Best World Vegetarian Day Recipe

Happy World Vegetarian Day! Try a savory and satisfying meat-free recipe to celebrate the occasion!

Sweet potatoe

Happy World Vegetarian Day! As you probably know, we’re all about living a balanced lifestyle, and a healthy diet is a huge component of overall wellness. While we definitely don’t judge any meat eaters out there, we’re always open to nutritious spins on our favorite foods.

But, if you think we’re about to tell you to forfeit comfort food for tofu, than you’re wrong! There are actually a whole slew of vegetarian options that will tickle your taste buds just as much as a slab of bacon (if you’re into that kind of thing!). To prove it, we’re sharing one of our all-time favorites – a recipe that incorporates seasonal ingredients like sweet potatoes and chickpeas. There are tons of nutrients in this supremely satisfying dish, and it only takes 30 minutes to make!

Sweet potato 2

Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
Recipe by Dana for Minimalist Baker

Fun fact: The high levels of Beta-carotene and Vitamin A found in sweet potatoes is more easily absorbed when digested with 3 to 5 grams of healthy fat. The olive oil and almond milk found in this recipe are examples of heart-healthy fats, and make the Garlic Herb Sauce incredibly decadent. This mouth-watering veggie recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare, and it’s one that will keep the family feeling warm and full as we transition into winter. Get the recipe at minimalistbaker.com.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily. 

Celebrate National Coffee Day At The Spa

Indulge your love of caffeine with these $50 Spa Week treatments

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Here at Spa Week, every day is coffee day! Whether we’re rolling in with a French roast or treating ourselves to a late-afternoon latte, you’ll never find us far from a warm cup of java. Needless to say, we were pretty pumped when we learned that today is National Coffee Day!

But it’s not just those flavorful aromas or that energizing buzz that makes coffee such a necessary staple in our lives. Coffee can work wonders for our brain and even our bodies. Believe it or not, we absorb more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables. Wild, right? And if that’s not enough, research shows that females who drink three or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop skin cancer than those who don’t. Coffee drinkers are also less prone to develop Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. And let’s not forget that fabulous fact that consuming coffee, when sleep-deprived, can actually jolt you into caring. “When you’re sleep-deprived and you take caffeine, pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning – most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence,” Time reporter Michael Lemonick explains.

To celebrate all things caffeine, we’ve put together a list of spas that incorporate the many health benefits of our favorite beverage. So sit back, relax and book yourself a coffee-based beauty treatment today. (Hey, it’s good for you!)

  • French Vanilla Latte Brown Sugar Scrub at Graceful Spa in New York, NY
  • Coffee & Cream Body Polish with Triple Shot Caramel Coffee Scrub from Farmhouse Fresh at Spa Botanica in Concord, NC
  • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pedicure, Polish Change Manicure and Pumpkin Spice Latte Beverage at Zubeda’s Spa in Medford, MA
  • Pumpkin Latte Pedicure with Milk Soak and Butter Brulee at Evensong Spa in Green Lake, WI

There are even more coffee-based treatments to be enjoyed during Spa Week! Click here to find a city near you and book your appointment today!

 Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily. 

Healthy Snacks To-Go: The Protein Bakery

It’s easier than you think to grab a protein-packed snack on the run—and these taste great, too!

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At one point in his life, Stephen Lincoln was teaching dozens of fitness classes a week. In amazing shape, he could basically eat anything he wanted and would soon burn it off to maintain his physique. Still, he had a problem with the fact that finding a protein-packed snack on-the-go was a challenge. It was from that struggle that The Protein Bakery was born.

Founded on the belief that baked goods should be good for you, The Protein Bakery packs sizable amounts of healthy, muscle building protein into traditional baked goods like brownies, cookies and blondies. These treats are packed full of whey protein (which is naturally found in cookies, anyway, so you really won’t taste a big difference). In unique flavors like Lemon Zest blondies and Oatmeal Cranberry cookies, a snack from the protein bakery is significantly more palatable than a protein bar with a similar amount of protein per serving.

The actual breakdown is as follows: brownies have around 12 grams of protein, 13 in the blondies, 8 in both the chocolate and oatmeal cookies, and up to 12 in the peanut butter cookies. For reference, most protein bars have around 12g of protein in them, too. Protein Bakery goodies are also chock full of fiber, and are free of gluten and trans fats. Plus, protein makes you fuller, faster. So unlike snacking on a regular cookie or brownie, you won’t crash soon after eating this treat!

Inside The Sweet Spot

Inside The Sweet Spot

Convinced that you’re into this snack? We thought you’d like it. If you’re ever in NYC and want to see more for yourself, you can visit The Sweet Spot, the company’s showroom in Flatiron. It’s open daily from 10-4, or by appointment. Not sure which option you want to try? The best-selling item is the peanut butter cookies.

The next product they’re rolling out (either right before or after the holiday time) is the peanut butter blondie in mini form. They are also in the process of developing a protein powder to put into shakes. We can’t wait!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.

Top 5 Antioxidant-Rich Food & Wine Pairings

We’ve already shared the 5 Best Wines for Summer–but wine is so much better with a food pairing! Alyssa Rapp from Bottlenotes shares the best, healthiest snacks to pair with your evening glass.

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By Davide Restivo from Lenzburg, Aarau, Switzerland (A glass of wine) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It is no secret that wine–red wine in particular–is purported to be high in antioxidants; one of the many “health benefits of wine.”

To nerd out for a moment, the initial findings on the antioxidant benefits of red wine seemed to show a story that everyone could get behind: that wine is a delicious alcoholic beverage that also happens to have antioxidant benefits by virtue of the existence of the polyphenol resveratrol in the skin of red grapes. Resveratrol has been found to raise HDL (“good” cholesterol), reduce formation of blood clots, and prevent artery damage (caused by “bad” cholesterol).

But rather than dig into the science of whether or not the antioxidants in wine alone are note-worthy; why don’t we just suggest some dynamite antioxidant-rich food and wine pairings?

According to The Food Network, the top 10 antioxidant rich foods are an array of fruits and vegetables. For wine-pairing purposes, let’s group them by like flavor profiles:

1. Berries & Cherries

I am a berry and cherry lover, particularly in the summertime. Hard to beat a fresh berry with some crème fraiche on top as dessert. Add in a Sauternes as a dessert wine pairing? DELICIOUS.

2. Peaches & Plums

Peaches and plums are high in antioxidants-fresh or in dried form. Like berries, these sweet stonefruits are stupendously tasty in the summer. Peach cobbler paired with a brut champagne (so the sweetness of the wine does NOT overpower the cobbler) is almost always positively terrific.

3. Green Vegetables (kale, spinach, etc.)

When the objective of food and wine pairing is complementary versus contrasting flavors, a vegetal New Zealand sauvignon blanc can often mirror and stand up to intensely flavored spinach and kale. Alternatively, an Oregon or French pinot noir might offer contrasting flavors that “soften” the intensity of green vegetables

4. (Brazilian) Nuts

So many wines pair well with nuts. On a personal note, I love sipping a chilled white wine with great minerality like white Burgundy or even select white Bordeaux with warm, salty, mixed nuts. Great way to start an evening.

 5. Dark Chocolate

Why not skip the traditional dessert and pack in the antioxidants with Port and dark chocolate at the end of a meal?

In the mood to shore up your cocktail party conversation on the health-benefits of wine even more? You can see another article on the Health Benefits of Wine for Women and one on staying fit while enjoying wine by The Daily Sip® here.)

AJR New HeadshotAlyssa J. Rapp is the Founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. Alyssa is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips® (Adam’s Media, October 2008) and frequently appears on national television as an expert on wine and entrepreneurship. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and the History of Art from Yale University in 2000 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) in 2005.

Healthy Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna Recipe

To celebrate National Lasagna Day, we’re cooking up a Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna recipe that’s satisfying and shockingly healthy!

Lasagne Recipe

Lasagna is one of those rare comfort foods that can soothe the soul after the most stressful days, and we’re always looking for an excuse to indulge in this savory dish. So when we found out that today was National Lasagna Day, we decided it was the perfect time to dig up a new recipe in celebration of the occasion.

Of course, we’re always on the prowl for healthier versions of our favorite foods, so when we came across a lightened up (but equally satisfying) Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook, we knew we had to share!

This recipe substitutes whipped tofu for ricotta cheese (you would never know!) so it’s perfect if you’re sensitive to dairy or lactose intolerant. Sautéed mushrooms give the same meaty texture of a traditional sauce, but this vegan recipe boasts far fewer calories. And that means that this National Lasagna Day you can go back for seconds without a shred of guilt!

Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • Tomato-Basil Sauce or 5 to 6 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine (optional)
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • One 14 to 16 ounce block of firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2/4 pound lasagna noodles

Instructions

1. If you’re making Tomato-Basil Sauce, do that first, and go on with the recipe as it simmers.

2. In a large saucepan or skillet on medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the sherry or wine, if using, cover, and cook until the mushrooms are tender and juicy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Finely chop the spinach and set aside. Crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, oregano, fennel, black pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Whirl until the tofu mix is smooth and creamy, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the basil and process briefly to mix.

4. Preheat oven to 300F. Oil a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

5. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer off lasagna noodles; we usually break some noodles and use them to fill in the empty spaces in the noodle layer. Spread on half of the tofu filling, and then half of the mushrooms and chopped raw spinach. Spread another 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the vegetables. Top with noodles, the remaining tofu mix, and the rest of the mushrooms and spinach. Add a final layer of lasagna and top it with 2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce.

6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil; dome the foil so that it doesn’t touch the sauce. Bake until the noodles feel tender when a knife is inserted, about 1 hour.

If you liked this vegetarian and vegan recipe than you will LOVE Moosewood Restaurant Favorites! Click here to get your copy of this super-healthy cookbook!

All Photos Courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant.

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily.