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Mom2Mom

 

Today is The Great American Meat Out, a day which is celebrated across the globe to encourage people to give veganism a try and educates the public on the benefits of eliminating animal products from their lives.  While I am not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian myself, I do try to work in meatless meals a few times a week.  Why?  For a few reasons:

 
  1. I believe making a couple of my weekly meals meatless because fruit and vegetables tend to be lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than meat.
  2. Eliminating meat from a few meals each week helps to cut my grocery bill down.  Let’s face it, meat is one of the most expensive items in the grocery store.
 

To celebrate The Great American Meat Out, I’ve collected some recipes that can be prepared as vegetarian or vegan–however you prefer.  In case you’re not yet familiar with the difference, vegetarian means no meat is used in the recipe.  Vegan means no animal products of any kind (this includes dairy, eggs, and honey) are used in the recipe.

 

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a Rolly Veggie Cannelloni that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Lasagna noodles are wrapped around chopped spinach, grated carrots, and ricotta cheese.  A savory tomato sauce is spooned over the cannelloni and they are baked for 30 minutes.  To make this recipe into a vegan version, substitute seasoned tofu for the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.

 

rolly_veggie_cannelloni_500
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale is a dish packed with goodness.  Roasted spaghetti squash is combined with sautéed shallots, chickpeas, and kale in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, chili flakes, sun dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper,

 

spaghetti squash
Courtesy of Love and Lemons

 

Enchilada Stuffed Grilled Portobello Mushrooms are perfect for the Mexican food fan.  These meaty mushrooms are very filling, especially when combined with the black beans and corn.  Enchilada sauce is drizzled on top of each mushroom and you can top each with shredded Monterey jack cheese or seasoned tofu to make the recipe vegan.

 

Enchilada-Stuffed-Grilled-Portobello-Mushrooms-3-600x900
Courtesy of Sweet Peas and Saffron

 

If you like something with an Asian flare, you’ll love this Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai with Peanuts and Basil.  For the Pad Thai you’ll use brown rice noodles, zucchini, red bell pepper, onion, carrots, peanuts, oil, egg (or arrowroot powder to keep it vegan), and fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, and green onions.  For the sauce you’ll need fish sauce (or a vegan fish sauce substitute), brown sugar, vegetable broth, white vinegar, soy sauce, and chili paste.  You’re going to spiralize the veggies and cook everything in a stir fry pan, adding the peanuts at the very end.

 

Vegetarian-Pad-Tha-1-2-600x900
Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

 

I hope you’ll add these and other meatless recipes to your menu lineup.  I’m back next week with some recipes in celebration of National Spinach Day.

 

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Yes, I know I’m one week early, but since we changed the clocks yesterday to “spring” forward, I’m ready to launch into a new season!  This time of year is perfect for fresh, new meal ideas.  Think lighter fare, packed with plenty of healthy fruit and veggies.  As we usher in spring, we also see a whole new variety of fresh produce come into season.  To kick start your healthy eating habits, I’ve got a few perfect recipe ideas that take advantage of fruit and vegetables that are or will be at their peak of flavor during the next few months.

 

Balsamic Spring Vegetable Salad is hearty enough for a dinner entrée.  Red potatoes, asparagus, arugula, avocado, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas are the basis of your salad.  A dressing is created from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  An added bonus is how beautifully this dish presents.

 

balsamic spring vegetable salad
Courtesy of Pumpkin and Peanut Butter

 

This healthy Spring Veggie Frittata is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Egg whites, eggs, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, garlic powder, dried thyme, and salt are combined and then baked for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Serve this dish with fresh fruit at breakfast or a side salad at lunch or dinner.

 

spring-veggie-frittata-socia8l
Courtesy of Pancake Warriors

 

Spring Confetti Salad is a delicious mix of flavors, colors, and textures.  Sauteed asparagus, shallots, arugula or mixed greens, kale, shredded red cabbage, sliced watermelon radishes, chickpeas, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and pistachios create your salad.  A simple dressing is made from olive oil, lemon juice, plenty of ground black pepper, and salt to taste.

 

Spring+Confetti+Salad+-+edibleperspective
Courtesy of Edible Perspective

 

Next week I’ll have some terrific meatless recipes to celebrate The Great American Meat Out (3/20).

 

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March is National Frozen Food Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to discover ways to add frozen fruit and veggies to your recipes.  Frozen fruit and vegetables are obviously a great convenience–they can be found when different produce are not in season and readily available in their fresh form.  However, studies have shown that overall, frozen produce are also nutritionally comparable to their fresh counterparts, another reason to stock up on frozen fruit and veggies!  In case you’re not familiar with using frozen produce, I’ve gathered a few recipes that specifically use frozen fruit and/or veggies.

 

California Blend Vegetable Casserole is a really flavorful side dish and simple to make.  California blend veggies contain broccoli, sliced carrots, and cauliflower.  In addition to the veggie blend, you’ll add chopped onion, melted butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and garlic pepper. You’ll fold in crushed Ritz crackers and shredded cheddar cheese and put in a well oiled casserole dish.  Bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and cheese is melted.

 

Casserole21-682x1024
Courtesy of Bitz n Giggles

 

 

This version of Vegetable Soup uses a nice blend of fresh and frozen veggies.  You’ll use fresh garlic, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, and parsley, but then also add frozen peas, green beans, and corn.  Add vegetable broth, canned, diced tomatoes, and additional spices like thyme and bay leaf for flavor.

 

vegetable-soup2-srgb.1
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

 

When it comes to smoothies, frozen fruit is always your friend.  This Berry Green Smoothie uses frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, fresh banana, fresh spinach, milk, old fashioned oats, and sugar to taste.

 

berry smoothie
Courtesy of Damn Delicious

 

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has a few more delicious recipes using frozen fruit and vegetables, including a wonderful dinner entrée of Penne Shrimp and Broccoli.  I’ll be back next week with some healthy spring meal ideas as we move to a new season.

 

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Pineapples are a favorite because of their sweet flavor and versatility in recipes.  You can just as easily use them in a dessert as you can as a topping to a fish or chicken entrée.  Important to note, is how nutritious pineapples are–they are naturally fat free, cholesterol free, very low in sodium, and high in vitamin C.  It just so happens that pineapples are easily available year-round, but Caribbean grown pineapples are in season December though February (and again August through September), while Hawaiian grown pineapples come into season during April and May.

 

Pineapple puts a sweet twist in this version of spinach salad.  Pineapple Spinach Salad uses fresh spinach, fresh pineapple chunks, feta cheese, and toasted, sugared pecans for the base.  A dressing is made from olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, dry mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper.

 

pineapple spinach salad
Courtesy of The Food Charlatan

 

Easy Pineapple Fried Rice is vegan and gluten free.  Once you try this recipe, you’ll never want take-out again!  Cooked rice, fresh or canned pineapple chunks, minced garlic, diced red onion, grated fresh ginger, chopped green onion, diced carrots, red chili pepper flakes, and soy sauce are what give this dish its amazing flavor.

 

vegan-pineapple-fried-rice
Courtesy of Vegan Huggs

 

This Healthy Pineapple Smoothie is perfect for breakfast or as a snack.  It’s packed with fresh pineapple, banana, Greek yogurt, ice, and pineapple juice.  Make this delicious drink in 5 minutes.

 

pineapple smoothie
Courtesy of My Fridge Food

 

Need more ideas for using pineapple?  Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has their Top 10 Ways, which includes a salsa recipe and pineapple slaw.  I’m back next week with some ways to use frozen fruit and veggies in your recipes.

 

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Here’s a fun fact: According to the USDA, each American eats 112 pounds of potatoes each year.  Pretty impressive, right?  I suppose that’s one reason why February is Potato Lover’s Month.  The potato is really an amazing veggie–it’s incredibly versatile, filling, and quite nutritious.  Potatoes are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, high in vitamin C, and a good source of potassium.

 

potatoes
Courtesy of U.S. Potato Board

 

One popular potato recipe is potato soup.  The traditional version uses milk, heavy cream, and bacon or ham.  While the flavor is terrific, this is obviously not a low calorie/fat meal option.  If you’re looking for an alternative, I’ve got a great recipe you’ll want to try.  An added bonus is that this recipe is vegan–great for those who want to eliminate the meat and dairy completely. Plus, you’ll add some chopped kale–more flavor and more nutrition.

 

Creamy Dairy Free Potato Soup with Kale

 

Potato-Kale-Soup-683x1024
Courtesy of Veggie Inspired Journey

 

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup coconut milk
few dashes hot sauce

 

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and garlic with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a soup pot for a few minutes until they soften.
  2. Add carrot and celery and saute 3-4 more minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Add vegetable broth, potatoes, dill, celery salt, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree 1/4-1/3 of the soup to create a thick, creamy base.
  6. Add the corn and kale, stir to combine, and simmer 5 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add coconut milk.
  8. Top off with a few dashes of hot sauce.
 

I’ll be back next week with some great recipes featuring pineapple.

 

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We celebrate Valentine’s Day this month but even more importantly, February is American Heart Month.  Here’s an elegant, delicious, heart-healthy meal for two that will be sure to impress your significant other.

 

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has the perfect dinner entrée: Pan Seared Salmon and Apple Salad.  Salmon is known to be a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, helps to lower your risk of heart disease.  In addition, this recipe features whole wheat pasta, fresh greens, apples, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, as well as a dressing made from heart healthy olive oil, cider vinegar, apple juice, and spices.

 

pan_seared_salmon_apple_salad_500
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Berries are a source of antioxidants, so treat your heart with this delicious dessert–Heart Healthy Fruit Crisp.  In addition to the berries, you’ll add apples, oats, honey, coconut oil, spices, and chia seed, which is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

 

fruit crisp
Courtesy of Thank Your Body

 

I’ll leave you with a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control to help make your heart as healthy as it can be:

  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health (regular check ups are important!)
  • Add exercise to your daily routine
  • Increase healthy eating (this includes eating at home more frequently and choosing lower sodium options)
  • Take steps to quit smoking
  • Take medication as prescribed (for high blood pressure and cholesterol, specifically)
 

I’m back next Monday with a hearty, yet low-cal potato soup recipe to celebrate Potato Lover’s Month.

 

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We all know fruit and vegetables are an important part of our healthy lifestyle.  They provide much needed vitamins, minerals, and heart healthy fiber to our diets.  However, without proper storage, you’ll end up with more waste than benefits.  For the best fruit and veggie storage advice, I turn to the experts–Fruits & Veggies–More Matters.  One key rule to remember is FIFO: First In First Out.  And, this applies to all forms of fruit and veggies–fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. 

storing_1011
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

In addition to this rule, there are some other tips to keep in mind when dealing with specific forms.

 

Frozen:

  • Store at 0°F or less
  • Use before the “use by” date on the package
  • As a general rule, use within 6 months

Canned:

  • Check the “use by” date on the can
  • Most canned goods have a shelf life of about 2 years
  • Store at room temperature (75°F)

Dried:

  • Store in a cool, dry place (warmth makes the dried produce spoil faster)
  • Some dried foods may be refrigerated, check the package
  • Use before the “use by” date on the package
  • Most will last 4 months to a year

Fresh:

  • Specific fruit and veggies have specific storage requirements.  Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has created this printable handy chart to help you determine how to keep your produce fresh as long as possible
  • As a general rule use within a few days
 

By following these simple guidelines you’ll end up with fruit and veggies that are at their very best flavor and less waste, which means saving money!  I’ll be back next Monday with a heart healthy Valentine’s menu for your sweetheart.

 

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