A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Happy holidays! Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week already? Where did the year go??

What are you all thankful for? I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my health and I’m also thankful for my decision to go vegan nearly 8 years ago.

I remember my very first vegan Thanksgiving. It was so depressing because I had just learned some disappointing truths about food, as I was studying at Bauman College getting my Nutrition Educator certification at the time. I had no idea what to eat as everything seemed wrong. Flash forward to this Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t be more excited!! There are SO many wonderful options for the holidays, so fear not; even if it’s your first vegan holiday! You got this!

You may be wondering what I’ll be having for Thanksgiving, and I’m happy to share! This year, we will be joining some family for an intimate gathering of vegan and non-vegan festive foods. Our host is vegan-friendly, and will be preparing some yummy options for us including mac ‘n’ cheese, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and more! It’s always such a treat when I can go somewhere for the holidays and not have to bring an entire meal for myself!

I will be contributing some additional dishes though, using some delicious recipes I’ve collected. I love experimenting with new recipes and sharing them with family and friends.

My menu includes the following:

First, our protein will come from a delicious lentil loaf, and I’ll be trying The Simple Veganista’s Ultimate Lentil Loaf.

(that’s her photo below, not mine, but isn’t it lovely?)

Secondly, I’ll be making a butternut squash casserole from Oh She Glows.

For dessert, I wanted to share this decadent sweet potato chocolate pudding, which is also from Oh She Glows, as I made this last week on a whim, and LOVED it!! It’s from her newer cookbook, Oh She Glows Everyday.

(this is my photo)

I’m tellin’ ya–you wouldn’t even know there were sweet potatoes in there, and when you top it with some coconut whipped cream, OMG. Which reminds me, Trader Joe’s just brought in their own coconut whipped cream!!! Get it while you can!!!

If you need more recipes, here are some excellent links with tons to choose from:

Oh She Glows: http://ohsheglows.com/categories/recipes-2/holiday/holiday-thanksgiving/

Minimalist Baker: https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-thanksgiving-recipe-roundup/

Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/101-vegan-thanksgiving-recipes?utm_term=.hyz5DZNMg#.wunkQxYXv

Please consider leaving turkeys off your plate, as there are obviously so many other delicious cruelty-free choices!

Wild Turkey

Consider some of these amazing facts about turkeys:

  • Turkeys are intelligent and form strong social bonds with their family and flock mates, sometimes traveling in the wild with groups of 200 or more.
  • Turkeys are very affectionate; rather similar to dogs.
  • Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognise each other.
  • Three hundred million turkeys are killed in the U.S. each year, many for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Give thanks to all the goodness in your life, even if you only acknowledge one thing!

If you want personalized help going plant based, please reach out! I’m passionate about changing the world; one meal at a time! The future is vegan!!

Simple & Comforting Brown Rice Porridge

I usually make a big ol’ batch of brown rice weekly. I typically use it for lunches and dinners, but here is a yummy (and super quick) brown rice breakfast recipe that is great for the cooler mornings of fall and winter. It’s got cinnamon, which is naturally warming and spicy, and I also add almond butter to kick up the protein content, but you can use whatever nut butter you choose. Tahini would also be lovely in this recipe! 

Brown Rice Porridge

  • 2 cups pre-cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Medjool dates, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter (or tahini)
  • Teensy pinch of sea salt

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine almond milk, sweetener, almond butter and dates. Bring to a low boil, and then simmer on low for about 5 minutes to soften the dates.

Add the brown rice, cinnamon and sea salt and cook for about 5 minutes until your rice is soft.

Enjoy immediately.

A little preparation can go a long way! Having pre-cooked brown rice is so helpful; especially if you lead a busy life and/or have kids! Brown rice is so versatile, as you can see!

Need more ideas for tasty and simple recipes and advice on how to incorporate them into your life? Contact me! I always offer a complimentary 30 minute consult where we can chat about your personal health related goals!

 

 

Confessions of an Avid Recipe Follower

So, I have a confession to make: I am not that original when it comes to food.

am, however, a good recipe follower. I think I used to be more creative, before Alana (our 18 month old daughter) came into our world, but now, I need meals to be quick, nutrient dense, and full-proof. Meaning, I don’t have a ton of time to play and tinker around with ingredients. That’s why my mode is typically to take one of my favorite cookbooks, pick out a bunch of recipes at the beginning of the week, shop according to what I’ll need for them, and cook only those. Lately, I’ve been alternating between Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows books (there are two) and Thug Kitchen (also, two books, but I stick with the classic book “Eat Like you Give a F*ck”. It’s hilarious, if you haven’t picked that one up yet, btw…as long as you are okay with all the curse words!

I wanted to post photos of some recipes I’ve made this week since I am taking a break from social media, so I am not posting there. I know this may seem counter-productive, considering I “use it for business”, but I was finding that it was consuming a LOT of my time and energy. It’s not all bad. I LOVE social media, and I do see the good that can come out of it! I just needed to take a little break. Since not checking my phone every 2 minutes, I have found I have had more time for cooking and just enjoying my food, rather than cooking, snapping 57 photos of it, posting it and then taking all that time to include a meaningful caption for it…and let’s not forget all the hashtags! 😉 I’ll get back to it soon, I’m sure, but right now, I am enjoying my little social media “vacation.”

I also truly wanted to confess that I am an avid recipe follower, contrary to what some of you may believe regarding my talents in the kitchen. I do love going rogue and getting creative, but that hasn’t been my speed recently, since I like the idea of streamlining the areas of my life that I actually can control. You give up a lot of control once you have a child, but meal planning should be something that just happens without stress. Having good recipes and planning ahead make this all possible.

I still purchase and love recipe books! I never tire of them, and I love the idea of making something I can be confident will turn out the way it should so I can get back to being with my daughter and husband. Since Alana is eating with us full time now, and she’s also vegan, I love knowing I can make tasty, plant based foods that she can enjoy, too. Not that everything is a guarantee she’ll eat, but we at least try!

Now, obviously, these photos aren’t all I’ve cooked this week, as there are only 3 photos (and two are dessert-type foods, ha ha!), but I haven’t been obsessed with taking food photos since I’m not immediately posting them to social media.

The photos I’ve included in this post are all from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Every Day book and the recipes are:

  • 6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup with Easiest Garlic Croutons (pictured above) pg. 143
  • The Ultimate Flourless Brownie pg. 199
  • Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars pg. 45

Not pictured, I’ve also made:

  • Green-Orange Creamsicle Smoothie pg. 13
  • Curried Chickpea Salad pg. 113
  • Golden French Lentil Stew pg. 145 (Alana LOVES this!!)
  • Shepherd’s Pie pg. 167 (my husband LOVES this!)
  • Soba Noodle Salad pg. 183 (I didn’t exactly follow her recipe, since I didn’t plan on this one, but had *most* things on hand–I mostly just used the dressing recipe and made the rest of the recipe up)

I hope that some of these recipes inspire you to cook–whether or not you like to follow recipes, or just need inspiration for new personal creations. There is nothing wrong with following recipes and using the same ones you like over and over again! I encourage my clients to purchase some of the books I love and use them along side my personal recipes I share with them. It’s great to build up your arsenal of healthy recipes! You can never have too many, and the more you play around with other people’s, the more comfortable you get creating your own!

Need more help or inspiration going plant based, or just getting more healthy in general? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute Skype or FaceTime appointment! I can not only help you with recipes, but create an entire personalized plan for you that will help you achieve long-lasting and sustainable results and health!

Happy cooking!

Copycat Ella’s Nibbly Fingers (vegan and gluten free)

After a long while of not buying anything for my kid that comes in a package, I succumbed to a few pouches (Trader’s has the best deal IMO and they are organic!), and a few cracker-type products. …and Ella’s. Oh, damn, they are so good (well, at least I believe this is what Alana thinks about them anyway), and although they aren’t too pricey, they seemed pretty darn easy to replicate. So, I finally went for it! …and they are probably a fraction of the cost of the real thing!

I looked around for some recipe inspo, and didn’t find much, so I truly just took the portions recommended for the flour (I used gluten free oat flour, since I try not to give Alana too many foods that contain gluten), and fruit portions, but then totally went rogue! Here’s what I came up with, and by the look on my daughter’s face (and the fact that she had one in each hand at one point) tells me they were a success! 🙂

Copycat Ella’s (Blueberry Banana Raisin)

  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 handful fresh organic blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teensy pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp flax meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, puree the oil, raisins, blueberries, and banana. Add sea salt (if using) and flax meal.

Move contents to a medium sized mixing bowl and fold in oat flour.

Shape about a tablespoon of your mixture into a “bar” shape (I used a little water on my hands because the mixture is a bit sticky) and line them up on your baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

I gotta say, I enjoyed the taste of them too (since I had to try them for myself). I love the feeling of making healthy foods for my daughter to enjoy. I know exactly what goes into them and I can be confident she’s eating clean and vegan!

What are some of your favorite plant based DIY kid’s snacks to make for your littles?

Are you a plant based mama, or want to be? Want to transition your family to become plant eaters? Are you pregnant and want to confidently grow your baby on a purely vegan based diet? Need guidance? Contact me! Alana is living proof that kids THRIVE on plants! Just look at those rolls! 😉

 

 

 

Green Power Protein Salad

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Well, hello there, 2017! It’s so nice to meet you!

I hope you all had an awesome time ringing in the New Year! Now, it’s time to revisit those goals and check in with how you are eating. So…how are you eating? Be honest! Are you “starting” a new diet this month?

My goal with my clients is NO DIETS. The goal is to help you transition to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, so that when the new year creeps up, it’s not some daunting task to weed out all the junk! The reality is that you can eat clean 90% of the time, and allow for those treats you love (within reason) around those special times of year or whenever you’d like. It’s not about living a restrictive life; it’s about enjoying an empowered one!

Here is a kick ass, detoxifying and energizing recipe to get you pumped for your first week of 2017! I call it my Green Power Protein Salad! It’s jam packed with nutrients, plant protein and healthy fat!

Green Power Protein Salad

 

Ingredients (serves 4):
•1 bunch organic kale (your favorite variety), rinsed well and chopped
•1 can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup pre cooked quinoa
•1 avocado, chopped

For dressing:
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1 tsp apple cider vinegar
•1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
•Water, to thin, to your desired consistency
•Sea salt and pepper to taste
Whisk and drizzle over salad, then toss!

First, place kale in a big bowl with a bit of olive oil and massage for a few moments. This helps break this rough leafy green down a bit.

Place kale and other ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing. Toss to coat.

Will store for about 3-4 days in tightly sealed container in fridge.

For more delicious and healthy recipes or to get started on your health related goals, contact me! It’s my joy and purpose to serve you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Yours in health,

Dori

RAWsberry Cheesecake – Raw Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

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For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll remember that I told you that making a raw vegan cheesecake was on my goals list. Not only was this recipe super easy, it was so delicious! I totally recommend investing in a spring-form pan, which you can easily purchase from Amazon for about $13.

I served this to some friends who came over for brunch, so it was my first time to try it, along with them! I always get a little nervous about these things, don’t you? Like, “here’s something I’ve never made, and it’s our only dessert, so I hope it doesn’t suck.” I *have* made things that suck (if anyone at Lotus is reading, how about that fiery chocolate pudding, lol!!) as I am not perfect and we all have kitchen fails once in a while. …but this, this did NOT suck. This was vegan cheesecake heaven. Light, not too sweet, not too dense, creamy, tangy, and just…you have to make it! Promise me you will!!

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RAWSberry Cheesecake (Raw Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake)

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

Filling:
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/3 cup virgin, raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup coconut nectar
1 cup fresh, organic raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
1. Place nuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base even throughout.
2. Warm coconut oil and coconut nectar in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. in your food processor or a high powered blender (such a VitaMix) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes, so be patient).
4. Pour about 2/3 (you don’t have to be exact–hard to mess up this recipe) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.
5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer.

For more delicious and guilt-free recipes such as these, or for personalized coaching, contact me! I look forward to being of service to you!

 

Macadamia Fig Smoothie

FigShake

Fig season!!! Isn’t it the BEST???

I just picked up some organic figs from Whole Foods the other day, and woke up this morning and thought, “I need to make a fig-centric smoothie”. I typically use a chocolate flavored plant-based protein powder, and I didn’t want a “chocolate/fig” thing goin’ on, but I definitely wanted protein, so that’s why I thought macadamia nuts would be a good pair!

Figs are naturally high in fiber and potassium. They are also helpful for fertility as they contain a lot of iron, which are important for healthy eggs and ovulation.

I also sweetened this with yacon syrup, and if you don’t know much about yacon syrup, let me tell you about how wonderful it is!

Yacon syrup is extremely low GI, and safe for diabetics AND for candida! It won’t feed bad bacteria. Also, it contains fructooligosaccharides, which are PRE-biotics (food that feed GOOD bacteria). It has the consistency kind of like a thinner molasses, I suppose, and it’s rich in flavor, as it comes from a tuber native to South America.

Behold–the Macadamia Fig Smoothie!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 2 tbsp. macadamia nuts
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp. yacon syrup

Blend away and enjoy!

Tell me…what is your favorite way to enjoy figs?

For more delicious recipes or personalized nutrition plans, contact me! I’m happy to be of service to you! xo-Dori

Vegan Ayurvedic Recipes

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing a food demo in an Ayurvedic Immersion class that was taught by Travis Eliot at Santa Monica Yoga. I received my 200 hour yoga teacher training with he and his amazing wife, Lauren Eckstrom last year. I admit, I don’t have extensive knowledge in Ayurveda, but I do find it very interesting! I have seen a couple of Ayurvedic practitioners in the past, and have even tried diet recommendations to help with the issues I went to see these people for. I believe in the power of Ayurveda. Heck, it’s *only* 5,000 years old. 😉

So, when it came to the food demo, I was a tad limited, since I would not have access to a kitchen. Travis originally asked if I would be willing to make kitchari, which is a sort of porridge, and it would have been awesome, but alas, no stove.

I chose two foods that I could do with minimal cooking requirements; Golden Turmeric Milk and Ayurvedic Bliss Balls. All these required were my Vitamix blender and my food processor!

I thought I would share these recipes with you, so you would have the chance to experience some of the healing benefits in these foods. They call for the use of some pretty healing and delicious spices; cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron. Before I get into the recipes, I want to share with you the benefits of these particular spices. I am a nutrition educator, after all! 😉

Spices

 

Cardamom:

  • Known as the “Queen of Spices”
  • Good for detox, digestion, and is considered an antioxidant
  • Mentioned in the Vedic texts as antidepressant
  • One of the most expensive spices next to vanilla and saffron

Cinnamon:

  • 2 types of cinnamon on the market: Ceylon & Cassia – Cassia is most common and cheaper, Ceylon is “true” cinnamon, and more expensive
  • Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, lowers blood sugar
  • Has been shown to help with HIV
  • Cinnamon pacifies Vata and Kapha doshas, but it may aggravate Pitta dosha if taken in excess.  It has a sweet, pungent, and bitter taste, it is heating, and has a pungent vipak or aftertaste

Ginger:

  • Excellent for digestion, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness
  • There is an ayurvedic sutra (verse) that says that everyone should eat fresh ginger just before lunch and dinner to enhance digestion.

Turmeric:

  • Antiinflammatory-natural Ibuprofen
  • Antioxidant / anti-cancer
  • Every traditional Indian bride is layered in turmeric paste before her wedding to create that special glow!!
  • Used in Ayurveda to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, though in excess, it can aggravate pitta and vata.

Saffron:

  • Most expensive spice on the market (roughly $8 per oz.)
  • Dried stigma of Crocus plant
  • Helps pacify all three doshas. It improves immunity, increases energy, helps fight phlegm and respiratory disorders, improves vision and reduces inflammation. Its tonic can lower cholesterol, improve digestion and help treat spleen ailments, insomnia, impotency, premenstrual syndrome and neurodegenerative disorders.

Now, here’s what you can make with all of the above!! Enjoy!

Golden Milk 1

Golden Turmeric Milk – traditionally, this recipe uses ghee (clarified butter), and is served warm. My version is vegan and sort of a “cheater” easy version that can be served warm or cold

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (or you can use coconut nectar or stevia, if trying to avoid sugar)

Blend all ingredients well in your blender. Serve cold, or warm gently in a small pot over the stove to enjoy warm.

Ayurvedic Bliss Balls – bliss balls are amazing because you can pretty much add in or remove any ingredient that doesn’t work for you, and since they are raw, the proportions do not have to be exact. Play around and create your favorite version!

  • 1 C dry coconut flakes
  • 1/4 C raw almonds
  • 1/4 C raw sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 C Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 5-6 saffron strands

Process all ingredients in your food processor and roll into bite sized balls. Can store in the fridge for 1 week.

For more information on Ayurveda, you can contact Travis, although, his focus is on teaching yoga and teacher trainings. He is definitely an expert though! Another amazing resource and friend of mine is Dr. Aunna Pourang, who is an Ayurvedic MD!!! Check her out here.

For nutrition coaching and more super healthy and easy recipes, contact me! As always, I’m happy to be of service to you!!

Golden Milk

Clean Homemade Sunscreen

Sunblock

Happy summer, all!

Let’s chat about sun protection! Well, for starters, my DIY version is technically sunBLOCK, not sunSCREEN, since it contains the mineral zinc oxide (other sunblocks may contain titanium). Sunblocks protect against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb UV radiation and reduce the amount that reaches the skin.

Most sunscreens contain toxic ingredients that can disrupt endocrine function and may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical damage. Uh, oh, right? According to the FDA, in the years since sunscreen use began, skin cancer rates have actually risen!

Sunblocks physically prevent UV radiation from reaching the skin. Sunscreens tend to be transparent and are invisible when applied, whereas sunblocks are thicker (whiter) and remain visible when applied and are more difficult to wash off than sunscreens. The appeal of sunscreens is the fact that they blend more into the skin, while sunblocks do not.

So, most of you know, I have an infant, who is now 16 months old, and we live in sunny southern California. I dug around through tons of articles trying to find a safe option for my baby, and most products are not recommended for children until 6 months of age, and even after that, there are only a handful of “safe” products to choose from. I was torn, since I like to go outside with my baby, but didn’t want to risk exposing her to harmful sun rays with no protection, so I just made my own.

The secret ingredient is NON-nano zinc oxide. There’s a lot of info out there on nano vs. non-nano, and here’s the difference: A nano particle will enter the blood stream, but a non-nano will not. For that reason, non-nano is safer. Chemical sunscreens will enter the bloodstream, so that is why they are not preferred–unless you like being at risk for skin cancer. 🙁

So, why not give this safe version a try! It’s so easy, and you can feel good about using it on your skin, and your whole family’s skin! Please always check with your pediatrician and do what feels right for you and your baby regarding skin care and sun exposure.

HOMEMADE SUNSCREEN 

  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate oil
  • 3/4 cup virgin, organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide powder
  • 2 tbsp. shea butter
  • Small glass jar
  1. Combine all ingredients except zinc oxide in a jar.
  2. Place a saucepan with a bit of water on stove over medium/low heat.
  3. Place jar in saucepan and stir contents until ingredients start to melt.
  4. Once all ingredients are combined, add in zinc oxide and stir well. Store in a cool place.

*You can add 10 drops of essential oil to your sunblock, if desired, but do not use citrus scents as these actually increase UV damage.

Also, it may tend to melt at super hot temperatures, so store in a cool place.

For more tips and tricks on how to live a healthier life, or for one on one coaching, contact me! I’m happy to be of service to you and your family!

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Ginger Dream Bliss Balls

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We recently took a trip up to the Bay area (Marin and San Francisco, to be exact), and while in Marin, we visited the Marin Country Mart for their farmers market. It was pure heaven, with the most amazing and beautiful looking local produce! My favorite thing though, was this date treat I got from a stand that sold dates. The treat had ginger, dates, coconut and…I totally forgot what else, SO, I made up my own, inspired by that treat. This is unlike the traditional “tried and true” bliss balls I make. This one has a kick–a spicy, ginger-y kick! If you love ginger as much as I do, you’re gonna love ’em!!!

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GINGER DREAM BLISS BALLS

  • 12-14 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup crystalized ginger
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  1. Blend dates and ginger in your food processor until a nice round ball forms.
  2. Add your coconut and cashews and process until combined well. You may have to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
  3. Form into balls (you decide how big or small to make them). Should make about 12-15 regular-sized bliss balls.

I absolutely LOVE getting inspired by things I’ve tasted or admire. It’s so fun to play around–especially with raw treats, because you can’t really mess ’em up! When it comes to the kitchen, I have no fear! What do you have to lose? The kitchen should inspire fun and play!

What are you inspired by?

If you’re inspired to get healthy, and don’t know where to start, contact me! It’s my life’s purpose to help YOU find health and happiness through FOOD!

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