Girls on Food

Healthy Foods

Glow Juicery in Hamilton, Ontario

Jesse Briscoe has transformed the back portion of her beautiful home into a location for Canadian franchise Glow Juicery, a company who’s goal is to challenge their customers to look at food differently. This mission resonated strongly at the opening of Glow Juicery Hamilton, which is conveniently located out of Jesse’s Kitchen. Jesse’s vision wasn’t only to build a successful business for herself, but to be able to give Hamilton education on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Glow Juicery
35 Pine Street, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2A2, Canada
http://www.ourcitynights.com/

glow juiceryI had a chance to speak to founder Marnie about why this location was so special to her, and she explained to me that she thinks it’s unique because it is unlike any other location she’s helped launch.

Glow Juicery isn’t what you may think it is, to be honest, a lot of people may think that nothing that tastes this good could possibly be healthy, but it is! It’s not rabbit food; it is soul food that makes you feel energized from the mind and down. Everything from their juices to their salads and delish glow bites is nutritious and jam-packed full of ingredients that can help us power through the day. Glow sees change and is in fact, that change in this plethora of toxic options we are faced with every day that causes harm to our bodies. They deliver juices that detoxify the body, brings energy to the body and clears and restores the mind.

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Glow Seasonal Salad

Jesse had many treats available for us to taste test while visiting her “Glow home”, the first that I tried was the Glow Seasonal Salad. This salad is packed with seasonal vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers and chickpeas and plenty of other amazing vegetables.

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Nanaimo Bars

I also had a chance to try the raw vegan Nanaimo Bars, and they were absolutely delicious! I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference between a typical Nanaimo bar and the vegan ones I tried at Glow. Super chocolatey, nutty and even more delectable!

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Glow bite

The Glow bites are also another favourite of mine. My favourite ingredient in this is the maple syrup, which If you’re Canadian you will appreciate! These little bites of heaven contain cashews, Medjool dates, TriPow, vanilla bean powder, and maple syrup.

There were also plenty of juice to cleanse our palates in between bites of Nanaimo bars and Glow bites. Jesse allowed us to sample the famous juices of Glow Juicery such as After Glow, Ener-G Glow, Vitamin G, and Citrus Glow.

After Glow: Spinach + Cucumber + Celery + Kale + Apple + Parsley

Ener-G Glow: Spinach + Cucumber + Pear + Celery + Chlorophyll

Vitamin G: Cucumber + Carrot + Orange + Lemon + Ginger

Citrus Glow: Orange + Lemon + Ginger + Coconut H20

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Overall, such a positive experience at Glow Juicery, I will be stopping by after my long and rigorous hikes during the summer. 

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Make Out in Culver City: Our Favorite Plant-Based Cafe

To the surprise of some of you I truly and madly love vegetables. It almost feels funny to say it out loud; I know you guys don’t picture me as the kind of girl that eats her greens but because my favorite plant-based restaurant is celebrating their first year I wanted to share with all of you this little piece of healthy heaven.

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Make Out Culver City
9426 West Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.makeouteveryday.com

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Make Out is located in a 1920s building in the heart of Culver City. The place is modern chic and what I like the most is that it has a very inviting café vibe. It has an array of big tables and -be warned- once you hit the couch you will not want to leave. The menu is full of healthy nutritious food mostly vegan and raw, and you will be able to enjoy juices, smoothies and/or a full meal. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter what you eat either way you will be doing your body a favor.

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To start my meal, I ordered the Kombucha. It was fizzy, refreshing and came in a bunch of flavors I had pineapple. And the special of the day: the Nachos Fiesta. The Nachos were made with blue corn tortillas, vegan cheese and pico de gallo. I think that they should add the Nachos permanently on the menu because they were so tasty.

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After that, I wanted to try some of the soups. And because I’m a good Mexican, the first soup I tried was the bean soup. Let me tell you it was so comforting; there is nothing like having freshly made bean soup when it’s cold in LA. Then I had the Squash soup. It had crunchy pepitas on top, and it was so incredibly creamy that it is hard to believe that it was dairy-free.

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From the small plates section on the menu, I decided to have the Spicy Carrot Roll made with nori better known as seaweed, jalapeño “cream cheese”, cucumber and avocado. What an inspiring take on sushi! It was soft on the outside and crunchy on the inside. The plate was not only beautiful, but the roll tasted splendid.

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I proceeded to try the flatbreads. I went with the Pizza flatbread that has Sundried Marinara, Pistachio Pesto, and Macadamia Ricotta. I’m telling you that Ricotta tasted like the real deal!! Followed by the Fennel flatbread. This one has baba ganoush, mint, lemon, and capers. Both of the flatbreads were delicious, but I was particularly taken with the Fennel flatbread. I I have never had a flatbread like that, it was good simple ingredients in a very innovative way.

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To end my meal I wanted to try the Kelp bowls. So what is this Kelp thing? It is a kind of brown seaweed that is super high in nutrients. Best of all it is fat-free and gluten-free. Kelp is typically referred as noodles although they don’t taste or feel like pasta. I love them, so I tried the Almond Kelp bowl that comes with kelp noodles, carrot, lime, ginger and spicy Almond. As soon as I tasted it, the first thought that crossed my mind was Pad Thai. It tasted like the healthy version of that. Then I had the Pepper Kelp Bowl. It has black pepper, olive crumb, and snap peas. I had not had this one before, and it was delicious. It tasted like the best Alfredo pasta (minus all the fat and carbs) that you’ve ever had; it was creamy, complex and so savory. I was so impressed with this bowl.

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I was super lucky because I got to try the new desserts that are coming soon to the menu thank you Make Out. First, I had the Raw Cheesecake Fudge. This little beauty is dipped in raw cacao. And it tastes just like it sounds: amazing. And then I had the Coconut Chocolate Hazelnut Mouse. Creamy, chocolaty, nutty…it was gorgeous. I can only describe it by how I felt and I was invaded by deep sadness when I had the last scoop. I just didn’t want it to end.

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As you can see, I completely pigged out at Make Out. To be honest, there is not a thing on the menu that isn’t exciting. The food is healthy, flavorful and very creative. Best of all you are doing something good for your body every time you eat like this. I am so happy that Make Out is celebrating its anniversary I wish them many successful and healthy years!

5 Little Known Healthy Food Hacks

5 little known health hacks

A line-up of all my favorite health and beauty products☝️ ? ?

Like, if I was on a deserted island and I could only bring five things with me, these would be them (except maybe the coconut products if there are coconuts on said deserted island ? but even then I probably still would).

You probably already know how healthy these items are – like the healing properties of turmeric when used as a spice, or replacing regular table salt with Himalayan pink salt, or that coconut oil is not only great for cooking but as a moisturizer too!

But these superfoods have other health benefits that you may not be aware of ?so I have a list of my five favorite little-known health hacks that are crazy easy to incorporate into your life.

himalayan pink salt

Add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your water bottle

  • It helps your body use the water more efficiently. I use my Himalayan pink salt – you can find excellent brands at Ross and Marshalls for super cheap! Don’t worry; it doesn’t make your water taste salty at all ?

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Look for bottles/cans with the “BPA-free” logo

  • Even as a super health freak, for the longest time I didn’t know how damaging BPA was and that I should look for bottles and cans that were BPA free. BPA is a chemical found in food cans and plastic bottles that can get into your body and wreak havoc. Many brands now have BPA free logos on their products, just look closely because they can be hard to spot. They’ll probably be a little more expensive than the regular BPA ridden products, but it’s definitely worth the cost!

apple cider vinegar

Consume a little apple cider vinegar before eating cooked foods

  • It will help your body break down the foods and absorb the nutrients better. If it’s a starchy meal, the apple cider vinegar will assist the starches you don’t digest in feeding the good bacteria in your gut. It can also reduce blood sugar spikes after eating and contribute to reducing food cravings. Make sure you buy a brand like Braggs that is organic, non-gmo, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, and with the ‘mother.’ I take a cap full before my meals, but most people prefer diluting it with water. You can also use it as a salad dressing or in your cooking.

Make a turmeric toothpaste

  • I don’t do this as often as I would like because it’s super messy but it’s also very effective. Just take a little bit of organic coconut oil (you only need about 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp) and add organic ground turmeric until you have a toothpaste consistency. Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes and rinse. Not only will it naturally whiten your teeth, but as an anti-inflammatory it will also get rid of unwanted bacteria and soothe any problems areas in your mouth.

organic coconut milk

Swap your regular coffee creamer with full-fat coconut milk

  • Even “healthy” coffee creamers with the best of intentions will contain processed ingredients and chemicals. Since I drink coffee on the daily, I wanted something completely all natural that would benefit my health. As a vegan, I want to make sure I’m getting those healthy fats, so buying cans (BPA free of course!) of full-fat coconut milk is the perfect solution plus it makes my coffee taste amazing ☕️.  I buy the Native Forest brand from my local health foods store because it’s the least processed with only two ingredients. I store the extra coconut milk in a sealed container in the fridge, and it stays good for 6-7 days.

Here are a few bonus hacks:

  • Have a mug of warm water with fresh lemon juice when you wake up. It will flush the toxins out of your body and prep that belly for all the foods you are about to ingest.
  • Wash your fresh produce with vinegar instead of dish soap. Even the “natural” dish soaps are loaded with chemicals, and you don’t want those getting all over your foods.
  • Reduce your exposure to harmful electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from your cell phone and laptop by using a product like QLink. You just stick the QLink on your device, and it works its magic.

These are all easy, healthy hacks to add to your daily routine that doesn’t require a lot of effort and won’t break the bank. The health of you and your loved ones are worth it! ?

Jillian ?

Brunch at The Briarpatch Restaurant in Winter Park, FL

The Briarpatch Restaurant
252 Park Avenue N., Winter Park, FL 32789
http://www.thebriarpatchrestaurant.com/

IMG_5384The Briarpatch is synonymous with the word “brunch” in Winter Park. It is a staple on Park Avenue and offers contemporary comfort food in a charming, southern setting. The outside seating is relaxed and under a covered patio. Inside, however, is exciting and bustling, with separate dining and bakery areas.

I met my grandmother last weekend to have brunch at our favorite Sunday spot. Even on the weekdays, it is best to have a reservation at The Briarpatch, or you may find yourself window shopping on Park Avenue while you wait for a table.

 

 

IMG_5390After a long week of junk food in the library, I decided to order something off the Heart Healthy menu. While ignoring the giant cakes and ice cream on display was hard, my Egg White, Tomato, and Basil Omelet was delicious and filling. The fresh tomatoes and basil were sautéed perfectly so that they were both juicy and crunchy. Melted Parmigiano Reggiano cheese made me forget how healthy the meal was.

 

IMG_5391The Briarpatch is known for their fresh, fluffy pancakes. Rich flavor combinations and homemade whipped cream topping set these pancakes apart from any other. My grandmother ordered her usual, Raspberry Lemon Cream pancakes, topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. They were thick, moist, and the lemon cream added a deliciously tart kick.

 

The Briarpatch is consistent and comfortable. There are plenty of tourists, but it’s also the preferred brunch spot of Rollins Students and Winter Park locals alike. I suggest going home with a slice of the rich and creamy peanut butter pie or the towering red velvet cake. You will not be disappointed!
Briarpatch Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jillian’s Fully Loaded Vegan Mac n’ Cheeze

Cheesy! Cheesy! Cheesy! I love anything and everything cheesy, and thanks to the miracle of vegan cheese and nutritional yeast, I never have to live without it. #blessed ❤️

In all seriousness, this is a really yummy recipe that is perfect for those comfort food cravings that everyone gets, even gluten-free vegans ? Not only is it free of animal product and tons of over-processed ingredients, it’s kind of healthy and contains wonderful things like turmeric, veggies, and raw cashews. That means it also contains protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. High five!

This dish is great for lunch, parties, or to make a big batch and take to work with you. It’s incredibly filling and satisfying, and easy to reheat. Now that I’ve talked up this creamy, savory bowl of cheesy heaven, read on to see how simple it is to make Fully Loaded Vegan Mac n’ Cheez!

fully loaded vegan mac n' cheez

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 box of gluten-free macaroni (I used a quinoa based one)
  • favorite sauteed veggies
  • Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble

unnamed-1For the sauce:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight then drain and rinse
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ground turmeric
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • non-dairy milk (I like cashew milk)

Super simple instructions:

  1. Cook macaroni according to directions on the box.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews. Blend with the rest of the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  3. In a pan, saute your favorite veggies (I used mushrooms, broccoli, and kale) in a little bit of olive oil along with Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble. Season if desired.
  4. Put macaroni back into the pot, add the sauce and mix until evenly distributed. Add in the veggies & beefy crumble and stir.

Look how creamy this sauce is! Thanks, raw cashews. You da best ? You can stop there if you want, it’s delicious without the veggies and beef crumbles. You can top it off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or if you’re super fancy some chopped parsley.

Even though I haven’t tested this recipe on kids, I’m pretty sure they’ll love it. Makes a great main course, but would also be yummy as a side dish. I hope you enjoy this recipe! Cheese it up buttercup ?

Jillian ?

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Summer’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocado. The magical fruit chocked full of all the things that are good for you. What things would that be you ask?  Well let me give a brief rundown: they are full of healthy fats, high in vitamin C, they got more potassium than bananas and let us not forget about the fiber. Avocados are pretty much the superhero of the fruit world. Since I have been trying to find new ways to make my favorite part of the meal (that would be dessert) a little healthier I decided to give avocado pudding a try.

I gathered the following ingredients and concocted a pretty decent pudding.

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Summer’s Avocado Pudding

Just a reminder I do not measure anything I just eyeball it and go by taste so the measurements listed are based off that. 

Coconut milk  1/4 cup and a splash (if you need it)

100% Raw Cacao Powder 1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract 2 tsp

Maple Syrup 1/4 to 1/2 cup (this is entirely up to you, the more syrup, the sweeter it is. Also you can add stevia or honey for a sweeter taste)

1 and 1/2 ripe avocado

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Take all the ingredients and add to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

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Dish up into serving bowls, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Finished avocado pudding

When all done garnish and serve. I used fresh strawberries and shaved coconut. This is a basic recipe, and there are so many awesome things you can add. Peanut butter is a delicious choice, as is bananas. Play around. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Enjoy!
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Summer’s Peachy Coconut Cream Popsicles

Spring is in the air; the temperature is rising, and there is nothing better than a cold sweet treat to keep you cool. My favorite kind of treat is ice cream. I LOVE ice cream. Like I love it so much, I would marry it. Seriously, I wouldn’t even need a ring. The problem is ice cream is all about that dairy. At least, the flavorful, good ones are. Since dairy is pretty much my arch nemesis, I needed to find an alternative. Something a little healthier without sacrificing taste. Enter coconut cream. Fluffy and smooth just like a pillow. Now, I have used coconut cream for many things, yet for whatever reason it never dawned on me to use it for a delicious frozen treat until now.

I started rummaging around my kitchen and found the following in my cupboard and freezer.

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It was a sign; I needed to make peaches n’ cream popsicles.

I kind of did everything by taste and eyeballing it… with that said here is an estimation of the actual ingredient measurements.

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I like using maple syrup to sweeten things because it is healthier and vanilla extract is pretty much a no-brainer since it makes everything taste better. You can also use stevia or agave syrup.

I chopped up the frozen peaches so that they were more bite size.

I then put everything except for the peaches into a bowl and mixed it all up.

Mixing it

After that, I started spooning the delicious mixture into my nifty dollar store popsicle holders.

filling the container

After a few spoonfuls of the coconut mixture, I dropped a few pieces of peaches in and repeated the spooning, peach dropping process until the popsicle molds were full.

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Place the tops on and freeze overnight.

I was super excited to wake up and try out my delicious treat the next day. I’m not going to lie; they were a little tough to get out. (maybe I should have invested in popsicle molds that were more than a dollar) I had to let them sit on the counter for a couple of minutes to loosen up. I tell you what, though, they were worth the wait!!

me with popsicleThis recipe is totally customizable. I think strawberries, pineapple, kiwi would all be awesome choices as well.

Give them a try and let me know what y’all think in the comment section below!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Jillian’s Healing Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

healing tropical turmeric smoothie

This smoothie is my everything. ?✨??

Not only does it contain plant-based healing properties, but it’s refreshing and delicious, and the beautiful bright orange color doesn’t hurt either! Smoothies have become part of my daily diet, and I feel like 5 million percent better than my pre-smoothie life. Humans are so used to eating processed foods, even the healthier versions of them, that sometimes eating basic raw fruits & vegetables can be a daily struggle. I know that even if I slip up and eat a whole bag of potato chips or something fried or containing gluten, I feel better knowing that smoothies got my back, and I don’t have to have a meltdown because I ruined my day with junk food.

Enter the Healing Tropical Turmeric Smoothie ? ? A coconut based smoothie with healing turmeric and ginger, banana and peaches for natural sweetness, and carrots for fiber and a pop of color.

Check out my very first recipe video for this easy to make smoothie! I’m sure there are tech-savvy 10-year-olds out there that could create a better video than this, but it was super fun to make, and I’m sure my video skills will improve from here on out. Let me know what you think!

The photo and video don’t do justice to the deep orange color you get with this smoothie. And the longer it sits, the richer the color ?

Smoothies are great to eat before a meal to curb your appetite, so you don’t overeat, and the raw fruits & veggies also help your body break down nutrients more efficiently.

Turmeric, in particular, is best consumed with a healthy fat to ensure all the amazing benefits of it are absorbed.  I used coconut water in the video, but coconut milk would be a great choice thanks to its healthy fats. And if one tsp of ground turmeric is too overwhelming for your taste buds, try 1/2 teaspoon.

For another excellent turmeric drink and to see a list of the health benefits of this yellow spice superfood, check out my recipe for Turmeric Milk. It’s so tasty!

I recommend using all organic ingredients for this recipe, which you should be able to find easily at your local grocery store. The most expensive of all these ingredients is the organic ground turmeric, but it will last you a little while and is totally worth it ?

Enjoy!!

Jillian ?

Happea for Green Pea Cookie

Growing up and living in the Bay Area, there are so many healthy options that cater to so many different diets. Even desserts and snacks have stepped up their game with being natural, vegan, and/or gluten-free. Cookies have elevated themselves to the next level, like these Green Pea Cookies I was fortunate enough to get to try! It’s a delicious cookie that is made up of five ingredients. Yes, you read that right: five. And it comes in the cutest little box, ever!

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Green Pea Cookie
http://www.greenpeacookie.com/

The Green Pea Cookie is based on a cookie that was originally made in Singapore, and according to them, was founded by “two food-loving Singaporeans and an imaginative American.” Together, they fine-tuned the recipe with simple, all natural ingredients and then debuted the cookies in Dolores Park! With everyone loving all of these little green guys, they set out to make it a brand that is proud to be a more natural cookie to snack on – that happens to be made with green peas!

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When I opened my box, I will admit, I was a little skeptical. I mean, a cookie with its primary ingredient as green peas? That sounded so strange. I have had sweet peas and salty peas, but those were still considered savory sides instead of a sweet snack. But when I saw these little nuggets stacked together, waiting to be eaten, I was intrigued.

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On their website (where you can shop for all of their Green Pea products), they have the Peater: The Original Green Pea Cookie, the Penelopea: The Cranberry Green Pea Cookie, and Dimpea: The Chocolate Covered Green Pea Cookie. I had a box of Peaters, and I was ready to indulge!

The Peater’s ingredients were: unbleached wheat flour, salted green peas, organic sunflower oil, organic powdered sugar, and sea salt. While their “pea flour” looks very green, they’re actually moving towards using a more organic pea that doesn’t have any dyes in it, so that they can get rid of the artificial dye ingredients. I think it’s awesome that they’re so committed to keeping the ingredients real and all-natural.

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When I bit into them, I found them crunchy and subtly sweet. They reminded me a lot of South Asian cookies that have a kind of crunchy texture though it crumbles easily. When you start to eat more of the cookie, it has a lovely combination of sweetness from the sugar to the saltiness of the peas. They struck the perfect balance of those two contrasting flavors. The box recommends five cookies a day, but honestly, once you try one, you want to eat another one. And another one. And then another one. The cookies disappear quickly.

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From someone who had a mostly pea-free childhood (I hated them for some reason), I think these are an excellent snack! It feels like you’re indulging in sweets, but you feel better since you know it’s all natural without compromising flavor. The nutrition info isn’t outrageous either: it doesn’t go overboard with carbs or sugar. I’ve had them for a pre-dinner snack, and I don’t feel like I substituted the cookies for dinner, which I have with some other snacks. I would love to try the Dimpea some time – chocolate and pea cookies sounds like a fascinating combination!

Jillian’s Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

eggplant parmesan casserole

Eggplants are my spirit animal ✨? I mean wait… but you get what I’m saying, right? Eggplants are my jam right now, not literally but maybe eggplant jam is an actual thing to look into ?

I’ve liked eggplant for a while now, but it wasn’t until I lived in Beijing and discovered a dish with white rice, potatoes, and eggplant smothered in a delicious sauce that I realized Hey, eggplants are super cool and a good meat substitute. I should eat them more often. Enter this saucy (literally) recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Hearty brown rice, garlic sauteed eggplant slices, savory tomato sauce, and melted vegan cheese all in the form of a comforting and satisfying casserole.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled
  • a thick slice of yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • oil (extra virgin olive or coconut)
  • tomato sauce
  • vegan cheese of choice (shreds or slices both work)
  • seasonings (S&P, garlic powder, nutritional yeast)
  • water

Pretty easy, right?

Be sure to soak your brown rice for a few hours or overnight to help soften and ease the cooking process. Drain and rinse. Add to 2 cups of boiling water and turn down to low. If the rice absorbs the water quickly, add more as needed.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet with a thin layer of coconut or olive oil. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and place into pan. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder onto each slice and saute on medium heat until cooked. Because the eggplant absorbs liquids so quickly, add water as needed (or oil or chickpea broth). Repeat until all the slices are sauteed.

Saute diced onion & garlic in a small pan with some oil until translucent and brown. Add about 8 oz of tomato sauce to the onion and garlic. I use plain, organic tomato sauce that comes in a glass bottle from HEB. I recommend staying away from cans due to the high levels of BPA. Turn down to low heat and add seasonings. Remove from heat when the sauce is warm.

Season the brown rice with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Evenly apply a few drizzles of oil to the bottom of a casserole dish to avoid any food sticking. Spread a layer of brown rice down, then the sauteed eggplant, the sauce, and finally a layer of vegan cheese. Put in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, or about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

vegan eggplant parmesan

So filling by itself, but would be great paired with a salad or a side dish of steamed broccoli or some other green veggie. This is a healthier version of lasagna, but if you don’t want to use brown rice as the base, you can easily find a gluten free lasagna pasta and use that. You can also add other veggies based on your preference. If you want to get real fancy, you can coat the eggplant in gluten free bread crumbs and top the dish with vegan parmesan for a more authentic eggplant parm.

Enjoy this lasanga/casserole/eggplant parmesan hybrid! ?

Jillian ?

eggplant parmesan casserole

Bonnie’s Sweet Potato Soup – Without The Cream!

 

sweet potato soup text

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup WITHOUT the cream? What?  How can this be?

Oh – it be!  Thanks to your handy-dandy blender.

We’ve just finished trudging along Weight-Gain Road – that period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Parties, Potlucks, and homemade goodie plates! Stop the madness!!! It’s time to prepare ourselves for a guilt-free Valentine’s Day, not to mention swimsuit season.

Soup is one of my favorite diet tricks. Besides warming the cockles of my heart, it fills me up without a lot of calories. Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is one of my favorites.

bonnie & yam soup text

Which brings me back to the blender. (See how I did that?  I returned us seamlessly to the beginning of the blog.) Did you know if you purée soup in a blender it gets creamy, even if there’s no cream in it? It makes you feel like you’re indulging in something decadent.

NOTE: As far as the coconut milk goes, you can use either canned or powdered (See photo below).  Canned is more accessible in my town, but I prefer the powdered, so I just order it online. If you use the canned, you’ll need to decrease the amount of vegetable stock since there’s water in it already. By using the powdered, I can play around with how much coconut goes into the soup. Also, I can make half the recipe and don’t have to worry about what to do with the remaining half. Plus the powder takes up less cupboard space. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter as far as taste is concerned which you choose.

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ADDITIONAL NOTE: The sweet potatoes need to be cubed for faster cooking (about 1″ squares). This is important: no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, DON’T stack the sweet potato slices to cube them. They’re very hard and very slippery. If you do, the top slice is liable to slide under pressure, yielding a nasty cut on your finger. Resist the urge; one slice at a time!

sweet pot slicing

FINAL NOTE (I promise!): I always peel my sweet potatoes.  But, since this soup is blended, you can try not peeling, if you like, to benefit from the nutrients in the skin.

sweet pot peel

SWEET POTATO SOUP – makes 10 cups

  • 9 cups sweet potatoes or yams, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1½ tsp dried cumin
  • 1½ tsp dried coriander
  • 1/3 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk powder (or 1  14 oz can)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 2¼ cups if using canned coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • few twists of pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • optional:  toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot and sauté the onions about 5 minutes – until they begin to brown.

onions sauteing

Add the cumin, coriander, ginger, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir for another minute to bring out the flavors.

sweet pot soup spices

Pour in the sweet potatoes, coconut powder, and vegetable stock. If you’d like to make your own stock (which I ALWAYS do), you can find my recipe by clicking on VEGETABLE STOCK. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender – about 20-30 minutes.

sweet pot soup add yams

Let the soup cool down a bit and REMOVE THE BAY LEAF (Notice the caps – this is important!).

sweet pot soup remove bay leaf

Pour into your blender (in batches, if need be) and purée. Serve either hot or cold.

sweet pot soup pureeing

Toasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty topping – and they’re visually appealing.

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Be sure and check out my blog:  VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR CARNIVORES BLOG.

Reno Tastebud’s Remixed Hash Browns

Weekend breakfasts always included hash browns with lots of cheese. I remember my Gramma over the stove with hot oil splattering all over frying up shredded potatoes and browning them to a golden crisp. As much as I love Gramma’s hash browns, I don’t love the weight that has found it’s semi-permanent home right on my butt. Spaghetti squash has become my favorite winter squash because it’s so versatile and well..heathier!

Get the new and updated recipe for hash browns below using spaghetti squash! It’s clean, healthy and tastes just as good.

Remixed Hash Browns 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash Halved (I always recommend keeping cooked spaghetti squash halves in the fridge for easy use)
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Low Fat Cheddar Cheese
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Green onions for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and place flesh side down in a microwave safe casserole dish filled with hot water (only an inch of water or so).
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and then place in your microwave for 8-10 minutes.
  • Be careful when removing the plastic wrap, you will get a steam burn if you pull the plastic back and your arm is in the way.remixed hashbrowns
  • Let the squash cool, until you are able to place the halves on a cut board.
  • Take a spoon, and scoop out the mushy middle, like you would a cantaloupe. It will contain seeds and needs to be discarded.
  • Grab a fork and start shredding the squash. You will notice it shreds in strands resembling spaghetti.
  • Place the spaghetti squash in a mixing bowl, and combine your flour, parmesan cheese, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
  • Mix well with hands. Your mixture will be wet and that’s ok. If there is excess moisture and it’s too wet to work with, add some more flour until you get a dryer, thicker consistency.
  • Form little 1 inch thick patties out of the hash brown mix. remixed hasbrowns2
  • In a stainless steel pan, heat olive oil and wait until you can see the oil separating in the pan. You don’t want the pan smoking, or else you will burn the patty. Olive oil burns easily, so heat over medium heat for approx. 2-3 minutes before placing your patty in the pan.
  • Once you place the patties in the pan and you hear them sizzling, let them cook for 5 minutes on each side. You will notice they will firm and brown around the edges, (similar to pancakes) and that is when it will be time to flip.
  • When the hash browns are finished, turn the heat to low, and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and let melt. You can also top with sliced green onions as well.

 

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