Pistachio Oat Cookie Bar Squares

Pistachio Oat Squares on counter

Chocolate and Coconut + 6 = Easy~Quick~Yummy

These delicious Pistachio Oat Cookie Bar Squares can easily be made vegan and gluten-free and are so pretty!  Plus super quick and easy to make with only 8 ingredients including chocolate and coconut.  They're quite different from your typical holiday cookie, and yes they do stand out in a cookie crowd!  Extra bonus they're much healthier than your typical holiday cookie, but believe me no one will taste them and be disappointed.  Let's talk about that...

Pistachios are among the highest protein and lowest-calorie nut

Pistachios for Pistachio Oat Squares Recipe

These squares are adapted from a recipe in Jessica Murname's wonderful book titled "One Part Plant".  Raw pistachios and oats are the main ingredients.  Did you know pistachios are one of the most Vitamin B-6 rich foods around?  Vitamin B-6 is helpful for blood sugar regulation and formation of hemoglobin.  They're also a good source of potassium and antioxidants, are among the highest protein and lowest-calorie nut, and their essential amino acid content is higher than any other nut--one of them being L-arginine which converts to nitric oxide in our body.  Nitric oxide helps our vessels dilate improving blood flow.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Bread~Vegan and Gluten-Free

Oh Yum, this delicious bread is so moist and chocolaty!  Pumpkin puree gives it a nice richness, and cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger add a mild but lovely spiciness.  This is my first time baking with chickpea based gluten-free flour and I'm really happy with the texture and flavor. Chocolate Pumpkin Bread in Red Loaf Pan
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Chicken ... er, I mean CHICKPEA Salad!

  Heart healthy Chickpea Salad on Toast This delicious plant-based salad is much like traditional chicken salad.   In fact, after I mashed the chickpeas I got this lovely aroma that was remarkably like chicken!  Bill didn't believe me until I made him stick his nose in the bowl too and he was equally surprised and agreed.  Of course it doesn't have the texture of chicken salad but it does have a similar flavor and a lovely texture with a lot of crunchy veggies. It lends itself to all kinds of possible variations I think using different spices such as tarragon or curry, sweet pickle instead of dill (or even jalapeno!), grapes instead of red pepper, etc.
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Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crust

plant-based and heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust topped with blueberries and blackberries

My "How Not to Die" Pie

I LOVE cookbooks and was excited when my brand new copy of Dr. Greger's "The How Not to Die Cookbook" arrived the other day!  It's really a beautiful book.  The The How Not To Die Cookbookpages are thick and the pictures are gorgeous, but most importantly the recipes look both amazing and heart-healthy.
Like a short story, a good recipe can put us in a delightful trance. ~ Bee Wilson, The New Yorker
As I thumbed through the book, this pie just jumped right out at me as something I had to make right away.  What to do??  Invite the neighbors for a healthy plant-based dinner!  Julie Soup and home baked cornbread, and finished with this lovely pie--it was a definite winner.  The crust is so delicious, the first bite immediately inspired ideas for other pies or bars.  And the filling ... yum!  It has a wonderful texture with a hint of lemon which pairs so well with the berries.
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Chana Masala

"Quick & Easy Chana Masala" from Oh She Glows

heart healthy chana masala over rice I just made Chana Masala for the first time, and I'm so happy to have discovered this recipe because it's exceedingly heart healthy and delicious!   A dish popular in India and around the world, made with chickpeas, onions and spices, it's flavorful and satisfying.  Chickpeas are loaded with protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber, and are a great source of folate, manganese, iron and magnesium.

"What you eat can fuel or cool inflammation." 

~Harvard Health Publications

Plus this dish contains garlic, ginger and turmeric--some of the top anti-inflammatory foods and spices!  We know inflammation plays a role in heart disease, heart attack and
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"Coffee and Chocolate--the inventor of mocha should be sainted" ~ Cherise Sinclair, Hour of the Lion

 Mocha Empower Glo Bars

Mocha Empower Glo Bars Oh She Glows Every Day It has finally arrived! Angela Liddon's newest cookbook "Oh She Glows Every Day"!  I pre-ordered it and then life got busy and I forgot all about it, so it was like a special gift when the delivery guy showed up.  Don't you love when that happens?  And I finally found time to really settle in and thumb through it while it rained and the wind howled as Hurricane Matthew blew by. Just like the last, her new book is filled with incredible looking, easy to prepare, plant-based recipes, and as soon as I saw this new variation of her amazing Glo Bars it topped my "to try" list.  Oats, almonds, chocolate--all heart healthy.  Add a little coconut and coffee.. yummy and so easy to make.
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Healthy Vegetarian Meatloaf

Fix It Plan's Scrumptious Tempeh Meatloaf

Vegetarian Tempeh Meatloaf Dinner There are a lot of good recipes out there for meatless meatloaf, but we particularly like this one because it has more bite to it--a real meaty texture.  Loaded with protein from tempeh and hemp seeds, deliciously seasoned with a tangy glaze, this is a favorite at our house.  And even the meat eaters enjoy it! Tempeh is such a versatile food and often so misunderstood it seems.  While reaching for it in the refrigerator case at the store I've had people come up to me and ask what I do with it.  And when I tell them how good it is they look at me with disbelief!  I suppose it is rather unattractive in its sealed package, all pale and odd looking, naked and unadorned.
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Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Healthy, Wholesome Gingerbread Muffins

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins The smell of these muffins baking just fills your world with warmth!  I have some in the oven right now to take to a small holiday get-together tonight.  I like that they're made with the wholesomeness of whole grain spelt and pumpkin--you get a healthy dose of fiber and nutrition, plus the molasses gives you a bit of iron too.
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Heart Healthy Pancakes fixitplan   Heart Healthy Pancakes

"I don't have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.”   ~Kathleen Flinn in "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good"

Spelt-Blueberry Pancakes fixitplan Our Thanksgiving holiday travel plans got cancelled at the last minute, so we spent a quiet Thanksgiving Day together at home.  As most of you know, we stopped eating meat and Thanksgiving butterbeans fixitplanpoultry after Bill's event (and we avoid common wheat as well) so our holiday meal is a bit nontraditional anyway.  Yet the feast with the family is always wonderfully bountiful with an abundance of vegetables and Uncle Ernest's famous homegrown butter beans! Suddenly unprepared to put together the usual Thanksgiving fare (sans the turkey and stuffing), I used this unexpected change of plans to test this recipe and we were not disappointed!   Our nontraditional Thanksgiving meal magically became a heaping plate of blueberry pancakes
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Black Bean and Avocado Salsa Dip

Black Bean and Avocado Salsa Dip   [caption id="attachment_2044" align="alignleft" width="200"]Orange-Fruit-Pieces Evan-Amos - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0[/caption] I love this stuff!  So easy to throw together, simple and delicious.  My friend Holly and I whipped this up during our recent visit to her house and we all eagerly devoured it.  She discovers the best recipes! ... (including the Vegetarian Quinoa Chili here on the blog.) [caption id="attachment_2056" align="alignright" width="182"]Avocado_picture Mgmoscatello-Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0[/caption] It tastes so fresh and summery with the crisp, cool cucumber and sweet, tangy orange. Black beans provide protein and heart healthy fiber, magnesium and potassium, plus a variety of healthy phytonutrients.  And creamy, buttery avocado contributes beneficial, heart healthy fats.
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Blueberry Nectarine Crumble


Tropical Storm Crumble?

Tropical Storm Erika Tropical Storm Erika threatened to interfere with baking this weekend, but by Saturday morning she had weakened to a tropical wave.  So I fired up the galley oven and baked this yummy fruit crumble! It's a hard to beat  combination of blueberries and nectarines, but you could also use plums, blackberries, peaches, apricots, cherries.. you get the idea. DSC00224 Nectarines have a good amount of beta-carotene, plus a small though healthy amount of anti-oxidants. They're also a healthy source of
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Potato-Leek & Broccoli Soup

Creamy, Delicious Soup ~ Gluten-free and Dairy-free Too!

Have you figured out by now  I love soups and other one-pot meals?  Plus, these types of meals always mean leftovers... and yep, we love leftovers! This was originally.. simply.. Potato-Leek Soup.  Bill is not super fond of pureed soups but being an agreeable sort he ate it and said he enjoyed it.   Later that same week on a cool, rainy night I was re-heating some for dinner and remembered I also had steamed broccoli leftover from the night before.  It just seemed brilliant to throw it in the soup, and voila! ... Potato-Leek & Broccoli Soup was born.  I love this comforting soup and so does Bill. Since his heart event I had put aside recipes that call for dairy milk or cream to avoid the saturated fat, preferring the fat in our diet come from healthier sources such as nuts, seeds and olive oil.   This is especially true since I've learned dairy fat is also inflammatory, which is known to cause plaque buildup in our arteries.   But recently I've discovered the magic of cashew cream!  Oh the possibilities!  Now those creamy, rich and delicious recipes we used to love are back on the table.
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Present Glo Bars I don't know whether to call this crunchy goodness energy bars or cookies.  They seem to bring out the child in everyone I share them with, and I think it's because they're a little reminiscent of rice krispie treats. That first crunchy bite is always followed by a smile.  I think of them as energy bars and grab one when I'm headed out to Pilates or for a pick me up in the afternoon.  But they are certainly yummy enough to eat as a sweet treat or dessert!
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Truly Amazing Raw Brownies

Truly Amazing Raw Brownies

All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. ~ Charles M. Schulz
Are you ready to be amazed?  I hope so because these gems are not only chocolatey, chewy and delicious, but are also good for you and your heart!  The other amazing thing about these brownies is how quick and easy they are to make--containing only three primary ingredients:  dates, nuts and cacao.
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Curried Carrot Soup

Curried Carrot Soup

Curry became one of my favorite spices this past winter, largely due to this recipe!  Such a simple soup, yet so warming and comforting.  My dear friend Dayna shared it with me one chilly night as she was savoring a big bowl.  She had asked her husband-to-be to pick up some carrots on the way home, and boy did he!
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Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad with Beluga Lentils

Honey Mustard Broccoli SaladHoney Mustard Broccoli Salad with Beluga Lentils

When it's easy to put together, light yet satisfying and delicious, plus heart healthy it's a keeper!   And the baked sweet potato makes a perfect side.  As our diet has ventured away from the routine of a sandwich for lunch to healthier choices filled with lots of whole, unprocessed foods, this salad is perfect and one I make often!  It's also great for a light dinner.
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Heart Healthy Orange Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Heart Healthy Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Moist and heart healthy Orange Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies!  Sometimes you just need something yummy and slightly sweet and these fit the bill.   This one involves a happy accident I must share because it makes such a difference in the flavor of these gems.  Preparing to make a batch last week, I'd zested the orange, but our plans suddenly Orangeschanged and I needed to do something with the fresh zest.  I know I thought!  I'll put it in the ½ cup oil the recipe calls for and set it aside for the time being.  As circumstances would have it, it was several days before the cookie-making resumed, and now I had the most lovely, orange-infused oil!  A grand touch of serendipity.  It really punches up the orange flavor, so I highly recommend it if you can wait that long to make them.  My friend Kristy will be in town in a few days and I'm infusing oil now so I can serve these warm from the oven when she gets here.
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Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili Traveling to see distant family and friends during the holidays, we were touched by the care everyone showed to make sure Bill ate heart healthy! -- potentially challenging since he (and me!) are still eating mostly plant-based and are now also wheat free. Butter beans and field peas from Uncle Ernest's garden, a hearty bean soup made especially for Bill at my sister's home, along with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables everywhere we went kept us well fed.  I carried along plenty of fresh baked Sylvia's Ozark Cornbread making sure I had enough to share.  (I'm pretty sure I converted some Jiffy cornbread eaters to this heartier bread along the way.) Everyone's thoughtfulness gave the holidays an extra-special warmth and feelings of being loved.  What could be nicer than that? 
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Late Summer Minestrone with Butternut Squash and Fresh Corn

Late Summer Minestrone with Butternut Squash and Fresh Corn
“There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.”    ~Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking' (1988)
We really like soup.  Mmmm, a thing that cooks in one pot, gives off a wonderful aroma, and makes my home feel all cozy.  It promises a comfortable and comforting meal and it requires some sort of bread.  I served this soup with Sylvia's Ozark Corn Bread and it was a delicious pairing. Fresh corn wasn't available, but everything else was fresh except the tomatoes.  (I find organic canned tomatoes are much tastier than the fresh ones, at least where we live.)  It was easy to prepare in part because of how everything timed out.  While the leeks, celery and bell pepper were cooking, I chopped the garlic and measured out all the spices in a bowl.  After adding the garlic, spices, tomatoes and liquid, the pot was left to simmer. 
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Coziest Banana Bread

Coziest Banana BreadIs there anything more universally loved than banana bread?  From toddlers to grandfolks, it is a much loved food.  This yummy bread is ideal for following the "Fix It! Plan" way of eating.  It's heart healthy and  whole grain, plus it contains no sugar, except the small amount present in the 80% dark chocolate.  It's sweetened with pure maple syrup, and filled with the goodness of nuts and seeds.
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Black Bean Chili over Soft Polenta

Black Bean Chili over Soft PolentaThis dish is good any time of year, but the fall weather always brings out the chili in me. 🙂  It is a good source of fiber and protein and very low in fat, so it's healthy and a perfect meal for the Fix It! Plan way of eating. I cut the recipe in half and still had plenty for leftovers.  It reheats very well.  The polenta becomes somewhat solid after being stored in the frig, but it becomes smooth and creamy again after adding a bit of water and heating in the microwave.  Just continue to add water, heat, and stir with a fork a time or two until it reaches its creamy consistency again.  I added chopped jalapenos to the leftover polenta when I re-heated it and we loved it that way!  You can also simply cut a thick slice of the cold polenta and brown it in a touch of oil in the skillet as well.

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The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread I was so excited to discover this recipe!   I stumbled upon it on Sarah Britton's "My New Roots" blog and just had to make it right away.  It's called "The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread". (A very apt name for a recipe for this web site.  🙂 ) It's filled with nuts and seeds and oats and was quite easy to make, you just blend together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another.  Mix them together in your bread pan and let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight so some of the dry ingredients soak up the moisture.  After baking for 20 minutes you pop it out of the pan and lay it right on your oven rack and back another 30 to 40 minutes.  Let it cool completely before slicing.  I got 15 slices from my loaf.  I'll post the recipe details below.
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Curried Vegetables with Mango Chutney

Curried VegetablesI love, love LOVE this dish!  It has become a regular in my galley.   When we began the "Fix It" diet plan, I started gathering vegetarian recipes and this was the first dinner I prepared, which turned out to be a great one to kick start the transition.  It's very easy to prepare, just a little time consuming to peel and cube the rutabagas and butternut squash.  I usually recruit Bill for that task while I prepare the Mango Chutney.  🙂 
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Hearty and Heart Healthy Cornbread

When it comes to bread, Dr. Crandall's "Fix It" plan specifies only whole grain breads that do not contain sugar.  I was surprised to learn how difficult it was to find bread without sugar in the ingredients list.  Over time we found a number of products, including Ezekial Breads and Mestemacher Breads, but by far Bill's favorite is this cornbread I bake nearly every week.  I discovered the recipe on the community forum, which has been a great place to find and share recipes.  It came from the book "The Cornbread Gospels" by Crescent Dragonwagon, which has a 5 star rating on Amazon.
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