Stuffed Baked Potatoes: A Satisfying Meal

Stuffed Baked Potatoes: A Satisfying Meal

For all of you busy people out there, preparing healthy, filling, and cost-effective meals can seem daunting. But I have found one of the most satiating and versatile foods to be a solution to weekly meal preparation woes: the potato. Potatoes are not only delicious, they are filling, and can be baked in advance. Cooked baked potatoes store well in an open bowl in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to eat, you can grab a pre-cooked potato, reheat it, and top it with whatever you like: mustard, ketchup, relish, avocado, sauteed onions and peppers, vegetables. If you are in a real pinch, you can simply go with mustard and a side of vegetables. Use what you have on hand. The possibilities are endless.

Here are three ideas for ways you can top your baked potatoes.

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Fiesta Stuffed Potato: Topped with salsa, lime juice, cilantro, kidney beans, and fresh mango
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Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Potato: Topped with sauteed veggies in hot sauce and maple syrup glaze, cashew ranch dressing, veggie queso made from nutritional yeast, almond milk, corn starch, and garlic powder, and green onion (recipe inspired by The Happy Herbivore)
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Epic Veggie Stuffed Potato: Topped with pico de gallo, cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach, green pepper, basil, and chickpeas

Cheesey Macaroni with Chickpeas and Spinach

Cheesey Macaroni with Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a low fat recipe that is also vegan and gluten-free. It makes for a simple yet hearty dinner and can be packaged for lunch throughout the week as well.

Ingredients
2 cups dry brown rice macaroni
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
16 oz of organic baby spinach
1/4 cup plain unsweetened coconut yogurt. I use So Delicious brand*.
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
pepper and sea salt, to taste

*If you cannot find this yogurt, you can use a little unsweetened plain almond milk. To thicken (if needed), you can try adding a bit of corn starch.

Instructions
1. Cook the pasta in a medium-large saucepan following the package instructions. Drain (although not in excess) and return back to pot immediately in its slightly damp state.

2. On the lowest heat setting, add in all of the ingredients and stir together gently until everything is mixed and the spinach is lightly wilted.

This recipe yields 4 small servings for a side dish or two large servings for a meal.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Oat Pancakes Topped with Hot Strawberries

Homemade Oat Pancakes Topped with Hot Strawberries

Pancakes! Most conventional pancake mixes have additives, preservatives, and processed soy and whey in them. If you are looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious alternative to this weekend breakfast favorite, look no further.

Ingredients
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 of one large ripe speckled banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
A tiny pinch of sea salt
1 16-oz bag of organic frozen strawberries
Pure maple syrup (optional)

Instructions
1. In a high speed blender, blend all of the ingredients (except berries) to form a light-medium consistency pancake batter.

2. In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat the berries on low, stirring often. They will become a compote-like consistency. Turn heat off and keep covered.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet on low-medium. You can use coconut oil spray to coat the pan too (optional).

4. Pour the batter onto the pan to desired pancake size. Cook on one side until bubbling on the top and the edges are golden brown, then flip, as you would cook any pancakes.

5. Plate finished pancakes and top with the strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup (optional).

This recipe yields 3 large pancakes or 6 small – good for one very hungry individual or two people. This can easily be doubled for a family of 3-4 people. Enjoy!

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Natural, Organic, Cruelty-Free Beauty

Natural, Organic, Cruelty-Free Beauty

Natural beauty comes from within; it is a person’s character, their sense of humor, their compassion, and the way they treat others. Beyond that, when it comes to beauty, what we put into our bodies is just as important as what we put on our skin.

My top natural beauty tips:

  1. Opt for natural, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Get enough sleep every night.
  4. Live a balanced life. Avoid stress and utilize healthy methods of managing stress
  5. Surround yourself with good, light-hearted, people.
  6. Live a life that falls in line with your values.
  7. Eat plenty of fresh, raw foods in their natural state (fruits and veggies).
  8. Avoid processed and refined foods.
  9. Move your body.
  10. Keep skincare simple.
  11. Smile more, and do at least one thing that makes you happy everyday.
  12. Eliminate crap from your life: cigarettes, alcohol, soda, toxic chemicals, toxic media choices, and toxic relationships.

Note:
I purchased all of these products. I do not represent any of these companies. These are my opinions based on my experience and research.

Please check out my video where I highlight the following natural beauty products.

The numbers listed after the products below correspond to the EWG’s toxicity rating. I understand that for many people, this may not be a reasonable method for determining safety of products. However, as I explain in my video, I am appreciative for this resource, because at least it gives me a baseline to do further research.

FACE:
Gifts of Nature Facial Toner: 0
$16, natural and organic ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free
“Each of our toners for all skin types possess phytonutrients; naturally occurring chemicals in plants that protect them from diseases, pollution and overexposure to the sun. When these compounds are applied to the skin these phytonutrients have been clinically proven to reduce inflammation, prevent free radical damage, slow the effects of environmental aging, eliminate toxins, help repair DNA and enhance communications with cells. The list goes on and on.” -Gifts of Nature

Josie Maran 100% organic argan oil: 0
$48, organic, fair trade, vegan, cruelty free

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream: 1
$21, made with organic and natural ingredients, cruelty free, vegan

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream: 1
$28, All of the ingredients are completely natural and some organic, cruelty-free. Note: Not labeled vegan according to their website.
Some of the ingredients are shea butter, aloe vera, mango seed butter, and macadamia seed oil, etc.

Mineral Hygienics Sheer Mineral Foundation in Medium Golden: 3
100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free
$20 or $60 for a mineral makeup starter kit
4 ingredients – that’s it!

It’s free of irritants such as talc and bismuth chloride, which is in many mineral cosmetics. It feels as though you are not wearing anything, you can sweat with it on, and it lets your skin breathe.
“Free from harmful fillers, stabilizers, dyes, perfumes, talc, petro-chemicals, or synthetic fragrances.” Reading all the reviews and information, this product even works well for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Eco Tools Brushes:
$4-$10 for individual brushes or $6-$17 for a set
cruelty-free, handles are made from sustainable bamboo

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Pot Rouge in Posey: 1
$18, Can use on cheeks and lips
100% natural, vegan, gluten-free, amazing ingredients

Jane Iredale Blush in Copper Wind: 1
$27, Copper Wind is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free

“jane iredale is certified cruelty-free by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program, the leading internationally respected animal protection group for cruelty-free certification. Find out more on our cruelty-free page.jane iredale products are also certified cruelty-free by PETA. To find out more about what this means, please visit our page on their site.

Note: Some of the blush is not vegan, because they contain carmine.
“Carmine is a red pigment/dye derived from insects native to South America and Mexico that live as parasites on cactus plants. Used as a colorant in food, cosmetics and textiles. Has been associated with severe allergic reactions. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as a substance of animal origin.” -EWG

LIPS:
Vermont Soap certified organic pure African shea nut butter: 0
$4, Vermont Soap Company
This can be used for lips, eye brows, nighttime beauty treatment, rashes, burns, sunburn, or bug bites.

EYES:
Jane Iredale PureLash Mascara in Black: 1
$16, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free
Note: Some of the mascaras have beeswax, but other varieties are vegan. Just be sure to check.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Leaping Bunny: http://www.leapingbunny.org
The Kind Life: http://thekindlife.com/blog/2012/02/kind-classics-natural-makeup/
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database:
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Chemist’s Corner Article about EWG: http://chemistscorner.com/3-reasons-the-ewg-is-dubious-resource/
Eco-friendly accessory pouches: http://papayaart.com/papaya/accessories/accessory-pouches.html
Love Raw Vegan YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/LoveRawVeganChannel

If you have found natural, organic, raw, vegan, and/or cruelty-free products that are great quality, please feel free to share.

Mary Signature

Spicy Mango Avocado Raw Tacos

Spicy Mango Avocado Raw Tacos

This is one of the most satisfying raw vegan dinners I have ever created. I think you will love it, if you like fresh meals with a kick.

Ingredients
8 romaine lettuce leaves
1 tomato sliced in strips
1 mango sliced in strips
1 avocado sliced in strips
1 tbsp Mazi habanero harvest hot sauce (or any hot sauce you choose)

Directions
1. Double layer the lettuce leaves to reinforce them. You are making four lettuce tacos with this recipe.

2. Fill the lettuce boats with the tomato, mango, and avocado. You can also add chopped lettuce or other greens to the filling. Then top with hot sauce (to your taste).

3. Pick it up and eat it like a taco. I give you permission to eat this whole recipe – or share. This is also easily doubled. If a whole avocado is too much for you, then use half, or as much as you desire.

Enjoy!

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Apple Cinnamon Chia Oats with Vanilla Maple Drizzle

Apple Cinnamon Chia Oats with Vanilla Maple Drizzle

Fall is almost here! And while I’m enjoying the final days of summer, I cannot help but be excited by the atmosphere of Autumn. I hope you enjoy my first fall recipe as much as I did.

Ingredients
1/2 cup oats
1 T chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
1 T raisins
1 apple, diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
maple syrup and vanilla, to taste

*Always try to buy organic ingredients whenever possible.

Directions

1. In a small bowl, soak the oats and chia seeds in almond milk, placing the bowl in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

2. Top with the remaining ingredients, drizzling the maple syrup and vanilla last.

Enjoy!

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Salted Chocolate Coconut Smoothie

Salted Chocolate Coconut Smoothie

Yesterday I was thinking about how much I like raw chocolate with sea salt by Gnosis. Then I thought to myself, “Hmmm… I wonder if I can make a salted chocolate smoothie?” Well, I did, and it was out of control!

Ingredients
12 oz almond milk // you can also try coconut milk, but I used almond for the thicker consistency
7-8 ice cubes
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 scoop Sun Warrior raw protein
2 tsp raw maca
1/3 of a frozen banana
1 tsp raw almond butter
2 tsp raw coconut butter
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1/8 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (or use salt to your taste)
optional: pure maple syrup or ethical raw honey (to taste)
raw cacao nibs & sea salt for garnish
I also added greens to mine.

{Always use organic, local, fresh ingredients whenever possible.}

Directions
1. Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.
2. Sip, dream, love!

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