Category Archives: Sweet Treats

All About Cantaloupe!

This week’s plant based ingredient is: Cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe is really nutritious, high in Vitamins C, A, several of the Bs and K.  It is also high in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

We eat a lot of cantaloupe in this house.  It’s a favorite of the kids and they like to eat it in bite-size cubes.  The beginning of the week almost always finds a container of cantaloupe cubes in the fridge.  A mere 2-3 days later and the kids have licked it clean.  While we did enjoy a good amount of plain cantaloupe cubes this week, I decided to see just what else this juicy orange fruit might be good for.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good in pasta, smoothies, salsa and even bread!

 

Orechiette w/ Cantaloupe and Avocado

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I left out the mozzerella and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  I loved it.  A perfect light summer meal.

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

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  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 frozen bananas

Blend.  Enjoy.

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Cantaloupe Quick Bread

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I was intrigued by a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it contained eggs, oil, white flour and 2 full cups of white sugar.  Yikes!  I didn’t think it would be too hard to veganize and I was right.  I replaced the oil with smashed banana and because of the sweetness of the banana, I was able to cut down the added sugar to only 1/2 cup of maple syrup.  I replaced the eggs with “flax eggs” and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  Here is the new, healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pureed cantaloupe
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the flaxmeal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease 2 9×5 loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flax eggs, smashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and cantaloupe puree.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture and combine, but do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from loaf pans and enjoy.

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This bread is delicious and just sweet enough.  It has gone great with my morning coffee as well as acting as dessert.  The kids all love it too!  You can’t really taste any cantaloupe flavor, however.  This quick bread would be a great use for that overripe cantaloupe you let sit on your counter for one too many days.

 

 

Cantaloupe Salsa

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I’m a huge fan of peach salsa, so when I came across this recipe for cantaloupe salsa, I knew I just had to try it.  It’s light and refreshing…perfect for a summer appetizer.  We ate it with tortilla chips, but if you are an omnivore, check out the link to see how the original recipe was paired.

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And now for an exceprt from my girls’ favorite book (for the moment anyway), What Color Is Your Apple?:

“Fruits and vegetables come in many colors.

Each one a yummy treat!

Red, orange, yellow, purple, green.

Crispy, crunchy, sweet!

What is your favorite color food to eat?”

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets and Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

I’m so impressed with my kids this week. The girls (2.5 years old) have been eating the Roasted Beet and Walnut Spread like it’s candy. They’ve been dipping crackers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and spoons into this stuff all week. I have a feeling this is going to go in the rotation quite often. They were asking for more today, but they already ate it all! And my son (6 years old) is asking when we are going to make the Strawberry Beet Smoothie again. FYI: Trader Joe’s sells packaged roasted peeled beets. Obviously, they are more expensive than buying loose beets, but if you don’t have the time to roast them yourself, they are a great alternative. Beets are so nutritious that I say go for it!

I’m wrapping up “Beet Week” with 2 outstanding recipes! The first is a light summer salad and the second a fudgy decadent dessert.

Citrus Farro Salad w/ Golden Beets

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large golden beets, scrubbed and trimmed
  • Beet greens, chopped
  • 1 cup orange slices
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked farro

 

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut beets in half or quarters and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with another piece of foil and roast until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool.IMG_1073 IMG_1074
  3. Peel off the skins, then cut the beets into bite-size chunks
  4. In large bowl, combine cooked farro, beets, beet greens, celery, and oranges. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the farro mixture and toss well to combine.

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Vegan Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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I mean, who doesn’t love a good cupcake, right?  And if it’s packed with nutrition, even better.  These do have more sugar than I would normally use, but they sounded so intriguing, I just had to try them.

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Mmmm, fresh out of the oven.  I could ever so slightly taste the beet flavor, but I can pretty much guarantee if you didn’t know it was in there, you wouldn’t taste it.  So, feel free to serve them up to your healthfood adverse friends.

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I have just recently discovered the blog where this recipe came from, The Minimalist Baker. I’m already a fan.  Lots of good looking recipes there, so take a look around after you download the recipe for these cupcakes!

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Are you a beet lover?  How do you like to eat your beets?

Next up will be all about Cantaloupes!  It’s M’s favorite food.  I can’t wait to experiment with all the yummy ways to use it.

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

This smoothie tastes more like a decadent dessert than breakfast and that’s why I love it so much.  Of course, my kids love it too and since there is NO sugar or sweeteners, I feel good about serving it to them.

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Cherries are high in potassium, Vitamin C and beta carotene and are loaded with antioxidents.  They taste pretty darn good as well!  Fresh cherries are so good in the summer, but I keep frozen cherries in my freezer most of the time to make smoothies such as this one.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 heaping tbsp natural peanut butter (or 2 tbsp if you really love PB like I do!)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well in a high speed blender and enjoy!!

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This smoothie makes the perfect breakfast, snack or dessert!  And I bet it would make awesome frozen pops, but I haven’t tried that….yet.

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No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

What does one do when their sweet tooth is screaming loudly, but there are no sweets in the house?  You whip up a batch of these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites and about 5 minutes later you are licking your fingers and that sweet tooth has been silenced.  From an 8×8 pan, I got 25 of these little bites.  Each one is very filling thanks to the plentiful fiber and protein.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up, but would also be great for breakfast, a wonderful addition to any lunchbox and, of course, as a little something sweet after dinner.

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No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites (Vegan)

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups NATURAL peanut butter (peanuts and salt should be the only ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Transfer to an 8×8 square pan and press mixture firmly so the top is even.  Cut into 25 small squares and enjoy!  Store in the fridge.

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These got the stamp of approval from all three of my little ones.  M requested one in his lunchbox today too.

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Both chia seeds and flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, minerals and antioxidents.  Just be sure to grind whole flaxseeds into flaxmeal as your body doesn’t asorb the whole seeds well.  You can also buy them already ground.  Store both of these seeds in the fridge.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.  Let me know if you try them!

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Carrot Pineapple Muffins

I was going to post another delicious soup recipe in honor of yet another snowstorm coming through, but then I thought I better of it.  Instead, I’m going to give you a wonderful sunny muffin recipe that will have you dreaming of spring in the midst of this crazy winter (not that you probably need any help dreaming of spring these days…I’m already on the countdown til spring break!)

Carrot Pineapple Sunshine Muffins

Click above link for recipe.

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I swapped out the raisins for dried cranberries.  I also have been having much luck using applesauce in place of oil in sweet recipes and this was no exception.  A great way to skip some calories and fat.  Give it a try!

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These would also make a great lunchbox addition for kids.  I sent one with my son to school today for snack.

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Enjoy!!

I’ll be back soon with some of those yummy soup recipes I was referring to.  I have a GREAT one I can’t wait to share!

Butternut Squash Corn Chowder and Coconut Banana Bread

I absolutely love soup and when the temperature outside is -14 (not including windchill) there is nothing I would rather eat.  I was craving soup so badly the other day around lunch time that I happily waited until about 2p to eat lunch just so I could whip up at batch. This soup satisfied all of my cravings; it was so good!!  I purposely made a big batch so I could enjoy it for several days.  I think I might have enough for one serving left and I can’t wait for lunchtime today!

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Please excuse the poor photo.  It was an afterthought after I’d already eaten half of the bowl.  I promise it tastes so much better than it looks!

Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

  • 16oz bag of organic frozen corn (I’m sure fresh corn would be even more amazing in this!)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can navy beans (or other white bean), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

In large stockpot over medium high heat, saute diced onion in olive oil until translucent.  Add diced squash, potatoes and corn and saute 3-4 minutes.  Add vegetable stock and seasonings and increase heat to high.  Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 12-15 minutes until squash and potatoes are tender.  Add half of the can of beans and simmer a few more minutes.  Turn off heat and with a handheld immersion blender, puree soup until about 3/4 of the pot is pureed (or to the consistency of your liking…I wanted it fairly smooth).  Add in the remaining half can of beans and stir to heat through.  I wanted some whole beans left in the end, thus why I added these at the end, but you can certainly add them all at once if you want it smoother.

Enjoy!

On to the next yummy recipe!

I had some bananas sitting on the counter that were brown and spotty yesterday.  I usually slice these up and freeze them for smoothies or “ice cream,” but  I already have some of those in my freezer, so decided to bake something instead.  I found this delicious looking recipe on Pinterest and it sounded so good!

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The batter was quite thick and I thought this bread was going to turn out really dense, but it is surprisingly moist and light.  Neither the banana nor the coconut overwhelm and it was the perfect after dinner treat with a cup of green tea once the kiddos were all asleep!

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On tap for dinner tonight are Pumpkin Enchiladas, a recipe from My Whole Food Life.  They sound so yummy.  I hope they turn out  great.  I’ll be sure to let you know.

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies (with a surprise ingredient!)

Just in time for Halloween festivities, these Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies are sweet and delicious…and pretty healthy too!  They are vegan and if you use gluten-free oats will be gluten free also.

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I opted for the chocolate version of the recipe in the link.  I used 1/4 cup cocoa powder, but still used 1 cup of Old Fashioned oats.  I did not pulse my oats first, but wish I would have.  Next time, I will process the oats into flour first.  I think that might firm them up a bit more.  They did hold together, but they were very soft.  Still delicious though!

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By the way, the surprise ingredient is BEANS!  I used black beans since I made the chocolate version.  Black Beans are a health super food, delivering 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein in just one cup.  Read more about why black beans are so good for you HERE.

If you want a blondie version, use white beans.  And you can’t taste the beans, I promise.

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Trick-or-Treat!  Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!