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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Episode 2: Barriers to Health + Healing

Episode 2: Barriers to Health + Healing
Nutritional Connections PodcastEpisode 2: Barriers to Health + Healing

The never-ending debate about what diet plan you should be following is...well, never-ending. Perhaps, the focus could be shifted to simply understanding where our food comes from and why the growth, harvest, and manufacturing of some well-loved foods can either support health and healing, or prevent it.  What we fuel our body with is all our body has to work with to make new cells. We literally are what we eat. So, let's talk about what we eat. The 3 staple ingredients in the U.S. diet: wheat, dairy, and sugar. It may surprise you, but I'm not going to tell you that everyone should cut these three foods out of their diets forever. 

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

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

 

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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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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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Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

I saw a picture once with the caption, "gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan"....it was a sad looking piece of lettuce with a tomato slice on top. I had to laugh! (1. because it was clever, and 2. because it was so wrong!)

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Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}

Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}

 Sloppy Joe's are such a simple go-to dinner. Most kids and adults make and enjoy these deliciously messy sandwiches with hamburger meat seasoned from a packet mix or a can of sauce. Too bad those packets and cans have gluten fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Homemade sauce and organic beef would be a huge step up! But I've found that, especially as Americans, the amount of meat (more especially red meat) consumed on a daily basis is way higher than necessary. There's a great article in the Washington Post by Roberto A. Ferdman about this very topic.It's not as hard as you might think to cut out meat and processed food, even it it's just a few nights a week. It's even possible if you follow a gluten free and/or Paleo diet. This is how we feed our family so I know it's possible, along with going meatless 3 or 4 times a week. It not only saves us money on groceries, helps reduce our carbon foot print, and maybe saves a few animals, but is also really healthy. Our bodies naturally need less meat in the hot summer months anyway and never need the toxic overload of processed foods.So when I wanted a classic Sloppy Joe dinner, I did a little tweaking to make it vegan (hello, quinoa!)...while still being super filling and yummy. I also added some beans for more filling protein. I piled the filling on my GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, & PALEO HAMBURGER BUNS - recipe coming soon! It was a hit! And what made it even easier was that I threw everything in my slow cooker - I love my Crock Pot, BTW.

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{Dairy Free} Chocolate Banana Creamies

{Dairy Free} Chocolate Banana Creamies

Summer showed up out of nowhere! The kids and I have been cooling off by playing in water wherever we can get it along with snacking on some cool treats. As a kid, a special treat in the summer was a Creamy. Have you ever had a Creamy? The originals are made of milk, some sugar and corn syrup, with flavors like chocolate, banana, and orange. Now of course there are probably a few more flavors added to the list, but my favorites were always the originals. My normal homemade popsicle recipe usually is just some blended fresh fruit and/or juice in a popsicle mold, but sometimes I like to go all out. With the strict diet we follow thanks to my youngest daughter, coming up with clean eating, gluten free, dairy free, simple, and yummy substitutes can be tricky. I was so excited when I came up with the recipe for Dairy Free Orange Creamsicles, but I still wanted chocolate or banana Creamies too!  Which got me thinking...why not Chocolate Banana Creamies!? No stove top prep time with these either. Just a blender, some popsicle molds, and a freezer.

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Frozen Blueberry Tart

Frozen Blueberry Tart

Remember those delicious Orange Creamsicles I made a while ago? I shared them with my friends on Good Things Utah. Well, when Miah asked me for a "Frozen" cake for her birthday those creamsicles sounded like they might, with a little tweaking, make an easy and yummy (and literal) frozen cake. It would need a crust on the bottom, so I guess it's more of a frozen tart than a cake.

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Homemade Green Hummus

Homemade Green Hummus

After school snack attack is a real problem around my house. The kids get home from school and in a whirlwind my sort of quiet, somewhat tidy home is strewn with backpacks, shoes, homework, jackets, and noise. The only thing that can calm the after school crazies is to wind down with a snack and maybe some outside time before we tackle homework. Hummus is a such a great snack because it's full of protein, fiber, and very filling. I usually put out a little cup of peanut butter too. The carrot sticks go in the hummus and the celery in the peanut butter. What makes the hummus green, you ask? .....Promise not to tell my kids? It's spinach (and a little cilantro too)! Yep, and you'd never taste it. My kids love green smoothies so I just tell them it's green hummus and for some reason they don't ask any other questions. This hummus is simple enough to make right in a blender or food processor and the color of the fresh spinach makes it look like a mischievous Leprechaun fixed it for them ;) It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any day you want to sneak a little more green in your family's diet. 

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Southwestern Caprese Chicken

Southwestern Caprese Chicken

I sometimes get asked how I make meals that are gluten free, dairy free, and still appeal to kids. Well, the truth is...I don't try to make the meals appeal to my kids, I try to help my kids appeal to the meal. In other words, I've just gotten good at tricking them into eating whatever's for dinner.

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Tomato Basil Soup - Dairy Free

Tomato Basil Soup - Dairy Free

We went to lunch at this cute restaurant called Breakfast At Tifiny's for grandma's 91st birthday. No kids, so I didn't have to worry about gluten and cross contamination. Just enjoyed a yummy French inspired meal...well, except for my soup, which was most definitely Italian inspired. Normally I like my tomato soup smooth and pureed, but the version I enjoyed at lunch that day wasn't. So I recreated the tomato basil soup a few days later for the kids. Tomato basil has always been a favorite, plus it's so simple to make and very versatile, naturally gluten free, and easily made dairy free as well. We like it with some salad and gluten free bread all on it's own one night, take the left overs and add some meat and veggies using it as a base for stew the next, or toss in some gluten free noodles and call it goulash. This is our favorite gluten free pasta.To make a dairy free heavy cream alternative you can choose from a couple options.

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Warm Italian Vegetable Salad

Warm Italian Vegetable Salad

 

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Soft Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies

Soft Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies

Run, run as fast as you can...to eat some soft gingersnap cookies that are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, super healthy, and delicious! Hmm, that doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the original.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Well, you knew it was coming. It was inevitable really. What, with it being pumpkin season and all, that I'd have to have a pumpkin pancake recipe show up eventually. Here it is! These pancakes taste like you're eating a pumpkin pie for breakfast and are so good for you too. They must have been good (and/or my kids were very hungry) because they were eaten so fast! We also added fun toppings like chopped pecans, sliced apples dusted with cinnamon, and whipped coconut cream on top... or just a little maple syrup works too.  

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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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