Saturday, January 26, 2013

{our new South African friend}

We have the privilege of hosting a young lady from South Africa in our home for two weeks.  She is beautiful, quiet, and polite.  It has been interesting adjusting to another person in our home, but it has been so fun! Her and her 10 classmates are here in America to study our school systems and have been taking copious notes.  They will take what they learn here and use it to better their school in South Africa.  We have been blessed to hear them sing and even heard a little bit of testimony.  One of my favorite things is just getting to know a body of Christ, fellow brothers and sisters from across the Atlantic ocean.  It is so incredible!

Josh and I laugh often because we have realized how much we rely on slang, sarcasm, and otherwise "improper" English.  Apparently, we hang out with teenagers too often (ha.).  Sometimes Sphiwe's eyes get a little glassy and I realize she has no idea what we are talking about.  While her English is awesome, it is school-taught and therefore the way we use some words is foreign to her.  

It has been fun taking her to some of our favorite places and restaurants. Her favorite place so far is Gelati Joes.  :) We are surprising her with Hollywood Studios on Monday, as well as several of the other students, and we cannot wait to see the park through their eyes.  They take (or want me to take) multiple pictures of EVERYTHING, so I will probably have 200 just from that day! I will need a large photo album to hold all of the ones we have taken so far.  

If you have any other ideas for "must see" Florida fun, let me know!

Here are some pics to share! :)

(top left: Blake Academy, Panera Bread, playing Mario Cart on the Wii, Bonfire with S'mores;
bottom left: Palace Pizza, Chick-fil-a, Remedy student service, Gelati Joes)

I promise we have done more than eat, but those pics are still on my camera. :)

much love,

Friday, January 25, 2013

{easy three-bean vegetable chili} and {refried bean and avocado soft tacos}

Now, don't eat these two meals together.  HA! 
I am just behind on posting some recipes so I thought I'd give you two!

The chili is such a good throw it on the stove (or even in a crock pot) and let it cook recipe.  It makes a pretty large batch and freezes well.  We end up eating it for dinner, then lunch the next day, then dinner again.  And it is SO healthy.  Its full of tons of veggies.  Just a word of warning, you need to let it simmer at least 2 hours so plan accordingly. :)

Here is that recipe:

Easy Three-Bean Vegetable Chili (recipe from Eat to Live by Joel Furhman)

5 tsp          chili powder
1 tsp          ground cumin
10 oz         frozen onions
3 C            frozen broccoli
3 C            frozen cauliflower
3 cloves     garlic, chopped
1 can         pinto beans, no salt added (nsa) or low sodium (14.5 oz)
1 can         black beans, nsa or low sodium (14.5 oz)
1 can         red beans, nsa or low sodium (14.5 oz)
1 can         diced tomatoes, nsa (28 oz)
1 can         chopped mild green chills, drained (4 oz)
2 1/2 C      frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 large       zucchini, finely chopped (or a bag of frozen squash)
2 C            water, (or more depending on your preference)

All you do is dump everything in a large pot, cover, and simmer for 2 hours.  
When you are feeling frisky, you can change up the beans and veggies to give you some variety.  I love to add carrots and green beans, or add in black eyed peas.  Go crazy! :)

All ready to simmer!


Every once and a while you need a good taco. 

I found this recipe at Whole Foods (they have a great plant-based section!) and gave it a try.
The recipe tells you to top it with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, but you could top it with your favorite salsa, corn, or whatever else you like too! (Just don't add cheese or sour cream!) If you aren't an avocado fan, just leave them off.  However, they do make a nice substitute for sour cream.

Refried Bean and Avocado Soft Tacos

1 medium     white onion diced
2 cloves        garlic, minced
1 1/2 C         low sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 can            pinto beans, nsa or low sodium (28 oz can or 2 14.5 oz cans)
1 1/2 tsp       ground cumin
1/2 tsp          ground black pepper
1/2 tsp          fine sea salt (I just use my regular sea salt)
8                   corn tortillas
2 C               shredded romaine lettuce
3                  roma tomatoes
1 1/2            avocados, thinly sliced

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add onion and garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to stick to skillet.  Stir in 1/2 cup broth and continue to cook 6-8  minutes or until onion is translucent and very tender.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add beans and cook 2 to 3 minus to soften, stirring frequently.  Mash beans with a potato masher.  Stir in remaining broth, cumin, pepper, and salt. Cook 2 minutes longer or until warmed through, stirring occasionally and adding water or more broth as needed for desired consistency.

**Tip - I did not use all of the veggie broth.  Add a little at a time until you get desired consistency.  I liked it just thick enough to hold together, not runny.
**Tip 2 - warm tortillas in the microwave between two damp paper towels. :)

Bon app├ętit!
much love,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Corn Chowder Quinoa Casserole, Roasted Green Beans, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am going to post recipes from my week of meals that my family enjoyed.  
Its hard to determine if plant-based meals you find will be yummy, or not so much.  
I am going to do them in separate posts so they will be easier to find. 

This meal is: 
Corn Chowder Quinoa Casserole (from Dreena Burton's Let Them Eat Vegan Cookbook) 
paired with Roasted Green Beans and Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Dreena Burtons blog) for dessert.

*forgive the poor picture quality, I snapped one with my phone right before I dug in

Casserole Recipe:
2 C           nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 1/2 C     frozen corn
1 C           uncooked, rinsed quinoa
1 C           vegan veggie stock
1/2 C        chopped onion
3/4 C        seeded, diced red bell pepper
1 tsp         dried basil
1/2 tsp      dijon mustard
1 large      bay leaf
1 can        cannellini beans (14oz can)
1/2 tsp      sea salt
                 freshly ground black pepper
1-2 TBSP lime juice
3-4 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
1-3 TBSP extra nondairy milk

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  Combine 1 C of milk with 3/4 C corn in blender and puree. In a large casserole dish (8x12inches), combine this mixture with reserved corn plus all the other ingredients (except lime juice, parsley, and extra milk) and stir well.  

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  After this time, remove from the oven and stir again.  Put foil back on and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and remove the bay leaf.  Add the lime juice and parsley, sitr well, add the milk if you would like the mixture to be a little thinner, and serve.  

Roasted Green Beans

1 bag frozen green beans
Sea Salt

I used the same oven/temp (400 degrees).

Spread out green beans (still frozen) on cookie sheet.  Spritz with olive oil and sprinkle with seasalt.  Toss to coat (spritzing and sprinkling more sea salt if needed).  

Bake in oven for approximately 15-20 minutes until green beans look a little toasty.  Turn halfway through baking.  

*I like mine well done, so they end up a little more brown.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 C           Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp         baking powder
1/2 tsp      baking powder
1/4C         unrefined sugar
1/4 tsp      sea salt
1/3C         maple syrup
1/4 tsp      molasses
1 1/2 tsp   vanilla
1/4 C         neutral oil
1/3 C         non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
In separate bowl, mix syrup, molasses, vanilla, and oil.
Add chocolate chips to dry mixture, add wet ingredients. Combine.
Place on cookie sheet.  (I use tablespoon-sized balls and end up with 1 dozen) Press balls to flatten slightly.
Bake 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown.  (Overbaking will cause them to be crispy)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

you eat what?

In September, our family decided it was time to change the way we eat.  Through lots of research and talking with a family friend (who is also a nurse/nutritionist/personal trainer and many other things), we decided to switch to plant-based, nutrient dense eating.  Even the most staunch carnivore cannot deny that the way we eat in America is not adding anything our health, especially to that of our children.  I hate to say that we are "vegan" simply because it tends to have a negative connotation, and truly, you can be vegan and not eat healthy foods.  We eat mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, and healthy grains.  Now, occasionally we give in to our desire to eat a hamburger or grab some ice-cream, but that is a small part of our diet.

We are doing this mainly because we want our family to be healthy.  The links between animal proteins and cancer are documented.  Obesity, especially in children, is on the rise. And God provided everything we need to eat in nature.  Let's be real.  As much as I love a handful of m&ms, they don't exactly grow on trees.  

However, one startling (albeit expected) benefit of eating this plant-based, nutrient-rich diet has been weightloss.  My husband has lost 48 pounds and I have lost 38 (so far). Its awesome! 

If you want to talk to me a little more about what we eat, or even why, just let me know.  I am happy to chat with you.  I have had several friends and family members start their healthy new journey in the last month.  Its worth it!

I HIGHLY recommend reading Eat to Live by Joel Furhman or The China Study .
And, if you have access to Netflix, check out the documentary Forks Over Knives.

Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton
The Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon
(strict dieting recipes included in Eat to Live)

I am going to periodically post recipes also that I try that are delicious, so keep an eye out! 

much love,