Cranberry and White Chocolate Valentine Cookies

I often make these chickpea cookies for the kids with mini chocolate chips. I place the extra cookies into a container and keep them in the freezer for school snacks for the week. We decided to dress these cookies for Valentine’s Day, and the vote is that these are better than the “plain” chocolate chip ones.

IMG_1151-0

Valentine Chickpea Cookies

  • 3 cups chickpeas (cook your own and freeze the rest for a later use – like another round of cookies!)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-natural nut butter (we prefer almond or peanut)
  • 1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Place chickpeas into a food processor and process until crumb-like. Add in nut butter, honey, vanilla, powder, and cinnamon and mix until it forms a sticky dough. Place into a mixing bowl and then fold in cranberries and chips. Form into 1.5-2″ balls and place onto a cookie sheet. Slightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake 10 min. Makes 15-20. 

Pizza Snack Mix – Your New Super Bowl Favorite

IMG_1113Not too long ago, Joel had spent some of his money on the pizza-flavored Goldfish crackers. These aren’t the worst snack for him to have bought, but definitely not one of my preferences. Here is the ingredient list: 

Wheat Flour Unbleached Enriched ( Flour , Niacin Vitamin B3 , Iron Reduced , Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ), Vegetables Oil ( Canola Oil , Sunflower Oil , and/or , Soybeans Oil ) , Tomatoes Paste , Salt , Contains 2% or less of the Following: ( , Dextrose , Tomatoes Powder , Cheese Cheddar ( Milk Pasteurized , Cheese Culture , Salt , Enzymes , Water , Salt ) , Yeast , Garlic Powder , Spices , Onions Powder , Leavening (Baking Soda , Monocalcium Phosphate , Ammonium Bicarbonate ) , Cheese Parmesan Enzyme Modified , Cheese Romano Enzyme Modified ( Milk , Cheese Culture , Salt , Enzymes , Calcium Chloride ) , Whey , Paprika Extractive , Color(s) , Basil , Citric Acid

The soybean and canola oil and modified ingredients are what I typically steer clear from. BUT, since Joel loved the flavor so much, how could I not set out to make my own?! So here is what the kids and I concocted this week in the kitchen with the end result leading to “2 thumbs up”. 

Pizza Snack Mix

  • 3 cups organic pretzels (I used Whole Foods brand)

  • 3 cups square cheddar crackers (I used Annie’s)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk oil, paste, garlic, oregano, and onion powder in a large mixing bowl. Add in half of the pretzels and crackers and stir for a moment or so. Add in the remaining pretzels and crackers and stir until all pieces are coated. Spread on 2 baking sheets (line with foil first and spray with oil for easy clean up) making sure they are in a single layer. Bake for 10 min. and then stir. Bake an additional 10 min. Pull out of oven and let cool for about 10 min. Serve or store in air-tight container.

Grilled Cheese Pomodora

2015/01/img_1037.jpg

 

One of my favorite parts of a day off of school is that I get to make lunch with my kids. Today’s request was grilled cheese (they love getting a WARM lunch on these days rather than lunchbox fare), but I introduced them to a sandwich that was a popular menu item at one of Melbourne’s longest-lasting downtown restaurant – Pop’s Casbah. The Kigmy Sandwich was a gooey grilled cheese with chili in it. Their chili/cheese/bread combo definitely wasn’t whole, clean, or lean, but there is always a way to make a dish healthier so I did just that. From our spaghetti dinner the other night, I had leftover meat sauce which was loaded with all kinds of goodness – sweet potatoes, squash, lentils, and ground flax. With the sauce, some cheese, and a Food for Life Sprouted Grain english muffin, I recreated the Kigmy into a nutrient-rich lunch for my crew – and they loved it! (Even Anna who is my “don’t combine my foods together” eater). You can even finish off this lunch with a twist on their famous peanut butter pie by making my Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. I don’t think you’d have room for dinner though. :)

Kigmy Sandwich

  • Food For Life English Muffin

  • 2 slices of your favorite cheese (we used Munster)

  • 1/4 cup leftover spaghetti sauce

  • Earth Balance soy-free butter spread

Heat skillet. Butter the top and bottom of the english muffin. Place a slice of cheese on one side of the English muffin. Top with spaghetti sauce and place the other slice of cheese over the sauce. Stack the other half of the english muffin on top and place on griddle. Cook over medium heat about 4-5 minutes per side or until cheese is melted and muffin is browned to your liking. Slice in half and serve. 

Chocolate Kale Chips – “A Salad For Each Week” #51

10868106_946107935400461_2145942698027770398_n

Last week on my FB page (which you can click here and ‘like’ my page for quick tips and motivation), I posted the above image. I was challenged to make a chocolate salad, therefore, after some trial and error and some research, I managed to do just that. Enjoy!

2015/01/img_1053.jpg

Chocolate Kale Chips

  • 4 cups kale, big stems removed

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 3 Tablespoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Bake at 350 for 10 min. Turn off oven and leave the chips in for another 10 min. Remove the pan from the oven, allow them to sit for 5 min. and then serve. The key to kale chips is to eat them fresh or they lose their crispiness. You can place them back in the oven for a few minutes if they are not finished right away. (This most likely won’t happen :) )

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

  37. Curried Cauliflower Sauté

  38. French Onion Green Beans

  39. Mason Jar Greek Salad

  40. Thanksgiving Salad

  41. Carrabba’s Creamy Parmesan Salad

  42. Breakfast Salad

  43. Broccoli and “Bacon” Salad

  44. Cucumber Salad

  45. Roasted Beet, Nut and Feta Salad

  46. Butternut Squash and Green Bean Succotash

  47. Grilled Smoky Spanish Salad Seared

  48. Seared Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash over Swiss Chard 

  49. Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

  50. Egg Salad

 

 

You Consume 1/4 to 1/2 Pound of Sugar a Day

The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day.

images (9)

PLEASE read this article from The New York Times about how sugar is just as addictive as cocaine and nicotine, and how the food industry is happy to have us addicted to sugar so it can continually sell us their junk.

The solution? As the article states:

“A better approach to sugar rehab is to promote the consumption of whole, natural foods. Substituting whole foods for sweet industrial concoctions may be a hard sell, but in the face of an industry that is exploiting our biological nature to keep us addicted, it may be the best solution for those who need that sugar fix.”

Egg Salad- “A Salad For Each Week” #50

Egg Salad – Lightened Up 

I love egg salad but have always gagged when it comes to mayo! So here is how I make egg salad the whole and clean way. It packs a protein punch without all those fat calories. This makes 2-3 servings depending on your appetite.

  • 2 hard boiled eggs

  • 4 hard boiled egg whites

  • 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese (I use Daisy or Friendship Brand – no weird preservatives)

  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • paprika to garnish

Chop the whole eggs and the four egg whites. In a bowl, stir together cottage cheese, mustard, garlic, and s&p. Place eggs into the bowl and fold into cottage cheese mixture.  I love to place my egg salad over mixed greens, sprinkle on paprika, and a little balsamic dressing!

dscn4012

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

  37. Curried Cauliflower Sauté

  38. French Onion Green Beans

  39. Mason Jar Greek Salad

  40. Thanksgiving Salad

  41. Carrabba’s Creamy Parmesan Salad

  42. Breakfast Salad

  43. Broccoli and “Bacon” Salad

  44. Cucumber Salad

  45. Roasted Beet, Nut and Feta Salad

  46. Butternut Squash and Green Bean Succotash

  47. Grilled Smoky Spanish Salad Seared

  48. Seared Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash over Swiss Chard 

  49. Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

 

 

My Favorite Homemade Salad Dressings

Ask my kids what my favorite food is, and you will get the unanimous answer of “Salad!” And since that is my favorite meal to eat, I am faced everyday with how to dress my salads. I try to steer clear of almost all store-bought dressings. Whether they are filled with preservatives or made with cheap oils like soybean and canola oil, it’s simply not how I want to top a bed of fresh and nutritious veggies. Sometimes I simply use a drizzle of olive oil, a vinegar, garlic powder, pepper and nutritional yeast. However, I try to always have a homemade dressing in the fridge, and here are my favorites:

Caesar

Creamy Caesar

Greek (Ina Garten’s Recipe)

Orange Vinaigrette (Giada’s Recipe which I could seriously just drink!)

Ginger

Making your own dressing sometimes seems time-consuming, but it really only takes about 5 minutes. This has been one of those changes that I dragged my feet on, but I have come to love the freshness that homemade dressings have, and I now am a salad dressing snob :)

DSC00057

Creamy Caesar

 

Southwest Wonder Soup

2015/01/img_0904.jpg

My uncle posted the other day that he made this soup called “The 7 Day Weight Loss” or “Wonder Soup”. If you Google it, you’ll find many recipes for it, but they are all basically the same. He said he didn’t care so much for the oregano so, as I read over the recipe, I decided to add some southwest flavors to replace the Italian seasonings. I also added in some kale since I had a lot on hand. I was not disappointed, and I can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow!

Southwest Wonder Soup (AKA 7 Day Weight Loss Soup)

  • ½ head of cabbage, chopped

  • 1 cup celery, diced

  • 1 cup onion, diced

  • 1 cup carrots, diced

  • 1 cup kale, chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 1 lime, squeezed

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2 cups cooked black beans

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Hot sauce, optional

Directions:
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute garlic, celery, onions, bell peppers, and carrots until slightly tender. Pour in chicken broth and lime juice. Add in coriander and cumin and stir in tomatoes and cabbage. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook until cabbage is tender. Stir in black beans, fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Serve hot with fresh cilantro and a dollop or squeeze (we fill a condiment bottle) of plain, greek yogurt.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad with Orange Vinaigrette- “A Salad For Each Week” #49

IMG_0857

I served this last night at our family’s New Year’s Day dinner. I love Giada’s orange vinaigrette dressing, and I knew it would pair perfectly with the sweet potatoes and cranberries. The dressing has more acidic flavor than oil flavor which I prefer. You can toss in nuts and/or seeds of your choice for a well-balanced combo of carbs, fats, and proteins. Salmon would also be an ideal topper for the flavors in this salad. 

Roasted Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad with Orange Vinaigrette 

  • 1 Head of romaine, chopped

  • 6 oz spinach leaves 

  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced

  • 1/2 cup celery, diced

  • 1/4 cup onion, diced

  • 1-2 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Giada’s Orange Vinaigrette 

Place cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and season with a touch of salt and pepper. Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until veggies are soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool down. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Place 3 tablespoons of the dressing into the bottom of a large serving bowl, and then add romaine and spinach and toss. Place cooled veggies, celery and cranberries over greens and drizzle with another touch of dressing.  Serves 6-8.

IMG_0859

My orange vinaigrette dressed salad on my super fancy paper plate :)

 

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

  37. Curried Cauliflower Sauté

  38. French Onion Green Beans

  39. Mason Jar Greek Salad

  40. Thanksgiving Salad

  41. Carrabba’s Creamy Parmesan Salad

  42. Breakfast Salad

  43. Broccoli and “Bacon” Salad

  44. Cucumber Salad

  45. Roasted Beet, Nut and Feta Salad

  46. Butternut Squash and Green Bean Succotash

  47. Grilled Smoky Spanish Salad Seared

  48. Seared Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash over Swiss Chard 

 

 

The Last One Standing (Flu-free)

images (2)

December 14th proved to be the beginning of my family’s battle with the flu virus. It started with my almost 8 yr old, Anna. She quickly gave it to Daddy, who then gave it to 5 yr old Joel. Aleyah and I managed to stay bug-free…until the following Sunday: exactly one week from when it started. In the middle of church, Aleyah told me she had a headache and that was that. Me, as mom, didn’t separate myself from the sickos. I was the one administering meds, holding hair while vomit came forth, and washing countless sheets/blankets/towels. Many people commented on the miracle of me staying well. There are two reasons in one why I stayed healthy: God’s goodness. God’s goodness was manifested to me in 1. His grace and 2. His created foods. I believe He extended His protective grace over me AND I believe He has given me so many wonderfully created foods to allow my body to fight off flu bugs! Below is a list of immune-boosting foods that was published in The Huffington Post thanks to Roufia Payman, the director of outpatient nutritional services at Northern Dutchess Hospital in New York.The only two items on this list that I do NOT consume on a regular basis are the noodles in the soup (but I LOVE the rest of it!) and honey (that I eat occasionally not regularly). I eat a ton of veggies throughout the day and a good bit of fruit as well. All those awesome phytonutrients created a hefty barrier to that nasty flu virus. So, here’s to all my salads and roasted veggies! I love you! And here’s to my Creator! Thank you for fearfully and wonderfully creating me!

  1. Chicken Noodle Soup

  2. Onions and Garlic

  3. Mushrooms

  4. Citrus Fruits and other high Vitamin C fruits and veggies

  5. Yogurt

  6. Vitamin D and Omega 3 supplements

  7. Hot Tea

  8. Ginger

  9. Honey

  10. Black pepper

  11. Spices

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 446 other followers