My name is Renae Long, I am a wife and a mother of three boys. February 29, 2016, my husband suffered a massive heart attack. His cardiologist told us we needed to change the way we eat, in order to reverse his heart disease. Over the next two weeks we made some big changes, tossing everything we had been taught about food out the window. Follow me as we take on the challenge of a whole food plant based lifestyle and learn how great a body can be! HeartHealthy TheHeartieKitchen ❤️ur❤️
This is a photo I snapped yesterday at Costco when I noticed these boxes screaming about how much protein they contain.
But, do you actually know how much protein your body needs, or if you are consuming too much?
We only need .8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. (The Recommended Daily Allowance) Thats all! I actually sat down and tallied mine up yesterday. You will be shocked to know with my plant based diet, I was slightly over the RDA.
So what happens to all that excess protein the average American consumes? No worries, it’s usually stored as fat. Is there a difference between plant protein and animal protein? Yes, of course and heart disease is just one of the risks associated with animal protein.
Don’t follow the latest marketing hype, don’t worry about your protein! Where are you getting your fiber? Here’s a hint….no animal products contain fiber.
I spotted some big beautiful heads of cabbage while grocery shopping this week and decided I would try my hand at some cabbage rolls. Some of my childhood years were spent in Toledo Ohio, home of Tony Packos, made famous by Jamie Farr from his days on MASH. I had my first taste of cabbage rolls in the original Tony Packos. Those cabbage rolls from years ago were definitely not plant based, but this recipe fulfilled the taste test in our kitchen as a heart healthy substitute.
Mushrooms and lentils give a meaty texture and flavor. As I have said before I always make my lentils and quinoa in my rice cooker. This time I used 2 cups of dry lentils to 4 1/2 cups of water and once those were finished I did a quick turn around for the rice cooker and got the quinoa started with the same quantities. I did have more lentils and quinoa than I needed for this recipe. You will only need 1 cup of each cooked. Put the left overs in the refrigerator and you can toss them in a buddha bowl later in the week. While the lentils were in the rice cooker, I chopped up the mushrooms and onions, and got them sautéing in a skillet with the minced garlic. Add a little bit of water or vegetable broth if needed to the skillet to prevent sticking. I also trimmed the outer leaves off the cabbage, cut out the stem and put it in a big pot to steam with about 3 inches of water.
Once the lentils and quinoa were done I added 1 cup of each of them to the skillet with the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Add all the seasonings at this point, including the fire roasted tomatoes, mix well and heat through. Taste the mix and see if it needs any more seasonings, adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.
After the head of cabbage steamed I slowly pulled the leaves off and got them ready for the filling. Some of the leaves had thick stems so I cut them out leaving a triangle shape at the base of the leaf. I used a 1/3 cup measure to fill each leaf, roll up from the bottom over the filling , then roll the sides over and then roll from the bottom away from yourself. The cabbage leaves want to roll up this direction all by themselves.
I poured pasta sauce into the bottom of my 9 x 13 pan, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking. Roll the cabbage rolls up and place them seam side down in the pan, placing them close enough together that they stay rolled up.
Drizzle pasta sauce over the top and cover with foil. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour and then its best to let them sit for just a couple of minutes to cool down before serving.
•1 large head cabbage
•1 cup cooked lentils
•1 cup cooked quinoa
•3 cups diced mushrooms
•1 medium yellow onion
•3 tsp. minced garlic
•2 Tbsp. tamari
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
•2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
•2 Tbsp. parsley, dried
•1 can fire roasted tomatoes
•1 jar pasta sauce
•1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
Prepare the lentils and quinoa
Remove the core from the head of cabbage and place it in approximately 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Allow to steam for approximately 20 min. until the leaves come off easily.
In a large skillet cook onion, garlic and mushrooms, 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
Add the lentils and quinoa to the mushroom mixture, stir to combine.
Add the tamari, smoked paprika, dijon mustard, dried parsley, and fire roasted tomatoes. Mix well and heat through.
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Peel a leaf off of the cabbage head and place it onto a work surface with the stem side facing you. Trim any very thick portions of the leaf near the base. Spoon 1/3 cup of filling onto the center of the leaf. Fold the base side over the filling, then wrap the sides inward over the filling. Roll the center away from you to wrap everything up. Place the roll, seam side down, into the baking dish. Repeat until all of the filling is used.
Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the rolls, cover and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Our kitchen has been full of hummus lately. We have been experimenting with different flavors of hummus, always starting with a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas. Save the liquid when you drain the chickpeas, if the mixture needs a little liquid you can use this (aquafaba) in small amounts until you get the desired consistancy. I have read several recipes recently where the author discusses to peel or not to peel the chickpeas. Most of the time I hardly see any skins in the canned chickpeas so I don’t bother taking them out. Just pop them in the Vitamix with everything else and mix away. Most hummus recipes use tahini and I have used it in the past, it will give your hummus a more creamy texture. However, tahini is basically oil and adds about 90 calories per tablespoon so we skip it. The orange juice and orange zest mixed with chickpeas gives this hummus a slight hint of sweet and a follow up of tang. Serve up some hummus with your favorite chips or veggies and enjoy!
This is our latest burger. We are always trying new recipes, tweaking, and then trying again. My freezer is sometimes full of things I’ve tried and then I can’t wait to make it again and change one thing. So into the freezer all the tests go. Thankfully I have lots of people who enjoy eating all the attempts. I have one son who says he basically eats experiments every time he’s home.
The first thing you want to do when making these burgers is to cook your rice in the rice cooker. I usually prepare 3 cups of uncooked rice which gives me more than enough. The mushrooms need to be pulsed in small batches through a food processor, you don’t want them to be paste, just minced. The onions need to be finely diced. This was my third attempt with this particular burger and I couldn’t bring myself to make another batch just to dice the onions finer. So in my photo you can see the onion…the burger will hold together better if they are finer.
Summer Savory seems to be a difficult spice to find, so be aware. The light sweet miso is sometimes found on the shelf and I have also found it in the refrigerator section, so just poke around or ask. I use a 1/2 cup measure to form my burgers so they all have the same amount of “meat”. Using the 1/2 cup measure this recipe makes 18-20 burgers. Freeze those leftovers to make for an easy dinner another day.
We eat burgers with 100% whole grain buns, usually some lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, some homemade hummus is always nice as well.
Homemade Veggie Chili is one of my favorites. It is my go to soup probably once every two weeks, because most of the ingredients I have readily on hand. It also makes a bunch so we have left overs to last us a couple of days and it is perfect to send along for lunch. Don’t let the long ingredient list overwhelm you, just go ahead and pull everything out before you start.
Typically I use minced garlic, just to make life easier than mincing my own. I purchased an electric can opener after about a year of our new way of eating. My wrist was so sore after preparing Christmas the first year that an electric one was the only way to go. I go through and open all the canned items while my fresh veggies are cooking. Get started draining and rinsing the beans. This is important, not only will it have an effect on the color of your soup but I have heard it can elevate some of the gas that sometimes comes with beans. Once rinsed and drained, put all the beans in a large bowl while they wait their turn to go into the soup. I use a small bowl and get all my seasonings ready ahead of time as well. I’m all about making things easy. Enjoy!
I haven’t used my panini press in years. I guess I always thought it would need oil, or at least in the past I always sprayed it with oil. Little did I realize I could get that same crisp outer crust without oil. I have also made this recipe on vacation (because its so easy) and used a skillet to brown the outside and amazingly did not need oil.
This recipe reminds me a bit of my “chicken salad” recipe. Once again the chickpeas all need to be smashed. I am continually trying to find an easy way to smash them. They must be smashed to get the consistency that works best. I was recently asked if the chickpeas need to be peeled….the answer is no just leave those little peels in there. The recipe calls for two cucumbers, one of them is shredded and one of them is diced. The amounts of tomato, red onion, and green pepper are based on my family and can be changed to fit your family preferences.
Along with the tomato, red onion, and green pepper, my family is fond of adding pickles (your choice dill or sweet) , hot peppers, mustard, homemade mayo. Play with the recipe and make it your own.
I love this! I picked up this tray from Pier 1 and have been using it as a decorative piece on my coffee table and recently, I looked at it with a new vision. I started by covering the inside with cute pumpkin cloth napkins to protect the wood detail. Moving on, I filled two bowls with The Better Chip brand chips from Gordon Food Services(GFS), I have spinach and kale in the red bowl and Jalapeño (Yes, real Jalapeño and they DO kick) in the green bowl, both are whole grain and vegan. Two types of hummus in the white bowls in the center, roasted red pepper family style from GFS and garlic family style from Costco. A bowl of guacamole, store-bought from Costco..all three of the containers fit into my one bowl, and a plate of veggie sushi from my local Kroger. On the other side a bowl of mixed nuts, a bowl of honey nut clusters (not vegan by all standards), a bowl of olives, and a bowl of dark chocolate covered pretzels. I filled in with lots of fresh veggies, mushrooms, cauliflower, green cauliflower, orange, yellow and red peppers, and carrots. The left over holes on one side got filled in with grape tomatoes and the other side was filled in with grapes. I almost forgot all the Mary’s Gone crackers! We go through box after box of these over the holidays. Costco has them in a 20 ounce box with 2 bags of the original flavor, certified vegan. Such a party hit and so much food. A perfect tray to put out for the holidays! I served this at home, the tray might be a little hard to take somewhere once you have it filled. Let this serve as an example of what you can bring when you’re invited to a get together with friends this holiday season.
My mother in law used to make the most fabulous potato salad, the kind that is so rich and creamy it just melts in your mouth. But alas, it was far from plant-based with its mayo and eggs. So this is the substitute, not as creamy but certainly as tasty. We test made this over the Labor Day holiday weekend, when all my kid’s were home. They are always good taste testers. They agreed it passed and could be added in to those family gatherings where we used to enjoy grandmas potato salad. It’s fairly quick and easy to pull together and best yet, it can sit outside at the family picnic without any worries about whats going on with the mayo sitting in the sunshine. We chose to leave the skin on the potatoes but you can certainly peel them if you want. Potato skins are actually quite healthy. One whole baked potato amazingly has more potassium than a banana. Spuds are also rich in iron, magnesium, and fiber, and fiber my friends is only found in plant food, and is a must have for our bodies to run efficiently. Enjoy!
This past 4th of July my family traveled as we have for many years to my sister’s house on the east side of Cleveland. Her home is nestled in Ohio wine country and we celebrate yearly at Chalet Debonne Vineyards. It’s a joy to visit because she prepares scrumptious plant-based dishes too. This year she prepared a Mac and Cheese, (along with lots of other dishes) that was extra yummy. My hubby even went back for seconds and he was never a Mac and cheese kind of guy before this plant-based adventure. I was initially a little concerned because following Dr. Esselstyn’s prevent and reverse heart disease lifestyle one is supposed to stay away from nuts. I have been avoiding them like the plague. However, at a recent conference, Dr. Esselstyn was asked about nuts and he stated he doesn’t like nuts because no one can stop with just one handful and people end up with nuts in their car, nuts in their desk, nuts in their purse, essentially you can’t stop with just one. So I made the executive decision that I can use them occasionally within a recipe and just keep them out of sight and hidden in my house so they don’t become a go to snack. Over Labor Day weekend I prepared Steff’s Mac and Cheese for the first time. My sister assured me it was super easy. Just toss everything in the Vita-mix. I’m told if you have a Vita-mix you don’t need to soak your raw cashews, however the ones I had were lightly salted so I soaked and rinsed them just to get rid of the added salt. I had to text her photos of my progress several times during the process because I was expecting the sauce in my Vita-mix to be much thicker than it was. She assured me it was perfect. Sticking with Esselstyn I used 100% whole grain elbow macaroni.