Google+ Followers

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Zucchini Lasagna That's Easy, Tasty, and Nutritious





In a food rut? My suggestion is to make Zucchini Lasagna, like I did this week. This gluten free plant-based dish is sure to perk up your taste buds. It's a simple-to-follow recipe that's delicious as all get out. Zucchini is featured in place of lasagna noodles. Tofu, which contains 8 grams of protein in every 3 oz. portion, also contains 15% of the RDA of calcium. What a nutritional punch.


No need to puzzle about handling tofu. The secret to making this bland tasting high protein ingredient flavorful is to season it well. Use plenty of spices and herbs that are customary to Italian-style dishes. Your meal mates and you will smile with glee. Although Zucchini Lasagna is low-carb, it's hearty and filling. It's the perfect dish to serve on the weekend, either for brunch or dinner. It serves 4-6 generous portions, with leftovers.


With no cholesterol and moderate cost to boot (organic tofu is approx. $1.50 lb.), this entree is healthy and economical.


Let it bubble away in the oven, while you read the Sunday paper, watch the game, or prep it a day ahead so the flavors meld. Allow a half hour prep time and an hour cook time. Whenever you decide to cook it, take it from me, it's fun to assemble, cook, and serve.




Now on to the recipe for Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:



1 14 oz.-16 oz. container firm or extra firm organic tofu that has been drained. Here's a simple way to drain the water out of a brick of tofu.
4 medium organic zucchini
2 15 oz. cans crushed, chopped, or diced organic tomatoes including juice
1 can (4 oz.) organic mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
1 medium chopped organic onion
5 fresh grated garlic cloves
1 cup fresh chopped basil (1/2 cup for sauce and 1/2 cup for tofu)
2 teaspoons dried thyme (half for sauce and half for tofu ) or 2 Tablespoons Fresh chopped thyme (half and half)
2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped sage (half for sauce and half for tofu) or 2 teaspoons dried sage (half for sauce and half for tofu)
1/4 cup fresh oregano (half for sauce and half for tofu)


Optional: Adding extra items to the sauce adds depth, increases thickness, nutrients, and calories: 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, 1-6 oz. can organic tomato paste, 2 organic chopped carrots, 1 organic red pepper chopped, 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, bunch organic parsley chopped, rosemary, and other veggies or seasonings you enjoy.


What to Do:





1. Gather all ingredients including a 13"x9"x2 1/4" baking pan or similar. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash or chop drained tofu. 

2. Cut off end pieces of 4 medium organic zucchini and scrape clean. Slice each with a mandolin slicer or by hand. Make pieces about 1/8 " thick. Here's a photo to show you how 2 zucchini look, after they have been scraped clean, and the other two have been sliced thin.




3. Chop onion and grate garlic.  Directions provided in step 2 of this link explains how to grate garlic as well as brown garlic and onion without using oil. After onion and garlic are brown, put half into the tofu.


4. Put ingredients for the sauce (tomatoes, half the onion and garlic, mushrooms, and half the herbs and spices) in the same pot that you used to brown the onion and garlic. Blend them all. 


Note: I learned from my experience cooking this recipe the first time, to add an optional ingredient, a can of tomato paste to the mix. Two cans of tomatoes make a slightly watery sauce, one that is thinner than I like a sauce to be. I suggest you either pour off some of the juice from the tomatoes (it’s good to save the liquid for soup stock) or add a can of tomato paste to the ingredients above.

5. Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and put a layer of zucchini over it. 


One layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, layer of zucchini goes next



6. Spread the tofu mixture over that. Top with a third layer (zucchini layer). Top zucchini layer with the remaining tomato sauce. Grind on fresh pepper and salt to taste.




7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately one hour or until zucchini noodles are soft, but not mushy. Test by seeing whether a knife will cut through a piece easily.

See how much fun it was to make? Only seven steps and you're done!



Zucchini Lasagna with Snap Pea Salad, Oil and Vinegar


For an added treat: Check out an original recipe that describes How-to-Make-Eggplant-Lasagna


Please comment below. Do you think you'll make this recipe? Can you offer ideas about other optional veggies that might be good to add? If you like what you see, please share the love. Thanks for the visit, and please come back again. 

The quote for today comes from Jane Velez-Mitchell. "Cholesterol does not exist in vegetables. Vegetables do not clog arteries." 
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/janevelez641583.html

This post has been shared at Let's Get Real Blog Hop #170


This post has been shared at Pin-Junkie-Pin-Party-192


This post has been shared at Healthy-Living-Link-Party-88


This post has been shared at No Rules Weekend Blog Party #208


This post has been shared at The-Plant-based-Potluck-Party-Link-up-110


This post has been shared at Share the Wealth Sunday Link-up 82


This post has been shared at Happiness-is-Homemade-Link-Party-147

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween Edition Wordless Wednesday























Please Stay Safe and Have Fun This Halloween


The quote for today is: 

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,

May luck be yours on Halloween.    ~Author Unknown



Thrilled to Share this Post is the Happy Feature at The-Healthy-Happy-Green-and-Natural-Party-Blog-Hop-134


This post has been shared at The Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop #133


This post has been shared at Tuesdays with a Twist #184 LINKUP

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Smoky Vegan Split Pea Soup

For a flavorful fall or winter supper, ladle out steaming cups or bowls of smoky vegan split pea soup. It's hearty, delicious, nutrient rich, yet doesn't contain fat or cholesterol.




Prepare it when you know you'll be home for a few hours, whether that's on the weekend or early in the day. Let the soup simmer on the stove, while you work from home, do household tasks, read, jog on a treadmill, or watch TV. 





This recipe goes a long way. It serves at least eight people, and is so versatile. It's great for lunch, dinner, or even as a low-cal snack. Savor its flavor again during the week. This is a simple way to cut down on meal prep time, save energy, and money to boot.

Smoky vegan split pea soup is an economical meatless meal that tempts your taste buds, as 1 pound of organic dried split peas cost approximately $2.99 a pound. Conventional dried peas are approximately $1.99 a pound. Use the seasonings and veggies you already have on hand, and you can whip up a meal you and your brood will love for pennies on the dollar.

Smoky vegan split pea soup is a nutrition star. It fulfills a big chunk of the daily requirement for protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This soup is a good source of fuel for your body without added fat. Leftovers freeze well, and eating it when its defrosted and heated prevents food waste too.



One Cup of Homemade Smoky Vegan Split Pea Serves Up:


*Hearty Taste from a Health Promoting Legume that's available throughout the year


*50 percent of the RDA of Vitamin A to help support eye health


*39 percent of Manganese, a mineral that helps maintain strong teeth and bones


*31 percent of B 1 (Thiamine), a b-complex vitamin that helps our bodies produce energy, supports the nervous system, and helps prevent digestive and memory problems


*23 percent of the RDA for B 5 (Pantothenic Acid), a b-complex vitamin that our bodies use to process carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids for healthy skin


*20 percent of the RDA for Potassium to help build muscle and process carbs for energy


*33 percent of the RDA of Protein at 7 grams per serving




*39 percent of the RDA of copper, a mineral that helps incorporate iron into red blood cells to prevent anemia, as well as plays a role to keep blood vessels, nerves, immune system and bones healthy



*Good Source of Soluble and Insoluble Fiber, at 8 grams per serving or 65 percent of the daily requirement. Fiber helps carry toxins out of the body, increases stool bulk, and prevents constipation and other digestive disorders


*A Complex Carbohydrate with approx. 40 carbs per cup. 




* Its glycemic index number is low, but if you want to decrease the glycemic index number further, replace the russet potato in the recipe with parsnip.


Note: Check out this link and scroll down to the section for vegetables to find the "pea" glycemic index number Glycemic Index Chart and Glycemic Load for 100 foods.



*Big flavor, yet is a Low Calorie Meal, at approximately 115 calories per cup



*A Non-fat Recipe that contains Zero Cholesterol


Now, on to the recipe...



Ingredients:




1 pound organic dried green split peas
8 cups water
2 medium chopped organic yellow onions
4 organic chopped carrots
3 stalks organic chopped celery
1/2 organic chopped zucchini
1 small organic chopped russet or sweet potato (lower the glycemic index rating and use chopped parsnip instead)
1 sprig fresh snipped organic basil or organic parsley
1 organic bay leaf
2 sprigs organic snipped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves organic garlic that has been minced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried organic thyme
1 teaspoon dried organic sage
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (this makes soup taste smoky without having to use any smoked meat)
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
4 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos (or gluten free low sodium soy sauce)
optional ingredients: freshly minced dill, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley, croutons 


Note: I always use organic ingredients when available, because organic means produce and seasonings aren’t genetically modified, aren't sprayed with chemicals, and aren't grown in soil that contains chemical fertilizers.


Note: No need to get overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients. All veggies can be chopped in a food processor. To keep additional prep simple, when herbs or spices mentioned above aren't in your pantry, use a substitute. Seasoning blends like 21 Seasoning Salute works well. Avoid trips to the market, and use what's in your house already. Incorporate veggies like shallots, leeks, scallions, mushrooms, red pepper, cabbage, turnip, and other varieties of squash. The more the merrier. When you add extra veggies, it makes the soup taste more full bodied and yummy. 





What to Do:


1. Soak split peas for at least 8 hours in enough water to cover by 2 inches. Use at least 6 cups of water, because spit peas will expand when soaked. Pour off liquid, pick out any grit that remains, and rinse well.
2. Cook peas in 8 cups of clean water on high until boiling. Add bay leaf, minced garlic cloves, and chopped onion. Lower heat to medium. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally. 
3. Add the other dry spices and fresh veggies and lower to simmer. Cover and continue cooking, until peas and veggies are tender and partly mushy (anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour). Don't forget to stir every 10 or so minutes to avoid soup from overflowing or sticking to bottom of the pot. If you decide to add additional veggies, use an extra cup of water for each veggie you include. Season accordingly. Add fresh snipped herbs a few minutes before you're ready to take the pot off the stove.
4. Remove soup pot from heat. Put on a cutting board or other heat resistant surface. Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree soup until it is blended to a consistency you like. 







In my house, we like thick yet smooth soup.



Smoky Vegan Split Pea Soup with Smoked Paprika and Basil Garnish



Serve it with gluten free flax seed crackers, or with a slice of toast with almond or peanut butter. At other times, we combine it with leftover rice, quinoa, or barley. We warm it up by pouring it directly into the soup, for a terrific one dish meal.




Enjoy the Homemade Goodness of Smoky Vegan Pea Soup, an unprocessed whole food with no additives or preservatives, no refined sugar, low sodium, and no harmful ingredients added to bulk it up. Your meal mates will be delighted by its lively taste and so will you!


I'm glad you stopped by. Before you go, please take a moment to comment and then pin, stumble, or reshare the post (with my URL link included) on social media of your choosing. Sharing is caring and I appreciate your help in spreading the word about this blog.

Here's the quote for today:


"I live on good soup, not on fine words."  Moliere


Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/soup.html

This post has been shared at the-Plant-based-Potluck-Party-Link-up-109

This post has been shared at The Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop #133

This post has been shared at Tuesdays with a Twist #184 LINKUP

This post has been shared at Lets-Get-Real-Friday-Party-164

This post has been shared at Homestead-Blog-Hop-105


This post has been shared at The-Plant-based-Potluck-Party-Link-up-107

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday at Tohono Chul Park







































Before you go, I'd love it if you'd sign up for my email list. It's an easy way to receive news, wellness ideas, recipes, and more to nurture your mind, body, and spirit. Please Click this link to join my email list. Type "email list" on the subject line of the email so I know what you want. Type your name in the body of your email. Look for an email from obloggernewbie@gmail.com to come directly to your inbox. I'll send one along to you, once every 4-6 weeks. Thanks for the visit and I look forward hearing from you.

The quote for today is from Albert Einstein



This post has been shared at Lets-Get-Real-Friday-Party-160

This post has been shared at No Rules weekend Blog Party # 201

This post has been shared at Wordless Wednesday – September Is Healthy Cat Month!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tips, Recipes, and Ideas to Help You Plan a Vegan Potluck




Celebrating the end of summer can be such fun. If you're anything like I am, you want to keep weekend entertaining simple and low fuss. 

Why not have the gang over, and share the food prep with your nearest and dearest? Want to make the theme one that's especially nutritious and delicious? My suggestion is to plan a Vegan Potluck. 


Take a peek at this sample party invitation. It describes what vegan is and is not. It also provides ideas that your guests can choose from to bring. 

    
You're Invited to a Vegan Potluck






Bring a Brunch or Lunch Item with Serving Utensils. To help conserve, reuse, and recycle please bring your own reusable plate, and appetite. Your hosts will be making veggie wraps and provide the beverages.

Please keep it simple, and contribute something that doesn't need to be heated. If you're not sure what vegan means ...

Every Vegetable or Fruit under the sun
Every Grain, Legume, Bean, Seed, or Nut in the world 

Vegan does not mean any dairy product including yogurt, cheese, milk, cream, butter or beef or other meat product including pork, fish product, poultry product (including eggs), honey, or mayonnaise or bread with egg in it. 

If you need help thinking of a dish or are still unclear about what vegan means, please call us or look below for ideas. We prefer stuff to be organic, but please make sure that it is at least NON-GMO. 

tossed green salad 
three bean salad
sandwiches
tabbouleh
quinoa pilaf or salad
veggie stew or combo
gazpacho or fruit soup
hummus
organic fruit or organic fruit salad
guacamole
salsa and chips
lentil or bean loaf
kale chips or corn chips
pasta salad (without cheese or mayo with egg)
potato salad (made with vegan mayo or dressing without egg)
sweet potatoes
shredded carrot salad
cole slaw (made with vegan mayo or dressing without egg)
spinach salad (without bacon)
organic tofu or organic tempeh dish
organic edamame in pod
nuts and dried fruit
bread, cakes, cookies made without eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cream, cheese or other dairy or meat derived ingredients
seeds
squash
vegetable medley
veggie pâté

                                                    ******

My contribution to a party like this would be the wraps and my latest favorite party food, Homemade Hummus with a Kick.


Hummus dip has gained popularity over the last decade. There are many varieties of hummus served nowadays. I've made roasted garlic, kalamata olive, roasted red pepper, and artichoke and love them all. The costly store bought form can be easily made at home for a fraction of the price. Today I'll share my favorite recipe of the moment so you can see how simple and tasty it is to make.


Homemade Hummus with a Kick



Hummus with a Grilled Veggie Tossed Salad

Ingredients:


1 Tablespoon Organic Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 Cans Organic Garbanzo Beans (Also Called Chickpeas) rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons Organic Tahini (ground sesame seeds)
¼ cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Cup Water


Note: I use organic items whenever possible, because they taste better, are healthier for you, and don't pollute the planet.


What to Do:


Heat oil in a small frying pan and add minced garlic and cumin. Sauté for a minute or two or until lightly browned.

Put this mixture and next 5 ingredients in a food processor and purée for a moment. Add the water slowly, and as needed, to make the hummus a smooth consistency or as chunky as you like. Grind in fresh black pepper and salt to taste.

Chill until ready to serve. Hummus will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 5 days. This recipe serves 8-10 people, and can be served to top grilled veggie salads, in a romaine lettuce or collard green hummus veggie wrap, or on a crudité platter with crackers, corn chips, or pita chips.




Check out this whole food quinoa casserole dish, perfect to bring along to the next potluck. Vividly Colored Plant-based Dish that's Great to Serve at a Potluck.






To end your gathering on a high note, Serve a chilled Red, White, and Blue Dessert.




Here in the United States it’s the Labor Day Weekend. This public holiday honors the American labor movement and its workers. This year it's celebrated on September 5, 2016. I’m proud to say I've done my part to strengthen, create prosperity, and add to the well-being of our country. Wishing you a most relaxing weekend and fun-filled Labor Day.

Please take a moment to comment and share the LOVE!



Picture Credit/freerangestock.com

My quote for today is: “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” George Bernard Shaw

This post has been shared at Sunday-Fitness-Food-Link-Up-7 and Sunday Fitness Food Link Up 32

This post has been shared at Happiness-is-Homemade-Link-Party-137

This post has been shared at Share the Wealth Sunday #72 . It's #174

This post has been shared at Real-Food-Fridays-155

This post has been shared at the Healthy-Living-Link-Party-78

This post has been shared at No-Rules-Weekend-Blog-Party-198!

This post has been shared at Let’s Get Real Friday Party # 157

This post has been shared at The Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #101

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan