Tag Archives: healthy


Breakfast or Snack, Yes Please…

Ok. First off, I apologize, because it has been way too long since I have posted on here. Life and season have made things a little more hectic for me. I have definitely still been cooking, but just have not had time to share those delicious foods and meals with all of you. However, here are two goodies that will hopefully make up for it, and you will absolutely want to try these on your own. These are so quick and easy to whip up, and make for a great breakfast or snack.

Blueberry_toast Blueberry Toast:
This is Gluten Free toast, topped with Almond Butter, Fresh Blueberries, GF Granola, Coconut Flakes.
Peach_toast Peach Toast:
This is Gluten Free Toast, topped with Almond Butter, Fresh Peaches sauteed in coconut oil and cinnamon, GF Granola, Coconut Flakes and Bee Pollen.

Go ahead, try them for yourself and let me know what you think!! Don’t be afraid to get creative and come up with your own flavors as well. That is the fun in these. You can come up with all different creative tastes and flavors based on your likes. Just remember, keep it simple and clean. As always, eat well and be merry:)


My New Favorite Snack…

I have to confess…I have made these tasty little treats the past two days. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat them all myself. In fact, I barely ate any and gave them all away. Let’s just say, they are a big hit with all!!! Everyone loves these so much, that I decided to share the recipe with you. What are they, you ask? Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins. Mmmmmmm. Not only are there minimal ingredients in these “sweet” little treats, but they are super easy to throw together. So, let’s not waste anymore time, here is the recipe. As always, I don’t really measure and often stray slightly from the actual recipe, but I will give you the base along with some of my adaptations, and you can make whichever version you wish. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!! As always, eat well and be merry:)

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins (Adapted from Slimming Eats)


  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 large sweet potato, about 1 cup mashed
  • pumpkin puree*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8-10 dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 banana*
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • mini chocolate chips*
  • shredded coconut, unsweetened*

*These are optional.
**If you add in pumpkin, just make that combined with sweet potato equal about a cup or a little more


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Cook sweet potato in microwave until soft and cooked through. Remove, cut open and allow to cool slightly.
    3. Place oats, spices, baking powder, baking soda in a food processor (I use the NutriBullet) and pulse a few times. Pour in a mixing bowl.
    4. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the sweet potato and stir into the oat mixture.
    5. Add water and dates to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add in banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs, and pulse to combine mixture. Stir into the oat and sweet potato mixture until combined.
    6. Evenly spoon the mixture into a 24 mini muffin baking pan. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or coconut (or toppings of choice). Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    7. Enjoy

The Cultivating Cooking Queens #3…

Well, kind of…
As the season progressed and all of our schedules got a little more hectic, it became pretty challenging to find a time where everyone’s schedules aligned. So, sadly, our group did not meet nearly as often as we would have liked. However, we were always sharing the wonderful meals we were creating on our own via our GroupMe chat.
Our last ‘group’ meeting only included one other member, Shea, but we were graced with a special guest for the night, Tiff. It was very fun to hang out and chat as we prepared this delicious meal together. Our menu on this night included: steak rolls w/balsamic glaze, roasted sweet potatoes, and Brazilian cheese rolls.

This is long overdue, but be sure to check out the video here on YouTube.

Steak Rolls (adapted from Noreen Hiskey @PictureTheRecipe.com)


+ 1.5 – 2 lb skirt steak/flank steak/thinly sliced steak of choice (sirloin)
+ salt and pepper, to taste
+ 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
+ steak seasoning of choice (try to find salt free)
+ 1 tbsp olive oil

veggie filling:

+ 1 carrot
+ 1 red bell pepper
+ 1 zucchini squash
+ 1 yellow squash
+ 5-6 green onions
+ 2 cloves of garlic
+ 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning

balsamic glaze sauce (may want to double this, it is that good!!):

+ 2 tbsp butter
+ 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
+ 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
+ 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
+ 1/4 cup beef broth


+ cut the steak into 2-3 inch wide strips
+ season the steak with salt (if using), pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Let them sit and marinade for about 30 minutes
+ prepare the filling – chop up the veggies into matchsticks that are longer than the width of the steak. Peel and mince the garlic.
+ prepare the sauce – melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and saute for a minute or so, until they turn soft and translucent. Add the balsamic vinegar, syrup (if using) and beef stock and stir to mix well. Allow the sauce to come to a boil and reduce to almost half. You want it to thicken to an almost syrup-like consistency.
+ in another pan, add a little olive oil and briefly saute the garlic. Turn the heat up to high and add in all the veggies, except the green onions. Saute until just cooked through but still crispy. Season with the Italian herbs and transfer to a bowl.
+ assemble – take a strip of the marinated steak and lay it flat. Fill with a small handful of veggies (don’t forget to add the green onion). Roll the beef and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with all the pieces of steak.
+ heat a large skillet or grillpan over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to coat the pan. When hot, add the beef seam side down and pan fry for several minutes. Then turn, roll and cook on all sides. Cook until it reaches your desired doneness
+ remove the toothpick and serve with the balsamic glaze sauce


Brazilian Cheese Rolls


+ 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
+ 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
+ 1/4 cup olive oil
+ 2 cups plus 2 tbsp tapioca flour
+ 2 eggs
+ 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or other firm cheese


+ preheat oven to 350 degrees F
+ combine milk, butter and oil in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter. When it reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
+ stir in the tapioca flour. The mixture should be thick, sticky and stretchy.
+ stir in the eggs, one at a time, and the cheese. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan until it is cool enough to handle.
+ take heaping tablespoons of dough with tapioca-floured hands and roll into 1.5 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
+ bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm.



Overnight Oats – Individual Size Servings…

I know I’ve posted this one before, but this is a little bit of a different take on it. How many of you do not eat breakfast because you don’t think you have time in the morning? Well, that can all change with this wonderfully easy breakfast option.  There are so many endless possibilities of flavorful ingredients and different creative combinations that you will never get tired of this.  And on top of that, you can prepare it all the night before in under five minutes.  Top it all off with a little fresh fruit of choice and you will be happy for the rest of the morning.  There are two options to prepare: 1) mix everything you want in a bowl, and then fill each jar or 2) just add each ingredient to all of the jars you are going to use and build it as you go. The great thing about preparing it in these little jars, is that it is the perfect serving size, and can easily be taken and eaten on the go or at work. Go ahead and be creative with what you put in here, but if you need some ideas to get going, check out this previous post.  As always, eat well and be merry.



A very Happy New Year to you!!  How many of you have started this 2017 year off just like any other?  You’re making a resolution that is so far out there, you know you will never actually accomplish it.  Or it will only last for a week or two before you go back to your old ways. I want to encourage you to be different this year. Try to change the way you buy, prepare and eat food. Put a little more thought into the things you are buying. Read the labels. Try to eat as natural as possible, and prepare the food on your own as much as possible. I know it is not easy, but once you start eating like this, you will not want to go back. Check through my other blogs for some healthy ideas to get you started. Let’s make this year the best one yet. As always, eat well, be merry!!



I‘m sure as a child, there are many of you who upon hearing the word meatloaf cringed at the thought of having to eat it?  Well, I was one of those kids who loved meatloaf, and still do.  This recipe is one that I’ve adapted a bit from Miranda Lambert’s recipe that I found on Pinterest a while back.
This is a meal that you can’t be afraid to dig your hands into and get a little dirty as you prepare it.  If that’s not for you, then you probably want to stop right there, but just know that you are really missing out.  The nice thing about this is that it is very easy and quick to prepare.
Just so you know, this will look like enough food to feed an army; however, it is such a big hit that everyone will be going back for seconds, and before you know it, most of it will be gone.  If you are fortunate enough to have any leftovers, this is one of those foods that gets better as it sits in the fridge, and is even more delicious the next day. I’ve eaten it hot, cold, in sandwiches, and it never let’s me down.  This is one of those recipes that everyone will keep asking you to make again and again…


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Meatloaf Recipe
**note: I pretty much never measure any of this, but just eyeball it all as I throw it in**

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground sausage (you can play around with different flavors for a little variety in the overall taste, just remember to read the label and see what else is added in before you buy)
1 pack Glutino crackers (plain or multigrain work)
2 eggs
a few dashes of Worcestershire
1 tsp – 1 tbsp prepared mustard (can use different kinds to play with the flavor a little more)
dash of maple syrup
1/2- 1 whole finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
mushrooms, chopped
Large handful spinach, chopped

1 cup ketchup
maple syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together really well in a large bowl (don’t be afraid to dig in with your hands!).  Put in a large casserole and shape into a flatter but slightly rounded loaf.  Leave just a small amount of space around edges for uniform cooking. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Prepare the topping while the loaf is baking.  Blend together 1 cup of ketchup with a dash of maple syrup.
After the loaf is done baking, pour the grease out.  Spread the topping generously on the meat.  Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  If you want, you can broil it for the last 4-5 minutes to get the top nice and golden. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Enjoy!!!  As always, eat well and be merry…Mmmmm


A Healthy, Gluten Free Thanksgiving…

I host my family for Thanksgiving at my cabin.  We have been doing this for several years now, and  I love it for many reasons:
1.  I get to spend some quality time at my cabin, where it is so quiet and peaceful and a nice way to get away from the busy pace of life I am used to.
2.  All of my family is there.
3.  I make the menu and prepare the food.
All of these are wonderful things to be thankful for, but I think my favorite is the fact that I can prepare such a healthy menu for my family, and everybody enjoys it just as much as a traditional menu.  I love knowing that my family is getting a great meal, one that is healthy and represents what I stand for.  Mind you, there is a lot of hard work that goes in to me preparing this feast, as I make everything homemade, but in the end, it is so worth it.
Typically, I will chop and prepare as much as possible the night before (with the help of my sister), that way on Thanksgiving morning, it cuts back on time, and is mostly just putting everything together and cooking it.
The menu pretty much stays the same every year, with some minimal changes.  This year’s menu was:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Shaved Brussels Sprouts w/Manchego and Almonds
Fresh Cranberry Relish
Apple Shallot Roasted Turkey
Cider Gravy
Mashed Potatoes w/Parsnips & Chives
Wild Rice, Italian Sausage and Shiitake Stuffing
Coconut Cardamom Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Pumpkin Bread

Check back soon and I will tell you my favorite thing to do with my leftovers.  You will not want to miss these, as they may even be more delicious than the actual Thanksgiving meal.

Check out the Thanksgiving menu photos below.

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Pumpkin Granola…

Who doesn’t love pumpkin?  I am all about this wonderful flavor, and will eat it any time of the year.  However, many people tend to only think of pumpkin during this Fall season, when we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Maybe it’s the lure of pumpkin carving, Jack-o-lanterns, and pumpkin pie?  Did you know that pumpkin is a very nutrient-dense food?  It is full of many vitamins and minerals, all while being low in calories.  So, why not think about it all year?  I think you may reconsider the use of this delicious, plump, orange plant when you see this yummy pumpkin granola recipe.  I use this to top off all kinds of delicious foods, like crepes, waffles, fruit and yogurt bowls, and more.
This is just one of many ways to use pumpkin in your cooking.  There are so many other creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into any meal, including desserts, soups, salads and preserves.  Did you know that it can even be used as a substitute for butter? Try out this recipe, or feel free to share some of your own favorite pumpkin meals, recipes and foods.  Don’t forget to check out one of my favorite pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Waffles, from my earlier blog.

A friendly reminder…be careful when buying pumpkin.  Look for the 100% pumpkin, as pumpkin pie filling is often loaded with added sugars.

Read this article from Medical News Today to learn more about this great food.
As always, eat well and be merry!!

Pumpkin Granola Recipe:
3 cups oats
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 individual size cup of apple sauce (no added sugar)
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3-5 tsps. pumpkin pie spice (based on individual preference)
Add in options: dried cranberries, raisins, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, vanilla, pecans, walnuts

Mix everything together really well.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 70-80 minutes. Keep a careful eye on the granola, and stir a few times.  It will harden a bit as it cools. You will most likely also have to break it up once it cools down.  It may look burnt when done, but that is just from the pumpkin, molasses and spices.



Sweet Potato ‘Toast’…

First off, it’s been way too long!  Sadly, I have been super busy, traveling and on the road a lot lately for coaching, and have not been able to spend much time cooking and preparing meals on my own. Being on the road means a lot of meals in the hotel and out at restaurants, neither of which I am a big fan.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like to know exactly what I am eating and putting in my body, I prefer foods to be minimally processed, and on top of that, I eat gluten-free which makes it challenging at times and often leads to a lot of salads (I’ve learned to be very creative with these).
Needless to say, I was very excited to finally return to KC and be able to start cooking my own food again.  My love for food and trying to encourage others to really think about what they are eating often leads to really great conversations where I share some easy tips and recipes.  This time, however, I was fortunate to have a fellow coach share something new with me, and I wanted to share this with you, as it is super easy and delicious.
To make sweet potato toast:  slice a sweet potato in about 1/4″ pieces, toast on high in toaster until ‘cooked’ to desired doneness (it took me about 3 toasts), top with favorite ingredients. You can leave the skin on and should be certain that the slices are a uniform thickness for even toasting.  You will know it is ‘toasted’ when the outside starts to lightly brown and the center is soft when pierced with a fork.   I like mine to have a slight crunch to them, so I do not toast mine quite that long.  This time, I topped mine with an egg, some fresh spinach and a small sprinkle of cheese.  I had meant to add avocado, but never did, which I think would make it even more yummy.  Some other ideas would be to top with butter, a little butter and cinnamon, cream cheese, peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, butter and jam or anything else you would put on regular toast.
You might be asking yourself, why would I want to eat this when I can just have a piece of bread?  Well, unlike most bread, sweet potatoes are gluten-free, high in fiber, and are packed with many healthy micronutrients. Want to know more about the possible health benefits and nutritional value of a sweet potato? Click here to read a great article on Medical News Today.
Go ahead, give it a try and let me know what you think.  Please share some of your favorite creations you make using sweet potato toast.  Until next time…eat well and be merry!!



Sweet Potato 'Toast'

Sweet Potato ‘Toast’


These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…

I am not one to buy processed foods too often, as I very much prefer fresh items, however, sometimes it is good to have some things handy, especially with how much I am on the go. As I mentioned before, when I do buy these items, I read over the label very carefully. Obviously, it isn’t ever going to fully live up to the standards of what I would ideally like to see listed, but unless I am making it myself, it never really will.   Therefore, I go with what seems to be the best option in that category.  As I find different items and services that I like, I will share them with you.  Below are a few items I have recently found. Please note, that I am not endorsed by any of these companies. These are purely things I have found that I think others would also love. Please check them out and let me know what you think.  If you have any items you love and think I may enjoy, please be sure to share them.


Thrive Market:
This has become one of my new favorite places to buy foods and so much more online. Thrive is a socially conscious online store where you can find many great natural and organic products at wholesale pricing. Their values align with my own: “we believe you have a right to know what is in the food you eat every day.” And the best part of it all, you can shop from right at home on your computer or through their app, and it gets delivered right to your door. Their mission: “to make healthy living easy, affordable, and accessible for every American family.” They have screened all of their products and do not carry any GMO foods, they offer organic options, and are committed to sustainability as well as social justice. They offer so many great products, you can sort and refine your searches based on dietary needs and more, which makes the whole experience so easy. On top of this, the products they offer continue to grow, and they will have specials, deals and free gifts with certain purchases.

If you are interested in signing up and trying out Thrive, please use this link and you will get 15% off: http://thrv.me/a5qmET
For each friend that becomes a paying member, a membership is donated to a low-income family through their Thrive Gives initiative.


Canyon Bakehouse:
When I decided to go gluten free, bread was probably one of the toughest things to give up. There is nothing like a nice fresh piece of toast or a freshly baked baguette. Trying to find gluten free options that resemble the real thing was quite a challenge. Until very recently, I have mostly eaten Udi’s breads and bagels. I would prefer to make my own breads and bagels and find a great recipe with the most minimal of ingredients, but that has not quite happened yet due to time constraints. However, I have discovered this brand, and it has quickly become my favorite. My go-tos are the 7-Grain Bread and the Everything Bagels. These are probably the best tasting and closest to the real thing I have been able to find.


Simply Balanced 7-Grain Gluten Free Bread:
This was a recent accidental discovery.  I was at Target preparing to buy some Canyon Bakehouse bread because it was 20% or 25% off on the Cartwheel app, and right as I reached to grab it and toss it in my cart, I noticed this bread right next to it.  It too was on sale through the Cartwheel app, and after looking over the ingredient list, I decided to give it a try.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  It was very soft, toasted up well, and has a texture and flavor that could fool many people into believing it was real bread.


Eating Well Magazine
This is a great magazine for ideas and tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. There are great reads, along with many great recipes and meal plans.


Clean Eating Magazine
Clean eating is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle. If you are looking to change the way you eat, then this is a great magazine, as it will help you better understand this lifestyle approach to food and how to prepare it in order to eat foods that are as close to the way we gather them from nature. You will be able to find so many great tips, recipes and meal plans to guide you to a clean lifestyle.


Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars
These are great little bars to toss in a bag when traveling.  There are several flavors, but my favorites are the plain fig and the pomegranate.


This list is just a few of my favorite things.  Keep checking back for more items to be posted in the future.  As always, eat well and be merry!!