Simple, Healthy Meal: Creamy Peas & Mushroom Veggie Pasta

peasmushroomsNeed a simple recipe that’s healthy but also a bit on the “comfort food” side?  Try this!  It’s a union of health food and comfort food.

I am a vegetarian, and I try to eat very little sugar, starches, and dairy.  However, a couple of times a month I will indulge in pasta.  If I do have pasta, I really enjoy the varieties that include vegetable puree – the one I used for this recipe included pureed spinach and pureed zucchini in the ingredients.

I don’t use exact measurements, so feel free to adjust the amounts based on your preferences.  I used:

  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 2-3 T organic unsalted butter (you could also use an oil but I used butter for creaminess)
  • 1 small block of Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar vegan cheese, preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice (organic dairy, unflavored nut milk, etc)
  • 2 cups vegetable pasta (look for one that says it includes vegetable puree)
  • Pink Himalayan salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Boil water, add a bit of salt to flavor the pasta, and cook pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, melt the butter and add mushrooms and some salt and pepper.  Saute until tender.
  3. Add the peas, milk, and cooked pasta, stir until heated through.
  4. Grate the cheese and add to the warm pasta, stir until melted.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  That’s it!

I think it would be excellent to add spinach and/or zucchini, but I didn’t have any on hand.  Additionally, throw in some chopped up organic tempeh for added protein and you have a one-pot meal.  So simple and so satisfying!

 

 

 

 

 

Simple & Healthy Vanilla Coconut Waffles

coconutwaffles

Do you ever find yourself browsing Pinterest for a healthy recipe only to feel overwhelmed because:

  • a) most recipes seem to be made by professional chefs
  • b) the recipe contains too many ingredients, some expensive or hard to find
  • c) it takes too long to make
  • d) there are so many recipes that you get kind of numb to them…seriously
  • e) all of the above

Listen, I’ll be honest.  I only cook healthy food, but often I’m looking for a recipe and letter E above is how I’ll feel – overwhelmed with recipes that require decent culinary skills, take at least a half hour to make, with a ton of ingredients.

The reality for me is that, as a mother with a full-time job and other pursuits in life, I need healthy food that tastes good and can be quickly made.  These waffles fit that perfectly.  There were so easy to make, even at 8:00 a.m.

Coconut Waffles

(makes four thick waffles)

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 1 T stevia
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat a waffle maker.  Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well.  When waffle maker is heated, spray it with oil of choice.  Pour batter in and wait about four or five minutes.  That’s it!

If you don’t have protein powder, simply omit and increase the coconut flour to a 1/3 cup.

My boyfriend and I loved topping them with maple almond butter, plus he added hemp seeds as well.  My little girl had hers with organic honey.  Enjoy!

Homemade Cold Remedy Cider

coldelixirThis stuff packs a punch.  But since I actually enjoy strong flavors, including vinegar, taking a shot of this all-natural cold remedy is completely do-able.

I first stumbled upon a recipe like this a year or two ago on the internet.  There are lots of variations on the internet for old-fashioned cold brews like this.  The thing is, this remedy actually does some good in our house.

This natural cold remedy is not just a bunch of healthy hoo-ha that talks a big talk – for me, this cold remedy truly walks the walk.

Last fall and winter, we regularly pulled our jar of this out of the fridge and took a shot whenever we were feeling a cold or sniffles coming on.  And the real kicker for me was when I had an infection in late winter, and drank enough of this stuff that I was able to get over the infection without using antibiotics.  Now, I am my own guinea pig, and I would never suggest someone diagnose themselves or try to heal infections with only homemade remedies as each person is different and what works for me may not work for you.  That being said, we drank an entire batch of this over the course of last winter, and I recently made a new batch for the current fall and winter, because it truly helps.

It’s very easy to make:

  • 1 quart organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated horseradish
  • 2 T turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup manuka honey (I like to use a combination of honey, but use what you have available)
  • 1/2 cup organic local or raw honey

The first step is to combine the vinegar, chopped onion, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, and cayenne in a bowl and transfer it into a lidded jar.  Let this mixture set untouched for about a month on your countertop – don’t refrigerate! You can see from my photograph above what it looks like before it is strained – the chucks of onion, garlic, and horseradish float at the top and the mother and spices settle at the bottom. This is normal.

After a month, strain the mixture well, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Discard the solid pieces and retain the liquid.  Mix in the honey and rebottle.  Taste it.  Be prepared for this concoction to kick back – but drink it knowing that it is full of healthy benefits.  Keep refrigerated.  Shake well and take approximately a shot glass full whenever you are dealing with cold-like symptoms.

What are your favorite all-natural remedies for winter colds?  Have you ever tried a cold remedy cider?

Child-Friendly Recipe: Superfood Chocolate Truffles

superfoodchoctruffles Anytime I have the opportunity, I get my daughter in the kitchen. I have her there measuring, mixing, cleaning up – that is – learning.  I think it’s so important for all children to learn about where their food comes from – what the ingredients are, how things are made, how recipes are formed, etc.

There are so many times when a meal or baked good is too messy or complex for my daughter to help, but these chocolate truffles are a definite exception.  They were created one day when she requested to bake, although these don’t require an oven – and the only things to clean are a couple of measuring utensils and a food processor!  They are not only very easy for a child to help make, they are also delicious – very similar to a gooey, chewy chocolate… but they’re full of healthy add-ins. We like to keep them in the freezer so that they are very firm.

  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 T chocolate hazelnut butter
  • 1 or 2 T goji berries
  • 1 T coconut butter
  • 3 T almond milk
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 T cacao powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 T hemp seeds
  • 1 T unsweetened shredded coconut

In a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined.

Use an extra small scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out the mixture.  Drop into the moist hands of a child helper so that he or she can roll them into balls and drop on a lined baking sheet so that they don’t stick.

Refrigerate or place in freezer until firm.  That’s it!

Enjoy making & eating these healthy chocolate truffles with your favorite little one!

makingtruffles

Ginger Pillow Cookies

gingerpillowcookiesI got the idea for this recipe from one of my favorite blogs.  I thought they looked delicious and wanted to give them a try since, due to nausea, I’ve been drinking ginger ale like there’s no tomorrow .  I also love anything ginger and love to bake.

I thought this recipe would be fun to “tweak” to make it more my style – no added refined sugar with some healthier additions. As a side note, I know there are a lot of people who don’t use traditional wheat flours at all and opt for choices like coconut flour.  But what I had on hand was some wheat flour I’ve had for a while that I occasionally use.  In the end, eating healthy shouldn’t be black and white – I’m not perfect and I try to make the best choices possible every day. It is not necessary to use organic versions of these ingredients, but I try to use as much organic food as possible.

I decided to name my version Ginger Pillows, because that is exactly what the soft texture reminds me of.  The flavor is light, not-too-sweet, with the soft taste of ginger and molasses.  So good with coffee or in a child’s lunchbox.

  • 2 T stevia
  • 3 T organic raw honey
  • 1/3 cup softened unsalted organic butter
  • 1/3 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used this because it’s what I have on hand right now)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Preheat your oven to 350-375 degrees, depending on how hot your oven gets. My cookies turned out perfectly at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients and blend well. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and blend until mixed.  Refrigerate the dough for about an hour so that it’s easier to handle.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, slightly flatten, and place on your baking sheet. I use an eco-friendly baking sheet very similar to this and I love it dearly and can’t recommend one enough!  They really work perfectly, hold up well, and save so much parchment paper from the landfills.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, allow to cool and move to a cooling rack. I used a 1 T measuring spoon for portion control and it yielded 2 dozen cookies.

gingerpillowsandcoffee