Breakfast for Champions
Apples – diced
Bananas – diced
Dried fruit ( shredded coconut, dates, raisins, goji berries, etc.)
Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Top with milk or a scoop of coconut whipped cream. Yum!
My boys are getting pretty excited for Halloween. My kindergartener is excited for the big Halloween parade at his elementary school, my preschooler is excited to collect candy, and my one-year-old does not care – he just wants to wear his shoes. He loves shoes. No costumes have been solidified, although I have to admit that I am loving this costume idea. The boys will probably dress up as a little bit of everyone and everything. Something like Spiderman with Buzz Lightyear wings, clown wigs, and pirate patches. I’ll be sure to share some pictures.
Halloween Monster eyes are one of our favorite sugar-free Halloween meal traditions. To make your very own Halloween Monster Eyes, simply hard boil and egg and allow it time to cool. Once the egg has cooled, peel off the outer shell and cut your egg in half vertically. Top your egg with a slice of olive and your Halloween Monster Eyes are ready to be enjoyed. Yum!
Here are some fun sugar-free ways to enjoy Halloween:
It has been relatively quiet on the blog as of late. We officially sold our Colorado house on October 10th and moved into our new Utah house on the same day. Unpacking with three adventurous boys is no easy task… let me tell you. Big thanks go to all of those who have helped move heavy boxes, wash our laundry, fix doorbells, and find serenity amongst the chaos. Moving is hard work. Meanwhile, I have tried to create some form of food in the kitchen besides peanut butter sandwiches and scrambled eggs… I think we are still a couple days away from full-blown-cooking. I still have five bags of clothes to unpack, piano screws to locate, and a garage to clean. I keep reminding myself that it took six months to pack everything.
I miss cooking. Especially now that the weather is turning cold and pumpkin season has officially begun. Does anyone else love pumpkins? Pumpkin bread, pudding, cake, pancakes, seeds… you can never have too much pumpkin in your diet. Pumpkins are loaded with important antioxidants, fiber, potassium, zinc and beta-carotene – thus enhancing the overall health of the body. The beta-carotene found within a pumpkin is instantly converted to vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A protects the body from various diseases, degenerative aspects of aging, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer. Furthermore, pumpkins encourage healthy bowels, decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of macular degeneration, reduce the risk of hypertension, boost the immune system and improve bone density. With pumpkins, you can have your cake and eat it too.
We made these gingerbread pumpkin pancakes a couple weeks ago and I am still thinking about them. They were the perfect combination of ginger and pumpkin and my five-year-old wanted to eat nothing but pancakes the day I made them… needless to say, they did not last long.
Gingerbread Pumpkin Pancakes
I have a thing for culinary novels… and Josi Kilpack’s culinary mystery books are no exception to that rule. I love the main character’s abilities to soften almost anyone’s heart with food. I also thoroughly enjoy the recipes and the atmosphere of her books.
I finished reading Key Lime Pie last week (book number four of the series). The story line was outstanding and the recipes were amazing. I had fun modifying the “Kickin’ Craisin Cookie Recipe” and decided that Sadie Hoffmiller would be upset if I did not add this recipe to my “little black book” of recipes here on the web.
Josi Kilpack’s “Kickin’ Craisin Cookies”
1 cup earth balance or organic butter
2 cups sucanat
2 organic eggs or 2 chia seed egg replacements
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups Craisins (I prefer the Newman brand)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine earth balance/butter until creamy and smooth. Add eggs/chia seed egg replacement and vanilla. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine spelt flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Slowly combine both bowls. Add Craisins, chocolate chips, and nuts. Josi recommends using a wooden spoon – the dough will be too thick at this point for most mixers.
On a greased cookie sheet, create 1-inch dough balls with a tablespoon or Cookie Scoop about two inches apart. Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until just browned—do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool on a pan for approximately 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Named for it’s ability to transform into a “pasta” meal when cooked – spaghetti squash is magical. As a winter squash, spaghetti squash is planted early to mid-summer and is ready to harvest during the fall months. Due to the lengthy development process, the ripe spaghetti squash is packed full of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and dietary fiber. Can you say “yum?” And the best part is that spaghetti squash has a very long shelf life when stored properly – approximately 3 months – making spaghetti squash a fabulous winter meal when fresh vegetables and fruits are hard to find.
Today, I am going to introduce you to the spaghetti squash with details on how to select the perfect spaghetti squash, demonstrate how to cook a spaghetti squash, and share our favorite spaghetti squash recipe Let’s get started!
Meet your new friend – the spaghetti squash. You will notice that spaghetti squash has a hard, yellow skin. I prefer to skip the “marination in pesticide” and purchase organic spaghetti squash due to the lengthy growth to maturity. When purchasing a spaghetti squash, select one that is vibrant in color, bruise-free, and crack-free.
The average spaghetti squash weighs approximately four pounds. Avoid excessively large spaghetti squash, squash that feel light in comparison to others, bumps, soft spots, and the color green. The color green indicates that the squash is not quite ripe – and it does not taste as good… believe me. Store your squash in a refrigerator or cool room.
Wash your spaghetti squash and pat dry. With a sharp knife, carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half– horizontally. When the squash up is open, you are going to discover a plethora of seeds in the center surrounded by squash “meat.”
Scrape those seeds out with a spoon and discard.
At this point, your spaghetti squash should look something like this:
Now we are going to rub the inside of the squash with some organic butter, olive oil, or Earth Balance. Place your spaghetti squash on a glass baking dish with the buttered side facing towards the sky.
(Skip this next part if you are preparing a spaghetti squash for an alternative recipe.)
Our favorite way to eat a spaghetti squash is with sucanat and nuts. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sucanat evenly over the spaghetti squash.
Then add the crushed nuts. Pecans and almonds are my favorite.
If you skipped the sucanat and nuts part – this part applies to you. Your spaghetti squash is now cut horizontally, buttered/oiled, and facing upwards on a glass baking dish. Cover your baking dish with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for approximately an hour or until the squash is soft.
Your cooked squash will look something like this:
With a large fork, comb the “meat” to “noodle-it-up.”
Continue to comb the squash until there is nothing left to comb.
As a rule we always enjoy spaghetti squash with our feet elevated on a chair.
I declare that pumpkin season is finally here!
Pull out your mixers, your pumpkins, and your cooking sheets because these pumpkin cinnamon granola bars are seriously amazing.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chocolate Chip & Pecan Granola Bars
3¼ cups rolled oats (be sure to select gluten free oats if living a gluten free lifestyle)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup sucanat
½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey or agave nectar for vegans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup cinnamon chips
½ cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl mix together the oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together sucanat, pumpkin, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until combined and smooth. Pour the applesauce/pumpkin mixture over the oat mixture and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix until all of the oats are moistened. Stir in the cinnamon chips and pecans.
3. Evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the granola bars to cool. Cut into bars and serve. Leftover bars are perfect for packed lunches, trips to the farm, or snacks. Individually wrap the granola bars with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and kept at room temperature.
Whole Grain Banana Bread “Muffins”
1/3 cup organic butter or Earth Balance
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sucanat
1 tsp. vanilla
2 organic fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups mushy ripe bananas
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease baking pan/cupcake liners with olive oil spray, Earth Balance, or butter. Combine wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix in a bowl. Set aside. In another large bowl, mix butter, honey, water, and sugar. Beat on high for two minutes. Add eggs and lightly beat until just combined. Mix in bananas and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture.
Or, if you are like me, toss all ingredients into your Vitamix. Turn it on and blend until smooth. Although the dough may taste fabulous uncooked and on a wooden spoon – don’t do it! Pour batter into pans at bake at 325 degrees. Bake for 52 minutes if you are using a bread pan and approximately 25 minutes if you are making muffins. Remove pan and place on wire rack. Allow time to cool. Enjoy!
Dr. Nate taught Anatomy and Physiology part-time at Front Range Community College for a little over four years. To say that Dr. Nate loved teaching at the community college, is an understatement. Teaching at the community college brought much happiness, contentment, and peace into our lives. In addition to teaching part-time, Dr. Nate also maintained and built a chiropractic wellness office focused on educating our clientele correct principles to enhance their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We poured years of sweat and blood into that business – and we loved it as if it was a child.
But life started to get crazy and it is hard to balance multiple passions. Sometimes the universe forces you to simplify. After much thought and consideration, we decided to pack up our little family and business and move to Utah to attend PhD school. Which equates to huge changes in our lives.
The last day Dr. Nate taught at Front Range Community College, our family had to celebrate, which always equates to cookies at our house. Simple to make, gluten-free, vegan, and delicious – these cookies are perfect for any occasion.
Let’s get cooking!
Start by creating your very own chia seed egg replacement. Set it aside.
Start with one cup of sucanat and one teaspoon of baking soda. Traditionally, you would mix this in a bowl… but with these cookies I am all about breaking the rules.
I mix that baking soda right on in before the sucanat ever leaves that cup.
Whip out your beaters, kitchen aid, or wooden spoon and start combining your sucanat mixture and almond butter.
Add one chia seed egg replacement
Get ready to add the chocolate chips. You know I love these bad boys.
Roll dough into little balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.
Cookie party – here we come.
Almond Butter Cookies
1 cup almond butter
1 cup sucanat
1 chia seed egg replacement
1 tsp. baking soda
Mix together sucanat and baking soda in a bowl – or measuring cup. Stir in one chia seed egg replacement and almond butter. Add chocolate chips.
Place little balls of dough on a greased cookie sheet and Bake at 350 degree for 10 minutes.
Makes about 2 dozen.
As a teenager, my orthodontist created a mold of my teeth using seaweed – disgusting. I seriously thought I was going to die from gross-ness. Who in their right mind would voluntarily put seaweeds or algae in their mouth by choice? Yes, I was once a seaweed/algae pessimist.
My seaweed/algae pessimism came to an end when I began researching foods that contained high levels of iron and iodine – essential nutrients for the body. The health benefits shocked me – I had no idea that something so disgusting could be so amazing.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is cultivated from oceans and lakes. Good for the brain, heart, and immune system, Spirulina supports the immune system, healthy inflammatory responses, and protects against oxidation. The high iodine content found in Spirulina supports a healthy thyroid and provides relief to those struggling with iodine deficiencies.
Spirulina has also been used to successfully help individuals struggling with depression, asthma, hypertension, digestive problems, skin disorders, fatigue, stress, and attention deficit disorder. Spirulina is often considered a complete protein and contains more protein that soy, more iron than beef, and more vitamin A than carrots. Spirulina is a super-food that your body needs.
Better Than Cherry Spirulina Smoothie
1 cups vanilla yogurt (be sure to select a yogurt that is free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and/or artificial flavors)
1 cups frozen cherries
1/2 cup agave nectar
Two large handfuls of spinach
1/16 – 1/8 tsp. Spirulina (remember to start small and build your way up)
Milk (almond, soy, rice, dairy, etc.) to desired consitancy
Place all ingredients in your Vitamix (or high-powered blender) and blend until smooth. Pour into cups with fancy straws.
Put your feet up and smile. Welcome to the Spirulina optimists club.
Snack time is fun.
But sometimes my little kiddos want to eat simply because they are bored. Not a healthy habit. When I know that my kids are not absolutely hungry, we turn our I-want-a-snack-because-I-am-bored-moments into craft time. And crafting with food is the best thing for little fingers. Butterfly snacks are fun to make, deliver to friends, and they are awesome preschool snacks.
First you are going to start with your favorite healthy cereal, clothespins, pipe cleaners, zip lock bags, and paint. Let those little fingers paint your clothespins with their favorite paint or decorate with glitter pins… or a little bit of both. Go wild.
Then you are going to partially fill a ziploc bag with cereal. Remove any excess air and seal.
Fold the ziploc bag in half with the seal facing backwards. Position the dry-paint-clothespin in the middle of the bag – cinching the bag and creating a butterfly shape. Add your pipe cleaner antennas – and enjoy.