Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Hummus

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Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Hummus

1 15oz can of garbanzo beans
1 tsp of salt
3 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
6 ounces of sun-dried tomatoes (I used dried tomatoes and rehydrated them)
1/4 cup of basil
2 pinch of paprika (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for one hour before using.

My favorite way to enjoy hummus is on homemade pita bread.

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Homemade Tahini

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Tahini Recipe

For about 2 cups of tahini, you’ll need:
2 C sesame seeds
1/3 C olive oil

First, you’ll need to toast the sesame seeds.

1. Heat a heavy, wide-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the sesame seeds and toast lightly – about 2 minutes, shaking the pan so they toast evenly. Keep a careful eye on the sesame seeds as they go from toasted to burnt really quickly. As soon as they start to brown, they are done.
3. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

Next, you’ll process the toasted seeds with the olive oil.

1. Put the toasted sesame seeds in a food processor and drizzle in the olive oil.
2. Pulse for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s as smooth as you can get it.
3. Add a little more olive oil if necessary.
4. Remove from food processor and store in the refrigerator.

My husband will eat tahini on bread. You can eat it like any other nut or seed butter. I like to use tahini in my hummus.

Top Ten Nutrient Dense Foods

This article is from Vega. If you don’t already know about them, check them out. http://www.myvega.com Their site is loaded with extremely useful vegan information.

It’s time to introduce the superheroes of food. From tiny and mighty to mean and green, nutrient-dense foods stand proudly at the top of Vega’s hierarchy of good-for-you ingredients. Nutrient density is all about getting more bang for your buck. Nutrient dense foods provide vitamins, minerals, and other health promoting benefits in relatively few calories; unlike those kryptonite foods that are high in calories, low in nutrition. To keep you supercharged and ready to save the world (or at least feel like you can) here are the top 10 nutrient dense foods:

1. Chlorella: Dubbed the ultimate green superfood, chlorella is a microscopic green algae, power-packed with nutrition. 68% complete protein, chlorella contains rich stores of vitamins, minerals, and Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF—a compound unique to chlorella). Boasting the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any known plant, chlorella is an antioxidant powerhouse that’s also abundant in eye-health-promoting beta-carotene and lutein.

2. Kale: Delicious, versatile, and easy to prepare, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods readily available in an average grocery store, boasting vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, and inflammation reducing antioxidants.

3. Broccoli: Your mom was right for telling you to eat your broccoli! Especially for broccoli’s antioxidant properties, digestion-promoting fiber, as well as a whole army of vitamins and minerals.

4. Spirulina: While not something you crunch into like the other greens, spiruliana adds superhero strength to your smoothies or your meal, providing all the essential amino acids, trace minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants in very (very) few calories.

5. Spinach: Bundled in hearty leaves of green deliciousness, spinach is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, iron, protein, and calcium.

6. Chia: A superior source of plant-based omega-3, as well as protein, chia is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a true friend of your digestive system.

7. Berries: Lower in calories than most fruits, berries average much higher in free-radical scavenging antioxidant power. And did we mention they’re delicious?

8. Cacao: Be still our chocolate-loving hearts! Did we hear nutrient-dense and chocolate in the same sentence? Before you go reaching for a candy bar, understand that the nutrient density of chocolate comes from the source—the cacao bean itself—so enjoy your chocolate fix as close to the whole bean as possible, in the form of cacao nibs or powder, which are rich in magnesium, potent antioxidants, amino acids, and bliss-boosting powers.

9. Hemp Seeds: A dream combo of fiber, protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, all neatly packaged in a highly digestible, versatile, and delicious seed.

10. Collard Greens: Right up there with kale in the wealth of antioxidants fiber, collard greens also provide digestive support and are loaded with important vitamins and minerals.

Vegan Blackberry Cobbler

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I created this recipe from ingredients I had around the house. The fact that my husband gobbled up 3/4 of it is proof that it is delicious.

Ingredients

Filling
3 cups fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons warm water

Place blackberries in a cooking dish and sprinkle with sugar, agave and water. Put in a cold over and turn oven to 400 degrees.

Crust
1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond milk

Mix flour, baking powder and raw sugar together, then add agave nectar and 1/4 cup almond milk. Stir together adding in more milk until batter is thick and slightly tacky to the touch. Carefully remove blackberry mixture from oven and drop spoonfuls of batter on top of blackberries. You can drop them in a pattern or random, however you like.
Cook on 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Top with vanilla soy ice cream if so desired.

The Low-Fat, No-Fat Myth

There are a million different studies on fats and whether they are good for you or not. I have ton a great deal of my own research. I have read everything from ‘never eat any fat’ to ‘the only good fat comes from meat’ (yes, I about passed out when I read that one too).

I am posting an article from Harvard School of Public Health. This article adequately says my personal beliefs on the issue. I eat nuts in my oatmeal in the mornings or put avocados in my smoothies. Not only are both rich in ‘healthy fats’ they also stick with you and help curb your appetite. As a matter of fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight. They also aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, as well as feed the brain, heart, liver, lungs, bones, cells and nervous system the nutrients they need to function properly.

I think this article also does a great job at stating why I chose to eat as little processed foods as possible. Read the labels, do you really know what the ingredients are?

THE BOTTOM LINE

Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat.

It’s time to end the low-fat myth. That’s because the percentage of calories from fat that you eat, whether high or low, isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat.

“Good” fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—lower disease risk. “Bad” fats—saturated and, especially, trans fats—increase disease risk. Foods high in good fats include vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, and safflower) nuts, and seeds. Foods high in bad fats include red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream, as well as processed foods made with trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil. The key to a healthy diet is to choose foods that have more good fats than bad fats—vegetable oils instead of butter, salmon (avocados and nuts for vegans and vegetarians) instead of steak—and that don’t contain any trans fat.

“Low-fat,” “reduced fat,” or “fat-free” processed foods are not necessarily “healthy,” nor is it automatically healthier to follow a low-fat diet. One problem with a generic lower-fat diet is that it prompts most people to stop eating fats that are good for the heart along with those that are bad for it. And low-fat diets are often higher in refined carbohydrates and starches from foods like white rice, white bread, potatoes, and sugary drinks. Similarly, when food manufacturers take out fat, they often replace it with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, or starch. Our bodies digest these refined carbohydrates and starches very quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike and then dip, which in turn leads to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. Over time, eating lots of “fast carbs” can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes as much as—or more than—eating too much saturated fat.

So when you cut back on foods like red meat and butter, replace them with beans, nuts, and healthy oils—not with white bread, white rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, or other refined carbohydrates.

10 Eco-friendly Ways to Pamper Yourself on a Budget

Economic times are tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on your luxe beauty habits. You can always back away from those pricey potions at the store. Instead, discover key ingredients right in your home and try some tricks that are so simple you might be surprised they really work. We asked the experts to reveal their favorite eco-friendly ways to beautify on a budget. Here are 10 easy ideas that all cost less than $5.

1. Fruity Facial

When you go to buy an anti-aging face cream you probably know to look for superstar ingredients like coenzymeQ10 and AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids), but did you know you can get the same from pineapple? Emma Pezzack, president of FutureNatural.com says to keep the rinds next time you eat the fruit. “Gently rub the rinds on your face, leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse,” she says. “It’ll help dissolve and dislodge dead skin cells, brighten the complexion, refine pores and even skin tone.”

2. Plump it Up

Chapped lips may take the cake as winter’s worst beauty woe. Combat the flakiness with a homemade lip scrub: Moisten lips with a swipe of lip balm, and then put about a teaspoon of cinnamon in your palm. Carefully rub it across your lips to exfoliate. Since the spice is finely ground, it makes for a gentle abrasive. Plus, you can reap cinnamon’s added benefit – the spice naturally brings more blood to the surface making them appear fuller and redder.

3. Lavender Foot Soak

A great way to cut down your beauty spending is to resist salon mani/pedis, but that doesn’t mean it can’t feel just as pampering. Kyra Johnson, director of the luxury eco-friendly spa Blue Marble in San Diego, says to start your pedicure with an organic lavender milk bath. Fill a basin with 6 oz. of organic milk (feel free to finish off that jug that’s pushing the expiration date), 3 to 6 drops of lavender essential oil and, if you want to splurge on fresh cut flowers for your home, a sprinkle of lavender petals. Enjoy for 15 to 20 minutes. “Milk is full of lactic acid, which is a natural chemical exfoliant that softens the skin’s surface and delicately reduces dull and devitalized skin,” says Johnson. And not only is the scent of lavender soothing, the essential oil also is known to relieve muscle soreness and has antiseptic and antifungal properties to get those tootsies clean.

4. Erase Stress

If penny-pinching has left you stressed, chill out in a yummy smelling bubble bath. Toss in a Butterball Bath Bomb from LUSH for $4.85. It’s both vegan- and eco-friendly. The vanilla scent will ease your mind and flecks of Fair Trade cocoa butter will melt away in the tub leaving your skin soft and supple.

5. Frizz Fix

If you’re like many eco-minded women, you probably already have an aloe vera plant in your kitchen – it helps filter the air in your home and is a wonderful natural burn remedy. But Kathryn Santoyo, of EarthFlow Design Works, says it’s a great natural frizz fighter for your hair, too. Cut small bit of the leaf off and use the gel that you find inside. Rub it on your hands and apply to hair to smooth it, tame curls, or comb through wet hair to tame flyaways. If you’re not into taking the gel straight from the plant, you can buy it bottled at your local health food store.

6. Go for the Glow

Need another reason to up the ante on your fitness routine? Simply going for a run, or a walk, playing a sport or chasing after your kids can help improve your skin, no fancy creams required. Exercise helps you relax overall, which in turn eases tension in your face (think fewer crow’s feet and expression lines). Sweating it out can also help your skin rid itself of toxins like air pollution or even chemicals from beauty products. A study in the British Journal of Medicine also found that exercise can shave 10 to 12 years off your age. And you can’t forget that natural rosy glow you have post-workout.

7. Fresh Hair Treatment

Want to infuse your dry, damaged, dull hair with shine and life? Moni Schifler, of blog Vegetarian on the Cheap, suggests mashing up a few fruits that you have around like bananas, melons, berries and avocados. Mix it all up with a little olive or coconut oil. Then spread it evenly on your hair and wrap it all up in a warm, moist towel. Hang out for 30 minutes then wash as usual.

8. Tea Trick

The ‘old tea bags on the eyes trick’ might not be anything new, but Schifler gives reasons to try it again. The next time you drink a cup of green tea, don’t throw out the used tea bag. Instead put it in the refrigerator until the next time you need some eye relief. “The tannins in tea act as an astringent to help shrink puffy eye tissue,” Schifler says. And the cool temperature will add to the effect.

9. Root Refresh

You know that box of baking soda that’s been parked in the back of your fridge for months keeping it fresh? That’s not all it can do. The experts at Arm & Hammer tout its ability to clean everything from your house to your hair. Yes, your hair. Add a quarter-sized pile to your shampoo (sulfate-free of course) and it’ll help remove any built up residue left behind by styling products (especially if you haven’t fully weaned yourself off the less-than-green brands). The result – an amazing hair day with extra bounce and shine.

10. Sweet Swap

Want better skin? Swap your morning blueberry muffin for a pile of fresh blueberries. According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, a diet high in sugar can damage collagen, increasing the effects of aging. Blueberries, on the other hand, are loaded with vitamin C, which helps to build collagen and anthocyanins, which help battle free radicals.

Article from http://www.adistinctiveworld.net/10-eco-friendly-ways-to-pamper-yourself-on-a-budget/

Overnight Oats

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I first discovered overnight oats thanks to ohsheglows.com There are many great recipes on her site and several overnight oat recipes.

As with everything, I created my own recipe from her original overnight oat recipe. I call this Sara’s Overnight Oats

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large banana, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups fresh blackberries
2 fresh nectarines, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and place in refrigerater overnight. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Can be kept in refrigerater for up to 3 days.

Ways to Create Positive Energy

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Do what you enjoy and love – Passion and enthusiasm increases your energy. When selecting a job, look for one where you can use your passions and enthusiasm. Your best work will be accomplished by utilizing your natural talents and interests. Your job will seem less like work and you will be getting paid for what you enjoy doing.

Exercise your heart – Exercising causes blood flow and circulation, thus creating positive energy. You’ll naturally feel better knowing your body is capable of exercising. Regular exercise keeps your energy levels high.

Get energized through your diet – To sustain your energy level, a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, low fat and lots of fiber is a sure way to maintain that positive level. Keep away from white sugar, as it will cause peeks in energy and defeat the purpose.

Work towards the end result – Inevitably you will encounter stress which will decrease your energy flow. If you keep the end result in mind, you can change the stress to motivation in achieving your goal. Stay energized to reach your goal and turn negative energy into positive energy.

Wear a smile – A warm smile is quite infectious. It improves the mood of others around you as well as yourself. When you walk around with a smile on your face, people reciprocate and pass the feeling around. This will make your day much more pleasant and enjoyable.

Increase positive energy through body language – Positive body language subliminally creates an energy field around you. Project positive non-verbal clues such as an upright posture, uncrossed arms, firm handshake, good eye contact, calm behavior, etc.

Looking good – Dressing well has a big impact on how you feel. It also projects an image to others that you are worth paying attention to. Not to mention the compliments will boost your energy and also your ego.

Beware of energy suckers – These are folks that just want to chit-chat without purpose. But be polite in doing so without creating negative energy. We all know someone who we would much rather avoid, than engage in such trivial discussions.

Great minds think alike – If you can find a group of people who think along the same lines as you, the benefits will multiply exponentially. Not only do have an instant support group, but one that will help you build, advance and achieve your goals faster. A synergistic group is difficult to come by. So if you find one… cherish it.

Practice positive introspection – Set aside some time every so often to embrace all the wonderful qualities you possess and use in your daily activities. These generally include your skills, attitudes, approach, generosity, ability to love, etc. Once you realize that you make valuable contribution to the society and your family with these qualities you tend to continue with these and feel positive energy surging in your activities. You could effectively deal with your problems with positive energy and enthusiasm with these simple tips.

Vegan Bread Bowls

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1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 t salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 c warm water

Mix yeast and sugar into warm water, let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Then mix in with other ingredients, do not over mix.

Knead until completely incorporated.

Divide in half, form into balls. Lightly press the bottom to create a flat surface on the bottom of your bowl. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 1.5 hours then bake at 375 for 20 – 22 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack, then slice the top off and hollow out to create your bowl and fill with whatever you like. I filled mine with vegan black bean chili.

11 Simple Ways to Save the Ocean from Turning into Plastic Soup

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Greenpeace USA posted this to their facebook page. I felt it was worthy enough to share. Please read and share. We can all make a difference.