Recommended Healthy Recipes

I am not a recipe developer, but I am definitely a healthy recipe trier! I regularly have people asking me about what my family and I eat, so I wanted to put it all in one easy-to-find place that can be accessed whenever some inspiration is needed. I am including notes, comments and links to my favorite recipes so that it can help you to expand your repertoire as well. You’ll find healthy desserts, main dishes, sides, appetizers, separate ingredients, beverages and snacks that include a little bit of everything for everyone. Plus, I hope they help you to save time and effort since these are recipes that I’ve tried and can recommend. There are some truly talented recipe developers out there, and I want to connect you to them. I update these every day, so please check back often!

Please note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through some of the links included below.

Healthy Appetizer Recipes

November 2, 2018

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These Paleo Blooming Onions from Wicked Spatula are bloomin’ delicious! While the recipe was actually very easy, I was sure I had messed them up in some way or another. I don’t do well with complicated recipes, and these at least looked like they might be beyond my usual comfort level. They and the dipping sauce turned out great. Even my husband recognized what they were supposed to be before I even put them in the oven. “Ahh… you’re making a blooming onion. Very nice.” Very nice indeed!

October 26, 2018

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This Sweet Potato Nacho “Cheese” Dip from My Heart Beets provides another great vehicle for nachos. I am definitely a fan of dips, and this one offers a healthy alternative to many of the not-so-healthy options out there. If you’re looking for a vegan dip to offer for parties, “fun food” nights or anytime when nachos are involved, this recipe will serve you well.

Note: I kept adding nutritional yeast to taste until I got it to just the right “cheesiness.” Keep in mind though that this is not cheese, doesn’t claim to be and will always taste like a “cheesy” tasting sweet potato dip. Which is perfectly delicious!

October 7, 2018

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One of my favorite things about cooking from scratch is that I have complete control over the ingredients. With many different dietary needs in my family, finding something that we can all eat usually means making it at home. While I love my veggies just the way they are, my youngest son is shall we say, “veggie averse?” Whereas most kids can at least tolerate them raw when dipped in ranch dressing, my guy can’t have ranch dressing because of the dairy and soy. That’s why I was so glad to find this Homemade Ranch Dressing with Veggies recipe from EatingWell . Yes, as it is, it contains at least dairy and maybe soy depending on the brand of mayonnaise you use, but I could easily substitute vegan buttermilk for the buttermilk and vegan mayo for the mayonnaise. The result was delicious, and now he has a vehicle for his veggies, and I can add a little extra kick to mine every now and then as well.

September 27, 2018

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If you love cheese but eat a plant-based diet, I’m looking out for you! I am bound and determined to find suitable replacements, and this  Vegan Cheese from Raw Food Recipes definitely does the trick. While the texture of mine comes out more like a cheese ball than a hard cheese, it is delicious. Best yet, it’s very spreadable on crackers. While it does have to be made over the course of a couple of days or a night and day, it is worth it!

September 25, 2018

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These Vegan Gluten Free Crackers from Oh She Glows taste wonderful! The nutritional yeast is a great addition, and the herbs added a lot of flavor. I made mine a little too thin, so they were slightly crumbly. There will definitely be a next time with these though, and I’ll make them thicker then. I’m always looking for good options to have on hand for social occasions, and these crackers will certainly be added to the list.

September 1, 2018

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Linda Watson’s Hummus recipe from her Wildly Affordable Organic cookbook is my go-to when I have to take an appetizer to a get-together or when I’m hosting something myself. In fact, my friends and family will ask me ahead of time if I’m bringing my hummus. If I walk in without it, I hear “Oh, I was hoping you’d bring your hummus.” Well, it’s not my hummus, it’s Linda’s, and it’s absolutely a crowd pleaser. Best of all, it’s easy to make and generally uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. The recipe also makes a huge amount, so I split it in half and freeze what I don’t need at the time. When I do need it, I just thaw and serve. It still tastes great! As expensive as hummus is to buy, this recipe is much cheaper to make, and you have control over the ingredients.

I try to recommend free recipes that I’ve found online as much as possible, but this one is just too good not to share. If you don’t already own a copy of Wildly Affordable Organic, this recipe is worth the investment itself. If you’re not familiar with Linda, check her out at cookforgood.com.

Healthy Dessert Recipes

November 19, 2018

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These Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Tessa the Domestic Diva are chewy, soft and delicious! They’re also easy to put together and only take 20 minutes from start to finish. While they’re Paleo friendly, anyone will love them. It’s up to you whether you tell them how healthy they are! Since my youngest can’t do nuts, we use sunflower butter, and it works fine. The chlorophyll in sunflower seeds is what makes mine a darker color than if I were to use another type of nut butter. But that’s okay. It just makes them look like chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. I also substitute buckwheat flour for the almond flour. All the way around, a great cookie recipe!

November 7, 2018

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This Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Del’s Cooking Twist is a yummy alternative for anyone who is committed to eating healthier but still missing the taste of cookie dough. And let’s be honest, for many of us, the dough is what we want more than the cookies. Made with a “secret ingredient” that not only makes this version healthier but packs some extra protein in as well and with no raw eggs involved, sneaking from this bowl is highly encouraged. Even better – the dough does bake up beautifully into cookies.

October 16, 2018

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If traditional fudge is simply too rich for you or if you want a healthier fudge alternative, this Salted Tahini Fudge from My Heart Beets is for you. I used to be a fudge fanatic, but now that I’ve cut way back on the amount of sugar and sweets I eat, I’m not as much of a fan anymore. Occasionally though, I do want a sweet hit of something (usually around 2-3pm) and this fits the bill. It’s not overwhelming at all and tastes like you would expect fudge to taste. Added bonus, the tahini provides protein that you definitely don’t get with the sugar-packed traditional version.

September 29, 2018

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These Healthy Thin Mint Almond Butter Cups from Fit Foodie Finds got a big thumbs-up from my toughest food critic. The first time my youngest tasted these, he said, “Yum…is there mint in here?” The only drawback to them is that they have to be kept in the freezer until the moment you eat them. My son loved them so much that he even tried packing a couple in his lunchbox for school and put the ice pack right on top of them. That still wasn’t cold enough, and he ended up with a melted mess of chocolate that apparently someone at his table still sat there and ate by licking his fingers. That’s how good these are. The fact that they really do look like peanut butter cups is a bonus. Best yet – they are SO easy to make! You can whip these up in just a few minutes, and they’re ready to eat 20 minutes later. Nut allergy note: You can easily make these with sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter. That’s what we did, and it worked great.

September 20, 2018

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You simply can’t go wrong with oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate, but these Gluten-free, Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies take this combination to another level. They’re perfect for an afternoon snack or to pack in lunches for a small sweet hit. No matter when they’re eaten, you can feel good about them because they’re made with healthy, natural ingredients.

Note: I substituted all-natural sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter, and it worked fine.

September 15, 2018

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Now that summer’s over, it’s time to bring out the recipes that call for ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, but who are we kidding? Gingersnaps are a favorite anytime of the year in my house. That’s why I was so glad to find these Keto Gingersnap Cookies from ruled.me. They offer that gingersnap flavor without using a heavy sweetener. Since we can’t use almond flour, I substituted sunflower seed flour, and they tasted fine. That’s why mine look a little different than those pictured in the recipe. If almond flour isn’t an issue for you, I would try that first before substituting other flours. While they were certainly good on the first day, I thought they were even better on the second and third days. If you have a sweet tooth but want something on the lighter side, you’ll definitely want to give these a try.

September 2, 2018

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This Avocado Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe from Pure & Simple Nourishment is both paleo and vegan friendly, and most importantly, it’s really good! This is another one that my harshest food critic (my youngest son), approved of whole-heartedly, although, he did say it looks like guacamole. He didn’t even know there are avocados in it and didn’t figure it out when he tasted it either. All he knew was that he liked it. I will say that I used spearmint in it because my peppermint plants needed a break, but I think that next time I make it, I’ll use peppermint. The spearmint taste was fairly strong, and we all know how I feel about peppermint!

August 29, 2018

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This Paleo Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from Paleo Running Momma has earned my youngest son’s (dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free and wheat-free) full-hearted stamp of approval! Need I say more?! This child is incredibly picky and has a crazy sweet tooth so if he loves this, you may want to try it as a dairy-free option for yourself and your family. The recipe calls for adding in almond butter cookie dough (recipe included), but since my guy can’t have almonds, I just use the ice cream base recipe as is. It’s that good!

Healthy Snack Recipes

November 14, 2018

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These Healthy No Bake Granola Bites from Tastes Better From Scratch hit the spot when you’re looking for a quick snack. They provide just the right amount of sweetness and a lot of energy since they’re made by combining a nut butter, oats, honey or agave and chocolate. The rice cereal gives them just enough crunch and texture to remind you of a rice krispie bar, just healthier. As an added bonus, they’re very quick and easy to whip up. The thing that took the longest was rolling them into balls, but even that didn’t take that long.

Note: I substituted sunflower butter for the recipe called for peanut butter.

October 29, 2018

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This Easy Fruit Dip/Dessert Sauce from Whole New Mom is picky eater approved! Which means most grown-ups will love it too! We’re always looking for healthy snacking options around my house, and this one is a hit. Since it’s low-carb, dairy and sugar free, it’s a great option for pretty much anyone and keeps snacking with fruit healthy – like it should be.

Note: I substituted sunflower butter for the almond butter.

October 27, 2018

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This Best Brussels Sprout Chips recipe from Delish takes the roasted brussels sprouts we know and love to a new level and turns them into a snacking option. Thanks to the parmesan or vegan parmesan included here, these chips have a flavor that’s fit for just you or to serve to guests. Add the recipe recommended dipping sauce and you’re all set!

October 19, 2018

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Now that the weather has turned cooler, when I snack, I sometimes want options with a little more umph! to them than my usual cut up veggies. That’s where these Avocado Chips from Delish come in. They’re so easy to make and include two of my favorite ingredients, avocado and parmesan (of course, my version uses Vegan Parmesan Cheese). As you’ll see in my photo, mine didn’t come out quite as pretty and flat as the ones in the recipe. I used the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten them like the recipe suggested, but it clearly didn’t work quite the same. Next time, I’m going to try putting a piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and then rolling them just a little bit with a rolling pin. But, as you’ll find out when you make these, while it’s a bonus if they look as pretty as in the recipe, the taste is great no matter what!

October 12, 2018

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These 4 Ingredient No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal Bars from Beaming Baker are an easy-to-put-together, healthy and great-tasting afternoon snack for you or your kiddos. It takes about five minutes to whip them up and then you just let them freeze. Just as the recipe says, once they’re frozen for a day, you can store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature so they’re perfect to pack in a lunch or in a cooler for a power snack for a weekend of activities.

Nut allergy note: Instead of peanut butter, use sunflower butter. That’s what I did, and it works fine!

October 2, 2018

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These Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls from Fit Foodie Finds and posted on Daily Burn are just what I need for that middle of the afternoon pick-me-up. They’re just sweet enough but not overwhelming in the least, and they really do only take 10 minutes to put together. While they were good as they were, I put them in the fridge to firm up a bit and honestly liked them best that way. If you have nut allergies, you can use coconut flower and sunflower seed butter, and they work fine. That’s what I did.

September 3, 2018

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These Raw Chocolate Balls from Raw Food Recipes are one of my “go to” afternoon pick-me-ups if I start to drag. They’re a perfect little healthy “hit” of energy that does the trick every time. If you’re carb-conscious, these may not be for you because they’re made with dates, but if a bit of natural sugar is what you’re looking for, you should definitely give these a try. They’re also super quick and easy to make with no baking involved.

August 28, 2018

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These Spicy Roasted Chickpeas from Natural Chow are easy to make, delicious and perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon flavorful protein hit of a snack. I was afraid that they might be too spicy, but they were just right. I don’t think I’ll ever buy packaged roasted chickpeas again! Depending on your oven, you may need to let them cook for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they’re plenty crunchy.

Healthy Breakfast Recipes

November 4, 2018

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For anyone looking for a protein hit on-the-go to start the day, you can’t go wrong with these Mini Crustless Quiche Cups With Sausage and Cheese from Two Healthy Kitchens. It’s turkey sausage, egg and cheese all condensed into a muffin sized mini quiche so it can be eaten at home or as you’re heading out the door. Best yet, they can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen for a quick reheating of one or two at a time. Both my youngest son (the very picky eater) and my husband love them.

Note: I substituted vegan cheese for real cheese for my son who can’t have dairy. I also used muffin cups to line the muffin tin instead of using spray.

October 30, 2018

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There’s no other way to say it, these  Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins from Kitchen Stewardship are delicious!! To be as free of everything as they are (gluten, dairy, corn, egg, soy and nuts), they are full of pumpkin flavor and very light and fluffy. The texture is exactly like a muffin should be, and they can be made as full-size muffins or minis. No matter what your diet, you’ll love these!

Note: The recipe calls for eggs but also offers suggested egg substitutes.

October 15, 2018

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Hello happiness! This Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie from Up Beet and Kaling It is like a big hug for my mint-loving soul. Mint, chocolate and avocado – three of my favorites team up for this breakfast powerhouse that will leave you satisfied until lunchtime. The recipe can be found @upbeetandkalingit on Instagram. There was a time when a recipe that called for a handful of spinach, fresh mint leaves, cacao nibs, almond butter and almond milk would have driven me insane. “How much exactly of each,” I would have wondered. But now that I’ve become much more smoothie-savvy, I know that starting with a base of ½ cup to ¾ cup of almond milk, 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter, a BIG handful of spinach and several stems of mint would be a good place to start. Just keep tasting it to see if more of anything needs to be added. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with any amounts of this combination!

October 11, 2018

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Pumpkin is the name of the game these days, and this Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Oatmeal from Fit Foodie Finds gives you another great way to incorporate it into breakfast. One of the best things is that you can double the recipe, store it in individual glass containers and you’ve got a quick and easy delicious breakfast ready to go each morning.

Note: If you like your oatmeal a little sweeter, you will probably want to be sure and add some dried cranberries (as the recipe suggests) or some other healthier sweetener. Also, if you don’t have Pumpkin Pie Spice on hand, no worries! Check out this  Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe from Taste of Home that lets you easily mix up your own.

October 6, 2018

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This Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Bread from Beaming Baker is a great addition to your pumpkin repertoire, whether you’re gluten free, vegan or not! Moist and delicious, this bread is perfect for breakfast, a snack or an after-dinner treat. It’s also easy to make and can be mixed in just one bowl, so there’s very little cleanup.

Note: To make the recipe nut-allergy friendly, I used coconut flour instead of almond meal.

October 5, 2018

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This Green Smoothie recipe from smoothieshred.com has actually replaced my old favorite as my go-to smoothie. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my old standby, but this let me mix it up a bit. Since it uses water instead of almond milk, it’s more of a juice consistency but gives it a much lighter taste. With kale, spinach and chard as the base, there’s no doubt that I’m going to get my needed amount of vegetables for the day if I start with this for breakfast. I switch out between using mangos and blueberries for variety and both taste great. It’s also surprisingly filling. Since I eat breakfast fairly early, I usually get pretty hungry around mid-morning. Not with this big green powerhouse! I sail from breakfast to lunch without even thinking about food (except of course, when I’m writing about it). This specific recipe is the one noted at “This is my daily drinker.”

Note: This and all of the other smoothie recipes on this website were developed by celebrity trainer Thomas Tadlock, M.S. I interviewed his wife Dr. Brooke Goldner as part of my post on Exploring a Plant-Based Diet and Healing Power of Food: A Doctor’s Journey from Disease to Health.

September 18, 2018

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What better way to start the day than with a muffin? There’s just something so comforting about them that makes you feel good about what’s in store for the day. These Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen offer that plus so much more. The zucchini gives you a vegetable right off the bat, and the blueberries give your brain a much-needed kickstart. After eating one of these, you’ll have no choice but to go conquer the day!

September 14, 2018

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This Vanilla-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding from Nourish the Roots and posted on Daily Burn is a light but filling way to start the day. Very easy to make (5 minutes) and with only 5 healthy ingredients, it’s easy to whip up before bed and have waiting for you the next morning. My husband looked disappointed the last time I made it because he saw me pulling ingredients out as he was headed to bed and said, “Oh, you’re cooking?” (He was all set to watch our favorite show.) I assured him I would be there in just a minute, and he looked at me doubtfully. Sure enough, five minutes later, I was climbing into bed, and my breakfast for the next morning was “making” in the fridge. Add fruit on top, and it’s perfect any time of year.

September 10, 2018

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These Paleo 5 Minute Muffins from Tessa the Domestic Diva pack a big punch when it comes to knocking out hunger. My youngest eats them as an afterschool snack, and I eat them after workouts. I use sunflower seed butter since my son can’t have nuts, and the results are wonderful! That’s why mine look a little darker than the ones pictured in the recipe. These muffins are easy to make, and they take, you guessed it, five minutes to put together. I love any recipe that says, “Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until well mixed.” You can’t get any easier than that!

September 7, 2018

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I constantly have people ask me which smoothie recipes I would recommend. Since I have a healthy smoothie of some kind every day if at all possible, I have many favorites – depending on my mood and what it feels like my body needs. But, I have to admit, I don’t want to search high and low when I’m ready to try something new, so most of my recipes come from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Juice. One of my favorites included in that fabulous book is this one – the Body Builder smoothie. I often drink this before a workout, and it gives me the energy I need to power through. Instead of peanut butter, I use almond butter, and it tastes great! (Whether you use peanut, almond or some other type of nut butter, be sure it doesn’t contain added sugar. You’re sweet enough, you definitely don’t need it!)

Healthy Side Dishes

October 8, 2018

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I love fantastic recipes that rely on basic ingredients that I probably already have in my pantry. Crispy Garlic Ranch Roasted Potatoes from The Real Food Dieticians is one of those. This easy-to-make side dish relies on a great mix of “ranchy” herbs and spices to turn ordinary potatoes into a side dish that will quickly become one of your staples!

September 30, 2018

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These Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes from ifoodreal are so easy to make, delicious and incredibly healthy! Hmm… can you tell they were a hit in my book? They are a great alternative to the carb-packed potato version, and if you use olive oil as the recipe suggests as an alternate to butter, they’re vegan as well. Thank you ifoodreal for such a great, simple recipe!

September 19, 2018

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This Mexican Bean Salad from All Recipes is one of my standbys. It’s perfect for days that are still hot into early fall. With three different kinds of beans, it’s definitely filling but not too heavy. Another bonus – it travels well. I often pack this in our cooler when we’re going to be out with activities for the weekend, and it tastes great!

Note: the recipe calls for sugar, but I don’t add it. If I add any sweetener, I use a little Stevia, and it tastes fine.

September 17, 2018

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These Crispy Smashed Potatoes from Oh She Glows are simple but delicious! I have to admit that the potatoes were so good by themselves that I nearly didn’t try them with the aioli – what a mistake that would have been! The aioli adds a wonderful flavor that turns these from really good potatoes into a recipe that I’d definitely serve to guests. Thank you Oh She Glows for making me branch out with the simple potato!

Healthy Main Dish Recipes

November 16, 2018

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I saw this Paleo Pizza Soup from Jays Baking Me Crazy after we had been teasing with my youngest son about what his order would be if we tried to order a pizza for him at a regular pizza place. “I’d like a pizza with no crust and no cheese please.” When I saw this recipe, I had to try it for him. It truly is a pizza with no crust and no cheese. For those who are paleo or who have dietary restrictions, this is your pizza-loving dream!

November 13, 2018

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This Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad from Cooking Light takes just five minutes to put together (I don’t include the onion) and is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. The lemon juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard give it a great flavor and the beans add plenty of protein. It’s also very portable and packs well for a meal away from home.

November 12, 2018

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As you may have figured out by now, I love wraps! In case you do too, and like me, are always looking for new combinations, here’s one you may want to try. Spinach, avocado, tofu (I use sesame ginger), green olives and a sprinkle of salt on a whole wheat/low carb tortilla. A great way to take lunch to a whole new level!

November 10, 2018

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These Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes from Eating Well are a fantastic option for when you need something quick, healthy, warm and delicious. So really, any night of the week! I have to admit that I was a little skeptical the first time I had this about how tomatoes would go with the sweetness of a sweet potato, but it tastes great. Add sour cream and cilantro, and you’ve got a meal that’s as exciting as anything you would get at a restaurant.

Note: I substitute vegan sour cream for regular sour cream. Also, if you’re going to heat the potato in the oven but know that you’re going to be short on time during the week, cook it ahead of time and then just reheat it.

November 9, 2018

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I am a huge fan of delicious simple pasta dishes, and this Avocado Pasta from Damn Delicious definitely fits that bill. It’s incredibly quick and easy to put together and would be good for any time of year – especially when you want a healthy meal but can’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This is one of those dishes that has me craving leftovers when I know it’s sitting in the fridge. Yum!

Note: Instead of using spaghetti noodles, I used green lentil penne to add more protein.

November 6, 2018

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This Vegan Butternut Squash Soup from The Spruce Eats is creamy and delicious. It’s perfect for a chilly night or if you’ve got one of the nasty viruses going around this time of year and just need some warm comfort food. I have to admit I always get a little intimidated by using butternut squash simply because of how hard it is to peel. After learning a trick to cut off the ends and heat the squash in the microwave to soften them, the peeling comes right off and I now welcome butternut squash season – especially with this recipe in hand!

November 5, 2018

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I tried a gluten-free version of these Baked Fish Sticks from the Foot Network, and they turned out great. Many times, even kids can taste the “overprocessedness” of packaged fish sticks and know that they’re not quite right. This homemade version is and tastes about as natural as you can get, and they’re a great way to get healthy protein into picky eaters. For my gluten-free version, I used a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend and substituted gluten-free bread crumbs. While they don’t brown up quite as nicely as the recipe photo, they still look and taste like fresh fish sticks – which is exactly what they are.

November 3, 2018

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This Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup from Oh She Glows is one of the heartiest, most filling soups I’ve ever had. And it tastes fantastic too! I have to admit, I like soups in theory, but when it comes down to it, I never find myself just wanting soup. This recipe is definitely an exception to that. I love knowing I have a batch sitting in the refrigerator, just waiting for a soothing lunch or dinner.

November 1, 2018

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Simple and hearty, this Zucchini Noodle Lentil Bolognese from That Nutritious Life (recipe found on Instagram) is perfect for a quick and easy dinner after a busy day. The lentils add extra protein, and the spices are just right. Hint: this recipe doesn’t take any time if the lentils are already prepared. You can either get them in a can (as suggested by the recipe) or cook them from dry over the weekend and save for using later in the week.

October 31, 2018

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My youngest agreed that these Paleo Corn Dog Muffins from Jays Baking Me Crazy really do taste like corn dogs. That’s a high compliment from him because he loves corn dogs, and that’s one of the things he misses most about his wheat, dairy and soy-free diet. Every so often, usually on Friday nights, we like to have what we call “fun food.” I try to find a happy medium between what thekids want to eat and something healthy, and these fit the bill just fine.

 Note: Instead of almond flour, I used Cassava flour, and instead of almond milk, I used a nut-free, dairy-free version. You may also want to cook the muffins longer than the recommended time in order to make sure the middle is fully cooked.

October 28, 2018

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I wanted to try this Orange Glazed Ham recipe from The Real Food Dieticians because my youngest son always complains about the glaze on the usual ham I get being too sweet. This recipe offers an easy alternative that relies on orange juice as the main glaze ingredient – making it very citrusy tasting. If it’s time for a change, I highly recommend it.

Note: Since I was just cooking for a couple of people, I used ham steaks instead of the recipe called for full ham. I cooked them at 350 degrees in the oven for a total of about 20 minutes (they should be flipped after 10 minutes).  I applied the glaze to the top first, and then when I flipped them, I applied it to other side.

October 25, 2018

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This Jambalaya recipe from Gimme Some Oven is the heat! Really, if you like spicy Cajun food, you will have found your new love. We have a tried and true Jambalaya recipe that we’ve been using for years, and my husband declared that he liked this one better. If you don’t like your food too spicy, you might want to cut back on the Cajun Seasoning, but if you do like it spicy, you’re in luck!

Note: I used brown rice instead of white rice. Since that takes longer to cook than white rice, I cooked it separately and added it to the mixture for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

October 23, 2018

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For anyone who doesn’t consider it chili unless it has some meat in it, this Turkey and Red Bean Chili from Good Food Buzz is for you. It’s hearty but not too filling and can be eaten as is, with warm tortillas as called for in the recipe or over brown rice. You can easily adjust how spicy the chili is, depending on your preferences, but know that in the called for amounts, if you don’t add the jalapeno, it’s fairly mild and definitely a good place to start. You can always add more spices to suit your taste. This is another one that doesn’t have to be done in the slow cooker, but it does take about an hour and a half from start to finish.

October 22, 2018

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This Vegetarian Chili from Cookie + Kate is just as comforting as I hoped it would be. I’m always on the lookout for different chili recipes, and this one will definitely be a repeat visitor in my kitchen. Chunky but smooth at the same time, it was a hearty way to end a busy day. Oh, and it’s also delicious! While I love using my slow cooker, making time to get something going in the morning isn’t always easy. That’s why I love this recipe, it can be ready from start to finish in an hour.

October 21, 2018

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When I asked my husband to describe these Paleo Slow Cooker Pork Chops from Tastes of Lizzy T, the first thing he said was “very tender.” Tender? I questioned. These are pork chops, and I don’t think I’ve ever described them as tender. Chewy – yes, but tender, we’re talking fork-tender here – no. This recipe was groundbreaking for my household. Plus, the seasonings and coconut milk gave it a great subtle flavor. Just a few minutes for browning the chops first thing in the morning, load almost everything in the crockpot, and your meal will be nearly ready for you when you come home. For planning purposes, you do have to be present for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking, but you’d probably have to do that anyway to prepare your side dish.

October 18, 2018

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This Chicken Sausage, Squash & Red Pepper One Pan Meal from Eat Good Food & Move is ideal for a busy weeknight. For those who need to have a little more bulk to their meals, you can put this wonderful mixture over some brown rice and be set. While it takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, there’s really only about 10 minutes of active time with cutting up the sausage and vegetables.

Note: The recipe calls for roasting everything 30-45 minutes. I found that it didn’t take nearly that long and was more in the 25 to 30-minute range. I’ve also found in making the recipe a couple of times now that I had better success with cooking it at 375 degrees.

October 17, 2018

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I love dirty rice, and this Vegan Dirty Rice & Black-Eyed Peas recipe from The Full Helping definitely hits the spot. I’ve been missing out because dirty rice usually has some kind of pork in it, but this vegan variation is just as good as any traditional recipe that I’ve tasted. It’s spicy, but not too much so and offers just the right amount of comfort food feel and taste that I’m looking for this time of year. Instead of vegan bacon, I used tempeh, and it turned out fine. The recipe makes several other suggestions for substitutions as well.

October 14, 2018

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This 30-minute Skinny Alfredo Ziti with Broccoli from Ambitious Kitchen is a perfect alternative to the heavier version we all know and love – whether you’re vegan or not. The sauce tastes just rich enough to make you feel like you’re not missing out, but not so rich that you feel like you can’t enjoy it. Besides, you’ll know that there are only healthy ingredients involved, so go ahead and indulge!

Substitution note: I used Explore Cuisine’s Organic Red Lentil Pasta instead of the wheat ziti for more protein and this recipe for vegan parmesan cheese instead of store bought.

October 13, 2018

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This Slow Cooker Tomato Soup from Delish Knowledge can be put together quickly in the slow cooker before you leave for the day and will be just about ready when you come home. It tastes fresh and comforting and is perfect for those chillier days when you know you want to come home and have something waiting for you. Made with straightforward, simple ingredients, there’s no high fructose corn syrup or wheat flour that you usually find in the canned versions.

Notes: Once the soup was cooked, I still had large chunks of the whole tomatoes sitting in the liquid. I put the entire recipe into my food processor and it quickly became a soup consistency. As far as substitutions go, instead of the sugar, I used powdered Stevia. I also used the cashew cream in half of the recipe and to make it nut-free for my son, I used Rice Dream’s Rice and Quinoa drink for his half.

October 9, 2018

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Simple ingredients, simple prep and tastes delicious! Hello my ideal recipe! This Simple Greek Salad (Dairy-Free) from Rachael Devaux gets a check mark for all of those criteria. I simply cannot say enough good things about this recipe. It’s perfect for lunch or a light dinner and is definitely enough to fuel you for whatever you have next. It also travels well, so the next time you need to take a dish somewhere, count this one in.

October 4, 2018

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These Spicy Chicken Tacos from EatingWell will add some zing to Taco Tuesday and make it one of the favorite nights of the week. This recipe is simple to make and the spice combination is just right. Other than the salsa and sour cream if using, it’s completely unprocessed. If you make your own salsa, then you can scratch that off the processed list as well. A healthy weeknight staple that takes about 20 minutes to put together and another 15 to cook. You can’t beat that!

October 1, 2018

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Who doesn’t love wraps? And the best thing is, you can put just about anything in them. Today’s recommendation isn’t so much a recipe as a reminder about not forgetting to include these in your lunch rotation, especially if you’re looking for a way to get some raw leafy greens into your diet. I’ve been doing these simple Arugula wraps lately that feel like they’re a little heartier than a salad for lunch, but I’m still getting plenty of greens. I just pile A LOT of Arugula on to a whole wheat low-carb tortilla, add sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and sprouts when I have them, and voila! A lunch that makes me feel like I went to the deli.

September 26, 2018

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This Balsamic Roast Beef from PaleoLeap isn’t your grandma’s roast (or at least my grandma’s roast, but that is in no way disrespecting her recipe because it was delicious!). This one has a bit of a rich zing to it and will definitely turn what might have become a taken for granted standby into a new favorite. For my family’s veggies, I didn’t include the sweet potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker and served broccoli and corn instead. I’m sure the sweet potatoes and carrots would have been delicious, but we were having regular potatoes another night and my gang doesn’t like sweet potatoes. Either way, the roast was very easy to put together and came out great!

September 24, 2018

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I have been searching high and low for a Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe that meets all my requirements, and I found it at Detoxinista. It tastes great, and it’s firm enough that you can actually eat it with your hands! I have tried other recipes that taste fine, but they’re too soft and don’t support the weight of the toppings, so you have to eat them with a fork. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I love to be able to hold my pizza! While this recipe is not hard at all, you do have to make sure you allow plenty of time for the entire process. I fit it in as part of my normal meal prep time, so I’d get one part of it going, let it do what it needed to, I’d work on something else and then I’d come back to it when needed. The recipe does offer a time-saving tip with the cauliflower and suggests doubling or tripling it and freezing the leftover crusts. Now that I know this is one I’ll keep coming back to, I’ll definitely do that in the future.

September 23, 2018

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This Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill from skinnytaste is a healthy twist on an old favorite. Served on whole wheat bread or with whole wheat crackers, it can be a light lunch, a filling dinner or something you’d take to a potluck. I shredded my chicken a little more in the food processor than the recipe called for because I wasn’t sure that serving chunks of chicken would pass as chicken salad in my house. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that if you have a true lover of traditional chicken salad that you’re going to be serving this to, you may want to warn them ahead of time that there is no mayo in this recipe. They won’t be disappointed in this version, but it will be a different taste (and a whole lot healthier) than they’re used to.

September 22, 2018

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This vegan quesadilla or TFF “Dilla” from Thought For Food’s Dude, Where Do You Get Your Proteinbook will definitely not leave you hungry. There are some days I just crave it! I use canned vegetarian refried beans, whole wheat low-carb tortillas and don’t usually include the salsa because I’m just lazy. I have had it many times with the salsa though, and it’s equally as good. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for. Simple to make, but oh so satisfying is what you’ll get with this recipe, plus the rest of the information in the book is great as well in answering the “Where do you get your protein” question that most vegans get at some point or another.

September 13, 2018

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These wheat and dairy free Paleo Italian Meatballs from Tastes of Lizzy T work perfectly in my house and have a wonderful flavor because of all of the Italian seasonings. With both turkey and ground beef, they are definitely hearty but not overwhelming. My guys have them on spaghetti, sub rolls and sometimes just by themselves. This is another recipe that my oldest son (who eats tons but doesn’t really like anything) ate the first time and said, “Hey, these taste really good!” Into the meal rotation they went! They also freeze really well, so you can put aside small amounts and thaw as needed.

September 12, 2018

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Let me just say – I love these Homemade Veggie Burgers from Kale and Chocolate! They are delicious, filling and there’s nothing processed tasting about them. As the recipe says, they are not meant to taste like meat, and they don’t. They taste like complete veggie goodness in a way that I never would have been able to come up with myself. I will say that it does take a while to put these together, but trust me, the effort is well worth it. It also makes 10 patties that can be frozen, so invest the time once every now and then, and you’ll be set for a while.

September 11, 2018

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If you’re Paleo or just looking for a great main dish to feed a crowd, you’ll definitely want to try this Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket recipe from the Food Network. My parents were from Texas, so to say I grew up with a great appreciation for brisket would be an understatement. My youngest son is all too happy to carry on the family tradition and considers himself quite the brisket connoisseur. I tried many recipes and never found one that even came close to his high expectations until this one. He loves it! I have to admit that even though I now eat a primarily plant-based diet, the first time I made this, I had to try a small piece to see if I even came close. Bam! It’s spot-on, and he has his brisket!

A couple of notes: Brisket is one of the leanest cuts of beef, so if you’re going to eat meat, this is one of the healthier ones to include in moderation as part of your diet. The recipe calls for sugar in the rub, but you can easily do without. If you do want to add a sweetener, I substitute granular Swerve (natural, non-glycemic sweetener), and it does fine.

September 9, 2018

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Let me just say it right now. This Vegan Seitan Steak recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is FABULOUS! and it wasn’t hard to make at all. I have to admit that I was skeptical while I was putting it together, but then when it actually seemed to be doing what it was supposed to, I felt a little better. When I put the finished product in my mouth, I knew we had a winner! Now I don’t have to feel left out when we fire up the grill for the rest of my family. These steaks also freeze well, so once you’ve made a recipe, you could be set for a while. While they definitely taste fine as is, the recipe’s suggestion of brushing on more marinade before cooking is a good one. That makes them juicier. I eat these with a baked sweet potato, in a steak bowl or just on a salad.

September 8, 2018

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This Roasted Chicken recipe from Fourth and Heart is simple and delicious. Who could ask for anything more? My oldest son even said, “Wow, this chicken is really good!” This is the one who eats like the weightlifting powerhouse that he is but doesn’t seem to truly like anything. You can bet this recipe was immediately filed into the “make again and again” category. The hardest part about it is remembering to take the chicken out of the refrigerator an hour before starting to cook to let it come to room temperature. Since it does take about two and a half hours from start to finish (including the room temperature time), if you don’t get home until after 5pm, this may be one that you want to make on the weekend, when you have a bit more time. There’s only about 15 minutes of active time involved though, so you can certainly be doing other things at the same time. Since my kiddos can’t have dairy and soy isn’t an option, instead of ghee, I use Earth Balance’s Soy Free Buttery Sticks. I’m sure the recipe tastes great with the called for ghee, but my family can vouch for the fact that this butter substitution works well too.

September 6, 2018

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I hope you’re hungry when you try this Great Big Vegan Salad from Delish Knowledge because vegan or not, it is one hearty meal! Too often, we think of salads as being skimpy on everything because after all, that’s what makes them healthy – right?  Not with this baby! This thing tastes amazing, looks amazing and as advertised in the recipe, will not leave you hungry at all. As my family can attest to, I could eat this salad every night for days and still look forward to it just as much on day 3 as I did on day 1.

September 5, 2018

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I can claim this version of this Steak Bowl recipe because it’s really just a matter of putting in whatever you want. There’s really no “recipe” to it. I did however want to offer it up as a suggestion because I know I thought of it out of desperation in trying to figure out one more protein-packed meal that my oldest Chipotle-loving son would eat. Why not just put together some sirloin steak, brown rice, guacamole, salsa, corn, black beans and whatever else we had on hand? After all, isn’t that what he gets at Chipotle? It’s also relatively healthy because sirloin is a fairly lean meat. I just sear the meat in toasted sesame seed oil (because of this oil’s high smoke point), prepare all of the other add-ins, and let everyone build their own bowl to fit their specific dietary needs (we have quite a mix in my house). If you don’t want something, no problem! Just don’t add it. This is one dinner where I’m guaranteed to have no complaints!

September 4, 2018

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Not only does this Easy Curry Pasta and Vegetables recipe from Dizzy Busy and Hungry look great, but it tastes wonderful! Since it’s vegan, I used Explore Cuisine’s Organic Red Lentil Penne to add a bit more protein, and the end result was a hearty but light main meal. It could also be a fantastic side dish as well. I added some cayenne pepper as the recipe suggests to spice it up a bit more, and most people are probably going to want to add some salt and pepper (again, as suggested in the recipe). I have to say though that I love a salty taste to my food, but I didn’t add it to my version, and it was so good, I didn’t even miss it. I think my husband (who usually doesn’t like salty foods) would have preferred it with some salt. But that’s why you make the recipe and then salt and/or pepper to taste – right? I also used fresh onion, pepper and squash, so I’m sure using frozen versions of those (as the recipe calls for) would make this already easy recipe even easier!

August 31, 2018

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I love a good homemade black bean burger, but I have to say, many recipes are simply too complicated to be realistic for my schedule. That’s where this Black Bean Quinoa Burger recipe from Yuri Elkaim comes in. With just five ingredients, it’s easy and fast. Whether you eat it on a bun, on a bed of lettuce (like Yuri recommends) or just by itself with a little avocado on top, you’re sure to love the flavor in this hearty vegan patty.

August 30, 2018

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These Spiced Beef Taco Wraps from drhyman.com are great as a wrap, a taco salad (seen here) or as the filling for a taco shell. The key is the spice mixture, which adds just the right amount of “zing.” I have to admit that before I discovered this recipe, I was still buying the packaged taco seasoning because it was just too easy. This recipe is so easy to make (especially if you mix up the spice mixture ahead of time) that I don’t think seasoning will be on my grocery list again anytime soon. The spices that are called for are pretty much ones that you probably always keep in your collection anyway. Since I use grass-fed ground beef and the meat is fairly lean to begin with, I can feed this to my family and feel good that even “Taco Tuesdays” can be pretty healthy.

August 27, 2018

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This healthy Vegetarian Black Bean Pasta recipe from Taste of Home tastes fantastic, is easy to make and takes the recipe-advertised less than 30 minutes to prepare. Since I need as much plant-based protein and as few carbs as possible, I used Explore Cuisine’s Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine instead of whole wheat fettuccine. I prefer my pasta salads at least a little bit warm, but this would be good cold or at room temperature as well.

Healthy Ingredients

October 24, 2018

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This Cajun Seasoning from Gimme Some Oven adds just the zing! Your Jambalaya or any other Cajun recipes need. While you can also use Creole Seasoning for the same type dishes, there’s simply no reason to go out and buy a separate item when you probably already have all of the ingredients needed right in your spice cabinet. While I’m not sure I would have been able to come up with this mixture on my own, I’m sure glad Gimme Some Oven did!

October 20, 2018

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This Vegan Buttermilk from Vegan Food Addict is a lifesaver! My youngest loves his gluten-free buttermilk pancakes, but now that he can’t have dairy again, we were stuck. He’s relatively okay with no wheat and relatively okay with no dairy but take away his pancakes, and we have a problem. The best part of all, this buttermilk substitute is made from ingredients you probably already have on hand. Thank you Vegan Food Addict for restoring balance to our universe!

October 10, 2018

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This Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe from Taste of Home is a reminder for us to keep our wits about us when it comes to the ingredients that we use in the kitchen. Before we panic if we don’t havePumpkin Pie Spice on hand and the grocery store doesn’t have it because it’s pumpkin season and everyone is using it, remember, it’s really just a mixture of the some of the standard spices you probably do have. If you’ve got cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, you have the makings of pumpkin pie spice. It’s definitely an economic alternative to premade and can be stored for up to six months.

October 3, 2018

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This Vegan Cashew Cream Cheeze from The Blender Girl is delicious, so easy to make and very versatile. You can put it on crackers, fruit, vegetables, bagels or anything else you would put a spreadable cheese on. My favorite is on a flour tortilla with spinach and cooked like a quesadilla. It definitely doesn’t taste like cheese, but the recipe creator doesn’t claim that it does. It’s absolutely a great spread that will not disappoint.

September 28, 2018

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This Homemade Fajita Seasoning from Wellness Mama is so easy to put together and so flavorful that you’ll never buy a store-bought packet again. Another bonus is that it uses ingredients you probably always have on hand, so it’s definitely a more economical way to cook from scratch. Plus, you’ll know exactly what’s in it! I did add a little water when I added it to the vegetables and chicken to make it more of a sauce, but the recipe doesn’t call for that, and I’m sure it would taste great without that extra step.

September 21, 2018

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This Vegan Pesto from Minimalist Baker is so good, I have to stop myself from just sitting and eating it by itself. I use it for pizza and pasta, and it’s wonderful on both. What makes it even better is how easy it is. The pesto is ready in literally five minutes, and that includes assembling all of the ingredients. If you have to avoid nuts, there’s also a nut-free suggestion included with the recipe.

September 16, 2018

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I have tried store bought vegan parmesan cheese before, and I have to say, I was not impressed. This Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe from Minimalist Baker on the other hand, is delicious! It really does taste “cheesy”, but there’s nothing overpowering about it. Sprinkle it on pizza, pasta, salads, anything that you would use grated parmesan cheese in, and you’re set. While I’m not big on coming up with “substitutes” for things on a plant-based diet (just make it taste good, and I don’t need to pretend like I’m eating something else!), cheese is one of those things that I truly love. So, if this gives me that cheesy taste that I crave, I’m all for it!

Healthy Beverages

November 15, 2018

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This Turmeric Tea from Meghan Telpner means business when it comes to preventing and possibly curing what ails you. Turmeric is the spice that’s used in curry that gives it that yellowish color, and it has a slightly bitter taste. It’s also used for many health reasons because it’s main active ingredient Curcumin is known to be anti-inflammatory and a strong antioxidant and a brain booster. If you’ve never had a turmeric drink before, I would definitely follow Meghan’s recommendation of starting out with a teaspoon of turmeric. As you get used to it, you can increase the amount that you use. The honey (or other sweetener), milk (I use almond) and warmth of the drink help to cut the taste, but honestly it doesn’t take long to get used to and you may even find that you can eliminate the sweetener before too long.

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