Category Archives: Recipes

Obama Family Chili Recipe

President Obama and the First Lady prepare for Inauguration Day with an official swearing in ceremony on Sunday, January 20. The next day will be the ceremonial swearing in, followed by a parade and balls. Schedule is here. This is only the 2nd time in my 62 years that I have been excited over a President’s inauguration (2009 being the first) because it wasn’t until Obama was elected President have I ever been proud to be an American and feel part of this society. If your grandmother had been born into slavery as mine was, and you had spent all your years dealing with racism, you’d probably feel the same.

I would love to attend the parade on Monday and celebrate with all the people for this historic event. Seeing as I will have to watch it from home, I decided to prepare this Obama Family Chili recipe for my family. It’s a healthy, tasty one!

Obama Family Chile Recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
several cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground basil
1 tbsp chilli powder
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 can red kidney beans
several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
sour cream (for garnish)

  • Saute onions, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat and brown.
  • Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.
  • Add red-wine vinegar. Add tomatoes and let simmer until the tomatoes cook down. Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Serve over brown (preferred) or white rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions, and sour cream.

Make it a complete meal…

Skillet Cornbread

Haas avocado and mango salad

Check out the healthy cooking substitutes here.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How to Make Your Baking Healthy


I grew up surrounded by African American cooks who prepared some of the most wonderful Southern desserts and meals that would make your mouth water and cause a 5 pound gain just smelling it baking or on the stove. Thank goodness I was an active child or that chubbiness would have resulted in obesity early on. Like many of you, unhealthy cooking habits learned from loving family members stay with us until we become sick or cannot get the weight off.

Having enjoyed physical activity and dancing all my life, I had always been able to keep the weight under control…until I began working long hours into the night and relied on fast foods and restaurants for my meals. Coming home after dark discouraged me from my usual exercise. And the meals were not providing me with the nutrients for energy and health.

Five years ago I came down with a bacterial infection that almost did me in. Having been away on a trip for a week, my husband found me half dead, unable to reach the phone for help. The infection was riddled throughout my body and close to the brain. After weeks in the hospital, I went home with bags of medications, including antibiotics and morphine for pain. I was told my organs were probably affected and I would have escalating health issues for the rest of my life. It was necessary to stay on the meds and close to my doctor. That’s what I was told.

While I believe meds have a place on a short term basis, I avoid them. With this diagnosis, I was really scared. I began my research on the particular infection I had, looking for natural remedies…and how to avoid a recurrence. Down the rabbit hole I went. What I learned floored me: almost everything I ate and put in my body was leading me to disease and death! While I will write future articles on on this, today I will share substitute ways to make your baking and cooking healthy. Oh, and my health today? I have more energy and feel healthier than ever at 62. I take no prescribed or over-the counter medications. ♥
From Christine Frazier, No Meat Athlete…

Problem #1: The recipe calls for butter, margarine, or shortening

STF fix: Butter is a fat. Therefore, the easiest substitution for it is another kind of fat. I sub in canola oil one-to-one for butter with great success. This will work in baked quick breads, but not something like buttercream. Canola oil is relatively inexpensive and a good source of omega-6′s. Walnut oil and almond oil also work great in desserts by adding a nice nutty (duh) flavor, though they are more expensive. Coconut oil is excellent with its light tropical flair and can be helpful when you are looking for the “structure” of unmelted butter. It works well in pie crusts and cookies. [I prefer coconut oil ~ Marion]

For any of these options, add a pinch of salt [sea salt!] for every half cup of butter you swap out. You can trick your tongue into experiencing a buttery flavor with the hint of saltiness.
Problem #2: The recipe calls for way too much fat

STF fix: Taking down the fat a notch (bam?) is half the fun of healthy baking! Why? Because there are just so many alternatives to choose from! Start by just replacing half the amount of fat with an equal amount of any of these options:

  • Fruit purees like unsweetened applesauce, canned crushed pineapple, or mashed bananas. Use an old banana for sweetness and banana-y flavor, a green banana for all the nutrition without competing flavors.
  • Vegetable purees like sweet potato, cauliflower, or canned pumpkin. Also try shredded veggies, like the familiar carrots or zucchini. Though technically a fruit, don’t forget about mashed avocado! Save the darker veggies like spinach puree to combine with chocolate desserts or with a darker fruit like blueberries.

  • Beans, my personal favorite option. Beans add protein and structure to a recipe and, when pureed, go completely unnoticed! Try great northern beans or pinto beans for a neutral taste, and chickpeas for a slightly nuttier taste. Use black beans and adzuki beans in recipes that call for cocoa or chocolate.
  • Nut butters, like peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini. Cashew butter has a particular neutral creamy taste. These also pack in some extra protein.

Problem #3: The recipe calls for eggs

STF fix: If you don’t want to use eggs in your baking there are again many options. An egg is 2 ounces of thick liquid, so it is best substituted with 2 oz of another thick liquid. Try any of the above fruit, veggie, bean, or nut butter substitutions listed for subbing out fats.

There are also “flax eggs” which are made by combining 2 teaspoons of ground flax seed with 2 ounces of warm water. Stir and set aside until the consistency has thickened. Flax eggs do well binding ingredients together. There are also egg replacers you can buy, like Ener-G brand. This is mainly potato starch and leavening. It works well in lighter, more traditional cake recipes. If you are worried about your baked goodies rising, add a pinch of baking powder for each egg replaced.
Problem #4: The recipe calls for dairy

STF fix: Yes, there is always soy milk to substitute one-for-one for cow’s milk, but haven’t you already met your tofu quota for this week? Try out almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk.

Don’t forget that any time there is a liquid, you have a chance to add flavor. Try these alternative milks brewed with coffee in a chocolate recipe, chai tea for spice muffins, or mixed with Guinness for gingerbread! You can also mix the milks with fruit juices like apple or orange juice for added sweetness.
Problem #5: The recipe calls for all-purpose white flour.

STF fix: I use whole-wheat pastry flour one-to-one for all-purpose without any problems. But there is a world of flours outside of wheat! Try out an ancient grain like teff or spelt for extra protein. Go international with gram flour or grind your own chickpeas or fava beans into flour. One of my favorites is oat flour; it only takes a second to go from rolled or steel cut oats to oat flour with the food processor. Try replacing 1/4 cup of the flour with ground flax seed too. Mixing and matching these flours will help it stay more flavor-neutral in the recipe.
Problem #6: The recipe calls for way too much white sugar.

STF fix: A lot of times you can just go ahead and lower the sugar amount by a quarter of whatever is called for and you won’t notice a thing. There are several unrefined sugars on the market like raw sugar, demerara sugar, and sucanat. Sucanat stands for sugar cane natural, and is just the dehydrated cane juice. These unrefined sugars retain the mineral in the sugar cane plant. However, there’s not a ton of nutritional value in this plant so the main point of using these kinds of sugars is just to avoid all the processing and bleaching.

There are also classic liquid sweeteners like maple syrup and honey which give a warmer flavor to a recipe. If you use molasses, do so with an easy hand or use only a couple tablespoons to supplement another sweetener. Blackstrap molasses is especially overpowering.

Agave nectar is my personal favorite because it has a lower glycemic index. It’s also 25% sweeter than sugar, so you can use less. Any time you use a liquid sweetener, cut back a little on the other liquid ingredients by about 1/4 cup to compensate. There is also stevia extract, which frankly I don’t know much about yet. [See my post all about stevia] I’ve only tasted it in Tropicana’s Trop50; it was very good but did have a slight aftertaste. [Actually, I PREFER stevia and found the perfect brand ~ Marion] I don’t recommend Splenda or other synthetic sweeteners. They just don’t seem like real food to me. [From what I have learned, Splenda, Sweet N’ Low and other artificial sweeteners are dangerous, causing cancer, autoimmune disorders and other diseases ~ Marion]

So those are the six main problem areas in a recipe. Finally, I want to highlight some “distracters” to help disguise unusual tastes and textures. Cocoa or baking chocolate does a great job covering the taste of bean and veggie purees as well as the color. Peanut butter is good for totally drowning out any mystery flavor competition. Liqueurs and extracts also cover up flavors nicely; try some creme de menthe or amaretto. Lemon zest adds a nice fresh citrus note to baked goods and, while it doesn’t cover anything up, it does add dimension to a sometimes flat flavor spectrum. Finally nuts and dried fruits vary the texture of a baked good—this is especially helpful when you are using pureed beans to help distract from the inevitable mystery lump.

Ok, that just about covers what I’ve picked up during my run so far as the NMA’s resident healthy baker. Remember, there are a lot of strategies here; start off just using one or two new elements at a time in your recipes. One of the keys to substitutions is keeping the ratios of the original recipe the same regarding liquid to liquid and dry to dry ingredients. Just keep tasting as you go and trust your instincts—you know what you like.


My final thoughts…

Your health is your wealth. The body requires fuel to function. If it is provided with refined, artificial, chemically-laden ingredients, it cannot function well for very long. Loving ourselves and our families starts with loving our bodies. It all begins with what goes in it. ~ Marion ♥

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Stevia…sugar substitute

By Christine Frazier, No Meat Athlete

Is Stevia Safe?

After a not-so-great first experience with stevia and pumpkin, I vowed to do some more research on stevia to get it right! I didn’t just find out about cooking with stevia, I also learned about the crazy controversies surrounding the sweetener.

The sweet leaves of the stevia plant are originally from South America, and have been sweetening Yerba Mate in Paraguay for centuries. Japan has been using stevia as a sweetener since the 70′s and now it makes up 40% of all sweeteners used. So how come it’s 2009 and stevia is just showing up at my grocery store?

Stevia had quite the journey coming here: there were a handful of very dated and poorly executed studies on stevia that showed dangerous results, which scared the FDA and fueled sugar lobbyists. Two of these old studies found stevia to be a contraceptive. The data methods have been seriously questioned and the results have never been able to be reproduced (ha!) since. One study from 1985 made it seem that very high doses of stevia were mutagenic in rats. It has been shown now that the data was handled incorrectly- even water would appear mutagenic — but in 1991 the FDA decided that stevia was an unsafe food additive.

There was a lot of fuss about the FDA’s ruling because it was made on the idea that stevia hadn’t been proven safe. This contradicts the FDA policy to rule unfavorably only if a food has been proven unsafe. The ruling also conflicted with trade laws, and in 1995 the decision was reversed and stevia was allowed as a “dietary supplement” but not a “food additive.”

What does this distinction mean? It says that stevia is safe to include into a food because of its health benefits, but cannot officially be listed as a “sweetener.” Silly, right?

In 2006 the World Health Organization declared that stevia is safe. Just last year in 2008 the FDA finally decided that Rebiana, one extracted part of stevia, is generally regarded as safe. For some reason, they haven’t ok’d the entire leaf yet. Rebiana is the main ingredient in Truvia, owned by Coca-Cola, and PureVia, owned by Pepsi. My impression is that when the two big sweetener-guzzling companies got interested in stevia, their influence overpowered the aspartame and sugar lobbyists’ impact on the FDA.

So now that stevia is here, what good is it? Well for starters, our bodies don’t metabolize the glycosides, so we can enjoy the sweetness calorie-free. I feel much better about eating a natural no-calorie sweetener than a synthetic one. Stevia also doesn’t effect glucose levels, which makes it safe for diabetics. It doesn’t cause cavities in teeth, either.

As for baking, stevia is heat stable so it won’t break down like synthetic sweeteners under high heat, and it also can handle being frozen. Because of this, it doesn’t caramelize so it is unsuitable for, well, making caramel, and also things like meringue where you would need the sugar to brown. Stevia can’t ferment either- sometimes in bread recipes you’ll see sugar being used to feed the yeast. With stevia the bread will not rise as much.

Stevia as a substitute

When substituting with stevia, it’s important to compensate not just for sweetness but also for bulk. You only need to use about 1/2 a teaspoon of stevia extract for 1 cup of sugar, so you need to make up for that loss. But remember that sugar melts in the oven, so for every cup of sugar you take out, you only need 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of filler. Refer back to my post on healthier baking to find some great replacements; pumpkin, mashed bananas and applesauce all work well.

Stevia extracts aren’t standardized yet, so the strength of different brands will differ. Start with a very small amount like an 1/8 teaspoon and taste as you go. Stevia can very quickly have a bitter aftertaste. Try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to “warm up” the taste.

Vegan Orange-Currant Brunch Cake


My thoughts…

Not all stevia brands are created equal. I’ve tried many of them and have been very disappointed with the bitter aftertaste left by these brands. I fell in love with KAL brand in the image above. It tastes sweet, with no aftertaste.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are two of the major food corporations I avoid buying from because of their harm to the land and people here and in other countries. As a responsible consumer, I do my best to buy from corporations and businesses that do no harm, or as little as possible.

That said, the reason to avoid artificial sweeteners that contain aspartame has proven to be carcinogenic and induce disease. It is well documented on the web, and I encourage you to read up on it if you’re unsure. The same with refined, white sugar. Avoid it like the plague.

There are other sugar substitutes for your baking, cooking and drinks. You can read about them here. ~ Marion ♥

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16 Healthy and Delicious Weight Watchers Recipes


Via iVillage

Whether you’re following the plan or just want to eat healthier, you’ll love these Weight Watchers-approved recipes. Choose from main dishes, snacks, desserts and more — all point values are included!

The first dish is Chicken with Rice. This one-pot wonder gives you your chicken, veggies and a starch all in one dish — and without tons of fat! A tasty dish made interesting with Saffron and Cilantro. It’s also easy, little time to make, and low calorie. Substitute with sea salt and Basmati Rice to make this heart healthy and more nutritious.

I highly recommend substituting wherever you can. Try these healthy baking substitutes each time you bake or cook. You may be surprised how tasty your meals still come out and how light you will feel.  ♥

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Recipe – Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup

Via Mother Earth Living…

One of the things I love about the cooking of rural Italy is its simplicity: a humble dish of pasta with tomato and herb sauce, a plain loaf of bread, a rustic wine. The cook is not required to rummage through pantries or multiple grocery stores and ethnic markets to find ingredients. Often she may look no further than her own garden or local farmers’ market. This simple soup employs just a handful of ingredients, but yields wonderfully flavorful results. Purée the beans or eat them whole, as you wish.  Perfect for a cold day. Serve with bread.

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
(slow cooker method)

2 cups dried white beans such as great northern or cannellini
6 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, for garnish

1. Rinse beans thoroughly and place them in a 7-quart slow cooker along with water, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until beans are tender.

2. Remove bay leaf. Using a handheld immersion blender, purée slow cooker contents to desired texture. Add salt to taste.

3. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

This is the low calorie version. If you want the heavier version with cream, try this one…

Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
(stove top method)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices ciabatta bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, add the cream and the pepper Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the slices of ciabatta bread with extra-virgin olive oil. Grill the bread until warm and golden grill marks appear, about 3 minutes a side. Serve the soup in bowls with the grilled bread alongside.

Time:  20 min
Prep:   10 min
Cook:  10 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (8 cups)
Level: Easy


Additional note from The Responsible Consumer:
Tantalizing, healthy, budget-wise … and easily converted to a vegan and gluten-free dish by substituting Earth Balance for butter, gluten-free veggi broth for chicken broth, and homemade or store-bought gluten-free bread. Most economical: prepare your own beans. Fastest: use canned. Either way, Yum! 🙂

.  .  .

I will definitely try this recipe as soon as I get to the store and buy several ingredients. Just looking at the items listed, I know this will be delicious. Many thanks, Vikram!

Vikram Roy's Blog

Hi friends, this is my second delicious home recipe that I hope you will love to try. As earlier I told I am a passionate cook. I am a vegan for last 8 years. When I left eating non-veg  my friends joked, “he is going to eat grass”! I laugh them back. I was 17 when I realized becoming a vegetarian gives me self-satisfaction.

I can prepare most of the Indian vegetable dishes, around 35 recipes.  This is an easy 15 minutes recipe, quick to prepare and very delicious!

I hope all the items I discussed here is easily available in any local market. I am trying to put all the item names in English, if you are not getting the names, just feel free to ask me. Thanks!

Ingredients: (Serving 2) 

5 baby potatoes, (peeled)

50 gm fresh green peas,

200 gm fresh cauliflower, (cut into fine pieces)

3 tsp olive oil,

2 red chillies,

1 small onion, (finely chopped)

2 tsp…

View original post 134 more words

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecan Vinaigrette

I rarely eat brussel sprouts, but will be trying this one soon. I’m heading out shopping this weekend and will be making this dish and the Snowy Nutballs. Yum!!

Things My Belly Likes

Just a week into December and here’s another Christmas recipe (the first was nutty snowballs, in case you weren’t paying attention).

View original post 341 more words

I’ve been looking for this recipe. It’s healthy and delicious. A friend from Hawaii made something like this years ago and I lost the recipe. I recognize the ingredients and know this is it. Thank you so much, TMBL!

Nutty Snowballs
Makes 12

1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups dates, pitted
2 tbsps maple syrup
12 brazil nuts
1 cup shredded coconut

Roughly chop the dates and add them to a food processor
along with the walnuts. Pour in the maple syrup.

Process until it comes together in a paste. Scrape out of
the bowl and grab a small handful. Roll this into a ball
around a brazil nut, and repeat until the paste and nuts
are used up.

Scatter the coconut across a clean surface and roll
each ball in it until they are all coated. Transfer to the
fridge and let chill for an hour.

Things My Belly Likes

If you are in a place that’s currently getting snow, I both envy and pity you.

View original post 372 more words

Super Food Packed Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe ♥

Recipe from Raw for Beauty

Okay, you can see where my mind is. I’m still in holiday dessert mode and I’ve got it bad. Good bad. Actually, good. Because this recipe is made with all healthy ingredients. No flour, white sugar or refined salt! The carrot pulp and softened dates will give this delicious cake the moisture it needs. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake

*Recipe By : Crystal Bruneau Hacienda Del Sol Retreat Center’ – Makes 10 – 12 servings

2 cups almonds
1/12 cups pitted soft dates
2 cups raisins
4 cups carrot pulp
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ tablespoons fresh ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
pinch sea salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Lemon Frosting

1 ½ cups whole raw cashews
1 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon maca (one of the top super foods)
1 cup dried coconut
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon Zest
1 tablespoon vanilla

Making This super food packed Vegan Carrot Cake


To make the cake batter:
Soak the raisins and the dates, in separate bowls each in 1 ½ cup water for 5-10 minutes to soften. Drain the soak water and set aside.
Using a juicer, juice about 20 carrots in order to acquire the 4 cups of carrot pulp needed and drink the carrot juice. ☺
In the Vita-Mix Blender, grind the almonds into a fine mill. Add the dates and one cup of the raisins and grind until you have a smooth paste.


In a large bowl, mix with the carrot pulp, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon zest, orange zest, sea salt and walnuts, and the remaining one-cup of raisins.
To make the frosting:
Soak the cashews in 2 cups fresh water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.
In a food processor or a vita-mix blender, grind the dried coconut into a powder and set aside.


Blend the cashews, agave nectar and ½ cup of the dates soaked in water, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Add a touch more of the dates soaked in water if necessary to aid in blending. Add powdered coconut and blend well. It may be necessary to help the blending along by scraping the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula and continue to blend. Allow to stand in the refrigerator if necessary to thicken.
Put the Super Food Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe Together
To layer the cake:
Split the cake batter in half. Line a serving platter with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Press half of the dough into an even circle. Slip pressed dough on plastic wrap or waxed paper off the platter. Press the remaining dough directly on the platter into an even circle for the bottom layer spread just less than half of the frosting on the bottom layer leaving a 1-inch border. Delicately flip over the layer on the plastic wrap or waxed paper onto the frosted layer. Re-shape any mishaps and smooth the sides. Spoon the remaining frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly over the top and sides.
If you wish, this cake can be prepared into one layer. Press the cake dough into an even circle on a serving platter, and frost evenly.
For best results, allow chilling and setting in the fridge for one hour or more.


Stencils can be used to create designs. Cut starts, hearts, and spirals out of cardboard and lay on the cake before sifting, or sprinkle with ground almonds and cinnamon.
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