Just Beet it.

Happy Halloween! Since I already did the candy thing and the caramel apple thing, I decided to feature one of the truly most Halloween-ish foods out there: beets! (Slice a beet, get the knife and your hands all red-stained and you will get the picture.)

So, in honor of October, Halloween and all things spooky, today's post is a tribute to beets. Two recipes for you today + I have a quick Beets 101 to help inspire you to want to serve up this dark and moody vegetable. I get it. I wasn't always a beet lover at all. But once I learned how to use beets in a variety of ways, I learned to love them. My fave beet recipes: raw shredded on salads, juiced raw, roasted beets, beet chips and now beet dip!

BONUS: Beets are quite a HEALTHY food guys! (details ahead)

Two Beet Recipes. First up, recipe #1 is an easy recipe for turning rock-hard, raw beets into sweet, tender, seasoned perfection: my Maple Pepper Beets. Then recipe #2 is a sweet beet dip: Beet Walnut Pate. It is a savory-sweet dip that is a perky beet pink and delicious served with veggie sticks, crackers, chips or spread over top toast. Grab some beets are lets get our hands all pink and messy!..


Vaute Couture Coat Giveaway!

If you are a fan of vegan fashion I'm sure you have heard of Vaute Couture, the super inspiring, beautifully designed, cruelty-free, 100% vegan fashion line created by the talented, effervescent, lovely designer Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart. You can read more about Leanne in my Veggie Girl Power interview from last fall.

Fall Fashion. It is so easy to satisfy your craving for fall fashion (and stay cruelty-free) thanks to Vaute. Warm fall coats, adorable tees, tanks, hats and more are all available from the Vaute Couture online shop - and their flagship fashion boutique in Brooklyn. And this month, Leanne is doing a west coast tour! (details ahead)

GIVEAWAY. One WINGS coat is up for grabs guys! This is a quickie - giveaway entry period closes 11/9/12.

Tour dates/details and this amazing Vaute Couture WINGS Coat Giveaway ahead..


Butternut Bliss Fall Salad.

This Butternut Bliss Fall Salad is a healthy-delicious vegan meal for fall!..

Butternut Bliss. Spicy-sweet maple tofu cubes, hot from the stove, are tossed over top cool baby spinach greens. Savory peppered shiitake mushrooms mingle with tender, pan-wilted baby kale. Roasted butternut squash cubes, all caramelized and sweet, pair with crunchy walnuts and a sprinkling of sweet-tart, perky, dried cranberries. A green fan of luscious lemon-splashed avocado on the side. Maple-Apple dressing over top. Dive into these fall flavors and let salad bliss takeover...

And check out the nutritional info - this bowl is loaded with protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and more..


Easy Maple Walnut PB Cups!

These Easy Maple Walnut Peanut Butter Cups are calling your name...

Don't you dare try and fight that craving for "Halloween candy" this time of year. Embrace it! By making your very own homemade peanut butter cups. Because really, aren't peanut butter cups just about everyone's fave candy anyways?

These precious little gems take only about 20 minutes to make from start to first bite! And they are waaaay healthier than ANYTHING you will find on a store shelf. Just FIVE ingredients and totally to-die-for delicious. Make these and "treat" yourself ;) ..


Walnut Pumpkin Pie. No-Bake.

You guys know I've posted more than a few vegan pumpkin pie recipes over the years. (Some of my favorites in here.. 25 Favorite Pumpkin Recipes.)

So really, did I need another pumpkin pie recipe?

Yes. Oh yes.

Walnut Pumpkin Pie, walnut crust, soy whip swirl on top - tastes as cozy-delicious as it sounds..


Apple Cinnamon Ginger Waffles and more. Vegan Waffle Post.

On a whim, I ordered a Belgian Waffle Maker online. Nothing fancy. Just over thirty bucks. But it does do a cool flippy thing. I've owned table-top waffle makers in the past, but this is my first flippy version, and now I see that that "flip" makes all the difference to help cook up fluffy, air-filled, Belgian-style waffles.

I am obsessed with these vegan Belgian waffles now.

I wonder if they serve vegan-option waffles in Belgian? Because they should!

These past two days I have been playing with my new machine and have three recipes to share with you all. One involving apples (it is amazing!), one that is green and one that is pumpkin-infused. Oh, and because I love you all so much, I'm giving away a waffle maker.

Ahead, recipes, 7 things I've learned about waffles and my (unsponsored) giveaway!


Raspberry Ritual Vitality Smoothie

This frosty red Raspberry Ritual Vitality Smoothie is one tall glass of pure refreshment. With fresh squeezed citrus, a touch of banana and plenty of antioxidant-infused, super food raspberries, this bright pink blend will have you feeling on top of the world. No matter how crazy your day.

Start your day with this blend or enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up. You will love the flavor and feel the glowing, wellness results with every sip. I know I sure did!...


Spooky October Babble Round-Up.

All month long I've been blogging over at Babble.com's Family Kitchen, sharing some spooky-fun vegan recipes for October. How does a Goblin Smoothie, Banana Zombie French Toast and Spooky Pizza Nachos sound? And for your post-trick-or-treating warm-up, grab a steamy mug of my Dark Chocolate Maple Cocoa. Check out all these vegan recipes and more in my October round-up!..


Dole Banana Summit at Disney!

Last week I was thrilled to attend Dole's first ever Banana Summit, held in Anaheim California at Disney's California Adventure Resort.

The "Banana Summit" is pretty much just what it sounds like. An entire event held to celebrate this glorious, wonderful, delicious, versatile, healthy, inexpensive, wonder food: the banana. And since bananas are one of my favorite foods, I was eager to start celebrating.

Banana Inspired. Don't miss my grilled banana Maui Bagels recipe, inspired by the event!

My Banana Summit wrap-up ahead..


Grilled Banana Maui Bagels. Easy.

This Grilled Banana Maui Bagel is an easy-delicious recipe to squeeze into your busy week. If you are like me, you probably usually just use raw banana on top of nut butter toast. But this recipe uses a grilled banana spin with some delicious results.

Maui House. Whip this up and I promise, your whole house will suddenly become thick with tropical aromas. Toasted coconut. Sticky sweet grilled banana. Warm cinnamon. A hint of citrus. Melted cacao. And a fuzzy undertone of toasted bread. Melty-rich nut butter on top. Try this simple idea on your next nut butter toast.

This one is just so deliciously-messy and fun...


Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Pumpkin Cream. Vegan. Omega-3 Boosted!

This is the Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal of my fall breakfast dreams. Why? Because it is all about that creamy pumpkin. The "oats" hide beneath a velvety blanket of golden, spiced, pumpkin cream on top.(You can make this recipe #26!)

This recipe starts with a steamy, hot bowl of stove top simmered steel cut oats. Then I fold in a few gem ingredients like crunchy nuts, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spices, flax seeds, soymilk and a hint of pumpkin puree that melts slowly into the hot mixture. Then over top of this seemingly ordinary bowl of oats, I pour my secret ingredient: silky, sweet, smooth, buttery pumpkin cream.

This is my take on Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal for fall. And it is also my favorite new way to boost my diet with healthy omega-3 fatty acids! Dive into this..


Crispy Tofu Sandwich with Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Spread.

Today I'm sharing a delicious recipe with a few easy ideas to infuse some warm fall flavor into your sandwiches.

Fall Sandwich. Warm golden pumpkin and sweet potato spread coats toasted bread (or a crusty roll) - layered with thickly sliced, crispy tofu and fresh veggie sandwich toppings like sweet onion, juicy red tomato and vibrant mache lettuce. Optional accents of chipotle or sage. Check out my recipe for this Crispy Tofu Sandwich with Sweet Potato Pumpkin Spread...


Salute to Green Smoothies

Happy St Patrick's Day. My perfect green beverage to cheers to with this day? No, not green Guinness. Green smoothies and juice! And today I'm saluting Green Smoothies.

I've always loved smoothies. And now I love them in shades of emerald, spring green, jade, leaf, grass and kelly green. This spring and summer 2012 I predict a building trend is in the works for Green Smoothies. Join in the green celebration and try my green recipes and tips..

Sassy Sweet Green juice (left) - Kiwi Pineapple Mint (right, recipe below)

Sassy Sweet Green Smoothie:

Sassy Sweet Green Whole Food Smoothie
serves 2

1 cup vanilla almond milk (I made my own – recipe here)
1 large seedless orange, peel removed (if not using seedless, remove seeds)
*you could also use 2-3 satsumas or seedless mandarins too
1 cup green grapes
1 large ripe banana
2 cups green kale
1/2 cup coconut water ice cubes (or regular ice cubes)
*coconut water is rich in electrolytes like potassium
dash cayenne (for spiciness)

* for a thinner smoothie, add in more almond milk or a splash of orange juice
* additional greens (more kale, parsley or spinach)
* 1/2 cup additional sweet fruit (kiwi, mango or pear are my faves)
* scoop of spirulina powder (for extra green color and a nutrient boost!)

tip: chill the orange, grapes and banana for a cooler end product smoothie.

Blend and serve.

Note: you will need a high speed blender like a Vitamix to properly blend all these whole foods into creamy bliss. If you are looking to buy a Vitamix, please read my Vitamix review – posted to my blog Healthy Happy Life. And use this Vitamix online store link for free shipping on your purchase – $25-$35 value depending on where you ship.

What is a "green smoothie" you ask? Well it is a smoothie that is green! As opposed to fruit smoothies that may be pink, blue, orange or yellow - green smoothies are green because they contain something green. Most likely a veggie like kale, cucumber, kiwi, parsley or spinach.

Green smoothies are similar to 'green juice' which I describe here. But the difference between a green smoothie and a green juice is simple. Fiber! Bulk. Wholeness. Green smoothies use (and keep) whole foods. They keep in the fiber.

Instead of juicing a bunch of kale into a small cup of dark green juice - you are pureeing the kale into a smooth, creamy beverage - thicker than juice and sometimes as frosty as a traditional fruit smoothie. Your call. Green smoothies can be super chilled, room temperature or mildly frosty. Thick or thin.

Green smoothies can be made with a high speed blender like a Vitamix (more on tools below my recipes.) And since more and more people are buying high speed blenders, I have seen more and more people falling in love with green smoothies.

Green smoothies carry many of the same common myths that green juice carries. First of all, people think that just because the color is green, the smoothie will taste grassy, bitter and undrinkable. Not true! Most green smoothies are in fact slightly sweet tasting because of their blend of fruits and veggies.

Flavor. The secret to a good green juice is getting that perfect blend of fruit and veg. Sweetness with grassiness. A blend of zesty. Sassy. Spicy. Salty. And even sourness. The complexity in green juice flavor can be diverse or simple. Many flavors or just two. Experiment with combos and slowly you will learn the different flavors that show up as you blend in various ingredients.

Some of my favorite green smoothie ingredients include: kale, parsley, oranges, mandarins, pear, grapes, spinach, apple, lemon, lime, wheatgrass juice, mint, kiwi, banana, pineapple, blueberry, strawberry, mango, nut milks (homemade is best!), soy and hemp milks, coconut water, coconut water ice cubes, grapefruit, cucumber ...and on and on and on.

And sidenote, while I sip green smoothies, I think I will be playing with my new toy all rainy weekend long. I LOVE the new ipad 3! The screen looks like a glossy magazine! You can even use my smoothies App on it I have found...

Green Smoothie Recipes. I'm just starting to post more green smoothies, but here are a few I love. What is your favorite green juice recipe? Please share in the comments!

Kiwi pineapple mint (recipe below)..

Kiwi Pineapple Mint Green Smoothie:
serves 1-2
1-2 kiwis, peeled
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1-2 cups kale, stems removed
1/3 cup coconut water ice cubes
1 banana
1/3 cup green grapes
1 cup liquid (you could use either non-dairy milk or citrus juice like orange - or add in whole oranges with a splash of non-dairy milk)

Green Smoothie Tools. I will say that to properly blend some hearty whole food ingredients like kale, apples, oranges and tough veggies - you will need a high speed blender. A $19.99 plastic blender that is fine for blending juice and bananas - will not be able to puree the whole foods properly. Plus the Vitamix 'plunger' helps to mix those bouncy leafy greens into the blend!

Vitamix Smoothies. And I know I sound like a broken record - but a high speed blender like a Vitamix really is the best kitchen appliance investment I have ever made. I adore mine. In fact, my mom stayed at our place for a while to 'housesit' for us and she fell so in love with my Vitamix that she bought one for herself. Actually, she took mine and I upgraded. If you want to buy a Vitamix online, you can use my code for free shipping.

Green Juice Myths
5 Tips to Learn to Love Green Juice (and smoothies!)

So CHEERS to green smoothies!!

And maybe pair your smoothie with this Vegan Shamrock Breakfast Sandwich..

Kiwi Pineapple Mint and a kitty:

Mardi Gras Smoothie:

One more look at that pretty ipad. FindingVegan.com on my IPAD!..


Cheezy Loaded Potato Broccoli Soup: Healthy Makeover Recipe

This Cheezy Loaded Potato Broccoli Soup is a wellness-inspired bowl to feel good about. Normally a 'loaded potato soup' is super rich and calorie-laden. But this flavorful spin is light and energizing - creamy and cozy - with bold pops of cheezy flavor - bright colors.

Broccoli. Potato. Vegan Cheese. Peppery spices + sassy, smoky toppings.

This "Healthy (Delicious) Makeover" recipe is one of many that you will see popping up on my blog as we sink into the (oh so deliciously indulgent) holiday food season.

Two parts to this post: 1 - the recipe. 2 - my fall wellness mission (And I hope you will join me!)..


Vegan Philly Cheese Sandwich.

Bold red bell peppers sizzle in a hot skillet with thinly sliced sweet onions, chilies, black pepper and spices. Toss in some vegan seitan strips and melt in some savory vegan cheddar cheese. Toast a fluffy, fresh hoagie roll and pile in the Philly Cheese filling. Accents of fresh green cilantro on top, a few juicy tomato slices too. Your Vegan philly Cheese Sandwich is served. Crave this..


Attune Healthy Holidays Recipe Contest + a Cocoa Bar Recipe!

I'm super excited to be participating as a judge in the Attune Foods Healthy Holidays Recipe Contest. I will be judging the "vegan" category of the contest and announcing the winner via video.

Nutty Double Chocolate Rice Crispy Bars. And in celebration of the contest, I whipped up my own Attune Foods recipe using the Erewhon Cocoa Brown Rice Cereal. These bars are super chocolate-y and delicious. Get my recipe and all the details about the recipe contest including the prizes, categories and other judges..