Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maple Roasted Pepitas

Why wait until Halloween to enjoy the nutritive power punch that comes from pumpkin seeds?

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with manganese for strong bones, normalize blood sugar and regulate cholesterol. They also have magnesium, phosphorous, tryptophan, iron, copper, protein, zinc, vitamin K and help reduce inflammation!

Pick up a bag of pepitas (pumpkin seeds without the shell) from the bulk section of your grocery store and toss them in quinoa, pasta, oatmeal cookies or toast them with tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) for easy ways to get a little nutritive boost.

When I crave something crunchy, salty and sweet, this recipe really satisfies.

Maple Roasted Pepitas

Preheat oven to 350.

  • In a bowl, for every cup of pepitas, add 1 tbs olive oil and 2 1/2 tbs real maple syrup. Stir to coat.
  • Pour into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, add a light layer of sea salt, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn them. 
After they cool, seal them in a glass canister and keep them easily accessible.

I keep a little container of them mixed with walnuts, almonds and dried cranberries. You can eat them by the handful or toss them in with your homemade popcorn, salad, oatmeal, granola... 

Great for tables at Bunco and for after-school snacks, too. :)


Monday, March 5, 2012

IINspired in Long Beach, teaser

I need to keep this brief but couldn't wait to tell you that I'll be sharing information over the next few days that you won't want to miss.

I just returned from an inspiring weekend in Long Beach with thousands of present, future and graduate students from the Institute For Integrative Nutrition (IIN). The weekend conference was called MegaIIN and it was a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded people while listening to industry experts like John Robbins, David Wolfe, Geneen Roth and Joshua Rosenthal and reflect on topics such as emotional eating, Sexy Soul Wellness, empowering girls and women in a society that objectifies them, and the significance of living with authenticity and love. The tears, laughter, bonding and massive growth that occurred in only a few short days were nothing short of empowering. While I’ve connected online with students from the around the globe, there’s nothing like seeing the light in someone’s eyes and feeling the energy that exudes with passion from every pore of their being. I left the conference with a renewed sense of community and feeling of support, encouraging me to stretch beyond my self-imposed boundaries and step into my power

Please stay tuned for a series of key learnings gleaned from this powerful event, some of the vegan food that filled me with pleasure while I was there and the fabulous people I can't want to share with you.
Love and veggies,

PS: If you’re passionate about nutrition and integrative wellness, I highly recommend taking a good look at IIN. You can get their nutrition book for free and take a few minutes to read through the awesome training I received by visiting my website I'm happy to share my experience with you and answer any questions about discounts on school fees.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I get excited when I find a great quick and healthy recipe to share because I know what it's like to hate dinner time. It can be stressful to find a meal that everyone in the family will eat. I mean, the last thing we want to do is play short order cook at the end of a long work day, right? Well, here's a quick way to get something warm and healthy on the table in 30 minutes. Check out other recipes from The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart menu for more simple ways to get tasty food on the table quickly and without complaints from picky eaters.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Also available in The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods that Help You Fight Back!

Makes about 6 cups (6 servings)

4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 large potato (preferably russet), unpeeled and scrubbed, cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon whole celery seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup bean cooking liquid, vegetable broth, or water
4 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, as needed

Combine the water, potato, onion, garlic, celery seeds, thyme, marjoram, turmeric, and pepper in a large pot. Place over medium heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the chickpeas and the bean cooking liquid or broth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and process in several batches, filling the blender container no more than half full for each batch. Hold the lid on tightly and start the blender on the lowest speed. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is completely smooth.

Return the blended soup to the pot and stir in the broccoli and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is fork-tender. Taste and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, if desired.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Cream of Broccoli Soup will keep for up to 3 days.

This is what it looks like (yummmm)

Here's to your health and sanity!

Great translation resource for vegans!

I just came across a fabulous resource for vegan travelers called "V-Cards" by
V-Cards are printable translation cards and offer vegans an easy and convenient way to communicate dietary needs to servers, cooks and waiters in just about any language.

Simply select and print the V-Card in the language you need, and VOILA!

Vegan Translation Cards

What a great way to help ensure your dining experience is filled with cruelty-free meals! Why not consider helping other vegan patrons by printing several cards and leaving them behind as a resource for restaurants, too?

Eat well, feel well, travel well!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Guess who's biting the heads off of broccoli now..

Celebs from Betty White to Anne Hathaway have joined in on the plant-based food party lately, but one recent addition might throw you off your rocker a little bit. Who might this mystery person be? None other than British rocker and tabloid phenom Ozzy Osbourne.

Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either.
Yet as he professed during a recent interview on ‘The Talk’, he's decided to transition to an animal product-free existence by adopting veganism after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives.
Osbourne also stated that he is hoping his new diet transformation will help him avoid junk food and any other unnecessary foods while on tour that he is so prone to indulging in.
“When you’re on the road and you’re traveling, you grab buns and… burgers are everywhere… so now I’ve just narrowed the margin.”
Ozzy has been clean and sober for the past ten years. We’re proud of him for all he’s done and is currently doing, and I hope I can speak for myself and the rest of the vegan community when we say we support Mr. Osbourne in his new endeavours.
Go Vegan!
Kaela Palmer
(guest blogger)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Puppies and Glam Chowder make me happy

Look who we adopted into our busy family from Eleventh Hour Rescue! 

Introducing the amazing five month old (we think) lab/terrier mix brothers: Owen and Ted!

Ted's name was going to be "Yaz" after Carl Yastrzemski, Ed's favorite baseball player, but the kids vetoed it, discouraging us from giving our puppy the same name as birth control. I had no idea. So, we opted to name him after Ed's other favorite baseball player, Ted Williams. Turns out that he looks more like a Ted than a Yaz anyway! His brother was already named Owen and it fit him so well that we decided to keep it. 

Owen and Ted are the sweetest, cuddliest, cutest puppies I've ever had. I get up extra early in the morning to take care of them, I miss them during the day while I'm at work and I look forward to seeing their wagging tails that help me find my smile again when I get home.

Even though I wanted to spend my evening cuddling with the puppies, I managed to squeeze in some time to indulge in an amazing soup from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite For Reduction cookbook for dinner tonight.

"Manhattan Glam Chowder" is Isa's vegan nod to Manhattan Clam Chowder and it does not disappoint. Nori provides a subtle ocean flavor while the shiitake mushrooms do a wonderful job replacing the clams and I loved how the yukon potatoes just melted in my mouth. When you're craving a fresh tasting, hearty soup, do yourself a favor and give this recipe a try. It makes just enough to feed four people and the kids enjoyed eating a few pieces of thickly sliced crusty bread with it as well.

My only complaint is that I didn't make enough chowder to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I'll probably double the recipe next time I make this and then freeze single servings of it so that I can have a quick bowl any time I want.

One more puppy photo to close out the post because they are so darn cute. This was from the night we fell in love with and rescued the puppies:

My kids are spreading the word: it's cool to rescue!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pet adoptions

Quick post about day one of our attempt to find dog and cat companions at a local shelter. We wanted to find a young adult dog that was medium sized to fit our current postage stamp sized backyard, small house floorplan, and busy schedules and a young adult cat that's dog friendly.

It's always tough going to the shelter because we fall in love with animals instantly and want to take them all home with us. Sadly, we didn't bring any new forever friends home today and when we left it felt as if we were leaving our hearts behind. I think Jakob and I even shed a few tears on the car ride home.

While our search was unsuccessful today, we're going back tomorrow, filled with hoped and excitement.

If you have the capacity to take care of a pet, please consider adopting one from an animal shelter. Rescuing animals is truly rewarding. For those of you who live in the Seattle area, the Seattle Humane Society is making it easy by offering free adoptions this weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My crush on the 30-Day Vegan Challenge + chocolate cake!

My family has fallen in love with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The 30-Day Vegan Challenge book. More than just a collection of some of her best recipes, it's a manifesto for vegans, ultimate guide book for the veg-curious and must-have resource for anyone who wants to eat well to feel well and live compassionately.

We love the easy to follow recipes and I enjoy giving the book away to friends and clients. If you know someone who would like to be vegan but says they don't have enough money/time/patience to stick with it or "just can't give up cheese", The 30-Day Vegan Challenge is for you (and them!). It addresses these concerns plus many more in a non-confrontational, encouraging, compassionate manner.

This fantastic book is organized into three primary sections:

"get ready!"
  • Simplifies what being vegan means and what to expect from the book
"get set!"
  • Encourages readers to understand their current state of health, find a support system, and to set clear goals and intentions
  • Offers 30 days of support, ideas and information on sustaining a vegan diet. I can't say enough about the valuable information contained in this section. Some of my favorite topics include:
    • Stocking a healthful vegan kitchen
    • Eating healthfully affordably
    • Discovering that there IS life after cheese
    • Putting to rest the great protein myth
    • Strong like Popeye: increasing your iron absorption
    • Skipping the middle fish: getting omega-2s from the source
    • Finding harmony living in a mixed household
    • Keeping it in perspective: intention, not perfection
    • Easy and convenient recipes
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the options available in a vegan diet when you first get started. The meal planning guide in this book makes it tremendously easy for you to plan three quick and easy meals a day plus snacks. There are even helpful tips on what to eat at restaurants!

While the information is easily digestible, the recipes are delicious, and very easy to make, with ingredients available at your local grocery store. For example, my 13 year old son was inspired to make Colleen's Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting recipe all by himself while I was catching up on some work after dinner. He did a fantastic job and even cleaned the kitchen afterwards! Unfortunately he had already sliced up the cake and served it to the family before I could take a picture, but trust me on this one, if you need a quick and easy recipe for cake or cupcakes, make this one your no-fail, go-to recipe.

by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
Chocolate Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan or cupcake tins.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Mix until just combined.
  3. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If making cupcakes, check for doneness after 15 minutes.
  4. Cool on a wire rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely before frosting with Cocoa Frosting. You may also dust with sifted confectioner's sugar and top with fresh raspberries.
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water or non-dairy milk
Frosting Directions:
  1. With an electric hand mixer, cream the margarine until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar, and mix for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more non-dairy milk if it's too dry.
  3. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, and re-whip before using.
If you would like to own a copy of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The 30-Day Vegan Challenge , you can purchase it from your local bookstore, get it at a great price on Amazon, or you can enter to win a copy for free right here!  Just 1) leave a comment telling me how you will use this fabulous book to promote a vegan lifestyle, and 2) tweet this blog post to help spread the word about the book and how easy it is to be vegan.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a second piece of that cake...

Here's to your good fortune and health!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Keeping warm in the city of rain

It was another cold, wet day in Seattle, and I was thoroughly chilled to the bone by the time I got home from work, so it was easy to decide what to make for dinner: Colleen's Split Pea Soup and Drop Biscuits from The 30-Day Vegan Challenge! Once you make these biscuits, you'll never go back to purchasing a mix or tube o' biscuits again. This recipe is quick with minimal clean up - my kind of recipe! The soup on the other hand needs to cook for an hour so grab some carrots and hummus as a snack (or tortillas and salsa) before dinner to tide the family over until it's ready and then freeze leftovers so you have a quick meal the next time you need it!

Split Pea Soup


2 cups green (or yellow) split peas
6 cups vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 creamy yellow potatoes, diced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon: dried marjoram, dried basil, dried parsley, liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, black pepper
Salt, pepper and nutritional yeast to taste


Rinse the split peas, checking for any impurities, such as stones or residue.

Place all of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a soup pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover loosely and cook until the peas are tender, 1 hour or longer. Check it every so often to make sure the liquid isn't evaporating too quickly. The flame should be low-medium.

The resulting soup should be thick and creamy, with the split peas quite broken down and mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.

Drop Biscuits


1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking paper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
1/3 cup canola oil or nondairy butter (I used Earth Balance)


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Lightly grease a baking or cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour.baking soda, and salt until combined. Add the milk and butter and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. It will be very sticky and thick, not smooth like cake batter. Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet for each biscuit, spacing the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake until, the bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Serve hot.

With warm, stick to your ribs soup and melt in your mouth biscuits, all that's left is a little cuddle time in front of the fireplace.

As if cuddling by a fireplace could actually happen on a weekday...HA! Sadly, I had work to do and the rest of the family had Sports Center, Facebook and Madden commitments to follow through on but at least we had warm, full bellies to sustain us.

Here's to your good health!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Soup season is upon us

When I read IIN's blog post for Terry Walter’s Autumn Harvest Soup, I mourned summer for a brief moment and then celebrated the undeniable fact that soup season is upon us. There is something soothing, comforting and satisfying about enjoying a warm bowl of soup on a cool fall day. I glanced at the weather forecast and committed to making this soup for dinner.

The recipe below is an adaptation of Terry Walter's recipe from her cookbook Clean Food. The original was a little bit too acidic for my family's tastes so I substituted walnut oil for toasted seasame oil and added nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, garlic powder, salt, nutritional yeast, and Better than Boullion vegan chicken base (to appease my son).

Autumn Harvest Soup

4 dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups water
3/4 cup vegetable broth
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 carrots, diced
4 cups chopped kale or collard greens
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1/4 cup mirin
splash tamari
splash apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Better Than Boullion chicken base (vegan)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt
ground black pepper
vegan croutons

Place dried mushrooms in medium pot with 6 cups water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. When mushrooms are soft, remove from broth and cut off and discard stems. Dice caps and place back in pot with broth. In large pot over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and ginger in oil 3 minutes. Add carrots and sauté 3 minutes. Add kale, beans and mirin and sauté until greens are deep green and tender. Pour broth and mushrooms into pot with kale, vegetable broth, bouillon base, tamari, vinegar, garlic powder, walnut oil, stir and simmer 5–7 minutes. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste and garnish with vegan croutons.

Here it is!

I chose to add kale for my leafy green vegetable because it's one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Kale contains dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion and curbs overeating, helps prevent cancer and helps regulate the body's inflammatory process, among many of its other health benefits.

If kale isn't currently a staple at your table, here are a few ways to start adding it this week:
  • Chop it up and add it to broth based soups (like the one below!)
  • Toss it with nutritional yeast, cayene pepper and olive oil and then roast it at 275 for kale chips
  • Steam it
  • Sautee it with olive oil and garlic
  • Add it to a smoothie
  • Tear the leaves into bite size peices and massage fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and a tiny bit of chili powder to them. Add chopped tomatoes and avocado for a tasty salad or sandwich wrap. has an extensive library of kale recipes. Browse through them, pick a few that highlight some of your favorite ingredients and give them a try!

Here's to your health and coziness!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's time to sit down and enjoy a healthy dose of Celebrity Vegan!

Special guest post by (my daughter) Kaela Palmer


Being a vegan isn't something new to most of it's avid followers, yet it seems to be the latest trend on the Hollywood Boulevard. One of it's newest contenders? Lea Michele.

If you don't recognize the name you must a.) live under a rock, or b.) not have a television or internet of any kind. Lea has the starring role in the hit Fox show Glee. She plays the character of 'Rachel Berry', a snobby fame-seeking high school student, determined to gain stardom by any means necessary.
Lately, the 23 year old singer has been accused of being 'too skinny', but amid the blatant tabloid rumors, the healthy actress claims that her new love for nutrition is making her well, not sick. So why is it that when someone denies a hamburger, and instead goes for a salad, that they MUST have body issues? Has anyone from the carnivorous spectrum ever stopped to ask about why vegans make the switch?

For Lea, it's all about living a healthy lifestyle; in order to that, she had to change her eating habits as well. In a recent interview with OK! Magazine, she stated that she chooses a "vegan diet for integrity and energy". In order to play the spunky Miss Berry on set, you need a lot of energy, and this eating habit is the best alternative she has found to feeling so in character.

On top of already being a healthy eater with balanced nutrition, Lea is also an avid exerciser. Her must? Yoga. Yoga and veganism. A solid pair made in plant-based heaven.

For young fans and viewers of her show, and those who follow her every move, she is a proud and prime example of a celebrity doing good for not only herself, but the community as well.
The animals thank you, Lea. And so do we.

Kaela Palmer

Catch Kaela Palmer here every Sunday for a healthy dose "Celebrity Vegan". You can also find her at

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan in Las Vegas

It's day 1 of Vegan MoFo and we're celebrating Ed's birthday with friends in Las Vegas. Due to the insane amount of hours I've been working lately, and the very laid back demeanor of my partner, I didn't have time to do any planning before we arrived in Sin City. I figured that my app would guide me safely through the mecca of steak houses and buffets. Unfortunately, the app had very few options listed and I starved my way through the first day with only a plate of bok choy in my belly. Not a good start to the weekend. This girl likes to EAT!

What's a vegan girl to do?

Immediately after rolling out of bed this morning I hit the computer and did a Bing search for Vegan in Vegas. Thanks to a few great posts by Quarrygirl , I was able to locate several options that satisfied my requirement for finding tasty vegan food while also accomodating my omnivorous friends. Finding her posts was like betting it all and being dealt a Royal Flush. Money baby!

Lesson for today: when you are in pursuit of vegginess and traveling with non-vegan companions, it's worth the extra effort to research local options that can accomodate both of your dietary choices. We need to eat well to feel well!

Turns out that every restaurant at the Wynn has a vegan menu available. Surfing through all of the menu options made my salivary glands go into over-drive. Lucky for me, the Wynn is only a monorail away from MGM.

If I had access to car, I would also drive out to visit  red velvet cafe and ronald’s donuts . Ronald's promises to be the best vegan donut shop ever. I happen to think that Mighty O donuts in Seattle has the best donuts in the world so I might have to take a taxi out there and give them a try. I'm not a big sweets eater but I'm for this challenge.

I've got my soy latte in hand, list restaurants to conquer and am ready to venture out into the Las Vegas heat. I will happily report back to you with reviews and photos from my culinary experiences in the very near future.

In the meantime, enjoy this "Viva Las Vegas" video from the Dead Kennedys!

Sending you extra vitamin D from the Vegas sunshine,