Beyond Healthy Blondies ie Vegan Protein-Packed Cookie Bars!

I owe this recipe and blogpost to my girlfriend Korrin who shared the recipe with me a few months back. I’ve tweaked it just slightly but we literally make it once or twice a week! My husband and stepson request this more than anything else! And I must admit–they are absolutely mind-blowing! Nobody would ever guess that the secret ingredient in these Cookie Bars is Chick Peas…that’s right, legumes!

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free. It is sweetened with liquid stevia and maple syrup. I do use natural peanut butter or almond butter, but in the case of allergies, I suspect you could replace with sunbutter. I have not tried that yet.

This would be a fantastic way to sneak protein into your picky kiddo’s diet–they will be pleading for more!

Ingredients:
~1 can of organic garbanzo beans aka chick peas, strained and rinsed
~1/2 cup of natural peanut butter or almond butter (we like the grind-your-own one ingredient style from HEB or Whole Foods)
~1/8 cup of 100% Maple Syrup
~15 drops of Liquid Stevia–I prefer the Sweet Leaf Stevia Clear brand.
~2 tsp Vanilla
~1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
~1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
~1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
~1/4 cup of Enjoy Life Allergy-free, Dairy-free Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips– they are $4.91 a bag at HEB but I keep them in the freezer and they last us a good while! Perfect for these bars or chocolate chip pancakes or over some Nada Moo Dairy Free Ice Cream!

Instructions:

~Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
~Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor–I prefer my Kitchen Ninja!
~Blend well.
~Add half of the chocolate chips and pulse to combine.
~Spread the “batter” into a brownie pan spritzed with olive oil or coconut oil–I like to use my pre-divided brownie pan. This recipe makes 9 bars, or half of the pan, while doubling this recipe would fill up the pan with 18 brownie-sized bars!
~Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes and serve with a cold glass of Almond Milk! Don’t forget to let them cool for 15 minutes or more so they retain their bar form as they get dunked into that almond milk!

Thank you so much Korrin for turning me on to this amazing treat! Enjoy!

Baby Bellalfredo …Dairy-free, Gluten-free & Guilt-free!

There are several dishes that have become staples on our dinner menu, but only a few that become weekly requests by my husband and stepson, and this pasta is absolutely one of them! As I was enjoying this dish last night, I couldn’t help but think that this really is the dairy-free equivalent of Mac n Cheese and based on requests for this recipe, others will feel the same way! This recipe is especially skin-friendly because ditching the dairy is one of the best things you can do for your skin! So if you crave alfredo but not the oily skin or breakouts that go along with it, this dish is for you!

bella cashew cream pasta

Besides the amazing taste of this dish, my favorite part is the overall easiness! While my pasta water is boiling, I start the sauce by combining the ingredients in the Kitchen Ninja–my favorite food processor! As the quinoa pasta is cooking, I prepare our salads and saute the baby bella mushrooms. Strain the pasta, add the sauce and mushrooms and top off with sauce, and the dish is complete! I wish they all were this simple!

As is, this recipe will serve 2. When my stepson is with us, I double the recipe and end up with a little bit leftover.

Ingredients:
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Veggie Boullion Cube
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp EVOO
1 tsp Melt Vegan Buttery Spread
3/4 cup finely ground cashews (I pre-grind these and then add the ground cashews to this recipe)
Hint of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Baby Portabella mushrooms aka Crimimi mushrooms
tsp Coconut Oil (or olive oil) for preparing the mushrooms
1 Box Ancient Grains Quinoa Penne — it’s my favorite gluten-free pasta so far!

ancient harvest GF pasta

Instructions:
Wash and cut the mushrooms into slices. Heat the Coconut Oil and saute the mushrooms as the pasta is being prepared.

Boil water for the pasta.

In a powerful food processor or blender–I use my trusty Kitchen Ninja Pro–combine all of the ingredients to the nutmeg. Add the very hot water (it doesn’t have to be boiling necessarily, but I do use the tea kettle to heat the water). Blend until completely combined. The sauce may separate and that is ok.

Add the pasta and as the box states, do not overcook. I cook my noodles for 6-7 minutes and then strain. Add the pasta back into the pasta pan and add the cashew cream sauce. Combine well. Top with the mushrooms and serve!

You can be creative and add in any veggies you choose from spinach to zucchini to sweet onion!

Best Bang For Your Buck Burrito Bowls!

Pics do no justice!

Pics do no justice!

So it seems inevitable that when we are just due slightly overdue to head to the grocery store, my husband will ask, “What are you planning for dinner, babe?” At this point, I must admit that I will always suggest Rice & Beans although I’m secretly hoping my husband will politely decline! Despite the fact that brown rice and beans are extremely nutritious, healthy, inexpensive and are always in my pantry, to be honest, I do not enjoy them much at all–until today!

And full disclosure, as soon as I was able to start writing this entry, my 5 month old woke up to nurse, so I am truly multi-tasking as I type! This one will be short and sweet!

Ingredients:
2 cups dry pinto beans, which makes 4 cups cooked
1 cup dry brown rice, which makes about 2 cups cooked
1 can rotel diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime (or one large diced tomato + cilantro and lime juice!)
1 diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic (I used the jarred stuff!)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp sea salt
1 veggie boullion cube + 2 cups bowling water (or 2 cups veggie stock)
Tofutti Sour Cream (optional but delicious)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Sliced Avocado

First, cover the dry pinto beans with 2 inches of water and simmer for about 75 minutes. Next, prepare the brown rice as instructed.

In a large and deep skillet, heat the grapeseed oil and the spices for about a minute. Add the diced onion and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute. After 5 minutes, add the pinto beans and rice, plus the 2 cups of veggie stock and the mostly strained can of tomatoes. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. I like to keep the consistency just slightly soupy, like a thick stew, as opposed to more dry.

Looks almost like vegetarian jambalaya!

Looks almost like vegetarian jambalaya!

This recipe should make 4 generous sized burrito bowls. Top with shredded lettuce, sour cream or Tofutti sour cream and sliced avocado.

My carnivore 11 year old stepson told me that this has instantly surpassed my baked “fried” chicken tenders–the only meat that I ever prepare–as his favorite and he requested it for his birthday! That is about the best compliment his sweet little heart can give!

This dish probably cost me no more than $5 for the entire meal and was packed full of protein and fiber! This meal is vegan and gluten-free, of course and has all of the flavor of your favorite Mexican food restaurant without the grease, fat or absolutely addictive and bottomless basket of tortilla chips!

Vegan Split Pea Soup ~ Hearty,Thrifty, Delish!

So I’m the type of person who can eat soup year round. It may be hotter than the surface of the sun in Houston during the summer, but thanks to the magic of air conditioning, we can always enjoy a nice bowl of soup! Best thing about this particular recipe is that it’s new mommy friendly–hearty, delicious, inexpensive and EASY to prepare in a crockpot! This soup is Dairy-Free/Vegan which is key for me as I am nursing my sweet bundle of joy and dairy is terribly upsetting for her little belly. It is also Gluten-Free, if you choose to eliminate the Barley.

As for instructions, the beautiful part is, all you must do is throw each of these things into the crockpot, with the Split Peas on the bottom! Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low and resist the urge to open the crockpot at all before the time is up! Doing so releases some of the heat and slows the cooking process.

This hearty soup is great year-round!

This hearty soup is great year-round!

~2 Cups of Organic Split Peas (I get these in the bulk section at HEB/Central Market)
~1/2 Cup of Dry Barley (eliminate for Gluten-Free Soup)
~1 Bag Organic Baby Carrots, diced (I love to pulse in my trusty Kitchen Ninja)
~1 Yellow Onion, diced (again just pulse in Kitchen Ninja or food processor or slice)
~2-3 Stalks Organic Celery, diced (you guessed it, in the Ninja!)
~5 Small or 3 Medium Potatoes, cut into cubes (I love Russet, but Sweet Potatoes would lower the Glycemic Index)
~Handful of Mini Portabella Mushrooms, sliced
~2 tsp of Minced Garlic (or 4 cloves, minced)
~2 TBSP of Better than Boullion Vegetarian Paste + 8 Cups of Water
(Alternatively, you can use 4 Cups Low Sodium Veggie Broth + 4 Cups of Water)
~2 tsp Salt
~1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
~2 tsp Dried Basil
~2 Bay Leaves (place on top and remove before serving)
~1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
~1/4 Tsp Ground Thyme
~Splash of Bragg’s Amino Acids

This soup makes excellent leftovers so it’s great for a busy week!

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa & Veggies

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa and Roasted Veggies

By Emilie Spruill

Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis

Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis

My husband recently read the book, Wheat Belly, written by a Cardiologist, Dr William Davis. The book uses the example of the stay-at-home mom who never drinks beer—where does her “beer belly” or “pooch” come from? He suggests that it’s actually a bagel belly or English muffin belly, and he goes on to discuss various medical issues that can be linked to Gluten, and as a result, we have cut back significantly on the wheat in our diet. Keep in mind that we are two bread-loving individuals, so this took some sacrifice, but I have learned that we can still have fantastic and flavorful meals without the gluten. Here is one of our absolute favorites: Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Quinoa and Roasted Veggies.

Protein-rich and Flavorful Almond Crusted Tilapia

Protein-rich and Flavorful Almond Crusted Tilapia

This meal is super easy to prepare and very delicious to eat! Start to finish, you can whip this up in less than 30 minutes if you follow these simple steps!

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two glass baking dishes by lining them with Parchment paper for ultra easy cleanup. Boil water for quinoa. For 2-3 people, I tend to make 1.5 cups of quinoa and I typically have leftover, which I add to my salads! The simple rule of thumb is to double the water or veggie broth, so to make 1.5 cups of quinoa, boil 3 cups of water or veggie broth. When it reaches a boil, add the quinoa, plus a little minced garlic and your choice of seasonings from dried basil to diced celery, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover for 15-18 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

While the water is coming to a boil, slice your zucchini and squash, or perhaps you prefer asparagus. I like to pre-slice my veggies on Sunday so it’s even faster during the week. Lightly brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, and dust with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper. Pop those in the oven and let them roast for 30 minutes. Set the timer.

Take about a half a cup of raw, unsalted almonds and pulse in your food processor—I use my ever-so-handy Kitchen Ninja Pro!

Now, on a clean surface, carefully unwrap your fresh tilapia and prepare 1 filet per person. Lightly brush the tilapia with EVOO, dust with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper and coat with ground almonds. Only grind them to small pieces instead of a powder if you like a crunchy texture—it is really good this way! Think of the almond pieces as your “breading” and the baking as your “frying”. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so in your parchment-paper lined Baking Dish. For a lovely touch, finish by broiling the fish for just a minute or so, but stand by because this will brown the surface quickly if you aren’t paying attention! The result is moist but well-cooked fish with the perfect texture.

Plate the Tilapia, Quinoa and Veggies and prepare to indulge in one of the healthiest, most nourishing meals that you’ve had in some time. This meal at a fine restaurant would cost you many times the cost and it would likely pack on many times the fat and calories, so you are saving money and you’re eating healthy all at the same time. This is a sure-to-please recipe, especially for someone who doesn’t think that they like fish—the flavor is mild but delicious and will earn you applause without a doubt.

Baby Bella Salad!

I have perfected the art of making salads at home–almost to the degree that I am often disappointed when I order a salad at a restaurant! Since moving to TX six years ago, I met plenty of guys who were just plain offended when they learned that I am a nearly life-long vegetarian (technically pescetarian). It reminds me of a quote that I once saw Texas-born Dan Rather make on a late night talk show interview, “Salad is what food eats!” One of the things that is most pleasing to me about my sweet husband is that he is a born and raised Texan and has the sexy drawl to prove it, but he actually respects, embraces and drives my healthy eating lifestyle. This is one of our favorite salads and since the addition last week of baby bella slices, he has repeatedly requested it for dinner! His ten-year old mini even ate it up this evening!

Your new favorite salad!

Your new favorite salad!

Side note: making salads at home rather than eating out is such a great idea because it’s the perfect way to portion control so that your healthy meal doesn’t turn into a diet sabotage before you can say “dressing on the side”. You can add on fun and delicious accoutrements like feta, walnuts or dried cranberries in moderation so that your salad actually benefits your swimsuit goals instead of destroying them like some restaurant salads can! Don’t be fooled into thinking that restaurant salads are always healthy choices–one of my formerly favorite salads was from T.G.I. Fridays and packed on 1360 calories–more than are in a Whopper!!!

Here’s your simple instructions and I encourage you to be creative with your add-ons!

~First, I thoroughly wash and slice Baby Portabella Mushrooms. I saute them on medium in a non-stick skillet with some EVOO or EV Coconut Oil (just a bit), light Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper. Use a wooden spoon to toss periodically.
~While the shrooms are sauteing, I add Organic Spring Greens (I alternate between the Organic Red Leaf Lettuce and the pre-washed containers of Organic Spring Greens or Baby Spinach if I’m feeling a bit lazy).
~Chop your veggies and add them to the greens: Ideas include Yellow Bell Pepper (or Orange if you prefer), Cucumber, and four Cherry or Grape tomatoes (no chopping required).
~Add the fun stuff! Tonight I used just a few crumbles of Organic Feta, a few Dried Cranberries, a dusting of Organic Sunflower Seeds, a dozen or so Pecans (walnuts also work great) and a few slices of Avocado for some healthy fats and Skin-loving Omegas!
~Finally, the mushrooms are done when they begin to look cooked rather than raw–pretty simple!
~My favorite finishing touch is a few pieces of fruit–choose from Strawberry Slices, Blueberries or Mandarin slices!

Now for the dressing–I suggest a Balsamic Vinagrette, but be sure that whatever you are choosing contains NO MSG (most commercial ranch dressings do unless you choose Organic), and is not too high in sugar. I lightly drizzle but to be honest, this salad is so delicious, you just might find yourself skipping the dressing and using those calories on some dark chocolate later! It really is that good!

Enjoy your new favorite salad! Buon appetite!

Greener Pastures Green Smoothie

Author: Emilie Spruill

Since I’m expecting our first baby, London Sophia, this summer, I have been trying to respect my very qualified certified RN Midwife’s strict nutritional guidelines! Her main instructions are get enough protein (90-110 g daily) and avoid all sugar with the exception of very few servings of fruits, and this includes dried fruits, honey as well as refined sugars, of course. So if you are particularly interested in a low-glycemic Green Smoothie, note that I am not a nutritionist, but this one did not spike my Blood Glucose levels throughout the recent week of finger-pricking and glucose detecting that I endured! **The only time my blood sugar reading did elevate slightly was when I added banana, so I have since replaced banana with avocado–the consistency is similarly creamy without the extra sugar!

Greener Pastures Smoothie by Emilie Spruill

Greener Pastures Smoothie by Emilie Spruill

Ok next let me share the benefits of this green goodness, and then I’ll share the super-simple recipe. I literally make this for my sweet husband and me every morning, and even when I’m half-awake, the results are fabulous! All nutritional info below is courtesy of the Green Smoothies smart-phone app (www.rawfamily.com) Use all organic ingredients whenever possible.

Ingredient List (this recipe typically makes 40 ounces or so):
1 Small-Medium Avocado ~ Avocadoes are full of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol. Also a great source of blood-pressure regulating Potassium, Avocadoes are rich in Fiber, B Vitamins (energizing), Vitamin E, C, K, folate, riboflavin, Niacin and Magnesium.

1 Small-Medium Granny Smith Apple ~ (Including Peel and Seeds; remove the stem): Besides soluble fiber, apples also contain iron, potassium, folate, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Note that most of the Vitamin C is in the skin so do NOT peel the apple!

1 Small Pear ~ Pears contain more Fiber (see a pattern?!), B2, C, E, Copper and Potassium. Pears are actually higher in Pectin (a water-soluble fiber) than apples. This makes them both effective at lowering cholesterol and toning intestines. Pears are safe for most allergy-sufferers.

1/2 Cucumber ~ Cucumbers are rich in Vitamin C and Caffeic Acid, both useful in soothing skin irritations and swelling. The hard skin of a cucumber is rich in Fiber and contains Silica, Magnesium and Potassium.

2 handfuls of Baby Spinach ~ Spinach is an antioxidant powerhouse, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Manganese, Folate, Betaine, Iron, Vitamin B2, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Copper, Protein, Phosphorus, Zinc, Niacin, Selenium and Omega 3s… WOW! Spinach is known for stabilizing blood sugar in diabetics and anti-oxidants are known to defend against cancer-causing and wrinkle-causing free radical damage. Vitamin K helps to promote healthy blood clotting.

1 inch of Ginger Root ~ Peeled: Ginger is packed full of Vitamins C & E, more essential minerals and is believed to have a similar effect on thinning the blood as aspirin. Ginger reduces inflammation in the body, lowers cholesterol, reduces fevers, migraines, dizziness and nausea. Ginger is great for arthritis-sufferers and those with intestinal problems.

2-3 Drops Liquid Stevia: This ultra-sweet sugar-alternative is great and Midwife-approved in my case! I prefer the drops to the powder but don’t overdo it–it’s very concentrated! I found this at our local HEB/Central Market but you can also order a 2-pack here athttp://www.amazon.com/SweetLeaf-SteviaClear-Liquid-4-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B001E5E3JY

2 Cups Purified Water: Tweak this amount to achieve desired quantity and texture. I use about 2 cups everyday, but it’s not an exact science! (Replacing this with Coconut or Almond Milk would make a creamier smoothie, FYI).

Instructions:
Place in a high-powered blender and BLEND WELL! I like to blend in my Kitchen Ninja Pro for at least 1-2 minutes on Blend, and often I will add in a couple of ice cubes so that our smoothies are a bit colder!

If upon tasting, this smoothie is TOO green for you, you can try adding additional fruit, such as a Banana, Mango, Peach or Berries. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised though, because if you close your eyes, you would think that this was a fruit smoothie from your favorite chain smoothie establishment, only it has none of the hidden sugars, additives or powders! Before long, your body starts to naturally crave less refined sugars and more greens when you regularly indulge in this green goodness!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Veggie Skewers & Zesty Sauce

I must admit…this has quickly become one of my personal favorite meals. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1996, at the ripe old age of 16, although my mom will tell you that I was a born vegetarian. Technically, now though, I am pescetarian because I do eat a limited variety of fish, including Mahi Mahi, Tilapia and Seared Ahi Tuna–although that one is on hold until my baby girl is born this summer! In the meantime, I probably have either Mahi Mahi or Tilapia once every week to two weeks and I love the idea of getting lean protein and skin, heart and brain-boosting fatty acids!

Since our grill bit the dust last year, I have been relying on baking or searing our mahi mahi, although if you prefer, this recipe would work well on the grill. There are some concerns that grilling food to the point of charring it can lead to consumption of carcinogens, so I actually prefer baking. The great news is that even without the grill, the result is perfection–moist, plump and satisfying! The zesty sauce is absolutely delicious–interesting and mild, although you can kick up the heat by adding jalapeno or your choice of hot pepper!

As far as sides, you can’t go wrong with Baked Veggie Skewers and your favorite Quinoa Dish. I will share my simple, quickie side dish idea below! The result is husband-approved, and by the way, you can easily turn this recipe into lettuce wraps or healthy fish tacos by chopping up the mahi and serving alongside Bibb lettuce or tortilla shells! Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Zesty Sauce!

Baked Mahi Mahi with Zesty Sauce!

For the main dish:
~Preheat the oven to 350 (375 can work if you want to shave a few minutes off of the cooking time).
~Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper for ultra-fast cleanup!
~Lightly brush mahi mahi (since you’re baking, ask your fish specialist to remove the skin at the store–trust me!)
with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or your choice of oil… Quickly sprinkle sea salt & black pepper to taste.
~Optionally, you can squeeze the juice of a lime or lemon if you have one on hand–but it will taste great without!
~Bake for 15 minutes at 375 or up to 20 minutes at 350 (My husband is very particular about cooking fish all the way through so this allows the fish to have NO pink but will still taste moist and delicious–use your judgement!)
~I like to broil for 1-2 minutes at the end just to ensure that indeed the fish is completely cooked!

For the Veggielicious Skewers:
~Simply chop (or if possible pre-chop on grocery shopping day to save time) your favorite veggies: choose from red bell pepper, baby mushrooms, vidalia onion, green bell pepper, zucchini or more.
~Load up wooden skewers and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
~Brush lightly with EVOO, quick dusting of sea salt and black pepper, and bake alongside the Mahi Mahi! I like to prepare these before the fish, so they get a couple of extra baking minutes while I’m preparing the Mahi Mahi.

For a very simple variation of Steamed Quinoa Side Dish:
~Boil 2 cups of water or veggie stock.
~Add 1 cup quinoa, a little minced garlic (I love the jars of minced garlic–so easy), Sea Salt and Pepper (just a touch)
~Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered with a lid for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
~For a lovely twist, add sauteed diced squash and celery, or even diced cherry tomatoes.

For the Zesty Sauce:
~In a food processor (I LOVE my handy Kitchen Ninja!), combine the following:
~3 TBSP Grainy Mustard
~2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
~1/2 tsp minced garlic
~1/2 small red onion
~The fresh juice of 1/2 lime
~About a cup of Fresh Cilantro
~After the above ingredients are mixed, add about 1/4 cup EVOO (I use my judgement so that the sauce has a slightly liquid texture but still thick enough that I can spread it atop the Mahi Mahi as the perfect compliment to complete the meal!

I prepare the sauce while the fish and veggie skewers are baking, and the quinoa is boiling… it literally only takes a few minutes with the Kitchen Ninja. Simply spread the sauce atop the Mahi Mahi and plate your sides, and you instantly have a healthy meal that is sure to impress! For kids, you can easily add the Bibb Lettuce or Soft Tortillas for Fish Taco night!

Enjoy and please graciously share if you love this recipe!

Baked Tuna Croquettes Over Spinach

Today I wanted to treat my husband to a simple but delicious meal, so I chose to prepare one of his favorites–tuna croquettes. Only problem is that they are not my favorite dish! I decided I would need to come up with a twist–to make them a bit more flavorful, a bit more healthy and a bit more appealing! This recipe definitely hit the spot–we both loved it and it was super satisfying! The result was baked tuna croquettes with a dill cucumber sauce, served over sauteed spinach with baked sweet potato rounds on the side.

Delightful!

Delightful!

For the tuna croquettes:
Preheat oven to 350
Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish to prevent sticking

Mix the following together in a medium glass bowl:
~15 oz canned tuna (we used 3 x 5 oz cans), strained
~6 TBSP panko or Gluten-Free breadcrumbs
~1 TBSP relish (use dill or sweet–I chose sweet)
~1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
~1/4 cup diced green onions
~1/4 cup diced celery
~1 tsp dill weed
~dash of tumeric
~dash of mustard powder
~dash of paprika
~dash sea salt to taste
~dash cracked black pepper to taste
~2 eggs whisked
***I typically don’t cook with eggs but I’ve had trouble binding patties in the past with just egg whites so until I find a solution, I will go with 2 cage-free, organic brown eggs! Stay tuned for a tweak!

Combine all ingredients evenly. Form patties and place in baking dish (I made 5 burger-sized patties)
Bake for 20 minutes, using a spatula to gently flip after 12-15 minutes

Dill Sauce:
~1/2 diced cucumber
~1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
~1/2 tsp dill weed

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. (I used my trusty Kitchen Ninja!)

Saute spinach in a skillet with a little minced garlic until the spinach is wilted. Note: you must use a pretty good bit of raw spinach as it wilts down significantly!

Serve the croquettes over the spinach, and lightly drizzle in Cucumber Dill Sauce! OK well that was the plan, but we did both end up adding more dill sauce because it was so delicious and complimented the tuna perfectly! With the nonfat Greek yogurt, you can’t go wrong!

For skin-friendly recipes, be sure to choose Organic Yogurt and Eggs. I often recommend avoiding dairy altogether for anyone suffering from acne or extremely oily skin. I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my hubby and I did and I appreciate your feedback! Buon Appetite!

The “Conquer the Day Cacao Smoothie”

At least once a week, the most handsome man I know, my dear husband, makes a very sweet request…and it’s usually on Sunday evenings in anticipation of everyone’s favorite time–Monday morning! He loves to occasionally request that our daily GREEN smoothie be replaced (or upgraded, if you will) to a Cacao Smoothie! Think: Chocolate milkshake goes super-green, but hold the dairy, sugar and calories!

Manic Monday Remedy!

Manic Monday Remedy!

This recipe is unique because it’s made from real foods–super foods, and it can be prepared in less than 5 minutes! I have a few variations but today’s was especially lovely! I warn you–this is not for everyday consumption. Cacao is amazing because it makes you feel like you can fly–without the toxic chemicals and sugar found in the commercial energy drinks that are so popular today. That being said–use it in moderation–Monday mornings are perfect! Without further delay, I give you your-new-favorite-breakfast-smoothie!

Superwoman!

Superwoman!

I use my high-powered but oh so affordable and versatile Kitchen Ninja Pro, but if you’re suave enough to own a VitaMix…great! Either works!

Author: Emilie Spruill
Makes about 40 oz or so (easily enough for 2 or 3 servings!)
Use all organic produce if possible

Start with 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
Add a handful of ice cubes
Toss in 5 strawberries, 5 blackberries and a half mango
(Alternatively, skip the fruits above and use 2 cups of blueberries)
1 banana
3 TBSP Raw Cacao Powder (an ancient Superfood!)
2 big handfuls of Baby Organic spinach (don’t be shy–you won’t even know they are there!)
1 ripe avocado (just trust me!)
2-3 drops of liquid Stevia (caution–extremely concentrated!)

Blend all ingredients thoroughly… I suggest about 1 minute for a smooth, creamy consistency!

I can’t wait to hear how much your kids and honey love this smoothie. It was instantly a favorite in our home! Bursting with life-enhancing anti-oxidants, your skin, your mind and your body will thank you just as much as your palate!

Click HERE for the brand of raw Cacao that we always have on hand!

Navitas Raw Cacao Powder

Navitas Raw Cacao Powder