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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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Grilled Peaches with Blueberries and Balsamic

Grilled Peach with Blueberry Balsamic CompoteWe’re sad that Ham Orchards is officially closed for the season, but – like all things in life – peach season comes to an end. With a few peaches left on grocery store shelves, we wanted to share one last recipe for enjoying the juicy, golden gems that we never seem to get enough of. This recipe is enough for 2-4 people.

As always, feel free to play with it, spice it up, and make it your own. And be sure to tell us about it in the comments!

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Blueberry Compote

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Celebrating Peach Season with Ginger Peach Fizz

I gave up sodas a few years ago, and have never really been a big iced tea person, so normally I drink coffee and water. As much as I love the two, it gets boring.Ginger Peach Fizz |

A couple weeks ago I was getting my daily dose of MindBodyGreen in, and this DIY: All Natural Ginger Ale recipe caught my eye. I had a bulb of ginger that was slowly dying in the fridge – I’d purchased it to continue my Ginger-Green-Juice (I’ll blog about that soon) habit, but I was in one of those weeks where I just didn’t feel like drinking it. (Is anyone else like that?)

Wanting to take advantage of peach season, I decided to combine it with a lovely Peach Simple Syrup I’d stumbled across one day while searching Pinterest.

It’s quite experimental, but I really enjoyed how it came out! You may prefer more sweetener, but I really like chocolate (especially the coconut oil chocolate I love to make) so I try to save my sugar for the really good stuff.

It’s a healthy alternative to ginger ale, and something different than ginger peach tea. Plus, ginger is great for your digestive system. Win win! (Side note, I’m not a big ice person, so I serve mine with frozen berries and peaches to help keep it chilled.)


Ginger Peach Fizz

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Chocolate-Banana “Ice Cream”

retreat in the pines featured favorite recipe-chocolate-peanut-butter-banana ice cream

chocolate-banana ice cream topped with warm peanut butter and cinnamon, served with iced coffee.

I LOVE ice cream so much so that i can’t buy it for myself unless i have someone to share it with. I love ice cream.

Then, i discovered this amazing banana “ice cream” and it’s the perfect sweet treat, with no added sugar. I love it!

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

You’ll need:

  • 6-7 overripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 4+ tablespoons cocoa
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • for topping: almond/peanut butter, toasted pecans, fresh sliced bananas

Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

This delicious dip is the perfect appetizer on a hot summer day. I love it as a late afternoon pick me up with gluten free crackers. Or enjoy it as a nice addition to a light dinner of healthy salads or a side dish with something from the grill.


Delicious & Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

Delicious & Cool Basil Avocado Feta Dip

  • 1 lb tomatoes chopped
  • 3 medium avocados cubed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 8 oz. package of crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Toss together first four ingredients. Combine olive oil and vinegar and pour over ingredients. Gently stir. Serve immediately with sweet potato chips, tortilla chips or crackers.

    Avocados are delicious and so good for you! Here are some of the healthy benefits you’ll enjoy when you enjoy an avocado.


Chilled Summer Quinoa Salad – Sweet or Savory

With warmer weather coming, main dish salad meals are my favorite. This recipe is so easy, plus it’s delicious and oh so healthy. I love this quinoa salad because its so versatile. You can make it as your main dish, wrap it in a tortilla for a wrap on the go, or have it as a side dish with something off of the grill.

Vegan Quinoa Salad Recipe

Healthy, Delicious and Easy to Make Quinoa Salad

Chilled Summer Quinoa Salad – Sweet or Savory

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I prefer a sweeter wine)
  • pinch of salt

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Spring Strawberry Superfood Crisp – GF || vegan || low-sugar

IMG_7062Spring is HERE! I love love love it! Especially being in the Pines. There’s something special about spring air out there… waking up to sunshine through the window… birds singing… the wind between the trees… the stillness… and of course, coffee on the porch and day dreams in the hammock.

I’m so super excited to be cooking for the June 13-15 – Summer Detox and Yoga Retreat…. you should join us!

My roommate claims the crisp “smells like Christmas“, which I’d agree with… just for you – a little bit of Christmas cheer for your Spring! (:

Ever since mom and I took the “Luscious Lemons” class at the Central Market cooking school, I’ve been on a serious cooking spree! Stay tuned for more recipes to come, can’t wait to share these! (:

Spring Strawberry Crisp

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Healthy Banana Bread

nina's current supply of bananas

Growing up, I remember spotty bananas always becoming one of two things in our house: chocolate-banana milkshakes or banana bread. I think these fond memories have made banana bread one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Maybe it’s because I’m in love with bananas (I’m not even kidding… this is the current supply that my roommate and I will devour over the next week and a half)… maybe it’s because it’s resourceful (every banana gets some love)… or maybe it’s because it creates the perfect morning pick me up (coffee + a toasted slice of banana bread = a reason to jump out of bed). Honestly, it’s the whole package… plus I love having breakfast and snacks for a week.

Try it and tell me what you think. This round (pictured) I made with blueberries, topped with an agave-lemon glaze. They are UH-mazing, and I’m having a hard time not eating them all… 

Healthy Banana Bread 
(with vegan and gluten free substitutes)


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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla soup is a tasty main course any time of the year. This recipe is easy and for any level of cooking experience. You can also make it a part of a Tex-Mex feast with quesadillas or tacos and of course a margarita! This is one of the most requested recipes that we serve at our yoga retreats.


Yoga Retreat Recipe

Yummy & Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 3 Large Chicken Breasts, skin removed
  • 2 yellow squash & 2 zucchini squash
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 cans rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 tsp each of salt and cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • avocado slices
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips
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Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted Beet Salad Retreat in the Pines Yoga Healthy Eating Living DetoxLooking for a way to make your spring salads more exciting? Roast some beets and add to some super greens and you’ve got yourself a great spring detox meal! Your taste buds will rejoice in the flavorful goodness as your body thanks you for the nutritious energy! The taste of these earthy root veggies is surprisingly sweet and delicious – I’ve hooked several friends who claim to not eat beets with this simple and delicious recipe.

Beets are a great source of potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; and folic acid. They are a great detox for the body, cleaning the liver and blood, while acting as a great natural source of energy.



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