A Dozen Kid-Pleasin' Healthy Snacks

Ever run out of ideas for what to feed your kiddo(s)? Me too. That's why I make lists like this. Although I personally have an absolutely wonderful, sweet 6-yr-old (oops, I mean 6-and-three-quarters), she's also incredibly picky. However, despite her annoying selectiveness, she still does love a broad range of healthy foods. So, if your little ones are anything like mine, I hope this will give you some inspiration to keep trying new foods...some of these ideas are very simple (you've likely already thought of them) and some are a little more unusual. But at any rate, have fun experimenting! Kids naturally love healthy food, so don't give up! Sometimes it takes a little work, but it's worth it. They're worth it. Usually, anyway.

The Delicious Dozen...Our Favorite Kid-Pleasin' Healthy Snacks:

1. Unsweetened organic applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon
2. Krazy Kale Chips (recipe is here on my blog) - my daughter literally goes ka-razy for these. It's out of control! For a video of my sous chef and I making these, please go here.
3. Plain nori (or pre-packaged nori strips), available in health food stores - my daughter's school mates actually beg her for these at lunch!
4. Parfaits (layers of berries, soy yogurt, and granola...preferably in a see-through glass or parfait/sundae cup for cuteness reasons). If you have Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, you can also try my recipe for "Love Bug Parfaits" which includes a recipe for homemade granola (as well as a yummy strawberry "cream" that can replace the yogurt).
5. Healthy, whole grain breads make a great snack for lunch or home. This recipe for Buddhaful Blue Cornbread is one of my daughter's favorites! As is this recipe for Rosemary Pumpkin Biscuits.
6. Sushi! I've never met a kid who didn't like nori rolls - I child you not. Here's a video of my daughter and I making inside-out sushi. Most kids I know like the following fillings: tofu, baby spinach, julienne-cut carrots, and toasted sesame seeds.
7. Mini-pizzas on whole grain english muffins are my daughter's new favorite mini-meal. We spread some organic spaghetti sauce on a halved english muffin, then top with some vegan daiya cheese and a little baby spinach. Bake at 400F until golden-brown on top (about 10-15 minutes). Yum!
8. Brown rice cakes. Seaweed and tamari are two favorites as they're flavorful and nutritious. You can even find whole grain, organic corn cakes in many health food stores. They're really good too, either plain or topped with a little fruit spread and/or almond butter.
9. These muffins were a big hit on one of my daughter's first grade snack days (we all take turns bringing snacks, and few parents bring non-junky ones). I was really surprised (and, yes, relieved) to hear that all of the kids loved and devoured them! No one seemed to notice that they were whole grain, vegan, and chock-full of serious goodness.
10. Fruit it up. Despite my girlie's pickiness, there isn't a fruit on earth she doesn't love. Try fresh, whole fruit, fruit salads, or fruit smoothies. Plus, the great thing about smoothies is that you can be a wee bit sneaky. Try pairing blueberries and kale, for example, as you'll get some great veggie power in there without sacrificing flavor.
11. Try jazzing up a salad with some kid-friendly dressing. This will make or break your chances of success. I've had good luck with poppyseed dressing, raspberry dressing, and other sweet dressings (go figure!). For kids who are still skeptical about salads, try wrapping interesting things in a lettuce leaf. For example, they may happily eat Romaine lettuce if it's wrapped around a few raspberries.
12. I've recently rediscovered the wonderful world of mochi. It's a pounded sweet brown rice that you can buy in packages in the refrigerated section of most health food stores. From there, cut it into small squares and bake it at 400F until very poofy (it's a word, right?). Sweet teeth like it best with a drizzle of agave nectar and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Giving your kids healthy snacks is a fun, delicious way to prevent illnesses before they begin! For more ideas on prevention, check out The Kathleen Show's Prevention Not Prescriptions Tuesdays.

Hope these ideas gave you some inspiration to keep your little ones (and yourself!) healthy. Be happy and I'll see you next time. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tomato, Basil, and Roasted Pine Nut Penne

Know any people with bad attitudes about vegan food? This dish will totally mess with their heads. Put some “Green Bread," “Spinach Strawberry Salad," and “Chocolate Bliss Pie" on the table as well and you may even score yourself some stalkers. Also, because this sauce isn’t cooked, you can throw this entrĂ©e together in about twenty minutes!

This recipe is from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Photo by Michelle McCluggage

16 oz. penne pasta (or gluten-free pasta if you are gluten intolerant)

2½ cups grape or cherry tomatoes
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (or other high quality Greek olives)
5 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
¼ cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt (or less if you prefer)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup (packed) fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons or chopped

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on its former home.
2. While the penne is cooking, you can toss the sauce together. First, wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. Place them in the largest bowl you have. No bowl is too big.
3. Add the chopped kalamatas, garlic, oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to the giant bowl. Gently toss well to combine.
4. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they are aromatic and lightly browned, shaking the pan often so that they cook evenly. Watch them closely, as this process will take well under 5 minutes. As soon as they are done, remove them from heat and set aside.
5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well in a colander or strainer. Add it to the big bowl and toss it with the sauce. Mix well to combine. Add the pine nuts and basil. Toss lightly and serve immediately. Gloat.

Serves 6-8
30 minutes or under! GF (with substitution)/SF/Purple

Relaxation Station

Nothing can infuse your life with ease and grace like the power of meditation! It's like a magical cure-all that reduces stress and brings peace and joy into your being. To begin experiencing the immense benefits of meditation, try this simple exercise from the meditation section in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Relaxation Station

This is a good type of meditation for relieving stress and also for healing yourself if you have any ailments. Begin by allowing all of your muscles to relax completely. Start with your toes and slowly work all the way up to the top of your head (crown), allowing all of the stress to melt away in each area as you go. Although many practitioners of meditation begin with the head and work their way down, I encourage you to try it this way as working your way up the body will help you maintain a higher state of consciousness.

After you have relaxed all of your muscles, think of the most beautiful color of light you can imagine. See that beautiful light filling your toes and feet completely. Next, bring that beautiful, healing light slowly upward through every part of your body until you are totally saturated in that light from toe to head. Be as open as you can, and really feel the healing energies of that light in each part of your body. Send extra light and love to any part of your being that needs it and continue to be open to healing on all levels. Enjoy this state of peace and relaxation for as long as you like. Or longer.

Meditation is just one of the tools in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Meditation is also a wonderful way to prevent illnesses before they begin. For more ideas on prevention, check out The Kathleen Show's Prevention Not Prescriptions Tuesdays. Thanks so much for tuning in! I wish you a peaceful, deeply rewarding day.

Buddhaful Blue Skillet Cornbread

Oh yum. This is some friggin' good bread--a little sweet, a little rich, but oh-so-satisfying. This cornbread contains the ultra-healthy blue corn, which is higher in protein than yellow corn. Blue corn is also energy-building, supportive to the liver, and is more tri-doshic (an Ayurvedic term meaning "good for all body types") than yellow corn. Besides, nothing like a good soup and some homemade bread to satisfy your soul!

2 tablespoons flax meal (ground flaxseed)
1/4 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-1/3 cups nondairy milk
1/3 cup oil (non-virgin olive, melted coconut, or sunflower)

1 cup each: blue cornmeal and whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup organic sugar (optional for sweet cornbread)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon each: sea salt and baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place a large iron skillet in the oven to warm it while you're making the cornbread.
2. Flegg out. How, you ask? Simply combine the flaxseed meal with the boiling water in a small bowl and stir. Set aside for at least 5 minutes, or until gooey.
3. In another small bowl, combine the vinegar and milk (this will become your "buttermilk"). The vinegar/milk bowl will also need to be in time out for five minutes - same as the flegg. They can talk amongst themselves if they get bored.
4. In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk or stir well, until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
5. Combine the flegg with the vinegar/milk mixture. Stir well, then whisk in the oil. Once the wet ingredients (and flegg) are very well combined, stir into the dry mixture. Combine well, but do not over-mix.
6. Remove the skillet from the oven (using good hot pads) and spray or coat lightly it with oil. Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth out the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Makes 10 servings/SF/Blue (but of course)
("Blue" is a health guideline that is used in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)

Top 10 Reasons To LOVE Being Vegan!

This post was inspired by all the wonderful New Years Resolvers (A word? Not a word?) who are new to being vegan. I've received countless messages from folks who are making veganism their New Year's Resolution this year! So, I thought they might enjoy hearing why a seasoned (19 years of spice) vegan loves it so much!
So here goes...

The Top Ten Reasons Being Vegan Rocks:

1. The food tastes amazing! Who could possibly feel deprived while eating "Chocolate Bliss Pie" or "Soba Noodles with Vegetable Tempura and Ginger-Daikon Sauce?"
2. The health benefits are profound. For example: Not only did my acne and chronic health conditions clear up when I went vegan almost two decades ago, but they have never returned!
3. Being vegan brings a peace and harmony to your whole being. Basing a diet on plant foods reduces the "bad karma" that arises from eating animal foods, as well as elevates your state of consciousness. Yes, I know this sounds new-agey! But I also know it's true. Try it for yourself - give up animal foods for a month and observe the difference in your state of mind.
4. You'll end up spending less money in the long run. Yes, I know organic produce can cost a small fortune. But, when you're not shelling out big bucks at the doctor's office, you'll still come out ahead!
5. You'll discover a whole new world (a delicious and fun one!). Have you ever used things like coconut butter, cacao nibs, shiitake mushrooms, or bean thread noodles? You will now, and your taste buds will give you that long overdue trophy.
6. Being vegan automatically reduces (drastically at that) your risk for all kinds of illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
7. It's just good clean fun. When you "lighten your load" with your diet, you begin to feel lighter in all aspects. You feel better. You wake up energized. You enjoy life more and more on every level!
8. It's the most versatile diet on the planet! Sounds crazy, but once you stop thinking about all the things you "can't" have, you'll be amazed at how much more varied your diet will actually be! Thinking back to what I ate in my pre-vegan days, it all sounds so boring to me now. Chicken nuggets and burgers don't hold a candle to Thai Spring Rolls and Chili-Lime Noodles (two foods I knew nothing about before going vegan)!
9. With all the great products on the market these days, you won't miss a thing! Even if you want to keep eating basic things like "chicken nuggets" and "cheese pizza," it's no problem! There are delicious vegan options for anything you can think of these days. Try some Daiya cheese on your quesadilla or some crumbled tempeh in your chili. It will still please the palate, while simultaneously keeping you happy and healthy!
10. My 6-yr-old contributed this last reason. She's been vegan all her life and loves it too! In her words, "Lots of reasons. But I guess mostly just cuz I don't want to hurt animals."

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary and Garlic

Here's a favorite dish from my book Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. The perfect solution for when you have the munchies, but want to give your body something healthy!

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary and Garlic

This dish is so yummy that I’ve been known, in moments I’m not proud of, to eat an entire batch of this at one time! Don’t be like me…share the goodness. Incidentally, this is a great side dish for Thanksgiving (or any special occasion) and can be prepared in advance. Simply toss all of the ingredients together and marinate overnight. Pop it into the oven half an hour before dinner, and there go you! Simple elegance.

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaf, stems removed and chopped
4 teaspoons olive oil, extra-virgin or regular
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ teaspoon sea salt (plus up to ⅛ teaspoon more if you like)
¼ teaspoon each: organic sugar (or sucanat) and ground black pepper
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3½ cups chopped cauliflower (cut into bite sized pieces)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place everything but the cauliflower in a large bowl and stir to mix. Next, add the cauliflower and combine well with the seasonings using a rubber spatula. At this point you can allow the mixture to marinate for up to 24 hours (refrigerated in an airtight container) if you like.
2. Spread the mixture onto a large ungreased cookie sheet, using the rubber spatula to scrape all of the herbs and spices onto the cauliflower. Bake for about 15 minutes.
3. Turn the cauliflower over with a heat proof spatula and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and very tender. Remove and serve. Feel impressed with yourself for as long as you like.

Serves 2; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Green (according to the color-coded system in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)