Sprout New Roots


Chocolate Chia Pudding!

Ok so I feel like I have been hearing about chia seeds for the last year or so but I hadn’t tried them until recently. They have always intrigued me but I never splurged on them because usually it’s at least $10-$20 for a bag of them and I tend to be frugal…Nevertheless, I knew they came jam-packed with disease fighting nutrients and I am so happy to have finally bought a bag ($10 for a 15oz bag of Whole Foods’ 365 brand-well worth it!). They’re actually considered a Superfood due to their high nutrient content! They are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber and therefore help you to sustain energy and maintain fullness (and help you to become, digestively-speaking, “regular” -but I’ll save that glorious topic for another post :)~). They also help to balance out your blood sugar and induce weight loss. “Chia” happens to be the word for “strength” in the Mayan language. According to Brendan Frazier’s book, “Thrive”, “Aztec warriors were rumored to eat chia before going into battle to give them a nutritional boost and thereby improve their endurance. They were also said to have carried it with them when they ran long distances to be used as their body’s primary food source.”(Thrive, pg. 123).  One really cool thing about these seeds is the versatility in which you can use them. I’ve thrown them into our salads and home-made veggie burgers and even my no-tuna salad sandwich that I made this week (https://sproutnewroots.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/fish-are-friends-not-food/). They can be used as an egg substitute in baking as well. Seriously, guys-Google this teeny tiny power-packed seed and sneak it into your everyday meals!

Here are a few little nutritional facts about this powerful little seed:

-Chia contains 2x the amount of protein in any other seed or grain

-5x the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones

-2x the amount of potassium in bananas

-3x the antioxidant strength of blueberries

-3x more iron than spinach

-copius amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6

I actually started eating chia seeds as my breakfast at work. I take about 1 tablespoon of them and mix it into either a glass of almond or soy milk or water. You have to mix it up really well -every 5 minutes or so-over a period of 20-30 minutes so that the seeds don’t clump up. Once they sit in liquid for that long, they form a gel-like texture (think tapioca pudding) and you eat/drink it! They have such a mild taste too so you really don’t notice anything but the texture and a slight little crunch-which i love for some reason.

Anywho, while I have been altering my diet over the last year, I have gradually phased out my needing to have something sweet after EVERY meal. Yea-talk about sugar addiction-not pretty. Now I reserve dessert as an occasional treat, and when I do partake in it, it’s usually savory and rich and I try not to overindulge. I’d rather a small bit of something rich and amazing than a ton of something that’s super sweet-which brings me to this Chocolate Chia Pudding post! This stuff is amazing, guys! And it isn’t too sweet-but rather it’s rich with cocoa flavor! So far I’ve made individual tea-cup sized servings of this for Jason and I. It’s his new favorite thing I make by the way. He’s a little obsessed. 🙂

Chocolate Chia Pudding  (1 individual tea-cup sized serving)

4-8 ounces of almond milk (or soy or whatever plant-based milk you prefer-vanilla flavored ones add extra sweetness)

2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

1.5-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (you can use carob powder or cacao)

1 teaspoon raw agave nectar (or honey)

Toppings of your choice (I have used vegan chocolate chips and also strawberries)

Mix the seeds and liquid really well with a fork so that every seed gets wet. Add in the cocoa powder and agave nectar and mix. The cocoa powder tends to be a pain to mix in as it stays dry until you really get it going. Don’t give up though-it’ll take! Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes or longer (you can even leave it overnight). Over the course of the first 30 minutes, go re-stir the mixture a few times. Then, eat up when you’re ready!

How do y’all like to eat chia seeds? Do share 🙂


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Carrots and Broccoli, Oh My!

Hey guys and gals! I’m going to share with you a yummy, affordable, and super healthy dish, k? K, cool! Before my sister and I went vegan around 8 months ago, we always loved our aunt’s carrot/broccoli parmesan pasta that she would make for most family events. It was one of our go-to vegetarian dishes that we’d load up onto our plates. My husband loves this simple dish as well. So, while at the grocery store earlier Jason threw the idea out to make it for dinner-only vegan, obviously. So we did and I even added in a fun surprise: chopped up almonds! Next time, I may even leave out the pasta entirely since I found myself eating mainly the broccoli and carrots because they were so good! Seriously, that would make a wonderful dish on it’s own, or a great side dish!

Anywho, my aunt’s dish kinda goes like this: white pasta, steamed carrots, steamed broccoli, minced garlic, olive oil, and parmesan, all tossed together.

My dish kinda goes like this:

Carrot & Broccoli Almond Pasta

1 lb. bag of whole wheat pasta, cooked – in our case, tonight, we used a spinach flavored one (I personally didn’t taste anything spinachy so next time if I even use pasta, I’ll just stick with regular whole wheat)

2 heads broccoli chopped up, steamed

10-15 carrots chopped up, steamed

4 garlic cloves, minced/chopped, then very lightly sauteed for 5 or so minutes on the stove in just a splash of water

a big handful of almonds, soaked/sprouted, then dried out (google how to do this bc it takes hours-here’s one basic link http://www.almondessence.com/Transforming.cfm); but it’s easy and increases your absorbancy of the nutrient power of almonds, and makes their outer shell digest-able). Once they were finished being sprouted, I laid them onto my toaster oven pan and baked them at 150 degrees for an hour or 2 until they seemed mostly dry. Then I chopped up (I used my mini prep processor). This is a good idea to do regularly to have sprouted almonds on-hand so you can easily add them to dishes-like I did!

Olive oil

Combine everything and mix up! Drizzle a little olive oil to your liking into the mix (try not to over-do this as olive oil is super fatty!).

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Erin Go Green! Veggie Parade!

Hey y’all! So this past weekend was St. Patty’s Day! I always welcome the opportunity to wear a festive color in my wardrobe! While I didn’t wear green on the actual St. Patrick’s Day, I did wear a green shirt to work the day before…intentionally…so that counts right? Right! I thought so! I’m not Irish (although I’ll assume my first name of Kelli will get me at least into the door)-but I have always been drawn to the Irish heritage from the accent to the music to the heart and soul of it-pure love from me.

Anywho, New Orleans is a fun place to be for St. Patty’s Day weekend. We have the Irish Channel parade on Saturday-which is in Uptown, Nola. And we have the Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade on Sunday in Metry. We didn’t get a chance to make it to the Irish Channel parade uptown due to other things we had going on (Jason played golf while I laid in the sun in my mom’s back yard with my sister watching my pups run around and swim). We did, however, make it to the LAIT parade on Sunday which is just 2 blocks down from my mom’s house. It was really nice and fun! We laid out a blanket and just hung out as the parade passed. Well, mostly Jenn and I hung out–everyone else ran to the floats for throws that included cabbage, carrots, onions, lemons, oranges, heads of garlic, potatoes, and even some apples and bananas! We guarded the loot as our mom, step-dad, and Jason all kept running back and forth from the floats to us delivering the goods. We felt like veggie goddesses guarding our domain! It’s been a few years since we have gone to this parade and the last time we did, we didn’t quite appreciate vegetables as much! For one, we didn’t appreciate the pure awesomeness of FREE food! And, secondly, we were vegetarians-but ones who didn’t eat vegetables like we do now. The Irish Channel parade also throws vegetables as well, FYI. Anywho, here are a few pictures from the day!

Mom, me, and Jenn with our fancy loot! And some Cabbage!

Jenn and I.

And finally, a very colorful display of our booty! (haha)

Erin Go Bragh! (or Green!)

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Eating Out New Orleans: Santa Fe Tapas Vegan Brunch

This past Saturday, we spent the entire day out and about with our mom. For lunch, we decided to be adventurous and try out a restaurant that we had heard about through the New Orleans vegan community grapevine.

Every Saturday, Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles has a vegan brunch. Everything was absolutely delicious! Probably one of the best meals any of us have ever eaten! As soon as they brought us our meals, all 3 of us immediately whipped out our iPhone’s to take pictures! Everything was so pretty and looked incredible and we had to document this! The tamales were our favorite, though, hands down. And the bananas foster – oh my goodness! To die for!

Here’s what we ordered:

Roasted Vegetables Vegan Tamales, Poblano Mole, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole

Crisp marinated Tofu, Piquillo Roasted Corn Spinach Shallot Orzo (Risotto)

Panneed “Scallopini” Parsnip Potato Latke, Asparagus Amandine

Bananas Foster (with house made vegan ice cream!)

If anyone has a delicious vegan tamale recipe, please share it with us! We’ve been dreaming about it ever since!


It’s Ma Birffdaaay! My Cake and a Lasagna Recipe!

Hello all!

Sorry it’s been a while between posts. Jenn and I have been super busy lately it seems! Well, I am writing because on March 1, I turned 28 years young. Crazy to me. Just madness actually. I feel like I was just 23 years old…I guess, as Kermit the Frog himself would say, “time’s fun when you’re having flies!” 🙂 Anywho, for my birthday night this past Thursday, my mom and step-dad took me and Jason and my brother out to dinner. I got to choose the place, so Sukho Thai on Magazine St. it was! They have a really decent sized vegetarian menu that they easily can turn vegan; and they are always so accommodating and on top of that. We got the spring rolls and the garden soup for appetizers. Both were scrumptious. And I got the Pad Thai for my meal-sans the egg and fish sauce. So good every time! Here’s a photo of us all from the evening: (excuse our demon-esque eyes peering into your very soul).

Then on Saturday, me, Jason, my sister Jenn and her boyfriend Chris, and our brother Dusten all went walking around Uptown and ate at Juan’s Flying Burrito. They too have a bunch of vegetarian and vegan options. My sister and I split 2 dishes–Veggie Fajitas and then some Supergreen burrito thing and both were so filling and delicious.

And then, after Juan’s, we went to Whole Foods and bought a Vegan Cookies-and-Cream cake and went home and indulged! I looove Oreos so this was such a treat!

And then on Sunday, my birthday celebration continued! My mom knows how much I loved the Engine 2 “Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegatable Lasagna” when she made it the first time, so she made it again! I cannot explain to you how yummy this stuff is. It’s just sooo flavorful and awesome! It’s a huge feast of a lasagna too! It takes lots of prep work and time-but if you are making dinner for company and want to impress them or if you just want lasagna that will be delicious and will last you the entire week (it makes a large portion) than this is a must for you. I can’t recommend it enough!

I’m giving you guys the recipe from “The Engine 2 Diet” by Rip Esselstyn. Since this is the second time that my mom has made it, she made a few adjustments that I’ll add below the original recipe. I must say that the original is sooo freaking good, but this second time, with my moms tweaks, it was to die for! 🙂

Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna

Serves 10 to 12

1 onion, chopped

1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 can corn, rinsed and drained

1 package firm tofu

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon rosemary

2 jars pasta sauce

2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles

16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained

2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin

1 cup raw cashews, ground


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan. Saute the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Saute the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.

To Assemble:

Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the mashes sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with cashews and returnt to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

*The tweaks that my mom made:

She held out on the tofu until the layer of red sauce under the sweet potatoes. She mixed the crumbled tofu with that layer of red sauce. She also added 1 zucchini and 1 squash, sliced thin, and pan sauteed them w onion. She also pan sauteed 1.5 eggplants in vegetable broth. That along with the zucchini and squash was 1 layer in the lasagna. Instead of frozen spinach, she used fresh baby spinach. This makes a huge difference.