Posts by Darlene

Born and raised in Edmonton, Darlene has had formal training in photography at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She enjoys weddings, portraits, fine art, and travel photography. With 16 years of experience, her style has evolved from a more formal style, to one that incorporates the popular trend of journalistic style photography. Darlene strives to capture each event, or portrait, as her clients desire, fires and foremost. She is available for events in Edmonton Alberta and the surrounding area, or travel outside Alberta as schedule permits. Darlene has been a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) since 1993 and among her awards, Nominated for Canadian Photographer of the Year - March 2008 Generalist Photographer of the Year in Alberta - October 2006 Finalist for Portrait Photographer of the year - Alberta 2003 and 2005 Winner of Best Fine Art Image - PPOC Alberta 2005 Winner of Best Wedding Journalist Image - PPOC Alberta 2003 Winner of Kodak Gallery Award - Wedding, Alberta 2001 Darlene says
Photography is my passion, and the people that enjoy my work make it worthwhile. If someone can relate to something I've photographed, or if I can make someone feel something through my images, then I've achieved my goal
Darlene's Passion For Whole Foods Darlene has a passion for food and creating great vegetable dishes. She will be sharing her whole food recipes and photographs of them with readers of this community. Darlene's mission statement is
to share my artistic talents to inspire people to see beauty and to experience self love and ultimate health.
A new whole food recipe is released each Saturday morning. Subscribe to her posts using the form on this page under her photo to have each recipe sent directly to your inbox.

Recipe: Orange Vegetable and Lentil Stew

This weeks hearty Orange Vegetable and Lentil winter stew is loaded with all things orange that are good for you! It is another magazine find, and yet again I’ve altered a few things to make it healthier.

Vegetables and fruits that are bright orange get their color from a high concentration of Beta-carotene. Why is that important for your health? Because Beta-carotene helps your body create Vitamin A and is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost your immune system. It also aids in good vision – didn’t your mother always tell you to eat your carrots?

So what comes to mind when I say “eat orange foods”? Carrots and oranges? Well – here’s a LOT more orange things you might not have thought of. Enjoy!

Orange Vegetable and Lentil Stew

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Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic

We found this roasted squash and garlic recipe in a magazine and altered it to be more healthy – as we do!

All I have to say is “ah garlic!” We love it! We put it in almost everything we cook, in large quantities. We actually thought we used a lot of it until we went to Thailand and took some cooking classes there (yes we’ll share those recipes soon). Our teacher and host put about 12 cloves into one pot of soup. It was great!

Seriously – garlic has long been known for its healing qualities and was at one time thought to ward off not only vampires but the plague too. Cook this roasted squash in the afternoon and your house will smell so great when everyone gets home they won’t be able to keep their hands off it.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlic

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Recipe: Mint Pea Lime Soup with Spinach

Greens, greens and more greens! It is not only a very festive Christmassy color, but most things you can eat that are green are super charged with nutrition. Dark leafy greens are on the top of the charge for nutrient density, and the more you can eat of them the better.

Many people think of “rabbit food” when you say “dark leafy green” but you can do so much more with them than just salad. This recipe uses green peas, spinach and fresh mint leaves which makes it not only good for you but really tasty. Anyone that knows Rob and I, know we like to taste our food so we look for recipes that are healthy AND taste great. No one wants to eat flavorless food. Add more lime, or add some chili peppers if you want it to have more zip.

Mint Pea Lime Soup with Spinach

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Recipe: Healthy Christmas Dinner Ideas and Variations

How to stay healthy and not gain any weight during the holidays and at Christmas is the age old question, isn’t it? Well here are some ideas on how to take some of the old favorites and make them with a slightly new twist that takes out the bad (saturated fat, loads of salt, etc) and puts in the good (lots more nutrition, vitamins, fiber, etc). Pick and choose the ones that appeal to you and mix them together for a holiday menu sure to please the hungry masses and leave them not only wanting more, but asking for the recipes.

Healthy Christmas Dinner Ideas

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Recipe: Edamame Beans, Chickpeas, Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach

High protein Edamame beans and nutrient dense spinach make make up the bulk of this high fiber nutritious hot salad. It’s been FAR too long since we shared a new recipe with everyone and we’re sure you missed us. This is the first of what I hope will be 2 new recipes each month as once a week was too much to keep up with in our busy lives. I’m sure you can all relate.

We love color in our foods and varied textures as well. This one caught my eye in Extra Vegan Za as I was flipping around looking for something new the other day. I fills both those criteria, and tasted great!

Edamame beans are green beans in large pods commonly known as Soy Beans. They are great eaten right out of the pod and you find them quite often as a starter in Japanese restaurants. You can also buy them frozen in the pod or shelled. For snacking I buy IN the pod, for recipes like this I buy the shelled ones. They are loaded with fiber – 1 cup along yield about 8 grams of fiber or almost one third the recommended daily amount. They are also great for folate, manganese, Vitamin C and K, and iron. (Source Nutritional Data)

Adding to that the fact that 1 cup of chickpeas has 12 grams of fiber – and this dish packs a punch most people are lacking these days. Fiber is much needed to help move food through the colon and keep us healthy.

Edamame beans, chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms and spinach

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How To Eat Healthy Traveling – Part Two, Dining Out

Last week I shared some of my travel secrets on how I manage to . This week I’m going to focus on eating away from home again – but this time more in the dining out arena. So this applies whether you are traveling as last week, or just going out for dinner in your own home town.

eat healthy dining out

Restaurant Selection

The first and most important thing to me when dining out is restaurant selection. Whether or not you will be successful at eating healthy while out on the town is dependent on what restaurant you pick and the choices they offer.

Look Over The Menu Online

In this age of internet it is so easy and extremely helpful to go online and do some research before making any reservations. I look for reviews of local restaurants in local health conscious publications and on online restaurant databases. Even Facebook has a review application you can join and see what others recommend at home and abroad.

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How To Eat Healthy Traveling – Part One

Eating healthy while traveling can be a daunting task for anyone beginning a transition to a healthier diet. Some may decide to put good choices aside when they take a trip, fly, or go camping for a week. Because I have two trips in July where I’ll be traveling in a car for 2 days to attend a personal development course in BC, and then to New Zealand for work, I thought I would take the opportunity to share how I manage eating healthy while traveling and staying on track.

healthy eating while traveling

Travel Food

First thing I do is stock up on things I can take with me, non-perishables. Things like: trail mix, dried fruit (make sure to get non-sulphured, non-radiated brands), raw nuts, power bars (I eat only Sunrider ones), herbal teas (again Sunrider), etc. Be careful if going over the border – you have to make sure they are all in the original, sealed packages. If any are opened they could be confiscated. You can’t take fresh fruit and veggies over a border either – but you can take it with you to eat on the plane – just dump any in the trash before you hit customs.

Airplanes have very poor food choices, so it’s important to have healthy snacks like raw almonds better suited to support your health. Depending on the length of the flight, you might consider a nutritional shake as well.
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Recipe: Steamed Dark Leafy Greens with Figs, Pine Nuts and Garlic

We eat a lot of steamed and cooked dark leafy greens and are always looking for and coming up with new ways to dress them up with different flavors. I love figs and a little crunch adds texture – so this recipe works great. You can never have too much garlic, ever!

If you aren’t familiar with dark green vegetables make this your first try and you’ll be amazed how much energy and nutrition these leafy plants pack! For more info on them, read Rob’s article about the Top 10 Foods.

 Dark Leafy Greens with Figs, Pine Nuts and Garlic
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Recipe: Indian Spiced Lentil Burgers

Rob loves lentil burgers! We’ve made several different varieties now, I had no idea there were so many options. This one caught my eye because we love Indian food and anything with curry in it. Lentils have so many benefits including: low-fat, high fiber, fill you up so you eat less, taste great! If you like Indian food and flavors try these lentil burgers and increase the spices to your own tastes.

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Recipe: Chicken Dijon Marinade

As promised, this chicken dijon marinade is our second week of recipes for the BBQ or grill. We put this one in the fridge overnight to marinate, along with last week’s Garlic Herb Marinated Vegetables. The dijon flavor totally permeated the chicken and the flavor was amazing, the chicken very tender and juicy.

We found this recipe in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat Right America – Food Scoring Guide”. You can find it on the Eat Right America web site.

Chicken Dijon Marinade
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Recipe: Garlic Herb Marinated Vegetables

Well I figured it is almost summer here – knock on wood – so best time to have some BBQ or grilling type recipes, with a healthy twist. So here is the first of a couple, let’s start with marinated vegetables. You can eat them as a salad, or put them on skewers and grill them on the BBQ like we did. Either way – they were yummy!

 Garlic Herb Marinated Vegetables
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Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables With Orange Spice Sauce

We love roasted vegetables, especially in the winter and this recipe is great tasting with a zesty orange sauce. I’ve used three of our favorite root vegetables here but I’ll often mix it up and put in sweet potatoes, rutabaga, or even chopped up winter squash like butternut. Feel free to add onions if you’re so inclined also.

roasted root vegetables with orange spice sauce
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Featuring Black Bean Recipes

This week’s whole food recipe will be a compilation of various bean recipes Darlene has done over the past year. These recipes include black beans, red beans and garbanzo beans. Darlene is away showing her art this weekend, so I (Rob) will be posting on her behalf.

Being low on the , beans not only provide fiber to your diet, but also have very little, if any, impact on blood sugar.

not all protein is equal

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Ounce for ounce, black beans provide the same amount of protein as ground beef, but have no saturated fat, no cholesterol and provide 9 grams of fiber. As well, 4 ounces of black beans are almost one third the calories as ground beef.

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Recipe: Gold and Black Bean Salad

This is another gem from one of my favorite recipe books Vegan Planet cookbook. This recipe sounded good and did not disappoint. I modified it slightly as I didn’t have any olive oil in the house, and I added tomatoes and we were happy with my version.

Beans are a great source of dietary fiber and have no fat or cholesterol – unless you add that to them. You can eat as much of them as you want. As you start adding more bean into your diet, you may have a flatulence issue but that will settle down as your body gets used to getting the much needed fiber you may be missing now. Be patient – or sprout them a bit before cooking – that will help with the gas issues. To do that – soak them overnight, spread them out on a damp cloth for another 12 hours. Once they have just the tiniest little sprout on them they are ready to cook. This step isn’t necessary but will help if gas is a concern.

Gold and Black Bean Salad
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Recipe: Vegetable Chocolate Chili Mole

Yes I said CHOCOLATE! This Vegetable Chocolate Chili Mole is amazing!

If you’ve ever eaten as a real authentic Mexican restaurant, you’ve probably seen something with “mole” sauce on the menu. I’ve got one book that says mole is a Spanish word meaning “mashed together” but I know it to mean (my own personal definition) – “very tasty, spicy Mexican sauce with dark chocolate in it!” How’s that for highly technical?! 😉

I came across this recipe for chili mole in Extra Vegan Za and just about flipped. I LOVE mole sauce!!! This Vegetable Chocolate Chili Mole is one of the best chilis I’ve ever made. We spiced it up by adding a whole habanero pepper (one of the hottest you can get) because I can’t make anything too hot for Rob’s tastes. If you haven’t ever used one – handle with gloves, throw out the seeds, and use about 1/3 of the pepper to start. You can always add more later, but if you make it unbearably hot you won’t enjoy the subtleness of the mole – or have any feeling left in your mouth.

Vegetable Chocolate Chili Mole
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