Monday, January 2, 2017

Spicy "Vodka" Pasta

Happy 2017!

This 5-ingredient, healthy, spicy, "Vodka" pasta is DELICIOUS and provides you with 5 check marks on Dr Greger's Daily Dozen*! I wanted to add flaxseed and white beans for 2 more, but my hubby, said not to change it. Don't tell him, but feel free to add those ingredients :)

Here's a fun link: Top 10 Videos on! Fun fact: I am in the audience in the #1 video! How cool is that?! Can you spot me?

This is SO simple, HEALTHY, and addictingly, delicious! I once read somewhere that in the 70s Vodka Pasta was prepared table-side in a fancy New York City restaurant!

When my hubby and I met, HE was the COOK! This was the first dish he made for me, and we ate it countless times in the almost 2 years that we dated! He even made the night we were engaged! SMILE. Warm, fuzzy memories!

Originally, he made it with HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM, yikes! Over the years, we gradually converted the recipe from NOT healthy, to quite the opposite! It is exactly as DELICIOUS!
No cream, oil, vodka, or salt.

Healthy Spicy Vodka Pasta

Spicy Vodka Pasta
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper
3.5 c crushed tomatoes (28 oz can)
1 lb whole wheat pasta**
1/4 c cashew butter (lower to 2-3 Tbsp to decrease fat)
1 c water

Heat a pan large enough to hold all ingredients. Sauté garlic and pepper in the hot pan with just a little bit of water, adding more when needed. Cook just until garlic turns golden but does not brown, 1 or 2 min. Add crushed tomatoes. Stir to blend, and simmer, uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken (about 15 min, the longer the better). Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta, add pasta to sauce, and toss. Blend cashew butter with water, then add cream to pasta and sauce. Toss once more. Cover, reduce heat to low, let rest for a few minutes so pasta can absorb sauce (longer the better). This dish gets even better as leftovers!

*OK, so regarding Dr Greger's Daily Dozen Check marks, ALL ingredients help you make check marks (other vegetables, nuts, spices, whole grains, and beverages)! That's 5, and if you have a nice side of broccoli, and mix some flaxseed and white beans into your pasta, you can add 3 more!

COMMENTS: Do you remember the first meal you ever ate with your partner? On our first date, Mike introduced me to Indian food! I fell immediately in love with HIM, and Indian food! Isn't it exciting to discover a new food?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Meatless Meatballs! AND Homemade Italian Seasoning!

My hubby used to love meatball sandwiches, and so we make MEATLESS MEATBALLS! They're great for a sandwich or with pasta! I've used lentils for "meat" in Tricky Traditional Lasagna, Tamale Pie, and Easy Lentil Tacos. This time I used TEMPEH (more on it's awesomeness in another post). For now, I'll just say it's the HEALTHIEST way to eat beans!

Also, all ingredients are on Dr Greger's Daily Dozen! (6 ingredients = 6 checkmarks!) Here is a cool animated summary of How Not to Die.

Meatless Meatballs

2 packages of tempeh (photo of package below)
1 c walnuts
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning**
1 c ground flaxseed
1 c whole wheat bread crumbs*
2 c warm tempeh water

Cook tempeh by steaming for 10 min or drop in boiling water for 5 min (reserve water for mixing with other ingredients). In food processor, blend tempeh, walnuts, and Italian seasoning. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, and prepare balls.*** Bake on cookie sheet for 30 min at 375 degrees. Top with sauce and enjoy! We love sandwiches and of course with pasta and marinara!

Check out this awesome idea for pasta! Zuchini swap with a peeler! (And this makes it even faster! A coming soon!)

*Manischewitz Whole Grain Matzo Meal has just ONE ingredient (in photo below on left).

** Homemade Organic Italian Seasoning
1/2 c basil
1/2 c oregano
1/4 c marjorom
1/4 c garlic
1/4 c thyme
1/4 c rosemary
1/4 c black pepper
1/8 c crushed red pepper

Combine in large shaker container (I use old spice mix containers), and store in cool, dry place.

***Avoid "food hands" by mixing and preparing balls from outside a gallon sized resealable plastic bag! Transfer tempeh mixture, remaining dry ingredients, and water (all ingredients) into a large resealable bag. Seal, shake the bag, and blend everything together. Prepare balls from outside bag, and drop each ball onto cookie sheet. Cook and enjoy!

While meatless meatballs are cooking, prepare pasta, and enjoy!

For now, read more on tempeh here from Vegan Coach

Healthy Girl's Kitchen (Wendy Solganik) and Chef AJ make some lovely, raw marinara sauce (fun video, and the marinara recipe begins at about minute 51: healthiest marinara!)

Though, we are now eating our healthier versions, we have enjoyed these: Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs (I didn't read the article, but there is a pic of the product and the nutrition label at the bottom, so you can check them looks like a cool spot to check out TJ products :)

Coming soon: tempeh introduction, some yummy tempeh sandwiches, my spiralizer!, a sodium/oil-reducing marinara sauce trick, and more!

PS - I'm teaching some classes (Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Sports Nutrition: Fueling Your Young Athlete) in January, email me if you're interested!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. Imagine - one special day for all Americans to really appreciate all that we have and spend time together with our loved ones. Here are 7 Awesome Benefits of Gratitude!

Plus, the food is the bomb! I can't get enough! Thanksgiving seems to be a meal when even the picky, veggie-haters have a favorite veggie or two on their plate, and aren't the colors lovely!

Tangy Cranberry Sauce is perfect for the holidays, or any time!
Stock your freezer with cranberries now, to enjoy all winter long!

Tangy Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

Tangy Cranberry Sauce
3-4 cups cranberries
1 orange
1/2 c (10 pieces) pitted dates
1/2 a cinnamon stick

Prepare the zest of half an orange. I do this by cutting away only the orange layer of the peel*. Cut the orange up in wedges**. Combine dates, orange wedges, peel, and half of the berries (or all) in food processor until desired consistency. Wrap processor rim with a towel, in case juice leaks out. At this point, you can be finished, with a very tasty, crunchy, raw cranberry sauce (shown in bottom middle photo).

OR: combine mixture, remaining berries, and a cup or so of water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and simmer to desired consistency, around 30 min. It's delicious when hot! And lovely cool. Enjoy it any way you like!

*You can use extra orange peel for Orange Almond Biscotti Laraballs!
**I've cut the orange using lots of the white part, and I've done it cutting away most of the white. Both ways are delicious, latter is sweeter. Note that the white parts of citrus fruits provide significant cancer-protection.

Sauce in left corner has been cooked, sauce in bottom, middle photo is Raw Tangy Cranberry Sauce.

Don't you just love Thanksgiving leftovers?!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sugar-Free Lemonade!

The temperatures are going to be dropping all day here in Cleveland, so this is an odd post, but I'm sharing anyway!

Wait, I can tie this drink into health for cooler days, and healthier ways! Citrus fruits have been found to decrease blood pressure, reduce stroke risk, and increase overall blood flow, including to the brain!

This is why you may have heard about consuming citrus for an energy burst of concentration and focus!

Also, increased blood flow means better body warming in the cold. In fact, when women whose fingers and toes are especially sensitive to the cold, consumed OJ, their bodies responded 50% better to cold, as well as significantly improved post-cold rewarming responses.

APPLICATION: have some Healthy Lemonade before going out for a long winters run or before building a snowman! You'll stay warmer outside, and warm back up faster when you go back inside.

We've been eating so many Lemon Bar flavored Laraballs, which require the zest of a lemon, leaving a fresh lemon waiting for use.

Lemon Bar Larabars

Lemon Bar Larabars

Hence, Sugar-Free Lemonade!

1 lemon, thinly sliced, first remove just the yellow part of the lemon peel (use yellow slivers of peel to make above snack recipe!)
1 large, ripe banana
1 c ice water, fill measuring cup with ice, then water
1-2 Tbsp pomegranate arils (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy! I use my Blendtec and it's done in a jiffy (similar to Vitamix). For a regular blender, it'll take a bit longer. Add pomegranate to make pink lemonade!

So refreshing after a great workout!

Sugar and artificial sweetener free Lemonade

My baby boy's has plans as president:

"If I were president, my meetings would be good food meetings, and I would teech people to eat [healthy]."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Superman Pose: What Builds Confidence Builds Health!

Superman Pose

Physiologic changes that occur as a result of holding poses such as "the superman pose" are LOWERED CORTISOL and INCREASED TESTOSTERONE. These are wonderful changes that also occur as a result of stress reduction, and result in a list of health benefits! Therefore, I am sharing the results to help you improve your health, and you may also find a boost in your self confidence along the way!

The TED talk called "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are" by Amy Cuddy describes her research as a way of promoting confidence and career success, useful for interview or presentation preparation.

Before you even get to the video, take TWO minutes now to STRIKE A POSE, and improve your health!

 Click Here to Watch!
Link to Amy Cuddy's video is above

Abnormally low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased physical endurance and memory capacity, loss of libido, drop in sperm count, loss of bone density, obesity, and depression.

High cortisol levels increase your risk for heart attack, decrease immunity, and more. Cortisol is in fact called a "stress hormone", so you can imagine decreasing your levels would be helpful.

You can bring down your cortisol levels by not consuming meat, as well as prevent the meat-induced reduction in testosterone that normally occurs after eating meat.

Dr Greger and have a recent video that discusses these hormonal responses to diet, which affect everyone and are especially powerful for pregnant women whose diets affect their children's response to stress long after they are out of the womb.

Maternal Diet May Affect Stress Response in Children

Please note that along with each video, there is a link to "View Transcript" of the video, as well as a complete list of "Sources Cited". I adore this organization!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Quick and Creamy Kale Couscous Gets 9 Check Marks off Dr Greger's Daily Dozen!

Quick and Creamy Kale Couscous is super easy, nutritious, and delicious! Prepare the dish in 5 minutes and enjoy it all week!

Quick and Creamy Kale Couscous gets 9 Check Marks off Dr Greger's Daily Dozen!
Quick and Creamy Kale Couscous

1 cup whole wheat couscous
2 handfuls kale, ripped, stems removed
1/4 cup walnuts, broken in small pieces
1/4 cup flaxseed, ground
6 dates, pitted, chopped
1 cup black beans, in juice
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
tsp black pepper
1/2 lemon, squeezed
balsamic vinegar (optional)

Start with dry couscous in your serving bowl. Cover couscous in bowling water, top with kale, cover, and let sit for at least 3 minutes (this will cook the couscous!). Chop dates and tomatoes. Combine all ingredients, and enjoy!

Serve with a side of blueberries and a glass of water, and follow your meal with a brisk walk for a dozen check marks from Dr Michael Greger's Daily Dozen!

I'll also share here, one of Dr Greger's newest videos, which by the way made me cry! Tears of complete admiration and gratitude for all that Dr Greger and his nutritional research team do for the health of the world!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Egg-Less Egg Sandwiches! Save Time AND Your Health!

Among the many benefits of a plant based diet (prevention and treatment of heart disease and cancer and the good of the environment, just to name a few), is the fact that in some cases you will SAVE TIME! So try this! Imagine making egg salad without having to cook and peel hard-boiled eggs!

Egg-Less Egg Salad Sandwich
1 package firm tofu, drained
1-2 Tbsp mustard
2-3 Tbsp vegan mayo*
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp turmeric
salt (optional)

1-2 tomatoes, sliced
whole wheat bread (I used this awesome bread, Eureka Organic Grainiac, that we just found at our bread outlet!)

Eureka Organic has some sugar, but no strange chemicals and a good bit of fiber :)

Squeeze tofu block between two plates to remove excess water. Crumble tofu and mix with celery, mustard, mayo, and spices. We enjoy our "egg" salad topped with tomato slices on toasted whole wheat bread, and hope you do too!

That's it! No cooking, pulling out or cleaning a food processor, peeling egg shells, and could even skip measuring! I sure love the simplicity here!

*You can make mayo guessed it --tofu! Here is a mayo recipe

My kids don't eat eggs because they know all about their harmful health effects. So, I called this a "tofu sandwich" to get them to try it! We're 50/50 so far for the kids liking it, one gave it a yay, and another gave it a nay, but I love it! I've eaten 2.5 sandwiches today! No need to worry about counting though, when we're making healthy choices :)

Harmful Effects of Eggs (bottom of this post)
5 Reasons to Make Your Meat Portion Small
Plant-Based Diets are Powerful


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