Archive of ‘Breakfast’ category

Tasteful Banana Nut Muffins

image1(22) Bryee Shepard, M.S., R.D. | Tasteful Wisdom

Ok so here we are, almost at the end of January. And look, we survived the New Year’s resolution craze! … While most of us have probably ditched that resolution by now, this is the perfect time to consider making healthy choices and cooking/baking delicious things on the regular. Let’s forget about that extreme makeover, impossible expectation, set-up for major disappointment plan, and think about how we can take it easy and simply nourish ourselves to the best of our ability. (more…)

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Stop Drinking Your Smoothies!

Smoothie Bowl Resized

Super Smoothie bowls better    As we know, the “health trend” of the smoothie is absolutely out of control. I outlined in my previous post the unhealthy truths behind these drinks. I also gave tips to turn your smoothies into health elixirs, and I will share two recipes here. You will notice that these are not your average smoothie…they are in a bowl…and you will eat these with a spoon. Why? Because it is a better! Let me explain. There are two main reasons why you should “EAT” your smoothies, instead of “DRINKING” them:

  1. More complete digestion and absorption. Believe it or not, digestion starts in our mouths. Amylase, a digestive enzyme used to break down complex carbohydrates into more easily absorbed molecules, is produced in our salivary glands (and pancreas-but that’s another story). It is released into our saliva as we chew our food to kick off the digestive process. By starting digestion at this early stage, food is broken down and absorbed more easily as digestion progresses. When we blend up our healthy smoothies, we are obviously aiming for optimal absorption. This cannot be achieved if we completely bypass our mouths by gulping it down. Rather than gulping, we should be chewing. Weird? Yes…but the whole point of making smoothies rich in nutrients is to reap the benefits of the nutrient absorption. By eating your smoothies with a spoon and permitting your saliva to mix with the nutrient-rich elixir, you will allow for more complete absorption and digestion, and thus receive the full benefits from your smoothie. This will also cut down on the common complaint of bloating after drinking a smoothie. So CHEW your smoothies!
  2. Mind tricks. This may sound all too simple, but guess what- it works. Typically, we blend up our smoothie concoction, throw it into a glass or an environmentally-friendly plastic cup with a straw, and gulp (or chug) it down as we frantically run out the door or around the house like a crazy. There are definitely occasions for this type of ludicrous behavior, but this should NEVER be the norm. When you guzzle a smoothie, all it becomes is a drink….a thirst quencher. Not a meal. However, as I discussed in my prior post, there are quite often enough calories and macronutrients to call this “drink” a meal. So now you have successfully downed 400-500 calories without even noticing that you just ate breakfast. What happens next? You will be actively seeking out breakfast in 45 minutes to an hour at the office, or worse, contemplating the drive thru on your way in. Don’t do it. Slow down and eat your smoothie with a utensil. This is a meal! Treat it like one, and you will be surprised how far it gets you. Not to mention, straws have an evil side effect of eventual upper lip wrinkles (smoker’s lines around the mouth), as my mother-in-law so graciously brought to my attention. Since then I have effectively destroyed all environmentally-friendly straws in my possession-and I suggest you do too.

Here are two absolutely delicious, healthy, dietitian-approved smoothie bowls to start your day off right!

Classic Strawberry Banana

1 Banana, reserve ¼ for garnish

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, reserve 1 Tablespoon for garnish  

2 Cups Baby Spinach

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

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Blend up banana, strawberry, sunflower seeds, spinach and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!



3/4 Cup Frozen Mango Chunks, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

½ Banana, garnish optional

2 Tablespoons Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas), reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

2 Cups Chopped Kale

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice


Blend up mango, blueberries, banana, pumpkin seeds, coconut, kale, and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!



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“For the Birds” Granola Bars


Edited with wording

Waking up early enough for a sit-down breakfast has never been my style. I have just enough time to shower and walk the dog before I’m out the door. That being said, I will not sacrifice a healthy start- I simply make sure I always have grab and go bites to eat as I’m on the run.

These “For the Birds” Granola Bars are fiber-filled, protein-packed, ultra delicious and are perfect as a meal or a snack thanks to their secret ingredient. They remind me of food for the birds because there are lots of small seeds and morsels that look like they belong in a bird’s house. These bars are just sweet enough to satisfy but, however, have real staying power thanks to heart-healthy fats and plant protein. The secret ingredients, garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas) keep them moist and only add to the nutrition of the bars. With loads of fiber and a generous supply of protein, they are the perfect for starting the morning off right. Plus, their flavor is so mild that no one would ever guess beans are inside!

Having no flour, this recipe is easily gluten-free and vegan friendly. Although oats don’t actually contain the proteins comprising gluten, they are often processed in the same facility, and on the same conveyor belts as wheat, barley, and rye. Bob’s Red Mill makes gluten-free oats that are processed separately and now widely available at most supermarkets. Because most chocolate chips contain dairy, it is important to look for vegan chocolate chips if you are making these vegan friendly.


The food processor does most of the work by pureeing beans, dates, honey, and salt to a smooth consistency. Then you simply add the remaining ingredients, stir and bake on a quarter sheet pan or square 8 x 8 inch pan. The bars should cool completely before being cut. Depending on the size of the bars, this recipe should yield 12-15 bars. Enjoy!

“For the Birds” Granola Bars


  • 1 - 15 oz Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 12 Pitted Deglet Noor Dates
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds
  • ½ Cup Raw Honey
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Oats
  • 1 ½ Chopped Nuts or Seeds of Your Choice (I like a mix of Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sliced Almonds)
  • 1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine beans, dates, flax seeds, honey, and salt. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Remove mixture from food processor, add remaining ingredients, and stir well.
  4. Press onto a greased quarter sheet pan and 8 x 8 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Allow completely cool and cut into 12-15 bars.
  6. Bars can be stored in refrigerator for one week. Enjoy!


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Sweet Corn Bread

corn bread without writing

corn bread

After multiple posts on collard greens, I was craving something sweet to drown out the veggie coma I had slipped into. With collards on my mind, I could not think of a more perfect accompaniment to good ole southern collards than some warm and crumbly corn bread. Corn bread traditionally has loads of butter and is very often cooked in a cast iron skillet lined with bacon fat. Although I am not against the skillet, I do avoid excess bacon fat! The corn meal is often mixed with flour to create a more appealing texture. However, I have found that it is simpler and quite delicious to use 100% cornmeal (non-GMO of course!-I’ll get to this later). Using cornmeal alone allows for a gluten-free recipe as well. All of the fat in this recipe comes from natural sources-not processed oils or even butter.

Why zucchini, you ask…why take a perfectly good sweet recipe and ruin it with a vegetable!? Well…Why not! First of all, gives this bread a moist and
delicious texture. Using zucchini adds high quality fiber, Vitamin A and C, magnesium, folic acid and minerals. You will never even know it’s there! I got this one by my husband without an ounce of suspicion!

The most important point I will stress with this recipe is to use good ingredients. It is important to purchase high-quality corn meal to avoid without GMO’s. Genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s, are animals or plants whose genes have been manipulated through human engineering. Whether it be to create more fruit production in shorter period of time using plants that utilize less space per cubic inch, or creating a kernel that repels pest naturally, the goal of genetic modification is usually the same- to increase profits. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is, the process of genetic modification is fairly new, and became popular only in the mid-1990’s. Therefore, researchers still don’t know the effects this will have on our bodies in the long run.  For this reason, myself and many others believe that they should be avoided. Foods commonly known to have GMO’s are: Corn, soy, papaya, rice, potatoes, rBGH found in milk, and canola oil. Bob’s Red Mill is an outstanding company that dedicated itself to providing grain products that are GMO free. I used their fine grind cornmeal for this recipe. 20140413-144152.jpg

If you are familiar with cornmeal, you know that it is very hard and does not easily absorb liquids. For this reason, corn bread needs a good amount of moisture and fat to make up for its dryness. I use full-fat canned coconut milk, eggs, and maple syrup to give the finished product a moist texture. The zucchini helps a lot as well. Coconut milk offers many great benefits and is naturally high in fat. It has such a beautiful fragrence but is truly undectable in the finished cornbread. This will substitute dairy and oil in our recipe. I love using real maple syrup in recipes as it is minimally processed and adds such a deeply rich flavor. The great thing about using a natural sweetener like maple syrup is the added benefit of minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, potassium and manganese, as well as polyphenols (antioxidants). Try finding that in white sugar!

This recipe is super easy! Just toss everything into the food processor, give it a whir and bake! It can be divided into 12 or 16 squares. Of course, I like bigger pieces so 12 is my choice, and with only 189 calories per square- the bigger the better!

Sweet Corn Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 Squares


  • 1 Large Zucchini, Peeled
  • ½ Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • ¾ Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 1/4 Cup Organic Cornmeal
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan with coconut oil
  3. Add zucchini to food processor, and puree.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth
  5. Pour batter into greased pan, and bake for 25 minutes
  6. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!


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Homemade Almond Milk

Blender seq

Almond milk….It is rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious. It is so awesome to make this milk at home, and the best part is, you know exactly what went into it!  Of course I don’t  have the time or the energy to do this always, but when I do it is my preferred method. Making almond milk at home is actually super simple, and the taste is incomparable to the store bought stuff…totally worth a try.

Why almond milk rather than cow’s milk? Well, this is a “to each his own” answer…not sure if I am ready to go down that rabbit hole, but I will say that I prefer the taste of almond milk over cow’s milk. I like drinking a plant based product that has good nutrients and lots of calcium. I like the fact that I don’t need to worry about antibiotics and hormones or how many cows contributed to my one glass of milk. And simply, I like almonds!

Almonds are rich in Biotin, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Magnesium. All of which contain numerous health benefits. The B vitamin, biotin, is notorious for strengthening and beautifying hair, skin, and nails. Although some of these effects have not been scientifically proven, we do know that it plays a major role in nerves, metabolism, and cell health.  Preliminary research suggests biotin may improve insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It promotes overall inflammation reduction and is thought to aid in immune function. It may postpone heart disease onset and age-related cognitive decline while preventing dangerous blood clots. It is important to note, that it is recommended to consume Vitamin E through food rather than supplements (unless directed by a professional) as any hazard associated with Vitamin E supplements are still unclear. Calcium is known for its role in bone health, but also may aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Like Vitamin E, taking calcium in supplement form is a little controversial. Magnesium is thought to play a role in the reduction of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even migraines. Almonds also have good protein, fat, iron, zinc, folic acid, and many other vitamins and minerals. It is always better to get your nutrition from foods because as I stated previously, experts are still unsure of the risks and benefits associated with vitamin and mineral supplements.

Okay, now for the nitty gritty…the milk itself. I purchase organic almonds and soak them overnight. Most recipes agree that they should be soaked but disagreements arise as to why  they should be soaked. I soak to soften them and remove any impurities that may be lingering on their skins. Simply blend them up with clean water, a few dates for sweetness, and strain. Viola! You have almond milk (see recipe below)! Remember this milk has NO preservatives so drink up quickly. I would give it three days in the fridge…maybe four if you’re lucky. It freezes great so if you aren’t sure how quickly you will drink it, freeze half of the batch.

The only truly tricky thing about this recipe is the straining. You have a few options. You can strain through a sieve and cheese cloth, cheese cloth alone, a fine mesh strainer, or a nut milk bag. I have tried every which way and each has pros and cons. I like the fine mesh strainer simply because I don’t always have cheese cloth lying around, but this can be time consuming. My favorite method is by far a nut milk bag. This is a super fine mesh bag that is used specifically for nut milks (but can also be used for anything that needs a good straining). It is inexpensive and completely reusable. If you enjoy making almond milk, and believe that you will continue to make it in the future, the bag is the way to go. Nut milk bags can be found here. Soaked almonds and dates

 Add almonds, dates, and water then blend away!

Blender seq  Now strain through nut milk bag…

Milk through nut milk bag

Milk next to strained bag

Chill and serve!

Finished almond milk enhanced

Homemade Almond Milk


  • 1 Cup Organic Almonds
  • 2-3 Medjool Dates
  • 2-3 Cups Filtered Water


  1. Soak almonds in water overnight, changing the water at least once.
  2. Add almonds, dates, and your preferred amount of water. I like mine rich and creamy, so I usually use only 2 cups of water. If you like it thinner, use three.
  3. Blend until almost completely smooth- at least one minute.
  4. Strain through preferred straining method- see above for options.
  5. Chill and serve!


Almond milk will stay good for at least three days in the fridge...but probably won't last that long anyway!


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