Morning Sunrise Smoothie

This is a recipe from Michael Symon’s new book, Fix it with Food. He provides some delicious recipes to do a 10-day “reset” eliminating meat and dairy products.

This smoothie is so good, I’ve made it multiple times already. It’s sweet, tart and slightly spicy from the fresh ginger. It tastes just like an orange slushy, even though there are no oranges in it! Very refreshing and healthy on a warm summer day.

It’s so easy to make. You just need 2 carrots, 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks, the juice from 1 lemon, 1 small chunk of fresh ginger, peeled, 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1 tablespooon of coconut or avocado oil, and about a cup of water.

I use a high-speed blender (NutriBullet) to ensure that everything gets pureed evenly. I highly recommend this recipe for an easy and refreshing smoothie. You can have it for breakfast, or a mid-day pickup, perhaps after a workout. Enjoy!

Morning Sunrise Smoothie

Servings: 1

  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup water


Add all ingredients to a high speed blender cup, such as the Nutribullet, process until smooth.

The Best Hummus

Hummus is one of my favorite foods. I like a lot of spice and extra lemon juice in mine. I’ve eaten it for breakfast spread it on Ezekiel toast with sliced tomatoes on top, or as a snack with tortilla chips, crackers or raw vegetables.

This truly is the best recipe for hummus that I’ve found, and I have tried many versions over the years. It’s from Lisa Bryan at

I had given up on making it at home since it never turned out well, made a big mess, and turned out lumpy and bland. But due to the recent pandemic, one day I went shopping and all the hummus was gone from the grocery store. I had the ingredients at home, so decided to try another recipe.

I think that the secret to making this so light and creamy is that it’s made in a high powered blender (like a NutriBullet). And you have to add quite a bit of liquid to make sure it blends smoothly.

The basic ingredients include canned chickpeas (plus some of the liquid), tahini paste, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and spices like garlic, cumin, and salt. The original recipe didn’t include cayenne pepper, but I think it adds a nice kick!

Just place all of the ingredients in your blender and whip it up until it’s the light and creamy consistency that you prefer. Taste it to adjust the seasoning. Add more salt, lemon or other spices as needed.

Hummus is such a versatile dip/spread. You can add so many other ingredients such as roasted red peppers or eggplant, olives, extra garlic, tomato and basil, parsley, jalapenos, etc.

So make a batch of this tasty spread today! It’s a great snack full of fiber and healthy fats.

The Best Hummus

Serves 8

  • 30 ounces canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained with liquid reserved (two 15-ounce cans)
  • 1/3 cup chickpea liquid, or more, as needed
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional


Add all the ingredients to your Vitamix, NutriBullet  or other high-powered blender and secure the lid.  

Turn the blender on high for 30 seconds (or more for a creamier texture).   Add more chickpea liquid (aquafaba), if desired, for a softer hummus.

Black Bean Brownies

I’ve tried other black bean brownie recipes in the past, but these are the best!

I made a couple of slight changes, but the recipe is adapted from one by Chocolate Covered Katie: .

This recipe is easy, healthy, and doesn’t require flour or eggs. Perfect for when we’re staying at home and limiting trips to the grocery store.

You just need a few pantry staples like canned black beans and chocolate chips, and you throw everything into the food processor to blend.

I love that the brownies are made with healthy ingredients like oats, beans and stevia instead of sugar. My husband eats them all the time and has no clue that they contain beans!

I have made the recipe several times, using maple syrup twice, then honey, then I tried some unsweetened apple sauce that I wanted to use up, and it came out great.

I also used whole oats instead of quick-cooking oats, because that’s what I had on hand.

Start by putting the oats in the food processor and pulse a few times to grind them up slightly. Then take a 15-ounce can of black beans, drain and rinse thoroughly, and add to the food processor. Blend for a few seconds to break them down.

Then add remaining ingredients: cocoa powder, salt, apple sauce, stevia baking blend, oil, vanilla, and baking powder.

Blend very well until the mixture is combined.

Remove the mixing blade and stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I prefer dark chocolate or semi-sweet. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish, and sprinkle more chocolate chips evenly over the top (optional).

Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until they look firm on top.

Cool, then store in the refrigerator for the best texture.

Black Bean Brownies

Servings:  9

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce, pure maple syrup, honey,  or agave
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia baking blend (such as Truvia) or 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as avocado or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips, preferably dark or semi-sweet


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

If using whole oats, pulse a few times in the food processor before adding other ingredients.  Add the beans next and process for a few seconds.  Then add all remaining ingredients except chips, and blend until completely smooth.  Really blend well.  A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.  Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.  

Optional:  sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.

Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut.   I prefer to place them in the fridge until they firm up.

Overnight Oats with Berries, Flax and Walnuts

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy and delicious breakfast option, these overnight oats are perfect.

The most difficult part is remembering to soak the oats overnight. You just need equal amounts of raw whole oats and nut or soy milk. Pour the milk over the oats, stir and refrigerate.

The next morning, take the oats out of the refrigerator. You will see that they absorbed most of the milk and are soft and ready to eat. Gather your toppings: fruit, raw nuts, ground golden flaxseed, granulated Stevia sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Microwave the frozen berries (or other fruit of your choice) until thawed. It only takes about a minute. Then spoon the fruit over the oats. I like to use blueberries and strawberries, but here I found a blend that also includes tart and sweet cherries.

Next, sprinkle the flaxseed, nuts, spices and sweetener (optional). It’s ready to enjoy! This meal is full of fiber, antioxidants and a bit of healthy fat.

Overnight Oats with Berries, Flax and Walnuts

Servings:  1

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, organic/non GMO
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened nut or soy milk (such as Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond Cashew Milk)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground golden flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated Stevia sweetener, such as Truvia
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Pour the oats into a bowl and cover with the nut or soy milk.  Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, place some frozen fruit into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until thawed.  Pour the fruit over the oats.  Add chopped nuts, flaxseed, sweetener and spices and stir to combine.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Chili with Turkey and Vegetables

I’m continuing my plan to add as many vegetables as possible to the recipes that I prepare. Chili is something that’s quick and easy to throw together, and can be frozen for later, so I tend to make it pretty often. I also like to try using different ingredients and seasonings, depending what I have on hand and what I’m in the mood for.

Everyone has their own favorite chili recipe, and they vary depending where you live. From Texas to Cincinnati to New York, some people use chunks of meat vs. ground, beans vs. no beans, vegetarian vs. all meat, beer or no beer, super spicy or mild, there are endless variations.

This is why I’m posting a second chili recipe. I decided to pack in even more vegetables and decrease the meat, to make it even healthier!

I really like using my pressure cooker for recipes like this, but you can easily make it on the stove, as well. Start by turning on the saute function, adding a bit of oil and saute the the onions for a minute or two.

Then add 1 pound of ground turkey, and break it up while continuing to saute.

Meanwhile, chop some vegetables: carrots, celery, and bell peppers.

Add them to the pot along with some finely chopped mushrooms and garlic.

Then add canned tomatoes, plain diced, chili-ready and tomato sauce, as well as some tomato paste.

Also add 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, and spices like chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, chipotle chili and a bit of sweetener.

Close the lid and seal it, and choose manual cooking for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the chili remain on warm for at least 30 minutes before serving.

My husband doesn’t care for beans, but he does like a bit of macaroni in his chili. So feel free to offer a variety of options so your family or guests can have it the way they prefer (beans, macaroni, avocado, cheese, sour cream, jalapenos or hot sauce). I added some organic black beans to my bowl.

It’s delicious, satisfying, slightly spicy, and sure to warm you up on a cold day. Try making some today!

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Chili with Turkey and Vegetables

Servings:  8

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2-3 medium bell peppers, assorted colors
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can chili-ready tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sweetener made from stevia


In an Instant Pot pressure cooker, turn on the saute function, add the oil and the onions, and cook for a minute or two. Then add the ground turkey and brown the meat, breaking it into small chunks.

Add the mushrooms, carrots, celery and peppers, and continue cooking until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Turn off the saute function.

Add the tomatoes, broth and seasonings and stir.  Seal the lid and set the Manual setting for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off, leave the sauce on warm for at least 30 minutes before releasing the pressure.

Note:  If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make the sauce on the stove in a large soup kettle.  Follow the directions as above, and simmer the mixture for 1 hour before serving.

Veggie-Packed Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

One of my resolutions this year is to eat more vegetables, so I am thinking of all the ways that I can add them to recipes. This way I can increase the volume of food, increase the nutritional value, and decrease the amount of meat.

In my typical meat sauce, I would use one pound of ground turkey for each large can of crushed tomatoes. In this version, I doubled the amount of tomatoes, added lots of vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery, but only used one pound of ground turkey. It still turned out delicious, filling and even more healthy.

I love using my new pressure cooker (Instant Pot) to make sauces and soups, so I tried it for this recipe. If you prefer, you can just make it in a big pot on the stove.

Start by using the saute function to brown the ground turkey in a little bit of oil.

Next, add the chopped carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms.

Saute for a few minutes until they soften, then add some garlic and cook for another minute. Next, add the two containers of tomatoes (you can use POMI strained or finely chopped, regular canned crushed, or whichever type you prefer), and the salt, pepper, oregano, sweetener and red pepper flakes.

Now you can seal the lid and set the cook time on Manual for 10 minutes. Once the beeper goes off, let the pressure reduce gradually for at least 30 minutes.

If you cook this on the stove instead, let it simmer for 1 hour.

Here is the sauce after cooking.

Next, add finely chopped fresh basil, and taste to see if any additional salt or pepper are necessary.

I served it over organic spaghetti made out of black soybeans. This pasta is high in protein and fiber, and less than half the carbs of regular pasta.

Veggie-Packed Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

Servings:  12

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 boxes (26.46 ounce) POMI strained tomatoes, or 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sweetener made from stevia
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped


In an Instant Pot pressure cooker, turn on the saute function, add the oil and the ground turkey and brown the meat, breaking it into small chunks.

Add the onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery, and continue cooking until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Turn off the saute function.

Add the tomatoes and seasonings, except basil, and stir.  Seal the lid and set the Manual setting for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off, leave the sauce on warm for at least 30 minutes, until the pressure releases naturally.  Stir in the fresh basil, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve.

Note:  If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make the sauce on the stove in a large soup kettle.  Follow the directions as above, and simmer the tomato mixture for 1 hour before adding the basil.

Apple Pie Smoothie

Happy New Year!

After all of the holiday treats, you may be looking for some healthy and nutritious recipes. This smoothie is the perfect thing to get you back on track. Not only is it healthy, but it’s delicious! It tastes exactly like apple pie. And it’s so quick and easy to throw together.

I like to make smoothies for breakfast, but you can have it as a snack before or after a workout, or even as a dessert.

You can use kale or spinach, along with an apple, some raw nuts, ground flaxseed, a dash of cinnamon and natural protein powder.

I use the NutriBullet high speed blender which works really well to puree everything, even apple peels and nuts.

Just add your greens to the container, then the apple slices, flaxseed, nuts and cinnamon, along with about a cup of water. Blend thoroughly, then add a scoop of protein powder and blend again, just until combined.

I find that if you add the protein powder in the beginning along with everything else, sometimes the mixture can expand too quickly and start leaking out of the container before everything else is fully pureed. So it’s best to have a fully blended and uniform mixture before adding the protein powder.

After blending, pour into a fresh glass and enjoy!

Apple Pie Smoothie

Servings:  1

  • 1 cup (packed) raw organic kale or spinach
  • 1 small granny smith apple, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raw walnuts, pecans or almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground golden flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 scoop natural vanilla whey protein powder (sweetened with stevia)


Add the first 5 ingredients to a high speed blender cup, such as the Nutribullet.  Add 1 cup of water and blend until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Add protein powder and blend for a few more seconds.  Serve.

Holiday Stuffing

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, cook it inside or outside the turkey, this is one of those “must-have” traditional dishes to serve on holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Even though I’m sharing recipes that are lower in starchy carbs on this blog, I thought that I could add one holiday “treat” that has been popular in my family over the years.

I’m a firm believer in following the 80/20 rule for healthy eating. If you eat healthy, nutritious, minimally processed and lower-carb foods 80% of the time, then you can have a few higher carb treats now and then. If you eat a bit of stuffing, or pie, or your mom’s famous cookies, don’t beat yourself up. Just enjoy it and try to limit the treats to the actual holiday, and maybe a day or two afterward. This way, you won’t be overeating for an entire month!

Back to the stuffing…even people who don’t normally care for it tend to like my recipe. It’s not just a bunch of bread with a bit of sage and turkey flavoring, but it’s loaded with juicy, delicious sausage and tons of fresh vegetables and herbs. The small dash of cayenne pepper really gives it a nice kick!

Many people add celery and onions to their stuffing, but this recipe also includes mushrooms, carrots and red peppers.

In my opinion, the breakfast sausage really enhances the flavor, and also gives a bit of a spicy kick. Years ago, I would just add any pork sausage that was on sale, but now I like to use healthier meats like chicken and turkey, preferable nitrate-free and organic.

For the convenience, I like to use the packaged stuffing mix, but feel free to use fresh bread cubes that you’ve dried in the oven.

To begin, melt butter in a large skillet, then add the diced vegetables.

You can see how colorful it looks! Continue cooking for several minutes until everything is soft.

Then add the sausage. In this case, the sausage is precooked, so you can immediately add the rest of the ingredients. But if you use raw ground turkey sausage, be sure to break it up into small pieces and cook thoroughly before proceeding.

Next, I like to add a bunch of herbs and spices to really liven it up. Even though the stuffing mix has herbs, I still add basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, black pepper, as well as a bit of cayenne pepper. Then add the stuffing mix or bread cubes and chicken broth.

Mix it thoroughly to see if it’s moist enough, and add a bit more water or broth, if necessary. Taste to see if it needs a bit of salt.

Place the mixture in a large, oiled baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until hot. If you want to brown the top slightly, remove the cover for the last 10 minutes.

I usually make the stuffing a day ahead and refrigerate. In that case, plan to bake it for about 40 minutes. I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

Holiday Stuffing

Servings:  12

  • 1/4 cup organic butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, minced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 pound nitrate-free chicken or turkey breakfast sausage, ground or diced
  • 1 12-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Herb-Seasoned Stuffing Mix
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock


In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions, mushrooms, celery, carrots and red pepper, and saute for several minutes, until tender.  Add the spices and breakfast sausage.  (If the sausage is uncooked, continue heating until cooked through.)  

Add the stuffing mix and chicken stock and stir until everything is combined, and the stuffing is moist.  Add a bit more broth or water if it seems too dry.

Pour the stuffing into a large casserole dish, cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, removing cover for the last 10 minutes.

If making ahead, refrigerate stuffing, then bake covered for 40 minutes when ready to serve.

Healthy Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

I love meatballs, but wanted to create a moist, delicious and healthy version that had equal amounts of meat and vegetables, and that didn’t require flour or breadcrumbs.

These Healthy Turkey Meatballs are exactly what I was hoping for. The best thing about them is that you can serve them in many different ways. You can make them smaller or larger, serve them plain or with your favorite marinara sauce. Or you can serve them with a dipping sauce…barbecue, ketchup, spicy mustard, creamy dressing, or perhaps tzaziki.

Start by sauteeing some finely chopped onions, mushrooms and garlic, then set the mixture aside to cool.

Take a package of frozen chopped spinach, thaw it and squeeze all the liquid out. Then use 2 pounds of ground turkey (in this case, I used 93% lean), and add salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and a dash of cayenne.

Mix everything together and form 2-inch meatballs, then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. I ended up with 28, but you can make them smaller or larger if you prefer.

Bake them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, turning them after 15 minutes.

These meatballs are great as a meal, or a snack. You can also freeze them to use later. Enjoy!

Healthy Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

Servings:  8 entree/16 appetizer  (Makes about 30 two-inch meatballs)

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 9-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute for several minutes, until tender.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Place the mixture in a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Once the vegetables are cool, add the turkey, spinach, rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper and cayenne and mix thoroughly.  Form into 2-inch meatballs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  You should have approximately 28-30 meatballs. 

Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs after 15 minutes.

The meatballs are very versatile and can be served plain, or with your favorite sauces, dips or dressings:  marinara, barbecue, ketchup, mustard, or ranch dressing.

15-Minute Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is so simple, but always gets rave reviews when I serve it at family gatherings. Even people who don’t normally like cranberries enjoy this dish!

If you’ve only ever had cranberry sauce from a can, you’re in for a treat! That stuff is full of sugar and not something you want to serve your guests. Making this recipe with fresh cranberries and fruit is quick and easy. Anyone can do it!

You only need a few ingredients: a bag of fresh cranberries, sweetener (I use stevia baking blend), an apple, an orange and a pear. Sometimes I add chopped toasted nuts, as well.

Start by boiling one cup of water in a medium saucepan along with the equivalent of one cup of sugar, which would be 1/2 cup of Truvia baking blend. (It’s great because this amount only contains 1/4 cup of sugar for the entire recipe (12 servings). Once the water is boiling, add the fresh cranberries.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

While the cranberries are simmering, peel and dice your orange, pear and apple (I used Honeycrisp) and place in a medium bowl.

As the cranberries cook, you will hear popping sounds as they burst and the liquid starts to thicken. Here is the finished product.

Pour the warm cranberries over the cold fruit and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If desired, stir in some toasted pecans.

15-Minute Cranberry Sauce

Servings:  12

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup stevia baking blend (such as Truvia)
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 apple, such as Honeycrisp, peeled and diced
  • 1 pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted, (optional)


Place water and sweetener in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Place the diced orange, apple and pear in a medium bowl.  Pour the cranberries over the fruit and stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Add pecans, if desired.