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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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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

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

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)

Posted in beverage, dairy-free, drink, gluten-free, raw, smoothie, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged | Leave a comment

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.


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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.


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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 »

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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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