Yummy, Spinach and Cannellini Soup

With a few staples in the pantry you can create fresh and filling healthy meals by adding a seasonal ingredient or two.

Cannellini or white kidney beans, garlic, yellow onion and coconut oil are always on hand.

A bunch of fresh spinach added to a few simple staples puts this meal over the top.

Coconut oil, garlic and yellow onion sauté until soft and then add spicy and beans.

Add a few cups of water and allow the everything to simmer together.

I have been avoiding soup bases and bullion because they contain MSG…even the vegan brands, for the most part.

This dish doesn’t need it.

The richness of the coconut oil makes this soup tasty without any added chemicals.

This meal is very clean and filling.

Talk about cheap!

There is no excuse not to eat well when you can have a meal like this in minutes.

Enjoy and share!

Spicy Kale and Sweet Potato Stir Fry

This recipe is and anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory recipe that is hard to beat.

I really don’t know if you can eat any healthier than this.

Organic kale and sweet potatoes, garlic and coconut oil with crushed red pepper flakes.

This meal is fairly inexpensive, really.

Especially when you consider how much nutrition you get for the money and how filling this is.

Start with about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3-4 cloves of garlic. ( I always use a lot of garlic! )

Saute in a pan and add 3-4 large sweet potatoes, washed, with skin on and diced into 1 inch cubes.

Cook these ingredients together until the sweet potatoes get soft.

The fat in the coconut oil helps your body to process the vitamin A in the sweet potatoes, which, by the way, has been found to be beneficial in protecting the body against skin cancer as seen on the Dr. Oz Show.

Mine became mushy but I didn’t care. This is soooooo good!

Massage the kale….yes. Massage it, wash it and chop it up and add to the pan and cook unit soft.

Add crushed red pepper flakes and salt to taste.

You will crave this dish. I promise.

You will feel satisfied but not heavy and you will have done yourself a favor.

I also added some turmeric, ginger and cumin.

These are my favorite spices and they are great for your health.

I have been going on about coconut oil lately so please don’t get bored with me.

Coconut oil is so incredibly beneficial to you health and especially to brain health and is showing promise mitigating the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

It tastes great, it’s good for you.

Use it every chance that you get.

Enjoy and share!

So Delicious! Black Bean and Avocado Spread!

I apologize that my photos are not more glamorous or that the spread itself is not prettier.

But there is no denying the fact that this little dish is one yummy and nutritious treat.

Coconut oil, black beans, garlic and avocado create a powerhouse of healthy oils, fiber and antioxidants in a tasty and convenient spread or dip; warm or chilled.

This recipe is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant rich combination that is easy to incorporate into your diet.

Just sauté garlic in coconut oil for a minute add 2-3 cans of organic black beans and cook until soft.

I start mashing everything with a potato masher then add the avocado and blend in the food processor.

Avocado is my new favorite food these days and I use it as a meat/dairy substitute in sandwiches and as a base for creamy dips and spreads.

My diet is becoming increasingly vegan if for no other reason than I simply feel better; more energized, lighter, and sharper.

Coconut oil is another of my favorites and I find ways to squeeze it into everything that I eat.

In this recipe it adds tremendous richness, creaminess and depth of flavor.

I find that coconut oil lends a richness that meat and dairy add to foods.

Black beans are a major staple in my kitchen.
They are super cheap, incredibly nutritious and convenient.

I buy organic beans in BPA-free cans and I find that if I always have them on hand I always have a meal.

From a quick soup to a warm spread or quesadilla, black beans are a great source of protein.

I served these with organic corn chips.

Served warm as a spread for bread or in a corn tortilla with other veggies, this is a quick and convenient source of protein and nutrition.

Keep some in the fridge and serve with brown rice and sautéed red peppers and it makes a cheap and easy meal.

Celebrating Winter Sunshine with Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Green Curry Coconut, Red Pepper and Asparagus!

074green curry soba noodles

This is not so much a recipe as one woman’s quest for a fresh and spicy meal on an unusually warm and sunny winter day!

079green curry soba noodles

A trip to the neighborhood grocer yeilded fresh ginger, avocados, limes a jar of green curry paste, soba noodles….
You get the idea.

033green curry noodles

This dish is quick and easy to prepare.

I can’t get everything cleaned, cut, chopped and sauteed before the noodles are finished cooking.

You will want to time it so that you don’t overcook them.

I sliced some ginger with the red pepper and asparagus and added a little coconut oil to lightly sautee the veggies.

051green curry noodles

You can put this together pretty fast.

Squeeze fresh lime juice over everything before serving, it really brightens the flavors!

Toss chopped cilantro into the draining noodles to gather just enough heat to bring out the herb’s pungent aroma!

055green curry noodles

Fresh avocado is creamy and perfect with the spicy green curry and coconut sauce.

073green curry soba noodles

I also made a batch of whole wheat linguine but the soba were slightly better.

Not in flavor but in texture.

076green curry soba noodles

Try this for a nice meatless meal that is flavorful and filling.

Spicy Kale and Coconut with Shiitake Mushrooms and Leeks!

009Kale and coconut PD

I am in love with kale!

I am deep into experimentation and I am sure that I haven’t even scratched the surface.

Today I was thinking stir fry but as I ate this meal I felt as though the kale was the “pasta”; carrying the weight of the flavors while not offering much more than nutritive value; which “ain’t a bad thing”.

I could definitely taste the kale but it wasn’t the dominant flavor, however, all the while offered texture and surface for the earthy shiitake, sweet leeks and creamy coconut.

If you read here often you know that I like spicy so there was a lot of crushed red pepper, some red chili paste, and I also threw in the last of a jar of peanut sauce; about 1 tablespoon. And, it goes without saying, lots of garlic! ¼ cup of coconut milk rounded out this dish.

This was very easy and quite filling. It was more delicious than I thought it would be and that was because I underestimated the power of the leeks.

I sautéed the leeks , garlic, mushrooms and red pepper flakes in about a ½ tablespoon of coconut oil.

This process bought out a creamy texture and caramel –like sweetness of the leeks which added a whole new dimension to the overall dish. The garlic and mushrooms became just the slightest bit crispy and the crushed pepper infused into everything.

I added the chopped kale and let everything cook to perfection.

Just as everything was just about finished I added ¼ cup of coconut milk to bring it all together.

Just before serving I squeezed a half of a lime over the dish….gorgeous!

Total calories: about 425 Delicious and nutritious meal: Priceless!

011Kale and coconut PD

Ingredients:

1 bunch of organic kale
1 large leek
4-5 large shiitake mushrooms
4-5 cloves of garlic sliced
As many shakes of crushed red pepper as you like
About 1 TBSPN peanut sauce (peanuts/peanut butter would work)
1 TBSPN red chili paste
¼ cup coconut milk
½ lime juice
1/2 TBSPN coconut oil

005Kale and coconut PD

Broccoli, Spinach and Pinto Beans with Ginger, Garlic and Red Chili Paste

010spinach and broccoli and beans PD

I wish that my meals looked as good as they taste.

How can I convince you that nutritious, yummy vegan meals are satisfying and delicious when they look so awful in photographs?

Food photography is indeed an art unto itself; an art which I have not mastered and do not see doing so in the near future.

However, making this stuff look good must take a talent far beyond my reach so I will have to ask you to indulge me; trust me, this food is great, not just nutritionally balanced but tasty!

When I make a meal like this I consider all the nutritional elements and the flavor notes, as well.

Some ingredients just lend themselves to certain herbs and spice combinations. Sometimes it’s nice to think outside the proverbial box and combine the unexpected.

And getting over the notion that you need a pound of flesh at every meal will liberate you to introduce your palate to flavors and textures that will seduce into a new way of eating.

It will also allow you to obtain necessary nutrition and micro-nutrients from foods which you haven’t been eating.

For my main meal of the day I consider a few things: I like to eat a lot of vegetables, I need to incorporate a healthy fat, and I like to make sure that there is protein.

Herbs and spices are important to healthy body function and can help fight off disease and increase overall wellness.

This recipe includes fresh ginger and garlic as well as crushed red pepper and red chili paste.

Coconut oil and avocado help provide that creamy mouth feel which leads to satiety and provide a vehicle for fat soluble nutrients.

008broccoli spinach and beans PD

Ingredients

1 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP red chili paste (or to taste)
1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
fresh ginger to taste, sliced
2-3 Cups of broccoli
1-2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup pinto beans
1 avocado sliced, for garnish

Method

In a frying pan, saute coconut oil, garlic, ginger, red chili paste and crushed red pepper.

Add the broccoli and spinach and allow to cook; Just a few minutes on high.

Add 1/2 cup of pinto beans and allow to cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with sliced avocado.

Enjoy!

…It all started with cake!

006 Chocolate Cake with raspberry and whipped cream PD

It all started with cake and a snow storm and the gorgeous organic produce in my refrigerator.

Sometimes when I’m shopping I don’t have any particular recipe in mind. I simply pick up things that catch my eye, are in season, especially ripe, smell good or are just pretty.

So that is how I ended up with a coconut, that gorgeous ginger root and a million organic carrots!

What to do with carrots on a cold snowy day in the middle of winter? Soup, of course!

But to begin my day, baking a cake seemed to be the most natural thing in the world to do to get things rolling. Chocolate, raspberry and fresh whipped cream was beckoning.

Cake would be a nice treat at the end of a long day.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate (cool)

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour baking pan, 13x9x2 inches, or two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans.

Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.

Beat 3 minutes high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour into pan(s). Bake oblong 40 to 45 minutes, layers 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool.

013Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup PD

Coconut Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

About 20-30 carrots
5-6 cloves of garlic
A nice sized piece of fresh ginger root 5-6 inches long
2 tsp ginger powder
1 can organic coconut milk
One whole coconut ( use the water and flesh)
2-3 cups vegetarian stock
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro, for garnish
Avocado, for garnish

Method

Peel and chop the carrots then sauté with garlic and coconut oil.

Start grating the ginger and add to sautéing carrots.

Add the ginger powder.

Let things start to lightly caramelize then add the stock.

Allow to cool then transfer the mixture to the food processor and puree.

Add the coconut milk to the mixture and continue to puree.

Transfer to a soup pot and add the coconut water and flesh.

Add ginger powder if necessary.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm with fresh cilantro and avocado garnish.

Enjoy!

037 Carrot soup and empenada PD

Empenada dough PD
I added curry powder to the dough
017 Kale potato coconut Curry PD
Kale, yellow waxy potatoes, garlic, coconut oil, coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder

Courtesy of Laylita’s Recipes

Making empanada dough is not as hard as it sounds, especially if you have a food processor, and even if you don’t it is still pretty easy because the dough should not be overworked and requires minimal kneading. Also, these days it is very easy to find the empanada discs already made (frozen) in Latin grocery store, and even though I was skeptical at first they are actually quite good, but it also always fun to have them homemade and you can also customize the dough by adding spices, herbs, etc that will complement or contrast with the fillings.

Ingredients for 15 medium size or 25 small empanada discs:

3 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cold and cut into 12 pieces
1 egg
4-5 tbs water
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms.
Form a ball and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).
Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

042 Kale Potato curry empenada PD

032 Empenada PD

035 Carrot inger Coconut soup and empenada PD

044 Chocolate raspberry cake PD

Garden Lunch

garden lunch

This was my first meal from my garden. This was my first attempt at a garden! It was actually thrilling to grow my own cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and basil and construct these humble ingredients into a healthful meal. I felt invigorated all day with these wholesome foods in my belly.

I never realized that I would be so deeply affected by something so simple, so primal. Is this how our ancestors felt? Does this feeling explain the elaborate and brutal ritual sacrifice practices of ancient cultures? Did they realize the tenuous and fragile balance of nature which allowed them to produce food? Were they in awe? Were they grateful?

I wonder if we would be more humble, more grateful for our food if we were more deeply connected to it. Would we eat as much meat if we had to raise, care for, and slaughter animals ourselves? Would we value the complex nutritional components of vegetables and legumes if we watched them grow and saw the sun and rain turning tiny seeds into beautiful plants and fruits?

When you can taste the sunshine in a tomato do you not feel completely connected to the Universe?
I did. If just for a moment I was grateful.

Cherry Tomatoes with Cucumbers and Basil
Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumber
Basil
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Lemon juice

Chop, toss together, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice.

Tuna Steak with Peppers

4 oz Tuna steak fresh or frozen
Garlic
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Chop pepper and garlic. Place tuna on foil (enough to completely wrap).
Toss pepper and garlic on top, sprinkle with sea salt. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Wrap completely. Place in oven and cook until the tuna is right where you like it!

Black Beans in Coconut Oil

shutterstock_15121396

The secret is in the coconut oil and garlic for this recipe. The coconut oil lends a silken texture and a complexity of flavors that makes this a rich and satisfying component to many dishes. I often use this as a meat substitute or in traditional dishes calling for beans.
The addition of garlic makes this a full compliment of flavors.

Using a high quality, virgin cold-pressed and unrefined coconut oil is important. I like Spectrum and Now brands. They are both organic and widely available. Just read the labels and you can find a quality product near you. It should smell like coconut and it will be solid unless it is really hot out side!

I hesitate to add anything like onion or pepper in the beans because I like the texture and the simplicity of the combination and its ability to adapt in a variety of recipes.

Ingredients

Two cans of black beans
1 Tbn virgin coconut oil
4-5 cloves of thinly sliced garlic or to your taste

Method

Slice the garlic and drain the beans, reserving the juice.
In frying pan or skillet over medium heat add the coconut oil, add the garlic and let them cook together slowly without browning the garlic. After a few minutes add the beans.
As everything starts to simmer it may need a more liquid. Add the reserved juice as needed. For more coconut flavor you could also add a little extra oil; to your taste.
Mash the beans with a potato masher. Slowly pushing down create a creamy mashed bean mixture. Let simmer for about thirty minutes keeping your eye on the consistency and continue to add juice as needed. They should be like mashed potatoes.

Remove from heat and serve.

Serving ideas:

Black Bean Quesadilla:

Fresh cilantro
Corn
Chopped tomato
Avocado
Chopped onion
Manchego Cheese

Black Bean Burrito:

Brown rice
Mexican Blend cheese
Onion
Red pepper
Sour cream
Green onion

Check out this link for more info on the benefits and many uses for coconut oil

http://www.coconut-info.com/

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