Traditional Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

While Liz likes to drink her spinach, I like to take mine as a salad for lunch. Spinach salads pack more of a nutritional punch than lettuce because not only is spinach high in iron, but it also is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. As a member of the dirty dozen list, it is recommended that you buy organic spinach. Additionally, if you can get it locally, you are less likely to have to worry about national recalls.

Spinach Salad

This spinach salad is based off of the traditional spinach salad, with a few adjustments. Start with some organic spinach. Sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella. Add a little protein with it with a local, free-range hard-boiled egg. Next add some sliced crimini mushrooms. (I get mine locally from Homestead Growers, via Farm Fresh Delivery). Crimini Mushrooms are very flavorful and have more nutrients than the common white button mushroom.

For dressing, skip the typical Ranch Dressing that is usually served with this salad, and opt for a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead.

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on March 18, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

What Kind of Green Are You Having Today?

Swiss Chard

Would you believe that I put the entire pile of swiss chard and kale pictured above in a smoothie this morning for breakfast? Yep, just that, blended with a little water, a banana and a half, and some fresh mint leaves for a delicious “green smoothie” breakfast. Why? Well, while many people will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, I decided to do a different kind of green this year – a 3 day Green Smoothie Queen Challenge.

The Green Smoothie Queen Challenge is the brainchild of two wildly creative ladies who call themselves the Raw Divas. The purpose is to get into the habit of eating more leafy greens by incorporating them into smoothies. Because who doesn’t like a smoothie? Greens are fairly absent in most people’s diets but are actually an amazing source of not only vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as Calcium, but fiber and even protein too. And, according to the Divas, they are wonderfully energizing. The rules are simple: commit to just 3 days and replace just breakfast with smoothie or go all day.

After only signing up last Thursday the Raw Divas have already sent me a few encouraging emails complete with tips, recipes and a shopping list to get me prepped. Similar to my Banana Fudgie Sludgie, these smoothies incorporate fruits (to assist in the flavor department) with a big bunch of any of the typical leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, celery and even parsley. The smoothies make a wonderful vehicle for getting all the benefits of leafy greens with little digestive work, which leaves you with leftover energy and lots of fresh little nutrients going to work in your body.

Get on the Raw Divas’ mailing list if you want to participate in the next challenge. Until then, try the Banana Fudgie Sludgie or some of these green smoothie ideas. Play with different greens and fruits and adjust the ratios to suit your liking, as it’s really just a concoction of a little bit of water, fruit and lots of leafy greens. I’d love to hear about what you come up with!

Posted in Chew On This,Recipes by Liz on March 17, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

From The (Grocer’s) Freezer

Frozen Patties

Making your own veggie burgers is great, but let’s face it — sometimes you just want to open the freezer and make something fast. More and more brands and varieties of veggie burgers are gracing our grocer’s freezer, and it is an easy and healthy way to go meatless for a meal. Below are a few of our favorites.

Rhaya’s Picks

LocalFolks Foods Mushroom Patties
As I previously mentioned, this mushroom patties are DELICIOUS, and they get bonus points for being made from local mushrooms (if you live in Indiana). If you live in Indy, check this list to see where you can pick some up. (I get mine from Farm Fresh Delivery)

Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger
I like to eat this burger more like one would eat a burrito. I wrap it in a tortilla, and top it with cheese, tomato, salsa and sour cream.

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Marsala Burger
This burger is unique take on the veggie burger, this one is made “with Authentic Indian Spices” and tastes great topped with Mango Chutney.

Gardenburger: The Original
For a good old-fashioned veggie burger, my pick is the Gardenburger Original. Unlike other brands, this patty is not meant to taste like a hamburger… is it meant to taste just like the veggie burger it is.

Liz’s Picks

LightLife Mushroom Burgers
I really like the texture and flavor of these patties which are predominately made up of brown rice, oats and shiitake mushrooms. I’ve even been know to bring these to cookouts of friends to have the grill master throw it on alongside the typical meat based patties.

Amy’s Kitchen California Veggie Burger
A wonderful hearty flavor coming from bulgur, chuncks of veggies and walnuts. Throw it on a whole grain bun, add some avocado and you’ve got a meal.

Posted in At The Market by Rhaya on March 14, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

The “Raw” Burger

“Raw” Burger

No, it’s not raw meat, we said this was veggie burger week after-all, but this burger is “raw” because it has not been cooked over 118 degrees.  You may have already heard of the raw foods diet, in fact, a book that I picked up a little over a year ago about this type of diet was part of the inspiration behind this site.   

A raw foodie’s diet is typically a vegan diet consisting of uncooked fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and various super-foods like goji berries.  It’s based on the idea that by not cooking food beyond a certain temperature, the enzymes and all the other good stuff in these foods remain “alive” and are better suited to nourish your body in this state.  Thus, raw recipes that are designed to mimic the traditional favorite cooked foods like the burger pictured above will usually call for a dehydrator instead of an oven to achieve a “cooked” texture in order to avoid actually having to cook the food.

This recipe is straight from one of my favorite raw food cookbooks, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen (this burger is pictured on the cover) by Ani Phyo, which has tons of simple, tasty raw creations that I have been experimenting with over the past year like this one.   But this was my first attempt at her “Sun Burgers” which came pretty well and tasted even better after dehydrating for about three hours.  Phyo also lists in the book a raw Sesame Sunflower Bread recipe for the bun and even has a raw ketchup and mustard!   

Ani’s Sun Burgers
from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen 

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped, about 3/4 cup
1/4 c yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c red bell peppers, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. oregano, fresh or dried
1 c sunflower seeds, ground
1/2 c flax seeds, ground
1/2 c water

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, adding the water last.  Form four balls and flatten into the burger patty shape.  You can enjoy as is or dehydrate for about three hours.

My only complaint is that the bread recipe she suggested for the bun was made up of predominately the same ingredients (but in different amounts) which made the Sun Burger and the bread a bit overwhelming together.  Next time I would either find a new “bun” recipe, make it an open face burger with a portobella mushroom cap or I would crumble it up over a salad. 

Posted in Recipes by Liz on March 13, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

The Burger as a Bun

Liz’s 101 Burger

I have to admit that I am not as well-versed in my veggie burgers as Rhaya.  But thanks to Amanda from Pasdena, CA, who sent us a link to a recipe she loves for black lentil burgers, I stumbled upon the recipe for the burgers pictured above on the same wonderful food blog by Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Cooking.  

This ”Ultimate Veggie Burger“ is made up of fiber-rich chickpeas, eggs, onion, cilantro, micro-sprouts, lemon zest and breadcrumbs.  But the fun part about Heidi’s take on the veggie burger is that the “patty” actually becomes the bun that you can stuff with lots of great fillings like avocado, tomato, grilled veggies, or you name it.  

I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it to the letter. However, I ended up making my patties a little too thick to be even close to as pretty as those pictured along with the original recipe.  But I will definately be making these again, they were delicious!  I thought the hint of lemon zest made the burger which tasted wonderful with the avocado slices and a sprinkling of cayenne I stuffed in the middle.

Posted in Recipes by Liz on March 12, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Bulgur & Black Bean Burgers

Bulgur and Black Bean Burgers

I was intrigued when I first saw this Bulgur Burger recipe on the The Daily Green because I had never heard of bulgur before. It turns out that bulgur is a form of whole wheat that is more nutritious than rice or couscous, easy to cook, and sold in bulk at Whole Foods.

I decided to give it a go and moderated the recipe as usual (meaning that I skipped out on some of the ingredients, and cut the entire portion in half). The allspice flavor definitely comes through on these burgers, so make sure you substitute it out if you are not an allspice fan.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup organic course bulgur
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon organic plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Boil water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low; stir in bulgur; cover and simmer for about 5 minutes (or until water is absorbed). Meanwhile, mash the black beans with the yogurt. Add in the bulgur and allspice and form into patties. Heat the burgers in a skillet on medium heat, turning once until lightly browned.

We ate ours on spelt buns with lettuce and tomato. The Daily Green also recommends topping it with a cucumber-mint-yogurt blend.

Posted in Recipes by Rhaya on March 11, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Lentil Burgers

Lentil Burger Ingredients

This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Allison, and like her oatmeal, I think her homemade veggie burgers are the best I have ever tasted. When I asked her for the recipe, she said that no two veggie burgers she made were ever the same, and instead just gave me the list of ingredients and left me to fend for myself on quantities of each. Lentils are the main ingredient in this recipe, which make these burgers high in fiber and a good source of protein (about 9 grams per half cup).

Below is the mixture I used, and it made six patties. As Allison said, the quantities of each ingredient are really up to you, but the real trick is getting the patties to stick together (the egg helps tremendously). Adding a slice of cheese on top also does the trick.

1 cup cooked lentils
4 oz tofu
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup oats
2 small eggs
onions *
cilantro *
minced garlic *

* to taste

Mix the above ingredients and form into patties. Cook the patties on the stove top, on medium heat, in a pan with generous amounts of olive oil. Wait as long as possible to flip the patty the first time, to reduce the chances of it falling apart when you do.

Once finished, serve the patties as you would a traditional hamburger. We topped ours with lettuce and tomato and ate them on toasted spelt buns.

Posted in Recipes by Rhaya on March 10, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Veggie Burger Week


Last weekend I was in Atlanta. The sun was shining, temperatures were pushing 80 degrees, and people were grilling out. Meanwhile, back in Indiana, temperatures were dropping and by midweek, the grill was covered in ice. This time of year, it seems that everyone is ready for spring, and one healthy way is to ward of winter blues is to celebrate one of the foods of summer: The Veggie Burger (no grill required).

So we are declaring next week, Veggie Burger Week, at, and will be devoting the entire week to the beloved veggie burger. Check back for recipes as well as information about unique ingredients. And if you have an original recipe of your own, send it our way and we will consider it for the site.

Posted in Green-Lemonade News by Rhaya on March 7, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Alternative Application


So you’ve cut out the creepy cosmetics, and replaced them with better alternatives, but what about the brushes you use to apply them? Thanks to Paris Presents ecoTOOLS, you can now pick up an environmentally-friendly option at your local Walgreens (and other locations).

The ecoTOOLS makeup brushes are made with animal-free bristles and bamboo handles. Even the metallic ferrule is made from recycled aluminum cans. Additionally, if you get the 5-piece set, it comes in a reusable natural cotton and hemp case.

If your local Walgreens doesn’t have any in stock, you can do as I did, and ask for the manager to order a set next time they receive a delivery. Not only will you save yourself shipping and handling fees, but your also saving the additional packaging materials and gas (from the delivery truck) for the individual item to be delivered to your home.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on March 6, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Creepy Cosmetic Chemicals

Cruddy Cosmetics

What’s in lurking in your bathroom? Surprisingly, many of the ingredients in our everyday cosmetic products from shampoos to deodorants, make-up to sunscreen, are not as regulated by the FDA as one would hope. And considering just how many of these products we use on a daily basis (some estimates are around 15 per day for some women), we may just be lathering up our largest organ, the skin, with numerous toxins putting ourselves at risk for various health problems like skin irritations. Not to mention the harmful impact on wildlife as all of these products are washed down the drain every day.

As we’ve mentioned before, the Environmental Working Group has created this fascinating database, Skin Deep, to help consumers may educated purchases when it comes to our beauty products. Here’s their list of the top ingredients to avoid in cosmetics and personal care products:

  • Placenta
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Fragrance
  • Animal Parts
  • Hydroquinone Skin Lightener
  • Nanoparticles
  • Phthalates
  • Petroleum Byproducts

To read more about each of these products and to find out where they may be hiding, check this out and make sure you read this article.

So to reduce your risk, opt for natural products made from plants and minerals (check out some of the products here for a start), check the database for low hazard items, or even try making your own.

Posted in Living Green by Liz on March 5, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

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