Kale Brown Rice Casserole

This is a very simple yet delicious and nutritious casserole!

2 c. cooked brown rice
2 tsp. oil
I onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
3 c. chopped cabbage
3 c. chopped kale
15 oz. diced tomatoes
3/4 c. Daiya cheese, shredded (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat in a large skillet until onion caramelizes a bit, about 10 minutes. Add cauliflower, cabbage, and kale to the onion mixture and saute also for about 10 minutes, until cauliflower is soft. Season with salt and pepper.  Layer rice on the bottom of a prepared casserole dish. Then layer the tomatoes. Then layer the veg mixture and top with the shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 12 minutes or until cheese melts.

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Let me introduce myself…

I grew up in the beautiful state of Ohio, went to college in North Carolina, and moved to Los Angeles where I now live with my husband and son. In recent years whenever I ate meat, I thought, “Why am I eating this?” I ate it because it was there. It was when my friend, Naomi, told me she had gone vegan that I thought, “Wow, you can do that?”  So I started educating myself on the topic and became vegan myself about a year ago. My son was one at the time and he became vegan, too. We became vegan because it’s the right thing to do for your body and for the planet, plain and simple!

-Abby

👠 – Let me introduce myself…

👠 – I am one of the contributors of this blog.  This is my Red Shoe. I will use my sign each time I post something!

I hail from the Beautiful South Africa and am currently living in Los Angeles. I live here with my wonderful husband and two little girls, and it is with my oldest that my Vegan story begins…..

I was roughly 3 months pregnant at the time when I was watching a show on television of which Alicia Silverstone was one of the guests. She was discussing Veganism and her book, The Kind Diet.  Me being very much a carnivore at this point was like, What?? Why?? Having nothing better to do, I sat and watched and listened. Okay, you can bake a cake WITHOUT eggs? Never knew that. Cool. So why do we use them then? Interesting…. It genuinely made sense to me. Then they aired some clips from Food, Inc. They had me. Hook, Line and Sinker. Mission accomplished. I felt compelled to TRY to go at least one month without eating ANY animal products. I ordered the book and when it arrived I finished reading it in a day. A DAY! You don’t know me, but I tell you, this was a fast read for me. I usually take ages to read a book. Granted there are Recipes in the book, but I READ each and every one of them. This was all new to me. I had so much to learn. I had No idea exactly HOW much I was going to learn. That was January 2010. Now I have two children who I am raising Vegan. I’m learning everyday still. The way I look and think about food has changed so much. I’m super happy about having made the change. It has been a tough experience for so many reasons!

I have found that Veganism is one of THOSE topics. The ones you avoid like the Plague…. Religion, Politics and Sports. It’s especially important to be tactful about it and choosing the right moments to mention this to others. Actions speak louder that words in some cases. Don’t convince, Influence!

Thanks for visiting!

👠 – Naómi

Cacao – What’s not to love?

👠  – I have lately been craving Chocolate again.  Anything with chocolate. Oh boy, I tell you, right now I would dip EVERYTHING in chocolate and devour it! Lucky or unlucky for me, all I have is Cacao Powder. I usually keep some of Amy’s Chocolate Cake in the freezer for days like this. In my opinion, it’s a must-have, but now I don’t-have:) I like it so much I cut a slice and eat it frozen! Grrr, I really have no intention on eating the Cacao Powder as is, so I’m gonna have to just settle for nothing or come up with something…. Thought I would share some info I came across about the Nutritional benefits of this sexy and much desired Nut. Indeed, it is truly a Nut and not a bean!

Nutritional Value

Cacao powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. All of these minerals are found in greater quantities in cacao powder than either cocoa butter or cocoa liquor.(1) Cacao solids also contain 230 mg of caffeine and 2057 mg of theobromine per 100g, which are mostly absent from the other components of the cacao bean.(2)

Flavonoids

Cacao powder is rich in flavonoids, a type of phenolic. The amount of flavonoids depends on the amount of processing and manufacturing the cocoa powder undergoes, but cocoa powder can contain up to 10% its weight in flavonoids.(1) Flavanols are one of six compounds further classified as flavonoids. Flavanols, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, are linked to certain health benefits linked to coronary heart disease and stroke. The topic of how flavanols benefit cardiovascular health is still under debate. It has been suggested that the flavanols may take part in mechanisms such as nitric oxide and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet effects.(3) Benefiting these mechanisms may improve endothelial function, lipid levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance.(3)

References

1.  a b Steinberg, F.M.; Bearden, M.M., Keen, C.L. (February 2003). Cacoa and Chocolate Flavonoids: Implications for Cardiovascular Health 103. pp. 215–223.

2. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, (2011)

3. a b Corti, R.; Flammer, A.J., Hollenberg, N.K. (2009). Cacoa and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation. Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine 119: 1433–1441. DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022. Retrieved November 9, 2011.

Veganpalooza

There’s a great online event happening right now (July 11-15) and it’s free! veganpalooza.com is the place to be to learn more about the vegan movement. The event features many leading vegan educators, such as Rory Freedman, Kathy Freston, and Rip Esselstyn. I just listened to Julieanna Hever discuss plant-based nutrition. You can either call in on your phone or listen to the conferences on your computer.  Now I just have to schedule my days around listening to the conferences!

Toddler Muffins

Here’s a recipe for mini muffins that I make for my toddler.  I use those fruit & veg puree pouches (I use Happy Tot) to get even more fruit and veg into my boy and it’s easier than pureeing a bunch of vegetables!  Enjoy!

 

 

2 c. whole wheat flour

1 T. ground flax seeds

1 t. baking soda

1/4 c. melted Earth Balance

1/2 c. applesauce or mashed bananas

1/4 c. agave (or other natural sweetener)

2 c. pureed vegetables (I use several of the Happy Tot pouches)

1 t. vanilla

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a mini muffin tin.

Mix together flour, flax seeds, and baking soda in medium bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl mix together the melted Earth Balance, applesauce or mashed bananas, agave, pureed veg, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Pour dry mixture into wet ingredients and mix well.  Fill muffin tins with batter and bake for 18 minutes.  Makes approximately 30 mini muffins.

To Watch or Not to Watch?

Not for the faint of heart….

There have been a lot of documentaries made recently about food and not all of them are great!  But Super Size Me  (2004) was the first to open up our eyes about nutrition.  Vegucated (2010) is also another awesome documentary. The part on factory farming alone will make you never want to eat meat again!  Food, Inc. (2008), Food Matters (2008), Forks Over Knives (2011), and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (2010) are some other interesting films.

Where it all began….

The book that really started us on this journey is The Kind Diet  by Alicia Silverstone. It’s filled with so much important information for those who want to improve their diet and/or for those who no longer wish to eat animal products. We also recommend the following books-

• Veganist  by Kathy Freston
• The Skinny Bitch series by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
• Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.

Impossible to ignore!

Of all the books out there The China Study by Dr. T Colin Campbell is the most scientific and very educating. Packed with information and details about clinical studies, the evidence is overwhelming. Eating a Western Diet we will live, but for sure we will NEVER thrive! We will not recover from illnesses without drug intervention. We firmly believe that prevention is indeed better than cure! Eat your way to health is the way we wanna raise our kids. This is the single most valuable gift we as mothers can give our families. We have an opportunity several times a day every day to add to the value of the rest of their lives and ours. Let’s step up to the plate and put some good stuff on it!