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Cauliflower Soup

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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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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.


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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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Black Bean Dip Recipe

Football season is in full swing!  This zesty dip is perfect for serving with raw veggies or chips on game day.  It can even be used as a healthy spread in place of mayo or meat for your sandwich or wrap.

Black Bean Dip Recipe

Health Benefits of Black Beans
Beans are technically a mature form of legumes and are part of the protein AND vegetable group.  So, they make a great option for vegetarians or anyone trying to increase their veggie intake.  They also provide fiber and important nutrients such as iron and zinc.  Because of their high nutrient content, eating beans is recommended for everyone (including those who do eat meat, poultry and fish).


  • 2 cans of black beans
  • ½ cup chopped onion or shallot
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 of a hot pepper (add more for added heat)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse beans from can and place in food processor
  2. Puree with all ingredients until smooth
  3. Serve with your favorite veggies or chips
  4. Garnish with cilantro


Black Bean Dip Recipe

  • 2 cans of black beans
  • ½ cup chopped onion or shallot
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ of a hot pepper (add more for added heat)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Rinse beans from can and place in food processor
  2. Puree with all ingredients until smooth
  3. Serve with your favorite veggies or chips
  4. Garnish with cilantro

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No-Cook Breakfast: Simple Muesli with Fresh Fruit

A no-cook, healthy breakfast that you can make the night before – no fuss in the morning!  It is full of fiber, fruit and whole grains to start your day on the right track.


  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats
  • ½ cup fresh seasonal fruit (suggestion: ½ nectarine (diced), blueberries and raspberries)
  • 1 packet of Stevia or ½ tsp. agave syrup
  • 1/8 cup raw walnut pieces (optional)


  1. Combine oats and milk in glass container overnight
  2. In the morning, stir in your sweetener Stevia or agave
  3. Top with fresh seasonal fruit and nuts (optional)

Just as easy as pouring a bowl of cereal!

Health Benefits of Breakfast
Why is breakfast important?  It kick-starts your metabolism for the day and helps give your body the energy it needs to think faster and more clearly while preventing overeating later in the day by keeping you satisfied.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a healthy breakfast.  It sets the tone for your entire day.


No-Cook Breakfast: Simple Muesli with Fresh Fruit

  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅓ cup steel cut oats
  • ½ cup fresh seasonal fruit (suggestion: ½ nectarine (diced), blueberries and raspberries)
  • 1 packet of Stevia or ½ tsp. agave syrup
  • ⅛ cup raw walnut pieces (optional)

  1. Combine oats and milk in glass container overnight
  2. In the morning, stir in your sweetener Stevia or agave
  3. Top with fresh seasonal fruit and nuts (optional)

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Gluten-Free Cookie Bites

I recently received a sample of all four flavors of Enjoy Life Food’s Crunchy Cookies.  Each box has 14 large, handcrafted cookies.  Flavors include Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Suar Crisp and Vanilla Honey Graham.  Like all Enjoy Life products they are completely free of wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy and other common  food allergens.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of crunchy cookies but these were very good!  Using the cookies, I created this playful recipe:Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies Cookie Dough Bites


  • In a mini food processor, combine cookies and sunflower seed butter
  • Roll into small balls and place in freezer for 10 minutes to allow to harden
  • Top with raw seeds or nuts, dried berries and mini chocolate chips
It is sort of like an ice cream sundae and cookie dough bite all rolled into one lovely dessert!  My husband promptly devoured it.
Enjoy Life Cookies

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies all 4 flavors

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies


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Endless Summer Penne with Arugula

I’m always searching for new and interesting ways to make pasta differently.  This dish packs the right amount of heat and flavor with spicy jalapeno sausage and peppery arugula but is balanced out by the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste.

It is chock full of summer’s fresh produce for an endless summer meal: bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, jalapeno peppers and zucchini.

Serves 6



  • ½ avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Boil water and cook pasta.  Follow instructions on pasta package for best results.  My box suggested boiling the water, adding 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp salt before adding the pasta and boiling it for 8 minutes.  It also stated to rinse the pasta with cold water after straining it.
  2. While pasta cooks, sauté shallot, spring onion, zucchini, bell pepper and sausage in olive oil and butter on medium heat
  3. Mix in the cooked pasta and add sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste
  4. Add arugula at the last minute so it does not wilt too much as it cooks down
  5. Flavor with garlic, pepper and salt
  6. Serve immediately and top with avocado and Parmesan cheese

Health Benefits of Arugula

Arugula is technically a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and cauliflower and may help prevent colorectal cancer.  According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), “cruciferous vegetables contain nutrients and compounds with cancer-fighting components beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin C, among others. As an added bonus, cruciferous vegetables supply calcium, iron and folate.”

Endless Summer Penne with Arugula
Serves: 6

  • 12 oz. of brown rice penne pasta (tonight I used Lundberg’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance’s Soy-Free Butter)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 spring onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 spicy jalapeno chicken sausages, sliced thinly (I use Spicy Jalapeños Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s )
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Boil water and cook pasta. Follow instructions on pasta package for best results. My box suggested boiling the water, adding 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp salt before adding the pasta and boiling it for 8 minutes. It also stated to rinse the pasta with cold water after straining it.
  2. While pasta cooks, sauté shallot, spring onion, zucchini, bell pepper and sausage in olive oil and butter on medium heat
  3. Mix in the cooked pasta and add sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste
  4. Add arugula at the last minute so it does not wilt too much as it cooks down
  5. Flavor with garlic, pepper and salt
  6. Serve immediately and top with avocado and Parmesan cheese


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Pizza Burgers

One of my favorite Food Network Stars, Giada, created this brilliant, all-American, grill-ific meal that combines the best of both worlds – pizza and burgers!  I gave it a mini-makeover to make it healthier by:

  • Switching the sourdough rolls for 100% whole wheat buns for added fiber (or you can go completely “bunless”).
  • Subbing extra lean organic ground chicken meat instead of ground sirloin beef to save calories and saturated fat.

I also made mine without cheese but for my husband we used reduced fat shredded cheese.

Toppings included avocado, fresh sliced tomato and onions.  I tested it out with the marinara sauce and that worked well too.

Giada’s concept is really great for those who love all the amazing flavor of pizza but want to stick to a protein-filled meal on the grill.

Serving Size: makes 4 burgers


  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup shredded, reduced fat mozzarella and Parmesan (optional but still delicious without)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound extra lean ground chicken meat
  • 4 100% whole wheat burger buns
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Topping suggestions: avocado, fresh basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, marinara sauce, sliced olives, roasted red bell peppers, arugula, ketchup or any of your favorite pizza toppings



  1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, cheeses, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Process until blended
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the chicken and, using a wooden spoon, stir until combined
  4. Form the mixture into 4 patties
  5. Grill each side until cooked through, 6 minutes on medium-low heat
  6. Allow to rest for 5 minutes
  7. Brush the cut side of the rolls with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute
  8. Place the burgers on the buns, add toppings and enjoy!


Can also be served without the bun if you are gluten-free or carb-free.  It is delicious on top of arugula with sliced avocado and dipped in garlic marinara sauce. Enjoy!

Giada’s original recipe can be found here.


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Pink Frozen Lemonade

Summer is not officially over yet (not until Sept 22nd at least)!  It is important to stay hydrated especially throughout thehot summer months.

We are made up of roughly 60-70% water and it is important that we replace what is lost through everyday activities and workouts.  Even being slightly dehydrated can have a negative affect on both physical and mental functioning.  So drink up with this guilt-free and very refreshing beverage.  It will hydrate you without empty calories from added sugar.

It is tart from the lemon and sweet from the berries.  Enjoy!


  • 5 frozen strawberries or 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 lemon skin removed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 stevia packet or 1 tsp agave syrup


  1. Puree all ingredients together in a blender
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy (garnish with lemon peel if desired)

Did You Know? A tablespoon of lemon juice has just 4 calories.

Health Benefits

Citrus fruits such as lemons offer more than just vitamin C.  Studies have shown they aid in overall heart health and may prevent anemia, cataracts, cancer and birth defects.


Pink Frozen Lemonade

  • 5 frozen strawberries or ¾ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 lemon skin removed
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 stevia packet or 1 tsp agave syrup

  1. Puree all ingredients together in a blender
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy (garnish with lemon peel if desired)

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Shrimp Scampi

This dish is full of fresh ingredients that contain bold flavors.  It is easy to make, yet super gourmet.

Shrimp Scampi

  • 4 oz. spaghetti style whole grain pasta*
  • ½ pound of fresh wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter**
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed through garlic press
  • ⅛ cup fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Optional: Add peas or spinach for additional vegetables

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. I add a pinch of sea salt and a drop of oil to boiling water before adding pasta
  2. Drain pasta in colander and set aside
  3. Meanwhile, sauté shallots, red pepper and shrimp in large pan on medium heat with extra virgin olive oil and butter
  4. Add lemon zest and juice
  5. When shrimp are fully cooked, add the pasta (shrimp are cooked when they turn from translucent to pink)
  6. Add fresh garlic and parsley
  7. Add salt and pepper


*I use gluten-free pasta by Tinkyada which uses organic brown rice.  This is my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta; it has the best texture and consistency of all the gluten-free pastas I have tried so far. 

**I use soy-free, gluten-free, vegan butter from Earth Balance.

Health Benefits

Using whole grain pasta, fresh seafood and vegetables make for a healthy, balanced and refreshing dinner.

This dish features shrimp.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eating about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood contributes to the prevention of heart disease.

Shrimp is a great way to reach this goal.  In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, shrimp are low in saturated fat and a good source of nutrients such as niacin, iron, phosphorus, zinc, protein, vitamin B12 and selenium.  Shrimp is high in cholesterol, so eat it in moderation.  Seven medium sized shrimp = 2 oz. cooked.

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Chilled Sesame Soba Noodles with Avocado

This light and refreshing gluten-free dish will fill you up without making you uncomfortable.  The star of the dish is the soba noodle, which comes from buckwheat, a perfect alternative for those avoiding gluten.  Even if you are not avoiding gluten, this delicious noodle is perfect for providing protein.

Chilled Sesame Soba Noodles with Avocado
Serves: 4

  • 8 ounces of soba noodles
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatos, sliced in half
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt

  1. Place soba noodles in boiling water for 6 minutes
  2. Place in colander and rinse with cold water and let dry
  3. Transfer to large bowl and add remaining ingredients
  4. Mix dressing ingredients together in small mixing bowl
  5. Pour the dressing on top of the soba noodles and mix
  6. Top with freshly ground black pepper and sesame seeds
  7. Optional Add-Ons
  8. Sautéed shrimp pairs excellent with this dish for those that can eat seafood. It is light and absorbs the dressing well. Saute shrimp on medium heat with olive oil and pepper and let cool completely before adding to the dish.
  9. Fresh basil gives this dish an herbaceous aroma. Mince and add last minute

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“Pesto” Veggie Soup

Loaded with fresh veggies and a powerful pesto-like flavor makes getting your nutrients fun!


“Pesto” Veggie Soup
Serves: 4-6

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of baby carrots (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bag of mixed broccoli and cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 4 cup low sodium broth
  • 1 carton of fresh spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add chopped onions, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and saute for 10 minutes
  3. Add broth and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until veggies are very tender
  4. Turn heat off
  5. Add remaining ingredients to pot
  6. Using an immersion hand blender, blend all ingredients until smooth while in pot (if you don’t have an immersion hand blender than transfer to food processor or blender)
  7. Serve in bowls immediately or store


Health Benefits of Veggies

This flavorful vegetable soup is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that are important for overall good health.  Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are incredibly filling.  According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Calculate how many fruits and vegetables YOU need per day based on your weight, age and activity level.


Posted in dairy-free, gluten-free, soup, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Crunchy Double Chocolate Truffles

This amazingly decadent dessert is allergy friendly, gluten-free and vegan (especially great for those with nut allergies).  The inside is full of heart-healthy sunflower seed butter and mixed with crunchy chocolate granola.  The outside is a crunchy chocolate shell.  The final product is similar to a Ferrero Rocher.

Makes 8-10 truffles



  1. Melt chocolate and oil in double boiler and set aside
  2. Combine sunbutter with agave nectar and vanilla extract in mix bowl
  3. Stir in ½ cup granola
  4. Roll 8-10 balls of the sunbutter/granola mixture
  5. Place ½ cup remaining granola on flat surface
  6. Dip each ball in the melted chocolate and then roll in the remaining granola so the outside of each ball is fully coated
  7. Place each ball on plate lined with parchment paper
  8. Place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes
  9. Enjoy in moderation

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seed Butter

  • Sunflower seeds contain less saturated fat than peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds contain heart-healthy fats, protein, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese
  • Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that may lower the risk of certain diseases and can help protect cells against damage.  In fact, according to the American Dietetic Association, 1 oz. of sunflower seeds provides ½ of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin E.
  • Sunflower seeds are high in the mineral selenium.  According to the National Institute of Health, selenium is essential for good health and helps to prevent cellular damage from free radicals.  Free radicals may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  Selenium also helps regulate thyroid function and plays a role in the immune system.


Posted in dairy-free, dessert, gluten-free, vegan | Leave a comment

Chicken “Parmesan”

Living with food allergies means sometimes there are dishes you just have to give up. One of my favorites is chicken parmesan. Being allergic to dairy and gluten makes this dish impossible to recreate unless you are armed with the right products in your pantry.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I learned about a new product of allergy-friendly chips flavored with garlic and parmesan: Plentils. This light and flavorful lentil chip takes care of the parmesan flavor and the breadcrumb crunch all in one shot! No extra seasoning needed!

This simple recipe uses Plentils as a healthy and allergy-friendly “breadcrumb” coating on white meat chicken. Find out how I turned this chip into everyone’s favorite comfort food. My husband, who loves cheese, was shocked that there was no real cheese in this dish. Amazing – one dish both cheese lovers and dairy-free diners can all enjoy. Read More »

Posted in dairy-free, entree, gluten-free | Leave a comment

Chocolate-Berry Sorbet

Sorbet shown in gluten-free cone

This heavenly dessert is for everyone out there without an ice cream maker (and with a dairy allergy)!I wanted an easy to make, quick dessert that was dairy free… I have been experimenting with the ingredients and proportions and so far this is the best combo for a rich and creamy texture with the right amount of chocolate decadence.

You can feel good about indulging in this chocolaty dessert without all the calories and fat that comes with standard chocolate ice cream. The wonderful thing about using cocoa powder is you get the entire flavor that is divine about chocolate without all the added sugar. Read More »

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Mayo-Free Coleslaw

This healthy side dish is a great alternative to salad. Cabbage is an inexpensive veggie and full of fiber, vitamin C & K and other important antioxidants. Rather than the typical mayo-based dressing, this recipe uses a light dressing loaded with herbs. Adding the nectar, granny smith apple, pistachios and avocado takes coleslaw from basic to extraordinary (and mildly sweet).

Serves 6

Slaw Ingredients

  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded into slaw
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • ½ English cucumber, skinned & diced
  • ¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ½ granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 spring onions, diced
  • 1 nectar, diced
  • ½ avocado, diced


  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp canola
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar light
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro


  1. Combine all slaw ingredients in large mixing bowl
  2. Put all dressing ingredients in mini food processor and pulse until incorporated
  3. Pour dressing on slaw and mix
  4. Chill well before serving

Pair with a flavorful entree or enjoy by itself.

Health Benefits

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C (1 serving which is ½ cup has 30% DV of vitamin C). The American Dietetic Association (ADA), reminds us that cabbage is touted for its potential cancer-fighting properties, along with other vegetables in the cruciferous family.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should avoid slicing or shredding cabbage in advance. This will cause it to lose some of its vitamin C content. The ADA recommends that once cut, cover the cabbage with plastic wrap to slow the loss of vitamins.

Posted in dairy-free, gluten-free, lunch, raw, salad, side, side dish, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Bobby Flay’s Spanish Spice Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Parsley-Mint Sauce

I recently met the world famous Bobby Flay in Baltimore City! He was in town checking up on his new restaurant, Bobby’s Burgers Palace, in Arundel Mills’ Maryland Casino Live. I spotted him at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East at a new hot Japanese Restaurant, Pabu.

As a huge Food Network fan I introduced myself and was impressed at how friendly and kind the food legend was to me as I babbled about how much I enjoyed his Sixteen Spiced Chicken dish at MESA grill while on vacation almost 3 years ago (I still remember it as the best chicken I have ever had).

This amazing celebrity run-in reminded me of how truly delicious chicken can be if prepared with the right spices and flavors. So, in honor of my recent Bobby Flay run-in, I cooked another fantastically flavorful chicken dish that was recently aired on the Food Network (All-Star Grillfest: South Beach [originally filmed in 2007]). In this segment, Bobby Flay shares his “Spanish Spice Rubbed Chicken Breast with Parsley-Mint Sauce” (full recipe).

The chicken rub is so much fun and every bite is full of smoky, spicy, earthy flavor. He brilliantly pairs the chicken with a spicy and “herbaceous” pesto-like sauce. It takes chicken from bland to BAM!

Several tips from Bobby:

  1. Add salt and pepper to the chicken before the oil and the spice rub
  2. Always oil the chicken and not the grill
  3. Don’t overpower the chicken: put the spice rub on one-side only
  4. Brush oil on chicken after you flip (the non-rub side)
  5. Drizzle the parsley-mint sauce rustically on top of the chicken

I serve with my light and sweet mayo-free coleslaw salad. This cold and refreshing salad offsets the heat and spice from Bobby’s chicken.

Shown here with the chicken on a salad using the Parsley-Mint Sauce as the salad dressing (I left out the jalepeno and found it more enjoyable).

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Cold Mint Pea Soup

This recipe is inspired by a past colleague of mine who keeps a health blog with fitness tips and nutritious recipes.  Her version of the recipe can be found here.  Thanks, Monica!
This cold soup is super easy and quick to make (definitely under 5 minutes).
I slightly modified it by adding spinach to the blender and pistachios as garnish for a bit of crunch.  The classic mint/pea combo is beyond refreshing on a hot summer day.  It makes for a quick and healthy snack or even can be served as a side during lunch. 
Serves 2
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Small handful of fresh mint
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup lightly salted pistachios, roughly chopped

  1. Add all ingredients (except the pistachios) to blender and puree
  2. Serve immediately and garnish with pistachios and fresh mint leaves

Health Benefits
This recipe gets bonus healthy points for mixing peas (an excellent source of vitamins A and C) with raw spinach.  As I mentioned in my last post, when you combine vitamin C with raw spinach your body is able to absorb its iron and calcium.
Plus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, peas are a good low calorie source of protein.  1 serving of this recipe contains more protein than a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter.  And, unlike eggs, 1 serving of peas has less than one gram of fat and no cholesterol.

Posted in gluten-free, raw, soup, vegan | Leave a comment

Watermelon-Lime Berry Fusion

After a Memorial Day BBQ party you are typically left with watermelon and possibly a hangover.  The inspiration for this smoothie came from that very situation.  I wanted to create an incredibly thirst-quenching “cooler” to enjoy on a hot and humid day.  Watermelon is 92% water and 8% sugar, plus it has electrolytes to help with your hangover. 
This incredibly refreshing beverage will perk you right up with invigorating lime, hydrating melon and sweet strawberries and raspberries.
  • 2 cups fresh seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup crushed ice

  1. Place watermelon, strawberries and raspberries in blender
  2. Zest lime and set aside for garnish
  3. Squeeze lime juice into blender
  4. Add ice and blend until fully incorporated
  5. Serve immediately and garnish with lime zest and extra raspberries

Health Benefits
The star of this recipe is clearly the watermelon which is technically a vegetable and part of the cucumber and squash family.  Who knew!?  This vegetable in disguise also contains high concentrations of lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that may reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases.  Enjoy the taste, immediate uplifting perks and the long-term health benefits of this easy to make watermelon recipe.

Posted in beverage, breakfast, gluten-free, juice, smoothie, vegan | Leave a comment

Southwest Jicama Slaw

Just coming back from the Southwest has inspired me to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.  This fresh and healthy jicama salad is perfect as a fun side for a BBQ.

  • 1 large jicama, peeled and sliced thinly into short strips
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup red poblano pepper
  • ½ purple onion, diced
  • 1 champagne mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 green poblano chili
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp cumin powder
  • onion powder and black pepper to taste
  • other ingredient options: shredded carrots, granny smith apples, scallions

  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and toss
  2. Let chill in fridge for 1-2 hours and serve

Jicama is a vegetable and is like a cross between a potato and an apple or pear in terms of texture and taste.  It has almost no flavor and is crunchy.  I found jicama at Whole Foods (had to ask twice – not easy to find) but is available year-round.  It looks similar to a turnip with tan skin.  It is very low in calories and high in Vitamin C.

Storage: You can store jicama for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag in your fridge.

Posted in side, vegan | Leave a comment

Almond Butter and Berry Smoothie

This morning I woke up craving a refreshing and filling smoothie.  But, oh no!  Out of protein powder… What is a healthy foodie to do?!

My protein powder is what gives my smoothies their thick texture so I had to think quick for a substitution… So, I’m thinking thick and then it comes to me: almond butter and oats!
The result was something entirely natural and much more delicious!  I may be obsessed with this new creation (even though I will warn you that it sounds… different).  Here we go…
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries, unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp almond butter, unsalted
  • ¼ cup old fashion oats (helps with thickness) 
Puree ingredients in blender and serve immediately.
Made with only raspberries

Health Benefits
This all-natural recipe features fruit, whole grains and almonds.  We know almonds are “nuterrific” because they are high in fiber, the antioxidant Vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that won’t raise your cholesterol.
This breakfast is incredibly filling and full of natural energy – Now all you have to do is “bring it”!
Posted in breakfast, smoothie, vegan | Leave a comment

Salmon Stuffed Mushrooms

This elegant and light appetizer is perfect for a quick snack or for entertaining.  Most stuffed mushroom recipes contain cheese and/or mayo – this recipe keeps it creamy with hummus and flavorful with dill and garlic.

The health factor of this tiny bite is huge… salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and contains important vitamins (A, C, D, E) and minerals such as zinc, calcium, selenium and iron; hummus is a healthy form of lean protein; and low-calorie mushrooms are full of B vitamins, selenium, potassium and vitamin D. 
  • 10 large organic white button mushrooms, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
  • 1 can wild Alaskan salmon in water
  • 1/3 C garlic hummus (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp dill (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Optional garnish ingredients: fresh dill, fresh basil, avocado, roasted shallot ring 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Open canned salmon and drain thoroughly
  3. In a mixing bowl, add mustard, dill and pepper to the salmon and set aside
  4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil
  5. Remove the entire stem of each mushroom, leaving a small pocket in the underbelly of each mushroom
  6. Fill the empty space with hummus and top with the salmon mixture
  7. Place in oven for 10 minutes
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes and garnish with dill, basil, a single roasted shallot ring or even avocado!
Did you know?
  • Mushrooms are technically a fungus, not a vegetable (no roots, leaves or seeds) and contain 90% water!
  • It is best to store extra mushrooms in a paper bag in the fridge and they can be stored for up to one week.

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Yummy Batter Cookies

I named these after the fact that I couldn’t stop eating the batter.  But don’t let the name fool you, the actual cookie post-baking is incredible.  These are by far my favorite gluten-free, vegan cookies yet!  And for those who know me, I make cookies almost every other night and love to experiment with different flours, measurements and different ingredients to keep things interesting.

My husband (who has become my default taste tester) agrees the texture is like a “real” cookie and it has the perfect balance of sweetness (thanks to my new obsession, agave nectar, instead of my go-to stevia which can sometimes be a little too sweet or have a slightly bitter aftertaste).
This recipe makes 12 cookies (unless you eat the batter which is irresistibly yummy).
Dry Ingredients
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats (gluten free)
  • ¼ cup teff flour
  • ¼ cup raw walnut baking pieces
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate mini chips
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg or cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
  • ¼ cup raw almond butter
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (light)

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix
  3. Stop to taste the amazing batter (and you can because it is egg-free)
  4. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees
  5. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before enjoying
  6. Serve with extra cold almond milk for a perfect late night snack!

All About Agave
This recipe uses agave nectar, a vegan natural sweetener that is similar to honey (but better).  Agave nectar comes from the agave plant which is also the starting material for the production of tequila.
Agave syrup has a low glycemic index.  So, it offers a balanced sweetness without the typical “sugar rush” and unhealthy blood sugar spike caused by refined sugars.  You should still use it moderately.  One tablespoon contains 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar.
Posted in dessert, gluten-free, vegan | 1 Response

Mango Sorbet

Shown with berry garnish

This refreshing and extremely healthy homemade sorbet dessert is perfect to end any meal and just so happens to have a difficulty factor of … zero.

Servings: 2

  • 2 cup frozen mango, unsweetened
  • ½ cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  1. Allow frozen mango to thaw out for 5-10 minutes
  2. Place mango and milk in mini food processor and pulse for 30 seconds
  3. Scoop mixture into individual bowls
  4. Place in freezer for 10 minutes
  5. Top it off with berries and enjoy!
Health Benefits
Mango sorbet shown without the berry garnish
I love sorbet but the store bought kind often contains added sugar and other unnecessary ingredients.  This two-ingredient version contains only the good stuff ;)
Fruit is an excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth while packing in nutrients (mangos contain vitamin A and C).
Make it your own…
You could use these measurement guidelines and preparation steps to make your favorite flavor of sorbet – just substitute the frozen mango for another frozen fruit.
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