Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Cynfully Good 2012!



In just a few short days we will say good bye to 2011 and usher in a brand new year!  2012 brings the promise of change, hope, and opportunity. We can forget the old year and all the failures and mistakes of the past. A new year means a new beginning. We are getting closer to accomplishing our dreams and goals.  We can restructure our lives, get rid of the old baggage and completely start over again.

I have big goals and dreams for my life in 2012.  I also have high hopes for my consulting practice in the new year. I expect to grow in leaps and bounds and reach more people than ever before. This means, I can't keep doing the same old thing I did last year.

If you want change, you have to mix things up a little!

I receive emails and messages from folks all over the globe. Their major concerns are: the high cost of healthy eating, the threat and fear of cancer, permanent weight loss, reversing heart disease and diabetes, and pros and cons of a plant-based diet. 

 It makes sense to me that those are the areas on which I should focus in 2012, So in the coming year, you can look forward to:

A Return to Basics:
The cost of food is steadily rising!  I don't know how folks can afford to feed their families.  Eating healthy is so difficult for those on tight budgets. And these days, who isn't on a tight budget?  I will focusing on ways to stretch your dollar by getting back to the basics of eating REAL food made from scratch at home! I will also be sharing tips and techniques that grandma used back in the day: canning, freezing, stocking the pantry, meal planning, tranforming leftovers into magnificent dishes, shopping locally, seasonally, and more. This year it's all about a "waste-not-want-not" attitude!

Cancer Prevention: This has always been a concern of mine but now that cancer has touched my family personally, it's no longer a concern--it's my mission to help stamp it out before it happens!  I don't ever want to see anyone suffer from this disease or from the awful side-effects of chemotherapy. Prevention is key and what we taste, smell, see, hear, and touch has everything to do with it!

Veganism as a way of life: I firmly believe a plant-based diet is best, but this year I will be driving it home and promoting it as a way of life for everyone and not just those who wish to dabble in it!  It's time to get serious! A vegan diet can prevent and reverse obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  If you are serious about disease prevention, losing or maintaining your weight, or achieving true health and wellness, it's time to change the way you eat!

Of course, I will still be posting delicious recipes--all vegan, all natural, and all guilt-free! I will also continue to share and write about gadgets, food, books, beauty products, and anything else I stumble upon that promotes a healthy, balanced, cruelty-free life.

As always, I am available for individual consultations. I see clients in person and also work with them over the phone or via the Internet. I want 2012 to be your best year ever!

May peace, love, and good health be yours in the coming New Year.
Cynthia

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hearty Cauliflower Chowder

photo from http://www.yumuniverse.com/

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing the praises of SOUP!

Soup is warming, healing, and so easy to prepare. Serve soup as a meal (with warm, crusty french bread or rolls) or as a prelude to a magnificent dinner.  Enjoy it between meals to help curb your appetite.  Bring homemade soup to a sick friend or give it away as a gift from the heart.

No matter how you serve it, soup is perfection. A simmering pot of homemade soup on the stove fills your home with the delicious aromas of comfort and love.

You just can't get that from soup in a can!

Here's a lovely soup I stumbled upon in my travels: Hearty Cauliflower Chowder. If you happen to have cauliflower in the house, you can make this soup today. I saw the recipe this morning and already made it- it's that quick and easy!  It's completely VEGAN, deliciously thick, and glorious. I kept some aside for later and the rest I placed in the freezer.  I had to do that to keep from sampling this soup all day long!

My digital camera is on the "fritz" so I borrowed the soup photo from the original site.

Here's the recipe: Hearty Cauliflower Chowder

While you're there checking out the recipe, take a few minutes to snoop around the YumUniverse website. You will really enjoy it. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Survive Holidays and Beyond......A Few Cynfully Good Tips!


This is the first time since I started my consulting practice that I haven't been sharing a continuous flow of the latest and greatest tips and recipes to help you survive the Holiday Season without compromising your weight loss or wellness efforts. Every recipe I post here, I attempt first in my own kitchen. Honestly, I just don't have the time to do all that right now.

At first, I felt like a failure and a bit of a let-down to my fans but punishing myself really profits no one- especially NOT ME! It doesn't diminish the fact that I am faithful and dedicated to providing a necessary service. It simply means I am being faithful and dedicated in other areas of my life and the lives of my loved ones.

This doesn't stop me from thinking of you nor does it mean I am not ready, willing and able to offer my opinions, advice or services. I still own and operate a thriving Nutritional Consulting Practice and meet with clients regularly. But my time is so limited these days and will become even more so when the New Year arrives. This means I will be posting here on this site less often. I do promise what I do post will be grand, tested, tried and true!

You already KNOW what to do! You already KNOW how to eat! It's simply a matter of transferring that knowledge from your head to your heart and soul.  Good health becomes a daily practice when it truly becomes a part of you- body, mind and spirit!  

I would like to take a moment now and offer a few healthy strategies to help you survive the holidays. These are nothing new but I can guarantee that if you apply these simple tips, you will sail through the season peacefully, lovingly, and without completely sabotaging your health or weight.

1. Your body is a temple. Treat it with tenderness, love and respect.
2.  Alcohol is toxic. Go easy on the booze and never, ever drink and drive! Don't let your friends drink and drive, either.
3. Give yourself a day or two of grace and EAT!  It's okay to indulge a little. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats and dishes. Have a cookie (or two), a piece of pie, or a second helping of mashed potatoes. Monday,  get right back to your healthy eating plan- no exceptions, no excuses!   And NO BEATING YOURSELF UP for what you did eat over Christmas. That's a sure-fire way to keep packing on the pounds right straight through 'til springtime. GRACE. Learn the word and practice it.
4. Don't stress over the things you didn't get done. Focus on the things you accomplished and give yourself a nice pat on the back. And don't forget to compliment and acknowledge others.
5. Simplicity is always best. Keep it simple. Simple decorations, simple gifts from the heart, simple gift wrapping, simple food.
6.  Give yourself permission to laugh, hug, cry, sing Christmas Carols at the top of your lungs, and to say "I love you". Give others permission to do the same.
7.  Sneak in some exercise. Dance, jog, do yoga, take the stairs, walk, play football. If you are lucky enough to have a White Christmas this year- get outside and play in the snow.
8. The greatest gifts you can give to others are  love, grace, generosity, and forgiveness.
9.  Be thankful. Shift the focus from what you don't have on to what you do have. 
10. Be true to yourself and let others see who you truly are. Be genuine, be real, be true to your own personal convictions, dreams and ideas. This is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

May you be blessed beyond measure this holiday season with gifts that money cannot buy.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vegan Soul Kitchen- Down Home Recipes with a Twist


I know I've been MIA lately.  My schedule has been crazy between doctors' appointments with dad, work, the holidays, and preparing to go back to school this January. In my spare time--this is what I've been up to:

Reading this awesome cook book cover to cover and cooking!

In my house, we all seem to be craving comfort food and my dad, who is currently battling cancer, has pretty much lost his appetite from chemotherapy. On those occasional days when he is actually hungry, he asks for some of the good, old-fashioned Southern dishes he remembers from his childhood.

This cook book has it all but with a twist- it's good down-home cooking done healthy and vegan!

Vegan Soul Kitchen

Stay tuned. I will be posting recipes in the coming New Year!

Peace and Love,
Cynthia

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Best, Healthiest Mashed Potatoes EVER!



I love potatoes. They're so versatile, healthy, filling and cheap! Potatoes are rich in fiber, Vitamin-C, B-complex and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.  Despite popular belief, potatoes are good for you and a necessary part of a healthy diet.

What really matters is how you prepare potatoes and what you mix in them or what you choose to pile on top of them!

Skip the deep-fryer. Bake your own homemade fries instead.  And forget all that butter, sour cream, bacon and melted cheese on top of baked potatoes. Yes, I know it's delicious but you're just eating fat on top of fat!  End result: all that fat makes you fat! No doubt about it.

My favorite way to eat a potato is baked or boiled. I slice the potato in half and pile it high with tossed green salad mixed with balsamic vinaigrette.  YUMMY!  Sometimes, I will top a baked potato with steamed, chopped broccoli and occasionally some melted vegan cheese. That's a whole dinner for me.

So what about everyone's favorite - mashed potatoes? They're usually prepared with loads of butter and cream. So delicious, but you can pretty much forget all those great health benefits. Reserve mashed potatoes for special occasions!

Or.....you can make mashed potatoes MY WAY!

I serve mashed potatoes very often to my son because they're filling. He loves them!  The best part--my mashed potatoes are VEGAN.  Not an animal product in sight. :)

Here's what you need: (this recipe will serve about 5 -6 people)

4 large organic potatoes, scrubbed well (peeled or unpeeled- your choice. I NEVER peel potatoes), and cut into quarters. They will cook faster and will be easier to mash if you cut them up.
salt
3 or 4 cloves of quick roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary
a dash of olive oil
organic vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper

1.Sprinkle the potatoes very lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Break off the individual pieces of rosemary and toss those over the potatoes and mix very gently.  Take a large pot with a lid, add about a cup and a half of water. Place your potatoes in a steamer basket and add to the pot of water. Cover, bring the water to boil, reduce heat and allow the potatoes to steam for about 20 - 30 minutes. You want the potatoes nice and soft so they're easy to mash- but you don't want them to fall apart and you don't want the water in the pot to evaporate. Check them often as they steam and add more water as needed.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, quick roast your garlic by spreading individual, un-peeled cloves evenly on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, until soft. Roast a bunch of garlic cloves. If you store them in a sealed container in the fridge, they will keep for 3 days.  Roasted garlic is delicious spread on toast, freshly baked bread, mixed with vegan mayo for sandwich spreads, or added to salad dressings.

3. Remove steamed potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl.

4. Take 3 or 4 of the roasted garlic cloves. You can add more if want your potatoes really garlicky. Gently squeeze the garlic out of their skins right into the pot of cooked potatoes. Discard the skins.

5. Start mashing. I like  rustic-looking mashed potatoes, so I just use a fork to do this.  A potato masher works well, too.

6. Add a bit of the vegetable broth to the potatoes for extra moisture while mashing them. Just add a little at a time. You don't want watery potatoes.

7. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Another great variation is to simply toss your raw, quartered potatoes gently with a bit of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the rosemary and roast them in the oven until soft, but not browned. Then, you can mash them. Roasted mashed potatoes are also SO good!

If you really want your mashed potatoes creamier, substitute the vegetable broth with a bit of vegan creamer, or even vegan cream of mushroom or potato soup. I love using the vegetable broth, however, because other than the small amount of olive oil, my mashed potatoes are virtually fat free!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sixty Second Fruit Salad!


This is my favorite treat when I have an after dinner sweet craving.  Tropical Fruit Salad!  I even love this instead of dessert or as a quick breakfast!

This is so delicious. And it literally takes less than a minute to prepare. At about 70 calories for 1/2 a cup, it's guilt-free. It's naturally sweet and good for me.

Here's what I do:

I open a can of Native Forest Organic Tropical Fruit Salad, and pour about one half a cup into a wine glass. I add a bit of the juice the fruit is packed in, as well. Most of the time, I toss in a few almonds, too. The almonds increase the calories a bit but not by much. Almonds add a nice crunch and protein, vitamins and minerals. If I have shredded coconut on hand, it makes this even more tropical and delicious.

I very rarely use canned goods but here's my logic: when I want a treat, it has to be quick and simple. It's so easy to open a bag of chips, reach into the cookie jar or help myself to a slice of pie.  I could make my own fresh fruit salad.  It would be much healthier but I don't always have the time to do that. All that peeling, cutting, slicing, and mess? Forget it!  Who wants to get involved with all that, especially when a snack attack hits?  There are times when it is justifiable to use canned products and this is certainly one of those times. I always keep several cans of tropical fruit salad in my pantry.

If you can't find an organic brand and don't want to order it on-line, buy conventional tropical fruit salad. Tropical fruit salad is different than regular fruit cocktail. Read the labels and look for cans that only contain fruits that have thick peels like pineapple, mango, papaya, and watermelon.  And make sure it's packed in juice.  You don't want fruit in heavy syrup or sugar-free. Sugar-free means artificially sweetened!

Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Make Snacking Healthier with Kale Chips!

photo from Seventh Generation


If I had to choose only vegetable to eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be KALE! It can be prepared so many different ways. You can even turn those gorgeous green leaves into delicious, nutritious Kale Chips!  Here's the recipe from Seventh Generation-- the recycled paper product people!


We Love Kale Chips

Try these instead of the usual greasy, unhealthy potato chips.  This is Cynfully Good snacking at it's best!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Healthy, Delicious Pumpkin Bread!

photo from vegnews.com
I am totally loving all things pumpkin this season!  I carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and decorate my house with them until it's time to break out the Christmas Tree.  And of course, what's Thanksgiving without home made pumpkin pie?

There's so much more you can do with pumpkins.  I add it to stews, bean dishes, bread, muffins.  Mashed pumpkin with salt, pepper and a pat of vegan margarine is delicious instead of mashed potatoes. To satisfy a sweet craving, mash up cooked pumpkin and add cinnamon, nutmeg and very light drizzle of organic maple syrup.  I roast peeled, cubed pumpkin in the oven, too. Just toss them with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I even throw cubes of cooked pumpkin in my tossed green salads.

If you're not cooking with pumpkin, you should be!  IT'S LOW IN CALORIES, HAS VIRTUALLY NO FAT, AND IS LOADED WITH VITAMINS AND MINERALS.  Here's a little info on the health benefits of pumpkin: Eat Pumpkin For Health and Weightloss.

Pumpkin: buy it, cook it, and eat it.

Those are just a few ideas on what to do with pumpkin for every day eating. Now, let's get into the "sweeter side" of pumpkin!

It doesn't get sweeter than this: Pumpkin Bread from Veg News. This is a bit of a splurge but it's a healthy splurge. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and so begins The Season of Eating. It's time to gather with family and friends and indulge a bit. I don't believe in starvation or deprivation when it comes to weight loss and good health. But I do believe if we're gonna indulge, we need to make it count! This bread is perfect! Sweet, satisfying and loaded with good stuff: sunflower and pumpkin seeds (good fat), cranberries, a little fresh orange juice, and course, pumpkin. Slice it up and serve it warm to guests instead of cake or pie. It's really good for breakfast, too. Just be sure to skip the butter or cream cheese. If you want, toast the bread lightly and top it with a bit of applesauce.


Makes one loaf
What You Need:
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 1-1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup Sucanat
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for oiling pan
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
What You Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a loaf pan and toast for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl. When pan is cool, lightly oil with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, Sucanat, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add pumpkin purée, orange juice and zest, water, and oil, and stir gently to combine all ingredients.
  3. Stir in cranberries, ginger, and 2/3 of the toasted seeds. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with remaining seeds and press into top of loaf. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
If you are interested in more pumpkin dishes, check out these other Cynfully Good recipes:

Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters
Pumpkin Curry

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Delicious and Healthy Sweet Potato Fries!

photo from Eatingwell.com
Who doesn't love french fries?  I know I do but I avoid them like the plague because they're usually soaked and fried in oil and grease. That means fat and calories I don't want or need. Some people order sweet potato fries thinking they are healthier. Yes, sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin C; fiber, thiamine, niacin, potassium and copper. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin E.  Once you dip them in a vat of hot oil, however, most of those health benefits fly right out the window.

I make sweet potato fries all the time.  They are so simple to make and they're baked, not fried.  Baked sweet potato fries are good for you, delicious, and satisfying. Serve them for lunch or dinner. . You can even snack on them instead of the usual chips, popcorn or cookies.  Snacking is okay, if you make it count! And these little vitamin packed sweet potato fries pack a healthy punch!

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss sweet potato wedges with oil, salt and pepper. Spread the wedges out on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until browned and tender, turning once, about 20 minutes total.

You can get creative with your sweet potato fries. Add a pinch of cajun seasoning instead of the cayenne pepper. I happen to love mine with Old Bay Seasoning. To satisfy a sweet craving, I add a pinch of cinnamon, let them bake for about 15 minutes, drizzle them very lightly with organic maple syrup and pop them back into the oven for another five minutes. DELICIOUS!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters with Sage Cream Sauce!



What can you do with a can of chick peas, pumpkin and some sage? Make these delicious fritters with a sage "cream" sauce, of course!  YUMMY!

Here's a wonderful recipe I found on Happy Healthy Life. Perfect to serve as appetizers OR as a meal.

Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters
vegan, makes 6-7 small round fritters

1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few dashes of pepper, cayenne and salt to taste

optional: 1-2 tsp flour to assist in binding if needed
1 cup panko bread crumbs for coating
1/4 - 1/2 cup safflower oil for frying

*baking note: you could also bake these little cakes instead of fry them if you'd prefer! Bake on parchment paper or a lightly greased baking sheet at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes - or until toasty. BUT the panko bread crumbs are really made for a light fry. So if you can't fry - perhaps use a finer, moister bread crumb.

To Make:

1. Add the chickpeas and pumpkin to a large mixing bowl. With a large fork or potato masher, mash the beans until at least 75% of them have been mashed together with the pumpkin.
2. Add in the spices, apple cider, hemp seeds and optional flour. Fold together until a moist mixture forms.
3. Preheat a few tablespoons of safflower oil in a large skillet.
4. When the oil is hot, for the mixture into golf ball sized balls and roll in your panko crumbs

until well covered - pat down into flatter cakes and place int he hot oil - carefully.
5. Continue until the pan is full - leave about an inch space between each cake for easier flipping. Cook on each side only about 1-2 minutes - or until toasty brown. Try not to burn, although a bit of crisping is nice.
6. Transfer cooked fritters to a paper towel to cool. Serve in about 5 minutes after cooling a bit.
Store in the fridge and reheat in the oven if desired. You can freeze as well. However, these fritters are best hot off the skillet!

Sage Cream Sauce of the side (super easy)

I blend up 4 fresh sage leaves with 1 cup silken tofu, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 heaping spoonful of vegan mayo and a pinch of  fresh parsley. For a spicy sage sauce I add in either cayenne or a Tbsp of chopped jalapeno.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Season of Eating: White Bean Dip with Poblano

Photo from Food52.com
Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us and so begins the Season of Eating. From Turkey Day through New Years', we are busy and on the go: cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping gifts, entertaining, traveling, sipping cocktails, attending office parties, family gatherings, and eating.......

This is the time we put on weight because we just can't say no to the cookies, pies, mashed potatoes, eggnog, and the chips and dips!

I am a planner, so I am currently gathering all my healthy and delicious recipes for the holidays.  There is always someone stopping by this time of year and course it is my moral imperative to feed them.  If they are not staying for dinner, then I'll serve platters of Vegan cheese with fruit and nuts or fresh guacamole and salsa with tortilla chips.  In a pinch, raw veggies and dip always goes over well with guests.  And no one ever says no to a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of home made pie or freshly baked cookies.  Regardless of who my guests are or what I am serving-- everything is always nutritious and Vegan.

Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite holiday entertaining recipes with you: appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes, main dishes, and desserts.
For starters, here is a delicious bean dip recipe from Food52.com: White Bean Dip with Poblano.  A poblano is a chili pepper and in this recipe, you roast the pepper to enhance the flavor. You can find poblanos in the ethnic food section of your grocery store or in Latin markets.  This dip is quick, easy and packed with protein- thanks to the white beans.  Serve it with good quality tortilla chips or raw veggies.


White Bean Dip with Poblano


Different, healthy and Cynfully Good.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Photo from Sunny Seed Up

OH MY GOODNESS!! You have to try these.......

I roast brussel sprouts to munch on at night while watching TV. So much better than chips!


Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts

A Healthier, Vegetarian, BBQ Rib Sandwich!

Photo from morningstarfarms.com

The McRib is back! Everyone is talking about it, posting the news on Social Networking sites, and lining up at their local McDonald's to get their  'available for a limited time' sandwich. Thank goodness the McRib isn't a regular item on McDonald's menu.  It's one of the unhealthiest, fat and calorie laden sandwiches you can possibly eat. Don't believe me? Check out my article in which I deconstruct the McRib to reveal what you really are eating! The McRib- deconstructed. 

Run away from the McRib! The combination of that thick, sweet (artificial) BBQ sauce and all that added salt will seduce your tastebuds into wanting more and more. Just a couple of these sandwiches a week - and you will be packing on the pounds!

For those of you who LOVE the McRib, but want eat healthy, here's an alternative. This is a delicious sandwich you can make at home. Yes, this recipe does include a packaged product, Morningstar Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets. However, when you compare the ingredients, THIS  is the better choice. Give it a try. I know you'll love it.

2 teaspoons butter, margarine or Earth Balance Vegan Spread, softened
1 clove garlic, minced
4 (1/2-inch-thick) sliced sourdough bread
1 package (10 oz.) MorningStar Farms® Hickory BBQ Riblets
2 slices pepper jack cheese or Vegan alternative, halved diagonally
2 lettuce leaves
2 thin slices red onion, separated into rings


DIRECTIONS
1. In small bowl stir together butter and garlic. Brush 1 side of each bread slice with butter mixture. Place, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Set aside.

2. Cook MORNINGSTAR FARMS HICKORY BBQ RIBLETS according to package directions. Top each riblet portion with two half slices of cheese. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

3. Meanwhile, broil bread slices 4- to 5-inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Top buttered sides of two bread slices with lettuce, riblet portions and onion. Top with remaining slices of bread, buttered sides down. Cut into halves. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Health and Healing in a Pot: Coconut Butternut Squash Soup!

photo from Vegan Holiday Kitchen

Ahhh. Soup. Nothing is more comforting or healing. I make countless pots of soup in the fall and winter: lentil soup, carrot soup, butternut squash soup, and of course, my famous "un-chicken" noodle soup.  

Soup is perfect for breakfast, lunch and supper. I'll sip soup all day on a Monday if I overindulge in too much food over the weekend. Soup cleanses my system- like the old-fashioned Italian Belly Wash. There's really something to all that!  It's great for weight loss, too. Have a soup course every evening before dinner. You'll eat less!

Soup can be a mind, body, spirit experience when you make it yourself. A jar or can of soup you dump into a pot or stick in the microwave to reheat, just doesn't cut it. You'll never get the full effect of soup unless it's homemade.

That being said, here is a wonderful recipe I found for Coconut Butternut Squash Soup. This is pure health and healing in a pot.  If you don't believe me--take a look at some of the benefits of Butternut Squash:

Health benefits of Butternut squash

  • Butternut squash contains many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. It is very low in calories; provides just 45 cal per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; but is rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is often recommended for cholesterol and weight reduction programs.
  • It has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the cucurbitaceae family with highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for vision. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A helps body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Butternut squash has natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like α and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver the same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
  • It has a similar mineral profile as pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Convinced?  Good! Now take out your big soup pot and get cooking!

Vegan Holiday Kitchen’s Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Once you’ve got the squash baked, this soup comes together quickly. The mellow flavors of squash, kale and red onions synergize delectably and look gorgeous together as well.

1 large butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium apple, any variety, peeled and diced
2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or 2 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger, or more, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg or allspice
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish
2 medium red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 good-size bunch kale (about 10 to 12 ounces)

1. To bake the squash, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut in half and place halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking dish and cover tightly with more foil. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife. Scoop out and set aside.

2. Heat about half the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the apple, squash, broth and spices. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the solids to a food processor with a slotted spoon, in batches if need be, and process until smoothly puréed, then transfer back to the soup pot. Or better yet, simply insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until smoothly puréed.

5. Stir in the coconut milk and return the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until well heated through. Season with salt and pepper. If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two, then heat through as needed before serving.

6. Just before serving, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the red onions and sauté over low heat until golden and soft.

7. Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves off the stems and cut into thin shreds. Stir together with the onions in the skillet, adding just enough water to moisten the surface. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kale is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes.

8. To serve, ladle soup into each bowl, then place a small mound of kale and onion mixture in the center.

ENJOY! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Served My Husband A Tofu Sandwich!


Many years ago, when I was a brand-new vegetarian, I decided to make breaded tofu for my carnivorous husband. I took a block of firm tofu, pressed it between two plates to remove the excess water, and cut it into thin slices. Then I did what any good Italian would do.  I dipped the slices into a bowl of lightly beaten egg and then covered them with seasoned bread crumbs. I tossed my breaded tofu slices into pan with a bit of olive oil and fried them up until they were golden brown.

I thought this was ingenious. It tasted pretty good, too. At least I thought so. It resembled fried mozzarella- crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. I was so proud of how it all turned out that I piled the tofu on a hero roll, added a few slices of cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato, and sent my husband off to work with a healthy lunch.  By the way, he's my ex-husband now--this COULD be the reason why! :)

Later on that day, he opened the lunch lovingly packed by his adoring wife. I can see it now....my ex-husband sitting with his co-workers, looking forward to eating what looked like chicken cutlets on a hero roll. YUMMY!!! Smacking his lips, he takes the first bite of his delicious sandwich and......

WHAT THE HELL?!!

He called me later on that afternoon and it wasn't to thank me for a healthy, delicious lunch. Nope. He was not happy. Not at all.  Instead, he screamed into the phone: "Don't ever give me a tofu sandwich again! What is the matter with you?"

I made it up to him later by serving pot roast and gravy for dinner that night.

This was long before tasty meat alternatives ever existed. Everything I made, I made from scratch. There were no packaged veggie burgers, Tofurky slices, or frozen patties that looked and tasted like chicken but weren't actually chicken. Honestly, I am not a big fan of that sort of stuff. If you really want something that looks and tastes like meat, perhaps you should just have meat. I do have veggie burgers in my freezer, however. They are a quick convenience food for the nights I just don't feel like cooking and they're perfect for a BBQ when everyone else is eating grilled hamburgers. I just don't make a habit out of them. Not mention they're not very economical. It's much cheaper to make them myself.

Never again did I give my ex-husband a tofu sandwich but I did keep experimenting with all sorts of healthy, vegetarian recipes. And I must admit, for remaining years we were married,  he was a pretty good sport and willingly sampled just about everything I cooked: tofu chili, "chocolate cream" pie made with carob powder and tofu, baked lentil burgers, Fettuccine Alfredo-No Alfredo (this was homemade spinach noodles tossed with a sauce made from tofu, soy milk and soy cheese) and a whole variety of other strange concoctions. Some dishes were a hit (he really liked the fettuccine) and others were complete failures. It was all trial and error. This is how I learned what worked and what didn't........

In order to inspire others to eat healthier and incorporate more "meat-less meals" into their diet, I have to give them something that actually tastes good. I happen to love tofu and I can eat it straight from the container. I can't expect everyone else (especially meat-eaters) to do the same. This is why I work so hard to bring you delicious recipes every day.  Delicious, healthy, wholesome food you will enjoy and want serve to your family or even to guests.

Here is one recipe that was always a "hit": Baked Lentil Burgers.  They're tasty, easy to make, and healthy.  You can put them on rolls and add cheese or serve them up with mashed potatoes and vegan mushroom gravy. Bake it in a lightly oiled loaf pan, or roll them into tiny lentil balls. You can get crazy and add other things to the mixture as well: chopped, sauted onions, some dried sage--the possibilites are endless. I love them topped with a bit of pepper jelly or mango chutney. These freeze really well, too. You might enjoy these so much, you'll never buy another veggie burger.

Lentil Burgers (makes 4 burgers or 6 small ones)

1/2 cup lentils
1 egg yolk or Ener-g Egg Replacer
dash of dried thyme
1 tablespoon bread crumbs

Cook lentils until soft so they mash easily with a fork, about one hour. Drain any excess. When the lentils are cool, add the egg or egg replacer, bread crumbs, and thyme. Shape into patties and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve warm.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Terrific Tabbouleh



I have a confession. I am totally in love with Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a delicious combination of bulghur wheat with lots of fresh mint, parsley, scallions and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It's a staple in most Middle Eastern cultures. I love it because it's nutritious, rich in protein and so refreshing. It goes with just about anything. I mix in salads, pile it on veggie burgers, or eat it plain.  My favorite way to serve tabbouleh is on a big platter with fresh hummus, tahini, stuffed grape leaves, olives, and warm pita bread. It's so good, I actually have to stop myself from eating too much.

Sometimes I buy it already made but when I have the time, nothing compares with making it myself. I use this recipe from Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa.

Enjoy.......

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate.

The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Amazing Avocado-Hummus Spread!


This morning I had a craving for a bagel for breakfast.  Most mornings, I eat usually eat very light: fresh fruit or a cup of soy yogurt mixed with chopped almonds and a scoop of wheat germ. On the days I have much on the agenda, I cook hot cereal or scramble up some tofu with spinach and salsa. But today, I wanted a bagel.

The traditional way to eat bagels is with cream cheese.  Make it at home, and you have some control over the amount you smear upon your bagel. Order it from a deli or bagel shop and it's piled high with enough cream cheese to generously cover two or three bagels. Or, you can have it with butter. Now, I don't eat butter (it's from a cow) but I do remember the deliciousness of a toasted bagel dripping with melted butter. So good. But there's no real nutritional value in the butter. You're basically eating a bagel covered with liquidized fat.

I don't eat cream cheese, either. Again- it's made from milk and milk comes from--well, you know! The non-dairy versions of cream cheese leave much to be desired. If you want to have cream cheese with your bagel, go right ahead but consider it a real splurge. Cream cheese is really nothing more than a big glob of fat and calories and the low fat or fat free versions are never as good.  In fact, I don't use or condone any kind of low-fat or fat free foods- EVER!

I could have toasted my whole wheat bagel and covered it with my Earth Balance (VEGAN) spread. This is what I use when a recipe calls for butter. This would have been mighty tasty but again, there's really no nutritional benefit. Yes, I want my bagel but I want it to count. This morning I am going to sit with my dad while he gets his chemotherapy treatment. It's going to take at least five hours which means it will be a long time until my next meal!

So what can I put on my bagel to make it filling, nutritious, healthy, and vegan?

Here's what I did:

I took one half of a very ripe avocado and mashed it well. Then I added  one tablespoon of hummus, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. I mixed it all together and spread it on my toasted bagel.

DELICIOUS!!!

Of course I can't call this a  low calorie, low fat spread HOWEVER, it is nutrient rich, loaded with vitamins, minerals and good fat that will keep me going for hours. Cream cheese or melted butter can never compare to healthy goodness of my home made Avocado-Hummus spread.

The key to eating well, staying healthy and losing weight is making wise choices when it comes to food!

It's okay to have a bagel. It's what you choose to smear upon it that makes all the difference.

The Best Healing Spice: Terrific Turmeric!



Turmeric.......it's a spice. It adds a subtle flavor and a natural yellow color to food.  I use turmeric in scrambled tofu to make it look more like "eggs".

Turmeric is most commonly used in Indian cuisine. It also has all kinds of wonderful health benefits. If you don't have turmeric in your spice rack, you definitely should go and get it.  And start cooking with it. I will be posting delicious recipes laced with turmeric over the next few days; so you can experience this amazing, healing spice.

20 Health Benefits of TURMERİC:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug Paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

If you try turmeric and don't like the flavor, it can be taken pill form. It is available in most health food stores; usually in 250-500mg capsules. I would definitely try using it as a spice first before resorting to taking it orally. Turmeric in its most natural and purest form is always best. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The BEST Tomato Soup Ever!

photo from Smittenkitchen.com
I stumble upon a lot of different recipes but very rarely do I ever say: "Oh.My.God. I must make this today!"

This recipe literally stopped me in my tracks. I am casting aside everything on my morning 'TO DO' list to make this soup!The photo alone of this glorious soup is making me hungry! 

This is Roasted Tomato Soup from Smittenkitchen.com. If you love tomatoes and you love cheese, I think it's worth your time and effort to make this soup. Not mention, it's a great way to get your daily dose of lycopene.

Of course, as a Vegan, I would make a few changes. This recipe calls for chicken or vegetable broth. I would use the vegetable broth. As for the cheddar cheese, it can replaced with a non-dairy subsitute and it will come out just as tasty. Even if you do eat animal products like cheese and milk, I would skip the real cheddar. It turns a healthy, nutrient- rich soup into something that is much too high in fat and calories. Galaxy Brand Cheddar "cheese" is really delicious and melts perfectly.

Here's the recipe:
Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar

I am off to the store to pick up plum tomatoes!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Vegan Arroz con Gandules!


Who doesn't love a Pot Luck Supper? At the church I used to attend, one Sunday a month we all brought our favorite foods and specialty dishes to share right after service.  Elsie, an elderly Latin woman, was always there. She kept busy behind the scenes; cooking, serving, and making sure everyone was well fed.

Pot Luck Sunday always meant slim pickin's for me. There really wasn't much I could eat, other than the meat-less dish I contributed and perhaps a couple of iceberg lettuce leaves.  I was surrounded by trays and trays of baked ziti and lasagna (all prepared with meat), BBQ chicken wings, Chicken Parmesan, and sausage and peppers all prepared by good Christian women. One Sunday, Elsie happened to notice I had very little food on my plate.

"Why are you not eating?" she asked.

I explained I was a vegetarian. She mumbled in Spanish how I was going to "waste away without meat". Then she lovingly took me by the hand and led me to a big tray of rice and pigeon peas.

"Eat this," she said, proudly. "I made it. No meat."

It was really good: perfectly cooked yellow rice, sliced olives, lots of onions, tomatoes- and NO meat!  From then on, Elsie's contribution on Pot Luck Sunday was a huge tray of her special rice and pigeon peas.  She would stand guard while everyone helped themselves to her rice, warning them to "only take a little, because Cynthia needs to eat!"  She would then pack up the left-overs for me to take home.

One day, Elsie gave me her prized recipe. She had written it out on an index card and told me not to share it with another living soul.  I was honored and promised to guard it with my life. I took a quick peek at the recipe before safely tucking it away in my purse. First ingredient: a box of Goya Arroz con Gandules!

 I happened to know that particular brand of rice has chicken fat, chicken broth and other assorted chicken products. I also finally realized why I suffered with certain digestive disturbances the day after every Pot Luck Sunday. Of course, I didn't have the heart to tell Elsie I could no longer eat her famous dish, so I went right on eating it.  An upset stomach was a small price to pay. It brought Elsie such pleasure to watch me enjoying her arroz con gandules.

 The last time I saw Elsie before she died, she smiled weakly and whispered, "I can no longer make the rice for you, but you have my recipe. Make it, and remember me."

I've adapted Elsie's recipe slightly. Of course, I eliminated the Goya rice but for extra flavor, I use Soy Chorizo. It boosts the protein in the dish and adds a slightly spicy kick to the rice. You won't need to prepare meat with this dish. Serve it with sliced avocado on the side and big green tossed salad.  And don't forget the Sangria!

Elsie, this is for you!

Vegan Arroz con Gandules:

Spanish Saffron Rice : See Recipe
1 package Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo, casing removed.
2 Tablespoons Spanish olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 medium spanish onion, finely chopped
1-15 oz can pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup pitted green olives with pimentos (sliced into rounds)

Prepare rice according to recipe. It needs to cook about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and the onion, saute until soft.

Add the soyrizo, crumbling it up with a spatula until it resembles ground beef. Cook and stir often for about 5-7 minutes. It won't brown like beef, but it will change color slightly.

Add the pigeon peas, the tomato sauce, and the olives. Allow to cook approximately 5 more minutes. Stir frequently. .

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the soyrizo/pigeon pea mixture to the rice. Mix it gently but make sure it is well blended. Pour into a baking pan and place in the oven. Your rice shouldn't be too moist, it should be dry but not dried out! Check it after ten minutes. If it still looks too moist, return to oven for about five minutes more. I wouldn't leave it in any longer than 15 minutes total.

Enjoy............

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Best Peanut Butter Banana Hot Cereal!



Today, I had a hankering for something a bit different for breakfast. It needed to be a meal that would provide plenty of energy to carry me through my busy morning. It also had to be something I could whip up in a snap.  Hot, whole-grain cereal was the quickest, easiest thing that came to mind. When I am really in a rush, I cheat and nuke it. Then I toss in chopped almonds, blueberries or sliced apples, a dash of cinnamon. Unfortunately, I ran out of almonds and blueberries, and tossed the last apple into my son's lunch box this morning. Grocery shopping was definitely on the agenda for today.  
So......here's what I came up with: 

Peanut Butter and Banana Hot Cereal.

 Don't knock it until you try it. It tastes like fresh, warm banana bread; spread with a layer of peanut butter! That sounds good, doesn't it?  The best part: no flour, no eggs, very little sugar and GOOD fat! I only added a tiny amount of peanut butter- fresh, NATURAL peanut butter. It's made right there at the little market where I shop and it has one ingredient: PEANUTS!!  If you can't get fresh peanut butter, buy the most natural, unsalted type you can find. Don't even think about Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan brands. Those are nothing more than jars of artery-clogging hydrogenated oils, a handful of peanuts, and way too much sugar and salt.  

Here's what you do:

Cook one serving of your favorite whole grain hot cereal according to package directions. You can use oatmeal, too, if desired.

Stir in about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and mix well.

Slice a banana and arrange on top or gently fold the slices into the cereal.

Drizzle with organic maple syrup. (when I say "drizzle" I mean a very, very small amount. You are going to pour it lightly in a zig-zag fashion.) If you MUST measure, I would guess about 1/8 of a teaspoon.

This might not sound sweet enough, but trust me, it is. The bananas lend a natural sweetness and the peanut butter adds such a delicious, creamy flavor, you won't need additional sugar.

Serve immediately!

Enjoy your Cynfully Good Breakfast

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos








My son is a carnivore and I am always on the hunt for delicious, meatless recipes I can serve prepare for breakfast lunch and dinner.  I really don't want to cook two different meals.  Who has time for that? I admit, there are times I do cook him meat, but if I can get away with serving a dish he thinks is meat, I do it!  And so far, no complaints............

My son's favorite meal is breakfast and I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe from the Yogic Kitchen: Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos. YUMMY!!! Soyrizo is vegan sausage. NOT MEAT. This dish does contain eggs; so what I do is reserve a small portion of the cooked Soyrizo for myself before I add the eggs to the pan.

If you're trying to get get your family to eat more meatless meals, this is the perfect recipe. It's delicious for breakfast, lunch or even as a simple supper.


Here's the recipe:
Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Curry with Chick Peas


It's Pumpkin Season! Time for pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving, roasting pumpkin seeds and Mmmm.... Pumpkin Pie!

Start thinking beyond all the traditional ways of using and cooking pumpkin! It's so delicious and really good for you: packed with vitamins and nutrients. That beautiful orange pumpkin flesh is loaded with beta-carotene and more!

Here's a Cynfully Good recipe for pumpkin. This is exotic, healing, fat-burning, energy-packed cuisine at its best- a hearty, vegan stew laced with yellow Thai curry, the subtle sweetness of coconut milk, gorgeous cubes of fresh pumpkin, and protein-packed chick peas. Serve it over rice or with warm Naan bread.

Here's the recipe:
Pumpkin Curry With Chick Peas

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Apples

Photo from 101cookbooks.com
I love finding a recipe I really want to make that doesn't involve a trip out to the store. I have brussel sprouts. I have apples. And of course, I have tofu!  Here's my Cynfully Good dinner  for TONIGHT!!!

Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Apples

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cynfully Good Homemade Apple Sauce



Looking for something fun to do today? How about making your own apple sauce? Here is the easiest recipe in the world. In about thirty minutes, it's ready to enjoy. You probably have everything in your house already so get to it! What's great about this recipe is it doesn't call for sugar. *

You don't need sugar because....uhhhh.....apples are naturally sweet!!
  • 4 organic apples of your choice ( I like Rome or Granny Smith apples. Delicious or McIntosh don't really work well-too mushy and too sweet)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Peel and core the apples. Cut the applies into bite size pieces. Heat a medium pot on medium heat. Add the orange juice and cinnamon. Add the diced apples and give the mixture a stir. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. All the apples to simmer in the liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the cooked apples from the heat. Allow the apples to cool and mash with a potato masher or in a food processor.

That's it! All finished...............

YUMMY!!! :)

*If you are using Granny Smith apples and they are very tart, stir in a dash of organic maple syrup- about 1/2 a teaspoon should do it. Taste it first, though.  The fresh orange juice might add just enough sweetness to the mix.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cynfully Good Roasted Butternut Squash


Butternut Squash. For years, I avoided it. I thought it was a decoration. You know, to put in a basket of gourds on the table when Autumn rolls around.

When I became a Vegetarian, I discovered how wonderful and yummy Butternut Squash really is! It's so versatile. I can steam it, boil it, bake it, stuff it, fry it, mash it, tranform it into healthy fries, even use it as a stuffing for home made ravioli......the possibilities are endless.

Butternut squash---the perfect food!


If all the amazing ways you can prepare Butternut Squash doesn't convince you give it a try, take a look at how healthy it is for you.........

Butternut squash is low in fat and loaded with fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.

And the color of Butternut Squash? Once you cut one of these beauties open- you will see for yourself. . The gorgeous color means it's packed with carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. Butternut Squash has very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A) identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. A 1-cup serving of Butternut Squash provides nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. 

Wait! There's more! Butternut Squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content.  This means it could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Convinced yet? YOU SHOULD BE!!!

Here's is a very simple, delicious way to make Butternut Squash. Cut it up and roast it in pan, like potatoes. Only better......and so gorgeous.

Here's how:

Peel one Butternut Squash and chop into cubes. Coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss in some fresh, chopped herbs if you have them. I add sprigs of fresh rosemary to my roasted squash. Thyme is delicious, too. Sage......Mmmmm. This is starting to sound a little like a song, isn't it?  :)

Roast them in a pan at 400 degress for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.

If you want, omit the fresh herbs and season with cinnamon and a dash of organic maple syrup. Freshly ground nutmeg is amazing with roasted squash, too. This is so much better and healthier than sweet potatoes loaded with butter or those candied yams everyone eats at Thanksgiving! 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cocoa Dusted Almonds



This is for all you chocolate lovers out there!!!  Forget those chocolate bars with almonds. Most of them are filled with too much sugar and fat!  We don't want that!!  What we DO want is chocolate and I don't need to explain why!  We also want almonds because they are delicious, rich in protein, and good for us!

Here's my Cynfully Good way to have the best of both!

Cocoa Dusted Almonds!

Yes, I know you can buy these in the store. Don't be tempted!
Those little packages of  Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds sound really good and healthy but have you seen the ingredients??

First of all, the package says CHOCOLATE FLAVOR! This means, what tastes like chocolate isn't really ALL chocolate. Some of that flavor is ARTIFICIAL!
This is right off the label:

dry roasted almonds, modified food starch, natural and artifical flavors, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), salt, acesulfame potassium, sucralose!!

It take less than two minutes to make up your own batch of Cocoa Dusted Almonds!! Honestly!


What you need:

 A good quality, unsweetened, organic dark cocoa powder. I love Rapunzel cocoa powder.


Order it here: Rapunzel Organic Products










You will also need a cup of roasted almonds (unsalted) -

organic whole cane sugar (this is minimally processed and better for you than white, processed sugar)

a small brown paper bag

Mix together a tablespoon or two of the cocoa powder and a teaspoon of the sugar. It's not necessary to add the sugar but if you are looking for something slightly sweet, go right ahead. Adjust the amount of sugar to your preference, just don't go crazy with it. This is supposed to be a healthy treat!!

Place the almonds in the brown bag. Add the cocoa and sugar mixture. Hold the bag closed and shake, shake, shake until the almonds are covered!!

Pour out into a bowl and snack away!!

This recipe will serve 3 to 4 people so be sure to share with others............  :)

Or be a little selfish and keep them all for yourself. Eat a small handful and store the rest in a closed, airtight container.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms


What can be more Cynfully Good than this? My two favorite foods in the world: quinoa and portabella mushrooms- the perfect marriage of delicious taste and wholesome goodness.

I can't rave enough about quinoa. It's a miracle grain and a complete protein. Nutty and delicious, quinoa is a staple in my home. I eat it hot with fresh blueberries, a splash of almond milk and a drizzle of organic maple syrup for breakfast. I toss leftover quinoa into salads for lunch.  I use quinoa as stuffing for acorn squash and eggplant or as a simple side dish instead of rice or potatoes for dinner.

Portabella mushrooms are my salvation when I want to sink my teeth into something thick and juicy. I grill them to perfection and pile them high on whole wheat buns and serve them with all the fixing's.  They're perfect at barbeque's instead of unhealthy burgers and hot dogs. I add chopped portabella mushrooms to salads, mix them into homemade lasagna and my delicious Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana. Portabella mushrooms are luscious and satisfying.  Did you know mushrooms are the only natural source of Vitamin D besides the sun? Eat them often.

Here is a recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms from Made Just Right.  This dish is simple, healthy and impressive enough to serve to guests.
  • 1 cup(s) of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of cold water
  • 6 medium-large portabella mushroom caps (save the stems)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup(s) of onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup(s) of peas
  • 2/3 cup(s) of tomato, diced
  • 2/3 cup(s) of yellow bell pepper (or any color will do!)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of Earth Balance natural buttery spread, original
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 tbsp. of cooking oil to saute
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In medium sauce pan, add quinoa and water; bring to boil (add optional pinch of salt), cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat down to simmer. Cook 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in medium saute pan, heat cooking oil and saute chopped mushroom stems, garlic and onion over medium heat. Add a dash of salt and pepper with 1/2 tbsp. Earth Balance natural butter spread. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring
  4. Add diced tomato, bell pepper, and onion mixture to quinoa along with salt, pepper & garlic salt. Add additional tbsp. Earth Balance natural buttery spread. Mix thoroughly and let it finish cooking with the lid on.
  5. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay washed and dried mushroom caps out on sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  6. Carefully stuff each mushroom cap with quinoa mixture and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes.
These are perfect to serve as appetizers or even as a main dish with steamed greens and crusty, whole grain bread.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lip Gloss Good Enough to Eat.............

I adore finding new and exciting products and here is one I think most ladies are going to LOVE!
Certified organic lip gloss made with products that are good enough to actually eat.

YUMMY!!!

And.....there are anti-oxidants thrown into the mix so these glosses are actually GOOD for your lips, too!  :)


I always wear lipstick or lip gloss but sometimes, the products taste down-right awful- even the natural types. So if I can taste it, what does my guy think when he kisses me?  If my lips taste artificial or waxy he might not want a second kiss......

I want my lips to be sweet, kissable and unforgettable........don't you?

Intelligent Nutrients Natural Lip Gloss to the rescue!!!

Here's the link:
Intelligent Nutrients Natural Lip Gloss

This is Cynfully Good stuff!!!