Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tempeh Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, and Avocado Sandwiches TTLA

Whole Foods created a sandwich that became a viral sensation -- the Tempeh Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, and Avocado or TTLA, which is, of course, a spin on the BLT--bacon, lettuce and tomato. Lightlife makes the best tempeh bacon I've ever had. It is smoky, salty, and delicious. I may have just eaten out of the package at one time.

Lightlife recently contacted me and asked if I would make my own version. I'd be happy to! This sandwich is one of my go-to's, so how can I spin this to make it different?

I started with the bread. Instead of using ciabatta, I went with a hearty sandwich bread from Alvarado Street Bakery--the sprouted whole wheat. I toasted it lightly, then added some Organic Vegenaise to one side, fried the tempeh bacon or "Fakin' Bacon" as they call it, and layered it on the bread, then topped it with lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and avocado. Lastly, to give it a kick, I put Jeff's Naturals sliced golden Greek Peperoncini on top.

It was exploding with flavor! All of these ingredients really make for an irresistible sandwich that you don't even want to put down. I gobbled it up in just a few minutes and wanted more.

Seriously, you have to try this. Lightlife has won the fakin' bacon contest for sure with a delicious product seasoned just right.

Full Disclosure: Although the ingredients were provided to me at no cost to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Green Sprout, Atlanta

In search of a vegan restaurant in Atlanta that I'd never been before, I came across Green Sprout. This vegan Chinese restaurant has been in business in Atlanta since 2003 and was one of the only veg restaurants open on a Monday, so I headed over.

On this early Monday evening, there was no one in the dining room. I took a seat at a booth and perused the menu. The decor was typical for a Chinese restaurant--simple with shiny tables and chairs.

I started with steamed dumplings filled with bok choy, carrot, and soy protein. They were okay, but the sauce was nothing special and, therefore, the appetizer wasn't anything special.

For my entree, I went with one of their most popular entrees--the Empire Soy "Chicken." Crispy soy "chicken," broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, and mushrooms were cooked in a ginger brown sauce and served with brown rice. I asked for spicy, but it wasn't spicy at all. It was pretty plain in general.

The entree was $15, which, for what it was, seemed a bit pricey. The service was fine--as I was the only patron, they were attentive to my needs. But, all in all, I left underwhelmed. As the whole menu is vegan, perhaps there are other items that are tastier than what I ordered.

Green Sprout
1529 Piedmont Avenue, Suite D
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 874-7373

Green Sprout Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Superfood Soups - Cookbook Review

Superfood Soups by Julie Morris should be considered the bible to healthy soup making. It isn't often that I actually read over 50 pages of written text in a cookbook (before the recipes begin), but I took the time to do so after the first recipe turned out to be amazing. She really breaks down the ingredients, the process, and superfoods in an easy to understand way. From medicinal mushrooms to sea vegetables, you are bound to learn something in this book.

And then, there are the recipes. These are not quick cooking recipes, but rather, hearty, healthy, superfood-filled soups that will make you and your family smile.

The first one I tried was Kitchari--a famous mixture used in Ayurvedic medicine, which usually includes a starch, in the form of grains, and a protein, in the form of legumes. The recipe is used to balance the body in myriad ways--to detoxify, ease digestion, balance weight, and support recovery from illness or physical hardship. Split peas and brown rice make up the base as the carrots, cauliflower, and Swiss chard give it its heartiness and the super healthy aromatic spices give it its flavor. This soup should be made to be shared!

The second one I tried was the Minestrone with Farro and Chia Pesto, which is a delicious and hearty soup that is loaded with protein-rich farro, chickpeas, carrots, celery, and kale. So much good stuff in one bowl! Superfoods used include miso, kelp, goji berries, and a pesto made with chia seeds. As funky as that all sounds, it ultimately results in a fantastic soup and the chia pesto is worth the time to make--trust me.

The photography is absolutely stunning and serves to complement the great recipes. I also love that there are cheat sheets and substitutions listed to aid with understanding the ingredients, their cooking time, and any substitutions that may work instead. She even codes each recipe with icons indicating which ones are good for beauty, bone strength, cleansing, heart health, or immunity and which ones are good for protein or are low calorie. If you want a new cookbook filled with healthy soups and tips, you will find it on Amazon here. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Full Disclosure: Although the cookbook was provided to me at no cost to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Minestrone with Farro & Chia Pesto

This delicious and hearty soup is loaded with protein-rich farro, chickpeas, carrots, celery, and kale. So much good stuff in one bowl! This soup is from Julie Morris's book, Superfood Soups, in which each soup is loaded with superfoods. This one in particular uses miso, kelp, goji berries, and a pesto made with chia seeds. As funky as that all sounds, it ultimately results in a fantastic soup and the chia pesto is worth the time to make--trust me. Enjoy!

Minestrone with Farro & Chia Pesto
Serves 6


  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries
  • 1 tsp kelp granules
  • 8 cups Miso Broth
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin half moons
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped small
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5-cups cooked garbanzo beans (1 15-ounce can, drained)
  • 1/2 lb broccoli florets, chopped small (about 3 cups)
  • 3 big leaves kale, ribbed and chopped small
  • Sea salt
  • 1 batch Chia Pesto
In a blender, combine the tomato, goji berries, and kelp granules with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until smooth.

Warm the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and farro, and cook, stirring often, for 6-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the zucchini, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Stir in the blended tomato mixture, the remaining 7.5-cups of broth, the canned tomatoes with their juice, and the black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then partially cover, leaving the lid a little ajar, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium, stir in the garbanzo beans and broccoli, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, and mix in the kale. Let the soup stand for 5-10 minutes to let the kale fully wilt. Remove the bay leaf, taste, add salt as desired. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and swirl in a tablespoon or two of chia pesto on top.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chia Pesto

Chia in pesto? I was so skeptical! But, Julie Morris in her new book, Superfood Soups, showed me the light! This pesto is used in a minestrone I'll be posting in a few days and it is outrageously good! The chia seed gel serves to thicken the pesto and is a fabulous way to shave off calories and up the nutrient density in pesto compared to the classic recipe.

Chia Pesto
Makes 1 cup


  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 6 Tbsp water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
In a medium bowl, mix together the chia seeds and water or broth. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell, stirring once or twice to break up any clumps.

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend until smooth. Scrape the pesto into the bowl with the chia seeds, and mix well to incorporate. Cover, and refrigerate until use. Chia pesto will last up to 1 week, refrigerated.