Tag Archives: Vegan

Greek Falafel and Vegan Tzaziki

8 Sep

I love falafel.  Didn’t even know it existed before going plant based.  Don’t know where I had been hiding.  But once I discovered it, I fell in love.  I made many, many recipes at home to a resounding thumbs down by the kids.  Every single time.

It had a knickname….falawful.

A few months ago, I decided to roast the garlic before adding it in and tweaking a few other things.  It worked!

And now it has a new knickname….falawesome!


Here is the recipe!  If you soak the cashews in advance, then you can make the sauce a little ahead of time and it can be chilling.  I also roast the garlic ahead of time for the falafel.

Greek Falafel and Vegan Tzaziki

First, make the tzaziki!

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for an hour in water.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks.
  • The juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 clove of garlic (I prefer it roasted)

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or food processor.  Blend until it is smooth. Chill before serving.

Fal-awesome Falafel (this batch makes enough for 2 dinners for us.  Feel free to only make a 1/2 recipe)

  • 3 cloves of garlic, roasted (stick them in 400 degree oven til they brown, 10-20 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup gf oat flour (I used the vitamix to grind gf oats)
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 T cumin
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 T milled flax seeds, combines with 8 T water.  Stir and let sit until thick.
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • To serve: brown rice tortilla, if gf, (pita, if not), tomatoes, lettuce, and kalamata olives, diced.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (I use my Cuisinart).  Mix until it is all ground and looks fairly homogenous.  Taste it for seasoning.  Add more spices if you think it needs it!

Scoop into little balls and flatten the balls.  I use my electric skillet and cook them on med-high heat until each side is looking toasty and cooked.  They are tastier if you cook them in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Med-high, again, and for about 5 mins each side.  But I make them without the oil to cut back on unnecessary calories.




Tips for a Healthy 2013!

1 Jan

photo (22)

It is a new year!  A time for fresh resolutions and determined resolve.

Today, I started off with teaching Pilates and am now embarking on a fast.  Not sure how long I want this water fast to last.  Maybe just to sunset.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe a few days.  (can you hear my tummy growling from your house?)

My health goals: Get back to eating plant strong.  Not just vegan, but LOADS of plants.  Crowding out my plate.  I would also like to move further in Pilates and go through Reformer training.  Some day I would love to have my own Pilates studio and I would like to start working towards that.  I also want to make a concerted effort to get off of Prilosec. The last man standing in the meds.  It may be over the counter, but I still want off.

So what are your goals?  Want to join me in kicking off 2013 right?  You don’t need to fast.  Or eat plant based.  Or eat gluten free.  Or exercise like a maniac.  Here are my suggestions for getting healthy in 2013:

  • Drink a smoothie every morning.  Blend almond/coconut milk, frozen collard greens (or kale or mustard greens) with frozen berries, milled flax seeds, and a banana  (If you need it for flavor and sweetness.  I prefer without.)  Add some cinnamon and vanilla for flavor.   I believe that THIS IS THE CORNERSTONE OF MY HEALING.  Every morning, without excuse, I make this.  And I drink this.  And my body is saying thank you in SO many ways!  Read here for my GREAT START SHAKE recipe and here for a little tutorial!
  • Make a really healthy soup on the weekend and eat it as your lunch all week long.  That way, you aren’t pulled into snacking on your kids leftovers or something you really know you shouldn’t eat.  Include tons and tons of veggies in your soup!  Some ideas: vegetable rice soup, butternut squash soup, vegetarian pho, lentil soup, black bean soup, and so many more!!!  I will post more soup recipes, if you would like!
  • Aim for more and more meatless days every week.  Start out with 1 or 2.  You will soon see that you don’t need meat to be strong, have energy, or anything else that the world tries to sell you on.  I am LIVING PROOF, people!  Don’t know what to make?  Start here for tacos.  Then peruse my blog and many, many other recipes on the great www.  Why meatless you say?  Because more and more and more research every day shows that we consume way too much animal protein.  Animal is inflammatory to the body.  Our chickens and pigs and cows are not fed what they ought to be fed.  They are fed to make them fat for not a lot of money.  Do your research on this. I ate a healthy diet of lean, organic (when possible) protein with lots of fruits and veggies before.  I was SO SICK.  Off all of the animal, my body is healing itself without meds.  What argument is there that we NEED meat?  I am strong and still teach weight lifting classes!  Don’t buy into the “you need protein from animals” bit!!! 🙂
  • Watch Forks Over Knives and every other food documentary you can get your hands on.  Most are free on Netflix.
  • Eat a grapefruit at night instead of junk.  Why?  Nothing magical. It is just good and if you start, you will become as addicted as I once was and soon hope to be again.  You have to take your time and work for those little bites!  Oh, and get used to them without sugar.  Buy ruby red ones.  They help!  Then squeeze out the remaining juice and drink it straight from the bowl.  Heaven!
  • Get your hiney moving.  Join a gym, come to one of MY classes (!!), start walking your neighborhood, buy a treadmill.  Just get moving.  Write up your plan, put it on your fridge, tell your kids and spouse so that you have some accountability, and DO IT!
  • Meal plan!  I will resume posting my meal plans if YOU will join along!  I always think through it on the weekend and post it on Sunday.  You will eat so much healthier if you will just plan ahead.

So…please share!!!  What are YOUR goals for the year?  What would you like to see on this blog?  Please comment.  I see how many hits my blog gets and would LOVE more than anything for you to  say hi when you pop in.  🙂


Happy New Year!

Kale-Pomegranate Quinoa Stuffing

10 Nov

Don’t you just love recipes that capture the holidays?  You can taste the  love of the generations that passed the recipes down and the layers upon layers of flavors that have been developed and carefully put together.

Sometimes when you are cooking plant-based and gluten free, you lose that.  Because quite frankly, this is NOT how our grandparents cooked!

This recipe captures all that we have come to love about the holidays.  The fresh sage, the pecans, the thyme…it is everything you will want from a stuffing/dressing.

And the most exciting part?  It is jam packed with goodness!  3 of what Dr. Oz calls “power” foods amp up the nutrition: kale, pomegranate, and quinoa.

This is going to be tripled this year for our Thanksgiving feast.  And I am betting that this will be a recipe that will stand the test of time.

(on a side note, I realize I don’t have a nice camera…please don’t let my lousy pictures deter you from the recipe!  Some day, I will get a nice one!)

This recipe is adapted from Dr. Mehmet Oz to be vegan and lower in fat!

Kale-Pomegranate Quinoa Stuffing


  • 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil OR water for water sauteeing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced through a press
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 pounds kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. 2.
  2. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or omit and just saute #4 in a tiny amount of water).
  4. Add the minced garlic and cook until soft but not yet golden.
  5. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Season with salt and  pepper. Set aside to cool.
  7. Add cooled, cooked kale and pecans to a food processor; pulse several times until pecans are chopped and kale is shredded but mixture is still chunky.
  8. In a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil (or again, just saute in small amount of water); add the onion and remaining garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sage and continue cooking until onion is caramelized, approximately 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the pecan-kale mixture.
  9. Transfer the onion-pecan-kale mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and toss to coat.
  10. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  11. Garnish with pomegranate seeds before serving.

Meal planning!

26 Feb

What are you eating this week?  I am still entrenched in busyness over the next week.  So once again, my meals are going to be EASY and not as nutritiously stellar as I would like.

Sunday: Finally hoping to make the vegan fettucinni alfredo I posted last week.  Potato Alfredo  and roasted broccoli. Not sure if I will be ready to break my fast, but we will see.  Definitely want to cook a good meal for the family.  My fasting means no cooking for them and lots of quick and easy meals.

Monday: Celebrating Daniella’s birthday with  my family.  No cooking for me!  She hasn’t picked where she wants to go yet.  Chipotle is where she is leaning.  Too funny!  I think it is because of their chips!

Tuesday: Sweet Gretchen is making gluten free crockpot fallafel.  We will eat with a kale salad.

Wednesday: Tostadas for the family with fruit (Corn tortilla shell [make sure to get one without added nastiness like dyes], fat free beans, cheese, and the kids will have to choice at least one between kale, tomatoes, and avocado on the top or on the side).  Romaine wrap with beans, avocado, tomato, and leftover kale salad on top for me.

Thursday: Dinner meeting.  (I will have leftovers from previous nights. And I will bring something to snack on so I am not just sitting at the table watching everyone eat!  I like to blend in, not make a scene. I’d much rather people not notice in those situations)  My parents will take the kids to Gabi’s fundraiser/birthday party.

Friday: Pizza night!  And homemade banana whip ice cream.  You MUST try this!  I will post on it later.

Saturday: Wayside missions event (I will bring hummus and carrots and broccoli for myself).  If you live in San Antonio…COME!  No matter where you go to church!


26 Feb

Stress has a way of creeping in, even when you are doing your best to lay low. The month of February was very hectic for us and me, personally. I took on 2 extra classes per week, subbed a number of times, and we had a bunch of responsibilities for a committee we are on (meetings, scheduling, lots of emailing, etc…). Oh, and Daniella had her birthday party!  It will all come to a close a week from today.  But until then, we press on!

I have been needing caffeine in the afternoons to make it through.  This is frustrating for me because I don’t drink caffeine at all any more.  And I have been hurting all over my body.  Joint pain, as well as muscular pain.

So this weekend, I decided to go on a juice fast.  If you have been following my blog, you know that this is just what I do to end flares or to jump start my body to get rid of symptoms.  So far, it has worked every time.  This time, I took all of the fruits and veggies above and used a fabulous juicer that is on loan from a sweet friend, Heather.  Since yesterday morning, I have been drinking only fresh juice.  I have had beets, cucumbers, rainbow chard, collard greens, granny smith apples, gala apples, green and red grapes, carrots, oranges, and more…

I have explained this before, but the idea is that my body gets a total rest from digestion.  And I juice these fruits and veggies and right away get the awesome nutrients into my blood stream.  And while doing this, I rest.  Yes, I ran a 5k and went to a dinner for the above mentioned committee…but the rest of the weekend is bedrest.  Not unlike most of my weekends. 😉

The green one pictured was collard greens, granny smith apples, green grapes, and cucumbers.  The red one was beets, gala apples, red grapes, rainbow chard, and carrots.  I start with the veggies because they are going to be the strongest.  Then I add in apples and grapes and the sweeter things until I like the juice. Simple as that.

There is very little in this world that tastes as good as fresh juice!

While you should eat all of that fiber that gets thrown away during juicing…there is a time and a place for NOT eating it.  For me, this is it. If you are trying to kick some serious health problems or jump start some weight loss, give this a try. I am no expert, but I can help you with some basics!

Bottoms up!

Weekly Menu

11 Feb

I spend the weekends on the computer and with my head in cookbooks trying to find foods that will fit our gluten and corn free, vegan diet AND that my family will like. It is no easy task each week. Because I know a number of you doing the same thing, I’d love to have a place for us to share.  Many hands make light the work.
Please post your menu in the comments section. I will still be doing this with Nutritious Eats . Because I am a big fan. If I have people liking this and it proving to be helpful, I will keep it up.  Otherwise, I will just keep doing it on Nutritious Eat’s FB page.
1) Be honest.  You may have weeks where you say you have no clue
2) Don’t try to impress
3) Share recipes, if you have a link to them
4) Enjoy healthy eating!

Here is our menu for the week:
Sunday: Veggie soup (my mom went to a farmer’s market and brought home turnips, collards, carrots, and fennel….it screamed soup to me so I am just gonna whip something up tomorrow)
Monday: Gretchen is making pad Thai (we cook for each other every other week…it rocks)
Tuesday: Valentine’s Dinner! Asparagus leek risotto (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/04/spring-risotto-with-asparagus-and-leek.html), a pear and walnut salad, and black bean brownies made with gf oat flour (http://www.nomeatathlete.com/black-bean-brownies/)
Wednesday: Potato leek soup with kale chips and cheese for fam to top soup (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/03/vegan-potato-leek-soup.html)
Thursday: Summer rolls (http://pinterest.com/pin/71635450292705117/ and this recipe mixed https://brittluck.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/spring-rolls/)
Friday: Homemade pizza night. Cheese for the fam, veggies for me.


8 Feb

While I am getting better every day, I am weary.  Frankly, I am a little ticked off.  Tired of making my own bread and not being able to eat and serve the normal stuff.  Tired of having to prepare every single thing I eat.  I just want to grab food.  But eating out always makes me feel bad.  And there are no quick foods that are vegan and gluten and corn free.  So today, I am kinda annoyed and weary.

I told a girl I would sub her Pilates this week (3 classes).  That was before I was doing the 6 Weeks to a New You.  Normally, I have 5 classes a week. During this six weeks, I have 7.  This week, I have TEN.  Ridiculous, I know.  A sweet fellow instructor at the JCC just took my early morning class tomorrow for me!  SO thankful for the support I get over there.  So now I am down to 9.  I was hoping to make the money from all 10 because we have a bunch of expenses coming up.  But God will provide.  Always does.

I don’t want to be stupid and make myself sick.  And yesterday, I flipped backwards off of the kids’ plasma car.  Landing flat on my back and whipping my head against the deck.  It was lovely.  Especially since I get my house cleaned and all of those sweet ladies were standing right there to see it happen.  (BTW, I work for 2 reasons: 1)cleaning lady every other week and 2)family camp. Both are expensive and both are paid from my job.  Worth every penny!)  I screamed and we all laughed so hard we felt sick.  I was super embarrassed.  As the night went on, I also started hurting.  Call me crazy, but I swear that as soon as I fell, I felt like a Lupus flare slapped me in the face.  I felt horrible everywhere.  I have no idea if something as silly as that can trigger a flare.  But now I am emotional and in pain and feel sick.  Hence, the sub tomorrow.  And my mood.

Thanks for walking this road with me!  Here is my Facebook status:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:8-10)

I NEVER feel stronger than when I am weak.  It is when I truly lean on the Lord and He shows me his goodness that feel Him lifting my burdens.  I am blessed!