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Grilled Zucchini Tacos

I have discovered a new entrée that has become one of my favorite vegan dishes – zucchini tacos!A fellow vegan discovered a mexican restaurant in Evanston, Austin Tacos, and we were excited to see VEGAN TACOS on the menu. Now unlike many places that use some type of faux meat product filled with soy or wheat gluten, this play used all veggies. Awesome! They were quite tasty. In fact, I went a few weeks later to taste and see how I can make them my on. My zucchini tacos were quite different from Austin Tacos, but I think they taste even better because I made with just the ingredients I like. Here are a list of ingredients I used:

  • zucchini
  • onions
  • jalapeno
  • onions
  • red & green peppers
  • black beans
  • smoked corn salsa (left over from the Baked Mexican Pasta Dish)
  • green onions
  • corn tortillas
  • cabbage slaw

I made the corn tortillas in my new special pan that I bought just for this purpose – I admit that I love tacos!

I like this pan because I do not have to make one tortilla at a time. Oh yeah! I then grilled the zucchini in my cast iron grill skillet by adding a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). This is where the goodness really starts.

While the zucchini was grilling. I combined some left over black beans, grilled onions & peppers, corn salsa and brown rice to add as a topping with diced jalapeno.

I like spicy food so I added some fresh diced jalapeno, I tossed in some fresh cilantro, added a little cabbage slaw and guacamole on the side for crunch. I had never tried this before, but I think this is one of the tastiest creations that I have tried thus far while transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

 This was way too much food for me to eat in one sitting!!! I am pleasantly pleased by how I am eating less and less now that I am eating better. It’s amazing how satisfied you feel when you give your body what it needs. If I had participated in the VIRTUAL VEGAN POTLUCK on May 12th, this is the dish that I intended to include.  Be creative when you are making vegan dishes…..I’m learning that this is part of the fun (and motivation) for continuing on my journey no matter how many ups and downs I experience.

Baked Gluten-Free Mexican Pasta Bake

I was instantly captured by this dish created by Vogue Vegetarian! I love mexican food and it fit right within the lifestyle that I am “trying” to follow. I must admit that following a vegan lifestyle hasn’t been very easy for me the last few months – I found myself falling back into my old toxic eating patterns. I had to put my foot down and say “Darn it Michelle, you have come to far and you know the great benefits so don’t stop!! Seriously, sometimes we have to give ourselves a pep talk. I was reminded by someone who was very instrumental in my starting on this journey that I couldn’t give up on my plant-based dietary lifestyle….what would become of the “Emerging Vegan Sistah” if I did???? Well, it was enough to make me think and say this is part of my journey and that’s what this blog is all about – embracing the journey towards change.

I’ve learned that it brings me joy to create new dishes that align with this lifestyle. I rarely follow recipes to the letter, but I followed this pretty closely. I am not going to go through all of the ingredients and steps – visit Vogue Vegetarian’s blog for the original Vegan Mexican Pasta Bake Recipe. The recipe was much more than what I would eat so I cut it in half. I skipped the olives and I forgot the green onions (love them though!). I also have a few other changes: I added diced fresh jalapeno, i used roasted corn and red pepper pico da galo instead of just corn, I also used a spicy taco seasoning mix I found at wholefoods – just wasnt in my budget to by some additional spicy this weekend with my regular groceries.  This is one of my new favs!!!

Here is all of the ingredients that I used:

Gluten-Free Vegan Mexican Pasta Bake Ingredients

I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients when I first read it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and quick it was to start this dish:

This dish was looking (and smelling) great in less than 10 minutes!!

When I added the pasta I knew that dish was a winner!!!

 

Brown Rice Pasta, Hot Chunky Salsa, jalapeno, Leeks, Cilantro, Black Beans, Smoke Corn Pico, Minced Garlic, Pepper Jack Daiya

I decided to add a little extra Daiya on top. You guys know I am a true Daiya fan – it was a life saver because I love cheese so much that I needed a great alternative & as you see this melted very nicely after baking. oh la la….

Daiya brings this dish together in the end!

I must say take a bow Vogue Vegetarian this recipe gave me great inspiration! I had a nice light lunch today and I have enough for lunch and/or dinner. This was a great dish that I plan to make more. I guess I could have made the entire recipe and put half in the freezer – we live and learn. lol

 

Thumbs Up! This Gluten-Free Vegan Mexican Pasta Bake is Great!

Think Out the Box When Choosing Your Cereal (Unprocessed Cereal Recipe)

This morning I decided to share a wonderful cereal recipe. I obtained this recipe in the nutrition class for my marathon training session with the Elijah Running Club. This recipe is wonderful, quick to make and you have the liberty of creating it anyway you like it. It takes only a few minutes and its good enough for a breakfast cereal or midday snack. Bonus is that my daughter loves it too!

INGREDIENTS:

Diced honeydew melons

Diced Pineapples

Diced Granny Smith Apples

Sliced Straw berries

Bunch of green grapes

(I’ve also added cantaloupe, blueberries, raspberries, etc in the past)

Lots of Cinnamon

Agave nectar (really just a small amount depending on how much you make)

Walnuts and/or Pecan

Non-Dairy Milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but I may try coconut milk this week)

Clean Cereal Ingredients (except Non-Dairy Milk)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1st – Mix all of the fruits and nuts together in a bowl

 2nd – Drizzle a small amount of agave nectar on the top and add a liberal amount of cinnamon

Gotta Love Cinnamon!

3rd – Mixed all the ingredients together and eat alone or with non-dairy milk

This recipe is delicious! If you buy the fruit already diced this should take you 2-3 minutes to make. Enjoy!!

22 lbs Lighter & Feeling Great!!!!

I decided to make a lifestyle change when I decided to embrace veganism & hit the gym more consistently. I know that there are many people who embrace veganism because they are animal rights activist. That is fine. However, there are more and more people are embracing this lifestyle because of the health benefits. Many people are virtually forced into this lifestyle due to sickness and disease while others are simply fed up with taking so many meds. Whatever you reason in it doesn’t matter is you follow a vegan diet once a week, 1 meal a day, 2 weeks or month or transition your entire nutrition lifestyle, studies show that many people can benefit from following a plant-based diet to some capacity. I realize that this process is a personal journey. Some people who have been vegan for years some how forget that process of change in the beginning and that irritates me. There are also some people may wake up one they and immediately change their diets, not everyone is like that. We cannot let people put us in a box because we don’t do what they do in the manner that they did it. I know they have good intentions, but one of th best things someone can do is to simply encourage a person to embrace change one day at a time according to their personal life steps. I have not followed this lifestyle perfectly, but honestly January 2011 I wasn’t thinking about being a vegan. However, I am doing it quite well in 2012 and I’ve lost a few pounds to boot :-)

CAN’T BELIEVE I’M SPROUTING!

Ok, I mentioned in my last post that I would post a few words about sprouting. Now, this is unbelievable for me because I do not have a green thumb, index finger or pinky! Seriously, I don’t think a chia pet would grow for me. Well, there is hope – a few days ago I decided that I would try sprouting for the first time. I love alfalfa sprouts on my sandwiches and when I have fried rice I’d always ask for extra bean sprouts or keep a bag of them in the fridge to throw in the rice myself. I think I’m a pretty good sprouting candidate so I went to Kramer’s & found these + seeds. yeah  :-)

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten either raw or cooked. Sprouts are very nutritious and rich in enzymes so eating them promotes good health.  Studies show that sprouts containing a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants than when the plant in mature.  In addition, tests have shown that the nutrients in seeds and nuts are anywhere from 50% to 400% greater after sprouting or soaking. There are numerous seeds and beans that can be used for sprouting. Ann Wigmore, known for the nutritional benefits of her diet program which included high levels of living enzymes in fresh raw foods like wheat grass juice and fresh sprouts. She was a pioneer in revealing how natural foods helped the body to detox & rejuvenate itself – you like God intended. For my first time, I am sprouting alfalfa seeds and mung beans.

I have read quite a bit about the health benefits of sprouting (there are also some negative stories out there, but I feel much better about seeds and beans I sprout in my home than the various genetically engineered foods offered to us today). Growing sprouts in your home is easy and it takes only a few minutes of care per day. Just soak, rinse 2x/day and drain. It’s also very economical! Try adding sprouts to your favorite sandwich, salad  or other meal to super charge the nutritional content. You can use a variety of sprouts to make a sprout salad like I learned during a Raw Food Prep Class at Karyn’s.

Well if you want nutritious, organic, whole foods for pennies on a dollar try sprouting! I am….

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