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

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Homemade Peanut Butter

PeanutButter

Where have you been?  Some of you have been inquiring of my whereabouts.  Well the truth is, my little guy has made the transition from two naps to one and as a result it really messed with my schedule.  At first, I was really excited for this new change but had put little thought into how it would affect my day-to-day.  It certainly threw me for a loop.  I was missing meals and some days would spend his nap eating way too much because I hadn’t had a chance to take a bite of anything.  Well, thankfully I have finally adjusted to his new schedule and am happy to report, I am back!

I have also been busy in the kitchen coming up with new recipes and am really excited to share some of my creations with you.  In the meantime, I am sharing with you this simple Homemade Peanut Butter.  I make this about every two weeks.  Between the three of us, we blow through our Homemade Peanut Butter pretty quickly.

PeanutButter1

The Ingredients:

1 lb unsalted, roasted peanuts (that’s it!)

Place peanuts in a high-speed blender.  I typically run the blender on low so the nuts evenly become a fine powder.  Then I turn the blender up until the peanut butter is creamy.

Store it in a mason jar for up to a month.  I store mine in the refrigerator but a cool, dry place works too.

Enjoy!

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Zoodle Salad

ZoodleSalad

Since the beginning of Spring I have been seeing a lot of Zoodles (zucchini noodles) dishes all over Instagram.  I have always known it was possible to transform zucchini into pasta but never actually tried it myself.  I am so inspired by these Zoodles dishes I decided it was time I give it a try.  I went on Amazon and ordered myself a vegetable spiralizer.  I wanted to start with something simple and came up with this delicious Zoodle Salad as my first attempt.

As most of you know my husband and son are the true taste testers for any dish I post on my blog so you could imagine I was a little nervous about this one.  This was completely new to my guys and there was no telling if they were really going to like it.  As I sat at the dinner table anxiously waiting for their opinion, I finally got it.  It was a success!  Thank Goodness!  So here it is for you and your families to try.  I am now really excited to immerse myself into all the possibilities Zoodles have to offer.  They seem to be endless so stay tuned.

The Ingredients:

2 zucchini squash
1 crookneck squash
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

The Salad:

2 tomatoes, diced
1 c garbanzo beans
1/2 c olives, sliced (green or black)
Salt and pepper to taste.

With a knife or vegetable spiralizer cut squash into spaghetti-like strips.

In a large skillet warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté garlic until fragrant. Add the squash and cook until slightly tender about 5-7 minutes.

Once the squash is cooked, transfer into a glass bowl and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the Zoodle bowl.  Mix well and serve.

Enjoy!

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Mini Bean Tacos

Minibeantacos

These Mini Bean Tacos are so delicious and really easy to put together.  They literally takes minutes.  If you are looking for a quick and easy dinner or lunch, look no further.  Mini tacos and tacos in general are great for last-minute meals.  They are definitely a crowd pleaser and honestly, I can say I do not know one person who doesn’t enjoy a taco from time to time.

This recipe serves one so increase the ingredients to the number of guests you will be serving.

The Ingredients:

3 mini soft corn tortillas (non-GMO)
1/2 c refried beans
1/4 c vegan cheese of your choice (I use Daiya)
1/4 c tomatoes, diced
1/4 avocado, diced
6 slices of jalapeños
A handful of lettuce, shredded

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Heat beans in a small saucepan according to the package.

Place the tortillas on a sheet tray.  Sprinkle the vegan cheese on each tortilla and place in the oven for about 3-5 minutes.  Until cheese melts and tortillas soften.

Remove tortillas from the oven and build your tacos.  First place a scoop of beans in the center of each tortilla.  Next I added the jalapeno slices.  Then I sprinkled on the tomatoes, avocados and lettuce.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I was never a big fan of brussels sprouts.  That is, until my Aunt Gail brought them to a family dinner at my parent’s house several years ago.  I remember thinking, ‘ugh, brussels sprouts’ (sorry Aunt Gail) and was hesitant to even taste them.  Well, thank goodness I did!  They were the most mouth-watering brussels sprouts I had ever tasted.  They had been roasted, I believe, in balsamic and olive oil.  Amazing!  Ever since, I have been in love with these little guys and really enjoy experimenting with different ways of cooking and serving them.  This Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts is so delicious.  I love the sweetness of the shallots and the extra crunch of those little walnuts.  Best of all, this dish is toddler approved!

The Ingredients:

1 lb brussels sprouts
3 tbsp coconut oil, warmed
1 shallot, sliced
1/2 c raw walnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and cut the brussels sprouts in half.  Place into a baking dish.  Add the shallots, oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well, coating each brussels sprout evenly.  Bake in oven for about 45 minutes.  Until sprouts are lightly roasted and fork tender.  Once done, stir in the walnuts.

Serve either hot or cold.

Enjoy!

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Polenta Parmesan Over Penne

PolentaParmOverPenne

Chicken Parmesan is not something I miss now that I am vegan. However, I do sometimes miss the crispiness of the breadcrumbs combined with red sauce, cheese and pasta.  The other night, I came up with this Polenta Parmesan over Penne to try to satisfy my taste buds.  My husband, a non-vegan, absolutely loved it.  I was actually pretty shocked by the amount of compliments he gave.  To top it off, my little sous chef really enjoyed it as well.  Although this is a very high-carb meal and not a dish we eat regularly, it certainly fulfilled that craving I was having.  Sometimes we all need a little comfort food in our lives.

The Polenta:

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 c polenta
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

The Other Ingredients:

1 lb brown rice penne pasta
24 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c mozzarella cheese

In a medium sauce pan bring 2 cups of water to a boil then whisk in the polenta.  You will need to stir constantly for about five minutes until polenta starts to thicken.  Once the polenta is thick add the garlic and parsley.  Keep whisking so the polenta does not stick and the garlic is cooked though (about 10 minutes).  Transfer the polenta into a glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours.  You want the polenta to cool and solidify.

Polenta

Once the polenta is ready, cut the it into desired shapes and set aside.  I did strips this time so it would be easy for my little guy to handle.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to the package.  I typically start tasting the pasta about 2 minutes before it is done to avoid over-cooking.

In a small sauce pan, over medium-low heat warm the sauce.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the polenta strips.  Cook until golden brown on each side (about 5-7 minutes).  Place strips back into baking dish, pour some sauce on each strip and sprinkle the mozzarella on top.  Bake the Polenta Parmesan for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Serve over penne or any pasta of your choice.

Enjoy!

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Easter Egg Hunt

EasterEggHunt

My Easter traditions as a child were very similar to most, I think.  My siblings and I loved dying eggs.  We would always try to top the others artistic ability.  On Easter Eve, the “Easter Bunny” would hide the dyed eggs all around our house.  Only on the main level, upstairs was off-limits and yes these were hard-boiled eggs inside the house.  Easter morning, we would wake up to Easter baskets filled with a small gift, homemade chocolates, peanut butter cups, jellybeans and whatever favorite candies we liked that year.  After we went through our baskets we started our Easter Egg Hunt.  We would usually find all the eggs.  There was one summer where that one egg we couldn’t find would make its smelly appearance.  I know, gross, but hey it is a funny family memory and my mom made sure that never happened again.  After the eggs were all found, we had to eat breakfast (an egg or two) and then we can have something from our basket.

Well my traditions have changed a bit.  Now that I am plant-based and our little guy has a slight intolerance to eggs we had to get creative.  My husband suggested hiding eggs in the yard (his childhood tradition) and maybe putting little toys in the eggs.  The problem we ran into there was all toys that would fit in those little eggs are choking hazards for toddlers.  Plus, Max has enough toys.  Candy just wasn’t an option.  Then I saw this idea on the Internet the other day and thought, “What a brilliant idea!”  It is so easy and best of all Healthy!

The Ingredients:

Whatever your little ones like!

Plastic eggs
Strawberries
Grapes
Blueberries
Blackberries
Raspberries
Kiwi
Clementines

You get the point.

Happy Easter and Enjoy!

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Wholesome Bowl

WholesomeBowl

Last week I went to my good friends house for lunch, some adult conversation and of course, a play date.  While our babes played together we enjoyed a beautiful salad she had made.  It was so colorful, delicious and filling I just had to try to recreate it.  This Wholesome Bowl is perfect all on its own.  No dressing needed.

To create this dish, you’ll have to plan ahead.  I am a planner and when it comes to eating healthy, I find it is the only way to be successful.  If there is nothing healthy and accessible in the kitchen at all times, poor choices are made.  I know this about me and I have learned what works and what doesn’t.  Every week, after food shopping, I know I have to dedicate a few hours to prepping and cooking foods.  I know what you are thinking, who has the time to prep like this, especially when you have kids.  Well, when I am ready to start prepping my son is doing one of the following; napping, playing with dad, playing at me feet in the kitchen or most often sitting in his high chair being my little sous chef.  He loves being in the kitchen with me, especially when he gets to taste everything I make.

This past weekend, I was focused on making this salad.  On Sunday, I spent about 2-3 hours in the kitchen preparing.  This time Max was playing with Dad.  I roasted butternut squash, soaked and cooked both black beans and garbanzo beans, made quinoa and boiled beets.  I stored everything in separate containers in the refrigerator.  Now when it is time for lunch or a snack, all I have to do is grab a bowl, add some mix greens and whatever combination of prepped bowls I am in the mood for.  Any mom knows, running around after a toddler all day can lead to skipping meals or overeating when we finally have a moment.  Prepping, for me is a necessity and a lifesaver.  Try a planning ahead, it may work for you too.

The Ingredients:

1 c mixed greens
1/2 c beets
1/2 c butternut squash
1/2 c black beans
1/2 c quinoa
1/2 c cherry tomatoes
1/4 avocado
6 olives

First place greens in a medium bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and serve.

If you would like to add some dressing use olive oil and apple cider vinegar or simply some lemon juice. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Last weekend my husband and I threw our dear friends a going away party.  To honor them and their little man I decided to make these delicious Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes.  I was inspired by FullyRawKristina’s raw cupcake recipe and just made a few changes.  These little cakes are a fun and fresh dessert everyone can enjoy and the perfect guilt-free way to end a party.  The best part, all those little babes who enjoyed this dessert had no idea they were eating a mini-cake of fruit and veggies.  Pretty sneaky!

The Cake Ingredients:

3 c finely shredded carrots (about 10 carrots)
3 c dates, pitted
1/2 c walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon

The Icing Ingredients:

Juice of 2 oranges
3 c soaked cashews
1 c dates
1 tsp vanilla

Other Essentials:

cupcake holders
cupcake trays

Soak cashews over night or at least for 2-3 hours.

In a food processor, shred carrots.  Remove them from the bowl, switch to the “S” blade, place carrots back in processor and blend again until finely shredded.  Add the dated, walnuts and cinnamon and blend until smooth.  Use a spatula to scoop our the carrot mixture and fill the baking cups about halfway.

Next, in a high-speed blender, add orange juice, cashews, dates and vanilla.  Blend until thick and smooth.  You want the consistency to be the same as traditional icing.  Scoop icing into a pastry bag (or bottom corner of a ziplock bag).  If using a ziplock, snip the corner of the bag and begin icing the cupcakes.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Place cupcake trays in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.  If you freeze them overnight, take them out about 1/2 hour before serving. Otherwise they will lose their form.

*Note – These cupcakes can be stored up to a month in the freezer.  That is if there are any leftovers.

Enjoy!

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Spanish Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans

Spanish Rice and Beans is one of the first dishes I truly made my own.  The original recipe was from a few really wonderful ladies I used to work with back in New Jersey.  Whenever we had a potluck at work they would make this traditional dish for me because they knew I was gluten-free and I would be able to eat it.  Anyone who has food allergies knows how touching it is when someone makes a dish with you in mind.  I loved this dish so much and eventually my friends gave me their recipe. Over the years I have changed a few things here and there to made it my own.  One big thing I changed was I started cooking the beans myself.  Then came making the Sofrito and Sazon from scratch.  I love fresh ingredients, there is really nothing like it.  Even better, all of these fresh ingredients creates a lot less recycling.

The Ingredients:

4 cups cooked kidney beans
2-3 1 ounce cubes of Sofrito
2 c filtered water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp Sazon
1 tsp Adobo seasoning

The Rice:

Cook rice according to package.  Once rice is fluffed, stir in an additional 1 1/2 tsp of Sazon to give the rice a little spice and color.

In a large skillet, over medium heat thaw Sofrito cubes.  Once they are thawed add in the tomato paste, Sazon and Adobo.  Mix well.  Add beans and water.  Smash some of the beans to thicken up the sauce.  Simmer until beans are warmed through.  Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

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