Sunwarrior Plant-Powered Protein Bars

Sunwarrior Plant-Powered Protein Bars

Protein bars are a great way to have a snack, satisfy your sweet tooth, and fill your quota of protein. Have you ever noticed how, often, the commercial protein bars readily available are merely glorified candy bars with all that sugar they have to add to make them taste decent? Don't get me wrong, I have totally bought and devoured said protein bars during a long hike or when I'm in a hurry and need something to fill me up. But, I'd much rather make my own with quality ingredients.

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Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Meal prep dinner #2 coming at you. This bad boy goes from the bag into a hot skillet and is done so quick. It took me a few extra minutes since I made some Homemade Quinoa Tortillas to go along with it, but you could just as easily make some cauliflower rice or quinoa to go along with it...or just enjoy as is. I don't know who said healthy eating doesn't taste good, because it totally can. This meal is great for anyone following the Paleo or Keto diet, and even simply leaving out the meat and shrimp makes it vegan. So, it's versatile and yummy too. 

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10 minute Shrimp Scampi

10 minute Shrimp Scampi

I love plans, but to be honest, I think I love being spontaneous even more. I love the challenge of taking whatever ingredients I have on hand in the house and making something right on the spot. Now, having said that I am also a mother of four busy, hungry, and sometimes picky kids (lest you think I'm not a human), my joyful spontaneity in the kitchen is sometimes less than joyful and far more stressful. It's moments like this (and they happen far more often), that I am very grateful for meal prepping and my Instant Pot.  Thanks to a little prep ahead of time and the best invention ever, this dinner was ready to eat in about 10 minutes!

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Vegetable Fajitas over Quinoa

Vegetable Fajitas over Quinoa
​Look back with gratitude; look forward with faith.  It's New Years resolution time. I have so many goals, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Often, we interpret healthy eating only with losing...
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Peach Freezer Jam {No refined sugar & No pectin)

Peach Freezer Jam {No refined sugar & No pectin)

Where I live there isn't a whole lot of agriculture left. That isn't just due to expansive population or the withdrawal from living off the land. It also has lot to do with the desert climate. However, what is left are small family owned peach and pecan orchards and a few other similar farms. So, at the end of every summer I have my eyes and ears peeled for any news of local, organic surplus produce from these local mini farms. Lucky for me, the last couple years the peaches have been plentiful.

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Frozen Yogurt Slushy

Frozen Yogurt Slushy

 

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Roasted Artichoke with Tarragon Garlic Butter Sauce

Roasted Artichoke with Tarragon Garlic Butter Sauce

A cool spring rain storm came through the other night and made everything outside perfectly fresh and clean. I'm pretty sure heaven smells like the desert when it rains. It seemed like just the right time for nibbling something savory and simple. I just so happened to have some fresh artichoke that were just waiting to be eaten. There was a time I didn't use fresh artichoke because I wasn't really sure how to prepare or eat them. If you're like I was then here's a link to a quick video on how to prepare an artichoke. You can either leave it whole like in the video or cut it in half like I did. Either way works. The point regardless is to get to the meat at the ends of each spiky leaf and the nutritious heart in the middle and stem.Artichokes are one of the most underappreciated super foods. That's right, super food. Fresh artichokes are high in natural phytonutrient antioxidants, fiber, and folate (folic acid). Artichokes are also high in vitamin K, which aid in brain health as well as bone health. These thorny green veggies also supports healthy liver function, blood pressure, the immune system, and metabolic function.Now add all that natural artichoke goodness to this savory organic butter, tarragon, garlic, and lemony-hinted dip. I'll admit, I was that kid who used to just eat straight butter. When it's organic butter from free range cows with this kind of flavor...let's just say I may revert back to my childhood tendencies. It's so good! Remember, despite the fat-free craze that was pushed for so many years, new research supports a diet rich in healthy fats for weight loss and overall health. If you'd like to read about it here's a great research article to learn more.

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Beet & Carrot Coleslaw {No Mayo - Dairy Free Option}

Beet & Carrot Coleslaw {No Mayo - Dairy Free Option}

 

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Double Chocolate Cake {Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No Refined Sugar}

Double Chocolate Cake {Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No Refined Sugar}

Birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, Wednesdays... there are so many good reasons to eat chocolate cake. In fact, this recipe came to be this week as we were celebrating my birthday. Earlier this week I had hastily jotted down a recipe for chocolate cake to bring for me and my sister's double birthday party happening later that evening. I love it when it turns out alright on the first try, but love it even more that my family is so patient with my cooking experiments. It still needed a little tweaking.

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Orange Marmalade - Sweetened with Honey

Orange Marmalade - Sweetened with Honey

Remember the Paddington books? Well, orange marmalade may be all the vitamins and minerals a bear needs, but it happens to be pretty good for people too - that is, when you swap out all that sugar for some local, raw, unfiltered honey. We all know oranges are full of vitamin C, but they also boast other essential vitamins and flavonoids (antioxidants).Most people love to eat oranges or drink the juice, but we're missing some serious health benefits that are only found in the peels. I'm talking calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, folate and other B vitamins. Not to mention a good source of dietary fiber. And guess what? Orange marmalade incorporates those beautiful orange peels.All this healthy goodness is so lovely that we don't want to mess it up by dumping mounds of refined sugar on it. Instead, I used some locally harvested raw, unfiltered honey. Using honey from local bees may help to reduce seasonal pollen allergies and boost your immune system.So, now you can enjoy some very tasty, very powerful natural immune supporting vitamins on a sandwich and keep it in your hat if you like...in case of emergency. ;) Although, my favorite is to add about a tablespoon of marmalade to my morning bowl of cooked rolled oats, and top it all with fresh blueberries, pecan halves, and almond milk.

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Spring Salad and Strawberry Vinaigrette

Spring Salad and Strawberry Vinaigrette
Thanks to some spring rain and mild temperatures my little garden is already starting to produce spinach and green onions. Yay! I've been working on finishing my bachelors degree in nutrition and with a busy family I'm so glad my garden has been able to handle some neglect - I mean just look at this beautiful salad it helped make! Thanks to some homemade strawberry jam with no refined sugar it made the Strawberry Vinaigrette so simple and healthy. Strawberries and spinach are both full of vitamin C and B6, folate, magnesium, fiber, and a handful of other vitamins and essential minerals.Overnight Strawberry Jam 4 cups crushed strawberries 1/2 - 3/4 cups honey or 1 - 2 tsp. stevia powder or liquid 1/4 cup lemon juice 4 tbsp. chia seeds Combine all the ingredients, pour into jars or freezer containers, and place in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds will cause the jam to thicken. Store jam in the freezer until ready to use.

 

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Vegan White Bean Chili

Vegan White Bean Chili

Chili is a hit at almost any time of the year, but especially during the doldrums between Christmas and New Years. This vegan chili is especially good for the after-the-holiday-food-coma we sometimes succumb to once all the festivities and goodies have been consumed with reckless abandon.

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Baked Pears With Orange Caramel Sauce

Baked Pears With Orange Caramel Sauce

 

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Banana Oatmeal Muffins (gluten free)

Banana Oatmeal Muffins (gluten free)

A quick and simple breakfast muffin that's perfect for any busy morning. This Thursday, however, I'll be serving them as a light breakfast before Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner (gotta save room for pie!) They're simple to make the night before and ready to eat by morning. I have to tweak the recipe for Miah who has to be grain free, but otherwise these muffins get devoured quick. It's fun how you can make memories last with food.

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Honey Caramel Hard Candy

Honey Caramel Hard Candy

Honey caramel hard candies remind me of simpler days: horse drawn carriages, petticoats, and books that were only read on paper - never on a screen. You may decide to go a little Down Town Abby with your Halloween costume after making a batch. Whatever they remind you of they'll take care of your sweet tooth without any refined sugars, preservatives, fool coloring, or other complicated, unpronounceable ingredients.Speaking of sweets, the holidays are always adorned, sprinkled, and caked in sugar aren't they? It can certainly make it hard to stay true to any kind of healthy, clean diet. This old-school candy is made of good old honey, or for a vegan version you could use pure maple syrup."Well, it's still technically sugar isn't it?" you may be thinking.Yes, chemically honey and cane sugar are both glucose, but honey is also fructose. Fructose is the form of sugar found in fruit and honey in a natural unprocessed state. Besides, you won't find vitamins and minerals in table sugar like you will in the former. The same is true for pure maple syrup as well (not the corn syrup imitation stuff). I figure, if I'm going to have some "sugar" I'd rather have it be as natural as possible.

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Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs

Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs

With a single day of cool breezes summer was blown away and autumn took it's place. Alex has laughed at me since we were dating about my love and over-anticipation that comes with each change of season. But in all honesty, fall is my favorite....or spring...no, it's fall for sure. Oh, but the first snow of winter is magical...or sunny days of summer...okay I love them all!I made some yummy Italian Lentil Soup one night when the cool evening breeze was blowy through the open windows. It was one of our meat free/vegan meals and it was so yummy and filling. Luckily, I made plenty and we had extras. So a couple night later as a cold rain fell I made meatballs and added to the left over soup for a hearty meal. I love stretching meals and giving leftovers double duty. It's so economical and time saving, but even better than that, the flavors have all marinated and it seems to taste better on round two! Bonus!

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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

 Hello beautiful!Yes, you...and this dish!If there's anything that makes me feel fed, both body and soul, it's healthy beautiful food. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year and it's bounty of produce? Fall is the ripe pinnacle of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are all ready to be eaten. Harvesting the summer's spoils and getting our first taste of the winter crop too.Instead of the traditional brown sugar and butter baked into my acorn squash, I used a less refined sugar option of real maple syrup to make a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction baked into the squash. Then I topped it with some sauteed kale, onion, uncured bacon Orange Spiced Pecans, and raw sunflower seeds. Drizzle a little more of the sweet reduction over everything and...so satisfying. Just omit the bacon to keep it vegan and plant-based.My kids poured extra balsamic reduction on theirs. It's always fun to let them try something new and watch them discover that they actually like it. Of course, my philosophy is anything drizzled with balsamic reduction is going to be fabulous. Period. It's nice that my kids agree. Well...other than my 2 year old. He was not as open to the idea of something new and strange on his plate. However, if it came off my plate it tasted good. Haha! Oh well, whatever works, right? (P.S. you may want to double the balsamic reduction recipe in case you want extra too.)

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Grain Free Apple Crisp

Grain Free Apple Crisp

 

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Homemade Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

Homemade Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

 

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Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Big black storm clouds rumbled in last night bringing a heavy down pour of rain. The 100+ degree temperature of this last month of summer seemed to leave the ground sizzling as the big rain drops splashed down - like cool water in a hot skillet. The effect released all the aromas of sage and earth. It was delicious! (Although the littler kids didn't appreciate the "growly" thunder.)

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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