Category Archives: Grains

MARCH SRC – Pumpkin Rice Pudding

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Tea and Scones.  Margaret of Tea and Scones has some amazing baking on her site!  While I have to agree with her that scones are amazing, I was drawn to her Pumpkin Rice Pudding recipe.

In her post Margaret mentioned that the recipe made A LOT of rice pudding, so I halved the recipe.  I also took her advice to pump-up the spice a bit.  Since I wanted to veganize the recipe I made the following substitutions; maple syrup for honey and So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk for the cow’s milk.  Lastly, I reduced the amount of sweetener (in my case maple syrup) because in general I do not like my desserts as sweet as most people do.

Life was a bit busy the day I decided to make the rice pudding, so I decided to take a chance and make it in my rice cooker vs. on the stove and then in the oven.  The results were great! As my daughter would say, this recipe was easy peasy lemon squeezy.


½ cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cup Unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk
1 cup water
½ cup organic canned pumpkin
¼ cup organic maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

Place the Arborio rice into the rice cooker.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk to incorporate well.

Pour the mixture into the rice cooker over the Arborio rice and lightly stir.

Program the rice cooker to cook on the “brown rice” setting and press start.

When the rice cooker completes the brown rice cycle, simply mix the pumpkin pudding well and serve either warm or chilled.  The picture immediately below is of the rice pudding prior to stirring and the bottom image is immediately after stirring.

If serving the pudding warm (my favorite way), top with non-dairy milk.  If serving chilled, top with non-dairy whipped cream.  I also love topping the pudding with some raisins.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free, Grains, Pudding / Mousse, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian


I know many of you may be scrambling right now to come-up with gifts for your children’s teachers and the coaches in their lives.  Our family really values the people who help us shape our children and this year we decided to make them homemade holiday gifts.

Granola has always been a favorite in our home, so we decided to share some of our favorite granola (click HERE for the recipe) with the special people in our lives.  My daughter helped me make the granola and I was very thankful for her help because we made a TON!!!  We made 4 double recipes and luckily it was the right amount…isn’t it funny how things have a way of working out?

We made 24 gifts (each in a 1 quart Ball mason jar).  As a bonus this ended-up being a wonderfully inexpensive project with each gift costing between $5-6 plus our time.  Time well spent.


Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Grains, Holiday, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick Tips, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


I have been on a real oatmeal kick lately.  With the weather cooling off I find that oatmeal is the perfect Fall breakfast.  I love how easy it is to change the flavor of oatmeal with simple variations.  You may remember my past post for Banana Bread Oatmeal (click here for the post).  Here is my latest oatmeal creation that is now a permanent member of my oatmeal rotation.  The addition of the flax meal really gives this recipe a wonderful oatmeal/cream of wheat texture.   I just can’t seem to get enough pumpkin this time of year!

INGREDIENTS – Makes two smaller or one large serving

¼ cup old fashioned oats (GFree)
¾-1 cup water
½ cup canned organic pumpkin
½ cup applesauce (click here for my applesauce recipe)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbs flax meal
Stevia or maple syrup to sweeten
Top with:
Chopped walnuts

Place the first five ingredients (oats through pumpkin pie spice) into a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, drop the temp to med-low and simmer until the mixture thickens (5-10 minutes).

Turn off the heat, add the flax meal, stir to incorporate, and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to thicker further.

Sweeten to taste and top with raisins, walnuts, and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Grains, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

BOOK REVIEW – The Art Of Raw Food

I read cookbooks like novels and absolutely devoured The Art of Raw Food.  The information provided within the book is so eloquent and the photography is so simple and striking.  I have always loved the Danish design aesthetic of clean uncluttered lines and it really comes through in the styling of this book.

I fear that I neglected my husband for a few night as I read this book cover to cover.  Usually after we put the kids to bed it is “our” time to watch a little TV (House Hunters International is high on the list) and hang-out together, but I totally blew him off (sorry honey!) as I escaped into the world of raw food created by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert.

I appreciate the fact that this book is not just a cookbook (though we all know I love cookbooks in any form).  The first 39 pages of The Art of Raw Food are dedicated to educating the reader about raw food by explaining what raw is and why it is important to consume raw food.  In the Preface Jens mentions, “When writing this book, I reverted to a very basic question, a question that has lingered in the back of my mind at various stages of my life: Does it enrich me?”  It is clear that the recipes in the book are meant to enrich, satisfy, and energize our bodies naturally.  I think we often forget that while food is a HUGE source of enjoyment for us, it is primarily meant to sustain us by providing our bodies with the nutrients it requires to function.  Jens and Vibeke have written a book and recipes which show us that enjoyment and nutrition can go hand-in-hand.

There were so many recipes I wanted to try while reading through the book.  The breakfast porridge and muesli recipes called to me strongly and did not disappoint.  I am now a big fan of making oatmeal the raw food way.  It is a simple as soaking oatmeal in water for 1-3 days and mixing it with dates, cinnamon, raisins, and a pinch of salt. I learned in the cookbook that “soaking the oatmeal makes it easier for your body to digest the porridge and thus absorb the nutrients.”  For those of you interested in the recipe specifics:


2 cups (5 dls) oatmeal, soaked for 1-3 days (change water and rinse at least once a day) 

1/2 cup (1 dl) dates, pitted

1/2 Tbs cinnamon

1 pinch salt

3/4 cup (2 dls) raisins

Drain oatmealand pour into a food processor, add dates and cinnamon, and blend to the desired consistency.  Season with salt and mix in the raisins.

Serve as is or add extra fruit such as slices kiwis or strawberries.

If the dates are too dry, it is a good idea to soak them for a few hours before use. (you can keep the soak water to use as a sweetener in a smoothie.)

You can vary the taste by adding almonds (soaked overnight) or coconut flour.

The lunch/dinner recipes, soups, smoothies, and dessert recipes tickled my taste buds too.  I am always looking for new ways to incorporate the plethora of veggies from my garden into new recipes.  Along those lines…

My tomato plants are taking over the world and I have been making all sorts of plans for consuming the gazillion tomatoes I will be harvesting.  When I came across the recipe within the book for Stuffed Tomato Hors D’oeuvres I was thrilled because I had never really thought of stuffing my tomatoes with pates and left-overs and it is something that works for so many different sizes of tomatoes.  I now have visions of beautiful cherry tomatoes stuffed with olive tapenade, pesto, egg-less salad, quinoa salad (click here for my recipe), etc.  The possibilities are endless!

This un-cookbook has definitely earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

Recipes are from The Art of Raw Food: Delicious, Simple Dishes for Healthy Living by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2011 by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

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Filed under Books, Breakfast, Detox, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


I am always trying to think of ways to get my family out the door in the morning (on time) without sacrificing a healthy breakfast.  That goal is what inspired this recipe.  My daughter is an oatmeal addict, so on the weekends I make a batch of these and then during the week when we are running late (which is often lately…she must be growing because she keeps sleeping-in!) I grab a few of these and she eats them on the way to school.

As you can see from the picture above, the texture of these muffins is the same as thick oatmeal and not like a typical muffin. 


1 cup old fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats)

2 ½ cups water

½ cup applesauce (I used my crock pot applesauce)

1 tsp  Frontier Natural Products Vanilla

½ tsp almond extract

4 stevia packets

1/3 cup oat bran

10 dried apricots, finely diced

3 dates, chopped

2/3 cup almond flour

coconut or grapeseed oil


Preheat oven to 325°.

Place the oats, water, applesauce, vanilla, almond extract, stevia, and oat bran in a pot and cook until thick (about 5-10 minutes).

Add the apricots, dates, and almond flour.  Mix well. 

Turn off the heat and place the lid on the pot.  Let sit covered for 10 minutes to thicken even more.  

*** If you want the dates and apricots to be more firm, add them now vs. earlier ***

Grease muffin tins with oil.  Scoop the oatmeal mixture into the muffin tins.  Push down the top of the oatmeal so it is flat.

Bake for 40 minutes (turning half-way through bake time).  Cool for 10 minutes and then place on racks to cool to room temperature.


Store the oatmeal in the fridge once cooled.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


Banana Bread Oatmeal

Banana Bread Oatmeal

This recipe is so simple.  My daughter is an oatmeal fiend, so first thing in the morning I gather my oatmeal ingredients and put it on the stove to cook.  This allows me to let it cook while I sit down at the computer and put my daily plan together (before the kids wake-up).  By the time my daughter comes downstairs for breakfast the oatmeal is ready, thickened, and cooled down enough for her to eat.

I have MANY oatmeal variations, but this is the current favorite in our house…it feels like the favorite flavor rotates every few weeks.  Maybe it will become one of your new favorites…


1 cup rolled oats (We use Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

1 1/2 cups water

1 banana, sliced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 packets of Sweetleaf stevia

Photo Courtesy of Bob's Red Mill

Photo Courtesy of Bob's Red Mill


As I said, this recipe is so simple.  Pour all of the ingredients into a small pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil.  Once the oatmeal comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until you reach your desired consistency.

Top with coconut sugar or maple syrup and chopped nuts (I used my Apple Pie Infused Pecans).  We also love to add some homemade almond milk (the plain version).

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

VEGGIES and WHOLE GRAINS THAT KIDS WILL LOVE – Guest Blog by Alexandra Jamieson

Alexandra Jamieson

Alexandra Jamieson

I first became aware of Alexandra Jamieson while watching the documentary Super Size Me.  Due to her vast knowledge base as a professionally trained healthy gourmet chef and certified health and nutrition counselor, Alexandra was the right person for the job when it came to whipping Morgan Spurlock back into shape after he gorged himself on fast food for the documentary.  She successfully accomplished the task at hand and that led to her book, The Great American Detox Diet.  She has also penned Living Vegan For Dummies and Vegan Cooking For Dummies.

Alexandra Jamieson has been featured on Oprah, The Final Word, 30 Days and The National Health Test with Bryant Gumble, and the award-winning documentary Super Size Me.

Alexandra is now married to Morgan and they have a young son Laken which gives her great insight into tips and tricks for getting young children to eat and enjoy healthy food.

To learn more about Alexandra and the services she offers click here

I hope you enjoy her contribution…

Kid Friendly Grain Molds

Kid Friendly Grain Molds

Even though I stock my house with natural food, keep fresh fruit on the table at all times, and offer healthy snacks at every turn, my son sometimes turns his nose up to my offerings.

I’ve noticed that Laken refuses beans in almost every state lately. He’ll eat lentil soup, but when presented with home cooked chickpeas, sauteed pintos or black bean soup, I invariably hear “I don’t like beans, Mama!” This is a little upsetting because I think he needs beans on a regular basis for protein and minerals. Eating a variety of beans provides iron, potassium and zinc, and I don’t like to feed him soy every day. Yes, he eats some tofu and organic, unsweetened soy yogurt, but I would rather not go overboard on the soy products.

I’m going to assume it’s just a phase – just like the four month stretch when he decided he didn’t like avocados anymore. Funny, he happily devoured avocados daily for 2.5 years, then one day decided they were no longer acceptable. It was probably my insistence that he “liked them before” that made him refuse.

A few weeks ago I started making mixtures of veggies, beans and whole grains and pressing them into kid-friendly shapes using these awesome Japanese sushi molds and nori paper punches. If anyone knows how to make food cute, it’s the Japanese!

Knowing that marketing to kids works (see Super Size Me!) when it comes to junk food, I thought “why can’t marketing healthy food work too?”

The recipe is really easy, and my son happily ate several pieces for dinner. Here’s how it works:


1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (any beans would work)

1 cup cooked whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc)


– Saute the olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and beans with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes over medium heat. I like to use a cast iron skillet which lends some iron content to the final dish.

– Combine the cooked veggies, beans and grain in a food processor and pulse 10 times.

– Press the veggie and grain mixture into the molds and hand pack them. Place molded animals on a plate and use the nori paper punch to create mineral rich nori eyes and a mouth.

These healthy, yummy grain animals are a perfect snack or side dish with some steamed veggies.

You can order sets like this by clicking here.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Grains, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian


Italian Quinoa Wraps

Italian Quinoa Wraps

 Yesterday as I was contemplating what to have for lunch, the basil and quinoa in the fridge started calling me…the rest just sort of fell into place when I looked at what I had on hand.  The collard greens came from my most recent Farm Fresh to You delivery.


6-8 large collard green leaves

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 ½ cups chopped ripe tomato

½ cup rough chopped fresh basil

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

¼  tsp salt

Pepper to taste

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ cup pine nuts


Add the chopped tomatoes to the food processor and pulse.  You want to maintain some of the tomato’s texture, so do not puree it. 

Pulse Tomato

Pulse Tomato

Next add the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  Pulse again to incorporate.  Set the mixture aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Add the Basil, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and Balsamic

Add the Basil, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and Balsamic

Wash the collard greens and dry both sides.  Remove the lower stem and most of the rough bone in the middle of the leaf.

Trim and Bebone the Collard

Trim and Bebone the Collard

Place the quinoa in a bowl and add the tomato mixture to the quinoa.  Stir to combine.  Add the pine nuts and mix well.

Add Tomato Mixture to Quinoa

Add Tomato Mixture to Quinoa

Add the Pine Nuts

Add the Pine Nuts

Assemble the wraps by placing 1/3-1/2 of a cup of the filling onto the top third of the collard green leaf.  Roll the leaf tightly as you would a burrito being careful to overlap the bottom portions that were separated by the removal of the rib (you don’t want the filling to fall out).  Repeat this step until all of the wraps have been made.

Add the Filling

Add the Filling

 I made all six and plan to keep them in the fridge as lunches or snacks for the rest of the week…we will have to see how long they last though since I have already eaten two of them!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian


Granola is so very easy to make and so yummy!  I definitely treat this granola as a “treat” due to the amount of maple syrup in it, but I really enjoy it when I do have it.  One of my favorite desserts is warm Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce topped with the Maple Almond Granola.

Years ago I got this Earthbound Farms Famous Maple Almond Granola recipe from the Costco Connection…it’s a real winner.  If you have kids, they will love to help you make this granola and will really enjoy getting their hands dirty!

I usually double the recipe below (i.e. 9 cups oats).  NOTE – If you double the recipe, it will take approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes to cook.

4-1/2 cups (18 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant) (I buy Gluten Free Oats)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) raw sunflower seeds
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped raw almonds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1-1/4 cups pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A dark amber (I use 1 cup)
1/3 cup canola oil (I use coconut oil)
1 cup Earthbound Farm Organic raisins
I added 2/3 cup of shredded coconut

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

Place the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Dry Ingredients

Add the maple syrup and oil, and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened.

Pour in the Wet Ingredients

Mix the Wet and Dry Ingredients

Mom and Daughter Kitchen Time

A Girl Has To Clean Her Hands!

Spread the granola on a 17 x 12 x 1-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the granola begins to brown, about 25 minutes.

Put In The Oven

Stir the granola with a flat spatula and continue to cook until it’s light golden brown, dry, and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Stir the granola at least once more, and watch it carefully during the final minutes because it can burn quickly (It will take longer to cook if doubling the recipe…mine takes about 45 minutes).

Mix Periodically While Cooking

Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Add the raisins and stir to combine, then allow the granola to cool completely.  I lay out the granola flat on my island to allow it to cool.

Add In The Raisins

All Mixed

Lay It Out to Cool and Crisp

Transfer the granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Homemade Granola

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Cooking photos taken by photographer Tony Tseng


Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian