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.

Crispy Tofu Fingers

Even chicken finger lovers will love this one.

As my oldest son told me, “Now this is a finger lickin’ good food!”

1 package of extra firm organic non-GMO tofu

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp tapioca starch

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup ground oatmeal (you could substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Rinse tofu and wrap the tofu in paper towels or a kitchen towel. Then place something heavy (like a few heavy cookbooks) on top to let the water soak out for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and tapioca starch in a shallow dish.
  3. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400.
  5. Slice the tofu into strips, dip 1 strip at a time in the milk mixture, then coat with the breading. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the tofu strips and bake for another 15 minutes.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup

In my opinion, there is no tastier sweet treat combination than peanut butter and chocolate.

Use quality ingredients and you can enjoy a tasty sweet treat on occasion, too.

I used natural peanut butter with no added sugar, salt, or oil and I used dark chocolate for the outer chocolate coating. I never use less than 77% chocolate. The darker the better, as it is full of antioxidants.

 

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 bars dark chocolate

  1. In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, flour, and maple syrup until smooth and creamy.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  3. In a silicone candy mold, drizzle about 1.5 tsp amount of chocolate into each mold (this will depend on the size of the mold you use, you want to fill it about 1/2 to 3/4). Then spoon in a bit of peanut butter and gently press it down so the chocolate encases the peanut butter. If you need a bit more to completely cover it you can drizzle a little more chocolate on top. There is no exact science, just get the PB covered in chocolate. 🙂
  4. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
  5. Try not to eat them all in one day. 😉

Cinnamon Raisin Apple Muffin

When I was a kid, cinnamon raisin bagels were my favorite. Not exactly a health food, though. Boo. Loaded with processed sugar and processed grains I never eat bagels anymore. Unless I make them myself. Which I don’t do very often. Breads were always my weakness so I know my triggers and tend to just stay clear of them. I never met a bread, muffin, or bagel I didn’t like.

I had some apples still hanging out in the fridge from our trip to the apple orchard a few weeks ago (we got a LOT of apples!) and I had a small bag of organic raisins hanging out in the pantry. I wanted to “clean” the fridge and pantry before a grocery run so I figured a cinnamon-apple-raisin muffin would help clear some prime real estate in the fridge and on the pantry shelf.

I ground my own oatmeal to make the oat flour for this recipe. It gives it a more hearty texture and keeps me from using an overly processed oat flour that can be purchased from the store. I like to keep my grains whole, thank you very much. 😉

I sometimes use 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar in this recipe. Sometimes I don’t. It’s entirely up to you. They are pretty sweet without it thanks to the applesauce and apples. If you choose not use the palm sugar, then reduce the applesauce by 1/2 cup.

2 cup oat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2  tsp allspice

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup apples, peeled and diced

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add the apples and raisins.
  6. Spoon the batter into a silicon muffin pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

 

 

Huevos Rancheros

Tofu is actually good for you.

Certain industries would like for you to believe soy contributes to breast cancer because of the estrogen it contains. They’d like you to believe milk and dairy is better for you. But milk and dairy has a great deal of estrogen. If you think about it, that doesn’t make much sense, does it? I mean, how could a plant estrogen be bad for you but a non-human mammal estrogen be good?

Soy, a plant estrogen (phytoestrogen), has an antiestrogenic effect. What that means is it lowers breast cancer risk. It blocks “dirty” estrogens from getting into the cell. Consuming estrogens from mammals floods our system with entirely too much estrogen and has a proestrogenic effect. Phytoestrogens lower breast cancer risk. What’s even more amazing, for those who have had breast cancer, phytoestrogens reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence by 25%!

Bottom line, you’re better off eating foods that don’t contain hormones from another mammal.

You are also better off not eating foods that contain cholesterol. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Therefore, cholesterol is not considered an essential nutrient. The cholesterol in eggs is considered a major factor in fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Yikes! Consuming cholesterol makes your blood “fatty” and sticky. This sticky blood sticks to artery linings and makes them stiff and narrows the passage of blood flow. This is a major factor in heart disease.

So skip the hormones and cholesterol. But don’t skip the savory breakfast! Just adjust your recipe. Like I did with this one, using tofu instead of eggs, I can have my huevos rancheros and eat it, too! 🙂

8 oz extra firm organic non-GMO tofu

2 yukon gold potatoes, diced small

1 green pepper, diced small

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small

Himalayan sea salt & ground pepper, to taste

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup salsa

slices of toast or tortillas

  1. Boil diced potato and cook until fork tender.
  2. In a large skillet, with a splash of veggie broth (or water), crumble tofu and cook with diced pepper.
  3. Add the turmeric, chili powder, salt & pepper and mix until well coated.
  4. Add the cooked potatoes to the skillet with the tofu. Stir in the diced tomatoes.
  5. Remove from heat. Serve over toast or tortillas. Top with a dollop of salsa.

 

Coconut Kefir

Let’s talk about the gut. Over 70% of our immune cells are in the GUT. When we have dis-ease in the body, it is because our gut has been compromised and can no longer break down foods into nutrients it recognizes. Most of the diseases we suffer from are coming from the intestinal tract.

When we kill of the good bacteria, the bad bacteria proliferate and take over. The normal body functions cannot perform correctly, and this leads to illness and disease.

Here are just some of ways your body is telling you that you need to heal your gut (there are many more clues and signals your body sends you):

** abdominal pain

** anxiety

** behavioral problems

** cognitive decline

** brain fog

** constipation

** diarrhea

** hives

** depression

** fatigue

** insomnia

** joint pain

** chronic sinus infection/ear infection/bronchitis

** dark circles under eyes

Fermented foods:

  • Fermented foods are foods that grow bacteria on or in them and have been through a process called lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process of lactofermentation preserves the food, all the while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. It also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
  • Fermented food are one of the best detoxifying agents as they are capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals.
  • Fermented foods directly inoculate your gut with live bacteria that will crowd out unhealthy bacteria and prohibit the bad bacteria from flourishing.
  • Fermented foods have also been shown to break the food down to a more digestible form. (you are what you eat, but more importantly – you are what you digest)
  • Fermented foods/probiotics are more effective when combined with a high-fiber diet so be sure to eat an abundance of plant foods. Meat and cheese are devoid of any fiber whatsoever, and can even contribute to killing off good bacteria.

Ingredients:

kefir powder (starter grains)

2 cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk

** Follow starter grains package instructions to know how much starter culture to use. For the brand I used, I needed the whole pre-measured package (5g) for 1 quart of milk. Brands may vary slightly but this is generally how all kefir would be made **

  1. Dump packet of starter grains into quart sized mason jar.
  2. Empty the contents of 2 cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk into the jar.
  3. Stir to mix well being sure that no lumps remain.
  4. Cover with a mesh cloth or wash cloth and secure with rubber-band (metal lids could halt the process of fermentation).
  5. Leave out at room temperature for at least 24 -48 hours. At this point put it in the refrigerator to stop fermentation and keep it fresh. It will only last at room temp for 1-2 days. You can store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Graham Crackers

A healthy twist on a classic snack. Strong enough to hold up to dips (like almond butter + coconut milk yogurt dip…yum!) and sweet & flavorful enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Great to decorate for the holidays, or use for s’mores!

They couldn’t be any easier to make! Well worth it to make sure we (and our kids!) get nutritious snacks.

3/4 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup oat flour (you can purchase oat flour or grind your own oats to make a course flour)

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking soda

3 tbsp pumpkin puree

1 tbsp aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) or 1 chia egg

6 tbsp dairy-free milk

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp blackstrap molasses

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. It is easier to use your hands, so dig in!
  5. To roll it out, I find it is much easier to use my hands. It isn’t a sticky dough, but it is too sticky for a roller. Just grab about a softball sized amount and press it out to 1/4 inch thick using your hands. Don’t flour your surface, it won’t incorporate into the cracker and you’ll be left with powdery crackers. It won’t stick to the countertop. If the dough sticks to your hands, just lightly dampen your fingers (not too wet, or you’ll make the dough too wet!) and keep pressing it out. Using a knife or a cookie cutter, cut out your shapes. Using a small spatula, carefully slide it underneath each cracker and place the cracker on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  6. You can poke holes using a fork so the crackers have air holes – and look like store-bought crackers 😉
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn.
  8. Allow the crackers to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a cooling rack. They’ll firm up in the cooling process.