It's Giveaway Time! Vegan and Vegetarian Cookbooks Galore!

Good morning, friends! I hope your weekend was lots of fun. I really do. I'm not just saying that. Anyway, it recently occurred to me that it's been way too long since I did a giveaway on my blog. And that's enough to keep a girl awake at night. So, if you live in Pagosa and see me today, you'll know why I look sleep deprived.

So, on with the fun! I will be giving away another round of cookbooks (including both of mine) on March 15th. The cookbooks include vegan and vegetarian books from my collection that have been hinting around for a better home. As I'm always writing some sort of book, I just can't provide them with the love and attention they need anymore. So, please help them feel loved again! And as if that wasn't enough, you will also receive a signed copy of BOTH of my books, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth and The Two-Week Wellness Solution!

So, to enter the contest please do the following:

1. Follow this blog (if you aren't already). To do this, just scroll down the right side of this page and hit the "follow" button (and follow the quick, simple steps).
2. "Like" my facebook page, where I'll be announcing the winner on March 15th.
3. In the comments below this post, name your all-time favorite vegetable recipe.

Winner will be announced by midnight on March 15th. Sorry, but this contest is only available to U.S. residents. Let the fun begin!

Day Four: The Big Salad Never Ends

Good afternoon, friends! I hope you've had a fine and fancy Thursday so far. I'm still going strong on the Two-Week Wellness Solution and loving the effects. Here's what went into my belly today:

Breakfast:
1/2 lemon in water and a scoop (1 1/2 tablespoons) "Green Radiance" also mixed in water

Mid-morning:
I went to the gym for a kickbutt strength training workout, but the measly organic apple I ate afterwards was oddly satisfying. Held me over til lunch.

Lunch:
Yet another big salad. Call me Elaine I guess. Today I was in an umeboshi sort of mood, so I tossed my 5 cups of greens with umeboshi vinegar and toasted sesame oil. I threw in some lime-marinated beets, sliced onions, and more of those sunflower seeds I've been loving.
I also had a kombucha (guava) and a quesadilla-type thingy (two sprouted corn tortillas filled with adzuki beans, a sprinkle of daiya vegan cheese, and jalapenos - grilled to sublime happiness)

Snack:
My "blue" choice for the day! I had a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips mixed with a tablespoon of organic peanut butter. Very satisfying, as I'm working on weaning myself back off of my sweet tooth again.

Mid-afternoon snack:
I'm hungry! Whoops!

Dinner:
I's about to go home and make up some more Hungarian Chickpeas (I'm pretty much addicted at this point) and baked asparagus. If I'm still hungry after that, I plan to have some glazed tempeh and greens.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I know many of you are doing this with me, so feel free to post your day's menu as well! :-)

Green Chili Tofu Should Have Green Chilies In It

Don't you think? I've been jonesing "green chili tofu" for weeks and finally ran across some last night in Durango. But I didn't find any green chilies in it! I'm still holding back the tears. Anyway, enough of my bellyaching. I do realize there are worse problems in the world.

So, on with day three! Here we go . . .

Breakfast:
* 1/2 lemon, juiced and added to water
* scoop of "Green Radiance" mixed with water
* fresh mango (hello, delicious)

Lunch:
I had an early lunch today, as I did an hour long session of "Nia" with some friends. Lots of calories burned, for sure!
* The remnants of the "green chili tofu" that I'd purchased yesterday - sans the green chilies apparently
* very large salad (the usual)

Mid-afternoon meal:
* 2 Fresh Thai Spring Rolls with The Peanut Sauce (recipe from RHIW)
* Soba noodles with shiitake mushrooms and edamame (in a toasted sesame sauce)

Dinner:
* I'll be having more Hungarian Chickpeas along with dijon maple roasted Brussels sprouts

Well, thanks for tuning in and I promise to be back tomorrow with the tellings of day four! xo

Day Two: Two Kombuchas are Legit, Yes?

Greetings, friends! Sorry to be checking in so late, but I just got back from a book signing in Durango (a cool town an hour east of where I live). T'was fun!

So, day two of the Two-Week Wellness Solution and I'm feeling pretty good. Here's today's skinny:

Breakfast:
My usual whole lemon, juiced and mixed with water. Then, some water mixed with "Green Radiance" (from TWWS). I swear, when I drink that stuff I get such an immediate energy boost!

Mid-morning:
I was in the mood for some superpowers today, so I blended up a whole bag of organic blueberries along with an acai packet and some pomegranate juice. I shared some of this with my daughter. I didn't want to. But I did.

An hour later:
I had an odd craving for turmeric, so I whipped up a batch of "Yellow Tofu" (from RHIW) and served it with a slice of sprouted Ezekiel toast. A kombucha happened as well. Strawberry.

A late lunch:
Ginormous salad (pretty much the day's requirement for veggies - 6 cups) made from baby greens, carrot, onion, and more of those yummy sprouted sunflower seeds (The brand is Kaia and I picked them up at the health food store. I was ignoring them for a while as I didn't love them plain, but now they're my absolute favorite way to snaz up a salad!)
Two "soft tacos" (two sprouted corn tortillas filled with adzuki beans, a little daiya vegan cheese, and jalapeno slices - topped with tomatillo salsa)

Snack on the way to Durango:
Organic granola bar in the car. I drove far.

Dinner on the go:
I had to run like 756 errands before my book signing, so I grabbed some green chili tofu from Nature's Oasis and another kombucha. Gingerberry.
Oh, and I had about 1/4 cup of "Four Goodness Shake," the snack I made for my book signing.

Total water consumption:
About a gallon (plus kombuchas)

Total exercise:
Running 756 errands. Does that count as actual running? Not so much. I'll do better tomorrow.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I will blog again tomorrow night with all the day's happenings. All foodlike and such.

Day One: Pizza and Cookies!

A detox plan that allows pizza and cookies? Yeah! That's pretty much my calling in life. And what's currently in mah belly.

So it's day one for those of us on The Two-Week Wellness Solution and I hope allz going well with your day so far! In my last post, I detailed my personal reasons for wanting to do a cleanse right now. When I woke up today, I reviewed my list to help keep myself motivated.

So here's an accounting of how my day has gone so far. If you like, go ahead and post what you're eating and how you're feeling so far.

Breakfast:
I woke up and had the juice of one lemon in water. Then, I drank some "Green Radiance" powder that I'd mixed into some water. About 20 minutes later, I had three clementines. Juicy babies.

Lunch/3 p.m. Meal:
My daughter and I went swimming at the hot springs after breakfast and got home at about 3 p.m. We were starving! I immediately made up a huge salad (4 cups of veggies) comprised of baby greens, a carrot, red onions, and sprouted garlic-herb sunflower seeds. I tossed it with a combination of balsamic vinegar, tamari, and agave nectar. I don't know if it was because I was so hungry, but it tasted friggin amazing.

Next, I made a pizza. I used the whole grain crust recipe from RHIW and topped my half with organic roasted garlic spaghetti sauce, daiya vegan cheese, shiitake mushrooms, ribbon-cut kale, and sliced onions. I had half of a pizza and was still hungry! So I had two Mary's Gone Crackers cookies. I love them - they're made with high quality ingredients and feel pretty "clean" in my system. I also had a strawberry kombucha.

Dinner:
I will be having Hungarian Chickpeas (a test recipe for my next book) and two cups of steamed Brussels sprouts. That will complete my requirement for six cups of veggies today. Yeah! Oh, and I've had three liters of water so far, but I'm sure I'll end up consuming a gallon of water before the day is over.

Exercise:
At the hot springs, I did laps for 15 minutes. Lately, I've been having "dance parties" with my daughter (we crank up fun music and just dance in our living room - it's way fun), so I'll also be doing that tonight for at least 30 minutes, as well as some stretching.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Tune in tomorrow to share the scoop on Day Two!

Let's Gear Up For the Two-Week Wellness Solution!

Hey friends! As you may know (if you follow my facebook fan page), we're going to be doing the Two-Week Wellness Solution as a group, starting this coming Monday. (Well, it was going to be Sunday, but I wanted to give everyone enough time to plan properly, which is so crucial to success!)

So, I wanted to give you some food (yeah, I'm always feeding everyone!) for thought before we begin. I would like to have everyone answer the following questions, either here or on their own. And in the spirit of fun and community, I'm going to answer them as well. We're in this together!

So, here we go!

Question #1: Why do you want to do the two-week plan now?

Answering this will help give you clarity as well as keep you motivated and on track. My answers are:

1. After all the traveling I've done this winter, I want to give my body a good cleanse. But I'm not into starving. I like food too much. And why starve when you can eat well, detox, and thrive?
2. I want to lose three pounds to reach my ideal weight.
3. I want to gain more energy, have brighter looking skin, and feel better overall.
4. I want to readjust my taste buds so that I don't crave sweets, refined foods, or processed foods.

Question #2: What foods will you be making this week?

Here's the fun part! I created this cleanse for foodies, so this is where we look over all the "green" and "blue" recipes and decide what sounds great. No need to subsist solely on sprouts, bland rice, or green juices. You really CAN reap all the benefits of a detoxifying cleanse while still enjoying every meal. So, please set your deprivation mindset aside and have fun with this!

OK, that said, here are a few things I'll be eating this week: As I'm recipe testing for my next book, many of the items I'll be eating will be experiments. Some examples are: Moroccan yam fries, glazed tempeh and greens, chili-garlic tofu with black bean noodles, white bean and kale soup, raw chocolate cookies, and baked asparagus. However, I'll also be eating some recipes from my books, such as: Fresh Thai Spring Rolls, Lo Fat Lo Mein, Lickety Split Pea Soup, Divine Mango Pie, Green Chili & Tomatillo Tamales, and Pan Grilled Burritos.

Question #3: How can I set myself up for success?

Planning out your menu, making a grocery list, and doing some food preparation in advance will do wonders for your success on this (or any!) program. So, I'm off to make my grocery list!

Please let me know if you have any questions...and I am looking forward to doing this cleanse with you! I will be blogging every day until the cleanse is over - including what I've eaten each day. So, please drop by and join in the fun! xo

Top 10 Tips For Healthy Travels!

So, it's become fairly obvious that this is a really important and hot topic . . . and that I actually need to write a book on the subject! Which I plan to do after my next book is finished this spring. After my usual post-book chill time, of course. ;-)

Healthy traveling is a subject very near and dear to my heart, as I travel quite a bit and am obsessed with the union of delicious vegan food and optimum health. However, I'm all too familiar with the challenges that traveling presents. Lack of healthy options on the road, figuring out how and what to pack, and not having access to a kitchen can be very tricky things to navigate. So, I will share some of the things that have worked well for me. Please let me know if you have a favorite tip of your own, and keep those great suggestions coming!

Top 10 Tips for Healthy Travels!

1. When I know I'm going to be traveling through a city, I use either Happy Cow or VegDining to find vegan-friendly restaurants. Even if you're only veg-curious, you'll usually find much healthier options there!

2. To stay vitalized while traveling, two things will help you immensely: veggies and water! To stay up on your vegetable intake, try packing veggies that travel well. I've found that the following work well for me: carrot and celery sticks, dried kale or zucchini chips, raw kale salads (such as those in my most recent book), cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas. As for water, that's pretty self-explanatory. Drink more of it.

3. If you're staying or traveling through somewhere with dismal options and haven't planned ahead, you can consult this vegetarian list of options for chain restaurants. It will help you to find something that will keep you, well, from starving to death.

4. Plan, plan, plan! Being a food nerd is sexy, I don't care what they say. Take out your little sheet of paper and sparkly pen and make a list of all of the healthy foods that you love - especially those that will keep well in a cooler for at least a few days. Some of my favorite items that always end up in my cooler on road trips? Bean salads, tabouli, hummus, salads, raw nut dips (such as cashew "tuna"), bean burritos, tempeh sandwiches, fresh spring rolls, veggie fried rice, quinoa salads, and whole grain Asian pasta salads.

5. Fruit will remind you that life is good. You can find it anywhere (well, almost) and it will fuel you with electrolytes, calories, vitamins, and fiber until your next meal.

6. You can often find reasonably healthy sustenance at a regular old grocery store. Possible options: Fruit, pre-made hummus (use with veggies, pita bread, or regular bread for dipping), nondairy milk and whole grain cereal, guacamole and organic tortilla chips, the makings for a pb & j, and instant oatmeal.

7. Even without access to a kitchen, you can do some magic of your own. In fact, I even travel with a portable burner (OK, I use it for food demonstrations - but I'd take it either way at this point!) and blender. I also take basic cookware, including a skillet, spatula, garlic press, cutting board, and chef's knife. With just those items, I can make the following: power shakes and smoothies, stir-fry, tofu and tempeh cutlets for sandwiches and wraps, whole grain pancakes, bean dips, and more.

8. Go raw! Raw foods travel well and don't require cooking (obviously). What are some raw food yummies that travel well? Dehydrated goodies (veggie chips, fruit jerky, raw granola, crackers, etc.), nut spreads (for wrapping in lettuce or tortillas), cashew cheese (for dipping in crackers), nori rolls, flax crackers, and so much more!
 
9. When traveling, I always have my cooler with me. Sure, it seems cumbersome, but it's so worth it! I learned a trick from my mom too, as far as keeping it cold all handy-dandy like: Freeze water bottles (or gallon jugs of water) and place them in your cooler. That way, they'll keep everything cold while you simultaneously drink ice-cold water and stay hydrated!

10. Need to pack items that don't require refrigeration or any sort of prep work? Here is a peek into what I bring in that sort of circumstance. I keep it by the driver's seat and call it my "snack bag" (really creative title, no?): Mary's Gone Crackers sticks and twigs (or any of their crackers), almonds (raw or tamari roasted), fruit (tangerines/oranges, grapefruit, and apples are hearty travelers), dehydrated kale chips, green powder (I mix it with my water), Two Moms In The Raw granola bars, Lara Bars (or, preferably, my homemade versions thereof), trail mix (walnuts, cranberries, cacao nibs, etc.), and, of course, a little organic dark chocolate.

Hope this helps you to get inspired for healthy, yummy travels. Please keep giving me your great suggestions and questions - I love hearing from you! xxoo

Ten Ways with Cabbage!

Cabbage! Yes, it deserves an exclamation point. It's not only jam packed with nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, and anti-cancer compounds - it's also delicious and versatile.

However, when I asked what veggie people were most unsure about how to use, cabbage was one of the most common answers. So, I wanted to dedicate a blog post just for the love of cabbage. Are you ready? Let's ride!


10 Ways to Use Cabbage:

1. Saute cabbage along with garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and shredded carrots. Wrap in phyllo and bake for delicious "egg rolls." Dip in sweet chili sauce or plum sauce for an extra kick.

2. Toss shredded purple cabbage with lime juice, agave nectar, minced fresh ginger, and chili flakes. Salt to taste and serve cold.

3. For an easy, impressive Asian side dish: Toss shredded green and/or purple cabbage with toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, agave nectar, tamari, garlic, and fresh ginger. Serve over spinach and top with crunchy sesame sticks. Garnish with a lime wedge.


4. I once hosted a potluck and one of the guests brought the most delicious cabbage rolls - you know, one of those dishes you just never forget! She simply made a stuffing of blended cashews, barley, lemon juice, shredded carrots, onions, sea salt, and garlic. Then, she placed a little of the filling in each cabbage leaf, wrapped them up, and steamed them until soft. So good! You can also do a more traditional tomato-based stuffing using crumbled tempeh or tofu along with Italian seasonings.

5. Speaking of potlucks, I attended one in Florida last month that included another unforgettable cabbage dish. The woman had just picked the (green) cabbage that morning, chopped it, and added the following: fresh ginger juice, turmeric, lemon juice, and sea salt. It sounds simple, but I had about four helpings. Freaking addictive.

6. For a simple vegan coleslaw, just substitute reduced fat (or regular) Vegenaise for mayo in your favorite coleslaw recipe. And yes, I do prefer the reduced fat Vegenaise, as it's made with better oils (flax and olive) than the other kinds. Most health food stores carry it.

7. For me, cabbage is one of the best ways to garnish Mexican fare. It adds color, nutrition, and crunch! I like to use raw, chopped red cabbage to top tostadas, burritos, tacos, and baked chimichangas.

8. Fresh spring rolls (aka summer rolls) always benefit with the addition of cabbage. In a soaked rice paper wrapper, place some red cabbage, shredded carrots, crushed peanuts, cilantro, lettuce, and basil. Wrap up and serve cold with sweet chili sauce for dipping. For those of you with my books, you'll find a plethora of detailed fresh spring roll recipes in both. Yes, I'm an addict.

9. I just asked my daughter (a cabbage lover from way back) what her favorite way to eat cabbage was. Her response: "Take a piece of lettuce. Put a cabbage leaf in it. Put a raspberry or strawberry inside and roll it all up." (I think anything with berries involved has a chance with her.)

10. For simple Thai curried cabbage: Stir-fry napa cabbage in some coconut milk, red curry paste, and fresh ginger. If desired, add some agave nectar and sea salt. Cook just until the cabbage is wilted and bright green (well under 5 minutes). Serve plain or with brown basmati rice.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

What to do with Cucumbers!


Cucumbers...those juicy little devils! Personally, I equate eating a cucumber with taking a dip in a lake on a hot summer day. They are so replenishing, nourishing, and alkalinizing to the body. And also quite delicious, especially when flavored up.


Here are my top five ways to use this cool vegetable:

1. One of my all-time favorite veggie recipes, from my book Radiant Health, Inner Wealth:

Indian Kuchumber Salad

Here is the boom-boom that I love to pile on my plate at Indian buffets. Except all organic-like.

1¾ cups diced cucumber (one medium cucumber), peel left on if organic
½ cup chopped tomato (or halved grape or cherry tomatoes)
¾ cup diced red onion (or white or yellow)
2 tablespoons each: fresh lime juice and non-virgin olive oil (or sunflower oil)
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Optional: 1 teaspoon untoasted (raw) black sesame seeds

Gently toss all of the ingredients together until very well combined. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)
 
2. Toss thinly sliced cucumbers with fresh dill, lime juice, agave nectar, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Marinate in the fridge and enjoy cold or at room temperature.
 
3. Top sprouted grain toast points with herbed vegan cream cheese, very thinly sliced cucumber, and kalamata olives. Elegant, simple, delicious.
 
4. Toss with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic, olive oil, and sea salt. Marinate and serve at room temperature. Mmmmm.
 
5. For a simple, healthy lunch-on-the-go: First you get a nice, sprouted grain tortilla. Then you top it like so: hummus, chopped cucumbers, fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, spinach, and thinly sliced red onions. If you like, add some kalamata olives for extra flair.
 
Thanks so much for stopping by.
And I hope you are eating your veggies every day...and loving them! Cheers to a healthy, happy lifestyle!

Shift Happens: 10 Ways to Transform Sadness

And now for a brief interruption in our regularly scheduled fruit and veggie programming...

For those of you who "get" the creative process, you'll understand that you just gotta go with it when inspiration strikes. And it struck this morning like a spunky little slap in the face! So, I'm gonna get personal here. You've been warned. If you can't handle that, please see this post instead. It's about apple crisp.

OK, so if you're still reading, you can deal. Here's the scoop...I recently (as in this week) went through something that shook me up. Normally, I tend to take things in stride for the most part, making the best out of hard situations. But this had me crying. Yeah, it was over a guy. Boo Hoo.

Anyway, this morning I decided that I needed to get pro-active. I can't take feeling bad for too long without wanting to change my own state of mind and feel better. That said, part of what I decided was that it's OK - even helpful - to cry when I feel sad. Like the 70s song goes: "It's all right to cry, crying gets the sad out of you. It's all right to cry - it might make you feel better!" By the way, "Free to be You and Me" is a great Netflix choice if you want some nostalgia.

So, I sat in my car and cried, journaled, and listened to really loud bluegrass music (it's relevant). And by the time I was done, I had a strategic plan for healing my sadness. And I felt a whole lot better. Up until today, I hadn't really clarified to myself that I really do need to heal. I thought it might just go away. But it feels a lot better knowing that every day, I'm taking steps to shift from sadness to renewed happiness. So, what did I journal? You'll have to stalk me and steal my purse to find out. But I will share the highlights.

Here we go...

How to Transform Sadness and Shift into Joy:

1. If the feeling to "let it out" comes up, then cry. Just let it out. Tell yourself that it's actually mature to cry like a little girl - you're not being a baby, you're being real, healthy, and conscious.

2. Do you have a wise, kind friend who always says the right thing? I sure hope so. Because I feel incredibly grateful for mine. One of my girlfriends said to me (after I told her I didn't want to burden her with my problems) that "part of why we're friends is so we can always support each other, in good times and bad." And that she knew I would be there for her if she needed it, which is true. (I love you, Jennie!)

3. OK, I stole this from "Eat, Pray, Love." But it's fabulous and SO powerful! And I took it one step further. Whenever I feel sad, I send myself love and light. It may sound woo-woo, but I gotta tell you - it feels really good, like a fuzzy love blanket. And after that, I send the other person love and light as well.

4. Journal. That sh*t is amaaazing. If you don't already, I really do recommend it. It will help you immensely to gain clarity and make positive choices.

5. Love yourself. Tell yourself sweet nothings. Know that you are beautiful and lovable exactly as you are.

6. Be thankful for the beautiful lessons that you will inevitably get out of this challenging experience. Gratitude is the #1 way to make powerful, rapid shifts. I bolded that for a reason. It's that important.

7. Affirm something along the lines of: "I am open to a shift into joy. I allow a complete healing."

8. Visualize yourself as a healed, happy individual. Don't worry about "how" it's going to happen. Just KNOW that if you visualize it, it really will come about. It can't not.

9. Find your own inner core of bliss, peace, and love. And the best way I've found to do this is to meditate. For tips on meditating, you can refer to this blog post or check out either of my books.

10. Take notice when shift happens. Did you wake up feeling happy? Did you get inspired to start a new exercise program? Those are signs of healing. What you focus on is what will expand. So pay attention to the progress you're making...and you'll get more and more of it!

I hope you find these steps very helpful in your own life...and don't feel like you have to be sad to use them! They are wonderful tools to apply in your life, no matter what your current situation.

As my saying (and title of my first book) goes, Radiant Health, INNER WEALTH. We can't have truly ultimate well-being unless we have both physical health as well as wellness within ourselves.
Love! xxxooo

What to do with Cauliflower!


I know this is going to sound strange, but I have a bit of a big sister complex with cauliflower. I don't like it when people say, "But broccoli is so much healthier - why eat a white vegetable when you can eat green, green broccoli?" Well, lots of reasons!

For one, stop picking on cauliflower. What did it ever do to you? Except love you. Second, it IS healthy. What vegetable isn't? Sure, it doesn't boast the chlorophyll content of it's cousin broccoli, but it DOES have lots of fiber, great taste and versatility, the anti-cancer benefits of the cruciferous vegetable family, and lots of vitamins. Enough said. Let's do this.

What do you do with Cauliflower?

1. Make my award-winning Roasted Cauliflower dish. I've been told that certain meat-eating husbands prefer it to steak!

2. Cauliflower is delicious raw with vegan ranch dip. My new favorite vegan ranch is simple: Just start with some reduced fat Vegenaise (made with olive oil and flax - my favorite). Stir in a few dashes of apple cider vinegar and water, along with a generous shake of dried parsley. Add some garlic granules, onion granules, and sea salt. YUM.

3. Steam cauliflower and puree until smooth. It can then be added to soups, mashed potatoes, or dips. OR...

4. For healthy vegan mozzerella sticks: Mix cauliflower puree (see #3) with some mozzerella style vegan cheese (Daiya works great). Roll into little log shapes and freeze until firm. Genty roll in seasoned bread crumbs and pan-fry in olive oil over medium-high heat. Serve with organic marinara sauce.

5. For a yummy, quick dinner: Pan fry cauliflower in olive oil until golden brown and crisp. Toss with lemon zest, whole grain pasta, fresh garlic, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper.

Please tune in tomorrow when our featured fruit or veg will be...

What to Do With Eggplant!

I used to be one of those people who looked at eggplant in the store and thought: "It's so pretty, shiny, and sexy....but what in the world would I do with it?" Well, since then, I can tell you: "Plenty!" Eggplant is now one of my most used and beloved veggie staples.

It's also one of those foods that has to be prepared correctly in order to be delicious and to have the right texture. Some of the mistakes many people make with eggplant are: Not cooking it long enough (undercooked eggplant = yuck!), using way too much oil, and not adding enough flavoring. Eggplant is like tofu - it's rather neutral and, if you listen closely, is begging quite persistently to be well flavored.

So, as I've also received requests for this lovely vegetable as part of my Fruits and Veggies month here on the RHIW blog, today is all about eggplant. Delectable, gorgeous, nutrient-packed eggplant!

What Do You Do With Eggplant?

1. Looking for a new addiction? These eggplant chips from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth are joneser. You'll want to eat the whole pan.

2. Cube eggplant (no need to peel) and saute in a large skillet with lots of fresh garlic, olive oil, and a little tamari. Stir-fry until very tender. So simple. SO good.

3. Slice eggplant very thinly and cut into strips. Marinate in beet juice, garlic, olive oil, tamari, and a little liquid smoke. From there, you can either "cook" in a food dehydrator or bake until crisp. And voila - eggplant bacon! Great with lettuce, tomato, and vegenaise on sprouted grain toast for an ELT sammy.

4. Cube eggplant and stir-fry with chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, coconut oil, onions, chickpeas, and your favorite Indian spice blend. When the eggplant is very tender, serve the curry over rice.

5. For easy peezy vegan eggplant parmesan: Slice thinly into rounds and dip in nondairy milk. Dredge in whole wheat pastry flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray with olive oil and bake until golden brown. Top with organic pasta sauce, vegan cheese, and fresh basil. YUM.

Please tune in on Monday when the fruit or veggie of the day will be...

Day Two: What Was I Thinking?

OK friends, seriously...What was I thinking? I recently said that I'd blog every single day this month, as I was so excited about doing a month of how to use certain fruits and veggies. However, I was also ignoring the fact that I drove 700 miles yesterday and am teaching a cooking class today in Austin. Tomorrow morning, I drive another 800 miles to Santa Fe, then back home to Colorado this Friday. Busy week!

So, I've decided to continue my month of fruit n veggie blogging this Saturday, so that I don't go too crazy.

However, today I'd like to address the question of PAPAYAS. One of my readers asked me what to do with them. Here's my response:

I lived in Hawaii for several months back in the 90s, which was when I discovered the fabulousness that is papaya. At first, I wasn't sure whether I liked them or not, but they grew on me very quickly. I mostly ate them plain - just cutting them in half, scooping out the seeds, and eating the flesh. The seeds could then be washed and used in papaya salad dressing (kind of like poppyseed dressing) as the seeds are so renowned for being a digestive aid. Many other islanders liked to serve salads in the cavity of the papaya - I never did that, but it always intrigued me.

Papayas would also be delicious cubed and tossed into green salads or whipped into a smoothie with strawberries and pineapple juice. YUM.

However, I will say that since I've left Hawaii, I have yet to bite into a papaya that really does it for me. And I've pretty much given up. They just never tasted the same as they did when I got them fresh. But hey, maybe it's been long enough and I should give them another chance. After all, they are bursting with beta carotene, fiber, and enzymes.

Please check back on Saturday, when I'll be talking about the next fabulous fruit or veggie on the list!

Day One: Asparagus!

I LOVE asparagus. LOVE it. If it were a man, I'd be stalking it. Not that I have any stalking tendencies...it's just that asparagus brings out a wild n crazy abandon in me.

So here are a few of my favorite ideas for using this nutrient-dense veggie:

1. Here's how to magically turn asparagus into Veggie Crack!
2. Steam and toss into a salad with baby greens, sliced strawberries, and toasted almonds. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette.
3. Saute the long spears in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tamari. Wrap in phyllo dough and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake until the phyllo turns golden. You will be popular if you share.
4. To trim asparagus: Hold the bottom of one spear with your hand. Bend the top over with your other hand. The asparagus spear will snap and break in the exact position that will separate the tender portion from the tough base.
5. My daughter's favorite way to eat asparagus is very, very simple. She likes it sauteed in a little olive oil and tamari until bright green.

Please tune in tomorrow when we'll be talking about the next fruit or veggie that you've asked me about. Thanks for stopping by!