Food For Thought: We Share Hope Fundraiser

Chances are if you are from my neck of the woods (Rhode Island to be exact), you have been to Seven Stars Bakery. Their bakery items are flaky, delicious and downright addicting. I love their scones! Doesn’t matter which flavor, they are all my favorite! Seven Stars Bakery is more than a business. It is a community. They are committed to those who live, work and play in this little state. That is why on January 2nd 2017, they are having a fundraiser for We Share Hope, a non-profit food rescue that brings food to those in need all over Rhode Island.

We Share Hope is a non-profit food rescue run by 100% volunteers that share their time, talent and resources to help those in need. WSH supports over 30 communities at over 80 locations in Rhode Island getting food to food pantries, section 8 housing, homeless shelters, churches, military housing, children’s recreation centers, soup kitchens and more.

we share hope

Why January 2nd? Well, January 2nd, 2017 happens to be Seven Stars Bakery 16th Anniversary! What better way to say “THANK YOU” for keeping them in business all these years by giving back to the community. 100% of the proceeds from all three of their locations will go directly to We Share Hope. You heard it correctly, 100% from ALL three locations. Every $1.00 donated = $63 worth of food for those in need. Think about how many families they can feed? How generous is Seven Stars Bakery? This is why they are a local favorite. They offer amazing products with amazing service and have a generous spirit behind them.

How You Can Help
Visit one of their three locations January 2nd 6:30am-6pm

820 Hope Street, Providence
342 Broadway, Providence
Rumford Ctr, East Providence

If you don’t find yourself in the neighborhood to purchase a delicious treat or cup of coffee, consider donating directly to We Share Hope through this donation link. Remember, every $1.00 donated is worth a great deal of food for someone in need! I know I will be heading to Providence tomorrow to grab myself a scone (or three) and knowing I helped make a difference right here in my community.

Happy New Year & Namaste~
Joy

Egg Nog Truffles: A Taste Of The Holidays

Egg nog. You either love it or hate it. I ADORE egg nog. There is something magical about the notion that a drink can invoke all the wonderful “feels” of the holidays! For me, egg nog is synonymous with the holidays. I love finding other ways to enjoy it!  I’ve tried egg nog cheesecake, egg nog ice cream, egg nog coffee…  As much as I love it, sometimes I am not in the mood to drink it! But honestly, most times I don’t want all the calories and full belly feeling I get after I enjoy a glass! I saw a recipe online for egg nog truffles and decided to give it a try with a few tweaks! Although the recipe doesn’t contain actual egg nog, the flavor you have come to love is all there, I promise!

The recipe is quite simple and you don’t even need to turn your oven on to enjoy these little mounds of joy! I chose to add actual rum into my recipe, but if you wanted to make these alcohol free just sub the alcohol out for rum extract! I highly recommend keeping your truffles refrigerated until you are ready to serve them. You can also freeze them in batches and take out certain portions when needed! This is a perfect make-a-head recipe as well! Let’s get to what you need to make these delicious treats.

egg nog truffles

Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 Tbsp of dark run ( I used Sailor Jerry’s)
24 oz. white chocolate
2 cups gingersnap cookies crumbs (gingerbread cookies would be great as well)
Nutmeg and cinnamon for topping *optional

Step 1: Cook the cream, cream cheese & rum in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir often, until the cream cheese melts and the mixture is warm to the touch. *Do not boil this mixture. Crush the cookie crumbs and set aside.

Step 2: Stir in 12 ounces of white chocolate to the cream cheese mixture once you removed pan from heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add in the crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs. Place into a mixing bowl. cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Step 3: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the truffle mixture and form into small balls using your hands and place on the baking sheet. Once you have made all the truffles, pop them into the freezer for about 1 hour.

Step 4: Melt the remaining 12 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. Dip the frozen truffles into the melted chocolate and tap off the excess. Place back onto the making sheet and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. You can even add holiday sprinkles if you wish!

Remember, store these in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer (covered) for 6 months and take out when needed. I hope you enjoy making these as much as I enjoyed eating them! What is another way you enjoy the egg nog flavor without drinking it? I would love to learn more recipes for enjoying this flavor all year round!

Happy Holidays!

egg-nog-2

Operation Gratitude & The Halloween Candy Buyback: A Sweet Way To Say You Care!

Halloween is over! Our houses are filled with mounds of sugary treats and kids are starting the trades with their friends. Chances are, your kids gathered enough candy to feed a small army. That’s perfect. That is where Operation Gratitude- Halloween Candy Buy-Back comes to play. I participate in this every year. It’s not because I am a “mean mom” and don’t let my kid have candy. It’s FIRST and foremost because it’s a great cause and SECOND I am a “mean mom” who doesn’t allow her kid to have 20 pounds of candy!

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-25-46-am

In all seriousness, this program works for us. With Landon’s allergies on top of his food sensitivities (food dye makes my kid nothing short of BONKERS), we are not left with much for him to enjoy. He enjoys the experience of Halloween and sure, getting a few special pieces of “SAFE” candy are always a bonus. He also knows that the more candy he collects, the more candy will be sent overseas to the troops. The candy doesn’t just represent a sugary delicious treat, it represents a good deed and that we appreciate what the soldiers are doing for our country.  It reinforces the motto “sharing is caring”, something we say on a daily basis.

You can search on their website for drop-off locations for this program or can send it yourself. All shipping information is located on their website. Chances are there are many in your area! But, if you are local to me in Little Rhody, consider dropping if off at Pezza Orthodontics in Cranston, RI. The office is having their 4th Annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back Party TOMORROW Thursday, Nov 3 from 2-5pm. Bring your leftover and unwanted candy and they will be having prizes for gift cards!  There will be food, drinks and more! They are sending everything in care packages to our troops via Operation Gratitude! No donation is too small or large. If you can not make that time, feel free to drop it off at the location earlier as well! Or drop it off to me and I will make sure they get the donation!
Namaste~
Joy

halloween1

Comfort Food Gone Clean: Chop Suey

Comfort food. I know there has to be more people out there like me that crave it after a bad day! Or how about just any day for that matter? Comfort food is, well comforting. It does something to our insides. That is GOOD & BAD. It tastes delicious and can actually make us feel better when we treat ourselves to our favorite food. However, chances are the food in question is full of fat, sodium and carbs and really has no nutritious value to it. Fear not, I am determined to makeover some of the most well-loved comfort food dishes out there! Comfort Food Gone Clean. I will turn them into delicious, lean & nutritionally valued meals for all to enjoy! First up- Joys Chop Suey.

Chop suey is usually filled with sodium and carbs, and really no amount of veggies that go into it matter much. Other than the protein of choice, chop suey is not something you want to consume on a weekly basis. I, however have come up with a dish that you can eat daily (if you wish) and is PACKED with nutrition. Not only is it delicious, it is so easy to make! I challenge you to try the recipe and let me know your thoughts! Remember, it will never taste “exactly the same” as traditional chop suey, but it comes pretty darn close and definitely will satisfy your craving!

Ingredients:
99% lean ground turkey (or chicken)
1 large organic yellow pepper
1  organic Vidalia onion
1 package of organic mushrooms
1 cup of Butternut squash noodles (I bought them already made at Whole Foods)
1 15oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
Spices to taste preference:
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
4 long stems of basil (diced)

Recipe:
Dice up the pepper, onion, mushrooms and saute in oil of your choice. When that combination is almost done cooking, add the butternut squash noodles to the same skillet. Once the noodles have cooked (about 5-7 minutes), remove the veggies from the skillet. Add a small bit of oil back to the pan and place the ground turkey in. Top with all the seasonings (minus the basil) and cook until browned. Once the turkey is cooked, add the can of tomatoes and bring to a slight boil. Push the turkey mixture to the sides of the skillet, creating a empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the veggies back to the skillet and reheat for a few minutes. Once you feel the veggies have reheated enough, mix all the ingredients together. Portion out 4 servings and top with fresh basil.

Comfort Food Gone Clean

Super easy, one pan and so good! I don’t know what else to say other than you have go to try this! Be creative with it. Add different chopped veggies, your favorite seasonings etc. Maybe try it with zucchini noodles as well? This was packed full of protein and fiber and ZERO carbs! It was so satisfying, it is on the menu weekly from now on. Try it and let me know what you think! For those friends who are following the 21 day fix meal plan, you’re in luck! It is 21 day fix approved! It’s time to make mealtime delicious & nutritious!

Namaste~
joy

 

No Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites

Let’s be honest for a minute. When you see a recipe called, No Sugar Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites do you really think they are going to be good? I mean, sure sugar is the devil since it makes you crave more of it throughout the day. And let’s not forget the sugar crash and belly bloat! But, alas sugar makes those sweets you love even sweeter! And if you are anything like me, I love me some sweets! I was so skeptical about this recipe. I decided to make it one night when I really wasn’t even in the mood for sweets. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and still be stuck with a craving after all the work! But, I was so wrong! These are really, really, really (did I say really) good! And simple. Good. And. Simple.

Ingredients:
3 Ripe Bananas
1/3 cup Apple Sauce (no-sugar added/natural)
2 cups of Oats
1/4 cup Rice Milk (Almond, Flax, Coconut)
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (I use dairy free chips)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

As you can see, the ingredients are all very easy to find and most might even have it already in your pantry! Also, notice, these cookies are egg free, dairy free, nut free, no oil, no sugar and are Vegan! Great allergy friendly recipe!

Directions:

The directions are simple. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. Spoon onto cookie sheet (I sprayed with a coconut oil spray) into small mounds. Press in the center to flatten a bit. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. The shape stays the same as how you placed on the cookie sheet. Watch for a little color to show on the bottoms or cut one open to see how it looks! If you want these to come out with a smoother texture, place your oats into a food processor then add to the mix. I like mine a little heartier, so I keep the oats as is! You can add raisins, dried cranberries or a dollop of nut butter to the batter as well! The possibilities are endless!

No sugar chocolate chip banana bread bites

*Tip: After they have cooled, store in an air tight container in the fridge. They keep longer and you can place in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy some warm, gooey goodness whenever your craving hits. Enjoy!

Namaste~
joy

PB & J Sandwiches Made NUT-FREE

A good old fashioned PB & J sandwich used to evoke many pleasant memories from my childhood. However, PB & anything now evokes a queasy feeling in stomach that only be described as fear and anxiety. This simple, yet tasty combo can send my boy into anaphylaxis shock. When more than half his lunchroom brings this sandwich to school, needless to say I worry. He has had a nut allergy since he was barely a year old. Not a day goes by without thinking about all the possible outcomes. It is just something we have gotten used to. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, and I am thankful his reactions have been few and far between.

As his mom, and former lover of peanut butter it is now ridden from my diet. I do crave that PB & J sandwich on a hot summers day at the beach or late at night for quick snack! There are many products on the market nowadays. This is great for the food allergy community, but not all of them are quite good! Sorry, but it’s the truth! I was happy to find alternatives that actually tasted good! I have narrowed down my favorites for making a tasty, nut-free PB & J sandwich!

 

Lunchbox Ready: Just thaw & enjoy! Perfect for lunch, after school snack or trips. Really anytime is the right time to enjoy! 

Dr. Praegar’s Sunwiches: Sunflower seed butter with grape or strawberry jelly! Only 200 calories, 4grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein! These crustless wonders pack a nutritious bite, made with ingredients you can recognize! Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.14.39 PM

Annie’s Homegrown Pea B&J Pockets: Featuring 9g whole grains, these crustless sandwiches are layered with real strawberry fruit spread and golden pea butter made from a legume variety that’s cousin to the green peas you scooted off your plate as a kid.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.13.57 PM

Make Your Own Sandwich: These nut free butters are the real deal. Pair it with your favorite bread and jelly or add some bananas and marshmallow fluff! Or just eat if right from a spoon! I won’t judge! 

Don’t Go Nuts Organic Chocolate soy butter: Their bestseller! Almost 2X more protein & fiber and 1/3 the sugar per serving as chocolate-flavored hazelnut spreads!  It features organic cocoa. Way better than Nutella!

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.14.23 PM

 WOWBUTTER Creamy Soynut butter: 1200mg OMEGA-3 essential oils for good health; peanut butter has 0mg! Best thing about this product is that it comes in CRUNCHY as well! It tastes like peanut butter- but better!

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.14.12 PM

Even if you don’t have an allergy, these are great to have in the house for your kids to bring to school or playdates. Allergy parents truly appreciate when other moms & dads go out of their way to make their kiddo feel safe around food!

Food should bring people together, not tear them apart!

Fun Foodie Friday: Shakeology Mug Cake

We all have seen mug cakes right? A few ingredients mixed together in a mug and pop into the micro and out comes a cake! About a few months back on one particular day,  I found myself looking at the clock and realizing how late it was. My first thought was; I still have so much to do before I can go to bed. My second thought was that I didn’t drink my Shakeology yet!  I was in the mood for something sweet. So, I decided to make a  Shakeology Mug Cake! My friends all rave about them, so I decided it was time I tried it for myself.

Shakeology Cake

It was so easy. And so delicious. Did I mention it was so easy? Even if you don’t drink Shakeology, any protein powder will do. You can satisfy your sweet tooth all while watching your weight, adding protein to your diet and doing so in under 2 minutes! Everyone has time for that!

Shakeology Mug Cake Recipe:
Serving: 1 serving, 1 1/2 Red containers (21 day fix equivalent)

1 scoop of Shakeology/protein powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt (my preference, but any salt will do)
3 Tbsp. of water
1 egg

Optional Toppings *
Fruit, nut butters, honey, seeds, coconut flakes, whipped cream…

Directions:
In mug, mix together the Shakeology/protein powder with the baking powder and salt. Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add in the egg and water. Mix until most of the clumps are gone. Place in your microwave for no more than 90 seconds. If this is your first time making this, microwave for 60-70 seconds first. Some microwaves are a tad stronger. Mine usually cooks perfectly in 80 seconds! I like my interior to be a little gooey. It reminds me of a molten lava cake!  Remove from the mug and add your toppings! ENJOY!

What’s your favorite mug cake recipe? What toppings do you like? I would love to hear your take on this (healthy) dessert!

Namaste~
Joy