The plant based nurse

My family's excellent adventure to better health!


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A Shout out to PBNSG and MANY thanks to Engine 2!

Many months ago, I made a new friend through plant based eating and living, Paul Chatlin. We met online through one of his Plant Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG) members who found her way to my Engine 2 facebook group for my local Engine 2 friends. We have talked on the phone several times and since we “met” his group has grown to over a thousand members! Paul led a chat  on Engine 2 Extra and if you haven’t read his story about how he reversed his heart disease with the help of Dr Esselstyn, you can read it here at: http://www.pbnsg.org/our-start/.

His group really is a model for other plant based groups and I know of no other like it. He has large group events and has had Rip Esselstyn and Dr. Esselstyn come to speak in Michigan. He also has small neighborhood groups for people to meet for support and ideas.  He recently had the “culinary curator” for his web site call me to see if I would contribute some recipes for their site. I hesitantly said yes, knowing I really don’t have that many original recipes and don’t consider myself a “chef.”

I then realized that two of the 4-5 recipes they wanted could be ones I created for recipe challenges on Engine 2 extra, my Scrumptious squash with rosemary apples and Thai soup with kale, carrots and ginger. The other two are old standbys I make almost every week, chili and pasta sauce. SO, Thank you to Engine 2 and coaches Ami and Char for challenging us to be creative and use delicious, fresh, and simple ingredients to make good meals! The link to my recipes is at: http://www.pbnsg.org/recipe-collection/?tag=Jean+Hayes. Check out all the site has to offer and challenge yourself to try something you never thought you could do!

PBNSG Thai soup


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10 layer Mexican dip revisited

This week on Engine2extra.com someone was in the chat room and asked how to make a dairy free 7 layer dip that would appeal to omnivores and what could be substituted for sour cream and cheese. I remembered I had a great recipe from a former member of the site for a 10 layer dip that was outstanding. It didn’t have any substitutes for sour cream and cheese, but those could easily be added! I dug it out of my archives along with the pics Rick Slavens sent me with the super easy recipe and here it is, layers 1-10:

#1-Fat free refried beans

#2-Diced green chiles

#3- 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed

#4- Cover with salsa (he recommended La Victoria salsa supreme)

#5- White corn

#6- sliced black olives

#7- Chopped green onions

#8- Shredded romaine lettuce

#9- Fresh chunky salsa with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro

#10- chopped fresh cilantro

10 layer dip 2 10 layer dip

I am so glad Genie asked this question today as I had forgotten about this recipe and these lovely pictures and just how good this tasted!

The sour cream substitute is an easy one to solve if you want to add it as a layer or as a side for people to add on their plate. From the Forks over knives web site and chef Del Stroufe: Just put one 12 oz pkg of silken tofu in a blender or food processor and add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and blend until smooth. I have also substituted apple cider vinegar and it works just fine. I don’t even measure, I just estimate, so no need to fuss.

There really is nothing plant based that tastes just like cheese, however, we have not had cheese in so long that recently when we tried the “Real deal nacho cheez” from Kid Tested Firefighter approved’s blog, we thought it was very close! It is made with cashews, but if you’d like a lower fat version, my friend Bobby Anderson, the Plant Fueled Trucker, found cannellini beans were a great substitute for cashews and roasted red peppers work instead of pimentos. When I made the cheez, I tried to use my food processor instead of dragging out my  blender. Let’s just say, HUGE mess. I noticed Bobby uses a nutribullet which works very well for him. We served the cheez with rice and beans and guacamole. Bobby also serves it over pasta and we can’t wait to try that next!

nacho cheez

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

P.S. I wrote this blog last night but didn’t get around to posting it. In the meantime, while I worked today, my husband bought a Nutribullet to smooth out the leftover nacho cheez sauce, added it to macaroni with a can of Rotel tomatoes (disclaimer–these are high in sodium, just buy sodium free diced tomates and add green chiles) and baked it in the oven and added a big side of steamed frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Wow! What a comforting meal after a long day, now I just have to dig my heels in and finish all of my paperwork!

Mac n cheez plated mac n cheez


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Day 28, Engine 2 nationwide challenge, Lentil curry and my kitchen is back, sort of!!

It has been a wild week with the house remodel continuing. We have been able to go between the kitchen and the bedroom, making sure we walk on the wood floor only in socks. The dogs are mostly in the kitchen with their beds and food and the cat splits his time between the basement and outdoors. They are all very confused and bewildered and we are tired and will be SO happy to have the house back in order.

We did have fun yesterday looking for an enamel top kitchen table and some unmatched chairs. We found a really unique table that is perfect for my bright yellow kitchen at an antique shop only about 30 min from our home. I was so excited to be able to sit at my “new” table tonight and have a dinner I cooked! This table is so cheerful and makes me feel like it’s Spring.

New table

The dinner was easy and delicious. I found a sodium free soup mix at Wegmans from a family business in Rochester NY that was fabulous. It was just green and red lentils and a curry spice mix. I just sautéed onions, a bay leaf, and garlic in veggie broth, added a can of no salt diced tomatoes, removed the bay leaf, used my immersion blender to make the ingredients smooth, added the spices, and a little water, simmered for 30 min and then added 3 cups of veggie broth and the lentils and simmered for another 30 min. The spices were a little bitter, so I added some steamed carrots and a dash of real maple syrup and some Penzey’s maharajah curry powder and it was perfect over baby spinach and jasmine brown rice. I had two helpings and have leftovers for lunches. I’m so glad I’m enjoying lentils now since they’re so easy to prepare, tasty, and loaded with fiber and healthy plant protein!

soup mix Lentil stew

My husband liked how Gwendolyn signed the package of lentils, too! Hope everyone had a happy healthy weekend. It’s sad to see this challenge end, but I’m excited to  see what adventures will come our way this spring!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Day 21, Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, 4 hours in the car and all we got was this stepstool!

Our goal yesterday was to go to Ikea in Conshohocken PA and come home with a new butcher block island for our newly painted kitchen. My husband found the perfect one online and off we went this morning to get to the store when they opened. We finally snaked our way through the store to the kitchen section, only to find they are rolling out a whole new line of products Monday and most of the displays were blocked off with curtains. We finally found someone to help us and found out the item we chose had been discontinued. Ugh. My husband was not a happy man. We left the store with this handy step stool so I wouldn’t fall off of anymore chairs as I did on New Year’s Day trying to reach something on top of the cupboard.

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I did have some time in the car to get caught up on some reading. I have been slowly working my way through Michael Moss’ book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.”  I heard Moss speak at Plantstock two summers ago and his book is very enlightening. He shares the history of how many of the processed foods we take for granted got their start and the stories about roles food scientists and marketers have played is fascinating. Did you know there is a “bliss point” for salt and sugar, but not for fat? It is the point on the bell curve at which there is the perfect amount of salt and sugar, less and it’s not enough to hook us, more and it just tastes bad. For fat, there is no point at which its too much for our taste buds. That explains a lot!

Salt sugar fat

We also had a fabulous lunch despite our fairly useless road trip. We stopped at Whole Food Market to pick up some Engine 2 hummus, crispbread, and Rip’s Big Bowl cereal and decided to have lunch from the salad bar. I was able to find many oil free options and the food was great! I had tons of greens, including one of my favorites, swiss chard, a wonderful curry lentil dish, wheatberries with pecans and cranberries, lentils with sweet potato and a little of many other veggie dishes that added up to a very full and happy belly!

WFM lunch

I also was impressed that Whole Foods recycles and composts and of course, I enjoyed seeing the Engine 2 diet placards on the tables!

recycle

E2 placard

By the time we got home, I didn’t have as much time to get the kitchen put back together as I had hoped. I did get a little cleaning done and made some Mexican rice to have with our leftover chili and made guacamole and baked corn tortilla chips so my husband wouldn’t feel left out for Superbowl Sunday.

Superbowl supper

chips and guac

Somehow it all worked out, too. My husband did some searching when we got home and found and ordered an even better butcher block island that will fit perfectly where we want to use it and match our kitchen and our needs! Win, win!

Butcher block

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!


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Recipe for a plantstrong pizza party, Days 16 and 17, Engine 2 Nationwide challenge!

I have had some requests for the pizza sauce and whole wheat pizza crust recipes from our Engine 2 pizza party last Friday, so I thought I would share them here! First, make sure you invite some good friends over to help you eat all of the delicious food you will be making. Next, set aside a few hours if you want to make your sauce nice and thick. You can go about your day, and just check on it periodically and get your crust rising while it simmers.

Jean’s Pizza Sauce (just a guideline, adjust the ingredients to your taste buds!)

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

A few large cloves of garlic, chopped

Crushed red pepper, a few shakes, or less if you don’t like spicy sauce

2-3 carrots, washed and chopped

28 oz can of low sodium crushed tomatoes

1 container of Pomi no salt added tomatoes (26.5 oz) or 2- 15 oz cans of no salt added diced tomatoes

1/2 of a 6 oz can of tomato paste

A few tablespoons of oregano

A couple of tablespoons of dried basil or fresh basil

Heat up your pan (I use a nonstick stock pot) and add the onions, garlic, and carrots, and sauté until soft. If they start to stick, add a little water or veggie broth. Next, add the oregano, red pepper and dried basil. If using fresh basil, add it just in the last few min of simmering your sauce so it stays fresh tasting. Next, add the tomato paste and heat it up and incorporate the spices. Add the crushed and chopped or diced tomatoes. Stir and let it simmer on low after you get it bubbling. After an hour or two, blend it with an immersion blender to make  it smooth. If you  don’t have one, then grate the carrots before you add them to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer a total of about 4 hours so it cooks down and thickens. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs. In the summer, we also add zucchini to the sauce. The onion and carrot will help sweeten the sauce so you  don’t need any sugar.

Pizza sauce

You can make your pizza party simpler by using pizza sauce from a jar if you  need to save time. It is  difficult to find  oil free sauce but not impossible. Classico fire roasted pizza sauce is the only one I have found locally that is oil free, but I doubt it is low sodium. Chime in if you have found one!

Scott’s whole wheat pizza crust:

2 cups warm water,105-115 degrees

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon yeast

1 lb , 9 oz whole wheat flour

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

1 tablespoon salt (I use about 1/2)

1 tablespoon applesauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

Mix the molasses into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and give it a few minutes to form a sponge. In the meantime, weigh out the flour. Add about half of it to the sponge along with the vital wheat gluten, then add the salt and the oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon gradually adding the rest of the flour.

Transfer the dough to a Kitchen-Aid or other upright stand mixer and mix, using the dough hook, on the lowest speed to combine the ingredients, adding more flour a little at a time if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. After a minute or 2, increase the mixer speed to 2 and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl, divide it into two, cover it with flour, place it on a cutting board, cover it with a plastic bag and let it rise for about 45 min or until doubled in size.

Stretch the dough onto a 14″ round pizza pan sprinkled with corn meal. I like to turn it upside down and slowly remove it from the pan and bake it for 450 degrees for about 6 minutes. I found a new toy recently that helped me stretch the dough. It’s a small wooden pizza dough roller I found at the grocery store and it’s my new favorite kitchen tool!

Top your pizza with whatever you like–  tomato sauce cashew cheez, hummus, fresh veggies, olives, spinach…the possibilities are endless!

Put the pizza back on the stone or back into the oven on the pan with your toppings and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 min or until it’s as crsip as you like.

If the making your own dough is too cumbersome or time consuming for you, you can purchase oil free crusts, although they are somewhat difficult to find. Ann Esselstyn recommends Sami’s bakery crusts, but I found the shipping cost to be a little high. They make a millet and flax crust that looks tasty. You can also use oil free pita or oil free tortillas. I like Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas.

Let your imagination be your guide, serve your pizza with a big salad and some fresh fruit, or have a salad pizza, and top your pizza with all of your salad fixings!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

pizza dough rising

pizza roller

spinach pizza 

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E2 pizza 16

 


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Engine 2 nationwide 28 day challenge, days 11-15, Tear it down and build it back up!

It has been a little crazy around the Hayes house the last few days. We’re still in the midst of tearing down damaged parts of our home and putting them back together better than before. Well, we’re not exactly doing it. Some qualified professionals are since anything we do ourselves usually has to be redone later!

Tear it down 4

Tear it down 5

All this craziness has made me think about how when we began our plant based journey to change our diet and improve our health, we had to do the same thing— tear down and discard all of our old ideas about what healthy eating is and build new ones along  with gathering a new arsenal of foods and recipes to begin building up our health!

I feel so happy and honored that I have been able to make so many new friends in the course of our journey and we got together with many of them this past Friday evening to enjoy plant strong pizza. We were 18 strong and we had folks of all ages, from age 2-60+. The wonderful thing about this lifestyle is that it is never too early or too late to begin learning about preventing and reversing disease through plant based eating.

My niece Amanda came with her 2 boys and her oldest often asks her why people eat junk food! Their favorite food is salad and they love bean burritos. I am so proud of her for involving them in preparing their food and getting the off to a great start.

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We also have some members who are retirement age and it’s exciting to see  them come  to our gatherings with open minds to hear new ideas and  experience new foods. A plant based acquaintance on engine2extra told me a story about her father last summer. He came to plant-based eating in his late 80’s and was feeling so great after his first month, that he e-mailed all of his friends  to share his  good news. One of them replied back that it was too late for him to change and for the diet to do any good at his age. He became furious and held  fast to his  stance that he knew he was doing the right thing and that he would continue to have wonderful benefits.

That is my wish for our new Engine 2 friends, that they will experience such wonderful benefits in these 28 days  that they  will not be deterred or discouraged from this path!

Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!

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E2 pizza10


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Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, day 9, Artichoke paella!

Still very tired today and a little anxious with the construction going on here at the Hayes house. They are ahead of schedule and doing a great job, but it is change. I like to think that I love change, but when it comes, I soon realize I don’t always embrace it well. So, I wanted to keep it simple in the kitchen tonight. I remembered I had some artichokes canned in water and that we loved the artichoke paella in Dr. John McDougall’s book, “The Starch Solution.” It doesn’t require much chopping or fussing and our old hand hammered wok does a great job with these one pot meals. The only thing I changed when I made this recipe is that I cooked the rice fully and then added it at the end. I should have reduced the veggie broth in the dish since I cooked the rice separately, but it really did no harm. This way of cooking is SO forgiving. If you mess up, it will still taste good and be good for you because you’re using good ingredients! You could save even more time with this recipe if necessary by using frozen chopped peppers and onions and canned no added salt diced tomatoes. So, keep it simple and you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen. Here is our paella and the recipe from Dr. McDougall’s Sept 2006 newsletter.

Remember to Have fun with your food and Enjoy!

Paella ingredients paella in wok artichoke paella

Paella    from Dr. John McDougall, at https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2006nl/sept/recipes.htm

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  8

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups boiling water
2 ⅓ cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup julienned green bell pepper
¾ cup julienned red bell pepper
1  10 ounce package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of saffron threads
1 15 ounce can water packed artichoke hearts, drained, sliced in half
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Place the rice and boiling water in a bowl.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes, while preparing the remaining ingredients.  Drain off water and set aside.

Heat the vegetable broth to boiling. Place ⅓ cup of the vegetable broth in a large slope-sided sauté pan (or use a wok). Add onion and garlic.  Cook and stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes until onion softens slightly.  Add peppers, lima beans and tomatoes.  Cook and stir for another 3 minutes.  Add the remaining hot vegetable broth and the drained rice.  Stir in the oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and saffron threads.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat , cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Add artichokes and peas.  Mix well, remove from heat, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


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Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, day 7, International cook off!

Last evening we had our first meet up for the Engine 2 Nationwide challenge and I may have gone a little crazy, but I think all in all it was a successful evening. At the suggestion of one of our new members, we had an international theme. We had Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisine and also had some sugar free desserts. I chose some easy recipes and then made an ingredient list and people signed up to bring them. I gave the teams the recipes and they took off and did a great job! I also made the dough for soft pretzels from The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook and let it rise prior to the meeting. Our two youngest guests, Alex and Alizah formed the pretzels, and then boiled and baked them and made  Dijon dipping sauce. They were outstanding!

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EngineNight_1-18-15 (17)My friend Kelley and I worked on the Chana masala for the Indian portion of the meal and Kim, Susan and Brittany made the aloo tiki patties. I think Christine was on this team, too! I was a little overwhelmed and she took all of these great photos, so she’s not in them. We’ll make sure to snap her next time! These dishes are a normal part of our diet and we love Indian spices, but may have been a little too much for our new folks. I need to remember to ease people into some of the more exotic flavors. They were not part of our repertoire before we started eating this way either. If you have not tried aloo tiki and you love potatoes, you have to try this Northern Indian street food. Check out the recipe at Indian as Apple pie. Just use veggie broth or water instead of oil  bake them at 400 degrees on silicone mats or parchment paper for about 10 min on each side. They were a hit and no leftovers from the two trays that were made!

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Next up was the Middle Eastern crew who made hummus and Quinoa tabbouleh, both from The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook. They added a raw red bell pepper to the hummus which was wonderful and my friend Gail T. made a tray of raw veggies to dip in the hummus and my husband made home made oil free whole wheat pita at home before the event, too. The quinoa tabbouleh was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The fresh parsley really made it sing and reminded me of summer. It was a little overpowering to some, but I’m finding the stronger the flavors for me, the better. Thanks to Virginia, Gail D., and Nicole for manning this station!

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The Asian cooking crew with Christine, Kristina, Susan, Brittany and Kim cooked up a storm! They made Thai noodle soup before they made the aloo tiki patties. I used Happy Herbivore’s Thai noodle soup as my inspiration and adapted it and quadrupled the recipe. It is SO good, but again, may have been too spicy for some of our folks.

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Michele came with avocados, a sharp knife and a burning desire to make guacamole, which was delicious!

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Our dessert crew with Marlene, Gloria, and Edie made Anne’s pumpkin muffins from “My Beef with Meat,” and decided we didn’t even need the maple syrup and they were sweet enough with the bananas and applesauce! And, we forgot to take a picture of the finished product! They also chopped some bananas and added them to some blueberries Kristina picked this summer and thawed for us!

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My husband, Scott also did a veggie sushi demonstration for us and his sushi is always a hit!

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Finally, we had a giveaway of Engine 2 loot for the person who posted something on our Facebook page every day this past week and Kristina was our rockstar! She posted recipes, pics of her food, and what she did for fitness and I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and hard work diving right into the Engine 2 plan!

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Remember to Have fun with your food and enjoy!

 

 


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Engine 2 Nationwide challenge, Day 5, A practice becomes a habit, and then a transformative lifestyle!

As I made dinner tonight, it occurred to me that we have now been practicing our “new” plant based lifestyle for long enough that we have settled on some favorite meals and snacks that have now become “old standbys.” I never would have imagined two years ago when we set out to change our diet that we would get so used to this way of life that we would settle in and find new comfort foods.

I was so convinced when we started on this plant based adventure that this was the best way to eat and transform our health that I hoped it would become a new way of life, but I tend not to be disciplined with maintaining lifestyle changes. The only way I can explain our persistence in this venture is that this way of eating is self reinforcing. We started out practicing it by learning how to cook all over again and the food was so delicious that we made plant based eating a habit. It was not a habit that was painful, wearisome, or forced, but one I joyfully embraced.

Now as we not only enjoy our delicious food, but the physical and emotional benefits of eating a diet full of nutrients and antioxidants, I smile inside whenever I make a meal that we love that I can make without pulling out a recipe that will fill our bellies and comfort our souls. If you are on this journey, find foods that make your soul sing and in time, you too will be transformed!

Have fun with your food and enjoy!

Rice and beans day 5


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Engine 2 nationwide challenge, day 4, “I’m going to eat a ton of these potatoes, because I can!” -The Plant Based Husband

I was really tired tonight, and didn’t want to eat out since we just ate out yesterday. I stood in the kitchen and grabbed things out of the cupboard trying to come up with some kind of concoction. I wanted to make rice and beans, but I only had chickpeas and cannellini beans. So I gave up and left my fire roasted diced tomatoes, beans, and BBQ sauce on the counter and sat down to finish some work and watch you tube videos. I happened to be watching Potato Strong’s channel and I thought, BAKED FRIES, one of the easiest and most delicious meals on the planet! I was also dying to try the BBQ sauce we bought on our field trips to Whole Foods Market on our way home from Philadelphia the other day, so I crumbled up some tempeh and poured some Bone Suckin’ Sauce on top to heat it up to have on the side.

Next I sliced some Yukon gold potatoes and a sweet potato into wedges, no peeling required, topped them with extra spicy and Southwestern Mrs Dash, garlic powder, and onion powder, and sliced a yellow and green pepper and an onion and threw them around the potatoes on the silicone baking mat. The fries baked at 450 degrees for 30 min with no turning or fussing and while they were baking, I put a couple of handfuls of prewashed chopped kale in a pan with veggie broth and lemon zest and put some fresh broccoli in a pot to steam.

Potato fries going into the oven

Potato fries going into the oven

My husband came home to the aroma of potatoes baking in the oven and was excited and said, “I’m going to eat tons of these because I can!” He proceeded to tell me how he loves it when we eat a ton of potatoes and then laugh about how much we can eat. Yes, this is a romantic moment in the Hayes house, a couple of plant based nerds having fun eating potatoes and  laughing about how much we eat!

Have fun with your food and enjoy!

Engine 2 day 4