Monthly Archives: April 2012

JIU JITSU – Daily Nutrition Rx

My son has been involved with martial arts for years.  When he was 5 years old he began Kung Fu as a way to experience discipline and exercise while also learning about his heritage and culture (he is half Chinese).  He continued on with Kung Fu for 3 years, which is impressive considering he was so young when he began.

About a year and a half ago he began training in Gracie Barra’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques and I am soooo glad he made the decision to begin training in this wonderful form of martial arts.  We are extremely lucky to go to such a wonderful school run by amazing people…it truly feels like we are part of their family.  My daughter loved watching her brother so much that she began Jiu Jitsu training a few months ago.

I have walked past the sign above numerous times and each time a huge smile spreads across my face.  I thought I would share the nutrition guidelines that my children’s Jiu Jitsu school has posted on their wall…makes a vegan proud!  I have never heard them mention vegan diets in their classes before and I know that most if not all of the coaches eat meat, but I have to absolutely respect the nutrition recommendations they are posting.  I love that their recommendations focus on fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  Awesome!

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Filed under Children, Education

GUEST BLOG – SPORK SISTERS Spicy Corn Fritters with Lemongrass

I am so excited that the Spork Sisters are guest posting today!  I met Heather and Jenny at the Natural Products Expo West and they were as sweet as could be, but what really won me over was the amazing food they were serving.  In a land of sample aplenty, their food stood out and was wonderfully flavorful.

If this is your first introduction to the Spork Sisters, take note.  The ladies just released their first cookbook (Spork-Fed) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  For some time now the ladies have been teaching cooking classes in LA to rave reviews.  For those of you who can’t get to LA, they now have online cooking classes.

I highly recommend checking out their site and learning more about the awesome duo (click HERE).

The following recipe is from their cookbook, Spork-Fed with a foreword by fellow fans and sisters, Emily and Zooey Deschanel.

Spicy Corn Fritters with Lemongrass (gluten free)

INTRO: These lil’ fritters are special! They get a lot of their essence from lemongrass, one of the most important flavors of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Just the smell of these fritters cooking will attract attention from neighbors all around. When you make a Southeast Asian feast, be sure these are part of the menu.

Yields about 8 fritters

Ingredients
2/3 cup gluten-free cornmeal, plus 1⁄2 cup for coating
3 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon neutral tasting high-heat oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free)
1 tablespoon chili paste (chili garlic paste or sweet chili paste)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ear corn, kernels sliced from cob, or 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1⁄2 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup water, more or less, as needed
2 tablespoons neutral tasting high-heat oil, for cooking

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 cup cornmeal, rice flour and baking powder. Whisk until uniform.

Add maple syrup, oil, lime juice, tamari, chili paste, ginger and sea salt, and whisk.

Add corn, lemongrass and water to mixture. Amount of water needed will vary, depending on which brand of rice flour is used. Consistency should be fairly firm and mixture should hold together when scooped. Form mixture into 2-inch round patties.

Add additional cornmeal to a bowl and coat patties. Tap patties gently to remove excess cornmeal.

Heat a large sauté pan and add high-heat oil. Place patties in pan and cook over low-medium heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden.

Note: You can double the recipe when serving more than four.  For a printable version of this recipe click here.

The Sporkie Scoop

FOR YOUR SMARTS Lemongrass is native to Southeast Asia and has been consumed and used as medicine for thousands of years! Lemongrass is a general term for about 55 species of grasses. Some types are used in perfumes and cosmetics because of the clean, fresh smell.

FOR YOUR PARTS Lime juice contains a compound called limonene, which is a major cancer fighter! It can also boost your white blood cell activity. That’s some powerful citrus!

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Filed under Appetizers, Books, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

BAKED TOSTADA SHELLS / BOWLS

Since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner I have been thinking about what I want to serve for dinner that night and I thought a Tostada Bar might be fun.  Traditionally tostada shells are not exactly healthy (since they are fried), so today I played around in the kitchen and found out that it is actually REALLY easy to make baked tostada shells / bowls with corn tortillas.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, softened some corn tortillas (which can be done on the stove top, or in the microwave), shaped the softened corn tortillas into a bowl by placing them inside some small springform pans and topping them with little pastry molds to keep the middle of the tortilla down while they baked, and baked them for 15 minutes.   How easy is that?  I am sure the same method would work for flour tortillas as well…just watch the baking time since I haven’t tried it myself.

Here are some ideas for what to put-out for a Tostada Bar:

  • Beans (whole or refried)
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Shredded cheese (Daiya is our favorite)
  • Vegan Queso (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Salsa Fresca (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Guacamole
  • Chopped onion
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
  • A variety of hot sauce
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Finely chopped mushrooms cooked down with taco seasoning

Is there anything you would include in your Tostada Bar that I haven’t listed???  I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Quick Tips, Recipes

PRODUCT REVIEW – Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips

We all have our vices. Some people are addicted to sweet, some to salty treats. While I would love to have everyone avoid processed foods entirely, those of you who still eat Doritos on occasion (gasp!) now have a better option.

I came across these chips at the Natural Products Expo West. Please don’t misunderstand me, these are not “healthy,” but I would MUCH rather have you eat Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips by Way Better Snacks than Doritos.

I haven’t had “real” Doritos for years, but I still remember what they taste like and in my opinion Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips taste like a cross between Nacho Cheese Doritos and Cool Ranch Doritos with a chili bite.

One of the major plusses as far as these chips are concerned (besides the fact that they taste great) is the fact that all of the ingredients are pronounceable AND recognizable. In addition, they contain sprouted: golden flax, chia seed, quinoa, radish seed, and broccoli seed.

The chips are also:

  • Gluten free
  • Vegan
  • Non GMO
  • Kosher
  • Whole grain
  • Low sodium (only 95mg per serving!)
  • Has no trans fat
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

The fat content is much higher than I’d like it to be (7 grams), however it is still lower than Doritos.

So…IF you are a Dorito eater (which I hope you are not), please, please, please find a healthier alternative like Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips.

Baby steps.

Click HERE for nutrition information.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Product Reviews, Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW – The Lean

People often ask me if there are any plant based weight loss books that I recommend and while I definitely refer them to excellent books written by the likes of Drs McDougall, Fuhrman, Barnard, and my other favorite plant-based authors…I am adding another favorite to the list.

The Lean by Kathy Freston lays out a plan for transitioning (or rather “leaning”) into plant-based living that is so gentle and reasonable. Frequently people try to transition to plant-based eating too quickly and when they mis-step they trend back to their old ways. Kathy’s writes in such a non-judgmental and wonderfully guiding voice that the reader realizes they need to be gentle with themselves during the transition.

The Lean is a plan that is more about what is ADDED to your diet than what is taken out (though the animals products are eventually removed). When people focus on adding good quality food into their daily food plan, they naturally crowd out the undesirable food.

The concept of the book is that the reader will tackle one issue per day (each outlined in a chapter of the book). Kathy’s philosophy is that if it takes you longer than a day to add the new habit, then give yourself longer than a day before moving on to the next chapter.

Some of the easy nutritional modifications within The Lean are:

Day 7: Put a Little Flax On It
Day 14: Eat a Superfood
Day 16: Toss up a big bowl of Love, a.k.a. Salad
Day 25: Juice It!
Day 28: Do Something Purposeful

What I appreciate most about The Lean is its practicality.  If you live your life according to the principles found within The Lean, health will follow.

To purchase The Lean, click HERE.

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Filed under Books, Education, General Vegan, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

“UN” TUNA / CHICKEN SALAD

As many of you know, I am the only vegan in my household.  While the rest of my family eats less meat than they used to, they do eat meat.  Lately my son has been on a chicken salad sandwich kick.  When I was younger I made a mean tuna fish sandwich (mean to the tuna, right/?!?!) and I remember the flavors well.

This is my vegan version of tuna / chicken salad and I enjoy it so much that I have been eating it for lunch and snacking on it like crazy.  In an attempt to drastically reduce the amount of mayonnaise used, I made a sauce with some of the chickpeas and let me tell ya…you won’t even realize that there is only 2 Tbs. of Vegenaise in this entire creamy recipe.

INGREDIENTS
 
2  15 ounce cans chickpeas (Eden Organics Low Sodium BPA free)
1/3 cup dill pickle juice
2 Tbs. Vegenaise
½ cup onion, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
½ cup dill pickles, finely diced
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Place 1 cup of the chickpeas in the food processor with the pickle juice and Vegenaise.  Blend until very smooth (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times).  Pour the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture into a bowl.

Place the remaining chickpeas in the food processor (no need to clean it) and pulse until it reaches the texture you desire; I prefer chunky.

Combine the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture, texturized chickpeas, chopped onions, celery, and pickles in a bowl and fold together gently.

NOTE - The mixture will firm-up a bit once it has been refrigerated.

Serve over toasted bread, crackers, on top of salad, etc.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Salad, sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – MUSEWEAR FLIP FLOPS

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I have been needing new flip flops for a while. The sad part is that I didn’t even realize how badly I have been needing new flip flops…that’s where my sister came in. Over the holidays she mentioned to me how sad and tired my favorite flips flops were. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I bought them when my son was 5. Um, he is in 5th grade now (yikes). To top it off, I live in California and we tend to wear flip flops year round rain or shine, so you know those babies had been through the ringer.  They have been dearly loved.

So, I started wearing some of my old (but not as old) Havianas and then while out and about they snapped and I had to walk around with broken flip flops for the rest of the day, which is WAY easier said than done.

As if by divine intervention I was contacted by Musewear …they asked me to give their flip flops a whirl. Isn’t it funny how the universe works???  Their flip flops are cushy comfortable and I smile every time I put them on because each pair has an inspirational message printed directly on the footbed, so every time you slip them on you read a flash of positivity.  Musewear also has a line of flip flops called SunSignSoles that focuses on the Zodiac.  I have been wearing my Scorpio flip flops almost daily to and from pilates.

The eco side of me (which is a HUGE part of who I am) appreciates the fact that the flip flops are 100% recyclable and made from 100% Brazilian rubber.  Musewear is also very committed to giving back.  In their own words,

“Musewear was created to spread inspiration, positivity and plain ol’ fun with our flip flops AND our philosophy of giving something back to the world in which we thrive. We’ve built in the ability for you to make a difference when you shop with us. We think of it as “the Big Bang for Your Buck theory.” We’ve pledged to donate 15% of our profits to the organizations below [The Nature Conservancy, Best Friend's Animal Society, andAmnesty International], because we admire their commitment to make our world a safer, cleaner and more vibrant place …”

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GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY

Musewear has VERY generously offered to allow me to host a giveaway of their product where they will send FIVE readers ONE pair of flips flops (each winner gets to choose their design) Yay…5 winners!!!!

ENTRY DETAILS

  1. Become an e-mail subscriber of Veggie Grettie by entering your e-mail address in the e-mail subscriber box at the top right of the page under the header image of corn chowder (If you are already a subscriber, let me know in the comments)
  2. “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook (click HERE)
  3. Follow Veggie Grettie on Twitter (click HERE)
  4. Follow Musewear on Facebook (click HERE)
  5. Follow Musewear on Twitter (click HERE)
  6. Tell me your favorite inspirational quote.

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You will receive ONE ENTRY for EACH task completed.  You MUST leave a SEPARATE COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH  of the tasks you complete.

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The contest will run through 5/02/12 midnight PST.  The winner will be chosen randomly and must be a resident of the United States (includes Alaska & Hawaii). 

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Click HERE to read more about how Musewear got their start.

Click HERE to browse their products.

Images provided by Musewear.

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Filed under Giveaways, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

VANISHING OF THE BEES

Where would we all be without bees?  We certainly wouldn’t be eating the fruits and veggies that we adore.

My family and I recently watched the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees.  I highly recommend this film for the light it sheds on this issue.  In addition to learning about Colony Collapse Disorder, I learned a lot about bees in general (they are fascinating beings).

This year when I plant my garden I want to focus some attention on adding some plants that bees really love…my way of saying thank you to them for all that they do.  I found  a great article from the Honeybee Conservancy about planting a bee garden (click HERE for the article).

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Filed under Animal Welfare, Education, Farming, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video

HUGO NATURALS WINNER

We have a winner!  Kiersten DeBrower is the winner of the Veggie Grettie / Hugo Naturals giveaway…congrats!!!

Please contact me with your mailing address via gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com and I will have Hugo Naturals ship the products to you.  If I do not hear from you within 3 days I will be forced to choose a new winner.

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Filed under Giveaways

SRC – CHEWY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKES (Vegan & Gluten Free)

It is time for April’s Secret Recipe Club post.  This month I was assigned Cupcake Muffin and really enjoyed perusing  Sara’s site.  While Sara and I don’t follow the same nutrition criteria, there were a lot of recipes that I was interested in trying.  She is crazy for curry and the curry recipes she posted looked really good!

I ultimately set my sites on veganizing, healthifying (massive fat reduction), and gluten-freeing her Chewy Chocolate Chunk Brownie recipe which she adapted from Pixelated Crumb.  I highlighted all of the changes that I made to the recipe in RED (see below).  

The brownies that resulted from these recipe changes were really very very good, but I do feel the need to call them brownie “cakes” because the texture more closely resembles that of cake than brownies.  That being said, we couldn’t get enough of these.  I personally think they tasted better the second day.  When eaten straight out of the oven, you can taste the prunes slightly (which I didn’t mind at all), however once they cooled completely the prunes disappeared entirely.

I decided to use my mini crumb cake pan because when I make brownies I like to have nice finished edges on all sides (I’m weird like that).  I also like that using the mini crumb cake pan makes the brownies single serve…though I would have to say that these brownies were HUGE and filling.  Next time I will only put half of the batter in and make two batches vs. one.  If you do this, please adjust the baking time accordingly as they will bake much faster.

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup Dutch Processed Cocoa
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs boiling hot coffee
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (I used Sweetriot Brand 85% dark chocolate)
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted (I used babyfood prunes)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs vegetable oil (I used applesauce)
2 lrg eggs + 2 lrg yolks (I used 3 Energ egg replacer “eggs”)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sugar (I used 1 cup maple syrup)
1 ¾ cups unbleached flour (I used 1 ½ cups King Arthur GFree flour AND 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour)
3/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
6 ounces bittersweet / semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)
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Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini crumb cake pan with oil.

Whisk together the cocoa and boiling hot coffee.  Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted.  Whisk in the prunes and applesauce.  Add the egg replacer eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup and whisk until smooth.

In a separate bowl whisk together the gluten-free flour, blanched almond flour, salt, and xanthan gum.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well (but don’t over mix).  Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes (if you use half the batter and make two batches, cook for 10-15 minutes and then check with a toothpick to make sure they are done).  Allow the brownie cakes to cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Cake, Dessert, Gluten Free, Gluten-Free Baking, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian