Friday, March 26, 2021

Orange Fruity Salad Dressing

Salad, Dressing, Healthy, Food, Green

This is a wonderful creamy (oil-free) citrus dressing. It's light and tasty and I use it as a salad dressing for my salads and as a topping for vegetables such as steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, or steamed cauliflower. 

Why oil-free? 
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am following the suggestions for diet in Dr, McDougall's book called, The Starch Solution. I find it a very satisfying way of eating because it allows me to enjoy substantial portions of potatoes, rice, beans, salads, vegetables, fruit etc. and still lose weight.

The only, thing I can't have on the plant-based diet is oil, animal protein, processed foods, and alcohol. - actually animal protein, processed foods, and alcohol are not great for health for a multitude of reasons. Our industries for raising meat, fish, and chicken depend on hormones, chemicals, and preserves to produce the quantity of animal protein to feed our demanding population for fast food burgers, fried chicken joints, etc. And our waterways are polluted producing fish that is highly toxic with mercury.

For me, I'm already vegan- so truthfully the only thing I missed in the beginning was the wine. 

I do enjoy having a glass or two of wine when I dine out on the weekends. but I'm getting over it.

I'm learning lots of interesting ways to make sauces, sautee, and cook without oil. Again, I am not giving up fat (I eat avocado, nuts, olives, and seeds)

Salad Cream, Mayo, Pomelo, Fruits, Nuts

I've been following the McDougall diet for 4 weeks and I feel terrific, have lost 9 pounds, my cravings for sweets and junk food is gone, and I've learned to fill my wine glass with seltzer and chat away with friends and enjoy myself. 

The bonus is that when I get home, since I have not indulged in wine, I am clear minded enough to get work done on the computer. When I drink wine, I feel tired and usually go straight to bed. 

I learned about this diet from Chef AJ who is Whole Food Plant-Based Chef - I follow her and get her very informative newsletters. 

Not long ago, she sponsored a summit on weight loss. One of her guests was on the summit was "Plantiful Kiki" who has many Youtube videos explaining how she lost 70 pounds a few years ago following this healthy diet and what she eats in a day. Look her up!!

When I saw what she eats in a day, I was impressed, curious, and ready to try it..My motivation to change my diet came from my recent blood lab reports. My cholesterol was high (232) and my blood sugar (112). I have to say that I was shocked because I was already on a vegan diet and thought I was eating healthy. 

What I discovered from Dr. McDougall's book is that for optimal health, I need to follow a whole foods  plant based diet - meaning no junk food, convenience package food, or alcohol. In other words, I need to eat real food that contains fiber, protein, nutrients, etc and hasn't been processed away to be an excite-o-toxin (food that excites your taste buds and keeps you addicted).  

What I eat in a day
1 cup of broccoli - first 
1 cup of cooked steel cut oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed, 2 walnuts chopped, cinnamon, and 1/2 banana sliced on top. 

Large salad with an oil-free dressing (recipe below),
 2 cups of vegetables with oil-free dressing, 
large baked potato or baked sweet potato fries(air fryer) - or 1 cup of rice.

Snack: homemade oil-free hummus with celery and carrot sticks 

Tossed salad with oil-free dressing and a tablespoon of raisins mixed in the salad
2 cups of asparagus or cauliflower with a homemade dressing 
Large bowl of bean chili (meat free) 

Snack: Bowl of berries (blueberries and raspberries) 

Salad Dressing: 
1 navel orange - peel removed and full orange(cut up) put into the blender- 
1/2 cup of cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup of artichoke hearts packed in water (not oil) 
1/4 cup of mint leaves
1/4 cup of water (or enough to form a liquid consistency

Blend all the ingredients and use over salad a carrot salad. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Israeli Mish Mish (Apricot) Slaw Salad

Apricot Salad Slaw

If you are looking for an interesting salad to make for Passover or Easter, you will love this delicious Israeli mish mish spring slaw salad. 

Mish Mish is the Hebrew word for apricots and this interesting salad contains sliced dried apricots as well as raisins, nuts, and chopped apple.

Dried Apricots, Apricot, Dried, Food
I was inspired by a local restaurant in North Miami. Their cabbage salad with sliced dried apricots, kale, and a sensational dressing is one of their specialties. This recipe is based on their salad but adjusted to my tastes. Since I've stopped using oil ( but not fat from foods such as avocado, nuts, olives, etc) * see my notes on why. 

Walnut, Nut, Walnuts, Nuts, Fruit Bowl

I made this crunchy salad with cabbage, carrots, chopped dried apricots, raisins, walnuts, apple, and lemon juice. It's sweet and tangy all at the same time. If you wanted to turn it into a meal, you could probably add some cooked quinoa. 

Food, Raisins, Plum, Raisins, Raisins

This salad  is light, delicious and full of Vitamin C.
 I like to call this bright orange salad my sunshine salad. 

White Cabbage, Salad, Herb, Food, Kohl

The Passover holiday menu calls for thinking out of the box since there are many foods that are restricted to eat on this holiday. Of course everyone knows the most common restricted food is bread. We eat Matzah instead of bread for the 8 days of Passover which begins the evening of March 27-2021. 

This ritual commandment of eating matzo instead of bread commemorates the exodus of the Jewish people when they were slaves in the ancient land of Egypt. When the Jewish slaves (for 400 years) finally hurriedly were freed from Egyptian bondage, they got out as fast as they could. There was no time for their bread to rise and thus we remember our freedom from bondage and eat matzo instead of bread during Passover. 

Salad is a great choice to welcome the warmer spring weather. This salad will make a wonderful side dish whether you are looking for recipes to make for Passover, Easter,  or just looking for good healthy recipes. This salad is a winner. 

2 cups of chopped white cabbage (chop to the size you like to eat)
2 cups of shredded carrots 
1 cup of chopped apple to bite size  
1/2 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of sliced dried apricots 
1/2 cup of lemon juice 

Toss all the ingredients and enjoy. 

Apple dressing for the Mish Mish salad
1 large organic apple, cored and sliced or chopped ( I do not peel)
1/4 cup of fresh lemon of lime juice
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup

This is a great dressing to enhance the Mish Mish salad. 


I prefer not to eat oil - WHY??? Based on information in the book, The Starch Solution.
  • Oil is extremely caloric
  • Oil has no fiber ( which helps regulate blood sugar and is essential for elimination) 
  • Oil has few nutrients
  • Oil offer very little nutritional value
Instead of oil, I eat prefer to eat whole food healthy fats that do contain fiber, nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemical. 
  • Avocado
  • Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, etc. 
  • olives 
  • flax seeds
  • chia seeds 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Delicious High Protein Pastas and Vegan Sauces

high protein pasta

Pasta made from red lentils, mung beans, fava beans, and edamame??? Yes - and they are delicious. 

I want to share some of the wonderful high protein pastas that I received from a company called Explore Cuisine

penne pasta

Don't they look amazing?  AND they are!! 
Part of the fun of being a blogger is being asked to review books and products. I received 5 boxes of this new high protein pasta. 

I tried the fava bean fusilli and the red lentil pasta first. I enjoyed them both. 

pasta in almond sauce

I have always loved pasta (who hasn't? ) but as an adult, I usually have avoided it because it is low in protein and low in fiber. In addition, many pastas that are gluten -free often get gooey and gummy. That was not my experience with these pastas. 

I was pleased to see the high amount of both fiber and protein in each of these Explore Cuisine boxes. In addition, these pastas are organic and gluten-free -another big plus for me!

After trying all five boxes that they sent me, I decided that fava bean fusilli tastes and looks like most like regular pasta. This is good news because I often make pasta for my grandkids and they are FUSSY. The fava been fusilli meets my grandkid's taste standards and my standards for both taste, fiber, protein, and nutrients.

The fava bean fusilli provides 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving. That is amazing! Certainly enough protein for any meal. The red lentil pasta has the least protein with 12 grams which is still a significant amount of protein considering the following guidelines (always check with your doctor to be sure of your own needs)

General Protein Needs
1-3 year olds need about 13 grams of protein per day
4-5 year olds need about 19 grams of protein per day
6-13 year olds need about 20-35 grams of protein per day depending on their weight and height
Adult females need about 46 grams of protein per day depending on their weight and height
Adult males need about 56 grams of protein per day depending on their weight and height.

I know that my daughter-in-laws are always concerned about the grandkids eating enough protein. These delicious pastas are a mother's dream come true. 

Perhaps you are trying to cut back on meat and other animal products. High protein pasta is a great choice! 

I'm really enjoying these Explore Cuisine healthy high protein bean pastas. 

I live in South Florida and I haven't seen them in my local markets, but I have seen them in my local Costco. 

Creamy Almond Tomato Sauce 
Ingredients : 
2 cups of red lentil penne pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box and set aside.
1 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 cup of basil
3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, all liquid drained
2/3 cup of blanched almonds
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 and half cups of nut milk
Add garlic and fresh basil to a food processor and process until chopped ( adding a tablespoon of water if needed). Add sun dried tomatoes, almonds, tomato paste and continue to process adding small amounts of nut milk to begin to get a saucy consistency. Toss into the pasta for a wonderful plant-based dinner.

Try some of my other delicious sauces

eggplant sauce for pasta

marinated cherry tomato sauce

Creamy cashew basil sauce

gluten free pasta with alfredo sauce

Disclaimer: Although I was provided with the products all thoughts in the review are my own.


The 5 pastas that I reviewed meet gluten-free standards

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Easy Vegetable Chow Mein

chou mien

Do you love Chinese food? You can make your own easy vegetable chou mein.
Ever since I can remember, vegetable chou mien has been one of my favorite Chinese dishes. 

I love the mild and comforting flavor of sauteed onions, cabbage, and celery.  Over rice, it provides a filling meal that is healthy and delicious. 

When I was a little girl, we lived about 4 miles out of the city of Trenton, New Jersey. In those days all of the restaurants were in the center of town. 

chou mien and rice

There was only one Chinese restaurant and we enjoyed going there for their lunch specials. I would order chou mien and my mother would order sub-gum chou mien. The only difference between the two being whole balanced almonds. 

It's been a full year since we've gone out to eat in a Chinese restaurant, so I decided to make my own Chinese chou mein.  I used some non-GMO cornstarch to make a delicious sauce and topped it with some crushed peanuts, freshly squeezed lime, and fresh cilantro. 

It came out so good that my husband asked for seconds. 

1 cup of cooked rice per person set aside
2 cups of onion, sliced in half moons
1 cup of sliced sweet red peppers
1 cup of sliced celery
2 cups of sliced white cabbage
1/2 cup of vegetable broth, divided
optional: Cracked pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed into 1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
fresh lime
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of chopped peanuts or chopped blanched almonds

Heat a large skillet. Add onions and allow to sautee in its own juices for 2 minutes, stirring. Add red pepper, celery, cabbage and half of the broth. Sautee in the juices for about 5 minutes. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir together, and add the cornstarch that has been dissolved in water. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning. If it needs more liquid , use the other half of the broth.

Serve over white or brown rice (your choice). Top with chopped cilantro and a good squeeze of lime. 

Don't have time to make rice for this recipe? 
I make baggy size packets of cooked rice to keep in my freezer (see link) for just this occasion.

This recipe is compliant with Dr. McDougall's diet book called, The Starch Solution ( link) and the philosophy of Forks Over Knives (link) .  
It is a Whole Food Plant-based no oil recipe. I highly recommend reading The Starch Solution if you are looking for a way to lose weight, eat healthier, and still be able to eat potatoes, rice, and other starches.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click and follow a link from my blog and make a qualified purchase, I receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. This helps defray the costs of running a free blog. Your support is appreciated. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Arugula Tomato Salad - Oil-Free Dressing

arugula salad

I love the beautiful greens in this arugula tomato salad, but I decided to add cooked wild rice and pine nuts, it gave this beautiful simple greens salad a richer more filling flavor.

Arugula is a spicy green that gives a salad a perky spicy flavor. 
I started to make this Arugula tomato salad just using arugula, spinach, and cut up cherry tomatoes. I loved the look of this bright green healthy salad but I wanted more flavor. 

I decided to add wild rice and additional healthy vegetables to my salad such as sliced celery, red cabbage, parsley. blanched almonds, pine nuts, and some wild rice. The salad was filling and satisfying.

Rice Mixture, Basmati Rice, Wild Rice

You might be thinking. "Wait"- that doesn't look like just wild rice in the photo. You are right. When I went to make the salad to photograph, I only had brown rice. Thus this photo of the salad  is with brown rice but the recipe is made with wild rice.

The wild rice is delicious, but if you don't have any you could substitute brown rice like I did.

I love the taste of the balanced almonds and the pine nuts. 

I'm always looking for new ways to keep salads interesting. I think the wild rice adds an exotic touch to this delicious salad.

Glass, Bottle, Oil, Wellness, Flowers

What is salad without a dressing? 
I've been dressing my salads with a low calorie no oil dressings lately and loving it. 
Let me explain why. For years,  I've been noticing that many of the doctors who are writing diet books are suggesting a no-oil approach. Partly because of calories and partly for heath reasons. Initially, it sounded absolutely crazy to me; however,  the more I've been reading, the more I realize they have a point. 

The Oil-Free Thoughts

1. Oil is a processed factory-made product that is very concentrated. 
2. It is very high in calories and calorie density 
3. It has no fiber and very few nutrients
4. It's questionable (depends on which research you look at and which doctor you follow) if oil is actually good for us- yes this includes olive oil.  
4. Most agree that natural fats such as avocado, nuts, olives, and seeds are very good for you and I do include them in my diet. 

I've decided to try no-oil cooking and salad dressings. 
I've found great websites, Youtube demonstrations and recipes for inspiration. 

My Favorite Websites and Youtubes for Oil-free Recipes 

My favorite oil-free ideas and recipes come from Plentiful Kiki (link) but I love her YouTube videos the best! followed by High Carb Hannah. - Both of their recipes are based on the McDougall Diet (link) and the book The Starch Solution. 
Forks Over Knives (link) is another site that has a variety of oil-free recipes 
Fit for Life based on Dr. Joel Furhman's diet (link) also advocates oil free cooking.

I made a very simple salad dressing that I find flavorful and delicious. 

I use 1/4 cup of dijon mustard
1/4 cup of rice vinegar

Whisk them well together and pour on the salad and toss