Veggie Party Tray Season

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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.

Roasted Beets

As a child the only way I had ever seen beets served was in pickled beet eggs.  That tradition is from an old Pennsylvania dutch recipe where boiled eggs are refrigerated in pickled beet liquid along with the pickled beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep red color, they are then both served together.  As a child these red eggs with the yolk sections stained pink and their accompanying beets were less than appetizing.  As it turns out beets are rich in natural nitrates, which your body uses to make nitric oxide (NO).  Nitric Oxide is important for your body because it helps dilate your arteries, delivering more oxygenated blood to your organs.  My husband carries a small bottle of nitroglycerin to take if he begins to experience chest pains,  nitroglycerin is converted by the body into NO and dilates the coronary arteries, allowing more blood to flow to the heart muscle  Recently it was discovered that NO actually enables your body to extract MORE energy from that oxygen.  A recent study quoted in Dr. Gregor’s “How Not to Die”, states that men and women eating one and a half cups of baked beets seventy-five minutes before running a 5K race improved their running performance while maintaining the same heart rate and they even reported less exertion.  While I haven’t tried that out for myself, it is good to have a little extra blood flow to the most important organ of the body, the brain.  Studies also show that researchers have been able to get a 10 point systolic blood pressure drop in volunteers within hours of their consuming beet juice – an effect that lasted throughout the day.  Roasted beets are so easy to make and keep easily in the refrigerator to be chopped up and added to salads, budda bowls, stir-fries, or just plain throughout the week.  As a grown up I have now aquired a taste for these roasted beets.IMG_0323

Roasted Beets

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of red beets ( usually 3 beets) scrubbed clean, green tops removed
  • 1 bunch of golden beets ( usually 3 beets) scrubbed clean, green tops removed
  • white balsamic vinegar ( I use lemon grass white balsamic)
  • salt

In my photo I used a lidded corning ware dish, previously I have made them using foil in my dish, either way works, however there was a lot of scrubbing to get that dish clean that I hadn’t lined with foil.  This photo is when they were fresh from the oven and still have their skins on.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° and line baking dish with foil.
  2. Rub beets with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt, place in dish and cover with another sheet of foil.
  3. Roast for 1-2 hours.  After 1 hour test them with the tines of a fork.  Typically average sized beets take an hour and a half.  Once the fork tines slide in easily the beets are tender and ready to be removed from the oven to cool.
  4. After the beets have cooled a bit but are still warm, peel off the outer skin.
  5. Cut and eat, or put in the fridge.

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Zucchini Hummus

While on a frequent business trip my husband picked up a vegan cookbook for us.  It is packed full of vegan recipes from many different restaurants around the world.  Although each recipe needs a slight tweaking to be whole food, plant-based, no oil.  This past weekend we tried out our version of zucchini hummus and it was wonderful.  We made some veggie stuffed grape leaves and used this hummus as a dip, it was fantastic.  We also tried some with our favorite original flavor Mary’s gone crackers, as you can see in the photo.

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Zucchini Hummus

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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a wholesome, tasty, plant-based dip for all your dipping needs.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 1/4 cups red onion diced
  • 1 tsp  garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped zucchini

Directions

  1. Grind the sunflower seeds and set aside
  2. Add apple sauce, lime juice, onion, garlic, salt, paprika, cumin, ground mustard, and black pepper and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add ground sunflower seeds and chopped zucchini. Blend until smooth
  4. Serve with your favorite veggies!  Enjoy!

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WFPB Chocolate Chip Cookies

WFPB Chocolate Chip Cookies

Being on such a strict diet means there aren’t very many options for sweet indulgences. These cookies are great to have sitting around, and my husband loves them! || I adapted  @susanffvk’s Banana-Maple Oatmeal Cookie recipe from her fat free vegan blog blog.fatfreevegan.com . I added nutmeg in addition to the cinnamon for flavoring and used chocolate chips in place of raisins in Susan’s original recipe.  Tip: Make sure you flatten the cookies before putting them in the oven because they won’t change shape during baking.  I love using the silicon mats I purchased at Costco in place of parchment paper.  These cookies can easily double as a quick breakfast when you are on the run, or a healthy exercise snack at the gym.

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WFPB Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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A healthy snack for any time of day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. ground chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips ( I prefer Enjoy life semi-sweet mini chips)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉
  2. Combine ground chia seeds with water and set aside.
  3. Mix the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.  Add the vegan chocolate chips.
  4. Mix the maple syrup, vanilla, mashed bananas, and lemon juice.  Mix in the ground chia seeds.  Pour into the dry mixture and stir well.
  5. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.  Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork.  Bake for 8-12 min. or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack before serving.

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