Feb 052014

Stick-to-your-ribs filling, my all natural and sugar free oats with nut butter and coconut oil are full of healthy fats, fiber, zero cholesterol and only 3 grams sugar. A perfectly delicious way to start your day!

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

My Nana always told me white sugar and white flour is the devil. Back over thirty years ago she already knew so much of the information that comes out nowadays as the latest and greatest health news.

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Along with the flour and sugar comments from her, I would hear….eat mostly plants, pills are not the answer, you are what you eat, fast food will kill us.

She knew about the benefits of cayenne pepper, turmeric, macrobiotics, legumes ~ you name it, she was well versed in it.

A lot of my passion about natural food comes from my Nana. I remember browsing the aisles of small natural food stores, with their distinct earthy smell and natural light streaming through the windows. Life was slower, calmer and a little more relaxed when I stepped through the doors.  I could browse around and choose a healthy snack like dates rolled in shredded coconut.

She recently passed away right before Christmas ~ just shy of her 100th birthday. We miss her dearly but her long life was a testament to her health.

These oats are an ode to my Nana. She served me a similar breakfast every morning when I would stay with her.

Nana ~ we love you. Cheers to your long life!

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oats with Nut Butter and Coconut Oil

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 cup rolled oats**
1 3/4 cup unsweet vanilla non dairy milk or water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 ripe banana
4 tsp nut butter
4 tsp coconut oil
1/4 cup nut/seed mix (raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds etc.)

**Be sure to use gluten free oatmeal for a gluten free meal


1. Heat oatmeal, milk, salt, coconut and banana over medium high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until oats are soft, about 7-10 minutes.

2. Divide oatmeal mixture into four mugs; top each with 1 tsp nut butter, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 Tbsp nut/seed mixture.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 252.6
Total Fat 16.2 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 161.3 mg
Potassium 208.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 4.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.4 %
Vitamin C 1.8 %
Vitamin D 10.2 %
Vitamin E 20.5 %
Calcium 19.3 %
Copper 7.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 10.0 %
Magnesium 8.2 %
Manganese 12.7 %
Niacin 6.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 5.9 %
Riboflavin 2.8 %
Selenium 0.8 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 3.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nov 052013

Warm Harvest Apple Breakfast features warm apples, pie spices and lots of healthy seeds over a bed of any grain you choose. In this case I chose my favorite grain – oats – but in their purest form. The oat groat.

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Can you feel it in the air?

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Harvest Apple Breakfast

The cooler weather, scents of sage and thyme, fall leaves and the holidays just around the corner.

Before you (and I) start hyperventilating about all the things we need to get done, let’s stop and take a breath.
Are you the kind of person that can’t wait for the holidays or one that gets so stressed out that you wish they would go away? (Not mentioning any names – my husband Chris.)

I saw this well-timed Jim Rohn quote on facebook and it reminds me to stop and focus on the important people and things in my life. Obviously there needs to be a balance of getting things accomplished and having time; instead of plopping down in front of the TV, this quote motivates me to use that time to be with people that mean something to me or do something nice for myself instead.  I remind myself that I’ll never get that hour back that I watched TV.

Jim Rhone

Instead, maybe I’ll do something like this with my daughter (ironically I also got this off facebook so it looks like I need to put the facbeook down. See, look at how aware I’m becoming. Ha!)

Hand Ornament

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Harvest Apple Breakfast

This breakfast is one of those ways you can slow down and share a warm meal with the people you love.  Oat groats take about 45 minutes to cook but you won’t have to babysit them. Put them on the stove with the other ingredients and know that in just under an hour a very hearty and delicious will be ready for you and your family.  Oat groats are stick-to-your-ribs filling so the serving size is 2/3 cup.

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Cheers to you, my readers and many thanks for all the times you visit me and share in my life. May your holidays be warm and blessed!

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Harvest Apple Breakfast

Warm Harvest Apple Breakfast

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


2/3 cup oat groats (Gluten Free for Celiac)
3 cups water
1 banana, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp Mila chia, ground
2 Tbsp flax, ground
2 Tbsp unhulled sesame seeds, ground
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp dried cranberries


1. Heat oatmeal, water, banana, apple, milk, salt, cinnamon, chia, flax, unhulled sesame seeds, raisins and cranberries in a small saucepan over medium high heat until bubbling; cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes; remove cover, stir and simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts 
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 228.4
Total Fat 8.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 171.6 mg
Potassium 238.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.6 g
Dietary Fiber 9.4 g
Sugars 9.4 g
Protein 8.0 g

Vitamin A 1.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 8.2 %
Vitamin C 5.5 %
Vitamin D 3.1 %
Vitamin E 7.2 %
Calcium 15.7 %
Copper 11.1 %
Folate 2.1 %
Iron 15.5 %
Magnesium 6.3 %
Manganese 9.0 %
Niacin 1.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 4.4 %
Riboflavin 2.3 %
Selenium 0.7 %
Thiamin 3.4 %
Zinc 2.6 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Sep 202013


Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

 Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips ~ a unique breakfast idea.

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Are you the kind of person that sticks with their tried and true breakfast? Or are you someone who mixes it up on a whim?

Either way this dish is for you! If you love your tried and true breakfast then try this for dinner, and for you fly-by-the-seat of your pants sort of people – hang on to those britches!

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

 I have done this flavor combo in the past before switching to a plant based diet.  It was so wonderful that I tried it again with hummus but this is the first time I’ve used banana chips.  What I like about the chips is that they offer another layer of texture over this savory version of oatmeal.  Don’t get hung up on the fact that oatmeal is typically eaten at breakfast – in this case think of it more as a stand-in for rice but creamier.  I love the aromatic cumin and the fresh cilantro when mixed with the classic black beans, onions and garlic. The bananas just give it that sweet hmmm  factor.

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats with Sweet Banana Chips

Cumin Scented Black Beans and Savory Oats
with Sweet Banana Chips

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredients on sale at Native Sun Natural Food Market, Sept 7-Oct 6, 2013


1 cup gluten free (or regular) old fashioned oats
2 cups vegetable broth, divided (plus 1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp salt, divided

1 Tbsp broth or water
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh jalapeno
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp black pepper (or less)
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped dried banana chips**
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or culantro, chopped


1. Heat 1 3/4 cup broth and 1/8 tsp salt in a small sauce pan to a boil; add oats, stir, reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp water or broth in another small saucepan; add onion and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently; add garlic and jalapeno, cook an additional 2 minutes; add cumin, chili powder, black pepper and 1/8 tsp salt, cook 1 minutes; add beans and 1/4 cup broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes; taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

3. Top about 1/2 cup oats with generous 1/4 beans, 1 tbsp chopped banana chips and 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 263.1
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 619.4 mg
Potassium 438.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 45.3 g
Dietary Fiber 11.8 g
Sugars 4.1 g
Protein 12.1 g

Vitamin A 6.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.9 %
Vitamin C 3.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.2 %
Calcium 3.8 %
Copper 12.5 %
Folate 39.3 %
Iron 19.8
Magnesium 20.0 %
Manganese 31.9 %
Niacin 3.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 15.6 %
Riboflavin 5.2 %
Selenium 2.5 %
Thiamin 22.9 %
Zinc 8.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dec 242012

Mint and chocolate are one of my most favorite flavor combinations.  I love that aromatic freshness with the rich chocolate.  When I noticed that the chocolate mint coconut milk was on sale at Native Sun I just had to give it a try…..but what to do with it other than put it in coffee or drink it straight….somehow the oatmeal idea popped into my head and I thought that sounded like a fun option. If you like chocolate and mint I think you’ll like this too!

Creamy Choco-Minty Oatmeal

 If you are looking to save calories you can simply make the oatmeal with water and then pour a bit of the chocolate mint milk on top – but if you can splurge on this creamy version it is well worth it.

This recipe is not overly sweet so feel free to add some additional agave or honey if desired and for Mila lovers – this is a perfect recipe to stir a Tbsp into.

I know what I’ll be making for breakfast on Christmas morning!

Creamy Choco-Minty Oatmeal

 Creamy Choco-Minty Oatmeal

Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Food Market, Dec 7 through Jan 6 2013


1/2 cup rolled oats** (for gluten free diet be sure to use gluten free oats)
1/2 cup vanilla un-sweet non-dairy milk
1/2 cup chocolate mint coconut milk (plus extra for topping at finish)**
1/2 tbsp agave (or local honey for non-vegan)
Dash of coarse sea salt
Dash of cinnamon
5 vegan chocolate chips (or regular semi-sweet for non vegan**)


1. Mix oats through cinnamon in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat – reduce heat and cook about 5 to 6 minutes or until desired thickness.

2. Spoon into a bowl and top with extra chocolate mint coconut milk and chocolate chips.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 286.9
Total Fat 9.5 g
Saturated Fat 3.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 328.0 mg
Potassium 100.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 48.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.0 g 

Sugars 19.1 g
Protein 5.5 g
Vitamin D 12.5 %
Vitamin E 25.0 %
Calcium 15.1 %
Iron 12.3 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
iboflavin 2.2 %
Thiamin 10.0 % 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dec 192012

Happy Holidays!  Before I get to the last of my rolled cookie recipes…..(this one posted because of MANY requests)….Samoa No Bake Energy Bites 

No-Bake Samoa Bites

No-Bake Samoa Bites

….I want to show some love to an amazing lady I met through my businessAndrea Peltier.  This is my second post in my “inspirational women” series and in this world of negativity and chaos it is so nice to share a little something positive and uplifting about someone.  Is there anyone in your life you can do the same for today?  Just wait and see how great it makes you feel! Besides – who doesn’t love a good story?

Andrea is the mother of three – in fact, we met up at a convention last October in Orlando and she brought her four week old baby while her husband is deployed overseas.  He will not be back until April and will then get to meet his beautiful baby,  I was so impressed with her fitting her children into her life and showing them the importance of being self-confident and self-sufficient – these kids will definitely be a step ahead in life.

Andrea is on the right from a recent party.

  I caught up with Andrea again recently at a recent Christmas party, during which we had a white elephant gift exchange and (though my donation was a chia pet) I ended up with the most amazing gift – two handmade ornaments that said “health” and “wealth” with a card that noted how many times the ornaments we choose have meaning to us and are symbols of what we love and desire. SO true.  I fell in love with these ornaments and shared one with my dear friend Jodi for being an amazing business partner and friend.  (I’ll have to order us another set so we can each have both Jodi!)

Andrea – thank you for inspiring me to take the initiative to get up and out and live life – no excuses!

If you would like to order handmade ornaments from Andrea please contact her at PAndreaE5@gmail.com.


Now – for these COOKIES!

I know I have now posted several variations of these round cookies so this variation is the last.

This recipe, that originated with my friend Theresa, has been passed around so many times to various business partners because it is SO amazing.  Peanut butter, chocolate and coconut make this cookie more like a decadent girl scout Samoa than a healthy energy bite! Everyone that eats these cookies asks where they can find the recipe so I made them for a recent KyV Farm workshop.

I love that I was able to start a business with so many inspirational women AND a food that has 3000mg of plant based Omega3′s and can be used as egg replacer in raw cookies.   This is a GREAT way to get lots of Omega 3s into kids without having to get them to swallow a huge pill or eat fish, and I love that they can help with making these.

For those of you that haven’t heard of this amazing food, Mila, and want to know more – click here.

 Samoa No Bake Energy Bites

Serves about 24
Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


2 cups rolled oats
1 cup creamy peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
2/3 cup honey or agave
2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup Mila
3/4 cups mini semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt


1. Mix all ingredients; refrigerate 30 minutes; roll into 24 1-inch balls and store in an air tight container.

Nutrition Facts
24 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 217.1
Total Fat 12.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 53.1 mg
Potassium 91.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Sugars 15.3 g
Protein 4.7 g

Vitamin B-6 2.6 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 1.8 %
Folate 2.0 %
Iron 4.0 %
Magnesium 4.3 %
Manganese 4.6 %
Niacin 7.2 %
Phosphorus 5.8 %
Riboflavin 1.2 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 2.2 %

*Percent Daily Values for Samoa No Bake Energy Bites are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Oct 152012

Curried Pear Crumble

Mildly sweet, a bit salty and aromatic curry….VERY light and satisfying. 

Those were the words I jotted down when I was writing up this recipe.  We weren’t especially hungry after dinner but wanted something  sweet.  I opened the pantry door and Ziggy Marley was staring out. That was it! The Ziggy Marley organic Coco’mon curry flavored coconut oil, I got from Native Sun!  Lots of times I find curry dishes with raisins so I knew I could create a dessert with this. I grabbed the oats and agave too and whipped this dish up in a minute.

If you have regular coconut oil, that will work too but if you can find the Ziggy Marley brand, I say go for it.  His website features this quote, “If I was given a choice and saw something that was genetically modified and saw something else from nature, I would choose the stuff that’s from nature. I don’t want to put anything into my body that’s not natural, that wasn’t created by nature, because we are a part of nature.” What’s not to love?!

My four year old daughter and I shared this crumble – she called it pear pie – and we both loved it.

Curried Pear Crumble

Curry? In a dessert? Yes! Get a little crazy!

This recipe will appeal to both the folks that love curry and those that aren’t too fond of it because the amount of curry added is so slight and the curry in the coconut oil is not overpowering.  But if you are a curry lover I encourage you to add more curry powder!  There are many different curry blends and we tend to think of curries with savory dishes, but the one I chose had some nutmeg and ginger in it along with other spices such as black pepper and cumin – all these flavors come together and compliment the sweet pears and raisins.

What I love about natural desserts where you incorporate fruit is that they actually have vitamins and minerals that you won’t find when you rip open that prepackaged dessert. Those of you that follow me regularly probably note that I leave the long list of vitamins and minerals under the calories fat and carbs; why? Because that is what is important for your body to function!


Curried Pear Crumble

Curried Pear Crumble

Serves 2
Vegan and Gluten Free
(Be sure to buy “Gluten Free” oats if you have Celiac)
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale from October 7th through November 6th



1 ripe red Bartlett pear**
3 Tbsp rolled oats (Country Choice)**
1/2 tsp curry coconut oil (Ziggy Marley brand)**
1 dash curry powder
1 dash coarse grind sea salt
1 tsp agave nectar (Madhava)**
1/2 Tbsp raisins


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice pear and remove core; layer in a small baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix oats, coconut oil, curry powder, salt, agave and raisins in a small bowl; spread evenly over pears; bake 12 minutes or until top is brown and pear is soft.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 114.2
Total Fat 3.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 78.0 mg
Potassium 126.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Sugars 4.3 g
Protein 1.4 g

Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin B-6 2.0 %
Vitamin C 5.7 %
Vitamin E 2.7 %
Calcium 1.9 %
Copper 9.8 %
Folate 3.6 %
Iron 5.6 %
Magnesium 8.0 %
Manganese 39.9 %
Niacin 1.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.6 %
Phosphorus 8.9 %
Riboflavin 3.4 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 8.8 %
Zinc 4.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 202012
Blueberry Pie Oatmeal
Growing up, my parents and I would go camping regularly in Sandwich Massachusetts which is on Cape Cod. 
Every visit to Shawme Crowell State Park we would visit a little restaurant called the Marshland to get a dozen blueberry muffins.
They were big and soft and sweet and blueberry-licious with a little crystallized sugar crust on top.
Now that my camper repairs are nearing completion (you can read all about my repairs of water damage here), camping has been on my mind.  I miss Cape Cod and the big fat blueberry muffins from the Marshland! 
Pic of camper I just took this morning!
As a tribute to those blueberry muffins I created this dish that incorporates the Mila I’ve added to my diet.  Mila is the raw seed blend I told you all about, with it’s super high omega3s, fiber, calcium and tons of vitamins and nutrients.
Mila is awesome for weight loss, digestion, energy and brain function.
In fact I’ll share a little secret, I was on an antidepressant called Bupropion until just recently, because of Mila, I’m now fully off of ALL pharmaceuticals and have replaced them with simply this blend of raw, organically grown seeds and feel so much better.
If you would like to try some for yourself you can order here! There’s an old saying that says, you’re worth it. 
Sunflower from KYV Farm

This oatmeal is just as delicious, yes I’m serious, as the original, but healthy enough to eat every day.

This simple breakfast is a little sweet, a little cinnamon and very blueberry. 
Blueberry Pie Oatmeal
The vanilla almond milk makes the oatmeal creamy and the swirl of blueberries is blueberry muffin all over.  It makes me I feel like I’m back at the Marshland right now!
Blueberry Pie Oatmeal
 Summer Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal with Mila
Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free


1 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk, plus a dash extra to moisten the blueberry mixture
Dash of salt and cinnamon
1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 tsp raw agave (or regular agave or honey for non vegan will work)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp Mila (I used 3 Tbsp though)


1. Bring almond milk, salt and cinnamon to a boil in a small pot over medium high heat. Reduce heat and cook 5 to 7 minutes; stir in agave.

2. Mix blueberries with mila in a bowl, add a dash of almond milk to moisten. Pour oatmeal over top and swirl with a spoon.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 309.5
Total Fat 10.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 335.8 mg
Potassium 321.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 45.9 g
Dietary Fiber 12.1 g
Sugars 10.0 g
Protein 9.3 g

Vitamin A 10.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.3 %
Vitamin C 3.2 %
Vitamin D 25.0 %
Vitamin E 53.9 %
Calcium 28.6 %
Copper 1.3 %
Folate 1.4 %
Iron 18.8 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 16.7 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.0 %
Phosphorus 15.9 %
Riboflavin 3.7 %
Selenium 0.1 %
Thiamin 11.7 %
Zinc 0.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Apr 192012
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.

For an ideal pairing we look for wines that that compliment Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa we look at the tahini, sweet potato, citrus and mango.

The Wines selected to taste are Warwick ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Barboursville Viognier.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers
with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

These sweet-spicy burgers are super easy to put together – only six ingredients. They can be baked, grilled or pan seared.  The mango salsa a spur of the moment inspiration that compliments the burgers so well it is a match made in heaven.  Mangos are on sale for a dollar and avocado is super cheap right now, too.  I had a jalapeno on hand to add a kick and some fresh Florida oranges and limes to add a nice tang.  For a side, I a added some nice steamed edamame with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Time Saving Tip: To save time for the salsa, simply buy a quality store bought mango or citrus salsa in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery!

From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as  ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm.  It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment.  In the 60′s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan.  After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.  She was the first female wine maker in South Africa, thus the ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon is named as a tribute to Norma.

The winemaker’s notes, “The wine has a deep and intense ruby red colour. The nose reveals lots of red berries and sweet black cherries, complemented by sweet vanilla and chocolate oak background. The smooth ripe, round tannins make this wine easy to drink while still retaining a full body. The balanced acid creates a firm finish that is complemented by a lingering sweetness.”

Barboursville vineyards reside along side the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, owned by Gianni Zonin of Gamnbellara Italy who is a 7th generation winemaker. This Viognier Reserve is grown by the general manager-winemaker Luca Paschina who has a degree in oenology; the study of all aspects of wine. 

It looks like I have found my calling – I must go back to school for an oenology degree. I wonder if this is an offering at FSU.  If not, I will simply have to attend the the Instituto Umberto in Alba Italy as Luca Paschina did.
Gregg from Broadbent Selections sent me some additional information on the vineyard that I thought was interesting, “this second-generation estate house at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only 3 residences he designed for his friends. The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire at Christmas, 1884, and returned to the elegant Georgian villa next door for several generations, now The 1804 Inn”

The Viognier, pronounced Vee-‘O’-nyaaay, is fermented in steel with tropical and floral tones.  It does well with aging of 4 to 5 years.  The photos of the vineyard are gorgeous-I would love to visit and take some of the cooking classes offered at their restaurant.


Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale

Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 The Dish

Rating of Nice.  I would definitely make these burgers again as long as I could make the salsa with them.  I think that is what really made the dish.  It had all the elements I love - sweet from the mangos and sweet potato, aromatics from the cilantro and a spicy kick from the Cajun seasoning and jalapeno peppers.  The tahini wasn’t a prominent flavor, it just added enough to give it a nutty hint in the background. These were awesome with a bit of Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce on the side. 

Category #2 The Wine

Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 gets a rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’ve started a little wine journal now so I can sit down and write the first things that come to mind.  I’m still amazed when I go and look at reviews afterwards and the reviews actually coincide with my perception.  For this Cabernet the first thing I wrote down was chocolate/cocoa and no aftertaste. After sitting and swirling a bit I added perfect balance of dry and sweet, not too heavy.  Smoky mesquite.  Great with grilled foods.  My husband happened to be cooking on the grill at the time which may have had some influence there.

Virginia Voignier Reserve, 2010 also gets a rating of DAMN THAT’S GOOD.  I had to write that one in caps for emphasis.  On first taste I wrote honey, mango and tad sweeter than Chardonnays, higher percentage of residual sugar ?  I loved the honey-lemon color.  I also wrote down grass reminiscent of summer fresh cut grass which is interesting because in a review of the wine I read “herbal frame” – I wonder if my interpretation was the grassiness.

Category #3 The Pairing

Both get a rating of Yum.  Each brought the dish up to another level in it’s own way.  If I had rated the dish higher, the wines would have elevated the pairings to a DTG. 
The smoky-cocoa cabernet brings out the spicy elements of the dish and has a light enough body to not overpower the sweet potato burgers. 
The Viognier complimented the sweetness of the mango and sweet potato; the wine acquired an added layer of a lemony-citrus flavor when paired with the dish-refreshing and smooth.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. Please call first to ensure they are in stock.  You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing.  Anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Sweet Potato Tahini Burgers

with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

Inspired by Lunch Box Bunch
Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


1 can of sweet potato
2 cans cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup oats, pulsed in magic bullet, blender or food processor to grind it a bit

1 mango, seeded and chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Add all burger ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times, so just mixed.  Form into patties and place on a baking tray rubbed with oil.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Turn on broiler to high at the end to crisp outside – about 1 to 2 minutes or until browned.

2. Meanwhile mix the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. 

3. Top each burger with a generous heaping of salsa and serve with Barboursville Viognier or Warwick First Lady Cabernet.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 381.5
Total Fat 8.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 113.4 mg
Potassium 1,199.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 67.5 g
Dietary Fiber 14.4 g
Sugars 8.3 g
Protein 15.8 g

Vitamin A 185.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 20.7 %
Vitamin C 65.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.8 %
Calcium 18.3 %
Copper 35.7 %
Folate 42.5 %
Iron 36.5 %
Magnesium 31.7 %
Manganese 78.9 %
Niacin 8.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 12.9 %
Phosphorus 27.3 %
Riboflavin 14.1 %
Selenium 5.2 %
Thiamin 25.9 %
Zinc 19.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Please note that as an ammendment to the Black Bean Soup post I would like to change my rating of the Pares Balta to a Damn thats Good. I’ll definitely be ordering more of because of it’s summer drinkability factor as well as the new information provided that this wine is produced with absolutely now animal products so it’s perfect for a plant based diet.

Apr 102012
I finally got around to trying Happy Herbivore’s super easy bean burgers.  These will now be my go-to recipe when I need something super quick and easy. 
This will work with any can of beans and some oatmeal.  By using the broiler you can speed up the cook time to around ten minutes and get a nice char on the outside of the burger.  My daughter had a blast mushing the burgers with her hands and rolling them into balls. Something I never let her do when we cooked with meat as I was afraid of her getting sick from the raw meat.  We made little sliders for her and the burgers for me.  She ate every bite of her slider.
I paired these with some left over fresh salad I made from the lettuce, carrots and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from KYV farm and some added some frozen sweet potato fries - broiled right along with the burgers.  Couldn’t have been much easier.
If you have extra these will freeze well too.
Ten Minute – Five Ingredient Black Bean Burgers
Inspired by Happy Herbivore
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (or use a 14.5 oz can)
1/3 cup Gluten Free instant oats (or 1/2 cup rolled oats pulsed in the food processor)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning
1 Tbsp coarse ground prepared mustard (or whatever you have)
2 Tbsp Gluten Free Ketchup
1. Preheat the broiler on high and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.** Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; divide into four burgers or eight sliders. Bake first side for 6 minutes; flip and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.
2. Top with whatever you like!
**Check the label on the cooking spray to ensure it is gluten free.  It’s best to simply use an oil mister to be sure.

Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving (burger with no toppings)

Calories 162.3
Total Fat 1.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 675.9 mg
Potassium 305.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.6 g
Dietary Fiber 8.5 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 8.9 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 3.0 %
Vitamin C 1.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.0 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 9.0 %
Folate 32.0 %
Iron 12.5 %
Magnesium 15.1 %
Manganese 19.1 %
Niacin 2.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 12.0 %
Riboflavin 3.5 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 16.5 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Mar 272012
These breakfast bars were a unplanned weekend creation. Originally they were intended to be a dessert; however, with over 5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein and 0mg cholesterol, they are perfect for a filling and satisfying breakfast as well. I sprinkled a bit of coarse finishing sea salt over top and that brought out more of the sweetness of the agave. When they are just a bit chilled, the creamy filling with the tang of lemon is perfection – a healthy version of the Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies I loved as a child. They should still be enjoyed in moderation due to the calorie, carb and fat content, but that also means that these will stick with you longer than the empty calories of processed foods.

Complex carbohydrates are slower burning and the fat content also helps regulate the blood sugar to keep it from spiking and then dropping causing you to be even hungrier.


Also over the weekend I attended a family dinner.  My mom was a March baby so to celebrate her birthday we went over to TPC Sawgrass for dinner.

For anyone that is local, Nineteen at TPC has a wonderful buffet on Sundays – brunch in the morning and a dinner buffet after 5pm for $15.  They have lots of vegetarian/vegan options; two salads, a pasta bar with lots of veggies and a red sauce, gorgeous fresh fruit and green beans.
Me and Mom
Dad and Mom


Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars

Breakfast Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars
Oat mixture inspired by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Clean Food, Terry Walters
Serves 16
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Oat mixture

2 cups rolled oats, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 cup brown rice or all purpose flour, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour
¾ cups unsweet shredded coconut, I used Bobs Red Mill Unsweet Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup oil
¾ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

“Cheesecake” Mixture

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil, agave, lemon and vanilla extract; stir until well combined.

2. Blend the cashews, lemon juice, agave, salt and vanilla in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth and well combined.

3. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray and press half the oat mixture in. Spread the cashew mixture evenly over. Pour the remainder of the oat mixture over the entire surface evenly and press gently.

4. Bake 40 minutes or until top is browned. Refrigerate and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
16 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 395.6
Total Fat 23.0 g
Saturated Fat 7.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 179.2 mg
Potassium 84.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
Sugars 23.1 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 10.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.2 %
Vitamin C 3.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.8 %
Calcium 7.6 %
Copper 3.4 %
Folate 9.3 %
Iron 23.0 %
Magnesium 6.8 %
Manganese 42.8 %
Niacin 13.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.0 %
Phosphorus 8.2 %
Riboflavin 7.0 %
Selenium 7.6 %
Thiamin 15.5 %
Zinc 4.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.