Spanish Rice from Vegan Meal Prep by JL Fields

[Spanish Rice is a great quick and easy side dish that’s vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free and yeast-free. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.]

JL Fields Vegan Meal Prep Spanish Rice recipe

Over the years, I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with meal planning. Of course, we all know that it’s better for your schedule and your wallet to plan meals in advance: that way, you buy only the groceries you need for that week’s meals, you always have the ingredients on hand that you need, and you end up eating better, too, since you don’t reach for the phone to order in from Hello Fresh.

This week, that’s all changed! And it’s all due to my friend JL Fields’s new book, Vegan Meal Prep: Ready-to-Go Meals and Snacks for Healthy Plant-Based Eating.

Since I started blogging in 2008 (!!), I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting JL Fields three times (we met twice when the HH and I visited New York City on two separate occasions, then again at a vegan festival near where we live in St. Catharines, Ontario).

In case you don’t know, JL is the Founder and Director of the Colorado Springs Culinary Academy, Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, Food for Life instructor, chef instructor at the University of New Mexico Culinary program, personal chef, career coach and corporate consultant–as well as the author or co-author of 5 books, the host of Real World Vegan Meals and the Easy Vegan radio show, and columnist for the Colorado Springs Gazette.

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If ever there was a woman who fit the descriptor “powerhouse” in the best possible way, it’s JL!

Multi-passionate with a thriving vegan business in many sectors, JL is also personable, funny, sharp-witted and immensely talented when it comes to creating delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes that appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.  She proved her chops first with pressure cooking, then air frying, and now, in Vegan Meal Prep, how to save time and money and still enjoy varied and tasty meals all week.

If you’ve never done a menu plan, you might assume that meal prepping is the same thing. And if you have done meal plans, you’ll find that JL’s no-nonsense approach is much easier and allows for creativity during the week with ingredients and meals.

The concept is simple: prep major ingredients based on a theme each week, then prep in advance or mix-and-match throughout the week to create convenient, tasty meals when short on time. As JL says in the book’s Introduction, “So, yes, ‘I’m too busy to cook’ folks, this book is for you.”

After covering some of the basic of plant-powered prep, the book moves to Meal Prep Principles (“start simple,” “set realistic goals” and “experiment with vegan staples”), as well as tips for batch cooking, how to play with flavors that can transform simple ingredients into extraordinary recipes, and a list of JL’s favorite “Go-To Ingredients” so you can get started easily. Part One ends with tips on storage so that your prep can last you through the week and you won’t need to have major cooking time again until the following weekend.

Meal prep and recipes revolve around themes such as “Grain Goodness,” “Beat the Heat,” “Go Green,” “For the Love of Legumes,” “To the East,” “Fiesta Time,” “Beautiful Bowls” and “Back to Basics.” Each prep provides several ingredients that are batch-cooked for the week, plus a list of recipes that are made with those ingredients. You can prep most of the recipes in advance, then simply pull out of the fridge, reheat if necessary, and enjoy a healthful, ready-made breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.

As with everything JL does, the book is clear, informative, well organized, and engaging to read. The recipes range from basics like Caesar-style Dressing, Cashew Cream, Cinnamon and Spice Overnight Oats or Basic Baked Potato to easy yet tasty dishes like Tofu-Spinach Scramble, Banana-Nut Bread Bars, Tasty Mac ‘N Cheese, Not-Tuna Salad, Tortilla Breakfast Casserole or Cashew-Chocolate Truffles, and some of JL’s more “signature” recipes like White Bean Gravy, Savory Oatmeal Porridge, Risotto Bites, or Peppered Pinto Beans.

While some of the recipes do contain gluten or higher glycemic sweeteners (such as dates) or maple syrup), these are rare, and over 85% are gluten-free. Because the recipes are deliberately created so that you can add or adjust to your own taste, you’ll find loads of ACD-friendly recipes, as well as many nut-free, too.

A perfect example is this Spanish Rice. I made mine with additional jalapeno since the HH and I loooove spice, and it was fabulous. We used it as a wonderful side dish the first night, then added cooked black beans and some chopped chard the next for a full meal.

Candida diet, vegan Spanish Rice recipe

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Can Sweet Treats Be Part of a Healthy Holiday?

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Do you enjoy all the sweet treats over the holidays? 

Most often, the story I hear goes like this: you’ve been following a restricted diet, either for candida or another chronic condition like Lyme disease, arthritis, eczema, or something else. You’ve established a pretty good pattern of eating healthy foods, and you’ve stuck with it pretty well over time. You feel comfortable with the diet and you know what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

Then the holidays suddenly arrive. You’re faced with a panoply of holiday treats and once-a-year foods, like pumpkin pie; pecan pie; chocolate truffles; gooey cinnamon rolls; eggnog; peppermint-everything; warm, creamy dips and spreads; stuffing–and on and on.

It feels somehow wrong to simply refuse these special treats. After all, they’re only here at this time of year. There’s the rest of the year still left to “eat on the plan.”

Plus, everyone else is eating all this stuff! Do you really want to be left out of the party?

So what do you do? Do you allow those treats back in for a limited time, or do you forgo them altogether and push through the holidays without them?

Well, I think there might be another way entirely.

Watch today’s video to see what I think is the best solution, depending on your own individual situation. 

Continue reading Can Sweet Treats Be Part of a Healthy Holiday. . .


Why It’s So Hard to Say “NO” to Holiday Foods

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When I was a kid and through my 30s, I looked forward to the holidays every year. It was a time when I had free rein to eat as much as I wanted–basically, the entire season from October to April was a licence to pig out. Then, when I was diagnosed with candida, I had […]

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Thai Red Curry Sweet Potato Dip

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Discouraged By Holiday Food Restrictions?

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It’s a story I hear from my clients far too often: “Everything was going just great! I was eating foods that are 100% compliant with my restricted diet. I was planning my food, taking lunch to the office, cooking extra on weekends so that I wouldn’t have to worry about what to eat for breakfast. . […]

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Juice Pulp Crackers (no dehydrator required!)

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[Got extra pulp after making veggie juice? These Juice Pulp Crackers are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.] As soon as I graduated from nutrition school, I ran out and bought myself a 9-tray Excalibur dehyrdator (and also a Vitamix, and also […]

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When Your Diet is Perfect. . . and You’re Still Not Better

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It can be incredibly frustrating. Your practitioner commands you to eliminate a whole list of foods from your diet so that you can improve your digestion, symptoms, and overall health. It sounds nearly impossible–you mean, you want me to take out gluten? But what about bread? Bagels? Cereal? Pasta? PIZZA???. Or it could be dairy […]

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Can You Love Food TOO Much?

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Is it harder to stick with your restricted diet if you happen to really (really, REALLY) love food?  Being told that you have to cut out most (or all) of your favorite foods because of a health condition can be truly devastating. Besides the fact that you might not know about other foods and new, […]

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Greek Pasta Salad from Go Dairy Free

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If you’ve been reading my site for any length of time, you already know I’m a huge fan of Alisa Fleming from Go Dairy Free. I first met Alisa over 10 years ago (hard to believe, now!), when I was just starting out on the blogging scene and Alisa was already a seasoned professional. I […]

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