Category: Dairy Free

Dairy Free Recipes on Decadently Fit

Garlic Chili Black-Eyed Peas & Eggs

black eyed peas breakfast_Fotor

Happy New Year!  This is my first official recipe post of the year and the first one to show off my new philosophy. I am going for a more simple approach regarding recipes this year.  Quicker, simpler, cleaner.

We all have busy lives.  As mine has gotten perpetually busier I realized I haven’t had the time to make the recipes I was posting.  That’s a problem.

It’s not just the holidays, it’s the everyday busyness that starts the bad habits forming.  The “I don’t have time to make something right now so I am going to pick an unhealthy option” cycle.  So instead of complaining about the problem, I came up with a solution.  Stop complicating things.  Go the easy route and simplify the food I am making.  I am still getting the same result without the stress.

It’s a well know superstition that eating black-eyed peas in the New Year will bring you good luck.  My amazing friends at Melissa’s Produce recently sent me a lovely gift of black-eyed peas and their Clean Snax.  They know the way to my heart for sure.  Delicious, convenient, clean food.


The black-eyed peas come cooked.  There is nothing to do, but open the package, rinse them and break them apart.  In this dish I patted them dry with paper towels to prevent them from steaming in the pan. I didn’t want mushy peas.

This dish is perfect for a busy morning, especially after a great workout.  It comes together in a matter of minutes, about 10 to be exact.  It’s full of protein, fiber, and good fats.  Everything you need to rebuild muscle and level out your blood sugar.  In simple terms you will be fuller longer and give your body the nutrients it needs after working out.

I hope you are finding 2015 to be everything you hoped for.  Never forget you have the key to your destiny.  If you do the work you will see the results.  Don’t let excuses get in the way of your goal.  Find a solution to each excuse and nothing will stop you!  Happy New Year!

Click on the pictures below to buy these wonderful products.



Disclosure:  I was not compensated for writing this post. Melissa’s Produce supplied the black-eyed peas and clean snacks for my own use.  All opinions are my own.

Garlic Chili Black Eyed Peas & Eggs
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 2
  • Calories: 485
  • Fat: 26.6
  • Saturated fat: 13.8
  • Unsaturated fat: 1
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 33.6
  • Sugar: 15.9
  • Sodium: 618
  • Fiber: 10.7
  • Protein: 27.8
  • Cholesterol: 375
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A hearty, protein filled breakfast that comes together in less than 10 minutes.
  1. Mix together the ghee, garlic & herb salt, and chili powder
  2. Add the beans into the ghee mixture and combine thoroughly
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans when hot. Let the beans sit for two minutes, then stir, let sit another two minutes. Repeat for 8 minutes until the beans are heated through and are starting to brown slightly. Do not overcook. If the beans start popping pull off heat.
  4. In another pan, heat the final tablespoon of ghee over medium heat till melted. Spread over pan and fry eggs in ghee till desired temperature is reached. You can add a lid to steam the top of the eggs to cook faster.
  5. Serve two eggs on top of ½ of the beans.


Potato Leek Soup with Bacon – DYP Book Review – PLUS Giveaway!

potato leek 2_FotorPotatoes notoriously get a bad rap.  Dieters exclude them from their menu plans, grouping them with the bad carbs such as the ones in bread.  Casting them aside afraid they will add more unwanted pounds.

The round, eye filled root vegetable has been type cast as the evil villain due to its role as the greasy french fry and calorie dense chip.  I’m here to tell you that the poor potato has been misunderstood.  His good qualities need to be highlighted and celebrated by the health seeker. Potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin c,  B-complex, and magnesium.  They can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, improve brain function, prevent kidney stone formation, protect against cancer, and boost antioxidants.

With that being said, there are so many different types, how is one to know which to use in a potato salad versus a stew.  Well, let me make it really easy for you.  Bake a russet and use Dutch Yellow Potatoes (DYPs) in everything else.  It’s really that simple. 1Baby Dutch Yellow 24 oz_Fotor Dutch Yellow Potatoes are so versatile they work for just about everything, even dessert.  On November 18th, I was at the book launch at Melissa’s Produce for their latest cookbook DYPs The Perfect Everyday Cookbook.  Since the DYP is exclusive to Melissa’s Produce it was only natural for them to compile a book full of the best recipes for the golden tuber.

I learned some interesting facts about potatoes at the event.  For instance, did you know that if a potato has a green hue to it you should not eat it.  The green hue is a warning sign that the potatoes have gone bad.  Amazingly, the DYP will not ever get the green hue, due to their extraordinarily long shelf life.  That fact is important considering the normal harvest time is August to October.  The potatoes are stored in giant temperature climate-controlled storage rooms for the rest of the year where they are harvested in Idaho.

DYPs are the most versatile potato because of their waxy texture and edible skin.  They cook quickly, about 6 – 10 minutes and won’t fall apart and get mushy.  It’s hard to over cook these adorable little guys.  I added them to my Pork Chili verde, simmered them for an hour, and they were perfectly cooked.  I used the Pee Wee size DYP for the chili, so there was zero prep before adding them into the green saucy goodness.  Look for the recipe in an upcoming post!

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I have to encourage you to try a potato based dessert.  Especially the Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches (pg. 261).  It’s no secret that I love peanut butter. These cookies were to die for!  I would have never thought to use potatoes as a gluten-free option in a dessert.  Well played Melissa’s!  I may have snuck a lot of them out the door that day.  I only shared one.

Whether you mash, roast, use them in a salad or dessert, you should keep always keep DYPs around.  I see them in my local Von’s year round.  Chances are they are in your local grocery store as well.

Yes, potatoes have carbs, but they are good carbs.  Carbs that if you are working out, you need as fuel.  They are a clean fuel that your body knows how to process.  Yes, you should eat them in moderation.  But, they are what I call happy carbs.  They are satiating so you actually have to eat fewer of them to feel full.

To give you a taste, pun intended, here is one of my favorite recipes from the DYP cookbook, DYP and Leek Soup.  Not only is it the simplest soup recipe I have ever come across, it’s so luscious and comforting.  Not to mention it’s also topped with crispy bacon.  To die for.

If you are interested in learning more about the perfect potato and how to use them in every season, click here to purchase this incredible DYP cookbook.  OR enter my giveaway to receive the book and a bag of potatoes!  You can enter in the box below (or if the box does not come up click on the rafflecopter link)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5.0 from 1 reviews
Potato Leek Soup with Bacon - DYP Book Review - PLUS Giveaway!
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½ cups DYPs, diced small
  • 1 package Melissa's Belgian Style Leeks, sliced lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (about 2 leeks)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus more for thinning
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Place the DYPs in a bowl and cover with water to prevent discoloration.
  2. Set a large stock pot over low heat and add butter. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Drain the DYPs and add them to the leeks, along with water and the broth, sea salt, and white pepper.
  3. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the DYPs are very soft.
  4. Pour the soup mixture into a blender, in batches if needed, and puree until smooth. (Be careful with hot liquids in blenders). Return the pureed soup to the pan and add broth to reach the desired consistency. Continue to cook over low heat till heated throughly.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with bacon.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid to promote or sponsor this post.  I was given a bag of DYPs and the DYP Cookbook from Melissa’s Produce.  All opinions are my own.   Please see disclaimer in the giveaway for details regarding to the prize and details of the contest.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce 2_FotorSigns are everywhere.  It’s all over our radios, every mall, every store and even our children’s art work. It’s coming like an earthquake in southern California.  The holidays are sneaking up on us and shaking our worlds with reckless abandon.

For some reason 2014 has gone by faster than any other in history.  Wasn’t Thanksgiving a month ago?!  If another person tells me how many days there are till Christmas I think I’ll scream.  I want to live in ignorant bliss.  Although, thanks to my obsessive compulsive tendencies I am fully aware that there are only 35 days till ‘C’ day.  Crap.

But first we have Thanksgiving to deal with.  The first of the over load our belly holidays.  The beginning of the winter weight season.

I know a lot of people go with the theory that everything is ok in moderation.  I personally do not believe in that theory.  Holiday food is a gateway ‘drug’ to, “Oh one of these buckeyes won’t hurt. I never eat like this so it’s o.k”.  At least in my experience it is.  Once I open that can of worms it’s so hard for me to close it.

So I prefer to make versions of holiday food that are healthier and cleaner than their original versions.  Over the next week I am going to try to post as many of them as possible.  We shall see how that goes.  No promises people.

First, I would like to introduce you to the simplest recipe on the face of the earth.  Simple ingredients, simple instructions, simple beauty.  One container of ruby-red cranberries is simmered together with fresh orange juice, ginger and honey.  No high fructose corn syrup here.  The mixture is reduced, and that is it.  Simple cranberry sauce, no fluff.

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This sauce should be shown in all its simplistic glory on your Thanksgiving table.  But, should also be slathered on your post Black Friday shopping turkey and stuffing sandwich.  The tart, slightly sweet and tangy condiment will become a new holiday tradition.

I’ll be honest though, there is one thing I will miss about not using canned cranberry sauce.  You guessed it, the darn can lines.  Why are those so appealing?  I guess I should start working on a healthy version of jellied cranberry next.  Then nothing will be missing!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  There are so many things to be thankful for, especially the little things.  Even can lines on the cranberry.  Those lines mean I can afford to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simple Cranberry Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 cup
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 27
  • Carbohydrates: 5.7
  • Sugar: 3.4
  • Sodium: .7
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: .3
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A simple, clean cranberry sauce sweetened with agave and orange juice.
  • 7.5 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne (optional for the adventurous foodie)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy sauce pan
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over medium low heat. Cranberries will begin to pop.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer till reduced for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Sauce is done when all cranberries are cooked and resembles a jam like consistency.
Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.




Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies

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My favorite cookies growing up were the Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip cookies.  My mom didn’t buy them often but when she did, lunch took on a whole new meaning.  Well let’s be honest, I totally ate them before any of my other lunch box items.  But, lunch was just happier when they were amongst my bologna sandwich and fruit punch.

About a year ago I bought some for old times sake.  I’m not sure what happened but they were not the same.  They were smaller and had an unpleasant after taste.  AKA, they ruined them.  Or I just grew up and my tastes changed.  Not sure which of the two it is, but I do not love them like I did.

Recently I have had a ton of requests for something pumpkin. Mostly for a clean version of any pumpkin comfort food/dessert.  It’s fall so it’s only fair to start receiving these requests, but there is one problem.  I am not a lover of all things pumpkin.  I do not get a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) the day they come out.  I can’t stand pumpkin pie.  The only form of pumpkin I love is my pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and crumb topping.  They are to die for.  But, I am sure if I calculate the calories one would be in the 750 range.

I have a favorite clean cookie that a fellow blogger, Texan Erin conjured up.  They are amazing.  There is no butter, eggs, or grain.  They knocked my socks off the first time I had one.  Not because they were just a good chocolate chip cookie, but because the main ingredient was chick peas.  Yes, beans.  They make having dessert a less guilty experience when there is that much fiber present.

I had a crazy idea of playing with her recipe, making it into a pumpkin cookie.  Instead of the peanut butter I used organic pumpkin puree.  Since pure maple syrup and pumpkin go together like peanut butter and jelly I used it to sweeten the batter.  Plus, the cookies could be labeled purely vegan without the honey.

I used traditional pumpkin spices; cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, to give the cookie a fall type feel.  My favorite part of Erin’s cookie is the melted chocolate strewn throughout.  So instead of a chemical laden chocolate chips I gave Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips a try.  I was extremely hesitant.  I figured it would be obvious they were vegan.  Maybe a weird after taste?  Nothing.  The chips tasted exactly like their GMO filled rivals.

pumpkin cookies 4_Fotor resized

Fingers crossed I scooped mounds of chocolate chip pumpkin batter on a silpat and popped them into a 350 degree oven.  They had to stay in much longer than the original version, but what emerged from the oven at 25 minutes was firm outside and pillowy soft inside.  It was reminiscent of the soft batch cookies from my childhood, but with a blast of fall goodness.

I had all of the usual picky taste testers try them.  I am happy to announce that even though none of us are pumpkin fans, the cookies were given 4 thumbs up.  2 kids, 2 adults liked them.  The boys had no idea what the ingredients were, but they liked them, and that is all that mattered to me.  Who doesn’t like a good chocolate chip cookie?

The only fair warning I will give you is that 2 out of the 4 of us wanted them crisper on the outside.  That part is up to you.  Flatten them a little after scooping them out and leave them in longer if you want a crispy outside.

Nutritionally these babies are a great choice for an afternoon snack or dessert.  There is only 136 calories, and a high fiber content for two cookies, coming in at 4.2 grams.

For all of you pumpkin lovers I hope this recipe helps kick off the beginning of pumpkin season, I mean fall.  Don’t forget to share this post with your friends.  Hey, they might even make them for you!

        Disclosure:  I was not compensated for any portion of this post.  All opinion are my own.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 20 cookies
  • Serving size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 136
  • Fat: 5.1
  • Saturated fat: 2.4
  • Carbohydrates: 17.8
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 60.1
  • Fiber: 4.2
  • Protein: 4
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Crisp on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside. A clean, fall version of soft batch cookies.
  • 1½ cups chick peas, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and puree till smooth.
  3. Remove blade from the food processor and stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be moist but should be able to be formed.
  4. Using a melon baller scoop out batter onto a silpat baking sheet, pressing down each mound of dough slightly to form a circle.
  5. Bake for 20 -30 minutes depending on how crisp you prefer the outside.
  6. Let cool on the silpat.
  7. Can be store up to a week in the refrigerator. Or 1 day in a tupperware in a cool dry place.



The Great Pepper & Hatch Chilie Cookbook Review {giveaway}

Great Pepper Book-close up14-1 640I talked about my life long passion for cookbooks in one of my last posts.  I can honestly sit for hours and read them.  I get excited about learning new things and love seeing a traditional recipe tweaked into a modern version.

Yes, I am a culinary geek to the core.  My library of cookbooks is pretty vast.  Although I love finding new recipes on the internet, nothing is better than sitting with a book, feeling the page between your fingers, finding new inspiration at the turn of each page.

The Great Pepper Cookbook is no exception.  Melissa’s Produce doesn’t hold anything back when they create a new cookbook.  I have personally been to their test kitchen and tasted the recipes made by their chefs.  They are talented and inventive.  The recipes in this book speak to that.

Of course when I received the books I immediately started going through them.  In each book, the first section talks all about the scoville scale (how hot a pepper is), describes each pepper type in detail and how to prepare fresh and dried.

I love spicy food!  I actually carry around packets of tabasco in my purse, just in case there is an emergency.  True story.  I like some spice to my food, not overpowering, but a wake me up, warm me up spice.

In the Great Pepper Cookbook I found a multitude of recipes I wanted to make.  But there was one that HAD to be made first.  It combines my two food lusts together, spicy and chocolate.  Chile Chocolate Truffles, oh em gee, come to me.  I’ve had a love for spicy chocolate since I had it the first time at the San Diego Food & Wine Festival.  I couldn’t wait to taste that duo together again.

spicy truffle5

Making the truffles was actually very easy. I changed the heavy cream to coconut milk in my version due to my intolerance.  You simply heat the cream/coconut milk together with spicy peppers, combine with the chocolate, sesame seeds and raisins.  Then cool the concoction in the fridge for two hours.  Scoop the chocolate with a melon baller, roll into balls and toss in walnuts.  Yup, pretty much the best truffle I have ever had.  No joke.  I will have these babies in the fridge from her on.  Each truffle is only 80 calories. Serious bonus!

Now onto the Hatch Chile Cookbook.  I actually have had this book for over a year.  I went to the recipe tasting event at Melissa’s test kitchen when they launched the book.  I was able to taste the Honey Mustard Pretzel Crunch, Hatch Chile Corn Bread, Hatch Chile Deviled Eggs, Hatch Chile cookies, and even a lemonade infused with hatch chili ice cubes.  Every single item was incredible.

hatch cookies 640

I’ve made a lot of the recipes from the Hatch Chile book and even developed this Hatch Chile Corn dog because I love the flavor so much.  I wanted to showcase something new and different for you.  I love stuffing portabellos, I’ve made them into BBQ Chicken Pizzas, and every now and then I crave one stuffed with creamed spinach.  I never thought to make them into a frittata. Kudos on that idea Melissa’s!

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You have to make the Frittata-Stuffed Portobello Stuffed Mushroom Caps.  Such a fun, spicy way to serve eggs.  It would be amazing as a brunch item during the holidays.  The colors are even perfect with the addition of tomato, hatch chilies and basil.

Lucky for you it’s Hatch Chilie season and during this time of year you can attend a live roasting!  Click here to find a location roasting chilies near you.  Then go buy the book, it is a chile lovers must have.

Melissa’s produce has always been extremely generous with me.  Not only did they supply all the produce for this post, they have allowed me to share both recipes I mentioned.  AND, they offered up FOUR of The Great Pepper Cookbooks to giveaway!  Entering is super easy!  Just follow the instruction in the Rafflecopter link here ——->  a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more awesome sneak peeks at these cookbooks check out what my fellow IEFB bloggers did:  My Imperfect Kitchen, The Devil Wears Parsely & It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Chile-Chocolate Mole Truffles
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 36 (1 truffle)
  • Serving size: 1 truffle
  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 2.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 5g
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These truffles are an exotic, subtly spicy, decadent treat
  • 10 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (can use vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raisins, minced
  • 5 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ ounce (about a 1 x 2-inch piece) dried ancho chile pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely crushed
  1. In a metal bowl, combine chocolate chips, sesame seeds, and raisins. In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat; stir in ancho chile, chipotle chile powder, cinnamon, and zest. Bring just to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Remove and discard ancho, pour cream mixture over chocolate chip mixture, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture is completely blended. Let cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a plate, spread the walnuts in an even layer. Using a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon (or melon baller) scoop out cooled chocolate mixture, form into a 1-inch ball, roll in crushed walnuts, and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture to form 36 truffles. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Serve.
Nutrition facts are for original recipe, not with coconut milk.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Frittata-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps
Recipe type: Breakfast
  • Oil for cooking spray
  • 12 large eggs
  • Melissa's My Grinder Organic Italian Seasoning
  • Melissa's My Grinder Rainbow Peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, top and bottom removed, thickly sliced into 4 rounds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 2 Hatch Chilies, roasted peeled, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms stems and gills removed (see note below)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and a few grindings of the Italian seasoning and rainbow peppercorns. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the tomatoes, turning once, just until the tomatoes release their moisture, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the basil and chilies and continue cooking just until the basil begins to wilt, about 1 minute.
  4. To stuff the Portobellos, fit 1 tomato slice into each mushroom cap and one-fourth of the basil and chilies. Pour in egg mixture to nearly fill the mushroom. Top each Portobello with a few cubes of cream cheese.
  5. Bake the stuffed mushrooms in the prepared baking dish for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Gently scooping out some of the meat of the mushroom cap often helps the stuffing fit nicely.




Lemon Panna Cotta with Dragon Fruit Gelee

panna cotta11

My new kick of trying and making new things continues. I can officially say that panna cotta and dragon fruit can be checked off the list.  I have always wanted to try them.  They both sound so mysterious and foreign to me.  So why not get crazy and try them at the same time!

I’ll be honest, I was not sure what to expect with the dragon fruit. She looked (yes she) so exotic and travelled.  I was scared and excited.  The outside surface looks scaly and feathery.  I needed to open her up and check her out.

The flesh of the fruit is stunning!  Nature’s pallete is simply amazing.  It was the brightest pink I could ever imagine seeing, speckled with seeds reminiscent of a kiwi.  Some varieties has white flesh too.

dragon fruit

What I thought it was going to taste like and what I got were completely different.  I expected a sour, yet sweet, but strong flavor.  In reality it was mild, slightly sweet, with a gentle texture less firm than a kiwi.

I can’t even remember why I thought to pair the dragon fruit with a panna cotta, let alone a lemon panna cotta, but it just sounded refreshing.  It was five thousand degrees outside and I wanted some relief.

What exactly is panna cotta?  Translated from it’s Northern Italian roots it means ‘cooked cream’.  Hmmm.  Well cream doesn’t get along with my stomach very often so I knew I would have to be creative to make it “me” friendly.  In it’s orginal form cream is combined together with sugar, vanilla and gelatin over heat and then sets in the fridge.  It can be served with fruit or plain.  I am so not a plain Jane, I knew the bright dragon fruit would be the perfect accessory for the panna cotta to shine.

Not ever having a panna cotta I had to do some serious research on what I was getting into.  So to the internet I went.  Apparently I am the only one that has never had panna cotta or made it.  There is a plethora of recipes out there.  Not one really screamed to me, so of course I made up my own hodge podge of a billion recipes.

panna cotta9 640

So lets recap.  I have never made a panna cotta in my life and made up my own recipe for it.  Then I decided to serve it to 3 other very experienced food bloggers at our second Inland Empire Food Bloggers meeting.  Not my brightest moment.  THANK GOD it worked.  Phew.  Although I have nothing to compare it to I thought it was darn good and my fellow bloggers liked it as well.

You will be excited to know that in addition to dragon fruit’s beauty she also has many health benefits; high in vitamin C, full of antioxidants, good fats and protein from the seeds, and 1 gram of fiber per 100g of fruit.

Typically pitaya is grown in South and Central America, Asia and Mexico.  When shopping for this beauty of a fruit look for skin that isn’t blemished and not molded.

Since I chose to make my panna cotta without any dairy this baby is pure vegan, gluten-free and scrumptious.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge to pick the best dragon fruit and make panna cotta, you should go for it.  Speaking of, there is a panna cotta in the fridge with my name on it.  Toodles!

*Disclaimer* I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.  The dragon fruit was supplied by Melissa’s Produce.  To purchase this product and many other incredible products click here.

Lemon Panna Cotta with Dragon Fruit Gelee
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 203
  • Fat: 7.6
  • Saturated fat: 5
  • Unsaturated fat: .3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Sugar: 30
  • Sodium: 44.2
  • Fiber: .4
  • Protein: 3.5
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A bright and tangy dragon fruit gelee tops a light and tart lemon panna cotta.
  • Lemon Panna Cotta
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons, unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup honey (maple syrup for vegans)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon peel, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dragon Fruit Gelee
  • 2 ounces of boiling water (can be done in microwave safe mug)
  • 2 teaspoons, unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ½ dragon fruit, pureed
  • 3 tablespoons honey (maple syrup for vegans)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Lemon Panna Cotta
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over the lemon juice, let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a heavy saucepan until steam forms. Stir the gelatin into the warm mixture till dissolved over low heat.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into ramekins, mason jars or small glasses.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till set.
  6. Dragon Fruit Gelee
  7. Stir the gelatin and water together till dissolved.
  8. In a medium bowl combine the dragon fruit juice, honey, and lemon juice.
  9. Combine the gelatin and dragon fruit mixtures.
  10. Distribute the dragon fruit mixture evenly over each set panna cotta.
  11. Refrigerate till gelee is set, about 4 hours.


Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Grape Compote

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One can only hope that as we get older we learn and grow progressively.  I discovered my love of cooking as soon as I was able to read.  At five years old I received my first cookbook, I was instantly hooked.  I read that book over and over again.  Then moved on to the Joy of Cooking, which I destroyed reading so much.

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My first cookbook

Present day my cookbook collection has tremendously grown in size, now including Juila Child, Bobby Flay and Jamie Oliver. In each of these cookbooks there are recipes that intimidate the crap out of me.  So naturally I see these scary recipes as a challenge.

I made a goal for myself this year to do things that truly challenge me.  Make and develop recipes that I have never done before, while keeping them healthy.  I’ve been sticking to the things that I am comfortable with for too long.  It’s time to break out of my culinary comfort land and add new skills to my growing repertoire.

Melissa’s Produce recently sent myself and three other talented Inland Empire Food Bloggers (IEFB) a mystery box of their seasons best.   We challenged ourselves as a group to make recipes using the ingredients that came, whatever they were.

The day it came I was like a little kid on Christmas.  I had been having a crudtastic day and this box of goodness brightened my day like only a great box of produce can.

This simple, but heavy brown box was filled with four types of grapes, three types of figs, a young coconut and two dragon fruit.  Christmas was the wrong holiday to use to describe this box.  It felt much more like crisp, comfortable fall meets a tropical vacation.  Sounds like my kind of trip.

The grapes were a huge hit in our house.  All four varieties had my boys coming back to the kitchen for more.  They hated waiting for the green light to devour them after I finished with what I needed.  Among the quad of grape flavors were black muscato, red muscato, champagne, and cotton candy.  I loved them all, but the red muscato were my favorite.

Grapes have a whole host of benefits including:

  • supports muscle recovery
  • fights diabetes
  • fights fat
  • improve brain power
  • fat cell storage reduction
  • protects heart
  • fights inflammation

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The trio of figs made me anxious.  The last time I had a fig I was seven.  If you follow me you know that there is only one food that is on my do not eat list, beets.  It’s not that I don’t like figs.  Actually the extreme opposite. I ate so many figs straight from my grandfather’s friend’s tree when I was seven that I made myself extremely sick.  Why no one stopped me before I devoured 20 raw figs I can’t say.  All I know is that I never wanted to touch one after that.

So as you can imagine I was concerned when I opened the box.  I cautiously tasted each of the figs; Mission, Brown Turkey, and Tiger.  I was brought back to why I devoured so many in one sitting.  Figs are sweet, fiber and calcium filled treats.  The 5.5g of fiber per fig explains my stomach issues after eating too many.  I am happy to say that eating an appropriate amount I was perfectly fine.

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I can’t wait to tell you about the dragon fruit and young coconut, so stay tuned for another post where I gush about them in detail!

Being that both grapes and figs have a high sugar content I wanted to make a savory dish.  It also needed an acid component to cut through the sugar.  Wine immediately came to mind.  after searching through recipes I finally decided this was a time to challenge myself.  Not only have I never made a compote, I have never actually had one either.  Not knowing what to expect in the end was going to make this even more challenging.  Challenge accepted.

The final product made my taste buds sing.  I have learned that a compote is a reduced, yet chunky sauce.  The fruit doesn’t break down completely, but the sugars release and create a syrup like base for the fruit.  The gentle spice of the garlic and ginger in the pork make this a perfect pairing to the light sweetness of the compote.

It may sound like a complicated dish, but it couldn’t be easier.  The pork can be marinated and frozen up to three months (thaw in the fridge overnight).  The compote can be made up to 3 days in advance or frozen up to 3 months, defrosted in a pan over low heat till heated through.

The bright raspberry color of the compote and yellow dots of mustard seed make this vibrant dish a dinner party must.  Impress your friends with this stunning dish.  You can even pretend it took all day.  I won’t tell, I promise!

For step by step directions, scroll down to the recipe below.

Want to see what my fellow bloggers did with their mystery box from Melissa’s?

My rockin’ fellow blogger Natalie from The Devil Wears Parsley made an out of this world Fig & Grape Pork Loin Roulade Sandwiches w/ Coconut Gravy & Dragon Fruit Greens.


The extremely talented Sara from My Imperfect Kitchen made a mouth watering Fig Grape and Walnut Spread.


Sue, the vivacious writer of It’s Ok to Eat the Cupcake came up with a dazzling recipe for Quinoa with Roasted Grapes and Grilled Chicken.

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To find a store where these succulent fruits are sold please click here.

*Disclaimer* Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for sponsoring this post through supplying the figs, grapes, coconut and dragon fruit.  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie

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It’s that time of year again moms and dads.  School is back in session.  No more night swimming or sleeping in.  The mom only overnight wine tasting tours are on hold.  The leisurely weekday breakfasts have come to a sudden halt.  There is a gloom in the hot molten air that can only be described as buzz kill.

I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads as to why we are already back in school.  Ask California’s Governor Jerry Brown to answer that one for you.  Apparently it had something to do with California Standard testing which has been dissolved.  Hey Jerry!  Can we have a September start date again?

Back to reality.  Literally.  6:10 a.m. wake up times are again my new reality for the next 10 months.  Back to being super organized in the morning, even more so since I have two in school.  Two completely different lunches to pack, two kids that lose shoes on a daily basis, two kids to keep from killing each other while they brush their teeth.  The most handsome third grader and first grader are now in my midst.

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With the organized chaos that ensues every morning sometimes I forget to make food for myself.  For instance, this morning I made 3 breakfast sandwiches with a side of strawberries.  As my husband and two boys were eating their sandwiches I looked down at the plate I set out for myself.  Empty.  With only 10 minutes before departure time my stomach growled loudly, reminiscent of the mountain lions that keep coming out of our foothills.  My only option was to make a smoothie, another sandwich wasn’t in my time constraint.

I’ve made this smoothie once before and inhaled it, creating massive brain freeze.  This time I used self control as to not repeat such idiocy.  In a moment of clarity I remembered that I had promised to post the recipe about a month ago on my Instagram.

So as promised here is the healthiest well balanced version of a chocolate covered strawberry you will ever ingest.  This smoothie has a whopping 26.5 grams of green organic whey free protein.  I started using the Orgain protein powder because it took care of my aversion to whey in my protein shakes.   This powder is a legit source of clean protein made from Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Sprouted Chia Seed, Organic Hemp Protein, and Organic Pea Protein.  The sugar comes from monk fruit and organic stevia.

We need to talk about the raw green chocolate powder in this smoothie.  If you haven’t started using raw green powder start today.  These powders are nutrient dense and cost less than buying the 1 pound of greens it takes to make 1 ounce.  Because the powder is raw the enzymes are still in tact when they are turned into powder form.  Raw greens will give you increased energy and repair cellular damage.  I know the next question, “what does it taste like?”.  My honest answer is I have no clue.  I always put it in a smoothie and I can’t taste it.

This surprisingly vegan, gluten-free smoothie will easily make it’s way into your rotation. It’s incredibly filling, nutrient dense, and above all it tastes like dessert.  I hope you enjoy it amongst the controlled chaos in your life.  Cheers!

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Now for some exciting news!   As of August 4, 2014 I became a full time food blogger!  Woohoo!  So what exactly does that mean?  More posts with more healthy, decadent recipes.  More giveaways, more awesomeness that you will notice in each post.  So stay tuned!  If you haven’t already, now would be the perfect time to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything.  A lovely email with the newest post comes straight to your inbox.  No checking social media to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

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New York Style Vegan Cheesecake

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There came a time in my journey towards a healthier me that I really started missing my former fatty friends.  No, I am not making a rude comment about anyone in my life.  I am referring to the unhealthy food choices that I constantly made.

I used to love McDonald’s french fries.  Actually, let me rephrase that, love, love, LOVED McDonald’s french fries.  There was something about those salty, hot sticks of pleasure that just made me happy.  Now they make me sick.  I am happy to say that fatty friend has not passed my lips in….well I can not remember when.  Good riddance.

Then there were the ridiculously large portions at any restaurant, which we would go to a couple of times a week.  More former fatty, GMO, preservative filled, friends like Chili’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, & Applebees.  Nothing they serve is fresh, and the amount of bad for you food that is put on your plate is mind-blowing.  I miss none of these restaurants.

Alas, there is one fatty friend my heart will always long for.  Who am I kidding?  My heart?  We all know it’s my stomach.  Let me explain it this way.  You know that one friend you had growing up that your mom told you was bad for you?  You know the one that never did anything good but made you feel great when you were around them?  Well that is how cheesecake is for me.  I know it’s bad for me, but I just can’t quit.

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I know I am not alone in my love affair with cheesecake.  It’s the one dessert that most people can agree on.  It’s smooth, creamy, sweet and savory.  What’s not to love?  Well there is that one thing, the damn calories!  One slice of New York style cheesecake holds a whopping 710 calories.  In the midst of devouring a heavenly piece of cheesecake that is the last thing I think about.  But then it comes, the guilt.  The ‘Why do I love that stuff so much that I would do this to myself?!”, self loathing.

One of my infamous cravings came on the other night.  I knew I couldn’t go down the fatty friend road.  I ‘ve been working way too hard lately to undo all of my work.  I went on a hunt for  a healthy version that was great, not just good.  It had big shoes to fill if it was going to take the place as my new cheesecake BFF.

I stumbled upon a version on the Minimalist Baker(If you have never heard of them, click on over and check them out.  So awesome!).  They had a recipe for Simple Vegan Cheesecakes that sounded like what I was looking for.  I thought I would give it a shot, but hope for the best.

I changed the recipe to fit my needs and what I came up with was astounding.  I honestly could not tell that it was vegan, and gluten-free.  I hate labeling this dessert as vegan or gluten-free because of the stigma that comes with it.  Most people make faces when they hear those words.  But, in my very picky, meat and potato eating, brutally honest husband’s own words, “It is really, really good!”.

I can truly say I have found a new skinny friend to add to my growing repertoire.  Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but recipes like this make it much easier.

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Vegan New York Style Cheesecake

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

12 Servings


1 cup fresh dates, pits removed

1 cup salted almonds

1 tablespoon ghee (or vegan butter like Melt)


1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for 6 hours

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup agave (honey for non-vegans)

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk (refrigerated upside down 12 hours)


1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese

1/4 cup agave (honey for non-vegans)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla


Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes.

In a food processor pulse the dates, almonds, and ghee till finely chopped and well combined.  Mixture should stick together when pressed into the bottom the spring form pan.  Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Put in the freezer to set while making the filling.

Using a food processor or blender combine all filling ingredients till completely combined and smooth.  Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling on top of the crust.  Using a spatula (or back of a spoon)  spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Return back to freezer for 4 – 6 hours.

Using a food processor or blender puree the topping ingredients till smooth.  Pour over the filling, spread evenly.  Return to freezer for 2 hours.

To serve, cut into 12 equal slices, serve immediately or let thaw for 10 minutes before eating.  Store in freezer.


Servings: 12• Size 1/12th of the Cheesecake Calories 399: • Fat 27.4g • Carb: 36.8g • Fiber: 2.5g • Protein: 5.9g • Sugar:  28.6g Sodium: 215.5mg • Cholesterol: 2.8mg

Chocolate Paleo Energy Bites

energy balls 5I get hungry, a lot.  I eat 3 meals a day but I need daily snacks to hold me over to each meal.  I don’t purchase bad snack options because I know I will eat them if available.  BUT, my lovely husband used to bring tempting devilish snacks into our home.  Chips, donuts, oreos, you name it.  So every now and then I would get a craving for an item on the “Do not eat” list, and go nuts.

Thank goodness in the last month he has decided to come over to the fit side.  Hallelujah!  Every morning he wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to work out, and has cleaned up his diet tremendously.  Needless to say I am incredibly proud of him.

Due to his change in eating, the bad stuff is no longer crossing the threshold into our pantry.  Instead I need to make sure I have snacks for both of us now.  Two hangry people in the afternoon can be dangerous.  I keep the obvious staples, like hard-boiled eggs and hummus on hand, but sometimes that doesn’t quite hit my sweet spot.  My sweet tooth needs to be fed every now and then.

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites hit my sweet spot every time.  Two small bites pack almost 4g of protein, enough carbs (7g) to level your blood sugar.  The good fats and fiber give you a satiated feeling, making the bridge to your next meal a happy one.

The bites last in the fridge for two weeks, but can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Do yourself a favor and make a large batch so you always have a healthy, yet decadent option ready.

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Serves 12

1 1/2 cups whole almonds

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (can use vegan chips, I love Enjoy Life!)

1/2 cup unsweetened dried flake coconut

2 teaspoons water


In a food processor pulse the first 3 ingredients till smooth, but still has some texture.  Add in the water one teaspoon at a time, pulse till combined.

Using a melon baller scoop up the mixture, press mixture firmly, and then roll into a ball.

Refrigerate till firm or freeze till ready to use.  If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating.



Servings: 12• Size: 2 bites Calories 124: • Fat 9.5g • Carb: 7.7g • Fiber: 1.6g • Protein: 3.3g • Sugar:  2.6g Sodium: 92.9mg • Cholesterol: 2.2mg