Healthy Banana Berry Breakfast Tarts w/Blackberry Almond Sauce

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You’re probably wondering how “healthy” and “tart” can describe the same food. Amazingly, this one can. This recipe is one of my own and came about by accident. I had a lot of my vegan crepe batter left over one morning and I needed to cook it quickly. I dumped it all on the electric griddle, added some sunflower seeds, cooked it up, cut it into squares, and froze them for later use. I learned that toasting the squares in a toaster oven makes them nice and crispy, perfect for a breakfast tart crust! The double cooking technique makes all the difference on these.

Banana Berry Breakfast Tart Crust Ingredients:

3 Cups of Brown Rice Flour (Grind slightly less than 3 cups of brown rice to get 3 cups of flour.)

4 Tbs. of Ground Flax (I love GSG Life’s Sprouted Ground Flax)

1 Tbs. Baking Powder

1½ Tsp. Baking Soda

¾ Tsp. Salt

3 Cups of Coconut or Almond Milk

½ Cup of Water

½ C. Apple Sauce, No Sugar Added

3 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil

3 Tbs. Honey

1 Cup of Raw, Unsalted Sunflower Seeds

Directions:

Preheat griddle to 375 degrees.

Grind brown rice into flour in a high power blender. Add rest of ingredients, except for sunflower seeds, and mix until smooth. Add sunflower seeds. Pulse quickly one or two times to mix the seeds in gently. You do not want to blend them up!

Toaster strudle on griddle

Spray a hot griddle with a healthy cooking oil. Pour approximately one cup of batter onto the griddle and spread it out into a square or rectangle shape as quickly as you can. It should be approximately 1/8th inch in thickness. Lightly brown each side of the large square. I sometimes cut the square into two pieces with a spatula, if it seems too large to flip. When the batter is cooked through, cut them into little squares (approximately 3” x 5”). I do this with a spatula on the griddle or a pizza cutter, on a cutting board. Cool squares on a rack. You can either freeze them in an airtight container at this point or toast them until they’re crispy in a toaster oven (for approximately 3 minutes- watch the first ones closely).

Toaster strudle on rack

Banana Berry Breakfast Tart Toppings:

1 ½ Cups of Vanilla Flavored Coconut Milk Yogurt (Or cow milk yogurt, if preferred)

2 Cups of Fresh, Sliced Strawberries

1 Cup of Blueberries

2 Bananas, Sliced

Blackberry Almond Sauce (look for recipe below)

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Continued Directions:

Top each square with approximately 1 tablespoon of yogurt, some strawberries, blueberries, bananas and a small dribble of Blackberry Almond Sauce. Enjoy!

Blackberry Almond Sauce Ingredients:

1 Cup of Blackberries

¼ Cup of Honey

¼ Cup of Water

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1/3 Tsp. Almond Extract

Blackberry Almond Sauce Directions:

Mix ingredients in a blender. Warm in a saucepan to desired temperature.

Flax PDF

To order GSG Life’s Sprouted Ground Flax, go to myGSGLife.com/monicaadair, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Shop GSG”. Let me know if you need help!

These Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies Are To Die For!

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Over the years I have made MANY batches of terrible cookies. Just ask my family! At one point, one of my little darlings even nicknamed me, “The Cookie Killer!” The cookies were either too dry, not cooked in the middle, tasted like banana puree, etc. The list goes on…

Fortunately, I kept looking because I’ve come across some great recipes! This is one of them. These cookies taste amazing AND they don’t send your blood sugar levels spiraling out of control. Not only do they taste great and keep your blood sugar levels in check, the texture is really wonderful… Give them a try and let me know what you think!

This recipe has been adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s, “Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipe. I added the roasted pecans! You should check out her site, it’s amazing: elanaspantry.com

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies

Ingredients:

½ C. Pecans, roasted, chopped & cooled (Broil them in the oven for a couple of minutes.)

2 C. Blanched Almond Flour

½ Tsp. Salt

½ Tsp. Baking Soda

½ C. Butter, room temp. OR 1/2 C. Coconut Oil, room temp.

1 Tbs. Vanilla

½ C. Maple Syrup

½ C. Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Roast the pecans and set aside to cool. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Mix wet ingredients, and then add in the dry ingredients, adding the pecans and chocolate chips last. Mix well.

Scoop 1-Tbs. balls of dough onto lightly oiled cookie sheet. I like to warm my cookie sheet in the oven for a few minutes first. Press the dough down gently.

Bake at 350 degrees, for approximately 10 minutes.

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Cool on pan for about five minutes and then transfer to a rack and cool for about 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

Beat the Treats- Holiday Health Challenge

Beat the Treats pic

Around this time of year, I have a tendency to be less picky and more apt to “try” treats that are offered to me, even when I’m not hungry and they’re not that good! This is when I know I need to get more serious about my health. Sugar escalates health problems, feeds cancer, and basically wreaks havoc on our systems. We KNOW this but tend to whisk these facts to the back of our minds when double chocolate brownies are available!

To squelch these sugar cravings, we need to reduce our sugar intake, set a reachable goal, and have a prize waiting at the end.

Come join my “Beat the Treats- Holiday Health Challenge!” You know you’d feel so much better at the end of year, with more energy, less inflammation, and most likely, less pounds on your body!

Beat Treats Rules

1: Join the challenge by commenting on this blog post www.Greenchick21.com, by commenting on the “Beat the Treats” Facebook post at www.facebook.com/Greenchick21, or private messaging me on Facebook.

Sign up before: October 1, 2015

Challenge ends: January 1, 2016

2: Starting October 1st, consume no more than one treat per week. This includes: white sugar, sweets, treats & deserts. (Major holidays or personal birthdays are free days, if you want them.) Replace the bad stuff with food that is good for you: Fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.

fruits & veggie pic

3. Decide how you’re going to reward yourself. I’ve decided on a certain amount of massage time, by my favorite massage therapist. Choose something that motivates you and put a little money away each month so you’re ready to purchase your reward, guilt free. Figure out what a “mess-up” will cost you and be ready to deduct that from your reward, if need be. Give yourself a little room to make a mistake or two.

4. Let us know how you’re doing each Thursday by commenting on the weekly “Beat the Treats” update posts at www.facebook.com/greenchick21.

Now have some FUN with this! Make sure that your one desert each week is worthy of being the one and only. (I’ll be posting recipes for a few of these!)  Also, ENJOY how your body feels when it isn’t consuming sugar several times a day. I hope you feel great! Good luck! healthy life sign

Waffles- Light, Crispy, Gluten-Free Awesomeness

Waffle

Sunday mornings at our house usually begin with these crispy, delicious, homemade waffles! I try to stay away from feeding my family much gluten, even the kind in freshly ground whole wheat, because my body doesn’t do well on it. When I bake, it’s almost always with gluten free ingredients.  Not always, but mostly… Hence, I put forth great effort into making things taste better without gluten.  Of course, this usually requires a bit of work!

Waffle Ingredients:

4 C. Gluten Free Flour- (2 c. Brown Rice, 1 c. Quinoa, 1 c. Almond Flour -I change up the combo sometimes!)

4 C. Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Drinking Kind)

2 Eggs

2 Eggs Substitute (I use 2 Tbs. of GSG Life’s Sprouted, Ground Flax & 6 Tbs. Water)

½ C. Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 ½ Tsp. Vitamin C Crystals

1 Tsp. Salt

2 Droppers-full of Liquid Vanilla Stevia

Directions:

In a high-powered blender (I use a BlendTec), combine the brown rice and quinoa and blend it until it’s a fine flour.  This usually takes about 90 seconds. Add blanched almond flour to the mix. Keep in mind that homemade almond flour isn’t fine enough.

 Grains

Add the eggs and the egg substitute. I LOVE to use GSG Life’s Sprouted Ground Flax as an egg substitute when baking.  Just use 1 Tbs. of flax with 3 Tbs. water for each egg you want to sub out. I like to do half of the amount in this recipe but you could do more. If you’d like to order some, go to: myGSGLife.com/monicaadair.  The flax supplies a healthy dose of omega 3’s, which are important for your brain and heart health, and it has a two-year shelf life. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

 Flax PDF

Add the remaining ingredients.  You can buy Vitamin C Crystals at most health food stores. I like the Bluebonnet brand.

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Mix everything up until well blended. Poor into a HOT waffle maker and cook for about five minutes. Since each waffle maker is different, watch the first one closely and figure out how much time works best for yours.

Blender batter

I recently bought a waffle maker that works great. It’s the Hamilton Beach 26020 Belgian Style Waffle Maker.  It makes four perfectly sized rectangles, which means four people get breakfast at once.  PLUS, these waffles freeze really well and fit into a toaster perfectly, when you’re ready to reheat them.  I always make extra to freeze because I use them as gluten-free toast too!

 waffle maker

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has! Let me know how it goes…

Exploring the Beautiful Shores of Southern Cali on an Electric Assist Bike

La Jolla Cliffs

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a BEGINNER biker chick. However, my husband Tory loves biking so much that it’s starting to rub off on me. Since he does all the hard stuff, such as researching and purchasing the necessary equipment, choosing the best routes, and motivating me to follow him on crazy trails and through traffic, I’m slowly learning there’s more to it than tight, padded clothing and silky smooth man legs!

The real trick to keeping up with my guy, while on the hills of California, is that I was riding an electric assist bike. These things are AMAZING! Since I complained when my hubby bought this thing (they aren’t cheap), I won’t be showing him this post. Seriously though… I was able to stay right on his tail in some difficult spots! If the hills got too steep, I just chose the turbo level (yep, the highest power assist) and cruised up the hill. I especially loved passing a few people, who looked like REAL bikers, who were huffing and puffing all the way up! In the picture below, our electric assist looks small, compared to the big pink one I found along the way but it’s actually pretty big. People would always shout out “nice bike!” or “look at those huge tires!” as I passed by.

Me on Huge Pink Bike

Our first ride was to the La Jolla Shores.

La Jolla ride

We started out at a condo we rented, about 15 minutes away from the beach. I held my breath and dodged in and out of traffic a bit, right behind my husband, until we got to the actual shoreline. If there wasn’t so much traffic in La Jolla, it would be perfect. There was a great little trail along the cliffs that I especially liked. There was a spot where we had to get off the bikes and walk them down narrow stairways but, all in all, the breathtaking views made it all worth it! Next time we’ll stay closer to the beach and skip the crazy traffic but I hope we make it back to the La Jolla Cliffs!

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The 2nd Cali ride we did was the San Diego Bay Loop. If I would have realized what I was in for on this ride, I might not have done it. BUT, we were brave and it was pretty memorable.

San Diego Loop

We took the Coronado Island Ferry out to our starting point.

Coronado Ferry

This was the easy part, of course! We then followed a nice concrete trail for about 13 miles. We were able to view the ocean on and off, during this portion.

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The remaining trail became difficult to follow at some points because there weren’t clear markers. We had to backtrack a few times and go through a US naval base and some pretty busy traffic at the end but it was a good learning experience.

All in all, the bike adventures added a lot to our California visit! It’s so much more personal seeing a place by foot or bike than from behind the glass window of a car! Let me know if you try either of these rides or if you know of some other ones in the same area!

Delicious Summer Relish Straight From Cyprus

If you’re looking for something to liven up your morning meal, give this one a try! You will absolutely not regret it! The simple, fresh, REAL ingredients of this relish are perfection together. I got this recipe from my dear friend, Lara Baker, who grew up in Cyprus, one of the Greek islands. She whipped it up one morning, when my family was visiting hers, and I’ve been making it ever since.

The ingredients, which make this relish so unique, are mint and cumin. Who would have guessed they’d round everything off so nicely?

Mint tomato onion & red pepperCumin

Summer Relish Ingredients:

2 Ripe Tomatoes, chopped

½ Onion, chopped

½ Red Pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp. Mint, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 – 1½ Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

1/8 Tsp. Cumin, powdered

1 Pinch Red pepper flakes

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, peppers, onions and mint.

Breakfast relish beginning

Next, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Poor mixture over the chopped ingredients and mix together.

Olive Oil mixture

This relish goes really well with eggs! I always use organic, cage free ones. I simple scramble one egg with a tablespoon of unsweetened coconut milk and a little salt and pepper and cook it in a frying pan.

Summer Relish and Eggs2

I hope you take the time to try this recipe because I think it will quickly become a favorite! Let me know if you make it or something similar!

Don’t Throw Away the Sweet Potato Leaves!

Recently, at a farmer’s market in California, I noticed sweet potato leaves for sale. Since this plant actually thrives like a weed in my AZ yard, I did a little investigating and was excited to learn that I could actually put it to good use!

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A wonderful Asian lady at the market told me how she prepares the leaves. The funny thing is that she prepares them the same way most Americans prepare spinach or kale. When I mentioned this, she was surprised. Maybe most Asians don’t eat spinach and kale as often as I do. Who knows?   Anyway, I followed her advice and sautéed the leaves with olive oil and a few other things. I was pretty happy with the results. It tasted similar to cooked spinach, light and not too overpowering. The leaves were nice and tender, surprisingly!

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Sautéed Sweet Potato Leaves w/Garlic

1 pd. sweet potato leaves, stripped from thicker parts of the stem

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (healthier version of soy sauce)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Saute the garlic for about two minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook down for about five minutes, until desired tenderness is reached. Enjoy!

After a little research, I discovered some other great ways to use the sweet potato leaves:

-Omelets

-Salads

-Soups

-Stir-fries

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According to NutritionData.com, sweet potato greens are extremely high in vitamin K and a good source of vitamin A. With a mere 22 calories per cup of steamed leaves, you can hardly make a dent in your daily allotted calories! So get creative and try some today! Let me know what you come up with…

Sweet Potato Leaves Nutrition Facts
Calories 22 (91 kJ)
Calories from fat 2
% Daily Value 1
Total Fat 0.2g < 1%
Sat. Fat < 0.1g < 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg < 1%
Total Carbs. 4.7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1.2g 5%
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 1.5g
Calcium 15.4mg
Potassium 305.3mg

Green Chick 21 Begins…

IMG_3849Welcome to my Green Chick 21 blog! I hope to entertain, teach and inspire you to live a healthier life. Stay tuned because we’re going to be exploring some fun stuff! I LOVE healthy food, exercise, gardening and living green!

Let me tell you a little about myself so far… First, and most importantly, I am a wife to a wonderfully supportive man and mom to three beautiful kids.  I am also a nationally certified group fitness instructor and teach Yoga, Pilates and Weight Training classes. I’ve managed a health and weight loss resort, where people came from all over the world to lose weight and regain their health.  I use REAL food, mostly fresh, non-GMO, organic vegetables, fruits and whole grains in my cooking. I have three amazing hydroponic Tower Gardens, which produce an impressive amount of edible food. And last, but not least, I strive towards leaving this planet in better shape than I found it!