Two New Holiday Recipes

As we near Thanksgiving, I tested a couple of plant based recipes that are suitable for the holidays. Both were a success!

The main question I get this time of year, about living the plant based lifestyle, is this one: “What about the holidays? Do you stay plant based then?”

The answer is simple. Yes I do. If I ate meat and foods heavy with butter, milk, sugar and eggs…I’d feel sick. Immediately. I’m not tempted at all by such foods.

My family prepares a traditional holiday meal, for Thanksgiving, and I bring plant based foods to eat and to share. It works out fine.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This dish came together easily and was savory and satisfying. I adapted this recipe from one that I picked up at Natural Grocers.

Ingredients

2 acorn squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sea salt & pepper to taste

1 cup brown rice

1 1/2 – 2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons apple juice sweetened dried cranberries

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 pears, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons dried sage or 4 tablespoons fresh, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Two New Holiday Recipes

Two New Holiday Recipes

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each squash in half, length wise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Rub squash flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle each half with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place on parchment covered baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is tender.

In a pressure pot combine rice, vegetable broth and salt, bring to pressure and allow to cook for 25 minutes. Allow natural release. OR combine rice with 2 cups of broth and salt in small sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Soak cranberries in bowl of water. Set aside. In skillet sauté onions, celery and garlic in olive oil until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add pears, sage, thyme and salt and cook 2 more minutes. Drain cranberries and add to veggies, along with walnuts and cooked rice.

Transfer cooked squash halves to baking pan, cut side up. Mound stuffing mixture into squash halves. Add any leftover stuffing to pan, piling around squash halves. Cover pan with foil or oven proof lid. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

The stuffed squash was wonderful! Greg and I each ate half an acorn squash and saved the other two to accompany us to the family Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll add a chopped salad and fresh cranberry relish and that will be my healthy and delicious holiday meal!

Apples could be substituted for the pears and mushrooms could be added as well. I loved the sweetness of the pears and the crunch of the walnuts. This was my first experience cooking acorn squash. I’ll certainly make these again.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

This one bowl recipe, that I found on Pinterest, comes from Beaming Baker.

Wet Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, whisked together, allowed to set for 5 minutes)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

2 cups gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8.5×4.5 or 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl: pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, flax egg, and vanilla. Whisk together.

In the same bowl, add the dry ingredients: oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Stir together until just combined, making sure no flour patches remain. Batter will be stiff.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Using a butter knife, cut a slit down the top of the loaf, making it slightly off center. This will create a beautiful split down the top of the loaf as it bakes. Bake for 50-65 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center of the loaf. The toothpick will come out clean when the loaf is done.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 2-3 hours, or until completely cool. Lift out, slice and enjoy!

This pumpkin bread is perfect! It looks a bit dry, out of the oven, however it’s not when sliced. The texture is light. The flavor is just right…not too sweet and subtly spiced. I just had a couple of slices with hot tea. Bliss!

Tomorrow I’ll prepare another loaf of pumpkin bread to take to the family gathering, plus the chopped salad, cranberry relish and a black bean/corn salsa with non GMO chips for an appetizer. I’m also baking a batch of vegan wacky cake cupcakes. It will be a fun day of talking, laughing, and feasting. I’m full of gratitude already.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you find much to be grateful for, including health, vitality and wellbeing.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Figs the Sacred Fruit

My first association with figs was as a filling in a cookie…fig newtons. I loved that chewy cookie, and I had no idea figs were actual good for me. They are, I’ve discovered, extremely beneficial.

Did you know that the Romans thought so highly of figs that they considered them a sacred fruit? And in Greece the best figs were not exported but kept in the country as a staple food.

Figs the Sacred Fruit

What are Figs?

Figs grow on a species of ficus tree, a member of the mulberry family. California, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Spain are the world’s top producers of this fruit that prefers temperate climates.

They originated in southern Arabia and they were brought to the Western Hemisphere in the 16th century by the Spaniards.

Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, calcium and iron. They are high in B vitamins, which are specifically bonded to phytochemicals that reduce radiation in the body. Figs are also abundant in micronutrients, and antioxidants.

Figs the Sacred Fruit

Health Benefits of Figs

Figs are excellent for supporting brain and gut health, balancing these two intertwined systems that contribute to our wellbeing. Their phytochemicals nourish and build neurotransmitters and support neurons and synapses in the brain, making them a powerful fruit for preventing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia and ALS.

For the intestines, figs are one of the most effective bowel cleansing foods available. The skins feed good bacteria in the gut while eliminating unproductive bacteria, parasites, mold and toxic heavy metals. Fig seeds clear intestinal crevices of disease causing bacteria and viruses. The fruit’s pulp massages the intestinal lining and builds up the digestive immune system to alleviate stomach pain, bloating, diverticulitis, inflammation, constipation and complications from C. difficile.

Bring more figs into your diet to help with epilepsy, salmonella poisoning, stroke, post traumatic stress disorder, lymphoma, cancer, chronic diarrhea, gallstones, urinary tract infections, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, liver disorders, all types of pain, nausea, lightheadedness, clogged veins, sinus issues and brain fog. (Info from Life Changing Foods by Anthony Williams)

Figs the Sacred Fruit

How to Enjoy Figs

Figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried. Avoid the fig newton cookies though, which contain sugar and gluten, among other unhealthy things.

The fruit can be sliced up and added to salads, paired with other fruits, or eaten alone. Munching on celery while eating a fig creates the perfect nutritional combination. Chop figs and use them to top gluten free oatmeal, frozen banana dessert or mixed berries.

Since shifting my diet, I have enjoyed figs in dried form. I have yet to savor a fresh fig, however as we move into the cooler months and the holiday season, I intend to change that. I’ll be watching my local health conscious grocery store for the arrival of the fruit in their produce section. I look forward to sampling my first delectably sweet and chewy fresh, ripe fig.

Figs the Sacred Fruit

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Health Benefits of Sprouts & Microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are immature versions of the vegetables they would grow into. And like their full sized versions, they are packed with nutrients such as vitamins A and B, minerals, trace minerals, health boosting compounds and phytochemicals. One of the benefits of eating greens in this early stage of development is that the digestion process is a fraction of what it would be otherwise to assimilate their goodness.

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens differ only in the way that they are harvested. Sprouts are germinated seeds that are eaten seed, root and shoot. Microgreens are edible immature greens, the tops of the young plants, that are harvested with scissors less than a month after germination.

Both are high in mineral salts that aid neurotransmitter chemical production while supporting the brain. Sprouts and microgreens pull toxic heavy metals from the brain and repair and strengthen neurons, which helps the body to reverse Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain fog and memory loss. These greens are wonderful for skin repair, preventing infection, and halting unwanted cell growth, such as cancer.

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens Sunflower seed sprouts

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens Sunflower seed microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are a great source of elevated biotics that are critical to the body’s production of B12, and their phytochemicals supercharge the body. They are one of the most powerful foods for renewing an exhausted reproductive system. Sprouts and microgreens rebalance and restore hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. After giving birth, these greens regenerate hormone production in the adrenal glands, thyroid and endocrine system.

Different sprouts have different properties. Broccoli has a strong flavor and strengthens the digestive system. Radish sprouts purge the liver while red clover sprouts cleanse the lymph and blood. Fenugreek sprouts balance cortisol production and regulate the thyroid while supporting emotions and the endocrine system. And lentil sprouts are high in protein that the body can assimilate easily. Basically, every seed and bean can be sprouted. Sunflower seed sprouts are one of my favorites!

Sprouts and microgreens should be consumed raw, for maximum benefits. Try radish, broccoli, fenugreek, kale and sunflower sprouts or microgreens at lunchtime, to support energy throughout the day. Bean and lentil greens should be eaten at dinnertime because they relax the nervous system.

I’m excited to try growing my own sprouts and microgreens. Sprouting seeds can be purchased online or at health food stores and health conscious grocery stores. I have mason jars that can serve as incubators. I just need to make sprouting lids with cheesecloth or a craft screen. Watch for an upcoming blog post about how easy it is to grow sprouts and microgreens at home!

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens

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Dates

Before becoming plant based, my only association with this sweet fruit was holiday baking. I used to make date balls, rolled in shredded coconut, as a Christmas treat. I’ve learned, however, that dates deserve year around attention.

Dates

Dates grow in huge clusters just underneath the date palm’s fronds. These trees can be found in warm regions like California and Florida, but they are particularly prolific in the Middle East, where dates have long been a staple food. There are many varieties of dates.

This fruit is amazing for the digestive system. Dates bind onto, destroy and sweep away parasites, mold, yeast, fungus, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses and other poisonous pathogens in the gut. They help to kill Candida while restoring peristaltic function in the intestines.

Dates deliver vital glucose to the liver and their high potassium and fruit sugar content refuels the brain and muscles after exercise. Rich in bioactive minerals, 70 of them, dates support the adrenal glands, helping the body handle life’s stresses. They are also one of the most heart healthy foods available, due to their amino acids.

Dates

Dates sustain and fortify muscles and nerves, and stop lactic acid from taking over the body when it’s under stress. They expel excessive dampness from organs such as the liver and spleen and they are full of anti-cancer properties. (Information from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William. Order your copy below.)

My favorite thing about dates is their versatility. They make a perfect grab and go snack. Partner them with apple slices and celery sticks and this healthy snack is great to take along on a walk or hike, as this combo energizes the body while supporting the adrenals.

Pulsed in a food processor, dates form the basis for pie crusts, apricot bars, and granola. They can be added to sauces, soups and smoothies. As a special treat, blend them with a small amount of water and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon for a wonderful dipping sauce for apples.

Recipe for apricot date bars HERE.

I have come to appreciate this simple but powerful little fruit. I keep a bag or two of dates on hand for a quick snack, tea time or to add to recipes. Their sweetness helps to satisfy cravings when first eliminating sugar from the diet. They have been essential for Greg, for that reason.

Anthony includes an Emotional Support section for each of the 50 foods in his book, along with a Spiritual Lesson. I like what he writes about dates:

“Eating dates can put up a shield around you, providing protection from people who feel jealousy toward you. And while you sleep, they help to release your own stored up toxic emotions – such as fearfulness, shame, demoralization, and the sense of being judged, wronged, or bullied. Ultimately, dates strengthen your sense of purpose so you can be at your most productive and enthusiastic.”

More excellent reasons to include dates daily, in a healthy diet!

Dates

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Siberian Ginseng

I’ve been aware of this supplement for years. I associated Siberian Ginseng, also known as Eleuthero, with improved brain function and mental clarity. However today’s featured supplement does so much more than that.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng is a shrubby plant that grows in the mountainous forests of Asia and Russia. It is this herb’s root that is used for medicinal purposes. Siberian Ginseng is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body to increase its resistance to stress.

In addition to helping with stress, Siberian Ginseng boosts the immune system, improves mental health and performance, and increases energy, vitality and longevity. The herb lowers blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Siberian Ginseng

In his book Thyroid Healing, Anthony William suggests including this supplement because it supports the adrenal glands and reduces adrenal surges that feed the Epstein Barr virus and burn out neurotransmitters. This not only helps to eliminate EBV, it prevents neurotransmitter damage, which can cause brain fog.

You can find this root in various forms, including capsules, liquid extracts, and dried for tea. I take Siberian Ginseng in capsule form.

The farther I go on my healing journey, the more I realize how important it is to eat foods that support my immune system and repair damage, to not consume foods that feed viruses that are causing that damage, and to lower stress. Being frequently under stress floods the body with cortisone, and those pesky viruses feast on those surges of hormone.

Much more than an herb that helps me think better, Siberian Ginseng increases my body’s ability to resist stress and fight off viruses that create illness and pain. And that puts this powerful medicinal in my group of daily supplements.

Siberian Ginseng

You can purchase quality Siberian Ginseng at health food shops or health conscious grocery stores, or by clicking the link below.

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Colorful Chopped Salad

Recently I was inspired to try out a new recipe, following the promptings of my body. I’ve been craving dark green veggies. Healthy cravings are indicators that my body needs something, as opposed to addictions, such as to sugar, when my body wants something. I’ve been eating a healthy plant based diet long enough to have eliminated the food addictions. When my body desires something now, I can trust that it is going to be good for me.

Colorful Chopped Salad
Browsing through Pinterest recipes, I found this colorful detox salad, from Eat Yourself Skinny.

Colorful Chopped Salad
Colorful Chopped Salad
Colorful Chopped Salad
I processed the veggies in two batches, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale first, and then the red cabbage, carrots and parsley. A food processor made quick work of finely chopping the veggies and almonds.

Colorful Chopped Salad

I added the chopped almonds and sunflower seeds and then whisked together the ingredients for the salad dressing. I omitted the fresh ginger, since I didn’t have any, and increased the raw honey to 4 teaspoons.

Colorful Chopped Salad
Colorful Chopped Salad

The recipe creates a beautiful salad, full of fresh ingredients and health boosting benefits.

Broccoli is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It supports the immune system, fights diseases including cancer, and aids in digestion and detoxification.

Brussels Sprouts are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, support heart health and lower the risk of cancer.

Kale is high in protein and fiber, vitamins and minerals. It too supports heart health, lowers cancer risks and aids in digestion, and can even reduce pain.

Red Cabbage is one of the most powerful disease fighting foods avaiable. High in vitamins and minerals, red cabbage heals the gut, and maintains eye and bone health.

Carrots are a good antioxidant root vegetable, full of vitamins and minerals. They reduce the risk for cancer and slow down the aging of cells.

Parsley alkalizes the body, driving out acidity, which creates an environment for disease to occur. This herb pulls herbicides and pesticides from the body.

Almonds and Sunflower Seeds not only provide a satisfying crunch to this salad, they also have antioxidant properties and healthy fats.

This colorful salad was so delicious and satisfying. I like that rather than containing a lot of lettuce filler, the salad is made up of vegetables, nuts and seeds, all of which help to stave off hunger.

I am grateful for the inspiration that came from my own cravings, leading me to search for the perfect combination of foods. The recipe makes a large bowlful of goodness and I am grateful for that as well. I will be enjoying my chopped veggies with honey dijon mustard dressing all week!

Colorful Chopped Salad

This is the food processor I use, making food prep fast and easy!

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites

I love finding healthy alternatives to sugar laden desserts. This easy to make treat is made with only six ingredients and is just right for an afternoon tea or to celebrate a life event. 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites
This delicious recipe comes from www.susanrecipes.com   

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites
This recipe doesn’t contain flour or eggs. The surprise ingredient is chick peas, which is ingenious! I promise, you cannot taste the them. Use only natural peanut butter. I purchased a jar at my local supermarket that had peanuts and sea salt as its only ingredients. I mixed the peanut butter well before using. Select dark chocolate chips, that are at least 60% cacao, for the least amount of sugar and the most health benefits. Raw locally produced honey provides the natural sweetening. 

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites
I used two spoons to drop the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. And then hand shaped the dough into balls. By the time I had washed up the food processor, the cookie bites were ready to come out of the oven. 

These bites are wonderfully gooey, with a richly satisfying taste. Best of all, the recipe makes approximately 15 bites, which is perfect. Too much of a good thing, even with a healthy twist, is a temptation. I intend to savor these treats occasionally, with no guilt and no adverse effects. 

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bites