Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tomato Pesto Pizza!

There is almost nothing to this healthy pesto recipe, still it's really yum!

Do you have fresh basil to make some delicious pesto? Maybe your neighbor grows it and will share some with you!

Basil is always delicious and easy to prepare!

Store bought is tasty, but expensive AND filled with oil and cheese, boo.

Try Practical Pesto!

This recipe is similar to others EXCEPT that it includes one super nutritious ingredient ... NUTRITIONAL YEAST!

Spread pesto sauce on a whole wheat pizza crust (Boboli or Mama Mary's are both great!) or individual pizzas can be made with whole wheat tortillas, a much healthier option!

Then top with garden fresh tomato slices.

If you wish, add an ounce or so of vegan cheese, thin pieces.

Or skip the cheese -- I promise this pizza is lovely without it!

Either way, I hope you enjoy!!


Here are two other pizza recipes you can try:


COMMENTS: How do you use your pesto sauce?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rewind on Starbucks Refreshers!

Should have known! ...a drink offered FREE on Friday the 13th would be bad luck! Thanks to Lisa and Vani 
at 100 Days of Real Food and Food BabeI got the REAL info about Starbucks REFRESHERS (a new drink with a description that had REAL HEALTH promise!)!

From 100 Days of Real Food and Food Babe!

Actual Ingredients List!

Here is the full post, which also includes reviews of several other Starbucks products!

I searched and searched for the nutrition information,
but in the end, relied on the Starbucks description for my previous, REMOVED post:..."I am curious about ingredients LIST, haven't seen that yet". Vani got the scoop reading the BOX the barista was using! For other drink ingredients, she direct emailed Starbucks Customer Service -- smart woman!

Click here for tips on READING FOOD LABELS.

The hip new drink CLAIMS...RUIT, Cucumber, REAL fruit juice, and MINT, as well as an ingredient called GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT, which may be a really healthy substance. Here are the facts!

NO - fresh fruit, herbs, juice!
YES - sugar as the top ingredient (other than water).
NO - green coffee extract!
YES - "green coffee flavor".
But GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT has NO flavor, so what's the point?!

Unfortunately Unhealthy Option :(

Very Berry Hibiscus Starbucks Refresher
Made me think SANGRIA ...darn :(
Click here for 
a Berry post!

Cool Lime Starbucks Refresher
Made me think MOJITO :(
Instead of a pricey Kool-Aid drink, why not get some GREEN TEA and splurge on a yummy pack of Peeled dried mango! for a YUMMY STARBUCKS SNACK!

100 Days is an AWESOME WEBSITE!
Vani (Food Babe) does investigations on different topics for 100 Days, and she has a blog that looks pretty awesome as well, with great recipes, visuals, and detailed information!

COMMENTS: I try hard to tell people what TO EAT, rather than what NOT TO, more fun and positive! However, since I recommended this drink last week, I really thought I should correct myself with my new knowledge of the products! On the bright side, perhaps, I will come up with a great drink, from Starbucks lovely Refreshers descriptions!  Which drink looks better to you?! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

EAT for Energy -- Grains and Nuts -- Top 6 Reasons!

Edible Energy -- Whole Grains and Nuts!

#1 Both WHOLE GRAINS and NUTS provide healthy CARBS (more in grains) -- food for sustained energy and steady blood sugar levels! Read about Great Grains!

#2 Nuts provide PROTEIN and FAT (more in nuts) which slow absorption, which again provide for steady energy and blood sugar levels!

#3 Since low levels have been linked to fatigue, MAGNESIUM, found in nuts and whole grains, may help to increase energy!

#4 FIBER in these foods, as well as fruits, veggies, and beans, slows digestion, which like the like the other nutrients listed above, slowly releases energy, so you won't just have a big energy blast and crash.

#5 FLUID from drinks AND fruits and veggies -- provides energy! If you're dehydrated, you're body will work less efficiently in many ways (metabolism, cooling, breathing, cardiac function!), and exercise particularly, will feel easier when you're well hydrated!

#6 CAFFEINE! A famous energy source -- learn more about other benefits HERE! Coffee and Green Tea and Chocolate are great sources with other benefits too -- click on them to learn more!

Taking a SHORT nap OR a brisk walk (or other EXERCISE) helps too! (Read about this and 4 other Busted Health Myths!)

So try a new Laraball recipe, Lemon Bars, or ANOTHER NUT recipe!

COMING SOON!  Chocolate processing, complete plant proteins, and a single exercise that works your body hard!

      Tuesday, July 17, 2012

      New Laraball Flavor: Lemon Bars! AND Costco Dates are BACK!!

      Costco dates have returned!!!

      I have been missing these for months!  Check it out: I (my hubby actually came home with them for me!) bought a whole case!  These are pitted, moist, and CHEAP!!!

      Golden Tunisan Deglet Noor Dates from Costco!
      Dates are high in potassium and fiber and dates are super-sweet, 
      and these have no preservatives!

      Healthy Lemon Bars

      3/4 c dates, pitted, above brand is awesome!
      3/4 c cashews, roasted and unsalted
      zest of one lemon, cut the thin sliver of only the yellow of the lemon peel
      (see Orange Almond Biscotti post for photo)

      Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend!

      Shape into balls or smash into a pan for squares, and enjoy!

      Wonder what to do with the rest of the lemon? Make lemonade! Sugar-Free Lemonade coming soon!

      Monday, July 16, 2012

      Old-Fashioned, Crunchy Potato Salad

      Homemade, nutritious, and crunchy!

      Compared to most potato salad, there is EXTRA protein, vitamin A, fiber, and monounsaturated fat (this is a HEALTHY FAT!)!!

      Imagine with MORE pepper (if you like pepper like me!)!
      Old-Fashioned, Crunchy Potato Salad

      4 lb potatoes, boiled (~25 min), cooled, and chopped in large pieces
      1 lb carrots, thinly sliced
      1 head of celery, chopped
      1 c non-dairy Greek yogurt (optional, or 1 avocado)
      1 c vegan mayo
      1/4 c apple cider vinegar
      Pepper, to taste

      Combine, chill, and enjoy!

      I recommend including potato peels, carrot peels, and celery leaves.  This adds fiber, some nutrition, and best of all -- saves TIME!


      Saturday, July 14, 2012

      Practical Pesto!

      As promised...

      Super SIMPLE, delicious, healthy, and practical!

      Ever had your pesto sauce go bad?  Reminds me of avocados: too expensive to let go to waste!  See how to ALWAYS EAT PERFECT AVOCADOS (#1 in Quick Kitchen Tips)!

      Cranberry Pesto Pasta Salad

      Remember this Pesto RATIO!

      1/4 c pine nuts (or walnuts ... similar taste, less expensive, and more nutritious!) NUT BENEFITS
      2 c fresh basil, packed

      Blend these in a food processor until smooth.
      Freeze in 1/2c or so portions.

      Fill silicone cupcake holders OR scoop mixture on a cookie tray to freeze, and then fill a freezer bag with the portions.  SO convenient and lasts forever!

      Freezing just these two ingredients a) maintains perfect taste and b) minimizes freezer space used!

      Whenever you WANT, pull out a 1/2 c portion.

      Use spoon (no food processor necessary) to combine with:

      1 1/4 c water or low-sodium vegetable broth
      3/4 c nutritional yeast (click for benefits!)

      Add pepper to taste (optional).

      Try it out with Cranberry Pesto Pasta Salad!

      ALSO try: Pesto Pizza!

      COMMENTS: how do you like to eat your pesto?

      Wednesday, July 11, 2012

      Learn about Green Coffee!

      GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT may be a really healthy substance!

      If you don't like the taste of coffee, this may be the ENERGY booster for you!  Since it is TASTELESS, you can add it any type of flavored drink you love, and enjoy!

      For your caffeine meter: it has quite a bit less caffeine than regular coffee; more in the area of tea regarding levels of caffeine.

      Note: I do NOT recommend GREEN COFFEE EXTRACT in supplement form, nor am I certain it will promote weight loss, but it isn't likely to be of any harm, so why not give it a TRY!  Below is a quick intro from Dr Oz and Dr Lindsay Duncan.  The first part of the video is most informative, since the last 2 min or so are two women talking about their weight loss experience.

      I haven't tried this substance (other than the "flavor" in Starbucks Refreshers, which I will not be purchasing again!), nor do I have a great place to direct you to it for sure, but there definitely are places online selling green coffee, so if you're interested, go for it!

      Again, I would NOT buy the supplement, UNLESS you can find something with a USP seal, or something approved by  These requirements will ensure you are consuming a safe product, and without them, you may be consuming dangerous substances since there is NO regulation of dietary SUPPLEMENTS!

      COMING SOON: a post about dietary supplements!

      Read about COFFEE BENEFITS or GREEN TEA BENEFITS (perhaps green coffee will result in similar benefits!).

      Tuesday, July 10, 2012

      Cranberry Pesto Pasta Salad

      After devouring the leftovers that my mom shared with me, from a delightful lunch she'd just been to, I created THIS recipe!

      Mine is certainly a much healthier pasta salad, and still very tasty!

      Cranberry Pesto Pasta Salad

      2 c celery, chopped (most of a bunch of celery), include the leaves in the middle!
      1/2 c garbanzo beans (used to be a cheese stick, but we don't eat cheese any more)
      1 red apple, chopped
      1 c walnuts, broken up pieces or whole
      1/2 c freeze dried cranberries or raisins, unsweetened (Whole Foods carries cranberries), OR 1/4 c Craisins (I prefer less because of the sugar), OR while I haven't, you could try fresh berries and/or grapes! 
      1 jar pesto (or this EASY HOMEMADE PESTO!)
      1 box pasta, whole wheat, prepared

      While pasta is cooking, chop other ingredients.
      Drain pasta and mix in all ingredients.
      Chill for a while, and enjoy!

      This salad is great for hot days, picnics, and parties!

      It is also surprisingly yummy when quickly heated in the microwave :)

      BONUS TIP #1: avoid rinsing cooked pasta to retain vitamins which are otherwise washed away!

      BONUS TIP #2: re-heat only as much food as you think you'll need, since foods should only be reheated ONE TIME (FOOD SAFETY!).  Single serving dishes are also great because they heat through quickly.  

      For more on FOOD SAFETY click on either of the links Some Like It Hot! or We Gotta Chill!

      COMING SOON: Benefits of Cranberries

      Monday, July 9, 2012

      Kohlrabi Cabbage Salad -- Awesome!

      This is a simple, refreshing, cancer-preventing, crunchy, tart, sweet, and savory salad that you will love!

      Kohlrabi Cabbage Salad
      1/3 of a head of cabbage
      1 large apple
      1 lemon OR lemon juice
      Apple cider vinegar
      Thinly slice everything up, mix, and enjoy!

      *Before chopping kohlrabi, discard stems and cut off outer layer -- I hadn't even heard of this veggie before I joined Geauga Family Farms CSA!)
      *If including a whole lemon, very yum!, cut off outermost yellow skin, keeping plenty of the white portion; it has a mild, taste and adds fiber!
      *Play with the quantities of juice, vinegar, and pepper to get the taste you love! It's always a good idea to start with less than you think you'll need -- you can always add more!
      *Kohlrabi and cabbage are cruciferous veggies, in the same group as broccoli and cauliflower, which all have amazing properties which allow humans to prevent cancer, and even potentially reverse it! Click on any of the links for more information and other recipes for cruciferous veggies!
      I always love when I don't have to cook something at the stove or in the oven, and ESPECIALLY in this sweltering summer of 2012! Hope you enjoy too! How are you staying COOL?!

      Friday, July 6, 2012

      Busted Health Myths!

      Let me tell you the TRUTHS!

      Doctors, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals are surprised by some of these!

      Dr Oz Show is awesome -- learn tips like these every day!

      1. You can read in the DARK; it actually strengthens your eyes!
      2. Boo-boos will heal faster and better when kept COVERED with a bandage (rather than letting them dry out).
      3. You should put COLD water on a burn (rather than ice)!
      4. Alcohol will lead do INTERRUPTED sleep, rather than a more sound night of sleep.
      5. A short (20-30 min) nap is best for energy because it is hard to get out of the deep sleep that goes with a longer nap.


      Do you have any health tips that you wonder about -- truth or myth?

      Wednesday, July 4, 2012

      5 SASSY Shopping Tips!

      Remember to be SASSY when you shop!


      Great finds from Whole Foods for another post.

      1. SNACK before you go.  Heck, you can even bring a snack bag of nuts into the store to eat while you shop!
      2. ADAPT your menu plan to whatever is on sale...if you don't mind flying by the seat of your pants once in a while!
      3. SIZE check!  Some pricing is tricky, especially at Walmart, where they sometimes make the smaller quantities less expensive per ounce!
      4. STOCK UP with non-perishables when they go on sale and at whatever store is the best price!
      5. YANK packaged products from your cart for the sake of YOUR HEALTH and YOUR WALLET!  Reasonably limit yourself to fewer packaged products -- a bit less than usual.  Rather than just saying "a bit less", spell it out.  For example, if you buy two boxes of cookies per week, then try buying one box per week.
      These TIPS from Michael Pollan will also be helpful!

      Happy shopping!

      COMMENTS: what are your grocery shopping tips for saving money?

      Tuesday, July 3, 2012

      Grains Galore -- Grab Something New Now!

      Looking for healthy GRAINS?

      There are SO very many delicious options!

      Bran, buckwheat, whole wheat orzo, Barilla Plus pasta, whole wheat couscous,
      quinoa, wild rice, rye flakes, farro  grain, wheat germ, Mama Mary's whole wheat pizza crust.

      If you take a chance at stepping away from Wonder Bread and regular, white pasta and rice,
      there is SO much available!!

      READ here about WHAT to LOOK for on BREAD LABELS!

      Here are posts including these some of GREAT GRAIN options!

      Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal (omit chocolate from recipe)

      Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Bread (any Ezekiel bread is awesome!)

      Better Baking Breadcrumbs can be added to any dish!

      Gluten-Free Grains (click on link for many gluten-free grains)

      NUTRITIOUS and GLUTEN-FREE GRAINS: amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and teff
      Great Grains are great for energy -- read more on EATING for ENERGY!

      COMMENTS: What would you like to see on  More recipes?  Superfoods?  Book, movie, or product recommendations?  Videos?  Lifestyle suggestions?  Alternative therapies?

      Monday, July 2, 2012

      Snack Attack -- Stop Sweet and Salty Cravings!

      Sweet and salty cravings stop here!
      Try a bowl full of these pineapple tidbits from Trader Joe's!

      Check out the HUGE calorie difference that comes from the SYRUP in canned pineapple, compared to these delicious frozen pineapple tidbits from Trader Joe's!

      Added syrup provides nearly 30 extra grams of sugar per cup!

      Click to enlarge!
      Click HERE for more on FOOD LABELS!

      THESE "corn nuts" are AWESOME!
      Tin Man Jumbo Corn Snacks Original Flavor (purchased from Costco)
      The impressive stats to compare below are:
      120 kcal, 3g fiber, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, and 70g sodium!

      These taste similar, but WAY better than Fritos or even Corn Nuts!
      Tin Man Corn Snacks taste and appear similar to Corn Nuts,
      AND have that WAY better nutrition profile!

      Check out calories, sodium, and fiber especially!
       COMMENTS: have you tried Tin Man Corn Snacks?  Any other tasty treats to share?

      Sunday, July 1, 2012

      Barbecue "Chicken" Salad

      Use your fresh produce to make this family favorite!

      It's a copy-cat of a salad that Applebee's used to serve!

      There is my original recipe, with animal-free and sugar-free options!

      Here is what you'll need!

      Barbecue "Chicken" Salad

      Or use meatless chicken pieces (Beyond Chicken is great!)
      2 small heads leaf lettuce, such as Romaine, chopped
      2 cucumbers, sliced, quartered
      2 avocados, chopped
      3-4 stalks green onion, sliced
      2-3 c frozen corn
      1 can black beans, drained
      1/3 c chopped dates
      1/3 c vinegar, any kind, we use red wine or rice wine or apple cider, and I bet plain would work too!
      1/3 c barbecue sauce, omit for sugar-free dish, or find a nice WFPB recipe like My Whole Food Life Melissa's

      Chop and combine ingredients, and enjoy!

      We make this salad without chicken or cheese, and it's super yummy!  You could too! WHY bother?  READ HERE!

      Dates and vinegar are a healthy alternative to barbecue sauce but it's not the same taste. It DOES give the salad a nice sweet taste, and allows you to avoid refined sugar :)

      Read about where we got all but the corn and avocados from HERE! (CSA rules!)


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