Mar 11 2015

Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Our Roots! Make some Quinoa!

Published by under local food nutrition



Not many of us may have quinoa for breakfast. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient grain that has become popular in the US and can be used in place of rice in many dishes. It originated in a lake area between Peru and Bolivia, South America. Quinoa is gluten free which make it a staple of the celiac diet.  In addition, it is rich in protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron and fiber. It is one of the great vegetarian sources of protein.

There are several varieties of quinoa which include a white/ivory variety which is shown here. There is also a red and a black variety. Quinoa makes a natural pesticide on its outside kernels. This will not harm us but has a bitter taste, so it is important to rinse quinoa in a colander before preparing. Quinoa also can be purchased into flakes and flour.

Quinoa is not a local food where I live, but makes a great backdrop to fruits and vegetables grown where I live. Some of my favorite ways to eat it include roasted or grilled vegetables over the quinoa. It also makes a delicious pilaf with the vegetables cooked right into it or the base of one of a stir-fry. I also makes a great salad. You can use it in place of bulgar wheat in tabouli, mix it with black beans and corn to make a Southwestern flavor or add apple, dried cherry and curry for another flavorful treat.

Since we are focusing on breakfast during the great beginnings theme, here is a easy breakfast idea that includes local apples and pecans. But try quinoa for other meals also!

Quinoa with apple


Breakfast Quinoa with Apples and Pecans

Where I live apples are a good fruit to have in the fall and winter unless you are lucky enough to have a “keeper apple”.  As we head into spring, you can use local produce like strawberries and in the summer a variety of black, blue and raspberries and peaches. Next fall in addition to apples try pears and figs. In the winter when fresh fruit is sparse, try drying and freezing fruit during the season for a welcome treat when its cold and dark outside!

1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of ground cardamon
Pinch of salt
1 chopped apple
¼ cup pecans
Bring milk and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer. Cook until most
of coconut milk is absorbed (which will be about 12-15 minutes. Remove from stove and stir in maple syrup, cardamon, and chopped apples. Top with pecans.
Makes two servings.
Eating breakfast is one of the best ways to lose weight if you are trying to shed a few pounds before summer. This quick easy meal is healthy and something warm to have on a cold morning!
Would you like more ideas for breakfast, reaching a healthy weight and eating seasonal foods? Stay tuned to my blog for more ideas! I have a lot of fresh things coming this spring!

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Mar 09 2015

Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Your Roots! Eat SomeTurnips!

Published by under local food nutrition

Turnips are one of those vegetables that many of us don’t love. They are one of the “ugly duckling” vegetables. They have a lot to offer but not many takers.

My dad always enjoyed growing them and we would often cook them with potatoes and mash them. Still I was not their  number one fan until I got several bunches in my CSA box last year. I had to find out what to do with them, give them away or compost them. I was up to the challenge. I found with a little effort and some good ideas to know what to do with them, I would truly appreciate their nourishment that they provide! Turnips are packed with nutrients! Rich in the nutrients potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and low in calories. They are a member of the cruciferous family which contain powerful anti-cancer properties. In addition to eating the root, the greens are also edible and can be used in many of the recipes that you already use greens. Turnips come in a beautiful pink, a white and half purple/half white varieties.When the roots are roasted, they caramelize and become very sweet and delicious!

Early spring is a great time to grow turnips so prepare your soil and plant them. Here is a great link to successfully grow your turnips

They grow great in Western North Carolina so make an available local food! If you don’t want to grow them, buy them from a local farmer!


Here are some delicious healthy food recipes to prepare turnip roots. If they are not part of your usual food choices, add some variety to your diet and give these plant based recipes a try!




My favorite way to eat turnips is to roast them with other vegetables at 425 degrees until they caramelize! I slice them, put on a cookie sheet and toss them in olive oil and seasonings. Here are some pictures to give you an idea

turnips and beets

turnips and beets

turnips. beets, sweet potatoes and potatoes awaiting some olive oil and roasting!

turnips. beets, sweet potatoes and potatoes awaiting some olive oil and roasting!


Here they are roasted and ready to be added to your plate!

Here are some other recipe ideas

Turnip Gratin


Chinese Turnip Soup

Turnip and Potato Patties

You can also eat them raw on salads or on a relish plate. Make turnips something that you at least eat sometimes so you will reap their health benefits! Sign up for my newsletter and Vine Ripe Nutrition‘s You Tube channel for more health tips and delicious meal ideas

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Mar 05 2015

Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Your Roots! Eat Your Sweet Potatoes

The past two weeks, I have been sharing new ideas for quick and easy breakfasts ! I have a few more more that will share before spring is in full swing but with planting season coming, I wanted to share with you some root vegetables that are easy to grow and tasty ways to eat them! Try my mini sweet potato casserole recipe for dessert baked in ramekins. It’s just the right portion and contains a lot of great flavors.

North Carolina is the sweet potato capital of the US so we are able to get this local food almost year round. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is a precursor to vitamin A and a powerful antioxidant. They also contain vitamin C, potassium and calcium. Many of my clients like to use sweet potatoes in their diabetic meal plan because it is lower on the glycemic index.

sweet potatoes

To pick a sweet potato:

Make sure that it is not bruised and does not have any soft spots. If you aren’t using right away, store in a cool dry place but not in the fridge!

To grow a sweet potato:

You can’t plant sweet potato slips in the ground until around the  1st of June when the ground is warm,  but now’s the time to start growing the sweet potato slips. What are sweet potato slips? Many of us grew our own sweet potato plant in elementary school. You can buy the slips around planting time but growing your own can be fun especially with kids. Think about your garden space since a sweet potato vine can take up a lot of room and needs a lot of sun. We have an urban garden, so I will be planting these in my existing landscape because I don’t have a lot of space in our existing garden. I am going to try these just for fun and see how they work out. I have a sunny spot in my front yard that needs a little greenery.

Purchase organic sweet potatoes since many conventional ones could be irradiated. Cut the sweet potato in half and put in a pint mason jar or something similar in size. Fill jar halfway with water. Push tooth picks into two sides of the potato so only half of it goes into the water. In just a few days, little sweet potato plants will sprout from the potato. After a few weeks when the slips are about 4-6 inches long, pull them from the potato and let these sit in a little water and they will root and be ready to plant. One article mentioned 30 plants can grow from one potato so, if you are planting in a small garden one potato will be more than enough!

Dessert 1 of 3 edits

Ginger Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole

I have added coconut and candied ginger for a new twist to an old favorite. Try this healthy easy recipe for a warm and cozy dessert now and save it for next year’s Thanksgiving celebration later! Makes 4 small ramkins.

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon candy ginger


1/3 cup flour

1 tablespoon chilled Smart or Earth Balance (depending on your preference) or butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoon shredded coconut

Combine the first six ingredients in bowl and stir well. Spoon sweet potato mixture into 4 small white, ramekins that have been greased. For topping, combine brown sugar and margarine in a bowl and cut margarine in with pastry blender under mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the pecans and coconut and sprinkle over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

For some other really tasty sweet potatoes, check out my book Farm Fresh Nutrition!

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Mar 04 2015

Great Beginnings: Breakfast Grit Bowls with “plant meat”

Seitan, a vegetarian meat substitute, has been traditionally made from the high protein component of wheat. Sadrah Schadel and Mike Woliansky, the owners of No Evil Foods began making seitan about six years ago for home use. They began experimenting by adding kidney beans, tomatoes, organic herbs and spices, chick peas and nutritional yeast to make their product even more flavorful and healthy. These ingredients add additional nutrients like iron, Vitamin B6 and B12 in addition to the already high protein food which has as much as animal proteins. Almost one year ago, their company, No Evil Foods began selling three types of “plant meat”, Italian-sausage (the Stallion) , chorizo  (Zapatisa) and the mock chicken type (The Prepper) in the tailgate markets almost one year ago.

no evil foods new

They create their plant meat once a week at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. In addition to doing the production themselves,  they also do the packaging, shipping and marketing so they keep very busy!

One of things that they like to share with new customers is the positive environmental impact by eating one or two meatless meals a week and using plant meat as a choice of protein.

No Evil Foods “plant meat” is now available around Asheville at both Whole Foods, Katuah Market and West Village Market. I also saw on facebook that they are venturing out to Charlotte and surrounding areas. Sadrah and Mike are working with local chefs and staff in restaurants to teach them ways prepare their product and see just how wonderful it tastes! Once the chefs have had an opportunity to taste the final results, it is only a matter of time that they add it to their menus! This includes a hoagie at Wicked Weed, Baby Bella Mushroom Pizza at Mellow Mushroom, pulled “pork” at 12 Bones, Cajun chorizo brunch item at Chestnut, vegan breakfast burrito at West Village Market and jerk “chicken” vegetable cup at Nine Mile.

Some of Shadrah and Mike’s favorite ways to prepare No Evil Foods are “Chicken” Salad, made with onions, celery and vegan mayonnaise, Curry Stir Fry, Pulled “Pork” Sandwich made from “the prepper” prepared with dry rub and smoked served on a bun with slaw, Breakfast Scramble, Chorizo Taco, and Fajita. It makes a great option to make easy vegetarian recipes!

One of the ways that you can enjoy some “plant meat” is to make yourself a grit bowl. Try my colorful version with sweet potatoes and spinach which is packed with nutrition and is filling! Right now, in WNC you can get all the ingredients so your breakfast bowl can be a  local food!  If you can’t get No Evil foods where you live, traditional seitan can be purchased in many natural grocery stores, there are also recipes that you can use to make it at home 

grit breakfast bowl

Seitan Breakfast Grit Bowls

(makes 4)

2 cups spinach or other seasonal greens

1 medium roasted sweet potato

1/2 cup onion

1/2 package No Evil Foods chorizo (Zapatisa)

Grits (

Make sweet potatoes according to directions here

To make grits: let 2 1/4 cups water to boil and take 1/2 cup grits and turn down heat below and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of your choice of fat whether it be olive oil or Earth Balance tub margarine. You will have to stir often to prevent grits from sticking and scorching. You may need additional water. These grits will finish cooking in about 30-40 minutes depending on if they are fine or coarse ground. You can take a taste to see if they are done. They can also be cooked ahead of time and reheated to make your bowls quick.

Crumble or chopped chorizo in a small amount of oil in a skillet and cook until crispy and crunchy. Drain if necessary on a paper towel. The chorizo is spicy so if you need a mild version, try their Italian “sausage”.

Layer the grits, sweet potatoes, spinach and top with chorizo! Hope that you will love these as much as I do! I have some other great combos for breakfast bowls that I will share soon!

You can top with cheese if desired. Otherwise this recipe is vegan.

breakfast bowl

These grit bowls can also be made for an easy healthy dinner recipe!

Stay tuned and Sign up for my new You Tube Channel in the next few days when we unveil it! We have a lot of fun and interesting things planned!



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Feb 26 2015

Great Beginnings: Breakfast Tempeh Bacon Sandwich

Published by under local food nutrition

Let’s talk about how to make a high protein breakfast sandwich recipe without the high fat breakfast meats!

If you have never had tempeh, you may not have heard of this food (check out page 112 from my book Farm Fresh Nutrition to find out more about tempeh). When I first began moving towards a plant based recipes, I ate a lot of tofu and I felt a little nervous about tempeh. Tempeh is made from beans that are fermented with a mushroom spore to create a nutty flavored, chewy food which is a rich, vegetarian source of protein and  in minerals such as manganese, phosphorus and copper and phytonutrients. With a little time, I have grown fond of the taste of tempeh and all the versatile ways to prepare it- brown it in some oil, steam it, grill it and bake it! I have also had the chance to meet Sarah and Chad who make local tempeh where in Asheville and soon will be making hempeh! Traditionally tempeh has been made with soy beans but Smiling Hara also makes some out of black bean and black eye peas! Check out their awesome company at and until March 17, you can vote for them to get a Fed Ex grant!


You may not have Smiling Hara tempeh where you live but you should be able to find tempeh and make this sandwich. It is great to have a variety of protein in your diet and a diet rich in protein can help you feel your best throughout the day. If you want to use corn tortillas rather than bread this be a tasty alternative also.

open BLT

Breakfast Tempeh Sandwich

1/8 cup maple syrup or brown sugar

1 teaspoon liquid smoke or smoked paprika

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon oil

Mix maple syrup or brown sugar, liquid smoke or smoked paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, and pepper in a 9 inch pyrex pie plate. Take the block of tempeh and cut it into strips that are about 1/4 inch thick and marinate it for about 30 minutes. Turn it over once. Heat skillet and add the olive oil. Add tempeh (keeping remaining tempeh in plate) and cook about 2-3 minutes and turn over. Cook a little more. I like to add the rest of the marinade and cook this flavor into tempeh. When browned on both sides, take out of skillet. Makes enough for 3-4 sandwiches.

To assemble sandwiches: put on toasted bread, add lettuce or other salad greens, tomato and mayonnaise and mustard.

The tempeh can be cooked ahead of time and added in the morning. this sandwich also makes a great vegetarian lunch! Be brave try some tempeh and let me know your experience with my tempeh bacon recipe!


Stay tuned for more Great Beginning posts coming up next week!

In you are in Asheville, put on your calendar April 9 for a workshop on spring seasonal menu ideas and a book signing at Katuah Market

More details coming soon!

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Feb 24 2015

Great Beginnings: Try Some Breakfast Bean Cakes!

Getting creative in the kitchen is all about learning the rules and then developing a sense of when and how to break them. In our North American culture, breakfast foods are perhaps the most entrenched in traditional habits (A waffle is a waffle is a waffle). Thus breakfast lends itself well to some rule breaking innovation.

It seems weird to most of us that Brits and Northeasterners keep baked beans as a staple on their breakfast plate. But why not beans for breakfast? Other than the flatulent consequences — which by the way can be neutralized by, counterintuitively, eating beans more often — there’s nothing stopping us from making beans a delicious addition to breakfast here across the pond.

Bean patties are a quick vegetarian source of protein and is an alternative to sausage. Any beans and flavor variations will do. We had garbanzo beans in our pantry this week so I used this as a starting point and ended up with the following:

Rosemary Garbanzo Breakfast Patties

makes 8

2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TB olive oil
2 TB fresh or dried rosemary, coarsley chopped
2 TB course ground mustard, Lusty Monk Mustard is local here
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper

– Bring a large pan to medium heat. Pour in 1 TB of olive oil, swirl around to cover pan. Let oil heat for a few seconds.
– Add onion, then garlic and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
– Drain and rinse garbanzo beans in a colander. Pour beans into a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. A few beans left whole is fine.
– Add onion mixture, rosemary, mustard, salt and pepper and stir.
– Gradually add flour while stirring until a thick doughy consistency is attained.
– Bring pan to medium high heat and add another TB of olive oil.
– Pat dough into balls, roughly 2 inches across.
– Place balls in pan a few at a time and squash with spatula. Cook each patty 3-5 minutes a side until crispy brown, adding a touch more oil if needed.

bean cakes

I served these up with eggs, feta and fresh cut fruit. You can pair bean patties with just about anything you’d have with sausage patties at breakfast. Try using different beans, herbs and spices, and flour types to create your own breakfast bean patties. You can also use these bean patties for an easy healthy dinner recipe. Have your own beans for breakfast creation? Please share in comments and stay tuned for more hearty breakfast in the next few weeks!

Noah Barratt

Contributing Writer

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Feb 23 2015

Great Beginnings: Spring is Coming! Sprout Some Seeds!

Published by under local food nutrition

If you live in the eastern part of the US and the Midwest, you might feel that winter will never end. However, we are actually just a few weeks until spring officially starts and less than 8 weeks that most of us to be out of the danger of having frost! While you are waiting, make the most of your time by sowing some seeds to transplant for the spring. In the next few weeks, I will be sharing the time to start some of these seeds to grow some local produce and plant some in our little urban garden in West Asheville. I am starting my summer vegetables that need a little time to grow before its time to transplant them in mid-May. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are what we think about in the height of summer but it is winter when we think the cold and dark will never end that we bring them to life.


I purchased these seeds from our local Sow True Seed Store which is in downtown Asheville. My tomato collection includes the Cherokee Purple, a native to WNC, Arkansas Traveler (in honor of my Ozark roots), and the Amish paste for a little sauce. I selected the Long Purple eggplant and the Big Red and Orange King sweet peppers. I will plant some basil even though I already have it coming from my spring garden. I do not start hot peppers but my husband will get lots and lots of bedding plants from the tailgate market. I do not do hot.

In years past, my tomatillos grow like weeds and reseeded themselves but past summer, we had a very sad crop so I am sowing a few of these also. I am planting both the purple and green varieties.

You may wonder, why do you need to start these inside, can’t you plant straight into the ground?

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatillos cannot take the cold and frost and cannot go into the ground until around Mother’s Day (even longer depending on where you live).  However, you cannot put these seeds directly into the garden in May because these seeds take a long time to grow into mature plants and before you would start bearing fruit, it would be cold and frost again.

To start your seeds, you will need a tray and some little peat pots or cell packs. The nice thing with the peat pots is that you can directly transplant into the garden. I have a lot of cell packs so that is what I am going to use. If you are re-using the cell packs, rinse them in warm water to clean any bacteria from these from the previous year to prevent disease. Fill your little containers with good seed starting soil.


For my choice, I walked across the street from Sow True Seeds to Fifth Season Gardening and picked up a bag, they also have the trays, seed packs and other things that you will need and they sell Sow True Seeds as well as Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is also a great small company that focuses on heirloom, open pollinated varieties.


Baker’s Seeds which started in the Ozarks where I grew up also has a lot of great varieties.


A new company that I just became acquainted with is Common Wealth Seed Growers .


They are saving some great varieties. Heirloom seeds are our heritage varieties, most vegetables that you get from the big box stores are a limited variety and for the most part are not heirloom or organic. So if you purchase plants instead of starting seeds, look for a local farmer or nursery that has heirloom varieties. Many of these heritage plants are at risk of becoming extinct and if we don’t eat them, we will lose them. Another important reason to eat heirloom seeds is that they provide more genetic and nutritional diversity in our diet. Many of the vegetables that we get at the grocery store are uniform and that is because the stores purchase the ones that have grown from from varieties that ship well and look just right not the ones that have the most nutrition or taste the best. You can find out more about the nutritional differences in my book, Farm Fresh Nutrition.

After you select your seeds, get your soil, cell pack and trays, it is time to find a sunny window to plant your little seeds. I always put a trash bag down, then an old cookie sheet and then my plastic tray, then my cell pack. I make a little layer. I have had a few accidents getting my wood floor damp and damaged it. Luckily, I have not ruined my great-grandma’s table!

Put a little dirt in each cell and get it wet. Then read how deep to plant each variety of seeds. Most of the vegetables that I planted today went in a 1/4 inch deep. Mark it well with some masking tape or plant tags so you will remember which plant is which. A small watering can can come in handy to wet the soil lightly.


Take a peek every day and use a spray bottle to make sure that each one of the seeds is slightly damp so it can sprout. Sometimes I do a little watering from the bottom and if you do water the top of the soil, be very careful not to totally drown your little seedlings. Each variety of plant will take a different time to pop up so don’t give up. If you use a good brand of seeds and soil along with making sure that they stay a little damp, they will come up so don’t give up!

Keep watering them and make sure that they have sun and make that the temperature in your house is above freezing! (Don’t leave town without the heat). You may have to rearrange the little packs of seedlings so they don’t get too leggy and if you don’t have enough sun, you may need a little grow light. These little seedlings will need to be “toughened” (exposed to the outdoors) before they can be transplanted. We will save that topic when we get to it in April.  If you want to grow your own little sprouts:

1. Get some heirloom seeds.

2. Get some cell packs, trays, spray bottle, old cookie sheet and trash bag.

3. Get some good soil.

4. Get planting!

5. Keep up with them. If you neglect them, they will die.  If you leave town, you need to see if someone can make sure that they stay damp but not soaked.

Happy Planting! Let me know what you planted and how it is going! Stay tuned in late April when we “toughen up” our plants. Better yet, stay tuned for more Great Beginnings here on the blog because I will be sharing some more tasty breakfast ideas and we will also start talking about root vegetables. I will also be planting some other vegetables in the next several weeks and digging up the garden. Please share this seed starting blog with your friends so they can start their edible plants too!




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Feb 18 2015

Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Your Roots-Breakfast Egg Tacos

Two of my favorite breakfast foods include Mexican food and eggs. A combination of the two is even better! I love breakfast burritos, tostadas, frittatas, huevos rancheros and egg tacos and make a quick healthy meal. All of these combinations have the flexibility of being vegetarian meal or not. I find that the biggest meat eaters won’t miss the meat when these egg tacos with fixins are served. Breakfast with a Mexican theme also tends to be rich in fresh fruits, veggies and herbs with salsas, sauteed veggies, cilantro and other toppings like tomatoes,avocados, lettuce, red cabbage and apples. They also taste fantastic topped with a little shredded cheese. For my reader who don’t eat animal products, all of these treats can be prepared with tempeh, seitan or tofu. Over the weekend I made a Southwestern tofu scramble from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe  She also has a great tempeh scramble in there too! I will also be sharing some great recipes with tempeh and seitan in my upcoming breakfast posts this month and next.

Best of all, Mexican breakfasts can be an economical choice and are so easy to fix. These tacos can be a quick week day breakfast or dressed up to make a festive weekend brunch. It is an easy way to measure food portions with light eaters eating one egg and one tortilla with fruit and veggie fixins and more hearty eaters eating two eggs and two tortillas and eating a little more of the fixin’s. If you are wanting to know what to cook for dinner, a Mexican breakfast can make a tasty and quick one!

When purchasing your eggs, look in your community to see if you have a local farmer instead of buying eggs from a factory farm. Besides the chickens laying your eggs being happier and healthier, the eggs are also more nutritious because they have 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and  7 times more beta carotene.



taco meal

Above are egg tacos with onion, salsa, cilantro and cheese served with apple and lettuce.

Egg Tacos

4 corn tortillas

4 eggs

1/4-1/2 cup veggies of your choice such as chopped onions, green peppers and mushrooms

2-3 ounces of protein if desired, of your choice of sausage, bacon, tofu, tempeh or seitan if desired

1 tablespoon olive oil

Toppings such as onions, cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, chopped bell pepper, ect.

Shredded cheese 1/4 cup

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place corn torillas on a cookie sheet and brush both sides with 2 teaspoons of oil and bake for 5 minutes on each side. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet and add vegetables. Saute them until they are soft. While the veggies are cooking in a small bowl, beat eggs and add salt and pepper. Add eggs and lightly scramble. Place 1 or 2 tortillas on a plate and add eggs. On top of egg and tortillas, add toppings of your choice, salsa and cheese.

Chalupa meal

                                          This same meal takes on a whole new look served open with a side of sweet potatoes from my blog post

I hope that the breakfast ideas and recipes this week have inspired you to make some new and delicious things that are also healthy! Stay tuned, there will be more fresh ideas to come! Please share my blog with others! I also have some more ideas in my new book e-mail channel is coming in the next couple of weeks. I would love for you to sign up and get posts. I have some great video topics to share coming soon! Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to sharing again soon!


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Feb 17 2015

Breakfast for the Rest of Us!

Published by under local food nutrition

Like they always say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Whether that’s true, and exactly who “they” are, I’m not sure, but it makes sense. Starting out with a good breakfast can boost you into the day ahead, while going around with an empty tank begins your day with distraction and discomfort. In our household, with two small kids who need to make it to preschool with something in their tummies (not to mention the dogs and cats who are always ready for breakfast too), it’s easy for me to skip eating in the morning. Finding something to eat amidst the race to get out the door often seems too time- and attention-consuming. Here are some quick and delicious solutions my wife and I have come up with to be sure to feed ourselves breakfast along with feeding everyone else. In these busy times, breakfast meal planning may take a back seat.


On those extra rushed mornings, a well-stocked fruit bowl is your best friend and I try to stock it with local produce when available. Grab the piece of fruit that catches your eye, a handful of nuts and you’re on your way. When things are not quite so hectic, look to the minimal preparation of spreading nut butter. You can put nut butter straight on your fruit or spread it on some tasty bread. On a good day, I’m even able to pop a slice of bread in the toaster. Ah, luxury.


If you have more time still, cook up some grains on the stove. Oatmeal is of course the champ in this arena but there are other healthful options too, like quinoa, flax and buckwheat. Grains cook up fast and serve as a canvas for whatever flavors you care to paint them with. I like to throw in some seasonal berries and “sweet” seasonings like cinnamon and vanilla.

Finally, when Saturday morning rolls around, our family loves a hash. The great thing about breakfast hash is you can throw in anything you have around the kitchen. Veggies, eggs, meat, vegetarian sources of protein like beans, cheese — you can’t go wrong. Get out the hot sauce and it’s a feast.

I hope these ideas get your inspiration flowing and you make morning the time to begin eating well. Have some breakfast favorites? Share them in the comments section below! Sign up for the Fresh Off the Vine Newsletter for more eating inspiration and please share some of these ideas with your friends!

Noah Barratt

Contributing Writer


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Feb 16 2015

Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Your Roots

It is cold and dreary outside but it’s not too early to think about warmer weather, flowers, fresh fruit and veggies from the garden and local farmers markets. While you are counting down the days and weeks until spring, its time for some Great Beginnings: Getting Back to Our Roots. This includes:

1. shaping up for spring time with some delicious breakfast ideas

2. talking about root vegetables that can be started in the garden or patio pot very soon

3. starting some seeds in the house to transplant in May!

If these topics appeal to you, stay tuned right here!

sweet potatoes

 I will be sharing some of my favorite breakfast recipes which are easy to make and healthy that include cooked quinoa, a tempeh bacon sandwich, egg tacos and several other quick healthy meal ideas. I also will be sharing the great benefits of root vegetables for your health and will include some new, flavorful ways to get these in your diet. And last but not least, I will be starting some seeds and showing you the steps to make your home not just your castle but also your green house!

In the next week or so, I will be debuting my Vine Ripe Nutrition You Tube Channel which includes videos showing you how to make some of my favorite recipes and also gardening and shopping tips. I also will interview some wonderful people connected with local food and health. I would love for you to join me as I try to make it fun and informative! Stay tuned for me details coming soon! Please also let your friends know about it too because it takes quite a few of us to make a party.

If you have been keeping up with the little sprouts in my kitchen window, they have been growing up in the past few weeks The basil, cilantro and parsley will be added to some of my creations in the kitchen.

little herbs

Thank you for reading my blog and letting me be one of your resources for relevant and reliable nutrition information! I want to share with you the recipe for the sweet potatoes on the poster below! It is quick, healthy and easy plus it will pair up well with a quick breakfast or lunch recipe!

Roasted Sweet Potato Home Fries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes (if you have organic potatoes you don’t have to peel them. I prepare 1/2-1 small sweet potato per person. Toss with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and seasonings. I love to use ground pepper, thyme and a sprinkle of salt but there are a lot of great combos that make taste wonderful! You can experiment with your favorites. Bake about 15 minutes on a cookie sheet. Turning about every 5 minutes. You can make the rest of your meal while these potatoes are cooking. You can top them with a little red onion, fresh herbs or other condiments. As you can see, they add a nice touch of color to a winter meal! Stop by again soon to see what I am cooking! Join my newsletter to keep up with some of the other exciting things that I am doing also.


Great Beginnings collage

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