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Heart Health!

8 Mar

The time has come when I can finally make some time for a new post! Although spring break will be over before I feel like it has started, I have had a little time to take a break from my crazy schedule and unwind & relax a bit. I have missed having time to not only blog, but look at other blogs, get great food ideas, and try out some new recipes.

February was Heart Disease Awareness Month. With Student Dietetic Association, we did a “heart health” nutrition booth at the gym, I also recently shadowed a RD who works with a pediatric cardiologist, & I just watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”. So…heart health has been on my mind a bunch these past couple weeks. Some quick heart health facts….

  • Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Both alpha linolenic acid (n-3) and alpha linoleic acid (n-6) are essential for good health and brain function with the proper ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3 (O-3:O-6). Yet most Americans get more like 1: 15-25. Too much of omega-6 has been shown to actually compete with omega-3 in your body, lowering you ability to take in n-3 and properly convert that n-3 to DHA (which is essential for physiological & brain development-that our bodies can’t make on our own). Too much omega-6 if pro inflammatory= heart disease! Inflammation is the main cause of so many diseases we encounter, but especially heart disease.
  • So why do Americans eat so much omega-6!? Omega-6 is found in all vegetable oils, some grains, and meats. Soybean oil is the #1 provider of omega-6 because almost all processed, take-out, and prepared foods at restaurants are loaded with vegetable oils (especially for cooking).
  • Focus on getting as much omega-3 as possible every day. The best sources are flax seed (make sure you grind it and don’t heat it up!) & Walnuts. I try to eat these two everyday. Salmon is very high as well…if you eat fish (make sure it is wild though)
  • Omega-3 reduces inflammation, prevent blood clotting, increases your body’s response to insulin, lowers the amount of lipids in your blood, and so so much more.

A Quick Heart Healthy idea:

Healthy Heart Breakfast or Snack Bowl

1-2 Tbs  of ground flax seed

1-2 Tbs of ground chia seed

(1:3 ratio of chia/flax to water/milk for a thick egg-like consistency. So use ~6 Tbs or so of liquid. About 1/4 + 1/8 cup roughly)

unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup chopped apple

1-2 large dates chopped

1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon (I would do a full tsp)

1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

Add-ins:  chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, extra vanilla, scoop of dark cocoa powder, cashews, dark cocoa nibs, frozen organic berries, sliced banana. Or sprinkle some lacuma powder, maca powder, or another whole food supplement.

–> The options are endless!

Combine ground flax and chia with almond milk, let it rest a couple of minute. Add more or less almond milk to get the right consistency. Then stir in the remaining ingredients! You can make this thicker by added slightly less almond milk. This is perfect to make in a tupperware to take on the go. You can even add in “raw” rolled oats if you want!


I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, it is a very informative movie that gives a ton of information on the research and scientific evidence between the obvious results and conclusions that a plant-based vegan diet is a direct cause of lowering/eliminating heart disease. It observes different cultures and countries throughout the world, comparing groups of people who ate plant diets vs. meat and dairy diets. The casein in animal products (regardless of it being low/non-fat or organic products) is the key component in triggering diseases and cancer. I love how the research given in these studies is very clear, especially in trends over time concerning groups of people or individual’s diets and cancer specifically. Netflix it!


Raw Sunflower Burgers (from Choosing Raw)

1 cup sunflower seeds (not pre-soaked)
2-3 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or braggs liquid aminos
2 cups greens or green juice pulp (kale, parsley, celery, romaine, cucumber, broccoli) I used fresh spinach-because I didn’t have the pulp)
1/4 cup ground flax meal
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano + some other herb you like. I added some rosmarry

Grind Sunflower seeds in food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Form into 3-5 burger patties. Place on parchment paper on the dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115 degrees then flip and dehydrate for another 4 hours.

New Dehydrator I got for Christmas!!









These were DELICIOUS! Raw burgers are so so worth the long wait. I put on top of a bed of romaine with red peppers, corn, green peppers, red onion, & some hemp seed pesto (also from Choosing Raw!) These flavors together were as far from bland as you can possibly get.


Avocado Lime Soup

13 Aug

I’m home from the beach and finished with work and my class, so having just a couple of days before I go back to Tech I am determined to get 3 more posts in! Lets hope it happens.

A fresh chilled soup is the perfect summer meal. After a trip to wholefoods (which was long missed) and the farmers market, this only took 10 minutes to prepare. I got the avocado lime soup recipe from the Raw Chef (Russell James). He is a famous raw foodist who makes incredible dishes. He has a website/blog/videos and teaches others how beautiful and accessible raw food is. He especially emphasizes how eating raw has changed his life. I would love a personal cooking class from him. Just look at his pictures on his website or blog and your mouth will water.






























Avocado Lime Soup


2 avocados
3/4 of a medium cucumber
1 stalk celery
Juice of 1 lime
Medium hanful of fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tamari (or nama soy/organic soy sauce)
1 cup water-less if you want it thick (if wanting warm soup use hot water)

Note: I added a tiny bit of unsweetened coconut milk to make it a little creamier.

Blend on high speed in Vitamix-do not overblend or it will be too thin.

Sour Cream:

1 1/2 cups cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I substituted white wine vinegar)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend in vitamix. Chill in fridge to thicken it up.

If you wanted some add-ins, I think it would’ve been great with chopped tomato and corn mixed in.

This soup is raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, guilt free. It is thick and creamy. This is full of monounsaturated fat (oleic acid)- 20 grams in just one avocado. Avocados have more potassium than a banana, and are full of vitamin K and B6. I am a fan of avocados for so many reasons. I have found that they also are excellent at regulated digestion. Whatever problems you are having, avocados work to combat whatever is wrong, due to their high fiber content and alkaline properties. The lime and cilantro components add to the cucumber and celery to make it so hydrating and refreshing. (If I planned ahead this would have been great with some homemade flax crackers) (:

fettucini alfredo

27 Jun

When I was younger one of my favorite meals was fettucini alfredo. I would make a creamy alfredo sauce  with heavy cream and romano cheese when I made it at home. Then that was always my go-to dish if on the menu when eating out at a restaurant. I cringe at the thought of how often I would eat that meal. I remember it tasting good, yet feeling heavy and run down after. Maybe that was due to the loads of saturated fat, mucus producing dairy, and insulin spiking white pasta. Not to mention the 2,000 empty calories with no nutritional value.  I will hold myself back from talking more about the horrific effects of eating cheesy white pasta. This dish on the other hand does not lack in flavor or volume and is something you will feel good about eating, knowing you are consuming all raw whole food that your body will thank you for.

I was so excited to finally get this World Cuisine spiral vegetable slicer. It slices, spirals, and makes raw veggies and fruits into crazy shapes and forms. But it is most popular for making pasta-usually squash and zucchini noodles! Although I know many make curly fries for potatoes and sweet potatoes, and also curly apple rings.









Perfectly shaped noodles! I was way too excited when I used it the first time.









For the Creamy Alfredo Sauce

1 1/2 cups of soaked raw cashews (soaked atleast 4 hours, or overnight)

2 garlic cloves

1 Tbs nutritional yeast

1/4 large onions

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

dash of ground salt & pepper

Combine in vitamix. Add water , coconut water, or almond milk if it is too thick. Blend to desired consistency!

This sauce is so awesome, I bet most people wouldn’t ever guess it is raw, cheese-free, gluten-free, animal-free & artery clogging-free! This protein-rich sauce will fill you up and keep you comfortably satisfied, since the combination of low starch vegetables and nut-based sauce will stabilize your blood sugar levels.









Add halved cherry tomatoes and chopped broccoli with the zucchini and squash noodles. Top with sauce!

Even if you are looking for a healthy alternative to this dish and don’t care about eating raw, you can always partly cook the squash and zucchini and even heat up the sauce if you want it warm and softer to better mock the real thing.

















Replace this with a typical fettucini alfredo=not sacrificing flavor or satisfaction=not shaving approximately 8 months off of your life  (:

Here’s to dad

20 Jun

I always make breakfast for my mom and dad on mothers/fathers day. Growing up my sisters and I would usually do french toast for my dad and eggs for my mom. Since my dad hasn’t had pancakes in a very long time (because of me) I made him some healthy but delicious vegan banana pancakes.  He loves bananas, and after the pancakes, banana bread my sister made for him, and banana ice cream, he was happy. They turned out to be delicious. Accompanied with fruit and coffee it was the perfect fathers day breakfast. He deserved it, love you dad!

Almond Oat Banana Pancakes 

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut water

2 chia egg (2 tbs chia, 6 tbs warm water)

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs agave

cinnamon & nutmeg

bananas, sliced

other fruit

First prepare chia egg, mix and let sit on counter for several minutes. You can buy oat and almond flour, but i just make it in the vitamix! Oats take less than 30 seconds to just grind the rolled oats (NOT quick) to a fine powder. Do the same for almonds. Almond flour and almond meal are practically the same thing. Combine wet ingredients separate and combine with dry ones, in bowl or vitamix. Let the batter sit a couple of minutes before making the pancakes. Pour on griddle and throw in banana slices, grill until golden brown. Drizzle with some extra agave if you want and fresh fruit! makes 4 or 5

















These pancakes are vegan, NOT raw. But they are soy, dairy, and gluten free!

He enjoyed them (:


Later Lauren and I took my dad kayaking on the Potomac…










The best fathers day dessert to end the day? Banana ice cream of course! with blueberries..

just sprouted

20 Jun

Sprouting is vital to the diet of eating raw. Sprouting raw grains and beans/legumes allows the natural enzymes to be activated (releasing enzyme inhibitors), increasing the nutritional content, and neutralizing some bad acids. This is also true with soaking raw nuts, but I will devote a separate post to soaking nuts. Besides this, soaking grains and beans allows raw vegans to be able to eat them to take in all the benefits they do have to offer. A variety of plant protein is important, getting some protein from grains and beans opposed to soly nuts, seeds, avocados, etc..Plus, sprouting  grains and seeds softens them up to make them more enjoyable to eat! Raw grains/beans that are un-soaked/un-sprouted are dangerous and unpleasant to consume. You can buy sprouting jars online or at health food stores, or use glass jars you own with cheesecloth or a breathable cloth to cover. Sprouting times vary for every type of food you are sprouting. I sprouted chickpeas and quinoa to make burgers!









For the chickpeas: Rinse and drain dry chickpeas well. Soak in water overnight in bowl or sprouting jar. Then rinse and drain 3-4 times a day, returning to a dark place with the jar at a 45 degree angle. (I just placed in bowl tilted down) The chickpeas shouldn’t be sitting in any water, they should just be moist.  The sprouting jars have holes so that you just rinse and drain very easy!  I sprouted for about 3 days, but you can as short or long as you want, the tails will get longer every day.
















For the quinoa: Follow the same game plan, but quinoa will sprout even sooner! With quinoa sort and rinse well before soaking overnight to get rid of any small black particles. Sprout until the tails are at least 1/4th inch long.

The chickpeas were still a little hard after 3 days, but since the tails continued to grow, they are ready to eat.

So I have yet to buy a dehydrator, so I ended up setting my oven as low as it goes (which was 170) then cracking the door to keep the air flowing and hoping it didn’t get too hot! But this would be much better in a dehydrator.









Chickpea-Quinoa Burger

1 1/4 cup  sprouted chickpeas

1/2 (or more) cup sprouted quinoa

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 large onion

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1 flax egg (1 Tbs ground flax, 3 Tbs warm water)

2 garlic cloves

2 Tbs fresh parsley + any other herb (oregano and cilantro are good additions)

1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder (add more if you want more spice)

1/4 cup olive oil

2-3 Tbs lemon juice

cracked black pepper and pinch of sea salt

The amount of ingredient will vary depending on the consistency and spices desired.

Let flax egg sit for a couple of minutes to firm up. Combine the sprouts and seeds with carrot in vitamix first. add the rest of the ingredients. If the consistency is too thick, add water to thin. If too wet add ground flax or chia seeds. Form into patties and dehydrate about 105 degrees for an hour and flip for another 1-2 hours. I used the oven as low as it went with the door cracked, for 45 minutes on each side.

















The longer you dehydrate the dryer and more “cooked” it will be.


I had it over lettuce with avocados, onion, and tomatoes…









The next day I topped with fresh pesto!









* I updated my about me section to give some more background info on the raw vegan diet for those who wanted to know more*

thai anyone?

14 Jun

While my parents were here I had to make some delicious peanut pad thai. This dish has seaweed noodles (kelp noodles) Kelp noodles one of the best food inventions. They actually have very little taste, but they are almost clear and shaped like noodles- the perfect pasta! There are endless possibilities of raw dishes with these great noodles. Kelp noodles are the gel that comes from the kelp, is completely raw, and looks and tastes like noodles. Sea vegetables are so important in the raw food diet to get all the trace minerals. Kelp helps with thyroid function. Now you can only get kelp noodles at asian markets, and there aren’t exactly any that I am aware of, here on the eastern shore. So I had my mom pick them up before coming down here. Sadly, one of the asian markets that I previously got kelp noodles at recently closed. The other asian market in Centreville (since there are SO many) did not have the right ones 😦 So she made the effort to get a form of  kelp noodles, but it ended up being the green, soggy kind. So I had to improvise and use soy noodles this time. They were very close to the composition of kelp noodles, but soy noodles technically are not raw. The dish still turned out great though!









The fresh baby bok choi gives the pad thai the perfect crunch. I love how this dish is loaded with vegetables, and I don’t often eat bok choi or radishes, so it’s a great way to get in that variety.

















These are the soy noodles (should be kelp noodles, but look identical) Soak in water and lime juice for a bit.









Raw Pad Thai  (this recipe was originally from Sunny’s Raw Kitchen)


2-3 cups sliced baby bok choi

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup grated or julienned daikon radish

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 green onions, sliced


1 cup raw almond butter

2 Tbs fresh ginger

1/4 cup coconut water to thin

4 Tbs lime juice

1/4 cup agave nectar

3 Tbs nama shoyu (or soy sauce)

4 tsp sesame oil

2-3 garlic cloves

1/2 jalpeno chile (I used a tiny bit of chile powder)

Soak kelp noodles in water and lime juice for 20 minutes. Then drain and combine with veggies (may need to cut some of the long kelp noodles) Combine sauce in vitamix and pour noodles & veggies.























This raw “peanut sauce” is similar to the sauce I made for the lettuce wraps. It is soooo good-I could just drink it plain (well maybe not too much). I did not hold back with the sauce!






For dessert? Raw chocolate coconut ice cream!


mmmm kale

14 Jun

So most people would never eat a raw kale salad. Too raw and bitter. That was my opinion as well a couple of years ago. I have thankfully discovered ways to eat delicious raw kale, preserving all it’s vitamin and nutrients. This salad recipe I got from one of the lovely raw classes at wholefoods, but it originally came from Sunny’s Raw Kitchen. The avocado dressing plus the hemp seed makes it like no other salad with a little kick.
















Kale is a dark leafy green that takes most people a while to truly appreciate

Besides the dressing, you are only adding hemp seed & chopped tomatoes
















The chipotle in the dressing definitely spices up the avocado
















Creamy Kale Salad

4 heads of kale (I usually half it to 2 heads. This does wilt down a lot to it’s not as much as it seems)

2 Tbs sea salt

2 Cups chopped tomatoes or halved baby tomatoes

1 cup hulled hemp seeds cup hemp seed

3 avocados

2 chipotle peppers (I didnt have peppers so I used a little ground cayenne)

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2- 2 Tbs agave

1/4 cup lemon juice

Chop kale and remove stems. Mix with salt and massage it until it wilts down. Add tomatoes and hemp seed. Combine dressing in vitamix or food processor and pour over kale.
















Trust me this will be like no other raw kale dish you’ve have. It’s not bitter at all, just creamy and delicious.- so give this kale a try if you think you don’t like it!