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Healthy Food For Living by Lauren Zembron - 6M ago

Indulge me for a minute… no, actually indulge YOURSELF. Red Wine Hot Chocolate is a thing, and it is delicious!

We are on the other side of a winter storm which brought snow followed by freezing rain and then single digit temperatures, and I can’t think of a better drink to warm up with after navigating the frozen tundra that is currently Massachusetts.

The ingredient list is short, it comes together quickly, and the combination of red wine and chocolate is – unsurprisingly – quite good (the smooth acidity of the wine keeps the hot chocolate from being too cloyingly sweet). You could certainly simply add wine to instant hot cocoa, but making it from scratch yields a cup of unrivaled rich chocolatey goodness.

I’ll just be over here cuddled up with a mug of this blissful beverage until winter is over.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 3-5 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cup milk, preferably organic (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 cup good quality dark chocolate (chips or finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup good quality dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup, optional

Instructions

Combine the milk and chocolate in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat. Slowly heat the mixture, whisking often, until the chocolate has fully melted into the milk. Add in the red wine and stir until heated through. Taste and add maple syrup for additional sweetness, if desired.

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I am well aware that the pumpkin spice phenomenon has gotten completely out of control, (I mean, what?!), but I still love the flavor of those warm spices combined together.

These energy bites are an easy and quick way to get your pumpkin spice fix without having to turn on the oven or stove. They have only a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen if you’re accustomed to making gluten-free goodies. They don’t have a ton of added sugar, but they will satiate your sweet tooth after lunch or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Let pumpkin spice season commence!

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites (No Bake, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (12 bites)

  • 1/3 cup natural unsweetened cashew butter (peanut or almond butter may be substituted, but the mild flavor of cashew butter is preferred for this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, certified gluten-free if desired
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond flour, plus more if needed (for the batch photographed in this post, I used an additional 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • optional add-ins: chocolate chips, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, etc.

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, add cashew butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract; stir until fully combined.

Add in the rolled oats, almond flour (starting with 1/3 cup), and pumpkin pie spice; stir until fully combined. If mixture is super sticky, add more almond flour – one tablespoon at a time – until the dough is no longer sticky but still holds together.

Scoop out the dough using a cookie scoop or tablespoon measure, and roll into balls using the palms of your hands.

Place bites on a parchment paper-lined plate and chill in the fridge for at least one hour before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the fridge.

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Massachusetts is finally seeing some seasonally cooler temperatures, but it’s still not quite fall here yet. Although I am – as always – excited for autumn, I’m squeezing every last drop out of fresh summer produce.

I loaded up our weekly Friday night homemade pizza with sweet & juicy grape tomatoes, luscious avocado, and just enough crispy bacon to make it decadent.

It’ll be just a matter of weeks (or days?!) until I start craving butternut squash, apples, and pumpkin everything… but for the moment I’m loving the last of summer’s bounty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ball homemade or store bought pizza dough (we love the Whole Foods brand)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2-4 Tbsp canned tomato sauce or your favorite marinara/pizza sauce (amount depends on your preference)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (mozzarella or a blend of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 4 strips uncured thick cut bacon, chopped and cooked in a skillet until just underdone, (it will finish cooking in the oven), drained on paper towel
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters depending on size
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Drizzle a rimless baking sheet with olive oil and spread around to evenly coat.
  2. Dust a pizza peel or wooden cutting board with flour and roll out dough until you reach desired thickness. Carefully transfer dough to the oiled baking sheet. Evenly spread the tomato sauce over the dough, then top evenly with the grated cheese and partially cooked bacon.
  3. Place in oven and set timer for 8 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet from under the pizza and continue to bake the pizza directly on the oven rack for an additional 5 minutes, or until the crust reaches desired crispness.
  4. Remove pizza with a pizza peel or cutting board, top with chopped tomatoes & avocados, slice, and serve.

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As a parent of young kids, I inevitably eat way more ice cream in the summer than I otherwise would. If I don’t order one for myself, I end up eating at least a few bites from the monstrous “single” scoop cones that – these days – are roughly the size of my kiddos’ heads. Lily’s go-to ice cream flavor is purple cow: a Massachusetts specialty featuring black raspberry ice cream with dark and white chocolate chunks; whereas Jack pretty much always orders chocolate ice cream. A few years back I posted a recipe for Purple Cow Frozen Yogurt, so I thought I’d concoct a healthy chocolate ice cream recipe this time around.

Banana ice cream – affectionately referred to in the blog community as “nice” cream – has been around for a while and is simply frozen bananas pureed into soft serve consistency. There are endless possibilities for flavor additions, but (not surprisingly) I went with peanut butter and chocolate for this one. Bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder, and unsweetened peanut butter are the ONLY ingredients   needed for this recipe… but I promise you it tastes like there’s cream and sugar in there.

John said if this doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, he doesn’t know what will, Lily said I should sell it, and Jack asked why there was peanut butter in his chocolate ice cream (HA!). I say try it, and you will undoubtedly love it!

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Chunk Chocolate “Nice” Cream {vegan, no sugar added}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (5 servings)

  • 5 overripe (brown skinned) bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen overnight in an airtight container
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened smooth peanut butter, well-stirred and preferably refrigerated, divided use
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

Place the frozen banana slices in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. This will take some time (about 3-5 minutes)

Add in 1/2 cup peanut butter and cocoa powder and process until fully combined and smooth.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spoon in half of the nice cream; spread into an even layer.

Dollop half of the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter over the nice cream using a teaspoon measuring spoon.

Spread the remaining nice cream over the peanut butter chunks.

Repeat step 4 with remaining peanut butter.

Place in the freezer until scoopable, about 1-2 hours.

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I’m sharing with you a recipe from my e-cookbook The Kid’s Daily Plate today for two reasons:

  1. It is currently Gay Pride Week, and I wanted to show my support for the LGBTQ community by posting a recipe that mirrors the rainbow flag. #loveislove #lovewins
  2. These skewers are a fun way to get your kids to eat a colorful array of healthy produce.

My kids devour a wide variety of fruit at an alarmingly fast rate, but I know some kids are hesitant to venture past their comfort zone of one or two different kinds. These skewers feature a rainbow of fruits with a naturally sweetened dipping sauce on the side, which will hopefully motivate even the pickiest of eaters to try something new.

Rainbow Fruit Skewers with Banilla Dipping Sauce from The Kid’s Daily Plate

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 miutes

Ingredients (varies)

    Ingredients for the skewers:

    • Hulled strawberries or raspberries, preferably organic
    • Cubed peeled mango or cantaloupe
    • Cubed peeled pineapple (or pineapple canned in 100% juice) or peeled sliced banana
    • Peeled & sliced kiwifruit, preferably organic
    • Blueberries, preferably organic
    • Purple grapes, preferably organic

    Ingredients for the banilla dipping sauce:

    • 1 peeled very ripe banana
    • 2 Tbsp milk, preferably organic
    • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, any fat percentage, preferably organic
    • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

    Instructions

    Instructions for the skewers:

    Carefully thread the fruit onto wooden skewers or chopsticks in the order listed to make a rainbow pattern.

    Serve with banilla dipping sauce (recipe follows).

    Instructions for banilla dipping sauce:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until very smooth.

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    Although as a kid I always chose ice cream over slushies, and as an adult I always choose margaritas on the rocks over the frozen variety, I’m currently crushing hard on wine slushies. A boozy fruity treat that cools you off and is super fun to drink… what’s not to love?!

    I started off with my current favorite rosé wine, which is dry (I’m not a fan of sweet wines) and moderately priced. Feel free to use whatever rosé you prefer.

    To the chilled wine, I added some frozen blueberries and a couple of these frozen pitaya dragon fruit packs. If you’ve never heard about, seen, or tried dragon fruit, let this recipe be your reason to do so! Naturally a vibrant hot pink color, and delicious without being cloyingly sweet, dragon fruit is a great addition to smoothies, and – as it turns out – wine slushies.

    Blend up the three ingredients, and you’re rewarded with this gorgeous beverage:

    Happy unofficial start to summer!

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    Blueberry Dragon Fruit Frosé (frozen wine slushie)

    by Lauren Zembron

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Cook Time: 0 minutes

    Ingredients (2 servings)

    • 2 cups dry rosé wine, chilled
    • 2 (3.5 oz) packs frozen dragon fruit (pitaya) puree, preferably organic
    • 2 cups frozen blueberries, preferably organic

    Instructions

    Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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