Tomato Mozzarella and Roasted Asparagus

Tomato Mozzarella and Roasted Asparagus

Have you ever heard how to K.I.S.S. in the kitchen? For me, it stands for: Keep It Simple with Sides! (You may have heard it as: Keep It Simple Stupid, but I like my version better! ). Yes, college breaks and the holidays are upon us. Even though times are different this year, we still have to feed everyone! I love making a meal fun and different by switching up side dishes, but keeping it easy. Here are two that are easy AND good for the immune system, which we all need right now!

I decided to make this tomato mozzarella side recently when I had a bunch of amazing large tomatoes from the farmer’s market. If you are #vegan feel free to swap out the mozzarella for vegan cheese or even tofu. Note that tomatoes are a good source of #lycopene , an antioxidsnt that’s great for the skin. Basil is a good source of Vitamin K. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It can also reduce stress and depression and improve digestion. So….I think we could all benefit from a little extra fresh basil these days!

My roasted asparagus is a staple side for weeknight dinners AND my (past years) 25-person Thanksgiving. It is high in Vitamin K, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is a natural diuretic, a good source of fiber and prebiotic for digestion. It’s rich in glutathione for immunity too.

These two sides could make meal when served together. Think: leftovers for lunch!!

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

Looking for a decadent, delicious, refreshing dessert that’s also healthy? Then THIS is it! This pudding helps with digestion: Avocados are full of fiber and bananas contain prebiotics. The good fat in avocado is filling, helps raise good (HDL) cholesterol and is also great for skin. Both avocado and banana are high in potassium. Cocoa powder is full antioxidants, boots mood and energy and is a good source of magnesium, which also helps with digestion and sleep. This dessert is sweetened naturally from the banana and a bit of maple syrup. There is no added processed, white sugar. This recipe is so easy to make too. ENJOY, let me know what you think and don’t forget to tag me in your creations!!

Delicious Superfood Tahini Kale Salad

Delicious Superfood Tahini Kale Salad

All I want for lunch in this heatwave is a cold, crisp salad. I love to switch up my lettuces, toppings, and dressings. This one has kale, purple cabbage, avocado, tomato and lentils and is topped with a tahini lemon dressing. Tahini (made from sesame seeds) is a good source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and B vitamins. This meal is high in fiber, healthy fats, protein and all the antioxidants. It will keep you full and satisfied all afternoon long! Let me know what you think. Link in bio to buy one of my favorite tahinis.

If making a kale salad make sure the massage the kale 🥬 💚

Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet Cupcake

My favorite type of cake is red velvet. In my opinion, nothing beats that hint of chocolate with cream cheese frosting combo. My kids love this too: however, I don’t love the thought of putting red dye in any of our bodies. So…..natural food coloring to + superfood ingredient: BEETS to the rescue! They are a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Plus they help to detox the body. And they have such a mild taste that they work well in this recipe. I made these for my son’s birthday, but they are also the perfect patriotic gluten-free refined sugar-free and dairy-free cake recipe for this memorial day weekend! Enjoy and let me know what you think. Happy Memorial Day!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

When your son calls you the best cook ever because you made him these Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, you don’t mind making them again! I often make these when I have overripe bananas. And for those of you who don’t love 🍌 , my son can attest to the fact that they actually don’t have a strong banana flavor. My boys love these and often enjoy them for breakfast! Let me know what you think and tag me if you try!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins: (makes 9 standard-sized muffins)

Deliciously decadent protein packed brownies

Deliciously decadent protein packed brownies

I believe in all treats in moderation; HOWEVER, I prefer baking with all real-food, non-processed ingredients to make the healthiest treats possible for my family. When I can add in a #superfood, even better! This recipe hides the black beans in the brownies. Plus its gluten-free (with gluten-free oats, baking powder, and vanilla extract) egg-free, dairy-free, vegan and plant-based! I promise you can’t even taste the beans! Plus they provide 3 grams of fiber per brownie (1/9 of the batter)! Kids aged 1-3 need 19 grams of fiber per day. Kids 4-8 need 25 grams. Fiber is so important for digestion and gut health even in kids and sometimes hard to get into their diets. (I have plenty of tips and tricks if you need any!). These vegan brownies can help!

Let me know what you think! Recipe inspired by @chocolatecoveredkatie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of our favorite treats:  glutenfree refinedsugarfree dairy-free chocolate chip cookies I love knowing they are truly enjoying a treat that is also healthy. Give this one a try and let me know what your family thinks.

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

If you need a last-minute hostess gift, a fun weekend, or holiday week kid craft or dessert for holiday dinner, then you must try these gluten-free dairy-free refined sugar-free sugar cookies!

I brought them into my son’s class for a craft at his holiday party and they were a true hit! You can try any cookie cutters and any toppings. I like @colorkitchenfoods for dye-free plant-based sprinkles and frosting options and @unreal.snacks for dye-free, less sugar candies. These are the one’s we made in class this week! Thank you @rachlmansfield for the recipe inspiration!!

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Fondue

Does anybody else feel like this coooold March on the East Coast keeps dragging?  Well, it is still National Nutrition Month, so we might as well keep working on our summer bodies while we wait for the weather to warm up. Speaking of warm, I have another healthy, guilt-free substitute to feed cravings for CHOCOLATE.  This time, it’s a recipe for dessert!

Whether you are craving a bit of a treat after a savory meal OR you are entertaining for a dinner party, this dish will be a hit……hot chocolate fondue!   That melty, sweet, rich, and even a bit savory sensation will have you licking your bowls and fingers.  Not only is it guilt-free, it has many health benefits too!  (See below.)

I started with Barely Bread’s 100% Grain-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bagel.  I simply sliced, lightly toasted, and diced the bread.  (I used some berries for dipping as well to add flavor, antioxidants, and color.) Then I heated up the chocolate mixture over the stove.  And, that’s it-almost too easy:  A satisfying chocolate, a health-conscious dessert that is higher in protein, good fat and fiber than most traditional dishes, and has many more nutrition benefits than the original version.

Here some the health benefits of this recipe’s ingredients:

Barely Bread: Not only is it gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and have an amazing flavor, the higher protein and good fat content help you feel fuller longer than regular white bread.  It is also lighter and easier to digest than many traditional loaves or bagels.

Dark Chocolate:  Dark chocolate is a good source of soluble fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and also contains potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.  It contains a variety of strong antioxidants.  It may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.  It also can decrease bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and decrease overall cardiovascular disease risk.  Studies also show that it can improve blood flow to and hydration of the skin and protect against sun damage.  By increasing blood flow to the brain, it may improve cognitive function.  And let’s not forget how GREAT chocolate tastes!

Coconut Sugar: 
This sweetener is made by boiling and dehydrating the sap from the flowers of coconut trees.  It is all-natural (with nothing artificial added), is NOT chemically altered, and earth-friendly.  Coconut trees require small amounts of fuel and water and can produce this sugar for over 20 years (while sugar cane production requires a lot of fuel).  Although it does contain the same number of calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar, it has more nutrition benefits.  First, it is not as refined and altered as white sugar.  Second (unlike white sugar), it has small amounts of vitamin C, inositol (B vitamin), calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, as well as phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Coconut sugar also has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, meaning it will cause less spikes in blood sugar.  It contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber beneficial to gut health.  It also has a lower fructose content than other sweeteners, such as agave and high fructose corn syrup.  (Fructose is the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit.  However, since it can turn to fat quickly, overconsumption in other foods is not recommended.)

Coconut sugar also has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, meaning it will cause less spikes in blood sugar.  It contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber beneficial to gut health.  It also has a lower fructose content than other sweeteners, such as agave and high fructose corn syrup.  (Fructose is the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit.  However, since it can turn to fat quickly, overconsumption in other foods is not recommended.)

Coconut Oil:  
This healthy fat improves digestion and metabolism.  The type of fat it contains is called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).  Studies have shown these MCTs can burn calories quicker than other sources of fat, thus ultimately leading to weight loss over the long term.  They also keep you fuller longer and can reduce appetite and calorie intake, as well as decrease abdominal fat.  Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties, is high in antioxidants, and Vitamin E, and is great for skin and hair.

Chocolate Almond Blueberry Overnight Oats

Chocolate Almond Blueberry Overnight Oats

Yes, that’s right: I said CHOCOLATE! This is a great, healthy way to give into one of our most popular cravings. Instead of sitting and eating an entire chocolate bar or indulging in a decadent dessert, I’ve created a recipe so you can healthfully enjoy chocolate for breakfast or a snack. I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with overnight oats. They are so easy to make and transport; they are a filling and balanced meal/snack, and the flavor combinations are endless.

Here are the benefits of this combination:
Oats: high in fiber-a good carb that gives energy and helps you feel full
Vanilla Almond Milk: low in calories and nice flavor-I like the Califia Unsweetened Vanilla (I find at Fairway and Whole Foods) since it has NO carrageenan
Chia Seeds: High in protein, Omega-3s and filling since they expand in liquids and the belly
Almonds: high in fiber, protein and good fat, they help decrease cravings and lead to a flatter stomach
Blueberries: high in antioxidants and fiber, low-calorie and super sweet this time of year
Chocolate: high in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory to protect heart and brain, and improves skin

Try this below, and feel free to switch out milk, nuts, and/or fruits to make new creations. You will definitely be seeing more overnight oat recipes from me here!

Banana Strawberry Almond Overnight Oats

Banana Strawberry Almond Overnight Oats

I have a confession: I have been looking at, admiring recipes for, and even recommending overnight oats to friends and clients for a while now. But it was not until yesterday that I actually made some for myself. There is no particular reason: I eat plenty of hot oatmeal and all the other ingredients on a regular basis. Perhaps it was the warm weather that inspired me this week?! (Although yesterday felt like fall again….)

Anyways, since I had time to do a big, long grocery shop trip this weekend, I made sure I had all of the ingredients and put together my fist trail Saturday night for Sunday morning. Let’s just say it was not a success and I ended up adding more ingredients so it was edible. I will add a disclaimer right here: I am not a chef! I am a Registered Dietitian and Mom who cooks, but I do my best, and I get decent reviews from my family on my recipes!

Last night I was determined to get it right because I know this breakfast/snack has such healthy potential:

  • Oats: high in fiber – a good carb that gives energy and helps you feel full
  • Almond Milk: low in calories and nice flavor
  • Chia Seeds: High in protein, Omega-3s and filling since they expand in liquids and the belly
  • Almonds: high in fiber, protein and good fat, they help decrease cravings and lead to a flatter stomach
  • Bananas: high in potassium, they help restore electrolyte balance and decrease excess fluid in the body
  • Strawberries: high in Vitamin C, which is great for skin and fighting colds.

I got the recipe right last night and enjoyed a great breakfast today to fuel me through my morning routine.  Give it a try and feel free to switch out milk, nuts, and/or fruits to make new creations. I will definitely be doing that to try out new combinations!