Mama’s Fig Bars

School for the kids has started but the produce section is still rich with end of summer fruit and veggies! We are eating as much of these goodies as we can. Lots of peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, figs, summer squash, local corn, tomatoes, we love it all!! One of my favorite end of summer fruits is figs! I love grilling or sautéing them in balsamic vinegar and throwing in a salad or cutting them up and throwing them in our overnight-oats or cereal. My girls are less wild about eating them right out of the fruit bowl but once cut up, cooked or baked they love them, too. Their natural sweetness, like medjool dates, lends itself well to lots of dishes acting as a key sweetener. Figs nutritionally offer a number of essential minerals (magnesium, calcium, copper and potassium along with vitamin K and B6 and are high in fiber. When figs are dried their nutritional value increases. For example half a cup of fresh figs contains as much calcium as a half a cup of milk but only two large … [Read more...]

Thai Chicken Burgers

Inspired by GOOP’s burgers, I whipped these up on a Friday night for my kiddos, along side my Thai Veggie Burgers for the hubby and me. The little ladies had just gotten fitted with their expanders from their orthodontist so I wasn’t sure if they would eat much of anything but these burgers were a big success!! We shared the extra two burgers with our neighbors who had had a long week and were too exhausted to even think about cooking. Just love sharing good food with good friends! These paired well with usual burger fare: oven fries and finger veggies, but I could also see making these into little meatballs and serving them with a stir-fry, some Healthy Fried Rice or Fava Brown Rice Salad. Thai Chicken Burgers Delicious on a hamburger bun or in a large leaf lettuce roll.  Option to top burger with a drizzle of sriracha or a spicy Asian mustard dipping sauce, or as my eldest did, good old fashioned ketchup!!  Though can’t (won’t) say how the latter would taste!  These are … [Read more...]

Red Velvet Vegan Cupcakes

I had never heard of red velvet cake or cupcakes growing up.  Think they originate from the south and are often people dye hard favorite cake or cupcakes!  The name alone sounds divine, rich and oh so good!  Who wouldn't want one? It took me a few attempts to find something that would give my cakes a red'ish color and figure out how to make my healthier version close to the original.  The beets add a great red tint to the cake and icing.  These chocolate cakes are not a family favorite and I can't help but love that they are a one bowl wonder.  Quick to whip up for parties or an afternoon with friends.  Today's batch was whipped up to share with the kids on our street to celebrate "back-to-school" and the end of a fun summer!   They were a big success and some even asked if we could make this annual tradition....cupcakes every day on the first week of school!  Sounds like a plan to me! Red Velvet Cupcakes My take on red-velvet cake!  A healthier version of the original which … [Read more...]

Spinach Vanilla Cupcakes

I know it may sound nuts to put spinach in a cupcake?  Or there is no way your little ones are going to eat it if they know it has spinach into.....so don't tell them!  At least not until they have devoured these treats! I add spinach often to the girls smoothies because its an easy way to throw in some greens without them knowing.  The flavor and often color of the spinach is masked by the flavor of the other fruit.  Same thing works here!  The cakes come out a tinge green but make it fun or add a fun icing or topping.  My gals used to call these Kermit Kakes because they were a little green like Kermie!   They are a fun spin on an classic kid (and grown up) dessert.  My kids actually ask me to buy spinach so we can make these treats! Light and less sweet than the usual cupcakes you may get a birthday parties, when topped with an easy icing, coconut cream or a good dollop of jam, they are a yummy guilt-free goodies packed with goodness. SPINACH VANILLA CUPCAKES  1 Ener-G egg … [Read more...]

Power Protein Banana Bread

There is nothing like waking up to the smell of homemade banana bread!!  I had a roommate in college that used to make banana bread of Sundays.  The scents from our tiny shared kitchen would flow into my room and wow was that not always a good excuse to take a study break!! Bananas are a key staple in our house.  We throw them in our smoothies, mash them into overnight oats, put them on seed butter toast, whip them up into 'nice cream' or throw them in pancake, muffins or this yummy Power Protein Banana Bread!!  Given it's harder to buy super ripe bananas at our usual grocery stores, every few weeks I tend to buy several dozen bananas  and let them go nice and brown and spotty or super ripe.  Super ripe bananas are easily mashable and add natural sweetness to your baked goods, smoothies or oats.  I also like to freeze the spotted brown bananas for the same reason.  Friends or neighbors have been shocked to see the numbers of bananas we have ripening in our window sills at times but … [Read more...]

Lucky Leek Soup

Lucky Leek Soup

My Dad frequently made Potage Parmentier or Leek and Potato soup. He was often whipping up soups for weekend lunches for us throwing in what ever we had on hand and needed to be used up. This soup was on regular rotation as soon as the cooler weather set up. Though I am usually not a fan of heavier potato based soups, this one is a different story. It is incredibly filling, smooth and creamy, despite having no dairy of any sort in it. It’s thanks to the potatoes that it has the consistency it does. Plus it is quick to put together and only contains a few ingredients. My challenge with this soup was getting the kids to eat it. Like many kids, they turned up their nose at this bowl of cream stuff. Immediately saying they didn’t like it even though I promised they would. I even added a little extra salt to their bowls given their love for anything salty! But every time there was a fight. Then one day I had left over pasta from last night’s dinner and I thought, would they eat it if … [Read more...]

Thai Veggie Burger

Thai food if a regular theme of our menu board. The girls have grown up eating Thai, largely because hubby and I love this delicious cuisine and in part because we had a Thai nanny for a while when the girls were young. She loved talking to the girls about her home country and to take the girls out for Thai with us. Now at first the girls version of Thai was chicken satay and plain rice or bean thread noodles, but over time they graduated to Pad Woon Sen (bean thread noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts and veg), spring rolls, Tom Yum soup ( sweet & sour broth soup with veg and noodles). I love watching their taste buds develop, flourish and get used to spicier meals. With two parents who LOVE spicy foods, it was only a matter of time before these kids embraced spices! Slowly we are getting there and it has been fun watching them try and love new dishes. Back to today’s inspired meal! We saw a Thai flavored turkey burger on a menu recently and the flavors looks (and smelled) … [Read more...]

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee is a classic French comfort food. It’s also called Tarragon Chicken in English. This dish is simply Chicken and vegetables simmered in a delicious wine and tarragon sauce. There are many variations of this dish, most of which are finished off with a dollop of cream. Given the strong dairy-allergy in our house, we have adapted our version to be dairy-free. The sauce is thickened by kuku, a smooth, neutral flavored starch naturally extracted from the roots of a Japanese mountain plant. Not traditionally French, I know, but this root has so many redeeming qualities. It is commonly used to treat minor indigestion and common cold symptoms and is also used to stimulate appetite, help with slow digestion and for its calming effect. We used it often in our kitchen and in place of cornstarch or flour as a thickener.   Just be sure to always dissolve it in cool liquid before adding it to anything hot. This will allow it to dissolve best into the stew. This dish can be served … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Did I mention our family is nuts about pumpkin? You’d never guess that from the number of pumpkin blogs I have written over the past couple of weeks, but we are we love pumpkin!! We love adding it to everything! We throw it in our oatmeal, smoothies, pancake and waffle batter, we make cookies out of it, soup, pasta cream sauces, chicken curries, you name it. Pretty much any type of dish we have added pumpkin! So we didn’t go vary long this season before whipping up a few versions of pumpkin muffins. I usually make gluten-free Pumpkin Buckwheat Muffin recipe but one morning I was out of buckwheat and low on my gluten-free mix so I had to improvise. The result was the recipe below, which in a recent taste test, two out of three of my tasters preferred. Though it was a very close decision that required multiple muffins to decide! Option to use canned pumpkin puree or roast and puree your own pumpkin (see Roasted Sugar Pumpkin).   Pumpkin Oat Muffins Healthy wheat-free, … [Read more...]

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Don't throw those pumpkin seeds out!  Give them a good wash and dry then toast them in a warm oven to get a delicious seasonal and satisfying treat.  They can be seasoned with just a dash of salt, a little maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon for a sweeter treat or a little oil and some smoked paprika or your favorite spices for something more savory.  So many options.  They are great as a snack, to throw in your morning cereal, granola, or on top of a smoothie, soup or salad. Be sure to keep an eye on them when they are in the oven, they can burn quickly and as I found out the hard way, the inner seeds cook quicker than the outer seeds.  Be sure to stir often and if they look done...take 'em out! PUMPKIN SEEDS While the pumpkin is roasting, wash off the pumpkin seeds and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the seeds on a lined baking sheet and pour a half teaspoon or so or coconut oil (or olive oil) over the seeds and massaging the oil into the seeds. Lightly season with fine … [Read more...]