Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is amazing.  You can always find a fresh batch of hummus in our refrigerator.  A patch this size used to last about 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.  However, now that Max enjoys eating it too I find myself making it almost every week.  I typically use raw garbanzo beans (soaking them overnight speeds up the cook time for the following day). However in a pinch, canned beans are fine.  Try to be sure the can says BPA Free. The less chemicals in your body, the better.

This hummus is so creamy and flavorful. I believe once you see how delicious and easy it is to make, this hummus will become a staple in your home too.

The Ingredients:

4 cups garbanzo beans (3 cans)
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves or MORE!
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper

The Variations:

1 cup or MORE roasted red peppers
1 cup or MORE artichoke hearts
1 cup or MORE kalamata olives

In a food processor, combine beans, tahini, water, olive oil and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth.  I mean really smooth.  Smooth and creamy. Pausing to scrape the sides 1-2 times.

Add the garlic, salt, cumin and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Add roasted red peppers or any other variation you would like. Blend again.  Note – the plain version is fantastic too.

Refrigerate in air-tight container.  This hummus can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Our Baby Bean Has Arrived!

babybean

 

Our baby bean has arrived.  Miles was born on January 5th at 4:42pm.  He weighed 8 lbs 2 oz and 22 inches long.  We had a pretty smooth labor and delivery.  My OB cleared me of my Gestational Diabetes right after his birth.  Miles, on the other hand needed to be monitored for his first 24 hours due to low blood sugar.  By the second day his levels regulated and we were discharged .  Once we were home we ran into a few issues; Miles experienced weight loss due to my low milk supply.  He also had a shallow latch which was extremely painful.  After what felt like an eternity of sticking it out and my stubbornness to not give up we made it and he is now nursing beautifully (and pain-free). phew!

As most of you know, after being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes I had to change my diet significantly.  I was no longer vegan or dairy-free.  As hard as that transition was I promised myself (if it felt right) I would go back to eating a plant-based diet once I was truly free of GD.  I received the official clear from my endocrinologist just around Miles’ 2 month birthday–just a few weeks ago.  I am thrilled to say I am back to eating my plant-based diet and am feeling great.  I can honestly say, even though I couldn’t control my insulin levels with food while pregnant and had to give myself 4 insulin shots and prick my finger 6 times a day it was worth it.  This little man was a gift and I am so thankful.

I have been feeling really grateful these past couple months.  There is a great sense of bliss in my life.  A lot more than usual.  I look at my family and just smile.  These three boys in my life complete me, and I am so excited to see what the universe has in store them.  I look forward to cherishing every milestone they experience and just letting them be little.  Being present and soaking up all those sweet moments is what being a parent is all about.

I am very anxious to share more recipes with you all and have a few new ones coming your way.

Until then.

babybean2

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Due with Number Two – Update

BabyBumpBlog

I love being pregnant.  When we found out we were expecting our second child I was so excited to enjoy this incredible experience again.  Being pregnant with Max was wonderful (aside from the many months of morning sickness).  I remember feeling so comfortable in my body, so grateful and incredibly happy all the time.  I was in complete awe of my body and that little being who was growing in my belly.  However, being a first time mom I worried a lot and was very anxious to meet our little man.  Being pregnant for the second time and slightly more knowledgeable, I was looking forward to soaking up every amazing moment and truly being present.

This pregnancy started out similar to my first: intense morning sickness.  By the time the nausea was finally slowing down (17 weeks), I began to have Pelvic Girdle Pain (pelvic pain that typically occurs the last month of pregnancy).  The pain reminded me of riding a bike for too long.  My body was/is basically producing a lot of Relaxin which is the hormone that helps soften the ligaments in the hips to open and expand for birth.  Because I experienced this so early in my pregnancy my doctors said that as the baby grows, the pain will just get worse (they weren’t kidding. Eek!).

At 26 weeks I had my glucose test.  I did not pass.  The next test was the 3 hour glucose test, which I also did not pass.  As a result, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD).  As most of you already know, I eat pretty clean and healthy.  My only vices are dark chocolate with homemade peanut butterhomemade vegan chocolate ice-cream or tortilla chips with salsa.  So how in the world could I have been diagnosed with GD during this pregnancy?  Well the short story and what I have come to learn is that it can happen to anyone.

I spent the next 3 weeks trying to control my levels (which were only slightly high) with food and had no success.  My fasting levels continued to be high and my levels throughout the day began to creep up.  So I began eating what the Diabetes Educator had suggested which consisted of processed carbohydrates, dairy and animal protein.  These foods made me feel tired, sluggish and gave me zero energy.  My greatest  frustration was that this new way of eating was the complete opposite of how I eat or even felt comfortable eating and yet, nothing worked.  It became apparent that I would need insulin.  A hard pill to swallow.  I had to continue eating the way that was suggested as well as start insulin injections.  Although this new, yet temporary, way of life was so inconvenient and a complete pain, I knew I would do anything for this baby to be healthy and have a safe delivery.

I had a few friends ask me, “How could this have happened?  You eat so healthy.”  Well it turns out, for some women, no matter how healthy they eat GD can present itself.  The only thing to blame or hold responsible for this is the placenta.  Some women’s placentas just do an over efficient job of producing insulin, which makes the mom insulin resistant (difficult for the mom to use her insulin). On the positive side, once a women births her placenta the GD leaves with it.  The risks of developing Diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) post pregnancy is greater but as long as you lose the baby weight in a healthy manner and stay healthy that statistic greatly decreases. I cannot wait to start running again!

Most recently, I have developed some pretty bad sciatic pain which is making walking very difficult.  So I sit a lot.  Thank goodness I have a very patient toddler and husband.  Standing in heels for the photo above was painful but anyone who is into photography knows it is all worth it for that perfect shot. Hah!

Regardless of these challenges, I feel so blessed to carry another baby.  It truly is a gift no matter how hard it is on my body.  As I look forward to welcoming this little man into our world.  I am also extremely excited to going back to what I love.  Running around with my boys, cooking the way I want, eating what I like, blogging and just living my life the way I am most passionate.

Stay tuned for some new recipes in the New Year.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Due with Number Two

Due with Number 2

Holy Moly We’re Pregnant!!!

I guess doctors aren’t always right.

There is a lot to be said about knowing your own body.  There have been many times I have put my complete trust in a doctor and most times it was in my best interest.  However, when it came to our infertility I just didn’t believe the specialist when he told us, “you won’t get pregnant on your own.  Your only option is IVF.”  In my heart I truly felt if we were meant to have another child and it WOULD happen naturally.  Though it did take my mind months to catch up with my heart.

It wasn’t easy.  I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster.  I became a little depressed, I gained weight and just felt pissed.  I had been going to acupuncture for 5 months and decided it was time to stop my sessions.  I needed to let go.  Truly and completely let go of all this baby making business.  So I surrendered.

About  later, I got a positive pregnancy test. The test didn’t even need the two minutes for it to say I was Pregnant.  I sat there thinking, “what? What? WHAT???”  Then I jumped up and literally pulled my sleeping husband out of bed and into the bathroom. “What?!?!” I said to him.  We both laughed.  He said, “take another test!”  After the second test said the same thing we both sat on our bed laughing, crying and hugging.  We are still a bit shocked this happened naturally.

Today, I am 13 weeks pregnant.  The morning sickness is still hanging around.  I am hopeful it will let up soon.  Above all, I (we) are so happy!  The baby is growing and looking very healthy and we feel so blessed!

What’s on the Menu?

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what I am eating!  Am I still vegan? Have I transitioned to vegetarian? Am I eating meat?  Well here’s the truth: when I began having infertility issues I was very reluctant to look at my diet as a way to improve infertility issues.  I was stubborn and although I heard the many suggestion from my midwife and herbalist friends to simply eat eggs, I refused.  I refused to accuse my diet of being part of the problem.

When I started going to acupuncture I was asked again to try incorporating eggs back into my diet.  “Ugh, fine, I will give it a try,” I thought.  I slowly began incorporating eggs.  I figured if this worked, I could just eliminate them again once the baby is born.  If it didn’t work well then, I’ll give it a year.  The vegan lifestyle has worked very well for me for the past 2 years.  I am so proud of myself for committing to it for that long.  I felt great on the diet, I had high energy and I truly felt guilt free and proud of what I was putting into my body.  Life was good.  It was good until I started having fertility problems.  A second baby was really important to me and although I do not solely credit the eggs, I do feel they helped.

Today, with eggs back in my diet, I feel balanced.  I feel, whatever this baby needs to grow and be healthy, I have an open mind.  I have learned being vegan is not for everyone’s body all the time.  Whether or not I will go back to being a vegan after this baby is born, I simply don’t know.  What I do know is, BALANCE is the most important part of anyones diet. Balance is what I feel right now and I am happy and so grateful.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Secondary Infertility

SecondaryInfertility

Secondary Infertility.  Who’s got it?  I do!

I know, why on earth would I share something so personal on social media?  Well the truth is, women who experience Secondary Infertility do not have much support other than their close friends and family and by posting this I hope to let other women know they’re not alone and it all kind of sucks.

“I’ve got one.  I just wanted one more,”  Is what replays in my head pretty much every day.  Getting pregnant with Max was not an easy task, it took about a year but we eventually did get pregnant and he is the coolest little dude we could have ever hoped for.

This Secondary Infertility sort of makes sense to me.  For starters, I am not young.  Diminishing Ovarian Reserve is what happens to us ladies as we get older.  I am from the generation who wanted all her ducks in a row before bringing a baby into the world.  Jobs, finances, car, house, etc.  That is what we did and that took time.  We got older as we accomplished what we felt we needed to before baby and that is okay.  I/we do not regret any of that.  I look back on my life, my personality, my attitude while I was in my mid to late 20’s and I am thankful I waited to get my act together before considering a baby.  I was selfish, a little wild and my priorities certainly were not where they needed to be.  However, your mid to late 20’s (even earlier) is when a womans body is meant to start a family.  So it makes sense that I am not as fertile as I would have been back then and again, that is okay.

The options or should I say option we were given was IVF.  While I am not against IVF, it just simply is not for me.  I am choosing to not go through with IVF for reasons I will not go into here, but I will say that if the universe has baby #2 planned for us, it will happen.  I truly believe that.  I have heard so many stories of women/couples who were told, “you will never be able to get pregnant,” and so many have beat the odds.  That could be me too.  One day, I can wake up and have a little bean growing in my belly again.  You never know what the future holds.  In the meantime, I will continue eating healthy, exercising regularly, practicing yoga, meditating and going to acupuncture.  Doing things naturally is what has always felt best for me and my body.  So we’ll see.

I will admit, I am not always optimistic and sunshine-y about this.  I have my rough days.  Max and I do a lot of activities during the week.  We are constantly around moms with two or more kids.  Usually it is moms who have a child Max’s age and another either in the bucket car seat, a sling or they’re carrying that beautiful baby bump.  Most days I’m good.  I’m so happy for those Mamas,  their growing families, and I try really hard to not feel jealous (though sometimes I do).   I certainly have those days my husband comes home from work to a sobbing wife, but he’s amazing and has been my rock through all of this.  Like the days I have those unexpected triggers.  A curious woman at the grocery store, seeing Max and asking, “Are you going to have another?” (what do you say to these people??) or hearing other moms talk about their second baby “giving him a sibling was so important…”  or my own thoughts, “I can’t imagine my life without my siblings.  Will Max be lonely?  Will he miss out on that bond?  Will he resent me?”  Ugh, just writing this is making me tear up.

Okay, back to the positive/optimistic me…

My husband and I do not know what is in store for us.  Regardless of our story, whether it be a miracle baby #2 or simply our little amazing Maxaroo we are blessed.  We have and always will feel grateful, happy and rich in all that life has given us.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

The Beautiful Illustration above by Richard Wilkinson

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Lemon Basil Potato Salad

LemonBasilPotatoSalad

We’ve had snow here in Colorado for over a week and these chilly cabin fever days have got me thinking of summer.  The warm sun, the longer days, the BBQ’s and best of all playing outside.  This Lemon Basil Potato Salad became a family favorite this past summer.  It is a great dish to bring to outdoor parties and even better it wont spoil in the hot sun.

Have you ever tried Lemon Basil?  I tried it for the first time this past summer.  A few friends of ours sold this tasty herb at our local Farmers Market.  They sold all kinds of Micro-Greens but it wasn’t until I tried their Lemon Basil that I fell in love.  The first sample bite I took of this tasty herb, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  A Lemon Basil Dressing poured over some roasted potatoes.  So I went home that day to see if my instincts were correct.  Oh Boy, were they!  This Lemon Basil Potato Salad was perfect!

The Ingredients:

5-6 medium Yukon potatoes, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

The Dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch lemon basil, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place first 6 ingredients in a large baking dish, mix well, coating every potato.  Bake in oven for about an hour stirring half way through.  You want the potatoes to be slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Remove from oven and with a slotted spoon transfer potatoes into a serving bowl.  You want to leave any excess oil from baking.  Set bowl aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Drizzle over the potatoes while they are still warm.  You can either serve warm or place in the refrigerator to chill and serve cold.

Enjoy!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Top 3 of 2014

This has been one incredible year!  I started The Blissful Bean just 11 months ago and I feel grateful and blessed to have so much love and support from all of you.  I love cooking amazing, healthy foods and posting new recipes each week.  I have come to learn that blogging, cooking and photographing my creations is a true passion of mine.  I have met a lot of wonderful people both readers and fellow bloggers and I am thrilled to have developed many great friendships. It has been an exciting and very rewarding year.  I am looking forward to many years to come.

As this year comes to a close, I would like to share with you My Top 3 of 2014 recipes.

Not a tuna melt

Not A Tuna Melt

Coconut Panckakes w Strawberries

Gluten-Free Coconut Pancakes with Strawberries

SpringRoll

Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

What will 2015 bring?  I will be making a temporary change to The Blissful Bean.  First a little back story…  Although this past year has been wonderful, I have recently had some unforeseen health issues.  I will not go into detail but as a result I have been advised to incorporate eggs back into my diet (temporarily).  This was a very hard for me to hear.  I have been vegan for almost 2 years and this decision was not easy.  As most of you know I am very particular about what goes in my body and although adding eggs back into my diet is not what I planned, it is something my body needs right now. In order to be honest with myself and accept this change I have to be honest with all of you.  The Blissful Bean recipes will continue to be mostly vegan however there may be on occasion, some recipes containing eggs.  I will be sure to clearly note that a recipe is vegetarian vs. vegan.
I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Years!
Much Love,
The Blissful Bean
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Vegan Stuffing

VeganStuffing

Last but certainly not least on my Thanksgiving Day Feast recap, Vegan Stuffing.  Growing up, stuffing topped with gravy and cranberry sauce was always a favorite.  Talk about a carb overload!  I would eat so much of it as a kid I swear, my belly would grow two sizes by the end of the night.

When I became vegan I wasn’t sure if I would be able to convert my moms amazing Thanksgiving Stuffing to vegan.  Her stuffing was always so flavorful and for a long time I just assumed it was due to the amount of meat she used.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  The past two years I have been successful in recreating a delicious stuffing that reminds me of home.  Better yet, my husband and son LOVE it.

The Ingredients:

6 cups vegan croutons
3 tbsp vegan butter
1 onion, diced
1 granny smith apple, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 c mushrooms, chopped
4-6 cups vegetable broth (even more if too dry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium skillet melt butter and sauté onions until translucent.  Next add garlic, celery, mushrooms and seasoning.  Cook until celery is tender.  Place in large mixing bowl.

Add croutons, apples and broth to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  You want the mixture to be slightly sticky.  If it is too dry add more broth.  Transfer stuffing to an oven safe baking dish and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Uncovered.  Once the top becomes golden brown, it is ready to be served.

Enjoy!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Brussels Sprout Salad

BrusselsSproutSalad

Next up on my Thanksgiving Day Feast recap, Brussels Sprout Salad.  We all tend to go a little heavy on the comfort food this time of year so why not help out our digestive system by serving something light.  This Brussels Sprout Salad is a refreshing and colorful addition to any feast and it tastes delicious!

The Ingredients:

1 stalk brussels sprouts, sliced (makes between 4-6 cups)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pepper to taste
1 c garbanzo beans
1 c walnuts, chopped
3/4 c dried cranberries

Add the raw brussels sprouts to your food processor using the slicer disk blade.  Set aside.

In a large skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions until they are translucent.  Add in all of the spices then add the brussels sprouts.  Cooke until sprouts are slightly wilted but still crunchy.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Mix well and serve.

Enjoy!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr

Yam Casserole

YamCasserole

Several weeks ago I caught an episode of Ellen where she was explaining to her audience the difference between a sweet potato and a yam.  We all know Ellen can be a jokester so I of course, immediately googled to see if she was accurate.  Turns out she was right.  All these years I’ve been ordered Sweet Potato Fries when I should have been ordering Yam Fries.  How is it possible that so many restaurants have incorrectly named this dish? Hah.

In the past, I have called this dish my Sweet Potato Casserole but this Thanksgiving (thanks to Ellen) I have updated the name.  This Yam Casserole is really yummy!  It has the most deliciously sweet and crunchy crumble on top.  This dish will certainly put that traditional marshmallow sweet potato casseroles to shame.

The Ingredients:

4 medium Yams, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp vegan butter
salt and pepper to taste

The Crumble:

1 c pecans, crushed
1 c walnuts, crushed
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cubed Yams into a large pot and bring to a boil, cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place potatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Smash and mix the yams, butter, salt and pepper with an electric hand mixer until the consistency you prefer.  We like it creamy.

In a medium mixing bowl combine all the crumble ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Next spoon the potatoes into a casserole dish and smooth it out. Then evenly sprinkle the crumble topping over the yams.

Bake, uncovered for about 20 – 25 minutes.  Until dish is warmed through.

Enjoy!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblr