That Night I Quit Being A Mom

Super MomIt was 6 am on Christmas morning of 2014. I sat down on my bedroom floor and broke down crying.

It was one of those “I’m a strong woman, but I really need to cry for once” moments.

I was awake since the morning of Christmas Eve prepping last minute homemade Christmas gifts, cleaning the kitchen, finishing up chores, doing the laundry, and then of course wrapping Christmas presents for my two girls. Phew!

To sum it up, I was on autopilot with very little sleep. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Kids DancingI wanted Christmas morning to be PERFECT!

You know, the kids waking up early that morning (while I’m still sound asleep), running downstairs with loud giggles and big smiles on their faces eager to see their presents from Santa Claus, their stockings filled with healthy snacks and organic gums and candies, toothbrushes and such, hanging from the fireplace. :D

Us mothers.You know how it goes. We always want to create those perfect memories that our kids will always remember!

M.O.M for Jan 2015 - Eva Algermissen

M.O.M for Jan 2015 – Eva Algermissen

The reason for my crying that night – correction, that morning – was not because I was unhappy. I was very much happy, and I was thrilled with myself for getting everything accomplished as I was hoping to.

In fact, that morning I was feeling immensely blessed as I took pleasure and joy in creating, and sharing, in yet another Christmas Day with two special girls. :)

What more could a mother ask for, right?

The reason for my crying was because I am a strong woman.

I am a strong woman who happens to be a single mother. And even strong women will sometimes feel the need to release their emotions and just cry it out.

M.O.M for Feb 2015 - Shraddhānjali Dasi

M.O.M for Feb 2015 – Shraddhānjali Dasi

During that moment, I openly allowed myself to experience and release those emotions. They were there for a reason. And they were meant to be accepted, loved and understood.

Not judged.

Not humiliated.

And definitely not tucked away as though they’ve never even existed.

They were real tears.

And they needed to be released, openly and freely with love and understanding.

That morning, I decided I was going to quit being that mom. I had to quit being a mom who is always

– trying to be perfect

– trying to withhold her emotions AND

– trying to do it all!

M.O.M for Mar 2015 - Diana Sookram

M.O.M for Mar 2015 – Diana Sookram

Being a mom is about strength, sacrifices, understanding, patience, loyalty and of course, Love.

But being a mom is also about being Real.

Our children look up to us as their life example. Therefore, what do you want them to see?

A mother who pretends she has no feelings or emotions? A mother who doesn’t take the time to take care of herself? A mother who doesn’t put her needs first and foremost?

Or a mother who is as human as they are, and has discovered healthy ways to express herself while taking better care of herself and her kids.

M.O.M for April 2015 - Usha Naran

M.O.M for April 2015 – Usha Naran

That morning, not only did I QUIT being that mom, but I decided it was time to START being that M.O.M. who would reach out to other mothers experiencing the like!

Those moms skip baths, have little to zero time for exercising or proper diets, home school their kids, have health conditions which may prevent them from performing physically (yet it doesn’t stop them), takes care of their partner while caring for their kids, has toddlers/twins, supports their kids dreams, is going to college themselves while being a single mother, breaks down and cry from time to time, wonders if anyone else notices, understands what they’re feeling let alone experiences the same…  ;-)

M.O.M for May 2015 - Our Beloved Maa

M.O.M for May 2015 – Our Beloved Maa

Somehow, they manage to hold it all together even when they, themselves, feel like falling apart.

Those are the moms who really inspire me and reminds me often, through their own actions, that I am never alone and that all will be just fine!  :D

As a result of that emotional breakdown – correction, emotional breakthrough (there’s always a divine reasoning behind it ;-) ) – that Christmas morning, I decided one of my goals for 2015 would be to start a random act of kindness which I recently starting calling M.O.M.

M.O.M. is truly a Mom On Mission! The moms that keep moving forward, tries their best to hold it down, ensures those kids are taken care of, multitask like crazy their careers, spouses, kids, schools, etc., and all without realizing how their own actions are inspiring others such as myself.

M.O.M for June 2015 - Tara Kunkel

M.O.M for June 2015 – Tara Kunkel

Every month, I surprise a mother with flowers who has inspired me throughout my own personal journey as a mom. Believe me, I am the fortunate one here. I have zero to complain about when it comes to the way these women hold it down and manage their lives and families.

But you know what the best part about all of this is?

It brings me absolute JOY when yet another strong woman is reminded that she is recognized, appreciated and Loved.  <3

Sig

Posted in Articles, Inspirational, Love & Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tribute to Our Single Mother of Ten

Mother's DayIf you’re a mother, you’ll certainly understand the time and patience required to raise a child. It takes a village they say. And “they” are not kidding.

And if you’re a single mother of one, or two, maybe more? That’s another set of challenges awaiting you.

When I became a single mom ten years ago, it was one of the most trying times of my life. Trying to make time for myself was impossible. There was no such thing.

My goal during the first couple of years was to just be there as a parent, to fulfill their needs and give my two girls the required attention they deserved. They were both young little ones (ages one and four) dealing with many different emotions and surely life’s changes. There was definitely challenging times.

Yet, thanks to my parents and sisters who provided much assistance and babysitting help, I consider myself quite fortunate. Not every single parent has family nearby who can help (so thanks mom and dad :-) ).

My Little Ones (2005)

My Little Ones (2005)

However, the day was approaching when I’d need to branch away from my parents and start a whole new journey with my two girls.

Of course the fears would set in – how would I do it? What if we moved and I lost my job given the economy? Would we be okay? Is it even worth the risk?

When these questions would surface in my mind, I would think of my role model. A single mother of ten children. Yup, ten of them. :-o

That single mother also took care of me and my two sisters when her kids were all grown up while my parents worked throughout the week. ;-)

That single widowed mother spent many years living in a poor country in South America trying to raise her own family of ten, and with no help from willing family mind you.

Queens, New York

New York City (1980)

That single mother never had an opportunity to go to school because she had to help raise even her own siblings (there were many of them). Married at the age of fifteen, she never learned how to read or write even though she really wanted to learn.

Her husband provided for their family and was responsible for their financial income. She was a stay at home mother who cooked, cleaned and took care of their children.

But then her husband passed away in his forties due to cancer. And she was devastated. What would she do?

I think back to the many stories both my mother and grandmother shared with me regarding those years in South America. It sounds like an imaginary story, you know… make believe. Just like fiction.

But the truth is – it really happened.

People endure difficult and trying times in their lives and you know what? They push themselves through it. They get through it. They muster up the courage and strength to move on doing what they have to do because they don’t really have a choice.

Maa

My sister, Maa and me

That single mother of ten children happens to be my beloved grandmother whom we all called Maa (a name commonly used in the Indian culture which means “mother”).

Maa.

When my grandfather passed away, Maa was left to take care of her children. Their source of income was earned by selling crops from their garden or fish they’d catch from the sea every morning before my mom and her siblings would go to school.

They couldn’t afford much.  Life in that country was difficult.  But a better life was in store for their family years later.

Opportunities to move to Canada and the United States became possible for some of the children. My grandmother took a chance and sent my mother, who was seventeen years old, to stay with her older sister so she could have a better life.

Years later, after both of my parents met and got married, my grandmother was able to come to the United States. Upon her arrival, she stayed with us for years and helped raise me and my sisters.

There’s so much I can share about my grandmother, so many memories. The ice cream she would buy for us from the ice cream truck after school almost every hot summer day. Those orange creamsicles, banana creamsicles (she loved those) or the red white and blue bomb pops which were popular during those times.

The crackers (or as she would call them, biscuits) dipped in hot tea that she would prepare and enjoy with us every evening.

The music she would play using a pot with her hands (because we didn’t own a drum at the time) so we could all just laugh, dance and have a good time.

Her constant hugs and belly laughs, and her fun broken english when she’d speak and share stories with us about her childhood years, or her times as a mother in South America.

My (not so) little ones with Maa (2008)

My (not so) little ones with Maa (2008)

Maa developed a mild case of Alzheimer’s during the last months of her life. She had a tough time remembering where she was, who her children were, etc. and constantly had to be reminded.

On December 18, 2009, she left her body in the three-dimensional world and joined God in the spiritual world.

Her memories remain alive in my life but more so, ever since I became a single mother ten years ago. Since then, I’ve grown to have even more respect for her. I often wondered about her history, her story, her past life. Fortunately I had the opportunity to briefly interview her on video about a year before she passed away.

A person can’t understand how difficult it can be to raise children, let alone raise children as a single mother – and how about ten? –  unless they are able to empathize or envision walking a mile in that person’s shoes.

We come from a culture of poor judgments unfortunately. Many hold on to resentment, anger, pride, even make assumptions as we focus heavily on what we lack or didn’t receive from our parents or loved ones.

But we often forget that our parents – in this case our mother – have done the best they could, based on their own abilities and personal circumstances, and based on what they’ve learned from their own parents.

We learn by example. Naturally.

In a culture such as that in South America, think of the examples our own parents grew up with. What opportunities were they granted in order to improve their communication skills? What choices were they left with to make during those trying times?

What would you do if you were in a position similar to theirs?

Love puts us in a position to make some tough decisions in life.  It’s all about Love.

And Love helps us to understand, if and when we are willing to open our hearts, that our mothers did the best they truly could from the bottom of their hearts.

Maa made some difficult decisions in her life. I cannot even fathom being in her shoes, let alone sending my young daughter to another country in hopes that she’ll be in a better place. I can only respect the woman she was, birthing ten kids naturally with no epidural (how does one even do that ten times – oh my goodness)?

We love you!

We love you!

Today, I am honoring my beloved grandmother Maa. A strong woman. A woman of respect, loyalty and love.

A mother who played a role in my life.

A mother who had to deal with my hyperactive personality, always getting into mischief (as she would call it), climbing on top of the roof of our second story house (yup), or challenging her with thought-provoking questions (you can’t possibly be surprised – rebel? free spirit you say?).

A mother who is the mother of my mother, and the mother of my aunts and uncles. A mother who is also a grandmother and great-grandmother of many who love her and have fond memories of her.

Thank you for teaching us through your own life’s experiences Maa. We are all imperfect human beings doing our best, and you certainly did your best.

Your courage, dedication to your family, actions as a single mother, faith in God, and sacrifices to meet the needs of all of yours…

Tribute

I smile because your soul is very much alive today.

You survived those challenges in that poor country. You got through them even though it wasn’t easy. And you managed to have your kids sent to a better place.

We know your spirit is thriving with peace, love and joy…

And we know you’re playing that dholak (Indian drum) sending wonderful beats to many ears.  ;-)

Happy Mother’s Day! We love you Maa! <3

Sig

Posted in Articles, Inspirational, Love & Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Broccoli and “Cheddar” Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar SoupSay cheddar!

Well, vegan cheddar!

Okay, okay… say nutritional yeast!

Yes, I said nutritional yeast!

;-)

My kids are the inspiration for this soup, which we definitely enjoyed for dinner tonight!

They love broccoli and cheddar soup, so we decided to find a recipe online and give it a try.

We came across this easy Clean Program recipe.

You can never go wrong with a Clean Program recipe.  Healthy and delicious ingredients with spices combined to make your favorite dishes all while doing your cleanse.

It can’t get any easier than that!  ;-)

And yes, this soup was definitely delicious which is why I’m sharing it with you!  :-P

(Feel free to substitute the nutritional yeast with raw organic cheddar cheese although I believe you’d be extremely happy with the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 leek, green top discarded, white section sliced in ½ inch rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 head of broccoli, discard stem and cut into florets (should equal 4 cups)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • sea salt, to taste
  • optional fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, saute the leeks until they begin to soften, roughly 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the broccoli and stir to mix everything together. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and turmeric.
  6. Cover and let everything simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, uncover and stir in the additional nutritional yeast.
  8. Season additionally to your tastes with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper if desired.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Source:

This recipe is a slight modification of the following, http://blog.cleanprogram.com/broccoli-and-cheddar-soup/

Posted in Clean, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grateful for Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes!

6About two months ago during my visit to Los Angeles in California, I had the privilege of dining at one of the most fantastic restaurants in the area.

This particular restaurant I just couldn’t get enough of (and I wonder why)…

Cafe Gratitude is “the best” in my opinion, offering everything 100% organic, vegan and made-from-scratch.

Cafe Gratitude LA

Cafe Gratitude LA

With an abundance of delicious gourmet menu options including meals, drinks and nonetheless desserts, I found myself in what I certainly call (with extreme confidence if I must say) an absolute food heaven!

We’re talking pancakes, muffins, bagels, scones, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, lasagna, burgers, pastas, raw dishes including raw pizza, even an Indian curry bowl!

These are just a few items I’m listing by the way (I urge you to check out their full menu!).

AND there were certainly many options available for drinks such as herbal teas, smoothies, juices, elixirs, even wines. And of course they had Kombucha!  ;-)

Desserts at Cafe Gratitude

Desserts at Cafe Gratitude

But it didn’t end there.

The desserts… oh you have NO IDEA what their desserts are all about unless you’ve been there yourself in person staring through that glass case filled with what seems like unlimited options of raw cakes and pies, baked yummies of goodness, cookies, quinoa bars dipped in chocolate, truffles made with cacao… yes, yes and yes!

Every day there was something different in that glass case. And yes, there is such a thing as healthy desserts and this restaurant was one amongst many that certainly had them all!

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie and Tiramisu

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie and Tiramisu

There are many restaurants throughout LA, Hollywood and the Long Beach areas (places I had the privilege of visiting) that contains pure vegan options with everything organic and made-from-scratch, no preservatives or artificial anything. When it comes to the way foods are prepared, they really seem to be ahead of the game.

To add to that, I dined at several restaurants and the prices for meals were reasonable, even at my favorite Cafe Gratitude (one more reason I kept going back for more).

Not only was I hooked on Cafe Gratitude because of the positive vibe and lovely words of encouragement posted everywhere such as on their bottles of water, menu items (the names of their menu items are positive words such as Inspired, Abundant and Peace), walls throughout the restaurant and even in their restrooms…

… I couldn’t stop dining at this place because I really wanted to try as many dishes as I possibly could. Such clean and fresh dishes with lots of fruits and veggies, I made sure to dine there every single day .  Lucky for me, I learned they had two additional restaurant locations throughout the areas which made it that much easier to visit.  ;-)

Trusting Tempeh Scramble and Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes

Trusting Tempeh Scramble and
Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes

But I digress.

The reason I am sharing my gratitude for Cafe Gratitude is because the first day I dined there, I decided to try their Open-Hearted menu item which is the gluten-free pancakes made with buckwheat and flax seeds.

Totally new to me, I’ve never heard of such pancakes before.

They even offered toppings of fruits and whipped coconut cream.

Give me both please!

Did I mention this place was a food heaven (just in case I didn’t, I thought I’d mention it again).  :-)

Now for those of you who have tried buckwheat before, you would know that it can be an accustomed taste as can anything else that is new to the palate.  For those of you who have never tried buckwheat, I say give it a try!  It’s pretty good stuff!  :-P

I love and I mean I really love pancakes, but I’ve had to somewhat give them up due to a gluten food intolerance.

The Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes were so fantastic that I started anticipating what I was going to do when I returned back to Orlando.

Sunita Sukhraj

Bonita Breakfast Taco Plate and Rooibos Tea

I mean, I wish I could’ve taken this restaurant back with me.  I would be grateful if they delivered from California to Florida (hint hint), lol!  ;-)

However, I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to experience such a wonderful place to dine and I’m even more grateful that Cafe Gratitude has introduced me to gluten-free vegan pancakes which tasted remarkable and has given me hope for reintroducing pancakes back into my diet.

So the time has obviously come for me to start searching for gluten-free vegan pancake recipes made with buckwheat and flax seeds.

After going through several on the Internet, I found something that peaked my interests due to the clean ingredients.

After making these today, I must admit that I really enjoyed them!  Six pancakes later, I decided it’s worth sharing the recipe with everyone! :-D

Below is a fantastic recipe I came across from YumUniverse.  It is very easy to make. Just put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend.  Be sure to try this one and let me know what you think!  :-P

4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic buckwheat flour (I used sprouted organic buckwheat flour)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 tsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 6 pitted dates (or 3 Medjool dates pitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups pure water
  • 1/4 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine ground sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Coconut oil for pan

Directions:

  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
  2. Heat up a frying pan on medium-high heat and brush with some coconut oil making sure the entire pan is covered in coconut oil.
  3. Pour batter into the frying pan.  I chose to do four small pancakes at a time but you can make larger pancakes if you’d like.

1

4. When air bubbles start to form and the edges of the pancakes are dry, flip the pancakes over.

2

5. When the pancakes are finished, remove from the heat.

6. Serve with fruits, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, whipped coconut cream, etc.

5

If you are on the Clean Program cleanse, guess what? This is totally cleanse-friendly!  You can choose to enjoy these as is, or top with a drizzle of coconut nectar and/or fruits!

ANDDDDDD for those of you who will be making a trip to the Los Angeles area in California, don’t forget to check out Cafe Gratitude, my number one spot! I promise, you will enjoy fulfilling healthy food that your body and soul will absolutely love!  Oh YES, and your mind, for you will leave there with lots of positive encouraging thoughts!  ;-)

Source:

This recipe is a slightly modified version of the following: http://yumuniverse.com/gluten-free-dairy-free-buckwheat-blender-pancakes/

Posted in Articles, Breakfast, Clean, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Black Bean and Chipotle Bisque

Black Bean Soup 1You know what I’ve been craving for the past several days?  A black bean soup.

Yup.

A warm bowl of delicious black bean soup.

That’s what I’ve been wanting.

I’m currently doing Dr. Junger’s 21-Day Clean Program cleanse, so finding a black bean soup with clean ingredients have been challenging.

What that means is, it’s not easy to swing by a restaurant or food chain and pick something up just to satisfy that at-the-very-moment craving because not all ingredients are cleanse-friendly.

Therefore, I had no choice but to find a recipe and make my own soup especially since after day three, the craving just wouldn’t go away.

A quick search on Google yielded a fantastic recipe for a clean version of a black bean soup. This one seemed simple enough.

I made my way to the store and purchased the ingredients.  I decided to give this one a shot. The results?

Words cannot describe how perfect this soup was!  The combination and blend of flavors resulted in such a deliciously satisfying soup with just the right amount of chipotle seasoning that I was in disbelief.  It totally hit the spot and I couldn’t believe this came out of my kitchen!

Let’s just say I was very happy and extremely grateful to come across this awesome recipe!  This one is so fantastic that I just had to share!  :-P

This recipe will serve about four individuals (black beans are very filling so you will feel full before you know it).

Black Bean Soup 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups “no salt added” organic black beans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 large carrot, chopped roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 scallions, minced (for garnish)
  • a small handful of cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the onions and carrots for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic and keep stirring frequently, until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the dried spices and beans, allowing everything to cook for a few more minutes, and continue to stir often.
  5. Before the beans start to dry out, add enough water to completely cover them and allow the water to come to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and allow beans to simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir every so often.
  7. After 30 minutes, check the beans to see if they are tender. If they’re not, continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so until the beans are more soft (I had a lot of water left in my soup, so I allowed it to cook uncovered for about an extra 10 minutes).Black Bean Soup 3
  8. When they’re done, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  9. Add the lime juice and apple cider vinegar into the pot and stir well.
  10. Add the tender beans (and whatever water is left) into a blender and blend well.
  11. Pour into a soup bowl and garnish with green onions and cilantro leaves.

 

Source:

This recipe is a slight modification of the following, http://blog.cleanprogram.com/black-bean-and-chipotle-bisque/

Posted in Clean, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Fiesta Chickun Salad

Vegan Fiesta Chickun Salad

This is an awesome salad, that’s all I have to say!  :-P  Totally inspired by the “Fiesta Salad” from Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Winter Park, my kids and I decided we could totally make a similar version at home.

And so we did!  :-D

We bought the ingredients, grilled up our vegan chickun strips with some olive oil, salt, black pepper and paprika and there we had it. A delicious blend of greens, veggies and cheese topped with juicy vegan “chickun” and zesty ranch that is fun, filling and beyond satisfying!

Now it’s your turn.

We promise you will love this one.  :-)

Vegan Fiesta Chickun Salad 3

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of mixed greens (we used Organic Girl 50/50 which is mixed greens and baby spinach)
  • 6 oz vegan “chickun” strips (we used Light Life Smart Strips Chick’n Style)
  • 1 can of organic black beans
  • 1 bag of Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Pepper Jack Style Shreds
  • 1 organic red pepper cut into strips
  • 1 organic green pepper cut into strips
  • 1 organic tomato quartered
  • 1/2 organic red onion sliced into “rings”
  • 1/2 organic avocado quartered
  • 1 bottle of vegan ranch salad dressing (we used Follow Your Heart High Omega Vegan Ranch)
  • 1 bag of organic blue corn tortilla chips (we used Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues Corn Tortilla Chips)

Vegan Fiesta Chickun Salad 2

Directions

Note:  You can make less or more of this salad depending on your serving needs.

  1. In a frying pan, cook the “chickun” strips in some olive oil lightly seasoned with black pepper, salt and paprika.
  2. In a serving platter, layer some of the mixed greens.  Use enough greens to cover the bottom of the platter.
  3. Next, sprinkle some of the green and red peppers on top of the mixed greens (you may not need to use all of the peppers).
  4. Layer the onion “rings” on top of the green and red peppers (again, you may not need to use all of the onions depending on the size of your serving platter).
  5. Layer a generous amount of Daiya shreds on top of the onions, covering all of the veggies.
  6. Layer a generous amount of black beans on top of the Daiya shreds.
  7. Sprinkle some more Daiya shreds on top of the black beans (just because ;-) )
  8. Arrange the 4 pieces of avocados at opposite ends of the serving platter.
  9. Arrange the 4 pieces of tomatoes in between the avocados.
  10. Scoop the grilled chickun strips into the center of the salad.
  11. Drizzle the vegan ranch dressing on top of the chicken strips.
  12. Decorate the sides of the platter with the blue corn tortilla chips.
  13. Clasp your hands and express your gratitude for this delicious healthy vegan salad.  ;-)
  14. Now you may dig in and enjoy!  :-P
Posted in Food Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Easy-Cheesy Kale Chips (Vegan)

Kale Chips

Got kale?

Okay, let me try this again…

Got kale chips?

How about cheesy kale chips?

Or better yet, vegan cheesy kale chips?

Yeh, I like that better!  ;-D

Kale chips are so easy to make!

Most people just bake them in their ovens which turns out crispy and delicious.

And some choose to dehydrate them.

I choose the latter because I love using my dehydrator not to mention, dehydrating preserves many of the nutrients and I don’t have to monitor the process which is always a plus.  ;-)

Kale chips are expensive in grocery stores, especially if they’re dehydrated.

Whole Foods recently had a sale on bunches of kale so I went ahead and purchased a big bunch for only $2.

A small container of dehydrated kale chips usually costs around $3.99.  Yup!

We got more than our share of kale chips out of this bunch!

My kids love it when I pack some of these chips with their school lunches.  :-)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe to make cheesy kale chips.

Now given this is vegan, I didn’t actually use cheese.

Instead, I used nutritional yeast which has a cheesy flavor to it.

You can purchase nutritional yeast at most grocery stores, health food stores or even online.

Ingredients:

  • large bite-size pieces of kale
  • nutritional yeast

DSC05396

Directions:

  • Place a handful of large bite-sized pieces of kale in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle about 1 to 2 tbs of nutritional yeast on top of the kale.
  • Mix well making sure to get the kale pieces covered in the nutritional yeast. You can use more or less nutritional yeast depending on how “cheesy” you would like them.

Dehydrator

  • Next, place the seasoned kale pieces on the dehydrator tray.
  • Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 10 to 12 hours.
  • When finished, remove within an hour and store them tightly in a covered container. The sooner you remove them from the dehydrator, the crispier they will be.

DSC05457

If you’d like a little spicy kick to your kale chips, sprinkle some cayenne pepper in addition to the nutritional yeast before dehydrating.

Now don’t forget, moderation!  Yeh right I hear you say!  ;-)

Posted in Clean, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best Vegan Omelette

Vegan OmeletteHere it is! :-D

The best vegan omelette yet!

And if you disagree, let me know.

And if you think you’ve found a better recipe, let me know too.  ;-)

But I’m telling you, this one rocks!

I’m talking about in consistency, presentation, even flavor after it’s cooked.  :-P

I’ve been browsing many blogs trying to find an omelette which comes close enough to the real thing, not just in presentation but also in taste.

Well… let’s be real here.  I am not really interested in the taste of real eggs (personal preference of course).  But if it’s close enough, I’m down!  The interesting thing is that when I was making this recipe, the kitchen did smell like boiled eggs (even my kids were spooked).

I think I found the one.

Yes.  The one!  ;-)

And I really think you’re going to like it.

I came across a few user comments online and people were impressed with this recipe. Here’s a pretty funny review (pardon their language but you’ll get the idea).

We’ve made this several times already and it’s really gooood!  And when you have two kids asking for more, that says something to me.  When your kids are asking when you’re going to make it again, that says even more.  ;-)

Now, this recipe uses soy as its main ingredient and I know soy has gotten a lot of bad rep. In my opinion, soy once in a while (depending on your own dietary needs of course) is perfectly fine but always opt for the organic non-GMO brand.  I used Mori-Nu’s Firm Organic Silken Tofu and it turned out beautifully!

This recipe will make about 4 omelettes.  Enough to share.  ;-)

0429141944-00

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 package of silken tofu, lightly drained (not the vacuum-packed kind) or soft tofu (I used a 12.3 oz package; 16 oz should work fine too)
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. fine black salt, plus extra for sprinkling (you can find this at an Indian grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (you can also find at an Indian store; also called “Besan” or “Channa Dal”)
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot

Directions:

  1. Chop up the garlic and add to a blender (or food processor if you prefer).
  2. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and black salt. Puree until smooth.
  3. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated.
  4. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Lightly grease the pan with cooking spray or butter (the less oil, the better for the nice brown speckles. We used butter).  Also, make sure to use a large skillet as you’ll need room to spread out the omelette and to get your spatula under there to flip.
  6. Using a spoon (or if pour-able), pour about 1/2 cup of the omelette batter into the skillet. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to spread the batter out into about 6-inch circles (we made ours a little thick).
  7. Let the batter cook for about 3 to 5 minutes before flipping. The top of the omelette will become dry and become a matte yellow when it’s ready to be flipped. If you try to flip and it seems like it might fall apart, give it a little more time.
  8. Flip the omelette and cook for about another minute on the other side.
  9. Fill omelette with any filling of your choice, then fold it. We used broccoli and cheese in the photos above.
  10. Once the omelette has been filled, sprinkle with a little extra black salt since some of its flavor disappears when cooked.
  11. Add some vegan bacon or vegan sausage as a side, and enjoy!

Source:  Tofu Omelet with Mushrooms, Spinach and Cheesy Sauce, http://veganyumminess.blogspot.com/2009/05/tofu-omelet-with-mushrooms-spinach-and.html

Posted in Breakfast, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Almond Butter & Cacao Chip Cookies

Almond Butter and Cacao Chip CookiesDo you love chocolate chip cookies?

I think I have yet to meet someone who does not love those delicious traditional cookies, especially when they’re homemade or fresh right out of the oven.

Yes, there were times I found myself craving chocolate chip cookies until I found vegan chocolate chip cookies at the store.  Then I was hooked!  :-P  But after I decided to refrain from consuming cookies with white refined sugar and eating more “clean” desserts and meals, I had to find something that would provide the same satisfaction and just hit that spot.

Not to mention, quick an easy to make is always a plus!  :-D

Allow me to introduce to you yet another favorite recipe, compliments of the Clean Program by Dr. Junger.  Many individuals have created their own recipes while doing his recommended 21-Day Clean Program cleanse or just from eating clean as part of their healthier lifestyle and diets.

These cookies are very easy to make and are quite delicious.  I find that they fill me up pretty quickly because of all the wholesome ingredients and protein. I’ve had a few friends try these as well as my two kids.  My friends and kids of course loved them with the exception of one person who shared that although the cookies were delicious, they were not sweet enough.  Of course all palates are different but 9 out of 10 of us thought they were perfect in sweetness. :-P Even my Paleo buddies enjoyed these (and yes, these are Paleo friendly).  They felt the sweetness was perfect and on point.  :-)

I’d say these are definitely the perfect replacement for the traditional chocolate chip cookies!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal/flour
  • ½ cup coconut nectar granules
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raw cacao nibs (make sure nibs are in small pieces, just like chocolate chips)
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other type of milk at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almond butter (smooth or chunky if you’d like almond bits)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut nectar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cacao nibs.
  3. In a second bowl, combine the coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, add the almond butter (room temperature makes it easier to mix in) and then mix well until everything is well incorporated.
  5. Roll batter into roughly 16 balls, place on a greased (with coconut oil) and push them down into flat discs.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cookies completely cool on the pan before serving.

Make sure these are completely cool before attempting to move or eat, otherwise they’ll fall apart. I like my cookies a little on the brown side, almost crunchy but not quite there if you know what I mean.  Either way, they’ll still be delicious!  Enjoy!  :-P

Source:  Almond Butter Chip Cookies, http://blog.cleanprogram.com/almond-butter-chip-cookies/

Posted in Clean, Desserts, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raw Rose Pomegranate Dream Cake

DSC05308Here it is, the cake you’ve all been waiting for!  It’s another divine and delicious creation by the one and only Amy Lyons of Fragrant Vanilla Cake!

I love desserts and Amy has such a remarkable way of creating beautifully presentable desserts that are not only pleasing to the eyes but consists of ingredients I would never think twice about using in desserts to begin with! Beets and buckwheat, I know, who would’ve thought?  But don’t get discouraged with these ingredients, this cake is absolutely delicious!

DSC05313My daughter specifically requested this raw cake for her 13th birthday despite already receiving multiple cakes (from multiple family members) to celebrate the occasion.

She loves homemade desserts but lately she’s been enjoying the variety of raw dessert creations we’ve been experimenting with at home.  She actually enjoys raw desserts more than baked desserts and I can totally understand why.  :-P

This particular cake was selected by her from Amy’s blog because she loves pomegranates. It was a lot of work to make this particular cake since I decided to use real young coconuts.  But it was totally worth using fresh coconut meat and fresh coconut water which I’m sure made a significant difference in regards to taste.

DSC05317

The end result?  A smooth, creamy, delightful flavor of rose and tangy pomegranates. You’re palate will absolutely love you for this one!  :-P

Raw Rose Pomegranate Dream Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats, dried in the dehydrator (see instructions below on how to do this)
  • 3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2/3 cup soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Filling:

  • 3 cups young coconut meat (I got 2 1/2 cups from 2 young coconuts. Use 3 coconuts if you can)
  • 1 cup chopped raw red beets
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (you can get this from the young coconut)
  • 1/2 cup raw agave nectar (or any other preferred sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground vanilla bean 
  • 1 1/2  tsp rosewater
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds (divided)

Directions:

First, you will need to sprout the raw buckwheat.  Do not use roasted buckwheat groats, these will not sprout!  It will take approximately two days to yield sprouted buckwheat groats as pictured below (for further instructions on how to sprout buckwheat, read How to Sprout and Use Buckwheat Groats).

sprouted buckwheat

Next, dehydrate the buckwheat groats for approximately 6 hours at 115 degrees or until completely dry.  Once this step is complete, you’re all set to go with your cake!  :-D

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pan with coconut oil.

To prepare the crust, process the buckwheat, coconut, flax seeds, cardamom, and sea salt in a food processor until it is fine like crumbs.

Add the dates and process again until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates).

Firmly press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

DSC05298

To make the filling, in a food processor, combine the coconut meat, beets, coconut water, agave nectar, sea salt, vanilla extract, grounded vanilla, and rosewater and blend until the contents are smooth and creamy.

Add the coconut butter and process for another minute or so until well blended.

To assemble the cake, pour half the filling over the crust and then sprinkle with a cup of the pomegranate seeds.

DSC05299

Pour the remaining filling on top of the pomegranate seeds and then place the cake in the freezer to firm up for about 4 hours or until set.

Garnish the top of the cake with the remaining pomegranate seeds and enjoy!  Store any remaining cake (if you have any left that is) in the fridge.

Source:

Fragrant Vanilla Cake, http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com/2013/12/raw-rose-pomegranate-dream-cake.html

Posted in Clean, Desserts, Food Recipes, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments