Mediterranean Pasta Salad

You (yes, even you) have the skills, budget, and time to make lunch for a whole week. img_4984

For this delicious Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad, all you need to know how to do is boil a pot of noodles and chop vegetables. Seriously, it’s that easy to eat home-cooked, nutritious meals.

It takes less than 20 minutes and under $9 to feed yourself for the whole week! Your wallet and waistline will thank you for bringing you lunch this week. (travel adventures >> lunchtime carry out.. in my opinion)

Like most recipes on here, please customize as you like!! No red pepper? Use some broccoli. Gluten free? Quick sub of quinoa pasta and you’re good to go. Omnivore? Feel free to add some feta. 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.

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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%

Continue reading

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

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!)

Continue reading

6 Reasons to Stay Hydrated

Water makes up about 2/3 of who we are and influences all of our body’s processes.

Food and exercise are important for a healthy lifestyle. But don’t forget about water. There are plenty of reasons to drink water. I’ve highlighted six key reasons to stay hydrated below.

Drinking water is essential to our health. From digestion to brain function and mood, water plays in a role in the body’s funtions.

Buy a nice water bottle, start tracking your intake, or try some flavored waters – whatever it takes to get your 8-10 glasses a day in!

6 Reasons to Stay Hydrated

1. Water helps with digestion. By binding with fiber and preventing the colon from pulling water from the stool, enough water prevents constipation.

2. Drinking water improves kidney function. Water helps flush waste products (especially blood urea nitrogen) from the body thus, reducing the burden on the kidneys. Kidneys remove waste from our bodies, help control blood pressure, and balance fluids so its important to keep them functioning properly. (This is why your urine should be clear!)

3. Water helps energize muscles. Without enough water, our cells can’t maintain their balance of fluids or electrolytes, which causes muscle fatigue and decreased performance.

4. Water improves brain function. It helps us to think more clearly and stay focused. Being dehydrated even 2% negatively affects cognitive performance.

5. It can improve your mood. Seriously, water is so important to us that even mild dehydration can negatively impact your mood. This study found that “degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, and headache symptoms” were all symptoms of dehydration. Continue reading

Roasted Root Vegetables

This dish couldn’t be simpler and more versatile. You can use whatever potatoes (or any root vegetables really!), spices, and oils you have on hand.

It takes about 10 mins of prep (from washing to potato to doing the dishes). Then you just pop it in the oven and do whatever else needs to get done! After 45 minutes or so, a healthy real dish is ready (plus it’s vegan and gluten free to boot!).

This dish naturally makes a great side. But with a few simple adjustments it can easily be served as an appetizer or entree (just add a big salad or serve yourself a plate full and you’re all set). Continue reading