Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gift Ideas: Groovy Gadgets I'd Love to Give a Go!

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Kitchen :)

Here are some items that I either love or would love to have! From dessert, to dinner, to bread making -- there is something for you :)

To see how cool it is, watch this Yonanas video!  Thank you Marne, for showing me this awesomeness!
Yonanas Ice Cream Maker
This ice cream maker gets great reviews for only $25t!  I don't have a traditional ice cream maker or a Yonanas, so if you do, I would love to see your recommendation in the comments :)

#3 Spiral Vegetable Slicer
More wonderful reviews and it's only 31! This slicer opens up many possibilities!
Spiral Vegetable Slicer

#4 Belgian Waffle Baker
So fun, but again I don't have one! Perhaps a Christmas present?  Again, this one gets great reviews for only $26!
Belgian Waffle Baker

This was a lovely gift from my hubby who knows what I want before I even ask!  Works beautifully! Pan and Lid (More wonderful reviews of course :) )
Lodge Panini Pan (Press Lid, sold separately)

#6 A Food Dehydrator is always on the list of things I'd like to own and try!

#7 My Breadmaker  is AMAZING!  Another fantastic gift from my man!  It looks like there are many bread makers that are much less expensive with high ratings, but I can only speak for the one I own.  It is SO easy and my bread comes out beautifully!!!

So far, and I've had this for almost a year, I just make whole wheat bread (sometimes with basil, cocoa, or cinnamon), pizza dough, and this SWEET AND SMOOTH BANANA BREAD!

I am a member of the Amazon Associates program, so if you happen to buy any of these items, or even click on the links for them, Amazon may pay me something, so you'll be supporting :)  Thank you!

COMMENTS:  Have you ever looked deep into the sea? Check out these amazing animals with their crazy shapes, and abilities to light up AND change shape, color, texture, size ... pretty much transform from one thing to another: Underwater Astonishments video from :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Samoas Bites (Healthy Version of the Girl Scout Cookies)

These were a big hit at my nutrition class last night! Thanks ladies for being open-minded to open your mouths to so many new foods and combinations :) This is a healthy version of Samoas Girl Scout cookies so healthy that you could eat them for breakfast! I've enjoyed Samoas Girl Scouts Cookies long before I labeled myself as a person who likes coconut.  Here you go!

Samoas Bites (Healthy Version of the Girl Scout Cookies)

1-3/4 c walnuts
1 c raisins, unsweetened
1/2 c cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 c rolled oats, we use Old Fashioned
1/6 c chia seeds
1/3 c water
1/2 c coconut, shredded, unsweetened, plus extra for outer coating :)

Blend all but the coconut in a food processor for a minute, then add coconut. Process until mixture comes together as a dough. Transfer to plastic bag and form into balls. Roll in shredded coconut to add a bit of fanciness :)


As often as possible, I try to choose unprocessed, plant foods, so coconut is in the mix. Unsweetened, shredded coconut provides a unique FLAVOR and some FIBER. However, the jury is still out regarding the health benefits. While there are endless lists of all that coconut can do for you, they aren't always backed by scientific data. Due to saturated fat content, reliable sources even put coconut in the same category as animal fat. Since animal products have many other harmful components, I would definitely limit meat well before I would limit coconut. On the other hand, there is no need to try to learn to like coconut in an attempt to be healthy. If you enjoy the taste, choose UNSWEETENED, and appreciate it!

There are plenty of awesome fats that are especially HEALTHY, which include nuts, seeds (especially chia and ground flaxseeds), and avocados!  WHY EAT HEALTHY FATS!

Unfortunately, when choosing which "butter-type" fats to consume, there doesn't seem to be a magic bullet, a best option. While all are saturated, options include COCONUT butter, EARTH BALANCE BUTTERY SPREAD, and EARTH BALANCE VEGAN BUTTERY STICKS. Always use as little as possible, treat as a treat.

Here is an interesting Huffington Post article by Dr Katz, director or Yale Prevention Research Center: Is All Saturated Fat the Same? which provides a sort of "history of macronutrient trends".

Friday, November 22, 2013

1-Minute Roasted Almond and Broccoli Slaw

Ever since I tried a yummy sample at Trader Joe's, I have been wanting to try something like this. Considering almonds are one of the bests nuts you can eat and broccoli is one of the best veggies, they are a super combo!

It's more of a summery dish, but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying this broccoli slaw all day!

Roasted Almond Broccoli Salad

4 c fresh broccoli
1 c roasted almonds
1/4 c balsamic or rice wine vinegar
1/4 c raisins, unsweetened (suprisingly Dole sweetens raisins!)
1 apple

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients for just a quick minute or so, and enjoy! 


  • This salad becomes more flavorful the longer it sits.
  • This becomes an easy and complete meal, and tastes delicious, when combined with some brown rice (this combination grain is awesome!) and some garbanzo beans.
  • If you aren't craving a cold salad, this dish is tasty warm.

COMMENTS: What is your favorite way to eat broccoli?  My kids like it frozen!  I love it in this stir-fry, and this post's recipe is my new favorite way to eat raw broccoli!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Top 5 Whole Foods Market Bargains!

These organic, whole wheat 365 tortillas with just a few ingredients are great!  Watch out for hydrogenated oils in MANY brands of tortillas!  Make Sense of Bread Labels

Organic kefir for only $3.99 is less than I would expect! Check out Crazy for Kefir! for benefits.

Organic is better than conventional, but I recommend NON-DAIRY versions!!!

Nutritional yeast is a great deal in the bulk section of Whole Foods Market! For benefits and uses: Savory Cheese Substitute (Soy-Free and Dairy Free)!

Dried beans from Whole Foods win the prize for an insane variety!  There are loads!  Our favorites are still black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, white, adzuki, and lentils.  They have gone up in price in the last few years, but are still a huge deal compared to canned!  Lucky 7 Sweet Things about Dried Beans, Plus Homemade Refried Beans, and Bean Conversions

And the MOST AMAZING DEAL OF ALL: bulk spices, virtually all ORGANIC!  For a small fraction of what you would pay at other grocery stores.  Heck, you can even compare prices to those prepackaged spices at Whole Foods Market to really see your savings!

COMMENTS: Please share your favorites when you shop at Whole Foods Market!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lucky Seven New Costco Eats!

Kirkland Organic Natural peanut butter disappeared after the Salmonella peanut scare a few years back.  Finally it's BACK, more expensive than before, but only $3.42/lb for organic peanuts!  Thanks, Melissa, for letting me know...about the cashews too!  Nut Butters are Neat-O!

The new thing here is that these Kirkland cashews are UNSALTED!  Even if you like some salt, you can buy some of each and mix them up, for half the salt!  Eat for Energy -- Whole Grains and Nuts -- Top 6 Reasons!

Antioxidant Solutions Fresh Frozen Triple Cherry Blend is unsweetened and delicious.  These literally seem to melt in my mouth!  Lucky 7 Sipping Suggestions!

Great Valley Healthy Expectations Multigrain Rice Blends Whole Grain Fusion (whew!) is a delicious grain that can be eaten with your favorite veggies, beans, or meat, or even all alone.  When this is cooking, my whole house SMELLS fabulous!  What's SO Big about Brown Rice?!

Tasty Bite Channa Masala is another great dish that can be made in a hurry!  Note the ingredients: onions, water, chickpeas, tomatoes, sunflower oil, coriander, garlic, ginger, salt, mango powder, spices, chilies, bay leaf, turmeric. Everything you could go buy at the store and your second grader could read!  Delicious on the rice above!  If you don't use the microwave, easily warm it on the stove!  There are other brands that have healthy, yummy, quick versions of Indian dishes (but they often have dairy :(...)!

Ah, to end with some sweetness!  These Kirkland Dark Chocolate Super Fruits are fabulous!  The best part is the chocolate that they are made from!  These are a great substitute for an old favorite of my Brookside Foods which provides no information about where their chocolate comes from on its website, so considering my new knowledge of Fair Trade Chocolate, I am happy to go with a product that highlights this information on the packaging!  Details below!

"Costco Wholesale has co-created an ongoing program to develop a more ethical and sustainable cocoa supply.  Our goal is to procure cocoa beans that are traceable, of high quality, and grown in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

What does this mean for the cocoa farmers and their families? It means they get fair prices for their high quality cocoa beans. It means they learn better skills for managing their farms through pre- and post- harvest training.

This program is bringing about improved community infrastructure, farmer livelihoods, education, and healthcare." 
COMMENTS: Do you remember the Amy Mihaljevic abduction and murder?  It happened in the town beside mine, Bay Village, and was all totally unbelievable when it was happening and since.  She was my age.  Well, James Renner was also a kid then, and a few years ago, he investigated the whole unsolved mystery. He wrote Amy: My Search for Her Killer, Secrets, Secrets and Suspects in the Unsolved Murder of Amy Mihaljevic. I'm not done reading it, but I am intrigued and am quickly making by way through it, and only wish there could be a happy ending!  Apparently, James is STILL looking...I'm going to finish the book before I read this!


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