Black Bean Vegetable Wrap with Chipotle Mayo

Black Bean Vegetable Wrap with Chipotle Mayo

Vegetable or buffalo chicken wrap?

Would you rather feed your kids a greasy Buffalo chicken wrap over a healthy vegetable wrap? It depends. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you probably don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t blame you. There was a time when I did the same. In fact, I loved them so much I couldn’t imagine becoming a vegan one day. Luckily, times have changed.

Living in a fast food generation

Raising two boys into young adults, who have grown up in a fast food society, I had some regrets.

I always thought – OK – if the kids behave I will reward them with a treat. And the treat was the kid’s meal at Mc Donald’s (that’s when they were really small) since they had an indoor playground where they could play after their meal.

What a mistake. I instilled junk food as a way of an incentive for my kids. I remember my kids knew all the burger joints by name before they were able to read. I know it’s my fault, I didn’t know any better then.

Eating healthy

Children live what they learn. That’s what my wife always says, and I think it comes true in many cases. I always liked to eat healthy (most of the time :)), and kids take notice of that. Kids unconsciously learn and adapt their parent’s lifestyle.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”―  Albert Einstein

For instance, my boys would say I eat trees for breakfast. That tree-like food was home-baked multigrain bread with lots of nuts and seeds or maybe a bowl of oatmeal. They rather loved the soft white bread, which I didn’t like to buy. Today, I must say they eat the same way as I do putting fibers, fruit, and vegetables first. I am very happy about that, although they are no vegans yet.

Implementing healthy dining options

I was always an advocate for eating healthy as you can tell. However, since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I have come to realize that not only chefs but cooks, servers, F&B managers, restaurateurs have an opportunity to educate our communities when it comes to the trend of eating healthy. Unfortunately, not enough hospitality professionals actually following this trend. Yes, the big restaurant corporations all have implemented healthy dining options, however, rather few meals.

Farm to table is one concept that resonates with most diners everywhere. However, not all farm to table concepts are vegan, most actually offer animal products. Obviously not every chef can be a vegan, either. Hence, most chefs have the opportunity to offer more vegan options to their menus.

“The most ethical diet just so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest.”― Dr. Michael Greger

I see it every day on my job as an executive chef, where we serve all types of guests ranging from corporate clients, locals to tourists. They are all looking for healthier dining options and are open to vegan meals, too. Which is great as this opens the door to more conversations about veganism.

The future of our health is determined by the food we choose to eat.

The Future of Our Health is Determined by the Choices We Make….

That is, in particular, true with the type of food we choose to eat. Well, some get away with eating junk food all day long and still don’t get sick. However, the growing obesity rate in the USA suggests otherwise.

We have never had so many obese children. Our healthcare cost is through the roof.  If we don’t change the way we eat we essentially program our bodies to fail, which is unsustainable for a nation. We have an opportunity to change that by simply living healthy and maybe even transition to veganism.

Veganism as a lifestyle

Many of my guests are open to hearing what it takes to be a vegan, but the possibility of never eating meat again feels too overwhelming to them. Once I explain the process of becoming a vegan, they are much more open-minded.

The most challenging period is the first few month. This is where people question your decision of becoming a vegan.

Especially if these individuals are family members; makes it especially difficult to stay on the path of veganism. Comments like “you’re restricting yourself”, “you are getting too thin” or “you are taking it to another level” is completely normal.

In these situations, it’s essential to remember why we have chosen to become a vegan. More on this in a later post.  Believe or not, veganism is likely the most sustainable lifestyle thus far.

I became vegan because I saw footage of what really goes on in the slaughterhouses and on the dairy farms. Ellen DeGenere

Regardless of what people tell me about veganism, most are incredibly supportive. In fact many of my colleagues or family members trying to adjust their eating habits. They might not transition to veganism. However, I do see that they are making an effort to eat healthier. To be honest, it’s extremely fulfilling to see people around me getting inspired to live healthier, because of my lifestyle. In the end, it will help humans, animals, and the planet.

Black bean wrap with chipotle mayo

 

 

I chose this vegetable wrap because it appeals to kids as it does to adults. Who doesn’t like a wrap?


Do you think we can have an impact on our family members and friends through our lifestyle?

How do you deal with fast food cravings?

Do you agree that chefs have an opportunity to educate our communities when it comes to healthy dining options? I would love to hear your opinion.

 

Leftovers: Broccoli Beet Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette #HealthyFridays

Leftovers: Broccoli Beet Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette #HealthyFridays

Broccoli Beet Salad

My Take on Leftovers

There are so many children in this country who go hungry to bed or to school. In the same token there is an abundance of food thrown away on daily basis. Whether it’s leftovers from last nights dinner or expired food items we never had the chance to cook. Regardless, below is my take on leftovers. By the way for all of you who have been blessed with an abundance of food consider helping out with this great organization: No Kid Hungry.

This nonprofit organization is helping to eradicate child-hunger from American Schools. Every fifth child goes hungry to school. That’s a terrible fact. Watch the video to learn more about No Kid Hungry.

Remember What Your Grandma Used To Say… 

I don’t want to bore you with my leftover food. The point I’m trying to make is leftovers can be used to make yet another good meal. My Grandmother made me eat all my food on the plate. So we never had leftovers. These days’ leftovers are being thrown out in many households. That’s sad, as my Grandmother would have said: “there are children in Africa dying for hunger and we throw out our food”.

She had a point, although I’m not fond of over-eating, just serving the right amount of food the first time. Our kids are growing up with an abundance of luxury. They have cell phones, video games, the fanciest  TV’s, cars and food galore. For them it’s absolutely normal and most of them can’t live without their gadgets. We grew up with none of these items and we were happy. This young generation is completely spoiled rotten, if I may say so. Well, I guess we as parents spoiled them in the first place, but how can we not give our kids these luxuries when all their peers have them.

Broccoli Beet Salad

The Bright Sight of Leftovers

I always try to cook something healthy for my family. But sometimes I don’t have the time and I look for an easy way out. Especially Fridays when we come home from a busy week we just want to relax and don’t think too much about cooking. On Thursday I had baked a ziti with beans for my boys and me, but had some leftovers. My wife had broccoli and red beets left from her dinner. She eats mostly vegetables with little meat or fish, but no starch. So the ziti was off limit for her.

However, the point is combining different leftover foods doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little imagination many foods can be assembled and presented in a nice way. I know it’s not restaurant quality, but at least no food is being thrown out. Again, I’m talking about home cooked food that is one day old not 3 or 4 days old. Especially store-bought meals like Chinese food must be discarded after 24 hours latest, simply because we don’t know how long the food has been kept warm or how old the food was at the time of cooking.

 

Broccoli Beet Salad

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Broccoli Beet Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad, Appetizer,
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Broccoli, cut in rosettes
  • 3 medium sized red beets
Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • Season with salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Season broccoli and red beets with salt and pepper and steam for a few minutes. Vegetables should be still slightly crunchy.
Vinaigrette:
  1. Mix vinegar, honey and slowly add oil until all ingredients are incorporated. Add all other ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour vinaigrette over broccoli and beets and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

What do you do with leftovers?

Do you mind eating leftover foods?

What do you think about “No Kids Hungry” Organization?

 

 

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A Super Food Cocktail That Makes You Look Good #HealthyFridays

A Super Food Cocktail That Makes You Look Good #HealthyFridays

Super Food Smoothie

A Super Food Cocktail That Is Addicting

Have you ever wondered if there is a healthy food that makes you feel good without a lot of calories? A healthy food concoction that you can drink several times a day? Something you would even crave on a daily basis.  It is similar to a smoothie or should I say Froothie (that’s my version of a super Food Cocktail). Which I explain in a while.

A smoothie is around for a while and I have always enjoyed them tremendously. I also used to use a juicer on a regular basis until I got tired of throwing all the good pulp away. On the other hand my experience using a blender to “juice” up vegetables and fruit didn’t always worked out, because it wasn’t smooth enough.

However, I found a machine that is able to give you the best of both; a blender and a Juicer. How can this work you might ask. To be honest I don’t really know. I’m talking about the NutriBullet. You might have heard about it. The NutriBullet is a so-called blender of its own class. Actually the inventor of the nutribullet call it the extractor, simply because the blender is so powerful, it does the same job like a juicer only to keep the pulp in the drink. I only have this machine for about 2 weeks now and don’t want to miss it one day. It comes with a complete recipe book so you never run out of ideas.

Healthy super food cocktail

The Nutribullet makes any type of smoothie in seconds. Best of all it takes not even a minute to clean it. I have about three blenders at home which I hardly use for that only reason that it takes too long to clean and they are not powerful enough to do the job. That said there is one excellent mixer out there, which I think is the king of all mixers: The Vitamix 1782 TurboBlend, 2 Speed. No other blender comes even close in performance except the Nutribullet. I have used the Vitamix on my job for many years, and it never broke once, but it cost easily three times as much as the Nutribullet. In the same token the Vitamix is much bigger, which has the advantage of making two or three smoothies at the same time. The Vitamix is also able to blend hot food like soups and sauces and comes with its own recipe book, too.

Nutribullet Versus The Vitamix – Which is better?

By the way I’m not getting paid to write about either blender, I just like both. However, I placed a link for you to take a look at both machines so you can look up the details. In the event you decide to buy the Nutri Bullet or the Vitamix  through one of my links I would earn a tiny commission, which would make me happy and you even happier. I promise 🙂 If you have any previous experience with either one I would love to hear your opinion.

The recipe for this super food cocktail is one that I have used for many months now, but can really enjoy it since I have the Nutri-bullet. Of course you can make this healthy cocktail in any blender, you might just have some small bits and pieces in it.

Super healthy smoothie

 Enjoy Your Food and Eat Slowly…

There is one fundamental reason this super food cocktail has so many health benefits for us. Because it is food that was made drinkable, so we don’t need much chewing. We humans don’t like to chew. (It’s a fact for most of us) We are always in a hurry. Although there is a reason why we should chew thoroughly – and that is a better digestion with better nutrition absorption. This super food cocktail enables a perfect digestion and since you have a variety of fruit, vegetables and grains you’ll receive a super dose of vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fats.

I make a drink like this every morning for my family. Actually I prepare it the night before. I put all ingredients in the blender cup, cover it and in the morning I just blend it. It’s surprisingly luscious, delightful as it is addicting.

For those of us who have allergies to grains, soy or lactose I recommend to just leave these ingredients out and replace them with other fruit and vegetables.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
A Super Food Cocktail #HealthyFridays
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks,
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp sunflower seeds
  • ½ tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 organic apple, quartered and seeded
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 organic carrot
  • 1 cup of organic baby spinach, kale & red Swiss chard
  • ½ cup organic blueberries
  • ½ cup of organic raspberries
  • 5 pieces of asparagus
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • ⅓ cup coconut water
  • ⅓ cup vanilla soy milk
Instructions
  1. All seeds must first be milled.
  2. Than add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Enjoy
Notes
For all non vegetarian you can add ⅓ cup of organic vanilla yogurt to this super food cocktail. However, I guess tofu would work great too just to add more protein to the shake. The organic baby greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are offered in some supermarkets. Some call it the super greens. If you can't find this mixture of lettuces than baby spinach is just fine.

 

I would love to hear your opinion?

Do you own a Nutribullet or Vitamix? Do you like it?

Do you have your own “super food cocktail” recipe? Tell me about it?

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A Lovely Ice Cream Cookie for Valentine’s Day

A Lovely Ice Cream Cookie for Valentine’s Day

Vanilla Ice Cream cookie with warm blueberries

I love the combination of blueberry, coconut and vanilla. You probably have seen this combination in my blueberry & vanilla soy milk oatmeal post. For this dessert I warmed up blueberries with cream of coconut and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream served on a cookie.  The cookie’s ingredients support this dessert with flavors of coconut,  vanilla and chocolate chips. Topped with a thin slice of banana and chocolate shavings makes this dessert a very simple yet tasty treat for any occasion.

Ice cream cookie with blueberries

A Quick Journey into the History of Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s day is upon us we honor our spouses, partners or friends. We look to buy the biggest  and reddest roses, the best chocolate money can buy and send the  biggest cards out to our loved ones. It is truly a beautiful day to spend the evening together and celebrate a lovely friend ship or marriage. But where is this tradition originated and why are we celebrating Valentine’s day?

Did you know?

To make a long story short:  According to the history books and online archives. St. Valentine who lived around A.D. 270 was a priest from the Roman Catholic church who married  young soldiers before they went to war. The only problem was that the Emperor Claudius had forbidden soldiers to get married, because he thought these men are vulnerable and don’t make strong warriors compared to single men who have nothing to lose. St. Valentine ignored  these regulations and kept on marrying  soldiers in privacy. Once the Emperor Claudius heard of that he ordered St. Valentines to be killed. In his prison cell he was alleged visited by a maid to bring him food and drink. Before his death he wrote her a letter whith the ending words “from your Valentine”.  This is almost 2000 years ago. Tell me Culinary Traditions aren’t powerful? Of course there are other theories about St. Valentine, maybe you know a different one.

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

What will it be? Chocolate, Flowers or jewelry.

According to an online survey published on about flowers; men buy flowers, candies and chocolate to show their affection to a loved one, while women use this opportunity to honor their relation ships to mothers and female friends.  Chocolate is the most bought item for Valentine’s Day, followed by flowers and jewelry.  Valentine’s Day is the second busiest Holiday after Christmas. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Jar of chocolate chip cookies

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Baked Goods
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Dough
  • 6 oz / 175 g / 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8.5 oz / 240 g / 1¼ cup butter
  • 2 tbsp cream of coconut
  • 2 egg
  • 3.5 oz / 100 g / 1¼ cup organic quick cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 12 oz / 345 g / 3 cups unbleached organic flour
  • 4.5 oz / 130 g / 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
  1. Blend butter, sugar, eggs and cream of coconut until well incorporated.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Scoop 1½ oz cookie dough onto a greased baking pan, or on a silicon mat.
  4. Flatten dough with fingers or spoon.
  5. Bake at 365 degrees Fahrenheit or 185 degrees Celsius for 7-9 minutes.
  6. Place baked cookies on rack to cool.
Notes
I used a confection oven, which speeds up cooking time. For regular ovens add about 2-3 minutes baking time.

 

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Warm Blueberries
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Warm Blueberries
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream of coconut
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 5 oz / 140 g / 1 cup organic blueberries
  • 1½ tbsp Orange liquor
Instructions
Warm Blueberries
  1. In a sauté pan melt all ingredients except berries and liquor over medium heat.
  2. Cook sugar mixture until it is reduced to half.
  3. Now add the blueberries.
  4. Once the blueberries come to a boil move pan away from fire and add the liquor.
  5. Bring blueberries one more time to a quick boil and serve immediately
Notes
Serve warm blueberries to your favorite ice creams or puddings. It also taste delicious with crepes, pancakes or French toast.

 

Cookies taste best after they have just cooled out. Although you can store them in a cookie jar and munch on them for days to come. For this dessert I served the cookies with vanilla ice cream and warm blueberries. Decorated with a slice of banana and chocolate shavings. You can create your own ice cream cookie with any type of berries and your favorite ice cream.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Lovely vanilla Ice cream cookie

 

What are your favorite cookies?

What is your favorite dessert using cookies or ice cream?

Do you like warm blueberries or do you prefer other berries?

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day?

 

 

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Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Chili Marmalade

Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Chili Marmalade

Buffalo sauce and blue cheese smothered faces. Big guys becoming kids again – so it seems. Chips are clinging to the children hands and everywhere on the carpet. The room is filled with laughter and occasional screams. Well, maybe more screams than laughter depending on who is winning. Sounds familiar?  Yes it’s Super Bowl time again. Even though the big game is upon us I didn’t feature chicken wings on my blog (this time).  Well, because everyone else does it, so I thought lets cook something out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong I love chicken wings, chips, rips and all the other goodies. To be honest I can’t wait for everyone to bring their share of food. Yes, everyone brings something for the party. It just makes it easy for all of us and my wife is happy too.

Grilled pork tenderloin, steaks,

To make it appetizing and appealing for the big guys to indulge I carved the pork tenderloin, rather than making little steaks. Served with red onion chili marmalade and it suddenly becomes popular with the female fans, too. I realized when I watch the Super Bowl my wife always joints us, even though she doesn’t watch football. That is the beauty of Super bowl. Everyone comes together, whether they are fans of football or not.

Grilled Pork tenderloin with red onion chili marmalade

I find pork tenderloin goes well with sweet – sour as well as sweet and spicy flavor combinations. That’s why I added the red onion chili marmalade to the pork. Well if you don’t like sweet or sour flavors, than you could serve it with a chipotle mayonnaise or a mild salsa.

Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Chili Marmalade
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt
Red Onion Chili Marmalade
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 slices fresh or canned pineapple, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 chilies, finely diced
  • ½ tsp rice vinegar
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
Instructions
Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin
  1. Season the whole pork tenderloin with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper
  2. Grill pork tenderloin on BBQ or grill pan.
  3. Once the pork has grill marks all around finish it in the oven for about 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius or until almost well done, yet slightly pink.
  4. Let it rest for a a few minutes and serve.
Caramelized Red Onion Chili Marmalade
  1. Melt butter in heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
  2. Add red onions and pineapple, saute until translucent.
  3. Now add honey and chilies, let all caramelize "lightly"
  4. De-glace with wine,
  5. Add rice vinegar and vegetable broth.
  6. Season with salt and rice vinegar.
  7. Cook until most liquid is evaporated and red onions resembles a marmalade.
Notes
For more flavors on the pork add aromatics like chopped rosemary, thyme and or sage. I don't really enjoy spicy foods, but my friends do, so feel free to add more chilies to the marmalade. Just wash hands after you have cut and touched the chilies, otherwise you might be in for a painful surprise, once your hands touch your eyes. So please be careful when handling chilies. Cooking pork well done. Where I come from we cook our pork slightly pink, it sort of finish cooking on the plate. Once pork tenderloin is cooked well done it becomes boring and looses most flavors.

What are you cooking for Super Bowl Day?

Do you watch the Super Bowl for the game or do you enjoy the food and friendship more?

What is your favorite Super Bowl food?

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