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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Baked Pears With Orange Caramel Sauce

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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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Lemon Almond Muffins



 
Muffins were always a regular snack or dinner side at my house growing up. I mean, how can you not love sweet little mounds of bread. Even though my family doesn't do refined wheat, that doesn't mean I still can't share my love of muffins with my family. So here's some gluten free after school snacks, grab-and-go breakfast, dessert in the kiddos lunch box, or side to a light dinner. As a family we go through a lot of eggs. So whenever possible I like to leave out the eggs in my baked goods so I can save them for things like Bacon Broccoli Quiche  or in bread that does need them like {Homemade} Sandwich Bread. These muffins aren't missing any protein though since I used a garbanzo bean flour blend. They are sweet, light, and fluffy and you probably wouldn't even guess they were eggless, gluten free, and refined sugar free. 

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{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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Guest — Dakota Lavine
bookmarked!!, I like your web site!
Saturday, 19 March 2016 06:39
Guest — Melissa
Glad you like it!
Saturday, 26 March 2016 04:19
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Banana Oatmeal Muffins (gluten free)

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How To Cook The Perfect Spaghetti Squash

 
If you haven't figured out how awesome spaghetti squash is, now is the time. If you want or need to eat gluten free, are following the Paleo or Fodmap diet, or just want to eat healthier in general, the trusty spaghetti squash is your friend. Once cooked it comes out like...well, spaghetti noodles. Not only are you upping your vegetable intake, but a spaghetti squash in season will probably be cheaper than a box of gluten free noodles (yay!)

Funny enough, most of the time I hear the reason people don't eat more of this amazing squash is because they're not really sure how to prepare it. Yes, I've watched the tutorials too on how to cook one, but it wasn't until I accidently did it different that it turned out perfect and delicious. Now I prepare it like this all the time. 
How did it happen, you ask? Well, it all started a few years back when I tried cooking my first spaghetti squash to use in place of pasta. I may have skimmed the how-to a little too quickly that said I was supposed to cook the squash face down. I cooked it face up. After painstakingly scraping the tasteless, dried squash noodles from the skins I decided that next time I would add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. So I did. And that turned out much better. Then one day when I was distracted with nerf gun projectiles and the endless struggle to find the matching Barbie shoe, I accidently set the oven hotter than usual. Halfway through cooking I realized my mistake and to alleviate the possibility of dried out squash noodles again, I turned it face down and lowered the heat. And....it turned out to be perfectly roasted, flavorful al dente squash noodles! 
And the moral of the story is...sometimes an accidentally mess up isn't a mess up at all, but the path to the perfection who've been seeking. (Pretty deep, I know.) Here's how to cook the perfect spaghetti squash...

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{Homemade} GF Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


Since making my kitchen 100% gluten free there are a few things that my kids (and by my kids I mean ME) have not been willing to let go of, namely yummy breads! This will be the first of several yummy and healthy breads in the Food L'amor GF Baking Series. After lots of trial and error I've found that gluten free bread can taste amazing and doesn't have to be super fattening either! What?! This delicious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread will hit the spot during the holidays or freeze and save for any day. I used a light gluten free flour blend, dark chocolate chips, cut out the refined sugar and replaced it with less than half the amount of 100% pure organic maple syrup. Don't worry it will appease that sweet tooth and you'll get a healthy dose of dark chocolate in each bite!
F.Y.I - I always double this recipe to make two loafs since my family will take down the first loaf in a matter of minutes before it even cools!

Preheat oven to 350

2 eggs + 1 egg white
1/4 cup coconut oil, warm jar under hot tap water to liquify
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic pure maple syrup
1 - 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin

Combine wet ingredients in a bowl until well blended. In another bowl combine dry ingredients. You can make your own flour blend or use a store bought prepared flour blend. I've used both and it turns out good either way.)

Gluten Free Flour Blend:
3/4 cup brown rice flour or GF oat flour
1/4 cup potato flour
5 tbsp. + 1 tsp. tapioca flour

Combine the flour blend with...

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until well incorporated along with...
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips  *I may have used a little bit more than this just cause ;)

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Cinnamon Apple Crockpot Quinoa

 

I've been on a breakfast kick lately, but breakfast can get mundane with the same old things. So I like to switch it up. This healthy and delicious breakfast is super easy - as in throw it in the slow cooker the night before and forget about it, kind of easy.  This would be a great alternative to oatmeal. 

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Clean Eating Peanut Butter Cups


 

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Citrus Herb Brined Turkey


 
The holiday season calls for amazing food and plenty of it. I'm so thankful for good food and family to share it with. If you're in charge of dinner, the turkey needs to be the flavorful star of the evening. The best way I've found to get that amazing juicy flavor throughout is with a brine bath. According to Google...Brine (verb): to soak in or saturate with salty water

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Spiced Pear Pie with Hazelnut Crust


I have to say I find it funny when people say things like, "oh, I'm not a good cook", not because I don't believe them, but because I used to say the exact same thing. 

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Candied Orange Pecans

 

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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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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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Guest — Dedicated servers
This is a very easy recipe, but you do need a candy thermometer to make sure you get the mixture to the hard crack stage. If you w... Read More
Thursday, 27 July 2017 15:46
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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 hamburger
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning mix
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. bay leaf flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp. roasted red pepper flakes

Combine 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:

Lasagna
2 medium zucchini, sliced length wise 
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 heart of celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 carton fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 6)
salt and pepper

Saute 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 egg
1 tsp. sea salt

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Immune Booster Detox Smoothie

My CrossFit challenge is fast approaching the final challenge event and seeing the results from our 8 weeks of hard work. Finishing strong isn't just about what happens in the gym - diet is going to make a huge difference too. So I'm going to be doing lots of detox smoothies for the next week or so. Not only are smoothies great for weight-loss, but this one is also packed with immune boosting vitamins and minerals.

This bad boy is a kick of vitamins and body purifying good stuff! I used my juicer for the carrots and oranges, or if you don't have one you can buy a bottle of Simply Orange juice and pure carrot juice.

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Spiced Green Smoothie


We love the holidays don't we? The lights. The excitement. The food. Unfortunately, we live in a society that is pretty consumer driven with lots of preconceived notions about what you "have to have"  in order to experience the "perfect" holiday - Christmas or otherwise.

Well, I'm attempting to slow down. Keep things simple. Experience my children and family, remembering the real reason for the season, and enjoy this beautiful time of year for all it's worth.

I'm also trying to help my body do the same. Stress, refined sugars, and overeating can really put a lot of strain on our bodies. So, even though the weather outside is frightful, this Spiced Green Smoothie will be so delightful! (No? Doesn't work?) This smoothie is full of vitamins, protein, probiotics, fiber, and the spices of the season.

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Homemade Protein Powder {Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free}

 

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Guest — Karin
Hi Melissa! Great recipe, thank you! What's the point of the milk powder? Can I substitute it with 1 cup of fresh milk? I totall... Read More
Sunday, 25 June 2017 07:48
Guest — Jill
How many calories do you think this protein powder has?
Monday, 03 July 2017 22:57
Guest — Melissa
You know, I don't count calories. I hold the belief that if you're eating whole foods in moderate proportions that you don't need ... Read More
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 20:28
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Rosemary Hummus & snack platter

This is my kids favorite way to eat lunch.  Throw some food on a platter: pick, dip and eat!  I usually make this simple rosemary hummus to go along with the veggies and pita chips.  The fruit and cheese are just to round things out!

Rosemary Hummus:
1 can garbanzo beans (or any white beans you like), drained and rinsed
1 tbsp dried rosemary or 2-4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leafs stripped
1 clove garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything but olive oil in food processor and blend for a minute.  Then add oil a little at a time, blending as you go until everything is incorporated.  Salt and pepper.  To kick it up a notch, use crushed red pepper flakes instead of black pepper. That's it!  Serve with sliced celery, carrots, bell peppers, pita chips or tortilla chips.

* Beans kind of have it all.  Fiber, check.  Protein, check. Iron, vitamin B, antioxidants and other trace minerals.  Check.  Remember that obnoxious song you used to sing when you were a kid.  "Beans, beans, the magical fruit the more you eat. . ."  You probably know the rest, but as obnoxious as that song was it's remarkably accurate :) It's true that the more beans you eat "the better you feel."

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Melissa Moore 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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