Lenten Quinoa & Coconut Cream Pudding Recipe

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Eating healthy has been a pretty challenging lifestyle change for us.  Sometimes we do really well and other times not so much.  I’m a meat and potatoes kinda gal with a big sweet tooth (as you can probably tell since most of my recipes are desserts, lol), so it takes enormous amounts of willpower for me to stay away from all the junk I’m used to eating all the time.

I’ve had a bag of quinoa in my pantry for a long time.  I won’t tell you how long because you’ll think I’m totally gross and might call the health department on me.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  There’s no expiration date by the way so don’t judge.  ;)

Even though quinoa is incredibly versatile, I just couldn’t figure out what to make with it.  I’m not a big fan of it by itself and if I sprinkled it randomly into dinner, my boys wouldn’t touch it.  And I really, really wanted to find a way for them to eat it this incredible super food! [Read more...]

Lenten Chocolate Chip Cookies {version 2.0}

lenten chocolate chip cookie recipe

We baked up a giant batch of Lenten chocolate chip cookies over the weekend. I was in the mood for a thicker type of cookie and decided to make them in our tart pan like we did these cookies. They turned out super yummy and I was glad we took the time to make them when I enjoyed a few with my tea this morning.

lenten chocolate chip cookie recipe

[Read more...]

7-Day Water Detox

Detox Water

water detox

Yesterday I started a seven day water detox.  It’s a really simple recipe and is a fantastic way to flush your liver and kidneys of toxins.  It also helps you get rid of extra water weight.

Recipe:

  • Pure or Distilled Water
  • Organic Lemon Juice
  • Organic Cranberry Juice
  • Detox Tea (I use Yogi Dandelion Detox)

Directions: 

Mix 7.5 cups of water with 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp cranberry juice and 1 tea bag.  Let sit for about 15 minutes and drink daily.   (You need to be sure you’re drinking all 60 oz every day)

Detox Water 1

That’s it!  I usually make mine the night before so it’s nice and cold in the morning when I start drinking.  Just make sure you don’t have any long car rides in your near future or you’ll be stopping quite a bit for a restroom!  :)

Detox Water 2

Note:   A couple people have left comments asking if this is all you eat/drink all day.  The answer is NO!!  There are no required diet changes for this detox.  However, if you have a diet that is high in sugar, carbs, dairy, etc.  I recommend eating less of those things and adding more greens and veggies to your daily intake.   :)

Thanks so those of you who asked!  That is a very important point that I completely overlooked!

Hearty Beef Stew Recipe

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I love cooking up big pots of stew on cold winter days.  Filling your insides with something warm and hearty just feels so good!  Even my pickiest eater fills his tummy without a fuss on those days.  Last night, I cooked up a rich and hearty beef stew.

Now, I know there are a million recipes for beef stew out there that promise ‘quick and easy’ but I don’t think you can get a top quality stew quickly.  The few extra steps that I take when making this recipe really turns an ordinary stew into a delicious meal that makes your taste buds swoon.  [Read more...]

Cinnamon Bun Waffles {recipe}

Cinnamon Bun Waffles

I don’t know about you guys, but I love finding things my family will eat without complaining and only takes minutes to prepare.   Make it good for fasting days and we’ve got a  keeper.

These cinnamon bun waffles have reappeared on our breakfast menu quite a bit in recent months.  I seriously can’t even call this a recipe because all you do is pop open a can of cinnamon rolls and place them on a greased waffle iron.  When they’re done, spread the icing on instead of using syrup.  I usually serve them with some fresh fruit.

Ace isn’t a fan of regular cinnamon rolls but even he really loves these!  They’re perfect for mornings when you don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast but want something other than cereal or frozen pancakes.

Just be sure to check the ingredients if you want dairy free ones because it depends on the brand.  Normally, I get the Pillsbury Cinnabon kind.

Enjoy!  [Read more...]

From Seed to Self: The Benefits of Juicing

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From Seed to Self

Our second post in the From Seed to Self campaign is Julie Vaden of Juicing Couture and Healthier by the Minute!

Meet Julie:

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If I could choose one word to suit me that would be Passionate! I love bright colors, big earrings and hats! In general, I love life and want to live it to its fullest!

I have my B.A. In Business Management though I have had the fortunate opportunity to experience the nonstop adventure of staying home to raise two kids. I have always had passion for living a healthy lifestyle and helping others. Meeting people where they are is key and hosting juicing workshops provides others the chance to make the connection between what we put into our bodies and our sense of over all well being. I serve as a Marketing Manager and Contributing Editor for MomaZine, a local online magazine. I write for the Tasty Thursday column, where I post a different recipe each week along with other articles on various topics.

Some of my favorite things include traveling, dancing, meeting people from all walks of life, catching up with friends, enjoying the great outdoors!

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Summer is here and school is out–let the good times begin!

If you’ve ever wanted to start juicing, summertime is a perfect reason to start.  So many wonderful fruits and veggies are in season and you don’t have the hustle and bustle of the school schedule and numerous activities! The recipe I prepared was made with my cold press juicer, the Bella Nutripro.  The Bella NutriPro does not use high rpms to extract the juice. Cold press juicing basically means the juice is “squeezed” out, some pulp will remain in the juice and the juice will not be “heated” .  There are no fast spinning blades, just a single pressing auger to get every bit of nutrient extracted from your fruits and veggies.  This auger system makes the NutriPro a perfect candidate to juice wheatgrass and leafy greens such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard.  You will have little bits of pulp in the juice but you can use a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve to strain the juice.

Green Scene Juice Recipe

Today’s juice creation is called The Green Scene.  It is rich in Vitamins A and C.  Niacin is also a benefit of consuming zucchini and Swiss chard. Niacin promotes skin health as well as a healthy digestive system and nervous system.   Adding the berries to this juice gives you the benefit of antioxidants which aid in cancer prevention.  Feel free to substitute blueberries for the strawberries!

Kick your summer off and get your juicers flowin’!

The Green Scene

Green Scene Juice Recipe

Tip:  Wash all your fruits and veggies using a 1:3 vinegar/water cleaner.  I keep mine in a spray bottle under my sink so I always have it ready.  This combination kills all of the bacteria from your food naturally and without scrubbing.

  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 8 strawberries (you can leave the hulls on as they are greens and have nutrients as well)
  • 4-6 Swiss Chard leaves
  • 2 apples, sliced

Thanks, Julie for the delicious recipe and information! 

Juicers vs. Blenders from NutriPro Juicers:

 

Fresh Juice“Most Americans don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables, so consuming them in liquid form is a quick, easy way to meet your healthy daily needs. Both blenders and juicers serve up nutrition in a glass, but the types of beverages they produce are very different.

Blenders pulverize the entire fruit or vegetable into a thick drink known as a smoothie, which contains the fiber from the pulp as well as the juice. In contrast, cold press juicers, like the BELLA NutriPro Juicer, extract only the nutrient-dense liquid.

According to certified holistic health coach and raw foods chef Laurie Erdman, while our bodies do need fiber for a healthy digestive system, the advantage of cold press juicing is that ounce for ounce it yields more concentrated nutrients and enzymes—the fragile proteins that support nearly every body function—that your body can quickly absorb. Fiber can block the absorption of those healthy compounds, slowing digestion.

If you drink a cold press juice you’ll get a bigger jolt of energy than you would from a smoothie, since your body doesn’t have to work to separate the nutrients from the fiber. As a result, Erdman believes, juice from the cold press juicers like the NutriPro has a cleansing, detoxifying effect on the body.

Nutrients and enzymes are also sensitive to friction and temperature. Because the NutriPro doesn’t have blades or heat up to operate like a blender does, the cellular structure of the produce you juice is not compromised. Cold press juicing allows you to quickly and easily ingest all of the healthy nutrients available in your favorite raw fruits and vegetables.”

I personally have been using the Bella NutriPro since February and love it.  It is more work having to actually cut the fruits and veggies up, but the additional vitamins and enzymes you get using a cold press makes it worth it.  If I’m going to go through the work of juicing, I want the full benefits!

Even though, I use my Ninja to make smoothies, there is no comparison between a smoothie and juicing.  Because a smoothie is blended foods, it still goes through the digestive system, where stomach acids, etc kill a lot of the nutrients.  Whereas, juicing, especially with a cold press, is absorbed into your bloodstream immediately.  I’ve been making smoothies for a long time and love them but really never noticed a difference in how I felt.  But after just one month of juicing, I felt a huge difference.  I wasn’t as tired and I just felt healthier overall.

As you go, you’ll figure out what works for you.  What I do, is chop up all my fruits and veggies on Monday and stick them in separate plastic containers in the fridge.  This way, I don’t have to spend the time chopping every morning.  I just take out the containers and stick them in the juicer.  This makes a huge difference for me on whether or not we have fresh juice for the day! 

There are several cold press juicers on the market.  Top of the line is the Norwalk, followed by the Champion, but you are going to pay a lot more for those two brands.  If you’re using the Gerson Therapy or  juicing for any sort of treatment, using one of those two are vital.  However, if you’re juicing to simply live healthier and are not trying to cure any sort of disease, I really believe your best bet is the Bella NutriPro.  It’s affordable, easy to clean and gives you all the benefits of a cold press juicer.

Bella NutriPro

My only complaint with it is sometimes the harder veggies will jam if they’re not cut small enough, but you just hit the reverse button to get it flowing again.  This doesn’t happen often, and it is recommended to alternate using hard veggies, soft veggies, to keep this from happening but it can be a little annoying.

The Bella NutriPro usually sells for $249.00, but is on sale right now for $199.99!  That really is a great deal.  You can also opt to do 5 monthly payments of $39.99.  We invest in our lives in so many other ways, we need to also be investing in our health and for $200, you can’t beat it.  It comes with two measuring cups that fit onto the front and side of the juicer, a fine mesh sieve, cleaning brush, travel mug (see photo below),recipe book and more!

good book + green juice

Orthodox Christian Parenting book from Zoe Press & Green Scene Juice

Some people worry about the costs of juicing, and as someone on a budget every month, I can say that it did take some re-arranging.  We had to cut out a lot of the “extras” we picked up from the supermarket in order to pick up more organic fruits and vegetables.  But this ended up working out even better than I planned because not only did I realize how many of those “extras” were unhealthy, it made me look for better deals on fresh organic foods.  Which, ultimately made me start shopping even more at local farms and farmer’s markets.  Also, Publix brings a huge 25# bag of organic juicing carrots for only $14.99!  And Trader Joe’s always has organic apples for a great price.

Bottom line is, yes, I’m not going to lie.  Juicing takes a bit of work in the beginning.  But if you want healthier lifestyles for you and your family, this is really a huge step in the right direction and is totally worth it. 

I drink my carrot, apple, pineapple, lemon, celery juice almost every day!  I’ll post the recipe for that at the end of this series when I share some of my favorite healthy products for this summer!

To learn more about the Bella NutriPro, click here.    Also, check out the Gerson Guide to Juicers for more information on the benefits of cold press juicing.

Stay tuned for our next healthy living post! 

**Winner of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Pack is Donna (comment number 13)!  Please email your shipping address to me at Sylvia{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com!

Legal Disclaimer:  As a blogger, I sometimes receive cash or product compensation for my time and efforts in creating posts.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I do not endorse products or companies that I don’t personally love and trust. 

Green Smoothies {recipe}

Green Smoothies

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I figured I would share my favorite recipe for Green Smoothies.  I make enough for the week and freeze them in 4 cup serving sizes.

Green Smoothies

I’ve been really trying to change the eating habits in our house lately. Ever since my health scare, I started researching and everything that I seemed to find, pointed to unhealthy diets.

Juicing has become quite the trend lately, but since I don’t have a juicer, I decided to at least start with smoothies. It’s not as beneficial as juicing, but it’s better than nothing.

The boys love smoothies and they’re an easy way to add important vitamins and nutrients into their diets, even for picky eaters like Lucky. We’re definitely not consuming as many greens as we should be, so this one helps us with that and the whole family loves them.

I got the idea to freeze them from the blog All Things G & D. She froze her smoothies for the whole month! I really didn’t want to freeze that many bags, so I just do them for the week. The recipe is originally from wholeliving.com but I added a few things that weren’t in their version of the recipe and I doubled it.

This recipe will make 4 smoothies per bag. This is perfect for us. I pop them in the Ninja when I wake up and DH and Ace take them with them before leaving for school and work, and Lucky, Sprout and I enjoy ours after everyone has left.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Kale (stems removed, coarsely chopped, firmly packed)
  • 1 c. Parsley (loosely packed)
  • 2 Granny Smith Apple
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 Tbsp. spirulina powder
  • 2 scoops chia seeds
  • 5 c. water

Directions:

  1. Chop up kale, parsley, apples, and bananas.
  2. Measure and add them to a different freezer bag for each day.
  3. When ready to make, empty bag’s contents into your blender.  Add water, spirulina powder and chia seeds.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy!!

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For a list of more green smoothie recipes, click here.

*I’ll be posting a lot more about the benefits of juicing, and the differences between juices and smoothies, in a new campaign I’m organizing called From Seed to Self. Stay tuned! I have some incredible companies sponsoring it and there will be a ton of helpful information and great giveaways!

And while we’re at it, why not read about who St. Patrick really was!  He is known as the Enlightener of Ireland and used the three-leaf clover as a tool to teach the Irish people about the Holy Trinity!  This is a great book for both kids and adults!

ricotta pasta {recipe}

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ricotta pasta recipe

With Great Lent starting in just a few days, I’ve been trying to use up all of the dairy products in the fridge.  I had an extra container of ricotta cheese from a dessert I made last week, so I decided to make this delicious and easy ricotta pasta.  This time, I served it with baked salmon and steamed broccoli.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box fettuccine noodles (or whatever type of pasta you prefer, longer ones work best)
  • 1-32. oz container of ricotta
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Melt your butter in a skillet and let brown slightly.  Add ricotta and parmesan.

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Keep cooking over medium heat and stirring frequently.

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You want to keep cooking the cheese mixture until it starts to solidify, as shown below.  It will take on a more solid consistency and when you pull it away from the edge of the skillet, it will not return to the edge.

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Spoon on top of pasta and serve immediately.  This is so delicious!  It also goes great with a white wine.  My favorite is this Cupcake Vineyards Moscato. :)

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Kali Orexi!

Vegan Strawberry Banana Muffins with Coconut Oil {recipe}

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Sunday marked the first week of the triodion, which means Great Lent is right around the corner.  I’ve been scouring my cookbooks for our favorite lenten dishes and adding them to my new handy dandy meal planning binder (details coming soon!).

On our most recent trip to a local farm for produce, the boys did some strawberry picking and I wanted to bake something with all of the deliciously fresh strawberries we brought home.  I had recently run across a recipe for these strawberry banana muffins on Love, Joleen Photography and they sounded simply delicious.  So, I whipped up a batch.  My favorite part of this recipe is that it calls for coconut oil.  I’ve been trying to cook and bake more often with coconut oil because it seems I’m hearing more and more about the benefits of it.  Plus, it’s great for non-oil days!

Vegan Strawberry Banana Muffins

(recipe yields approx. 18 muffins)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (can also use all-purpose flour or half and half)
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large and very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 tbs. light brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup diced strawberries, stems removed
  • cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, sift and mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and the salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, brown sugar, coconut oil, and the applesauce.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and fold into the dry ingredients until everything is just combined. Fold in the strawberries. Do not over mix!
5. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners. Lightly spray them with a bit of cooking spray. Scoop the batter into each mold until each is about ¾ of the way full. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top of each muffin if desired.
6. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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 I made these last week for our drive to Orlando and they were the perfect snack.  The muffins were not crumbly at all and the kids loved them!

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Lenten Cocoa Roasted Almond Biscotti {recipe}

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i’m a dunking kind of gal. i love to have my tea or coffee as soon as i wake up and something to dunk is almost a necessity. it’s so hard to find good lenten morning snacks though. don’t get me wrong, i can eat chocolate chip cookies and curious george bread till i’m stuffed, but sometimes i’m just in the mood for something different. it feels like i’m always eating the same things when i fast, so i’m usually on a mission to find new recipes.
biscotti are one of my all-time favorite snacks. always have been. and i have scoured the grocery stores looking for any kind that are vegan but i never have any luck. so, i googled for recipes and ran across a few but none that really made me think, yum! so i improvised. i took a couple of different recipes and combined them and then changed a couple of things around. the most important thing i changed were the almonds. i didn’t have any regular almonds, only the cocoa roasted ones. lucky me because they turned out super scrumptious! i wasn’t in the mood for anything super chocolate-y, so these almonds just gave the slightest hint of cocoa, which was perfect.