Dairy Free

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

We have four breakfast eaters in our house, including one toddler and one four-year old, and not everyone is always delighted about the idea of an oatmeal breakfast.  While I’m happy to make other things for breakfast when there’s time, oatmeal is such dependable staple we’ve figured out how to make it stay interesting and attractive…for everyone!

The secret is the Oatmeal Breakfast Bar.  Like a taco bar – but for oatmeal.  A variety of toppings that each person can pick to customize their oatmeal just how they like it.  Even though there may be a large number of toppings at play, more toppings doesn’t necessarily translate into more time or effort if they’re all easily accessible.

This morning I glanced at my counter (picture above), and realized that the number of oatmeal toppings we have on a daily basis is  a little bonkers.  But it’s really ok – I just pop things out of the fridge or cabinet – both of which are within arms’ reach of the counter.

This all evolved quite naturally, thanks to a very picky toddler.  At times the requests get a little obnoxious (syrup and cinnamon on top of the oatmeal – not mixed in, etc).  Even with the super picky requests we’ve managed to keep everyone happy over the years while only cooking one main ingredient: oatmeal.

So here’s what we have going on currently in our “toppings bar”:

  • Cinnamon
  • Raw honey
  • Real maple syrup
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut oil (this really helps the oatmeal stick with you through the morning)
  • Hemp seeds for protein – you could also add any kind of nuts you like
  • Pumpkin seeds – full of protein and minerals, and store [...]

Eat Happy Book Sneak Peak Recipe: Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola Homemade Granola

My new book (available this Fall), Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Food You Love features my all-time favorite recipes, including this homemade granola.  Starting your day with a delicious and nutrient-dense meal is so do-able with this homemade granola!   It takes just 10 minutes to toss together the ingredients, 15-20 minutes to toast in the oven, then you get to enjoy it for an entire week or two – which means zero breakfast prep in the am.  I’ve started making this homemade granola again now that my oldest kiddo is back to school and the morning routine is both earlier and crazier than it was during the summer.

Making your own homemade granola is easier than you’d think, and makes a fast breakfast or a filling snack.  Not only does it taste better than store-bought varieties, it will have significantly less sugar and more of the good nuts and fruits that you like.  I still remember my mom’s homemade granola as one of my favorite breakfasts when I was younger.

If you like crunchy granola don’t add any fat to the mix (oil or nut butters).  If you like a chewier granola, try adding some nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc) or coconut oil.  I’m a chewy girl all the way, and I love that the fat makes for a more filling breakfast.

Have fun experimenting with different fruit and nut combinations, and try mixing it up with spices, too.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger are all great options.  My current favorite combo is: 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter, 1/3 cup honey, and about 1/4 cup [...]

Pizza vs. Real Food, Round 1

Summer veggies saute Summer veggies saute

Let me set the stage: it’s 4pm and I”m madly rushing to finish chapters on the manuscript of my first book, which I’m so excited about.  If I get it done in the next week I’ll have an awesome opportunity to present and advertise my book at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Conference in November, attended by 10,000 people!   So exciting, so cool.  I have to do this.

My 2 year old and 4 year old are screaming at each other downstairs, my sitter is off in an hour, and I’m 38 weeks pregnant, uncomfortable, grumpy, and rather stressed.  Dinner time looms.  I have Eat Happy Meal Plans that I need to schedule in advance over the next few weeks so I can take a mini-break when the baby comes.  The baby room isn’t set up, no bags have been packed, and I’m banking too much on the fact that my other two kids were nearly two weeks late.  I need more time to get everything done.

I have wanted to order pizza for the kids for dinner, pretty much every night for the last few weeks, and tonight is no exception.  The leftovers are gone and I’ve pretty much exhausted my go-to quick and healthy dinner ideas.  They’d love the pizza obviously.  But it’s not going to do them any favors (they’re just getting over a summer time cold), it won’t really do me any favors, as it’s not exactly a go-to food to enhance my productivity (quite the opposite).  My book, by the way, is called OverProcessed and Underfed, and is all about how processed food is [...]

Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice

Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries

I am very excited to share this Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice recipe, because it really helped me break my breakfast rut and is perfect for summer.  It takes so little active time to prepare at night, then no time at all in the morning to pop out of the fridge.  And it feels like eating dessert for breakfast which is always fun.

For breakfast I’m usually pretty boring: a lot of oatmeal during the winter and granola during the summer, and mix it up on weekends with pancakes, waffles and the like.  But I have been getting so tired of my go-to breakfast, and I really wanted something cool and something fast (still rushing one kiddo off to camp most of the week!).  I also really love to get something extra nutritious into my body first thing in the day to start things right, but am not quite at the point of eating leafy greens before 11am.

I have also been reading Mark Fuhrman’s excellent book, Super Immunity, which makes a very compelling case for the healing powers of natural plant-foods.  He has a recipe for Forbidden Rice Pudding, which uses a Chinese purple rice that is actually higher in antioxidants than blueberries!  Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.  Eating antioxidants can have a wide range of health effects, including reducing the risk for cancer, inflammation, aging, and cell damage.  It’s good to eat antioxidants.

This seemed promising; the nutritional power of berries in a rice pudding that can be  made [...]

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken
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    Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken Strawberry Rhubarb Spring Salad with Hazelnuts and Poached Chicken

Spring brings out my obsession with all things Strawberry Rhubarb.  Strawberry rhubarb pie was my favorite growing up (ok, one of my favorites, I mean apple and pumpkin are favorites too.. but definitely my favorite spring pie!), but anyways these days – although I still love pie – I also look to get my fix of the beautiful combo in other food applications.

This past week I was thinking of a nice light salad.  A little sweet, a little tart and citrusy, but still filling enough to make it a meal.  What I ended up with is a convenient little dish, in which strawberries and rhubarb marinate together in citrus juices for a bit (while you’re poaching some lovely chicken), creating a sauce that works as a dressing for your salad greens.  The orange and lime juices soften the raw rhubarb and the honey adds just enough sweetness to make the rhubarb delightfully tart.  It’s also lovely with a little goat cheese, although that’s certainly optional.

(A note: eating raw rhubarb is cool – it’s the leaves that are toxic – they’re typically not even attached when sold, but just be sure not to eat them).

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

And if you’ve never poached chicken do not fear.  You’re literally boiling it in water so it’s about as basic and fast as it comes – you can make it fancy by adding a little wine or vinegar, [...]

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze

I just made this Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Pineapple with Barbecue Glaze last week, and I already want to make it again.  It went quickly in my house – I think my husband took care of the leftovers before I had a chance to.

I post a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes on this blog, which I love, but I do eat meat a couple of times a week in small quantities.  I tried being vegetarian once and I just felt…deficient.  So I’ve accepted that this is what I need for now and I buy naturally-fed meat from ethically-raised animals from our local farmer’s market and feel pretty good about it.  As a health coach I find it’s important to honor what your body needs.  The reality is that we evolved eating animals and on an intuitive physical level many of us may just need it to thrive.  Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the importance of meat in building strength and vitality.  True story: at my first appointment with an acupuncturist the doctor said, “I don’t have to worry about you becoming a vegetarian, do I?” (I did make the vegetarian attempt not too long after that, with short-lived and totally unsuccessful results).

Many of us in the holistic nutrition world may feel pressure to be vegetarian, or vegan, and as I said it is important to listen to your body.   Some thrive on a vegetarian diet and I’ve seen others actually become more ill after becoming vegetarian!  That said, most Americans will benefit [...]

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup

To be completely honest this Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup surprised me.  I expected it to be tasty, and I knew it would be satisfying thanks to the coconut milk, but I was surprised at how subtly fragrant and delicious all of the flavors combined to be.

The flavors are mildly of curry, but not a kind of curry that beats you over the head or fills your house.  The cumin and coriander are savory, and yet the ginger and coconut milk provide a light fragrance and sweetness as well.  If you’re not a lentil lover red lentils might be just the thing for you – in this soup they practically dissolve, and in the end you’d hardly guess they’re there, as they combine with the coconut milk to provide an overall thick and creamy texture that is lovely.  Sauteed garbanzo beans make the soup hearty enough for a meal and add an extra layer of umami and texture.  The jalapeno provides a nice counter to the sweetness of the coconut milk.  Overall the soup has such a well-rounded yet subtle flavor profile that I just loved.

The kiddos gave it their endorsement as well, captured without words in this lovely portrait.  They think you should give it a try!Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup Love

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Adapted from Coconut Red-Lentil Curry, Gourmet 2006
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4 with [...]