Peanut butter Granola bars

I know I said the last granola bar recipe was going to be my last granola recipe, but I wanted to really show the versatility in making these.  So THIS is my last granola bar recipe.  I promise.

For this recipe, I replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter and almond butter.  Because all you really need is a fat of some kind.  (You could use butter, bananas)

I soaked my chia seeds this time because I was having an issue with the ones on the outside of my bars falling off.  I seem to have solved that problem this time.

Not only did these come out really crunchy, but they are also the cheapest granola bars I have made to date.  I just kind of threw them together with whatever I had on hand.  (Time to food shop!)

Peanut butter Granola bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds, soaked for a minute
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pepitas and dried cranberries)

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20-30 minutes (it should be nice and browned on the top)  and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.





Chocolate Pistacio Snack Balls

chocolate pistachio nut balls


These little guys pack a punch, and its as easy as throwing things into a food processor, and then rolling them into a ball.  They are basically raw, except the pistachios I used are roasted…but use sesame seeds or coconut on the outside instead and you have yourself a healthy raw snack.  This is another one that is really versatile.   I think next time I’ll use almond butter and walnuts, with sesame seed on the outside.

There’s no added sugar in these, being naturally sweetened by the dates.  They are also filled with healthy fats, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates for energy.  Plus pistachios are natural mood boosters, so eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Snack Balls

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios,

For the outside:

  • ground up shelled pistachios

Process everything in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.  Roll them into  palm sized balls and then roll them in the extra pistachios to coat them.    Place them in the freezer to set for a half hour.  Enjoy!

These stay good for a up to a week in the fridge, and up to two in the freezer.

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

strawberry granola bars

Okay, so I may be a little obsessed over Granola bars.  I’ve made 3 more batches since my last blog post.  I even ordered a bar pan from pampered chef.  It isn’t here yet, but I’m super excited about it.  I promise, this will be my last post  with a granola bar recipe because I think after this one you guys will get the point about how to make them, and how  customizable they are.  But this one is REALLY good, and I had to share.

I used coconut sugar in this recipe, which has trace amounts of nutrients, and a lower GI then regular sugar, so its at least a tiny bit healthier for you then using brown sugar but it  tastes about the same.  There’s also flax and chia seed in here for added omega 3’s and some weight loss boosters.   The preserve I used are natural, grape juice sweetened preserves, so make sure you read your ingredients,  you don’t want anything with high fructose corn syrup.  And of course, buy organic whenever you can!

Oh and my normal camera’s battery is dead so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, sorry about that.  These guys really deserve better photos.  I’ll take other ones later when the battery charges =)

strawberry granola bars

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pistachios, freeze dried strawberries, flax seeds, and chia seeds)
  • Strawberry preserves

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×10 pan with oil.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the preserves.  I do this by hand.  When its all nicely combined, press most of  it into the pan, reserving about 1/4 of it for the top.  Spread a thin layer of the preservers over the top of the granola mix in the pan, I used the back of a spoon to do this.  Then top with the rest of the granola.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool at least 2 hours, I stuck mine in the fridge over night. Its much easier to cut into bars after it has cooled off.


Cut into bars and enjoy!  These freeze great too.


Homemade Ramen Soup

Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful new years eve.  I spent the night in with my son, it was a nice and quiet night with thoughts of the upcoming year.  I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant, so this year is going to be an eventful one for me and my family!

Today I thought I’d cook up something easy, fast, and cheap.    I’ve mentioned before how much I love soup, but sometimes I don’t feel like slaving over a stove or waiting to soak my noodles before I can eat.  This dish cooks up in 10 minutes and you have a lot of options to customize it depending on what you have on hand.

The best thing about this dish, is its just as fast to make as if you were to use the normal flavor packets that come with the noodles, but of course this isn’t loaded with salt and MSG.


Homemade Ramen Soup  \

Ramen Soup:

  • 5 Dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes to soften them
  • 2 packages of ramen noodles (remove the seasoning packages and throw them out)
  • 5 Green onions

For the base:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste (or 1/2 tbsp grated garlic and 1/2 tbsp grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp vegan bullion or 1 tbsp White miso  (depending on what you have on hand, both will lend a nice flavor to the dish, of course the miso is the healthier option)
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Other things you can add:

  • Cubed Tofu
  • Toasted Sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced Radishes
  • (For my non Vegan friends – hard boiled eggs)

Place the ramen noodles in a pot of water and bring to a boil.   You want to take them out of the water as soon as it starts to boil so they don’t get too soft.  (they’re going to soften up more as they sit in our soup)   After the water boils, drain them in a colander and set aside.

In another sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients for the base except the sesame oil.  (Sesame oil should never be boiled, it should always be added to the end of cooking for flavor.)    Bring it all to a light simmer, and then, and I did this with a scissor, cut off the stems of the mushrooms,  then cut the mushrooms into slivers right into the soup base.  If you’re using other ingredients like tofu, or radishes, add them now.  I then  took my scissors and cut the green onions right into the soup base as well.  Turn off the flame, and add the sesame oil, giving it all one good stir.

Put the noodles in a bowl, then ladle the soup on top of it.  Enjoy!

And remember, when eating noodles, its totally okay to slurp!

Steamed Pumpkin Pot Stickers with Ponzu Sauce

Pumpkin Pot Stickers with Ponzu Sauce


I’ve been brainstorming these babies all month!  I had found some  organic canned pumpkin on sale and I knew I had to make something out of it.  While Pumpkin is a more winter time vegetable, you can find canned pumpkin all year round and this is what I used.  Making this versatile vegetable into pot stickers gives it a whole new dimension and wonderful flavor.    I had tried making the filling the with cilantro but it overpowered the flavor of the sauce.  By all means though, play around with it.  Some other ideas I had to add to make it more  crunchy was cabbage and water chestnuts.  Like I always say, cooking should be fun, and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment!

These wrappers are not gluten-free, I have no idea if you can even buy gluten-free wrappers anywhere, but I did however find a recipe to make your own, I’ll add the link at the end.  These are not homemade wrappers, however, but the ponzu sauce is all my own, as is the filling.

Ponzu Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Siracha hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp Liquid Amino Acid
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Mirin
  • 1 dash stevia
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice


  • 1 inch of ginger, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced and let to sit at least 10 minutes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp amino acid
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a pan and cook the ginger and garlic, covered, 1 minute.  Uncover and let the liquid evaporate, about 1 minute more.  If any extra liquid remains, drain it off.  In a food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until its all mixed up and finely chopped.

Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil with a steamer insert.  Fill the wrappers with 1 tsp each of the filling, then fold them over in half.  To seal them, dip your finger in some water and wet the very outer edge and press them closed around the outside.  Stand them up in the steamer insert and let them cook about 5-7 minutes.

How to make Gluten Free wrappers:

Why You Should Visit a Farmer’s Market

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Yesterday I went to the farmer’s market with my mom and my cousin.  I had the best juice ever.  They always surprise me by what they include in their juices.  This time I had Juice 1, which ingredients included: Wheatgrass, baby bok choy, chard, carrot, apple, mint and basil.   I don’t put baby bok choy or chard in my smoothies ever.  It was surprisingly sweet, I believe from the chard.  My mom got Juice 2, which was wheatgrass, spinach, ginger, apple and lemon.  A more basic juice, the kind I would normally make at home in a smoothie (without the wheatgrass, because I don’t have the machinery to  do that).

Zive Juice always surprises me with their ingredients and its always the first booth I stop at at the farmer’s market.  They use the produce fresh from the local farms and I’m very proud to support everyone in my community.  Especially those growing non-GMO organic food.  They even recognize me now!   Last time I got a juice, they had put artichoke hearts into it.  I tried to make it at home into a smoothie, but using artichoke hearts was just way too much work for me, and I’ll gladly pay Zive Juice to do all that hard work for me instead of doing it myself at home!


Farmer’s markets are a wonderful way to get to know your farmer’s, to get to know where your food comes from, and to see how its being used in local businesses.    Farmer’s markets are popping up EVERYWHERE.  If you can’t grow your own food, this is the best way to get fresh produce.  Remember, by the time a food gets to your plate, it is old (meaning it has lost a ton of nutrients) and usually sprayed with something to make it pretty on the supermarket shelf.

My local market also has grass fed beef and poultry.  I was having a conversation about allergies, and how chicken allergies seem to be springing up everywhere lately.  I noted that it might not be the chicken itself, but the antibiotics and the wheat and corn that the chickens are fed that are making these allergic reactions.    Its also important to remember, that if WE are what WE eat, our food is what THEY eat as well.    So if the crops (corn and wheat) are sprayed with pesticides and made by genetically modifying them, the soil in which they are grown is depleted and they are taking in less nutrients.  Then the cattle/poultry is fed this vapid food, and it itself becomes nutrient deficient.  By the time it gets to us, after being pasteurized and irradiated to make it safe for consumption, it is basically empty calories, although all the saturated fat remains, of course!  So if you choose to eat meat, with all of this information in hand, you have to think that the best place to get your food is from a local farmer where you can talk to them and see for yourself their practices.

Support your local market, go and meet your ranchers and your growers, and experience something new like I did at Zive Juice.  You never know what you’re going to find at a farmer’s market!

Zesty Green Detox Smoothie


I took a real good close up of my smoothie this morning to show you the rich green color.  It looks like a pool of algae!  Most likely because I used algae LOL.

Spirulina is an blue-green algae filled with vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A and E.  Its 65% protien, and has all the essential amino acids.  It is used to boost the immune system, fend off allergies, aid in ADHD symptoms, and may even promote good gut flora (probiotic).  Although no human studies have been conducted yet, it has proven to fight the flu virus, certain herpes, and even HIV.

When using spirulina, do so in small doses at first, because it does take a little getting used to.  Today was my first attempt and I only used 1tsp.  I also added raw organic apple cider vinegar which is so useful it should get its own post, and a huge chunk of ginger to mask the flavor.  So honestly, I don’t even taste it.

Green Detox Smoothie Take 2:

  • 1/2 cup raw organic Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 5 dinosaur kale leaves
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 inch peeled ginger
  • 1 apple
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tsp spirulina (or more for the more adventurous – up to 2 tbsp)
  • Optional: dash stevia

Blend all in a high speed blender until smooth, about 1 minute.  Drink and enjoy!

A few words on ACV (apple cider  vinegar) you want RAW organic (bragg’s is a great brand), not regular apple cider vinegar.  It is the “mother” and has all the enzymes that are lost from processing regular vinegar.

Nutrition Through the Ages Part 5: the golden years

My nana, 91 yrs old this year.  She looks good, doesn't she?

My nana, 91 yrs old this year. She looks good, doesn’t she?

Everyone gets old, and although society demonizes the very thought of a wrinkle, it is inevitably where we all end up, if we are so lucky.  And believe me, it is much easier to die then to stay alive.  You have to fight for your health.  We fight the  government who refuses to label GMO’s and sprays our crops with toxins, you have to fight the corporations who sell you processed fake food and toxic cleaning supplies, and you have to fight the pharmaceutics companies who push pills down your throat.  And then you have to fight yourself, because being healthy is not easy.  It is a daily job, pushing yourself to exercise, pushing yourself to not give in to the temptation that is all around us.   It is much easier to go to McDonald’s then to healthy saute a plate of vegetables, or make yourself a smoothie.  So if you manage to stay alive to 75, 80, 90 or who knows?  120?  You are one of the lucky ones.  But just the fact that you made it does not mean that the fight is over.  Just like I tell my grandma, “you made it, now enjoy yourself with as little pain as you can manage and your brain in tact, nourish your body!”    A healthy mind and body requires healthy fats, it keeps our thinking sharp and our joints limber.  Avocados, nuts and seeds, and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil are all vital to keep us from getting dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Medications that our elders are prescribed, for  blood pressure and cholesterol and whatever else they might deem necessary, rob our bodies of their nutrients.  One of the most important to maintain is magnesium.  You can read about magnesium in my article here.  Here is a little excerpt in case you don’t feel like clicking:  “Magnesium is known as a natural muscle relaxer.  If you ever have twitchy muscles or suffer from “restless leg syndrome” it is most likely due to a magnesium deficiency.   Magnesium deficiencies are subtle and usually go undetected by doctors and are much more common than you would think.  Besides the twitches, a sign that you are deficient is insomnia, cramps, migraines, anxiousness and irritability   In very serious cases it  can lead to irregular heart beats and kidney stones.”

Many older people are also stuck in nursing homes, and are the most at risk of vitamin D deficiency.  Remember, we can manufacture this ourselves in our body but only if we are exposed to the sun with our arms, legs and top of the head exposed.  (and how many grandmas have you seen at the beach in their bathing suits?)  Plant  based sources are minimal, but include mushrooms and pine nuts, and fortified milks.  (remember, I recomend non-dairy milk)   Taking a vitamin D supplement is advised.

Nutritional Guidelines for Seniors

Older Americans have increased steadily in number and proportion of the total U.S. population. The population age 65 and older numbered 35 million in 2000 and is expected to more than double by 2050. By 2030, there will be 71 million American older adults accounting for roughly 20% of the U.S. population.  Moreover, the oldest segment of the older population, those age 85 and older, has been increasing more rapidly than any other age
group.  According to the National Policy and Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging:

Diets of many older adults lack key nutrients. Some older adults are not getting enough calories and others are getting too many. Many don’t know about sensible portion sizes. Less than one-third of older adults meet the recommendation to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day. Only 4% of women and 13% of men older than 60 reach the daily recommendation for calcium. Fiber intake is half or less the recommended 25 grams.  As individuals age, their declining energy needs mean they must eat better while eating less. USDA food consumption survey data indicate that most older Americans are having trouble fitting the recommended number of daily food group servings into their decreased “calorie budgets.”

Because the amount of food they can eat while maintaining calorie balance is more limited than when they were younger, older individuals must choose wisely, selecting nutrient dense foods and limiting “extras.” Total calorie requirements decrease but the requirements for protein, vitamins, and minerals are unchanged, so nutrient dense foods are the best option.

A woman older than 50 should consume about:

  •  1,600 calories a day if her level of physical activity is low.
  •  1,800 calories daily if she is moderately active.
  •  2,000-2,200 calories daily if she has an active lifestyle.

A man over age 50 should consume about:

  •  2,000 calories a day if his level of physical activity is low.
  •  2,200-2,400 calories daily if he is moderately active.
  •  2,400-2,800 calories daily if he has an active lifestyle.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) suggest:

  • 1½ -2½-cups of fruit
  •  2-3½-cups of vegetables
  •  5-7-oz or Grains
  • 3-cups fat-free milk (I suggest non-dariy milk)

Many older people, including my grandmother, grab a slim fast or other meal replacement shake because it is fast and easy.  However, nothing is faster then having some carrot sticks with hummus, or apple with almond butter.  Meal replacements might be fast and easy but they are a far cry from a nutritious meal.  
As we age, it is important to be kind to our digestive tract. Eating smaller portions of good-quality food in a relaxed environment helps support optimal digestion and absorption of our nutrients.  The following are some tips for optimal digestion:

Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Nutrient-dense foods are those without empty calories. Empty calories take energy to digest without giving anything back. They provide nutrient displacement—filling us up without providing any of the needed nutrients.
Common empty calories are alcohol and foods with added sugar, such as chips, cookies, and sodas.

Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Eating smaller meals more frequently allows for the digestive enzymes and GI tract to more completely process our meals.

Eat Less Salt
Recommended sodium intake is 1,500-mg, which is about 2/3 tsp of table salt.  Keep in mind that most of the sodium the average American ingests is found in processed foods.

Eat More Fiber
Fiber helps to keep the bowels healthy and decreases constipation, and may also help to lower cholesterol. Ways to increase fiber include: Leaving the skins on fruits and vegetables, increasing beans in the diet, and eating fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Look at high fiber, low calorie foods. Do not be fooled by processed crap that says it has a ton of fiber in it.  It is STILL CRAP.  You want real fiber, from real food, vegetables, fruits, whole grains.


Digestive Enzymes
Plant enzymes, such as those from pineapple and papaya, can be taken with meals to help improve digestion.  Ginger is also a great digestive aid.

I’ve spoken about the use of probiotics to promote healthy flora which are needed for good digestion, among many other things.  Eating yogurt, tofu, kimchi, sauerkraut  Tempeh ..or taking a probiotic supplement (especially for those who have recently been on antibiotics) may be very supportive for keeping the  bowels regular.
Carminative Herbs
These herbs are helpful with gas and bloating and include peppermint, chamomile, fennel. Use as a tea.

These herbs are soothing to the digestive tract and include licorice, marshmallow, (this is not the marshmellow you roast over a fire, this is an herb) and slippery elm (those with high blood pressure should not use licorice). Use as a tea.

Please keep in mind that we are constantly aging.  We must ALWAYS take care of our bodies, no matter what stage we might be at.  Like all times in our life, avoid all processed foods, all additives, all white sugars and flours.  Another aspect of health, which we sometimes forget when talking about our elders, they need love and human contact just as much as anyone else.  They should not be shut into an old age home where you can forget about them, where they will hardly see the sun.  If they need a full time nurse, please pick the home carefully and make sure you go to visit!  Health is not just about our food, so much of how we feel is based on interactions with others.  This does not change just because we have a birthday.  Respect your elders, their minds and bodies might not work as sharply as in their youth, but that doesn’t mean we should disregard their wisdom, or cut them off from human touch.

Taken from:

Taken from:

Banana bakedcakes (aka pancakes) Vegan, gluten free

Ahh, the weekend, the time when we have enough leisure time to actually make breakfast.  This morning, as promised on my FB and Twitter page, I bring to you my vegan, gluten free banana pancakes, cooked two ways and smothered with my berry sauce!

My baked pancakes, half eaten!

My bakedcakes, (oven version) half eaten!

I made them two ways, because frankly, I’m lazy and I hate standing over a pan cooking for any length of time.  Plus, the pan version needs oil of some sort, and you guys know how I feel about cooking in oil.  I do occasionally use coconut oil, and this was one of those times.  Coconut oil is anti-microbial and has a host of health benefits, while allowing you to heat it up to high temps without it becoming a carcinogen, but it still raises LDL levels (bad cholesterol) so it should be used sparingly and not often.  On top of all that, the pan version kept falling apart when I flipped it… they stayed together just fine in the oven, and tasted the same.  My son ate the 3 I made in the pan and I ate the the ones from the oven.  The ones from the oven were in fact so good, that you could just eat them the way they are without any sauce, they kind of look like little bread cookies.  I call my oven baked version aptly bakedcakes!


  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbls agave

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cover it up over medium heat, letting it come to a boil and reduce the berries.  They will start to disintegrate.  After about 10 minutes you can uncover it and let is thicken to the desired consistency.  I let it go another 5 minutes.  Serve over your favorite waffle or pancakes, and keep it in an airtight jar up to 2 weeks.  (Honestly, I don’t even have any left to store after breakfast this morning, my son was licking it off the plate)

Pan version of my pancakes

Pan version of my pancakes


  • 2 mushed bananas
  • 1 tbls chia seeds soaked in 1/3 cup water for 5 minutes
  • 1 cup almond meal flour
  • 1 dash stevia
  • 1/2 tbls baking soda
  • drop of vanilla extract (I didn’t measure, but i’d  say it was 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup water

Pre Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  I used my trusty food processor to mix all the ingredients together, but i’m sure you could do it by hand using a fork or a whisk.  I didn’t soak the flax seed in the water this time, I just let it soak up the excess liquid in the batter mix.  So while the oven was preheating, the batter was sitting out for a  few minutes getting itself “together” as it may be lol.  I put some extra flour on a cookie sheet and layed out my pancake batter in little circles, just like I was making cookies.  I let them cook for 15 minutes, flipping once at the last 5 minutes and then they were done!

Oven version of my pancakes

Oven version of my pancakes


My son enjoying his healthy breakfast!

Green Detox Smoothie




This is not a smoothie for beginners   It tastes a bit like lemonade, at least to me, but for those that are new at more hardcore smoothies, a dash of stevia will help to make it sweeter.  However, a smoothie without all the fruit is a smoothie with less glycemic index.  I added green tea to this smoothie for one reason, and that was because I was running late to get my son to school this morning (first Monday back at school after a week off will do that) and missed my morning cup with lemon.  However, it is optional.

Raw radish is full of vitamin C, b-complex, zinc and phosphorous    The leaves are edible as well, having more protein, vitamin c and calcium then the roots.  If you have a radish with the leaves in tact, by all means add them to the smoothie along with the root.  Radish also helps asthmatics by relieving congestion and airways, and helps cleanse the blood, live and gallbladder   Raw radish should be included in the diet regularly, I often slice it up and put it on my salad, are make matchsticks with them and add them to my nori  wraps.

What some people don’t know is that romaine leaves are a complete protein, and if you are one who worries about oxalates, then romaine is a good alternative to spinach.  Some other nutrients it has are vitamin A and K, manganese, magnesium, copper, prosperous,  selenium (another vital mineral in the treatment of asthma) and zinc.   It blends well with any smoothie, since it has such a light flavor.

Overall, this  is a marvelous detox drink, working to cleanse and purify while aiding digestion.

Green Detox Drink

  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 5 kale leaves
  • 2 red radishes (leaves optional)
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup green tea
  • 1 pinapple chunk
  • 1 green apple