Cream of Broccoli Soup (without the cream)

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Non-dairy people rejoice!!!  This is a DELICIOUS cream of broccoli soup recipe WITHOUT THE CREAM…well in the traditional sense anyway.  I saw the following pin on Pinterest for a cream of broccoli soup recipe.

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Oh my goodness, did this look delicious!  I don’t avoid dairy per say, but I have a lot of friends that are sensitive to it, and it got me to thinking about those people. The recipe this pin links to has milk and butter in it, and if you are a non-dairy person, or just attempt to avoid dairy, that is a no-no.  So, I decided to get creative and figure out a way to have this delicious soup, without the cream, but still creamy…you get my drift?

Well, I ended up making a cashew “cream” that totally made this soup creamlessly creamy!  I think this soup can be described in one word…YUM!  So let’s get to it!

CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP (WITHOUT THE CREAM)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 – 1 cup cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 chopped chopped carrots
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 7-8 cups broccoli
  • 4 cups water plus 1 cup water
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions

1.) Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the cashews, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 15-30 minutes.

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2.) After the cashews have soaked for 15-30 minutes, drain the water, and place the cashews in a food processor with 1 cup of water.  Process on high until completely smooth with no lumps.  Set the cashew cream aside.

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3.) In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and garlic granules.

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4.) Add 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.

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5.) Transfer the soup to a food processor.  You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your processor.  Process on high until smooth.

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6.) Add in the cashew cream, leaving a little bit to stir into each individual serving for presentation.  Season with sea salt, to taste.

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7.) Transfer to bowls.  Add a bit of cashew cream to each bowl, and gently stir the cream in to give it a swirly look.

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You’re going to LOVE this stuff – even if you aren’t dairy free, this stuff is amazing!  Enjoy! 🙂

 

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Breakfast Quinoa

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Guys!  I recently realized that I haven’t made anything containing quinoa in it in quite a while!  How could I have neglected this power packed superfood???  I mean, seriously, this stuff is so good for you…it’s gluten free…it’s packed with nutrition…and it lends itself in so many ways to both savory and sweet dishes!

 

 

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Don’t worry (I know you were, don’t deny it!), I remedied the situation quickly with breakfast this morning by making this super easy and super nutritious, tasty apple cinnamon raisin breakfast quinoa!  Er-mer-gerd, this stuff is amazing.  It felt like it was just pure apple cinnamony goodness melting in my mouth!  Seriously, so yummy!

Because of the add-ins, this makes for a great complete breakfast with plenty of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and of course, NUTRITION!!!  I also love this breakfast, because it kept me feeling satisfied right up until lunchtime, which is sometimes a feat in my case just because I love food so much!  Plus, the cinnamon gave me a little pep in my step to start my day!  I love this stuff!  It also makes a great substitute for oatmeal, so if you have sensitivities to oats, then this stuff is perfect for you.  However, even if you don’t have a sensitivity to oats, you will LOVE this stuff!

APPLE CINNAMON RAISIN BREAKFAST QUINOA

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 1 apple, cored and peeled (I used honey crisp, but you can use any kind)
  • 1/4 dry quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1-2 tsp. raw honey

Directions

1.) Place the prepared apple, quinoa, and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed the water, and the apples are tender.

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2.) Remove from heat, and add the cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts to the pan.

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3.) Stir to combine, and transfer to a bowl.  Drizzle with the honey and serve.

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Dig in!  You know you want to!  Enjoy! 🙂

Healthy Almond Honey Cookies

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Guys…Christmas season = Cookie season, which is awesome and not awesome at the same time, because cookies are delicious, but let’s face it…they aren’t usually good for you!  Well, this time of the year, I always try to find a healthy cookie recipe that really does taste like a cookie, and if I might say so myself, I’ve definitely succeeded this year!

These almond honey cookies are SO yummy!  You know how a perfect cookie  is a little bit crisp just on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside…um, yes…these cookies!  They are the PERFECT texture, and guys, they really taste like a cookie…not just like a healthy substitute for a cookie!  BUT…they are, in fact, healthy!  The main ingredients are almond butter, raw honey, and almond flour, all of which have some really great health benefits!  Oh oh!!!  And, guys, they’re GLUTEN FREE!!!

Both almond butter and almond flour have all the health benefits of almonds, some of which include

  • Good for heart health
  • Helps thwart cancer formation
  • Good for blood sugar management
  • Can aid in weight management
  • Good for energy levels

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Although raw honey is a sugar, it has so many great benefits that if you’re going to have sugar, it’s probably one of your best options, since many of its benefits counteract the drawbacks of sugar!  The following pin explains 50, that’s right FIFTY, healthy benefits of raw honey!

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Phew!  That’s a lot!  So, as you can see, these cookies that actually taste like cookies really are good for you, so they are great to have on hand during the holiday season!  I like to have a batch made whenever I’m going to be baking cookies for get togethers or to hand out to friends and neighbors.  They keep me from indulging on cookies with less desirable ingredients while still giving me my cookie fix!  No need to feel deprived during cookie season!

ALMOND HONEY COOKIES

Ingredients (makes 1 dozen cookies)

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. alcohol free vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix them together.  If the batter seems too runny add a bit more almond flour until you could handle it with your hands – though it will be sticky.

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2.) Drop the batter on the prepared baking sheet by spoonful.  Use a fork to gently impress a criss cross pattern on the top of each cookie.  If the batter is sticking to the fork, try dipping the fork in a bit of almond flour and then creating the criss cross pattern.  These will get bigger as they bake, so leave some space in between them.

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3.) Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing.

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4.) Remove from the sheet and chow down!

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SO SO SO GOOD!!!  Yay to being able to enjoy cookie season without sacrificing good health to do it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Pumpkin Smoothie

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I know that Fall and Winter don’t usually scream “Smoothie time!”, but this smoothie will have you thinking differently.  After all, doesn’t fall mean pumpkin everything? 🙂  This is a pumpkin smoothie that is beyond delicious, incredibly good for you, and very filling.  In case you aren’t already familiar with some of the excellent health benefits of pumpkin, here’s a pin explaining some of them.

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Pretty awesome, huh?  So, I think the pumpkin says it all!  Let’s get to the recipe!

PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Pumpkin pie spice, to taste
  • Stevia, to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth.

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Transfer to a cup to serve.

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Perfect Fall/Winter smoothie!  Enjoy! 🙂

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

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Yummy, yummy, yummy!  Summer is coming to a close, fall is getting close which means the season of everything pumpkin is right around the corner!!!  This is great news not only for our tastebuds, but also for nutrition!  Pumpkin is great for you and has lots of vitamins and minerals!

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Notice that the pin revolves around pumpkin and the immune system?  Another great thing about pumpkin season is that it coincides with the beginning of the dreaded cold and flu season.  It’s great, because pumpkin is excellent for the immune system!  Yay!

Okay, so we know pumpkin is good for us, but let’s talk about the taste!  It’s delicious!!  A lot of pumpkin treats this time of year are baked goods, and a lot of baked goods means a lot of gluten.  If you’re one of the individuals that avoids gluten, this could mean bad news for you.  However, in addition to this pumpkin bread recipe being moist and delicious, it’s also gluten free!!!  Double yay!  Another plus is that it’s super easy to make…just a few ingredients in a blender or food processor into a bread pan and into the oven.  Wa-la, pumpkin goodness!

Before we get to the recipe, I do want to mention that after making this basic recipe, I realized that next time I would probably add chopped walnuts and raisins for sure.  This recipe is fantastic as is, but add-ins, such as raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, coconut, or chopped nuts of your choice, are completely fine and definitely something to keep in mind!

GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN BREAD

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup)
  • 15-ounce can organic pumpkin puree (make sure the can lining is BPA free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or combine 1 1/2 tsp. worth of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)

Directions

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a bread pan with parchment paper (as shown – this will come in handy when taking the bread loaf out of the pan after baking).  Lightly grease the pan and paper.

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2.) Add the oats to a food processor or blender and process on high until it reaches a consistency of gritty flour.

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3.) Add the rest of the ingredients to the oats in the food processor and process on high until completely combined and smooth.

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4.) Poor the batter into the prepared bread pan and bake in the oven for 33-35 minutes.  Take the bread out of the oven and poke a toothpick in the center of the bread.  If the toothpick comes out clean, allow the bread to cool in the pan.  If not, cover the top of the bread with aluminum foil (this will protect the top from getting burnt while the inside is cooking completely) and place back in the oven for 3 minute increments until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes.

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5.) Remove the bread from the pan and use a knife to cut into slices.

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6.) Transfer slices to a plate and serve.

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You’re going to love this stuff!  So good and so good for you!  Happy pumpkin season!  Enjoy! 🙂

Veggie Stuffed Chicken “Sandwiches”

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Oh my gosh!!! These chicken “sandwiches” that I made are absolutely adorable!  Eating gluten-free, sometimes I really miss just throwing a sandwich together for lunch or dinner, so I am constantly looking for different ideas for “bread” that isn’t really bread.  This evening, I had baked some chicken breasts, and I noticed how much the outside looked like it could pass for bread – LIGHT BULB!  A chicken “sandwich” in which the chicken is the bread.  It turned out wonderfully!  I mean, look!

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And yes, it tastes just as scrumptious as it looks!  It was amazing!

Another plus when it comes to using chicken breast as bread is that chicken has a lot of health benefits!  Of course, we all know that it’s an excellent source of protein, but it goes much further than that!  The following pin lists some health benefits of chicken and links to a site that describes 7 impressive benefits of chicken.

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Awesome!  Plus, um, these chicken sandwiches are so yummy, guys!  You can really use any fillings you would like, but I gotta say that the mixture I made to fill the sandwich really is amazing.  Let’s get to it!

VEGGIE STUFFED CHICKEN “SANDWICHES”

Ingredients: 2 servings

  • 1 large chicken breast (6-8 ounces)
  • 1/3-1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into slices and small florets
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups of baby spinach and arugula (mixed), finely chopped
  • 2 ounces shredded cheese (I used a hard goat’s milk cheddar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • garlic granules
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with garlic granules, and place in a baking dish.  bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until baked through.

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2.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the prepared cauliflower on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic granules.  When the chicken has 25 minutes left to bake, place the cauliflower in the oven and bake for 25 minutes along with the chicken.

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3.) While the cauliflower and chicken are baking, heat 1 1/2 tsp. of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add the spinach and arugula, and cook until completely wilted, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, and stir in the shredded cheese.  Mix completely.

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4.) When the chicken breast is done cooking, cut it in half length-wise.  These will be your two buns.  Cut each of the them in half width wise creating a top bun and a bottom bun for each of them.  Place a layer of cauliflower on the bottom bun, and top with a layer of the spinach and arugula mixture.

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5.) Sprinkle with a small bit of sea salt, and then place the top bun on top, creating a sandwich.

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Dig in!  Enjoy! 🙂

Garden Vegetable Egg Breakfast

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Guess what?!  I have a new favorite, and it’s this breakfast!  I’ve fallen in love again, and I may have to marry this stuff to make an honest woman out of me!  I don’t know if I could find a more nutritious breakfast that tastes this good!

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I am always trying to make sure that I get plenty of veggies in at breakfast time.  Well, there is a reason for that!  As a matter of fact, the following pin links to a site that explains 5 benefits of of eating veggies for breakfast!

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Not only are those 5 reasons for eating vegetables for breakfast fantastic, but there is also the advantage of making sure that you get your daily dose of veggies out of the way right at the start of your day!

In general, the recommended daily amount of veggies is 2 1/2 cups.  Personally, I always aim for 5-8 cups of veggies per day.  Not always easy, but I find that there are little things you can do to get more in, such as cooking your veggies, adding them to smoothies, etc.

At any rate, if 2 1/2 cups is the bare minimum, this breakfast takes care of that in one meal!  Pretty awesome, right?  Plus, there is an egg and some greek plain yogurt involved providing a nice punch of protein to keep you satisfied and strong right up to lunchtime!

If you’re still not convinced that this is probably one of the best breakfasts ever, then I challenge you to try it once!  The taste alone will have you hooked!

GARDEN VEGETABLE EGG BREAKFAST

Ingredients: Makes 2 servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard)
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (julienned)
  • 1 cup yellow squash, finely chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic granules
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.) Place the mixed greens into a steamer, and steam until slightly wilted, but not all the way wilted.  Set aside.

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2.) While the greens are steaming, prepare your other veggies.

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3.) Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add the green onion and cook for 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and yellow squash, cook for 2 minutes.  Add the carrots, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  Sprinkle with sea salt and cover.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.

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4.) Remove from heat, add the wilted greens and the tomatoes, then put on a plate.  Set aside.

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5.) In the same pan that you cooked the veggies, fry your eggs.  Break into the pan over medium heat.  Cook on one side for 1 minute or 2, then use a spatula to flip the egg over and cook on the other side for 1 minute or 2.  Place the eggs on top of the veggies.

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6.) Do this with both eggs, then top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, and season with sea salt and pepper.

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Just look at that!  You can practically taste it just from the picture!  SO YUMMY!  Enjoy! 🙂