Whether you are a practicing Vegan, or attempting to try more Vegan fare, this dish is brimming with nutrition and taste, and you won’t miss the cheese or meat at all!

Vegan Lasagne

Ingredients

For the eggplant:

1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 small)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes

For the sauce:

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons capers

For the noodles:

Kosher salt
12 ounces dried lasagna noodles

For the filling:

2 pounds soft tofu, drained
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed (from about 1/2 lemon)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

To assemble:

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves (from about 1 bunch), cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons

Preparation

For the eggplant:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Cut the eggplant(s) lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place in a single layer on a flat surface or 2 baking sheets, overlapping slightly as needed, and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Flip the eggplant and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; let sit until water beads form on the surface, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:

Using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the tomatoes and their juices, in batches as needed, until coarsely chopped (about 10 pulses). Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more

Push the onions and garlic to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the empty side of the pan. Cook the paste slightly to remove the raw flavor, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the onions and garlic into the paste to incorporate. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to meld the flavors.

Add the capers, taste, and season with additional salt and red pepper flakes as needed; set aside.

To finish the eggplant:

Using paper towels, pat the eggplant slices dry on both sides. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add just enough eggplant to sit in a single layer in the pan and sear on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to a plate and repeat, in batches, with another 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and the remaining uncooked eggplant.

While the eggplant cooks, place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the seared eggplant to the oil-vinegar mixture and toss. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

For the noodles:

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, lay the pieces flat on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

For the filling:

Place the tofu, parsley, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, and measured salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed; set aside.

To assemble the lasagne:Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce, about 3 regular-sized noodles. Top the noodles with a quarter of the tofu filling (about 1 cup) and spread evenly. Lay a quarter of the eggplant slices over the filling. Spread about 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the basil leaves. Make three more layers of noodles, filling, eggplant, sauce, and basil, omitting the basil from the top layer.

Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Serve with any remaining tomato sauce.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CHOW.com.*

Visit SheKnows.com today to glean insight into creating a planet-friendly nursery for tots! “Mom’s” article, Create a Dream Green Nursery, was featured this week! Check out the article here.

*Image provided by Carousel Designs.*

Yoga For Kids – Creating Health And Wellness For The Younger Generation

With today’s epidemic of childhood obesity, the medical profession is concerned for the future health and wellness of today’s youth. Getting enough regular exercise is important for the health of children and young adults. Choosing something fun, yet beneficial, is key when it comes to a picking a kid’s exercise group.

One of the most beneficial and well-rounded exercise programs for young people is the ancient practice of doing yoga. Unlike other sports activities, yoga is much, much more than just a way to exercise the body. It is a total lifestyle of health and wellness that children these days need so much of.

Children Learn A Healthy Lifestyle Practice Through Yoga Lessons

Lessons specifically made for children and young adults can offer them more than just a quick body workout. This practice teaches and trains the young child to control their thoughts, their body movements and their breathing. It helps them connect with the spiritual part of themselves and gives them the mental and emotional tools they need to grow up as grounded and self aware adults.

Yoga Teaches Kids Mindful Awareness

Poses that are used for children during class use creative methods to teach the child visualization and connectedness. Showing kids that they can stretch out their arms like a tree branch and imagine what it feels like to be cut down teaches true oneness with nature. It creates a thinking, feeling child who grows in awareness and empathy of the living things found in nature.

Poses are also fun for kids. The children stretch, reach, bend and become more flexible. Yoga helps them achieve fine motor coordination and muscle strength. Kids learn how to focus and develop self-control. They also learn how to relax. Focused, relaxed kids that can control themselves do better in school and will do much better out in the work force when they grow up.

Children Who Take Yoga Classes Learn Healthy Stress Relief Methods

Learning the healthy lifestyle practice of yoga is fun for children. They can release all of their pent up energy in a safe, fun environment. Classes may involve stimulating games and poses that teach them about nature and human anatomy. They learn an important lesson about stress relief and relaxation that can help ward off diseases caused by stress in later life. Kids who learn how to breathe correctly and calm themselves have a built-in buffer against some of the harmful stress relievers that many teenagers turn to like alcohol and cigarettes.

Kids Learn Lifelong Lessons From Yoga

Yoga is not only fun, it promotes self-discipline and inner strength. Children grow in character and self-respect. It promotes a feeling of well-being and confidence in a child. It helps them grow in respect for other human beings and for the life found in nature. This is much more than one could expect from any other kind of physical exercise program for young people. Yoga is more than just physical. It encompasses the whole person.

Not only do kids who take yoga have more stamina, balance, strength and flexibility, they will be able to control stress and anxiety better. Their minds will be clear and focused. Sleep will be more restful. That alone might get parents signing their kids up for classes as soon as possible.

Yoga can be practiced throughout their lives for maximum health and wellness. Classes of this type for children can create a whole new future generation of healthy, happy and well-rounded adults.

About the Author

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years. In her free time, she likes to help teens study for their DMV test and, as a mom, she loves finding coupons at savings.com.

Bye bye plain carrots – hello homemade carrot chips! These easy-peasy chips can be made right in your oven in minutes, and make a healthy afternoon snack for the kiddos, or you!

Carrot Chips

Ingredients

2 large carrots (at least 1 inch in diameter), peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Basic Ranch Dressing, for dipping (optional)

Preparation

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds.

Holding the stem end, shave the carrots lengthwise into thin strips using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler. Place the carrot strips in a medium bowl, add the oil, salt, and pepper to taste and toss with your hands until thoroughly coated.

Place the strips in a single layer on 2 baking sheets—the strips can be touching but should not overlap. (Discard or save any remaining carrot slices for another use.)

Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans between the racks. Bake until the edges of the chips are just starting to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes more. Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let the chips cool until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using your hands, carefully transfer the chips to a serving dish and serve with ranch dressing, if desired.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CHOW.com.*

Mom” was recently introduced to Fei’d™, a new skin care line that is revolutionizing the skin care industry! Combining both Eastern Medicine & Western Science, Fei’d™ (pronounced “fade”) uses active botanicals rather than harsh chemicals to treat uneven skin tone, hyper pigmentation, and other skin imbalances by rebalancing the skin function as a whole.

Why use Fei’d™ Skin Care?

99% Natural
10 clinically proven key ingredients
Certified by the Natural Products Association
All natural fragrances
No harsh bleaches
No hydroquinone
No kojic acid
No mineral oil
Paraben free

According to Fei’d™ Skin Care, in traditional Eastern medicine, uneven skin tone is believed to be caused by a lack of qi (pronounced (“chi”) circulation to the skin. To treat uneven skin tone, traditional healers therefore actively target the meridians that govern the function of the skin. Namely the Lung (Fei), Spleen (Pi) and Liver (Gan) meridians, which regulate energy flow to and from the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis.

Mom” has been in the sun quite a bit in her life, and has significant sun damage, so she was excited to try this new product! It glides on easily, like moisturizer, and just one pump of the dispenser was enough to cover her face, neck, and hands – all three areas that show the signs of sagging, aging, and wrinkles as people age. Fei’d™ does not tingle or burn, as some products for treating hyperpigmentation that are more chemical-laden do when placed on the skin, and “Mom” has already noticed a brightening effect on her skin, especially on the backs of her hands!

For postpartum mamas, Fei’d™ may also help to treat the dark melasma that can occur during and after pregnancy. It was these same dark spots that prompted Claire Gutschow, founder of Fei’d™ Skin Care, to develop the unique formulation using both Eastern Medicine and Western Science. To learn more about Claire, check out the interview with this eco-conscious entrepreneur.

If you are interested in trying out Fei’d™ on your own skin, you can enter the Fei’d™ Skin Care Giveaway on Tiny Green Mom through May 25th, 2011!

To learn more about Fei’d™ Skin Care, or to order online, visit www.feidskincare.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Mom” is in LOVE with these soft, chewy and (almost) homemade cookies from Wholly Wholesome! Typically, “Mom” bakes a batch of her own homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies made with whole wheat flour, and as a rule, eschews anything pre-packaged or pre-made, especially cookies. But, she gave these a whirl and oh my! What a treat! Just preheat the oven, open the box, place the already perfectly formed dough on the cookie sheet, and 14 minutes later – fresh, warm and amazingly chewy cookies are ready! Yes, it is as simple as that!

Not only are the cookies ridiculously easy to make, but Wholly Wholesome uses 70% Organic ingredients. The cookies contain absolutely no preservatives, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, or other additives, as well! What are the ingredients in these little blissful bites?

Ingredients

Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Raisins, Unsalted Butter, Organic Wheat Flour, Eggs, Molasses, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, and Pure Vanilla Extract.

Plain and simple – ingredients you can pronounce and that are nutritious, as well. “Mom” loves that they use organic whole wheat flour! (Don’t worry, the cookies aren’t heavy – they are light and fluffy!)

To learn more about Wholly Wholesome products, to locate a retailer near you, or to purchase online, visit whollywholesome.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Rock Climbing with Kids – Reasons Why the Whole Family Should Give it a Try

At first, rock climbing may not feel like a safe sport but it really is- at least at beginner level. These days most climbers start off at an indoor climbing gym, in the care of an experienced and qualified instructor. Kids are welcome at most rock climbing centers from about age five and up. Some are a little frightened at first but many take to it like ducks to water. Like being on a roller coaster, the fear quickly becomes more of a thrill, and there are obvious benefits- climbing gets kids active and even if they start off indoors, it gets them excited about being outside (far away from the TV and the computer). It builds physical strength and flexibility, but there are other, more compelling reasons to encourage kids to start climbing.

  1. Self-esteem. Climbing teaches kids (or adults, for that matter) that they can do far more than they first thought they could. The first time a climber tries a route it may seem far too hard but a week later they’ll go straight to the top. A tremendous sense of achievement will come with that.
  2. Fosters cooperation between siblings. Even the most bored, cynical teenager will find the excitement of watching their 10 year old brother climb up his first route hard to ignore. It usually doesn’t take long for kids to start offering advice to one another and start shouting encouragement while they wait for their turn.
  3. Builds mutual respect and real love. There is a kind of bonding that only comes with a shared challenge. If a brother and sister try rock climbing together they’ll feel the same nervousness and encounter the same difficulties. They’ll both feel supported by the encouragement of the other and they’ll both see each other failing, but really trying to reach the next handhold. The experience breeds mutual respect and real love.

That’s why mom and dad should give it a try too! It’s ok to be scared- almost everyone is when they first start out. Letting children see their parents dealing with situations that obviously challenge them is valuable. It shows that parents feel just the same fears as kids do. Anyone who keeps trying, learns from their mistakes, laughs when they fall off, and eventually conquers their fears gives kids a great example to follow.

About the Author

Jess Spate is a former climbing instructor who now works for Appalachian Outdoors, one of America’s best online sources for kids outdoor gear – when not on a rock somewhere!

Courtesy of Holly Clegg, author of trim&TERRIFIC, this recipe can be a meatless entrée or a hearty family pleasing side, and is as simple as opening cans. Turn leftover rice into another recipe, or opt for brown rice in lieu of white rice.

Southwestern Rice

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice

1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies

1 cup nonfat sour cream (“Mom” prefers organic)

2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, divided

1 bunch green onions, chopped (reserving 2 tablespoons)

1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

Preparation

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 2-quart oblong baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients using 1 3/4 cups cheese in prepared dish. Bake 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons green onions. Return to oven 5 minutes or until cheese melted.

MAKES 8 (1-CUP) SERVINGS

*Recipe courtesy of Holly Clegg, author of trim&TERRIFIC.

*Image courtesy of Naito8 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net*

For those without backyard or a patio, or for those who want to invite nature indoors, the Wally by Woolly Pocket will enliven any small space! A modern eco-innovation – basically a pocket that can be hung both inside and out – the Wally allows you to grow a vertical garden! Now you can instantaneously beautify any area of your home by creating a hanging garden oasis or a kitchen herb garden. This unique modular living wall system is created using recycled plastics, and is available in a variety of sizes. You can also hang several together to create an even more magical display! Think of it as living, breathing art!

For more information on the Woolly Pocket, how to grow and create your own garden or wall display, or to order, visit www.woollypocket.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Making Time for Meditation
By Tom Von Deck, Corporate Meditation Trainer, Speaker and Author

It is becoming increasingly clear to most people that meditation benefits just about every aspect of life. Headline after headline
introduces us to new studies which say that meditation benefits brain function, heart health, circulatory system, productivity, stress levels and many other things. The list is endless. However, according to surveys, most people feel like they simply do not have time for meditation.

There is a way to make time for meditation without displacing other important activities. This is true regardless of how hectic your schedule seems. Making time for meditation does not require a huge amount of self discipline. It just requires a little bit of commitment.

A good starting point is to frame the idea of meditation with the right attitude. Meditation is a time saver and productivity booster. In fact, many companies have meditation rooms and offer employees two to three hours per week to meditate or pray on company time.

Tribe Inc., a company that designs employee engagement programs for corporate clients, offers three “wellness hours” per week for each of their own employees to slip out of the office and meditate in the meditation room or play ice hockey outside. Other companies such as Toyota, Apple and Nike also encourage meditation because they say that the investment saves them money by reducing absenteeism, illness and low energy days. Employees are more absorbed in work tasks, and they sleep better than employees who don’t engage in meditation and similar activities. The time investment that goes into meditation is actually a time saver because it helps you use your time more efficiently.

You may be a mom who always needs to be vigilant with the kids. You may also have a job that does not offer wellness hours. So, how do you find time to meditate and do it well? Start by making a list.

What do you find calming, grounding and centering? Maybe there’s a childhood memory of a waterfall you visited frequently. Maybe you enjoy reading poems by Rumi or Psalms by King David. You may also have a favorite spiritual or inspirational song. Put these meditation boosting activities on your list. Now, add some physical activity like stretching and something else that generates feeling in the body and grounds you in the present moment. These are all things which may facilitate your meditation while not taking up too much time.

Everyone has down times in the day. Retrace your previous day and think about all the times you had at least 30 seconds of down time. This can be traffic lights, grocery store lines, gaps between work tasks, trips to the bathroom, etc. Use all these times to do the activities on your list. If these in between times don’t exist, create some. Make sure it measures up to at least 30 seconds out of each hour. You may sometimes notice immediate effects of these activities, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is the accumulation of peace that occurs below the level of consciousness. This will make meditation much easier by the time you begin a formal meditation practice. You will find that there is always time for meditation. You will also find that shorter meditation sessions take less time to “warm up” for because you’re almost in that meditative state of mind already.

Now it’s time to find your meditation technique. If you’re a beginner, you can learn a simple technique on many websites, audio programs or through a personal meditation coach or weekend retreat. Many simple meditation techniques have a very similar structure. What mainly differs is the object that you are focusing on. Make sure that this object is something that invites a state of deep, loving absorption. This can be the breath, a word, a phrase, a visualized image and many other things.

Set aside a particular time each day for formal meditation at least two hours after a meal. Declare it sacred time that you use for stopping to check in with yourself and your own mind. Aim for at least ten minutes for your time duration. If you have an hour each day to devote as your time investment for meditation, that’s even better. The important thing is consistency. Keep a good solid momentum of peace every day, and you will realize that there is always time for meditation.

About the Author

Tom Von Deck is a corporate meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy people and everyone else from all lifestyles and religious backgrounds. He is also the editor of The Ultimate Stress Blog. Tom’s website is www.DeeperMeditation.net.