I was longing for the flavors in a favorite dish from a local restaurant that I used to enjoy some years ago. It was topped with rajas. Rajas simply means sautéed onions and poblano peppers. I’ve simplified the same idea here adding a touch of sweetness and color with the sweet potato. This is certainly an easy weeknight dish!


Along with inherent sweetness, sweet potatoes contain a wealth of nutrients. Their color is a clear indication of their inherent goodness. Sweet potatoes may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. That risk reduction is important for individuals with digestive problems like irritable bowl syndrome and ulcerative colitis. However, everyone wanting to reduce the risk posed by heavy metal residues can benefit from consuming sweet potatoes. They are also full of key antioxidants that are readily available like beta-carotene that help mop up free radicals that cause aging and disease. They reduce inflammation throughout the central nervous system including the brain. They promote successful blood clotting, which is a key part of the body’s health and its ability to close off wounds and stop loss of blood, without causing the problem of unwanted blood clots.

One fascinating thing about sweet potatoes is their ability to actually improve blood sugar regulation even in people with type 2 diabetes. Cutting edge research shows that these orange colored gems increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism. This area of research is exciting for anyone who loves sweet potatoes.

Historically onions have been used to treat colds, coughs, asthma, angina, bacterial infections and breathing problems. They are recognized by the world health organization as a treatment of poor appetite, as well as for each of the historical uses mentioned. Onions can help lower blood pressure and protect against cardiovascular disease, prevent stomach cancer and tumor growth. The onions with the strongest flavor and higher astringency appear to have superior health-promoting properties.

Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D. Like humans, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Look for “High D” or “Sunshine” mushrooms in stores soon. Mushrooms promote immune function by increasing the production of antiviral proteins that protect body tissue. They contain an abundance of B vitamins which are crucial for turning food into fuel and energy production as well as for the metabolism of fats and proteins. They are rich in selenium which is a trace mineral which helps lower the risk of certain cancers.

Black beans are full of antioxidants which protect the cells in our body from being damaged. Cell damage leads to degenerative and chronic diseases that are all too common. Also, black beans prevent signs of aging in the skin due to overexposure to sunlight. Black beans not only provide high amounts of protein they are also an excellent source of zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus and folate.



4 large sweet potatoes, baked
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 poblano peppers, sliced
1 T coconut oil
2 cups sliced wild mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped fresh oregano
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, drained
Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste
Soy based sour cream (Tofutti) for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Bake the sweet potatoes in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile, sauté the onion and peppers in the olive oil, stirring constantly until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and oregano and stir in. Transfer to a large dish. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a little oil if necessary and cook stirring constantly until they release their juices and have reduced in size. Add the onion and pepper mixture to the mushrooms. Slice open the baked sweet potatoes and top each with 1/4 of the  black beans. Layer with the vegetable mixture, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the soy based sour cream if desired and top with the chopped cilantro.  Serves 4.  ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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I love the flavor of vegetables fresh off the grill. Here they are with a great pineapple sauce and brown rice to complement them in every way. Enjoy!


Tofu is filled with a host of nutritional benefits. It’s easily digestible proteins promote the development of strong, healthy muscles, tissues and cells. The high calcium content of tofu helps promote healthy bones and teeth and prevent osteoporosis. Tofu is rich in minerals such as iron and selenium which helps the body to maintain high energy levels. It can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels which reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Red bell peppers are high in vitamins C and A, as well as several from the B complex group of vitamins and vitamin E among others. This combination of nutrients can help wound healing, improve dental health, boost the immune system, fight free radical damage that causes aging, protects against cataracts, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improve iron absorption, prevent colds and infection, moisturizes skin, supports brain function, reduces fatigue, supports healthy skin, reduces insomnia, supports brain health and reduces birth defects.

Onions contain powerful antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. They also have anti-allergic properties and are useful for treating allergy related diseases such as asthma and hay fever by blocking some of the inflammatory responses in the airways. Onions, like garlic, help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.



1 lb. extra firm tofu, pressed, drained and cubed
1 red bell pepper cut into big pieces
1 yellow bell pepper cut into big pieces
1 large red onion cut into big pieces
12 oz. mushrooms
1 pint large cherry tomatoes
1 zucchini squash, cubed
1 yellow squash, cubed

For the Sauce:

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple
½ cup xylitol*
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 t soy sauce or tamari
2 T organic cornstarch

Skewer the vegetables and tofu as desired. Grill on the barbeque or in the oven at 350° F for about 20 minutes. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to thickened. Serve with brown rice. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Mama….that is what all my daughter’s friends at work are calling her due to the fact that she is currently very, very pregnant, and very very cute! One friend that she works with requested a curry dish and  lately I’ve been loving curry, maybe even craving it! Can expectant grandmothers get cravings too?


The coconut milk used in this dish contains laurie acid which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Coconut milk helps to boost the immune system and is known to relieve the symptoms of sore throats and ulcers.

Thai red curry paste is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory which helps alleviate all kinds of low level inflammation that can be the root of many diseases.

The shiitake mushrooms are known to reduce cholesterol, support the immune system, help to prevent cancer, they are rich in iron which is essential for the circulatory system. These are a definite must have in this recipe!

The brightly colored bell peppers are full of free radical fighting antioxidants, cardiovascular supporting folate and vitamin B6, and cholesterol lowering fiber. Purchase organic peppers and eat them fresh as possible.



2 (15 oz) cans coconut milk
2-3 T red curry paste
1 (8 oz.) can bamboo shoots
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar*
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/16 t dulse* (or kelp*) powder
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 green bell pepper, large diced
1/2 chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed (optional)
1 cup fresh basil (preferably Thai basil)
Juice of 1 fresh lime
3 T shredded lemongrass stalk or lemongrass paste
1 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/2 t coriander
4 cups cooked brown rice

In a large saucepan combine the coconut milk and red curry paste, simmer 10 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots, vegetable stock, coconut palm sugar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, dulse, shiitake mushrooms, and  zucchini. Simmer another 7 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the peppers, and  onion until softened. Add the garlic and stir in. Add the pepper mixture to the saucepan. Cut the tofu in large dices and add it along with the basil, lime juice, shredded lemongrass, Himalayan sea salt, and coriander to the saucepan and gently stir. Serve in large bowls over rice. Serves 6 ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Before I post a recipe I have at least one person test the recipe so I know others can make it and it works and tastes good to them. Mark, my recipe tester loved this recipe! He also loves curry and suggested that I add curry as an option to the recipe. So, for everyone who loves curry, I’ve noted a curry variation at the bottom of the recipe. Thank you Mark for your input and great suggestion.


Baby portobello mushrooms, otherwise known as crimini mushrooms deliver a wonderful balance of nutrients including selenium that helps to regulate the thyroid and immune system, iron for red blood cells and calcium for strong bones and teeth. They contain a complete amino acid profile and a serving of these will contain about 4% of the daily requirements of protein. These mushrooms are a source of copper. Copper works to help the body absorb both iron and calcium. Without enough copper one may become anemic or develop osteoporosis.  Baby portobellos have high amounts of linoleic acid which help increase metabolism, fight obesity and prevent fat deposits.

Just 4 ounces of tempeh provides 41.3% of the daily value for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. Soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition to healthy protein, tempeh’s high points include the following: riboflavin, a nutrient essential for the mitochondria in cells and in the regeneration of one of the liver’s most important detoxification enzymes, glutathione; magnesium, which plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those that control protein synthesis and energy production; manganese and copper, which are trace minerals that serve numerous physiological functions. The protein and fiber in tempeh can prevent high blood sugar levels and help in keeping blood sugar levels under control. Some diabetics even find that the effects of soy foods, such as tempeh, and other legumes on blood sugar are so profound that they need to monitor their new blood sugar levels and adjust their medications accordingly. The fiber in tempeh provides preventative therapy for several conditions. Fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins and remove them from the body, so they can’t damage colon cells. Soy has been linked to protecting the prostate from cancer in men and a reduction in hot flash symptoms in menopausal women. There is also evidence that soy foods may be able to help reduce the bone loss that typically occurs after menopause.

Depending on how your miso was created it very possibly contains vitamin B12 which is a nutrient hard to come by for those who are exclusively plant eaters. It is full of several minerals including zinc which is important for proper immune function and wound healing. It contains copper and manganese which help with maintaining healthy blood vessels, energy production and assist in antioxidant defenses. Miso, along with other fermented soy foods, has a protective effect against breast cancer.

Studies suggest that regularly eating garlic helps lower blood pressure, controls blood sugar and blood cholesterol, and boosts the immune system. It has also been found to reduce the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer.



1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
½  cup wild rice
1 ¼ lbs. mixed mushrooms (shiitake, baby bella, portobello, oyster etc..)
2 T miso
1 cup cashews
6 cups vegetable broth
1 (8 oz.) pkg. tempeh, diced small
2 t each black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Himalayan sea salt
1 t turmeric
5 cloves garlic, minced (garnish)
3 T chopped fresh oregano (garnish)
¼ cup chopped parsley (garnish)

Layer onion, carrots, celery wild rice and mushrooms in a 5 quart crockpot. Combine the miso, cashews and 3 cups vegetable broth in a Blendtec blender and whirl on the whole juice setting until smooth. Add the cashew mixture and remaining vegetable broth to the crockpot. Place all the dried seasonings and spices into a quart size bag and add the tempeh. Close the bag and toss together, sprinkle over the top of the crockpot mixture. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove lid and add fresh garlic, oregano and parsley. Stir to mix well. Thin with additional water if desired. Serves 8. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com


Add curry powder/paste. For all the curry lovers out there this knocks it out of the ballpark in flavor! Take your favorite curry and add desired amount to each bowlful.

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So fresh that smiles are guaranteed



My friend, Lexie, explained to me that she and her family really likes fettuccine alfredo and wondered if I could recreate a healthier version. I loved taking on the challenge and this recipe is the result. If fettuccine noodles are difficult to find just use whole wheat linguine.


The cashews in the alfredo sauce can significantly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, they promote cardiovascular health, and may help reduce the risk of several cancers. They are rich in antioxidants which mop up free radicals which damage cells. Cashews may help to lower the risk of developing gallstones and on average, people who eat nuts, such as cashews, at least twice a week are much less likely to have weight control problems than those who rarely eat nuts. Cashews contain magnesium which helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and supports the cardiovascular system.

Miso is a fermented soybean paste whose salty taste, buttery texture and unique nutritional profile make it a versatile condiment. Along with soybeans, some misos also feature rice, barley, or other grains. Here are some of it’s benefits. Depending on how your miso was created it very possibly contains vitamin B12 which is a nutrient hard to come by for those who are exclusively plant eaters. It is full of several minerals including zinc which is important for proper immune function and wound healing. It contains copper and manganese which help with maintaining healthy blood vessels, energy production and assist in antioxidant defenses. Miso, along with other fermented soy foods, has a protective effect against breast cancer.

Studies suggest that regularly eating garlic helps lower blood pressure, controls blood sugar and blood cholesterol, and boosts the immune system. It has also been found to reduce the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer.



1 lb. organic fettuccine
1 1/3 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
6 cloves garlic
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 T red or brown miso paste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
3 to 3 1/2 cups hot water from the pasta, divided
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cups finely chopped broccoli
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 T chopped parsley (garnish)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, miso paste, pepper and nutmeg to the jar of a Blendtec* blender. Measure out 3 1/2 cups hot water from the pasta and add 2 cups of the hot water to the  blender and whirl on the whole juice setting. While running the blender, carefully add an additional 1 cup of the hot water depending on desired thickness of the sauce. Drain the pasta in a colander. Add the cut vegetables to the hot pot, add the pasta and the sauce from the blender to the pot over the vegetables. Toss all together (add the last 1/2 cup of hot water if desired), taste to adjust seasonings adding salt if necessary. Turn into a pasta dish and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serves 6. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

See Sources*

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