Tag Archives: raw

Guilt-Free Caramel Dip

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What I love most about switching to a whole foods, real foods lifestyle is that I don’t have to deprive myself of things that I love.  Yeah, they might end up looking a little different, but I don’t live a life of “without.”

In fact, that’s the thing that drives me crazy about people on diets. And it’s why I hate diets.  If I want to eat a cookie, I’m going to eat a cookie. BUT, I take pride in choosing the best cookie I can for my body–by making them with the best ingredients I can and for only eating until satisfied without binging.

That’s why I love this Guilt-Free Caramel Dip.  It’s one of those things that you’ll eat and wonder how it tastes like Caramel.  But it DOES!


Sure, it won’t taste like sugar and oil and corn syrup.  It has a fresh, light, fruity caramel flavor.  The amazing thing is that you can enjoy things that “diets” might consider forbidden.

Ingredients of the popular Marzetti Caramel dip:

Ingredients in this recipe: dates, water/almond milk, vanilla, coconut oil.

Now, I wouldn’t sit down and eat this whole bowl in one sitting.  In fact, it kind of rich, so I don’t need to.  Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful treat that you can feel good about serving your kids or any dinner party.  Plus, it’s naturally dairy free for those that are concerned about that.

I hope you enjoy this like I do!


-Serve with fruit, or on oatmeal, or your favorite ice cream.  If you want it more like a drizzle, you’ll need to add more liquid.

-If you are nut-free, choose the water option for the liquid in the recipe.

-If this isn’t sweet enough for you, try adding a little pure maple syrup.

-You can buy Medjool dates at a health food store.  I buy mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods!

-This dip tastes amazing the second day, so feel free to make this the night before you need an appetizer or dinner party dessert. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Guilt-Free Caramel Dip
  • 1 [packed] cup Medjool dates, pitted and cut in half
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk or water (if you use water, save the water you soak the dates in and use that)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ t sea salt
  1. Soak the dates for about two hours to get them very soft.
  2. Drain and reserve liquid if you are using water.
  3. Add all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if necessary.
  4. You will need to stop and press the sides down with a spatula often.
  5. Adjust taste to your liking.
  6. Chill and serve!


Tuesday Tip–Freezing Bananas

Bananas are awesome.  I know–that’s such a creative intro to a blog post.

But really, they are.

Versatile is the word I think of.

Egg replacers. Ice Cream.  Cream for smoothies.  Dried snack.  Chocolate covered goodness.

Many of my smoothie recipes call for frozen bananas, and while it might sound simple, sometimes the simple things confuse us.

I remember in the beginning of my journey….I’d read certain things, and really just want someone to SHOW me and TELL me exactly what to do because I was afraid I’d screw something up.  I probably did anyways! 😉

When you are freezing bananas, make sure they get RIPE first.  With brown spots.  Just like this:

peeled bananas

Say hello to my sweet Cocker Spaniel Allie!!  She can’t help herself either…

When the bananas are browning, they are at their sweetest.  I promise it makes a difference in the taste of smoothies/ice creams.

To freeze bananas, all you need to do is PEEL the banana, BREAK in half, and PLACE in a freezer bag. Put in your freezer, and in a couple of hours, they will be frozen.


Frozen bananas give smoothies a creamy-like texture, which makes me feel like I’m eating a frosty from Wendy’s!

Here are 2 of my favorite chocolate banana recipes (also check out the smoothie page):

1. Chocolate Milkshake

Chocolate Milkshake 2

2. Peanut Butter-Chocolate Milkshake


To make Nana Nice Cream (my term for Banana Ice Cream):

Nana Nice Cream

1. Cut the bananas in 1-2 inch chunks.

2. Freeze in freezer bag.

3. Pull out desired amount of frozen bananas (a couple of bananas total should work) and let sit on the counter until not rock solid.  Don’t let them get too soft, just a few minutes.

4. Put in a food processor and blend until creamy.  If it breaks up like ice, you know they were too firm.  If they are soupy, you know they were too soft.

5.  Optional add-ins:  cocoa/cacao powder, vanilla, fruit, granola.

6. Enjoy!


I hope you work with Frozen Bananas this week!  Post some pictures to the FB wall this week!!


How to Peel Garlic Easily

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the smell and taste and pretty much everything about fresh garlic.

I know there are many products out there that make using garlic easy, but to me, there’s something about peeling it and using it fresh that makes my recipes pop.

I will admit, though, that it really gets on my nerves and sometimes it feels like a waste of time.  You may know this trick–but for those that don’t, this saves me TONS of time prepping!

If you are peeling 3 or more garlic cloves, I think this is the easiest way to do it–

Step 1:

Put your garlic cloves in the center of a kitchen towel.


Step 2:

Wrap the towel up and hold in the center.


Step 3:

Here’s the fun part!  Beat (yes, beat!) the towel on the counter for about 5-10 seconds.  Don’t be afraid to be strong here.  This is totally therapeutic for me 🙂

Then, unwrap the towel, and VOILA!  Your garlic is peeled!!



If I am using 2 or less garlic cloves, I just use this simple trick:

Using the side of a knife, press down on the garlic clove until the peel loosens and comes off easily!


I hope this helps your cooking/prep time in the kitchen, AND helps become therapy like it does for me 🙂


Have a blessed Tuesday!

Lemon Tahini Dressing

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If I could reach into that photo and fix that one piece of lettuce hanging off the side…..

If this were a hashtag, it would be #thingsthatdrivemecrazy.

But in reality, many times I feel like that scraggly piece of lettuce hanging off the bowl.

Like—if you could have seen my ensemble when dropping the kids off at school today. Baggy sweatpants, huge rain boots, yesterday’s ponytail.  I’m fairly confident I brushed my teeth. Well, maybe…. I know, I’m so glamorous.  I do believe this is called MOTHERHOOD. 🙂

That piece of lettuce is the metaphor for my scraggly life–sometimes barely making it through, especially these days.

And this isn’t even disease related.  It’s called TERRIBLE TWOS.  And don’t tell me that THREES are worse.  I have one of those kids too.

Now, the transition to the salad?  I’m not sure I have one!

Let’s try it….


So I need a salad to have energy to keep up with 3 boys under the age of 6?  Let’s go with that. Mainly because it’s the TRUTH! That’s probably why I have more salad recipes than any other–to keep my interest! Plus salads are easy peasy.  AND I really, really love them.  And that’s the truth!

Now, let’s talk Tahini–not to be confused with Tamari (which is gluten free soy sauce).  Peanuts are to peanut butter as sesame seeds are to Tahini.  Make sense now?

It has an interesting aroma, slightly nutty, but oh so good.  It’s rich in minerals like magnesium and calcium, various vitamins, and is a great source of protein.

Tahini has a very unique interesting taste, and it’s a wintertime favorite for me because I crave saltier, heavier foods in the colder months.  Because this dressing has a saltier taste, I love pairing it with sweet or tart fruits like dates & raspberries on a salad.

With your leftovers, feel free to drizzle on roasted vegetables, or eat more salads 🙂

Give this a shot, and I would LOVE to know what you think!

P.S. You will find TAHINI in the same aisle as peanut butters, almond butters, etc! If you can’t find it, try the organic section or a health food store!

Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon Tahini
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • ¾ t sea salt
  1. Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously.
  2. Store in refrigerator for about a week!




Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad


I know Brussels sprouts get a bad rap.  They’re kind of like spinach.  People just think “yuck” when they hear the words without giving them much chance.  But I’m here to set them free.

Surprisingly, I never tasted them until a few months ago (I’ve told y’all my journey has been SLOW!) when my awesome husband made me some roasted Brussels sprouts with a Honey-Sriracha sauce.  Totally blog worthy.  And it’s coming.

But until then, you can enjoy this beautiful fall-tasting salad and all its glory.  I hope it changes your mind on this little boogers, because they really are incredible!

This salad will keep well in the refrigerator well without getting soggy, although mine never lasted that long 🙂

Salad plate

I served this salad for dinner one night as a part of a “cold salad plate” with raw fruits & veggies.  On the plate were two of my all-time favorite salads, Vegan Tuna Salad & Cranberry-Quinoa Salad! You’ll also see this Buffalo Hummus on the plate too!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed & cut in half
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 6 T olive or grape seed oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 T maple syrup
  • 1 t coarse ground mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, shred the carrot and Brussels sprouts.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add all other salad ingredients and stir.
  4. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  5. Pour over salad and stir.
  6. Chill for best results.
  7. Enjoy!