Orange Essence Ginger Snaps


Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup coconut oil or butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp orange extract

1 tbsp  orange zest

1 1/2 large egg or 1 extra-large egg, room temperature

1/3 cup molasses

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp ginger

1/8 black pepper

  1. Cream coconut oil and sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla and orange extracts, and eggs.  Add molasses until combined.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet mixture.  Add 1/3 of flour mixture at a time until combined.  Do not over-mix.
  5. At this point you can form cookie batter into a ball, slightly flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap before freezing (This method is for rolling out dough for cookie-cutter).  Or line loaf pan with plastic wrap being sure to leave overhang on all sides.  Press dough into loaf pan and press down firmly and evenly with overhanging plastic.  This step makes it easy to cut into slices before baking.
  6. Freeze dough for at least one hour or longer before slicing (loaf method).  Allow dough to defrost for about 2 hours at room temperature before rolling out (cookie-cutter method).
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Slice cookies no more than 1/8″ thick.  I like to take a chunk of cookie dough and lay it on a wax paper, take another sheet of wax paper and lay it on top of the cookie dough in order to roll out dough.  It’s also easy clean-up.
  9. Place cookies on sheet pan lined with wax paper.
  10. Cook for 7-12 minutes.  Cook for less time depending on the thickness of your cookies.
  11. Cookies will become crispy after cooling.

Coconut Banana Creme Bowl

I love ice cream.  I mean, who doesn’t?  It’s creamy, sweet, smooth, and out of this world, but it can also damage the waistline.  Everything in moderation, right?  For the past few years I’ve noticed quite a few alternatives to the typical ice cream or fro-yo shops and I have to admit that I’m very impressed with the new kids on the block.  For those of us who aren’t able to enjoy dairy and are just tired of the same soy products on the market, there are more nut and coconut based options.  But one thing that I really enjoy making in my own home is a banana based ice cream made from, well, just bananas!  I was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrows’ new cook book, It’s All Good!


Here’s what I came up with!


Coconut Banana Creme Bowl

(Makes 2 Servings)

(Adapted from: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2013/04/banana-ice-cream-roasted-almonds)

2 Bananas

1/4 cup lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

2 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut

  1. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
  2. Slice bananas into 1/4″ pieces and spread evenly on cookie sheet.
  3. Freeze bananas for 3-4 hours.
  4. Add banana pieces, coconut milk, extract, and protein powder into blender until soft serve consistency.  Add more coconut milk if needed.
  5. Toast shredded coconut on dry non-stick pan until slightly brown.  Watch coconut carefully to avoid burning.  Coconut will toast quickly once heated through.
  6. Divide banana mixture into bowls and top with toasted coconuts.  Feel free to add other toppings!
  7. ENJOY!

Introducing the Brown Bag Secret Ingredient series!!!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about food.  Well, honestly, I’m always thinking about food and how to make it healthier, simple, and delicious.   I try to consider if it’s possible to make my recipes affordable to everyone.  Will I like the end results?  Will other people like the end results?  You know, what better way to find out than to just put it out there.  But not so fast.  I want to have a little fun with you guys, which is why I’m introducing………….

the Brown Bag Secret Ingredient

The Brown Bag Secret Ingredient

Each week I will choose ONE affordable, healthy, and nutritious ingredient and prepare or cook it five different ways.

Each week I will post a few clues, trivia, or some sort of hint for you guys to guess what in the heck this ingredient could be.  You can post your answer here or follow me on twitter and post it there.

When will the mystery ingredient be revealed?  You’ll have to check out my YouTube channel every Saturday to find out.  All recipes from the Brown Bag Secret Ingredient series will be posted here.

Please feel free to make suggestions or comments and subscribe to my twitter account and YouTube channel.

Let the games begin!

Here’s your first trivia clue:


Healthy Journey!


Roasted Chickpeas with Garlic and Sage

Looking for a healthy side dish or tasty snack?  Look no more!


Roasted Chickpeas with Garlic and Sage

(Recipe Adapted from: www.delicioustv.com )

2 c. chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3-4 (or more) pineapple sage leaves
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  If you don’t have foil or parchment paper, lightly coat baking sheet with cooking oil of your choice.
  3. Cut or tear sage leaves into small pieces.
  4. Put all ingredients on baking sheet and toss until evenly coated.  Make sure each chickpea is even coated with oil.
  5. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or longer.  Turn pan halfway through baking time.  Chickpeas should turn brown before removing from oven.
  6. While chickpeas are still hot, sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.
  7. Enjoy


Store leftovers in airtight container for up to four days.

Check out these link for more ideas:

Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas

Spiced Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas and Raisins 


Sweet Potato Chickpea Balls

I love this recipe.  It’s like the healthier version of falafel, but baked.  I wish I could bottle of the smell coming from my kitchen while baking these things.  I would be a very wealthy woman indeed.  The great thing about this recipe is that it’s simple, quick, versatile, and healthy.  If you don’t want to make meatless meatball versions, you can always make sweet potato chickpea burgers instead.  See, I told you this recipe was versatile!  Let’s dig in!


Sweet Potato Chickpea Balls

Makes: 4 servings

(Recipe Adapted from: www.self.com )

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas, cooked and drained

3 tablespoons tahini

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 small sweet potato, peeled and grated

1 cup panko crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas if using canned version.  Toss all ingredients except grated sweet potato and panko crumbs into a blender or food processor.  Blend until ingredients form a paste.  Texture should be similar to cookie dough.  Feel free to leave some of mixture chunky depending on your preference.
  3. Pour mixture into a bowl and mix in sweet potato.
  4. Once mixture is combined, divide into 4 portions.
  5. Then divide each single portion into four small balls.  You will have 16 balls when done.
  6. Pour panko crumbs into small bowl and roll and press each chickpea ball in the crumbs being sure to coat each one evenly.
  7. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  If you don’t have either, lightly coat the pan with cooking spray or any oil you have on hand.
  8. Place each chickpea on the sheet, about one inch apart and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn baking sheet halfway through cooking time.
  9. Enjoy!

Toppings/Dip Suggestions:

Tzatziki sauce

Hummus (see my Cucumber Hummus recipe)

Serving Suggestions:

Top off a plate of spaghetti squash with these babies.

Have as a side dish

Serve as an appetizer

Stuff inside of whole grain pita/wrap with plenty of veggies and a healthy sauce.


Blueberry Pie Protein Smoothie



Blueberry Pie Protein Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (40)

¼ cup rolled oats (150)

1 cup blueberries (83)

1/2 frozen banana, pieces (55)

1 cup spinach (7)

1 scoop protein powder, vanilla (120)

  1. *Soak oats in almond milk for 5 minutes to soften.
  2. *Throw all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Servings: 1

Calories: 455