The Blender Girl Cookbook Cover

My fav cookbook of 2014 debuts today!

With new vegan cookbooks and raw food prep manuals being released seemingly every week, it’s honestly hard for me to get really excited about a new one. Everyone once in a while, I’ll get seriously geeked on a new title that combines fantastically easy recipes and mouthwatering photography. And this new book – The Blender Girl – from Tess Masters is a certifiable hit. My favorite of 2014, in fact.

Not only are her recipes easy enough for a monkey to execute (yes, monkeys can be taught to operate a blender safely) – but the photos – OH LORD THE PHOTOS – bring the whole package home. She presents all the information – from the kitchen resources to the ingredients and preparation steps – in a simple, down-to-earth way that everyone can understand and implement. I love the simple, sexy layout and the perfect flow of the presentation. She’s packed it with 100 gluten free, vegan, and raw food recipes all made quickly in a blender. There are smoothies, juices, cocktails, appetizers, snacks, main meals, desserts and condiments. Seriously, if this book was scratch n’ sniff, there would be holes bored through the pages already.

To share my effusive love for The Blender Girl with you, I’ve included one of her top recipes from the new cookbook below. It’s a recipe for Creamy Crunchy Spuds – and this perfect potato dish can be enjoyed year-round (not just at Thanksgiving!) The uber smooth mouth feel and classic savory flavor will have you doing the happy dance like Pharrell in the kitchen!

To purchase your copy of The Blender Girl cookbook, click here to order it now:

http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/view/tbg_book

Oh – and to celebrate the launch of her beautiful book, Tess is giving away NEW Vitamix blenders. Click here to enter for your chance to win big like a blending baller:

http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/giveaway/vitamix_5200_compact_container

I’ll expect a love note from your tastebuds soon.

 

RECIPE EXCERPT FROM THE BLENDER GIRL COOKBOOK

Photo credit: Anson Smart

creamy and crunchy spuds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy and Crunchy Spuds

serves 8; the dressing makes 1 ¾ cups (410g)

Potatoes

2 3/4 pounds (1.2kg) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes

1 tablespoon natural salt, plus more to taste

1 bunch green onions (white and green parts), finely chopped

1/2 cup (75g) diced red onion

1 cup (140g) diced red bell pepper

1 cup (132g) diced celery (about 4 large ribs)

1 cup (150g) julienned broccoli stalks or commercial broccoli slaw, or 1 cup (145g) peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Dressing

1 1/3 cups (310g) your preferred brand of mayonnaise

2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, plus more to taste

2 1/2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste

To cook the potatoes, place them in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Add the salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the potatoes for about 8 minutes, just until fork-tender. (You don’t want to overcook your potatoes, or you will end up with a mash rather than a chunky salad.) Drain the potatoes, rinse them with cold water, and drain them again thoroughly. Allow them to cool completely.

To make the dressing, put the mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, and salt into your blender.

Blend on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may like more mustard, vinegar, or salt).

To assemble the salad, transfer the cooled potatoes to a large bowl. Add the green onions, red onion, red bell pepper, celery, broccoli, and parsley. Pour on the dressing and fold in gently, keeping the potatoes as intact as possible. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature. The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Sweet Earth Natural Foods vegan teriyaki burger

Vegan Products That Meat Eaters LOVE!

We’ve all heard it before, omnivores saying “I would starve if I went vegan!” It’s a common misconception that all vegans eat is “rabbit food.” We actually eat a huge variety of extremely tasty and exciting foods that even those skeptical meat eaters would love.

Here are my Top 10 delicious vegan products that are great, hearty, and satisfying high-protein substitutes to use in already existing recipes. You won’t miss the meat or dairy – I promise!

1. Seitan – this is made from wheat gluten and is a fantastic substitute for beef or pork in recipes like sandwiches, cheesesteaks, casseroles, stir frys and more. More protein per pound than beef and free of saturated fat, seitan is a healthy meat alternative. Try a BBQ seitan sandwich or Asian fried rice with seitan and pineapple, the possibilities are endless!  My favorite brand is Sweet Earth Natural Foods, they have the best seitan I have ever tasted by far. http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/

Jason Wrobel Sweet Earth Naturals

2. Tempeh – awesome as a substitute for bacon, chicken salads, tuna salads or even chili meat. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, so it’s a probiotic food that’s great for digestion and super high in protein. Because tempeh uses the entire bean it is also a great source of fiber. My choice for tempeh is definitely the  Tofurkey brand. It comes in a variety of flavors that can accommodate a plethora of recipes.
http://www.tofurky.com/tempehproducts/traditional_tempeh.html

Jason Wrobel Tempeh

3. Chickpeas – super easy way to add protein and fiber (just 2 cups contain your entire daily requirement!) to your diet. Great in salads, dressings, soups or dips like hummus. Slightly firmer than most legumes with a mild, nutty flavor chickpeas offer a satisfying mouth feel and they help you to feel fuller faster.

Jason Wrobel Chickpea

4. Veggie Burgers – no longer resembling lawn clippings, veggie burgers have come a long way baby! In the last few years they’ve developed a fantastic taste, meaty texture and great nutritional profile. My two favorite brands are Sweet Earth Natural Foods Teriyaki Burgers and Hilary’s Eat Well Root Veggie Burger. http://www.sweetearthfoods.com/
http://www.hilaryseatwell.com/

Jason Wrobel Veggie Burger

5. Black Beans – another great and simple way to add extra protein and satisfying density to rice, quinoa, Mexican dishes, etc. Black beans are nutritional powerhouses and can aid in blood sugar regulation, lowering blood cholesterol levels and reducing risk of cancer.

Jason Wrobel Black Beans

6. Mock Chicken – another product that has come a long way, fake chicken is a great way to transition from eating regular chicken. Same amazing flavor and protein, without the cholesterol, fat and concerns about salmonella. You can substitute these in any recipe that calls for chicken and you really won’t know the difference! The best brands out there by far are Beyond Meat and Gardein. http://beyondmeat.com/
http://gardein.com/

Jason Wrobel Mock Chicken

7. Vegan Cheeses – the Holy Grail of vegan products has finally been perfected! These vegan cheeses taste great and actually melt now! They can help you kick your addiction to the dreaded casomorphins in cheese. In cow milk, the protein casein is thought to break into casomorphins when it is digested, resulting in opiate effects. Don’t be an addict – just eat vegan cheese. Favorite brands are Daiya and Go Veggie! http://us.daiyafoods.com/ http://www.goveggiefoods.com/

Jason Wrobel Vegan Cheese

8. Protein Shakes – on the go protein shakes have not had many healthy options, until now. Vegan, superfood protein shakes are now available thanks to Kate Farms with a whopping 21 superfoods in each shake (like acai, kale, mangosteen and turmeric to name a few)! These shakes are soy free, dairy free, gluten free and non GMO. Easy, delicious, convenient option when you’re on the run and don’t have a blender handy. http://www.katefarms.com/

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 1.38.12 PM

9. Vegan Seafood – I never thought the day would come when vegan seafood would hit the market. Well, that day has come. It’s also soy-free and gluten-free! Best choices in terms of flavor and texture are from Sophie’s Kitchen. My faves are the vegan shrimp (awesome with cocktail sauce) and the vegan crab cakes. Light, flavorful and awesome mouth feel! http://sophieskitchen.net/

Jason Wrobel Vegan Crab Cake

10. Ground Vegan Beef – this is my favorite product from the Natural Products Expo East 2013. It’s called Neat – and it’s the first soy-free, gluten-free ground beef product that I’ve seen on the market. It’s made from a blend of walnuts and spices. The taste will make you do a double take… and a double taste. Super easy to mix and make with your favorite recipes. http://www.eatneat.com/

Jason Wrobel Neat Meat

As you can see vegan products are exploding right now and they just keep getting better and better. All of my top 10 are a great start for someone hesitant to give up their meat and dairy because they definitely aren’t “rabbit food”!

What are some of your favorite vegan products that would make an omnivore second guess their dietary choices?

How to Live to 100

Top Secrets of Centenarians and How to Live to 100

Lifetime fitness enthusiast Jack LaLanne, who lived to be 96, said it best: “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.”

Sure, whether or not you live to 100 can have some basis in genetics, but combining a healthy diet, exercise and a fulfilling lifestyle can certainly increase your chances at longevity. Numerous studies have been conducted about centenarians and people who live well into their 90s and there are definite similarities among all of them that play a huge factor. Based on extensive investigations by journalist Dan Buettner and National Geographic, there have even been 5 areas of the world identified as “Blue Zones” in which the majority of the population live to be 90-100 years old. The biggest common denominator? A healthy lifestyle. Let’s delve a little further into these concepts and see what you can do to up your chances of living to 100.

First up: diet. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fiber and whole grains can add years to your life. A study at JAMA Internal Medicine found that vegetarians can lower their risk of premature death by 12% more than their meat-eating counterparts. Eating a ton of fiber can help fight off heart disease, infections and respiratory illness and lower the risk of cancer in men. Adapting a plant-based diet focused mainly on whole foods can add years to your life.

Next, exercise. US News reported that getting World Health Organization’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can add about four years to your life. One of the oldest living persons on record, 123-year-old Carmelo Flores Laura, says he owes his longevity to regular exercise. “I walk a lot, that’s all. I go out with the animals,” Flores told the Associated Press. Yoga is also great for living longer. Reducing stress and anxiety, practicing better balance and and increasing flexibility can keep you happy and healthy.  Burning calories between the sheets can aid in longevity as well.  A 2010 study of 1,165 middle-aged men showed that having sex two to three times a week can lower the risk of heart disease by 45%, WebMD reported. Women who enjoy sex may live up to eight years longer than women who don’t. Overall, adding any sort of exercise on a regular basis increases your chances of seeing your 100th birthday.

Centenarians live a life free of stress and with purpose. Staying happy, being spiritual and getting enough rest all play into how many years you can add to your life. Whether you go to church or practice your own type of meditation, maintaining a spiritual presence adds a level of peace to your life that plays a roll in healthy aging. Do what makes you happy everyday and get at least 7-8 hours a sleep a night as often as possible and you’ll be on your way to a long, happy and healthy life.

For more secrets and recipes to live to 100, watch my TV series on Cooking Channel How to Live to 100. Click here for airtimes, exclusive webisodes and downloadable recipes: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/how-to-live-to-100.html