp lemon or lime juice
sea salt to taste

Flour tortillas
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

Fresh flat leaf or baby spinach
romaine lettuce, washed and shredded
baby carrots, chopped
broccoli, chopped into small pieces
shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

In a large bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Stir well.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. One at a time, brown tortillas in olive oil on both sides until golden and crisp.

Build taco salads per plate starting with crisped tortilla, spinach and lettuce, broccoli, carrots, avocado mixture and top with a sprinkling of cheese.

My kids liked a little natural ranch on top. It think the avocado mixture does a beautiful job doubling as a dressing!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Crispy Stacks

I couldn't think of a great name for these, so Crispy Stacks will have to do. This is a completely plant-based recipe. It reminds me of an omelet and hash brown breakfast without the eggs and cheese! They turned out really yummy!

Crispy Stacks

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
6-8 red potatoes
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder (optional)
paprika (optional)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 large yellow or white onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
approx 1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped into smallish pieces (about 1/2-3/4 inch)
1 red pepper, diced
about 6 baby bella mushroom, chopped
approx 1/2 - 1 cup frozen corn kernels
approx 1-2 cups fresh flat leaf spinach, chopped well
sea salt to taste

Wash potatoes and shred or grate them. The food processor is your friend if you have one, if not, by hand will give you a good workout! Let shreds rest for 5-10 minutes. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Squeeze out excess liquid from shreds and press into palm-sized patties. Place them in the oil (I do 4 at a time), press down with spatula and season the one side. When edges are golden brown and crispy, flip and season again. When both sides are golden crispy, remove to paper toweled plate and repeat until shreds are all cooked.

In separate skillet, heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil over medium low heat. Saute onions until they are soft. Add everything else except spinach and saute until cooked through, but still brightly colored. Stir in chopped spinach and allow to wilt. Salt to taste.
Serve veggie saute over hash brown patties.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vegilada Pie with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I used to make the most scrumptiously bad-for-you enchiladas. Ground beef, white flour tortillas, olives, sour cream and loads of cheese. The homemade sauce put it over the top! It has taken so many tries to get even remotely close to a healthy version, but tonight I think I got as close as I'm going to! The sauce is one thing I kept. This recipe is delicious. You could add mushrooms and /or olives for more flavor and texture.

Vegilada Pie

1 tbsp olive oil
6 gardenburger patties (or boca burgers or whatever vegan or vegetarian burgers you can find)
Homemade enchilada sauce (recipe below)
2-3 flour tortillas (whole wheat for health, whatever you have will work)
1 can black beans, rinsed
approx 3-4 cups fresh flat leaf or baby spinach
approx 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
approx 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (omit or subsitute soy cheese for vegan recipe)

Enchilada Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp flour
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add chili powder and flour and stir with fork or whisk. allow to cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce, water and other seasonings. Bring to bubble, reduce heat and let simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.
In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook patties according to stove top directions. When they are done, remove them from pan, let cool slightly and dice into small crumbles. In prepared baking dish (mine was a 2.2 qt 7x11 pyrex), spread a little sauce in the bottom and begin layering in the following order: Tear tortillas into large segments and use enough to cover bottom of pan. Add half of the fresh spinach, spread to cover. Add a thin layer of black beans, then half the burger crumbles and a thin layer of corn. Cover with half of the sauce and top with half of the cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese on top. Cover with foil and place in oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 5 more minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly on the edges. Let cool slightly and serve with a colorful green salad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Children's Health and Nutrition

I was blessed enough to be raised by parents who took my nutrition and care seriously. They did their research and knew their facts and we didn't eat like most Americans. My friends though we were weird. I cannot express how grateful I am that my parents fed me a diet rich in fresh fruits and veg, whole grains, healthy fats and unprocessed foods. That refined sugars and flours were scarce and dairy and red meat were 'once-in-a-while' things. I die a little each time I see someone pull into McDonald's with a car full o' kids. It is our responsibility as parents to do better than that! My wonderful mother-in-law sent me a link to this article:

Childrens Health Issues

After reading it, I am even more grateful that I have years of health behind and ahead of me and that I know what I know now so that I can pass on that gift to my children.

Put the AH! in Mahi Mahi

Sometimes my body just wants more protein. No better way to satisfy that craving than an awesome bit of fish. Simple and quick. Add your veg and you have a gorgeous meal!

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi fillets (I used the frozen ones from Costco)
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, roughly crushed with side of knife blade
approx 1-2 tsp dried bouquet garni herbs (parsley, sage, thyme...)
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. If fish is frozen, quick thaw in warm water bath. Be sure it is thawed through. Rub generously with coarse salt and pepper on both sides. Place oil, crushed garlic cloves and herbs in oven-safe skillet (I use my cast iron). Heat until olive oil just begins to smoke and add your fish fillets. Cook about 2-3 minutes on first side until flesh releases from pan naturally, then turn and cook other side for 1-2 minutes. Once both sides are seared and flesh has released, place entire pan in oven and bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

There are all sorts of ways to serve this. You can add an avocado tomato salsa, a buckshot salsa with black beans, baby bella green beans and sweet corn, garlic roasted asparagus, roasted rainbow veggies, or serve it with spinach and garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad. Use your imagination!
We enjoyed it with a gorgeously colorful quinoa salad.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Healthy Fudge

Oh yes. It's true. Awesome, melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey goodness with so very little guilt and so very little work! Why? Because coconut oil is so good for you and agave is a saint as far as sweeteners go. This is still dessert, but so much happier than a sugar rush!

Healthy Fudge

1 1/2 cups coconut oil
1 1/4 cups agave
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt or real salt
1/8 scraped out vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract (could substitute peppermint extract just for fun!)

Liquefy coconut oil by setting jar or measuring cup in hot water. Place all ingredients in blender and mix well (it doesn't take much).
Pour into glass baking dish and spread evenly with spatula. Let set up at cool room temperature or in fridge. Cut into candy-sized pieces and enjoy. Store in refrigerator for up to 12 months.

A little finishing idea from my mother-in-law makes this into delectable truffles!
*Roll your fudge squares into little balls and roll them in cocoa powder for a deliciously lovely presentation.

** New experiments! This is SO good rolled in crushed almonds or cinnamon or both!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Easy Quinoa Casserole

If you toss the quinoa in the rice cooker ahead of time, this one whips up pretty fast. I knew it was a keeper when my 4 year old called dibs on the leftovers before dinner was even over! This is definitely a new favorite! It is vegetarian, but can be made vegan by omitting the mozzarella or substituting soy cheese.

Easy Quinoa Casserole

2-3 cups cooked quinoa (don't forget to rinse before you cook)
2-3 tbs olive oil
1/4 white or yellow onion, diced
3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
6-8 baby bella mushrooms, cut in half and sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2-2 cups frozen corn kernels
approx 4 semi-loosely packed cups fresh flat leaf or baby spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
approx 3/4-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In large skillet, heat oil to medium heat, add onions, garlic, mushrooms, corn and red pepper. Saute until onions are soft. Add spinach and cover pan until spinach wilts a little and is easier to stir. Stir occasionally and keep covered until spinach wilts all the way down. Add can of tomatoes with juices and heat through (1-2 minutes). Add sea salt to taste.
In prepared casserole dish (I used an 11x7 Pyrex), spread about half of the quinoa to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with sea salt and a thin layer of cheese. Spread entire vegetable saute mixture (with liquid from pan) evenly over the quinoa layer, then top with remaining quinoa and cheese. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes until cheese is melty.
Serve warm and enjoy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Splenda. Also known as sucralose. I've known it was a bad thing since I saw the first commercial with the heavenly little yellow box and the promises of sweetness with no consequence, but I have never taken the time to find facts until now. I know I can't stand the taste of it and that it invariably makes me sick to my stomach. I did the research today. I read plenty of opinions and articles and chemical compounds and barely understandable scientific break-downs. Almost all of them point to the same thing... bad.

I found this article to be most helpful and inclusive.
Splenda or Splen-dud