Exploring recipes, local restaurants, businesses, farms and fun places in and around Atlanta, GA that promote good wholesome food AND that make a gluten intolerant / plant based eater, a meat-eater and two young girls with ever evolving taste HAPPY.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Successful Week

Wow.  I had a fantastic week in the kitchen, or should I say at the dinner table.  Everyone liked all the dinners I prepared this week.  I am pretty sure that has NEVER happened.  The left over burritos I made for Halloween were actually eaten by both girls the today for lunch.  That confirms they really enjoyed them.  Tonight's dinner was another easy recipe and I received several accolades from everyone.

Fiesta Quinoa Salad
This recipe is by Christy Morgan, author of Blissful Bites and found on the Forks Over Knives website.
The version I had was slightly different, it had 1 TB of maple syrup in the dressing.  Instead of all quinoa, I did half quinoa and half millet.  That is my new trick, I really enjoy the texture better.   I am adding millet to all of my quinoa dishes.  I served the quinoa with baked tofu, and Chad brought home Publix chicken!

1 cup quinoa with ¼ cup red quinoa, washed drained (I used 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1/2 cup of millet)
2 cups filtered water
1 cup fresh corn (off cob)
1 ½ cup cooked black beans
¼ cup yellow pepper, finely diced
¼ cup tomatoes, diced
¼ cup cilantro leaves
 pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Place quinoa, corn and water in a medium saucepan with pinch of salt and bring to a boil. 
Simmer covered for 20 minutes over low flame.
Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. 
Fluff quinoa with fork, place in medium bowl and stir in the black beans, veggies, dressing and cilantro. 
Season with sea salt if needed.  Serve warm or great cold the next day.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yummy Burritos

On Halloween night, I wanted to get some healthy food in the girl's bellies before we headed out for trick or treating.  Somehow on this busy afternoon, I came up with a new recipe for a delicious, healthy burrito. 

I had left over kale salad, whole wheat tortillas, a box of black beans, salsa and potatoes.  I peeled and cut up the potatoes into small pieces and baked them at 400 for about 25 minutes.  The drained black beans were mixed with Trader Joe's salsa verde.  I then drained this mixture (it was too watery from the salsa) and added the roasted potatoes.  I made a bowl of this mixture for my dinner, as I can not eat the whole wheat tortillas.  I put a layer of the kale salad on each of the tortillas and added the bean, potato mix, then rolled them up and put them in a baking dish.  I topped each burrito with a little salsa and baked them at 350 for 15 minutes.  If you dont have time to bake them, the burritos would be great without this added step.  You can also use gluten free tortillas or corn tortillas.  Although,  I enjoyed my burrito bowl without the tortilla.  I served the burritos with orange cauliflower, for Halloween!

Everyone loved dinner.  I actually got the girls to EAT before they got their sugar overload.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mary McDougall's Green Thai Curry

Everyone enjoyed dinner tonight!

I loosely followed Mary McDougall's recipe but did a very quick version.  I cheated and bought Trader Joe's Asian Stir Fry mix and threw in a few more chopped veggies I had on hand. I also used Trader Joe's frozen organic brown rice.  I started with a 1/4 cup of veggie broth to saute the veggies and rice (I omitted the garlic).
Then I mixed a 1/2 cup of rice milk and a 1/2 tsp of coconut extract with 1 TB of green curry paste and a little tamari sauce and poured this over the veggies and rice.  I let this simmer for 5-10 minutes. This dinner took me no time at all, and for some reason everyone liked it much better than the first time I made it.  I did pull out some veggies before I put the curry paste in for Ry.  The curry is just too hot for her.  I served this with some rice noodles on the side.  Chad grilled a piece of chicken to go with his dinner.
Si even took leftovers for lunch today.  Score!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kale and Burgers

Ann Esselstyn demonstrated a super simple, delicious kale salad recipe at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo I attended a few weeks ago.  It is so simple and so delicious, I have made it for my family FOUR times in two weeks!

Strip a bunch of kale off their stems (after washing) and tear the kale up into manageable, bite size pieces.  Add the zest of one lemon and the juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon.  (Depending on how much kale you use)  Then put a handful of your favorite hummus in the bowl with the lemon and kale.  I use Cedar's Fat Free Hummus - Roasted Red Pepper.  Then start massaging your kale.  Really get in there and rub the lemon and hummus all over the kale.  Yes, your hands get pretty messy.  But the more you massage, the softer your kale becomes.  Ann added garlic to this mixture, I felt it had enough flavor without garlic.  You can add any other veggies to the salad that you have, tomatoes, carrots, etc.  I have kept it simple - kale, lemon, hummus - strip - massage - done!

Last night, I served the kale salad and made two batches of veggie burgers.  I usually would not make two different burgers, but I had extra time and wanted to freeze some.  The two I made were:
Colleens Chickpea Burgers from Fat Free Vegan.  And, Jeff Novick's Basic Bean Burger.  For Jeff's burger, I used cannellini beans, sweet potatoes, gluten free oats, Robbie's BBQ sauce and chilli powder.  The great thing about Jeff's recipe is the amount of variations you can make!

Dinner served - I threw some toasted pumpkin seeds on top of the kale salad. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fooled Again

I am exhausted-  Trying to find convenient, healthy food that my children enjoy, is getting the best of me.  Of course they want pizza, ice cream, french fries and cookies.  I want to give them healthy versions.  I wish I could say I enjoy making all those items by hand to ensure quality ingredients. But, on a Friday night when I want to get out of the house as soon as the sitter arrives, it is nice to have a frozen pizza ready to go. 

I know not to believe all the claims on the front of packaged food.  It is all advertising and mostly false.  I know to read the ingredients, fat, calorie and sodium content.  I know...  But when I saw this frozen pizza at Whole Foods - I grabbed it.  Its Amys - its organic - its dairy free - its gluten free.  Yippie.  What in the world could be wrong with this?

 Well, I got it home.  Baked it, and then saw the nutrition panel and ingredients.  This was a small pizza and it had a whopping 470 calories with HALF of the calories coming from FAT.  Sodium scaled the charts at 680mg.  Are you kidding me?  I could eat this small pizza in about two bites, still be hungry, meanwhile almost giving myself a heart attack.  I might as well eat a hamburger.  Well at least it was organic and no GMOs.  No more Amy's pizzas in this house.

And, it happened again this morning. 

I try to stay away from a lot of the "gluten free" products, as seen above. When they take the gluten out, they usually add back in sugar, fat and other weird ingredients.  But when it comes to making pancakes and waffles, it sure is easy to grab the Bob's Red Mill GF pancake mix, instead of trying to make my own.  I make the pancakes or waffles vegan and low fat by substituting apple sauce for oil, plant based milk for dairy milk and flax seed and water for an egg.  (1TB of ground flax seed with 3 TB of warm water - stir and let sit for a few minutes = one egg!).

This morning I made waffles (same way as pancakes, just add a little more apple sauce) and re-examined the ingredient label of the pancake mix.  UGH. 

Well, the mix is dairy free and gluten free. But it has corn flour and corn starch.  Because it does not say organic in front of the corn, it is most likely GMO.  Over 80% of today's corn is GMO, thanks to Monsanto.  So, unless it says organic, it is best to assume it is GMO corn.  To learn why this is a concern, one great resource is Genetic Roulette.  Another is Food Inc.  Yes, I did go ahead and make the waffles this morning.  Though, I  will now be looking into other alternatives for pancakes and waffles.  It is almost impossible to be completely GMO free, hopefully, someday, we will put a BAN on GMOs.  Like Peru just did!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lettuce Wraps

Recently, a friend was telling me that her girls loved to make their own lettuce wraps for dinner.  The other night I was looking in our refrigerator and realized we had a few left overs that needed to be consumed.  When I spotted the new head of romaine lettuce, my friend's idea popped into my head.  I had left over lentils and a quinoa / millet mix along with an open bottle of marinara sauce (I use Muir Glens) in the frig.  So, I threw it all into a pot and let them simmer.  I then sauteed mushrooms and peppers with a little water and tamari sauce.  I put the mushrooms and peppers in their own little bowls.  I put romaine lettuce with the lentil mixture on everyone's plates.  Everyone created their own lettuce wraps with the lentils, mushrooms and peppers.  It still amazes me how much the girls enjoy dinner when they "fix" it themselves!  Such a simple, delicious dinner!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Overwhelmed? Here Are Some of My Favorite Resources:

 I have realized lately I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of information I am receiving daily.  Between the emails, blogs, facebook, twitter and now pinterest I can not keep up with it all.  I love reading about nutrition and recipes, but there is only so much I can absorb.  And, how do I sort through it all to simply find something to cook for dinner??

So, I started thinking, what are the cookbooks, websites, and blogs that I go to most often?

These are the cookbooks in my kitchen that have the most highlights, notes and food stains- very telling of their popularity:


Fork Over Knives Companion Book

Everyday Happy Herbivore 

The Happy Herbivore

Appetite for Reduction

Recipes Online

Mary McDougall's Newsletter Recipe Index

Fat Free Vegan

Engine 2

Happy Herbivore

There are a TON of other websites / blogs and great places to go for recipes, but these 4 all have low fat, plant-based, delicious recipes.  If you want to narrow down your search - stick with these 4, you should be able to find any kind of plant-based recipe you need!

Very easy to make them gluten free.  Just remember to use tamari for soy sauce, gluten free noodles and gluten free flour!


This is the primary source of my information overload.  I receive emails, blog and facebook post from all of the recipe websites I just mentioned, and the websites listed below for plant based nutrition.  They are all great, and I dont know which ones to eliminate.  (I am in the process of unsubscribing from all but those listed here.)
One more to add to the list:  Oh She Glows has gorgeous photography and amazing recipes. 

Oh She Glows

Websites for Plant Based Nutrition Information
I follow all of the people below on facebook, twitter and their blogs:

Dr. McDougall

Engine 2

Colin Campbell Foundation


Rich Roll

Jeff Novick 

Dr. Pam Popper

Dr. Fuhrman's