Almost Paradise! 

 Fall here in East Tennessee has been unseasonably warm. It’s been frustrating because although my fashionista heart has been wanting to boot it up my post menopausal self will not give up her flip flops. The temps have however have started cooperating for the last couple of weeks so my boots have made several appearances. 

 In appreciation of the warm weather departing I decided to give it a little going away party and I could only do that with a tropical flare of course.

Let’s see a raise of hands for those that love their oatmeal in the morning! Anyone? Bueller?…..Bueller? Well, if you didn’t raise your hand I have mine lifted high over here.

Oatmeal has always been one of my favorite things to enjoy in the mornings for breakfast. Growing up I used to consume it drowned in butter and sugar but now that I know better my favorite ways to enjoy oatmeal is making overnight oats. I was introduced to this about 4 years ago and I’ve been in love ever since. Hands down this has to be the easiest and quickest way to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast so no more excuses!

Oatmeal is so versatile. You can eat it cold, hot, thrown into granola, eaten straight up with just a little almond milk and believe it or not you even enjoy oatmeal as a savory dish as well. It’s also exceptionally good for you too! 

I entitled this recipe after one of many of my favorite 80’s songs… “Almost Paradise.  

Do you remember this heart throb? ❤️

I’ll take one Mike Reno aka Loverboy in red leather pants please! 😍

     Almost Paradise Overnight  Oats

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 1 cup unsweet almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal ( not instant or steel cut) I used Trader Joe’s gluten free.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1-2 Tbsp of chopped nuts ( I used walnuts and toasted mine a bit)

1. Place banana, almond milk, vanilla and pineapple in blender and blend until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl mix blender ingredients with oats and chia seeds and place in refrigerator overnight.
3. Wake up with an appetite, sprinkle coconut flakes and nuts on top and devour! 
* You can heat this a bit if you like but I like it cold! 

Maybe it’s not so bad if everybody is workin for the weekend as long as you’ve got your overnight oats! 

This Little Piggy 🐷 

Seven years ago I took an informational nutrition class primarily about clean eating but it opened my eyes to things I was eating daily for fuel. Having grown up in the south I had been accustomed to all the comfort foods but the wisdom I acquired in this class changed my life and I know for a fact that this is when the healthy foodie bug bit me! I’ve been on a continual quest to gain more knowledge of the best foods that fuel our bodies and help them run optimally at there best! 

The class was only about 6 weeks long but in that short amount of time I lost weight, gained a lot of wisdom and ventured out of my comfort zone in trying new foods I would have never given a chance. One of the many new things that I fell in love with is the various nut milks. Here I was a southern girl drinking milk that came from a cow all my life and now I had someone telling me that milk from rice and nuts exist! How the heck do you milk a nut or a grain of rice?!! 😂I rolled my eyes and grimaced a little when I heard that for the first time! 

 Prior to taking this class I had been a skim milk drinking junkie and would have never even considered drinking rice, almond or coconut milk but now I won’t even give dairy milk a second look at the grocery store. I also sealed the deal on drinking cows milk when I visited and got up close and personal at a local dairy farm. They allowed me to go into the actual stalls where they have the cows hooked up to the milking machines and let me tell you that the smell alone was too much to take in!  Moooove over dairy milk i’ll take that nut milk over you any day! 🐮 

           ⬇️Food For Thought⬇️

 I hold nothing against you milk drinkers but I would implore you to drink organic grass fed milk from cows that were loved! 

It wasn’t easy giving up some of the things that I loved ( or at least I thought I loved) and grew up on but the benefits I felt from changing up my eating habits far outweighed any struggle I had with giving any of it up. I was on a roll… a whole grain roll. 🙃

Not only did I give up dairy milk but I also gave up the pig! No fears, I’m not going to give you a guilt trip on eating meat I’m just sharing my journey into a vegan eating that has evolved over the last 7 years.

 Isn’t he the cutest though?

The more I’ve read and documentaries I have watched have lead me back to veganism. My love for animals have made this decision easy so thus my journey continues! 

Annnnnnnd that brings me to this……

                 No Piggy Bacon 

  • 3 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water

1. Mix all above ingredients until well coated and spread out on baking sheet.
2. Preheat oven to 325 and bake for 20-25 minutes turning over half way through.

I will now enjoy those BLT’s once again only i’ll have to change that up to FBLT’s ( Fakin Bacon Lettuce Tomato). 

No oinking around this is good stuff!  

Beans.. Beans The Magical Fruit! 

One week ago I started back on my plant based diet. I’m not 100% yet  but I adhere to it 90% and after a hiatus of a sloppy exercise regimen I’ve gotten back on the workout train and feeling strong!   I’ve been bounding with energy except for the no sleeping thing on Election night. I can’t explain this surge of energy but the energizer bunny has had nothing on me lately. Healthy choices both in food and in daily exercise really do pay off! $$$

Over the years I’ve been like a ping pong ball with different eating styles but I always migrate back to a plant based diet. I became intrigued with eating a cleaner vegan diet nearly 7 years ago when I stumbled upon Oh She Glows blog. I instantly was drawn to her witty way of making a healthy diet seem effortless and her recipes always left me with a little drool on my chin and I’m still drooling today! 

I won’t lie though that over the years in my own attempt to create such masterpieces I’ve “created” some very scary things! We won’t even bring back up the vital wheat gluten no turkey “turky” that literally bounced on my plate! If scroll down far enough in my previous blog posts you’ll get a glimpse of it! 🦃

Fast forward to today and here I am again! Last Sunday I embarked on my own 30 day challenge inspired by Sophie Uliano’s book Gorgeous For Good. She like Angela also makes vegan and healthy eating so beautiful you just can’t help yourself to give it a try! Eating vegan certainly brings out the chef in me and I have such a love for animals and absolute detest the cruelty of today’s meat industry that giving it up is not very hard even though it’s only been a week. The food industry has advanced in so many delicious meat free and gluten free products that if you are considering a plant based diet you will find you rarely miss those things at all. Pinterest is definitely a plus because you have a plethora of recipes at your hands or I should say your fingertips! 

So without further ado I present you with these delicious Bean Balls! 

  • Italian Beans Balls 
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Chia seeds soaked with 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped or I used 1 heaping Tbsp of the pre minced stuff
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp of Mrs Dash Italian blend 

A few shakes of red pepper flakes CAUTION!! 🚨🚨🚨 Be careful with these things! Whew!!!! Been there… done that! 

Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add in all ingredients into a food processor, pulse until your mixture looks something like this……..

*You want the mixture to be smooth but with texture.

2. Scoop out mixture and make 1 1/2 inch balls and place in baking dish.

3. Bake in preheated oven at 450 for 15 minutes, turn bean balls over and bake for another 15 minutes. 
They will come out golden brown and the texture is awesome!

Now that’s a spicey bean ball!