Getting kids eat fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a bit challenging, but I believe these two dipping recipes will have them coming back for more. Keeping it simple and getting your little ones involved is the key. Whenever I pick up my grandkids the first thing that they ask me is, Gigi what are we making today? The second question is, Gigi what can I do to help? I noticed raising my boys, whatever they were a part of baking or cooking they would eat it all up.
This recipe is simple and will not take lots of time. You start with a skewer and their favorite fruit, cut up the fruit into bite sizes pieces, potatoes but big enough to place on the skewer. Allow them to pick which piece goes first. You can even talk about the health benefits of the fruit or where bananas truly come from. Now the dipping sauces:
Open up a container of plain yogurt. Chop up pieces of their favorite fruit. Add the fruit and yogurt in a bowl, drizzle with honey or maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir and let the kids spoon some over their fruit skewer.
Next the chocolate sauce, this can be done two ways, first the non dairy recipe:
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate bark
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Chop the chocolate and add it to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2 Pour the heavy whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup) and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds-1 minute. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over in the microwave.
3 Pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Start whisking slowly in the middle of the bowl, and continue whisking in one direction until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
4 Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before using as your dipping sauce.
Non Dairy Chocolate Sauce
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of non dairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of good quality cocoa powder
1. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, milk, and maple syrup. Stir and bring to a very gentle simmer.
2. Slowly whisk in the cocoa powder and continue to cook on a low simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Let cool, pour into a bowl and let the dipping commence. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
Chocolate Sauce ( Ganache)
8 ounces chopped dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1. Chop the chocolate and add it to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2. Pour the heavy whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup) and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds-1 minute. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over in the microwave.
3. Pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Start whisking slowly in the middle of the bowl, and continue whisking in one direction until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
4. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before using it to dip for it drizzle over your skewer.
Salads are what you make them, and if you are eating to boost energy and shed a few pounds, you may want to be more conscious of how you are making that ‘healthy salad”. Most people think to throw some lettuce in a bowl with a few tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and some type of dressing and you got yourself a healthy salad. Think again my friend. Don’t get me wrong, everything in that salad for the most part is good, but let’s look at it closer.
So, you are making a salad, most people go for just regular iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has no real nutritional value, just good ruffage. When picking lettuce the best rule of thumb, the darker the greens the more fiber, flavor and nutrients they will possess.
Now let’s talk about ingredients. If you are eating a salad as your main meal, which is a good idea, because you can incorporate, good protein, lots of fiber, good carbohydrates and good essential fatty acids all on one plate, if we are conscious of what ingredients you are choosing. A salad that will keep you energized and help you drop a few pounds, if eaten daily, with exercise and other healthy accompany meals would look something like this:
Green Avocado Salad
Choose 2 to 3 greens:
Mixed green Medley ( easier way to get several leafy green choices)
You can also add:
Cabbage or Radicchio
Choose 1 or 2 herbs:
Grains ( optional, but loaded with vegan protein and lots of fiber, just use a little, they are high in carbohydrates.)
Choose 1 grain:
Choose 1 to 2 proteins:
Organic Chicken ( grilled )
Salmon, steamed or grilled, high in protein and essential fatty acids
Chickpeas, vegan protein and fiber
Beans, such as lentils
LET THESE BE THE MOST IN YOUR SALAD, LOAD UP!
Healthy Fats, for crunch
Nuts and Seeds of all kind that you can consume:
Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds and Hemp Seeds .
Make your own and the healthiest dressings are one that are not creamy, but more in the vinaigrette family.
Simple and healthy dressings have these 4 key ingredients:
Acid~ Lemon Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar.
Today on my Facebook Live video, I talked about eating Antioxidant Powerhouse foods. Here’s the deal, we get these list of foods to eat, and then what? How do we convert them into delicious and balancing meals? Well no worries, I got you. Today I made a Spaghetti Squash Bowl using foods high in antioxidants. So, what’s an antioxidant?
“Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and teas.” Source: WEBMD.
I truly believe, our well being is in the foods we eat and drink. This recipe is loaded with vitamin C, E, beta carotene and flavonoids. It’s very simple, healthy and above all, super delicious! You can switch out some of the ingredients to truly make this recipe your own. Instead of lentils you can use chickpeas, instead of spaghetti squash, use butternut squash. The possibilities are endless. But, before we get into the recipe, let me share with you a list of delicious super antioxidant foods you might want to try incorporating in your menu this week and some reasons why you should eat them:
Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
Reduced cancer risk
Longer life span
Protection against heart disease and stroke
Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage Source: Dr. Ox
Antioxidant Powerhouse List:
Small Red Beans ( adzuki)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Spaghetti Squash Bowl Recipe
1 spaghetti squash
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 cup sprouted lentils
1 cup chopped kale
1 mini red, orange and yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbs honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped cherries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tsp orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice juice
salt salt and black pepper to taste
To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half.
Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
Meanwhile, sauté the chopped kale over a medium heat. Add a tbs of olive in a sauté and chopped kale, a little sea salt and stir. Cook the kale until it has withered just a bit, you want it to still have some crunch, so about 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. In another sauté pan, add the nuts, honey, paprika and a pinch of sea salt over a medium heat. Stir and allow the nuts and seeds to heat up, for about a minute, Remove from heat and add to a bowl, so they can harden.
Once the squash is done, remove with from the oven using oven mittens. Being to assemble the bowls, use a fork to remove most of the squash, add spaghetti squash to a bowl. Add a little olive to the spaghetti squash, then add the kale, chopped peppers, some of the nuts and seeds, set a few aside as a garnish, add the cherries, cranberries, fresh basil, and orange zest. Toss and drizzle some of the juice from the orange over everything and a little more olive oil, if desired. Add the mixture into the spaghetti squash bowls and garnish with the remaining nuts and seeds. Enjoy.
Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in. However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.
The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13 years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.
The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME. The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.
My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.
Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.
Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂
Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries
1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries
3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache
1 tbsp maple syrup
crushed pistachios and a black cherry
Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.
Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.
Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream
1 pear cut in half and seeds removed
Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.
whole coconut milk
1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears
1 tbs maple syrup
Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness. Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.
Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl. Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom. Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.
NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream
Last one, but oh so good. My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.
Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint
Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.
Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer. PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.
I love talking about food, nutrition, wellness and beauty. So, I thought that, I would share how my days usually go, that keeps me full of energy, balanced, looking and feeling my best. I learned a lot of this when I studied Holistic Nutrition and Medicine at Clayton College of Natural Health. How we break our fast, from the night before is very important . Eating a healthier, lighter diet and drinking plenty of fluids, helps cleanse and nourish the body gently, so you may have more energy and clarity throughout the day. What is happening, is we are flushing out built up mucous in the body, as we consume pure liquids, high fiber fruits and veggies, during the am.
Here is my sample of an Ideal Morning routine to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation, boost energy and jump start your day.
Wake up with the sun. Go to bed early enough to wake up without an alarm.
Sit quietly or lie up in bed, pray, meditate, deep breathing. Release any concerns or frustrations. Let things go. Visualize your day.
Pray, and I love reading my bible and other spiritual books.
Drink 2 cups of purified water with a squeeze of lemon.
Yoga and deep breathing for 20-30 minutes.
Eat 1 or 2 pieces of fruit.
Go for a vigorous morning walk or weight training 30 minutes
Get ready for my day.
Eat a whole grain breakfast, I love cooked oats or quinoa. Consume 30 – 60 minutes after the fruit.
Take my supplements.
In 1 or 2 hours, mid morning. a handful of nuts and/or seeds.
Now this depends upon any health issues you may have. So, ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER, BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW ROUTINE.
I am kidney transplant survivor and this works well for me, even when I have to p]0take medication.
I will share my Ideal Afternoon routine tomorrow, remember to always Set the Table with Love.
Well I rested for awhile until I was craving this amazing bagel from Einstein Brothers. They call it the Power Bagel. It is packed out with whole grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. I call it one of my favorites when I need some tasty protein. But since I am resting and doe not want to give Einstein 3.29 that is including the honey almond cream cheese, I will make my own. So, I got out of my pantry some seeds, nuts, dried fruit and went to town. What did I come up with this little recipe. My High Octane Banana Nut Bread. Okay this bread is packed out with EFAs, essential fatty acids, protein, high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C just to name a few. I also made a pecan honey cream cheese to go over top it, now this is not healthy, but boy was it good. Hope you will enjoy this Goodness on a plate.
High Octane Banana Nut Bread
1 stick butter, at room temperature( you will need some for your pan to grease it)
1 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour ( you will need a little of flour for your baking pan)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large very ripe bananas
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 large organic eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of flax seeds
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
Pecan Honey cream cheese spread, recipe follows
If you like your bread to have more seeds and nuts you can add a little more, but this recipe will fill your bread up with enough of each ingredient.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a rack on the middle shelf. Butter and flour a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas with a wooden spoon, you want to nice texture not real mushy.
In another large bowl, use a hand electric mixer or stand mixer to cream the 1/2 cup of butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in the mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and gently stir in pecans, almonds, seeds, cranberries. Pour the batter into the pan and put on a sheet tray.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice and spread pecan honey cream cheese on top (optional).
Pecan Honey Cream Cheese
4 oz. of cream cheese
3 tbs of honey to taste, you may use more or less
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve over top your bread.