Movement Toward Better Health

Do you love seeing transformations as much as I do; before and after photos of someone’s weight loss success? Are there more stories in the news lately about how eating vegetables, greens, whole grains and legumes are the key to optimal health? Or is it because I’m retired and have more time to read and watch TV? Is my radar more acute to this type of information? Maybe so, but I also believe we (as a nation) have been moving slowly toward a better understanding about the great impact of our food choices. I’m happy when I see news reports about the increasing danger of processed and sodium, sugar and fat-laden ‘foods’.  The October issue of Men’s Journal has a seven page article called Smart Eating, The New Rules. It was right before the article about the Duck Dynasty phenomenon!  Anyways, the article surveyed five master chefs for their secrets to cooking healthy and delicious meals. They all tapped into some very important ideas with the emphasis on fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits and simple preparation.

I also love reading success stories, testimonials and the experience from so many others who have embraced the plant-based lifestyle; regardless of how they come to it.  Some are actually steered toward adopting a plant-based diet by their doctor.  Sadly, there aren’t enough doctors who prescribe a plant-based diet (PBD) to their patients. But, the stories ALL end up resonating the same theme: great results from living on a plant-based diet program including lower cholesterol and BP, tons more energy and weight loss. So many other testimonials talk about how eating a plant-based diet has completely alleviated so many ailments; and, did you know that heart disease can and has been totally reversed on the PBD?  You can read more here.

Roger and I are experiencing all these benefits, and more.  He hasn’t suffered with heartburn or “leg jimmies” (restless leg syndrome) since adopting a mostly plant-based diet. We’ve both lost weight, lowered our cholesterol and BP.  We are sleeping better and we certainly don’t miss the meat, cheese, oil or dairy!

green and red healthy food

I love this enlightening story from a woman who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer). She made a choice to become Dr. McDougall’s patient and follow the plant-based diet. It’s an eye-opener with astounding results!

 

Friday’s recipe is full of nutrients, minerals and all deliciousness! I was reading lasagne recipes and didn’t want to spend the time with layering the noodles….so, this was my lazy alternative.  I guarantee you that no flavor was lost in the translation!  Below is the recipe for the Bravo Tomato Sauce which is versatile and delicious!

These were delicious!

These were delicious!

LASAGNE ROLLS

Serves 6

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce package whole wheat, gluten free or your favorite lasagna noodles
  • 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and chopped small
  • 3 cups marinara or tomato sauce (see Bravo sauce below)
  • 10 ounces spinach, frozen
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup store-bought vegan parmesan or make your own (seriously, 3 ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

Directions

In a large pot, cook pasta sheets al dente according to directions. Immediately rinse with cold water, pat dry with a clean towel and set aside laying flat on a plate.

Press out any excess water from spinach and combine with tofu and 1/2 cup vegan parmesan in a large bowl until well incorporated. Once evenly combined, taste test, adding salt as desired and adjusting nutritional yeast, parmesan and seasonings to taste. Then add 1/2 cup of marinara and stir to combine. Line a 9 x 12 baking pan with a thin layer of marinara.

On a clean work surface, lay out your cooked lasagne sheets and spread 1/4 cup of the tofu-spinach mixture on each noodle and roll it closed. Place the lasagne rolls in the pan with the noodle crease on the bottom. Repeat with all noodles.

Pour the remaining marinara over the rolls, cover with foil and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining ‘cheese’. Bake or broil for 5-7 more minutes and serve immediately. This is great with a simple arugula salad with red cabbage and shaved carrot.

Bravo Tomato Sauce

Chef Ramses Bravo is the executive chef for TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California and author of Bravo! Health-Promoting Meals from The TruthNorth Kitchen. Ramses has worked in numerous hotels and restaurants over his 14-year career, including a position as executive chef for the renowned Kenwood Inn and Spa in California.

The combination of fresh and packaged tomatoes gives this sauce the right flavor and consistency. If only fresh tomatoes are used, the sauce does not become thick enough.  This recipe makes double the amount you may need for the lasagne rolls, but I guarantee you’ll want extra!!

Ingredients

• 1 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• 1 shallot, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
• 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
• 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
• 3 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or packaged
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packaged and chopped

Directions

Put the Roma tomatoes in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds and skins. Set aside.

Put the onion, celery, shallot, and garlic in a large dry saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and the bottom of the saucepan are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, granulated garlic, dried onion flakes, and optional red pepper flakes and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and cook until the bottom of the saucepan is dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and strained Roma tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the basil. Serve hot. Stored in a sealed container, Bravo Tomato Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Depending on your preference, the sauce can be left chunky or processed in batches in a blender until smooth.

Eat for your Life!

 

Blue Balls and Green Bags

Got your attention, didn’t I? I’ve posted a link to the Debbie Meyer green bags under my Shortcuts and Resources menu. These bags really work! They keep fruits and vegetables and all my greens fresh for at least 7-10 days longer than when I wasn’t using them. I also keep a blue ball in each of my crispers and fruit drawers in the fridge.

Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest

Happy Fall!

Using these green bags will definitely help keep your squashes and zucchini and broccoli, and all your root vegetables really fresh for much longer.

We had a beautiful weekend in Chicago. As I watched Roger put on his corduroy coat for the first time this season, I got a flash of warm soups, stews and chili!  There’s nothing better on a crisp, new fall day than the smell of delicious vegetables, beans, potatoes and seasonings all basking in the warmth of my crockpot.  I don’t have a fancy crockpot. In fact, we bought our $30 Rival model about 6 years ago. It’s seen everything from beef to chicken, and lots of pork.  Since last year, however, the crockpot is happily housing only whole grains, legumes, colorful vegetables and occasional tofu pieces.  Without the use of oil, clean up is a pleasure.

Here’s the chili recipe I made last Sunday, which we ate with chorizo seitan and mushroom stuffed potatoes as we watched the Bears battle the Steelers.  We also had to tune in the St. Louis Cardinals game to root them to victory. Those of you who know us, understand this!

CROCKPOT CHILI AND LOADED POTATO

I often write my food thoughts on the chalkboard in our kitchen; mainly, so I don’t forget anything, but I also think it’s fun to have a menu board for Roger.

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Makes 6-8 cups

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3-5 hours

Ingredients

6 cups soup stock or 15 cubes of your homemade frozen stock

Soup stock cubes

Soup stock cubes

2 Tblsp. tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes (or 4 fresh diced plum tomatoes)

1-1/2 cups black beans or any of your faves!

12 oz. can black soybeans (no salt)

2 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 in. pieces

1 large red pepper, sliced into 1/2 in. pieces

1-1/2 cups frozen okra pieces

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 cup corn (I used a whole cob and sliced off the corn, but frozen is fine!)

Colorful veggies for chili

Colorful veggies and frozen beans

1/8 cup diced jalapeño chilis

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. Spike Natural salt-free seasoning

1/8 cup balsamic or other sweet vinegar

Options: 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 in. pieces

2 large kale stalks, stripped and chopped

Directions

Turn crock pot on high.  Pour soup stock or frozen cubes into crock pot. Then, the tomato paste goes in and stir it until thoroughly dissolved.

Add all the other vegetables, including the diced tomatoes.

Add all the seasonings and vinegar. Stir all to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, then turn down to medium and let cook for another 2-3 hours.

LOADED POTATO

Servings: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

1 large baked potato

8-12 oz. roughly chopped shitake or any mushroom of your choice

Upton's seitan

Upton’s seitan

4-5 oz. of chorizo seitan, diced

Directions

Heat oven to 400. Place washed potato on middle rack (or a piece of foil under it). Bake until tender. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop potato out, creating a well in each half.

In saute pan or your stovetop grill, heat mushrooms and chorizo seitan until cooked thru, and mushrooms are soft.  You may need to add small amounts of water to keep it all from sticking.

Pile that goodness into your potato ‘wells’ and pour on some of the juice from your chili pot.  Or, pile the chili right on top!  I added the sweet potato and kale to my bowl and Roger ate his without.

Eat for your Life!

Crockpot chili and loaded potato

Crockpot chili and loaded potato