Spinach and Avocado Green Smoothie

Spinach and Avocado Green Smoothie


In the summer, I always make my son and I a green smoothie for when he gets home from school.  It’s a great way to ensure he gets some good green veggies and he loves them!

This smoothie contains about 350 calories and can be a great lunch alternative if you add some Hemp protein powder to it, which will bump up the calorie count by just over 100 calories (I get Hemp Vanilla Protein powder at Trader Jo’s), but ensure you are getting a good nutritious lunch.  It’s so easy to make if you have the ingredients on hand.  Make sure you have a good blender that will crush ice – I use a Vitamix but there are others out there that will work just as well.

  • 1/4 medium avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups raw baby organic spinach
  • 1/2 cup whole milk organic vanilla yogurt (I use Trader Jo’s)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (again I use Trader Jo’s unsweetened)
  • 2/3 cup ice

Simply put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Coconut Heaven Smoothie

Coconut Heaven Smoothie

So this smoothie is ideal for those who love love love coconut!  Coconut is a superfood, and so this smoothie is incredibly nutritious and delicious!  One 14oz smoothie has about 350 calories and is ideal for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon nutrition boost, or to replenish your body after a workout. As a side note:  Coconut water contains natural electrolites so get rid of those sugary sports drinks, and replace them with a refreshing glass of low calorie coconut water.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup ice

Simply add the above ingredients to a blender that is strong enough to blend the ice, and blend until smooth.  To turn this into a ChocoCoconut Heaven smoothie simply add a teaspoon of raw cacao (or you can use regular coco powder)

Easy Paprika Oven Baked Fries

Easy Paprika Oven Baked Fries


If you love french fries, but try to avoid them because they are deep fried in who knows what kind of bad oil, then these will be a great substitute!  They taste wonderful, are not deep fried but baked, and are super easy to make.

Use red and/or sweet potatoes

Choose the number of potatoes based on how many you are serving

Cut potatoes into cubes or french fry shapes

Coat potatoes in a high heat oil, avocado or grapeseed  (note:  if you use olive oil, do not bake at 400, bake for longer at 350 degrees)

Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and paprika

Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the temperature, removing from the oven after 20 minutes to move the fries and turn them over.


Stir Fried Vegetable Medley

Stir Fried Vegetable Medley


I use all organic ingredients where possible.  This is a great accompaniment to be served with rice, add some black beans for a complete protein and a wonderful vegetarian meal.  You can really play around with the amounts and also add other vegetables to the mix.  Sometimes I add a can of tomatoes also and make more of a ratatoui type dish.  You can also add a can of black beans to add some protein if you are serving as a vegetarian dish with rice.

  • 2 tablespoons avocado, olive, grapeseed or safflower oil.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup chopped or coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 green, red, orange or yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Heat oil briefly, then add onions, celery and carrots.  Salute for 5 minutes then add pepper and onions.  Add corn and peas and sprinkle with salt.  Cook until tender and serve over rice.

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut Macaroons

IMG_0004 IMG_0005

These little macaroons make a lovely treat to have with a cup of tea or coffee.  They are small and satisfying at under 200 calories per macaroon!  Bake a batch, put them in the freezer and eat them slowly when you really need something sweet.  Using all organic ingredients at least means these treats are as healthy as treats can be.  Everything in moderation, eat only one at a time!

  • 12 oz organic unsweetened coconut
  • 1 14oz can of organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/3 cup geridelli dark chocolate chips

Put coconut and almond meal in a bowl.  Add sweetened condensed milk and extracts.  Beat egg whites and fold into coconut mixture.

Scoop onto greased baking sheet into 1″ mounds.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 325 F or until light golden brown.  Once baked immediately lift off baking sheets onto cooling rack.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave or over double boiler, and drizzle over macaroons.

This recipe makes about 26 macaroons, and each one is about 180 calories.

Home made Whole Wheat Bread

Home Made Whole Wheat Bread

IMG_0002 IMG_0003 IMG_0762

There is nothing like home made bread!  Packaged store bought breads generally contain a myriad of additives and preservatives.  Making your own bread ensures you know what you are eating.  Because it contains no additives or preservatives, I usually slice it and freeze it to keep it fresh.  Without freezing, and left at room temperature it will last 2-3 days.

This recipe makes 1 large loaf (I use a Pampered chef stone bread pan) and 5-6 medium sized rolls.

  • 6 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried yeast
  • 3 cups hand hot water

If you have a mixer with the bread hook, that works best.  Otherwise you can knead by hand.  Mix dry ingredients then add water.  If using a mixer put it on medium speed and knead 10 minutes.  Make sure dough is moist, you can add a little more water if necessary… Dry dough will not rise well and makes the bread overly dense.

Once kneaded put into greased bread pan and shape 5-6 rolls and put on greased baking sheet.  Cover with greased cling wrap and put in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.  Once risen carefully remove cling wrap and put into pre heated 400 F oven.  The rolls will be done in 11 minutes.  The bread will take about 35 minutes for a large loaf and 25-30 minutes for a smaller loaf.

Remove from pans and transfer to cooling rack.

Welsh Tea Bread

Welsh Tea Bread

IMG_1313 IMG_1315


My mother used to make this bread and it is totally moist and delicious.  It is also almost completely, and naturally, fat free!  I have substituted the sugar in this recipe for honey, so it also contains no refined sugar.

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped christalized ginger
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (1/2 wheat and half white)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups hot brewed tea
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 egg

Brew tea using boiling water.  Add dried fruit, ginger and honey and mix until honey is disolved.  Soak fruit in tea for several hours or overnight.

IMG_0009 IMG_0012IMG_0008

Mix dried ingredients together.  Add to fruit, honey and tea and combine, add beaten egg.  Mix until well combined.

Option:  You can sprinkle the top with slivered almonds or walnuts which is a yummy addition but completely optional.

Put into loaf pan and bake at 325 F for one hour or until cake tester comes out clean.  Turn out on a cooling rack to cool.  Slice and enjoy!

Sprouting Pea Shoots

Sprouted Pea Shoots

This is easier to do than you might imagine.


Anything sprouted is exponentially more nutritious.  There are many options for sprouting, and you can use sprouting jars for things like alfalfa and mung beans.  Pea shoots need to grow differently though, and the method below is really fool proof.  I enjoy these pea shoots every morning on my breakfast along with a pile of mung bean sprouts.  Both totally delicious and nutritious!

Dried peas (there are two kinds, both edible and great on salads)

Soak peas overnight

Prepare a container (I used an oblong Tupperware container) with a small clean dish cloth folded in the bottom.  Soak the towel with water, and spread soaked peas over the surface.  Put the lid on lightly and leave a day or two making sure to keep plenty of water in the bottom.  Once the shoots begin to grow, you can leave the lid off and put the container near a window to help the shoots get nice and green once fully grown.  The whole process will take about a week.

Cut off the fully grown pea shoots about 1/2″ from the base and use as a garnish or in salads.  Continue to water and the pease will keep re growing once they are cut.  Eventually there will be no more growth and the lease will be done.

A little bit of what you fancy does you good!

A little bit of what you fancy does you good!

A Little bit of what you fancy does you good!



My mother always used to say “a little bit of what you fancy does you good,” and I never forgot it.  I quote it to people all the time, to my children and always prefaced by ‘my mother used to say…’  My daughter suggested I use it as the name for my next blog post, so here it is!

In the context of health and wellness, I use this statement as a means to explain how important it is to eat “a little bit” of something real, rather than a lot of something chemically altered or synthetic.  In this day and age of genetically modified, chemically altered and artificially sweetened, so-called ‘low fat’ food products, it is a very important reminder to those of us who really want to eat clean and healthy, while still shedding a few pounds.

Let’s look at a few common things people tend to eat in place of something real:

Diet soda and artificial sweeteners


Diet Soda – can you say oxymoron? Of course I’m going to tell you that ANY soda is bad for you.   We already know that refined sugar is bad for us, and a glass of soda contains just under 1/4 cup of sugar!  But what about diet soda?  For some years it has been hailed as something to help with weight loss.

Artificial sweeteners still have an effect on your body by triggering the release of insulin, which causes your body to store fat rather than burn it.  It can also cause you to overeat in other areas feeling that you saved calories on a sugar free soda, so can then eat a bit extra (cognitive distortion).  The American Beverage Association insists the sweeteners used in diet sodas such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharine, are fully studied and completely safe.  However, there are over 900 published studies showing that artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic.  For more details follow the link to an article by Dr. Mercola:


Subsequent studies have said that there is no clear connection between artificial sweeteners and cancer, but those were also heavily funded by businesses who use artificial sweeteners in their products…

Artificial-SweetenersThe bottom line here is that it is really best to stay away from soda all together.  Look at your consumption of any sugar and/or sugar-like substances, and do your best to eliminate or at least reduce its presence in your diet.  The only safe low calorie sugar alternative is Stevia, which comes from a plant.  Personally I do not enjoy the flavor of stevia as it is much sweeter than sugar, but if you can take the taste, at least you know you are eating something natural rather than manufactured.

Getting back to the main message:  It’s far better to consume ‘a little bit’ of a natural sweetener than lots.  But it is better to stay away from chemical sweeteners altogether.  Your best options for sweetening agents are  honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar and stevia for a low calorie alternative.  Glucose has also been shown to be a healthy alternative, although it’s slightly less sweeter than sucrose.


You can’t believe it’s not butter?  I can!!!

notbutter-butteritsnotSo this is a hot topic: Should we eat butter, with its high fat content, or switch to one of the many low
calorie alternatives offered today?  When I was young, margarine was the big butter alternative touted to have lower saturated fat and cholesterol.  Of course years later we realized that margarine is actually packed with trans-fat,
which is way worse for you!  But these days there is a new generation of butter alternatives now advertised with no trans-fat BUT they instead contain a myriad of additives and preservatives. 

Just because something is low in fat doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

thIn fact, these low fat miracle products generally have a bunch of junk in them to make them taste good—extra sugar, chemicals, additives—which in the end are much worse for you than the slightly higher fat content, and prevent your body from losing weight. Skim milk? Might as well call it sugar milk.

Take it from Dr. Oz: “Don’t drink skim milk, you don’t need to. When you take the fat out of milk, what’s left? Sugar! Skim milk is sugar milk. You want to drink 2% milk, eat 2% yogurt…people who have a little bit of fat in the yogurt lose more weight, because your body is satiated.”

This harkens back to that cognitive distortion thing I mentioned earlier: With ‘low-cal’ products, mentally people think they can eat more, which means more of all that nasty artificial stuff in your system! Higher fat products not only don’t have all the junk added, but also make your body feel more satisfied, meaning you eat less.

Again, this simple rule always holds true: Chemical ingredients are never a good choice!

Butter itself contains only cream and salt, and is packed with a bunch of vitamins such as Vitamin A, important for our endocrine system and maintaining good vision as well as other bodily functions.  Also vitamins E, K and D, which play a role in maintaining our cardiovascular system.  It contains Lecithin which helps our metabolism work properly, and antioxidants which protect our bodies from disease.


This brings me back to my main point – ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good‘ … a moderate amount of butter (maybe not Paula Deen amounts!) in our diet is much healthier than the alternatives out there.

Always go for the natural alternative and teach yourself to exercise will power to not overdo it. Part of changing the way you eat is to learn how to enjoy things in moderation, and doing so will help you enjoy those little pleasures immensely more.

Fat free half and half and other fat free products

0003450063210_500X500And the oxymorons continue!  My first thought would be ‘what’s the point’!!!  But I assume people who buy fat free products are under the impression that fat is bad, and this is a way to save fat and calories while still enjoying a ‘fat like’ taste.  Well, that ‘fat like’ taste is created by replacing fat with corn syrup and chemical thickeners (carrageenan is most common, and has been linked with cancer in multiple studies) that create the ‘fat like’ flavor and texture.  Most fat free products are the same, instead of fat they add corn syrup and chemical additives.

Half and half is so named because it contains equal parts milk and cream—both natural products.  It’s far better to enjoy a little bit of half & half rather than a fat free alternative.

What about ‘Low fat’ products?

The recommendation for fat consumption is that we get 20%-35% of our daily calories from fat. That’s about 44 to 77 grams of fat a day assuming you eat 2,000 calories a day.  In order for your body to function properly, and your metabolism to work the way that it should, we need enough fat calories.  Saturated fat should be kept to a minimum, with mono and polyunsaturated fat making up the majority of daily fat consumption.

Here are a few foods that contain healthty fats:

  • Salmon
  • Raw nuts (roasting spoils the good oil content)
  • Avocado
  • Olive, avocado, safflower oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax meal

Low fat foods, much like fat free foods, often contain other ingredients to make up for the lack of fat.  The key here is to read the label. Don’t trust companies advertising “all natural; healthy; wholesome”—the fact is that these statements mean nothing, and any company can slap them on their products, regardless of whether the statements are true. If you see that the product contains chemical additives and sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup) to make up for the lack of fat, then it might not be the best choice.


The main take-away messages?

Real food in moderation is always better than low fat, low calorie, diet alternatives. 

Reading labels is so important.  Food manufacturers are always coming up with new chemical ingredients to add to our food to make it last longer, taste better, contain less fat or sugar.  A good thing to remember is that as much as they can test these chemicals before using them, it really is only once humans have been consuming them for years that the real effects will come to light. 

-It’s so much better to try to avoid additives and preservatives, artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes.  Buy natural whole ingredients and either make your own food or choose brands of prepared food that do not contain additives and preservatives.

I try to prepare all my food from scratch so I am in charge of what they contain.   I’m also less likely to eat them as much because they take work, effort and time to prepare.   On occasion I even like to make my own chocolate from scratch,  I maybe eat 2-3 squares of good dark chocolate in a day when I have it available … a square at a time with a nice cup of British tea!  I would eat one square of chocolate in place of a dessert after a meal, so I get a little sweet taste without overdoing my sugar intake.

I rest my case, a little bit of what you fancy does you good.

“Moderation.  Small helping.  Sample a little bit of everything.  These are the secrets of happiness and good health” 

 -Julia Child