Tag Archives: food

Vegetarian Grilling: Vegetable Tofu Skewers

One of my go-to dinners for summertime is grilled veggies. There are so many great vegetables to choose from and they taste amazing over an open flame. As summer winds to a close and fall puts that nip in the air … I can’t help but want to wander out to my grill and give it some more love before it’s too cold to use it. (Though, I’m not afraid to grill year-round.)

Being constantly busy with work and school, I need quick healthy meals to keep my body in working order. Here’s a little diddy I came up last night. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. (No leftovers! Ha!)

What you will need:

  • 1 pkg. of baked tofu
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 container of mushrooms (I chose crimini)
  • 3 skewers
  • spices
  • salt & pepper
  • oil/butter/non-stick spray

Serves two. All ingredients are organic.

Note: Tofu tends to stick, so make sure it’s properly oiled before putting it on the grill.

Let’s get started!!!

  • Pre-heat the grill.
  • Wash the zucchini, and slice into 3/4 inch thick rounds.
  • Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp cloth to get the dirt off, cut the stems off.

  • Open up the tofu and cut into about 1 inch chunks (I got 8 chucnks out of mine).
  • Sprinkle mushrooms and zucchini with salt, pepper, and your favorite grilling spices. I used pepper, garlic salt, and McCormick’s “Savory” blend.
  • Skewer your items in whatever order you choose.

  • I melted a couple tablespoons of butter mixed with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to brush on my veggies so they don’t stick to the grill grates. You can use whatever you want to keep it from sticking.
  • I turned my grill all the way to low beause it runs hot, but probably somewhere between low to medium will be perfect for cooking these.

  • Turn every 3-5 minutes, so they get a little char on them, but don’t burn. Brush them again with the buttler/oil mixture,
  • Remove after about 15 minutes and serve!

They are tasty on their own, or you can dip them in teriyaki sauce. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite food to grill?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

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Apple Ring Pancakes

On the hunt for a healthier breakfast and craving pancakes simultaneously lends itself to a predicament that most of us face. What to eat for breakfast that’s healthy and tasty?

As I perused my kitchen for my available selection of ingredients, I noticed I had some apples, and thought to myself “What if I dip the apple in the pancake mix and then cook it?” And this is what happened:

What you will need:

  • Enough pancake mix for your family or you can use this recipe to make pancakes from scratch. I used 1 cup of pancake mix and prepared it according to the directions.
  • Enough apples for your family, peeled, cored, and sliced into rings. I used one large apple for me and Sugar.
  • Hot buttered skillet.Buttered skillet
  • Real maple syrup.

Method:

  1. Prep pancake mix. Batter
  2. Peel, core, and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick rings. Apple
  3. Dip the apple ring in the batter. Let the excess drip off. Apple dip
  4. Cook in a buttered skillet until golden brown. Apple fryApply cooking
  5. Serve with maple syrup and your favorite sides. Breakfast 2
  6. Mmmmmmm!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

Coralganics

I was just scrolling through my Facebook feed and came upon this wonderful video of a little girl named Coral who has some important questions for Dr. Oz. Since I haven’t watched TV in over 3 years, I don’t know who Dr. Oz is, but I love this little girl’s message. More children should be as educated about our food supply as she is. Check it out!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

5 things I’ve been loving lately

Me, on a hike with my family at Castle Rock.

Me, on a hike with my family at Castle Rock.

Life catches up with us … sometimes, it feels like life is moving in fast-forward. At least for me. If you’re busy … you know what I’m talking about. But it’s OKAY! We can still be healthy and green even when life is spinning out of control. It takes a little discipline and the drive to be healthy, but with a little effort, we can reap what we sow.  Below is a list of the five things I have been loving during the whirlwind I call “my life.”

#1 – Book stores!

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live the local book stores are meeting their end and succumbing to the digital era. It is unfortunate to watch one of the great legacy’s of our  time whither and die, but I suppose it is a part of the cycle of life.

I have an absolute love for collecting books … I may do a little more collecting than reading, but who is keeping score? In my collecting spirit I took advantage of an offer from one of my friends to meet her at one of the book stores that is closing in our area for their 50% sale. I picked up some wonderful books about gardening and herbal medicines. I am very excited to add them to my collection. I have always fancied myself as an apothecary…

At any rate … go check out your local book store and find some great deals on books about subjects you want to learn more about.

2. Homemade deodorant!

Okay, so people look at me sideways when I tell them I make my own deodorant and that I am wearing it at the present moment. I think they are wondering if I smell and if they should take a step back. To be honest, I was apprehensive at first, but I was sick of using the commercial stuff that I knew was slowly poisoning me … I got to the point where I would rather smell bad than die. Logical, right?

So I saw this post for Primal Pit Paste … so I began reading about it. It looked like it would work, so I read the ingredients and was shocked when I realized I had all the ingredients in my pantry. And in my apothecary spirit I skipped to my kitchen to begin creating. I whipped up a small batch, poured it into an old deodorant container and began using it. I loved it so much I made some for my Sugar. And he loves it! In fact – the dark marks under his arms have disappeared (which I think were caused by the toxins in the commercial deodorant).

Honestly, I’m hooked. I’m going to be making some more for a friend soon – can’t wait for her to try it out!

3. Taking my supplements!

I don’t know about you, but I am the worst about taking my supplements. I don’t know if it just the pure rebellion bubbling up … but I always “forget.” In fact, I just now realized that I have two maca and a vitamin B complex in my pocket as I type this. Yes, I just took them out of my pocket and swallowed them. (Good girl!) When I do take them, I feel so much better.

Truth is … most of us are deficient in the nutrients we truly need from our diets. For me I like taking vitamins B and D, evening primrose oil, maca, spirulina, flax oil, safflower oil and borage  oil. Consult with your local homeopath or doctor about what supplements are right for you. Every body is different.

4. Information on Facebook!

Recently I have liked the following pages to keep me up-to-date on the happenings of our world:

  • NPR
  • Oh She Glows
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • DIY Natural
  • Wellness Mama
  • Rural Spin

And I have liked some our local businesses such as co-ops and raw food chefs. Check it out … there is a world of knowledge to be had!

5. Down time!

Wait, what? What is this so-called downtime?

I know, I know … I know. It is truly the last thing a type-A, busy college student, who is working has time for. However, we are animals, not machines. If we don’t take the time to rest and relax, we’re gonna break, and we’re gonna break hard!

In the interest of living past my 30’s I have decided that taking some down time is a good thing. So – what have I been doing in this down time?

  1. Writing this blog … I know, it’s been a while. 
  2. Joined a book club to re-learn the love of reading that college has destroyed.
  3. Naps
  4. Going outside … just to love the outside a little more. Nature is truly beautiful. If you want your mind blown about nature watch “Fractals” you will never look at a cloud or a tree the same. 🙂
  5. Talking to my loved ones … I know a lot of people might do this frequently, but I don’t live near my family, and I don’t have any time to talk that isn’t between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It’s just nice to connect with the people you love the most and hear what is going on their lives.

What things have you been loving lately?

Until next time, I send you peace love and good energy!

~Sharon

 

How to Make Your Own Organic Kale Chips!

Kale ChipsI have fallen into the kale chip craze, and I may need a rehabilitation program to get over how amazing this snack is. I wasn’t sure if I would be a fan of the crispy version of the bitter “super food,” so I journeyed to my local grocery store to purvey their selection of kale chips.

One brand was a curry flavor and did not look appetizing. Next, I found a vegan cheese version called Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale Chips. This one looked yummy, plus they were on sale, so those came home with me. As I was cooking dinner that night, I popped open the box and started munching on these leafy chips … and to my surprise, they were delicious! I was surprised by the flavor and how addicting they were. I nearly ate the entire box while making dinner!

While I was impressed with this crispy delights, I was not impressed with the price tag of nearly $8 per 2.5 ounce box. So, I did what any modern urban hippie girl does … she makes her own. Now, this was my first stab at it. I’m sure I could improve the recipe, finagle with with type of kale leaf, change up the spice blend, but I have to say … I am pleased with my first batch, and have been happily munching on my green crisps ever since.

What you will need:

  • one bunch of organic kale, any kind
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • smoked paprika
  • nooch
  • cooling racks

The Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F
  2. Wash kale leave thoroughly. Trim off large stems/ends. Dry leaves as best you can.
  3. I left my leaves whole since I have a very curly kale to work with. But you could tear the leaves into more bite sized-pieces.
  4. Put kale into a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. It does not take a lot of oil to give the kale a good coating.
  5. Lay your leaves out in a single layer on the cooling racks.552
  6. Sprinkle with desired spices. I did two difference versions: 1. salt, pepper, nooch 2. salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, tiny bit-o-nooch.
  7. Put the racks of kale into the oven for 2-3 hours. I think about 2.5 hours was the best for my chips … just keep an eye on them. You can check for done-ness by sampling a small edge. You want them crisp, but not too crisp.560

I will have to say – both flavors are phenomenal, and you can come up with a million more flavor combinations.

This is something that you can easily make while you’re studying, cleaning the house, or just relaxing for the evening.

If you’ve ever had en experience with kale chips, please comment below. Did you like them/not like them? Have you ever made them yourself? Let me know – I would love to hear your experiences.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Goat-Cheese Mushroom Tart

Oh boy is this a decadent treat! This mushroom tart I only whip up on special occasions … since it’s pretty fattening with the butter, cheese, and pastry. Everything in moderation  right? Right! However, it is a wonderful dish to serve at a vegetarian dinner party.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Sue Ashworth.

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces frozen filo pastry, thawed (I used puff pastry because it takes less butter/fat)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 T hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 ounces of mixed mushrooms, such as buttons, cremini, oyster and shiitake.
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces of goat cheese, softened
  • salt & pepper
  • springs of parsley for garnish
  1. Cut the sheets of filo pastry into pieces about 4 inches square, and use them to line 4 individual tart pans, brushing each layer with melted butter. Line the pans with foil or baking parchment and baking beans. Bake is a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 6-8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove the tart pans from the oven and take out the foil or baking parchment and beans carefully. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. (In the alternative, use whatever kind of crust you want or prefer. I use puff pastry. I simply thaw it and cut it to the size of my tortilla bowls and bake until golden brown.)
    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacks

    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacksSee! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

    See! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

  2. Put any remaining butter into a large saucepan with the hazelnut oil, and fry the pine nuts until golden-brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. (I just cooked them in with my mushrooms – I was being lazy!)
  3. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.117119
  4. Spoon an equal amount of goat cheese into the base of each cooked tart. Divide the mushrooms between them, scatter the pine nuts on top.120
  5. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to heat through, and then serve the, garnished with sprigs of parsley. Serve with a small side salad … or in my case a side of Creamy Baked Fennel.125

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Learn something new every day

There’s always room for improvement, right? I know I am certainly not perfect, and there are always things I can do to improve my life. I think one of the most important components of improving one’s life is through education. We are never too old (or young!) to learn new ways to take care of the precious vessel we live in. But, we are all too busy, right? Wrong! Small changes can make a big impact!

Recently, I have been catching up on some health/food documentaries that I have been meaning to watch for a while now. I highly recommend BOTH of these films: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change. Both movies provide great insight into what happens to our bodies when we eat. I won’t spoil the films for you if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching them.

My takeaways from these films:

  • We are an over-fed, undernutritioned society. We eat TONS of foods that have little to no nutritional value, and we consume little of the foods that have the most nutritional value. Example: TONS of cheeseburgers, and a tiny bit of salad.
  • JUICE MORE!!! In our house, we usually juice once a day, usually before dinner. We each drink a giant glass of leafy greens, cucumbers, and celery juice. Watching these films has prompted me to juice in the morning, too! So, before I go to sleep, I cut up apples, oranges, grapefruits, carrots, beets and other goodies, so that when I wake up – instead of morning coffee, I have morning juice!
  • Stop eating sugar!!! Not just refined sugar … but also: organic sugar, bread (yes, bread is metabolized as sugar!), pasta, rice, waffles, coffee (the way I drink it – it is SO sweet), potatoes (yes, potatoes are metabolized as sugar!), pizza, muffins, pancakes, rolls, biscuits, english muffins, and anything wheat. This one is going to be hard for me …
  • Replace my coffee with tea. This one is not going to happen over night. So far, I’ve gone four days with no morning coffee … I’ve had tea … and there have been no meltdowns. I did have an afternoon coffee yesterday … but at least I put it off until then. (PROGRESS not PERFECTION!)
  • Move your body and get it outside! We are humans. We were born to live in the wild – our bodies need to be outside in the fresh air walking or doing something. Even a 30 minute walk – walk your dog, take the kids to the park, anything! Get outside and get moving. If you do this 3 times a week (really, 1.5 hours is not too much to ask for the sake of your health) you will feel better and have more energy.
  • Never, under any circumstance, drink soda. The stuff is POISON in a can! The sugar is bad, the fake sugar is bad, the caffeine is bad, and the phosphoric acid deteriorates and weakens your bones.

How do you make progress toward your health goals? Have you ever seen either of the films I mentioned?

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

Creamy Baked Fennel

This is the recipe for the side dish I made on New Years Eve for myself and Sugar. In all honesty, I’ve never had fennel before, let alone cooked with it (somehow I missed the fennel bus when I was younger). I was looking for something different and tasty … and when I saw this in my cook book – I thought I would give it a swing. This recipe is adapted from Sue Ashworth’s recipe in her book “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” which Sugar and I picked up at a used bookstore in Grass Valley, California, last summer.

This is the original recipe as it is out of her book. I did make some substitutions such as using non-dairy cream cheese and cashew milk as I tried to avoid any dairy in the process. I also used panko bread crumbs in place of traditional bread crumbs. Substitute or not at your pleasure.

Baked fennel tastes fabulous in this creamy sauce, flavored with caraway seeds. A crunchy bread crumb topping gives an interesting change of texture. 

Serves 4

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. low-fat soft cheese (I assumed this meant cream cheese)
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the lemon juice. Slice the fennel thinly, and add to the saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes to blanch, and then drain well. Arrange in a buttered oven-proof baking dish. (I used coconut oil spray)090 091 093 094 096
  2. Beat the soft cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream, milk and beaten egg, and whisk together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the fennel. 097 101 102
  3. Melt 1 T. of the butter in a small skillet, and fry the caraway seeds gently for 1-2 minutes, to release their flavor and aroma. Sprinkle over fennel. 104
  4. Melt the remaining bread crumbs, and fry gently until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the surface of the fennel. (to be honest and admit my lazy ways – I cooked the caraway seeds in with the breadcrumb topping.)118
  5. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
  6. Serve, garnished with sprigs of parsley. 124

I served this fennel alongside a goat-cheese and mushroom tart (recipe coming soon!).

So – how was my first fennel experience? It was tasty! The fennel was nice and tender in the creamy sauce and had a slight anise flavor to it. All and all is was savory and delicious. If you are like me, and have never had fennel before – this is a simple recipe to make and it makes a nice side dish to replace the “same old thing” in your routine.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

How to make your own cashew milk

Being one of those people who is allergic to dairy makes life tough. However, I feel so much better with cow’s milk out of my life – no more upset tummies! I love soy milk (even though there are reports out there that soy isn’t good for you), hemp milk, and sometimes almond milk … but those cartons are expensive ($4.98 for a quart of hemp milk!). When I found out how easy it is to make your own cashew milk … I about fainted. Not only is it quick and easy … it only requires two ingredients and will cost a fraction of what you’re paying for your non-dairy beverages. Get ready for your mind to be blown:

What you will need: 

  • blender
  • 1/2-2/3 cups of raw unsalted cashews (buy in bulk section of your grocery store)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 minutes of time

095Assemble your blender. Add cashews, water, and blend on high for 2 minutes. Bam! Cashew milk … not kidding you.098

This beauty will replace any milk or non-dairy milk. I use it to make oatmeal, my egg-less french toast, to dip cookies in, and anything else you like milk in. It has a light flavor and the taste of the cashew is nearly gone, but yet has a subtle richness. Try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

I made some cashew milk for hot cocoa the other night … it was a hit … everyone loved it. So, I challenge you to take out your blender, make some cashew milk, and tell me what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Easy Healthy Breakfast Cups

Hello Everyone! I hope your holidays were bright and filled with love!!!

Now that life has slowed down a bit, I can get back to blogging about the things I love and start developing new recipes to share with all of you. Here is one I whipped up last night for my Sweetie and my brother. I’m still on a no-egg kick … but these looked tasty … even that cats stole one off the counter! (Naughty kitties!)

I made this the night before for a quick “breakfast to-go” in the morning. Or you can make them up, not cook them, and then throw them in the oven when you wake up. Otherwise, make ahead, take two with you, warm them up at work and enjoy! No more eating crappy breakfast foods!

What you will need:

  • muffin tin
  • olive oil/butter
  • 6 slices of your favorite deli meat … I used tofurkey deli slices
  • 6 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • grated cheese – I used Romano
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin tin with oil or butter
  3. Line each cup with a slice of meat
  4. Crack an egg into each “meat cup”
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Top with grated cheese
  7. Cook for 20-30 minutes … or until the eggs are set. (check on them at 15 minutes and jiggle the pan to see if they’re still raw).
  8. Pop out of the tins and enjoy right away or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

785786What’s your favorite “breakfast to-go?”

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon