Fresh Berries, Pound Cake and Custard Trifle for Easter

I’m so excited that warm Spring weather!

Also, we are all ready to taste all the fresh flavors that come with the sun.

Brightly colored berries and delicate cream go so well together.

This can be so easy to throw together on short notice.

You can use ready made pound cake, instant vanilla pudding and whip up fresh heavy whipping cream for an elegant and so delicious dessert that looks great and extravagant.

Fresh berries make any dessert special and fancy.

The other thing to remember is that you can make this extra special by baking all the ingredients from scratch.

Use your favorite cake recipe, maybe something with a little lemon zest to enhance the flavor of the fresh berries, as well as your favorite vanilla custard.

Be creative or keep it simple, either way, you will have a special treat for you and your guests.

Flaxseed and Rye Bread with Avocado, Tomato, Basil and Mayonnaise Sandwich

I realize that this sounds like a mouthful but trust me it’s worth the effort.

Instead of going gluten free I’ve decided to stay away from all wheat; Dwarf Wheat in particular, and opt for other grain varieties.

I happen to love rye bread and the added benefit of flaxseed made this a great choice.

Although Rye does contain gluten, it is much less than what is found in dwarf wheat which is consumed today.

Let’s get back to this sandwich!

The avocado, fresh basil and tomato are sprinkled with sea salt and a large dollop of mayonnaise.

This is a huge treat for me.

The mayo is the only real dietary indulgence….everything else is so healthy!

It is a filling, delicious lunch that leaves plenty of room for watermelon later in the day!

Enjoy and share!

The Amazing Health benefits of Spinach

The amazing health benefits of spinach may surprise you.

The benefits begin here but that’s not all.

Read on for all the great things spinach can do for you.

In just one cup of cooked spinach…

High in Protein – The highest vegetable protein around! One cup of spinach equals 5g of protein. (12% DV)

Super high in Vitamin A – Over 18,000 IU (377% DV). Vitamin A benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.

Crazy high in Vitamin K – Second only to Cauliflower with over 880 mcg (1111% DV) Vitamin K is essential as it helps calcium adhere to the bone making them stronger.

Great source of Folate/Folic Acid – Over 260 mcg or 66% DV. Which is particularly important for pregnant or nursing women.

Nice source of Vitamin C – With 17.6 mg or 29% DV. This also benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.

Great source of Minerals – 84% DV of manganese, 39% DV of magnesium, 36% DV of iron, 24% DV of potassium, and 24% DV of calcium.

13 Flavonoids that help to fight cancer, protect against age related memory loss, and prevent heart disease.
Decent source of Fiber with 4.3g or 17% DV.

Look through PantryDiaries for more recipes and ideas for spinach.

Yummy, Spinach and Cannellini Soup

With a few staples in the pantry you can create fresh and filling healthy meals by adding a seasonal ingredient or two.

Cannellini or white kidney beans, garlic, yellow onion and coconut oil are always on hand.

A bunch of fresh spinach added to a few simple staples puts this meal over the top.

Coconut oil, garlic and yellow onion sauté until soft and then add spicy and beans.

Add a few cups of water and allow the everything to simmer together.

I have been avoiding soup bases and bullion because they contain MSG…even the vegan brands, for the most part.

This dish doesn’t need it.

The richness of the coconut oil makes this soup tasty without any added chemicals.

This meal is very clean and filling.

Talk about cheap!

There is no excuse not to eat well when you can have a meal like this in minutes.

Enjoy and share!

Spicy Kale and Sweet Potato Stir Fry

This recipe is and anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory recipe that is hard to beat.

I really don’t know if you can eat any healthier than this.

Organic kale and sweet potatoes, garlic and coconut oil with crushed red pepper flakes.

This meal is fairly inexpensive, really.

Especially when you consider how much nutrition you get for the money and how filling this is.

Start with about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3-4 cloves of garlic. ( I always use a lot of garlic! )

Saute in a pan and add 3-4 large sweet potatoes, washed, with skin on and diced into 1 inch cubes.

Cook these ingredients together until the sweet potatoes get soft.

The fat in the coconut oil helps your body to process the vitamin A in the sweet potatoes, which, by the way, has been found to be beneficial in protecting the body against skin cancer as seen on the Dr. Oz Show.

Mine became mushy but I didn’t care. This is soooooo good!

Massage the kale….yes. Massage it, wash it and chop it up and add to the pan and cook unit soft.

Add crushed red pepper flakes and salt to taste.

You will crave this dish. I promise.

You will feel satisfied but not heavy and you will have done yourself a favor.

I also added some turmeric, ginger and cumin.

These are my favorite spices and they are great for your health.

I have been going on about coconut oil lately so please don’t get bored with me.

Coconut oil is so incredibly beneficial to you health and especially to brain health and is showing promise mitigating the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

It tastes great, it’s good for you.

Use it every chance that you get.

Enjoy and share!

Eating Healthy On A Budget

Is it really to possible to eat healthy food on a budget?

It is a common belief among many that healthy foods are more expensive and some studies have helped to create this misconception.

When you consider that value is often calculated on a calorie per dollar equation then, indeed, calorie dense foods often appear to offer a bigger bang for your buck than less calorie dense foods.

If, however, you are calculating value on a nutrition scale then high calorie often high saturated fat, sugar and sodium containing foods fall short.

In other words, junk food and prepared foods offer a lot of calories per dollar but those calories come at the cost of your health by being laden with saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup and other sugars as well as dangerously high sodium levels while offering little if any nutritive value.

There is also this obsession with protein which further confuses the issue.

Americans have gotten it into their collective psyche that protein equals meat.

While it is true that meat does contain protein it is also true that almost all foods contain protein.

All foods do not offer the full compliment of 9 amino acids needed to make a complete protein profile of 21 amino acids, however, by consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and beans, it can be easily achieved in a meal or throughout the day.

Sprouted Lentils, soy and quinoa for instance, are complete proteins.

While meat can be expensive and add to high fat and cholesterol, eggs, sardines, skim milk and yogurt are healthy and cost effective ways to add protein at very little cost.

These foods used in moderation and as compliments to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and brown rice, nutritional requirements should be easily met at little cost.

Here’s the trick: necessary ingredients include creativity, time, planning and a willingness to eat leftovers!

I eat very inexpensively and healthfully and am limited only by time and energy.

Go-to meals are often a hard boiled egg and avocado breakfast followed by a lentil lunch and veggies like cauliflower, broccoli or kale with a baked sweet potato for dinner.

I add coconut oil to cooked dishes to increase nutrition and taste.

Big pots of oatmeal, bean chills and cooked vegetables go a long way throughout the week and keep you full and energized.

The effort it takes to eat healthy may seem overwhelming, especially to busy working moms or moms who have to travel to grocery stores because they can’t find produce in their neighborhoods.

But it is also about reading labels and expanding your knowledge about what good nutrition is and why it is so important.

Eating offers one of the truly few opportunities we have to choose.

Think about it; we may not live in the home we want, love the job we have or be in the perfect relationships but everyday we put food in our mouths.

We can decide in that moment if that food will nourish us by eating something healthy and nutritious or simply entertain our tastebuds for a moment with empty calories, artery clogging fats, unnecessary sugars and enough sodium to send our blood pressure through the roof.

Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Bread; For Lack of a Better Name!

It’s not really bread.

It’s dough from my favorite pizza place spread with veggies and cheese and egg.

I happened to have these items in the fridge.

I sauteed the spinach and mushrooms with some crushed garlic and olive oil.

While the bread is raising let the sautee mixture cool and whisk together two eggs; reserve 2 TBSPN to brush on the loaf after you roll it.

Spread the mixture evenly being sure to go all the way to the ends.

Roll the loaf and cover with the egg wash.

Some of the mixture may seep out, try to contain it.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until deep goden brown.

I tried to get photos of the finished product but this was devoured in minutes.

It is great for kids lunches, a travel meal or anytime you want a filling, satisfying treat; hot or cold.

Warm this up sliced in the oven like toast and the edges get crispy. Just delicious!

Meatless Monday! Easy Summertime Meals that are Healthy and Light for Busy Families!

Summertime around here has meant a huge flurry of activity.

The hot and steamy weather hasn’t slowed us down much but appetites tend more toward light and flavorful rather than rich and filling.

And the schedules are all over the place! From sport activities to musical gigs, weekend getaways and family gatherings I find that preparing and serving nutritious meals is more challanging than ever.

Especially when I am not there to supervise everything!

Well, I’ve learned to “let go” and create easy, ready to prepare and assemble food for my family; even the picky ones.

I have been in the habit of keeping a big container of cooked brown rice in the fridge.

I also will sautee corn with cilantro and onions and keep that around.

In addition, I’ll chop green onion and fresh cilantro and keep that in the fridge, also.

There are always cans of organic vegetarian beans or refried beans in the panty.

I also make sure to keep stocked up on ripe avocados and limes.

By having these ingredients handy eating on the fly is healthy and quick.

Even the little ones can do it; even the chronically lazy!

We also like to garnish with fresh salsa and a tangy homemade yogurt or sour cream.

This meal and it’s many variations has become a summertime staple that everyone can enjoy and customize to their own preference.

Burrito style for those who are always running late and eating on the way or pizza stlye with a little Manchego cheese for weekend movie night.

So, don’t get frustrated get creative!

These budget friendly meals are flexible. Use what you have around and get fancy when the budget allows.

They are built in to be nutritious so you just can’t go wrong!

With only healthy options even the least culinary inclined among you can’t help but choose something delicious and nutritious while you enjoy a little fun in the sun!

Tomato, Basil and Mayonnaise on Olive Oil Grilled Whole Wheat!

I remember growing up in my European immigrant family with great food.

Some from Italy and some from Eastern Europe but all of it driven by the freshest ingredients and much of it, meatless.

My grandmas and aunts always had their own gardens and were “putting up” or canning something at any given time.

For me summertime always means tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches.

These were not gourmet growing up.

They were just any bread with mayo, fresh tomato and “crunchy” salt on top.

I spruced these up a little by grilling artisan whole grain bread with olive oil to give crunch and texture to the bread and I’ve also added big fleshy leaves of basil for that peppery edge that basil can give.

Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise is my favorite with this sandwich.

Even a few slices of avocado would be delish!

Get creative and keep it meatless. The possibilities are endless for a tasty, light and nutritious meal that says, “Summertime” in every bight!

Super Food Kaniwa with Corn, Beans, Red Pepper, Green Onion, Avocado and Lime Juice!

Kaniwa from Roland Products, pronounced “Ka-nyi-wa”, is a staple grain of the ancient Aztec and Incan cultures whhich has been cultivated for thousands of years throughout South America.

The crunchy, earthy grain is loaded with protein and makes a complete meal when mixed with vegetables.

Kaniwa Plant

Roland Foods offers a wide variety of specialty foods from around the globe and was kind enough to send me this box of Kaniwa to try at home.

I have cooked with Quinoa in the past and I love it.

Kaniwa is similar to quinoa but seems to feel hardier and denser.

I gathered all the vegetables I could find and chopped them to equal size.

1 package of Grape tomatoes cut in half, 7 green onions, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 can of pinto beans, 2 cups of corn, 1 red pepper, 1/2 of a English cucumber, 1 bunch of cilantro,the juice of 3 limes, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt to taste.

I garnished with avocado.

I put all of the chopped vegetables in a bowl, cooked the 12 oz. box ( about 2 cups ) of Kaniwa and added to the veggies.

I added it hot to the vegetables to bring them to peak flavor.

I find that adding hot grains to the veggies gives off just enough heat to liven the flavors.

I mixed everything then added the olive oil and the lime juice.

Serve and garnish with half an avocado.

Add salt to taste.

This was fantastic.

Everyone loved this vegan, protein rich meal which could also be great as a side dish with grilled salmon.

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