With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again that I share with you some of my favorite, simple homemade holiday gifts. This wintertime staple is a quintessential way to deal with the frosty cold weather. This homemade version is made with only a few, all-natural ingredients and the bonus to making it yourself, besides the obvious, is the free reign to add whatever you’d like to it. If you like less sweet, opt for unsweetened chocolate, looking for a little more sweetness try bitter or semisweet chocolate instead. You can add cinnamon or cayenne or any other flavors you’d like (see the bottom of the post for flavor variations). Today I am sharing my recipe for a basic hot cocoa mix with a few suggestions at the end for extra add-ins, as well as a free printable label for you to print out, customize and add to your gift.
There’s nothing like giving the gift of tasty treats, made with love this time of year, but especially cozy, heart-warming decadence like this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix. Rich and luxurious without being excessively sweet. Download the included printable, customizable label, throw in some mini marshmallows, this is a great recipe if you want to make your own. Package it all up in a cute jar, include a tablespoon tied with a little ribbon or string and voila, the perfect holiday gift.
How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix
This Dark Chocolate Peppermint Vegan Cheesecake is a holiday dream! Beside being naturally vegan, it’s gluten-free and grain-free, paleo-friendly, yet still epic enough to please the masses. Coated with a layer of peppermint-infused dark chocolate to bring the holiday vibes, this creamy, rich, decadent treat will be a show stopper at any holiday gathering.
Right, so I am not vegan and nor is this website, but as I prefer to limit / avoid cow’s milk dairy as much as I can, over these many years I have developed a plethora of naturally (read also: inadvertently) vegan recipes, in the process. Beyond that, I know that so many of you struggle with dairy allergies, lactose or casein intolerances or maybe like me, just prefer to avoid most dairy so as not to send your autoimmune disease or digestion into a massive tailspin.
One of my most favorite dairy alternative dessert recipes my No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake was created nearly 5 years ago now and there have been many, many varying iterations of it here on Tasty Yummies, since. From Pumpkin to a Mint Chocolate Chip to these little cereal crusted cuties, among others.
I am so excited to share the recipe for these Grain-free Spinach Tortillas with you guys. It took a little testing to get these tortillas to where I wanted them, both in texture and pliability, but also color and taste. I have tested them many times now and I am still amazed at how simple they are to make and just how perfect the end result is.
I know that homemade tortillas can be a tad intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never made them, but I can assure you after one or two times, it feels like second nature. There is something so meditative and soothing about the process of rolling the dough into balls, pressing, rolling, a quick cook. You get into this beautiful flow and within minutes, a stack of these gorgeous, vibrant wraps.
These Bone Broth Braised Greens are a nourishing addition to any holiday table or just a perfect, comforting side dish, for anytime. Bone broth, onion, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes add flavor to this side dish that can be made with whatever hearty green is in season. Collard greens, Swiss chard, kale or a mix of your favorites.
I find that at holiday tables (shoot many dinner tables year ’round, for that matter) the veggies are often an afterthought. The thing people throw together and half-ass, because they “have to”. Veggies deserve more love than that. A little respect and honor, ya know? After all, nutrient-rich veggies should be the backbone of any real food diet, or any diet really. We should be shooting for some green stuff at every single meal. Non-negotiable.
I know veggies can get boring and if you’re like me, in the cooler months, salads get less and less enticing, so getting those greens in can be hard. Steaming works, but let’s be real, it can be ‘blah!’ and when you serve ‘blah’ veggies, it’s a fight to get them down and the chances are you aren’t going to do it at every meal.
These slow cooked greens, bring the flavor and nourishing, healing goodness of the bone broth, we get a little heat from the red pepper flakes and the onion, garlic and lemon, round it all out with classic, simplicity.
It’s a pretty fuss-free recipe and at the end of it, you get a bowl of goodness that your beautiful body sooo deserves! Every time I share that I am whipping up this recipe on social media, I get so many messages that you want the recipe. So I finally wrote it up to share with you. Just in time for the holidays.
As if I could find a better pairing, two of my favorite foods come together in the perfect marriage, for this rich, silky, decadent treat that’s low carb, low in sugar, grain-free and vegan. The smooth fruity taste of Terra Delyssa’s organic extra virgin olive oil is the perfect compliment to super dark chocolate and in all it’s impressiveness this dessert comes together in no time.
Truth be told, I am not much of a baker. Mostly it comes from a lack of caring about most baked goods and sweets. I know you’ve heard this story before, in the nearly 8 years of Tasty Yummies. What I do love, admittedly daily, is a couple of squares of high quality super duper dark chocolate. It’s really just about all I need.
Fall is officially upon us, which means we can finally celebrate all things pumpkin! For what it’s worth, I believe in waiting it out, slowing down and fully holding onto summer as long as we can. Each season flies by far too quickly, so I truly try to savor each moment and live in the present. The next season always comes.
But the time has come, where we can go hog wild on pumpkin everything. While there is a plethora of pumpkin recipes here on Tasty Yummies, these Spicy Pumpkin Fries may be one of my all time favorite pumpkin recipes. I shared these last year as an exclusive email list-only recipe and the response was so huge, I just couldn’t let these get lost in the abyss of email inboxes gone by, so here we are!
Savory, spicy and just a little crisp – this is what fries are all about, no matter what they are made from. Traditionally we know that fries out in the wild, are submerged in a vat of adulterated vegetable and seed oils, these oils are truly some of the worst things we can put it our body. (read more here) But, when made at home, baked with high quality oils, you can enjoy without the worry of toxic fats.
Tahini is my life blood. If you aren’t yet aware of what tahini is, it is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, with a consistency similar to other nut butters. It has come to be one of my most coveted pantry staples. I almost always have a homemade tahini dressing or sauce of some sort, on hand, if not two. My garlic tahini, or some variation on it, is mainstay in my kitchen weekly.
Recently with all the fresh, local herbs in season I have been veering off and getting a bit more creative with my tahini sauce. This vibrant, herby, Green Tahini Sauce is so versatile. It’s wonderful simply as a dip for crudités, grain-free crackers or chips. It makes am amazing creamy, salad dressing for a traditional green salad, or better yet the perfect way to dress up a summer potato salad. It’s a lovely compliment to grain and veggie bowls or simply just steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables of any and all kinds. It is also great in place of mayo on sandwiches. This Green Tahini is also a wonderful sauce for seafood, chicken and pork, especially when grilled or roasted.
While smoothies have become a popular meal replacement, snack and all around trendy food, crafted incorrectly you can be consuming a sugar-loaded, blood sugar exploding cocktail. I am excited to share with you A Guide to Smarter Smoothies to hopefully help you understand how to better create the smoothies that are right for you.
If you’ve been reading Tasty Yummies for some time, you probably know that the archives are LOADED with smoothie recipes. Smoothies used to play a much larger role in my daily diet routine, for the longest time it was always my favorite way to start my day. Interestingly at the height of my smoothie consumption, weight loss was definitely a struggle, as were energy crashes and sugar cravings. What I didn’t know back then, but I do know now as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, is that without the proper formulation, smoothies are a blood sugar explosion waiting to happen.
Every time you consume any carbohydrates and sugar containing foods, it causes an increase in blood glucose. How much so is dependent on the food and the individual. Simple sugars more specifically (monosaccharides), those sugars ending in -ose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose – these are metabolized especially quickly and can often cause a big surge in insulin.
Our body’s innate intelligence continually monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance and homeostasis. When blood glucose levels increase, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin increases the uptake of glucose by our muscle and fat cells; increases the amount of glycogen in our muscle and liver; increases fatty acid synthesis from excessive carbohydrates; and decreases fat breakdown and mobilization from our fat tissue.
How Bad Can a Fruit-Loaded Smoothie Be?
With a spike in blood sugar, a release of insulin and the impending crash, no matter what food is the initial cause, this can lead to immediate hunger, mid-day cravings, energy crashes, lightheadedness, anxiety, etc. Even worse, if the rest of your day’s eating (and most days) continue on the carb and sugar path, you are absolutely creating a long term problem. Whether you are overweight, struggle with weight loss or notice blood sugar issues or not.
Day in and day out this roller coaster can lead to a slew of health complications beyond obesity, lethargy and cravings. To simplify the worst of it, constant output of insulin is like the boy that cried wolf, your cells stop responding to the insulin that is constantly being produced and they become resistant, meaning without the insulin to transport the excess glucose to your cells for energy production, blood sugar levels remain high and this is can lead to chronic insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and eventually diabetes.
These days, I personally prefer to opt for (and I recommend to my clients) the prioritizing of nutrient-dense whole foods, rather than drinkable meals, like smoothies or juice. Whole foods offer the opportunity for maximum nutrient absorption, which allows our digestion to work as intended, and assuming these whole foods aren’t loaded up with carbohydrates and sugar – it’s much easier on your blood sugar.
That said, in the summer I do find myself with a much different appetite and my cravings differ quite significantly from the cooler months. I am not nearly as ravenous for more robust meals, especially on the hotter days. In the summer months I find myself wanting and craving more smoothies than any other time of the year. Knowing what I know now, my approach to creating them has drastically changed, so today I am going to share with you my Guide to Smarter Smoothies.
This Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs is a summertime backyard BBQ staple around here. A must when we are entertaining. Put all other potato salads to shame with multiple layers of flavor and texture.
[This is an updated post from 2011.]
For well over 6 years now this potato salad has been a staple of our summertime cookouts. Whenever we have people over, whether we are cooking up the most elaborate or the most simple of meals – this side dish stunner is my go-to.
Cooking up the potatoes first allows them to soften up a bit, so when they hit the grilled glistening with the Terra Delyssa olive oil, they get a golden brown char to the outside of them, while still holding their shape.
Try substituting baby spinach, kale or other lettuces or greens for the arugula and even play with different vinaigrette moves, try adding in a whole grain mustard, a little lemon zest, maybe add some red pepper flakes.
In honor of #popsicleweek, I am bringing a traditional cake recipe new life with these tasty Red Velvet Pudding Pops. Of course, there’s a twist. I boosted this sweet treat with nutrient-dense whole foods, so you can have your cake and nutrients and eat it, too!
It wasn’t too long ago that I snuck a little cauliflower into some popsicles here on Tasty Yummies. I’m hoping if you tried that recipe, you still trust me and know that despite these strange ingredient combos, I will never lead you astray. It was a fun surprise to find that the cauliflower brought another level to the treat, with creaminess and also of course, nutrients. While I don’t feel that every dessert should have a veggie snuck into it, I do love the unexpected nutritional boost that this provides. And why not?
So, I am back at it again today with these Red Velvet Pudding Pops. As traditional Red Velvet Cake is simply a subtle amount of cocoa with red food coloring, it’s actually a cake flavor that has forever eluded me. I never really understood it. It’s not chocolate and the red color has nothing to do with flavor. But not too long ago I tried a gluten-free Red Velvet cupcake and I am not gonna lie. I was into it. But, ya know, it was loaded with sugar and grains. Additionally, red food dye used in baking is almost always derived from Red #40 (Allura Red) an artificial food dye. According to a CSPI report, some of the most commonly used food dyes may be linked to numerous forms of cancer, along with hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.1http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx The European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, but the United States has no such requirement.
References [ + ]
1. ↑ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/24/are-you-or-your-family-eating-toxic-food-dyes.aspx
This Super Quick Coconut Red Curry Soup is ready in just about 15 minutes and it’s highly adaptable. Add chicken or shrimp, drop in whatever veggies are in season and you have on hand, add noodles, or don’t. It’s creamy, rich and a breeze to make.
In continuing with the simple weeknight meal ideas, I bring you one of my go-to, super quick meals. I make and share this often on my Instagram stories and I am constantly receiving messages for the recipe. It hardly seems like a recipe to me, given what a breeze it is and how I rarely even measure, but here we go.
Before you beat me to the punch, I will stop you right there, I realize that golden milk has become a bit of a “golden child” (pun intended) in the food blogging world. I am not the first to share a golden milk recipe and I am sure I won’t be the last. It’s a buzz food, currently and I am not one bit mad about it, I love the stuff, I have been enjoying it for years. I decided to still go ahead and share my personal recipe here on the site, despite the mass amount of golden milk recipes floating around the web, with the intent to share with you some important bits, tips and thoughts often left out, in regards to the proper means to assimilating all of the many benefits of turmeric.
The term “superfood” has certainly become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, an often overused term, at that. Often, these foods that have been used for healing for many centuries become adopted by modern culture and as the foods become more readily available, we reap the benefits. Win win! But, people tend adopt these foods and run wild making claims for health and healing, often without doing the research for themselves or fully understanding the claims they are making. Unfortunately, often, much like the phone call game we played as kids, the details and important facts can be lost along the way.
Before I get into what is often left out and what we aren’t always told, let’s talk about the benefits! Turmeric and curcumin, the well-studied main bioactive component of turmeric, have been found to promote health and protect against a wide variety of health conditions.
Well, I might just have to quit after this. This Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge features two of my favorite things together in a marriage so perfect I am not sure any treat can ever compare. At least for this girl. As if it couldn’t get better, this treat features the bonus healing powers of one of my favorite daily supplements.
This fudge is dreamy. It’s rich and decadent, it’s unique and “mmmmm”-inducing. Here’s the thing though, if you don’t like tahini, it may not be for you (though you could likely swap in some almond butter or sunflower seed butter). But if you are a lover of all things tahini, you’re in luck. MAJOR luck. The tahini flavor shines bright and in it’s prominence it’s complimented so perfectly by the decadent, rich super dark chocolate. Don’t skimp here, quality is of key. Better yet, use homemade dark chocolate if you’ve got some. You guys already know how I feel about dark chocolate, a square or two a day of this magical superfood and that’s about all this lady needs to be satisfied. It doesn’t take much. Curious on why dark chocolate is a great option for a daily treat? Read more about the many benefits of dark chocolate.
But here’s the best part, this is so much more than your usual treat, in true Tasty Yummies style, I boosted this fudge to bring an added layer of healing benefits. Vital Proteins’ Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is one of the latest and greatest from my pals over at Vital Proteins. You guys have already heard me sing the praises of collagen peptides as part of a healing diet and lifestyle. But since I have started incorporating Vital Proteins in my life, daily, they have continued to expand their product and introduce more and more incredible collagen based products. The new Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is no exception, this has been a wonderful addition to smoothies, as well as baked goods and now this amazing boosted fudge.
Tasty Yummies Real Food Meal Plans
What’s for dinner? Ahhhh the age old question that oftentimes doesn’t have the greatest of answers – if you aren’t prepared and planning ahead.
No matter what your home and family dynamic looks like; single, power couple, party of five – I think we can all agree that half the battle when it comes to eating better and prioritizing our health and self care, is being prepared. It’s all about having a plan and sticking to it, truly it’s the best and only way to succeed. But, let’s also be really real here, this is always far easier said than done.
The time and energy it takes to plan out your week’s meals, make the grocery lists, have a system for shopping, the prep and what to do with the leftovers, at times this can feel like a second career. And this is coming from someone who lives, breathes and thinks about food most of her waking hours.
Whether you are new to a real food diet, experimenting with gluten-free, paleo or Whole30, perhaps you just want more exciting, nutrient-dense meal options, maybe you just want to think less and cook more – I’m here to offer you the most magical, game-changer of a service that is about to change your life! Real Plans Meal Planning. I have partnered with Real Plans to bring you your favorite Tasty Yummies Recipes built right into simple, customized weekly meal plans.
Real Plans is the solution to all your meal planning needs with everything you could need to be organized. With options for the ultimate in customization including dietary needs and allergy restrictions along with personal likes and dislikes and adjustable serving sizes, these Tasty Yummies Meal Plans offer the flexibility to suit your own unique lifestyle and family dynamic.
Each week Real Plans creates a custom plan for you, featuring Tasty Yummies recipes, built exclusively for your family’s size, busy schedule, and ever-changing needs.
Real Plans provides creative, unique meals to serve your real life. Meal plans that feature recipes focused around whole foods with a side of stress removal. No more constantly needing to reinvent your meals or think on the fly – it’s like we’re literally giving you extra time in your life!
With Cinco de Mayo this week, the internet is a buzz with Mexican-inspired recipes. Here’s a round-up of 0ver 50 Cinco de Mayo-esque recipes, just for you – all gluten-free and all real food focused. Some are more traditional, some a bit more unique. There are recipes that are paleo, vegan, AIP and everything in between. A bunch of the recipes hail from the TY recipe archives and the rest from some of my fav blogging pals! Tons of delicious ways to celebrate! Enjoy!
This Easy Chia Seed Jam is a wonderful way to preserve the fresh fruit of the season and enjoy delicious homemade jam without artificial colors and flavors or an ungodly amount of sugar. It’s a breeze to make, ready in about 15 minutes, plus there is no canning equipment necessary and you can control the level of sweetness leaving out refined sugar and instead using natural sweeteners like honey, maple or any other alternative you choose (or leave it out altogether and go al naturale).
Best part, this simple chia seed jam formula works with nearly any fruit you’d like, so go with the best the current season has to offer and get creative. Try strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, etc. Experiment with blending various fruits and if you really want to have some fun, add in vanilla bean, fresh herbs or spices, rosemary, basil, fresh mint, cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger – the flavor combos are endless, really.
This Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup is the ultimate in flavor. With aromatic spices in a creamy, rich tomato broth it’s the perfect comfort food.
I refuse to subscribe to the notion that there is a “Soup Season”. Sure, winter and fall are much more conducive to warming, comforting bowls of the steamy stuff, but there is something so cozy about soup and it can often make for a nice, one pot, fuss free meal, no matter the season.
As a lover of all things Indian-spiced I am constantly experimenting with dishes that are inspired by those very distinct spice blends. Since my husband is the exact opposite and prefers to avoid many of those spices, like the plague (he had a bad Indian restaurant food poisoning incident that forever ruined him) I dont get to play nearly as often as I would like.
On a rare night at home alone, recently, I was experimenting with a creamy garam masala spiced dish, somewhere between chicken makhani (butter chicken) and tikka masala, I was making the sauce creamy with coconut milk instead of heavy cream and as I was adding the tomatoes and broth, I found I had gone a little too far with the liquids, my sauce turned more to a soup and I simultaneously fell in love with this accidental dish. Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup. Read the rest of this entry »
Sauerkraut and all it’s live culture, raw, funky smelling goodness, it’s been a favorite of mine for sometime. But, it wasn’t until this past year, while taking on the arduous task of healing my gut, that I have truly learned to love and appreciate this stuff for all of it’s magical healing qualities. I have shared this simple tutorial at workshops, including retreats I have hosted and cooking demos. It’s a very simple process, a food that has been around for thousands of years that produces incredible, tasty and healing results. While not very cumbersome at all, sauerkraut is a timely process, but I can tell you that patience is very much a virtue in this game. It’s worth the wait. For those new to sauerkraut, I do recommend starting out consuming a very small amount, a tablespoon or two, used as a condiment of sorts. As with any fermented or probiotic rich food, too much too soon, even when it’s good bacteria, can have some gnarly affects on your gut. More isn’t always better. Take it slow.
This tutorial offers the step by steps on making small batch sauerkraut, in a glass mason jar. To make a larger batch in a fermentation crock, you can just double or triple the recipe, as necessary.
All You Need:
1 or 2 quart wide mouth glass canning jar or 3 pint size glass jars, with tight fitting lid(s)
1 medium head organic cabbage
1 tablespoon sea salt
additional spices, vegetables or fruit you wish to add
glass mixing bowl
sharp knife and cutting board (or food processor with shredding plate)
HOW IT WORKS:
Letting the cabbage ferment at room temperature invites beneficial bacteria to grow via lacto-fermentation. These microorganisms feed on sugars in the vegetables and raise levels of lactic acid, giving fermented foods their tang while also preserving them. Most commercial sauerkraut is required by the FDA to be pasteurized—which effectively destroys all the bacteria in it, including the beneficial bacteria— so making your own sauerkraut at home is definitely a better choice to improve your digestive health.
For my granola loving friends, I am super excited about this how-to and recipe. Most commercial granolas, even when gluten-free, are loaded with gut-upsetting grains, and worse yet – vegetable oils and loads of sugar. After lots of experimenting and playing around, I created the perfect base recipe for this grain-free granola, with two variations. Sweet and Savory.
Using the formula for the base, you can get creative there with your favorite nuts and seeds and then when it comes to flavor combinations, the sky is the limit – so get creative and make it your own.
We returned home last Monday after spending over a week Loreto, Mexico, in the Baja California Sur, celebrating the nuptials of our very good friends, Debbie and Dan. Since I was coming off a full month + of exceptionally strict eating, since I did Whole30, I was feeling really, really great, but on top of it, I was also several weeks in on experimenting with the ketogenic diet, as an attempt to get my autoimmune kidney disease into remission (more on this soon as I continue to experiment).
I had some slight trepidations in spending a week at a resort, both in how hard it would be for me to keep up my preferred way of eating, but also from the standpoint of my actual health and well-being, if 1 week away would ruin 1 month of hard work.
The answer is it wasn’t hard and no it didn’t.
If you are like me, there is never a shortage of super dark chocolate in your house. Since I’ve been experimenting and making my own dark chocolate bars the last few weeks, I have had more chocolate in the house than ever! Not at all a problem I am complaining about, but I am finding myself extra inspired by this gorgeous, silky, velvety, homemade dark chocolate.
This unique side dish take classic roasted cauliflower to new levels. Crisp-tender with a smoky char, the cauliflower gets the red carpet treatment with this luxurious, silky sauce, featuring the most unsuspecting of ingredients. Dark chocolate.