Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It IS Easy Being Green ;)

Forget about what you've heard before ('it's not easy being green...'  I can't quite recall - was that Kermit that said that?  I think it was... ) I'm here to tell you that (for me, anyway) it has been SO easy going vegan that I'm pleasantly surprised! 

I'm loving the fact that my tastebuds seemed to have cleaned out and I truly welcome the tastes of fresh vegetables and fruit and really (honestly!) dislike the taste of so much 'dead' food that I had been eating before... breads, pasta, meat {shudder} and other things that just had no life left in them.

I love the fact that my skin looks more radiant and my hair and nails (which always grew really fast before) now grow even more quickly!

I've been putting my KitchenAid food processor and blender through their paces on a daily basis - creating healthy smoothies and delicious entrees.  My husband is really happy on our new diet as well.  He's lost weight and feels fantastic.  

It does require more preparation (obviously) but after trying (with very disappointing results) to go out for dinner - even when the food choices were 'clean', we have noticed a huge difference (likely the culprit is large amounts of sodium, among other things used in restaurants) so we opt to stay home for 98% of our meals now.

I'm waiting (rather impatiently) for the day when I can afford a Vitamix.  I'm dying to make my own nut flours in addition to hot soups without cooking!

Until then, I continue to put my small appliances to good use and allow my creativity in the kitchen to roam free... 

Eat Healthy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sue's Southwestern Black Bean Soup (Vegan)

Another cold snap in Ontario... we spent my birthday at Blue Mountain (Collingwood, ON) and that week, the temperatures were around -32 c - just lovely!  (NOT)  Great weather for sitting by a fireplace, playing board games and having warming, comforting foods... 

When we drove home again, we were both hungry and I was in too much of a rush to make dinner to have time to soak my beans overnight, etc., so once again, this was a quick soup thrown together with ingredients on hand.  When I make this again, I will plan better and soak my dried beans overnight... 

It's hearty and filling and oh-so good!


3 tins black beans (do not rinse) 1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 large tin stewed tomatoes
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped 
1 tsp cayenne (optional - since I am allergic, I have to forego this ingredient)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
Black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil


In medium size pot...
Sauté onions, garlic and spices with oil
Add all other ingredients and bring to rapid boil
Turn down to minimum for 20-30 minutes

Use immersion blender to combine all ingredients before serving 

Makes 4-6 generous servings ** I like to top with more chopped cilantro ;)

Sue's Quinoa, Kale/Spinach & Chickpea Soup

It's been rather cold in Toronto lately.  No real snow but still... brrr... !  As much as I love to eat raw foods, I was hankering for something warm...  so I decided to make some delicious soup.

I know... in a perfect world, I would not have used tinned chickpeas or purchased broth - but the world is not perfect and neither am I - sometimes you are hungry and need to use up what you have on hand!


3 large tins chickpeas - rinsed
2 large boxes reduced sodium broth - vegetable or chicken (900ml each) 3 larger carrots, sliced
2-3 large stalks of celery, chopped
4 cups spinach, chopped (kale is good too)
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup quinoa
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1" fresh ginger - sliced (2" if you want it more spicy)
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp olive oil


In large stock pot...
Sauté onions, garlic and spices in oil until soft
Add all other ingredients except quinoa
Bring to rapid boil then add quinoa and lower heat to minimum for 20-30 minutes 
This makes a large pot - approx. 8-12 servings, depending on size of serving

* Note:  apparently this soup was so delicious, I got excited about eating it and forgot to photograph it!  OOPS!!

Sue's Southwestern Black Bean Burger (Vegan)

This week, I was dying for a burger - something that was filling and could be held in a pita... I came up with these vegan black bean burgers - the recipe is a keeper!  Not only are they packed with protein and good fats - they are delicious!!

You could even eat the patties 'as is' without additional cooking but the seeds toast up really nicely and I like the added crunchy texture... 


1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup cooked brown rice (I find it's best if the rice is cool)
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro - more if you have
1/2 - 1tsp cumin 
Black pepper to taste 
1/2 cup flax seeds (whole)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

* optional - cayenne pepper would be nice (I'm allergic to it so I can't use it...) 


Pulse in food processor till just combined - add seeds at the end so that they don't get pulverized 
Form patties (I use a patty press for consistency )

Bake, grill, fry... ENJOY!!

Makes 2 burgers 

Sue's Vegan Ginger Cookies

I was hoping for a gingersnap cookie but what I ended up with was somehow better... ;)  they are chewy and delicious - and satiating - so you won't feel the need to eat them all at once... 

Vegan Ginger Cookies 


1 cup oats
1 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup molasses 
1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup flax seeds 
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 cup minced ginger root
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper 


Mix all ingredients together 
Scoop using 1" size cookie scoop onto silicone liner or parchment lined cookie sheet 

Flatten with wet spoon

Bake at 350 deg 15-20 minutes 

Yield 40-48 two-bite size cookies

A New Year - A New Approach to Food

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before but I used to be a vegetarian (like a good yogi)... until about two and a half years ago, when I started adding back animal proteins into my diet.

I'm not really proud of it, nor am I ashamed... but (hangs head) I was so desperate to lose weight after a period of not being able to exercise (another - prior - injury) that I went on Dr. Bernstein's (gasp) diet plan about two and a half years ago.

I know... I know... but you know what?  It helped me to learn about portion control (I'd never had to worry about that before) and it helped me to learn how certain foods affected me (bloating... non-satiating... whatever... ).  I also lost 28 lbs (when you are tiny - 4'11" - that's a LOT of excess to be carrying!) which (unlike most people who have done this diet, I am told...) I mostly kept off (give or take about 10-12 lbs recently)

All of this preamble is to explain that the reason I went back to eating animal proteins was because on that diet, I was forbidden to have grains, lentils, beans... in other words - my staple foods... it was basically, eat chicken or starve to death... 

Anyhow, fast forward to December 2012, and once again I'm feeling desperate about my weight and unable to exercise (for reasons noted in my prior December 2012 post) and utterly miserable.

I asked a couple of my nutritionist friends for some help because - god help me - I was almost desperate enough to consider Dr B. again in this never-ending pelvic injury that prevents me from being active.

Instead of spending all of my money on that, I embarked (on January 2, 2013) on a '3-day green cleanse' to help me kickstart some healthier eating habits and give my system a break from the foods (animal proteins and simple sugars) I had been consuming.  Besides, once again, the texture of fish, chicken and beef and become abhorrent to me and when I bit into it, I felt like I was eating a cousin... I knew it was time to be a vegetarian again.

Three days into my green cleanse, I was feeling so fantastic that I just kept on going... and so was born the new and improved me:  a vegan.  Trust me, I was surprised... I really thought I would miss eggs and cheese - turns out I was wrong. 

SO, in true OCD fashion... I've been embarking on some new adventures with culinary delights created in my blender, juicer and food processor.

I'm really excited about some of the recipes I've created (which, unlike my fabulous non-vegan cakes and cookies) are vegan and anti-inflammatory - which, let's face it - I sorely need right now with this horrible osteitis pubis condition that I have.

So - onward!