Day 6 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!!

Hey babies! How's day 6 treating you so far? Are you staying motivated? We're ALMOST at the HALF-WAY mark, so give yourself a big pat on the back and know that you really are doing great so far!

Some of you have asked how I'm feeling today - thanks so very much! I am feeling much better, and I'm also very happy to report that my book is totally done!! Tomorrow it gets sent off to print! YAY! So, that sure helps my mood and feeling of lightness as well. No more 12-hour computer days, which will also help my state of wellness immensely!

So, here's my skinny on today:
* Lemon water
* "Green Radiance"
* smoothie with pomegranate, mixed organic berries, & banana
* "Carrot Ginger Lime Soup" with a slice of toasted Ezekiel (sprouted) bread
* bean & red rice & veggie burrito (with more of that awesome habanero sauce I scored from my ex!)
* a cup of high-fiber cereal to snack on and 1/2 cup Nancy's plain soy yogurt
* 2 maca chip cookies (my "blue" for today)

Eating: I need to eat a few more veggies, but overall a very light, healthy day. I feel great about it!
Water: a gallon
Exercise: yoga and recumbent bike for 45 minutes
Visualization: 5 small visualizations so far and one longer one to set up the next day (before bed)

I'd love to hear how your day went!
I'd also like to suggest that you spend a few moments this evening reminding yourself of what your goals are. Why are you doing the 2-week plan? Often, all it takes is remembering what you desire to get you fired up and renewed in your motivation! Worked for me today, anyway. :-) xoxo

Day 5 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

Hey everyone! Again, I just want to say how proud I am of how well you're all doing. Keep up the great work!

As for myself, I actually woke up today feeling a bit under the weather - I know it's because I've been stressing about finishing my book and pushing myself too hard. And it doesn't help that I've been on the computer for like 10 hours a day, getting my book ready to send off!!

BUT on the bright side, my book will be done in *2* DAYS!! And also on the bright side, I know how to boost up my immune system, so I should be able to avoid getting full-on sick. I took it easy today (well, I worked on my book all day, but...) and ate lots of immune-boosting foods, such as....

Food Journal Day 5:

* lemon water
* "Green Radiance" mixed with water
* sea buckthorne (one oz.)
* canteloupe
* oatbran topped with "Nancy's" vegan yogurt, apricot jam (organic, all-fruit), & dried apricots (loving this!!)
* 2 corn tortillas filled with beans, a tablespoon of "Daiya" vegan cheese, and topped with...drumroll...homemade pineapple-lime habanero sauce (it really pays to be on good terms with your ex - he brought me this today!)
* large salad topped with some plain apple cider vinegar
* homemade kombucha
* popcorn topped with nutritional yeast and kelp
* maca raw cookie
* stevia lemon-lime aid
* beans and rice with lots of garlic and hot sauce
* 2 fresh spring rolls with cilantro, cabbage, scallions, peanuts, & sriracha sauce
* 2 slices of ezekiel bread, toasted, with earth balance
* raw cinnamon roll
I was STILL hungry! So I made some whole wheat pasta and mixed it with vegan pasta sauce, nooch, hot sauce, & garlic. I had a little bit, then was finally at level 3 of the hunger and fullness gauge.

Notes:
* I ate a LOT more than usual today! But I listened to my body, ate only until level #3 (80% full max), and fueled myself with what I was craving. So, I feel good about the day and I think I'll wake up - fingers crossed - mostly back to normal! :-)
* A gallon of water (no sun tea unfortunately, as it was a cold, windy day!)
* No exercise yet, but I think I'll do some gentle yoga and visualization before bed.

So, we're about 40% done with the 2-week shape-up (YEAH baybay!) - how's it going for YOU today??

Day 4 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

Greetings, friends! How's your weekend going so far? I can't complain over here - I've been working hard to get my book done, but I only have a few more days left until I send it off! So, again, apologies for the short post, but I want to keep updating this every day as you are all doing so great!! :-)

My food journal today:

* Lemon water
* "Green Radiance" mixed with water
* 1/2 grapefruit
* Cooked oat bran, topped with "Nancy's" plain soy yogurt, apricot jam (organic, all-fruit), & chopped dried apricots (YUM!!)
* "Happiness Bowl" with lettuce and carrots (from Radiance 4 Life)
* guava kombucha
* "Sweet and Spicy Turmeric Popcorn" (from Radiance 4 Life)
* "Carrot Ginger Lime Soup" (from Radiance 4 Life)
* No Will Power Cookies (from my blog)
* Strawberry-acai coconut probiotic drink

Notes:
* I notice that I need about 2 more servings of veggies, so I'll have them now!
* Water intake: At least a gallon - most of which is sun tea. I love drinking sun tea as my water intake, as it hydrates me while also supplying SO many great things! This batch contains nettles, mint, hibiscus, decaf green tea, goji, and blueberry leaf.
* Exercise: It was insanely windy today (I think I saw Toto flying by my window at one point), so I stayed indoors and rode my recumbent bike for 2 hours while catching up on the phone with one of my best friends!
* Visualization: I'm slacking in this department today, so I'll try to do a good session before bed tonight.

So, how did YOUR day go? Can't wait to read all about it! :-)

Day 3 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!!

How's it going for you today, friends? For me, it's been very busy so I'm sorry but I'm going to have to make this a very quick post! I will be in much less of a hurry after my book gets submitted this coming week, but right now it's GO time! :-)

So, here's my Day 3 Diary . . .

Breakfast:
* Lemon water and "Green Radiance"
* 2 tiny clementines

Mid-morning:
Very hungry! I made the following:
* "Happiness Bowl" (with baby greens and carrots for the veggies - LOVE this dish!)
* ginger kombucha
* slice of sprouted Ezekiel bread with a little organic Earth Balance
* 3 small raw cookies (Maca Chip)

Mid-afternoon:
* I was at my daughter's best friend's 8th birthday party. I am *very* pleased to announce that I didn't eat any potato chips (Kettle - they looked good too!) or vegan chocolate cookies! Instead, I ate organic grape tomatoes, carrots, and some of the awesome watermelon drink my friend Jennie made. She basically put whole watermelon in her vitamix along with some water and blended it. Really, really, really good!!

Early dinner:
* Bean burrito (sprouted grain tortilla with "Perfect Pinto" beans, smothered in greens, onions, and salsa
* Carrot Ginger Lime Soup
* Celery

Total veggies: 6 cups
Total water: by the end of the day, it'll be a gallon
Exercise: A short walk, but I plan to ride my recumbent bike on one of my "breaks" tonight! Plus at least 10 "mini-exercises" today.
Visualization: 5 short visualizations so far, plus one before I go to bed tonight - those are such a big help in setting up the next day for success and healthy choices! :-)

By the way, thanks so much for all your posts and for sharing your daily diaries on this blog! You are all doing SO great and I'm truly proud of every one of you!!! xoxo

Day 2 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

Greetings, awesome troopers! How's day 2 treating you so far? I'm happy with my day, aside from the fact that I need to bury my head in edits to get my book finished! :-) But it will be done soon enough.

So, here's my food journal for today:

Breakfast:
* whole lemon's juice with water
* heaping tablespoon "Green Radiance" with water
* 3 small, insanely delish organic clementines

Mid-morning:
* taste-testing my new maca chip cookies plus another 2 cookies for the road!

Snack:
* Easy Indian Mung Beans

Later Lunch:
*"Happiness Bowl"
* huge salad with baby greens, onions, pickled beets, a teaspoon of xvoo, apple cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast
* KeVita probiotic drink

Early dinner:
* Carrot Ginger Lime Soup
* 2 maca chip cookies

Total veggies: 6 cups
Water: One gallon
Eating only until 80% full (#3 of the "Hunger and Fullness Gauge" in my books)? Check!

Exercise:
20 minutes walking + 10 minutes elliptical + 30 minutes strength training

So, howzabout YOUR day?

And by the way...I love how we're checking in here every day - it's keeping me on track & hopefully it's helping you, too!! :-)

Maca Chip Cookies (raw, vegan, & delish!)

Oh my yummy stars! I keep sneaking new raw cookie recipes into my newest book, Radiance 4 Life (now available!). But I had to share these on my blog immediately because, well, I love you.

▪ ½ cup (packed) pitted dried dates (12 dates)
▪ ¼ cup each: raw cashews, raw almonds, and rolled oats
▪ 2 tablespoons raw maca powder
▪ 1 tablespoon each: vanilla and raw agave nectar
▪ ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Add last: 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs

In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients except for the cacao nibs. When the mixture is in fine crumbs and very sticky, remove and stir in the nibs. Form into balls, then shape into cookies. Heaven!

Makes 12 cookies/SF/Blue/R/F/30 Minutes or Under!
(these are gluten-free with gluten-free oats)

♥ Superstars: cashews, almonds, maca, cacao

Day 1 of the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

So, we're nearing the end of day one and I wanted to check in and see how everyone's doing! So far, my day has been pretty great. I will share the details below, but first I'd like to suggest that YOU share what you ate and how things went for you today too!

My food diary for day #1:

Breakfast:
* Whole lemon's juice in water
* "Green Radiance" (heaping tablespoon, shaken up with water)
* 1/2 cup mango-strawberry smoothie (basically, what was left over after making my daughter's smoothie!)

Mid-morning:
* A bottle of divine elixir (pictured above)!! I'm SO hooked. Talk about your guilt-free indulgence! This stuff has zero sugar (totally stevia-sweetened) and is bursting with nutrients, probiotics, & electrolytes. And FYI, I never receive a dime for any of my product endorsements, so you can bet if I say I love something, I really mean it! :-)

Lunch:
* Baked chimichanga (sprouted tortilla filled with "Perfect Pinto" beans and baked - then topped with lettuce and fresh salsa - YUM!)
* One cooled, leftover baked potato, pan-fried in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and dipped in ketchup and hot sauce
* Baked zucchini (this was oddly delicious - couldn't stop saying "mmmmm" while eating it)

Mid-afternoon meal:
* One tofurky "brat" (vegan, of course) pan-fried without oil and dipped in mustard (this isn't really an ideal choice as it's processed, but I had just burned a ton of calories and needed food fast - plus, it's my "blue" for the day!)
* 3 cups of raw broccoli, dipped in lowfat vegan ranch
* slice of sprouted grain bread with a little organic Earth Balance
* strawberry kombucha

Dinner:
* Carrot Ginger Lime Soup
* Another KeVita probiotic drink (I know, I know!)

* Total veggie servings for the day: 7!! (6 was my goal) - and by the way, my servings are comparable to the old serving size, which were twice what they are now. So, in other words, 7 servings to me is 7 cups, which is actually 14 servings according to the new USDA guidelines.
* Eating only until just satisfied? Check! No overeating today - ate only until 80% full at the most.

My exercise diary for today:

* 40 minutes of walking plus 10 minutes on the elliptical and another 10 minutes on the stairmaster. I actually walked to the gym and back! The thought of an hour on the treadmill didn't excite me today, so I decided to add some variety with walking and some alternative cardio at the gym.
* 6 mini-exercises so far - I intend to do at least 4 more tonight.

My visualizations for today:

* Several small, short visualizations throughout the day plus I'll do a longer one before bed as a way to ideally set up the next day.

So, how about it? How did your day go? I'll look forward to hearing about it and let's also check back tomorrow to share the deets on day 2!! :-)

Let's get ready for the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

Photo of "Easy & Addictive Eggplant Chips" by Michelle McCluggage

So, tomorrow (Wednesday) I wanted to do a post about getting ready to start the super shape-up. However, as I just realized I'm volunteering for my daughter's field trip all day tomorrow, I thought I'd better do that post tonight! I want you to have enough time to prepare...because we start this baby on Thursday, May 26th!!! I'm so excited cuz I know we're gonna enjoy some *fantastic* results!

So, let's talk food!

What are you going to eat this week? I would like to encourage you to plan out your meals and make a grocery list so that you're totally ready to go when Thursday morning comes.

As an example, I'll share my week's menu (these are all the dishes I can make this week with the groceries I have on hand). . .

Breakfast Options:
lemon water
Green Radiance
grapefruit
Green Smoothie Bliss
strawberry soy yogurt smoothies

Vegetable Options:
huge salads with one of the miso dressings from Radiance 4 Life
roasted asparagus
Easy & Addictive Eggplant Chips
celery and carrot sticks
Indian Kuchumber Salad
baked broccoli
Kid's Kale
pickled beets

Lunch and Mid-afternoon Meal Options:
Baked chimichangas
8 Minute Vegan enchiladas
Carrot Lime Ginger Soup
Double Garlic Quinoa
Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies
Veggie Wraps (my happy sandwich!)
Raw Moroccan Quinoa Spinach Toss
Power Potatoes

Dinner Entree Options:
Easy Indian Mung Beans
Tomato Soup
Ful Mudhamas
Hungarian Chickpeas

Gearing up for Exercise on the 2-Week Super Shape-Up!

What do you want your exercise program to look like this week? And yes, let's think in one-week increments for now. I encourage you to get really detailed and write out exactly what you want to do.

Here's mine (I might do more, but I want to keep my basic foundation doable - I want a gold star!):

Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday: 60 minutes of cardio + 10 "mini-exercises"
Friday, Monday, and Wednesday: Strength training + 30 minutes of cardio + 10 "mini-exercises"
Sunday: Rest! :-)

I'd also like to suggest that you take a little time and visualize the following today:

1. See yourself exercising as you'd ideally like to during these 2 weeks.
2. See yourself eating and preparing food in an ideal way, as your highest self would.
3. See yourself at the end of the 2 weeks enjoying optimal results!

So, I hope you all have fun preparing and I will check in on Thursday to compare notes and see how everyone is doing. Can't wait!! xoxo

The 2-week super shape-up!!

Welcome to the 2-Week Super Shape Up!!

Thanks so much for joining in! I will be posting every day during this program, and I encourage you to follow this blog and reply to the daily posts so we can really enjoy this as a group! I usually charge for this kind of stuff, but since this is totally free, please take advantage of it and have some fun with me/us! :-)

So, first of all, I'd like to answer the basic question . . . "What does this entail?" To answer, the 2-week super shape up involves 3 simple aspects - exercise, visualization, and eating. See below for more detailed explanations.

The goal?

To get in the kick-assiest shape we possibly can in a mere 2 weeks! We'll be using aspects from my last book, The Two-Week Wellness Solution, to really be our best selves in a very short time.

So .. . are you ready to rock this thing? Let's go!!

First things First!

Please take a moment and ask yourself what you ideally wish to accomplish in these 2 weeks. Then, make a comment after this post and share it with the group. I'm going to do this too. This will help each of us stay accountable and motivated!

Part 1: Exercise For Success

Since we're all different, I can't really prescribe a set exercise routine that will be perfect for all of you. However, I can give you some basic recommendations. Of course, I'm supposed to tell you to consult a physician before starting this or any other health program. There, that's out of the way! ;-)

The exercise part of our program should have the following components:

* It should be the maximum amount that you can do (without hurting yourself of course!) but it should also be doable. Set yourself up for success, not failure.
* Try to include 2 days per week of strength training if possible. Building muscle will raise your resting metabolism and make you strong and toned. If you're not part of a gym, you can do this using your own body as resistance - push-ups, chin-ups, lunges, and strength-building yoga poses are examples of this.
* Try to include as much cardiovascular exercise as you can - preferably at least 30 minutes daily. Ideally, 60 minutes or more daily for bigger results!
* After warming up for 5 minutes, stretch your muscles before continuing with any workout.
* A self-invented (yet very effective in my experience!) trick that I plan to do is something I call "mini exercises." I do them at least 10 times daily on super shape-ups like this. Some examples are: 20 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, running up the stairs, or lunges. Basically, it's a quick, simple exercise that takes under one minute. If you do these every hour or so throughout the day, it will really help keep your metabolism up!

Part 2: Visualizing for Success!

This is an excerpt from The Two-Week Wellness Solution. I recommend doing this once each day.

Visualize being the ideal version of yourself.

The practice of visualization is hands down one of the most powerful ways to change your life. Even Albert Einstein was noted for saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” This simple quote illustrates that it’s more important to have a clear vision of what you truly want than to focus on what’s present in your life right now. Simply visualizing what you want will automatically align you with it and assist you in manifesting it with ease.

As a very basic example of this, I used to teach a meditation class in which everyone made a weekly commitment to themselves. One woman was really struggling with this as she kept “failing” the assignment she had given herself, which was to meditate for ten minutes each morning. Finally, after two weeks, I asked her to give up on her commitment to meditate. I suggested she instead commit to simply visualizing herself meditate. The next week, she returned to class with a very pleased look on her face. I asked her how her new assignment went. She replied that after only three days of visualizing, she had automatically (and effortlessly) started meditating for thirty minutes each morning! How cool is that? Additionally, visualization not only works for changing your habits—it will help you manifest a healthy, fit body as well as the life you desire. Just try it! You’ll be amazed at how powerful it is when you give it a chance.

Part 3: Eating for Success!

On this 2-week super shape-up, we will be eating according to the 2-week program from The Two-Week Wellness Solution. For those of you with my books, you probably don't need more information. For the rest of you, here's a page from my last book, explaining a typical day.

Basically, it means emphasizing "green" foods (my color-code for plant-based whole foods that are low in fat) and eating loads of vegetables! By the way, my ka-razy weekend sale is still on my website, so if you want to order my books, now's a great time since I plan to change it back to the regular price soon. Also, there are "green" and "blue" recipes on this blog, so you can check those out too!

The outline of a day on the 2-week plan:

Morning:

First thing: Lemon Water (the juice of 1/2-1 fresh lemon, mixed with water)
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons “Green Radiance” mixed with water
Next: 1-2 servings of fresh fruit (or a fruit smoothie)

Mid-morning (optional, if you’re hungry): A “green” snack (or high fiber, vegan cereal with nondairy milk)

Lunch:
First thing: Two cups of vegetables (the fresher the better)
Second thing: Any “green” foods (Don’t eat past level three on the hunger and fullness gauge*)

3 p.m. mini-meal:
First thing: Two cups of vegetables (the fresher the better)
Second thing: Any “green” foods (Don’t eat past level three on the hunger and fullness gauge*)

After the 3 p.m. mini-meal:
You will only be consuming beans and vegetables after this cutoff time. It’s also best to keep your total fat intake under two teaspoons after 3 p.m.

* Note: #3 on the "Hunger and Fullness Gaugue" means the following: You have eaten just enough to satisfy your hunger. Your taste buds and habits may entice you to eat more, but your body would feel fine without more food. You feel light, nourished, and physically satisfied.

Final Notes on the 2-Week Plan:

• One serving of a "blue" food (higher in plant fats or natural sugars) is acceptable on this plan.
• Please avoid the following items, however: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and any foods that contain animal products
• Also off limits are hydrogenated (and partially hydrogenated) oils; alcoholic beverages; soft drinks; caffeine/coffee (green tea and yerba mate are acceptable substitutes); aspartame (and other artificial sweeteners); high fructose corn syrup; cornstarch (use arrowroot instead); artificial colors or flavors; preservatives; MSG; refined white sugar; and deep-fried foods.
• Whole foods (brown rice versus white rice, for example) should be emphasized over refined foods.

So, that's it for today, friends! Please let me know what your goals are. We'll be starting this Thursday, so tune in tomorrow when we'll discuss our exercise & eating plan for the first week. Thanks so much for joining in!! Let's rock this thang!

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies

So, as promised on my facebook page, I'm sharing my new recipe for these SUPER EXCITING cookies!! This week, I'm on a raw cookie roll (not literally, but that would be fun too) and am planning several more varieties - maca crunch (kind of like a butterscotch chocolate chip cookie, but raw & healthy), cranberry almond, cinnamon raisin, and lemon poppyseed. Of course, all the keepers will be shared with you on my blog!

By the way, this recipe for Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies is from my newest book (Radiance 4 Life: The 4 Cornerstones of Ultimate Vitality) - now available!

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies

Are you ready for something ridiculously exciting? Then make up a batch of these totally delish, vitalizing, nourishing, raw cookies that only take 5 minutes to make!

▪ ½ cup each: raw almonds and raisins
▪ ¼ cup raw cashews
▪ 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
▪ 1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
▪ 2 teaspoons vanilla
▪ 1 teaspoon mint extract
▪ ⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is in fine crumbs and is very sticky. Remove 1-tablespoon bits of the mixture and form into cookies. OR...if you want the cuteness that's in the picture, you can also form these into balls and roll them in crushed cacao nibs. These will store, refrigerated in an airtight container, for several weeks.

Makes 12 cookies/GF/SF/R/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

♥ Superstars: almonds, cashews, cacao

My Favorite Green Smoothie!

So, I've always been an "only fruit in my smoothies and I'll eat my veggies separate" kind of person. But, I've seen a lot of inspiring posts on green smoothies lately, so I decided to give it a go. And, wow! I'm sold - they're totally delicious, satisfying, and pack in lots of extra veggies, which is always a great thing. The very first experiment I tried was pure gold - mango gold, that is, which is obviously the best kind! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Mango Orange Green Smoothie

2 large handfulls baby spinach (3 cups spinach), washed well and drained
2 cups mango flesh (2 mangoes), fresh or frozen
1 ripe banana, frozen
2 cups orange or mango juice

Blend all of the ingredients very well and serve immediately. Happiness!

Serves 2
GF/SF/Green (according to the guidelines in my books)

8 Minute Vegan Enchiladas!

I recently posted my recipe for 5 Minute Vegan Buffalo Bites and it got such great feedback (and multiple requests for more uber-quick, healthy recipes) that I've decided to work more super quick recipes into my blog. I want to do everything in my power, in fact, to keep all my friends and readers away from junky fast food!

The best way to do this in my opinion? Provide you with lots of recipes that are so quick and delicious that eating at home is doable every night of the week. And for those of you with my books, look for the "30 Minutes or Under" tag on the recipes if you want even more fast and healthy choices!

So, without further delay...

8 Minute Vegan Enchiladas!

These are my lastest "thing." I can't not eat them for lunch every day. And I can't get around the fact that a kombucha somehow ends up happening simultaneously as well. Some things you just have to surrender to.

* 2 corn tortillas (preferably made from sprouted corn)
* 1/2 cup beans of your choice (vegetarian refried beans, black beans, or pinto beans - I use "Perfect Pintos" from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth as I always have them on hand)
* 1/3 cup enchilada sauce (I use "Simply Organic" dry mix and combine it with organic tomato sauce & water)
* 2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese (I use Daiya cheddar)

Topping:
* 3 tablespoons each: minced onion and chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and place the corntillas (corn tortillas) inside. Cover and let the tortillas warm up slightly for about 1-2 minutes. Letting them warm up will keep them from breaking apart when you roll them.
2. Place the beans along the center of each corntilla. Roll up like a burrito and place seam-side down in the pan. Cover and cook for 3 minutes over medium-high heat.
3. While they're cooking, prepare the topping items and heat up the enchilada sauce until very hot.
4. Flip the enchiladas over and cook for another 3 minutes, covered.
5. Remove the enchiladas to a plate, top with hot enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Add the onion and cilantro and serve! Enjoy the YUM.

Serves 1
GF/SF/Green (according to the guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

Cacao-Cacao Chip Cookies (Raw and Vegan!)

These yummy cookies are the first recipe I'm sharing from my newest book, Radiance 4 Life: The 4 Cornerstones of Ultimate Vitality - now available! Hope you love, love, love em!!



Cacao-Cacao Chip Cookies

Can you imagine indulging in chocolate-chocolate chip cookies that taste delicious, only take 10 minutes to make, and completely nourish your body? Luckily, you don’t have to imagine—whip up a batch of these babies and make it a reality!

½ cup EACH: raw cashews and raw almonds
5 dried figs (heaping ½ cup figs)
2 tablespoons EACH: raisins and raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon EACH: vanilla and raw agave nectar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Add last: 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients (except for the cacao nibs). Blend until the mixture is in coarse crumbs and very sticky.

2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cacao nibs. With your hands, form into small cookies. That’s all there is to it—they’re now ready to eat! These cookies will store, refrigerated in an airtight container, for several weeks.

Makes about one dozen cookies
GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!


Superstars: Cashews, almonds, figs, cacao

5 Minute Vegan Buffalo Bites!

I was feeling mighty snacky yesterday and wanted something along the lines of the Vegan Buffalo Wings from my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse in Denver. Speaking of which, please do yourself a favor if you're ever in the Denver area and stop on by that place. Mmm mmm goodness!

However, I wanted a relatively healthy and uber-quick version of their yummy treat (they make theirs with breaded, deep fried seitan). This is what I came up with - it's a keeper in my book and I hope you enjoy it as well!

14 oz. container extra-firm tofu (use sprouted tofu if possible)
3 tablespoons non-virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup hot sauce (a basic, inexpensive cayenne hot sauce works well)
1/2 cup cornmeal or dry polenta

1. Cut the tofu into 8 slabs and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Cut the tofu into strips, then into small rectangles (about 1/2-inch x 1-inch in size).
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil.
3. Sprinkle the tamari and hot sauce evenly over the tofu.
4. Add the tofu to the skillet and sprinkle the cornmeal on top. Stir-fry immediately to coat the tofu evenly with the cornmeal.
5. Continue to stir-fry until the tofu is golden-browned on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Serve plain, with additional hot sauce, or vegan ranch dressing for dipping. Yeah baybay!!

Serves 4
GF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

Tip: For the vegan ranch, I'd suggest using Vegenaise lowfat vegan mayo as the base - I love it because it's made with flax and olive oils (And it tastes great, despite being lower in fat!). If you need a recipe, check out this one from VegWeb - OR buy my new book next month! There's a recipe in it for "Guilt-Free Ranch Dressing" that's yum!

Rawberry Star Bars!

One of my favorite ways to make guilt-free desserts is to use all raw, living food ingredients. Yet another example that nourishing foods can also be totally satisfying and delicious! These yummy bars have become a favorite in our home as they’re so fun and easy to make.
If you don’t have a star-shaped cookie cutter, you can use any shape you like (or simply cut into squares). Incidentally, these bars are one my favorite ways to get Omega-3s into my daughter’s diet with ease—kids absolutely flip for these!

Recipe from The Two-Week Wellness Solution

(Photo by Olga Vasiljeva)

• 1½ cups raw, unsalted cashews
• 2 cups strawberries (or half strawberries, half raspberries), fresh or frozen
• ½ cup each: agave nectar and coconut butter
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt

1. Place the cashews in plenty of water to cover and let soak for 8-12 hours (or overnight). Drain well in a strainer and set aside.

2. Place the cashews in a food processor and blend very well. Add all of the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Occasionally, you’ll need to scrape down the inside of the food processor with a rubber spatula during this process (while it’s off, of course!). Continue to blend until very smooth and creamy. This may take several minutes, so be patient. Remove and pour/scrape into a large lasagna-style pan (9.5 x 13.5-inches). Smooth out the top and place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until mostly firm.

3. Remove from the freezer and cut into stars using a small, star-shaped cookie cutter. If the mixture is too firm to cut, let it thaw for a few minutes first. For the excess portion, you can either shape it into a flat layer, refreeze, and cut into stars again, or simply cut it into randomly shaped chunks. Either way, delish.

4. To store, freeze in an airtight container. To serve, simply remove from the freezer and enjoy immediately (just like you would an ice cream bar).

Makes 20 servings/GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

What's in my Grocery Cart? And WHY??

I often get asked this simple question. "What do you buy at the grocery store?" Well, after a run to the health food store (and also regular grocery store) this morning, I decided it would be fun to take a few snapshots and do some 'splainin. So here goes!

So, in the above photo, we have the following specimens (clockwise from left):

1. Tiny Chocolove chocolate bar: I like these for a few reasons... They're tiny (hence, less decadent), high in cocoa content and lower in sugar (I got the 70% cocoa variety), and they're also one of the only brands that hasn't randomly started adding dairy to their previously vegan chocolate bars (Dagoba and Green and Blacks, I am talking to you!)
2. Two items for my daughter: A Clif organic fruit twist and a Sea's Gift roasted seaweed packet (she will be very happily surprised when I give her these as an after school snack today!)
3. Lacinato kale (a staple in this here house)
4. GT's guava kombucha (I would die without them)
5. Many lemons (I use them up fast so I buy big organic bags of em at the grocery store)
6. Organic broccoli (my daughter is on a huge broccoli kick and I want to support it!!)
7. Organic avocado (because they are pure love in food form and also because they jazz up a veggie wrap)
8. Manna bread (carrot raisin) - this stuff is heaven. Flourless and containing only four ingredients (sprouted wheat berries, water, raisins, and carrots) means you know it's uber healthy! Plus, it's baked at low temps to preserve vital nutrients.
9. In the center, we have some snacky deli yumminess. The new health food store in town (Old Town Market) is now carrying "Grandma Chung's" locally made goodies, including green chili tofu and kung pao tofu (I bought a little of each - they're both SO good!!). This sort of thing is very exciting in my food nerd world!

So, again, let's do this thang clockwise from left...
Grocery Scores Part Two!

1. Organic parsley and cilantro (I'm making quinoa tabouli this week)
2. A 1 lb. container of organic baby greens (I eat a lot of salads and this is the most economical way to go - plus, seeing that big daddy in the fridge makes me feel pressured to eat my greens - which is good!)
3. On top of the baby greens is some organic 5-grain tempeh. Also a staple in our house, I mainly use tempeh in stir-fries and wraps. It's incredibly immune-boosting, nourishing, and fiber-rich. Those of you with my books can also look up all kinds of yummy tempeh recipes in them!
4. Behind that, you can see some bananas ripening. Once they get a little more ripe, I will freeze them for smoothies. (and FYI, I put the "smoothie 101" from my books on my blog here, so you have no excuse to freeze bananas improperly ever again!)
5. I also scored some organic fruit for our breakfasts - grapefruit, apples, and mangoes.
6. That little container of fresh mint will go in Thai spring rolls and quinoa tabouli. It will not be forgotten.
7. Those Alvarado Street tortillas are my absolute fave! They're made with both sprouted grains and whole wheat flour - I love this, cuz they retain a soft, pliable texture while still delivering sprouted, 100% whole grain goodness.
8. Speaking of sprouted, I'm very excited that I can now buy my tofu in sprouted form! Wildwood sprouted tofu ("Sproutofu") is the bomb! And FYI, anytime you sprout something, you greatly magnify its nutritional content. It's like a nutrition explosion! Hence, my excitement over any previously mentioned sprouted products.
9. Finally, I picked up a can of organic white beans. There's a recipe for "Everyday Chicky Gravy" in my next book (due out next month - gasp!) and I'm seriously addicted to it! So, I'll be using these beans to whip up a batch.

Thanks so much for joining me! And now, I'd love to hear what YOUR favorite grocery scores are!

Orange-Spiced Baklava

Most people would never guess how easy it is to prepare a luscious tray of baklava. Do you still not believe me? Then try this delectable recipe and prepare for a yummy surprise! I’ve purposely kept the orange flavor subtle, but you may increase the orange zest if you prefer a stronger orange kick.

Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

½ lb. phyllo dough, thawed
6-8 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine

Sauce of Bliss:
½ cup each: water and agave nectar
¼ cup organic “white” sugar
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3 whole cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
½ teaspoon each: vanilla extract, minced orange zest, and fresh lemon juice
1/16 teaspoon sea salt (a dash, in other words!)

Filling:
•½ cup (2.25 oz.) walnuts
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 tablespoon organic sugar
•⅛ teaspoon sea salt

1. Place all of the sauce ingredients in a small pan, stir well, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently (uncovered) for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Once cooled, remove the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and cloves.

2. To prepare the filling: Chop the walnuts in a food processor until very coarsely ground. Alternatively, you can place them in a sealed plastic bag and smoosh them with a rolling pin or mallet. Mix with the cinnamon, sugar, and salt and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Melt the margarine. Get ready to rock.

4. Divide the ½ lb. of phyllo into two portions. Set one of the portions aside, covered with a lightly damp towel. Using a pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9-inch pan with some of the melted margarine. Place one sheet of phyllo (from the uncovered stack) on the bottom of the pan and brush it lightly with margarine. If your phyllo doesn’t fit the size of the pan, simply cut it or overlap it a bit—you can even things out as you go. Continue layering one piece of phyllo at a time, brushing each piece lightly with margarine, until you have used up the first portion of the phyllo. Top evenly with the nut mixture.

5. Uncover the second portion of the phyllo and use it up in the same manner as you did before. Keep placing single layers of phyllo on top of each other, brushing each lightly with margarine.

6. When you’ve used up the last of the phyllo, bring on the knife. You’re about to cut the phyllo into individual pieces….very carefully. Begin by cutting diagonal lines (with a 1½-inch space in between each cut) across the whole pan. If it helps, you can hold onto the top layer of phyllo with your other hand as you make your cuts all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Next, make cuts (again with a 1½-inch space in between) that are horizontal across the pan. Short story long, you want diamond-shaped baklava.

7. Next, pour about half of the sauce evenly over the top of the phyllo.

8. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until very nicely golden browned. Once the phyllo just starts to brown (after about 15 minutes), you will want to check it often, as it can burn easily.

9. Remove from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top of the baklava. This may seem like a lot of sauce, but the longer the baklava sits, the less saucy and sweet it becomes. Enjoy your gleeful feelings of accomplishment...and the insanely delicious eats.

Makes one 9 x 9-inch pan of baklava (about 15 pieces); Purple (according to the health guidelines in my books)

Raw Moroccan Quinoa Spinach Toss

This recipe has been adapted from my book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. The recipe in RHIW calls for barley, but I'm loving it with this quinoa variation! I recently demonstrated this at a local health food store, and everyone was really impressed with how delicious it was, given how healthy and easy to make it is!

Raw Moroccan Quinoa Spinach Toss

I could live on this stuff! It’s fat-free, raw, nourishing, easy to make, and tasty! If you haven’t guessed yet by now, I’m a big fan of Moroccan seasonings—sweet, tart, and savory all at once. Yum!


1 cup dry quinoa, soaked overnight, then rinsed and drained well

Sweet-Savory Sauce:
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin and minced organic orange zest
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
4 teaspoons each: fresh lemon juice and very finely minced onion
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar

Simple Salad:
½ cup raisins
1 cup (packed) baby spinach, cut into very thin ribbons or minced

Optional:
Fresh mint, minced (about 1½ tablespoons)
Sea salt to taste (even I don’t salt this one, though!)

1. If you haven’t yet soaked the quinoa, you will need to do that first.

2. Stir the sauce ingredients together in a medium sized bowl until well combined.

3. Add the quinoa, raisins, and spinach to the sauce and toss to thoroughly combine.

4. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to saturate the sauce into everything. If you do have the time to marinate this for an hour, that’s even better.

5. After the dish has finished marinating, you can add the mint and/or some salt if you like. If you have leftovers, this will keep for a few days in an airtight container, refrigerated.

Serves about 4-6
GF/SF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)

My Happy Sandwich

Those of you who have my last book, The Two-Week Wellness Solution, may be familiar with "Tess's Happy Salad." It's a savory blend of artichoke hearts, tangy garlic dressing, greens, and more. I love, love, love it because it not only fulfills most of my daily veggie requirement, but it's also delicious, lowfat, and easy to make.

So, today after my workout, I wanted something fresh, satisfying, quick, and with at least two servings of vegetables. (I'm on day four of my two-week detox plan from The Two-Week Wellness Solution and want to stay up on my veggie intake) So, the idea popped in my mind to just measure out two cups of fresh veggies, wrap them in a sprouted whole grain tortilla, and add a fun sauce of some kind.

So, first I measured out two cups of veggies . . . I included a grated carrot, sliced onions, sliced pickled beets, and baby greens.
Next, I warmed up a sprouted grain tortilla (my favorite is Alvarado Street, because they combine sprouted grains and whole wheat flour - thus, you get the benefits of sprouts while still enjoying a soft, foldable tortilla - plus they don't use any refined flour, unlike other "whole wheat" tortillas).

I made some vegan ranch dressing with one of my favorite condiments, Vegenaise reduced fat mayo. I like it because it's made with flax and olive oils, as opposed to inferior grapeseed and canola, used in their other varieties. Plus, it's obviously lower in fat, but still tastes great! Here's a very professional photo of all the veggies on my tortilla.
Finally, I rolled it all up and had me some yum. And again, this is a very professional level photograph. Please don't be jealous of my skills.


Final tip: Not a fan of ranch dressing? Here are some other ways to dress up your sammy: plain vegan mayo, dijon mustard, miso dressing, your favorite salad dressing, bbq sauce, and/or avocado/guacamole.

So, I ask you, my friends: What is *your* favorite Happy Sandwich?