A Healthy Tour of the Garden

A trip to different parts of the world leads to different ingredients and flavors. Incorporating some of these ingredients into everyday healthy simple recipes leads to improved health and a colourful plate.

The recipes I have included today come from different corners of the United States. I have substituted some different ingredients to make them good enough to serve company.


Egg plant


Eggplant has been classified by some as the worlds healthiest vegetable. Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and copper.

It is also packed with manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

Along with the benefits of being loaded with phyonutrients such as nasunin which helps slow ageing and helps in the fight to protect against cancers and chlorogenic acid which has a mild blood pressure lowering effect.


4 healthy simple recipes…

I’ve put together 4 very healthy simple recipes, that are not only packed with flavour but also nutrients. I hope you enjoy!


1. Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that takes on the flavors of what you cook it in.

eggplant lasagna

This is why this casserole (lasagna) makes such a tasty dish. Eggplant Lasagna is one of my favourites!

It is filling and a good healthy dish.

I added cream to this sauce, it can be made without but the flavor is enhanced with the cream.

I call this an Eggplant Rosa sauce. (Rosa is pink in Italian)…


Yields 6


  • 1 large or 2 smaller eggplants cut in rounds.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 large onion, diced.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium green bell peppers, Julienne cut
  • 1 15oz can San Marzano tomato’s
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 package rice lasagna, Gluten free or regular lasagna noodles



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice your eggplant into round, immerse the slices in salted water for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Soaking the eggplant in this manner will remove the bitterness and make it act more like a sponge to absorb flavors of what you cook it in.
  4. While you are soaking the eggplant, place olive oil in a saute pan and saute the onions till translucent.
  5. Remove your eggplant and dry it well.
  6. Dice the eggplant and toss into the sautéed onion.
  7. Stir in the basil and oregano and the Julienne peppers.
  8. Once everything begins to soften stir in the tomatoes.
  9. Cook the mixture for about 15 minutes add *whipping cream, salt and pepper to taste.
  10. In the meantime prepare the lasagna according to package directions. I like to use Tinkyada Lasagna Noodles but use your choice of pasta.
  11. Oil a shallow baking dish and layer a small amount of eggplant mixture, lasagna noodles**, grated cheese and a sprinkle of  red chili peppers.
  12. Keep doing this until you run out of ingredients, or baking dish.
  13. Just make sure you end up with your last layer being cheese.
  14. And a sprinkle of red chili flakes.
  15. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Let cool, slice and enjoy.

This is a meal that goes great with a salad and bread.

In the gluten-free world the bread is of your choice. I like to make gluten-free rolls. I will give you the recipe in one of my upcoming articles.


Please Note:

*If you would like you can remove the cream, it tastes great but is not a necessity.

**Layer your lasagna noodles in opposing directions, first one way then the other.


2. Fresh grilled halibut with mango salsa and cilantro rice

Cilantro/ Coriander is a vitamin packed powerhouse. This herb adds a peppery punch to culinary endeavors — it is high in fiber and low in cholesterol and packs a whopping 270 IU of vitamin A and 17 % of your daily Vitamin K.

Halibut mango Salsa

This is a great way to welcome in the summer sunshine and get the grill ready to go for the warm months. Out of all the healthy simple recipes I cook, this one also happens to be one of my favourite.

Fresh grilled Halibut with mango salsa and cilantro rice, refreshing and full of flavor and color.

Try these recipes for yourself and see — welcome in the summer in style.


a. Mango Salsa

Yields 6 servings


  • 1 mango – peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 a red onion diced



  1. In a medium ceramic or glass bowl, mix the mango, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice, and lemon juice.
  2. Cover, and allow to sit at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. The flavors blend beautifully and it is a very colorful salsa.


b. Cilantro Rice

Yields 6 servings


For the Rice

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (white Basmati works great for this rice)
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • For the Cilantro Mixture


Cilantro Mixture

  • 2/3 cup cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Puree the above in a blender, or food processor, add to the cooked rice, stir in well.



  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add dry rice and cook for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color.
  3. Add in the garlic to the rice and saute for one more minute.
  4. Mix together the broth and the tomato paste, stir this mixture slowly into the hot pan so it does not splash up on you.
  5. Continue stirring and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover.
  6. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  7. Stir in the Cilantro mixture and serve warm.


c. Simple Grilled Halibut

Picture – Jennifer Swenson
  • 6–8 ounces of Halibut per person
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Lightly oil grill grate.
  3. Brush fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place the fish on the grill.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes per side, or until the fish is slightly flaky when pressed with a fork.
  5. Plate the fish then smother with the mango salsa.
  6. Serve with the colorful cilantro rice and welcome the sunny days.



3. Red Jambalaya

Everyone has a different idea of the best Jambalaya – and across the south everyone has a family recipe that is better & tastier.

Red jambalaya

As with all cultures some one else’s family always makes “the best”.

I prefer the red Jambalaya it has tomatoes in it compared to Cajun Jambalaya which is without tomato’s. I won’t turn either dish away mind you.

Jambalaya is easy to prepare for a crowd or just a sit down family dinner. Just make it in one pot and adjust the ingredients according to crowd size.

The goodness starts in the mixture of spices.

These herbs can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, help prevent cancers and help aid in weight loss.

Dish me up a big bowl please!


Serving size – 6


  • 1 pound of (Meat or Seafood) chicken, ham, sausage – (Andouille, Chorizo or even Italian sausage), shrimp, fish, ground beef or stewing meat. (Although some of these ingredients are not traditional. They still taste great.)
  • 2 cups of onions, bell peppers and celery in equal parts (trinity mix)
  • 2 large tomato’s or 3 small tomato’s diced. Or you can use 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomato’s.
  • 1 cup of okra
  • Creole seasoning to taste – at least 1 tbsp, but season it to your taste . The recipe follows.
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable, meat or fish stock depending on which meat you are cooking.
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup long grain rice



  1. In a large pot (or a separate pan), put a little olive oil and add chicken cubes, sausage pieces, ham, or any other meat you are using (not seafood) and cook until well done.
  2. Remove meats and sauce the “trinity mix” for a few minutes until onions are slightly translucent but not brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, seafood or meat back in pot then add the okra creole seasoning, broth, and tomato paste.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, then stir in rice.
  5. Reduce heat to minimum, cover with lid, and simmer until rice is cooked through – this will take 20 minutes to 1/2 hour.
  6. Don’t peek too much, but do check quickly a few times to make sure there is enough stock for the rice to finish cooking.
  7. Lift he lid, breath in the goodness and serve in large bowls.
  8. I love it with a great piece of corn bread.


Creole Spice Mix


  • 3 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons cayenne powder
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme



  1. Mix  paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, and thyme in a bowl with a whisk.
  2. Pour mixture into a spice bottle or other resealable container.
  3. Seal tightly and store in a dark area away from heat and light.
  4. Use Creole spice mix within 6 months.
  5. Shake container well before each use.



4. Strawberry Face Mask

I didn’t want to make this all about healthy simple recipes you can only eat. Strawberries are not just for shortcake!


You can create a beautiful summer treat for your skin and could really help make you face glow.

Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which is great for breakouts and heat bumps.

Lemon juice tightens the skin pores and gives you a refreshing feel.



  • Mashed strawberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey

How to make it?

  1. Mash all the items together, but don’t use a blender.
  2. You want a spreadable paste not juice.
  3. Apply it evenly on your face and lie down while it dries.
  4. Wash off with cold water.


Let Us Know…

We hope you enjoyed these delicious healthy simple recipes and you’re ready to try them out.

We’d love to hear how you get on in the comments below…


Breakfast menu recipes – All Gluten, Glyphosate & GMO free

In this months article I’ve put together some delicious breakfast recipes that are all Glyphosate & GMO free.

Gluten free is term that is popping up more and more these days. Some adopt the diet because they feel it is healthier, some out of need because of Celiac’s Disease or other food allergies and chronic illness.

The bottom line is it exists, and it is really hard to find options for great items to eat.

Although there are more than there were before – it seems like everyone is on the bandwagon.

Some companies are replacing the flours with products that have less nutrition than paste, but the market continues.


Glyphosate and GMO Free


I have a great many thoughts as to the conventions of the gluten free society, I believe it is more an association to the questionable Glyphosate’s used just before the crops are harvested.

The farmers spray the crops just before harvest to kill and dry up the grains. This allows the crops to dry out and be harvested in less time and earlier in the season for rainy area.

Unfortunately the Glyphosate residue is left behind after the threshing and although studies say “the particles are to small to be detected” I’m not sure this is true. Are these really GMO free?

There seems to be a strong correlation between the use of Glyphosate’s (15 to 20 years) and the increase in Celiac’s disease, food allergies, chronic illness and even cancers – yet the controversy continues.


Recipes recreated

So those who have a problem with gluten’s of all kinds are left trying to find a source of food enjoyment.

I believe any recipe can be re-created with a little patience, trial and error. I also believe you can mix a little store bought gluten-free in with some good basic food and find a happy medium.

Just in time for a little Easter celebration….


Breakfast menu recipes

So here’s my great breakfast menus.

I have used Genius gluten free products as the base for some of the recipes as they are my favorite gluten free company.

They are GMO free, Glyphosate free and have a great bread feel to the products.


1. Gluten-free Baked Strawberry French Toast

Strawberry french toast

Yields 8


For the French Toast 

  • 2 Gluten-free baguettes, sliced into 1-inch pieces or 2 loaves
  • Genius sliced spicy fruit loaf.
  • 8 large range free eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ⅓ cup evaporated cane juice sugar/ cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (real) vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


For the Topping

  • 1¾ pounds strawberries sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup evaporated cane juice sugar /cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted



  1. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt.
  2. Submerge the cut pieces of gluten-free bread into the egg mixture and let set in the fridge for at least 1 hour, best overnight though.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 °F.
  4. While your oven is preheating get your glass baking dish buttered with the melted butter. I use a silicone pastry brush, the method is truly your choice.
  5. Use a pair of tongs to remove your soaked bread pieces from your bowl and arrange ½ of the slices over the bottom of the glass baking dish, filling in any holes and creating an even cover of bread/egg mixture.
  6. Save the other half for the top layer.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the sliced strawberry with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, sea salt and melted butter.
  8. Toss the ingredients together to get a nice coat over the strawberries.
  9. Spread the strawberry slices over the bread base so everything is covered evenly then place the other bread slices on top of the strawberry mixture.
  10. You are going to bake for a total of 45 minutes. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes then cover with a sheet of tin foil for the remaining 20 minutes. When you remove from the oven take place on the counter for 5 minutes with the tinfoil on, then remove the tinfoil and let rest for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Then slice serve and enjoy.

This dish tastes great served with a really good quality bacon. (Well anything tastes really good served with bacon). Enjoy this recipe any time of the year. You can also make up other fruit toppings as well, or just make one plain and serve the toppings on the side.

Gluten-free is not flavour free!!


* If you have a really good Gluten-free baguette recipe go ahead and use that.

You can’t ask for a better celebration than Easter for a great breakfast. Eggs Benedict –- Champagne Mimosas and roasted red potato’s with just the slightest hint of seasoning salt, I can taste it already.



2. Mock Hollandaise Sauce

I have become very well educated over the years in the Hollandaise sauce basics. I have tried quite a few recipes, both real and “mock”, this is by far my favorite.

The mayonnaise in this recipe gives the dish a zippy flavor, it is an unexpected ingredient yet when you think about it, mayonnaise is a whipped egg product. I guarantee you will love the flavour, and the ease of this recipe.

Yields 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup Hampton Creek Just Mayo or equal
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch sea salt



  1. Bring the lower portion of a double boiler to boil, then turn down to simmer.
  2. Combine mayonnaise and lemon juice in the top of the double boiler, whisk ingredients together, place the top of the double boiler over the simmering water and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until warm but not hot.
  3. Add the butter and egg yolks, continue stirring constantly for 1 minute, or until mixture becomes thick enough to coat a spoon.
  4. You don’t want the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will curdle.
  5. Remove the top of the double boiler from the water and stir in the cayenne pepper and sea salt.


3. Eggs Benedict 

Yields 4 servings

GMO free


  • 4-Genius Gluten-free English muffins, fork split (or your choice)
  • Butter for muffins
  • 6 to 8 ounces of Black Forest ham or Prosciutto
  • Hollandaise sauce (Recipe earlier)
  • 8 medium eggs poached
  • Paprika or chopped dill



  1. Poach your eggs to your desired time, some people prefer runny yolks others prefer harder yolks.
  2. Split and toast the English muffins while the eggs are poaching, when they are toasted butter them generously.
  3. Layer several slices of Black Forest ham or Prosciutto on top of each half of the English muffin, top with a poached egg on each muffin half then drizzle the Hollandaise sauce over the top of each poached egg, like a crowning touch.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with paprika or chopped dill, or both…


This dish is great served with roasted potato’s, hash browns or pan fried potato’s, and don’t forget the mimosas.

*NOTE: This Hollandaise sauce tastes great served over broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, poached or baked fish or even chicken.


4. Gluten-free Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 18 buns

Icing Ingredients

  • 1-2 teaspoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


Hot Cross Bun Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of water (for brushing)
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons
  • 2/3 cup Non-Fat dry milk powder
  • 3-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 egg yolk (for brushing)
  • 2 cups white rice flour



  1. Sift together white rice flour,tapioca flour and potato starch in the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, powdered milk, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon in bowl of mixer.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup water to 110 degrees, add 2 teaspoons of sugar and let dissolve.
  4. Sprinkle with yeast let set until needed.
  5. Heat 1 cup of water in a saucepan and place in shortening.
  6. Pour melted shortening water into dry ingredients and blend with a mixer.
  7. Slowly add eggs one by one and beat for a few seconds. This mixture should be slightly warm to the touch.
  8. Mix in the dissolved yeast and vinegar.
  9. Beat with mixer at highest speed for 2 minutes then mix in raisins by hand.
  10. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and a couple of tea towels or baking towels and place in warm place, let rise until doubled this will take an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. When the dough has raised mix it in the mixer for about three minutes.
  12. Prepare 18 muffin cups by greasing and lightly flouring with rice flour.
  13. With greased hands pinch up dough enough to make a bun about 2-1/2″ around and 1-1/2″ high.
  14. Dough will be sticky, but form it into rolls.
  15. When rolls are formed, brush with a mixture of egg yolk and water.
  16. Let buns rise again, about 1 hour.
  17. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes.
  18. While still slightly warm, ice a cross on top with frosting.


Frosting Directions

  1. 1/4 cup powered sugar
  2. 1 tsp butter
  3. Cream together the ingredients until you reach the desired consistency.


Let us know your recipes

I hope these recipes help you start creating some great foods for any occasions. Gluten-free does not mean taste free! And lets face it we all want our food to be GMO free!

We’d love to hear any great gluten free recipes you love in the comments below….


Carob Recipes – the dark brown pod of the Mediterranean

I love searching for ingredients that are good for you, that you can easily sneak in place of something else and gain the health benefits. One I love is Carob, so I thought I would share four carob recipes I love, hopefully you will too!

Let’s face it…..something you can add that tastes like chocolate, or add it with chocolate and maintain the health benefits of carob, pass the plate love.

I am not an advocate of eating the whole plate, but lets just say if you did – it would be better than say eating a whole bar of chocolate.


The benefits of Carob

Carob – the dark brown pod of the Mediterranean Ceratonia Siliqua tree, more commonly known as Carob has a great many health benefits.

carob tree

It has high levels of fiber, vitamins A, E and B-12, it contains absolutely no caffeine and is also low in sugar and fats – and it tastes like chocolate. So wonderful if you want to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.

Carob Powder comes from finely ground, dried and toasted pods of the carob tree. That is a great big bonus in my world.

This is a great ingredient for those wanting to add something to your recipes to help lower cholesterol, help with digestive problems, help with eye health, maintain a glow in the skin and could help aid weight loss.

This poly-phenol rich food is one of natures wonders!


4 Carob Recipes

I have worked on changing a few recipes to include this ingredient and replace chocolate completely in some recipes….


1. Carob Mole Sauce

Yields 4 to 6 servings

chicken mole

My first is easy and a great addition to a few meals.

You can serve it for an every night dinner or build a great meal for entertaining. I am talking about a classic Mole sauce.

Served with Chicken, Beef or even Pork this sauce adds depth and richness….



  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander/cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic minced finely
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • small can or fresh diced green or red chilli’s



  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add diced onion a cook till translucent add the garlic and saute another two minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the carob powder, cumin, cilantro/coriander, tomato sauce and green chilli’s.
  4. Mix this together in the saucepan with the onions and the garlic.
  5. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Serve as you like over meats, rice or as a base sauce over fajitas.


2. Italian hot chocolate

Makes 2 servings

hot carob drink

Next we have a great take on an Italian hot chocolate, thick and creamy goodness. Perfect for a night in front of the fire, or just a relaxing moment and one of my fave carob recipes.

You can also add cocoa or melted chocolate in addition to the carob, but the carob keeps the calories low.

You can also substitute sugar for honey but we are heading right back into that “ may as well slather the calories on area”.



  • 3 tablespoons carob powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ cups milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract



  1. Stir the carob powder and cornstarch into the honey to make a paste.
  2. Stir the paste into 1 and 1/2 cups milk and pour in saucepan.
  3. Place over low heat; slowly bring the mixture to a low simmer.
  4. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken to a “pudding consistency” about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Serve in your favorite mug or cup, add a scoop of fresh whipped cream.

*You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or peppermint oil for a different version, or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for an Aztec treat.


Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

Yield: 6 Servings

lava cakes

Moving on to another favorite part of any meal…dessert.

Although this recipe is rich and decadent it is a great carrier for the carob powder.

Yes, it does have some chocolate, you can vary the size of the chocolate balls you make and control how much chocolate you put in.



  • 1 1/2 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cake flour or your choice of gluten free cup for cup flour
  • 1/4 cup carob powder



  1. To make centers, melt 2 ounces of chocolate (1/2 a baking bar) and cream in double boiler.
  2. Whisk gently to blend.
  3. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.
  4. Form into 6 balls; refrigerate until needed.
  5. To make cake, heat oven to 400°F.
  6. Spray six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with cooking spray.
  7. Melt 4 ounces of chocolate (1 baking bar) and butter in double boiler; whisk gently to blend.
  8. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and light.
  9. Fold melted chocolate mixture, carob powder and flour into egg mixture just until combined.
  10. Spoon cake batter into ramekins.
  11. Place a chocolate ball in the middle of each ramekin.
  12. Bake about 15 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch.
  13. Let it sit out of the oven for about 5 minutes.
  14. Run a small, sharp knife around inside of each ramekin, place a plate on top, invert and remove ramekin.
  15. Garnish with raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

*To substitute for chocolate, use 3 Tbsp. Carob Powder and 1 tablespoon of water in place of each square of chocolate. This wont work as well for the chocolate balls in this recipe but as a rule for substituting in a recipe that does not require melting and re solidifying it works as a great replacement.

* Don’t have cake flour — make your own. Take one level cup of all purpose flour, take out two tablespoons, and then add back in two tablespoons of cornstarch. Be sure to sift the flour cornstarch mix a few times before using. This also works with the gluten free cup for cup flour.


Carob and Clay Face Mask

So you’ve used these carob recipes to cook a great meal, entertained and served up some scrumptious items.

It’s your turn now!

Kick back with a cuppa and lavish in carob goodness.

This is a great face mask you can also use it on your chest and back. (you will need help for the back) 😉



  • Mix a teaspoon of dark Carob powder and a teaspoon of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay in water to form a smooth paste.
  • This clay is great for pulling out impurities and the carob will add a dose of vitamin E.
  • You can also mix in a little Jojoba oil if you have dry skin.



  1. Apply it evenly all over the face
  2. Leave it on for 15 minutes until it dries off completely
  3. Rinse with warm water and follow up with a good oil moisturizer.
  4. Now you or ready to face the world or the pillow – choice is yours.


Carob – A very versatile powder

Carob powder

Well as you can see this versatile superfood powder can be added to everything imaginable.

It’s vitamin packed goodness can be used from sweet to savory.

Use a little imagination on your own and come up with some different uses for this wonder powder. Just remember carob is twice as sweet as chocolate, so if you use it with sugar cut back a little on the sugar first.


Let us know

If you enjoyed these recipes do make sure you check out my other ‘recipes from the garden‘ using wonderfully yummy home grown ingredients

We’d love to know in the comments below if you give any of these carob recipes a try.

We love them! and really hope you do to…..


Jicama and Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes

With New Years resolutions past, some kept others…well you know the drill. Healthy eating is one you can keep. This month I was keen to show you my jicama and apple cider vinegar recipes to help you on your way!

It goes beyond weight loss – its just plain good for you.

You can indulge and still eat healthy, it just depends on what you pick up at the store.

That is where the decisions are made, just go armed with knowledge and some good recipes that don’t make you feel deprived. I always look for ingredients that i want to try and use for all aspects of a menu.


Health benefits of Jicama

First up on my list is Jicama, pronounced (Hee-cama).


This is an ingredient I classify as a mixed media contender, both sweet and savory options can be conjured up with this wonderful tuber. It’s roots stem from the Mexican Peninsula.

Light in calories but heavy in vitamin packed power. This is one of those “negative calorie foods”.

Vitamin C, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory properties helps get us through those colder times. High fiber makes it a great fat flushing choice and low calories means you can fill up on a little more of this crisp snack.

Top that off with Potassium, magnesium, Iron, and B6. Need I say more.


1. Citrus Strawberry Jicama Fruit Salad

Yields 2 servings


We have a great fruit salad mixed with chopped Jicama that will make you feel refreshed, playing along with other fruit powerhouses. This fruit salad is sure to please.

Served with Chicken or Fish, the flavor balance is incredible.



For the salad

  • 1 Mango peeled and diced 8 to 10 Strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh cut pineapple (you can use canned but watch the sugar juices)
  • ¼ Jicama peeled and cubed
  • Cilantro/Coriander fine chopped  I to 2 sprigs (leaves only)


For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or more to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil sea salt and pepper to taste



  1. Prepare the dressing first to allow the flavors to ripen.
  2. Wisk together lime juice, balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Taste and add additional honey if desired.
  4. Set aside.
  5. For the salad peel and core mango and dice into ½ inch pieces, slice 10 strawberries, cut fresh pineapple and the Jicama.
  6. Fine chop the leaves of the Cilantro/Coriander to be sprinkled last.
  7. Toss the fruits together toss with the dressing and Cilantro/Coriander serve with your choice main dish.
  8. Works great with fish and chicken.


2. Kicked up Tuna Melt

Yields – 4 servings

tuna melt

Sneaking some great ingredients into a tuna melt is a great way to cover a lot of food groups in a sandwich. The use of Jicama in this recipe gives a crunch that you normally get from celery.



  • ¼ cup organic mayonnaise of your choice
  • 1 can tuna of your choice (I prefer packed in olive oil) 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • Sprinkle of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 6 sliced green olives
  • 1 diced dill pickle
  • ¼ Jicama small diced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese Avocado or olive oil for grilling the bread
  • 8 slices of your favorite bread, your choice. (I love this sandwich on good raisin bread)



  1. Peel the granny smith apple, and Jicama chop into small pieces, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
  2. Then add onions, olives, dill pickle, raisins, tuna and mayonnaise.
  3. Stir together and let set in the fridge for about half an hour. The flavors come together then.
  4. When you take the tuna mixture out of the fridge, taste it and add your salt and pepper according to taste.
  5. Drizzle a little of the oil on each piece of bread and place oil side down on a skillet, fry pan or griddle turned on to low to medium heat.
  6. Please keep an eye, everyone’s stoves are different.
  7. Place shredded cheese on each piece of the bread, then place the tuna mixture only on one piece.
  8. Wait until the cheese starts to bubble a little and the undersides are golden brown and place the side with the cheese on top of the tuna mound.
  9. Remove from pan and cut in half….then enjoy.
  10. Oh wait – let’s get it to the plate first.


Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes

3. Zippy It Rained in Spring Coleslaw

Yields 8 servings

My next ingredient is Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider vinegar is essentially fermented apple cider and this recipes below is one of my fave apple cider vinegar recipes.

This wonder tonic has the same health benefits as eating apples yet the fermenting process creates good bacteria. These bacteria work wonders for people with digestive issues and it’s been touted as a great weight loss aide.

The magical apple properties make it a good choice for the antioxidant properties and really it tastes great as an extra ingredient in marinades, mixed with water and honey as a tonic and my favorite a great addition to a salad dressing.

Make sure when you are purchasing that the apple cider vinegar is raw, unpasteurized.



  1. 4 cups coleslaw mix (with red and green cabbage and carrot) or chop your own
  2. 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  3. 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion strips
  4. 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoon maple syrup, mixed with above vinegar
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  7. 1/3 cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil



  1. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat add coleslaw mix, cranberries, and red onion.
  2. Cook about 3 minutes, tossing mixture frequently, until it starts to soften.
  3. Stir in vinegar mixture and salt.
  4. Toss over heat for about another minute, stirring until evenly coated in the maple syrup vinegar.
  5. Toss in walnuts and serve in a bowl.


4. Sicilian Arugula/Wild Rocket Blood Orange Salad

Yield – 2 servings


As far as apple cider vinegar recipes go, this is another really yummy one and a great salad to have as a meal with your choice of meat or with a great thick slice of home baked bread.

Each ingredient brings out the flavor of the next.



  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 blood oranges peeled and sectioned
  • 2 heaping cups baby Arugula/Wild Rocket
  • 2 teaspoons cranberries, currents or raisins
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar pinch of chili flakes
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese grated to desired amount



  1. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, pinch of chili flakes and sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  2. Section the blood oranges and remove the chewy membrane, thin slice the red onion add the cranberries, raisins or currents and toss in the dressing.
  3. Toss together until covered then place on a bed of arugula/wild rocket.
  4. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese and enjoy.


Slowly change your diet

It’s easy to add ingredients to benefit your health, you just need to think about where you can sneak them in.  You don’t need to just wake up one morning and only eat salads.

You would feel deprived in 2 days and looking for other things to much on.

Start slow, play around with different recipes using these ones as a base and see what you come up with.

Bottom line enjoy what you eat, it makes eating healthy a lot easier.


Let us know how you get on

We’d love to hear how you get on with these in the comments below please…..

Do you have any great Jicama or Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes? If so we’d love to know them!


Sweet potato recipes perfect for the holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching, yes, this years diet takes a back seat to festivities. It is a time of traditions, celebrating with wonderful friends, close family and of course great food. So why not create some new healthy traditions with some delicious sweet potato recipes.

Everyone says they will get back on the wagon in the New Year, detox their bodies but let’s be honest, January comes – a week of salads and we are back on the roller coaster again.

My solution includes a few menu additions during the “season” – you can indulge a little and not worry so much about “the January Diet”.


Sweet Potato – the vitamin packed powerhouse

My new go to food is the sweet potato, it is not a new addition to the foodie circle, there have been sweet potato fries forever.

sweet potato chopped

What I am talking about are the actual benefits of this wonderful vegetable. Incorporating a little bit in everyday foods or your seasonal favorites can add a vitamin packed powerhouse that tastes great, it has versatility and you can make it sweet or savory.

Topping off a shepherd’s pie with mashed sweet potato gives you 400% of your daily vitamin A – you get a great boost to your vitamin C, fiber and less total carbs than a regular potato.

Not to mention an abundance of Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium and Manganese.

Bake it, boil it, roast it, smash it, mash it. Enjoy it!


Holiday Dishes

I have a few of my go to holiday dishes that I have incorporated my new beloved sweet potato into. Give them a try to see if you can make a few changes to your regular holiday indulgences.

Christmas Dining

Oh it’s also great for your skin as well!

So without further ado here are five 5 sweet potato recipes so you can indulge and not bulge.

Let’s start with dessert first, why not….


5 Sweet Potato Recipes

1. Sweet Spot Brown Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies remind me of Christmas in every way, all of us sitting around the big table, mixing batch upon batch of cookies, then decorating them with colored sugars, squishing with a glass while laughing, joking and prodding each other for the bigger, better story of Christmas.

Still to this day when I taste them, they are perfect, not too sweet, not too crumbly but just right. With each heavenly bite, the memory of those times comes flooding back.

My added powerhouse sweet potato replaces some butter for mashed sweet potato. Fiber, less fat and vitamins, I will take two.
This recipe yields about 5 dozen cookies.


  • 2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • ½  cup butter
  • ½  cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • *½ cup cooked sweet potato (no skin)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼  teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Colored sugar crystals

*You can use canned sweet potato if you must, just make sure it doesn’t have any added ingredients.



  1. Pre heat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together the butter, sweet potato, sugar’s and cinnamon until well blended.
  4. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extracts into the butter/potato/sugar mixture.
  5. Then add in the flour mixture.
  6. Gradually add the milk and continue beating until smooth.
  7. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
  8. Sprinkle with a few sugar crystals and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, cool on racks.
  10. Enjoy.


What’s next…

Well I always follow dessert with breakfast. This next recipe can be made ahead and frozen then popped into the oven or a toaster to reheat as needed.

Great for the holidays and large groups of people and that secret ingredient is in there again. One of my favourite sweet potato recipes…


2. Sweet Potato Waffles


Yields 5 (depends on iron)


  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk or more if batter is a little thick
  • 2 tbsp avocado (or coconut)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (real)
  • 1 cup of pure sweet potato

A topping of your choice, for example honey or banana or other fruits.



  1. Heat waffle iron to your preferred setting.
  2. In a large bowl mix wet ingredients(eggs, milk, avocado oil, butter, sweet potato and vanilla) with a whisk or hand-held mixer on low.
  3. Stir together dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice) fold carefully into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix add more milk if batter is too thick.
  4. Scoop batter into waffle iron cook approximately 6 minutes.
  5. Times vary depending on waffle iron.


Serving suggestion:

Soften 8 ounces of butter, stir in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and ¼ cup brown sugar.

Stir all ingredients together.

Roll into log using wax paper to roll like a Christmas cracker.

Place in fridge to chill ahead of time.

Pull out of fridge ½ hour before waffle service time and slice into discs. Your choice of width serve with Sweet Potato Waffle.


3. Sweet Potato Hummus

sweet potato hummus

Alright let’s get on to some entertaining, you will find some great ideas to use this Sweet Potato Hummus for. It always is the empty bowl at my house…


  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 large/ 2 small
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water



  1. Cook the sweet potatoes in the oven or boil. Cool and peel.
  2. Place sweet potato in a food processor. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, Tahini, olive oil, cumin, garlic, and half  the water. Process until you start to get a smooth paste. About 1 minute depending on your food processor.
  3. Add more water if necessary then sprinkle your sea salt and black pepper and stir.
  4. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika, course sea salt or however you choose to garnish before serving. This can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  5. Serve with pita chips or on crackers. Also tastes great on a BLT or dip your sweet potato fries in it for double the vitamin power.
  6. The final food recipe for this gathering. The flavors of this potato salad are pure Umami, it hits every taste but then combines them to create that I need another plate.
  7. Go ahead the ingredients all work for you.


4. Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Yields 10


  • 2 sweet potatoes (baked or boiled, cooled and cubed. Skin removed)
  • 1 pound small new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives



  1. Cook your sweet potato’s in your preferred method. Cool and peel.
    Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with lightly salted water; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender approximately 10 to 15 minutes, drain thoroughly.
  3. Whisk vinegar, olive oil, mustard, basil, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl – add the potatoes, cubed sweet potatoes and onion. Toss gently to coat.
  4. The heat from the potato’s intensifies the flavors. Let the mixture cool down for about 30 minutes then fold in the blue cheese and chives until blended.
  5. This recipe works well with a buffet, or as a side dish for pork, chicken or your choice of meat.
  6. I love it with sausages!


5. Sweet Potato Face Scrub

sweet potato face scrub

Now just one final mashed sweet potato use. Your face will thank you.

The vitamins and nutrients that are good on the inside also work on the outside. Regular use helps with blemishes, under eye bags, helps stimulate collagen the list is long and I could go on.

I will leave it to you to discover the possibilities.

Take a ½ cup sweet potato, mix it with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of honey or yogurt and mix it together to form a paste.

Using gentle circular motions and massage it in.

You can leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes like a face mask then rinse it off with lukewarm water or just rinse and moisturize with your favorite cream or oil.


If you try this face scrub recipe and enjoy making it, you might also like to read our article ’11 easy to make DIY Beauty Products’ for lots more ideas for homemade diy natural beauty recipes.

I am sure you can think of a million other ways to incorporate this orange miracle vegetable.


Now go start some new traditions!


Let us know…

What delicious dishes do you cook using Sweet Potato? Do you have any fave sweet potato recipes?

Did you try any of the above, how were they?

Please let us know any comments or feedback below….

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