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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Coconut Yogurt Overnight Breakfast Bowl

Coconut Yogurt Overnight Breakfast Bowl

"What the heck is Kefir? Cultured what? Fermented vegetables? I've made homemade yogurt, but what's all this other stuff?"Those may or may not have been my exact thoughts when I first heard about these strange terms. After some research, trial and error, and a little taste testing, this topic suddenly has my undivided attention.Still don't know what I'm talking about?I'm talking about bacteria. (dun dun dun!) Don't panic, these microorganisms are the good guys. For a long time western culture has had it out for bacteria in any form - antibiotics when you get the sniffles and antimicrobials in the form of hand sanitizer and cleaners. But, just like cholesterol can be divided into good (LDL) and bad (HDL), so can bacteria.The thing is, our gut needs the good kind of bacteria, called bifidobacteria and/or lactobacilli. And chances are you've already had some cultured microorganisms...yogurt anyone? Ongoing research shows that these kinds of beneficial bacteria support a healthy digestive system, boosts the immune system, and greatly improves the health of the whole body. This is even more important for those with gastrointestinal diseases. I have first hand knowledge from before my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and we went gluten free that when the gut is not working properly, overall health and well-being goes down the toilet. Seriously, happy intestines make a happy and healthy person.If you'd like to read more about healthy bacteria, here's a great article.Ok, so what's this about kefir, cultures, and fermentation?These are all methods for consuming (in a yummy way) the good bacteria our bodies need to enjoy optimal health. Basically, you're making your own probiotics. Fermented vegetables recipe and how-to coming soon!Kefir is traditionally a creamy milk-based drink that has been cultured at room temperature, while yogurt is cultured at a temperature around 110 F and has a thicker consistency. Depending on whether you have a yogurt maker or not, you can make this overnight breakfast bowl with coconut kefir instead of coconut yogurt.I cultured mine in a yogurt maker instead of at room temperature. Details, details. Call it whatever you want. It's a dairy free, superfood, that's great in this simple breakfast.

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Gluten Free Applesauce Muffins

Gluten Free Applesauce Muffins

  I got a message from one of my very best friends that she would be in town in the morning. It's been almost 2 years since the last time I'd seen her and I was excited to catch up and let's face it, anytime I can have an adult conversation it's like Christmas. So last night before bed I made these sweet gluten free applesauce muffins with buckwheat, brown rice, and oatmeal flour. Hardy enough to fill my kiddos up before school and less mess for me to clean up on an already busy morning. They turned out so yummy and were all eaten in less than 10 minutes! 

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Tex-Mex Gluten Free Turkey Burgers

Tex-Mex Gluten Free Turkey Burgers

 Have you ever had a turkey burger? It's not just about the burger, it's about the toppings -- tomato, avocado, mango, sauteed onions and bell peppers! I kept mine dairy free, but you could certainly melt a slice of pepper jack cheese on top. 

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{Homemade} Quinoa Tortillas

{Homemade} Quinoa Tortillas

 I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a nerd. I love reading National Geographic magazine, watching a special on ancient civilizations, or reading articles on the latest health research. So I could probably sit here and tell you all about the amazing benefits of including quinoa in your diet. This ancient seed - yes seed, closer to spinach and beetroot than grain- was the staple diet and sacred food of the Inca's and today has been called a superfood, high in complete proteins as well as other vitamins and minerals. It's also naturally gluten free and easy to digest.Really all I should say is how easy and quick these healthy and delicious tortillas are! 

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Herb Pork Chops with Apples, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onion

Herb Pork Chops with Apples, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onion

After all the intensity of this last year it really has made me stop and realize how precious each moment is. Not to sound like a Hallmark card, but for Christmas all I really wanted was not to worry too much about meaningless things that fill our time and instead give the gift of an experience together. Memories last much longer than that cute pair of boots or a toy that will break next week. If I didn't appreciate my family before then this last year certainly put all that into perspective.Even though Christmas is over I'm still loving the holidays, the prospects of a crisp new year, and being around lots of friends and family. If you're planning on entertaining over New Years this dish will impress! Caramelized onions and mushrooms, juicy herbed pork chops and apple slices...mmmm. Not only is it good, but it's healthy. No breading or cream of anything. 

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Honey Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Honey Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 

This morning we awoke to....SNOW!  I shouldn't be surprised since I grew up along the Wasatch mountain range, but when you live in the sunny Southwest for almost 10 years you kind of forget what cold is.  The kids were so excited!  It was all I could do to keep them in the house and dry before I dropped my 2nd grader and kindergartner off at school.  Back at home again my 2 year old sat with her face glued to the window and watched as the slushy rain turned to little balls of hail then to huge fluffy snow flakes.  It's only October!  I needed something toasty and since we just carved pumpkins last night ---> 

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Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna

What do you do when you have lots of fresh from the garden zucchini? Make zucchini lasagna!  I made this classic Italian dinner using sliced zucchini instead of noodles.  I had lots of fun experimenting to come up with this delicious little number.  It's perfect for late summer and early fall when zucchini are plentiful and even more fun if you're like me and have some deer hunter's in the family.  For this savory and filling meal of gluten free and, if you opt for no cheese, dairy free dinner I used deer burger seasoned to taste like a lean Italian sausage.   Or if you're fresh out of wild game you can just go ahead and use hamburger. The fun part about cooking from scratch is you can make it as involved or as simple as you like.  I love that this dish is so packed with flavor yet is so healthy too!  In my opinion, that's the only way to eat :) Hamburger Sausage:1 lb. organic hamburger2 tbsp. Italian seasoning mix1/2 tsp. garlic powder1/2 tsp. sea salt1/2 tsp. fennel seeds1/2 tsp. bay leaf flakes1/2 - 1 tsp. roasted red pepper flakesCombine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cook in large skillet until browned and cooked through.  Remove to a separate bowl. Preheat oven to 425. Now back into your hot skillet add:Lasagna2 medium zucchini, sliced length wise 1 tbsp. olive oil1 yellow onion, diced1 clove garlic1 heart of celery, chopped1 carrot, diced1/2 carton fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 6)salt and pepperSaute onions and garlic in olive oil until caramelized then add remaining veggies (except zucchini), salt and pepper and saute some more.  Turn heat off, return meat to the skillet, put a lid on and keep it warm. Since we're using zucchini in place of noodles we'll need something to hold our creation together.  So I decided to make a crust for the bottom of the pan as a foundation for this saucy lasagna.  Crust:2 cups cauliflower "rice"2 egg1 tsp. sea salt

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"Spaghetti" with Lemon Pepper Marinara and Herb & Veggie Meatballs

"Spaghetti" with Lemon Pepper Marinara and Herb & Veggie Meatballs

I never liked the term diet or the phrase, "I should really start doing that" (even though I am as guilty as any of saying it). However, I love new years resolutions.  I love the idea of having a fresh start, a whole new year and a new found resolve to make more of the coming year than I did of the last or to simply stay consistent with the things that make me happy.  So here's to new years resolutions and here's a delicious recipe that with start your year off healthy and satisfied.This spaghetti and meatballs redo is full of flavor.  The fresh lemony sauce with a kick of pepper is a perfect blanket for the slightly sweet flavor of the squash and topped with the herb and veggie stuffed meatballs adds even more layers of flavor and yum!

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Stuffed Baked Apples

Stuffed Baked Apples
 

 This is a camping favorite, wrapped in tin foil and set in the fire coals. It also is a yummy oven baked dish on any night. The apples are soft, but still with a slight crisp and the stuffing is caramelized and crunchy.  Yummy!

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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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