Yummy Little Treats With a Holiday Flair {Raw Energy}

rawsnowballtreats

Last night I co-hosted a wellness workshop on behalf of C2 ONE Fit Labs and it went well. We had a great Q&A and a delightful recipe demo in which I prepared my favorite raw energy treats. Since I wanted to save serving time, I pre-made and set up the treats so they were readily available to eat right after the demo.

With the holidays coming up, I took my basic recipe for Raw Energy Treats and added just a little more sweetness (2 Tbsp of honey and doubled my usual chocolate chip portion from 1/4 to 1/2 cup), and finally dusted it off with coconut for a snow-appeal. I was a little more generous with each scoop and came out with 36 (as compared to 50). The original recipe is just slightly lower in calories because of the quantity of morsels vs the relatively minimal addition of sweeteners. The best part?: You can lick the bowl!

Snow Dusted Oat Treats:

  • 1 1/2 cup of organic raw oats
  • 1/2 cup of walnut halves
  • 1/8 cup of hemp seeds
  • 1/8 cup of flax meal
  • 1/4 cup of almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce sweetened with stevia
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp of cinnamon
  • 4 soft pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water (add slowly until reached desired consistency)

Process all dry ingredients in food processor leaving 1/4 cup of coconut flakes aside. Slowly add in water until mixture becomes a dough. Scoop out with a mini scoop (about the size of a round Tablespoon) and dust each treat with the remaining coconut. Serve raw, room temperature or bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. ENJOY!

Nutritional info (makes 36 bite-sized treats):
Cal 70, Fat 4g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 10mg, Carb 7g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 2g, Protein 2g

Patch and Maria Enjoy Ravioli with Sweet Potato Cream sauce

Picture 7Just before they were born we carefully picked out middle names for our lovely twin girls.

The first twin had to have the initials JP to follow with the first-born family tradition, so we named our first- born twin Julia Petronella (pronounced Patronella). As Julia was named after her grandmother on her father’s side, we felt it fitting to do the same for Ailish, giving her the middle name “Marie”. Their grandmother’s full name was Julia Marie Petronella Shea O’Connor.

Nicknames

We recently introduced to our girls their middle names. When prompting them here’s what we’ve got: Ask Julia for her middle name and she smiles and says brightly “Patch” (close enough to the first syllable in Petronella). Ailish always replies lovingly with the name “Maria” – emphasis on the last syllable. And even though we’ve corrected her (Marie), she’s continued to proudly state it’s “Maria”. Thus they have new nicknames which I’m happy to share.

So Patch and Maria it is! And I’m happy to share their delight in my dish. In fact, my husband video taped them  to try to re-capture their delight. “This is the best!” said Patch “I like it, too!” said Maria. (But of course, these precious moments are fleeting and they were on to some other topic of conversation).

RAVIOLI with Vegan Sweet Potato Cream Sauce:

I prepared a vegan cream sauce for Ravioli. Why? Because I thought the ravioli already had enough cheese (dairy) and as I’m dairy free, I thought it might taste good on my quinoa with sliced almonds and cinnamon base. My girls ate it all up – AND asked for seconds!

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Here’s the recipe for the Sweet Potato Cream Sauce:

  • 1 whole sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup of organic soy milk
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 TBS Smart Balance Light, melted
  • 1 TBS cashews

Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender (a Vitamix will do the trick). When puree is complete. Heat on low until warmed and pour over Ravioli or your favorite whole grain.

Q: What’s your favorite pasta noodle and how do you enjoy it?

Thanksgiving Pears – oh, what a treat!

Hope you are all enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday and what remains…family still in town, some R/R and perhaps some yummy leftovers you’ve turned into new and exciting meals.

Our Thanksgiving was beautiful. My husband made his signature bourbon sweet potatoes and apple, sausage, corn meal stuffing. And I made a few sides including a Martha Stewart corn pudding, a chili pumpkin soup and for dessert a pear delight. Light, refreshing, tangy and sweet this combination was a perfect end to a wonderful meal with family and friends (16 total). 

Here’s the pears we enjoyed for dessert. And the best part, they’re pretty simple to make and would make a lovely second appearance for a Christmas celebration. Don’t you think? Recipe to come. But for now, feast with your eyes! : )

Fundamental Steps for Good Nutrition

Guest post by Valerie Johnson

If you do enough reading you will discover that many people accept a theory called “intuitive eating”. It is a concept in which people are given their choices of many foods – good and bad – for several days in a row. Most eat a bit on the “bad” side for the first few days and then correct their behaviors by starting to eat very well after the second or third day. This is considered “intuitive” because the people are automatically beginning to eat a balanced diet in order to feel better.

Is it true? It is tough to prove, but it does seem sensible. We have all experienced a few days of unhealthy eating (i.e. the holidays) and then stopped ourselves and started eating better. It really is as if our bodies are telling us how to eat in order to feel less “blah”; as if there is a sort of base line intuition to nutrition.

That means we can use this fundamental understanding of what is good and what is not to begin developing an optimized eating plan. For example, if we accept the notion that we can eat intuitively, we must also accept that this means we each need a different sort of diet on a daily basis. That implies that there is no way to create a fixed plan for eating a completely nutritious diet, but there are some fundamentals to consider.

The Plates, Tables, Pyramids, and More

We have all seen things like the food pyramids and the food plates that show the healthiest ways of eating. They indicate that we need more fruits and vegetables than anything else and that we’d do well to accept mostly whole grains and high quality proteins. These same tables also tell us that we should keep sugars and fats to a minimal amount too, and that some dairy is needed each day as well.

Now, take that information and visualize what that would mean when you visit a grocery store. Where are the fruits and vegetables? Where are the fresh meats and dairy products? What about those whole grain foods? If you shop in a standard grocery store you would know that these foods reside along the outside of the store – the perimeter.

Shop the Perimeter

This means that one of the most fundamental steps for good and optimal nutrition is to become a perimeter shopper if this is something that you do not already do. For example, if you are in the habit of grabbing a few frozen meals, canned soups, and “instant” meals in a cup, you have to cease this pattern. Instead, buy the ingredients that are needed to make such foods in their “whole” state, and then make yourself meals out of them instead. Instead of the instant cup of noodles, why not make some pasta, create a good broth and add some fresh meat instead? No sodium, loads of fiber, and much more nutrition.

This discussion of perimeter shopping as a fundamental step for nutrition also leads us into the need to discuss whole foods too. This means unprocessed foods that still retain tremendous amounts of their nutrients.

For example, when you eat a whole grain food it means that the wheat or other grain is intact and contains all of the bran and fiber. This is entirely different from a food made from grains that have been ground, sifted, and deprived of most of their nutrients. The same can be said of pre-made vegetables, pre-cooked meats, and any sort of other processed foods.

Bottom Line

So, if you are looking to become an optimally healthy person, you can take strong steps towards a very nutritious diet by becoming a perimeter shopper and working to eat as many whole or unprocessed foods as possible.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

A Sumptuous Dish by Ann Krausse (makes every spoonful a delight!)

I have been following Ann Krausse of Sumptuous Spoonfuls for quite a while. And I must say her dishes keep me coming back for more. I’m pleased to host yet another delightful dish she has prepared.  She took on my “Build-A-Recipe challenge” some months ago and came up with a yummy Pesto Pizza surprise. Thank you Ann for sharing this wonderful guest post. : )

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?

Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.

THE RECIPE:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings

Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
  2. To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
  3. Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
  4. Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
  5. Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.

Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted sunflower seeds

Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.

Follow Ann for more healthy, sumptuous recipes:

 

 

Just in time for the season: Ann Fulton’s Baked Pumpkin Delight!

It is always a delight to see what Ann Fulton of The Fountain Avenue Kitchen has prepared – surely a feast for the eyes and a delight to the taste-buds!  She is an inspiration in the kitchen and a truly supportive friend.  Today she shows us how to make delicious gluten-free pumpkin pancakes. Enjoy this post and be sure to check out her wonderful site.

Baked Pumpkin Pancakes (Grain & Gluten Free) 

Guest post by Ann Fulton

Pumpkin and almonds hold a special spot in my heart and stomach.  I 

adore them. Combining the two had the potential for greatness, yet the 

concept of combining them to create a gluten-free pancake had the 

potential for epic failure! 

 

The batter tasted delicious.  That was a good start.  The aroma while 

cooking perked up everyone. The finished product looked fluffy and 

delicious. 

 

My first bite was pure bliss.  This combination truly worked to create a 

delicious, healthy, grain-free pancake with the added bonus of pumpkin, 

one of my favorite fall flavors. 

 

The first time I baked these, my boys had friends over.  There were 

admittedly, some picky eaters in the group.  This crowd would be tough 

taste testers–the best kind.  I always want honest opinions and, if I please a 

picky eater, all the better! 

 

Guess what? Eyes lit up, yums were uttered; they wanted more.  These 

pancakes are quickly turning into a favorite in our family, not because they 

are healthy or grain free, but because they are a delicious, satisfying start to 

the day! 

I like to bake these the day before, store in the fridge and then reheat in the 

morning.  A quick, delicious breakfast at the ready!   

My last batch made 9 pancakes that measured just over 3 1/2 inches in 

diameter. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) 
  • 1/2 cup almond butter 
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (can use honey) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • Maple syrup for serving, if desired 

 Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment 
  2. paper. 
  3. In a medium-size bowl, lightly beat the eggs. (I use my quart-size Pyrex 
  4. measuring cup, which makes it easy to pour the batter later.)  Stir in the 
  5. pumpkin and the remaining ingredients and mix well. 
  6. Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 
  7. minutes or until the pancakes are just cooked through and fluffy.   
  8. Serve with maple syrup, if desired. 

Thanks so much, Ann for such a wholesome and delicious recipe!!