Browsing the archives for the Healthy category.

Farmer’s Market Haul (with meal ideas)!

California, Healthy, Kids

Last summer, I fell madly in love with the Torrance Farmer’s Market. I love it because it’s big so there is a lot of selection, but not so big that you can’t get to know the vendors. I looooove that it’s a year-round market (since you know, 2 weeks of rain is ‘winter’ down here) and most of all I think that the concept of local citrus, and local avocado and omg local dragonfruit (whaaaat) is so so otherworldly. It is very temping to walk through your local farmer’s market and buy healthy, delicious produce at random. If you eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies that can probably work for you, but if you’re aiming to make meals from as much of your haul as possible, it’s generally wise to show up with a list.

Yeah, I know. But I’m making lists again!

This is what I brought home with me this week…

Beets, carrots, kale, cucumbers, lemons, limes, oranges, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, ginger, shallots, garlic, onions, white peaches, white ‘donut’ peaches, apricots, grapefruit, purple grapes and avocados. Not pictured whole wheat pita bread, whole wheat pita chips, jalapeño feta (I know right??), a layered feta / sundried tomato / pesto dip, artichoke hummus and beet hummus.

Farmer's Market Haul

Of course, the very first few recipes that run through my mind when I stood back to look at my loot were from Peas and Thank You, a few Deceptively Delicious recipes came to mind too and naturally, Undressed Skeleton. Here are some things I’ve already posted about that will end up happening this week here, and I’ll follow it up with a loose plan for the week.

blackberries, limes, ginger





dip for everything





all berries

lemon, lime, ginger, kale, cucumber

Ideas for this week’s meals and snacks! I will take pictures and post about them next week!

Adding beet puree to whole wheat pancakes (made with flax and almond milk instead of eggs and cow milk) for breakfast is a hit with all of us!
Dressing up rice cakes or flatbread with non dairy ‘cream cheese’ and fruit
Dressing up rice cakes or flatbread with smashed avocado and nuts
Dressing up rice cakes or flatbread with jam and berries
I’m going to swap my berry smoothie for some fresh beet / carrot / apple juice – apparently, it’s amazing (and amazingly healthy, natch)
Whole wheat (from scratch) garlic bread.
Frozen grape skewers topped with non dairy vanilla pudding and dates or prunes or raisins (I haven’t decided yet) 😉
Chick pea and kale falafels
Red velvet cupcakes with beets and non dairy ‘cream cheese’ frosting
I will also make some candied carrots for the kids as a side for dinner and mix some beets into mashed potatoes for pink potatoes!
Oh and pies!! I promised my husband pies!
Lemon meringue pie!
Cherry pie!
Blueberry tarts!
Maybe a peach pie too, we’ll see!

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Skinny Poolside Dip


Today I’m linking up with Ladybug Blessings, Hope Studios, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Naptime Creations, Crafty Confessions, Me and My Boys, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Chef in Training, and Pink Sized Baker. Check out some of these link ups. So many recipes and projects to be inspired by!

I use the term ‘skinny’ pretty loosely here, because duh if you eat enough of pretty much anything there’s nothing skinny about it. It should also go without saying that swapping out crackers or flatbread for veggies to dip in this will also totally change what kind of day you have.

It’s at least fair to call it a light dip because if you’d normally be snacking on chips or crackers this dip is a step up with a lot less fat and calories and a little boost of veggies.

Skinny Poolside Dip

‘Skinny’ Poolside Dip

1 chopped red pepper
2 seeded and chopped jalapeños (or leave the seeds in if you really want the kick)
1 can of corn (drained)
16 oz fat-free cream cheese (softened)
1 packet ranch dip seasoning mix

Mash up the cream cheese to be sure it’s blended and ready for other add-ins. Stir in the seasoning mix first and when it’s well distributed, add the red pepper and the jalapeños. Then fold in the corn. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours for all the flavors to set.

That’s it. Just break out the crisp dipping veggies and some crackers.

I know, right? Too easy! You’re welcome!

Skinny Poolside Dip
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Coconut Banana Granola Bars


Early in 2011 my husband and I watched way too many documentaries on food and health in general. The three that affected us the most were Food Matters, then Food Inc, and then Forks Over Knives a few months later. Ouch. It was hard to watch as a meat / dairy / processed foods eating couple. Since then we eat a lot less meat and dairy, and the meat and dairy we do eat now is organic. I have always been really big on making as much as possible from scratch, but my concept of ‘as much as possible’ is a lot different now – even though with homeschooling and adventuring around LA we have less spare time than ever, it’s totally worth it to find the time. (it’s a good busy)!

Last year, I posted a recipe for homemade granola bars that I still use on the regular for the kids. They’re pretty good and only have one questionable ingredient – marshmallows and as I said in the original post, if you make them yourself they’re not all that questionable anymore! These granola bars are for anyone who likes banana and coconut. None of my littles like coconut – crazy right?! My husband and I looooove coconut so these babies are the grown up granola bar around here now. 😉

Coconut Banana Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips via Undressed Skeleton

1 cup organic flaked coconut
1 large (extra ripe) banana
1 cup whole grain oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground flax
1/4 cup almond milk
1 packet truvia (or whatever you use for sweetening)
*the original recipe used 2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips but I skipped them

Super simple and so good aaaaand no flour, no eggs, no dairy, no added sugar, no butter, no oils!

Mash the banana and add to a bowl with the coconut, flax, vanilla, oats and truvia. Slowly add the almond milk until it holds it’s shape and then just pat into a pan. If you’re using chocolate chips, now is the time to add them. It’s not runny so you can get away with using the middle of a pan (like I did) or you can use an 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes and let cool before cutting.

Peanut Butter Tofu Ice Cream


This is a great recipe for people who avoid dairy on the regular and need a chemical-free alternative to ice cream. It’s also a great recipe for people who don’t avoid dairy but are dieting! I wont give an official calorie count for this recipe because it can change a lot depending on what kind of peanut butter / tofu / sweetener you use.

Even if you’re not a fan of tofu, this recipe is amazing. I started experimenting with tofu in desserts last year thanks to Peas and Thank You, and this was a winner too!

It all happens in the food processor and if you have teeny tiny little containers like these it measures out to about 100 calories per serving!

Peanut Butter Tofu Ice Cream

13.5 oz package of silken tofu
4 tablespoons organic chunky peanut butter (can be smooth if you don’t want peanut chunks)
2/3 cup agave / maple syrup / Joseph’s Original Sugar Free Maple Syrup <- that's what I used 1 medium ripe banana Blend it all together in the food processor and divide it into 10 servings. Freeze overnight and voila! It gets harder than regular ice cream, so take it out a little before you want to eat it and let it warm up and melt a bit. So good. Even if you end up having more than one, it's still a lot less calories than a bowl of ice cream.

Peanut Butter Tofu Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Tofu 'Ice Cream'
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Happy New Years Eve (and a Deceptively Delicious round up)

California, Healthy

Happy New Years Eve!! Tonight we’ll celebrate with the littles early and call our parents and then we’ll celebrate at midnight and call a bunch of friends on the East coast at 3am. Hehe. That means YOU, Talea! I am looking forward to tonight, but I’ll wait and show you all the silly fun tomorrow!!

In 2011 I set out to cook and bake my way through Deceptively Delicious. I made a decent dent in it, more than half of the recipes, and I kept making recipes from it this year. There are just a few I haven’t gotten to yet. It’s a fun book full of sneaky ways to add vegetable purees into everyday recipes, focused on getting your kids to eat them but it works just as well with husband and yourself! I’m not big on a lot of the healthiest veggies so I love to add them in to recipes! I know they’re there and I’m getting the benefits of them without sitting down to a plate of spinach, you know?

Here are four of the recipes I made a while ago, but just posted. All of them were simple and tasted great!

Deceptively Delicious - Quesadillas Deceptively Delicious - Quesadillas

There have been a lot of serious winners from his book in our house and a few not so well received dishes. This one though has become our oldest little one’s favorite snack. He asks fot it several times a week. Just before we moved to LA, I made this for him and a three of his friends and they inhaled it. For the record, none of those kids would ever eat squash or navy beans or even sour cream! (read)

Deceptively Delicious - Pink Pancakes Deceptively Delicious - Pink Pancakesread)
Deceptively Delicious - Pasta with Bolognese Sauce Deceptively Delicious - Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

I am the only person in the house that isn’t a big fan of spaghetti and pasta sauce. I actually kinda hate it. If I make it for the fam and I don’t feel like coking something else, I’ll eat it. Another exception is if we are visiting someone and they make it. Otherwise, noooo thank you. This sauce though? Not bad at all. I honestly didn’t mind it at all and I think it was the addition of the sweet potato puree that made it better. (read)

Deceptively Delicious - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Deceptively Delicious - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I was a little nervous to present these to the kids because they’re not big on raisins OR nuts in their cookies so these didn’t go ove too well with them, but a few of my girlfriends were over when I made these and they loved them! No one had any idea there was zucchini in them until I told them. You could add wheat bran or ground flax to these to really up the fiber without changing the taste! Or swap the raisins for dried cranberries! (read)

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Homemade Facial Cleansers

Healthy, Pretty

Last year I started experimenting with making my own mineral makeup, lip glosses and bath fizzies and a few months ago we made soap with new friends! Since all of these experiments went so well and I was not only able to use everything I made, but it all turned out really nice and in some cases even better than I expected, I started experimenting with face masks! There are a zillion recipes online for masks and cleansers and potions, but some of them have either hard to find ingredients or unnecessarily expensive ingredients. So after wading through about 100 recipes, I read up on the most common ingredients and what properties they have that are so good for skin and of course I tried out a bunch of these myself!

Watermelon is one of the ingredients that comes up again and again in facial mask recipes. Mostly because just like when you eat it, applying it to your face really hydrates your skin, regardless of whatever else you add to it, so when you add it to anything else that hydrates on contact (like cucumbers) you can quickly and safely moisturize a dry face. Win! The Watermelon and cucumber combo also has skin lightening and soothing properties, so the next time you’re nursing a sunburn, mash half a cup each of watermelon pulp and cucumber and spread over where ever you are red!

So, why? Well, I mentioned that watermelon pulp hydrates your skin like crazy and it’s also an amazing anti-inflammatory. It’s also full of vitamins C, A, potassium, and magnesium, which I generally only think of in terms of eating it but there’s a lot of research swirling around that since your skin is your biggest organ you’re absorbing (and therefore ingesting) whatever you use topically.

Watermelon Yogurt Mask
1 teaspoon watermelon juice
1 teaspoon plain Greek yogurt

Yogurt & Oatmeal
There are a lot of yogurt based masks out there. After reading about all of yogurt’s superpowers for skin, I get why. It it chock full of lactic acid, which apparently is beyond department store creams in refining pores, scrubbing out the dead skin cells and get this, stimulating collagen production. Any bottle that says that in a spa will instantly be twice as expensive as anything around it, so getting that for next to nothing from yogurt? Sign me up!

Another reason yogurt seems to dominate the recipes for DIY facial masks is it’s consistency is perfect for making a paste out of so many other ingredients that are good for your skin (like oatmeal and honey).

Oatmeal is extremely beneficial to your skin and since we have already covered what yogurt can do, I’d happily rate yogurt/oatmeal combos as serious winners! Apparently, humans have been using oatmeal on their skin since 2000 BC (don’t ask me how ‘they’ know that, but they do)! Oatmeal contains polysaccharides and these little babies get all gooey in the water and leave a (good) film on your skin that protects against flaking! It does a good job of moisturizing as well since oats are full of good fats, and natural cleansers that pull out dirt and oil from pores!

Yogurt & Oatmeal Moisturizing Mask
2 tablespoons plain (full fat) yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoons cooked & cooled oatmeal
Yogurt & Honey Cleansing Scrub
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Calming Mask
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
2 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel or juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 peeled cucumber
3 drops of chamomile oil
Old School Oat & Honey Mask
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 tablespoon honey
Smoothing Apricot Mask
2 pitted apricots
2 teaspoons greek yogurt
Olive oil

My Favorites

Baking Soda Scrub
I have been using a 3:1 mixture of baking soda and water for about 5 months, every other day on my face, elbows and knees because I have read in various cheesy magazines *cough*Seventeen*cough that using a baking soda paste safely brightens your skin, or at least takes the dull film off the top! I have noticed an honest improvement in the brightness of my skin and there has not been any irritation. There is a version of this that uses orange juice instead of water (here)and it is supposedly crazy amazing at getting rid of oil and blackheads. I’ll test this out and report back!

Cucumber Slices
Ever since I first started skipping sleep about 12 years ago, I’ve been using cucumber slices on my eyes when I wake up looking like I need another 3 or 4 hours in bed! While I know that everyone already knows this one, I’m crediting my mom because she was the first one to magically make me not look like a zombie at 6:30am after being up with a baby all night. (Thanks Mom!)

Egg White Masks
My aunt got me into egg white face masks even before I needed the cucumbers. She and my mom and I would spend nights putting egg white masks on each other’s faces and hands. Why hands? Both my mom and my aunt always rocked manicures so I guess it’s no surprise they made sure their hands were soft and smooth! These masks were fun for me as a kid because, aside from the gross fun of spreading egg whites with a pastry brush, there is the strange sensation of the eggs drying on your face and your feeling the pull. You can rinse it off in the sink or shower, but peeling it off was always more fun. I had forgotten about these masks until I thought about writing this post so I did one just to see how my skin felt immediately after and woah. Way, way smoother than pre-mask! All it takes is one egg white. I’ve read a lot of people use the yolk in their hair to make it shinier, but I have not tried that one myself yet!

In all the reading I did about DIY face masks I found so many amazing recipes I want to try out! Here are a few more!

Green Tea Face Mask
green tea (just enough to make a paste)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Banana Face Mask
1 banana
1 teaspoon honey
Blueberry Lemon Mask
4 tablespoons mashed blueberries
3 teaspoons ground oats
1 teaspoon finely ground almonds
2 teaspoons distilled water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 drop lemon essential oil
Papaya Mask
2 tablespoons mashed papaya
1/2 teaspoon pineapple juice
1 teaspoon powdered green algae
Pumpkin Facial
2 teaspoon pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Nutmeg Honey Cinnamon Facial
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
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Vegan ‘Goldfish’ Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)


Ok so, as you are all painfully aware by now, I’m the biggest fan girl there ever was for Peas and Thank You and for Mama Pea’s cookbook. I will have to tally it up but I think I have made almost all of the recipes now. However, since Mama Pea (aka Sarah Matheny), is someone I really admire and look up to, there is no way I’m posting the details to her recipes – you’ll just have to buy her book. So all year long, I have been posting pretty pictures of my attempts at her recipes and my thoughts on them and how many of our littles liked them and that sort of thing.


The recipe for these crackers is available on her blog, (in the reci’peas’ section har har). So I can post this recipe and encourage you to visit her blog and it’s win-win! We all loved these – and so did our neighbors!

Before I do that though, take a look at some of the recipes I’ve made from her book recently!

These cupcakes have enough sweetness to them to easily be called a cupcake – but they are healthier than your average muffins! 2/3 of my kids loved these and to be fair the one that didn’t isn’t big on jam. I will try these again as Peanut Butter Cupcakes and see what happens. They come together pretty quickly too!

I know, I know. ‘Mama Pea’s Balls’. Whatever. You’re the one with your head in the gutter.

These cupcakes have enough sweetness to them to easily be called a cupcake – but they are healthier than your average muffins! 2/3 of my kids loved these and to be fair the one that didn’t isn’t big on jam. I will try these again as Peanut Butter Cupcakes and see what happens. They come together pretty quickly too!

Ok, so moving along. No, these do not taste just like a goldfish cracker, because vegan cheese doesn’t taste like cheese. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t amazing! I love these! I love them with soup or alone or dipped in whatever I’m dipping veggies in at any given moment.

Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup non dairy cheese
1/2 cup vegan margarine
5 tablespoons cold water

Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
First process both flours, the xanthan gum, salt and mustard. Then add the vegan cheese and pulse. Add the vegan cheese and pulse till it’s all mixed. Now add the vegan marg in chunks and pulse till that is all mixed as well.
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
Dump this mixture into a bigger bowl and slowly add the cold water while stirring. Eventually, it’ll hold itself together.
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
Once you can make a loaf out of it, wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it in the first for about an hour (or more). Theeeeen, preheat your oven to 350 and roll out your chilled dough on a floured surface and cut out shapes (or if your cookie cutters happen to be, oh I don’t know, say 4200km away – that’s 2600 miles, people, you can just use a knife and cut little squares out of them). Then bake them for 10-14 minutes. The kids totally demolished them when they came out of the oven.
Vegan 'Goldfish' Crackers (Thank you Mama Pea)
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110 of the World’s Healthiest Foods – #38 Bananas & #70 Flax


For a few years now I’ve been getting a lot of my basic information about the foods I eat from The World’s Healthiest Foods, and then I generally do more research on whatever food I looked up and pull it all together for a better understanding of what I’m eating. I figured since I refer back to this site so often, I will try to blog through the list. The website actually lists 127 foods, I omitted the animal products from the list (meat, dairy & seafood), which leaves us with vegetables, fruits, beans & legumes, nuts, seeds & oils, grains, spices & herbs, natural sweeteners & drinks.

I will figure out a way to track which foods I’ve posted about with link back to them at some point, but for now, he’s a crazy quick breakfast that is equal parts healthy and tasty!

This includes both flax and banana and takes maaaaybe 5 minutes to prepare. The inspirational recipe I first saw (over at Some the Wiser) included Grape Nuts cereal and I didn’t use any in my version.

banana breakfast roll

1 large, ripe banana
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax

Just mix up the cinnamon and flax in a small bowl. Spread natural peanut butter all over the banana and roll it in the flax/cinnamon mix. Then drizzle with honey. Voila!

banana breakfast roll

Here’s the why behind ‘eat this, it’s good for you’.

Flax – Just two tablespoons over the course of a day (this recipe takes care of half of that first thing in the morning) gives you 132.9% of your daily value of omega 3, and a little less than 1/4 of your manganese, vitamin B1, and fiber for the day. By increasing our anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection, flaxseeds can decrease our risks of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Omega 3s make your cardiovascular system happy and the lignans in flax also help protect it from inflammatory damage. Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) is crazy important for proper functioning of the brain, nerves and muscles. Other notable positives for flax include cancer prevention, digestive health, and relief from post-menopausal symptoms.

Banana – 1 banana gives you 21% of your daily B6 (along with a decent dose of C). B6 is very helpful in reducing your risks of heart disease, and can help with depression and anxiety. Bananas have an antacid effect that can protect against ulcers, they also improve digestion, protect your eyesight, and promote kidney health! Not just a potassium kick!

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Week in Review #4

California, Healthy, Kids

What a wonderful, wonderful week it has been!!

sister love and palm trees
sparkles and Hello Kitty are a match made in toddler heaven
Polliwog Park and Manhattan Beach in general are my new favorite places
after five months of having a pool, none of us can imagine not having one & the same is true for these palm trees
white peaches and cluster tomatoes at the Torrance farmer’s market
loot from this Saturday’s farmer’s market
homemade vegan dragon fruit ice cream
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Torrance Farmer’s Market!

California, Healthy, Kids

Every Saturday and Tuesday from 8am-1pm, farmers from over 60 California farms (from Fresno to San Diego) come together in Charles Wilson park in Torrance!

In Canada, our favorite farmer’s market staples were strawberries, blueberries, butternut squash and apples. Here though? Here we were excited about (and not disappointed by) the local citrus fruit. The concept of ‘local citrus’ is totally insane in Ontario, so having local lemon slices in my water last night and this morning was beyond awesome. Better than that, I got to meet the lady who picked them – yesterday morning! How sweet is that?! Same goes for the oranges we got, picked yesterday. Wee One #1 loves oranges, so he was hyped when we had a sample wedge and bought a few pounds of them. We also picked up fresh herbs, peppers, strawberries, pumpkin seeds, a HUGE bag of kettle corn, raw sage honeycomb from Pacifica and vegan sun-dried tomato pesto and basil pesto from Bolani.

This week I’ll make some treats with the honey and the Bolani dips and post about them.

We ended our day by finally (!!) getting LA library cards and discovered there are a zillion different districts and a heap of branches in each district! So many libraries to check out!

The South Bay Homeschool Network meets up today and I am so so so glad we hooked up with them. The parents are all really friendly and nice and my oldest has made a friend with similar interests and that’s defo a win!

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