Tag: healthy

Cilantro Dip

Cilantro Dip
Cilantro Dip

On our recent visit to Tanaka Farms, we sampled some of their fresh organic veggies along with a Cilantro dip. I didn’t think I was hungry but couldn’t pass up tasting the vibrant veggies and dip. The freshness of the veggies along with the crisp taste of the dip turned out to be an amazing little snack!


I asked for the recipe right there and then. I picked up a very healthy bunch of cilantro and a couple of beautiful lemons from the farm so I could go home and and make this delicious dip for my family.

Cilantro Dip
Cilantro Dip

This healthy dip (or sauce) is so easy to make and can be used as base for you to add to and experiment with. The dip can easily be used over tofu, chicken, fish, veggies, rice, roasted potatoes, etc. I changed the original recipe just a bit. We enjoyed the dip with some tortilla chips and freshly sliced cucumbers. We finished up the remaining dip the following day with some crackers and cheese.

Cilantro Dip
Cilantro Dip

In the future I plan on adding some red pepper flakes to spice it up. The original recipe was heavenly but I love to change recipes up to make them my own. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 Here’s the recipe:

Cilantro Dip

Cilantro Dip

Cilantro Dip


  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice - Freshy Squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. Put Olive Oil and water in blender or food processor, add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!
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Free Kids Meal

Image Courtesy of Chipolte.com
Image Courtesy of Chipolte.com

When your out and about it’s hard to find healthy meals – especially for kids. The choices always come down to a very processed chicken nugget or a burger. I forget that Chipotle offers healthy, quick, cost effective meals for the entire family.

Since I’m always looking for good deals – this FREEBIE from Chipolte will help remind me to visit Chipotle when we’re on the go (and maybe some Sunday’s when I just don’t want to cook).

Photo courtesy of Chipolte.com
Photo courtesy of Chipolte.com

Every Sunday in September, kids can eat for FREE with the purchase of a burrito, bowl, order of tacos, or salad. The Free kid’s meal offer is valid only for kids 12 and under through the month of September

To find a location near you click here.

Offer must be redeemed simultaneously in a single visit and is subject to availability. Not valid for catering orders. May not be combined with other offers; additional restrictions may apply.


Time to Kaleabrate!

Image courtesy of mercola.com
Image courtesy of mercola.com

Today is National Kale Day, definitely something to Kaleabrate! Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that is packed with health benefits.

KaleKale is known has gained major popularity lately. Known for its cancer risk-reducing properties, it is also helps to lower cholesterol. Kale supports the body in the detoxification process. Kale is known for it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and aids in chronic inflammation.

It is high in Iron, filled with vitamins, nutrients, magnesium and folate. On top of all of that it is high in fiber and very low in calories. In fact, one cup of Kale has 5 grams of fiber and only 36 calories. Per calorie, kale has contains calcium than milk.

GreenJuiceThere are so many wonderful ways to enjoy Kale. We use kale in almost every juice we make. You can saute it, use it in salads, soups, make a Kale pesto or kale chips. It’s versatile, delicious and so healthy for you.

Here’s a link to 21 delicious looking recipes from Onegreenplanet.org, some of their recipes include:

  • Creamy Pumpkin Seed Alfredo With Kale and Sweet Peas

  •  Asparagus Potato Pizza With Kale Pesto

  • Beanball Sub Sandwich With Marinara and Greens and a Kale Salad with Chili-Lime

  • Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Sriracha Vinaigrette. (if your going on the Sriracha tour, be sure to save some of your free Sriracha for this recipe)



FREE Junior Chef Classes

WSJuniorChefApr14Here’s the August schedule for Williams-Sonoma FREE weekly Junior Chef Class. These kid friendly cooking classes are offered most Saturdays and show kids how fun and easy cooking can be. Kids will learn how to make delicious recipes, from main courses to desserts and snacks, with plenty of tasting along the way.

For specific times and more details, find your Local Stores> • Available at all stores; class times vary by store location. • Class size is limited – call your local store to register.

Here’s the August Junior Chef Class line-up:

Free Junior Chef Classes

Saturday, August 1, 2105: Tomatoes are ripe and ready for eating and cooking this summer! Join us and learn to make some delicious dishes that are sure to impress your family. You’ll also learn some fun facts about tomatoes. Suitable for ages 8–13.

Saturday, August 8, 2105: It’s lots of fun to create homemade pasta. We’ll make the dough and roll it out with a hand-cranked machine.
You’ll also watch us make dough in a machine that mixes and extrudes the pasta for you. Then we’ll whip up some basil pesto in a food processor. Finally, we’ll toss the cooked pasta with the pesto and eat. Super-simple and yummy! Suitable for ages 8–13.

Saturday, August 22, 2105: Toasty on the outside with a warm filling inside, pressed Italian sandwiches are always a favorite. Our kid-friendly combos will hit the spot—how about salami and cheese, Nutella and strawberry, or ham, tomato and cheese. Young chefs will have fun making and eating them. Note: Nuts will be served in this class. Suitable for ages 5–13.

Free Junior Chef Classes

Saturday, August 29, 2105: Who doesn’t love pizza! Kids will have a blast rolling out the dough and topping their pizzas as they please. We’ll bake them off and dig in to the best pizza ever! In this class we’ll be featuring Golden Boy Pizza’s San Francilian-style focaccia pizza. Suitable for ages 5–13.


Girl Scout Brownie Meeting – Snacks Badge

Friday night was our back to scouting meeting. I talked about being nervous in my previous post but everything went great!

One of the big differences for my troop this years is that we will be bouncing around for our meeting space.

Last year we meet at a local church which was great but it’s not looking like an option for us this year. The good thing about meeting at one of the parents homes is that we will have the freedom of covering some badges like “Snacks” which really needs a kitchen to complete.


I wanted to stress healthy eating habits through this badge, so I sliced, diced and roasted some veggies for them to work with. Well….my Brownies didn’t really like the “healthy”stuff I brought for them. Thank goodness our meeting was hosted by one of the parents because she saved the healthy face pizzas with cheese. Here’s the agenda:

Pre-meeting: 15 minutes/6:15-6:30

Healthy/Unhealthy food Crossword puzzles

Opening: 5 minutes/6:30-6:35

Flag, Promise and Law

Business: 20 minutes/6:35-6:55

Welcome back    
Share one special things they did during summer
Discuss what to work on this year

Exploration: 15 minutes/6:55- 7:10

Snacks -Step #1 -Good vs. Bad food poster

Create: 25 minutes/7:15 -7:35

Snacks – Step #2 make a veggie face (pizza) & Step #5 make your own fruit smoothie

        Snack time: 5 minutes/7:35-7:40

Closing/Friendship Circle 5 minutes/7:40-7:45

The meeting went along smoothly until I brought out the hummus and veggies for our healthy face pizzas. Only one girl liked the hummus (which happened to be my daughter). As I said earlier, the parent host brought out some cheese and put the pizzas in the oven. The girls all had a good time building their pizzas.


As far as the smoothies went – overall that went well. I included the girls in on how much of what ingredient to put in. The first batch came out a little tart. The parent host again, saved the snack by bringing out some honey  to make the second batch of smoothies a little sweeter (but I liked the tart batch).

Overall the meeting went very well and I was actually glad that not everyone liked everything. It teaches them to deal with adversity and how they how to make the best of situations. They all handled themselves very well. I’m proud of my Brownies! As for myself, I learned to provide alternatives, not everyone likes hummus (although I’m not sure why, I love hummus). wpid-2014-09-15_11.41.54.jpg

It felt good to be back leading my Brownies and to see them again. Next meeting we will be covering our Potter Badge at an art studio, I’ll update you next time, until then…Happy Scouting!


A FREE Healthy Cookbook based on a Food Stamp (SNAP) Budget

Trying to stay on a budget while providing healthy for your family can be tough. Leanne Brown, who happens to have a master’s in food studies felt the same way. Her concern was for American’s receiving food stamps (SNAP).  Leanne didn’t think it was right that the 47 million people on food stamps didn’t have the choices everyone else had.

Leanne  created a FREE cookbook “Good and Cheap” which is all about eating well on $4.00 a day. She made her book available to download for FREE in June. The results have been overwhelming, it has been downloaded more than 200,000 times.


Leanne states that eating well on $4.00 a day involves stocking your pantry with inexpensive basics and being flexible about substituting ingredients to use what is in season. She encourages eating fruits and vegetables in her recipes by keep the meat content low. The cook book is filled with some really good looking and healthy recipes from breakfast to desserts and drinks. I’m anxious to try out several recipes, one of the sections of the cook book that is calling my attention is the “Things on Toast” section.

Leanne started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $145,000 to make the book available to those who don’t have computers. Be sure to visit her blog for more delicious recipes.

pasta_eggplant_tomato-page-044  Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato


Today I am launching a Kickstarter to fund a print run of Good and Cheap, my free PDF cookbook for people on Food Stamps. Please take a few moments to check it out and share it with your friends.

I was so encouraged and touched by the supportive comments from strangers. It was tremendously heartening to have so many people understanding, appreciating and even advocating for my project.

Ultimately Good and Cheap was a guess. It was a well informed guess, but it was a guess. I thought that an appealing, tasty, practical, healthy set of recipes was genuinely needed. I thought that maybe it could make a difference for some. It seems like it has.

Making Good and Cheap free online was a great first step, but to really reach people I realized that we need make physical copies. This book needs to be put directly into the hands of people who need it.

I believe that cooking can change lives and I want to prove it. If you can, please support the project or share it with someone else. This is going to be fun!


Williams Sonoma-FREE Junior Chef Classes August Schedule

WSJuniorChefApr14 In addition to the FREE Technique Classes for adults, Williams-Sonoma (one of my favorite stores, ever!) offers FREE weekly Junior Chef Class every Saturday. The classes show kids how fun and easy cooking can be. Kids learn to make delicious recipes, from main courses to desserts and snacks, with plenty of tasting along the way.

For specific times and more details, find your local store> • Available at all stores; class times vary by store location. • Class size is limited – call your local store to register.

Here’s the Junior Chef Class line up for August:

*I Love Zoku / August 2nd – This class was such a hit – we’re doing it again! If you love slushies, popsicles and ice cream, then you will love Zoku. Join us and learn how to make these tasty treats. We will be taking pre-sale orders so kids can work with their very own Zoku unit and take it home with them after class. Suitable for ages 5-13.


*Fruits and Vegetables Here & Now /August 9th – Do you know why it’s better to eat fruits and vegetables in season? Join us for this class on understanding the seasons and your food. We’ll even teach you how to make a delicious seasonal sweet treat! Suitable for ages 9-13.

*Apple Snacks / August 16th – Get ready for back-to-school and learn how to make some great apple snacks. Why settle for simple sliced apples – when you can enjoy apple sandwiches and other tasty apple treats. Join us and learn how! Suitable for ages 9-13.

*Build A Better Panini / August 23rd – There’s a sandwich and then there’s a warm, melty and cheesy Panini. Learn how to make delicious panini sandwiches – even a sweet favorite with melted chocolate. Suitable for ages 9-13.


*Pizza Dough from Scratch / August 30th – Skip the carry-out pizza and have a pizza party for the whole family. Learn how to make delicious pizza dough – the start of a great pizza. Suitable for ages 9-13.



Whole Kids Cooking Club at Whole Foods


We attended the Whole Foods, Whole Kids Cooking club on Friday, “Cooking a Rainbow” was the theme. The goal of the cooking class was to support healthy eating habits by eating from a rainbow. This class was a hands healthy eating course for kids.

wpid-20140620_160027.jpg wpid-20140620_160015.jpg

The host had an array of beautiful juliette sliced veggies such as sweet potato, squash, zucchini, finely chopped rainbow broccoli, edamame and a black bean pasta. The younger kids, 3-4, had a great time piling veggies on their plate and the 6+ age group arranged their veggies into beautiful rainbows. All of them were so proud of their creation. They topped their colorful plates with a warm marinara sauce.


For dessert they were given slices of bananas, they scooped out the middle of the banana filled it with peanut butter and dipped the bottom in chocolate. Both of my girls loved it.

Since the all the kids made such a big plate of veggies, my girls couldn’t even finish even a quarter of what was on the their plate. My husband and I were able to fest on the leftovers later on. Overall, this was a refining moment for all of us, the girls loved the veggies and I found a Black Bean pasta that I can’t wait to incorporate into a dish.


Our local Whole Foods has kids cooking classes twice a month for the cost of $5.00. They provided an abundance of ingredients (all of which were organic), my girls were able to try (and liked) the black bean pasta and my girls understood the concept of eating from a rainbow. Since the discussion was ripe for the taking, we walked around Whole Foods afterwards and discussed the importance healthy eating habits. I look forward to the next class.


Caramelized Banana Pecan Paleo Ice Cream

Here’s a great recipe for you! It’s a Paleo ICE CREAM recipe that has only 4 ingredients. I found this recipe on www.mynaturalfamily.com (a great source for healthy recipes).

We make Banana ice cream a lot in our home. First, it’s natural, no artificial anything. Secondly, we save money but not buying store bought ice cream. Third, we get to use up banana’s and fruit that is getting a little old.

We usually just use bananas and whatever berries we have on hand. This recipe puts a twist on the traditional banana ice cream recipes and is sure to bring out all of the natural sweetness of the fruit.  

The 4 ingredients for this fabulous recipe are:

  •  4 Bananas 

  • 3 T. Grass-fed Butter(salted)

  • ½ C. Coconut Milk(canned), chilled

  • ½ C. Pecans, chopped and toasted

That’s it!!! That’s all that’s need to make healthy, delicious ice cream for your family.  

Some important notes from the blogger are: “the more ripe your bananas are, the sweeter the ice cream will end up being. Also it is important to note that you should be using canned coconut milk and not the coconut milk that is found in the refrigerated cartons. It will affect the creaminess and overall texture of the ice cream”.

For complete recipe & instructions visit www.mynaturalfamily.com. Hope you enjoy this recipe!





No School = No Food

Summer vacation is just a couple of weeks away for us. I’m planning our schedule and finding events to keep my children busy.

For a lot of parents, the thoughts go so much deeper then that. Some parents are trying to think of ways to keep their children from going hungry during summer break.

In Orange County about 43% of children depend on the free and reduced lunches at school as a majority of their nutrition each day.  So for many children no school = no food.

                                                                      SPSP landing page_0

How can you help?

Raise awareness and refer people: The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps low-income children continue to receive meals when school is out. The program provides children healthy meal options for breakfast and lunch in the summer months at Kids Cafes and other sites. Summer site information varies by state and is available when the school year ends. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) to find a free, nutritious summer meal site near you.


Donate or Fundraise:  Start or join a fundraising page or donate funds.


Volunteer:  Volunteers help with basics like transporting food, setting up or cleaning up a site.



pictures courtesy of http://www.whyhunger.org/




Easy Peasy No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal


 (pictures and recipes from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/)
My Mother-in-Law came to visit a couple of weeks ago and shared with me how she soaks her oatmeal in water overnight. I tired it and liked it so I went to the internet in search of more soaked oatmeal recipes. I found these Refrigerator Oatmeal recipes from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/content.php/611-Easy-Refrigerator-Oatmeal. Can I just say I feel like Jasmine singing a “Whole New World”.
These recipes are great on the budget and very healthy. I put one together last night. My daughters and I enjoyed out Refrigerator Oatmeal this morning. This is soooo easy and filling, I’m still full from breakfast.
I changed this basic recipe a little bit. I was all out of yogurt so I substituted it with cottage cheese. I used half almond milk and half water. For the fruit, I used dried cranberries, for some crunch I used sliced almonds and ground Chia to thicken it up. I also used a little bit of Agave to add some sweetness. It was great!
By the way, if you don’t have mason jars don’t let this stop you from trying these recipes. I used a plastic container with a tight lid and made a big batch for the family.
Here’s the recipe from http://www.grocerybudget101.com/)
Refrigerator Oatmeal Basic Recipe 

You’ll Need:
1/4 c. Old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/3 c. vanilla almond milk (Homemade or store bought)
1/4 c. vanilla yogurt
2 tsp chia seeds

(see below for various flavor choices!)

Assemble your ingredients:


Measure the rolled oats, chia seeds, yogurt and almond milk into the mason jar, put the cover on, seal and shake to combine.


Uncap and and add your choice of fruit & flavorings from the list below. Replace the lid and attach the jar seal tightly, use within 4 days.

Refrigerator Oatmeal Amazing Flavors:



Quinoa Chili


I haven’t made Quinoa Chile in a few months now but  seeing this recipe today reminded me of how well this went over in my house.

This recipe from http://damndelicious.net/ sounds delicious. One of the many ways of working on refining my life is by eating foods that have value. I believe that God gave us everything we need to heal ourselves. It’s our job to put all these wonderful ingredients he gave us together to create something yummy. This recipe meets the mark all the way around.

Quinoa Chili