Salsa Guacamole

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This is the easiest guacamole you will ever make – just two ingredients plus a squeeze of fresh lime.

I was in the mood for guacamole this weekend but didn’t have a lot of time to chop a bunch of ingredients, so I dumped some salsa onto chopped avocado and the rest is history.  Couldn’t be easier and definitely was a crowd pleaser throughout the weekend (I made it a couple times).

Salsa Guacamole 2


Tomatoes and avocados are both commonly believed to be vegetables but are actually part of the fruit family.  More importantly, they both contain loads of nutritional goodies to keep you healthy!

Health Benefits of Avocado: The amazingly creamy avocado contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and nutrients that actually REDUCE your cholesterol levels, promote healthy vision and potentially protect against cancer.  They contain folate, vitamins E, C, and B6.  Plus, they are high in dietary fiber – great for overall heart health and digestion.  And, avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas!

Tomatoes are an excellent source of immune boosting and disease fighting vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A. They also contain a high amount of the antioxidant lycopene, a pigment that gives tomatoes their red color.  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, several studies suggest that consumption of lycopene-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And, according to the National Cancer Institute, population studies show that people who eat large amounts of foods with lycopene have a reduced risk of prostate, lung, and colon cancer.  Since the body cannot produce lycopene, we must consume it in foods like tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit – tomatoes have the most out of all three.

With all the health benefits between these two fruits you really can’t go wrong.  Enjoy!


  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the avocados length-wise and remove pit.  Using a spoon take out the flesh of the avocado and chop roughly into small cubes. Place in small mixing bowl.
  2. Using a fork, mix in the salsa and lime juice.  Taste and add more salsa if desired.
  3. Continue smashing the guacamole with your fork while adding salt and pepper to taste.
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Almond Butter Bonbons (vegan + gluten-free)

This vegan version of bonbons is not only healthy but happens to be gluten-free and full of protein.  You can have fun with this no-bake recipe and experiment with different nut butters like peanut butter or cashew butter (or even sunflower seed butter for those who have a nut allergy).


If you do use almond butter, you can feel good about the fact that almonds offer protein, high dietary fiber, are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E and provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that won’t raise your cholesterol like traditional bonbons would.  Combined with the almond meal, you get a one-two punch from the natural sweetness of almonds.  The sweetness is then enhanced with a bit of organic, grade B pure maple syrup which is a wonderfully healthy liquid sweetener that is rich in minerals like zinc (supports immunity and heart) and manganese (builds strong bones, keeps blood healthy and supports antioxidant work).  Grade B means the syrup was harvested later in the season and tends to be thicker.  It is important to buy 100% organic and pure maple syrup as opposed to artificially flavored syrups with little to no maple content.  These little treats contain a bit of crunch from rice crisp cereal making it perfectly delectable and satisfying.

Bonbons 2

These lightened-up bonbons should make for an elegant, easy and healthy treat! Happy 2014!

Makes 25 balls



  1. In a mixing bowl combine almond butter, almond meal, rice crisps, maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt.  The result should be thick (if not, try adding more almond meal)
  2. Using the palms of your hands, gently roll about 1 tablespoon at a time into tiny balls.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate and canola oil over the stove or in your microwave. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Using two forks, coat the balls in the melted chocolate and place back on the baking sheet.  Let the chocolate set in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Optional: drizzle extra chocolate with a fork over the balls and place back in the freezer for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Store in airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Bonbons 3

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Detox Quinoa Spinach Salad (gluten-free + vegan)

This quinoa salad has it all!  Recently, I’ve been bored with healthy lunchtime options and wanted to create an exciting dish that provides a healthy source of lasting energy for lunch on-the-go.  This recipe features my all time favorite grain: quinoa (gluten-free and a complete protein).  It gets healthy fat from both avocado and walnuts – yum.  Spinach and sweet potatoes make a great combination as the vitamin C in sweet potatoes enhances the absorption of the iron in spinach.  And we bring it altogether with a sensational dressing that is bursting with flavor! Bam!

DetoxMake this once and enjoy throughout the week (for lunch, snacks or even an easy dinner).  It is much less expensive than quinoa salads sold at specialty stores.  Have fun and experiment with YOUR favorite ingredients and flavors.

allergy information: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, coconut-free, peanut-free

Serves 8


  • 2 cups dry quinoa cooked in 4 cups water (cool to room temperature)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced and roasted in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with evoo, salt and pepper (cool to room temperature)
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins or diced apple
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 medium sized shallot
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar light
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)


  1. Prepare quinoa and sweet potato ahead of time and let cool to room temperature
  2. Put dressing ingredients into mini food processor and pulse until smooth, set aside
  3. Combine quinoa, sweet potato, spinach, avocado, walnuts, shallots and raisins/apples into large mixing bowl
  4. Pour 1/4 cup dressing into bowl and stir.  Taste and add more dressing as needed
  5. Garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve at room temperature
  6. Store in an airtight glass container in refrigerator for up to 3 days

Detox Quinoa Salad 2

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is perfect for holiday dinners.  It is simple, classic and oh so healthy! Sweet potatoes are such a wonderful vegetable.  They provide a good source of dietary fiber and are high in vitamins A and C. Plus, they are a good source of potassium.

Make sure you select sweet potatoes with smooth skin (avoid cracks, blemishes and soft spots).  You can store your sweet potatoes in a cool and dark place for up to 5 weeks.

Serves 6



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place sweet potatoes on baking sheet sprayed with olive oil.  Bake for 60 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Cut in half lengthwise and allow to cool.
  2. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides removing the flesh from the skin
  3. Place sweet potatoes in food processor and combine with remaining ingredients until smooth
  4. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients until desired flavor is reached
  5. Before serving, place in oven-safe dish and heat in oven for 10-15 minutes
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Healthy Quesadilla

Forget Taco Bell!  This homemade and very healthy quesadilla is perfect for a Mexican food fix.  It is super-easy to make and a real crowd pleaser.  Plus, it is filling with the addition of ground lean turkey meat.  A full meal!

Quesedilla 3

Serves 2


  • 1/3 pound ground turkey meat (lean)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tortillas (I like Trader Joe’s brown rice tortillas which are gluten-free)
  • 1/3 cup black bean dip (I like this spicy black bean dip)
  • 1/3 cup salsa (I like Trader Joe’s roasted garlic salsa)
  • sprinkle of mexican-blend shredded cheese (optional)
  • 1 avocado
  • fresh cilantro

Quesadilla 1


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium pan, saute turkey in oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic on medium heat.  Stir occasionally and break up the meat using a wooden spoon.
  3. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil.  Place 1 tortilla down and spread the black bean dip in a thin layer covering the entire tortilla.
  4. Once meat is cooked (about 10-15 minutes), place on top of the black bean dip.  Layer on the salsa and cheese.  Place other tortilla on top and press down
  5. Place baking sheet in oven for 5-10 minutes until tortilla is golden and slightly crispy.
  6. Cut into eighths and serve with cilantro and avocado on top for garnish.

Quesedilla 2

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Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

This vegan spin on creamy tomato-basil soup is much healthier than what you might find at a restaurant.  Cosi’s tomato-basil side soup contains 20 grams of fat (12 grams of saturated fat) and is loaded with sodium.  Keep it light with this easy, homemade version.

Vegan Creamy Tomato SoupTomatoes are a low calorie vegetable full of vitamins A and C and are a good source of potassium.  Tomatoes also contain lycopene which is an antioxidant that may prevent many cancers, especially prostate cancer.  New research shows that it may protect your skin from sunburn (this is known as photoprotection).


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves


  1. In a large pot, saute oil, onion, salt and pepper for 5 minutes on medium heat (uncovered)
  2. Add the can of tomatoes and almond milk and simmer on low heat (covered) for another 5 minutes
  3. Add fresh basil
  4. Puree using a hand blender

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup



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Super Simple Carrot Soup

Carrot SoupGluten-free and EASY to make.

This deliciously sweet, creamy and savory soup will keep you warm as the weather continues to cool.  Its vibrant orange color means it is full of the powerful antioxidant, vitamin A.  With one bowl you are helping to reduce your risk of cancer, slow aging and reduce some diabetes-related symptoms.  You are also keeping your eyes and skin healthy and protecting yourself against infections.

Serves 6-8


    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 white onion, chopped
    • 1 bag of baby carrots
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional for added creaminess and sweetness)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Try spicing it up with 1 tsp turmeric, curry powder or ginger powder
  • Add ½ cup white beans or potatoes for a thicker and more filling soup (if so, add an additional 1 cup broth)


  1. In large pot, saute onion and carrots in oil on medium heat
  2. Season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
  3. Add broth and almond milk and bring to boil
  4. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes (until carrots are tender and you can stick a fork easily through them)
  5. Turn off burner and stir in garlic and parsley
  6. Let soup cool then transfer to blender or food processor
  7. Puree (add additional broth if it is too thick)
  8. Store for later or reheat on stove and serve

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Chilled Berry Pie (No Bake & Gluten-Free)

healthy berry pieSummer is officially coming to an end in the next couple of days and the days are starting to get cooler.  Before the season officially ends, try this incredibly refreshing no-bake, healthy berry pie recipe.  It is easy as pie to make!

This recipe comes from a registered and licensed dietitian, Sarah Waybright, owner and founder of

Most summer pies require baking in a hot oven – not this one! Using gelatin to bind the filling means that this summer treat can chill in the refrigerator until it’s time for dessert. The unique crust is also no-bake, and loaded with protein and fiber for a satisfying finish.


  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1⁄2 pint raspberries (or additional blueberries if preferred)
  • 16 dates, pittedChilled berry pie
  • 1.5 c slivered almonds
  • 1 c coconut water (regular water also works)
  • 2 packets plain Knox gelatin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 packet stevia, sugar or several stevia leaves


Pulse dates and almonds in a blender until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Press into a springform or cake pan. In the microwave, heat coconut water and vanilla until steaming (about 90 seconds). Add gelatin, stirring to dissolve, and pour into blender. Add 1/3 of the blueberries,* and stevia and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle remaining berries onto the crust, pour on blender mixture, and chill in the fridge for 1.5-2 hours, or until firm.

* alternatively, puree all berries in the blender – best for frozen berries

I personally tasted this recipe during one of Sarah’s healthy dinner parties (and it was beyond!).  Find out how to host a healthy dinner party with Sarah. 

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Kale “Pesto”

Kale Pesto 2This kale pesto is an easy and delicious way to sneak in a super veggie.  With loads of powerful antioxidants, kale provides a nutrition boost that surpasses other leafy greens.  Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K  and a good source of fiber and iron.  It is also a great source for calcium, lutein and zeaxanthin (lutein and zeazanthin are antioxidants thought to be crucial for healthy vision as we age).

This recipe is raw, gluten-free and vegan.  If you use pumpkin seeds it is also nut free.

At my local Harris Teeter, they wash, stem and package the kale up for you so all you have to do is figure out how to prepare it.

All you need for this recipe is a mini food processor.  Double or triple the recipe and save in an airtight container in your fridge for other meals.  This kale pesto can be used as a sauce on most main courses (chicken, shrimp etc.).  Also works well with brown rice or quinoa.


  • 2 cups kale (washed, with core removed)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or more to thin out the pesto)
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or walnuts
  • 10 fresh basil leavesKale Pesto 1
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a mini food processor (or blender) combine all ingredients until smooth
  2. Add additional olive oil to thin out the pesto to your desired consistency
  3. Serve by mixing with whole grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa (this is the brown rice pasta I used in the picture)

Note: If you are using kale that is not packaged, be sure to wash and remove the curly leaves of kale from their stem.  If you don’t know how, watch this short video.

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Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocado PUddingThis is a raw, vegan, gluten-free alternative to chocolate pudding. The avocado has no taste but adds a creamy texture.  Super easy and quick to make when you have an urgent chocolate craving but want to keep it healthy (and avoid the whole milk, eggs, butter). The result is rich, thick, decadent and sweet!

Health Benefits of Avocado: The amazingly creamy avocado contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and nutrients that actually REDUCE your cholesterol levels, promote healthy vision and potentially protect against cancer.  They contain folate, vitamins E, C, and B6.  Plus, they are high in dietary fiber – great for overall heart health and digestion.  And, avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas!

Serves 2-4 (depending on how much of a chocoholic you are)



  1. Place all six ingredients in mini food processor or blender and mix until smooth
  2. Serve chilled and garnish with mini vegan chocolate chips (try dipping strawberries, bananas or apples in this pudding)



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Gluten-Free Cookies with Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter (Vegan)

Cookie 1Gluten free cookies can often times be boring, dry, chewy or just the wrong texture… I have been working on perfecting this recipe for some time now and it is finally ready for you!  My husband (who does not keep a gluten-free or vegan diet) is obsessed with these and typically eats half the batch within an hour.  They are super moist and packed full of healthful ingredients.

Makes 10-12 cookies



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients
  3. Stir in wet ingredients with a spoon, continue stirring until all ingredients are evenly distributed
  4. Spray baking sheet with canola oil and divide batter into 10-12 cookies
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes
  6. Let cool on wire rack
  7. Enjoy immediately
  8. Best to store leftovers in the refrigerator
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Treasure Hunt Brown Rice

Healthy Brown Rice RecipeAdding some fun and unique ingredients to brown rice takes it from ho-hum to WOW!  Try adding these delicious (and nutritious) food “treasures” including pine nuts, golden raisins and chunks of both champagne mango and avocado to make this dish a real crowd pleaser.  Also works well with chunks of nectarine or peach (perfect for summertime).

Brown rice is so good for you offering up heart-healthy fiber and nutrients that benefit your entire body!  It is a great way to achieve the USDA recommendation to make at least half of all the grains you eat whole grains.

Health Fact: Brown rice contains more magnesium, selenium and fiber than enriched white rice.

Servings: approximately 2


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I use frozen brown rice from Trader Joes)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp agave nectar light
  • ½ medium sized avocado, chunked
  • ½ champagne mango, chunked
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



  • Place freshly prepared brown rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Quick tip: I use Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice and microwave one packet on high for 3 minutes.  IT tastes fantastic and you wouldn’t know it is frozen.
  • Mix in the ingredients and serve warm or at room temperature


Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain, which means it contains all three parts of the grain: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.  In contrast, refined grains are milled to improve the shelf life and only contain the endosperm leaving out the bran and the germ.  This removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.  Brown rice contains the germ and the bran, which helps keep your body healthy, your skin glowing and your hair shiny.    Even more, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “including whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease, lower body weight and reduce incidence of diabetes.”

A half-cup of brown rice equals one whole-grain serving.

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Ayurvedic Cauliflower “Rice”

Guest Blog Post:Ayurvedic Cauliflower “Rice” The below post is from my friend, Melissa Biber.

While I have always been interested in Ayurvedic Medicine, it was not until this past Spring when I spent time at an Ashram becoming certified in Ayurvedic nutrition that I began to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into my daily life. The term Ayurveda derives from the Sanskrit words “ayus,” which means life, and “veda” which can translate to knowledge or science. Thus, Ayurveda literally translates to “Knowledge or Science of Life.”

While Ayurvedic principles span across all aspects of life, I am particularly intrigued by its’ nutritional guidelines. According to Ayurveda, each person in the universe has a unique biological energy, referred to as a “dosha” which governs all of ones’ physical and mental processes. When ones’ doshas are aligned, they are said to be in a state of true health, both physical and emotional. If ones’doshas are misaligned, they are said to be in a state of disease, or “lacking of ease.” Depending upon your dosha, there are specific foods and spices that are known to provide balance/alignment, whereby supporting a state of true health.

While I encourage everyone to explore further into learning about their personal dosha, the below recipe is one that is doshic balancing for all. All of the ingredients and spices are known to provide balance no matter what ones’ doshic constitution may be. I hope you all enjoy the below recipe as much as I do, and I encourage you to explore and experiment with other spices that may be best suited for your personal dosha as well!

Om shanti,


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower or safflower oil (I prefer safflower oil as it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids and retains its molecular composure in high heat)
  • 2-3 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida* (optional; best for vata dosha)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional; best for vata dosha)

*Note: Asafetida is also (and perhaps more commonly) known as hing, and is used in primarily in Indian dishes.  It is said to aid digestion, stagnation in the GI tract, and aid with intestinal colic as well as improve stagnation. Little random fact, it was used to fight flu in WW2 given its’ natural anti-viral properties


  1. Wash, remove core and leaves, trim, and coarsely chop the cauliflower
    • Note: If there are any brown/black spots, please remove with a paring knife
  2. There are 2 options for creating the “rice”
    • Food Processor: If you have a food processor or blender, place the chopped up cauliflower and pulse until the cauliflower has a rice-like consistency
    • Hand Grater: If you’re old fashioned (like me), take the cauliflower and grate it against the largest grater setting you have
    • ** It is very important to not process the cauliflower too much! If you are unsure, it is better to be cautious and keep the “rice” larger
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat
  4. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, after a minute or so, add all of the other spices, lowering the heat if necessary to ensure that the spices/oil are not burning
  5. Once the spices and oil have “married,” add in the cauliflower
  6. Cook approximately 6-8 minutes until the cauliflower is of desired consistency
    • Note if you add a touch of water, you will make more of a softer/comfort food type consistency, or, if preferred, leave on a bit longer for more of a “fried rice” dish
  7. Serve over salad or as a side dish to tofu, seitan, tempeh, or chicken if you’re a carnivore!

Chef’s Note

The principles of Ayurvedic nutrition are not only centered on the foods we ingest, but focus heavily on the preparation and consumption as well. So take some time out from the day, prepare your food, turn on some good music and try to remain present throughout the process.

Click here to learn more about Ayurvedic nutrition.


Melissa completed her studies in Ayurvedic Nutrition at The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, and is also a certified Pilates instructor. She currently works full time as a healthcare consultant and part time as a Pilates instructor at Epic Yoga. She earned her MHA from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis. While she is continually refining her passion by learning from the experiences of each day, she hopes to pursue opportunities that integrate both traditional and holistic medicine.

Thanks, Mel!

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Baked Chicken Meatballs (Sweet and Healthy)

Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-freeChicken Meatballs

I have never been so excited about a meatball recipe! These meatballs are incredibly moist and flavorful! They are actually kind of addictive. The honey/mustard/garlic combo is so delicious. And the oats are a healthy substitute for breadcrumbs and help hold in the moisture. Plus, I find covering the baking dish while in the oven helps lock in the moisture.

You can feel good about this meatball dish knowing you are using lean poultry and whole grains.

Makes about 24 meatballs


  • 16 oz. lean ground chicken meat
  • ½ cup gluten-free old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tbsp. chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Grease 2 large glass dishes with extra virgin olive oil spray
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  4. Roll into small, round balls (about 2 inches in diameter)
  5. Drizzle a small amount of additional olive oil on top of balls
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven for 20 minutes
  7. Check for doneness by cutting one meatball in half with a knife

I served the meatballs on top of a simple pasta dish of brown rice penne, olive oil, basil and fresh grape tomatoes. They can also be enjoyed alone as a protein-rich snack.

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Shaved Brussel Sprouts

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Brussels SproutsMy mom’s favorite vegetable is brussels sprouts, but I have honestly never been a huge fan.  I find they can be bitter or sometimes just plain boring.  And, when they are tasty, they are usually covered in unhealthy sauces or loaded with butter.  So, as I was preparing my mom’s birthday dinner, I wanted to prepare a brussels sprout dish that would be a real crowd pleaser and healthy.

This recipe uses shaved instead of whole brussels sprouts, which I find completely changes the experience.  It is easier to eat (and cook) and ends up getting covered more in flavor.  I bought a bag of shaved brussels sprouts at Trader Joes, but you can also just pulse the brussels sprouts in a food processor for the same result.  I also added a touch of honey to balance out the bitter taste that I sometimes find they can have.  At the birthday dinner this dish was actually a real hit!  Everyone wanted to know the recipe and I revealed my secret ingredient…


  • 3 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (1 full bag of Trader Joe’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts)
  • ½ red onion or shallot, diced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp  sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tbsp. honey or agave nectar light (my “secret” ingredient)


  1. Heat oil in large sauté pan to medium heat and add onions, brussel sprouts, salt and pepper
  2. After stirring for 2-3 minutes, add chicken broth, garlic and honey and stir on low heat for another couple of minutes (taste along the way to get the right amount of crunch from your sprouts – some like brussels sprouts crunchy but some prefer them to be more wilted)

Adding walnuts is another fun way to liven up this dish.  Just add at the end with the honey.

Health Benefits

1 cup of the shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s is only 35 calories and offers up fiber, folate, iron and calcium.  Plus, just one serving contains 120% of your vitamin C.

Did You Know?

Brussels sprouts are part of the baby cabbage family and are in season 365 days of the year!

Storage Tip

You can refrigerate brussels sprouts in a plastic bag up to one week.  Buy on the stalk whenever possible.


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Chocolate Nut-Granola Bark

Chocolate Granola-Nut BarkHeart healthy nuts, oats and dark chocolate all combine to make this addictive and super simple dessert!

Vegan, gluten-free



  1. Put chocolate in microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes
  2. Stir in nuts and ¼ cup granola
  3. Spread a thin layer on a baking sheet or large plate lined with parchment paper
  4. Sprinkle the top with 2 tbsp granola
  5. Let cool and harden in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours
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Purple Cabbage Salad with Walnuts and Granny Smith Apple

Red Cabbage Salad 3It is important to incorporate vegetables of every color into your diet.  Purple cabbage has so many wonderful health benefits – it is low in calories (22 per serving) and full of heart healthy fiber and vitamin C.  In fact, just one serving contains more than half of your daily intake for vitamin C.  According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, purple colored vegetables, like purple cabbage, can help you to beat the effects of aging.  They provide powerful antioxidants and may help with memory and urinary tract health.  Plus, purple vegetables may reduce cancer risks.

This vibrant vegetable is great sautéed or served raw (thinly sliced or in this case, finely chopped).  I prefer the raw, finely chopped method as it is much easier to consume and really changes the texture of this fiberous vegetable.  It still stays crunchy but it is much easier to spoon into your mouth.

Pair with tart apple, savory walnuts and this sweet and pungent dressing for a great spin on the typical lettuce-based salad.

IngredientsRed Cabbage Slaw


  • ½ head purple cabbage
  • ½ granny smith apple
  • ½ red onion
  • ¼ cup raw walnut pieces


  • 1/4 cup shallot, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  1. Pulse the cabbage, apple and onion in a food processor (about 5 pulses)
  2. Empty into large mixing bowl
  3. Add all dressing ingredients into mini-food processor and blend until smooth
  4. Pour dressing into large mixing bowl and stir
  5. Stir in walnuts and serve cold
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Easy Chicken, Brown Rice & Veggie Soup

Chicken SoupNothing warms the heart and heals the soul better than homemade soup. It also happens to be a great way to use up leftover ingredients in your fridge. This recipe uses cooked chicken breast, cooked brown rice and almost all the veggies that were in my fridge. Really, this recipe can use any of your favorite veggies – bell peppers, peas, zucchini, spring onions, lima beans etc.  It is a perfect way to put those veggies that may be nearing their sell-by date to good use.

The fresh lemon adds a burst of brightness and clean zing (plus a kick of vitamin C). Enjoy!

Serves: 8-10


  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup fennel, diced
  • ½ cup white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup shallot, diced
  • 1 cups carrot, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1-2 cooked chicken breasts, chunked into small cubes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring broth to boil and add all ingredients
  2. Cook for 20-30 minutes (or until carrots are tender)
  3. Remove bay leaf and serve
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Tropical Green Smoothie

Raw green smoothies are great for absorbing key ingredients from plant foods such as iron and calcium which are not highly absorbed by the body when the greens are cooked.

Raw, green smoothies are great for absorbing key ingredients from plant foods such as iron and calcium which are not highly absorbed by the body when the greens are cooked.  For example, spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these important minerals.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spinach should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods to improve iron absorption.  This recipe pairs raw spinach with fruits high in vitamin C (kiwi and mango) to help with the absorption process.


Color: I wanted to create something that looked good since we eat with our eyes first.  Most green smoothies end up brownish so I selected mostly green ingredients for a bright green, vibrant smoothie.


Flavor: The frozen mango overpowers the flavor of the spinach so you won’t taste any gritty spinach.  Plus, the tartness of the granny smith apple and kiwi and sweetness of the honeydew make it extra delicious.


Taste Test: I tried this one out on my husband and he was so surprised at how much he loved it.  He wanted more after he downed his first glass… A great way to sneak raw spinach into your diet!  Great in the morning for breakfast or as a post-workout/mid-day snack.


Health Benefits: Spinach has a high nutritional value and luckily fresh spinach is available all year. Not only is spinach low in calories, it is also a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamin A (which keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections) as well as vitamin C (which helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy).


Serves: 2


  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup fresh honeydew melon
  • ½ granny smith apple
  • 2-3 cups of organic spinach
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  1. Add ingredients to blender in the order listed above
  2. Puree in blender until fully incorporated (add ice if desired).
  3. To make it thicker, add more frozen mango (or to thin it out add more almond milk or even water)
  4. Enjoy immediately


Health Benefits of Spinach – More Details
One serving of raw spinach (1/2 cup) has only 5 calories and contains calcium and iron plus 60% of your daily vitamin A and 15% of your daily vitamin C.  This recipe has 4-6 times the amount of raw spinach in one serving (depending on how much spinach you use and how many servings you consume).


Spinach Storage Tip
Fresh spinach should be dried and packed loosely in a cellophane or plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. If stored properly, it should last 3 or 4 days.
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No-Bake, Chia-Sunflower Seed Energy Bites

No-bake, chia and sunflower seed energy bites.

This is the perfect healthy snack!

These energy bites feature the amazing chia seed which offers more heart-healthy omega-3s than flax seeds.  Plus, chia seeds contain calcium, magnesium, iron, protein and antioxidants.

The energy bites are also loaded with sunflower seed butter – high in the antioxidant vitamin E which may lower the risk of certain diseases.  Sunflower seeds also offer heart-healthy fats, protein, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

So, pop this portable snack anytime of day for a perfect boost of protein, healthy fats and whole grains.

Bonus: Gluten-free, nut-free and vegan!

Servings: makes about 18 balls


  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (gluten free)
  • 4 tbsp whole chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup mini dark-chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup brown rice crisp cereal
  • ½ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine oats, chocolate and rice cereal
  2. Stir in sunflower butter, agave syrup and vanilla extract
  3. Wet hands and form into small balls (about 1.5 inch diameter)
  4. Set each ball in glass container
  5. Cover and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes
  6. Enjoy anytime!
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Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

This creamy soup is elegant, addictive and extremely easy to prepare.  Plus, it is full of health benefits from the star of the dish:

Health Benefits of Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, which is important for growth and repair of body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.  Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption making this soup an excellent choice before an iron-packed meal.
  • Cauliflower is also a good source of folate (folic acid), which helps the body form red blood cells and may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.  Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods in addition to supplements.
  • Plus, cauliflower offers up a good amount of dietary fiber which helps reduce cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is also important for proper bowel function and helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as cauliflower help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories – making it great for weight management.


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ½ Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower – roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (not broth)
  • 2 green onions


  1. Sauté shallot, onion and cauliflower in oil, salt and pepper in a large pot on medium heat for 5 minutes
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to boil
  3. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat
  4. Let cool and then transfer to blender
  5. Blend until smooth – no chunks
  6. Garnish with slices of green onion
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Light Shrimp and Noodle Stir-Fry (Gluten-Free)

This is an incredibly light stir-fry that boasts a ton of fresh flavor and a unique sauce.  It is gluten-free and packs extra nutrition from the spinach.

My husband went absolutely crazy over this dish and said it was the best shrimp dish I have ever made.  We both devoured our warm bowl of noodles and felt totally satisfied but not stuffed.  I wasn’t even planning on blogging about it but he said it was so good that I had to share.  So, enjoy!


Serves 2 


  • 4 oz. brown rice noodles (I use this angel hair variety
  • 12 cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined (I use frozen shrimp and thaw under the sink just before adding to pan)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, diced (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ cup fresh basil, rinsed and diced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add brown rice noodles
  2. Cook for 2-4 minutes (according to package instructions) then strain in sink and set aside
  3. In a large sauté pan add oil, shrimp, shallot, green onions and fennel and sprinkle with salt and pepper (sauté for about 5 minutes)
  4. Add butter, white wine and chicken stock and let simmer for about 5 minutes
  5. Just before serving, add basil, spinach and garlic and stir until spinach leaves just begin to wilt (about 3 minutes)
  6. Serve noodles in large bowls and top with shrimp stir-fry and broth from sauté pan
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Arugula Pesto Chicken Salad

This is a fantastic, mayo-free spin on chicken salad and makes for a healthy lunchtime option.  White meat chicken is a great lean-protein option to give you energy.

The arugula “pesto” adds a mild peppery flavor and the end result is creamy and completely satisfying.

Add to a whole wheat pita with avocado and tomatoes or on top of arugula or spinach salad.  Also great plain!

Arugula Pesto Chicken Salad Recipe


  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz (3/4 lb) cooked white meat chicken
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Optional: You can also add ¼ cup raw chopped walnuts and/or ½ cup green grapes halfed.


  1. Put arugula and basil in mini food processor and pulse for 10 seconds
  2. Add olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper and pulse for 30 seconds
  3. Stir into a large bowl with chicken
  4. Zest with 1 tsp of lemon
  5. Serve chilled
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookie

A seasonal breakfast solution perfect for a cool fall morning!  Make the night before for a super portable breakfast or morning snack.

Each cookie contains whole grains, heart-healthy walnuts, dried fruit and of course the nutritional powerhouse vegetable, pumpkin.  This cookie has it all!  Plus, it is gluten-free and completely vegan.

When you see canned pureed pumpkin in the grocery store think beyond the traditional pumpkin pie and explore more ways of adding this unique and healthy gourd into your diet.

Health Benefits of Pumpkins

Pumpkin puree makes these cookies extra moist and chewy.  Plus, it happens to be packed with disease-fighting nutrients.  Pumpkin is a tasty source of bone healthy calcium and the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, which helps block some of the damage caused by free radicals.  It is also high in potassium, which is a mineral that regulates fluids and mineral balance throughout your body and helps maintain normal blood pressure.  Potassium may also reduce your risk for bone loss.  Furthermore, this bright orange vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin A from the carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene, which may reduce your risk for certain cancers and heart disease.  Vitamin A also fights off infections, protects against some of the degenerative aspects of aging and benefits your lungs, skin and eye health.

These cookies also contain extra heart-healthy fiber from the pumpkin, which aids in healthy digestion and helps keep you feeling fuller longer making it great for weight management.

Pumpkin really is a nutrition powerhouse and should be enjoyed in months other than October too!

Makes 24 cookies

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole grain flour (for a gluten-free version I use ½ cup almond flour and ½ cup brown rice flour)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (gluten-free)
  • ½ cup golden raisin
  • ½ cup red raisins
  • ½ cup raw walnut pieces
  • Sprinkle of stevia if you want it extra sweeter
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree from canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together
  3. Add wet ingredients and stir until fully incorporated
  4. Place on sprayed baking sheet
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes


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Classic Homemade Hummus

Creamy, filling and incredibly addictive.  I make hummus all the time and this is one of my favorite versions.  Serve as a dip with raw veggies and chips or use as a spread for your sandwich or wrap in place of mayo or meat.

Homemade Hummus Recipe

Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a plant based protein and are an excellent source of folic acid.  They are also full of fiber to keep you fuller longer and aid in digestion.


  • 1 cans of chickpeas
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 spring onion (and 1 extra diced for garnish)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Chill chickpeas overnight in fridge
  2. Rinse chickpeas in water and place in food processor
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds and diced spring onion
  5. Serve immediately with raw veggies or your favorite chip
Classic Homemade Hummus

  • 1 cans of chickpeas
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 spring onion (and 1 extra diced for garnish)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds for garnish

  1. Chill chickpeas overnight in fridge
  2. Rinse chickpeas in water and place in food processor
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds and diced spring onion
  5. Serve immediately with raw veggies or your favorite chip

Posted in appetizer, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw, snack, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged | Leave a comment

Chocolate Trail Mix Tart

Dessert out of healthy packaged snacks! This is a recipe makeover – a lightened up (and allergy friendly) version of Giada DeLaurentiis’ Chocolate Honey Almond Tart.Healthy Chocolate Honey Tart


I substituted unsweetened almond milk for the heavy cream and sunflower seed butter for regular butter.  I also upped the nutrition content by incorporating a seed based trail mix into the crust.  It turned out incredibly decadent.  One tiny sliver of this tart is all you will need to satisfy your sweet tooth for the night.


Tart Crust

Chocolate Filling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray spring-form pan with canola oil
  3. Combine crust ingredients in food processor and pulse until fully incorporated
  4. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan
  5. Bake 12 minutes
  6. Cool for 20 minutes
  7. While cooling, boil milk and honey
  8. Pour milk/honey mixture on top of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted and smooth
  9. Pour the chocolate filling over the prepared crust
  10. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight
  11. Loosen the tart from the sides of the pan by running a thin spatula around the edge
  12. Remove the tart from the pan and transfer to a serving plate
  13. Cut into wedges and serve
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Mashed Lima Beans

This unique twist on the classic mashed potatoes is much easier (and faster) to make since frozen lima beans cook quickly and don’t require any peeling.   Plus, lima beans are packed with fiber, protein and important nutrients to keep you healthy.   Their light green color is gorgeous paired with any entrée.

Lima beans are considered part of the starchy vegetable group.  One serving (2/3 cup) contains:

  • 5 grams of fiber (as opposed to 2 grams in one serving of potatoes with the skin)
  • 6 grams of protein (as opposed to 2 grams of protein in one serving of potatoes).

One serving also contains

  • 15% DV of vitamin C (which helps block some of the damage caused by free radicals)
  • 8% DV of iron (essential in helping the body convert food to energy as well as resist infection)
  • 4% DV of calcium (for bone health).

Heat up your menu with this nutritious recipe…


  • 1 package of frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dairy free butter spread 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Boil 1 cup of water
  2. Add lima beans and boil for 12 minutes
  3. Drain and place dry lima beans in food processor
  4. Add butter, olive oil, garlic cloves, sea salt, pepper
  5. Process until smooth and creamy
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Mayo-Free Tuna Salad

A simple lunchtime solution that is healthy and incredibly creamy, rich and flavorful.  Instead of mayonnaise, I used ½ avocado pureed with some powerful flavors: shallot, garlic clove, sea salt and pepper.  That’s it!

Serve it straight up, on top of a fresh salad or on whole grain toast or pita bread.  It can also be served as a dip for your favorite chip – my go-to chip these days is Terra sweet potato chips (excellent source of vitamin A and salt free).


  • ½ avocado
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 can white tuna (see pics below of the can I found at Whole Foods)
  1. Place avocado, shallot, garlic, pepper and salt in mini food processor and puree until smooth
  2. Place mixture in a small bowl with drained tuna and mash together
  3. Serve well chilled

Health Benefits of Tuna

Tuna salad is a great way to incorporate fish into your diet.  The current recommendation is twice a week.  Tuna is an excellent source of lean protein while being rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Tuna also provides a good source of vitamin D, which along with calcium, plays an important role in your bone health.


Instead of mayo, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, this recipe uses heart healthy avocados.  Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which is the “good” fat that can improve blood cholesterol levels according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA).  The ADA also reports that they can decrease your risk of heart disease and may help keep your blood sugars in check.

Avocados offer important B vitamins which are essential for supporting your metabolism rate and producing energy while fighting disease and infection.  They also contain folate, vitamin E, C, potassium and soluble fiber.

It is incredibly delicious and satisfying and offers tons of important nutrients for overall heart health.

Special Thanks!

Thanks to my fabulous mother-in-law, Elise Gordon, for the inspiration for this healthy recipe.

She also gave me the coolest avocado accessory: the Avo Saver!  This brilliant invention helps keep the other half of your avocado fresh and green (not brown and spoiled).  By “strapping it in” to the avo saver (pit side in) it prevents air from getting to the meat of the avocado fruit.


Posted in dairy-free, gluten-free, lunch, seafood, snack | Leave a comment

Cilantro-Lime Salad Dressing

Take your salad to the next level with this unique and healthy salad dressing.  This Latin-inspired dressing is smooth with a sweet and zesty finish from the lime, cilantro and honey combination.  Herbs like cilantro and citrus fruits like limes are a great way to cut down on salt and oil in your dressings.  Cilantro and lime adds powerful flavor – plus, limes offer an excellent dose of vitamin C.

I recommend using on top of romaine lettuce with shrimp and your favorite fresh veggies.  It also makes a great marinade for chicken or any type of seafood.  And, it can even be mixed into cooked quinoa and served as a cold salad.


  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1 tsp)
  • Sea salt to taste (about ½ tsp)


  1. Zest and juice one lime into a mini food processor
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. Use immediately or store in refrigerator
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Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake

Instant, heavenly chocolate  cake in 3 minutes flat – no oven needed!

The current mug craze is great for keeping portion control in check.  This recipe puts a vegan, gluten-free healthy twist on traditional mug cake.  It is light and fluffy and oh-so moist.


  • 3 tbsp brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • 1 microwave safe coffee mug


  1. Combine all dry ingredients
  2. Mix in wet ingredients
  3. Pour into your favorite coffee mug
  4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and enjoy!


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