Kid-friendly Recipes

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

I look forward to making this creamy zucchini pasta dish every year when our zucchini is ripe. We headed out to the garden yesterday and picked some fresh zucchini. My daughter especially loves to help hunt for this veggie. It’s so fun when the garden is full of ripe veggies!

We decided to make this light delicate meal for an early dinner on the patio. It was scrumptious!
The soft farmer’s cheese is a perfect complement to the zucchini, and the subtle flavors of this dish make it a good choice for kids. Fresh artisan bread is the perfect compliment to this summer meal. Enjoy!

 

 

Ingredients

1.5-2 lbs zucchini (roughly 4 small-medium zucchini), shredded with grater
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried savory
4 oz farmers cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
box of thin spaghetti

 

1. Finely shred zucchini with a grater. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and let sit. Liquid will drain from the zucchini. After about 10 minutes, pick up the zucchini shreds in handfuls and squeeze out any excess liquid over the sink.

 

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden (about 1 minute). Add the zucchini and dried savory and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and fresh herbs. Cook a couple more minutes. Add the cheese; when it begins to melt, pour the sauce over cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

Fresh Strawberry Popsicles

Lying in the grass, eating fresh strawberries in the shade, watching the clouds roll by…That is what the kids and I did last weekend at Grand Teton National Park for a little getaway. It was so relaxing. And the mountains were so beautiful. It was a great trip to finish up the summer.

We’re back in full swing at home now, and ready to kick off this weekend with some fresh strawberry popsicles. The fresh fruit makes for an ice pop that is bursting with flavor. You can use this simple recipe as a base to make any berry combination. Have a fun weekend!

2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup water
2-3 T honey or agave nectar (or more to taste)

1. Puree all ingredients in blender. Taste to make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze at least 4 hours. Enjoy!

Instant Berry Frozen Yogurt

My daughter and I enjoyed this Berry Frozen Yogurt dessert on our patio yesterday afternoon while soaking up the sun. It was so quick and simple- actually it was instant.  I had no idea that you could make soft serve frozen yogurt without an ice-cream maker. I used our Blendtec Blender to make this awesome dessert. If you don’t have a Blendtec  use a food processor and it will work too. This recipe is a great way to get some calcium while eating a healthy dessert. Enjoy!

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup greek vanilla yogurt
1 T agave nectar (you may need more or less depending on what berry you use)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or boysenberries, or a combination.
1 cup ice
DIRECTIONS:

Put all in blender starting from the top down. Blend on ice-cream setting (if using food processor, pulse until barely mixed). Top with fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

 

Simple Spaghetti

My brother-in-law lived in Italy for some time. He learned how to make exceptionally delicious Italian meals. He taught my husband how to make this cheap and simple meal when we were newly weds. The ingredients are always around our house, so it’s perfect when you’re not sure what to cook and don’t feel like going to the grocery store to get a bunch of ingredients. 

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS:

olive oil

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 large onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons dried basil (varies depending on your taste)

scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles

freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on med heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add onion, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and cook until onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes). The cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper we usually add a couple pinches of each because we don’t like it very hot, but you can add more to your liking.

2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

3. While sauce is simmering, cook noodles according to package.

4. Serve sauce with cooked noodles and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.

 

Chocolate Chip Coconut Power Cookie

This Chocolate Chip Coconut Power Cookie recipe is the bomb! We LOVE these cookies!  And the most awesome thing? There is no oil or butter in the recipe. They are perfect for a snack and give you added energy without making you feel sick like a normal cookie. Think of a granola bar disguised as a cookie. Yum!!

– Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped (can substitute walnuts)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chocolate chips (can use raisins as a substitute)

 
DIRECTIONS:
1. mix the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate medium bowl, mix the sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla. Add applesauce mixture to dry mixture and stir until well combined. fold in the almonds, coconut and chocolate chips.

2. form into 1″ balls. Place 12 balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

 

* One other note: We keep these cookies in the freezer and pull out a handful when we are going out to town so there will be something to munch on. They are perfect for little outings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Sauteed Swiss Chard with Romano Cheese

This Garlic Sautéed Swiss Chard with Romano Cheese recipe is a perfect accompaniment for any Italian dish. The only problem with this dish is I never make enough. My family eats so much of it, it ends up being about the same proportion as the main course. Anyways, if you love chard, you will enjoy this recipe.

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 T olive oil

1 T freshly minced garlic

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut out and chopped into 1/2 slices. The leaves coarsely chopped separately.

1 T butter

1/8 c Romano cheese or more to taste (you can substitute Parmesan cheese for Romano)

sea salt to taste

 

1. Bring small pot of water to boil. Add stems and boil for about 5 minutes (or until soft); drain.

2. While stems are boiling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the chard leaves and cook until wilted. Add cooked stems to skillet with the leaves. Stir in a tablespoon of butter. Add Romano cheese. Season with sea salt. Enjoy.

Healthy & Simple Valentine’s Day Dessert

This Healthy & Simple Valentine’s Day Dessert recipe is perfect for sharing with someone special. It is so quick and easy you will be shocked! And it’s delicious! Chocolate, strawberries, and creamy Greek yogurt- who would have thought!

– Jodi

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup vanilla or honey flavored greek yogurt (I use Greek Gods Honey yogurt because it is rich and creamy.)
2 graham crackers, crushed
2 whole strawberries
shaved chocolate bark (optional)
chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)

 

Directions: 
1. Take crushed graham crackers and divide them evenly onto 2 plates. If you’d like to make the heart shape with the yogurt, read on. If not, skip to #2.

Heart shaped yogurt mold:
You will need a heart-shaped cookie cutter and very thick Greek yogurt in order for the shape to take hold (If Greek Gods Greek yogurt is available you can use this and it will work great). Place the cookie cutter lightly on top of the graham cracker and gently fill with the yogurt (you will use about 1/2 cup. Do not over fill). Run a knife across the top to smooth out the surface. Gently lift up the cookie cutter and remove. Voila! You will have a heart shape left. Sprinkle with desired chocolate topping of choice, and garnish with a strawberry.
2. You absolutely don’t need a heart-shaped yogurt in order to enjoy this simple, yet elegant dessert. Take 1/2 cup yogurt and drop it gently on top of the crushed graham crackers. Sprinkle with desired chocolate topping of choice, and garnish with a strawberry. Repeat with second plate.

 

Enjoy!

 

* to make gluten free, omit the graham crackers.

 

healthy valentines day dessert 2

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Can I just say, “Delicious!” This vegetarian baked ziti recipe is a twist on a classic recipe with no compromise on flavor. Cheesy, creamy and sauciness all meld to create a luscious savory dish.

 

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS

1 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1 small bag baby spinach
1 lb penne ziti pasta
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
4 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large mixing bowl.

While pasta is cooking, heat 1 T oil in pan on medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and basil. Cook until onions are cooked through and transparent. Remove from heat.

Add cooked onions, spinach, ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce to mixing bowl with cooked pasta. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently mix all ingredients together. Pour into 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered in oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

 

Serves 6

 

 

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Slow Cooker Wheat Berry Cereal

This is a recipe that my hubby remembers eating as a kid and requests it every so often because it really sits good in your stomach. We tend to eat it more in the winter months because it is a warm cereal, but any time of the year is great. This Wheat Berry Cereal is hearty and filling and good at keeping you satisfied until lunchtime. Wheat berries are full of protein, potassium, folate and fiber. Serve with your favorite whole wheat bread, and top with fresh fruit for a nutrient-rich breakfast.

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups wheat berries
5 cups water
1/2 tablespoon salt
brown sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs.
2. Drain wheat berries. Serve in cereal bowl topped with brown sugar and your choice of milk. The cereal is also good topped with fresh fruit. Enjoy!

 

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Easy Black Bean Burritos

A few nights ago I didn’t know what to cook for dinner and we came up with this yummy burrito that my 5 year old daughter loved. Yay! This Kid Friendly Black Bean Burritos recipe is great when you are lacking in fresh ingredients, and don’t want to go to the store. It is very forgiving if you don’t have one of the ingredients and need to substitute something else, (i.e. pinto beans for black beans, or can of diced green chills for the bell pepper). It would also be great with pepper jack cheese in place of mozzarella. The options are limitless. Have fun with this one!

-Jodi

 

4-6 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
2 T canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (or 1 can diced tomatoes plus one 4 oz can diced green chiles)
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
3 oz cream cheese
mozzarella cheese, shredded
 

 

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, beans, corn, cumin and oregano. Heat through, about 5 minutes, then add the cream cheese. Let mixture come to a boil while stirring often.

 

2. Stack flour tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm.

 

3. Spoon the bean mixture down the center of a warmed tortilla. Add a handful of mozzarella cheese. Roll tortilla up. Wait a minute to allow the cheese to melt before eating. Enjoy!

 

Vegetarian Burritos with beans, avocado and vegetables

Ultimate Burritos

Ultimate Burritos were an easy staple vegetarian recipe during my college years.  It was just so easy to always keep a package of tortillas and some cans of beans on hand, and I always had a good supply of fresh vegetables to use in them.  My roommates would see me eating these and would be in awe at my gourmet dinner compared to the mac n’ cheese and ramen noodles they were eating.  I didn’t even spend much more time or money on my food.  Besides being inexpensive and easy, this is a fantastically fresh, delicious and balanced meal.  And a balanced meal is what I needed most to keep my body healthy and my mind active.

-Jessica

 

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup corn
whole wheat tortillas
Monterrey jack, Colby jack, cheddar, or vegan cheese, grated
lettuce, torn
tomatoes, diced
onions, finely diced
green bell pepper, diced
avocados, diced (or guacamole)
sour cream or plain yogurt
salsa or hot sauce

 

Directions for a crowd: Stir together the 2 cans of beans and corn in a medium bowl.  Microwave the mixture until hot.  Meanwhile, heat the tortillas, one at a time,  in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat.  Have each topping in a separate bowl and let each person create their own ultimate burrito.

Directions for the single college student: Stir together the 2 cans of beans and corn in a medium bowl with a lid that can be stored in the refrigerator (use this mixture all week long!)  Place a tortilla on a plate and line the center of it with a few spoonfuls of bean mixture.  Cook in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or until beans are warm.  Meanwhile, heat a medium fry pan over medium-high heat on the stove.  Remove the tortilla with beans from the microwave and place it in the fry pan.  Cook  until the tortilla has reached your desired level of crispiness.  This process combines the speed of cooking in a microwave with the improved crispiness of heating in a pan.  Place back on your plate and top with the rest of the toppings.  Roll up, and watch the envy on your roommates faces.  Or better yet, make them one too!

 

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Oatmeal cookies recipe with pumpkin, chocolate chips, cranberries and whole wheat flour.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are soft, chewy, moist, and have the most pleasing flavor of pumpkin fall spices.  I got the original recipe from twopeasandtheirpod.com  So thank you Maria and Josh for giving me one of my two all time favorite cookie recipes!  I just did a little bit of tweaking to make it 100% whole grain and added a few more oats, since I love oats 🙂  I hope you love these as much as I do!

-Jessica

 

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, slightly softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

 

  1.  Oven prep:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Dry ingredients:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt.  Set dry ingredients aside.
  3. Wet ingredients:  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.  Beat until combined.
  4. Mixing:  Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries.
  5. Baking:  Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking  sheet.  Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.  Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes since they will be pretty soft and mushy still, then remove them to wire racks to cool completely.

 

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Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

This cheesy cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe is awesome! We tried this recipe the other night for dinner and my little girl LOVED it. She asked for seconds twice!! If your kids have a hard time eating cauliflower, you might want to give this recipe a try before putting cauliflower to rest.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 med head cauliflower

1 T cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, or Parmesan

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

 

 DIRECTIONS

1. Bring to boil a pot of water over high heat. Cut cauliflower into small pieces and add to boiling water. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; quickly pat dry with several paper towels.

2. Place cauliflower in a bowl along with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

3. Serve hot. Garnish with chives for some added flavor.

 

NOTE: I used mild cheddar cheese because that’s what we had on hand, but I’d imagine that medium or sharp cheddar would be really good.

 

Thanksgiving healthy snack for Kids

My daughter and I had so much fun making healthy Halloween snacks that we thought we’d better create one for Thanksgiving too. We ended up creating this darling fruit turkey with fun big eyes and colorful feathers. It is a great snack to make with your little ones for a Thanksgiving festivity. My 5 year old had so much fun and feasting on it afterwards was a great treat.

I really didn’t have to help much- just a little with applying the peanut butter.

 

-Jodi

 

Makes 4 Turkeys

Ingredients:

1 large apple, cored and sliced in half, and then slice in half again horizontally
1/2 orange, peeled, separated into slices, and then cut the slices into small chunks.
few grapes, raisins, or apple bites
1 graham cracker sheet, broken into 4 pieces
nutella spread, thick peanut butter, or cream cheese
*mini marshmallows
12 tooth picks
Directions: 

1- TURKEY HEAD- to make the face, we used a graham cracker for the head, squished mini marshmallows and raisins for the eyes, orange slice for the beak, and a piece of apple skin for the waddle. Glue everything onto the graham cracker with peanut butter.
Attach the graham cracker turkey head to the apple with another dab of peanut butter.

2- FEATHERS- Poke 4 toothpicks into the back of the apple. Slide fruit bites onto the toothpicks. That’s it! Enjoy!

*You can use whipped cream cheese for the eyes instead of marshmallows to make it with less sugar.

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Apple Walnut Cake

I LOVE apple cake in the fall time. I make apple cake around here when the leaves are turning red and the orchards are full of apples. Our apple tree is still too young to bare much fruit, so we head up north to my father-in-law’s farm to pick red apples from their overabundant tree. This apple walnut cake recipe is something we eat for an evening dessert and it’s also great to have a warm slice for early morning breakfast with a glass of cold milk.

-Jodi

 

Ingredients 

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/4 cups apple sauce
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
4 generous cups of apples, peeled, cored, and diced
Topping:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

 

 Directions

1. Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Next add applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in apples. Pour batter into 9×13 greased pan.

3. In a small bowl mix the chopped walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the cake.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

 

 

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Healthy Halloween Snack #5: Witch Snack

Here is our last snack out of our 5 healthy Halloween snacks.  My daughter is going to be a witch for Halloween and we had to make a snack that matched her costume this year. This is our delicious wheat bread with Nutella snack. We loved eating this as a mid-afternoon snack.

-Jodi

To make one witch, you will need: 

2 slices of bread, part of an apple, 1 baby carrot, 5 raisins, nutella chocolate spread (or peanut butter).

 

Directions: Cut the witch face out of 1 slice of bread. Cut a triangle shape for the hat out of the second slice of bread. Arrange bread so the hat is on top of the face. Spread Nutella on the hat. Add 4 raisins. Place 2 apple slices in a straight line to represent the rim of the hat. Slice the carrot and decorate as hair. Place a raisin for the eye and a small speck of apple for a smile.

 

 

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Healthy Halloween Snack #4: Turkey & Cheese Pumpkin Sandwich

Here is our fourth out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks. We had a blast making these pumpkin sandwiches for lunch. Just make sure to buy orange cheese so they look like pumpkins. We cut out the faces with a butter knife. The cutting part was a little hard for my 5 year old, so I would suggest letting your little ones put the sandwich together after the faces are cut.

-Jodi

 

Here’s what you need to make the pumpkin sandwich: 

turkey or chicken deli meat (to make it vegetarian use a mushed up avocado)
cheddar cheese slices
whole wheat bread

Directions: 

Cut jack-o-lantern faces out of each slice of cheese. To prepare sandwich, use 1 slice of bread, top with condiment of choice, add meat, then top with cheese. To make a stump for the top, we used a piece of the crust and anchored it under the meat.

 

Healthy Halloween Snack #3: Banana Pretzel Spiders

Here is #3 out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks: Banana Pretzel Spiders. These cute little spiders are my daughter’s favorite. It’s probably because they are simple enough that she can make them all by herself. And… usually she eats half of the spiders before they get to the serving plate. (no complaints here! It’s great to have her eating healthy snacks).

-Jodi

 

To make 6 spiders you will need: 

1 large banana (cut into six 1-inch bites)

18 pretzel sticks (break in half so you have 32 half sticks total)

6 raisins

 

Directions: 

Take a banana bite and insert 3 pretzel sticks in each side. Cut a raisin in half. Gently push the two raisins on the top of the banana for eyes. Have fun eating them!

 

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Healthy Halloween Snack #2: Pumpkin Fruit

Here is our second out of 5 healthy Halloween snacks. We have loads of fun making this snack. It’s a Pumpkin Fruit snack made with oranges and stuffed with banana, apples, and grapes. Our favorite part is carving the jack-o-lantern faces on each orange. It’s fun and so much easier than a real pumpkin. : )

-Jodi

 

To make 2 you will need:

2 oranges, 1 banana, 1 apple  or some grapes.

 

Directions: 

1. Cut up the banana and apple into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

2. Carefully cut a circle out of the skin of the top of the oranges. Remove the top circle as best you can without ripping it. spoon out the orange fruit. You can either discard the orange fruit/pulp or cut it up and add it to the fruit. If you use it, you can omit 1 of your other fruits.

3. Using a knife, cut out pumpkin faces in your oranges.

4. Pour the bananas and apples into the hollowed-out oranges. Top with the orange lid. Voila! You now have super cute edible jack-o-lanterns.

 

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Healthy Halloween Snacks

October is a really exciting month at our house. My daughter and I love making HALLOWEEN crafts, and we also have so much fun making scary things out of food. We’ve gathered our 5 most favorite healthy Halloween snacks and will be posting them for the next 5 days to help get you in the mood for this ghoulish holiday.

…And don’t forgot, the funnest part for your kids is letting them help make the food!

-Jodi

 

Healthy Halloween Snack #1: Spider Oatmeal

To make 1 spider oatmeal you will need: 1 cup cooked oatmeal (we made cinnamon raisin), 2 raisins, and 1 apple (sliced).

 

Directions:

Pour cooked oatmeal into a bowl. Place 2 raisins on top for eyes. Add an apple slice for the smile (you can thin it out if you want it like the photo). Place the apple slices on both sides of the bowl to represent legs. In the photo we cut out a triangle shape in the middle of each apple slice to make it look more like a leg. Have fun eating your deliciously healthy spider breakfast!

 

 

 

 

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Healthier Honey Caramel Apples

We’ve made caramel apples before, but never had such delicious ones until we came up with this recipe. We were trying to make something a little bit healthier than the normal thick and gooey caramel apples, and this recipe totally won! This is hands down my daughter and hubby’s favorite caramel apple recipe now and mine too. The honey adds a unique flavor and when combined with the brown sugar and vanilla it is unbelievably good. We’ve found it is totally unnecessary to completely cover the apple in caramel. A healthier and less messy alternative is to the drizzle the apple with caramel, allowing for about half of it to be covered.

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons chopped pecans or other unsalted nut, optional
6 small apples, (chilled from the fridge).

 

DIRECTIONS 

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and coat with cooking spray. Insert a popsicle stick into the tops of the apples. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar, honey, butter and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. As soon as the syrup starts to barely bubble around the edges, stir constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Using a large spoon, drizzle a spoonful of caramel over each apple, turning as you pour. Repeat the drizzling process until it is all gone. Immediately add the chopped nuts. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

*Note- If you make sure the apples are cold from being chilled in the fridge for a couple hours prior to making this recipe the caramel hardens quicker than if the apples were at room temperature. 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This Pumpkin Pie Smoothie recipe is creamy, delicious, and great for kids! It’s seasoned with just the right amount of spices to get you in the mood for Autumn. Crumble graham crackers on top for an extra treat the little ones will love.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup  plain pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 banana (frozen if possible. If not that’s okay)
1 T honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup ice cubes

 

Directions:
Blend ingredients in the order given. Serve immediately.

 

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Zucchini Grinders

This is our most requested vegetarian meal for dinner time. It’s also probably the easiest dinner we have too. A classic favorite: Zucchini Grinders. It’s a sandwich smothered in a zucchini spaghetti sauce and melted cheese. Yum. How could you go wrong? It’s also great with cooked mushrooms. Hope you enjoy as much as we do.

-Jodi

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients: 

1 T olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, cubed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1 1/2-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 (6 in) whole wheat sandwich rolls, split

 

 Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry the zucchini in oil until browned and slightly tender. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and stir in the marinara sauce. Cook and stir until the sauce is heated through.

3. Place sandwich rolls open-faced on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes or until they are toasted. Remove from oven.

3. Place a square of aluminum foil under each sandwich roll. Spoon generous amounts of the zucchini mixture into each roll. Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. Loosely wrap the foil around the bottom and sides of the sandwich.

4. Bake for 5-7 minutes in oven or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

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vegetarian tortillas with beans and cheese

Tortilla Patties

This recipe has been in our family for years and years. My nephew Justin became a real expert at making these and is responsible for pushing it by making it at almost every family gathering he could.  It is really quite simple, just two layers of corn tortillas filled with beans and cheese and put on the griddle till tortillas are golden and the insides hot and melted. Serve with fresh guacamole and hot sauce. Easy. Affordable. Filling.

-Curt

 

Corn Tortillas
Vegetarian low fat refried beans
grated cheese

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Fresh Guacamole
Fresh Salsa
Shredded Lettuce

 

PREPARE: Place tortilla on plate and spread on a layer of refried beans followed by a topping of grated cheese. Top with another tortilla.
FRY: Place on a lightly oiled hot skillet and cook the layered tortilla till golden brown. Then gently flip tortilla and brown the other side. That is it! It’s done!
FINISH: Serve with guacamole, shredded lettuce, salsa, hot sauce etc.

 

NOTE: These should be really easy and quick to make. Sometimes it works best to microwave the layered tortillas till the insides are hot and the cheese is melted – then transfer the concoction to the griddle and brown the tortillas. It makes it faster and easier not to burn the tortillas while still getting the insides nice and hot.

 

You Might Also Like

 • Artichoke and Feta Tortilla Wraps from Everyday Health

 

 

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roasted vegetables recipe seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, and italian seasonings

Oven Baked Herbed Vegetables

When I first tasted these delicious potato wedges I literally went bonkers over them.  I devoured a whole plateful and begged my friend Nina for the recipe.  She graciously shared it with me and it has become a regular in our home.  This is a great side dish for parties or when company comes over.  It is very easy to prepare and takes very little time.

-Curt

 

MAIN VEGGIES
Potatoes (red, white and russet)
Red Onion
Yams

OIL AND SEASONINGS
Olive Oil or Grape seed Oil
Sea Salt
Italian Seasonings
Optional: Be creative. Try lemon pepper or any commercial mix’s.

 

OPTIONAL VEGGIES
parsnips
carrots
green beans (whole)
turnips
rutabagas
winter squash
peppers (green or red)
whole cloves of garlic
eggplant
asparagus
beets

 

PREHEAT: Preheat oven to 450°.
PREPARE: Clean veggies and cut into wedges and place in a large mixing bowl. After the veggies are together, drizzle olive or grape seed oil over the tops of them. Add seasonings and salt to your own tastes and with a large mixing spoon stir well, making sure each veggie slice is lightly coated with oil and seasonings. The oil will keep the seasonings coating the wedges.
BAKE: Layer on baking sheet coated with a bit of cooking spray and bake in oven at 450° for 40 minutes or until tender and browned.  At the very end, if needed, turn the oven to BROIL for around 3 – 5 minutes or until you get a desired roasted color.  Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing or dip of your choice.  They are especially good with my Karma Curried Dipping Sauce (check it out in the sauces/condiments section). Or they are great alone!

 

Note: Don’t get hung up on exact measurements of seasonings or the oil. Just add enough oil to lightly coat the volume of veggies you are baking. Then add seasonings and salt to your taste. This is a fun easy recipe, be CREATIVE!

 

 

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mango sorbet with lime recipe

Mango Sorbet

Sorbet is predominately frozen pureed fruit, and this sorbet recipe is just about as pure as it gets.  It is like slurping up a fresh mango!

-Jessica

 

2 1/2 cups fresh mango, pureed
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lime juice (approx. 1/2 lime)

 

HEAT: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.  Pour into a separate container and cool in refrigerator for 1-2 hours until completely cooled.
MIX: Stir together the sugar water mixture, the pureed mango, and lime juice.
FREEZE: Pour into a 1-quart ice cream maker and freeze as directed by manufacturer.
FINISH: Serve with fresh berries.

NOTE:  Sorbet can be made with many different kinds of pureed fruit.  Try pineapple, strawberry, and any other kind you think would work well!  Lemon juice can also be substituted for the lime, which makes for some more variation.

 

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Vegetarian potato soup with swiss cheese

Potato Soup

This is a hearty, creamy potato soup recipe that is satisfying enough to be a whole meal by itself. I cannot resist potato soups. I use sharp cheddar and Swiss cheeses for a taste that has just a bit of a kick to it.  This has become a classic recipe in our home… it is easy to make, and with the low cost of potatoes, a delicious and economical meal.

-Curt

 

8 medium potatoes, diced
1 1/2 quarts water
1 leek, cleaned & chopped fine or one onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery chopped fine
1 tablespoons butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 teaspoons basil
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar
1 1/2 Swiss cheese

 

  1. In a large soup pot, heat and butter over medium-high.  Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add water , cubed potatoes and chopped leek or  onion.  Add seasonings, cover and boil for 1/2 hour or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Remove 1/2 of soup and blend until smooth, then return to pot, (or with a hand held blending unit, blend soup just enough to make a creamy texture).
  4. Turn heat to low and  stir in  milk and grated cheese.  Salt & pepper to taste.
    Serve with whole grain toast
Almond Broccoli Soup recipe- great for freezing and perfect for a light meal anytime of day

Almond Broccoli Soup

This Almond Broccoli Soup recipe is very healthy and goes well with a nice slice of multi-grain bread. It’s great for the freezer, which makes for a quick healthy light meal any time of the day. We love eating this for lunch with some hearty bread.

 

 

2 large heads broccoli, chopped into small chunks (including stalk)

2 tsp olive oil

2 cup onions

4 tsp tamari or soy sauce (preferably reduced sodium)

2 tsp thyme

2 tsp marjoram

2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp dill

1 tsp black pepper

4 T almond butter

8 cups vegetable stock

4 tsp lemon juice

4 T fresh parsley, chopped

 

 

Directions:

Heat oil in large soup pot over med heat. Saute onions, tamari and spices for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped broccoli and cook for several minutes (stirring frequently). Add the stock and almond butter; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the broccoli is almost soft. Do not overcook broccoli. Let the soup cool down and purée in a blender or with a hand blender. Pour soup back into pot and add the lemon juice and fresh parsley. Serve while warm.

 

* NOTE: You can also use different vegetables in this recipe such as carrots, potatoes, squash and cauliflower. Each are nice variations.

 

 

This recipe is adapted from Deepak Chopra’s, The Chopra Center Cookbook.

 

 

Multi-grain waffles recipe with buttermilk

Multi Grain Waffles

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. A good waffle iron and a batch of super nutritious multi-grain batter makes for the ultimate breakfast. Great for when guests are over and you want to make something mind blowing. I am showing here how to grind your own flour and the amounts of each grain to exactly make the best mix. If you don’t have a grinder, (very sad) I encourage you to get one. It is one of those things you use over and over. You can buy whole grains (very cheaply) and not be reliant on going to the store.
But, if you don’t, which is okay, get multi-grain flour from the health food stores.

-Curt

 

BASE RECIPE
2 Cups flour
2 Tbls flax seeds
1 Tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

 

WET INGREDIENTS
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

 

TOPPINGS
Grape seed oil (instead of butter)
Fresh yogurt
Fresh cut fruits  (banana, peaches, strawberries, blueberries etc.)

 

FLOUR (grind the following)
Wheat (soft white) 2 cups
Oats 1 cup
Kamut 1/2 cup
Rye 1/2 cup
Spelt 1/2 cup
Corn 1/2 cup

 

PREHEAT: waffle iron.
MIX: In a large mixing bowl, add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir in with a whisk.
DO NOT over mix. One of the secrets is to mix quick at first till everything is blended, but then stop. Allow the baking powder to raise the batter without beating it down which happens if you mix when the batter is raising.
COOK: Spray waffle iron with non-stick oil, then gently pour enough to make a good waffle. Serve with pure maple syrup.

 

Note:  We recommend using healthy oils on the waffle instead of artery clogging butter. Try it! It is actually better, and better for you!  We always use grape seed oil as our favorite. It is the best!

Vegetarian Lasagna recipe with zucchini, summer squash, garlic, peppers, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese

Vegetarian Lasagna

It’s the perfect time of year for a warm vegetarian pasta dish. This hearty vegetarian lasagna recipe will even have your kids asking for seconds- enjoy!

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 small red onion
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 cup mushroooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

1.Cook the lasagna noodles according to package. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2.In a large saucepan, cook and stir vegetables and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3.Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
4.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
5.Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

 

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Healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe with garlic, turkey, stewed tomatoes, italian seasonings and whole grain spaghetti noodles

Healthy Turkey Spaghetti

Does it get any better than having a nice warm plate of traditional spaghetti?  Here is a delicious meat-based spaghetti sauce with lean ground turkey in place of ground beef. The outcome is just as hearty and satisfying as beef, but much healthier. This healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe is super filling and is sure to please the whole family.

 

Ingredients
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

 

Directions
Brown the turkey in a large pot; drain off fat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool. Serve with warm whole grain spaghetti noodles and a side of garlic whole wheat bread.

 

 

 

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Alice Jo’s Spaghetti Sauce

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vegetarian chivito burger with egg

Chivito Veggie-Burgers

This easy chivito veggie burger recipe is a wonderful exception to a common complaint with veggie burgers that they lack flavor.  A Chivito is a hamburger-type sandwich found in Uruguay.  Besides the regular ground beef patty, bun, and condiments they are piled high with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, a variety of pickled vegetables, and a fried egg.  They are huge, greasy, and admittedly a delicious occasional treat.  The chivito veggie-burger is a spin-off that is much less greasy, has just as many toppings, and is just as delicious.   Best of all, it is easy.  The veggie burger patties and whole wheat buns can be stored in the freezer, and when you need a quick meal they can be pulled out and topped with whatever veggies you happen to have.   And don’t be scared of the egg!  It is actually quite good and helps to keep you full longer!

-Jessica

 

frozen veggie burger patties
whole wheat buns
eggs (1 per burger)
cheese
lettuce
tomato
bell pepper
avocado
red onion
pickles
dijon mustard
ranch dressing

 

Grill veggie-patties according to package directions (a George Forman-style grill works well and is easy to use all year round).  While patties are cooking, the toppings can be prepared.  Fry one egg per burger, slice the cheese and vegetables, and toast the buns.  When the veggie-patties and eggs are done, spread the buns with dijon mustard and/or ranch dressing and pile on the toppings!

 

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Oatmeal applesauce cookie recipe with applesauce, chocolate chips, nuts, flax seed, olive oil, whole wheat flour, and stevia

Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

I personally do not like overly sweet cookies.  These cookies were developed with the notion of having a low-fat, low-sugar cookie packed with whole grain goodness. Where you got a bit of dark chocolate and a hint of sweet, but that left you with a healthy feeling rather than a sugar low.  These cookies have become a standard in our home. I make them when I go on road trips. What is incredible about these amazing cookies is you can snack on them and they sustain you when a real meal isn’t available.  Try them… they are almost like a meal replacement!

-Curt

 

WET INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 – 4 oz. small containers of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cups olive oil
16 drops stevia
2 tsp. vanilla

 

DRY INGREDIENTS
2 cups whole wheat flour or multi grain flour
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking Powder
1.5 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup carob chips
1/4 cup flax seed

 

PREHEAT: Preheat oven to 350° F degrees.

MIX: Mix wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Add wet into the dry and gently mix together only enough to blend thoroughly but without overworking the dough.    (If needed add a bit more milk or flour to achieve the correct texture of cookie dough.)

SPOON & BAKE: Drop by the spoonful on a greased cookie sheet  and bake at 350° F degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

NOTE: Don’t get hung up on exact measurements of nuts and chocolate. Mix in what YOU like. I prefer lots of macadamia nuts and a bit of extra dark chocolate. Try various dark chocolate chips… or throw in some dried cranberries. Make these your OWN.

 

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Healthy summer squash lasagna recipe, with zucchini and summer squash

Summer Squash Lasagna

This easy summer squash lasagna recipe is a great way to use up that extra garden zucchini or other summer squash.  You won’t even miss the pasta. – Jessica

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion (about 2/3 cup), finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 lbs fresh or canned whole tomatoes, cut into 3-5 pieces, depending on size.              (If canned, get 2 lbs then drain them)

2 tsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs, divided (optional)

2 lbs zucchini, yellow summer squash, or a combination of both – sliced 1/4” thick

1 1/2 – 2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 – 2 cups ricotta cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

 

  1. Tomato mixture: Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Turn heat down to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  2.  Layer: Sprinkle 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs (if using) onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Place a layer of sliced zucchini/summer squash, covering the entire bottom of the pan.  Spread 1/4 of the tomato mixture – doesn’t have to be even since it is chunky.  Sprinkle 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup of ricotta as even as you can.  Repeat the squash, tomato, and cheese layers 3 more times – but on the last layer don’t put any cheese (tomato should be on top).  If it doesn’t come out evenly, just divide things as even as you can.  You should still have 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs left.
  3.  Bake: Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, uncovered.  A lot of the liquid from the zucchini will evaporate during this time.  Then top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs.  Lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for an additional 20 min. or until the cheese is melted and turing golden brown.
  4. Serve:  Serve with some good crusty bread and a green salad.

 

Serves 8-10.

 

 

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Easy garden fresh pizza recipe with fresh vegetables and whole grain crust.

Garden Fresh Pizza

One of my favorite things about late summer is the produce flowing from the backyard garden.  I have (finally!) learned that its best to create dishes around the produce I gather each day instead of trying to find a million recipes to use up everything I harvest.  Pizza is one thing that I have found you can add all sorts of random vegetables to with it turning out great, though slightly different, each time.  I made this particular pizza with rainbow chard, red onion, yellow summer squash, and fresh basil – but tomatoes, other greens such as spinach or kale, zucchini, peppers, etc can be used with good results.

– Jessica

 

 

whole grain pizza dough – enough for a large pizza

1 6 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp Italian seasoning

about 4 cups of greens (chard, spinach, kale), cut into bite sized pieces

1-2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 small summer squash, sliced thin

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

tomatoes, sliced (optional)

bell peppers, sliced (optional)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

parmesan cheese, to taste

garlic salt, to taste

parsley flakes, to taste

 

 PREPARE OVEN, STONE, and PEEL:  Preheat the oven to 425 F with a pizza stone inside.  Cover a pizza peel with cornmeal.

DOUGH:  Roll out your favorite whole grain dough recipe and place it on the prepared pizza peel.

SAUCE:  Stir the Italian seasoning into the can of tomato sauce.  Spread how ever much of it you want onto the dough.

GREENS:  Sprinkle the greens on top of the sauce.  Yes, I know that it looks like way too much.  Don’t worry – it cooks way down.  If you put any less you won’t be able to tell that it is there at all.

CHEESE:  Now sprinkle on the cheese.  It is important that it goes on top of the greens so that it holds them down.

VEGGIE TOPPINGS:  Bring on the rest of the veggie toppings – spread them all over!  This is not your typical pizza – you really shouldn’t see much cheese when we are done with these toppings.

BAKE:  Slide the pizza off the pizza peel onto the pizza stone.  I like to use a spatula and have a helper when I do this since the pizza is so tall 🙂  Bake for about 12 minutes – when the cheese is melted and just starting to bubble, sprinkle the basil on top.  After a minute or so, pull out the pizza.

SPRINKLE:  Sprinkle the parmesan, garlic salt, and parsley on top if desired.  I desire.  It is delicious.  Slice and enjoy!

Tofu dessert pie recipe with bananas and chocolate

Chocolate Cream Pie

Amazingly smooth, creamy, and chocolatey!  This delicious pie recipe is gluten free and vegan!  TOFU, yes tofu, is blended with melted chocolate for the creamy chocolate filling.  Besides making the pie healthier, the tofu provides a beautifully silky texture.  This method is much easier than making a traditional cream pie.  The crust is a gluten free and healthy version of a graham cracker crust.  If you are in a hurry, leave it crustless, as this recipe doubles as a chocolate pudding.  – Jessica

 

Filling:

6 oz dark chocolate bars or dark chocolate chips (I used 60% dark.  If you use darker, then you will probably want to add a bit more sugar)

12 oz firm tofu (use silken if making pudding)

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2-6 Tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy)

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

2-3 Tbsp agave (optional – go with your personal sweetness level)

 

2 bananas, just barely ripe (optional)

 

Crust:

1 1/2 cups brown rice or oat flour

3/4 cup ground nuts (I used almond, but pecan would be delicious)

3 Tbsp thawed apple juice concentrate

3 Tbsp oil

2-4 Tbsp brown sugar

 

 CRUST:  Toss all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork.  If it is too crumbly to press together, add a little bit more apple juice concentrate.  Press onto the bottom of a deep dish 9-in pie plate, coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

FILLING:  Break up the chocolate and put it into a microwave safe bowl.  Melt it in the microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir it until it is smooth.  Place all the ingredients into a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth.  The thickness will depend on the brand of tofu you are using.  If your mixture seems too thick to blend smooth, add some more milk – we want a mixture just thin enough to be able to blend smooth.  Once it is blended, for best results, grab a spoon and taste the filling.  If you want it sweeter, add a bit more sweetener.  If you want it more chocolatey, add a little more cocoa powder.

ASSEMBLE PIE:  Slice the bananas and place them in the bottom of the pie crust.  This is optional to use them, but they take up some empty space when using a deep dish and I think they go really well with the chocolate – balancing out the richness, and adding some more nutrition.  Pour the filling on top.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

 

 

Note:  If you want to make the pie in a regular 8 or 9 inch pie dish, you can use the same amount of pie filling.  Slice some bananas and place them on top or on the side instead of in the pie.  Reduce crust recipe to 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup nuts, 2 Tbsp juice concentrate, 2 Tbsp oil, 1-3 Tbsp brown sugar.

Vegetarian Tacos

I love tacos. I love the crunchy shells. I love the fresh crispy cold lettuce and cool tomatoes along with the hot filling you can easily make in your crock pot or on the stove. Because I think tacos are so dang groovy, I had to create my version of a healthy vegetarian taco. I think these are simply marvelous! They are incredibly tasty, and yet amazingly healthy too. Full of filling and healthy lentils, brown rice and seasonings. Your kids will even be chowing down on these hummers.

-Curt

 

BASE RECIPE

1 cup lentils

1 cup brown rice

6 cups water

1 cup TVP (meat substitute) (optional)

SEASONINGS
1 packet Taco Seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
4 tbls ketchup
salt to taste

TACO TOPPINGS
Crisp Corn Taco Shells
Shredded Lettuce
Grated Cheese
Light Sour Cream
Salsa or Hot Sauce

 

1.  Add lentils, brown rice and water into a crock pot.  Add seasonings and slowly cook until thick, tender and full of flavor.  TVP can also be added to this blend.  Just keep adding water if needed.

2.  Serve buffet style with crisp taco shells, fresh cut tomatoes and lettuce, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.


Note: A quick way to make a variation on this amazing meal is to make a “taco salad”. Simply cook up the seasoned lentils and brown rice. Then layer it in a bowl, and top with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, crumbled multi-grain chips and salsa. It is fantastic!

 

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Soft and chewy banana bread recipe with whole wheat flour

Streusel Banana Bread

This healthy banana bread recipe is a big hit at my house.  When we have bananas sitting on the counter that are starting to go bad my husband gets really excited.  If I don’t take the initiative to make this banana bread, he often will.  – Jessica

 

1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter, softened)

2/3 cup agave (or 3/4 cup white sugar)

1 egg

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp freshly ground flax seed (optional)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

 

streusel topping:

1 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbsp rolled oats (or more if needed)

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar, packed

1 Tbsp butter, melted

 

 

OVEN & PAN PREP:  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a 9×5” loaf pan.  If you use a smaller pan it will be gooey on the inside and dry on the outside, so trust me on this pan size.

WET INGREDIENTS:  In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and agave.  Beat in the egg, mashed bananas, and vanilla.

DRY INGREDIENTS:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, flax, and nuts.  Stir this mixture into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.  Pour into pan.

STREUSEL:  Mix streusel ingredients with a fork in a small bowl.  Keep adding a small amount of oats until the mixture is crumbly and can easily be sprinkled.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of the loaf.

BAKE:  Bake at 350 F for 10 min, then turn the oven down to 340 F for 30-40 more min.  When it is done, the center should be soft and chewy, but a knife should still come out clean.

Quick & Easy Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Here is a simple, basic snack recipe idea BUT always a goodie! It’s summer time, people are hittin’ the trails, heading to the pool and this makes for the perfect tag-a-long treat.  I like to mix up a big batch and then scoop about 1 cup into the mini snack size zip lock bags, and store in the refrigerator. Perfect for kids, or that afternoon pick me up.

– Jessica

 

Here’s a list of ideas for the mix:

 

sunflower seeds

raisins

dried apricots

cashews

almonds

dates

DARK CHOCOLATE (for good measure)

shredded coconut

pumpkin seeds

naturally sweetened cranberries

sesame seeds

and so forth and so on.

Tart frozen yogurt with berries

Tart Frozen Yogurt with Berries

Search no further for the perfect 4th of July dessert!  I am a huge fan of tart frozen yogurt, and with the right tool, this can be prepared so, so easily.  Top with sweet strawberries & blueberries (or any sweet fruit!) to create a fresh, healthy, and perfectly delightful summer treat.  – Jessica

 

serves 4-6

 

3 cups plain greek yogurt (non-fat works great)

2 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey or sugar)

3 cups berries, whole or chopped depending on size

agave nectar for drizzling (optional)

 

 

 SWEETEN:  Stir the 2 Tbsp agave into the yogurt.  This is optional, by the way.  I am one who LOVES plain yogurt, and don’t need mine sweetened.  I believe I’m in the minority, though, and you’d probably want to sweeten it for guests.  2 Tbsp is just enough to retain the yogurt’s tartness while keeping the super tart bite off.

FREEZE:  Pour the yogurt mixture into a 1 1/2 quart electric ice cream maker.  Following manufacturer’s instructions, let it run for about 20 minutes or until the yogurt is thick and as frozen as frozen yogurt is supposed to be.

TOP:  Serve up the yogurt into individual cups and top with berries.  Drizzle a little more agave on top if you would like it sweeter.  Serve immediately!  It melts quickly.

Dairy free strawberry ice cream recipe

Strawberry Ice Cream

Home-made, sugar-free Strawberry healthy ice cream in a matter of minutes!  This non-dairy recipe is as creamy and delicious as it looks.  Frozen fruit, coconut milk, and vanilla.  In the blender.  Pure and simple. Deliciousness!

 

1 banana, sliced and frozen
1 handful of strawberries, frozen
1-2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Place the frozen bananas and strawberries into a food processor. Start blending then add in the vanilla and coconut milk. Just enough for it to blend together but not too much, we want it to be really thick! Once it is nice and smooth but still very thick scoop it out and enjoy! It needs to be eaten right away as it will not keep very well in the freezer. Makes 2-3 servings.

macaroni and cheese for grownups with pasta, cheese, tofu, and vegetables

Mac ‘n Cheese For Grown-Ups

This is a healthy one-dish-meal recipe of “macaroni and cheese” that grown-ups can actually enjoy with their kids.  Lightly steamed vegetables and seasoned tofu are added to whole grain pasta and stirred into a highly flavorful sharp cheddar cheese sauce.  I got the idea for this recipe from the delicious “Country Cheddar” Amy’s Bowl.  Sometimes I get these Amy’s Bowls on sale for quick meals that I can pull out of the freezer if I’m in a pinch.  Amy’s products are all natural, organic, and taste great for frozen meals.  This particular variety was so good that I felt inspired to re-create it as a non-frozen variation that the whole family could enjoy together.  – Jessica

 

12 oz firm tofu

1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta

1 medium potato, cut into small cubes (1/2” or smaller)

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small florets

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2” x 2” strips

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or very thin slices (I use a mandolin slicer)

 

Sauce:

1 cup milk (fat content doesn’t matter)

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground mustard

1 Tbsp flour

8-10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

 

 PREPARE TOFU:  Prepare the tofu by first draining out the water it is packaged in and then pressing out some more water by placing the brick between a few layers of paper towels and pressing down on it.  You don’t need to do this for a long time.  Just enough to dry it out a little bit.  This will help the tofu brown quicker and help it soak up other flavors.  Slice the tofu into slices about 1/2”x1/2”x1”.  I simply lay the brick down on a cutting board and since it is already about 1” or 1 1/2” thick, I just make 1/2” slices all the way across lengthwise and then 1/2” slices all the way across crosswise.

 SAUTE:  Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan over medium high heat.  You will want to choose one with a lid.  Stir the tofu in and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides.  Pour the tofu into a bowl and set aside.

PASTA:  Prepare the rotini according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside when done.

VEGETABLES:  While the pasta is boiling, place the prepared vegetables into the pan that the tofu was cooked in.  Stir over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, then stir in 2-3 Tbsp water and quickly cover the pan with a lid.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Start making the sauce while the veggies steam for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the tofu bowl once they are crisp-tender and still brightly colored.

SAUCE:  Place all sauce ingredients except for the cheese into a blender.  Blend until well mixed.  Then pour into the same pan that the tofu and vegetables cooked in.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Stir in the cheese.

COMBINE:  Add the tofu, pasta, & vegetables to the cheese sauce in the large skillet.  Stir until everything is well coated and warmed.

Fun snacks for kids: ants and butteflies

Healthy & Fun Birthday Party Food!

My little girl turned 3 recently and we had her first friend birthday party.  (It was SO fun!)  I wanted to serve the kids something at least somewhat healthy while they were here and yet a birthday party isn’t a birthday party if the treats aren’t fun and yummy for the kids, right?  So here is what I came up with:

 

Ants and Butterflies on Logs (see above image)

3-in segments of celery with peanut butter spread inside.  Top with raisins and pretzels so that they look like ants and butterflies.

 

24 Chocolate Zucchini Cake cupcakes made into a butterfly

I had to double the recipe to get enough cupcakes.  The frosting is NOT healthy by the way.  They actually taste better without the frosting and I scraped mine off, BUT I couldn’t resist making a cute colorful butterfly.  If anyone has any ideas for doing so in a healthy way, please pass them on!

I got the idea for the butterfly formation on That Sweet Ang

Chocolate zucchini cake made into butterfly cupcakes for kids party

 

A total success!

 

Healthy & fun insect snacks made of celery, peanut butter, pretzels and raisins; chocolate zucchini cake cupcakes for parties. Healthy & fun insect snacks made of celery, peanut butter, pretzels and raisins; chocolate zucchini cake cupcakes for parties. Healthy & fun insect snacks made of celery, peanut butter, pretzels and raisins; chocolate zucchini cake cupcakes for parties. Healthy & fun insect snacks made of celery, peanut butter, pretzels and raisins; chocolate zucchini cake cupcakes for parties.

quick & easy delicious fruit salad recipe

Easy Fruit Salad

This fast simple fruit salad recipe is the ultimate refreshing snack or side dish. When you are in a hurry and just want something healthy to snack on in front of the tv and want to feel refreshed and energetic, try cutting up simple fruits into bite size pieces of happiness. It is so quick to do, it is surprising we don’t do it more often. You can really use any fruits. These are the basic ones that people usually have on hand. Live uncooked fruits are so good for your health. Full of vitamin C and enzymes, you’ll want to make a habit of making this snack or side dish for your health.

Banana

Watermelon

Orange

Any Melons!

Pineapple

Pomegranate

Apple

Strawberries

Grapefruit

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Any Berries!

1. CUT FRUIT: So easy. Just cut up the fruit and serve in bowls. Grab a fork and dig in!

2. DIP: You can serve this with a side of flavored yogurt or fruit dip as an option.

Note: It is so important to eat raw fruits and vegetables. But, sometimes it is just hard to grab an orange or apple or banana and just eat it straight. But, if you can cut it up in little bites and mix it with a few other fruits, somehow it becomes this fun exotic experience of fruit indulgence! Give it a try! Make it a regular in your snacking and cut up whatever you have on hand. You’ll feel refreshed and healthy! 

Easy healthy brown-rice-pudding recipe

Brown Rice Pudding

Easy, creamy and healthy Brown Rice Pudding recipe. My family has a heritage of being rice pudding lovers. I think I tasted my first rice pudding when I was about 3. My Grandma Snarr had a recipe that was as good as it gets. World class. We have tried here to adapt it and keep the creamy, comforting qualities that make a great rice pudding – yet make it reasonably healthy. Try it out. It is low sugar, and feels just crazy healthy leaving you satisfied and guilt free. This recipe is cooked in a saucepan with minimal ingredients. Easy to make. Everyone seems to love it. Leave it in the fridge for those moments when you need to reward yourself without binging on sugar.  – Curt

2 1/2 cups COOKED short grain brown rice
3 cups rice milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

 
1. COOK SHORT GRAIN BROWN RICE: Cook rice as directed on package. You can use 1/3 rice milk instead of water in the initial rice cooking leaving the rice more flavorful and pudding like.

2. HEAT MILK: In a large saucepan, heat milk to scalding.

3. COMBINE AND STIR: Whisk in sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg till smooth. Then stir in rice and allow to simmer till pudding like.  Stir occasionally so that the pudding doesn’t burn.

 

 

Note: I recognize that this recipe has some sugar but it does not taste overly sweet. You can make versions where you adjust the amount of sugar, reducing it
a bit and adding a touch of stevia. Make it the consistency YOU like best. Add a bit more milk for a saucier pudding, and less for a thicker pudding with more rice. On another note after experimenting SHORT grain brown rice is stickier and seems to make a more moist pudding.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe recipe with lentils & brown rice

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

This is a fairly easy super healthy vegetarian sloppy joe recipe for the slow cooker. Just throw all the ingredients into the large crock pot and it’ll feed a small army! Sloppy joes are kind of a family favorite. Who doesn’t like them? What I wanted to go for is a healthier vegetarian version. Easy to make. Filling. The only thing about this version is it is a slow cooker recipe so it can all be done in a crock pot but it does take time. You have to be a bit flexible when you make this and be willing to adjust this as you go. The main variables are adjusting the water as you go, so you end up with a very thick consistency. Also, feel free to season this using my recipe as the base, but slowly add a bit here and there to get it perfect for your tastes.

-Curt

1 1/2 cups lentils
2 cups short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups TVP (optional but good)
8-10 cups water
1/3 cup dried onion pieces
2 packs sloppy joe seasoning mix
2 tsp garlic powder
1 can tomato paste
6 tbls ketchup barbecue sauce to taste
sea salt to taste
whole wheat hamburger buns

1. SLOW COOKER: In a large slow cooker, add water, lentils, brown rice, tvp and dry seasonings and allow to cook on high for a few hours till the lentils and rice are very soft and the mixture thickens up. The water may need to be adjusted as the cooking progresses to ensure you have enough moisture to cook thoroughly.

2. SEASON: When all dry ingredients are soft and thickened to a consistency of sloppy joe mix, add bbq sauce, tomato paste and ketchup to taste. This is where you need to be creative and add slowly the bbq sauce to your tastes. Mix in thoroughly and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns.

Note: As in many of my recipes, I recommend being flexible with the amounts for this recipe. This makes a nice batch. As the ingredients cook in the slow crock pot cooker, keep stirring occasionally and check for needed water if the lentils and rice aren’t soft enough. This usually gets better if it cooks for several hours with the seasonings and the sauces. 

whole wheat pasta recipe with tuna and baby peas for a quick healthy meal

Angel Hair Pasta with Tuna & Baby Peas

This angel hair tuna salad recipe with peas is similar to the famous “tuna casserole,” but light and more elegant.  Fast, too.  This one-dish meal will please kids and adults alike.  – Jessica

1 lb whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups milk (skim or low fat)
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups frozen baby peas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup onion (red or yellow), minced
2  5-oz cans tuna fish, drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Additional salt or freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)

PASTA:  Cook pasta according to package directions.
SAUCE:  While pasta is boiling, add milk, flour, salt, and pepper into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add frozen peas, but don’t blend them.  Set aside.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent.  Add blender mixture with peas.  Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes.  The sauce should thicken a little.
COMBINE:  When pasta is done, drain well.  Put the pasta back into it’s pot and stir in the sauce and tuna over low heat.  Once pasta is thoroughly coated, remove from heat and serve.  If you cook it all together too long or mush up all the tuna instead of leaving it in chunks, the entire dish will taste like tuna.  I prefer just to have the chunks of tuna to taste like tuna.
TOP:  Serve and top with Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

Note:  If you are not a big fan of tuna, leave it out.  It is delicious with just the peas!

Recipe inspired by Hodgson Mill’s Angel Hair with Baby Pea Sauce, which is found on the back of their angel hair pasta package.

Easy healthy granola bar recipe with toasted almonds oats cranberries coconut and puffed rice

No-Bake Almond Granola Bars

No-Bake Almond Granola Bar recipe makes chewy whole grain granola bars with crunchy tidbits of roasted almonds and sunflower seeds, drizzled with dark chocolate.  These are more satisfying than the store-bought granola bars I have tried and have that awesome fresh-home-made-no-preservative-taste.  My toddler even loves these “gwanoya bas.”   -Jessica

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup dry roasted almonds, chopped small (or toast raw ones yourself)
3/4 cup whole grain puffed brown rice (easily found in health food stores)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (I prefer roasted and salted ones)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

1/4 cup coconut oil or regular butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp dark chocolate (optional)

OATS:  Toast the oats by placing them in dry skillet over medium high heat.  Stir for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden and they smell a little nutty.  (You don’t HAVE to do this step, but I highly recommend it as it makes the granola bars considerably tastier).  If you used quick oats, you are done.  If you used regular rolled oats the bars will stick together a little better if you pulse the oats a couple of times in a food processor or coffee grinder.
DRY INGREDIENTS: Stir together the oats, almonds, puffed brown rice, sunflower seeds, coconut, and dried fruit (if using) in a large bowl.
SYRUP:  Stir together the coconut oil/butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
COMBINE AND PRESS:  Stir the syrup into the dry ingredients, mixing well until evenly coated.  Wet your fingers with water and press the granola firmly into a lightly greased 11×7 inch pan.  You can also use a larger pan, pushing the granola to one side making sure it is 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick.
DRIZZLE:  If you would like chocolaty topping, microwave the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on high.  Stir.  Drizzle over the pressed granola by carefully flinging the melted chocolate off the end of a fork or small spoon a little bit at a time.
BARS:  Place the pan in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes or at room temperature for longer until the chocolate has hardened.  Then cut into bars.  Wrap the bars in plastic wrap for readily available snacks.

Inspired by:  Rachel Ray’s n0-bake chewy granola bars

fluffy whole grain buttermilk blueberry lemon pancake recipe

Blueberry Lemonade Pancakes

Fabulous and healthy Blueberry Lemonade Pancake recipe. When I made these pancakes for the first time my husband told me, “These are the only pancakes anyone should ever eat.”  These light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes can be made with or without blueberries in them, and are moist enough that they don’t even need butter and syrup.  Some lemon juice and powdered sugar on top is a nice touch, though.   – Jessica

 

2 cups whole white wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup sugar (or 3 Tbsp honey or agave)

3 eggs

1/4 cup oil

2 cups butter milk (or 2 cups milk with 2 Tbsp lemon juice, let sit for 5 min.)

1 cup blueberries

 

  1. Mix:  Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, stirring well.  Then mix them together into the same bowl.  Stir in the blueberries last.
  2. Cook:  Heat a griddle or a fry pan to medium high heat.  Pour 1/4 – 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and flip when they just start to turn golden brown.
  3. Top:  Top pancakes with fresh squeezed lemons and powdered sugar.  I also like to put a fruit mixture on top.  Peaches, bananas, and blue berries are a nice combination.

 

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whole grain pumpkin bars with chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

This is definitely a dessert, and desserts are to be eaten in moderation, right?  But I certainly feel healthier after eating a whole grain dessert than a white-flour one.  Plus it has pumpkin!  This one is quite yummy.  -Jessica

 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg white

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

1.   PREHEAT:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  DRY INGREDIENTS:  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

3.  WET INGREDIENTS:  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg white and vanilla.  Then beat in the pumpkin puree.

4.  COMBINE:  Carefully mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones, just until combined.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

5.  BAKE:  Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with cooking spray.  Spread batter evenly into the pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

6.  COOL:  Cool completely in pan before cutting them into squares and eating them.  This will be difficult, but I PROMISE that they taste better cooled.

Creamy mashed potatoes & skins with Yukon Gold and Russets.

Mashed Potatoes with Skins

My dad said it best.  If he could only have one food in the world it would be the potato.  This from a man who was raised on an Idaho Spud Farm.  And of all the potato recipes.. nothing quite tops good old mashed potatoes.  We make them a little bit sophisticated by using 2 potato varieties. Yukon Gold Potatoes, and good old Idaho Russet potatoes. The Yukons make it creamier and the russets have a bit more body. I error on the side of having a bit more russets. Leaving the skins on is non negotiable. It ads nutrition, texture and heck, it’s easier than peeling them all! Don’t get hung up on exact proportions here. You have to create each batch with your own sense of what is best as potatoes vary in size, and we vary the batch depending on how many we are serving. One last note on the amazingness of mashed potatoes… they are super affordable, filling and kids love them! You can feed an entire family for a few bucks! How do you beat that? – Curt

 

INGREDIENTS

5 medium Golden Yukon Potatoes

5 medium Russet Potatoes

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups 2% milk or rice milk

sea salt & pepper to taste

 

OPTIONAL

4 tablespoons of sour cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup grated gouda cheese

 

CLEAN AND CUT: Scrub potatoes till clean so that any dirt is removed from potatoes. Then, cut potatoes into about 2 – 3 inch chunks. Cutting into large chunks will speed up the cooking time.

BOIL: Choose a large cooking pot… large enough to mash potatoes in when finished boiling.  Boil potatoes until fork pierces easily.  Pull from heat and drain off water.

FINISH: Using a potato masher, mash down potatoes, adding butter and milk as you go.  Continue mashing until potatoes are light and creamy.  Salt and pepper to taste.


 

Note: 

NOTES: Potatoes are really an art. Not a difficult art, but it is an art. For one, potatoes vary in size. So, you have to learn to mash up a batch, then add the butter, salt, pepper to taste. Just add slowly and keep adding till you are happy with the batch. Just boil up the spuds, then mash like crazy. Then add butter and milk slowly. Too much milk will make the potatoes too thin and soupy. Too little and they will be dry. If I really want to be a bit decadent, I add more butter, a tad of sour cream, and then if I really want to go wild, I throw in just a bit of grated cheese. You can experiment with the cheeses as well. In our family, the mashed potatoes are so incredibly delicious, we hardly ever need gravy. Don’t get stuck on exact proportions having variety is half the fun!

Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate for a fast easy dessert

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Fantastic for Valentines Day, or any day!  Who doesn’t love chocolate dipped strawberries?  The sweet, juicy fruit and the crunchy chocolate coating…There is something just decadent about them.  And whether you are making one just for you, or a bunch for a crowd, with how easy they are to make you’ll never buy them again!

-Jessica

 

strawberries, washed and dried thoroughly
dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa)

 

Melt: Place just enough chocolate chips for the amount of strawberries you are wanting to dip into a small microwave safe bowl.  A little bit of dark chocolate goes a long way.  A rule of thumb – 1 Tbsp chocolate chips per 1-2 large strawberries.  Melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.
Dip: Dip the strawberries in the chocolate and set on wax paper, taking care not to let them touch.
Finish: Allow chocolate to cool. When chocolate is completely hardened, they are ready to eat!

Healthy fruit smoothie for breakfast or a snack

Fruit Smoothie

Fruit smoothies are sweet, delicious, and very refreshing without any added sweeteners! They are excellent for breakfast or for a summer treat.  All one really needs to make a great fruit smoothie is fruit and a good blender.  All the rest is optional!  Experiment with combinations of fruits and juices. The most economical way to make good smoothies is to buy fresh berries and bananas when they are on sale and then freezing them yourself.  Any time you are ready for a smoothie, you can draw from your frozen fruit stash and make one within minutes!  Another reason to use frozen fruit is that it makes a nice, thick, smoothie without adding any ice, which dilutes the flavor of the fruit.  We personally like to include a frozen banana in most smoothies which gives a full body and texture.  Fresh squeezed lime juice adds a lot of dimension, as does coconut milk.  Which is your favorite combination?

-Curt and Jessica

 

FRUITS
Banana
Strawberries
Pineapple
Peaches
Apricots
Apple
Raspberries
Cherries
Blueberries

 

LIQUID
Apple Juice
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Coconut Milk
Plain Yogurt
Cows Milk
Soy Milk

 

EXTRAS
Orange Juice (or other fruit juice) Concentrate
Lime juice
Lemon Juice
Chopped nuts (raw & unsalted)
Freshly ground Flax seed

 

EXPERIMENT & BLEND: Start by placing all of the fruit needed to make the smoothie into the blender.  Add about a cup of liquid and blend until the consistency is smooth.  You may need to add additional liquid if blending requires it or until the desired consistency is obtained. Obviously, more liquid will create a thinner smoothy, while less liquid will make a thicker smoothie.  A twist of lemon and/or lime will add a little zing.  Using yogurt or milk will add some protein to help keep you full longer.  If using a liquid other than juice, adding some orange juice concentrate will add more flavor without using too much liquid. Experiment and come up with combinations that work best for you!

 

Steamed Vegetables with healthy Cheese Sauce for dinner

Steamed Veggies with Cheese Sauce

This is absolutely one of our all time favorite vegetarian recipes. This rich cheese sauce gets a bit of a kick from the sharp cheddar and swiss cheeses. It’s a perfect compliment over a bed of steamed broccoli, cauliflower carrots and white potatoes. While cheese sauce would not be considered “low-fat”, we have tried to make it as healthy as possible, and served over a steamed batch of veggies makes it justifiable! We also serve this dish with a side of whole wheat bread… which is wonderful for dipping into the sauce.

-Curt and Jessica

 

CHEESE SAUCE
¼ cup butter
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 cups milk (I always use skim)
2 cups sharp cheddar or swiss

VEGETABLES
1 large bunch of Broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
4-6 large carrots
4 medium white potatoes

STEAM: Cut vegetables into small sections for steaming. Place into a large pot for steaming (with a steamer tray inserted). Add an inch or two of water, cover and steam until vegetables are tender… about 15 to 20 minutes.  Since the broccoli will cook faster than the rest of the vegetables, to prevent it from getting mushy and turning a yucky green color, you can add the broccoli during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
BOIL: While vegetables are steaming prepare sauce. Slowly bring 4 cups of milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Stirring is essential because milk will scald quickly! Combine 1 cup of milk with flour and either shake in a mixing jar or blend and add to the milk. (I recommend having the flour and milk combined and ready to poor before starting to heat milk so that you can continually stir without stopping). Continue stirring over heat until the mixture thickens and immediately remove from the stove.
FINISH: Stir in grated cheese, salt and pepper until cheese is melted and sauce is ready to serve.

cinnamon sugar chips with sweet fruit salsa (kiwi, strawberries, apples, raspberries or blueberries)

Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips with Fruit Salsa

Our Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips with Fruit Salsa recipe is a fantastic way to satisfy a sweet tooth while still getting a healthy dose of whole grains and fruit.
Great party food!

-Jessica

2 whole wheat pitas or tortillas, each divided into 8 wedges
2 Tbs butter, melted (can also use a lightly flavored olive oil or cooking spray)
2 Tbs sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

 

Mix:  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Coat:  Brush top of the wedges lightly with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Next, sprinkle them with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Bake:  Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for 5-8 minutes, depending on how chewy or how crunchy you like yours.

 

Fruit Salsa

This is our suggested recipe, but feel free to use any fruit you wish!

1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
4 oz. raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
8 oz. strawberries, diced
2-3 Tbsp 100% fruit preserves, any flavor

Combine:  In a medium sized bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but best when used fresh.

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Tropical Fruit Parfait

A quick breakfast served with a muffin or a piece of toast – and just a little more exotic than a side of yogurt and a piece of fruit.  Try serving this recipe at a brunch or even having it for dessert!

-Jessica

½ cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsp sweetened and flaked coconut
2/3 cup chopped/sliced fruit

 

MIX:  Mix yogurt with 2 Tbsp coconut.
LAYER:  Place yogurt/coconut mixture in bottom of a glass.  Next, place layers of fruit.  Top with the last Tbsp of coconut and serve.

 

Note:  For this recipe, we used pineapple, mango, and strawberry.  Another tasty combination is kiwi, strawberry, and blackberry.  Try making your own favorite combination!

Healthy Vegetarian Mini Pizza recipe

whole wheat bun pizza

I created this really quick and easy recipe mainly for my kids. We all love pizza, but making one from scratch is time consuming, and buying a commercial one is usually incredibly unhealthy. This is a great solution. The key is finding a whole wheat hamburger bun, or even a whole grain english muffin. Both work great. Just toast the bun, then load it up with sauce, cheese and healthy toppings!

-Curt

Whole wheat hamburger buns or
whole grain english muffins

SAUCE
Bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Garlic
Italian Seasonings
Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Paste

TOPPINGS
Mozzerella Cheese (and or other italian cheeses)
Olives, Pineapple Tid Bits, Green Pepper, Onions, Red Pepper, Zuchinni, Mushrooms (any of your favorite toppings)

 

1.  Lightly toast bun or english muffin
2.  Mix together tomato sauce with seasonings and paste to make a rich flavorful sauce
3.  Place bun or muffin on baking tray. Layer with a generous amount of sauce. Add plenty of cheese and toppings
4.  Bake at 400 till cheese is melted and lightly browned

 

NOTE:  The key to making this tasty is to jazz up the sauce. I buy a bottle of quality spaggetti sauce, then add garlic, italian seasonings and a bit of parmesan cheese. You can also thicken it with tomato paste, which makes for a richer sauce. I really push the sauce on the flavor side, as it is what makes this simple recipe a winner.

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese recipe

Mac and Cheese Homestyle

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic American favorite.  Who can’t remember sitting down to a bowl of hot macaroni in a rich orange cheese sauce.  This is a lower-fat variation, using whole grain macaroni.  Whole wheat macaroni can be purchased in most health food stores or larger super-markets.

-Curt

1 16 ounce package whole wheat elbow macaroni

CHEESE SAUCE
5 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups grated cheese. Use flavorful cheeses such as sharp cheddar, swiss and jarlzburg (or whatever you have)
salt and pepper to taste

 

PASTA: In a large pot cook macaroni as directed on package and drain.  Set aside in a separate container.
SAUCE: In a blender combine flour and 2 cups of milk and blend till it is thoroughly mixed. In  the same large pot that the macaroni was cooked in (now without the noodles) pour in flour and milk mixture along with the rest of the milk. Slowly bring milk and flour to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stirring is essential because milk will scald quickly if not watched carefully.  Once this boils the milk mixure will thicken into a sauce. Turn off heat and stir in grated cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be rich and flavorful. Feel free to add cheese or seasonings to taste.
FINISH: Pour back in macaroni into the sauce and gently mix in. Serve with side of parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.

 

NOTE:  Use anywhere from 10 to 14 ounces of cheese in the sauce. Realizing of course, the more cheese in the recipe, the higher the fat content.

Moist chocolate cake recipe with zucchini

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Desserts are a once in a while treat that should be thoroughly enjoyed.  We believe in maximizing just enough nutrients in desserts without sacrificing taste.  Taste this cake recipe and you would never guess that it is 100% whole grain and that there is as much zucchini as flour.  Dark chocolate chips are even used instead of frosting.  This was the cake I always asked my mother to make for my birthday parties.  I wouldn’t tell my friends it had zucchini in it until after they had eaten it and told me how yummy it was.   If you like chocolate, it may be your new favorite birthday treat!

-Jessica

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup grated zucchini
dark chocolate chips
walnuts or other favorite nuts, chopped

 

Mix: Cream together sugars, butter, eggs, oil, & vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.  Add grated zucchini and mix well.  You can also add some chocolate chips and nuts into the batter if you’d like.  Pour the batter into a 9×9 baking pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the top of the cake with dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
BAKE: Bake in a preheated oven at 325° F for 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Remember that if the knife hits a chocolate chip, it could come out with melted chocolate on it even though the cake may be done.  If that happens, try another spot.