chocolate almond butter oatmeal raisin cookies

These babies are chewy and sweet with a hint of salt.  Trust me, double this recipe! They go fast.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

Dry Ingredients

1 ¼ c old-fashioned oats
½ c whole white wheat flour
1 T. flaxseed meal
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. sea salt (NO finely ground salt)
Wet Ingredients

¼ + 1/8 c. raw honey
1 organic cage free egg white
2 T. nut butter of choice (Some options include: peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower nut butter)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. chopped dark chocolate chips (I like to use a dark liberty chocolate bar and cut it into small pieces like chocolate chips)
¼ c. organic raisins
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Gently stir in chocolate & raisins. Scoop rounded tablespoon size servings onto a baking stone or lined cookie sheet (makes approx. 16). Cook 9 to 10 min. (at max). Allow to cool on baking stone. Try to eat just one – dare ya!

stuffed acorn squash with organic greens

Here’s another impressive option for entertaining – guests eat from individual squash bowls.  The organic greens make a perfect side. The original recipe calls for ground turkey. This time, I made it with bacon. Outcome: great success!

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Developing a Pattern

2 to 3 acorn squash, halved by cutting lengthwise through the stem, seeded and stringy fleshy stuff removed (Tip: microwave for 1 minute prior to slicing)

1 T. olive oil, separated into 1/4 teaspoons
Several pinches of sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1 c. uncooked quinoa (alternative: farro, barley, cous cous, etc.)
4 slices preservative free bacon, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 large organic carrot, finely diced
1 organic bell pepper, finely diced (red, yellow, or orange peppers = a sweeter flavor)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stalk organic celery, finely diced
1/4 t. each sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme (1/4 t. if using dried)
1/4 c. feta cheese
1/2 c. mild organic white cheese (ideas: Gouda, Fontina, Mozzarella)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Add olive to each squash half.  Rub around to coat the flesh.  Generously season the flesh with sea salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven on a baking sheet, open side up, until softened and slightly brown (about 35-45 minutes).

In the meantime, cook the quinoa according to package directions.  I like to substitute water with chicken or veggie stock, but that’s up to you.

Now that the quinoa is doing it’s thing, heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil to coat the pan.  Add the bacon and cook until it begins to render some fat (about five minutes).  Reduce the heat to near medium.  Add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, celery, and 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt/pepper.  Saute until the veggies have softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the garlic and thyme and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute).  Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and cooked quinoa.

Remove the stuff the squash from the oven. Set the oven to broil  Stuff the quash with the quinoa mixture (really pack it in good).  Sprinkle the cheese atop.  Broil for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese and brown it ever so slightly.

Organic Greens
Salad Ingredients
Organic greens of your choice
¼ c. chopped walnuts
1/2 red onion, sliced
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Dressing Ingredients
3 T. white wine vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Add dressing ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously.

mexican stuffed bell peppers with chipotle roasted carrots

This is such a cook and crowd pleaser meal.  It’s easy to make, beautifully colorful, and delicious.  The carrots accompany this meal perfectly too.  Gotta give credit to my little one for the carrot seasonings.  Her inspiration source: many o’ episodes of America’s Worst Cook during a recent snowpocalypse in our area 🙂

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Broke and Bougie

Timing tip: Prepare the carrots first.  While they are roasting, prepare the stuffed peppers. Since the oven is at a slightly lower temperature than typical for roasting veggies, the carrots require more oven time.

Chipotle Roasted Carrots
1 bag organic carrots, washed and peeled
½ T. olive oil
Sea salt/pepper, freshly cracked
¼ t. paprika
1/8 t. chipotle powder

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Slice the carrots lengthwise.  Then, slice each half lengthwise again to create four quarters.  If too long, cut them in half to create “french fry size” guys.

In a mixing bowl, toss the carrots in the olive oil, salt/pepper, and dry seasonings. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other.  Roast

Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 organic bell peppers
1 lb. organic ground turkey
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
1 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
½ c. feta cheese, crumbled
1-14 oz can organic fire roasted tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. cooked quinoa, optional
Guacamole, optional topping (see recipe below)

Directions: If making the roasted carrots, the oven is already hot.  If not, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bell peppers in half from top to bottom (cutting down through the stems).  Remove the seeds and inner ‘guts.’

In a large, deep skillet, add 1 T. olive oil. Add the turkey, onion, and dry seasonings (cumin, chili powder, salt/pepper). Break the turkey into little bits with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Add the diced tomatoes and cook another minute. Remove from the heat, and stir in the feta cheese. If using cooked quinoa, stir it in now.

Lay the bell peppers open faced on a baking sheet. If the peppers don’t lay evenly, slice a thin strip from the bottom to create a level surface. Pack the turkey mixture into the peppers. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When they’re done, top with guacamole!

1 avocado
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions: Mash and stir together all ingredients.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste.

chocolate orange avocado pudding

What feels good on a strep ridden sore throat? Pudding!  No, not store bought pudding laden with sugar, chemicals, and who knows what else??? A creamy homemade chocolate pudding with an orange juice kick.  The avocado is undetectable from a taste standpoint; however, the creaminess is heavenly.

hope this makes your belly smile…

1 avocado
1 ripe banana
½ c. orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (alternative: cacao powder)
4 T. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)

Directions: Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tips: This is a very flexible recipe.  Modification options are nearly endless.  Like darker chocolate? Increase the cocoa powder.  Like vanilla? Add a teaspoon of organic vanilla. Don’t like orange? Omit and substitute with organic milk- maybe even throw in a 1/2 t. mint extract for chocolate mint pudding.

dark chocolate pumpkin cake cookies

Despite the flat and unappealing appearance of this batch, they were yummy. “Why are they flat?” You may be wondering.  Or, maybe you are like me and could care less as long as they are good. For those who do care, there are lots of reasons cookies end up flat.  In my case, a warm baking stone was the culprit. I set the baking stone on the oven while preheating… oops.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Feel Great in 8

Wet Ingredients
¾ c. organic pumpkin puree
½ c. unrefined coconut oil, softened but not melted
6 organic eggs (3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. pure maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 c. organic coconut palm sugar

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2-3 t. pumpkin pie spice
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. sea salt
3/4 c. chocolate chunks (I like Liberty Chocolate – dark or extra dark)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar). In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Gently stir in the chocolate chunks.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms have browned slightly.  Note: the cookies will still be soft and cake-like.

blender banana muffins

A fast muffin-like recipe that is a great on-the-go breakfast or after dinner treat.  I say “muffin-like” because they look like muffins, but their texture is not light and crumbly.  Instead, they have a spongy angel-food like texture. Tip: don’t over blend to prevent overly tough and chewy muffins.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from Well Plated

1 c. organic plain Greek yogurt
¼ -1/2 c. local honey*
2 large organic eggs
1/2 t. organic vanilla extract
2 c. oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
2 large very ripe bananas
1 1/2 t. baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. chocolate chunks (my favorite is liberty chocolates)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To a blender container, add all ingredients in the order listed (except the chocolate).  Blend for about 15-20 seconds.  Do not over blend.  Add the chocolate and give it a quick pulse.  Alternatively, pour the batter into olive oil greased muffin tins; and sprinkle the chocolate chunks atop each muffin cup.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until slightly golden.  Allow to cool completely before removing.

broccoli and cheese baked spaghetti squash

“Mom, you know I don’t like spaghetti squash!” “Oh wait, maybe I do like it with broccoli and cheese.”  You’ll feel the same way, trust me.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Eating Well

1 2 1/2- to 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch organic broccoli, chopped to retain the florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. water
1 c. shredded organic mozzarella cheese, divided (alternative Gouda)
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 t. Italian seasoning (alternative: Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

Directions: Microwave the whole spaghetti squash for 2 minutes. Slice lengthwise to create to long boats.  Place face down on a microwave safe container with a small lip.  Add 1 tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the flesh is very soft when pushed.

In the meantime, add olive oil to a skillet warmed to nearly medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and broccoli florets.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Increase the temperature to medium add 2 tablespoons of water.  Put a lid (or inverted plate) on the skillet to allow the broccoli to steam until soften slightly (3 to 5 minutes).

Remove the broccoli from the heat and place in a mixing bowl.  Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash in the bowl with the broccoli.  Stir in the cheeses, Italian seasoning, and sea salt/pepper.  Evenly divide the mixture among the spaghetti squash ‘boats.’  Broil on the lowest oven rack until the cheese is bubbly and browning ever so slightly.

pear apple oven pancakes

Impress your friends with this upside down fruit pancake.  Pears and apples cooked in cinnamon and honey make for a delicious breakfast for dinner meal.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

2 eggs, 4 egg whites (organic)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. + 1 t. organic honey, divided
½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1½ T. organic butter
1 organic apple, thinly sliced
1 organic pear, thinly sliced
1 t. ground cinnamon
Pure maple syrup

Directions: Preheat the oven 375 degrees.

To the blender, add the first six ingredients (eggs, vanilla, honey, flour, baking powder, and sea salt). Turn on medium speed for 15 seconds.

Heat a nonstick to near medium heat.  Add the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange the pears and apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet.  Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon the on the fruit and drizzle with the honey.  Sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until the fruit begins to soften, stirring gently once or twice.  Pour the pancake batter evenly atop the fruit.  Once the batter begins to set up on the bottom of the skillet (approximately 5 minutes), insert the skillet to the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the top has set up and is slightly golden.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven.  Cover the skillet with a plate slightly larger than the skillet.  Invert it to reveal the sliced pears and apples.  Serve with warmed maple syrup.

zoodles puttanesca

Don’t like zoodles (a.k.a. zucchini pasta)?  No worries. Use whole wheat pasta instead.  Whatever you do, you won’t be sorry.  This sauce is killer!  Don’t be scared of the anchovies.  They melt into the olive oil, and the recipe just isn’t the same without them!!

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from The Londoner

6 organic yellow squash (alternative: organic zucchini)
3-4 T. olive oil, depending on your skillet size
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 anchovies (alternative: anchovy paste)
1/8 to ¼ t. chili flakes, depending on your heat preference
2 T. capers, do NOT rinse
1/3 c. black olives
2 cans, diced organic tomatoes
Parmesan, to sprinkle on

Directions: Use a spiralizer tool to create zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles). Set them aside.

Warm a skillet to medium heat. Add the chicken sausage, turning every 3-4 minutes. While this continues to heat, begin preparing the Puttanesca…

Warm a large skillet to just below medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the minced garlic, and allow it to sizzle for 30 seconds. Next, add the anchovies to the oil. Don’t worry; you won’t have to look at these guys for very long.  They will dissolve and serve as flavor only for this amazing sauce. Finally, add the chili flakes that add both flavor and heat to the oil. Give everything a stir.

While the sauce bubbles at the edges and smells up the kitchen something fiercely delicious, give the olives and capers a rough chop before adding them to the skillet. Finally, stir in the final ingredient – canned tomatoes. Adjust your skillet heat so that a little bit of simmering is happening to marry all the flavors.

Using tongs, add the zoodles to the sauce.  Toss them to evenly heat and coat them with the sauce. Once plated, drizzle with olive oil and Parmesan cheese!

blueberry oatmeal breakfast cookies

These are “kitchen pantry cookies.” With lots of optional add-ins, you can throw in whatever is in the pantry.  Consider chocolate chunks, nuts, raisins, etc.  I added some extra honey because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, reduce the honey.

hope these make your belly smile…

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat pastry
  • 1/3 c. organic ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large organic egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
  • 3 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. organic butter, melted
  • 3 T. organic milk
  • 2 T. organic vanilla extract
  • 3 T. to ¼ c. local honey (increase honey to ¼ c. if your bananas are not ripe and/or if you like things a little sweeter)

Add-ln Ingredients

  • 1 c. fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds, optional
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates), optional

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient.  Stir gently, just until combined. Stir in any or all of the add-in ingredients.  Use a scoop to create cookie mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 15 minutes.  (If using a baking stone, a few more minutes may be needed)

Note: I added the full amount honey to this batch because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, omit the honey.