No Alcohol Citrus Cooler

About two months ago I removed alcohol from my diet, and this has helped me in so many ways both mentally and physically. I do, however, still have the desire for a cocktail at the end of the day. Since we just passed the summer solstice, and it’s staying light until past 9:30 here in Portland, I want a drink that I can sit and enjoy out on my deck in the evening. We’ve already had several days that have reached into the 90’s and it isn’t even July yet!

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I also do not want to sabotage my diet and exercise routine. The minute I drink a glass of wine or a cocktail, that’s it for the evening! No more working out for me!

What is more refreshing in mid summer, and in the heat, than citrus. I came up with this super simple and cheap drink that I can enjoy and not feel guilty about.

I used brown sugar in this recipe, but it can be made diabetic friendly be using agave nectar. I’m relying mostly on the orange juice for sweetness as well, but if your oranges aren’t sweet, then add either more sugar or more orange juice.

Happy drinking! Cheers!

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TIME: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 cup sparkling, unsweetened water

YIELDS: 2 cups

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Juice your lime and orange juice and stir in your brown sugar. Pour the juice over your pre measured sparkling water and serve over ice!

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Curried Lentil Hummus

My pantry is filled with a large variety of legumes that I bought with the good intentions to cook amazing dishes or to sprout. But as tends to happen, life got in the way. I’ve been working full time and haven’t had the chance to cook what I had wanted, and that includes the blogging that I’ve been wanting to do. Fortunately I have a couple of months off before going back to work, and I plan on getting everything done that I’ve been saying that I would do. That includes cooking amazing dishes and blogging about them!

The other night as my husband was getting ready to go to work, he mentioned that he would like me to cook some of the lentils that were in the pantry. I had the plan to make a cool summer salad, then the idea to make a nice soup or chili. As I got ready to cook the lentils up, I thought of the tahini that I had in the fridge and how we had just finished off the last of the hummus. I changed my mind and decided to make a hummus.

Being that it would be a lentil hummus, I immediately thought of Indian food, which brought to mind curry. That is how this recipe developed in my mind. I threw in a bell pepper because I thought it would add a little extra flavor and this is what I came up with. Try using a different type of pepper or zucchini possibly and see what comes of it!

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I used red lentils for this recipe but you can use any type you’d like.

TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

1/2 cup tahini

1 orange bell pepper chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/4 cup minced parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

YIELDS: 3 cups

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Place the lentils in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until done. Most of the water should be absorbed but if there is an extra amount, then rinse them.

Once the lentils have cooled enough, place them in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Chill until ready to be eaten.

You can serve this on pita bread, with cracker, veggies, or as a spread.

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Strawberry Banana Bliss

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working as a full time cook and have been leaving the house pretty early in the morning. I was always starving by 9:00 am and needed to take a break to eat, but often times didn’t get a break until 11:00. I think a shift happened when I decided to really take control of my life and get healthy, because I’d lost my healthy lifestyle over the past couple of years. That’s when I decided to start juicing in the morning, and something miraculous happened! I stopped getting hungry by 9:00.

You would think that going from a fairly large breakfast of eggs and toast, or oatmeal, or whatever else I had on hand, to eating a purely liquid breakfast would be really hard for me and cause me to be even more hungry. The opposite happened. All of the sudden I was filled with energy that would sustain me for the whole of the morning! No more hunger, no more grouchiness, no more crashing!

Now I have been laid off for the summer and will be going back to work in September. Because of this schedule change I feel like I can have my juice any time in the day and maybe I could start the day with a healthy smoothie. This morning I put it to the test and drank this delicious smoothie before going to the community garden to work on my lovely new plot. I was sustained with energy and didn’t have a snack until two hours of gardening had passed. Here’s the recipe and I hope it works for you too!

TIME: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

2 Cups frozen strawberries

2 Cups unsweetened almond milk

1 banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon honey

YIELDS: 4 cups

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Try mixing it up a little by using almond butter or a  different type of nondairy milk.

Healthy Mediterranean Linguine 

I created this recipe as a healthy version of a comfort food. It’s filled with healthy, plant based ingredients with no heavy or complicated sauces. You can whip this up in less than thirty minutes for a meal that you can enjoy with you family and that will make you feel satisfied for the night. If you’re a vegetarian you can top it with parmesan cheese and if you’re a vegan you can use nutritional yeast like I do, to add a nice cheesy flavor.

 

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TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

one 16 ounce box of linguine

1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing, plus 1/3 cup olive oil for the finish

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

one 8.5 ounce can of artichoke hearts in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup kalamata olives in brine, drained and roughly chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes

3 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup julienned basil

YIELDS: 8 cups

 

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Begin by preparing linguine according to the instructions on the package, it usually takes about 12 minutes to cook linguine.

While linguine is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic on medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until they cook down.

Once the mushroom have cooked down add the artichoke hearts, olives, and sun dried tomatoes and saute for another five minutes.

When pasta is ready, drain and place in a large mixing bowl or the pan that the other ingredients are cooked in if there is enough space. Add salt, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, olive oil and basil and mix well.

Garnish with additional basil and pine nuts.

Your pasta is ready to be served!

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Walnut Tacos

I used to work at a vegan restaurant that sold walnut meat tacos and just used some salt and curry powder for their seasoning. They were a huge hit and people came just to eat them. So I decided to make my own version of the recipe using more mexican style taco seasoning ingredients. When my Mexican husband came home he loved them so much he said they reminded him of his Mom’s tacos from childhood and ate five of them!

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TIME: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups soaked walnuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high heat oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup diced tomato

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

YIELDS: 2 cups

Soak the walnuts anywhere from one hour to overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to prepare your meat place them in a food processor and process until they’re crumbles and look similar to ground beef.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onions and garlic for about five minutes until the onions become translucent and begin to brown a little.

Add tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to one minutes until they become well cooked and juicy.

Add processed walnuts and remaining spices and mix well. Heat only long enough for the meat to be warm but you don’t want to cook it.

Serve on a tortilla with avocado, salsa, green onions and cilantro or your favorite taco toppings!

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Strawberry Pineapple Paradise

Another great smoothie for those days you wish you were at the beach, but instead it’s snowing outside!

TIME: five minutes

Ingredients:

1 Cup frozen pineapple

1 banana

1 Cup coconut milk (non dairy milk substitute by the soy milk, not the canned kind)

2 medjool dates

1 Cup frozen strawberries

YIELDS: 2.5 cups

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!

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