Sweet Green Salad with Sesame Dressing

A little (ok, a lot) green and a little sweet makes this salad exceptionally delicious.

Did you know that sesame seeds can help lower cholesterol, are full of protein, supports healthy digestion, improves heart health, improves skin appearance, alleviates anemia, is good for eyes, and can even protect against some cancers? Amazing, right?! You could sprinkle seeds on your salad, or like I did here, make a dressing with sesame seeds.

This salad is chock full of green, green and more green plant food. To counter that, I tossed in some tart with the cranberries and to counter that tartness I threw in grapes, too. It’s out of this world!

When I make this salad, my kiddo loves to grab anything he can from the fridge and chop it up and throw it in. He tends to eat the broccoli as we chop so sometimes the salad has less broccoli making it INTO the bowl. 🙂 Oh well, he is still eating it, right?!

 

Here is what we tossed into a GIANT salad bowl and dug in for a mouthwatering meal. Disclaimer: I don’t really measure, I just chop and toss. I will tell you what I used, and you can add as little or as much of each as you like into your own giant salad bowl. Trust me, you’ll want a big bowl to accommodate all this deliciousness.

Ingredients For Salad

Red leaf lettuce

Green leaf lettuce

Romain lettuce

Kale

Broccoli

Broccoli sprouts

Cranberries

Grapes

  1. Chop/dice/cut all your veggies and toss them in a bowl. I like to use my hands and toss it around to get it all mixed up. Plus it is fun to play with your food. 😉

Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup water

4 Medjool dates

2 tbsp ground brown mustard

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over salad and massage salad to coat every square inch on your plants in the bowl.

 

 

Shortbread Crackers

These crackers taste like a cross between a graham cracker and a shortbread cookie. Both are delicious so I am perfectly happy with marrying the two flavors. I am also perfectly happy that they are refined sugar free and gluten free. They go even better with the pumpkin spice fruit dip I made for them. I will add the recipe for that at the bottom of the page.

Crackers

1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp tapioca starch

1 chia egg

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a food processor, add all ingredients and blend until a soft ball of dough forms.
  3. Transfer the dough to the counter, press out to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, knife, or pizza cutter, make cut out your crackers and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling. They’ll be soft right out of the oven but till harden after cooling.
  5. Store leftovers in an airtight container for about 1 week.

Pumpkin Spice Fruit & Cracker Dip

1 can full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. The night before, chill the canned coconut milk in the refrigerator.
  2. The next day, place a glass bowl and hand beaters in the freezer.
  3. Once ready, open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the cream that has separated to the top of the can and place it in the chilled bowl.
  4. Whip that coconut cream with the chilled beaters until fluffy.
  5. Add in remaining ingredients and whip until well mixed.

** This dip is great served with sliced fruit, cookies, shortbread crackers, or even graham crackers. **

 

 

Sloppy Joe on Baked Potato

A delicious twist on a classic meal – without the meat and gluten. Why avoid meat and gluten?

Considering meat consumption is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer there is no surprise that it never makes its way onto any dinner plate of mine. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter if your meat is from a grass-fed animal because it still contains saturated fat, no fiber, and all the same toxic levels of carcinogens as conventionally raised animals. In addition, the huge load of protein that comes with meat is detrimental to human health. Excessive protein is not a good idea if you want to reduce your risk of getting cancer. Did you know that high protein diets increase the rate at which carcinogenic compounds (which are found in abundance in the meat as well as other foods consumed, environmental toxins, and personal care products) enter the cell? Once in the cell, the carcinogens get very reactive and attach to DNA and causes cell mutation. Your body has a natural life-preserving ability to mitigate mutations that occur in cells. The body will recognize the mutated cell and get rid of it. Diets high in animal proteins completely ruins the body’s ability to perform this duty. That means that high animal protein diets not only cause cellular mutations but they prevent the body’s ability to correct it! High animal protein diets turn on the cancer process and promotes cancer’s growth! How do we keep that mechanism functioning properly? Plants. Plants contain all the necessary phytonutrients the body needs to be able to rid itself of mutant cells so they don’t proliferate and turn into cancer.

Gluten is also a huge problem. Humans lack the ability to digest gluten. Even if you don’t have Celiac Disease, a full blown allergy to wheat, you still can’t digest gluten, and you do have a gluten intolerance. You just may not even know it. Or at least you aren’t recognizing symptoms you may be having as symptoms of gluten intolerance. You may not get intestinal symptoms. There are many, many extra-intestinal symptoms. Here are just a few:

**anxiety

**brain fog

**vertigo

**depression/anxiety

**migraines/chronic headaches

**motion sickness

**chronic aches and pains

**fatigue

**nerve pain

Gluten also stops your  body’s production of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter involved in regulating communication between nerve cells. It’s role is to inhibit or reduce activity in the neurons when they are over-firing. GABA promots calmness and peace. Without adequate GABA, anxiety, panic attacks, sugar and alcohol cravings, and tense muscles occur.

Don’t let that deter you from still enjoying your favorite foods, though! There is still a delicious way to eat your sloppy joe and fight disease at the same time!

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed well

4 cups water

1 medium bell pepper, diced (any color you like!)

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 15oz can organic tomato sauce

2 tbsp organic tomato paste

1/2 tbsp mustard

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Put lentils and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the onion and pepper with a splash of veggie broth or water. Once soft, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. When lentils are done, drain the water, and add the cooked lentils to the sauce mixture and let cook for another 5-10 minutes until sauce is thickened.
  4. **To bake potatoes, poke holes into the potatoes and bake on baking sheet in the oven at 425 for about 45 minutes (depending on size of potato you use) until fork tender.
  5. To serve, slice potato open and spoon some sloppy joe mixture on top.

 

 

Vegan & Grain Free Mini Pumpkin Pie

This has got to be the easiest pumpkin pie you will ever make. I love that they are mini-sized and perfectly portioned. I really like making these as a healthy snack option for my kids. And since it contains only wholesome natural ingredients, an afternoon snack that tastes like dessert is actually doing the body some good.

When you take into account that pumpkin is loaded with fiber so therefore makes you feel full longer, a personal pie is plenty to satisfy you without triggering your craving for more sweets, the fiber (and satiation) also triggers weight loss. The vitamin A that is in abundance in pumpkins works to promote healthy vision. Beta-carotene, present in this delicious fruit, has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, including skin cancer. Your skin will thank you for the benefits of the nutrients in pumpkins, because pumpkins promote healthy skin and reduced signs of aging, and no one wants wrinkles!

Here is one of my favorite benefits of pumpkins…they have more potassium than bananas, so they are an excellent choice for an after workout snack. That extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy and sweaty workout which will keep muscles functioning at their best. And, of course, all that vitamin C in pumpkins works wonders for keeping your immune system in tip top shape.

So, a sweet snack, that feels like dessert, yet is a powerful boost to your overall health in so many ways? Uh, yeah! I think I will have a mini pumpkin pie, thank you very much!

Crust

1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp water

Filling

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. I prefer using silicone muffin pan because it makes it much easier to pop out the little pies when they are done, so I recommend that. I also still grease the silicone muffin molds. No one wants a pumpkin pie crumble. 🙂
  2. Mix the crust ingredients in a small bowl. It’ll seem crumbly but once you press it into the muffin molds it’ll hold together. Press in into the bottom and up the sides to the top of the muffin molds.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all the filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Fill the pie crusts with the filling.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Then chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Gluten Free Herbed Crackers

These crackers are savory and crunchy and are perfect as a stand-alone stack or for topping a soup, stew, or chili.

They are made with nutritious ingredients, oil-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free.

1 cup almond flour

1 tbsp flax seed

3/4 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

ground black pepper, to taste

3 tbsp water

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl combine everything except the water.
  3. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time and mix until it becomes a wet ball of dough.
  4. Press the dough out on the counter top, to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife, pizzacutter, or cookie cutter, cut the shape/size cracker you want and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, being sure to check that they don’t burn. Allow to cool on baking sheet. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

Snickerdoodles

These aren’t just any snickerdoodle cookie, these are a gluten-free healthier version of the cinnamon-y sweet cookie! They’re perfect for cozying up with a warm mug of tea, a blanket, and a good book.

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

3 tbsp pumpkin pie puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In another bowl, mix the coconut oil, pumpkin puree, syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until a ball of dough forms. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to make the dough easier to work with.
  5. In a shallow bowl stir together the cinnamon and palm sugar.
  6. Form dough balls, slightly smaller than golf ball size. Roll them into the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, and with the bottom of a flat drinking glass, press slightly to flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake cookies for 10-13 minutes. They’ll be soft on the inside and firm on the outside. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet when done.

Sweet Potato Chili

This is a super simple black bean and sweet potato chili recipe that is incredibly healthy and definitely comforting, especially on a crisp fall or winter night.

Full of plant based protein and bursting with phytonutrients to support a healthy thriving body, you will LOVE this hearty chili.

1 tbsp vegetable broth (for sauteing onion and garlic)

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black beans

1 1/2 cups diced sweet potatoes

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 cups vegetable broth

  1. In a large pot heat the 1 tbsp vegetable broth and satue the garlic and onion for 3-5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the sweet potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato, broth, and beans. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. It is done once the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Optional: Top with avocado, cilantro, rice, or quinoa.

Pumpkin Cake

You can have your cake and eat it, too! Especially when it is pumpkin cake! Anything with pumpkin is delicious, right?! Especially in the fall.

I have made this with maple syrup to sweeten it and also with unsweetened applesauce to reduce the sugar load. Both are equally delicious, but the syrup version is a tad sweeter.

This moist and spongy cake is great for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

1 3/4 cup oat flour (you can purchase oat flour, or grind your own oats in a food processor for a more hearty texture which is my personal preference for this recipe)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 tbsp aquafaba or chia egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup OR unsweetened applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

Healthier “Twix” Bars

This one is always one of my kids’ favorite treats at Halloween.

With the middle layer being dates, it it really sweet without buckets of sugar. The bottom layer is stuck together with a bit of brown rice syrup (or honey). Sweet, but not too sweet. And for the top layer, the darker the chocolate the better. The darker it is the less sugar there is. I tend not to make this recipe very often. Usually just at Halloween. I make a small amount, cut the bars small, then ration them out. I also know I would much prefer to splurge on giant spoonfuls of peanut butter, (but I’ll resist that urge, too 🙂 )  so I personally have an easy time resisting going back for seconds and thirds. My kids know my rule…1 per day. I wish I had their willpower! They do that so easily!

 

Bottom Layer

1 1/4 cup brown rice crisp cereal

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey – syrup is not sticky enough so syrup doesn’t work)

2 tbsp sugar free natural peanut butter (or almond butter)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Middle “Caramel” Layer

1 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates

1 tbsp sugar free natural peanut butter

1 tbsp almond milk

Chocolate Top Layer

1/2 cup melted dark chocolate

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Add the vanilla axtract. Pour mixture over brown rice cereal in a medium bowl. Press into parchment lined pan. Place in freezer while you make the middle layer.
  3. Place the pitted dates, peanut butter and milk in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread evenly over the bottom layer and place the pan back in the freezer to set. About 10-15 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate and spread evenly over the top of both layers and place back in the freezer for only 3-5 minutes. Then remove and place in the refrigerator. These can be stored in the fridge or freezer.