Category: Dairy-Free (Page 1 of 4)

17 Supercharged Plant-Powered Salads

A few weeks ago, I taught a cooking class for a client in DC about how to supercharge your salads. I summed up the keys to building an upgraded and anti-cancer salad in my last blog post here, so make sure to check that out if you missed it.

We made three different salads – two with greens as the base and a third with grains (quinoa) as the base. All of them were a hit, so I thought I’d share the recipes we made along with a few more of my favorite salads, so you can give them a try!

Let’s dive into the¬†recipes! These are great for any meal of the day (yes, even breakfast!) and perfect for potlucks. Kale salads hold up especially well for a few days in the fridge, but make sure to keep them chilled to avoid food poisoning, especially at outdoor picnics.

Enjoy! ūüôā

Strawberry, Fennel & Arugula Salad with a Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette by Rebecca Katz

Sundried Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

Spring Farmer’s Market Salad with Tangy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Rainbow Super Food Kale Salad (my most requested recipe!)

Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Kale Caesar Salad by oh she glows

Mediterranean Spring Salad with Easy Avocado Dressing

Kale Salad with Avocado Tahini Sauce by Love & Lemons

The Easiest Kale Salad Ever

Kale Waldorf Salad by Whole Foods Market Recipes

Simple Beauty-Boosting Salad with Pesto Dressing

A Simple Salad for Salad Haters with Creamy Basil Dressing by Sondi Bruner

Chickpea & Sundried Tomato Kale Salad

Kale Salad with Peach Vinaigrette by The Detoxinista

Cherry Tomato, Asparagus & Quinoa Spring Salad

Watermelon Mojito Salad by Stupid Easy Paleo

Cumin & Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Eat Your Greens Chickpea Medley by oh she glows

What are some of your favorite salad recipes? Feel free to share in the comment section below! I always love trying new recipes.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

I just finished up teaching a two-part series about Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy at the Institute for Integrative Health. We had a great time and made some tasty recipes. I love showing how eating well can be easier, more fun, and delicious, and these classes are the perfect opportunity for me to do that.

I summed up my top healthy meal planning tips from week #1 in this post and shared links to over a dozen simple recipes, including the mason jar salad and tropical-inspired smoothie we made and sampled during the session.

In class #2, we focused on batch cooking, my favorite gadgets, the ultimate food storage guide, and my top tips for eating healthy on the go. Batch cooking is a technique of preparing larger quantities of simple foods that can be mixed and matched throughout the week. I love what Nutrition Stripped has to say about strategies for how do this in her Batch Cooking 101 blog post.

We kicked off the class with a sample of one of my favorite new packaged foods – Swapples – which is a new spin on a traditional waffle. Swapples are gluten-free, vegan, and paleo and can be used as the base of or topping for just about any meal. We tried the Tomato Pizza version, which I’d recommend dipping into marinara sauce! ¬†For the “eating on the go” part of class, we also sampled one of my favorite real food snack bars – an Almond Cranberry Everbar.

We had fun playing with our food and making this easy 10-minute white bean, tomato and zucchini noodle saute. Two brave volunteers came up to help me spiralize the zucchini into noodles and did a great job! Want to get your own spiralizer? Check out this one.

Since one of the main concepts I wanted to introduce was batch cooking, we talked about how to use quinoa two different ways – one savory preparation and one sweet. If you prepare a big pot of plain quinoa (let’s say you cook 4 cups) at the beginning of the week, you can use it for a number of different dishes. If you’ve ever made a mistake cooking a batch of quinoa and ended up with a giant mass or unevenly cooked pieces, read this post that reveals the SECRET to cooking perfect quinoa…every time!

You can use it as the base of grain bowl like this Sweet Potato, Edamame & Quinoa Bowl that was a BIG hit.¬†You could substitute it¬†rice in a stir fry, toss it into a soup or stew or on top of a salad, or use it to make a breakfast bowl. Think of the quinoa as a substitute for oatmeal. Since it’s already cooked, this is a great way to save time in the morning. I’m going to experiment with other versions of this recipe that combine different ingredients, but this is a simple one to start with, so I hope you’ll give it a try!

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Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

This tasty and easy breakfast is a great way to use leftover plain quinoa.

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Author Rachel Druckenmiller

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 apple diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except apple and walnuts in a small saucepan on the stove over medium low heat, stirring until heated through and quinoa begins to thicken, about 8-10 minutes.

  2. Pour into bowls and top with chopped apple, walnuts, and, if needed, a light drizzle of maple syrup.

Recipe Notes

You can also top this dish with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds or hemp seeds.

My Top 8 Real Food Snack Bars

I spent the afternoon with a client in DC and did a sampling of my favorite snack bars. It went so well and was so well received that I thought I’d put together a quick blog post to give you the details about what we tried and learn how to pick out an “upgraded” nutrition bar.

With our on-the-go lifestyles, it can be easy to prioritize convenience over quality, especially when it comes to eating. Instead of sitting down for a meal, many of us grab a snack, like a protein or granola bar. Unfortunately, many of the bars on the market these days are packed with some not-so-nourishing ingredients and as much sugar as a candy bar. Not only that, but the ingredient list contains dozens of ingredients that you’d never find in an at-home pantry.

Here’s the secret.

To¬†maintain balanced energy and to satisfy hunger, you‚Äôll want a bar that has a combination of protein, fiber and healthy fats and a lower sugar count. When we eat something containing fiber and protein, it helps to slowly release blood sugar, so we don’t deal with spikes and drops that trigger irritability and other not-so-pleasant physical and emotional symptoms.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day for women and no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day for men. That’s not much.¬†

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when picking out a bar:

  1. Aim for single digit sugar content‚Ķor close to it. When you’re looking at a label, remember that 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of¬†sugar.¬†Fortunately, the next round of nutrition facts label will include information about added sugars.
  2. Opt for 5+ grams of fiber to keep you feeling full. I look for about 20% fiber on the nutrition facts panel.
  3. Go for at least as much protein as fiber. I look for protein to at least equal and (ideally) exceed sugar content.
  4. Look for an ingredients list that contains real food vs. “isolates” and unfamiliar words. I look for bars containing ingredients that, for the most part, I could make on my own.
  5. Try to eat actual meals as often as possible, and use these bars in a pinch!

Here’s a list of the bars we sampled (and a few extras!). I’ve indicated whether they are gluten-free (GF), dairy-free (DF), vegan (V), or soy-free (SF). I also listed how many grams of¬†sugar / fiber / protein¬†are found in one variety of each type of¬†bar. One of my favorite things to do, which you’ll see below, is to share the story behind the bar, so we can connect more with our food, where it comes from and how it makes us feel.

Soul Sprout 

GF, DF, V, SF

Why I Like Them: Shari, the founder of Two Moms in the Raw, started making raw foods after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She found that a natural path to wellness (including a raw food diet) worked best for her health. She couldn’t find any raw snacks that tasted good, so she made her own. I actually wrote a whole blog post about the first version of these bars when they were branded Two Moms in the Raw. They have since rebranded and reformulated their products and came out with a few new lines of products, too.

Flavors: Blueberry Burst (10g sugar / 3g fiber / 5g protein), Wow Cacao Nib, Cranberry Crush, Charming Cherry Chocolate, Gotta Getta Gojiberry and Go for Goldenberry, Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip, Apple Crazin‚Äô Cinnamon Raisin, Coconut Almond Delight, Hoppin‚Äô Jalapeno Almond, Sea Salt Vinegar and Sweet ‚ÄėN Salty.

Where to Find Them: MOMs Organic Market, SoulSprout.com (sign up for their mailing list to get 20% off your first order!), Thrive Market.

GoMacro Thrive

GF, DF, V, SF

Why I Like Them: I love the story behind this company. Amelia (the founder) and her family grew their own food and were entrepreneurs who made money selling the food products they created. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she modified her diet to be plant-based and created GoMacro bars.

When I first saw these Thrive at MOMs Organic Market I was excited. I love when new products are introduced that prioritize real food ingredients, nutrition, and flavor. I was at the Green Festival in DC last weekend and Go Macro was there sampling all of their bars. My favorite was the Ginger Lemon one. Now I just need to find who sells it near me!

Flavors: Ginger Lemon; Almond Apricot; Caramel Coconut; Blueberry Lavender; Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt; Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip.

Where to Find Them: MOMs Organic Market (some varieties), Whole Foods, GoMacro.com, Wegmans, The Fresh Market. You can fill out a request form on their website to request them at stores near you.

EVER BAR

GF, DF, SF

Why I Like Them:¬†When I first reviewed these bars about two years ago here, I was impressed by how much fiber and protein they contained and how short the ingredient list was. To this day, they are still my go to bar because of the purity of ingredients and how filling they are.¬†EVER BARs¬†are paleo-friendly,¬†non-GMO, and locally made in Olney, Maryland! I could also identify all of the ingredients as ‚Äúfood,‚ÄĚ which isn‚Äôt always the case with bars.

While most bars list¬†whatever sweeteners they use as one of the first three ingredients (because those bars are more sugar than anything else), EVER BAR¬†has sweeteners as their last few¬†ingredients, and the primary ingredient in every bar is organic hemp seeds. They’re a little chewier than most bars, but I don’t mind it because I know I’m getting high quality nourishment.

Flavors: Almond Cranberry (my fave), Cinnamon Ginger, Blueberry Cashew, and Green Power. The Cinnamon Ginger bar has 11g sugar / 6g fiber / 12 g protein. The other bars have a similar profile.

Where to Find Them: MOMs Organic Market, Wegmans, LivityFoods.com, Amazon, Dawson’s Market.

Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars

GF, SF, DF

Why I Like Them:¬†These were recommended by my friend Jen, and I’m so glad she told me about them because I didn’t even know they existed! The pepper one is REALLY peppery…but I’m a pepper lover, so I was okay with it. I definitely want to try the Cinnamon Spice one next. I’ve had the Health Warrior Chia Bars before but didn’t even know about this line of sweet and savory bars. They’re lower in sugar and have a good¬†amount of protein but are a bit lower in fiber than I’d like.

Flavors: Cinnamon Spice, Honey Cracked Pepper & Turmeric, Dark Chocolate. The Cinnamon Spice bar has 7g sugar / 2g fiber / 8g protein.

Where to Find Them: Amazon, Health Warrior, and Lucky Vitamin. The best deal is on Amazon!

Primal Kitchen

GF, SF, DF

Why I Like Them: I was initially drawn to these bars because they were a new product at the grocery store where I shop. When I took a closer look, I was impressed by the protein (15g) and fiber (5g) content and pleasantly surprised by the low sugar content (only 3 grams!).

Monk fruit, a Chinese herb cultivated for centuries by Buddhist monks, is the primary sweetener. Much like stevia, it‚Äôs a natural zero calorie way to sweeten without the blood-sugar raising effects of sugar. It can have a bit of an aftertaste, so my favorite bar was the Macadamia Sea Salt one.¬†¬†The¬†15 grams of protein come from¬†nuts and seeds and collagen from grass-fed cows. Here’s the scoop from their website:

The collagen protein used in Primal Kitchen Macadamia Sea Salt Bars is collagen hydrolysate from grass-fed cows, which is broken down into individual amino acids and easier to absorb and digest, so it’s a preferable alternative to taking collagen in, say, capsule form.

Flavors:¬†Macadamia Sea Salt (3g sugar / 5g fiber / 15g protein), Cashew Coconut Bar, Dark Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Hazelnut. To be honest, I didn’t really love the chocolate flavors and prefer the Macadamia Sea Salt bar most.

Where to Find Them: MOMs Organic Market, Thrive Market, or PrimalKitchen.com.

EPIC

GF, DF, SF

Why I Like Them: These are Bill’s favorite bars, so I had to highlight them. They’re paleo-friendly, high in protein and low in sugar but typically don’t contain¬†fiber, so I like to pair¬†them with some crunchy veggies. Think of them as an upgraded form of jerky made with responsibly-raised animals that were fed their natural diet. Inspired by the diets of our hunter gatherer ancestors, these bars combine¬†high quality meat, wholesome vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.

EPIC foods begin with a living animal. We believe that all ruminants should consume diets they were biologically intended to eat and roam freely outdoors. As a result our beef, venison, wild boar, lamb, and bison are raised on open pasture just how nature intended. We continuously strive to convert ranchers to this pasture based livestock model, and through our products, create financial incentives to help change American agriculture.

Flavors: Beef, Apple & Uncured Bacon (2g sugar / 0g fiber / 11g protein); Turkey Almond Cranberry; Venison Sea Salt Pepper; Beef, Habanero & Cherry; Chicken Sesame & BBQ; Chicken Sriracha; Lamb, Currant & Mint; Wild Boar Bacon; Bison Bacon Cranberry; Smoked Maple Bacon; Smoked Salmon Maple.

Where to Find Them: They have over a dozen varieties, and you can find them at MOMs Organic Market, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and EpicBar.com.

KIND

Why I Like Them:¬†They are low in sugar, and you find buy them anywhere – airports, gas stations, grocery stores, and beyond – and that’s why I recommend them. KIND has a few lines of their bars (Nuts & Spices, Sweet & Spicy) that are low in sugar (6 grams or less). They also contain a decent amount of fiber and protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied. When I spoke at the WELCOA conference last spring, I shared the story behind KIND bars, so if you’re not familiar with it, I’d encourage you to check out this article¬†about the amazing story behind the bars.

Flavors: I opt for the lower sugar Nuts & Spices Line. My favorite flavors are Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt (5g sugar / 5g fiber / 6g protein) and Cashew & Ginger Spice. Other flavors include Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Almond Mint, and Black Truffle Almond & Sea Salt.

I’m also a fan of their Sweet & Spicy savory bar line that includes flavors like Roasted Jalapeno (the crowd favorite at the tasting), which contains 6g sugar / 3g fiber / 10g protein. Other flavors in that line include Thai Sweet Chili, Chipotle Honey Mustard, and Sweet Cayenne BBQ.

Where to Find Them: Just about everywhere. From grocery stores to gas stations and Amazon, everyone carries KIND bars. 

RXBAR

GF, DF, V, SF

Why I Like Them:¬†The group of friends who created these bars were frustrated by the lack of transparency and real food ingredients in the protein bars they were eating. They wanted to come up with a bar that was simpler and honest about what was in it. What you see is what you get. Each package includes as the final ingredient,¬†“No B.S.”¬†I’ll be honest and say these taste more like what you’d expect a protein bar to taste like and have a bit more sugar (even if it’s natural) than I’d like, BUT I just love their transparency and accessibility, so I’m in.

Flavors: Their most popular flavor is the Chocolate Sea Salt (15g sugar / 6g fiber / 12 g protein). Blueberry, Coconut Chocolate and Maple Sea Salt, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Mint are their most popular flavors. For more flavors, click here.

Where to Find Them: Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Amazon, RXBAR.com.

Aaaand that’s a wrap! What are your favorite snack bars? Any that you love that I’m missing?? ¬†I’d love to know what you think, so feel free to comment below.

Vegan Carrot Cake Smoothie

Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve been back in the kitchen experimenting with recipes. My most recent hit was this vegan, gluten-free carrot cake muffin topped with creamy cashew icing. If you haven’t already tried it, you totally should!

It’s been a while since I posted a new smoothie recipe, but since I was already tinkering with the ingredient profile for carrot cake, I thought I’d try coming up with a carrot cake smoothie.

Some recipes come together easily, and after one or two attempts, it ends up tasting good. This smoothie took about six attempts before I came up with something that I really liked! I have to give a shout out to my friend, Kat Downs, who writes the awesome blog, Crunchy Kat, for being willing to be a recipe tester for me! She will be featured in my next blog post, so I’m really excited for you guys to meet her.

In the meantime, give this tasty carrot cake smoothie recipe a try. You might be surprised to find that it contains a secret ingredient you won’t even taste that will give you an extra serving of vegetables. When I think of upgrading what I¬†eat, this is one of the easiest ways to do it!

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Vegan Carrot Cake Smoothie

If you like all the flavors of carrot cake as much as I do, you're going to love this creamy, dreamy smoothie!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Author Rachel Druckenmiller

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashews
  • 1 Medjool date pit removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 piece frozen or fresh pineapple Trust me, this makes a difference!
  • 1 frozen banana

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients through almond milk to the blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Add frozen fruit and blend until creamy. 

Recipe Notes

For some reason, I find that the smoothie turns out a bit creamier when you combine all ingredients besides the frozen fruit FIRST and then add it, but you can totally just blend everything at once. That's just my preference ūüôā

Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins {Gluten-Free}

Carrot cake is my JAM.

I love everything about it. From the moist texture of the cake with a hint of spice and a crunch of walnuts to the rich and creamy icing, carrot cake is in a league of its own. I always have a piece¬†on my birthday! My go to place¬†for gluten-free, dairy-free carrot cake is¬†Great Sage, a vegan¬†restaurant in the little town of Clarksville, Maryland. It’s one of our top¬†places to eat, and the staff there are wonderful, too! You should definitely check it out, if you haven’t been already.

Speaking of plant-based food, I recently discovered an AMAZING blueberry muffin recipe from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. Since it turned out so well, I figured I would use the same base and then tinker with the other ingredients to make a carrot cake muffin version.

And that’s exactly what happened! After three attempts at combining ingredients in just the right way, I came up with a winner.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free and can be made nut-free if you use a different type of yogurt. I opted to use my favorite dairy-free yogurt made by Forager Project, which I reviewed earlier this year in this post. You can easily make your own oat flour by grinding up gluten-free rolled oats in your food processor until they reach a fine texture. I added some spices to enhance the flavor and jazz them up a bit.

I’m happy to report that they turned out tasting great! Bill gave them two thumbs up, and they were a hit at a brunch I brought them to this weekend. They are great for breakfast with a little smear of nut butter, or you can enjoy them with one of my favorite blogger’s creamy cashew icing. I HIGHLY recommend doing that!

 

OPTIONAL but recommended: Top these muffins with a smear of this delicious creamy cashew icing from the Detoxinista!

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Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

These gluten-free, vegan muffins are moist, flavorful and perfect for breakfast, a snack or dessert!

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author Rachel Druckenmiller

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour process rolled oats in a food processor until fine
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy plain yogurt I used Forager Project's unsweetened plain cashewgurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 cup walnuts chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

  2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk, applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla and whisk them together before mixing everything in the bowl together, until just combined. Fold in the carrots, raisins, pineapple, and walnuts until just combined.

  3. In a silicone muffin pan or regular muffin pan lined with silicone liners, use an ice cream scoop to scoop muffin mix into each slot. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Don't over bake, or they will become dry.

What We Eat: A Peek at Our Weekly Menu

I’ve had people ask time and time again what a typical week of eating looks like for me and Bill. Every week is different, but I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what last week and the upcoming week consisted of for our meals.

I tend to make a combination of my own recipes from this blog and often look to the Nourishing Meals Cookbook, The Undiet Cookbook,¬†Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook or one of Rebecca Katz’s many healing cookbooks, with a recent focus on The Longevity Kitchen Cookbook.¬†

We pretty much follow Michael Pollan’s advice to “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Sometimes I’m a little off on the “not too much” part, if I’m being completely honest, but we prioritize eating real food made from ingredients we recognize and can pronounce. The vast majority of¬†what we eat, especially for me, consists of plant-based foods like veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts and seeds, and we load up on herbs and spices for flavor. I do eat some animal proteins a couple of times a week, usually wild caught fish or pasture-raised chicken or eggs.

My husband¬†Bill’s German heritage demands a higher animal protein ratio than what I eat. He just feels better eating a bit more of it than me! That’s why I’m such a huge advocate of listening to your body and paying attention to what gives you energy and what takes it away. I encourage you to experiment with different foods to see which ones make you feel best. For more on my philosophy around food and eating, check out this recent post.

Okay, now let’s get back to the food. Want to know what a week of breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like for us? Check out the list below!

Breakfast

Because I’m on a healing foods protocol through my nutritionist, as I’m restoring my body from Epstein-Barr Virus, I’m not eating certain things that Bill eats on a regular basis, like eggs. He¬†loves making breakfast and puts in a lot of work each morning. A typical breakfast for him consists of roasted sweet potatoes, saut√©ed onions and tomatoes or peppers, and an egg, usually served on or with a Swapple, which is one of my favorite freezer staples¬†as well. We also like Bilinski’s casing-free, real food chicken sausage, especially the kale balsamic version!

I usually have a smoothie because it’s the easiest way to pack a lot of goodness into one glass (or smoothie bowl!). I’ve been opting for blueberries as my main fruit because of how antioxidant-packed they are. I alternate which fats I use, including coconut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and avocado. I usually throw in a handful of baby spinach or baby kale and round out everything with a scoop of protein powder or an extra sprinkle of hemp seeds.

I’ll have to share the smoothie I’ve been making lately, so you¬†have the recipe, but this Blueberry Blast¬†Smoothie is pretty similar!

I absolutely LOVE the Oat Berry Yogurt Muffin recipe from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook¬†and have been serving that with Trader Joe’s mixed nut butter. I also tried the Detoxinista’s Vegan Almond Flour Banana Bread. It’s RICH and pretty hearty, since it’s made with almonds as the base, but I really liked the flavors!

Lunch & Dinner

To be honest, lunch and dinner don’t look that different for us. I almost always have a big salad for lunch as my base and often¬†serve up leftovers from dinner for lunch because it makes things easier and saves us time. I’m a big advocate of making grain or salad bowls, which basically consists of throwing together some cooked and raw veggies (focus on leafy greens!), some source of protein (usually beans), something crunchy like nuts or seeds, and a grain like quinoa or brown rice if I’m making a grain bowl. I top it all off with a dressing¬†and toss everything together.

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I need something nourishing when I haven’t planned ahead and packed. When I’m on the go, some of my favorite places to hit up are Stall11 at RHouse, sweetgreen, Harmony Bakery, the Naked Lunch Cafe, and Whole Foods Market hot bar and salad bar. I link to all of those places and¬†others in my healthy foodie dining guide to Baltimore.

Here’s what we’ve been cooking up lately!

That’s a look at some of what we’ve been cooking up in our kitchen lately. We stick with some of our favorite familiar staples and try a few new ones here and there.

How about you? What’s on your menu? Try anything new lately? Feel free to¬†share in the comments below! I love trying new recipes ūüôā

3 Beautiful Smoothie Bowl Recipes to Try

I’ve been a fan of smoothies for years because of how many nutrients you can pack into one meal. But I’ve also noticed something you may find to be true as well.

I tend to drink them fast. Like, under two minutes fast.

That’s a lot of food entering your stomach at an unnaturally fast rate, which can lead to things like bloating, gas, indigestion, and overeating.¬†You can drink fruits and vegetables at a rate of about two cups per minute when you get them through a smoothie. This can¬†undermine your body’s capacity to recognize that you’re full because the body needs about 20 minutes to register that you’re satiated once you start eating.

So, what’s one idea for slowing down your smoothie drinking pace?

Put it in a bowl!

Yup, make a smoothie bowl.

It’s not that complicated either. All you’re really doing is using slightly less liquid (1/4-1/2 cup less than usual), so you end up with a thicker consistency that can be poured into a bowl instead of into a glass. It’s also important to use thickening ingredients like chia seeds, avocado, frozen banana, soaked raw cashews, and even peeled zucchini to reach your desired consistency.

Now, I do have a few words of caution and something you’ll want to keep in mind when going this route. Smoothie bowls are often topped with heaps of¬†granola, honey, maple syrup, nuts, a whole banana, etc., which makes for a pretty picture. But, on top of all of the ingredients that are already in a smoothie, this can be overkill, so use your toppings sparingly. Try not to overdo it. Notice how your body feels and adjust accordingly! Less is more ūüôā

Check out the three smoothie bowl recipes below that I’ve previously posted on my¬†instagram¬†page. If you’re looking for even more smoothie bowl inspiration, here is a list of nine smoothie bowls from Greatist and 11 from Buzzfeed!

Berry Good Smoothie Bowl 

Ingredients

1 tsp flax seeds or flax meal
2 teaspoons hemp seeds
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon coconut butter (optional but tasty!)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1/2 tsp raw honey
1 cup baby spinach
1-1.5 cups almond milk (start with one cup for a thicker bowl)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Directions: Blend all ingredients, except the berries, in a high-speed blender for about 15-20 seconds. Then, add berries and blend until smooth, adding additional almond milk, as needed, until it reaches your desired thickness. Pour into a bowl and top with additional berries and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

Shrek Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 tsp fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 small avocado
1 cup baby spinach
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I like Vital Proteins and Bulletproof Collagen Protein because they are flavorless!)
1/2 tsp raw honey
1-1.5 cups water (start with 1 cup and add more as needed)

Directions: Blend everything together until you reach a smooth, thick consistency. Pour into bowl, sprinkle with shredded coconut, and serve with a spoon!

Berry Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries and raspberries)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1.5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Medjool date, pitted
1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I used Vital Proteins)

1 – 1.5 cups dairy-free milk (start with 1 cup and add more 1/4 cup at a time)

Directions: Put everything in a blender and blend for about a minute or until smooth. Pour into bowl and sprinkle with goji berries and cacao nibs.

So, what about you? Are you a fan of smoothie bowls? Do you have any favorite recipes? Feel free to share them below!

Coconut Chocolate Brownie Bites {Paleo, Vegan}

It’s been a while since I’ve poster¬†a new no-bake bite recipe for you to try, so I’m excited to share today’s recipe for coconut chocolate brownie bites!

A few weeks ago, I was at a women in business event¬†with a group of consultants, human resources professionals and business owners. Before the session, Susan, a friend and fan who attends my cooking classes in the community, walked in. She was¬†holding a bag¬†of Emmy’s Cookies that she had bought at Starbucks that morning. Knowing what I do, she came up to me and said, “These are so expensive! I bet you know how to make them at home!”

Since I’m always up for a challenge, I started experimenting! What I’m sharing with you today is the final outcome of playing in the kitchen to come up with my own version of those chocolate coconut no-bake cookies.¬†Like most of my no-bake bites, they start with a base of nuts and dates. They’re a great option for a snack or a sweet treat and are perfect for someone who is on the go (kids love them, too!).

I had a few coworkers sample them today for me to give me feedback, and everyone loved the sweet and salty combo paired with the rich chocolatey taste. As someone who used to h-a-t-e coconut anything, I really love these, and so does my husband, who¬†isn’t much of a coconut fan either.

One of the fun,¬†new things I’ve started doing with no-bake recipes like this is experimenting with vanilla powder instead of vanilla extract. I find that the taste isn’t as bitter, but you can totally use vanilla extract in this recipe if you prefer. ¬†If you use the powder, it’s a 1-1 substitution for the extract. I buy the Nielsen-Massey brand of vanilla powder at MOMs Organic Market. Most natural food stores and Whole Foods carry vanilla powder, in case you’re interested!

I have a feeling these are going to become one of your new favorites, so let me know if you give them a try ūüôā They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, and raw, in case that helps you decide!

Coconut Chocolate Brownie Bites

Yield: ~24 bites

Ingredients

2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 1/3 cups Medjool dates, pits removed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, process walnuts and salt for about 15 seconds. Add cacao powder and pulse to combine.
  2. Add dates, vanilla, and maple syrup, and process until a dough begins to form.
  3. Add coconut and pulse several times until just combined. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll between your palms. Toss balls in shredded coconut (optional) and store in a glass container in your fridge.

The BEST Dairy-Free Yogurt: My #1 Pick

About six years ago, I went through a protocol called an elimination diet to get to the root of why I wasn’t feeling my best. I wanted to get off medications and not be bothered by recurring health issues.

Through that process, I discovered that dairy products and gluten-containing foods were triggers for years of congestion, bloating, gas, skin problems, indigestion, and sore throats. Like most of you, I loved cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products. Finding out that they were one of the root causes of my health issues was upsetting.

Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to find alternatives to foods I used to love but could no longer eat if I wanted to feel my best. My journey led me to find this dairy-free option I’m sharing with you today.

Like many people, I took yogurt to work nearly every day as part of my lunch or for an afternoon snack. I had bought into the media hype that yogurt was a health food. I wasn’t paying attention to all of the sugar and other processed ingredients that were making their way into my daily snack. A few years ago, an organization called the Cornucopia Institute came out¬†with a ranking system of yogurts, placing my top two brands – Dannon and Yoplait – at the bottom of the list of 129 brands.

Once I realized yogurt was contributing to my health issues and saw how little nutritional value most brands¬†contained, I cut it out. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a replacement for the¬†smooth and creamy texture and dessert-like taste only yogurt seemed to have. For years, I didn’t eat it. None of the dairy-free options on the market were very appealing. They were full of processed ingredients; had weird, gelatinous consistencies; or just didn’t taste very¬†good. I had all but given up on finding a replacement.

That’s when I found this.

Meet, Forager Project Yogurt

Fortunately, just over two years ago, I came upon the company Forager Project after seeing their line of nut milks (i.e., almond, cashew, etc.) at a grocery store in San Diego. I had the opportunity to try their products at the Natural Products Expo and became a fan.

Then, this past September when I was at the expo, I was stoked to find out they had¬†added a new product to their line –¬†dairy-free yogurt.


What I love about this yogurt is that it has the texture and creaminess of the yogurt I used to eat.

It’s¬†an upgrade, too, because instead of using artificial flavors and colors, Forager uses¬†ingredients¬†like turmeric (to make the lemon yogurt yellow) and beet juice to make the strawberry yogurt pink. They’re also organic, not genetically modified, and the plain, unsweetened yogurt (perfect in smoothies and sauces!) contains¬†only two grams of sugar per serving, which is the lowest I’ve seen on the market.

Instead of cow’s milk, cashews are the base of¬†Forager’s yogurts. I’ve used cashews¬†to make dairy-free cheese dips, cheesecake, and even caramel dipping sauce, so I had a feeling a cashew-based yogurt would be equally delicious and creamy. And it is! They have plain, lemon, blueberry, vanilla and strawberry flavors, which are some of the most popular and familiar. The vanilla version contains real vanilla bean that you can see¬†instead of artificial¬†vanilla flavor.

I love Forager’s¬†brand promise on the side of the yogurt container:

I love what they stand for and appreciate and value how much TLC they put into their products with a focus on quality, sustainability and taste.

Where to Find Forager Project Products

To find a store near you that carries Forager’s products, use this search feature on their website. Availability will be expanding, but you should already be able to find them at your local Whole Foods, Safeway (soon!) and other independent retailers.

While you’re at it, pick up a bag of their tasty vegetable chips pictured below! You can find these at Whole Foods and MOMs Organic Market, or use their search link above to find them near you.

One thing I appreciate about Forager is that they constantly assess customer feedback and have already incorporated that feedback in the new and improved version of their chips. Both Bill and I tried all three and are fans! ūüôā

Disclosure: I received free product¬†in exchange for¬†writing this review. All opinions are my own and maintaining the¬†integrity of all content on this site is of utmost importance to me. I only promote brands and products I actually use and want to take some of the guesswork out of that for you, so I will never promote products I don‚Äôt love and use myself! ūüôā¬†

Is information like this helpful to you? Would you like to see more reviews of products to help guide your shopping decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

Simple Vegetable & Chickpea Soup

Nothing hits the spot on a cold winter day like a warm and cozy bowl of soup.¬†This recipe has quickly become one of our favorites and is one we’ll be making again soon.

About five years ago, I was trying to get to the bottom of years of acid reflux, frequent colds and congestion and seasonal bronchitis, so I removed certain foods from my diet for about 10 days. It was during that time and in the months that followed, that I discovered dairy products to be the #1 trigger of my sinus and respiratory issues. Once I removed dairy, my health issues practically disappeared.

It was amazing.

I had been learning about the health benefits of food for years at that point. But¬†I never realized how connected my diet was to why I got sick so often and wasn’t feeling¬†my best.

Since that time, I’ve continued to “clean up” my diet with the goal of feeling as good as possible as often as possible. I take supplements and probiotics to repair and restore my health after taking¬†years of antibiotics and acid reducers. In addition, I’ve found that foods¬†containing gluten trigger me as well, so I steer clear of them.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking my body through an experiment. It’s kind of like an investigation to better understand why I’ve been feeling a little “off” for¬†the past few months. Because I wanted to get to the root of what my body is trying to tell me, I’ve¬†been following the protocol in the book The Elimination Diet. It’s¬†written by renowned nutritionist, Tom Malterre, and his wife, Ali Segersten, who also authored the Nourishing Meals cookbook.

One of the recipes I tried was for a simple vegetable soup. I used the concept behind the soup as my guide and created my own version of it, which I’m sharing with you today.

It’s full of nourishing, calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients that promote healing and a sense of warmth and comfort. It makes enough to feed 8-10 people, so we like to make it at the beginning of the week to take care of 4-5 meals for both of us. You can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and serving it with a few hunks of avocado on top is especially delicious!

Veggie Lover Chickpea Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
8 cups sodium-free vegetable broth (check out my super EASY recipe here)
3 cups kale, destemmed and chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Herbamare OR 1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a 4 to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining chopped vegetables, beans, thyme (if you have it) and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add kale, parsley, salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 more minutes.

This soup serves about 8-10 people.

We store it in glass mason jars. If you are going to freeze it, leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.

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