If you like holiday spice – you will love these cookies – they are full of spice and flavor. They are free of grains, gluten, and much lower in sugar than traditional gingerbread cookies – the only sugar used in this recipe is the organic powdered sugar in the frosting – the cookies are sweetened with an organic stevia blend called Pyure. If they come out too spiced for you – you could cut the spices down a bit – I like a lot of spice in mine!
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
I wasn’t sure why this soup is called “Italian Wedding Soup.” So I searched on the Internet. According to the “Cooking Geek,” although it is commonly served to brides and grooms in the North Eastern U.S. for ‘energy fortification’ for their first night together, the real etilogy of the name ‘wedding soup’ is because the combination of flavors in the soup is the perfect “marriage.” According to Wikipedia, “The term “wedding soup” comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/”marriage” of greens and the broth.” That makes sense to me – I have always loved the combination of mini meatballs, dark leafy greens, pasta, and a light chicken broth!
But since going gluten free – I haven’t been able to have it – until now! This gluten free version of Italian Wedding Soup is just as good – maybe better – than the gluten kind!!
Give it a whirl and see what your family thinks – mine liked it a lot! Definitely a new family favorite! Plus – a bonus – extra meatballs for an easy homecooked meal later in the week!!
Note – this recipe makes double the amount of meatballs you need. I figure if I am making them, I may as well make extra – I rolled some small ones for this soup recipe, and some bigger to throw in some pasta sauce later in the week. If you don’t want pasta & meatballs later in the week, you could cut this recipe in half.
Its pumpkin spice season…yes, the time of year when…poof!...everything seems to get pumpkin spiced…among the cookies and the lattes are the less obvious pumpkin spiced goodies – like gum, vodka, and margarine.
I have two rules when it comes to pumpkin spiced things:
With pumpkin spice everywhere – It peaks the question – is everything better pumpkin spiced? Like does pumpkin spiced hummus sound good?
At first glance, pumpkin spiced hummus doesn’t sound too yummy, but I decided to give it a whirl, and decided that it is decidedly delicious!!
The cool thing about pumpkin, is you can go more savory, or sweet. For this hummus recipe, I decided to go more on the sweet side, to make more of a dessert hummus (yes, dessert hummus is a thing), but I think I will try a savory version next time.
Give this a try and let me know what you think! I know it sounds kinda weird, but it really is good!
Recipe created by Nutritionist and Author Sara Vance. All right reserved.
I love smoothies – because they are quick & easy to make, portable, and a great way to just load up on the fiber & superfoods – to deliver long-lasting energy and support digestion, brain function, etc.
This Orange Dreamsicle smoothie is so good – your kids won’t even know that it is good for them – it’s tastes like a creamsicle, but it is loaded with brain-boosting omega 3s, digestion-boosting fiber, and immune-boosting vitamin c and beta carotene – it’s like a dream!
This recipe makes one large smoothie, or two smaller ones.
*A powerful blender like a Vitamix is best for this recipe.
It Back to School time – and one of the best things a student can do to get their brain in gear for the school day is to have a healthy breakfast.
Starting the day with a sugary breakfast is a bad idea – because it provides short-term energy, which is often followed by a crash – negatively affecting energy, mood, and brain function – not what you want in your mid-morning math class!
Instead – you want to make sure breakfast has some protein, and/or healthy fat and fiber – this will balance the blood sugar to deliver long lasting energy, balance the mood and brain function. Including some brain boosting omega 3 fatty acids too will really help to turn on the brain, boost the mood, and reduce inflammation.
No cooking required – just mix ahead, put in the fridge and they are ready to go the next day. You can also double these recipes for a larger serving.
Directions: Whisk together the milk, protein powder, cacao, nut butter, vanilla, salt, and sweetener. Pour into your jar or container. Add the oats, stir to combine. Top with banana slices and a few mini chocolate chips.
Make & bake these ahead of time, and you will have a ready to go breakfast for the next 4-5 days. Eggs are rich in an important brain nutrient called choline.
It’s Back to School time – which means kids need to switch from summer brain to their focused school brain. This delicious dairy-free milk gets it’s amazing blue hue from a very special living superfood called blue green algae. Algae is a superfood that supports healthy brain function, mood, and energy. Learn more about this amazing superfood: E3 Live or E3 Live Brain ON.
Other great additions – 1/2 scoop of vegan protein powder, cinnamon, frozen banana, blueberries, raw cacao, dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.
*Chia seeds offer ALA omega 3s, fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. I like to use the white chia seeds in kids smoothies – because they blend in invisible.
I have always loved the combination of peppermint and chocolate – it is a classic. And mint chip ice cream? It’s like a Summer dream…well, except for the nightmarish amount of sugar it typically contains. And if you are dairy intolerant – the pain & discomfort that can follow.
Never fear – I have created a delicious, nutritious and easy superfood mint chip shake that rivals mint chip ice cream – but it has no sugar, no dairy, and is loaded with superfoods – yes, really!!
Also known as the horseradish tree and the drumstick tree, the moringa tree is native to North India – and it’s leaves & pods offer a number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Moringa is an excellent source of iron, vitamin B6, protein, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and other important vitamins and minerals. It may help to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and chronic inflammation. There is not enough research to determine if moringa is safe during pregnancy – so therefore talk to your doctor first.
Did you know that peppermint can be a useful remedy for headaches and digestion issues? Peppermint has a mild numbing, cooling, and anti-spasmodic effect, and can even improve the flow of bile, and kill certain types of bacteria. Peppermint may help reduce bloating and gas, and indigestion. However, persons with reflux or GERD may wish to avoid using peppermint. Peppermint may also help to thin mucosal secretions and help to decongest stuffy noses. Applied to the temples (make sure to avoid the eyes!), peppermint may help relieve headaches in some individuals.
Please be very cautious with using peppermint essential oils – as they are very powerful and could burn if applied directly to the eyes or skin, or mouth. Peppermint oils should NOT be used on infants or small children, or taken internally with persons with GERD or reflux. Talk to your doctor before using peppermint oil if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications. If using peppermint topically – always dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil. If consuming peppermint oil internally, always make sure it is a certified therapeutic grade essential oil – and use only 1 or 2 drops diluted in your beverage or food. Learn more about doTERRA essential oils.
I love cauliflower and broccoli – my favorite way to make has usually been to cut it up into small florets, toss in avocado oil, season it, and roast it in the oven….that is, until I discovered how quick and easy it is to saute riced cauliflower and broccoli. This dish comes together in about 5 mins, and is delicious, satisfying, filling, and very nutritious!
Cauliflower and broccoli are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables which are high in sulfur compounds, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals – they support our cardiovascular, digestive, immune, inflammatory, and detoxification systems. Consuming cruciferous vegetables at least once a week has been associated with lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, and supports healthy cholesterol levels and heart health. Just one cup of broccoli has over 200% of the RDA for vitamin K, an important nutrient for bone building; it also has over 100% of the RDA for vitamin C.
You can ‘rice’ cauliflower and broccoli by grating it with a boxed grater; or you can roughly chop it and then pulse it in the food processor until “riced” – meaning it is broken down into rice sized pieces. But I recently discovered already riced organic cauliflower and broccoli in the freezer section of Sprouts – which just makes it super easy when you don’t have time to grate it or pull out the food processor. I think you can find it at Trader Joes too.
Warm saute pan on medium high, add oil and let it get hot. Add in your riced cauliflower and broccoli, season and saute for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through to your desired amount.
Serve! This dish can be a side dish, be added to salads or soups, and mixed with rice or pasta. Enjoy!!
Note: these recipes contain alcohol and are for ages 21 and up. You can also make these “virgin” cocktails by omitting the alcohol.
Hot steamy Summer nights just seem to call for a summery cocktail. But did you know that a typical 8 oz. margarita has about 8 teaspoons (or more) of added sugars??? That’s more than a woman should have all day! Plus, a lot of drink mixes have preservatives, colorings, and other stuff that we (or our livers) don’t need.
That’s why I am sharing my 3 favorite Summer cocktails – these are all very simple, and “upgraded” versions of Margaritas, Mojitos, & Moscow Mules!
…hey, why do all the best Summer drinks seem to start with “M”?
My version of a Moscow Mule is actually technically a “Mexican Mule” – because instead of the traditional vodka, I like to use tequila. In fact, I am using tequila for all of these drinks, because tequila has some unusal benefits that other alcohols don’t have.
Read: 10 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew to learn more about the unique health benefits of tequila (note: make sure you choose a good quality tequila, and moderation is also key!)
This drink is traditionally served in a copper mug – if you like, you can chill it in the freezer for 5-10 mins before making this to keep your drink nice and cold. Pour all into the cup, stir to combine, add ice. Serve! How easy is that?
If salting, prepare your glasses first. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then pour some salt or Tahin on a plate, and roll or dip the glass into the salt or Tahin.
Mix all your ingredients, shake or stir, pour over ice into glasses. Serve!
Usually a mojito is made by muddling the mint and sugar, and then mixed together with rum and sparkling water. Again – I am swapping the traditional rum for tequila in this drink – because I just prefer tequila. You can use the traditional rum if you prefer. And I am hitting the “Easy Button” – by skipping over the muddling and using KeVita Mojito – a probiotic beverage that is dairy free, naturally sparkling, and delicious. Each bottle of KeVita has 4 billion CFUs, and 4 strains of probiotics- good for the gut, mood, and immunity. Many of their flavors make delicious and probiotic mixers – their Lemon Ginger is delish, and so is the Mango Coconut!
Mix into a glass, add the mint sprig and ice – and voila!
Out of citrus fruit? No problem – as long as you have citrus essential oils!
I love my doTERRA essential oils in the summer. I add a drop to sparkling water all the time – it is a refreshing treat. You can also make a really clean cocktail this way too.
Shake and pour over ice; or stir together ingredients into a glass, add ice & serve!
*essential oils are very powerful – all you need is a drop of two!
*Please remember if you do choose to drink alcoholic beverages, to do so in moderation & responsibly. The word “intoxification” means – we have literally ‘made ourselves toxic.’ Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is a toxin that is eventually broken down into acetic acid to be excreted from the body. If we consume more alcohol than can be broken down to acetic acid, the body will be experiencing the negative effects of the acetaldehyde in our blood and tissues. Excessive drinking overtime can raise our risk for developing cancer, nutrient deficiencies, digestion issues, and heart attack.
Interested in learning more about doTERRA essentail oils? Let me know!
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things was pumpkin bread – I would look forward to the fall when my mom would make her famous recipe – it was so moist and delicious. I still love pumpkin bread – but I don’t eat wheat or gluten any more – so I can’t make my mom’s recipe exactly.
But I di use her recipe for inspiration! This recipe is based on the pumpkin bread that my mom used to make me when I was a kid – except this one is gluten and grain free. Instead of regular flour, this pumpkin bread is made with cassava flour – which is a root vegetable that is also known as a yuca root. Cassava is both grain and gluten free!! Learn more about cassava flour.
Although it does have organic sugar, this recipe has quite a bit less sugar than my mom’s original recipe (and most other pumpkin bread recipes) – and you could probably even reduce the sugar content by swapping some 1/2 cup of the sugar for 2 Tablespoons of stevia (I might try it next time).
This recipe even passed the kid test – my kids loved it and gobbled it up (and they are not always big fans of gluten or grain free recipes)!!
Prefer banana bread? You can substitute 3 ripe bananas for the pumpkin in this recipe to make banana bread!
Cassava Flour: The Best Grain-Free Baking Alternative?
© copyright 2018 Sara Vance