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.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Whoopi Pies To Die For!

“Skinny Bitch” and “Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps” author, Kim Barnouin has shared this recipe for chocolate whoopi pies.

Read the book if you get the chance but definitely make these sinfully delicious desserts!

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Method

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk and vinegar, and set aside. (It will curdle a little; it’s supposed to do that.)

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the almond milk mixture to the batter and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and almond milk mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before placing them onto a rack to cool completely.

Filling

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk

In a large bowl, beat the shortening and Earth Balance together until well combined. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the extract and almond milk, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

These will not last very long and I challenge you to miss anything.

I would like to try making these with coconut flour to make them gluten/wheat free, as well

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.

Bill Clinton Embraces His New Vegan Lifestyle!

Once notorious for his love of junk food and his famous stops at McDonald’s, former president Bill Clinton has embraced a vegan lifestyle to prevent heart disease.

Former President Clinton now considers himself a vegan. He’s dropped more than 20 pounds, and he says he’s healthier than ever. His dramatic dietary transformation took almost two decades and came about only after a pair of heart procedures and some advice from a trusted doctor.

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!

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