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RECIPES/ Sides/ Sponsored

Healthy Homemade Onion Straws

Healthy homemade onion straws.

Every year we go out to eat for my husbands birthday, and every year he chooses the same restaurant because he loves their onion straws.  We just celebrated his birthday (quite a few months late–been busy!) and he decided we go to the same restaurant, but only get onion straws as an appetizer, then head over to a different place for dinner. I was relieved as the place is a burger joint and I would much prefer the Blue Sushi and Sake Grill that we ended up at. It was a super fun night out with my sweet man!  It was a stormy night, which made it quite fun and romantic. We drove an hour to Omaha to hang out in their downtown area, and ended the night at the best European dessert cafe called Delice, sitting next to a fireplace.  So much fun.
Fun date night with husband.
We devoured our greasy, delicious onion straws and a fun fruit drink, and honestly I felt quite sick right away!  I love onion straws, but my body is not used to the grease.  I knew I would have to try and figure out how to make them minus the grease & stomach ache, and I have done just that!

Ingredients for healthy homemade onion strawsHomemade onion straws

I started by slicing my onion thin with one of  my favorite kitchen tools–my mandoline.  This is not necessary, as onions can be sliced thin easily with a knife…but take my word for it…if you get one of these you will eat more vegetables.  I use my mandoline daily and it takes just minutes to slice up a whole bunch of vegetables.  My kids love it when I slice apples with it…nice and thin!

I searched the web for some baked onion straw recipes, and came up with one of my own using them as a guide.  My recipe is close to this recipe from Closet Cooking.

I thought I had bread crumbs, but I didn’t.  I decided to use the Triscuit Wheat crackers I had on hand ( I used Trader Joes brand) and it really gave them a good crunch & added some great fiber to the recipe. This is optional though…you can use regular bread crumbs, italian bread crumbs or panko crumbs.

The process was very easy, but messy.  I used my hands to dip the onions.  The mess really was no big deal and took just moments, but it kept me from taking pics of the process!

These were not greasy or overly salty like most onion straws you get at restaurants.  They are full of flavor and nice and crispy, and really hit the spot without all the heaviness of your typical onion straws!

My family all ate them and loved them, and I will make them again for sure!  My man was quite appreciative that I thought about him and took the effort to make a healthy version of one of his favs.

Ingredients for healthy homemade baked onion straws

Healthy Baked Onion Straws

1 large onion, sliced thin
1 egg, beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup crushed Triscuit type wheat crackers (I used a food processor for crushing) (or bread crumbs or panko crumbs)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp salt

Soak sliced onions in cold water for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, get 3 bowls out.  Beat egg in one bowl.  Mix flour and baking powder in another bowl.  Mix crushed cracker crumbs or bread crumbs and seasonings + salt in the 3rd bowl.

Spray or coat a baking pan in oil to prevent sticking.  I used Earth Balance and spread it out over the pan.

Drain onions well.  Dip in flour/baking powder mixture.  Then dip in egg.  Then dip in breadcrumb/seasoning mixture.  Place on pan.  It is ok if the onions are not entirely coated…they will crisp up.

Bake at 450 for 7-10 minutes.  Watch closely as they can get too brown very quickly.  Enjoy!

GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES/ Sides

Crockpot Refried Beans Without The Refry

crockpot refried beans


I’ve been making this Crockpot Refried Beans recipe about once a week lately.  It is great to have on hand, a jar in the refrigerator and a few in the freezer.  My girls make themselves bean burritos as after school snacks with these beans.  I love having a quick wrap for lunch made with these beans, salsa, tomatoes, and lettuce.  They are great smeared on a tostada or to eat as a side to tacos with rice.  Also great for chip dipping.

They have so much more flavor than canned beans, and I feel great staying away from cans due to their BPA lining.  Another great thing about making these beans is that you can make them as chunky or as mashed as you like it.  I like a bit of texture in my burritos, but for nachos, I mash them and thin them out a bit more.


I put off making my own beans for a long time.  I kept reading how you have to sort them and soak them. It felt intimidating and like too much work.  Boy, was I wrong!  Sorting takes minutes, and with this Crockpot recipe, there is no soaking.


I measure out my beans (3 cups for this recipe) on my large cutting board.  I then quickly sort them, the pile in the front are sorted beans, the pile in the back has yet to be sorted.  This literally takes me maybe 2 minutes to sort 3 cups of beans.

reject beans

You are looking for shriveled beans, halved beans, or just plain ugly looking beans.  I also take the ones that look too small out.  Pictured above are my rejects.

washing beans

Put beans in a colander, and give them a quick rinse.

onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper

Dump them in the crockpot, along with 1 chopped onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.  This recipe calls for a lot of salt, but it also makes a nice amount of beans. Use it, they need it.

refried beans

Set the crockpot to high and in 5 hours (can let them cook longer if needed) you have wonderful beans.  I love how these make the house smell.  We are eating less meat around here (next to none) and it has been great, but I have missed throwing something in the crockpot and having it make the house smell good.  Well, these beans solve that problem…they smell so good as they cook!  Yum!

Crockpot Refried Beans (without the Refry)
(from Real Mom Kitchen)

  • 3 cups of dry pinto beans (sorted and rinsed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 9 cups of water
  • 3 1/2-4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin


  • Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 8 hours.
  • After they are done, drain all of the liquid out and SAVE THE LIQUID!!
  • Mash beans with a potato masher or whatever you mash with. Add liquid, a bit at a time, to desired consistency, but remember you want them a little runny because they thicken over time. (makes about 6 cups)
  • Note: I’ve read about people adding sliced jalapenos to this recipe, for a little kick.  These beans are full of flavor without it, but if you are a jalapeno fan.  Also, these freeze beautifully.

Healthy Eating/ RECIPES/ Sides

11 Delicious Ways To Eat Squash

Brown Sugar Acorn Squash

How To Peel, Cut & Bake All Types Of Squash

Creamy Acorn Squash Soup

Squash Mac N Cheese

Spaghetti Squash

Squash and Potato Mash

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Chips

Butternut Squash Cake w/ Vanilla Spiced Icing

Squash Butter


Healthy No Fat Pumpkin Bread

I am so very happy to have found this recipe!  I have made it twice in 4 days and may make some more tomorrow…it is THAT good.  It is a vegan recipe, but it would be a keeper even if I were not vegan.  It is a recipe by Happy Herbivore that has been getting lots of attention on twitter, so I am not the only one who loves it.

Back to the was super moist but had a nice crunch on the sides and bottom.  Loved that.  I cut the brown sugar down to 3/4 cup, that was plenty.  I used almond milk.  I loved that there was no fat used, and if you are out of eggs, NO PROBLEM, for there are no eggs in this recipe.  It is amazing how much cheaper a recipe is with no butter and eggs!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook (p. 52)
Recipe Type: sides
Servings: 12
  • ½  tsp  baking powder
  • tsp  baking soda
  • cups  whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tbsp  pumpkin pie spice I only use 1
  • tsp  vanilla extract
  • tbsp  pure maple syrup
  • cup  brown sugar
  • 15  oz pumpkin
  • ¼  tsp  lemon juice
  • ¼  cup  non-dairy milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray a standard bread pan. 

  2. Whisk non-dairy milk and lemon juice together until bubbly and set aside. 

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, cream pumpkin, sugar, syrup and extract together.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin pie spice, flour, baking soda and baking powder together. 

  5. Pour both wet mixtures into dry mixture and stir until just combined. 

  6. Pour into bread pan, using a spatula to evenly distribute and smooth out the top. 

  7. Grab a large piece of aluminum foil and make a tent over the pan.

  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

  9. Once the bread has cooled but is still slightly warm, gently remove it from the pan and on to a serving plate.


My Favorite Salad

I had a friend bring this salad over to my house and both Todd and I just loved it!  We agreed it is a favorite, we both took a bite and just looked at each other with wide eyes and a smile–yes, it is that good!

 The dressing is tangy, the apples are tart and crisp, the grapes are sweet and the candied pecans are like a crunchy dessert topping!

 I had to have the recipe so I could make it myself and share it with all of you.



~Salad-greens ( I love to use Butter/boston lettuce and red leaf in the mix)

~Red grapes

~Granny smith apples

~Candied pecans (recipe below)

~Dressing (recipe below)


Toss and Serve.

Candied pecans-

3/4 c brown sugar (If you are looking for low sugar, I think this could be reduced)

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 c margarine

1 c chopped pecans

In small pan melt margarine, stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. After that mix in the pecans, coating them with the mixtutre. Pour into pan in single layer and bake at 200 for about 10 minutes. Pour onto wax paper. Cool and separate.


1 c oil

1/4 c sugar

1/4 c vinegar

3 T Dijon

1 T Worcestershire

1/2 t salt

Blend together.


Teriyaki Pasta Salad Recipe

I posted a recipe awhile back for Veri Teriyaki Bowtie Spinach Salad.  It is an awesome recipe, and I’ve made the dressing from the recipe just to use on lettuce salads because my kids love it so much.  I wanted to make a pasta salad and happened to have some of the dressing in my refrigerator so I decided to use it to make a pasta salad.  I served it to guests and got a thumbs up, so I thought I would share it with you!
Teriyaki Pasta Salad
1 lb. bowtie pasta
according to directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cooled.
Misc. Vegetables, chopped, {1-2 cups total}- according to taste.
{Broccoli, Carrot, Red, Orange, or Green Pepper, Tomatoes}

Make Dressing:
1 cup oil ( I used canola, wondering if olive oil or coconut oil would taste mild enough for this)
2/3 cup white wine vinegar (didn’t have any, used rice vinegar-was great!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup Soy Vay Teriyaki sauce (or any brand-I recommend Soy Vay b/c there is no HFCS in it)
5 Tbs sugar (I used rapadura-pure cane sugar)

Put all dressing ingredients in a jar, and shake.  {or put in a bowl and whisk)
Pour dressing* over noodles & toss.  Refrigerate until cool.
*I only used 1/2 the dressing, and saved the rest for lettuce salad

Italian Pasta Salad

I make another version of the above recipe, but with an Italian twist.  It is one of my favorites, I’ve been making it for years.
The pasta and veggies are the same as above, (could add cucumber & cauliflower & peas) but the dressing is bottled Italian dressing + red wine vinegar, to taste. (about 1 cup of dressing to 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, I usually just add the dressing and vinegar from the bottle, eyeball it and taste) I like to add shredded Parmesan cheese. (1/2 cup)

I will be making one of these 2 versions for our family 4th of July get together.  It is a perfect dish to make ahead because the flavors get better after they refrigerate for awhile.
this post is linked to:
Tasty Tuesday @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam