Those of you who follow my food posts were probably not surprised reading the word “tacos” in the subject. It’s no secret that I’m more than slightly smitten with Mexican and southwestern inspired foods – especially tacos. I mean, my Facebook bio says “I like tacos” and nothing else. Yeah. That said, I think you will be surprised by this particular taco recipe. Despite the fact that it sounds complicated, it’s incredibly easy – and incredibly delicious. It’s a light-yet-satisfying entree perfect for summertime, and it’s become a staple around our house over the past few weeks. It’s also one of the most nutritious meals we eat, full of whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. You’re going to love it, I promise.
Easy Jasmine Rice, Lentil, and Quinoa Tacos
Makes 8 tacos
1 cup Village Harvest Organic Benefit Protein Blend (dry/uncooked)
8 soft corn tortillas
1 large avocado (or 2 small)
1 cups organic greens (we like baby spinach or spring greens)
Cook 1 cup of the Organic Benefit Protein Blend (yummy blend of organic jasmine rice, organic lentils, and organic red quinoa) with 2-1/4 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-22 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and allow to stand for 5 minutes. While Protein Blend is standing, cut the avocado into slices and heat each tortilla for a few seconds on a heated pan to soften. In each tortilla, layer the Protein Blend, slices of avocado, salsa, and a handful of greens. Top with fresh squeezed lime juice and hot sauce. So good.
While the richness of the avocado, refreshing subtle crunch of the greens, and tang of the lime come together to create the prefect flavor marriage, it’s the Village Harvest Organic Benefit Protein Blend that makes that these (vegan!) tacos so delightful (or as Essley describes them, “fantash-chick”). Its filling in that great way where you feel satisfied but not overly full – thanks to the combination of protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber it provides. And the fact that it takes three of my favorite foods (jasmine rice, lentils, and quinoa) and allows me to cook them all in a single pot in just 20ish minutes is huge. When dinner or lunch can be this tasty and nutritious and also ready in less than a half hour with only one pot dirtied, I’m all in.
The Protein Blend I use for these tacos is my favorite, but I also love (and regularly eat) the other two Village Harvest Benefit Blend varieties as well – Organic Antioxidant Blend (black rice, black lentils, and black quinoa) and Organic Ancient Grain Blend (millet, white quinoa, red quinoa, and buckwheat). They each offer a uniquely delicious combination of healthful goodness that works in countless recipes. (I like the Ancient Grain Blend with a little maple syrup for breakfast – so yummy.) You can grab all three on the (new!) Village Harvest Online Shop or at your local grocer. And if your favorite store doesn’t carry Benefit Blends, just fill out this quick product request form and drop it off with a manager. The company itself is pretty rad too. Village Harvest donates 1% of profits toward programs that give back to the farmers and communities where their products are sourced, and also gives 1% of their employees’ time to sustainability efforts and other causes. Pretty great, right?
I hope you guys will give these tacos a try. I’ll be hear waiting when you come back to tell me how much your loved them. They’re also great without the tortillas as burrito bowls, and even cold as a side salad. Endless possibilities, my friends. Enjoy!
Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
The SPCA of Westchester is a not-for-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving homeless, abused and abandoned animals and to protecting animals from cruelty and neglect through education and enforcement of humane laws.
“Being able to count on having a consistent, nutritious diet each month for our dogs gives us such peace of mind as we know our dogs will stay healthy and feel their best, which makes it easier to find them their new families and homes.
Abandoned when his owner who had to move, Wrinkles was left home all alone … neglected for far too long. When a Good Samaritan finally rushed him to the SPCA of Westchester, he urgently needed veterinary care — including costly eye surgery — and is receiving medical care for severe ear infections, eye scabbing and other painful conditions that resulted from his neglect. He had hair loss and patches of skin that were raw. And yet, this sweet boy never stopped wagging his tail!
Clearly Wrinkles was not receiving a healthy diet and was very overweight. We were concerned he’d been given people food for so long that he wouldn’t accept dog food. Luckily, he loved the Halo. And the difference in his skin and hair was like night and day. He has also gotten back to a much healthier weight now!
Peanut’s story: The SPCA of Westchester’s Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Director Ernest Lungaro has arrested Vincent Marable, who was charged with animal cruelty for confining a dog in the basement of his building without adequate food or water. The young pit bull mix, now named Peanut, was covered in filth, emaciated, dehydrated and suffered from sores all over his body as a result of flea infestation. He was so weak he could barely stand on his feet.
The Mount Vernon Animal Shelter had received an anonymous tip about the neglected animal, and immediately notified the SPCA of Westchester. The dog was brought to a veterinarian for medical attention, then transferred to the SPCA’s Simpson Clinic for evaluation, further treatment and rehabilitation.
Peanut’s before and after photo is a perfect example of the amazing effects a healthy, nutritious meals can have!”
Thank you SPCA of Westchester for making a WHOLE lot of difference for pets in your community.
Interested in adopting Peanut? He is still available at SPCA of Westchester.
When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy. Thank you for helping #HaloFeeditForward.
Willie Ortiz is 76 years old, but he hasn’t let that keep him from making a big difference for the cats in his community. The retired gentleman has been feeding feral and stray cats in his Connecticut community every day for more than 20 years. He drives 22 miles each day in his truck to 16 different stops to distribute food paid for with his own money. To help cover the costs, Willie had been collecting and selling scrap metal. Now he has help.
In February 2016, shortly after a story about Willie ran in the Hartford Courant, Willie’s friend, Kathleen Schlentz, set up a GoFundMe page, “Spay, Neuter & feed feral cats,” (sic) to raise money for Willie’s good works. As Willie told People, “I was praying for some help, and the help came, and I was so glad that it came.” As of June 12, 2017, that help has raised more than $ 36,000 to help Willie buy supplies and care for community cats.
Originally the goal was only $ 5,000. The fundraiser was meant to honor “the work that Willie has been doing for feral and stray cats in the Hartford and East Hartford, CT areas.” His friends noted that Willie “has not missed one night of feeding despite the rain, snow, freezing weather or his own health issues.”
Read more about Willie Ortiz and his efforts to help homeless cats.
Natural woven fiber bags are all the rage right now, and I have 100% hopped on the bandwagon. Really though, I’ve been a big straw/raffia tote fan for years now. They’re perfect as oversized purses, they make killer diaper bags, they’re ideal for the pool or beach, and if they’re big enough, they even work as overnight bags or carryons. Summer is the quintessential season for them though, without a doubt – especially when they include colorful tassels or poms. I’ve rounded up 8 of my current favorites for the season, as seen above.
Who else is a big straw tote fan? Which one do you like best?
If your pet suffers from noise phobia, you probably cringe every time thunderstorms are forecast. Instead of celebrating the Fourth of July, you probably dread this firecracker-filled holiday.
Dogs in particular, with their keen sense of hearing, often suffer from noise phobia and their frightened behavior can be stressful for their owners as well. As if your pet’s trembling and barking weren’t bad enough, you probably have to deal with the dirty looks of your neighbors who have to endure Fido’s barking, whining, and howling when a truck backfires or a thunderstorm develops. You may also find your home destroyed by his neurotic reaction – chewed furniture, dirtied carpeting, and shredded tissues.
Both cats and dogs may become nervous and desperately try to escape under the couch or hide anyplace where they feel they can seek refuge. Dogs may try to soothe themselves by chewing on household items or even on themselves. Cats may scratch anything available, including your sofa or wallpaper. If your pet’s extremely nervous, he may even vomit or suffer from diarrhea. So don’t jump to the conclusion that your pet is simply being spiteful when you return home to find the house in disarray. It may be that he was traumatized by noise. If you four-footed best friend occasionally causes such destruction when left alone, think about it. What was the weather like during your absence? Check with you neighbors to see if they heard anything unusual (i.e. firecrackers, a car backfiring) while you were gone. Don’t blame your pet for being spiteful – he just might be suffering from noise phobia.
PREVENTING THE PROBLEM
If you’re the owner of a new puppy or kitten, it’s up to you to prepare your pet for the noises in our human world. The best method of noise training is to gradually introduce your young pet to unexpected noise. He might be surprised if you clap together two pieces of wood, but if it’s followed by a great deal of praise and a short play period, he’ll become more confident and be less apprehensive the next time he hears this sound.
After your pet reacts calmly to the noise of the wood, gradually increase the noise level by hitting the wood harder until no visible signs of fear are noticed. He’s now ready to graduate to the clanging of pots and pans. Here, again, start at a low level, then gradually progress to a louder level until you don’t see any reaction. This exercise is not as time-consuming as you might think. After all, banging pots and pans is easy when you’re in the kitchen preparing meals.
By properly exposing your pet at a young age, normal fears that could create a neurotic or even psychotic animal may be avoided. Owners of puppies should also incorporate trips to the park, to shopping centers, and to schoolyards into their pet’s socialization program. This early socialization will help build your pet’s confidence.
RESOLVING NOISE PHOBIAS
If your pet already suffers from noise phobia, know that this problem can be resolved – and without the use of tranquilizers. Tranquilizers simply mask the problem instead of correcting it. And remember, you may not always be there to administer them when a sudden storm (or any noise) occurs.
Instead, turn your radio on at a reasonably high volume (without disturbing your neighbors). This constant noise level during a thunderstorm (or any noise) will help drown out the sound, thus calming your pet. If you must be away from home and thunderstorms are predicted, be sure to leave your radio on when you leave the house.
If you’re home during a storm (or any other noise), soothe and reassure your pet when he’s frightened or divert his attention by playing his favorite game. Don’t go overboard with the attention, though. After all, you won’t always be able to be around to soothe him. It’s best to act reassuring yet behave as if nothing is wrong. And don’t act anxious – our pets are quick to pick up on our own anxieties!
If you have a particularly nervous pet, use a recording of a thunderstorm or fire works (or whatever noise sets him off) to desensitize him. Sound effects records and tapes are available at most larger record stores or online. Start off by playing the recording at a low volume. Once your pet shows no reaction to the recording, you may gradually increase the volume. Play it every day at this volume until he shows no visible reaction. Again, increase the volume and follow the same procedure. Continue to do this each day, until you’re playing the recordings at full volume and your pet is paying absolutely no attention to the sound.
The key to relieving your pet’s sensitivity to outside noises is to do it very gradually. Don’t rush, for if you do, you may seriously traumatize him and create a much worse neurosis. Through patience and consistency you can overcome your pet’s anxiety. It may take several weeks or even months, but isn’t being able to alleviate your pet’s suffering worth it?
Warren Eckstein, host of The Pet Show, is an internationally known pet and animal expert. Warren has devoted over thirty years to teaching both pets and their people to live happily together through his unique “Hugs and Kisses” approach to animal behavior, care and training.
Warren has worked with more than 40,000 pets including those of many well-known celebrities. David Letterman, Cheryl Tiegs, Lily Tomlin, Geraldine Ferraro, Al Pacino, Rodney Dangerfield, and Phylicia Rashad are just a few of many whom Warren has helped with pet problems.