Beanfields Recipe #2: Roasted Bell Pepper and Eggplant Dip!

Who doesn’t love a good dip? I absolutely love hummus, but I don’t want to eat hummus all the time. So I decided to create this Beanfields Snacks recipe for a dip that I know you’ll enjoy! It’s vegan and gluten-free and it can be used as a spread or, as I can attest to, be eaten straight out of the bowl!  And do you see those ingredients? It’s completely guilt-free and full of nutrients! That’s what I call Food As Medicine.


Nutrients of this recipe (only some!):

Bell peppers – Vitamin C (157% in 1 cup!), B6, Vitamin A

Eggplant- Not an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but a source nonetheless. Instead, though, eggplant provides us with nasunin, a potent antioxidant compound that protects cell membranes from damage.

Chickpeas- Manganese, Folate, Copper, Fiber, Phosphorus, Protein, Iron, Zinc

Health Benefits: In short, this recipe is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to keep us well. Don’t know what phytonutrients are? Think again. I’m sure you’ve heard of  carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols before. Well, this recipe is full of phytonutrients that work to keep our body healthy and functioning properly. I won’t make specific health claims, but I recommend that if you are really curious about them, visit to research some of the foods in this recipe and read about the numerous health benefits and you can follow up with the studies that support the claims.

Admittedly, as I’m learning as a nutrition student, it is best to eat bell peppers and many other vegetables without exposing them to heat (i.e. raw) due to the loss of some nutrients, but who says both can’t be done? I mean, what’s to stop you from enjoying this dip with slices of bell pepper, carrots, or celery? So, go ahead and have fun making this dip and eating it too!



Red bell pepper- 1 medium

Eggplant- ½ medium

Chickpeas- 1 cup

Beanfields Jalapeno chips- ¼ cup crushed

Nutritional yeast- 1tbsp (optional)

Garlic- 1-2 cloves

Onion- ½ onion, sautéed

Olive oil- 4 tbsp (1/4 cup)

Water- 2-3 tbsp

Salt- ¼ teaspoon (more or less to taste)




  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Coat roasting dish with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Slice bell pepper and eggplant and coat with oil using an oil brush. Place on roasting dish and roast in oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Pour and spread teaspoon of olive oil on sauté or frying pan and heat skillet on low heat.
  5. Chop onion and garlic and sauté in skillet on medium heat until almost fully cooked (approx. 5 minutes).
  6. Add chickpeas to pan for another 3-5 minutes. Add another teaspoon of olive oil if necessary.
  7. Take out the bell pepper and eggplant and place all ingredients in a blender, including remaining olive oil, Beanfields chips, and nutritional yeast if you are using it.
  8. Blend the ingredients on a lower mode until a proper dip texture is formed; the dip should not be too thick when in blender as it will thicken more when it sits and cools. Pour/scoop the dip into a bowl or container and place in fridge for an hour or so to cool. (This dip can also be enjoyed hot as a topping or as a side.)
  9. Enjoy however and with whatever you please!


Happy Eating & Cooking!


Pump(kin) Up Your Health!


The following blog post was written for and published on the Food As Medicine Institute (FAMI) blog.


Everyone knows that we are in pumpkin season right now. If you weren’t aware, it’s about time to get your head out of the gutter. Actually, since those gutters are probably full of fallen autumn leaves, you may want to get back to work. I digress…

Did you know that pumpkins are part of the Cucurbitaceae family which include melons, cucumbers, gourds, and squashes? That’s right: pumpkins are related to cucumbers! Neat, right? As a cucurbitacin, pumpkins are high in phytonutrients that will help keep you healthy and well throughout the fall season. But that means you have to eat them, not just take pictures of an orchard or create jack-o’-lanterns with your kids. Sadly, that just won’t cut it.

Healthy because its orange.

The more colorful the food, the better they are for you. If only it were that simple. Well, actually, it often is, with several exceptions of course. Don’t toss out that cauliflower or onion just yet!

The orange hue of the pumpkins’ skin and flesh is due to specific phytonutrients, chemicals found in plant foods. The phytonutrient category that lends the orange color to pumpkins are carotenoids which include specific chemicals you may or may not have heard of such as beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, and others. Is there another vegetable that you can think of that is orange and might have carotenoids in it?


But how are pumpkins healthy?

Due to the nutrient profile of pumpkins, this winter squash variety, like most winter squash varieties, is an anti-inflammatory and even an anti-cancer food. While most of the studies on winter squash’s benefits for health have been conducted on laboratory animals, there have been numerous studies on the various nutrients in pumpkin that support the claims made here.

One of the many benefits that the beta carotene nutrient in pumpkin provides for our bodies is reducing organ damage brought on by oxidative stress in the body. What causes oxidative stress? A poor diet, smoking, drug use, and environmental pollutants are among the sources. And what does oxidative stress lead to if left unchecked? Disease and possibly cancer.

Some studies show that adequate or higher levels of carotenoids may result in a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer and a reduced risk of breast cancer for women. And there is adequate research to show that the nutrients found in pumpkin have been shown to improve blood sugar regulation and possibly improve cardiovascular health. Even iron deficiency anemia may be prevented or treated with Vitamin A supplementation and pumpkin has plenty of Vitamin A.

So what are you waiting for? Start pump(kin)ing up your health today!

 Health properties (not every micronutrient is included)

Based on 1 cup:

Calories: approx. 50

Rich in: Vitamin A

Good source of: B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Iron,

Decent source of: Manganese, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Bonus: Pumpkin has minimal amounts (but amounts nonetheless!) of all of the essential amino acids.

The pumpkin oatmeal recipe that I wrote up for this blog post can be found on the FAMI blog. 🙂

Enjoy your health!



  1. Jansen RJ, Robinson DP, Stolzenberg-solomon RZ, et al. Nutrients from fruit and vegetable consumption reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. J Gastrointest Cancer. 2013;44(2):152-61.
  2. Esrefoglu M, Akinci A, Taslidere E, Elbe H, Cetin A, Ates B. Ascorbic acid and beta-carotene reduce stress-induced oxidative organ damage in rats. Biotech Histochem. 2016;91(7):455-464.
  3. Jayaprakasam B, Seeram NP, Nair MG. Anticancer and antiinflammatory activities of cucurbitacins from Cucurbita andreana. Cancer Lett. 2003;189(1):11-6.
  4. Eliassen AH, Hendrickson SJ, Brinton LA, et al. Circulating carotenoids and risk of breast cancer: pooled analysis of eight prospective studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012;104(24):1905-16.
  5. Semba RD, Bloem MW. The anemia of vitamin A deficiency: epidemiology and pathogenesis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002;56(4):271-281.

Baked Tofu Fries: A Beanfields Recipe

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to join Beanfields Snacks as a food/recipe blogger. I’ll be writing up a more detailed post about why I love Beanfields, so I’ll keep this post to just sharing my first recipe for them that it also available on their site.  This recipe for baked tofu fries is dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and vegan!

I hope you enjoy!


Baked Tofu Fries

Ingredients    (Serves 2)

Tofu – 1 package

Beanfields Nacho Chips- 1/3 bag (or another flavor you love!)

Olive oil – 2 tablespoons

Nutritional yeast – 2 tablespoons (more or less based on preference)

Sesame seeds – 1 teaspoon

Garlic powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Onion powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon

Smoked paprika – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon (a tad more if desired)



  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spread the olive oil in baking sheet or baking dish.
  3. Slice the block of tofu into strips resembling French fries. Keep in mind that the thicker they are, the longer they will need to bake and if the strips are too thin, they make break apart as you try to handle them.
  4. With an oil brush, or something similar, brush the tofu strips with oil and place in baking sheet or dish.
  5. Crush the Beanfields chips until they are finely ground (can be done mortar-and-pestle-style or using a blender).
  6. Mix powders, ground chips, spices, salt, sesame seeds, and nutritional yeast in a bowl and, with a spoon, distribute the flavor mix onto the light oil-coated tofu strips. Be sure to not only coat one side of the strips with the mix.
  7. Spread out the tofu strips so they are not touching each other. Place coated tofu strips into the oven for 35-45 minutes (length of time depends on the quality/power of your oven).
  8. Enjoy with or without your favorite condiment(s)! My favorite is Valentina’s hot sauce!


Happy Cooking!




Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m pretty sure it’s been way too long since my last blog post, but it’s okay because:

1) It’s like riding a bike…you know the rest; and

2) I have a really, really good reason for why I’ve been MIA.

I started a Master’s of Science in Nutrition program at the National University of Natural Medicine where Val is studying Naturopathic Medicine and I’ve been pretty busy ever since. I started the program right after July 4th weekend and since then, running, school, and healthy socializing are areas where I’ve been putting my energies.

What’s brought me back to writing a post for ERaD–and for this I’m grateful–is actually an assignment for my Culinary Skills class. Don’t worry…My instructor didn’t go and say, “I know this is a school that believes in ‘food as medicine’ but go on and bake some chocolate chip cookies for homework.”  The assignment was to get us to bake and work with a leavening agent and who can’t appreciate that? So the baking soda that you’ll see in the ingredient list will react with acidic ingredients–brown sugar and dark chocolate chips in this recipe–and cause a reaction that releases carbon dioxide that causes the dough to rise and gives the cookies a more open interior structure. Cool right? You all probably knew this already, I know.

So I rummaged through my cabinets to see what I had and I found everything necessary for some delicious gluten free dark chocolate chip cookies that are obviously vegan as well. So without further ado…

 Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)


Ingredients (Makes about 10 small-medium sized cookies)

~Brown Rice flour (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)

~Coconut flour (1/4 cup)


~Baking soda (1/2 tsp)

~Nondairy milk (1/2 cup; I used almond milk)

~Coconut oil (1/3 cup)


~Brown sugar (1/2 cup)

~Ener-G egg replacer (equivalent to 1 egg)

~Dark chocolate chips (amount based on preference; I used ¼ cup)


~Cacao nibs (1 Tbsp)

~Salt (2 tsp)

~Vanilla (1 ½ tsp)


~Cinnamon (1 tsp; optional)

baking6 Reasonably speaking, it’s hard to go wrong with cinnamon. 


  1. “Mise” your prep area as much as you can. This comes from “mise en place” and involves you getting all of your ingredients in place before you start anything. This allows you to see if you are missing anything and saves time when you are making or cooking other dishes.                     baking  All mise’d and ready to go! Brown sugar was added later.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Mix the flours, baking soda, egg replacer, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. baking8 Give the bowl some love, would ya?
  4. Add the dark chocolate chips and the cacao nibs into the bowl and mix. baking4  Heaven in a mason jar. Soon to be: Heaven in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add into the bowl the coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
  6. Form cookie dough balls and place on a pre-greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.

There you have it. Gluten free. Dairy free. They may or may not be guilt free, but they sure as heck should be! Yeah, I just dropped a rhyme for you.

Go ahead and try them out for yourself! One of these would probably be great with your morning coffee or tea about 30 minutes before a run. Oh and while your enjoying your cookie(s), go ahead and check out the programs the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) has to offer. You never know what might strike a chord in you!

Happy Baking…and Running!

Healthy and Delicious 3-Ingredient Pancakes

Many people reserve pancakes for the weekend; this is true for when I was growing up as well. I am not positive why this is, but I have a feeling it has something to do with pancakes being thought of as not the healthiest of breakfasts and it’s probably not if you stick to the most popular pancake mixes out there. Just look at how many ingredients there are in these two popular pancake mixes:


Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate,                                  riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil,                            Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate),                  Dextrose, Salt.



Corn syrup solids? Partially hydrogenated oils? Bleaching agents to make my pancakes whiter and fluffier? “No, thank you,” to all of that!


What if I told you that you can have pancakes everyday and, unless you go overboard with the mix-ins, not jeopardize your health goals? Well, with these guilt-free pancakes, you can. They are perfect for fueling, recovering, pleasing, and just plain living. Seriously, though: I’ve had these pancakes every morning for three days straight so far and I didn’t once feel heavy or go into a food coma.  So I have for you today, a simple recipe for making the most nutritious and delicious pancakes you’ve probably ever had (Okay, maybe this applies to the “nutritious” part.). Now, you can make these less-healthy or healthier by adding certain add-ins (e.g. adding chocolate chips and loads of syrup every morning is not something I’d advise) , but the 3 main ingredients stay the same.

3 Ingredients:

  1. ROLLED OATS (3/4 cup)
  2. NONDAIRY MILK (1/2 cup)
  3. BANANA (1 medium-sized)

That’s right. You can turn this:

Into this:

pan3 19

Or this:


Whenever you want.

Recipe for 3-Ingredient Pancakes (makes 3-4 medium sized pancakes):

  1. Pour the dry rolled oats into a blender and blend them until they become like flour. This should take less than a minute.                                                                       11
  2. Add the nondairy milk and the banana and blend until a batter forms. This should take less than a minute.
  3. Pour the batter into a pre-heated pan that is lightly smeared (like you would any other time you make pancakes). Earth Balance or coconut oil are probably good options here, but I’m sure you can find a way to not use either fatty option.                              16
  4. Monitor and flip like you would any other time you’re making pancakes. They aren’t as fragile as you think they might be thanks to the banana. pan1
  5. Serve with whatever toppings you want. I top with pure maple syrup because it’s a sweetener that at least has some nutritional value (e.g. zinc, manganese, calcium).

7    8

I’m a sucker for (vegan) chocolate chip pancakes and I added hemp seeds, ground cinnamon, and cacao powder for extra nutrients.

pan4                       Added crushed almonds to this batter.

Additional ingredients to add to the batter after 3 ingredients have been blended or on top of the pancakes once ready (your preference): cinnamon, cacao or cocoa powder, chocolate chips, crushed nuts, seeds (hemp, pre-soaked chia, pumpkin, sunflower), blueberries, goji berries, apricots, figs, apples.

There you have it! Pancakes so good you’re dishwasher (child, partner, or machine) will want to thank you! 🙂


Now you have an easy way to make healthy pancakes that are nutritious and delicious. They are also vegan and gluten free so you can share this recipe with friends and family members without worry of conflicting with their dietary choices.

Yay! Pancakes for everyone!

PS: If the batter and finished products are a bit on the thicker side where you can tell they are definitely made from hearty oats, add a tad more nondairy milk to the batter. Optimally, they have a bit of fluffiness to them and shouldn’t be close to dry when you are eating them.




Chocolate-Covered Banana Bites

Part of the About Me page talks about how you’ll find some recipes or posts that may cause you to question how I can call this a space that promotes a healthy lifestyle in addition to an active one. This may seem like one of those posts, but as the About Me page explains, sometimes being well and choosing to eat mindfully does indeed involve allowing yourself to enjoy sweet pleasure food (I dare not call these treats junk food) every once in a while. Heck…I enjoy a dessert almost every night, but what I’ve come to call dessert is not what most people think. For example, half a banana (or carrots) and some peanut butter will satisfy my dessert-craving just as a cookie might.

I love bananas. This needs to be well known. I don’t eat nearly as much as I know some people do(especially some high carb athletes and fruitarians who eat 10+ bananas a day), but for the average person, my 3-5 bananas a day is up there. But my body loves them and I know to listen to my body when it comes to healthy foods that it craves. The only thing is that while my body loves bananas (among many other good, nuritious foods), my brain loves chocolate. And so does my heart. And my tastebuds. So I’ve combined these two foods and others to treat me and Val to some healthy-ish dessert bites for when the chocolate craving hits.

These banana pops are not just your simple chocolate-covered bananas—that wouldn’t be ERaD-worthy. I had to make them a bit more nutritious.

So, what are the ingredients?


Semi-sweet chocolate chips (nondairy)

Crushed almonds

Almond or peanut butter

Hemp seeds

Smidgen of coconut oil


(Adding diced goji berries or soaked chia seeds would be an incredible addition for both taste and nutrition. I would sprinkle them on top of the peanut butter along with the hemp seeds

How’d they come to be super delicious?

  1. Use as many bananas as you’d like and cut them however you’d like, but the smaller the better. Smaller slices will help you minimize how much you eat in one sitting. If you use a whole banana, you’ll likely eat the whole chocolate-covered banana when you may have been satisfied with only a couple bite-sized slices.
  2. If you want, insert popsicle sticks into the larger banana bites (banana halves or thirds work best) to make some chocolate-covered banana pops.
  3. Place parchment paper on a plate (I used a large bamboo cutting board) and spread the banana slices on the parchment paper. Place the plate with bananas in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  • ba1Two options: 1: Put peanut butter into a separate bowl or mug. Mix hemp seeds in with the nut butter. Put a smidgen of peanut butter on banana slices. 2: Spread nut butter on the banana slices and sprinkle hemp seeds on top. When done, put the banana slices back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Put the crushed almonds on a plate or in a bowl nearby.
  • ba5
  • When the bananas are nearly ready to be removed from the freezer, pour the nondairy chocolate chips (I used 1 cup for 3 bananas and had plenty of melted chocolate leftover, but I didn’t cover 100% of any of the banana slices) and ½-1 teaspoon of coconut oil (I prefer to minimize oil at all times so I used ½ a teaspoon at most) into a pot/sauce pan. Don’t let water come into contact with the chocolate chips or the pot so as not to interfere with the melting process. Melt the chocolate chips and oil on low heat and stir until smooth.
  • When chocolate is melted, remove the frozen bananas from the freezer.
  • Begin to cover the banana bites/slices in chocolate, but as you do so, sprinkle the crushed almonds on the chocolate before it hardens. Cover as much or as little of the banana in chocolate as you please.
  • ba8
  • When done coating the bananas in chocolatey goodness, place the plate of bananas back in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes to enjoy frozen or enjoy them right away, as is.

Because you can make these treats bite-sized, they can be perfect for the sweet your craving after dinner or when your around on the weekends and want to eat out of boredom. The only part that isn’t particularly nutritious is the chocolate so you can use carob chips or dark chocolate instead of the nondairy chocolate chips for some kind of added nutrients, but I’m sure, at least with the carob chips, that the melting process will be different so look into that before you follow this recipe!

What’s your favorite snack that you like to prepare or have prepared from someone close to you?


This Rain Isn’t Getting Me Down (+Oat Balls Recipe)

Note: This blog post has been slightly updated since its original posting in December 2015.

I have been LOVING 5k race training for the past 3 weeks or so. I know I briefly talked about that in my last blog post, but I just can’t get over how much fun it has been to include more speedwork and  shorter distances into my regimen. A runner I know just recently talked to me about how much harder it is for her to work on speed than it is to work on endurance. I totally get where she’s coming from.

When I’m training for a marathon or ultramarathon, I am not worried about my back-to-back long runs; there is nothing really too discomforting about them. Sure, I get tired at some point and want to stop because I’ve been running for 3+ hours for the second day in  a row, but I’m not gasping for air in desperation. When I’m running long distances in training for marathon or ultramarathon distances, it’s at an aerobic pace (I’m getting enough oxygen to my muscles) so lactic acid is not really being produced or is not produced at the rate of it building up and slowing me down. But when I’m doing speedwork or training for shorter distance runs, most of my runs (weekend “long” run not included) and all of my track sessions involve lactic acid building up and breathing becoming not as easy as it was. Simply put: I totally understand why incorporating actual speed work (not just running fast) isn’t on people’s favorite-things-to-do list. But I love it anyway. And I think I love it and appreciate that feel-good burning sensation in my legs because I’m seeing improvement. When I’m on the track and running hill repeats, I feel so much stronger than I was when I was ultra or marathon-training just a few months ago.

Part of why I think my speed is improving is that I really took to heart something that I read recently and I’ll recall the phrasing to the best of my ability:

Runners often limit their improvement and running potential because they tend to run their slow runs too fast and their fast runs too slow.

It didn’t take me long to realize that that statement can explain so much of my previous training. In my previous periods of training, I’ve completed track workouts and fast workouts without feeling the exhaustion I used to feel when I was running track back in high school. In high school, I would feel like I was DYING after each repeat of an interval session, yet when the coach said to get back on the line, we all did it and managed another 200 or 400 or 800 meter repeat no matter how “dead” we were. And we got faster. I’ve been thinking about that quote and my track experiences during all of my workouts lately and using them to guide me and I’ve seen the results in my training.

This showed me that no matter how long I’ve been running or how much I love it and think I know about the sport, there is and will always  be so much room for learning and improvement. And that improvement was going to take hard work and minimal excuses. One excuse I learned quickly that I had to eliminate from my bag of excuses: rain.


I knew that when Betsy’s Best Bar None agreed to sponsor a mid-fall race that I’d be looking at most of my running taking place in the rain. Heck, just moving to Portland meant that most of my running was going to be taking place in the rain. I’ve had to really get back into the mindset that I had as a kid or even when running track: running in the rain can be enjoyable. What may prevent it from being so, though, is the back-and-forth questioning and self-induced stress about getting wet that takes place in our head. In my opinion, it’s easier on you and better for you also to just throw on a water-resistant layer,  lace up, and go.

Recently, it’s been quite the rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest, but I can’t just not run and I dislike running on treadmills. After a dentist appointment the other day I met with Betsy from Betsy’s Best at a track to pick up the new shirt. I’ll wrap up this post with the following pictures and captions.

5   b3n2

It’s quite an improvement from their previous design. The images of their bars and natural ingredients definitely make the shirt stand out more.


4 2

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m definitely smilng strangely here. This is maybe 20 minutes after some restorative dental work and I’m all numbed up from my right cheek to the middle of my lip, including the right side of my tongue, but I could not be stopped from getting in a quick workout. 

Holy Oat Balls!

          7 8

The ingredients:

1 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 2 tbsp peanut butter, tbsp nondairy yogurt, your preferred amount of mini chocolate chips, tbsp of chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp cacao powder, dash of cinnamon, and about 1/4 cup of nondairy milk.

Blend chickpeas, nondairy yogurt, nondairy milk, and peanut butter until somewhat smooth. Mix with remaining ingredients. Form oat balls with mix. Place on nonstick baking pan. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.



Why did I make these and use these ingredients? The protein from the chickpeas, oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, cacao powder, and even some from the nondairy yogurt and milk that you choose, makes for a great way to recover from a hard workout! The low glycemic indices of these ingredients/foods makes these great for long-term energy so you can enjoy a couple as your breakfast (great with nondairy milk or coffee) to fuel you for your later-morning or afternoon run.

What is your favorite food for fueling and recovering? Have you ever tried making your own oat bars or “energy” bars before? What’d you use and why? Do you avoid running in the rain? Do you love it or at least tolerate it for the sake of meeting/maintaining your fitness goals? Let’s talk!