Miso Sesame Kale Bowl-ed Over

20140330_131657Hubby and I enjoy grabbing a quick bite at Native Foods.  One of my favorite dishes there is the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl.  The recipe below is my knock off, minus the tempeh.  I love tempeh, but didn’t have any the day I made this.  Add some baked or fried if you like!

Miso Sesame Kale Bowl

4 cups chopped raw kale
1 cup prepared sauerkraut (milder flavored recommended)
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 cups cooked brown or wild/brown rice mixture

Sauce:
1/4 cup water
1 Tbs. Braggs or gluten-free tamari sauce
2 Tbs. white miso paste
2 Tbs. tahini
1/2 tsp. ginger

In a non-stick pan using medium-high heat, brown sesame seeds and remove to a bowl for later.

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Use the same pan and add kale, stirring until wilted. Move to one side of the pan and place sauerkraut on the other side. Turn down heat to low, cover and allow sauerkraut to warm up.

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To prepare sauce, add water, Braggs, miso, tahini and ginger to food processor or blender and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Spoon cooked rice into bowl, top with kale and sauerkraut. Pour on miso sauce to taste. Sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds. Eat and by healthy!

 

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Amazing “Cheese” Sauce

20140211_203158I modified this recipe based on inspiration from Fat Free Vegan’s recipe for vegan nacho cheese sauce that was simply scrumptious.  Check it out and try the baked cauliflower too – yum!

I wanted to make a vegan cheese sauce that was more traditional to add to various veggies and make a mac n’ cheese so I played around with some combinations and this is the one that won for me.

I’ve used this with gluten-free pasta to make a fabulous mac n’ cheese and poured it on steamed veggies, potatoes, you get the idea.  It’s vegan cheese sauce.  Enjoy!

Amazing  Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

  • 2 cups unsweetened rice or soy milk (I like rice best – just make sure whatever plant-based milk you use is not sweetened or vanilla flavored)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup mashed plain sweet potato
  • 4 tbs organic corn starch
  • 1 1/2  tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Dr. Braggs or gluten-free tamari sauce (optional-gives a little more umami flavor and cheesy saltiness)
  • ¼  tsp turmeric (optional – gives it a little more yellow color and it’s really good for you)

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender until very smooth and creamy.  Pour into pan and stir on stove at medium high heat until thick and warm.  Top the sauce on your favorite foods, use as a dip or refrigerate to reheat and eat later. The recipe below can easily be doubled if you love leftovers and the sauce will keep in the fridge for at least a week, although, you’ll eat it before the week’s up – at least I did!

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Red Lentil Loaf

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There are many wonderful and compassionate vegan options to replace the meat on your plate at Thanksgiving – Tofurky, Harvest Field Roast, Native Foods Wellington and the list goes on. But for those of us who are gluten-free too, all these options just can’t go on our plate.  No turkey, no Tofurky, no worries!  Make this Red Lentil Loaf. It’s full of protein, has no oil, no soy, no nuts and no gluten.  But it does have taste and a nice meaty texture. It’s  super easy to prepare and one of the things you can make a day or two before and reheat after you slice it up and top it with your favorite vegan gravy. (Try my latest recipe for white bean gravy, or the mushroom gravy I whipped up a couple years ago.)

Red Lentil Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbs ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 cup gluten-free tamari or Dr. Bragg’s
  • 2 cups white button mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • small amount of olive oil to grease pan

In large pan, add lentils and veggie broth, bring to a boil, cover, turn down heat and simmer until soft (about 8 minutes.) In another pan, add celery, onions garlic, mushrooms, kale and spices with a bit of water and cook until tender.  Smash lentils until smooth and combine all previously listed ingredients into one pan, add spinach and oats and stir.  Allow ingredients to cool a bit and add them to food processor with “S” blade.  Puree briefly. Lightly oil 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and spoon mixture into pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 325 F or until loaf starts to brown slightly on top and sides lift away from edges.  Cooking time may vary. Don’t overcook or loaf will be dry.  Cool and refrigerate. Once cool, the loaf can be sliced and eaten cold or reheated.

I sliced it into small pieces, topped with white-bean gravy, reheated and brought it to the vegan Gentle Thanksgiving potluck.


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Savory White Bean Gravy

White-Bean-Gravy

Fastest ever gravy!  This version, with savory spices, is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Top potatoes, lentil loaf, tempeh, stuffing, biscuits. No oil, no gluten, no soy, no nuts and low fat. Great taste and texture.

Savory White Bean Gravy

  • 1 15oz can Great Northern Beans and liquid
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • Vegetable bouillon powder to flavor 2 cups.  (I use a powdered veggie broth and add 1/8 cup, but any bouillon will do. Do not add extra liquid.)
  • 1 tsp savory spice mix (I used a “Bohemian Rub” that contained mustard seed, garlic, rosemary, theym, savory, parsley, lavendar and sage)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (add more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

In high speed blender, add all ingredients (do not drain beans – add liquid too) and blend until smooth. Heat with your blender’s soup setting, or heat in sauce pan or microwave and serve.

 

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BBQ Tempeh Lettuce Wraps – Gluten-Free Vegan Meals in Minutes

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Working late and need an easy idea for a super quick, yet healthy dinner?  Try these BBQ tempeh lettuce wraps.  Not familiar with tempeh?  It’s made from fermented soy beans and is a whole, unprocessed food.  Be sure to get traditional, organic (since most soy is GMO) and watch out for versions made with additional grains as these varieties could contain gluten.

Wash some romaine lettuce and chop up green onions, tomatoes and avocados. Set aside.

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Crumble a block of tempeh in a pan and add your favorite gluten-free, vegan BBQ sauce. Heat on medium and stir until tempeh is hot and mixed well with the sauce.

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Build your lettuce wrap. Dinner is served!

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Raw Vegan Nacho Cheese Zucchini Chips

nacho-zucchini-chipsI have a couple other tasty recipes on the blog for zucchini chips – spicy Asian and chili lime. I love zucchini because they’re so easy to grow and they’re so versatile.  I think dehydrated chips have become my absolute favorite way to eat zucchini. And hubby no longer complains that we grew too much zucchini since he loves them too.  I use a traditional rack type dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, you could also make these in your oven on the lowest heat setting. If you do use the oven, keep an eye on them as they will cook a bit faster at the higher heat. (And they won’t technically be “raw” but they’ll still be tasty and healthy!)

You could also use this sauce for kale chips too.

I double the recipe below to have enough for my dehydrator (10 trays).

Raw Vegan Nacho Cheese Zucchini Chips

1/2 cups cashews (soaked for 30 minutes or more and drained)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tb chili powder (makes a mildly spicy sauce)
1 tsp powdered/ground cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup water
8 cups sliced zucchini (approx)

Slice raw zucchini about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick and set aside.

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Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes, drain and add to food processor with “S” blade add all other ingredients and blend.  Add water slowly to make your sauce the desired thickness.  Thinner sauce will dry faster and not taste quite as strong. Thicker sauce will create very cheesy chips.

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In a large bowl, add some of the zucchini and some of the sauce – mixed in smaller amounts is easier.  Coat the zucchini with the sauce and place on dehydrator tray.  Do this until all the zucchini are coated and placed on the rack.

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If you have extra zucchini or extra sauce, consider using them in another recipe. You can add the sauce to quinoa, rice, gluten-free pasta, soup…. and zucchini are great tossed in marinara sauce or in curries. See my other sliced zucchini recipes, pumpkin curry and kolokithia.

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Trick or Treat Vegan Style

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The scariest thing about Halloween to me is looking at the ingredients in all that crappy candy.  First, most of it isn’t vegan – and I’m not talking about just the milk chocolate.  Red candy is often colored with the crushed bodies of the female Dactylopius coccus, an insect from Central and South America.

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Watch out for cochineal, carmine, or carminic acid on the label to avoid eating these poor critters.  Also, gummy candies are usually made with gelatin- aka miscellaneous boiled animal parts like cartilage, skin, bone and other tissue.  Spooky, creepy, cruel and gross!

And even if the candy is vegan, hubby and I don’t want to support the consumption of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).  GMOs are foods that have had their DNA altered. They are untested and suspected to cause health problems in humans and animals.  Here’s a good place to start to learn more and I highly encourage you to learn more if this is a new subject for you!  Unless it’s organic or specifically labeled GMO free, if it contains corn syrup, sugar (other than specifically labeled pure cane sugar), soy, cottonseed, corn or canola oil, (also the elusive vegetable oil which is usually a combo of the four I just listed) it’s most likely genetically modified. If I had to guess, I would say conservatively that 90% of the candy from the big manufacturers is GMO laden.

I’ll be blunt.  The traditional stuff most people pay hard-earned dollars for and hand out to our unsuspecting little ones contributes to animal cruelty, poor health and a toxic environment.  Three years ago, as new vegans, we just said no to it all and the kids actually thanked us.  We found some vegan, non-GMO fruit leather treats at our local Costco.

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We also had some little packs of nuts.  We let the kids choose. At first I was worried about getting egged, but we heard comments like “Ooh! I love fruit leathers!”  and “Yay, nuts!  I can’t have (chocolate, sugar, etc…)”. One little girl even mentioned she was glad to see something healthy. She gave me hope for the future and their positive reactions made my night. No cruel eggs or wasteful, smashed pumpkins were smeared on my house either.

So please take some time to re-think Halloween and find a cruelty free, health promoting option to give to your trick-or-treaters this year!  It has to start somewhere, so why not start with you?

Happy Cruelty-Free Halloween!!!!

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Kale and Strawberries and Goiters – Oh My!

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A goiter?  I have a goiter?  Isn’t that something only malnourished people in third world countries get?  Apparently not, since I had one this summer.  Luckily, my doctor caught it in the early stages, so I didn’t have a big, lumpy elephant neck or anything terribly dramatic, but I had a goiter none the less. And once I found out, I had to find out how it got there and how to make it go away – pronto!

I thought eating lots of Kale and leafy  greens, raw hummus, the occasional tofu, tempeh and edamame, peaches, strawberries, all that healthy stuff was, well healthy.  In fact, my beautiful garden was full of all kinds of leafy goodness.

While these foods are very healthy, too much of them can be a bad thing if you have health issues.  It was for me.

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According to WHFoods.org, While it’s important to note foods themselves are not “goitrogenic” in the sense of causing goiter whenever they are consumed, or even when they are consumed in excess. In fact, most foods that are commonly called goitrogenic do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy people.  The term “goitrogenic food” makes it sound as if something is wrong with the food, but in reality, the problems occurring for certain individuals is not the food itself, but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health circumstances.

Turns out my body needed iodine. Badly. While I suspect my gluten-intolerant gut and it’s inability to absorb nutrients efficiently may have also had something to do with this mess,  I learned goitrogenic foods can prevent your body from absorbing iodine, especially if you’re also deficient in selenium.  I’d also switched to sea salt which I thought was better than iodized. I rarely ate sea veggies, so I wasn’t getting much iodine and I was eating tons of goitrogenic foods.  For me, probably not the best move.

After researching and compiling a list of goitrogenic  foods and seeing they made up about 80% of my diet, I felt sick.  Being vegan, gluten-free and non-goitrogenic  – what would I eat? At first I cried big sobbing tears, thinking about how limiting my diet would be. But like my gluten-free challenge years ago, I reminded myself to think about what I could eat, not what I couldn’t. I worked hard to put together a couple lists – goitrogenic foods to avoid and non-goitrogenic foods that contain nutrients that promote healthy thyroid gland function.

The beautiful thing I learned on my own (not from doctors) was that after avoiding the goitrogenic foods for about a month, adding a few sea vegetables and small amounts of iodine, selenium and potassium supplements to my diet, the ultrasound showed the goiter was going away.  I’m slowly adding the goitrogenic foods back into my diet and trying to eat more of them cooked, rather than raw. And fingers crossed, I’m doing OK. I will be going back to see my endocrinologist again in a few months and advise anyone with thyroid issues to find a good doctor. But never stop advocating for your own health and learning about alternative treatments so you can make the best choice possible for YOU!

Gluten-Free, Vegan
Goitrogenic Foods

Gluten-Free, Vegan
Non-Goitrogenic Foods

Vegetables

African Cassava (used in tapioca)
Asparagus*
Bamboo Shoots
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage (including Kimchi and Sauerkraut)
Cauliflower
Corn
Edamame
Garbanzo Beans
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leafy Greens (Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Spinach)
Radishes
Rutabaga
Sweet Potatoes
Tempeh
Tofu
Turnips
Wasabi
Watercress
Azuki Beans
Avocados
Beet root and leaves
Bell Peppers
Black Beans
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Cucumber
Eggplant
Fennel
Garlic
Green Beans
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kelp
Lima Beans
Mung Beans
Mushrooms
Navy Beans
Onions
Peas
Pinto Beans
Red Kidney Beans
Romaine
Sea Vegetables
Squash
Tomato
Zucchini
 Fruit
Dates*
Grapes
Grape juice
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Strawberries
Apples
Apricots
Bananas
Blackberries
Blueberries
Cherries
Citrus Fruits
Cranberries
Guavas
Kiwis
Mangoes
Pineapples
Pomegranates
Raisins
Raspberries
Watermelon
Nuts, Seeds and Grains
Almonds*
Cashews
Flax Seed
Hemp Seed
Millet
Peanuts
Pine Nuts
Pumpkin Seed*
Walnuts
Amaranth
Coconut
Brazil Nuts (great source of selenium to help absorb iodine)
Buckwheat
Hazelnuts
Macadamia Nuts
Quinoa
Rice – brown, white, wild, etc..
Sunflower Seeds
 Other
Black Tea – leaves absorb fluoride from the soil
Green Tea – leaves absorb fluoride from the soil
Fluoride
Miso
Soy Milk
Soy Oil
Soy Flour
TVP (soy)
Many herbs have healing properties that can help thyroid and other body functions. Cayenne, Turmeric, Ginger, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley, Cinnamon are just a few good ones to add to your food.

* I checked many lists to create mine and found some foods to be listed as both goitrogenic and non-goitrogenic. To err on the side of caution, I’ve listed them on the goitrogenic side but they may have benefits to help with thyroid.

 

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You might be a carnivore if…

tyrannosaurus-rex-eating-preyYou might be a carnivore if…

-Road kill sounds tasty – fresh (or not so fresh) off the pavement.

-You just love ripping your dagger-like canines through fur and flesh to reach the soggy, bloody, vein-popping, gristle and muscle inside.

-You are easy able to run 40 M.P.H. for a few minutes to catch your dinner.

-Squirrel, rat, raccoon and pigeon sushi sound delicious. Coagulating in blood? Even better.

-Your jaw opens wide enough to seize, kill and dismember your prey – all in one big bite.

-Your teeth are razor sharp and spaced so far apart you don’t even need to floss.

-You enjoy chewing on bones to pass the time.

-You’re not grossed out by hair, feathers or maggots in your food but you wonder why anyone would ruin a perfectly good piece of raw, dead flesh with salt, pepper, spices, sauces, or God forbid, a grill.

Not describing you? Don’t worry!

Based on the info below we are much more suited to a plant-based diet. And for our health, the health of our planet and the compassion for animals, we can all  benefit by eating that way.

Check out the following list from The Comparative Anatomy of Eating by Milton R. Mills, M.D.
Facial Muscles
CARNIVORE: Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
HERBIVORE: Well-developed
OMNIVORE: Reduced
HUMAN: Well-developed

Jaw Type
CARNIVORE: Angle not expanded
HERBIVORE: Expanded angle
OMNIVORE: Angle not expanded
HUMAN: Expanded angle

Jaw Joint Location
CARNIVORE: On same plane as molar teeth
HERBIVORE: Above the plane of the molars
OMNIVORE: On same plane as molar teeth
HUMAN: Above the plane of the molars

Jaw Motion
CARNIVORE: Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
HERBIVORE: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
OMNIVORE: Shearing; minimal side-to-side
HUMAN: No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Major Jaw Muscles
CARNIVORE: Temporalis
HERBIVORE: Masseter and pterygoids
OMNIVORE: Temporalis
HUMAN: Masseter and pterygoids

Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
CARNIVORE: Large
HERBIVORE: Small
OMNIVORE: Large
HUMAN: Small

Teeth: Incisors
CARNIVORE: Short and pointed
HERBIVORE: Broad, flattened and spade shaped
OMNIVORE: Short and pointed
HUMAN: Broad, flattened and spade shaped

Teeth: Canines
CARNIVORE: Long, sharp and curved
HERBIVORE: Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
OMNIVORE: Long, sharp and curved
HUMAN: Short and blunted

Teeth: Molars
CARNIVORE: Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
HERBIVORE: Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
OMNIVORE: Sharp blades and/or flattened
HUMAN: Flattened with nodular cusps

Chewing
CARNIVORE: None; swallows food whole
HERBIVORE: Extensive chewing necessary
OMNIVORE: Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
HUMAN: Extensive chewing necessary

Saliva
CARNIVORE: No digestive enzymes
HERBIVORE: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
OMNIVORE: No digestive enzymes
HUMAN: Carbohydrate digesting enzymes

Stomach Type
CARNIVORE: Simple
HERBIVORE: Simple or multiple chambers
OMNIVORE: Simple
HUMAN: Simple

Stomach Acidity
CARNIVORE: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
HERBIVORE: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
OMNIVORE: Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
HUMAN: pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach

Stomach Capacity
CARNIVORE: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
HERBIVORE: Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
OMNIVORE: 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
HUMAN: 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract

Length of Small Intestine
CARNIVORE: 3 to 6 times body length
HERBIVORE: 10 to more than 12 times body length
OMNIVORE: 4 to 6 times body length
HUMAN: 10 to 11 times body length

Colon
CARNIVORE: Simple, short and smooth
HERBIVORE: Long, complex; may be sacculated
OMNIVORE: Simple, short and smooth
HUMAN: Long, sacculated

Liver
CARNIVORE: Can detoxify vitamin A
HERBIVORE: Cannot detoxify vitamin A
OMNIVORE: Can detoxify vitamin A
HUMAN: Cannot detoxify vitamin A

Kidney
CARNIVORE: Extremely concentrated urine
HERBIVORE: Moderately concentrated urine
OMNIVORE: Extremely concentrated urine
HUMAN: Moderately concentrated urine

Nails
CARNIVORE: Sharp claws
HERBIVORE: Flattened nails or blunt hooves
OMNIVORE: Sharp claws
HUMAN: Flattened nails

 

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Guilt Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Mac and “Cheese”

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Mac and Cheese – the ultimate comfort food.  But the real stuff is not gluten-free, fat free or healthy.  It’s filled with calories, animal cruelty and artery-clogging cholesterol. I’ve had some really good vegan “cheese” sauces. My favorite is Heidi Ho Chia Cheeze Sauce.  It comes in a little glass jar, is lower in fat and contains only goodness.  But I’m out and need to buy more and was having a Mac and Cheese fix.  What to do…..Time to get creative!

This version is soy-free, nut-free, vegan, and gluten-free It’s made from beans so it does have a beany texture. But because it’s made from beans, turmeric, nutritional yeast, pepper and sea salt, it is a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins and a tasty topping for your favorite gluten-free pasta.  Hubby liked it enough to have a second bowl. (Me too, so good thing it’s lower in calories!) It would also make a good veggie dip, but cut the salt by ½ tsp if you’re dipping anything salty like chips or crackers.

Beany “Cheese” Sauce

15 oz cooked and drained cannellini / white kidney beans (canned works great if you’re in a hurry)
5 tbs nutritional yeast
2  tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients in high powered blender or food processor until very smooth. I made mine in my blender.

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Add to 6 cups freshly cooked and drained hot gluten-free pasta, cooked al dente and mix gently until all the pasta is coated with the sauce.  Makes 6 one cup servings.

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