Category Archives: Recipes

Happy Herbivore Abroad Cookbook Giveaway

As we finish up 2012, are there healthy eating resolutions & goals on your 2013 list?  If yes, today’s giveaway may just be for you! We are so excited to be included on the Happy Herbivore Abroad Blog Tour and you should be too because we’re giving away a copy for one of our lucky readers! I’ve been on a happy plant-based cooking frenzy since I received my copy of this great cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad.

What I like about Lindsay S. Nixon’s Happy Herbivore cookbooks is that the recipes are relatively straightforward and use easy to find ingredients.  The cookbook includes over 135 fat-free & low fat vegan recipes from around the world.  Having enjoyed several of the cities that Lindsay highlights in the book, it was fun to reminisce about my own travels and recreate some favorite international dishes.

Whether you’ve been on a plant-based diet for awhile or are just contemplating one, the Happy Herbivore cookbooks are a great resource and I believe Happy Herbivore Abroad has become my new favorite.  Over the Christmas holiday, I served German Lentil Soup and received rave reviews.  We also loved the Taco Soup (added some gluten-free pasta for more of a taco chili feel) and Swedish Split Pea Soup.  I think the Decadent Brownies are a huge improvement from the Black Bean Brownies (which are good – but these Decadent ones are wonderful!)  The Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe has a nice mild curry flavor and was a nice change of pace from my usual quinoa, cranberry, walnut concoction.  What’s so fun is that there are so many more recipes I can’t wait to try.

I found myself reading off these recipes to my mom over the phone so she could try as well.  After several times of this, I just ordered an additional copy for her.   It’s that good.

I’ve included more on our transition to a plant-based diet here.

This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be notified via email. Thanks!

We are giving away one copy of Lindsay S. Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Abroad, her latest cookbook.  We will pick our winner on January 1, 2013 and notify them via email.  Only U.S. and Canada folks are eligible to enter. 

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post sharing your favorite plant-based dish OR one of your 2013 resolutions.

As part of the blog tour,  I was able to interview the author of Happy Herbivore Abroad, Lindsay S. Nixon:

1.  Congratulations on your new book, Happy Herbivore Abroad.  Do you have a favorite travel experience or funny story from your preparations and research for the book?  

Lindsay: Those stories are in the book :)

From WellnessJunkie: After reading through my copy, my favorite would be Lindsay’s story about getting lost in Granada…mostly because I have my own “getting lost in Rome/relying on kindness of strangers” story…

2.  I’m so thrilled for your growing success with working with Engine 2 and Forks Over Knives, your cookbooks and continued media opportunities. As you are enjoying more and more success and your schedule gets busy, how do you stay grounded and in balance?

Lindsay: I try to take in and enjoy every opportunity, but sometimes it gets shuffled into my day-to-day. My primary concern is my fans — the Herbies — I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and they’ll be there long after the Dr. Oz episode ends. Everything I do, I do for them. They keep me grounded.


3. One of the things I love about your first two books is that most of the ingredients are readily available and not too hard to find.  Was this an easy thing to maintain for Happy Herbivore Abroad or did the international aspect make this more challenging?

Lindsay: I’m very passionate about using everyday ingredients and didn’t want to change that with this book – so I didn’t. You get all the international flavor but without the fuss.


4.  What advice do you give “pseudo” herbivores that are eating about a 90% plant-based diet, but haven’t gone all in? Are there strategies that you’ve learned to help folks get to 100%?

Lindsay: Just do it. Take it a meal at a time. Don’t get caught up with over thinking. Worry about this meal, right now — not what you’re doing tomorrow, or next week or next Christmas. Never think in “Can’t haves” — it’s not that you can’t have it, it’s that you’re choosing not to. Also, focus on all the food you can have, not what you’re choosing to give up. I eat a wider variety of food now on a plant-based diet than I ever did on an omnivorous one!

This giveaway is now closed.

To enter our Happy Herbivore Abroad cookbook giveaway, please leave a comment sharing your favorite plant-based dish or one of your 2013 resolutions.  We’ll pick our winner on January 1, 2013 and notify them via email.  U.S. and Canada folks only, please.

Cherry Kale Smoothie

Cherry Kale Smoothie

My usual rule for smoothie making is to remember your paint color mixing from preschool and avoid making brown drinks when possible.  Go for pretty bright green, red or purple ones. Often, it’s hard enough to get your spouse, kids, friends to try your latest concoction…And, if it’s brown, game over.

But this morning, I forced myself into a brown smoothie.  I usually pair pineapple or peaches with kale.  Or, I’ll combine blueberries with my greens for a purple smoothie.  Today, only organic sweet cherries (frozen) were staring back at me.  Cherries are actually really good for us.  Here are some of the benefits of cherries:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Improves your natural sleep cycles
  • High in beta carotene
  • Heart healthy
  • Antioxidant properties

So cherries it is and I will say it tastes so good.  If the brown color gets in your way, just close your eyes and enjoy!

Cherry Kale Smoothie

1 1/2 c. coconut water or filtered water

1 handful of kale, stems removed

1 small handful of parsley

1 banana

1 c. of frozen organic sweet cherries (or other berry)

Option: if you’re using fresh fruit, add 1 c. of ice

1 scoop of favorite non-gmo protein powder

Blend in your Vitamix or other high speed blender and enjoy!

Mom-to-be Shares: Chocolate Kale Smoothie, Part 2

This week’s Wellness Junkie, Carrie

Earlier this week, I posted my interview with Carrie Putman, who in the last year has completely transformed her health and wellness by starting with simple, doable steps.  Go here to read that interview.

We promised to share her daily chocolate shake…so here you go – Happy Friday!

Carrie’s Daily Dose of Chocolate Shake (serves 2)

2 c. chocolate almond milk  (if you have regular almond or non-dairy milk, just add 2 T. of cocoa or cacao powder for every cup)

2 T. pure virgin organic coconut oil (if you’re in a cold climate, you may want to set the jar on the counter for awhile to soften back into a liquid)

2-3 leaves of kale

1 handful of carrots (Carrie uses the organic baby carrots, but you could also use one large carrot or two small ones)

1 scoop protein powder (look for a non-GMO powder, or  see my reviews of protein powders.)

1/4 cup of ice

Blend in the Vitamix or other high-speed blender until smooth.

As always – you can add to or modify however you need.  If you want a sweeter shake, consider adding a tablespoon of agave nectar or honey.



Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

It finally feels like fall here in Arizona!   I’m loving all of the pumpkin recipes and just made Happy Herbivore’s Pumpkin Bars  this week which are very tasty. I think I like them even better after they’ve spent some time in the freezer – so good!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

But, one of my biggest pet peeves is wasting food.  So, when a recipe calls for a cup of pumpkin (vs. using the entire can), I’ve got to find a way to use that extra pumpkin before it goes bad.  So, after a little experimenting, here is my yummy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie recipe.  Let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 banana

1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 t.  cocoa powder (or cacao)

1 scoop of your favorite (subtle or no flavor) protein powder

1 t. chia seeds  (or other hidden gem like ground flax seeds)

1 cup of ice



Ginger Mango Peach Smoothies

Don’t get me wrong — I love green smoothies.  Mostly, I love the energy boost that I enjoy after the green smoothie…but every once in a while I need a change.  At the farmer’s market this weekend I spotted some gorgeous peaches. The kale and other desirable greens looked a bit haggard so I opted for a little orange and peachy goodness.  Enjoy!

Ginger Mango Peach Smoothie

3/4 c. coconut water or filtered water

1/2 c.  almond milk (or your favorite nondairy milk)

1 peach, cored and sliced

1/2 c. of frozen mango or half fresh mango

1 -2 inch slice of fresh ginger, peeled (use 2 if you like the “ginger” kick)

1 scoop (or serving) of your favorite protein powder. I used Tera’s Whey Bourbon Vanilla.

Since I used frozen mango, I didn’t add any ice.  If you’re using all fresh ingredients, add 3/4 c. to 1 cup of ice to your smoothie.

Ginger Mango Peach Smoothie for Summer

Converting to a Plant-Based Diet

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m always trying new things in the world of health and wellness.  Some things stick and I continue to eat/do them on a regular basis and some turn out to be novelties that just last a short time.  Well, I have a feeling that this is becoming a lifestyle change that is sticking.

Last month, hubby and I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and had dinner with friends (one is a cardiologist) who had already been on the plant-based diet the movie recommends.  After reading more on the diet and critics of the movie, we came to our own conclusion to give it a shot – but also allow for an occasional bit of oil or yogurt as needed.  My philosophy is that by allowing some leniency, you won’t restrict yourself to the point of falling off the wagon in a big, unhealthy way.  Plus, we’re young, no heart disease that we’re trying to reverse, etc.  My motto = Baby steps, people.

With that said, we’ve been on our plant-based diet for about 2 weeks and feel wonderful.  Let me be more specific. In just 2 weeks:

  • Hubby has lost 4 lbs, slight belly is disappearing fast. He has more energy and is sleeping better.
  • My skin looks better (no more breakouts), I’m feeling fuller at meals (thus eating less) and my sugar cravings have dramatically decreased.  And no more sinus trouble.
  • I also have more energy and sleep like a rock.

I will say that my digestive system is adjusting and with that, comes a bit more…gas.  But, I’m assured that that gets better over time.

First, if this interests you, see the documentary Forks over Knives.  It’s on Netflix and likely at your local library.  Watch the movie with your partner/spouse/family as seeing is believing…I was so grateful that my hubby watched it with me which got him on board quickly.  It’s very powerful to see these people improve their health so dramatically.

Next, if you decide to do this, you’re going to need help.  Here are several resources that have already proven to be a great help to me:

Happy Herbivore:  I purchased Lindsay’s latest book Everyday Happy Herbivore and have already found 4 go-to recipes that we both love. And, I can’t put the book down… recipes are simple and easy to prepare in 30 minutes or less.  Note: We only have product links on this site for products that we use. If you click on the link below and purchase the book here, we’ll get a few pennies to help support this site.

Engine 2:  This is the same firehouse featured in the documentary… great resource for “plantstrong” recipes… I especially love their one-dish meals which make it easy to cook every few days and live on the leftovers.

I also have found yummy-looking recipes that are on my list to try but haven’t had a chance yet at FatFreeVegan.

Well…some of you may be thinking – what? 100% plant-based?  No meat, no dairy, no oil?  And it feels like it’s impossible.  How can we possibly get enough protein?  Well… plants and grains have protein…I’d encourage you to check out these resources – Forks Over Knives and the Engine 2 site and learn more.  Educate yourself and consider taking a baby step or two forward for your health.

I’m so glad we took the first step on this journey.


No Fail Kale Chips

No Fail Kale Chips

This yummy recipe I cannot take credit for.  But I do have permission to share it from the creators, my Mom & Dad.  While my folks were visiting us in Arizona this past winter, my mom and I baked Kale Chips several times with mixed results.  Sometimes too limp, sometimes too much seasoning and oftentimes burnt.  Nothing like burnt kale chips: all that effort and little reward.

Back in the Midwest, my parents continued to experiment with the heat and duration of baking kale chips and this recipe is the result. It’s easy and flawless.  Feel free to add or change out seasoning.  If you like spicy, chili pepper flakes give you a nice kick.

Kale Chips

2 T. olive or coconut oil (if your coconut oil is solid, place it under a low heat to melt to liquid)

1 bunch of kale (we prefer the curly kind — but any will do)

2 cloves of garlic,  minced

Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 300.  Mix together the oil and minced garlic in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Wash off each leaf of kale and remove the stems. Place the kale pieces on a towel.   Either roll the towel from one end or place another towel on top to dry the kale.

3. Place kale in oil/garlic mixture and mix until all pieces are coated.

4.  Place kale on cookie sheets one layer thick. Sprinkle sea salt (or pepper flakes).

5. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 and then take a look.  Kale chips should be crispy.  Place on cooling rack.  Eat when cool!

Why Kale?  Here are just a few of the benefits of Kale:

  • Rich in Vitamins A, C, K, Calcium & Iron
  • Good for bones, thyroid health and immune system
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Rich in lutein (for eye health)
  • A Way healthier alternative to store bought potato chips!!

More Green Smoothie Recipes

Lately, I’ve been exploring green smoothies without lemon.  I have a friend that just can’t tolerate the lemons and the greens together.  If that’s you, here are some great smoothie options:

Green Smoothie Love:

1 ½ cup coconut water (or filtered water)

2 handfuls of greens (kale or spinach)

1 banana peeled and cut in half

½ zucchini

1 inch sliver of fresh ginger, peeled — optional

1 apple, quartered

Fresh or frozen pineapple chunks (if you used fresh pineapple, then add a cup of ice cubes)

1 scoop protein powder ( I love Tera’s Whey Protein and Vega All Natural)

1 T. coconut oil

Berry Greens:

1 ½ cup coconut water (or filtered water)

2 handfuls of greens

1 banana peeled and cut in half

1 cup of blueberries or blackberries

1 apple, quartered

1 scoop protein powder

1 T. coconut oil


Lemon and Green Smoothie for Energy & De-Tox

Last week, one of my yoga clients brought me lemons from his backyard.  It’s still such a treat for this Arizona newbie to have fresh citrus.  And, this isn’t the first batch we’ve enjoyed.  Fresh lemons taste so much better than the ones in the store.  So much better that this kind gift inspired us to plant our own baby lemon tree.  Hopefully next January we’ll enjoy its fruits as well.

Lemons can help relieve digestive issues, nausea and constipation.  They are also helpful in releasing toxins from the body.  Many mornings, I’ll start my day with hot water and lemon…When I do, I just feel better, lighter – with more energy and focus.

Since I see a gorgeous bag of lemons each morning in my kitchen, I’ve been intentionally using them up in recipes, smoothies and as a great addition to water throughout the day.  This morning, I made this simple green smoothie for energy and detox.  Enjoy!

Green Smoothie

1 1/2 cup coconut water

1 lemon, peeled and halved

2 leaves of kale, stems removed

1 inch slice of fresh ginger

1/2 cup of frozen fruit (pineapple or mango tastes great)

1 heaping scoop of protein powder (I use Vega’s Whole Food Smoothie Infusion)

I use my Vitamix for my smoothies.  It’s been the most healthy, life-changing purchase we’ve made in a long time.  If you’re looking for the right high-speed blender for you, check out Vitamix. They new and refurbished models and if you click on WELLNESS JUNKIE COUPON CODE, you’ll receive free shipping.

Green Smoothie for Energy

I added just a few things to my usual green smoothie and the results were yummy. The important thing to remember is to always add a little sweetness to balance the bitterness. Apple, pineapple, mango are good choices. And don’t forget the protein. The best protein powder is Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion with hemp and pea protein plus fiber and greens.

Green Energy

1 cup coconut water

2 T. Greek-style yogurt

1 lemon, peeled and halved

2 small oranges or 1 large, peeled and halved

1 cup kale

2 -3 romaine leaves

1 cup pineapple or other frozen fruit

2 inches peeled fresh ginger

2 scoops protein powder