flourless chocolate pumpkin fudge cookies

Intense, deep, dark chocolate is what you get with these fudgy cookies.  If you are not into dark chocolate, you can reduce the chocolate a bit.  The darker the better, in my book.  However, my little one thought they were a bit too powerful.  Adjust to your taste accordingly.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

1 c. canned organic pumpkin
1 c. creamy nut butter of your choosing (I like almond butter)
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
½ t. organic vanilla extract
½ to ¾ c. cacao powder (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. chocolate chunks, roughly chopped (try my favorite chocolate: liberty chocolate bars)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chunks.  Once combined, stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.  Use a scooper to drop the cookies on a silicone-lined baking sheet or baking stone.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool before removing from the baking surface.


pumpkin fudge

I made these twice.  The first go-round I followed the original recipe.  I had my doubts about it, and I was right.  It needed something… With the addition of some additional pumpkin seasonings and a pinch of sea salt, things got brighter.  I’m not sure why it is called “fudge,” because it doesn’t have a fudge texture.  I think it has a souffle-like quality.  Regardless, it’s a treat!  Have some heavy cream on hand? Whip it up with a bit of maple syrup.  Then, add a dollop to each serving for a really impressive dinner party dessert.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from The Big Man’s World

1 15 oz. can of organic pumpkin puree
1 c. coconut flour, sifted
½ T. pumpkin spice
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 c. coconut palm sugar
Cinnamon, topping
Maple syrup, topping

Directions: Mix together pumpkin, coconut flour, pumpkin spice, sea salt, and coconut palm sugar.  Line a pie pan with plastic wrap.  Press the pumpkin mixture into the pie pan.  Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes to firm up.  Slice as you go.  Keep refrigerated.

squash and ricotta bake

Wow! This was a great Sunday dinner recipe.  It took a little more time because it required roasting and then a quick return to the oven to melt a cheesy topping.  The little bit of extra time was totally worth it.  I would’ve never imagined that roasted squash paired so well with basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  This was truly fantastic!

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and chopped into bite-size cubes
(tip: microwave the squash whole for 1 minute to make for easier peeling)
3 T. olive oil (divided into 1 T, 2 T)
1 bunch of fresh organic basil, (stem finely sliced, leaves roughly chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 can organic diced tomatoes
Pinch sea salt
1 lb. 100% whole wheat penne pasta
freshly ground black pepper
3 T. organic, whole milk ricotta cheese
3 c. organic vegetable stock
4 oz. mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine)
1 handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (ideally)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (bake, not convection).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and several pinches of sea salt.  Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil and basil stems and garlic.  Once the garlic becomes fragrant (about a minute), add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the squash after roasting and some freshly ground black pepper.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta.  Undercook the pasta by several minutes before draining (do NOT rinse).  Add the pasta to a slightly oiled baking dish.

To the sauce, stir in the chopped basil leaves and vegetable broth.  Again, bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.  Stir in the ricotta cheese.  Pour the sauce atop the pasta in the baking dish and gently stir.  Place the mini mozzarella balls in and around the pasta – using your fingers to push it into nooks and crannies.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted.  Plate and serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil.

fudgy chocolate beet brownies

You’d never know the beets are in these brownies.  They are chewy and fudgy – simply delicious. (Pictures slipped my mind – oops).

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Purely Twins

Oops! Forgot to snap a pic before they were gobbled up by me and my crew.

1 medium ripe banana
1/4 c. beet purée (puree directions here)
2 T. coconut oil liquid (alternative: 2 T. olive oil)
3 T. nut butter (I like salted, creamy almond butter)
4 T. 100% pure maple syrup (alternative: organic honey, preferably raw)
1 T. organic vanilla extract
2/3 c. raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray muffin pan with coconut oil or olive oil. In a food processor or blender, blend the banana, beet puree, oil, nut butter, syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients (cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder) to the wet batter and blend until smooth. Spoon batter into muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Do NOT overbake! The brownies will pull away from the pan edges slightly, but a toothpick will NOT come out completely clean. Allow to cool slightly so they can achieve all of their fudgy potential. Enjoy!!

quinoa potato salad with pan-seared chicken

A great alternative to a traditional potato salad with mayo that does not stay fresh long or hold up well at a hot picnic.  This one only gets better with time, and it matters not if it’s hot, cold, or somewhere in between.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from LFFC CSA Recipe Group


8 medium organic potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large cubes
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. frozen peas
sea salt and pepper, freshly ground
2 T. chopped fresh mint
¼ c. white wine vinegar (alternative: red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar)
2 t. Dijon mustard
½ c. cooked, unseasoned quinoa
¼ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions: Boil potatoes in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). While the potatoes are boiling, warm a large skillet to medium heat. Saute the garlic and green onions in the olive oil until the garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in the frozen peas and cook until tender (3-4 minutes). Season with a few grinds of sea salt/pepper. Stir in the vinegar and Dijon mustard to form a sauce. Finally, add the quinoa and cheese. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
Serve with 2-3 pan-seared organic chicken breasts.

lemon ricotta pancakes with bacon

Let’s take a moment to talk about Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  These babies are light, fluffy, and lemony.  When topped with pure maple syrup, these go off the charts! If you’re unsure about your love for lemons, reduce the lemon juice just a bit.  I’m going to say it, but it’s gonna hurt me…you could probably make these without the lemon. The light fluffy texture the ricotta brings would still be great. Note: I can’t be held responsible for what you’re missing out on by omitting the lemony goodness.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Sugar and Charm

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients
6 drops of organic, organic liquid stevia (alternatives: ¼ c. honey or pure maple syrup)
1 c. organic milk (ideas: almond milk, cashew milk)
1 organic egg
1 T. organic butter, melted
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1 c.  organic whole milk ricotta cheese
2 lemons, juiced
Zest from 2 lemons

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Stir just until combined – do NOT over stir.  Prepare as you would any other pancakes by adding a small amount of preferred oil to the pan (ideas: coconut oil, olive oil, or organic butter).  Top with pure maple syrup!

Serve with preservative-free bacon.

bacon red pepper and goat cheese frittata

I have a love-hate relationship with frittatas.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve removed the skillet from the oven with an oven mitt and then immediately grabbed the skillet handle with my bare hands.  I’m only admitting to doing it twice…that’s all my pride can handle.  In the case of your frittata, do as I say, not as I do!  Your hand will thank you.  This week’s Bacon Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata has interchangeable ingredients.  If bacon isn’t your bag – omit it. The same goes for the red pepper.  If you have great disdain for goat cheese, use your preferred cheese.  However, if you’re just unsure about goat cheese, a frittata is a great way to try it.  It adds a certain creaminess that is oh soooo good!

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Aggies Kitchen

5 organic eggs + 3 organic egg whites
½ c. organic milk
sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
2 t. olive oil
½ red onion
1 organic red bell pepper, chopped
3 slices of preservative-free bacon, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large handfuls of organic chopped kale (or other preferred greens) chopped a bit more finely
3-4 oz. goat cheese
green onion, finely chopped (optional topping)
Greek yogurt (optional topping)
salsa (optional topping)
hot sauce (optional topping)

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt/pepper.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  To an oven-proof skillet heated to medium heat, add the bacon.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the onions and bell peppers.  Cook until the veggies are softened, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).  Over-stirring will prevent the onions from caramelizing which brings out an incredibly sweet flavor.  Add the kale, stirring a few times until it wilts.  The next garlic step happens quickly … stir in the garlic.  Allow it to cook for a minute or two at the most (just until you can really smell the garlic). Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to loosen any bits of food.  Pour in the egg mixture to evenly coat the pan.  Allow to cook until the eggs have firmed up around the edges.  Evenly crumble the goat cheese on the top.  Bake for about 5 minutes in the oven.  It’s done when the eggs have firmed up in the center and the goat cheese is bubbly.  I like to finish each sliced piece with a dollop of organic Greek yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce or salsa, and some finely chopped green onions.

strawberry scones

These are quite easy and much healthier than typical scones that are loaded with butter and bleached white flour. These are not overly sweet like a traditional scone that is sort of like a cross between a biscuit and a muffin. They are great with a cup of tea or coffee.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Chobani

3/4 c. organic Greek yogurt
¼ c. organic strawberries, mashed
1 T. local honey
2 c. whole wheat white flour (plus extra for dusting work surface)
¼ + 1/8 c. organic coconut palm sugar (plus 2 t. for sprinkling)
2 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
¼ t. sea salt
2 T. cold unsalted organic butter cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 T. cold organic coconut oil (solid-state)
1 c. organic strawberries, chopped

Directions: In a small bowl, mash ¼ cup of strawberries.  Stir in Greek yogurt and honey.  Set mixture aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut palm sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Cut the butter and solid coconut oil into the flour mixture by mashing with a fork until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Gently stir in the remaining strawberries until evenly coated with flour.  Stir in the yogurt mixture just until combined (it will be sticky). With floured hands, evenly press the batter in a silicone pie pan (or a greased metal pie pan).  Cut the batter into 8 equal triangles with a knife.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of coconut palm.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow to cool slightly before using a knife to cut the precut sections.

spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts with roasted carrots

Consider this any night of the week because it’s fast and easy.  But, don’t overlook it as an entertaining option either.  Creamy and cheesy [stuffing] always compliments chicken and roasted carrots make for a perfect side.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine 

Timing Tips: First prep. the carrots and the chicken stuffing.  Roast the carrots.  In the meantime, finishing preparing the chicken.  The carrots and chicken will end up in the oven at the same time.

Roasted Carrots

Bag of organic carrots, rinsed and peeled
1-2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. cumin

Directions: Preheat the oven 450 degrees.  Slice the carrots in half lengthwise and then quarter the halves.  In a large bowl, toss the carrots in the olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, and arrange carrots in a single layer.  Bake for 20 minutes (flipping over with a spatula halfway through roasting).

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

3/4 c. feta, crumbled
(Note: store bought “crumbled” feta has several questionable added ingredients you can avoid by buying a block of feta and using a kitchen grater to achieve “crumbles”)
1/2 c. thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
3 T. organic cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil

4 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a small bowl stir together the stuffing ingredients.  In the thickest part of the chicken breast, slice a pocket (be careful not to slice all the way through).  Stuff ¼ of the mixture into each chicken breast. If needed, secure the stuffing with a toothpick.

Heat an oven-safe skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil to coat the skillet.  Pan sear the chicken (4 minutes on each side).  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 5 additional minutes or until the chicken is done.

Note: Whatever you do, do not cut the chicken for doneness.  You should be able to see the chicken cooking up the sides.  When it is no longer pink on the sides, the center should be done as well.

If you must cut, wait at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven before doing so.  A premature cut will result in bone dry chicken.

mint & chocolate pancakes with homemade chocolate sauce

Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please!  This was our St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  Perfect, right? Not so much. The homemade chocolate sauce was so rich that it overpowered the pancakes.  Next time, I’ll used mint extract flavored homemade whipped cream and drizzle on a bit of the chocolate sauce.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from My Little Celebration 

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 T. baking powder
pinch sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1 c. organic milk
2 T. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
1 T.  olive oil or (alternatives: coconut oil or butter, melted)
1 T. unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 t. organic vanilla extract

1/2 t. peppermint extract
All natural green food coloring (optional)
3 T. unsweetened cacao (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, slightly larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Very gently stir the wet and dry ingredients.  Separate the batter into the mixing bowls.  To one batter, stir in the chocolate.  To the other batter, add the peppermint extract and green food coloring.

homemade chocolate sauce

½ c. local honey (not raw)
Heaping ¼ c. cacao (alternative: unsweetened cocoa)
½ t. organic vanilla extract
Up to 1 T. water or milk (to create desired consistency)

Directions:  Whisk together the first three ingredients.  Add water (or milk) to obtain desired consistency.

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