Popcorn Seasoned with Nutritional Yeast

Popcorn Seasoned with Nutritional Yeast

The days of salty, buttery popcorn are over.  Once you try this Popcorn Seasoned with Nutritional Yeast you may not ever want butter on your popcorn again.

I was introduced to this popcorn about 7 years ago.  My initial reaction was, “You are going to put What on the popcorn?”  I was told, “Just try it!”  To my surprise I loved it.  After that night I decided to drop that greasy, salty popcorn and converted to this nutritionally packed goodness.

In the recipe below I added a tasty ingredient.  Kelp.  Yes, that is seaweed.   I added kelp powder to give the popcorn a little extra nutrients.  If you did not know, Kelp is really good for you.  It is rich in vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K) and minerals (calcium, chlorine, potassium and magnesium).  It is a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Kelp helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar as well as has anti-cancer benefits.

As for the nutritional yeast, it too, is great for you.  It is a complete protein, a great source of B-12 and folic acid, high in fiber, best of all its gluten-free.  It has a cheesy taste and that is why I love it on my popcorn.

The Ingredients:

1/4 c organic popcorn kernels (non-gmo is best)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp kelp powder
pinch of sea salt

Melt coconut oil in stove top popcorn popper then add popcorn.  Turn the handle until all kernels are popped.  Transfer to a big bowl and season with nutritional yeast, kelp and salt.

Enjoy!

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Dairy-Free Spinach Pesto

Dairy-Free Spinach Pesto

Pesto can be used is so many different dishes.  For some reason, I have always thought very highly of pesto.  It always seemed like a “fancy” sauce to me.  Maybe because as a kid, I did not really care for it and it was something only the adults would eat.

Since then, I have grown to love pesto.  You can change-up the leafy greens and make all different types of pesto like, spinach, arugula or dandelion greens.  Who would have thought this bright and beautiful sauce is so versatile and easy to make.  This Dairy-Free Spinach Pesto is a delicious spin on the original Basil and Parmesan pesto.

The Ingredients:

3 c spinach, packed
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c pine nuts
1/2 c parmesan
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste

Place all ingredients (except olive oil) in food processor and start blending.  While the ingredients are blending, slowly pour olive oil into food processor.  Once everything is mixed well.  Transfer to an airtight container until you are ready to use.  It is that easy!

*Note: This recipe can usually yield two main pesto dishes.  So, I typically split this batch in half and freeze what I do not use.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me years ago.  It was originally a Chicken and Vegetable Curry.  I made a few changes to the dish, took out the meat, added a few extra vegetables and created this delicious Spicy Vegetable Curry.  Indian cuisine is something my husband and I really enjoy.  We have an amazing Tibet restaurant around the corner from our house where we like to eat on special occasions.  I love all the different spices used in Indian cooking and I enjoy creating my own spin on different dishes.  The best part, I have found many dishes to be equally filling whether they are made with meat or vegetables.

The Ingredients:

2 c brown rice
2 cans lite coconut milk
2-3 tbsp Thai Kitchen curry paste
2 c sweet potato, cubed
1 1/2 c cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 c broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 c green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c zucchini, cubed

Cook rice according to package.

In a large skillet warm coconut milk over medium heat.  Whisk in curry paste and bring to a simmer.  Add in the vegetables in the following order with 3 minutes in between each new addition: sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and lastly, zucchini.  Simmer for an additional 15 minutes until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Serve over brown rice.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free, Vegan Baked Ziti

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The meal that impressed my non-vegan family.  Gluten-Free, Vegan Baked Ziti.  Baked Ziti is one of those dishes you would see at a lot of family events.  It is an easy dish you can make in large quantities that basically everyone likes.  The Baked Ziti I was used to as a kid was packed with meat, cheese and gluten.  So you could understand how great it was when I received those smiles of approval from my family when they tasted this very different ziti.

Anyone who cooks knows that it is one thing to impress your friends with the delicious food you make; it is quite another to impress your mom (the woman who taught you to cook), as well as your family who grew up with the same amazing food as you.  When it comes to food, my family and I have pretty high standards.  We all know and share good food.  It is our tradition.  I guess you can say it is in our blood being that we have a very long line of great cooks that can be traced back for generations.

Give this dish a try and let me know what you think.  Bon Appetito!

The Ingredients:

1 lb gluten-free penne pasta
2 c Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Spinach “Ricotta Cheese” (click here to see my recipe)
2 c marinara sauce
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1
/4 c Vegan Parmesan (click here to see my recipe)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package.  I usually start tasting the pasta 2 minutes prior to being done.  You want this pasta to be al dente.  It will be cooking longer in the oven.

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of marinara.  Then layer: pasta, ricotta (try to spread this layer), mozzarella, sauce and repeat until all the pasta is used.  Lastly, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top.

Place baking dish in the oven for 30 minutes or until ziti starts to bubble.

Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Enjoy!

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Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Spinach “Ricotta Cheese”

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Spinach "Ricotta Cheese"

Growing up in an Italian household, ricotta cheese is just as important as Parmesan.  When I gave up dairy and soy I was certain dishes like Lasagna, Stuffed Shells and Baked Ziti were meals I would not get to enjoy again.  Most dairy-free ricotta cheese recipes you find are made with tofu.  So you could just imagine my excitement when I finally mastered this Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Spinach “Ricotta Cheese.”

This past Christmas we traveled to the east coast to celebrate the holidays my family.   Everyone made a dish to bring to Christmas dinner.  I made a Vegan Baked Ziti with this “ricotta cheese”.  It was an exciting opportunity to test out my creation on the family.  To be honest, I was a little nervous.  Most of my family members cook very well and those who do not, eat very well.  My dad and brother teased me (as they often do) for making a “Cheese” out of nuts.   The moment of truth came, everyone took a scoop and politely gave it a try.  My sister-in-law (longtime vegetarian) raved about it.  Everyone else at the table said they really liked it.  The Ziti was a success!  It was wonderful to see I was able to please the taste buds of non-vegans.  Stay tuned for more recipes including this “ricotta cheese.”

The Ingredients:

2 1/2 c cashews (soaked)
1 c pine nuts
1/4 c lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz vegan cream cheese
1/2 c water
5 oz spinach

Soak cashews for at least 4 hours or until soft.

Place all ingredients in the food processor.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Store in airtight container  up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

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Creamy, Dairy-Free Risotto with Green Beans and Peas

Creamy Dairy-Free Risotto

A dish the whole family will love.  This Creamy, Dairy-Free Risotto with Green Beans and Peas is so delicious you will be amazed that you made it in your own kitchen.  My husband likes risotto but he is not a huge fan so sparking his taste buds can sometimes be challenging.  When he took his first bite of this risotto I was so happy to see his huge smile of approval.  There is nothing that makes me happier than feeding my family and friends good food.  I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as my family.

The Ingredients:

2 c Arborio rice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2/3 c dry white wine
6 c vegetable broth
1/4 c vegan cream cheese
1/2 c lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 1/2 c frozen green beans, thawed
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1/4 c vegan parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan warm broth.  Set aside.

In a dutch oven (it heats more evenly) warm oil over medium high heat.  Saute shallots until translucent.  Add Arborio rice.  Mix well coating every grain and lightly toast rice for 1-2 minutes.  Add dry white wine.  Stirring frequently.  Rice will absorb the wine in about 3 minutes.  Once the wine is absorbed, add two ladle of broth.  Again, stir until rice has absorbed the broth about 3-5 minutes.  Repeat until all of the broth is used.

Remove dutch oven from heat.

Add cream cheese, lemon juice, green beans and peas. Stir until cream cheese has melted and beans and peas are warmed through.  Garnish with vegan parmesan.

Serve piping hot.

Enjoy!

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Split Pea Soup for the Whole Family

Split Pea Soup for the Whole Family

Making my own baby food was very important to me when I was pregnant.  Many people told me there would not be enough time or that I was just nuts.  I was thrilled to learn, with a little planning and prepping it was fairly easy to incorporate pureeing foods into my busy schedule as a new mom.  I have been making baby food from the moment my little guy was ready for solids.  I started out making a lot of single fruit and vegetable purees but the real fun did not start until I was able to make meals the whole family could enjoy.  This Split Pea Soup for the Whole Family was his very first family hearty meal.  It is a great first meal for baby, it is a spiced up version of all the vegetables he was already used to.

This dish has actually become a staple in my sons diet.  Even though he is now old enough for finger foods I still puree this dish.  It is an easy add-on to any meal.  Whether it’s a side, a main dish or mixed in with some protein.  He loves it and that is all that matters.

The Ingredients:

2 1/2 c split peas
5 c vegetable broth or water
2 bay leaves

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt
3 c vegetable broth
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
black pepper to taste

In a medium pot bring peas and bay leaves to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Set aside.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent.  Then add carrots and celery cook down for about 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients including the cooked peas and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low heat for an additional 45 minutes.  Until carrots and celery are tender.

Split the pot in half.  Pour one half into a high-speed blender.  Blend until smooth.  As my little guy grew older and could handle more chunky foods, I would only blend slightly.  Place puree into silicone ice-cube trays and freeze over night.  Each cube is about an ounce of food.

To reheat:  place a few cubes (depending on how much you would like to serve) in a small pot.  I typically, do this an hour or two before serving.  It gives the cubes a chance to thaw.  Over medium low heat warm up soup.  If the soup is too thick add a little broth or water.  Serve lukewarm.

Enjoy!

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My Valentine’s Day Surprise

Valentine's Day Surprise

Typically, my husband and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day in the traditional sense.  We made a deal a while back (over 5 years ago), to avoid the holiday craze and as a gift to each other we would make a “green” change in our lives.  Whether it be starting a garden, replacing the windows in our house, or (this year) starting the xeriscaping process of our front yard.  So you can only imagine how taken aback I was when I received My Valentine’s Day Surprise.

Yesterday afternoon my husband asked me to check my email where I would find my Valentine’s Day gift.  I came to find a beautiful article written Regan Fletcher at News360 about my blog.  I want to thank everyone over at News360 for writing such a great article.  It was such a wonderful gift.  Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy day to make this happen and with such short notice.  You are the best!

I especially want to thank Kevin, the love of my life.  You made my Valentine’s Day very special.  I feel so lucky to have married my best friend, a man who always believes in me and supports me.  I love you more than anything!

So if you missed it…here is the article.

Here are some Heart-Shaped Chocolate Covered Bananas for the man who stole my heart.

The Ingredients:

1 banana
5 oz chocolate 

In a double boiler (see my Chocolate Covered Strawberries for instructions) melt chocolate.

Slice banana in half (long ways), with a paring knife, cut out little banana hearts.

Gently dip bananas in melted chocolate and spoon chocolate to completely cover each heart.  Scoop up chocolate covered bananas with two forks so excess chocolate can drip off.  Place on a plate lined with wax paper and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Enjoy!

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Love! For Valentine’s Day

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Love! For Valentine’s Day.  At the beginning of the week I had mentioned, instead of focusing on this over commercialized holiday, maybe try focusing on you.  What makes you feel happy, smile and laugh?  Here’s a new question…What makes you feel loved?  It doesn’t matter is you have a special someone in your life or not.  Really think about this question.  What makes you feel loved?  Is it spending time with friends?  Your family?  A trip to the spa?  Nourishing your body? Being in nature?  A clean house?  We all tend to get caught up in our busy lives and forget to stop, breath and take care of ourselves.  We all deserve a little “me” time so whatever that looks like for you, try to make some time for yourself this weekend.  Treat yourself to this delicious smoothie of Love.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Ingredients:

2 c kale
1 c frozen mixed berries
1/2 frozen banana (I freeze my own.)
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/4 c cashews
1 tsp chia seeds
1-2 c water

Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.  Blend until smooth then serve.

Enjoy!

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The Best Artichoke Hummus

The Best Artichoke Hummus

I love hummus and this is the Best Articoke Hummus you’ll ever eat.  You will always find a fresh batch of hummus in my refrigerator.  I make it at least every other week.  I have found soaking and cooking the raw garbanzo beans myself makes it taste fresh but in a pinch, canned beans are fine.  Try to make sure the can says BPA Free.

Hummus is a convenient snack and so versatile.  You can have hummus with veggies, tortilla chips, pretzels, olives, on a salad, a wrap, bread, a veggie burger, the list goes on.  You get the point.  I love this stuff.  It is also packed with protein.  The garbanzo beans paired with the tahini (sesame seeds) creates a complete protein.  Perfect!

My love affair with hummus began around 7 years ago.  Growing up on the east coast, one would think hummus would  have inevitably crossed my path at some point.  However, it was not until I moved to Colorado that it started making its appearance fairly often.  Before long, I began making my own and putting different spins on the recipe.  It is pretty simple to make, so give it a try.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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 artichoke hearts
1 cup or MORE roasted red peppers
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!

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