Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

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One thing that many people enjoy about fall is pumpkin flavored everything. From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin donuts and gnocchi, this rich and homey flavor defines the season.

This evening I happily tried a new pumpkin recipe, adapted from litecravings.com. These easy to prepare bars are full of pumpkin flavor and spices. They do not contain gluten, eggs, oil, grains or refined sugar.

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars Title Meme

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

I used organic canned pumpkin puree for this recipe. The rest of my ingredients were organic as well and non GMO. Make sure you are using pumpkin puree, rather than pumpkin pie filling, which is loaded with sugar. I found non GMO peanut butter powder at my local Natural Grocers, in the refrigerator section of the bulk foods aisle. I located the almond meal, which gives the bars a nice texture, in the same section. You can use almond flour instead, if desired.

The original recipe required two eggs. I used “flax eggs” instead. Check out this post, for four egg substitutes, including flax eggs, that work well for baking.

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

These easy to prepare bars are rich with pumpkin flavor and spices and do not contain eggs, oil, refined sugar or gluten.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, Pumpkin Bars, Vegan
Servings: 9

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, organic if possible
  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, organic if possible
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the almond meal.
  • Fold in almond meal, just until combined. Pour mixture into an 8x8 cooking pan, lightly greased with coconut oil.
  • Top with walnut pieces, if desired. Dark chocolate chips would be good too.
  • Bake 20 - 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out with just a bit of batter clinging to it. It's okay to slightly undercook the bars. Begin testing for doneness at 20 minutes.
  • Let cool completely, at least one hour. Bars do even better chilled for several hours in the fridge so that they set. Cut into 9 bars,
Ingredients for vegan pumpkin bars
Ingredients for vegan and gluten free pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Bars that Taste Like Fall

I admit, I rushed the cooling process so I could finish up photos and complete my blog post! However, these vegan and gluten free bars are so good! The bars are slightly sweet and loaded with spiced pumpkin goodness. Because my bars were still warm, they tasted like a delightful cross between pumpkin pie and pumpkin brownies.

The remainder of the bars will chill in the refrigerator overnight. I baked them for about 25 minutes. I think next time…and there will be a next time…I’ll leave them in two minutes longer.

I enjoyed a couple of vegan and gluten free pumpkin bars with a cup of hot peppermint tea. They were perfection…and the taste of fall….in every yummy bite.

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

 

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Curried Chickpeas

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I love curry! Early in my plant based journey, I discovered how easy it is to make a delicious and healthy vegan curry. This madras curried lentils recipe was the first one I made, and remains a frequent meal.

These simple curried chickpeas seem destined to become my next favorite. And preparing them in the pressure cooker speeds up the process.

Curried Chickpeas Title Meme

Curry

Curry is a broad term for a variety of dishes originating in India. The recipes use a combination of spices and herbs that typically includes turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger and fresh or dried chilies. Curry can be sweet and mild. Or the flavor can be hot and spicy.

Curry is usually prepared as a sauce and combined with vegetables, fruits or proteins. These delightful curried chickpeas are mild and gain their flavor from a combination of six spices and herbs.

Curried Chickpeas Spices
Start with dried chickpeas and a combination of spices.

Curried Chickpeas Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Under Pressure. Soak dried chickpeas for eight hours before cooking. Because the cook time is so short, start the chickpeas soaking in the morning and drain and rinse them when you are ready to add to the pressure cooker.

I use my DIY vegetable broth in this recipe. Found out how easy it is to make your own, from veggie scraps. And, I prepare a batch of brown rice in the pressure cooker prior to making the curry. Combine two cups of dried brown rice with 3 cups of vegetable broth, in the pressure cooker. Lock on lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally.

Curried Chickpeas
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Curried Chickpeas

This easy to prepare curry derives it's amazing flavor from a combination of spices. Use the pressure cooker to create a meal in minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chickpeas, Curried Chickpeas, Curry
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground ginger may substitute fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked 8 hours and drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Rinse chickpeas after soaking for 8 hours. Set aside.
  • Heat pressure cooker (I use meat setting) and saute onions in small amount of vegetable broth for 1 - 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add spices and stir. Add drained and rinsed chickpeas and vegetable broth.
  • Lock on lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to come down naturally. Carefully remove lid.
  • Test a chickpea to see if it is done. If not, lock on lid again and return to pressure, cooking for 1 - 2 minutes more.
  • Stir chickpeas and add the tomato paste and sea salt to taste. Serve with brown rice.

Notes

May use 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes or dried ground chili peppers for a spicy curry.
Curried Chickpeas in the Pressure Cooker
Ready to cook.
Curried Chickpeas Cooked
Curried chickpeas cooked in 15 minutes.

Perfect Quick Curry

I love this curry! Just inhaling the scent of the spices as I prepare the recipe gets me hungry for this tasty dish. And I don’t mind at all cleaning up the kitchen while the curried chickpeas cook. They smell wonderful.

They taste wonderful as well. The combination of spices is perfect. The fun part is you can play around with different spices to change up the flavor slightly. Swap out the curry powder for garam masala. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Throw in a bit of chili powder.

For me the current mix of flavors is absolutely right. As cooler weather appears, these curried chickpeas, served over brown rice, will grace my bowl often.

Curried Chickpeas
Perfect curried chickpeas.

Pick up a pressure cooker like I use by clicking link below. And check out the pressure cooker cookbooks too!

 


 

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10 DIY Seasoning Blends

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As a follow up to the post about MSG sensitivity, today’s post offers 10 DIY seasoning blends you can make at home.

There are advantages to creating your own blends. If herbs and spices are bought in bulk, making your own seasoning is cheaper. The flavor of DIY seasoning blends is usually more robust. However, the primary reason for making your own blends is the most crucial…you know exactly what’s in your seasonings. Blending your own makes it possible to eliminate unnecessary…and unhealthy…additives such as MSG, extra sodium, sugar, chemicals, fillers and preservatives.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

Herbal Blend

  • 4 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Sprinkle on roasted veggies and potato wedges, or add 1 tablespoon of seasoning to rice and lentil dishes.

This is one of my favorite seasoning blends. I love it with oven roasted potatoes.

Simple Seasoning Salt

  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container. Use 3 – 4 teaspoons of seasoning for roasted veggies, potato and sweet potato wedges, soups, sauces and bean dishes.

The first blend I ever created, this one is great on oven roasted potato or sweet potato wedges.

Spicy Seasoning Blend

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Sprinkle on oven roasted veggies and potatoes or use 1 tablespoon of mix in soups and stir fries.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends Swirl

Curry Blend

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (less for lower heat level)
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Use 1 – 3 teaspoons in recipes such as curried lentils, bean dishes, rice dishes, stir fries and roasted veggies.

Chili Seasoning

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons for chili recipes. This is especially good for veggie or bean chilis.

Italian Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons basil
  • 4 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 teaspoons rosemary
  • 4 teaspoons thyme

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container. Use 1 – 2 teaspoons, or to taste, in homemade spaghetti sauce, soups, veggies, oven roasted  potatoes, eggplant and other Italian recipes.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends Herbs

Ranch Dressing Mix

  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Season roasted veggies or potatoes with 1 – 2 teaspoons seasoning. To make ranch dressing, mix 1 tablespoon of mix with 1/2 cup of vegan sugar free mayo like Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise and 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk.

Bulk Herbs and Spices

Tips for DIY Seasoning Blends

For convenience and to save money, I purchase dried herbs and spices in bulk, at Natural Grocers. Packages of herbs and spices are often available at health food shops and health conscious grocery stores.

Large containers of herbs and spices can be purchased at warehouse style retailers as well, however check those labels. Even if they say NO MSG, they can contain additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, soy, gluten and artificial colors and/or flavors. We don’t need those either!

The bags of spices and herbs I purchase have one ingredient…the dried herb or spice.

Store blends in glass containers, mason jars with lids, or empty spice jars that you re-use. The DIY seasoning blends will keep for up to a year, if kept in a cool, dark place or in the fridge.

Enjoy Your DIY Seasoning Blends

There’s another advantage to making your own seasonings. You can customize the blends to suit your personal tastes. Love garlic powder? Add more. Don’t like oregano? Cut down the amount or leave it out. Love other herbs and spices? Play around with these recipes or create your own DIY seasoning blends. And have the peace of mind of knowing you are creating something healthy and additive free.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

Purchase Dried Herbs Below


 


 

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Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

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Ahhh, honeysuckle. That sweet scent transports me back to my childhood and long, hot summer days. The vine didn’t grow in my yard. However, the flowering plants covered the neighbors’ fence, across the street. In fact, honeysuckle covered one corner section of their yard, creating a small “secret garden”.  I’m grateful for the kindness of this dear couple. Looking out their window, they often spied me sitting quietly there in the corner, breathing in that tantalizing scent.

Later my grandfather, an avid gardener, nurtured a honeysuckle plant in his backyard. I brought home a start from that plant, as an adult with a yard of my own. Sadly, that plant did not thrive.

Now I have a honeysuckle vine, gracing a trellis near the front porch. It is a European variety, showing off cream colored blooms tinged with bright pink. Last fall, as I studied foraging for wild edibles, I discovered that fragrant honeysuckle flowers are suitable for tea.

I’ve patiently waited for spring and for my honeysuckle to bloom, so I can sip on my first cup of honeysuckle tea. Days of heavy rain finally gave way this afternoon to sunshine. To my delight, the first honeysuckle flower fully opened to the warmth.

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Beyond its amazing scent, which has benefits as well, honeysuckle is a medicinal plant, used for thousands of years to boost health in a variety of ways. The flower has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Traditionally used in tea form, honeysuckle is available also as an essential oil.

Honeysuckle offers these impressive health benefits:

Powerful Detoxifier

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, honeysuckle tea is known as a natural way to remove heat and toxins from the body, making it an excellent tonic for the liver.

Heals Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Honeysuckle is an potent remedy for colds, flu symptoms, bronchitis, COPD, asthma, fever and pneumonia. The plant acts as an expectorant, helping to relieve congested air passages.

Relieves Digestive Disorders

This flowering plant is helpful in treating digestive disorders such as ulcers, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, Crohn’s disease, urinary tract disorders and pain and inflammation in the small intestine.

Improves Oral Health

Honeysuckle’s antibacterial and astringent properties improve gum health. Create a natural mouthwash by combining two cups of boiling water with half a cup of honeysuckle flowers and leaves. Let steep for at least five minutes. Remove flowers and leaves and allow mouthwash to cool completely before using. Gargle and swish in mouth daily.

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Helps with Type 2 Diabetes

Studies show that honeysuckle decreases high blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance when used over a period of time.

Eases Arthritis and Auto-Immune Disorders

Honeysuckle’s powerful anti-inflammatory abilities bring relief to those suffering from arthritis symptoms. The plant shows promise in helping those with auto-immune disorders also, such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, bursitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Heals Skin Infections

Native Americans boiled fresh honeysuckle leaves and bathed skin wounds with the tea to prevent infection and speed healing. Today, honeysuckle oil is added to skin creams and ointments to help heal skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Honeysuckle slows the aging process as well, fighting free radicals that damage the skin and cause wrinkles.

Aromatherapy

I’ve recently learned about the benefits of aromatherapy. Inhaling the sweet scent of the honeysuckle flower relaxes and calms the body. Further, the scent stabilizes mood, relieves stress and helps to prevent depression.

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Possible Side Effects of Honeysuckle Tea

There are a few possible side effects with honeysuckle. It is not recommended for pregnant women or for young children. Because it regulates blood sugar levels, do not use honeysuckle tea if you are already taking medication for this condition. And there are a few people who are allergic to this plant and may experience mild skin irritation. Talk to your doctor before drinking honeysuckle tea, if you have concerns.

Preparing Honeysuckle Tea

Preparing the tea is simple:

If using fresh flowers, add two or three large blooms to a mug. Pour boiling water over the flowers, cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey, if desired.

When fresh flowers aren’t available, add 1 – 2 teaspoons dried honeysuckle to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey, if desired.

I plucked that first honeysuckle bloom this afternoon, and added another that appeared close to blooming. After steeping in hot water for 15 minutes, I tried my first sip.

The freshly brewed tea was light green in color, with a delicate slightly sweet aroma. And the taste? Honeysuckle tea is similar to green tea, with a mild, earthy flavor. Although it doesn’t taste like honeysuckle smells, there is a distinct honeysuckle quality to it, a hint of flavor from that sweet nectar within the flower.

I enjoyed it very much!

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Tastes Like Summer

For me, honeysuckle tea tastes like summer. Inhaling the scent as I made tea, sipping on the hot liquid, had the same effect as sitting in the secret garden created by those fragrant vines. I felt peaceful and full of joy, centered and whole.

I could easily see back through the passage of time, to my younger self, sitting happily in that corner garden, thinking big thoughts and watching the bees dance among the honeysuckle flowers. In my imagination, she turned to look at me. I raised my cup of honeysuckle tea in acknowledgement and appreciation.

She smiled.

Health Benefits of Honeysuckle Tea

Want to experience another wild edible tea? Try Sweet Violet Tea.

Check out Lowe’s Garden Center, for a variety of honeysuckle plants.

And you can order dried honeysuckle by clicking on photo below:


 

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Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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I know, I know. Black bean brownies? The title of the blog post gives away the secret ingredient in these rich and decadent vegan brownies. I’ve looked at posts and Pinterest recipes for black bean brownies. I finally found one, thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie, with a wholesome, easy to follow recipe. The ingredients are staples that I keep on hand. I felt ready to give these flour free, refined sugar free, egg and dairy free treats a try.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Rich chocolate brownies with no flour, refined sugar, eggs or dairy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Black Bean Brownies
Servings: 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking dish.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Blend well until completely smooth.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let brownies cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Makes 9 - 12 servings.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Can You Taste the Black Beans?

I prepared this special treat quickly this evening. While the black bean brownies cooled, I brewed a cup of lemon balm tea, with fresh herbs from the garden. Greg knew I was preparing a new dessert recipe, however I didn’t tell him what the ingredients were. I wanted him to taste the brownies first.

The black bean brownies smelled wonderful as they baked. I removed them from the oven after exactly 15 minutes and they were perfect.

After allowing them to cool for about half an hour, it was time for the taste test.

These black bean brownies are WONDERFUL! Rich, moist and full of chocolate flavor, I couldn’t taste the beans at all. Greg enjoyed two brownies, with a glass of almond coconut milk, and declared them very good.

Then, and only then, did I tell them about the secret ingredient. I have to say, I really appreciate that Greg is so willing to try new recipes. He thought the brownies tasted great and found that one or two satisfied him totally.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies Make the Cut

These brownies definitely go into my treat rotation. They are so quick to prepare and have a short baking time. I like too that the recipe makes a small batch of brownies. We primarily eat fruit for “dessert”. Even healthy snacks such as these brownies and Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are considered an occasional specialty rather than a frequent occurrence.

The vegan black bean brownies make a wonderful dessert for guests or a treat to take to a family gathering. No one will guess what the main ingredient is! However I feel good knowing I am contributing to everyone’s health while providing a delicious dessert.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Order this food processor by clicking on the photo:


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Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

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For the last Liver Rescue Book Club meeting tonight with my mom and sister, I provided our plant based meal. I served up my Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes with a couple of veggie sides. For dessert, I wanted something fresh, light and healthy, as temperatures today soared into the 80s. I also had an almost full container of strawberries in the fridge.

Remembering that Anthony William recently shared a luscious looking gluten free strawberry shortcake recipe, I checked his website. Based on what I had on hand, I made a couple of adaptations. Perfection!

Gluten Free Strawberry ShortcakeGluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

This light and refreshing treat is the perfect conclusion to spring or summer meals.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour may use almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup may use raw honey
  • 1 pound strawberries, halved, for topping sweeten with 1 tbsp raw honey if desired

Whipped Cream

  • 1 14 ounce can full fat coconut milk chilled overnight in fridge
  • 2 - 3 tbsp raw honey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Combine oat flour, tapioca flour and baking powder in a large bowl, mixing well.
  • Cut the coconut oil into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Using hands, combine oil with flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • In a small bowl, combine almond milk, vanilla and maple syrup or honey. Add to flour mixture. Mix until dough forms. Using hands for mixing is easier than using a spoon.
  • Turn out dough on floured surface or a square of parchment paper. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut circles and place shortcakes on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until shortcakes are slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. While shortcakes cool, add a tablespoon of raw honey to strawberries and chill in refrigerator.

Whipped Cream

  • Chill mixing bowl in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove thick cream from top of can, leaving coconut water behind. Using an electric whisk or mixer, beat coconut cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add raw honey a little at a time, continuing to beat for two more minutes.
  • Assemble shortcakes by placing a spoonful of whipped cream on biscuit, followed by strawberries. Top with more whipped cream. Or add a second biscuit and repeat the layers, ending with berries. 

Notes

You may substitute cocowhip topping instead of making your own whipped cream.

Gluten Free Stawberry Shortcake

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

Delicious Dessert

I purchased Cocowhip topping from Natural Grocers rather than making the whipped topping myself. It’s available in the frozen foods section of the store. I’ve not yet made whipped topping from coconut milk however it’s on my list of things to try!

I also used gluten free oat flour and unsweetened almond/coconut milk. The recipe made 13 shortcakes.

This gluten free strawberry shortcake is delicious. The shortcakes are slightly sweet and pair well with the honey sweetened strawberries.

This simple yet showy dessert is wonderful for special occasions or celebrations or final book club meetings. I envision topping the shortcakes this summer with a variety of fresh fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and sliced peaches.

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

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Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

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This week my mom, sister, Greg and I began the Liver Rescue 3:6:9 cleanse, from Anthony William. Watch for an upcoming book review and my experience with the cleanse. The meals for the first three days are very similar to my usual daily fare. I’m reducing fat intake and including an extra lemon/lime water in the evenings.

For days 1, 2 and 3 I’ve prepared easy oven roasted potatoes for lunch or dinner. They are that good! Previously I made potato wedges, seasoned them, and roasted them in the oven. Lately I’ve been cubing the potatoes instead. The result is crispy on the outside tender on the inside perfectly seasoned potatoes.

Greg swears he could eat this meal every day! As we shift into the next phase of the cleanse, potatoes are off the menu. No worries, however. These oven roasted potatoes wait for us in the near future.

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Crispy and yet tender, these potatoes make a great side dish or meatless main meal. Eat alone or create a veggie bowl featuring the oven roasted potatoes and other cooked veggies, a salad or raw veggies such as sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

A simple recipe for a meatless meal or a flavorful side dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes
Servings: 4
Author: journeywithhealthyme

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes peeled & cubed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Melt coconut oil and set aside. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place cubed potatoes in a large bowl. Add sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir to coat potato cubes. 
  • Add melted coconut oil. Stir to coat. Spread potato cubes out in single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, until potatoes are browned and cooked through.

Notes

Potato skins may be left on, if desired. Substitute two sweet potatoes for two regular potatoes, for a great roasted potato mix. 
Olive oil may be used instead of coconut oil.

 

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Healthy Potatoes

Occasionally someone asks me, “Aren’t potatoes bad for you?”

I’ve believed that in the past. Potatoes get lumped in with other “white” foods with low nutritional value, such as white bread, white rice and sugar. However, they are high in potassium, B6 and amino acids…in particular Lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine fights against cancers, viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles, liver disease and inflammation.

Potatoes strengthen the kidneys and liver, soothe over excited nerves and help the digestive system to heal from Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. They are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, relieving stress, supporting the brain and helping us to feel centered and grounded. Read more about the health benefits of potatoes HERE.

I eat a LOT of potatoes. They are one of the mainstays of my diet. And potatoes are so versatile.

Tonight’s simple and wholesome meal consisted of oven roasted potatoes and lightly sautéed vegetables. My dinner was delicious, healthy and extremely satisfying. I truly can, and do, eat like this every day.

Easy Oven Roasted PotatoesOven roasted potatoes and lightly sautéed onions, garlic, celery, green pepper, zucchini and carrots with slightly steamed spinach. 

 

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Meatless Dirty Rice

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Brown rice is a staple in my kitchen. I’m always on the lookout for great vegan rice recipes that are easy to prepare. Recently three such recipes showed up in my social media feeds. This one, Meatless Dirty Rice, meets my criteria of using readily available ingredients and being quick, easy and healthy.

I found this dirty rice recipe via Messy Cutting Board and adapted it to what I had on hand. That’s the beauty of this dish…versatility. Swap out ingredients, play with the spices, double the recipe.

Meatless Dirty Rice

What is Dirty Rice?

Dirty rice is a traditional Creole dish made from white rice that gets “dirty” from being cooked with veggies such as celery, onion and green pepper, and spices. It typically includes pork, beef or chicken. Meatless Dirty Rice swaps out white rice for brown, and excludes the meat entirely.

Meatless Dirty Rice Recipe

I cook the brown rice in a pressure pot and have it ready. Rice may be prepared in a saucepan on the stove. Start with 1 cup of dry brown rice and 1 1/2 cups of water, to create approximately 2 cups of cooked rice.

Meatless Dirty Rice

All the goodness and taste of Creole inspired Dirty Rice, without the meat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Meatless Dirty Rice
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 garlic minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans mashed
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp creole seasoning
  • 2 cups brown rice cooked

Instructions

  • Saute onion, green pepper, celery and garlic in coconut oil, until veggies are softened.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add mashed garbanzo beans, kidney beans, paprika and creole seasoning. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Add cooked brown rice. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Serve.

Notes

Substitute 12 grape tomatoes halved, for canned, if desired.

Meatless Dirty Rice

Be Creative

Serve up dinner in under 30 minutes with this simple recipe. My kitchen smelled wonderful, as I prepared Meatless Dirty Rice. And the taste? Oh, so good! In fact, I’ve made dirty rice three times in the last two weeks.

What I appreciate most about this recipe is its versatility. Messy Cutting Board used what she had in her kitchen to create a quick meal…and I did the same, using her recipe as a template. Prefer black beans or red beans over kidney beans? Swap them. Have red peppers in the fridge instead of green? That works too. I prefer brown rice, for its nutritional value. However, use white rice if that’s what you have.

I buy organic creole spice mix at Natural Grocers. You can order the spice here. The small amount adds mild spiciness. If more heat is desired, increase the amount slightly.

Try out this Meatless Dirty Rice, playing around with the recipe, making it yours. And then…enjoy!

Meatless Dirty Rice

Check out another favorite rice recipe of mine, Lentils & Brown Rice

And this easy and quick recipe from My Dainty Soul Curry Fried Rice

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Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Every morning, I enjoy a fruit smoothie for breakfast. I alternate between regular smoothies full of a variety of fresh and frozen fruits, and the heavy metals detox smoothie. It contains additional ingredients such as Hawaiian spirulina, Atlantic dulse and barley grass juice powder.

Occasionally, after a long day, or when I am craving something cold, I have a second smoothie for the evening meal. These smoothie bowls combine the goodness of fruit with fun, healthy toppings. It’s like having dessert for dinner!

Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Easy Fruit Smoothie Bowls

Follow these simple steps to create a smoothie bowl.

• Begin with an assortment of frozen, unsweetened fruits. My smoothie base tonight combined frozen bananas, strawberries, mangoes, peaches and pineapples. Using frozen fruit creates a thicker smoothie. Blend 4-6 cups of frozen fruit, adding small amounts of water or almond milk, until a smooth thick mixture forms.

Fruit Smoothie Bowl

• Spoon smoothie mixture into bowls. For a firmer texture, pop bowls into the freezer for 30 minutes. I rarely do that, preferring to top my bowl and eat it right away.

Fruit Smoothie Bowl

• Top smoothie bowl with an assortment of fresh or frozen fruits, unsweetened coconut, nuts, seeds, dulse, spirulina or drizzles of raw honey or maple syrup.

I topped my bowl with freshly sliced banana, frozen wild blueberries, unsweetened coconut, walnut pieces and chia seeds.

Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Meal Replacement

Replacing a meal with a fruit smoothie bowl gives the digestive system a break, as fruits are so easily digested. The nutrients are assimilated quickly, nourishing the body and supporting the immune system.

And variations are endless! Try different combinations of favorite fruits, nuts, seeds and even herbs and edible flowers. Be creative. Play with your food. Then enjoy this smoothie bowl that tastes like a cold creamy dessert. Enjoy, without one bit of guilt or regret!

Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Chamomile Benefits

I have associated chamomile with relaxation and a good night’s sleep. The dried flower from this healing herb makes a soothing and delicious hot tea. However chamomile, used medicinally since ancient times, has many healing benefits beyond creating drowsiness.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile is a member of the aster family. Two types of chamomile are commonly used for their healing benefits, the German and Roman varieties. Chamomile tea is beneficial as a sleep aid which is especially helpful for those who suffer with insomnia, sleep disturbances, a racing mind, or high anxiety and stress. However, chamomile also has other significant healing properties such as the ability to soothe a disturbed digestive system by easing flatulence, stomach aches, ulcers, and cramping, and by aiding in overall digestion and elimination.

The herb also helps to relieve bronchial and sinus congestion, calm anxiety and panic attacks, decrease menstrual cramping, ease muscle spasms, lower blood sugar, fight cancer and reduce migraine pain. Chamomile tea’s anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for reducing swelling associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other auto-immune diseases. Chamomile tea cleanses the liver and kidneys by stimulating them to purge out toxins and eliminate them from the system.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it especially helpful in fighting against colds, flus, infections, and even Candida. Chamomile tea is excellent for children as it can calm colicky infants and teething babies as well as soothe children that are irritable, cranky, and restless. Its mild flavor is often accepted and enjoyed by children especially when sweetened with honey. As a topical remedy, cooled chamomile tea can be applied to the skin to help soothe rashes, chickenpox, psoriasis, eczema, and burns, including sunburns.

Chamomile tea can also help to relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. Apply a cooled tea bag to the eyes for five minutes at night as a gentle and effective compress. Chamomile and peppermint tea are often used in combination due to their synergistic properties to help the body cleanse, relax, and heal. (Info from the Medical Medium blog. Check it out HERE)

Chamomile Benefits

For the first time I am growing German chamomile in my herb garden this summer. My intention is to keep adding healing herbs each year, until I truly do have a complete apothecary garden available for use. Today I snipped fresh chamomile flowers to combine with dried chamomile that I had on hand. I added three teaspoons of the dried herb and a small handful of fresh blossoms to two cups of boiling water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Chamomile has a delicate floral scent and flavor. I don’t add honey. However, I am looking forward to trying out herbal combinations, such as chamomile and mint, chamomile and lavender or chamomile and lemon grass.

On this rainy day, with mild thunderstorms rolling through the area, a cup of hot chamomile tea was the perfect afternoon soother. I included a couple of homemade sugar free, gluten free cookies made from three simple ingredients, to tea time. Watch for that recipe Tuesday.

I’m sipping chamomile tea, nibbling on a cookie, and feeling grateful for the healing benefits that plants provide. This is bliss.

Chamomile Benefits