Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Health for Life Cooking in February

Before I introduce the menu for the February Health for Life cooking classes, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for those who have given me this great opportunity to teach what I love so much! I have been so blessed over the last 4 years to get to know so many who want to gain greater health through plant based nutrition. At the end of each class as we sit around the table enjoying good healthy food and great conversation, I realize that you aren't just here learning from me, we are all here, with a common goal learning from each other. We all have our own unique circumstances, gifts and talents to share and we all gain so much from one another. I'm excited to be associated with you and proud of your dedication and strength in moving forward to improve the health of you and your families.

On with your Valentine meal for February!

Spinach Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach, mushrooms and onions drenched in a creamy low-fat non-dairy sauce, layered between brown rice noodles and strips of egg plant with a home made marinara sauce. This recipe is a bit labor intense but well worth the effort for that special occasion with you and your sweetheart or the entire family.

Greek Salad w/Tofu Feta

This salad is fresh and light and is the perfect companion to the Spinach Mushroom Lasagna. The Tofu Feta with all it's seasonings mixed with crisp romaine lettuce red onion, cucumber tomato and Kalamata Olives makes this salad taste like a true Greek salad.

Thick and Hearty Vegetable Soup

This soup is loaded with a ton of vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower which are the mighty cruciferous vegetables that are loaded with anti-cancer compounds. If we want maximum protection from cancer and other diseases, we need to include these into our diet every day and this is a great way to do it! This makes a huge pot so you can feed a large crowd or store it in freezer safe containers for a ready made lunch or dinner.

Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream

Valentines Day and chocolate goes hand in hand. And this chocolate ice cream is rich, creamy smooth and so delicious! I love ice cream and it was the last dairy product to go after I moved to a plant based diet in 1991. Once I discovered how to make ice cream with nuts and dates, I haven't had a desire to eat the dairy based ice cream since. The only thing missing from this decadent dessert is the guilt, the bloat, and the weight gain....not to mention the hours of exercise it takes to work off a bowl of the dairy based variety. No thank you to all of those!

And there you have it! Health for Life Valentine meal for February.
Class dates are Wednesday February 2, Tuesday February 8, and Wednesday February 16. Class begins at 6:00 pm.

Hope to see you in class!

Check out this interview from one of my favorite professors of plant based nutrition, T. Collin Campbell, PhD (author of The China Study) in an interview that was published in the New York Times wellness blog.

I made this soup last night for dinner and it was wonderful! It comes from Mary McDougall at I made a few changes as noted. Enjoy!

Hearty Garbanzo Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
4 cups vegetable broth (I used the broth from my cooked garbanzo beans)
1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans (I used 3 cups of home cooked - so much better!!)
2 Tbsp tahini
1 large roasted red bell pepper, sliced into strips (I used raw, chopped)
1-2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup each: chopped fresh cilantro, dill, and chives (I did not have dill or chives)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
dash of sea salt
(I used a little Real Salt. I'm finding that using bean broth in soups makes a very flavorful stock!)

Place the onion and garlic in a large soup pot with about 1 tbsp of the vegetable broth. Cook stirring frequently until onion softens and turns translucent. Add the remaining vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, cumin and coriander. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 1 can of the garbanzos with its juice into a blender jar. Add the tahini and process until smooth. Drain and rinse the other can of beans. Add the processed beans and the whole beans to the soup pot, as well as the roasted red pepper and the chili-garlic sauce. Slowly bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and lemon juice and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Season with a bit of sea salt before serving, if desired.

Hint: Bottled roasted red peppers work well in this dish. You should have about 3/4 cup.

100% Plant Based 100% Nutritious 100% Delicious

Health for Life cooking will demonstrate how to incorporate the wonderful plant foods that nature provides into delicious meals that are rich in phyto-nutrients, protein, calcium, and taste! Processed flours and sugars are rarely used and processed oils are never used! To purchase my cookbooks and find out when my next cooking classes are, visit