mr. Good(for you)bar – peanuts in healthier chocolate

mr. Good(for you)bar

Calling all chocoholics!  Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating.  mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives.  They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make.  Below are a few tips for making this chocolate.  For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)

Gluten Free Blueberry Cashew Oatmeal Cookies

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It’s the beginning of September and this time of year has me thinking about all the things school related. I’m pretty sure that’s what prompted me to make these cookies. Milk and cookies is the quintessential after school snack – the ideal kid comfort food. Even though I try to eat healthy most of the time I’ve never outgrown my love for cookies. Every now and then I crave a good cookie – one that is golden brown, a little crisp at the edges, and soft and chewy at the center. (more…)

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut

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These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut are sweet, tart, creamy, and delicious – sounds more like a dessert, doesn’t it? Sweet potatoes are a great year round vegetable but I’ve always thought of them more as a fall/winter vegetable, that is, until I started making this recipe. Lime and coconut are classic tropical flavors and these two simple ingredients transform ordinary mashed sweet potatoes into a fantastic side dish that is not only healthy but simple to prepare.   (more…)

Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers

Post photo #11If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will love these Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers.  While I adore chocolate I have always been put off by the intense sweetness of fudge. I know some people are crazy about fudge but I think the amount of sugar in most fudge recipes masks the depth of flavor for which chocolate is known. These pretty little dessert flowers have the consistency of fudge but without loads of added sugar, which, with the help of a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee, allows all of the chocolaty goodness to shine through. Except for 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (which you can leave out if desired), there is no refined sugar in this recipe. All of the sweetness is derived from the natural sugars in the dates, which are combined with the other ingredient to create a healthier alternative to traditional fudge.  A 1.5 oz. piece of fudge has about 150 calories and somewhere around 29 grams of sugar. By comparison these Raspberry Fudge Flowers have 130 calories and a mere 7 grams of sugar. That is a huge difference in sugar content!  And, they are gluten free and require no cooking to boot!  This recipe was inspired by the popular Lara Bar recipes that are all over the food blogosphere. I experimented with peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (and various combinations thereof) but found that cashews produce a texture most similar to fudge – soft and chewy. Serve these with dollops of whipped cream and you will be in (a healthier) fudge heaven! (more…)

Spinach Cobb Salad with Trail Mix

 

DSC_0048 The idea for trail mix on cobb salad came to me a few years ago while I was on vacationing with my family on Turks and Caicos. Every January, in order to decompress from the holiday madness, we rent a condo on this beautiful island, fully equipped with a fantastic kitchen. Turks is a blissful place to visit and about the only negative thing I can say about this tropical paradise is that food there is dreadfully expensive. As a result we eat breakfast and lunch at our condo and only go out for dinner. This is the lunch salad that has become my family’s favorite while we are there. I make a variation of this salad at home quite often and usually include dried cranberries and candied pecans. However, without my normal pantry items available in a vacation rental, I once improvised and used the trail mix we bought for snacking as a topping.  We liked it so much that this is what I now use at home on our salads.  Aside from the trail mix the other thing that makes this salad unique is that I substitute two of the ingredients typically found in cobb salad – bacon and blue cheese – with goat cheese and crispy prosciutto. I like the milder flavor of goat cheese and think it pairs nicely with the fruit and nuts in the trail mix. And the crispy prosciutto in lieu of the bacon works well because it has the same general texture and flavor profile as bacon (crispy, salty, pork). For this reason, I often use crispy prosciutto in recipes that call for bacon because it is so much easier and less messy to prepare. You roast it in the oven on a parchment lined sheet pan. It’s done in under 20 minutes and there is very little grease so clean up is a breeze (see below for directions). (more…)

Pea Parmesan Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and White Truffle Oil

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I love recipes that are simple and elegant – the kind that produce finished dishes that look sophisticated but are quick and easy to prepare, and require no unusual or hard to find ingredients. This Pea Parmesan Soup hits the mark on all counts.  You can throw it together at the last-minute on a busy weeknight, or prepare it ahead time for a fancy dinner party.  I usually serve this soup as a first course, but you can make it a complete meal by omitting the prosciutto, stirring in chunks of good quality ham, and serving it with a salad and some crusty french bread.

DSC_0003Lay the prosciutto slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy.

DSC_0017Here’s what the prosciutto looks like when it’s done. (more…)

Rainbow Broccoli Slaw

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When I developed this recipe I wanted it to be as colorful as possible so I called upon the mnemonic device we used in grade school to remember the colors in a rainbow – Roy G. Biv – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. If you look closely at this salad you’ll see that the array of whole foods used in this recipe represents all the colors in that mystical spectrum of light. I’m counting the flecks of cabbage in the broccoli slaw for indigo and violet – maybe that’s cheating a bit but the important thing to remember about this salad is that it is beautiful, healthy, AND delicious. Save this recipe to make for your first picnic or backyard barbeque of the season.

Rainbow Broccoli Slaw Post

Microwave the frozen corn and peas on high for about 2 minutes, stirring, and checking their temperature after each 30 second interval.  You want to defrost them but not heat them through. Once they are at room temperature, blot away any excess water with a clean paper towel.  If don’t own a microwave, or don’t want to use one, simply leave the peas and corn out on your counter, at room temperature, until they are completely defrosted.

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I usually use grape tomatoes for this salad but you could substitute cherry tomatoes, just make sure you cut them into bite size pieces.  My grape tomatoes were kind of big the day I made this salad so I cut them into quarters.  Once they are cut up add them to the bowl of peas and corn and set aside while you make the vinegariette. (more…)

Maple Walnut Almond Butter

DSC_0109_02_edited-2 I was in Vermont recently, the maple syrup capital of the U.S., where I purchased a jar of maple walnut peanut butter, which quickly disappeared.  Before I tossed out the empty jar I checked the ingredient list and saw that it contained just a few ingredients – peanuts, maple syrup, walnuts, and salt.  Easy enough to make I thought, but since I’m more a fan of almond butter than peanut butter I decided to make Maple Walnut Almond Butter instead.  The results were fantastic. DSC_0004 Put the walnuts and almonds on a sheet pan and roast them at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly toasted.  Check the oven after 5 minutes to make sure they are not browning too quickly.  I keep the walnuts and almonds separate on the sheet pan so that if one is toasting more quickly than the other I can remove them easily and return the pan to the oven until the other nuts are done.

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Roasted Garlic Ketchup

Roasted Garlic Ketchup

Once you try this recipe it’s highly unlikely you will ever buy ketchup at the grocery store again. It’s so simple to prepare and you won’t believe the difference it makes in the way your food tastes. There is none of that harsh tang and excessive sweetness you get with store bought ketchup. It is simply the essence of tomato with a few savory additions that heighten the natural tomato flavor. It’s great on burgers and fries but also makes a delicious cocktail sauce for shrimp (just add horseradish if desired) and is a great base for barbeque sauce too. Pretty much anything you’d put store bought ketchup on will taste better with this as a condiment. And it’s a lot healthier too. It’s no secret that most ketchup is made with high fructose corn syrup – a refined sweetener that is unhealthy to consume. More and more food companies are replacing high fructose corn syrup with less refined, more natural sweeteners, yet it’s still found in most mass produced ketchup. All the more reason to make your own! One tablespoon of this ketchup has less than 1 gram of sugar versus 4 grams of sugar in your typical store bought ketchup.  It also has 50% less sodium.  Once I discovered this recipe I started buying the 6 oz. cans of tomato paste by the case at my warehouse store. Since the rest of the ingredients are, for the most part, pantry staples, I almost always have what I need on hand to make this.

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You probably already have most of what you need to make this ketchup in your pantry right now.

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Drizzle olive oil over the head of garlic before wrapping it up in aluminum foil. Some recipes will tell you to slice off the top of the head of garlic prior to roasting. This isn’t necessary. The garlic roasts just fine left intact so I eliminate this step to simply the recipe.

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