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freaky {food} friday: psyllium seed husks

Helloooo there! I am so happy that…

thank god!

this cat = me

And today I wanted to do a fun little Freaky Food Friday since I haven’t done one in so long! This Friday’s freaky food is psyllium seed husks!

What is psyllium seed husks?

Ever heard of Metamucil? It’s made of psyllium seed husks!

Plantago psyllium is a plant native to Iran and India. The stalks of the plant contain tiny seeds covered in husks, which is the psyllium seed husks we can eat! It has a long history of use in traditional and herbal medicines, and is quickly becoming popular for use in weight control and intestinal health. It contains a spongy fiber (soluble fiber) that reduces appetite, improves digestion and cleanses the system, making it an excellent choice for healthy dieting. If you are following a low carb diet, chances are you aren’t getting enough fiber – psyllium can provide that fiber you need! Every 100 grams of psyllium provides 71 grams of soluble fiber; a similar amount of oat bran would contain only 5 grams of soluble fiber. Only recently have scientists learned that soluble fiber has unique effects on metabolism. The herb also provides a feeling of fullness that is helpful before meals. Psyllium is one of the simplest, healthiest and most effective herbs for weight control.

Psyllium fiber is not broken down as it passes down the gastrointestinal tract and so it has no nutritive value other than as a source of fiber. Adding water to dry psyllium causes it to swell to up to ten times its original volume – the reason why it helps with satiety. For many years products containing psyllium (aka Metamucil) have been used to increase fecal bulk and loosen stools, as ways of treating constipation. ItĀ also has the advantage over other sources of fiber for reducing flatulence and bloating. It may be recommended by a physician to help soften stool and reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids.

Psyllium husks are great to use in gluten free baking. It can be used as a replacement for xanthan gum and pectin (which helps bind and thicken substances).

What does it taste like?

It has a earthy, wheaty taste. It reminds me of this cereal!

Why should you eat it?

Well, for one, it gets things movin down there if ya know what I mean! If you’re constipated, psyllium husk should be your go-to!

But it also keeps you full, is tasteless (so it can be added to anything), has been proven to lower cholesterol, and is an excellent herb to promote overall health and wellness! I would recommend adding a teaspoon or two to your smoothies (it will also make them thicker) at first every day and then you can gradually go up to adding a tablespoon!

What are its nutrition facts?

2 tablespoons are 35 calories with 9 g of fiber and 10 g of carbohydrate. I usually only use about a tablespoon or less.

Where can I find psyllium?

I found my psyllium at Trader Joe’s, although I don’t think they sell it anymore. It can be found online at amazon.com or at your local health food store. Sometimes it’s even in the bulk bins! Be sure to look for “whole psyllium husks.”

thank you trader darwins!

Recipes!

Healthy cookies with flax and psyllium? These are a must try!

Dr. Oz’s Magical Breakfast Blaster smoothie calls for psyllium (he says psyllium is an essential ingredient for every smoothie)!

Gluten free flatbread recipe using psyllium here!

Raw strawberry pie. I need to make this ASAP!

My overall score:

Psyllium is awesome. I love adding it to my smoothies because it really makes them thicker and I can’t even taste or tell a difference in texture. After a few days of unhealthy eating, I always turn to psyllium to help detoxify my body. My favorite way to add it in my diet is to make the recipe below! It gets an A+.

A Blondie Bakes and Bikes Recipe!

Vanilla-y Cinnamon Fiber Pudding

serves 1 (a great low-cal snack in between meals that keeps you full!!)

Ingredients:

1 T psyllium seed husks

couple shakes cinnamon

half a packet of stevia (I use NuNaturals stevia) or the full packet if you want it more sweet – you could also use agave, honey, real sugar, nothing…

1/3 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can also use plain and add a little vanilla extract) + a little more for mixing in afterwards

Directions:

Mix the first three ingredients in a cup.

up close to the psyllium!

dry ingredients

Add 1/3 c almond milk and stir.

VAM added

Let sit for about 5-10 minutes (the longer you wait, the thicker it will get). I personally don’t like it super thick (sometimes I just drink it right after so it’s more like cereal and milk) so I wait for about 5 minutes and then add a splash more of almond milk!

looks nast but i swear it’s good!

And that’s it! So quick and easy. You could also mix in some oats, fruit, nuts, coconut, nut butter, etc and add more almond milk for a filling breakfast porridge! Yum šŸ™‚

Have a happy Friday friends!! Don’t forget to write “psyllium seed husks” on your next grocery list!

xoxox

Kara

WIAW #12

Hi loves!

Happy hump day! It’s almost Friday! This week just flew by dontcha think?!

I haven’t done this in a while but today is WIAW, and I am taking part in the delicious food-fest over at Jenn’s adorable blog, Pea’s and Crayons! Thanks for hosting Jenn :)!

<center><a href=”http://www.peasandcrayons.com/&#8221; target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qddsgy21QHs/T3ZiNc9sjwI/AAAAAAAAFwk/AhxNjWpB4Y0/s1600/wiaw+serve+up+an+extra+cup+button.jpg&#8221; /></a></center>

For breakfast I felt like trying something new so I made (never home) maker’s hearty pecan chip micro muffin! But instead of pecans I used dried cranberries and instead of whole wheat flour I made it gluten free and used brown rice flour and gluten free oats (I’m not gluten free but my roommate/bff is and I wanted her to be able to try it out too!).

my very first micro muffin!

It was delicious, but I made the mistake of adding too much stevia to the peanut sauce so it was like sweetness overload and for some reason I just can’t handle overly sweet things in the morning. I think next time I’ll make the muffin with pecans and dried cranberries or add less chocolate chips!

In between classes, I snacked on a pink lady apple but forgot to take a picture. You guys are really missing out..what an interesting picture that would have been šŸ˜‰ but it was crunchy and delish!

After a cardio chisel and spin class today I was starvinnn! Don’t get in between me and the refrigerator…you’ll get hurt hehe.

wrap time!

I sauteed some mushrooms in coconut oil, added 3 scrambled egg whites and some herbs de provence! I laid that mixture on a bed of spinach on top of a La Tortilla Factory Smart and Delicious tortilla and chopped up red bell pepper, a low sodium slice of turkey from TJ’s and feta. Loooooved it.

new favorite bars!!!

Snack time. These are literally too good to be true. I am obsessed. I want to try out every flavor! Or find out a way to make my own because there’s no way I can afford having one a day haha! #poorcollegehealthnutproblems

vegetarian lettuce wraps!

My roommate, Elana’s mom signed us up to get a box of all organic veggies from local farms delivered to our doorstep. The goods showed up this week! But unfortunately I was too excited I forgot to snap a picture! A big thank you to Nina for getting this for us!!!! šŸ™‚ The lettuce, onion and red bell pepper in the lettuce wraps were from the box. If you’re interested in participating in this and supporting your local farmers visit the website itsorganicdelivery.com for more info!! A couple strange looking radish/parsnip looking things were in the box as well as a vegetable called Kohlrabi. We’re not sure what to do with that yet!

To make the lettuce wraps we sauteed half a white onion with two cloves of garlic in about one tablespoon sesame oil. Then we added in chopped bell pepper (about a half of one), one grated carrot, celery, and one package & a half of TJ’s baked tofu. Bragg’s liquid aminos was used to give it some more flava! I whipped up some dipping sauce with one heaping tablespoon of raw almond butter, about 2 tablespoons liquid aminos, the juice of half a lime, one tablespoon agave, and a little bit of ground chia seeds to thicken it out.

topped with some peanuts for crunch and a squeeze of lime!

This dinner was sooo easy and delicious. Plus it’s pretty low calorie, gluten free and is filling! Elana and I were proud of ourselves and we even made enough for leftovers :).

I needed a little something sweet to end the day off right so I made some hot chocolate!

would you like some almond milk with that cocoa powder?!

Although, I accidentally dumped too much cocoa powder into my mug so it was more like clumps of cocoa powder floating in almond milk. Yuck. I had to doctor it up a bit, add some water to thin it out and stir it a ton for it to finally be drinkable! I didn’t take a picture of the final product though…ugh! I added a few drops of liquid stevia and cinnamon and it was delicious end to my night of studying!

Hope you guys had a fabulous day! I hope it’s sunny tomorrow here so I can go for a nice run outside!!

missin this face.

I get to see LilyĀ again this weekend! Soo excited.

xoxo,

Kara

cinnamon & spice pancakes

Hey guys!

I’m here with a recipe!

These are seriously my favorite pancakes I’ve made so far. AND they’re vegan!

cinnamon & spice pancakes with coconut banana butter and banana-blueberry "fro-yo"

Cinnamon & Spice Pancakes

adapted from Angela’s Spiced Up and Stacked Pumpkin Butter PancakesĀ and Katie’s Blueberry Pie Pancakes

serves 1, makes 3 small – medium sized pancakes

Ingredients:

1/3 c flour (ww pastry, spelt, gluten-free, etc.)

2 T rolled oats

2/3 t baking powder

1/8 t salt

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T sugar or 1 packet stevia

1/3 c non-dairy milk

1 T oil (I used coconut)

3/4 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/8 t ginger

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet. Mix well. Cook on an oiled (or sprayed) pan, on low-medium, flipping each pancake once.

sooo pwettyy.

You could drizzle these in maple syrup, chopped fruit and yogurt or you could make a cute little pancake parfait like I did! Alternating each pancake with a generous spread of Katie’s Coconut Banana ButterĀ and then banana-blueberry “fro-yo” (1/2 frozen banana, a handful of frozen blubes, and a splash of almond milk whipped up in a food processor or vitamix). Topped off with a sprinkle of cinnamon, coconut flakes and fresh blueberries. Seriously SO GOOOOOD. Stop drooling and make this now ;). I promise you you won’t regret it!

xoxo,

Kara

WIAW #11

Hiii loves!

Okay so I’ve literally been the worst blogger ever. I’ve missed you guys! How are ya?!

I am proud to announce, I survived the two weeks of being vegan! Sorry for the lack of posts of what I ate, I have one coming up! Since then, I’ve been still eating vegan at home, although I went out to eat a couple days ago and I ordered chicken. I also made catfish for the boyf the other night (it was delish, recipe to come). The hardest thing to live without has definitely been cheese, and vegan cheese really doesn’t compare unfortunately.

After being vegan for 2+ weeks, I didn’t feel much different (I think it’s because I didn’t eat that much meat and dairy to begin with) and I’ve maintained the same weight. As of right now, I’ve decided that I will eat mostly vegan, but occasionally have some cheese, chicken or fish if I want when I eat out or amĀ really craving it.

Today, I ate vegan!

Let’s see what it was….

pre-cooked quinoa (instead of oats! highly recommend!!) with half a banana, vanilla almond milk, cinnamon and topped with banana walnut brulee (recipe to follow).

Banana Walnut Brulee

serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 c walnuts

1 T agave (can also use honey or maple syrup)

1/4 t cinnamon

tiny dash vanilla extract

1/2 banana, chopped

dash of cayenne

cooking spray

Directions:

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and set it to medium-high heat. In aĀ separateĀ bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Add to skillet and let it saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, and add to whatever you like!

On Wednesday’s I have five classes, including a 3 hour biology lab, so I don’t have much time to eat! I practically swallowed a whole smoothie in one gulp as I ran after the bus on the way to my next class…..

green smoothie with spinach, spirulina powder, half a frozen banana, frozen mango topped with homemade granola. sorry for the awful photo, again, i was in a rush!

I came home ravishing (remind me to pack a snack next Wednesday gahhhhhh!) and fixed that with this:

mary's crackers, tj's hummus and bolani pesto while making dinner

some nasty looking black bean soup (my recipe with added carrots and onions) and angela @ ohsheglows dinosaur dill crunch salad (made with curly kale instead of dinosaur kale) - pretty good! i think i needed to let the kale marinate in the dressing a little longer, it was a hard to chew and i'm not used to eating it raw.

And of course……

best. dessert. ever. almond breeze vanilla ice cream with blueberries and homemade chocolate sauce (cocoa powder, agave, and a little splash of almond milk!). sweet tooth satisfied.

Yum!!!!

Okay off to do some Stats homework and read pages and pages in my Biology book! Soooo freakin excited.

LOVEEEEEESYAA

Kara

vegan eats

Hi babydolls!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for quite a while…the quarter just started Monday so I’ve been figuring out my classes and catching up with friends I haven’t seen in a whole month!

My vegan diet has been going well so far, I have completed a week plus two days now! Surprisingly finding things to eat has been easy, although Iā€™ve had to get a little more creative and do some planning ahead of time.

When I was at home, my sister and mom had some delicious looking (and smelling!) cheesy pesto bread with their dinner and I would have loved a big bite of it, but I told myself that I couldnā€™t give in quite yet. I do reallllly really miss cheese and eggs, but Iā€™ve had no cravings for meat so far!

As of now, my thoughts about this whole vegan ordeal is that I do not want to deprive my body of anything it craves. If after 2 weeks Iā€™m craving cheese or eggs, I will allow my body some cheese and eggs! Thereā€™s no sense in torturing and depriving myself.

Now I’ll let ya guys in on what I’ve been eating lately ;).

sprouted whole wheat toast with ab & pb and fresh berries. my mouth is watering just looking at those berries right now! get in mah belly.

i tried an amy's indian spinach tofu wrap. it was perfect for a quick and delicious small meal!

portobello mushroom burger/sandwich with all the fixins and sauteed green beans with hazelnuts.

crocodile crunch from alicia silverstone's "the kind diet." 1 t spirulina, ~3/4 T almond milk, ~3/4 T orange juice, ~3/4 T maple syrup, 1 t almond butter. mix sauce and pour over fresh fruit and coconut. top with kamut puffs, granola or whatever cereal you like! beware: this looks gross (I mean it issss green) but it's actually DELICIOUS and may turn your teeth temporarily green hehe.

sauteed vegetables, tempeh, and lentil & bean mix.

butternut squash and vegetable curry over brown rice and topped with coconut and roasted almonds & cashews (in bragg liquid aminos)

the. best. pancakes. EVER. (recipe coming soon!)

quinoa bowl with veggies, salsa and cilantro jalapeno hummus (found at TJs).

kale, tempeh and wild rice!

green beans and asparagus over brown rice with Mama Pea's "mmm" sauce drizzled on top!

snacky dinner! butternut squash soup, veggies & crackers (Marys crackers and Flackers) to dip in hummus and salsa. and a sliced apple!

So there ya have it! Not exactly everything I’ve been eating lately, but a summary! Today, I had a delicious falafel pita sandwich with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, hummus and tahini sauce from aĀ Mediterranean cafe. I’m determined to recreate it. And tonight I think I’ll make some overnight oats for tomorrow’s breakfast! Mmmm.

Hope you all had a fabulous week!

xoxo,

Kara

WIAW #10 and day one of being a vegan!

“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates

After watching the nutrition documentary,Ā Forks Over Knives last night, the above quote stuck with me. In the movie, (which you should watch if you haven’t!) two doctors show patients who are suffering from conditions like heart disease and diabetes how diet is the best medicine. These two admirable doctors both found that these types of diseases and some forms of cancer can be prevented, and sometimes reversed, by adopting a “whole-foods, plant-based diet.” What I found most astonishing was a study with rats. They fed the rats a diet of 20% casein (the main protein found in dairy products), then 5% casein, switching off between the two levels of protein for a period of time and observing the effects of this dietary change on the rat’s cancer cells. There was a dramatic drop in cancerous growths in the rats that were fed a diet of 5% casein rather than 20%.

I’ve always thought about going vegan but never actually went through with it. I was vegetarian for about a year, but then felt like I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet and went back to eating meat. Forks Over KnivesĀ completely shocked me, I had no idea animal products can actually induce cancer cells! I still want to do some more research before fully committing to veganism, though. I realize that eventually I am going to die someday (sorry to be so blunt) whether that be old age, cancer, or disease…and in recent research it seems like everything causes cancer – parabens found in lotion, hair dyes, chemicals in makeup, sodium lauryl sulfate found in shampoos and toothpaste, aluminum based deodorants, non- organic fruits and vegetables, plastic water bottles, microwaves….I could go on and on. I think that if we live our lives fearing everything that causes cancer in the world, we will end up becoming complete crazies hiding from life.

Okay, but now I am going to contradict myself because even though I can’t prevent cancer entirely, it’s worth a shot. Plus, I’ve always been intrigued by the vegan diet so I figured why not try it if it won’t hurtcha?!

My goal is to try being vegan for 2 weeks and see if there are any changes in how I feel. In the movie, the real life patients boasted feeling more energetic and had no need for medications. (My dream!! A world of barely any prescription drugs..which only cure the symptoms not the actual disease or sickness itself, and more homeopathic remedies! But maybe I am crazy.) In the vegan cookbook calledĀ The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstein (who’s prego if you didn’t know!!) also expressed feeling more energetic on the vegan diet as well as having her acne clear up. I wouldn’t mind feeling more energetic and having completely clear skin, but those are not my main reasons for trying veganism, I simply want to try it to see how it affects me. Who knows, in two weeks I may feel no different and be back to eating how I was, or I may continue down the road of being a vegan. Thanks to Forks Over KnivesĀ my life could be entirely changed after this.

I do have a few concerns:

1) The Forks Over KnivesĀ diet rules out most fats (even the healthy ones like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds!). I CANNOT DO WITHOUT FAT. Soo I will be eating plenty of that in my new vegan diet.

2) I’ve gotten over the stage of caring what people think of me, but being the odd one out is never fun. Thank goodness my friend Cat (also a Nutrition Science major and the one who told me about this movie!!) agreed to try veganism with me. It is definitely going to be hard ordering at restaurants, eating with friends and attending family events. I’m sure we’ll get plenty of weird looks and questions like “so why exactly are you vegan?” or Ā “you’re one of those animal rights activists aren’t you?” or Ā “you don’t eat any cheese or meat?!” or “how do you live?!”

3) My last concern is gaining weight. I love peanut butter as you all know, nuts, seeds, avocado…which are all fat and high in calories. Good fat, but must be eaten in moderation. I’m worried that I might overdo it on those (I loooove trail mix and can eat a whole bag easily) out of boredom of the other foods I’m eating and end up actually gaining weight rather than losing pounds or maintaining my weight.

But I’m going to try not to worry about all that and enjoy my 2 (or more) weeks of being vegan!!

So here goes my first WIAW as a vegan.

Breakfast…

oatmeal made with oats, banana, cinnamon, and chia seeds topped with almond milk, strawberries and almonds

and a cup of the best tea ever.

Lunch…

black bean soup and sauteed green beans & spinach

Black Bean Soup

serves 3

Ingredients:

2 cans black beans, drained

1 c salsa

1 t cumin

1 1/2 c low sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

Put first three ingredients in food processor until you get your desiredĀ constituency (chunky or smooth). Then heat in a saucepan and mix in the vegetable broth. Top with green onion, avocado, salsa, etc!

yummmmy, quick and so easy!

cuddle time with my babyy

Snack…

apple cupcakes...sort of!

I used this recipeĀ for high protein chocolate pudding on the left apple, but used cocoa powder instead of carob, and used cocoa liquid stevia instead of maple syrup.

high protein chocolate pudding on the left topped with dried cranberries and pepitas, the right topped with peanut butter and cacao nibs!

Dinner…

nutty israeli couscous!

Nutty Israeli Couscous with Arugula, Butternut Squash and Sage

serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/3 c Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)

1 3/4 c water

1 T EVOO + more for sauteeing and drizzling

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

5-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1/2 a butternut squash

1/4 c pecans

2 handfuls of arugula (or any other leafy green you like)

Balsamic vinegar

s & p

Directions:

Pierce butternut squash with a fork or knife a couple times so that air can escape while in the microwave. Nuke for 10 minutes, cut in half and let cool. Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan, saute 1 1/3 c couscous with 1 T EVOO over medium heat until the couscous is lightly browned. This takes about 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 3/4 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove the rind of the butternut squash (I found it easiest to cut off the rind with a knife, but maybe you could try using a peeler?) and cut it into cubes. In a large frying pan set to medium heat drizzle some EVOO and add the chopped shallot, minced garlic and chopped sage leaves. Saute until the shallot is almost transparent. Mix in the pecans andĀ saute some more, but make sure to not burn the nuts.Ā By now the couscous should be finishing up, so turn off the heat, add a generous drizzle of EVOO and s & p. Then, add the butternut squash to the frying pan and cover. After about 3 minutes the butternut squash should be tender and aromatic. Now add the 2 handfuls of arugula, mix until wilted. Turn off the heat. Fold the butternut squash mixture into the saucepan with the couscous. Drizzle some balsamic, taste it and adjust how much s & p you would like. Enjoy!

filling and delicious!

Wahoo I survived my first day as a vegan! And it wasn’t as hard as I thought :)!

xoxo

Kara

WIAW #9

Hi sweet thangs!

Hope you all had a fantabulous Wednesday!!!

Mine started out like this…

coconutty chocolate oatmeal

In the pot went 1/3 c oats, 1 cup water, 1/2 banana, 1 heaping T cocoa powder, 1 tsp coconut oil, and cinnamon. I proceeded to top it with unsweetened coconut shavings, strawberries and raw almonds.

purty food

Then I was off to zee gym to get some sweatin on! I made up this workout which was adapted from theĀ Tone It UpĀ girl’s Bikini Max Burn workout (love them btw, check them out if you haven’t!):

20 jumping jacks

10 burpees

20 walking lunges (a lung on each leg counts for one)

30 jumping jacks

20 burpees (OMG kill me)

30 walking lunges

5 minute cardio (I ran on the treadmill at speed 7 for all of these)

10 pushups (no girly ones!)

10 tricep dips

20 walking lunges

5 min cardio

20 second plank (go directly into the next thing without collapsing on the floor in between ;))

20 tummy tucks (bring knee to the outside of your chest to work your obliques, doing the same for the other side = one rep)

5 min cardio

20 bicycle crunches (each side counts for one)

5 min cardio

[insert relaxing yoga class taught by my momma]

After, I did the Itty Bitty Bikini Workout by the Tone It Up girls (found here) and ran for 5 minutes to finish up my awesome workout!

YAY for sweating.

That intense workout made this girl hungryyyy for lunch. I decided to make a “healthy tostada.”

whole wheat tortilla heated on the skillet + brown rice...

then a layer of each: black beans + sauteed celery, onion and carrots + sprouts & cucumber...

topped with chopped spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast!

Seriously so good. I wished I had a whole other one to devour, but that thing filled me up! The only downside was that it was hard to eat, I basically ate it like a salad and ripped off pieces of tortilla.

Next on the agenda: time to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree! My dad, sister and I had one of these on our way to the Christmas tree farm:

 

soo good. get these.

(source)

And once I was home, I whipped up a little snacky snack.

plain greek yog with cinnamon & walnuts and an apple for dippage!

Later came some oven drama…my oven at home is broken and won’t be fixed for 4 weeks!! Ahhh that means NO BAKING?! No christmas cookies?!! šŸ˜¦ I will find a way…

And finally dinner! Made by moiii.

Mediterranean Quinoa

serves 4

Ingredients:

1 c quinoa (I used TJ’s red quinoa)

olive oil spray (or EVOO, we were out)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

4 baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 package savory tofu

1/2 c cherry tomatoes

3 big handfuls spinach

medium stalk fresh rosemary

handful of chopped basil

2 small heads broccoli

1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes

zest from 1/2 a lemon

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/2 c crazy feta or regular feta

1/4c toasted pine nuts

1/3 c kalamata olives, halved

whatcha need!

Directions:

Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, then let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa has fluffed up and there is barely any water left. Set to the side. Spray a large frying pan with olive oil spray and saute onions and garlic on medium-high heat until somewhat transparent. Add the mushrooms and tofu stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms look tender. Next, throw in the basil, rosemary leaves, handfuls of spinach and cherry tomatoes. Cover and let sit while you go on with the next step. With the saucepan of quinoa you set aside, add about 1/3 cup water plus the broccoli florets, cover and steam over medium heat until the broccoli is a bright green. Stir your sauteed veggies, watching until the tomatoes are soft and the spinach has wilted. Transfer the quinoa and broccoli into a bigger bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, feta, pine nuts, olives and finally, when ready, the sauteed veggies. Mix it all up and serve!

the finished product! yummmy

Chocolate cravings ensued…

UM EWWWWW

Okay well, I have some explaining to do, but the result was DELICIOUS I SWEAR!

I’ve heard about chocolate pudding made with avocados in the blogging world but have never found the courage to try it! Tonight was the night. It was a success and a perfect way to satisfy a chocolate craving!

Chocolate Almond Pudding

serves 1-3 people (depending on how much chocolate goodness you’re craving! warning: it is very rich though)

Ingredients:

the meat of 1 ripe avocado

4 heaping T cocoa

1/2 t vanilla

1 T almond butter

4 T maple syrup or agave

couple shakes cinnamon

~1/2 c water (add in at the end if you’d like it to be less thick)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor except for the water. If your pudding is too think, add the water in slowly. Keep blending until it’s completely smooth! This only takes a few minutes! Enjoy!

such a transformation!

topped with frozen blubes and mangoes!

The above was enjoyed while decorating the Christmas tree and dancing to Christmas music! Am I the only one who has memorized Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt (and plays it on repeat)?!

xoxox,

kara