Red Chili Vegan Enchiladas

red chili cover pic
I love these enchiladas! They were so rich and creamy and loaded with mouthwatering red chili flavor! If you’ve decided to try this recipe and are thinking of just buying a can of red chili sauce at the store, allow me to change your mind! The secret to making your enchiladas taste amazing is in the sauce you use. Store bought sauces don’t come close to the flavors you’ll get by simply making your own. For the rich and delicious red chili sauce my husband made, check back for my next post… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ingredients

  • 12-15 organic corn tortillas (we used Mi Rancho brand)
  • 2 cups Daiya mozerella style shredded cheese
  • 2 cups red chili (homemade is best!)
  • 1 cup black beans and brown rice mixed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cups minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • mixed baby greens
  • garlic and onion powder
  • Olive oil spray

Instructions

1. In a glass baking dish, layer 3-4 corn tortillas. Depending on the shape of your dish, you may need to cut some tortillas in half to cover the corners.
2. Lightly spray olive oil with each layer of tortillas and then sprinkle garlic and onion powder on top.
3. Next, pour and cover red chili over corn tortillas until completely covered.
red chili layer2nd layer
4. Then layer some of the black beans and rice and some sliced mushrooms.
5. Now layer some mixed baby greens, cilantro, and red onion.
mushroom layergreens
6. Top with Daiya cheese and then some more red chili.
cheese layerlast layer
7. Repeat steps 2-5 for about 3-4 layers or depending on how much your making.
8. After your done layering, top with 3 or 4 corn tortillas and pour remaining red chili on top.
9. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Makes about 8 servings. Goes nice with a green leaf and cucumber salad! ๐Ÿ™‚

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Chocolate Cherry Walnut Ice Cream!

chocolate cherry

Another no guilt healthy dessert using only 5 simple ingredients. Absolutely no sugar is needed when you use carob and whole fruit. The walnuts give it a nutty flavor plus the healthy fats help make this recipe decadent! For a more tart flavor, use more cherries. Hope you enjoy this delicious raw and vegan chocolate cherry ice cream!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen bananas
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 heaping tablespoon carob powder (or cacao if preferred)
  • up to 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk

Add all ingredients into a high powered blender with just half of the milk. Spill in the vegan milk only to keep the ingredients moving. The texture can come out too runny if you use too much. It only took about 1 minute to blend everything in but it depends on your blender. Serve immediately or refreeze in a covered container. Will stay fresh for about 2 days. Hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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ice cream

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Oatmeal: 8 Types and The Differences

oats
As most people know by now, eating oatmeal is very healthy and heart protecting because it provides fiber and lowers cholesterol. What they may not know is the type to eat for the most nutrition! Some forms of oatmeal may not even be good for us. This is because since oat grains can undergo various stages of processing, some forms of oatmeal can therefore not be as nutritious. Becoming aware of how oatmeal is made or milled can help us make a better choice, which can make a real difference to our health.

The star phytonutrient in oatmeal is Beta-Glucan, well known to reduce the risk of heart disease and control blood sugar in diabetics. It is also known to boost the immune system. Just one bowl each day can reduce high LDL levels, the bad cholesterol, by 8-23%.

To get the most of oatmeal’s nutritional benefits, we should choose oats that are the least processed since cooking and processing will destroy some of Beta-Glucan’s effectiveness.ย  Here is a list of 8 types of oatmeal in the order of least processed to most and how their formed:

1. GROATS– This is oatmeal as whole as you can get! Only the inedible hull is removed. They take the longest to cook, 50-60 minutes, and are best if soaked before using but you get the most nutrition so its definitely worth the time!

2. STEEL CUT OATS– This type of oatmeal is basically groats cut with steel blades into small pieces, which reduces its cooking time to 10-20 minutes. Their also known as Irish or pinhead oats. This type of oat also packs the most nutrition and has a chewier texture.

3. SCOTTISH OATMEAL– This oatmeal is basically the groats broken into bits. They are stone ground instead of cut and cooks in about 10 minutes. Stone grounding is a form of processing so they may not be as nutritious as groats and steel cut.

4. OAT FLOUR– Oat flour is still a whole grain because nothing is removed. Its basically just pulverized groats that can be used in recipes. Keep in mind oat flour is gluten free so it won’t behave like wheat and rise if used alone. It should be mixed with other flours if used for breads and baking.

5. OAT BRAN– This is the high-fibered part of the oat. The bran is normally discarded during the milling process but in this case, the bran is kept and sold separately for those who want the fiber. Its commonly used as an additive in breads, muffins, and cereals and adds a distinctive flavor. It can go rancid so it needs to be kept in a cool and dry place.

6. OLD FASHIONED or ROLLED OATS– This oatmeal is basically groats that are steamed and pressed flat. It can cook in 5 minutes. Rolled oats are often thought of as more nutritious but as you can see they are heated which is processing. They can be thick or thin and can be used to make old fashioned oatmeal, cookies, or granola. Thinner rolled oats can be used in baby food.

7. QUICK OATS– These oats are made by taking oat grains and breaking them into pieces before rolling them out. Rolled or old fashioned oats on the other hand, are just rolled out and not cut. The cutting reduces their size to ensure the oats cook very quickly. They are rolled much thinner then steamed and will only take 1-2 minutes to cook.

8. INSTANT OATMEAL– This form of oatmeal is the most processed. Its cooked and steamed much longer and then rolled the thinnest possible. This way you only need add hot water to “instantly” cook and plump them up. This type usually has stuff added in such as sugar, salt, and artificial flavors because its sold as convenience food.

Keep in mind that quick and instant oatmeal usually have their oat bran removed, which is the high fibered part of the grain. Much of the oat’s fiber and nutrients are contained within the bran, so removing it diminishes its nutritional value.

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Sources
How Oats are Processed – Buzzle.com
Types of Oatmeal – You Tube

Pineapple Lime Ice Cream

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We all like to splurge, especially with ice cream in the summer when its hot. But buying anything made with dairy and refined sugar isn’t splurging at all, its down right wrecking! So if you want to splurge, it pays to just make your own. Doing so isn’t hard. In fact, it doesn’t even require an ice cream maker! All you need is a good blender and some creativity. For raw vegan ice creams, the simpler the better. Pineapple ice cream needs only 3 ingredients, pineapple, bananas, and lime!ย  So you don’t need to give up on that occasional ice cream splurge to cool off and enjoy your summer. Most importantly, you don’t have to put a pause on health!

Ingredients

  • 5 large frozen bananas, cut 1 inch chunks
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Blend all ingredients until thick and creamy. You may need to spill in a little more lime juice or coconut water if your chunks are too big. Once its completely whipped, refreeze the ice cream for another hour or so for a better texture. Place in the freezer using a bowl with a lid or fill up popsicle molds. My toddler couldn’t wait and wanted an ice cream cone right away! ๐Ÿ™‚

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

zaya and cone

Spicy Black Bean Kale Veggie Burgers

the veggie burger
Veggie burgers can be found in most grocery stores today but their usually not cheap. Sometimes their not even that good. Making your own is the real way to go and can help you save money while feeding your family something healthy. These super food vegan burgers are not only juicy, spicy, and loaded with fiber, the combined rice and beans provide complete protein with all the essential amino acids. They also serve up a good serving of vegetables with the kale, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 can organic black beans, drained
  • 1 cup organic rolled oats
  • 6 large dinosaur kale leaves, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup minced yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup minced portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup minced red onions
  • 1 large minced jalapeno
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (not sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon each paprika and turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of Himalayan pink salt

Instructions

  1. Drain the black beans in a filter bowl for a minimum of 5 minutes. Shake it periodically to make sure all the beans are thoroughly drained. This is important if you don’t want mushy burgers.
    drained beans
  2. In the meantime, juice the limes and chop the kale to roughly 1/2 inch chopped pieces. Pour the lime juice and a few dashes of salt into a bowl with the kale. Gently “tenderize” it with your hands for about 30 seconds until the kale is completely soaked. Set aside allowing it to marinate. This process allows the kale to cook easily in the veggie burgers.
    kale
  3. Mince the bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and jalapeno. The yellow bell pepper gives a hint of sweetness and texture to the burgers. Mincing your veggies here helps to keep them in form once they start cooking. The last thing you want are heavy pieces breaking off.
    minced veggies
  4. Now we add the beans into another bowl and smash them with a bean masher. They should end up somewhat dry yet creamy.
    smashing beans
  5. Next, add in the tomato paste, garlic, yeast, onion flakes, paprika, turmeric and pepper. The tomato paste gives the “meat mixture” another dimension of flavor, plus it adds a boost of lycopene! If your using store bought minced garlic, try to avoid adding in the juice and drain it from your tablespoon.
    seasoningmixture
  6. With washed hands, gently mix the burger batter until everything is blended. If you’ve ever made regular hamburgers, most people use their hands so nothing different here. This will season up those beans very nicely!
    veggie burger mixture
  7. Next, collect all the kale from the bowl and gently squeeze out the lime juice. Add it into the mixture along with the rolled oats and the rice. Blend and work everything in with your hands for a few minutes and then form your burgers .
  8. Place a frying pan on medium heat sprayed with olive oil and cook the burgers for about 15-20 minutes. Important, make sure to cover the pan to keep the juices sealed in!
    veggie burgers
  9. Avoid flipping your patties too many times. Two or three times is plenty and will help to keep them intact. Allowing them too cool down first before serving also helps.
    cooked burgers

This recipe makes about 7 vegan burgers. Serve on your choice of whole grain or gluten free bread, Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Chocolate Pecan Ginger Spiced Ice Cream

choc ice cream

Fully RAW, dairy free, sugar free, gluten free, super simple rich chocolatey ice cream with only 5 easy ingredients! Yes, you can give into those “chocolate” cravings any time you want with this super healthy recipe. Getting the kids involved in making this can be a great way for you to show them that they don’t need icky dairy or sugar to enjoy eating ice cream. Its also a fun flavor to cool off with as an after dinner dessert for the whole family! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ingredients

  • 5 Bananas, frozen into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup Pecan halves
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Carob powder (or cacao if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons Ginger powder
  • few splashes of unsweetened Almond milk

Blend all the ingredients into a high powered blender for about 2 minutes until thick and smooth. Only use a few spills of the almond milk just to get the ingredients moving. Too much can end up making your ice cream runny. For a chunkier pecan texture, fold in a handful of chopped pecans after blending. If you decide to use cacao, it may not come out as sweet so make sure your bananas are extra ripe before freezing or you can add in a little stevia. That’s one of the reasons I prefer carob over cacao, it has its own natural sweetness. Makes about 4-5 half cup servings. Enjoy!

chocolate ice cream
by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Lime Dressing

raw noodles done

I finally made my own fully raw zucchini noodles but instead of the usual tomato pasta sauce, I smothered them in a tangy lime avocado dressing! Ordinary pasta dinners can add so much extra calories, a whopping 400 for just a 2 cup serving but zucchini noodles only have 60 calories for the same amount, plus their gluten free! You won’t feel bogged down after eating them either because raw noodles digest much faster so you can enjoy that second serving with no guilt. Raw noodles will fill you up because their loaded with fiber and provide you with more disease fighting nutrients than cooked processed pasta. Another little bonus is your saving water because there’s nothing to boil, drain, and throw out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ingredients

  • 2 large organic zucchinis
  • 3/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 small avocado
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tbsp raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • dash of Italian seasoning
  • dash of Himalayan pink salt

Instructions

  1. Spiralize the zucchinis into a bowl. In this step, you may want to cut your noodles while spiralizing to the desired length to prevent making them too long.
  2. In a small bowl, smash and mix the avocado with the lime juice until creamy.
  3. Next, add in all the remaining ingredients with the noodles along with the avocado dressing.
  4. Gently stir all ingredients until they are fully coated with the dressing.
  5. Your done! This is actually faster than making regular pasta because at the same time, my husband was making spaghetti and I finished before he did! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Makes about 4 servings.

raw noodlesadding in raw

To make the raw noodles I used a Veggetti, which I bought for $15.00 at Target. The website says you can’t buy it at stores but I’ve seen the Veggetti at both Walmart and Target. It has metal handles to keep your hands safe and a cap that allows you to twist and hold the last inch of your vegetables while turning.

avocado dressingraw in a bowl

If kids can enjoy eating raw noodles, then you know their good! Kids can be the most pickiest of eaters, my son included, but he loved them. Hope you try and enjoy this recipe soon!

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

raw for kids

Rainbow Vegan Tuna Salad

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I used to be a pescatarian before changing to vegan. In case your wondering, a pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat except for fish. My favorites used to be barramundi, tilapia, salmon, and tuna. Its been a long time but frankly I don’t miss it, especially with so many disastrous oil spills we keep hearing about on the news and especially after Fukushima.

Considering all the horrifying contamination events to our oceans just in the past 5 years, I’ll probably never want to eat fish ever again. Everything fish eat, we eat, and the bigger they grow, the bigger the contamination we are exposed to. Shunichi Tanaka, the head of Japanโ€™s Nuclear Regulation Authority said radioactive water has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean since the March 2011 earthquake. The disaster has been reported as “the largest single contribution of radionuclides to the marine environment ever observed.” Today over 4 years later, TEPCO has still yet to gain control.

What is the FDA doing to screen for radiation? As of March 10th 2014, the FDA included about 225 seafood samples to monitor for Fukushima contamination and stated Cesium levels were well below the established “standards.” Basically, they concluded there were no public health concerns but do we really want to gamble our health based on random samples?? Probably the biggest question to ask ourselves is can we really trust the FDA and their findings, especially when other sources have reported otherwise. An article from 2 years ago reported that every Bluefin tuna tested off the coast of California was contaminated with Fukushima radiation. Every single one! So no, I don’t trust the FDA.

Ok, enough bad news and on to some good food news. I’m not one to brag but I have to admit, this “tuna” recipe came out great! These ingredients really pulled through and created that perfect plant based tuna flavor I was hoping for. It even smelled like tuna salad! It does contain quite a few ingredients but when your trying to imitate something such as meat or fish, you’ve got to experiment with what you’ve in the kitchen to get the flavors you want. The good part is the ingredients are pretty basic and easy to find, most of them found in every food pantry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ingredients

  • 1-15 ounce can organic chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber, peeled
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons dill relish
  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 2 tablespoons sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 dashes of dill

ingredients

Instructions

  1. Drain the chickpeas and empty into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the mustard, Vegenaise, lime juice, and dill.
  3. Smash the beans with a bean masher until all the chickpeas are broken. You can also just use a food processor and pulse the chickpeas a few times before adding them into your bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until everything is blended.
  5. Your done!

smashingvegan tunaall aboard

You can enjoy this “tuna” mix with a green salad, on whole grain crackers, in a tuna sandwich, or even some “tuna” tacos using organic corn tortillas. If you prefer the mix to be creamier for sandwiches or crackers, simply add a little more Veganaise or avocado to smash in with the chickpeas and finely chop all of the ingredients before mixing them in. As for me, I prefer a chunkier texture but either way I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! ๐Ÿ™‚

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Cover Tuna

Spicy Mushroom Fluffy Brown Rice

fluffy mushroom rice

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup organic brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger root powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt

Fluffy Rice Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to a deep dish frying pan and bring to medium high heat. Once hot, tip the pan side to side to evenly coat the oil.
  2. Add in and stir the onions until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Next, stir in the brown rice. Sizzle and stir for about 5 minutes until the rice becomes very lightly browned.
  4. Stir in the salt, garlic, celery and ginger powder. Continue to stir, making sure all spices are evenly distributed with the rice, about 3 minutes.
  5. Now add in purified water to about half an inch ABOVE the rice and allow it to cook. Give it a couple more stirs to evenly distribute the water with the rice. This will be the LAST time you stir. Bring down the heat medium and cover.
  6. ย Remember, DO NOT STIR THE RICE. This is the most important tip at this point for the fluffiest rice. Just allow the rice to cook.
  7. After about 15 or 20 minutes, the water will get low. Once you can’t see the water, simply spill in a little at a time at each side but DO NOT EXCEED the rice line! Enough water should only be added to cover the bottom of the pan. This creates a steaming effect for the rice and gives it that fluffy texture. Do this once or twice, just until the rice is almost done.
  8. When the rice is almost cooked, top with the mushrooms but do NOT stir them in. Keep covered and allow the mushrooms to cook and steam for another 3-5 minutes. They will shrink and nestle into rice during this time.
  9. Once the rice is fluffy and fully cooked, remove from heat and keep it covered to steam off any remaining water into the rice.
  10. Your done! Makes about 6-8 servings.

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Strawberry Ginger Walnut Fudge

COVER FUDGE PIC

Fully raw, vegan, gluten and sugar free fudge! I have to be honest, this was my first time making fudge in my entire life. Frankly, I never imagined it would come out as good as it did considering it was my first time.ย  After going through some vegan fudge recipes online trying to get an idea of what was needed, I found that most were loaded with oils, syrups, sugars, and cacao so I created my own version using carob. Cacao is very acidic and bitter which is why most recipes using it require adding in sweeteners. Carob is alkalizing and has an advantage of being naturally sweet so I was able to use just a cup of fruit to get the right amount of sweetness. If your interested in the differences between using carob and cacao, check out John Kohler’s video from okraw.com and see why I prefer carob in my vegan diet.

Adding ginger gave this fudge recipe a nice spicy kick and the strawberries did a very nice job in balancing out the rich flavor of the carob. Best of all, it was super easy to make and very satisfying if your chocolate craver without even using real chocolate. But if you prefer, you can use raw cacao instead of carob for this recipe. For those who need to avoid foods with stimulating properties such as caffeine and theobromine, myself included, carob is perfect.

INGREDIENTSBLENDING

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1/3 cup raw carob powder
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Simple Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or in a high speed blender using only 1/2 cup of the walnuts. This batter gets super thick so add in the strawberries first for easier time mixing.
  2. Blend until all the ingredients create a deep brown, thick and sticky mixture. You will need to stop a few times to push down the batter with a spatula to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Empty out and pack the batter firmly into a small loaf pan to a maximum height of about 1 inch.
  4. Next, take the remaining walnut pieces and gently push them into the fudge. This helps the walnuts set with the fudge so they don’t fall off.
  5. Cover and freeze the fudge for about 2 hours. When ready, slice the fudge into 1 inch pieces. To serve, top with warmed strawberries and Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 10-12 1 inch pieces, enough for the whole week! Fudge is a rich dessert so a few bites goes a long way. Eat it conservatively. You can cut them into the size you prefer but for me, one inch pieces are enough. Store the fudge in the freezer to keep it fresh longer. You don’t have to thaw it before eating because it doesn’t fully freeze and is pretty much ready to eat anytime.

For more information on what carob is and its superior benefits to our health, watch SuperfoodEvolution’s educational video here, or for more facts by John Kohler on why raw cacao should NOT be promoted as a superfood, click here.

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by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

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