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March 21st, 2013

Easter and Passover Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup

Groovy Green Livin Easter and Passover
With Easter and Passover right around the corner many of us are looking forward to sharing time and traditional meals with family and friends. Passover lasts for eight days and for those who observe the holiday no regular breads or baked goods are eaten. Wheat, oats, barley, rye, and spelt are forbidden, with the exception of matzo, which is made with flour and water. When someone in the group follows a vegan or gluten-free diet it can be challenging to find a menu that meets everyone’s needs.

If you’re looking for a vegan or gluten-free twist to some of the traditional dishes here’s some inspiration.

Classic Veggie Roast

This dish is a staple in our house and something we  make for almost every holiday. Generally I use whatever vegetables are in my refrigerator, chop them up and roast them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Sometimes I make two separate veggie dishes-one with potatoes and one without. You can see the veggie roast/ratatouille recipe HERE.

Smashed Garlic Potatoes

My kids love almost anything with potatoes. THIS vegan, gluten-free mashed potatoes recipe will be a hit with the big kids too. If there’s a nut allergy it’s simple to swap out the almond milk for another type of dairy-free milk. Leave out the nutritional yeast if you’re celebrating Passover!

Gluten-Free Matzo

It’s truly amazing how many foods now have a gluten-free option. Even matzo, which is typically made from wheat flour, is now available in a gluten-free form. Here’s a list of several companies who are selling gluten-free matzo. If you’re feeling ambitious how about making your own matzo? HERE’s a relatively simple recipe to test out.

Sweet Sunflower Green Beans

The combination of green beans and red onions make these green beans a gorgeous dish for any holiday. The total prep time is about 25 minutes-this works for me. You’ll find the whole recipe HERE.

Vegan Matzo Ball Soup with Spring Vegetables

Groovy green Livin Easter and Passover

THIS vegan matzo ball soup recipe is chock-full of spring vegetables, and the perfect start to the Passover Seder dinner. Cooked quinoa flakes bind the gluten-free matzo balls together.

Spinach Cake

If you’re a spinach lover this recipe will ‘wow’ the crowd and can be used for both Easter and Passover meals. HERE’s the recipe. There are nuts, but they can be omitted if needed.

What are some of your favorite vegan and gluten-free Easter and Passover dishes? 

photo credit: sea turtle via photopin ccphoto credit: Avital Pinnick via photopin ccphoto credit: onlinepastrychef via photopin cc

March 7th, 2013

Plant-Based Diet Cooking Demo with Chef Chad Sarno

Groovy Green Livin plant-based dietIncorporating more food from a plant-based diet has been a goal of mine for quite sometime. When a friend sent over an invite to a blogger event called ‘Entertaining with a Healthy Twist’ I was immediately sold. How could I pass on an opportunity to meet Chef Chad Sarno, a chef who focuses on  plant-based diets? Off I went to a local Whole Foods Market to participate in a cooking demo. Chef Sarno co-authored a cookbook with Kris Carr called Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Kris is a cancer survivor (she calls herself a cancer thriver-I love that!) who inspires people to take charge of their health and happiness by adopting a plant-based diet.

Chef Chad Sarno is known for bringing his approach to healthy cuisine to some of the world’s premier health-focused restaurants, resorts, film sets and healing spas. He wears many hats, one of which is the Global Health Starts Here recipe developer for Whole Foods Market. I learned very quickly that he’s full of amazing tips for eating an animal-free, whole foods diet. Tips that I would actually use!

When I first arrived there were delicious vegan hors d’oeuvres being passed around and time to mingle with other local foodies. It was so nice to meet in real life fellow green blogger, Alison from Green with Renvy who I’ve been in touch with on Twitter for quite some time.

Groovy Green Livin plant-based diet

During his cooking demonstration Chad said something that really stuck with me: “Eating plant-based is so much more than just eating salads”. So true and so easy to forget.

Here are a few healthy tips for eating a plant-based diet which Chad shared with us during his cooking demonstration.

  • Ginger doesn’t need to be peeled, but if you do peel it use a spoon. There will be less ginger that goes to waste.
  • You don’t need oil to stir fry. Heat your pan and add onions. The seal created by the onions will create a non-stick surface. Now you’re good to go with your stir fry. No oil needed!
  • For a non-dairy substitute cashews are your nut. When blended they become smooth and a perfect dairy replacement.
  • Pureed dates are a wonderful sugar substitute.
  • Nutritional yeast makes popcorn irresistible.

Thanks to Whole Foods, I now have my very own copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen with a “power to the plants” autograph.

Groovy Green Livin plant-based diet

 Do you have any tips to share for those of us wanting to focus on a plant-based diet?

 

 

January 31st, 2013

Stonyfield Blends and Blendtec Blender Giveaway

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Blendtec

My Blendtec Blender has rocked my world and french vanilla Stonyfield Blends has opened up a new door.

Stonyfield Blends

I have been calling myself a border line vegan for many years. As a refresher Veganism (vegan pronounced VEE-gun) is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. A border line vegan is a term which I think I made up. Basically I don’t fit squarely into the ‘vegan’ category. I deviate at times and never miss out on an ice cream opportunity.

When a new product comes through my door and looks incredibly delicious there’s no holding me back. A case of Stonyfield Blends showed up at my door and I felt compelled to give each flavor a taste. There was no turning back. The yogurt is very creamy – much creamier than other yogurts I’ve tried-and tastes almost like soft ice cream.

Stonyfield Blends comes in 11 different flavors. Each one (except for the french vanilla) has real organic fruit.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Blends Blendtec

 My youngest is a big fan. We fought over the last one in the refrigerator this morning. He won.

 Blendtec Blender

This blender can do anything! I’ve made many smoothies and my latest and greatest creation was a nut butter that I used to make cookies. This is not an ordinary blender. This thing can handle anything and everything-the blade is unbelievable.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Blends Blendtec

Since adding a Blendtec blender to our family my oldest son comes home from school and makes his own smoothie.

Here’s what was in his latest smoothie.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Blends Blendtec

When everything was mixed together it turned this lovely shade of green.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Blends Blendtec

He ate it and loved it. What a great way to get Omega-3’s (chia seeds) and lots of other important nutrients.

Giveaway

Now for the good stuff! Things have been crazy here at Groovy Green Livin over the past few weeks with the Tide victory. As a thank you for sticking by my side and your continued support it’s time to give YOU something in return. The kind folks at Stonyfield and Blendtec have joined forces to offer one Groovy Green Livin reader a Wildside Blendtec blender and a case of Stonyfield Blends. How cool is that?! By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a Blendtec blender and a case of Stonyfield Blends as part of this campaign. The opinions expressed in this post are my very own. There are a few affiliate links which if used will help support this blog. Thank you!

October 24th, 2012

Food Day: Why Organic?

Groovy Green Livin why organic Life Alive

Happy Food Day! Food Day is an annual celebration and a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and promote action to alleviate hunger. This year we are again combining forces to celebrate Food Day as a celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Now that’s reason to celebrate.

According to the Food Day site:

The foods we eat should bolster our health, but the contemporary American diet is actually contributing to several hundred thousand premature deaths from heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer each year. What’s more, the way our food is produced is all too often harmful to farm and food workers, the environment, and farm animals. The American food system has created a diet of cheap, salty, overly processed packaged foods, high-calorie sugary drinks, and fast-food made of white bread, fatty grain-fed factory-farmed meat, and French fries.

Food Day aims to transform the American diet.

It’s also Wordless Wednesday-Wordless Wednesday is meant to be a simple post which features a photo to convey a message that speaks for itself without using words; well not a lot of words!

Recently I had lunch at one of my favorite local Boston restaurants, Life Alive. The sign “Why Organic?” pictured above is displayed front and center on the Life Alive counter. This restaurant is a role model when it comes to transforming the typical American diet by serving fresh, local and organic foods.

So in keeping with the Wordless Wednesday tradition I’m going to stop using words now and share a few more photos from my visit to this incredible vegetarian restaurant in honor of Food Day.

Groovy Green Livin Organic Sandwich

 Groovy Green Livin Food Day organic

Are you doing anything special to celebrate Food Day?

Linked up with Better in Bulk, I Thought I Knew MamaDagmar’s MomsenseThe Progressive ParentLive and Love Out LoudProject Alicia.

September 30th, 2012

How to Have a Sustainable Garden Party

Groovy Green Livin eco-friendly Dinner party

Ask a group of friends to come over for a sustainable garden party and they will come. I know from firsthand experience. Not exactly knowing what they were in for, they showed up out of sheer curiosity and a knowing that food would be involved!

What is a sustainable garden party?

About a week ago I was asked by DailyBuzz Healthy Living (I’m a contributor to the site) to throw a sustainable garden party in honor of  Lightlife‘s new Frozen Veggie Burger. I’m a big fan of veggie burgers and try to always keep them in my freezer so I’m prepped and ready for a Meatless Monday meal. I searched high and low for these new burgers, but to no avail. Since they are a hot new product they are just beginning their distribution and haven’t made it into my neck of the woods yet.

Since the burgers weren’t an option I was given the go-ahead to test out any Lightlife product. I’ve always seen Lightlife products next to the tofu and tabbouleh at Whole Foods, but have never tried them. I picked out a few Lightlife products and brought them home-ready to get creative.

Groovy Green Livin Lightlife chicken

Now onto the sustainable portion of the party. In addition to testing out some new products I knew that I was going to keep this party as ec0-friendly as possible.

Using reusables

We started off setting the table with reusable napkins. Reusables were used for the entire party-no plastic cups, paper towels, plastic utensils or single-use plates.

groovy green livin reusable napkins

Energy efficient lighting

Throughout our house we’ve gradually switched most of the bulbs to either compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs)CFLs use 75% less energy and produce 75% less heat than incandescent light bulbs. Our refrigerator, shown in this video clip uses LEDs. LEDs last for years and use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of incandescent or CFL bulbs).

Recycle

There were empty glass bottles decorating my counters from beer, wine and a few fancy drinks that we tested out in our Blendtec blender. Recycling was a breeze and everyone pitched in. We all made the effort to throw anything that can be recycled into our recycle bin.

The food!

Now the best part: the food! Everyone brought something to share.  We kept this meal vegetarian and I don’t think anyone went home hungry.

Groovy Green Livin potato carrot dish

I had quite a few boxes of the Lightlife Chick’n Style Seasoned Veggie Strips so we decided to whip up a batch of stir fry. They are made from soy and are vegan, GMO-free, fat free and packed with protein (14 grams per serving).

Lightlife Chick’n Seasoned Veggie Strip Stir Fry

This recipe is extremely simple. Use the veggies you have in the fridge and cut them into bite size pieces. I happened to have broccoli, peppers, carrots, squash,  and sugar snap peas. I always love having the opportunity to use my veggie crinkle cutter.

Groovy Green Livin veggies in bowl

Take your wok and heat up with 1-2 tbsp of oil and add the  Lightlife Chick’n Style Seasoned Veggie Strips. Then begin to add the vegetables. Don’t over cook the vegetables. Make sure you add vegetables first that need a little longer to cook.

Groovy Green Livin stir fry veggies

Stir fry sauce

Mix together:

  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (add another clove if you want more)
  • 1/4 c. water

Add soy sauce mixture to the the vegetable Veggie Strip mixture and cook until everything is lightly coated.

Groovy Green Livin stir fry veggies with couscous

Serve over couscous. The dish was so simple and a big hit! Enjoy.

Have you ever hosted or been to a sustainable garden party?


Advertisement

This series is brought to you in partnership with Lightlife, Live long. Travel light. To learn more, click here http://www.lightlife.com.

DisclosureAs a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, Lightlife provided me with a stipend and product for sampling.

photo credit: LexnGer via photopin cc, photo credit: greenplasticamy via photopin cc

August 9th, 2012

More BlogHer 2012 Highlights

Groovy Green Livin Green Bloggers BlogHer New YorkMicaela  (Mindful Momma), Anna  (Green Talk), me, Harriet (Climate Mama), Leigh  (Green 4 You), Katy (Non-Toxic Kids) and Brenna  (Almost All the Truth).

Bear with me please. I can’t stop writing about BlogHer 2012. Not because it was so extraordinary (it was) and not because there’s so much to say. The truth is I feel compelled to share all of my photos from BlogHer 2012 since I have a new camera and I can’t stop playing with it. So hang in there. This could very well be the last BlogHer 2012 post, then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Groovy Green Livin BlogHer 2012I already took you through day one at BlogHer with Stonyfield Organics and through my vegan findings in New York City, but there’s still more to share.

On Friday night I had a chance to meet-up with the some of the fabulous bloggers (I’m one of those bloggers!) and editors at Moms Clean Air Force.

Throughout this enormous conference (5,000 bloggers) I found ways to connect with new and old friends during smaller dinners and parties. Each of these meet-ups were by far the best part of the conference.

Groovy Green Livin Green Bloggers

groovy green livin green blogger dinnerLindsay, me, Julia, Heather, Sommer, Beth, Tiffany, Stephanie, Anna, Micaela, Katy and Janice (photo credit).

I even had a chance to meet my cousin Aviva for the first time. She blogs over at Old Mom Young Child-check her out!

Groovy Green Livin my cousin Aviva

The celebrity line-up at BlogHer didn’t disappoint. Clearly bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. Just look at who took time out of their busy schedules to speak to us. To kick off the conference, President Obama addressed the crowd and reminded us that “The Choice Women Face This Election Could Not Be Bigger”. Then came Martha Stewart (my camera was in my room).

And then Katie Couric rocked the crowd, promoting her new show: Katie. Katie is just as vivacious in real life as she is on television. She knows how to speak to her audience and was able to relate to all of us. Just adorable. And check out those pipes and legs (can’t see them in the photo, but trust me they were spectacular), which she attributes to spinning.

Groovy Green Livin Katie CouricNext up Christy Turlington Burns (Every Mother Counts), Soledad O’Brien (Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation) and Malaak Compton-Rock (The Angel Rock Project) who were all inspirational and passionate about making the world a better place.

Groovy Green Livin Soledad, Christy and Malaak

Soledad O’Brien is a remarkable woman.

Groovy Green Livin Soledad O'BrienMe, Soledad O’Brien, Katy Farber and Micaela Preston

There’s no question BlogHer is what you make it. There were pieces I loved and parts that I didn’t. That’s true with most things in life. Right now I’m planning to head to BlogHer 2013 in Chicago next year. I’m hoping to add on a little extra time to see my family in Wisconsin and my friends in Chicago.

If I didn’t see you at BlogHer this year I hope to find you at the next one!

 

August 8th, 2012

Vegan in New York City

Groovy Green Livin Vegan cupcakes

It’s Wednesday and all over the internet you will find photos with no words of explanation. Why? Because pictures say a thousand words and today is Wordless Wednesday.

I really don’t consider myself a vegan. I’m more of a flextarian (I have a wacky diet that doesn’t fit under one category).  While in New York City this past weekend for BlogHer it was great having so many vegan options at my fingertips.  New York City is a mecca for vegan food. Veganism (vegan pronounced VEE-gun) is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients.

I had a carrot, beet and pineapple juice from this food cart.

Groovy Green Livin organic Juice Truck

I didn’t actually test out this little vegan spot, but it looked great.

Groovy Green Livin vegan restaurant in New York

I’d love to know your favorite vegan restaurant….?

Linked up with Crazy About My BaybahI Thought I Knew MamaDagmar’s MomsenseMy Organized ChaosFarmer’s DaughterThe Progressive Parent.

[Top photo used under Creative Commons from SweetOnVeg/Flickr, photo of fruit stand generously shared by Micaela of Mindful Momma]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I continue on my journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I just might stop to make some noise about issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I fight for a safer world for all of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes in your life can lead to a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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Lori on ABC World News

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