Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Awesome Avocados!

via Mark Hyman, MD: "Avocados, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female-they also resemble these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit."

Awesome Avocados!

If you know any person who suffers from dementia, or even someone who has a loved one who suffers from this condition, you will be happy to know that research out of Tufts University suggests that avocados are beneficial to brain health and function!  Plus, it's a healthy fat -- read a list of my top reasons to consume healthy fats!

Here are some easy way to try them!

Avocado and Mustard Roll-Up
Avocado and Crackers
Super-Easy Guacamole
Mexican Fiesta Bowl (2-Minute Friday Night Dinner)

A COLORFUL and tasty TOPPING for:

Healthy Mexican Lasagna
Chili (EASY chili recipe coming soon!)

Or even a DESSERT!

Power Pudding -- there are several flavors!
Try Chocolate Cherry Torte Mousse

Read about some other health benefits of avocados here!  For avocado ripening and storage check out #1 on Quick Tips for the Kitchen!

Or to try EGGPLANT and avocado together!  Try marinating some thick slices of eggplant in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and grilling. Top it with some fresh spinach and avocado slices -- delicious!  You can eat it just as it is or as a sandwich!

COMMENTS: Did you eat avocado as a kid?  I didn't ever eat it until I was an adult, and boy was I missing gout!  I remember my grandma liked guacamole, but I thought it looked gross!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 6 Ways to Race Your Best Marathon

If you're planning on running a half or full marathon this spring,
here are some things to think about so YOU CAN SUCCEED!

These tips for racing your best ALSO apply to training for the event!
Especially making sure you get enough sleep,
drinking and eating DURING your long runs
(those lasting longer than an hour), and paying attention to your PACE.

Good luck!  And if you are planning to run the marathon or half in Cleveland on May 20, REGISTER NOW because after tomorrow, the rates INCREASE!  Good luck!

 Top 6 Ways to Race Your Best for a Marathon

1) The conditions in Houston were PERFECT!  45 to 55 degree temps from start to finish, dry, with NO WIND, seriously! All you can ever hope for!!! Too bad we can't control this! But there is a good chance that this will describe the weather for the Cleveland Marathon. Check out the travel planner HERE!
Here is a suggestion you CAN control! Be RELAXED and CONFIDENT -- Remember that you've completed your training, so you are PREPARED!

2) I slept pretty well for 2 nights before the race.  For the record, it’s always said that if you don’t sleep well the night before a race (anxiousness is common), it’s ok, just rest up in the weeks before.  Anyway, I did get some good sleep Friday and Saturday night, since me, my mom, and my 18 mo-old son all went to bed at the same time (early!), in one hotel room.  Thank goodness he cooperated and was a good little sleeper!

3) I drank the whole cup (3-4 oz per water station) of Gatorade that was passed out at every station through the first 18 or 20 miles (after that you can’t absorb much, so no need to bother). Fluid stations are located at every second mile (as in mile 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.).

4) I took a gel every 5-6 miles, PLUS I ate half of a banana twice during the race -- providing some extra carb, PLUS a cool mental trick: I had the first one before the “big” hill of the course.  Houston is FLAT -- this hill was nothing; it was at mile 14 and once it was over I KNEW I was going to get my time!  What a great race it was!

5) I ran barefoot (nearly)!  My Vibram Five Fingers KSOs were fabulous!  It’s so cool to run so gracefully, softly, and speed up so gradually -- you have to run this way in these shoes OR you will be painfully pounding as you can imagine. When you run properly with these shoes -- magic!

Unfortunately, they are not for everybody, but if you're up for something new, I recommend giving them a try -- VERY GRADUALLY! I'll post more on barefoot running in the future :) Email me in the meantime if you are interested!



6a) I ran with a pace group, so I could make it a somewhat “Zen run”, as in I hardly looked at my watch, and when I did, I just kept doing what I was doing, rather than adjusting according to the “planned pace”.  I decided not to be afraid - either way, if I was going a little faster or slower than I hoped to, I would try to “just run”.  This is more or less how I trained for the past few months, but it felt great to actually do it in a marathon race!

6b) I ran with a pace group (3:30) that was slower than my goal time (sub-3:30), to ensure that I started out comfortably enough.  I stayed with them a long time, finally moving ahead around 19 or so.

6c) At around mile 20 or so, you can throw all caution in the wind -- it’s not like you’re going to really go too wild at this point, but you can speed up with no fear of “dying at the end” because you’re there!  It felt AMAZING to be able to really move at this point in the race!  

All 26 mile splits are going to be summed together to calculate your time. The beginning is always easy, so why not control the pace at the beginning, so it will ALSO feel EASY at the end!

(PR: 3:26 -- wahoo! chip time was behind the main clock)

After you finish a marathon, you can and should eat ANYTHING!!!
I happened to have Chipolte!

 And then we (especially Ben) enjoyed a fun visit at the Rainforest Cafe a few hours later!

Here is an awesome idea for quick refueling after any long run!

Plus, if you want to see the cool foods we had on our trip, click here for some FUN FOOD!
WANT TO SHARE? Have you ever had a race when you felt the "runner's high"? Have you ever experienced something similar in any other activity -- this feeling of FLOW? That's a post for another day, but share if you know what I am talking about!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Confetti Mashed Potatoes!

Savory Roasted Veggies AND Confetti Mashed Potatoes!

More than your average mashed potatoes!


3 zucchini
1 sweet potato
12 red potatoes
5 small onions
1 and 1/2 c grape tomatoes

pepper, to taste (or homemade Italian seasoning)
  • Chop veggies in large chunks.
  • In large bowl, combine all veggies and spices
  • Rosemary tastes great with roasted veggies, rosemary has awesome anti-inflammatory properties!
  • The quantities above are basically what I had and threw together.  With fewer veggies, you can fill a plastic bag to mix and coat all the veggies with a little water and spice.
  • Dump everything on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  • Spread out as well as you can -- but it's ok if it isn't one flat layer.
  • You can turn veggies half way through baking, for more browning, but it isn't necessary.
  • Bake at 375 for ~30 minutes.
  • Test with fork that largest pieces are tender.
  • Enjoy!

With leftovers, or for a little one, toss Savory Roasted Veggies into food processor. Blend until desired smoothness. You may add some milk if it seems dry, to increase creaminess. I like mine with a bit of chunkiness. To add some nutrition, as well as some crunch, add 1 c walnuts! Yum!

The unphotographed result is a lovely side dish of CONFETTI MASHED POTATOES!

They come out a light orange color, with tiny bits of a variety of colors (green, red, orange, etc) -- confetti!

This recipe makes a great BABY FOOD -- lots of nutrients, tastiness, and color! In fact, that's how I came up with it! I tend to throw anything into my food processor for my son (19 mos) to allow him to eat MORE. He is a great eater, but little ones just get bored sometimes and want to play!

DISTRACT YOUR CHILD: If you have trouble getting your child to eat, you can give them their own spoon, and a toy. Let them eat and play as they like, and you can give bites in their mouth all the while!

If you worry about your child eating TOO much, with this recipe, you'll know they are getting a nice rounded variety.

I make it a rule to TASTE whatever I am feeding my child, so I know it is yummy! He sees me taking bites which also encourages him to eat, to be like Mommy! When I tasted this, I knew other adults would LOVE it! It takes mashed potatoes, with so much added flavor!

COMMENTS: What textures do you love/hate? Do these preferences keep you from eating certain foods of which you know you would enjoy the flavor?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wonder How Fast to Run? AWESOME Website for Runners!

Here is an AWESOME website for RUNNERS!

This is a fabulous resource for runners, and my very favorite part of the site is its running CALCULATOR!  It is very accurate compared to other methods available.  It even includes a PRINT button for printer-friendly results!

Take your result from a previous race -- enter your finish time and let it PREDICT YOUR PACE and time for another distance.  It is most accurate if the original time you use is actually an AVERAGE of your last 3 races.  If you use your personal record (PR), which is far better than your 'usual' results, your prediction time will likely be unrealistic.

Also, the closer the original distance is to your proposed distance, the more accurate the estimation will be.  For example, HALF marathon times, rather than 5k results, will more accurately predict marathon times.

You use this tool in EITHER direction.

If you want to achieve a certain time at a marathon for example, you can input that time and select marathon.  The report will show you what times you should be able to achieve at other distances.  If you really want to finish a marathon at that time, you should aim for the times at other distances in the report.  Again, your pace and time will also be included for your goal time at the marathon.

Also, when you put in a proposed goal time OR actual result, you can see the calculated pace for that time and distance, and the same for various other distances, AND you can see OPTIMAL TRAINING PACES (appropriate suggested times and ranges) for a VARIETY OF WORKOUTS, INCLUDING LONG RUNS, TEMPO RUNS, and SPEED, etc.

Happy pace predicting!!

HERE is a highlight of Garmin Connect! to be talked into getting a GPS watch!

READ about a sweet race results website HERE! to see race results divided into distance, year, etc.

Plus, a site that tells you weather averages for any given day, or series of days, anywhere in the world! ...great for destination races!  Check out a post about it HERE!

COMMENT: What fitness sites do YOU use?  What do you like about them?  Are you looking for a tool you haven't found?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tasty Tomato Sandwich

Simple, yet satisfying.

Tasty Tomato Sandwich

1 Tbsp vegan mayo or avocado
1 fresh tomato, or a handful of grape tomatoes
2 slices whole wheat bread (Ezekiel bread works great!)

Toast bread, spread mayo or avocado, slice tomatoes, and a little pepper tastes great on it too! Enjoy! (Make sure you don't use dairy cheese, as it is an unhealthy option...this is an outdated video!)

Fresh TOMATOES are high in potassium, vitamins A, C, and E. They also have some lycopene, though you can get a lot more of this and other phytochemicals in tomatoes by cooking the tomatoes -- like in pasta sauce and salsa! The small amount of fat in the cheese will help to absorb some of these valuable nutrients, which help with anything from cancer prevention to weight loss!

A great article about the benefits of tomatoes is written by Dr Leo Galland, author of Power Healing: Use the New Integrated Medicine to Cure Yourself and you can read it HERE!

For more recipes with cooked tomatoes try:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan
Healthy Mexican Lasagna
Mouth Watering Guacamole Pizza
Mexican Fiesta Bowl (2-minute Friday Night Dinner)
Super-Easy Guacamole


First of all how do you get it?  Look at the INGREDIENTS LIST.  The FIRST ingredient should be WHOLE wheat or WHOLE grain.  The word ENRICHED should NOT be on the ingredients.

If you get a product like this, you will find that your bread will have:
MORE vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals!

SHARE IF YOU DARE! Do you like your tomatoes better raw or cooked? Or not at all? What is your favorite veggie?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

24 Ideas for Lent and Beyond

Lent is a special time to strengthen one's faith.  Many of us take it quite seriously, so it may also be a time to actually follow through with our hopes to to improve our life.  Similar to a Lenten Promise, we can decide TO GIVE UP something, or we can decide to DO/HAVE something to become healthier!  We can make any ACTION -- FOR GOD :)

Remember, every large body of water began with a single drop.

SO, while the following suggestions may not seem like a big deal, making small changes equals BIG results because they can be maintained!

Why not strengthen your faith and your body at once?  Here are a few examples that you might want to implement into your life, beginning with Lent.  Don't bother with giving up chocolate, as long as it's dark! Health Benefits HERE.  Instead try something below, or come up with something on your own!

  1. Do something nice for a stranger each day.
  2. Decrease the amount of caffeine you're consuming (I recommend doing this gradually).
  3. Eat an avocado each day.
  4. Eat a handful of nuts each day.
  5. Have some chia seeds each day.
  6. Do a 15-minute exercise video each day -- check out P90X or Shawn T -- these guys BOTH have awesome workouts!
  7. Meditate for one minute daily by simply focusing on your breathing -- check out Deepak Chopra's lesson HERE.
  8. Keep your kitchen sink clean.  Check out #6 from this related SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE post!
  9. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  10. "Go" vegetarian.
  11. Only use the internet for (30 min, 1 hr, 15 min, etc) each day.
  12. Decrease the amount of pop you're consuming.
  13. Eat 4 vegetables each day.
  14. Listen to this hypnotic trance daily to become a better YOU!  I've listened to this free mp3 file many times -- from Paul McKenna -- LEARN MORE here.
  15. Drink 2 cups of green tea each day.
  16. Make your bed each day.
  17. Do one load of laundry each day.
  18. Wash one bathroom each day.
  19. Walk one mile each day.
  20. Make a Dr Oz Green Drink or a Super-Shake each day.
  21. Write down 5 things that you are grateful for each day.  Research shows that after just one week of this practice, you can have benefits of being happier for up to SIX MONTHS!
  22. Eat 2 Laraballs each day -- believe it or not, you be healthier for doing so!
  23. Drink a liter of water each day (that's just a little over 4 cups).
  24. Follow one of the spiritual suggestions from Regina Brett in THIS ARTICLE!
You can adapt any of these goals to be more or less challenging depending on where you are in your life today.  You could decide to do something listed 3 days per week.  Or you could change the quantity you hope to consume, for example 4 veggies per day could be 2 or 8!

Remember this simple idea for any GOAL you set.  Make your goals SMART!

SMART Goal-Setting

S - SPECIFIC - For example, say "I will eat 2 apples each day during Lent", rather than I will try to eat more fruit.

M - MEASURABLE - in the above example: 2 apples is measurable -- this way you can tell how successful you were if you ate only 1 each day, rather than failing, you achieved 50% of your goal!

A - ACHIEVABLE - it is possible to eat 2 apples each day, but eating, 50 apples a day is closer to impossible -- given you aren't a "food eating contest professional".

R - REALISTIC - this is pretty much the same idea as achievable.  Aiming to eat 2 apples per day is realistic, while hoping to change your entire diet and not eat another cookie ever again isn't realistic.  But you could try these Cranberry Cookies and still be eating healthy!

T- TIME-RELATED  - "each day" and "during Lent" both define specific time frames which help you to measure your success, as well as activity durations, 15 min, etc.


I recommend setting a MAXIMUM of 3 goals per week.

WRITING them down makes you much more likely to achieve them.  

Also, contrary to today's readings about not letting anyone know you are fasting, TELLING people about your goals makes you more likely to achieve them, it's about ACCOUNTABILITY, and EXPECTATION.  If you're friends and family think you are going to work on a specific goal, you're going to try harder to achieve it!

Good luck and GOD BLESS YOU!!

Plus, check out this awesome article about by Regina Brett about Lent -- Click HERE!  Regina Brett is a Plain Dealer columnist originally from Cleveland, OH and a National Best Seller Author of God Never Blinks.  She has a beautiful, honest faith that she shares so lovingly.  This is a beautiful piece about all that the Lenten Season has to offer!

SHARE IF YOU DARE!  What goal are you setting for the week or Lenten-season?  What other ideas for health goals or Lenten Promises do you have?

Monday, February 20, 2012

3 Ways to More Magical Fruit!

BEANS, peas, and legumes are some of the most nutritious, inexpensive, and versatile foods you can find! Substitute these savory little nuggets for meat in a meal this week to lower fat, cholesterol, and calories.

One cup of beans provides half of of the fiber that we should each consume daily, as well as plenty of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Click here for more non-meat PROTEIN sources.  It’s no surprise that beans may even prevent colon cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes!

Morning Star Chipolte Black Bean Burgers from Costco -- so yummy AND with a very "whole-foodsie" ingredients list!  For more awesome Costco picks, CLICK HERE!

Top it with some MUSTARD to give it an anti-inflammatory boost!
Click HERE to read more about turmeric health benefits!

Mexican Lasagna -- Thank you for the yummy idea Courtney!!

~ 2 c salsa, divide
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can refried beans (be sure to check the ingredients list to avoid hydrogenated oils -- Trader Joe's are perfect!) or homemade!
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel)
frozen corn
1 package of 8-10 whole-wheat tortillas (or corn tortillas!) ALSO watch for hydrogenated oils in ingredients!
1/4 c chia seeds

Combine everything in layers, bake for about 40 minutes at 350, top with avocado, and enjoy!

Blissful Baked Bean Dip

Fill your food processor with a few pieces of the above lasagna, blend, grab some healthy chips, and you're ready for the card game!

You might also try Mexican Fiesta Bowl, especially if you're short on time ;)

SHARE: Do you like to measure or just throw some yummy ingredients together?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Colleen's Costco Cart

I LOVE Costco -- check out some healthy Costco Choices!  These are some things I got on my last big (photographed) trip to Costco.  It was expensive, but lots of this stuff lasts a LONG TIME.


Costco often offers ORGANIC fresh and frozen options, and this is amazing -- they are often LESS expensive than the conventional version at your regular grocery store! Corn, broccoli, and berries are three examples of organic for a super-BARGAIN!! The more WE keep buying organic, the cheaper organic will be -- so stock up!! In the meantime, read #11 in this post for a simple way to clean produce!


Organic greens: salad, spinach, and baby kale, as well as organic carrots from the fresh produce section are awesome -- great price, great food!

Organic strawberries are more expensive, still they are a good place to spend your money, if you choose. Strawberries are a fruit that is normally a lot higher in pesticide content. Also, as you might guess, organic strawberries are a steal at Costco compared to wherever else you'll find organic strawberries.

Avocados are an awesome deal at Costco. It's basically buy 4, get one free, or better, compared to other stores. If you worry that you couldn't use that many, check out how they can last up to 3 weeks or more (including ripening time) HERE! Also, avocado BENEFITS HERE!


FARRO and BLACK wild rice are great alternatives to your usual healthy grains. Farro can be used in place of and prepared similarly to rice. My pickiest child once said “this is my most favorite grain!” when enjoying some farro!

Get a huge supply of popcorn from Costco -- great for stove top or air-popping popcorn! Then, if you haven't yet, try lime-pepper popcorn right away!

I haven’t mastered the whole dried bean-soaking-cooking process, but we’ll talk more about that one day soon! It is certainly a great way to save money, and storage space! Above is a lovely mix of dried beans and lentils.

Costco’s brand, Kirkland, has come up with a whole-grain sandwich thin that is just like Arnold’s Sandwich Thins, which are a great grain option, high in fiber, and low in calories :)


These are two great snack options, especially for SCHOOL LUNCHES! Both products have NO-SUGAR ADDED and contain FIBER, vitamins, and minerals! Perfect alternatives to fruit roll-ups and fruit snacks!

Stretch Island Fruit Strips come in grape, strawberry, raspberry, apple, cherry, and apricot (the last 2 are my favorite flavors!). Individual packages are convenient and FUN for KIDS!

These Mariani dried apricots are delicious! Check 'em out more closely HERE!


Some healthy FATS! Natural peanut butter -- no sugar or hydrogenated oils Currently, made from conventional peanuts, since the peanut shortage, but hopefully this is a temporary change. Either way, the container is even bigger now, and a super-BARGAIN compared to prices at regular grocery stores! For a bit more about peanuts read HERE!

Pine nuts are great for PESTO -- recipe to come on another day -- so you can have homemade pesto in a flash, delicious and nutritious!! Great in summer when you can grow your own basil, or get some from a green-thumbed friend who does!

SATURATED fat that's harmful to your heart, arteries, and brain comes primarily from animal products. HEALTHY FATS come from plant sources.


While these products that are a bit lower in saturated fat, and provide PORTION control, however, I recommend instead, you FIND SOMETHING ELSE to enjoy - like some raspberries, or even non-dairy dark chocolate!

Costco has lots of sauce! Want a healthy MEAL in a flash -- just prepare a nice, healthy pasta (a whole-grain variety, or cook any pasta al dente -- like the Italians -- to slow the absorption!), and a quick veggie, and a meal is ready!

To read more about pasta sauce click here! The orange sauce is an eggplant product -- to read more about the health benefits of eggplant read here!

SHARE IF YOU DARE: What do you love at Costco?What foods and ways do you make the large Costco quantities not go to waste?
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pizza and Post Pleasure!

Posting ON my birthday because I LOVE writing this blog! A bit of gratitude, and fun, family-favorite recipe!
Mouth-Watering Guacamole Pizza

FIRST, I'm so blessed and lucky to have a passion -- helping people learn how to be healthy, inside and out!

Since returning to Cleveland 4 years ago, I have so enjoyed FRESH-YOU Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness! I've been thrilled to teach and work with lovely people: one-on-one, in small group classes, and at presentations for large groups -- all interested in increasing their health and well being!

With 3 amazing children under 6, free time is sparse. Posting on gives me the opportunity to spread the "wellness" word, any time of day. THANK YOU for reading, experimenting, tasting, and having an OPEN MIND to what I have to offer!

I LOVE to hear that you have tried a new food or love a new recipe, or use suggestion or tip I've shared! I LOVE to hear how you change my recipes to make them just right for you! I LOVE when you share YOUR recipe and post ideas, as well as cool products, websites, tips, and habits YOU love!

ASK if you want to LEARN about any food, condition, or technique! Each time you submit a COMMENT or "LIKE" a post on my Facebook page OR on, you help another person to come across MY RECIPES AND TIPS and help them to become healthier too! Thanks again!


Guacamole Pizza is one of our very favorites! It's even on my business card! This is an easy, satisfying, and delicious source of healthy fat, high-quality protein, fiber, B-vitamins, vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium, lycopene, and carotenoids!

It's a great idea for everyone to add vegetarian meals each week to anyone's diet. You choose!

Mouth-Watering Guacamole Pizza (easiest/fastest/healthiest version)

1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 avocados, mashed
1/2-1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies), drained*
Lime juice (fresh squeezed or ~4 True Citrus packets)
1 whole wheat pizza crust (Boboli or Mama Mary's are both great!)...or homemade!
*or ~1/2 c or so of any jarred or fresh salsa!

Spread guacamole over crust and top with tomatoes. Follow pizza crust directions for baking. Enjoy!

I was going to include two more great pizzas -- Barbecue Pizza and Artichoke Pizza, but those will have to be for another day! Isn't the video cool?!

SHARE IF YOU DARE! Do you make videos on your own? It's surprisingly easy, and the result is so fun! Windows Movie Maker and Picasa are effective, user friendly programs!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Friendly's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae

I can't help myself -- can't keep from sharing!  This is SO yummy!

Reminds me of my favorite childhood peanut butter cup ice cream sundae -- we used to go to Friendly's for our birthdays, and I always got this: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cup Sundae

Greek yogurt, plain, non-dairy
Natural peanut butter

Prepare Laraball recipe, but make THIS recipe before you shape your balls. Serve yourself a bowl of plain Greek yogurt. With a spoon, stir in some Laraball crumble and peanut butter. Don't mix really well, just swirl it in for a second. Enjoy!

Looking for other ways to eat your GREEK yogurt, click here!

Benefits of Greek yogurt are there too!

SHARE IF YOU DARE!  What fun are you up to this weekend?  I am excited for my birthday!  And I'll be getting my hair cut, a fun treat!  And getting my passport renewed, fun because if the trip it's for!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Torte Mousse

Hope your valentine treated you sweetly!  If you are still wanting MORE, try this!

Lick your lips, super-SAVORY!!

This is the Chocolate Cherry Torte Laraball version of Power Pudding!

Chocolate Cherry Torte Mousse

1 avocado
1/2 c almond milk
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c dried cherries (unsweetened is ideal!)
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth!

Makes about 4 1/2 c servings of thick and creamy, tart, sweet, and savory mousse!

Best eaten right away!

Plus, check out these super-cute, easy, heartsy crafts we did today!  Happy Valentine's Day!

SHARE IF YOU DARE!  Do you find crafts online?  What is your favorite, easy, craft that you have found?  I like to search in google under "images" to see what I want fast -- often that's all I need!

Chocolate Raspberry Kiss Muffins

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enjoy these delicious sugar-free (besides the semi-sweet chocolate chips) muffins!

Chocolate Raspberry Kiss Muffins

2/3 c walnuts
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c chia seeds
1 c rolled oats
3/4 c raspberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (CLICK here for benefits of chocolate!)

Heat oven to 375.
Cover rolled oats in water in a large bowl and microwave for 4 min.
Blend oatmeal with all other ingredients in food processor to desired consistency.
Fold in raspberries and chocolate chips.
Fill muffin tin, bake for 20, and ENJOY!

Recipe makes a dozen regular-sized muffins, or 2 dozen mini-muffins (shown).

Note: there are no eggs, so you don't have to be sure they are "done".  Cook to desired texture.

These muffins are a variation of Cranberry Cookies and Cinnamon Cranberry Confection Laraballs, so you may like these recipes too!

SHARE IF YOU DARE! Valentine's Day, love it or hate it? I assume if you clicked on this recipe, you probably love it, but who knows?!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nut-Free, Gluten-Free No-Bake Crusty Apple Pie

To describe it, APPLE PIE -slash- PIE CRUST!

This isn't super-sweet, but remember there isn't any sugar!!

Something else the taste sort of reminds me of is granola -- tell me what you think when you try it!


This is the first Laraball with sunflower seeds -- so it's a safe snack for those of you with TREE NUT Allergies (or more likely moms with KIDS who have this allergy!), NOW you can try a Laraball!

Laraballs are always GLUTEN-FREE too!

If you like how it tastes, or even if not, you can still try the other flavors with sunflower seeds substituted for the nuts in any recipe.  Tell me what you think!

No-Bake Crusty Apple Pie

1/2 c sunflower seeds, raw, unsalted
1/2 c dried apples, unsweetened (or you can try it with some raisins and cherries)

Add 1 tsp water if mixture seems dry.
Optional: vanilla, cinnamon (I really didn't prefer the versions that included either, though there were a few raisins and cherries in all of my batches.

I used the fruit from a package from Costco -- see ingredients list below:
Ingredients list: apples, raisins, cherries.  (AWESOME!!)

The brand is Peeled Snacks and they also sell cherries-only packs that come out to I think $16/lb (with Subscribe & Save through, pretty expensive, makes me really want to consider trying a dehydrator, at least for expensive fruits or veggies, like cherries, not going for it yet though!

PS - the plastic container shown in first photo on the post is a baby food container, roughly the size of one part of an ice cube tray - my sister-in-law got them for me, 6 years ago!  So this is the best version I found on amazon: Laraball containers (as I use them for, and our family now calls them!).

SHARE IF YOU DARE!  What do you splurge on, food-wise?  I think dried cherries that are unsweetened -- Whole Foods USED to offer them, but they are hard to find, and I think I'd pay almost any price :)


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