My New Roots Cookbook Review & Beverage Recipe – Sparkling Mint Melonade

My New RootsPaging through crisp pages of a new cookbook is one of my favorites. I love the stories behind the dishes, the beautiful photographs and the instant bookmarking I begin to tally in my head. My New Roots fulfills all of these checklist items and more. Author, Sarah Britton, a food blogger since 2007, has transferred her passion for whole-food ingredients, an organic lifestyle and her “conscious cooking techniques” into a glorious and mouth-salivating book of healthy, interesting and relatively uncomplicated recipes. She believes if you eat this way then there is no such thing as a diet…it’s a lifestyle. Amen, sista. I feel the same way.

My New Roots is a plant-based, seasonal, real-food cookbook that showcases recipes that are manageable, inspiring and original. Sarah captures the culinary beauty of preparing and eating healthy food that is full of texture, taste and personality. Her creativity makes me want to try and be more creative. Her passion shines through and this is truly one of the best cookbooks I have ever owned in which it will become a staple of reference in my kitchen.

When I mentioned the mental bookmarking I begin to do when I’m excited about a new cookbook, let me assure you this was the case as well for My New Roots. I even went as far as putting yellow sticky notes on each page so I wouldn’t forget each dish I was dying to make. I bookmarked an array of recipes such as Thai-Style Coconut Soup with Zucchini Noodles, Skinny Dip White Bean Fondue, Red Onion Lentil Soup with Manchego Toasts, Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts, Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip, Rooibos Ginger Sun Tea, Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats and Oyster Mushroom Bisque…to name a few. So far I have made the Thai-Style Coconut Soup, the Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts and the Sparkling Mint Melonade (recipe below). All 3 were amazing!

A cool feature that Sarah includes in her book are tiny blurbs within most of the recipe pages explaining the health benefits of a food item in that recipe. For example, we all know cucumbers are healthy for us, but she explains why and what cucumbers do to help nourish our bodies. It’s nice to have the breakdown of nutritional information because so often we just eat what we think we are supposed to without really knowing why something is good for us.

I already have plans to whip up that fondue this weekend and I’m sure I’ll be posting Instagram shots of my versions of Sarah’s recipes in the months to come. I highly recommend My New Roots if you are looking for new, creative and delicious plant-based recipes in your life. There are recipes for everyone and for every season of the year.

Sparkling Mint Melonade


Sparkling Mint Melonade
 
www.deserthealthy.com:
Ingredients
  • 2½ C. chopped ripe melon (I used cantaloupe)
  • 1½ TBSP. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup (I used syrup)
  • Handful (about 20) fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
  • Sparkling mineral water, to top up
Instructions
  1. Put the chopped melon in a blender, add the lime juice and honey, and blend on high until smooth. Add the mint leaves and pulse just to chop it up.
  2. Fill a glass two-thirds full with ice, and pour in the melon mixture. Top with sparkling water, and stir. Garnish with more mint if desired. Serve.
Notes
This could be made into a cocktail as well by adding a shot of your favorite booze.

 
*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own.
Blogging_for_Books_Lockup_1a

 

 

3

July’s Love with Food Subscription Box Review and Giveaway

Love with Food 7/15

The July Love with Food box arrived and per usual, I was giddy with excitement. Snacks on my doorstep? Yes please. Love with Food helps people like you and me discover new organic or all-natural, healthy snacks and they’re delivered to our door every month. There are various levels of membership and as of now I subscribe to the Tasting Box which includes 6-8 snacks every month. For every box they deliver, they donate a meal to a food bank and have donated almost 700,000 meals to date!! Pretty awesome!

This month’s box is themed “Surfin’ USA.” I was thrilled that 6 out of the 8 snacks were gluten free and 2 were organic. The snacks delivered included the following:

  • Kids’ Organic Sour Citrus Chews by Honey Stinger
  • Coconut Almond Curry Granola by Bear Naked
  • Simply Toasted Crunchy Coconut Chips by Bare Snacks
  • Gum Pops by Glee Gum
  • Hawaiian BBQ Chips by One Potato Two Potato
  • True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange and True Grapefruit by True Citrus
  • Lemon Almond Biscotti by Biscotti Di Suzy
  • Organic Fruit Snack by Fruigees

 

Overall I thought this month’s selection was a 6 out of 10. I couldn’t eat the Bear Naked granola because it’s not gluten-free, but my husband had it and said it was delicious. I also handed him the biscotti which he enjoyed dunking in his coffee. The potato chips were tasty, I loved the Honey Stinger kid chews and the coconut chips are a sweet addition to yogurt, dessert, or a smoothie. As far as the other snacks go, the True citrus packets are pretty flavorless, I could care less about a sucker and I’m afraid to drink the Kalefornia Grape Fruit Snack…I don’t know why, but it creeps me out to drink out of a squeeze pack. So overall, it was a mediocre box in my opinion. I liked three of the snacks, my husband liked two and three of them I either couldn’t eat (gluten free sitch) or just have no desire to. I still think this is a great box to subscribe to even if there is a month where the snacks are subpar. It’s a great way to taste test different brands and discover what you like and what you don’t. It can either encourage you to run to the store and buy a product in full size or it can help you avoid purchasing something you don’t care for.

Once again, I have an extra subscription box that I will be mailing to one subscriber! Yay! All you have to do to be entered is to complete one of the following:

A) Subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already. That’s it.
B) If you’re already a subscriber, just leave a comment below telling me what your idea of a perfect healthy snack box would have in it.

NOTE: You have to subscribe or already be a subscriber to be entered. You can do this in the upper right hand corner of the blog. It’s a breeze.

Winner will be chosen at random through www.randompicker.com and will be announced within the comments of this blog post. Giveaway ends on Friday, July 31st at midnight. Good luck!

13

Travel Recap: Wisco to New Hampshire

Hi. Remember me? Where in the world have I been you wonder? I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I published a blog post, but for good reason. I was on a 10 day trip to visit my home state of Wisconsin and my husband’s in New Hampshire. When we returned to AZ, I just needed a few more days of “unplugging” and decompression before diving back into the blog. Sometimes you just have to disconnect and breathe.

The trip was a success! We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends & family, celebrating Independence Day, eating fresh seafood, horsing around with our nephews & niece and just r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. Speaking of Independence Day…it’s a long and somewhat comical story, but we never got to see fireworks. We were all psyched to head down to the fireworks on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, but ended up stuck in traffic for 3 hours instead! Boo. The traffic was horrendous and a dead gridlock. SO, if you have any fun fireworks stories from a few weeks ago, please share in the comments below so I can live vicariously through your memories 🙂 Thankfully the party on the 4th was awesome and made up for the night before. While in WI, we also had time to check out my brother’s new house, cook a family dinner for my parents & siblings, play with the pups and hang out by the pool.

In New Hampshire, we enjoyed staying in a beautiful beach house with upstairs and downstairs wrap-around, screened-in porches, bike rides, salty ocean air and the giggles of our nephews and niece. They grow up so fast and it’s always a blast to get to spend time with them. They crack us up and keep us on our toes. Bonus to being in NH, I got to meet up with my blogger friend, Melanie, of Melanie Delude! We met at Camp Blogaway and have kept in touch. Keep an eye out next month when we guest post on one another’s blogs. Melanie has some seriously good eats on her site.

After 10 days, we were ready to head back to the desert. It was nice to go on vacation, but I seriously missed my bed and creature comforts by the end of the trip. Nothing like home sweet home. Here is a slideshow of some of the pics I want to share.

 

Where are you vacationing this summer?

 

 

13

Easy Blender Green Juice

Just because I don’t own a juicer doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the taste and health benefits of a mean green juice at home. At some point I would like a juicer so that I can juice more of a variety of produce, but for now my Ninja blender works perfect for my juice cravings that occur often. I love that I can just throw all of the ingredients in the pitcher, pulse and pour. Juicing is the quickest and easiest way to get your daily dose of vitamins and nutrients from fruits & veggies.

The green juice I like to make at home is jam packed with fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and energy boosting fuel that not only helps me kick off my day alert, but can also save me from an afternoon slump of fatigue. I usually make my green juice using the same formula: banana, frozen fruit like mango or pineapple, greens like kale or spinach, cucumber, chia seeds, tumeric, ginger, regular or coconut water (beware of the sugar in the coconut water when purchasing), and a splash of apple cider vinegar for extra wellness. The recipe below makes A LOT of juice, but if I’m not able to drink it all, I simply pour the remaining juice into a mason jar and store in the fridge to drink by the next day. Easy, right? Now go get your green juice on.

green juice

green juice

Easy Blender Green Juice
 
Serves: 2+
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • ⅓ of a regular or English cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 C. of frozen pineapple or mango
  • 1 stalk of kale, de-ribbed and torn into pieces
  • ½ inch of ginger, peeled
  • ¼ C. of fresh parsley, packed
  • 1 TBSP of chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp of fresh tumeric
  • 4 C. of coconut or regular water
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients in the blender and pulse until it's liquid and there are no chunks. Pour into two glasses and store any remaining juice in a mason jar in the fridge.
Notes
It makes approximately 40 ozs. of juice. Store remaining juice in a mason jar and drink within 24 hours.

 

 

6

5 “Health” Food Products to Avoid

So once again I am traveling. It’s all about family this time as the husband and I are headed back to Wisconsin and New England to visit both sides of the fam. So far it’s been an awesome trip of catching up, relaxing and enjoying cooler temps. I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging while I’m bopping around on vacation so I have a special treat…guest blogger, Cara, from shopOrganic has kindly accepted the offer to post in my absence today. shopOrganic is an awesome company that believes organic food and natural products are better for our bodies, better for our communities and better for the planet. Enjoy this post below! 

 This week Tia has graciously handed over the keys to Desert Healthy to shopOrganic while she’s on vacation. We promise we’ll take good care of you and share with you some of the best tips we have for your healthy lifestyle. One of our most shared blog posts was the one below – helping people make sense of ‘healthy’ food products that really aren’t healthy at all. We hope you learn something new!healthy food

Living a healthy lifestyle means that there is always something new to learn, something else to avoid, something else to add to your diet. It can be confusing, even frustrating at times. We know that unhealthy foods (sugar, processed foods, chemicals, additives etc.) are the reason why people are sicker and even fatter than ever before. Yet marketers are constantly bombarding us with the latest ‘health food’ product. How do you know what’s really good for you and what’s just junk food disguising itself as healthy? Check out some of these so-called health food products that may have had you fooled.

5 ‘Health Food’ Products to Avoid

1. Vitaminwater

A better name for this product should really be “Sugarwater” because the first two ingredients in Vitaminwater are actually sugar and water. The particular kind of sugar they use in Vitaminwater is called crystalline fructose, a processed sweetener that has been linked to health problems. The sugar content of this drink is disturbingly high. If you drink a bottle of Vitaminwater, you are ingesting 33 grams of sugar – that’s a little over 8 teaspoons in one serving (every 4g of sugar is equal to 1 tsp)! The “vitamins” in Vitaminwater, are not really vitamins that are beneficial to the body. They are synthetic, meaning they are made by man, and they are not the same vitamins our body can utilize as if we were getting them from our food. For much healthier options check out these recipes:

 

2. FroYo (Frozen Yogurt Shops)

They’re everywhere these days and they are so enticing but please don’t do it, don’t give into the hype! Frozen yogurt is a highly processed product.

I know, it’s so sad, I can actually hear hearts breaking all across the country. These cute little frozen yogurt shops that keep popping up everywhere you turn make it sound like a healthy alternative…but don’t be fooled. Just because it’s “yogurt” does not mean it’s healthy. So, even though these little shops are fun and cute they are still serving highly processed dairy products with harmful additives like these:

  • Guar gum
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium citrate
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Cellulose gum
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Carrageenan
  • Aspartame
  • Red Dye 40

Eek!!! That’s just to name a few! These are actually the ingredients I saw at our local FroYo shop.

What do you do instead? Instead get yourself some good plain Greek yogurt (Greek works best because it’s nice and thick) and instead of being sweetened with chemicals you can sweeten with maple syrup, raw honey or Stevia. And if you feel you’re missing out on the fun topping assortments they have at those shops, make your own little assortment using chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite), seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower), dark chocolate, granola, dried and or fresh fruits.

 

3. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

Regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat variety has more added sugar. When food manufacturers take out the fat, they need to add something to make that product taste good so they often add sugar. The truth is that fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does! Don’t be scared of fat. Every cell in our body depends on fat, good fats that is, and peanut butter is a natural source of this healthy fat “monounsaturated”.

Instead look for an organic peanut butter and if you want to sweeten it, stir in a bit of honey or maple syrup.

 

4. Energy Bars

Convenience does come at a cost. So many conventional energy bars are nothing more than candy bars with a few nutrients thrown in (which are most likely synthetic) and contain ingredients are bad for you like soy protein, gluten, chemicals, preservatives and other nasty hard-to-pronounce fillers.

There is good news here. There are some good energy/protein bars out there, you just have to read the ingredients list. A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. Another good alternative to these energy bars is to make your own.

 

5. Fooled by Fat Free

Often times we see products labeled Fat Free and we automatically think that these products are healthier choices than the ones without that label. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there too. Unfortunately that’s not really the case. If you think about it, if all the fat is removed from something, a lot of the taste of the product will be removed along with it (because good fat just tastes yummy). So what do the big food giants do to compensate? They add other ingredients like sugars, flours, chemicals, fillers and salt. These ingredients add the flavor back in, while keeping the calorie count high.

Fat free may sound like a healthy choice, but the reality is that our bodies need fat. And it’s not so much the amount of fat you eat that’s important it’s really the type of fat. Remember, there are good fats, and bad fats! When it comes to your health you need to be consuming the good fats which are things like coconut oil, ghee, raw nuts, avocados, and pastured free-range eggs.
 

There are many more junk foods masquerading around looking like health foods, which other ones have you been fooled by?

 

 

18