My Inspiration!





Ever get stuck in a rut with what to make for dinner? Do you wonder how a vegan diet affects iron levels or a pregnancy? I know I do! 

So today I thought I'd share some of my favorite sites, blogs, and channels with you! These are excellent resources for the Why, What, and How of a healthy vegan diet. 

So go ahead, sit down with a tall banana smoothie, and explore these sites. Let me know what are your favorite vegan resources to go to in the comments below!
Enjoy!

– Hummingbird



The Why (science, studies, biology sources)







The What (recipe blogs that inspire me)*









The How (lifestyle tips and inspiration)






*I normally use these recipes as only a guide. Typically, I change the ingredients (like gluten, yeast, soy, etc.) to what I'm not allergic to or what I feel comfortable eating. If any recipes call for oil or salt, I usually omit or replace that as well.






 

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup



Who doesn't love to cozy up with a warm bowl of soup on a chilly fall day?
Take advantage of the winter squash at the farmers markets and local markets and prepare a batch of this stuff in all its golden glory! :D

Printable Recipe

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 can of lite coconut milk (culinary coconut milk, not the kind that comes in the carton), (opt.)
  • 1/2 - 1 sweet onion OR about 3/4 c. green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 t yellow curry (the kind that smells a little sweet)
  • pinch of cumin
  • onion powder, to taste (1-2 T.)
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2-5 c. purified water
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro



My preferred method of roasting butternut squash: 
-- Preheat oven to 450F. Peel and deseed squash and chop into about 1-2 in. pieces. Spread out into 1 layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 min. till fork tender.


  1. While squash is roasting, sauté onion in a 5 qt. pot with a few T. of water till translucent. 
  2. Place sautéed onion, curry, cumin, onion powder, 2 c. of water, and lime juice in Vitamix or other high speed blender. Start blending on low and work up to the highest speed. Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency. Blend till smooth and thick and creamy. If you have a lot of squash, blend in 2 or more batches.
  3. Pour blended soup back into a 5 qt. pot and heat on Med. to Med./Low (depending on your stove). Add chopped fresh cilantro and adjust other seasonings as desired, stirring occasionally. Serve when desired flavor is reached. Enjoy!


Tips:
- Careful to not add too much lime. I find that 1/2 a lime works well even if the recipe is doubled.
-Don't have butternut squash? Substitute the squash for about 3lb. of sweet potatoes or steamed carrots for a delicious new twist on this recipe!
- I love this soup served over freshly steamed white rice and steamed vegetables and romaine lettuce leaves to dip!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Like, share, and comment below to let me know what you think! :)


-Hummingbird



 

Sushi Fest!


I love veggie sushi!

Mine may not be the prettiest, but it tastes like AWESOMENESS!!!

Outside: Short grain white rice and organic nori
Inside: Red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, green onion, zucchini
Dip: Freshly squeezed lemon juice, powdered ginger, red pepper flakes (opt.)

Amazing!!! :D


– Hummingbird


 

Don't Miss These 5 Necessary Parts of a Healthy Lifestyle!!



Trying to feel healthier, but seem to be hitting a plateau? Watch my video to see how you might improve in 5 Parts of a Healthy Lifestyle!

You may think you are healthy if you exercise or if you have a healthy diet, but health is a lifestyle and it's MORE than just diet and exercise.

Watch my video for the 5 Parts of a Healthy Lifestyle!

**Please Like, Share, and Comment!!**




Interested in learning more about nutrition and health? Stay up to date by subscribing with your email, and don't forget to "Like" my Facebook page! Also, check me out on my new YouTube channel!

–Hummingbird


 

Protein - Part 2!!



Here's "What About Protein??" Part 2!
Thanks so much for the feedback, y'all! It means a lot. ^_^

**Click this link if you're on a mobile device or can't see the video below: Part 2 of "What About Protein??"


Find the corresponding blog post here!

Stay up to date by subscribing to my email, and don't forget to "Like" my Facebook page!
Also, check me out on my new YouTube channel!

–Hummingbird


 

My First Youtube Video!!



Hi Everyone!! 

In case you missed my earlier blog post about protein, here's a video with information you need to know about protein. 

**Click this link if you're on a mobile device or you can't see the video below: Part 1 of "What About Protein??"

Please let me know how you liked it and any ideas you have for more videos!





Interested in learning more about nutrition and health? Stay up to date by subscribing to my email, and don't forget to "Like" my Facebook page! Also, check me out on my new YouTube channel!

–Hummingbird


 

3 Course Dinner!!




What do you make for your family that you know they will ALL enjoy? How about some good ol' southern cookin'! And a healthier version at that! :D

This past Valentine's Day I wanted to make something special for my husband. So I planned out a 3 course dinner, and it was SO delicious!! My husband loved it so much he ate 4 plates of it all! You'd think I was starving the man! ha! :P


First Course




Organic Baby Greens with Balsamic Raisin Vinaigrette

  • 1 package of Organic Baby Greens of your choice
  • 1 c. Freshly Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 recipe of Balsamic Raisin Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  1. Place baby greens in salad bowl. Top with a small handful of shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers. Drizzle Balsamic Raisin Vinaigrette on top, then sprinkle with some chopped green onion.

Balsamic Raisin Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins*
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Chia seeds
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until liquified. Pour into a storage container and refrigerate until thickened slightly. Stir or shake well before using.
*If you’re not using a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, you will want to soak the raisins in the water till plump before blending.



Second Course




Printable Recipe

Roasted Asparagus and Pearl Potatoes

  • 1 bag of baby pearl potatoes, about 10 ounces, wash and scrub well
  • 1 bag of frozen roasted or grilled asparagus (I found some at Trader Joes)
  • 1 very small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup fat-free balsamic vinaigrette, such as my Balsamic-Raisin Dressing
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 T. coconut sugar
  1. Steam pearl potatoes for about 10 minutes. Add asparagus and onion and steam for another 10 minutes or until all veggies are tender.
  2. Place veggies in large bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.

Third Course






Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers


  • 1 1/2 pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled (about 3 medium sized potatoes)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (divided 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 2 tablespoons natural tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less, depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend

Toppings: 

  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 T. coconut sugar
  • 2 T. + water
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Organic ketchup 
  • Organic Dijon mustard

  1. Steam the peeled sweet potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes). 
  2. Place the sweet potatoes into a food processor. Add HALF of the rinsed/drained black beans, along with the tahini, garlic, and all the spices. Process briefly until everything is combined and the potatoes are mashed. (Or you can do this in a bowl with a potato masher.)
  3. Scoop the potato mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining black beans, onions, green pepper, and corn meal. Stir well to combine. Add the gluten free flour and stir well to make sure that it’s distributed evenly. The mixture should be very thick and not too wet; if it seems wet, add a little more corn meal or gluten free flour to get a very heavy “dough.” Set aside while you preheat your oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Form the mixture into 10-12 burgers, using 1/3-1/2 cup per burger. I made mine about 1/2 - 1 inch thick. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until outside is firm and brown but center is still a little soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before removing from pan.
  5. To make the toppings: Sauté the sliced mushrooms and onions till tender with the water and coconut sugar in a pan on Medium heat (about 3 minutes). Set aside for topping.
**Note: I normally would simply wrap the burger in Romaine lettuce leaves, but I found some low fat vegan rolls without gluten or yeast in the ingredients by Sami's Bakery. Though the label warns that it's processed on shared equipment. For those really sensitive to gluten or yeast, I recommend sticking with the lettuce wrap or a warmed brown rice tortilla.



Smoky Apple Baked Beans

  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 3 15-ounce cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (or 1 4-ounce can of tomato paste and 4-ounces of water)
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped OR 3-4 T coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or chili powder
  • 2-4 T. coconut sugar, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a couple tablespoons of water. When water starts to sizzle, add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften adding water when needed (this helps keep it from sticking). Add bell pepper and minced garlic to the pan and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple and cook for another minute. Add the beans and remove from heat.
  2. Combine tomato sauce and all remaining ingredients in blender. Blend at high speed until the dates are completely smooth. Pour this sauce into the onion and beans, and stir well. Spoon mixture into a large non-metal, lightly-oiled baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. It comes out piping hot, so be careful! Enjoy!

My second plate

Enjoy!





– Hummingbird

 

Strawberry Dream Fruit Dip (Perfect for Valentine's Day!)


This is by far my most requested recipe! Whenever there is a potluck, party, or any kind of get-together, I'm always asked, "Hey! Can you bring that strawberry fruit dip? It's delicious!"

In fact, this last party I was invited to, I was pretty much told to not bother coming without the dip because they'd be sorely disappointed and hurt if I came without it. Well....maybe that's not exactly what they meant... ;)

But, seriously... IT'S JUST THAT GOOD!!! ^_^

Men, women, and children have all told me how delicious it is! Which makes me so happy because I LOVE sharing healthy food that makes people happy!

Now, you might be thinking, "How can anything be that delicious if it's not coated in chocolate?!" Well, my friend, can I venture to say that not only is this MORE delicious than chocolate, but it's healthier too? Because it is! :D

I've seen two main reactions. After the first bite, little fireworks go off in your brain and intense happiness overwhelms you. You're then either so elated that girlish squeals are intermittently heard between "OH MY WORD!" and "This is the best stuff EVER!!", OR as your eyes begin to light up you spontaneously slam your fist down and loudly declare that this is the best elixir to hit planet earth since ever!

Now I'm sure you would like to enjoy such happiness, so I will share my much demanded recipe below.

Please comment, like, and share to spread the love! <3




  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 bag frozen organic strawberries
  • 1/2 - 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t dried organic beet powder (optional)*
  • 1/2 t vanilla powder (optional)
  • 1/2 -1 c water** 



  1. Put all ingredients except water into your Vitamix or blender. 
  2. Add only 1/2 cup of water and blend on high. If using a Vitamix, use the included plunger to help it blend. If you're using a regular blender, you'll have to stop the blender and scrape the sides with a spoon or rubber spatula. Add more water if mixture is too thick. I like mine the consistency of a thick and creamy sauce or dressing. Enjoy!




*Dried organic beet powder gives it an intense pink color, perfect for Valentine's Day! Don't use too much or it will give it too much of an earthy flavor. Just a pinch intensifies the color without changing the flavor.

**Just fill the Vitamix half way to the top of the dates with water. If your dates are dry, then soak them for a few hours by covering them just enough with water. Then use that date water for the dip which will be sweeter than plain water.

How to Use:

USE WITH CAUTION! If this recipe gets in the wrong hands, then rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns will take over the world! 
Ha! no, I'm just kidding. (In case you couldn't tell.) ;)

You can actually use it liberally! Just take a look at the nutritional profile for the entire recipe! ⬇︎
nutrition data from MyFitnessPal app

Full of healthy sugars and fiber, potassium, vitamins, and minerals! That's what we want in good food. We don't want lots of hard-to-digest fats and proteins or lots of water-retaining salt.

Good, clean fruit is where it's at!

Here's some ways I like to use my Strawberry Dream Fruit Dip:
  • Dip sliced apples, strawberries, or bananas
  • Chop apples, berries, and bananas, pour on the dip, and mix for an on-the-go fruit salad
  • Use dip as a topping for banana ice cream made with Yonanas
  • Add some more water, blend, and drink up a delicious smoothie!


– Hummingbird