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    • Srcumptious Crumb Cake - Gluten Free

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    •  6/1/2012 8:23:13 AM

    • This recipe was inspired by a date cake I had at Candle Cafe while in New York City.  I made a few minor changes to make it a bit healthier and voila!  Absolutely delicious.  The best part is that my husband and kids LOVED them.  Of course they are still a "treat" and not something to be indulged in regularly, but I was absolutely thrilled with how they turned out.  Now keep in mind that the dates need to be soaked and pureed, and you'll need to make the oat flour....but once those 2 task are handled this is a VERY quick and easy recipe :)

      1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for a few hours or overnight

      4 cups of rolled oats (I prefer old-fashioned)

      4 cups oat flour*

      3/4 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped

      1 cup pure maple syrup

      1/4 cup coconut oil

      1/4 cup safflower oil

      1 cup of applesauce

      1 tsp almond extract

      1 tsp vanilla extract, optional

      1/2 tsp sea salt

      1.Cover the dates in water and allow to soak for a few hours.  Discard the water and put the dates in a food processor; pulse until smooth.

      2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flours, nuts and salt.

      3. In a separate bowl, blend together the syrup, oils, applesauce and extracts.  Combine it with the dry ingredients and stir it well.

      4.  Pour half of the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 pan.  Press the mixture into the pan and then spread the dates on top.  Add the remaining of the mixture on top and press it lightly into the pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Allow it to cool and then cut into squares.

      I love to store these in the freezer and then I can quickly warm one up whenever I am in the mood for a tasty treat.

      *For the oat flour, simply put your oats in a wheat grinder, high-powered blender, or food processor.

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    • Sweet Potato/Yam? Hummus

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    •  5/18/2012 10:11:30 AM


       So what's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? The truth is that the term "yam" and "sweet potato" have become a little mingled.  In fact, when I went to buy a box of them at Costco, the box said YAMS/SWEET POTATOES.  I asked myself, "well, which one is it....a yam or a sweet potato?"

      Well I did a little research and apparently we don't really have genuine yams in this country. What we are eating are just different variations of the sweet potato.  In fact, did you know that yams and sweet potatoes aren't even botanically related.  Go figure!  Oh, and get this, yams are toxic if eaten raw, whereas sweet potatoes are perfectly safe...just a little FYI :)

      Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!  For the longest time I would call the one on the left a "yam" and the one on the right a "sweet potato" - the truth is that they are both sweet potatoes!




      Anyway, since most of us will be coming across sweet potatoes either disguised as yams or labeled correctly, let’s direct our attention to the various properties of the different sweet potato varieties.


      Sweet Potatoes

      The Classic Sweet Potato


      This is probably what most of you picture when you think of a sweet potato – light tan skin, slightly yellow interior. It’s creamy, almost like a Yukon gold potato, and slightly sweet.

      Basic sweet potatoes are strong sources of beta-carotene, manganese, and copper. 


      The “Yams”



      Garnet, Jewel, Beauregard: these are the orange fleshed, reddish-brownish-orangish skinned sweet potatoes masquerading as yams. They’re even more common than the standard sweet potato, sweeter, and contain a bit more water.


      Well, for this recipe, you can use either, but from the picture you can see that I used the lighter CLASSIC SWEET POTATO.
      Sweet Potato Hummus
      1 baked sweet potato, cooled
      1 can of garbonzo beans, rinsed and drained
      2 green onions
      1 TBS tahini
      juice from 1 lemon (2-3TBS)
      1 clove of garlic
      cilantro, parley, or basil (as much as desired for flavor)
      1/4 cup water (use only as needed)
      Combine the ingredients into a food processor fitted with the S-blade.  Pulse, adding the water as needed, until the hummus reaches the desired consistency.
      It's as easy as that!  Serve with chips, crackers, veggies, in sandwiches or wraps!  Simple and delicious!
      ~Maintenance Mommy
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    • Marinated Veggies - a must try!

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    •  5/14/2012 7:41:44 AM


      Do you ever get sick of having the same salad over and over?!!  Well I do.  So I thought I would try something a little different...and I am SO glad that I did!


      Here is a recipe for some delicious marinated veggies.  I can't believe it took me THIS LONG to try making these.  I absolutely loved them and my kids were glad to see something other than our typical green salad with dinner.  This recipe makes a huge batch but the nice thing is that since there is no lettuce (or cucumbers) in the recipe, nothing gets soggy.  I was still enjoying these on Day 4 (the red peppers were starting to get just a little soft).  Keep in mind that this makes a very large batch and can easily be cut into half.



      1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces


      3 cups of broccoli florets


      1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces


      1 head of kale, stem removed, roughly chopped


      2 cups of asparagus, steamed and then cooled


      1 large carrot, shredded


      2 TBS Rice Vinegar


      2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar


      3 TBS Balsamic Vinegar *

      1/4 cup water


      3 TBS olive oil


      1/2 tsp sea salt


      1 TBS maple syrup


      juice from 1 lemon


      1 TBS Braggs Organic 24 Herbs and Spices, optional


      2 TBS fresh basil, finely chopped, optional


      1 TBS fresh mint leaves, finely chopped   (just use whatever spices you have or like)


      Simply combine all of the ingredients into a large salad bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.  If you have a chance, stir the vegetables a few times to ensure the marinate is well incorporated.


      *I kind of have an obsession with different vinegars.  Play around with what you have on hand.  The balsamic I used in this recipe was a chocolate infused balsamic and it was divine!


      I also had leftovers topped with warm quinoa and fresh was SOOO yummy!



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    • Raw Sprouted Granola

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    •  5/11/2012 3:43:10 PM

    • I have been reading quite a bit about the power of raw and living foods and I was intrigued by the immense benefits that simply soaking your grains, nuts, and seeds in water can have.  Some say that when these foods are soaked overnight in water they can increase their enzymes by up to 300%!  Wow.


      So I got out the old sprouting tray and decided to make some raw granola.  I was thrilled with the outcome and thought I would share.


      DICLAIMER: I am a "stay-at-home" mother of 4 and they are all in school...which means that I have the luxury of packing my schedule jammed packed...or I can stay home and create yummy food in my kitchen.  This recipe isn't hard, but it does have quite a few steps.  I know that for many of you moms out there, this may not be the recipe for you.  But for those of you "foodies" out there who would rather spend time in the kitchen then the just might enjoy this creation :)


      Dry Ingredients

      1 cup of buckwheat, sprouted (make sure you buy raw buckwheat)

      1 cup of raw sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

      1 cup of raw oat groats, soaked overnight

      1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight and then chopped

      1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut

      1 apple, shredded (I chose to leave the peel on)*

      1/4 cup raw cacao nibs, optional

      juice from 1/2 lemon (1-2TBS)

      2 TBS ground flaxseed

      1 tsp cinnamon

      pinch of salt

      Combine all of the above ingredients into a large bowl

      Wet Ingredients

      1/4 cup maple syrup*

      1 packet of stevia (1/2 tsp)

      2 TBS coconut oil*

      1/2 cup chopped dates

      * If you want your granola a little sweeter or with more flavor, you can easily add more of these ingredients


      Combine the above ingredients into a high-powered blend and blend until smooth.  Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.



      You can stop right here and store this granola in your fridge, but I chose to dehydrate it.


      Divide the granola onto 2 or 3 Teflex sheets and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 1 hour.  Then turn the temperature down to 115 degrees and continue to dehydrate until you achieve the desire consistency (about 6 hours).


      Store in an air-tight container.

      Hope you enjoy it ~ Maintenance Mommy



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    • Eating in New York City!!!

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    •  5/7/2012 9:28:47 PM


      A few weeks ago I had the chance to go to NYC with Veteran Mommy.  Our husbands had to go for work and we got to tag along!

      It was a quick trip, so I wanted to make the most of my culinary adventure.  I absolutely love to travel, and I especially love experiencing the food culture of each city (most cities have something unique to offer).  One of my favorite things to do is to go to small grocery stores and markets and just browse  (especially when we are overseas - do you know in many European cities, the eggs are on the bread aisle and NOT refrigerated).  I have been know to walk into bakery after bakery and cafe after cafe...just to look!  It's just so fun for me :) Luckily Veteran Mommy is pregnant, so she was feeling a little more of the "food love" than normal and was a trooper!


      So I thought I would share with you a few of the fun places that we ate.


      The first one was a little cafe that I found on  One of the reviews online said that the Midtown Melt was one of the Best Sandwiches that they had ever eaten...vegan or not!  Pretty compelling testimonial.  So we decided to walk on down and give it a try ourselves.









      Midtown Melt
      cajun spiced seitan, v-cheddar, agave guacamole,  lettuce, chipotle aioli




      Now this sandwich is generally not something I really would have ordered.  I am not necessarily a fan of seitan, and vegan cheese doesn't usually call out to me.  But alas, we thought we would give it a try - so we split one.  And what can I was UNBELIEVABLE!  The flavors were incredible, and the seitan was breaded, seasoned, and cooked to perfection!  My only complaint was that it was on a white focaccia bun - which of course tasted great, but I wish it were on something healthier made with whole grains.  That said, I am super excited to recreate this one at home!









      Another great place we found, OTARIAN, was right around the corner from where we were staying.  It is a fantastic "fast-food" type restaurant that has a clean vegetarian menu made with whole foods.  It was outstanding!  We were thrilled with all of the choices as well as the prices.  Some of the fancier vegan restaurants and cafes can get quite pricey.  This place had real food for real prices (they even make their own mayo and BBQ sauce) .  How refreshing!









      This Mushroom Quinoa Lentil Burger was fabulous  as were the Sweet Potato Chiplets. (And for only $7.95!!!)





      They also had a small salad bar with 3 choices of salads.  We started off with a Curried Couscous Salad with sweet potatoes and cauliflower (absolutely scrumptious) and topped it off with a fantastic Massage Kale salad with Sweetened Pumpkin Seeds...mmmmmmm!  Sorry about some of these photos - I only had my iPhone (4) and not my SLR.










      Another amazing place we ate was Candle Cafe, which is the cafe version of their fancier restaurant, Candle 79.  I read about this place on one of my favorite sites ( and knew that I needed to check it out.  It was quite busy and we had to wait for awhile, but luckily we got in just on time - we flew out of JKF right after out meal :)






      The food was wonderful (although a bit spendy).  My hubby ordered a sprout salad (knowing he would probably eat a little "non-vegan" something later on :) that was quite tasty.





      I had a wonderful Indian Tofu Wrap.  It was PERFECT!  I am not a huge tofu fan and I was anxious to order something that might tempt me to use it in my kitchen a little more often.  Well this wrap certainly did the trick!  With grilled marinated tofu, sauteed greens, curried basmati rice, pinto beans, mixed pepper saute and date/raisin chutney all wrapper together in a spinach flour tortilla - it was unbelievable (I am running out of adjectives :).  The sweet tomatillo aioli that it was served with is really what made it perfection. 


      .....and the best Candle Cafe cookbook just came it the mail yesterday!  So you can count on me recreating this dish!







      And last but definitely not least, we made our way to Babycakes (Vegan and Gluten Free) Bakery.

      It was a bit smaller than I had pictured, but super charming.








      There were so many tempting choices, but I settled on a Double Chocolate Crumb cake that was excellent.






      I would also recommend their great Gluten-Free Cookbook.  Some of the ingredients are a little tricky to find without paying a fortune (like xanthum gum and coconut flour), but it has a great variety of recipes!






      And just to let you know, not everything I tried was delicious.  We stopped into a beautiful little grocery store right on Eighth Ave and we were intrigued by this "Potato Spinach Knish".  Unfortunately it got thrown out quite quickly!




      So needless to say, I had an incredible trip to the Big Apple - and yes we did more than just eat - (interesting that the city's nickname is a food though:) and I am anxious to go back!

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    • Increase Your Exercise Intensity

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    •  5/5/2012 6:46:21 PM
    • We don't talk about working out very often on our site, but all 3 of us firmly believe that one very important element to optimal health is regular exercise.


      I went to bed last night determined to wake up early and go for my first outdoor run of the season.  I had a goal to run 3 miles up a local canyon and then run 3 miles back down :)


      Well, I am a fair-weather runner (and I use the term "runner" very loosely), and when I woke up to a chilly and overcast morning I quickly changed my mind about running outside.  So I decided to head to the gym and try to create a run somewhat similar to what I had planned.  It was a great workout and I thought I would share it.  Just a note - I am the kind of "runner" that listens to music, reads the subtitles on the TV at the gym, watches people and sometimes reads - all to keep from getting bored.  I have also learned that changing the setting on my treadmill every minute helps tremendously too :)!


      First 2 minutes: Brisk walk to get warmed up.  Incline 2.0 Speed 4.0


      Minute 3: Incline 2.0 Speed 6.0


      Minute 4: Inline 3.0 Speed 6.0


      Minute 5: Incline 4.0 Speed 6.0


      Minute 6: Incline 5.0 Speed 6.0


      Minute 7: Incline back down to 2.0 and repeat the pattern. 


      Continue these interval changes for the first 3 miles. 


      Once you have reached mile 3 you will begin your "descent".


      Set your incline to 1.0 and increase your speed to 6.5.


      After you have finished your 4th mile, change your incline to 0.0 and increase your speed to 7.0


      By mile 5 I was beginning to get a little bored to I started to change my speed every minute (6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5 and then back to 6.0 again).


      Also, if your treadmill has the decline option you could set it to a -1.0 (mine didn't so I left it at 0.0)


      Anyway, it was a great workout and having the 6 mile goal from the get go gave me the motivation I needed.


      This workout could easily be adapted to your own fitness level.  In fact you could adjust it for walking also.  Just remember that when you are at your toughest incline/speed (like in Minute 6 for example) you really want to be pushing yourself.  You should be anxiously awaiting the interval change!


      So this week make a goal to challenge yourself just a little bit more in your workouts!  Your health will be better off and you will be teaching your children the importance of exercise!


      <3 Maintenance Mommy

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    • Breakfast Waffle Trifle (and it's Gluten-Free!)

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    •  4/30/2012 10:41:56 AM
    • I was in the mood to have breakfast for dinner.  But I still wanted to make sure it was a healthy meal (and not just a bunch of syrup poured on processed pancakes).  So I decided to create this yummy breakfast trifle.  Needless to say my kids loved it! 

      The recipe is quite simple.  To begin, start to make a batch of our delicious waffles.  This could be done earlier if you want because I had to put the waffles in the fridge to cool them down.  I didn't want them to be too warm in the trifle.  I also made 2 batches of the waffles because I have a family of 6.  You could probably get away with just one batch for a smaller family.


      Whole Grain Blender Waffles


      2 cups water
      4-8 dates chopped or 1 TBS concentrated apple juice
      1 cup quick oats
      ¼ cup millet or cornmeal
      ¼ cup flaxeed
      ¼ cup raw cashew nuts
      1 TBS cornstarch
      ½ tsp salt

      Preheat waffle iron (Belgium Waffle iron works great). Blend all ingredients for 1 minute or until smooth (high powered blender is needed i.e. Vita-mix).  Pour mixture into preheated waffle iron and close the lid.  Bake until steam stops rising and the waffle is golden brown and crisp (anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes).  

      While the waffles are cooking begin preparing the "Whipped Cream".

      "Whipped Cream" Topping


      1/2 cup  soy milk

      1/3 cup pure maple syrup

      12-14 oz Silken Tofu, drained

      1 tsp of pure vanilla extract (I just used the Costco brand)

      OPTIONAL: 2 TBS of "Ultra Gel" - I added this as a thickener, but don't worry if you don't have any, it won't change the taste. (I bought mine at a local Bosch Store).

      Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth.



      Begin assembling the trifle by ripping pieces of the waffle to create the first "layer" in your bowl.  Spread a portion of the whipped cream topping over the waffle pieces (I did a third of the topping because I wanted 3 layers).  Then top that layer with fresh or frozen (and thawed) fruit of your choice.  I used strawberries and of course mangoes (because they are my favorite).  Simply repeat these same steps until you have filled your dish.


      You could also turn this into more of a dessert dish by topping it with a bit of chocolate mousse.....mmmmm!




      Chocolate Mousse

      1 cup of semi-sweet choc chips (look for a brand that is dairy-free like Guittard or Ghiradelli)

      1/2 cup of Almond milk (I prefer the vanilla)

      12-14 oz Silken Tofu, drained

      1 TBS vanilla

      Melt the chocolate chips and then combine all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender.  Let it refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let it set up.


      :) Maintenance Mommy




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