My first hand account of the ongoing search for health and wellness through a conscious focus on nutrition, cooking, ingenuity, and physical exertion. As an active stay at home mother of two young children, I spend large portions of my day in my kitchen inventing new recipes and reinventing old favorites into fun, healthy and delicious meals my whole family loves... especially while on the run... literally.
I wish I always had a pan of these in my fridge, but they are so good that they were gone the day after I made them. So I guess I had better make them more often! Using mostly raw, healthful ingredients, these chocolate bars are one of my favorite creations ever. My kids think they are candy, yet I know they are full of nutritious raw nuts and dried fruit and are perfect before or after a good workout, a kids' soccer game or as a late night treat when you just need something sweet but don't want to over indulge. I actually calculated out the nutrition information for these and was pleasantly surprised at how good the numbers are. They are high in protein and fiber, low in calories, and although high in fat and sugar, it is the good kind of fat and all the sugar is naturally occurring from the dried dates. You do need a high powered food processor to make this recipe, but other than that it is as simple as can be and ready to eat in less than an hour. And they taste way better than any packaged product you could find in a store.
As someone who works out frequently, I know how important it is to get adequate protein into my diet. But since I don't like to consume a lot of animal products, finding enough good quality sources can sometimes be tricky. This super simple smoothie recipe is an answer to that problem. I know that when people hear the word "tofu" they get all scared thinking of the tasteless blobs of white gunk that are a very poor substitute for meat in most dishes. But in this recipe, the tofu serves as the creamy base for a sweet, chocolaty after workout drink and if you didn't know that there was tofu in it I guarantee you would not figure it out. Depending on how thick you want your shake, you can use different textures of organic tofu, ranging from silken (thin) to firm (makes more of a pudding like consistency). The firmer the tofu, the more protein, but I have tried it with all different types and would recommend them all. I have also blended it with frozen berries, homemade Chocolate Walnut Butter, homemade Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter and Homemade Nutella, but regular peanut butter or almond butter work well also. If the nut butter is not sweetened, you may want to add in a spoonful of maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your smoothies to be. Honestly, the combinations are endless. And using raw organic whole tofu is undeniably a lot better for you than any protein powder you can find in a store, and it tastes a whole lot better as well. (Even my meat loving husband and son like these!)
Everybody has heard of Eggplant Parmesan, and of course the typical Italian restaurant version is almost always delicious, with thick layers of breaded and deep fried eggplant surrounded by rich tomato sauce and pounds of cheese. Unfortunately, in versions like that, not only is the nutritional value of the amazing eggplant lost under piles of fat, the flavor is often hidden as well. This recipe brings the rich flavor of the vegetables back to the forefront and is more like a cross between the traditional baked version and a caprese salad. I purposefully left the amount of olive oil in the recipe vague because it all depends for me on how much the eggplant slices absorb, how greasy I want them to be and since I usually just pour it on the pan and then add a little more or leave a little extra unused, I never know for sure how much it actually is in the end. And this way you can use as little or as much as you want. You could probably also use a good olive oil spray instead if you are really watching your calories and I guarantee it would still taste just as amazing. However my favorite part about this recipe is that I used mini eggplant, very small and skinny ones, so it would be perfect as an appetizer or a passed hors d'oeuvre. I just thought they were cute and really fun to eat, and it tasted especially great with a side of whole wheat toast topped with Radish and Carrot Greens Pesto.