5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat

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On a plant based diet, or any healthy diet, nuts are a great snack option. Most nuts are higher in fats, so a small handful a couple of times a week is optimal. And nuts are an ideal source of fiber and protein.

Nuts contain other important and beneficial nutrients. Read on for the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, to receive the most from your snack.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Title Meme

Nutritional Nuts

Overall, nuts are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats along with omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. They also deliver vitamins and minerals.

In spite of their higher fat content, nuts have many health benefits. Studies have shown that nuts help to prevent diseases and may even prolong life by reducing the risks of some types of cancers.

Here are the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

1. Walnuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They are also a significant contributor of protein, fiber, vitamin E, melatonin and magnesium. Walnuts also contain a plant compound called polyphenols that reduce inflammation throughout the body, which in turn lowers the risk of many diseases, including cancer.

Walnuts also reduce bad LDL cholesterol while boosting good HDL cholesterol. They also contribute to better heart health, regulated blood pressure and increased blood flow through the circulatory system.

Additionally, walnuts are considered brain food. Eating walnuts increases cognitive function and reasoning abilities.

Healthy Walnuts
5 healthiest nuts to eat: walnuts

2. Almonds

Almonds provide a significant amount of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and iron.

This tree nut improves cholesterol levels and supports heart health. Its high fiber content aids in weight loss and lowers blood pressure. And consuming a few almonds during a meal helps to regulate blood sugar levels that can rise after eating, in people with diabetes. For those with type 2 diabetes, almonds can lower inflammation.

Almonds also improve gut health by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Almonds
Almonds, one of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

3. Pistachios

This popular green nut, typically packaged still in its shell, is high in fiber and protein and provides vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorous.

As with walnuts and almonds, pistachios improve cholesterol levels. Eating just a couple of ounces of pistachios a day also increases good HDL cholesterol. Additionally, pistachios decreases the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight. Their antioxidant properties prevent oxidative damage to cells.

And pistachios help to keep blood sugar levels down after a meal.

Healthy Pistachios
Health boosting pistachios.

4. Cashews

Cashews have a creamy texture, making them perfect for baking and vegan sauce making. They are also an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Cashews also provide antioxidant properties.

This tree nut reduces blood pressure, improves blood lipid levels and increases good HDL cholesterol.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Cashews
Fiber and protein rich cashews.

5. Hazelnuts

Nutritious hazelnuts have a distinctive flavor. They are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin E and calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.

They lower the risk of heart disease and reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Hazelnuts ease inflammation throughout the body and improve overall blood vessel health. Additionally, they increase the amount of vitamin E in the blood.

Healthy Hazelnuts
The last of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, hazelnuts.

Ways to Benefit from Nuts

Try including nuts in your diet, in these ways:

  • combine them with unsweetened raisins, dried cranberries, unsweetened dried coconut and seeds to make a homemade trail mix
  • drink nut milks such as cashew milk, almond milk or hazelnut milk
  • use sugar free nut butters that only contain nuts and a small amount of sea salt
  • add raw nuts to salads
  • use in baking recipes
  • make vegan sauces from cashews
  • eat plain, as a snack
  • make your own vegan cheeses and milks, from nuts

Remember to enjoy nuts in moderation, due to their fat content. Eat a small handful at a time or include in recipes on days scattered throughout the week. And check out some of my favorite recipes below, that include healthy nuts.

5 healthiest Nuts to Eat Tabbouleh
Parsley Tabbouleh with almonds.

 

Favorite Recipes Using Nuts

Dairy Free Potato Soup with Cashew Sauce

Broccoli and Macaroni Bake

Raw Blueberry Pie with Cashew Crust

Vegan Banana Blueberry Bread with Walnuts

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Parsley Tabbouleh

Amazon finds:

 


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6 Gluten Free Pastas to Try

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A question I’m frequently asked is, “What about pasta? Don’t you miss it?”

The answer is, I do enjoy pasta. Since switching to a plant based lifestyle, I still eat pasta. It’s vegan and gluten free pasta.

Pasta came back into my diet shortly after going plant based. I discovered a wide selection of gluten free and vegan pasta available. Although I’ve settled in on brown rice pasta as my favorite, there are other varieties made from plants and wheat free grains.

Here is a line up of gluten free pastas to try so you can decide which is your favorite!

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Why Avoid Gluten?

Gluten is a chewy protein found in some grains including wheat, spelt and rye. For people with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a must as the protein attacks the small intestines and causes damage. Another form of celiac disease attacks the skin rather than the small intestines, causing a painful rash.

Additionally, people with autoimmune disorders and gluten sensitivities should avoid gluten as well. I fall in the latter category. People with a gluten sensitivity don’t process the protein well. Symptoms of sensitivity range from digestive disorders to irritable bowel syndrome to skin rashes to headaches and joint pain. Gluten, along with other allergens and proteins found in grains, can create inflammation and weaken the immune system, which is our first line of defense against illness.

For more information about gluten sensitivity, see this post: 8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance.

Gluten Free Rotini

6 Gluten Free Pastas

Fortunately, for those with gluten intolerance or sensitivities there are options.

Brown Rice Pasta

This gluten free pasta is one of the most popular. Brown rice, with its mild flavor, adds chewiness and texture to the pasta, in the same way that wheat does. It is an excellent one-on-one substitution for wheat pasta, holding its shape well during cooking. In addition, brown rice is a rich source of fiber and nutrients including selenium and magnesium. Brown rice also supplies the body with antioxidants that fight against oxidative damage to cells.

Try these brown rice pastas by clicking on the photos:

Brown Rice Pastas
One of my favorite gluten free pastas, brown rice.

 

Brown rice and quinoa blend pasta.
The Great Value brand, which is a blend of brown rice and quinoa, is excellent as well and available in the gluten free section at Walmart.

Quinoa Pasta

This pasta is not only entirely plant based, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids that the body requires. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Pasta made from this grain boasts a mild, nutty flavor with a grain-like texture. It is often combined with other gluten free grains or legumes to create a pasta that holds together well.

Try the brown rice/quinoa pasta pictured above, or this one from Trader Joe’s:

 

Quinoa and brown rice pasta
Quinoa and brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s.

Chickpea Pasta

This recent addition to gluten free pastas is gaining in popularity. The flavor is slightly stronger than the brown rice varieties while the texture is very similar to wheat pasta. Chickpea pasta is high protein and high fiber, making it a very filling choice for pasta recipes.

Banza and Barilla both produce an excellent chickpea pasta:

 

Banza chickpea penne
Try one of the gluten free pastas from Banza. This is penne.

Barilla Chickpea Rotini
Barilla chickpea rotini

Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. The noodles have a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture. They are available in a variety of shapes, not just noodles. Soba noodles are a good source of protein and fiber and they are lower in calories than most other pastas. They also provide manganese and thiamine.

Get soba noodles here:

Organic Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are another gluten free pasta option.

Green Lentil Pasta

This is another legume pasta, similar to chickpea. It is typically combined with quinoa and has a mild flavor and a good chewy texture. Green lentil pasta is an excellent source of fiber and protein.

Try this brand:

Green Lentil Pasta
Pow green lentil pasta.

Multigrain Pasta

Some gluten free pastas combine a blend of grains including rice, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, millet and amaranth.

The taste and texture of multigrain pasta is very similar to wheat pasta. However, the nutritional value varies greatly with these pastas, depending on the combination of grains. Read the labels carefully so that you know what you are getting. I only use non GMO corn, so I typically avoid multigrain pastas unless I know corn is not included.

Barilla Gluten Free Penne
Barilla is a reliable brand for multigrain pasta.

Preparing Gluten Free Pastas

To cook gluten free pastas, use these tips:

  •  use a large container with plenty of water
  • bring water to a roiling boil and keep it there while pasta cooks, stirring frequently
  • begin testing pasta several minutes before end of specified cook time
  • remove from heat when pasta is al dente for best texture – overcooking results in mushy pasta
  • drain pasta and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process
  • toss with a small amount of olive oil, if desired, to prevent pasta from sticking together
  • add cooked pasta to sauce to finish cooking, if necessary, or serve with sauce immediately
Gluten Free Macaroni Bake
Gluten Free Broccoli & Macaroni Bake

Enjoy Gluten Free Pastas

I’ve discovered many ways to enjoy gluten free pastas. The easiest is to pair gluten free spaghetti, penne or rotini with simple marinara sauce. I keep a package of pasta on hand and for convenience, a jar of organic, sugar free pasta sauce.

Pasta isn’t served daily in my house, however it is nice to know that when I want a quick and nutritious meal, I can have it. I make sure it is a gluten free pasta that supports my healthy lifestyle, rather than one that creates a negative reaction in my body.

Gluten Free Pastas with Pesto
Another idea for gluten free pastas, freshly prepared pesto. I enjoyed this delightful meal in Italy.

Try One of These Gluten Free Pasta Recipes

Goulash

Broccoli & Macaroni Bake

Oil Free Basil Pesto for your gluten free spaghetti

 

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Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup

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When I learned that October 15 is National Mushroom Day, I felt inspired to try a new recipe that features mushrooms. My Vegan Under Pressure cookbook provided a dozen opportunities to create such a recipe. I slightly adapted one of the recipes in that book.

This Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is perfect to celebrate the special day. And it is a wholesome, hearty soup for a chilly fall evening. Using the pressure cooker means this soup is ready in minutes.

 

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup title meme

Mushroom Day

This unique holiday celebrates all mushrooms…Portobello, shiitake, button and truffle. Mushrooms, which are members of the fungi family, are highly nutritious. They are a staple in a plant based diet, due to their high protein and fiber content. Mushrooms also contain B vitamins and a potent antioxidant called selenium, which supports the immune system and prevents damage to cells and tissues. Button mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D as well.

Today’s soup includes baby Portobello Mushrooms, along with other vegetables and dried herbs.

Mushrooms and Green Beans
Fresh Portobello Mushrooms and green beans, two of the ingredients in Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.

Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup

Look for baby Portobello Mushrooms. If those are not available, substitute button or cremini mushrooms. Similarly, you can swap out the navy beans for pinto, black or white beans.

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

This hearty plant based soup features mushrooms and other vegetables.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mushroom Bean and Barley, Soup
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped may substitute canned green beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dried navy beans
  • 3/4 cup dried pearl barley may substitute instant barley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat coconut oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, green beans, tomatoes, bay leaf, spices (except for cardamom), vegetable broth, water, navy beans and barley.
  • Lock on lid and bring to pressure. Cook for 22 - 25 minutes. Allow natural release.
  • Remove lid and stir in lemon juice, cardamom and sea salt. Test beans for doneness. If the beans are not quite done, simmer, uncovered, until cooked through. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Ingredients for Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup
Ingredients for Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.
Cooking veggies.
The beginning of a wonderful soup.

Enjoying Mushrooms on Mushroom Day

I enjoyed preparing this nutritious soup. As my DIY Vegetable Broth cooked in the pressure pot, I chopped veggies for the soup. As soon as the broth finished, I strained it to use in the recipe.

After washing the pot I popped it back into the cooker, readying it for the ingredients for the Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.

I purchased the herbs de provence today, a seasoning I’ve heard of but have never used. It is a combination of basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley and rosemary. You can substitute with a blend of 1/4 teaspoon each of basil, fennel seeds, marjoram and rosemary.

The aroma of the soup filled my home and whetted my appetite.

I was not disappointed! Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is a perfect fall or winter dish that warms the body while boosting health. The soup is rich and full of flavor. I appreciated the combination of vegetables and herbs.

I have fresh mushrooms and green beans left over. Another pot of Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is in my near future!

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

Pick up these pressure cooking items by clicking on links below.

 

 


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Pumpkin’s Health Benefits

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Photos of scrumptious pumpkin treats are filling my Instagram, a sure sign of the season. Some pumpkin flavored goodies, such as lattes and donuts, are full of sugar and not the healthiest of options. However, pumpkin’s health benefits are many. From soups to breads to muffins, enjoy one of the signature flavors of fall and appreciate the boost to health that pumpkin provides.

Pumpkins Health Benefits Title Meme

More Than a Jack O’Lantern

Pumpkins are an orange winter squash, native to the US and extremely popular in the fall. As summer draws to a close, bins of pumpkins replace bins of watermelons. From fall décor to jack o’lanterns to Thanksgiving pies, pumpkins are an integral part of the season.

Pumpkins are a fruit, with edible seeds. Nutritionally, however, these squashes are more similar to vegetables.

Pumpkins are not only fun to carve, they are delicious. In addition, they provide impressive benefits. Here are seven ways pumpkins improve health.

Pumpkin's Health Benefits Winter Squash
This fruit is technically a winter squash.

Pumpkin’s Health Benefits

High in Vitamins and Minerals

This brightly colored squash is high in vitamins A, B2, C and E. Additionally, pumpkins are a significant source for potassium, copper, manganese, iron, folate and beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A.

Pumpkins are nutritionally dense, low calorie and high in water content. They are also a good source of fiber, making them excellent for managing weight.

Antioxidant Properties

Free radicals are produced naturally as part of the body’s metabolic process. We need some free radicals. They destroy harmful bacteria. However too many free radicals in the body create oxidative stress, which is linked to cell death, rapid aging, and chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Pumpkins contain powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent them from damaging healthy cells. Antioxidants also protect the skin from sun damage.

Roasted pumpkin slices
Pumpkin’s health benefits can be delivered in tasty ways, such as roasted pumpkin slices.

Supports the Immune System

Pumpkin’s nutrients provide a helpful boost to the immune system. Beta-carotene, that the body converts into vitamin A, strengthens the immune system and helps to fight off infections.

Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C. This potent vitamin increases white blood cell production, which boosts the immune system further and helps the body to heal faster. Finally, pumpkin’s vitamin E, folate and iron content all support the immune system as well.

Protects Eyesight and Promotes Healthy Skin

Pumpkin helps to protect eyesight. Vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness. Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin that combine to support eye health and lower the risk of age related macular degeneration and cataracts. And the antioxidants in pumpkin prevent free radicals from destroying eye cells.

The nutrients in pumpkins also promote healthy skin. Carotenoids are a natural sunblock, protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. Vitamin C is essential for healthy, youthful skin. It boosts the production of collagen, a protein that keeps skin strong and supple.

Lowers the Risk for Cancer

Cancer occurs when cells grow abnormally. These cells produce an abundance of free radicals, which help them to multiply more quickly. Pumpkin’s carotenoids function as antioxidants. They neutralize the free radicals, which helps to protect the body from certain types of cancers, including stomach, pancreas, throat and breast cancers.

Pumpkins Health Benefits Soup
Luscious pumpkin soup, another way to enjoy pumpkin’s health benefits.

Improves Heart Health

The potassium, vitamin C and fiber found in pumpkins are linked to improved heart health.

Potassium lowers blood pressure, a leading cause of strokes. High blood pressure and strokes increase the risk for heart disease. Pumpkin’s antioxidants also prevent bad cholesterol from oxidizing and clumping on the walls of blood vessels. This helps to lower the risk of heart disease as well.

Pumpkin Seeds

The edible seeds in pumpkins are full of health boosting properties too. They are a great source of magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron. Additionally, they are full of powerful antioxidants.

Pumpkins seeds support prostate and heart health, balance blood sugar, ease post menopausal symptoms in women, promote healthy cholesterol levels and lower the risk for cancer.

Roast your own pumpkin seeds, see link for instructions below, or purchase organic non GMO seeds at your favorite health conscious store.

Pumpkins Health Benefits Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds are excellent health boosters.

Enjoying Pumpkin’s Health Benefits

Pumpkins are so versatile for baking and cooking. Add pumpkin puree to cookies, breads, muffins, pancakes and pies. Or roast chunks of pumpkin and add to vegetables, soups and sauces.

Cut through the hard outer skin. Remove seeds (save those for roasting) and the stringy part. Slice remaining pumpkin into wedges or chunks. Coat with sea salt and pepper and a small amount of coconut oil, if desired. Roast in the oven until tender. After cooling puree to use in baking or soups. Or enjoy the roasted pumpkin as is. Check out this awesome site for full instructions on roasting a pumpkin. And this one for roasting pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin is also available canned, which is convenient for baking. Read labels carefully and only purchase 100% pureed pumpkin, without added sugar.

During this season of warmth and family fun, enjoy this fall favorite in all its versatility and reap pumpkin’s health benefits as well.

Watch next week for my roundup of plant based and gluten free pumpkin recipes. Here’s one to get you started!

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

Health Boosting Pumpkins

Organic Pumpkin Seeds from Amazon:

 

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Seven Herbal Teas to Nourish Skin

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You know how much I enjoy my daily cups of hot tea, even in summer. What a joy it has been to learn that these herbal teas support my health in a variety of crucial ways. The more I discover, the more often I think, when someone mentions an ailment…there’s an herb for that!

Healthy, glowing skin begins within. All the lotions and moisturizers in the world can’t overcome a poor diet or supply the vital nutrients the body needs to keep the skin vibrant and youthful.

These seven herbal teas to nourish skin provide healing, boost the immune system and revitalize skin cells, all while contributing to important hydration for the body.

Seven Herbal Teas to Nourish Skin

Seven Herbal Teas that Nourish Skin

In addition to your skin care routine, try adding one to three cups of herbal tea daily, to revitalize and nourish the skin.

Hibiscus

This rich herbal tea is high in vitamin C and a great source of vitamins A, B1 and B2 plus zinc and iron. Hibiscus contains natural alpha hydroxy acids and omega-3 fatty acids that smoothe the skin and keep it looking youthful. Add two to three teaspoons of dried hibiscus to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey.

Chamomile

This well known stress reducer contains anti-inflammatory properties that protect the skin from sun damage. Add three teaspoons of dried chamomile, or one teabag, to a cup of very hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Chamomile Tea
Chamomile, one of seven herbal teas that nourish skin.

Dandelion

Antioxidants in dandelion flowers, combined with immune boosting properties, enhance the appearance of the skin while neutralizing free radicals. In addition, dandelion aids digestion and the absorption of nutrients, which contributes to the health of skin as well. Add a handful of fresh dandelion blossoms to a large cup of very hot water. Or use a dandelion tea bag. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Jasmine

This fragrant flower contains antiviral and antibacterial properties that support the immune system and nourish skin. Jasmine balances hormones, reduces oil production on the skin and helps to heal skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Brew a cup of jasmine tea by combining three teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers with a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if necessary.

Green Tea

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. Green tea protects against harmful UV radiation. And it contains a powerful antioxidant called ECGC that fights free radicals and prevents the formation of wrinkles. In addition, this tea revives dying skin cells and promotes the growth of healthy new ones. Add a green tea bag to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for five minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Green Tea with Jasmine
I love this tea from Twinings that combines two of the seven herbal teas that nourish skin…green tea and jasmine.

Ginger

Aromatic and spicy ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, plus it aids digestion. Ginger also strengthens the immune system. All of these supportive health boosters contribute to clear, vibrant skin. Peel a small piece of fresh ginger and slice or mince it. Pour boiling water over the ginger, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Peppermint

This herb from the mint family balances hormones, with calms skin and helps to keep it clear and healthy. It also reduces sebum, an oily secretion, on the skin. Peppermint’s antioxidants prevent oxidative damage that ages the skin, and help to renew skin cells. Add two teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint, or one tea bag, to a cup of very hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Ginger Tea
Aromatic ginger tea supports the body while promoting healthy skin.

Which of These Teas Will You Try?

These seven herbal teas that nourish skin are readily available through your favorite grocery story, in tea bag form. Or check your local health food store or grocer for dried loose leaves to create your own tea blends. Additionally, peppermint and chamomile are easy to grow in a backyard garden or container. I even have a jasmine plant flourishing in a container on my front deck. And wild dandelions dot most yards during spring and summer.

Or for convenience, click links below to order your favorite herbal teas from Amazon.

Simply adding one to three cups of tea to your diet, daily, can radically improve health and wellness. As a wonderful bonus, that health radiates from clear skin as a vibrant glow.

Which herbal tea will you try first?

Seven Herbal Teas that Nourish Skin Mint
A favorite among the seven herbal that nourish skin…peppermint.

Pick up your herbal teas for healthier skin, below:

 



 

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Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

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One thing that many people enjoy about fall is pumpkin flavored everything. From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin donuts and gnocchi, this rich and homey flavor defines the season.

This evening I happily tried a new pumpkin recipe, adapted from litecravings.com. These easy to prepare bars are full of pumpkin flavor and spices. They do not contain gluten, eggs, oil, grains or refined sugar.

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars Title Meme

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

I used organic canned pumpkin puree for this recipe. The rest of my ingredients were organic as well and non GMO. Make sure you are using pumpkin puree, rather than pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar. I found non GMO peanut butter powder at my local Natural Grocers, in the refrigerator section of the bulk foods aisle. I located the almond meal, which gives the bars a nice texture, in the same section. You can use almond flour instead, if desired.

The original recipe required two eggs. I used “flax eggs” instead. Check out this post, for four egg substitutes, including flax eggs, that work well for baking.

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

These easy to prepare bars are rich with pumpkin flavor and spices and do not contain eggs, oil, refined sugar or gluten.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, Pumpkin Bars, Vegan
Servings: 9

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, organic if possible
  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, organic if possible
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the almond meal.
  • Fold in almond meal, just until combined. Pour mixture into an 8x8 cooking pan, lightly greased with coconut oil.
  • Top with walnut pieces, if desired. Dark chocolate chips would be good too.
  • Bake 20 - 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out with just a bit of batter clinging to it. It's okay to slightly undercook the bars. Begin testing for doneness at 20 minutes.
  • Let cool completely, at least one hour. Bars do even better chilled for several hours in the fridge so that they set. Cut into 9 bars,
Ingredients for vegan pumpkin bars
Ingredients for vegan and gluten free pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Bars that Taste Like Fall

I admit, I rushed the cooling process so I could finish up photos and complete my blog post! However, these vegan and gluten free bars are so good! The bars are slightly sweet and loaded with spiced pumpkin goodness. Because my bars were still warm, they tasted like a delightful cross between pumpkin pie and pumpkin brownies.

The remainder of the bars will chill in the refrigerator overnight. I baked them for about 25 minutes. I think next time…and there will be a next time…I’ll leave them in two minutes longer.

I enjoyed a couple of vegan and gluten free pumpkin bars with a cup of hot peppermint tea. They were perfection…and the taste of fall….in every yummy bite.

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

 

Check out these finds from Amazon:

 



 

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Curried Chickpeas

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I love curry! Early in my plant based journey, I discovered how easy it is to make a delicious and healthy vegan curry. This madras curried lentils recipe was the first one I made, and remains a frequent meal.

These simple curried chickpeas seem destined to become my next favorite. And preparing them in the pressure cooker speeds up the process.

Curried Chickpeas Title Meme

Curry

Curry is a broad term for a variety of dishes originating in India. The recipes use a combination of spices and herbs that typically includes turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger and fresh or dried chilies. Curry can be sweet and mild. Or the flavor can be hot and spicy.

Curry is usually prepared as a sauce and combined with vegetables, fruits or proteins. These delightful curried chickpeas are mild and gain their flavor from a combination of six spices and herbs.

Curried Chickpeas Spices
Start with dried chickpeas and a combination of spices.

Curried Chickpeas Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Under Pressure. Soak dried chickpeas for eight hours before cooking. Because the cook time is so short, start the chickpeas soaking in the morning and drain and rinse them when you are ready to add to the pressure cooker.

I use my DIY vegetable broth in this recipe. Found out how easy it is to make your own, from veggie scraps. And, I prepare a batch of brown rice in the pressure cooker prior to making the curry. Combine two cups of dried brown rice with 3 cups of vegetable broth, in the pressure cooker. Lock on lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.

Curried Chickpeas
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Curried Chickpeas

This easy to prepare curry derives it's amazing flavor from a combination of spices. Use the pressure cooker to create a meal in minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chickpeas, Curried Chickpeas, Curry
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground ginger may substitute fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 8 hours and drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Rinse chickpeas after soaking for 8 hours. Set aside.
  • Heat pressure cooker (I use meat setting) and saute onions in small amount of vegetable broth for 1 - 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add spices and stir. Add drained and rinsed chickpeas and vegetable broth.
  • Lock on lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to come down naturally. Carefully remove lid.
  • Test a chickpea to see if it is done. If not, lock on lid again and return to pressure, cooking for 1 - 2 minutes more.
  • Stir chickpeas and add the tomato paste and sea salt to taste. Serve with brown rice.

Notes

May use 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes or dried ground chili peppers for a spicy curry.
Curried Chickpeas in the Pressure Cooker
Ready to cook.
Curried Chickpeas Cooked
Curried chickpeas cooked in 15 minutes.

Perfect Quick Curry

I love this curry! Just inhaling the scent of the spices as I prepare the recipe gets me hungry for this tasty dish. And I don’t mind at all cleaning up the kitchen while the curried chickpeas cook. They smell wonderful.

They taste wonderful as well. The combination of spices is perfect. The fun part is you can play around with different spices to change up the flavor slightly. Swap out the curry powder for garam masala. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Throw in a bit of chili powder.

For me the current mix of flavors is absolutely right. As cooler weather appears, these curried chickpeas, served over brown rice, will grace my bowl often.

Curried Chickpeas
Perfect curried chickpeas.

Pick up a pressure cooker like I use by clicking link below. And check out the pressure cooker cookbooks too!

 


 

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Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables

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In a recent post, I mentioned that I looked for hull beans at the farmer’s market, without success. I have a recipe I’m eager to try and hull beans are a late summer crop.

However, on the next visit, I scored! One market vendor offered purple hull beans for sale. I purchased a large container of the beans, excited to create a hearty meal from them.

Purple hull beans and vegetables are another perfect end of the season treat, using fresh produce. For another great recipe, check out Summer Succotash.

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables Title Meme
Background template created by my blogging friend, Lisa Mitchell.

What are Purple Hull Beans?

These staples of the south are closely related to black eyed peas. They thrive in warm, sunny environments. Other names for this bean are southern peas or cowpeas. Purple hull beans originated in Africa and came to the United States by way of Egypt, Asia and Europe.

The outer pod, or hull, turns a deep purple color as the seeds inside mature. Peel back the hull and snap out the beans, which are a pale green color when fresh. Purple hull beans are considered creamier, smoother in texture and sweeter than black eyed peas.

My cousin, Michael Lauderdale, used to grow purple hull beans in his garden. I loved visiting his farm and dining on a big bowl of freshly prepared beans. My favorite summer meals continue to be simple ones made from garden produce. I couldn’t wait to try my new recipe featuring a mix of purple hull beans and vegetables.

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables In the Shell
Purple hull beans in the pod.
Purple Hull Beans Shelled
Shelled beans.

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables

The recipe is adapted from the wonderful book, Vegan Under Pressure. I used garden fresh tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers and hull beans along with canned non GMO corn. The pressure cooker creates a healthy meal in minutes.

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables

Enjoy end of the summer produce with this savory dish.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups shelled hull beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or canned, non GMO

Instructions

  • Heat pressure cooker (I use the meat setting). Saute onion and garlic in small amount of vegetable broth, for 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue to stir and cook, for another minute.
  • Add hull beans, vegetable broth and cumin. Lock on lid and bring to pressure. Cook for 5 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Carefully remove lid.
  • Taste to make sure hull beans are tender. If not, cover and return to pressure and cook for 1 - 3 minutes more. Carefully remove lid.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes and corn. Simmer in open pressure cooker for 5 minutes, until tomatoes begin to break down. Or replace lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables Before Cooking
Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables before cooking…
After cooking purple hull beans
…and after.

Savoring an End of Summer Meal

This pot of purple hull beans and vegetables completely satisfied my craving for a hearty end of the season meal. The combination of beans and vegetables was perfect. I used my own DIY Broth from Vegetable Scraps for the stock. And the cumin lent a hint of spice to the mix.

Greg and I enjoyed a steaming bowl of this delicious meal, without adding anything else. However, purple hull beans and vegetables are excellent as well served over brown rice, quinoa or a plain baked potato.

I’ll be looking for more hull beans on my next trip to the farmer’s market. This is a meal I can enjoy well into fall, as long as the beans are available.

Purple Hull Beans and Vegetables
A bowl of summer goodness.

Pick up a copy of Vegan Under Pressure and get your own Pressure Pot. They are so handy to have in the kitchen.

 

 

 


 

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Cover Girl for Health

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Yesterday I received a delightful surprise, just as I was meeting a friend for lunch. A notification popped up on my phone, as I tucked it into my purse. Lisa, my contact at the national magazine First for Women, sent me an email. It opened with these words:

“Hi Cindy, your issue comes out today and I just learned you’re on the cover!!”

And just like that, I became a cover girl, a cover girl for health!

Cover Girl for Health Title Meme

A Magazine Reaches Out

Lisa contacted me in July, shortly after my mother and I appeared in another national magazine, Woman’s World. My contact there found me through my Instagram account and asked if Mom and I could answer some health related questions for her. The July issue of Woman’s World would include a feature article about Anthony William, the Medical Medium, and the wonders of celery juice.

She read in my Instagram posts that Mom and I experienced remarkable health transformations after following Anthony’s protocols. Both of us healed from a host of ailments and health issues. As our eating habits shifted and our bodies recovered we naturally lost weight. You can read about that fun adventure, doing a photo shoot and appearing in Woman’s World Magazine HERE. When that issue hit the stands, Mom graced the front cover! What a wonderful surprise for her. She looks adorable, holding her celery juice.

Cover Girl for Health Photo Shoot
Asenath, from Dr Flys Salon, did an excellent job with our hair and makeup. Photographer Patty Jesse took the photos for Woman’s World.
Cover Girl for Health Womans World Magazine
There is my sweet mom on the cover of Womans World Magazine. She was the first Cover Girl for Health in our family!

A Second Opportunity

Mom and I enjoyed sharing that first time experience of being featured in a magazine story and having a professional photo shoot. I’m grateful for her willingness to jump into adventures with me.

When Lisa contacted me, she explained that First for Women is a sister magazine to Woman’s World. First for Women planned a feature in their October issue about celery juice and Anthony William. She wondered if she could ask me some questions.

I’m always happy to help people with health related questions. Severe chronic sciatica led me down a dark path of pain and ultimately despair. At my lowest point, faced with the prospect of needing a wheelchair, I asked for Divine help and looked for answers beyond what I’d been told by the medical community. That’s when I discovered Anthony. He truly is a Godsend and a blessing in my life. My desire is to provide an answer to someone else’s question and cry for help.

After a few email exchanges, Lisa contacted me with the announcement that her editor wanted to use my story in their October issue. Since First for Women had access to the photos from the Woman’s World shoot, I wouldn’t need to have another session. I’m sure that saved time and money for the magazine too. I agreed, happy again to help.

Cover Girl for Health Mom and Cindy
The inside story, with the text covered up, in Womans World Magazine.

Cover Girl for Health

Truthfully, I had almost forgotten about the story in First for Women. Because I didn’t have to do a photo shoot or fill out additional releases and interviews, the time passed and I became busy with a trip to Scotland and the blogs.

Funny enough, as I showered yesterday morning, the thought popped into my head “Oh…I wonder when the story comes out for First for Women?” From past experience I knew that the magazines release early. I looked forward to seeing the story and discovering which photo the magazine used, of the hundreds that Patty Jesse took. I had no inkling that I’d be on the cover. Lisa’s email arrived in my inbox a couple of hours later.

It’s been fun, being on the cover. I’ve received many messages from friends and family. It’s also a bit of a shock, in a giggly kind of way, to walk into Walmart and see my image on a magazine at the check out. And of course, the magazine leads with the weight I lost as a result of my healthier lifestyle. In the article within the magazine, they offer more benefits. Truthfully, weight loss was not my motivation for drinking celery juice and changing to a plant based lifestyle. Improving my health, easing my severe pain and walking without a cane drove me to shift my diet.

My Desire

However, weight loss articles attract readers. I totally get that. In the past I’ve bought many magazines and books with the intention of losing weight. What I discovered is that focusing on health delivered the side benefit of losing the extra weight, easily.

My sincere desire is that women pick up the magazine, curious about the weight loss aspect, and read the story. May they find answers to their questions about health issues. May they find healing. And may they find hope for a better quality of life.

For all those reasons, I’m honored to be the cover girl for health. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Cover Girl for Health On Sale Now
The October issue of First for Women, on sale now wherever magazines are sold.

Have a question?

If you’d like more info about my healing journey, please check out these posts:

Welcome to my Healing Journey Blog

Following a Plant Based Lifestyle – One Year Update

Celebrating Two Years on a Plant Based Lifestyle

Three Years Plant Based

And please ask me any questions you have, in the comments below or through the contact form.

Pick up Anthony’s books in my storefront:

Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Summer Succotash

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As summer winds down and fall approaches, gardens offer their final harvests. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the bounty with meals created with fresh produce.

I browsed through cookbooks today, looking for something new, something different to try, that incorporates end of the season vegetables. The one that appealed to me the most is a simple, wholesome recipe that is quickly prepared in the pressure cooker. This summer succotash features fresh foods such as onions, tomatoes, corn and okra.

Summer Succotash Title Meme

Creating a Summer Succotash

Succotash is an American culinary dish consisting of sweet corn and lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients include tomatoes, green bell peppers and okra. When served with a grain, such as brown rice or quinoa, succotash is high in all the essential amino acids that the body requires.

Fresh shell beans are removed from a pod and eaten. There are many varieties. The most common shell beans are lima, fava, borlotti and chickpeas. I’ve also seen what’s called purple hull beans in my area of the Midwest. However, a search at the farmer’s market and local grocery stores didn’t yield any shell beans. No worries. The original recipe didn’t include them. I scratched them off my list.

Summer Succotash Fresh Produce

Creating a Summer Succotash

At the local farmer’s market I did find plenty of tomatoes (my plants at home are just about done for the season) and containers of fresh okra. People either love okra or they don’t! I’m in the love category.

This flowering plant in the mallow family produces bright green pods that are edible. Known to many as a food to pickle or to cover in corn meal and fry, okra also does well lightly sauteed with other veggies and as an ingredient in soups and stews.

Okra is a great source of fiber. It’s also high in vitamins A, B6, C and K and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Summer Succotash Mix

Summer Succotash in the Pressure Cooker

Summer Succotash Recipe

Use fresh produce for this easy summer succotash. Because I only eat non GMO corn, I purchased a can labeled such, rather than use fresh corn on the cob. This recipe came from my Vegan Under Pressure Cookbook.

Summer Succotash

Enjoy late summer produce with this quick and easy succotash.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Succotash, Summer Succotash
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 large ear of sweet corn, kernels removed about 1 1/2 cups (may use 1 can non GMO corn)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • With the top removed, heat pressure cooker and saute onion in small amount of vegetable stock or coconut oil.
  • When onions are translucent, add okra. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add corn and vegetable broth. Stir. Lay diced tomatoes on top of other veggies. Do not stir.
  • Lock on lid of pressure cooker. Cook on steamer setting for 2 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Remove lid, stir and serve over grain such as brown rice or quinoa. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Delicious Summer Meal

Because of the pressure cooker, this recipe came together so fast, I barely had time to reheat the brown rice I’d already prepared! I love a quick and healthy homecooked meal when I come in late after a long day. This one is perfect.

And I used my vegetable broth made from scraps in this recipe as well. I’m loving the convenience of this simple and flavorful broth. You can find the recipe HERE. I made a fresh batch of vegetable broth this afternoon and used some of it for the summer succotash.

This meal is light and yet filling. The fresh flavors of late summer shine through. Add smoked paprika or a small amount of chopped pepper, to spice it up. Or garnish with favorite fresh herbs. Until the frost comes and officially ends the growing season, summer succotash goes into my meal rotation!

Summer Succotash Meal

 

Order Vegan Under Pressure by clicking link above or clicking on the photo below.

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.