Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Ultimate Tempeh Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joe, Slop-Sloppy Joes! (Adam Sandler anyone?!)  Sloppy Joes are about as American as the burger and Apple Pie...and I just couldn't view myself as a "proper" American if I didn't have some variation of this amazing comfort food in my diet!  Sweet, tangy, chewy, messy...this has all the components of a "real" Sloppy Joe...without a ton of fat, and without any animal parts in my opinion, this is called a "no brainer"!  Even your meat-eating friends and family will fall in love with this...and instead of saying, "where's the beef"...they'll be saying, "who cares about the beef, just give me another one!"

The Tempeh:

Crumble 2 bricks of tempeh into a saute pan and add:

1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. liquid smoke (probably optional, but it sure adds some nice flavor!)
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 T. blackstrap molasses
1/2 c. ketchup (I use OrganicVille brand, because there's no added sugar in's the ONLY ketchup I've found out there that doesn't have sugar in it)
1/2 c. water
1 T. coconut oil

-Simmer slowly to incorporate the flavors

-In a separate pot combine:

1 3/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
1/4 c. + 1 T. agave
1/4 c. water
1 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 t-1T. liquid smoke (depending on how smokey you want it)
2 T. yellow mustard
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. chili powder

-Simmer to incorporate flavors for 10-15 minutes

-Add tempeh, and simmer another 15 minutes at least...the longer you let it simmer, the better the flavor...just keep that in mind!

-Top toasted buns with Sloppy Joe Mix, and your favorite toppings...I LOVE banana peppers, and vegenaise mayo...but you could try lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, baked onion creative!

-Note:  if you leave out the tempeh...the sauce makes an AMAZING bbq sauce!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spicy Garlic Peanut Sauce w/ Sauted Veggies and Japanese Noodles

If you love garlicy, spicy, Asian-inspired food, this recipe is going to be a gold mine for you!  I was told about this recipe idea from my sister, whose friend, Leah made it for her one night...she said it was, "so good, that I literally ate it until I wanted to throw up"!  (Pardon the reference to vomit while talking about food, but I figure most of us have been there before!)  I quickly got the recipe from Leah, and of course, with my own variations, came up with this gorgeous dish that is a confusing mix of satisfying, yet keeping you wanting more!  It's loaded with fresh veggies, and don't worry, it's not too spicy!  (Leah is a self-proclaimed "spice baby" who can handle it!)

The Sauce:

2 c. peanut butter (obviously make sure there's no added sugar, and no hydrogenated oils)...I actually used a blend of chunky p.b. (which I bought on one in my family will eat it!) and creamy...but use what you have available.
1 1/2 c. water
2 t. cumin
2 T. fresh garlic (I used the tube kind, because if I chop garlic, my hands smell like it for days...unpleasant!)
1 T. garlic powder (if you don't love the taste of garlic like I can skip this)
4 T. low sodium soy sauce (if you don't have low sodium on hand, just use 2-3 T. of regular)
2 T. chili garlic sauce (you can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (if you're scared of the heat, bump this down to 1/4 t...or even 1/8 t. if you're REALLY scared!)
1/4 t. chili powder
3 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice

-Mix together in a food processor, or by hand, either way works (if you're doing it by hand, use warm water and heat the p.b., as it will be much easier to stir!)

-Let set for at least an hour in the fridge

-Note:  Mine ended up thickening quite a bit, so I added 1 c. of unsweetened almond milk to thin it back out!

-This makes a LOT of sauce, so portion it out and freeze it for next time!!

-One more thing:  you can use this recipe to marinate tofu and tempeh in!  Give it a good 3 hours to marinate, and then cook like you normally would!

The Veggies:

-In a saute pan combine over medium heat combine:

1/4-1/2 c. water (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
1 T. garlic powder
2 T. low sodium soy sauce (or 1 T. of regular...gotta watch that sodium!)
1 T. garlic chili sauce
1 section of a red pepper (around 1/8 of the whole one), sliced
1/2 c. broccoli pieces
10 pea pods (unless you want more!)
1/4 c. matchstick carrots
1/8 c. water chestnuts (halved or chopped)

-Note:  These veggies are a suggestion, so if there are some that you don't like, omit them, and if there are others that you REALLY like, add more...some other things that may work are:
palm hearts
yellow squash
peas (minus the pod)

The Noodles:

-Bring water to a boil and add 1 bundle of Japanese style noodles (yaki soba, buckwheat, udon...whichever you like the best...or, just do it over regular spaghetti if you really want to!)

-Cook according to package directions for al dente (slightly firm, not mushy)

-Drain, rinse, place back into the pan, and add 1/2 c. Spicy Garlic Peanut Sauce per bundle of noodles, and cook just a few extra minutes to let the noodles absorb some of the flavors.

-You can toss your veggies right into the noodles, or serve them over doesn't matter, except that it looks prettier if you serve them over if you're trying to impress...on top...if not...toss in!

-Garnish with: (and these are optional suggestions...just use the ones you like)

mung bean sprouts (HIGHLY recommended)
cashews or peanuts (preferably not salted)...chopped or whole
fresh cilantro...not only is it really pretty for presentation, but it tastes SO fresh
a drizzle of sriracha (found in most Asian sections of the grocery store...very spicy)
sesame seeds
wedge of lime to squeeze over it

-There are so many options for changing this dish up to  make it your own, and to fit your family's tastes!  Have fun with it!!

-Note:  To complete the meal, go to the freezer section of your grocery store, and grab some vegan spring rolls!  Don't forget to eat with chop sticks, and if you're doing a dinner party, grab some fortune cookies for after dinner!  Success!

-Another Note:  1 bundle of noodles will serve roughly 2 consider the amount of veggies and noodles with the 1/2 c. of sauce to be a serving for two.  (There is probably enough sauce to feed 8 people...if I had to guess!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bity Black Bean Browine Bites

That's right, you heard correctly, black bean brownies!  There is NOTHING easier than a 4 ingredient brownie, that has an extra protein and fiber kick!  From what I've heard, this is an old weight watchers secret...and I'll be honest...when I heard it, I was SUPER skeptical!  There's NO WAY you can put beans in brownies and have them taste good...right?!  It's absurd...or so I thought!  Give it a try, for real...these are the perfect little dessert-like something that you need, without being loaded with sugar and empty carbs!  AND you're going to freak out at how easy these are!

-Preheat oven to 350

What you'll need:

1 bag of Pamela's Products Chocolate Brownie Mix (bonus: fat free, gluten free, sugar free (white sugar), AND they have chocolate chunks in them!)
1 can low sodium, organic black beans
1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 c. unsweetened almond milk

-In a blender or food processor, dump in all the contents of the black beans (juice and all)...blend until no chunks are visible

-Combine all ingredients into a bowl, and mix...just so you know, batter will be really, really thick.

-Grease mini muffin tins (the really tiny ones), and fill with batter...batter will rise a little bit, so make them just about as big as you want them.

-Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until center comes clean when tested with a toothpick.

-Cool and eat! 

-This is an awesome recipe for kids to help with, because there are so few ingredients, and kids love things that are tiny!  My daughter gets so excited to help me with these, and even more excited to eat them!  These are a GREAT treat alternative, because they're high in protein, fiber, are void of processed flours and sugars, and have just the right amount of sweetness!

-Freeze half the batch for later, OR eat them all!!

-Ps- if you don't have mini muffin tins, put the batter in a 8x8 or 9x9 pan (greased) and bake...check at 12 minutes, but they may need to be in for longer.  You'll know when it's done by testing the center with a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, it's done!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are my Achilles heel...I simply CANNOT have them in the house or I will eat them until they are gone!  (Pathetic I would think that as an adult, I would have overcome my childhood addiction to this candy, but I think it has gotten worse with age!!)  So today, as I was craving something chocolate, filled with something peanut butter...yet knowing I should be making much healthier choices...I decided to experiment, and this is what I came up with...DEFINITELY hit the spot!  They went straight to the freezer...however...they taste just as good frozen, so...

In a coffee grinder, grind:

3 T. raw almonds
3 T. raw sunflower seeds

-You'll probably have to do each of them separately.

-Place nuts and seeds in a bowl and add:

1/2 c. organic, unsweetened peanut butter (preferably raw)...warm it up first
1 T. agave (2 if you want them a little sweeter)
4 T. wheat germ (raw...not toasted)
a pinch of sea salt

-Mix all the ingredients should be pretty stiff...stiff enough to roll into a ball.

-Roll into balls...however big you want...I got 10...but then again...I did keep eating it, so maybe I would've gotten 12 :)

-According to the directions on the bag, melt 1/2 bag of Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

-Add 1 t. coconut oil and mix to incorporate.

-Dip balls in chocolate, scraping the bottom a few times to rid of excess chocolate.

-Set on a wax paper covered plate, and place in the refrigerator to harden chocolate!

-Note:  I took a few almonds, ground them in a coffee grinder, and sprinkled the tops of them (before putting them in the fridge), to "dress them up" a little bit!  You could also melt a few white chocolate chips and drizzle that over the top to make them extra fancy!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unbelieveable 10 Grain Waffles w/ Raspberry-Mango Compote

You know how when you stay at a hotel that has a continental breakfast, you ALWAYS hope they have the waffle station?  I know I do!  Something about the crispy, light texture, and the sweet fruit topping that makes you feel like you've just gotten a GREAT deal!!  We all probably know how unhealthy those waffles are, with all that sugar from the fruit topping (not to mention the "whipped cream")...well, here's my take on that breakfast, minus all the sugar, oil, and unhealthy-ness...PLUS all of the flavor and sustaining nutrients that will keep you energized for your day!  P.s.-I'm actually eating these right now, as I blog this!! Yum!

-Prep your waffle maker so it's nice and hot for your batter

-In a bowl combine:

1 "egg" (an "eggs" worth of prepared egg replacer)
1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c. Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Flour
1 c. King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt
1 T. vanilla

-Mix all together to incorporate.

-With a 1/3 c. measuring cup, scoop onto hot, greased waffle maker.  Close, and wait until it indicates done-ness!  (I typically set mine to 4, and wait for the green light to come on!)

-Repeat until batter is gone.  I got around 6 with this recipe!

-Top with Raspberry-Mango Compote:

-In a small pot, combine:

1/2 c. raspberries (I used frozen)
1/2 c. mango (I used frozen)
3 T. water
1 t. fresh lime juice
2 T. agave

-Bring to a boil.  While you're waiting, combine:

1 t. whole wheat flour
1 t. water

-Whisk together until there are no lumps

-Once the fruit is boiling, add the flour and water mixture to thicken.  Stir quickly to avoid lumps.

-Using a potato masher, mash the fruit up (the raspberries won't really need's mainly for the mangos)

-Done!  Drizzle on your waffles and enjoy!

-Note:  you can use pretty much any fruit for the compote...I've done blueberries, strawberries, raspberries...a combination of all mixed together...get creative!  Just make sure you get the unsweetened fruit!

Hearty, Healthy Blue Corn Waffles

Waffles are a fun way to begin your day!  For some reason, they just seem to have a little more of a "special" feel to them than pancakes...I don't know, maybe it's all those fun little squares that you can fill with delicious toppings!  I got this recipe from the back of the Bobs Red Mill Blue Cornmeal bag.  The recipe was intended for pancakes, so if you don't have a waffle maker, you can certainly make a successful pancake from it!  I, of course, altered the recipe to make it much healthier, by substituting healthy ingredients for the non-healthy ones!  Enjoy!!

-Plug in waffle maker

-In a small pot, boil 1 c. water

-In a bowl, combine:

1/2 t. sea salt
2 T. coconut palm granules (or sucanat)
3/4 c. Bobs Red Mill Blue Cornmeal

-Once water has come to a boil, put it in the bowl with the above, mix until incorporated, and cover while you prepare the other ingredients.

-In a separate bowl combine:

1 "egg" (egg replacer, prepared to make the equivalent of 1 egg)
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
2 T. coconut oil, melted

-Add to the covered mixture, stir until incorporated, and add:

3/4 c. Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Flour (or King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour)
2 t. baking powder

-Stir until just incorporated

-Using 1/3 c. measuring cup, scoop a mildly heaping scoop into a greased, hot waffle iron, and wait until it indicates being ready!  (I set mine to 4, and wait until the light turns green)

-Repeat until the batter runs out...I got 5 waffles from this recipe!

-Spread with coconut oil, and drizzle with agave nectar, raw honey, or Grade B or better Maple Syrup!

-Or Spread with coconut oil and Acai Berry Jam (featured in a previous blog)

-OR make a fresh berry  Well...just follow this quick and easy recipe!!

-In a small pot, combine:

1/2 c. raspberries (I used frozen)
1/2 c. mango (I used frozen)
3 T. water
1 t. fresh lime juice
2 T. agave

-Bring to a boil.  While you're waiting, combine:

1 t. whole wheat flour
1 t. water

-Whisk together until there are no lumps

-Once the fruit is boiling, add the flour and water mixture to thicken.  Stir quickly to avoid lumps.

-Using a potato masher, mash the fruit up (the raspberries won't really need's mainly for the mangos)

-Done!  Drizzle on your waffles and enjoy!

-Note:  you can use pretty much any fruit for the compote...I've done blueberries, strawberries, raspberries...a combination of all mixed together...get creative!  Just make sure you get the unsweetened fruit!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick and Easy Veggie Bean and Rice Soup

We eat soup nearly every single day in our family...the kids LOVE it, and actually get excited when I tell them we'll be eating soup!  (I have strange children, I know!)  Soup is the second best way to eat your veggies (aside from raw), because you're actually eating the broth that they are cooked in, so more vitamins, mineral, and enzymes are preserved!  Typically, I make up a HUGE batch of veggie soup, and I'll freeze portions of it, so it's readily available upon demand!  (Trust me, you don't want to be here when the soup runs's pandemonium!)  This is the simplified recipe, utilizing organic, frozen veggies, as well as organic canned chopping, no soaking...barely any cooking!  I always have these ingredients on hand, in case of emergency!

In a pot, combine:

7 c. water
1 1/2 t. Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
1/2 t. garlic powder
4 T. nutritional yeast (you'll have to go to the health food store to get this, but the benefits (besides flavor) are vital to making a nutritious soup!)
1/8 t. sea salt (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/2-1 c. matchstick carrots (so you don't have to do any chopping!!)
1 zucchini, washed and chopped into smaller pieces (the smaller the pieces, the quicker the cook time!)
1 can organic kidney beans (or whichever bean your family likes best...garbanzo and black beans are amazing...and so are lentils!)

-Cook this long enough to soften the carrots and zucchini...maybe 10-15 minutes (remember that even once you remove it from the heat, the broth with be hot enough to continue cooking the veggies.)

-While the broth is cooking, take 1 pouch of Seeds of Change Organic Whole Grain Brown Basmati Rice, and cook according to package directions (90 seconds!)...this rice is precooked and amazing in texture!  (There is also a  rice and quinoa blend by Seeds of Change that is delicious and can be substituted)

-Remove from heat once veggies have been cooked in the broth, and pour into the container you will be storing the soup in.


2-4 c. organic frozen broccoli
1 c. organic frozen petite peas (or regular, whichever you prefer)

-Stir, and let the frozen veggies'll just take a couple of minutes...and the best part about using the frozen veggies (besides no chopping) that it cools the soup down enough so that eager mouths don't get burned, AND don't have to wait to eat it!!

-Note:  this soup is nowhere near as salty as canned soups, or typical soup recipes...I do that on purpose, in order to watch sodium intake.  The way my kids eat this (and me too) we'd be way over our sodium limits with just one bowl if it was as salty as traditional soups!!  Now, if you need to add a little more salt to it, to get your kids to eat it...feel free.  Another option is to serve it with some Kashi Fire Roasted Veggie crackers, or the Back to Nature (not sure exactly what they're called...but they're the oval ones with all the grains in them!)  The crackers will add just a little more salt, as well as something fun for the kids to dip into the soup!

-This soup is literally 20 mins from water in the pot, to soup in the bowl!  And it makes enough for a good amount of servings (maybe 7 servings that are a little more than a cup!)  Win win!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spinach-Broccoli "Ricotta" Stuffed Shells

This is one of those "impress 'um" meals that you could serve to non-suspecting meat-eaters, and they would never know the difference!  Packed with flavor and amazing textures, this is one of those comfort food meals that you'll want to make over and over again!  I like to make this meal to use up extra spaghetti sauce, but you could certainly use a jar of sauce and have it any night of the week!

Boil around 12-16 shells for the amount of time directed on the package.  (I use the Tikyada's gluten free)

The "Ricotta" Cheese:

2/3 of a block of organic tofu, drained and patted dry with some paper towel (You can use the whole block of tofu, but 2/3 of one was all I had!)

-Crumble with a fork in a bowl, so the consistency is that of ricotta cheese. 

-To that add:

1 t. garlic powder
1 t. oregano (dried)
1 t. basil (dried)
1/2 t. sea salt
pepper to taste
1/2-1 c. frozen organic spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped
1 c. frozen organic broccoli, thawed, drained, and chopped into small pieces (but still leaving a few small chunks for texture)

-Mix everything together, and when noodles have cooked, drain and rinse, and stuff until full.

-Place in an 8x8 pan (I spray the pan so that the noodles don't stick to the bottom...that's so annoying!

The Sauce:

-I took the leftover Veggie Spaghetti Sauce, put it in the blender with 1/2 jar of Organicville Marinara and blended it to make it smooth.

-Note:  you can definitely just use sauce from a jar, or not blend the sauce and leave it chunky.  I like the smoother, thicker sauce, because it doesn't take away from the texture of the noodles and filling...but do whatever you prefer!

-Cover with aluminum foil and bake until sauce is heated through, about 20 minutes.

The "Parmesan Cheese" Topping:

-I personally, think this is the perfect way to finish off this dish!  It's everything that cheese should be (without being it) and more!  You're going to LOVE this!

1 c. of the Panko bread crumbs
1 T. each:
garlic powder
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
1/8 c. nutritional yeast (optional)'ll find this in a health food store, usually with the supplements or protein's super high in B vitamins and minerals, and gives things a "cheesy" taste. I also use it in smoothies, vegan french toast, and the mac n "cheese" I make for the there are other applications for it if you choose to get it :)

-Put that all into a bowl, and drizzle with enough olive oil to get the spices to stick to the crumbs...taste them, if you like the flavor, leave them, if you think it needs more flavor, add more :)

-Uncover shells, and sprinkle "Parmesan Cheese" over top.  Return to oven and bake another 5-7 minutes to brown the top.

-Serve with homemade garlic toast:

If you can find the Arnie's brand Multigrain French Loaf, that's be your best bet...otherwise, any type of good multigrain french loaf will do!

Cut lengthwise, and spread generously with coconut oil.
Sprinkle 1 T. of the following on EACH half:
garlic powder
italian seasonings (if you have it, if not, that's fine too)
And then 1 t of salt on each half

Bake for about 5 mins on 350, until the bottom is crispy, then finish under the low broiler until top is golden :)

Gooey Grilled PB&J

What kid (or adult for that matter!) doesn't like a nice, messy PB&J??  For the longest time I've kept this amazingly easy, essential meal away from my kids, because of all of the unhealthy-ness that goes along with them...until now!  In two of my previous blogs, I gave you some healthy bread and jam recipes...we'll be utilizing those to make these amazing sandwiches!  Ps-my sister gave me this idea...said her nanny kids LOVED when she made it!

You can either use the bread recipe from my previous blog, or your favorite whole grain bread.  (Keep in mind that the purpose of this sandwich is to give your kids the best nutrition from a fun make sure that the bread doesn't have any refined grains or white sugar).

-Spread one side of each piece with some coconut oil, flip them over, and spread the Acai Berry Jam (you can get the recipe from a previous blog post) on one side, and organic almond or sunbutter on the other (make sure you're getting "peanut butters" made without hydrogenated oils or sugars...and raw nuts are the absolute best)

-Press them together and grill in a panini maker, George Foreman Grill, or just in a saute pan until golden brown!

-Serve with a nice, big glass of unsweetened almond milk, a side of carrots or celery (with the Chocolate Banana PB Frosting Recipe mentioned in a previous blog), and a wet paper towel!

-Your kids are going to gobble up this warm, gooey, messy, HEALTHY sandwich, and never know that they're having something healthy for their bodies!!  Good work, Mom!!

-Note:  For a little extra fun...before grilling, get some fun shaped cookie cutters and cut the sandwiches into fun shapes, or letters to spell words...then grill!  Even the most skeptical eater can't resist a heart or dinosaur-shaped sandwich!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chewy Coconut Lime Bars

Bars are a staple in my house!  They're so nice to grab when you're in a rush, or if you just need a little snack throughout the day!  This is one bar you're going to LOVE having around...great texture, hearty and filling, nice balance of sweet and tart, and very healthy for you!  Can't go wrong with this recipe!

1 1/2 T. chia seeds (this is an incredible superfood, that also will help to bind your bars'll definitely need to venture to the health food store for this one!)
3 T. fresh squeezed lime juice

-Mix the seeds with the lime juice and let set for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

-Preheat oven to 300

-These dry ingredients get mixed together in a bowl:

1 c. oat flour (if you don't have this, you can actually just grind oats in a coffee grinder or food processor!)
1/2 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 c. raw, shredded coconut

-In a food processor combine these wet ingredients:

2 T. melted coconut oil
2 T. applesauce
1/4 c. agave
1/2 c. (packed) dates, pitted

-Process until the dates are no longer chunky

-Once the chia seeds are done soaking, mix them together with the rest of the wet ingredients

-Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon

-Sprinkle the top with some more coconut and gently press to make sure they stick!

-Press into a greased 8x8 pan

-Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the edges begin to brown

-Note:  these bars are not supposed to be super sweet, so don't expect them to taste like a dessert bar!  If you WANT them sweeter, try putting an extra 1/2 c. of dates, and an extra 1/8 c. of agave! I got about 10 bars out of this just might want to double it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chocolate Avocado Muffins w/ Fudgy Banana Peanut Butter Frosting

Who doesn't love a good muffin??  They're the PERFECT grab-n-go snack when you're in a crunch for time...we all know that...but who doesn't love a CHOCOLATE muffin?  You'd have to be crazy not to!  My mom is an awesome cook, and I get my passion for cooking/baking from her!  She's so good, that she, on a regular basis gets PAID to cook for someone...and not just any food...vegan food that has primarily no oil included in it!  AND she has to make it taste good!  The recipe for the Chocolate Avocado Muffins comes from her, with of course a few minor adjustments on my end!  Thanks Mom...we're LOVING this recipe over here!

In a food processor combine:

1 c. pitted dates
1/3 c. applesauce (unsweetened)
6 T. ground flax seed
2/3 c. water

-Blend until the dates are no longer chunky.  Empty into a mixing bowl and let set for about 5-7 minutes, or until thick.

-In the food processor combine:

1 1/2 avocado
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. cocoa powder (I love herseys special dark!)
1/2 t. sea salt

-Blend until the avocado is no longer chunky.  Add to the date mixture.


1 T. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or King Arthurs White Whole Wheat Flour, OR Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Flour)
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand)

-Mix with a large spoon until everything is incorporated.  Batter will be very thick.  (You can add a splash of unsweetened almond milk to the batter if you're having a tough time mixing it).

-Spoon into greased muffin tins...these don't do much rising at however big you want your muffins, put that much batter in the tin.  I usually get 9-12 muffins out of one batch.

-Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick to the center comes out clean!

-Note:  this is an amazingly healthy muffin, that's not too sweet!  You get a great dose of fiber from the whole grains, flax seed, and the avocado...not to mention the beneficial fats from the avocado too!  There's no added sweetener to it, just fruit...and no oils, eggs, or dairy!  Sounds too good to be true, like they couldn't ACTUALLY  taste good?  Well, let's just say the first batch I made, my kids ate them up in a matter of a few days!  (I think I was able to have 3 total!)

The "Frosting"...(Like they actually need it!)

Want to give yourself a little extra something special, without all the guilt of your typical frosting?  With no dairy, no powdered sugar, no lard or butter...this "frosting" is a sweet and delicious way to make something amazing, a little extra special!

-In a food processor combine:

2 ripe bananas
1 T. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (if you don't have this on hand, I bet you could omit it)
2 T. cacao nibs, ground in a coffee grinder (I put these in because of the antioxidants and the protein...helps to justify eating it don't you think??)
4 T. herseys special dark cocoa powder
2 T. flax seeds, ground in a coffee grinder (again, your omega fatty acids, fiber, DHA...who'd have every thought you'd get that in a frosting??)
2 T. (heaping) organic, non-hydrogenated peanut butter...or almond butter (check the label)
2 T. agave nectar

-Blend until smooth, for a couple of minutes, then transfer into a dish and refrigerate while the muffins bake.  This will help it to set up a bit.

-"Frost" when the muffins have cooled...or use this as a great dip for apples, strawberries, celery...get creative!

Amazingly Easy No Yeast Bread

My sister, Summer called me one day to tell me she was trying out a new bread recipe that used no yeast!  Immediately I was intrigued, and if we're being honest, a little skeptical...that is, until she sent me a picture of her loaves, in all of their glory!  I promptly called her to get the recipe, and she proceeded to tell me how easy it was to yeast, no kneading, no waiting for it to rise??  Are you kidding me?!  I made a double batch of this recipe (with a few minor changes) as my husband gave the kids a bath! By the time they were bathed and dressed, and I had cleaned my mess and swept the floors, the bread was done and ready to eat!  (and might I add, AMAZING in flavor!)

Preheat oven to 375

Here's what you'll need: 

8 c. flour (I used 5 c. oat flour and 3 c. Bobs Red Mill 10 Grain Flour...if you wanted, you could use all whole wheat.  My sister used a combination of 4 c. almond flour, 2 c. oat flour, and 2 c. whole wheat flour)
1 T. + 1 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
5 T. agave
4 T. blackstrap molasses
2 "eggs" (I used egg replacer, and she used a flax seed formula that equaled 2 eggs)
4 c. unsweetened almond milk
2 t. apple cider vinegar (not sure if it HAS to be apple cider vinegar, or just any ol' kind)
2 T. vital wheat gluten (the recipe didn't call for this, so you don't have to add it...but it's supposed to improve the texture of bread, so I usually throw some in when I'm baking it!)

-I prepared the egg replacer according to the instructions on the package, then threw everything else into a large mixing bowl, and stirred by hand until incorporated.  (I didn't use a hand held mixer because I didn't want to deactivate the rising agents)

-The "batter" isn't going to be like your typical bread dough...there's no way you could knead's really sticky and wet still, so just divide it into 2 greased bread pans, and try to smooth out the tops as best as possible.

-This step isn't necessary, however, it makes the loaves look GORGEOUS, and like you really knew what you were doing!  Summer sprinkled old fashioned oats and chopped walnuts on the top of hers...I did sunflower seed, old fashioned oats, and wheat germ.  It just gives the loaves a little decoration!  Get creative!

-Bake for 35-45 minutes...I checked mine with a knife at 35 mins, and it wasn't done yet...Summ did the same, with the same we both ended up baking it for the full 45 minutes.

-Done!  Easy!  Amazingly delicious!

-Note:  wait until the bread has cooled before cutting into it...I didn't, and it made a mess of the loaf!  Still tasted amazing though!

French-ish Toast

Breakfast is the undisputed most important meal of the day, yet for most Americans (the ones who actually eat it), it's loaded with empty calories and sugar, and void of any sort of nutrients that will help to fuel your body throughout the day.  It's sad how this important meal has gotten such a "bad rap"...because honestly, breakfast produces some of the most comforting and satisfying foods around!  I could eat breakfast food for all meals of the day, every day (well...most days!)  Here's a recipe that I've been working on perfecting for an amazing, egg, dairy, and butter-free french toast, that is also healthy and sustaining!  Serve it up with the Green Julia Smoothie (featured in a previous blog) for an incredibly well-rounded breakfast that will give you unspeakable energy, without that annoying mid-morning crash!

In a shallow dish (such as a pie plate or 8x8 pan) combine the following and whisk together:

1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c. coconut palm granules (or sucanat)
3 T. nutritional yeast flakes (you've seen this in other recipes, if you've been following my now you know that you need it for sure!  It's loaded with B vitamins (the energy givers) as well as minerals...AND it's really versatile!)
1 T. vanilla
2 T. cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon, but if you're not a huge fan, try 1 T. to start)
5 T. whole wheat flour (this helps to thicken it so it doesn't run right off your bread)
a pinch of sea salt

-You're looking for a nice, thickened, sweet dip for your bread, with the thickness close to that of gravy (that's my best guess at a word picture for you!)

-Dip both sides of bread into the mix, and put on a hot, oiled (obviously I'm going to recommend coconut oil here) griddle.

-Just so you know, this French-ish Toast will take longer to cook than the regular stuff you may be used to making.  You want both sides browned, and the center still nice and gooey, yet cooked through.

-Top with a slab of coconut oil and drizzle with agave, and trust me, no one will be complaining about the new, healthy French Toast that you've just made!

-Note:  I would HIGHLY recommend getting a good stack of these going before you begin to serve them up, because they WILL get eaten faster than you can produce them!  If you want to preheat your oven to 200 and throw them onto a cookie sheet so they stay warm, and then start the serving once they're all done, that would be a good idea for two reasons!  1) You'll be able to serve them up as fast as they get eaten if they're all finished.  2) This will ensure that you actually get some before they all get eaten! (Trust me, I almost didn't get any this morning...I actually had to cut my kids off so I could get a measly 2 pieces!!)

-This recipe made 13 pieces, and fed 2 adults and 2 kids (one of which had to be cut off!)  If you're cooking for fewer people, the batter can be refrigerated so you can have them the next morning too!  OR cook them all up, and freeze some of them for a special breakfast in the future!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Amazingly Healthy Nachos w/ Fresh Cilantro Guacamole

Give me mexican food any way and I'm a happy girl...nachos especially!  Something about the salty, crunchy, messy, chewy goodness that makes me very content (and very full!)  I've devised a way to be able to eat nachos (frequently) without the awful feeling in my gut (not sure if it's guilt or indigestion), win!  This meal is so satisfying that you can feed it to the men in your life without getting me, you're going to LOVE this!

The "Taco Meat": (obviously no meat is involved!)

1 1/2 c. water
2 packages of low sodium taco seasoning
3/4 of a brick of tempeh, crumbled (I used the other 1/4 for the Kiddie Quesadillas in a previous blog, but if you have no intentions for doing that, just use the whole thing!)
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
16 oz. organic tomato puree (you can also use diced tomatoes if you want it chunky)
1 t. agave (to cut the acidity of the tomato puree...most tomato sauces have sugar in them, the puree shouldn't, so you have to sweeten it yourself)

-Throw everything into a saute pan and mix to combine.  Simmer on low/medium until it thickens.  The longer you leave it, the better the flavors.  I did mine for around 30-40 mins.

-While that's simmering, chop:

green and red peppers
green onions
black olives
fresh cilantro

-Note:  the more raw, fresh veggies you put on this, the healthier it'll be...obviously if you don't like some of the above, omit them!

The Guacamole:

2 avocados
1/4 chopped cilantro
1/2 t. fresh garlic (or if you don't have it, garlic powder)
1/8 t. sea salt
1/4 of a fresh lime, squeezed
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed (unless you like it spicy), diced

-with a potato masher (or a fork), mash together until desired consistency is obtained.

The Assembly:

chips (if you can get a hold of the Target brand, Archer Farms Organic Blue Corn Flax Tortillas...they are the BEST...hands down...and the bag is resealable so they last FOREVER!)
"taco meat"
chopped veggies
fresh Cilantro Guacamole
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (but seriously, you have so much flavor on this already, you don't even need this!  I usually skip it, but it helps some people (aka my husband) to feel like they're eating "actual nachos"!  "You've already taken away the meat and cheese, at least leave the sour cream"! haha!

-Do them up individually, or make a HUGE nacho platter for game nights when you have a house full of guests!

-Note: the "taco meat" recipe makes around 4-6 servings (depending on the appetite), so if you're cooking for just a few, take the rest and freeze it for later!

Kiddie Quesadillas w/ Avocado Sour Cream

Kids can be very picky eaters...I'm sure anyone who has kids (or has been around them), knows that to be a fact!  Sometimes it's as simple as they don't like the way something looks, and sometimes, they just want to exercise their own free will by choosing not to eat something!  Whatever reasons that kids have for not wanting to eat something can be thrown aside with this meal!  Packed with protein, fiber, and hidden veggies, your kids will be begging you to make these...and what's best, they're so easy!

The insides:

1/2 can of organic vegetarian refried beans
1/8 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c. tomato puree
1/4 of a brick of tempeh, crumbled
1/8 c. water
1-2 t. low sodium taco seasoning

-mix up and put into a small saute pan and simmer to heat (or, if you're in a time crunch, use the microwave)

-in a food processor combine:

1 avocado, chunked
2 T. mild salsa
2 T. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1 t. low sodium taco seasoning
1 T. unsweetened almond milk

-blend until smooth


-in a saute pan, put a little coconut oil over medium heat
-1 whole grain tortilla (I used the mini Smart & Delicious brand)
-1-2 T. of the inside mix you made above, spread onto 1/2 of the tortilla
-sprinkle some black beans, tomatoes, and avocados inside on the half that has the mix (if you're kids don't like these, that's fine, just omit them)
-flip the empty half of the tortilla onto the filled half, and pat down lightly (it'll look like a taco, or half circle)
-brown both sides, cut into triangles, and you're done!

-Now we also know this about kids: they LOVE to dip things...and that's EXACTLY why we made the Avocado Sour Cream to accompany it!  Serve that on the side for them to dip it!  Now, if you have a skeptical kid who won't eat the dip, you could put this on the inside of the tortilla with the rest of the filling.

-Note:  to make the dip even healthier, you could omit the "sour cream" all together and add 1 more tablespoon of "milk".  That way, you're kids are eating virtually pure veggies as a dip (avocado and salsa)!  They'll never even know how healthy it is for them!

-P.s. don't feel guilty about eating this right along with your better believe I ate one with mine...(maybe two!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

I LOVE spaghetti...especially if you have a great sauce!  Not too runny, not too thick, just enough texture, a hint of sweetness followed by a tiny hint of spicy...makes my mouth water just thinking about it!  Talk about your all-time comfort food!  My sister, Summer, first introduced me into the amazing world of vegetables in spaghetti sauce.  When I went vegan, all I was eating was marinara on noodles...BORING!  This revelation was like manna sent from heaven, and I will ALWAYS be thankful for her creativity and insight regarding this dish!  I'm not really a "recipe" person...I don't really use them...I typically like to cook and add until the dish tastes putting together the "perfect" sauce was a challenge!  For all of you out there who have begged me for this recipe...I hope this is what you remember it tasting like, because I'm going to start using this recipe I concocted from now on, just so I can get the exact same results!

In a large pot combine:

2 T. coconut oil
1 brick of tempeh, crumbled
1 T. fresh smashed garlic (those of you who read my blog, know I'm a cheater and use it from a tube!)
2 T. dried basil
1/8 t. sea salt
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but if you know me, I like a little kick!  I'd probably add 1 t. for my own taste!)
2 T. (heaping) of the fresh pesto we made in earlier blogs...OR any vegan pesto...OR you could probably just do:
     2 T. fresh basil (tubed or fresh chopped)
     1 T. fresh garlic, smashed
1/2 chopped onion (medium to large)
6-8 oz. mushrooms (roughly chopped)

-Brown tempeh over medium heat, stirring frequently so as not to let it burn


2 15 oz cans organic tomato sauce
1 jar of your favorite organic spaghetti sauce (I used a basil flavored one)
1/2 bag organic carrots (I use the matchsticks and roughly chop them...I just like the size of them that way)
1/2 bag organic broccoli (chopped into edible pieces)
2 zucchini, chopped
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. agave nectar (sometimes the tomatoes are pretty acidic...this balances it out...if your sauce still tastes acidic or too "tomato-y" add another tablespoon)

-reduce heat to med/low and simmer until you can't stand it any more!  (uncovered)  Just make sure your veggies get decently cooked...but the longer you let these flavors meld together, the better the taste (ever wondered why some things taste better the next day?!  There you have it!)

-now, I know some households contain some "picky eaters" who would balk at the sight of all those veggies in their sauce.  Here's how you fix that:

-do the tempeh with all the spices above, but don't add the onions and mushrooms to it, instead, do those in a separate pan.  When the onions have softened, throw that, and all of the other ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until completely smooth.

-NOW add it to the tempeh and cook just long enough to warm the sauce up...the slower you heat it, the more enzymes from all of those raw veggies will be left intact.

-I did this SO often when my oldest daughter decided to be a picky eater between the ages of 1 and 2!  Little did she know that she was still eating a large amount of veggies!

-if your kids won't eat those dark leafy greens, blend some fresh spinach into the sauce too...they'll never know!

-Let's talk about spaghetti squash, because in a dish like's AMAZING!  Instead of getting all those carbs from pasta (not saying that carbs are bad, but if you're carb-conscious...this is the remedy) can substitute this specific squash for the pasta! If you cook it according to its little sticker label, you will get a GORGEOUS yellow "pasta" that's actually another serving of veggies instead!  Maybe an excuse to have another piece of garlic toast ;)

-p.s.- I don't normally encourage "microwave cooking"...however, in a time crunch, you can stick half of one of these babies, face down, in a little dish with some water, cover with plastic wrap, and nuke it for 10 mins...JUST sayin!

Decadant Chocolate Smoothie-Shake

Ok, so I wasn't exactly sure what constitutes a smoothie and what constitutes a shake, so I decided to call it both just to be safe!  Either way, you're not going to care with this luscious, smooth, thick smoothie-shake!  Your kids will think they're getting a treat, and even though you're the one you made it, and you know all of the healthy things that went into'll be fooled into thinking this is a treat too!

In a coffee grinder, grind to a powder:

1/8 c. cacao nibs (this is the most antioxidant-rich form of chocolate you can find, and it's also pack with protein!)  You will have to find this at a health food store, but trust me, you're going to want it for the other recipes that require it!

In a blender combine:

1 can organic coconut milk (the real stuff...not the low fat)
2 bananas
2-3 heaping T. herseys special dark cocoa powder
4 heaping T. raw almond butter (or organic raw peanut butter...just make sure you check for added sugars and hydrogenated oils...these are not "healthy choices" as my 4-yr-old would put it!)
the cacao nib powder

Blend until super smooth and incorporated!  DONE!

If I had to guess, I'd say this makes about 3-4 c. worth of smoothie-shake!

Here are the benefits you're getting from this, just in case you're skeptical:

-antioxidants (cacao nibs)
-medium chain fatty acids (coconut milk)
-protein (cacao nibs, and whichever nut butter you choose)
-potassium (bananas)
-a well known mood enhancer (cocoa powder!!)...although there have been studies put out that classify chocolate as a "mood enhancer"...I'm not speaking from a scientific standpoint...I'm just speaking from personal experience as a woman!!

-Note:  this actually thickens as it sets, so if you wanted to let you kids dip some strawberries or any other fruit in it...they'd PROBABLY be really excited about it!  Or, stick it in the fridge and let them eat it as a "pudding" type snack after they eat a healthy lunch or dinner!  Get creative, and know you're giving them something WAY healthier than a piece of candy or a pudding cup!

Simple Silly Sesame Stir-fry

Any person who knows and has been around kids, knows that they have this strange obsession for noodles, and especially noodles that are shaped like things!  Of course, as older, wiser beings, we know that for the most part, a noodle is a noodle, whether it's shaped like an airplane or a spiral!  However, as those older, wiser beings, we also know that if special-shaped noodles will get kids to eat without a fuss...those will be the noodles that we use for them...ALL THE TIME!  That's my reason for creating this Simple Silly Sesame fuss mealtimes, with a lot of things that kids love!

I love the Tinkyada brand of brown rice pasta for a couple of reasons:  1) it's gluten free, which is nice because a lot of people out there have huge intolerances to gluten, but don't know whenever we can cut a little gluten out of our diets, we do!  2) the texture is indistinguishable between your average white flour-based pastas...which is awesome for those of us who have picky husbands/kids who don't really care for the gritty texture of the whole wheat pastas!  3) without all of the stripping and enriching, this pasta is a good source of iron, B vitamins and protein...why wouldn't you want to use it??  They make all sorts of varieties too, from lasagna noodles, jumbo shells for stuffing, spaghetti, and fun-shaped noodles for kids!

Prepare noodles according to the package (I will usually do the whole bag at once, and divide it up for different, quick and easy lunches...such as: spaghetti, the dish we'll be making today, tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil and some italian spices...vegan mac n "cheese"...)  Bottom line is, they'll get eaten, so you might as well make them up ahead of time!

-In a bowl with a lid combine:

2 c. cooked noodles
2 t. low sodium soy sauce (or 1 T.)
3 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. frozen peas (thawed by running them under warm water...takes like 2 seconds!)
1/8 c. raw shredded carrots (I just buy the organic matchstick ones)
1 T. sesame seeds

-cover and toss to coat (this is actually something that your kids may find fun to do, especially if they're in that "I want to help phase"!) 
-Getting your kids involved may generate interest in the things they eat, so let them dump in the carrots and peas, and sprinkle in the sesame seeds.  They'll get a sense of ownership of their meal, and you'd be amazed how this creates a very peaceful lunch/dinner time!
-I serve these noodles with a side of my Asian Sesame Broccoli (in a previous blog)...that way, you're kids are getting 3 types of veggies with their noodles...1 of which is raw! (the carrots of course)

-Note:  try the Asian Glazed Tempeh recipe from a previous blog as a great way to add protein to this meal!

My girls would eat this every day, and to be honest with you, sometimes I make up a huge batch, and let them eat it until they're sick of it!!  Don't feel guilty about craving this meal either...if it makes you feel more "adult" you could make it with some Udon or Yaki Soba noodles, and toss in some shredded Baby Bok know, just to keep it adult!

Asian Sesame Broccoli

My kids LOVE broccoli!  As a matter of fact, every person in my household loves broccoli...even just plain! (I know, we're strange!!)  Sometimes, though, I like to surprise them with a little something extra special!  This recipe is SUPER simple to make, and it's guaranteed to be a winner in your family! 

Take 1 bag of organic broccoli, and throw it in your steamer for 10-15 minutes (depending on how you like it done.)

-Note:  Yes, you need to steam it, rather than boil it or microwave it.  Steaming veggies actually preserves the most nutrients and enzymes of any of the cooking aside from eating it raw, this is the best way to get the BEST benefits from your veggies...always steam, NEVER boil!

-When the broccoli is done to your liking, put it in a container with a lid, and add:

1-2 T. low sodium soy sauce
2-3 T. sesame oil
1-2 t. sesame seeds

-cover with a lid and toss/shake until well coated...DONE!

-start with the lower portion, toss and taste...the goal is to not have too much sodium from the soy sauce.  So if you feel like it's lacking in some flavor, try another tablespoon of sesame oil before you add more soy sauce.

-to spice it up a bit, add 1 t. of crushed red chili flakes!

Southwestern Tofu Scramble

So I've been vegan for over 2 years now, and I can't lie...every now and then I get to missing eggs!  There's just something about them that reminds me of my childhood!  Eggs are definitely out of the question for me now, so I did some experimenting with tofu and some of my favorite spices to come up with this delicious, hearty, filling breakfast that makes my mouth go, "eggs who?"  Try this one out on your husbands, boyfriends, or any other skeptical males, and they'll be begging for it every morning!

The Tofu:

1 T. coconut oil
1/3 block of extra firm tofu, pat dry in a paper towel, and crumble into hot oil
1 T. low sodium taco/fajita seasoning
a pinch of salt

-Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, tossing around to incorporate flavors

3 T. mild salsa
1/4 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
1 t. nutritional yeast (you'll have to get this at your health food's super high in B vitamins and minerals, and lends a "cheesy" flavor...I suppose it's optional, but get some and have it on hand, because you'll use it in other recipes!)
1/2 t. chili powder

-Saute until potatoes are done, tossing frequently to brown evenly

The Potatoes:

-In another saute pan, combine the following:

2 T. coconut oil
2 c. western hash (the kind with the peppers and onions...but if you'd prefer the plain ones, use them)
1/8 t. sea salt
1 t. sriracha (this is totally optional, but it sure gives it a nice kick!)
2 T. low sodium taco/fajita seasoning (this should finish off the pack)

-Give it a quick toss to mix, but don't overdo'll end up with mushy potatoes!
-Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes
-Toss or stir to brown evenly, and cover for another 5 minutes, or until potatoes are no longer frozen.
-Uncover to brown and add:

1/8 c. frozen corn and toss to incorporate.  Cook until thawed.


potatoes on bottem
tofu and black beans
1/8 c. fresh chopped grape tomatoes
jalapeno slices (optional)
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

This recipe makes 1 very large, man-sized serving, or 2 normal people servings!

Try these mix ins to boost the nutritional value: (add these when you first start the potatoes, so they get a chance to cook)

chopped zucchini
chopped onion
chopped red and/or green peppers
fresh diced jalapenos


guacamole instead of sour cream
chopped green onions
chopped avocado
or whatever else you think may sound good!!

Happy eating!  This meal is hearty, loaded with protein from the beans and tofu, and also manages to get you to eat some veggies at breakfast time!  Who would've thought!?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ooey Gooey Breakfast Bars

I just came up with this recipe this morning, due to an urgent facebook message from my cousin, Rubi, who needed a healthy breakfast bar packed with protein and void of flour!  Of course I was only too happy to oblige, being that, in my opinion, EVERYONE could use a delicious breakfast bar loaded with protein, without flour!  You'll be happy to know that this is a no-bake recipe that uses nothing but the amazing flavors of fruit, seeds, and nuts, thus making it so healthy for you, you won't know what to do with yourself!!  Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they taste SO amazing, that I actually ate 3 of them once they were finished (note to self...double the recipe!!)

You're definitely going to want a decent food processor for this recipe...not because it's the only way that you'll arrive at the correct result, but because I've tried using blenders and low-powered food processors for things like this, and it's SO frustrating!

1/2 c. sunflower seeds (vitamin E and protein, not to mention a perfect food!)
1/2 c. almonds (amazing source of protein and iron)
1/2 c. walnuts (obviously protein, but loaded with antioxidants too!)
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (mineral rich, omega-3 fats, protein and iron!)
3 T. hemp seeds (perfect protein, omegas-3&6, iron, and minerals...superfood!)

-Throw all these in your food processor, and grind until they form a "wet powder".  (it won't be fine like flour, but that's ok).
-Note: I only listed a FEW of the major benefits of each of these nuts/seeds...can you see why I used them specifically?!


1/4 c. water
1 c. pitted dates (you may want to add these 1 at a time...I didn't, but if you doubt your food processor's abilities, this would ensure good results!)
1/2 c. coconut (raw, shredded)  (great source of lauric acid...very important!)
1/4 c. ground flax seed (cancer fighter, balanced omegas 3 & 6, high dietary fiber, DHA...and the list goes on and on!)
3 T. cacao nibs, ground in a coffee grinder until powdered (this is an AMAZING antioxidant boost, not to mention high in dietary fiber and magnesium)
1/8 t. good sea salt (this is optional, but it does bring out the flavors in an amazing way...PLUS if you get a mineral-rich sea salt, you'll get the added bonus of minerals too!)

-Grind the rest of these awesome ingredients up, and all you have left to do it press them into a pan!  I used a bread pan in order to achieve a nice, thick bar, but use whatever you have...OR roll them into a ball!

-The chewiness of the dates keeps these bars soft and sweet, the nuts/seeds lend the substance and the protein, the combination...INCREDIBLE!

-This recipe made 10 bars, so you just may want to double it!

-Important Note:  I always use raw, unsalted nuts and seeds unless otherwise specified.  You'll obtain the full benefit of them, without the nutrients being destroyed by heat and then masked by salt.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pesto Veggie Spaghetti with Pesto Garlic Toast

I LOVE pesto and I love veggies, so naturally I would think this is one of the BEST dishes ever!  All of the gorgeous colors, flavors, and textures create an unforgettable experience that you'll want to repeat over and over and over!!  This is an impressive one to serve to guests, because you actually get to make your own pesto...(something that everyone thinks is sooo hard, but with this recipe, it's super simple!)  Trust me on this one, if you make it once, they'll BEG you to make it every time you see them!!

The Pesto:

1/2 c. pinenuts, toasted (look below for toasting instructions if you are unfamiliar!)
1/2 c. fresh basil (I have to admit, sometimes I've been known to cheat on this step and just buy a tube of fresh basil...I just use the whole thing instead of rinsing and chopping...shhhh, don't tell!)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (or again, cheat and use the tube!)
1/4 t. sea salt
1 t. lemon juice

-Throw all these ingredients into a food processor, and mix until smooth and thick!  Go ahead and taste'll be SO impressed that you just made this!

The Pasta:

Bring a pot of water to boil and add about 8 oz of brown rice spaghetti pasta.

-cook according to instructions, until al dente (done but firm, not mushy)  set aside when done.

In a saute pan over medium heat combine:

1/2 t. lemon juice
1 T. coconut oil
1 t. dried basil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (I cheat sometimes and use it from a tube to save time!)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste
1/3 of a block of extra firm tofu, pat dry and chopped into cubes (the tofu is optional, but it does add a good measure of protein to the dish)

-saute for a few minutes to get the flavors incorporated into the tofu.

-chop then add:

1 c. broccoli pieces
1/2 of a large zucchini
1/2 can of artichoke hearts

-cover with a lid and let steam, tossing frequently to coat with flavor. (check after 7 minutes)

-in a small saute pan toast 1/4-1/2 c. of pinenuts over medium heat.  Toss or stir frequently, because they'll burn quickly.  You'll know they're done when they're nicely browned, and you can smell them!

-chop 1/2 c. of grape tomatoes (or more if you'd like!)


-when the veggies are done, and the noodles are cooked, throw the noodles in with the veggies.  Add 1/4 c. of the pesto, and toss gently with tongs until evenly coated.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes and pinenuts!  Delicious!!

-Note:  there are so many other mix ins you can add to this are a few that I've tried:

kalamata olives, quartered
roasted red pepper strips
fresh spinach, add when you throw in the pasta and toss throughout
dried cherries/cranberries...just make sure they have no added sugar

-the above measurements for the veggies are just an estimate.  I rarely ever measure them...just chop until I feel like I have enough!  Come on, it's not like you're EVER going to have too many veggies in it!!

-My guess on portions is that you'll be able to feed about 3 people with this dish, maybe 4 if they are light eaters, and you have a salad and some garlic toast with it!  Speaking of garlic's a recipe for some pesto garlic toast that's a snap to make!

Pesto Garlic Toast:

Here is my cheaters version if you're only making it for 1-2 people...

Take your favorite whole grain bread, throw it in the toaster.  When it's done, spread coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil on it, and then generously smear your fresh pesto over top.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and put under the broiler until peso begins to bubble (around 1 minute)...DONE...easy...delicious!

If you're serving a large amount of guests...

Take a good loaf of whole grain french bread and cut horizontally into 2 long loaves.  Spread GENEROUSLY (and I mean slather) with coconut oil, then top with your pesto (again generously).  Sprinkle about 1/2 t. of sea salt on each half and bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Finish under the broiler to crisp up the top.

Seriously, I do this for people, and they are FLOORED at the flavor, and always want to know how you do it.  Just smile and tell them the's really not that hard! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mediterranean Garbanzo Beans with Pesto Quinoa

I have no idea how I came up with this dish, but I'm SO glad I did!  Loaded with veggies and protein, there is a perfect balance between salty and sweet, chewy and crisp, and comfort and health! (Not to mention, it's gorgeous to look at!)  The first part of this recipe stands alone as a great lunch, but when put together with the Pesto Quinoa, it becomes a meal worthy to be served at any dinner party (especially when it's served with the Pesto Garlic Bread!)  It's even been known to satisfy non-vegetarian consumers...yup, it's that good!

The Garbanzo Bean Dish:

1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1T. lemon juice
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1 c. water
2 T. dried basil
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. italian seasonings
1 T. olive oil

-combine all of the above ingredients in a saute pan and simmer on medium while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


1/2 can of artichoke hearts (I usually buy the whole ones and quarter can just buy the quartered ones though!)
1/2 of a large zucchini, or 1 whole small zucchini
1 1/2 c. broccoli pieces, small ones
1/4 c. kalamata olives
1/2 c. dried goji berries (or dried cranberries...just make sure you get ones that have no sugar'll probably have to go to a health food store to find them.  I like the goji berries because they're really high in antioxidants)

-note: all of these above ingredients are on a "to taste" basis, the above measurements are just to give you some idea of how if you really like olives, add more, if you love broccoli, by all means, add more...if you're not too crazy about artichoke hearts, just skip them...very flexible with these ingredients!

-add all of these ingredients to the garbanzo bean dish, toss to coat with the liquid, and cover.  This will speed up the cooking process by steaming the veggies.  Once the veggies are to your liking in texture (try 10-15 minutes), add the following ingredients.

-in a small saute pan, put 1/4-1/2 c. of pinenuts (depending on how much you like them!)...lightly toast them over medium heat...shaking/stirring very frequently so as not to burn.  There is a very short amount of time between perfect and burnt, so watch them closely!  Once they start to brown on all sides, you'll know they're done...maybe 5 minutes.


1/2 c. grape tomatoes (the really small ones...same size as grapes, hence the name!)  quarter them.
3 c. fresh spinach or 1 c. frozen (fresh is better, because it doesn't get so clumpy!)

-I add these right at the end, and basically just toss them through the dish to warm them.  If you'd like them cooked a little more, go right ahead!

-this concludes this portion of the can go ahead and quit right here and just eat as wouldn't even know what you're missing!  HOWEVER if you want to try your hand at something really delicious, that people have probably never heard of...continue!

The Pest Portion:

In a little food processor combine:

1/2 c. fresh basil (I sometimes cheat and use 1 tube of the already chopped basil)
1/2 c. toasted pinenuts (see above for toasting directions)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (I actually cheat on this one too and use the tube garlic)
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt

-process until smooth...DONE!  This makes more than what you'll need for the dish, but here's a little will keep for about 1 week in the fridge, OR you can freeze it in ice cube trays and save it for later!  Throw it in pastas, spread it on garlic toast, use it as a dip for veggies or bread, use it on pizza instead of sauce...SO many different uses!

The Quinoa:

-Let's talk about Quinoa for a second, because most people have never heard of this ancient grain.  Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an amazing grain, that is considered a perfect food.  It is extremely high in protein, as well as complex carbohydrates (gasp! not carbs!!) making it well-rounded, and a perfect substitute or addition to so many dishes that contain rice!

Bring 2 c. of water to a boil, add
1 c. quinoa

-bring back up to a boil, and then reduce heat to low/med, simmering quinoa for 12-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed, and quinoa has a nice, chewy consistency.

-like rice, quinoa can get mushy, so don't stir it during the cooking process.


2 T. (heaping) of the prepared pesto
1/2 t. freshly smashed garlic
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/8-1/4 t. crushed red pepper (optional)

-mix until incorporated.  Try not to over-stir (just like rice).

-you can use this as a side dish, or mix it right in with the garbanzo dish that you just prepared...either way, you're going to be SO glad that this makes so much!  If I had to guess, I'd say you get 6 c. when you mix it all together!

-Serve with a nice salad and some Pesto Garlic Bread!  (Use the garlic bread recipe from my earlier blog, and slap on some of your fresh pesto!  Bake according to the instructions mentioned in the recipe).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I LOVE having muffins in the house!  They are easy to grab for a snack or a quick breakfast, when you're on the run!  The downside to most muffins out there, is that they're merely a pile of sugar, hiding behind the guise of a healthy alternative to a cupcake...when in reality, there's not much of a difference!  I came up with this AMAZINGLY healthy recipe, that's also low fat, yet surprisingly even if you find yourself reaching for that second muffin, you won't have to feel guilty! (and trust me, you'll be reaching for seconds with these guys!!)

Preheat the oven to 350

5 REALLY ripe know, the ones that you're SURE couldn't be good anymore...those are the perfect ones!

-Note:  if you don't have time to use your bananas when they get this ripe, but don't want to throw them away, put them in the freezer!  You can thaw them out whenever you want to use them, and if you're craving banana muffins, you won't have to sit around and wait for your bananas to ripen!

-mash bananas with a potato masher until relatively "un-chunky"

1/2 c. pitted dates
1/4 c. water
1/3 c. unsweetened almond milk
2 "eggs" (2 eggs worth of egg replacer)

-in a food processor, add some of the bananas, the dates, water, milk, and egg replacer.  Mix until the dates are no longer in big chunks, and everything else is combined. 
-pour into the same bowl as the rest of the bananas
-add these ingredients to the bowl as well:

2/3 c. applesauce
1 T. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. cinnamon
1/3 c. chocolate chips (the Enjoy Life brand are the best)
1 T. vanilla

-gently mix to incorporate.  Use a spatula or large spoon, rather than beaters...this will help to keep your muffins fluffy and not too dense.

3 c. whole wheat flour (either whole wheat pastry flour, or the King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour)

-mix until just combined.  Your batter will be very thick, so don't worry if it's not runny!
-pile high into sprayed cupcake/muffin tins.  I stack the batter up over the top of the tins, but if you want smaller muffins, fill about 3/4 of the way full.

-place in the oven for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick to the center comes out clean.

This recipe will make 12 muffins...and guess've only used fruit to sweeten other sweeteners (well I suppose there are a FEW chocolate chips in there)!  You've got to feel good about that!  Happy eating!

If you have mini muffin tins, you could make tiny ones for the kids...they LOVE them too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Acai Berry Jam

Let's just say that jellies and jams aren't something that typically grace our home...all of that poor, over-cooked fruit that's stripped of its nutrients, then forced to be hidden behind mountains of thanks.  At times, I'd get to feeling guilty that my kids would never experience the bliss of a real PBandJ...(we typically don't eat PB either...usually go with Almond Butter or Sun Butter)...but I could never justify giving it to them...until now!  This no-cook jam is made from a potent super-food, and is super easy to make!  Thank you for this INCREDIBLE recipe!

I would HIGHLY recommend you make a double batch of this're going to LOVE the flavor, and more than that, you're going to LOVE the noticeable energy you feel after eating it!

2 T. chia seeds
½ c. apple juice (freshly juiced is best)
2 T. acai powder
2 T. agave nectar
1 T. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

-mix the chia seeds with the apple juice, and let set for 15-20 minutes, until it forms a soft gel.
-add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and let set for another 30 minutes (I actually put my in the fridge for better results)

-DONE!  Can you believe it???  Now, if you're jam hasn't set up the way you want it, try adding an extra T. of the chia seeds, mix and let set for another 20 minutes.

This kind of resembles boysenberry preserves.  It has a really nice tart taste, with just the right amount of sweetness!  If you like yours a little sweeter, add 1 more T. of agave!  Oh, and by the way...the seeds are NOTHING like blackberry or raspberry don't freak out when you look at all of them in the jam!  They add subtle texture, but don't get stuck in your teeth!  They're MUCH softer!

Here is what Julie has to say about the health aspects of this jam!  (It'll make you love it even more!):

This jam is dense with nutrition, low in sugar, full of whole superfoods, and completely unprocessed. Featuring two all-star superfoods – acai and chia – it’s a fantastic way to sneak extra antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vital micronutrients into any diet. Acai’s soft berry flavor results in a mild-tasting jam, which is as versatile as it is delicious.

(This text was taken from

Antioxidant-Rich, No Bake Brownies

This recipe I got from a site that I stumble upon...and let's just say I'm SO GLAD I did!  I've tried a total of three recipes from so far and they've all been winners in my book!  She takes healthy eating to a whole new level, and I love that!  These "brownies" are jam PACKED with antioxidants, and they literally take under 10 minutes to make...umm, yes please!

Break out your food processor, because you're going to need it!

2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. cacao powder (you're going to have to venture into a health food store to get this ingredient)
2 c. dates, pitted
a sprinkle of good sea salt

-put your walnuts into the food processor, and grind until they form a wet, crumbly powder
-add the pitted dates one by one to the running food processor and grind until no chunks are left
-add the cacao powder to the running food processor and fully combine
-you'll know when you have the right texture if you can pinch the mix between your fingers, and it sticks together...if it doesn't stay together at all and just crumbles off your fingers, the dates may have been a little too dry, so add water, a T. at a time until the mix sticks.

Press into a pan, very well...either an 8x8 or a 9x9 will just depends on how thick you want your brownies!!  Sprinkle the tiniest bit of salt on the top, just to bring out the flavor a little bit more, and you're done!

Refrigerate, and eat often...knowing that you're eating something that's amazingly healthy, that tastes amazing too!

Thanks for the recipe Julie!!

P.s.-Cacao powder is made from the cacao bean, and instead of being heated and processed, it's dried, preserving its antioxidants.  Walnuts are also extremely high in antioxidants...AND you're not using any sweeteners except dates...I don't know where you can find a healthier brownie (but let me know if you do!)

Picture Perfect Pancakes

Who doesn't LOVE a nice hot stack of pancakes, dripping with butter and syrup? I'll tell you who...they are your heart and your thighs!  Most pancakes are loaded with white flour, white sugar, and oozing with a nice melting slab of fatty butter...not these babies!  I've replaced the nutritionally void ingredients with heart-healthy (and figure healthy) ones!  Don't worry, they'll still make your mouth family ALWAYS asks me to make them whenever I come home for a visit!  You'll never crave a regular stack of hot cakes again!

2 "eggs" (egg replacer portioned for 2 eggs worth)...prepared as instructed on the box/bag
3 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. wheat germ
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 T. baking powder

Mix all these ingredients together then add:

2 c. flour (for the very BEST results, use Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Flour)  if you can't find this, feel free to use any organic whole wheat flour!

Mix until just combined...don't overdo it, or you'll lose the fluffiness!

Pour about 1/3 c. of batter onto a hot griddle or pan that has been greased with coconut oil (OR if you're using a non-stick pan, you won't have to use any non-stick agents).

When the edges start to lose their "wet look", and the center starts to bubble, slide the spatula underneath all the way around to loosen the edges, and in one, swift motion, flip!  Give it a minute or so until the other side is done.

This recipe makes around 10 pancakes!

Top with coconut oil instead of butter, and drizzle with agave nectar instead of syrup!

Your family will BEG you to make these over and over, so be prepared to memorize this recipe!  OR make a double batch and freeze some!

Try these mix-ins:

vegan chocolate chips with banana slices and chopped walnuts
vegan chocolate chips
2 T. cinnamon
or be creative!!