Category Archives: Nut Recipes

Recipe: Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing

A good dressing can make vegetables sing.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

~ Goethe

Some days you just want a salad, right?

You know, those crisp fresh vegetables full of hydrating water and loaded with vitamins & enzymes?

I don’t know about you guys (I have my suspicions though) but I am always pretty thrilled to have a homemade salad dressing hanging out in the fridge that makes it easy to wash a few raw vegetables and dress them to perfection.

This recipe is made in honor of a very popular bottled salad dressing. Anyone out there familiar with a store-bought version of the ever popular Goddess dressing?

I’ve never been a fan of bottled anything – so one day a few weeks back I decided to make my own version of a popular favorite. Here is the result! I’ve got a secret…it’s better (IMO) than anything you can buy in a bottle!

Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.

Β  ~ Eckhart Tolle

Utilizing tahini in salad dressings has always been a popular trick with vegans. This paste made of hulled sesame seeds is satisfying and filling, not to mention full of calcium and protein – two things vegans (and all folks really) need.

Here I added soy sauce, dried parsley, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and granulated garlic – all easy things you probably have in your pantry already. It keeps well, eats well, and can easily be tailored to your tastes and preferences.

Boom.

Thick & satisfying, this dressing is just as home on top of hot brown rice & steamed broccoli as it is on crunchy romaine leaves or as a dip for whole raw carrots.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.

~ Eckhart Tolle

The Less:

Less bottled and packaged shelf stable groceries means more tasty, waste-free staples. More control over ingredients means fewer extras added so food can sit longer. Less sugar and sweets at dinner means you can add those later in the day, so spreading the love is still tasty and makes sense.

The More:

More high calcium sesame means more satisfaction in flavor and texture. More heft in your dressing means more freshness to go under it. More use for those pantry staples adds more depth to your kitchen, so whipping this one up year round is a snap.

Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame tahini (you can use raw but the end result will be different)
  • (1/2-1 cup) water (depending on desired thickness)
  • 1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (5-6) tbsp fresh lemon juice (can substitute bottled lemon juice too)
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste based on the lemon juice)
  • (2) tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • (2) tbsp dried or fresh parsley
  • (1/4) tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender (or in a bowl for use with a hand blender) and blend until creamy and emulsified.

Taste to correct seasonings (use the lesser amount of water, lemon, and vinegar and add as desired).

Transfer dressing to a clean jar and refrigerate. This should keep well for up to a week, and perhaps longer if you use bottled lemon juice. It will thicken in the fridge a little and makes fabulous dip.

A little goes a long way and this dressing is jam-packed with flavor!

Veggie salads are a great way to load up on fiber and roughage, not to mention a fabulous vehicle for a great dressing like this!

Enjoy poured on hot cooked grains, and steamed vegetables of all kinds. This would also make a great dip for roasted potato wedges and even as a mayo substitute in veggie sandwiches or on burgers.

Use it to you heart’s content!

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

~ Ferdinand Foch

Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Thanks to all of you who let me know how much you enjoyed the super nutritious quinoa breakfast from my last post..and if you liked that one, you might just like this quinoa breakfast too (you know, just in case) πŸ™‚

Wishing you all a super swell weekend – we’ve got a typical weekend planned packed with soccer games & a special get together with good friends. For those of you curious, Not So Fast will kick off our first sponsored cooking class on November 13th…cooking up the good stuff and sending kids home with warm home cooked food.

We’re getting there with our website and taking time to do things right. I’m hoping you will all be pleased with the results!

Until then, stay tuned for more great food and stories. I sure enjoy yours.

  • Are you a fan of Goddess dressing?
  • Got a favorite tahini-based dressing to share with us?

The last time I asked for recipes I got tipped to a fabulous chickpea farinata recipe – I’m happy to report I’ve made it more than once (it’s amazing) and I’ll be sharing it soon with a little something extra tasty and special.

Until then, wishing you all the very best, and be well. Me and my armpit are going to be just fine (story in my next post).

Yours in Less,

53 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Gluten Free, Health, Nut Recipes, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: White Kidney Bean Dip with Herbs & Artichokes

It is always so good to be home!

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

~ Henry Miller

Hello bloggers!

I am rather excited to report that I made it through another few days of (fun) work travel and am home safe and sound!

It has been a busy little spring here (for me and my little trips) and I am quite content to put my feet up for the next little while and rest until the ‘big trip’ comes around in August.

I wish I could report that the weather was swell here at home, but the truth is it is just so-so (it’s sunny out as I write though!).

So while I pine for (just a little) sun, I’ll share with you this yummy dip that we’ve been enjoying, most recently on our Mother’s Day picnic (yes…a sunny warm meal outdoors!) *sigh*…

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

~ Marthe Troly-Curtin

As you all may know, I enjoy finding many a use for green veggies like kale, and this dip offers another chance to use up this powerfully nutritious green.

Along with fresh herbs, the easy to use and ever tasty artichokes, and (always) good quality olive oil, lemon, garlic, and (just a little) of your love – this 100% vegan dip is an elegantly pleasant surprise!

So if you’ve got a bag of dried white kidneys, or a can or two hanging around the pantry, this is a fabulous way to enjoy their creamy texture and taste that serves as a base for many a lively addition.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

Β  ~ Dalai Lama XIV

The Less:

Less dairy-based dips means more plant-based clean eating. Less store bought or prepared foods means more fresh easy ingredients. Fewer ruts in your repertoire means things will always stay fresh, and what’s better than freshness in life?

The More:

More high fiber bean dishes means more tasty ways to fill up faster. More fresh greens to incorporate means more reasons to always stock them. More fresh dips on hand means less tempting for calories elsewhere, so you can enjoy more of the good stuff, more often.

White Kidney Bean Dip with Herbs & Artichokes:

  • (3) cups cooked white kidney beans (navy beans will do in a pinch)
  • (1/2) cup cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours (you can also use them straight up)
  • (1) can artichokes (398 ml, about 5 each)
  • (1) cup chopped green curly kale
  • (1/2) cup fresh lemon juice
  • (1/2) cup good quality olive oil
  • (2-3) cloves of fresh garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
  • (3) heaping teaspoons capers
  • (1) tbsp fresh rosemary leaves removes from the stem & chopped (about 2-3 stems)
  • (2) tbsp fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stem
  • (1) tsp salt (more to taste)

Combine all ingredients on a blender or food processor, and pulse blend until creamy and well combined. You can’t over blend this one so let is really go!

Once ready, transfer to a container or serving bowl and chill. This tangy dip will keep for a while in the fridge, at least a week, and goes well with all breads, crackers, and fresh crisp vegetables (it’s super delicious with crisp romaine leaves).

This recipe makes a generous portion, so if you aren’t feeding a large group, or don’t want to eat it all week, consider halving the recipe.

If you do make the whole thing – plan to eat this for a few days! The nice thing is there are so many ways…..and it is pretty yummy πŸ™‚

If you have trouble peeling garlic, here is a good little tip (I am sure many of you do this already):

Start with good garlic. But organic if you can and local garlic is even better. Separate the cloves you need from the bulb.

Using a sharp knife, place the side of the knife on top of the garlic clove you are about to peel. Using all of your weight, push down on the knife and the garlic and crush the clove with the side of the heavy knife blade.

The peel will slip right off! Voila!

Of course I served this a few times in the last while for guests, and on this gloriously sunny picnic.

It’s also superb on warm toast with tomato.

The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

~ Mark Twain

However you choose to enjoy it, I suspect this will be a hit!

Even the hubby liked it and kept going back for more. I didn’t tell him it was full of kale or capers..because there really was no need πŸ™‚

Where there is love there is life.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

  • What is your favorite summer dip?
  • Do you ever use white kidney beans?

Next up, I’ll share with you all (as promised!) the progress we’ve made on our plans for NSF…we are working on a menu for a special event coming up and getting ready to roll out our new look!

Carla and Chris started something special with their 40 day fast, and I am grateful for their efforts and contribution – I hope you will be as pleased to meet them as I am to know them.

Have a fabulous week my friends – I am wondering if anyone got inspired to purge their closet from the last post? I loved all of your comments…and am so glad to hear I am not the only one out there who is benefiting from letting go!

We would love to hear from you, and hope you are all having a swell week, wherever you are, and no matter the weather πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

81 Comments

Filed under Cashews, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Almond Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares

Can I tempt anyone with dessert?

There’s more to life than chocolate, but not right now.

~ Anonymous

Anyone up for a special treat?!

This has been a very special week here at IPOM, and for (little, wee) me. Many hard weeks of patient, persistent, and tough pushing on seem to be paying off.

There are some big decisions being made, some plans being laid out, and some fruit ready for the picking from from what has been (what feels like) a (very) long, a (very) careful, and (at times) a very trying growing season (yes, more corny metaphors…..I can’t help it!).

There is one reason only these things are happening, and that is I am lucky to be surrounded to by truly great people.

These people give of their time, and of their talents, and most of all, from their hearts. For these people, and for you readers who are so wonderfully supportive, I am so very grateful. Thank you.

So I made dessert this week to celebrate! It was rather overdue, and plus, I get to thank a couple of special people for the inspiration on this one.

It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t.

~ Paul Arden, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

The inspiration for this recipe came to me from one of my blogging buds – Sarah from the Healthy Diva – who whipped up a batch of a lovely sounding dessert (originally from Oh She Glows) for a charity bake sale.

I checked it out and not only did the recipe sound amazing, but it was also right up my alley – gluten-free, no baking, and now, loaded with chocolate.

I made a few changes to the original, and the results are, well, more than worthy of this wonderful week!

Thanks to the Diva for her amazing efforts (in both cooking and giving) and to another wonderful reader also named Sarah (wink) who expressed her love for rice krispie squares this week in one of her comments.

The Less:

Less marshmallow sweetened rice krispie treats means less gooey, sticky messes to clean. Less heavy, flour-based treats means you can eat these and still feel light as air. Less time baking treats in the oven means less energy expended, so we can save it for something (or someone) else who needs it more.

The More:

More natural nut butter richness means sweet cravings become welcome. More crispy sweet rice cereal means less mess and more crunch. More yummy homemade treats means more yummy homemade smiles, ones you can share everyday.

Almond Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares:

  • (4.5) cups rice crisp cereal (I use the traditional Kellogg’s but you can use any kind)
  • (1/2) cup roasted or raw almond butter (feel free to sub cashew or pumpkin butter too!)
  • (1) tbsp coconut butter, butter, or margarine (optional)
  • (1/2) cup honey (or brown rice syrup)
  • (1/4) tsp fine salt, or to taste
  • (1) tbsp vanilla extract
  • (1) cup chocolate chips (we love Chipits in this house)

Get ready a 9 inch by 9 inch baking pan and butter lightly (either coconut butter or butter) or line with wax or parchment paper.

In a small pot, combine the nut butter, honey, sea salt, and coconut butter.

On very low heat, stir to combine and warm only very gently. Remove from heat once smooth and well mixed and add vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine the rice krispies and chocolate chips with the nut butter/honey mixture and mix (you need your hands for this!). Mix well with a firm hand, squeezing the mixture tightly to ensure evenness throughout.

The chocolate chips will melt as you mix and you will end up with a gooey mixture of pure amazing-ness.

Press the mixture into a square pan either greased with a little butter or lined with parchment paper. Push down firmly to pack it in tightly and evenly (this can be a bit of a meditative exercise). Once smooth, pop these babies in the refrigerator until set!

When cold and set, cut into small squares, triangles, (or whatever shape you desire really) and enjoy!

Keep these guys in the fridge to maintain their yummy firm texture.

Amazing, delicious, nutritious, and so easy!

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

~ Pablo Picasso

The beauty here is you need very little to be satisfied.

These little guys are loaded with nutrition from the almonds, sweetness from the bees (or rice syrup if you choose for my vegan readers), and crispy chocolatey perfection.

As is often said here at IPOM, it’s about celebrating & reveling in the little things, and a little really does go a long way here!

Talent helps, but it won’t take you as far as ambition

~ Paul Arden

These will now be household staple here as it is rare we don’t have all the ingredients in the house.

Once you taste these you’ll really understand πŸ™‚

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

~ Lou Holtz

So with that, I am signing off for a relaxing weekend with old friends over food, family, and (just a little) poolside banter and a few long, deep breaths of clean country air.

I am feeling incredibly grateful for life’s lessons this week, and know that the secret to doing anything is always just in starting.

From there, the road is bumpy. It’s messy and full of failure. But it is also exhilarating, and full of giant triumphs and smiles.

If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else.

~ Paul Arden

I can’t imagine any other way I’d want to live, and I am so happy you are here with me too!

  • What’s your favorite rice krispie recipe?
  • Are you as in love with chocolate as we are?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

I might be a little MIA for the next few days and will try to keep up with you all as best I can. I am looking forward to some amazing meals and can’t wait to share it all with you when I get back!

Let us know your thoughts friends – I’ve a feeling there are some chocolate lovers out there with me πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

92 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Sweet Life Coconut Chocolate Chews

There’s always room for a little sweetness in life.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

~ Mother Teresa

Want to stay sweet?

Life is quick, yes – and so it should be good.

And by good, I mean full of sweetness and joy – not just for us as individuals but for those special people we share our lives with.

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

~ Plato

Being good (comes with being sweet) isn’t as easy as we wish it was. Like anything worth doing, being good, consistently, is hard work.

So make it easy for yourself. Start with you!

Treat yourself as you would have others treat you!

Whip up a batch of these delicious bars, throw them in the fridge, and enjoy a healthy feel good treat whenever the mood strikes you.

Share them with friends. Live the sweet life. Never look back.

The Less:

Less processed foods in your sweet treats means more real energy to infuse goodness into your cellular self. Less flour based treats means easy simple sugars, protein, and whole foods in their pure form that are a snap to break down and provide long burning fuel that doesn’t need baking. Less refined ingredients in the form of oils and less heat from not cooking means your food stays in tact in its raw state. Less ingredients mean your stars can take their sweet spot at center stage.

The More:

More real chocolate, nuts, and coconut means more rich satisfying goodness that will feed your soul and your stomach. More super foods and dried fruit means less of the sugared stuff is needed to be satisfied. More sweetness on your tongue means more sweetness where you speak, so whispering sweet words and spreading kindness have never been easier.

Sweet Life Coconut Chocolate Chews:

  • (200) grams good dark chocolate
  • (3) cups shredded coconut (part can be roasted lightly)
  • (1/4-1/2) cup cocoa nibs
  • (2) cup pitted dates soaked 4-6 hours in cold fresh water
  • (1) cup raw whole brazil nuts, coarsely ground
  • a pinch of good sea salt (or two)

Start by soaking the dates 4-6 hours in advance using the same method as I described here for Coconut Date Bliss Balls.

Once ready to make, begin by melting your chocolate using a double method of your choice (I outline mine here).

Grind your brazil nuts using a hand blender grinding attachment, a food processor, or my latest accessory: a hand nut grinder ($12.99)! If you choose to roast a portion of your coconut, heat the oven to 350 degrees and roast the coconut for a few minutes only, 2-3 minutes should be plenty.

Drain the soaked dates (reserve the soaking liquid in case you need any) and add to a blender. Blend the dates on high without additional water until blended (it’s okay if there are a few chunks). If you feel you need to, add a little of the date soaking water to facilitate better blending, just be careful not to make it too wet.

Combine all prepared ingredients – melted chocolate, roasted or raw coconut, blended dates, cocoa nibs and ground nuts – in a large mixing bowl and mix together by hand. Add a little pinch or two of good sea salt to the mixture if desired (you’ll want to do this part but only with really good sea salt).

Good sea salt is important.

Line a 9 by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper a little oil or butter inside the pan will be fine). Spread the mixture into the pan and press with your hands to make a firm even layer of yummy. This is like a massage of love onto your dessert and so essential to the taste!

Think good thoughts while you do this (maybe take a few long deep breaths too)!

Once pressed (and blessed), throw the pan into the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove from fridge to cut into whatever shape you desire and store in a sealed container either at room temperature or in the fridge (I opt for the fridge).

Enjoy your sweet treats – you deserve them…really! We all deserve sweetness, whether bestowed on ourselves (by ourselves) or by others.

That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.

~ Emily Dickinson

Wherever you find yourself on this gorgeous March day, I hope your day is smelling sweet, and your kitchen is smelling even sweeter!

As for me, I’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of the soccer field sidelines and reveling in the sweet moments I am collecting to tide me over for my future. My kids won’t be young forever – and neither will I πŸ™‚

  • What are you reveling this fine weekend?
  • Any good deeds you’d like to share with us?

Go ahead, make our day!

Thanks to all of you for coming back to visit – your support, comments, and blogging inspiration are truly wonderful and I love hearing from you – so wherever you are on this fine day: thanks for being you!

Yours in Less,

39 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan

Recipe: Quinoa Protein Bites

It’s the weekend!

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

~ Winston Churchill

Happy Saturday all!

I hope you are all enjoying the start of a wonderful weekend as spring has officially sprung, our days are getting longer, and we are starting to plan for the spring and summer season ahead!

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a reasonably busy gal…

“You too? I knew it!”

Eating well on limited time is always a challenge – especially when we want to be outside during the warmer months coming up.

Enter this recipe.

I make these little nuggets of pure complete plant protein and have them in the fridge to heat up (or eat cold) when I come in and need a quick healthy meal that will make me feel great. They are rock solid in a salad, or wrapped in a lightly heated corn tortilla and doused in this yummy cilantro sauce (an upcoming post!).

Quinoa is indeed an almost perfect food. I mean, it’s got it all, doesn’t it? Few are the foods which provide such solid nutritional sustenance and complete proteins while being tasty, light, easy to cook, and so versatile!

β€œI like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”

~ Dr. Seuss

The Less:

Less heavy protein from animal sources can add a little more (light) variety if you are an animal protein guy or gal. Less processed vegetarian ‘protein’ foods means cleaner, more accessible nutrition. Less worrying about complete proteins as vegetarian means more freedom in choosing your foods.

The More:

More complete protein means better all round nutrition in one stop. More nuts and grains means more grounding and more satisfying texture and flavor. More easy to eat homemade ‘convenience’ foods means easy snacking when time is tight. So make these almost perfect nuggets ahead of time and don’t look back!

Quinoa Protein Bites:

  • (1) cup uncooked quinoa cooked in 1 3/4 cup cold water*
  • (1) cup walnuts ground fine
  • (2) tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 5 tbsp water (or sub one egg for the chia)
  • (1) cup nut milk, soy milk, or regular milk
  • (1/2) cup quick oats
  • (2) tbsp Bragg’s Aminos or soy sauce
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1) tsp cumin ground
  • (2) tbsp chopped scallions/green onions/chives
  • roasted sesame seeds to top the bites before baking (optional)
  • olive oil for the pan

Put up the quinoa to cook by combining the water and quinoa in a pan. Cover the quinoa and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat with the lid still on. Cook, covered, on low for 20-25 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, soak your chia in a small bowl with the water. Stir after a minute to ensure the water and chia soak together evenly. Grind the walnuts, using either a hand grinder or the attachment to your hand blender (or your food processor πŸ™‚ )

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the scallions, and combine with the salt and cumin in a large mixing bowl.

Once your quinoa is cooked, add (1/2)-(3/4) of the cooked grain to a blender (or food processor – hehe) along with the soaked chia, nut milk, and Braggs or soy sauce. Blend to a paste, stirring as needed with a spatula.

Remove the mixture into the mixing bowl with the seasonings and follow with the remaining cooked quinoa, oats, and ground nuts.

Get in there and mix this with your hands – and have fun!

You should end up with a beautiful mix that will stick together beautifully to form wonderful round discs of protein madness (add oats if they are falling apart at all).

Oil a flat cookie pan with olive oil. Form your bites and add to the pan, one by one, mindfully (and don’t worry about them being perfect). Add sesame seeds to one side one by one with a little spoon if you like, it looks nice and they add a nice flavor.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes on each side, turning them over at the halfway mark. Remove from oven and cool! Voila! Perfect little protein bites.

These little guys will keep in the fridge for about a week and will also freeze well. To re-heat, you can fry them a little in a skillet, or bake them with or without cheese on top. Serve with any sauce you desire – they are shown here with a Jalapeno Cilantro sauce (posting soon and so good!).

I was pleasantly surprised to awake this morning to a similar post this morning from Emmy over at emmycooks – proving that there are so many great ways to use this grain and enjoy a little bit of perfect protein heaven – I love Emmy’s version as she makes a brilliant use of leftovers from a previous meal.

Of course if you have a favorite way to eat quinoa, I’d love to know…feel free to share your faves in the comments today!

Be intent upon the perfection of the present day.

~ William Law

  • What does perfection mean to you?
  • Are you a convert to quinoa?

I hope you all have a super mindful and deliciously fab weekend – and as always – I love to hear from you all!

As for me? I am off to get the new trowel (just a little) dirty for the 1st time this year…

Yours in Less,

35 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: DIY Peanut Butter Cups

Don’t get the sandals out just yet!

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

~ Abraham Lincoln

It’s snowing/sleeting/spitting here today (ugh!) – a bit hard to swallow after last weeks heavenly sunshine, and even harder to believe after buying myself a new and much needed (flower-printed) hand trowel yesterday and a few (ever cheerful) pansies for my front stoop.

Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.

– John Lennon

Despite all this, I am doing my best to stay cheerful – to look forward – and get ready (this is code for I am getting a pedicure!).

I truly believe one must make time for themselves in this busy life, but to appreciate it is key (like it is with most things really).

As a rule, the mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also weak, and where there is no strength of mind there can be no strength of soul.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

So with that in mind, here is a recipe for true self-indulgence and pleasure (especially if you are a peanut butter lover).

Rich, satisfying, and easy as 1, 2, 3 these are!

So go ahead and enjoy the simple pleasures.

The Less:

Less packaged confections means less litter and less guilt. Less pesticides from heavily sprayed conventional peanuts means better health for you and your loved ones. Less refined fats & unpronounceable ingredients in your diet means more support for your body as it breaks down your fuel. Less stress on the system means better living. Y’know?

The More:

More satisfying richness from more real ingredients means less craving for calories elsewhere. More protein, real healthy fat, and intense flavor in your treats means more long term satisfaction so you can consume less, less often (you won’t need a lot). More peanut butter and chocolate together means (quite simply) more delicious. Straight up.

DIY Peanut Butter Cups

  • 400 grams good milk chocolate (buy it bulk – you could also use dark!)
  • (1) cup good smooth or chunky natural organic* peanut butter at room temperature
  • paper muffin cups (any size – fancy ones would be nice!)

Honestly that’s it!

Here’s how to impress your peanut-butter-chocolate-loving friends..and a little ‘tip from the top’ today: men love these!

Put up your chocolate to melt in a double boiling mechanism (I describe how I do it here). Melt your chocolate, stirring to prevent caking or burning. Once the chocolate is melted, keep it on the heat (very low) and add the peanut butter.

Stir together until the mixture is a gorgeous warm blend of pure glory. Feel free to add more peanut butter once you taste it..you really can’t mess this one up.

Once you have eaten as much as you can handle from the stirring spoon (don’t be shy), prepare your muffin cups on either a flat cookie sheet or in a muffin pan (you might need 2 muffin pans as this makes more than 12). Spoon the mixture into the cups carefully – 2-3 tbsp per muffin cup or more depending on the size of cups you have.

You don’t want to make these too big or you might not be able to finish a whole one in a sitting (or maybe you will)!

Shake the pan to even out the cups and pop these babies in the fridge or freezer to cool and set! You can store these in the fridge forever….(I’d love to know how long they last you)..

* A word about peanut butter: it is really really important to use real natural organic peanut butter (I am sure most of you don’t need to read this) – processed peanut butters contain heinous amounts of saturated fats and refined oils that are straight up not good for you – peanuts are naturally oily as they are! Peanuts are also grown conventionally with heavy amounts of pesticides – so eat organic if you can!

These super rich treats are great to have around in your fridge when you need a sweet hit.

Creamy, rich, and oh so yummy, they’ll hit you right where it counts and you might just impress a friend or two. I like to use them as topping for ice cream – straight up french vanilla or homemade white chocolate hazelnut – say what? Yup, I’ll share that in an upcoming post…

While I wait for the sun to return, I am dreaming of fresh cut grass, picnic baskets, and sandals.

I am thinking I might pick a sunny orange color for my toes today.

  • How do you pamper yourself?
  • What’s your favorite nail polish color?
  • Are you a peanut butter fiend like me?

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thanks to all of you for reading this week – anyone out there with leftover kale pesto?

My last batch is dwindling too….I think I’ll make another pizza….what did you do with yours?

We’d love to know..

All the best to you all fine IPOM readers (as always) – and regardless of the weather, Happy Wednesday!

(Even if it is sleeting, snowing, spitting, slushing, and blustering)

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Gluten Free, Nut Recipes, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Simple Salads & Hidden Treasures

Treasure hunting anyone?

A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

As I have said before, good grocery stores are truly my happy place.

I love roaming the produce aisles for anything special that catches my eye, and screams at me to consume it (or feed it to friends and family).

Occasionally, I like a good deal too. (Okay, who are we kidding here). I love a good deal. I mean, who doesn’t?

So I always check my local shop for their cast-offs in the produce department. I spent years working with fresh vegetables and I know that vast amounts of fresh food get chucked from grocery stores everyday – so I like rescuing them. It feels good.

Good deals. Good karma. Hidden treasure.

How can this not pull at your heart strings (just a little)?

It’s true that old saying too: someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure (and also my cooking fun and sustenance for the weekend).

These were easy foods to process as I just popped them in the oven to cook while I tackled my other weekend project: organizing years of children’s artwork, letters, cards, & photos into one easy, safe place.

(A big job.)

There is always lots of emotion (and lots of fun too) going through all that old stuff. Because as most parents learn all too quickly:

Kids do get older (it’s true what they say).

My cheap veggie treasures in the grocery store were well-matched by the treasure trove of precious family memories contained in a few sturdy storage boxes (now well organized in the basement).

It’s easy to feel (just a little) sentimental at the passing of time when I look at this stuff.

I try not to get too mushy – because I love where the family is at right now. It just reminds me to try to enjoy every moment.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

~ Dr. Seuss

So as we packed away our memories so we can access them easier, (and enjoy them longer), the little gems that were rescued from the floor of my neighborhood green grocer cooked slowly and luxuriously in the kitchen.

My grab bags of reject (cheap) gold beets and tomatoes. Enter rescue mission, and henceforth...inspiration.

Bounty always receives part of its value from the manner in which it is bestowed.

~ Samuel Johnson

I love roasting veggies for use later in a cold dish, or in a soup or sauce.

This post is meant to celebrate the beauty in simplicity, and the gorgeous flavors that can come from simple things, like food destined to be wasted. Or as I call it, hidden treasure.

The Less:

Less heavy foods makes easy work of digestion. Less waste in our grocery stores means less waste in our composts or (even worse) city landfills. Less ingredients in your bowl means more appreciation of each individual ingredient. Less stove top cooking means you can tackle other jobs while your food cooks and your oven does all the work.

The More:

More green and orange vegetables means more vitamins and minerals. More roughage means more activity where it matters. More salad emphasis means more uses for more varieties of veggies. More variety means more ideas and inspiration (ain’t that something to treasure!).

Kale & Butter Lettuce Salad w/ Gold Beets & Yam:

  • (1/2) bunch curly kale, chopped, steamed 3-4 minutes, and cooled
  • (1) head green butter lettuce, washed and torn
  • (1/2) cup roasted hazelnuts
  • (3-4) roasted gold beets, cooled & sliced or chopped
  • (1) cubed roasted yam, cooled
  • (2-3) tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • Cashew Herb Dressing

To roast the yam:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube the yam* into one inch chunks and place in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of salt and mix with your hands.Lay flat on a cookie sheet (with an edge) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes (turning over half way through with a flipper), or until soft, brown, and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool in a bowl until ready to use. These will keep up to a week in the fridge, but they won’t last that long!

*True yams are the orange fleshed sweet potato (also sometimes garnet colored) – true sweet potatoes are the yellow fleshed ones, many think they are the same, but alas they are not!

To roast the beets:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap each beet individually in foil. Using a fork, pierce each beet 4-5 times as deeply as you can through the foil wrapper (do this carefully!), making sure to get all sides. Place beets on a flat tray and bake until soft, about 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the beets. When soft to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool. When cool, unwrap the beets. To peel them, hold them in your hands and while running under cold water, rub the skin off with your hands. Once peeled, cut off the tips of the beets and store or slice as you wish. Beets will keep this way in the fridge for several days.

To roast the hazelnuts:

Hazelnuts roast in roughly 15 minutes using the roasting method I described here. Simply lay them on a flat pan and dry roast at 350 degrees until fragrant and turning a golden brown. If you pop them in an already warm oven, they will be ready in 7-8 minutes or so. To peel them, simply let cool and rub with your hands, the skin will fall right off! Use in salads, granola, or as a snack with dates!

Assembling your salad:

I always use my hands to assemble my greens and I tear lettuce whenever I can (except for romaine). Assemble your beautiful salad by mixing the 2 greens together in a nice clean bowl. Top the bowl of greens with the whole nuts, sliced or chopped beets, and the sweet roasted yams.

Serve with Cashew Herb Dressing and some additional toppings if desired (my personal faves are goat cheese and dried cranberries).

This salad might serve 2-4 people depending on your appetite or what you are eating it with.

Served on it’s own these ingredients make for a gorgeously simple, fresh, and elegant salad that is remarkably satisfying and filling!

Keep in mind all of these amounts are variable – feel free to play around with what suits your mood!

I hope you all had a fabulous day!

  • Where did you find treasure this weekend?
  • Do you have a favorite salad?

One truly great treasure for me this weekend was the amazing feedback I received from all of you!

I absolutely delight in hearing your stories of almond-milking, kale-hunting, cookie-making, and granola crunching…

It really makes my day! (Thank you!)

This week I’ll tell you what I did with those cheap juicy tomatoes above as well as (if all goes well) another yummy dessert…

Happy Monday!

Yours in Less,

25 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Children, Cooking, Dressings, Family, Nut Recipes, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Shopping, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Coconut Maple Granola with Cocoa Nibs & Love

Oh heavens! (Take 2)

When the sun came out this week I knew it would bring with it good things. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise!

I think it’s safe to say I was stunned, delighted, and totally honored to be Freshly Pressed by WordPress this week!

(Thank you WordPress!)

These things often happen when you ‘don’t feel ready’ as there are a few changes/additions I had been planning for this blog, but as it always goes…..you just go with it!

A favorite quote of mine from a Paul Arden book says:

So in that vein, I ‘fixed up’ a Facebook page for IPOM that you can like (or I hope you will!) it’s here, or just to the right on the sidebar – thanks so much!

I am beyond thrilled to meet all of my new (and fabulous) IPOM readers and continue to share the journey with all of you – thank you for joining me in my pursuit of finding more with (just a little) less, and a most hearty welcome!

Now let’s get going….shall we?

Love is the light. Forward is the motion.

~ Unknown

Granola is a favorite of mine.

Not in the hippie-patchouli-incense way either (though all of those things are lovingly fixed squarely in my DNA)…but the yummy, nutty, clean eating breakfast way!

Real Vanilla Extract, Real Coarse Sea Salt, Real Maple Syrup.

I love to grocery shop. I love markets, and I love color. A good grocery store is my happy place, always has been.

I avoid the center aisles as much as possible (save for pasta, pasta sauce, and boxed snacks for my cracker loving 8 year old), and this means the cereal aisle.

My dad joked to me years ago as a child that the cardboard box processed cereal comes in had more nutritional value than the sugary refined ‘dessert’ the box contained. I am sure there could be (just a little) truth to that – but regardless, I avoid food from a box as much as possible in favor of inexpensive bulk staples and fresh, colorful, inspiring foods…because (IMO) it’s just better.

One of those cheap staples is oats. Enter an easy, convenient, delicious alternative to bagged granola and boxed cereals.

This real granola is made with 100% clean, 100% natural, and 100% accessible ingredients.

You won’t feel too full after eating this, as you don’t need a lot (a little goes a long way). It’s chewy (great for mindful eating), and you don’t want to rush this, it’s just that good…….and I promise, your whole family will love it!

The Less:

Less oil means a granola with (just a little) less weight. Less sticking from no oil means a little more crunch. Less sugary refined breakfast cereals means less wasteful packages, never mind cost. Less ingredients and less steps means less time in the kitchen, so you can spend more time doing what you love.

The More:

More hearty grains, seeds, and nuts in your day means less craving for satisfaction elsewhere. More found in nature sugars means cravings for sweets will feel good (as it should!). More prepared goodness in the kitchen means more heart in the home, and there’s nothing ‘granola’ about that.

Coconut Maple Granola with Cocoa Nibs & Love

Adapted from the Silver Hills cookbook, 1996

  • (4) cups slow oats
  • (1/2) cup shredded coconut
  • (1/2) cup slivered raw almonds
  • (1/2) cup raw sunflower seeds
  • (1/2) cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • (1/2) cup cocoa nibs (optional)
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • (1/2) cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp real vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and maple syrup and mix well with your hands – don’t be shy!

Bake in a deep baking pan (you can also use a cookie sheet) and bake about one hour, or until dry. Make sure to mix the mixture a few times while it cooks to prevent burning and promote even cooking.

Serve with cold milk or yoghurt, and some added hemp seeds, cranberries (as shown) or with any other real ingredient you desire. This will keep in a container or glass jar indefinitely and the recipe can easily be doubled – and you’ll likely be making it often!

β€œThe world is what YOU think of it, so think of it DIFFERENTLY and your life will change.”

~ Paul Arden, Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite

I hope you are all starting a fabulous weekend full of wonderful plans.

As for me, I’m off to arrange (finally) the kids artwork for easy viewing and storage….as these kids grow I am keenly aware that these memories are precious, so it’s a huge priority right now to honor and keep them well so they will be with us in our home forever….even if my little babies won’t.

  • What’s your happy place?
  • Is there a project you’ve delayed because you’re just not ready?

There’s just no time like right now to take action…I guess it’s all how you choose you look at it!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Cooking, Nut Recipes, Oatmeal, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Superfood Coconut Energy Cookies

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

~ Japanese Proverb

Anyone out there tried making almond milk yet with any great success?

I’ve been swooning over it myself these days (and so has the teenager!) and have looked forward to coming up with new ways to use up the pulp (I’ve now finished the last batch of ice cream).

Here is the latest go with a use for almond pulp, and my, its yummy! No need for anything other than the ingredients, a bowl, your clean hands, and a good song!

The Less:

Less waste, less sugar, less sweetened, baked treats. Less packaging from making almond milk. Less cooking means less energy, and less appliances means less time spent on clean up πŸ™‚ Less wondering what to do with this superfood stuff!

The More:

More seriously potent fiber from hemp hearts and cocoa nibs. Lots of good energy, protein, and yummy healthy fats too. More dancing if you make them like we make them (we dance a lot).

Superfood Coconut Energy Cookies:

  • almond pulp from one recipe Mindful Almond Milk (about 3/4 cup)
  • (2) cups shredded unsweetened coconut (you can roast a small portion of you like)
  • (3) tbsp almond or any nut butter
  • (1/2) cup hemp hearts
  • (2) tbsp maple syrup
  • (1) cup quick oats
  • (1/4-1/2) cup cocoa nibs (you can also sub in teeny tiny chocolate chips or a roasted ground nuts)

It’s simple really..

Mix all together with your hands – form into little cookie shapes no bigger than two inches in diameter. Feel free to play with amounts until you reach a firm texture that will mold and hold shape well.

Voila! Keep in the fridge – I took these into work and they totally vanished (if you want any maybe don’t do that)…these little treats are two bit perfection as a little snack or a treat – you could even snag them for a quick breakfast.

This is a move you could try. Or not.

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart.

~ Author Unknown

Let us know what you think (and how you are, will you?!)

  • Do you dance in the kitchen?
  • What are you dancing to this week?

Next post, more oats…

Have a wonderful day!

Yours in Less,

42 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Nut Recipes, Oatmeal, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Killer Kale Pesto

There’s just something about the promise of Spring.

Oh heavens!

The sun came out yesterday, and it seems, decided to stay for a while (the forecast is clear for at least another day).

Insert multiple smiley face emoticons here!!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

– Helen Keller

It’s safe to say it’s been a (very) welcome change and the views of the twinkling snow capped mountains are particularly breathtaking. Yesterday was the day that I just knew spring had come knocking here in these parts:

  • the larks have come singing
  • the daylight has come to linger for a (just a little) while longer
  • I nearly injured myself in my hustle to peel my boots and thick tights off to get outside.

Craving the fresh air and the outdoors after work, I hurled myself outside to enjoy the remaining glorious daylight, the bustle of activity around the park, and the smiles and quips of the many who were of the same mind as me.

Oh happy day, the larks were still singing too!

Of course in my excitement, I under-dressed as it was still finger-numbingly cold (a total newbie move). But I didn’t care.

You cannot dream yourself into character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.

~ Henry D. Thoreau

What a perfect start to the week, and the perfect time to write another post about one of my all time favorite green vegetables.

Are you with me?

Yup, it’s KALE again! I just can’t get enough of this stuff these days – evidence on this blog is here and here.

Here it is, the most perfect pesto with a twist! This recipe can be made with or without the cheese (and I assure you) is stunning either way. It’s almost entirely raw too.

The Less:

Less store bought processed foods is always a good thing. Less processed salt and cheese is too. Less emphasis on oil and basil means more room for other greens, nuts, and your pure, unadulterated love.

The More:

More satisfying richness from real foods means less craving for it in less pure foods. More fresh kale, parsley, and fresh herbs means more rich green nutrition (that you can grow yourself!). More lemon will have you smiling, and more (killer) flavor will go an awful long way.

Killer Kale Pesto:

  • (1) cup pecan halves, raw
  • (1/4) cup pumpkin seeds, freshly toasted
  • (3/4) cup olive oil
  • (1) cup green curly kale, chopped
  • (1/2) cup fresh basil
  • (1/4) cup fresh parsley
  • (1) clove organic garlic
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (5) tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • (5) tbsp good quality grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the pumpkin seeds on a flat tray and pop into the oven while it heats (my trick with dry roasting nuts – I put them in while the oven gradually reaches temperature, this keeps them roasting evenly and prevents that dreaded over roasting – ooooops!). Toast until fragrant and turning golden, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients and add to the blender, starting with the pecans first. Once toasted, add the seeds right away to the blender while still warm – the heat from the warm seeds will assist in better blending and the result will be a much smoother blending process and slightly more delicious pesto.

Blend on high and move around with a spatula to get it going*. Blend all until you reach a thick well blended consistency and there are no bits of kale left.

*Of course you can also use a food processor for this, but alas, I do not use one!

Voila! Scrape with a spatula into a clean jar. This will keep refrigerated for a while in the fridge (at least a week or more). You can also freeze in small containers!

This seriously delicious pesto adds an exquisite touch to a boring old piece of toast, a flavorful topping for a cracker, and an even more delicious component to a polenta appetizer or pizza (like I made tonight with broccoli – double green hit – super yum!).

I’ll share a few of my thoughts on polenta (and how to make a number of delicious dishes with it) in a later post, but for now, join me in an ode to freshness in the form of sunshine, fresh greens, fresh air, fresh inspiration, fresh finds, and best of all fresh ideas!

There may not (really) be anything new under the sun, but what old gem doesn’t benefit from a little freshening up from time to time?

  • How do you stay fresh?
  • Do you love kale as much as I do?

Oh, please do tell.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself

~ Zen Proverb

Welcome to all the new readers this week and and a huge, giant thanks to all the wonderful people I have met along the way so far! I really, truly enjoy all of your comments, and appreciate every single one!

This week I’ve got a yummy raw energy cookie to share, oil-free granola, and some other delicious bits and pieces..

I hope you are all starting a truly fabulous week..!

Yours in Less,

208 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Nut Recipes, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian