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Recipes

Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil No-Bake Cookie Bars

Healthy, No-Bake Coconut Oil Chocolate Cookie barsI don’t know about you, but I love having a sweet treat to come home to; something that’s sweet enough to satisfy my craving, without making me feel guilty. These easy, no-bake cookie bars are safe enough to have around the house (because if you’re anything like me, there are days when half of the pan will disappear), and they’re made with coconut oil–which is receiving so much praise for it’s health benefits!

Coconut oil, if you’re not familiar with it, is basically like a miracle in a bottle. You can Google “benefits of coconut oil” and see that even WebMD lists “Uses and Effectiveness” of coconut oil for heart disease, high cholesterol, dry skin, Alzheimer’s, IBS, and more.

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Refreshing Watermelon-Feta Salad with Fresh Basil and Mint

watermelon-feta salad

Healthy, Cool and Delicious

Looking for a little bit of refreshment in the mid-day heat of summer? This watermelon-feta salad with fresh basil and mint has you covered. Plus, with the sweet benefits of basil and health benefits of mint, it’s a healthy snack to add to your day!

Watermelon-Feta Salad with Fresh Basil and Mint

  • ½ large watermelon
  • 1 cup feta
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • fresh mint, thinly sliced
  • 1 large jicama
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp honey
  1. Use melon baller to scoop out watermelon.
  2. Peel jicama and dice into ½ inch cubes.
  3. Whisk together lime juice and honey.
  4. Toss everything to combine; chill until serving.

Jalapeño-Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

jalapeno-blueberry cornmeal pancakesHello, love at first bite!

So, this recipe sounds a little weird but I promise it’s amazing if you love sweet and savory combos. This idea came one morning when I had a lot of random things on hand, and no idea what to make. I’d recently visited a local brunch spot that served a pecan waffle with blue cheese-cayenne butter (and moonshine syrup which I actually ate with my spoon at some point during the meal) – it was amazing to say the least – and somehow I ended up with one of my favorite kitchen creations: the jalapeño-blueberry cornmeal pancake.

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Zesty LemonBerry Coffee Cake

lemonberry coffee cake 2A few weeks ago my roommate and I decided that it would be fun to host a housewarming brunch. Being the procrastinator that I am, of course I didn’t think about how much work it would be… until about four days prior. As I was preparing, I shared with mom what I was making: her amazing sausage gravy, that simple apple crisp I love, and my favorite kitchen sink frittata… and of course something new!

I found a recipe for sticky lemon rolls that just looked and sounded so delicious, but being the wise woman that mom is she gently encouraged me to refrain from making anything that might stress me out. Which led to the discovery of my new favorite kitchen creation: LemonBerry Coffee Cake. I discovered this recipe, and made some tweaks (like decreasing the amount of sugar, swapping coconut oil for butter, and adding more zest) and it’s a huge hit at retreats.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Breakfast Frittata

Frittata

Oh, the incredible edible egg. Eggs are, by far, my favorite way to start the day. They make a nutrient-rich, protein-packed breakfast that keeps me satisfied well until lunch, plus they’re one of those “brain foods” that are just really good for you. I know there’s a lot of confusion around whether eggs are “good” or “bad” for you, but this article does a great job of breaking it down and explaining it.

When I’m cooking for others the “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Breakfast Frittata is always my go-to. It works great because you can put anything you want in the frittata and it tastes good. Kaycee or Heather prepare this deliciousness for Sunday Brunch for every retreat.

Get creative! I always love using leftovers in my kitchen creation: fajita veggies from last night, sausage from that BBQ place yesterday, sautéed mushrooms from dinner on the other day. Don’t underestimate the power of leftovers!

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Ginger Detox Tea

ginger teaHot Ginger Tea with Healing Spices to Strengthen Your Immune System

  • 10 Cardamom Pods (green) – Good for digestions and to detoxify the body through its diuretic properties
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks – Controls blood sugar levels and is an anti-oxidant – protecting the body against damage from free radicals
  • 2 inch of Ginger Root (washed and thinly sliced) – Promotes circulation and lowers high blood pressure
  • 2 Whole Cloves – Warming and soothing for the digestive system (what you need in the winter months) and anti-flatulence properties
  • 2 Whole Peppercorns – Stimulates digestion and has anti-bacterial properties, keeping the digestive system healthy
  • 6 cups water

Add all spices to boiling water and let boil for ten minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes. Strain out spices.

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Savory Sweet Potato Soup

savory sweet potato soup

You know that feeling of a fresh cup of your favorite coffee, nothing to do, and listening to Christmas Jazz in your pajamas feels like? Okay so maybe this isn’t one of your happy places (yet), but I think I’d describe this feeling as a “perfectly cozy”. And I’m pretty sure that this soup is exactly that. And mom totally agrees – as she put it, it’s a “hug from the inside out”.

Just a disclaimer for all those non-curry-lovers out there: this recipe calls for curry! But wait! Will you please try it? It’s only a little bit of the spice (it’s not an actual curry dish) and it’s really good for your health – add as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.

Let me know what you think!

xo
Love,
Nina

P.S. I found the original recipe on Dishing Up The Dirt and added my own twist. Enjoy!

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Turkey Noodle Soup

Easy recipes for turkey leftovers

Warm up on a cold day – Turkey Noodle Soup with a mug of hot tea and warm crusty bread.

We recently created a delicious homemade and healthy Chicken Noodle Soup for our Gratitude Retreat. It’s just as amazing with turkey. With Thanksgiving next week, this is an easy and delicious way to use any extra turkey.

  • Leftover turkey chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 2 cups carrots cut into coins
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning Blend
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock or use pan juices from turkey with water added
  • 1 cup water
  • juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 16 oz package of egg noodles

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Lemon Chicken

Yoga Retreat

Theresa & Nina Learning to Cook Lemon Chicken

Nina and I went to a Central Market cooking class to celebrate our birthdays this past winter. When they asked us about our favorite parts of the class, her response was “learning new cooking techniques.” And as much as I wanted to say that…I had to be honest. My favorite part was the eating. So many delicious dishes…and out of all of them the Lemon Chicken was my favorite. Of course I tweaked the recipe and made it my own, and according to our guests, it’s delicious.

To enjoy this at a retreat(no cooking required!), book here. We serve it during the winter months.

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Pumpkin Pecan Muffins (No Sugar Added)

Pecan Pumpkin Muffins - Retreat in the Pines - Recipe

Happy Fall Y’all! I am SO excited for cooler temperatures, the changing colors of leaves on the trees (which, lets be honest, may not actually happen for another month), and all things PUMPKIN!

For several years I used to make lists of all the things I wanted to do to celebrate the season. For someone like me, this wasn’t effective. Every year I’d write all these fun things, and never actually get around to them. “Make Pumpkin Stuff” was always on the list but didn’t actually happen until last year – I went through 11 cans of pumpkin (and had no list whatsoever) and made everything from the conventional pumpkin pie to the off the handle pumpkin oatmeal (which I really wouldn’t recommend).

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