Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cashew-Gingerbread Milk

I'm totally obsessed with this cashew-gingerbread milk. I found the recipe in the "winter" section of Jolene Hart's book Eat Pretty Every Day (LOVE that book!).  It is slightly sweet from the dates, super creamy from the cashews, and satisfyingly spicy from the mix of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

**I made one batch of this "milk" and it lasted me four nights, drinking one cup per night. I stored the extra "milk" in a large mason jar in the fridge. The "milk" is very rich, so I needed to water it down a bit. I poured enough "milk" to fill half a mug and then added purified water to fill to the top. Then I just popped it in the microwave to warm it up.  Oh my goodness, it smells so will warm you right up and fill you up, too. It is enough to replace my nightly dessert craving. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Here is the recipe from Jolene Hart's book:


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for a least 4 hours or overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups purified water
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates
  • 4 tsp blackstrap molasses <I used 3tsp>
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pincch of ground cloves
In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine the cashews, 1/2 cup water, and the dates. Process until no lumps remain, about 2 minutes, pausing frequently to scrap down the sides of the blender jar or work bowl <I never needed to do this - it blended together very well on it's own>.

Add the remaining 2 cups water, the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; process until well blended. Transfer to a saucepan and heat gently over low heat until warm. Pour into mugs and serve immediately. **See above for how I store extra "milk"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seasonal Vegetarian Pot Pie

Oh goodness gracious this veggie pot pie was out of this world delicious!! My mom is here visiting and she loved kids all loved husband loved it so much he had THIRDS (which is most unusual for him) son wanted more, but by that point, the pie was gone.....alas, I promised them all I would make it again!!

If you are craving some animal protein, by all means add some cooked chicken - I think it would be amazing!

This recipes come straight from the Kitchenthusiast blog. Here is the recipe verbatim:


1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable broth <I used about 1 1/2 cups broth>
1 large sized sweet potato, peeled and chopped <I used a regular baking potato instead>
1 large sized carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced <I used baby bellos>
1 large leek, tender white and light green parts only, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups kale, chopped <about 3 large leaves>
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mascarpone <I used ricotta>
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten for egg wash



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a large sized saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms and leeks. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the kale in for the last 5 minutes only.

Meanwhile, using a small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour until there are no lumps. After the vegetables are tender, slowly pour in the flour mixture to the pan, stirring until everything thickens.
Season with a little more salt and pepper, remove from the heat and mix in the Dijon mustard and mascarpone. Taste and adjust any ingredients as needed.

Lay one defrosted puff pastry sheet into a 9X13 dish <I rolled the sheets of pastry out with a rolling pin a little to fit my dish>. Pour the vegetable filling into the dish, onto the puff pastry sheet and cover with the second puff pastry sheet, trimming off any excess and piercing the puff pastry dough on top to allow steam to escape while baking.

Using a pastry brush, brush on the egg wash over the top of the pot pie and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Peppermint Meltaway Cookies

With the snow lightly falling outside, a fire blazing, and Christmas music blaring on the radio, this was the perfect morning to whip up these easy, festive cookies with the kids! Their favorite part was crushing the candy canes to sprinkle on top!

I found the recipe on the blog Cakes Cottage.

Here is the recipe word for word:
  • COOKIE :
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed
  1. Combine butter, powdered sugar and peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch.
  2. Gradually add to creamed mixture and beat at low speed until well mixed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until firm at least one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and place it 2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract and beat until smooth.
  8. Spread over cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle with crushed candies.
  9. Store in an airtight container.
  • This recipe makes approx 18 cookies

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tomato Tarts with Herbed Goat Cheese & Basil

These tomato tarts were absolutely delicious! My kids were fighting over them! They really were quite simple to put together - they seem much fancier than they actually are (which is always a plus!). I served them with my Fire Roasted Tomato Soup - that made a great duo. You could also make them bite-sized and serve them as appetizers.

This makes four 5-inch square tarts.  If you would like to make more, simply double the recipe.

1 sheet of puff pastry*, thawed

4 oz soft herb goat cheese (I cut the 8oz log of cheese in half), room temperature
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
splash of milk or half and half

1 10oz container of cherry tomatoes, halved
~ 20 fresh basil leaves, julienned & divided
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

*A box of 17oz puff pastry comes with two sheets - I only used one of these sheets to make four tarts.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Place halved cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half of the julienned basil. Gently use your hands to toss. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.  Set aside.

After the goat cheese has come to room temperature (it's easier to work with it when it isn't cold), place it in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp olive oil and a splash of milk; mix these three things together using a fork until creamy (add more milk if you need to). Set aside.

Cut the sheet of puff pastry into four equal squares and place them on a cookie sheet, leaving space between them. Divide the goat cheese mixture up equally between the four tarts and spread, leaving a little rim around the outside like a pizza crust. I had to use my fingers to do this because that goat cheese is a bit tricky to spread. Add the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh basil.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until puffed pastry is golden brown.

Eat immediately. Enjoy!

Christmas Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe in the 2017 Omaha Home for Boys annual calendar.  The ingredients are simple and I made it all in one bowl without any fuss.  I baked it on a Sunday evening and my children enjoyed a slice for breakfast three mornings in a row.

If you are looking for a yummy, easy to bake, pumpkin bread to share over the holidays, you have found it here! Enjoy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil <I used one stick of melted butter instead> 
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins <I used mini chocolate chips instead of raisins>
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 340F

Beat together oil, eggs, pumpkin and water. Sift flour and sugar together and add to pumpkin mix; add spices and salt. Mix together. Add raisins and nuts; pour into a 9X5X3 greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely before turning out on a cutting board and slicing. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel Sauce

I have been meaning to blog this incredible Cooking Light Magazine lasagna for a long time, but every time I make it, I forget to take a picture!  My amateur photograph cannot convey how delicious this lasagna truly is! It is rich and creamy; full of flavor and depth. The butternut squash bechamel sauce is really unique and is a fun deviation from your standard tomato based lasagna sauce.  Give yourself a bit of time to prepare this - there are quite a few steps. However, I promise the end results are worth it and your family will thank you for the effort. Definitely a cold weather, cozy, comfort-food type of dinner. Enjoy! 

Oh and P.S. - I used gluten-free lasagna noodles - super delicious! Jovial is a great brand!
Here is the recipe straight from Cooking Lights' website:
This serves 6 people with one piece each

  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup), divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and very thinly sliced (about 5 cups) <I used kale, stems removed. I think fresh spinach would work nicely, too>
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • Package of lasagna noodles, cooked <I have never ever cooked my lasagna noodles, they get cooked in the oven by the what you want to do, but I put mine on dry>
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 ounce finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/4 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine squash, 1 cup broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat.

3. Place squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; add Gruyère cheese and 1.5 ounces mozzarella cheese, stirring until cheese melts and mixture is smooth.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 7 minutes or until browned and liquid evaporates. Add chard and remaining 1 tablespoon broth. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until chard wilts. Place chard mixture in a fine sieve; drain 5 minutes. Place chard mixture in a bowl. Add pine nuts; toss to combine.

5. Spread 1/2 cup squash sauce in bottom of a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over sauce; top with half of chard mixture. Dollop ricotta cheese on top of chard. Spread half of remaining sauce over top. Arrange 3 noodles over sauce. Top with remaining chard mixture; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1.5 ounces mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly.

6. Preheat broiler to high. (Keep lasagna in oven.)

7. Broil lasagna 3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Quinoa

I have been beyond obsessed with kale salads lately.....I literally crave them! My friend, Elle, and I came up with this fun salad together by basically tossing a bunch of yummy stuff in with the kale. The results were so good I had to recreate it again for my husband tonight. He said, "this is blog-able" - which is his way of giving me a big THUMBS UP!

**This salad makes enough for two as a meal. Add chicken sausage, shredded chicken or crumbled bacon if you want to incorporate some extra protein.

1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 cup of COOKED white or red quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 dates, pitted & chopped
1/3 cup slivered almonds OR chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup blue cheese OR feta cheese (I like blue!)
Olive oil for roasting chickpeas and massaging kale

**See not above for suggestions on adding meat

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 heaping Tbl honey
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F

Spread the chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook for 15 minutes; check on chickpeas and shake the cookie sheet or toss with a spatula. Return to oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Just keep checking on the chickpeas until they are roasted to your liking. I like mine crispy on the outside and a bit soft in the middle.

You can toast the nuts for about 5-8 minutes in a 400F oven. Check on the nuts after 5 minutes to make sure they aren't burning. Almonds toast more quickly than walnuts - just keep an eye on them!

When the kale is cut and cleaned, place it in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Now it is time to massage the kale. Get your hands in that bowl of kale and rub it gently in between your fingers.....massaging the kale will break down the bitterness of the leaf and make it delicious! You can let it sit for awhile before you actually make the salad and dress it; or you can eat it right away!

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Once the chickpeas are roasted, the nuts are toasted and the kale has been massaged, you are ready to put it all together. Divide the kale between two large salad bowls and add the quinoa. Stir the quinoa into the kale so it is evenly distributed. Then add the chickpeas, dates, nuts and cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Harvest Grain Salad with Roasted Veggies & Pears

This salad is straight up delicious. Full of fall harvest veggies and fruits. The perfect salad to eat on a chilly autumn day. I think it would make a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish, too! Enjoy!

*This salad serves 2 people as a meal or 6 as a side dish.

2 cups cooked grain such as brown/white rice or quinoa (I used rice)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 large red OR yellow onion, diced
1 whole pear OR apple, cubed (I used an apple)
~ Tbl olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup dried cherries OR craisins (I used dried cherries)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
1 cup fresh greens such as spinach or arugula, chopped (I used spinach)

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup FRESH squeezed orange juice
1 Tbl pure maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider OR red/white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Cook rice or quinoa according to directions; when finished cooking set aside.

Place butternut squash and onion on a parchment-lined, rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper - toss to coat - use your hand to spread everything out evenly on sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add chopped apple or pear to the cookie sheet and spread out evenly. Continue roasting for another 10 minutes or until all the veggies and fruit taste done to your liking. Cool them slightly.

While the veggies/fruit are roasting, make the dressing. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl add cooked rice, slightly cooled roasted veggies, cherries, walnuts (if using) and dressing. Mix well to combine.  Add chopped greens and stir to combine. Taste salad and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Serve right away or chill; this salad is good warm or cold. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The BEST Kale Salad I've Ever Made

I know what you're thinking? The Best kale salad you've ever made? Really? YES! Yes, it is.....this salad was so delicious....I'm quite proud of myself! HA!! Even my husband said it was incredible multiple times during dinner. I also added some sliced, marinated, grilled chicken to his salad. He loved the addition.

Kale always needs to be "massaged" with olive oil when you are eating it raw.  Massaging kale with your fingers breaks down the toughness and releases its sweetness. Please take the time to do this before eating - it will change the way you feel about eating raw kale forever !! It also needs to be lightly salted. 

I hope you love this salad as much as we did! This is going to be my new "go-to".  YUM!!

1 bunch of curly kale, hard stems removed, kale chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into thin half moons
1/2 to 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and chopped
1 16oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 Tbl hemp seeds, optional
Extra virgin olive oil

Sliced chicken breast, if desired

1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbl freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F

Peel the sweet potato. Slice the sweet potato into 1/4" thick rounds and then cut again into half moons. Place on foiled lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil. Lightly salt. Toss to combine and then arrange them slide by side so there is no overlapping. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until sweet potato is cooked to your likeness.

Trim the Brussels sprouts and chop each sprout into thirds. Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil, lightly salt and toss to coat. Place on another foil lined baking sheet and spread the sprouts out. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes. If you like (and I do!) drizzle the roasted sprouts with 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup (just a little extra special touch to add a bit of sweetness to the sprouts- totally optional!).

While the veggies are roasting, prepare the kale. Remove all the hard middle stems from the kale leaves and discard.  Wash the curly leaves, pat dry and chop into bite sized pieces. Place kale into a large bowl and drizzle a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil and massage the kale with your fingers for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss (read my intro to learn about massaging kale). Put the kale into the fridge while you are roasting the other veggies.

This next step is optional, but I always like to plump up my dried fruits - it makes them easier to chew. Put 1/2 cup of water into a microwave safe dish and heat for two minutes, making the water very hot, but not boiling. Put the chopped dried cranberries into the hot water and let them sit for 5 minutes and then drain well. The water will plump them up and make them juicy instead of hard and sticky. If you don't have time for this step, no worries, just use the dried cranberries as is.

While the veggies are roasting, make the dressing. Add all the ingredients into a dish and whisk together; set aside.

Once the vegetables have roasted and slightly cooled, it is time to assemble the salad.

Remove the kale from the fridge and add the sunflower seeds, chickpeas, dried cranberries and hemp seeds (if using).  Evenly distribute the salad onto plates. Top each salad with the sweet potato slices and roasted Brussels sprouts.  If using, add sliced chicken breast to the top of each salad. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!!!! YUM!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Peachy Keen" Smoothie

This smoothie is pure deliciousness! Enjoy!

3 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen cherries
1 ripe banana
3 dates (pitted) or giant squeeze of honey
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup canned coconut milk, full fat or light
1/2 cup almond milk or dairy milk
Ice cubes, if desired
1 large handful of spinach, optional

Put all ingredients into a high power blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Makes two smoothies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Honey Lime Green Smoothie

Oh boy is this smoothie delicious! I was actually shocked at how lip-smacking good this odd-seeming smoothie actually tasted. It was sweet and a little bit tart; it's so very healthy and so very yummy - the perfect combination!!! Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups of cubed honey dew melon
2 peeled kiwis
1 ripe banana
10 mint leaves
1 to 2 limes (enough to give about 3 Tbl of juice)
2 GIANT handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk or low-fat milk
Ice, if desired

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if needed for desired coldness. Drink immediately.

This smoothie makes two large smoothies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Vegetables

This scrumptious recipe comes from the blog Jo Cooks.  It was extremely easy to put together. I served it alongside some brown rice and with a side salad. It made a delicious vegetarian meal. These roasted veggies would also make a terrific side dish and would be super served at a Thanksgiving feast!


  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups cocktail tomatoes
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. In a bowl add all the mushrooms, veggies and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil then add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and toss until well combined.
  3. Dump the veggies to a baking sheet and place in the preheat oven. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown and cauliflower is fork tender.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. <I served with a side of rice and a side salad>

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weeknight Crock Pot Sausage & Spinach Stew

My friend, Amne, shared this easy crock pot recipe with me. It's one of her family's favorite recipes and it's a snap to make. She serves it over cooked rice or pasta. Add a simple side salad and a piece of good crusty bread and dinner is served! Enjoy!


4 links of pork or chicken Italian sausage, sliced  (you can leave on the casing)
1 tsp olive oil
28 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
8 oz block of cream cheese, cut into chunks
Quart of chicken or vegetable broth
10 oz bag loose leaf frozen spinach

Parmesan cheese for serving
Cooked pasta or rice for serving


Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.  Add olive oil to skillet.  Add sliced sausage pieces to the hot skillet and brown on both sides.

Power on a large crock pot. You can either cook this dish on low for 8 hours or high for four hours, your choice. Add cooked sausage slices, fire roasted tomatoes, cream cheese chunks, and enough broth to cover the ingredients in the crock pot (you may not use the whole quart). Add the bag of loose leaf frozen spinach and give everything a good stir.

Once your crock pot has completed its cooking cycle serve stew over cooked rice or pasta. Season with salt & pepper. Add shredded Parmesan if you like. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hallelujah Sweet Potato Slaw

I found this delicious, raw, vegan recipe in a fabulous book called The Hallelujah Diet by George Malkmus.  I wanted to make it right away because I absolutely LOVE shredded RAW sweet potatoes. Yes, I said raw, and yes, you need to just trust me on this one and try it for yourself.

This salad was so refreshing and sweet. It would be a beautiful thing to bring to a summer potluck. Enjoy!

  • 3 cups RAW sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded <I only used two sweet potatoes>
  • 1 medium sweet apple, peeled and chopped fine  <Use a crunchy apple, like a Honeycrisp or Pink Lady>
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped <I used more because I love the crunch>
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins or chopped dates <I used dates>
  • Holiday Slaw Dressing (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, apple, pineapple, raisins or dates and pecans. Prepare the Holiday Slaw Dressing. Combine with salad, mix well and place in refrigerator. Let salad chill in the fridge and serve cold. 

Holiday Slaw Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise <I used mayonnaise; but if you use mayonnaise, the salad will not be vegan anymore>
  • 1-2 Tbl raw, unfiltered honey
  • 2 Tbl lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
Combine ingredients into a shaker cup and shake thoroughly, or place in a bowl and whip with a wire whisk until well blended.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Raw Brownie Energy Bars

The name of these bars do them zero justice - they should be called "Oh-My-Gosh-Are-You-Kidding-Me-I-Cannot-Believe-These-Are-Raw-And-Healthy-Because-They-Taste-Like-Heaven Bars". Yeah, that does them a little more justice. The recipe comes from Yummy Mummy Kitchen and my socks were actually blown off at how tasty and sweetly satisfying these healthy little "brownies" are. Click on her blog link to see some beautiful pictures she took of these bars. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!!!

Here is the recipe STRAIGHT from the Yummy Mummy Kitchen blog:

  • 2 cups nuts (use a combination of almonds, peanuts, and walnuts)
  • 1 1/4 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crisp puffed quinoa or rice cereal <I used Rice Krispies>
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (vegan/gf if needed) 


  1. Place nuts, dates, oil, cocoa, salt, and hemp hearts into a food processor. Blend until coarsely  ground. Add the syrup and continue to blend until the mixture holds together when pressed. Pulse in the cereal just to combine.
  2. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Transfer the bar mixture from the food processor to the pan and press firmly and evenly in. Press walnuts and chocolate chips into the top. 
  3. Refrigerate until completely chilled and firm, about an hour. Cut into bars or small bite-sized squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Chocolate Bites with Nuts & Fruit

These little chocolatey bites were super easy to throw together! All you need are some chocolate chips and your favorite nuts & dried fruits (and a microwave and some parchment paper). I used about 3/4 cup of Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chunks and it made 12 circles. So, just eyeball everything and make as many or as few as you'd like! Enjoy!

~ 3/4 to 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
The following are suggestions:
raw almonds
raw cashews
raw hazelnuts
raw walnuts
dried cherries
dried cranberries
dried apricots
dried figs
hemp seeds

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish in the microwave on high for 1 minutes. Remove dish and stir. Put dish back in the microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds and stir until completely smooth.

Using a teaspoon size spoon, spoon melted chocolate onto parchment paper that is on a cutting board. Just let the chocolate drop into a nice circle shape.

Add the nuts and fruits to each circle any way you like. 

Place the chocolate bites in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm them up. Once firm, remove from parchment and place in a tupperware container. Keep bites in the fridge or freezer because they melt easily. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Flourless Peanut Butter Mini Muffins

My friend, Meredith, texted me this recipe last night and asked if I had made these yet......well, approximately 30 minutes later I had! I was so intrigued by the ingredients and the method of making it all in the blender, I just had to right away! They were beyond easy and my kids literally gobbled them up for breakfast this morning. One of my sons said he ate 7 of them by the time I walked downstairs! Yay! A hit! I will be making these again and again. I'm sure you will be too!!!

On a side note, these mini-muffins are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined-sugar free! They are so moist and flavorful - you would never know!

The recipe comes from the blog Averie Cooks. Here is Averie's recipe word for word:


1 medium ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter** (I recommend using classic storebought peanut butter, and not natural or homemade)
3 tablespoons honey (pure maple syrup may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

**<I only had natural peanut butter, so I added an extra Tbl of pure maple syrup to the recipe>


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare mini muffin pans by spraying very well with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pans; set aside. If keeping gluten-free for health reasons, simply use cooking spray or grease the pan. <I used mini-muffin paper liners - so glad I had these because they made the whole thing a breeze>
  2. To the canister of a blender, add first 7 ingredients, through optional salt, and blend on high speed until smoothy and creamy, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chocolate chips and stir in by hand; don't use the blender because it will pulverize them.
  4. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop that's been sprayed with cooking spray (helps batter slide off spoon or scoop easily), form rounded 1 tablespoon mounds and place mounds into prepared pans. Each cavity should be filled to a solid 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.  Due to their small size and oven variance, make sure to watch your muffins closely, and bake until done. Allow muffins to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Garlic Chili Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower & Pine Nuts

Here's another scrumptious recipe from my FAVORITE blog, Minimalist Baker (and she's coming out with a cookbook soon- so exciting!!). I'm a huge's one of my favorite veggies. This meal was easy to put together and had some awesome flavor combos. Serve with a side salad and some good bread. Enjoy!
PS I made my husband's meal with regular pasta and mine with gluten-free pasta.
Here is the recipe verbatim from Minimalist Baker:
  • 1 small head cauliflower (580 g), large stems removed, florets separated
  • 2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) olive or grape seed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (9 g or 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • optional: 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth (for adding more flavor to pasta)
  • 12 oz (340 g) linguini or fettuccini (ensure vegan friendly | sub gluten free pasta to keep GF)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil (use extra virgin here if you have it for more flavor)
  • 3 cloves garlic, skin removed + smashed NOT minced (9 g or 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce for less heat)
  • 2 Tbsp (8 g) fresh chopped parsley, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tbsp (17 g) toasted pine nuts, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 C).
  2. Add cauliflower to a mixing bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Toss to coat, then spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping/stirring once at the 15-minute mark to ensure even cooking. Sample and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  3. Once your cauliflower has reached the 10-minute mark, add 2 cups vegetable broth (for added flavor | optional) and about 4-5 cups water (or however much to generously cover your pasta) to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, season well with sea salt and add pasta. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and cook according to package instructions for ‘al dente’ - 7-10 minutes - then drain and set aside. Cover with a towel to keep warm.
  5. Heat the same large pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 cloves smashed NOT minced garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until garlic is fragrant and slightly golden brown. Remove garlic from pan and let cool slightly, then mince. Set aside for serving.
  6. Next add red pepper flakes to infuse the olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add cooked pasta, parsley, pine nuts, minced garlic, vegan parmesan cheese, cauliflower, and toss to coat.
  8. Remove from heat and sample pasta. Adjust seasonings as desired, adding salt or pepper if necessary. Serve hot with additional parsley, red pepper flakes, pine nuts and vegan parmesan cheese. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep for a few days covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave, or on the stovetop in a large saucepan in a bit of olive oil.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lentil, Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry

My husband and I love Indian food. Since becoming gluten-free, I love it even more because I can eat so much of it. Many Indian foods are vegetarian and are full of lentils, beans and nuts - it's all so up my alley. This Indian-inspired dish, from the amazing blog Detoxinista, was quick to put together, is extremely tasty and filling, and is vegan and gluten-free. The leftovers make an awesome, quick lunch and are so much more satisfying than a bowl of cereal - which is my typical-mom-in-a-hurry-lunch (if I even eat lunch at all).

Serve this curry over cooked quinoa or rice. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe straight from Detoxinista:
  • 1½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large carrot, sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3½ cups vegetable broth or water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews <this is optional and my addition - and they were YUMMY!>
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa OR rice (my husband said he would have preferred rice)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until it's turning a little golden. Add the lentils, potato, carrot, and spices/seasonings, and stir to combine everything.
  2. Add the water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender. Stir in the ½ cup of coconut milk. Serve over cooked quinoa or rice. If using cashews, sprinkle them on top of curried lentils.
  3. Curry will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. Leftovers can be frozen.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Peanut Butter, Coconut & Cranberry Energy Bites

My friend, Kim, asked me to try and replicate these yummy energy bites that we keep buying at our local farmer's market. They are absolutely delicious and they make the perfect quick breakfast or snack. I think this recipe is pretty darn close to the original! Easy to make and no bake! These are also gluten free! Enjoy!

  • 1 cup oats, old fashioned (gluten free if desired)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, plus 2 Tbl more for rolling
  • 1 Tbl cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey OR pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped into tiny pieces

In a large food processor, add the oats, chia seeds,  flax seeds, unsweetened coconut and cinnamon.   Pulse until finely ground and combined. Add the honey and peanut butter. Turn the food processor on and watch the mixture turn into a large ball. Let it roll around in there for a minute or so until the dry ingredients are well combined with the honey and PB.  Add the chopped dried cranberries and pulse to combine.

Using your hands, roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a piece of parchment paper. Roll each ball into unsweetened coconut.

Refrigerate and eat within a week. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cashew Corn Chowder with Cilantro Cream

Mercy, this soup was good! So flavorful and very filling. Perfect on this chilly winter night. Here's another EXCELLENT recipe from My New Roots. I love everything this woman does- her cookbooks, her blog, her instagram....she's amazing and so are her recipes.  Enjoy!

This soup made enough for two adults. 

Here is the recipe verbatim from the My New Roots blog:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee <I used olive oil>
2 medium yellow onions
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
cayenne to taste
3 ears fresh corn <I used four>
4 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (4 hours minimum)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add turmeric, cumin and cayenne and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Add onions and salt, and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic. If the bottom of the pot becomes dry, add a little broth instead of oil to moisten things up.

2. While the onions and garlic are cooking, husk the cobs of corn. Cut off the kernels by standing the corn on one end and slicing downwards. Add corn kernels to the pot and stir to coat with spices. Cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the corn is bright yellow and sweet, about 5 minutes. During this time, make the cilantro cream (see recipe below)

3. Once the corn is cooked, remove pot from heat and transfer the soup to a blender, reserving a few tablespoons of the whole corn kernels for garnish. Add soaked and rinsed cashews. Blend on high until completely smooth. Add water to thin, if desired. Season to taste. Return soup to the pot to keep warm if necessary. Serve with cilantro cream, a drizzle of olive oil, a few kernels of corn and plenty of cracked black pepper.

Cilantro Cream
½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (4 hours minimum)
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 cup cilantro (leaves only, loosely packed)
½ cup water
1 Tbsp. raw honey (or agave)
1 tsp. sea salt
pinch cayenne, if desired
½ small clove garlic, if desired

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Season to taste. Store leftovers in a sealed glass container.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Almond Flour Banana Bread - Gluten Free!

HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!! Oh, I think I have found it! Yes, I have! The most perfect gluten free banana bread recipe ever! Yep, I said it and I believe it with my whole heart! This banana bread has zero gluten in it, zero butter, no refined sugar and tastes like the real deal - it'll give any gluten-filled banana bread a run for its money.  I'm always feeling left out of eating baked goods (being gluten free and all).....but now that I have this in my arsenal, I see many yummy days ahead! I am always leary of using gluten-free flours as substitutes in regular recipes - many GF flours have a funky taste and so many of them are almost all tapioca and cornstarch!! So, when I saw that this recipe from the blog, Live Simply, uses ONLY almond meal, I got VERY excited to try it. And it did not disappoint - not one bit.

**If you can't find almond meal, you can make your own by finely grinding raw almonds in the food processor.

 Here is the recipe straight from Live Simply:
  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour <I used Bob's Red Mill>
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon good-quality salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup whole milk yogurt <I used 1/3 cup sour cream>
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed <I used 3 small-ish bananas>
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts <I omitted the walnuts and used 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips>
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease a loaf pan with butter or coconut oil.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add in the honey, yogurt, mashed bananas, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined.
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts <or chocolate chips>.
  6. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes <I baked it for 61 minutes, but I checked it at 50 and 56 minutes> until the center is firm.
  7. Allow to cool. Remove from pan.
  8. Slice and enjoy!