Thursday, December 25, 2014

Seasonal Salad

" 'Tis the Season" Salad
Merry Christmas 2014!!! I hope everyone who is celebrating has a fantastic and fun filled day.  I am sure most of you, like myself, are not eating spectacularly healthy meals like this one today!  I made this a week ago for my husband and I for lunch and it looked so pretty and so "Christmassy" that I had to post it.  I have recently found myself ordering salads in restaurants featuring beets, goat cheese and fruit, three foods I never used to like, or like in salads (fruit).  Honestly the taste of goat cheese alone turns me off, but when mixed together in a salad like this, I love it.  The dark natural colors give away the intense nutrient benefit of the dish, and yet the taste cannot even be described.  The sweetness of the beets, the spicy peppers, the crunch of the pumpkin seeds and the creamy goat cheese, blend together so well that for once, I promise, a completely vegetarian salad is a fulfilling meal.  So maybe not today, but perhaps tomorrow, or as a side dish to some delectable holiday main course, I guarantee this salad will delight both your palate and your eyes. "Tis the season!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Chocolate Fudge Pie
Chocolate. If you follow my blog, you know how much I LOVE chocolate.  So whether it is Christmas Eve, like today, or May, when I actually made this, a chocolate pie is always a crowd pleaser.  This is a twist on a fudge pie recipe that I saw on television once, but using organic ingredients, dark chocolate (antioxidants!!) and my favorite Coconut Oil Pie Crust (using whole wheat pastry flour).  So of course not a healthy food that you can eat everyday, but this is the Holidays, so I thought it was a perfect time to share one of my all time favorite ways to eat chocolate.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Pinwheels

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Pinwheels

I seriously thought I would have posted a basic sugar cookie recipe already, but I guess I overlooked that last year when posting all my different versions of the original: (Vegan Coconut sugar Cookies and Vegan Chocolate Sugar Cookies). So here is the most basic sugar cookie recipe that I like to use, of course embellished for a Christmas theme.  Obviously you can use all white flour if you want lighter colored and textured cookies, but I love the hearty flavor and nutritional benefits of whole wheat and love giving cookies as a gift that are slightly unexpected and show people that even delicious treats can be healthy as well.  Some would argue that a "healthy cookie" defeats the purpose of a treat, and while I totally understand that sentiment, sometimes it is nice to be able to indulge while knowing you aren't completely sabotaging yourself.  But I honestly dare you to try these without completely falling in love with them because they are ridiculously good, and like all sugar cookies, they taste even better a couple of days after baking.  So you can enjoy them throughout the entire holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nutella Filled Cupcakes

Nutella Filled Cupcake
My (baby) daughter just turned six this past weekend and we celebrated with a fantastic pajama dance party at her dance school.  And since I wanted to be considerate of the dance floors and not have a bunch of frosting covered kids running around, I thought this "outside in" idea would work perfectly.  I tried out the recipe a couple of weeks ahead of time to make sure it worked, so there are two sets of photos below.  The recipe I made for my family only used organic whole wheat pastry flour, but to make them a bit more kid friendly for the party I used half organic white flour the second time.  Of course some kids complained there was "no frosting", but once they took a bite and found the inside, there were very few empty plates left. This is one of my more labor intensive baking recipes because you have to use a couple of steps to fill the muffin papers, but the result is totally worth it.  And the cupcake recipe itself is a no fail, go to recipe for "healthy" vanilla cupcakes, with or without filling.  By substituting a little bit of the fat with applesauce and yogurt, as well as the use of organic canola oil, it is not as bad as most cake recipes and 100% better than anything you could buy in a store.  They taste amazing, and this health conscious mom had no trouble eating one as part of breakfast the next day because they are that good.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gingerbread Muffins

Nothing smells more like Christmas to me than gingerbread.  I suppose peppermint candy canes would be a close second and I will be featuring a recipe with candy canes soon, but the unmistakable aroma of gingerbread muffins, or cookies, baking in the oven is an all time favorite.  I honestly thought I had posted this recipe last year since it is such a staple in my home.  Better late than never!

As always, I use all organic whole wheat flour to add fiber and nutrients, but the real all stars in this recipe are all the spices.  Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation, ginger is a natural pain killer and can ease stomach upset, nutmeg is good for digestion and detoxification of the body and cloves are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and nutrient dense.  Combine those benefits with a tasty filling snack and you have a perfect holiday treat!