Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes

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Yesterday, December 4, was National Cookie Day. Purposefully situation during the holiday season, Cookie Day encourages people to bake and create treats to enjoy and to share.

To celebrate the day, I tried out two gluten free cookie recipes, thanks to my blogging associate Rebecca. She regularly posts gluten free, vegan and allergy free recipes on her site, Strength and Sunshine.

These easy to make cookies are perfect for snacking or sharing during the holidays.

Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes title meme

The Origins of Cookies

Did you know that the word cookie originates from the Dutch word koekie, meaning “little cake”? The treats themselves originated in Persia in the 7th century, shortly after the use of sugar became common in the area. From there cookies spread to Europe. Cookies were regularly consumed throughout Europe by the 14th century.

In the 17th century, cookies arrived in America. Early favorites included macaroons and gingerbread. Most English speaking countries, other than the United States, refer to cookies as biscuits. American biscuits are a different food entirely, and often covered in gravy!

During this joyful season, bake cookies with family and friends. Share some. And try these two gluten free cookie recipes.

Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes with Tea
Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes – shortbread and loaded.

Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes

These recipes use gluten free flour. You can blend your own, see this post for suggestions, or you can purchase gluten free flour that can be substituted for regular flour. For these two gluten free cookie recipes, I used gluten free flour that was a 1 for 1 brand, meaning 1 cup of gluten free flour equals 1 cup of regular flour.

I also used plant based butter and a flax egg, making these cookies vegan as well.

Rustic Shortbread

I love shortbread, partly because of its association with Scotland. These simple treats are a traditional Scottish biscuit made with sugar, flour and butter. I’ve been experimenting with gluten free shortbread since I switched to a plant based lifestyle and eliminated white, refined sugar from my diet. I occasionally eat something with a small amount of sugar in it, however for the most part, I avoid it and feel better for it.

I slightly adapted this recipe from Rebecca, using coconut sugar in the recipe instead of erythritol. As a result, my shortbread is rustic looking, due to the brown coconut sugar, but oh so delicious. This is the best recipe I have found, for gluten free, plant based shortbread. Check out Rebecca’s version HERE.

Rustic Shortbread

This rustic shortbread is the perfect accompaniment for a cup of hot tea.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Chill in refrigerator1 hr
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Gluten Free Cookie, Shortbread
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar may use erythritol or other granular sweetener
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, butter cut into chunks, coconut sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix and knead dough by hand, making sure butter is fully incorporated.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
  • Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and let warm for a few minutes.
  • Press dough into pan, to 1/2 inch thickness. Smooth top. With a sharp knife, score dough into bars and prick centers with a fork. I made 12 bars.
  • Bake in 325 degree oven for 35 minutes, until slightly golden.
  • Remove shortbread from oven and while still warm, fully slice along score lines. Lift cookies out by parchment paper and allow to cool completely. I found that the cookies held their shape better if I left them on the parchment to cool. Store in an airtight container.

 

Two Gluten Free Cookie Recipes Shortbread
Rustic Shortbread

Loaded Cookies

When I saw Rebecca’s recipe for these gluten free cookies, I knew Greg would love them. Use an egg substitute, such as a “flax egg”, nut milk and dairy free white chocolate chips to keep them plant based. Check out Rebecca’s original recipe HERE.

Loaded Gluten Free Cookies

These treats combine pretzels and white chocolate chips to make a scrumptious cookie.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time13 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free Cookie, Loaded Gluten Free Cookie
Servings: 9

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar erythitrol
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water) or other egg replacement
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter, softened slightly
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened non dairy milk such as almond coconut
  • 1 cup gluten free pretzels, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dairy free white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and coconut or brown sugar.
  • Add flax egg. (let ground flax and water set for 5 minutes before using), vanilla, softened butter and milk. Mix well with hands.
  • Fold in crushed pretzels and white chocolate chips, mixing until combined well.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide cookie dough into 8 - 10 mounds and place on cookie sheet. I made 9 mounds.
  • Bake for 13 minutes, until cookies are slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven. Use a spatula to move cookies to a wire rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Celebrating Cookie Day

The two gluten free cookie recipes came together easily. I made the shortbread dough and while it chilled in the refrigerator, I made and baked the loaded cookies. As that batch of treats cooled, I popped the shortbread into the oven.

Both cookies are excellent! I’m grateful for Rebecca’s recipes. For those who are not concerned with consuming gluten, dairy products, eggs and sugar, it is simple to switch out the ingredients. However, I’d encourage you to try these two gluten free cookies recipes. They taste amazing, just as they are.

You can find gluten free flour, ground flax, coconut sugar or erythritol in health conscious grocery stores or even at most Walmart Stores. Or check out the Amazon links below.

And happy…and healthy…baking this holiday season!

Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Supplies

 



 

 

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Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Unbelievably, we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching. This year, why not encourage someone on their healing journey, or gift yourself with items that support a healthy lifestyle.

The poet Virgil wrote,

“The greatest wealth is health.”

I’ve come to appreciate the deep truth in those words. Who among your family or your circle of friends could most benefit from a change in health?

Check out these gift ideas for a healthy lifestyle. And simply click on the photos for more info or to order.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle title meme

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Kitchen

Juicer

A juicer starts the day off perfectly, with fresh celery juice or fresh apple juice. And it quickly turns vegetables and fruits into health boosting juices.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Juicer

Blender

I use one every day. For breakfast I create fruit smoothies. Sauces and banana nice dream blend in this helpful machine. And celery juice and other juices can even be prepared in a blender, if you don’t have a juicer. I love my Ninja Blender!

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Blender

Food Processor

This powerful kitchen appliance is great for creating your own almond milk, nut butters and gluten free flours. Or quickly chop up veggies for a colorful salad. I’ll be using mine in a few days to make fresh cranberry relish.

Food Processor

Spiralizer

This fun gadget creates mounds of fresh “noodles” from zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and other veggies. It’s a great way to use that garden produce in the summer!

Spiralizer

Electric Tea Kettle

I discovered the joys of using an electric tea kettle in Edinburgh, Scotland this year. Hot water is ready in a couple of minutes, for a pot or a cup of tea. I use mine every day.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Electric Tea Kettle

Herbal Teas

A favorite health booster for me…herbal teas. There are so many to choose from. Here are a few options.


Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Books

Cookbooks

I enjoy trying new, healthy recipes weekly. Try one of these to discover that healthy eating does not mean bland food.


Medical Medium Books

These are the books that completely changed my health…and my life. I can’t think of a better gift for someone who is sick and tired, of feeling sick and tired.

 


 

Medical Medium Celery Juice Book

 

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Fitness

Metal Water Bottle

I carry one everywhere, even on international trips. In my quest to stay hydrated and eliminate plastic use, metal water bottles help me do both.


Yoga Mat

I confess that I do yoga on my bed,  mostly, or standing next to my bed! Perhaps I need to gift myself with a mat.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle - Yoga Mat

Gym Bag

Great for carrying a change of clothes to the gym or toting gear to the park or for a weekend getaway.

Gym Bag

Hand Weights

Weights help with toning, flexibility, strengthening and building muscle.

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle

Gift Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle – Clothes

What would we do without leggings? I practically live in them, especially when I’m working at home, which is almost every day!


Get a Head Start on 2020

This isn’t a complete list of gift ideas for a healthy lifestyle, however, I hope it gets you started on the path of wellness.

For yourself, for a loved one, for a friend, give the gift of health this holiday season. And get a head start on 2020. May next year be the year that health becomes a priority!

Give the Gift of Health

Check out these posts, for additional health related gift ideas:

Good Idea Sparkling Mealtime Beverages

HempFusion

CBD Living Water

And this one for Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life

 

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DIY Creamy Cashew Butter

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches. And honestly, I still love the stuff. Oh, I don’t eat bread now, so no more sandwiches. However, one of my favorite healthy snacks is a dollop of organic peanut butter and a cut up apple. Paired with a cup of hot herbal tea, this snack is perfect once or twice a week.

I’ve also enjoyed almond butter and cashew butter. Those jars of nut butters can get pricey though. And it’s important to read the labels, to make sure the ingredients are nuts and sea salt and nothing more.

Recently I’ve wanted to try making my own nut butters. It turns out, the process couldn’t be easier. Check out my first attempt…DIY creamy cashew butter.

DIY Creamy Cashew Butter Title Meme

Advantages of Making DIY Cashew Butter

The primary advantage to making your own nut butter is knowing exactly what’s in it. I purchased raw, organic, non GMO cashews from Natural Grocers. Although I intended to create almond butter first, the cashews appealed to me! I left the store with a 16 ounce package of cashews.

The nut butter is easily customized with healthy additions such as honey, vanilla beans, cocoa or sea salt. Finally, making your own nut butter saves money, especially when nuts are bought in bulk. And you can make a small amount or a larger amount, depending on your needs.

DIY Creamy Cashew Butter Organic Nuts
Raw organic nuts for DIY Creamy Cashew Cream

Creating DIY Creamy Cashew Cream

Cashews have a creamy texture, making them perfect for creating nut butter. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Cashews also provide antioxidant properties. Check out the five healthiest nuts in this post.

I felt like the soft texture of the cashews would easily transform into creamy nut butter. And I was right. Using the food processor creates heat, which helps to quickly break the nuts down into a smooth butter.

The process is so simple.

Step 1

Add two cups of cashews, or nuts of choice, to a food processor. That’s it. For DIY creamy cashew butter there is one ingredient…cashews. I chose raw, unsalted cashews, however experiment with salted and roasted and see which suits you best.

Process on high. The nuts immediately become coarsely chopped and then become a fine powder. Stop the food processor occasionally, to scrape down sides.

DIY Creamy Cashew Butter Step 1
Step 1 – Coarsely ground

Step 2

Continuing processing cashews. As they heat up the nuts release oils. The coarse pieces begin to stick together, forming a paste. Pause again to scrape down sides.

DIY Creamy Cashew Butter Step 2
Step 2 – Paste forms

Step 3

Let cashew paste continue to process, until a smooth butter forms. The entire process took about seven minutes for me, stopping twice to scrape down sides…and take photos. Almonds might take a little longer to process.

Stop processor and scrape cashew butter into a glass container. Seal and store in the refrigerator. DIY creamy cashew butter, or any other homemade nut butters, will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. I don’t think mine will last that long!

DIY Creamy Cashew Butter Step 3
Step 3 – Creamy butter

Enjoying My Healthy Snack

The DIY creamy cashew butter was so easy to make. I don’t know why I haven’t tried this before. Warm from the processor, I enjoyed a spoonful of cashew butter with a cut up gala apple. Perfection! I didn’t add honey, yet the taste was slightly sweet and the butter so creamy. Cashew butter is excellent with sliced apples or pears, on gluten free crackers or bread and used in baking.

I’m excited to make almond butter and perhaps something more exotic, like pistachio butter. I’ll let you know how that turns out!

Creamy Cashew Butter and Apples
Creamy Cashew Butter and Apple Slices

Use these links to purchase raw organic cashews and almonds.

This is the food processor I use. Click on photo for more info or to order.


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Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

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As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, some people find that their moods darken as well. It’s not uncommon, during fall and winter, to feel sluggish, however those winter blues can become a depression that lasts for months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that begins in fall and peaks mid winter. By spring, when longer days bring more sunshine, the symptoms ease.

Up to 20% of the population experience varying degrees of SAD. However, help is available…in the kitchen. Check out the following foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, naturally.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

What Causes SAD?

Doctors believe that the long dark nights of winter disrupt brain chemicals, such as melatonin and serotonin, that affect mood. Days and days of overcast skies that limit sunlight contribute as well to feeling glum. So there appears to be a connection between lack of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder. Some experts also believe reduced sunlight lowers vitamin D levels in the body, which in turn can cause depression.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include weariness, anxiety, depression, craving carbohydrates, irritability, weight gain and avoidance of social situations.

Ten minutes of sunlight a day helps to ease SAD, by boosting vitamin D in the body. To improve symptoms even more, and for those days and days of gray skies, try adding the following foods to your diet.

Foods that Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder
Long winter nights are great for coziness. However they can disrupt chemicals in the brain.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder

Include these foods during fall and winter to combat SAD.

Mangoes 

Mangoes support emotional health, uplift mood, alleviate depression and ease seasonal affective disorder. They also promote a good night’s sleep. Eat mangoes on their own, or add to smoothies and fruit salads.

Atlantic Sea Vegetables 

These gifts from the sea remove heavy metals from the body. They are rich with nutrients that balance the body, ease stress and ground the emotions. Add dried Atlantic sea vegetables to salads and soups or blend them up in smoothies.

Oranges and Tangerines

Oranges and tangerines are called liquid sunshine! High in vitamin C, oranges and tangerines brighten mood when we are feeling sun deprived. Enjoy freshly prepared orange juice or add the citrus fruit to salads and hot ciders. Strive to eat a couple of oranges or tangerines a day, to receive all the goodness that they offer.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder
Oranges, pictured here in Spiced Hot Cider, are a great way to ease SAD.
Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder Bananas
Foods that ease seasonal affective disorder – bananas

Bananas

Bananas contain tryptophan, which calms the body. Their natural sugars and high potassium levels fuel the brain, while magnesium improves sleep and reduces anxiety. Add bananas to fruit smoothies, healthy breads and muffins, or eat them as a snack. For a special treat, blend frozen bananas into nice dream and top with berries.

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, high in folic acid, boost mood by creating serotonin. During the cold winter months, enjoy a big salad daily for lunch, with leafy greens as the foundation. Or add greens to smoothies and juices.

Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all powerful anti-inflammatories that help to prevent the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Lowering stress eases the symptoms of SAD. Berries are wonderful added to smoothies, salads and herbal teas or piled on top of gluten free oatmeal.

Foods That Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder Berries
Foods that ease seasonal affective disorder – berries
Foods that Ease SAD Turmeric
The spice turmeric is an effective way to ease SAD.

Turmeric

This powerful anti-inflammatory increases blood circulation and boosts the brain and mood. Use turmeric in curry recipes or add a spoonful to warm coconut milk, to create a soothing nighttime drink. Or take a daily supplement in capsule form.

Walnuts and Flaxseeds

High in Omega-3s, walnuts and flaxseeds provide essential nutrients that help to boost mood and lessen depression. Add flaxseeds to smoothies or baking recipes. Eat a small amount of walnuts daily or add to gluten free banana bread and salads.

Avoid This Food

In the list of foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, there is one food to avoid. Refined sugar negatively impacts the brain and slows it down. Limit sugar during the winter months, or avoid it entirely. Your body and your mood will benefit.

Frequently including the foods listed above, and ten minutes of sun bathing on bright sunny days, can greatly reduce or eliminate seasonal affective disorder. I know. I’m one who feels a bit blue when the sun disappears for days behind a mass of gray clouds. To feel my best, and avoid going into hibernation mode, I need sunlight and these natural mood boosters.

Are you SAD during winter? Talk to me about it, in the comments below.

Getting vitamin D
Soaking up the sunshine.

 


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Quick Bean Chili

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I love soups, stews and chilis any time of year. However, during fall, as the nights grow longer and the temperatures cooler, I could live on them. Soups are not only comforting, they are full of flavor and healthy nutrients.

This quick bean chili comes together in minutes. It’s perfect for those evenings when the day has been full and busy. Having recipes available that can provide a hot meal in a few minutes lessens the likelihood of grabbing fast food on the way home.

Quick Bean Chili title meme

Quick Bean Chili Recipe

This recipe comes together quickly due to using canned goods, instead of dried beans. I chose to use great northern beans, however any canned beans works. This is a moderately spicy chili. Adjust the heat level by adding or reducing the cayenne pepper. Use a small vegetable chopper to make quick work of prepping veggies.

This recipe was adapted from one in Vegan Pressure Cooking.

And here is the recipe for making your own vegetable broth, from scraps! I use this wonderful broth in so many recipes. And it is so easy to make.

Quick Bean Chili
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Quick Bean Chili

This fast and easy to prepare chili relies on canned beans and fresh veggies.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bean Chili, Quick
Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 large green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 small can green chilies, mild or medium
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more or less, as desired)
  • 2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can non GMO corn
  • 2 cans great northern beans (or beans of choice)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • In uncovered pressure cooker, heat coconut oil on medium heat. I use the meat setting. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute for 3 minutes, until veggies soften.
  • Add bell peppers. Cook for another minute.
  • Add green chilies, spices, canned tomatoes, canned beans, canned corn, tomato paste, broth and water.
  • Cover and lock on lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Allow natural release.
  • Remove lid, stir and add sea salt. Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Meal in Minutes

I love using the pressure cooker for healthy meals. In minutes this quick bean chili was ready. And it was oh…so…good! The blend of beans, fresh veggies and seasonings was perfect.

The chili offered even more flavor the next day. And it thickened up to more of a chunky chili consistency.

I’m always looking for a great soup, stew or chili recipe, plant based of course! If you have a favorite recipe, please provide a link in the comments below. I’ll be doing a plant based soup, stew and chili roundup in the near future. I’d love to include yours.

Quick Bean Chili
Quick Bean Chili, ready in under 20 minutes.

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Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

With fall well underway and the holiday season imminent, I’m excited to offer a roundup of Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes. These delicious goodies come from several contributors in the health and/or blogging community and I’m pleased to share their recipes as well as a couple of my own.

Pumpkin is THE signature flavor of fall. In addition to adding amazing richness to baked goods, it provides healing benefits that support the body. Check out this post about the impressive ways that pumpkin improves health and wellness.

And then grab a pumpkin or a can of organic pumpkin puree and head into the kitchen to try one of these 12 recipes.

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes title meme

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes

These recipes are plant based and gluten free. If gluten sensitivity isn’t an issue for you, as it is for me, then feel free to use your favorite flour. However, I can guarantee that these goodies are delicious, just as they are. Even if you’ve never tried a vegan or gluten free recipe, this might be a great time to experience the difference plant based can make, in lessening inflammation in the body without sacrificing flavor.

Please visit each link provided to find the recipe. And check out the contributor’s blog site while you are there!

Pumpkin Recipes Thumbprint Cookies
Pumpkin Cookies with Apple Butter Thumbprint by A Meal In Mind

Pumpkin Cookies with Apple Butter Thumbprint

by Beth with www.amealinmind.com

Pumpkin Recipes Spice Bars
Pumpkin Pie Spice Bars by A Meal in Mind

Pumpkin Pie Spice Bars

by Beth with www.amealinmind.com

Pumpkin Recipes Pie
Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes: Pumpkin Pie by Medical Medium

Pumpkin Pie

by Anthony with www.medicalmedium.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Seeds
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds by Medical Medium

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

by Anthony with www.medicalmedium.com

Pumpkin Pancakes
Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes: Pumpkin Pie Pancakes by Medical Medium

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

by Anthony with www.medicalmedium.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Bread
Pumpkin Zucchini Bread by Strength & Sunshine

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

by Rebecca with www.strengthandsunshine.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies by Bakerita

Soft Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

by Rachel with www.bakerita.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Donuts
Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes: Easy Baked Pumpkin Donuts by A Dash of Megnut

Easy Baked Pumpkin Donuts

by Megan with www.adashofmegnut.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins by Just What We Eat

Pumpkin Muffins

by Morgan with www.justwhatweeat.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes Pumpkin Scones
Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes: Pumpkin Scones by Just What We Eat

Pumpkin Scones

by Morgan with www.justwhatweeat.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipe Pumpkin Bars
Easy Pumpkin Bars by Journey With Healthy Me

Easy Pumpkin Bars

by Cindy with www.journeywithhealthyme.com

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes One Bowl Pumpkin Bread
One Bowl Pumpkin Bread by Journey With Healthy Me

One Bowl Pumpkin Bread

by Cindy with www.journeywithhealthyme.com

Enjoy Pumpkin Season

I hope you find a recipe or two or three to try, to fully enjoy this comforting time of year. And if you have a favorite pumpkin recipe, please share a link to the recipe in the comments below. As a favor to my readers, please indicate whether the recipe is vegan and gluten free.

Happy fall and happy baking!

Pumpkin's Health Benefits Winter Squash

 

Check out these helpful Amazon finds:


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5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

On a plant based diet, or any healthy diet, nuts are a great snack option. Most nuts are higher in fats, so a small handful a couple of times a week is optimal. And nuts are an ideal source of fiber and protein.

Nuts contain other important and beneficial nutrients. Read on for the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, to receive the most from your snack.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Title Meme

Nutritional Nuts

Overall, nuts are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats along with omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. They also deliver vitamins and minerals.

In spite of their higher fat content, nuts have many health benefits. Studies have shown that nuts help to prevent diseases and may even prolong life by reducing the risks of some types of cancers.

Here are the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

1. Walnuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They are also a significant contributor of protein, fiber, vitamin E, melatonin and magnesium. Walnuts also contain a plant compound called polyphenols that reduce inflammation throughout the body, which in turn lowers the risk of many diseases, including cancer.

Walnuts also reduce bad LDL cholesterol while boosting good HDL cholesterol. They also contribute to better heart health, regulated blood pressure and increased blood flow through the circulatory system.

Additionally, walnuts are considered brain food. Eating walnuts increases cognitive function and reasoning abilities.

Healthy Walnuts
5 healthiest nuts to eat: walnuts

2. Almonds

Almonds provide a significant amount of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium and iron.

This tree nut improves cholesterol levels and supports heart health. Its high fiber content aids in weight loss and lowers blood pressure. And consuming a few almonds during a meal helps to regulate blood sugar levels that can rise after eating, in people with diabetes. For those with type 2 diabetes, almonds can lower inflammation.

Almonds also improve gut health by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Almonds
Almonds, one of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat.

3. Pistachios

This popular green nut, typically packaged still in its shell, is high in fiber and protein and provides vitamin E and magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorous.

As with walnuts and almonds, pistachios improve cholesterol levels. Eating just a couple of ounces of pistachios a day also increases good HDL cholesterol. Additionally, pistachios decreases the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight. Their antioxidant properties prevent oxidative damage to cells.

And pistachios help to keep blood sugar levels down after a meal.

Healthy Pistachios
Health boosting pistachios.

4. Cashews

Cashews have a creamy texture, making them perfect for baking and vegan sauce making. They are also an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Cashews also provide antioxidant properties.

This tree nut reduces blood pressure, improves blood lipid levels and increases good HDL cholesterol.

5 Healthiest Nuts to Eat Cashews
Fiber and protein rich cashews.

5. Hazelnuts

Nutritious hazelnuts have a distinctive flavor. They are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin E and calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.

They lower the risk of heart disease and reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Hazelnuts ease inflammation throughout the body and improve overall blood vessel health. Additionally, they increase the amount of vitamin E in the blood.

Healthy Hazelnuts
The last of the 5 healthiest nuts to eat, hazelnuts.

Ways to Benefit from Nuts

Try including nuts in your diet, in these ways:

  • combine them with unsweetened raisins, dried cranberries, unsweetened dried coconut and seeds to make a homemade trail mix
  • drink nut milks such as cashew milk, almond milk or hazelnut milk
  • use sugar free nut butters that only contain nuts and a small amount of sea salt
  • add raw nuts to salads
  • use in baking recipes
  • make vegan sauces from cashews
  • eat plain, as a snack
  • make your own vegan cheeses and milks, from nuts

Remember to enjoy nuts in moderation, due to their fat content. Eat a small handful at a time or include in recipes on days scattered throughout the week. And check out some of my favorite recipes below, that include healthy nuts.

5 healthiest Nuts to Eat Tabbouleh
Parsley Tabbouleh with almonds.

 

Favorite Recipes Using Nuts

Dairy Free Potato Soup with Cashew Sauce

Broccoli and Macaroni Bake

Raw Blueberry Pie with Cashew Crust

Vegan Banana Blueberry Bread with Walnuts

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Parsley Tabbouleh

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6 Gluten Free Pastas to Try

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A question I’m frequently asked is, “What about pasta? Don’t you miss it?”

The answer is, I do enjoy pasta. Since switching to a plant based lifestyle, I still eat pasta. It’s vegan and gluten free pasta.

Pasta came back into my diet shortly after going plant based. I discovered a wide selection of gluten free and vegan pasta available. Although I’ve settled in on brown rice pasta as my favorite, there are other varieties made from plants and wheat free grains.

Here is a line up of gluten free pastas to try so you can decide which is your favorite!

6 Gluten Free Pastas title meme

Why Avoid Gluten?

Gluten is a chewy protein found in some grains including wheat, spelt and rye. For people with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a must as the protein attacks the small intestines and causes damage. Another form of celiac disease attacks the skin rather than the small intestines, causing a painful rash.

Additionally, people with autoimmune disorders and gluten sensitivities should avoid gluten as well. I fall in the latter category. People with a gluten sensitivity don’t process the protein well. Symptoms of sensitivity range from digestive disorders to irritable bowel syndrome to skin rashes to headaches and joint pain. Gluten, along with other allergens and proteins found in grains, can create inflammation and weaken the immune system, which is our first line of defense against illness.

For more information about gluten sensitivity, see this post: 8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance.

Gluten Free Rotini

6 Gluten Free Pastas

Fortunately, for those with gluten intolerance or sensitivities there are options.

Brown Rice Pasta

This gluten free pasta is one of the most popular. Brown rice, with its mild flavor, adds chewiness and texture to the pasta, in the same way that wheat does. It is an excellent one-on-one substitution for wheat pasta, holding its shape well during cooking. In addition, brown rice is a rich source of fiber and nutrients including selenium and magnesium. Brown rice also supplies the body with antioxidants that fight against oxidative damage to cells.

Try these brown rice pastas by clicking on the photos:

Brown Rice Pastas
One of my favorite gluten free pastas, brown rice.

 

Brown rice and quinoa blend pasta.
The Great Value brand, which is a blend of brown rice and quinoa, is excellent as well and available in the gluten free section at Walmart.

Quinoa Pasta

This pasta is not only entirely plant based, it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids that the body requires. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Pasta made from this grain boasts a mild, nutty flavor with a grain-like texture. It is often combined with other gluten free grains or legumes to create a pasta that holds together well.

Try the brown rice/quinoa pasta pictured above, or this one from Trader Joe’s:

 

Quinoa and brown rice pasta
Quinoa and brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s.

Chickpea Pasta

This recent addition to gluten free pastas is gaining in popularity. The flavor is slightly stronger than the brown rice varieties while the texture is very similar to wheat pasta. Chickpea pasta is high protein and high fiber, making it a very filling choice for pasta recipes.

Banza and Barilla both produce an excellent chickpea pasta:

 

Banza chickpea penne
Try one of the gluten free pastas from Banza. This is penne.

Barilla Chickpea Rotini
Barilla chickpea rotini

Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. The noodles have a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture. They are available in a variety of shapes, not just noodles. Soba noodles are a good source of protein and fiber and they are lower in calories than most other pastas. They also provide manganese and thiamine.

Get soba noodles here:

Organic Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are another gluten free pasta option.

Green Lentil Pasta

This is another legume pasta, similar to chickpea. It is typically combined with quinoa and has a mild flavor and a good chewy texture. Green lentil pasta is an excellent source of fiber and protein.

Try this brand:

Green Lentil Pasta
Pow green lentil pasta.

Multigrain Pasta

Some gluten free pastas combine a blend of grains including rice, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, millet and amaranth.

The taste and texture of multigrain pasta is very similar to wheat pasta. However, the nutritional value varies greatly with these pastas, depending on the combination of grains. Read the labels carefully so that you know what you are getting. I only use non GMO corn, so I typically avoid multigrain pastas unless I know corn is not included.

Barilla Gluten Free Penne
Barilla is a reliable brand for multigrain pasta.

Preparing Gluten Free Pastas

To cook gluten free pastas, use these tips:

  •  use a large container with plenty of water
  • bring water to a roiling boil and keep it there while pasta cooks, stirring frequently
  • begin testing pasta several minutes before end of specified cook time
  • remove from heat when pasta is al dente for best texture – overcooking results in mushy pasta
  • drain pasta and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process
  • toss with a small amount of olive oil, if desired, to prevent pasta from sticking together
  • add cooked pasta to sauce to finish cooking, if necessary, or serve with sauce immediately
Gluten Free Macaroni Bake
Gluten Free Broccoli & Macaroni Bake

Enjoy Gluten Free Pastas

I’ve discovered many ways to enjoy gluten free pastas. The easiest is to pair gluten free spaghetti, penne or rotini with simple marinara sauce. I keep a package of pasta on hand and for convenience, a jar of organic, sugar free pasta sauce.

Pasta isn’t served daily in my house, however it is nice to know that when I want a quick and nutritious meal, I can have it. I make sure it is a gluten free pasta that supports my healthy lifestyle, rather than one that creates a negative reaction in my body.

Gluten Free Pastas with Pesto
Another idea for gluten free pastas, freshly prepared pesto. I enjoyed this delightful meal in Italy.

Try One of These Gluten Free Pasta Recipes

Goulash

Broccoli & Macaroni Bake

Oil Free Basil Pesto for your gluten free spaghetti

 

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Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup

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When I learned that October 15 is National Mushroom Day, I felt inspired to try a new recipe that features mushrooms. My Vegan Under Pressure cookbook provided a dozen opportunities to create such a recipe. I slightly adapted one of the recipes in that book.

This Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is perfect to celebrate the special day. And it is a wholesome, hearty soup for a chilly fall evening. Using the pressure cooker means this soup is ready in minutes.

 

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup title meme

Mushroom Day

This unique holiday celebrates all mushrooms…Portobello, shiitake, button and truffle. Mushrooms, which are members of the fungi family, are highly nutritious. They are a staple in a plant based diet, due to their high protein and fiber content. Mushrooms also contain B vitamins and a potent antioxidant called selenium, which supports the immune system and prevents damage to cells and tissues. Button mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D as well.

Today’s soup includes baby Portobello Mushrooms, along with other vegetables and dried herbs.

Mushrooms and Green Beans
Fresh Portobello Mushrooms and green beans, two of the ingredients in Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.

Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup

Look for baby Portobello Mushrooms. If those are not available, substitute button or cremini mushrooms. Similarly, you can swap out the navy beans for pinto, black or white beans.

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

This hearty plant based soup features mushrooms and other vegetables.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mushroom Bean and Barley, Soup
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped may substitute canned green beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dried navy beans
  • 3/4 cup dried pearl barley may substitute instant barley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • In an uncovered pressure cooker, heat coconut oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, green beans, tomatoes, bay leaf, spices (except for cardamom), vegetable broth, water, navy beans and barley.
  • Lock on lid and bring to pressure. Cook for 22 - 25 minutes. Allow natural release.
  • Remove lid and stir in lemon juice, cardamom and sea salt. Test beans for doneness. If the beans are not quite done, simmer, uncovered, until cooked through. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Ingredients for Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup
Ingredients for Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.
Cooking veggies.
The beginning of a wonderful soup.

Enjoying Mushrooms on Mushroom Day

I enjoyed preparing this nutritious soup. As my DIY Vegetable Broth cooked in the pressure pot, I chopped veggies for the soup. As soon as the broth finished, I strained it to use in the recipe.

After washing the pot I popped it back into the cooker, readying it for the ingredients for the Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup.

I purchased the herbs de provence today, a seasoning I’ve heard of but have never used. It is a combination of basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley and rosemary. You can substitute with a blend of 1/4 teaspoon each of basil, fennel seeds, marjoram and rosemary.

The aroma of the soup filled my home and whetted my appetite.

I was not disappointed! Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is a perfect fall or winter dish that warms the body while boosting health. The soup is rich and full of flavor. I appreciated the combination of vegetables and herbs.

I have fresh mushrooms and green beans left over. Another pot of Mushroom, Bean and Barley Soup is in my near future!

Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

Pick up these pressure cooking items by clicking on links below.

 

 


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Seven Herbal Teas to Nourish Skin

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

You know how much I enjoy my daily cups of hot tea, even in summer. What a joy it has been to learn that these herbal teas support my health in a variety of crucial ways. The more I discover, the more often I think, when someone mentions an ailment…there’s an herb for that!

Healthy, glowing skin begins within. All the lotions and moisturizers in the world can’t overcome a poor diet or supply the vital nutrients the body needs to keep the skin vibrant and youthful.

These seven herbal teas to nourish skin provide healing, boost the immune system and revitalize skin cells, all while contributing to important hydration for the body.

Seven Herbal Teas to Nourish Skin

Seven Herbal Teas that Nourish Skin

In addition to your skin care routine, try adding one to three cups of herbal tea daily, to revitalize and nourish the skin.

Hibiscus

This rich herbal tea is high in vitamin C and a great source of vitamins A, B1 and B2 plus zinc and iron. Hibiscus contains natural alpha hydroxy acids and omega-3 fatty acids that smoothe the skin and keep it looking youthful. Add two to three teaspoons of dried hibiscus to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey.

Chamomile

This well known stress reducer contains anti-inflammatory properties that protect the skin from sun damage. Add three teaspoons of dried chamomile, or one teabag, to a cup of very hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Chamomile Tea
Chamomile, one of seven herbal teas that nourish skin.

Dandelion

Antioxidants in dandelion flowers, combined with immune boosting properties, enhance the appearance of the skin while neutralizing free radicals. In addition, dandelion aids digestion and the absorption of nutrients, which contributes to the health of skin as well. Add a handful of fresh dandelion blossoms to a large cup of very hot water. Or use a dandelion tea bag. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Jasmine

This fragrant flower contains antiviral and antibacterial properties that support the immune system and nourish skin. Jasmine balances hormones, reduces oil production on the skin and helps to heal skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Brew a cup of jasmine tea by combining three teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers with a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if necessary.

Green Tea

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body, including the skin. Green tea protects against harmful UV radiation. And it contains a powerful antioxidant called ECGC that fights free radicals and prevents the formation of wrinkles. In addition, this tea revives dying skin cells and promotes the growth of healthy new ones. Add a green tea bag to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for five minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Green Tea with Jasmine
I love this tea from Twinings that combines two of the seven herbal teas that nourish skin…green tea and jasmine.

Ginger

Aromatic and spicy ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, plus it aids digestion. Ginger also strengthens the immune system. All of these supportive health boosters contribute to clear, vibrant skin. Peel a small piece of fresh ginger and slice or mince it. Pour boiling water over the ginger, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Peppermint

This herb from the mint family balances hormones, with calms skin and helps to keep it clear and healthy. It also reduces sebum, an oily secretion, on the skin. Peppermint’s antioxidants prevent oxidative damage that ages the skin, and help to renew skin cells. Add two teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint, or one tea bag, to a cup of very hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Ginger Tea
Aromatic ginger tea supports the body while promoting healthy skin.

Which of These Teas Will You Try?

These seven herbal teas that nourish skin are readily available through your favorite grocery story, in tea bag form. Or check your local health food store or grocer for dried loose leaves to create your own tea blends. Additionally, peppermint and chamomile are easy to grow in a backyard garden or container. I even have a jasmine plant flourishing in a container on my front deck. And wild dandelions dot most yards during spring and summer.

Or for convenience, click links below to order your favorite herbal teas from Amazon.

Simply adding one to three cups of tea to your diet, daily, can radically improve health and wellness. As a wonderful bonus, that health radiates from clear skin as a vibrant glow.

Which herbal tea will you try first?

Seven Herbal Teas that Nourish Skin Mint
A favorite among the seven herbal that nourish skin…peppermint.

Pick up your herbal teas for healthier skin, below:

 



 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.