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HAVE A HEART: Artichoke 101

3 Nov

How to pick and prepare an artichoke perfectly EVERY time.

But first, did you know…

…that artichokes are extremely high in nutrients and very low in calories?  (A medium choke has roughly 60 calories and is jam-packed with magnesium, potassium, vitamin C,  iron, and fiber)  Did you know that artichokes are also good for liver health and can help to soothe digestion??? Artichokes are normally in their peak from March-June, but sometimes you can find decent ones when it’s not prime time. Eat up!

How to pick em:

Even Green.

Tight Leaves.

Firm and Heavy.

If you squeeze the choke and it squeaks, that’s a good sign as well.

I also think that one of the most important thing when buying artichokes is finding ones with thick stems. Sometimes the stems even taste really good, so throw them in the pot with your chokes and give them a shot. 

Remember this little mantra next time you are on a choke hunt:

The bigger the stem, the bigger the heart

The bigger the heart, the meatier each part

Preparation:

Chop of the stems as close to the bottom of the choke as you can, then cut about 1.5-2″ off the top of the choke. Trim the leaves and top of choke.

Rinse the artichoke well

Place your steaming basket inside a large pot with about ½ inch of HOT water covering the bottom. Place artichokes leaves down(stem-side up) into the basket and cook covered on medium high heat for 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat, take the lid off the pot, and let the chokes sit for 5-10 minutes (still upside-down) in the steamer basket…this allows all excess water o drain

Stab them with a fork, put them on a plate, and enjoy with butter!!

30-DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE: Week Four

19 Oct

Well, I made it.  Sorry for not blogging last week…I have been SO BUSY with my new job 🙂 It’s vegan week 4,  and right now I see no reason to stop.  I haven’t counted calories in a month which has been AMAZING, and I feel generally lighter, happier, and healthier. Getting brunch this past Sunday in Fort Collins was a total pain, but that aside it has been pretty easy being a vegan in Denver, Colorado.

Breakfast Fun:

Vegan Potato, Green Chilli, and Black Bean Burritos

Lunch:

Same ole story…LEFTOVERS!

Dinners:

Vegan Quiche with Lemony Cucumber, Almond, and Arugula Salad

Barbecue Seitan, Broccoli and Bok Choy with Quinoa and Artichoke

Spinach Linguine with Zucchini, Portabellos, and Tomatoes in Edamame Pesto

Vegan Pizza: vegan cheese (Daiya), sautéed mushrooms and sweet onion, organic tomato sauce, and homemade olive and kale tapenade

Noteworthy Sweet Treats:

hehe, that’s right….animal crackers…nomnom

30-DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE: Week Three

6 Oct

The third week has come to an end and I feel even better than last week. I feel lighter (lost 5lbs) and definitely have more energy. I feel healthy, I really do. One negative-i feel like i’m running out of recipes and ideas. This week I experimented with tempeh…it came out really good. This coming week I’m going to give seitan a shot. I’ll keep you all posted!!

The books that have been inspiring me:

This is what my fridge looks like after a weekend of grocery shopping vegan-style 😉

Breakfast this week:

English muffin and peanut butter, oatmeal with almonds and raisins, english muffin and avocado with tomato

Lunches:

Leftovers!!! My favorite lunch was a wrap I made with my leftover buffalo tempeh, spring mix, avocado, YUM!

Dinners: See the best from the week below…

Vegan Pad Thai with Toasted Peanuts

Buffalo Tempeh ‘Wings’ with Steamed Asparagus

Mushroom Tibs with Steamed Broccoli and Wild Rice

I have been super busy at work so I will post the recipes this weekend!! If you want them beforehand just send me a message 🙂 Enjoy!

30-DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE: Week Two

29 Sep

Weekend one was a little rough, but I made it! Watching people eat pizza was slightly agonizing, but now that I am back into the weekday routine, vegan eating has been a breeze! It’s mid-week and I’m feeling energized, healthy, and really positive. I have also been cooking a TON which has helped keep my meals fun and interesting- I think that may just be the key to long-term vegan eating.

If you havent heard of her already, Isa Chandra Moskowitz is an amazing author and vegan cook. Several of the dishes below are tweaked versions of recipes from her book,  Appetite for Reduction. So far I am very pleased with everything I have cooked from this book- it’s a total winner!

Breakfasts:

Van’s vegan waffles, raspberries, agave

  • Ezekiel english muffins with tofutti and heirloom tomatoes
  • Oatmeal with stevia, almonds, and raisins

Lunch:

  • 89% Leftovers!
  • I also have had a few salad-like roll ups with vegan Boca burger in a tortilla

Dinners:

Lentil and Eggplant Red Mole Chilli with Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread

Cauliflower ‘Ricotta’ and Spinach Lasagna

Deconstructed Veggie Sushi Bowl with Poki Sauce

Olive, Zucchini, and Mushroom Soft Tacos with Guacamole

Recipes to follow!! 🙂

30-DAY VEGAN CHALLENGE: Week One

21 Sep

I decided to embark on a vegan adventure this month because I wanted to know how I would feel with all animal protein eliminated from my diet. Seeing the movie Forks over Knives originally ignited my interest in a plant-based diet, and I was intrigued by the theory that food and diet can help reverse disease.  So cheers to a month of healthier eating, Ill keep you posted each week! 

Typical Breakfast:

Oatmeal, Stevia, Almonds and Raisins OR

Ezekiel Sprouted Grain English Muffin with Tofutti, Basil, and Tomato

Lunch:

My mid-day meal has been primarily leftovers from dinner the night before. I have also been snacking on apples, berries, nuts, hummus, carrots, and arugula with balsamic mmm

I also made a quick chickpea, tomato, basil, red onion and balsamic salad for a hearty snack

Highlighted Dinners:

Night One: Soy and Balsamic Marinated Portabellos with spicy stewed tomatoes tossed with brown rice pasta

Night Two: Hearty Vegetable Soup with Garlic Flatbreads and Lemony Arugula

Night Three: Spaghetti Squash, Vegan Sausage, chickpeas, stewed tomatoes

To keep me  feeling refreshed and pampered: Chilled Lemon Mint Water

How do I feel? Very positive  about this experience, and I  haven’t craved cheese yet.  I also seem to have a bit more energy 🙂

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