Fig + Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I use the term “cookie” loosely, as these are really energy bars in bite-sized rounds. They are delicious, gooey, vegan, gluten-free, and not-to-sweet. Perfect for a breakfast on the go or afternoon pick-me-up!


(ABOVE: Balls have been formed! Pre-baked photo)

(BELOW: Cookies are chewy gooey balls of satisfaction!!)



(ABOVE: Makes great to-go treats!!)

Serving: 16-24 cookies, depending on size
Time: 35 minutes
Level: Easy

3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1/2 – 1 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used figs)
1/3 cup coconut or seed oil (I used hemp seed oil)
1/3 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, mash bananas until smooth. Mix in the oats, dried fruit, oil, almond butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Preheat oven to 350° F. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes. Scoop preferred sized balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet. I like rounder balls for a chewier center. (NOTE: The mixture will not melt or change shape while baking.) Bake for 20 minutes.


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I have been called a Spud…

…It was an endearing comment, really. I mean, how amazing are spuds? They are versatile, can handle fiery flavors, are filling and nutritious, and seriously a comfort. They have lately gotten a bad rap but I am here to say that spuds can be incorporated into your diet with balance and pleasure! Hear, hear!

Allowing Pleasure = Happiness = Increased Serotonin = Increased Metabolism + Concentration + Drive = Happy World = Love + Beauty


With that, let’s learn a few things, shall we?

  • Potatoes are vegetables but they contain a lot of starch (carbohydrates) that make them more like rice, pasta and bread in terms of nutrition.

  • Much like rice, wheat and maize (corn), potato crops are an important part the world’s diet.

  • The word potato comes from the Spanish word patata.

  • Potato plants are usually pollinated by insects such as bumblebees.

  • Potatoes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.

  • There are thousands of different potato varieties but not all are commercially available, popular ones include Russet, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Desiree and Fingerling.

  • While the role of genetic modification is up for debate, research has led to genetically modified potato varieties that have potential benefits such as increased protein and resistance to viruses.

  • Based on 2010 statistics, China is the leading producer of potatoes.

  • Potatoes don’t store very well after purchase but they are relatively easy to grow.

  • Potato storage facilities are kept at temperatures above 4 °C (39 °F) as potato starch turns into sugar and alters the taste below this temperature.

  • Potatoes are prepared and served in many different ways, including boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries and hash browns.

  • French fries contain a lot of fat so don’t eat too many!

  • Potatoes are usually served hot, but sometimes cold in the form of potato chips or potato salad.

  • Despite health concerns, potato chips are one of the most common snack foods in the world with billions of packets being consumed every year.

  • One of the main causes of the Great Famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 was a potato disease known as potato blight. The shortage of potatoes led to the death of around 1 million people who were dependent on them as a food source.

  • Although it shares the same name, the sweet potato is a root vegetable and only loosely related to the potato.

  • Potatoes are sometimes called spuds.



A skin have I, more eyes than one. I can be very nice when I am done. What am I? A potato


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Sundays…eh, Everyday


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Vegetarian Delights

Lately, I have been experimenting with no meat. I eat meat.  I love meat. But sometimes I just don’t want meat. So, here’s an ode to vegetarian meals.

Pesto with Couscous, Bocconcini Marinated in Olive Oil and Herbs, Mixed Baby Greens, More Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice.


Buckwheat Soba Noodles, Balsamic and Red Pepper Marinated Tofu, Arugula, Olive Oil, and Fresh Garlic (extra because I love garlic!!)

Soba Noodles

Open-Faced Toasted Whole-Wheat Tortilla, Hummus, Mache-Rosettes, and Avocado


And then there is tapas (perfect for a movie night).

Mixed Olives in a Sicilian Herb Mix, Hummus with Spicy Pepper Oil, Roasted Almonds in Coconut Oil and Sea Salt, Bocconcini Marinated in Pesto, Flaxseed Crackers, and Flume Raisins. Also, a Robust Cabernet Sauvignon.


Noticeably, I repeat recipes and mix-match daily. Making a batch of pesto goes a long way. Same with hummus or home-roasted nuts. A little prep-time can add to creativity through the work week! For me, cooking isn’t about recipes as it is about fresh nutritious ingredients and melding flavors. I hope you feel inspired to make a meal by your creative inspirations now!

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Cashew Blueberry Smoothie

I have been LOVING this smoothie with my tea in the mornings. The richness of the cashews satiate me and meld harmoniously with the blueberries.

The key is to blend the cashews and water first; then add the spinach; then add the blueberries. It just works best this way. And I don’t believe in measurements for smoothies and juices. Just do what feels right. Some days I add twice the amount of spinach. I play with the water amounts too, for a thicker and creamier shake or for a lighter diluted smoothie. I have also substituted cashews with raw almonds (an amazing alternative).

  • Handful of raw cashews
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Handful of frozen blueberries
  • Water until thickness is to your likening


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Paris in Texas (not to be confused with Paris, Texas)

Parigi. A gem in the heart of the Oak Lawn district in Dallas. Parigi translates to “Paris” in Italian. Being a romantic for all things Italian, when the date prompted for dinner at Parigi, my heart turned to burrata. Basically, I was a ball of cheese.

The restaurant caters to the locals. The tables are snug but not on top of each other’s conversations. The bar is beautifully lit and cozy near the front for people watching. The patio is heated for dining al fresco on a cool autumn’s night.  Parking is minimal out front so valet is optional in the back.

We opted for a Chianti. Fair choice given the occasion. The date had been here before but hardly recognized the menu. That is because the ingredients and dishes change almost biweekly given the season and what is fresh.

We shared the portobello fries with an herb aioli. They were nice but a little heavy on the coating and seemed to overpower the flavor of the meaty mushroom. Following, we started with the caprese salad. One thick slice of fresh tomato, topped with buffalo mozzarella, homemade pesto, and select greens with imported olive oil. The tastes were fresh. And to me, there is no better combination of flavors.

We decided to share our main course, the risotto with chicken and asparagus. When presented with our split plates, we noticed our portions were surprisingly larger.  The chef decided to make our meals almost two full plates out of a gesture of kindness. Very Italian.

Winding down after a satisfying dinner for two, we sipped on grappa for just the right fin to a night in Paris…in Italian…in Texas.


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Dallas Farmer’s Market

I am the newest groupie to the Dallas Farmer’s Market. This amazing market space is full of local vendors featuring their best seasonal produce.

My memorable ritual begins with weekend mornings and a steaming cup of coffee. My pug dog, Pugerton Presley Jones (aka Pugsley) and I venture out to south Dallas in the peak hours of morning while everyone else is stretching their limbs and meandering about their cozy world indoors. After battling the horrid I-30 and the questionable deserted streets, we are greeted with an Eden amid the abandoned concrete space surrounding.

A few musts to attend this city farmer’s market:

  • Your own bag – Don’t haul around ten bags of plastic. Do Earth some justice people.
  • Cash – As with any market, cash is key.
  • A car – There is no walking unless you live in the urban living space across the street. Otherwise, you know the deal. This is Dallas, not Europe.
  • The ability to say no– These vendors know how to push their produce…not my preferred way to shop but I’ll deal with it in return for affordable local fruits and vegetables.
  • Knowledge of what is in season and pricing – Walk away knowing you got a good deal.

Upon returning to my abode, I usually wash and prep my produce so it is ready for enjoying through the week.

TostadaTostada featuring cilantro lime tortilla, hummus, herbs, avocado, and aged cheddar


Roasted sweet potato and local herbs

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Avocado on white

Avocados are amazing healthy fats, particularly the benefits for cardiovascular disease, weight management, diabetes, and its ability to enhance your body’s absorption of nutrients.

Avocados – A Real ‘Super Food’

Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. I eat avocados almost daily. They are a wonderful increase in healthy fat without crazily increasing protein or carbohydrate intake. An avocado is also very high in potassium and will help balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.

According to the California Avocado Commission, a medium Hass avocado contains about 22.5 grams of fat, two-thirds of which is monounsaturated. They’re also very low in fructose, which is yet another boon, and provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including:

  • Fiber
  • Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
  • Vitamin E
  • B-vitamins
  • Folic acid

Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown,and most experts do not believe you need to purchase organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides. Additionally, it has been rated as one of the safest commercial crops in terms of pesticide exposure, so there’s no real need to spend extra money on organic avocados, unless you can afford it.

The Many Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados have a long list of potential health benefits. For example, besides its anti-inflammatory properties, previous research from Japan suggests this powerful fruit may also help protect against liver damage.

Due to its beneficial raw fat content, avocado enables your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients (such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein) in other foods eaten in conjunction.  Other research has found that avocados:

  • Contain compounds that appear to inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells.
  • Can help improve lipid profiles in both healthy individuals and those with non optimized HDL/ total cholesterol levels). In one study, healthy individuals saw a 16 percent decrease of serum total cholesterol level following a one-week long diet high in monounsaturated fat from avocados. In those with elevated cholesterol levels, the avocado diet resulted in a 17 percent decrease of serum total cholesterol, and a 22 percent decrease of both LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, along with an 11 percent increase of the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol.

How to Get More Avocado into Your Diet

While avocado is commonly eaten raw, on salad or alone, with nothing but a dash of sea salt and some ground pepper, for example, there are many other ways to include avocado in your diet. For example, you can use avocado in the following ways:

  • Use as a fat replacement in baking. Simply replace the fat called for (such as oil, butter or shortening) with an equal amount of avocado
  • Use as a first food for babies, in lieu of processed baby food
  • For hundreds of unique recipes that include avocado–from salads to dessert whip and everything in between – check out the California Avocado Commission’s website.

Today, I incorporated my avocado in a light lunch of Grandma’s Hummus and a fresh avocado from the Dallas Farmer’s Market I picked up this morning.


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Must Read: Article of the Week

Surviving Whole Foods

This is a satirical piece written by comedian Kelly MacLean on the ironies of Whole Foods.

“Whole Foods is like Vegas. You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.”




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