Archive for June, 2011

I’m a big fan of anything associated with chocolate; especially of the “baked goods” variety. Whether it’s Chocolate Cakes, Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Bars,or Chocolate Cookies…you name it; and chances are I’ll love it (and eat it).  However, I do NOT love the way I feel after eating 2,3,4,5+ of these tasty chocolate treats. The guilt always ruins my evening. I feel compelled to do 100 sit ups and run around the block; but instead I usually just eat another slice of whatever it was that made me feel guilty in the first place. Is this a sign of self-loathing behavior?

Fear not! I think I’ve found a solution for my chocolate-guilt: These Brownie Bites. They are made with No Sugar, No Milk, No Butter….AND still taste awesome! I decided to make them in a muffin pan so I could have individual brownie bites. That way, it’s easier to keep track of how many I’ve had (and I can’t cut a GIANT piece and say “oh, but I only ate ONE”…hahaha I’ve totally done that before). Also, by making them into “bites” I can freeze half **and just pop one in the microwave (for 15 seconds) when I NEED a chocolate fix. Genius!

I found this recipe on Jillian Michael’s website; I just love Jillian. (Is anyone else BEYOND distraught that she’s no longer going to be on The Biggest Loser? I’ll still watch the show…but it won’t be the same.)

What you’ll need:

-1/2 c white whole wheat flour

-1/3 c cocoa powder

-1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

-2/3 c honey

-2 tbs olive oil

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1/4 tsp baking soda

-3 tbs ground flax

-1/4 tsp salt

-1 egg

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 c 60% cacao chocolate chips

First things first: Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ground flax. Mix everything together with a fork (or a whisk). Set aside

In a large bowl, add the honey and cocoa powder. Stir these two ingredients together until well incorporated. (make sure your honey is room temperature or warmer..it makes stirring much easier)

To the cocoa-honey, add applesauce, oil, egg, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir until everything is mixed together nicely. Add the “dry” ingredients to the bowl; stir until a nice lump-free batter has formed.

Fold in your chocolate chips to the batter (you could also mix in some nuts at this point as well….if you’re into that sort of thing).

Distribute your batter evenly among the 12 “cups” of your greased muffin pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Do the old “toothpick test” to make sure they’re done.

Serve warm; with a scoop of natural vanilla ice cream…or homemade whipped cream…or fresh berries. They store very nicely in an air tight container for up to a week. However, they probably wont last that long.

**To freeze: wait until the brownies are cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place cooled brownies on paper, place in the freezer until they are frozen (roughly and hour). Once frozen, remove from baking sheet and store in a zip top freezer bag or freezer friendly air-tight container; up to one month (but you’ll be lucky if they last more than a week).


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I’d like to think I’m cool. There are many reasons why. One reason: I’m part of a CSA (for a complete list of reasons why I’m cool…just send me an email. There are 67).

CSA’s (or Community Sustained Agriculture) are these awesome buy-in programs that few people know about. Heck, I had never heard of one until about 2 years ago.

What you do is this: find a local farm (that is a participating CSA), pay anywhere from $200-$600 at the beginning of the growing season (Feb-April) to buy a “share” of what they produce, then receive 20 some-odd weeks’ worth of farm fresh produce (this ends up only costing you about $10-$30 a week in produce…which is a SWEET bargain). We bought a half-share from our local CSA and barely finish all our produce in a weeks time.

They’re fantastic. Everyone should join one. Want to know if there are CSA’s near you? Click Here!

I absolutely love being a part of a CSA. Every week we pick up a small bin FULL of farm fresh produce. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever!

What you’ll need:

-Broccoli, Turnips, Snap Peas, Carrots, Bok Choy, Kholrabi, Radishes, Zucchini, Summer Squash or whatever produce you find in your CSA bin (Usually I use 3 different types of veggies)

– approx. 1/2 c Udon Noodles*; uncooked

-3 cloves of garlic; chopped

-1 uncooked chicken breast: chopped up

-1 tbs corn starch

-1/2 c warm water

-1 tsp ground ginger

-1 tsp black pepper

-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

-1 tsp ground garlic powder; plus additional teaspoon to use in stir fry sauce

-1/4 tsp salt

-3 tbs soy sauce

-1 tbs teriyaki; plus additional tablespoon to use when frying

-1 tbs honey

-2 tsp wok oil; plus additional wok oil for frying

-1/4 tsp better than bouillon: of the low sodium chicken variety

First things first, do you own a wok? If not, go buy on. They are an absolute essential in any kitchen; plus, they really aren’t that pricey. You can definitely find a great one for around $20. Ok…go buy one.

In a medium bowl: combine the cornstarch, water, ginger, salt, garlic powder, pepper flakes, teriyaki and chicken. Set aside and let “mingle” for about 10-15 minutes. Use this time to wash and chop up your CSA produce. (I like to chop up everything to relatively uniform pieces; they cook faster this way)

Now, put about 1 tablespoon wok oil (oil infused with garlic and ginger) into your *cool* wok with the chopped up garlic; turn the burner to high heat. While the wok is heating up, add water to a medium sauce pan and turn to medium-high heat. Also, mix your sauce ingredients together in a small bowl (soy sauce, honey, better than bouillon, garlic powder, teriyaki, oil and a few grinds of black pepper). Set aside.

Once the oil is heated (and your garlic is popping), add the chicken (but not the left over cornstarch liquid).

Using a large wooden spoon (or wooden spatula) frequently stir the chicken as it fries in the oil (Stir Fry…get it?!). Cook until the chicken is browned; about 5-7 minutes.

Add your chopped up veggies. Add another drizzle of oil and a dash of teriyaki. Continue to stir everything frequently; cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

While the veggies and chicken continue to “fry” together; add your Udon noodles to your (hopefully no boiling) water. Cook the noodles for 5 minutes.

(Turn your heat down to low) Once the noodles are done, drain and add to the wok. Add your sauce to the wok now too. Stir everything together. Let sit for 1-2 minutes. This helps the noodles and sauce to heat up.

Spoon into 2 large bowls. Add Chopsticks. Enjoy.

(Serves 2)

*Don’t have Udon noodles? You can also use whole wheat thin spaghetti or penne!

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These muffins are *almost vegan*. They’re like 85% vegan. That should count as “passing for vegan”, right?

Well, maybe they can’t pass for vegan. That’s ok. Instead, we’ll call them: Super Delicious Banana Blueberry Muffins. That can’t be disputed.

To make these scrumptious muffins you’ll need:

-3 overly ripe bananas (the squishier, the better)

-the juice of one lemon

-1tbs lemon zest

-1/3 c applesauce

-1/2 c honey

-2 c white whole wheat flour

-3/4 tsp baking powder

-3/4 tsp baking soda

-3 tbs ground flax

-1/2 tsp salt

-1 c blueberries

-1 tsp vanilla

-1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with pretty paper muffin cups. I like to alternate Pink, Yellow, Blue. Is that odd?

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon and set aside.

Mash up the bananas in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, vanilla, cinnamon, applesauce and honey to the bananas; stir until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the “wet” mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in the blueberries to your batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners. Don’t worry about “overfilling” the muffin cups; they won’t rise THAT much. Trust me.

Bake for 30-40 minutes; (mine took about 40 minutes). Check with a toothpick to make sure they are done.

Makes a dozen muffins.

(These muffins were adapted from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s recipe! Yummy!)

**To make these muffins MORE  vegan friendly just substitute agave for the honey. To make these muffins LESS vegan friendly pair with a glass of milk, cheeseburger and a leather handbag**

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Summer is upon us: Crack open a cold beer and break out the grill!

I could really go for a beer right about now.

One night, I didn’t want to make dinner. So, we ordered burgers from a local pub. I ordered a Turkey Burger with guacamole on it. It was delicious. I thought “Hey, I bet I could make this”! The very next day, I threw together this recipe. The end.

I added a nice pasta salad to serve with the burgers. Not necessary, but oh so tasty!

What you’ll need (for the Burgers):

-a pound of lean ground turkey; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.


-fresh salsa*

-4 slices of provolone (or pepper jack)

-romaine; whole leaves

-1/2 of a red onion; thinly sliced

-4 whole wheat English Muffins (say what?!)…trust me.

*you can very easily make the guacamole and salsa from scratch…but I didn’t have the necessary ingredients. I did, however, have several packages of Wholly Guacamole in the fridge. I love that stuff.

What you’ll need: (for the pasta salad)

-1 1/2 cup uncooked penne

-1 cup sun dried tomatoes

-a handful of fresh cilantro: chopped

-2-3 tbs olive oil (I’m a big fan of olive oil, so I always add more. That’s heart healthy; right?)

-2 to 3 cloves of garlic: chopped

-2 tbs freshly grated Parmesan

-salt and pepper to taste

First and foremost: bring about 3 cups of salted water to a boil.

Once the water starts to boil, add you pasta. Cook for about 5-6 minutes. I like my pasta al dente, so I always under cook it. But, that’s just me.

While your pasta is cooking, add the remaining ingredients to a medium bowl. Give them a good stir; that way the flavors can mix while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.

When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain and add to the bowl of “mingling” ingredients (Side Note: I never rinse my pasta if it’s going to immediately be combined with olive oil. I just don’t see the point). Stir everything together. Let rest on the counter while you get the burgers ready.

Now…to the burgers!

Combine the ground turkey with seasoning in a medium bowl. You can use a spoon, but just use your hands; it’s so much easier (remove any rings first..I always forget to). Separate the meat into 4 quarter pound patties. Place the patties on a parchment lined plate. *They are pretty sticky, so the parchment is essential*. Set aside (preferably in the refrigerator)

Get your grill going! Also, have a beer or two; you deserve it. Once your grill is nice and hot, throw on those patties! Flip ONCE. They should be done after about 15 minutes…maybe less depending on how hot your grill/coals are and how thick your patties are (you don’t want them to dry out!). When they are just about done, add the cheese and close the grill. It should only take 30 seconds to a minute to melt the cheese. Remove the tasty grilled turkey burgers from the grill and head back inside to finish assembling!

Split an English Muffin with a fork (or knife). Add turkey burger to the bottom half, top with a big leaf of romaine. several (or many) thinly sliced onions, 2 spoonfuls of guacamole, 2 spoonfuls of salsa and top with the other half of the muffin. You may or may not need a large spear to hold your massive burger together.

Repeat with remaining burgers.

Grab a napkin, fresh brewskie and enjoy.

Warning: a plate is 100% necessary with these bad boys…and maybe a fork too.

Serves 4

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What in the world is a Mokki Ball? It’s a little slice of heaven; that’s what it is!

I was first introduced to Mokki Balls at a Holistic Mom’s Network meeting. They are like a “no-bake cookie” of the raw/unprocessed variety. After eating what seemed like 10, I was hooked…and needed more. I actually bought the HMN cookbook almost primarily for this recipe (but there are a lot of truly great things in there; so the purchase was well worth it).

The recipe is out of the “Many Paths, One Journey to Health”  cookbook; put out by the Holistic Mom’s Network. The recipe was submitted by Lisa Rooney of the Chicago Western Suburbs, IL chapter (Way to go Lisa!). The original recipe is good: (also known as Rooney Snuggle Bugs’ “Gone Before You Know It” Mokki Balls)

1 c. raw nut butter

1/2 c. raw agave

1/3 c. raw cacao or carob chips 

1/2 c. ground flax

1 c. raw oatmeal

But I’ve tweaked it to perfection (in my opinion):

1/2 c. All Natural No-Stir Roasted Almond Butter (I’m a big fan of Maranatha brand)

1/2 c. All Natural No-Stir Roasted Peanut Butter (same goes for the peanut butter)

1/2 c. honey

1/3 c. 60% cacao chocolate chips

1/4 c.  natural cocoa powdered

1/2 c. powdered ground flax

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 c. ground almonds (for rolling)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Using a melon baller (or in my case, an espresso scoop) make walnut sized balls. In a separate bowl, roll formed Mokki Balls in ground almonds until fully coated. Place Mokki Balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer to “set up”; about 30 minutes. Transfer chilled Mokki Balls to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator. 

They literally taste like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; but without all the guilt! They are definitely not a low calorie snack, but the protein and fiber content (and the fact that there’s no partially hydrogenated oils in them) make them WAY better then any store bought peanut butter/chocolate snack. The raw version is very tasty as well, but I only had non-raw products in my pantry; so those are what I used.

They make a great protein packed snack! I plan on bringing a batch on all our camping trips this summer!

*they do tend to get pretty sticky when NOT chilled…but still really really tasty.

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First, Check out this movie trailer

Pretty scary stuff, right?

We are aware that small, local farms are all but non-existent today; but do we really understand why?

Large factory farms are the current “norm” in this country; mass-producing our meats, grains, and vegetables. It may cost less for us, the consumer (though, not by much…or not at all); but what is the real cost? Our health? Our integrity? Our future? Our children’s future?

We all deserve to have *better* food available to us. Food that isn’t full of growth hormones. Food that isn’t covered in chemicals. Food that will make us feel better; not worse. Food that is safe to eat!

Think before you eat; Think before you buy.

Buy Local (when you can).

Don’t know where to find locally grown produce and meat? Want to join a CSA? Click Here!

**Check out the movie: Food, Inc (it’s also available for instant watch on Netflix)**

Remember: Ignorance may be bliss, but Knowledge is power!

**Here are my closing thoughts:

1)I think it’s pretty absurd that Raw Milk (unpasteurized) is straight up illegal in some states; but then again I also think it’s absurd that homebirth is straight up illegal in some states. I, personally, don’t really have any desire to drink raw milk; but that’s because I don’t like drinking milk of any kind. Milk weirds me out. Except breastmilk, that doesn’t weird me out (it only weirds me out after I’ve pumped a bottle and the foremilk and hindmilk have separated…until you shake it. Once again, milk is weird). Sure, there  *may be* an inherent risk with consuming raw anything BUT I think it’s riskier to consume chemical-laced food products that are chock full of hormones; but that’s just me. I also think it’s absurd that Raw Milk (aka Real Milk) is illegal BUT it’s 100% ok to put High Fructose Corn Syrup and Red Dye 40 in just about everything. The long term health effects of consuming HFCS, Red40, and other garbage like that is WAY worse then the *risk* of Raw Milk. Sure, it *might* have E. Coli (which is a very real, and very scary thing) in it; but so might that Mickie D’s beef patty (at least Raw Milk doesn’t have ground up hooves in it…I’m just sayin’). In fact, if you’re consuming Raw Milk you more than likely know which farm your milk came from; heck, you might even know the cow! I bet you can’t say the same for the pasteurized milk (or cheese, butter, meat, etc) that’s in your fridge at the moment. I say, let them have their Raw Milk!

2) Another Milk Rant: Seriously?! Raw milk is illegal? I just can’t get over that. Milk is one of the most non-threatening things ever. That’s like saying that saltines are dangerous; or vanilla ice cream. Firearms are legal…but milk isn’t? Cigarettes are legal, but milk isn’t? Heck, in some places it is NOT illegal to own a monkey (which we all know can LITERALLY rip your face, arms and testicles off) BUT raw milk isn’t legal. Those hippies man, they’re a dangerous bunch. With their communal living, Birkenstock sandals, painted buses and RAW MILK….terrifying.

3)How much did you love that one farmer? The one who talked about how beautiful a small, local farm is. With all the chickens in the background. Man, That guy rocked. He’s in Food Inc too…you should watch Food, Inc.

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This tasty dish has turned into a weekly staple in our house.

It is beyond easily to make; cooks up in about 30 minutes.

It’s like an Italian stir fry; and I love me some stir fry.

This recipe is adapted from Whole Foods’ “Pasta with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Pecorino Romano“:

(Whole Foods’ website has quickly become my “go-to” for great recipes. I could *literally* spend hours  browsing through page, after page, of mouth-watering culinary delights)

What you’ll need:

-1 uncooked chicken breast; chopped and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder

-1 tbs Olive Oil

-1 c uncooked whole wheat penne pasta

-4 slices of prosciutto; roughly chopped

-2 c chopped fresh (or frozen) asparagus

-1-2c cherry tomatoes; halved

-2-3 cloves of garlic; minced

-half of a red onion; finely chopped

-1 bag of baby spinach (about 3 cups)

-1/2c grated Parmesan, Pecorino, or Romano (I use Parmesan because I always have it on hand)

-1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil.

-While waiting for the water to boil, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion and prosciutto; saute until the onion softens. Add the chicken and garlic to the skillet. Cook for about 5-7 minutes; until the chicken begins to brown (stirring occasionally; so nothing sticks to the pan).

-Once the chicken starts to brown, add the asparagus to the skillet. Stir everything until well combined. (I always add a few grinds of salt and pepper once I add the asparagus). If you’re going to add the red pepper flakes do so now. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

-At this time your water will start boiling. Add the whole wheat penne and cook for about 5 minutes. You want your pasta to be al dente (slightly undercooked). Drain.

-Add cooked pasta to skillet. Stir to combine ingredients. Now add the halved cherry tomatoes. Stir again. Turn down heat to low and cover for 3 minutes (until the tomatoes just barely begin to break down).

-Add the bag of baby spinach to the top of the “stir fry” mixture. Do your best to contain any spillage of leaves. Cover and cook until the spinach begins to wilt (about 3 minutes); stirring frequently as to combine the hot, cooked ingredients with the fresh spinach (it helps speed up the wilting process). Remove from heat.

-Add the parmesan (or what ever hard Italian cheese you’ve decided to go with) to the stir fry and stir to combine.

Serve warm. Enjoy.

Makes 2 (big) servings.

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