Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ice Ice Baby

Well I did a little better this time- only like a month in between posts! Woo-hoo! For some reason, I felt the urge to blog tonight, about nothing particularly exciting, but just about some things I have cooked and stuff I want to cook and pregnancy updates.

Last time I wrote, I said I was drinking a lot of green smoothies and eating a lot of chocolate chip pancakes- not so much anymore on either! Heck, I don't even know what I've been eating these days, except that no one particular food has been on my mind and in my stomach daily. I did go through a phase where I was getting iced green teas without sweetener from Starbucks daily, sometimes twice a day! Around the same time, I went through a banana or pumpkin chocolate chip bread phase. I probably made 3-4 loafs of these breads within a week or two. The only thing I can tell you about my cravings and eating over the past week is that for once in my life, I am preferring savory to sweet. For instance at work the other day, I ate a bag of chips after lunch instead of going for the chocolate chip cookie that was sitting on the table- that never happens! Both were unhealthy choices, but I can't be perfect all the time, right?

In my last post, I also wrote about recipes I wanted to try. The almond flour brownies were not good- I think I took a couple bites of the brownies, left them on the counter for a day or two, and then threw them away. I'm not sure what it was, but they didn't taste good enough to be worth the calories. I have yet to find a homemade brownie recipe that rivals the boxed Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines brownies, but if you think you have one, please share!! I also did try those beet burgers- we thought they were pretty good, but I left out most of the salt so they lacked flavor. If I made them again, I'd definitely add the salt and then I think they'd be much better! I have not tried the mac and cheese recipe, but I will keep it on my list of meals I want to try. I've also had two failed attempts at making a healthier fruit crisp/crumble. I made a peach crumble a couple weeks ago, and the crumble was a little soggy. I made a pear crisp last night that just wasn't quite sweet enough despite the almost cup of brown sugar in the topping! To be fair, the filling called for a full cup of sugar, but I couldn't bear to make a dessert that contained 2 full cups of sugar, so it is my own fault. I'll just have to keep working away to make the perfect, healthy fruit crisp!

As far as recipes I want to try now, I really only have a couple recipes that have popped out at me recently, but will probably not make either! Here they are anyway though...

1) Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole- so I totally want to try this, but probably never will because Brant wouldn't eat it :( It's not vegan, but I've been a little lax in my vegan ways during my pregnancy.

2) Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls- these look amazing, but I'm totally intimidated by cinnamon rolls and really any recipe that you have to roll out dough and then shape it! Maybe one of these days I'll take on the challenge!

Pregnancy wise, I am 32 weeks and feeling pretty well overall. I'm tired every day, but honestly, I feel like I've been tired since college, so it's really nothing new. I was having a horrible time sleeping due to restless legs, but that finally seems to be getting better after increasing my iron intake (apparently anemia can cause restless leg syndrome!) Here is a recent pic from about a week ago.

 Munchkie update: she just recovered from a week of fevers and tonsillitis and is now back to her normal self. Thank goodness! I appreciate having her healthy sooooo much more after spending time with her sick- it's exhausting and stressful!

Ho hum, well I guess that's about it! OH! I should explain the title of this post though. I've been chewing on ice like crazy the past week or two! My mom says that's another sign of anemia- interesting huh? I've never chewed or crunched on ice in my entire life, but now I cannot get enough of it! We'll see how long this lasts...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Long Time, No Write, So Sorry!

Well, again, it's been an embarrassingly long time since I posted on this blog. Clearly, I'm not wired to be a full-time blogger anytime in the near future. So much has happened in the last 6 months that has partly kept me from blogging that I have not shared with you all.  For starters, I found out in early March that I was pregnant again with another baby girl- yay! Just like with Claire, the first trimester I had horrible morning sickness so my eating and cooking were all over the map (aka I ate way unhealthier than usual and was too embarrassed to post about it!)

Second, I have a milder case of ulcerative colitis and started to flare again about 8 weeks into my pregnancy. I'm always hopeful that I can get the flare under control with some extreme diet, but it always ends up being too hard. It's one thing to give up sweets and fast foods, and an entirely different thing to give up healthy items like grains, nuts, beans, and raw vegetables because it might be easier on the bowels. So anyway, a couple months ago, I decided to try the specific carbohydrate diet which is the complete opposite of my plant-based, mostly vegetarian ways! You start off the SCD diet eating chicken soup, homemade yogurt, eggs, beef patties (I didn't eat any beef), and that's pretty much it! Then you slowly add back in cooked veggies and fruits. You do not eat any grains, period! Like I said, I was only able to last a couple weeks on this diet before it became too difficult. And now I have this yogurt maker that I may never use again- whoops. I'm happy to say that after finally seeing my GI doctor again and adjusting/doubling my medications, I'm very close to being symptom-free! Thank goodness! I finally feel like I can eat how I normally would without worrying about how each and every food will affect my poop. I've got about 15 weeks left in my pregnancy (I'm due November 13th!), so I'm hoping everything will stay the way it is now.

Unfortunately, I do not have any recipes to share, but I can tell you some foods and meals that we've been enjoying and also some recipes I want to make. I've been making a lot of green smoothies for myself and Claire- it's the easiest and most delicious way to get Claire to eat her greens. I usually blend a couple handfuls of baby spinach, a banana, walnuts or other nut butter, a little almond milk, maybe a medjool date or two, and some ice all together, and we both love it! Sometimes I'll add in berries or mangoes, but the above is my basic green smoothie recipe. Today, I added in some cocoa powder and it tasted like a chocolate milkshake- you really can't taste the spinach at all! I also made some amazing chocolate chip cookies today with almond flour and replaced the oil in the recipe with a mixture of peanut butter and applesauce and they were amazing! Here is the link to the recipe I used: Let's see... I've also been making A LOT of chocolate chip pancakes... I know, I know, not the healthiest meal ever, but I did try to health-ify my recipe a little since I eat so many of them!

Ok, and recipes I want to try...

1) Almond flour brownies- these look amazing, but I'd probably substitute flax eggs for the real eggs in the recipe and also replace the oil with either applesauce or a combo of applesauce and nut butter like I did with the cookies I made today.

2)  Beet burger- I love trying different veggie burgers and I've had a beet burger at a vegan restaurant in Portland that was amazing! We'll see if this recipe is just as good....

3) Vegan Mac n' Cheeze- I've tried multiple vegan macaroni and cheese recipes, and while they've been good, I haven't found a recipe that I've absolutely adored. I recently found this recipe that doesn't look super healthy, but I want to try it anyway to see if it'll fill my mac n' cheese craving that I've been having lately.

Well folks again, I apologize for my nearly 4-month blog silence, and I hope I can post a little more frequently than that from now on, but I'm certainly not going to make any promises! ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Meals

Hi all!

I've been a bad girl and have gone WAY too long without writing. I apologize! Over the past couple weeks, I have actually created several new recipes, but I think I'd only make one or two of them again- one of which was a creamy pasta vegetable bake that Claire loved! I'll try to post that recipe soon.

I recently discovered a new blog called Straight Up Food and I've been totally inspired to simplify my meals. I've always known I don't need to make a big fancy main course every night, but I've just gotten in the habit of it and forgotten that simpler is usually healthier and quicker. My new plan is for most of our dinners to be a salad, steamed vegetables, and either a grain or starchy vegetable. And of course, I would add beans, nut sauces, and/or avocado for the protein and fat factors. Generally, Brant and I avoid using salt and oil in our cooking, and I have found that these simple meals are more enjoyable than for instance, a pad thai dish without salt and oil.

Here is what I made for dinner tonight:

The picture is a little blurry, but you get the point! So, I made a green salad with romaine lettuce, baby bok choy, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, tomato, red pepper, avocado, and fresh basil and cilantro, seasoned with no-salt seasoning from Costco and garlic powder, and dressed with a couple tbsp of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. This salad was light, fresh, and very flavorful with the fresh herbs and lemon juice- I didn't miss the salt or oil at all! I also steamed asparagus and zucchini and tossed it with a cashew cream sauce that was made from cashews, almond milk, onion powder, and no-salt seasoning all blended together (I used about 1 1/4 cups cashews, 1 cup almond milk, and onion powder and seasoning to taste). I put the asparagus and zucchini on top of some steamed and mashed red potatoes that were also mixed with a little cashew cream sauce and garlic powder. This portion of the meal was also delicious, filling, and seemingly sinful :)

 I don't think Claire was very hungry as she had a late lunch, but she did eat some of the zucchini, asparagus, potatoes, and a few chopped veggies from my salad. She also ate some banana. Nut-cream sauces are a great way to make steamed veggies more filling and tasty for little ones. The other night, Claire ate some of the peas I gave her in a pecan cream sauce, and then literally was scooping the sauce from the bowl with her hands into her mouth and tipping the bowl like a cup to drink the sauce. She LOVES nut-cream sauces!

Anyway, you'll be seeing more of these types of meals in the future, but I'll also try to post some of the more creative meals I make as well. Have a great week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy late Easter!

Happy day after Easter to all of you! I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. This year was particularly special because I got to spend Easter with my grandparents and my mom! I can't remember the last Easter that I celebrated with the grandparents, so it was fun :) Unfortunately, my dad was unable to make the trip out because of work, but that's life I suppose. Also, not all of Brant's family was able to make it to the celebration either, but all in all, it was a great day!

As most of you can guess by now, we eat very little animal products. However, this weekend, we definitely enjoyed our fill of animals and their products! For me, I tend to eat healthier overall if I do not feel extremely restricted. Granted, some of you may think avoiding animal products is extremely restrictive, but what makes the difference for me is that I happily make the choice to avoid certain foods and I don't feel deprived. What IS difficult, is when I don't want to avoid a food, but I decide to avoid it anyway for a certain health reason. For example, when I was having my bowel problems, I was avoiding grains because I have read that can help. Unfortunately, I felt extremely deprived and ended up binging after a week or two. SO, my point is that by allowing myself occasionally to have animal products when I really want them, or any food for that matter, it is much easier to happily avoid that food the rest of time.

For some reason, I could not get enough ham this year! I have never been a big ham person, but this year I loved it!! Maybe it was because we bought the ham, glazed it, cooked it, and hosted Easter, it was just that much more delicious! After the meal, I gave away as much of the ham as I could, ate a little today, and then froze the rest. I'm hoping my carnivore brother will enjoy it when he visits next :) I ate very healthily from mid-afternoon on today and feel back on a healthy eating track after my crazy food-and-fun-filled weekend. Brant and I enjoyed a nice big salad, mashed cauliflower "potatoes", a whole wheat english muffin, and some fruit for dinner tonight. I'm going to do a post soon on using cauliflower instead of potatoes for mashed potatoes. I couldn't believe how good it was! I can't take all the credit though- my dear high school friend was talking about cauliflower potatoes today so I decided to try it out tonight. I easily could have eaten the entire dish by myself but had to save some for Brant. How often do you eat an entire cauliflower in one sitting? I never have, that's for sure, but I may start soon with this recipe!

Anyway, enough about all of that. I'm going to post a few pics from Easter weekend and then hopefully in the next day or two, I'll have another food post for you! Happy Monday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chickpea-Spinach-Yam Curry

Hi all! Hope you had a great weekend! I probably won't be posting much on the weekends as that is the only time I really get with Brant. He usually gets home between 7 and 8 pm during the week, but lately it's been more like 10 pm. Crazy! He is one hard-worker and I'm very proud of him :)

Anyway, I haven't felt like cooking much lately, let alone creating new recipes, however today I forced myself to make dinner instead of ordering out. Much healthier and cheaper! At first I thought about making a veggie-licious soup, but then decided I didn't feel like chopping a bunch of vegetables. Usually when Brant and I cook together, I put him on onion and garlic duty, my least favorite, hee hee. Luckily, he doesn't mind ;) However, since Brant wasn't home yet, I decided to make a variation of Isa's chickpea spinach curry from Vegan with a Vengeance. The original recipe includes chopping onion, garlic, ginger, and toasting mustard seeds which is more than I wanted to do. Instead, I heated up a can of no-salt added diced tomatoes, a can of drained chickpeas, spinach, cooked yam, and a few spices, and voila! A delicious dinner was served! Surprisingly, Claire even liked it. I wasn't sure how she would respond to the different Indian spices, but she seemed to love it! It really is more of a sweet, spicy dish than a hot, spicy dish.

Potatoes or yams usually take a while to cook in soups or stews, so I just cooked mine in the microwave first for about 7 ish minutes on the potato setting. The yam and garam masala (spice blend of pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and coriander) add a nice sweetness to this curry. My yam was very soft so it soaked up some of the juice from the tomatoes and spinach and made the consistency thicker and heartier. I was also able to pack about 8 cups of spinach into this dish as spinach cooks down to almost nothing. I served the dish over brown rice, although, you could really serve over any grain or just eat it as is. This dish has no added oil and no added salt, but still has great flavor. I would definitely make it again! If I was feeling more energetic next time, I would probably chop up some onions, garlic, and fresh ginger and water-saute that first before adding the tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices. If I was really ambitious, I would cook my chickpeas from scratch too, but then I'd have to plan this meal either the day before or early that day so the chickpeas would have time to soak and cook. Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe!

Chickpea-Spinach-Yam Curry

-1 15-oz can diced tomatoes (I used no-salt added)
-1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
-1 medium yam or sweet potato
-8 cups baby spinach
-1 heaping tsp garam masala
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp tumeric
-1/4 tsp ginger powder
-Pinch of cayenne

Poke holes or make slits in your yam/sweet potato and then cook in microwave on the potato setting for 5-7  minutes. Peel off skin when done and then chop. Set aside.

Put tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices in pot and cook over medium heat until hot, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, a couple handfuls at a time, cover pot, and cook until spinach wilts down. Add another couple handfuls of spinach, and repeat process until all 8 cups are in the pot and cooked down. Add the cooked yam, mix well, add extra seasonings/salt/pepper to taste, and serve with brown rice or grain of your choosing! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Hi all! I'm very excited to talk to you today about juicing! According to Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, juicing green vegetables in particular, is a great way to maximize micronutrient absorption  and lessen the stress of digestion on your body. You could also get the benefit of increased micronutrient absorption by blending fruits and vegetables. However, I would much rather drink a V-8 style juice than smoothie. Juicing to ease digestion is mostly directed toward people with bowel issues or possibly other autoimmune diseases.  In the past year, I struggled with some bowel issues and looked to Dr. Furhman's inflammatory bowel disease newsletter and protocol for guidance (I would post the link but you would have to be a member of his website to read it). Through this newsletter and also the documentary, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (also on Netflix!), I learned much about the benefits of juicing. For those with bowel issues, allowing your body to rest as much as possible and consuming plenty of leafy green vegetable juices is key to recovery (according to Dr. Furhman). When your bowel is injured or diseased, it needs rest in order to heal. By juicing fruits and vegetables and eating lightly cooked vegetables, the bowel still gets the nutrients it needs to heal and does not have to spend time breaking down the fibrous fruits and vegetables.

The more obvious benefits of juicing are 1) Fresher than store-bought juice  2) Tastier, at least Brant, Munchkie, and I think so 3) Healthier. Store-bought juices are usually pasteurized and/or made from concentrate. Check out this website for information on the concentration process: Basically, the natural water that is found in fresh squeezed juice evaporates during the heating portion of the juice concentration process so all that is left is the most flavorful part. Also, additives are added to the juice so it will have a longer shelf life.

I actually got into juicing about a year ago because I wanted to juice carrots and celery to use as soup broth. Brant and I also loved creating different delicious fruit and vegetable juices. Since then, I've gone through phases where I juice every day to not juicing at all for a few months. When I was having my bowel issues, I was juicing multiple times a day and got kind of sick of it! Just recently, I have gotten back into it and love it! The juice I made today was apple, celery, and carrot- both Claire and I loved it! Two of our favorite combos are apple, pear, and grape, and also apple, lemon, and beet- it sounds weird, but it is delicious!!

We have a Jack Lalanne power juicer that we got at Costco. We've had it for over a year now and haven't had any problems. I highly recommend it! A juice recipe book comes with it too! However, you could also find juice recipes online.

Before signing out, I will leave you with a picture of Munchkie. Since I didn't get a picture of her drinking her juice, I'll post one of her reading her favorite book after dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Long Week

Sorry folks for not posting anything for over a week! I was feeling a little sick, but am starting to feel better now and ready to post something! I've been thinking about a few different topics to write about over the next week or two...juicing, Claire's favorite meal, our favorite dips and spreads, and eating lower-sodium or sodium-free meals. So that's what you have to look forward too!

I also would like to refer you to my friend Angie's blog: While I'm writing about what to eat, Angie is writing about the science behind eating a predominately plant-based diet and its benefits. Also, in my very first post, I mentioned some of the books that inspired me to change my eating habits (aka Eat to Live, The China Study, etc.). Well, there is a great documentary, Forks Over Knives, that highlights the most important findings from The China Study and also follows various people and their journey to health following a plant-based diet. It's only 96 minutes and if you have Netflix instant play, you can watch it on there! I also have a copy of the movie so if anyone in the Portland area is interested, you're welcome to borrow mine!

I'm going to relax now for the evening, but I promise to not go this long again without posting!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Munchkie's Favorite Snack

Happy Friday everyone!

I don't have any recipes to share today, but I did want to tell you about a very popular snack in our family. Drum roll please..... the Lara bar! Brant first introduced me to the Lara bar a few years ago and we've been eating them ever since. What we love about the Lara bar is 1) They are tasty 2) Very few ingredients 3) No additives or preservatives 4) Comparable in price to other energy bars 5) Large selection of yummy flavors.

I have just a small sampling of the many types of Lara bars in the picture on the left.  Currently, I have chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chip brownie, apple pie, lemon bar, cashew cookie, and cherry pie Lara bars. You can check out all the flavors at  In the picture on the right are the ingredients in the cherry pie Lara bar: dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries. And that's all!!! Now let's look at the ingredient list for the PowerBar Harvest Energy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie- I used to eat these in college before I ever cared about looking at the ingredient list in foods.


While there are certainly much worse foods you could eat than this PowerBar, there are certainly much healthier alternatives- such as the Larabar. Anything with a super long ingredient list like the above makes me cringe and generally, I avoid like the plague. Again, I'm not perfect and certainly make unhealthy choices, but in general, I prefer avoiding processed foods.

So back to Munchkie. She LOVES Lara bars! Her favorite flavor is peanut butter cookie which is made up of just peanuts and dates. She probably could eat 3 or 4 of these a day if I let her! Whenever we go to the grocery store, I either bring a Lara bar with me or buy her one to keep her occupied. Brant's favorite flavor is cherry pie and mine at this time would probably be the lemon bar flavor. Costco sells a box of 18 Lara bars that has the cherry pie, apple pie, and peanut butter cookie flavors, which is where we usually buy them. You can also get them at pretty much any grocery store- I've seen them at Fred Meyer, Trader Joe's, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Albertson's. If you could not find them in a local grocery store, you could always order them online.

Anyway, that's all for today folks. Have a wonderful St. Patty's Day weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meal/Snack/Dessert Quesadillas

Good afternoon! Munchkie and I are finally relaxing after a morning at the Portland Children's Museum. What a neat place to take little kids. Munchkie loved exploring all of the different exhibits but I think she'll enjoy the museum even more once she's older and taller! After the museum, we enjoyed a nice lunch with Brant at Cafe Yumm before heading home. And now here I am writing this post! I'm really excited about sharing these quesadilla recipes with you all.

For the past few months, I've been making many different types of quesadillas for Claire and myself, both sweet and savory. I started with hummus, mashed avocado, and non-dairy cheese quesadillas and then also mashed ripe banana and almond butter quesadillas. Claire absolutely loves these! I realized that I could potentially sneak a lot of veggies into these, so sometimes I would blend peas with her avocado and then spread that on the tortilla. Recently, I've been eating a lot of peanut butter-banana-sliced apple-agave nectar quesadillas too- they remind me of dessert crepes but much easier to make and healthier! I started thinking about all of the variations for these quesadillas and got really excited!

Before I list all of the variations, I need to talk to you about the tortillas first- this is very important! I use Ezekial Sprouted Grain tortillas. I get them at Fred Meyer in the natural food freezer section and they cost about $2.69 a pack- not bad! I've also seen them at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. What I love about these tortillas is 1) Made from sprouted grains which are easier to digest 2) Very few ingredients and no additives or preservatives. Check out this ingredient list:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now compare the ingredients in Ezekial tortillas to the ingredient list in regular Mission flour tortillas:

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron,Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate, and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Salt, and contains 2% or less of: Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid), Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite and/or Mono- and Diglycerides).

Ok, well I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have the ingredients from Ezekial tortillas in my body. Now, if you decide to try these tortillas, you may not be crazy about them at first, but trust me they grow on you, especially since they are so healthy! And like I said before, they are absolutely delicious when used for these quesadillas. So without further ado, here is my favorite quesadilla recipe so far and the variations I would like to try:

Peanut Butter-Banana Quesadillas

-1 Ezekial tortilla
-2 tbsp peanut butter (I use Adams)
-Mashed ripe banana
-Cinnamon, to taste (optional)
-Agave nectar/honey, to taste (optional)

Heat non-stick pan over medium heat. Mash your ripe banana (the riper the banana, the sweeter the quesadilla will be!) well and then spread on one half of the quesadilla. Spread your peanut butter on the other half. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey or agave if you desire. Place tortilla flat on pan and cook for a few minutes. After a few minutes, fold one side of the tortilla over. Flip to the other side after a couple minutes, and cook for a few minutes more. I like some light brown spots on my quesadilla and for the tortilla to have a little crunch to it. Cut like a quesadilla and serve!

 Like I said before, Munchkie loves these...and so does Odie, although he likes pretty much everything I make :)

Ok, and finally, the variations:

-Nutella or vegan alternative with any type of fruit- banana, strawberry, thinly sliced apple or pear, coconut
-Any nut butter such as cashew, almond, walnut, macademia nut butter, sunflower seed butter with mashed banana
-Peanut butter, mashed banana and thinly sliced apple or pear (my favorite!
-Nut butter and jam
-Hummus and mashed avocado with or without the peas blended in
-Hummus and either dairy or non-dairy cheese
-Refried beans and either dairy or non-dairy cheese
-Plain cheese, obviously

You get the picture, I could keep going, but I won't- there's lots of possibilities. Anyway, that's all for now- have a great night!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mexican Barley Salad

Hello again! I probably never again will have two posts in one day! However, this is a special occasion since it is the first day I'm sharing my blog with the world and Claire's napping:) I made this salad about a week ago and Brant and I loved it! Brant and I have a rating system for the meals I make, and Brant gave it a 9/10. I was going to have Claire try it, but it was all gone before she had a chance to! One thing I've noticed about kids- they seem to want to eat whatever their parents are eating. It is amazing all of the foods Claire will eat and seem to enjoy if she sees Brant or I eating them!

Clearly, I need to work on my photography, however, to be fair, I really did not try very hard to get a good picture of this meal. I just snapped the picture really quickly before Brant sat down to devour it. Down the road, I am thinking about taking a photography class so I can take better pictures of the recipes I make and also better pictures of Claire! I will definitely make this dish again, but I will probably tweak a few things so it is more Claire/kid-friendly. This dish was really easy to make and healthy, so I highly recommend it! So here you go!

Mexican Barley Salad

-1 can black beans
-10 baby carrots, chopped*
-1/3 of a cucumber, diced
-10 grape tomatoes, chopped
-1 cup chopped purple cabbage
-2 green onions, chopped**
-1 avocado, chopped
-Handful of cilantro, chopped
-3 cups cooked barley***
-1/2 cup mild salsa (I used Trader Joe's salsa authentica)
-1/4 cup rice vinegar
-Juice of 1 lime

Cook barley or other grain according to package directions. I rinsed my barley in a colander with cold water before I put it in the serving bowl because I knew I would be serving it soon. However, if you plan to refrigerate your salad for a few hours before serving, I wouldn't worry about rinsing the barley.

Cut up all of the veggies and put in a bowl with barley once done cooking. Whisk together salsa, vinegar, and lime. Pour over veggies and barley, mix well, and either refrigerate or serve. Enjoy!

*Next time, I'd either omit the carrots or chop them really small for Claire
**I'd also just top individual portions with the green onion so Claire would not have any in her serving
***I used barley, but any grain would be delicious such as rice or quinoa


Hello and welcome to my blog! If you're wondering about the title, "Munchkie" is my nickname for my 16-month old daughter, Claire. This blog is intended to share with the world my adventures in cooking healthy, plant-based meals for my family. It is definitely a challenge making meals that are enjoyed by both Claire and my husband, however it is a challenge that I love undertaking!

 Over the past 4 years, I have read multiple books including The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Eat to Live, Super Immunity, and Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and have been amazed and excited by the benefits of eating a mostly plant-based diet. Both authors have documented the incredible effects of diet on various disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. In many cases, some of these diseases were reversed or the disease progression slowed greatly by simply following a plant-based diet. Reading these books have changed my life and eating habits forever. Although I still have a weakness for sweets and french fries, my overall daily food choices are centered around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

My goal in writing this blog is to inspire family, friends, and strangers to add more fruits, veggies, and whole foods to their diet and to learn that eating healthy can be delicious. Ultimately, I'd love to start writing healthy cookbooks for children. I figured a blog was a good first step toward that goal :) So welcome and enjoy!