Gilda’s Savory 7 Layer Dip

My very best friend, Gilda is one of the most amazing natural cooks I know. I look up to her in so many ways as a business woman and also in the way she feeds her family. We have been friends for over 25 years and we both share a strong passion for living healthy and loving life. Every time I visit her family, she is always making something new and delicious and, of course, healthy.  

Brooke gild

Recently, I partnered up with her on a Healthy Happy Hour night where we educated a group of women on healthy habits, recipes and supplements. One of my favorite recipes that Gilda prepared that night was this amazing 7 later dip with this vegan cashew cheese! This is one of those recipes that looks good as soon as you see all the ingredients on your kitchen counter. And before you think you’ve recipes for 7 layer dip before I’m betting you haven’t seen one like this! This one is a no brainer you guys! Seriously!  [Read more…]

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Just say No… to artificial colors

Food is good. Beautiful food is better. At least that’s kind of how our brain processes it. A beautiful spread of food at a cookout makes you want to eat it. The same goes for all those online pictures we spend hours drooling over while we look for a new recipe to make. That’s why Pinterest boards are full of pictures of pretty food or why a friends picture on Facebook of what they had to eat at restaurant makes you want to go there.

We eat with our eyes first. In fact, how food looks is one of the first sensory criteria that we use to make decisions about the food we eat. That’s why processed food manufacturers try to make the food look more appealing with artificial colors.

Unfortunately, those synthetic dyes and chemical compounds are made from coal-tar or petroleum derivatives to enhance the color of food. Needless to say, neither of those are naturally occurring in our food. What’s worse is they add absolutely nothing to the value of the foods we eat but do carry some serious risks!

By now you’ve probably read that artificial colors and dyes are linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches. If you’re a parent, you should also know that these chemicals are linked to or can contribute to hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, visual and learning disorders, and nerve damage in children. Studies are now showing that these substances are both toxic and carcinogenic.

The good news is with a little know-how you can make food look good without the artificial colors!

FullSizeRender (12)

I just made a great new treat with all the sweet but none of the artificial colors or flavors with my girls. Try these homemade watermelon popsicles. They are so good your kids won’t miss all that other stuff and you can feel good about giving it to them.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to color our foods naturally. Check out my Pinterest page  for some inspired creations like a recipe for raw sprinkles I found that is simply dried raspberries and the zest of oranges, lemons and limes.

brooke raw sprinkles 

More companies are getting the message about the dangers and opting to find another way to make their food more appealing. General Mills, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Panera, Kraft Foods and Subway have all announced they will phase out artificial flavors and colors from their food.

It’s a good start, but the problem is bigger than that. Artificial colors aren’t just in our food supply. They are often used in Vitamins, pet food, cough syrup, toothpaste, shampoo, even some make up.

Unfortunately, until EVERYONE makes the decision to remove artificial colors you still need to read labels.

Here are a few to AVOID.

Blue #1 and Blue#2

are banned in Norway, Finland and France but you can find them in the U.S. in candy, cereal, soda and sports drinks. Research has linked them to brain cancer and inhibiting nerve-cell development.

Red #3 and Red #40.

Red #3 wasn’t deemed safe to be used topically but the  FDA says can still eat it! What? I have no idea how that even makes sense? Red #40 isn’t much better. In the UK it is not recommended for children. In the U.S you can find it in ice cream, fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix and other bakery products. I believe this is completely unacceptable.

Yellow #5 and Yellow #6                                                                                                                                                                                                            

They are two other dyes allowed here but banned in Norway and Austria for containing cancer-causing compounds.

Now, you know I would never depress you with the sad state of our food then leave you without any hope. There is always hope. You can use all kinds of foods to naturally color your food in baking. I’ve listed several options in My Healthy Lifestyle Guide along with some amazing swaps that will help you eliminate foods with artificial colors like, using Cascadian Farms Fruitful O’s instead of Fruit Loops.  

                        brooke health lifestyle guide cover

Look, we all have to help each other find better ways. If you have a great natural swap or way to enhance the color of food naturally I’d love to hear from you! You can find me at [email protected]

 

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Watermelon Popsicles

 

Watermelon Popsicles
Sure, it's hot out but don't cool off your kids with sugar filled treats pumped with artificial colors. This colorful treat is just 2 ingredients and NO sugar!!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups cubed watermelon flesh (about 1 pound, rind removed)
  2. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Instructions
  1. Blend the watermelon, and lime juice in a blender (or process the melon through a juicer, then stir in the lime juice.
  2. Carefully pour or spoon the juice into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Crockpot Chicken Salad

Crockpot Chicken Salad
I have been making this salad for 10 years. It's a real crowd pleaser. I've been asked about the recipe but have never written it down. Well, here you go. Better late, than never right?
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Ingredients
  1. For crockpot
  2. 5 lb. chicken breasts (bone-in will have more flavor, but either is fine)
  3. Freshly ground pepper, and sea salt to taste
  4. 6 Tbs dill weed
  5. 4 Tbs garlic powder
  6. Dressing
  7. 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  8. 1/2 cup of sour cream
  9. (OR 1 cup Vegenaise to replace the sour cream and mayo)
  10. 4 celery stalks, finely diced
  11. 1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  12. 1/2 cup of craisins or grapes
Instructions
  1. Fill slow cooker less than half way with water. Wash chicken breasts and lay in slow cooker in the water.
  2. Spread 3 Tbs. of dill weed in the crock pot and 2 Tbs. of garlic powder. Mix the chicken and seasoning around to coat in water.
  3. Put on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and squeeze out any liquid in the chicken. (I use gloves).
  5. Shred chicken in a bowl and add the sour cream and mayo (or vegenaise option) and also add the left over dill weed, garlic powder, pecans and craisins or grapes.
  6. Stir and mix well and you will end up with amazing Chicken Salad.
  7. Store in fridge.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Healthy Ways to Show your Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner everyone has love on the brain.  I love making holidays fun so I was trying to think of special ways to show my family I love them.  

 The truth is, us moms show our love in special ways all the time. Maybe not in ways that will end up on Pinterest or in a Facebook status but in the daily routine of a regular life.

Love doesn’t always look like the fairy tale we imagine.  It’s not always shiny and sparkly like the Valentine’s cards at the store but it’s every bit as beautiful.

I am often reminded of love in times that catch me off guard, like while my 7-year old is home sick with the flu. Even though the lack of sleep has been tough on me and I feel like a less-than-average waitress covered in snot … I am so grateful to have a daughter to take care of.

I was also reminded of deep love a couple of weeks ago when our 12 year old dog, Diesel died. The pain in my family’s heart was so strong, it could only be real love.

Love comes in the little moments when I choose to listen to my 10-year old talk about things only important to a 10 year old. In my patience, I find those things become important to me too. Or when I choose not to complain when my husband has to leave town for business. In my support, I find I am proud of his hard work.

Still, when you can shout out the love in a big, bold way.. I say go for it!

 I came up with a list of fun Valentine surprises for the whole day and thought I would share it with you. Maybe you’ll find an idea or two, even a recipe you’d like to use on your own family. (And if you are needing a little extra love, I’ve included 25 passages that will lift your spirit!)

[Read more…]

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Sweet and Salty Nuts

I love every kind of nut there is. When I started adding more “good fat” to my diet, I couldn’t believe that I actually lost weight and didn’t feel hungry. Nuts have become a daily “snack” for sure. I always eat my nuts raw and unsalted, however, I love this tasty twist on nuts when you have a party or if you want a fun “treat” to give as a gift in a mason jar, of course with a bow. When you cook nuts in a crock pot with this sweet/salty mix, it is so delish and makes the entire house smell so good! 

Sweet & Salty Nuts
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups (pecans or almonds) or nuts of choice
  2. 2 tbs. coconut oil
Sweet/Salty Mix
  1. 2 tbs. coconut palm sugar
  2. 1 tsp. sea salt
  3. 1 tsp. cinnamon
* OPTIONAL ADD-INS
  1. ¼ cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Grease bottom of crock pot with coconut oil
  2. and set on low.
  3. Throw sweet/salty mix in a small bowl and stir.
  4. Add nuts to the crock pot and add mix on top
  5. and stir with large spoon to get all over nuts.
  6. If you would like your nuts more glazed, add the maple syrup.
  7. Cook on low for 2 hours.
  8. Stir after 1 hour if possible.
  9. Remove and serve warm. Or store in a mason jar.
Notes
  1. This is a great snack to bring to the movies instead of eating popcorn or candy. Try it next time.
Adapted from Thankful 30 The Crock Pot Edition
Adapted from Thankful 30 The Crock Pot Edition
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Simple Spaghetti Sauce with Beef

Can you enjoy Spaghetti without the bulge that often comes with a carb heavy meal? Absolutely! For the past several years, we have served zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or quinoa noodles instead of traditional pasta. If you’ve never given them a try let this recipe be the one to convince you! You’ll love the taste and even more, you’ll love how you feel when you are done eating it. Start this in the morning      and your house will smell like you have been cooking all day by the time you get home from work or picking up the kids from school. This spaghetti sauce is so great! I have also been known to just eat it alone or over steamed veggies or sautéed spinach.

Simple Spaghetti Sauce with Beef
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbs. coconut oil
  2. 2 lb. grass fed ground beef
  3. 28 ounces organic crushed tomatoes
  4. **Note: I prefer 28 ounce cans of Eden Organic Whole Roma Tomatoes, peeled with no salt added.
  5. 28 ounces organic whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  6. **Note: I prefer 28 ounce cans of Eden Organic Crushed Tomatoes.
  7. 2 large crushed cloves of garlic
Fresh Veggies
  1. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 3 zucchini, chopped
  4. 1 bell pepper, chopped
  5. 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
Spices
  1. 3 tbs. oregano
  2. 2 tbs. basil
  3. 1 tbs. garlic powder
  4. salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Spread the 2 tbs. of Coconut Oil in the bottom of the crock pot and turn it on low.
  2. Chop all fresh veggies and throw in the bottom of
  3. crock pot.
  4. Brown the beef very lightly on a large skillet set to medium-low heat. You can leave it a little pink so that it doesn’t overcook.
  5. Add beef and all other ingredients.
  6. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low.
Notes
  1. I always brown beef or turkey before I put it in the crock pot. It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with raw meat. My new favorite crock pot is the new browning models on the market. The stove top safe DuraCeramic pot allows you to brown and saute in the same pot prior to slow cooking. No need to use a separate pan!
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Healthy Crock Pot Cooking

thankful crockpotIt’s finally here! After months and months of experimenting, tasting, experimenting, tasting, experimenting, asking my friends to taste, I’ve finally done it! I found 30 healthy and delicious dishes you can make in the crock pot. Here’s the best part.. the recipes cover everything from breakfast to dinner and even dessert! And since I’m not a natural born cook, you can bet these recipes are easy too. The cookbook is called The Thankful 30 Crock Pot Edition. You can find it at my online store right now and locally, at Healthy Home Market and Burn Boot Camp in Huntersville. At just $14.99 its a great christmas gift and inexpensive enough you can pick one up for yourself!

Here are three recipes to get you started… enjoy!

[Read more…]

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Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free Pumpkin Recipes As Seen on Charlotte Today

Here are some simple, healthy and allergy friendly pumpkin treats for you and your family. Just in time for fall!

Brooke's Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie Cupcake Prep

Brooke’s Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie Cupcake Prep

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with 3 Ingredient Topping

5 Ingredient Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
ALLERGY FRIENDLY
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can ORGANIC pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  2. 2 very ripe bananas
  3. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  4. 1 1/2 tsp all spice
  5. 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
Recipe for my 3 ingredient dairy free whip topping
  1. http://360yourlife.com/category-recipes/dairy-gluten-and-guilt-free-frosting-and-icing/
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a food processor or high speed blender, combine all the cupcake ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a muffin pan with liners and fill to the top. This will not rise.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Let these cool completely before removing from the muffin liners. Remember they like pumpkin pie, I highly recommend putting these in the fridge after baking. It should firm them up more.
  6. Top with my 3 ingredient frosting recipe!
Notes
  1. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, NUT FREE
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/

 

Brooke’s Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Chocolate Chip Muffin Prep

Chocolate Chip Muffin Prep

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yields 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Wet Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  2. 2/3 cup maple syrup
  3. ¼ cup coconut oil
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  1. 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  2. ½ cup coconut flour
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. ½ cup vegan mini chocolate chips
  6. small pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients..
  4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until well blended.
  5. Pour Mixture in muffin pan almost full.
  6. Add Chocolate Chips and mix throughout.
  7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Notes
  1. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, NUT FREE
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/

Click here for my 3 ingredient dairy free whip topping recipe.

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Veggie Crock-Tata

What is better than a Veggie Frittata on the weekend. This is a great recipe for a small family or a larger group if you have visitors. This recipe has become a staple in my home on the weekends. I like to get up very early on Saturday morning before anyone else is awake and make this recipe, run to an early hot yoga class, and when I get home, my family is just getting up and I am able to sit and serve them a beautiful and healthy breakfast. It literally takes about 5 minutes to prep and 2 hours cook time in the crockpot. 
 

 
Veggie Crock-Tata
What is better than a Veggie Frittata on the weekend. This is a great recipe for a small family or a larger group if you have visitors.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. Parchment Paper
  2. 2 Cups of Sweet Potatoes or 1 Full Potato
  3. 12 eggs
  4. 1 Large Bell Pepper
  5. 1 Cup Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
  6. 1 Cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  7. Optional: Goat Cheese
Instructions
  1. Line your slow cooker with parchment paper with extra room on sides do lift up.
  2. Peel the sweet potato. Cut the potato and shred it in a food processor or high speed blender to create a sweet potato spread that will become the frittata crust. Spread the shredded sweet evenly on the bottom of the parchment paper as the first layer.
  3. Add the veggies evenly on top of the sweet potato spread.
  4. Whisk all 12 eggs together in a bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over the top of the sweet potato crust and veggies.
  5. Cook on high for two hours.
Notes
  1. Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Nutty for Nut Butters? Try This!

 I am a huge fan of nut butters but let’s face it, they can be expensive! Not only that,  but some nut butter brands have added salt, sugars and preservatives.  But if you buy your own raw nuts and spend a little time and love, you can make your own nut butters for your family! Believe it or not, nut butters are very easy to make. And in an era when more kids are restricted from taking peanut butter to school due to allergies, nut butters are a great option.

My favorite is almond butter. It contains a higher amount of essential fatty acids. Uh oh, does the word ‘fat’ freak you out a bit? Don’t worry, it’s unsaturated fat which is heart healthy. Almond butter also has the most fiber and 8 times the amount of calcium as peanut butter.

All you need is a little sense of adventure and a high powered blender. Here’s how I do it. [Read more…]

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Healthy Tailgate Recipes Even The Pickiest Eaters Will Love!

     tailgate feature

     My husband and I just recently moved our family from the suburbs back to the city. In the past few years, we’ve thrown football parties at our home. But now, instead of the living room, we find ourselves gathering with hundreds of other football fans in a parking lot full of food, cornhole and music! Something about it reminds me of college! There aren’t many opportunities in the adult world to blow off a whole afternoon and just hang out with friends. This past weekend we tailgated family style, with friends and kids of all ages. I love the rare chance for a day off from housework and responsibilities.

     Let’s be honest, that’s what a tailgate is really about. That, and the food. Lots of food. But football season doesn’t have to be the off-season for your healthy diet. There are lots ways you can put a healthy spin on the traditional tailgate foods of chips and dips and yes, even chicken wings!

     I’ve created some go-to recipes that won’t leave you feeling bad after you indulge. You’ll still be able to chat and crunch and munch and fill up before the game but you’ll be filling your body with a healthier fuel that will last longer.

     First, a few tips to help you live healthy and love life at your next tailgate. [Read more…]

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Vegan Ranch Veggie Cups

Vegan Ranch
This truly is a grab and eat veggie tray. This vegan ranch dressing is super easy and delicious. The herbs and spices mask the coconut flavor of the milk and it truly is a delicious veggie dip. Take this to any party or gathering and it is sure to be a huge hit!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups coconut milk (I use the full fat in a can) Native Forest Brand is BPA free
  2. 1 tsp sea salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  7. 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
 **
  8. 1 tbsp of French’s yellow mustard 
1 tsp paprika
  9. Always use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Instructions
  1. Add everything to a bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Serve with your favorite veggies or salad.
  3. This dressing lasts one week in the fridge.
Notes
  1. **Health Tip: I am really impressed with French’s Yellow Mustard because of the ingredients. They include: Distilled vinegar, water, #1 grade mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika spice, natural flavors and garlic powder
Believe it or not, five of these ingredients have anti-cancer properties
  1. vinegar, mustard, turmeric, paprika and garlic.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Brooke’s Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Brooke's Baked Sweet Potato Chips
This is such an easy and healthy way to enjoy crispy chips that we all love without the guilt.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 large sweet potatoes (organic if possible)
  2. 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  3. 1 tsp sea salt or pink
  4. *optional add in: rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and dry sweet potatoes.
  3. Peel and slice thinly, using either a mandolin or sharp knife.
  4. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Place sweet potato chips in a single layer on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip the chips over and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. For the last ten minutes, watch the chips closely and pull off any chips that start to brown, until all of the chips are cooked.
Notes
  1. Vegan, Nut Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Guilt Free
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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At-Home Spa Day

 

beautypic4

 

Because of synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and excess packaging that come along with many of my personal care products, I decided that using foods and herbs straight from nature is an easy way to create some of the best beauty products.  When you use fresh and natural products, you are helping both your body and the planet.  Fresh fruits, homegrown herbs, and refreshing scents made up the at-home beauty products that I created. 

I recently invited one of my best friends, Eva Rumble, who is also my VP of Marketing, and her two daughters to come to my house for an At-Home Spa Day with me and my two girls.  Our daughters get along so well, and we had a blast pampering ourselves and teaching our girls about natural beauty.  Not only is this an excellent way to connect with friends, but it is also a budget-friendly, hands-on experience that everyone learns from.  Plus, I get to spend quality time with my girls.  We had such a fun time at our mommy/daughter “spa day.”  
[Read more…]

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Top 3 Foods That Flunk Your Age

 

When it comes to aging, you really are what you eat!  It’s summertime and many of us are using sunscreen to protect ourselves from UVA and UVB rays that not only damage our skin, but can also age our skin.  But, did you know that there are foods that can age your body just as much as too much sun exposure?

 Take my 30 Day Anti-Aging Challenge below after you read about aging foods vs. anti-aging foods.

The Top 3 Foods that Flunk Your Age and get an F- grade are: Fast Foods, Fake Foods and Fried Foods.

Whopper hamburger1.  Fast foods: ex. Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder, French Fries, Icy Coke, Thick Shakes, Sundaes, and Apple Pie.  Most all fast food contains excess t rans fats that make skin look stiff and inflexible, and ultimately, wrinkled.  Trans fats also age you on the inside.  They increase your risk of heart disease and stroke and are linked to higher risks of developing Type 2 diabetes.  The Institute of Medicine determined that there is NO safe consumption of trans fatty acids.

 

Hot Dogs in packages2.  Fake foods: ex. Hot Dogs and Deli Cold Cuts….”Don’t make it your way!” at Subway:  Sulfites that preserve processed and fake meats are pro-inflammatory and can cause rosacea and make skin look pasty and jaundiced colored.  Processed meats are usually high in saturated fats and have nitrates in them.  Both of those can lead to inflammation.  *Remember, we always want to nourish our bodies with ANTI-inflammatory foods, not pro-inflammatory foods.

MarshmallowsOther Fake foods that age our bodies:  Bottled lemonade and sugary beverages like soda, processed foods in boxes, cans and freezer bags, corn dogs, cotton candy, candy apples, cheese puffs, and marshmallows for smores.  Many of these items contain high amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes.  Sugar, which is linked to inflammation, aids in wrinkle production, but it also affects your overall health because it is tied to heart disease and diabetes.

Fried chicken3.  Fried foods: ex. Fried Chicken, Potato Chips and French Fries.  These foods contain trans fats that clog and stiffen the arteries and small blood vessels and make skin look old.  Anything that’s deep-fried in oil can add to inflammation throughout your body.  Trans fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL “good” cholesterol.  When reading food labels, avoid products that include “partially hydrogenated oils” and “vegetable shortening.”

French Fries from McD'sThese foods do not “pass” when it comes to nourishing our bodies.  They “fail” our bodies and age us faster, and they are abundant during the summertime at cookouts, barbecues, camp outs, pool parties and at the beach.  This season, you’ll find lots of food trucks and food vendors serving many of these “F-“ foods, too.

The GOOD NEWS is that there are some incredible A+ Anti-Aging foods that are anti-inflammatory, that keep us looking younger and help to slow the aging process.

[Read more…]

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Cool Collard Summer Burgers

Are you looking for a unique, but healthy recipe for Memorial Day weekend this year?

This has been a new favorite in the house!  Grass fed burgers wrapped in a blanched collard greens!  This recipe is very flexible.  You can add avocados, healthy condiments, or any other healthy toppings you like.  I love adding goat cheese and cauliflower rice to my Cool Collard Green Burgers.  My husband loves cheese and avocado with several different toppings.

Cool Collard Summer Burgers
Have fun making these burgers for your family, friends and guests this weekend or any weekend this summer :)
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Ingredients
  1. First, you will need 24 oz. of Grass Fed and Finished ground beef to make 4 (6 oz.) burgers.
Ingredients for the burger marinade
  1. 4 oz. of Drew’s All Natural Rosemary Balsamic Dressing and Quick Marinade
  2. 4 oz. of Dale’s Steak Marinade
  3. 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp. of onion powder
  5. ½ tsp. crushed, dried rosemary (or 1 ½ tsp. of fresh rosemary)
  6. Juice from half of a lemon
Ingredients for the collard green wraps
  1. Whole organic collard greens
  2. Sliced avocados
  3. Organic cheese slices of choice OR goat cheese
  4. Cauliflower rice (recipe on site)
  5. Get creative! Add any other healthy toppings you like (tomatoes, organic mayo, organic ketchup and mustard, etc.)
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, gently blanch the collard greens for 1 minute. Remove and place into an ice bath (bowl of water and ice cubes) to stop the cooking process and to retain the bright green color of the collards. Remove the leaves and dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Mix burgers ingredients and set aside. Hand press the burgers. Use ½ to ¼ pound of grass fed beef per burger, depending on your preferred burger size. Baste burgers with marinade prior to cooking.
  3. Cook approximately 3-5 minutes per side on medium heat on the grill depending on size of burger and if you prefer medium rare to medium. DO NOT OVERCOOK burger as it will dry out due to the very low fat content. I prefer medium rare. Since these burgers are grass fed and finished and have never had any antibiotics or hormones, you can safely eat this type of meat as rare or medium rare.
  4. Only flip the burgers once while cooking.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Health Tip: The omega ratio in Grass Fed and Finished beef is anti-inflammatory as opposed to pro-inflammatory with grain fed, commercial, factory-raised beef.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
Cool Collard Summer Burgers - burger w cauliflower rice on collard

My Collard Burger with Avocado and Cauliflower Rice

Cool Collard Summer Burgers -Brett holding burger

Brett’s Collard Burger with Cheese and Avocado

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Healthy Hands Cooking Classes for Kids


This year, I became a Healthy Hands Cooking Certified Instructor because I love to see children learn how to cook in the kitchen with their families and learn how and why to choose healthy foods. These classes are not only impacting the kids, but the parents also love seeing how their children’s nutritional educations grow! [Read more…]

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Unjunk After Sports Snacks

If you have kids that play sports, then you are probably faced with bringing snacks to the game for your little ones or taking turns for the entire group.  I want to make you aware of some harmful ingredients that you may not realize are having an adverse effect on our children instead of FUELING them pre-game or post-game.  This truly hits home for me because I have two daughters that are 6 and 9 that play sports, and we’re faced with these typical snacks on a weekly basis.  [Read more…]

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Not Your Momma’s Easter Eggs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Easter is only a few days away, so I decided to do something fun to get ready for the holiday.   I invited my VP of Marketing, Eva Rumble, and her two daughters over for an “egg dipping party” to make simple, delicious Krispy Dipped Eggs with me and my daughters, Reagan and Riley.  Our girls loved molding the eggs and then dipping them into chocolate and coconut.

These eggs are a healthier version of a Rice Krispie Treat without all of the extra additives, preservatives and processed sugars.  Plus, they are Gluten Free, Nut-Free, Dairy Free, and Vegan.  I promise your kids will love the taste, and they will have a great time constructing the eggs!   This is such a creative way to make a healthy Easter treat that also displays beautifully.  This recipe only has a few ingredients, and it does not take long to make.  So, grab your family and make these sweet treats for your Easter gatherings this year!

 

Krispy Dipped Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. 4 1/2 cups of Gluten Free rice cereal (I used One Degree Organic Veganic Sprouted Brown Rice Cereal.)
  2. 1 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1 cup of sunbutter
  4. 1 tbls. organic vanilla extract
  5. 2 cups of chocolate chips, melted (I used Enjoy Life Mega Chunks. They are Vegan and Dairy, Nut and Soy Free.)
  6. 1 tbls. coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Pour the rice cereal in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Bring maple syrup to a slow boil over medium low - medium heat, just until bubbles form around the pan.
  2. Once maple syrup is at a low boil, mix in the sunbutter and the vanilla. Stir until smooth consistency.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into cereal and stir until well combined.
  4. Scoop mixture into empty Easter egg containers. Fill each side just above level so that the mixture holds together when it sets. Close the egg completely - you will need to squeeze it tight.
  5. Place filled egg in the refrigerator for at least 30 min to 1 hour to set. Once set, gently open the egg containers and remove the Krispy eggs. You can serve them plain, or you can dip them in the melted chocolate + one tablespoon of coconut oil.
Notes
  1. The girls dipped their eggs in chocolate and shredded coconut.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
This is a great treat to send to school, too!  We had so much fun together making these Krispy Dipped Eggs for Easter!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did :)

Egg Treat collage
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Need A Salty Fix?

Once in a while, I like to have something a little salty, but I don’t want to eat potato chips or anything too greasy.  I decided to make some Kale Chips, and wow!  They were out of this world good!  My husband, Brett and my two girls, Reagan and Riley loved them.  

Kale Chips
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Cook Time
4 min
Cook Time
4 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large bunch of raw kale
  2. 1 - 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
  3. Pink Himalayan salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Break off the woody stems on each piece of kale, leaving only the kale leaves. Wash the leaves and pat dry.
  3. Place the kale leaves in a bowl, and coat them with Extra Virgin olive oil. Try not to drown the leaves in the oil, just a light coating is all you need. Place the leaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 4 minutes.
  5. Flip the leaves and bake 4 more minutes.
  6. Take the leaves out and sprinkle them with the pink Himalayan salt.
  7. Enjoy!
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
Kale Chips - Brett thumbs up

Kale Chips - Riley smiling

You’ve probably heard that kale is good for you, but let me give you some more reasons to try kale:

1.)  Lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

2.)  High in carotenoids and flavonoids that are key to preventing cancer.

3.)  Is a Nutritional Powerhouse!  1 cup of kale only has 33 calories, it has lots of calcium and antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, and it is also high in copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.

4.)  High in lutein and zeaxanthin that are great for eye health.

It could not be any easier to make these kale chips, and I hope you will keep this simple recipe on hand to make whenever you want a healthy snack or a fun side dish.

 

Kale Chips - raw kale on cutting board

 

Kale Chips - kale coated in EVOO

 

Kale Chips - baked and ready for salt

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Healthy Taco Night!

I love to have themed dinners on Sunday night if I can pull it off because the kids have so much fun!  This past Sunday, we were feeling festive and decided to have a Mexican theme for dinner because my kids wanted tacos. We had so many giggles and fun especially with the Pandora mariachi band music playing in the background. I am sure you can use your imagination!  This was such an easy dinner to put together, and the only major prep was making the cashew cheese.

Here is how I made the tacos:

Healthy Taco Night
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Ingredients
  1. grass fed and finished beef from Grayson Farms, browned
  2. organic chicken, cooked and shredded
  3. tomatoes, chopped
  4. avocados, sliced
  5. whole collard greens (for the adults to use as "soft taco shells") - use these to make this recipe Gluten-Free
  6. organic corn taco shells (for the kids)
  7. cashew cheese (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. We lined up all of the ingredients and served up some yummy and healthy tacos!
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
Cashew Cheese
This makes so much cheese that we had leftovers and used it for a vegetable dip and as a spread on wraps and sandwiches the next day. I found this recipe from The Blender Girl, and there are so many different ways to make it! Just choose one that fits your taste buds that day.
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Basic Raw Cashew Cheese
  1. 2 cups raw cashews soaked in filtered water for 2 – 4 hours (soaking is optional)
  2. 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup filtered water as needed for desired consistency
  3. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  5. 4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  6. 1 tsp sea salt
  7. 1 Tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  8. I like my cheese the consistency of ricotta. The more water you add, the creamier and thinner the cheese will become. Add less water for a thicker, more rustic cheese.
For a different flavor omit the nutritional yeast, garlic and 1/2 of the lemon juice from the basic recipe and try adding and making
Herb cheese
  1. 1 chopped green onion
  2. 1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  3. 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  4. 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  5. 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Tomato basil cheese
  1. 1 tsp organic tomato paste
  2. 2 cloves fresh garlic
  3. 4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Chili chive cheese
  1. 1 – 2 Tbsp Chopped Chives
  2. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
Chili cheese
  1. 1 – 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  2. a pinch of red chili flakes or chopped fresh chili
  3. or
  4. 1 – 2 Tbsp freshly chopped fresh flat parsley
  5. 2 chopped green onions
  6. 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  7. 1/2 tsp ground chipotle or 1/2 finely chopped jalapeno pepper or 1 Serrano chili
Sweet cheese
  1. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  2. 1 tsp raw agave nectar
Truffle cheese
  1. 2 tsp truffle oil
  2. freshly ground pepper
Sesame cheese
  1. 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  2. 1 Tbsp tahini paste
Instructions
  1. Place the cashews, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
  2. Gradually add in more lemon juice, garlic and salt to taste. I have listed granulated garlic as optional. I find this is a nice touch if you like a garlicky cheese.
Notes
  1. Tips!
Selecting and storing raw cashews
  1. “Raw” cashews are widely available in pre-packaged bags as well as bulk bins. Always purchase from a supplier where there is a high turnover to ensure freshness and quality. Look for plump cashews that are uniform in color. Avoid the limp and shriveled ones. Cashews should smell nutty and sweet. If they have a sharp or bitter smell they have gone rancid. To preserve the precious oils, store cashews in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for up to six months. Always soak cashews before using to remove the enzyme inhibitors and make them more digestible.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Sweetheart Pancakes

Reagan eating Sweetheart Pancakes

Reagan eating Sweetheart Pancakes

I love living in North Carolina where we have beautiful weather all year long.  Since I’m a Florida native, I get so excited when NC gets snow, and this week, we got almost 10 inches!  With my husband and daughters snowed in with me, I am taking full advantage of building a snowman and sledding with them, plus I’m making special, healthy meals and treats for them.

Riley wrote down Gilda's pancake ingredients

Riley wrote down Gilda’s pancake ingredients

For breakfast, I decided to make a new pancake recipe based on a recipe from my dear friend Gilda who makes the most awesome pancakes ever!  My daughter Riley decided to write down Gilda’s ingredients so we wouldn’t forget :)  The only ingredient she forgot to write down was Vegan Chocolate Chips!

Here is how I made these incredible Gluten Free, Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Pancakes that I served my family this morning.  

Brooke's Gluten-Free Pancake Ingredients

Brooke’s Gluten-Free Pancake Ingredients

Sweetheart Pancakes
I cut these pancakes into heart shapes to show some extra love!!! Spread the LOVE this month!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of Gluten Free Pancake Mix (like Namaste brand or Pamela's brand)
  2. 1 cup Shaklee plant-based protein
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/3 cup Gluten-Free chocolate chips
  5. 2 tbsp. of coconut oil
  6. 1.5 Cup of Flax Milk or Coconut Milk
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together until just combined.
  2. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium heat.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of pancake mix into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Optional: you can pour a little maple syrup over the pancakes if you wish.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Veggie Stew

Veggie Stew in a Crockpot
While spending time with my family and watching our Carolina Panthers play on Sunday, I made this super yummy veggie stew that my husband and kids fell in love with! This recipe was inspired by my friend, Alexandra Arrandt from Top Team Fitness, but I put my own twist on this delicious stew. Here is the quick and easy recipe for you to try!
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In a crockpot, add the following ingredients
  1. 1 box of Organic low sodium chicken broth
  2. 2 large Portabello mushrooms, chopped (you could also use a pint of baby portabella mushrooms, chopped)
  3. 2 celery sticks, chopped
  4. 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  5. 1 head of broccoli, chopped (including the stems)
  6. 2 large carrots, chopped
  7. 1/2 red onion, chopped
  8. 2 vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
  9. 2 cups of black beans
  10. 4 garlic cloves, diced
  11. Fresh parsley
  12. Fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Turn your crock pot on to Low and cook for 6 hours or on High for 3 - 4 hours. This was so easy! I really just chopped whatever veggies I thought would be good and threw it in the crockpot! Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Heart Healthy
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Perfectly Pumpkin Smoothie

Those who know me well know that I LOVE my smoothies every morning!  I especially love to drink seasonal smoothies so I can taste the fresh produce from each season. Since it’s Fall, I wanted to share my Perfectly Pumpkin Smoothie recipe that I think you are really going to love!  You will feel so satisfied after drinking it, and your energy level will be solid throughout the day.

If you’ve never tried a pumpkin smoothie before, you won’t believe how creamy and delicious they are!  Even though this recipe is simple and so easy to throw into a blender, the flavors are amazing and you’ll feel like you are drinking something closer to a milkshake than a smoothie, but without all of the unhealthy ingredients.

Perfectly Pumpkin Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of ice
  2. 1 cup of almond milk (or coconut milk)
  3. 3 - 4 tbsp. of organic pumpkin puree (use more if you like a stronger pumpkin taste)
  4. 2 scoops of Shaklee 180 Vanilla Chai protein
  5. 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 tsp of honey or 1/2 teaspoon of stevia
  7. 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon or 1/4 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
  8. Optional: 2 tsp. of organic cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
  3. Enjoy!
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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