Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italian "Spring" Bean Salad

Nothing screams Spring like Lemon and Basil-these are a just a few flavors in this fantastical fresh Italian Bean Salad... Perfect for your next barbeque or potluck dinner. YUMM!! 
1 (15 oz) can butter beans, rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained 

 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained- *You could use any variety of white beans you like*
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size of tomatoes.

 1/2 of a small red onion, minced
 3 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 

1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed- (cube it just a little larger than the size of the beans)
3 tbsp fresh chopped basil- add more if you love basil 

1 tsp lemon zest 
salt & pepper to taste
Lemon Vinagrette- 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
 1 clove garlic, minced very fine 
1 tsp sugar 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Combine all the Salad ingredients in a medium serving bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl or mason jar combine lemon vinagrette ingredients & whisk or shake to emulsify. Pour dressing over the beans & taste to adjust seasonings. The flavors get better over time so dress salad about 2-3 hours before serving. Can also be made a day in advance, just keep covered in fridge. Such bright & fresh spring flavors!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

All Natural- No sugar- Almond Joy Bars!

Seriously... a dessert that is actually GOOD for you?? YES!! You will never know this is sugar free with it's amazing chocolate/coconut combo... too good to be true!! My last post- Zero Sugar-Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter Bites is the chocolate part of this recipe & it works like a sweet charm! But if you're not too concerned about the sugar you could just melt some chocolate chips and spread that over top.

1 cup organic Coconutreat brand coconut oil- you can use any brand but I recommend this, it's the BEST!
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of the Zero Sugar-Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter- or 1 bag chocolate chips melted down in microwave. 

Melt coconut oil in saucepan over med-low heat and stir in shredded coconut, agave (or honey) & vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour in a 8x8 glass baking dish and spread evenly. Place in freezer about 20 minutes or till coconut has hardened. Make chocolate topping while coconut is setting up in freezer. Pour & spread over coconut & freeze till chocolate has set up. 
Chocolate-Coconut-Nut Butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter or any nut butter
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and melt together until smooth (can also be done in microwave) Just heat and stir till nice and creamy. Pour over hardened coconut.