Nutrition Institute Tour for DOLE Fresh Fest! 9 Wellness Lessons + Scientist Q&A + VIDEO.

disclosure: DOLE paid for my travel and accommodations, but all opinions are my own. I was not paid to write this review, but I am a DOLE ambassador for 2015.

What an amazing and inspiring fruit-and-veggie wellness-filled trip I had a few weeks ago, as I travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina for DOLE Fresh Fest.

A small group of bloggers and dietitians were invited to tour DOLE'S world renowned research campus, the DOLE Nutrition Institute, aka DNI. I have been a fan of the DNI for years, subscribing to their newsletter and following the studies they publish and wellness tips they release. So to be able to walk the grounds, see how passionate they are about plants for human health - they even have an entire building called just that - it was truly a treat.

Basically guys, this post is jam-packed with nutrition chatter. So bookmark it or email it to yourself for a time when you need some nutrition motivation and a good wellness read. 

Check out my 9 Wellness Lessons from my trip, as well as my exclusive Q&A with DOLE Scientist Nicholas Gillitt PhD. You DO NOT want to miss what he has to say on bromelain in pineapples, digesting starches and proteins together, raw vs. cooked plants, plant-based diets and even green tea!

Plus my video of the trip!

Whew!! (I told you this post is jam-packed!)..


Vegan Pumpkin Loaf. Medjool Date-Sweetened.

Pumpkin Loaf Day is here! No no, PLD is not an official hashtagged food holiday. It is simply my own 'first-pumpkin-loaf-of-the-season-celebration.' Won't you join me and celebrate baked pumpkin goodness on this #PLD? soon trending on twitter, I am sure

I like to make and post a different pumpkin loaf every year. See links to my other pumpkin loaves and muffins ahead. And this year's recipe is quite the winner because it is free of refined sugar and sweetened with whole, caramel textured Medjool dates. It is also gluten free and of course animal-product free, aka vegan. Super simple, super moist and blissfully cozy with flavors of fall pumpkin spice in every bite. This recipe is perfect at breakfast time since a small slice contains close to 6g fiber. It is also very rich in vitamin A, potassium and is a good source of protein and iron.

Plus, check out how is stacks up against Starbucks's famous pumpkin loaf in my pumpkin loaf nutrition comparison.

Happy fall to you and your pumpkin loaf mornings...


Easy Cheezy-Tahini Skillet Kale, in 5-Minutes!

I am obsessed with this recipe. I whipped it up at lunchtime and have been thinking about sharing it with you guys ever since. This recipe is so simple and uses *frozen* kale as an option for preparing it. I really love the convenience and high nutrient value of frozen veggies like broccoli and kale. (Nutritionally speaking, frozen veggies are similar to -- and sometimes better than -- fresh ones. - source) The best part, besides the OMG-delicious flavor, is that this Cheezy-Tahini Skillet Kale can be prepared in just about five minutes. Boom. Done. Healthy greens on your plate...


105 Plant-Based After School Snack Recipes!

I asked around to my food blogger friends via my Finding Vegan blogger's group on Facebook: Give me your best vegan after school snack recipes! And here are the amazing collection of (105!) recipes they shared.

Some savory, some sweet, some grab-n-go, some fresh from a sizzling skillet. We have smoothies and energy balls, puddings and toasts. Chips and popcorn and even a few chocolate-covered treats in here too. Bookmark this page and have amazing plant-based snacks all school season long!..


Cheezy Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This is a one potato meal that you need to make! These are amazing. I hope you try my Cheezy Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with a black eyed pea-tahini mash, and tahini-maple drizzle on top. Salsa optional. Get the vegan recipe..


The Yummiest Thing You Can Do with a Medjool Date. Recipe + video how to.

Medjool dates are pretty rad. I can tell you this with some serious street cred. I mean, just two days ago I was hanging from a date palm in Yuma, Arizona, shaking plump, juicy, caramelly Natural Delights Medjool dates from their tall, gorgeous trees. I tasted, inspected, gawked at and swooned over this unique, amazing fresh fruit for three days at a blogger summit. But more on that in an upcoming blogpost. Today, my treat-seeking friends. Today, we make the absolute yummiest thing you can do with a Medjool date. Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Stuffed Medjool Dates. Lets go..


Skillet Apple Turnover Triangles: Fall Snack!

Fall apple recipe! Last weekend, I whipped up these whole wheat, vegan, Apple Butter Cashew Cheese-Stuffed Apple Turnover Triangles, made in a skillet using whole wheat tortillas and yummy fillings.

Using sweet fall apple slices and homemade cashew cheese, these tasty bites which started out as fancy quesadillas, tasted exactly like flaky apple turnovers.

They were the perfect snack as I watched the US Open tennis finals last Sunday with my husband. I also made a creamy cinnamon-citrus dipping sauce using vegan coconut yogurt. (Which btw, I used to not like coconut yogurt, but really love it now! There is even a new 'Greek Style' Coconut Yogurt which I am excited to try. Hooray for new vegan products, ice cream and yogurt and of course Mac and Cheese.

Anytime Food. These tasty bites are lovely as breakfast, an after-school snack or an anytime nibble. Midnight snack approved. Back-to-school season perfection. You can even pop them in the fridge to store and eat them all day long. Delicious chilled or warmed. Plus with this recipe, you will have a bit of leftover apple butter cashew cheese for dipping and spreading.

Fast + Easy. And the best part about this recipe is that you can make it in minutes..


8 Reasons to Watch Cowspiracy - Now on Netflix!

Cowspiracy: Documentary to Watch. I ran across this headline a few weeks ago: "Leonardo DiCaprio Takes on the Animal Ag Industry! Helps Bring ‘Cowspiracy’ to Netflix"

Cowspiracy? OK, maybe I need to see this one. And here are eight reasons why you will want to too. Reason #1 - it is streaming on Netflix - right now!..


Entree Salad Bowl: Mango-Avocado Brown Rice Gardein Crispy Tenders

This yummy salad is built to please! Every satisfying forkful is packed with healthy ingredients and loaded with flavor. And yes it is totally vegan. Check out the recipe for my Mango-Avocado Crispy Tenders Salad! Plus, enter a giveaway to win one of my favorite salad bowls..


Fudgy Brownies. Vegan + GF.

Simple Fudgy Brownies. This vegan recipe is delicious, gluten free and perfect for satisfying a chocolate craving. Get the recipe and enjoy some chocolate fudge bliss today..


101 Things I Love. Happiness Reflection.

things i love - kathy patalsky
Since it the Tuesday back after a holiday weekend, I am trying to continue to embrace that cozy, calm 'long weekend' feeling by doing some self-reflection writing today. And I am sharing it here in hopes that you will join in.

Today's Inspiration: I recently stumbled upon a video by Kyle Cease, re-posted by my friend Sophie. It is called: "Why People's Opinions of You Are Not Real."

While watching, there was one particular quote that stood out to me: "You are what you love and not what loves you."

So today, I sat down to reflect on what I love...


New Vegan Mac & Cheese from Annie's

This is a sponsored post. But all opinions are my own.

Attention bunnies, Annie's Homegrown has gone vegan! Well, sort've.

Vegan Mac & Cheese. I was so excited when I heard that one of my favorite brands, Annie's, was coming out with a boxed vegan Mac & Cheese product. The two new products are Organic Vegan Shells & Creamy Sauce and Organic Gluten Free Vegan Elbows & Creamy Sauce.

Learn more about these yummy products and get my two meal-approved recipe ideas to make your vegan Mac a& Cheese night extra special. And extra delicious. Plus enter a giveaway to WIN Mac & Cheese!..


3-Ingredient Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing

Three Ingredient Honey Mustard Dress and Sauce - vegan and super delicious!
I have always loved Honey Mustard Dressing. That sassy, sweet, bite of flavor, sometimes coupled with a spicy kick. So today I give you a super simple vegan version, my Three Ingredient No-Honey Mustard Dressing! It has bold flavor that will transform your salad greens, raw veggies, skillet veggies, legumes and more in a flash! And is whisks together in seconds with a simple fork...


Green Dream Smoothie Bowl.

A shiny sunrise danced its way into my kitchen, and the morning felt clean and untouched as it always does at 8am. With kittens stretching at my feet, ideas and plans for the work day buzzing through my head, my body in need of fuel, it was the perfect time to blend a yummy smoothie.

Cut to a few minutes later. Me. Standing in my kitchen, chugging the last few drops of my Green Dream Smoothie, straight from my Vitamix container. I could not get enough of the vibrant spirulina, smoky mesquite, protein-rich hemp, fiber-ful chia seeds, butterscotch-y maca and alluring sweet vanilla - laced in between creamy banana flavor.

This is how I always want to fuel my day. Hungry for wellness-infused ingredients, chugging my smoothie - and life - until the last drop. Craving every sip, craving every day.

..Oh why yes, smoothies = metaphors for life.

So put a Green Dream boost in your step, with today's recipe!..


Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies

I am sharing my favorite Mint Chocolate Chip Oat Nut Cookies for you today. This recipe is inspired by an old family recipe..