Is it just me or is a fudgesicle universally loved?  They're great for children* and adults alike.  They remind us of the pictures we all have from our childhood that looks something like this:

Yes, that's me.  I'm not ashamed to admit that
I was the #cutestchildever
And if you're the hubs you have picture like this from your adulthood:

Hubs really likes these fudgesicles

Fudgesicles are the perfect combination of chocolate and ice cream, right?  What's not to love?  Um, sugar.  I used to eat fudgesicles every night when I was on the many diets I tried.  They were the perfect guilt-free dessert.  Or so I thought.  I'm not saying you should feel guilty if you occasionally splurge on something with sugar on it.  But thanks to this recipe, fudgesicles don't have to be one of them. 

I love this recipe.  I love chocolate.  I love ice cream.  I almost always eat a dessert of some sort at night.  And now fudgesicles are in the rotation.  Guilt free fudgesicles.  Lest you think guilt-free = gross, I offer the previous photograph of the hubs into evidence.  He likes these fudgesicles.  Do you?

*With school starting back up, these fudgesicles are the perfect after-school snack.  And I won't even tell your children it was my idea.  You're welcome.


2 T cocoa powder
1/2 canned coconut milk
2 small, very-ripe bananas
1/16 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
optional: you could add a spoonful of peanut butter.  Yum.  Or strawberries.  Or dark chocolate chips.  The options are endless.


Combine all items in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.  Easy peasy.

Herbed Cream Cheese Cucumber Rounds

Cucumbers + radishes = a food combination I'm sure to hate.

I don't like cucumbers.  I can hardly eat them, actually.  I blame it on an unnamed diet I tried before I learned about the beauty (and health!) of real foods on which cucumbers were a free food.  I could eat as many cucumbers as my heart desired.  And I did.  I'd bite into them like apples. All was well and good until one day I hit my limit.  I didn't see it coming.  There I was, eating my cucumber without a care in the world and then...there it was...nope, one bite too many...I couldn't make myself swallow it...no more cucumbers for me ever again.  

And then there's radishes.  I think we can all agree that radishes are, um, random.  Poor radishes, they get a bad rap.  It's not their fault they're weird.  And kind of spicy.  But not spicy spicy.  They're weird.  Hard to explain.  Beautiful.  But weird.  I used to get them in my CSA and wondered how in the world I would use them because I didn't want them in my salads.  I'm a little bit ashamed to admit I'd just let them go to waste.  Too bad I didn't have this recipe back then because it's not only so pretty but so so delish.  

Cucumbers + radishes (+ herbed cream cheese) = delish.  Who knew??


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
pinch of cayenne, or to taste
1/2 medium seedless cucumber (seedless cucumbers are a bit dry so I might try seeds next time)
3 medium radishes 
tiny mint leaves (if desired, for garnish)
coarse sea salt for sprinkling


Stir together cream cheese, herbs, zest, lemon juice, table salt, and cayenne.
Slice cucumber in 1/2" thick slices. Trim bottoms from then radishes, then slice into thin (approximately 1/16") slices.  Top each cucumber slice with a radish slice and 1/2 teaspoon herbed cream cheese.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, garnish with tiny mint leaves and finely grated lemon zest if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe from www.epicurious.com

Peppermint Patties

When we were little, we went on lots of trips with our church youth group.  Some of my favorite memories are from the nights before these trips when I would spend the night with my friend, Julie, and we would make mix tapes (that's right...tapes) and her parents would take us to the grocery store to load up on Teen magazine (that's right...Teen magazine, and yes, I think we were about 12) and candy.  Some of my favorite candy was hot tamales (probably because I had a crush on a boy who liked them!) and york peppermint patties (probably because chocolate was maybe my first true love).  They say songs and scents are invoke memories stronger than anything else.  I think food is another one (then again, I love food, as evidenced by my food blog).  For me, peppermint patties do it every time.  If I close my eyes I'm certain I'm on the "people mover" reading Teen magazine and listening to my mix tape.  takes me back to those days of bus trips with my youth group.  Thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie I can still experience the memory.  Thanks Katie!  What about you -- what's your favorite food memory?


2 tsp water
2 tbsp coconut butter or Homemade Coconut Butter
1/8 tsp pure peppermint extract (or as desired)
1 1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp coconut oil (unrefined)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp water
2 tbsp honey


Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl (it is best if the coconut butter is not melted.) In a separate bowl, combine last 4 ingredients. In candy molds or cupcake liners, spread out half of the chocolate, then spoon the mint filling on top.

Cover with the rest of the chocolate and freeze until chilled.

Notes: If you don’t like mint, of course you are free to omit the extract. If you don't have coconut oil, you can substitute melted dark chocolate for the last four ingredients.

Watermelon frosty (or margarita!)

Heads up: watermelon is my very favorite summer fruit. 

I can. not. get enough of it.  The good news is that the hubs' mother knows this about me and every time we visit her in the summer she sends a local watermelon back.  (The visits to the hubs' hometown of Paris (not France) may or may not increase drastically in the summer).  All that to say, I have several watermelon posts planned for the summer so get excited!  The debut watermelon recipe for Snacks and Desserts is this deliciousness. 

I first tried this recipe first, with great success, at a recent FNHH.*  As soon as my friend and I tried this libation, we knew it was a keeper.  The following week we had it again.  And I'm pretty sure we'll have it again this weekend.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's on the regular FNHH summer rotation.  And by rotation, I mean it's the only drink we'll consume at our summer FNHHs.  Obvs.

*What's FNHH, you ask?  Well my friend and I often abbreviate our words (and yes, I have, in fact, abbreviated words since I was in elementary school, so if People magazine (or whatever magazine it was) calls abbrevs a trend of 2012, I guess that means I am obviously a trendsetter).  Somewhere along the way, these abbrevs my friend and I are so fond of turned into initials instead of short words.  It's a pretty fun, if slightly stressful, game.  You should try it.  In any case, we often have Friday night happy hours at my house with some of our neighbors.  So natch our Friday night happy hour turned into FNHH.  Y'all should join us.  The more the merrier!

Do you have a favorite summer cocktail or frozen beverage? Do tell!


2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp honey

1 large lemon, squeezed (lime juice also works very well: use 2 limes)
1 fresh banana
optional: tequila (or more water or fruit juice)


Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass (or drink directly from the blender -- I won't judge) and enjoy.

Bacon-wrapped Pineapple

The hubs and I had a friend in town this past weekend, and I had already planned to spend the day in the kitchen making several recipes I've been wanting to try.  So my friend was gracious enough to give me her honest opinion about whether or not the respective recipes were blog worthy.  This one, without a doubt, passed the test.  After going on and on about how good it was, she said "Oh shoot, I should have said something really clever or funny so I could get a shout out on the blog."  I told her that was enough to merit a shout out.  Especially because she was, in fact, going on and on.

Lest you think my friend Ann was saying recipes were good just so she could get a shout out on the blog, she did feel free to tell me some recipes weren't blog worthy.  Like the cauliflower pizza crust I tried.  (We ended up agreeing it might be good for something besides pizza crust but it wasn't good enough as is).  More to come on that recipe if I get around to experimenting.  In the meantime, y'all should make this recipe sooner than later.  We had to FORCE ourselves to stop eating these delicious bite sized pieces of pineapple.  Wrapped in bacon.  Thank goodness the hubs wasn't far off and he was more than willing to eat to his heart's content.  My philosophy: the more the eats, the less I eat.  Win win.

Let's be honest, people.  Bacon is one of the best foods. Ever. I have a friend who had sugar coated bacon at her wedding reception. It was ridiculous good.  This recipe isn't quite the same, but the way the sweet from the pineapple mixes with the savory from the bacon is pure genius. 


Fresh pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces


Preheat oven to 375. 

Wrap a wire cooling rack with aluminum foil and place on top of a baking sheet. 

Heat honey over low heat just to get a runnier, less sticky, consistency.  Cut each slice of bacon in half and dredge in the honey.  Run your index finger and thumb down the bacon to remove any excess honey.  (By the time I finished this step, there wasn't much honey left on the bacon, and I'll probably even leave it out completely next time I make these because the pineapple is sweet enough on its own). 

Wrap half a piece of bacon around a piece of pineapple and secure with a toothpick.  Place each piece of bacon-wrapped pineapple on the foil-lined baking pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the bacon looks brown and crispy. You can turn the oven to broil for the last few minutes to get them really crisp.

Remove from oven.  Let cool slightly.  And enjoy. 

Chocolate covered peanut butter banana bites

The name of this recipe is kind of a mouthful.  Which makes sense because I want my mouth full of these delicious little suckers.  Chocolate + peanut butter + banana = Pure deliciousness. 

When we were little, my mother would sometimes make bananas and peanut butter for us.  Well, this is like bananas and peanut butter on steroids.  Dark chocolate steroids.  Dark chocolate makes everything better.  Everything.  And since my mother used to make this recipe (sans chocolate) for our breakfast it makes me feel like leg eating two or three of these for breakfast, which I might or might not have done yesterday.   Turns out, eating these banana bites with a cup of coffee might make them even better.

The original recipe recommends eating these banana bites frozen, but I found that frozen bananas were harder to chew than I like.  So I stuck mine in the refrigerator after they were frozen.  Cold, but not frozen, bananas with peanut butter and chocolate is the Mary Poppins of bite-sized treats.


2 large bananas
1/4 cup all-nat­ural peanut but­ter (or nut butter of your choice)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar, chopped

2 tbsp - 1/4 cup milk (preferably raw)


Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Slice bananas into slices about 1/2–3/4 inch thick. Spread a dol­lop of nut but­ter on top of each one.

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate and milk (less is more so start with less and add as needed) and melt until they can be stirred together.  You want a dippable, not spreadable, con­sis­tency.  Add a splash more milk if nec­es­sary.

Dip the banana chunks into the melted chocolate.  Place choco­late coated bananas on the prepared sheet and place in freezer until com­pletely frozen (3–5 hours).

Remove frozen banana chunks from the sheet and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator (or freezer if you prefer frozen).

Recipe from here

Chicken Spaghetti

This recipe is important to me for two reasons: 

1) Our favorite chicken farmer has had some recent back trouble so he's no longer a vendor at our farmers' market.  Tragic.  Not only did we trust his chicken, but he was the most affordable (chicken) farmer at our farmers' market.  I recently tried to buy some chicken from a different farmer.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hi, I'd like one pound of boneless chicken breast, please.
Mr. Farmer:  No problem.  (Digs around in his freezer).  Well, looks like I only have 1.1 pounds.
Me: Oh, that's no problem.
Farmer:  Great.  (Does some math).  Ok, that'll be $19.25"
Me:  I'm sorry, I thought you said nineteen dollars and twenty five cents.
Farmer: Oh yea, I did.
Me:  Ummm.  Ok, I'm gonna have to pass.  Thanks anyway.

I shamelessly walked away with my head held high.  Highway robbery, I tell you.  Highway freaking robbery.  The next week I was able to find one pound of chicken for only $9.00.  The $10 difference would have bought me three lattes at Starbucks!  Clearly that farmer is crazy.

2) I just got a new job (hooray!) for a pay cut (boo!) so gone are the days where one chicken breast = one meal.  Even at the reduced price of $9.00 a pound.

1 + 2 = the following email I sent to my mother and sisters. 

"Does anyone have a good chicken chili or chicken casserole recipe?  I have a pound of chicken and I want a recipe that will make leftovers so it will go farther than just one meal."  Thank goodness for like-minded family, right?  My sister quickly responded with this recipe.  The hubs and I both enjoyed it the next night.  And for the next few days, too.  I liked it because it's cheesy but not creamy (think cream of so and so soup -- guh.  ross.).  The hubs liked it because he had lunch taken care of for the next several days.  Win win.


9 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
29 ounces stewed tomatoes, undrained, chopped (You can buy canned, but I prefer boxed as studies have shown BPA is in many canned goods)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dried italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
3 cups chopped cooked chicken


Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. 

While pasta is cooking,  heat skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft.  Add tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of cheese.  Stir in cooked spaghetti and chicken.

Pour mixture into casserole dish.  Top with remaining cup of cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until hot.

Asian Coleslaw

This recipe is a great way to get your raw vegetables in.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some steamed vegetables, roasted vegetables, pretty much any way you prepare them vegetables.  7-year-old me's jaw just dropped to the floor, by the way.    It's strange how much my tastebuds have changed since I started the real foods adventure two years ago and even though I ate far more vegetables than 7-year-old me would've chosen to eat, vegetables weren't one of my favorite foods.  It's true, though, and I can't imagine going back.  Raw vegetables have their own unique health benefits, but sometimes I have a hard time getting raw vegetables in.  I can only eat so many heads of raw broccoli, right?

Enter this recipe.  Problem solved.  It is truly delicious (the hubs and the sister who was staying with us for a few weeks both agreed).  It's also vegetarian so you can serve it to anyone (assuming they don't have a nut allergy).  And it's something new and different for when you sign up to bring the salad to the next pot luck dinner.  Or perhaps the Memorial Day cookout you're attending this weekend. 

Don't be scared by the word Asian thinking it has to be served with Asian food.  The dressing is made up primarily of asian ingredients, but I served it with baked tilapia.  It would be great with anything, really.  And as an added bonus, it's good as leftovers and doesn't get soggy.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.


1/4 cup honey (next time I'll use half that amount or even omit it totally)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos ("real" soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce - optional, and I left it out)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I used 1 teaspoon dry ginger)
1 large garlic clove, minced

4 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts (or you can leave them whole)
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until the peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside.

Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Let sit at least ten minutes so vegetables have a chance to soak up the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve cold.

Recipe from here

Fruit and Granola Breakfast Wrap

The hubs and I recently bought our first home.  It is adorable (I'm v.e.r.y. spoiled because the house is new construction so I got to choose everything from paint to tile to appliances.  And by I, I mean my sister  Obvi.) Not only is our house adorable, but our neighborhood is adorable.  Or it's getting there anyway.  It's what we call "transitional," but it's transitioning pretty quickly.  The only thing so far that we have no sign of opening is a little cafe.  Too bad because in our previous neighborhood there was the cutest little coffee shop/bakery that we walked to on Saturday mornings.  It was perfect.  One of my favorite items on their menu was the strawberry and granola wrap.  Delish.  Now that we can no longer walk to that cafe, I decided to re-create the wrap to hold me over until someone in our neighborhood develops a cafe.  The timing of my re-creation decision worked out perfectly because we're in the middle of strawberry season.  Hooray!

Have I told you the story of the first time I tasted locally grown strawberries?  

It wasn't so long ago, just two years, when the hubs and I went to a bed and breakfast outside of town to celebrate our first anniversary. (Awww).  The owners had left a plate of chocolate covered strawberries to welcome us.  Which I ate promptly upon arrival, natch.  I took one bite and looked at the hubs with a strange face and told him I was certain the owners had infused these strawberries with sugar.  Like they MUST have injected the strawberries with a syringe full of sugar water.  The hubs just laughed at his poor city girl of a wife and told me, no, I was just eating locally grown, in season strawberries.  

I'll never go back.  I look forward to strawberry season every year now and mourn its short life span.  I don't eat many strawberries throughout the year, but from April to June, I can't get enough.  My point?  Right now is the perfect time to make this breakfast (or anytime you want to eat it) wrap.


Handful of strawberries
Plain greek yogurt or all-natural peanut butter
Homemade granola or all-natural store bought granola
Whole wheat tortillas


Spread greek yogurt (or peanut butter, whichever you prefer) evenly over the entire tortilla. Layer strawberry, banana and granola. Roll, cut and enjoy!

Ok, true confession: I got a little over zealous with my fruit and put so many on there that I couldn't actually roll my wraps.  Note to self: two or three strawberries and maybe half a banana would be sufficient if you want to roll it up.  Plus, as you can see, it ended up being a pretty big breakfast "pizza" more than a wrap and I had to save some with the hubs.

I ended up eating them with a knife and fork.  Yummy nonetheless, but if you're trying to make these for an on the go breakfast, be forewarned: less is more.  

Brussels Sprouts Salad

To quote the blog where I found this recipe, "Toasted walnuts, crunchy brussels sprouts smothered with finely grated Parmesan cheese and lightly coated in a mustard dressing! HECK YES."  Heck yes, indeed, my faithful readers.  Heck yes.

She actually calls it "addictive brussels sprouts salad" and she's right.  The first few bites it's just a salad is a salad is a salad.  But after about four or five bites I couldn't get enough.  My friend doesn't like walnuts, and that makes me sad for her.  The good news is that this salad would probably be good with any kind of nut.  I think it would be good with dried cranberries or apples added, too.  Something sweeter to counteract the bitterness of the raw Brussels sprouts.  I actually made the entire recipe and then put dressing on only half of it for dinner so the leftovers wouldn't get soggy.  The leftovers are in the refrigerator right now waiting for me.  In fact, excuse me while I go eat them right this minute.


1 pound or more Brussels sprouts, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup walnuts, halved and toasted
9 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste


Shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor or chop with a knife. 

Toss the sprouts in a bowl, top with toasted walnuts and grated cheese. 

In a small jar add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and mustard with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Put a lid on the jar and shake it up. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir thoroughly. 

Best served immediately.

Recipe from here

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Soup in the summer seems weird, right?  I agree.  Especially down here in the South it is SO HOT.  And don't even get me started on the humidity.  So normally I shy away from soup any time between the months of about March and November.  But this soup is such a good way to get vegetables in that I couldn't resist trying it.  Typically when I think of broccoli and cheese soup I think creamy and rich and not at all healthy, ESPecially if it comes from a restaurant.  Incidentally, I'm learning that I trust fewer and fewer restaurants, which is sad.  But that's neither here nor there.  Back to the soup.  It is really delish without being creamy and heavy, yet it still has the creamy consistency.  And even though it's the summer, it can still be enjoyed as an appetizer (not too much to make you hot!) if you can't bring yourself to eat an entire bowl.  And it's even good cold.  Or so the hubs told me as he gobbled the leftovers the next day. 

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 yellow onions, peeled and roughly diced
4 large stalks of broccoli (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) cut into small florets
8 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
2 cups of arugula (watercress would be good, too) or more to taste
1/4-1/2 cup of Romano or another strong cheese

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 1 - 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes or until bright green. Add the stock, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is just tender. Pour the soup into a blender and puree with the arugula until quite smooth. You could also use an immersion blender if you have one. 
As always, be very careful when blending hot liquids. Start slowly and work in batches if necessary.
Pour the soup back into the pot, stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese (or more if you'd like).
Serve with extra black pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

(Recipe from this blog)

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Ok, it's offish. I am for sure the worst blogger in the history of bloggers. My friend over at Do We Love It* tried to make this claim recently after taking a three week hiatus.  That's right, three weeks.  Not three months.  I think I have her beat. 

*Incidentally, we're in a fashion war.  Go tell her that you like the dress!

Do you hate me?  Will you allow for excuses?  Hmmm...I teach (and practice) yoga regularly on top of my day job, the hubs and I just bought our first house (which is a.dor.a.ble, by the way), I just accepted a new job (yay!), I'm addicted to Law and Order re-runs.  I could probably come up with more excuses but I'll just quit (while I'm ahead?) and beg your forgiveness.  Please come back to me.  I promise I'll try to be better.  To make it up to you I'm introducing you to this delish salmon recipe.  The hubs practically licked his plate clean.  So, without further ado, and at long last, I present to you...Bourbon Glazed Salmon.  Yay!


3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons Bragg liquid aminos (all-natural substitute for soy sauce)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger (I used dry because I had it on hand and I just eyeballed it, probably about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
garlic clove, crushed
(6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
grapeseed or coconut oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted


Combine first 7 ingredients in a large ziploc bag. Add fish to bag and seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 to 1.5 hours, turning occasionally.

Heat oil in a  skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and marinade to pan; cook fish 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; drizzle each serving with about 2 teaspoons sauce. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 3/4 teaspoon sesame seeds.

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Herbed Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese and Cranberry Sauce

Amazeballs.  That's what the hubs said after he took his first bite of this turkey burger.  Actually, his first word was "man" followed by "oh dang." Then he swallowed that first bite and said "amazeballs."  As it turns out, he had seen the original blog post where I found this recipe and the blogger had said the burger was amazeballs so he was just agreeing with her.  But for a brief moment in time I thought the hubs had crossed over the language barrier between us and in no time would even be shortening his words, too.  How exciting!  Alas... 

But back to the burger.  That's exactly what this burger is.  AmazeBalls.  I intended to make the homemade buns that go along with this burger recipe, but I got held up at work and didn't get home in time to let them rise.  So I served the burgers without buns.  After he finished, the hubs said he didn't even think a bun would add anything to the burger, it was that good.  I agree that the burger was that good, but the bun looks pretty amazeballs itself so I might make it next time just because.  Try this turkey burger (with or without the bun) and let me know what you think.  I'm pretty sure you'll add amazeballs to your vocabulary just like the hubs did.

Cranberry Sauce
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup honey 
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
3/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and cook until cranberries burst, give off their juice, and thicken (about 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Pour into a heatproof jar and allow to cool. Refrigerate. Note: it will thicken as it cools.

Turkey Burger
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh sage
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1 pound nitrate free ground turkey
1 egg
2 tablespoons greek yogurt
3 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
goat cheese

Saute onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the onions become translucent, add sage and rosemary and saute another minute. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, egg, yogurt, breadcrumbs, and cooled onion/herb mixture. Mix gently to combine. Divide meat into 4 sections and shape into patties.  Refrigerate patties for 20 minutes to firm up.  (I didn't do this because I was in a hurry and it worked fine although the patties were kind of flimsy).

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle patties liberally with salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Top with goat cheese, add a splash of water to the pan (approximately 1 tablespoon) and cover until liquid evaporates. This will soften the cheese, but not melt it (goat cheese doesn’t really melt).  Top with cranberry sauce and place burgers on toasted buns with mustard and spinach, if desired.

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Let me preface this post by stating that I have never cooked or prepared food with tofu in my life.  Not even once.  I've eaten tofu before, and it's fine, but it's never really done much for me.  I don't love it or hate it (although sometimes the consistency kinda freaks me out).  So it makes no sense whatsoever that when we had dinner plans with friends last weekend -- the first meal after our 7 day juice fast -- and I was tapped to bring dessert, I decided to make this pie.  Like I said, I don't love tofu, and I've never cooked, much less baked, with it.  And as a general rule, I don't take experimental recipes to other people.  But for some reason, I felt inclined to try this pie.  Perhaps my brain as addled after a week of a juice fast, because even the hubs told me it didn't sound good and I shouldn't take an experimental chocolate pie whose main ingredient was tofu to a friend's house for dinner.  But I would not be dissuaded.  Try this chocolate tofu pie I must.  So.  Glad.  I.  Did.

Chocolate Covered Katie is a blog I've happened upon several times since I cut out processed foods 19 months ago.  Everything on her blog looks pretty delish, but I'll admit it: I was a skeptic.  Tofu?  In something chocolate?  Not likely.  So in spite of her blogging success, including 12,000 or so followers, I never made the leap.  I obviously know better than sweet Katie and her 12,000 or so followers.  Obviously.

Obviously not.

Lesson learned.  And now I have lots of time to make up for.  Which is a good thing because as I sit here typing, I am craving chocolate.  

And in case you're wondering -- the pie was a hit with the hubs and our friends!  My friend's hubs didn't even know, and probably still doesn't, that it even had tofu in it.   

**As an aside, please again forgive the terrible -- and I do mean terrible -- quality of these photos.  Being the skeptic that I was, I didn't take pictures because I assumed it wasn't blog worthy.  Then on the way to our friends' house, in the car, I decided I should take some just in cases.  (Name that movie).


1 12.3-oz package silken or firm tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (preferably raw)
1/8 tsp salt
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2-3 tablespoons honey


Melt the chocolate.  Combine melted chocolate and remaining ingredients into a food processor.  Blend until very smooth. Pour into a pie crust if desired. I went crustless because I didn't have time to make one, but I'm sure it would be equally good with a crust if you love crust. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. The pie gets firmer and firmer, the longer it sits. 

According to CCK, it's firmer if you use firm tofu and more like mousse pie if you use silken.  When I went to Whole Foods they had silken firm so I went with that, and it was pretty firm.  And delish.

Top with homemade whip cream, if desired.  Or homemade peppermint whip cream!

Recipe slightly adapted from www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com 

Juice Fast!

Pardon the secondhand iphone quality of this picture!

Do you have New Year's resolutions every year?  Do you keep them?  In 2010 I resolved not to shop anymore, not to buy anything (think clothes, shoes) that wasn't a non-essential.  Can you believe that I kept that resolution until September 2011?  Thank goodness for older sisters who clean out their closets and give hammedowns!  Especially because after I cut out processed foods I lost weight so a lot of my clothes were too big, so my (skinnier) older sister cleaning out her closet enabled me to keep my resolution!  My point?  I'm hoping that my success with my 2010 resolution is evidence that I can keep resolutions now that I'm a mature, responsible adult.  My 2012 resolution was to get my house, and my life, really organized.  I have a hard time saying no and I spread myself too thin, so often what falls by the wayside is my own house and life.  No more...the hubs is putting his foot down!  So as part of my resolution, I hope I can find time to focus on snacks and desserts more.  Cross your fingers with me!

Per the recommendation from a friend, I recently watched a documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" -- it instantly streams on Netflix and I think every one of you reading this should watch it! -- and it got me interested in juicing.  So as part of organizing my house, and my life, I decided to start the year off with a cleanse.  If I'm going to clean my house and my life, I thought I should cleanse my body, too.  Oh, plus I got a Vitamix for Christmas.  A Vitamix is an uh.maz.ing machine.  You can blend with it.  You can make hot soup with it.  You can make ice cream with it.  It has a dry blade with which you can grind grains.  Expensive, yes.  Worth every red cent.  Absolutely.  So with my cleansing resolution in mind, and my Vitamix on my counter, the hubs and I did a juice fast this past week.  Some of you have asked about what exactly a juice fast is, why you should do it, and if I have any tips.  In short, here is my plug: do it!  To elaborate, here are my thoughts and tips on a juice fast.

What is a juice fast and why should you do it?

Juice fasting involves consuming only fresh raw vegetable and fruit juices for an extended period of time.  The point of a juice fast is that you can consume many more fruits and raw vegetables in liquid form than you can just eating them. So when you do a juice fast, you're consuming nothing but fruits and raw vegetables for however long you do it (3 days, 5, 7, 10, as many or as few days as you want).  A juice fast enables you to cleanse your body of old toxins. On a juice fast you get all the calories you would normally get in a day (i.e. 1500 for an average woman) from at least 1 gallon of fresh juice daily while giving your digestive system a break.  This, in turn, makes it easier for our body to rid itself of old matter and do things like detox the liver and kidneys.

Do you need a juicer? 

I don't have a juicer, so I used my vitamix.  The vitamix actually pulverizes the fiber of the fruits and vegetables rather than discarding it like most juicers do, so it's more like a soupy puree than just a juice.  Most juice fasts are strictly the juice from fruits and vegetables, and there are different schools of thought.  I think consuming fruits and vegetables (not just the juice) is just as beneficial and at least as nutritional.  So if you have a juicer, go for it.  If you have a Vitamix (if you don't, save your pennies and go get one!) or a blender, you can use that, too.  If you don't have a juicer, check out these instructions for making juice with a blender.

What can you expect on your juice fast?

I planned on a seven day juice fast. Day 1 wasn't bad, I just wanted to eat out of habit. Day 2 was TERRIBLE. Imagine the worst possible headache, coupled with nausea, only you can't take any medicine because you're only supposed to consume juice all week.  It was truly awful and at this point I decided I would shoot for a 3 day fast.  Interestingly, the hubs didn't feel as bad as I, although he felt a little off, and all we can figure is that he drank more water than I did on day 1.  Lesson learned: water is key.  Drink lots of it, even if you're not thirsty.  Day 3 was much better than day 2, so I knew I could keep going, but by the end of the day I was kinda bored with it.  So I decided to shoot for a 5 day fast.  Day 4 was even better than day 3 and I felt great by the end of the day.  I had no doubt I could complete the full seven days and even keep going!  The hubs, however, was not interested in that, and since I was impressed and thankful he even did it with me at all, I agreed that we could stop after seven days.  But I will still drink a big fruit/vegetable juice at least once a day from here on out.  At the end of the week, my thoughts are these:  I'm so glad I did it, I'll definitely do it again (once every six months, maybe?  once a year?), but I was really glad to eat again!

What are my tips for you?

To some extent, it's trial and error and you have to figure out what kind of juice you like.  I found that I like fruit juice (not surprising) more than vegetable juice.  I did one that was kale, broccoli, celery and lime and I almost gagged!  But even if I did a fruit juice, I always add lots of greens to the mixture.  Spinach, celery, and cucumber are the milder greens so they're great to add to any concoction and won't change the flavor. Kale is a bit stronger but it's still fine and definitely doable. I added spinach and celery or kale and celery to every one I made, regardless of other ingredients. Carrots and beets are good for adding some sweetness to a vegetable mixture.  I've heard that lemon and lime juice as well as ginger can counter the bitter vegetables like kale and mustard greens, but I didn't use a ton of those ingredients.

Variety is key.  When I started, I would make two big juices and take them to work and drink them throughout the day (about 8 - 10 ounces every couple of hours).  I think that's why I got bored.  By day 5 I made four or five smaller juices and the variety made it much easier.  Also, I would recommend adding ice to each one.  Even if the fruit and vegetables are cold, I found that ice made it colder and colder was better for me.

I was usually fine during the day, but by dinner time I was ready to eat something substantive. Each night this happened I told myself I had to finish the day and if I woke up the next morning and still wanted to eat something substantive, I could. Each morning I woke up feeling re-energized for the day to come. So if you feel weaker (mentally, not physically!) make yourself get through the day you're on and see how you feel the next day.

On day 1 I took a hot yoga class and it was fine.  On day 3 I taught a hot yoga class, which isn't as intense as taking, and it was fine.  On day 4 I took a hot yoga class and I got pretty light headed and my heart rate was much higher than it usually is.  On day 5 I taught again and was fine.  On day 6, I took again and this time my heart rate was even higher than it had been on day 4, so I decided to rest on day 7.  I think it's probably okay to exercise at the beginning of the fast, but a few days in you should probably stick to something less rigorous like walking.

What were some of my favorite juice recipes?

1/2 peeled lime
1/2 banana
1 large (or 2 small) apple(s)
a lot of spinach (at least 2 cups)

1 cup grapes
1 orange peeled
1/1 banana
1/2 cup pineapple or mango
1 carrot
a lot of spinach (at least 2 cups spinach)
1 apple
2 stalks celery

1 orange
10 strawberries
1/2 banana
1 apple
a lot of spinach (at least 2 cups)

homemade v8 juice (good for the in between times and without all that salt) 
6 medium carrots 
1 small beet (wash well) 
3 large tomatoes 
2 cups spinach (more if desired) 
1/4 head cabbage 
1 habanero pepper (I omitted this because I don't like things spicy) 
1 red bell pepper 
1 green bell pepper 
3 stalks celery 
1/4 sweet onion 
1/2 garlic clove 
3 kale leaves 
sea salt

I didn't try this one, but it looks delish:
1 peeled grapefruit
3 peeled oranges
1 peeled lemon
1 inch knob of ginger

Like I said, it's really trial and error so if you have a particular fruit (or green) you like, have fun and make up your own!  (And then share it with me).

Do I have any encouragement for you?

YOU CAN DO IT!  As you might know, my mother is fighting cancer.  She is undergoing conventional treatment, but we're also trying to fight it with an all-natural, holistic diet as well.  She and my father watched the documentary I recommended and, like I, became convinced of the vast health benefits of juicing.  Daddy agreed to do a juice for 7 days with my mother and let me just say, hell must have frozen over (sorry, Daddy!).  If he can do it anyone can!

Let me know if you have any specific questions.  And happy juicing!