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.

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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%

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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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Nut Butter Wrap Ideas

Peanut butter wraps are one of my go-to snacks (or meals if I add some fruit on the side). They’re loaded with protein, plus they really satisfying.

These wraps are a perfect answer to “what can I take for lunch?” and a great way to transition into a plant based diet.

Basic formula = Tortilla + Peanut Butter + Limitless toppings

General Tips

  • I love Crazy Richard’s/Krema’s smooth peanut butter. It’s only about $0.65 more than Jif. To avoid salt, sugar, hydrogenated and palm oils, it’s worth it. It’s super smooth and has 8 grams of protein per serving, which makes it a delicious way to get some protein in.
  • Ground flax and chia seeds are a great  way to add protein, fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Avoid a big mess and leave an inch before the edge.
  • Sprouted wheat tortillas are the way to go. They are super healthy and contain more protein and fewer carbohydrates. I love the Food for Life products. (Bonus – they help if you have a mild sensitivity to gluten!)

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Flax Egg

When you think about it, most baked goods are just different combinations of the same few ingredients. Puddings, cakes, cookies, pies, and breads are all made from a few versatile ingredients (primarily flour, sugar, eggs, milk).

Vegan baking is made much easier by the variety of milk alternatives and the ease of making flax eggs and chia eggs.

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