Kid-Friendly Tofu Fingers

Kid Friendly Tofu Fingers PinWhile we were visiting Amelia’s family in Atlanta, Amelia’s 9 year old niece  challenged us to make more kid-friendly vegan recipes and this Tofu Fingers recipe one of them. She really liked them, as did the whole family. She’s a VERY picky eater, so anything other than “I hate it” means she loved it. She dipped hers in ketchup, but her grandpa and I preferred BBQ sauce.

If you’re concerned about feeding organic soy to your children, rest assured it’s not only safe, but highly nutritious. Most of the myths about soy were created by the dairy industry when soy milk started eating away at their profits. The unbiased, legitimate science shows soy is actually protective against the very ailments that, ironically, dairy has been shown to cause.

One of the main concerns about soy is the phytoestrogen content that the myths claim can interfere with human hormones. Phytoestrogens are a type of plant estrogen that behaves much differently in the human body compared to mammal estrogen found in cow’s milk, which looks just like human estrogen inside our bodies.

In fact, one study found that soy was protective against early puberty in girls, whereas consumption of meat was strongly associated with early puberty in both girls and boys.

We strongly encourage you to buy only organic soy products, though. The unbiased science is far from settled on the health effects of GMO, but putting that aside, there are plenty of non-health reasons to avoid GMO products. GMO’s encourage monocrops, which are destroying the soil. They are leading to superbugs and superweeds that are resistant to even the strongest pesticides. They lead to more fertilizer and pesticide use, which contaminates water supplies. And they give corporations too much control of our food system. Please consider watching GMO OMG for an overview of the GMO industry.

Back to the recipe at hand… These Tofu Fingers are very tasty dipped in your favorite dipping sauce like ketchup, BBQ sauce, Vegan Ranch Dressing, salsa, Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce, etc. They make a great afternoon snack or appetizer, or as a side dish with soup and salad.

Tofu Fingers 2

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Easy Vegan Artichokes (Oil-Free)

Easy Vegan Artichokes PinThis Oil-Free Easy Vegan Artichokes recipe is super simple and absolutely delicious. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare the artichokes and another 20 to 30 minutes to steam them so they’re a great snack or appetizer to show off to your dinner guests.

Several years ago, long before we went Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB), Amelia tried to make some roasted artichokes but they came out tough as vegan leather. Since they were so expensive back in the states, we decided to not ruin any more perfectly good artichokes that someone else could prepare more successfully.

However, now that we live in Ecuador, the artichokes are much more affordable so I decided to give them another try. These artichokes cost us only 28 cents each! We already went back and bought 4 more after we made this delicious recipe!

The prep work is very easy. Just cut a little off the top and bottom of the artichoke, use a very sharp knife to cut them in half, and then scoop out the hairy fibrous material at the center. Steam them for 20 to 30 minutes until they’re nice and soft, then serve with some fresh squeezed lemon juice over them.

Easy Vegan ArtichokesA lot of people don’t know how to eat artichokes prepared this way, so here’s a quick tutorial. Peel off a leaf, hold the pointy end with your fingers and put the flat end in your mouth. Pull off the soft part at the base of the leaf with your teeth and enjoy. Once you get to the center, it’s all edible and delicious!

You can also scrape out all the good stuff and use it to make artichoke dip, but that would be very time consuming. We usually just by them frozen or canned for dip recipes.

Easy Vegan Artichokes Cooking Video

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If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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White Bean Dip or Spread

White Bean Dip Spread PinThis White Bean Dip is great for dipping your veggies into, but it’s also a delicious and healthy spread for your sandwiches. It’s similar in texture to hummus, but it’s made with white beans instead of chickpeas. It’s a great option if you’re tired of regular old hummus (gasp!).

And Amelia says it’s “super easy” to make. You just combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse it until it’s the consistency that you like.

Since there’s no tahini in this recipe, it’s much lower fat and lower calorie than traditional hummus. Thanks to the balance of protein and carbs, it’s a great pre or post workout snack, too.

It has a mild flavor so it tastes great with a wide variety of veggies, especially when used as a spread on veggie sandwiches.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Oil Free Grilled Plantains

Oil Free Grilled Plantains PinThis Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe is exceptionally delicious! Unlike most fried plantains, these are much lower fat due to a little trick Amelia thought up.

We bought some plantains and I was standing there staring at them while Amelia was making some hummus. I was complaining to her that without oil, it’s hard to get the browned look that we take for granted when cooking with oil, especially with traditionally fried items like plantains.

She had reserved the aquafaba from the chickpeas (aquafaba is chickpea juice) and suggested I use that as a browning agent. It was a eureka moment!

So I took 1/4 cup of the aquafaba and put it in a bowl. Then I added some brown sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little water and a little cilantro to the bowl and stirred it up. Then I added the sliced plantains to the bowl and stirred to coat them. When I put it on our electric griddle, it browned just like it had oil on it. It was even crispier than I expected.

Plantains have a lot of calories: over 200 for one plantain. That’s twice the calories of a large banana. So with the added sugar, this isn’t a very low calorie treat, but it is pretty healthy otherwise. If you’re a sugar-phobe, you can try it without the brown sugar or replace it with another type of sweetener. However, the brown sugar did caramelize on the griddle, helping to brown the plantains and seal in the flavors.

Remember, brown sugar in the States is only vegan if it says it on the package, or if it’s organic. Otherwise, it could have a variety of animal derived products in it.

This Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe works well as a snack (it’s very filling) or as a dessert with some vegan ice cream. You can also use it as a sweet and savory side dish. Yum!!!

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Vegan Guacamole

Vegan Guacamole PinThis Vegan Guacamole recipe is simple and delicious. It’s sure to be a big hit at your next party or gathering of friends and family…even non-vegans will love it!

Guac is a special treat, especially with the high cost of avocados in the states. But if you have a craving for a rich, savory appetizer that’s perfect for your corn chips, look no further. This recipe is amazing!

You start with 3 medium sized avocados that are pretty soft when squeezed. That means they need to be ripe, but not over-ripe or they turn black and stringy on the inside, which isn’t very appetizing. Scoop out the yummy goodness into a large mixing bowl and discard the seeds.

Some people suggest saving the seeds and putting them in your guac to keep it from turning brown, but that’s an old wives-tale. The lime juice will keep your guac from turning brown, not the seed.

The reason guac (and avocados) turn brown is because of oxidation. Since the flesh of avocados have very few antioxidants (like apples and bananas), they turn brown when exposed to oxygen (the air we breath). The seed doesn’t generate a magical force field alla Star Trek to keep the oxygen from touching the guac. That would be cool, but that’s not physically possible. Instead, the lime juice is loaded with antioxidants and it coats the guac, preventing it from being assaulted by oxygen.

Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and blend with a fork or potato masher until smooth but still lumpy. Fresh lime juice is ideal, rather than the lime juice from concentrate. If you’re going to fork out the dough for avocados, just buy a lime while you’re at it.

Finely dice a medium onion, a medium tomato (seeds removed) and a small jalapeño (seeds removed). If your jalapeño is large, you may only want to use half of it. That depends on how spicy you like your guac. Add these to your avocado/lime juice mixture.

It’s important to remove the seeds from your tomato or your guac may be too runny/liquidy. The seeds also don’t look great in the finished product. You can peel the tomato if you don’t like the peeling, but if you finely chop the tomato, it’s not necessary.

Mince your garlic and add it to the mixture as well. I used 3 cloves of garlic, but you can use more or less to your taste. 3 is usually my minimum for any recipe since Amelia and I love garlic.

The spices (salt, cumin and cayenne pepper) add a lot of flavor. I especially like the taste of cumin and love any recipe with it, so it’s extra good in this Vegan Guacamole. Add your spices to the bowl with everything else and stir to combine well.

Optionally, some fresh chopped cilantro would go great, but we didn’t have any on hand.

Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour for all the flavors to combine.

This Vegan Guacamole recipe goes great with your favorite corn chips, oil-free corn tortilla corn chips or as a condiment on your Burrito Bowl or your favorite sandwich.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Popcorn with Lime Juice

Popcorn with Lime Juice PinThis Popcorn with Lime Juice recipe is a great low calorie snack. The lime juice gives the popcorn a delicious flavor with minimal calories and some extra Vitamin C.

For oil-free popcorn, use an air popper (without the butter, obviously). Or, you can make it in a pan on the stove using 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. That adds some additional calories and oil certainly isn’t a whole food, but we haven’t figured out how to make oil-free popcorn on the stove yet. If  you know how, please let us know!

We learned about the lime juice trick on a trip to Ecuador. Some restaurants serve popcorn with lime wedges as a table snack. I don’t know why we never thought of squeezing fresh lime juice over popcorn since we love corn chips with lime, but it never occurred to us.

The lime juice gives the popcorn a tangy, almost buttery, flavor. It also gives something for your salt to stick to, if you like salt on your popcorn.

We recommend using organic popcorn.

Popcorn with Lime Juice not only tastes better than the conventional topping, but it’s also much lower calorie and healthier. Enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Peanut Butter Hummus

Peanut Butter Hummus PinThis Peanut Butter Hummus recipe was inspired by a freak weather event in Atlanta. Amelia had travelled back to Denver for her day job and on the day of her return flight to Atlanta, we had 8 inches of snow, which cancelled hundreds of flights.

She was able to fly back the next evening, but the roads were slushy from all the melting snow and the temperatures were predicted to drop below freezing after sunset. Since her flight wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 8PM, we decided to get a hotel room near the airport so we wouldn’t have to drive back to Marietta on icy roads.

Amelia has tons of Marriott points from her years of travelling for sales, so we reserved a room at the Renaissance Hotel. It’s still not easy to eat vegan at hotels (or on airplanes), but they did have a few options for us.

One of them was a version of hummus made from a local culinary favorite: boiled peanuts. We had never heard of boiled peanuts before our stay in Atlanta, but it’s a popular appetizer on area restaurant menus. We ordered some at a restaurant with some friends and Amelia loved them, but I didn’t like them. They were too messy for me. I’d rather eat them as nature (and ballparks) intended…out of the unboiled shell.

Or in delicious hummus! Rather than go through the hassle of boiling peanuts and deshelling them to match the Renaissance Hotel’s Boiled Peanut Hummus, we decided take the easy route by using peanut butter.

Basically, we used our Classic Vegan Hummus recipe and swapped out the tahini with peanut butter, and it’s absolutely delicious! It goes really well with pita chips, apples, celery or your favorite hummus delivery device.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Apple with Peanut Butter

Apple Peanut Butter PinApple with Peanut Butter is one of Amelia’s favorite snacks, and now it’s one of mine, too! For most of my life, the only way I would eat an apple is if it was baked into an Apple Pie. More recently, I added Healthy Cooked Apples to my repertoire. But now…I eat ’em raw!

In his book, “How Not To Die“, Dr. Greger mentioned how much he liked Honeycrisp Apples. He said they were sweeter and juicier than other apples. This was news to me. I thought all apples came in two varieties: sweet or tart. I didn’t realize there were different levels of sweetness and tartness and juiciness!

The only apples I had tried were Red Delicious and Granny Smith. Red Delicious apples were always mealy, not very juicy, and not very sweet. Granny Smith apples were always too tart for me, unless they were cooked into a pie with lots of sugar.

Following Dr. Greger’s recommendation, I bought a Honeycrisp Apple on our next trip to the grocery store. He is absolutely right: it’s sweet and juicy. And unlike any raw apple I’d ever tasted, it wasn’t mealy either…very crispy.

On our next trip to the store, I was determined to load up on those delicious Honeycrisp Apples. However, my curiosity was peaked.

“Do all the apples taste differently? Are there other kinds I might like better?”

As I was contemplating buying a different type just to try it, a woman reached in front of me for a Pink Lady Apple. So I asked her what they tasted like, and her eyes lit up. She said they’re even better than Honeycrisp Apples! I had to have one!

The Pink Lady is both tart and sweet at the same time, and it’s just as juicy as the Honeycrisp. The Honeycrisp is a little sweeter, but without the tartness. Both offer a flavor explosion in your mouth, without the mealy texture.

Now, I can’t get enough apples. They’re one of the healthiest foods on the planet, so I finally have a vice that won’t kill me!

You can eat them plain, but I prefer them with a little peanut butter. It’s a nice compliment to their sweetness. Be sure to buy organic peanut butter, or better yet, grind it up from fresh organic peanuts. Most Whole Foods and some smaller natural stores have nut butter grinders available.

If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol or lose weight, you may want to skip the peanut butter. I know Greger says it’s ok and that oil-free peanut butter is healthy, but I’m going with Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish on this one. My cholesterol was still very high and I was still overweight eating a WFPB diet for over 2 years until I reduced my fat intake to 10% or less of calories. The only way to eat a truly low-fat diet is to significantly reduce all sources of saturated fat, including nuts and avocados.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.
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Boiled Potatoes

Boiled Potatoes PinThese Boiled Potatoes are a staple in our home. We boil an entire 3 pound bag and keep them in the refrigerator for side dishes and snacks. Sometimes I get hungry mid-morning or mid-afternoon and have a couple small potatoes to tide me over until the next meal.

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap from mainstream media and low-carb diets, but they’re extremely healthy and great for weight loss because they’re high fiber and low calorie. For detailed information about the health benefits of potatoes, read “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall.

We like to top them with salsa, hot sauce, Vegan Cashew Cream, Vegan Cashew Sour Cream, Potato Cheese Sauce, Grandpa’s Dipping Hot Sauce, lentils, leftover Vegan Chili, non-dairy yogurt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric, chili powder, or anything else we can think of.

They also make a great side dish for your Tofu Scramble, Easy Tofu Scramble and Vegan Sardou. You can warm them in the microwave or heat them in a skillet with a little vegetable broth.

This recipe uses red potatoes, but we also use the same recipe for Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes and our favorite: Japanese Murasaki sweet potatoes.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Corn Tortilla Corn Chips

Corn Tortilla Corn Chips PinThis Corn Tortilla Corn Chips recipe was inspired by Amelia’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certification program. Nearly all store-bought corn chips are highly processed and made with oil, and they’re not very healthy.

Organic, oil-free corn tortillas, on the other hand, have very few ingredients, are not highly processed, and contain no oil.

In addition to the health benefits, homemade corn tortilla corn chips are also a LOT cheaper! A package of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value® Organic Corn Tortillas contains 12 tortillas and only costs between $1 and $2 depending on where you live.

That’s enough tortillas to make an entire bag of corn chips for less than a third of the cost of a pre-made bag of corn chips. And the only ingredients are Organic Whole Corn, Water and a Trace of Lime.

These corn chips are a bit thicker than most of the store bought brands, so they’re also more filling and don’t break off in your dip. Just be sure to cook them long enough or they’ll come out chewy instead of crispy, but don’t overcook them or they’ll burn.

Enjoy them with Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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