Thoughtful Thursday Best-ever Beefless Stew

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With the cooler temps finally here in the South, I wanted to try a new vegan soup recipe. But I wanted something really hearty that would be filling and I found it. This is a recipe for “Best-ever Beefless Stew” with portobello mushrooms taking the place of beef. If you’re not a fan of portobellos, I’m sure you could use another type of mushroom that would taste just as good.

I gotta say this was one of the most delicious and satisfying stews I’ve ever had! A few things I would change to the recipe is to add a little salt and pepper to taste and it also calls for fresh parsley as a topping. But I wasn’t too crazy with flavor of the parsley with the stew. I would recommend giving it a try anyways and see for yourself, you may end up liking it.

This recipe was published in the latest Forks Over Knives, “100 Best Plant-Based Recipes,” 2021 and it can also be found on their website “Best-ever Beefless Stew.” It was really easy to make with everyday ingredients.

Forks Over Knives  100 Best Plant-Based Recipes  2021 image 0

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of this issue, it’s available on the Forks Over Knives Website.

Hope you’ll give this tasty recipe a try 😊

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“Health is the first form of Wealth. Invest in yours by eating whole, unprocessed foods.” ~ Dr. Axe

Thoughtful Thursday – Spaghetti Squash

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With autumn here, squash and pumpkins are in season! Spaghetti squash is one of my favorites this time of year. It’s a round/oval shaped yellow squash that can be light in color or a little more orange. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and is low in calories. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, maganese and Vitamin B6.

1 Cup Cooked Spaghetti Squash contains about:

  • Calories: 42
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 2.2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 8% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 8% of the RDI
  • Pantothenic acid: 6% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI

Instead of eating traditional spaghetti that’s loaded with carbs and can be fattening, try making some spaghetti squash. It’s fairly easy to make and quite delicious. Although I must warn you, that cutting the spaghetti squash can be a little hard so be careful and use a sharp knife.

Recipe:

  • Cut the ends off the spaghetti squash and cut in half lengthwise.
  • Remove the seeds with a spoon.
  • Fill a shallow pan with about 1/4″ inch of water.
  • Place the spaghetti squash in the water, cut side down.
  • Bake in oven at 400 ̊F for 45 minutes or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. 
  • Once it’s cool enough to handle, gently scrape the inside flesh with a fork lengthwise to separate the spaghetti like strands but be careful not to break the outer shell.
  • Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, if desired and serve with marinara sauce.

You can serve spaghetti squash in a variety of ways by adding different veggies, navy beans, chick peas or anything else that you like to eat. There are plenty of recipes online to get you started. So why not try something new and healthy too! You may be pleasantly surprised.

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“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday Veggie Soup Recipe

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With the frigid cold months approaching, it’s always nice to sit down with a warm bowl of soup. I always go into soup mode during the fall and winter seasons. It’s pretty warm down here in the south, but thankfully the temps do cool off enough to enjoy delicious soups.

Soups are especially tasty when you’re feeling under the weather. There’s a certain magic to eating a warm bowl of soup. No matter how bad you feel, you always feel better after eating a bowl.

There are many types of soups. Some are served cool or flat out cold while others are served warm or very hot. The consistency also varies depending on what’s in your soup. Personally, I like a soup full of flavor and hearty enough to satisfy my appetite.

You can buy lots of soups in your grocery store. But that’s all processed food loaded with salt and a lot of other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Not to mention ingredients that shouldn’t be in your food in the first place. Making soup is fairly easy and most definitely worth the effort.

The internet is loaded with tons of recipes. I find vegan soups taste just as good or sometimes even better than non-vegan. Forks-Over-Knives has a ton of delicious soup recipes on their website. Whether you’re vegan or not, these recipes serve as good place to start with and then just add a few of your own ingredients.

One of my favorite soups is made in my Vitamix Blender which has a program setting for hot soup. If you don’t have a setting for hot soup on your blender you can still make this soup using your blender and then warm it on the stove for a few minutes.

Creamy Veggie Soup Recipe

  • 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 Large Pieces of Fresh Broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Red Miso
  • 1/8 tsp Organic Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cup Water

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If your blender doesn’t have the soup feature, then warm the soup in a small pot on the stove for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl.

Extras

  • 1/2 Hass Avocado, sliced
  • Fresh Organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Slice of Ezekiel Bread

Top your soup with sliced avocado and cilantro. Serve with a slice of bread and enjoy!

Try creating your own variations with this soup, like adding some cooked black beans outside of the blender for texture. There’s lots of options, be creative and add what you love to eat.

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“In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” ~Deepak Chopra

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Thoughtful Thursday Homegrown Alfalfa Sprouts

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Alfalfa sprouts are mild flavored and very nutritious to eat. Studies have shown they are a high anti-oxidant, anti-aging food source. These little sprouts can help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and diabetes, prevent osteoporosis and more.

I used to buy fresh living alfalfa sprouts at my local grocery store but sadly they stopped carrying them. So I decided the freshest and safest way to get them was to grow them myself. I’ve tried several sprouting trays and they don’t always produce the best results.

Getting frustrated, I decided to go back to basics and try using a large, wide mouth mason jar with a sprouting lid. This is working beautifully and is very easy. I only need 1 Tbsp of seeds and in about 4 days, I have fresh organic alfalfa sprouts that are delicious and crisp. The sprouts can be stored in the fridge for about 4-6 days.

Alfalfa Sprouts taste great on salads, sandwiches, in smoothies and anything else you can think of. Below are instructions to grow your own spouts and links to Amazon.com for the supplies.

Instructions to Grow your own Sprouts:

  1. Fill a wide mouth mason jar with 2 cups of cool, fresh water and add 1 Tbsp of High Mowing Organic Alfalfa Seeds (I’ve had good results with this brand, the seeds are sourced in the United States). Cap the jar with a sprouting lid and soak the seeds for 8 hours. Then drain and rinse the seeds keeping the lid on. Store the jar upside down, in a bowl, at an angle so water can continue to drain.
  2. Rinse and drain the seeds with the lid on once in the morning and once at night. And again store the jar upside down, in a bowl, at an angle.
  3. Repeat step 2, everyday for about 4 days until your sprouts are ready.
  4. On the last day, depending on the light in your kitchen, you may want to move the grown sprouts to a window where they can get indirect sunlight to make them a little more green. You only need to keep them there for a few hours and then store them in fridge until you’re ready to eat them (also, I rinse the seeds before eating to remove the hulls).

I hope this inspires you in some way!

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Below are links to Amazon.com for the supplies:

High Mowing Organic Alfalfa Seeds

High Mowing Seed Sprouting Jar Lid

Wide Mouth Mason Jar

“Those who think they have not time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” ~Unknown

Thoughtful Thursday – ALT Sandwich

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One of my favorite sandwiches used to be the BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato). But now that I’ve gone vegan, those sandwiches are off the menu. Years ago I tried avocados. I wasn’t too crazy about them because they have a bit of a bland flavor but that can be a good thing.

The other day I wanted to make a really good sandwich and thought I’d try an ALT, avocado, lettuce and tomato. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted and satisfied my hunger. It was even easier to make than a BLT because I didn’t have to cook the bacon. Plus I felt great after eating it.

I simply used 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted and spread with vegan mayonnaise. Then I added the avocado slices, lettuce, tomato and a little Himalayan sea salt. Voila! I had a delicious, healthy, satisfying sandwich!

Thanks for stopping by and hope you give this a try!

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“Health is not about the weight you lose, but about the life you gain.” ~Dr. Josh Axe

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Thoughtful Thursday – Adverse Affects of Dairy

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As most of your know, I went vegan about 4 years ago. Not because it was the “in thing” to do but because of health issues I was having at the time. I drank lots of milk when I was a kid and I think we’ve all heard the slogan, “Milk, it does the body good.” But does it really?

I grew up thinking that cows were put on this earth to give us milk and that was that. But when you think about it, the only reason a cow produces milk is to feed their calf. So their bodies have to be in a continual pregnant state to produce milk for us.

There’s been a lot of research done showing milk may actually do us more harm than good. For starters, one of my problems with milk was that I was constantly congested. When I’d get a cold, the congestion would get really bad. I thought by drinking only organic milk and eating only organic dairy products, I was being healthy. But my congestion just kept getting worse even though I wasn’t sick. After reading an article in a magazine I decided to give plant based milk a try and found that my congestion completely cleared up in a few weeks.

After experiencing that I started doing research and found that milk contains harmful hormones which are given to the cows to increase their milk production. Even the organic milk still has hormones in it. I also learned that milk causes your body to leach calcium from the bones which in turn can make you more susceptible to osteoporosis. Not to mention, that milk and dairy products can cause cancer. Yikes! And these were just a few of the adverse affects of dairy that I stumbled upon in my research.

There are a lot of documentaries that you can watch like Food Inc., What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation to name a few. These films were a real eye opener for me and although I didn’t go vegan initially, the more educated I became, the more I realized I needed to stick with it to stay healthy. Once I did that, I was living proof that what they were expressing in these films had a lot of truth behind it. Granted a vegan diet isn’t for everyone but there’s always room for improvement no matter what diet you consume.

Please don’t take my word for it but do your own research. You may be surprised and shocked at what you find. Your diet is the foundation to your health as well as your happiness. Because the bottom line is, if you don’t have your health, nothing else really matters. You can’t bring joy to the world if you don’t take care of yourself first. Hope you found this information helpful.

Thanks for stopping by!

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“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” ~Ayurvedic Proverb

Sources:

Forks Over Knives: “7 Ways Milk and Dairy Products are Making You Sick

The Miter: “Harmful Effects of Cow’s Milk on the Human Body Becomes More Prevalent”

Dr McDougall: T. Colin Campbell, PhD: Link Between Dairy Protein, Casein, & Cancer

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Thoughtful Thursday – Vegan Chocolate Smoothie

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Ok, I confess I’m a chocoholic. But who doesn’t like chocolate? I mean it’s just awesome! There are so many varieties of chocolate out there like white, milk, dark and all flavors in between.

Besides tasting so delicious, studies have shown that dark chocolate, at least 75% or more has some pretty good health benefits too like reducing stress and food cravings, fighting fatigue, improving blood circulation and so much more. It’s even considered nutritious and contains nearly the full RDA of copper and manganese, plus it contains descent amounts of magnesium, iron, fiber, zinc, selenium and potassium.

The 75% dark chocolate has the least amount of sugar as compared to white or milk chocolate. So it won’t contribute to weight gain as long as you don’t over do it. What I have noticed personally is that the more sugar that’s in the chocolate, the more I’ll want to eat it. I find that with the darker chocolate I only need 1 square to satisfy chocolate craving and I’m good to go.

As most of you know, I’m vegan so I’m always looking for vegan chocolates. They do make more of them now and they’re very tasty but a little more pricey than regular chocolate. With that being said I’m always on the hunt for new ways to satisfy my chocolate cravings.

I found a great smoothie recipe online that I tried. It was good but just wasn’t satisfying that rich chocolatey flavor I was looking for so I made changes and came up with this delicious Vegan Chocolate Smoothie that has a rich chocolate flavor and contains about 16 grams of protein:

  • 1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk (or any unsweet non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Gluten Free Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Cacao Nibs or 1.5 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (see note below*)
  • 2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp No Salt or Sugar Added Almond Butter
  • 2 Tsp Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Organic Date (pitt removed)
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Instant Espresso Coffee
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1 C Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

(*) Although I love cacao nibs and all the antioxidants they provide, I found that using Cocoa Powder gives the smoothie a richer and creamier flavor.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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“I’d give up chocolate, but I’m not a quitter.” ~Unknown

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Thoughtful Thursday – Benefits of Ginger

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Ginger root has been used for centuries as a spice and for medicinal purposes. The first time I tried ginger, I wasn’t too crazy about it. I loved the scent but the flavor, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve grown to really love ginger. I’ll put a few small pieces in my salad or add some to my veggie juices. I even make fresh ginger tea which is very aromatic and quite delicious (recipe below). I’ve learned and personally experienced the healing powers of ginger and I can say in all honesty, it’s truly a Superfood.

Ginger has many benefits and can help the body heal from a number of ailments naturally including:

  1. Aids in Digestion
  2. Regulates Blood Sugar
  3. Reduces Inflammation
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure
  5. Helps with Nausea
  6. Antibacterial Properties
  7. Reduces Menstrual Pain
  8. Aids in Reducing LDL Cholesterol
  9. Anti-Cancer Properties
  10. Aids Weight Loss

Before making any changes to your healthcare regime, always check with your doctor/health practitioner to make sure it’s right for you.

Ginger Tea Recipe:

  • 4-5 quarter inches pieces of ginger, slightly crushed
  • 2 Cups Water
  • Sweetener (honey, stevia)

Add ginger and water to a teapot. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes. Strain ginger pieces, add a little sweetener and enjoy.

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“Our Food should be our Medicine & our Medicine should be our Food.” ~Hippocrates

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Thoughtful Thursday – “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich Recipe Review

Vegan Chickpea "No Tuna" Salad | Forks Over Knives

I’ve been exploring more vegan recipes, especially the ones that don’t necessarily appeal to my tastebuds. And I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So far, they have all been quite delicious and tasty.

My family likes to eat tuna fish sandwiches but tuna is one of the most toxic fish you can eat. They’re high in mercury and other heavy metals because of pollutants in the water. So I wanted to find a vegan alternative. I finally decided to give this recipe a try and I’m glad I did. It’s a “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich. It’s great because it doesn’t have that fishy smell like real tuna but it’s super delicious and quite filling. Plus it’s quick and easy to make.

The recipe was published in the latest Forks Over Knives, “100 Best Plant-Based Recipes,” 2021 and it can also be found on their website “No Tuna” Salad Sandwich.

Forks Over Knives  100 Best Plant-Based Recipes  2021 image 0

The main ingredient is chick peas aka garbanzo beans which is not necessarily my favorite but they work well in this recipe. I served my family these sandwiches and they were a hit! Lots of flavor, very filling and satisfying, vegan and most important, No Mercury! It’s a win win.

I recommend getting a little crazy and giving it a try. You may discover new flavors on this adventure!

Thanks for stopping by!

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“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.” ~ T. Collin Campbell

Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

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Keto Day 15 – Progress Report

Okay, today is my last Keto Diet progress report. I promised to report the good, the bad and and ugly. Well, I started out good, losing weight and inches and that has now slowed down to a crawl unfortunately. I’ve lost a total of 7 pounds but my body fat and muscle mass is the same. I’ve hit a plateau and it’s a little frustrating.

Going back to my history, my body doesn’t normally respond well to eating more fat. However, one thing I did start adding to my morning shakes was Coconut MCT Oil which is a long-chain triglyceride that is easier to digest and is a good source of energy. It’s also good for brain health. You can have it everyday, but I only add it to my diet 3 times a week. I will say I’ve noticed that my mind is definitely sharper. So that’s a plus! Some of my other issues related to inflammation have also lessened, another plus!

Many people lose a lot of weight on Keto, but it just doesn’t seem to totally agree with me so I have to tweak my diet a little more. I think if I go back to cooking oil free but keep the avocados, nuts, coconuts and olives in my diet a few times a week I’m hoping I can find a good balance.

The Keto recipes were delicious and I now have a few new favorites. I’m still a believer in the Keto Lifestyle and recommend giving it a try. But eat a clean Keto Diet, not the ones that convince you a slab of bacon is healthy. Before making any changes to your diet, always check with your healthcare practitioner.

Thanks for your support on this adventure!

Recommend books for Keto Diet:

  • “Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola

  • “Keto-Green 16” by Dr Anna Cabeca

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“If your body’s not right the rest of your day will go wrong. Take care of yourself!” ~V. L. Allineare