Sunday, July 29, 2012

Green Pear Jicama Salad

A little dressing goes a long way on this To zest an Orange, use a small grater or a microplaner
For Dressing: 1 tablespoon olive oil Per 2 tablespoons pear balsamic vinegar A bit of orange juice from the orange you zest 
The pears were free from a neighbors tree & the zucchini was from a neighbors garden. It's always nice to find local fruits and veggies!

2 small, green, apple pears, julienned (finely sliced)
2 cups jicama, julienned
1/2 cup zucchini, sliced into round thin strips and then quartered
1 small slightly tart tomatillo sliced into similar pieces as the zucchini then halved
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Zest of one orange

1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic
the Juice of 1 orange

 This dressing keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge I made this salad and dressing based on what was in the pantry and fridge that seemed like it would make a nice mix of sweet and tart. We took this with pear balsamic kale chips to a pot luck along with a container of almonds that people could sprinkle on top instead of croutons. People went back for seconds and some wanted the recipe. I'm finishing the rest off for a snack now.

Yummy and I believe it fits right into the DTOUR diet I've been using for recipe inspiration, tho I made it up myself so who knows. I hope you give it a try if these fruits and veggies are local and in season they will be the tastiest. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A healthy take on chocolate cake

Tonight Patch made me vegan chocolate cupcakes with whole wheat flour. They were different but yummy and check out how pretty with peaches grown on the tree in our backyard right there on top like a birthday crown.

She wasn't happy with the recipe and tweaked it a bit to get the final result i tasted. Which was yummy. If you live near us and want to taste some, please let me know. I can't eat 2 dozen even with their help! And even tho they are healthier than normal cup cakes they are still full of carbs of course. She isn't home right now, so I will post the recipe later.

EDIT: This morning we put peanut butter on one. So good!
What are your favorite healthy recipes for chocolate cake?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Latte

This is delicious and can be made completely vegan or not if you prefer. I made mine with coconut milk and highly recommend it.
Baker's chocolate may be bitter when eaten alone, but when shaved over a sweet drink or sweet whip cream, it is super delicious and really balances the drink well

Two bags peppermint tea
4 oz hot water
Large glass full of ice
8 oz lowfat coconut milk
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon Dark chocolate, shaved on microplane
Whip cream if desired (can be made vegan with coconut milk and powdered sugar)

Brew tea in 4 oz water
Add 1 teaspoon agave
Shave a bit of dark bakers chocolate over it
Pour hot sweetened tea over ice
Add 8 oz coconut milk
Add whip cream if desired (vegan if you're so inclined)
Shave a bit more of dark chocolate over whip cream

How to make Vegan Whip Cream:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Making healthy foods fun

They say we eat with our eyes first, then our nose and finally our taste buds. For this reason, I try to plate food in a way that looks nice as well as tastes good.

But sometimes life calls for a little whimsy. So this morning we are joined by the breakfast monster.

Tasty, nutritious and fun. If you'd like to eat a breakfast monster  you can make your own and please show me the pictures! Or, if you'd like, feel free to use the following "recipe" to emulate mine.

Tips: Spinach can be lightly wilted if you'd like. I try not to eat too much fresh spinach as I've been told it can block some other nutrients from being absorbed by my body.
If you'd like to be a little more creative with the placement of the sunflower seeds and cranberries, please do! We had already mixed the salad the night before, but I think the cranberries would be delicious and look fun on the eyes around the middle and the sunflower seeds could be lined up as the lines between teeth.

1 Whole Grain Bagel - Toasted
2 Tablespoons Smart Balance Omega rich Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon walnut oil
1 cup Spinach - wilted
1/8 cup sliced celery
1 tablespoon cranberries
1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds
2 oz tuna fish

Toast 1 Whole Wheat bagel and spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on each
Lightly wilt 1 cup of Spinach in 1 teaspoon of walnut oil
Mix Spinach with 1/8 cup celery, 1 tablespoon cranberries, and 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds.
Arrange on plate in desired mouth shape
Arrange 2 oz of Tuna fish as teeth or as the middle section of the lips

Or just get creative and make your own :)

This meal is rich in fiber, omega 3's and protein. And was inspired by the DTOUR diet, although I think 1/2 a bagel might be what they call for.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Super Smoothie Yumness

Blackberries, Walnuts and Flax, oh my! This smoothie is meant to be a breakfast of champions. I found the recipe in my DTOUR book and altered it just slightly. It's DELICIOUS! I don't know if DTOUR dietitians would approve or not, but I do! It gets 3 thumbs up for yumness!

If you like a little texture in your smoothies, blend the walnuts in
I prefer them sprinkled on top for added crunch
For my non dairy friends (vegan etc) there are non dairy yogurts you can use or a banana if you eat those
Flax seed must be freshly ground or from your freezer. If you do not keep flax cool after it's ground it can go rancid. I wasted a lot of money on a bag of flax seed meal thinking it would save me from having to grind it, and the darn thing went bad because I kept it in the pantry.

1 Cup Almond Milk
3/4 Cup fat free plain yogurt of your favorite type
1/2 cup blackberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Blend 1 Cup Almond Milk with 3/4 cup of your favorite fat free plain yogurt, 1/2 cup blackberries, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts on top.

I forgot the flax seed meal DTOUR suggested in mine this time, but it should thicken up the mix a bit which would be nice. I miss the texture of bananas in my smoothies, but I don't miss the hives. I will try 2 tablespoons ground flax next time I make a smoothie. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vinegar Kale Chips 2 Ways

Kale Chips, getcher Kale Chips!!! Kale Chips Two Ways, Sweet n Salty, or Vinegar and Salt.  I feel like a vendor at the beach with popcorn. These things are flying off the pan as fast as I can make em. And last night as we were eating Kale Chips with garlic and paprika on them, I thought hmmm these would be good with salt and vinegar I bet! So I looked around and found this article: and apparently I'm not the only one. I also looked up Vinegar and Salt Potato Chips, because that's what I was emulating here. But it wasn't until afterwards, when I didn't quite get that vinegar pop that I went searching for that old flavor I was looking for that reminds me of the board walk. And this recipe from Bon Appetit had the trick. VINEGAR POWDER! I had no idea it even exists. I will have to keep my eyes open for some, because I think that would be more likely to get from hmmm that's a nice light vinegar and salt flavor, to WOW! Yes! Check it out:

I'm not saying the Vinegar and Salt Kale Chips aren't delicious, but I am saying I much prefer the Sweet and Salty version. We will see what Patch  and Carlie say. Or try them both and let me know what you think for yourself!

- I have made Kale Chips quite a few times now, and I have discovered that the temperature I'd previously used was too high. I think it worked when I stuck the Kale in the oven without preheating first. But now that I've learned to preheat the oven consistently, (shocker) I had to bring the temperature down to avoid burning.
- If using black Kale, expect a slightly darker leaf at the end, but you still want to avoid over browning as the chips become bitter if burnt. So just cook until crisp, even if you have to keep checking. Sometimes I take the smaller bits off first and leave the larger bits on there to cook a bit longer.
- a teaspoon of baking soda in a large bowl of water is great for washing leaved veggies. Just put the leaves in the water and swish them around, the dirt will fall to the bottom


Vinegar and Salt Kale Chips:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon White Vinegar
Salt to taste

Sweet and Salty Kale Chips:
1 Tablespoon Walnut Oil
1 Tablespoon Pear Balsamic
1 dash of Cinnamon

Wash Kale and dry well. I'm told a salad spinner works great for this, but if you don't have one you can dry them by hand by pressing them between super absorbent towels.
Break Kale into chip sized pieces, and then they will cook down to popcorn sized or larger
Place in large, dry bowl
Add ingredients
Stir well
Lay out on non stick baking sheet
Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook until crisp. If edges start to brown, pull them out.

Let me know what fun recipes you come up with!

Orange Jicama Salad - Adding More Raw Vegan Foods to Our Plan

Hint: If you're just looking for the recipe, scroll down towards the end the next few paragraphs are about raw food and veganism.

Several years ago I went about 90% Raw. I remember the conversation with my doctor who thought raw meant I was eating raw meat. Even tho I had mentioned it was a form of veganism where foods are not cooked, unless you consider dehydrating and low temperatures to be cooking (which I do, to be honest)  At that time, I had a lot of issues around eating in this healthy, meat free way which was very confusing to me. As it turned out, I was eating tons of things that I'm allergic to. Carrots were in many recipes I was preparing, since they were a low cost filler for things like raw vegan burgers. The food was delicious, and I really enjoyed the creativity it allowed me, but between the hives, foggy thinking and low energy, my doctor told me to knock it off even after she knew what it was. She wasn't educated enough in it to even begin to guess at what was going wrong. If you are still wondering what exactly is Raw Food, here are some helpful links:

These days I am a bit more tuned in to what my body likes and doesn't like as well as how to get protein out of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, so I've been moving back towards more and more vegetarian, vegan and/or raw meal preparation. I'm paying close attention to how my body responds to the meals, and making sure I get enough protein, which was one of the things my previous doctor felt was missing from my temporary Raw Food attempt.

Recently we got a box chock full of organic fruits and vegetables for $25. I don't want it to go bad, so I've been making sure we add it into meals and flat out plan meals around it. I think we'll eat it up quickly since all 3 of us have been increasing the amount of vegetables in our diet. Sometimes we'll make a whole meal which is vegan, and other times we'll mix and match like I did today for lunch putting a raw vegan salad along with a tuna melt and some kale chips on the side. About 440 calories, it was a great lunch! Here's the recipe for the salad: ENJOY!

What are your favorite raw and/or vegan recipes? If you like sharing healthy recipes, you might enjoy this group:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jelly-In-The-Middle Muffins - Vegan, Whole Wheat

Here in Laveen, we have quite a wonderful gardening group. If you are on Facebook you can find us there ( talking about everything from desert native plants to exotic food plants, and occasionally recipes we make with them. We often share the food we grow, and although so far this season my garden has not has a lot of luck, I have high hopes for next season. And in the mean time, some of my neighbors sell or give away their locally produced foods. Today Patch made these awesome muffins and at my request she used the strawberry jam one neighbor gave me, and another kind from another, and locally produced cherry & fig preserves as well. They are SO GOOD!

Originally the recipe came from an old cookbook we have in the cupboard called Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, but we altered it to be vegan since I'm allergic to eggs and milk doesn't seem to be reacting well with my stomach again these days. Right now Patch is also making a version with cheese and Jalepenos which I bet Milo could easily make vegan by using his Treese. I don't know if that's the right spelling, but it's a vegan "cheese" product he really likes :) Check out his Vegan Meal Adventures ( some time for some awesome recipes using it. In the mean time, here is the Vegan Jelly-In-The-Middle Muffin recipe Patch and I came up with:

Start the chia seeds soaking before you do anything else, that way they are ready when you get to them in the recipe
Do not use baking cups on your muffin tin with these, spread veggie oil or veggie shortening (like the thick coconut oil) in the tin instead

Egg Replacer:
3 Tablespoons water & 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds

Dry Ingredients:
1 & 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup Almond Milk (or your favorite milk replacement)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

12 teaspoons of your favorite jelly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Mix 3 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon Chia seeds in small bowl and set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes to soak which will replace 1 egg (ground flax seeds can also be used for this)
Mix dry ingredients (1 & 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda) and make a well in the middle
Mix egg replacer after it holds together in a consistency much like egg with 3/4 cup Almond Milk (or your favorite milk replacement) and 1/4 cup vegetable oil and pour all at once into the well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
Stir until mixture is just moistened (Do not over stir, batter will still be lumpy)
Lightly grease muffin tin (coconut oil might work for this, we use walnut oil,
Pour into muffin tin
Place 1 teaspoon of jelly on top in the center of each muffin, and it will sink inside as it bakes
Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes or until golden brown

Makes 1 dozen medium sized muffins (not the bite sized but not the large over sized ones either)
Edit: The butter you see out was used to grease the tin for the original batch which Patch made following the original recipe. Later, I helped her edit the recipe to make it vegan, and after that, she made a 3rd batch with jalepeno and cheese to have later with dinner.

Quick and Easy Chai Latte

The last few days I have been craving Chai Latte, but not wanting the fattening, sugar filled versions that various coffee stores and premixed Chai recipes showed. Nor did I want to take the time to make Chai concentrate at this time, although it sounded delicious. So the following is a quick and easy method I developed at home.

According to my reading, even decaffeinated tea has about 3% of it's caffeine left. Please be aware of that if you are sensitive or even if you're just wanting a morning pick me up, but not the jitters
Black tea does come in decaf versions
Agave Nectar is about 2 times sweeter than sugar, so use sparingly, and make sure you get the 100% whole Agave kind, and not the versions which are mixed with other things in the process or it's glycemic index shoots up
Honey, if you are not allergic to it like I am, is a delicious sweetener for chai. I only wish it didn't give me hives.
Lemon peel would also be refreshing (I used orange zest due to lemon allergies)
Placing the ingredients in a cheese cloth would likely prevent the need to strain the tea
If you are a soy milk drinker or rice milk drinker those would work and this would still be vegan. Or if you're a dairy drinker this works with milk

2 glasses filled with ice
8 oz hot water
8 oz Original Unsweetened Almond milk (with vitamin D)
2 bags decaf black tea (or iced tea bags)
1/2 teaspoon agave 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardimum or allspice 
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Heat water 
Place 2 bags of decaf black tea,  1/2 teaspoon agave nectar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon orange zest in a coffee mug or tea cup 
Pour 8 oz hot water over and allow tea to steep
Place a paper towel over the glass of ice (I used a couple pieces of ice to hold the paper towel slightly down into the glass) 
SLOWLY pour 1/2 hot tea and spices from the above over the paper towel so that it will strain out excess spices and not leave your latte gritty.  Allow to soak through the paper towel until the glass is 1/2 full of tea then move paper towel to other glass of ice and repeat
Add 4 oz Almond Milk to each glass

You can add more honey or agave to taste if you feel it is not sweet enough, but I like mine spicy and not overly sweet

Makes 2 8 oz glasses of Chai Latte providing you with 1/2 the vitamin D of a glass of milk, none of the dairy, and all the healthy antioxidents of the tea, plus some of the blood sugar control of the spices, tho those are minimal at this dose I'm sure, I figure it can't hurt my attempts to move towards a medicine free blood sugar control! 

Please let me know how you like it, and what spices you switch around for it. You may want to try ginger root in yours, I am allergic to ginger, so did not include it in this recipe but found it in several chair recipes on the net. ENJOY! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lose-a-thon and This month's Health Goals - Equality Weight Loss Challenge

Friends and Family,
I have begun the Equality Weight Loss Challenge as of July 1st, and so far so good! I am asking that my friends pledge to donate a certain amount for every pound I lose such as $2 per pound. If I lose 10 pounds, you would go to donate $20, if you pledge $5 and I lose 5 pounds you would donate $25 etc. I have been losing just under 10 pounds a month and am dedicated to eating healthier and ramping up my work outs gradually, so be forewarned, it could very well be 10 pounds lost by the end of July. It will most likely be 5-10. Or you can just go to and donate a flat amount which would be awesome also. 

A little history. This walk started out as part of Right to Marry AZ as an attempt to spread awareness. It has grown to be more than that, as their sight says now, "It's about more than marriage" You can learn more here: 

Please consider donating or pledging. And if you're going to be part of my lose-a-thon and donate a certain amount per pound lost, please let me know so that I can contact you when I weigh in for the final day of the challenge and you can make your donations then :) Peace, Love and Health be with you!

My goals for this challenge are as follows:
Drink 8 to 12 (8 oz) glasses of water a day

Eat "twice as many vegetables, 1/2 as many carbs" 
Work out 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, alternating between cardio and strength training.
Lose 5-10 pounds

And the big overall goal is to get healthier. To me, getting healthier would mean that my blood glucose and cholesterol would be under control with less medicine, and preferably no medicine. I am working alongside my doctors to reach these goals. Please help boost my motivation by pledging to my Loseathon! :)

May peace, love and health be with you,

Sean-Michael Gettys