5 Breakfast Ingredients to Supercharge Your MorningWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Chia Pudding

We could all use a little boost in the morning, right? Beyond the usual cup of joe or green tea, one of the following five ingredients may also help put a little pep in your step – and, bonus, they’re delicious!

Chia – These tiny seeds sure pack a punch! Chia is a complete protein and rich in fiber, potassium and calcium. In fact, just one tablespoon of chia contains 5 grams of fiber. That’s not all, these little seeds are also a vegan source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Sprinkle chia in cereal or smoothies, or allow the seeds to soak overnight for a tasty tapioca-style pudding.

Goji BerriesDid you know goji’s offer a complete source of protein and amino acids making them one of the most nutritious berries on the planet? They also contain trace minerals, B vitamins and vitamins E and C. Sprinkle goji’s on your morning cereal or, enjoy them our favorite way – straight from the bag.

CoconutIf you’re new to the coconut craze, prepare to be impressed. This amazing seed (yes, it is a seed) delivers on all fronts. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and potassium. Coconut oil delivers healthy saturated fats for sustained energy and coconut meat is high in protein and fiber. Whatever way you choose to add coconut to your diet, your body will thank you. Just be sure you’re selecting unsweetened, organic coconut. We could eat these for breakfast every day.

Cacao – We’re talking about raw cacao beans or powder, not the sugary, chocolate bars found on the candy aisle. On its own, cacao is an amazing health food rich in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc and copper. And, according to nutrition expert David Wolfe, it’s nature’s number one weight loss, energy-boosting food. Check out his TEDx talk about chocolate here. Try cacao powder or nibs in a smoothie for a delicious chocolatey boost. We also like it dusted on crunchy coconut chips.

Maca Powder – This super root from Peru offers a host of benefits including helping to balance hormones for PMS and menopause relief, decreasing stress, enhancing strength, and boosting stamina and libido. Because it doesn’t grow in many climates, you’re most likely to find it in powder form in your grocery store. Try it in a smoothie. Here’s a recipe.

Clean Eating 101 with the Conscious CleanseWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

 

conscious-cleanse

Clean eating may be all the rage these days, but it can be hard to decipher exactly what it means and even harder to make it part of your daily routine. As part of National Nutrition Month, we sat down with Jo and Jules of the Conscious Cleanse to talk about what it means to eat clean, and get their top tips for stocking your pantry with healthy eats. They’ve also shared a recipe to get you started (which uses our Unsulfured Organic Dried Apricots).

If you’re looking for more, sign up for the next Conscious Cleanse, which starts on March 8th. Click here to register for their two week, whole foods based Spring Forward Cleanse, which will help you spring clean your body, mind, and pantry.

 

Clean eating has been a popular buzzword lately, and it has taken on many different meanings. What does clean eating mean to you?

Clean eating means taking it back to the basics. It’s about eating REAL food. It’s becoming confusing to navigate the world of healthy eating and nutrition because there are so many conflicting messages out there. We believe that if you start putting whole foods into your body, like an apple, a salad or a chicken breast you can revolutionize your health. Keep it simple and you’re on your way!

 

Do you have any advice for someone who is a beginner to clean eating or just starting out?

Instead of thinking about all of the food you’re going to be taking out of your diet, reframe your thinking to focus on what you’re going to add in. We like to make veggies the center of our food universe. Our Conscious Cleanse food plate has ⅔ of the plate filled with veggies and the other ⅓ is a non gluten grain, animal or veggie protein.

 

When stocking up your pantry, what guidelines do you generally follow to ensure you’re eating clean?

We ask our participants to think about where a food came from. Did it come from the earth? Can you imagine an animal eating this food out in the wild? Although we may all love it, there is no pizza bush 🙂

If you think about shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store, that will point you in the right direction. Make sure to stop in the produce department for a head of lettuce and then grab carrots, fennel or parsnips for roasting. In the bulk food section get your nuts, dried beans and non-gluten grains. Then check out the fish or meat counter for salmon, bison, lamb, cod or your favorite organic or wild protein. Another staple is a healthy oil like coconut or olive oil. There are also some fantastic hidden food gems in the center of the store, so we’ll often times make direct suggestions of brands that make healthy packaged food. Made in Nature is one of those awesome clean brands.

 

What are some of your favorite clean eats when it comes to snack food?

We’re obsessed with little bite sized snacks that take less than 10 minutes to make.  Our latest creation is Sunshine Bites. One of the things that makes these bites so great are the cashews. They provide a bit of protein and healthy fat which keeps you full and satisfied for longer. We also love the sweet and tangy flavor that the apricots add to the bites. It’s hard to find organic unsulfured apricots, so we were thrilled to find Made In Nature’s Apricots. When in a pinch, we put a little raw almond butter on them for a easy sweet treat. 

Sunshine Bites Recipe

Yield: 20 servings

conscious-cleanse-apricots-sunshine-bites

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw cashews

1 cup dried apricots (purchase organic, unsweetened, unsulfured)

½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut, plus more for garnish

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lime

pinch sea salt

pinch ground turmeric

Instructions:

Soak cashews for four hours. Drain and rinse. In a food processor combine all ingredients. Pulse to combine until a sticky dough is formed. Spoon out about a ½ tablespoon amount of mixture at a time and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll in coconut to coat. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Who Says Eating Vegan is Work? Here are 20 Tasty and Convenient MealsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, February 27th, 2017

vegan-sweet-potato-toasted-coconut  vegan-butternut-squash-quinoa  vegan-potassium-protein-shake

Sure, adopting a vegan diet means you’ll likely be preparing more food at home, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to your kitchen. There are plenty of convenient and healthy food options that can keep you fueled without taking too much time away from the many other things on your plate. And, bonus, because vegan meals are often loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep you full, you’ll have more energy to cross items off your to-do list. Here are some of our favorite and totally easy vegan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and more.

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

  • Make a sandwich: Spread whole-grain bread with hummus and top with your favorite veggies. We like, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, pre-washed salad greens and sprouts.
  • Grab some soup: Some grocery stores now offer a vegan soup option in their deli. If yours doesn’t, scope the refrigerator section. Many brands now offer organic, vegan ready-to-eat refrigerated soups. Here’s one of our favorites.
  • Make a burrito: All you need are tortillas, refried beans, your favorite vegan cheese and salsa. Throw in some avocado and veggies like kale, red pepper and sweet potato for more flavor and a boost of phytochemicals and vitamins.
  • Salad: Find salad bar and go to town! Or, prepare this Butternut Squash Quinoa salad at home.

DINNER

  • Go Italian. It doesn’t get much easier than pasta, marinara and a healthy sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan.
  • Make a quick stir-fry. Throw your favorite veggies into a hot skillet. Cook until they begin to brown and their color brightens, then toss with soy, sesame oil and a pinch of red chili flakes or Sriracha.
  • Order in or take out. Many Chinese and Thai restaurants offer vegan options.
  • Dress up a Sweet Potato. Here’s an indulgent way to do it.
  • Whip up a satisfying salad

SNACKS

  • Apple smothered in peanut butter
  • Granola with Cranberries and Raisins
  • Hummus with snap peas, carrots, red pepper strips and cucumber slices for dipping
  • Salsa and your favorite tortilla chips
  • Edamame drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with kosher salt
  • Air-popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with your favorite seasonings. Or, go Indian with this Spicy Coconut Mango blend.

14 Valentine’s Day Recipes that Beat a Box of ChocolatesWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Valentine’s Day is all about indulgence. While we love a heart-shaped box filled with sweets and treats as much as anyone, there are many more delicious ways to show your sweetheart you care – especially if your Valentine is you. Ditch the crowded restaurants and chocolates filled with mysterious ingredients and whip up your own indulgence at home. We have you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

valentines-day-recipes-raw-truffle-balls

A Lovely Way to Start the Day


Save some dough and the long lines of V-day brunch and enjoy more cuddle time at home. Any of these recipes is sure to get your loved one in the mood, or eat them in bed yourself while watching a movie featuring your celebrity crush.

Potassium-Protein Morning Shake
More energy on Valentine’s Day is a good thing, and this shake delivers with dried bananas, oats and almond butter. What will you do with that extra boost? That’s for you to decide.

Ricotta & Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Goldenberry Basil Syrup
Nothing spells I love you like a stack of pancakes made just for you. Go the distance with these extra-fluffy, extra-tasty Ricotta and Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Goldenberry Basil Syrup. Yum!

Honey Date Loaf
Ask your honey on a date with a sweet slice of Honey Date Loaf made in their honor. Bake this breakfast the night ahead and be one step closer to impressing your date come V-day morning.

Banana Coffee Crepes
Who’s not wowed by crepes? The pancake’s sophisticated French cousin is light, airy and often filled with things that make people happy. This recipe infuses the favorite with coffee (yes coffee!) and organic dried bananas.

Black Mission Fig & Goat Cheese Hard Boiled Eggs
Everyone loves deviled eggs, so why not enjoy them for breakfast? This spin on the hors d’oeuvre classic brings sweet mission figs and tangy goat cheese into the fold for a decidedly delicious (and unexpected) morning meal.

Treat Yourself to a Fancy Dinner

Everyone knows that dinner out on Valentine’s Day can crowded, pricey and underwhelming. Save the time and get cozy in your own kitchen. Nothing spells foreplay like chopping, stirring and tasting together.

Cuban-Style Paella
Shrimp, scallops and chorizo, oh my! While paella can sometimes be a time-consuming affair, this recipe makes it a snap, though just as scrumptious.

Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
Who wouldn’t swoon over this festive garnet braise featuring tender lamb shoulder and dried apricots and cranberries made plump from any favorite pinot? The recipe calls for one cup of wine. What will you do with the rest of the bottle?

Squash and Fig Stew
It’ll be hard not to get comfortable when the smells from this stew of butternut squash, grass-fed beef, onions and dried figs, begin wafting from the kitchen. A kick from a hint of jalapeno will make it even easier to lose a layer.

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, and here’s a way to make it V-day worthy.  Fancy figs, goat cheese, arugula and thyme come together in a snap for this delicious vegetarian meal.

Say Yes, to Healthy Indulgence

Be sweet on your sweetheart or give in to your cravings with impunity. The most delicious desserts are naturally guilt free because they use only the highest quality, organic ingredients.

Goji Berry Truffles
Sweetened with maple syrup and infused with nutrient-rich Maca (which, ahem, is shown to support sexual function) these dark cacao truffles are easy to make and so packed with healthy ingredients it’s easy to forget they’re dessert.

Raw Truffle Balls
You really can’t have too many truffles on Valentine’s Day, and these little delights are free of refined sugar and surprisingly made with fiber-rich dates, apricots and raisins. Go ahead, have two or five.

Warm Chocolate & Coffee Figgy Pudding
It doesn’t get sexier than this dark, decadent, sophisticated, warm winter dessert. For the full experience, we strongly suggest you pair your pudding with cognac while sitting by a roaring fire.

Fig & Port Gelato
We think ice cream is a welcome treat any time of year. Rather than reaching for a pre-purchased pint, let Valentine’s Day be your inspiration to try your hand at the churning wheel. This recipe brings together Golden Calimyrna Figs and ruby port for fabulously pink, gourmet scoops.

Chocolate Dipped Candied Apricots
Double dipped chocolate apricots are easy, healthy and fun. We like to cover ours in nuts and seeds, but we won’t tell if you pull out the heart-shaped sprinkles.

Make It Vegan! 8 Easy (and Delicious) Ingredient SwapsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Vegan Avocado Toast Hummus Kale ChipsSo, you’re adapting a classic recipe to be 100-percent plant based? No problem! There are vegan substitutions for pretty much every ingredient these days. Whether you need the perfect whipped topping for a festive pie, or simply to cut a few eggs from a recipe, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite foolproof vegan ingredient swaps.

 

1. Replace Whipped Cream with Aquafaba

If you’ve never heard of aquafaba it may be time to get better acquainted. This oft-overlooked vegan ingredient can work wonders on the dessert table. Aquafaba is the liquid in your can of chickpeas. Because the legumes are cooked in this liquid it contains protein and carbohydrates, which allow it to be whipped into stiff peaks like heavy cream or egg whites. Just add cream of tarter (for stabilization) and sugar and voilà! Expect light, airy and totally pie worthy results. Here’s a recipe.

2. Replace Butter with Sweet Potato

We get it, butter is tricky to replace – especially in baked goods which often suffer mightily from its lack. Fortunately, whipped sweet potato, believe it or not, can come shockingly close to imparting buttery-like benefits. That’s because the tuber is dense, subtly sweet and super moist. Hmmm … that does sound like butter. Even better, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene.

3. Replace Butter with Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil is another great vegan replacement for butter. We love a pat of coconut oil on warm muffins just out of the oven and in any other baked good that traditionally calls for butter. Research shows that the naturally occurring saturated fats in coconut oil not only help baked goods stay moist but also may help boost the metabolism and support the immune system. Wow!

4. Replace Eggs with Flax or Chia Seeds

Did you know, ground flax or chia seeds can be used to replace eggs in baked goods? That’s because the naturally occurring polysaccharides of these ingredients, when combined with water, form a gel that can give structure to quick breads and muffins. Simply combine 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water for every egg you need to replace.

5. Replace Cream with Canned Coconut Milk

Oh, the wonders of coconut milk! It’s delicious, versatile and perhaps the ultimate convenience food since popping open a can requires very little work. We like it instead of milk or cream in soups and desserts like this one.

6. Replace Sour Cream with Silken Tofu

We’ve all likely experienced the highs and lows of tofu. But when it’s good, it can be oh, so good since it virtually disappears into a dish and takes on the flavors of other star ingredients. Our favorite tofu applications this time of year, and where it’s rarely detected, are dips, puddings and desserts where it’s substituted for sour cream.

7. Replace Cheese with Nutritional Yeast

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, salads, soups or anywhere else you might add a touch of cheese. This inactive yeast imparts an addictively cheesy, salty taste to any food in touches. Even better, it’s also an excellent source of fiber, protein and several B vitamins. Nutritional yeast helps us achieve that rich cheddar flavor in our Bedda Than Chedda Kale Chips, without having to use cheese!

8. Replace Cream Cheese with Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is another versatile, and addictive cheese replacement. Make this cream yourself by simply pureeing cashews with water in a blender. And, just like cream cheese, this delight can be used in savory or sweet dishes depending on the ingredients you add. We like it for pasta sauces, soups and (honestly) simply licking from the bowl.

Vegan Holiday Recipes To “Wow” The Whole FamilyWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Vegan Holiday Recipes

Preparing a holiday menu that the whole family will enjoy can be a challenge – especially when not everyone eats the same way. Perhaps your vegan household will be entertaining guests more accustomed to traditional holiday recipes? Maybe you’ll be the lone vegan at the table but would like to offer a dish that’s not quickly categorized as the healthy, vegan option i.e. “fibrous and flavorless”? Whatever your situation, adding crowd-pleasing vegan holiday recipes to your table is a worthy effort.

As you know, many dishes this time of year are laden with excess fat, oil and sugar. Our tendencies to overindulge during the holidays can lead to urgent and drastic measures to get back on track come the New Year. Conversely, a diet rich in plant-based foods can leave eaters feeling light, bright and energized. In fact, research shows that a vegan diet contributes to a host of health benefits including reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and more – but we know we don’t need to convince you. These indulgent holiday recipes emphasize healthful ingredients AND (most importantly) flavor. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if many don’t realize they’re entirely plant based.

Appetizers

Start the party with these festive appetizers that pack a tasty dose of heart-healthy nuts, fruits and seeds.

Avocado and Cranberry Hummus
Spicy Coconut Mango Popcorn
Sweet and Spicy Cranberries and Pumpkinseed Mix

 

The Main Attraction

We like to offer a spread of several main dishes to suit different palates. Give the classics a twist by adding a new salad or perhaps a few ethnic influences.

Mango Farro Pilaf
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
Plum and Sweet Potatoes Anna

Kale Apple Salad
Cranberry Spinach Salad
Double Baked Sweet Potato & Toasted Coconut

Dried Cranberry and Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

 

Dessert

You’re sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests with coconut oil, fair trade cacao and organic dried fruit.

Dessert Tamales with Coconut Sauce
Goji Berry Truffles
Forbidden Black Rice Pudding
Raw Truffle Balls
Chocolate Dipped Candied Apricots

Tart Cherry Lemon Muffin RecipeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Delicious, and Healthy, Tart Cherry Lemon Muffins

Spring is in the air and that means it’s cherry season! I modified this delicious muffin recipe from Real Healthy Recipes using Made In Nature Organic Tart Cherries and let me tell you… these muffins are good. I love baking as healthily as possible and this recipe definitely ticks that box. You’ll use ingredients like coconut flour, maple syrup, and coconut milk. They’re even gluten, grain, dairy, and cane sugar free!

Ingredients

Tart Cherry Lemon Muffins

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 omega-3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon cherry extract
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup Made in Nature Organic Tart Cherries, chopped into small pieces

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s heating up lightly grease a 24 count mini muffin pan with coconut oil or your other favorite cooking oil. Grab a medium-sized bowl and whisk the coconut flour, salt, and baking powder together.

Using a second medium-sized bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and cherry extract. Mix it all up add in your finely chopped tart cherries. Then, add your cooled and melted coconut oil, whisking it into the batter. Keep whisking until the batter is smooth and lump-free.

Bake for 25 minutes, basking in the ahh-mazing smell that’s filling your kitchen. Be sure to give them a check every so often since cooking times can vary. You want the muffins to be a light golden brown color. Remove them from the oven, let ‘em cool, then gently remove each muffin to continue cooling on a wire cooling rack.

And that’s it! This healthy tart cherry lemon muffin recipe couldn’t be easier.
Are you going to give this recipe a go? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Brownie Recipe with Coconut Chips to Satisfy Your Sweet ToothWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Delicious, Gooey Brownies with a Tropical Coconut Twist

Once the weather starts teasing me with warmer temperatures my mind immediately turns tropical. And, there’s nothing I love more than taking advantage of that tropical state of mind by incorporating more coconut into my recipes.

I don’t know about you, but I also have a pretty ravenous sweet tooth. When I’m craving some time on the beach and something sweet, I whip up these amazing brownies using a combo of Made in Nature coconut chips and shredded coconut flakes. I like my brownies rich, fudgy, and sinful. If you feel the same way, let’s get baking!

Fudgy Coconut Brownies with Coconut Chips

Toasted Coconut Chips from Made in Nature

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups cocoa
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 large eggs gently beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened, fine flaked coconut
  • 1 package Made in Nature Maple Madagascar Vanilla Toasted Coconut Chips

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Amazing Snacks On The Go – Fruit Bar RecipeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

You’ll Love These 3-Ingredient Dried Apple Energy Bars

Like many a health-minded foodie, I love fruit bars. Lärabar is probably one of my favorite brands, but you know what kind of fruit bars I love even more? My own homemade organic dried apple fruit bars.

If you need a quick snack for your workday commute, or just want to avoid midday hanger, give these guys a try. Oh, and before I forget… you’ll only need three ingredients! Mind = blown.

Ingredients

1 cup nuts (use mixed nuts, almonds, cashews, or any other nut you enjoy)
1 cup Made In Nature Organic Dried Apples
1 cup Made in Nature Organic Deglet Noor Dates

Organic Dried Apples from Made in Nature

Directions

Whip out your food processor and toss in the nuts, dried apples, and dates. Pulse a few times to break everything up and separate the dates by hand if they start to get clumpy. Then, you want to process the mixture until a ball is formed. This should take a minute or two and you may want to scrape the sides of your food processor to make sure nothing is sticking to the sides and blade.
Put some wax paper on your countertop and then plop your ball down. Press the mixture into a thick square, making it as thick as you ultimately want your bars to be. Wrap that lovely square up in the wax paper and let it chill in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, unwrap your square and place it on a cutting board. I usually cut mine into 8 – 12 bars depending on how large I want my fruit bars to be.

… And that’s it! Your bars can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks at a time. If you’re anything like me, there’s no way they’ll last that long. I think they’re best right out of the fridge, but I also like wrapping them up to go. They’ll get a bit soft eventually, but it doesn’t impact the amazing taste.

Do you enjoy making your own homemade energy bars? What are your favorite ingredient combinations? Swap recipes and ideas in the comments!

6 Delicious Fruits You May Not Have TriedWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Friday, May 13th, 2016

Apples are Great, But You’ve Gotta Give These Unique Fruits a Try

I love apples and bananas as much as the next fruit-obsessed person, but I also love trying new and unique fruits whenever I can. These six fruits aren’t your usual standbys but they’re just as delicious.

If you haven’t tried these fruits before you’ll definitely want to sample them all. And if you have tried them, I’d be willing to bet this post will have you craving a repeat experience!

1. Goldenberries

Goldenberries are well-known throughout South America, and they’ve even been classified as a superfood. Their tart flavor will wake up your taste buds, but these chewy berries are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of Vitamin C. I like eating them on salads, in my oatmeal, and straight out of the bag.

2. Goji berries

Another superfood to add to our list of tasty fruits you need to try, goji berries are grown in certain parts of Asia, like Tibet. Dried goji berries are soft and chewy with a subtle sweet-tangy flavor that’s quite addicting. These berries also make a good topper, but if you find you aren’t a huge fan of the flavor, blend them up in a smoothie to reap the nutritional benefits. Goji berries are a great source of Vitamin A.

3. MulberriesFresh Mulberries

If you’ve noticed that I have a bit of a berry obsession, you have a keen eye. I can’t help it — there are so many unique berry varieties to try!

Dried mulberries are tender and soft, and you can include them in tons of different recipes. Give these ricotta and grilled mulberry peaches a try for a truly unique (and mouth-watering) flavor combination.

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4 Healthy Appetizer Recipes For Your Next Dinner PartyWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Prepare These Quick and Easy Appetizers in No Time

Every great party needs tasty appetizers, right? I’m a firm believer in that statement, so skip the potato chips and try one of these four good-for-you appetizer recipes instead.

1. Fig and goat cheese appetizer

Whipping up this appetizer is so incredibly simple, and the taste payoff is huge.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Made In Nature Calimyrna Figs or Black Mission Figs
  • ¼ cup of red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (soft Brie cheese also works well)
  • 16 crackers
  • 16 pieces of fresh arugula or mixed mesclun greens

Directions:
Add the oil and onion to a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until they begin to soften.

Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer
Trim the stems off your figs and slice them into 1/4″ slices (about 4-5 per fig).
Add the figs and balsamic vinegar to your skillet. Saute for 2 – 4 minutes until the figs soften and are nicely coated with oil and vinegar. Remove from heat.
Spread cheese on crackers so that they’re lightly covered.
Add one small piece of arugula or mixed green on top of the cheese. Place fig topping on greens and serve.

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Healthy Snacks For Kids School LunchesWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, May 9th, 2016

Try Adding These Healthy Snacks to Your Child’s Lunchbox

There’s more to a school lunch than the main meal, so what are some healthy snacks that you can pack in your child’s lunch box? These healthy snacks are all kid-approved and will keep their energy levels up throughout the school day.

Homemade fruit salad

You’ll never want to pack sugary, syrupy fruit cups once you try making your own homemade fruit salad. All you have to do is slice up your child’s favorite fruits like apples, bananas, and blueberries, then squeeze some lemon over the top to keep things fresh.

Dried fruit

Unsulphured Apricots from Made in Nature

If you’re concerned about keeping snacks cold dried fruit is a tasty and healthy snack alternative. While I’m not a kid, I am a kid at heart, and I think these juicy Made in Nature Organic, Unsulfured Apricots would be a real crowd pleaser. Made in Nature’s Organic Tropical Fusion is another one to try!

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Spiced Up Salad With Pomegranate Seeds and GingerWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, April 18th, 2016

Try This Awesome Pomegranate Seed Salad

Are you looking to, literally, spice up your salad? If you love ginger and spice, then you’ve gotta make this salad. There’s even a delicious surprise ingredient that really makes this recipe shine.

Pomegranate Seeds for Salads

Salad Ingredients:

  • 6 cups greens. You can use kale, romaine, spinach, a mix… it’s up to you and your taste buds! I like to mix up a bunch of different greens for my salads. I’ll occasionally add some pre-packed cabbage for extra crunch, too.
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup cooked edamame
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 package Made In Nature Pomegranate Ginger Fusion Nut Blend

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup honey
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (depending on your palate and how strong your ginger is)
  • ¼ cup mild flavored oil (avocado, grapeseed, or walnut oil are all great choices)
  • Salt to taste

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4 Healthy Snacks for Kids You Can Make at HomeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Friday, April 15th, 2016

Try These Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas… They’re Healthy, too!

Would you be thrilled if your children’s snacks were healthier? I just love thinking about fun new snack ideas, and the ones I’m going to share today are all kid-friendly and super easy to make at home.

 

Energy Balls - Kids Snack Recipe

1. Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

Making (and eating) fruit and cheese kabobs is tasty and interactive. To get the kids involved prepare bowls of cut up fruit like apples, grapes, pineapples, bananas, and any other favorites. Set out another bowl with cheese cubes and show your snackers how to thread their fruit and cheese onto the wooden kabob sticks.

All in all, they’ll get a few servings of fruit, lots of fiber, some protein, and a happy stomach!

2. DIY Trail Mix

Trail mix, because it’s so easy to customize, which is perfect for picky palates. Plus, if you make your own you’ll know exactly what your kids are eating — no unnecessary preservatives included. Lately I’ve been loving this easy concoction:

This combo is a nice mix of tart and sweet, soft and crunchy. We sweeten our Tart Cherries with a touch of organic apple juice and the coconut chips add another layer of warm, toasty sweetness. If your kiddos aren’t ready for the bitter bite on the cacao nibs, feel free to swap them out for dark chocolate.

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Quick Healthy Breakfast IdeasWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Fast Breakfast Recipes for a Healthy Start to Your Day

Rumor has it that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I’m not one to argue with established logic… especially if eating is involved. Make your first meal a healthy one by trying out one of these quick, healthy breakfasts.

Quick Healthy Breakfast IdeasOvernight Oats

Overnight oats are, hands down, one of my favorite quick and healthy breakfasts. And making them is so, so simple:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix everything together in a mason jar or other container with a lid, pop the jar in the fridge, refrigerate overnight, and enjoy! It’s that simple. Make sure to experiment with different ingredients, too. Protein powders mix in well, cashew butter is decadent, coconut milk tastes wonderful, berries are the perfect topping… well, you get the idea.

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New Uses for Kale Chips!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Put Down the Bowl and Try Kale Chips in Your Favorite Recipes

Kale chips are fantastic and there are so many different ways to prepare them: with some extra heat from spices or sprinkled with parmesan and garlic, to start. But, you don’t have to eat them straight from the bowl every time a craving hits (though we wouldn’t blame you if you did).

Kale Chips - Great for Snacking and Cooking!

I love it when people get creative with their food, thinking outside the box to create delicious new combos – and lately I’ve seen tons of interesting ways to eat kale chips. Surprisingly, there are plenty of alternative uses for kale chips that you may not have thought of before, and I’m so excited to share them with you!

If you’re running low on time or just want a hassle-free way to turn kale chips into your next power snack, we’ve got you covered. Personally, Made In Nature’s Bedda Than Chedda and Sriracha Chili kale chips are two of my favorite flavors.

Using kale chips as a snack topping

Once you’ve spiced your kale up and dehydrated the fibrous leaves into a crunchy chip (or bought your favorite kind from the store), try using them as a topping on some of your favorite snacks:

  • Crumble your kale chips and toss them in with some air popped popcorn. Chips flavored with salt and olive oil taste great, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
  • If you’re like me and tend to cover your pizza in parmesan and red pepper flakes, try making some kale chips with those same flavors. Then, you guessed it – use those kale chips as your new favorite pizza topping.
  • Who doesn’t love toast smothered in creamy avocado? Personally, I’m a huge fan. Switch up the flavor of your avocado toast by adding crispy kale chips as a topping.

Kale chips as a topping for pastas, soups, and chili

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Enhance Everyday Recipes by Adding FigsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Friday, March 4th, 2016

Breakfast through Dinner: Healthy Figs Sweeten Any Meal

You may have heard that you can use figs in place of refined sugar in some sweeter recipes, but figs can be used for so much more! Have you thought about incorporating figs into your everyday meals?
Figs Add Sweetness to Most Recipes
Whether you love fresh figs or can’t get enough of dried figs, try adding figs to these well-loved recipes and meals and get ready for a tasty twist on everyday staples.

Adding figs to salads

If you love adding fruits like strawberries and pears to your salads you’re bound to enjoy the addition of figs to your next bowl of greens. The next time you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market pick up your usual salad ingredients, plus some fresh or dried figs.

This fig salad recipe from Whole Foods is a great starting point. As the recipe suggests, you can also broil or grill the figs beforehand, and the result will be a delicious caramelization of the fruit’s natural sugars. Feta is the cheese of choice for this recipe, but a rich, creamy goat cheese would also pair wonderfully with the sweet figs.

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Fall FavoritesWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, September 15th, 2014

The autumn season always gets me excited for baking. Something about the cool, crisp air and the change in color on the trees inspires a warm and alluring-scented kitchen. However, as much as I love to bake, I don’t like the affects of consuming heavy baked goods. Most recipes are filled with sugar and butter and I feel weighted down afterwards. I want to be able to eat something tasty and feel good afterwards. So, here are a few recipes that we enjoy at Made in Nature using our Organic Dried Fruit, which keeps those Fall cravings happy, healthy, and satisfied.

1.) Sweet and Spicy Cranberries & Pumpkin Seed Mix: A great snack for anytime of day, and it makes the house/office smell amazing! Also, a great recipe for using pumpkin seeds from carving Halloween pumpkins or making Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie!

cranberrypumpkinseed

2.) Honey Date Loaf: Everyone loves banana bread, but what about a honey date loaf? This sweet and healthy bread is perfect for dessert, breakfast, or anytime you’re craving that luscious Fall flavor. For some extra protein and a little crunch, throw in some walnuts!

 

3.) Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: For a little more indulgence and to enjoy a true dessert, these cookies are it! The savory flavor from the oatmeal paired with the tartness of the cranberries and sweetness from the chocolate chips make this a balanced treat!

 

I can just imagine having a lovely fire with all these delicious snacks around for family and friends to enjoy!

What to Eat this Week: Plums and Goat CheeseWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Roasted Plum and Rosemary Savory Goat Cheese Mini Tarts

{Grain-Free}

Roasted Plum and Rosemary Goat Cheese Tart

makes 4 mini tarts 3-4″ in diameter, 1 large tart 9-10″ in diameter or 12 super-mini tarts made in a paper-lined muffin tin

Grain-free Tart Shells

▪                2 cups blanched almond flour {almond meal would also work}

▪                2 tablespoons flax seed meal

▪                2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot starch

▪                3 tablespoons coconut oil plus more for greasing the pans

▪                1/4 teaspoon baking soda

▪                1/8 teaspoon sea salt

▪                1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Lightly grease your tart pans with coconut oil and set aside. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients and mix well to combine. The dough will be quite crumbly, but will hold together when pressed or squeezed.

With your hands gather the dough and divide it evenly amongst the tart pans. Press the dough firmly and evenly into the tart pan, pressing it up the edges of the pan.

Place the tart pans on top of a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until just turning golden brown. If they start to brown a bit early, cover with foil.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Goat Cheese Filling

▪                1 clove garlic

▪                1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

▪                8 ounces goat cheese

▪                1 tablespoon olive oil

▪                2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

▪                A few tablespoons of water

▪                Salt and pepper to taste

While the tart shells are cooling, make the filling. In a high-speed blender or in your food processor, add the garlic and the rosemary. Pulse several times to chop/mince. Then add the goat cheese, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding as much water as necessary to keep it moving and to make it creamy, but make sure not to add more than 1/4 cup. Remove the tart shells from their pans and pale on a serving platter or baking sheet, pour the goat cheese filling equally amongst the completely cooled tart shells. Smooth the surface with a spatula, if necessary. Place the tart shells in the fridge to firm up while you roast the plums.

Roasted Plums

▪                2 Bags Organic Made in Nature Dried Plums

▪                1 tablespoon olive oil

▪                Salt and pepper

Arrange the plums in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes and then allow to cool. Once the plums have cooled, and the goat cheese filling is firm, place the plums on top of the tarts, garnish with fresh rosemary and serve or chill until you are ready to serve.

NOTES:

To make vegan, simply skip the egg and add a small amount of water to the ground flaxseeds before adding them.

For the filling, instead of goat cheese, opt instead for a cashew cream. Soak 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews (covered in water) for at least 2 hours, preferably longer. Drain and rinse. Add the cashews, the juice from 1 fresh lemon and a pinch of sea salt to your food processor and process until smooth and creamy, a few minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients.

What to Drink this Week: Orange-Apricot SpritzerWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Orange-Apricot Spritzer

Orange Apricot Spritzer

Refreshing with a lively citrus flavor is exactly how I would describe this classy afternoon cocktail. Perfect for a lunch time beverage or an early evening sipper! I picture sitting on a patio with friends and family, enjoying this tasty drink on a warm summer late-afternoon. This spritzer is super easy to make for the amount of flavor you receive. Here’s the recipe- Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 2 Cups Riesling
  • 2 Cups Pelligrino (Sparkling Water)
  • 1 6 oz. Package Organic Made in Nature Unsulfured Apricots
Directions
  1. Combine orange juice and Organic Made in Nature Apricots in a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain into a pitcher. Discard remnants.
  2. Add Riesling and sparkling water to orange juice and apricot mixture.
  3. Serve over ice with an orange slice garnish.