Monday, January 30, 2012


I'm not hosting a Superbowl party...
But if I were, I would serve Super Calzones!

To make them, you will need:
1 c. tomato sauce
1 Tb. Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 oz. can sliced olives
2 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 c. spinach, finely chopped
1 Tb. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. Bocca crumbles (optional)
1/4 onion, chopped
whole wheat bread dough or tortillas

Mix everything but the dough or tortilla. Set aside. If using dough, roll into several rounds, 1/4" thick and 8" in diameter. Spoon about 1/3 c. filling onto each circle of dough or tortilla. Fold in half. Seal edges of dough by pressing with a fork. Seal tortilla by wetting perimeter of insides and sticking together. Prick to let steam escape. Bake at 400 degrees, 20 minutes for the dough, 5 minutes for the tortilla. Makes 6.

To your health and happiness,

Monday, January 23, 2012

White Bean Chili

It's snowing, and I'm in the mood for something that will really warm me up! Below is an adaptation of a recipe from Anitra Kerr at Simply Living Smart .

White Lightning Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves, minced
1 bell or serrano or anaheim pepper, chopped
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can veggie broth
2 cans chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. non-dairy milk

Saute onion, garlic, and pepper in 2 Tb. of the broth. Add remaining ingredients except milk. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Add milk and serve.

To your health and happiness,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Is is Breakfast or is it Dessert?

I've been experimenting with fruit sauces. These were so delicious, I felt guilty eating them for breakfast!

Blueberry Quinoa
Fresh or frozen blueberries
Blueberry flavored agave, optional
Quinoa, cooked

Blend fruit with just enough liquid to make a pourable puree. Sweeten if desired. Spoon onto quinoa. Garnish with nuts or berries if desired.

Raspberry Bananas
Fresh or frozen raspberries
Water or juice (raspberry, cranberry or pomegranate)
Chia seeds, ground
Banana slices

Blend fruit with just enough liquid to make a puree. Add chia. Spoon onto banana slices. Garnish with nuts or berries if desired.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part 4

How do you incorporate seeds, nuts and grains for less money?
  1. Group buys! 
  2. Avoid prepared products (do the cooking yourself)
Here's an example of how to save money on seeds. Online, a 1-pound bag of hemp seeds are advertised at a price of $3. But the shipping is $10. So I ending paying $13 a pound for these little treats. But by ordering in bulk (25 lbs.), the advertised price decreases to $2 per pound. Even with shipping, which is $28, I come out ahead. The price per pound is just over $3.

But what am I going to do with 25 pounds of hemp seed? Certainly not marijuana farming! I simply get 5 or 10 friends to split the order with me, and we're all happy.

As for grains, bulk is the answer here, too. It has been well-worth the learning curve to figure out how to sprout, grind, and bake wheat berries instead of running to the bakery for every pita, cracker, tortilla or loaf I use. Granted, now that I'm nutritarian, I don't eat a lot of bread products. Still, when I do, it's cheap! A  one-pound loaf of Great Harvest Bread runs around $4. But the wheat itself is only 30 cents a pound when I buy a 50-pound bag.

You might be wondering about nuts. They can often run more than $5 per pound. Well, have you priced prime rib lately? I related to this comment from VeganRican at Finding the Courage to Heal. "I no longer spend money on fast food restaurants, or on funding my very expensive junk food habit. Now that I'm eating real food, I no longer feel the need to binge or overeat. I eat less, and stay satisfied a lot longer. What I used to spend on Benadryl, Tums, Motrin, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol, Gas-X, and anti-inflammatory drugs, I now spend on fruits and veggies, with change left over. So, is it realistic? Absolutely. Anything worth having is worth working for."

Since you're going to be eating more grains, nuts and seeds, you might enjoy this easy, wholesome, energizing granola! It uses no oil, only a smidgeon of honey or agave and features sprouted buckwheat in place of the oats! You can customize it with whatever fruits and nuts you prefer.

Bucky's Granola (pictured above)
1/4 c. nut butter
1/4 c. agave
4 c. sprouted buckwheat
2 c. sprouted sunflower seeds
1-2 cups additional seeds and/or nuts
1 c. dried fruit

Melt together the nut butter and agave. Pour over buckwheat and sunflower sprouts. Toss to combine. Dehydrate on teflon trays for 8 hours at 115 degrees, turning with a spatula after four hours. Add nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

To your health and happiness,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sack Lunch for a Swimmer

My teen son, who swims 90 minutes each day and eats like a horse, has decided to quit eating meat and cheese. I have been challenged to provide him sack lunches that do not contain pizza or hot dogs! (He refuses to take containers of soup or salad that might pop open in his backpack.) So far, he has been a good sport about pita pockets, calzones and burritoes. Today he LOVED his wraps:
  • Tortilla
  • Red pepper hummus
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Sliced black olives
  • Raw Sunflower seeds
I'd love to hear your brown bag ideas! What to you do for food "on the go"?
To your health and happiness,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part 3

"Doesn't it cost you a lot of money to eat nutritarian?"

This is a question I get asked frequently. Yes, I do spend more money on produce than my S.A.D. counterparts. BUT, I save a heap on meat and dairy, not to mention fast food! Overall, I think it costs me less to eat this way than when I was eating from the FDA food pyramid.

Since fruits can be the lion's share of the grocery bill, today's post focuses on ways to save at this level of the food pyramid.

Only buying fruits in season in my first technique. But when they are at their peak, I load up! This means freezing or drying what I cannot use immediately. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies, dressings, syrups and some dishes if they are served still frosty. Dried fruits can be rehydrated for recipes and sauces or used for snacking.

For bananas that are on sale: throw them in the freezer, peel and all! When you are ready to use one, drop it in a pan or bowl of hot water for about two minutes. The skin will thaw, but not the fruit. Slit open the bottom end of the banana and squeeze! The banana will slide right out.

I get fruits for free by offering to pick surplus fruit from neighbors, friends and elderly people. In a bumper year, many people have more than they can use and are happy to have someone take the extra. Even fruits that seem too small to bother with are great juiced, pureed, frozen or dried. When the word gets out that you are an avid fruit-picker, you can obtain summer jobs garden- and orchard-watching for families who are on vacation. Most people will let you keep whatever fruits ripen during their absence.

Buying in bulk can offer substantial discounts. For example, when a small box of berries is $4 at the grocery store, I can purchase a case for roughly $2.50 per pound. Bithell Farms is one of my favorite places to get fruit this way. A group of us order enough to send a truckload our way and we get the benefit of nearly-wholesale prices.

Coops and farmer's markets are another way to get less-than-retail prices. In my area, Bountiful Baskets offers roughly 30 lbs of produce each week for an order amount of just $15. Even though I can't order specific fruits (they obtain whatever is available at the best prices each week), the quality and quantity are fair enough to take my chances. I have been introduced to many new fruits this way, such as persimmons.

I get great satisfaction out of growing fruit. Last summer my raspberries produced so prolifically, that I was able to freeze twice as many as we ate, and we have been enjoying them all winter long. We also grew our own peaches, apples and strawberries. This year I am planting goji berries.

Finally, buying fruits and investing in your health is still cheaper than paying the doctor when your health fails from poor diet.

To your health and happiness,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hope for Veggie Haters

Eating predominantly vegetables makes sense if you like them. But what if you know you need them and just can't stomach them?  After all, the traditional paradigm is that vegetables are a cooked mass of mush beside your meat and potatoes. They are a manipulative tool used to get children to eat. (Finish your peas, then you can have ice cream!)

The suggestions below break the traditional view that vegetables are just for dinner and that they are generally soggy and unpalatable. These tips will rev up your energy and increase your appetite for vegetables.
  • Start by infusing banana-berry smoothies with small amounts of spinach. If you use mixed berries, the smoothie will be purple, not giving away its secret ingredient. You may not even notice the addition of the leafy green vegetable.
  • Incorporate sprouts into your life. Grains, legumes and seeds, when sprouted, are a more powerful source of enzymes than any other raw fruit or vegetable. They also have much higher protein and fiber content than their unsprouted counterparts. So try adding toasted buckwheat sprouts to granola, or alfalfa sprouts to smoothies (you'll never know they're there). I like to snack on sprouted raw sunflower seeds or add them to casseroles, soups, and salads. For a primer on sprouting, you can visit the Happy Herbivore Blog.
  • Focus on salads. Even if people don't like cooked vegetables, they will generally eat a salad with their meal. Feel you are in a salad rut? I've posted some suggestions to keep your salad fare "fresh."
  • Use a "secret" green. Blue-green algae and spirulina, two of the most potent greens on the earth, are readily available in powdered form from health food stores. This means you can sneak them into soups, salad dressings, "meat" patties, and even cooked cereals. It is common to find commercial smoothies with these two ingredients, and a homemade casserole can easily cover them. 
  • Focus on the Solanacea family at first, which includes peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos, because this family is the sweetest group of vegetables. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a fresh roasted red pepper. Cut in strips, it can be laid in a sandwich. Diced, it can be added to a salad. All that is required is to broil the sweet bell pepper until the skin is blackened. Then let it cool in a brown paper bag. Peel off the skin, remove the seeds and enjoy!
Before you know it, your body will be hungering for more nutrition, and you will be brave enough to try other vegetables, too.

To your health and happiness,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part 2: The Hugh Maughn Gus Bean Pot

In Part 1, we focused on obtaining vegetables cheaply. In this part, we will look at saving money with beans and legumes, which are on the second tier of the Furhman food pyramid.

Okay, everyone knows beans are cheap, especially dried ones (as opposed to canned), but there's only so much  you can do with a bean, right? Chili, burritos, then what? Well, with a few good variations, you can cook beans once, and eat different recipes the rest of the week! For example, when I make Enchilada Soup (which uses pinto beans)  I serve the soup, then Enchilada Salad, Sweet Potato Enchilada Wraps, Spicy Rice and finally Enchilada Pa-Tada. A similar technique can be used for lentils, black beans and white beans, as well.

So, rather than dwell on the point of eating cheaply with beans, I will just give you twenty economical and tasty bean recipes:

1. Enchilada Soup (from an old magazine; I don't know the author)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 anaheim chili, seeded and chopped
1 carrot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 c. pinto beans, cooked
2 c. black beans, cooked
1 Tb. cumin
1 29-oz. can enchilada sauce*
2 tsp. salt
juice of 1 lime
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped

Saute onions, garlic, bell pepper, anaheim chili and carrot in a little water or broth. Add beans, enchilada sauce, cumin and salt. Add enough water to make it "soup-y." Simmer 1 hour. Add lime and cilantro just before serving.

*Note: you can make a healthier Enchilada Sauce by combining:
1/4 c. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
q tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tb. cornstarch
2 c. vegetable broth
10 oz. tomato paste

2. Enchilada Salad
Leafy greens, any type
Bell Peppers
Any other veggies you have on hand
Leftover enchilada soup

Toss greens and vegetables together. Warm soup. Ladle onto salad.

3. Sweet Potato Enchilada Wraps
Cooked yam or sweet potato, mashed (1 per wrap)
Whole wheat tortillas, 1 per person
Leftover enchilada soup, 1/4-1/2 cup per person
Leafy greens

Spread sweet potato on tortilla. Spoon warmed soup over potato. Top with greens. Roll and eat!

4. Spicy Rice
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 c. enchilada soup, warmed
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 c. leafy greens, finely chopped

Stir together rice, soup, jalapeno and greens. Top with salsa

5. Enchilada Pa-Tada
4 cooked potatoes, cubed
1/4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. enchildada soup, warmed
1 Tb. nutritional yeast
1/2 purple onion, sliced

Toss potatoes and broth together until potatoes are moistened. Broil in a roaster pan until evenly browned, turning occasionally. Top with soup. Sprinkle with yeast. Garnish with onion.

6. Lentil Joes (adapted from Mary McDougall)
1 c. onion, chopped
1 c. bell pepper, chopped
2 c. cooked lentils
1 Tb. chili powder
15 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 Tb tamari or Braggs
2 Tb. mustard
1 Tb. molasses
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire
pepper to taste

Saute onions and pepper in liquid until soft. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on whole wheat buns, rice or a bed of greens.

7. Lentil Tacos
1 c. cooked lentils
1 6-oz. can green chilies
1 Tb. taco seasoning
shredded cabbage
sliced tomato
sliced onion
taco shells

Combine lentils, chilies and seasoning. Heat through. Serve with cabbage, tomato, onion and taco shells.

8. Lentil Mac (by Kari Randleas)
1 small zucchini, sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 c. lentils, cooked
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
2 c. cooked whole wheat macaroni

Saute zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and onion in water or broth until soft. Combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into a glass baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

9. Lime-Curry Lentil and Quinoa Salad (adapted from Kari Randleas)
2 1/2 c. cooked lentils
1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa
1/3 c. green onions, finely chopped
lime-curry dressing:
  • 1 mango, peeled and pureed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tb. curry powder
  • 2 Tb. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • salt to taste
Combine all ingredients. Toss to coat. May be refrigerated up to 3 days.

10. Indian Lentils (adapted from Kari Randleas)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 c. cooked lentils
1 can coconut milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tb. curry powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds

Saute onions and garlic. Add lentils, milk, bay leaf, pepper, turmeric, curry, coriander and cumin seeds. Simmer 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve with pita bread.

11. Black Bean Burritos
2 c. cooked black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt to taste
whole grain tortillas
enchilada sauce (above)

Simmer beans, garlic, onion and spices until flavors are blended. Spoon onto tortillas. Roll. Smother with sauce, lettuce and tomato. Add cilantro and lime if desired.

12. Caribbean Black Beans with Mango (adapted from Caldwell Esselstyn)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
4 c. cooked black beans
1 c. orange juice
2 ripe mangos, peeled and chopped
brown rice
pico de gallo

Stir-fry onions and garlic in broth or water for 5 minutes. Add spices and cook 5 minutes more. Sitr in beans and juice and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until somewhat thickened. Mash a few beans for thicker consistency. Add pepper and mango and serve over rice. Top with pico de gallo.

13. Black Bean Nachos or Tostadas
Tostada shells or low-salt low-fat corn chips
Black beans, cooked
Chopped jalapeno pepper
Chopped onion
Shredded greens
lime juice

Layer and eat!

14.  Black Bean Salad (adapted from Robyn Openshaw)
3 c. cooked black beans
1 1/2 c. frozen or fresh cut corn, stir-fried just until soft
2 roasted red peppers, diced
Tomatillo dressing:
  • 3 tomatillos, husked
  • 1/3 c. cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 green onions
Blend dressing ingredients. Toss with beans, corn, and roasted peppers. Serve over a bed of greens.

15. Hippie Burgers (adapted from Lindsay Nixon - the Happy Herbivore)
2 c. cooked black beans, mashed
2 Tb. tamari
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, chopped
1 c. quinoa, cooked
1 Tb. ground flax or chia seeds
1 Tb. Italian seasoning
3 Tb. whole wheat flour
2 Tb. catsup

Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Form patties. Grill on a non-stick griddle until brown on one side. Flip and continue cooking until brown on the other side.

16. Zuppa Tuscany
2 c. cooked white beans
2 c. vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
2 cooked potatoes, diced

Simmer beans, broth, onion, garlic, carrot and celery until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and potatoes and heat through. Stir in a little non-dairy milk if desired.

17. Mango Beans (from Caldwell B. Esselstyn)
2 c. cooked white beans
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1/2 red onion, sliced
juice of 1 lime
cilantro, chopped

Toss and serve on a bed of greens.

18. White Bean "Hummus" (printed in Forks over Knives by Chef Del Sroufe)
2 c. cooked white beans
4 tsp. white miso
1 roasted red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
cayenne pepper

Puree in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Serve with veggies or pita.

19. White Bean Loaf (from Alan Goldhamer & Doug Lisle in Forks over Knives)
4 c. cooked beans (the original recipe uses garbanzos; I like white beans)
2 c. cooked brown rice
2 c. tomato sauce
1 Tb. dry mustard
1 c. grated carrots
juice of 1/2 lemon
onion or garlic powder, optional
Italian seasoning, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine beans and rice. Add remaining ingredients. Press into loaf pan. Bake 30 minutes, covering the top with foil if it is browning too quickly.

20. Chili Macaroni (Adapted from Neal Barnard, Breaking the Food Seduction)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tb. Tamari or Braggs
2 c. cooked pink beans
2 c. cooked whole wheat macaroni

Saute onion, pepper, and celery in liquid until soft. Add seasonings and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.

To your health, happiness and prosperity,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Banana Bread in a Bowl

Mmmm! A completely healthy breakfast that tastes like a dessert!

Banana Bread Oatmeal
1 c. old fashioned oats
2 c. water
1 banana, mashed
1/4 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tb. golden flax, ground (optional)
1 Tb. ground hemp seed (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or maple flavor
1/4 c. pure maple syrup

Simmer oats in water until water is mostly absorbed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add non-dairy milk if desired.

To your health and happiness,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part 1

If Jeff Novick can cook for a family of four on $100 per week, using convenience foods, then we can do it for less, cooking from scratch, right ladies?

Starting at the bottom of the Fuhrman food pyramid, I will discuss in a 4-part series, ways incorporate veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains, nuts and seeds into our diets without spending a fortune. Today, let's address vegetables.

Greens are generous! You get a lot of bang out of them for just a little buck. They are worth the investment no matter how much you pay for them. But that's no reason to pay premium price at the grocery store. Greens are easy to grow, even in winter.With just a couple fluorescent lights placed within 6 inches of the leaves, they be cultivated even during the coldest months. Since they need no pollinating, it doesn't really matter whether they are outdoors or not, so long as they have fertile soil and adequate water and light. You can read my full post on growing greens here.

In my climate (Idaho), I can grow greens in the garden from April to November. They are so prolific during their peak that I can feed my family PLUS freeze bags of leaves to use in smoothies all winter AND dehydrate a lot for later use. I powder my dried greens using the blender, then spoon the powder into smoothies, soups or oatmeal. By adding dried sprouts and grain grasses to the mix, I can have a canister of my own SuperGreens for just pennies.

Speaking of sprouts and grain grasses... these count as vegetables, too, because they are green and growing, even though they may have started as a nut, seed, grain or legume. My favorite sprouts are raw sunflower seeds, which are less than $1 per pound bought in bulk. A quarter cup of seeds can yield a cup of sprouts, which can be ground in a food processor and added to cooked beans to make a tasty and satisfying "meat" patty. They have enough body to them (unlike alfalfa spouts) to make a great snack, as well. And they are excellent tossed into salads and soups to add power to your meal. I really like to make Sunburgers, a recipe from Living Foods.

2 c. sunflower seeds, soaked 6-8 hours
1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1/2 c. celery, chopped
3green onions, sliced
1 redbell pepper, sliced
1/4 c. fresh basil
1/4 c. fresh parsley
Braggs to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor.Make patties and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 12-24 hours. Turn patties halfway through drying. 
Note: sometimes I skip the drying and just heap the mixture onto a bed of greens for a great salad!

Another favorite money-saving trick of mine is to buy less popular greens. Kale is a buzz word in the health community, but plain old green cabbage does not receive as much attention, therefore it it costs less per pound. Since the heads are so dense, one cabbage lasts several meals. Two of my favorite cabbage recipes are Cafe Rio Salad and Strawberry Slaw:

Cafe Rio Salad
(Make any quantity you want)

Equal parts chopped cabbage and romaine
Any add-ins: black beans, corn, bell peppers, chayote squash, olives, tomatoes, jicama, etc.
Cilantro Lime Dressing, below, whirled in the blender (adapted from Robyn Openshaw):
  • 3 tomatillos, husked
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 c.cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 4 green onions
  • dash of salt

You can't beat the taste of the Cilantro-Lime Dressing. But for something sweet, quick and simple, try this:

Strawberry Slaw

1 pkg. shredded cabbage
A few dried cranberries
Strawberry Tarragon Dressing, below, whirled in the blender (adapted from Chef Del Sroufe in Forks Over Knives)
  • 4 c. strawberries (may be frozen)
  • 1/2 c. rice vinegar
  • 2-3 Tb. agave
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 Tb. dried tarragon
  • dash of salt 
Greens are just the beginning of saving money. The same rules apply to other vegetables: grow them, and freeze or dry them during the height of summer. Pumpkins, squash, and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets keep well in a cold basement or garage, through the winter to provide hearty, filling vegetables during the cold months when you tend to eat heavier. You might also consider joining a co-op, like Bountiful Baskets, or visiting your local farmer's market to get bulk produce at lower prices.

Happy savings! Watch for part 2 of this series, which will focus on fruits!
To your health and happiness,

Monday, January 2, 2012

H.C., You Win!

Our free book, You Are What You Eat, goes to H.C., who wrote, "I lost 65 lbs.this year following the Eat to Live Program...I need...much strength to get through these festive parties and potlucks." Our lucky winner can contact me through to get the book sent out.
To your health and happiness,