Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Is Right Rice Right for You?

I was introduced to Right Rice in my New Hope Blogger Box and have had the opportunity to try two different flavors (spanish and thai curry). I love the versatility of the product, it meets my needs. It is a great blank canvas that can be made into a masterpiece with the addition of a few things!

Right Rice is Simple and Fast

Right Rice is a complete protein so it does not NEED to have anything accompany it to make a meal. I like it as a side dish as well as a main. It is simple to make and can be done 5 minutes after water boils. Many things can be done to make Right Rice just right for you:
  • Stir in nuts and seeds
  • Stir in vegetables
  • Stir in tofu or a protein
  • Stuff a bell pepper

I love to turn Right Rice into a rice bowl for a meal. I layer on vegetables and a protein and have a satisfying meal. Pictured below is Right Rice (thai curry) with tofu strips (sauteed in curry powder and olive oil) and roasted orange bell peppers and zucchini. One package of Right Rice made two rice bowls for dinner.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mover Over Pumpkin Spice, Here Comes Peppermint

Peppermint is a popular flavor during the holidays

The fresh taste of peppermint offsets many of the indulgent choices people make over the holidays. Peppermint not only tastes good, but it has health benefits too.

Peppermint Invokes Nostalgia

Peppermint is a flavor that brings back feelings of childhood. We all want to return to a simple time where enjoying a candy cane with your friends afterschool was the most pressing thing that needed to be done! 

Peppermint Has Health Benefits

Ancient cultures have used mint as a digestive aid to reduce gastric distress. That tradition has been passed along and is still prevalent today. When you see peppermint choices everywhere you look this holiday season, consider giving in to the temptation once-and-a-while. It might just be good for you!

Peppermint Reduces Daytime Fatigue

Studies have shown that adults consuming a peppermint oil capsule had less cognitive fatigue than their counterparts that did not have the capsule. Studies have also shown that people who are in a room with peppermint oil being diffused are less sleepy than those in an odorless room.

Peppermint Oil Reduces Menstrual Cramps

Peppermint is a proven muscle relaxant. Women who took peppermint extract capsules and those that took NSAIDs both experienced a reduction in menstrual cramps. Peppermint is a natural remedy that caused less nausea and diarrhea than pharmaceutical drugs.

Peppermint Unclogs The Sinus Cavity

Menthol, an active component in peppermint, improves the perception of airflow in the nasal cavity. Due to its antiviral properties, menthol is known to also reduce infection-induced sinus clogging.

Peppermint Calms an Upset Stomach

Studies on people with gastrointestinal disorders have found that peppermint reduces frequency, duration, and severity of abdominal paint. 

Peppermint Decreases Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Rosmarinic acid is a compound found in peppermint, as well as rosemary and other plants in the mint family. Studies have shown that people and animals who took a supplement experienced fewer allergic symptoms.

Peppermint … All Year

Peppermint flavor can be found 365 days of the year because it not only tastes good but has health benefits. This aromatic herb in the mint family is most often used as a flavoring in breath mints and candies as well as brewed as a caffeine-free tea. The leaves of peppermint contain several essential oils, including menthol, menthone, and limonene. Menthol is the extract that provides the recognizable minty scent and cooling effect on taste buds.

Disclaimer: “This post (or portions of this post) was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.”

Friday, November 1, 2019

Invite Aronia Berries Into Your Life

Aronia Berries ... Where Have You Been My Whole Life?

Recently I have become aware of Aronia Berries also known as chokeberries. For some reason, they have passed me by for many years!

Research concluded they have medicinal benefits

These small, dark berries are packed with plant antioxidants and provide many health-promoting properties.According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that aronia berries may prevent the growth of colon cancer and have protective qualities for those experiencing breast cancer. Further research has shown that aronia berries boost the immune system and reduce inflammation associated with diabetes. Studies has also shown that the berries have insulin resistant properties and may be helpful in preventing diabetes.

The berries are packed with nutrition

Aronia berries contain 10% of the RDA for vitamin C so they are a great addition to your diet during cold and flu season. (The Native Americans used the berries as a cold remedy.) These low calorie, high fiber berries also contain folate, iron, and vitamins A and E.

There are many uses for the berries

Many people do not eat the berries as they have a mouth drying effect. Aronia berries are generally found used in juices, jams, syrups, teas, and wines. Tohi has a great product containing aronia berries. The beverages come in a variety of flavors like the blackberry raspberry pictured here.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Plant Based Dairy Alternatives

Plant Based Dairy Alternatives

Plant based dairy alternatives are very popular. For years nut and soy based products have filled the space in the marketplace. They are facing more competition each day. The new products fill the space for the people who are seeking dairy free and are unable to consume nuts and soy.

Sesame Milk 

Sesame milk is a great product for the consumer who wishes a product that tastes like a nut milk but is more sustainable. For the consumer who is concerned that it takes 1 gallon of water to produce 1 almond, sesame milk is a great alternative. Sesame milk contains sesame and pea protein. Each serving is 8 grams of protein and includes calcium and vitamin D.  I enjoy drinking Hope & Sesame sesame milk and using it in recipes like Sesame Milk Chia Pudding.

Oat Milk

Oat milk production is simple. Gluten-free oats are soaked in water, pulverized in a blender, strained, and packaged. For the consumer who does not wish to make it at home, many companies have entered the marketplace so there is a chance there are a few options in your local store! Typically, oat milk has more fiber and protein than almond milk, but its calorie count and fat content is higher. Oat milk's advantage is that it contains more B2, B12, Vitamin D, and phosphorus than almond milk helping boost metabolism, energize the body, and prevent disease. I have found that oat milk is thicker than almond milk. Some brands have a bit of oat crumbles as residue in the bottom of the carton, so I suggest you shake the carton each time before using it! I enjoy drinking oat milk and have been working on recipes using it.

When looking for oat milk in your local store, look for Malk Sprouted Organic Oat Malk Original. Malk is dedicated to conscious sourcing and has pursued The Detox Project's Glyphosate Residue Free Certification, guaranteeing the oats used in the product are not contaminated. 

Disclaimer: “This post (or portions of this post) was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.”

Friday, July 19, 2019

Protein Bites Featuring Cocomels

I enjoy making changes to tried-and-true recipes to add some new life into them. Once I find a recipe I love, it becomes a blank canvas for me to try to create a new masterpiece.

Recently I made modifications to my PB Protein Bites Recipe to make it not only gluten free but also nut free, vegan, and include JJ's Sweets Coconut Sugar Cocomels (you can find them here).

My modified recipe pictured here includes:
1 cup gluten free oats (DRY)
1/2 cup SunButter
1/2 cup ground flax seed meal
1/3 cup Honey (or sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
6  Coconut Sugar Cocomels ... diced
  • I doubled the batch and used a stand-up mixture to combine the ingredients. 
  • Combine the ingredients and form the mixture into balls. I like to make bite-site sized or two-bite-sized balls.  
  • Refrigerate in an air tight container to let the balls become firm ... about 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Black Garlic ... A Nutrient Treasure Chest

I became aware of BLACK GARLIC when I was walking through the farmer's market a few weeks ago. I spoke to the proprietor of the stand and learned about the product.

I am so glad that I took the time to ask questions and learn about black garlic. Through fermentation,  fresh white garlic turns into black garlic. The taste is savory and not overpowering. For people who shy away from garlic as they do not want to "smell" like they just ate garlic, this is just the product to try!

Black garlic has a soft and spongy texture. When you open a clove to cut and add to a recipe you will notice how soft and pliable the cloves are.

Health Benefits

  • Black garlic is known to have properties that help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides
  • Black garlic contains phosphorus which helps build strong bones and teeth, facilitate nerve conduction, and filter off waste in kidneys. 
  • Black garlic has TWICE the antioxidants fund in white garlic 

Recipes Using Black Garlic

Black garlic can be substituted for garlic in recipes when you are looking for a savory-yet-sweet taste. I substitute it in recipes where I am looking to layer flavors, rather than infuse a dish with flavors. I made an OYSTER MUSHROOM GLUTEN FREE PIZZA and added black garlic to the dish.


I modified the pizza recipe by adding the garlic AFTER preparing the veggies. After I placed the veggies on the gluten free pizza crust, I added 5 medium size cloves of black garlic, diced, on top of the veggies. I followed with cheese and a decorative vegetable detail to the center of the pizza.The result was amazing. The vegan pizza had a savory taste ... a little bit of a meaty undertone. It was a great addition to a recipe that I have come to enjoy! Healthy Recipe Variations loves to find variations of tried-and-true recipes to open the door to a variety of nutrients ... and make cooking healthy simple!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

French Onion Soup ... Reimagined Gluten Free and Vegan

I enjoy making soups. I find there to be something satisfying and comforting about enjoying a bowl or cup of warm soup.

French Onion Soup Memories

French Onion Soup is something that I enjoy ordering in restaurants, but have shied away from ordering since I had to start following a gluten free diet. I loved the warm soup, the melting cheesy and crunchy topping, and the crunchy cheese that oozed down the side of the bowl. Just thinking about a bowl of French Onion soup makes me smile!

A while ago I found a recipe that I liked and have been able to make french onion soup at home ... deconstructed with gluten free bread and melted cheese on the side! I can, once again, enjoy one of my comfort foods.

French Onion Soup ... Re-imagined

This recipe takes the soup to a new level ... adding Beyond Meat Crumbles makes the soup more of a meal. I enjoy the soup with toasted gluten free bread or add some melted cheese.

The soup is GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN. If you use dairy free cheese and a gluten free vegan bread then the entire meal remains gluten free and vegan. Three brands of bread that are gluten free and vegan include: Food for Life, bFree, and Little Northern Bakehouse.


  • 3 large onions (size of a man's fist) ... use a variety or all sweet onions
  • 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP thyme
  • 2 -4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • OPTION: 1 Package Beyond Meat Crumbles


  • Dice the onions into small pieces of relatively uniform size
  • Add the onions, thyme, and olive oil to a soup pan on medium
  • As the onion begins to caramelize, add the balsamic and continue to cook down the onions ... turn the burner down to medium low and stir from time to time ... after about an hour the liquid should have evaporated and the onions soft and caramel in color
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes
  • OPTION: Add the Beyond Meat Crumbles and stir into the soup. Cook an additional 15 minutes for flavors to marry


Enjoy a bowl or cup of soup on its own or with toasted gluten free, vegan bread with melted cheese