Butternut Sage Soup with Toasted Pine Nuts

Happy Halloween everyone!  This holiday is so much fun with kids- the decorations, fall leaves and dressing up! It's the aftermath of Halloween that gets hairy though -the sugar crashed, sleep deprived kids the next day is what's really scary! So to help counteract the inevitable I always make a yummy and veggie filled soup to fill up on before the trick or treating begins.  We have a tradition of making our soup extra scary by turning it into "eyeball" soup! Just set a hard-boiled egg in the middle and an olive half on top! Healthy and simple.

This soup is perfect for any busy day since you do all your prep in the morning and then let it simmer in your slow cooker all day. You and your little monsters will love it!

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Guest — Nicole Callahan
Yummy I've never roasted the squash and onions before. I will need to try this. And I feel dumb but I've never known for sure what... Read More
Monday, 27 October 2014 03:50
Guest — Melissa
Thank you! Let me know what you think of the recipe.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 17:19
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Waldorf Salad with {Homemade} Raspberry Vinaigrette


Okay, seriously is it possible not to sneak the kids Halloween candy they raked in?  When there's so many things vying for your time and attention how do you find the time to exercise and make healthy home cooked meals?  Is it even possible with the approaching holidays?  Sure it is, said the girl who just ate her fourth peanut butter cup. :)  But really it is possible to stay in shape, eat healthy and still snatch a few fun sized goodies when the kids aren't looking.
How? Make it a priority and don't feel guilty if you fall a little short of your goal.  Just keep at it.  Here's what we do to keep us and our kiddos away from falling into sugar overload.  Let them pick out five of their favorite goodies then have them leave the rest out for the "switch witch". She'll take your candy, but she'll leave a cute little toy or game behind in its place. It's a tradition now and the kids never complain! 

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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Okay people we're officially on countdown to turkey day, and whether you're in charge of cooking the feast or not, this healthy pumpkin pecan pie is a must!  Not only is it gluten free, dairy free and delicious, but it also contain a fraction of the calories of your regular pumpkin pecan pie!
The best part is you get your pumpkin pecan fix without sacrificing all the progress you've made the whole year by blowing it in one sitting!  I've used lots of exclamation marks, but this is exciting!  And while I'm all excited about thanksgiving let me just say how thankful I am to you for visiting my little blog :)  I love sharing my healthy recipes and hope you enjoy them too.  I'd love to hear from you if you do.

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Guest — Melissa
I used a 9" pie pan. Let me know how it turns out ! Thanks
Friday, 14 November 2014 03:26
Guest — Kelli Hansen
I met you today on GTU. I did the wreath. Blendtec Kitchen Mill on Amazon is where we got our grinder. I am so thrilled to have m... Read More
Saturday, 22 November 2014 02:07
Guest — Melissa
It was so great to meet you as well! Thank you for the tip on the grinder, and let me know if you have any questions on any of the... Read More
Saturday, 22 November 2014 04:18
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Orange-Glazed Sweet Potatoes


We're taking back thanksgiving and making it not only taste incredibly festive and delicious, but good for you too! Here's a healthy and amazingly yummy must-have for thanksgiving this year.  These sweet potatoes, or yams if you prefer, are baked with healthy coconut oil and glazed in a honey orange sauce.  No marshmallows needed to make these taters shout "happy thanksgiving!" Serves 4-6

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Spinach Quinoa Salad with {Homemade} Balsamic Vinaigrette

 This little number is perfect for all these new years resolutions and eating smart.  This is a great lunch that is easy to pack to work or school and can be eaten warm or cold. 

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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 like
1/4 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 sticks
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
3-4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Sea salt and pepper
 
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5-2 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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Avocado Chicken Salad

 

Lunch is so hard for me. Oh, don't get me wrong I'm always hungry for lunch, but I usually end up alternating between staring into the fridge and pantry for a while trying to decide on what to have. The situation becomes even more frustrating if I'm out of the house running errands during lunch time. Having a child with a special diet means that we just don't eat out, order out, or pick up a pizza when we're in a rush and need sustenance. So this has become one of our go to quick lunch or dinner options. This recipe will feed 2-4 hungry people.

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Harvest Chicken Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dijon Dressing


Okay, I had a hard time naming this beauty. I wanted to call it Harvest Greens & Chicken Salad with Bacon, Toasted Pecans, Pomegranates, Apple, and Caramelized Onions with Sweet Garlic Balsamic Dijon Dressing....but it seemed a little long. Don't you think? This salad was so yummy I made it two nights in a row and no one even complained! It's hardy enough to stand alone as a meal or you could leave out the chicken and serve it as a side salad next to the turkey on Thanksgiving. It's a crowd pleaser so prepare to make a lot of it!

Harvest Chicken Salad

4-6 chicken breasts (about one per person)
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt & pepper
1 onion, yellow or purple works fine, thinly sliced
1 glove garlic, minced
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1 apple (I like Fuji or Gala), cored and cubed
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
handful pecans, toasted
crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Sweet Balsamic Dijon Dressing

1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Heat a large skillet. Lightly toast the pecans until they are warm and fragrant. Put them in a bowl for later and start cooking the bacon. Once the bacon is good and crispy, remove from pan to a paper towel. Drain off most of the bacon grease, leaving just a little bit in the pan to brown the chicken in. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss in the garlic along with chicken breasts. Once the chicken is browned and cooked through, pull them out of the pan and slice them into strips. Now toss the sliced onion into the hot pan (you may need to add a little olive oil). Turn on medium low and let them caramelize while you chop and prepare the rest of the salad. Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake until well mixed.

Now put it all together. Toss the lettuce, kale, apple, pomegranate seeds, toasted pecans, and bacon together. Place chicken strips and some caramelized onion on top and drizzle with the dressing. Sooo yummy!

Enjoy!

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Paleo Cinnamon Orange Pancakes


On most weekday mornings, breakfast at our house is a messy free for all. Yep, that's what happens most mornings. But sometimes - I single handedly (single handedly because I'm holding the baby in the other) make breakfast to a chorus of "I'm hungry! Is it ready yet?!" As I tenderly respond, "Relax! You'll get it when it's done!"

Just keeping it real.

I'm telling you how my hectic morning went to give you assurance that making a healthy breakfast, without using any prepackaged, preservative and who-knows-what-else filled mixes is possible and just as quick as the packaged stuff.  The patience part is something I'll have to get back to you about.
This will make about 6 pancakes. These guys are very filling. If you have leftovers, just put them in a baggy and freeze for later.

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Healthy {Homemade} Hot Cocoa

 


On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...a cup of {Homemade} Hot Cocoa! I love this time of year, but I will admit that in years past I've indulged in the excessive festive goodies that always abound during the holidays. Over the years I've become more aware and informed and consequently have started making some different choices in what I feed my family. Does that mean we can't enjoy some holiday treats? No way!!

This hot cocoa is made with unrefined coconut sugar, coconut milk and cacao (cocoa) powder. As a bonus the natural coconut oil from the sugar and milk will leave your lips super soft after each sip. Which may come in handy if you find yourself under the mistletoe (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

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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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Peanut Butter & Honey-Caramel Dipped Apples


I have a confession to make. I have owned a candy thermometer for close to 8 years and I've never used it...until now.  I had set out to make a gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free peanut butter fudge. After the fourth attempt I was ready to give up. Oh don't get me wrong it tasted great, but it was just too soft to call fudge.  Then I had a moment of inspiration while cutting an apple for my daughter and Peanut Butter & Honey-Caramel Dipped Apples were born!

If you're planning on entertaining guests, need a treat for the neighbors, or just want something to satisfy your sweet tooth that won't go against your New Years resolutions -- this is it! This clean-eating caramel is made with only THREE INGREDIENTS! A candy thermometer isn't absolutely necessary, but is very helpful if you have one.

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Jamaican Jerk Mahi Mahi with Coconut Quinoa

 

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


We were getting ready to go to grandma's 90th birthday party when I realized that there probably wouldn't be any gluten free treats available there for my daugher. So I found a big ripe banana in the basket of fruit in my pantry, some dark chocolate chips in my freezer, and came up with these delicious gluten free, egg free, paleo, refined sugar free AMAZING cookies!

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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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Gluten Free Cilantro Lime Coconut Quinoa

 

 "Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." - Marcus Aurelius 

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Poached Egg on Kale Caprese Salad

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Cajun Chicken Kabobs


The deep South is known for it's great barbecues and after my visit to the south recently, I got inspired to make some Cajun-style kabobs! This dinner was light, flavorful, fun (cause my kids love finger food), and yummy. Plus, this dinner just has summer written all over it! 

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce


Maybe it has something to do with sensory development or something, but seriously what is it about  finger foods and kids? I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering why my children opt to use their hands to eat instead of their forks (and I'm not just talking about my 1 year old). Most of the time I demand table manners and the use of modern eating utensils, but to curb whatever primal need they have to use their hands to eat, I make finger food. 

Over the last several years we've come a long way in teaching our children how to make good, healthy food choices. (Here is our family's 5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters). No more mystery meat chicken nuggets or bleached wheat flour pizza dripping with cheese. Now-a-days I make made-from-scratch, gluten free finger food that tastes good and is good for you too! Having fun eating it is a bonus ;)


 

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Chilled Tomato Basil & Roasted Squash Soup (Gluten Free)


Soup seems like a silly thing to make in the heat of the summer...but not this soup. This soup utilizes fresh vegetables from your summer garden. And the best part is, it can be served chilled. I know what you may be thinking, "Umm, I don't do cold soup." Well, I used to think the same thing. Then, as I was enjoying some catered appetizers at a wedding reception recently I picked up a little bowl of cool tomato basil soup. And what do you know? I really liked it!

So I set out to recreate my version of this cool summer soup that can also be served warm on a crisp fall night. The problem was I had eaten all but 4 of the fresh tomatoes I'd gotten from grandma's garden. As I paced around my kitchen, taking inventory of what I had to work with, I passed by for the upteenth time this week a huge banana squash that had been given to me. Hmmmm....this could work. I had been wondering how to get my kids to eat up this squash. Hiding it in a tasty soup could be just the trick. Turns out it, that was a good choice!

* If you don't have a banana squash you could also use any other year round squash like butternut or cushaw. Or if you're making this in the fall try pumpkin or acorn squash. No matter what squash you use, follow the same roasting directions.


I paired it up with some Seared Balsamic Chicken for a filling and healthy dinner. Yummy!

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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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