Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Simple Additions + Sneaky Tomato Pasta

Ladies and gentlemen, I have plants(thyme and basil) wooo!...and I'm sincerely hoping they don't die on me!  I have what you might call a "black thumb".  I really love gardens, flowers, fresh veggies, and herbs, but my luck with growing them myself has always been dismal.  I have plans to start a lil' baby garden once the temps here in Arizona are cooler than the surface of the sun!  For now, however, I have purchased these two little (supposedly) failsafe potted herbs and I am determined to succeed at gardening...so I will start slowly...on my counter!


My son loves to smell the basil plant!  Maybe he'll get the green thumb gene...


















A lot of my friends who have kids have told me a plant based diet wouldn't for their families because their children are picky eaters, or they just don't like veggies.  Some of them have told me their husbands or wives are just as picky!  No worries.  Eating a plant based, vegan diet doesn't have to mean only salads or boring, flavorless meals.  Even carnivores can be fooled by just how much good plant-based nutrition is in a dish, if you play your spatulas right!

My son's dinner from a few nights ago...Vegan Apple Sage sausages (he calls them "hot dogs"...I let him think they are!), salad with sunflower seeds and vegan ranch, and blueberries (aka "blues").

You can always substitute a vegan alternative for family favs, like I did with my son's "hot dogs" above.  However, if your family finds totally new foods on their plates too over-the-top, try adding in veggies and healthy extras to something they already love.  For instance, in pastas, try mushrooms, peas, capers, or chopped or sliced zucchini.  In salads, you can add cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes, julienned carrots, cabbages, chopped fruits (my favs are apples and pears), nuts and seeds.  These are just a couple ideas.  Feel free to get creative and add, add, add!


I used a simplified version of this technique in my own lunch yesterday! The addition of peas, hemp seeds, and brown rice pasta, makes this super simple dish extra nutritious, and even more delicious!



Sneaky Tomato Pasta
*Makes four servings of pasta. 

Ingredients:
1 16oz bag brown rice pasta
1 jar vegan organic tomato sauce (check labels to ensure your fav sauce doesn't include milk or eggs..many do!)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp hemp seeds
salt and pepper, to taste



To Make: Prepare pasta according to package directions, ensuring you do not over cook the pasta, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, add the sauce, peas and hemp seeds to a small sauce pan.  Once heated through, taste and adjust flavor with salt and pepper.  Note: Hemp seeds have a unique flavor.  If you care for it, add a bit more!  Combine the sauce and noodles.  Serve with a salad and your favorite sprouted bread.

Qualms about using jarred sauces?  Feel free to make your own!  I find using a jarred organic vegan sauce really cuts down on cook time during the work week, and allows me to serve my family something better than an entire pre-made meal! =)


Well, aren't you sneaky sneaky!  You just got your family to eat a vegan meal loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they thought they were just having spaghetti! Mwuahahaha!  Mom-1 Family-1 (everyone wins when you eat healthy, duh. OK, that one was a bit much.  You get the idea.)

**Note** If you also happen to have a new basil plant, feel free to chop some fresh basil and add it to your dish.  Ahhmazing! =)






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