Elyse’s Favorite Overnight Oats

Happy Spring!  It’s snowing here…

This blog post is special to me because this concoction is what got me out of bed in the morning during this past (really awful) winter.  It isn’t because it is warm, but because it is SO tasty.  It also cut back on the time I needed to get ready in the morning which allowed for a few more minutes in my warm bed. It keeps me very full and prevents me from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) snacking.  Also, March is National Nutrition Month and breakfast has always been heralded as the most important meal of the day so let’s do it right!

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This magnificent breakfast has it all!  Let’s go through the layers 🙂

Almond Milk (Unsweetened)

  • Less calories than milk per cup
  • Heart Healthy
    • no saturated fat, no cholesterol
    • low in sodium
    • high in healthy fats (including omega-3’s which are heart healthy)
  • Calcium and healthy bones
    • 30% of daily calcium intake
    • 25% of Vitamin D (tough to get in the winter!)
  • Gorgeous Skin
    • 50% of Vitamin E (containing antioxidants essential to healthy skin)
  • Low Glycemic Index (body will use carbs as energy, not stored as fat!)
  • B Vitamins (iron and riboflavin) which are helpful for muscle growth and healing)

Chia seeds and Flax seeds (ground):

  • Omega 3’s!!!
    • Have been associated with preventing Alzheimer’s, and are heart healthy
    • Chia have more omega 3 (gram for gram) than salmon!
  • High nutrient, low calorie
    • antioxidants, fiber, quality protein,
    • Chia seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein
  • Improvement in Type 2 diabetes
  • Can improve exercise performance
  • improves blood sugars
  • May help protect against prostate, breast, and colon cancer

PB2 (or any powdered peanut butter):

  • 85% less fat than peanut butter but with all the goodness!
  • Mixes well



  • Antioxidants
    • helps fight free radicals that can lead to illness
  • eat some sort of berry daily!


  • Oats help lower cholesterol.
  • Oats help decrease inflammation
  • Oats are dose-responsive, so the more oats you eat, the more effective they are.


  • This link should convince you:  Health Benefits of Raisins
    • Constipation
    • Cancer prevention
    • Weight gain for athletes or those having a hard time putting on weight, this is a healthy choice.  If diabetic or on a weight loss program, you can omit or reduce the amount of raisins
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Anemia
    • Fever
    • Eye Care
    • Acidosis
    • Eye Care
    • Sexual Dysfunction
    • Bone Health
    • Dental Care
    • Fiber


Breakfast of champions, no??

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Elyse’s Favorite Overnight Oats:


  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
    • if using sweetened, omit coconut sugar and maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (or sugar of choice)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 TBS chia seeds
  • 1 TBS Flax (ground)
  • 1 TBS PB2 (I use chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 TBS raisins
  • 1/2 banana diced
  • 1-2 strawberries or other berries (diced)
    • could use thawed frozen berries


  1. Mix almond milk, sugar, syrup, chia, flax, and PB2 together
    1. be sure to really mix in the chia or else they’ll clump together overnight creating a chia “ball”
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir and close and shake
  3. Refrigerate overnight, enjoy, and have a delightful day!

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Thanks for being a friend,










Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Giuseppe Peppers)

I was recently reminded by the always entertaining app “timehop” of a photo I took a year ago.   This was it:

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The caption read:

Dinner–quinoa, chicken sausage, tomato and mushroom stuffed pepper.  My goal was to clean out the fridge–mission accomplished.

I remember this moment.  It was the last bit of animal protein I had left in my fridge and the last time I cooked meat.

At that time, I had recommended some health related reading material to a friend for her and her family and she jumped right into reading it.  I myself hadn’t even read it, and when she sat down to talk to me about it, I felt like a hypocrite.  Immediately after that lunch date, I began reading it.

The book, Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman, was originally recommended by a PBS special (oh the wonder of public television and it’s educational purposes) after I had a medical situation arise that made me realize my health wasn’t always going to be a guarantee.  I was going to need to ensure that through healthy choices, exercise, and overall happy living.  I made a conscious choice to choose me, to choose my health, and to become educated about what that meant for me.  That meant, a whole-food plant based lifestyle.

Let food be thy medicine.

I don’t use terms like “clean-eating” or “vegan” on the regular in my writing, because I feel like whole-food plant based can be very different from those definitions of eating.  For example, an Oreo is considered vegan.  Or free-range organic chicken can be “clean.”   Instead, I strive to pack my life full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and beans.  Don’t you worry though, I still get plenty of protein.  On average, people actually consume TOO much protein.   I am always asked “but aren’t you worried you won’t get enough protein?” Truth is, I thought the same at first, but ever since switching to cooking whole-food plant based I started wondering why I hadn’t been worried before about things like, “am I getting enough of these vitamins, or enough fiber, or enough antioxidant rich foods?”

I love the way that I feel now that I concentrate mostly on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits etc.  And, not to mention the added benefit of knowing that I am doing something good for the environment (but we’ll save that for another day.)

You may wonder if Ian is whole-food plant based as well.  I will say that, when it comes to home cooking, yes.  When it comes to eating out, anything goes.  I am usually pretty surprised about how his choices have changed even when we go out.  We are now enjoying vegetarian options that we had never even considered before.  It has opened our minds to a whole new world of recipes and dishes.

Of course I don’t expect everyone to read this and suddenly want to take up the same lifestyle.  I do encourage you to try “meatless monday” or “weekday vegetarian” and see how you like it!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, feel free to comment and follow me on instagram or on facebook.  I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of my favorite materials on the subject:

Forks Over Knives (netflix documentary, book, cookbook, and iphone app)
Dr. Fuhrman “Eat to Live” (coined the phrase “nutritatian”)
Dr. Esselstyn
Engine 2 Diet (Books, cookbooks, 21 day challenge, and products)
The China Study
Oh She Glows (blog and cookbook)

Anyhow, after being reminded of that last meal I had made, I decided to make it again.  This time “just with veggies,” or as my mom overheard on the phone “Giuseppe”

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (or Giuseppe Peppers)

Makes 4-6 halves (serves 4-6 depending on hunger level :) )
Created by Elyse M.


  • 2-3 bell peppers (halved and seeds removed)
  • yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 5 oz of baby bella mushrooms (or other button type)
  • two large handfuls of spinach (I used baby spinach)
  • 15 oz can of Diced Tomatoes*
  • 1 cup garbanzo (chickpeas) beans (throw leftover beans on your salads if using canned)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (in vegetable broth, and save any leftovers for salads)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Optional: red pepper flakes for a kick

* If you would rather buy diced tomatoes packed in Italian herbs and spices, that will also likely work well.  Just omit the final 4 spices.


  1. Cook Quinoa in vegetable broth according to package instructions if you don’t have some prepared already.  2 cups cooked would be about 1/2 cup dry.  Don’t be afraid to make too much.   I started with 1 cup dry and used leftovers on salads.
  2. Place peppers cut side down in a pan with water.  They don’t need to be submerged.  Steam until cooked (somewhat soft)*
  3. Meanwhile in another pan cook onion (in water, adding more water if necessary) and garlic until onion is translucent.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes
  5. Add spinach until wilted
  6. Add tomatoes, garbanzo beans, quinoa and spices and let simmer for 10 min (or until fragrant and all the flavors come together)
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  8. Fill peppers with the filling and top with nutritional yeast (or faux parmesan) if avoiding dairy, or top with a small sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

*My mom cooks the peppers in tomato sauce for added flavor when she makes stuffed peppers.  Worth a try!

A little Giuseppe Verdi in honor of the recipe name: The Quartet from Rigoletto

As an added bonus I have chosen the recording with my CMU voice teacher, Mildred Miller.  She recently turned 90!  Happy Birthday!

Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew

(Quick apology to those of you who received an incomplete blog post email notification — my cat stepped on the computer and somehow managed to publish my post before it was finished.  Thank you for your patience and understanding. My cat apologizes too (meow). )


It’s cold.  Let’s warm up.  What do you say?  We need a heatwave!

This Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew will leave you feeling warm and full!  It is packed with veggies, so it is also guilt-free!

Two of the main ingredients in this coconut curry and red lentil stew are part of my February Grocery Challenge  which is quickly about to come to an end!  I have purchased many new ingredients that I otherwise would have continued to look over.  I encourage you to try this challenge for yourself and let me know what you buy and how you use it!

Red Lentils
Red Lentils
Red Lentil FUN facts
  • 18 grams protein per 1-cup serving (boiled)
  • High in fiber
    • helps reduce cholesterol
    • assists in healthy digestion
  • Magnesium and Iron
    • Heart Health and Energy!
  • quick cooking time (10-30 min)
  • 1:2 ratio (1 cup lentils to 2 cups water)
  • They soften a lot and can have a creamy texture
  • Unlike other legumes, they don’t require pre-soaking


I’m not sure why I never bought curry powder before, but I am sure glad I did!  I have a feeling I am going to be on the lookout for ways to incorporate this spice a lot more frequently!  I used it in the stew as well as on the roasted cauliflower.  Ian snacked on the leftover curry-spiced cauliflower after dinner saying,

It’s like snacking on french fries

Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew
Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew

Coconut Curry and Red Lentil Stew:

6-8 servings


The ingredient list may seem long, but it’s SO worth it!

  • Short grain brown rice
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBS-1.5 TBS Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger minced or grated (I used one generous tsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar of choice
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • about 7 cups water
  • 1 can light coconut milk (I used 13.5 oz)
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • Cauliflower (optional)
    • cumin
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (if roasting cauliflower)
  2. Start cooking the brown rice according to package directions.
  3. Toss cauliflower with a small amount of olive oil.  Toss with curry powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder and sprinkle with salt.  Once preheated, roast for 30 min or until cauliflower is soft.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS oil in large soup pot or dutch oven.
  5. Add curry powder and cinnamon and stir
  6. Add chopped onion and cook for 3 min, or until onion starts to soften
  7. Add carrot, pepper, ginger, garlic, salt, and sugar and cook until veggies start to soften (just a few minutes)
  8. Add tomato paste, water, coconut milk, peas, lentils, garbanzo beans and bring the pot to a simmer.
  9. While cooking, sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  10. Cook until lentils soften (about 20-30 min)
  11. Serve with roasted cauliflower, brown rice, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Enjoy!  Let me know how you like it!

Thanks for being a friend,


Peas and a Pea Pesto Recipe Rehab (enjoyed 4 ways!)

Inspiration is everywhere!  This past week I was inspired by an old recipe that I wanted to refresh with a healthier twist.

The recipe was a Pea Pesto Crostini that I made over 3 years ago (instagram says it was 166 weeks ago), when I was just starting to prepare food.

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Pea Pesto Crostini with Cherry Tomato

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE peas.  I could happily eat them at every meal.

“Elyse, eat your peas”

“No problem”

Not a fan? Let me try to convince you with a few health highlights:

  • Low in fat and high in fiber, micro-nutrients, and protein (the reason pea protein powder has become so popular!)
    • helps with weight management
    • good for blood sugar regulation
    • fiber helps to keep you “regular” 😉
  • Stomach cancer prevention
  • High levels of antioxidants
    • benefits: heart disease prevention, anti-aging, energy and immune boost
  • anti-inflammatory
    • prevention of Alzheimer, wrinkles, arthritis, bronchitis, and heart disease (which are linked to excess inflammation)
  • Reduces bad cholesterol
  • High levels of Vitamin K and B vitamins which help with calcium absorption and creates healthy bones and prevents osteoporosis.
  • Also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and lutein (for your eyes).

DID YOU KNOW: Peapods are botanically a fruit?  They carry seeds developed from a flower.  What a powerhouse! It’s almost like eating your fruits and veggies at once 😉

Whew, that was a lot.  Now, where was I?  Ah yes, the pesto.

My goal was simple.  Make this “appetizer” more of a complete meal (by adding  things like beans, pasta, and veggies), replace the 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese and at least reduce the 1/3 cup olive oil.

Don’t think I can do it? Don’t believe me, just watch.

This high protein pea pesto can be used on toast, on a sandwich with complimentary vegetables, as a dip/hummus, and as a pasta sauce!

Pasta: Inspiration to Inception

I can’t take credit for the idea to turn this pesto into a pasta dish, that was all my Mom! As a very creative lady, she has been making it that way for over a year and was urging me to try it.

It wasn’t until Ian and I went out for our anniversary dinner (6 years!) that I felt inspired to make it that way.  So many delicious pasta dishes on the menu at Scampo in the Liberty Hotel in Boston!  To begin, they start you with a fava bean puree (that was beautifully bright green) for dipping the crisp bread-sticks.  This bright green dip is what reminded me of the pea pesto crostini and ultimately gave me the idea to somehow incorporate beans (which, as a bonus, adds another excellent source of protein on top of the peas).

With all the snow and cold in Boston, getting to the grocery store is a very tedious task.  It’s hard enough to “suit up” for the walk, let alone actually make it through the snow to your destination.  Sadly, Whole Foods is just a short walk (5min) away and I couldn’t bring myself to go.  I figured I would work with what I had, which meant that I would have to substitute Fava beans for another type I had on hand.

While comparing beans, I found that Fava and Cannellini/White beans both have a similiar “note of nuts” flavor.   After a bit more researching I read that Cannelinni are “creamy” and Fava were “dense, grainy and rich in texture.”  This seemed to definitely be in my favor!  “Creamy” without dairy?  Yes, please.

For the “nutty”  and “cheesy” flavor that Parmesan provides I looked to Nutritional Yeast.  This is a great source of that “cheese” flavor and is quite nutritious providing complex B vitamins (including B12).  If your grocery store doesn’t sell it, here it is on Amazon.

The original recipe doesn’t call for pine nuts, but I threw in some hemp seeds to simulate a little more of that “nutty” flavor that Parmesan and pine nuts provide.  It’s also a great source of Omega-3’s.

And with that, the pesto was born in the food processor.

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Can’t stop there!  I needed to incorporate those cherry tomatoes from the original recipe too!  Mushrooms are always good to try to incorporate in your daily diet and I was happy to find that they pair nicely with peas!  So I threw the mushrooms in a non-stick pan.  NO OIL.  They have enough moisture to stand their ground against the heat of the pan.  Here are my flavorful and moist sauteed mushrooms as proof:

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Aren’t they gorgeous? Then I blistered my cherry tomatoes in the same pan once I removed the mushrooms.

Ok, I have gone on long enough.  Here are the the recipes:

Triple P (Pea Pesto + Protein):


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cup thawed frozen or steamed peas
  • 4 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS water
  • 2 TBS hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (I added this late in the game as I felt it was missing something.  You may find that you’d like to add more (or even less I suppose!) )
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mince garlic in a food processor
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process.
    1. Additional olive oil, lemon juice, and water may be added incrementally to reach desired texture.

Triple P on Pasta:

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  • 1 package brown rice pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • cherry tomatoes
    • (I used a half pint, but this up to your tastes and presentation preference)
  • mushrooms (optional)
    • I used about 5 ounces, but this is also up to your tastes and presentation preference
  • Additional peas for serving (optional)
  • Additional beans for serving (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare brown rice pasta
    1. Brown rice pasta likes to stick to itself so don’t throw it all in at once and be sure to stir, stir, and stir again.  Rinse with cool water to stop cooking process and prevent the pasta from becoming “gummy”
  2. Saute sliced mushrooms in pan (no oil) then remove once finished cooking
  3. Blister the tomatoes in the same pan the mushrooms were in
  4. Toss pasta with pesto until covered and dress with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and extra peas.
    1. Tip: If your pesto has been refrigerated prior to making pasta, you may need to add some liquid, warm it up a bit and give it a good stir.
    2. Tip: To add some texture on top of the pasta, try adding breadcrumbs instead of grated Parmesan cheese or additional hemp seeds.

Pea Pesto Sandwich:

Let your creativity sing!  I used the pea pesto on sprouted grain with carrots, tomatoes, and hemp seeds, but you can use whatever fresh veggies you see fit to make a delicious and protein packed sandwich.  Next time I plan on trying it with sauteed mushrooms as well!


Pea Pesto Toast:

YUM.  Such a perfect snack! Spelt toast with cherry tomatoes.  Even after the rehab, it would still make an excellent appetizer with bread or crackers!

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Pea Pesto and Tomatoes on Spelt. We ate it too fast and forgot the hemp seeds!

Pea Pesto Hummus:

Not up for a pasta, sandwich or toast?  Just dip those veggies, bread or crackers directly!

Thanks for being a friend,


Inspiration Credit: Scampo Boston, Giada De Laurentiis Pea Pesto Crostini, Vegetarian Flavor Bible, care2.comOh She Glows, and MOM <3.

Oats and The Ultimate Veggie Burger

This veggie burger has it all.

Greens √
Sweet Potato√

I. am. KING.

Oats are total (or should I say “toatal”) health allies. Ann and Jane Esselstyn state in their book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, the three reasons why you should incorporate oats daily:

  1. Oats help lower cholesterol.
  2. Oats help decrease inflammation
  3. Oats are dose-responsive, so the more oats you eat, the more effective they are.

We all know oats are great for breakfast, but how to incorporate them into lunch and dinner?  Well, these veggie burgers have you covered.

Greens, Beans, Onions and Mushrooms are all powerful super foods but I want to take a moment to focus on sweet potatoes.   Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene which the body then converts into Vitamin A.  It also is a great source of fiber and potassium as well as Vitamin C, B-6 and manganese.  The most nutritious part is the skin, so think twice before you grab the peeler 😉

Now, veggie burgers are known to be tough to get the right texture.  My first time around with this recipe ended up being too moist and squishy.

Squishy but delicious!

Squishy is never the best adjective for food.  So, I tried again after letting my brain process a bit. I ended up switching the oat flour for whole oats with much success! I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!

LEFTOVERS?  I broke one up over our lunch salads for the next day and paired it with an oil-free balsamic dressing (3 parts balsamic vinegar, 2 parts mustard of choice, (I used honey) and 1 part maple syrup — yep, I said maple syrup!)

(If you find that your burger is too crumbly or too wet, let me know in the comments so that I can re-examine my ingredients or instructions. After all, this is a blog about my “adventures” in the kitchen and I would love for you to be a part of it!)

The Ultimate Veggie Burger


Makes approximately 6 burgers

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 cups roasted (or steamed) sweet potato (one large sweet potato)
  • 1 (15oz) can drained and rinsed Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
  • 5 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 packed cup spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • Your favorite bun and fixings! (I used Ezekiel Sprouted Grain which can be found in your freezer section, lettuce, tomato and tahini spread. Ian also enjoyed honey mustard) I am curious about avocado, so if you try it, let me know below!

UPDATE 2/15/15: We had these as leftovers tonight and put caramelized onions on top with honey mustard.  I highly recommend 🙂



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast sweet potato (if roasting) and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper for burgers.
  2. Pulse garlic and then onion in a food processor.
  3. Sauté mushrooms in a pan (no need for oil) and when they are nearing the end of their cook time, toss in spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt.
  4. Place beans, mushrooms, and spinach in the food processor and pulse very gently!  Add sweet potato and pulse just until combined.  We want to be careful not to completely break everything down or else we lose the desired texture.  It is alright to see some bean pieces.  Alternatively, you can mash these ingredients with a potato masher if you fear over processing (or if you loathe cleaning your food processor like we do)
  5. Take mixture and place into a large bowl.  Add the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and oats.  Mix until incorporated (adding extra oats if the mixture seems too wet.
  6. Get hands wet (helps to keep mixture from sticking to your hands) and roll into approximately 6 balls.  Press them flat on the parchment paper.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min.  Then flip (they may be fragile at this point still so be gentle) and bake for 10 min.  Flip again and bake for 5, and then once more for 5 for a total of 30 min until they are browned and have solidified but not burned.  Alternatively, you can put them in a pan as well.
  8. Serve on your favorite bun with your favorite fixings and condiment.

Parsley and Tahini Spread:

This definitely has a strong flavor but it will pair well with the bun and burger.  If you taste it off the spoon, it may surprise you 😉 You can dull down the flavor with some more water or to adjust consistency.

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Tahini and Parsley spread


  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1 TBS hemp seeds (may be possible to omit if you can’t find them)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp water (or more to adjust for taste and consistency)


  1. Start by mincing the parsley in the food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except water and mix.  It should thicken up.
  3.  Add water as you see fit!

UPCOMING:   Tonight I am making a green pasta sauce.  What ever could it be?  Any guesses?  Also, I made cookies with what I am calling “date jelly.”  Curious?  Stay tuned and subscribe because it should be making an appearance soon!

One last thought:  There is so much snow that my head is spinning. So, this seems fitting since I haven’t been able to stop singing it for weeks:  SNOW.

Ok, one more last thought:  Stay warm! Unless you live somewhere warm, then I am sending you snow. SHIP SNOW YO. Click it.  It’s real.

Thanks for being a friend,


Millet “Churro” Bowl

The second ingredient purchase of my February Grocery Challenge was…Millet [MILL-et]!


“But why?”

  • Whole grain!
  • Gluten-Free!!
  • 6 grams protein per 1-cup cooked serving!!!
  • Can transition from breakfast to dinner!!!!

“You’re joking me.”

This being my first experience with Millet, I thought, “let’s start at the very beginning a very good place to start” with our first meal of the day: Breakfast.  Thus, the Millet “Churro” Bowl was born!

Millet “Churro” Bowl

The critics (Ian) rave,

Mmm, this tastes like a Churro Bowl!

Millet “Churro” Bowl:

Servings: 1


  • 1/3 cup Millet
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (essential for the “churro” claim)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch o’salt
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins (plus more for heart shape topping)
  • 1 Tablespoon Goji berries (plus more for topping.  If you don’t have or can’t find Goji berries, don’t fret, just add more raisins or other dried fruit you love!)
  • Maple syrup or other sweetener (honey, agave are other great options)
  • sliced almonds, shredded coconut, etc. as additional (optional) toppings.


  1. Place all ingredients (except for maple syrup and extra toppings) in a pot.  Bring to a boil (caution: keep an eye on it — mine boiled over!)
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  If it is still liquidy, let simmer for a few extra minutes.
  3. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup and any additional toppings you crave.
  4. Eat  Devour immediately.

Don’t you think this would make a fantastic breakfast in bed for that special someone this valentines day?  I “churro” do!

(psst! Did you click the link? I hope it made you smile 🙂 )

Dandy Pesto

Dandelion Greens. Eek!

I have always been afraid of these bitter greens, so it made sense for them to be my first purchase in my February Grocery Challenge.

I had heard of them being used on salads and in smoothies, but I (personally) needed to break them down a bit and attempt to cut the bitterness.

I remembered making an arugula pesto a few years ago (another somewhat bitter green) and that was enough to get the wheels turning.  Unlike that original arugula pesto, I wanted to steer clear of a ton of oil and the Parmesan cheese.

The result is, what I like to call, DANDY PESTO.  It remains somewhat sharp so I recommend using it as a spread on your favorite whole grain bread or on a sandwich with some cool/fresh veggies and/or tomatoes.

Dandy Pesto on spelt toast with cherry tomatoes and dandelion greens

Dandy Pesto:


  • 1 cup (packed) Dandelion Greens
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I used the ones packed in oil but separated them from the oil — they add a “sweet” flavor.  If you can only find them dried and not in oil,  soak them in boiling water for 60 seconds to soften them. Then drain and let them cool. )
  • 1/2 cup Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 TBS water
  • 1 TBS Flax (ground)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste (these greens are already peppery, so be sure to taste first!)
  • hemp seeds (optional for dressing up an open faced sandwich 🙂 Can be a substitute for the traditional pine nuts in a pesto)


  1. Pulse clove of garlic until minced in food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.
  3. Spread on favorite sandwich with cool/fresh veggies and/or tomatoes or serve open-face on favorite toasted whole grain bread as a snack or pairing with soup.

What’s so great about this?

  • Dandelion Greens: 1 gram protein per 1-cup serving.  High in calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, etc. I really could go on and on!
  • Cannellini Beans: 17 grams protein per 1-cup serving.
  • Flax Seeds: 1 TBS fulfills daily omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Hemp Seeds: Boost your omega-3 fatty acids. Tasty on salads!

Well, isn’t that DANDY? Click if you agree!

But if you dig on vegan food 
Well come over to my work 
I'll have them cook you 
Something that you'll really love.

Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love (February Grocery Challenge)


                                                                           The month of February is a special one!  With it being heart health awareness month and also Valentines day,  I challenge myself (and also you!) to fall in love with a new healthy ingredient by purchasing one you have never purchased before each time you hit the grocery stores.

Don’t worry about what you’ll do with it.  Take the leap, buy, and figure the rest out later.   If you need to know what you’re looking at or how to pick the ripest or best one, check out the Perfect Produce app by Spark People.  I use it all the time to find out if I am purchasing things that are “in-season” and how to tell which will be the most delicious (e.g. cantaloupe).   They also provide great tips about storing, handling, and nutritional profile!

♥February is also my niece’s 4th Birthday, my 6 year anniversary with Ian, and the upcoming birth of Ian’s second niece.  Special times! ♥

Let’s Do it, Let’s Click this link

Hello and Welcome!


You were either bugged by me to check out this fancy new blog I have so cautiously put off for a year, or you stumbled here by way of the magic of the internet, not even sure what the heck this is.  Either way, welcome!  I can’t wait to share my kitchen adventures with you ❤  Check out my “about” section to learn more about me and the blog and don’t forget to follow/subscribe so you don’t miss anything!