Friday, September 23, 2011

The joys of being Aunt KT!

     It has been a wonderful blessing living with my brother & sister-in-law this past month in their new home in Michigan! They needed some extra helping hands with the kiddos, so I have had the pleasure of being full-time Aunt KT. :-) It's been a blast to dance & sing with Autumn, rock Cole to sleep, feed the little puppies (English Mastiffs), hang out with my brother & sis-in-law, and cook & bake up a storm (I love their kitchen)!

     A few glances at the joys in life...along with some tasty goodies...

.baby Cole...7 weeks now.
.mischievous much?.
.2 weeks old. then they get this big...
.playing with the big dogs. English Mastiffs.

.love my daily kisses.

.the Yahara clan.

.mr. handsome.

.apples from the orchard! it's fall!

.GF Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Butter Cream Frosting.

.baked samosas.

.coconut red lentil & broccoli soup.

     ...stay tuned for my upcoming adventures... :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

1-2-3 Applesauce

     When I say "1-2-3" I really mean 1-2-3! Making your own applesauce is extremely simple & tastes far better than store bought. AND you don't get those icky preservatives!

     So 3 steps - that's it!

Homemade Applesauce
*Yield: 1 3/4 cup*

2 medium-sized apples, variety of choice
filtered water
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, optional 

1. Chop apples into 1-inch pieces. It is not necessary to peel your apples if they are organic. However, your sauce may be a pit pink depending on the variety/color you choose.
2. Place apples and enough water to cover the apples in a small pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
3. With a slotted spoon, scoop out apples and place into a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached (smooth or chunky).

*Variations - add in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or agave for additional spice & sweetness.
*Store in refrigerator. Use in place of oil when baking or enjoy by the spoonful!

See - it's that easy! The remaining liquid may be used for further cooking or you may simply drink your freshly made apple juice! 

.simple. nutritious. homemade.

     Apples are high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and prevents/relieves constipation. They are full of vitamins & minerals too!
Have you had your apple for the day?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taco Night!

     Tacos are simple, satisfying, easy to make gluten-free, and a great meal for eating a variety of fresh veggies, plant-based protein, and complex carbohydrates. For the hard taco shells, I used Whole Foods 365 organic brand and for the tortillas, I used brown rice tortillas from Food for Life.

     For my taco night, I included:
                         ~ re-fried beans, brown rice, tempeh crumbles (recipe below)
                         ~ scallions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, fresh corn
                         ~ daiya, salsa, and few slices of avocado.

     ...All to be bundled up and served inside of a crispy blue corn shell or a warm brown rice tortilla! Yum! So fresh & so flavorful!

All ready to go - lovin' Taco Night!

.the bright colors make me smile.

.mmm. my taste buds were quite happy!

.enjoy YOUR taco night - I enjoyed mine! :-)

'Tempeh Crumbles'

 1 8 oz. package tempeh
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt

Slice the tempeh into 4 pieces. In a small pot, place tempeh and enough water to cover the tempeh in the pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, covered. Set aside to cool. This technique tenderizes the tempeh and improves digestibility. 
In a medium saucepan, add oil and heat over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili powder, and sea salt. Crumble the cooled tempeh into small pieces. Stir in tempeh crumbles with the onion mixture. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until tempeh is golden brown.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cookies, Pies, Cobblers, & Bread!

     For some reason, I have been in quite the baking mood this week...from cookies, to pies & cobblers, to bread! It also helps that my sister-in-law and brother are happy to be my little guinea pigs for any of the goodies I desire to make. :-) Gotta love that sweet tooth! All of my cookies are made with bananas, homemade applesauce, agave nectar, and rolled oats (not quite certified GF- easy to fix though). It's only the little add-ins and spices that I mix up!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rustically Red Apple - Apple Pie!
Blueberry Peach Cobbler (Certified GF)
Wonderful Whole Wheat Bread
     Don't worry though, I am getting plenty of veggies, fruits, and whole grains in all of us! ;-) Release your inner baker and get in that kitchen!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kate's Colorful Quinoa Cakes

     I really love making bean and grain patties/cakes filled with spices and herbs! They are perfect anytime of the day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack! Not accounting for the vegetables, when I calculated the amount of protein and fiber in the cakes (accounting only for the beans & quinoa), each of my colorful quinoa cakes has about 4g of protein and 4 g of fiber - wahoo!! Your body will thank you and you will be pleasantly satisfied!

Colorful Quinoa Cakes
('ll see why I named them "colorful!"...)

Mise En Place
(means "Having Everything Ready to Cook")
The amazing red QUINOA - love this whole grain!
Sauteed Veggies - full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, & fiber!
Mash beans with a fork before adding to your vegetable mixture.
Our lovely mixture - ready to be shaped into cakes!
Colorful Quinoa Cakes - ready to be cooked - light on the oil please!
Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side.
A Colorful Quinoa Cake served alongside Roasted Red Potatoes & Broccoli
tossed with minced garlic, balsamic vinaigrette, a hint of olive oil, sea salt &
black pepper ~ garnished with toasted walnuts.

Recipe time!


1/2 medium size onion, about 1 cup, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice
3/4 cup carrots, small dice
3/4 cup cauliflower, diced into small florets
1/2 cup freshly diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups collard greens, chopped finely, stems included
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup cooked quinoa, cook according to package
1 15 oz can black beans, or 2 cups cooked beans, mashed
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary


1. First, ensure you have your mise en place (everything in place and ready to cook). Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute onion and minced garlic for 3 minutes until translucent. Add red bell peppers and saute for 2 more minutes. Add carrots and saute for 2 more minutes. Continue to saute each vegetable individually for 2 minutes each (cauliflower, tomatoes, collard greens, and scallions). 
2. Turn heat to low and stir in cooked quinoa, mashed beans, sea salt, black pepper, basil, and rosemary. Cook mixture for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool before shaping into patties.
3. Form 3-inch patties until mixture is gone (will make about 10 patties).
4. In the same skillet, cook each patty for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
5. Thoroughly enjoy each bite of quinoa goodness!
6. Store leftover patties in the refrigerator. Simply reheat leftover patties over stove for 5 minutes.

Yum Yum to my Tum Tum!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Workin' Out with My Little Helper!

     Although I'm not a mother yet, I do know what it's like to be around little ones for an extended period of time. And yes, sometimes it's easy to forgo the official workout since my little niece, Autumn, keeps me active. However, all women still need to perform strength training movements. So instead of turning on a kid show for her to sit still while I did my workout, I chose to include her in my routine. It's so much fun this way! Granted she is only 23 lbs, which is a perfect weight for this, but older kiddos love to dance around to upbeat music and do jumping jacks & squats too. Why not? Don't forgo your next workout - let the kids join in with you!

...and UP!
Some added weight to my push up!
Shoulder Press ~ baby style!
Chest Press Time!
The Butt-Buster - Seriously, pushing this car up and down
the hallway really fires up the glutes!!
Cardio Intervals of "Ring Around the Rosy"
     Autumn was such a great sport - of course her favorite part was "Ring Around the Rosy." I'll tell you what, if you spend the better half of your morning dancing & doing aerobics with a little one, they tend to take a nice 3-hour long nap! :-) At least it works for me...I end up playing in the kitchen and creating delicious, nutritious the one below!

GF Cornbread ~ Butternut Squash Vegetable Stew
...perfect for a rainy's almost fall!!

...get your body movin' today &
feed yourself nutritious whole foods every day...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies!

     I love whipping up a batch of cookies with simple ingredients I have in my cupboards - so satisfying! Truthfully, I made these because my little neice didn't eat lunch before she went down for her nap and I knew she would be hungry when she woke up. Since she had already eaten a bunch of fruit in the morning and most likely wouldn't want to eat veggies upon waking, I thought I would bake some "good-for-her" cookies! :-) She ate two by the way!

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

You, the cookie-maker, will need:

1 medium-sized ripe banana, mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 Tbsp potato starch (another starch or flour may work as well)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 dashes of sea salt
2/3 cup craisins

To make your treats:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mash banana and stir to combine with applesauce, agave nectar, and vanilla. Add rolled oats, shredded coconut, potato starch, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir to combine. Then add in craisins and mix. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes.
3. With a heaping tablespoon, spoon cookies onto lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes until kissed with a hint of gold. :-)
4. Leave on pan to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve & enjoy! sure to make these treats with good intention & love...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Make Your Lunch Beautiful & Tasty!

     I enjoyed such a beautiful & tasty lunch today! After picking up an avocado from the store this afternoon, I thought " avocado and kale salad sounds sooo good right now." Thankfully, I already had kale, dijon mustard, tomatoes, and a lemon. Easy peasy! I know sometimes we are all in a rush, but you deserve the best! Make the effort to create a delicious & eye-pleasing lunch for yourself. I promise you will feel proud and rejuvenated!

     Why not give my ideas a run for their money? Below I have a dish called "Waldo Quinoa." I gave it this name simply because I mixed red and white quinoa together...hey, just like kiddos, adults need to have some fun with their food too! ;-)

     Quinoa is rich in protein & fiber. Kale is full of antioxidants which may help in the prevention of cancer. Avocados contain heart healthy fats. Lemon aids in digestion. Why not make this your next meal? :-) Enjoy.

Avocado Kale Salad & Waldo Quinoa

Avocado Kale Salad

3 kale leaves
1/2 avocado
1 tsp dijon mustard with garlic
(or add a fresh clove of garlic if you only have plain dijon)
1/2 tomato, medium dice
1/4 lemon, juiced
pinch of salt

In a small mixing bowl, de-stem the kale and tear into bite size pieces (set aside stems for later use). Massaage avocado into the kale using a fork or your hands (I like using my hands). Stir in dijon mustard, tomatoes, lemon juice, and salt.
Now rejoice & consume your anti-oxidant rich salad!

Waldo Quinoa

1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup carrots, small dice
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup white quinoa
1/2 cup red quiona
2 cups water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste

In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, add oil until warm. Next add onions & saute for 3 minutes. Add carrots and saute 5 more minutes. Once onions are translucent, add quinoa, water, & salt. Bring to a boil. Once a boil has been reached, simmer on low for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Garnish with fresh lemon juice. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spring Rolls!

     Although it isn't springtime, spring rolls are still incredibly fun and easy to make! They are perfect for an appetizer, snack, or as your main dish (depending on how hungry you are). Everyone I've taught how to make these little delights have loved them and have already made them again on their own- yay!! They are filled with nutritious, delicious, & colorful veggies! And are allergy-friendly (gluten, dairy, & soy free).

     Now push up those sleeves and get to rollin'! You won't want to stop! :-) You may also include marinated tofu (a soy product) to your roll as well, but this recipe simply calls for fresh vegetables & rice noodles. Don't be surprised though, these little guys are quite satisfying! Spring roll wrappers and rice noodles may be found in most Asian sections of the grocery store.

*Yield: about 20 rolls*


1/2 pkg. spring roll wrappers
1 pkg. rice noodles, prepared according to package
2 large carrots cut into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 bunch green scallions, sliced in 2 inch strips
1 handful fresh basil and/or mint leaves


Fill a large bowl with water. One at a time, place spring roll wrapper into the bowl with filtered water for 25 seconds.  Transfer wet wrapper to cutting board or work station.  Place a small handful of rice noodles in center of roll, top with 1-2   matchstick carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, a slice of avocado, a piece of scallion, and basil or mint leaves.

To roll, start from the bottom and wrap rice paper over all ingredients, next pull in the sides and continue wrapping to the end. 

Serve with a simple dollop of Dijon or honey mustard, or with the following peanut dipping sauce recipe.

Peanut Dipping Sauce 
(Recipe from The Vegan Table by Collen Patrick-Goudreau)

*Yield: 1 cup

½ cup organic peanut butter
¼ cup water
2-3 Tbsp shoyu or tamari soy sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger

Blend or stir all ingredients together until combined.
May need to adjust flavorings or water to reach desired consistency.

May they put a spring in your step...enjoy! ;-)