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Foods I love!

I love me some black beans and I adore salsa. I have never tried making salsa before and so I thought that I would go with something relatively quick and simple for my first attempt. There is no cooking involved with this salsa, only chopping and mixing – you don’t even need the food processor! And it is completely vegan!

Recipe Adapted From VeganSheKnows

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked, drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 cup of cooked frozen corn
  • 2 cloves of pressed garlic
  • Half of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 tbsps of dill
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (totally optional)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used the Unico can of diced tomatoes but you can use fresh ones)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • Pinch of black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized skillet, cook black beans with 1 tbsp of chilli powder on Medium heat for 5 minutes or until desired texture. Don’t overcook them or else your salsa will be crunchy! (gnarly!)Image
  2. Heat corn in a small saucepan with boiling water for roughly 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  3. Let corn and black beans cool down.
  4. Add all ingredients in a tupperware container. This will make it easy to toss and organically mix all of the ingredients together.Image
  5. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. Serve with gluten-free or whole wheat nacho chips.
  7. Enjoy!Image

This salsa was a huge hit with my friends. Plus you get some added protein from the black beans which is more than I can say from regular store bought salsa. I’m trying my best to be more organic and natural in my food decisions and making things from scratch as opposed to the store bought junk just makes me feel so much better. You’ll also get lots of fibre from the corn and black beans, talk about being kind to your digestive system!

Of course you have the option to omit the chilli powder and jalapeno peppers if you’re palette is not ready for too much spice. This was such an easy recipe to make and I sung along to the Jungle Book soundtrack while making it. In honour of that, I will leave you with Baloo:

Let me know how your versions of this salsa turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

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As far as lean vegetarian protein is concerned, I love me some beans. I made a delicious (and easy!) white bean dip the other evening. I used gluten-free nacho chips to dip in it and also some of those Mary’s crackers that I previously raved about.

Beans are high in antioxidants, fibre, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. Other than being good for your digestive system (Bart Simpson did call them the musical fruit after all), the soluble fibre in white beans is a blood sugar stabilizer. Not to mention that they can be pretty delicious and are a great source of protein that both vegans and vegetarians alike can enjoy. Now without further ado, here is the recipe adapted from the Vegan Project:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of white beans (I used the Unico brand)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsps dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • lemon juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon

Instructions:

  1. Blend everything in a food processor. Or a blender if you are like me and sans a food processor

2. Blend until it is a smooth texture. I would liken it to a hummus consistency.

3. Scoop in to a bowl and enjoy with nacho chips or crackers!

 

Happy eating!

Peace. xx.

-H.

 

 

 

I’ve been searching for new snacks lately, ones that aren’t laden with carbs but will also satisfy my hunger. I’ve been trying raisins, almonds and grapes lately. I am also one of those people who gets hangry (hungry/angry) so it is imperative that I snack so I don’t go postal. I love nuts and trail mix but unfortunately they are quite expensive and I’m not rolling in the dough, if you catch my drift. So I’m strolling through the grocery store the other day and it hits me: Sunflower seeds! First of all, sunflowers are beautiful (just like me, haha…) PLUS Spitz is an official sponsor of the MLB. Baseball is a sport that stars my sports crush, Angels’ pitcher C.J. Wilson

Sunflower seeds were first used by First Nations people 5,000 years ago as a food and oil source but also used the flowers and roots as a dye. Sunflower seeds (in addition to giving me a 4th degree of separation from Mr. Wilson) have some amazing health benefits:

  • They have a high source of folate, which helps your body produce an anti-stress chemical.
  • They contain significant amounts of Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
  • 90 % of the recommended intake of Vitamin E is contained in a quarter cup of sunflower seeds. Vitamin E helps improve your cardiovascular health.
  • One ounce will provide 12 grams of protein – giving you healthy hair and skin
  • Folate also helps boost your fertility (if you are so inclined to improve upon that)

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Sunflower seeds are high in fat, though it is mostly the food fat that is found in all good superfoods. They are prone to rancidity so it is best to store them in the refrigerator.

Of course, one pitfall of sunflower seeds is breaking the shell when you purchase the unshelled variety. Now don’t go spitting them all over your workplace (though that would make for a hilarious story). I just break them myself. You could always put them in a ziploc bag, grab a rolling pin and roll over them to break the hulls.

And with that, CJ and I will leave you contemplating the health benefits of sunflower seeds.

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Peace. xx.

-H.

My apologies for not blogging as of late – I was suffering from writer’s block. That has been cured by my weekend cooking ventures as I had some girlfriends over last Saturday night for some wine and appetizers. One of my good friends is a vegan and another is allergic to gluten. This can make for some risky recipe undertakings but this time, I came out on top. I will share the other two recipes I made with you this coming week.

I made a vegan spinach and artichoke dip with the help of my lovely sister and it turned out fantastic. It was a great alternative to the heavy/cheesy traditional one that I am used to eating. It was really light and we ate it with Mary’s crackers (seriously, so delicious even though they smell a little peculiar) and gluten free/vegan nacho chips (and regular whole wheat crackers for those of us without special dietary needs).

I adapted my recipe from two different ones from Gluten-Free Goddess and She Knows Miso Vegan respective sites.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 5 oz spinach chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 cup of artichoke hearts drained and finely chopped (you could use the frozen kind too)
  • 3/4 cup of vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of vegannaise
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance vegan butter
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet pan on medium heat. Add in onions and cook until they are translucent. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add artichokes and half of the spinach, let it sit.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer, combine the sour cream and vegannaise until it is smooth.
  5. Add the sour cream and vegannaise with the remainder of the spinach to the pan. Keep stirring until the spinach wilts.
  6. Pour into a pyrex dish (or whatever dish you have handy).

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For topping:

  1. In a small frying pan, heat the butter substitute and almonds until the vegan butter is melted.
  2. Pour on top of dip that is already in the dish.

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Put in the oven!

  1. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it is bubbly around the edges.Image

And here’s the girls enjoying the dip!

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Happy cooking! You can find the ingredients at your local health food pantry store. Let me know how your dips turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

Ok, so I am basically obsessed with black beans. Yeah they look a little gnarly and eating beans is so geriatric and responsible. Oh man are they delicious. I do put them in a lot of dishes – my dad went so far as to give me 6-7 cans of black beans when I moved away from home. The only thing that I had in my cupboard was black beans for a long time. It was sad, really.

There are so many incredible dishes that you can make with black beans. Plus, you not only get protein (which I as a vegetarian do need to up my intake of) but lots of fibre (keepin you regular!) and apparently they’re even good for your cardiovascular health. Now without further ado, I present you with today’s topic: Black Bean Burgers

I adopted my recipe from Skinnytaste: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/06/spicy-black-bean-burgers-with-chipotle.html. I make mine slightly more spicy because I’m adventurous like that.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Can of Black Beans (Rinsed and Drained) – I like the PC Blue Menu Brand if you have access to Loblaws.
  • 1/2 Red and 1/2 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic gloves peeled and pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of hot sauce of your choice (you can omit this!)
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • Whole Wheat Flat Bread Buns
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Hass Avocado sliced, spinach and light mayonnaise (to dress)

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  • Step 1: After the beans are dry, mash them up in a large mixing bowl using a fork until it forms a thick paste. (I am lazy and made my boyfriend do this part, he bent the fork backwards. Be careful people, you are not Thor – though he is dreamy)
  • Step 2: Add peppers, onions, cayenne, hot sauce, jalapeno, a dash of pepper and garlic in the bowl.
  • Step 3: Add breadcrumbs and egg. Now, if your mixture is too dry, you can add another egg to it but be careful if it is too wet – if it gets too wet, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Step 4: Mix everything in together.
  • Step 5: With clean hands (!) Use your hands to form burger patties.
  • Step 6: In a large frying pan heated to medium with olive oil, place the burger patties. Keep your eye on them, only leave them for about 2 minutes each as they will cook fast. Flip them over and they will look brown and crisp. Keep going until you reach your desired texture.
  • Step 7: Dress them with avocado, light mayonnaise and spinach.
  • Step 8: Enjoy!

You can also bake these in the oven, I just found that they were less floppy and flimsy if I put them in a frying pan. You can also freeze the patties and have them as a quick dinner option on a busy night. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of them when I made them…I was just too hungry! Feel free to use whatever condiments you enjoy.

They are truly delicious. Don’t be afraid to use your hands and get messy. It will be difficult to get all of the ingredients mixed in and make the patties if you don’t use your hands. They are also pretty easy to make. You should budget 35 minutes for the prep and 10-15 for the cooking time.

Happy eating! Let me know how they turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

I am a girl who loves nachos. Some people crave chocolate and sweets – I crave nachos. Well I always crave salty treats but that’s just because I’m not that into sweets. One thing that I have struggled with is finding a way of making nachos that is healthy, satisfying and not going to murder my calorie intake. I now present you with my version of nachos, my spin on them being “healthy”.

After I present the recipe, I will give you some suggestions that I often incorporate to lower their caloric content as well. I think that it is important to ad lib your recipe and make it your own though – that will really impress your friends.

Serves: 2-3 if it is a main meal. 4-6 if it is a shared snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of whole wheat nacho chips (I like the Tostitos brand)
  • 1/2 a can of black beans (strained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (your choice to add more) diced or halved
  • 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 green pepper diced up
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Chilli Powder (the Clubhouse brand has zero calories. If you are feeling adventurous, add more!)
  • 1 cob of corn – Boiled and corn shaved off (or if it isn’t summer, just use 1 cup of frozen corn)
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of spinach diced up
  • Salsa (I think the amount remains up to you – some people are not down with soggy chips)
  • Olives, jalapenos and hot peppers sprinkled on top are optional
  • Grated Marble Cheese or daiya cheese to make this vegan
  • Avocado slices are optional but oh so delicious.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Step 1: In a large pan heated with olive oil. On medium heat, cook black beans, corn, green and red peppers with chilli powder and cayenne for 5-10 minutes or until they are a little brown or your desired outcome.
  • Step 2: On a large flat pan spread out the nacho chips. Place spinach and tomatoes on top.
  • Step 3: Spread the salsa as you like it on top of those toppings.
  • Step 4: If you want to put on olives (my fave!), jalapenos or hot peppers; place them on top now.
  • Step 5: Take your black bean and corn mixture and spread it on top of the nachos.
  • Step 6: Now spread your cheese on top, put as much or as little as you like. Though, I recommend about 1-2 cups of grated cheese and no more as it is quite fattening.
  • Step 7: Place the tray in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Make sure that you keep checking on them and take them out once the chips start to turn a golden brown.
  • Step 8: Eat!Image

I love eating these nachos about an hour after a really tough workout or long run. They contain all 4 food groups. If you are worried about the calories, I would put on half of the cheese or no cheese at all. You can also use soy cheese to make these nachos vegan. I love to add a little spicy kick to these as spice is good for revving up your metabolism.

You can add more veggies to them if you’d like. Perhaps some different kinds of peppers. I like to put on cherry tomatoes but regular or roma ones would work as well. Let me know what you add to them!

Hopefully you will feel like Homer in his nacho hat after you have eaten these…

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My boyfriend isn’t even a vegetarian and he loves eating this dinner with me – although it’s nachos, so what’s not to like? It’s also a great sharing plate for when friends come over. It really takes about 25 minutes to prep plus the 10-15 to cook. It is a pretty simple, quick, easy and quasi-healthy dinner. Be careful that you don’t eat too much, even though they are delicious. You most likely don’t want to have a food baby after these and portion control can make or break your recommended daily calorie intake.

Happy eating my friends!

Peace. xx.

-H.

I just stumbled upon this blogpost that lists some fab reasons as to why we should consume more spinach. I try to eat spinach in two of my meals a day. I love putting it on sandwiches, pizza and nachos too!

I recommend this post, it’s a great read!

Peace. xx.

-H.

I’m Strong to the Finich, Cause I Eat Me Spinach!.

via I’m Strong to the Finich, Cause I Eat Me Spinach!.

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