Simple ways to lead a healthy and nutritious life!

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The Best Darn Granola You’ll Ever Eat

Boxed breakfast cereal filled with sugar and artificial ingredients: MOVE OVER!  There’s a new kid on the breakfast block and this granola ain’t messing around!  I was blown away at the taste and how easy it was to make.  Plus, my kids absolutely LOVED it!  My son had some over steel cut oats and my daughter had a bowl of it with unsweetened almond milk.  SOOOOO GOOD 🙂


Now, I don’t know how school mornings go down in your house, but at mine they are hectic as can be (probably due to my lack of organization but that’s neither here nor there).  So anyway that can make the hustle and bustle of the morning less chaotic, I am all for.  This protein-packed breakfast is the ticket.  Pre-cook (or freshly cooked) gluten free oats, throw some berries on top with the granola and your kids will be thanking you in no time…and asking for more!!!

This recipe comes from the website Pastry Affair.  I made the granola vegan by subbing the honey with pure maple syrup and omitting the egg white.  By doing so, the granola came out without clumps since the egg acted as a binder which made for a messy granola since the quinoa is so small.  But that’s ok!! The taste was there and when you add it to milk or oatmeal it doesn’t really matter if there are cute little granola chunks.  By all means, use the egg if you wish for yours to look like the picture on the website.  Also, I didn’t read the directions very well and added the raisins in at the beginning.  I thought they were delicious that way!  🙂

Honey Almond Quinoa Granola From Pastry Affair:

Yields 5-6 cups

2 cups (180 grams) old-fashioned oats
1 cup (170 grams) quinoa, uncooked
1 cup (120 grams) sliced almonds
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup (78 ml) coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup (170 grams) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white (optional)*
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, quinoa, almonds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and egg white until uniform. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and stir until evenly coated.



Maple syrup and coconut oil

Maple syrup and coconut oil


Spread out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. If the egg white was omitted, stir halfway through baking; if not, do not stir the granola and leave it to set. Cool completely before storing. Stir in raisins.



Link to the site:  http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/honey-almond-quinoa-granola.html


Happy and HEALTHY eating!!



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Ch-Ch-Ch-CHIA Pudding!

Oh, chia seeds, how I love you! These little babies are packed with nutrients and are oh-so versatile.  I was floored when I learned that the little seeds that you spread on SpongeBob’s head to watch them grow are actually edible and even more impressed when I learned their nutrient content.  Who knew, right?! Here’s a little breakdown of their nutrients:

  • Rich in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, for skin health, cholesterol regulation, and immune function.
  • Rich in various powerful antioxidants that combat free radicals.
  • Provides potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and calcium, all of which are major minerals needed in the diet that work together closely for bone and blood health and electrolyte balance
  • Zinc, essential for growth and enzymatic actions in the body, as well as immune function
  • Protein, for forming and rebuilding body tissue
  • Fiber, for digestive health and cholesterol binding

Now that you know the reasons to eat chia seeds, there are many ways to add them into the diet.  A personal favorite is also the simplest application.  Add a couple tablespoons to a glass of filtered water (lemon or cucumber optional) give it a stir to let the chia seeds soak up some of the water and drink! Easy enough, right? I do have to mention that chia seeds have a tapioca type texture, meaning they absorb the liquid that they are in and puff up to a gelatinous little ball.  This brings me to my FAVORITE  use of chia seeds: PUDDING!! They are the perfect vessel to add to almond milk or coconut milk to make a creamy, filling dessert or breakfast.  I will provide some links and recipes to my personal favorites and a NEW chia pudding that I have developed today that I think is delicious.

This first one is a vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberry Chia Pudding from the website Hummusapien:


Next is a Gluten Free Easy Chia Pudding from the website Postmodern Hostess:


And the last one I will post is my newly developed Cacao Banana Coconut Chia Pudding made by ME 🙂

You will need

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (or almond milk, whatever your taste buds prefer)

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, or raw honey

1 organic banana, pureed

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tbsp. raw cacao powder

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl with a whisk.  I find that the cacao powder doesn’t mix well at first so make sure it is all well blended (this many take a minute).  Stick the bowl in the fridge, covered, mixing every 15-20 minutes during the first hour to ensure the mixture is “gelling” well together.  Keep refrigerated for 3-5 hours, or overnight, until the pudding reaches a thick consistency.  Spoon the pudding into bowls.  This is where you can add in toppings.  I find that these toppings go very well with the pudding, as well as adding more nutrients into the mix 🙂





  • Fresh cut fruit: more banana, mango, berries
  • Dried fruits
  • Hemps seeds
  • Almonds


What are some of your favorite chia pudding combinations? Let me know!

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All Things Ming! (And my favorite fried foods-BAKED!)

A few years back, my son and I were lucky enough to win an all expenses paid trip from Parent’s Magazine to our nation’s capitol to meet and judge a meal prepared by famous chefs Ming Tsai, Tom Colicchio, and two other James Beard Award Winning chefs.  This was also hosted by White House chef Sam Kass. It was an experience of a lifetime and it inspired my son’s love for cooking and food.  He was also quite the critic that night!! You can read more about our amazing trip here:  http://dc.eater.com/archives/2011/11/30/sam-kass-tom-colicchio-and-sam-kass-on-xxx-at-the-great-american-family-dinner-challenge.php#more   and here:  http://mariahinesrestaurants.com/the-great-american-family-dinner-challenge/ and here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-we-can-eat/post/tom-colicchio-snaped-to-reality-by-a-kindergartner/2011/11/30/gIQAsYCiDO_blog.html?wprss=all-we-can-eat




I was inspired to do a blog on my favorite fried foods -only baked- by my son’s favorite recipe in Ming’s cookbook “Simply Ming One-Pot Meals”.  It is a spicy fried chicken with crispy onion rings.  I, myself, am a lover of fried foods.  And although I ditched my cherished fryer years ago, I find myself craving a mozzarella stick or big ol onion ring every now and then.  So bring on the BAKED VERSION of these pub favorites!!

**Note** These recipes use breadcrumbs, flour, or panko as the breading but they can be made GLUTEN FREE by substituting the following in place of the bread or flour:  Ground polenta, rice flour, crushed potato chips, crushed brown rice cereal, homemade breadcrumbs made from GF bread, coconut flour, or almond meal**


The first is a family favorite, tried and true, loved by all.  This recipe is a baked mozzarella stick from the website Skinny Taste.

  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray

Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the
freezer until cheese is frozen. In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish.
In separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried
parsley. Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg,
then coat with the crumbs. Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with
wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a
must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden). When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil. Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the
mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of
your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an
additional 4 – 5 minutes watching them closely so they don’t melt.


My personal favorite: BAKED Zucchini Sticks from the King Arthur Flour website

Cut each zucchini into 3″ sticks about the diameter of your finger. Cutting each zuke into 9 sticks lengthwise, then cutting into 3″ lengths, works well. Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let them drain for 1 hour or longer. Rinse them thoroughly; you want to get rid of any excess salt. Then pat them dry.

Next up: the bread and cheese coating. But first, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.

Combine the following:

1 cup Panko bread crumbs scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs. Mix until thoroughly combined. Beat 2 large eggs; or pour 1/2 cup egg substitute into a dish. You’re going to dip each zucchini stick in the egg then roll it in the crumbs. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the sticks for about 12 minutes, until they’re starting to brown. Remove from the oven, and turn them over; you may actually need to do this one by one, or you may be able to turn several at a time using a spatula. Bake for an additional 12 to 16 minutes or so, until golden brown and crisp. Serve with your favorite dip! I like the bloomin onion sauce on the website- it’s delicious!


Baked Onion Rings adapted from Laa Loosh

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced and rings separated
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly mist with non-fat cooking spray.
  • Place panko onto baking sheet, and lightly mist bread crumbs with an olive oil mister. Then sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake, tossing around a few times to ensure even toasting, until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  •  Pour panko into a shallow bowl.
  • Place the flour and egg  in separate bowls as well.
  • Working one at a time, dip each onion ring in to the egg, shake off excess, then dip into flour and coat evenly. Now dip again into egg, gently shake off excess, and then coat with the panko breadcrumbs. Place onion ring onto prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining onion rings.
  • Place in oven and bake, flipping once, until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.


Happy and Healthy eating!!!


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Drink the Rainbow Smoothie


I whipped this bad boy up in my Nutribullet and MAN was it delicious! I had to post the recipe right away.  I usually use whatever I have left  in my kitchen to make my morning smoothies.  Some are winners and some, not so much.  The flavors are perfect and the nutrition benefits of this smoothie are plentiful!

Kim’s Drink the Rainbow Smoothie:

  • 1 ripe banana (wait until it has the brown flecks..I’ll explain why in a minute)
  • handful organic red grapes
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • handful frozen (or fresh) pomegranate seeds
  • handful organic mixed berries (I used raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • handful of mixed greens (I had baby kale and spinach in my fridge)
  • a few slices organic lemon, with peel
  • 1 tsp. spirulina powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds (or hemp or flax)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup liquid of your choice (coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk)

Blend in whatever kitchen appliance you have and ENJOY!!

Now to get to the wonderful benefits of each ingredient!

Bananas, as most of know, are fantastic sources of potassium, providing about 11% of the Daily Value.  Potassium in the body resides mostly in the cells where it protects intracellular water and also balances with sodium maintaining normal fluid function.  Potassium is also important to both cardiac and skeletal muscles where it regulates a number of muscular and nerve activities.  Along with reducing blood pressure and maintaining electrolyte balance, bananas are a quick way to get a ton of nutrients.  Now to get to those little brown flecks that appear when the banana ripens: those are called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and they are cancer fighting compounds that you can read more about here:  http://ezinearticles.com/?Anti-Cancer-Wonder-Fruit—Bananas&id=2895405

Red grapes are cancer fighters.  They contain a phytonutrient called resveratrol, a polyphenol, which stimulate protective enzymes.  These phytochemicals are known for their anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being great for heart health.

Peaches are rich in potassium and iron.  Iron is essential for blood health and cell formation.  They also contain a number of antioxidants that deter free radicals from wrecking havoc in the body.  These antioxidants are lutein, which is beneficial for eyesight, and zeaxanthin, which also protects the eyes from damaging free radicals.

Pomegranate arils, or seeds, are considered a superfood.  They are an excellent source of vitamin C (providing about 17% DV), vitamin E, and various minerals.  They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber, that helps regulate our digestive tract and aid in weight management.  These seeds are beneficial to the heart, lowering blood pressure, as well as increasing blood flow to the heart.  They have also been found to combat prostate cancer.  You can read more about these awesome seeds here: http://www.naturalnews.com/042282_pomegranates_history_superfood.html

Berries contain a substance called ellagic acid, which is thought to combat cellular changes that lead to cancer.  It is a powerful antioxidant.  They are high in vitamin C, which is beneficial in preventing the oxidation of the eyes (cataracts).  Berries also contain a large amount of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to our stool, decreasing constipation.

Greens pack a powerful punch.  Whether it be kale, spinach, or dandelion greens, you can be sure you are getting a ton of nutrients! Iceberg lettuce doesn’t make the cut here, people.  In fact, dark leafy greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there.  They contain a bunch of minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium), lutein and zeaxanthin as described above, and also provide B vitamins.

Lemons are powerful detoxifiers.  They contain flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants.  These antioxidants combat inflammatory issues that damage cell membranes and also boost the immune system.  If the lemon is organic, then the peel can be eaten as well and also has nutritional benefits.  The peel contains calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

Spirulina powder is a blue-green microalgae that contains essential amino acids, linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin K, and chlorophyll.  Spirulina boasts a 60% protein content.  You can read more about this awesome algae here: http://spirulina4nutrition.com/

Overall, this smoothie brings a lot to the table when it comes to nutrition! I think it’s delicious and I hope you do too! 🙂


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Lentils, and Quinoa, and Beans OH MY!

I have never been a big meat eater.  Something about ground beef always gave me the willies. It looked gross and smelled horrid.  As I grew older, I began to search for ways to get the protein our bodies need without the usual animal sources.  Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a meat eater tired of the same old dishes, you can be sure that you are getting a ton of nutrients with your meal with these meatless options!

Most Americans are becoming hip to the nasty secrets of the meat industry (and dairy, for that matter!).  Chickens with arsenic?  Pink Slime?  Not to mention their feed is entirely genetically modified.  No, thanks.   The big meatless winner here is quinoa.  Quinoa contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and an excellent choice to add to your next dish.  One cup of cooked quinoa boasts 18 grams of protein!  This is my personal favorite recipe to use quinoa: 


   Beans provide iron, protein, fiber, iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium.  There are so many different beans to try in different preparations and I am confident that you will enjoy each and every one of them!  My 6 year old daughter’s favorite bean dish is a black bean taco.  Beans with red onion and cilantro? Count us in!


Lentils are my latest craze.  I sprouted some and I was the only one in my family that liked the taste of the sprouted lentils.  Like quinoa, lentils pretty much absorb the flavor of whatever you are cooking it in.  It is very versatile.  Lentils have the same nutritional awesomeness as beans and are a great choice for burgers, tacos, and pretty much anything  else you wanted to turn it into!  I made the tacos the other day and they were DELISH! The other lentil recipe I am posting is in my “gotta make this” file but they look so good! Give ’em all a try and let me know what you think!  Happy and healthy eating!