Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Colorful Carrot Ginger Dressing

Up until the past few days, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of rain here in Virginia.  On the bright side (and I mean that very literally), now that the sun is out the world is extra vivid.  Yellow and pink flowers, emerald green grass, bright purple berries…In honor of the recent change in weather, I created a beautiful (and delicious!) orange dressing to top a rainbow of a salad.  The secret to its monarch butterfly hue?  Carrots!  Not only do the carrots give this dressing a unique color, they also create a light yet satisfyingly savory condiment.  Of course, bright colors can be pretty to look at, but did you know the more richly colored the food the greater the antioxidant levels?  Yes, this dressing is both attractive and loaded.  Swipe right (just kidding, scroll down), to meet your new bae…..


-1 cup carrots, roughly chopped

-1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

-3 tablespoons hemp seeds

-1 tablespoon umi plum vinegar (sounds fancy but you can find it in most grocery stores or online)

-1 rounded teaspoon light miso

-1 teaspoon dijon mustard

-1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped

-1 teaspoon date sugar (or other sweetener of choice)

-1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons water (add more for a thinner consistency)

To make:

-Blend all ingredients in high speed blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

Almost too pretty to eat, but since looks don’t last forever down it went…..
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Plant Based Made Easy

In a perfect world, I would prepare a gourmet plant based meal three times a day.  The whole family would give me all the time and space I needed to do so.  They would also give me mad accolades and eat every single bite.  There would be no limit to my ingredient budget, and J would call my favorite grocery store by its rightful name instead of Whole Paycheck.  Here in the real world, schedules can be tight, toddlers (and husbands!) can be picky, and pennies need to be pinched whenever possible.  Thankfully plant based meals give you a lot of bang for your buck, especially when you think in terms of nutrients per dollar.  Here are a few of my favorite plant based hacks:

Frozen Fruits and Veggies: Wholesale stores have gotten hip to whole foods.  Hit up the frozen section for fruits and veggies (often organic!) to create smoothies, soups, or whatever else your little heart desires. Fun fact: frozen veggies often retain more nutrients than fresh since they are frozen soon after picking.

Canned Beans: Budget-wise, dried beans are the better option.  However, nothing beats the convenience and nutrition of popping open a can of beans.  I always keep some on hand for last minute salads, hummus, or black bean brownies when the mood strikes.  Look for BPA free cans and organic, if you can swing it.

Sweet Potatoes: Delicious and comforting, nothing satisfies like a sweet potato.  You can find many varieties, and even organic, at a price that will suit your budget.  And don’t forget they are the number one food amongst folks living in the blue zones…

Prepped Greens: Prepping greens yourself is usually the cheaper option, but for the time-crunched pre-washed and prepped greens are a saving grace.  Many wholesale stores carry large bags of organic greens perfect for smoothies, salads, and the like.

Raw Cashews: This may seem like an odd addition, but cashews are just so dang versatile!  From savory cream sauces and dressings to yummy nut butters and frostings, these little tree nuts can take a meal from ho hum to heavenly in no time flat.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

Can drinking out of a plant mug trick your body into thinking it’s getting more antioxidants than it actually is?  I’ll let you know when my case study is finished…….


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Super Seed Granola

In a past life, I may have been a bird.  That’s how much I love seeds.  Don’t get it twisted, this delicious granola is anything but bird food.  Crunchy in texture while lightly salty and sweet, it will keep you coming back to the feeder jar for more.  Seeds are the nutritional super stars of the plant based world.  The hemp, chia, sesame, and pumpkin variety used in this recipe are no exception.  It is sugar free, oil free, and gluten free if you want it to be.  It is also 100% whole foods plant based.  As if that wasn’t enough, it’s super easy to make.  Fly, don’t just walk, to your kitchen to make this super satisfying plant based treat.


-1 cup medjool dates, pitted

-1/2 cup tahini + 3 tablespoons water to thin

-1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if you like)

-1 cup puffed brown rice cereal (only ingredient should be rice)

-1 cup quinoa flakes

-1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

-1/4 cup chia seeds

-1/4 cup hemp seeds

-1/4 cup shredded coconut

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 teaspoon vanilla

-1/4 teaspoon salt

To make:

-Combine dates, tahini, and water in food processor until smooth.

-Combine rest of ingredients in large bowl.

-Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with hands until thoroughly combined.

-Spread on parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring about every 10 minutes to prevent burning.

-Store in sealed container in fridge (if there is any left, that is).

Pro tips:

-If you like dried fruit in your granola, add it after the granola cools to preserve texture.

-If you like a sweeter granola, add some pure stevia powder to the date/tahini mixture a little at a time until desired sweetness is reached.

-Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder or carob powder along with an extra tablespoon of water to the date/tahini mixture for a chocolatey (or carobey?) treat.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

That’s some seedy looking granola….
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Last weekend I had a bout of decision fatigue.  I was itching to make a sweet treat, but my poor little brain simply could not choose.  So I made them all.  And the result was delicious.  If you know me you know I like my desserts dense, both texturally and nutritionally.  This hits the spot on all marks.  Plus it’s entirely made from plants.  

Do you want the luscious taste of a flourless chocolate cake with a nourishing nutritional profile?  If so, read on to create this more-than-satisfying mashup:

To make the cake layers:

Follow this brownie recipe with the following substitutions:

-Spread batter into 2 pans and bake for 60 minutes

-Optional: I used 1/2 cup of carob and 2 tablespoons raw cacao so T wouldn’t be bouncing off the walls.  If you are an adult that can handle your chocolate, feel free to go all in….

To make the mousse:

Follow this pudding recipe with the following substitutions:

-Add a bit more sweetener.  I used two teaspoons of date sugar and the sweetness equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar of stevia leaf powder.

-Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of raw cacao to the carob, or substitute chocolate for carob entirely.

To make the raspberry sauce:

Follow this berry sauce recipe with the following substitutions:

-Once slightly cooled, smash berry mixture with a potato masher or fork.

-Optional: Add a teaspoon of superfood powder like gooseberry, goji, or acai for an extra antioxidant boost.

To put together:

-Remove cake layers from pan.

-Spread mousse on one layer and top with the other.

-Spread mousse on top layer and garnish as desired (I used raspberries and strawberries).

-When ready to serve, top each slice with raspberry sauce.

-In the unlikely event you have any left over, store in fridge…..

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

Bless my decision fatigued mind, this cake was goooood……..
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: In Defense of Curry

Like tomatoes and avocado, curry is a point of contention in our house.  Last month, after claiming he didn’t like curry or lentils for years, I made a lentil curry that J now loves.  Like lentils, there are many different kinds of curry.  Born and raised in exotic Connecticut, I am certainly no curry expert.  Over the years I have grown fond of not only the flavors of different types of curry, but also the benefits they have on digestive health.  Since curry is full of carminitive herbs, cooking with it helps the body digest and assimilate nutrients.  

It turns out that though J can do without Indian spice, he is just fine with the Thai variety.  How did we solve the lentil dilemma?  I switched out my usual soft red lentils for a more firm sprouted lentil blend and, served with a variety of other veggies, J liked them just fine.  Now if we could only come to an agreement on tempeh…..

Thai Red Curry with Sprouted Lentils


-1/2 sweet onion, chopped

-2 carrots, sliced

-1 sweet potato, cubed

-1/2 small head purple cabbage, chopped

-1 half pound bag frozen broccoli florets

-1 8z bag sprouted lentils (True Roots is a good brand)

-1 15 oz can coconut milk

-1 32 oz carton vegetable broth (Pacific Foods is a good brand)

-1 4 oz jar Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen is a good brand)

-1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

-1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

To Make Instant Pot:

-Heat pot to saute setting

-Dry saute onion until fragrant

-Add broth and lentils and bring to simmer for several minutes

-Switch off, add all other ingredients, give a quick stir

-Cook on high pressure cooker setting for 7 minutes (make sure release valve is closed)

-Let pressure release naturally

To Make Stovetop:

-Dry saute onion until fragrant

-Add broth and lentils and bring to boil

-Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes

-Add all other ingredients and bring to boil again

-Reduce to simmer and cook until veggies are tender


For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

This curry agreed to be photographed on the third night of leftovers in an unattractive red bowl…#brave