Potatoes are one of nature's most amazing foods. They have a bad rap in America, partly due to French fries and being a starchy vegetable, but most Americans don't realize its not the potato, it's how you cook the potato.
When I lived and traveled in Europe, I noticed the deep connection between our ancestors and the potato. It's a hearty vegetable that nourished our ancestors for generations.
Could you imagine farming the land while fueled solely on kale salads with carrot tahini dressing?
Our European friends cook simply and the "peasant-friendly" meals use potatoes. Sure, most of them are meat and potato consumers, but from boiled potatoes to potato pancakes, the potato is part of our history's dietary past. The Irish, Germans, Hungarians and Eastern "block" countries are still to this day potato connoisseurs.
Post Europe, I've made decisions to avoid food waste and grocery shop from my cabinets and refrigerator. I had chives and didn't know exactly what to do with them.
Mashed potatoes with chives sounded delicious, but my body doesn't crave that while the spring flowers blossom outside. The Seattle air filled with an aromatic floral scent and fluffy white petals flowing with the wind, I decided to try something creamy, rich and different.
With a mix of butter and soy milk, here is an affordable and peasant-friendly side dish inspired by nature. I eat like a bird so sometimes I find the heartiness fills me up as a main dish alongside a side salad. Enjoy!
Vegan Creamy Chive Potatoes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
1 russet potato
3 large golden potatoes (or use russet)
1 cup soymilk** (see note)
3 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup chives
salt to taste
Prep the potatoes and chives. Melt the three tablespoons of butter on medium heat in a large skillet. Add, mix and cook potatoes for 1-2 minutes on medium to low heat. Add the milk, chives and salt and cook until the potatoes are edible. It is normal for the soy milk to thicken. Stir frequently.
**Note: I recommend soy milk because of its properties, it has a higher tolerance for heat and will not coagulate.
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My soul yearns for the Mediterranean life; an experience that integrates good food, historical culture and a fun in the sun lifestyle. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the sun is shining and spring is more beautiful than ever. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and the salty sea mist from the Puget Sound whafs in the air.
The inspiration from nature ignites a craving for something light, airy, healthy and fresh. And with a box of Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Penne, something Mediterranean, and fun under the sun, would be on the menu.
Explore Cuisine is a brand that inspires the world to consume more plants. As one of the leaders in producing plant-based pastas, they transform legumes, beans, rice and peas into a hearty pasta packed with fiber and protein.
And the best part is, their pasta is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Protein is an obsession in the diet industry. Thanks to our understanding of the interconnection between man and plants, we now know, and have sophisticated cooking methods, to use plants as the main source of protein fuel.
Packed with 11 grams of protein per serving, this pasta contains a healthy balance of the macronutrients. The pasta contains hearty servings of protein and carbohydrates where the olive oil contains the healthy fats.
As a personal trainer and a health coach, I believe in eating healthy on a budget and in a timely manner. This six-ingredient pasta is something that even busy moms have time for during the work week.
Inspired by nature and the brand, never stop exploring yourself and your cooking skills in the kitchen. Each time you cook, your intuition guides your palate and opens you up to a whole new world of understanding your mind, body and soul. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out Explore Cuisine's Instagram page!. And how about mine too?
Dairy Free Mediterranean Pasta with Explore Cuisine's Organic Red Lentil Penne
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Pasta
1 cup sugar plum tomatoes, quartered and deseeded
1/2 cup packed basil, chopped
1/3 cup purple onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil + more
Pinch of salt + Italian (or Greek) spice
optional: squeeze of lemon or fresh parsley (this drastically changes the flavor)
Cook the noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse lightly when complete.
In a pan, cook the onion, garlic, salt and Italian spices for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Next, add the tomatoes and basil and cook for one minute. Add the pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add additional olive oil if necessary or readjust spices to please your palate.
If you use the lemon juice and parsley (parsley decreases the taste of basil) stir it in at the end. Serve warm.
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*Note: Explore Cuisine provided product for this post but no compensation. All opinions are my own.
Are you looking for an internal spring clean? If so, fresh juice aides our digestion and cleanse of the intestinal tract. Juice is quick and easy to digest since it is broken down from its whole food state. Thanks to its fiber, juice "hits the system" quicker resulting in detoxifying affects.
Spring is the season of rebirth. Internally, we need cleansed on a physical, emotional and mental level.
And fresh juice helps that process.
Foods from nature are high vibrational foods. Natural foods are a gift from the heavens. And the more we consume these foods the higher our spirits ascend. What we take in emotionally also affects us. Emotional digestion is just as important as our physical digestion. Packaged and processed foods keep us in the lower vibrational state - slow, sluggish and craving more salt and sugar.
Cheers to spring, the flowers, longer days and the beautiful rebirth of nature and all of it's magic.
Apple Fennel Pear Juice
Makes 2 cups
1 large Anjou Pear
3 small-medium apples (used extra-fancy)* see note below
1 3-4 inch stalk of the fennel
Wash, cut and place the produce through the juicer. *Note: Using 3 apples gives this a strong apple flavor. Using 2 apples balances out the flavor of apple, pear and fennel.
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Who doesn't love peanut butter? Peanut butter is a classic American staple food.
From PBJ to peanut butter cream pies, peanut butter is one of the most versatile baking foods. But, no two peanut butter brands are the same. And thanks to the IDEA blog fest, I established a friendly relationship with those "down under" folks from Pic's Peanut Butter.
Pic's Peanut Butter roots lay in the lovely land of New Zealand, a place that forever affected my mind, heart and soul. For those of you who don't know, I have lived abroad four times. I moved to Australia in 2005 to study abroad. And though the beaches were my playground, the mountains of New Zealand were my sanctuary.
It's a magical place with vast landscapes, unadulterated by development and industrialization. New Zealand is a place that proves heaven on earth exists.
And that is exactly how I feel about Pic's Peanut Butter.
But what makes Pic's different than the rest?
Located in Nelson, New Zealand, Pic's uses hi-oleic nuts from Australia, one of the purest and highest quality peanuts around. Hi oleic nuts feature an enhanced nutritional value of polyunsaturate oils, antioxidants and resveratrol, a biologically important stilbenoid. The Australian nuts contain a higher content of oleic acid compared to regular nuts (a 75% : 55% ratio). Pic's peanut butter is nutritionally special. Discover more at this Pic's blog post that identifies the lovely benefits of Pic's.
Life, and apparently Pic's peanuts, are full of fun surprises. For me, I enjoy Pic's straight out of the jar. Spoon and jar. That's all I need, but sometimes I also require pancakes to fuel my long days as a trainer and a coach.
These pancakes balance the macronutrients of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat as well as fiber!
Thanks to Pic's, this dairy-free recipe is quick, easy and eager to please your brunch guests. I concocted this to balance all three favors; however, if you prefer more of one ingredient, you'll have to adjust the recipe slightly. Let your creativity and intuitive juices guide your palate.
The hardest part of this pancake journey is whether or not to use crunchy or smooth. And don't worry if someone has a peanut allergy, swap PB for Pic's almond or cashew butter.
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Pancakes using Pics Peanut Butter
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 15 pancakes
1 flax egg (mix 1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water)
1 3/4 cup rolled oats
1.5 cup non-dairy milk (almond)
1/4 cup Pic's Peanut Butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt + cinnamon
2-3 tbsp chocolate, either chips or cut from a bar
Place all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate, into a blender. Blend until smooth. Next, stir in the chocolate chips.
Heat a non-stick skillet, using either cooking spray, coconut oil or vegan butter for cooking.
Once hot, use a ladle and pour the batter onto the skillet in a clockwise manner. Allow the pancake to cook and once bubbles form on top, use a spatula to flip the pancake and cook until the pancake slides a bit on the skillet.
The following pancakes cook quicker because the skillet is hot. Reapply spray / oil / or butter and repeat the series.
Have you tried these pancakes? Let us know!
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Spring is almost here but part of the western world remains frozen under ice, snow and cold temperatures. It's still time to warm our souls with something pure and healthy derived from nature.
This soup contains a light and airy component that is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Fennel is a powerful plant that contains phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It also contains Vitamin B-6, which promotes the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein into glucose and amino acids.
Combined with carrots and apples, this is soup "boosts" metabolic processes to ensure healthy weight management. The metabolic process is a chemical process that releases heat. Foods packed with metabolic-friendly nutrients aide in weight management and weight loss goals. And this soup is no exception.
Although spring is around the corner, be sure to try something new, fresh and different. Let this soup guide you into the new season of rebirth, revival and renewal.
Vegan Carrot Fennel Apple Soup
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup purple onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fennel, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 cups apple, chopped (used gala)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs of thyme
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper + turmeric
Prep the vegetables. In a soup pot, cook the onion and garlic in oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots and apples are edible. Next, puree the soup in a blender or with a hand immersion blender. Adjust any flavors and spices. Serve warm.
Looking for something other than protein to aide with delayed onset muscle soreness? Believe it or not, various plant-based foods help with muscle recovery. Many natural foods have anti-inflammatory properties that relieves muscle soreness after strenuous exercise.
Curious to know which foods are the best? Keep reading to discover the profound research that proves plants have power.
This powerful root contains anti-inflammatory properties similar to nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs. In 2010 the Journal of Pain published the Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise study noted that daily doses of ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain post exercise. Ginger contains a compound called gingerols, which are powerful anti-inflammatory properties and known to reduce swelling and pain and increase mobility.
Cinnamon and ginger, for muscle recovery, go hand in hand like peas and carrots. A 2013 study, "Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes" concluded, "administration of ginger and cinnamon in athlete women for six weeks did not show any significant change in the IL-6 level, but showed a decrease in muscle soreness in the cinnamon and ginger groups."
Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels, alleviate arthritic symptoms and improves insulin sensitivity.
That favorite summertime fruit contains L-citrulline, an amino acid known to reduce muscle soreness. In 2013, the Watermelon Juice: A Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes research study tested and concluded, "In the in vivo experiment (maximum effort test in a cycloergometer), seven athletes were supplied with 500 mL of natural watermelon juice (1.17 g of L-citrulline), enriched watermelon juice (4.83 g of L-citrulline plus 1.17 g from watermelon) and placebo. Both watermelon juices helped to reduce the recovery heart rate and the muscle soreness after 24 hours."
These root vegetables are known to increase athletic performance, but what about muscle recovery?
According to the 2017 "Beetroot juice is more beneficial than sodium nitrate for attenuating muscle pain after strenuous eccentric-bias exercise" study compared the effects of, "beetroot juice (BTJ) and a nitrate only drink (sodium nitrate; SN) on indices of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD)." The study concluded, "These data suggest that BTJ supplementation is more effective than SN for attenuating muscle pain associated with EIMD, and that any analgesic effects are likely due to phytonutrients in BTJ other than nitrate, or interactions between them."
Curcumin is one of the most powerful spices "on the market." The 2007 Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage study concludes, "these results support the hypothesis that curcumin can reduce inflammation and offset some of the performance deficits associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage."
Do you know of other plant-based foods that aide in muscle recovery? If so, comment below so we can further research it!
Call me old fashioned, but I love nothing more than a good slice of cheesecake. It's the quintessential American dessert that is enjoyable year round. When eating cheesecake, I flash back to soulful memories of 1920's New York, but sadly, Americans can't be given credit to the creation of this lovely dessert.
In fact, the Greeks were the original cheesecake connoisseurs. Popular in Greek culture, when the Romans conquered the Greeks the recipe fell into their hands. In fact, cheesecake fueled the first Olympic athletes during the first Games held on the Isle of Delos in 776BC.
Today, cheesecake has transformed into one of the most delicious dairy-free desserts on the market. Thanks to Daiya, their team has created a cheesecake that is so creamy, smooth and palatable, that I am dying to know their secret.
I had the privilege of taste-testing Daiya's Key Lime and seasonal Pumpkin Cheezecake....and what a privilege indeed. There is nothing that "hits home" more than a vegan cheezecake than Daiya. The creamy texture, color and smooth transition of the fork gliding through the cake makes you question whether or not this is vegan. Oh yes it's vegan...and gluten free too!
Key Lime Cheesecake
If you loved grandma's key lime cheesecake as a child, rest assured the new and improved vegan version beats any dairy-laden cake. Sweet yet tangy, this key lime cheesecake's flavor contains the best of both worlds. It's as if summer (or a bag of limes) exploded in your mouth, bursting with hints of creamy sweetness. What I enjoyed the most is the combination of the cheesecake with the cookie-like crust. Perfect for anytime of year, the key lime pie makes for a wonderful summer dessert, paired with a chilled glass of lemonade or iced tea. It's like enjoying a slice of citrus heaven while basking under the summer sun.
Pumpkin pie, watch out, there's a new vegan holiday treat in town. Daiya's pumpkin cheesecake is seasonal, and will be the best dairy-free seasonal treat you'll purchase. Like all of Daiya's cheesecake's, the texture is creamy, sweet and ultra-smooth. The pumpkin cheesecake bursts with autumn flavor including a hint of those delicious pumpkin spice flavors. It's bold in flavor but delicate in nature, so cut carefully as the cheezecake isn't as hard as a pumpkin's shell. I only say this because the flavor is so addicting that you'll want to dive right in, but know that it is best enjoyed one slice at a time.
Each pie serves 8 slices and retail prices vary upon location. Enjoy!
All opinions are my own. Daiya provided the product but did not compensate for this post.
Are you a fan of Daiya cheezecake? If so, which cake is your favorite? I'm curious to try them all, but got my eye on that strawberry....
Are you looking for a dessert that is sweetened only by nature?
If so, you've come to the right dessert post where artificial sugar is out and all-natural is in. And thanks to the moist and plump Mariani dates, this apple crisp is infused with love from a family-owned farm.
President's Day is soon to arrive. And for some reason, every time I think about this holiday I always think about apples, cherries, DC and George Washington.
Apples are a quintessential colonial dessert ingredient. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson described apples as "The American fruit," although they originate from the Old World. And well, nothing is more American than American pie. And instead of spending time making a pie, an apple crisp is a quick-and-easy, classic recipe. But, this crisp has a modern twist, it contains zero refined sugar!
Mariani dates are moist, plump and ready to be blended into one of my favorite recipes, date caramel. Besides fiber, most people do not realize that dates are a natural source for our electrolytes such as: magnesium, manganese, and calcium. When we obtain electrolytes naturally, there's no reason to reach for those artificial sport drinks.
Nature provides everything that we need, and plant-based recipes can be the source of that fuel. The more natural you eat, the more natural you'll feel. You'll get connected to the energy of the land and the natural rhythms of the body. Overconsumption of artificially manmade substances is "poisonous" longterm.
"Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy."
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com