Monday, March 20, 2017

Simple Italian Tortellini Soup

This soup is simple and hearty.  It can be thrown together quickly, and even prepped ahead of time, as a simple weeknight meal.  And perfect for a chilly evening!

The trick is to cook the tortellini in a separate pot and keep them separate from the soup.  That way it doesn't soak up all of the soup liquid and lose their shape.  Upon serving, you just place a serving of tortellini on the bottom of the bowl and label the soup on top.  Delicious!!

Happy Cooking!

Simple Italian Tortellini Soup
2 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) pkg of baby portobello mushrooms
1 T tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
4 cups of baby spinach
1 pkg of whole wheat tortellini, cooked according to package instructions   
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3-4 T chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large dutch over over medium high heat.  Add the onion, fennel, and mushrooms.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid evaporates.   Push veggies to the side, add garlic, and allow to cook for about 30 seconds, constantly stirring so it doesn't burn.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about a minute.   Add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.   Remove pan from hear and stir in vinegar and parsley. 

Serve immediately in large bowls over the tortellini.  So yummy!  Enjoy!  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

3-Day Refresh: recipes and prep

I've never been much of a cleanse person myself.  In fact, most of them you read about require you to drink nothing but juices and water, and some are just other forms of fasting.  For me, it always comes down to nutrition and making sure my body is still getting what it needs.   But once in awhile, especially after the holidays or when I just need a jump start or reboot to my eating plan, a total detox is in order.

Enter the 3-Day Refresh.  When I first read about it, I was totally scared to try it.  I didn't think I could successfully complete the 3 days.  I didn't think I had the will power or determination.  I was scared.  I was scared to start something and fail.  Cause I'm an all or nothing kinda gal.

Well I'm here to tell you not to let fear get in your way.
I've done the 3-Day Refresh now 3 times - this is my fourth.  And every time I do it, I feel amazing afterwards.  It completed cleanses my system.  I feel renewed and ready to tackle anything.

I don't do it for the weight loss, but others do.  And I do have to admit that I've lost up to 6 lbs in 3 days during the times I've done it.  However, my goal is always just to FEEL better and get rid of the toxins that naturally build up in our system.  If you are looking for a detox that is based on eating whole, plat-based foods and meal replacement shakes, then you have got to give this a try!!

There is quite a bit of flexibility with the eating plan and they provide you with some awesome recipes.  But too much flexibility and freedom can be confusing and overwhelming.  Enter my eating plan.
On the 3-day refresh you can have an endless supply of water.  In fact its encouraged to help your system flush those toxins out.  But we also get 3 tea breaks - in between meals and before bedtime.   And we have lots of whole foods to eat as well.  Here are my favorite recipes that I use.  I hope you find them helpful!!

Happy detoxing,

I typically prep everything at once and have my meals/snacks ready to go!!  That way I can grab and take them with me on the go and I will never miss a meal time.  Be prepared to succeed!!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
(makes 2 servings)
1 cup of grape tomatoes, cut if half
1 medium cucumber or 2 large pickling cucumbers, sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 T fresh chives, chopped
2 T fresh dill, chopped
Himalayan salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic
2 tsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and store in the fridge until you need to eat it.  Yum!!  Can be served over some greens or lettuce and topped off with a teaspoon of sunflower seeds.  So good!   I typically eat this as my dinner alongside the veggie soup posted below and my vanilla fresh shake.

Mushroom Salad
(makes 2 servings)
2 cups of sliced mushrooms (I like baby portobellos)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 T fresh chives, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in the fridge.  This is one of my hubby's favorites.  I usually eat it at lunch along side my vanilla fresh shake blended with frozen berries.  Yum!

Cleansing Vegetable Soup
(makes 3 servings)
4 cups of organic vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 cup of chopped sweet onion
4 carrots, chopped
4 cups of baby spinach
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

Place the stock, onions, and carrots in a large pot and bring to a bowl.  Put on simmer and cover with a lid.  Let it go for about 20-30 minutes or until all is tender.  Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted.  Store int he fridge until dinner.  I typically eat this soup along side a veggie side or a salad at dinner time with my vanilla fresh shake.

Afternoon Snack
The morning snack is always the fiber sweep - not nearly as bad as it sounds.  It has a light lemony flavor and is so much better than any other fiber drink I've had (sadly, I used to have a lot of GI doctors so fiber drinks were part of my daily routine).

For the afternoon snack, I prefer to have veggies with hummus or celery with peanut butter.  Again, I pre-portion the veggies so they are ready to go!!

My Favorite Vanilla Fresh Recipes
Vanilla Fresh shakes are a high protein shake that you drink with lunch and dinner on the 3 Day Refresh.  I like to blend mine in a blender with either frozen berries or a 1/2 banana with cinnamon and ice.  So good!!  Get creative!  The possibilities are endless.

My Favorite Vegan Chocolate Shakeology Recipes 
Normally I love my shake with peanut butter and banana.  But while on the refresh, we don't have peanut butter.  In fact, the healthy fats are restricted to the second half of the day.  So for the 3-day Refresh, when I am having it for breakfast, my favorite would have to be either blended with frozen raspberries or frozen cherries and a drop of almond extract.  So good!!!

A Day in the Life of
So here's an example of what a day of this cleanse would look like.  As you can see, you are still eating a lot of food.  And its all delicious.
Feeding your body a plant based diet for 3 days, while drinking TONS of water, will help you get rid of the toxins.
I hope to hear from you if you would like more info or want to give this a try yourself!!
Happy detoxing!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

I was having a HUGE chocolate craving today and wanted to bake cookies or make brownies, but I knew that if I did that, I would have those sweets lingering in the house all week.  Lots of dessert doesn't line up with my nutrition goals, so I needed to come up with a healthy alternative.  

Then I remembered this recipe that my friend shared last night.  I took her recipe and tweaked it, making it my own.  These muffins are so chocolatey that they taste like an unfrosted cupcake.  So yummy!!  My son was begging me to eat 2!   The best part???  They taste like dessert but they are chock-full of healthy goodness.  A sweet treat that is GOOD FOR YOU!!  

Add some frosting, and I just might have my new birthday cupcakes.  Seriously, I love them that much.  So for all my chocolate lovers out there, these are a MUST TRY! 

Happy baking!!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
2 large over-ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 scoops of chocolate vegan Shakeology
2 tablespoons of almond milk
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Place all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in the blender and blend on low for several minutes until smooth.  You may need to scrape the sides down. 

Then mix the mini chocolate chips in by hand. 

Pour evenly into a greased muffin tin (I like to spray it with coconut oil cooking spray).  I got 9 muffins out of my batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. 

Allow the muffins to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Then enjoy!!!
We are gobbling these up!!  Enjoy!

Breakfast Quinoa

I love a hot breakfast in the winter, but I don't have time to cook one every morning.  I have some great overnight oatmeal recipes, including a crockpot recipe (

But last week, I wanted to try something different.  A friend of mine posted about a quinoa porridge and I was instantly hooked.  I started researching recipes and put together one that I think is the best of all I found.  Its so easy, really versatile, and will be going on my breakfast rotation for sure!!

Happy Cooking!

Breakfast Quinoa
2 cups of almond milk (I used coconut almond milk to give a slight coconut flavor)
1 cup of quinoa
1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more if you really want to taste it)

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.  This makes 5 servings.

I like to add some blueberries or strawberries to mine, but it would be delicious with bananas too! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower and Grapes

This is SUCH an unexpected combination that I absolutely loved!!  And so simple to throw together as a side dish, snack, or even a plant-based meal.
And the colors are gorgeous!!!

Plus grapes are full of phytonutrients and research has shown they help to improve cardiovascular health, immunity, and blood sugar regulation.  So eat up!!!
You've got to give this one a try!

Happy Cooking!

Roasted Cauliflower and Grapes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup of grapes, cut in half
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toss all the ingredients together and place on a baking sheet.  Roast for 25-35 minutes or until slightly brown and done to your liking. (I like mine with a slight bite, not completely mushy).  
Serve immediately.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Quick Cod with a Caper-Dill Remoulade

I know, sounds fancy.  Ha!!  But its so so simple.  Its a quick baked cod with a delicious sauce that you would eat with a spoon if you didn't feel so guilty about it.  
This 20 minute meal is thrown together in no time!!

Cod is found all over New England, a fish that is locally sourced and wild caught.  A fish that I can feel good about feeding my family.  I'm sure you've read articles on it, but please avoid farm raised fish if you can.  Even if that means you buy frozen wild-caught instead of fresh farm-raised.  You will be eating less antibiotics and pesticides in the long run.  (Just google it to learn more).

Plus, for those of you who like to eat fish during lent, this is a MUCH healthier version that the Fish & Chips or Fish Fry you might find out at a local restaurant. 

Tonight I had mine with sautéed spinach and kale, but you can easily swap out another vegetable and add a whole grain carb such as quinoa, whole wheat couscous or even brown rice.  
I hope you like it as much as we did!!

Happy Cooking!!

Quick Cod with a Caper-Dill Remoulade
1-1.5 lbs wild caught cod filet, cut into serving sizes (mine had skin removed already)
olive oil mister
salt and pepper to taste
1 T each of fresh chives and dill
1/4 lemon, juiced  and extra lemon to squeeze on top of the fish once its done
2 T Veganaise or olive oil Mayonaise 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a pan with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil mister for ZERO clean up. 
Place the fish in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.  

In the meantime, let's make the sauce that's to die for. 
In a small bowl combine lemon juice, mayo, fresh herbs, and salt & pepper to taste.  
Serve along side the fish and you'll never go back. 
Who needs a fish fry when you can eat this healthier version?!?!