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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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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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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Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Having things prepped and ready to just grab out of the fridge, freezer, or pantry is so essential when you eat a clean, preservative free diet. One of the best ways to naturally preserve food, especially all the fresh summer produce, is by pickling them. This simple recipe can be tossed together into a jar and set in the fridge to use whenever you need a kick of tart pink goodness!

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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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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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Chickpea & Spinach Salad

Chickpea & Spinach Salad

Chickpeas, spinach, some spiral cut carrots, sliced purple onion, chopped almonds, orange segments, and a simple dressing makes this salad...well, simple...and kind of addictive! It's so easy to keep munching on it and goes great with almost any dinner. Add some grilled chicken strips to turn it into a light dinner or just as is for lunch. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) have a great creamy texture and are really filling. If you're like me and love salad but no matter how much you pile on you're still not full, then this legume should be your go-to. Adding chickpeas to salads will help you feel full and satisfied, not to mention adding lots of extra vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. This is also a great side to bring to a get together because the dressing it already on top...and because it looks so pretty! The dressing won't make it soggy either so it's okay to sit in the fridge for a couple days once it's dressed.

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Warm Italian Vegetable Salad

Warm Italian Vegetable Salad

 

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Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Quinoa & Roasted Vegetable Salad

 

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What Are Fermented Vegetables & How To Make Them

What Are Fermented Vegetables & How To Make Them

I was never a huge fan of sauerkraut, and the closest I'd ever come to eating fermented vegetables were pickles. Then I found out some incredible health benefits to eating these sour veggies. I've already tried my hand at homemade Greek yogurt and dairy free coconut yogurt/kefir, but for whatever reason I was worried about attempting fermented vegetables.

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Fresh Fiesta Salad & Salsa Dressing

Fresh Fiesta Salad & Salsa Dressing

  I love summer rain storms. They don't roll around often enough where I'm at, but when they do it's like heaven. In fact, I'm almost certain heaven smells like a summer rain. I take a deep breath and feel re-energized despite the sleepless night of a baby who's teething and an early morning because the kids want to find a good spot to watch the parade. Now that the blazing sun has evaporated any traces of the curling clouds and it's cooling rain and we're all tired from the parade starting 20 minutes late, I'm in need of another pick-me-up. Instead of caffeine or sugar I choose to nourish myself with fresh from the garden veggies. 

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Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

 I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco) Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.Serves 4Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges1 green onion, chopped3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or tornRosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing1 tbsp. raw honey1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1/8 tsp. sea saltpinch black pepper1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

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Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Plum Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

 The first little sunburn of the year after an afternoon playing at the park reminds me that spring is coming to an end and summer is almost here. It also reminded me of this time a year ago, right after Miah was released from Primary Children's Hospital for Celiac crisis. They had just removed the PICC line that had been sending nutrients straight into her veins and she was finally gaining weight and eating again. My sweet neighbor at the time, Guilma - who also happened to be a chef and mother of a child with Crohn's disease - invited us over for a tea party and to teach me how to make some yummy gluten free dishes. She walked me through making tapioca rolls and spring rolls. We ate them all as we sipped raspberry tea sweetened with big globs of honey.  

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Thai Coconut Carrot and Corn Soup (Gluten Free)

Thai Coconut Carrot and Corn Soup (Gluten Free)

 

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Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

 Eating with the seasons doesn't just save you money, it's good for you too. There are lots of yummy springtime fruits and veggies that I personally am going to start enjoying right now! Lemons, cherries, peas, green onions, and fresh herbs are all combined with warm toasted quinoa, cooked in broth for a flavorful, light, healthy, gluten free, yummy salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This is perfect for your first barbeque of the season, Easter dinner, a get together, or whenever and since it tastes just as good warm or cold it's great to eat for lunch the next day. 

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Swiss Chard Citrus Salad (Gluten Free)

Swiss Chard Citrus Salad (Gluten Free)

  Staying on a budget while feeding an entire family healthy, gluten-free food is an art form. Okay, maybe more like a necessary obsession. I've found that the most convenient and inexpensive way to get quality, organic produce is from my local farmer's market or a food co-op where I can contribute a certain amount and then go pick up a big basket of fruits and vegetables at the end of the week. The co-op option is great, especially in the winter months. It's also pretty fun since I never know what surprises I'll find in my basket.

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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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{Homemade} Gluten Free Granola Bars

{Homemade} Gluten Free Granola Bars
 

You know what the worst part about feeding my entire family gluten free and as organic and chemical free as possible? The COST! $6 for a box of 5 gluten free snack bars?! Really?! So yes, making my own snacks from scratch does take up some of my time, but no more time than it'd take to make a batch of cookies, plus it saves me $$$ - like $.25 for .$50 per bar and I know exactly what's in them. So I take the time, and you know what? It's worth it. This recipe makes approximately 16 bars and the variations are endless.

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Sweet & Tangy Roasted Vegetable Side

Sweet & Tangy Roasted Vegetable Side
 This dish is a perfect veggie side to your favorite main course. Plus, it also uses that yummy {Homemade} Balsamic Vinaigrette from the other day.  So go ahead and just double or triple the recipe and make a whole bottle of it.  It's simple, healthy and good on just about anything.  This easy roasted vegetable side uses good old brussel sprouts, some mini sweet red peppers and multi-colored carrots. All the colors add lots of extra vitamins and nutrients so it's important not to over roast these babies so you keep all that color and just a little crispness.   Sweet & Tangy Roasted Vegetable Side 1/2 lb. brussel sprouts, washed and halved if you like1/4 lb. mini sweet red peppers, stems removed and quartered lengthwise 4-6 multi-colored carrots (red, orange and yellow), washed, halved or quartered and cut into 2 inch sticks1 clove garlic, minced1 shallot, chopped3-4 fresh basil leaves, roughly choppedSea salt and pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette:1/4 cup balsamic vinegar1.5-2 tbsp. real maple syrup (I like this a little sweeter)1 Tbsp. coconut oil (softened) Prepare the veggies accordingly and preheat the oven to 425.  Toss brussel sprouts, peppers, carrots, garlic, shallot and a generously dust with salt and pepper. Pour combined balsamic vinaigrette over and toss to coat.  Spread everything out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are browned and soft enough for your liking. Remove from oven and scoop into a serving dish.   Enjoy!
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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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