Creamy White Bean Soup. Vegan

Recently I found out that you can substitute dairy cream in your recipes, using soaked cashews. I did it before in my desserts, but never tried it in regular dishes, until I made Mushroom Stroganoff. This method is amazing, because it makes you dishes taste amazingly good and people still can’t believe they eat super delicious food with no animal products in it.

Because of cold weather and laziness during these days, my easiest lunch is soup. It is always easy to make, everyone is full and happy after the big bowl of delicious winter soup, and also it gives me a little time for myself to do something besides cooking.

The recipe I am going to share with you today is special. This soup is vegan, gluten-free, healthy and still taste delicious, and it’s CREAMY!!! Who doesn’t like creamy soups? I love them, but they are always full of heavy cream, fats and calories. BOO!!!!

So this time you can make super delicious CREAMY SOUP, and enjoy it without any guilt, because it’s free of any bad ingredients for your health and body!!!!

Creamy White Bean Soup.

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Ingredients:

coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped basil
1½ tsp dried sage
¼ tsp salt
3½ cups vegetable broth
3 cups white beans ( cooked or canned)
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup water
5 cups shredded kale
Salt & Pepper

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Soak cashews in water for 6-8 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to make the soup. Sauté  onions and garlic with a little coconut oil.

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Add the basil, sage, salt, broth, beans, and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the soaked cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the cashew cream and kale to the soup and mix to combine. Cover and turn the heat off. Let it sit for about five minutes. Soup is ready to serve.

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The Best Health and Fitness Applications for Your Phone.

I guess almost everyone has smartphones nowadays, and sometimes we can’t imagine our life without it.

This gadget is part of you, and it helps you in many cases.

I love to use my iphone for different aplications about health, fitness, exercising, healthy recipes etc.

Today, I would love to share with you some that I personally use and find them cool and useful.

Fooducate.

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My favorite app.

Reading food labels is important, but it’s also time intensive. Fooducate helps speed things up. Use it to scan an item’s bar, and not only will it offer a quick nutritional rundown, but it will also give the food a grade and highlight important details, such as serving size, GMOs etc.

This app is available for iPhone and Android.

Nike Training Club.

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This is the best app for exercising anywhere: home, gym, travelling.

Choose individual workouts, or select a targeted, structured four-week or 30 day program to help you get lean, toned or strong in 30 days. Add running to boost your results. Customize workouts with the drills you prefer. See the results, and celebrate your progress with your friends.

Featuring more than 100 workouts by Nike Master Trainers and world-class athletes like Maria Sharapova, with all the instruction and motivation you need to blast through your fitness goals. Take control of your training with Nike+ Training Club.

My fitness Pal

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Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for iPhone. With the largest food database of any iPhone calorie counter (over 3,000,000 foods), and amazingly fast food and exercise entry, we’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app – period.

PepperPlate.

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Channel your inner foodie with this all-in-one kitchen tool kit: import recipes from websites, food blogs or Word documents, then put them in a weekly or monthly menu planner. Tap ‘add to shopping list’ and the ingredients appear on your grocery menu.

Locavore

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LOCAVORE is the easiest way to find local, in-season food. Pinpoint nearby farmers’ markets & farms that sell the products you love. Discover seasonal recipes.

 

MyHealthyHabbit.

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Whether you’re trying to eat more fruits and veggies or drink more water, this app can help you reachyour goal. Choose a habit and the program monitors your progress in 21-day increment, sending out reminders, motivational messages and tips to help you stay the course.

These are my favorite health and fitness apps.

Share what are your favorite health and fitness apps.

 

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff.

Comfort winter dinner dish. Because my hubby LOVES mushrooms I cook them very often, and this recipe is one of the best I have ever tried. We never have leftovers of this mushroom stroganoff. It’s not only a delicious dish, it’s also completely vegan, gluten free and healthy dinner option.

Enjoy!!!!

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch fine sea salt
1 1/2 pound assorted mushrooms
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups mushroom broth or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place cashews in a small bowl and cover by about 1 inch with boiling water. Let soak 30 minutes. Drain, discarding soaking liquid. In a blender, combine cashews, 1/4 cup water, vinegar and salt, and blend until smooth; add more water a tablespoon at a time as needed to make a cashew cream.

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Cut the mushrooms. Place mushrooms and onions in a heavy pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown; add broth a few tablespoons at a time to keep mushrooms from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook, adding more broth as needed, until mushrooms are browned and softened, 10 to 12 minutes.

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Stir in remaining broth, mustard, paprika and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until mushrooms are very tender and sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in a cashew cream.

Serve with quinoa or brown rice.

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Green Tips for Safer Use of Plastics with Food.

I am trying to avoid plastic in my kitchen at all, but if you still use it, follow these tips:

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 Don’t mix hot foods and plastic.

Putting hot foods or drinks in plastic containers is never a good idea. The chemicals and additives in plastics are not especially stable. They are released when the plastic is heated and then leach into the food or drink. That’s not good for anyone. Fatty foods and plastics are the worst combination of all because the chemicals in plastics are more soluble in fat, so they leach greater amounts of those chemicals into fatty foods.

Microwaving. Putting plastics in the microvave is a no-no unless you wish to season your food or drink with chemicals. Plastics labeled ‘microwave safe’ are supposed to be safer, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any leaching going on. Glass and ceramic containers are the best for use in the microwave.

Serving. Serving hot foods and drinks in plastic is a prescription for chemical ingestion. Harder plastics are safer, but all plastics leach. Glass, ceramic, and stainless steel serving dishes are the most functional, food-friendly choices. They look nice, too.

Storing. When storing leftovers in plastic containers, wait for the food to cool to room temperature before putting it in the container. That way, you’ll avoid heating up the plastic and minimize the leaching.

Dodge the dishwasher.

Hand wash plastic items instead. It’s simple-don’t put plastics in the dishwasher, wash them by hand. Hot water and the detergents used in automatic dishwashers break down plastics and increase chemicals leaching. Wash plastic items by hand, using a sponge that won’t scratch them.

Rethink plastic water bottles.

Plastic water bottles are the bane of eco-green living, and they are pretty impossible to avoid. The reality is that we require fluids to live, and we need something to carry them in. Plastic bottles are the ubiquitous standard, but glass and stainless steel water bottles are great green options that let you avoid ingesting the chemicals that migrate from plastic and contributing to the piles of waste created by thirsty people everywhere. Glass bottles are an ideal substitute that can be used many times before recycling, but of course they are also breakable. Stainless steel is not only impervious to breaking, it;s long lasting and safe to tote around everywhere.

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I personally use these bottles for my family:

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
If you do use plastic water bottles, avoid letting it heat up in inderect sunlight, especially in the car.

Use less plastic Cling Wrap.

Plastic wrap is a mainstay in kitchens everywhere, though its clingy convenience comes at quite a cost.  Most plastic wraps are made with the worst kind of plastics, which are laden with softening chemicals like phthalates and plasticizers that are belied to readily migrate into foods.Reusable glass containers with lids and unbleached waxed paper are great, greener alternative for storing food. Aluminum foil can also be used and then recycled, though it should not come in direct contact with hot foods because it is a soft metal that can leach into the food and cross the blood-brain barrier.

Baked Falafel With Tahini Sauce.

Falafel  is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; “falafel” also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads,pickledvegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack.

Falafel is a common dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food.

First I tried Falafel when I came to US. It didn’t taste good to me, because of being deep-fried. I can still feel this greasy oily taste. Some time passed and I tried it again at one local deli place in our area, which has the best falafel wraps, with the super delicious tahini sauce. It tasted really good, but I knew falafel is still deep-fried and probably in some canola or soy oil, that I am trying to avoid.

I decided to make the healthy version of this Middle Eastern food by myself.

1. Instead of deep-frying I baked it.

2. I used lettuce leaves instead of pita and wraps.

3. I made my own raw tahini sauce, that taste amazing.

After trying this falafel, I am not buying any others anymore.

Baked Falafel With Tahini Sauce.

1/2 cup chopped basilic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup pistachio nuts
2 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned
1 garlic cloves
1/2 small yellow onion
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbs. buckwheat flour (or another flour of choice)
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the herbs in a food processor. Add the pistachio nuts and pulse again to chop.

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Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, oil, cumin, flour and baking soda and blend for thirty seconds, scraping down sides when necessary. You want the mixture a bit rough.

Using your hands, form 20 small round falafels. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned.

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Tahini Sauce:

2,5 tbs. low-sodium tamari

2tbs.raw apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

1/3 cup chopped white onion

1/3 cup raw tahini

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2/3 cup water.

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Make your wraps with the lettuce leaves, cabbage or pita with a generous spread of the sauce and any kind of salad, salsa etc.

I served ours with red cabbage salad.

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5 Super Healthy Foods for Kids.

For many parents, buying and preparing healthy foods is pretty easy. It’s getting your child to actually eat those nutritious foods that’s the hard part! This makes mealtimes frustrating and leaves parents often wondering if their child is getting enough nutrients. If this is the case in your home, then read on because I will tell you about 5 super healthy foods that I guarantee even your pickiest child will eat.

1. Flaxseeds.

This nutty plant food is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are needed for optimal brain development. Flaxseed is sold whole and ground, but research suggests that ground is absorbed by the body better. Try sprinkling ground flaxseed onto cereal or into the batter of sweet treats like Oatmeal Almond Cookies. Replace 1/4 cup of flour with ground flaxseed in your child’s favorite muffin, bread, or pancake recipe to add a healthy boost to baked goods.

2. Sweet Potato.

This spud is one of the most nutritious (and inexpensive) vegetables around. The Vitamin A in sweet potatoes keeps eyes healthy, and acts like an antioxidant in the body. Sweet potatoes are a favorite among babies because of their natural sweetness and bright color, but they are often forgotten once kids get older. Try my sweet potato tots the next time you need a side dish. Apple sauce or a drizzle of maple syrup make good toppings.

3.Hummus.

This heart-healthy dip and spread is one food that most kids will eat – as long as you don’t tell them it’s made from beans! But it’s the fiber, complex carbs, and protein in those garbanzo bean—combined with heart-healthy olive oil—that make hummus such a perfect food. The complex carbs fuel your busy little one, while the protein and fiber help keep him content and meltdown-free until dinner. Serve hummus as a dip with baked pita chips or carrots or use it in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps. My daughter loves it with veggie burgers or baked potatoes.

4.Avocado.

Avocado is full of monounsaturated fats, the “good” fats that kids actually need in their diet every day. In fact, it’s recommended that 25 to 35% of kid’s calories come from fats, primarily the unsaturated ones. So how do you get your child to eat this creamy green fruit? The easiest way for me to spread on a toast, instead of cream cheese. Toast with avocado my daughter’s favorite breakfast. We like to make quacamole also, but to make it even more nutritional I add some chopped kale.  Start kids on avocado early since fat intake is particularly important in the early years. In fact, ripe avocado is a perfect baby food spooned straight out of its peel.

5.Mango.

One cup of this sweet tropical fruit provides almost a whole day’s supply of Vitamin C which helps keep kids’ immune systems running strong and keeps teeth and gums healthy. It also provides 3 grams of fiber for just around 100 calories. Buy fresh to serve cut up or in dessert like my Raw Mango Coconut Lime Tart. Want a fun way to cool your kids off and provide a nutritious snack? Puree peeled cubes of mango in a food processor or blender; pour into popsicle molds or ice cube trays and freeze. In a few hours, you’ve got frozen mango pops!

Here is a comfort kids food recipe that I came with last weekend. I was planning to make zucchini pancakes, but didn’t want to use any oil, so I made zucchini muffins, which I served with hummus. Sophia loved them, even she got sick, and didn’t have any appetite at all.

Baked zucchini muffins:

Ingredients:

2 shredded zucchini

1 shredded carrot

1/2 chopped onion

1 glove of garlic

3 tablespoons chickpeas flour ( or any other kind)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg.

Homemade hummus for serving.

Heat the oven to 350F. Mix all the ingredients in the food processor. Pour the batter into muffin forms. ( I used silicone ones). Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with hummus or any kind of spread.

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Green and Safe Cookware. Silicone.

Making and eating healthy food is not enough to be healthy. Have you ever thought about cookware that you use preparing your food?

Good cookware is the cornerstone of the kitchen. Whether your finesse in the kitchen is limited to basic pasta or extends to five-course meals paired with perfect wine, choosing the right pots, pans, and ovenware os not only essential for consistent results, it’s a key influence on personal and planetary health.

I would like to talk about Silicone bakeware today, because I used to think it loads with tons of chemicals. To my surprise, I was wrong and let me tell you why.

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Silicone bakeware is strangely rubbery and needs no chemical coating to make it nonstick. It’s hard to believe it doesn’t melt in the oven or give gases like mad, but so far the verdict is that the stuff is safe. Silicone is made basically from sand. It’s inert and doesn’t react with food or heat. It may be hard for more traditional chefs and home cooks to accept these rubbery muffin and Bundt pans. But silicone has some attractive properties:

1. It’s nonstick and nonreactive.

2. It doesn’t retain odors or flavors.

3. It’s stain resistant.

4. It distributes heat evenly.

5. It’s dishwasher safe.

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Silicone is impervious to extreme thermal changes-it can go from freezer to piping hot oven and back again. It’s pretty nifty and pretty indestructible stuff-I mean, you could throw it on the floor and it would bounce.

By the way, silicone rubber spatulas are fantastically long lasting, heat resistant, and a safe, green alternative to plastic ones. They come in fun colors, too.

Silicone bakeware is probably number 1 in my kitchen so far.

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