mixed berry oatmeal muffins with crumb topping

One of the aspects of the foodie 100 that I am really excited about is the author program, where we have opportunities to work with brands and new product. One of my favorite parts of being a nurse to my dad recently? Feeding him good food! I have been making fresh green juice for him each morning, and he likes it! He has been enjoying yogurt lately, too, so when Activia and Foodie offered to send me the new Harvest Picks flavors, I knew I could make some good eats for Dad.

Adding fresh fruit. granola, coconut and chia seeds to the Harvest Picks peach flavor made a tasty and filling parfait for Dad’s breakfast each day this week. He said the peach is his favorite flavor, describing it as fluffy, smooth and sweet. I tried to get him to draw more pictures

Yesterday’s breakfast was a Harvest Picks Smoothie:

I juiced fresh kale, apple, ginger and spinach, then blended it with one Harvest Picks strawberry flavor. The yogurt sweetened the juice and made a filling snack to go with our standard two cups of coffee

and a muffin.

I used the Harvest Picks mixed berries flavor to make muffins – fluffy, fruity and filling. Add crumb topping gives a crunchy finish, while the yogurt makes them chewy and delicious. These muffins got rave reviews – I’ll be making them again with other flavors.

mixed berry oatmeal muffins with crumb topping – see muffin recipe here.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen some #Glam tweeting going on recently. We have been having some fun chats – the chat from last Monday is still going on, if you’d like to join in:


New Activia Harvest Picks is a deliciously fruity and silky smooth yogurt.  You will enjoy a Harvest of real fruit in every silky spoonful.

Compensation was provided by Activia via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of spabettie and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Activia.


cooler cleanse

I recently finished another cleanse, this one was three days, plus a week of raw eating my own meals after. This way of eating is so good for me, makes me feel good and extremely energetic.

After we celebrate Valentines and finish up all the pink treats, I am doing another one. I will be doing this one, again.

Cooler cleanse. I love the way this is designed, and I love the juice – all delicious! You choose a three day or a five day cleanse, and you are sent a variety of juices and a cooler (cute cooler, I use it all the time!). There are six juices a day, each bottle with a number on the lid, 1-6. The cleanse is planned out to be consumed by number, and these are the daily choices:

1) sweet greens

2) grapefruit & mint, pineapple ginger or watermelon lime

3) essential green

4) young coconut water or spicy lemonade

5) essential red

6) almond nut milk or brazil nut milk

The essential greens? There are three pounds of greens in every bottle.

The pineapple ginger is amazing – it’s a flavor I make often anyway, so its good to know I’m making good combinations on my own.

The sweet greens and the essential reds are great, and I looked forward to them. They are a great way to start the day and get through the afternoon.

Finishing the day with a nut milk felt soothing and relaxing. These people know what they’re doing.

The watermelon lime tastes like summer. Makes me want summer.
I cannot wait for summer.

The young coconut water is one of the best flavors I have tasted in a while, of anything. It was amazing, and as weird as this will sound, tasted like cereal. I want to buy coolers full of this one flavor, if they let me. A delicious flavor that was definitely a favorite of the week. The most accurate way I can describe it is a tasty comfort cereal flavor.

SO good.

I have never tasted anything like it. I’m not excited to drink other coconut juice now…

Many of my readers already know I love to juice and cleanse. If you want to know my reasoning and experiences (and see a fun pineapple pepper!), please read this.

For a detailed FAQ / ‘your questions answered’, please read this. If you have any questions, please ask.

I love my juicer, I got a new one a couple months ago (details on that soon!). With as much juicing as I do, I have gotten into quite a groove with it all – from prepping the produce to juicing to cleaning the juicer, I can get it all done within 20 minutes at the most. I know a common complaint is cleaning the juicer, heck, for some it is “dragging it in from the garage”. A cleanse like this is a great alternative to doing it yourself and saving time.

I realize the price is out of range of many daily food budgets, and I already know this will be something I splurge on, plan and save for. There are times in life (like mine, right now) where having everything planned and done and ready for you is a really good thing. With my days being non stop and completely packed from 6am to 9pm these days, I welcome this. 😀 It is quick, convenient, portable (cooler! keeps it cool!), and completely nutritious.

I can’t wait to do it again!




Isn’t Basil sweet? In this photo, he was watching the side door for Jason to come walking through it.

Basil is a rescue pup, we adopted him a few years ago, when he was 5. He has a few nervous quirks left over from a life not so happy. One is a heart-wrenching separation anxiety.

Much like you swaddle a newborn for that calming sense of security (or like Temple Grandin’s squeezer!), there is a product especially for dogs that helps calm them – Thundershirt! It is a high quality thick knit with a few velcro closures, you wrap tightly around your pup and it hugs them. It is supposed to help with all kinds of anxiety, like dogs who freak out during thunder or fireworks.

It does have a calming effect on Basil.

He chose the one with rugby stripes…

I promise this is not a sponsored post – Thundershirt does not know who I am (or sadly, who Basil is), and I happily paid for this myself. I know I have many readers who have dogs (many of them dachshunds!) and whenever I talk about this, nobody has heard of it.

If you don’t have a dog, just enjoy the photos of a cute dachshund.

Do you have a dog?

Have you seen the (awesome) film about Temple Grandin? 


lollihop giveaway!

Happy November!

Yesterday was World Vegan Day, and an appropriate vegan surprise landed on my doorstep!

Lollihop is a monthly subscription to nutritious, organic and delicious snacks. They have just launched a limited edition vegan holiday box, and I think it is pretty exclusive right now because they may not be available anymore.

But they sent me one. and they’ve offered me one to give away!

The giveaway is for a single month vegan holiday box. They will be available for subscription after the new year. After receiving this one, I cannot wait!

I will leave some things as a surprise for the lucky recipient, but I did want to share a few of the goodies – every one vegan and many gluten free! You think you can see everything in that top photo? Trust me, there are more hidden gems!

These! This was my first time trying Pop Corners, and oh, my are they amazing! The kettle corn flavor is a perfect and light sweet salty flavor. The chip is a light crispy crunchy, and did I already say the flavor is awesome? I am definitely buying these. They have other flavors too, but from this bag I developed a kettle obsession.

I was excited about this one too – I have been wanting to try MacroBar for a while, not only because the flavors sound great but because they are based on a macrobiotic diet made from dynamic organic ingredients. The company also has a mission to be sustainable and to heal the planet. Sounds good to me!

I just started buying the Glutino pretzels for dipping into my current obsession, garlic hummus. I bought them more than once, meaning we like them, so this was a welcome addition to the lollihop!

There were three bags of chips, four tasty looking bars, and many other goodies I want to keep under wraps for a surprise.


Five ways to enter, please leave a comment for each:

1) have you tried any of the goodies I shared in this post? what is your favorite vegan / gluten free healthy snack?

2) follow lollihop on twitter

3) follow spabettie on twitter

and tweet this: 

win a limited edition vegan lollihop box – giveaway from @spabettie –>  http://www.spabettie.com/?p=8727 

4) like lollihop on facebook

5) like spabettie on facebook

Enter through midnight Sunday. Winner emailed Monday.


sweet white bean dip

I needed an appetizer idea to bring to an event the other day, and was planning on making my date dip paired with all the apples of the season.

Then I saw Maryea’s sweet white bean dip.

oh, Mama.

Snacky McSnackerton, indeed. This is one tasty dip!

Maryea says she prefers it cold, and that is how I served it. Protein packed and naturally sweetened, this creamy dip is very easy and quick to make.

I paired it with some sliced apples, dried apricots and trail mix – perfect snack and I had empty plates to bring home!

Enjoy Life recently sent me their newest products, nut free trail mixes in fantastic flavors – they were very well liked by everyone, and were a perfect addition to this healthy dip and fruit.

Beach Bash is sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried pineapple, apricots and cranberries. Bright and sweetly tart, I loved it. Mountain Mambo includes sunflower and pumpkin seeds, fruit and chocolate chips, and it may be my favorite. Both are gluten free and vegan (dairy, egg and casein free), nut and tree-nut free, soy free.

You all know by now that I am a fan of beans, and I like to use them in what some say unconventional ways.

Have you tried a bean recipe before, and what did you think?


pecan coffee cheesecake bars

Welcome to week three of Vegan Mofo! There have been so many fantastic posts this year, have you checked them out?

I figured what better way to kick off a Monday than with a dessert, right?

I was once again one of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers selected to receive Godiva Coffee – one of the flavors I received this time was caramel pecan bark. As a cup of coffee, caramel pecan bark is a medium roast that is just the perfect amount of sweet (not too sweet) from chocolate and toasted pecan flavors.

Like the vanilla coffee fudge bars that came before them, these coffees were destined for more than a cup of coffee – I wanted a decadent dessert.

I love pecans.

Don’t you?

To accentuate the pecan flavored coffee, I wanted to use pecans. Ask me what my favorite dessert is, most often my immediate answer will be cheesecake. Pecans, cheesecake and coffee – decadence in the making.

These bars are rich in flavor and smooth in feel – fluffy creamy and caramely sweet. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a cheesecake style dessert.

pecan coffee cheesecake bars

vegan, gluten free, dairy free

makes 9-12 bars / slices


1 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup graham crumbs
1/2 cup pecans

Process 1 cup pecans until pecan butter forms (this takes only a couple minutes). Add water and continue processing to a thinner consistency. Add graham crumbs, almost immediately a dough will form. Press into 9 inch springform or 9×9 inch baking dish. Top with a single layer of pecans (about 1/2 cup).


2 cups raw cashews, soaked
1-2 tablespoons cashew soaking water
1/4 cup agave
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons cream cheese (Tofutti)
1 1/2 tablespoons coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons chia
3 tablespoons warm water

Combine coffee, chia and warm water, set aside. Process cashews and water to a semi creamy consistency. Add agave, lemon juice and cream cheese, blend. Add coffee/chia, blend. Pour / spoon onto crust / pecan layer. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Are you a flavored coffee fan or do you prefer plain coffee flavors? Do you add anything to your coffee, or drink it black?


tamarind garlic spring rolls and giveaway

This is the first time I have used Indian flavors to fill a Vietnamese style fresh salad roll. It will not be my last – we loved these!

I was recently asked to develop a quick recipe, using one Stonehouse 27 sauce, one Lundberg Heat and Eat Brown Rice Bowl and up to three other ingredients.

The Stonehouse 27 sauce I chose was their Tamarind & Garlic, and the Lundberg rice bowl I paired with it was the Short Grain Brown. I came up with several ideas, so I will be trying some of the other flavors as well – Dates & Tamarind and of course Spicy Cashews & Cream.

I have seen these sauces before, and several of the flavors are appealing. They are a quick alternative to scratch made while bringing all natural, gluten free and vegan flavors to a dish. I have been a long time fan of Lundberg Family Farms, and although I generally prefer making my own, I can definitely see how these rice bowls are convenient. Each bowl (marked as one serving) is a lot of rice, and when mixed with beans, goes a long way!

tamarind & garlic spring rolls

vegan, gluten free, low sodium, no refined sugar

makes 12 rolls

1 jar Stonehouse 27 Tamarind & Garlic sauce
1 bowl Lundberg Heat & Eat Brown Rice
12 round rice paper wrappers

1 cup cooked beans (I used pinto)
kale leaves

Prep ingredients for easy assembly – have a large round plate to roll on. Combine rice bowl with beans. Tear or chop kale leaves into workable pieces, removing tough ribs.

To make spring roll: dip rice paper in warm water for *5 seconds. Place on plate, line kale leaves down middle, leaving one inch on each end and 2-3 inches on each side. Layer 2 tablespoons rice and beans over kale leaves, followed by 2 tablespoons sauce. Fold the one inch ends over and press down, so the rice paper sticks to itself. Turn to one long end and begin rolling tightly, folding over and rolling completely closed.

*After 5 seconds the rice paper will still feel firm – this is normal, don’t soak longer. It continues to soften and is easy to work with if only soaked 5 seconds. Longer soaking may result in holes or tears in the rice paper.

Fresh and flavorful, and definitely a unique spin on a spring roll. The rice bowls are gluten free, vegan and convenient. These sauces are authentic in flavor and exotically spiced, and incredibly tasty.

Want to try them yourself?

I am giving away five sets of the sauce + rice combinations – one jar of Stonehouse 27 sauce and one Lundberg rice bowl to five of my readers.

five ways to enter, five winners! Please leave a comment for each entry:

1) what ingredients would you pair with this sauce and rice?

2) tweet this :

I want to win @spabettie ‘s @stonehouse27 and @lundbergfarms giveaway – five winners! –> http://www.spabettie.com/?p=8567

3) like Stonehouse 27 on facebook

4) like Lundberg on facebook

5) what is your favorite quick and easy meal to prepare?

giveaway closes next Monday, 5 winners notified by email Tuesday.


butter cookies and Cookiepedia

I recently received a copy of Stacy Adimando’s new book, The Cookiepedia, Mixing, Baking and Reinventing the Classics.

Bright and beautifully photographed, this charming cookie catalog has it all – classic recipes and inventive remakes of everything from amaretti and animal crackers to gingersnaps and rugelach.

With whimsical illustrations and helpful tips on nearly every page, The Cookiepedia features special sections of ideas and instructions, including The Cookie Baker’s Cheat Sheet, Kitchen Tools, and Fun with Decorating.

This practical primer is both durable and efficient in design – a wire comb binding allows the book to lie flat while you work! Genius:

Deciding on a recipe to make first was a challenge – with so many delicious choices I know what book I’ll be baking with this winter! I was narrowing my choices when I saw them. Butter cookies. Without question my favorite cookie growing up.

My mom had a baking book that we now concede was not a good book. Unless you baked all the time. The idea behind the book was a single recipe for a very large batch of basic, all purpose baking mix. In place of listing measurements of dry ingredients, each recipe simply stated an amount of this signature baking mix. My favorite cookies from that book were butter crescents.

yes, this cookie.

I knew I had to make them.

butter balls

makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add  the flour and salt and continue mixing until a dough forms. Gently stir in walnuts by hand.

Chill dough in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour. Roll into 1-inch balls, then place them on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 until just set but not yet browning, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Once the cookies cool, roll them in powdered sugar. Then bite into one and marvel at the delicious way it melts in your mouth.

This recipe was very easy to make vegan and gluten free – I simply subbed gluten free ap flour and Earth Balance soy free margarine.

I was immediately transported back to my childhood and my favorite cookie. My favorite cookie that I can now make with this simple recipe anytime I want.


What is your favorite childhood cookie, snack, food that instantly takes you back?