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    • Minestrone Lenitl Soup - Delicious

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    •  12/29/2011 12:08:34 PM

      Minestrone Lentil Soup


      2 TBS olive oil

      2 carrots, sliced

      1 celery stalk, sliced

      1 sweet onion, chopped

      1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

      4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

      1 cup of dry lentils

      1 teaspoon dried thyme

      1 tsp dried basil

      3 bay leaves

      Salt and ground black pepper

      1 medium zucchini, chopped

      6 mushrooms, sliced

      Heat the oil in a large pot.  Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 6-7 minutes.  Add the can of tomatoes, broth, lentils, bay leaves, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to medium low and allow it to simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes. Add the zucchini and the mushrooms and allow the soup to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves before serving.

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    • Stacked Enchiladas

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    •  12/21/2011 8:41:35 PM

      This yummy dish was inspired by Tanya Petrovna and her wonderful cookbook "Native Foods"


      1 TBS olive oil

      1 sweet onion, chopped

      1/2 pound of crimini mushrooms (or button mushrooms), sliced

      8 oz of firm tofu, grated (a cheese grater works great)

      1 cup of corn

      salt and pepper to taste

      12 corn tortillas

      2 cups black beans, cooked and warmed

      1 pound of sauteed spinach, warmed


      Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions for 5-6 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and tofu.  Cook for another3-4 minutes.  Add the corn and salt and pepper.

      Meanwhile, lightly brush each side of the tortillas with oil and place under broil in your oven until the tortillas are golden brown (keep an eye on them because this happens fast). Turn them over and repeat.

      To assemble, place one tortilla on a plate and top with a spoonful of black beans, spinach and enchilada sauce (see below).  Place another tortilla on top and then a scoop of the tofu/mushrooms mixture.  You can add another tortilla on top or simply add more enchilada sauce over the stack (after I took the picture above I added quite a bit of the enchilada sauce and should have taken another picture :).

      Garnish with a drizzle of Creamy Tomatillo Dressing, cilantro, green onions, or guacamole.


      Enchilada sauce

      1 28 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes

      4 cloves of garlic

      2 TBS white cooking wine

      3 TBS olive oil

      1/2 of a small onion, finely diced

      1 tsp cumin

      1 tsp ground coriander

      a pinch of cayenne pepper

      salt and pepper to taste


      Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onions and garlic for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cooking wine and seasonings.  Let it simmer for at least 20 minutes to thicken.

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    • Top 10 Veggies - by Rip Esselstyn

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    •  12/17/2011 2:07:04 PM
    • Great article this week on this week.  We love Kirs Carr and Rip Esselsytn!


      By Rip Esselstyn on December 13, 2011


      Eat Like an Olympian: Top Ten Veggie Gold Medalists




      When it comes to competing for stellar placement in your grocery cart, consider vegetables to be the equivalent of Olympians—in fact, they are the gold-medal winners. Packed with fiber, macro- and micronutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other disease-preventing & health-enhancing qualities, they taste great and make you healthy at the same time.


      1. Green leafy vegetables: Whether it’s kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, bok choy or Brussels sprouts, these powerful yet graceful vegetables are the Michael Phelps of vegetables! Cut them up, and toss ‘em in at the last minute to supercharge your soup or pasta! You can steam or stir-fry leafy greens with garlic and lemon juice or with a walnut or cashew sauce.


      2. Sweet potatoes: Hearty and satiating, father of Olympic gold medal winner, Usain Bolt, attributes his son’s speed to his favorite food: the Jamaican sweet potato. His son has set two world records in the 100 and 200-meter dashes to show for it! ‘Nuff said. Wrap them up in aluminum foil, and place in the oven or toaster oven for one hour at 400 degrees. Sweet potatoes don’t need a thing; eat ‘em naked.


      3. Beets: “Why so serious?” as the Joker would say. Anything that is blood red and can turn your stools a similar hue has every right to be deadly serious. Boil beets in water for 45 minutes or place in the toaster oven for 45-60 minutes. Immediately rinse them off in cold water, and feast your eyes on the beet as the brown outer layer flakes off and a glistening, silky red dermis reveals itself. Remember to cook up the beet greens as well!


      4. Romaine lettuce: This robust, leafy green vegetable is a nutritional monster. Use this hearty and hefty lettuce as the foundation in salads instead of nutritionally vacant and boring iceberg lettuce. As an added bonus, Romaine lettuce will keep for several days in the chiller bin of your fridge.


      5. Onions: Yeah, they may make your eyes water, but there’s nothing wrong with a few tears–even real men cry when they win a gold medal! Start any stir-fry, soup, or homemade pasta sauce with an onion. They are multi-layered and complex – just like us men.


      6. Mushrooms: Technically a fungus, mushrooms are a strange breed, indeed. They come in a variety of weird shapes, sizes, and breeds–white button, shiitake, cremini, Portobello, and oyster to name a few–and all are delicious. Used as a meat substitute in any dish, mushrooms are a (wo-)man’s best friend.


      7. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a gift from the gods. Technically fruits, tomatoes are a versatile food. You can use them in sandwiches, salads, casseroles, appetizers–like decathletes, they can be winners at almost everything.


      8. Avocados: Ditch the saturated fat-laden and artery-clogging mayo and butter, and go for the green gold. Avocados are smooth, satisfying, and satiating, and win it all, either as a tasty condiment or a hearty side.


      9. Bell Peppers: Red, gold, green, purple and orange, bell peppers make the top ten list due to their color, taste, presentation, and versatility. Whether cut up in pasta primavera sauce, stuffed, stir-fried, tossed in a salad, roasted, or even plain, bell peppers are an Engine 2 favorite and should be in every man’s quiver.


      10. Asparagus: Asparagus was prized by the Romans as the vegetable of the Gods and is still valued as such today. Oddly, half of us have a gene that makes our urine stink within minutes after eating it. Ask ten people you know, and five will know what you’re talking about. But it’s a small price to pay for a wonderful veggie that can be eaten hot, cold, in salads, with grains and always makes a special addition to any meal.

      Go for the gold!

      For more on how to optimize your health, visit

      Photo credit: Darwin Bell

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    • Are you "CONTENDING"?

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    •  12/14/2011 6:57:47 PM
    • I found this awesome article on Dr.Fuhrman's website DISEASE PROOF!  It was EXACTLY what I needed.  Just the boost I needed to get me through the holidays :)




      Okay, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty of Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge. It’s time to bring out a word that no one wants to talk about over the holidays. 


      Based on my own experiences and interacting with others, the next couple of weeks will be some of the hardest weeks of the entire year to fight through!


      Yes, “Fight.” 


      To be successful in getting one’s health back, and to remain in optimal health, it takes contending. Contending involves a struggle with opposition in order to achieve a goal. And let’s be honest, the opposition facing us to eat sweets and junk food in the next couple of weeks will be at an all-time high! 


      Platters of homemade cookies and candies will be suddenly and unexpectedly delivered to our front door by kind and thoughtful neighbors. With just the ring of a doorbell we will have multiple temptations at our fingertips. 


      The office break room will have large bowls of chocolate covered Chex mix, salted peanuts and pretzels; or lovely cheese balls surrounded by cocktail crackers and creamy spreads.



      Spouses will bring gift baskets of specialty cheeses and salami home from work.


      After all it’s December! It’s time for everyone to celebrate . . . there’s always January to mop up the messes!


      The most carefully thought-through strategies will be challenged right now, big time.   


      If we become apathetic and passive anytime in the next couple of weeks, our best intentions will get bulldozed over. All the hard work and success up to this point will go straight down the drain. It happens all the time. 


      One compromise will lead to two or three, and before one knows it the towel will be thrown in, high-nutrient foods will be replaced by disease-promoting foods, weight will be gained back, and poor health and suffering will abound once again.


      So what does contending look like?


      Yesterday three containers of a variety of Christmas cookies were delivered to our home. I was caught totally off-guard. I hadn’t planned for the sudden deposit of decadent treats. At first I ignored them. However, curiosity got the best of me, and eventually I opened the lids for a peak. Then I snuck a taste test. Instantly I knew I was in hot water and flirting with danger if I didn’t stop immediately. 

      In northeastern Indiana yesterday we had below freezing temps. The sun was hiding beneath bleak skies and the landscape had turned gray. I had a table full of clean laundry to fold and a stack of shirts to iron. BUT I knew I had to contend. I had to fight. I quickly bundled up in my winter coat, threw on some gloves, snapped on a helmet, and hopped on my bike. I pedaled into a rural, adjoining county for a twenty-mile ride. My nose dripped and my eyes watered from the bone chilling air, but I had to ride away from the temptations in order to devise a specific plan of action. 


      By the time I returned home I was fine. The fresh air had cleaned out the cobwebs in my brain and I had a practical strategy in place. (Btw, I still got the laundry folded, the shirts ironed, and I even had time to go to the grocery and stock up on my favorite vegetables and fruits for the days ahead.) 


      I struggled and contended with the sudden opposition until I achieved victory.


      That’s what it means to contend and earn great health; one victory at a time.


      The holidays provide ample opportunity for extra practice that is so necessary for a lifetime of success. Let’s all get in the habit of contending for excellent health, because it’s not a matter of if temptations will come, but when.

      If we can successfully overcome temptations during the holidays, we can be victorious anytime! 

      How about you?

      Are you contending?


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    • Gluten-free Lemon Poppy Seed cake

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    •  12/6/2011 7:24:55 PM



        As some of you know I have been trying to go gluten free and sugar free for a little while.  I was craving baked goods so badly and decided to make this recipe.  It absolutely hit the spot!  I was surprised how much my kids liked it.  I sliced the loaf and have the leftover frozen in my freezer.  That way I am only seconds away from a warm piece of lemon cake when a craving hits me :)  This recipe came straight from Leslie Crier's book.


        Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


        1 cup apple juice

        ¼ cup coconut oil, melted

        2 eggs, whisked

        ½ cup maple syrup

        1 TBS lemom zest

        ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

        1 TBS vanilla

        ¾ cup finely grounds raw almonds

        ½ cup brown rice flour

        ¼ cup poppy seeds

        1/3 cup coconut flour

        1 tsp baking soda

        ½ tsp sea salt


        Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.  Pour the batter into a greased bread pan (or a 9-inch round pan).  Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

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