Snacks

Charcuterie Plate

Everyone needs to have a recipe in their back pocket that is elegant and beautiful when entertaining. In my case, I prefer something like this charcuterie plate. It’s not really a “recipe”, in the strictest sense of the word, but I don’t really enjoy constraints in case you haven’t noticed. So allow me to share my guide to building this gorgeous platter. It features my homemade pimento cheese as well as the ricotta crostini I shared this week. There are times when I enjoy making something visually beautiful to eat, it stimulates my creative side and brings me happiness in a way that simply filling my belly cannot. I try and make my charcuterie platter with plenty of bright, beautiful veggies and serve some seed or whole grain crackers instead of only white. I find the options are endless and the flavor combinations much more interesting to my taste buds when I add fresh elements to a charcuterie plate. I love the bright colors of cucumbers, tomatoes and cherries and sprigs of herbs; all fantastic options for the conscientious eater. My guests love it because it looks and tastes amazing and I can rest easy and enjoy myself knowing that I have many wholesome options before me. Sometimes the extra effort it takes to make something beautiful is just as enjoyable as actually eating the food. You are in charge of what you put in your body and can have fun entertaining without getting off track! Below are the different […]

Sourdough Bread

I enjoy making homemade bread from time to time. It’s not something I do every week but I probably make it about once a month. I’ve been tweaking this sourdough bread recipe for many years. Sourdough bread is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. A little note, you will need a sourdough bread starter, which I also have a recipe for and will post later this week. The starter recipe is not complicated but makes more sense if you already have a bread recipe to refer back to. I like sourdough bread because it’s much easier to digest than other forms of homemade bread. Sourdough has higher quantities of lactobacillus than other bread, which, you may remember, is the same type of probiotic found in yogurt. This is in the raw dough and doesn’t actually make it through the baking process, however, it does leave behind lactic acid. Lactic acid helps balance out phytic acid, which is found in lots of bread and inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. The lactic acid helps to make sure that the phytic acid is in balance and your body can digest the bread more effectively. Another note on lactic acid, it makes this bread naturally lower on the glycemic index. Overall, if you feel bloated after eating bread, then you may feel much better with a little homemade sourdough. I also like to add flax seed to this recipe. You all know how I feel about flax! Its such a […]

Easy Tomato and Red Chili Salsa

At home, I refer to this recipe as “my easy salsa” because it really is so simple to make. It’s my favorite go-to salsa since it only takes a few minutes and uses all fresh ingredients which make the flavor out of this world. I am giving you many variations here and all of them are great! Making your own salsa is so much better to me than store-bought, you can skip out on all the preservatives and add flavor. I’ll take that! This recipe can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes and any type of hot pepper or chili you prefer. Also, I use up my cilantro stems in this recipe so that I am not wasting any part of cilantro. The stems actually have more flavor than the leaves so this is a great way to use them up since you are going to be pureeing all the vegetables together. Ingredients: 3 large tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes or a full pint of cherry tomatoes (if it is winter and you don’t have fresh tomatoes you can use a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes) 2 cloves of garlic ½ tsp. of dried chili de arbol (or any other dried chilis you like) or 1 whole jalapeno or habanero. ¼ cup cilantro stems (or leaves if you prefer) ½ tsp. Sea salt Directions: Put all the ingredients in your blender (I use a Vitamix) and depending on the consistency that you want you can either pulse […]

Chipotle Salsa

I’ll admit it, we have a crush on salsa over here. I have been making homemade salsa ever since the kids were young and we have always loved to put it on everything. We are a little obsessed! Which is why I have several recipes. This is another salsa I came up with that is so easy and versatile. This recipe is pretty flexible so its possible you’ll have all the makings in your pantry at any given time. I started making this salsa a few winters ago when I was craving tomatoes and realized that if you use a good quality canned tomato the salsa is still very delicious. Be CAREFUL what brand of tomatoes you buy because some of the canned variety taste like the actual can they come in. Also, if you want less heat you can use just one or two of the chipotles. Salsa is a great way to keep fresh flavors and veggies in your diet during the winter. Our bodies desperately need veggies and if you’ve made the change to eat more of them, you will keep craving them. I truly enjoy making homemade salsa, for me, it is another way in which I choose to put more good into my body and nurture my health. I hope you can be inspired by how easy this is and begin to make your own salsas at home!   Ingredients: 1 28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes in their juices. 1 can chipotles in adobo […]

Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here and it's time for all things Pumpkin.  These muffins are some of my favorites. I have been making these for years and they bring back so many memories of baking days with my kids when they were all living at home.  I am still making them for the last of the 5 kiddos and he loves them. This recipe initially came from the blog, Money Saving Mom, and I have tweaked it over the years to make them more nutrient dense.  They are both a treat and a healthy snack.  These are not difficult so give them a try.  Great way to celebrate a fall morning with a cup of coffee or tea. Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 24-30 muffins) 4 eggs 1 cup raw cane sugar 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1 16oz. can pumpkin puree 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 3/4 cup avocado oil 3 cups Whole Wheat, Spelt or Kamut flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 package chocolate chips Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tins with baking oil (I use coconut or avocado oil spray) or use paper liners. Using a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Add chocolate chips and stir in gently. Fill muffins cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Remove from muffin pan and let cool on wire [...]

Pimento Cheese With a Twist

It's a dinner party again and as a person who has special dietary needs, you are addressed with what to bring.  You show up with one of your many variations of hummus that is your go to and by the end of the evening it has barely been touched.  This has been the scenario for me many times and to be honest...I am tired of hummus!  I needed a new go to and this recipe is that for me.  I have not found anyone so far that hasn't enjoyed it! I did not grow up with pimento cheese but I sure do like it.  The first recipe that I came across was in Frank Stitt's cookbook, "The Southern Table".  It was very easy to make and I absolutely flipped. I am serious that I can eat a whole bowl in one sitting.  I am not ashamed because it is just that good! There has been a little bit of a love/hate relationship between myself and pimento cheese. The primary reason for that is because there is cheese in it!!  Dairy causes me to clear my throat constantly which is uncomfortable for me and anyone around me. I found that I could tolerate some raw cheese and any goat or sheep dairy.  So...I created my own recipe using three cheeses and jarred roasted bell peppers to make it less time consuming. Give this recipe a try and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do!   Pimento Cheese with [...]

Avocado Crema

I think you can find a picture of an avocado on any health and wellness blog or Instagram. They are such a superfood!! There were so many years with excessive warnings about eating too many avocados due to their high fat content.  I am so glad those days are over!!  Avocado has healthy fat which is primary in reversing insulin resistance. They also contain a monounsaturated fat which is imperative for memory and brain health.  They have more potassium than a banana and are high in B & C vitamins. That is only the beginning when it comes to their health benefits. Avocados are part of my weekly diet and this recipe for avocado crema came to me in a moment of panic.  We were having some friends over and I was supposed to make an appetizer.  I had worked a little later than anticipated and only had a few minutes to come up with something.  Well, this was it!! I had no idea how it would turn out but it got eaten really quickly and so now it is a family favorite!  It is great as a dip for vegetables or tortilla chips and my favorite topping for any kind of taco or Mexican food!   AVOCADO CREMA 2 Avocados (scooped out) 8 oz. plain yogurt 1 handful of cilantro 2 TBS. taco seasoning (I use Bold Taco from Penzey’s or Frontier) salt to taste (if using unsalted taco seasoning) a squeeze of lime     1.Put all ingredients […]

Peanut Butter Energy Bars

Let’s be honest, everyone gets snacky sometimes. Your body might be asking you for just a little extra energy to get through the day. That’s why I like to keep healthy, homemade snacks on hand so I have a good option to turn to when the between-meal hunger strikes. I don’t snack every day, I’d rather go ahead and have an early lunch than fill up on snacks. But there are times when I’ve been working extra hard and I feel my body needs a little more fuel. This recipe is a fantastic one to keep on hand for those times. Also, kids love them! The average packaged snack bar has about 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving. These energy bars have 5.5 grams of protein and 11 grams of high-quality fiber from chia seeds. They also have calcium and antioxidants. These bars may taste indulgent but they have the right amount of protein, fiber and healthy fat to satisfy and help you feel full. I’ll take it! Ingredients: 2 cups puffed brown rice crisps ¼ cup chia seeds ½ cup unsweetened coconut ¼ cup raw old fashioned oats ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds ¼ cup goji berries ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter of choice) ⅓ cup brown rice syrup ⅓ cup maple syrup Directions: 1. Combine puffed rice, chia seeds, coconut, oats, almonds and goji berries in a large bowl. 2. In a small saucepan, melt peanut butter, […]

Freezing and Storing Summer Produce

I just love the flavors of summer produce: tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumber, blackberries, blueberries, peaches and so many more! When I am in the middle of winter I find that I crave those fresh sunny fruits and vegetables and have found a way to have those year round. I buy up as much as I can afford each week and freeze them. It’s way more fresh and cost-effective than buying frozen veggies and fruit at the grocery store. It’s best to buy fruits and vegetables in the summer as they are always less expensive in season. Also, when you freeze them yourself you know exactly where they came from and that nothing was added in the freezing process. As summer sets in, remember that colder weather will come and you will long for these delicious foods. So buy a little extra each week, you’ll be surprised how much it adds up and you can stash away for the winter. Here is my method: Berries: Put berries on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, make sure they are not touching and freeze. Note: I first freeze them on a cookie sheet to make sure they don’t clump together. Much easier for grabbing just a handful for smoothies etc. Then date, label and move to a quart size bag. I keep adding to the bag each week until full and freeze as many bags as I can over the summer. Use in desserts and smoothies. Peaches: Peel and slice. Place single layer on […]

Homemade Yogurt

I love making yogurt at home! Buying high-quality yogurt at the grocery store is expensive and its much more cost effective to make it myself. Plus yogurt at the store is more processed, they have to in order to make it stable for transportation and to sit on the shelves for a little while. As many of you know, I really enjoy the simplicity of making these things on my own but I encourage my friends and clients to start where you can and work from there. You’ll be surprised, like I was, that many things you buy are easier to make than you think! I invested in a yogurt maker for $35 and it has been worth every penny! I also know that the Instant Pot, which is all the rage right now, can do this function as well.  Yogurt is easier on the digestive system than other forms of dairy as it contains lactobacillus acidophilus which helps replenish healthy gut flora. Having healthy gut means you have a healthy immune system that can fight off invaders like bad bacteria. The process of making yogurt also naturally breaks down lactose and pre-digests casein, which can cause gut disturbances. If you are allergic to milk, give homemade yogurt a try as its all around much easier to digest. Many people who are lactose intolerant have no trouble with homemade yogurt. I love to have this for breakfast topped with in-season fruit, nuts and my granola. Yummm.  Here’s what you’ll need:  A half gallon of raw whole […]