Grillo’s Pickles – The Best Pickles I’ve Tasted!

I tried Grillo’s Pickles a few years ago and they are, hands down, the best pickle I’ve ever had. I wanted to give them a big shout out today and tell you about them too! If you haven’t had a chance to try them, you really should.

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Grillo’s offers a variety of products such as spears, chips, and whole dills. Differentiated by its clean offerings, each hand-packed batch of Grillo’s is made cold, shipped cold and sold cold using the highest grade of naturally crunchy cucumbers, fresh – never frozen – white California-grown garlic and organic, fresh cut dill before being preserved naturally with grape leaves. The brand’s Hot Italian Dill varieties includes an entire habanero and jalapeño pepper in each jar, while its Bread & Butter options is made with a touch of raw sugar, mustard and celery seeds, yellow onion and red bell pepper for a naturally sweet taste. They have a great flavor, crunch and texture and are great in many recipes or to eat just by themselves.

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The other thing that I really love about Grillo’s , aside from the flavor, is that they are all natural and have no funny stuff in them. I stopped eating store bought pickles a few years ago because I found out that most have a preservative called Polysorbate 80 which is thought to not be a very good chemical for anyone to consume. I try to avoid as many preservatives as I can and I was excited to learn that Grillo’s has only all natural ingredients and I could eat store bought pickles again!

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Grillo’s is based in Massachusetts and has pretty nation wide distribution. You can find them in many natural and traditional grocery stores. To find a retailer near you, visit: https://www.grillospickles.com/find-us-.

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They’ve recently released a sandwich cut which would be great on sandwiches and would be great to make a vegan cuban with. This is what I think I will try next! They’d also be excellent on a veggie burger.

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I also just recently purchased an Air Fryer and made Fried Pickles – they were fun and easy! I also made a nice pickle potato salad and some vegan hot dogs with them. The are also excellent to snack on just plain. They would also be really excellent one of my all time favorite recipes, Tuna-Less Salad, from Rouxbe Cooking School.

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And Grillo’s would love for you to try them too so they are giving away coupons for some free jars! Thank you Grillo’s! If you have them in your community, enter to win and you can pick them up at your closest grocery store! Good luck & Enjoy!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d8798bdf15/?

 

 

 

 

 

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What To Eat For a Healthy Brain

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and is a time to bring awareness and show support for the millions of people worldwide struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 5.7 Million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. With a family history of dementia, myself, this is something I take very seriously, and you should too, especially if cognitive decline and impairment is something that has affected someone in your family. While we might not realize it, while were young and healthy, the decisions we make throughout our entire life can greatly affect the health of our brain later in life. I wrote a this post a few weeks about how we can protect our brains and in this post I’d like to cover some of the best foods we can eat to help our brain remain sharp.

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Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

One of the best things we can do for our overall health, disease prevention, to protect our brains and help us feel our very best, is eliminate inflammatory foods which include; Gluten, Sugar, Dairy, Meats, Fast and processed foods, Fried foods, Pastries, Alcohol, Food additives and preservatives.

While you may think, poo! That doesn’t leave a lot for me to eat, it’s quite the opposite. Our bodies have evolved over many years to eat a diet that sustains us and helps us procreate which ensures survival of our species. This diet does not include many of the foods that are in the Standard American Diet. In fact, there is a very strong correlation between the increase in processed foods and many of the dreaded diseases of our modern society. In particular, Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Poor food choices and an accumulation of other environmental factors damage our brains throughout the course of our lives and if you have a genetically predisposition for dementia, these factors greatly accelerate the risk of getting the disease.

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Like I mentioned previously, the best thing we can do for our brain is eliminate those bad foods and instead focus on adding in more fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and especially greens, lots of healthy, whole foods, plant-based fats and foods low on the glycemic index.

I’ve highlighted the foods that have been found to provide the most promise for prevention and treatment in numerous studies below. Most experts recommend eating a diet rich in protective compounds like a diversity of berries, nuts and seeds, abundant herbs, leafy greens as well as focusing on vitamin A (beta carotene), C, D, E and all the B rich foods, Omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, folate, magnesium and curcumin. 

Just a few of the foods that have proven beneficial for dementia prevention and treatment include:

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Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Beets
  • Coconut
  • Grapes
  • Herbs – especially Sage and Rosemary
  • Leafy greens (Kale, Turnip Greens, Swiss Chard and Broccoli are the best)
  • Mushrooms – most notably Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Spices – especially Ginger, Saffron and Turmeric
  • Strawberries
  • Omega-3 rich foods including; Walnuts, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds

 

One of the clearest lifestyle choices, in addition, is ensuring you are exercising 4-6 times a week both your body and your brain as well as getting adequate sleep and have a stress management routine in place. It’s also important to work with a knowledgeable natural health practitioner who can analyze blood work and provide supplement recommendations.

If you are at risk of getting any of the forms of brain disease, I would greatly encourage you to do your research and empower yourself with knowledge. Some of the Doctors pioneering this field are Dr. Dale Bredesen and Team Sherzai, a husband and wife neurology team – please be sure to check out some of there books and programs. It’s very encouraging to know that there are simple steps we can take, and when we start early, we can keep our brains functioning optimally throughout our entire life, even though our genes may say something different.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

 

 

 

All About Me – Sarah Eastin, Health Coach Plant Based Chef

I wanted to write this post because I often times don’t tell people much about myself. I’m to a point in my career as a health coach and plant based chef and give a lot of shout outs to so many other people, I need to give a little shout out to myself every once in a while, right?

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So here I am!! For those of you you that don’t know me, name is Sarah and I’m a Vegan Health and Lifestyle Coach, Plant-Based Chef (and newly certified Culinary Nutrition Expert) and lifelong animal rights activist. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I like to tell people that I use all of the knowledge and skills I’ve worked very hard to attain throughout my career to create a compassionate community and improve the planet for all species. I’m currently based in Denver but that may change at any time!

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I’m pretty proud to announce that I recently graduated from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and am now a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert. I hope to use the knowledge that I obtained in this program to help people improve their health and heal themselves with foods. Please follow my facebook page for my upcoming classes. I’m also happy to work with people remotely, if you know anyone interested!

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I also just started, what is known as a Veganizer Chapter. Veganizer is a plant-based food consulting and marketing agency. As part of my work with this program, I collaborate with omnivore restaurants, encouraging them to get creative in the kitchen and expand plant based offerings on their menu and hosting Pop Up Dinners at their restaurants. This helps give the restaurant exposure as well as keep up with increasing plant based and healthy foods demand. In addition to the Veganizer Pop Up Dinners, I also recently helped organize a Vegan Restaurant Week in Denver! This event was so fun and successful- we had 40 restaurants and food trucks participate!

Vegan Restaurant Week

For our hard work with Vegan Restaurant Week made it into the press! You can read all about the restaurants, menus and delicious specially prepared dishes they created in the VegNews article here and the Denver Westword article here. Special thanks to VegFest Colorado for your help with this event (don’t forget to come see me there July, 27th & 28th).

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I also plan to organize a Boulder Vegan Restaurant Week this fall so please stay tuned for that! Considering Vegan Restaurant Week was so successful, it’s giving me some great inspiration and motivation to keep working on more events! Here are a few food highlights:

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Please come to my next two events, if you are in Denver:

A Pop Up Market on June 22nd:

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And my next Veganizer Pop Up Dinner:

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And finally, please let me know how I can help you, whether that’s teaching you how to make amazing plant based foods, cooking them for you myself, or if you are a restaurant and may need some help incorporating more plant based foods or are interested in working with me to host a plant based pop up dinner!

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And don’t forget to follow me so you know about my upcoming events!

https://www.instagram.com/veganizerden/

https://www.facebook.com/HealGrowBlossom/

 

 

 

NoBull Burger – The True Veggie Burger Giveaway

Crissanne Raymond made the best veggie burgers while her girls, Heather and Elizabeth were growing up. They were so good, in fact, and so many people loved them, the family decided to make them into a business and get them into the hands of hungry consumers.  So NoBull Burger was born! NoBull Burgers are made with an organic lentil base mixed with a variety of roasted veggies creating one of the best tasting whole food veggieburgers available today. They pride themselves on their quality ingredients hence, the super fun name “NoBull”.IMG_8989

NoBull Burgers comes in 4 flavors; Savory Mushroom, Sun Dried Tomato, Spicy Italian and Original. They all have very unique flavor profiles and everyone likes a different burger. Some of the roasted veggies inside you’ll find include; eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, onions, sundried tomatoes and lots of herbs. They recently went totally vegan by substituting the egg they use as a binder for chia seeds and we couldn’t be happier with that! They are also 100% gluten free!

The NoBull Burger Crew

NoBull Burgers are great crumbled up on salads, pasta or used in tacos. You could also use them crumbled in a lasagna, as topping on a baked sweet potato, stuff them in a pepper or serve them in a tortilla, lettuce wrap or just eat it like a burger with a tomato, lettuce and your favorite condiments. Or use it some of the ways I’ve made it below – it has been so much fun getting creative with the product!!

NoBull Breakfast Sandwich

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I used the recipe for the vegan egg here!

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NoBull Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

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  • 2 NoBull Burger Patties, thawed (any flavor will work but I like Savory Mushroom)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn or tapioca starch
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 4 ounces vegan cheese (diced) (optional, I like Chao!)
  • 6 hamburger buns or dinner rolls work too!
Directions
  1. To a skillet, add 1 teaspoon of oil and the crumbled, thawed NoBull patties and cook on medium high heat for about five minutes.
  2. Remove the crumbles from the pan and set aside.
  3. Melt the vegan butter on medium high heat and add onions, peppers and diced mushrooms and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft, about five minutes.
  4. Add the crumbles back into the onion and mushroom mixture.
  5. In a small cup mix the veggie broth and cornstarch together.
  6. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, broth/cornstarch mixture into the pan.
  7. Cook until the mixture is only slightly liquidy (about 75% of the mixture is above liquid), 3-5 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat, add in the diced vegan provolone cheese (this recipe is good without the cheese as well).
  9. Serve on toasted buns.
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NoBull Burrito Bowl

NoBull makes a delicious taco meat if you just thaw, crumble and sprinkle with your favorite herb and spice blend and cook. Add to tacos, burritos, taco salads or make a burrito bowl like this one! Just add some cooked rice, grilled and fresh veggies and topped with a nice avocado cream sauce.

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Italian Meatball Stroganoff

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  • 1/2 bag pasta noodles – preferrably spirals

For the meatballs:

  • 2 NoBull burgers, thawed (any flavor is delicious)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, parsley works well!

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 chopped onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable broth or vegan chicken or beef broth
  • 1 cup Kite Hill unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, mix chia seeds with water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Mash the meatball ingredients (along with the chia seed mixture) together until well mixed  (do not add ingredients for the stroganoff sauce to this mixture)
  4. Scoop out with a tablespoon, spoonfuls of the mixture and form the mixture into meatballs with your hands.
  5. Place the formed meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet (you can also fry the meatballs in oil).
  6. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  7. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions.
  8. In a second skillet, begin cooking the stroganoff sauce. Begin by adding 1/4 cup water and saute the onions on medium high heat until transparent, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add mushrooms and cook another five minutes – add small amounts of the water, if needed so the mushrooms don’t stick to the pan.
  9. After the vegetable mixture is soft add the broth.
  10. Add the Kite Hill unsweetened yogurt and cook at a medium low heat until a gravy like consistency is achieved.
  11. Add soy sauce and other other herbs desired.
  12. Spoon the sauce over cooked pasta and top with meatballs. Enjoy!

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NoBull Burgers are even great cooked, crumbled up and put in soup! You could top the soup with some fresh herbs and a little Kite Hill unsweetened yogurt or cashew cream! In the below photo I used a sweet potato premade soup (butternut squash would also be delicious) but it’s a great way to bulk up any soup. If you are making a homemade soup just cook NoBull according to package directions, crumble and drop into the soup!

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The wonderful thing about NoBull is that it’s a veggie burger made from plants that tastes really good too! I also love that this is a small, woman owned business with a sustainable and health conscious mission. In the Denver area NoBull is available at Natural Grocers and Lucky’s Market. Like I mentioned above they are so fun to eat as a burger or use your creativity to make them into another dish. They are also great for quick meals or to take to summertime BBQs!! See their website for more details: https://nobullburger.com/

Now for the giveaway! YOU MUST BE LOCAL TO DENVER TO ENTER! Please enter here for your chance to win, good luck! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d8798bdf14/?

The Ultimate Age Defying Plan Book Giveaway!

 

Aging healthfully and gracefully is what most of us would hope for, but unfortunately, this isn’t always our reality. Over the last few decades our food system has changed so tremendously into one that is much different than what our bodies we’re designed be nourished by. This has led to a society where our bodies are ravaged by dreaded diseases like cancers, alzheimer’s, diabetes, and auto immune conditions. It doesn’t have to be this way, however, we can age healthfully with our minds clear and with our bodies functioning optimally into our golden years. In their new book, my friends Chef Mark Reinfeld and Dr Ashley Boudet explain how people are defying the odds of aging through a healthy, plant based diet along with fitness and holistic living principles in The Ultimate Age – Defying Plan.

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The Ultimate Age -Defying Plan provides a comprehensive roadmap to staying vital and living a long life — using plant-based cuisine and simple daily self-care rituals that boost health and support healthy functioning in the body.

Mark & Ashley

Practical steps are provided that we can take daily which will help maintain mental sharpness and neurological health, cardiovascular health, bone health, eye and vision, digestive health, and provide protection against major diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. 

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Smashed Avocado Toast Supreme

Healthy aging is a topic that many people are interested in and Mark and Ashley wanted to share their decades of experience and what has worked for them and the other people they feature in the book such as Miyoko Schinner, Joel Kahn, Victoria Moran, Cherie Sofia and many others.

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Roasted Squash Butter

I’ve written about Chef Mark Reinfeld before and am still astounded with his creations! I like to think that I’m pretty savvy when it comes to food trends but this new book includes some incredibly innovative and unique recipes that use 7 ingredients or less. Just a few of these include; Rosemary Star Anise Tea, A Chlorella Smoothie Bowl, Adzuki Bean Chili, Baked Sesame Zucchini Fries, Black Gomasio Crusted Tofu, Portobello Cheez Steak Stuffed Peppers, The Great Pumpkin Cheezcake + many many delicious sauces, snacks and a variety of desserts. He is truly an artist and pioneer when it comes to creating vegan dishes. Dr Ashley Boudet also has such a great wealth of knowledge and it’s always so interesting to learn about naturopathic principles from her, she makes learning how to heal ourselves using medicines from the earth fun!

Salad in A Jar

Salad In a Jar

Healthy eating can be simple and and in The Ultimate Age – Defying Plan Mark and Ashley outline easy, very doable steps we can all take to have a lifetime of great health. By adding in healthy, healing foods and arming ourselves with knowledge we can truly do our bodies just a world of good that will set us up for a long, happy, healthy life.

Lemon Roast Cauliflower

Lemony Herbed Cauliflower Roast

In addition to the book, Mark and Ashley share their knowledge through Doctor and the Chef, where they travel the world teaching people naturopathic healing principles and how to use integrate these principles using culinary medicine. The Doctor and the Chef also serves as an online community along with a subscription site so you can have access to health and nutrition information, whenever you need it.

Blueberry Mousse

Blueberry Mousse

You can also learn from Mark through Vegan Fusion where teaches students the basics of plant based cuisine as well as more advance techniques through in person classes. If you can’t make it to a class in person, you can also learn from him online through his Vegetarian Times ecourse. Mark also just released an online training where you can become a Certified Vegan Fusion Cooking Instructor!

Vegan Fusion Class

Thank you so much Mark and Ashley for the opportunity to review and giveaway this great book!! I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself. If you live in the Denver area, you can find it at the Book Bar in the Highlands or on Amazon. And please keep a eye out for Mark and Ashley to make it to a city near you! You will enjoy days of some of the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted and learn information that will help you easily cook nutritious foods for yourself, your friends and family.

Mark and Ashley, the Authors

And now for the giveaway. You must live in the US, we will send the winner a copy. Follow this link for your chance to win a copy of this great book! Good luck! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d8798bdf13/?

Age Defying Plan 2

All About Kite Hill’s Artisan Almond Milk Foods!!

 

 

A few years ago, I had the chance to work for Kite Hill a Brand Ambassador in the Denver area spreading the word about their delicious products as well as developing a few yummy recipes for them!

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Kite Hill makes a variety of non dairy cheeses and yogurts – all made from almond milk. Available products include European & Greek Yogurt, Soft Fresh Cheese (similar to mozzarella or feta), Cream Cheese, Ricotta Cheese and Ravioli.

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Photo Credit: Ellie Stevens

Kite Hill products can be purchased in the Colorado Front Range area at Whole Foods (the entire line of products), Natural Grocers, Sprouts and most King Soopers carry many Kite Hill yogurt choices. If you don’t live in Colorado, you can find a store locator on their website to find where you can grab them near you. I highly recommend any of their products- everything I’ve tasted that they make is delicious!

IMG_3745I also taught some Kite Hill cooking classes and they were so much fun. I showed people the entire line of products and also give them ideas on how to incorporate them into recipes. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for my upcoming classes, if you are interested in something like this! I plan to schedule more classes in the upcoming year!

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Just a few of the many ways to use Kite Hill products:

Sweetened Yogurts (Greek & European) – They are great make parfaits with by adding granola, nuts and a variety of dried or fresh berries and other fruits. They are also excellent served with ground flax or chia seeds as an easy way to sneak in those incredibly important Omegas!

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Photo Credit: Ellie Stevens

Unsweetened Yogurt – you can use as a dip but adding a dip packet or making your own herb blend, you can also use it as nice sour cream replacement by adding a little lime or apple cider vinegar and add it when you make a homemade dressing to make it creamy.

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Greek Yogurt –  these are great eaten just by themselves with a little fruit, nuts, seeds or granola or use the plain to make a tzatziki or cucumber raita. You could also add other veggies and herbs and spices for a savory dip.

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Photo Credit: Ellie Stevens

Cream cheese – There are quite a few cream cheeses on the market now and Kite Hill is definitely a favorite. They make 4 flavors; plain, chive, jalapeno and now an everything bagel! To the plain, you can add any fruit, sweetener, nuts or herb blend and finely chopped veggies and spread on bagels. You can also serve it on crackers, make into cheeseballs, stuff it into dates (see recipe below), jalapenos, pastas, alfredo sauce, chili rellenos, enchiladas, use for frostings or cheesecakes! The cream cheese is so versatile and such a great addition to many, many recipes!

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Photo Credit: Ellie Stevens

Soft Fresh (similar to mozzarella or feta) – can be crumbled in salads, pastas, serve on crackers, serve on a skewer with other fruits or veggies, in caprese salad. The soft fresh comes in Truffle, Dill & Chive as well as a Plain and the Plain is one of the most delicious vegan cheeses I’ve tried on a pizza!

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Ricotta – is amazing in lasagna, stuffed shells, pasta, ravioli, desserts- take it in a sweet direction and use it in ricotta cheesecakes, pancakes, cookies. It is wonderful with lemon added!

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Photo Credit: Ellie Stevens

Ravioli and Tortellini – can be topped with marinara, sautéed veggies, or you can make an alfredo sauce (which can be made from scratch with Kite Hill cream cheese).

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You can basically use the entire line of Kite Hill products the same way you would traditional dairy based cheeses and yogurts. So have some fun and get creative!!

Kite Hill has additional products and adding to its line all the time. They appear to have some new dips as well as Strawberry flavored Cream Cheese too!

And below are two of the delicious recipes I created using Kite Hill’s delicious products!

Kite Hill Spanakopita

Makes 30 bite sized spanakopita

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Ingredients

  • 45 frozen phyllo cups (3 15-count packages)
  • 2 tablespoons water or vegetable oil
  • ½ onion or a small one, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (you could also finely chop one leek)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz. fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 oz. Kite Hite Truffle, Dill & Chive Soft Fresh (crumbled) or Ricotta, 8oz (use additional cheese if you’d like the recipe to be creamier)
  • 1/2 cup Egg replacer (follow packaged directions). ½ cup blended tofu would also work.
  • Lemon juice from half of one lemon (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the phyllo cups on a large baking sheet and set aside.

Heat the oil (or water for a healthy sauté) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook until spinach is soft. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Add the parsley, dill, egg replacer, nutmeg, and stir to combine. After completely combined add the crumbled Kite Hill Soft Fresh and stir until lightly mixed, don’t overwork the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the phyllo cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

And another super easy delicious recipe!

Kite Hill Stuffed Dates

Makes 30 dates

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Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 oz) Kite Hill cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 30 dates, pitted
  • Orange zest

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, maple syrup, orange juice and walnuts in a medium sized bowl.

Split the date open down the middle, leaving one side attached with a knife and arrange on a plate.

Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the dates and top with the orange zest. You can make a modified piping bag by cutting out a small corner of a zip loc bag.

Serve them immediately or keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Hope these ideas are helpful for you and you enjoy all of Kite Hill products!

 

More info can be found on Kite Hill’s website:

http://www.kite-hill.com/

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Denver’s Newest All Vegan Restaurant! Meta Burger!

I first tried Meta Burger a few years ago at the Humane League Gala and I was blown away!! The way simple hot dogs and hamburgers were veganized and had such an out of the ordinary flavor was very impressive.

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Chicago Dog

A few years later, they opened up a brick and mortar restaurant just a little south of Denver where they are now serving all vegan American Classics and comfort foods and I’m happy to tell you they are having great success! The community loves it! I also love it so much that I really just had to tell you about it. For my friends that don’t live closeby, I’ll tell you that it is definitely worth making the trip!

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Super Nova

The owners; Matt Coates and Michael Reeves created Meta Burger because the Denver market and many markets across the US are lacking affordable plant based / health conscious options. They wanted to create a restaurant that served food which everyone was familiar with so that they could introduce vegan options to a much wider customer base (not just plant based eaters).

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Matt and Michael both have extensive backgrounds in the food industry and met while working at Native Foods. Matt is from Chicago – hence the amazing Chicago style dogs (my favorite)! Michael is passionate about food and plant based eating which really inspired him to make an amazing restaurant that spoke to people of all dining preference, whether that be omnivore, vegetarian or vegan.

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Meta Bites

 

Meta Burger is focused on creating delicious American Classics like gourmet Burgers and Dogs, shakes, Mac n Cheese and even a few great salad options all PLANT BASED / VEGAN!!  You’ll find favorite burgers like the Supernova, the Texan, several vegan chicken sandwiches and hot dog flavors as well as Meta Bites, Chili and several sweet treats! They were also just “Voted America’s Favorite” at the People’s Choice Seed and Wine Festival 2018 for their sandwich, The Flatiron. Check out the menu here. I guess you’ll just have to go back multiple so you can try one of each! 🙂

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BBQ Salad

Meta Burger also definitely has a very recognizable and iconic logo and the branding was designed to reflect their love for Colorado. They worked really hard on opening the restaurant and you can really tell they put their whole hearts into making Meta Burger great! 18320510_1173394392770124_8283351409307598388_o

How can we help Meta Burger be successful? Matt and Michael would like the community to support them by giving them the chance to blow them away will their delicious affordable plant based options. “It’s important that we become a staple in the community so that they can continue to expand, allowing them to show people, who wouldn’t normally chose plant based options how delicious it actually is. Repeat customers are what drives business and we hope to deliver and a product and service that people will never get tired of!” says Matt.

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Meta Blast

So stop by and check them out and and let them know what you think, they like feedback so if you have suggestions or concerns, let them know!

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Chili Dog

Meta Burger is located at 7950 East Mississippi Ave Unit A Denver CO. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook and check out their website here. Thanks so much to Matt and Michael for sharing with your story with us, we wish you so much luck in the future!!!

Keep Your Brain Healthy with These 10 Tips!

Brain health is a concern for everyone, the choices we make throughout our lifetime determine how we age and how our brain will function especially in later years. People with a family history of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s or Dementia should to pay particular attention to lifestyle choices and dietary habits.

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Dementia is a general term for a disorder of the brain which can be characterized as memory loss and impairment of everyday function. There are several stages of the disease and progression can be slow or it can be very accelerated.  People can be affected at any age but onset is generally noticed around the age of 65 and memory related problems can increase with age. According to the Alzheimers Association 5.7 Million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. Wow! That’s some serious stuff!

Numerous theories are proposed as to where dementia comes from. A single source has not been identified as the cause of the decline in cognitive function. Many experts believe an accumulation of factors damage our brains throughout the course of our lives and and lead to loss of memory and cognitive impairment. (Bredesen)

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Anti Inflammatory Turmeric Bites

Luckily, the most promising treatment for Alzheimer’s and Dementia appears to be nutrition protocols, supplementation and positive lifestyle choices.

Several programs which have been developed recently by neurologists, have shown promise, most notably the ReCODE protocol. These protocols recommend a mostly plant based diet and healing through foods and the elimination of inflammation causing or damaging foods along with other lifestyle choices as well as supplementation (Bredesen) (Sherzai).

 

Just a few of these basic lifestyle choices include:

  • Exercise at minimum 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Be sure to get involved in activities that will make you sweat.
  • Ensure a minimum 8 hours of restful sleep each night.
  • Have a stress management routine in place including yoga or meditation.
  • Work on brain training games daily and never stop learning.
  • Maintain a strong social and family connections.
  • Eliminate common sources of inflammation like gluten, dairy, meat, alcohol, sweets, pastries, processed and fried foods.
  • Eat a diet abundant in plants with brain protective compounds including; apples, beets, oranges, leafy greens, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, olives, lion’s mane mushrooms, herbs like rosemary, sage, saffron, ginger and turmeric and other foods rich in omega fatty acids.
  • Learn how to keep blood sugar in balance and prevent insulin spikes.
  • Work with a knowledgeable natural health practitioner who can analyze your blood work and provide supplement recommendations. For prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s it’s important to get vitamin levels into an “optimal” range.
  • Drink abundant filtered water and consider a detox several times a year. Prevent toxins from entering your body by keeping a toxin free home and body care routine.
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Beet Salad

I recommend taking brain health seriously, if you notice forgetfulness in yourself or a family member, be sure to speak with a functional medicine specialist as it could be one of the early warning signs of the onset of dementia. Testing yourself for the APOE4 gene will also determine your risk factor and allow you to better plan and implement lifestyle changes. The earlier you follow a program that will help minimize your symptoms the better chance you will have at a lifetime of good memory. With a family history of dementia myself, I know declining brain health can be a scary reality but by empowering ourselves with knowledge you will learn that there is hope, and you don’t have to be resigned to a genetic fate. As Doctor Dale Bredesen says “Our genes load the gun but our lifestyle choices pull the trigger”.

 

 

Creamy White Bean and Rosemary Soup

Rosemary is one of the most beneficial herbs you can incorporate into your diet for a healthy brain. Sneak it into dishes as often as you can or add it to your water along with some orange slices. Just smelling rosemary has been found in scientific studies to improve memory. This Creamy White Bean Soup is an incredibly delicious soup, and just one of the many ways you can use culinary nutrition to give your brain a little extra power.

Serves 4

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Creamy White Bean and Rosemary Soup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Small head of cauliflower, broken into pieces
  • 2 15 oz cans of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon tamari

Instructions

  1. Sauté garlic, onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower to a saucepan with 2- 3 tablespoons of water and steam on medium high heat until cauliflower is soft (add more water, if needed). Add one cup of veggie broth, allow to cool.
  2. Transfer just the cauliflower mixture to a high-speed blender, add the white beans. Process on high speed until fully blended and creamy. Add the final cup of veggie broth and blend until the mixture is fully mixed.
  3. Transfer the creamy mixture to soup pot.
  4. Add the bay leaf, rosemary and stir to combine. Warm on low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tamari, taste. Add more tamari, if desired.
  6. Be sure to remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

 

Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan Cookbook & Giveaway

I absolutely love watching cooking shows on TV- it’s one of the few things that I actually do watch! Probably my favorite cooking show to watch is Jazzy Vegetarian on PBS.

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Laura Theodore, who is the Jazzy Vegetarian, has been a delight for me to watch for years. I love her recipes, the way she cooks and also how sweet, fun and genuine her personality is. So much of her personality is translated into her most recent cookbook- Jazzy Vegetarian’s – Deliciously Vegan!

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Just looking through this cookbook will make your tummy growl in anticipation of just one bite of one of the many delightful recipes. Laura really is a genius in the kitchen and has made even split pea soup look divine! Laura also shares her tips for vegan cooking and baking, with easy-to-follow instructions, ingredient substitution lists and a glossary of common ingredients.  This cookbook has beautiful photographs of all the recipes which make it super easy to pick out what you like. Laura also helps those of us that love sweet treats (me!) make them more healthy. Deliciously Vegan is fun and supportive and full of all the good stuff – no judgement; vegan, vegetarian, veg curious – all are welcome.

From simple snacks to enticing entrees to mouth-watering desserts, in Deliciously Vegan, you’ll find recipes for delectable treats like: Miso-Parsley Hummus, Lemony-Maple Cranberry Muffins, Banana-Pecan Coffee Cake, Banana Walnut Bread, Tex-Mex Salad Bowl, Minty-Cucumber and Carrot Soup, Asparagus Tart, Sensational Stuffed Manicotti, Gingered Portobello Steaks, Seitan Fajitas with Cashew Sour Cream, Root Veggie and Lentil Trio Stew, Cashew Stuffed Artichokes, Divine Chocolate Mousse Cake, Blueberry Tea Cakes with Vegan Lemon “Buttercream” Glaze, Mini Raspberry Cheeze-Cakes and Four Ingredient Apricot Bars.

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And now for a recipe from the cookbook!

Potato and Spinach “Frittata”

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MAKES 3 TO 4 SERVINGS

It’s frittata time! This authentic-tasting frittata is baked in the oven, making it especially easy to prepare. With a delicious potato/onion base, paired with an herb-infused egg-like filling, this egg-less entrée is a true winner, perfect to serve for any meal of the day.

POTATO LAYER

  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
  • 2 large red or white potatoes (with peel on) very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 cup minced sweet onion

“EGG” LAYER

  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 block (14 to 16 ounces), extra-firm regular tofu, drained
  • 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally coat a 9 to 10-inch round quiche dish with vegan margarine.

Put the “potato layer” ingredients in a large skillet in the order listed. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender, flipping them over half way though cooking. Check often and add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, put the rolled oats in a blender and process into coarse flour. Add the tofu, nondairy milk, Italian seasoning, tamari and turmeric and process until smooth.

Arrange all of the potatoes in an overlapping, even layer in the prepared dish. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Spread one-third of the tofu mixture evenly over the potatoes. Top with the spinach, pressing it down firmly. Carefully pour the remaining tofu mixture over the spinach and gently spread it in an even layer, using a rubber spatula.

Sprinkle the paprika over the top of the frittata. Tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the frittata is set. Put the dish on a wire rack and loosen the sides of the frittata with a knife. Let cool 12 to 15 minutes and slice into wedges. Serve warm.

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Laura’s recipes are always so comforting while still being healthful. They don’t use out-of-the-ordinary or hard to find ingredients, just healthier versions of those traditional American recipes we love. This cookbook would be great to give as a gift to anyone who you are encouraging to eat healthier and more plant-based meals or pick it up for yourself so you can make all of these tasty treats any day you’d like 🙂

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Recipe and photo by Laura Theodore, from JazzyVegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan. Published by Scribe Publishing, ©2018, reprinted by permission.

Please enter here for your chance to win a copy of Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan! Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d8798bdf12/?

Whole Health Club – The Gym With a Plant Based Kitchen!

Whole Health Club is a new concept in the health and fitness industry, one close to my heart. Their mission is to get people to make sustainable and lasting changes for their long term health, by eating lots of delicious healthy foods and integrating healthy lifestyle choices. The whole crew at Whole Health Club shares the same mission as I do, that’s why I wanted to tell readers all about them!

Sam Grantham and Chase Parker started Whole Health Club and the reason I think they are so cool is that they listen to the best nutrition data and that pass that info to their clients and the community.

Sam Whole Health

The partnership began when Chase introduced Sam to the book The China Study. Once he read that book and questioned the idea for a few more months, it became too obvious that he needed to live plant-based. He was your typical Midwest kid before that: the old high school athlete, The Jock, and eating whatever food he wanted, not knowing its impact on my health. “My interests, you could say, have always been aligned with running a business from setting up a fundraiser in school to raise money to two businesses started in high school and college: both small, fun, time-wasters, I’d say. It wasn’t until Whole Health Club that my brain became singularly focused on an idea that I believe could change the world.”

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Whole Health Club was started for a couple of reasons; they saw that nothing affects health more powerfully than a whole foods, plant-based diet. They also knew there were a lot of resources that teach this idea. They thought to themselves, “How come the public hasn’t became aware of this incredible diet?” They realized that when people decide that they want to get healthy, they go to the gym. So why not combine the two most powerful things that can have an impact on your health? “You should be in a gym where you can learn to be active and in the kitchen where you can learn to eat the way humans are supposed to eat: a whole foods, plant-based diet.”

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The mission of Whole Health Club is to make “healthy” simple. They do that because they believe in the research that shows its efficacy. A secondary part of their mission is to explain to people why gyms often don’t work. “And when I say that, I know gyms work for some people, but it’s important to note that since the 1950s, when the gym and workout craze began, we have only became more obese and diseased-riddled. I truly believe that gyms are designed as your first defense against being unhealthy, and if that’s the case then with so many gyms, you’d think we’d be a healthy nation. That’s the mission: We have to disrupt the gym industry” says Sam.

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At Whole Health Club, they offer cooking classes, one-on-one personal training, and an open gym membership. Clients can also come and go as they would please like any other gym. More importantly, they offer evidence-based meal plans and lifestyle hacks to be able to live a truly healthy life.

Paige

“At Whole Health Club, you can get a gym that’s not going to follow whatever the most recent fad is. What you’re going to get as the only evidence-based gym that has multiple doctor endorsements across the country for the techniques they teach to get people healthy. You’re going to get a place that’s not going to base all of its success on weight loss. We base our success on someone becoming healthy.” Sam tells us.

Smoothie board

All Whole Health Club employees are exceptional in many ways. Not only are they are able to educate you on fitness in the gym, but they can also educate you on nutrition from a practical perspective. They can show you how to make meals, how to feed picky family members, and most importantly how to make it sustainable for you.

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Austin Joseph is a trainer at Whole Health Club who truly goes above and beyond in every aspect of his life from his work habits, to the way treats his clients, to the way he researches so he can better himself every day.

Chase Parker is one of the founders of the company and is in relentless pursuit of making the world a healthy place. He’s always been someone that excels to the top-level whether it be playing football at Michigan State or being a strength coach there then at the University of Florida, or even owning his own private facility in Florida and now his second one in Colorado.

Chase

Paige Rogers is an incredible human being and also a founder. She is literally a jill-of-all-trades, if you will, from being able to educate people on self-care, fitness, nutrition, and yoga. No matter where Paige goes, she ends up being recognized for the love that she’s able to put out in the world. One of the best pieces of recognition she’s been given was being named one of the 33 people changing self-care by Essence Magazine.

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Kayla Jacob is the chef at Whole Health Club. She’s been with the company since the very beginning. Kayla is a classically trained chef. She received her education at Johnson & Wales. Kayla realized the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet in her own life and decided to stop at nothing to educate others on how to make not just healthy, but freaking tasty meals! She runs all of the cooking classes at Whole Health Club and is often also a private chef for clients, stocking their refrigerators with healthy meals.

Kayla

And a little about the most exciting part about Whole Health Club…. The Kitchen!! They have a saying a Whole Health Club and it goes, “Only good gyms have kitchens, and only one gym has a kitchen. So I’ll let you do the math.” Says Sam. In their kitchen, Whole Health Club staff teaches a whole food, plant-based, no oil approach. The kitchen is set up with residential equipment as it allows clients to go back to their own kitchens and feel comfortable making the same meals they were able to learn in their kitchen.

Whole Health Kitchen

At Whole Health Club, they boil down their cooking classes to four major categories. First are 15-Minute Meals because we live in a very busy society with a lot going on. The most common excuse for health is, “I don’t have time!” So you can make a healthy meal in 15 minutes. You’ve got no excuse to be unhealthy. Second, is the weight loss class, of course. Why wouldn’t a gym have a weight loss class? The best part about it, however, is the way they teach that class and weight loss in general. It is a plant-based, calorie dense principle which simply means if you eat the foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories you can never eat too much. When clients join this class, they see how much food they can eat and still maintain their weight loss. Next they have cooking for a family because too often one member of the family wants to get healthy and then is alone and doing this by him or herself. At Whole Health Club, they’ve noticed that when we’re able to incorporate the rest of the family in eating this way, even if it is just a couple meals a week, that person’s success rate on their help journey is tremendous. Then they get the added bonus of their family getting a little healthier. The fourth class is what they call “Everything In Between.” This includes snacks, desserts, and any other time you’re not having a whole meal. Too often they help people learn to eat healthy meals and then tell them not to eat in between. On a plant-based diet, you can eat all day, every day (in between meals, late at night, etc.) as long as you’re consuming a whole foods plant-based diet.

WHKitchen

The plans for the future of Whole Health Club are to bring facilities like this one to as many major markets as we can. One of the biggest things that’s going to allow us to do that is the 42 Day program. They’re currently working on making theirs proprietary. This program will allow anyone to start being a little bit healthier no matter if they’re a carnivore, no matter if they’re sedentary, or even if they’re already an active vegetarian. This program will show them all of the skills and answer all the questions they would have about how to eat and live a healthy whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. Once this program is down, they hope to be able to use it to grow the brand and add more facilities as well as partner with healthcare providers and educational systems to bring this program to them and benefit their students or patients.

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The biggest tip Sam would like to share that will help people live a long, healthy, and active life is to start with living as much of a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle as you can. Stay active. Whatever your favorite way to move or exert energy is, do that, whether it’s hiking, walking, lifting, or running. And lastly, something Sam thinks is underestimated in society, self-care. Self-care has a lot of definitions; His business partner Paige has taught him a lot about that. Self-care can mean many different things to many different people. For Sam “self-care is reaching out and staying in touch with my loved ones and my friends and seeing a therapist to talk through problems, ambitions, and goals. To others it may be meditating and doing yoga every day.”

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One of the most important things Sam wants the readers to know about Whole Health Club is that “We aren’t the vegan gym. You don’t have to be plant-based to work out or be a part of Whole Health Club. That being said, all of the techniques that we teach to get healthy involve eating more plants because that’s where the evidence is; that’s what can reverse heart disease. If they would like to be a part of Whole Health Club and happen to not live in Denver, we have an incredible online club they can join for just $10 a month. There’s also a 7-Day trial that’ll explain what they get with an online club membership.”

People can find Whole Health Club online, on Facebook, or on Instagram. They are very active on social media and love people following them and getting healthy. They’re located just south of Denver, and the best way to contact with them is through email or any of their social media channels.

You can find out all the details on their website:

https://www.wholehealthclub.com/14317467_864454873656531_6114729451850332834_n