Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe

 This cheese sauce is used for EVERYTHING in our family.  We make vegan quesadillas, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and we top all casseroles and even pizza with this vegan cheese sauce.  It is very versatile, healthy, unprocessed and tastes delicious!
1 small yukon gold or russet potato
1/2 c. carrots
1/2 yellow onion
Fill a pan with about 1/2 inch of water, bring to a boil, put veggies in water, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer until veggies are soft. 15 minutes.

When veggies are soft, drain the water but reserve it, pour them into a blender and add:
3 Tb. water
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. cashews
Blend until creamy, You may need to use the reserved water to get the blender going, usually about 1/2 c. is enoough.  set aside to use with whatever you like!

Vegan Hamburger Helper Style Recipe

Vegan Hamburger Helper Style Recipe

Why in the world would I make a vegan hamburger helper recipe?

I'm sure many of you remember as a child or maybe when you were in college and didn't know how to cook, you ate hamburger helper.  Well, I am finding that many parents are struggling to get their kids to eat healthy food.  Kids love shell pasta, they love cheesy food and so I created the vegan hamburger helper recipe to satisfy the whole family! Mom is happy because the kids are eating carrots, onions, celery, and bean and the kids are happy because it tastes SO GOOD!  It's a win win situation!


If you are a college student living on a budget, used to mixing up a bunch of boxed garbage and maybe have decided to try and improve your is a recipe to fulfil that comfort food taste only good for you!

No matter what the situation, this hamburger helper style recipe is easy to make and tastes amazing!  I hope you enjoy it!

1 c. crumbled Lentil burgers
1/3 c. onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
3 Tb. vegetable broth
1 (15oz) can italian diced tomatoes
1 c. broccoli
1/3 c. carrot juice
1 Tb. italian seasoning
1 c. cheesey sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. shell pasta cooked
Sautee the onion, garlic and broccoli in vegetable broth until onion is translucent.  Add the carrot juice, diced tomatoes, italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt.  Simmer on low heat 15 minutes. Add cooked pasta, lentil burgers, and cheese sauce and stir until warmed.  Serve.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vegan Whole Wheat Fathers Day Waffles

I realize that I create a lot of gluten free recipes, but not all of my family eats gluten hubby does not.  These are special vegan whole wheat waffles I made for him on his special day!  I didn't want to use my expensive flours to make him waffles when I could just use my inexpensive whole wheat flour. 

I really wanted to make belgian waffles, however, they take a long time to make so this is my super fast, super delicious whole wheat waffle recipe.  I got up early Sunday morning and we ended up being a tad late for church because I spent my morning making waffles instead of doing my  makeup and hair for church.  All in all everything was fine, we made it in our seats in time for the kiddos to practice their song for fathers day and my husband had a wonderful day, of course it was only wonderful because of my delicious waffles ;-D

Maybe not, but these waffles are delicious!  Top them with strawberries, raspberries or get a little crazy and pour chocolate syrup on them.  Enjoy.

If you want another take on vegan waffles check out this blog's waffle recipe: Vegan waffles with Blueberry Syrup

Do you have a chocoholic Dad?  So do we! if you want to indulge dad's chocolate addiction for his Fathers Day breakfast check out the 2009 Fathers Day Vegan Chocolate Waffle Recipe! 

Whole Wheat Vegan Waffle Recipe
***Recipe tip, do not use anything other than soymilk, the milk needs to curdle and soy is the only one that will do this right.

We always serve breakfast in bed, what special tradition do you have for fathers day?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vegan Gluten Free Ramen Noodles

One of my greatest joys is creating amazing recipes based on childhood favorites!   I received a request for a healthy version of ramen noodles and so this is what I came up with.  My daughter inhaled this vegan gluten free ramen noodle soup! 

When I was in college spaghetti and ramen noodles were staple foods!  They are cheap, easy to make and not very  healthy, apparently those are the three requirements for anything consumed by college students.  

I also think it is important to find ways to create healthy recipes that kids will love to eat!  Kids LOVE noodles, there is no doubt about that!  My kids love noodles in anything!  Ramen noodles are perfect kid food.  Obviously ramen noodles are NOT healthy in the package.  First, they are certainly not vegan, they contain MSG, white flour and a host of ingredients that shouldn't even be considered edible!

This was truly an enjoyable recipe to create.  Of course I think you should add some spinach, carrots, celery, broccoli and other veggies to make this a truly healthy meal, but of course if you leave it as a traditional, yet vegan and gluten free version of ramen noodles it is certainly far healthier than the store bought version!

My greatest  hope is that you will enjoy this recipe as much as my family does! 

This recipe was created in response to a request, so if you have a favorite food you want a healthy version of let me know and I will create it for you!

Examples of recipes I've created:  Cracklin oat bran, pop tarts, doritos, girl scout thin mints......

Vegan Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles

Blueberry Muffin Green Smoothie Recipe

As the weather warms up........FINALLY!  I kept telling my husband I am sick of living in frozen tundra wasteland.  In fact, even into May we were getting snow and my patience with the weather was wearing very thin. I know it seems ridiculous to  live in a cold climate when you despise cold weather, and is.  But we came back to the freezing weather to be around family, however, I'm not sure how long that idea is going to  last. Anyway, on to the amazing recipe!  One of the things I cannot stand about green smoothie recipes is that most of them are, well, lets be  honest, DISGUSTING!

I have tried a TON of green smoothie recipes over the years, in fact for nearly 4 or 5 years I had a green smoothie every morning for breakfast so I guess I can consider myself fairly experienced in green smoothie making.  Every recipe I tried was either bitter or just plain nasty.  I'm sorry but who in their right mind wants to eat something that doesn't taste good?  I sure don't. I always made up my own green smoothie recipes because I wanted something I could enjoy, not choke down.

I realize that many raw foodists develop simple tastes and enjoy eating dandelion greens or a head of lettuce but that isn't going to cut it for the average person who is trying to move toward a healthier diet.  Part of eating is enjoying the flavor and texture of the food, it isn't just about getting in nutrients, it is also about the pleasure of eating.

Taste buds can change, and I get tired of hearing people complain about healthy food!  But this is about making healthy food taste great.  Green smoothies should taste great and a green smoothie can taste good with a little creativity.

Blueberry Muffin Green Smoothie
Perfect post workout smoothie!  DELICIOUS! Kids will LOVE this one!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

8 Benefits of a Healthy Diet

I took a break from recipe creation because I believe it is important to understand WHY we eat this way and why it is important to embrace a healthy diet and lifestyle.  I hope you enjoy the information.

I am commonly asked about the benefits of a healthy diet.  Many people feel confused about what a healthy diet should look like, what foods offer the greatest protection against disease and what foods to avoid.  There is a lot of confusion in the area of nutrition, especially due to severe conflicts of interest in government agencies, funding of scientific research etc....

The Truth is Hiding in Plain Sight

There are certain foods that offer ONLY health benefits and others that may contain calcium or protein but also carry a heavy health risk as well.  Obviously the foods that have only shown positive health effects are the foods we should base our diet around.....

8 Benefits of a Healthy Diet

1. Prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease
Photo by Patrick J. Lynch
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumption of more than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with:

·         24% lower ischemic heart disease mortality
·         27% lower cardiovascular disease mortality
·         15% lower all cause mortality

Dr. Esselstyn published a study in the Journal of Family Practice highlighting the powerful effect a healthy diet has on reversal of heart disease.  The patients in the study had severe coronary artery disease.  Of the patients who completed the 5 year follow up, the following benefits of a healthy diet were seen:

·         Cholesterol reduction from a mean 246 to below 150
·         Coronary artery disease was arrested in all participants
·         At the ten year check up those remaining on the diet had no coronary events.

2. Prevention and reversal of Type II Diabetes
               Photo by Sarah G.

A study published in Diabetes Care found that a low fat, plant based diet provided far superior control of diabetes than the standard American Diabetes Association diet: 
The following benefits of a healthy plant based diet were seen:

·         43% of those in the plant based diet group reduced their medication vs. only 26% in the ADA diet group
·         Excluding those who changed medications A1c dropped by 1.36 percentage points in the plant based diet group vs. .38 in the ADA diet group.
·         LDL cholesterol dropped 21% in the plant based diet group vs. 10.7% in the ADA diet group.

3. Reduced Risk of Developing Cancer

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study that found men who ate three or  more servings of cruciferous vegetables per week had a 41% lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ate less than one serving per week.  J Natl Cancer Institute. 2000;92(1):61-68
Diets rich in animal based foods have been associated with high levels of Insulin growth factor (IGF-1), a well known significant risk factor for cancer.
Brody J. Huge study of diet indicts fat and meat.  new York Times. 1990
Chen J, Campbell TC, Li J, Peto R. Diet, lifestyle and mortality in China: a study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties.  Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1990 p.894.
Another large study in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined 32,000 adults eating habits over the course of six years.  Researchers found those who avoided red meat but who ate white meat regularly had more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.
This study also found those who ate beans, peas and lentils a minimum of twice per week had 50% lower risk of colon cancer than those who did not consume these foods.
Singh PN, Fraser GE. Dietary risk factors for colon cancer in a low-risk population.  AM J Epidemiol. 1998;148:761-74
Heterocyclic amines, a by product of cooking meat and a known potent carcinogen is more concentrated in grilled chicken than in red meat.
 Cancer Res. 1995;55(20):4516-19
4. Weight loss and reduced risk of obesity
             Photo by Tony Alter

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated different diets, one low in calorie density and high in fruits and vegetables compared to a group consuming high calorie foods.  Individuals who consumed higher calorie foods had to eat TWICE As many calories in order to satisfy their hunger.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1983;37:763

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is one of several studies showing that whole grain intake decreases visceral abdominal fat and is associated with a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. 
According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber found in whole grains lowers cholesterol and glucose levels in the body and can improve blood glucose levels in diabetics.  High fiber foods signal the stretch receptors in the stomach indicating satiety with fewer overall consumed calories.

5. Reduced risk of stroke

The study published in the AJCN also found consumption of more than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day provided:  42% lower stroke mortality
In countries where the consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other whole plant foods are regularly consumed the incidence of high blood pressure and stroke is significantly less than in Western countries. 
Am J Public Health 1997 Feb; 87(2):160-8, Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Feb. 15;139(4):380-9

6. Improved digestion and reduced risk of diverticulosis

Diverticulosis was rare before the 20th century when dietary habits in westernized countries shifted from high fiber diets to low fiber diets.  In African countries where the diet is rich in fiber diverticulosis remains very rare.

7. Reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation

According to a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:  
"The combination of evidence suggests that carotenoids and antioxidant vitamins may help to retard some of the destructive processes in the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium that lead to age-related degeneration of the macula."

8.   Protection against osteoporosis
" Fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes are good sources of boron which stop calcium loss in the body.  Because milk is low in boron and high in protein and phosphorus it causes calcium loss in the body and is not a good osteoporosis fighting food. "
Nutrition Today Jan/Feb 1988; 4-7 FSAEB Journal 1987; 1: 394-397
"Greens, Kale, Broccoli, and Bok Choy are as good as milk in terms of their calcium absorbability. "
 Environmental Nutrition Jan. 1994 p. 3 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1990; 656-657

As you see the significant benefits of a healthy diet I know you must be wondering......What foods have shown in the research to offer these health benefits?
·         Fruits
·         Vegetables
·         Whole grains
·          Legumes
·         Nuts and seeds
The effects of increased vegetable and fruit consumption, including benefits against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, diverticulosis, and cataracts. Suggestions for dietitians to use in counseling persons toward increasing vegetable and fruit intake are presented. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996; 96:1027-1039.
The benefits of a healthy diet are very clear, the research is also very clear that the only foods that provide significant protection against these diseases are: Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Legumes, Nuts and Seeds. These foods should be the foundation of any healthy diet in order to reap the significant health benefits of a healthy diet. Hopefully this short article will inspire you to make the necessary dietary changes to reap the greatest health benefits.
I want to hear from you: What Health Benefits have you noticed after changing to a healthy diet?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Gluten-free Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes

I have been creating new recipes constantly and last night I simply could not think of what to make. All the sudden all the food in my cupboards seemed like nothing and then......viola.  This delicious little recipe came to my mind.  This gluten free summer pasta recipe is perfect for a hot summer evening.

This is simple, very easy to prepare and tastes amazing.  If you have fresh basil I would highly recommend topping it with fresh basil.  You certainly could make this recipe with whole wheat pasta if you prefer, it doesn't have to be a gluten free meal.

Makes 4-5 servings

Additional options:
sliced olives
bell pepper
broccoli chopped

Hearty Vegetable Stew with Gluten-Free Dumplings

This is a classic, hearty fall stew recipe with delicious gluten free dumplings.  Unfortunately, where I live it has been very cold, still freezing at night and the house has been particularly chilly as we have been heating it only with fires in the fireplace so this warm, hearty stew was perfect. I was surprised how delicious the gluten free dumplings turned out, I wasn't sure how well they would hold together being cooked in a liquid, but to my surprise the gluten free dumplings turned out amazing!  I hope you will enjoy this heart stew on a nice cool evening.


Scalloped Potatoes

If you  have been looking for a rich, creamy scalloped potato recipe....look no further.  This is a dairy free, soy free scalloped potato recipe that really delivers a delicious flavor.  My family prefers mashed potatoes and gravy.  Every Sunday without fail when I ask what we should have for dinner, I get a resounding mashed potatoes and gravy.  This Sunday I put my foot down and said, we've got to try something different.  I wanted to create a delicious comfort food recipe in a healthy way. 

This is comfort food at its finest, or as I always say, "Comfort food......Gone Healthy!"  This recipe is free of most allergens including dairy, wheat, gluten, and soy.  Enjoy this amazing dairy free, soy free scalloped potato recipe!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Ice Cream Recipe

This dairy free ice cream recipe is a family favorite!  It is so simple, if you are looking for a dairy free ice cream that does not need an ice cream maker this is it!  I decided to expand my dairy free soy free ice cream collection but I wanted something that would really soothe a chocoholic! 

This is a delicious combination of flavors, banana, peanut butter, chocolate chips.  You can't get much better than that!  This dairy free soy free ice cream is also sugar free.  The chocolate chips have sugar but you can certainly use grain sweetened chocolate chips or even cacao nibs if you want a truly sugar free dessert.  This dairy free, soy free ice cream really delivers the flavor you want from a rich ice cream without the fat, calories, sugar and other unwanted ingredeints. We served it over warm gluten free cookies and it was divine!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegan Honey Mustard Sauce

This was adapted from a honey mustard chicken recipe, I reduced the fat in the sauce and used sunburgers instead.  I cannot stand overly sweet honey mustard sauces that taste like dessert.  Be forewarned that this vegan honey mustard sunburger recipe is NOT very sweet, it is very rich and creamy with just a subtle hint of sweetness.

Vegan Soy-free Whip Cream

This vegan soy free whip cream recipe is my pride and joy! It is SOOO easy to make and yet SO delicious.  My son was licking the beaters, the bowl and eating it with a spoon.  You will love this recipe.

***If you cannot find UltraGel at your local grocery store, search it on the internet.  It is an excellent ingredient for gluten free and vegan baking.

Vegan Chocolate French Silk Pie

I took two different photos, the lighting wasn't great but this pie was amazing.  I made it with a gluten free brownie crust!  This is a very rich, decadent dessert. The topping is a beautiful, soy free vegan whip cream recipe!  I created the soy free vegan whip cream recipe just for this amazing dessert.  I have been searching for the perfect vegan whip cream recipe and have only found extremely complicated I created my own.

This soy free vegan whip cream recipe does require a special ingredient that may be a little hard to find for some, it can be ordered on the internet, but trust is SOOOOO worth it to make this decadent vegan soy free whip cream recipe!

Homemade Vegan & Gluten Free Rice a Roni Recipe

I have been busy in the kitchen creating some amazing recipes!  I was sitting at the computer the other day and thought, I used to LOVE rice a roni as a kid......I wonder if I could create a healthy version of rice a roni and another amazing recipe was created! My family flipped over this recipe, it was certainly on the top of everyones favorites list.  You have got to try this amazingly delicious, healthy, vegan version of rice a roni.

This is a healthy, vegan, gluten free rice a roni recipe!  You certainly can make it with whole wheat pasta as well, but I think those on gluten free diets will certainly appreciate a gluten free rice a roni option! DELICIOUS!  Skip the monosodium glutamate and junk found in the boxed version and make your own healthy rice dish!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Best Vegan Gluten-free Bean Burger Recipe

The Best Vegan Gluten Free Bean Burger Recipe

Store bought veggie burgers are expensive and loaded with unhealthy ingredients!  This little vegan bean burger is my husbands favorite!  It is SO easy to make, inexpensive and actually healthy.   If you are looking for the best gluten free bean burger recipe you must give this one a try.

Quick Easy Mexican Bowl Recipe

Healthy whole grain or gluten free tortillas can be extremely expensive.  I have a recipe for homemade tortillas, but in this collection I wanted something easy to prepare.  This mexican bowl recipe was created to give the delicious flavors or Mexican!  You can certainly take the time to make some homemade tortillas and roll it all up but this is delicious any way you serve it.

Vegan Mango Sunburger Stir Fry Recipe

One of the biggest questions people ask me, "Isn't it expensive to eat healthy?" 

Certainly NOT!

In fact, eating healthy is much CHEAPER than eating junk food.  If you eat old fashioned oats or steel cut oats in the morning topped with a little fruit, quinoa, millet, brown rice, yams or other grains topped with some fruit, that is a very inexpensive breakfast. Lunch can be a simple salad with homemade dressing topped with sunburgers or beans.  Dinner can be baked potatoes, salad, stir fry, brown rice, simple whole foods.

It is when you try and buy 'fancy' prepared food that your grocery bill sky-rockets.  Packaged foods will never be as healthy as whole foods prepared at home.  If you can minimize the packaged foods your grocery bill will be much lower. I created some delicious, very simple meals to show you just how easy it is it eat healthy AND cheap. 

Mango Stir Fry Recipe

This mango stir fry recipe was a HUGE hit with my family.  It is simple, very quick and delicious!  I am not a fan of most sweet and sour style Asian recipes because they are SO sugary it tastes like dessert to me.  This mango stir fry recipe is delicious with just a hint of sweet.