Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

What’s your favorite cookbook?

Historically speaking, I never really enjoyed cooking (unless it was homemade chocolate-chip cookies!). But recently—since changing my diet to include mostly vegan and gluten-free meals—I haven’t really had a choice. I’ve been cooking vegetarian for so many years, but I always paired the veggies with pasta, cheese and breads. After going vegan and gluten-free, I wondered, could I survive on lettuce alone? And secondly, what was I going to eat, anyway?

A total rethinking of my go-to cookbooks was in order. So after much Googling, talking to friends and testing in my own home kitchen, I’ve settled upon my top three veg cookbooks. Here they are, plus four more I can’t wait to try!

1. Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi: Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant in Notting Hill is my favorite place in London! That’s where I first discovered his mouthwatering vegetarian dishes, which taste as good as they look. His cookbook has helped me bring those wonderful flavor combinations back home to the States.

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2. Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution: Kris Carr is kind of my guru right now. I love her warmth, inspiring ideas and post-cancer attitude. Her cookbook has helped me to feel strong again in the kitchen and learn to cook the most amazing, healthy dishes. My faves from this book: Chickpea With Root Veggie Tangine, and the Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burger. Her blog is also worth a look.

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3. Decadent Gluten-Free Baking: Delicious Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets: I love my sweets. I do! So giving up wheat felt so utterly depressing … until I discovered this cookbook. Now I don’t even miss my old way of baking! I absolutely LOVE the Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies (except I substitute chocolate chips for the cranberries).

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Here are four more cookbooks I can’t wait to try; I’ve heard such amazing things about them:

1. Heart of the Plate

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2. The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen

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3. River Cottage Veg

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4. The French Market Cookbook

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What’s your favorite cookbook? I’m dying to know!

{P.S. A really beautiful vegan/veggie blog is 101 Cookbooks by foodie Heidi Swanson (she has a couple of healthy cookbooks, too, including this one.)}

 

Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes! While going through radiation treatments a year ago for my second bout of cancer, I decided to completely overhaul my diet. Part of that meant getting more greens than I ever had before. The easiest way to do that? Blend ’em up into a tasty green smoothie.

I’m feeling more energetic than ever and enjoying my new eating habits. But I’m not the only one realizing the raw power of a simple green smoothie. A 2014 documentary by author, entrepreneur and natural health aficionado Sergei Boutenko, called “Powered by Green Smoothies,” examined the effects of one quart of green smoothies per day on marathon runners and CrossFitters. The results? Nothing short of amazing: fewer aches and pains and speedier recovery times.

Some have taken this idea even further: Can changing your diet change the world—and extend your life? The results of a study published last month in Nature support this idea, showing that unhealthy eating habits negatively impact not only a person’s health, but also the environment, stripping habitats and emitting greenhouse gases. Conversely, switching to a vegetarian, Mediterranean or Pescetarian diet is less damaging to the environment and (bonus!) can substantially increase your lifespan.

If you’re looking for a green smoothie to try, here’s my favorite. All you need is: your favorite nondairy milk, strawberries, an orange, some lemon zest and some fresh spinach. (Just make sure to rotate your greens if you’ll be greening it up every single day.)

Friends, what are your favorite recipes? Please share them here. I’m always looking for new ways to freshen up my rotation!

{P.S.: A smoothie to cure jet lag, and a wintery green smoothie I can’t wait to try (think pomegranate and chocolate). Yum!}

This surprising animal is now endangered

Hello, Friday. I can’t believe the holidays are almost here. I’ll be spending the weekend finishing up some shopping and trying out a new gluten-free recipe: Hearty Vegan Minestrone Soup. What about you?

As we head into the weekend, here are five things I’m feeling gratitude for today …

1. I’m really grateful for conservationists and their tireless work. Our world needs more of them, especially when you have so many animals facing extinction, such as polar bears (due to shrinking ice in the Arctic) and the American eel (from overfishing). Those are just two examples of animals vanishing from the wild, but surprisingly, now giraffes need saving, too. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the numbers of these gentle giants have dropped an alarming 40 percent in just 15 years. Scientists are working on the paperwork now to help giraffes make it onto the official endangered species listings. On a related note, 31 new species of animals recently gained special protection status by the United Nations (including polar bears), and plenty more should (like the beluga whale in Canada).

2. Singing dogs: When the news of the world gets me down, something simple like a funny animal video can make me smile. Check out this adorable Aussie shepherd puppy singing—yes, you read that right—“Let It Go” from the movie Frozen.

3. Gingerbread houses: Every year, my daughter Indigo and I, along with Grandma, construct beautiful, candied gingerbread houses. We’ve already made this year’s, but after seeing this article with construction tips from a pro, I’m excited to make next year’s gingerbread house extra elaborate. And how cool is this: Until January 4, you can dine inside a life-sized gingerbread house at one of the Great Wolf Lodge resorts and help a charity at the same time.

4. Howard Stern’s wife, Beth Stern, does a lot to help homeless animals and is a big supporter of the North Shore Animal League America animal rescue and adoption center in Port Washington, New York. Recently she wrote a children’s picture book about her rescued Persian cat, Yoda, and how his heart healed after taking care of a group of foster kittens. Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens is on sale now; 100 percent of the proceeds will support a special addition to NSALA: an innovative 14,000-square-foot, cage-free area for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies with outdoor habitats, a 24/7 nursery, grooming facilities, an adoption center and more.

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5. I’m happy anytime I hear of another reason to love chocolate. This time, the decadent confection is apparently linked to improved memory. Bring on the Vosges bars and truffles!

 

Gratitude: Five for Friday

As this week winds down, here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for today. …

1. Jane Goodall and all the work she does for the animals. She’s the real deal, and she’s my hero. She recently spoke at the USF Sun Dome in Florida. That would have been amazing to see.

2. Jimmy Fallon’s thank-you notes. They make me smile every time.

3. The Vosges-Haut Chocolat boutique inside O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. I always go shopping here every time I’m passing through. If you haven’t tried Vosges, you must. It’s delicious! Also, the company uses organic ingredients when possible and is committed to green manufacturing practices, packaging and more.

4. Pilates. Never fond of gyms or “exercising” in general, Pilates has been a game-changer for me. It helps not just in overall health but also in my cancer recovery. My sis Charlotte swears by it, too. I practice twice a week now at Full Circle Pilates in San Anselmo (it’s practically my new home away from home).

5. Innovative thinkers: I just love this idea of biophilic cities, where urban landscapes are designed to merge effortlessly with nature. The article states, “In biophilic cities, there is more focus on well-being and health.” Sounds good to me!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. What are you grateful for today?

{Photo credit: orca_bc via photopin cc}