Butternut Squash Tostadas with Avocado Crema

20140301-093408.jpgThere’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t crave Mexican food. I could eat tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never tire of it. Even though Mexican food isn’t known for being particularly healthy, I believe everything is OK in moderation. The problem with that: I just can’t control myself! I’ll eat several veggie tacos and an entire bag of tortilla chips and still crave more. And don’t even get me started on the guacamole….

It’s for that very reason that I like to make my own Mexican-style meals when those pesky cravings strike. That way, at least I know all of the ingredients that are going into my food and I’m able to cut out as much of the unhealthy and fatty elements as possible. Yes, I still eat a lot, but it’s a lot of healthy, whole foods. 

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No-Bake Nutella Pies

20140222-025854.jpgFebruary 21 is a special day in our family: it’s the birthday of my mom, my stepson Kaden, and Kaden’s stepdad! Since this special day happened to fall on a Friday this year, we decided to turn the entire weekend into one long celebration, complete with tons of food, family time, and even paintball. 

I firmly believe that such a special day also deserves an equally fantastic dessert, but then, I usually go out of my way to come up with excuses to make dessert. As much as I love birthday cake, I wanted to prepare something a little different. It didn’t take me long to come up with these amazing No-Bake Nutella Pies. Now, I honestly can’t imagine life without them!!

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Arugula, Lentil, and Sweet Potato Salad

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After the gorgeous and eternally young Christie Brinkley recently shared with People magazine that she snacks on melon and walnuts and eats beans and veggies for lunch and dinner, I was compelled to do the same. Do I expect to wake up one day looking like Christie? Of course not. But I love that the model, who’s been a vegetarian since the age of 13, is extremely health conscious and opted to share her ‘secrets’ with us. Besides, if it’s good enough for her, it’s certainly good enough for me. 

So, in an effort to include more beans and veggies into my meals, I’ve been going through old recipes and coming up with some clean and simple new ones–like this Arugula, Lentil, and Sweet Potato Salad. Not only is this salad extremely tasty, it’s also unbelievably easy to throw together, making it the perfect on-the-go meal. I’ve taken it to work with me nearly every day for the last week and it always leaves me feeling full and satisfied. I think Christie must be on to something…

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Guilt-Free Valentine’s Day Indulgences

With Valentine’s Day only a couple of days away, I can’t seem to think about anything but chocolate!!

I won’t lie, the way to my heart is most certainly through my stomach. I’ve been dropping some not-so-subtle hints to my husband for a week now about where we should go out to dinner. Since we both have crazy schedules, we decided it would be best if we do our Valentine’s dinner tonight rather than on the big day–and you better believe I’ll be getting something chocolatey at the end of the meal to satisfy my craving. Even though we’re celebrating early, I’ve also made up my mind to celebrate on Friday with another special dessert–this time homemade. Two Valentine’s Day desserts in one week….yes, please!!!

While looking through some older recipes and thinking about what to make (which only made my chocolate cravings worse), I quickly realized that there are far too many to choose from! I also realized that I should share some of my absolute favorite guilt-free and easy-to-make indulgences (and one Valentine’s Day-appropriate salad) with you. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Pancakes with Raspberry Cream Sauce

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Natural and Effective Skin Care Products

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while. I usually post about healthy foods and recipes, but I’m also concerned about the products that I use on my skin.

Now, I firmly believe that beauty is NOT just skin deep. Instead, we radiate beauty from the inside out: when we feel deeply happy and relaxed, we can’t help but wear those emotions like an external badge of honor; and when we eat nourishing foods, our organs–including the skin, our bodies’ largest organ–function at their best. Does that mean that we can eat healthy foods but use beauty products with harmful chemicals and still expect our skin to be healthy? Absolutely not! The foods that we eat and the products that we use work in conjunction to create beautiful skin. 
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