How to make Non-Dairy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Simply put, this is delicious….try it you’ll see…you won’t miss dairy cheddar. I like to use tumeric to give it that dark orange cheddar color and it decreases inflammation in our bodies. With less inflammation we look tighter, leaner, less puffy and most importantly we feel better.
Drizzle over steamed cauliflower, broccolli, baked fries, whole grain pasta, nachos or wherever you would like it. You can even drizzle on top of soups.

Ingredients:
2 cups sunflower seeds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup of water as needed
1 tbsp tumeric, for color (optional)
sea salt to taste – used very sparingly if needed

Place the garlic and the nutritional yeast into food processor and process into small peices. Add the sunflower seeds , and process into small peices. Add lemon juice and water; process to well. Add more or less water for desired consistency. Add touch of sea salt to taste or more nutritional yeast.
Keeps well in fridge for 4-5 days.
Makes about 2 cups.

How to Make Lemon-Rosemary Parmesan Shake

Makes approximately 1.5 cups

This delicious savory cheese is lovely sprinkled on pasta, in homemade hummus or even on popcorn!! You can change out the herbs to create different flavors; cumin and oregano, or black pepper and crushed red pepper for a nice spicy kick. Try some of your own favorite spices, be creative!!

Ingredients:

1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 large lemon zested
2-3 tsp dried rosemary
salt to taste

Directions:
Combine almonds and nutritional yeast in food processor and process until very finely ground. Add lemon zest, rosemary, and salt and pulse until rosemary is finely ground.

Store in tightly sealed glass jar in refridgerator for up to 4 weeks.

How to Make Non-Dairy “Parmesan Cheese”

You will love sprinkling some of this on your soup, salads and pizza!! I usually like to use cashews because of their color but pine nuts work well also. In fact, if you are okay with your “parmesan” being a bit dark in color, you could use any of your favorite nut or seed.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw cashews, ground into a powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt or 1 tsp nutritional yeast

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Keeps for 5 days in the fridge.
Makes about 1/2 cup

Note: Experiment with the amount of nutritional yeast that tastes best to you. You can also leave in a pinch of salt with the nutritional yeast if you like.

How to Make Swiss Chard and Cannelini Beans

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This is one of my favorite “go to” meals when I have to make something really fast but still want to have a hearty hot meal. It’s hard to believe that these 3 simple ingredients can make something so good. It’s great comfort food as well as highly nutritious and loaded with the best source of protein available to us in the beans.

Swiss Chard (also known as chard) is part of the beet family and can be substituted for spinach in many cases. I actually prefer it and it’s in the top 5 most nutritious vegetables, (1000 nutrients per calorie) along with kale, and mustard greens, watercress, collards and turnip greens. It has a milder taste compared to spinach and it is delicious! If you haven’t tried it, definately put it on your list of new veg to try!

There are many stunning benefits to eating chard. It helps to fight lung cancer and heart disease, can improve digestion, boost energy levels and corrects calcium deficiency. It’s a diuretic and a laxative. If you juice it with carrots it helps to control urinary tract infections and hemorrhoids.

Spray a large saucepan with a little expeller pressed (cold pressed) canola oil or a little water and saute:

     1  large sweet onion halved and sliced until brown and carmelized

While the onions are cooking (and they will take a bit of time to get soft and brown), clean  and chop coarsley into peices (2″ x 2″ approximately) and put aside:

     1  bunch swiss chard

When the onions are nice and golden brown, add:

     1  15 oz can of cannelini beans with the liquid (no/low sodium)

As you stir in the beans, scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon to release all the browned coating from the onions which will add more flavor to the juice.

Add the chard with:

     1/2 – 1 cup sweet frozen corn (I like the bread and butter corn)

Put a lid on it for a few minutes until the chard is soft and just beginning to wilt. Season with garlic powder, black pepper to taste and serve.

Note: On occasion you can add a tbsp of grated parmesan or a parmesan substitute to your plate. Only use cheese on rare occasions in small amounts as a condiment.

Makes approximately 2 large servings or 3-4 smaller servings.

How to Make Quick Corn Chowder

Delicious with a capital “D” and incredibly fast and easy to make. I like to have a variety of frozen veg on hand to make quick soups. Even though I use frozen veg, which are just as nutritious as fresh if not more so, you would never know the difference. Frozen stays good for along time, you don’t have to worry about using it quickly so it doesn’t go bad and the best part is that there is no prep time! I love that! When I am in a hurry, I can throw a bag of frozen veg in the pot with a few other ingredients and have a delicious hot bowl of soup in less than 15 minutes!

This particular soup also looks beautiful when it’s done because of the 4 different colors of peppers. This won’t take you more than 10 minutes from freezer to stove to bowl – and will cost under five dollars! Kids will love it too.

Corn is usually thought of as a vegetable but the corn plant is actually a grass and the kernels are the grain. It’s nutrient-rich and has 10 times more zinc than wheat germ and has a much longer shelf life. Key nutrients are protein, fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and iron. Corn also contains many phytochemicals.

Ingredients:

1 16oz  bag frozen sweet white corn, bread/butter corn, or yellow corn   (1.50)

1 12oz or 16 oz bag frozen mixed peppers                                                        (1.50)

3 cups h20 (roughly)

1 tbsp vegebase (dry, low sodium veg soup base) 26 servings per jar       (3.99 )

dried thyme to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)

garlic powder to taste (or fresh, 1-2 cloves)

black pepper and a scant amount of sea salt (1/8 tsp)

1/2 cup or so of soy milk

Directions:

Put everything into the pot except the soy milk, bring to a boil and simmer until veg are heated thru, approx 5 minutes or so. Using your immersion blender, blend until roughly creamy. Add in soy milk, stir. Taste and adjust your seasonings. I “eye-ball it” with seasonings, going with my gut, and adjust as I go along.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you must get one! They are indispensable. I have a cuisinart stainless steel immersion blender which I couldn’t live without! It saves so much time because you blend in the cooking pot. You don’t have to transfer into a blender, then dump back into your pot and you also won’t have to clean the blender or your counters from all the splattering when doing the transfers!

As you can see, the total cost is barely over $3.00!

Please try it and let me know how you like it and any modifications you made!

How to Make Homemade Healthier Pizza in Minutes

IMG_2596This is crazy! You can be eating this pizza faster than you can find your phone and call in your order – and for a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the sodium, and a fraction of the fat to boot.

I love to make this on occasion when I am having friends over or when I am just dying for the taste of good za. Don’t hesitate, get what you need, invite some friends over, open a bottle of  Cadetto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. And that’s all you need – except for a nice fresh crisp salad!

Ingredients:

Ezekial Whole Grain Tortillas

Tomato Sauce (no/low sodium) seasoned w/garlic powder, oregano, blk pepper and any other pizza seasonings you like – be creative

Shredded low fat/part skim mozzarella or mozzarella alternative

Directions: Toast the tortillas in your toaster oven (or in the oven) until it just starts to toast and becomes slightly firm.  Take it out of toaster oven. Turn oven to bake at 400 degrees. Spread your sauce leaving about a 1/4 inch of tortilla edge dry. Sprinkle some cheese to cover the sauce. Add some oregano, black pepper, garlic powder on top of cheese. Using a spatula, put the pizza back into the toaster oven. Bake for a couple of minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Note: Experiment with mushrooms and onions or what ever you like on pizza. Once you do it, you’ll see how fast and easy it is. Bon Appetite!

How to Make Immune Boosting Pea Soup

This is not your everyday ordinary pea soup. This is my super dooper split pea soup with a bangin good twist! Best part is – you can throw all ingredients into a crockpot, leave for work, and when you come home you will have the most delicious soup waiting for you. The secret is to add in lentils, sweet potatoes (not yams) and green zucchini… oh boy!

Benefits: Wow! Peas are a storehouse of vitamins and nutrients. They have tons of vitamin C that boosts your immune system, lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar! Excellent for losing weight too….so don’t be shy.

Ingredients:

16 oz pkg green split peas (rinsed)

1/3 – 1/2 bag lentils (rinsed)

1 large sweet potato (or 2 small) chopped

1 medium/large sweet onion halved or chopped

1 chopped carrot

1 small/med green zucchini whole or chopped

1 bay leaf,  1/2 tsp dried marjoram, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt

22 oz low sodium veggie broth

7 cups H2O

Directions: Throw everything into a crockpot. Cover, cook on high for 6 to 8 hours or until peas are soft. Remove bayleaf.

Blend with your immersion blender (hopefully you have one! If not, get one today! I highly recommend a cuisinart stainless steel) or blend part of it in your blender.

Eat!

 

How to Make Butternut Squash Dip with Homemade Baked Chips

Butternut squash (also known as winter squash) isn’t just for soup. It also makes a really delicious, golden colored  dip or spread that is easy and quick to make, loaded with beta-carotene. It also may minimize risk of cataracts and helps to preserve normal eyesight. If you smoke or are exposed to second hand smoke, you should eat butternut squash several times a week to prevent the risk of lung cancer. It also prevents against cancer, stroke and heart disease; and keep the right balance of fluid and electrolytes in your body.

Interestingly, unlike summer squash, butternut gets sweeter the longer it stays on the vine. You don’t have to refrigerate it and it will stay good for 3 months if you store it in a cool, dry place. Another good tip is that you can substitute it for pumpkin in pie, bread or soup!

Ingredients:

6 cups cubed butternut squash (fresh or frozen)

2 Tbsp evoo

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or (1 tsp dried)

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)

sea salt (very little) and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook squash according to the pkg if using frozen. Drain the liquid, reserving it for a vegetable broth or to water your plants with!

If using fresh, peel squash, cut in half lenghthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Put into a med-large size saucepanand cover with water plus 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer 6-9 minutes or until tender and can pierce easily with a fork.

While still in the pot, add all other ingredients and blend until smooth with your immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender (you have to get one today!) then put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve with: Toast pita pockets, then cut into triangles. I love to use Ezekial pita pockets because they are whole grain and low sodium. They make great dipping chips. Another idea is to toast Ezekial whole grain tortillas and cut tham into triangles. And of course you can always use crudite veggies as well. Or, don’t make anything, buy your favorite healthy chip.

Dip will stay fresh in fridge for 3-4 days.

Cool tip: Turn leftover dip into a delicious soup! Just add 1 cup of vegetable broth to 1 cup of squash, heat, mix and eat! Wowza!

How to Make Hearty Lentil Stew

This is one of my favorite meals when I’m in the mood for rich, hearty, comfort food. The good thing is, it’s comfort food with high nutritional value, very low fat, low calorie and low sodium. You might be thinking to yourself, “how can this possibly be good?”  I assure you it is well worth trying it out.

It’s fast, inexpensive, nutritious and delicious and requires only a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 small onion

2 carrots finely chopped

1/2 bag lentils

4-6 cups veggie broth (no/low sodium)

4-5 tbsp tomato paste – no sodium

garlic powder, salt , pepper to taste

Directions:

Saute onion until translucent. Add in 2 finely chopped carrots. Add a little water and saute fora few minutes. Add in 4-5 tbsp tomato paste. Add in 1/2 bag of rinsed lentils. Cover with approximately 4 cups of vegetable broth. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 tsp garlic powder and cook for roughly 45 min to one hour until lentils are done.

If need be, add in remaining vegetable broth as it’s cooking. I usually do use about 6 cups give or take.

I love this over brown rice with a healthy serving of steamed green beans on the side. Or over a bed of finely chopped romaine lettuce. If you aren’t a fan of brown rice, this is phenomenal over mashed potatoes or under mashed potatos as a vegetarian version of Shepherds Pie!

Note: You can always use fresh garlic, I am showing you how to put together something delicious without a lot of effort.By all means, use fresh where ever I use powder if you prefer – can’t deny the benefits of fresh garlic!

Facts: Lentils are part of the pea family. The red, brown and green are the most common here in the US, but theydo come in many different colors. They were a staple food in Biblical times and they are still a favorite in Middle Eastern, Indian, and North African cooking. They don’t need to be precooked and you can buy them already cooked to save time. They have a wonderful creamy texture, a delicate flavor and they cook quickly! They make a great base for purees and soups, they’re really good cold in a salad or as a salad.

Key Nutrients: Protein, fiber, potassium, folate, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium and phosphorous.

How to Make Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream

This is a must try for anyone who loves ice cream! It is so simple that it is actually comical! Really, you’ll see once you try it. Unlike commercial ice cream, this is a nutritional powerhouse with very low calories and high in the taste department! Believe me, it’s crazy, bangin good, so get out your blender and go for it!                  

Ingredients:

 1  bag of frozen blueberries (approx 12oz bag)

 1   frozen banana

 1/4 – 1/2 cup soy milk (this is approx depending on power of your blender) 

 1/4  cup unsweetened coconut shredded (optional)

 1/2  avocado (optional)

Pour 1/2 cup milk into blender. Pour in blueberries, bananas cut in to chunks, coconut (except for 2 tsp) and avocado if using, and blend until thick and creamy. Adding more milk as you go if necessary. I use as little milk as possible and stop the blender when it gets jammed. With a spoon I scrape down the sides and remix and add a little bit more milk and blend again. I usually end up doing that process 2-3 times until it thick and creamy.  I like to spoon it into pretty glasses and then sprinkle a little coconut on top of each serving. The white of the coconut looks nice against the dark blueberries.

Makes approx 4 servings

If you don’t like coconut, leave it out! You will not taste the avocado, but it will add a richness from the “good” fat that it offers. It isn’t necessary at all if you don’t want to use it. I personally love it, but I make this all the time without it as well.

The consistency should be very thick like ice cream, so start with less milk and gradually add as needed just enough to make the blender mix it. The more powerful your blender is, the less milk you need. You should not be able to “drink” it, you should need a spoon.

Tip: frozen friut (and veg) are just as nutritious as fresh – and sometimes more so because they are flash frozen immediately after picking which retains the nutrients. At all times you will find 4 or 5 different kinds of frozen fruits in my fridge, they come in handy when friends stop by! In two minutes we are eating fresh ice cream that is actually good for you and tastes fantastic! 

 

 

 

Also, did you know… blueberries are ranked #1 out of 40 fruits and veg (according to Tufts University Research) as far as nutritional value goes?! Excellent anti-oxidant, great for eye sight and urinary tract health to name a few.

 

Fresh blueberries will stay good in fridge up to ten days, frozen 9-10 months.