My kids, on their own, created this tasty smoothie. We watch Food Network sometimes before bed to round out our day. This always inspires them to get in the kitchen. My 9 year old takes this kitchen stuff very seriously. He gets into the groove and wants to prepare food well after bedtime. Maybe that’s just a stall tactic. Anyway, it works on me. I usually tell myself “he must go to bed” or I could stay in the kitchen with him all night. I have found it to be a wonderful place to let childhood creativity and imagination run wild.
When it comes to juices and smoothies, they are actually pretty talented. We have been blending as a family long enough that they have become little “blender experts.” During the summer months we have an abundant herb garden and that’s where they find most of the accent flavors for their drinks. This particular smoothie includes the herb mint and their two basic fruits: strawberries and bananas. More often than not, they will choose these two as their base and then expand with whatever seasonal fruit we have in the fruit bowl. On their own they will not willingly choose to add vegetables, and that’s okay. When I blend a smoothie for them I add their veggies and they happily drink it, but its not a requirement when they are being creative. This is their stage, not mine. When they make a new drink they always say to me, “if this turns out good, you should put it on the blog.” So here we are. I hope you enjoy this drink that was lovingly thought up and designed by my boys. They think of you as much as I do. Happy Blending!
Summer Strawberry Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
3 fresh mint leaves
2 TBSP plain Greek yogurt
2 TBSP raw local honey
1/2 lime – juiced
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until creamy, about 1 minute.
I am sitting here with a little one under the weather. And, after feeding him bone broth rice and a smoothie, he is resting nicely. I was also thinking of napping myself since neither one of us got any sleep last night, but making this blog post won out. Yea! I love how I continually think to myself, after a restless night, that “I will definitely nap tomorrow”, and NEVER do. I always seem to have something that could be done rather than napping, and this day is no different. I can hear the rather loud hum of my spinning washing machine in the background and know it will soon begin “beeping” to let me know it’s time to put down the computer and change out the clothes. It is truly never ending when you run a loving household full of people. I honestly don’t mind, but I wanted to ensure I got this recipe to you as it has been a big request for some time. So, I am going to press on and ignore the rhythmic “beep” that is about to occur.
I have honestly tried this classic dish many different ways using several different vegetables, but this one got major approval from my family, so it is the keeper. Sometimes it takes 100 tries to finally nail something down worthy of writing about and sharing. I have looked for many years for the perfect inspiration to completely renovate one of my all-time favorites. I do have a really good recipe using butternut squash, and will share that one with you sometime around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Those are the times I usually make that particular dish as the gourd squashes are in season. But, for now we are going to use cauliflower as the base for this decadent rendition. I wanted this make-over to be much more than the standard macaroni and cheese. I wanted more than two ingredients. I wanted protein and spices and vegetables. I have managed (after many failed attempts) to pack all of those requirements into this super healthy, super tasty dish. We, often times, eat it for lunch with a side salad or fruit. My 3 year old usually eats 2 bowls and if I must confess, so do I. If you are worried about the cauliflower taste, don’t be. You really wouldn’t even know it was there if I didn’t tell you.
The health benefits of cauliflower are great, and I am certain you are aware of most of them by now. So, I want to introduce you to a somewhat unfamiliar ingredient called nutritional yeast. “What is it” you ask? It is deactivated yeast. A more formal definition from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen is “nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses, and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to “kill it” or deactivate it”. It is a good source of vitamin B 12, folic acid and protein, and has a bold nutty flavor. Many vegans use it as a cheese substitute. It is a nice addition to this recipe as it increases the nutritional value while enhancing the bold flavor I was looking for. Win Win! I truly hope this becomes a future classic for your family. Enjoy!
Healthy Mac N’ Cheese
1 16oz package brown rice noodles
1 small head of cauliflower – steamed
1 cup raw cashews – soaked overnight, if possible
5 TBSP warm water
2 medium cloves garlic
1 cup goat gouda cheese – shredded
1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 cup almond milk
Cook noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes, don’t overcook. To a blender add the remaining ingredients and blend until creamy. Drain the noodles and add the cream sauce. Stir until well combined.
This can be a touchy subject. I am a Southern girl and hospitality is high on my list. I would never want to offend or invoke feelings of discomfort to those I invite into my home. But, when I can, I educate our house guests as to why I am politely asking them to remove their shoes at the door. I have not always felt this way, but after many hours of research, I concluded that wearing shoes in the house is extremely bad for your health. I have narrowed my research down to what I feel are 5 good reasons to promote dropping your shoes at the door.
1. Bacteria on the bottoms of shoes– A large portion of the bacteria found on your shoes is from stepping on fecal matter. It originates from public restroom floors or contact with animal fecal material from being outdoors. The most common occurrence from this type of bacteria is E. coli bacteria which can cause sickness including diarrhea and other illnesses according to the CDC. This can be especially problematic for those who have young children that crawl and play along the floors. This bacteria can be easily transmitted to tile and carpet. Cleaning your floors and vacuuming your carpet will greatly cut down on the amount of bacteria in your home.
2. Toxinson shoes – Shoes pick up all kinds of toxins in the course of a day. Anywhere you walk, you are likely grabbing a toxin. From the dry cleaners to the gas station, and everywhere in between, there are toxins. Environmental pollution from spilled gasoline at the pump to walking through grass that has recently been sprayed. All of it then comes right into your home. This is probably the most important reason I initially began removing my shoes at the door. These pollutants are extremely harmful to our systems and can potentially cause serious side effects.
3. Dirty – I have two young boys. Dirt is a constant. If they wore their shoes in the house, I would be cleaning the floors all day long! I believe this one is pretty self-explanatory. No shoes=no dirt.
4. General Health – I am a firm believer in the notion that not wearing shoes in the house makes for overall healthier people. Given that we have discussed the fact that large amounts of bacteria and toxins travel on shoes, it makes sense to me that a home without shoes is healthier than a home with shoes. I believe the instances of allergic reactions and respiratory issues as well as general sickness is much lower.
5. Comfort – Whether you work outside the home or are a stay-home mommy, when you finish your workday, the first thing you want to do is take off your shoes and relax. Make your home a haven of comfort. Put a few pairs of comfy slippers by the door that you can slip into as soon as you walk inside. You may even want to offer a pair to your guests if you feel they are uncomfortable removing their shoes. Remember, hospitality for guests is still crucial.
Now for the good stuff. One of the very first books I bought when I decided to follow a clean eating lifestyle was Sophie Uliano’sThe Gorgeously Green Diet – How to Live Lean and Green. I have prepared countless numbers of her recipes and they are all fabulous. Her website www.SophieUliano.com is full of helpful ideas and perfect ways to eat and live a gorgeously green lifestyle. She posted this Lemon Chia Seed muffin recipe on twitter last summer and my family fell in love with them. I made a batch this week and she kindly gave me permission to share the recipe with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
2 cups sprouted spelt flour (just use Spelt if you can’t find the sprouted version)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1/2 cup rice milk (I used almond milk)
2 TBSP chia seeds
Makes 6-8 medium muffins. Preheat oven to 350. Beat the sugar and oil in the food processor until creamy. While the processor is still running, slowly add the eggs. Finally, add the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and milk. Process well. Finally add the chia seeds and pulse just to mix them in. Line a muffin tin with liners and fill each liner with the batter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve immediately, or gently warm again before serving.
I recently posted a list on Facebook of foods you should NEVER feed your kids. Pop-Tarts made the cut. It’s unfortunate, but they are loaded with junk. And when I say junk I am referring to the high amounts of sugar (corn sugar and high fructose corn syrup), preservatives, and highly processed oils. None of these ingredients fuel your body or your brain. When I am thinking of breakfast or snack options for my children, these two issues are always at the forefront of my decisions. Will this food strengthen their body and their brain? If not, then we try to skip it. That’s not to say that we don’t sometimes have things that may not fit into these two questions, but my goal is to be around 85-90%. That leaves us with enough room for birthdays, celebrations or the occasional special treat. I have been working on these pastries for quite a while. When I posted a picture of them on social media a few weeks ago I got several requests for the recipe. I needed to make a few adjustments before I was ready to share it and, of course, test them on my children. They loved them. I tried them with several different fillings and they were all yummy. So, I am going to share the basic recipes and you can substitute any fruit you desire. If you were like me and enjoyed countless pop-tarts as a child, these are going to quickly bring back the nostalgia of childhood. They don’t taste exactly the same, but I wasn’t going for that highly processed taste. Just the opposite, in fact. These are hearty, flavorful and flaky. I hope you enjoy this makeover.
Healthy Tart Pastries
For the pastries:
3 cups whole spelt flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp coconut oil – still solid
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2-1 cup almond milk
For the filling:
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit of your choice
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp raw local honey
1 tbsp chia seeds
For the topping:
1 tbsp raw local honey
1 tbsp grassfed butter
Preheat oven to 400. In a small saucepan add the ingredients for the filling with the exception of the chia seeds. Bring to a boil. Turn temperature to medium and let the fruit continue to slowly boil about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add the chia seeds. Place the fruit into the freezer while you are preparing the pastry dough. This allows the fruit to set. Add all the dry ingredients for the pastries into a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil and work the oil into the flour mixture. Add the olive oil and continue to combine. Add the almond milk beginning with 1/2 cup and work the mixture until it begins to become a dough. Add the remainder of the milk if you need it. Knead the dough a few times, but be sure not to overwork it. Roll the dough out onto a large piece of wax paper. With a rolling pin roll the dough out very thin. With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into equal sized squares. Add a few spoonful’s of the fruit compote to half of the dough squares. Place the remaining half of dough squares atop the compote. With a small bowl of water, dip a fork into the water and make indentions all the way around the pastry until it is closed up. Place all the pastries onto a baking sheet and bake them for 20-25 minutes. In a small saucepan melt the honey and butter. When the pastries are done, rub them with the honey/butter mixture.
With the holidays behind us and routines back in full swing, I am always open to anything labeled “simple.” Our morning routine is pretty basic. We all stumble to find the motivation needed to get moving and one-by-one end up in the kitchen. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and is the perfect meal to encourage healthy eating habits with your entire family. But, it also happens to be the meal when most families are the busiest and saving a few extra minutes can be the difference between being late or on-time for school or work.
Oatmeal is always a sure thing for my family, so this easy and nutritious recipe is a staple. I have posted several other oatmeal recipes which further proves our love of this healthy grain, but this one takes the least amount of time. Prepare this healthy dish the night before, stick it in the fridge and don’t think about it again until morning. It’s that simple. Now enjoy a hot cup of tea and begin pondering what’s for dinner, at least that’s what I do every morning. I hope you enjoy!
Simple Overnight Oats
1/2 cup whole grain oats – not instant
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 TBSP pure maple syrup
1/3 cup fresh or frozen berries
1/2 cup almond milk plus a bit more to stir in the morning
In a bowl or glass jar combine the oats and chia seeds. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add a bit of almond milk and stir. This recipe is for one serving. Duplicate it for the amount of people you need to feed.
Here are a few more simple oatmeal recipes for you to try:
I have missed posting on the blog over the past month. The reason for my absence is founded on the fact that we have been in the process of building a new house for close to a year. And, for the past 4+ months we have been living with family or at the beach. So for the last month I have been focused on getting my oldest son acclimated to a new school, chasing around my 3 year old and choosing all kinds of “stuff” that goes along with a new house. We are still several weeks from move-in, but last week when my youngest came up with this yummy recipe, I decided it was time to share it with all of you. So here goes…..
This time of year always makes me smile as I love the cooler weather and the abundance of gourd vegetables. My memory of pumpkin is in the scrumptious pies you see adorning every family’s Thanksgiving table. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a delicious pumpkin pie, but there are definitely many other ways to incorporate this highly nutritional and very functional food. So last week when I was scooping the flesh out of our roasted pumpkin to make bread, my son asked to eat the remainder of the pumpkin and requested I add peanut butter to it. To my surprise, this was a very tasty lunch. I have since added a few more things to the recipe to further enhance the flavors, but all the credit goes to him for the original idea. I recommend preparing it for lunch alongside steamed broccoli or as a side dish to accompany a dinner meal. I hope your family enjoys this simple, yet satisfying recipe.
Roasted Pumpkin with Peanut Butter
1 medium pie pumpkin – cut in half and de-seeded
2 TBSP peanut butter – no added sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of celtic sea salt
drizzle of raw local honey (optional)
Preheat oven to 400. Roast the pumpkin flesh side down in a baking dish with approximately 1 inch of water for 45 minutes or until a fork easily slides into the skin. In a medium bowl, scoop all the flesh from the roasted pumpkin. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. If your house is nut-free, feel free to substitute a “butter” that works for your family.