Cucumber Rolls

I LOVED the idea of this recipe and it was the first one I tried for this season. I am always on the look out for “fancy” dishes that I can use for parties and this one sounded like it might fit the bill.

First the positives: love using cucumbers as the “wrapper”: they’re great for your skin as they aid in detoxification, which also helps promote a healthy weight. Red peppers are super high in vitamin C (anti-cancer) and can improve night vision because of the high folate levels. I used more than the recipe called for and I liked the way the red looked with the green and white of the cucumber and hummus. Using hummus is always a positive, no matter what it’s made from: chickpeas, white beans, etc…beans are great for us on every level!

Then the Ho No Chevre Pure! OMG…I’m definitely in love with this product…a very unique flavor. Made with cashews, lemon, and nutritional yeast, we get all the health benefits of these ingredients along with the amazing taste and NO milk! Yay!

Now, the drawbacks: for an unaccomplished chef, getting the cucumber sliced as thin as it should be will be a challenge, as it was for me. I might try asking the deli counter at my grocery store to slice them…great idea! I was able to soften them a bit by salting them and storing them in the fridge overnight. (I like the flavor the salt added)

These remind me of my eggplant roll ups and I think rather than spread the ingredients over the whole surface, it might be easier to concentrate them at the beginning of the roll up.

Overall, I loved the flavor and the look of the ones I actually successfully arranged but they were pretty time-consuming. I’m definitely going to try this recipe again and would love to perfect them for summertime gatherings.

cucumber roll

Everyone’s Favorite Bean Salad

I can’t remember the first time I had this fresh, crunchy, colorful and delicious dish but I DO remember thinking how brilliant it was: so simple yet good for you, stays fresh in the fridge for a couple of days and a crowd pleaser…how can you go wrong? I think of this dish as a staple for any non-winter holiday and love how quick it is to make, how easily it travels and most important: how much everyone loves it! Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

I think of this dish as a staple for any non-winter holiday and love how quick it is to make, how easily it travels and most important: how much everyone loves it! Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those write ups and take this advice: try to eat some beans and greens every day…. seriously. If you just did that (and flossed everyday) you would dramatically improve your health! How about the benefits of all the other vegies? Let’s focus on corn:

How about the benefits of all the other vegies? Let’s focus on corn:

Anti Cancer
Corn contains a number of phytonutrients like carotenoids, anthocyanins, ferulic acid, vanillic acid, coumaric acid, syringic acid and caffeic acid. Studies at Cornell University indicate that the excellent antioxidant profile destroys free radicals that cause different cancers. Ferulic acid is very effective against breast and liver cancer. The fiber content also lowers risk of colon cancer.

Regulates Blood Sugar
The high fiber content and protein levels enable just the right pace of digestion leading to a steady absorption of sugars and preventing sudden spikes and drops, in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Benefits The Cardiovascular System
Some phytochemicals lower high blood pressure while some others reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Folates lower homocysteine levels, higher levels of which are linked to increase in risk of heart disease.

Ensures Digestive Health
The fiber helps to alleviate constipation and issues with hemorrhoids. It maintains the healthy proliferation of the friendly bacteria in the large intestine.

Benefits In Pregnancy
The folate levels and the iron content keep the hemoglobin levels up in pregnant women and can help prevent neural defects in the growing fetus.

Better Bone Health
Minerals like iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc promote healthy bones.

Wow! What a nutrition-packed dish! Let’s make it NOW!

Joy’s Ice “Cream”

In this episode, I used frozen and dried mango, coconut flakes and coconut milk but yo should experiment to get the flavor and consistency you desire. Many folks like to use frozen bananas as a base for their creamy texture that gives an end product more similar to ice cream. Adding citrus (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) will give more of a sorbet taste and feel.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Oh, my gosh! I grew up with that little ditty as a REAL thing…every day! Although we didn’t have much money growing up, we always seemed to have one of those giant plastic buckets with vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I had a big bowl of ice cream almost every day!

Maybe you also have an ice cream habit and even though you eat a pretty healthy diet, this is your one weakness. And you probably like “really good” ice cream, right? Not the stuff in the plastic bucket. Can’t be that bad for me, right?

Well, consider this: half a cup of premium ice cream contains between 17 and 25 grams of fat, depending on the flavor and brand you choose. 1 slice of cooked bacon contains between 3 and 4 grams of fat. That means when you have ½ c of ice cream, you are basically eating the equivalent of up to 6 slices of bacon. And lets get real: who stops at ½ a cup? Most of us consider the little pint-sized containers it comes in to be 1-2 servings…. you do the math!

This is a super easy recipe to make, especially if you have a high-powered blender, which I recommend for every well-equipped kitchen. I personally like Vita-Mix but there are several good ones out there.

Try your own version of this simple recipe and get your friends and family involved. Find your favorite twist and adopt a whole new “ice cream” habit!

Wild Rice

This is a simple recipe that you can play with and add things you like: nuts, cranberries, celery, greens, etc. If you really want to the dish to have the unique, earthy flavor of wild rice, don’t mix with other rice, as so many recipes call for!

You can serve this as a lovely side dish or have as the “main event” at any meal. The high protein content (24 g per cup!!) makes it a satisfying dish, indeed. Pair with a salad and/or some vegies and you have a flavorful, healthful and hearty meal! Wild rice is actually considered a “water grass seed” not a rice and is one of the only 2 grains native to North America.

Native Americans valued “wild rice” as a nutrient dense, protein-rich staple they could travel far distances with without fear of spoilage and many believe allowed the vast expanse of the continent to be used as “homeland”.

Tofu Scramble

(Adopted from “Vegan With A Vengeance” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz )
Serves 4

Most folks prefer the scramble with nice big pieces in it. It’s crumbled, yes, but not completely in crumbles. Just kind of torn apart and then broken up a bit when cooking in the pan. Garlic, some cumin, a little thyme – that is the base. From there you can do countless variations using whatever is in your fridge that morning. In this episode, I used mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, peppers and avocado.

You can include these additions to your scramble by themselves or in combination with one another. All of the veggies add more nutrition, taste and variety of textures to the dish.

Broccoli – Cut about one cup into small florets, thinly slice the stems. Add along with the tofu.
Onion – Finely chop one small onion. Add along with the garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Proceed with recipe.
Red Peppers – Remove stem and seed, finely chop one red pepper. Add along with the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Proceed with recipe. You can also roast them first and then add with tofu.
Mushrooms –slice or chop about a cup of mushrooms. Add along with the tofu.
Olives – Chop about 1/3 a cup of sliced olives. Add towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast.
Spinach – Add about 1 cup of chopped spinach towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast. Cook until completely wilted.
Carrots – Grate half of an average sized carrot into the scramble towards the end of cooking. This is a great way to add color to the scramble. Saffron will also do it.
Avocado –Just peel and slice it and serve on top.

Scrambled tofu is one of the most mundane vegan recipes there is. But for anyone experimenting with plant based eating, it’s one of the most important dishes to learn. For many, it’s a staple.

You don’t have to stop at breakfast, or limit yourself to a plate of scramble and hash browns Here are a few ways to spruce up your scramble, or use up your leftovers.

Serve in a squash bowl: Serve in half a baked squash. Caramelized onions would be nice, too.
Breakfast burritos: Wrap up with potatoes, fresh salsa and guacamole.
Add to mac and cheese: Use up leftover scramble (or make some scramble just for the occasion!) by adding it to your favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe.
Lettuce wraps: Tuck scramble into lettuce, serve with fresh tomatoes and drizzle with vinaigrette
Make a sandwich: A scramble sandwich with avocado, red onion and sprouts.
Make a knish: Make potato knishes and add a layer of scramble
Stuff peppers: Mix with a can of black beans and some salsa. Stuff into red peppers, bake and top with a little vegan cheese at the end.
Crepe filling: Serve in a crepe, with a vegan hollandaise sauce.

You can read more about the health benefits of tofu in my Thanksgiving Faux Turkey Breast recipe.

Here are just some of the health benefits of the veggies I used, but as I said earlier, the variations are endless!

Tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant & scientific research has found a link between lycopene & lower levels of certain cancers. Lycopene has also been found to be beneficial to the heart & blood vessels, skin, & bones. When tomatoes are cooked, as in this rendition, the lycopene levels are higher & easier for the body to absorb.

Other vegetable toppings contain nutrients that promote better health.. Onions contain chromium & vitamin C, & can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure & cholesterol. Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants & vitamins C, B6, & A, which help keep cells healthy. These vitamins also support the immune system, metabolism, digestive health & good vision. Mushrooms contain zinc, riboflavin & potassium, all necessary for many important functions in the body & help keep the central nervous system healthy. Combined, these nutrients go a long way to protect your heart & prevent disease.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

No Bake Brownies

Note: These can also be made into bars by pressing the dough into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper, then placing the pan in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and slice the mixture into bars. Again, store these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Makes 12-14 bites

Many of us CRAVE treats! Many of us CRAVE chocolate! This recipe is so great because it satisfies AND is actually good for us! There are several different variations of this recipe, some involve grains, seeds, etc. I will probably feature them in the future…stay tuned!

All of the ingredients in this treat is PACKED with health benefits. We have talked about nuts and nut butters in the past so:

The Benefits:

Let’s talk about Dates!

A Summary Of Dates Health Benefits: Dates Are Great For:

  • Weight loss
  • Relieving constipation, supporting regular bowel movements
  • Promoting heart health, reducing heart disease risk
  • Diarrhea
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Impotence
  • Promoting respiratory and digestive health
  • Pregnancy deliveries
  • Hemorrhoid prevention
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Reducing colitis risk
  • Preventing colon cancer

Now How About Chocolate?

There are actually many health benefits associated with chocolate! Aren’t you glad? The secret is to not get all the other stuff many chocolate candies include.

5 Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao

  • 40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries.
  • Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron.
  • Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Heart & Brain.
  • More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk
  • A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-Depressant.

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!

Some of us have specific foods that we really have a hard time giving up when adopting a plant based, gluten free diet. Burgers and Fries can definitely fall into that category but by making some “tweaks”, we can satisfy our craving and still make a health-ful choice! Making your own bean burgers, rather than buying pre-made store bought versions, is simple and allows us to avoid fillers and additives we want to avoid. The recipe is flexible so play around until you find your favorite ways to make. The “Fries” are really baked and are a really great way to round out this meal, along with a green salad or just so many toppings that your burger “looks” like a salad! Enjoy!

Variations

(all use kidney beans & another type of bean so all ingredients get doubled)

Mexican: Kidney & Pinto Beans, Salsa and Mexican spice (nice taco filling )

Indian: Kidney & Garbanzos, Oats and sweet potato (instead of rice) tomato paste & curry

Italian: Kidney & White Beans, Diced tomato, rice, barley and Italian spices. (can use as meatballs)

Southwest: Kidney & Black beans, oats & rice, bbq sauce, corn, southwest spices.


Why is this recipe good for you?

Really, do I need to address this? If we can substitute beans for beef (or even turkey) we are greatly reducing calories, saturated fat and all the chemicals associated with animal production.

All beans contain lots of fiber, antioxidants, high levels of plant protein, vitamins and minerals and low-glycemic index carbohydrates. All of these components make beans ideal for:

Improving Heart Health

Lowering Cancer Risk

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Managing Weight

Boosting Energy

Improving Digestion & Gut Health

On top of the delicious, nutritious beans, we also get oats, rice (or other grains) high in B vitamins and fiber, the antioxidants from whatever tomato product we use and all of the veggies that we use as toppings. It’s such a delicious way to load up on veggies with a classic comfort food made better for us! Yay!

Of course getting rid of “frying” our “fries”, eliminates the danger of eating this delicious treat. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the years but are actually very good for us if we eat them without all the fats that most people often put on potatoes. Visit my episodes on Twice Baked Potatoes or Potato Rounds to get all of the details.

Joy Makes Stone Soup

Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup that has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot, and a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all. Although the travelers have thus tricked the villagers into sharing their food with them, they have successfully transformed it into a tasty and nutritious meal that they share with all the donors.

Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

The Reasons Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:

  1. For detoxification – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium/cup. Which is known for reducing belly fat. It also contains 3 grams of fiber, which cleanses the digestive system. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.
  2. For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with potent antioxidant properties.
  3. As an aphrodisiac – the asparagus is considered a psycho-physiological aphrodisiac because of its shape. It is said to trigger the mind to have a physiological response. The French word for asparagus is asperge; a slang word for penis.
  4. Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate, which is now known to be an important protection against cancer.
  5. Reducing pain and inflammation – folate helps reduce inflammation.
  6. Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has high levels vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes.
  7. Reducing the risk of heart disease – folate has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  8. Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.

Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick

You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to sauté. For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw. Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.