Blooming Health

Plant Yourself in a Healthy Lifestyle… And BLOOM!

Month: January, 2012

Fast Food Friday – Vegan Lasagna!

by kerryabdow

I love food.  And I love fast food.  Not the McDonald’s kind of pink slime fast food, but nourishing and delicious fare that can be prepped, assembled and cooked in a healthyheartbeat!

That said, you can imagine my delight when I discovered these noodles – *cue singing angels

There are so  many reasons why I love them, how do I possibly count the ways??  Let me put it to you like this – there are a LOT of reasons why I love seeing Ryan Gosling without a shirt on, and that list is nothing compared to why I love these noodles!   Uh huh.  But the two biggest reasons are the fact that they are gluten-free and… wait for it… they don’t need to be pre-boiled!!  I save the trouble of cleaning a pot AND time?  Sign.  Me.  Up.

This is a great dinner to throw together after a busy weekend, and the leftovers make THE best work lunches for the husband and me.  Okay, let’s do this…

Fabulous and Fast Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb. tofu Ricotta* (see Skinny Bitch recipe below)

1 bag of fresh spinach steamed and supersuper drained.  *no one likes watery lasagna*

1 lb. of mushrooms, sautéed until slightly cooked (I use baby bellas and cook in a non-stick pan with no oil, just the water from the veggies themselves)

1 tsp. pepper

1 8oz. package of myveryfavoritelasagnanoodles  **Or your own very favorite!

1 16 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I like Whole Foods or Sunflower Market brands)

1 cup Daiya Mozzarella shredded cheese (or whatever cheese you like)  *can you see the cartoon hearts above my head every time I write about my favorite cheese??  sigh.

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

½ to 1 cup water

*Tofu Ricotta
Recipe Courtesy of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch

Ingredients:

14-16 oz extra-firm tofu, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning  
S & P to taste

Blend everything in a food processor or mash with a potato masher.  *Fast!*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, combine tofu Ricotta with chopped spinach and Italian seasoning.  Spread enough sauce to lightly cover a 9X13 pan. Lay one layer of uncooked noodles in center of pan (usually three noodles). Spread Ricotta mixture to cover noodles, top with mushrooms, and then a small handful of vegan cheese.  Add another layer of noodles, then the Ricotta, veggies and vegan cheese.  Top with another layer of noodles and cover  with entire jar of sauce and the rest of cheese.

Add water around the perimeter of the dish- not on top of the noodles.  Cover with foil for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncover and cook for last 15 minutes to brown top.  *Be careful of steam when lifting off foil… this is NOT the time or place for a facial…!  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

I don’t know about you, but that very last part is THE hardest of all!  Wait five minutes???  Makes me want to stomp my feet and pout!   But… believe me… it’s worth it!  Creamy and tangy and soooooo divine!  Now THAT is what I call a Happy Meal!  **Where’s my Ryan Gosling action figure??**

What’s your favorite Sunday night dinner??

I hope you’re having a fantastic Friday night!  This Blooming babe is off to dreamland!

Cheers, dears!


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The Nominations Are In For Wednesday Cleanse Day!

by kerryabdow

The Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday and it has me thinking about my own NomNomNom*inations!

*Nom Nom Nom – Represents the sound made when someone is eating something and really enjoying it.

We’d be here all day if I wrote about ALL of my food faves, so… since it’s Wednesday Cleanse Day I thought I would share my Top Five Smoothie Ingredients!

1.  Best Ensemble Cast – Frozen Mixed Berries and Bananas

  • There are so many reasons to love frozen fruit!  Of course I love it fresh, but when I’m making a smoothie, I love the icy creaminess frozen fruit provides.  In the summer I freeze the berries I purchase from local farmers’ markets, but when I run out and turn to buying from the grocer, I always choose organic.   Berries are loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins, and by choosing a mix I get a wide variety of nutritional benefits.  In addition, bananas are an excellent source of potassium and have been known to lower blood pressure.  So much diversity in our delicious blend!  It’s like the cast of “Modern Family”, but in the food world!   Note:  When freezing bananas, make sure you take them out of their peels first – they like to be free!

2.  Best Performance in a Leading Role- Kale

  • Kale.  *sigh.  Kale, kale, kale…. the Brad Pitt of veggies.  So much depth, so much character, so much… amazing!  Putting kale in a smoothie not only adds wonderful flavor, color and texture, but also a list of health benefits too long to list on this page.  A favorite of vegans, vegetarians, raw foodists- and all foodists- kale hits it out of the ballpark EVERY time.

3.  Best Performance in a Supporting Role –  It’s a tie!  Hemp and Whey Protein Powders

  • I know, I know, it’s tough to choose between two winners.  I imagine it’s how The Academy feels about Meryl Streep and Glenn Close this year…!  Anyway… to be honest, I go back and forth between Hemp and Whey, usually choosing whatever I find that is the best quality at the best price.  They both contain all nine amino acids, and I like to rotate.  A great way to add plant-based protein, the powders are a no-brainer addition to my smoothies.

4.  Best Breakthrough Performance – Juice Plus

  • A tiny powerhouse of phytonutrients, Juice Plus is the Tom Cruise of whole food nutrition!  A little goes a long way with these capsules, made of high-quality fruits and vegetables.  I take them every day, either in my smoothie or in capsule form with water.  Juice Plus makes every day a “Mission Possible”!  *I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself…

5.  Best Director – Water

  • I love almond milk.  I love soy milk.  I love coconut milk.  But as a base for my smoothies, good ol’ water is always available and it never lets me down!  Like Woody Allen, I always know what to expect from water.  It’s never boring, delights and refreshes, and adds the perfect touch.  I like to bring in “the mavericks” once in a while, because they add taste and their own nutritional benefits, but I never totally turn away from my old favorite.

So there they are, the cast of winners!  What are YOUR top five smoothie ingredients?

And here is the recipe for MY Wednesday Morning Smoothie:

1 banana, broken into chunks

1/3 cup hemp protein

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 tsp. ground flax seed (If I can’t find them ground, I get the seeds and grind them in my spice grinder)

1 – 2 packets Truvia – or agave nectar – to taste

1 heaping tsp. psyllium husk

8 oz. water

You know what to do from here…  Let ‘er rip!

OH!  Wait!  Before the music starts playing me off stage, I need to thank one more product…

Have you ever had barley tea?!!

I had never tried it until I was in Chicago over the holidays- my friend, Linda, and I discovered it when we were dining at an Asian restaurant- and now I AM HOOKED!    It’s smokey and rich and almost tastes like coffee, but it’s not as strong- I drink it all day!  I bought a box from an Asian store in Chicago, but I bet it’s available at natural foods stores, too.  From what I’ve been reading, it’s loaded with phytonutrients (yay!) and is a super anti-oxidant that helps alkalize the body and is great for digestion.  All that and it tastes delicious, too?!  Bring it ON!

A smoothie AND a delicious cup of tea?  Now THAT is a winning performance!   In the meantime, I’ll be preparing the script for our Friday meeting…

Cheers, dears!