Thursday, June 30, 2011

We have a 9 year old!

Yesterday we celebrated my oldest daughter's 9th Birthday!   Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) came over from Tampa for the day.  Here they are with the kids at Ethos Vegan Kitchen just outside downtown Orlando.

Coincidently, we got the number 9 for our order!

Anika picked the Unchicken Noodle Soup...

Then we stopped off at Rapsodic Vegan Bakery for some cupcakes!  A baker's dozen since the party continues tommorow with Anika's best friends.

She decided she wanted Peace Signs on all the's a sample of what we got in one of the boxes.  At least one of those are Gluten Free, but I think we got just about every flavor they had.

Here she is with dad as the party continued at Hot Olives in Winter Park after he came home from work...and yes, I love that I only had to cook breakfast today and that was oats!

She's 9! The deal is sealed with a cupcake...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vegetarian Times One Year Subscription only $7

You can get a one year subscription of Vegetarian Times for only $7 right now on Amazon!  This magazine is choc full of vegan and vegetarian recipes and features articles on organic and natural living.  It also makes a great gift for a friend or family member who is trying to eat healthier.

Click on the picture of the Veg Times Cover above to subscribe.  Subscribing through my Affiliate Link helps to support this blog with a small percentage of the sale.  Thanks for your support :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegan Sushi and "Seaweed Soup"

Yesterday I helped make Vegan Sushi with my friend Janelle.  When I say help, I mean I brought the Nori (seaweed wrappers), diced the avocado, tofu and carrots, and I cut the rolls into all these beautiful slices :)   Janelle and I like to get together and cook vegan food...or run.  She had a baby this year so it's been awhile since we ran together, but we're still turning out some great tasting food.

When my kids heard that we also had Miso Soup they were all about having Miso Soup (AKA "Seaweed Soup") for dinner tonight.  It's been awhile since they've had some and my kids love seaweed, so any excuse to eat seaweed!

So at my trip to Whole Foods today I picked up a tub of Miso Master Organic Chickpea Miso.  Chickpea Miso contains no soy, it is fermented chickpeas in a paste form.  It is super healthy because it is essentially a raw food that contains genistein, which is an isoflavone that protects against breast cancer.  So you never want to put the paste in boiling water.  You want to add it to the same water temperature as you would tea leaves- the point at which tiny bubbles are beginning to emerge from the bottom of the pan.

If you have never bought Miso at the grocery store, always buy it Organic and in a paste form, NOT the little packages of dry powered miso with dehydrated tofu and seaweed.  Those are super salty and low quality.  I like the Chickpea Miso because it is super mellow and has a naturally sweet flavor that kids love.  There are different types of Misos, some have a strong flavor, like Red Miso and Barley Miso.  These Misos make a good sauce or dressing or added flavor to a vegetable soup, but you might not want to make Miso Soup straight up from them.

The directions on how to make Miso soup are super simple, they are inside the package!  I make my Miso with water or no sodium vegetable broth or stock.  
As you can see, someone is happy I made Miso soup...and she ate three bowls loaded with Wakame and a little bit of organic sprouted tofu.  When we add this much Wakame we like to call it "Seaweed Soup"!
If you've never bought Wakame before, Eden Organic makes a good one and they come dehydrated so you just add them directly to the water.  If you don't like big pieces then you can hydrate the pieces in a separate bowl of water and chop them into small pieces.

Give Miso Soup a try at home and tell me about it in the comments section!

Photos from last week's GF Meal Plan

For those of you who don't follow me on FaceBook, I posted several photos from the kitchen using my iPhone.  They aren't the sharpest photos but here's what some of the meals from my Gluten Free Vegan meal plan looked like...

Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad

Pasta Trattoria

Broccoli Curry Udon

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NEW! Gluten Free Vegan Meal Plan with recipes!

I'm getting a lot of requests from people to see my weekly meal plan.  Though it is a bit time consuming to put it together online, I will try to post at least every other week.  I can't promise every week right now because I know I won't deliver :)

I am providing links to the recipes on other websites so you can take my meal plan and make a shopping list from it. 

Cooked Rolled GF Oats with Berries, Bananas, Walnuts and Cinnamon (4 days)
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans and Agave Maple Syrup (Sunday Only)
Kale Spinach Pear Smoothies (2 days)

Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad
Cabbage Salad
Baked Sweet Potato Salad
(The three of these will make enough for leftovers for Mon-Fri Lunches)

Earthbound Farms Salad Kits (I bought two with $1 off coupons)
Baby Arugula (to be used with Tratteria Pasta and leftovers to be eaten as salad)

Califlower Mashed Potatoes and Chickpea Picatta
Trattoria Pasta
Broccoli Curry Udon
Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes
Black Beans and Quinoa with Chipotle Raspberry Sauce

Veggies and Low Fat No Oil Hummus
Apple/Carrot Juice
Beet/Celery Juice

Desserts (Experimenting with Agar Flakes!)
Vegan Latchkey Lime Pie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Healthy Vegan Eats in Helsinki: Virgin Oil Co.

The location of the Virgin Oil Co is in the heart of Helsinki.  It's no wonder the place is always packed full of people, both locals and tourists.  They have an outdoor patio in the front of the restaurant where people gather for beer and wine at all hours of the day in the summer.  The patio gets tons of sunlight, which is a premium in Finland after the long, dark winters.

Here my husband is enjoying a Finnish Beer inside one of the various dinning areas in the restaurant :)

Here is a not so crisp photo of a dinner salad I enjoyed at Virgin Oil Co.  The menu has several large dinner salads, all of them have some serving of animal protein that can be left off.  I found that it was easy to ask for adjustments on the food I ordered.  This salad was served with reduced balsamic vinegar and pesto sauce.  I did not ask, but I feel confident that they could put together a vegan or vegetarian veggie plate based on various side dishes on the menu.

Healthy Vegan Eats in Helsinki: Ruohonjuuri Ekomarket

Ruohonjuuri is a chain of health food stores in Finland.  They have two locations in Helsinki, one at the Kamppi shopping mall and one on Itäkatu, street #5.  They also have locations in the cities of Tampere and Turku.  Inside these stores you will find a variety of organic mostly local produce, dairy products from biodynamic farms, meat substitutes (many of which are made locally), organic grains like quinoa and a variety of rices and dry beans, supplements and raw food snacks, household cleaning supplies, and a wide variety of organic and vegan bath and body products.

The store outside the Kamppi shopping mall has a raw smoothie bar!  That's where I had my lunch one day. I'm going to share some photos from inside the store and then I'll talk about the smoothie bar at the end of this post :) 

The Organic produce section is small but there is a decent variety!  This is just one section, there was more.

Organic Tofu is 3,90 Euro!  That is $5.65 US Dollars!!  And I didn't find coupons in circulation.  I did try this brand of tofu at a friend's house where we cooked the tofu and veggies on a Wok grill.  It was delicious :)

Locally made meat substitutes pictured here.  I didn't try any of these since we were staying in a hotel and didn't have a kitchen, but these look really good and a decent price for locally made stuff.

This was really great to see.  You can refill your shampoo and laundry detergent containers here! 

I found this book and several other US books on raw food and veganism in this store and in bookstores.  This is a copy of Michael Pollan's Food Rules :)


And now for the Raw Smoothie Bar...I thought it was nicely decorated :)

The menu required translation!  They said they were getting a new menu in English due to popular demand.  The city is really international and they get a fair amount of tourists in this location.

I got the "Valcoinen Norsu", which means "White Elephant" in English.  It was not a sweet smoothie, more creamy and a bit salty.

The cost for this size (I think it was 16 oz) was 6,30 Euro which was $9.13 US Dollars.  I pay around $7-8 for the same size raw smoothie at Cafe 118 here in Orlando, so maybe not much of a price difference there.

I highly recommend giving Ruohonjuuri a visit if you happen to end up in Helsinki for business or vacation.  Just make sure you check the hours on their website since I found that store and restaurant hours seem to change according to the seasons. 

Back from Helsinki, Finland!

In case you've been wondering where I've been for the past 10+ days, I made a last minute trip to Helsinki, Finland with my husband!    He had to go for business meetings, while I decided to tag along for fun :)  

Luckily my parents were able to watch the kids during the trip because there was no way we could have afforded tickets for all of us on such last minute notice.  On top of that, I think it would have been difficult to see as much as I did had I brought them along.  I imagine they would have slept past noon and been up all night and I can't see them having much patience for walking around the big museums.

I could have called this a "business trip" of my own since I really focused on finding all the great places to eat healthy Vegan food!  In the next round of posts I'll be showing you all the great places I found during my 10 day stay in beautiful Helsinki.  I've been there in the Winter and in the Spring back in my college days.  And while winter has a certain charm, early summer allows for longer days to explore and less layers of clothing :)

If I had to rate the city on it's ease of eating a Vegan diet, I would give it a high rating.  I think an 8 out of 10 is fair.  There are plenty of outdoor and indoor markets that have produce and other vegan food products.  There are several health food stores and at least one health food chain.  There are many ethnic restaurants that have vegan and vegetarian offerings on their menu. There are at least two all vegan places to eat.  Restaurants were all very accommodating when I asked up front for a vegan meal when there was clearly nothing on the menu.  I was even surprised at one experience, where they didn't have a single vegan item on the menu and came up with a vegan dish made with tofu on the fly!

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, even if you don't think you'll be going to Finland anytime soon...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

40% off my favorite Vegan Cookbooks!

Amazon has just lowered the prices on two of my favorite Vegan Cookbooks!  If you can only get one, get this one!  Appetite for Reduction is an amazing collection of low fat plant strong vegan recipes that you can wow your family and friends with.  I use the recipes from this book along with Joel Fuhrman's "Eat for Health" in my cooking demos at the Florida School of Holistic Living.  Recipes in Appetite for Reduction include Silky Chickpea Gravy, Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples, Chipotle Lentil Burger, 2nd Ave Vegetable Korma, Quinoa, White Bean & Kale Stew.

Veganomnicon is another favorite cookbook, though I tend to alter the recipes more to make them low fat.  It is still an innovative book of vegan recipes that you will want to have in your cookbook collection. Some of the recipes include Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango, Miso Tahini Dressing, Chickpea Cutlets, Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup, Pumpkin Saag, Spaghetti and Beanballs.