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Quinoa Almond Breakfast Bites

With these protein filled breakfast bites you’re sure to have a spring in your step today. 

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Well, it’s stormy here and the expected high temperature is 93 degrees fahrenheit. Yuck :( 

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What’s that you say about not having time for the most important meal of the day? 

With just 6 ingredients you are on your way to a healthy breakfast or snack. Hey, you might even try to pass these off as dessert. I did. 

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These no bake quinoa almond breakfast bites are perfect! Oh and pretty much anything drizzled in chocolate helps. 

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Makes 14

Ingredients

  • 12 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2-3 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Place dates in food processor and pulse until it forms a ball. Remove from food processor and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Add almonds and pulse until almonds a re coarsely ground. Do not pulse longer to make them into a powder. 
  3. Add quinoa, coconut flakes, and dates. Pulse until combined. 
  4. Place mixture in medium bowl and a few teaspoons of water. Mix to combine and mixture is sticky. 
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out mixture and form into 14 logs. Place on a plate and set aside.
  6. Melt chocolate  chunks in microwave safe bowl at 20 second intervals until melted. Stir after each 20 seconds to combine. Drizzle on logs and place in refrigerator 1/2 hour to 1 hour or until chocolate hardens. Serve with your favorite beverage. 

This recipe is adapted from skinnyms.com

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Roasted Vegetables on 4 Ingredient Skillet Flatbread

Roasted vegetables make for a light lunch or dinner. Serve with 4 ingredient skillet flatbread and you’ve got a healthy meal full of color. 

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The hardest part about this meal is all the chopping. Once you’re done with that it’s easy street. You can always buy pre-cut vegetables and then there’s no excuse. 

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What I really like about this recipe is how it brings out the sweetness. Have you tried roasting vegetables? Well here’s your chance. 

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Oh yum! This recipe also goes great with curried lentils, rice and beans, sourdough bread with cheese, a piece of salmon, and even on a tuna sandwich. Should I go on? Roast some veggies today!

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Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1-12 ounce bag broccoli florets
  • 4 carrots equal to about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 medium zucchini equal to 2 cups
  • 1 medium sweet potato equal to 2 cups
  • 4 green onion stalks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus a little extra for the roasting pan
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse broccoli, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, and onion stalks.
  3. Peel  zucchini and sweet potato. Chop vegetables to desired size for roasting and place in a large bowl.
  4. Pour olive oil onto vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. 
  5. Place vegetables on oven safe tray and roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with feta cheese and 4 Ingredient Skillet Flatbread.
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Sweet Potato Fries Topped with Madras Lentils

Sometimes you just can’t beat ready to go meals. Packaged sweet potatoes and lentils go great together. This will become your next go to meal. It’s such a great combination! 

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I’ve made this combination before with fresh cut sweet potatoes and lentils that I spiced myself. Yes, I know this recipe is probably not the healthiest recipe and I didn’t label it as such. This is more of a semi-healthy take on one of my favorite meals. A few years ago I found a super delicious vegetarian Curried Poutine. I couldn’t get enough. Such great flavors! 

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I honestly don’t know why I haven’t mentioned this sooner. When I’m craving fries smothered in something, this is my go to recipe. 

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Here’s a great Meatless Monday idea. Try this recipe and let me know what you think. 

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Serves 3-5

Ingredients

  • 1-32 ounce package sweet potato fries
  • 2-10 ounce packages 1 step-1 minute madras lentils ( I buy Tasty Bite)
  • 1-15 ounce can lentil beans drained and rinsed ( I buy Brad’s Organic)
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese (or any strong flavored cheese)
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and cook sweet potato fries according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile place packaged lentils and canned lentils in a saucepan and heat through. 
  3. Chop spinach into long strips and set aside. 
  4. When sweet potatoes are done remove from oven and using tongs place a nice helping of sweet potato fries on a plate and top with lentils,  cheese and spinach. 
  5. Serve warm.
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One Pot Black Beans and Rice

This simple black beans and rice recipe is a regular in our house. It will leave you satisfied and happy that you don’t have to wash a bunch of dishes. Phew!

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One of my favorite meals is here before you. Black beans and rice has been part of my life since I was a little kid. My plate would consist of black beans, white rice, a breaded sandwich steak, fried plantains, a sliver of iceberg lettuce and a tomato wedge. All good stuff in moderation.

Happily I was full of energy ALL the time. I ate like crazy when I was younger. My favorite guy made up a song called “Sometimes you get hungry”. This was based on something I said to him because I would carry around food like bananas, granola bars, or some crackers and dried fruit. I always had something in my bag. I don’t always carry food now but once in a while I sneak something in there. Just in case because “Sometimes you get hungry”. Now imagine that phrase as a harmony.

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So I apologize for veering off topic. This one pot meal is a rendition of what I ate growing up except it’s made with brown rice and vegetables which were pretty non-existent for me growing up. Wait I take that back. We ate peas from a can, slivers of iceberg lettuce, and a few other vegetables. When I got out on my own I really explored the veggie world. Thank goodness. I was missing out on so much. I truly do crave vegetables and fruit. 

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Cherries are at the top of the list and bonus are currently in season so get some today. We got these at a roadside booth up in Michigan. There are so many of these booths up in the area we stayed in. We originally stopped at a pick your own place but the woman said that the weather has been weird and they just sprayed so they weren’t allowing people into the fields. We were kind of looking forward to it but safety first. 

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I tried growing cilantro again this year but for the last three years I haven’t been able to get it right. I may have to spend some time researching techniques. I buy a lot of cilantro. It is so darn good on everything. My sister makes this really tasty cilantro salad. I need that recipe. 

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These rice and beans have a hint of cinnamon added. Growing up in my house we used garlic and cumin a lot in our cooking. In my late teens to  early twenties I had a friend who introduced me to cinnamon in black beans. Thanks for tip. All these years later I still add it and think about that meal she made. Food can hold so many memories. The smells, tastes, and moments we share eating with others can’t be beat.

One of my fondest memories around food was when I was probably 5 or 6 years old and I made my mom a cookie cake. It was just cookies in a circle with a little duck in the middle. I remember bringing it to her and being so proud that I was able to share my little masterpiece with her. 

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Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Spanish olive oil (It has a milder flavor than extra virgin Italian olive oil )
  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup small chopped carrots pieces
  • 1-13.4 ounce container organic low sodium black beans (I buy mine at Target. It’s the Simply Balanced brand)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamari sauce
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a medium sized pan on medium heat and pour in okie oil. Swirl around oil and add rice. Stir and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add frozen peas and chopped carrots and cook another 2 minutes. Add beans, water and spices. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat to low. Cover and simmer on low 15-20 minutes. Serve with some warm tortillas, fresh cilantro and cherries.
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A Week of Photos - August in my Garden

How’s your Summer going? We’ve been busy trying to grow carrots. Not too shabby for a first try. I will admit it’s been easier to keep a garden this year because of all the rain.  

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We’re also working to keep our minds free of cobwebs. Sometimes being devoured by mosquitoes but not as bad as when I was younger. When I first started dating my favorite guy we would go up to his parents place for weekends. It was on a nice lake and we’d spend lots of time fishing for Musky. I got lucky one year and caught two in an hour. Hot hand that day. So anyway I’d go up there and end up with 20-30 mosquito bites over the course of two days. Now I’ll get a handful in an evening. If I don’t scratch they go away  pretty quick. 

So back is March me and my taste testers went a little crazy buying seeds to plant in the Spring. At the time I thought I was being overzealous but I was wrong. I told my taste testers to just plant where you want and sure enough stuff grew. 

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Some of it just keeps coming back every year. Take my mutant kale. It just keeps growing.

We had a lovely batch of Spinach early in the season.  We’ve tried cilantro every year and I can’t seem to get it right. We have these lovely garlic scapes that were here when we moved in. I cooked with the garlic bulbs a few times. It was mild tasting and I really enjoyed the flavor. There were also white strawberries that reminded me of sweeTarts. I like them but the downside is the leaves take over EVERYTHING. My mums didn’t come back this year and I think it was due to the strawberry plants taking up all available space and light. 

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Then there’s the batch of sunflowers on the side of the house that just popped up out of nowhere. We planted seeds in the garden but the ones next to the house I have no idea how they got there. Makes a good hiding spot. 

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Some of our sunflowers are upwards of 7 to 8 feet tall. They are so close to showing their pretty yellow flowers. I like watching the squirrels in essence doing upside down bicep curls to get the seeds. It’s rather comical. 

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Right now we have one decent sized pumpkin growing in the garden and I can’t wait till it turns a beautiful orange. Fall is creeping in ever so quietly. 

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I’m looking forward to the cooler weather coming soon and working on some soup recipes, as well as all the other cool weather foods that make Autumn so appetizing. It’s been a great Summer and I’ll miss it. Thanks to those who keep in touch and follow my cooking endeavors. I wouldn’t be here without you.  Feel free to give me some feedback on what you’d like to see more of and I’ll do my best to accommodate. 

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Homemade Green Tortillas

These tortillas have some spinach for color and a bit of cilantro. It’s just the right amount of surprising flavor. You must try and see for yourself. 

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I worked on this recipe twice before it turned out. The first time the dough was not pliable and I didn’t care for the flavor. My taste testers loved the flavor but not the texture. So I worked on it again and jackpot! 

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With this recipe I was able to roll them out easily and they cooked up quickly. I served them with some curry spiced lentils and it was perfect. 

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Makes 8 wraps

  • 2 cups all purpose organic flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 1/4 cups cold cup water
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Place the spinach, cilantro and water in a blender, and blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Pour the spinach cilantro mix into the flour. Pour in olive oil and stir to combine. 
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and knead dough for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. This step has to be done at least 3 minutes. Just think of it as part of your workout for today.
  4. Cut dough into 8 qual pieces and let sit for ten minutes. 
  5. Roll each round into a ball and roll out as flat as possible. Sprinkle bits of flour on each side as you go along do they don’t stick to your surface.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Spray liberally with spray and place a flatbread in the pan. Spray the top side and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with your favorite topping. 
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Simple Blueberry and Granola Breakfast

You’ll be ready for your day in no time at all when you put together this 3 ingredient breakfast featuring plain yogurt, packaged granola, and fresh blueberries. The bonus is chocolate chunks. Yes, you can have chocolate for breakfast. I do. 

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I have not been contacted by Nature’s Path about their Love Crunch Granola. My opinions are based on the numerous times I’ve eaten this granola.

I just really like their product. If I’m not making my own granola this is usually what I eat. I love the chunks of granola at the top of the bag. They are also very generous with the chocolate pieces that are like little gems waiting for me to eat them. I regularly enjoy this for a snack and sometimes even for dessert. 

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Blueberries are in full swing here in the Midwest. So whether you buy them from a farmer or Costco, you’ll be getting a fruit that should not be missed as part of your healthy eating plan. Eating blueberries raw will give you the greatest bang for your buck in terms of health benefits. You can’t wrong adding berries to your breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner. They rank second to blueberries in terms of popularity. I also think they’re rather cute :)

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Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Love Crunch Granola

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and serve.
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Quick One Pot Beef and Macaroni

Stumped for dinner ideas? Don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen? This one-pot beef and macaroni will get you fed in no time flat. 

You can thank me later :)

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When I was growing up my mom had a friend named Judy who made the best beef and mostacciolli. I couldn’t get enough of it. She would throw a large amount of ground beef into a pan and cook it for about 15 minutes or so. Then she would empty a jar of red sauce into another pan and place the ground beef in the sauce, leaving it to simmer for about half an hour. Then there was the waiting for the water to boil to make the pasta.

Doesn’t it seem like forever for water to boil? 

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Such a simple meal brought me so much joy. 

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My version is more creamy than saucy, takes under 35 minutes from start to finish and uses one pot. That’s just what you need sometimes. 

Thanks Judy for inspiring me and thank you for those bowls of mostacciolli. They were always appreciated!

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Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spray oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef and cook 5 minutes Add onion powder and garlic and cook one minute. 
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, chili powder and cumin.
  3. Stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Top with cheese, and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and add a dollop of sour cream. 
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