Fajitas with Spicy Rice and Beans

I bought brown rice tortillas at Trader Joes, and decided to do something with them other than quesadillas, which have become a regular in my meal rotation. I decide on fajitas, which are only slightly different than quesadillas, but that’s okay. I used onions, mushrooms and lots of peppers. Unfortunately, rice tortillas don’t do well as wraps, and broke apart when I tried to wrap the veggies up in them. It didn’t take away from the taste at all, but just made them difficult to eat!

I also made spicy brown rice and beans, and I completely overspiced them. Dennis liked it a lot, but it was a little too spicy for my taste. I cut up two small habanaro peppers and added them to the rice as it was cooking, and apparently two peppers is too much! I add habanaros to dishes often and don’t usually have a problem with them being too spicy. It seems that sautéing them reduces the heat but adding them to boiling water must increase it somehow! The guacamole on the side definitely helped cool the heat so I was able to eat it.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Medley with Nori Strips

This is another recipe from Vegetarian Times. I think it looked a little more exciting in the magazine than it really was, but it was still good, so that’s okay. The recipe called for one sweet potato, three rutabagas, an onion, baby carrots (I used three full sized carrots) and a bunch of Brussels sprouts to be roasted together. Once I got everything chopped, I realized that there was no way it would all even fit on a baking sheet together, so roasted them separately. After everything is roasted, nori strips are mixed in, making it a very simple meal. I need to remember to add nori more often with other meals, since sea vegetables are so healthy. I made some quinoa to go with the meal too.

I used to really dislike Brussels sprouts, but Dennis has always liked them, so I looked for ways that I could cook them that we would both enjoy. I’ve discovered that I really like them roasted, so I often cook them this way. Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, so they are super healthy and contain anti-cancer compounds. They area also high in vitamins A, C, K, B6 as well as folate, magnesium, iron, thiamin, copper, phosphorus and dietary fiber.

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Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Like I said yesterday, I’ve been super busy lately, so I’ve been using the slow cooker. The recipe for this ratatouille was in the booklet that came with the slow cooker. It called for eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, a few spices, olive oil and a can of chopped tomatoes. Throw everything in the slow-cooker, turn it on, leave for work, and dinner is ready when you get home! Perfect!

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Follow Up Doctor Appointment

I know, I know… I’ve missed a few days of blogging. I’ve been super busy! I know a lot of people say they’re busy, and what it actually means that there have been a lot of good shows in TV lately, but not me – I’m busy. Currently I’m working full time during the day and doing health counseling part time in the evenings. I’ve also been working on building up my business so I can quit that day job and support myself solely with health counseling. In addition to that, I’m currently doing the Immersion program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I am mentoring 12 students. I’ve had sessions with the students (whom I LOVE) all weekend, and on Friday night I gave a talk on plant based nutrition to the vegan group I belong to.

On Friday, I also went for a follow up appointment with my doctor. When I started the elimination diet in December, I felt GREAT! I was sleeping better, my skin looked great and my digestion had improved. Things started to go downhill in February when my day job went from stressful to super-duper stressful. I was still eating properly, but my symptoms all returned. The doctor couldn’t really come up with any explanation for it, but she gave me an adrenal testing kit to see if the stress has blown out my adrenal glands. It’s something that needs to be done over the course of a day, and I need to relax on that day, so I haven’t been able to do it yet. The good news is that my vitamin D and magnesium levels have returned to normal! The bad news is that I’m low in carnitine, which is because of the amino acid transport deficiency I have. Carnitine deficiency is common in people with celiac disease, so I’m guessing my digestive issues have a lot to do with it too. The doctor said the deficiency is probably causing me to feel more stressed out lately too. She gave me some more supplements to help with it. I have to continue taking vitamin D and magnesium, but in lower doses. So the news at the doctor’s wasn’t too bad, all in all. I have to go back two weeks after I mail the adrenal tests into the lab, so I’ll probably go back in about a month.

If you’re interested in learning more about health and nutrition, you might be interested in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is where I received my training. IIN has distance learning now, which allows students to learn from home at their own pace. Their new catalog has just come out, so please take a look here! You can also tune in to a webinar tomorrow at 3:00 EST, by signing up here. If you are interested in IIN, please send me an email – dianne@veggiegirl.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Muffin

This chocolate chocolate chip muffin came from The Montclair Bread Company in Montclair, NJ. Montclair Bread Company uses all organic ingredients, and they almost always have vegan and gluten-free goodies for sale. They make everything from breads and muffins to cookies and brownies, and they even have pizza! Because their ingredients are all natural and organic, the baked goods have a “healthy” taste to them, but I consider that to be a good thing because too much sugar makes me feel weird. The woman who works there told me that they never know how much gluten-free items to make, because sometimes they sell out of them early and sometimes they have lots leftover at the end of the day, so she said it’s always best to call ahead. While I was there, I also bought a gluten-free vegan brownie a mini loaf of kamut spelt bread.

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Even More Chickpea Croquettes

Yes, I have made these chickpea croquettes before, they are just too tasty not to make again. I haven’t really repeated too many meals since I’ve been on my elimination diet, but these patties are something I’ve been eating on a regular basis. This time I made broccoli and mushrooms and roasted root vegetables to along with them. The roasted root veggie mix was sweet potatoes, red skinned potatoes and turnips.

If you’re feeling anxious, worried or spacey, roasted root veggies may help make you feel more balanced. Since root vegetables come from the earth, they have a grounding energy that they pass along to the person consuming them. Conversely, if you’re feeling tense and want to lighten up, leafy green veggies can help. They grow outward toward the sun and have an expansive energy. It’s good to include a variety of foods in your diet to main a delicate balance of focused, yet flexible energy.

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Cabbage Casserole

This Cabbage Casserole recipe is from the March issue of Vegetarian Times and it’s basically a lasagna with cabbage leaves instead of noodles. The recipe calls for blanched savoy cabbage leaves, but I accidentally bought napa cabbage instead. Napa cabbage is much more delicate than other varieties, and I didn’t think it needed to be blanched. The recipe also called for a 15 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, and I felt it needed about twice as much to spread out properly between the layers of cabbage leaves. Instead of dairy ricotta, I once again used cashew ricotta. The filling between the layers was sautéed leeks. This was absolutely delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again!

I also made roasted cauliflower and a mixture made with with shallots, mushrooms, red peppers and chickpeas. This was a perfect dinner!

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Slow Cooker Chili

This was another meal made in the slow cooker for a busy day. It was kind of spur of the moment decision the night before. My chili usually has zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms in it, but I didn’t have all of those things on hand this time. I used different colored bell peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, shallots, pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans. I didn’t measure any of the spices, but I threw in some cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes. I had about half a cup of brown rice medley left in the cabinet, so I cooked it up in my rice cooker to go with the chili. It was delicious and there are plenty of leftovers to have for lunch!

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Amy’s Mac and Cheese

While browsing the freezer section at Whole Foods, I noticed that Amy’s now has a vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese! It’s made with rice noodles and Daiya cheese. I was so excited to try it, that Dennis and I heated it up and had it as a snack. The portion was really small, so we only had a tiny bowl each. The cheese sauce was smooth and creamy and rather tasty. I will admit that I prefer the Mac Daddy recipe in Veganomicon, but since that takes an hour or so to cook, and this takes a few minutes, I’ll probably be eating this more often.

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Gluten-Free Goodies from Sweet Avenue Bakeshop!

Dennis was so sweet – he brought home gluten-free goodies from Sweet Avenue Bake Shop! Sweet Avenue is located in Rutherford NJ, and they are well known for their vegan cupcakes, but they also have vegan cookies and candy bars. Dennis got me a delicious chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and a chocolate chip cookie. I don’t eat much sugar, so in the past when I’ve had cupcakes, I’ve felt rather queasy afterward. But this cupcake was small, and I felt fine after eating it. The cookie was enormous, so I shared it with Dennis. Both were delicious! If you’re in the mood for a cupcake, please note that Sweet Avenue only has gluten-free cupcakes on Fridays and Saturdays. And if you’re in the area, check out the vegan options on the menu at Rutherford Pancake House.

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Dr. Fuhrman