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When I have no time and no food, I like to make this quick and easy pasta. It’s relatively cheap and healthy, too! It requires a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil. I always have one in the pantry, as it’s uses are endless. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat of quinoa pasta, 1 cup, dry

Broccoli florets, 1/2 cup

Sundried tomatoes in oil 1/4 cup

Salt, paprika

optional: basil and garlic to taste

optional: 1/4 cup of pine nuts

Parmesan or soy cheese , 1/4 cup

Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw in the pasta. Three minutes before it’s cooked (after about 8minutes in the pot,) throw in the broccoli. When the pasta is al dente, strain it together with the broccoli and put it in a large bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes in oil, the salt and the spices. Serve hot or cold with parmesan or vegan cheese.

This recipe does contain vegetables, but overall is not so healthy. However, it is a-delicious and b-can make stubborn kids eat veggies. My mother used to make it when I was a kid and I have yet to meet a person who didn’t like it. Butter makes it taste great, but coconut oil is a pretty yummy healthier option. Olive or other vegetable oil doesn’t work here. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are a good option.

Take one head of cauliflower and divide it into florets.Put it in a cast-iron skillet with 1/2 cup of water, cover it up with the lid and let simmer until the water evaporates. Then, add about 1/3  stick of butter and enough breadcrumbs to cover the whole thing. Turn the flame up to high and mix periodically, while cooking. Cook until the crumbs turn darker, but not too dark (4-6 mins. )

I also like to add broccoli florets to this dish.

Sorry, I haven’t been able to post for a few days. We went to Asheville, NC for a few days, and the house we rented had internet  troubles. On the more positive note, Asheville is home to my favorite vegetarian restaurant in the country. I’ve been to  the Millennium in San Francisco, I’ve been to Angelica’s in NYC. I also visited countless veggie spots around the country. Still, the clean,  spacious and delicious Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville cannot be beat. It gets the highest marks in my book both for its food (they  have daily veggie specials to die for) and its service ( they brought organic veggies, cut into bite-size chunks for my babies when I foolishly left  the baby food bag in the car.) And they actually have healthy food on their kid’s menu!

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When I was in my early twenties, studying at NYU, taking yoga classes at Jivamukti, living alone in NYC , I never cooked anything, because my apartment’s  kitchen was barely large enough to accommodate a teapot, forget about the actual cook (me.) I loved going to Angelica’s Kitchen restaurant and ordering a Dragon Bowl. The simplicity of this perfectly balanced vegetarian dish reminded me of home-cooking. That, and it was superhealthy and inexpensive. The Dragon Bowl was an example of a perfect equilibrium in food: bitter, but also sweet, healthy, but filling. It tasted like home, yet I ate it in a restaurant. “The Bowl” also fit nicely into a “One Bowl,” which was a nutrition book I  followed for a while.

Some years later, in Asheville, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a Harmony Bowl on the Laughing Seed Cafe’s menu. It was very much like my old Dragon Bowl! I was feeling like I was twenty again as I devoured it. The next day, I came back and ordered another one.  And two days later, I made one at home. The simplicity and versatility of this dish are overwhelming: you can use any grain, bean or vegetable you have. Here’s the Bowl, in a nutshell.

Cooked brown rice

Cooked black beans

Steamed Veggies

Sauce

Optional: Tofu

Pick a nice-size bowl, suitable for one person. Put some cooked brown rice (or other grain) on the bottom of it. Put black beans on top of the rice. Put tofu on top, if using it. Put the veggies over everything and pour the sauce over the veggies.

When picking the vegetables, try to cover many flavors: squash or carrots for sweetness, kale for bitterness… Don’t forget green staples, like zucchini or broccoli.

The dish at this point is rather bland. The sauce is what really makes The Bowl sparkle. My two absolutely favorite sauces for the Harmony Bowl are carrot/ginger or tahini.

I didn’t list any proportions or amounts here on purpose: the bowl is an individual dish, so make it your own by playing an experimenting. You can make it pretty, or you can make it simple. Busy parents:  don’t be afraid to use canned beans.

 

photo: Piyachok Thawornmat

I love this green, low-calorie, nutrient-packed soup. If you don’t like tofu, you don’t have to put it in. You can also add potatoes, whole wheat pasta or beans of any kind. You can season the soup with some curry for a more of an exotic twist. Yo u can even add some brown rice or buckwheat!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 9 cups water
  • 7 cubes vegetable bouillon
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 block of tofu, cubed
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large  pot. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in all other ingredients, except for the green onions. Simmer on medium heat for about 2o minutes. Add more water if needed. Add the green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I love this vegan coleslaw. It works very well with the curry tofu wraps recipe I posted yesterday.

Ingredients:

2.5-3 cups of finely chopped mixture of carrots, cabbage, celery and broccoli

2 tablespoons  red onion, diced

2 tbsp. agave syrup
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 small green apple, grated
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, the coconut oil, the agave , the salt and the pepper. Mix in remaining ingredients .  Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times.

My babies had their first solid food today, at 7 months old. I made them two broccoli purees: one out of raw broccoli and one with steamed one. They loved the raw one! Starting with green vegetables, such as broccoli, makes babies’ delicate taste buds accustomed to healthier foods. It also gets them used to foods, which are not sweet, so sweet fruits, like bananas, are not a problem later. We are trying cauliflower next, followed by carrots. What did you give your kids for their first food meal?

I always have quinoa leftovers. I also usually have some veggies in the fridge. Combining the two typically produces delicious entrees or side dishes. Tonight I cooked one, using my brand new Xtrema pot I bought off dr. Mercola’s website. Xtrema cookware looks sleek, is easy to clean, can be used both on the stove, in the oven or in a microwave and most importantly, it does not leak heavy metals into foods. My new pot exceeded my expectations: it heated the food evenly, nothing stuck to it,’ it kept the food warm for a while afterwards and it looked really good. I am happy to know that my new pots and pans are going to not just be pretty and cook foods well, but also contribute to my family’s health. Anyway, here’s what i made:

Yummy Quinoa Dish

Ingredients:

Quinoa, cooked- 3 cups

Carrots, grated – 3/4 cup

Broccoli florets – 1/2  cup

Onions, diced -1 medium

Tofu, cubed – 1 cup (or use cooked chicken instead)

Zucchini, chopped -1 medium

Parsley, chopped  – 1/2 cup

Braggs Aminos 2 tbsp

Olive oil – 1/4cup

Garlic – 2 cloves, diced

Paprika to taste

Warm up 1/2 of the olive oil in the  pan. Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the  Braggs and the tofu (or chicken. ) Saute for another 4 mins, or until the tofu has a little crust. Add the remaining oil, the carrots , the parsley and the broccoli. Lower the flame, cover with the lid and let simmer for another 2 mins. Add some water, if things are getting sticky. Add the remaining veggies and let simmer for two more minutes. Mix in the  quinoa. Taste and add the  spices. Let simmer for another 2  minutes.

Image credit

I posted a salad recipe yesterday, so how about one for today, for good luck?

This salad is extra rich in calcium and manganese, because of the sesame seeds. It’s also rich in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid from broccoli. What I also love about this recipe is that it can work both as a salad and as a vegetarian side dish. It’s excellent for lunch during colder months, when a regular salad would be too cool to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Makes 3 servings:

Mixed greens, 2 cups

Shredded carrots, 3/4 cup

Broccoli florets, 1 cup

Onion, sliced finely, 1/2 cup

Dark roasted sesame oil 3 tbsp

Sesame oil, unrefined. 5 tbsp

Brag’s amino’s 4 tbsp

Sesame seeds, 4 tbsp

optional: sprouts, 3/4 cup

optional: shitake mushrooms, 1/2 cup

Warm up the dark roasted sesame oil in a skillet. Add 2 tbsp of Bragg’s sauce. Add the onions. Stir fry them for about a minute. If using shitake mushrooms, saute them in a separate pan for about two minutes, until they reduce to about half of their size and add them to the onions.  Add the broccoli florets and about 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry for  another minute or two (the broccoli should still be crisp.) On a large plate, arrange the greens. Place the carrots and the sprouts (if using) around the plate, so that the center stays empty. Put the onion-broccoli mixture in the center. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Add the unrefined sesame oil and the remaining Bragg’s. Serve immediately.

This salad also works well with cubes of tofu or cooked chicken, if you’d like to add these.

This recipe is great for those nights when you need to have dinner ready (preferably something healthy,) but your brain is fried and you have no time for anything.

3 cups of any veggies, suteed in olive oil and Bragg’s amino acids or soy sauce (see below)

2 eggs or 1 block of silken tofu, processed, until smooth

1 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or a vegan variety)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Mix all of the ingredients together together. Pour into a lightly oiled up baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is starting to turn darker.

 

re: 3 cups of sauteed veggies:

I believe that tomatoes and onions are a must to make this casserole a success. Everything else is up to you. Use any vegetables you have in the fridge at the moment. You can make this casserole seven days a week and it will always be new:  you can add shitake mushrooms on Monday and broccoli on Tuesday. Wednesday can be the day of frozen veggie mix (never tell anyone I said that:  after having twins I actually started buying organic frozen veggies.) Carrots work well in this casserole and so does squash and cauliflower. Sweet potatoes give it an interesting sweetness.

Serve with a big salad (ask your kids to peel the cucumbers with the peeler -it beats destroying the house, while mama is cooking and is definitely better than being glued to the TV.) If you feel adventurous, a  bowl of brown rice should complete your healthy dining experience.

 

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