Pumpkin Recipes

This is the time of year that you find so many pumpkin flavored delights. Trader Joe’s dedicated one entire end display to everything pumpkin. It just happens to be one of my favorite flavors. I also love the decorations with mums, pumpkins and scarecrows. The leaves here in the northeast are changing into beautiful arrays of reds, oranges and yellows.

I recently had to go gluten-free due to my mast cell disease and at first was thinking I would have to forgo my yummy pumpkin desserts but have been overjoyed at the abundance of recipes. Last evening, I came upon this scrumptious looking one, grain-free pumpkin bars.

As always, I suggest real, whole foods, so my desserts use the same type of ingredients. They are also occasional, not an everyday food, although lately, I have found some “dessert” recipes that use no sweeteners at all, but use fruit as the sweetener and coconut or almond flour.

What is you favorite pumpkin recipe? pumpkin

Meal Planning

Ughh, groan! I can hear many of you now at the thought of having to plan meals. For some of you, the job of deciding what to eat is a dreaded task. But what is worse? Coming home from work and standing in your kitchen trying to decide what to make when you’re tired or planning ahead? Maybe the kids are whining, your husband is hungry and asking “what’s for dinner?” and you really just want to sit down and put your feet up.

I don’t know about you, but my food choices used to be less than stellar when I left them to chance. We tend to grab the easiest, least to prepare meals when we haven’t taken the time to plan. Are they the healthiest or the best fuel for our already fatigued bodies? I’m betting not! Frozen dinners, take-out, fast food, less-than-nourishing fare is often what we quickly consume.

Visualize this scene instead… each week you (and your family members, if you have any to involve), sit down to plan the menu for at least dinners for the week. The day you choose is determined by your family’s schedule. We do ours on Sunday, since my husband is always home on that day. You can go through new recipes then (my job to find them and usually the most interested person is in charge of that). You set up a “tentative” menu and I say tentative because life happens. Be flexible with your menu and be willing to shift the meals around to different days if family plans change.

Once you have your tentative menu, figure out all of the groceries you will need for the meals and make your list. If you want to get really amazing, add lunches to the menu! Don’t forget to add the groceries for lunch to your shopping list. Just imagine walking into your kitchen every night knowing exactly what to make! Heck!! Maybe one of the kids or hubby/wife will start the meal since everyone knows the plan!! Do you have a weekly menu? What kind of meals are your family’s favorites? Menu Planner

Cacao vs. Cocoa

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following image on my Facebook page:

cacaoI used to use organic cocoa, thinking it was better than “regular” cocoa. Knowing the health benefits of cacao, I always recommend eating dark chocolate that is 70% cacao. So many great recipes call for cocoa but it has been processed and as you can see above, doesn’t really have the all-important cacao at the high level to benefit our health.

But now I have found the best … organic cacao that is non-GMO, vegan, gluten free to make the perfect smoothies, pies, cakes, cookies or whatever recipes call for cocoa. Yummy and healthy!!

What recipe can you share with cocoa?