Summer Fun Family Checklist

The school year has finally ended and the kids are amped for summer! You may have trips planned, but a family bucket list can help fill those lonesome summer days. Feel free to use this bucket list year after year, or create your own. Either way, you will be creating those fun summer memories you and your family will remember for years to come!

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Quick Spinach Alfredo Flatbread

Looking for a quick satisfying meal or appetizer to feed guests or family? This delicious flatbread has become a favorite among my family and friends. It can easily be made into a vegan dish by swapping cheese with vegan cheese and using this vegan Alfredo recipe found at Minimalist Baker.

INGREDIENTS2

 

Spinach Alfredo Flat Bread Recipe

2 Flat Breads

1 Garlic clove (chopped or minced)

Olive Oil

1 bag of Spinach leaves (not frozen)

1 Jar of Alfredo sauce

4 oz shredded Parmesan and Asiago cheese blend

Basil for garnish

FLAT SLICES2

Start by sauteing chopped or minced garlic in pan. Add in spinach leaves and jar of Alfredo sauce. Let simmer on stove for less than a minute. Drizzle olive oil on flatbread. Spread Alfredo, spinach and garlic over both flat breads. Sprinkle cheese blend on top of flatbread and garnish with basil. Place into oven on 425 for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Flat breads can be placed on oven rack covered in tin foil. Serve as an appetizer, with salad or  favorite side and enjoy!

 

Vegan Rainbow Cauliflower Stir-fry

One Saturday my family and I took a trip to the local farmers market. As we browsed our usual favorites we came across some gorgeous purple and orange colored cauliflower. After speaking a bit with the greengrocer, we learned some pretty cool facts about this ever popular rainbow cauliflower veggie.

There are many exciting benefits to rainbow cauliflower! Per Trader Joe’s, most rainbow cauliflower is grown by the volcanic fertile soil near the Central Andes mountains in Ecuador. The climate and environment there allows for the unique beta carotene orange color found in the orange florets. Another cool fact is that pack they 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower.

As I asked the greengrocer to bag us some of his best rainbow cauliflower bunches, I began to think …. what in the world am I going to make with this?

Well, the next day (which my family has now labeled as “Vegan Sunday”), my cooking creativity with our colorful cauliflower began. (To my surprise the cauliflower tasted slightly sweeter than cauliflower and the same texture as broccoli and cauliflower when steamed). I took all of our remaining hand picked green beans leftover and came up with the following fresh and vegan friendly stir fry idea.

A helpful side note tip: If you are transitioning away from eating meat, try this “trick your brain” idea. Replace the food textures that your mind is used to having with certain dishes. See my example below for this particular recipe.

Rainbow Cauliflower Stir-fry

“The Meats”

baby red skin potatoes and rainbow cauliflower

“The Noodles”

hand picked green beans

Seasonings: Pink Himalayan Salt, Garlic Cloves, Black Peppercorn

Directions: Chop red skin potatoes and whole garlic cloves to your liking. Pour about 2 cups of olive oil in a frying pan (or you can bake). Cook red skin potatoes until brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Steam the green beans and rainbow cauliflower together with butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

Place a layer of green beans at the bottom of the plate first then top with potatoes and rainbow cauliflower.

This dish is super healthy and delicious! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Vegan Bakery: Poison Berry Bakery in Cleveland, Ohio

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Poison Berry Bakery

12210 Larchmere Blvd

Cleveland, Oh 44120

Vegan lover’s will enjoy this colorful bakery on Larchmere Blvd., catering to just about everything a vegan could possibly be looking for – vegan pastries and vegan snacks that are all animal and cruelty free. They also serve a tasty vegan Saturday brunch!

Located near historic Shaker Square in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Poison Berry Bakery is a unique, artsy, family-friendly coffee shop that offers an array of desserts, pastries, vegan cheese, vegan jerky and (as the sign on the window states) some of the best coffee in the universe!

vegan jerky
Try out some delicious vegan jerky such as Smoky Carolina BBQ and Mesquite Hickory Bacon.

 

VEGAN CHEESE
You can purchase delicious vegan cheese inside Poison Berry Bakery such as mozzarella, gouda, and provolone to take home.

 

Next time you are looking for one of those rare vegan food spots, give Poison Berry Bakery a try. Check out other cool happenings on Larchmere Blvd by clicking here.

 

 

A Cure for Christmas Day Cabin Fever: Plenty of Food and Tasty Drinks

Hosting a Christmas Party? Easy! Hosting your kids and spouse for the ENTIRE day… take a breath and take some notes.

The magic of Christmas comes and goes in the blink of an eye, so when the big day comes and all the gifts have been opened what’s next? The last thing anyone wants to do is venture outdoors into the cold. This day is all about being snuggly and feeling bubbly. Here are my fun drink and food ideas to get you and your family through your Christmas Day cabin fever.

Drinks & Finger Food for Gift Opening 

Adults: Pop Champagne Mimosa – Kids: Orange Juice Spritzer

Why not serve yourself and the kids a refreshing fun twist on orange juice for the special day while opening presents? You deserve to sit back and relax first thing in the morning after the weeks of decorating, wrapping and shopping.

Adult Recipe: In a festive fluke serve Prosecco Champagne with a splash of orange juice or grapefruit juice. Garnish with a thin orange slice.

Kids Recipe: Serve sparkling juice and a splash of orange juice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Mini Breakfast Snack Finger Food: Cinnamon & Brown Sugar French Toast Bagel Sticks

Do a quick prep the day before and pop these yummy sticks in the toaster oven for a few minutes while the family excitedly open their gifts. Serve on a decorative Christmas platter to tie everyone over until breakfast.

Recipe: Slice package of mini plain bagels in half then cut down the center (each bagel should make four pieces. Prepare a bowl of almond milk (or your milk preference) with cinnamon. Prepare a bowl of brown sugar and cinnamon.

In a skillet melt butter. Dunk a bagel piece in the milk with cinnamon and brown both sides in the skillet. Let each piece cool then sprinkle both side with brown sugar and cinnamon. Place into freezer overnight for a quick warm up in the morning.

Award Winning Christmas Breakfast

Okay you relaxed on the couch. Now it’s your time to shine! Show off your creative style for this special day by adding small quality touches to all your favorite breakfast items.

Eggs: Why not toss in some mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes? Prepare your eggs your favorite style and add plenty of veggies and cheeses.

Waffles or Pancakes: Throw in chocolate chips or strawberries to your batter. Top with powdered sugar, whip cream or hot fruit topping and you have a delicious twist on plain waffles and pancakes!

Potatoes: Cut some red skin potatoes into chunks. Add in green peppers, onions and broccoli. Mix in some ranch dressing and sprinkle with shredded cheese. (go ahead and splurge it’s Christmas Day once a year!)

Meats/or Not: Fry up some turkey bacon, turkey sausage, or vegan seitan bacon or sausage to accompany your delicious sides.

Mid Afternoon Drinks & Food

Once all the morning excitements have died down (and maybe a nap or two has everyone refreshed) it is time to move on to the next half of your Christmas morning. Gather the family around the fireplace (or watch the t.v. fireplace on Netflix) for a family game, or television for an oldie but goodie Christmas movie. And wait….. don’t forget about the next round of food and drinks!!

Adults: Hot Coffee with a shot/Kids: Hot Cocoa Chocolate Bar!

Adult Recipe: Brew a cup of your favorite Joe. Add in a shot such as Patron XO Café and any other of your favorite condiments.

Kids Recipe: Select your favorite cup of cocoa mix and adorn your table with toppings. Have the kids squirt on the whip cream and top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, and cherries. If you’re really feeling fancy cool off the hot chocolate with some vanilla bean ice cream at the bottom of the mug.

Mid-Afternoon Snack – Holiday Popcorn Medley

Pop a bag of your favorite popcorn. Be creative by adding dried fruit like cranberries, marshmallows, and chocolate chips to the bowl of popcorn once it has cooled.

It’s Dinnertime Drinks & Food!

Some of you may be venturing off to parties or over to a relatives for dinner. Lucky you! However, if you will be finishing off your day at home, everyone will soon be asking for dinner. It’s time for another creative meal and beverage to accompany the evening plans. Make a fancy and inexpensive place setting at the table – Hopefully you were able to get the kiddos out to play in the snow for a breather. If not, now would be the time!

Adults: Holiday Moscow Mule – Kids: Holiday Ginger Juice

Moscow Mules have become one of my favorite drinks for its delicious blend of vodka, lime and ginger bite at the finish. Add a splash of cranberry juice, mint sprig and a few cranberries to make a holiday rendition.

Adult Recipe: Choose your favorite Vodka. Add ginger beer (go for a strong brand like Goslings), squeezed lime juice, cranberry juice, and pour over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and toss in a few cranberries.

Kid Recipe: Ginger beer (non-alcoholic), squeezed lime juice, cranberry juice poured over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and add some cranberries.

The Final Event: Dinner!

So you made it to the end of your Christmas Day. You’re exhausted I am sure, but that Holiday Moscow Mule will help you get through the last stretch. Make it a dinner they will remember!

Veggies: Kale Greens with Cabbage – Start with a base of broth (chicken or vegetable), butter, garlic and salt and pepper (add more or less to your liking). Make one layer kale, one layer cabbage. Add more butter, garlic salt and pepper. Keep layering and repeating. Once pot is full let this deliciousness simmer for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the texture you prefer.

Starches: Brown Rice Noodle Mac & Cheese – Boil brown rice pasta and drain. Stir in butter, salt and pepper, pinch of garlic, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, and your favorite milk. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bread crumbs. Put in the oven on 425 for approx. 40 mins.

Pineapple Sweet, Sweet Potatoes – cut sweet potatoes into medallions. Boil in hot water. Prepare a skillet of brown sugar, honey and butter (add more or less to your liking). Place sweet potatoes into skillet and add frozen pineapple chunks. Let simmer on low heat for 10 mins.

Meats: Barbeque Turkey Ribs & Salmon – Marinate turkey ribs (or cut turkey cutlet sliced) and salmon in Italian dressing overnight with salt and pepper. Place in broiler and turn midway when ready to cook. For last 10 minutes in oven pour barbeque sauce over the meat. The turkey ribs should take approx. 45 minutes on 425. The salmon approx. 10 – 15 minutes and serve.

Breads: Butter some pumpernickel bread and place in the oven for 7 minutes. Serve warm and make this last so it stays warm and soft at the table.

Place setting: Find inexpensive holiday table placemats at stores like Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart. Spice up the decorum of any table with candles and holiday colored napkins. Goblets go well and can also be found at Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart for under $5.

Enjoy your memorable Christmas Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Black Bean Lasagna

A hearty and delicious meat free lasagna.

This hearty and simple to prepare vegetarian lasagna is just delicious! This recipe is great to cozy up to for those cold winter nights. Feel free to make different variations, but definitely try this one out first…

Recipe

2 packages of Meatless Meat

1 can of black beans

1 package of spinach leaves

2 ears of kernel corn cut straight from the cob

1 pkg shredded cheddar Daiya Cheese (or 12 slices of Colby Jack Cheese)

1 half jar salsa

2 jars spaghetti sauce

No boil lasagna noodles

Optional Seasonings to taste

Pink Himalayan Salt

Ground Pepper

Basil

Cilantro

Mix meatless meat in a bowl along with seasonings. Add can of black beans, cut corn kernels and pour in spaghetti and salsa to mix all the ingredients.

In a glass pan coat the bottom of the dish with spaghetti sauce. Start adding first layer of lasagna noodles, meatless meat mixture, spinach leaves and Colby Jack Cheese (Daiya cheese slices). Continue layering (including smoothing spaghetti sauce on noodles in between each layer) until you reach the top of your pan. Sprinkle final layer with bread crumbs. Stick into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes on 375. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Healthy Local Eats: Munch in Solon, Ohio

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We must make small gradual changes to our health!

One of the absolute hardest parts of healthy eating is being out on the go and you get hungry. Yeah, you can grab a protein bar, yada yada. But, even that gets old after awhile. What you want is to grab a filling sandwich, salad or soup just like everyone else – But, you want it to be a healthy, nutritious, guilt free meal. And, dare I add nice ambiance into the mix?

munch3

Delicious Munch Menu

In walks the healthy fast food spot Munch. Munch, located in Solon, Ohio is ran by super nice husband and wife Scott and Jamie. Their menu specializes in healthy vegetarian soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches, along with high-quality meats for meat lovers. Got a bit of a sweet tooth? Special treats include freshly baked cookies, ice-cream, smoothies, parfaits, and chocolate (and or almond) milk.

 

much4Local artists artwork line the walls.

And, if things couldn’t get any better, the décor of this place is absolutely gorgeous! It’s full of artwork from local Cleveland artists, beautiful wooden tables and delightful music!

 

munch5My girls enjoying the food and sights.

The kids enjoyed off the bone turkey sandwiches, full of romaine lettuce and cheese, along with a bowl of delicious onion soup. We splurged a little bit off the healthy track and let the girls select from a wide variety of local kettle chips and chocolate almond milk.

 

munch6A vegetarian selection – Papa’s Portabella Melt

My hubby, being the vegetarian that he is, was highly pleased with his pita sandwich. The Papa’s Portabella came stuffed with marinated portobello mushrooms, red onions & herbed mayo. He added some bean sprouts for extra veggies.

munch1

 

Turkey lover’s would enjoy the Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast.

My teen and I also enjoyed some turkey off the bone on pita better known as Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast. It was stuffed with melted cheese, tomato, lettuce, red, green and yellow bell pepper. I also selected the bean sprouts and herbed mayo. The homemade all natural pickles were also an added delight!

All in all, I would highly recommend Munch when considering my next “on the go” meal, or even for a break from the typical food places you go to. We are all guilty of “insanity” at some point in our lives. We want more for our business, but we don’t do anything new to change the outcome. We want better relationships, but we don’t do any internal soul searching within. And, we want a healthier lifestyle and body, but we don’t do  anything new to change our eating habits or exercise more.

 

munch7Healthy Drink options on tap! Gotta love it!

Thank goodness for healthy eating places such as Munch that recognize people do want “real” food and cucumber water as a selection. If you are trying to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle, here are some small things you can do NOW that can make all the difference in the world to your body.

 Simple Substitutions:

1) Eliminate the can foods – prepare fresh soups and put in freezer. That way when the kids or someone is sick, you are not reaching for a can that’s been on a shelf for months.

2) Eliminate the Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and the dancing lady with umbrella – Believe it or not, Pink Himalayan salt, black peppercorn and garlic cloves make great natural seasoning. They also hold very unique health benefits.

3) Eliminate the “fake fruits juices” – just say no to high fructose anything!

4) Eliminate the Cow’s Milk – as hard as a pill this may be to swallow our bodies were not made to consume cow milk. Cow’s milk can disrupt the digestive track and is made from mucus. Believe me, we still love our cheese, but we are slowly trying to eliminate it. Daya cheese is a delicious tasting cow free alternative. Even replacing your regular consumption with Almond or Rice milk is a great start.

5) Eliminate the plastic – plastic is not a good receptacle for water, drinks, or food to be stored in. That plastic gets into our bodies and can cause all types of problems. Do your best to limit your plastic consumption by keeping things stored in glass containers or BPA free containers. Glass containers are becoming very popular and can easily be bought online or by recycling glass jugs from the store and filling them with water.

6) Eliminate the fake sugar products: syrup’s, sweeteners, dollar store honey. Buy local honey native to your area at local farmers markets. Period, pretty much!

7) Eliminate the fast foods – limit as often as you can. Visit local eateries in your area such as Munch!

8) Stay away from commercial grocery stores – more than likely if there is a particular store chain on every corner, the less and less you are getting away from fresh, local organic food choices that are not full of all the additives that our bodies do not need.

To view the menu and for more information visit Munch at http://www.munch216.com/

 

 

 

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