Month: August 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Crunchy Chicken Strips & Easy Honey Mustard Sauce (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

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Chicken tenders were ALWAYS my go-to food growing up. Just about every restaurant sold some variation of them, and it was pretty hard to mess them up.

In college, the best day in the cafeteria was chicken tender day when the dining staff served us 3 large crispy, breaded chicken fingers for lunch. Dipping them in a bowl of sweet, ooey gooey honey was just what I needed to round out the crunchy, saltiness of the tenders.

Pure food bliss.

I was talking to a blog follower the other day (Barb), and she asked for more dinner ideas.

That comment (along with my lifelong love of chicken tenders) motivated me to share this recipe for my favorite homemade version – one that happens to sneak in some honey AND turn out buttery, crunchy, salty and satisfying

Oh, and healthy, of course 🙂

I LOVE the simplicity of this recipe...and how incredible it tastes.

It’s an easy go-to dinner option with fewer than 5 ingredients. If you have kids, involve them in the 2-step “breading” process. They’ll have fun with it.

Serve these chicken strips with a salad or veggie side dish. We’ve enjoyed them alongside some cauliflower mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables. YUM!

Crunchy Chicken Strips & Easy Honey Mustard Sauce

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Chicken Tenders

  • 1 package chicken breast strips OR skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey (I use raw honey, but any honey will work in this recipe)
  • 1.5 cup pecans (Don’t have pecans? Try these with chopped walnuts or almonds instead…but I have to admit – using pecans is my favorite way to make this dish.)
  • Sea salt, to taste

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (basically 2 parts mustard to 1 part honey. Adjust the amount based on how much you want!)

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used raw honey but any will work)
Honey mustard dipping sauce! Nomnomnom

Honey mustard dipping sauce! Nomnomnom

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together the honey and mustard in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Toss the pecans in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Pour the chopped pecans onto a plate.
  4. Use a paper towel to pat the chicken breasts dry. Taking one chicken breast at a time, place the chicken into the honey mustard mixture and coat on both sides. Roll chicken in chopped pecans.
  5. Place coated chicken into a greased (or foil-lined or parchment-paper lined) glass baking dish. Sprinkle each chicken breast with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165 degrees F. (It is SO worth it to buy a meat thermometer, by the way. They’re cheap and take the guesswork out of cooking meat and seafood.).
  7. While the chicken is cooking, stir the honey and mustard together in a dish for the dipping sauce.

Start dipping and eating. It’ll be hard to stop! 🙂

Peaches ‘n Cream Smoothie (Orange Julius Style!)

The peaches this summer have been the sweetest and juiciest I’ve had in a long time!

Whether they’re donut peaches or ordinary yellow peaches, they have been super satisfying.

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Aside from eating them plain, I’ve been putting them in a lot recipes like this peachy keen kale salad and this farmer’s market salad.

I even glazed them with honey, baked them in the oven for the first time and ended up with a super healthy, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

Even though I don’t eat dairy products, I really enjoy and am always looking for recipes for rich and creamy foods and drinks that remind me of the “mouthfeel” of ice cream, cheese, and milk, but are made without those ingredients.

Making dairy-free smoothies and milkshakes are one of the ways I like to do that.

Check out these cool "donut" peaches :)

Check out these cool “donut” peaches 🙂

When my sister tried this smoothie, she said it tasted like one of the smoothies from Orange Julius…but better!

This dairy-free, vegan recipe is quick and simple and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. Blending the cashews with the liquid at the very beginning is what gives the smoothie its creamy texture without any milk, cream or yogurt!

I use raw cashews in lots of other recipes to make dips and even cheesecakes creamy.

You have to try this one for yourself – you will be amazed!

Peaches ‘n Cream Smoothie (Orange Julius Style)

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup raw cashews* (these are cheapest at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water (you can use almond milk if you prefer an even creamier texture – I used 1 cup each of water and almond milk)
  • 3 cups peaches (sliced and frozen – or use fresh peaches for a “frothier” smoothie)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Optional (but tasteless!): 2 cups spinach

Click here for the full recipe from Girl Makes Food.

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Stuffed Rainbow Peppers {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

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Stuffed peppers are one of our go-to recipes to make when we have a lot of veggies to use up and want something delicious for dinner.

You can use any veggies you want and any grain that you like to stuff these peppers, so the possibilities are endless!

We opted for a few basics (carrots, onions, celery & garlic), fiber-filled and gluten-free brown rice and chickpeas, and some chunky tomato sauce to bring it all together.

This is a meal you will make again and again. It’s filling, delicious, comforting, and is a great alternative to meat as a meal. Try it for a Meatless Monday (or Tuesday!) meal. Believe it or not, something like this will often be cheaper than giving everyone at the table a full portion of meat!

I’m not a vegetarian but over the past few years have used meat more as the side dish and the veggies more as the star of the show. I eat high-quality (local, humanely raised, grass-fed/pasture-raised) animal-based foods (eggs, chicken, meat, seafood) a couple of times a week.

On the other days, I get my protein from vegetables, beans and lentils, grains like quinoa, and nuts and seeds. Despite what many of us have been led to believe, meat is not the only quality source of protein, so change up your proteins and try something new!

Veggie-Stuffed Rainbow Peppers

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Ingredients

  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 cups water (enough to fill the bottom of the pot you’re using for steaming – see instructions below)
  • 4 bell peppers, top cut off & seeds removed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (we use the steamable bags in the frozen aisle of the grocery store for convenience)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (We use the Eden Organics brand)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Fill a pot with enough water to steam the peppers and put the seeded peppers on top of a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and steam the peppers for 10 minutes. You want them to still be a bit firm so they stand up on their own. Steaming helps to partially cook them and make them easier to fill with the stuffing. IMG_6207
  3. Place peppers in the foil-lined baking dish. Do not leave them in the covered pot after steaming or they will overcook.
  4. While the peppers are steaming, saute the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth, adding more broth to prevent the onions from sticking.
  5. After about 10 minutes, add the diced tomatoes (with their juices!), brown rice, chickpeas, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and salt, stirring until everything is combined.IMG_5173
  6. Fill each pepper with the rice mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup of the mixture to top off the peppers. Roast peppers in the oven for 20 minutes. We roasted ours in the toaster oven.
  7. Remove from oven and top with 1-2 spoons of the extra rice mixture. Serve and enjoy!IMG_6209

We like to top ours with a few shakes of paleo parmesan cheeze!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Honey-Glazed Peaches (Only 4 Ingredients!)

I love simple recipes.

And peaches.

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Satisfyingly sweet and dripping with juicy goodness, peaches are nature’s candy.

They’re delicious on their own but even better in recipes.

Today’s recipe for roasted, honey-glazed peaches is so easy, you’re going to want to try it this week!

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Roasting food in the oven creates depth of flavor and helps all of the ingredients meld together to create mouthwatering dishes.

This is especially true of vegetables…and even fruit! Ever had baked apples or pears or a fruit crisp or crumble? If you answered, “yes,” then you know what I mean!

I recently baked an ooey gooey triple berry peach crumble and was inspired to try something super simple by just using peaches as the main ingredient.

I didn’t know what to expect but was very pleased by the result! When my parents were over for dinner the other night, I served this for dessert, and they raved about it!

I made a raspberry chia jam (also simple & only 4 ingredients) earlier this week, and you could put a nice dollop of that on top, but I opted for coconut milk whipped cream (3 ingredients!) 🙂

Honey-Glazed Baked Peaches

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Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 2 ripe peaches, cut in half, pit removed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted OR 2 teaspoons grass-fed butter, melted (Kerry Gold brand is sold in almost every major grocery store and is grass-fed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey (or other sweetener, such as coconut sugar, 100% pure maple syrup, or raw honey)
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stir the coconut oil and honey together in a small bowl.
  3. Place the peaches cut-side up in a baking dish lined with parchment paper (to prevent sticking!). Fill each peach cavity with the mixture and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the flesh has softened and the tops are browned. Check halfway through cooking and baste the top of the peach halves with the melted mixture in the middle, so it seeps in.
  5. Serve warm, with the toppings of your choice. I used coconut milk whipped cream (click for the recipe). SO good!
Click the link above for how to make coconut milk whipped cream!

Click the link above for how to make coconut milk whipped cream!

2 FREE Guides & Recipes for Eating Healthy on a Budget (Kid-Friendly, Too!)

“Healthy eating is SO expensive. I can’t afford it!”

What if it wasn’t?

What if you could?

My mission is to transform the way you think about food.

One of the ways I like to do that is by sharing tips for how healthy eating can be not only delicious but also accessible and affordable – not just something only people who are well off can afford to do.

One thing I’ve learned along my health journey is that cooking at home is the best way to save money and enjoy good, wholesome food.

Over the past year, I’ve come across two FREE resources that I’ve shared at several nutrition workshops. Use them for yourself and your family (and share them with your friends!) to make it easier than ever to eat fresh, whole, unprocessed food and prepare simple meals that are affordable and tasty.

Even if you’re not on a tight food budget, we can all benefit from saving money on our grocery bill, so we can use that money to do other things we enjoy!

1) Environmental Working Group’s “Good Food on a Tight Budget”

This agency has done some amazing things to promote and advocate for the health and quality of our food.

They came out with the Dirty Dozen app that I promoted in another post about eating healthy (and organic) without going broke. It’s a fantastic FREE app, and I recommend downloading it!

Not an app person? Check out the Dirty Dozen list on the EWG’s website instead.

I’ve included links to all of the Good Food on a Tight Budget resources below, but in the meantime, check out this video that explains how you can use the guide to shop for healthier food for you and your family!

Here are links to their top tools and resources:

  1. Good Food on a Tight Budget Recipes – What I love about this guide is that it offers not just recipes but also templates for you to build your own recipes and get creative. Just pick a couple things from each column, so you always have options for changing up your meals to prevent boredom!
  2. Top Tips for Better Food, Lower Cost – Before you shop, while you’re at the store, or once you’re back home, check out these tips for guidance on how to make the most of your fresh food and food dollars.
  3. Food List for Best Food Finds at the Lowest Cost – From fruits and veggies to grains, meat, and spices, use this food list to help you find which choices in each food group are most affordable and healthiest.

2) Eat Well on $4/Day: Good & Cheap

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Leanne Brown was a grad student in the Food Studies program at NYU when she launched an innovative and ambitious Kickstarter campaign.

Her goal?

Design recipes that fit the budgets of people living on very limited incomes (on SNAP, specifically).

The outcome?

Over 5,000 backers, nearly $150,000 in funding AND a pretty slick, FREE guide that shows you how to eat well on $4/day and includes dozens of recipes. 

In the intro of the book, Leanne writes:

“My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully, without being purely slavish to the bottom line […] More than a book of recipes, this is a book of ideas. I want you to tailor things to your taste. Improvisation is the soul of great cooking!”

I couldn’t agree more! If you have dietary restrictions, some recipes won’t work for you as-is, but you can try to adapt them to your needs, which is something I plan to do to accommodate my dairy-free, gluten-free cooking.

Click here to download the FREE Good & Cheap PDF!

Farmer's Market Salad with Better-Than-Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette

Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil, Canola Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Red Wine Vinegar, Vinegar, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Red Raspberry Juice Concentrate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Dried Onions, Spice, Poppy Seeds, Natural Flavor, Oleoresin Paprika, Potassium Sorbate And Calcium Disodium Edta (to Protect Freshness). Contains: Poppy Seed.

Those are the ingredients in a bottle of Kraft’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Tasty, huh?

Most salad dressings we buy in the store contain lots of preservatives and chemicals, and as you can see above, very little (less than 2% each!) of real, whole food ingredients we’d expect to see in a salad dressing.

What’s most shocking?

Kraft’s raspberry vinaigrette doesn’t even contain raspberries!

Now there’s a head scratcher.

Homemade salad dressings are one of the easiest upgrades you can make to your diet. They take very little time to make and, in most cases, require either a whisk or a blender to mix everything together.

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That’s why I wanted to try a recipe for a homemade raspberry vinaigrette that tastes 100 times better than the bottled stuff…and actually contains raspberries! 🙂

I served it on top of a summer salad, whose recipe is below, but feel free to put it on any salad you like.

The dressing is inspired by this recipe, but I made several tweaks.

Farmer’s Market Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Dressing

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is the brand we use! Make sure it contains “The Mother”)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2/3 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad (All veggies are ideally organic! Check out this post for how to save money on organic food.)

  • 1 head of lettuce of your choice or 6-8 cups of salad greens
  • 2 peaches, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup sliced almond, toasted
  • Optional: 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced into thin ribbons

Directions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender for 30-60 seconds and liquify. If you have a Vitamix, follow these directions.
  2. Assemble salad and toss ingredients together, leaving almonds aside.
  3. Drizzle dressing on salad and sprinkle almonds on top. Toss to combine.
  4. Optional: Top salad with chicken or fish, or serve with a side of soup!

Easy Raspberry Chia Jam (+ Our Trip to an Organic Berry Farm!)

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately and unseasonably mild for a Maryland August.

Bill and I were home for the first weekend in over a month, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and took a scenic drive out to Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm in Baldwin, Maryland to pick raspberries and blackberries.

Anna, a friend of mine from church, who is also into food and healthy living and has helped me with some photography, told me about the farm and how much we would love it. She and some other moms had gone to the farm several times with their kids to pick berries.

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When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by Kiki, a young girl who was offering samples of her homemade granola made with products grown on the farm. I love seeing children having an appreciation for food and where it comes from at such a young age!

After sampling the blueberry granola (which was delicious), we were welcomed by Robert Hamilton, one of the farm’s owners who runs the farm as a hobby outside of his full-time job as the Director of Dermatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bayview.

His kind, humble and unpretentious demeanor wouldn’t have led us to realize we were talking to someone as accomplished as he is. I plan to interview him in the coming weeks to learn more about how he ended up owning and running such a remarkable business in the midst of the pressure to leave small organic farming in the dust in favor of more large scale, industrial, conventional farming.

I’ve watched two documentaries recently (King Corn and Fresh) and am in the middle of reading Michael’s Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and both the movies and book have given me a heightened appreciation for what goes into organic farming. More on that later!

Back to the berries 🙂

As I’ve written before, I love raspberries. They’ve been my favorite fruit since I was a kid, and I try to take advantage of them for the short time they’re in season locally. (Check out this recipe for tart & tangy raspberry lime popsicles posted earlier this summer!).

Throwback! Had to recreate one of my favorite pictures from my childhood holding none other than a cup of...raspberries!

Throwback! Had to recreate one of my favorite pictures from my childhood holding none other than a cup of…raspberries!

Bill and I spent about 2 hours filling our green buckets with almost 5 pounds of organic raspberries and blackberries, dodging buzzing bees and beetles along the way, sure signs that there were no synthetic pesticides/insecticides/herbicides or other harmful chemicals coating the plants.

It was such a peaceful calming morning, where the only thing you’re thinking about is which leaf to lift to find the biggest, ripest, juiciest berries.

There’s something special about seeing where your food comes from, knowing that it was grown safely, picking it yourself, and then (of course!) eating it.

When I returned home with over 3 pounds of raspberries and nearly 2 pounds of blackberries, I had to start thinking about what to make.

My loot! 5 pounds of berries!

My loot! 5 pounds of berries!

I was busy in the kitchen as a result of all of the berry picking! Coming later this week are recipes for a blackberry blast smoothie and a better-than-store-bought raspberry vinaigrette.

For starters, I opted to try a variation of a jam I made earlier this year that used rhubarb and used raspberries instead (and tweaked it a bit!).

You can use this raspberry jam however you would use regular bottled jam. Stir it into oatmeal, add it to a smoothie, drizzle on top of 2-minute banana ice cream, or smear it on top of a muffin! 🙂

The possibilities are endless!

It is ridiculously simple to make and is sweet, tart and tangy…just like a raspberry jam should be!

Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (more if you prefer a sweeter jam)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Home Goods for the lowest price, or you can get them online. By the way, the original recipe calls for white chia seeds, but black chia seeds are fine!)

Click here for the full recipe from A House in the Hills.

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly {Smoothie} Time!

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Crust or no crust?

Jelly or jam?

Crunchy or creamy?

No matter which combo you like best, one thing is for sure…

Most of us love PB&J!

I was in the mood for a smoothie the other day and wanted to try out a new recipe that would remind me of the flavors, creaminess, and I-wanna-be-a-kid-again feeling of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

After making some tweaks and getting my trusty taste-testing husband, Bill, to give it a try, I came up with a recipe that you have to try!

This fiber-filled, protein-packed smoothie will tantalize your taste buds and hold off hunger until lunchtime 🙂

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

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Ingredients (*See Notes below)

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk*, unsweetened
  • 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries and raspberries work best)
  • 1/2 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1/2 carrot, coarsely chopped (yes, you read that right! It adds a hint of sweetness and is a great way to hide a veggie!)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free rolled oats*
  • 1 Medjool date, pit removed*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter* (2 tablespoons if you like it more peanut buttery!)
  • Pinch sea salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order listed above for 30-60 seconds. Enjoy!

*Notes

  1. Use Silk Unsweetened almond milk or make your own.
  2. Trader Joe’s sells gluten free rolled oats in a big blue bag.
  3. Dates add sweetness. If you don’t have dates, add about 2 tsp pure maple syrup or honey, but dates work best. Let me know how it turns out if you use maple syrup or honey!
  4. The only ingredients in the peanut butter should be peanuts…and maybe salt. 2 tablespoons really seemed to do the trick, but you can always start with less and then add more!
PB&J goodness

PB&J goodness

"Berry" Quick Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Most mornings, Bill and I have a smoothie for breakfast. We pull recipes from this list and from my “Blend It Up” Pinterest board.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for something besides a smoothie. Variety is one of the keys to a healthy, balanced diet that gives your body all the nutrients it needs. Plus, variety keeps meals fun and exciting 🙂

Today, I’m putting a new spin on a classic favorite – oatmeal!

The best part?

You don’t even have to cook it. It’s one of those set-it-and-forget-it recipes that takes the hassle out of breakfast!

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I used to eat oatmeal every day for breakfast because it’s a pretty quick, easy, and healthy meal. Oats have tons of health benefits, too!

The way I usually make oatmeal is by cooking it slowly in a pot on the stove…but that’s not always the most convenient thing to do, especially in the morning, so I tried something new.

Overnight oats!

My friend Jess and I made a variation of an overnight oats recipe a few months ago when we did a cooking demo for a group of her employees. After browsing through several other recipes online, I came up with one that I REALLY like!

I’ve already made it twice this week, and it has come in handy on mornings when I’ve been pressed for time.

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This overnight oats recipe takes less than 5 minutes to put together and is healthy, tasty, convenient grab-and-go option, perfect for when you’re feeling rushed in the morning.

All of the ingredients magically come together while they’re chillin’ in the fridge and you’re catching up on some sleep.

One thing I love about this recipe is that you can prep several jars at once and have breakfast ready to go for a few days in a row. That way, you literally don’t even have to think about what you’re going to do for breakfast in the morning.

All you have to do is open your fridge, grab a jar, and hit the road!

The possibilities for combinations of spices and add-ins are endless, so experiment with it to find what you like best! Feel free to share below if you find a combo that you really like!

“Berry” Quick Cinnamon Overnight Oats

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed OR 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (Trader Joe’s sells a big bag of gluten-free rolled oats for about $5)
  • ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened

The Fixins

  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup berries
  • Optional/additional add-ins: 2 teaspoons almond butter or peanut butter, shredded unsweetened coconut, or sliced bananas, peaches or any other fruit you like!

Directions

Mash the banana in the bottom of a mason jar or mug with a spoon until it's the consistency of applesauce.

Mash the banana in the bottom of a mason jar or mug with a spoon until it’s the consistency of applesauce. OR pour applesauce into bottom of jar.

Add spices, chia seeds, salt, vanilla, oats and raisin to banana mash and stir to combine.

Add spices, chia seeds, salt, vanilla, oats and raisins to banana mash and stir to mix everything together.

Add almond milk and stir until everything is combined.

Add almond milk and stir until all ingredients are combined. It will seem watery. That’s normal! The chia seeds and oats will absorb the liquid, and it will thicken up overnight, so just give it time.

Store jar or mug in the fridge overnight. By morning, the oats and chia seeds will have absorbed the liquid and be ready to eat! No cooking necessary :)

Store jar or mug in the fridge overnight, and everything will gel together.

Top with or stir in your choice of nuts, seeds, nut butter and/or berries (I used slivered almonds and blackberries!).

Remove from fridge in the morning and top with or stir in your choice of nuts, seeds, nut butter and/or berries (I used slivered almonds and blackberries!).

You can heat it up if you’d like or just enjoy it cold, which works well when the weather is warmer like it is now. Add more almond milk if you want to thin it out. Enjoy 🙂

Heirloom Tomato & Chickpea Summer Salad

I used to hate tomatoes. 

I don’t know what it was specifically that fueled my aversion, but unless they were blended together in pizza sauce or in my can of Spaghettios or Beefaroni, I wanted nothing to do with them.

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Fortunately, over the years as I’ve opened myself up to foods and giving them a second chance rather than immediately writing them off, I’ve found that I really like tomatoes.

Especially heirloom tomatoes.

If you want to learn all about heirloom tomatoes, check out this link by a guy who has an entire website devoted to tomatoes!

I also pulled this little bit of info off of Hometown Harvest’s website. I’ve met the owners, Tony and Abby, and respect and admire their approach to food and the fresh, local products they source to their customers, which is why Bill and I switched from a different produce delivery company to Hometown Harvest.

An heirloom tomato is an open-pollinated tomato whose seed grows “true to type”—meaning, if you plant Cherokee Purple seed, you’re going to get Cherokee Purple plants. From generation to generation, that seed will stay true. Some heirloom tomatoes have, in fact, stayed within one family and so are heirlooms in the truest sense of the word. Other heirloom tomatoes circulate widely.

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes also tend to have a thinner skin and are more prone to bruising and puncturing, so it’s important to handle them carefully. Their flavor is second to none, and they come in lots of different colors, so they spruce up the plate!

I made this recipe using heirloom tomatoes for the first time last summer and LOVED it.

Oh my goodness it is so tasty!  It was the perfect way to use the heirloom tomatoes we got in our Hometown Harvest bag this week and at the farmer’s market in Easton, Maryland on Saturday morning.

If you like to “go downy ocean, hun,” you should plan to stop by Easton’s farmer’s market on your way to or from the beach.

We’ll be making this dish tomorrow night for Meatless Monday. Give it a whirl if you’re looking for something new to try. Enjoy! 🙂

Heirloom Tomatoes & Chickpea Summer Salad

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Ingredients

Serves 6

Base

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch discs (or whatever thickness you like!)
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh greens or lettuce of your choice

Chickpea Medley

  • 5.5-6 cups cooked (~ 3 15-ounce cans) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (We like Eden brand!)
  • 5 ounce baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups cilantro, large stems removed (or parsley if you don’t like cilantro or want a milder taste)
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped finely

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt + ground pepper

Arrange the tomato slices on top of the greens and then follow this link to the full recipe for the medley and dressing from one of my favorite vegan bloggers over at oh she glows (she makes veggies taste fantastic!).

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