Quick Marinara

A quick and easy marinara sauce to make for pasta, pizza night or any time you need a quick red sauce.  We use this as our base for many sauces, adding in extra veggies, a protein or beans to make the sauce a little heartier.  See the NOTE section for easy ways to turn this into a thick vegan protein-packed sauce or a meat sauce. … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Delights

It February already! Wow! I’m both shocked and excited because once we get through February we are over the hump for winter and spring is around the corner.   Despite it being February and we are officially past pumpkin season I noticed in our storage room how many cans of pumpkin we still have. May have over stocked this year but as you have seen from past blogs…we LOVE PUMPKIN!! The recipe below for Pumpkin Delights (had to come up with a name for these on the fly to boost excitement in my sleepy my girlies!!) came about from a kitchen scramble after realizing what little was left in the house for breakfast. Someone needs to hit the grocery store!! I was short on my gluten-free flour mix but we had a big old container of oats!   Given how many times we have had oats these past few weeks, knew I had to come up with something different and so these Pumpkin Delights were born. I was super excited and delighted (hence the name) to see how well these Pumpkin Delights turned out. … [Read more...]

Crunchy Millet Granola

School is back in session this week and I've got our morning meals ready to go with a new yummy homemade granola! Love having something quick and easy to serve the kiddos in the morning that will fuel their growing bodies and expanding minds.  Cereal used to be my go-to but I have a love/hate relationship with cereal as a mom. I love that it provides a quick, objection-less meal for kids in the morning but I don’t love the sugar content and nutritionally low quality of the ingredients that you find in your typical cereal. Despite its limiting qualities, I do have to say that I really LOVE cereal.  I’m an honest recovering cereal addict. I could eat a bowl (or two) for three meals a day, every day and be sooo happy! I just LOVE the stuff!! This is where knowledge gets in the way, but knowing what I do about nutrition and what growing young bodies need, I had to cut off our family’s relationship with packaged cereal for breakfast. For years cereal was not only a meal, but also a … [Read more...]

Kale & Sausage Soup

Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew with chicken sausage Winter in Chicago just wouldn’t be winter without a polar vortex!  Baby it's cold outside and it's time to dream of Tuscany and make a hearty Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew!!   I love how we now use marketing buzz words seasonal weather! I grew in Canada where we simply call this kind of weather WINTER!! Hahaha!! Nonetheless as Christmas nears not even this incoming blast of cold can change the spirits at our house.  With this cold front coming in and a thousand things to do better the big day, I wanted something quick and easy to make that we could all enjoy. Every morning the girls count the number of days on the calendar left until the big night that good old Santa will make his annual visit. They have had me check the chimney to make sure it’s clean (even though we have an electric fireplace) and clear for him to come down. The lead up to the big day is almost as exciting as the big day itself with the final week of school … [Read more...]

Spicy Parsnip Soup

The weather has is grey and dreary, I am battling a head cold and as a result have little energy for fancy food prep plus I have a bag of parsnip and 2 sad carrots that need to get used ASAP! What to do? Why make a soup of course!! Soups are my go to lunches and sometimes dinners in the fall/winter because they are generally quick to throw together, easily digested and most importantly …. keep me warm! I find I am permanently cold in winter so my stove stop is often brewing, boiling, cooking something to warm me up! This soup is perfect in so many ways. It is creamy, smells amazing, a little spicy thanks to the ginger and fills me up! Parsnips are often a by passed veg but they are so similar to carrots only a little sweeter. Not sure why they get passed up! They go great in soup especially in ones like this one that is pureed, they lend a nice creamy texture to the soup. Parsnips are high in fiber, nutrients and minerals (super high in potassium). They are a good root vegetable … [Read more...]

Detox Oatmeal Cookie

Detox oatmeal cookies maybe I need to find a new name for this recipe because I know it sounds like an oxymoron right?? One should probably take a break from all cookies during a detox right?  Or what are you adding to these "treats". Stay with me!  We are still on a high from the fun of the festivities (and several helpings of pie, cookies and sweets), my kids get crazy grumpy when I suggest we take a break from dessert or treats.  Who wouldn't right?? Oats, chia and flax to the rescue!  Instead of saying we're going to skip dessert, I offer them some healthier options. These"detox" oatmeal cookies are my solution to the kiddos dessert while still giving them a good dose of fiber, healthy fats and vitamins. This is one of desserts or "treats" on rotation for the next few weeks and probably in the new year as well.  A simple and quick to make oatmeal cookie that can be made with or without the chocolate chips.  I made half the batch with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (2-3 chunks … [Read more...]

Artichoke, Mushroom, Coconut Soup

In my brief experience in the Midwest I’d say that normally by this time of year we would be in sweaters or at least long sleeves full time by now. Its mid-to-late October and we are having another unseasonal day of 80F. I’m not complaining but the big shifts in temperature keeps sending my cooking plans in a spin. It’s cold one day, shopping day, so I stock up with lots of veg to roast and turn into soups or stews, then we get warm days and all I want is a salad. What’s a gal to do! Well given the huge pot of soup I made this week, I ate the soup but served it warm instead of hot. I don’t mind because I do love soups! This week’s Soup of the Week is an Asparagus, Mushroom Coconut Soup. I tried it out last week when it was a little cooler and boy did it hit the spot! It’s warming, creamy and calming. Made a second batch as part of Sunday batch cooking session to fuel my lunches this week. This soup freezes really well so if the weather suddenly switches to summer weather over night, … [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...]

Nuts About You Granola

School is officially in gear for us for another year!  This year should be a little easier for us logistically but I will still need to get my meal plans back in order to tackle this year.  More on meal planning and prep work coming soon to the blog.  I have a few tips that have helped me tackle the week and kept healthy meals on the table and in lunch boxes for the kiddos and parents alike! To start the after school run I made a batch of grain-free granola.  I made a variety of variations of this mix depending on what I have on hand.  Today I had a good assortment of nuts so did a good mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans.  I was out of my large coconut flakes along with goji berries and dates so I used smaller coconut flakes, some dried cherries (unsulfured and unsweetened) and chopped up some dried figs.   Throw in what you have on hand.  I  have even throw in some of the "healthy" chocolate coated M&M like candies from Trader Joe's (the dye free kind) when I was … [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...]