Morning Muffins {leftover oatmeal is the star of these beauties!}

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

If you’ve been a follower of this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably come to realize I love oatmeal. And even more so ~ I love finding ways of creating new breakfast idea’s using the leftovers. Hence, I always make an extra large batch of oatmeal just so I have A LOT left over!

The other night I made a batch of “overnight oatmeal” … nothing special. I just combined Organic Oats, Cashew Milk, ground Flaxseed, Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Organic Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, and fresh Organic Blueberries.

Overnight Oats

Definitely not the prettiest sight, but the flavor was perfect!

And since that flavor was so perfect, I woke up early this morning with the idea of turning this unsightly version of oatmeal into yummy muffins.


1.5 Cups of Almond Flour

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

a pinch of Salt

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/3 Cup Cashew Milk ( or Almond or Soy, etc)

1 egg (whisked)

1 ripe Banana (mashed)

1/4 Cup dry Organic Oats

1 Cup Organic Blueberries (rinsed)

Combine all this with your leftover Oatmeal (I had about 1.5 Cups)

350 degree Oven – butter (or grease) your muffin tray – and scoop in about 1/2 way to the top. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes; or until edges and tops are golden.

These came out even better than I thought! So dense and so flavorful! Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Fall will be here in another week… and although I live in the Sunshine State, where it’s tropical weather 9 months out of the year, I still enjoy a healthy, hearty autumn soup.

I love roasting all different vegetables and changing it up each time – depending upon what I have in my crisper drawer or what catches my eye in the produce aisle. I typically always include parsnips, carrots, colorful potatoes (see above pic) & sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. If I have celery, I’ll add it; but it’s not a necessity. However, I always use Northern White Beans or Navy Beans as a thickening base – to me, that’s what makes this a Fall Soup. In the past, I’ve puréed roasted cauliflower, however, I’m not a fan of the consistency that it brings. I’d rather the smoothness of the puréed beans; or even a quick mashed potato base.

For this recipe I had roasted broccoli from the night before and decided to add that… but kept the florets whole. This is another recipe that I feel can be switched up each time. There is no right or wrong in what you decide to add. It’s your cooking ~ your soup ~ add to it what you like.

The following list of ingredients are the basics of what I use.

While the vegetables are roasting, I sauté about 2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil and add in 2 15 oz cans of Organic Northern White Beans. I add in the juice/water from the can as well, as this is a great thickener.

Add your white bean mixture and top with the 1/2 of vegetables that were kept whole. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and S&P to taste.

This is a very hearty soup, but I still like to serve it with a nice sourdough bread.

**If you’re not on a Vegan diet, a nice touch when simmering the soup to warm through, is to add a piece of the rind of a chunk of Parmesan Cheese for a depth in flavor.

Stir (fry) It Up!

your best friends kitchen


Do you ever come home after a long day (from work, from the beach, the pool, the mall, or from running a million errands!) and realize you really had nothing “planned” for dinner?  It usually hits me after my son asks the cringe-worthy question “what’s for dinner?”.   My initial response (in my head anyway) is “you’re kidding me, right?”, but being the super-mom I try to be (cough) I reply “I’m just going to throw something together, I’ll let you know when dinner is ready”.  And then … I desperately (!) start searching through my refrigerator and pantry – high and low – for anything that will pass as ‘healthy & satisfying’!

If you’re like me, you always have some veggies laying around in your crisper drawer.  Especially in this time of year!  I mean, there is nothing better than beautiful, bright, crisp vegetables! Right?!

But… what if you…

View original post 332 more words

Roasted Cauliflower Taco’s with Mango Salsa ~

I know everyone loves “Taco Tuesday”… but what about all the other days of the week? There are some of us (raise of hands, please), who can eat taco’s every night of the week. Especially when you can have a different variety of them that are seemingly endless. From Vegan to Vegetarian to Pescatarian to Paleo to Keto…. the list goes on and on.

I find Taco’s are the easiest ways to get creative with any and all foods in your refrigerator and pantry. You can whip up a Taco that just uses a base {like my White Northern Bean Base: A 15oz can of rinsed Northern White Beans simmered in a touch of Olive Oil, a few dashes of Smoked Paprika, 1 large clove of Garlic – minced, 1/4 yellow Onion, finely chopped, and S&P ~ sautéed until flavors are well combined. As it cooks down, mash the beans a little with a wooden spoon and remove from stove to let cool a bit} and just top with fresh cilantro, lime juice, sliced Avocado and shredded smoked cheese. Literally, it taking you all of 15 minutes from start to finish. What could be easier on a Tuesday… or a Friday, Sunday, or even a Monday evening?

But one of my favorites is a Roasted Cauliflower Taco. This Taco does take a bit longer, as the roasting part of it takes most of the prep time. But no need to worry; you can make this a Weekend Taco!

To Roast: Peal the leaves and cut the Cauliflower into florets and rinse clean. Pat dry with a towel. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle S&P {for this recipe, I tossed it with smoked paprika and minced garlic too} ~ place florets on a baking sheet, in a single layer. In a 400 degree oven, roast for about 40 minutes. You can serve just as is, or you can finish the florest off by braising them in a sauté pan {no need to add additional olive oil as the cauliflower will be oiled enough) with a few dashes of Tamari Sauce until browned and then drizzle (as much as, or as little as you like) Siracha Sauce. (This is optional for those of you who don’t like heat!)

Siracha-laced florets

While the Cauliflower is roasting in the oven, prepare your Mango Salsa.

Cut a ripe Mango into bite-sized pieces and stir in fresh Lime Juice, chopped Avocado, and fresh Cilantro. This is just a quick salsa – very simple ingredients because the cauliflower is the star of the show in this recipe. The mango will turn down the heat and brings in a bit of sweetness. (It makes it look pretty too!)

You can use any type of taco shell you prefer. Line the taco with your base – you can use one like the White Northern Bean base I mentioned above or another one I like to use is chopped greens & cabbage with sliced red pepper and scallions drizzled with a Green Goddess Dressing – {any creamy dressing will do ~ You just want to add a touch of dressing/sauce so as to not overpower the Cauliflower.}

Add the Cauliflower and top it off with your Mango Salsa. Done!

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Taco with Mango Salsa

Enjoy your “Taco Tuesday”! Or… if you’re like my family, enjoy Taco’s a number of times during the week! Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite Taco’s are!

Luscious Tomatoes!

your best friends kitchen

Summer and early Fall just wouldn’t be the same if there were no tomatoes!

Who doesn’t love fresh picked tomatoes, sliced perfectly, eaten immediately?! Or these small bite-sized beauties tossed in your mouth for that *BURST* of amazing “summer flavor”!

They can be used in every type of salad, salsa, lunch, dinner dish, vegetable juice, etc., etc., etc…

They are simply beautiful – even when they are not perfect. {I’ll take an heirloom tomato any day!}My favorite side dish is a quick “Salsa Salad” ~just cut up tomatoes, mince garlic, chop cilantro and thinly sliced red onion and peppers – drizzle with a touch of olive oil and squeeze a lime over it…. quick & easy and perfect with any lunch or dinner! But let’s be honest, this colorful “salsa salad” is perfect on it’s own – either with a fork or with a crunchy pita cracker!


View original post 88 more words

Farro: Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner ~

Italian Pearled Farro

Are you familiar with Farro? Only a handful of people I talk to know about this amazing grain. I’ve been cooking with it for the past 10 years or so, but I don’t feel it’s getting the full recognition it deserves. Farro is a good source of protein and fiber – and has a texture of a hearty brown rice, but still very unique. {I buy “pearled” farro – which means the outer husk has already been removed – so easier for cooking up a quick batch}.

When cooking Farro, just follow the directions on the packaging. It’s usually a 2:1 ratio ~ 2 Cups of Water to 1 Cup of Farro. It cooks like rice – bringing the water to a boil first, adding the Farro and letting it simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes.

For me, I like making a large batch at once; only because it gets eaten quite quickly in my house! I typically start out with making it for lunch and use the extra portions for breakfast and dinner meals during the week. That’s the thing with this hearty grain, it’s extremely versatile.

Lunch Bowl

Farro Lunch Bowl

When I make this Lunch Bowl, I cook the Farro about an hour+ before serving lunch. I like this grain served cold best. So once it’s finished cooking and all the water is absorbed, I put it in a steel bowl and throw it in my freezer for about 20 minutes – stirring occasionally so it cools down thoroughly. Remove from freezer, use as much as you want for each serving {I use about 3/4 Cup per serving}. Here I just did an Avocado Everything Bowl : I drizzled a bit of Olive Oil over the Farro and added a tiny dash of S&P with Mashed Avocado, 1 Hard-boiled Egg, and sprinkled “Everything But The Bagel” seasoning over the egg and avocado. That simple. But oh so good!

Breakfast Bowl:

Farro Breakfast Bowl

For the Farro Breakfast Bowl, I heat up cooked Farro in Almond Milk – about 1/4 Cup Almond Milk to 3/4 Cup of Farro and I add a pinch of Raw Sugar. The Milk will NOT absorb into the Farro – so you’ll have a “wet bowl” – so feel free to adjust the milk amount. Just heat until hot and add to your favorite breakfast bowl items. Here I used pistachios, dates, bananas, blueberries, raspberries and hemp hearts. Serve hot/warm.

Dinner Bowl:

Farro Salad: Perfect for Summer Nights

For dinner, you have a lot of options with using Farro. It can be used as a meal or as a side. It can be great in the summer as a “salad” or in the winter as a hearty base for a soup or Buddha Bowl. It can be served hot or cold. It’s all about taste and preferences. Play around with it and see how you like it best.

For this Summer Farro Salad, I cool down the cooked Farro and make a quick herb salad: a handful of chopped parlsey & mint and thinly sliced sweet vidalia onion, chopped grilled chicken, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, {here I used Chili Oil}, S&P, and to finish it off with chopped Feta Cheese {this one is Cubed Pepper Medley Feta by President Cheese} which gives it a nice tangy, salty bite to the salad. You can add in sliced red pepper or even jalapeño; or substitute grilled Salmon for the chicken, etc. I then combine these ingredients to the cooked Farro and done! Dinner is served!

Summer Farro Salad

With Farro being such a hearty grain, use it as a base in your winter stews or soups too! I like to throw cooked Farro in my sauteed mushrooms and garlic for a winter side dish; or thrown in with my Roasted Root Vegetables Buddha Bowl. My Tip: Use it in place of rice ~ in any dish you choose. Enjoy!

Buddha Bowls

Whether it’s a Weekday or the Weekend, a Buddha Bowl is the perfect dinner, [or lunch] all year round. There’s no “rule” to a beautiful bowl – it’s all up to your tastes and preferences. It can be Vegan or Vegetarian. 🌱 If you’re neither, you can throw in other proteins other than plant based.

Yes, I understand. With it being called a Buddha Bowl, it typically means a “clean” bowl of healthy, nutritious, plant-based foods. But on occasion, I’ve made these bowls for my family and guests – who I knew would want proteins other than vegan ones; such as Cheese, grilled Salmon or Chicken.

The Bowl pictured below is one I recently put together with golden “fried” goat cheese. { Goat cheese rounds dipped in egg-wash and panko bread crumbs, lightly sauteed in olive oil until golden. Serve Warm! } Definitely not Vegan; but oh, so delicious – especially with warmed pieces of Naan bread!

The thing I love about putting together a Buddha Bowl is that it can be the simplest of ingredients or one that you can go crazy with that will make your tastebuds explode with all the different flavors and textures! {See my Fall Bowl below}

I usually always have roasted Cauliflower and roasted Chick Pea’s as my “go to” starter. With it being summer, this one is a cool-down bowl. Fresh Tomatoes and Cucumbers along with baby Arugula, flat leaf Parsley, and Edamame Hummus make everything burst with flavor! Again, not Vegan, but the fried Goat Cheese was the star of this bowl!

For my Fall Buddha Bowl, I mix things up a bit. I roast all different vegetables. For this particular one, I combined roasted Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, & Shallots with Black Lentils and Roasted Garlic. I just drizzled a little extra Olive Oil over it and S&P when I put it all together.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s all about your tastes, what your family and friends enjoy, and most importantly, what you have in your refrigerator and pantry. Make it easy on yourself. We tend to stress about everyday things such as what to make for dinner, and if we have enough time to prep. A Buddha Bowl should be about health and well-being; not about cooking something that is too involved, if you want to keep things light and simple.

This one has my Herb Salad (search for recipe on home page) with Farro as the base. Also, since I didn’t have Hummus on hand, I made a quick mock Caesar Dressing [which is quicker for me to do than making a homemade hummus] and just drizzled it over the Carmelized Onions and Roasted Cauliflower. I threw in some baby Green Lettuce and the roasted Chick Pea’s and drizzled fresh lemon juice over the herbs, S&P. Done.

What does your Buddha Bowl consist of? No bowl is a wrong bowl. Just as long as you try to keep it as clean and healthy as possible. ❤️ Namaste…

Adding a bit of CRUNCH: Savory Salad Granola & Breakfast Nut Butter Granola

your best friends kitchen

Savory Salad Granola

Who here are Salad lovers? And Oatmeal Bowl makers?
For me, I’m both!

I mean, who doesn’t love a Salad for the beautiful colors of crisp, fresh vegetables that when paired with the right dressing – or cheese, or fruit, or anything really – becomes a perfect meal in of itself?!?

Or what about those of us who love adding pretty much everything we can on our creamy, warm bowl of oatmeal? From nuts, to fruit, to cinnamon-sugar…

But what do you do when you want to add a bit of a crunch, that is more than just nuts?
For the times you want something a bit more savory – a bit of a different twist.

This is where granola comes in! Yes… granola! But not your basic  granola. 

These 3 dry ingredients {Oats, Pepitas, & Dried Edamame} have become the staple in my pantry for adding…

View original post 423 more words

Summertime Sides… using fresh herbs.

your best friends kitchen

If summer had a taste it would be fresh herbs!

It doesn’t matter if you’re just adding flat-leaf parsley to finish a pasta dish or making a full-on herb salad (pic) – your tastebuds go crazy with the POP of flavor in every bite!  Herbs start a dish, they finish a dish ~  A dish can have one herb added or a mixture of a bunch of herbs – there’s not one meal that does not taste better with a fresh herb added to it! (or at least that’s my opinion) 😊

My favorite summer dish…. an herb salad.


I stock up on fresh herbs at farmers markets, supermarkets, farms, etc.  Where there are herbs – I am there with an armful!  I know with a lot of produce things tend to go bad before having the chance of eating everything (especially if you buy in the amounts of an…

View original post 343 more words

S is for Spinach! {especially in smoothies}

your best friends kitchen

I know, I know. Everyone is fully aware of how beneficial it is to have a daily serving of spinach. But do you really know how big of a powerhouse this dark, green, leafy vegetable is? Yes, it’s full of Vitamins K & A, fiber, calcium and protein. Yes, it improves cardiovascular health, combats cancers and improves brain function. But did you know spinach is a great source of essential amino acids? Or that it has a high mineral content? For all these reasons, we all should be having a FULL serving of fresh spinach EVERY day.

Here are a few tips from my kitchen to yours: I make ALL my fruit smoothies with organic baby spinach.

This one is a Pineapple Green Smoothie that tastes very similar to a frozen Pina Colada (yum!). I use Organic Baby Spinach, Coconut Milk, Banana and frozen Organic Pineapple pieces. That’s it. 4…

View original post 187 more words