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Baked Oatmeal with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Cacao Nibs Recipe

Baked Oatmeal with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Cacao Nibs Recipe

By Elizabeth Stark

I love to make sure my girls start their day with a wholesome meal, but lately, we’ve slipped into the cereal trap. Don’t get me wrong — cereal is great for busy mornings, but ideally, I’d like to get something more substantial in them for the day. Enter baked oatmeal. Not only can it be made ahead of time, but baked oatmeal reheats beautifully. This recipe features kid-friendly features like sliced bananas and chocolate chunks, plus a little something for the grown-ups in the form of wonderfully crunchy, bittersweet cacao nibs.

To keep things on the healthy side, I’ve cut back on the sugar a bit. If the oats aren’t sweet enough for little palates, try adding a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Baked Oatmeal with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Cacao Nibs

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Baked Oatmeal with Chocolate Chunks and Cacao Nibs

serves six to eight


  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped bittersweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large bananas, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, sea salt, and spices. Fold in the coconut oil.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and egg. Pour over the oats.
  5. Layer the banana slices on the bottom of the pan and then spoon the oats over them. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top.
  6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the oats have set and the top is a light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes, slice, and serve. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator, and reheat before serving.

Sausage, Corn, Potato and Cheddar Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Sausage, Corn, Potato and Cheddar Chowder in a Bread Bowl

By JulieVR

One of my favourite meals is a creamy, hearty soup – served in a crusty bread bowl I can tear apart and eat afterwards. It’s easy to do using those large kaiser buns you find in most bakeries – slice off the top and scoop out the innards and you have yourself an edible bowl. Thick chowders are best for serving inside – brothy soups tend to soak through the bowl too quickly. A single sausage adds a ton of flavour to this potato, corn and cheddar soup – it’s a great way to stretch a small quantity of meat to feed the whole family.

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Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

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Sausage, Corn, Potato and Cheddar Chowder


  • 1 spicy Italian sausage
  • canola or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1-2 potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 can sweet kernel corn, drained
  • 1 cup milk or 1/2 cup half & half (or to taste)
  • 1 cup grated old cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Squeeze the sausage out of its casing into a medium saucepan that has been drizzled with oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, breaking the meat up, until onion is translucent and the sausage is cooked.
  2. Add the flour and cumin and cook, stirring, for another minute. Stir in the broth, add the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Stir in the corn, and the milk or cream if you’re using it, and allow the chowder to return to a gentle simmer. Don’t let it boil, or the milk may curdle. Add the cheese and stir just until it melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Avocado Tofu Toasts: Healthy Snack!

Avocado Tofu Toasts: Healthy Snack!

By Kathypatalsky

These delicious Avocado Tofu Toasts combine silky sauteed tofu, speckled with spices, buttery avocado and lemon all sitting on top of a crisp tamari rice cracker. Whip up this healthy snack and feel good about all the yummy flavors you get to enjoy! Rich in protein and healthy fats..

Avocado Tofu Toasts

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Avocado Tofu Toasts

vegan, makes 6 toasts


  • 1/2 avocado, sliced into strips
  • 6 thin slices of firm tofu, blotted dry
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into wedges (garnish)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 6 sesame tamari rice crackers (extra-large variety)

tofu saute:

  • 2-3 pinches salt (to taste)
  • a few dashes of chili powder or chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp agave or maple syrup (optional, adds hint of sweetness!)
  • a few dashes fine black pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil for saute pan (safflower oil used)


1. Slice avocado and juice 1/2 lemon. Soak avocado in lemon juice while you prepare tofu.

2. Slice tofu and blot with paper towel so that the outside surfaces are nice and dry.

3. Heat a saute pan over high heat. When hot, add oil and sliced tofu. Add spices over top. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side.

4. Add tofu and avocado to rice crackers. Add pepper over top. Add optional Brazil nut garnish for some added nutrients! Serve.

Homemade Berry Jam Recipe

Homemade Berry Jam Recipe

By Kathypatalsky

Fresh berry season is just around the corner and it is fun and easy to whip up some homemade jam in a variety of berry flavors. Fresh jam can be served on PB&J sandwiches (to make them super special!) over top oatmeal, your favorite yogurt or ice cream. Also delicious served over top pancakes or waffles or simple spread on toast! Get this easy recipe and have homemade jam in a flash. Plus my add-in ideas to give your jam a creative spin!.

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Citrus Raspberry Jam

makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 large container fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups) - *Or try strawberries, blackberries or blueberries!
  • 1 cup pure orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 1 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional – helps thicken the final product)
  • pinch of salt


1. Dissolve the optional corn starch in the orange juice. Pour the OJ, zest and the raspberries into a sauce pot over high heat.

2. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture casually until it starts to boil. When it boils, turn the heat down a touch and continue allowing the mixture to simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Stir every so often so the berries don’t stick to the pan.

3. When the mixture is about the consistency of a thick oatmeal, turn off the heat and pour sauce into a separate container to cool. The sauce will thicken significantly as it cools.

Creative Jam add-in’s:

Chopped apples. Adds a rustic texture and sweetness. Plus the pectin in apples helps to naturally thicken jam.

Chamomile buds or tea. Add a hint of chamomile by adding a few whole buds to your simmering jam pot. Or substitute some of the orange juice with strongly brewed tea.

Cayenne. Add a spicy accent.

Cinnamon. Add a warm accent. Pairs well with strawberries

Vanilla. Add a touch of fresh vanilla bean or vanilla extract. Pairs well with blueberries.

Rhubarb. Rhubarb pairs well with strawberries.

Fresh mint. Add chopped mint as the jam is cooling for a unique fresh flavor.

Tip! Agar Agar (a tasteless seaweed) is also a wonderful all natural thickener to use in this recipe. 1/2 tsp dissolved according to package should be about right.

Guilt Free Turtle Brownies Recipe

Guilt Free Turtle Brownies Recipe

By Angie McGowan

You’ll never guess what I added to these brownies to make them more figure friendly and healthy. Applesauce? No way. Zucchini? nope. What was that? Of course not! It’s avocado. I removed the butter and added one large, over-ripe hass avocado as the fat in these brownies. It doesn’t make them taste funny, or like guacamole either. Just ask my 3 year old, they are good. It makes them even more dense and chewy than before. And as compared to butter it saves over 100 calories per serving, and 13 grams of fat. And if that wasn’t enough good news to convert you, remember avocado fat is the healthy vegetarian monounsaturated fat, as compared to the saturated animal fat in butter. I baked them in a 9 x 13 dish, so they are a nice flat brownie. Then I topped them with lots of roasted walnuts, and instead of unwrapping a gazillion caramels, I used jarred pre-made caramel sauce. It tastes the same, and is so much easier. Add a big scoop of frozen yogurt, and you’ve got one decadent (almost guilt-free) dessert.

Guilt Free Turtle Brownies

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Guilt Free Turtle Brownies


  • 1 large hass avocado, mashed until creamy
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted walnuts
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mash up avocado until very creamy and smooth with a potato masher. Add eggs and whisk until well combined. Add vanilla extract, sugars and salt, mix well. Add cocoa powder and flour, mix well. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes, or until brownies pass toothpick test.

2. Roast walnuts at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until fragant. Spread nuts over brownies and top with caramel sauce.

Asparagus Baked in a Paper Bag

Asparagus Baked in a Paper Bag

By Bellalimento

Yes, you read correctly, this asparagus is baked in a brown paper grocery bag. Yep, the large ones you get at the grocery store. I know, what you’re thinking because I must admit I thought my Mom had lost her mind the first time I saw her making this. She must have seen my look of terror and shot me that “wait and see” look. And wait I did, right in front of the oven because I was sure she was going to set our house on fire… guess what, she didn’t.

She’s been making this for years and so have I. It’s always fun to make for company because they have the same look on their faces as I did all those many years ago. I just wink and say “wait and see” .

It couldn’t be simpler. You’ll toss the asparagus in extra virgin olive oil and garlic, season with salt/pepper. You’ll chuck it into the bottom of the grocery bag and add the other ingredients. Fold the bag over itself and then most IMPORTANTLY you simply MUST be sure that you coat the entire bag in canola oil. You’ll want to use canola because it won’t smoke. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is with my hands.

I’m not sure what magic goes on inside that bag but it’s the most tender, perfectly cooked asparagus I’ve ever tasted.

So next time you’re at the grocery, ask for paper instead of plastic ; ) You’ll need it to whip up this scrumptious summer side dish.

More Asparagus Recipe:

Marinated Asparagus with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette

Sunflower Asparagus Dip

Asparagus Salad with Sweet Pepper Confetti

Asparagus Baked in a Paper Bag

What you’ll need:

  • 2 bundles asparagus – trimmed
  • 1/2 lemon – sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic – minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Into a large bowl, add: asparagus and garlic. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

3. Place asparagus into the bottom of a large brown paper bag. Add lemon slices and bay leaves.

4. Fold paper bag over itself so it lays flat. Place paper bag onto a rimmed cookie sheet.

5. Using your hands or a silicon brush, coat outside of brown paper bag with canola oil, making sure all areas are coated.

6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. To serve: CAREFULLY {steam will billow out} cut into bag and either serve directly from bag or transfer to a serving dish. Discard bay leaves.

Guac a Taco: Vegan Taco Stuffed Avocado!

Guac a Taco: Vegan Taco-Stuffed Avocado!

By Kathypatalsky

Serve your chips and guacamole inside an avocado shell with this spicy, bold, flavor-tastic Vegan Taco-Stuffed Avocado. Spicy soy chorizo is heated with melty vegan cheese then piled on top of some easy guacamole. Add some crushed corn taco shells and your guac-a-taco is served.

You can also serve with soft corn or flour tortillas and scoop the filling onto you tortilla.

Vegan sour cream is a nice topper too!

Vegan Taco

Cilantro Jicama Fiesta Slaw

Cilantro Cashew Cream Smothered Burritos

Guac a Taco

serves 1


  • 1 large avocado, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup Soy-rizo vegan chorizo (from trader Joe’s – or try another brand)
  • 1 Tbsp vegan cheese shreds
  • 1 Tbsp onion, diced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 lime, sliced (for squeezing and garnish)
  • 1 cherry tomato or 1 tsp diced tomato


1. Add your soy-rizo and cheese to a small cup and microwave on high for thirty seconds. Set aside.

2. Slice avocado and remove pit. Scoop one half of your avocado, plus about 2 Tbsp from the other half. and mash with the onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add additional guac ingredients like cilantro and jalapeno if you’d like.

3. Stuff the guac inside the less-scooped half of avocado. Add the cheesy soy-rizo too. Top with tomatoes. Garnish with limes and taco shells or tortilla chips. Serve!