Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Choco-Peanut Crunch Laraballs

Peanut Butter Cup Laraballs!

These are a simple variation of the Brownie Bites.

1/2 c peanuts, roasted, unsalted
1/2 c dates
1/8-1/4 c cocoa, unsweetened
1-2 Tbsp CHIA SEEDS*
2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted peanuts)
*for less crunch use 1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp water
Combine everything with a food processor until well blended. Empty contents into large re-sealable plastic bag. Form into one inch balls. Enjoy!
If you're feeling WILD, just try eye-balling these quantities and see how it turns out! I'm sure it will be a SUCCESS!
The CHIA SEEDS are a new and unusual ingredient for a Laraball. They are tasteless and only provide the tiniest little crunch (like a raspberry seed, or the crunch you might notice when chewing a Fig Newton). Barely noticeable, AND SUPER nutritious!! = add as much in to your diet as possible! You can throw chia seeds into anything!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Do you ever remember a winter like this one?  62 today - really?!  It sure is great for runners, like me!  Are there wintry things you want to be doing, but haven't been able too?  A friend of mine's husband built an ice skating rink for their boys for this winter, and it hasn't gotten much use, bummer for them.  She IS a runner, so at least she is loving the random warm days!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Italian Fennel Salad for Cancer Prevention and More!

My brother-in-law, Alessandro, from Sicily made this fabulous salad as part of a huge, delicious Christmas dinner -- he is a talented chef with a lovely restaurant, Alessandro's in Geneva, Ohio.  Ever since...I have been craving this salad!  The thought of it makes my mouth water!  Finally made it today!

Along with turmeric, thyme, cumin, among others, FENNEL has been identified by the National Cancer Institute as having cancer-preventing activity.  Cumin and fennel contain TERPENOIDS, phytochemicals that may also help slow tumor growth, as well as help reduce cholesterol.

Italian Fennel and Orange Salad

Fennel bulb
2-3 oranges

Simply slice thinly, the white of the fennel and oranges, and toss with pepper and some vinegar. The further ahead of time you do it, the more all the flavors deepen, but you can really eat it right away! Add the greens as a pretty garnish, and enjoy!

If you don't have fennel, it's a yummy way to eat an orange on it's own. Also, the oranges, olive oil, salt, and pepper mixed with any other greens is also delightful!

STILL be sure to try it with the fennel as fennel is loaded with nutrients -- one being folate, that all-important vitamin for conception and early pregnancy, and speaking of MOMMIES and MENSTRUATING WOMEN - fennel may help with milk production, and gasiness in babies, and pain during menstruation.

Other spices found helpful to National Cancer Institute:

TURMERIC -- the anti-inflammatory Indian spice found in many curries and abundant in MUSTARD

THYME -- try Hearty "Turkey" Meatloaf


WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you like to cook with spices? What are your favorites? Do you know how they benefit your health, because which ever spice, it probably does!

Parfait for Today!

I enjoyed yesterday's parfait so well, I tried a new one today! I made PB&J Poppers with walnuts instead of peanuts, and I added some chia seeds!

So this is it!

1/2 c walnuts
1/3 c raisins (avoid Dole -- there is added sugar!)
1/8 c dried cherries (tell me if you find unsweetened!)
1-2 Tbsp chia seeds

Grind above ingredients with a food processor for 3-4 minutes, until well blended.

1/2 c non-dairy Greek yogurt

Top yogurt with 1-2 Tbsp of above mixture.
Add banana slices, about 1/2 a banana.

Top with a few more crumbles, and enjoy!

If you like this treat, you can check out this Choco-Candy Apple Pafrait!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  What is your favorite blog?  Do you write one that you want to share?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Easy Sandwich Snack!

Try this quick snack!
Simply chop half an avocado and spread it on your bread of choice -- whole grain!
Add generously good old-fashioned regular mustard!

Great with the roll-up (above is a piece of Multi-Grain Flatout!) heated 10-15 sec for a warm treat,
or by toasting a Whole Wheat Bagel Thin!

Multi-Grain Flatout bread is awesome!  Just 100 calories, 8 g fiber, 9 g protein, omega-3 fats, no saturated or trans fat, a huge variety of grains from bulgar to millet to rye to oats and more!

Enlisting help from the little ones increases the chance they'll eat it all up!

Toddler EATING TIP: Read them a book, reading another page with each eaten bite.
If there is a challenging food on the plate, a page is earned with a bite of that food.

For more Picky Eater Tips click HERE.

You likely know by now that AVOCADO is a HEALTHY FAT
full of FIBER (~10g per whole fruit - yes it's a fruit!) and 
They are among the HIGHEST fruit sources of vitamin E (an ANTIOXIDANT), folate (this is key for potential MOMMYS), potassium (higher levels in diet correlate with lower blood pressure), and magnesium.

Let's discuss MAGNESIUM tonight: it's important for having a healthy blood pressure, overall cardiovascular function, blood sugar control, bone health, and may be helpful with migraines!

Check out this comparison to butter and cheddar (UNhealthy fats).

This chart is from www.avocado.org/nutrition

For MORE avocado BENEFITS click HERE!

One more thing: MUSTARD!

Did you know it is healthy for you?  Did you know why?

Mustard is a RICH source of TURMERIC!

Top 3 Reasons TURMERIC (which contains CURCUMIN) is good for your health!
1. Powerful anti-inflammatory: this can help about every part/system of our bodies -- we're all inflamed :~
(this is a link to a nice summary of the research on Tumeric from University of Maryland Medical Center)

2. Powerful antioxidant ~ helpful in many ways,
including preventing a variety of cancers, aging, and more!

3. Makes platelets less likely to clump and clot (like CHOCOLATE and ASPIRIN!)

Ok, that's it for now, go enjoy a nice avocado and mustard roll-up now!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Can you replace other fats with avocado?  What creative ways can you think of to do this?

Apple Brownie Sandwich

First of all, thank you, Lisa, for your fabulous idea about Brownie Bites and Apple Sandwiches!

Yum! And believe it or not, I have a child who does not like apples, UNTIL now! I am teaching her to be open-minded about trying new things because a) of the health benefits -- this is actually convincing to her!, b) it is more fun to "like" things than not to!, and c) our taste preferences ACTUALLY change, and she has experienced this first hand :)

First make a batch of Brownie Bite Laraballs.

Then slices some apples, make some sandwiches, and enjoy!

Good luck seeing more than one sandwich all put together at once -- they'll be eaten pretty instantly! To me, they sort of taste like candy apples! Then I had another idea -- Choco-Candy Apple Parfaits! Check 'em out!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? What is your favorite fruit to combine with chocolate? Or are you like my hubby, and prefer (mostly) not to mess with your chocolate, and eat it plain?

Choco-Candy Apple Parfait!

THESE are awesome!

Thanks again to Lisa, for her fabulous idea about Brownie Bites and Apple Sandwiches!  It was from that idea that I got another idea!  Choco-CANDY APPLE Parfaits!  The apple sandwiches are delightful!  For kids, even though they think they're really cool, it can be just a little messy.

SO I thought of putting it all in a bowl with chopped apples, then I thought the creamy yogurt on top would be perfect!

Brownie Bites
Apples, chopped
Non-dairy yogurt, plain

Greek yogurt is so super creamy and rich that fat-free is about all you'll find!

Fill the bottom of the bowl with 1/2 c or so yogurt.
Cover with Brownie Bite crumble (maybe 1/8 c).
Add about 1/2 an apple chopped up.
Add another dopple of yogurt.
Sprinkle a bit more Brownie Bite crumble.
You can even add a piece of dark chocolate for fun!

The possibilities here are endless!
Try any Laraball flavor and any fruit!  Yum!

Chocolate Cherry Torte with mixed berries?
Skinny Mints and bananas?
Cranberry Confections with fresh cranberries?  ...might have to wait for Thanksgiving for this one!
Carrot Cake with bananas?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  What combination do you like best?  Have other ideas?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heavenly Hummus

This creamy hummus is a healthy dip that is always a hit!  SO nutritious with beans and garlic and tahini (this is sesame seed paste) -- a healthy fat!  A great option for parties!  Or it's a great way to get your kids and whole family to eat more veggies -- serve it with veggies before dinner when everyone is hungry and will eat anything (not that eating hummus requires any arm-twisting!)!

3 c garbanzo beans, drained (save juice, may be added for moistening of hummus)
2-4 Tbsp tahini (4 Tbsp = 1/4 c)
1/4 c lemon juice
1 t garlic, minced
reserved bean juice or water (up to 2 cups!)
1 T parsley, fresh, minced (optional)
Paprika (for appearance)

Combine beans, tahini, juice, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Sprinkle with paprika in serving dish; tastes great with low-fat Triscuits or fresh veggies!

Hummus is a super-cheap nutritious snack to make! Costco sometimes sells a super-huge can of garbanzo beans (108 oz!) for $3-4!  I haven't seen it in a while :( Maybe you will have better luck at your local Costco.

You can also try your hummus as a sandwich like THIS!

Costco also sells a large container of hummus that tastes EXACTLY like this authentic recipe! We buy it for our family often, in order to eat more hummus than we might if we only ate it homemade.

Another great product that I ate today was the best Tabouli -- it's from Costco! What a delicious bargain for a lovely prepared food made of all whole food ingredients (check out  list in the photo!)!  $3 for the big tub shown below!

Check out the fabulous Tabouli sandwich on whole wheat bread -- that would also be great with some hummus!  Yum!  Lots of fiber, and I love those flavors -- lemon and mint and tomatoes and pepper are my favorites!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you enjoy Middle Eastern foods? I have to thank Aladdin's Eatery for practically all my middle eastern food experience -- aside from hummus and tabouli! I probably had both of those foods there for the first time too!

COSTCO Deal on a Mini Food Chopper!

I keep it simple in the kitchen.  There are a few items though that I CAN'T DO WITHOUT.  Namely, this 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder by Cuisinart!  NOW there is an INSTANT REBATE!

There is good and bad news - mine died!  I have to say though, that this isn't the first small food processor that I have put to rest.  It's not really a bad thing -- it's like my mom and her treadmill -- she got a lower-end treadmill and I challenged her to wear it out!  So, the idea is I found it so useful that I used it until it stopped! We make A LOT of Laraballs!

AND Costco has a great RETURN policy!  They'll take back anything, and so I took my credit, and marched right over the the food equipment section and grabbed myself ANOTHER ONE!  And CURRENTLY there is a $10 INSTANT rebate (no paperwork -- $10 straight off your bill)!  SO, I on the trip, I basically got $10 and a NEW machine!  $30-10 = $20 for a great little piece of equipment!

You might want to call ahead (Costco Store Locator) to check on this instant rebate, but if you shop at the Costco in Mayfield, Ohio, as of yesterday, the deal was posted!  

Besides all of the following uses, it just has a few parts that are VERY EASY to CLEAN!

What can you use it for?

1. LARABALLS -- delicious, nutritious and EASY no-bake cookies with versatile flavors!

2. Baby Food -- you can blend up ANYTHING the rest of the family is having (after child's first birthday), from sub sandwiches (did this once when my oldest was a baby!) to eggplant Parmesan to beans and rice, and of course ANY fruit or veggie or grain or meat -- or a combo of a few!

(PURPLE Baby Food above: blueberries, edamame, and mango!)

Last night, I made a combination of baked apples, CARROT SOUP, broccoli, and cauliflower!  The thing is, from 12-24 months, kids can begin eating anything and they get pretty good at biting and chewing, but they get tired/bored.  With a big, ground-up meal, they can eat a lot more -- getting more nutrients so their bodies and minds can keep rapidly growing!

CLICK for some beginning foods that don't even require a food chopper!  5 QUICK BABY FOODS

3. Hummus  -- here is a recipe!

4. Guacamole -- try this simple QUICK recipe: an avocado, Tbsp salsa, and 1-2 tsp lime juice!
Adjust quantities to your own taste preferences!

5. Anything you need CHOPPED VEGGIES for, in my kitchen, especially ONIONS!

6. NUTS and OATS can be ground up to form versatile flour alternatives.

Hurry and buy your chopper now!  I hope you enjoy it as much as me, and start using it by making these yummy Cranberry Cookies!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  What is your favorite kitchen tool?  Do you have equipment you don't use?  Ever wear anything out?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Healthy Cranberry Cookies (Late-Night Dessert, or Breakfast!)

My kindergartner wanted to bake cookies the other day, SO I used the Cinnamon Cranberry Confections ingredients:

1/3 c walnuts
1/4 c almonds
1/3 c raisins
1/8 c dried cranberries
1/4 tsp cinnamon
PLUS 1/2 c rolled oats, cooked with water, in the microwave.

Blend all ingredients -- mixture may be more coarse than for "Laraballs".
Scoop around 12-16 dollops on to baking sheet -- I love my silicone baking sheets!
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
My daughter added 2 chocolate chips to each cookie!


THIS BATTER would also be an AWESOME breakfast!!! It is SO good! Don't be afraid to have a lick -- nothing in it needs to be cooked! Have as much as you want -- it's all nutritious!!

Get creative and I'm sure you could bake any of the Laraball recipes! It sure works for Cinnamon Crannbery Confections!

Trick Yourself into Eating Less!

Try a small handful of nuts or a slice of whole wheat bread or topped with avocado slices before dinner. You’ll stimulate cholecystokinin (CCK) production. CCK tells your brain you are full and slows down stomach emptying, keeping you full longer.

You will feel satisfied while eating less! As a bonus, these healthy fats clean and unclog your arteries by lowering your bad LDL cholesterol and raising your good HDL cholesterol!  Click here to see why else healthy fats are so cool!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Do you cook more or less on the weekend?  We go both ways, sometimes the work week gets so busy we don't get to cook as much as we like, other times, we take a break from cooking on the weekend, going for leftovers, out, or frozen options!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

8 Tricks/Tips for Picky Eaters

  1. Offer 2 or 3 healthy CHOICES -- this increases the likelihood that your child will eat!  As a bonus, you will builds his or her CONFIDENCE at the same time.
  2. Enlist little HELPERS for ANY of the steps in the food process -- there are so many chances: gardening or grocery shopping, cleaning fruits and veggies, chopping at your discretion!, cooking and baking!
  3. Always serve and require the child to taste a "THANK YOU PORTION".  Perhaps a bite per age, 2 bites for a 2 yr-old, etc.  It can take up to twenty "tries" before a person's taste preferences change.
  4. Be a good EXAMPLE -- this one is simple: EAT what you hope you're kids will!!  They love you and want to be like you, so they will follow suite whether or whether not you eat your spinach :)  I came across an interesting article about "Taste Psychology" that may be especially interesting to you if you may need to work on this tip!  Summer Tomato looks like a great website overall!
  5. Finger foods and dipping (Greek yogurt, homemade hummus low on spices) always go over well!
  6. Get CREATIVE with faces - animals - monsters - it's easy AND fun for everyone!
  7. Notice what your little one likes: flavor, texture, color, temperature, smells AND combine familiar with NEW!
  8. Sometimes FROZEN is FUN!  Below these foods are all listed!

100 DAYS OF REAL FOOD is another great WHOLE foods website/blog that has some other awesome suggestions to add to your tool box!  and some other terrific tools here!

This PURPLE BABY FOOD is simply a combination of the foods above in a food chopper: frozen blueberries, edamame beans, and a mango chunk or two!  My 18 mo-old ate it all up in a flash!  Here are some other BEGINNER BABY FOODS!

Frozen RAINBOW above:

Each are a great VALUE:

Super sweet organic white kernel frozen CORN by Bybee Foods, Costco.
Organic frozen RASPBERRIES from Cascadian Farm, Costco and other grocers.
Frozen shelled EDAMAME beans, Whole Food, and I think Trader Joe's.
Wyman's wild BLUEBERRIES, Costco and other grocers.
Frozen MANGO chunks (YUM!!), Trader Joe's.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Organic or conventional?  Fresh or frozen?  For me, if the price is right - organic for sure!  Fresh AND Frozen -- frozen is often even healthier!!

Athlinks: a Rad Results Record for Runners!

ATHLINKS is an awesome website for RUNNERS and other endurance athletes to keep track of ALL of their RESULTS in one place!  If the results of a race were ever published on the Internet, they can be included in your data!

It sorts your race results out different ways, so you can see your most RECENT races:

You can see your races divided up into different events and distances.

Here is my marathon history over the last 9 years:

As you can see, it provides your average time at a given distance, as well as indicating your personal record (PR).  For me, it was my most recent marathon in Houston!  I have a  big, fun post to do for that trip some day soon!

When you visit the site TODAY, you can "claim" your results.  To all you married women who have run races under another name, I know you'll be sure to search your MAIDEN name too!  If you ever sign up with a nickname, such as Mike, and sometimes use Michael, check those different names as well.

If there are races that you recall completing, which aren't listed, you can find the event online and SUBMIT those results to be included in your summary as well.  Note that this process takes a few days.  If it's a recent race, give athlinks some time to get it posted.  Larger events tend to be added more quickly.

While runners are sure to enjoy this site, other endurance events may be listed as well.  Triathlons for one!

Something else on the site that is kinda cool is that it displays "rivals"...I haven't really looked much at mine, and at a glance no one is familiar, but perhaps you will see a familiar face that way!  I see potential to set up group runs, etc.!

If you think this is cool too, "like" the post on FB and help another runner to discover it's coolness!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Do you like to look at all the numbers, pace, lap times, place, ... are you a stats-kind of runner or more of a "Zen" athlete?  I definitely am interested in in all the numbers, but have been enjoying plenty of zen-runs in the last several months, and am loving it ...when I come back in though ...I'm eventually checking out all the stats!

Also, do you eat before you run in the morning?  If the answer is no, or if you want to see why your answer of yes, is a good one, read HERE to see the top 7 reasons!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2 Ingredients = 1 Warm "Comfort Food" Snack

Healthy Cinnamon Raisin Toast anyone?
So simple.
 Brings me back to my childhood!

Toasted Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread + Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
Cinnamon Raisin Toast like my mommy loves!

ONLY this is the nutritionized (word?!) version!

Various sprouted grains are somehow combined, along with some salt, yeast, and gluten (not a gluten-free food!) to make this delicious "Ezekiel bread" of the brand name Food for Life.

You can see there is nothing artificial in there, no added sweeteners, no chemicals, no preservatives... practically a "whole food" or "real food"! Keep in mind, calories, fiber, and protein are similar to that of your average 100% whole wheat bread, most of which are also pretty healthy choices, assuming you select 100% WHOLE grain bread!

BUT this is CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD! There used to be a great whole grain cinnamon swirl something bread out there, by ...I can't remember the brand, it was SO yummy! But I guess there weren't enough other people who shared my opinion, so it soon vanished from grocery shelves. THIS is a great replacement!!

I buy this bread at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I store it frozen and always toast it before I eat it. It also tastes great with natural peanut butter or almond butter. You could always try this bread with the oldie but goodie PB and Banana Sandwiches!

EARTH BALANCE Natural Buttery Spread is a HEALTHY FAT and a perfect alternative to butter (because it doesn't have any fat with a  face -- animal fat) and margarine (because there aren't any partially or fully hydrogenated oils)!  AND it TASTES yummy!  Check out the ingredients and here is a link to the Earth Balance website.

Hope you enjoy!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, or some other natural foods store? Do you have favorite products you get just from there? Ezekiel bread is one of those products for me!

If you enjoyed this or another post, "like" the link on Facebook, or share it with a friend, or "like" the Facebook fresh-you page to help me help others become healthier inside and out!

Monday, January 23, 2012

4-Ingredient Chocolatey Goodness

My five year-old who would say (if asked) that she doesn't like yogurt EXCEPT for CHOCOLATEY GOODNESS!
UPDATE: she is 10 now, and she still LOVES chocolatey goodness! Now she only mixes bananas and cocoa!

Midnight snack?  Breakfast?  Lunch?  You choose!

No blender, chopper, oven, or microwave needed.

Chocolatey Goodness

2 bananas
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa (more if you love chocolate!)*
Click here for Benefits of Chocolate and here for Make Sure You Get the MOST out of Your Chocolate!
1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Dash of unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional)

Mash bananas with a fork and combine with cocoa and chia seeds until smooth, and enjoy!
*1 tsp of cocoa per banana is a great ratio.

For SUPER-SMOOTH texture, put everything in a food processor for just a quick spin!  Makes a great Healthy FRUIT DIP!
You can top with some chocolate nibs or a few chocolate chips for fun!
If you're a coconut person, try swirling in unsweetened coconut!

I used to use Greek yogurt,
so you could try adding some non-diary yogurt if you wish.

Bananas add SWEETNESS without any added sugar! 

UPDATE: plain yogurt and plain kefir were about the last animal-based foods that I ever recommended, BUT DO NOT ANYMORE. However, I am hopeful that non-dairy versions provide the same benefits, as the benefits come from the bacteria that is used in production.

Greek yogurt is awesomely creamy! The unique health benefits of regular and Greek yogurt come from the PROBIOTICS they contain (this is also why kefir is awesome -- check out the health benefits HERE!...while at this link, you can read about chia's awesomeness too!) If you haven't already read about how great chocolate is for HEALTH and HAPPINESS, click HERE! Chia seeds are an ancient superfood that adds a teeny, tiny crunch and MEGA nutrient boost with every scoop!

Here is another way to try non-dairy Greek yogurt!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Are you a "coconut person" or not?  I didn't used to like it, but through the years it has grown on me!  I like how it feels to chomp into it!


CHOCOLATE EATING TIPS to get the most out of your sweets (Health and Happiness Benefits of Chocolate, Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate)
  1. Choose DARK chocolate as it contains much greater quantities of the beneficial flavonoids.
  2. Replace other less healthy treats with DARK chocolate, rather than just adding it to your diet.
  3. Don't eat your chocolate with milk, -- TEAR! I love milk with chocolate! --research shows that milk may decrease your absorption of the healthy antioxidants contained in chocolate!
  4. Know your labels -- avoid MILK fat, milk butter, in the ingredients list, as well as sugar, by many names, and lots of added ingredients.
  5. Look for the highest content of cocoa, though the higher % makes for more bitter candy (65% or more is a good rule).
  6. Regarding fat, opt for cocoa butter in the ingredients list. This is a saturated fat, however it is in the form of stearic acid, which acts more like a monounsaturated fat than a saturated fat, ...as in not affecting cholesterol the way saturated fat normally raises cholesterol levels.
  7. Benefits of chocolate are seen in as little as 0.5-1 oz a few times per week!
  8. Unsweetened cocoa is a wonderful option as it is power packed with heart-healthy flavonoids!
For some chocolatey recipes: try Chocolatey Oatmeal, 5-minute Brownies, Chocolate Berry Smoothie (add 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa to 3-Ingredient Super Shake), Skinny Mints, or Chocolate Cherry Torte Laraballs!

Also, visit www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com for some great treats! You can see some of my favorites HERE!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you like dark or milk or white chocolate best? "Like" my Facebook page HERE or write a comment here for a chance to win a batch of Laraballs! My first contest! We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hearty "Turkey" Meatloaf

This one we have been making for years, slowly adapted from a recipe my aunt and uncle made for us when I was pregnant with our almost 6 yr-old! Back then, I was pretty inexperienced with cooking, so if you're in that boat, have NO FEAR!  SO here it is!

Hearty "Turkey" Meatloaf

2 onions, large, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme

1 lb spinach
1 c ground lentils
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp tomato paste
¼ c Worcestershire sauce
10 slices whole wheat bread, toasted, ripped in pieces
¼ c chia seeds

¼ c + 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed½ c warm water
ketchup (optional)

*Cook 1 cup lentils 20 min, combine with Italian seasoning, chop in food processor until it appears like "ground meat", adding 2 Tbsp flaxseed and
½ c warm water. Add more water as necessary.

Sauté onions and red pepper with pepper, and thyme for a few min. Add spinach, cook few more min. Add Worcestershire and tomato paste; mix well. Let mixture cool. Add ground lentils, bread, chia, and flax; mix well. Add up to 1.5 c water, so it is nice and moist. Smash into 9 x 13” rectangular glass pan (don't need to grease). Spread ketchup on top. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Top 3 Reasons I HEART Chocolate!

Why is Chocolate SO Crazy Cool?!

1. Chocolate LIFTS OUR MOOD, makes us feel better, makes us HAPPY!!!  

We all knew this right!? -- there are actually several chemicals in chocolate responsible for its remarkable effects on our mood!
  1. THEOBROMINE -- releases pleasurable endorphins and potentiates dopamine's action (DOPAMINE is associated with sexual arousal and pleasure) -- response to chocolate is similar to what happens physiologically when people are infatuated or fall in LOVE!
  2. It also contains chemicals affect the same pathway (CANNABINOID) that marijuana does -- providing feelings of ELATION and EXHILARATION!
  3. It ALSO boosts SEROTONIN levels! PAXIL, ZOLOFT, and PROZAC are all antidepressant drugs that act to raise serotonin levels!

2. Chocolate is Beneficial to Our OVERALL HEALTH, including Cancer Prevention

  • Abundance of Antioxidants (from the phytochemicals in chocolate called Flavonoids) -- reduce ongoing cellular and arterial damage from oxidation
  • Lower levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP is a marker of inflammation)
  • Reduce cellular damage that can spur tumor growth
  • Lower blood pressure -- REDUCING RISK for many health problems from diabetes to dementia
  • Improved blood flow to the BRAIN -- improves MENTAL FUNCTION!

3. HEART Health -- this is a big one! There are so many ways that cocoa and dark chocolate help you keep a healthy heart, including mega antioxidant activity and lowering your blood pressure! READ on here to find out all about how CHOCOLATE HELPS YOUR HEART!

Anything that can help you be healthier is worth a try right?! And we're talking about CHOCOLATE!!

Now, if you want to get the full benefit, be sure to check out these CHOCOLATE EATING TIPS!

Here are some chocolatey recipes to try!

Chocolatey Oatmeal, 5-minute Brownies, Chocolate Berry Smoothie (add 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa to 3-Ingredient Super Shake), Skinny Mints, or Chocolate Cherry Torte Laraballs!

Also, visit www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com for some great treats! You can see some of my favorites HERE!

Each time you "like" a picture, post, or recipe or my FB page, you help someone else to discover my site and learn from me, so you can help me help another person to become healthier AND happier!  Thanks for sharing!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  What is your favorite form of chocolate?  bars, desserts, dips, any way!, ice cream...


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