Eggless Eggs Still on the Menu

Even with news of chicken eggs back on the cool list, Eggless Eggs are still a family favorite, a hometown staple, and a great way to enter into tofu addiction — no matter if they’re stuffed into a burrito, alongside toast, or eaten solo by the Paleos. Make a big batch on the weekend and choose your method of delivery on the day of. To breakfast! (Or dinner!)

Eggless Eggs with Whole Grain Toast, Orange Wedges, and Fruit Juice

Eggless Eggs with Whole Grain Toast, Orange Wedges, and Fruit Juice

Eggless Eggs
Makes 4 servings
Prep and cooking time 20 minutes

Searching for scrambled eggs without all the fat and cholesterol? Take this creation out for a spin, and you’ll find yourself singing its praises from the hilltops. Serve with fresh fruit and toasted 100% Whole Grain Fiber Bread. Compared to a 2-egg omelet, a serving of Eggless Eggs has 150 fewer calories, 11 fewer grams of fat, 450 fewer milligrams of cholesterol, and 2 more grams of fiber. Eggs never tasted so good.

1 (15-oz) block extra firm tofu
2 tsp olive oil
1 green onion, or 1 Tbsp diced onion
½ red bell pepper, diced (preferably organic)
½ green bell pepper, diced (preferably organic)
1 medium carrot, diced
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp turmeric (optional, makes the “eggs” yellow)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

1 Press Tofu: Place 6 paper towels on the counter. Drain tofu from package. Place block of tofu on the paper towels. Place a cutting board or baking sheet on top of tofu. Place 2 or 3 cans of beans or similar weight on top of the cutting board, and let sit for at least 15 minutes. This process gets excess water out of the tofu, allowing it space to soak in other incredible flavors.

2 Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté veggies, spices, and salt until tender, about 5 minutes.

3 Crumble tofu into the skillet; continue to cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

4 Serve warm topped with black pepper and hot sauce if desired.

5 Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Per serving: 161 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 15.5 g protein, 3% vitamin A, 54% vitamin C, 19.5% calcium, 13.5% iron

Watermelon Protein Cooler

Well hello! I fell of the earth for a bit and finally founnd my way back. Phew! And when I say “fell off the earth,” I really mean I’ve been tackling an enormous pre-baby-#4 to-do list (baby due in 3 weeks). Thankfully, I finally reached item #47: Post something new on! And here it is. A standby since watermelons have appeared at CostCo, and a creative way to get more watermelons in your life if you’re tackling high blood pressure (new research here).

watermelon smoothie

Watermelon Protein Cooler
Serves 3 (or 1 very thirsty pregnant lady!)

4 cups watermelon chunks (about 430 grams)
12 frozen strawberries (or 12 fresh strawberries, stems removed, plus 1 cup ice)
2 tsp lime juice (fresh is best!)
8 ounces almond milk, hemp milk, or other non-dairy milk
1 scoop protein powder of choice (I like Plant Fusion vanilla)

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Each serving has 121 calories, 18 g carbs, and 9 g protein.

See you sooner than later. Cheers! xoxo

Cholesterol-Lowering Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for Breakfast

Cookies for Breakfast

You’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, so why not cookies for breakfast? This life is worth LIVING, people!

Inspiration for this creation: 1) Everyone’s cholesterol is high, especially the LDL (“Lousy”) one, 2) No one has time for breakfast, and 3) People want to eat cookies constantly.

Happy to help! I’m a People too. Introducing the Cholesterol-Lowering* Breakfast Power Cookie. It’s got bran flakes!, chia seeds which are massively rich in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, and oats which are moderately rich in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.

If you need a refresher on the 5 easy tips for lowering your cholesterol, soluble fiber is harder to find in the diet — it’s only in oats, flax, chia seeds, beans, lentils, and berries. It works like this:

Soluble fiber reduces the amount of bile reabsorbed in the intestines. The liver (aka ‘bile maker’) freaks out and snatches LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream to make more bile salts. Down goes your LDL cholesterol, and the party starts. Take home message: Eat more chia seeds,  flax seeds, oats, beans, lentils, and berries and you may have much healthier arteries.

As a side note: You should also eat lots of INSOLUBLE fiber found in veggies and fruit skins because without it, your poops won’t be as plump and won’t be able to carpool out as much bile. Although I love both, a lot less bile fits in a mini-Cooper than a mini-van. Bile can get reabsorbed into your bloodstream through your intestines and there’ll be very little effect on your LDL cholesterol.

Cholesterol-Lowering* Breakfast Power Cookie
Don’t be turned off by the list of 15 ingredients. Most of them are in your pantry.
Makes 13 cookies

1/2 cup chia seeds (or ground flax seed meal if you must)
1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup bran flakes
1/4 cup sugar (optional, or use 1/4 cup of calorie-free sweetener)
2 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (optional) 
1/3 cup (40g) dried cranberries or raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, soak chia seeds in milk for 5 minutes. Add remaining wet ingredients and let sit until dry ingredients are mixed. 

3. In a separate and larger bowl, combine dry ingredients minus the coconut (if using) and the dried cranberries. 

4. Add wet to dry, stir to combine, and then stir in coconut and cranberries. 

5. Form into 1 1/2-inch round patties, and place on a cookie sheet with about 1 inch between cookies. Press down slightly with a fork to flatten.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before removing with a metal spatula. 

Nutrition info per cookie including sugar and coconut (2 cookies recommended for a complete breakfast meal): 176 calories, 9.5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrate (6 g sugar), 4.5 g fiber, 4 g protein, 6% calcium, 9% iron.

*Please don’t come find me if your cholesterol doesn’t go down after 3 months of eating these cookies. There’s no guarantee, but the research looks quite promising, and why not give them a shot?*

Superbowl Pant Survival

Of course YOU will survive the Superbowl, but what about your pants? Will they have to take a temporary hiatus in the back of the closet after tonight? To the snackinizer! Here are consumptionaries that will keep your lower half in it’s post-holiday / pre-Superbowl position:

1. Polenta Stuffed Mini Peppers (gluten-free)


2. Guacamame (gluten-free)


3. Fiery Cashew Dip  (gluten-free)


4. Veggie Pupusas (gluten-free)


5. Any of these Meatless Meats, given high marks by meat lovers

6. No Fant Pants Nachos (gluten-free)

7. Hot Pants Cornbread


8. Vegan Hot Wings

9. Quick & Easy Veggie Chili

10. Creamy Spinach Dip (video)

Happy chowing!


As a child, 1982 was the year I yearned for a Chia Pet. I wanted the ram. I didn’t even know what a ram was, but I wanted it. It was the commercial that won my heart, with it’s catchy tune and fancy time-lapsed photography. Who knew that 30 years later, Dr. Oz’s team and even (one of my favorites) would be all over their nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds (‘chia’ is actually Mayan for “strength”)–which were used widely by the Mayans and Aztecs as early as 3500 BC to increase stamina and energy–are a SUPER superfood because they have a crazy high amount of nutrients for a crazy low amount of calories. And unlike chia’s friend the flax seed (also a Super), they don’t have to be ground to reap the benefits.

Chia seeds are high in:

  • Soluble fiber: the one responsible for lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, filling you up, and keeping you full for a scarily long amount of time. It absorbs 12 times its own weight in 5 minutes. Take THAT, “Grow Your Own Boyfriend“!
  • Calcium: 16% of your daily requirement per ounce (2 tablespoons), which is 3 times the amount you’ll get from dairy foods
  • Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s: Chia is a more concentrated source of skin- and heart-healthy essential fatty acids than salmon
  • Protein: 6 grams per ounce (2 tablespoons)–that’s similar to meat, but it’s a seed!

So how do you eat them? How DON’T you eat them is more the question! You can literally toss a tablespoon or two into anything. They’re tasteless and simply contribute a fun, crunchy texture to your food. Here, I added them to a dessert and a pina-colada-type smoothie with only positive feedback. Here are 40 more ideas. Chia Cheers!

Chia Blondie Ingredients

Chia Blondies
Makes 16 small squares or 9 large squares

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 flaxseed meal
1/2 cup filtered water
1 15.5-ounce Trader Joe’s Blondie Bar Baking Mix (or other blondie or brownie mix that bakes in a 9″ X 9″ pan)
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance margarine
1 medium zucchini squash (green or yellow), shredded
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak chia seeds and flaxseed meal in water in a medium bowl for 5 minutes, until a thick gel forms.

Stir remaining ingredients into chia flax mixture until well mixed.

Spread mixture into a lightly greased 8- or 9-inch square or round baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Feel your cholesterol dissolving, one bite at a time.

Chia Blondies, made with green zucchini

Nutrition Info Per Small Square (1/16th of recipe): 178 calories, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 232 mg sodium, 39 mg potassium, 22.5 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 13.3 g sugar, 2 g protein, 5% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 6% iron.

Nutrition Info Per Large Square (1/9th of recipe): 317 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 412 mg sodium, 68 mg potassium, 40 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 23.5 g sugar, 4 g protein, 10% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 10% iron.

What the critics said:
Bitchin’ Husband: “If I have a second, will my hair grow green?” (Ha ha, Funnyman)
6-Year-Old Daughter: “Two more please!”
4-Year-Old Son: “Mom! You never gave me dessert!” (Trying to get another)
2-Year-Old Son: “I not like this.” Two minutes later: “Why you eat my dessert?!?!”

Chia Colada

Chia Colada
Makes 3 1-cup servings

Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, & help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, & promote heart health. Salud!

¼ cup chia seeds soaked in ½ cup filtered water for 5 minutes
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 banana
2 cups refrigerated coconut milk
(or 1 cup canned coconut milk plus 1 cup water)

Blend and do the hat dance.

Nutrition Info Per 1-cup Serving: 202 calories, 10 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 8 g protein, 11% vitamin A, 52% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 34% iron.

Eggless French Toast that Crushes It

French Toast for Gods and Goddesses

And we’re back! Apologies for the hiatus…  Life got hyperbusy in selling and then buying a new house. ‘Tis tough to sell and then refind the perfect bitchin’ kitchen!

So this recipe has become a twice-a-week staple chez “under contract.” It’s from SKINNY DISH!, but if you don’t have the book, you have got to at least have this one in your arsenal. French toast was originally created as a way to revive old, stale bread (more on its origin here), and I like to think that this cholesterol-free, soluble fiber-full version is not only effective in helping you conquer life with ease and grace, but also a way to revive old, stale breakfasts.

French Toast for Gods and Goddesses
Makes 6 slices (about 3 servings)
Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes

Traditional French toast can be loaded with calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, weighing you down as you’re taking names and organizing galaxies. Enjoy this cholesterol-free, lower-calorie version, and rule the universe with grace and ease. This recipe uses grapeseed oil for pan-frying because it has a high smoke point—meaning it takes a lot of heat for it to burn. You will add less oil and fewer calories to get the same crispy toast effect.

1 ¼ cups (10 oz) vanilla soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds), or Trader Joe’s (or other) Just Almond Meal
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
6 slices of whole wheat bread

1 Whisk milk, flour, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and sugar together in a mixing bowl until well-mixed. Pour into a pie dish, or 9-inch square or round baking pan.

2 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each slice of bread into the milk mixture on both sides and place in the skillet. Reduce heat to low, and cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes total, flipping every few minutes to prevent sticking.

3 Serve with pure maple syrup, agave nectar, powdered sugar, or nothing at all.

4 French Toast should be eaten immediately or can be frozen for up to 2 months and toasted for a quick breakfast or snack any time.

Per slice: 195 calories, 10 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 6 g protein, 2% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 10.5% calcium, 6% iron

Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten-free bread and almond meal in place of flour

Let’s have a toast for toast! 


Out-Of-Hand Nuts (and a few Seeds)

Unless you have an allergy (obvious, and more about why those are on the rise here), it’s time to pop some nuts into your mouth. A new study published in Nutrition Research concluded that even though nut enthusiasts generally have a higher overall calorie intake, 1/4-ounce or more per day of OOHN (Out-Of-Hand Nuts) meant better overall intake of healthy fats and fiber, and a lower intake of cholesterol, sodium, and sugary carbs. More OOHN also meant lower risk of high blood pressure and better “good” HDL cholesterol–both indicative of lower heart disease risk. And yes, the researchers coined the acronym for Out-Of-Hand Nuts, which literally means nuts that you eat out of your hand versus those stashed in cookies, bread, cakes, etc.

While OOHN lovers DID consume more calories than OOHN anti-lovers, the lovers generally had similar or lower Body Mass Indexes. Perhaps it’s all the calories burned tossing the nuts into one’s mouth. Have you had YOUR out-of-hand nuts today?

Lower Your Bad “LDL” Cholesterol in 5 Easy Steps

SKINNY DISH's "Stick With You Oatmeal"

1. Replace your eggs, bacon, or cold cereal with Stick With You Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal, or warm oat bran (like cream of wheat, only better at lowering your cholesterol). Add fruit for extra fun. Make this a permanent change.

2. Mound half your plate at lunch and dinner with veggies. Cooked, raw, both, low-fat, and the same one every meal if that’s how you like it. Just get half your plate to be naturally colorful twice a day. The bigger plate, the better.

3. Start taking 1000 milligrams of essential Omega-3 fatty acids daily. I prefer the algae-derived kind (like this one) since that’s where the fish get it, but any will work. The Omega-3’s are extra good at improving your blood lipid levels and lowering your heart disease risk, and they make your skin as soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom!

4. Replace eggs in baking with ground flaxseed meal (like the one made by Bob’s Red Mill, found at most grocery stores). Flaxseeds are not only rich in Omega-3’s, but–like oats–they’re high in soluble fiber which does quite a doozy at lowering bad cholesterol. For each egg in a recipe, use 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water for 5-10 minutes until a gel forms. Toss that gooey goodness into your recipe as you would an egg. You can also just ADD flaxseed meal to just about anything… smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, oat bran, and soy yogurt.

5. Enjoy beans or lentils as your “meaty” entrée as often as possible. They’re exploding with soluble fiber, but they also have zero cholesterol and saturated fat–you won’t be adding any bad guys to your system, and you’re stocking up on good guys. A double win! Make it a goal of getting 1 CUP of cooked beans or lentils daily. Tips here, including ways to make them less farty.

Give these changes a solid try for 3 months, and then get your cholesterol levels tested again. I expect to hear glowing reports!

Baked Oatmeal: Everyone’s Doing It

Photo by: Whole Foods Market

Now that about 12 unrelated people have asked me about baked oatmeal–and 1 of them even brought me a sample (yum!)–I decided to test it out for myself.

Oatmeal in itself (even the 1 1/2-minute-in-the-microwave-old-fashioned kind) can be too time-consuming in the morning (I know, what has our busy world come to?!). And as you smarties already know, oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain. Soluble Fiber is the champion at lowering bad LDL cholesterol. It works like this: Soluble fiber reduces the amount of bile reabsorbed in the intestines, which means more bile is excreted through bathroom activities. The liver panics and snatches LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream to make more bile salts. Down goes your LDL cholesterol number, and your doc starts smiling again. Take home message: Eat more oats. Capiche?

Now back to the recipe at hand. This version takes about 40 minutes and can be made on a Sunday night and packaged up to be inhaled while biking, walking, or sleep-walking to work. It pretty much feels like an indulgent coffee cake. Have it for dessert!

Modified from the original version on here, this one has less sugar and all the taste.

All-The-Rage Baked Oatmeal
Makes 8 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

3 Tbsp flaxseed meal (finely ground flax seeds)
1/4 cup warm filtered water
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk
2 Tbsp melted Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (preferably organic)
6 chopped fresh strawberries (preferably organic)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil an 8″ square or round baking pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal with the warm water until the mixture forms a gel (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the quick-cooking oats, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger. Set aside.  In another small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond milk and melted margarine. Add this to the dry ingredients, followed by the flax mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and strawberries until evenly distributed.

4. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cut into 8 squares and serve warm with almond milk or soy milk.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (including brown sugar): 219 calories, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 5.5 g protein, 1.5% vitamin A, 10.5% vitamin C, 13.5% calcium, 14% iron.

Leave the brown sugar out for an even lower sugar version. Enjoy this with herbal tea and more fruit for a high-powered way to start the day. Happy oat-ing!

Soda (Part Deux): Diet vs. Regular

Izze Soda

Guest Post by Daniela Baker

If you’re addicted to drinking soda, you’re certainly not alone. Soda cans and bottles hold more than twice as much as they did in 1950, and that extra soda really adds up. With the average American drinking more than fifty gallons of soda, energy drinks, and fruity drinks a year, it’s no wonder we struggle to figure out which is the better choice.

Unfortunately, we all know that drinking soda–whether diet or regular–isn’t the greatest choice for our health. But sometimes you may feel like you need a Coke or a Pepsi to get you through the day. In times of weakness, which is the better choice: diet or regular?

Your health

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the a single can of regular soda can run you up about 150 calories, mostly from the high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten it. Drinking just one can like this a day could help you pack on fifteen pounds over the course of a year. FIFTEEN POUNDS! Regular soda consumption boosts rates of obesity and diabetes, and regular consumption of regular soda is often a risk factor for heart disease. In Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study, women who drank two or more servings a day of sweet drinks had about a 40% increase in their risk for heart disease related death and heart attacks.

So what about diet soda?

In the short term, the Harvard School of Public Health says that switching from regular to diet soda can help with weight loss, since diet soda doesn’t influence blood sugar levels or come with lots of added calories. However, studies have shown that consuming artificial sugars can actually cause you to consume more overall calories compared to diets that contain regular sugar and no artificial sweeteners. This is because our brains are meant to link sweet tastes and calories, and they’ll help our bodies automatically adjust intake for caloric needs. When the link between sweetness and calories is cut, though, it seems that the hormones and chemicals in the brain that tell us when to stop eating can go haywire. And don’t forget the recent study linking diet soda consumption to heart problems. Crud!

Okay, so neither regular soda nor diet soda is good for your health. But as an occasional treat, neither one of them is going to harm you too much, either. If you’re really concerned about making healthy choices, though, which one should you choose to have as a treat once in a while?

The verdict

An occasional diet soda is OK, and if you absolutely have to choose between diet and regular (meaning you’re actually going to die without one or the other, and the only options around are in a vending machine), then diet is *probably* better (Harvard says diet is better on occasion, and on account of the obesity epidemic).

HOWEVER, try to avoid getting in the “diet or regular” situation. Keep a stockpile of Izze sodas (made from sparkling juice, containing no refined sugars, preservatives, caffeine, or artificial anything) and seltzer water on hand to satisfy your bubbly needs. Or, mix seltzer with fruit wedges or fruit juice for a refreshing and actually nutritious beverage. All of these healthy options can help you wean yourself off of regular soda, and don’t add up to too many extra calories in your day. Look into the SodaStream for seltzering water at home. Save bottles, $$, and impress your friends! It costs about $100 plus the $15 carbon dioxide cartridge every 60 to 130 liters.

Daniela Baker is a health- and fitness-conscious mother of two who is passionate about overthrowing the standard American diet by teaching others how to cook healthy, home-cooked meals and trade their couch potato lifestyles for more active ones. She loves spending time outdoors with her crazy canine and two very active kids, and works hard to set a good example for her family by making healthy food and lifestyle choices.