Finding a healthy chocolate recipe is always on my radar and these Mini Chocolates I created are my new favorite. I’ve tried a bunch of different options and they often come out too grainy. Not these little gems, they are rich while also full of healthy fat and a secret superfood! I think you will be surprised how easy it is to make your own chocolate.

Conventional chocolates are made with refined sugar, which has two big negatives connected to it.

  1. It causes inflammation in the body…which is what can lead to weight gain.
  2. Sugar is made from sugar beets, a GMO product.

When you take a few minutes to make your own chocolate you get the relief of knowing exactly what’s in it. Did I mention raw cacao? By using unrefined chocolate, you get the nutritional benefits of chocolate. One of the key nutrients is magnesium, which is considered the “love vitamin” so it’s a perfect time to treat yourself to a little chocolate.

Healthy Homemade Mini Chocolate Dessert Recipe

I used cute mini muffin liners in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, but you can make it work for any holiday or celebration. If you are serving to kids or anyone with a sensitive palette, you may want to omit the cayenne pepper. Otherwise, cayenne is a warming spice and is great for those chilly months of the year.

The secret ingredient in my mini chocolate recipe is Spirulina, a blue-green algae. This offers you a dose of B vitamins, including B12, iron, and antioxidants. You can’t taste it in the chocolates and it’s a great way to add in a superfood.

Click here to print your recipe for the Homemade Mini Chocolates and enjoy with someone you love!

p.s. Double the recipe…you’ll be glad you did! Those mini chocolates didn’t last long in my house.

My homemade granola recipe has been a staple in my home for years. I’ve given it away to teachers, as a hostess gift, and for new mothers. However, it’s time to share how I’ve given my tried and true recipe a face lift.

Ever since I worked through the culinary nutrition expert program this fall, my tastes have changed. I eliminated all processed sugar and instead rely on natural sweeteners for the majority of my baking these days. What does this mean? Well, we go through a lot of maple syrup and honey. Real Canadian maple syrup and raw, unpasteurized honey to be exact. These two powerhouse sweeteners do the trick, plus they provide us with some health benefits too.

Making my own granola was one of the first ways I started cooking from scratch when I became a parent. As I started reading through cereal labels, I didn’t like what I was reading. My granola was a way to take a break from store-bought cereals and avoid damaged oils (like canola/sunflower/safflower) and also skip the preservatives. What it didn’t do was reduce the amount of sugar to a level I’m now comfortable with.

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe Breakfast

One  note about oats. I have learned that oats are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. I look for organic oats whenever possible…even better is when I can find gluten-free, organic oats. (But it’s often quite tough!) You can get it from Amazon currently in the US, here.

In the new granola recipe, the flavor is amazing and you can doctor it up to make it your own. Sometimes we eliminate the nuts so I can send it with yogurt as a school lunch. (My kids get so sick of sandwiches.) It’s a healthier version of the original recipe with less sugar, plus Omega 3’s! Both walnuts, and flaxseeds added at the end of the baking, contain Omega 3’s. This mighty essential fatty acid is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is a problem so many people are dealing with and I love adding health-supporting anti-inflammatories whenever possible.

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe Breakfast

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe Breakfast

EASY HEALTHY HOMEMADE GRANOLA RECIPE

Easy Healthy Homemade Granola to give you energy to start your day.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: granola, kids

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten free oats large flakes or old fashioned
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds pepitas
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup coconut flakes raw
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit optional
  • 3 tablespoons flax seeds

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, chopped nuts, seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a small saucepan, melt honey, maple syrup, coconut oil and molasses. Add melted wet ingredients to the bowl of oats and stir to combine.
  • Pour granola onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes total, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Add flax seeds and cranberries, stir to combine.
  • Store in an airtight container once cooled completely.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

I hope you enjoy the updated version of my healthy, homemade granola. It truly is one of our favorite things to bake as a family and I hope it will become a tradition in your home too. Next up I’ll have to update my post on How to Make Your Own Yogurt. Till then, happy baking!

 

 

What’s your favorite no-cook dinner for hot nights?! As the temperature rises, cooking in a hot kitchen just isn’t fun. Some nights you just want to skip using the oven or stove for dinner, and maybe it’s even too hot to grill outside. You might need something a little lighter, more refreshing, and healthier, of course. For those times, look to these recipes to help you out. None of these requires you to heat anything up, yet all are still full of the nutrients your body needs to feel its best.

    1. Chicken and guacamole tortilla roll-up
    2. Gazpacho
    3. Open face tuna salad on whole grain bread
    4. Huge chopped salad (farm share!) with feta and nuts/seeds  (from Julia M.)
    5. White bean and roasted chicken salad
    6. Shrimp salad-grab shrimp cocktail from the store and layer on your favorite greens.
    7. Minty chickpea salad with couscous (okay, so you need to heat up a cup of water in the microwave for the couscous. I think you can handle it.)
    8. Veggie/hummus/hard boiled egg/pita/tabbouleh platter  (from Cerissa L.)
    9. Arugula, Italian tuna and white bean salad
    10. Thai beef rolls 
    11. Watermelon steak salad
    12. Cucumber avocado soup
    13. White bean caprese salad
    14. Southwestern salad with black beans, shredded cheddar, avocado, romaine and tomatoes
    15. Sesame lime chicken salad
    16. Smashed white bean and avocado club, mash cannellini bean beans on whole grain bread, top with avocado, tomato and sprouts.
    17. Antipasto plate with marinated olives, chickpeas, prosciutto and cheese
    18. Shrimp Caesar salad
    19. Lobster or crab roll
    20. Waldorf chicken salad – use rotisserie chicken: chop chicken, grapes, walnuts and combine. Mix with a little greek yogurt or mayo.
    21. Curried tofu salad
    22. Tuna or chicken salad stuffed into a pepper or tomato
    23. Picnic in a glass

    What are your favorite no-cook meals? Pop over to our Facebook group and share a recipe or strategy working for you this summer. 

Sometimes you get really lucky with a new recipe. The one when every child enjoys it and asks for more until you realize you have run out. Steak quesadillas may not be gourmet, but they keep everyone very happy at our dinner table. I just had to share it with you.

You can mix up the recipe by trying different cheese varieties in the quesadillas. We tried both cheddar and mozzarella and they were both kid-approved. Quesadillas also lend themselves to adding in healthy extras like avocado slices or baby spinach to up the nutrition factor.

Not only do the mushrooms in the recipe give it a more meaty flavor overall, but they also offer a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, riboflavin, biotin, niacin, and and pantothenic acid. I love adding them to meals this way to get the benefits as they are usually picked over in a green salad. Pin this post to your dinner board for those nights when you need something quick!

EASY STEAK QUESADILLAS

An easy weeknight dinner with a balanced amount of protein with top sirloin steak.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. top sirloin steak thinly sliced
  • + ¼ teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 8 ounce container cremini mushrooms (presliced saves time!)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese mozzarella or cheddar
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas 8" size

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  • Add steak to pan and sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Cook 3-4 minutes or until browned, then transfer to a medium bowl.
  • Add butter to pan. Once melted, add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, minced garlic, and mushrooms. Cook 5-6 minutes until mushrooms begin to reduce (get smaller.) Add mushroom mix to steak.
  • Wipe the pan clean. Toast tortillas on one side, then flip and fill with steak mixture and a scattering of cheese. (1/3 cup) Cover with another tortilla. Let cheese melt enough to allow you to flip the tortilla in the pan without losing all the goodness inside.
  • Repeat with remaining two tortillas.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

Ready for a fast 5 minute hummus recipe?! For a long time, I didn’t think I could make my own hummus. After many failed attempts of gritty, flavorless hummus, I gave up. However, with energy this month, I decided it was high time to try a homemade hummus recipe again. This time it was a win.

I was motivated to find the right recipe since the kids go through a lot of hummus. Those little plastic tubs from the store can be licked clean at one sitting between the three of them. Although they prefer it with whole wheat pita bread, we often serve it with veggies at snack time. I’m all for anything that provides encouragement for more vegetables in their tummies.

Lemon-Garlic-Hummus-recipe

Our latest creation comes out smooth and yummy. The biggest difference in the texture is probably due to using a Blendtec blender. We have been so happy with ours and it’s at least two years old now. (Although I would love a quieter one!) The hummus came out quite smooth. If you don’t have a high speed blender, a food processor can work almost as well.

This recipe is for a basic lemon and garlic hummus. You can create variety with this recipe by adding in more garlic to make it spicier, roasted red peppers, beets or chives to start. Create your own version and have fun playing around with it. The recipe makes over 4 cups so you could also take half out and then add some extra ingredients to give yourself two different flavors to choose from. Store it in an airtight container and put a layer of plastic wrap over the top to keep it the freshest.

Enjoy. {recipe adapted from Oh She Glows cookbook}

Easy healthy 5 minute hummus recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: hummus
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • two 15 ounce cans of chickpeas drained
  • 10 tablespoons of olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until desired texture is reached.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes

One to two garlic cloves may be enough for little kids. If they find it too spicy, stick with one clove and no pepper.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

Healthy Homemade Hummus Recipe for Snack. Cute washi tape labels!

 

Lemon garlic easy hummus recipe

This is a compensated post in partnership with DOLE and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. All opinions shared are my own. 

Go Green Spinach Smoothie

Spring has finally sprung! After leaving town for a couple of days, I was amazed to come home and see flowers everywhere. The trees are pink and the tulips are all standing at attention. It’s days like this that I love being a stay at home mom and get to relax and watch the kids play in the backyard for hours.

My other favorite thing that happens in spring is snack time takes place outside. Two less rounds of crumbs to clean up in the house! It’s the little things that make me happy in the spring.

The kids were excited when we tested out a new smoothie recipe shared with us from DOLE Pineapple Juice. I usually don’t add juice to our smoothies, but I was happy to learn that Dole’s juice is 100% juice and GMO-free. Two great things in my nutrition playbook. Plus with the “pollen tsunami” taking place, increasing our Vitamin C intake can be a helpful remedy for allergy symptoms.

Silly smoothie facesThe Go Green smoothie won over our neighbor’s daughter who isn’t always a green smoothie fan. The silly green mustaches everyone was wearing at the end of snack time was a sign of success!

One note, since we try to avoid GMO’s I swapped out the soy milk for almond milk. It can be tricky to find organic GMO-free soy milk so almond or coconut milk are alternate suggestions.

How to make a green smoothie

Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe

Go Green Smoothie

An energizing green smoothie to kick start your day.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Smoothie
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Emily

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup DOLE pineapple juice chilled
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk or almond milk
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks partially thawed
  • 1 banana peeled
  • 1 tablespoon whole ground flaxseed meal

Instructions

  • If you have a high speed blender, add all ingredients to blender starting with the Pineapple Juice.
  • If you have a traditional blender, add juice thru spinach and blend before adding the balance of ingredients.
  • Blend and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

 

You can make your own Go Green smoothie and get coupon here for your next sunny day smoothie snack break!

  • $1.00 off #coupon for any 46oz or 6oz 6-pack of DOLE Canned Pineapple Juice.

Learn more about what you can make with healthy pineapple juice on DOLE’s Pinterest boards, Twitter channel or facebook page. I’ll be checking out some fun summer cocktail recipes here so I can use up my leftover pineapple juice. You can also buy the small cans and have them in the pantry for when inspiration strikes.

Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe

What’s your favorite activity to do in the sunshine?

Share the love of sunshine! Click to Tweet: Try this Go Green Pineapple Smoothie! @DolePackaged #ad #dolepineapplejuice #ayearofsunshine #smoothie http://bit.ly/1EqW2RE

Homemade bread is always a treat, especially on Mother’s Day. This is a delightful recipe that makes two loaves of Blueberry Bread. One for you, and one to give away! Blueberries are available year round fresh or frozen which makes this quick bread recipe even easier. You will not be disappointed with how moist and yummy this turns out. Just imagine getting breakfast in bed, complete with premium butter on the side.

Easy Blueberry Bread quick bread for Mother's Day brunch!

The blueberry muffin bread recipe gives you versatility in the kitchen. You can bake two loaves of bread, 24 blueberry muffins, or a bundt cake. I really like the idea of the two loaves of bread so we can enjoy one as a family on Mother’s Day and give the other one to family. Sweet breakfast bread with premium butter is always a winner.

Did you know there is a difference between store brand butter and premium butter? Often times, store brand butter includes rGBH, a growth hormone. You may have been buying organic milk for awhile, but what about your butter? I made this recipe with Finlandia Butter, a premium butter made from cows that live on farms where they are not treated with rGBH. Whether you are baking and need unsalted butter, or topping off a piece of blueberry bread with salted butter, you can make a healthier choice with Finlandia. (Next on my list to try is bulletproof coffee, has anyone tried it?)

When you mix together the blueberries with the batter, fold them in slowly. If you stir too much, the whole bread will turn purple!

Blueberry Bread batter

This is a versatile recipe and you can make this as a quick bread, muffin or bundt cake. If you make two, eat one warm from the oven with butter and giveaway the other one. Or, keep it in the freezer for when you have company. Blueberry Bread is great to bring to a Mother’s Day brunch too.

Quick bread blueberry bread

This tasted just like a blueberry muffin with the cinnamon sugar topping making it a little extra sweet. Save this recipe for Mother’s Day and treat yourself, or the special Mother in your life.

Blueberry Muffin Bread

Blueberry Bread batter

BLUEBERRY BREAD

A delicious moist blueberry muffin bread, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup premium butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup milk
  • cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen
  • Topping
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease two loaf pans (or muffin tins or bundt pan)
  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs and blend, one at a time.
  • Add lemon extract, vanilla extract, sour cream and milk.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture.
  • Fold blueberries into batter gently so the whole thing doesn't turn purple.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

WHAT IS YOUR MOTHER’S DAY TRADITION?

What’s your meal planning schedule like? Do you do it a morning for the week ahead? Plan it out for the month? How about breakfast and lunches? There are so many different ways to approach meal planning and there is no right answer. All that matters is you try to carve out some time to get prepared. If you can make the dinner time hour feel less stressful, then you are doing something right. Just think, if you don’t have to run out to the store just before dinner for a missing ingredient, that’s more time you can spend with the kids playing at home. Or pouring a glass of wine to enjoy while you cook dinner. Or both.

We are already excited to make this One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole on Saturday. {source}

We are already excited to make this One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole on Saturday. {source}

ON THE MENU…

Sunday: Basil and Parmesan stuffed Chicken Breasts. Roasted veggies were delicious!

Monday: Spinach Tomato Feta Frittata. {Meatless Monday}

Tuesday: Chicken Nuggets, pasta shells and broccoli.

Wednesday: Tortilla Soup in slow cooker (see recipe below)

Thursday: CORN {Clean Out Refrigerator Night}

Friday: Pizza Night for Good Friday

Saturday: One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole. It says it takes 30 minutes but since it’s a new recipe I’m testing it out on the weekend.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe Favorite

 

TORTILLA SOUP RECIPE

Crock pot Tortilla Soup recipe the whole family will enjoy.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 - 4 oz can chopped green chile peppers use mild if kids are eating
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 - 32 oz container chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 - 10 oz package frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Place everything into a slow-cooker except the cilantro. Stir.
  • Cover and cook on High setting for 5 hours.
  • One half hour before serving remove chicken from soup and shred using two forks. Put chicken back into soup and stir. Let cook for remaining time.
  • Top soup with sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, avocado slices, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

TELL US WHAT YOUR MEAL PLANNING SCHEDULE IS?

 

For more recipes, see three years of past dinner menus here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

Smoothies are still the #1 way to get green veggies into my kids. All three of them slurp them up and come back asking for more. Give them a little cooked spinach on their plate at dinner and you would think I had served them liver. With the kids love for smoothies, I thought I would try kale again to see if could find a recipe that was kid-friendly.

Connor went into the kitchen the other day and pointed at the yogurt and then made a sound like “whirrrr whirrr.” He was talking smoothie. It was adorable and he then went to the cabinet where we store our Blendtec Blender and pointed at it. Clearly he loves an afternoon smoothie too.

Green smoothie baby fan!

The first round we tried did not include the pineapple. While Connor still drank it, I didn’t care for it. I need a little bit more sweetness to cute the strong taste of kale. Round two recipe was a winner! The Coconut and Kale Smoothie was born.

Kale smoothie with coconut flakes

COCONUT KALE SMOOTHIE

A healthy green smoothie that is kid-friendly.
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup Stonyfield Vanilla Yogurt
  • 2 cups kale leaves only, no stems
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 peeled orange optional to make it even sweeter

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients in the order listed above.
  • Blend until greens are smooth.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

 WILL YOUR KIDS EAT THEIR GREEN VEGGIES? HOW ELSE DO YOU MAKE THEM APPEALING TO THEM?

I am a Stonyfield Clean Plate Club Ambassador and yogurt was provided for this smoothie recipe. All opinions are my own. 

Memories of St. Patrick’s Day as a child always included a dinner at my Nana’s house. It was the traditional corned beef dinner with boiled potatoes, onions and cabbage. I loved it then and still do now. But my favorite part of the holiday feast is the Irish Soda Bread. I still remember the first time I made this recipe for a family party, forgot to pack it, and then enjoyed it with our own family and noticed how much the kids like it too.

Delicious Irish Soda Bread for Saint Patrick's Day

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

IRISH SODA BREAD FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Easy Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: bread

Ingredients

  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup 1 stick cold butter
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup raisins optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Whisk flour, ⅓ cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  • Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add buttermilk and raising; mix just until moistened.
  • Place dough on floured surface; knead until fully combined.
  • Shape into a loaf in an oval shape.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Cut deep ½-inch "X" in top of dough.
  • Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool completely on wire rack.
  • Enjoy.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!