Gia Bombias Momma Mia Minestrone

45 Minutes Prep
40 Minutes Cooking
8-10 Servings

Favorite Green Drinks

healthy green drink

Lots of talk about “Green Drinks” these days; what does that mean, exactly? Well, it can have lots of meanings. First, you can juice our greens and just drink them! We recommend using a blend: Kale, arugula, lettuce and a little parsley & cilantro for added kick and detox power. Some folks like to use garlic &/or ginger and some like a little lemon. Experiment and see what you like.

My favorite way to make a Green Drink is to use the whole leaves in the Vita-Mix. (if you’re using a standard blender, you’ll need to chop the greens before adding) We use some frozen fruit (current faves: Mango & Pineapple) a little OJ, water & splash of coconut milk & the secret ingredient: Juice Plus+ Complete; a blend of ancient grains, spirulina, wheat grass juice, Norwegian Kelp & lots of plant proteins: chickpeas, rice, etc.

The most important thing about making a Green Drink is to experiment to find the way you like to drink your Greens & to do it EVERY DAY.

Make a Green Drink today!

Dark leafy green vegetables are among the healthiest foods ever.  Rich in essential vitamins and minerals, they provide your body with all it needs to detox effectively. There are so many health benefits associated with them, that adding some to your daily diet is probably one of the best thing you can do for your body.  Here are just a few good things green vegetables can do for you:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Help in cancer prevention
  • Support natural detoxification
  • Provide you with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
  • Help treat and prevent inflammatory diseases
  • Prevent premature ageing
  • Support skin health
  • Alkalize the body
  • Support cardiovascular system
  • Support your bone health and prevent osteoporosis
  • Regulate blood sugar and help in type 2 diabetes
  • Help fight against obesity
  • Support our digestive system.

Beet Margaritas

Beet Syrup Servings: Makes 2 Cups

Beet Margarita Servings: Serves 1 (generous)

Okay! I have a few things to say about this recipe!

First: Isn’t my husband adorable? Good job, honey!

2nd: I’m not advocating drinking alcohol as a health habit but if you do imbibe, this is a way to get some anti-oxidants from the beets, which are really a super-food and the lime juice. You could also add fresh basil or arugula to the syrup or the finished product to increase the nutritional content. 3rd: I don’t normally like margaritas much but these are AMAZING!

Read about the benefits of beets here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49

 

 

Gluten Free Vegan “Crab” Dip

I’ve never really had real crab dip so I had no idea what to expect with this dish but it sounded interesting because I love hearts of palm.

It was a super easy dish to make and between the beans, nutritional yeast, kelp, lemon, onions and hearts of palm, it’s a dish that’s super good for us. You can never find enough reasons to get beans into your diet every day. Read more about that here: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20886500,00.html#pass-the-beans-0

I found it pretty salty so cut down on the Old Bay Seasoning on the second batch. I think it’s a cool sounding dish but I wasn’t crazy about it, however, everyone else loved it…go figure! I have to wrap my brain around whether or not I want to make dishes that I don’t personally love…what do you think?

Update: I’ve now made this dish several more times and the verdict is IN: it’s a crowd pleaser!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Source for recipe:  https://simplygluten-free.com

Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I really didn’t know what stroganoff was. It sounded fancy and exotic but I never had a chance to have it and then I started learning more about nutrition and realized that traditional stroganoff dishes are full of fat and gluten. I really didn’t give it another thought until I came across this recipe on this website. I’d like to give it a few more tweaks and serve it over some fresh gluten free pasta but overall, it IS a fancy and exotic dish! I’m not crazy about the baby onions left whole…I think I would try them cut into quarters next time.

Nutrition “factoids”:

One major difference between these two mushroom types is nutritional value. While Portobello mushrooms are high in iron, potassium and vitamin D, no one ranks them as highly as the Shiitake variety for health.

Cultures around the world prize Shiitake mushrooms for their health benefit. Advocates of Shiitake mushrooms say ingesting these mushrooms prevents heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels. Further, animal tests have shown that a compound in the Shiitake called lentinin has anti-tumor and immune system-boosting benefits. In human studies, lentinin was beneficial in prolonging life of patients with stomach and colon cancers. Wow! Who knew? Here’s a link to other health benefits of mushrooms: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-mushroom.html

Enjoy!

Mango Sorbet and Berries

All I can say is YUM! Choices for vegan, gluten-free desserts are usually quite slim…often just fruit. This simple-to-assemble dessert is a staple at our house. I always make sure to have Trader Joe’s Mango Sorbet, Limoncello and fresh berries on hand. (frozen will work, in a pinch) This dessert makes any dinner end on a special note. (you could leave out the limoncello, if you don’t care for adding alcohol)

Now, some of my viewers may think this isn’t really a recipe…and you’re right! It’s more of an idea but I just had to share it with you.

The dish you use can make all the difference; I love fancy!

I just start with a generous scoop of the sorbet, a handful of the berries (I prefer raspberries and blueberries) and a splash of the limoncello over the top…it kind of makes little crystals…really cool texture! You can play around with toppings but in the years that I’ve been making this little gem, I have to say this combination is my favorite!

Apart from the small amount of alcohol in the limoncello and sugar in the sorbet, this dessert carries many health benefits! Berries, mangos and lemons are such power-houses.

I’ve written about mango and lemons in past seaons so let’s focus on berries. They are one of the most nutrient foods on the planet.

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, that may help keep memory sharp as you age, and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. All berries are great sources of fiber, a nutrient important for a healthy digestive system. But if you need more reasons to dig into summer’s sun-kissed little fruits, look no further than two new studies, which suggest that berries may be good for your heart and your bones as well.

In a study of 72 middle-age people published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health.

Polyphenols like ellagic acid and anthocyanins may increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that produces a number of heart-healthy effects. One is helping to relax blood vessels, which subsequently results in lowered blood pressure. Polyphenols may also help preserve bone density after menopause, according to new research in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. More research is needed but the data suggest that eating even a small amount of blueberries each day—perhaps as little as 1/4 cup—could be good for anyone’s bones. (source: www.eatingwell.com)

The Best Darn Lasagna Ever (Vegan & Gluten Free)

This has become one of our family’s favorite dishes! Someone gave me a stained, torn copy of the recipe. I later discovered it on www.geniuskitchen.com I love making it before the holidays because it feeds a hungry house with something very different than we will be having for the holiday! It stores well and provides a hearty lunch, dinner or snack for the whole brood. I’ve also used the filling in my Eggplant “Cannelloni. The filling itself also freezes well.

I can’t say that EVERY ingredient is a health food but most of them are and using gluten free noodles and faux cheese and meat make it a much healthier option that traditional meat and cheese lasagna. There are many faux cheeses and meats on the market that are actually quite nutritious: made from nuts and plants. These are the brands that I choose.

Spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic and tofu are superfoods that I love getting into my diet as often as possible and putting them into a dish as delicious as this lasagna makes it a no brainer! I won’t lie, this is a time-consuming dish to make, but so worth it. The biggest tip I can give is to make the filling one day and assemble it the next. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Deviled Tomatoes

Vegan
Prep time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 8 to 10

If you no longer eat eggs but have a craving for the retro classic, deviled eggs, you’ll really enjoy these deviled tomatoes — a completely vegan rendition 

I love bringing delicious, surprising dishes to get-togethers: holidays, parties, networking events, etc. I grew up in a small Midwest town where deviled eggs were the height of “fancy”!

My friend, Suzanne, brought this dish to a little get together and I was smitten…I think you will be, too!

In addition to being beautiful and delicious, every ingredient in this dish is SO GOOD for us. My favorite is the tomato! I LOVE tomatoes and use them every chance I get; I hope you will, too!

The health benefits of tomatoes include eye care, stomach health and reduced blood pressure. They can provide relief from diabetes, skin problems and urinary tract infections. Furthermore, they can improve digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesterol levels, improve fluid balance, protect the kidneys, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging and reduce inflammation. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants that have been proven to fight different forms of cancer. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and exert a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

The health benefits of tomatoes can be attributed to an impressive amount of vitamin A, C, and vitamin K, as well as significant amounts of vitamin B6, folate and thiamin. They are also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and copper. They have dietary fiber and protein, as well as a number of organic compounds like lycopene that contribute to their health benefits. (source: https://www.organicfacts.net)

I tried making them with both cherry and small roma tomatoes. I liked the texture and size of the romas best. To get them to sit upright, I cut the tips off the pointy ends being careful to not cut through. I saved the insides and used them in a tomato sauce. This is a new favorite of mine! Let me know what you think!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Simple hearty ingredients make this the perfect soup to warm the soul! Make Tuscan White Bean Soup easily with Better Beans!

Serving Size:

4 medium bowls of soup

Every single ingredient in this recipe is good for you and together, it’s delicious! Super easy! This has become one of my “go to” recipes.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is an oblong shaped squash that, when baked, can be shredded to look very similar to spaghetti and can also be added to a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews, or eaten raw. When served as “spaghetti,” it can be topped with a wide variety of pasta sauces.

Spaghetti squash is also rich in the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, which promote optimal cellular functionFolate is also found in this bright-colored vegetable. Folate supports the formation and development of new cells and may help prevent birth defects, making this squash an ideal food for pregnant women. This nutrient can also help filter out homocysteine from your blood and promote cardiovascular health.

Potassium, a mineral that maintains proper muscle and nerve function, is also present in spaghetti squash, making it helpful for people with high blood pressure. Manganese, a mineral that assists in bone and tissue heath, metabolism, calcium absorption, and nerve function, is another key component.  Spaghetti squash also contains the essential minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Another reason to consume spaghetti squash is for its omega-3 and omega-6 fats content. Omega-3 fats are associated with the prevention of inflammation, which may cause heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. On the other hand, omega-6 fats are linked to proper brain function. It is critical to maintain the ideal 1:1 ratio of these fats.

It’s super easy to cook spaghetti squash and there are also lots of additions that can add to it’s flavor.

In this recipe, I simply cut it in half, used a little olive oil, salt and pepper and put it upside down on a parchment lined roasting pan. Absolute simplicity, versatility and deliciousness!