Recipe Roundup: It’s soup season!

Something about this time of year makes my soul feel at peace. Or, rather, some things, plural. How I love the blazing fall colors, the nip in the air, the comfort of fuzzy cardigans and infinity scarves, and the desire to turn inward in body and mind and cozy up with a blanket and a book. And of course, how could I forget my professed love of soup season?

It may seem such a silly thing to pledge your undying devotion, but there’s something about a warm bowl of soup that makes everything right with the world. It’s hearty, comforting, warming, full of flavor — any kind of flavor you can dream of. And for me, many soups are inherently full of nostalgia. Especially chicken noodle soup.

I grew up in a family that treated the day after Thanksgiving as its own holiday. It was sacred, and the routine never varied: Up came the Christmas decorations, on went the holiday music, and into the kitchen we went for leftover turkey soup. And in the days before DVDs brought the magic of children’s Christmas specials on demand, we’d turn to the newspaper to check that night’s TV schedule for the first of the season’s holiday showings.

Now, no matter what time of year, whenever I smell turkey or chicken noodle soup I am there in my parents’ home listening to Bing Crosby or Manheim Steamroller, hanging my favorite “lovebirds” ornament on the tree and wrapping the banister in tinsel, waiting for the homemade noodles and creamy broth of the evening’s turkey soup.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Bread

There’s something about homemade bread that is unreplicable. The hearty aroma is almost heady, even transformative, taking us to places and times of comfort, coziness, and love.

Liz Edmunds, known as “The Food Nanny” (and one of my mentors when I began the process of starting a blog), once told a story of how freshly-baked bread actually saved her grandmother and turned another life around. She told this true tale on an episode of her BYU-TV show “The Food Nanny,” which you can watch here (beginning at 21:15). I’ll retell the story below.

FoodNanny

Her grandmother ran the post office in a tiny rural southern Utah town, and her home was adjacent to the post office. One afternoon a scraggly-looking young man came to the office but left without conducting any business. Later that day when her grandmother was home baking bread and making chili sauce, there was a knock at the door. Out of habit she yelled, “Come in!” and in walked that same young man.

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Recipe Roundup: 2 one-pot wonders and vegan ribs (what???)

For years I hated cooking because the ratio was all wrong: Why spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner plus a half hour cleaning up afterwards when it only takes 20 minutes to eat? That’s 90 minutes of work for 20 minutes of enjoyment. (And if you’ve got picky eaters who pitch a fit at the table every freaking night, that 20 minutes is likely to be the worst 20 minutes of your entire day.)

But then along came the one-pot meal. It’s similar to slow cooking in that you throw everything in the crock pot and let ‘er rip, but it doesn’t take all day and there’s only one pot to clean. WINNING. Plus, there are so many more ingredients you can cook on the stove that you can’t in a slow cooker (but let’s be honest, the only ingredient I really care about is pasta).

I’ll be sharing many more one-pot meals as I test them out (cuz it’s SOUP SEASON, Y’ALL!!), so to round out my round up I’m throwing you a curve-ball: Vegan barbecue ribs. Oh yeah. I went there. And I highly recommend that you go there, too. Scroll down for more.

One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta

Image courtesy of ApronStringsBlog.com

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Recipe Roundup: 3 new twists on old favorites

Whenever you change your diet, no matter how in love with your new lifestyle you may be, eventually you find yourself craving old favorites. Whether or not you decide to cut yourself some slack and indulge in a family fave (which is always my plan of action and a good way to maintain balance and not start to resent a diet), there are plenty of ways to find a substitution and turn a new dish into a new favorite.

With that in mind, here are three recipes that put a new spin on a classic dish.

Tofu Basil Ricotta

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Image courtesy LuminousVegans.com

I’ve never been a big fan of ricotta cheese; it’s way too much dairy and far too little flavor for my liking. But a homemade basil “ricotta” from tofu? Now we’re talking. Continue reading

8 scrumptious on-the-go snacks that are ridiculously good for you

As I always say: When you’ve got kids, snack time is a way of life. But guess what: It should be that way for grown-ups, too.

As adults we’ve learned to ignore our hunger signals, either by ignoring them outright in some insane attempt at weight loss or because we’re too busy to stop and eat. Or maybe you’re the type of person who would LOVE to chow down whenever the mood strikes, but you know it’s not a good idea to just shovel in any old thing that sounds good at the moment (because for me, the answer to that question is always French fries — always).

The solution to that problem is obvious: Make snacks a part of your regular meal plan so you’ll always be prepared when hunger strikes. And when you’ve got nothing but healthy, delicious goodness on hand, there’s no need to feel guilty about indulging in a mid-afternoon crunch-fest.

If you’re a parent, the best snacks are not only ones that are healthy, but delicious for both you and your kids. That’s why I make ready-to-eat snack bags for my kids, because there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by ravenous children with their hands out the minute you sneak off to open your very own snack. (Seriously it’s the worst. I start feeling all stabby when that happens. So I try not to let it happen, ever.)

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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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Recipes: Whole foods Italian, 3 ways

There’s something so comforting about Italian food — and I’m not even Italian. Must be the noodles. Or the warm, savory sauces. Or the fresh basil and parsley. Or the cheese — oh, the cheese! I’m just not ready to go vegan yet because I can’t say goodbye to the cheese.

But I digress. Whether you prefer your Italian food the traditional, full-fat way or you’re trying to go more whole-foods, plant-based, there’s bound to be a recipe you and your family will love. Here are three we just can’t get enough of. And as always, check the Healthy Little Changes Recipes page for more mealtime inspiration.

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Recipes: Fresh salsa, 3 ways

Nothing says “summer” like salsa. Every time I take a bite of fresh tomato salsa or homemade guacamole I feel like I’m poolside or oceanside, basking in the sun and relaxing. Even if I’m just standing at the counter trying to enjoy a quick snack while my children tear apart the house around me.

That’s why I have an arsenal of salsas in my cooking bag of tricks. It’s like a vacation in a bite. Today I’m going to share three quick recipes for fresh, savory-and-sweet salsas for you to enjoy poolside or counter-side, or wherever you may need a pick-me-up on a humdrum day.

Salsa

 

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One week of eating the Healthy Little Changes Way

I make some pretty big claims on my home page:

♥  Lose weight easily and keep it off effortlessly.

♥  Make healthy, delicious meals your whole family will enjoy.

♥  Cut your grocery budget and keep it under control.

♥  Get organized so that cooking from scratch becomes an easy, seamless part of every day.

It may sound like a lot of hyped-up promises, but let me assure you, it’s not. This is the real deal, folks. I know, because I live this way.

I’m in the process of writing detailed eGuides to give you all the knowledge you’ll need for implementing my plan into your own life, but now, I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I make this work in my life. Continue reading