Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Harvest Smoothie

One of my most favorite recipes on my blog is my Harvest Bread. I make a loaf for each my kids' teachers on the first day of school. It is hearty, healthy and just unbelievably moist and delicious. I was craving a slice of it the other day and I thought, "Hey, maybe I can turn it into a smoothie!" I was dubious just now as I placed the fruits and veggies in the blender.....I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out yummy or not. After the first sip I thought, "Nailed it!!" It tastes very much like the batter of the Harvest Bread (which I always devour greedily). Ooh, I'm so happy this turned out well....I can't wait for you all to try it! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!!!

1 carrot
1 large zucchini
1 apple
1 pear
1 banana
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)
3 handfuls of spinach
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup ice
Put all ingredients in a high power blender and blend until completely smooth.  I ran mine through three smoothie cycles to make sure that carrot blends well!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carrot Cake Green Smoothie

Ooh this was a fun one! I have never really thought about putting carrots in a blender (since they are so hard)....but, this worked....it was actually very good and the carrots blended smoothly (thanks to three smoothie cycles in my Vitamix). If you do not have a Vitamix or a high power blender, consider grating the carrots instead of chopping them. I think this will help break them down enough to get a smooth consistency.

Please promise me you will use organic, regular sized carrots!!! Organic carrots are cheap and readily available.  I never peel carrots, and you don't need to either! Chop or grate those babies as is (wash all your produce before using) - no need to waste any of the nutrients found in the outer carrot "skin" by peeling.  Enjoy!!

1 cup chopped or grated unpeeled carrots (about three medium carrots)
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 cup pineapple
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3 Tbl raw, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
1 cup ice
2 tablespoons almond or peanut butter, optional

Mix all ingredients in a blender and serve in a tall glass. This makes two large servings.
I totally forgot to add my banana to this picture!! Do add one- it makes it nice and creamy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Apple Oatmeal Squares

Oh my, these are good! These are SO SO SO good!!!!! I just made these this afternoon for breakfast tomorrow.....but, I'm not sure if they will even make it that long! The kids are begging for "just one more" and I've already scarfed down two of them!! They are moist, flavorful, sweet (but not too sweet), hearty....they are just plain delicious and you must make them!!!!

I made mine vegan by substituting canned coconut milk for the buttermilk. I also used Earth Balance instead of butter in the glaze.

Here is the recipe from the blog Bake. Eat. Repeat :

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup oat flour <I used almond meal because it was all I had>
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk <I used canned coconut milk>
For the Glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter <I used Earth Balance>
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon water, optional


For the Bars:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside. <I didn't use parchment, I just greased the pan with coconut oil>
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, oat flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. Add the grated apples and stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the applesauce, vanilla and buttermilk until smooth. Add this to the apple mixture and stir until everything is evenly moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (it will be thick) and smooth it into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the squares are golden brown. <I baked mine just 30 minutes> Allow to cool in the pan then lift out the parchment paper and slice into squares.
  For the Glaze:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. <I did this in the microwave>
  2. Add the powdered sugar and maple syrup and stir until the glaze is smooth. If necessary add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of water to thin it out.
  3. Drizzle over the cooled oatmeal squares. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Creamy Asparagus and Hearts of Palm Pasta

This was a quick, tasty pasta dish that took very little time to bring together.  Great meal for a weeknight dinner. The whole family liked it!

Here is the recipe from Cooking Light Magazine:
  • 8 ounces uncooked multigrain penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed <I used 8 oz!!! HA!>

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup milk and flour; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture, 1 1/2 cups milk, salt, pepper, and hearts of palm to pan; bring to a simmer. Add asparagus; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add Parmesan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pasta and mozzarella.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Greena-Colada Smoothie

I've been blogging smoothies like a mad woman this week!! I just can't stop sharing the health with you all! I created this smoothie for my friend, Shannon, because she wanted a green smoothie that was sweet. This one has a tropical flare and reminds me of a pina-colda, plus lots of spinach. It got a big thumbs up from the kids; they said they loved it! The addition of coconut milk makes the smoothie rich and creamy. If don't want the extra calories, just omit it and add a whole cup of water instead.

This recipes make a lot of smoothie! Feel free to cut it in half if you are blending for one. Enjoy!

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 small or 1/2 large cucumber
1 cup pineapple
1/2 cup strawberries or mango
2 oranges
2 bananas
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup ice cubes

Mix all ingredients in a high power blender until completely smooth and creamy. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Coconut Butter Strawberry Candies

"I. CANNOT. STOP. EATING. THESE!!!!!!!!!!!"  "This is the best candy I have ever had in my life!!!!!"  "These little things are addicting!!"

These are just some of the things I have heard from my family tonight about these Coconut Butter Strawberry Candies. Oh my goodness, they are so good! And RAW! And VEGAN!!! Oh, and EASY!!

Okay, so, I was perusing Pinterest the other day and I came across a recipe for making your own coconut butter. There is only one ingredient - coconut (raw, unsweetened shredded coconut). I was very intrigued, so I made it, and it was delicious!  I added my own twist with some melted chocolate and a little almond on top to make a raw, vegan Almond Joy. My husband loved. I will blog that another day. Promise!

So, at this point, I'm feeling downright hooked on making my own coconut butter. And I'm on Pinterest (again) and I come across another recipe for these Strawberry Creme Truffles (I changed the name to give more insight into the ingredients). Well, I just had to make these...and I did....and they are to die for....and now I am sharing this recipe with you! I tweaked them slightly by adding an almond (because I don't believe I could ever have too many almonds in my life) and I shaped them in a cute little candy mold I bought at AC Moore. But, you can follow My Whole Food Life's recipe by clicking here, or you can just read below to see my take.

This new world of coconut butter is opening many doors for this mama with a giant sweet tooth. My brain is going 100 miles a minute thinking of all the fun fruit/coconut combos I can try. But, for now, I present you with this strawberry version. Enjoy!


1 cup coconut butter (Look below for recipe- all you need is 1 bag of raw, unsweetened coconut)
1 container of strawberries, washed & trimmed
2 Tbl real maple syrup  
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I use dairy-free Enjoy Life brand to make these vegan)
Raw whole almonds, optional

Coconut Butter Recipe:

I bag of unsweetened, raw, shredded coconut, 2 2/3 cups (FYI you can easily find this coconut in just about any grocery story - just look in the organic/health food section)

Place the entire bag in a food processor (or a high power blender) and let it run for about 10 minutes until the once dry coconut shreds become thick and creamy, almost the consistency of butter. 

That's it, my friends....that's all she wrote! How easy is that!?

Instructions for making the candies:

In a food processor (or you could also use a high power blender, like a Vitamix) mix the coconut butter, strawberries and maple syrup together for about three minutes. 

Use a spoon to fill a candy mold (or a ice cube trays or even a mini-muffin tin) about 2/3 of the way. After each mold has been filled, shake the tray down so that the strawberry coconut butter spreads and fills in evenly. 

Place about 1/2 cup chocolate in an microwave safe glass dish. Microwave on high for one minute; stir. My chocolate is usually smooth after one minute in the micro. You can also use a double broiler to melt the chocolate. I never measured how much chocolate I used....I had to melt chocolate twice during this process. So, just use as much or as little as you like. Spoon melted chocolate on top of the strawberry mixture. Shake/pound the tray to spread out the chocolate as best you can.

If using almonds, place an almond in the center of each mold on top of the chocolate. 

Now place the candies in the freezer to firm up. This should take about an hour. Once the candies are frozen through, pop them out of the mold and put them in a container. (only after you eat at least three of them straight away). These can be stored in the fridge or freezer. If you store them in the freezer, they may be slightly hard. They should be perfect after a minute or two of sitting on the counter.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Mother of ALL Veggies Smoothie

Veggie Lovers REJOICE!!!! I have to admit, I'm slightly shocked at how GREAT this smoothie turned out! It is down-right delicious! I'm loved every sip and was sad when it was gone. It tastes more like juice because its consistency is quite thin; it's not at all thick like your typical smoothie.  It is bursting, absolutely bursting, with flavor!!! You get the saltiness from the celery, and well, the sea salt, of course; the lemon gives it a much needed tang and the yellow bell pepper gives it just a hint of sweetness. Think of the vitamins, the enzymes, the fiber!!!!!! Do your taste buds AND your body good and whip up this green goddess STAT!!!

Please don't be scared, just trust me.....this smoothie is amazing!! Let me know how you like it!!

*Try to buy organic produce when possible. If you can't find organic, wash veggies with a veggie wash (you can find this wash in the produce section at most grocery stores)

**This recipe makes two smoothies

***Smoothies are best when consumed on an empty stomach (this helps prevents any acid reflux)

2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 ripened tomatoes on the vine
1 small or half of a large cucumber
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded
2 celery stalks
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 of a lemon, rind removed and seeded
1 cup water
1 cup ice cubes
A dash or two of Tabasco sauce, if you like a little heat, OPTIONAL!

Blend all ingredients in a high power blender (I have a Vitamix). Repeat if needed to get a smooth, thin consistency. If you do not plan on drinking all of this at once, it is fine to store the left overs in the refrigerator - but, you will want to blend it again just before drinking. Enjoy!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Artichoke and Spinach Strata

This Cooking Light recipe really reminded me of that yummy spinach & artichoke dip that you put in sourdough bread bowls!!!! If you like that classic dip, you will be sure to like this strata. My husband devoured it. A quick and easy, yummy meal for sure! Enjoy!

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach
3 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
8 ounces whole-wheat sourdough bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 5 cups)
4 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
Cooking spray
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg
4 large eggs 

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Cook spinach in microwave ­according to package directions; cool slightly. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze dry.
3. Combine spinach and next 4 ingredients (through Monterey Jack cheese) in a large bowl; toss. Arrange bread mixture in a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.
4. Combine milk, Dijon, pepper, nutmeg, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake at 375° for 38 minutes or until set. Turn broiler to high (do not remove pan from oven). ****Broil 4 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

***I only broiled mine for ONE minute and it started to turn quite dark! Just watch this....don't walk away from the oven....and you might not need to broil this at all! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Almond Cacao-Nib Smoothie

I hardly ever make a smoothie that isn't green.......but after another snow day trapped in the house, I figured I needed a little bit of a treat.  I can honestly say this is one of the best smoothies I have ever made!!!  It was so delicious I slurped up every last nib (and I literally mean every last nib....I sprinkled a 1/2 tsp of cacao nibs on the top- I am a huge fan of the cacao nib- they are considered a "power food", after all!!).

This is a decadent smoothie that is perfect for newbies, children or as a dessert for seasoned green smoothie drinkers like myself. Enjoy!!

This recipe is from the blog, The Healthy Apple. This will make enough for two people.

2 cups almond milk <Whole Foods, Fresh Market & Silk are my favorite brands of almond milk because they do not contain carrageenan, a food additive>
2 large bananas, peeled
½ cup gluten-free oats
1 Tbsp. almond butter
¼ tsp. organic vanilla extract
1½ Tbsp. organic cacao nibs
½ Tbsp. crushed raw almonds
2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
**I added a few ice cubes to make it cold

***UPDATE - I made this again and this time added two large handfuls of spinach- it didn't change the flavor at all, but just added green goodness! Delicious!!!!

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to two tall glasses and serve chilled. Sprinkle a few cacao nibs on top if you are feeling wild! ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spanakopita Rice Balls

I just whipped up this fun, little recipe that I found in Vegetarian Times Magazine. It was a fast dinner and definitely yummy. I served these rice balls on top of a high-end jarred marinara sauce (our favorite brand is RAO's - LOVE!!!). Enjoy!
  • 1/2 cup short-grain white rice, rinsed <I used 1 cup pre-cooked, frozen brown rice>
  • 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbs. pesto
  • 1 Tbs. dried dill
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs, for rolling
  • 1 to 2 cups marinara sauce, I like Rao's <this is my own addition to this recipe>
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil.

If you are using uncooked rice, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil in medium saucepan, and add rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. To make my life easier, I used 1 cup of pre-cooked frozen brown rice. I always keep a few of these convenient little pouches of cooked rice in the freezer.

In a large bowl, stir in spinach <make sure the spinach has been thoroughly SQUEEZED dry!!>, green onions, Parmesan, feta, pesto, dill, and egg, and season with salt & pepper, if desired.

Divide rice mixture into Ping-Pong-ball-size spheres. Roll in panko crumbs, and place on prepared baking sheet.  <I brushed the rice balls with a little bit of olive oil before cooking> Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

While the rice balls are cooking, warm up a cup or two of marinara sauce, depending on how much you like. Spoon warm marinara in a shallow bowl and place rice balls on top.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sweet Tart Smoothie

I am a big-time green smoothie drinker.....my husband and I drink a giant smoothie every day, seven days a week (and sometimes I can get the kids to drink one, too). Green smoothies give me loads of energy (I've never had a cup of coffee in all my life), fill me up with fiber, and force me to "eat" a crazy amount of veggies and fruit that I would never consume in such mass quantities otherwise. 

I have never blogged my smoothie recipes, although many friends have asked, because I don't have a recipe. I just throw in whatever I have and whatever I can find at the store. My smoothies usually include spinach, kale, pineapple, grapes, kiwis, bananas, oranges, apples, pears, mangoes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and zucchinis.....of course, not all once, but sometimes close!! Haha!

Today I tried a fruit that, believe it or not, I have never used in a smoothie before: a grapefruit!  It gave my smoothie a tart bite- which I liked! The bananas and pear added sweetness to the mix, hence the Sweet Tart Smoothie!

If you are new to smoothies, use spinach instead of kale. Spinach has a much more mild flavor, and to be honest, I prefer spinach over kale in my smoothies 100% of the time. But there are those who adore kale and don't mind its bitter flavor- so, to those of you I say, "Go for it!" I drink kale every once in awhile because I know it's good for me and a smoothie is a great way to get in a lot of it while masking it with other sweet flavors.

Let me know what you think!
Try to use as much organic produce as you can!!!

2 cups fresh spinach or kale (if using kale, remove stems!!!)
1/2 cucumber
2 celery stalks (I always use the inner stalks because they are sweeter- I use the leafy tops, too)
1 ripe banana
1/2 grapefruit, remove peel and seeds, if any
1 cup of purified water or coconut water
1 pear
1 cup of pineapple
*A couple ice cubes if needed

Put all ingredients through a high efficiency blender (we use a Vitamix) and blend until completely smooth. This makes enough for two people. You can also drink half and safe the other half for later. Use within a day or two and store it in the refrigerator. Enjoy!