Wednesday, August 22, 2012


If you're trying to go vegan but missing meat, Portabella Mushrooms are a great item to try for dinner!  They're wonderfully healthy and have the thick, juicy, richness of meat!    I thought I would give them a try and was very glad I did.  Even my husband liked them (and you know how picky men are!)

Usually you'll get two large Portabella Mushrooms in a package for about $6.00.  How's that for a cheap dinner!
You want to GENTLY remove the stem.  Just lightly rock it back and forth until it breaks off.  If you try to tear it out to roughly, your mushroom will split.
After you've thrown the stem away, gently wash your mushroom.
Rub the smooth side with your fingers to wash off any dirt.
On the textured side, gently spray the grooves to wash out any
dirt and debris.  Pat dry with a paper towel.
In a bowl, mix the following ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Oregano
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Cloves Minced Garlic (You can buy this in a jar)

Feel free to change the spices above if you like.

Take a small cooking brush and thoroughly coat each mushroom with your olive oil mixture.  If you don't have a brush, just spoon it over both sides of your mushrooms.
After you have thoroughly coated your mushrooms, set them on a plate  and just leave them alone for about 15 minutes to absorb
the wonderful flavor!

After 15 minutes, either grill your mushrooms on an outdoor gas grill (just like you would a hamburger!) or use a George Forman type grill indoors.  I used my George Forman grill.  I put each mushroom cap in the grill for about 4-5 minutes and they came out beautifully!
I served my mushroom "steaks" with a side of broccoli and a baked 
potato.  Since I normally ate steaks in the past with A-1 Sauce I thought I would try it.  It was great!  Of course, these mushrooms have such a wonderful flavor you really don't need any sauce with them at all.  Trust me, you won't miss meat with this dinner.  It's healthy, low fat and filling.  If healthy food doesn't taste good you're not going to stick with it right?  So with dinners like this you won't feel like you're "missing out" on anything.  
Who says healthy can't taste GOOD?

Why you should eat your mushrooms!

1 cup of Portabella mushrooms is only about 45 calories!
(Compare that to a steak!)

Portabella mushrooms are a source of phytochemicals!  In fact, they're one of the best sources of l'ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant.  Portabella mushrooms also have selenium, which helps the body produce its own antioxidants and operates in DNA repair of the body.  The iron and copper in these mushrooms aid in hemoglobin synthesis, which is needed for the transportation
of oxygen through the blood.  As if that weren't enough, the zink in these wonderful treasures plays a role in immune function, wound healing and cell division!  Worried about Alzheimer's disease?  They also have niacin, which has been linked to reduction of risk 
for this horrible disease.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

HoMe MaDe GReeN BeaNS!

I can't believe I didn't know how to make home made green beans until I
was in my forties!  I grew up eating canned green beans and just continued
that into my marriage thinking it must be horribly hard to make FRESH green beans!
I mean, who takes the time to actually make them from scratch right?

If you've ever eaten fresh home made green beans you know there's a 
world of difference in the flavor!  You just can't beat home made green
beans with a side of fresh sliced tomatoes in the summer.

So take a deep breath,
go to the grocery store
and buy a big ol' bag of fresh picked green beans!
You're going to love them
and they're super easy!!

 You're going to need a bowl and a colander.
Break off the ends of each green bean
and throw them away.
Put the actual bean that you're going to cook into the colander.
 When you're all done, throw these ends away.
Then put the colander in the sink and use your sprayer
to thoroughly spray the beans you're going to cook to clean them.

There's really no measuring with green beans.  Keep one rule in mind when
you're buying them at the grocery.  You're going to be throwing away about 
a third of what's in your bag.  So buy as many as you need.

Besides the beans, all you need to add is
One Onion
A large can of Beef Broth (I recommend Organic!)
Half a stick of butter (optional)
Salt & Pepper (optional)

After you have washed your beans off in the colander throw them into
a large deep pot.  You want to add your beef broth HALF WAY up the beans.
You don't want to cover the beans, only pour enough broth in the
pan to go half way up to the beans.  Then throw in half of a diced
onion.  I like a little butter in my beans, so I put half of a stick cut into
about four pieces.  If you're going to use butter, use BUTTER.  It's healthier
than margarine.  You do not have to put any butter in.  If you want to be
really healthy about it, just leave the butter out.  Then salt and pepper
your beans and put the burner on medium heat.  You do not want to
boil the beans.  You just want to cook them until they are done to your
satisfaction.  I usually cook them about 2 hours.  

Make sure you stir them about every half hour or more so all the 
beans get cooked evenly.

That's it!  Fresh home made green beans.
What a great no-meat dinner!  A plate of green beans
with a side of tomatoes or maybe a sweet potato.
Healthy and filling and good!

Why you should eat your beans!
Did you know green beans provide your body with the mineral silicon?
Silicon is very important for bone health and for the healthy formation of connective tissue.
They also have antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene.

There is even some preliminary research that is showing that green beans
have anti-inflammatory benefits and may even prevent type 2 diabetes.  They have a
very good fiber content which probably helps to prevent this common health problem.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easy Eggplant Lasagna!

There are some vegetables you just assume are going to be high maintenance.  I've always thought eggplant was one of them.  I finally took the plunge and decided to try it... and it was easy!  AND tastes great!

 First you need to "sweat" the eggplant.  (This gets any bitterness out)  All you do is slice the eggplant (about 1/4" to 1/2"), sprinkle both sides with a little salt (don't overdo) and put it in a colander.  Place a plate underneath and wait about 30 minutes.

 You'll actually see beads of moisture pop up pretty fast.  After 30 minutes
rinse well and pat dry.

For this recipe you'll only need:

1 Organic Eggplant
1 Jar Organic Pasta Sauce
Lasagna Noodles (I love the no boil type!)
Fine Breadcrumbs or Panko (found in the baking aisle)
Organic Milk
Olive Oil 

Anytime you can get organic items you should.  Soooo much healthier for you!

After you have gotten your eggplant ready (see above), preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Dip your eggplant in a bowl of milk.  Then dip in flour.  Dip back in milk quickly and then in the breadcrumbs.  The flour helps the breadcrumbs to stay on better.  Set each slice on a plate until you have all of your slices coated with bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and fry each piece until golden.  Set aside on a plate until needed.

If you are using lasagna noodles that need to be boiled do so, if you are using no-boil noodles you can begin your layering.

(You decide how much eggplant, lasagna and sauce you want with this recipe.  Maybe you want a small dish just for two or a large amount for a group!  With lasagna you can wing it!)

Spread pasta sauce in the bottom of your pan (I use a square glass baking pan).  Put one layer of lasagna noodles over sauce.  Put another layer of sauce over noodles, then a layer of your fried eggplant.  Continue layering and end with sauce on top.  If you want you can put cheese on top, but to make this a healthy low-fat dish you should try it without.  Trust me, I LOVE cheese, but this is actually very good without it.  Really!

Bake for 30 minutes.

Doesn't that look great!   Add some steamed broccoli and you're set!

Did you know eggplant has been useful in the treatment of colon cancer because of it's high amount of fiber?   As it moves through your digestive tract it has a tendency to absorb toxins and chemicals that can lead to the development of colon cancer.  Be sure to include the skin when cooking as it contains the most fiber.

It's low in calories!  Only 35 calories per cup.  It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full.

It's also high in chlorogenic acid which is not only a powerful antioxidant, but has the ability to help lower bad cholesterol levels!

Tastes great, low in calories and lowers bad cholesterol.  What a great dinner!
If you would like to know when new recipes are posted please email me at and I will add you to the SweetPea Alert!    Thanks!