Friday, December 30, 2011

Artichoke Dip

My sister Kathy makes a baked artichoke appetizer that's too good to pass up. So my goal with this recipe was to use that as inspiration and make it every bit as delicious, but vegan. This dip can be served hot, cold or heated on top of slices of a baguette.

Artichoke Dip

1 garlic clove
1/2 C raw cashews
1 t fresh lemon juice
2 6oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts
pinch of onion powder
crackers or baguette for serving

In a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely minced. Add the cashews and process until the cashews are chopped small but not finely processed. Add the remaining ingredients, picking the artichoke hearts out of the jars and transferring only the oil that comes with them. Pulse until the the ingredients are well mixed.

You can serve the dip either hot or cold with crackers or a sliced baguette. To warm it up, put it in an oven proof dish and set it in a 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes. If you want to serve it on toast, slice up 1/2 of a small baguette, place the slices onto a sheet pan and put it into a 350 degree oven. Keep an eye on it. The slices will toast quickly. Remove the baguette slices and put the dip on top of each slice. Place it back into the oven and heat for 5 minutes. Serve.

Note: The photo isn't mine.

Stuffed Artichoke Hors d'oeuvre

This appetizer is elegant, delicious, easy and fun to make. It's perfect for the New Year celebration. I posted it this past summer and it has become a favorite recipe of mine. You'll have to try it and tell me what you think!

Stuffed Artichokes

1 can of artichoke hearts
2 T olive oil
2 T onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/2 C. packed baby spinach leaves, chop finely
6 T diced oyster mushrooms
1/8 t sea salt
3 T panko bread crumbs
fresh lemon

Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them in half. Scoop out the center of each half and mince the center leaves that you've removed. Set aside. Dry the in-tack artichoke hearts with a paper towel so little moisture is left.

In a saute pan, add the oil and heat to medium low. To that, add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach, chopped artichoke, mushrooms and sea salt and saute until the mixture is cooked down nicely (only a few minutes). Finally, add the bread crumbs and heat through.

Scoop out enough mixture to fill each half of the artichoke hearts. It will work out perfectly if you don't overfill. Set the stuffed artichoke hearts onto a baking sheet and broil until the tops are nicely browned. Squeeze lemon over the top of them when they come out.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black Bean Dip

Here's a healthy appetizer for the coming New Year festivities! Happy New Year everyone!!

Black Bean Dip

1 clove of garlic
1 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. diced green chiles
2 t. fresh lime juice
1/4 C. salsa
1 T. rough chop cilantro
2 green onions, white and some green chopped

corn chips or veggies for dipping

Process the garlic in a food processor until minced. Put the remaining ingredients, except for the green onions, in the food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the green onions in serve with chips and/or veggies.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tomato Confit

This is a dish I made for Christmas dinner. It's easy, beautiful and a wonderful side... plus, it's red! But one of the best features of this recipe is that it can be made in advance and served at room temperature if you don't have enough space in the oven. It's perfect for entertaining. Enjoy!

Tomato Confit

12 - 15 small tomatoes - about 2 inches round
6 basil leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
enough extra virgin olive oil to come about half way up baking dish
sea salt
freshly cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in a large pot and get an ice water bath ready in a bowl. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a small X on the bottom of each one. Put the tomatoes into the boiling water and time for about 15 seconds or wait until you see the skin begin to crack. Immediately remove the tomatoes and place them into the ice water bath to cool. Peel and core the tomatoes once cooled. Place the basil, thyme and garlic in the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes, core side down, on top of the herbs and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Pour the olive oil into the dish until the oil comes nearly half way up the side of the tomatoes. Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool the tomatoes and place them in an airtight container. Remove the garlic and herbs from the olive oil and pour the oil into the container with the tomatoes. Refrigerate. This can be served at room temperature or you can reheat them before serving. They will last for 3 days refrigerated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Napa Valley Spiced Almonds

It's already the middle of December so I'm beginning to plan dinner for Christmas day. I'm also playing with ideas for appetizers and I think I'll be setting this dish out. It was two summers ago when my dear friend Meg shared this recipe with me. I posted it on my blog then and it has continued to receive a lot of attention, so I'm sharing it with you again. It's subtle, delicious and addictive!

Napa Valley Spiced Almonds

2 C almonds
2 t olive oil
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t turmeric
1/2 t fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the spices. Pour the olive oil over the almonds and toss to coat. Stir the spices into the almonds. Once the spices and almonds are combined and the almonds evenly coated spread them onto a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, checking often. Allow the almonds to cool before serving.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash

This time of year I will often roast acorn squash with a rub of Earth Balance and brown sugar. My family loves squash prepared this way but it's very sweet. This is a slightly different take on that recipe. It's still sweet, but not overwhelming so, and it's so simple it becomes an easy addition to any meal.

Roasted Acorn Squash 
Cook Time: 1 hour 

2 acorn squash
1/8 C maple syrup
2T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
1/4 t sea salt
freshly grated nutmeg
8 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and place the squash on a baking sheet with the cut sides up. In a bowl mix the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, honey and sea salt. Brush the cut sides of each squash with the mixture and grate nutmeg over the squash. Lay two sage leaves on top of each squash and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pull the squash out and baste. Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Repeat the basting one last time using up the liquid mixture and finish roasting for another 20 minutes or until tender.

Note: Once again, the photo isn't mine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Asparagus Soup

Tis the season, and as it approaches I seem to become interested in all things red and green. Hence, asparagus soup. This is a wonderfully yummy take on the non-vegan version. I included potato in the recipe to give the soup more texture, but if you don't like potatoes reduce by half. You'll still get the benefits, but with less potato flavor.

Asparagus Soup

2 T olive oil
1 C chopped shallot, 2 large
3 garlic cloves, minced
32 oz. vegetable broth
2 lbs. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t white pepper
1/8 t celery salt

Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until the shallot is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and celery salt. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Trim the woody ends off of the asparagus and discard. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, then peel and cube the potato. Add the cut asparagus and cubed potato to the stock and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the  asparagus and potato are tender. Once the vegetables are tender, either carefully transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Serve with croutons on top as a garnish.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Here's a recipe I posted last fall. I think it's worth repeating. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash (3 – 3.5 lbs) - peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 t. fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (just a little)
3 leeks - white parts only, washed well and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 C. coarsely chopped cauliflower
2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 bouillon cubes, low sodium vegan vegetable (I used Rapunzel, one cube for every 2 cups of water)
6 C. water
3 large leaves of sage, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay aluminum foil on the bottom of a sheet pan and spray it with Pam. Pour the cubed butternut squash onto the sheet pan and lightly spray the top of the squash with Pam. Sprinkle the squash with the salt and cracked pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, add the chopped sage and stir. Continue roasting for 15 minutes or more until soft.

In a large pot simmer the water, bouillon cubes, celery, cauliflower and leeks until the vegetables are tender. Once the squash and sage are finished in the oven, spoon them into the pot with the other vegetables. Remove from the heat and blend the soup in batches using a blender or food processor until nearly smooth. Serve.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is a raw, dairy free substitute for (you guessed it) cream!  There are many recipes out there for cashew cream, they vary slightly but basically it's the same process in each. The first time I made cashew cream I used the recipe from Tal Ronnen's cookbook, "The Conscious Cook."  He explains the process well, but his recipe makes a lot of cream. I would rarely use it up before having to throw it away. Since, I've been making it in smaller batches. This  recipe will yield between 1/2 - 3/4 cups of cream. Here's how I do it.

Cashew Cream

1 C raw cashews

The night before you need the cream, put the cashews into a bowl and cover them with water. Store the bowl of cashews in the refrigerator. When you need the cream, drain and rinse the cashews under cold water. Place them into a blender and cover them with about one inch of water. Blend  until smooth. This usually takes two or three minutes. Next, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve (if you have a Vita-Mix blender you won't need to strain it and you'll end up with 1 1/2 cups of cream). Once strained it should have the consistency of cream.

Note: It only keeps for two or three days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tomato Quinoa Soup

My daughter was living in Grand Rapids and found a restaurant that became a staple for her, Marie Catribs. We would eat there often and I fell in love with it too. It's a great restaurant that serves amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes. Not too long ago I ordered the soup of the day and by the third spoonful I made up my mind to try to duplicate it! Here it is. I hope you like it! And if you ever get to Grand Rapids, Michigan, it's worth your time to visit Marie Catribs. It won't disappoint! Check out her website.

Tomato Quinoa Soup

2 T olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3 leeks, white parts only, sliced 
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
6 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
32 oz. veggie broth
leaves from two sprigs of thyme
3 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 T parsley
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 C quinoa
1/2 C cashew cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
basil leaves for garnish, chiffonade

In a large stock pot saute the garlic, onion, leeks, celery, carrots and mushrooms until tender and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, broth, thyme, basil, parsley, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the quinoa and bring the soup to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cover. Simmer until the quinoa has cooked and the soup has thickened, about 10 – 15 min. Add the cashew cream and season to taste. Serve garnished with basil leaves.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vegan Mushroom Gravy

I made this gravy to drape over the mashed potato recipe in the previous post. It's very simple to make and a nice compliment to the potatoes. My family liked it so much, I've made over and over again!

Vegan Mushroom Gravy

2 T olive oil
1/4 C onion
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms
1 C vegetable broth
Sea salt & pepper to taste

In a saute pan heat olive oil and add the onions. As onions saute, slice the mushrooms and add to the saute pan. Saute vegetables browning the mushrooms. Once mushrooms are browned, add the broth mixing well. Remove half of the mushroom mixture putting it into a food processor. Process until smooth. Add back to the saute pan and season to taste.

Note: The pics are not mine... I need a new camera!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mashed Potatoes Parsnips and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

Every autumn I look forward to cooking and eating late harvest vegetables. I love all the flavors. I haven't made mashed potatoes in a very long time and with the change in weather I've been anxious to experiment making them. This is my vegan take on mashed russet potatoes... and its a family approved recipe!
Mashed Potatoes Parsnips and Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic

1 bulb of garlic
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the bulb. Lay the garlic bulb on top of a piece of parchment paper with a slightly larger piece of aluminum foil underneath. Drizzle the bulb with a couple teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Close the aluminum foil  and bake for 55 minutes. The cloves should be soft when pressed. Set aside and let cool as you finish the mashed veggies.

Mashed Potatoes, Parsnips and Cauliflower

2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
2 thin parsnips (or one large) peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 C cauliflower florets (heaping above the measuring cup), cut into 2 inch chunks
1/2 C Vegenaise
1 whole bulb of roasted garlic
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt to taste

Begin by bringing the potatoes and parsnips to a boil in pot of cold salted water. Add the cauliflower florets as the potatoes begin to become tender (after 10 - 15 minutes). Continue to cook until all veggies are tender. Drain and put back into the pot. Add the Vegenaise, roasted garlic and parsley. Mash and season to taste.

Note: The pictures are not mine.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breakfast Berry Smoothie

No matter how hard I try, I'm usually late getting out the door in the morning. I've tried all kinds of healthy fiber-filled breakfasts and it seems I always go back to smoothies. In an earlier post, I talked about the nutritional benefits of strawberries. Now I'd like to spend a little time on flax seed.

The following information on flaxseed is taken from the Mayo Clinic website. It explains the benefits of ground flaxseed in greater detail than I ever could.

"Most nutrition experts recommend ground flaxseed because your body is better able to digest it. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won't get all the health benefits.

Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans. Flaxseed is commonly used as a laxative (to improve digestive health or relieve constipation). Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels and, as a result, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Although flaxseed oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn't have the beneficial fiber that the seeds have."

This recipe can't be beat. It's quick, easy and halleluiah, it gets me to work on time!

Breakfast Berry Smoothie
Makes 1 large glass

1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 C fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut in half
1/2 C fresh raspberries
1/2 banana
1 T ground flax seed
1/2 C ice

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cold Busting Pineapple Juice

 I've had a juicer for nearly a year. I'm not an enthusiastic user, but whenever I make fresh juice I'm reminded just how much I love having this gadget in my kitchen. Recently I had a cold and I was feeling terrible for days never really making any progress, so I decided to try juicing. I made this juice once or twice a day. I know it made a difference in how quickly I recovered. 

There are only three ingredients in this recipe and all are helpful when you're feeling under the weather. Pineapple is a good source of Vitamin C and it fights bacterial and viral infections. Navel oranges are also high in vitamin C and strawberries surprisingly have higher levels of vitamin C and potassium than oranges. All of these fruits will give your immune system a boost, and juiced together they are delicious.

Cold Busting Pineapple Juice
Makes 1 large glass   

1 pineapple  (don't juice the core)
1 navel orange, peeled but leaving some of the white pith on
1 C fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut in half

Juice the pineapple, orange and strawberries. Stir, pour into a glass and enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's All About The Dessing... Ranch!

I have a daughter that only eats Ranch on her salads. In her world there is only one dressing and she'll go without a salad if Ranch isn't on the menu. So I set out to create something with a similar taste, texture and look, but more flavor and complexity. I don't like using soy products because they can be difficult to digest, so I turned to Vegenaise (the grape seed variety, but any Vegenaise will do) and threw in an avocado. This dressing is wonderfully creamy and perfect for people who aren't fans of vinegar and oil dressings. It can be put together quickly and gives you a nice alternative. Does my daughter like it? Yes!

Vegan Ranch Avocado Dressing 
Enough dressing for a large salad for four

1 avocado
1/2 C. Veganaise
1 t dried minced onion
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1 t - 1 T drained capers (optional)
pinch of white pepper
sea salt to taste

In a small bowl smash the avocado with the back of a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients combining well. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the dressing so air doesn't get to it, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Pour dressing over salad greens and toss until coated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm Feeling Honored!

I am proud to be the recipient of the Liebster Award!  The word Liebster means 'Beloved' in German--and a show of love and support is what this award is all about.  The idea is to bring attention to new blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 

The rules of winning this award are the following:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know
by leaving a comment at their blog.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet!

A huge THANK YOU to Tracy at Eating Smart for awarding me this honor! Please visit her amazing blog; you'll be glad you did.

These amazing people have not only been very supportive of my blog, but they write beautiful blogs as well.  Please check them out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegan Stuffed Green Peppers

Vegan Stuffed Green Peppers
Serves 4 

1-2 T olive oil
1 C chopped white onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 C sliced button mushrooms
1/2 C sliced celery
1 package of Trader Joe's Beef-Less ground beef (12 oz.)
1  28oz. can of diced tomatoes
1  6oz. can of tomato paste
1 T vegan worcestershire sauce
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 C brown rice
water for cooking rice
4 green peppers
Panko bread crumbs for topping

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the brown rice according to the package directions. While the rice is cooking, in a saute pan heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery. Saute until the vegetables are tender, between 5 - 10 minutes. Add the package of "beef-less" ground beef and stir into the vegetables. Once the "beef-less" ground beef and the vegetables are well combined, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powder. Gently simmer. Once the rice is cooked add it to the vegetable mixture. Cut the top off of the green peppers and fill each with the mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Lightly oil a baking dish. Place the peppers open side up on the baking dish and bake covered for 30 - 35 minutes.

You can see where I got the idea... ;-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Read about Thrive Foods!

I was given a copy of "Thrive Foods" to review and I have nothing but good things to say about it. The book was written by Brendan Brazier, a former professional triathlete and creator of Vega Foods, a line of whole food nutritional products. This is his third book and it's full of  referenced nutritional information and recipes. 

Because I am interested in cooking, at first glance my focus was on the recipes (there are 200!). In it you'll find recipes for smoothies, salads, soups, dips, spreads, dressings, snacks, breakfasts, main courses and desserts. I've made several, one of which I've included in this post. All were fresh tasting and delicious. 

A lot of the recipes are raw or low-temperature cooked foods and all are carefully created for optimum nutrition and taste. Brendan also includes recipes created by well-known chefs whose focus is either vegetarian or vegan, such as Tal Ronnen, of Oprah fame, and recipes from well known restaurants like Candle 79 in Manhattan, New York. 

This is a picture of the Black Bean Soup from Candle 79. It's like eating a bowl of fresh.

As a cookbook Thrive Foods is well worth buying, but it's much more than that. Brendan begins his book by highlighting the benefits of a plant-based diet. He provides information on the components of good nutrition and the nutrient-dense foods that provide them. He explains why nutrient dense foods are essential for feeling and looking our best, as well as having the sustainable energy we need to make it through the day. He also demonstrates how eating a plant-based diet is good for our planet, something we should all be paying attention to.

Now for the fun part!! Go to Brendan's Facebook page  where you can download a Thrive Foods introduction and three recipes! Or... you can pre-order Thrive Foods on Believe me, you'll be glad you did!

I want to thank Cierra at Vega for the opportunity to review the book and make some delicious dishes!

NOW... Here's a recipe for you to try. It's Garlic Thyme Sweet Potato Oven Fries... it's quick, easy and yummy. Enjoy!
Garlic Thyme Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 2

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 T. coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds
1 T. thyme
1 1/2 T. coconut oil
1/2 T. basil
sea salt to taste

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges or chunks. In bowl, combine the garlic, pumpkin seeds, thyme, coconut oil, basil, and sea salt.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, stirring with your hands to make sure all the pieces are covered with the mixture.
  • Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking tray lightly oiled with coconut oil; bake for about 35 minutes.
  • If you prefer the potatoes crispier, leave in the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Black Beluga Lentils with Spinach and Mushrooms

Lentils are an excellent source of protein. They have the 3rd highest level of protein by weight of any plant-based food. They are also a great source of fiber as well as being inexpensive and plentiful. I love the look of these black beluga lentils and I find the taste is more desirable than that of green or red lentils. If you add rice as a side dish, you'll end up with a tasty dinner that provides complete protein.

Black Beluga Lentils with Spinach and Mushrooms
Serves 2-4

1T olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2T finely minced carrot
2T finely minced red onion
2T finely minced celery
1/2 C. black beluga lentils
1 1/2 C. veggie stock

In a sauce pan saute the garlic, carrot, onion and celery for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the black beluga lentils stirring to coat the lentils with the oil. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer very gently for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender. As the lentils are about half way thru cooking, begin sauteing the mushrooms.

2T olive oil
4 oz. of shittake mushrooms or wild mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 lg. packages of spinach
Sea salt to taste

In a saute pan heat 1T olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender. Set the mushrooms aside and add 1T olive oil and the sliced garlic. Saute until fragrant then add the spinach handfuls at a time as it cooks down. Season with salt to taste. Plate the dish with spinach and garlic on the bottom, black beluga lentils over the spinach and mushrooms on the top.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Last Heart Attack

Yesterday, my uncle informed me of a program on CNN about heart disease and diet...
 "Saturday at 5 pm on CNN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosts a program on overcoming heart disease in America---even brings up Dr. Esselstyn, who says if America followed his program, there would be no more heart attacks. The program is an interesting summary of what we currently know about heart disease, the seriousness of heart surgery, and steps you can take to decrease your chances of being under cardiac arrest...."

I have a friend whose husband recently suffered a heart attack and I bet a lot of you have friends or family dealing with heart issues. It's worth an email or phone call to let them know about, The Last Heart Attack. I've included a link so you can see the summary of the program along with a short video of Dr. Gupta interviewing former President Clinton.

Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack at 8p and 11p ET on Saturday, September 3rd on CNN.

Be healthy

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fresh Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

There's little better in this world than fresh sweet corn and tomatoes at the end of the summer. This is a recipe I posted two years ago. I made it again recently and its wonderful.

Fresh Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

Serves 4
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. olive oil
1 t. balsamic vinegar
¼ t. sea salt
¼ t. black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

½ C. uncooked whole wheat orzo
¼ C. red onion, diced
1 C. tomato, diced
4 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off
½ C. cucumber, diced
Italian flat-leaf parsley

Cook the orzo according to directions. While the pasta is cooking make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients. Drain the pasta and put it into a bowl. Spoon a little of the dressing over the pasta, stir to coat and set aside to cool. Prepare the vegetables. When the orzo is cool, mix the orzo, vegetables and remaining dressing together. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Forks Over Knives


If you follow my blog, you know that  two years ago my Uncle Gene encouraged me to read Dr. Esselstyn's book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.” That was the beginning for me. My uncle has often contributed important articles to this blog that have taught me a lot, but from his first recommendation alone, many things in my life have changed. I've become more conscious about what I eat and the result is I've changed my health in impressive ways, and so can you.

Today, many people are dealing with health issues unnecessarily. Young children are being diagnosed with diabetes and obesity. We hear a lot about heart disease and stoke and the operations or medications that treat them. And still, knowing we can cure obesity, "the incidence of diabetes alone has risen by a third since 1990, and treatment costs $100 billion a year." I'm thankful for modern medicine, but if we can avoid or lessen some health issues simply by changing what we eat, I'm thankful for that too.

In the documentary, Forks Over Knives, the research and practical experiences of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn are explained. These doctors demonstrate that a whole foods, plant based diet can control and even reverse some diseases. Dr. Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University and author of "The China Study", and Dr. Esselstyn, a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, discovered that diets high in animal proteins and processed foods are detrimental to our health. Their research showed that heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers could be prevented and sometimes reversed with diet alone. 

I saw Forks Over Knives with one of my beautiful daughters at a theater not too long ago, and I understand that the DVD will be available for purchase beginning August 30th. It's something you should see in addition to reading their work. You can order the DVD on Amazon, but if you would like a chance to win a copy of it along with the books, "The China Study," and "Forks Over Knives Companion Book," go to the blog post:  and enter the contest. The deadline is September 2nd.

Good luck and good health.

The quote was taken from the forward of, "Eat To Live," and written by Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.