Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerator Oats by Kathy Hester

Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerator Oats by Kathy Hester

By Kathy Hester, Contributor

First, I want to thank Jill for allowing me to share one of my recipes from my upcoming book, OATrageous Oatmeals. I am grateful to be in such a supportive community of vegan authors and readers.

Photo by Kate Lewis

Photo by Kate Lewis

You know that oats are good for you and you should probably add more of them to your weekly menu plan. However, if you are stuck in an oatmeal rut, it may seem too boring. I believe strongly in having innovative, exciting oats, and I’m here to lead you out of that rut.

Oats go far beyond breakfast, so don’t limit how you use them. In my new book, I have recipes for oat milk, oat yogurt, steel-cut oat sausage crumbles, oat dal, oat soups, mushroom stew, gnocchi, and much, much more. Some use rolled oats — steel-cut oats with some oat groats thrown in for good measure!

Oats are also a great way to start your day, and that’s why I’m sharing my recipe for Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerator Oats with you.

Hopefully, you have already been introduced to overnight refrigerator oats. This is the perfect summer canvas to adorn with the array of spring and summer fruits and herbs.

You can make them with yogurt, but this is one of my recipes that is yogurt-less. I like to have a few in my arsenal, so if I go to make some before I go to bed, I can make them even if I’m out of my usual soy yogurt.

These are a little thinner than the ones with yogurt. You can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken it up if you’d like.

You don’t have to use the 1/2 teaspoon of rum if you prefer to not imbibe, but if you use alcohol based vanilla extract you already add a little to your morning oats!

I’m dying to know — what’s the most interesting thing you’ve done with oats?

Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerator Oats

Photo by Kate Lewis

From OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester

Sweet juicy blackberries soaked in bright lime and mint flavors with the faintest aroma of rum will perk you up even on the toughest mornings. You can add a teaspoon or two of chia seeds to make this extra thick.

Ingredients
1 cup blackberries (cut in 1⁄2 if large)
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1⁄3 cup (31 g) rolled oats
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or 1⁄8 teaspoon mint extract
zest from 1⁄2 lime or 1⁄4 teaspoon lime oil
1⁄2 teaspoon rum or rum extract, optional
1 tablespoon agave, to taste (or your choice of sweetener, to taste)

Add all the ingredients in a mason jar or a dish with a cover. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight. Stir and eat.

Makes 1 serving


Blackberry Mojito Overnight Refrigerator Oats recipe reprinted with the permission of Page Street Publishing Company.

National Nutrition Month: What Does Nutrition Mean to Food-Insecure Children?

National Nutrition Month: What Does Nutrition Mean to Food-Insecure Children?

By Rose Kaplan, Virtual Intern

Editor’s Note: I asked Rose Kaplan to write about her work for National Nutrition Month and explain what she does at the food bank. I am thrilled to see that Rose is truly making a difference in the nutrition world.

Imagine what your life would be like if you did not have healthy food to put on the table. Now, imagine what life would be like if you did not know when your next meal would be or where it was coming from. This situation is the reality for families all across the country, with more than 17.6 million American households considered to be food-insecure.

To break that down even further, last year, 33 million adults and 16 million children did not get the food they need. This is what we call being “food insecure.” Childhood hunger is devastating. Hungry kids are more likely to experience short- and long-term health issues, have trouble learning in school, and be more prone to emotional and behavioral problems. While many of us think of nutrition as choosing the healthiest foods, catering to our specific dietary choices, or even trying a new recipe, nutrition to 1 in every 5 children is whether or not they will have a meal to eat. In Cincinnati, Ohio, programs such as Power Pack are aiming to combat this issue.

After receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Miami University in Ohio, I began working at the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, where my job is to coordinate the Power Pack backpack meals program. This program provides 4,000 children most at-risk of hunger a shelf stable bag of food to take home from school, every weekend of the school year. The phrase “shelf stable” is not usually synonymous with healthy food. My job is to change that.

Child backpack

Starting next month, April 2014, we will be launching a redesigned, healthier backpack meal, which has not been an easy task. Healthy shelf stable items are hard to obtain, and those that exist are usually pricey. However, after months of research, a new backpack that better caters to the nutrition needs of school-aged children has been developed. Cereals high in sugar have been replaced with whole grains, naturally sweetened granola bars, and organic applesauce. Orange-flavored beverages have been replaced by a blended fruit and vegetable juice. Canned meats and pastas have been replaced with heart healthy options, such as sunflower butter (also known as sunbutter) and sunflower kernels.

Though 4,000 children is a small percentage of the 16 million who go hungry each day, making these changes matters. During this National Nutrition Month, I ask that you expand your horizons from testing out a new healthy recipe to helping provide nutrition for somebody, especially a child, who might not be able to eat otherwise. Hungry children are simply not getting the resources they need. Please consider donating money to your local food bank. We can all make a difference, one child at a time.

Are You Eating a Plant-Based Diet for the New Year? It’s a Lifestyle Not a Diet, Try It.

Are You Eating a Plant-Based Diet for the New Year? It’s a Lifestyle Not a Diet, Try It.

By Rachael Kaplan, Virtual Intern

Every year around this time (or more than a month ago now because the editor The Veggie Queen, Jill, got too busy to post this), hordes of people flood the gyms and the diet aisle at the grocery store in hopes of improving their health in the New Year. This year, rather than switching to unappealing and unhealthy diet foods or getting stuck in a cycle of yo-yo dieting, why not adopt a diet that’s good for your health, the environment, and your wallet? The benefits of a plant-based diet are limitless!

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like: a diet that is centered on plant foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Most of the time, plant-based diets also exclude animal products, like meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, and milk. To put it simply, the plant-based diet focuses on eating whole, unprocessed plant foods to promote health.

Vegan burrito

Vegan burrito

The Benefits of a plant-based diet include the following:

A plant-based diet can improve your health

Cardiovascular Health
Plant-based diets are likely to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are good for supporting heart health.

Fiber
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which can help regulate bowel health, control blood sugar, and help you maintian a healthy weight.

Weight Management
Plant-based foods are generally lower in calories, which can help you maintain your weight. Additionally, studies have shown that vegetarians usually have lower BMI (body mass index) s and lower rates of obesity.

Disease Prevention
Research has shown that following a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of hypertension, heart attack and type 2 diabetes, cancer due to the decreased saturated fat and cholesterol and the increase in fiber and phytochemical intake.

A plant-based diet is better for the environment

Decreases Pollution
According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, 1/5 of the world’s greenhouse gases are generated by livestock production. That’s even more than the greenhouse gases produced by transportation! Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin, geophysicists at the University of Chicago, estimate that if Americans reduced their meat consumption by 20%, it would have the same environmental effect as if we all switched from a standard sedan, like a Camry, to a Prius

Saves Natural Resources
One pound of wheat uses about 108 pounds of water, while one pound of beef uses over 20,000 pounds of water! Of all the water used in the US, over half goes to livestock production and 70% of all US grain is fed to farm animals. If all the grains fed to animals in western countries were fed to people instead, we would be able to feed twice as many people as we do right now.

You can save money by adopting a plant-based diet

It saves you money now
Unfortunately, plant-based diets (and healthy foods in general) have a bad reputation of being expensive. While comparing the costs of fresh fruits and vegetables to the $1 burgers and fries readily available, it can seem like eating healthy is impossible to do on a budget. On the other hand, whole grains, legumes, and beans can be bought in bulk and can add up to just a few cents per meal. That doesn’t seem so bad when you think about how much you would be spending on convenience food that’s not nearly as filling or nutritious.

It will save you money in the future
One of the best investments you can make is in your future. As mentioned before, plant-based diets can help prevent many chronic diseases, which could end up costing you thousands of dollars in medical bills in the future. Switching to a plant-based diet now can actually save you money in the long-run.

So this year, focus on a lifestyle change that will actually make a difference. Start out by trying some of the delicious plant-based recipes here on The Veggie Queen’s blog and by trying out some recipes in her book, The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment or The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes.


Here are some tasty recipes to get you started

Saffron Quinoa with Spring Vegetables
Summer Vegan Veggie Burgers
Mushroom, Kale, Brown Rice, and Lentil Soft Tacos

Sources

The New York Times: Bittman
The Guardian U.K.
Choose Veg: The Environment
Today’s Dietitian Bounty of Benefits

The Amazing Avocado to Keep Your Heart Healthy for Valentine’s Day

The Amazing Avocado to Keep Your Heart Healthy for Valentine’s Day

By Rose Kaplan, Virtual Intern

Note: This post was inspired by reasonably price avocados showing up in my stores this winter. Some may disagree about eating avocado for heart health. For some people, it might not be a good idea. You have to decide. Jill only eats one avocado a week at most. You always get to choose what you put into your mouth.

Now that January is behind us, it’s the indicator of many things: We are farther into our New Year’s resolutions, we’re closer to spring, and February is the start of American Heart Month. As you begin your journey to better heart health, understanding what foods can help you along this journey will be very useful. Eating a diet that includes heart-healthy fats is just one of many ways to improve heart health. According to the American Heart Association, knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones do not is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease. Fat intake should be limited to between 25 percent and 35 percent of total calories per day and should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat sources such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. (Editor’s note: I do not encourage the use of vegetable oils, and the guidelines for percentage of calories from fat is much higher than my recommendation, which is more in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent.)

One incredible source of heart-healthy fats is the avocado. Avocados are composed of mostly monounsaturated fats and may help lower blood cholesterol when used in place of saturated fats. In addition to being high in heart-healthy fats, this fruit confers many health benefits. The best news of all? Avocados are in season during the winter, which makes them perfect for consumption during American Heart Month! Here are just some of the health benefits of the amazing avocado:

  •  An Avocado Has More Potassium than A Banana — 1 avocado has 975 mg of potassium while a medium to large banana (~8 inches) has only 500 mg of potassium.
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  • Avocados Are a High Protein Fruit — 1 cup of mashed avocado contains 4.6 grams of protein, one of the highest among fruits.
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  • Vitamins, Minerals, AND Other Nutrients?! — The avocado contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals in addition to potassium, including Vitamins A, C, E, B6 and B9.
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  • Avocados Are Good for a Healthy Heart — Avocados can help consumers meet the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association, which is to eat a diet that is low to moderate in fat, that is primarily unsaturated and low in cholesterol. A 1 ounce serving of avocado contains 0.5 grams of saturated fat and is free of trans-fats and cholesterol, making it an excellent choice.(An average medium sized avocado has ?? ounces of edible flesh.)
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  • Fat Can Be Good For Me? — Yes, the rumors are true. Fat—in moderation—can actually be part of a balanced diet. According to the American Heart Association, good fats can lower bad cholesterol. The avocado is one of the only fruits that contains monounsaturated fat, with half of its fat content coming from this heart-healthy fat. Avocados also contain polyunsaturated fats, with about 0.5 grams per 1 ounce serving. That is about one fifth of a medium avocado.

The avocado is versatile and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Here are some ideas for the next time you buy an avocado:

Tomatillo Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Tomatillo Cilantro Avocado Dressing

  • Spread mashed avocado on toast for a heart-healthy, vegan substitute for butter.
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  • Create a guacamole dip for your next taco night. Guacamole can be easily created with just a few simple ingredients. Combine mashed avocados with jalapeno, diced tomato, red onion, garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic), salt and pepper.
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  • Use as a garnish on your favorite soup.
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  • Add to any sandwich to add flavor and creaminess. Now that January is behind us, it’s the indicator of many things: We are farther into our New Year’s resolutions, we’re closer to spring, and of course February is the start of American Heart Month. Avocado can make a great substitute for mayonnaise.
  •  

  • Combine with mango, black beans, jalapeno and cilantro to make a refreshing salsa.
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  • Or use it in a tasty dressing or sauce, such as Jill’s Tomatillo Cilantro Avocado Dressing. If you can’t find tomatillos, you can leave them out and add more liquid until the dressing is the consistency that you like. You can also use it as a sauce over vegetables, brown rice or your favorite grains.

Remember to plan in advance. The best avocados are truly ripe, which might take a few days.

Pressure Cooker Vegan Munggo

Pressure Cooker Vegan Munggo

When my late dog Bear was alive, I used to cook him a brown rice and mung bean dish. One day after I accidentally overcooked the mung beans I posted on Facebook asking  my friends for something to do with them. Luckily my sister’s childhood best friend, Lisa, responded that she would make a Filipino dish called Mungoo. She gave me rough directions and here’s what I came up with.

Don’t let the simplicity of the ingredients keep you from making this tasty dish. There’s some kind of synergy going on here which makes it  much more than the sum of its parts. Of course, I pressure cook the mung beans but you can just cook them on the stove top and then go on to make the dish. I consider mung to be one of the most digestible beans so I hope that if you’ve never tried them, you will now.

This recipe appears in my cookbook The New Fast Food but even though 2 revisions, somehow the directions didn’t all make it into print. (Ah the joys of publishing). The up side: you get the full recipe and some photos to go along with it.

The start of munggo

The start of munggo

 

 

Vegan Munggo

Serves 4

1        tablespoon oil (optional)

2-3     cloves garlic, minced

1        medium onion, sliced

2 1/2 cups cooked mung beans or 1 cup dry, cooked

1        cup diced tomatoes or 2 small to medium tomatoes, diced

Juice of 1 lime

2-3     cups fresh baby spinach

1/2     teaspoon salt, or to taste

Munggo with Bok Choy cooking

Munggo with Bok Choy cooking

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat or use a dry nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute but don’t let it brown. Add the onion and sauté it for 5 minutes or until it’s translucent, adding a tablespoon or two of liquid to prevent sticking if necessary. . Add the cooked beans and the tomato and cook for another few minutes until the tomato is incorporated. Add the lime juice and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Add salt, to taste. Serve hot.

Notes; when I accidentally overcooked my mung beans, which are just fine in this dish, I added a teaspoon of curry powder to them after cooking.

If you don’t spinach but have baby bok choy, slice the stems and leaves. Add the stems to the pan when you add the onion and add the leaves at the end, cooking until wilted. It’s equally as tasty as the original version.

 

Even though I tell you not to soak the mung beans and pressure cook them for 6 to  8 minutes, I did presoak and only pressure  cooked them for 3 minutes. For 1 cup dry mung beans soaked overnight, I added about 2/3 of a cup of liquid for cooking.

 

See the beautiful green choy here before cutting

See the beautiful green choy here before cutting

Vegan Munggo

The completed Munggo, ready to eat

 

Gagoots

By Sara Turnasella, “virtual intern”

The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker

The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker

As someone who is new to pressure cooking, I must say I feel like I’ve been in the dark for a very long time. I’d heard of the pressure cooker before, but never realized the effect it would have on my diet. Having the ability to cook veggies, grains, and beans quicker than I ever thought possible has been nothing short of miraculous.

When I first got my electric pressure cooker, I opened the box and was a little intimidated by it. I had never used anything like it before, and I was afraid that I would injure myself or break it somehow. But after reading through some recipes and guidelines, and watching a few instructional videos, my pressure cooker and I became fast friends.

Now I look at my frozen vegetarian burritos and think, “Wow, I can do so much better than that!” Because it is so easy to make delicious and nutrient-packed food, I sometimes find myself using my pressure cooker multiple times during the day. My energy level, mood, and overall health has been steadily increasing ever since pressure cooking has come into my life, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

Here are some tips I have for anyone who is new to pressure cooking:

  • Start small! If it makes you feel more comfortable, keep things nice and simple. Try cooking something easy like greens in a little broth and your favorite spices. Learn how to make your own vegetable stock   by watching this video of Jill.
  • Be safe! Even with lots of safety features, it’s still very important to protect yourself. Make sure the lid of your pressure cooker is tilted away from you when you open it up. Even if you have opened the valve and released the steam, there will still be plenty of steam left inside and you don’t want to burn yourself.
  • Have fun! Be adventurous, and get creative with your pressure cooking. Invent your own recipes, or add a new twist on old favorites. My pressure cooker has a tendency to be very forgiving. Even if I don’t quite know what the end result will be, I know that flavors and nutrients will all be locked in.
  • Get a good pressure cooking cookbook like the one that Jill wrote, The New Fast Food. It provides advice, cooking charts and recipes that will get you up, running and using your cooker quickly. Pay attention when using the manual/cookbook that comes with the pot as the times might not be correct.

I have had so much fun playing with some of my old favorite recipes which I once so rarely had the time to make, and now can easily fit into my routine. One of those dishes is called “Gagoots”, which is Italian slang for zucchini. It can be made any number of ways, sometimes with pasta and different vegetables. My aunt makes it during the holidays, and it’s a great simple side dish: warm, comforting, and truly delicious. I can’t wait to show her how quickly I can make it now!

Gagoots                         

My aunt makes this for the holidays. It serves 4 of us easily, depending upon who is eating vegetables that day. I always do.

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 med potato, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 med zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 cup vegetable broth (for how to make it in the pressure cooker, watch this video)

Sauté onion in olive oi, if using, for about one minute or dry sauté with the sauté feature.  Add garlic, potatoes, and zucchini, cherry tomatoes, with 1 tbsp of the vegetable broth, and sauté for another minute. Switch to pressure cooking and add the remaining vegetable broth, bay leaf, oregano, and salt. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Then quick release the pressure, carefully removing the lid, tilting it away from you. Remove the bay leaf.
Enjoy.

Editor’s note: I would consider this more of a summer recipe but if you live in a place such as Florida that has these vegetables in season, then cook them or wait until the summer.

Think About Resolutions, Set Goals for The New Year 2014

This post was originally written five years ago but it still  holds true today.

This post is NOT about food so you can stop reading now if that’s all you came for.

My yoga teacher always has a well thought out “word of the week.” This week it is resolution. For me sitting with nothing to think about except my breath and getting my spine to extend provides an opportunity to tune in to Clare’s words and absorb their meaning; not always profound but often food for thought.

Did you ever realize that the world resolution has the word SOLUTION in it? I never gave it a thought. But now I will. Clare says that we already have the solutions but need to put them into practice. And that’s what yoga and life are all about – practice without having to be perfect.

Many of you know that I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions, which might change now that I realize the solution in resolutions. Rather than toss them to the wayside, perhaps making only one resolution and a good plan for following it would suffice for most of us.

At this time of year, I like to look back on the past year and see what happened, absorb it, spit out what I don’t need to hang on to and move on. The present is a gift that you give to yourself so stay focused on now and make a plan for the future.

Here’s a link to a piece that I wrote on setting goals. I am still formulating what I have in mind for my personal goals for 2010 (now 2014). Since I am a work in progress (and hope that we all are), I don’t have to have these done by January 1st but I do recommend writing down your goals and looking at them periodically. Once a month works for me.

I hope that your goals will include taking care of yourself because money can’t buy health. If you need help doing it, check in with me. My goal is to inspire you so that you can inspire other people.

Happy New Year.

Jumpin’ John

I have heard that traditionally in the South, people eat black-eyed peas, rice and greens for good luck in the New Year. Many years ago, I started making my version of Hoppin’ John called Jumpin’ John because the traditional dish is made with a ham hock for flavor, and I obviously leave it out.

I have made this in the pressure cooker and the peas take only about 3 minutes at pressure, if they are presoaked. Since I use brown rice instead of the traditional white rice, it takes quite a bit longer to cook so I cook the rice first separately. As I really like brown rice, having leftovers is just fine with me. And the whole thing tastes great stuffed into a whole grain tortilla. You can even mix the leftovers together and form them into burgers.

To pressure cook the brown rice:
1 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups water or broth
salt, to taste, after cooking

Put rice and water into the pressure cooker. Bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Remove lid and add salt to taste.

If making more than 1 cup of rice, reduce liquid by 1/4 cup for each additional cup of rice (for example, use 2 ¾ cups liquid for 2 cups of rice)

To pressure cook the black-eyed peas:

1 1/2 cups black eyed peas, picked over
1 medium onion, diced to equal at least 1 cup
1 clove minced garlic

1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional, if you like it spicier)

1 1/4 cups vegetable broth

Soak black-eyed peas overnight or quick-soak by putting 3 inches of water over the peas, and bringing to a boil. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain water. Or alternately you can soak overnight.

In pressure cooker, Add the onion and dry sauté for 2 minutes over medium high heat or on sauté setting in your electric pressure cooker. Add the garlic, smoked paprika and chipotle powder, if using. Sauté 1 more minute and add the broth. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure for 3 minutes. Remove from heat

and quick release pressure. Or cook in your electric pressure cooker for 2 minutes and let the pressure come down naturally.

Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Add salt, and stir. Let peas sit without the lid for at least 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot over rice, along with greens.

Cook your greens or Pressure Cook Your Greens 

I like to use collards or kale and cook them with a bit of garlic, smoked paprika and pepper.  You can put a whole bunch of greens in your pressure cooker with ¼ to ½ cup vegetable broth and cook for 2 minutes at pressure with a quick release.

Greens to use

Greens to use

Mix it all together, add a splash of hot sauce (homemade for me) and eat. Enjoy. And Happy New Year.

The Veggie Queen’s Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide

I am so tired of getting emails about what I should buy that it’s tough for me to write this. I am not a very good American consumer but since some of you might be wondering what to buy for those people who love to get gifts, here is my short list of recommendations of items that I really like , along with some suggestions for where to buy them. (I don;t do an Amazon account so don’t think that I am earning money from this.) This list is in no particular order but at least it is here.

Beets Me T shirt from Katzi Designs. Jessica also makes a Beets Me apron. You might inquire with Jessica if you really want one. She may have them available.

Garlic Twist This nifty kitchen tool which I just happen to sell mincing garlic, ginger and hot peppers. The twist is made in the U.S. and is very easy to clean. Watch me in action with it by clicking here.  You can buy them on this page. Be aware that I am only shipping them out until December 20th for Christmas delivery but can send to you anytime you order.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker I offer a $50 discount and free shipping on the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.  The best current model is the 6 quart but in January there will be a new 6 quart model arriving with dual pressure settings and a yogurt maker, among other features.  If you order either one just enter the  code vegqueen at checkout to get your $50  discount and free shipping off the stated prices on their site.

The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker

The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker

Lemon Squeezer I have had one of these for years. I use it for limes, too, but don’t tell anyone. If you have huge lemons like my friend and sometimes assistant Ellen does, you will want to buy an orange squeezer. You put the cut fruit in cut-side down and squeeze.

Immersion Blender 
You can buy these at any housewares store or online. My favorite has a telescoping handle and the head comes off so that it is easy to clean. Use for blending all kinds of dishes but it’s especially amazing for hot soup. You do not have to life the hot pot, just bring the blender over to the pot and let it go. DO NOT lift it up while blending or you will be sorry.

Small Food Processor If your immersion blender doesn’t have attachments, this is great  to have for chopping and blending small amounts of beans, dips, onions, garlic and more. I love mine.

Spice Grinder I would probably give up my small food processor before my inexpensive spice grinder because it grinds spices, nuts and seeds which makes my life easier and better.  They only cost $10 to $20 and you can even find them at your local pharmacy or supermarket.

Glass Jars and Storage Dishes

I am sure that I have more glass jars and storage dishes than anyone ought to have, yet sometimes there are so many in use that I just don’t have what I want. I like Pyrex or Anchor Hocking storage dishes with lids, and Ball jars for other storage and for fermenting foods.

Fermenting Supplies

My go-to source is Cultures for Health when I need an air lock or other such item. They also have amazing information and ebooks for FREE.

Sprouting Supplies

My favorite sprout company is The Sprout House. Sprout Lady Rita just wrote a book  Home Grown Sprouts that explains how to produce every sprout that you can imagine in every different type of sprouter and every way. If you take a look at her site, you will see my favorite Sproutmaster Mini Triple and it comes with seeds.  She sells my organic  seed mixes including Veggie Queen mix, Veggie Queen Sprout Salad Mix, and  Cloverly Lentily Mix.

My books and DVDs

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own products here. You an click on this link to check them out. As I mentioned, I am only shipping until Friday, December 20th. If you do order and want books signed, please be sure to let me know.  I am happy to do it for you.

bookcombo

Become Active in the Food Community

Give the gift that keeps on giving. Join Food Tank as they do their food activism. Click here for more information. I am a founding member and proud of it.

Donate to Your Local Food Bank

Give food or give money but do what you can to help people who are food insecure and don’t know what their next meal will be because they don’t know where it’s coming from.

Be Generous to all You Meet: Share a Smile, Love and Joy

Wishing you the best this holiday season.
Do you have a favorite food-related gift to give or get? If so, please post below.

Thanksgiving Vegetables Add Interest to the Holiday Meal

By Rose Kaplan, “virtual intern:”

It’s November. There’s a cool, crisp feel to the air, and the sound of crunching leaves underfoot., It means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we’ve entered a new season all its own:  Holiday Season!

Many people find trying to eat a balanced diet at this time of year stressful.  Eating one big holiday meal after another sometimes leaves us feeling a little bit guilty.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Lightening up your holiday season can be done so easily, you won’t even taste the difference.  How might you ask?  With vegetables!  Set up your Thanksgiving and holiday arsenal with recipes loaded with veggies.  One of my favorite things to do?  Start any holiday meal with a vegetable soup.  Loaded with vitamins, nutrients, and typically low in calories, you’ll fill up on something really delicious and healthy. You still get to enjoy the rest of your holiday meal, but with a dose of moderation.

At your holiday dinner, make sure all your side dishes are vegetable based, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.  The Veggie Queen has a myriad of recipes for soups and salads that will go perfectly with your Thanksgiving and other holiday meals.  Check out some suggestions below.  Seasons eatings everybody! (The recipes are from The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment cookbook or website, which you are on)

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup  with Photo  by Rose Kaplan

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Soups

Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Curried Squash and Pear Soup

Side Dishes and Salads

Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms

Asparagus with Honey Mustard Dressing or do the same with in-season broccoli or cauliflower

Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Relish

Szechuan Eggplant Roll-Ups

Dessert

Spiced Sweet Potato Pie

Squash Custard

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Muffins