10 Ways to Use ZUCCHINI!!!

Yes, the excessive exclamation points are there for a reason. I have an overly enthusiastic, never ending, borderline obsessive love for summer squash, aka zucchini. I don't seem to ever get sick of the stuff! Chock full of fiber, vitamins, and general veggie goodness, zucchini are incredibly versatile and delicious when prepared with care.

So here are some of my favorite ways to use zucchini. Which will come in handy for people like me on days like today when several friends give me all their extra zucchini. Yes, I have 25 zucchinis in my fridge. And I'm not the least bit concerned! Because....

You Can Use Zucchini in So Many Ways! Here are 10 For Starters:

1. Make a simple, yet super delicious pasta sauce: Peel, chop, and steam 2 cups of zucchini. Blend with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance). Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over whole grain pasta and top with cut chives or scallions. Add a dash of paprika for color and viola! The perfect entree.

2. Have a LOT of zucchini and not sure you can use it all up in time? Lengthen their lives by dehydrating them! Zucchini chips are a delicious, nutritious snack and even kids flip for them! The recipe for "Zucchini Chips To Dry For" is from my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, and is also here on my blog.

3. Have a spiralizer? Make raw zucchini noodles! They're especially delish topped with vegan pesto (fresh basil, roasted pine nuts, xvoo, and plenty of garlic).

4. I've been doing this almost daily: Cut zucchini into slabs, then place on a cookie sheet. Top with seasoned salt, garlic granules, dry polenta, and pepper. Spray with olive oil and bake at 400 F until browned on both sides (you will have to flip them midway). This usually takes about 10 minutes per side.

5. For a super simple wrap, steam zucchini (or make some "Anna's Zucchini" from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth) and place in a sprouted grain tortilla. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, pepper, and a bit of Daiya vegan cheese. Sounds odd, but I find it ODDLY addictive. ;-)

6. Grate up some zucchini and squeeze the water from it. Combine it with grated or mashed potatoes, cornmeal, and spices. Pan-fry for zucchini potato latkes.

7. These September Surprise Muffins are one of my daughter's favorites. Even the frootloop-eating kids at her school were begging for seconds!

8. Zucchini are a crucial component in veggie fajitas. Chop them up, add some spices, and pan-fry along with mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers. Roll them up in a sprouted tortilla along with beans, fresh salsa, and guacamole. Satisfaction!

9. Grilled zucchini is my love child. Why, do you ask? Because. Because I love it so much it hurts. To make this painfully delicious treat, brush zucchini slabs with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, and sea salt. Grill until very tender. Eat plain - you don't want anything else up in your business at this point.

10. Grate raw zucchini into salads and veggie wraps.

Yes, I could go on and on! But I won't. Instead, I will post this and let you get on with the important work of making zucchini happiness part of your own life. Happy zucchiniing! (it's a word)

You Should Really Have a V5

Greetings, friends! Today, I'm busy cooking up lots of healthy treats for the Two-Week Wellness Solution, as we start today. Woot! If you want to join in, please connect here on my Facebook page.

Anyhoo...part of the program (and the way I try to eat in general) is to include tons of fresh veggies. As I recently got a vitamix, I've been experimenting with green smoothies a lot. However, I also wanted to create a green smoothie that was veggies-only. So, today I hit the jackpot! Using the fresh kale I just scored from my friend's garden, I supercharged this drink with five incredibly vitalizing, fiber-rich, nutrient-dense veggies.

So, just think! What an increcibly easy way to get all of your servings of veggies in each day! Of course, as a total veggie nut, I like to work other vegetables into my day as well...You simply cannot eat too many veggies! But I love having this as a fabulous foundation - and for busy travel days when I might especially need an easy way to get in my veggies. It's nice knowing that even if I don't eat any other vegetables in any given day, I've got it covered with a serving of this! Cuz I've truly found that nothing is more important to ADD into our diet than fresh, organic vegetables - they truly provide us with vibrant health and wellness!

So, here's what I threw into my vitamix...

V5 Veggie Power Drink

* 2 medium tomatoes (2 cups)
* 3 medium carrots (2 cups chopped)
* 4 cups kale (lightly packed)
* 2 cups chopped celery
* The juice of 4 lemons (yeah, this is actually a fruit but it's very low in calories and sugar - and so alkalinizing to the body - that I had to add it...plus, it makes the flavor work better)
* 4 cups water

Blend all of the ingredients very well. If you prefer, you can add a pinch of sea salt and/or some cayenne for a kick. Also, you may need to add a bit more water after drinking a bit of this - the bottom can get a bit thick with all the fiber! :-)

NOTE: This also stores well...I like to keep half of the batch in a glass container, refrigerated, so that I'll have some for the next day.

Serves 2 (makes 2 large servings!)
GF/SF/Raw/Green (according to the guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

Lemon-Cilantro Pakoras

Photos by Janet Malowany

Lemon-Cilantro Pakoras

Hold on to your socks, this one has flavor that will knock them off! I have made these many times for catering events (including my own wedding!) and they never fail to disappear immediately. Pakoras are a traditional part of an Indian meal and are usually served with a chutney. However, these are so tasty that I usually just serve them plain. If you do prefer your pakoras to have a dipping sauce, I would especially recommend the "Cilantro Chutney Elixir" (page 125 of RHIW) or some tamarind chutney (shown, also from RHIW).

Dry Ingredients

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons garbanzo (chickpea) flour

1 tablespoon rice flour

teaspoon each: ground cayenne pepper and baking soda

¼ teaspoon each: dried turmeric and ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons each: cumin powder, cumin seeds, and sea salt

Vegetable Mixture
½ cup finely chopped cauliflower (cut into very, very small pieces)

½ cup (packed) cilantro, washed well and chopped

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups chopped yellow (or white) onion*

For frying: coconut oil

1. Mix the dry ingredients together very well in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine the vegetable mixture (cauliflower, cilantro, lemon juice, and onion) together in a large bowl, stirring very well.

3. Add the dry mixture to the vegetable mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

4. Place enough oil in a large, heavy skillet to form a ½-inch well. Set to medium-high heat.

5. To test the oil for the correct temperature, drop a small amount of the batter into it. If it sizzles immediately and begins to brown soon after, it is ready. If it takes a while to sizzle and brown, it is not yet hot enough.

6. To form the pakoras, you have two options. You can either use a small cookie scoop or your hands to gather small amounts of the batter. You will want each pakora to be about one tablespoon in size. Gently drop the pakora into the oil. Continue to put as many pakoras into the oil as will fill about half of the skillet. If you put in too many at once, the oil temperature will drop.

7. Cook for about 1-2 minutes (or until nicely browned on the underside) and flip over. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Remove with a metal slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels.

8. Serve immediately. If you do have leftovers, these reheat very nicely in a 400° F. oven.

*NOTE: It is best to chop the onions by hand for this recipe, as chopping them in a food processor can make them overly wet, causing the pakoras to fall apart.

Serves 4; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Purple (according to the guidelines in my books)

Miso Healthy Dressing

This tangy dressing is absolutely one of my favorite recipes (yes, I play favorites with my own recipes) from my newest book, Radiance 4 Life. Hope you love it as much as I do!

This addictive dressing will jazz up any salad, veggie pasta toss, tempeh, or grain dish. Miso is incredibly immune-boosting and detoxifying, so you can feel great about indulging in this incredibly tasty dressing!

▪ ¼ cup each: raw cashews, balsamic vinegar, and sesame oil (raw, not toasted)

▪ ½ cup each: water and chopped onion

▪ 2 tablespoons dark miso (I use red miso)

▪ 1 tablespoon tamari

1. In a blender or food processor, blend the cashews, vinegar, and oil until smooth.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth and no lumps

remain. This will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for several weeks.

Makes 1¾ cups dressing (14 servings)

GF/Green/HR (according to the guidelines in my books)

30 Minutes or Under!

 Superstars: cashews, sesame, onion, miso

Eating Well On The Road!

Hey friends! Today I leave for a two-week trip - which means all the way from Southwest Colorado to Michigan...and back. I get asked quite often how I stay healthy with all the traveling I do, and this is a great question. It basically boils down to one thing - planning and preparation! Yes, I know, that's two things, technically. But they both start with "P."

SO, what am I taking on this long road trip? I snapped a photo of what'll be going into my cooler today. What you *don't* see are a few items I have yet to pack: 2 bean burritos (one for me, one for the kiddo), fresh spring rolls, kombucha, snacks for the kiddo (nori, dried fruit, popcorn, etc.), water, sun tea, and the makings for pb&j's.

Now, I should also mention...please don't let what's in my cooler scare you! I don't always, always, always eat this healthy. There WILL be a stop for greasy vegan Indian food and a few decadent vegan goodies when I do my Raw Catalonian Kale demo at the Chicago Veggie Fest. But, I find that it's SO important to stay in balance - a few splurges like that don't really bother me, as long as I have a healthy foundation of fresh, organic, vitalizing foods going on! :-)

So enough small talk... Here's the deal:

So, I guess I have some explaining to do, yes? OK, from upper left, clockwise, we have...

1. 4 quarts of crazy vegetable smoothie stuff... I wouldn't recommend this one for the masses! Basically, I wanted to use up all the veggies in my fridge PLUS make sure I was getting enough veggies on the road. SO, I put the following in my Vitamix (in several batches): 6 carrots, 2 beets, 6 stalks of celery, 3 tomatoes, a whole cayenne pepper, some whole lemon, and a ginormous bunch of kale. It's not delicious, but I'll drink it. And don't worry, you won't see it in any of my books til I get it to taste better!! :-)
2. In the tahini jar is some dilly hummus I whipped up. I'll be making hummus-veggie wraps, one of my favorite travel staples. In fact, below that, you can see the tortillas I like to use - they're Alvarado Street sprouted grain tortillas. If you're gluten-free, I recommend the brown rice tortillas.
3. In the glass jar (an old coconut oil jar) to the right are some of my "Raw Cinnamon Rolls." They save me! I love them for travel and on-the-go snacking. I swear, walnuts are magic.
4. To the right of that, also in a glass jar, are some of my chocolate maca energy cookies. You can find the basic recipe in Radiance 4 Life or here on my blog.
5. Then, the meticulously prepared veggies are what you'll see next...carrot "pennies," cucumber slices, and julienne-cut beets. Oh, and some sliced organic dill pickles. These are the happy veggies I'll be putting in my hummus wraps. I'd normally add some sliced onion, but I'm out!
6. At the bottom are some dried apricots and raw rosemary sweet potato chips. Beta-carotene snacking at its finest!
7. In the containers with the blue lids, you'll see my solution to using up the last of the broccoli in the fridge! (I hate to waste good organic food, so before I leave on one of these trips, I'm basically putting a food puzzle together!) So, in those 2 containers is some steamed broccoli, mixed with wild rice, "Chicky Baby Seasoning" (a recipe from my books), and tamari. Super simple, but healthy and good.
8. In the glass container with the red lid is some really yummy raw spread I made. I will double check the recipe soon and post it. It's fantastic! Basically, just a mixture of carrots, celery, sunflower seeds, almonds, & seasonings. It's good road food as it's very portable, yummy, filling, nutrient-dense, and can be eaten with crackers or veggies.
9. Finally, the Quinoa Treasures Bowl is what you see in the plastic (yeah, I know) container. It's a yummy, filling food that's easy to eat with one hand! :-)

So, that's what I have for now...as I said, I'll be making a few stops for vegan goodies as well. Why lie to myself? ;-) But I do make a serious effort to stay as healthy as possible during these trips, so I try to limit the splurges. It's all about the balance! :-)

Thanks so much and stay tuned...I'll be posting more about my adventures in healthy food here and also on Facebook and Twitter. Much Love and Gratitude! xo

Photo by Michelle McCluggage

Blackberry Peach Goodness
This dessert is a recipe from my first book (containing about 250 yummy vegan recipes), Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. It's a perennial winner as it’s both delicious and light—fancy that! I used to make this regularly for my weight loss clients and they just loved it. It seemed that not feeling deprived of desserts was a key element in making them want to stick with their healthy new diets. Of course, if you aren’t concerned about calories, you can double the topping amount. Either way, it’s delicious and fresh tasting!

Gooey Goodness Filling:

10 oz. fresh or frozen blackberries

4 cups chopped fresh, ripe peaches

3 tablespoons organic sugar

1 tablespoon arrowroot

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Too Tasty Topping:

½ cup rolled oats*

cup whole wheat pastry flour*

3 tablespoons organic sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly oil a round pie pan and set it aside.

2. Gently combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Place them evenly in the pie pan.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients (oats, flour, “white” sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt). Stir very well to combine.

4. Drizzle the oil into the dry topping mixture and stir well until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle evenly over the berry-peach mixture.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it resembles a gooey fruit nirvana with a golden brown topping. Cool slightly and serve immediately. This is no laughing matter.

Serves about 6; GF (with substitutions)/SF/Blue (According to the guidelines in my books)

*For a gluten-free version, substitute an all-purpose gluten-free flour for the whole wheat pastry flour. You may also substitute quinoa flakes or gluten-free oats for the rolled oats. See page 44 for more details.

Raw Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

Greetings, friends! I hope your August is off to a healthy, happy start thus far! I'm doing more travels this month and wanted to get a head start on some healthy snacks this week, so I've been using my food dehydrator (the Excalibur 9-tray) to make zucchini chips, kale chips (Bold Lime Kale Crunchers from Radiance 4 Life), dried mango, and these! I love that these chips are raw, tasty, and chock-full of beta-carotene.

I've been asked if you can cook them in the oven by a few people who don't have a food dehydrator. Truth is, I haven't tried. But I'm guessing you could do it if you used the lowest setting on your oven - I would guess they'd take about 15-20 minutes per side (flipping them once) to cook. If you try it, let me know how they come out!

Raw Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

One large sweet potato, cut into thin slices (I use my mandolin to slice it - so easy & they come out in uniform slices, which helps them "cook" more evenly)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 teaspoons olive oil (the more oil you use, the more crisp your chips will be - if you want crispier chips, use more oil than this - if you want lower fat chips, you can use less oil but the chips will be more chewy)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir well to coat.
2. Place them out flat on food dehydrator sheets...like so:
3. Dry at about 105 F (this is the temperature I use, but I believe you can dry at a maximum of 118 degrees and still maintain the live enzymes) for several hours. This usually takes me 7 hours at 105 degrees.
4. To check for absolute doneness, you can put them in an airtight container and make sure that no beads of moisture appear. If they appear, you will need to dry the chips longer. They will store in an airtight container at room temperature for...a while. I always eat them before they spoil - drying them preserves them so well that I've never had a problem eating them up fast enough!

Makes about 4 cups of chips
GF/SF/Raw/Green (according to the guidelines in my books)