Recipes: 2 no-bake oatmeal treats and 1 decadent fudge

Lately I’ve had quite a sweet tooth, and I haven’t been shy about indulging it. Which is lucky for you, my friends, because I’ve got three mouth-watering sweet treats that are not only easy to make, you won’t feel guilty about eating them. They’re all made of whole-food, plant-based ingredients and can be ready to eat in a half hour. Enjoy!

For more recipe recommendations, check out the Healthy Little Changes Recipes page.

Cinnamon caramel apple energy bites

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Image courtesy of thenymelrosefamily.com

According to Pinterest, energy bites are all the rage. In real life, I have no idea if this is true or not. But the array of oatmeal-packed goodness filling my Pinterest feed has inspired me to try more than one. One of my favorite recipes is cinnamon caramel apple energy bites from thenymelrosefamily.com. Just four ingredients — none of them sugar — and you’re on your way to tasty town.

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Everything you know about protein is wrong

When you become vegan or vegetarian, suddenly everyone becomes all concerned about your protein intake. With frenetic intensity they ask, “But where do you get your protein?” And though they seem to genuinely want to know, they’re already skeptical of the answer before they’ve even heard it.

That’s because our culture’s beliefs about animal-based proteins are so deeply entrenched that to go against them is nothing short of blasphemy. But the thing is, those beliefs are based on myths, misinformation, and lies.

The myths about protein

Take a look at the most pervasive beliefs about meat and protein:

  • Protein is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy.
  • You need to eat meat (a lot of it) to build muscle mass, and you need lots of protein to slim down.
  • Protein keeps you fuller longer.
  • The more protein in your diet the better.

And while there is plenty of testimonial and anecdotal evidence to back these claims, the most complete and un-biased research (read: the studies not commissioned by the meat industry) proves them all to be false. Let’s look at the claims one by one, paired with the truth about protein — including the facts about how much you protein you really need.

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25 ways to make cooking a whole lot easier

There’s no getting around it: If you want to eat healthier, you’re going to have to cook. At least a little. And, yes, often.

When people ask me about the way I eat or how I feed my family I continually hear people say, “Well, I’d like to eat healthier, but I can’t cook.” Or even worse, “I don’t cook.” As though this is an insurmountable obstacle, like, “Well, I’d like to be able to draw with my right hand, but I’m left-handed.” And even then, if you were determined enough to draw with your right hand, I’m sure you would find a way.

Let’s be honest here: Saying that you can’t heat healthy because you can’t cook is an excuse. A cop-out. It’s a barricade you put there yourself. Whenever I hear someone tell me that they can’t cook it’s all I can do to keep myself from saying something quippy, like, “Yes, well, Bobby Flay/Paula Deen/The Pioneer Woman/Emeril Lagasse/your-favorite-chef-here wasn’t born with a spatula in his/her hand. At some point they had to learn, too. If you can’t cook it’s only because you haven’t taken the time to learn.”

OK, enough with the snark. I get that cooking can be tricky and time-consuming and seem totally overwhelming if you’ve never cooked a dish in your life. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world; what I am saying is that if this is your excuse for not eating better, it’s not a very good one — because anyone can learn how to cook. You may not be the next Giada de Laurentis, but if you get in the kitchen and give yourself a chance, you can figure this out. Yes, even those of you who feel so helpless in the kitchen you can’t even crack an egg. You got this. I promise.

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Everything you need to know about sugar (the quick version) and the Healthy Little Changes approach

So what’s the deal with sugar? Is it really as addictive as it’s made out to be? What does it do to children other than just rev them up a bit? Can it really be that bad?

These questions and more are answered in this fabulous article “How to teach your kids about sugar” published to the Washington Post by Casey Seidenberg, co-founder of Nourish Schools, a D.C.-based nutrition education company. Some of the questions she tackles:

  • Why do I like sugar so much?
  • What actually happens to my body when I eat sugar?
  • What short- and long-term effects does it have?
  • Will a little sugar hurt me?
  • How does sugar make me fat?
  • And what can I do about it?

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Recipe: Southwestern Veggie Burgers with Pineapple Slaw

Since deciding to eat more plant-based I’ve tried my fair share of veggie burgers, with mixed results. With some the flavor was outstanding but the texture was a bit unappealing. With others, it was just the opposite. After making a handful of recipes I got the method down fairly easily and decided to try making my own, taking what I had on hand and adding in my favorite flavors. And WOW. These southwestern veggie quinoa burgers were phenomenal, if I say so myself. The sweetness of the corn and sweet potato perfectly balance the almost bitter flavor of the quinoa; the spicy barbecue sauce counterbalances the sweetness and adds a depth of flavor; and the fresh cilantro adds a brightness to it and makes this a perfectly balanced, well-rounded, complex bite.

Email BoxWhen I first made these burgers  I did a small batch, making only about three patties. I served myself one and gave the other two to my twins (I didn’t bother with my 4-year-old; I knew he’d give me grief so why cast your pearls before swine, y’know what I mean?). My girls gobbled them up immediately, making yummy sounds all the way. When it was finally my turn to sit down and eat (because mom is always the last to enjoy what she’s served to everyone else), I regretted sharing them with my babies. I wanted more.

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How to store fresh herbs

There’s nothing like fresh herbs in a dish. They add a brightness and bring another dimension of flavor to a dish that just can’t be replicated. Even if you don’t have your own herb garden, you can still get fresh herbs from the grocery store (or from a generous friend — ask around!). The trouble is, it’s very easy for freshly-cut herbs to wilt in a hurry once you’ve brought them home.

There are a few tricks you can use to get the most of your herbs. Here are two ways to store your herbs so they stay fresher longer and you can enjoy every last bit.

FreshHerbs

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