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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Chili

We have some amazing friends (Emily & Tony) who made us a fantastic Vegan chili when we visited them for the holidays.  We decided to make this chili for my parents on Christmas Day and it was a hit.  YUM!

Mom's Plant-Based Pumpkin Bread

It's been awfully quiet on the Plant Based Happiness Blog this month.  I've been consumed with Christmas prep - the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the baking, gathering of friends and loved ones, etc.  Here's a recipe that I've been experimenting with and I believe I've finally perfected it.

Beauty is only skin deep, or is it?

I learned of an extremely informative website while watching a documentary about breast cancer research last weekend.

Did you know?
  • More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union (EWG 2007b).
  • Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association (EWG 2007c).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Arugula Flatbread

I never expected Josh to be so enthusiastic about this dinner...I honestly wasn't so sure myself.  It is amazing how sometimes the simplest ingredients can make the most amazing flavor combination.  Looks like this will become one of our new favorite recipes.  It seriously took all of 5 minutes to throw together - delicious and fast - you can't beat that!

Best, Most Simple Vinaigrette Recipe!

With the Christmas Season upon us, I've been eating homemade salads everyday to avoid those unwanted holiday pounds.  This vinaigrette recipe comes from my Mom's Italian Winter Salad Recipe and it is delish.  I swear, I could drink it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Boycott these brands!

I'm re-posting some information I received via email from the Organic Consumers Association...  

Mediterranean food is amazing!

Couldn't resist posting my plant-based lunch from Mediterranean Deli. That place is so amazing - it's definitely one of my Top 5 favorite restaurants in our area! They have tons of Vegan options.

 This is what I ordered from the top clockwise: Mujaddara, Pita Bread, Jerusalem Salad with tahini dressing, Ful Mudammas and Sauteed Eggplant, ... Mmmmmm!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy "Turkey" Day!

Here's what we've got on tap for our plant-based Thanksgiving Day meal: 


And my favorite part, our desserts, will be:

  • Pecan Pie (Non-GMO recipe) 
  • Vegan Baklava
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Mom's Delicious Pumpkin Bread 

I'll try to post some pictures of our meal on Friday! And for the items that don't have recipes linked, I'll get them up as soon as I get them from the awesome family members that are making them.

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Vegan Pie Crust

    My first experiment with making a Vegan pie crust was a complete disaster - barely edible.  I found these pre-made crusts in the freezer section at Whole Foods today and they're Vegan and contain no hydrogenated ingredients.  SCORE!  We tested one tonight and it was great, a drastic improvement from my attempt at homemade vegan pie crust.

    Radmila's Yugoslavian Stuffed Peppers

    We were really looking forward to making this recipe, it comes from a very close friend's Mother!  The potato filling was such a fun twist on stuffed peppers, much more exciting than rice or quinoa. Delicious!

    Turkey-Free Thanksgiving!

    After reading the recent news headlines about animal abuse at the North Carolina Butterball plants, I am deeply saddened.  No living creature should have to endure the pain and fear that those turkeys have suffered.  This year, I am so proud that we're having a turkey-free Thanksgiving!  Last year, we bought an organic turkey and I felt a little better about that, until I took him out of the packaging and his leg was broken and he had several bruises on his body.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Collard Roll-ups

    I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Collard Rolls and checked out the recipe.  The reviews averaged 2 stars - not good!  Confident I could improve on the idea, I put together this recipe.  I made it tonight and it was scrumptious!  I served them with beans on the side, but next time I'll try adding the beans to the filling.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    JASON - Aloe Vera Shampoo & Conditioner

    You may recall my blog from a few months back about phthalates and other potentially harmful ingredients in our health and beauty products.  I've had the opportunity to test several different brands of shampoos and conditioners and let's just say that they're all not created equal.  Most of them left my hair feeling dry, brittle and much frizzier than normal.  I finally found one that I really like, that moisturizes really well, so I thought I'd share it on the blog.

    Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mousse? Yes, please!

    I made this mousse this weekend for my Mom.  I was pretty skeptical of using tofu in a dessert recipe but I gave it a shot.  The verdict - it was AMAZING.  Mom, who hasn't eliminated dairy products, really enjoyed it too. 

    I scoped out a few different online recipes and here's what I ended up doing:

    Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mousse 

    Got Milk?

    Got Milk?

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    Craving Indian food? Tofu Tikka Masala Soup to the rescue!

    I've been craving Indian food for the last couple weeks so I was really excited to make this soup.  It is truly delicious.  Josh couldn't wait until tomorrow to have some, so he served himself up a big bowl as an afternoon snack.  He LOVED it!   I used hot curry powder, so our soup had a little kick ... YUM!

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Portobella Pizzas

    We tried this recipe that I found on Pinterest. They were good - not super filling, a nice light meal.  The highlight of this recipe for me was the Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce.  I could have just eaten the sauce all night with a spoon.  I've been dreaming of other ways to use the cashew sauce, so be on the lookout for future posts that feature it. 

    Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
    • 8 Portabella mushrooms
    • 2 cups pizza sauce

    Cuban Style Garbanzos

    This recipe originated from Josh's Cuban family.  This is hands-down the best method to prepare Chickpeas/Garbanzos EVER.  Seriously, if we could bottle it and sell it - we would be rich. ;)

    Josh’s Cuban Garbanzos:
    15 oz. can garbanzos (Do NOT drain)
    ½ yellow onion, diced

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Eat your veggies!

    Our dinner menu for this evening included grilled tofu, a baked potato and a vegetable.  As I strolled the produce section of Whole Foods, trying to decide what vegetable to make tonight, I passed by all of my go-to veggies ~ the asparagus, the zucchini, the kale...  Then, I spotted the brussels sprouts - one of my childhood favorites - I know, odd for a kid to like them, but my Mom made great brussels sprouts.  She used a combination of lemon, butter and salt and pepper and sauteed them in a frying pan.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Plant-Based Thanksgiving Substitutions

    We've been "plant based" for almost 5 months now and we are really enjoying it.  I've seen a lot of benefits - mainly the elimination of my acid reflux, heartburn and other unpleasant GI symptoms of my past, and an overall happy conscience knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of my delicious meals.  :)

    With our 5 month "plant-based anniversary" comes Thanksgiving and the beginning of the wonderful holiday season.  This may present somewhat of a challenge, but I'm up for it!

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Smoky Refried Bean ~ Soup of the Week!

    (THANK YOU to the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for this recipe)

    I made this today and it is really delicious.  I love the smokiness of the chipotle peppers and the flavor of the fire-roasted tomatoes.  The chipotle peppers make this soup very spicy so you might want to gradually add them to the recipe until you reach your preferred level of heat.

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    These little morsels did the trick!

    We allow ourselves to splurge a little bit on the weekend and I was really craving something sweet and cookie-like this weekend.  I came across this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks back and was SUPER skeptical.  The main ingredient ... chickpeas.  I know what you're thinking because I had the same thoughts. 

    Irish White Bean & Cabbage Stew

    For the past few Sundays, I've been making big batches of homemade soups for our workweek lunches.  It's been working out great and I've gotten to try all kinds of new soup recipes in the process.  I was really impressed with this one - it reminds me of one of my old favorite "non-plant based" soups - Rachel Ray's Stuffed Cabbage Stoup, minus the meat, of course!  This is a nice, hearty soup - chocked full of healthy ingredients and it's fat free to boot!  Enjoy!

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    I love this ad on Prop 37!

    Best part of the clip:
    "If there's nothing wrong with GMO's, why not put it on the label?  MADE WITH GMO'S!!!"

    Mujaddara - Lebanese Lentil Dish


    Josh made this dish for us tonight and it was simple yet scrumptious! We used brown rice and added some chopped fresh jalapeƱos on top (because Josh likes all his food spicy) and it was a delicious addition. I have to admit, this recipe was a bit laborious, but it was totally worth it.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Another Yummy Organic Girl Salad

    Thank you Organic Girl - I have a new favorite salad mix.  This is a peppery, nutty and overall fantastic salad blend!

    Delicious Zucchini "Pasta"

    I got the idea from Pinterest for zucchini pasta, so I came up with this recipe and it was pretty impressive.  You'll need a julienne peeler or a fancy spiral vegetable slicer (see below) ...

    3-4 medium zucchinis
    1-2 tbs. Olive Oil

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Butternut Squash Soup

    This thick and creamy Fall soup will quickly become a favorite!

    4-5 lbs. butternut squash, halved and seeded

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    OMG Plant-Based Ice Cream

    I found this fantastic recipe on Pinterest for dairy free ice cream and was so excited to try it tonight. Ice cream is probably my biggest weakness which made eliminating dairy pretty painful at first.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Great cartoon!


    I love this cartoon by Mike Adams.  This serves as a good reminder to read labels and know what's in the food you buy.  If you come across a food label with an ingredient that you cannot pronounce or are disgusted when you Google it - leave it on the shelf!  Your best bet is to avoid all processed food products - find a recipe, buy nutritious ingredients and make it yourself!

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Helloooo Pinterest!

    I created a Board on Pinterest for everything Plant-Based.

    Here's a link to it - Happy Pinning!

    Seeing purple all summer ...

    I meant to post this picture a few weeks back.  I've never had any luck growing eggplant - until this year!  I'm going to give the credit to my Organic Fertilizer - Garden Tone by Espoma.  See the link below for information on how to purchase it.

    We had eggplants ALL summer.  They were beautiful, big and delicious. 

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Yummy Baked Tofu

    Just wanted to share our favorite baked tofu - it's SoyBoy brand (NON-GMO) marinated in Caribbean spices. It's pretty good grilled.  For dinner tonight, we had grilled Caribbean tofu, a baked yukon gold potato and brussel sprouts with fresh lemon and black pepper.  YUM!

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Ajvar Spread

    While visiting friends recently, they introduced us to Ajvar Spread (pronounced eye-var).  It's a roasted red pepper spread with eggplant and it's delicious.  It doesn't contain any suspect ingredients, just roasted red peppers, roasted eggplant, salt, vinegar, vegetable oil and spices. 

    You can find it at some International Markets.  We got it from Jerusalem Market in Greensboro, NC.  This brand is VaVa.

    We made fresh baked bread and then, made a sandwich with ajvar, grilled eggplant and grilled portobello mushroom.  YUMMM!


    Another fabulous African meal

    A while back I posted a recipe for Vegan Maffe, made with Kitchens of Africa sauce (a local company that sells their products at Whole Foods).

    Shiitake Lemongrass Miso Soup

    I tried this recipe over the weekend since Josh & I were under the weather.  It was fantastic, very flavorful, and satisfying.  Lemongrass is amazing...

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

    Peanut Butter Cookies (Vegan)

    We tried these peanut butter cookies a couple months ago and they were really good.  If you know anything about Vegan desserts, they are often very involved, time-consuming and include special ingredients.  This recipe is awesome because it's quick and easy and it doesn't have any uncommon ingredients.  I'm anxious to try substituting the applesauce with bananas (Heather's idea, not mine).

    Thank you Chocolate Covered Katie for the recipe!

    peanut butter cookies
    Peanut Butter Secrets
    Delicious peanut butter cookies!
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 3 tbsp whole-wheat pastry flour (or white or a gf mix)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar (Brown Sugar is not vegan)
    • 2 tbsp applesauce
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • optional: pinch salt (Taste the batter to decide.)
    Mix dry ingredients very well. Then add wet and form cookie balls. If you want soft cookies, fridge the dough for at least an hour. Then bake in a preheated oven (350F) for 8 minutes. They’ll look underdone when you take them out, but that’s ok. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from tray.

    To keep them soft, store leftover cookies in a plastic container. This recipe will make about 15-22 cookies, depending on how big you roll them. (For 22 cookies, they’ll have 50 calories per cookie.)

    Perfect Fall Soup

    Butternut Squash with Kale & White Bean Soup


    Fire up the Grill!

    There is nothing better than grilled veggies!  Before throwing them on the grill, season them with sea salt, rosemary, and a little olive oil.  Enjoy them on a homemade panini, toss them in with a salad, make fajitas or eat them just the way they are. The possibilities are endless and delicious.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    If You Eat Food, This is Your Fight.

    We are entering the home stretch of the most important food policy fight in your lifetime. Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, is a November 6 grassroots-powered, citizens’ ballot initiative that has huge implications for the future of food in this country.  Read More...

    You can donate here to fight Monsanto:

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    I love OrganicGirl!

    I just thought I would share another one of my favorite products... OrganicGirl greens and salad mixes are the best. Not just because they're organic but because they have some truly delicious, healthful and original salad mixes!   Our favorites are the Super Greens mix and the Baby Arugula. If you visit OrganicGirl's website and join their email list - you'll get a coupon for signing up and then periodically by email.


    A new, exciting twist on hummus...

    Whole Foods was sampling "roots" brand of hummus last week and I fell in love. The roots brand "Thai Coconut Curry" hummus was fantastic. Very different than traditional hummus and very addictive. It's made in Asheville so it's a local company to us North Carolinians! Give it a try - I bought some of those sea salt lentil chips to eat it with and it was a great, healthy snack!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Good for India! When is the US going to smarten up?

    India Moves to Not Only Label GMO Foods, But to Ban GMO Crops as Well

    In very bad news for Monsanto, India, the largest agricultural nation in the world, not only plans to label GMO foods, but appears likely to ban GMO crops as well.

    Read more

    FABULOUS & EASY Lentil Soup Recipe

    This soup was so delicious that I had to post it!  With Fall right around the corner, I'm excited to have a new soup in my recipe arsenal.  As you can tell from my terrible BlackBerry photography, I test all recipes before posting them here.  :)

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 pound lentils, rinsed (I used the beautiful Autumn Blend from Whole Foods)
    • 8 cups water 
    • Vegan Bouillon Cubes (I used 3 of Rapunzel brand with Sea Salt & Herbs)*
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander 
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Our "Kind" Labor Day weekend...

    We had a fantastic Labor Day weekend with our family and it was completely plant-based!  It was awesome to be able to get together and eat healthy!

    Here was the menu for our main course:
    • Quinoa Black Bean burgers with guacamole (Kind Life recipe previously posted)
    • Grilled mixed veggie kabobs with a ginger soy marinade (from Rachel Ray's Soba Noodle Salad Recipe)
    • Marinated Italian Eggplant Salad (I did my best to duplicate the post below)
    • Arugula Salad with Israeli Couscous in a lemon dijon shallot vinaigrette
    For dessert we had some delicious soft peanut butter cookies.

    See my September post for Peanut Butter Cookies for the recipe! 


    Friday, August 31, 2012

    One of my new favorite things on the Whole Foods Bar!

    This salad was outstanding - it kind of reminded me of Cucumber Tomato Salad!

    I'm attempting to make it tonight - we'll see how it turns out!

    UPDATE:  I think I got it close. Here's what I did:
    • 1 large raw eggplant (peeled and cubed)
    • 3 heirloom tomatoes, chopped (an orange, a yellow and a red)
    • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
    • 2 tablespoons of honey
    • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley
    • S&P to taste
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup EVOO
    • 4 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)
    Combine last 5 ingredients and whisk. Add in the raw veggies until evenly covered with dressing and refrigerate a few hours before serving.

    Tell Congress: No Free Pass for Monsanto!

    Please take a few moments to read the information on this site and watch the video. They're adding more and more genetically modified crops everyday. Do your part and take action against GMOs!

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    STOP - Read These Very Compelling Statistics!

    The Facts About Eating Animal Products
    These were too good not to share... I put the most interesting ones in BLUE.

    The Hunger Argument:
    Number of People worldwide who will die of starvation this year: 60 million
    Number of people who could be adequately fed with the grain saved if Americans reduced meat intake by 10%:
    60 million
    Human beings in America: 296 million
    Number of people who could be fed with grain and soybeans now eaten by US livestock: 1.3 billion

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Most Common Genetically Modified Foods

    Curious about which foods are most commonly genetically modified?  Find out by reviewing
    Step 1 of the WikiHow - how to avoid Genetically modified foods

    Here's a link to the USDA Organic website for consumers which answered a lot of the questions I had.  For example, in order for a product to be labeled "Organic", the product must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients.  Happy reading!

    USDA Organic Website for Consumers

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Edamame Salad with Mint

    I found this recipe on the "What did you eat" blog - it was adapted from a recipe in Sunset Magazine.

    This stuff is delicious, quick and perfect as a side or just a healthy snack.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Fast Plant-Based Meal - Vegan Maffe

    On a recent shopping trip to Whole Foods, they were sampling some food and to our surprise, it was something Vegan!  It was a local company that sells yummy bottled sauces that make a quick Vegan meal.  It was super delicious when we tried it at the store and couldn't wait to make it at home! 

    Plastics, BPA, Phthalates... what you should know

    We recently watched the"Bag It" documentary and it was super interesting.  The documentary explained that plastic bags are really not disposable and they're terrible for the environment.  I'm sure a lot of people already know this. 

    The documentary evolved  into researching BPA and phthalates and what he found was extremely interesting.  His wife was pregnant during the documentary so they were very interested in trying to figure out how much BPA and phthalates were getting into their bodies.  Now, most of us know that it's important to avoid heating up food in plastic containers, re-using plastic water bottles, etc.  But, did you know that there are phthalates in your shampoo, deodorant, perfume, cosmetics, hair products, etc?  Pretty much any products that list "Fragrance/Parfum" as an ingredient means there could be phthalates as well as a whole slew of other chemicals in it.  Phthalates are the ingredients that help the scent bond to something, like your skin.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    Yummy Plant Based/Vegan Snack

    These seaweed snacks can be found at Whole Foods and they are delicious.  They are not very filling, but they are perfect for that salty craving.  There are a couple different brands available, but this one is my favorite. If you're a big fan of sushi, you'll probably love this snack.  If you are not a huge sushi lover, the taste and consistency might throw you off a little.  It has somewhat of a fishy taste...