Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I never get tired of new smoothie combinations. And I never get tired of chocolate.  Or peanut butter.  For those reasons alone, I love this smoothie!  The great thing about smoothies is that the measurements do not have to be exact and substitutions can made based on personal preferences.  For example, you could replace peanut butter with sunflower seed butter (SunButter.)  Have fun with this!  Eating whole, healthy foods can be delicious!  This smoothie provides protein, calcium, probiotics, potassium, flavonoids, and a refreshing taste!   Your kids will love this one, too!

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of milk (I use raw, whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup of plain kefir or plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon natural, no sugar-added peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa (high quality)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (I use raw, local honey)
  • 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips

Blend and enjoy!!!

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Honey Almond Cookies – Gluten-Free!

These aren’t the prettiest cookies you will ever make.  They may not even be the tastiest.  I am okay with saying that.  My goal was to make cookies that were free of refined sugars, free of gluten, used coconut oil and tasted good (not “the best tasting cookie ever.”)  I have had several requests from blog followers to feature more gluten-free recipes.  However, I do not live a gluten-free lifestyle so I don’t continually pursue new gluten-free ideas which made this challenging for me.  I was turned on to almond meal a few months ago and made some delicious blueberry muffins, but it incorporated whole wheat flour so it was not a gluten-free recipe.  I thought I could use almond meal as a base and find a cookie recipe that would be easy, yummy, and gluten-free.  I stumbled across this recipe when searching for ideas to use almond meal and made some slight changes and I am quite pleased with the end result.  The cookies definitely have a different texture than I am used to — cookies made with flour.  I am so accustomed to standard flour recipes that I am learning to appreciate new textures, which almond meal definitely provides.  I do love the slight sweetness and the hint of cinnamon.  It is refreshing to eat a cookie that hasn’t had chocolate chips or raisins added (which I add compulsively.)  If you are living a completely gluten-free lifestyle, I think you will be really pleased with this cookie recipe.  Few ingredients, simple prep and healthy!  If you are NOT living a gluten-free lifestyle, these cookies will be a new experience.  Give it a shot!  You may find that you really like them!  Reducing your (modernized) gluten intake will definitely give you positive results — you may not even realize that you were suffering from too much gluten (why am I bloated, again?)   I personally have made conscious efforts to cut back and consume sprouted grains as much as possible.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt coconut oil over low heat.  While coconut oil is melting, combine and mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Once coconut oil is melted, remove from heat and add honey and vanilla.  Stir and then add to bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.  Place dough in fridge for about 1/2 hour.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees so it is ready once your cookies are prepared.  Remove from fridge and roll into 1/2 inch balls.  Place onto cookie pan and flatten.   Bake for 8-9 minutes  – until edges start to brown.  Remove from oven and cool on pan.

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Fudge

Admit it.  It’s OK.  Don’t hold back.

“I LOVE CHOCOLATE!”  Phew.  I feel better now that I got that off my chest.  How do you feel?

It is always good to just let it out.  No sense holding it in and pretending that now that we are eating whole, unprocessed, nutritious foods that we just forgot about chocolate.  I know some people like to pretend that “I just don’t like it anymore now that I am eating better” but is that really the truth or just what they want people to think?

It is NOT a character flaw to love chocolate.  It is not a weak will.  It does not show lack of self control.  It is perfectly OK to enjoy chocolate.  In moderation.  In the most healthy way possible.

I made this fudge with 3 ingredients.  That in itself is pretty great.  Dark chocolate bar. Maple syrup.  Coconut oil.

The one flaw that this healthy chocolate fudge may have is that the chocolate bar has evaporated cane juice which is closer to refined sugar than I generally like but the remaining ingredients were good – cocoa mass (73%) and cocoa butter.  Since this is for a special treat, I wasn’t overly concerned about the minimal sugar.

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One Pot Chicken Noodle Soup!

There is just something about a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold, dreary day.  I am not talking about a bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, either.  Even though I have consumed my share of the the canned soup as a child, I have decided to move on from the “easy” to the “excellent” for the health of me and my family.  Just one glance at the ingredient list on the back of the canned soup will convince you that it is time to MOVE ON. Let me just mention a few:

As much as I like to prepare excellent, nourishing food – I like it to be easy to prepare as well.  I found this recipe and loved the fact that it was crock-pot based.  I have made it in my crock-pot and I have made it in my dutch oven, depending on my schedule for the day.

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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Inexpensive, healthy, “stretchable,” dinners are what I am all about.  I was tickled to come across this recipe one day when browsing Pinterest.   I do admit, I was not a fan of stuffed peppers growing up, but have come to really like them as an adult.  My kids let out the same moan that I did when they see stuffed peppers placed on the dinner table but that is OK – they are not going to like everything I make and it is a great way to combine veggies, protein and a healthy complex carbohydrate.  I was intrigued by this idea of creating a soup that would contain all the elements of the whole stuffed pepper, especially because it seemed less labor intensive (bonus!)  The first time I made this soup, I followed the recipe very closely – just replacing the brown rice with brown basmati rice and I did not use lean ground beef, rather I used local grassfed ground beef which is higher in fat but it is a healthy fat (conventional raised cattle would not result in the same healthy fat.)  Also, I was fortunate enough to have some homemade chicken stock available rather than boxed chicken broth.  The second time I made this I made the same changes but omitted the chicken stock altogether.  This was not intentional…I didn’t even catch my mistake until looking over the recipe later that evening as I considered adding it to my blog.  It made sense though, I had thought that the soup seemed a lot thicker the second time around — more of a chili consistency.  I liked it just as much without the chicken stock (or broth) and would consider making it that way again.  However, adding chicken stock does help it to stretch further and gives it the true soup consistency.  

Ingredients: Continue reading

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Banana Maple Muffins

Three browning bananas.  Only one egg.  Out of sucanat.  Oh no.  I was planning on making my go-to banana bread tonight and realized that I am short on eggs and out of my sweetener.   Time to experiment and cross my fingers.  I found this recipe and saw that it was possible to create a baked banana bread given my circumstances.  I got excited and I got out my mixer.  I took the base recipe and tweaked it.  I used white whole wheat flour, I used an extra banana, added coconut oil, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips and made some other minor adjustments as you will see below.  I chose to make muffins as they are nice and portable for the kids lunches or to grab and go.  I was quite pleased with the end product and very pleased that I was able to use maple syrup as a sweetener!!!  I love that white sugar does not dictate whether I can bake some good ole’ muffins!

As a last second decision, I threw in a 1/4 cup of chia seeds, just to see what would happen.  I wasn’t sure if it would have negative affect on the end product but I am happy to report their addition is awesome!  You see, I have been somewhat fascinated with chia seeds of late, as a lot of people are.  I bought some a few weeks ago, not knowing exactly what to do with them.  I had read about their benefits, including the omega 3 aspect, that they help balance blood sugar, and are a great source of a complete protein.  (they also help you feel full longer and may stave off snacking…)  Until now I had just been throwing some into my yogurt and smoothies but hadn’t used them for any baked goods.

Preheat oven to 350º Continue reading

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Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Old habits die hard, right?  Well, people don’t really stop bad habits, they merely replace one habit with another — hopefully a good habit rather than bad.  If someone stops biting their nails, they start cracking their knuckles or if someone stops smoking, they may start eating more, or if someone stops cursing they may begin gnawing on their lip.  You get the picture.  Well, a bad habit of mine was baking — baking goodies with refined sugars, refined flours and vegetable oils.  My family enjoyed my habit because it resulted in goodies for them but now that I have stopped using white sugar, white flour and vegetable oils, I have drastically cut back on baking.  My family has suffered.  If you can call it that.  Maybe, in actuality they were suffering before and didn’t know it because they were not nourishing their bodies with my baked goods.   However, they still tasted good and I know my family misses the yumminess.   Over the last few months I have tried experimenting with blueberry muffins, banana bread and brownies in hopes to recreate the familiar taste with more whole ingredients.  I have had some successes and some complete failures.  Today I wanted to embark on a more wholesome chocolate chip cookie.  My previous habit was to follow the recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip package.   Therefore, I needed to replace that habit with a new one — with nutritious ingredients.  I am thoroughly intrigued with the use of honey and maple syrup as sweeteners in just about anything and also the use of the ever-awesome coconut oil in whatever I can.  It seems like every day more good news come out about the consumption of coconut oil.   I found a recipe that indeed used honey and maple syrup as sweeteners so I knew it was possible.  The cookies turned out very thin, they spread a lot — probably because of the coconut oil — but they taste really good.   My one son grabbed one off the cooling rack and took a bite and said, “yum, these are good!”  I think he was surprised because it tasted very similar to the cookies I made before my change of habits…

Ingredients Continue reading

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