Healthy Halloween Treats for Kids

Our kids are overloaded with sugar this time of year, so for school/friend Halloween treats, we took a ‘healthier’ route. I know Halloween is 2 days away – where does the time go? These are super simple treats you can do in an hour or two…even if it’s the night before your kid’s school Halloween party….like me.

Cutie Pumpkin

How To:
Buy a bag of clementines.
Use a black sharpie to draw pumpkin faces on the pumpkin.
Wrap a toothpick with a green Pipe Cleaner, leaving a nail-length space on the bottom to insert in the top of the Clementine.
Stick the toothpick in the top of the Clementine.

Halloween BOOty
{get it…BOO-ty with actual Pirate’s Booty?}

How To:
Buy small cellophane bags, twine/ribbon and bag of Pirate’s Booty {if you haven’t tried Pirate’s Booty before…you are missing out on this gluten-free goodness – GO BUY IT}.
Print off our Halloween BOOty labels, by the one and only Jenna, of Fleur de Lis, a paperie.
Go here to download them for FREE.
Fill the cellophane bag with BOOty.
Wrap the bag with twine, and attach label.

 {images via Tutto Bella}

new food contributor + recipe debut

She approaches love and cooking with Reckless Abandon…our kinda girl. We took one look at Rachel’s blog, appropriately titled Reckless Abandon, and knew we wanted to give her recipes a try…and get to know her with a glass of vino in hand.

That being said, we have some exciting news at Tutto Bella

…{drum roll please}…

Rachel, author and creative cook behind Reckless Abandon, is our first contributor here at Tutto Bella. You will see her recipes here and please browse her site for recipes – your taste buds will thank you.

Her debut recipe does not disappoint…{and our bellies are in need of a healthy salad after stuffing ourselves with turkey, potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie yesterday}!

Spinach Salad with Cajun Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing
{recipe by Rachel at Reckless Abandon}

Ingredients
2 bags baby spinach salad
8 ounces pecans
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges (or two smaller ones), drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Dressing Ingredients
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
3 cups (plus 1 Tbsp) vegetable oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped white onion
1.5 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions
Make the dressing, which can be made days in advance and kept in the fridge. {You will need a food processor or blender to make the dressing}.
First combine the sugar, dry mustard, chopped white onion, cider vinegar and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in the food processor.
Process for 2-3 minutes {I know that seems long, but it needs awhile}.

Add the poppy seeds to the mix and pulse a few times.
Slowly add the 3 cups of vegetable oil while the food processor is running. Or just pour some in, process for 20 seconds, add more, repeat, and so on until all the oil is incorporated in the dressing.
Pour in an airtight container. {I used mason jars}.
NOTE: The dressing will separate over time, so just shake again before using.

 In a medium bowl combine the pecans, 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning.
Toss with a spoon until the nuts are evenly covered in the spices.
Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes and 375 degrees.
Allow to cool before making the salad. {You can also make these a few days in advance}.

Right before dressing the salad, thinly slice the red onions and drain the mandarin oranges.

To make the salad, in a large bowl, toss together the spinach, pecans, onion, oranges and dressing. {Just don’t forget that you can always add more dressing, never remove it…so I start with less than I think I will need, toss and then add more if needed}.

 In Rachel’s words: The mix of flavors is what really gives this salad the wow-factor.  You have the sweet dressing and mandarin oranges with the spicy pecans and a kick from the onions.  I promise this you will make this salad again and again!

{images via Reckless Abandon}

eat {and celebrate} what you sow

OK, I know…fall is almost here. But, before summer is officially over, why not throw a garden party. I’m inspired to do so this year because it was my first year growing a garden {along with my lovely neighbor, Regina}. I came to the conclusion that I am great at growing Kale and Carrots. But first to admit that my areas for much-needed improvement include Spinach and something that I just can’t do in the mountains {unless I start as a plant inside} – Zucchini. There’s always next year!

Invite your mom, girlfriends or neighbors…and with the ideas below, your party will be fabulous…and healthy!

What’s on the Menu?
Caprese Skewers

{recipe via With Style and Grace}
Ingredients
Cherry [or grape] tomatoes – any color, halved
Mozzarella balls, cut into slices
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt, to taste
Toothpicks
Ceramic ramekins

Directions
Skewer one tomato half, cut side up. Stack the thin slice of mozzarella, followed by a sprig of fresh basil and then topped with the other tomato half, cut side down – forming a tomatoes mozzarella & basil “sandwich”.
If you have individual dishes, add about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil – more or less depending on the size of dish. Rest the tomato skewers on top.
NOTE: You can also serve these on a plate and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic directly over the tomato skewers.

Veggie Pizza
{adapted from Colorado Cache}
Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry dill weed
1 teaspoon minced onion {dried onion}
2 cup finely cut veggies {cut in small pieces…I like to use broccoli, red pepper, carrots and sometimes cauliflower}
1/2 cup green onions, thinly diced
1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls

Directions
Blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill, dried onion in a medium bowl.
Roll out crescent roll onto baking tray and connect ‘seams’ to make one large square with dough.
Bake for 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool. Sometimes its less time, so just keep and eye on the dough to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
Once cooled, add cream cheese mixture and top with veggies, then with green onions.
Store in refrigerator before serving.
Cut in squares and place on pretty serving tray.
Yes, it’s that easy and it’s so yummy!

Corn and Avocado Salad

{adapted from Martha Stewart}
Ingredients
4 shucked ears of corn
1 sliced Hass avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions
Heat grill to medium-high. Grill corn, rotating often, until lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Carefully cut kernels from cob. Gently toss with avocado, lime juice, olive oil, and salt.

Veggies in a Cup, Individual Servings
This is so simple, but it’s a garden party, so there has to be plenty of veggies, right?
Place sticks of veggies in a cup, arranged to look pretty, and serve with a side of ranch or hummus.

Drinks
Serve lavender lemonade in mason jars, like Oprah did for her garden party. Coffee and tea {and champagne or white wine} would hit the spot too.

Dessert
Pie in a Jar


Read the Pie in a Jar tutorial here. Apple Pie or Cherry Pie - you decide.

Zucchini Bread
{adapted from , found at WebMD}
Ingredients
1 rounded cup of fresh, grated zucchini
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch (sometimes called tapioca flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup light olive oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 free-range organic egg whites, beaten or egg replacer (1/4 cup liquid)
1/4 cup coconut milk {we used So Delicious}
Optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchment paper.
Press the grated zucchini with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as you can. After pressing, fluff with a fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, and cinnamon. Add in the brown sugar. Add the oil, lemon juice, egg whites or egg replacer, and the coconut milk. Beat to combine and continue to beat on medium high until the batter is smooth – about two minutes. Add in almost all of the shredded zucchini and stir by hand to combine. If you are adding nuts, stir them in to distribute. Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and using a silicone spatula, even out the top.
Bake in the center of a preheated oven until the top is golden and firm, yet gives a bit when lightly touched. It should feel slightly springy. This may take anywhere from 50 to 60 minutes. Test with a wooden tooth pick -  it should emerge with no crumbs or batter.

Decor
Stick with white/ivory colors with an accent of green.

Create a herb wreath to greet your guests with fresh sage, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves from Swith and Hawkin or make one yourself.

Place a large vase, or three small vases with a hydrangea arrangement from your yard in the center of the table.

Use mini terra-cotta pots filled with herbs such as rosemary, basil, cilantro, etc as place cards. Use popsicle sticks to write your guests names and stick in dirt. You can give as favors, or save for your own herb garden.


Use artichokes as candle holders. Cheap and adorable.

Favors
Give guests seeds packets for next year’s garden, or bulbs to plant this fall.

{images via You are my Fave, Martha Stewart, With Style and Grace, Country Living, Intimate Weddings, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Lowes and Thrift Shop Romantic}

going clean

My fabulous cousin and aunt have been doing this cleanse called “Clean” since April. They can’t say enough things about it – they look great, they feel wonderful and they’ve each lost 30 pounds! Since my wedding is coming up in a few months, I wanted to hop on-board, too! Now, I’m not one who goes on diets to lose weight (the gluten-free diet is difficult enough!), but I thought that doing a cleanse might help be lost that difficult ten pounds just before my wedding. Plus, my cousin and aunt were continuing the Clean lifestyle and my mom was going to start with me. I had my own personal support team to help me :-)

About a month ago, I picked up Clean by Alejandro Junger, MD from Barnes & Noble and immediately stuck my nose in. I was absolutely fascinated by this book! It is truly disturbing when you stop and think about how many toxins are inside our body from the air we breathe, the place we live, the cosmetics we use and the food we eat. There are a lot of unnecessary toxins that we feed into our body that harm us. When it comes to food, we can certainly control those toxins.

In the book, Alejandro describes exactly how Clean works. Although there is a lot to it, the #1 rule is to follow this simple formula: Eat two liquid meals and one solid meal per day (the solid meal to be eaten at lunchtime). Snacks in between are allowed, but you must keep a 12-hour window from your last meal until your breakfast the next morning in order for your body to cleanse.

After completing Clean, I feel healthier, my skin is brighter and I’ve lost weight! No more stomach aches, bloating, fatigue or headaches. Clean is a cleanse that makes perfect sense and is easy to do. Only 21 days and you’re clean!

I wanted to share my all-time favorite recipe from Clean: Quinoa Salad with chicken and Mixed Greens (p.254 in Clean). It’s refreshing, delicious, healthy, and super easy to make. Double the recipe and eat it for your lunch all week! You’re going to love it :-)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa

4 (4-ounce chicken breasts, grilled or steamed and thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/4 cup currants

1/4 chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup scallions, cut thinly diagonally

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup lime

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

4 cups salad greens tossed with 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

1. Steam chicken breast.

2. Put all ingredients except chicken and salad greens in a bowl. Toss together with quinoa. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Mound half quinoa salad on each plate

4. Make a bed of salad greens next to quinoa and place the sliced chicken on top.

mmmm… delicious!

{currants not photographed}

Recommendations:

Make it your own. I love currants, so I use about 3/4 cup currants in the mix (even though I was in the middle of making it last night and realized that I was out of currants!) Add a few more almonds if you enjoy a ‘crunch’. I suggest using less than 1/2 cup olive oil – I don’t think 1/2 cup is necessary because the mix will get soggy. Personally, I enjoy Quioa Salad without the chicken or salad greens because I love the taste of quinoa so much. Be creative!

If you’re looking to cleanse your body from toxins, lose a few pounds and feel healthy and energized, try going Clean! Visit their site and check out all of the resources that they provide (grocery list, elimination diet foods, daily routines, ect). Happy cooking and Cleaning!

I think this Alejandro guy is a genius :-)

{imges via tutto bella}