~ Water Kefir~ Kefir SodaMakes 1 gallon water kefir

  • 1 1/2 cups water kefir grains (see photo on right)
  • 2/3 cups organic dark brown sugar, rapadura, sucanat
  • 1 – 2tsp. organic unsulfured blackstrap molasses (optional, but do this at least every few times you brew)
  • 1/4 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (if you do not have hard water or mineral rich water – helps with the pH of the water and the fizzy outcome)
  • 20 drops concentrated mineral drops or 2 egg shells rinsed and dried out

For a half gallon

  • ¾ cup water kefir grains
  • 1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 10 drops concentrated minerals

Mix water and sugar in a gallon jar with the best quality water you can. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add in the grains, put on the lid, place in a cupboard and let ferment for 48 hours. The brew should be fizzy and slightly tart. Strain out to remove grains and place in small jars or another gallon jar for a second ferment which is the flavoring part of the process. You will add your flavor ingredients to the brew and allow to ferment for another 48 hours.

Flavor addition options;

  • Cream soda – 1/2 cup raisins and 1 vanilla bean or a good pour of homemade vanilla. Add another pinch of bicarbonate of soda if you want to induce fizz.
  • Italian Cream Soda – to your finished cream soda add a splash of raw cream to your glass to mimic those fancy Italian Cream soda drinks at coffee shops! Mmmm……..
  • GingerAle – 2-4 tablespoons grated ginger root, 1/2-1 cup organic raisins or 4 chopped and pitted dates.
  • Lemon/Lime Spritzer – 4-6 limes juiced, zest of 1-2 limes

You can also kefir fresh juices, such as apple cider as well as coconut water. The possibilities are endless! This will keep your family intrigued and having fun all while getting some awesome health benefits! Here’s to your health – drink up!


Parsley Pesto

  • 1 bunch coarsely chopped parsley
  • 3  tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • teaspoon  grated lemon rind
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  paprika
  • tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Store in the fridge in airtight container and use within three days. Extra pesto may be frozen in ice cube trays to use at a later date.


One Bowl Meals

 The following recipes are quick and easy “one bowl” meals. The combination of beans and whole grains provides good quality protein and an excellent source of fiber (soluble and insoluble). These recipes are easily doubled and can quickly be made on a weekend afternoon and then enjoyed for lunch and/or dinner during the week. Enjoy!

  • Greek couscous one bowl meal
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 cup uncooked couscous (try 100% whole wheat couscous)
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
    1 cup diced peeled cucumber
    1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 cup small ripe olives, halved
    3 tablespoons diced red onion
    1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
    1/4 cup water
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

    Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in couscous and oregano. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Combine couscous, tomatoes, and next 5 ingredients (tomatoes through chickpeas) in a bowl; set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup water and remaining ingredients; stir well with a whisk. Pour dressing over couscous mixture, tossing gently to coat. Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Vegetarian black bean chili one bowl


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped green onions


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, and tomato sauce. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  Makes 4 main-course servings.


Lentil Dal with Garlic-and-Cumin-Infused Oil

Dal, the seasoned and often puréed lentil dish, is served with all traditional Indian meals. It’s the either spooned over rice or used as sauce for dipping breads. You can also thin the dal with low-sodium chicken broth or low-fat yogurt to serve as a soup.

  • 1 1/4 cups dried pink or yellow lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place lentils and turmeric in a large saucepan; cover with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato; cook for 5 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in salt; keep warm.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until garlic is golden, stirring constantly. Stir in the red pepper, and remove from heat. Pour oil mixture over lentils, and stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro. Spoon the dal into individual bowls, and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and the lemon juice. 

Yield:  5 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


Barley Pilaf with Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts

Cooking Light Magazine

Starting out with warm or hot water ensures the preparation of this dish takes no more than 20 minutes. Chickpeas are sturdy beans that hold up well, but you can use cannellini beans, if you prefer.


  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons commercial pesto
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) pre-shredded fresh Parmesan cheese


Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in pesto and chickpeas; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in lemon juice.

While the barley cooks, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and artichokes; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

Place 1 cup barley mixture into each of 4 bowls, and then top each serving with 1/4 cup artichoke mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Yield: 4 servings


Pasta with White Beans and Kale 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    10 cup chopped kale (about 1 pound)
    1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    3 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
    1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 cup (1-ounce) crumbled feta cheese

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add kale, broth, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes or until the kale wilts, stirring occasionally. Add pasta, juice, and beans to pan, stirring to combine; cook 1 minute or until mixture is thoroughly heated.

Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 plates; sprinkle each serving withi 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Cuban Beans and Rice Salad

  • 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded plum tomato (about 3 tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)


Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently. Add rice, next 3 ingredients (rice through beans), and cilantro, if desired; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)




Cavatappi with Spinach, Beans, and Asiago Cheese

  • 8 cups coarsely chopped spinach leaves
  • 4 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 6 ounces uncooked spiral-shaped pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)



Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 pound uncooked 100% whole wheat penne
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken and next 5 ingredients (through tomato); toss well to combine.

Combine orange juice and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. 

Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

Wild Rice and Barley Salad

  • 1 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown and wild rice mix
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 3/4 cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon rice mixture into a medium bowl. Add chickpeas, raisins, and green onions.

Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour over barley mixture; toss well. Cover; chill 2 hours. Stir in basil and almonds. 

Yield:  8 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)



Breakfast on the Run

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen blackberries
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp almond meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups milk (regular, or rice/almond, etc)
  • ½ cup plain yogurt

Can add in protein powder or mild-tasting powdered herbs

Fruit and Nut Quinoa Salad 

1 ½ tb olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 c cooked quinoa
¼ c chopped pecans
¼ c sunflower seeds
¼ c pine nuts
¼ c dried cherries
¼ c dried currants
3 tb chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in olive oil until it softens.  Stir in pecans, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the parsley, sage, cherries, and currants, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in quinoa.  Add more olive oil if things start to dry out.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 6.

Turkey wraps

  • Gluten free corn tortillas
  • Deli-style turkey (Applegate Farms has many varieties with no preservatives)
  • Honey Mustard or Pesto
  • Sliced cheese of your choice
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini or yellow squash

To Prepare:

On each tortilla spread about 1 teaspoon of honey mustard/pesto. Place 2 slices of turkey and 1 slice of cheese on each wrap. Using a vegetable peeler, shred carrots and squash onto the wrap. Alternatively, use pre-shredded carrots, coleslaw mix, or broccoli slaw mix.  Roll the wrap together and insert a toothpick to hold together. Enjoy!

Variation: Try using pre-made hummus or black bean dip instead of turkey slices.



Ginger Cabbage Salad (Prep time: 10-15 minutes.)

  • ½ head of cabbage, chopped or shredded into bite-sized pieces (green or purple both work)
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)
  • 10-15 toasted almonds; crushed, chopped or whole (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari (gluten free)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 2 in fresh ginger root, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed

Mix cabbage, almonds and carrot in a large bowl. Combine all other ingredients in a separate container and stir together. Pour the dressing over the cabbage/carrot mixture and stir. You can eat immediately, but it tastes better if you let it marinate overnight. Adjust dressing ingredients to taste. This would probably taste good with sesame seeds added as well.