White Bean & Cabbage Soup

I don’t think I could ever get too much soup, it’s one of those things I could eat every day during the cold winter months. I’ve learned so much about the different benefits of eating beans and cabbage, garlic and onions, peas and lentils, and so many other souper soup ingredients. Even leeks, which I had never heard of until last year… I was seriously the girl who only ate salad, or broccoli and a few other veggies in between. Branching out and trying new things has really made cooking interesting, fun and tasty! Plus I just feel good.

I am pretty sure I was suffering from leaky gut before I opted to do “Microbiome Bootcamp” in September. If you’ve never heard of leaky gut, or gut health, please take a listen to this {{podcast}} by Chalene Johnson, it’s actually a 2 part series but so much good information. Of course I self diagnosed myself, after not only listening to this podcast but reading a few books on gut health, and realizing I had an upset stomach almost every night! After deciding I was sick and tired of feeling, sick and tired, I committed to following the meal plan in the book “The Microbiome Diet,” by Raphael Kellman, M.D., and it did the trick. It’s basically a process of elimination, and then focusing on eating really good foods for the bacteria in your guts. I realized that my system is sensitive to gluten and soy. If I keep the amount of those two foods to a minimum, my stomach is happy. If I eat too many, my system reacts sort of like a food allergy does, a little bit will makes you uncomfortable but a lot will result in a full on reaction. But really the whole plan is about balancing the good bacteria in your gut.

When I found the White Bean and Cabbage Soup recipe on Facebook, all I could think was gut health! Leeks and carrots are a couple of the gut health superfoods that Dr. Kellman talks about in his book. I decided to tweak the original recipe a bit because black pepper can be a system irritant, and I didn’t have a few of the original ingredients. I think it worked out rather nicely.

White Bean & Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Leek, roughly chopped
  • 2 Carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, add more if you like a little extra heat
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Celery Seeds
  • 1 small Green(or Purple) Cabbage – shredded
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/4 cup Dry Dill
  • 10 Sprigs Thyme or 1 tbsp Dry Thyme
  • 15 oz canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
  • 10 cups Vegan ‘Chicken’ Vegetable Broth
  • Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Himalayan Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste (optional, I say optional because black pepper is an irritant)
  • 2-15 oz canned White Navy Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Chives, snipped

Directions:

  1. Heat up a large soup pot over medium low heat. Add the leeks with a splash of water and a shake or two of salt.

  2. Stir in the carrot, red pepper flakes, cumin, and celery seeds, cook everything together for about 5 minutes until the leeks have softened.

  3. Add the shredded cabbage, bay leaves, dill and thyme, (add optional black pepper here) give it a stir and cook together another 5 minutes or so until the cabbage has softened. Cooking with a lid on the pan will help steam the cabbage and soften it up faster.

  4. Pour in the tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Let the soup simmer covered for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with more Himalayan salt and the apple cider vinegar.

  5. Add the navy beans to the cabbage soup. Cook a few more minutes until just warmed through.

  6. Serve hot, garnished with the fresh parsley and chives. The garnishes gave the soup extra flavor. Try adding more beans, or even cooked quinoa for a heartier dish.

    Enjoy hot now, and reheated tomorrow for extra flavor absorption into the cabbage and beans!

Question for ya…

I changed the order of ingredients from the original recipe to the order of use. Do you think it’s more helpful to leave canned ingredients, spices, and produce grouped together or to have them in order of use? I’d love your feedback. ❤

 

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Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers

My family loves burger night. Have you ever had the Morning Star Farms Roasted Garlic and Quinoa burger patties? Those are my favorite pre-made burgers. I try to avoid soy where I can because my body doesn’t seem to like it much. I’m so glad to have found a simple recipe to make my own soy free burger. I really enjoy trying new recipes and this was one, that I tweaked to make my own. So yummy!

You can do all sorts of toppings on your burgers, as you can see I went with guacamole. It’s funny, I’m not big on avocado, I know it’s good for me so I try to eat it regularly. The more I eat it, the less I dislike it. I think the guacamole pairs nicely because it’s got such a creamy flavor to go with the little bit of kick of the jalapeño and lime. As a vegan, it’s super important to get those healthy fats in there because they help keep you satiated, if you’ve ever had a salad for a meal you know what I’m talking about. Seems like a salad doesn’t stick around for long if it’s just straight up veggies. The healthy fats of nuts or avocado helps it hang out a while longer because it takes your stomache acid longer to break down your food, protein works the same way. Hence me trying harder to like the green wonder food!

Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers with a Zesty Jalapeño Sauce

Zesty Jalapeño Sauce:

  • ½ cup vegannaise, or try using a vegan sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juiced
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno (or more if you don’t mind spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Burger Patties:

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green onions (white and green parts), finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 Flaxegg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons mild or medium salsa
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • Toasted whole wheat buns or tortilla

Zesty Jalapeño Sauce: In a small bowl combine vegannaise, lime juice, zest, jalapeno, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Refrigerate if not serving soon. Makes ½ cup.

Burgers: Measure ½ cup black beans and set aside. Place remaining black beans in processor and process until pureed. Add the green onions, red bell pepper, cilantro, quinoa, flaxegg, garlic, salsa, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste; process until well-combined. Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the reserved black beans. Taste and adjust seasonings. Form into 4 patties.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the cumin and cornmeal. Dredge the patties in the mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and saute the burgers, two at a time, until golden and slightly crispy. Repeat with remaining burgers using the last tablespoon of oil.

Tip: If you don’t like the bitter taste of quinoa, try rinsing it before cooking to help get rid of the earthy flavor.

Aztec Squash Soup

Troy decided to watch “What the Health?” again this weekend and it got me thinking about our diet. I was actually cooking while he was watching it but my ears were perked the whole time. I’ve been preparing vegan food in our house for almost 2 years now. The first year we ate a lot of the fake processed Tofurky meats, in an effort to replace what we’d removed. It was a good stepping stone for us. This last year has been a lot of trial and error, and some wins of course! The point is that we all have to start somewhere.

✨ The meals should be varied. The same dishes, prepared in the same way, should not appear on the table meal after meal and day after day. The meals are eaten with greater relish, and the system is better nourished, when the food is varied.✨ Ministry of Healing

I’ll be the first to admit that I could eat the same thing almost everyday and never tire. The hubs on the other hand, gets tired of something if he’s had it twice in two weeks. Because I have allowed myself to get into the “same stuff all the time” rut, and also slid into an “eat something sugary every day” habit at the same time, I decided it was time for a change.

Hello, Binder Full of Goodness!

I made up this binder way before I became vegan. I clipped recipes from the newspaper, restaurant magazines, recipes friends have shared, and even printed some off from the internet. After digging through and eliminating all the pot roasts, I mean how many recipes did I really need for that? I narrowed it down to the recipes I could make vegan, a big ol’ thank you to the experience I’ve gained in the last two years!

I wanted to share with you one of the recipes I tried this weekend. Too good not to share, I tweaked it a bit but wish I could give credit to whoever created the original!


Aztec Squash Soup

  • 1 ½ pounds Butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cups (or more) vegetable broth, divided ( I shared a picture of my favorite vegan broth below.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile (or more if you like spicy)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plain yogurt, avocado, guacamole (optional toppings)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray. Sprinkle cut halves of squash with salt and pepper. On one baking sheet arrange, cut side down, on prepared sheet. Roast squash until tender, about 1 ½ hours. At the same time, roast sweet potatoes on the other baking sheet until tender. Turn squash cut side up and cool. Scoop squash out into medium bowl. Place sweet potatoes into a separate bowl.
  2. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Mix in celery and garlic. Add 1 cup of broth. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, 5 cups of broth, and cumin. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes to blend flavors.
  3. Working in batches, puree squash soup in blender until smooth. When finished pureeing all batches, return all soup to pot. Thin squash soup to desired consistency with more vegetable broth. Add sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and red bell pepper, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, thyme, and Serrano chile. Cover soup and simmer 10 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each with one of the optional toppings and sprig of cilantro.
  5. Enjoy!

Yum, Yum, Yum

I enjoyed this soup the first time, and as left overs the second time I ate it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I take out the portion I froze for a later day too. Above I mentioned I’d share with you my favorite vegan broth, but I actually have two.  The one on the left is probably my most favorite but I wanted to share a tip that I got for the other one. I used McKay’s for today’s recipe but it also works out really well as a topping for popcorn with a little bit of nutritional yeast. So good! Please be sure to subscribe to get notified when I share new recipes!


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


I remember eating the pumpkin seeds after carving pumpkins every year as a kid.  When my kids were little, I had tried making them a few times with no success. I think the problem was that I kept using oil. After hunting through recipes, I finally found one that I enjoy. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner I wanted to make pumpkin purée for pumpkin pie of course, as a bonus I get to have pumpkin seeds too. This recipe is so simple but you could make it more complex. Try using a seasoned salt or making the pumpkin seeds a sweet treat using a bit of sugar and cinnamon. 👌🏻

Hooray for pumpkin seeds and depression fighting tryptophan! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Himalayan salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

2. Rinse pumpkin seeds in a colander. Lay them out on a paper towel to absorb some moisture. 

3. Spread seeds, in a single layer, onto a baking sheet. (You could place line the sheet with parchment paper to make for easier clean up.) Sprinkle evenly with Himalayan salt or seasonings of your choice.

4. Bake on middle rack uncovered for 35 minutes or until seeds are dry. Stir after 20 minutes.

5. Allow seeds to cool completely before storing in a container or they will become soft. I usually let them air dry for 24 hours before storing them. (If they make it that long!)

Seeds, Aren’t Just For The Birds.

One of my favorite things to do is watch the birds. My favorite is the hummingbird, with the blue jays coming in a close second. It’s just fascinating how fast those little hummingbirds can flap their wings. I love that I can hear them coming. Then there’s the silly jays. They crack me up because when I fill up the bird feeders in front of my house, they fling out the little seeds just so they can reach the sunflower seeds. You’d think I’d learn and buy a big bag of sunflower seeds for them! 🌻

This little guy flew right under me as I was trying to take photos of the flowers in my yard.

 

As I was eating my breakfast this morning, which included seeded bread I came to a realization, that’s why I decided to share about the importance of seeds in our diets.

There are plenty of seeds out there; hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds to name a few of my favorite. All three of those have plenty of benefits, that’s part of why I include them in my diet. Today my focus is going to be on flaxseeds.


Flaxseeds

There is a regular (brownish) flaxseed, I just decided to get the golden one because it looks pretty when I bake with it. Such fancy little seeds! They are sort of like little golden nuggets, if you consider the amount of health packed into them. Omega-3s, protein, tryptophan and fiber, to name a few. As a vegan and a fitnut, I consider my omegas and protein to be very important ingredients because I’m not getting those from animals. We all know that fiber is good for bowel health, so I won’t talk about that. The ingredient that is most fascinating to me is the tryptophan because it’s something I’ve recently learned about.

Depression is something I deal with seasonally and I got to go through a depression/anxiety recovery program earlier this year. I never realized how much our mental health is tied up with the foods we eat! Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps us make serotonin, which helps stabilize our moods. Tryptophan is in a number of different foods but these tiny seeds have one of the biggest bangs for your buck!

How Do You Prepare Them?

Back to the birds, they have tiny little beaks that break seeds down so they can eat them. If you’ve ever had a pet bird you know that they eat the inside and leave the shell, much like us with sunflower seeds at a baseball game or everywhere if you’re my oldest son!

Our bodies are not built to digest flaxseed left whole, just like corn, 🙈 they come out whole. That means all the awesome nutrition is wasted. (That was my realization this morning, most of the seeds on the seeded bread are wasted!) We of course don’t have beaks so we need to opt for the next best thing, blenders! Or, you can buy the seeds already ground up. I opt for whole because they are cheaper. I also buy mine in the bulk section and store them in my freezer until I’m ready to grind them up. They stay fresh that way, just like nuts. After I grind them up I’ll keep them in an air tight jar in the fridge for easy access. I use them in my diet every day, the family too.

All Ground Up, Now What?

There are quite a few ways to utilize the seeds. Throw them into a smoothie, toss it into a salad, sprinkle it on cereal. My FAVORITE way to use flaxseed is as an egg replacement in baked goods. Yes, eggs have omega-3s and protein BUT they also have cholesterol and no fiber, so I call the flax-egg winning!

Flax-Egg Recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
  • 3 Tbsp water

Mix and set aside to get “slimy” for a few minutes before using in your favorite baking recipe.

Now get out there and flax it up! 

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats

Not only is my health important but so is the health of my family. My pups are included in that. I actually had to put my girls on doggie diet food because they were putting on too much weight. (Yes, I know we need to go on walks more often.) Since I’ve become a stay at home mom, they are exposed to more food droppings in the kitchen. (I’m a messy cook!) I’ve since discovered that they love broccoli as much as I do. 😍

But the whole point to this is that my girls have become a little spoiled with the boys and I being home all the time. We are going to be working on some behavior issues. They are food motivated dogs, so it shouldn’t be hard to break these bad habits. Although, keeping them out of the kitchen might mean I have to sweep more often.

I used to buy treats at the store and cut them up into small pieces for training. I don’t like buying the store bought dog treats anymore because I learned that they have a lot of unnecessary filler and stuff that isn’t necessarily good for dogs. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for treats a while back and I decided to tweak it for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, wheat doesn’t agree with my girls, it tends to make them gassy. And number two, since my diet is vegan, not saying my dogs are vegan, I just don’t keep cow milk in my fridge. So tweaking was done and my pups seem to approve. Dogs love coconut so I figured why not use coconut flour and coconut milk to give them an extra dose of love?!?

Ingredients:

  • 2 C coconut flour (you could use wheat)
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut milk (you could use cow milk)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

First step: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Mix all ingredients. Add a little more milk if mixture is too dry. Next time I’ll probably add a little more milk.


Cut into little treats for training purposes or big ones just for puppy lovins, or you could roll them into small balls and smoosh with a fork. They don’t spread out much when the baked so you can space them pretty closely together on the cookie sheet.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool. Store excess treats in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Otherwise keep in an airtight jar in a cool place for easy access. All good girls deserve treats!

Happy Tails!

I think the best part about these treats is there are only 4 ingredients and super fast and easy to make. The amount of treats I got out of this batch should last for a couple of months without having to make more. Plus my girls seem to like them. After they ate their man cookies they were licking the floor for every crumb they could find! Hope your pups like them as much as mine do. ❤

DIY Pumpkin Puree

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Yes, I still am missing the pumpkin spice latte that I enjoyed at least once a week last year. So on a mission to add more pumpkin to my life I decided to quit the carving and paint our pumpkins this year. It may have helped that I had my favorite little nieces over for a visit and figured washable paint would be easier than gutting 2 extra pumpkins. That was a good decision by the way, even though they had paint all over the place! (Please note how adorable my nieces and sons are below!) It’s the second week of November and all of our pumpkins held strong long enough to be washed off and hacked up into puree. The more I dive into making things home made the more I realize how simple it is. I used to think homemade cooking meant a lot of work and I always told myself I didn’t like it. Turns out I do. Turns out there is a sort of joy that comes from throwing that baked pumpkin into the processor and seeing it come out prettier than the canned stuff!

 

Preheat the oven to 355° if you have time to let them bake for about an hour. If not you can set the temp at 400° and cook them till they are easy to poke with a fork, approximately 30 minutes.

 

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I am all about simple, the less ingredients the better. Thankfully all you need for this pumpkin puree is pumpkin. Did you know that a lot of store bought pumpkin puree is actually squash? What a rip off right?!? Any who, the best pumpkin for this puree is a sugar pumpkin. The bigger pumpkin I used was from my garden and honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether it was the jack-o-lantern or different pumpkin because I didn’t mark which plant was which. Because I wanted to see the difference in pumpkins I pureed my store bought pie pumpkins and my homegrown one separately then put them together. The homegrown pumpkin was likely the jack-o-lantern due to the fact that it had more of a watery consistency. If I was to make this out of pumpkins other than the sugar pumpkins I would probably put them into a cheese cloth and let them drain some of the water off. Just a thought.

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I’m hoping to find a good recipe for some pumpkin seeds because I tend to burn them. Or they just taste terrible… It’s a learning process and thankfully the seeds came with the pumpkins so I didn’t have to go out of my way to find them. Oh and don’t worry, James’ chickens are enjoying the rest of the guts that I’m not using for the puree.

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I placed mine on a foil lined sheet because I loathe cleaning my cookie sheets. You could use parchment paper if that’s what you prefer too.

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As you can see by the picture, it was a learning process. The first batch cooked for 55 minutes and probably could have came out earlier. The second batch cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. The size of the pumpkin is going to determine how long you cook them.

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As you can see the smaller pumpkins got a little on the dark side BUT no worries, I scraped of the dark (cough, burnt, cough) spots and it worked out just fine. I’ve never claimed to be Betty Crocker, but I’m learning and next time I make these bad boys, I’ll do better! You’re welcome for testing this out so that I can be the guinea pig and you can have these tips ahead of time! 😉

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Some people leave the pumpkin on the pan and peel the skin off, I used a spoon and scooped it out and put it in the processor. I crushed it till it was baby food consistency.

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I’m sure there are recipes out there that allow you to can your pumpkin puree but for time sake, I chose to freeze mine. Because it has no sugar or other ingredients in it, that’s the safe route anyway. I put mine into ice trays and froze it so I could easily pop some out of the bag and add it to my oatmeal, my smoothies or even my No Latte Pumpkin Hotte! In the past I’ve wanted to make a single serving of some sort of tasty pumpkin treat and have had to figure out what to do with the rest of the can. It’s easy to get burnt out on pumpkin that way. Next time I might freeze it in pumpkin pie specific measurements in Ziploc freezer bags too.

I of course had to try the puree out right away and I hate to toot my own horn but YUM!

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Pumpkin Spice without the Latte 

No Latte???

I’ve recently decided to cut coffee out of my life, again… I can honestly say I hadn’t missed it until all of the pumpkin spice latte talk recently! Why have I decided to quit coffee again? There are a couple reasons, the biggest is I love the cream and sugar. The problem with that is cream and sugar cause fat and I’ve been working hard in my home gym to burn that stuff off. Why should I keep replenishing the storage gut? The second reason, no caffeine means I get a headache. That means it’s something my body is addicted to. I don’t like feeling like I have to have something to feel good, I don’t even like to take Advil for crying out loud. So not only have I quit coffee but I quit using my pre-workout also. I haven’t removed it completely from my diet but will only be using it when I have a REALLY strenuous workout ahead (cough, Spartan Race, cough.)

And so, the search for a no coffee version began. It seemed that all the recipes I found have milk in them and since I’m vegan that didn’t work either. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and tweaked it to work for me. The recipe I found was for a bigger batch, I scaled it down to a one cup treat because I have the self control of a toddler when it comes to sweets! I’d drink the whole batch in one sitting because there are only 2 pumpkin pie lovers in my house. Only downfall I’ve found with doing it this way, means I have a lot of left over pumpkin to use. I’m thinking pumpkin oats, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin Shakeology! #winning

No Latte, Pumpkin Hotte!

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Coconut Milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Tbsp Agave
  • 1/4 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • Optional: 1 tsp Coconut Oil, use if blending to make it extra frothy, gives it that coffee house feel ❤
  • Optional: 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, honestly I forgot to use it and thought it was good enough without it. Adding it might give you more of the pumpkin and whipped cream flavor.

Step 1: Measure all ingredients and throw them in a pan. Heat it up and enjoy!

psl

Bonus Step: If you decide to use the coconut oil, throw it in the blender to get a little bit of foam. Yum!

How to Make Oatmeal Healthy and Fun!

I don’t know about you but I  ❤ oatmeal! It’s my go to breakfast. I can eat it plain but I definitely prefer it loaded with goodies. I don’t mean butter, brown sugar and cinnamon(even though that is tasty.)

We need to work on reducing the added sugar in our lives and yes I know fruit has sugar too but it’s not the bad refined sugars that are found in almost every processed food you find. Breakfast seems to be a grab it and go meal or a hurry and eat a bowl of cereal. I’m here to tell you that starting your day with a dish of processed sugary carbs is not the way to go. BUT. I have to confess, I used to eat cereal for breakfast all the time. Frosted Mini Wheats were one of my favorite cereals because they are whole wheat, that meant they were good for me right?!? Once I decided to start eating healthier, I switched to instant oatmeal packets, which really aren’t much better. Below are the sugar amounts in just a few of my kid’s favorites. I only buy them once a month as a treat because I know that if I don’t allow it 100% of the time they are going to want it even more. (In case you’re wondering the cereals I usually buy for them are Kix, Chex, Cheerios and Rice Crispies. They still mostly exceed their daily limit.)

Sugary Cereals edit

The chart below shares what the American Heart Association recommends for your daily sugar intake. This chart is for adults. We are almost doubling the sugar intake recommended just starting our days out, that’s not counting the milk you pour over your cereal. What about the sugary creamers we have in our coffee, the sugar in juices, the sugar in our sodas at lunch time or the sugar in our “treats?” Sugar is the plague of obesity and diabetes, if we don’t start working towards lessening it we will never beat those two diseases.

Daily Added Sugar Limit Graphic

How do you fare on your daily sugar intake?

What do you say we work on reducing what you start your day with at least?

I often hear “oatmeal doesn’t fill me up,” and I’m going to say that’s because you aren’t loading it up. Think about it, 150 calories of just oatmeal isn’t going to carry you very far. Adding more protein, fiber and energy to that bowl is going to make it carry you further into the day! Plus adding a texture variety seems more satisfying that a bowl of mush. Oatmeal is a great breakfast because its simple and doesn’t take long to make. Also, it has between 5-7 grams of protein in half a cup. When you’re vegan, and active, you bet you count every bit of protein you can! It’s minimally processed because if you were to eat it unprocessed our bodies wouldn’t be able to digest all the nutrients in it. Think corn 🙈🙊

Oatmeal

What do I add to my oats to spruce up the bland flavor my husband loathes?

Lots of fruits, nuts and seeds(those are for protein, not flavor.)

Fresh fruit is obviously the best fruit option because it’s going to be the most natural. Frozen would be the next best because while freezing it can take away a small amount of the nutritional content, it’s not enough to say you shouldn’t eat it. Plus frozen is usually cheaper than fresh and it stores easier. You can do dried fruit too, but beware it’s usually dried with added sugar. Canned fruit is the same, usually has added sugar so I’d try to stay away from that. Always check the labels, that’s one of my biggest clean eating tips. If you’d like to learn more about clean eating you can learn more on my blog  here.

Nuts are usually raw because seems all the roasted ones are salted. No need to add extra salt in our diets either. Don’t get me wrong, our bodies do need salt but not in the excess we use today. Some of my favorite nuts are walnuts, almonds, pecans and pepitas(pumpkin seeds). They add good flavor and pack a little extra protein. Nuts shouldn’t be eaten in excessive amounts because they are high in fat, but good in moderation.

Protein per ounce (approximately)

  • Pepitas- 5 grams
  • Pecans- 2.6 grams
  • Almonds- 6 grams
  • Walnuts- 4.3 grams

Want even more nutrition in that bowl?

Having extra protein to add along with Omega 3’s make adding seeds into your oatmeal a bonus. My favorite seed to add in is Chia seeds because you can’t taste them. They are kind of fun because when you add them to water they get jelly like. My second would be Hemp seeds as a topping, I don’t like them cooked into my oatmeal because I feel like it gets a peppery flavor, Troy just doesn’t like the texture. Then lastly would be ground Flaxseeds, I don’t really like the texture this adds, but I know it’s really good for you so I make sure they are always in my cabinet to rotate. It’s super important to eat a variety of foods so you get the best nutrition you can. All three seeds are rich in omega 3’s which is good for people, like me, who aren’t getting them from eggs or fish!

Seed Perks

  • Chia Seeds- 2 Tbsp has 5 grams of protein. Chia seeds have an amino protein score of 115, anything over the score of 100 means it’s a complete or high quality protein, so yeah buddy! {Fun fact} Chia is the ancient Mayan word for strength!
  • Hemp Seeds- 3 Tbsp has 10 grams of protein. Depending on how you get your seed, whole, ground, hulled, etc, depends on the amino protein score for this seed. Seems to be in between 40 and 90. I wouldn’t rely on this as your only protein source, but like I said, eat a variety of proteins and you should be good 😉 Hemp seeds have been around as a food staple for a very long time but there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back up a lot of the other amazing health claims. I’ll just leave this at it’s good stuff!
  • Ground Flaxseeds- 2 Tbsp has 4 grams of protein.  Flaxseeds have an amino score of 92, so they are pretty close to the complete protein score!  Recent studies seem to point out that Flaxseeds may help prevent cancer.

Still need a little sweetener in your oats?

I recommend trying honey, agave nectar, stevia extract or even a dab of real maple syrup. They are all really sweet but won’t give you the huge sugar spike that cane sugar does. Best way to start is use a little, and then a little less each time. Teach those taste buds that the fruits are good enough.

My Favorite Bowl Mashups!

Approximately 10 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp Chia seeds (used 1/2 C extra water when cooking)
  • 3/4 C fresh fruit, strawberries and blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Cook the oatmeal and chia seeds and top with the remaining ingredients. I am obsessed with coconut! I think it’s probably my favorite flavor for everything treat related!

 

Approximately 16 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped up
  • Cinnamon to your liking
  • 1 oz of almonds
  • 2 Tbsp of Chia seeds (used 1/2 C extra water when cooking)

I like to throw my apples in when I add my oats and chia seeds because I like them a little softer. Once it’s ready to serve I stir in the cinnamon. Then I sprinkle the almonds on top and enjoy!

PS. Cinnamon all sorts of medicinal properties, check some of the benefits of use out here.

Approximately 20 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp Chia seeds (used 1/2 C extra water when cooking)
  • 3 Tbsp Hemp seeds

Cook oats and chia seeds, then stir in blueberries and half the hemp seeds. Place in cup and sprinkle top with the remaining hemp seeds. Food tastes better when it’s pretty right? Plus those blueberries add extra antioxidants, and those of course help fight cancer too!

Approximately 14 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C frozen raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp Chia seeds (used 1/2 C extra water when cooking)
  • 1 oz walnuts

Cook the oatmeal and chia seeds, then stir in the frozen raspberries and top with the walnuts. Just in case you were wondering this is Troy’s favorite way to have his oats. He loves raspberries.

Still not satisfied?

Don’t worry, you can mix and mash up any fruit you love.

Try:

  • Blackberries(now’s the time for fresh ones, YUM!)
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple, little bit of coconut and you’ve got a piña colada in a bowl!
  • Grapes, not too many because they are loaded with sugar.
  • No Sugar Added Applesauce

You name it, you can try it. It’s all about finding out what satisfies your pucker upper 🙂

 

 

Egg Muffin Cups

{Update: I decided to go vegan in December of 2016 but I understand not everyone is ready to commit to a fully plant based lifestyle. Hope you enjoy the recipe!}

Breakfast Made Ahead!

Breakfast is so important for helping with weight loss and over all health. I know first hand that missing breakfast is not an option for me (I get hangry.) I have however learned that since I am now a full time stay at home mom, I don’t wake up feeling like I NEED to eat. I’m chalking that up to my lower activity level and the fact that I don’t feel like I have to rush to get anywhere.

I need to be prepared or I don’t do well. I’m a terrible snacker so if I don’t have my meals planned, I tend to snack on things I shouldn’t be…all day long! The key to making meal prepping a success is to keep it simple! Make sure you are preparing things you love to eat too, otherwise you won’t want to eat them.

My favorite breakfast is oatmeal because it’s simple and I can mix it up with nuts, or fruit or different spices. These little muffin cups come in second. I love eggs and I love veggies. I’ve recently cut all dairy and meat from my diet and I only have eggs occasionally, so these little cups are a treat to me!

simple ingred

Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Green Onions
  • Eggs or Egg Whites, approx 1 egg per cup
  • Cheese of your choosing (optional) 1 TBSP per cup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Coconut Oil Spray

Slightly more than a 1/4 cup of veggies in each cup. Feel free to swap out any of the veggies listed and use different ones. I like bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, even black beans (don’t forget to count them as your yellow container if you’re following the portion plans.)

greensStep 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin cups with Coconut Oil.

chop chop

Step 2. Chop up veggies and divide between muffin cups. Sprinkle each cup with cheese if desired. Salt and pepper if desired, feeling frisky? Try some Cayenne pepper ❤

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Step 3. Pour scrambled eggs or egg whites into muffin cups. Make sure they get spread evenly between veggies and cheese. I used a fork to mix them up a bit. When the coconut oil is cold it gets solid, should have wiped it off my pan but ah, who has time for that 😉

IMG_4109

Step 4. Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer liquid in the middle. Keep in mind if you used cheese it will be gooey until cooled.

Step 5. Enjoy! Eat two when cool enough, then let rest cool before throwing into a zip-lock bag and freezing for later. Or throw them in the fridge and warm them up when you’re ready to eat them!

final

For all you 21 Day Fixers out there, 2 muffins equal approximately 1 red, 1 green and 1/2 blue.

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