Plant-Based Diet Made Easy! with Micaela Cook Karlsen’s Book

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If you follow my blogging rambles, you probably know we are mostly vegetarian (my son and I) – and I say mostly because we still eat some dairy (yogurt, cheese) and the occasional chicken as well as fish and seafood. However, we do embrace the plant base life as much as we can. Our diet is 75% plant-based at the moment, and it consists of much more than only salads.

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Spinach and Puffed Quinoa on Toast, and Jasmine Tea❤

Last week my son traveled to L.A with my parents, so I decided, since I was child-free and living the crazy life (right?) to do a whole 100% plant based week diet last week. That meant no dairy! I equipped myself with a variety of vegetables, cereals, and legumes and I started my plant-based week.

Why? well, I was inspired by the book “A Plant-Based Life” by Micaela Cook Karlsen, which I received a few weeks ago and which is now on sale for you to grab. The book, unlike many others, offers way more than just recipes. It offers a comprehensive and detailed list of things to consider when going plant-based.

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Micaela, a doctoral candidate in nutritional epidemiology has crafted a book easy enough to understand so all you need is the will and the desire to learn more about the plant-based diet.

“Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to give up meat and chicken totally,” she says ” but if you make fruits and vegetables the main part of the meal and use meat to support the many, you’ll be well on your way to switching to a mare plant-based diet”

Micaela recommends you start by finding your motivating force, what is it that motivates you about a plant-based diet? some people have personal goals such a healthier lifestyle, others have environmental and ethical goals such as to end animal cruelty. So whatever your reason is embrace it! Micaela then guides you through the process of adding little by little more and more plant-like elements to your daily eating habits. Then she provides a nice long list of recipes and food variations for you to try.

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“When you build your meals primarily with plant foods, you fill your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats and a host of needed chemicals and nutrients that most people simply don’t get enough of,” Karlsen says.

I loved the amount of information in the book because it helps me understand the nutrients I get from food, and it also gives me ammunition against anyone who comes along with the eternal question “But, where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat” – Oh the joys!

My plant based week included:

Drinks: coconut milk for my tea, green tea, jasmine tea and lots of water.

Meals: eggplant parmigiana, beef-less beef (tofu based) sauce and veggie pasta, spinach and quinoa on toast, salads, carrot and coconut soup, cauliflower au gratin*, potato-leek soup*, homemade rice cakes, oatmeal, veggie bowl (from Chipotle) and vegetable sushi (from HEB)

Snacks: fresh fruit, nuts, bliss balls (dates, pistachios, dried cranberries and quinoa)

* recipe in the book. 

I loved my plant-based week! and I am looking forward to continuing to develop the healthy eating habits needed to sustain a long term diet change. If you want to start and don’t know how I strongly recommend “A Plant-Based Life”. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. With some organization it is possible!

TIP: if you run a busy life and don’t have much time to cook through the week, consider prepping all your food on a Sunday. It makes life much easier.

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Environmental facts to consider:

Meat, fish and dairy products have the heaviest environmental footprint of all food groups due to their effect on greenhouse gas emissions, water, and land use. Avoiding them or reducing their intake significantly makes a sustainable future possible for the whole world.


A free copy of this book was provided for reviewing purposes . Opinions are my own 

Consult your doctor before you make a significant diet change in your life. 

Homemade Hope: Warm Meals & Smiles PLUS Cooking with Luby’s Restaurant.

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Last week I was invited to an event with Homemade Hope, and I immediately jumped on the wagon when I knew what they do.

Homemade Hope, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, is an organization focused on the culinary arts, which is something I am passionate about. Teach your children about the joys and benefits of healthy home cooking from an early age. But, Homemade Hope is more than that. They bring a taste of home to homeless and at-risk children living in Houston’s shelters and transitional living centers—fostering creativity, developing life skills, and nurturing every child’s belief that life has hope.

In partnership with local transitional shelters, Homemade Hope harnesses the sensory power of the kitchen to create a loving and supportive environment where children build self-esteem, develop traditions, and experience the simple pleasures of childhood.  Using food as a canvas for expression, Homemade Hope creates a space for connection while educating them about nutrition and empowering them with skills they can use outside of class.

Their programs include weekly sessions, cooking classes, tutoring, holiday celebrations, trips and educational advocacy. For detailed info about their programs visit: http://www.homemadehope.org/programs

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In this occasion, Homemade Hope partnered with Luby’s restaurants for a fantastic behind the scenes tour of the place. My 10-year-old son learned all about what it really is to be in a restaurant kitchen, and how hard chefs work to provide delicious meals.

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Kids also got to make their own combination of Mac & Cheese and spend some time with Luby’s chefs.

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I can’t express how important I think getting children in the kitchen is. Our next generation needs to understand where food comes from and need to have the tools and the knowledge to make informed decisions about the food they eat. It is our duty as parents to provide them with a healthy path. Let’s not leave it all to the schools. (and don’t get me started on school meals)

Also, it is important our kids learn and understand that so many other children are not as privileged as them. Many children out there are homeless or living in shelters. The circumstances they are in are not their fault, and they shouldn’t be stigmatized for it.

Get your children involved with their community, and teach the power of helping others. Compassion is not a weakness is a strength. 

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Big thanks to Luby’s restaurant in Post Oak, Houston for having us and for my blogger friend Lisa Carey for inviting me to be part of this fantastic cause. If you want to help either by becoming a volunteer for Homemade Hope or by donating please contact them here http://www.homemadehope.org/get-involved-c19nb

Wordless Wednesday

OnixJ.com

 

Just a sweet little recap about the Houston Fajita Festival! I wished it hadn’t been raining all day because the rain kept us inside for the most part of Saturday. However at around 4pm we decided to head out to the Festival! We enjoyed a short visit filled with Fajitas, Spiked Lemonade, and friends! Big Thanks to Houston Latina Bloggers, Houston Fajita Festival, and Grandmas Lemonade!

Parking was easy which is a blessing in Houston. The festival had lots of eating options with food trucks insight, and a special buffet for VIP members. Nom, nom!!

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Houston Fajita Festival June 4th + GIVEAWAY Tickets

OnixJ.com

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Houston Latina Bloggers

Fajita Festival Brings Food, Fun, Entertainment to Humble on June 4

HUMBLE, Texas — The much-anticipated Fajita Festival is coming to the Humble Civic Center on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Featuring live music, top-notch entertainment, exciting contests and, of course, mouth-watering fajita tacos, the Fajita Festival is shaping up to be the can’t miss event to kick off the summer of 2016.

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Picture credits Houston Fajita Festival

 

A celebration of Mexican culture presented by Modelo Especial and Grandma’s Boys Lemonade, the Fajita Festival features live entertainment from Salsa, Blues and Rock bands, live DJs, Baile Folklorico, as well as a jalapeño eating contest and midget wrestling.

Of course, the main attraction of the Fajita Festival is all of the delicious food that will be available to the up to 5,000 attendees. The Festival will feature food from the best home cookers, restaurants, food trucks and grill masters as well as sizzling fajitas from a variety of vendors. There will also be a Beer and Spirits Garden where a mixologist from Grandma’s Boys Lemonade will create refreshing spiked lemonade, margaritas, and micheladas.

Festival attendees will also be able to enjoy the finest tequilas and rums as well as many thirst-quenching beer options.

Over 60 local, regional and national companies will be participating at the Fajita Festival, including Bullritos, Nova Mex, Telemundo Houston, and ESPN Deportes. Sunny 99.1 FM morning host Dana Tyson will be hosting lunch with radio contest winners in the VIP Lounge from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ESPN Deportes radio personalities will be hosting a fajita dinner with radio contest winners in the VIP Lounge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets for the Fajita Festival are on sale now and are available at www.thefajitafest.com Tickets are $10 for general admission, $60 for VIP access. Children 4 and under can attend for free while tickets for children ages 5-12 are $5. Parking is free.

Houston Latina Bloggers  and OnixJ (yours truly) will be there! and we are giving away a Family Pack (4) tickets to the Fajita Festival! Giveaway entries open for UNTIL June 2 ONLY! TWO days to enter! Winners will be contacted directly and we can arrange a pick-up delivery option that suits you and reaches you just in time for the event.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

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The Fajita Festival benefits La Rosa Family Services, which assists victims of domestic violence with housing, job placement, and social services.


About Grandma’s Boys Enterprise

Grandma’s Boys Enterprise and partner Stack Marketing Group are producing the Fajita Festival. Grandma’s Boys Enterprise also produces Arts & Drafts Houston (ArtsandDraftsHOU.com) and the International Bacon Fest.

Drew@GrandmasBoys.com

Summer Series: Pool Snacks

Watermelon!

Summer is here! With its hot long days and kids filled with bouncing energy. What a better day to spend a summer day but by the swimming pool. Not only is a very good activity for both little ones and adults alike but it provides a chance to soak in those precious sun rays (always wear sun screen tho) and to have some easy and refreshing food.

We like to keep it simple and fresh at the pool with things like Lemonade, Limeade, Pineapple juice or simply with water. My son doesn’t particularly like plain water so I “spicy up” for him adding lemon wedges, fresh cut strawberries and mint. We do indulge in some salted chips (I try to use the baked variety) or chips and pico de gallo for a crunchy and tasty snack. Fresh fruit such as pineapple chunks or watermelon are perfect to the pool side too! Freeze seedless grapes for a healthy alternative to popsicles, or make your own popsicles at home without the added sugar and nasty additives.

Let me share some simple ideas!

Summer drinks. 

Summer Fruity Snacks

Homemade Ice-creams and popsicles

Summer food is easy and uncomplicated. Keep it fresh, full of color and just play with it!

Make Vegetable pizzas on the grill using a Pizza Stone (see bellow) or re-vamp a classic grilled cheese sandwich by filling it with fresh cherry tomatoes and avocado! yum!

Any questions or ideas? Use the comments area and ill be happy to answer!

Xoxo

OnixJ

Summer Series: Delicious Avocado Lime Pesto

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Oh Summer! finally here… time for freshness, swimming, sun bathing and fun! also time for the kids to be off school (oh dear!) So ill be working on a few family friendly recipes for summer days starting with this one.

I love avocado, but some people consider it too bland. Regardless we have discussed before why Avocado is the King of vegetables. If you are one of those not convinced yet I think you should give this recipe a try before you quit on avocado.

Avocado Lime and Coriander Pesto sauce for your pasta. You can use whole grain pasta or for an extra kick of vegetables I recommend a Vegetable based pasta. Yes veggie pasta! vegetables in disguised for those who aren’t too fond of them. We absolutely love vegetables so no need to disguised but its nice to have a healthy pasta alternative.

Recipe for two portions. You need:

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1 medium avocado (room temperature so that your sauce isn’t too cold)

1 handful of cilantro (and a few extra why not! be generous)

1/4 of an onion

2 table spoons of virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of water

salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 small tomato

2 limes (juiced)

You simply add everything on a high speed blender or food processor and mix until a smooth paste. And thats it! sauce is done, no cooking required.

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Make your pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Mix with sauce. Serve with an extra portion of tomatoes and cilantro on top if desired. Super fresh, easy, creamy and healthy way to enjoy pasta this summer.

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Gardein Beefless Ground “Meat”

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*Disclaimer: This is not an sponsor post, opinions are my own* 

Oh joy! I recently came across Gardein. According to their site they Gardein’s ” food tastes good, is good for you, and is good for the planet. Why is gardein (garden + protein = gardein) so good? Because Yves, our founder, made it that way!  A delicious, convenient, and versatile protein option for everyone. 

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I have tried many other “fake” meats and they don’t deliver. Texture is never right and flavour is just off so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried Gardein’s Beetles Ground. The texture is just right neither too soft nor too hard and it absorbs the flavors of the sauce, leaving you with a fantastic, taste and meat free Spaghetti Bolognese. I haven’t tried any of their other products but I am definitely making this one a staple in my kitchen.

I made a basic tomato sauce, if you are in a hurry you can either make your own and freeze to use later or buy a ready made one. There are some excellent organic options out there that taste great and will get you out of trouble if you are in a hurry. After my sauce was made, I added Gardein’s Beefless Ground, not before. Usually if cooking real meat I would cook the meat in a shallow frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and garlic, so my first thought was to cook the Beetles Ground the same way, but as per instructions say you should cook in the sauce for better results.

IMG_1153After I added the Beefless Ground I took less than 10 mins for the sauce to be ready. It looked just like regular beef and the flavour was awesome. Not as meaty (well cos its made of soy) but not as veggie as other ones I have tried, which is great because it means I can fool my meat eaters lol (my dad and my boyfriend would never eat a soy based “meat” they are true carnivores) which is good but then Im presented with another problem… my extremely “NO BEEF” veggie kid (my son) won’t eat anything that resembles beef lol! I am going to have him read the bag before hand.

Either way it is worth a try for both meat and non meat lovers. Easy dinner done!

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Spinach & Pesto Quiche

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Wait, what? It is February already? time is flying! and I haven’t been so good keeping up with my writing. My bad.

I have however cooked some super yummy vegetarian friendly dishes lately so I promise I will do my best to keep up and share share share!

Last weekend I made a Spinach and Pesto Quiche, so delicious. I had never made quiche before and I know, I know its egg based but we haven’t given up eggs yet.

IMG_1270Spinach and Pesto Quiche is super easy to make. I did cheat tho, I used a 9inch pie crust which was already made all I had to do was to pop in the oven. But hey if you are in a hurry you have to compromise sometimes.

You will need:
2 cups of chopped spinach

half an onion

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

6 eggs

9′ inch pie crust.

IMG_1262First cut the onion into little pieces and cook in some butter (or olive oil) add the spinach after about 4 mins and cook both adding salt and pepper to taste (you can also add other spices at this point)

Set aside.

Mix the 6 eggs in a bowl, and add 2 table spoons of pesto sauce*

Add cooked spinach and onions to the egg and pesto mix.

IMG_1263Fill the pie crust with the mix, and place in the oven for about 50mins or until you notice that the center of the quiche is no longer runny.

and there you have it! simple and delicious meal ready! you can pair with a salad or a soup.

*for the pesto, if you want to make your own all you need is: Fresh basil, garlic and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend everything in a food processor and you get your very own pesto.

What have you been cooking lately?

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Xoxo

OnixJ

Healthy Eating isn’t that Hard

Hello!! so I have been debating wether to post just pictures or recipes, but the truth is many of these dishes are so simple to make that there isn’t much or a “recipe” to it. I love eating healthy, and it doesn’t have to be boring! many people think eating healthy or being on a vegetarian menu translates into munching on salads all day, and guess what? it isn’t! if more people had access to easy healthy food I am sure Junk Food restaurant sales will go down in a matter of weeks!

So anyway here some food I have made over the last week

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Another power toast with Ricotta Cheese, Hemp Seeds and Spinach
Another power toast with Ricotta Cheese, Hemp Seeds and Spinach
Vegetable Quesadillas with Hemp Seed and Avocado on the side
Vegetable Quesadillas with Hemp Seed and Avocado on the side
Flaxseed Pancakes with Banana and Pure Maple Syrup
Flaxseed Pancakes with Banana and Pure Maple Syrup
Healthy Fish n Chips with Panfried Salmon
Healthy Fish n Chips with Panfried Salmon
Chia Limeade
Chia Limeade
Grilled Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Spinach and Mushrooms
Grilled Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous, Spinach and Mushrooms