Favorite Packaged Sauces Part 1

Got your veggies? Got your protein? Are you about to cook with the same seasonings you added last week? Here are just two of my favorite packaged sauces you can find at your local grocery store.

 Favorite Sauces Part 1

I love these two sauces by Saffron Road.  I just lightly stir fry my vegetables (onions, green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, snap peas, and asparagus),  and add the sauce.  I find the Lemongrass sauce to be a little lighter on flavor and not as much sauce in proportion to the vegetables as the Tikka Masala, so I add a little vegetable stock, Thai basil and Thai Keffir Lime Leaves to give it a bit more flavor and depth.  The Tikka Masala sauce is fantastic as is and requires no additional seasonings.  Enjoy!

Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce with Vegetables

 Lemongrass Veggies and Tofu

Served with Roasted Tofu

Lemongrass Veggies and Tofu 2

Tikka Masala Sauce with Veggies

Tikka Masala Veggies

Tikka Masala Sauce Veggies with Lentil Brown Rice and Tofu

Tikka Masala Veggies with Tofu

Feed the wellness in you!

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

We survived the Blizzard of 2016!  I’m always ok for welcoming one storm during the winter so hopefully this is where it ends.  Although I prepared to be snowed in a few days I grew tired of the food items I had on hand by day 4.  I needed the ‘curfew’ to be lifted so I can get to the grocery store and be creative.

I often look for recipes that inspire me and luckily I found a winner  Not only did it inspire me but I followed it pretty much word for word in creating it except for two ingredients and some minor changes in the cooking process. This is rare for me. When I say that recipes ‘inspire’ me it is just to give me an idea about creating something from scratch.  Not this time!   I saw the picture of the prepared dish and thought that it looked good, but when I went down the list of ingredients – brown rice, shredded carrots, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas and tofu – I knew it was worth a try.  The only main ingredient I changed was used shredded red cabbage instead of spinach and I’m glad I did.  Not only does it give it more color but it adds to the texture and flavor of the dish.  I think the spinach would be bland and tone the dish down too much.   For the peanut sauce the author used light soy sauce with sesame oil, chili garlic and peanut butter.  I substituted the soy sauce with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and didn’t use any sesame oil.  This sauce is delicious!  Sweet and spicy with a hint of peanut, I can see using this in various ways.

Do yourself a favor and make this REALLY soon!

Feed the wellness in you!

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3


  • Tofu Bowl
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl sesame oil
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned)
  • salt/pepper
  • 16 oz extra firm cubed tofu, pressed and drained
  • Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cube tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. If you aren't using a non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray. Remove from oven and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter) until creamy and smooth. Add ½ of the sauce to the tofu bowl and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Toss the broccoli with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until just tender.
  4. Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, in batches, along with the marinating sauce until crispy and golden browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. To assemble, divide the brown rice among 4 bowls, top each bowl with ¼ cup shredded carrots, ½ cup red cabbage, ¼th broccoli, ¼ cup garbanzo beans and a few pieces of tofu. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce.


Recipe adapted from Alex Caspero - http://delishknowledge.com/peanut-tofu-buddha-bowl/



Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Another week and we’re still waking up to below freezing weather in the North East. It IS winter so we can’t say we didn’t know it was coming, along with the potential snow. Now we are preparing for a blizzard that may dump 18″-20″ of snow – are you ready? (Question is not directed to you folks in Florida, California, the Caribbean, Australia, etc., that are rubbing the warmth in our faces right now!)  I made another pot of soup to have on hand for lunch or dinner while we wait for the possibility of being ‘snowed in’ and the clean up that can take days!

Like my other soups this is chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Lest not forget, my soups are always easy to prepare to minimize the impact on time and eliminate the excuses for preparing something healthy.  I always keep my soup base of vegetable stock and fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry, in addition to having lots of beans since this is my main source of protein.  These basics are also inexpensive so stock up.

I paired this with a grilled cheese sandwich made with Ezekiel Bread, 2% cheese and Campari tomatoes.  You still have time to get to the grocery store before the storm hits.  Ready, set, go!

Feed the wellness in you!

Black Eyed Peas and Barley Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 6-8


  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup of Pearled Barley
  • 2 lbs of Black Eyed Peas (or you can use 2 - 15 oz cans of Black Eyed Peas)
  • 6-8 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Put all ingredients except for the spinach in a large pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil then turn to low for 45 minutes.
  3. Stir only a few times as the black eyed peas easily break up when they are cooked.
  4. Add the spinach and continue on low for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir when wilted to incorporate throughout the soup.
  6. Remove from heat and serve.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Another frigid week and another big pot of soup was made! This has all simple, easy to find ingredients that blend well together for a hearty meal.

Very much like my Three Bean Vegan Soup, despite the name there is so much more in this soup.  Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup ingredientsAlongside the Butternut Squash and Lentils and kale (I know everyone is saying that kale is so ‘2015’ but I still love it!), there are black beans and cannellini beans.

This is another soup that packs in the protein, vitamin c, iron and lots of vitamin a from the butternut squash.  Make some warm cornbread to go along with it and you have a satisfied mind, (warm) body and soul.

Feed the wellness in you!

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup


  • 9 cups of vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon is preferred)
  • 1/2 lb Chopped Kale
  • 1 lb of diced Butternut Squash
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans
  • 1 - 15 oz can of Black Beans Beans
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Bring your stock to a boil and add the kale. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the butternut squash and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool to desired temperature and serve.

Frozen and Prepared Favorites Part 2

Last month I shared a few favorite frozen and prepared foods that help me when I’m pressed for time to prepare a meal.  Here are more favorites that I recommend you keep in mind when you are rushing to the grocery store and want something quick to prepare. Stick to a single serving (although it’s tough!), add a vegetable or salad as a side dish and you’ll have a great meal.

Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Pie

Spinach and Kale Pie

This has all the robust flavor and flaky texture of traditional Spanikopita.  If you’re a fan of that Greek dish you would love this.  Neither one of the greens overpowers the other and they did a great job at blending them so you don’t get the toughness of the kale.  Very well done.

Trader Giotto’s Kale, Sweet Potato and Butternut Pizza

Kale, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash PizzaTrader ‘Giotto’s’ is the Italian product line at Trader Joe’s.  Looks can be deceiving but not in the case of this frozen gem.  Not only is it a very unique combination of ingredients but it tastes like it is freshly made out of a brick oven.  The crust is perfect; great flavor and slightly crisp. The use of pureed sweet potato in place of a traditional sauce is amazing.

Trader Giotto’s Organic Pesto Pizza with Tomatoes and Broccoli

Organic Pesto Pizza with tomatoes and broccoliAnother slam dunk for a great frozen pizza!  Again, the crust is perfect and it is bursting with just the right amount of pesto flavor.  Simply done with tomatoes and broccoli, this is another one to have ‘on call’ at home!

LaPasta Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli

This is a Costco product and is made in my local area according to the package so I’m not certain whether you can get this at all Costco’s.Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli  However, I’m hopeful that Costco wouldn’t deny others of this wonderful pasta.  This cooks in 3 minutes and is such a wonderful blend of simple flavors.  The description states that the pumpkin is sweet and it really is.  It tastes more like butternut squash than it does pumpkin.  I top with a tomato sauce but I’m sure it’s great with light olive oil and garlic also.

Feed the wellness in you!














My Frozen and Prepared Favorites Part 1

I believe in eating ‘whole foods’ all the time, but it is helpful to have some ‘go to’ items that are healthy and can be prepared within minutes. Here are just a few of my favorites:

This Organic Spinach and Cheese Ravioli can be found at Costco. I usually top with a little marinara (note:  my favorite brand is Rao’s).  The Ricotta and Spinach filled Ravioli is from Trader Joe’s.  Both low in calories per serving and delicious.  Add a salad on the side and you have a great meal.



These already washed and chopped salads are fantastic!  The combination of veggies and toppings in each are wonderful compliments but I forego the toppings and dressing and use balsamic vinegar.  Both can be found at Costco.










Trader Joe’s has a wonderful variety of cuisines in their frozen section.  As a person that cooks and is discerning when it comes to flavor, they nail it for me in these dishes.  They taste like home cooked meals and I love that they are bold with their combinations.


I cook channa (chick peas) often so it’s a big deal for me to even give a frozen version a chance.  This does not disappoint and helps in a pinch at only 180 calories per cup with lots of protein and fiber.


Let me spell this out for you – white and red quinoa, sweet potato, and zucchini wonderfully seasoned and a little spice.  At only 220 calories per cup it is also packed with protein and fiber.




I’m not even a big risotto fan but I like this combination.  Plus one cup is only 160 calories without missing the flavor.  This is a winner.

Feed the wellness in you!


Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps


Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

When I say simple I really mean SIMPLE! No ‘haute cuisine’ here.  In my quest to incorporate more protein daily in my vegetarian lifestyle I came up with a simple and easy lettuce wrap. It doesn’t have many ingredients nor take a long time to prepare. What’s great about this is you can substitute whatever veggies and protein you may like. This version has broccoli, quinoa, edamame, shitake mushrooms and roasted tofu — but the possibilities are endless.  Talk about a  protein packed dish – all of these ingredients provide a good portion of protein in addition to other vitamins and minerals like iron, fiber and vitamin C.  Another bonus is that you can find most of these items prepared and/or chopped which adds to easy preparation. Tips on preparing roasted tofu can be found in my recipe Curry Tofu and Chickpeas if you cannot find any at your local grocer or salad bar.

Try it as a snack, appetizer or lunch option.

Feed the wellness in you!

Simple Veggie Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Most grocery stores sell fresh broccoli crowns, shitake mushrooms, and edamame already chopped. At some salad bars you may find cooked quinoa and roasted tofu. This will eliminate most of your prep time.


  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli crowns
  • 1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 cup roasted tofu
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce


  1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, sautee the broccoli crowns in 1 tbl of extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the shitake mushrooms, edamame, tofu and sautee another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the quinoa, soy sauce
  5. Cook on simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the sweet chili sauce on top.
  7. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Add a few spoonfuls of the veggies on top of two large leaves of romaine lettuce and roll/wrap over the veggie mix to eat.

Foot Loose and Fancy-Free

I have no recipe this week!  Last week I was on vacation and school started on Monday for my dynamic duo so it’s a little hectic.  There’s not a lot of creativity going on in the kitchen. However, I thought it would be valuable to share some of the meals I had while on vacation. I know many of us struggle on vacation to stick to healthy dining options. You have to be disciplined and vacation is supposed to be fun, foot loose and fancy-free, right?  (I’m married so foot loose and fancy-free in this sense means one does as they please as it pertains to food;-)  Well 5 lbs later when you get home you feel the ‘weight’ in many ways – there’s guilt, it’s hard to get back on track, and you realize that number on the scale is not incorrect and you’ve got to do something about it.  When I am away from my regular routine I choose restaurants that have menus that can cater to a healthy diet.  Let me also state that I’m not knocking ANYONE for enjoying food the way they want to.  Since a healthy lifestyle should be a lifetime commitment, this is just my way of demonstrating how I’ve been able to enjoy myself with my vegetarian lifestyle while on vacation.  Here are just a few of the dishes I had and thoroughly enjoyed.

Huevos Rancheros – I used the omelet station at our hotel to order scrambled egg whites and omelets, but I also had this delicious dish. I ordered it with egg whites, light on the cheese and no sour cream. huevos rancheros.jpg

Veggie burger with side salad – I don’t eat just any veggie burger; I always ask if they are house made and what the ingredients are.  This burger was made from beets, black beans, brown rice and other grains. It was great and very tasty.  I am a sucker for hand cut fries so I don’t deny myself certain pleasures in life but the fries that accompanied this were frozen so why bother.  I’d rather have an extra glass of wine instead.

veggie burger.jpg

Harvest Saladthis was a yummy blend of beets, grapefruit, white asparagus, farro, goat cheese, mixed greens, kale, and white balsamic dressing on the side.  One day I asked to add avocado because it was on the menu in another dish.  If the ingredient is found elsewhere and it’s something you want, just ask for it! harvest salad.jpg

Pasta – Pasta is always flexible and versatile if looking for a healthy food option.  Restaurant portions tend to be large so just half it, stick with a tomato based sauces and use cheese in moderation. We dined at two different Italian restaurants and at both I asked for a pasta with a tomato sauce and whatever green vegetables they had.  The first restaurant kept it fairly basic yet delicious with a Penne Arriabbata and spinach; the second restaurant gave me fresh cavatelli with chard and spinach in a tomato sauce.  (not pictured) Perfetto!

penne ariabbata with spinach.jpg

Asian Food – There are always great vegetarian options at Asian restaurants and where we were vacationing had several Thai and Japanese restaurants that had something for everyone in my family.

Pad See-ew Noodles is a Thai dish pictured below.  If you’ve never had this before it is a flat rice noodle served with broccoli, a sweet brown sauce and your choice of protein.  It is delicious.

pad see-ew

 At a Japanese restaurant I had Buddha’s Delight which is sautéed vegetables with garlic brown sauce with the protein of your choice.   It is pictured below served with tofu (lightly fried) over brown rice.


 Are you hungry now?  I am!  Going to the kitchen now that I’m inspired by recalling all these wonderful dishes!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg

Despite my love for cooking I do not enjoy being in the kitchen in the summer. I love the warm weather but I don’t like going from the heat outside to a hot stovetop.  So right now I am doing my best to prepare meals in as little time as possible.  I got a lot of mileage from my mini frittatas last week and was able to enjoy them over a few days so I thought it would be helpful to create another dish that would provide me with the same benefit.  A dish with a few ingredients, minimal preparation with protein and vegetables that I could have for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

The combination of the quinoa with egg whites was seamless and of course a great source of protein.  The texture was great and the simple flavors of it paired with spinach and reduced fat feta was perfect. Opt for reduced-fat feta cheese to lower your intake of saturated fat by about one-third. Use just a small amount of feta cheese. Because it has such a strong flavor, it only takes a tiny bit to get the flavor of the cheese. What really tops this quiche off, literally, are the Campari tomatoes.  The Campari has a great taste, firm skin, and sweet flavor.  slice of quinoa and spinach quiche.jpg I served it with roasted broccoli and a salad for dinner, then just on its own for breakfast the next day.  Enjoy!

Feed the wellness in you!

Quinoa and Spinach Quiche

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 quiche pie


  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions
  • Vegetable broth or boullion
  • 4 oz baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup of crumbled reduced fat feta
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 Campari tomatoes
  • 16 oz egg whites
  • 9 inch pie crust (I used an organic whole wheat crust found at Whole Foods)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook 1/2c quinoa with 1/4 cup of green onions in 1 cup of vegetable broth or water with a vegetable boullion.
  3. Follow the package cooking directions which could vary between 20-30 minutes.
  4. When cooked measure 1.5 cups of quinoa and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool
  5. Saute the baby spinach in olive oil for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the spinach to the large mixing bowl and let cool.
  7. Add the egg whites and feta cheese, mix well.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Pour into the 9 inch pie shell.
  10. Slice the tomatoes and place on top.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
  12. Remove and lets cool to a medium heat before cutting and serving.


Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas


mini egg white frittata.jpg

I was away on vacation for the past week and I didn’t post a recipe despite having a few to share. I convinced myself to truly disconnect, enjoy my surroundings and was so glad that I did. Prior to vacation my girlfriend and I co-hosted a Father’s Day brunch for the second year in a row.  It was fun for us to bring our family and friends together again, and our cooking styles are a good match.  I prepare all the vegetarian friendly dishes and she prepares all of the meat and fish which included fried chicken, baked rockfish, snapper and lamb sausages.  There was something for everyone.

I made a baked French toast with croissants – very similar to the Paula Deen recipe made with French bread if you’ve ever tried that. I also made a large chopped salad that I  posted a recipe for a few weeks ago, and lastly I prepared two different mini frittatas – one made with whole eggs, and one with egg whites.

For my egg white frittatas I used spinach, shitake mushrooms, red onions, roasted peppers, feta cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Lots of flavor with just a few ingredients.  I made them in a muffin tin which makes it easy to prepare and store.  The leftovers can be frozen in sandwich bags and used later as needed.  What I love about these frittatas is that I get much needed daily consumption of protein and vegetables started at the beginning of the day.  So guess what I have for breakfast this week – my mini egg white frittatas!

Feed the wellness in you!


Mini Egg White Spinach Frittatas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12


  • 14-16 egg whites
  • 1 10 ounce bag of spinach
  • 1 cup of shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onions
  • 1/2 cup of roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2c - 3/4c of crumbled feta (depends on how much you desire)
  • 1 tbl of olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • 12 muffin tin
  • Cooking spray or olive oil to coat the muffin trays


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sautee the spinach, mushrooms, red onions and red peppers on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl and when spinach mixture cools, fold into the egg whites.
  4. Add the crumbled feta.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 to the top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until egg is no longer soft.