Cinnamony Flax Muffin Balls

1

These cinnamony flax muffin balls are super tasty, and really hit the spot when looking for a baked treat that is gluten free! They are jam-packed with lignans, which phytonutrients that provide gobs of fiber and antioxidants. They can also help to balance hormones in the body especially in menopause. Most of the lignans in these muffin balls come from the ground flax seeds in there, but they also come from the tahini and sweet potato that are contained in this recipe. Some of the health benefits of flax are shown in the following pin:

flax

All that being said, lignans are phytoestrogens, so anyone that is sensitive to estrogens should always check with their doctor or medical provider before adding foods that are high in phytoestrogens to their diet.

Back to these muffin balls though! These things are super tasty, and they are incredibly filling due to all of the fiber in there, so if you’re looking for a great snack to tide you over till your next meal, this is perfect!

CINNAMONY FLAX MUFFIN BALLS

Ingredients: makes 6 muffin balls

  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed – it is best to buy the whole flaxseeds, and then grind them in a coffee grinder, because ground flaxseed can go rancid quickly.
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (make sure it is aluminum free baking powder)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 sweet potato,peeled, chopped, and boiled till extremely tender
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini
  • stevia, to taste (I just use a pinch of stevia powder, but for a sweeter muffin ball, you can use a bit more…just don’t overdo it, otherwise it will taste too sweet)

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease 6 of the muffin tins in a muffin tin. Use a fork to mash the sweet potato in a small bowl.

2

2.) Mix in the coconut oil, tahini, and egg, and set aside.

4

3.) Grind your flaxseed in a coffee grinder to create ground flaxseed. Measure our 3/4 cup of ground flaxseed, and add it to a medium mixing bowl with the almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and stevia. Stir to combine completely.

3

4.) Add the sweet potato mixture to the mixing bowl, and stir to combine and create a dough.

5

5.) Use your hands to create six equal sized balls from the dough, and place them in each of the greased cups of the muffin tin. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

6

6.) Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a plate to serve.

7

8

Yummers! Enjoy! ūüôā

Cooked Greens and Chicken Salad

1

Okay, I’ll start by saying this salad is DELICIOUS. ¬†However, even if this didn’t taste as great as it does, I would still force myself to eat it, because it is SO incredibly good for me! ¬†This is jam-packed with folate, which is great for anyone with the MTHFR gene mutation (which is surprisingly common! ¬†I have it, and it is estimated that about 50+% of the population has it!). ¬†Yeah, yeah, yeah, so it’s good for that, but it doesn’t end there!

I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate dandelion greens into my meals, because they are SO good for you! ¬†They have a bitter taste, so it can be hard to find meals that they go well with, but they lend themselves perfectly to this dish! ¬†The following pin links to a site that lists some great health benefits of these greens, and you will see why it is a good idea to incorporate these guys when possible!

7

Some of their health benefits are as follows.

  • high in calcium and iron
  • antioxidant packed
  • reduce risk of cancer, MS, cataracts, and strokes
  • high in minerals
  • extremely detoxifying and cleansing for the liver

And that just touches the surface!  Between the cleansing properties of dandelion greens and the chelating properties of the cilantro, this is a great salad for cleansing your system!

So, I really don’t need to tout this salad anymore, because once you try it, the taste will be enough for you to want to keep trying it! ¬†the fact that it is SO good for you is just the icing on the cake!

COOKED GREENS AND CHICKEN SALAD

Ingredients: makes 3 servings

  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 cups chopped dandelion greens
  • 3 cups chopped kale (rough stems removed)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • plain greek yogurt for serving, optional

Directions

1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the chicken, and cook for 40 minutes.

2

2.) Remove the chicken from the pot and cut into bite size pieces.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the chicken, cilantro, and 1/6 of a teaspoon of garlic powder.  Sprinkle with sea salt and cook until the chicken is slightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).  Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.

6

3.) In the frying pan you just used, place the kale and dandelion greens over medium heat.  Add 1/6 tsp. of garlic powder and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cook until completely wilted. Add to the plate with the chicken.

3

4.) Once again, using the same pan, add the spinach to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Add 1/6 tsp. of garlic powder and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cook until the spinach is slightly wilted.

4

5.) Split the spinach up among three plates.  Top with the chicken mixture, kale and dandelion greens that you set aside.

5

If desired, you can top this with some plain greek yogurt or sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice, but it’s great on it’s own too. ¬†This makes for a super easy meal, and as I explained, it is SOOOOO good for you! ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā

Chocolate Coconut Almond Filled Tart

1

Seriously?!? Look at that deliciousness!  If chocolate is one of your weaknesses like it is mine, then I am here to be the bearer of good news! Dark chocolate is actually quite good for you (in moderation, of course)!!!  Check out the health benefits that a little bit of dark chocolate has on this pin I found on Pinterest!

7

Awesome! I’ll take it! Now, it’s important to add that the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and chocolates containing minimal amounts of true dark chocolate are so sugar-laden that any health benefits are overshadowed by the unhealthy parts of it. Thus, always go for as dark of a chocolate as you can handle in order to enjoy the health benefits of chocolate.

Okay, now for some more good news Рthis recipe!!!  I had a tea date with a friend of mine recently, and I wanted to bring some goodies for us to munch on. I opted for my apple cinnamon raisin oatmeal bites and this chocolate coconut and almond butter filled tart! They were both a huge hit!

This tart is a lot like a huge almond butter cup, but with yummy nummy flavors of coconut added in. What’s great about it is that as long as you stick to dark chocolate and you don’t overdo it, all of the ingredients in this thing have some amazing health benefits…you wouldn’t know it by tasting it though, so we’ll keep that our little secret! Oh, and added bonus – it’s SO easy to make!

CHOCOLATE COCONUT ALMOND FILLED TART

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1/2-3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • a couple pinches of sea salt

Bottom and Top Layer:

  • 3 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 5 tsp. coconut oil, divided

Directions:

1.) Line a 6-7 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper. I actually cut a circle that fit the bottom of my tart pan. This will keep the chocolate from oozing through the cracks of the removable bottom.

2.jpg

2.) In a small sauce pan, heat 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 2 tsp. of the coconut oil over low heat. Stir continuously until completely melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate chocolate mixture into the bottom of the lined tart pan, and tap on the counter to spread out evenly to the edges of the tart pan. Place the tart pan in the refridgerator.

3

3.) Place all of the ingredients for filling in a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Use your hands to make sure that everything is combined completely. Shape the dough into large circle patty that will fit in the bottom of your tart pan with a little room to spare around the edges. Take the tart pan out of the fridge, and place the patty on top of the chocolate bottom. Place the pan back in the refrigerator.

4

4.) Melt the remaining 2 cups of dark chocolate and the remaining 3 tsp. of coconut oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir continuously until completely smooth. take the tart pan out of the refrigerator, and pour the chocolate mixture over the top, making sure to get it in the edges between the filling and the pan.

5

5.) Place the tart back in the refrigerator, and allow to harden for a minimum of 1 hour. When you are ready to serve it, take it out of the fridge, and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Push on the removable bottom to remove the tart from the pan, peel off the parchment paper on the bottom, and transfer to a plate. Use a sharp knife to cut into pieces.

6

YUMMY! Enjoy! ūüôā

 

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay…

“So bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine, cause love can heal what hurt divides, and mercy’s waiting on the other side”…Were there ever more beautiful lyrics written?

I love this song for so many different reasons, but probably the biggest reason is because it reminds me of Papa’s unconditional love for me…even when I am completely broken and at my worst, He loves me just as I am. I don’t have to perform to earn it, I don’t have to take part in some sort of spiritual calisthenics to earn it, and I certainly don’t have to be “okay” to earn His love! It is freely given, and He loves me completely right where I am, no matter where that is.

2

Another reason I so love this song is because it makes me think of some of the great friends that I have in my life, and how when I get together with these individuals, it’s just pure honesty, love, and acceptance. There’s no masks, there’s no putting up a brave front, there’s no acting like we’ve got it all together, there’s just love and understanding…there’s just honesty and healing. I love my friends!

1

It’s been just under seven years since I became severely ill with botulism poisoning. Though I can happily and thankfully say that I am well into recovery and that things have improved drastically, there are still times that a flare up comes around, and knocks me right on my rear end…or rather into bed, hiding under the covers for fear that someone will see me when I’m ridden with anxiety, depression, and physical pain…when I feel incompetent, unable, like a failure, and thoroughly “not okay”.

This has been my go to for the longest time…hide away, and don’t let anyone see me when I don’t seem to have it all together. It wasn’t until a phone conversation with a dear friend a while back, in which they called when I was smack dab in the middle of a meltdown, that this began to change, and I began to allow myself to become more vulnerable and honest with other people. I normally wouldn’t have answered in this state, but for whatever reason I did. It went something like this:

Me: “Hello” *holding back tears*
Friend: “Hey! How are you doing?”
Me: *The dam breaks, the flood gates open, and I can’t hide it, I begin sobbing”… “Ya know what? I’m not good. I’m struggling. I’m overwhelmed with everything, and I’m not okay! I’m. Not. Okay.” *waits for friend to hang up on me, because I feel like I sound like a blubbering idiot*
Friend: “Girl, me too.” *begins sobbing right along with me, and we let ourselves be broken together, and love each other, not in spite of the brokenness, but because of it.*

Since this conversation, I can’t tell you how many more conversations that I’ve had with friends and strangers that go just like this. Conversations that I wouldn’t have been able to have if I wasn’t honest about what I was going through, and tried to keep up that “I’m fine” facade facing the world. All too many times, we try to put on a brave face for fear that we will be judged or ridiculed or told that we just aren’t trying hard enough, but ya know what? What I’ve found is that so many other people are going through the exact same stuff, and inside, they are just screaming for someone to relate to them, to be heard, and to be loved as they are and where they are. After opening up with people about my various struggles, I’ve found an overwhelming conclusion that it’s okay to not be okay.

4

In today’s world of social media, we all see each other’s lives in these pretty little images indicating that life is perfect and we’ve all got it completely together. It’s so easy to feel like we need to keep up, like we need to have it all together, and like we need to be always be doing something great and accomplishing amazing things. It’s exhausting, and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to not have it all together, it’s okay to take a mental health day to relax and replenish (in fact, it’s quite healthy to do so), it’s okay to rest, it’s okay to not do anything other than just be, and if you’re smack dab in the middle of a hard time, it’s okay to not be okay!!! Papa loves you as you are, not as you feel you should be. He loves you unconditionally, and He not only willingly, but gladly, walks into the midst of your struggles, right along with you, to offer you His inexplicable peace, mercy, and grace.

5

The reality of life is that it doesn’t occur in pictures. Yes, there are great moments in life, and we capture mental images of these moments, but what about the in-between. That is, what about what happens in-between all of those picture perfect moments posted on social media? I can’t speak for everyone else, but it’s not like I’m posting pictures of when my house is a mess, I’m sobbing my face off, I’m having a panic attack, or my husband and I just had an argument over something ridiculous. See, these pictures of these fabulous moments show exactly that…moments, not life. The truth of the matter is that life is messy, we are messy, and all of us have parts of us that are broken in ways that only love can heal.

6

If we’re honest with one another about these broken parts, opportunities arise. When we admit that we’re not okay during various seasons of our lives, a certain level of comfort is achieved, and others are more willing to open up and share about their own struggles. Hence, an opportunity arises for each of you to walk together through each of your struggles, love each other, and give each other a small taste of Jesus. Healing can occur on both ends. In hiding and putting up that supposedly brave face, these healing and loving moments are lost. Honestly, I think that it is braver for someone to admit that they’re not okay than it is to smile and say “I’m fine”.

Nobody in this life is safe from trials and suffering in various forms. No one is perfect. Everyone has bad days, weeks, or months. We all have times when we’re not okay. Isn’t there a weird sense of unity in that? Life can be hard. It can be overwhelming. It can be messy, ugly, and downright unbearable at times. The next time you’re walking through a tough season, and someone asks you “How are you doing?”, give honesty a try, and watch what happens. Beauty from darkness is not only possible with God, but it is a promise of His to all of His children. In honesty about what we’re going through, there is a sense of relief, along with opportunities to help others going through something similar.

All in all, guys, there are a lot of times that I’m not okay, and if you’re not okay, then we can be not okay together, and reassure one another that even though we’re not okay, we will be! It’s just not the end of the story! In the meantime, rest assured that it’s okay to not be okay!

3

 

Simple Carrot Cake Oatmeal

1

Aren’t carrots the best! ¬†I love how they can lend themselves to both sweet and savory dishes. ¬†Any vegetable that can serve as a fruit in this way is awesome in my book! ¬†Not only that, but check out all of the health benefits, vitamins, and minerals carrots provide!

be59e25ffbc9bd496991de0e6b6479fa

The news just keeps getting better, because I’m going to share a super yummy, and SUPER simple, healthy recipe for preparing oatmeal in such a way that it tastes a lot like a delicious carrot cake, but with only healthy ingredients!

I used a full cup of shredded carrots in this recipe (for one serving), giving it an extremely carroty taste.  If you want that to be brought down a bit, feel free to use just 1/4 Р1/2 cup of shredded carrots.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it’s really simple to make! ¬†It’s basically the same process as just making regular oatmeal, so you can get a nice healthy and tasty twist on regular oatmeal without any extra effort!

SIMPLE AND HEALTHY CARROT CAKE OATMEAL

Ingredients (makes one serving):

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned gluten free oats
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. alcohol free vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp. raw honey or a pinch of stevia
  • chopped pecans for topping (optional)

Directions:

1.) Add the carrots, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey (or stevia) to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add the oats and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on soft you like your oats.

2

2.) Transfer to a bowl, top with pecans (if desired), and serve.

3

Delicious! ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

1

Oh boy!  The other day, I was snooping around on Pinterest, looking for ideas for breakfast the next day, and I came across the following pin:

61edc7b94615279d1498c0850c02d905

Well, that looked delicious! ¬†As anyone that follows my blog knows, I don’t do gluten or regular potatoes, so I went to work to make the recipe gluten-free and to use the ingredients I had on hand (which weren’t many) to make a similar patty that satisfied my criteria. ¬†The result is a gluten-free, delicious, and healthy baked sweet potato and cauliflower baked hash brown ¬†that made for a perfect breakfast the next morning.

Now, as I said, I was lacking in ingredients that I had on hand, so this is a very basic recipe, but you could easily add various things to it to jazz it up a bit, like onion, fresh herbs, different cheeses, ground turkey, etc. ¬†However, it’s delicious as is, so if you’re looking for something really basic that tastes amazing, you can certainly leave it as is!

CAULIFLOWER AND SWEET POTATO BAKED HASHBROWNS

Ingredients (makes about 14-18 patties, depending on how large you make them):

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Tbsp. almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the sweet potato and cauliflower in a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer until very soft and tender (about 10 minutes).

2

2.) Drain the sweet potato and cauliflower completely, and place in a large mixing bowl.  Use a potato masher to mash up as you would mashed potatoes.

3

3.) Add the garlic granules, almond flour, eggs, sea salt, and goat cheese.  Stir to combine completely.

4

4.) Use a large spoon to spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in the shape of patties.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.

5

5.) Allow to cool for a minute or two on the pan, then transfer to a plate and serve!

7

YUM! ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Soup

1

This soup…

  • healthy…check
  • filling…check
  • gluten free…check
  • filled with nutrition…check
  • delicious…check, check, check

The other day, I was craving both roasted vegetables and soup, so I decided to combine the two.  This stuff is GREAT!  The taste of roasted veggies in a yummy creamy soup!  I settled on using brussels sprouts and cauliflower (because it is what I had in the fridge), and these two veggies are packed with nutrition.  Check out these pins listing the health benefits of these two cruciferous vegetables:

e95ceb67826946e259952ebb1aa88550

00dc537cde2d99148625b93027bda608

I just love looking up the health benefits of various ingredients in the recipes I make. ¬†It makes me feel so good about putting it in my body! ¬†Let’s get to the recipe!

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, washed and halved
  • 1.5 tsp. organic butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the prepared brussels sprouts and cauliflower on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast on the bottom shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.

2

2.) In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low/medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the broth and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside 1 cup of the roasted veggies, and add the rest to the pot.  Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

3

3.) Transfer the soup to a food processor (you may have to do this in batches).  Add the salt, then process on high until the soup is smooth.

4

4.) Transfer the soup to bowls and top with the veggies you set aside before serving.

5

Easy peasy, and super yummy! ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā