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Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate is easy to prepare and the REAL thing for pleasure and health! It's fantastic for keeping you warm during the cold winter months. I also encourage you to share this liquid treat with a loved one

Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate features fresh, homemade coconut milk, (full of good fat), and cacao, (high in anti-oxidants). You won't have to feel guilty about this hot chocolate treat. The best part is how easily this recipe can be adopted for different flavor profiles. Add peppermint extract, (1/4 tsp), or pumpkin spice, (1/2 tsp), vanilla extract or powder, (1/2 tsp), cinnamon, (1/4 tsp), a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of sea salt, etc. If you add in additional flavors, do so at the same time you add the chocolate.

Of course you can buy coconut milk pre-made, but I promise you the taste difference between homemade and store bought is so worth the little bit of extra effort. Moreover, homemade is far more cost effective, coconut milk in cans is frequently lined with BPA, and refrigerated containers have added sweeteners and preservatives. Thumbs down!

Simply Roasted Artichokes

I roast so many of the foods I eat since it’s easy and the results are always amazing. And, these are the kinds of recipes I try to offer – easy to make, delicious to eat, and fantastically healthy for your body and soul!

Artichokes, which are now in high season, are another real food item that turn into a grand slam of flavor when coming out of your oven! Of course, artichokes can be prepared in a variety of ways – steamed, boiled, grilled – but for today, let's talk roasted/baked.

Besides tasting great and being fun to eat, artichokes are super loaded with health. While most of us love artichoke hearts, the leaves contain the most nutrients. Consequently, I encourage you to eat whole artichokes.

Did you know artichokes are one of the most liver detoxing foods? They are! Artichokes are loaded with antioxidants which help to fight off disease, stress, and even cancer. They are also the perfect healthy, low-glycemic food which is great for stabilizing blood sugar. Moreover, artichokes are high in iron and other precious minerals which all work together to optimize your health.  In short, the artichoke is a nutritional and flavorful powerhouse winner!

Chillin' Chia Seed Pudding & Roasted Bacon Bitz

Snacking is a past-time for many. The trick-or-treat is to find snacks that bring us pleasure and good health. The following two recipes are easy to prepare and eat. Both offer excellent health benefits to boot.

Our Chillin' Chia Seed Pudding is sweeter and creamy while Roasted Bacon Bitz offer crunch and salt.


Pesto, Shrimp & Zoodles

This dish makes a perfectly light, delicious and nutrient-dense summer meal! Zoodles are nothing more than zucchini transformed into noodles either using a spiralizer, (I usePaderno brand), or a vegetable peeler. Combining the zoodles with shrimp and pesto knocks this meal out of the nourishment park. This recipe has been adapted fromPractical Paleo by Diane SanFilippo.

Frozen Lemon Slush-A-Licious

I was thinking about sharing a lovely seafood stew – cioppino – with cauli-rice recipe, but the heat and HUMIDITY steared me in a very different direction. (I'll get to this one another time!)

It’s summer, I’m hot and definitely looking to cool down. Behold my friends, it's Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious time . This is an all-natural, zero preservative treat that brings with it a bit of nostalgia. How many of you as children enjoyed Italian lemon-flavored ice? I know I did.

Our Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious is the real deal. Real lemons vs. artificially lemon-flavored and only the best of ingredients. When you’re in the mood for something thoroughly refreshing and ice cool, you need look no further.

Besides being delicious and refreshing, this treat is full of Vitamin C thanks to our lemon friends. Eating lemons may also help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and kidney stones. With filtered water and organic coconut palm sugar, (which is far less glycemic than regular cane sugar), it’s really hard to go wrong!

Give this recipe a shot and then dig in! You absolutely won't be sorry.

Eggplant Pizza Rounds

These Eggplant Pizza Rounds are absolutely the bomb! I know that cauliflower crusted pizza is hip, but quite frankly, these eggplant pizzas are equally delicious, healthy and far easier and quicker to make! Plus, using eggplant rather than traditional pizza dough for the crust is a healthy way to get your veggies and pizza in!

Tips: To combat any bitterness, slice up the eggplant and salt for about ½ hour. Only large eggplants need to be salted before cooking though, (the process draws out moisture and counters bitterness). Otherwise, you can skip this step.

Also, when buying, avoid eggplants that are too hard or too soft: You're looking for one that's juuust right. When in doubt, err on the side of overly firm as some varieties don't have much give when squeezed, even when ripe. As with zucchini, the larger the specimen, the more bitter it will be.

Finally, eggplants should not be stored in the fridge; their texture will be compromised by the chill. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry spot in your kitchen, away from direct sunlight, but with plenty of air circulation. Their flesh will oxidize when sliced, so don’t cut until ready to use.

These Eggplant Pizza Rounds are absolutely the bomb! I know that cauliflower crusted pizza is hip, but quite frankly, these eggplant pizzas are equally delicious, healthy and far easier and quicker to make! Plus, using eggplant rather than traditional pizza dough for the crust is a healthy way to get your veggies and pizza in!

Tips: To combat any bitterness, slice up the eggplant and salt for about ½ hour. Only large eggplants need to be salted before cooking though, (the process draws out moisture and counters bitterness). Otherwise, you can skip this step.

Also, when buying, avoid eggplants that are too hard or too soft: You're looking for one that's juuust right. When in doubt, err on the side of overly firm as some varieties don't have much give when squeezed, even when ripe. As with zucchini, the larger the specimen, the more bitter it will be.

Finally, eggplants should not be stored in the fridge; their texture will be compromised by the chill. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry spot in your kitchen, away from direct sunlight, but with plenty of air circulation. Their flesh will oxidize when sliced, so don’t cut until ready to use.

Sweet Potato Brownie Cakes

I tend to not eat many homemade baked goods, but this recipe, recently emailed to me by Paleo Hacks, really caught my attention. What I found so compelling, in addition to the luscious image of brownies, were the healthy ingredients and the ease of putting this together for a tasty and super healthy chocolate treat!

While writing an article several weeks ago, I needed a break. With recipe in hand, it occurred to me that I had all the necessary ingredients and more in my kitchen to whip this up. And whip I did. Within approximately 15 minutes of prepping and whisking, I placed my pan of brownie batter into the oven. Thirty minutes later, a delicious, organic brownie cake was born.

Please note, these brownies are moist and more cake-like than traditional brownies. I added extra sweet potatoes in my batch, which also accounts for the less chewy texture. Give this a try. I have a feeling you’re going to be quite pleased.

Yummy Stracciatella Soup

When I was a kid, my mother used to make a delicious and easy to put together soup using Lipton Chicken Soup, (Beware: contains gluten, very high sodium and is essentially a very phoney food). She also added frozen spinach into the boiling broth for about 10 minutes. I was not a vegetable eater as a child but this dish went down very easily. Once the soup was ready and added to our bowls, my mom topped off this steaming pleasure with a bit of grated Locatelli Romano cheese, (similar to Reggiano Parmegiano).

As an adult, my palate has expanded a bit, thankfully, and I now add whisked eggs to this broth. Janet and I love my spinach and egg drop soup, or in Italian, Stracciatella Soup. It’s perfect following our first pass at my homemade chicken soup which is full of clean, fresh organic chicken, carrots, and celery. Well, after eating our chicken soup the first night, there’s usually plenty of broth leftover for a second round. The problem is that there’s not much chicken or anything else remaining.

So, problem easily solved with Yummy Stracciatella Soup. Adding eggs and spinach more than make up for the missing chicken and veggies. And it’s so, so easy to preparer. I simply remove my leftover soup from the freezer to defrost, take out a package of organic, frozen spinach, beat about 3 eggs and mix and simmer them all together for a fantastic, full meal. Love it!

If you’ve never made homemade chicken soup, check out my recipe here. If you don’t have time to make your own broth, no problem at all. Pick up a container of gluten-free, zero sodium chicken stock  and go for it. I promise you won’t be sorry. Buon appetito!

Treasure Chest-Nuts: Oven & Fire-Roasted

I wasn't much of a chestnut eater until last year during a trip to Italy. While there, Janet and I went to the Feast of Chestnuts in the Southern Italian town of Noci. There we were walking the crowded streets with marching bands, street performers singing and dancing, comedy acts entertaining, and lots and lots of chestnuts roasting in the great outdoors!

The smells were too tempting and sure enough we had a bag of warm chestnuts handed to us. We both sampled one each and immediately agreed they were delicious. And, PS, chestnuts go great with a glass of red wine. A real holiday treat indeed!

If you enjoy a moderate amount of carbohydrates, chestnuts are a great alternative to sweet potatoes and the like. They are also fairly high in manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and copper.

On a final note, not all recipes need be complicated to yield satisfying results. Here is such a recipe. You can roast these gems all on their own or with very few and simple add-ons. Chestnuts are in season October through March. And, while some eat their chestnuts raw, due to the nuts' tannic acid content, if you go this route, be prepared for a bitter bite.

Healing Bone Broth

It’s getting chilly outside and that can only mean one thing. Bone broth season is upon us. Bone broth is exactly what its name indicates - making broth or stock from bones. Besides being tasty on its own and a terrific way to add flavor to other home prepared meals, bone broth is exceedingly healthy. Bone broths use a lengthy and gentle simmering style of cooking to extract rich marrow and collagen from the bones.

Both marrow and collagen deliver an abundance of nutrients for all kinds of benefits to your system. Collagen is great for our skin, bones, muscles, hair, and teeth. It also soothes the gut. Bone marrow is rich in fat and what our cavemen ancestors sought out and thrived upon! Every single cell in our body is laden with healing fat. Our brains also are made up of 60% fat. And, a growing number of research is showing the immense health and weight-loss benefits of a high-fat diet.

Please make sure to use bones from healthy land or sea animals. Bones from grass-fed cows, sheep, goats, as well as pasture-raised chickens and pigs are all terrific. With Thanksgiving approaching, consider using your turkey carcass. And don’t despair. If you don’t eat meat, consider making bone broth from left over fish bones. Collect your fish bones and freeze. Over time you will have sufficient bones to create your own healthy broth!

As odd as it may seem, apple cider vinegar is a key ingredient in this recipe as it helps draw out nutrients from the bones.

Flour-Less Pumpkin Pancakes Qualifier

Hi everyone!

Well, the October 2016 issue of From The HealthShrink was released just a few days ago, and with it, the new pumpkin pancake recipe. Today, I received a distress contact from Jeanne N., a devoted reader of our e-newsletter.  Jeanne was in the middle of preparing a Sunday brunch at her home for guests and decided to add pumpkin pancakes to the menu. Here’s what the S.O.S. call/text was over: Jeanne reported the pumpkin pancake batter seemed too loose or “liquidy”. She was convinced I had left out an ingredient from the recipe.

My answer to Jeanne was, “Nope, all the ingredients are listed appropriately”. But, here’s the catch I made crystal clear to her and would like to now pass on to you.

The batter will be more liquid-like than usual because these are flour-less pancakes. Please don’t let that be a cause for concern and stop you from cooking them up. The 2 most important tricks to making the pancakes are 1) ladle only a small amount of batter per pancake, (should be more or less equal to the size of the top of your fist.) Second, be patient, and allow these pancakes to cook the entire 5 minutes per side on a medium flame. It is the cooking time factor which provides the pancakes their firmness and ability to be flipped. When ready, use a thin, steel, preferably non-slotted spatula, and gingerly, but confidently, loosen the bottoms of the pancakes and flip. You’ve got this!

When I indicated a 10-minute total cooking time on the original recipe, I meant it. Don’t worry at all that the pancakes will be dry. They won’t. In fact, I’m extremely confident you’ll find them to be extremely tasty and deliciously moist.

I checked back with Jeanne after about 15 minutes of our communications to see how things were going. She playfully responded, “Leave me alone!! I am eating!!,” followed with several smiling, kissing emoticons and an attached photo of her pancakes. She suggested strongly that I write a qualifier for this recipe so no one else would have the questions/concerns she did. I appreciate your input Jeanne. Thanks!

Everyone, here’s your qualifier. Cheers!

Flour-less Pumpkin Pancakes

(Adapted from Diane SanFilippo’s, “Practical Paleo”.)

October is the perfect month to welcome the pumpkin harvest. And, this beautiful, orange fruit is the star of our recipe today.

You may think pancakes are sinfully full of sugar and generally fattening. Ordinarily, I'd agree. However, Flour-less Pumpkin Pancakes are incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense. Pumpkins are great for our heart and blood pressure. They also help prevent degenerative damage to eyes, decrease the risk of diabetes, promote a healthy complexion, and overall, lower our weight. Nice!

These organic, pumpkin pancakes are very low in sugar/carbs, and are extremely satisfying to the taste buds. And, please don't fret over transforming a pumpkin into pancakes. Nope. Just do what I do and use canned, organic pumpkin in a BPA-free liner. Make sure though that the can contains only 1 ingredient, i.e., pumpkin.

Super Joe

Following my last 2 recipes, (The Big Blue Crumble and Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace), I wanted to now share the incredibly luscious, healthy, and energeticSuper Joe, aka, SJ. Originally created by biohacker, Dave Asprey, as the"Bulletproof Coffee," my SJinterpretation will sweep you off your feet. 

Do you enjoy cappuccino? If so, prepare to be a very, very happy camper. TheSuper Joe is now my absolutely favorite way to enjoy coffee. I have a feeling once you try it, you'll agree.

There are very few ingredients in the Super Joe. However few or many, I always try to use the best quality ingredients. The beautiful SJ is no exception. Itprovides ketone-fueled energy and quick mental clarity from clean fat (8-MCT oil & grass-fed, unsalted butter), instead of sugar. 8-MCT oil, by the way, is distilled from coconut oil and takes only the best of the best from the coconut, i.e. caprylic 8-chain fatty acid. 

Think adding oil and butter to your coffee sounds bizarre? I did. I remember watching a travel program on TV many years ago. The host of the program went to northern Italy and was visiting a woman who owned and worked a dairy farm. This lady made fresh cheese and butter all the time. At the end of the farm tour, she offered the interviewer a cup of espresso coffee with her butter added right in. While the host oohed and aahed with delight, I was quite skeptical and turned off. Now instead, I find myself oohing and aahing. Honestly!


Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace

Oh my goodness, have I got a terrific recipe to share with you! This works if you’re making just for yourself, as well as if you’re throwing a brunch for family and/or friends. Get ready for the super delicious & easy to prepare Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace (BECE).

You and yours are going to love it! And, this savory & hearty mouthful is good to eat any time of day. It also offers healthy fat benefits to boot. Have leftovers? No worries. They’re easy to freeze & enjoy for another time. Your welcome! :D

The Big Blue Crumble

(Recipe adapted from Fresh Blueberry Crumble, by Diane Sanfilippo in Practical Paleo)

Summertime and fruit season go hand-in-hand. Well, the Big Blue Crumble is a great way to savor the wonderful blueberry and to recognize that July is National Blueberry Month. With just 1-2 tablespoons of grade-B maple syrup, this dessert is very low in added sweeteners. Plus blueberries, like most berries, are naturally low on the glycemic index. They are great for brain support and are loaded with anti-oxidants. All that, and delicious to boot, and we’ve got a grand slam big blue success!

For extra fun, add in raspberries with the blueberries. When ready to eat, top your masterpiece with a dollop of whipping cream from organic, pasture-raised cows to create a Red, White, and Blue - 4th of July Magic Crumble. This my friends absolutely promises to set off gorgeous fireworks in all of our mouths! I hope you enjoy.

Pigs in a Heavenly Blanket

I absolutely love a delicious, grilled hot dog, and hallelujah, it’s that time of year again! Yep, people are back outside grilling, and eating outdoors. Given that June 18th isInternational Picnic Day, this meal couldn’t be more timely!  And, trust me, Pigs in a Heavenly Blanket like these, you’ve never had before. (Are you drooling yet?)

You may think that healthy eating excludes a summertime favorite like the frankfurter. Well, think again. It’s entirely possible to enjoy a frank here and there with the gusto it deserves. (And, when we eat a food that brings us authentic delight, healing, pleasure hormones are released by our bodies.) Add to that delicious, healing scenario the selection of healthy and quality hot dogs and accompaniments and we've now got a dog that's Best in Show! 

Cinco de Mayo Rockin' Guac

I first started eating homemade guac about 7 years ago. Up until that time, I’d really misunderstood the avocado; the wonder fruit. I thought it bland tasting and even worse, fattening. What was the point of eating it and why did people love their guacamole? I didn’t understand then, but what I’ve come to learn!

Firstly, avocado is delicious simply sliced with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a grate or 2 of Himalayan pink salt. When making guacamole, it also goes well with a variety of mix and match accompaniments including red onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno or Serrano chiles, garlic, strawberries, and whatever else you’re tempted to throw in. (If you’re in the mood for a velvety, chilled summer soup, trust your avocado to step in and do the job.)

Ginger Root Tea Time

Authentic Ginger Root Tea (GRT) is so easy to prepare, I hesitate toeven call it a recipe. In addition to being super easy to make, GRT is incredibly healthy and delicious all in the same sip!

One of the healthiest spices on the planet, ginger is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body. As an anti-inflammatory agent, ginger may improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, ginger may help: lower the risk of infections, lower LDL cholesterol, reduce menstrual cramping, treat chronic indigestion, drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors, reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis, reduce muscle pain and soreness, and treat a variety of forms of nauseas – especially morning sickness. It may even help with some forms of cancer.

Susan's Luscious Cacao Fat Bombs

This dessert is full of healthy fat that promises to nourish our brains and every cell in our body! It’s tasty, easy to make, and requires no baking. The original recipe included 8 dates which was far too sweet for me. I’ve made these wonderful bombs using just 2 dates to offset the bitterness of the cacao. I’m aware my taste buds at this point are less sugar-seeking than most. If you find 2 dates aren’t sufficient, add more 1 at a time.

Susan's Super Bowl Chili Boats

Janet and I love chili, yet in all of our years together, (23 now!), and ever since I've been cooking, somehow I'd never made chili before - until now! Yep. I got bit by a strong desire to create an organic, gluten-free version of this food we love. And then I went to town. I googled and looked over multiple on-line recipes, (which I encourage everyone to do), and honed in on several. From those suggestions, as well as a few of my own ideas, I've created this really delicious and super healthy chili recipe' perfect for Super Bowl Sunday and any other time as well. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do! (This recipe' uses grass-fed beef. Feel free to use your clean protein of choice - turkey, chicken, lamb, pork, bison, etc!)

New Year's Eve Lucky Lentil Soup

If you haven’t had homemade lentil soup yet, it’s time you joined in the delicious fun! I’ve been eating lentils since I’ve been a child. Initially not terribly impressed, over the years I’ve grown to really enjoy this legume! Even if you’re familiar with lentils, you may not know that eating them at midnight on New Year’s Eve is a tradition maintained throughout Italy! It’s true! Lentils are a symbol of good luck and prosperity because they resemble small coins! The more you eat, the more wealth you’ll have!

Monday Night Homemade Chicken Soup

When I grew up, my mother made homemade chicken soup every Monday for dinner. This is a Southern-Italian tradition she adopted from her mother. While the chicken soup was especially appreciated during autumn, winter, and early spring, it didn’t really matter what time of the year it was. Monday evening meant chicken soup! It was something I came to love and looked forward to every week. And, by the way, chicken soup also always made its way as our first course on the Thanksgiving table!

Swirly Crust-Less Quiche

This is a wonderful recipe' adapted from Diane Sanfilippo, (author of "Practical Paleo", a great book by the way). Diane was referred to in this month's From The HealthShrink's Feature Article, What Should I Eat For Breakfast? What makes this recipe so terrific is that you can easily mix and match flavors by changing up the veggies and seasonings. You also bake it which generally speaking is a much less labor intensive cooking method. Finally, make 1 batch and come up with 6 servings! Can't eat all 6? Fantastic! This dish freezes easily. Just cut the dish into individual portion sizes. When you want a nourishing and delicious breakfast, take out a piece and heat it in your toaster oven or microwave.

Susan's Berry Good Lemon-Raspberry Gummies

I'm a big fan of grass-fed gelatin! I find it extremely soothing for the gut. It's also great for repair and maintenance of nails, hair, skin, ligaments, and more. Usually I use the hydrolysated version of Great Lakes Gelatin, (comes in a green canister). This is great for shakes, and to add into just about anything you're cooking having a sauce given the gelatin is flavorless, (tomato sauce, stews, meatloaf, etc.).

Susan's Grilled, In-Season, Summer Veggies

I chow down heartily and try to make veggies my main course. Therefore, the number of servings depend upon the portion size. No worries though. These grilled or roasted veggies make wonderful leftovers!

Susan's Meatball Burgers

If you're tired of the same old burger and usual sides on Independence Day, try something new and delicious! Susan's Meatball Burgers accompanied by Mom’s String Beans With Tomato Sauce are the bomb!

Mom’s String Beans With Tomato Sauce

As a side for the delicious meatball burgers, try this very easy to make and extremely healthy version of string beans. (I wasn’t such a big vegetable eater as a child. At the age of 10, I decided to try my mom’s string beans.  It was love at first bite and I haven’t looked back since!)

Luxuriating The Strawberry Way

June is strawberry season here on the east coast of the USA.  The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and for many the desire to spend more time outside while keeping cool kicks in.  Try these very easy to prepare, delicious, and light strawberry dessert options that compete with the best of strawberries and whipped cream. None will take hours to prepare, and all can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or while walking or sitting outside. For all these treats, wash, dry, remove stems, and slice the strawberries.

Susan's Nourishment Shake

It's that time of year for morning shake season to begin! Macro-nutrient balanced with healthy protein, carbs and fats, the shake is luscious, refreshing, hydrating, extremely tasty, and a wonderful way to jump start our waking metabolisms!