Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Are you looking for a quick and easy breakfast idea that will fit into a raw and vegan lifestyle? Then you’ve got to try these Vegan Oatmeal Cookies that I made yesterday! I was running low on groceries this week and I don’t have time to make it to the store, so I raided my pantry for a quick and easy breakfast for my kids before summer camp. I found one lone bag of dates, a couple of overripe bananas, a bit of applesauce left in a jar in the back of the fridge and oatmeal. I blended it all together in my food processor and the result is delicious! These are completely vegan and will fit into a raw food diet. I did not add any sugar, yet they taste sweet. Dates are naturally sweet and are known as nature’s candy. My kids love them and I threw a few in their lunch for camp today. Chock-full of fiber, this sweet treat is actually good for them!

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think:

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce

Process the oats in a food processor until it turns into a fine powder. Add the remainder of the ingredients and process until combined. Drop heaping teaspoons of the mixture on a baking sheet at bake at 350 for 11 minutes.


For more vegan and raw recipes, visit fellow mommy bloggger, Samantha Gibbs at ColorWheel Meals. Do we have any vegans reading this blog? Can you share some vegan recipes?

Pantry Organization for Cooking Clean

My pantry was driving me crazy. I do a lot of cooking and baking for Five a Day the Fun Way and I use a variety of healthy ingredients, from brown rice flour to sucanat to wheat germ. This results in my pantry overflowing with bags of flours, sugars, oats and more! Not only are the bags unattractive, but they leak, rip, and take up a lot of room.  Not to mention how difficult it is to scoop and measure from the flimsy bags.



When I searched for ten minutes to find a bag of coffee and flour went spilling out onto the counter, I decided it was time to overhaul my pantry.


I bought twenty glass jars/Burken of different sizes at Ikea. I felt a huge sense of satisfaction as I dumped out the bags into the neat little glass jars and made labels to identify the contents.


Since I’ve migrated to this system, cooking has been much easier. I can quickly find what I need, I can clearly see when I’m running low on a particular ingredient and I love looking at a streamlined pantry.


All you need are glass jars with lids and a label maker. You will notice in the picture that I have “Power Flour” in one of my canisters. Power Flour is a mixture of different flours, which is great to use in your baking recipes. Sometimes 100% whole wheat flour can make baked items tough. This mixture combines a variety of flours so you receive maximum nutritional value and high quality results.


This Power Flour recipe is from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet cookbook.






Power Flour

¼ cup barley flour

½ cup brown rice flour

¼ cup amaranth flour

¼ cup spelt flour

¼ cup kamut flour

¼ cup whole-wheat flour

Simply combine all of the flours together in a big glass jar and you’ll have power flour ready to go for all of your baking recipes.

I love the eat clean diet. It is simple, yet effective. My favorite Eat Clean Diet Cookbook is Tosca Reno’s Family Cookbook for kids. My kids love the clean fish sticks and power bars.

Do you have any pantry organization tips?


Make your own Mango BBQ Sauce

Last week I blogged about the top sneaky sugar foods. Topping that list was my favorite barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s. I was quite shocked to learn that it not only has 15 grams of sugar per serving, but also has five different types of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup (which is the first ingredient.)

If I’m going to eat sugar, I want a brownie or ice cream…not barbecue sauce! I tossed my store-bought barecue sauce in the trash and set out to make my own. I had never made my own barbeque sauce before and honestly, I was a little intimidated, but I found a healthy, clean and easy recipe in the May 2011 edition of Oxygen magazine for Mango Barbecue Sauce.

It was simple to whip up this barbecue sauce and my entire family loves it. I have already used it as a dipping sauce for homemade chicken nuggets, marinade and sauté. This versatile sauce is low in calories and sugar  – only 20 calories and 3 grams of sugar per serving vs. 70 calories and 15 grams of sugar for the commercially made stuff!

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think:

Mango BBQ Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
1Cup Water
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 Cup maple syrup
1/2 Cup molasses
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1) Heat olive oil in a skillet on med/high heat

2) Add onions, garlic and mango. Saute until soft, about 3 min

3) Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. bring to a boil on med/high heat. reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 30min.

4) Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least one hour.

5) Use a hand blender to puree to liquify ingredients

6. Use a funnel to transfer the barbeque sauce from the pan to sterilized mason jars.

Serving size: 2 Tbsp.: Calories: 20, Sodium: 45mg, Total Carbs: 5g, Sugars: 3g

Sugar Addiction

My name is Stacy I am completely addicted to sugar. 

I thought I was OK because I don’t eat the foods that blatantly scream “sugar” like store-bought cookies, soda or sugary cereals, but I still consume way too much sugar. I HAVE to have a special treat every night and I look forward to it all day, which is usually “light” ice cream (which is still high in sugar), No Pudge brownies or pudding. I’ve noticed lately that the more sugar I eat, the more I crave.

I wanted to conduct research on this to see if I was the only one who experienced this crazy cycle of cravings. The study, Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2009 found that sugar affects the brain chemistry and produces neurochemical changes in the brain, similar to those seen during drug cravings. The same chemical, Dopamine (DA), that has been suggested to have a common role in drug abuse, produces similar effects in the brain with sugar bingeing. Additionally, this study also found that withdrawal from sugar produced the same neurochemical balance as did withdrawal from drugs such as morphine, alcohol and nicotine. 

Wow, sounds like sugar addiction is real. 

I am going to write a series of posts on this topic to help shed some light on the mystery of sugar. Look for additional blog posts this week on: 

  • Top 10 “sneaky” sugar foods
  • Understanding nutrition labels & identifying the many names of sugar
  • How to limit the added sugars in your diet
  • The effect of sugar on children’s behavior

In the meantime, read this great article about sugar by Joy Bauer. This week I’m going to try to limit the amount of “added” sugars that I consume. I’m only on day 2 and have already found this extremely hard. I am not going to try to eliminate added sugars, because that is way too hard and I’ll be setting myself up for failure. Instead I’m just going to try to limit the amount of added sugars I consume, especially in products that don’t “need” sugar. 

Have you tried to cut out added sugars? Have you had any luck? I’d love to hear from you!

Save time and calories – Healthy Slow Cooker Carrot Cake

I know, I know, slow cooker carrot cake doesn’t exactly sound mouth-watering, but trust me, this cake is one of the most delicious, moist, decadent cakes I’ve had in a long time. The best part – it’s healthy, low in calories & take mere minutes to make. 

This clean eating approved carrot cake is a great way to sneak vegetables into your kid’s diet. The typical store-bought carrot cake is NOT a good source of vegetables, vitamins or minerals. Rather they are filled with sugar, dehydrated carrot pieces (in very small amounts), trans fat and refined flour. This cleaned up version has one cup of freshly grated carrots, sugar-free applesauce, flaxseed and spelt flour. Parents can quickly throw these ingredients in the morning and have a delicious, hot cake waiting for them after dinner. 

Whenever I create healthy breads, cakes or treats, I use buttermilk, kefir, sugar-free applesauce or Greek yogurt to replace the fat. I also like to add flaxseed for added fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. 

Healthy Slow Cooker Carrot Cake 


  • 1 cup freshly shredded carrot
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 ¼ cups spelt flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup raw organic honey
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup strawberry kefir
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt 

Topping Ingredients

  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Honey 


  1. Spray a small crock-pot with non-fat cooking spray
  2. Mix flour, coconut, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, & salt in a bowl.
  3. Combine egg white, flaxseed mixed with water – Mix well.
  4. Add raw honey, applesauce, kefir and vanilla and stir until blended.
  5. Combine flour mixture and applesauce mixture, fold in carrots and raisins. Add pecans.
  6. Pour mixture into slow cooker and cover with four squares of paper towels, Bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours on low.
  7. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey

My top ten favorite items from Trader Joes

I love Trader Joes! Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways:

1. They are inexpensive

2. They carry a wide selection of healthy, organic and fresh foods

3. Their Trader Joes brand is high quality

4. They sell grass-fed beef and chicken with no antibiotics or hormones

I shop at Trader Joes weekly and I have many favorite products, so I wanted to do a series of my top ten favorite items from Trader Joes:

10. Fiberful Ends and Pieces – These flavorful, sweet dried fruit strips are delicious and full of fiber. The perfect food to throw in your purse for a day full of errands.

9. Just a Handful – Cashews – Two words – Portion Control

8. Organic Sorrento Mix – You can’t beat $1.99 for a fresh, organic blend of fresh salad greens.

7. Trader Joe’s 0% Greek Yogurt – I use Greek Yogurt in everything! I use it instead of sour cream, I use it in place of oil in my baked goods, I eat it with berries, I use it in cooking. Yum! My favorite way to eat Greek Yogurt is by mixing in frozen blueberries and a drizzle of honey and then stirring until combined. It tastes like ice cream!

6. Almond Butter with Flaxseed – This is the best of both worlds. Healthy almond butter, rich with vitamin E, and flaxseeds full of lignans, which protect against breast and prostate cancer.

5. Pre-sliced mango – Have you ever tried to slice a mango? It is not easy because of the big pit in the middle of the fruit. Watch this video made by SparkPeople on how to slice a mango, it definitely made it easier, but it is still much easier to buy pre-sliced.

4. Chicken Eggrolls – My kids love having Chinese food night, but most commercially made egg rolls are full of fat, sugar and oil. Not the Trader Joes version! You can have one of these heathfully packed egg rolls for only 150 calories. Not bad!

3. Strawberry Keifer – My daughter is allergic to milk and I was getting concerned with her calcium intake until I found Trader Joes delicious strawberry keifer. My daughter loves it and it also makes a great substitute for butter and oil in baked goods.

2. Organic Free-Range Whole Chicken – I love that Trader Joes sells organic, free-range, antibiotic-free chicken. I feel better knowing that I’m not pumping my kids full of unnatural ingrediants. I usually roast the chicken on Sunday and serve half of the chicken on Sunday night. I make homemade chicken stock with the carcess and then add the leftover chicken, veggies and brown rice for a filling soup to eat for lunch for the remainder of the week.

1. Melange a Trois – This trifecta of red, yellow and green peppers makes eating veggies easy, delicious and fast! I add these frozen peppers to everything from my eggs in the morning to my chicken fajitas. Even my kids will eat them! The best part – no cutting or mess!

What is your favorite Trader Joes product? Would love to hear from you!

Day 27: Another Reason Why George Bush is a Tool

George Bush Sr. was quoted as saying, “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m the President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

C’mon, how can you not like broccoli? It is an innocuous vegetable. Broccoli is my favorite green vegetable of all time. We eat broccoli so frequently in my house that one argument between my kids erupted when my three-year old daughter said to her brother,  “Nuh, uh. Dinner is not ready. We don’t have broccoli on our plates yet!” Her brother won that argument because dinner was indeed ready, but broccoli was not on the menu that night.

So you can imagine my delight when Dr. Jonny Bowden describes broccoli as “vegetable royalty,” renowned for its’ cancer fighting ability. Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables. Other members of the family include swiss chard (which I tried for the first time & blogged about a couple of weeks ago,) bok choy, cabbage and kale. The secret cancer fighting ingredients in these guys are called isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. Isothiocyanates help prevent lung and esophageal cancer, while lowering the risk of other cancers. Broccoli actually contains a particularly powerful isothiocyanate that is an inhibitor of mammary tumors.

The American Cancer Society recommends eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, in part because of the powerful compound – indole-3-carbinol.

Women: Listen up!

Indole-3-carbinol is particularly important to women because it reduces the risk of breast and cervical cancer. Indole-3-carbinol also increases the ratio of good/benign estrogen metabolite (2-hydroxyesterone) to the potentially harmful ones (16-alpha-hydroxyestrone and 4-hydroxyestrone.) Indole-3-carbinol is a strong antioxidant, stimulator of detoxifying enzymes and protects the structure of DNA.

Broccoli also has high levels of sulforaphane, which also helps fight carcinogens, particularly those associated with prostate cancer.

Broccoli is also great for dieters because one cup has only 30 calories, but has a whopping 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 288 mg potassium, 43 mg calcium, 81 mg of vitamin C, plus folate, magnesium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin. Talk about bang for your buck! You get a ton of vitamins and nutrition for very little calories.

I prefer the Bird’s Eye Broccoli Florets steamed in the microwave. I also love to order steamed shrimp and broccoli at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Golden Palace. But, one of my favorite dishes that includes broccoli is my clean eating beef and broccoli. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Clean Beef and Broccoli

  • Flank Steak
  • Lite Soy Sauce
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Carrots

I simply stir-fry all of the ingredients together, starting with the flank steak (cut into thin strips), then adding the broccoli and carrots with the soy sauce. Dinner is on the table in minutes!

Do you have a favorite broccoli recipe? Please share!

Day 25: Healthy for the body and libido – Cumin

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought it was appropriate to kick of the month of February with a food known as a natural aphrodisiac – Cumin. defines an aphrodisiac as “an aphrodisiac food, drug, potion, or other agent that arouses sexual desire.” Aphrodisiacs are named after, Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, fruitfulness, and beauty.  Now, I’ve heard of a lot of foods that are known to be aphrodisiacs, including oysters, chocolate and strawberries, but I’ve never heard that cumin can ignite the desire.

Apparently during the Middle Ages in Europe, cumin was believed to keep lovers from being unfaithful. Soldiers were sent off to war with cumin bread baked by their wives. In the Middle East, a paste of cumin, black pepper and honey is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that I add cumin to all of my Mexican recipes, including tacos, chili and enchiladas, and it provides a great smoky flavor. I used to use those packets of pre-mixed spices until I realized that many brands had MSG! For years I just thought that those packets contained a perfect combination of spices, but I was shocked when I read the label and found MSG, maltodextrin and preservatives. So, I began to mix my own spices and I use chili, garlic and onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper in my chili.

Yesterday I was not planning to make chili until I went to this great little bakery in Fort Mill that my co-worker recommended, Breadsmith, and saw these delicious bread bowls calling my name. Listen, I should not be allowed in a bakery….ever. I have a weakness for bread. I came out of there with a tummy full of samples and $30.00 worth of bread. They had the most delicious pretzel bread and an out-of-this-world blueberry pie bread! Oh my!

So, I bought four bread bowls and made chili en croute last night, which is actually an Eat Clean recipe that came from Oxygen magazine. I just made my usual chili recipe, which I’ve shared with you in a previous post, and then served it in the bread bowl. To make the bread bowl, simply carve the bread like a pumpkin, carving off the top. Then scoop out a good bit of the bread inside to make way for the chili. Crust the breads up a bit by placing in an oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

The kids were so excited to have their meal in an edible bowl!

Do you have a recipe in which you use cumin? Please share!