Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegan tuscan kale salad

I love True Food Kitchen. I have been making this recipe for about a year now, ever since True Food Kitchen posted it on their web site. Their food is healthy, well-balanced and tasty, with many vegan and vegetarian options. I had never eaten kale before having this salad. When I was in high school, I used to work at a retirement home that used kale as decoration for the salad bar. The kale should have been IN the salad bar!!!
This salad is great on its own, but can also be served as a side salad with lunch or dinner. If I ever start having friends over for vegan dinner parties (which I want to start doing!), I would make them this salad as a starter. It's one of those salads that makes people really like kale!

Vegan version of True Food Kitchen's Tuscan Kale Salad

Food as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.

4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black- midribs removed and chopped into strips or bite-size pieces (any store-bought kale will work)
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup mozzarella Diaya cheese
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (or store-bought panko bread crumbs)
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
  3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.
 Chopped kale
 Finished kale salad
 Ready to serve

 Want to know more about True Food Kitchen? Here is info from Dr. Weil's website:

Concept: All True Food Kitchen locations feature dishes that closely adhere to the principles of Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. They are intended to be a new kind of restaurant: one in which delicious flavors, healthy nutrients, environmental awareness and an inviting atmosphere come together to create an unforgettable dining experience.
Dishes are influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and Californian cuisine, and include soups, appetizers, salads, pasta, rice and noodle dishes, wood grilled dishes, sandwiches and burgers, brick oven pizzas and desserts.
Sample dishes: Wild Smoked Salmon with Shaved Radishes; Lemon Cream & Wasabi Peas; Sashimi Tuna Salad with Avocado, Cucumber, Tomato, Edamame & Ginger; Curry Chicken with Rice Noodles; Tuscan Kale Salad; Cauliflower & Cashews; Herbed Hummus; Green Tea Soba Noodles with Peas; Bok Choy & Lemongrass; Fresh Tomato Pizza with Pasilla Chile & Manchego; Grilled Wild Ahi Sliders with Wasabi, Radishes and Cucumber on Pumpernickel; and Natural Half Chicken with Farro, Walnuts, Dried Fig, Brussels Sprouts & Squash.

Each location features catering, take out, breakfast, a selection of coffee drinks, natural juice blends, hot and cold tea, sparkling wine cocktails, organic and low-calorie beer and sake. All wines are selected based on wineries' commitment to organic, biodynamic and/or sustainable farming practices.
Engrained in True Food Kitchen's ethos is a commitment to a conscious, community-based dining experience - a commitment that ensures that, no matter how many locations are established, True Food will never become what one thinks of as a "chain."

Food sources:
  • All True Food Kitchen locations use local, organic sources whenever possible. For example, the Phoenix location receives most of its produce from McClendon Farms, a 25-acre, USDA-certified organic produce farm in Peoria, Arizona.
  • All locations also use the organic extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes that Dr. Weil worked to develop with Lucini Italia, which he considers the finest quality in the world.
Green features: The restaurants are decidedly "green" with environmentally friendly accoutrement including:
  • High efficiency kitchen equipment
  • Low voltage LED lighting
  • Waterless urinals (saving 40,000 gallons/year)
  • Ultra low water faucets
  • Low VOC paint
  • White oak butcher block tables and counter tops
  • Reclaimed wood floors
  • Recycled quarry tiles
  • Natura water purification unit. (True Food Kitchen creates both still and carbonated bottled water in-house. Bottles are cleaned, sterilized and reused, eliminating plastic bottle waste).
True Food Kitchen locations:
  • Phoenix, Ariz. (opened Oct. 2008)
    Biltmore Fashion Park
    2502 E Camelback Rd.
    Phoenix, AZ 85016
  • Newport Beach, Calif. (opened Aug. 2010)
    Fashion Island
    451 Newport Center Dr.
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
  • Scottsdale, Ariz. (opened Nov. 2010)
    Scottsdale Quarter
    15191 N Scottsdale Rd.
    Scottsdale, AZ 85254
  • Santa Monica, Calif. (scheduled opening Apr. 2011)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seriously amazing vegan fondue recipes

The Hibbards love vegan fondue!

There is something magical about fondue. Don't you agree? My dreams usually involve cheese and chocolate...and Krispy Creme donuts (find and/or make me vegan ones and I will love you forever). Matt jokes that I try to eat my pillow at night. ha.
The Melting Pot was my only real experience with fondue, but we used to go at least a couple times a year, BV (before vegan). I am saving myself for a Cathrineholm fondue set, but until the day I find one in good condition, I'll just have to use big enamel pots and some old 70s fondue sticks that I found in our junk drawer (probably came from a fondue set my parents gave me).

Trying to find a vegan cheese fondue recipe online was pretty hard, so I took the basic idea from this recipe to create my own. My modified recipe is DIVINE!!! Like, so good that I had it as leftovers for 3 nights! Not the healthiest thing you can eat...but your mouth will love you.



  • 1/2 cup mimiccreme
  • 3 tbsp earth balance
  • 1 bag vegan shredded Diaya cheese
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash salt and pepper (to taste)


In a fondue pot (or enamel pot) over medium-low heat, melt the earth balance and diaya cheese. Add tahini and stir until combined. Add remaining ingredients. You may need to add a bit more cheese or mimiccreme to get the consistency that you want.

  You only need 1 bag of Diaya...not 2, as pictured
 Looks just like cheese
 Starts looking like cheese fondue!

Here's where it get's fun! We decided to dip gardein crispy 7 grain tenders, apple slices and 2 varieties of fresh vegan bread.
 Gardein and apple slices
Fresh bread cubes
 After sitting on low heat, the cheese fondue turns a nice shade of 'cheddar'.

 I yuppified Matt's Coleman camping grill, so we could keep the cheese hot! This is where a good fondue set would come in handy.
 Yep, camping in the kitchen.
 It was sooooo tasty. I honestly think I could taste-test fool some non-vegans into thinking it is real cheese fondue.

The chocolate course. This is somewhat easier to find recipes for, and I used this recipe, but made some modifications. Super duper tasty. And, you can re-heat it, if you have leftovers.

Vegan Chocolate Fondue

  • 1/4 cup earth balance
  • 8 ounces vegan chocolate chips or dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tbsp vanilla soy milk

Melt earth balance, vegan chocolate and soy milk together in saucepan over very low heat, or, use a double-boiler to ensure chocolate doesn't burn. Once melted, remove from heat, add the rest of the ingredients, combine well and transfer to fondue pot to keep warm.

 Everything goes into the pot
 Finished vegan chocolate fondue
 Fun! Let's dip bananas, massive strawberries, vegan bread, vegan chocolate chip cookies and vegan brownies.
 Going in!
 Strawberries and chocolate. Dreamy.

So, looking for something fun to try this weekend?! Try vegan fondue! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I did it! I made it 365 days as a vegan! It gets easier every day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have you analyzed your daily nutrition? Check out!

I think I have been counting calories and/or working out regularly since I was about 10 years old. I always ate junk food and never really practiced portion control. I wish I would have been more conscious of what I was putting into my body. Before becoming vegan, I fell into a trap of looking for 'diet' foods or 'reduced calorie' foods; aka processed foods. Have you ever looked at the packages on some of those diet foods? What the heck is in those things? Was there any nutrition in them at all?
For almost a year now, I have been very conscious of what I eat.
I feel like I eat very nutritious, wholesome foods, with many fruits, vegetables, beans, plant-based proteins, etc. There are certainly processed and non-nutritional vegan foods out there, but, in a way, you are kind of forced to steer clear of many traditionally-unhealthy foods when you become vegan. I think of my old ways and can't imagine going back, now that I know so much more about nutrition. I have cut out artificial sweeteners, diet coke, fast food, lots of processed foods and all animal products from my diet.
I get a little fearful sometimes that I am not getting enough vitamin D or vitamin B-12 because they aren't found in too many vegan foods. I do take twice-daily multi-vitamins, which provide me with these vitamins. I also get vitamin D while on my runs in the park.
I found a great site, FitDay that allows you to track and analyze your nutrition, weight loss, diet and fitness. I decided to give it a try because it's free (I have a private profile, but you can make your profile public, too). I found that when I went to input the foods I ate, I had to create some 'custom' foods, since some of the foods I eat weren't listed. It's pretty easy to do. You just go to your refrigerator or pantry and grab the item you want to add to your food diary, then enter the calories, fat, protein, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamin/mineral content from the package and then add it to your food log.
 I tend to be a creature of habit and like to eat the same foods every day. I'm going to have to start changing it up a bit to get more of the nutrition my body needs. This is a peek at my 2/8/11 nutritional breakdown. The items needing improvement would be possibly cutting back carbs (noooooo!) and working on eating foods rich in vitamins B-12, B-6, D, E, calcium (wow! I need more calcium!), iron and all the rest of them. I do get a lot of vitamins from my twice-daily multi-vitamin, like I mentioned before. But, it would be good to try to get more of my vitamins from food. Click the chart below to enlarge.

I found a list of vegan calcium sources, which will help me increase my daily calcium consumption:
Food Amount Calcium (mg)
Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 400
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 357
Tofu, processed with
   calcium sulfate*
4 ounces     200-330
Calcium-fortified orange juice 8 ounces 300
Soy or ricemilk, commercial,
    calcium-fortified, plain
8 ounces 200-300
Commercial soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces   80-250
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 249
Tofu, processed with nigari* 4 ounces   80-230
Tempeh 1 cup 215
Kale, cooked 1 cup 179
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 175
Okra, cooked 1 cup 172
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup 158
Mustard greens, cooked 1 cup 152
Tahini 2 Tbsp 128
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup   94
Almonds 1/4 cup   89
Almond butter 2 Tbsp   86
Soy milk, commercial, plain 8 ounces   80
I think I'll pick up some Tempeh, fortified soy milk, kale and collard greens to start getting more calcium. I found out that tempeh and miso are a reliable source of vitamin B-12, along with fortified non-dairy milk, fortified cereals and nutritional yeast. Nuts, seeds and vegetable oils may help me get more vitamin E. For increased iron, I'll try introducing spirulina and plan to eat more quinoa and lentils. 

I would encourage even the healthiest person to take a look at their daily nutrition on FitDay, even for just 1 typical day. Calories and weight watchers points don't tell the full picture on your nutrition; they're only a portion the story! Also, if you work out a lot, you can see if you are eating the right amount of food, based on your fitness/weight goals.

There are pie charts, graphs, calorie balance information (shows how much you ate vs how much your body burned during the day, based on your lifestyle). Here's my calorie balance graph from 2/8/11.

You can track your weight loss, BMI (I'm in the 'healthy' range! Woo!), measurements, journal about your moods and feelings during the day, etc., all for free. I plan to use it for the next 30 days to see if I can make more nutritious food choices, log my exercise and see if I lose a little weight (I'd be happy losing 5 lbs in the next 30 days, but I'm doing this challenge to be more in line with my body's nutritional needs). Let me know if you try it out; I'd love to hear what you think of

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reviews: Arm Pocket and Moving Comfort Fiona Sports Bra

I've been searching for a way to bring my cell phone with me on runs. I tried to wear my blackberry on my waist in a holster, but it ended up digging into my skin. I thought I could carry it, but it that didn't work well. So, I went searching for an arm cell phone holder. I found myself on a running message board after searching for blackberry arm holder on google. One runner was recommending a product called an Arm Pocket. I did some more research and it looked like exactly what I needed.
My criteria:
1. Has to hold my blackberry
2. Has to fit on my arm
Optional criteria:
3. Has to hold my ipod
4. Has to hold my car key
5. Has to hold my license
6. Has to hold my lip balm

The Arm pocket meets all of the above criteria. I ordered the Sport i-20 in pink. I've ran with it 3 times and I love it. It is really comfortable, stays in place and allows me to move through songs on my ipod. If I had a touch screen phone, I could dial from my arm pocket. I don't plan to make or take calls while I run, but I want to have it on me in case of emergency or a great photo op!

Here are some photos of the Arm Pocket:

All filled up for a run
Here is the brochure it comes with 

It has a cool audio port to hold your headphones cord in place, where you want it
 On my arm (this is an accurate picture of the a neon pink with reflective piping)
 It fits all this and probably more!

I have been on the hunt for a good running bra. I've tried many and they either dig into my sides, smooshed my boobs or didn't perform well. I read reviews online for the Moving Comfort Fiona sports bra and decided to order it from Amazon. I've been running with it several times now and I LOVE it! It provides great support, it's got adjustable straps and it is easy to put on and take off. I want one in every color. I can't wait to try it out for a kickboxing class.