Monday, August 25, 2014

Raven's Peppermint Brownies (Vegan / Gluten-Free)

These brownies are super simple, and you can substitute YL Lavender Essential Oil, or YL Orange Essential Oil instead of the YL Peppermint Essential Oil for a yummy variation of this gooey chocolate treat.  This version is also Vegan, Gluten-Free and Low-Fat . . . . so yay for that!  

Ready to Hit the Oven!  

What You Need:

1 box Better Batter Gluten-Free Fudge Brownie Mix
1 can Northern Beans
3/4 cup water
3-4 drops YL Peppermint Essential Oil
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350F for metal pans / 325F for glass, dark, or non-stick coated pans.  Lightly grease 8 x 8 pan so brownies won't stick!

In a blender or food processor, blend 1 can Northern (white) Beans (rinsed well) and 3/4 - 1 cup of water until smooth.  Mixture should be not too thick, but not too watery.  Stir together brownie mix with pureed beans until blended.  Do not over stir!  Add 3-4 drops of YL Peppermint Oil, and chocolate chips (if desired) and fold in gently until evenly blended.  Bake in lightly greased 8 x 8 pan for 30 - 45 minutes (baking time varies depending on pan), or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!  :)

Mmmmmm . . . . Peppermint Brownies!!  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Replace Your Medicine Cabinet (& Other Toxic Products)!

After my last car accident, I was put on a plethora of prescription medications by the dozen or so doctors and specialists that were treating me. Personally, I loathe prescription meds and I do not tolerate them well, however the holistic remedies that I was using at the time were not as effective as I had hoped they would be.  Ever since then, I've been on a mission to find something . . . . ANYTHING holistic that would work for me.  I've tried everything from lotions to potions and everything in between.

I've always enjoyed relatively good health, and though I didn't take it for granted, I never imagined it would be taken away from me.  I manage to stick to a pretty healthy plant-based diet, and I used to exercise daily until the accident changed that for me. So, instead of walking every day, I've had to find something that worked better for me, and that didn't make the crazy pain flare up even more.  I still do my stretching in the morning, and I found a great Yoga DVD that works great for me.  And, if I feel like tackling a workout at the gym, I do that, however I usually end up paying for it for a day or two.  That is a huge frustration for me, however it is what it is.

Then some friends and I decided to give YL Essential Oils a try this past May, and all I can say to myself is, "what the heck took so long for me to find this stuff??!"  Even though I am still working on relieving several of the residual issues that arose from that accident, I have taken back my power and taken control of my own healing!  I ditched most of the meds over the past couple of years, and I am off of ALL but two, including the blood pressure medication! Yay!!

Instead, I use AromaLife a few times a day, Ylang Ylang in between that, Marjoram in the a.m., and Lavender . . . . lots of Lavender!  Those aren't the only oils or nutritional supplements I use, however those four, along with StressAway, Peace & Calming, Joy, and a few others are how I manage to keep my blood pressure in check.  One of the best decisions I ever made!!  

If you have yet to get started on your amazing essential oils journey, ask me how, or learn more here:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grilled Vegetable Pizza

Homemade veggie burgers and grilled sandwiches are often found at barbecues, but it’s time for another classic comfort food to step up and earn its grill stripes.
Classic mix-and-match veggies from the local farmers market or your own backyard garden, a few iconic herbs, and even a meatless hot “wing” option help turn up the heat on family pizza night and tailgating chow-downs.

Makes 1 pizza

What You Need:

8 to 10 white mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, halved
3 medium to large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 to 2 jalapeƱos, de-seeded and halved
1 large zucchini, yellow summer squash, or eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces (optional)
Olive oil, for brushing
1 pre-baked thin vegan pizza crust
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano (OR 1 drop YL Oregano Essential Oil)
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, if using tomatoes
Nutritional yeast, to taste

What You Do:

Create zones of direct (medium heat over flame) and indirect heat (next to flame but not directly over it) on your grill. Brush mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeƱos, and zucchini with oil. Using a grilling screen or combination grilling screen, grill basket, and naked grate, grill vegetables to preferred level of tenderness, about 6 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Keep warm while grilling the pizza crust.

Generously brush both sides of pizza crust with oil. Place crust on grill over direct heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until bottom is lightly browned and top begins to get very warm. Transfer crust to indirect heat for 4 to 6 minutes, or until bottom is browned and crispy. Turn over crust and place uncooked side over direct heat for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to indirect heat. Top with grilled vegetables and rosemary, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, and nutritional yeast and return pizza to direct heat for 4 to 6 minutes, or until pizza reaches desired doneness.

Chef’s Tip: You can also place the oiled pizza crust with toppings on a pizza stone set over direct heat, and grill until the pizza is browned and crispy.

Hot “Wing” Grilled Pizza: For a little added flare, marinate sliced seitan in your hot sauce of choice for several hours to overnight. While grilling the vegetables, using a grilling screen, grill seitan for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Add seitan to pizza crust when vegetables are added. If desired, drizzle additional hot sauce over finished pizza.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Egg-Free Salad Sandwiches

What You Need:

1 12-ounce package extra firm tofu
½ cup vegan mayonnaise (try Just Mayo, Earth Balance, or Vegenaise)
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small pickle, diced
2 green onions, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Indian Black Salt (kala namak) for sprinkling
Bread, tomato, lettuce, or other desired sandwich fixings

What You Do:

Wrap tofu in a paper towel, then a clean dish towel. Press by leaving between two heavy pots for about 10 minutes. Replace the soaked dish towel with another dry towel and press for another 5 minutes. Chop up tofu into nonuniform chunks or cubes, or just crumble into a bowl with your hands.

Toss tofu in a bowl with the vegan mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic powder, and cumin. Stir in the celery, pickle, and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use less salt if garnishing with black salt, which also adds a great egg-y flavor.

Toast bread (optional) before assembling your sandwiches and serve with your favorite fixings. Enjoy!

Source: Vegan Lunch Recipes

Don’t Take the Bait ~ Fish is Not a Health Food

Here are four facts you may not know about fish:

1. Fish is high in cholesterol.

Touted as a health food, fish has a reputation for being heart-healthy. People who opt for fish to try to protect their hearts might not realize that fish is often high in cholesterol.

While a 3-ounce T-bone steak contains 70 milligrams of cholesterol, three ounces of shrimp contain 161 milligrams. Numerous studies have shown that dietary cholesterol consumption corresponds with an increased risk for artery blockage.

The good news is that by eliminating foods that contain cholesterol, like fish, and opting for naturally cholesterol-free plant foods, people can reduce both their cholesterol levels and their risk of heart disease. Research has shown that every 1 percent reduction in cholesterol can reduce heart disease risk by 2 percent.

2. Most of the fat in fish is not heart-healthy fat.

While fish does contain omega-3 fats, most of the fat in fish is not heart healthy. Between 15 and 30 percent of the fat in fish is actually saturated fat, which stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol. High-fat foods are associated with poor heart health outcomes.

Fish is often celebrated for being low in fat, but this is often not the case: 52 percent of the calories in Chinook salmon come from fat. Plant foods, on the other hand, are often naturally low in fat. Only 2 percent of the calories in rice and 4 percent of the calories in beans come from fat. Research has shown that diets low in fat are best for preventing heart disease.

In 1990, Dean Ornish, M.D., demonstrated that a low-fat vegetarian diet is capable of reversing heart disease. He put patients with heart disease on a low-fat, plant-based diet, and in one year, 82 percent showed a measurable reversal of their coronary artery blockages.

3. Supplementing with fish oil may do more harm than good.

In recent years, fish oil has been hailed as a miracle cure for everything from heart disease to dementia. Many people supplement with fish oil to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining cellular function. Unfortunately, studies have shown that most of the health claims associated with fish oil may be unfounded.

A comprehensive Journal of the American Medical Association analysis involving 20 studies and more than 68,000 patients showed no link between fish oil and heart health. Similarly, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that patients who supplemented with fish oil did not reduce their risk of heart disease.

Additionally, recent reports indicate no association between fish oil supplementation and the prevention or improvement of dementia symptoms. Research has even shown that omega-3 supplements may increase diabetes and prostate cancer risk. Fortunately, many plant foods contain alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, which is the only essential omega-3 fatty acid. Excellent sources of ALA include walnuts, soybeans, leafy greens, flaxseed, avocado, and broccoli.

By eating a diet rich in these foods, people can reap all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids without any of the side effects associated with fish consumption. Research has even shown that women who follow vegan diets have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than those who consume diets rich in fish, meat, and dairy.

4. Fish are full of pollutants.

Because fish and shellfish live in increasingly polluted environments, toxins from the water accumulate in their bodies. Studies have shown that most of the fish throughout the world contain dangerously high levels of mercury.

Exposure to mercury, which is a toxic metal, has serious health consequences, including increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and even death. A recent study revealed a link between mercury exposure and diabetes. Among nearly 3,000 participants, those who consumed the most mercury over an 18-year period had a 65 percent greater risk for developing diabetes.

Fish also contain unsafe levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, which are dangerous chemicals that have been linked to neurological problems and birth defects in babies who have been exposed. A plant-based diet automatically reduces exposure to these toxins.

Source:  Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

Friday, August 15, 2014

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower is part of the wonderful cruciferous vegetable family. That means it is great for you! It is packed with Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.  It is also a great detox food, and is loaded with antioxidants.  So eat your cauliflower!
There are lots of recipes out there for Buffalo Cauliflower.  I wanted to change it up a bit and go with a BBQ flavor.  These Cauliflower Bites are a great low calorie option.  They are a great snack when you are hanging out watching sports.  They are also a potluck favorite.  You can use any type of BBQ sauce you like.  Of course, we make sure it's vegan!

What You Need
·         1/2 a Head of Cauliflower
·         1 Cup of Flour
·         1 Cup of Non Dairy Milk
·         1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
·         1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
·         1/2 Teaspoon of Paprika
·         1/2 Teaspoon of Brown Sugar
·         1/2 Teaspoon of Liquid Smoke (optional)
·         1 Cup of BBQ Sauce

What You Do
Preheat oven to 450F.  Cut cauliflower into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide, and 2 -3 inches long.  Mix flour, non dairy milk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and liquid smoke together in a bowl.  Dip cauliflower pieces in flour mixture, making sure to coat the entire piece.
Place cauliflower pieces onto a non stick baking sheet, or sheet coated with cooking spray.  Place in oven for 15 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, heat BBQ sauce in a sauce pan.  Remove cauliflower pieces from oven and dip in BBQ sauce. Place pieces back on baking sheet and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!