Roasted Veggie Paella

If the Farmers Market is in your plans for the weekend, pick up plenty of colorful veggies and try this new favorite recipe. Healthy comfort food.

ROASTED VEGGIE PAELLA
serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

3-5 cups (or more) of fresh vegetables (eg. onion, red bell pepper, sweet potato, green beans, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 oz (1 package) seitan, tempe or other vegan protein
3 large green olives
1 cup brown rice (short grain works best)
1 32-oz box of vegetable broth
1 splash of white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

IMG_4121Chop raw vegetables and roast them. (This chart gives optimal roasting times and temperatures.)

Meanwhile, sauté garlic in the olive oil. As it begins to soften but before it browns, add setian or other protein and allow to brown. Stir in uncooked rice until the grains to become coated with oil. Cook for a few minutes. Add a splash of white wine and stir until mostly evaporated.

Pour in about half of the vegetable broth. Stir in salt and pepper. Allow to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed by the rice (15-30 minutes). Stir in the grilled vegetables, careful not to disturb the bottom layer of rice.

Add more liquid (broth or water) ½ cup at a time as needed until rice is soft, but still al dente. Continue simmering until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir to combine veggies and rice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

TIPS

I used green olives stuffed with jalapeno that gave the dish a nice bit of extra flavor. Plain olives or those stuffed with pimento will add great flavor too.

The sky is the limit as far as vegetable combinations. The onion gives nice flavor and the red bell pepper gives great color. The sweet potato makes the paella a bit heartier.

Download a PDF of this recipe.

Recipe adapted from One Green Planet

19 Smart and Healthy Snacks

Making smart choices when it comes to snacking is a common problem area for most of us. Whether we’re satisfying our own hunger pangs or feeding kids, unhealthy snacks have become far too plentiful and convenient. Clients often ask for suggestions so I thought I’d share some here.

Interested in more input on snacking, easy plant-based meals, eating light when eating out, or a well stocked pantry? Try a Kitchen Consultation which is customized for your lifestyle and your family. Available in person in the Phoenix area or via Skype elsewhere.

19 SMART SNACKS

Frozen fruit – my favorites are pitted cherries, mango, pineapples and berry mixtures. Buy organic when possible (especially the berries). Frozen fruit is a great substitute for dessert, too.

Homemade protein bars or healthy muffins – Make a batch and you’ll have on-the-go snacks for days. You can always freeze what doesn’t get eaten the first week.

pineapple-73765_640Hard-boiled eggs – with salt and cracked pepper, of course. Not plant-based but a great choice for those who eat eggs.

Hummus and vegetables – When time is an issue, buy baby carrots, pre-sliced celery, peppers, and jicama. Go ahead and keep these on hand at all times.

Dried fruit – apricots, cherries, apples, blueberries. A little goes a long way, so it’s smart to combine them with some plain yogurt or maybe a small serving of low/no sugar cereal like Shredded Wheat.

Healthy trail mix – The bulk section is a good source (or homemade). Avoid mixes loaded with salt, yogurt covered anything, or chocolate. When you find a good one, dole out two handfuls into small bags so it’s easier to keep portions under control.

Nuts! Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds – roasted or raw, salted or not (take your own health into account). Fat and calories are high, so remember to keep portions reasonable.

Fruit – There is simply no better snack than a fresh, crisp apple. Bananas also rock, and they are cheap. Pears, oranges, grapes, papaya, cherries, berries, kiwi…

Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around just about anything – hummus, sliced tomato and/or avocado, a little peanut butter, leftover chili, last night’s veggies…

Plain yogurt with a few tablespoons of natural jam and/or low sugar cereal. (soy, coconut or almond yogurts are good options for plant-based eaters)blueberries-531209_640

Leftover salad — Not everyone is a fan, but personally, I am sure to make extra every night so that I can enjoy some mid-morning. Almost every day…

Granola bars – Remember not all are created equal.  Here are some good choices.

Popcorn – Whether you buy it packaged or make it yourself, go easy on the oil and skip the butter.

Melba toast  – whole grain types with hummus and sliced pickles or cucumber

Rice Cake (no sugar variety) with nut butter – very satisfying. Soy crisps are another great option.

Cherry tomatoes – Alone or with a small dollop of pesto sauce.

Oatmeal – I’m no proponent of the fast microwavable brands, but when I make stovetop oatmeal, I make more than I need and heat up the extra with just a little rice milk. Add dried fruit and a little balsamic vinegar for a taste bud explosion.

Edamame – It’s now so easy to find this versatile bean in convenient packaging.

Dark chocolate – with a few nuts – heaven!

Healthy Holiday Rice Crispy Treats

Brown Rice Crispy Treat

In case you’ve given up traditional Rice Crispy treats because their loaded with sugar and butter, here’s a great alternative that you can feel okay about serving to your kids and enjoying a few yourself.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy no-salt-added almond butter or peanut better

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp sea salt (You may want to leave this out if using salted nut butter.)

4 1/2 cups brown rice crisps cereal (I found these in the bulk section of Sprouts. Any well-stocked health food store should have them. If not, regular rice crispies will have to do!)

Preparation:

Line an 8″ x 8″ dish with parchment paper or lightly coat it with coconut oil.

In a large pot, combine agave nectar, coconut oil, almond or peanut butter and salt. Stir over low heat until well combined.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Add brown rice crisps and stir until well combined.

Fill the prepared pan with the mixture. Use a spatula or your hands to press down until you have a flat and even layer.

Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the treats have set. Then cut into 12 even squares, or use holiday cookie cutters to create fun shapes.

Download a PDF of the recipe here.

Robust Miso Dressing

I’ve been experimenting with miso off and on lately. If you’re not exactly sure what it is, as I wasn’t, miso consists of fermented soybeans. Popular in Chinese food (think miso soup) its salty, tangy flavor adapts well to all kinds of recipes.

The dressing has a robust flavor with an extra kick from the garlic and Sriracha, but it’s not overpowering nor spicy. If you’re not a garlic lover, it still tastes great without it.

The bold taste works really well in a grain salad or any bowl you can dream up. (More ideas for these meals here.) Make up a batch, and I’m sure you can find quite a few uses for it.

MISO DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon yellow miso (available in a tub or tube in the refrigerated section)
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

Combine ingredients, and whisk mixture into a smooth creamy texture.

 

Download recipe here.

Recipe from the blog Domesticate Me.

Pantry Staples – Granola Bars

Continuing to take a closer look at pantry staples, I’m tackling a tough one here, snack bars.

Whether you’re packing them in the kids’ lunch boxes, using them as a meal replacement, or a convenient snack, it’s tough to find truly healthy options. In today’s fast fix food culture, we tend to think of granola bars as healthy – after all, they have GRANOLA in them. But many also contain lots of added sugar, are high in fat and calories and can be low on actual nutrition.

Again, I’ve used the app Fooducate and my family’s taste buds to help me sort the good from the not so good.

GOOD CHOICES (These bars earn a B+)
On average these bars contain whole grains, a good dose of fiber, and are lower in sugar than many of their competitors. Please note, bars by the same maker don’t always score as well as the specific flavor listed here.

  • Kashi Crunch Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice FlaxKashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy Granola Bar
  • Cascadian Farms Organic Crunchy Oats and Cocoa Granola Bars
  • KIND Fruit + Nut Bar, Antioxidants, Cranberry and Almond [most KIND bars rate C/B]
  • KIND Strong, Honey Mustard Almond Protein Bar [most KIND Strong earn a B+]
  • The Simply Bar, Cinnamon Pecan Protein Bar [natural source of iron]
  • Trader Joes’ Crunchy Peanut Granola Bars
  • LaraBar Cashew Cookie Bar
  • Clif Kid Z Bar, Variety Pack

NOT-SO-GOOD CHOICES (scoring Cs and Ds)

  • Luna Bars in general get called out for being highly processed.
  • PowerBar Protein Bars contain lots of sugar, fat, and the added protein is highly processed.
  • Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Protein Bar score D+ due to trans fats, sugar and BHT preservative.
  • Fiber One Protein Bar, Caramel Nut get a C- for sugar content, processed, and additives.

feel good granola barsWhen time permits and your pantry is well stocked, making your own snack bars is a great option. Try my new favorite recipe, Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars, from the blog Oh She Glows.