Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Power Carob Bark

This recipe is brought to you by guest blogger and friend:

Amy Nichols – Owner/Baker
Healthy Grains Bakery

 I found this recipe online and fell in love with is the first time I made it! It is so yummy, quick, and versatile! The stars of the recipe are Carob Powder and Coconut Oil.

Carob powder has been given a bad rap as a chocolate substitute when it doesn’t taste like chocolate at all! Carob has a sweet, earthy flavor. Carob has some fantastic health benefits too! It can improve your digestion, has been found to be antiviral, and can even be used to treat diarrhea. Carob is a low glycemic, high fiber food and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and calcium! Because of carobs natural sweet flavor there is no need to add sugar to this recipe!

Coconut oil has had a bad reputation as well. It was labeled as bad for us because it is high in saturated fat. But the fat in coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid which has healthy qualities. Medium chain fatty acids are sent directly to our liver and converted into energy so they are not stored as fat! Coconut oils also has lauric acid which gives it anti viral, anti microbial properties.

Combine these two ingredients with your choice of add-ins and you get one powerful snack!

Power Carob Bark

1 cup Coconut Oil

¾ cup carob powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups add-ins*

Melt coconut oil in microwave on low. (Or melt in small saucepan on stove top over very low heat, stirring until melted)

Put carob powder in a bowl, stir in melted coconut oil until well blended. Stir in add-ins.

Pour onto waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Spread to desired thickness.

Freeze until firm. Break into pieces. Because coconut oil has a low melting point this bark should be kept in the freezer or refrigerator.

*Add-in options. You get to pick your favorite options! You can just choose one or any combination. For a thinner bark limit the total add-ins to one cup. For thicker bark bump it up to two cups total. Some of my favorites are: sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped cashews, unsweetened shredded coconut, raisins, chopped dried fruit, crisp rice cereal, hemp seeds, or cacao nibs. Let your imagination run wild!

Both carob powder and coconut oil can be found online if you local health food store does not carry them.

Score 1 for the health coach!

Of all the things I thought I would never hear come out of my husband’s mouth, requesting organic ANYTHING probably tops the list.  But that’s exactly what he did!  Evidently, the produce he had been picking out just wasn’t cutting it.  Well let me think… of course I will!!  Score for the health coach!

Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Mesclun isn’t the name of a plant, it’s a term for a mix of salad greens that are harvested and eaten together. The greens are sown close together and picked young, like spring mix.


  • mesclun greens
  • dried cranberries
  • candied walnuts or pecans
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette or cranberry vinaigrette
  • salt and pepper (optional)


Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl, adjusting portions to taste. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.

Happy Holidays!

‘Tis the season… for overeating!  This is such an exciting time of year.  There are plenty of opportunities to get together with family and friends.  If gift giving is included, you get to watch the recipient of your gifts’ face as they open it, and the FOOD!!!

I, for one, find it very easy to get caught in the moment and not take in to consideration the amount and quality of food that might find its way to my mouth.  Now I’m no scrooge, the holiday season shouldn’t be about resisting the urge to try a piece of your Grandma’s famous peanut brittle or your friends’ home-made cheesecake.  That would lead to a bad attitude and lots of resentment.  No thanks!

How about just planning ahead a bit and getting through the holidays without gaining a bunch of weight and fueling our bodies with high in fat, sugar and empty calorie foods.  Does that sound like a compromise?  Here are a few of my tips that have helped me out in the past.

  • First, if you know you’re going to a function that will most likely have all snack foods and desserts and not much of an option in foods with substance, eat before you go.  Eat a healthy meal that will leave you feeling satisfied so you won’t be as tempted to fill up on the sweet stuff.
  • If they have a fruit and veggie tray available, fill your plate with that first.  Then, if you absolutely can’t live without a macaroon, have one, not five.
  • Between get-together’s, focus on a clean, healthy diet to keep your body fueled and well-balanced.  Lots of water and plenty of exercise will compensate the good times that shouldn’t hinder your holiday season or your healthy eating habits.
  • Above all else, enjoying a splurge isn’t a deal breaker to healthy eating.  Just don’t make it a daily occurrence and you’ll be fine.  Enjoy the holidays, they only comes once a year!

Another great salad recipe!

A few changes…  I used Edamame instead of lima and also added red wine vinegar.

Black Bean-Quinoa Salad with Basil-Lemon Dressing
Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. Edamame makes a tasty substitute for lima beans in this recipe. For an attractive presentation, serve the salad on a bed of baby greens or spinach.

Cooking Light MARCH 2006

-Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 (14-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 (14-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
  • 4 cups chopped tomato (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained


Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat.

Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté tofu 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat; cool completely.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, basil, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Stir in quinoa.

Cook lima beans according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Cool completely. Add the lima beans, tofu, chopped tomato, green onions, chopped carrot, and black beans to quinoa mixture; stir gently to combine. Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Salad recipe

This salad is time-intensive but SO worth it!  I did add walnuts for more crunch.  Hope you like it!

Hearty Rice and Farro Salad


  • 1 cup red rice, available at most Whole Foods stores (you can also substitute wild rice)
  • 5 cups water
  • 6 oz. farro, available at most Whole Foods stores (you can also substitute wheat berry)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 small red onion, small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 celery stalk, small dice
  • 1 carrot, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Tbsp. arugula, chopped
  • 2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz. cranberries
  • 2 oz. Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Place red rice in a medium saucepan with 4 cups water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 to 35 minutes until tender. Drain and cover with cold water to cool rice. Drain again and place in large mixing bowl.

Place farro in a small saucepan with 1 cup water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to low boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 18 to 20 minutes until farro is tender. Drain and cover with cold water to cool farro. Drain again and place in mixing bowl with red rice. Stir to mix.

Place diced onion, red bell pepper, celery, carrot and garlic into the rice and farro mixture. Stir to mix. Add arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, cranberries and olives. Stir again to mix.

Add olive oil, balsamic, remaining 1 tsp. salt and goat cheese crumbles. Toss gently. Best if placed in a container, covered and refrigerated for 1 day before serving. This salad will keep for up to 3 days.

Soup recipe

This is a great recipe!  I used sweet potato instead of russet and added rosemary as well.  Enjoy!

Quick Fall Minestrone

Make the most of fall produce like butternut squash and kale in this hearty vegetarian soup. Pasta and beans make it especially filling.

-Cooking Light OCTOBER 2003

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup and 1 tablespoon cheese)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
  • 1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 1/2 minutes or until tender. Add broth and the next 7 ingredients (broth through salt); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Add kale, orzo, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving)

Calories: 212

Calories from fat: 21%

Fat: 5g

Saturated fat: 1.6g

Monounsaturated fat: 1g

Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2g

Protein: 9.6g

Carbohydrate: 36g

Fiber: 3.9g

Cholesterol: 5mg

Iron:  1.9mg

Sodium:  961mg

Calcium:  164mg


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