Vegan Hot Chocolate

 

Vegan Hot ChocolateEating a vegan diet is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, and an associated philosophy that rejects the treatment of farming animals for food.

Being a vegan is clearly more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet, writes Christian at Medical News Today.  He also writes that the vegans lifestyle doesn’t use animal based products for clothing as well.

The magazine “Food Technology” published (October 2012) explaining that plant-based diet can either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type II, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (Science Daily).

Most who profess to be vegan do not eat honey at all. Though some may, as Sophia explains at Sophia Gubb’s Blog, stating, “As for the ethics of being a vegan who eats honey, I see it as somewhere between eating animals and eating plants. At times, I’m even unsure whether the harm to plants might be more intolerable. Bees, like plants, have short life cycles, making the death of a bee less tragic than the death of a long lived animal. I also get the feeling that the worker bees are made to be more expendable somehow than most animals are. They often die when attacking to defend their hive.”

To enjoy a delicious beverage that is vegan, doesn’t mean you have a practice the lifestyle, but rather just enjoy the flavorful ingredients that are simple and easy to purchase at your local market in the organic section.

Now for our featured beverage recipe – Vegan Hot Chocolate – and here is what you will need.

socking cashews in water1/4 cup raw cashews – soak overnight in fresh water
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao brew (or cacao powder)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

ingredients for Vegan Hot ChocolateWe used Nog coconut milk by SO Delicious with added cane sugar and nutmeg, as well as an organic raw honey with cinnamon. If you use the cacao brew, you will need to strain the hot chocolate, as cacao brew is grainy just like ground coffee beans.

adding raw honey

Place everything in a blender (we used our Nutri-Bullet), and blend thoroughly.

adding blended liquid to sauce potAdd to a small sauce pot bring to a boil around 165 degrees. Set aside to brew for 5 minutes, with a lid on the pot. Drain through a strainer (if using cacao brew).

Vegan Hot Chocolate - image 2Makes about 2 six ounce cups of hot chocolate. Enjoy the flavors and taste of Vegan Hot Chocolate.

Archaeologists discovered that cacao has been around for 3,500 years or possibly longer. The culture accredited with growing and harvesting cacao is the Olmec civilization dating back between 1500 B.C and 400 B.C.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Did you know a chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeño? Yes, the word chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli which means smoked chili.  The people’s who lived in Mexico before the Aztec civilization are thought to have invented it.

The jalapeño chili is used in Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and southwestern dishes from New Mexico. Read our article and learn more on the differences in Mexican and Tex-Mex food: Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

Jalapeños come in different varieties, sizes and heat or spiciness. The chili loses little of its heat through the smoking process, and many enjoy both its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

Though its used traditionally in Mexican cuisine, the chipotle now enjoys a broad range of uses throughout the USA and Canada.

Our featured recipe is a southwestern USA inspired  delight, and here is what you will need to prepare: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad.

fresh ingredients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 small sweet potatoes, baked (read here about Sweet Potatoes and Their Benefits)

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup corn

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

liquid ingrdients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Vinaigrette:

2 limes, zested and juiced

juicing limes for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 teaspoons raw honey

2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper, optional

vegetable mix for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladIn a large glass bowl, add the black beans, corn, onions, and cilantro. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, mix together the lime zest and juice, oil, honey, adobo, salt and pepper. Pour over the black bean mixture and toss to combine.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad -close upSlice an opening down the center of  the baked sweet potatoes. Spoon vegetable mixture to stuff the potatoes, and have yourself a…Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad. Plate and serve.

Can be served as a stand alone dish (as it contains protein with the black beans), or served as a side dish, and can be served as a party favorite dish. Enjoy the possibilities with this easy and simple real food recipe.

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Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Remember when kale was only used as a garnish with an orange slice on your favorite plated food? Or even used to decorate a salad bar? Kale has come a long was in the whole foods movement.

Facts About Kale

During the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe, as it was easy to farm.

During World War II, the farming of kale in England was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The leafy green vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing (DailyMail).

The author of Taylor’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables, Benjamin Watso writes that Kale and collard greens freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to a frost.

Two servings a week of kale or any of its cruciferous vegetable cousins can help prevent cancer. 

The Classification and Colors of Kale

Kale is classified by its leaf type:

  • Curly-leaved (Scots Kale – Blue Curled Kale)
  • Plain-leaved
  • Rape kale
  • Leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaved and plain-leaved kale)
  • Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato and dinosaur kale)

The different colors of kale can range from green, light green, dark green, and violet-green to violet-brown.

If all of this has your saliva moving, then let’s move on to our featured recipe: Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes, and here is what you will need.

1 large sweet potato, grated (making about 2 cups)
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 bag Fresh Baby Kale Mix
1 – 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added
1/4 cup chipotle salsa
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (for a vegan dish use tofu or nutritional yeast)
4 corn tortillas cut into strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Coat a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil (for a vegan or vegetarian dish)

Evenly spread the grated sweet potato in the baking dish, then layer the onion. Next sprinkle with the cumin seed, then layer on the kale and black beans (you can opt for adding 3/4th pound of cooked ground beef or chicken at this point).

Pour the tomato sauce over the dish, along with the chipotle salsa. Sprinkle with cheese, then spread the tortilla strips on top.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes. Plate and serve.

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Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Growing Lima Beans and Enjoying the Benefits

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Now is the time to plant lima beans. They are easy to grow, and they provide an excellent source of many different nutrients. They are a starchy vegetable that are sometimes known as butter beans because of their smooth, buttery texture.

You can buy lima beans dried or canned, but fresh lima beans are harder to come by, and therefore a great vegetable to grow in your garden.

Lima bean podsAs the lima bean grows it looks a lot like a green bean, although the pods are flatter, much like a sweet pea.

They ripen and are ready for harvest in the late summer and autumn.

When you harvest the beans, you will need to shuck the beans out of the pods, and each pod will yield between 3 to 4 fresh lima beans.

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

 

 

 

The color of the bean you may be familiar with is usually green or cream colored, but there are other colors, which include red, purple, black, brown, and white.

Health Benefits of Lima Beans

Lima beans are one of the few vegetables that contain molybdenum about 141 mcg, which is a part of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase. Sulfites are commonly found in wine, pickles, processed meats and dried fruit.

Sulfite oxidase helps to eradicate and detoxify our bodies of sulfites. A person can be sensitive to sulfites if there is not have enough sulfite oxidase enzymes in the body. As was noted earlier, this enzyme is essential for detoxifying sulfites.

When sulfites are not properly broken down in the body, a person may experience rapid heart rate, headache and confusion.

Lima beans would be a great addition to your vegetable garden as the bean can help control and eradicate sulfites from the body.

The butter bean or lima bean is a source of minerals and B-vitamins, they help to control blood sugar levels and help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

If you are vegetable gardener that is diabetic or has high cholesterol, the lima bean would be a great addition to your garden.

Dietary Fiber and Lima Beans

Lima bean plants in a vegetable gardenLima beans are a starchy vegetable, and are also a great source of soluble fiber, which as we noted helps to lower blood cholesterol, sweeping away any excess buildup of cholesterol.

Because of the fiber, there is no need to worry a lot about the starch. Fibrous vegetables digest slower and do not spike blood glucose.

That is why it is encouraged to eat a potato with its fibrous skin, if not the starch can cause a spike in your sugar levels.

Fiber also binds with the bile acids in the duodenum. It is bile acids that process and make cholesterol.

This is why it is important to consume fiber on a daily basis. Not eating enough fiber can cause your cholesterol to rise to a dangerous level.

Therefore as fiber binds with the bile acids, it passes right through the digestive system without being absorbed and made into cholesterol.

Lima beans are also rich in insoluble fiber, meaning that it bulks up the stool and allows for regular bowel movements and less constipation. Insoluble fiber is excellent for people who suffer with diverticulosis or irritable bowel syndrome.

Lima Beans Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Problems

Lima beans can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Lima beans also provide a complete protein if you combine them with whole grains, such as whole grain rice.

Lima beans are a type of legume and legumes have been extensively studied as sources of heart disease protection. One 25 year study involved over 16,000 male participants across the world that was at risk for heart disease. The study found that those who ate more legumes had a reduced risk of heart disease.

Another 19 year study in the U.S.A involved male participants who ate high fiber foods, including lima beans. The study noted that those who ate 21 grams of fiber per day had a 12% lesser chance of coming down with heart disease when compared to people who ate less than 5 grams of fiber per day.

Water-soluble fiber was determined to have the best protection against heart disease, and legumes, including lima beans alone decreased the risk of dying from heart disease by 82%.

Magnesium And Folate

Lima beans contain high amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, and folate per serving. The folate is a vitamin that lowers the quantity of homocysteine in the bloodstream, which is a risk factor for all forms of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.

The magnesium in lima beans acts as calcium channel blockers, which lowers blood pressure and improves the flow of nutrients and oxygen within the bloodstream. A lack of magnesium in the diet can lead to heart problems and the liberation of oxygen free radicals in the body, which are dangerous to all cells of the body.

The Best Way To Eat Lima Beans

You can eat them alone, salted, or incorporate them into soups and casseroles.

With their buttery flavor, lima beans are a great addition to soups, stews, casseroles. Cooked, cooled  lima beans are an excellent addition to green salads.  You can eat lima beans fresh in their pods in the summer, but only if you have a vegetable garden.

Try this great recipe with your fresh harvested lima beans.

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut SauceSatay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Sauce:

1 (10 ounce) can coconut milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 small onion, grated

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

If you are allergic to peanuts, use almond butter instead.

Next dice up one each of a green and red sweet pepper, and one small white onion, and set aside. Chop a bunch of  your choice of chard or kale, and mix with the sweet peppers, white onion, and 16 ounces of cooked lima beans in a large bowl. Next add the warm satay sauce, mix until well coated. Plate and serve.

Enjoy this recipe as a warm salad, side dish, main protein dish, and even as a vegan dish.

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Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup

 

Curried Apple-Pumpkin Soup

We found this recipe Curried Apple Pumpkin Soup, in the October coconut sugar2012 issue of Prevention. This soup is a gluten-free and vegan food.

Pumpkin is full of cancer fighting properties, which includes beta-carotene (read more here: Pumpkins Ability to Fight Cancer). For better absorption of this phytonutrient, pair it with a healthy fat, which we did using coconut oil.

Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are natural occurring chemicals that help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. In turn when you eat the plant food and its phytonutrient, you get that protection as well.

Okay, enough of the science, and on to the featured recipe. Oh, by the way, you will note we used coconut sugar in the recipe.

Coconut sugar is a perfect 1:1 replacement for refined sugar. It has naturally occurring nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and 8 vitamins and amino acids.

Here’s a FACT: The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar and uses only 20% of the resources.

Coconut sugar will not spike your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.  Coconut sugar is a vegan food and great for gluten-free cooking and baking.

ingredients for Curried Apple Pumpkin SoupOn to the featured recipe, and here is what you will need:

1 large Granny Smith apple

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp. red curry powder

2 tbsp. ginger, fresh, grated or chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced

2 cups fresh water

2 cups pureed pumpkin

Himalayan salt and coconut sugar to taste

Preparing Instructions

Melt oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Next add chopped apple and cook until golden in color. Next add onion, curry powder, ginger, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until soften and when you are able to smell the onion and garlic.

Stir in the water and pumpkin (add more water if too thick). Simmer stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Season the soup with Himalayan salt and coconut sugar, if desired. Serves 4 soup bowls.

We found the soup has a warmer flavor of ginger when aloud to set for a day or two. Enjoy!!

 

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Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceMost yellow summer squash is gmo now days, but not the ones we used. We got these fresh from a vegetable garden, harvested from non-gmo seeds. Without the grated cheese, this can be a Vegan meal.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Shaving Squash into SpaghettiThere are several gadgets on the market that one can use to turn a yellow summer squash into spaghetti strands. They can range from $3.99 to about $100.00 depending on the one you buy. We bought a OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler Stainless Steel Blade , and the cost was $9.99 at Macy’s.

You wash the squash, remove the blade protector cap, grab the squash in one hand and the peeler with the other hand, and start peeling until you reach the seeds.

You can mulch the rest of the vegetable after discarding the seeds or remove the seeds and steam the vegetable flesh in a steamer, and enjoy with a little butter and Italian seasonings.

But before you peel the squash into spaghetti strands, let make some sauce. What you will need is:

1 15 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, with no other flavors or added salt

1/2 cup fresh basil

3 cloves fresh garlic

2 tbsp. tomato paste, no added salt

1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt ( or sea salt) optional

5 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

Open can of tomatoes and pour into a food processor. Add basil, chopped garlic, and puree.

Side not: allow garlic to set 10 minutes after chopping before adding to processor. To get the health benefits of garlic, oxygen needs to active the enzymes within the garlic, to give us it s health benefits. When ever using garlic after mincing, or chopping it, allow it to set for 10 minutes before using it, your body will be thankful you did.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Preparing SauceNow add the puree tomato sauce to a medium sauce pot over a med-high heat. You will note that the tomato sauce will be a little soupy. Just add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in, and see how it thickens. Lower heat to simmer and place lid over pot. Just before pouring sauce over sqauch pasta, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt, but is optional.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce - Sautéing Yellow Squash in Olive OilOn med-high heat place a (1) large ceramic coated frying pan, and pour 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil into pan. Allow to heat some, then add 1 teaspoon of powdered garlic.

Next, (2) add squash pasta to pan, put timer to 5 minutes, and stir now and again.

Note (3) the olive oil has stuck to the squash, if it hasn’t, then you added to much olive oil. Continue to stir now and again.

After 5 minutes (4) turn squash pasta onto a flat plate or pie pan and set aside for 2 minutes. Then turn pasta squash into a strainer to drain off any water, that may have accumulated, but do not rinse.

Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and Sauce platedPlate squash pasta, top with spaghetti sauce and with your favorite Italian cheese and serve.

Forking Yellow Summer Squash Pasta and SauceIf you can fork the squash pasta like traditional pasta, then it was cooked right. But if  squash cannot be forked and falls apart, it was cooked to long and in too much oil.

 

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