Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back from Big Bear


We are home! Last night Jon and I got back from our 2nd annual Big Bear trip... 3 wonderful nights in a cozy cabin with friends, food, movies, and games. :) It felt like we took a step back to a simpler time... the cabin was built in the 70's, and it still looks like it did back then!

On the way home we also squeezed in a Disneyland adventure for Jon's 27th birthday! I say adventure because it truly was one... there was a downpour all morning! We were soaking wet and freezing... but after a delicious lunch at Naples and then hiding out the storm in the movie theater watching Tron, the sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon!

We truly loved our winter vacation! However, it is always nice to be home. Even though it was nice to log off the grid (can you tell I just watched Tron? haha...), I was definitely excited to get caught up on my favorite blogs. ♥

Are you ready for 2011!?!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Green Beans, Garlic, & Pearl Onions

Seasons Greetings!

I hope you are ready (or almost ready!) for the holidays! This week has been crazy... last-minute shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, etc.

In between baking dozens of cookies for Christmas gifts yesterday, I managed to make a quick, healthy, and easy veggie dish...

Green Beans, Garlic, & Pearl Onions

  • Green beans
  • Pearl onions
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
(There are no specific measurements... just adjust to your preferences.)

1. Wash green beans and place in steamer basket.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook pearl onions until cooked.
3. Mince garlic.
4. In a large bowl, toss green beans and pearl onions with olive oil and garlic.
5. Place in serving dish. Enjoy!

Are you ready for the holidays? What quick and easy vegetable recipes have you come up with?

Coming soon: Christmas Gift sneak peak! (Hint: they are edible!) ;)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The day I made hummus...

Greetings! Do you like hummus? Have you ever made it yourself?

The other day... I had a hummus craving, so I bought the roasted garlic hummus from Trader Joe's. Even though it was quite delicious and addicting, I couldn't help but fantasize about freshly made hummus... mmmmmm.

I thought to myself... "Tomorrow I am going to make homemade, fresh, and custom hummus!"

For whatever reason, I've been wanting to find ways to use cumin. (Don't ask me why! Because I do not know...)

Anyways, I thought to myself "Is there such thing as cumin hummus, I mean, would that combination even work?" So I googled "cumin hummus"... and apparently there is such a thing. But even if there wasn't, I would probably try it anyways. :)

Here is what I came up with! It is purely delicious... and can obviously be customized in many ways.I am excited to experiment with variations of spices!

 Homemade Cumin Hummus

-1 c. chickpeas
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 clove garlic
-1 tablespoon tahini
-1/8 teaspoon sea salt
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 tablespoon lemon juice

There is no comparison when it comes to hummus. Homemade wins in terms of taste, ingredients, freshness, and saving $! 

Do you enjoy store-bought or homemade?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Healthier Chocolate Fudge!

Well hello there, foodies and nutritionistas! :)

Are there any fellow choco-holics out there? If there is one thing I could never give up, it'd definitely be chocolate. :)

I like to be prepared when the craving strikes... (Which was apparently today!)

Instead of the usual butter, milk, and sugar-- this recipe uses coconut oil, cocoa powder and honey/agave/maple syrup.

It did not last very long... so I am going to make at least double for next time!

Healthier Chocolate Fudge:
(Makes: 16 servings)

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder

1. Using a spoon, blend the melted coconut oil with agave and mix well. Add vanilla extract, if desired. Stir in the cocoa. Mix until smooth.

2. Pour into an 8 x 8 " pan and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

3. Cut into 16 pieces and keep cool. Enjoy!!

*Because of the coconut oil, the fudge must be kept cool.

What are your favorite healthier chocolate recipes? :)

Coconut Oil on FoodistaCoconut Oil

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maple Cinnamon Roasted Acorn Squash

Greetings... I hope you are all having a wonderful week!!

Are you staying strong through this tempting time of year?

Confession: I ate too many cookies this week... (It happens.)

Needless to say, I am now feeling the need to greatly increase my veggie intake. :)

So, I got a little creative...

Who says you can't have squash for breakfast? :)

This replaced my usual ezekiel toast with almond butter and jelly today...

Maple Cinnamon Roasted Acorn Squash
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice acorn squash horizontally into 1" rounds.
Put melted coconut oil on squash rounds. (a basting brush works perfectly!)
Top with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 30 minutes.

(serves 4)

By the way, acorn squash is pretty awesome in the nutritional department!

What do you do after too many holiday indulgences?

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Acorn Squash with Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Stuffing!

    Good morning! And happy Friday :)

    Are you ready for Thanksgiving? What delicious and healthy recipes are you making?

    Today, I want to share a delicious autumn-inspired recipe that is perfect for Thanksgiving... or just anytime during the fall season. :)

    "Acorn Squash with Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Stuffing!"

    Lately, we've been getting acorn squash in our weekly Abundant Harvest box!

    Since I am not exactly familiar with using this winter squash, I decided to Google "acorn squash" for recipe inspiration!

    When I am trying to find new recipes, I always search by photos... (please tell me I am not the only one that does this?) ;)

    Anyways, I came across a delicious-looking acorn squash photo... and guess what? It was by one of my favorite chefs/authors/bloggers Elana Amsterdam.

    (Other than the addition of walnuts, I followed her recipe exactly.)

    • 2 acorn squash
    • boiling water
    • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ½ cup walnuts
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
    1. Cut squash in half and with a spoon, remove pulp and seeds.
    2. In a large pyrex baking dish place squash cut-side down.
    3. Pour ¼-inch boiling water into pyrex dish.
    4. Place dish in oven and bake squash for 30 minutes at 350°.
    5. In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and grapeseed oil to make stuffing.
    6. Remove squash from the oven after 30 minutes.
    7. Turn halves over and stuff center of each squash half with apple mixture.
    8. Return to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes (or longer) until squash and apples are tender.
    Serves 4

    This recipe is perfect for any fall meal! This morning I had it for breakfast, with maple syrup for added sweetness!

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Caramel Glazed Carrots and Pearl Onions

    Good morning!

    Did you realize that Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away?! :)

    This year I am more excited than usual... probably because I've discovered a passion for food!! I've been searching everywhere for new holiday recipes to try...

    And the other day I found this one... It looked delicious, healthy, & very Thanksgiving-y. :)

    Of course, I wanted to make a few modifications.

    Glazed Carrots & Pearl Onions

    • 2 packages baby carrots
    • 3 tablespoons butter (I used EarthBalance)
    • 1 package frozen pearl onions
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 ts. pepper
    • 1/3 cup caramel sauce (I used this recipe)
    • 1 tsp. dijon mustard

      Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add carrots; cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; set aside.

      In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, until onions are heated through, 4-5 minutes.

      Add carrots, caramel topping, and mustard. Cook, stirring, until carrots are tender and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.

      *Serve immediately or store in fridge. 

       Recipe adapted from "Women's World" (November 15, 2010)

      Wednesday, November 10, 2010

      Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts!

      Happy Wednesday!

      Brussels sprouts anyone? :) It seems like just the name of this vegetable has a negative connotation... (or is it just with Jon?)

      Trader Joe's has been selling entire stalks of them for $1.99! I can't leave the store without picking one up. :) For some reason... it is much more fun to snap them off the stalk than to open up a plastic bag.

      Way to go Trader Joe's!! for eliminating unnecessary packaging on this veggie.

      Anyways, last night I roasted the entire stalk! I wanted to make enough to last for a couple days. :)

      Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
      • stalk of brussels sprouts
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • sea salt to taste
      Chop brussels sprouts and toss with olive oil. Add salt to taste. Roast in oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

      Transfer to fun dish...

       Ta-daa! So simple, yet delicious. 

      One thing I love about veggies is that you can eat as much as you want! :)

      Tuesday, November 9, 2010

      Immune System Booster Juice

      *This morning, my mom juiced up a delicious immune system-boosting cocktail. We've both been fighting colds... but this should definitely help us get better quickly!

      (makes 8 ounces)

      3 carrots chopped into ¼" pieces
      1 stalk of celery chopped into ¼" pieces
      1 apple chopped into ¼" pieces
      ½ cucumber chopped into ¼" pieces
      ½ beet with the greens, beet chopped into ¼" pieces
      ½ handful of wheatgrass
      ½ handful of parsley
          Juice a carrot and half of an apple. Follow with the wheatgrass and parsley. To juice the wheatgrass and parsley, roll each into a beat leaf and juice. Next juice the beets and the cucumber and finish with the carrots and apple

          Recipe source: Organic Authority

          It is quite possibly the best juice I've had... Thank you Mom!!!

          Thursday, November 4, 2010

          Kitchen Project: Spice Jars!

          Happy Thursday!

          Does anyone do crafty things in the kitchen? I never really thought about it... (Because a kitchen is for cooking & baking, right?) That was until today. :)

          I decided to give the spice rack an easy make-over! Even though I've had it for years... I just now decided that the jars should have a little more ummm, personality.

          Materials Used: Black & white "puff paint" (Dimensional Fabric Paint) 

          So easy & fun! Sometimes it's the simple things... :)

          Monday, November 1, 2010

          Pumpkin Pie Ice Box Cake!!!

          I was genuinely excited to pull the (raw vegan) Pumpkin Pie Ice Box Cake out of the freezer tonight!

          I used to love pumpkin pie when I was younger... but then I started avoiding it when I learned that it wasn't that great for one's health.

          However, now that I know how to make things with better ingredients... I love it even more!!!

          For the Crust:
          • 1 cup almonds
          • 1 cup pecans
          • 1 cup date pieces
          • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
          • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
          • 1 teaspoon sea salt
          In a food processor, blend the nuts until evenly ground. Add the dates, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt and continue to blend until it begins to form a ball. Remove the dough and press into a baking pan.

          For the Cake:
          • 4 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and shredded
          • 1 cup macadamia nuts
          • 1 cup raisins, soaked in water, just to soften
          • 4 to 6 pitted dates
          • 1 cup agave
          • 2 teaspoons vanilla
          • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
          • 1 teaspoon sea salt
          Place the pumpkin, macadamia nuts, raisins, dates, agave, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and freeze!

          For the Icing:
          • 1 cup young coconut pulp, packed
          • 1/4 cup shredded, dried coconut
          • 1/4 cup water
          • 3 tablespoons agave, or to taste
          • 2 tablespoons melted cacao butter
          • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
          • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
          Blend the coconut, water, and agave until smooth and creamy. Then add the cacao butter and coconut oil. Pour over frozen cake! (And then put the entire thing back in the freezer.)

          Crust & Cake recipes were adapted from here.
          Icing was "White Chocolate Coconut Cream" from "Just Desserts."

          Thursday, October 28, 2010

          Mmmm... Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Soup

          Happy Thursday! Does anyone have any exciting plans for the upcoming Halloween weekend?

          Aside from working, I plan on making plenty of yummy treats, watching Halloween movies by the fire with my significant other, Jon, and passing out candy to trick-or-treaters!

          Speaking of making yummy treats, I cannot believe how much pumpkin has been getting devoured lately!

          Pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice coffee, & now pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds!

          Oh, and stay tuned for pumpkin pie ice box cake! (It's vegan & raw, by the way!) It's a good thing that pumpkin is healthy!

          The pumpkin soup was inspired by this recipe.


          • 1 small "sugar" pumpkin, seeded & diced
          • 3 cloves of garlic
          • 1.5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
          • 1.5 cups water
            cumin to taste
          • sage to garnish (optional)
          1. Roast pumpkin and garlic in oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.
          2. Once roasted, puree pumpkin, garlic, vegetable stock, & water together. (I used a blender)
          3. Bring to a slight boil on the stovetop.
          4. Add cumin to taste. Serve with  garlic roasted pumpkin seeds! (see * below) Garnish with sage if desired.

          Simple, Easy, Quick! (I did steps 1-2 in the morning, and then had nearly-ready soup in the evening!)

          * To make garlic roasted pumpkin seeds: wash leftover seeds from the pumpkin, toss with garlic power, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees while the pumpkin & garlic are cooking... but only for 12 -15 minutes!

          Tuesday, October 26, 2010

          Pumpkin Spice Specialty Coffee!

          This morning I read a blog entry by Stefanie "The New Healthy." She was talking about Coffee Mate's "Pumpkin Spice" creamer (how it is delicious, yet packed with "less than desirable" ingredients)... and it got me reminiscing back to my college days, when I would get so excited to find this seasonal item in stores! (and used wayyyyyyy too much of it!)

          Thankfully, I have weaned myself off of it since then, in favor of a homemade (and much healthier!) version.

          Organic coffee + soy creamer + pumpkin pie spice = bliss!!)

          Wednesday, October 20, 2010

          Autumn Pear & Pomengranate Salad with Candied Pecans

          Yesterday I decided to make a salad out of whatever was around the kitchen...

          Local pomegranates and pears from Abundant Harvest Organics:

           Pecans (from Costco... we buy nuts in large quantities!)

          The end result? An Autumn Pear & Pomengranate Salad with Candied Pecans! Simple, yet delicious... made from seasonal ingredients. :)

          Monday, October 18, 2010

          Daily morning oatmeal... You've come a long way!

          I cannot believe that until just a few months ago, I didn't even know what vegan overnight oats were!

          Before I had any desire to spend time in the kitchen (or really cared about my health), my daily breakfasts consisted of (microwaved) oatmeal with cow milk (non-organic), raisins (with preservatives), and brown sugar. Yes, you heard right. That is what I ate. Every day.

          Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and have a talk with my 14-21 year-old self!

          Maybe if I only knew what food blogs were back then... (or had taken a food science class!) Things might have been different.

          Anyways... at least things have changed. :)

          The latest was "Pumpkin Ginger Cookie Vegan Overnight Oats:"

          Evening Ingredients:
          -1/3 c. oats
          -1/2 c. almond milk
          -2 T. pumpkin
          -1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
          -1 tsp. ginger (powdered)
          -1 tsp. blackstrap molasses

          Directions: Mix ingredients together and place in the fridge overnight.

          Morning Ingredients:
          -1 banana, frozen
          -1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
          -1 T. pumpkin

          Directions: Take oat mixture out of the fridge and stir. Place frozen banana, pumpkin, & vanilla in a food processor and process until banana has a creamy consistency. Layer the oat and banana mixtures and top with crumbled ginger cookies!

          Thursday, October 7, 2010

          Pumpkin Brownie Vegan Overnight Oats!

          Good morning! I am delighted to report that the weather is still cool! (It's supposed to warm up again this weekend, so the current lower temperatures are going to be enjoyed while they are here!)

          This morning I woke up to Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats waiting happily in the fridge. The Banana Soft Serve layer was replaced today by pumpkin banana soft serve!

          Toppings were leftovers- Chocolate Zucchini Bread, cut into "Brownie" chunks!

          So healthy... but tastes just like desert!! And what a way to get in zucchini for breakfast! :)

          Pumpkin Banana Soft Serve
          • 1 banana (frozen)
          • 1 T. pumpkin
          Place banana and pumpkin in food processor until smooth & creamy!

          Tuesday, October 5, 2010

          Chocolate Zucchini Bread

          So I am extremely content at the moment. I have a cat on my lap and just enjoyed chocolate zucchini bread!

          After trying to find the "perfect" recipe for vegan chocolate zucchini bread, I just decided to go for it, using the Chocolate Brownie Cupcake recipe as a guideline.

          However, a few exciting changes were made! My favorite change is that agave nectar replaced the sugar!

          Chocolatey, chewy, moist, & dense...


          -1 1/4 c. spelt flour
          -1/4 c. cocoa powder
          -1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
          -3/4 tsp. baking soda
          -dash of sea salt
          -1/3 c. agave
          -2 T. maple syrup
          -2 c. zucchini, grated
          -1/8 c. water
          -1 tsp. vanilla
          -1 c. vegan chocolate chips

          1. Combine the spelt flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a bowl and mix well.
          2. Combine the agave, maple syrup, applesauce, zucchini, water, and vanilla and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
          3. Combine the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix only until just combined (mixture will look thick and brownie like).
          4. Place in 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake approximately 22 minutes at 350 F.

          By the way... what exactly is spelt?! Well, according to WH Foods:

          "Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from this fact: it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the Triticum (wheat) family. Spelt features a host of different nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. It can be used in many of the same ways as wheat including bread and pasta making. Spelt does not seem to cause sensitivities in many people who are intolerant of wheat."

          Monday, September 27, 2010

          Vegan Banana Chocolate Delight!

          Last night I came across this Vegan Banana Delight Recipe from It looked sooooooooo delicious... and I immediately decided that I was going to make this for breakfast today! Here is what I ended up with!

          It is very similar in appearance to the inspirational recipe... but I used almond butter instead of walnuts. Completely healthy with lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, & healthy fat!

          -2 T. almond butter
          -1 banana
          -1 T. vegan chocolate chips
          -1 tsp. dried coconut

          Just slice the banana lengthwise, spread on the almond butter, garnish with vegan chocolate chips, and sprinkle with coconut! Yum!! :)

          Next time I am going to make a  "banana split!"

          Thursday, September 23, 2010

          Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes!

          Does anyone else like Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas?" My first impression of it was that it was one of the strangest movies I had ever seen... 

          However, the movie has definitely grown on me! I don't know if it was riding the "transformed" Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland during Halloween Time... or the soundtrack. Probably both. For whatever reason, I was inspired to make these "Jack Skellington" Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes! Oh... and they are healthy (and vegan), by the way. ;)

          Anyways, the countdown to Halloween begins!! It's not so much that I particularly like the actual day of Halloween... it's the weeks & days leading up to it! The reason perhaps? I love, love, love pumpkins, so I am excited for any excuse to decorate, cook, & bake with them daily!

          1 1/4 c. spelt flour
          1/4 c. cocoa powder
          1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
          3/4 tsp. baking soda
          dash of salt
          1/2 c. pumpkin
          1/3 c. cane sugar
          2 T. maple syrup
          1/2 c. applesauce (unsweetened)
          1 c. zucchini, grated
          1/8 c. water
          1/8 c. almond milk
          1 tsp. vanilla
          8 oz. vegan chocolate chips (Trader Joe's has them!)

          1. Combine the spelt flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a bowl and mix well.
          2. Combine the pumpkin, cane sugar, maple syrup, applesauce, zucchini, water, soy milk, and vanilla and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
          3. Combine the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix only until just combined (mixture will look thick and brownie like).
          4. Place in greased muffin tins or liners. Bake approximately 22 minutes at 350 F (if bake too long the moist brownie will dry out). Makes 12 brownies.

          (Recipe adapted from: All Ways Nutritious)
          The recipe for the vanilla icing can be found here!