Easy Spice Mix Guide

A huge misconception that people have is that healthy food is bland or unsatisfying or just plain boring… Not true!!

Spices really elevate a dish into something fantastic. These spice mixes can serve as a base for many dishes. They’re great to add to ROASTED VEGETABLES, mashed potatoes, SOUR CREAM (makes a great dip), pasta, and more.

Cajun Spice Blend

2 tbs cumin + 2 tbs coriander + 2 tbs paprika + 1 1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp pepper + 1 tbs oregano + cayenne pepper to taste

Chili Seasoning

2 tbs chili powder + 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp salt

Taco Seasoning

@ tbs + 2 tsp cumin + 1 tsp onion powder + 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper + 1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp oregano

Greek Spice Blend

1 tbs garlic power + 1 tbs dried basil + 2 tbs oregano + 1 tsp salt + 2 tsp pepper + 2 tsp dried sparsely + 2 tsp rosemary + 1 tsp dried thyme

Pumpkin Spice Blend

1/4 c ground cinnamon + 3 tsp ground ginger + 2 tsp nutmeg + 1 tsp ground cloves

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5 Tips to Thrive During Your First Vegan Week

Deciding to transition to a plant based diet is a big (exciting) decision. You’re probably about to change your diet and eating habits in pretty significant ways. These changes will positively impact your health and wallet.

At first, any change can seem difficult or overwhelming. Be patient and enjoy all the new experiences and tastes!

It’s important to be openminded. If you spend all your time thinking about how much you miss cheese or view your new diet as a punishment, you probably won’t be the happiest vegan on the block. Life advice – bad attitudes never help a situation.

With the tips below and the other RESOURCES and MEALS posted on Flavors of Living you realize eating healthy (plant based or not) .

1. Crowd out animal products.

Rather than focusing food you’re removing from your diet, focus on all the new foods you’ll be adding. Last year, I had no idea how to use a chia seed and was intimidated by tofu. Now, I eat them daily and in a variety of ways.

Don’t  run out and buy a bunch of things you’ve never tried before. One day at a time! Changing to a plant-based diet can be overwhelming. So, start simple. Chances are, you already have a good amount of ingredients to get you started and can buy the rest at any grocery store. Take it one step at a time and enjoy your new diet.

To begin, make a list of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and other animal free ingredients like and of those you would like to try. Next to those, list several ways you would like them prepared. Think about which items might pair well together. Tomatoes, onions, and pasta or HUMMUS, cucumbers, red peppers and PITA BREAD for example. Loaded baked potatoes and smoothies are a great way to combine your favorite fruits and vegetables. Continue reading

Easy Hummus

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Hummus is a serious staple of a vegan diet. The chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are full of protein (28 g in this recipe), fiber, and unique antioxidants.

This recipe is so easy! All you have to do to make fresh, chemical free hummus is open a can, add a few ingredients, and turn on the blender (or food processor). That’s all it takes!

I love enjoying hummus with fresh peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. Its also delicious on pita bread or with crackers. Pair it with some tabbouleh and falafel and now we’re really talking.

Feel free to add as much garlic and spice as you’d like! Like many of the recipes on Flavors of Living, this is meant to serve as a base to get you more comfortable in the kitchen and to allow you to find what you enjoy eating. So experiment away! Red pepper and olive are two of my favorite add-ins.  Continue reading

English Muffin Ideas

English muffins (whole wheat or sprouted) rock my vegan diet for three reasons –

  1. Good source of protein and fiber. In the muffin alone, the protein averages 5g-6g with about 3 g of fiber. Add to that the protein and fiber from whatever I top them with and it’s not bad for an easy snack.
  2. Endless possibilities. From sweet to savory and breakfast to dessert, it’s all good.
  3. Affordable. Whole grain/sprouted English muffins range in price from $.48-.61 a piece. With the cost of toppings you’re looking at a total of less than $2 (max) for a great meal. Compare the cost and nutrient density of these meals to those at McDonald‘s or Dunkin Donuts the choice is clear.
  4. Quick and easy. They are honestly simple to make. All are delicious and require minimal clean up. In addition, they pack well and are pretty portable.

                                                                                            Follow me on Instagram for the latest updates and show me what you’re up to by using #flavorsofliving


Avocado Tomato

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Sprouted english muffin + 1/2 avocado + tomato slices + nutritional yeast + pepper

  • Calories – 387
  • Potassium – 835 mg (24%)
  • Fiber – 14.1 g (56%)
  • Vitamin A – 13%
  • Vitamin C – 34%
  • Iron – 5%

Cranberry Peanut Butter

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Sprouted english muffin + 2 tbs peanut butter + chopped dried cranberries + chia seeds + ground flax

  • Calories – 512
  • Potassium – 600 mg (17%)
  • Fiber – 19 g
  • Protein – 23 g
  • Calcium – 30%
  • Iron – 50%

Continue reading

Cooking Without Recipes

                Knowing how to cook and create in the kitchen (without spending hours or your whole paycheck) is a huge step towards empowering yourself to live a healthy life. 

Whether you’re looking to transition to a plant-based diet or trying to eat healthier, learning how to cook (without a recipe) is a good place to start.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the standard American diet is literally killing us, people still have endless reasons about why they don’t eat a healthy diet. Though there are many variations of them, these excuses are usually centered around three issues –

  1. Not having the time.
  2. Not having enough money.
  3. Not enjoying the taste.

Some of these excuses simply don’t have merit. By saving you time and money (while increasing how much you enjoy your food), learning to cook without a recipe helps solve all three of the root excuses as to why you can’t eat healthy.

If you’ve ever felt frustrated that things aren’t going smoothly in the kitchen and like you’re spending too much time making meals, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there! Like most people, when I began trying to eat healthier, I was relying on recipes for most meals (especially for dinners or entertaining).

Every meal took a few trips to the grocery store, required so many dishes, and took forever. But, I felt like I would end up with an inedible mess if I didn’t consult the recipe every 90 seconds. Relying on the directions so heavily was exhausting and made cooking a chore. Even though I was cooking more and more, I still felt so unsure of myself in the kitchen.

After one too many frustrating 8pm dinners, I stopped searching Pinterest for my meal planning and started with what I knew (the basics..). As I began to gain some confidence at the stove, I started experimenting with my meals. I was the chef and I knew what I liked to eat better than anyone so, why not make it just how I liked it?

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Everyday Dinners

Reminder – you do not have to be a skilled chef (or spend tons of money) to eat healthy, real foods that taste great.

You have the power to make simple changes that make significant impacts on the way you eat and feel. Eating healthy doesn’t always mean a fancy meal, a picturesq dish, everything from scratch, or always following a recipe. Sometimes a healthy meal is simply putting together whatever’s in the pantry or leftover from last night.

It is very possible to make healthy changes in your life without spending a ton of money or spending hours in the kitchen. These meals didn’t even require a recipe or measuring cups! Start to learn how to cook without a recipe by learning a few basic cooking techniques and refining your taste (AKA getting into the kitchen and experimenting!).

These are my 100% real, everyday dinners. You’ll see lots of leftovers, salads, and potatoes. Why? They’re versatile and I’ve always got them on hand. Plus, they’re full of lots of good nutrients and minerals.

For each meal I’ve provided an estimation of some key nutritional highlights. They’re not perfect, but should give you a glimpse into where my vitamins are coming from. Noted- I do take some supplements as well! More on that coming soon. 

I focus on getting a variety of foods on my plate and use spices to keep it interesting. I’m always trying out new creations. I’ll keep updating here to show you what I’m cooking up next. But, to make sure you don’t miss a thing, be sure to follow me on Instagram! Share your creations with #FlavorsOfLiving.


 

Lentil Stuffing Bake

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Stuffing = lentil, mushroom, kale, cranberry (recipe coming soon)

  • Calories – 148
  • Protein – 8 g
  • Iron – 16%
  • Vitamin C – 8%
  • Calcium – 3%

Crust = Pillsbury crescent roll 

  • Calories – 100
  • Protein – 2 g

All American

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Vegan sloppy joe with beefy crumble + manwich + mustard

  • Calories – 255
  • Protein – 18 g

Baked russet potato + nutritional yeast

  • Calories – 130
  • Protein – 6 g
  • Vitamin C – 45%
  • Potassium – 620 mg

Side salad with tomato + onion w/ oil + red wine vinegar

  • Calories – 25
  • Protein  – 1 g

 

Southwest Roll Up

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Sprouted tortilla + Tofutti cream cheese + mashed sweet potato + mashed black beans w/ fresh cilantro + hot sauce

  • Protein – 12 g
  • Fiber – 11 g
  • Calories – 315

    Freezer Shepard’s Pie and Village Salad

Shepherd’s Pie (recipe coming soon!)

  • Calories – 348
  • Protein – 17 g
  • Potassium – 1442 mg (41%)
  • Irong – (32%)
  • Vitamin C – (75%)

Village Salad

  • Calories – 70
  • Fiber – 3 g
  • Protein – 2 g
  • Vitamin C – (17%)
  • Iron – (7%)

Continue reading

Flavored Water

Admittedly, I haven’t always been the biggest water drinking but learning the benefits of drinking water, buying a few good water bottles, and trying out delicious flavored water have converted me.

So why infuse your water? Well, one, it tastes great. That’s a plus in itself but also means you’ll be more likely to get in your 8-10 glasses of water today. Two, nutrients from the fruits leak out of the fruit into the water, especially water-soluble vitamins like as B vitamins and vitamin C! It’s like making your own “vitamin water” without the cost or hidden chemicals.

These delicious combinations liven up the flavors and provide some great nutrients! Mix the flavors and concentrations to create a water you really enjoy.

For all of these recipes, just fill a jar or small pitcher with filtered water (maybe with ice). Then add in fruits (maybe crush them if they’re enclosed, like blueberries). Finally, add some herbs if you’d like! Just a note, the herbs really infuse in the water so start with less and then add more if you want.

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