3 Day Vegan Challenge

Click on the video to check out my 3 day challenge of going Vegan.  It was easier than I thought!

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Healthy Bruschetta

I’ve been reading Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  It’s a romance book set in Italy and I’m halfway through but there are so many mentions of good bread, cheese drizzled with honey & oh my the olive scene in the olive grove.  (You should read it!  Hot.  Then check out all her Chicago Stars books – CANNOT PUT THEM DOWN)

While reading about her characters and the delicious food they were eating I began craving bruschetta.  I decided to make a healthy version and I picked up all of the ingredient at Whole Foods.

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Whole Foods has only one Whole Grain bread that is freshly baked.  I always have them slice the loaves for me and I buy two loaves every time I am there and freeze the second.  It’s the only whole grain bread my husband actually likes and it took this find to wean him off Wonder bread.

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I defrosted a bag of white beans I had in my fridge the day before I made the bruschetta.

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These herbs are such a time and money saver.  I use them many times a week for homemade salad dressings, stuffed peppers or stir frys.  These are frozen basil and crushed garlic cubes that easily pop out from their containers.  I got these at Whole Foods but they have them at Trader Joes too.  I use one cube of basil and scrape a little garlic for most of my recipes.  I find one entire cube of the garlic is too much.

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To make the bruschetta I chopped up cherry tomatoes & a little bit of shallots.  I mixed the tomatoes and shallots with the white beans, one cube of basil, a small amount of crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper and olive oil.  I let this sit and mixed it up occasionally to help the frozen basil and garlic melt.

I toasted 2 slices of bread while that marinated and then I simply topped the bread with the mixtures and drizzled a bit more olive oil on top.

You must top it off with some Parmigiano Reggiano.  I love to use a vegetable peeler and slice some over the bruschetta.  Whole Foods has delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and a good chunk of it will set you back about ten bucks but a little goes a long way with this flavorful, nutty cheese.

I made extra of the tomato and white bean mixture.  I put it in the fridge to use later to mix in with lettuce to make a salad.

Kale…mmm

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Yes, her body is sick and yes I stole this picture from Perez Hilton on my phone at 10:54 am.  But this is all about kale not Jen’s stripper body.  I’ve been hearing so much about kale lately especially people juicing with it (Yuck, no thank you).  I realized that I had never tried it and I had it in the back of my mind that one of these days I will venture into a kale recipe.  Then I saw this video.  Click here.

tone it up girls

It’s the girls from the tone it up show on bravo.  All these tips in their videos are great for snacks but this one stood out because I had been wanting to try this amazing nutrient dense food.  They pointed out it is a great lunch to take to work because kale is so hearty it won’t wilt with dressing on it.  So, I went out the next day and bought some prewashed kale from Trader Joes and made a kale salad!  My husband and I had it for lunch on our first day of our recent cleanse.  See here.  His was thrown together in a Ziploc with strawberries, goat cheese, sliced almonds and homemade dressing.

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Then I decided to make a white bean soup with kale the next week.  I seriously love white beans and white bean soups are my favorite because they are so creamy. I googled white bean kale soup and got ideas for recipes from many sources and came up with this yummy delight.

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For my husband I added Chicken sausage to my vegetarian soup.  We had grilled cheese sandwiches for a meal during one of our many snow storms here in the suburbs of Philly this winter.

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Here’s the breakdown with no measurements because I just threw it together.  I used kale, carrots, shallots, onion, vegetable broth and white beans.  I admittedly go overboard am a snob about beans and refuse to use canned beans.  So these I lovingly soaked for 8 hours and then cooked for an hour like I always do.

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I sautéed the carrots, shallots & onions with olive oil until soft then added the kale for a couple of minutes.

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I mashed up some beans with a fork in some vegetable broth to add to the soup to help make the soup creamy.

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This is a little blurry but I threw the sautéed veggies and kale along with the mashed up beans and then some more non mashed up beans in my crockpot.  I added rosemary, oregano, basil and some roasted garlic and voila delish!  The kale holds up great in soups and provides an interesting texture combined with the creamy beans.  I ate this soup for a week!

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Back to Jennifer Aniston for a moment.  Apparently to get that toned stripper ready body for We’re the Millers she ate veggies, greens, lean proteins and kale.  (Sounds like my soup!)  Also, she did yoga.  And when she wanted to cheat she ate kale chips.  Huh?  Is that a typo eonline?  My cheat is chocolate cupcakes or chocolate chip cookies or even chocolate chips not kale chips.  But one cannot help looking at that picture and not be inspired.  I’m going to add kale chips to my next Trader Joes or Whole Foods shopping list.

Mediterranean Feta Salsa

Christmas Eve I was dropping a small fortune shopping at Whole Foods for our Christmas night get together at our place.  Of course they had samples out to try and no doubt will end with me adding 20% more to my grocery cart and this beauty was one of those samples.  Mediterranean Feta Salsa!  One word:  Dill.  Okay more words:  Feta, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives.  This stuff is amazing.  Kerry came to visit the day after Christmas and I had some left over.  She literally shoveled it in her mouth until it was done.

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I went back last week and picked up another tub of this heavenly salsa.  I used it as a topping for a delish salad.  I made a simple mustard vinaigrette and added celery, carrots and peppadew peppers.  Then topped it with a little parmesan cheese.  Side note:  next time you are in Whole Foods pick up some mild peppadew peppers.  So amazing.  I found them on amazon here.  But they seem really expensive.  I’ll have to check how much they were at Whole Foods.

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My Fave Breakfast

Pineapple with cottage cheese, almonds, vanilla extract & nutmeg.

Of course, you can’t forget the yummy coffee!  I used a whole pineapple so I have lots of leftovers.  I used nonfat cottage cheese.  The almonds are from Trader Joes.  I love am having a love affair with Trader Joes.  They have dry roasted, unsalted almonds that I use so much & love.

3 Day Cleanse

Beginning tomorrow I am going to do 3 days of the 5 day fast forward from the Cinch Diet. I modify it as I don’t care for eggs.  Check out my modified menu here.

The last time I did the cleanse it was in June for 2 days.  I lost 4 lbs in 2 days.  I’m excited to cleanse again!  With 3 days hopefully I can lose 6 lbs.  Let’s hope anyways!

Italian Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers.  They leave you feeling full for a long time and they are so healthy.  The key to getting them properly stuffed is to cut the peppers lengthwise.  Here are my Italian Stuffed Peppers I put together.  I made the marinara with olive oil, shredded carrots, chopped onions & canned tomatoes.  The next day I took the left over marinara and blended it up with a lot of basil, a little milk and heated it up for tomato soup!  I couldn’t finish it all and had some the next day for lunch.

Recipe:

Produce:  2 bell peppers, 1 cup of marinara sauce

Whole Grain:  1/2 cup cooked brown rice

Lean Protein:  1/4 cup of white beans, 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese

Plant-based Fat:  1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (in the marinara), 1 tablespoon of pine nuts

SASS:  Basil, oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Make the marinara or use a store bought.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Cut peppers lengthwise and put them on the cookie sheet.  Mix the rice with the marinara sauce, basil, oregano & white beans.  Stuff the peppers and top with the parmesan cheese & pine nuts.  Cover the peppers with foil and cook for 25 min then remove the foil and cook 10 min more.