Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mexican Rice

    Growing up, I always loved going to Mexican restaurants because of how delicious the Mexican rice was.  We never ate Mexican rice in my home, and I assumed the reason why was because it must have been very complicated to make, or required some type of "secret ingredient".  Little did I know just how easy Mexican Rice is to make on your own (With just two lines of instructions!).  Now, Malissa and I are always just 20 minutes away from enjoying restaurant quality Mexican rice, which has now become the popular side to many of our favorite homemade Mexican Dishes.

Mexican Rice

2 Cups water
2 Cups rice (regular brown rice does not work!  Use quick brown rice or white)
1 ½ Cups Salsa
2 teaspoons salt
Dash of Chili Powder

In a medium pot or saucepan, bring water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, add all ingredients, cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.  Easy!

*This recipe works wonderfully as a filler for Tacos!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

    I don’t believe that Malissa and I are a minority as people who love to have soup with our sandwiches.  If you are like us, then this tomato basil soup is perfect for you!  Not only can it be enjoyed guilt-free, knowing that it is completely vegan and healthy, but it is also extremely easy to make and works very well as leftovers!  It is rich and creamy, but still has some good chunks in it, giving it a good hardiness.  This meal is also very quick, taking about 15-20 minutes to make.

8 Cups roma tomatoes, diced
2 Eight-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 Six-ounce can tomato paste
2 Cups water
4 teaspoons bouillon (we get veggie “better than bouillon”)
1 Package silken tofu (optional, adds to the creaminess)
10 Basil leaves, finely chopped (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Vegan cheese (optional, for garnish)

Place diced tomato pieces in blender or food processor and pulse 2-3 times.  Combine tomatoes, sauce, paste, water, and bouillon in pot and simmer 3-4 minutes.  Blend the tofu until creamy and stir into tomato mixture.  Simmer until it reaches desired thickness.  Remove from heat, stir in basil, salt and pepper.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Statuses of Kindness on Facebook

    Those of you who follow my Facebook page may have noticed a daily post that is a bit different from the rest.  Each morning, I have posted a status update that has to do with kindness in some way.  Why should a page about living a healthy lifestyle write daily posts involving kindness?  This blog post will be dedicated to sharing with you my conversion to promoting kindness each day on my page, and why I believe it is the healthiest post of the day!

    When I first began the Facebook page, I immediately went out and looked for lots of other pages that shared my view on healthy eating so that I could become a part of a great healthy eating community.  This worked really well and I was able to find many pages that were devoted to promoting a whole foods plant-based diet.  What I didn't anticipate, however, was the fact that many of these pages, while promoting healthy eating, also promoted vanity and pride, often writing posts that were being very critical and sarcastic toward people who didn't eat the way they did, and showing pictures of women with beautiful bodies to depict the benefit of eating healthy (this can also be found on most Pinterest pages).  It is amazing that the same page could publish a success story of someone miraculously overcoming cancer or diabetes through eating healthy, and then, moments later, publish a cartoon showing someone obese walking into McDonalds with a condescending joke about their eating preference under it!  My feed became full of this garbage and I, regrettably, began to succumb to this mindset and became very critical and prideful myself.
    After a few months of being consumed by this attitude, I realized that because of my pride and criticism, I had become much unhealthier than anyone I had criticized.  This realization led to my choice to stop updating my blog or page in order to get my priorities straight again.  I wasn't sure if I was going to ever begin updating my blog or page again, until one day, just a couple weeks ago, I decided to just look at my old posts on my page.  
    While looking through my posts, I realized that, although there were some critical things, I had also published a lot of posts that were a positive influence in lives of others.  Suddenly I realized that I was in a position of influence.
    I decided to begin updating my blog and page again, but this time, I was doing it because I saw that it was an opportunity to help others.  This is why I have begun the kindness posts.  With all the pride, vanity, and criticism in the world, it is easy to become consumed by it; I know!  But that's why we all need something uplifting in our lives everyday!  And we all need to be kind everyday!  Honestly, the posts I write concerning kindness are as much for me as they are for you, the readers.  They help me start my day with a proper perspective, and they keep me accountable to the commitment I have made to never criticize, but to always be kind, no matter the circumstances.
    Ellen Degeneres has a more expansive influence than I do, and something she does that I absolutely love is that each day she ends her show with the same reminder: "Be kind to one another." (she's also into eating healthy as well!).  Every day, we all have some influence in this world.  You and I can do so much more good in this world as we begin using the influence we have to promote kindness.
    Kindness not only uplifts and benefits the lives of everyone around you, but it is also what will bring happiness and peace to yourself.  This is why I believe the kindness post is the healthiest of the day; after all, who cares about being healthy if you aren't happy?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Penne Marinara With Artichoke Hearts

  If you like artichoke hearts, then this Italian dish is a must for you!  And for those of you who have never tried artichoke hearts, this is a great introduction.
  The marinara sauce is delicious and the artichoke hearts add a taste and texture that is out of this world.  A bonus is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make!  A perfect dish to prepare for a potluck party, as a side, or as the main course of your meal!  Enjoy!

Penne With Artichokes

1 Pound whole grain penne rigate
1 Small onion, finely sliced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 Artichoke hearts, quartered
1 Can diced tomatoes
2-3 small cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce (depending on how saucy you want it!)
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (or to taste)
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley (optional, for garnish)
1/2 Cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Cook the penne according to package directions in boiling water.  In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and the garlic in olive oil.  Add the artichoke hearts.  Cook to pale gold color.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings.  Simmer 15 minutes over medium heat.  Combine sauce and penne together, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cheese. 


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Black Bean Avocado Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Tonight, Malissa and I have decided to try something a bit light, though, we still wanted something with a good kick.  This salad is incredible!  The Mexican style taste could be compared to a salad you would find at Cafe Rio, only much healthier, and the cilantro lime dressing adds a great zest to the already great colors and flavors.  Make too much and the leftovers can become an awesome Pico De Gallo.  It is also very easy to make, only taking about 15 minutes, and is great for a side or as the main course.

Black Bean Avocado Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

2 Cups fresh or frozen corn
1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Cups fresh diced tomatoes
1 ½ Cups finely diced red or white onion
2 Ripe avocados cut into ½ -inch squares
2 Cups chopped fresh cilantro
6-8 cups lettuce (optional)

½ Cup flaxseed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1/3 Cup lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook corn in pot of lightly salted water for about 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
Combine corn, beans, tomatoes, onion, avocados, and cilantro in a large bowl.  Whisk oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.  Pour over veggies and toss gently to coat.  Serve on beds of lettuce, or use as a chip dip if desired.