Breakfast Quinoa with Blueberries, Cranberries, and Almonds

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Have you tried quinoa for breakfast yet?

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You really should. It’s a pleasant change in texture and flavor from oatmeal, and if you don’t like quinoa, this is a nice way to ease you into it.

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I threw together this simple version, but you could of course customize it with any add-ins you would for oatmeal.

(Note: I realize blueberries are no longer seasonal! Ha, I actually made this recipe last summer, and just now found it unpublished. Oops.)

Also, a note about milk: If you use a sweetened non-dairy milk, you will need less sweetener, and if you use vanilla flavored non-dairy milk, you could leave out the vanilla extract.

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Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almondmilk)
  • 2/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw or roasted almonds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/4 tsp orange extract)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (maybe use a lot less. I just REALLY like cinnamon)
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • sweetener to taste (I recommend brown sugar, honey or maple syrup)

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the quinoa and milk. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, until all milk has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Sweeten to taste and serve with your favorite breakfast beverage. For me, that’s coffee or a green smoothie. Or both.

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Easy Peanut Maple Energy Bites

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These are pretty much identical to Clif Peanut Butter Bars. Except homemade and therefore cheaper. And healthier. And more delicious. So, maybe they’re not that identical after all. Dare I say superior? 🙂

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I love that these are quick and easy to throw together, and the perfect on-the-go energy.

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This is also one of those blank canvas recipes. Try adding a puffed cereal like brown rice, millet, or kamut, or a dried fruit like raisins, or substitute the pb with another nut butter (it’s amazing with cashew butter!). You can add chocolate or carob chips, cocoa powder, white chocolate chunks, or even substitute the oat bran for your favorite protein powder! The combinations are endless.

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I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe, because they go fast.

Ingredients

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  • 2/3 cup unsweetened all-natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed or chia seed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (may substitute other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (I used 2 tbs oat bran and 2 tbs wheat bran)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, vanilla, and maple. Mix until smooth (if your pb has been refrigerated and is too stiff to mix easily, try microwaving it before mixing, until it is soft enough).

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Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

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Shape it into bars on wax paper if you prefer. I made them into little balls because it’s a little easier. You can enjoy them right away, or refrigerate if you want them to stiffen up more.

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Here’s to healthy energy fueling your New Year’s athletic aspirations. 🙂 Enjoy!

Hearty Lentil Bowl with Balsamic-Roasted Pumpkin and Kale

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Earthy, flavorful, healthy, seasonal. This dish has got it all.

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It makes for the ultimate comfort food dinner and leftovers work beautifully for lunch the next day!

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You could, in a pinch, substitute sweet potatoes or butternut squash for the pumpkin, but pumpkin is really special here.

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Aren’t pumpkins just lovely? I love pumpkin pie as much as the next guy, but I don’t think pumpkins get enough attention in savory dishes, for sure.

DSC_0158_2      Ingredients

Serves 5-6

  • 4 cups chopped pumpkin (1 small pumpkin)
  • 1 red onion, chopped coarsely or in thick rings
  • 4 plump cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (+a little extra for drizzling)
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  •  1 1/2 cups green, brown, or French lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium head curly or dino kale, washed and chopped (or spinach, collards, or chard)
  • lemon juice or more balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • optional add-ins: sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted parsnips, etc

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

On a baking sheet, spread the chopped pumpkin, chopped onion (reserving a couple tablespoons), and garlic. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the pumpkin mixture, tossing to coat.  Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt over it. Bake until tender, about 25-30 min.

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils: combine the lentils, water, and bay leaf in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Also, steam the kale or other greens until bright green and soft.

When everything is done, assemble using lentils as the base and adding the greens and pumpkin on top. Add the remaining red onion (finely chopped), drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice/balsamic vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste.

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Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Raisins and Persimmon

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Yep, you read that right. Overnight oats, with steel cut oats. It works! I was a little surprised myself.

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The texture of the steel cut oats is so thick, chewy, and hearty, you won’t want to go back to rolled oats either!

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Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2/3 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk) (optional: extra for drizzling)
  • 1 small Fuyu persimmon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbs flaxseed or chia seed (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • maple syrup or other sweetener to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Divide the mixture into bowls or Mason jars (if your mornings are on-the-go), and place in the fridge. The next morning, drizzle a little extra milk or cream on top, adjust sweetener to taste, and enjoy! It pairs beautifully with French Roast black coffee.

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Luscious White Chocolate Tofu Pudding with Pomegranate and Lime

use this one

Get excited.

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This makes an excellent and decadent dessert. You know, in case you didn’t get enough dessert with all those Christmas cookies and New Year’s party treats. 😉

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While this is healthier than most white chocolate puddings, it’s not exactly low calorie. It’s so rich and creamy, though, that just a little bit goes a long way. 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1 12-oz package silken tofu (I recommend Mori-Nu brand for its mild flavor)
  • 1 1/4 white chocolate chips or chunks (use non-dairy if you like)
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs sugar or powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • zest of 1 lime (for garnish)

Directions

In a food processor, puree the tofu until smooth.

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Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl (I used a microwave, heating in 20 sec increments and stirring in between).

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Add the white chocolate, lime juice, sugar, and vanilla, and process everything until smooth. Serve right away, or refrigerate for a couple hours to allow the pudding to thicken up. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and lime zest on top right before serving. Enjoy!

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Quick ‘n’ Easy Creamy Broccoli Potato Leek Soup

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I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas and New Year’s. Here’s a comforting, healthy, and flavorful soup perfect for these post-holiday relaxing days.

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This humble little soup is amazingly delicious…I sent it with my husband for lunch one day, and the first thing he said when he got home was ‘That was the best soup ever!’ Quite a testament. 🙂

Ingredients

Ser ves 3-4

  • 2 small heads broccoli, chopped
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 leeks (chopped, white parts only) and 1/2 shallot, chopped (or 2/3 cup chopped onion)
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • salt or a seasoning mix like Herbamare (omit or use sparingly if you use broth)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium pot on medium-high, heat the oil and sauté the onions (or leeks and shallots) until soft. Add the potatoes and broccoli and cook for another couple minutes. Then add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup in a blender. Season to taste.

I served this with my favorite spelt flax crackers for a light meal, or with a protein for a heartier one.DSC_0201_2