One morning I watched as my son, Joshua, poured chia seeds into a bowl with some nuts and fruit and added non-dairy milk. This was his breakfast. I was fascinated. I had never eaten chia seeds as cold cereal. Then on another occasion Joshua told me how he makes hemp milk at home. Both recipes are so nutritious and sustaining that I couldn’t resist sharing his great ideas here! Thank you Joshua for your contributions!


Chia seeds are a superfood not to be overlooked. They contain: 580% more omega 3’s than what is in wild caught salmon, 940% more phosphorus than cows milk, 460% more calcium than cows milk, 120% more fiber than bran flakes, a complete protein with 300% more protein than kidney beans and more antioxidants than blueberries.

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. They do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body, but grinding them increases absorption rates. Chia seeds provide fiber as well as protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Research suggest that chia slows the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. This makes them a great food to help keep blood sugar levels steady.

One ounce of pumpkin seeds contain 14% of the recommended daily allowance of protein. Protein is a macronutrient that is important to every cell of the body. However, keep in mine that just because protein is beneficial doesn’t mean that more of it is better. It is hard to over do it when protein comes from plants, in fact, you’re more likely to give yourself exactly the right amount.  Nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of protein and they also contain many other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Too much protein, which is easy to get when eating animal based food, causes stress on the liver and kidneys, body odor, bad breath and a depletion of many nutrients that will lead to all kinds of problems from kidney stones and gout to cancer and heart disease. It is important to get the right amount protein and not too much.

Cacao nibs improve blood flow and are linked to a healthy cardiovascular system, reduced blood pressure and the health of other internal organs. Eating raw cacao is linked to brain health and may have important implications for learning and memory. Never leave out the cacao nibs when making this recipe.

You can obtain many health benefits from hemp by adding the seeds to your diet. Hemp provides you with a complete protein, and a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. It also contains many B vitamins, vitamins A, D and E, calcium, sodium, iron and dietary fiber. Hence, hemp seeds can supply you with all your dietary needs for optimum health. The consumption of hemp seeds could reduce blood cholesterol, improve memory, prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant, boosts energy levels, and can contribute to a reduced risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.


3 T sprouted grain cereal (Ezekiel brand)
2 T chia seeds
2 T pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 T chopped pecans (or other nuts)
1 T organic raisins (and/or other organic dried fruit)
1 T cacao nibs
1 mango, peeled and cut in pieces (or other fresh fruit, all optional)
3/4 cup  hemp milk (recipe follows)

Combine all in a cereal bowl, stir and serve. Serves 1. The longer it sits the more liquid the chia seeds will absorb and the thicker it becomes. ©Janice Moreland

Chia cereal is so easy to change up any way that suits your fancy. Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or coriander. Use sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds or scrape some seeds from a vanilla pod. along with the pumpkin seeds. Swap the pecans with brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts or chopped almonds. Along with raisins add dried apricots or cherries or swap the raisins for dried blueberries or cranberries. Use raw cacao powder instead of the nibs. Add the zest of oranges or lemons. Of course any fresh fruit of your choosing would taste great such as: bananas, peaches, strawberries or raspberries etc… The possibilities are endless!

Here are some ideas for other flavor combinations:

Papaya, dried coconut, macadamia nuts
Strawberry, lemon zest
Pecan, banana, raw cacao powder
Raspberry, peach, almond
Raisin, apple, cinnamon
Dried Cranberries, orange zest, walnut
Vanilla bean, cacao nibs, pear


3/4 cup hemp seeds
2 medjool dates, pitted
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 t vanilla extract)
A pinch of Himalayan sea salt
5 cups water

Combine the hemp seeds, dates, vanilla seeds and Himalayan sea salt with 2 of the cups of water in a Blendtec* blender. Whirl on the whole juice setting. Whirl again until the dates are completely blended with no small pieces. Stir in the remaining 3 cups water and pour into a pitcher. Chill for 3 hours before using. Makes about 5 cups. ©Janice Moreland

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I have been making some form of this cranberry sauce for a very long time. Over the years the recipe has morphed from time to time until I came to the current recipe which my family just loves to eat with almost anything. Made with fresh cranberries, the color is vibrant and the taste is divine! Enjoy!


Cranberry sauce is made of one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits on earth, and studies show these bright red beauties may reduce both stomach ulcers and tooth decay. Cranberries have a long list of antioxidant superstars to their credit — more than 150 different health-promoting phytochemicals in fact. And these compounds are probably responsible for the multitude of amazing health benefits cranberries confer, including: less likelihood to develop ulcers since cranberries make it hard for the bacterial culprit to adhere to the stomach lining, healthier teeth and gums since cranberries help reduce plaque, they stop the onset of urinary tract infections and cure infections that have already occurred, cranberries protect the cardiovascular system and liver as well as have several anti-cancer properties. Some of the most powerful antioxidants in the cranberry fold are vitamin C, catechins, resveratrol, quercetin, and anthocyanins. Plus, cranberries are low in calories and high in fiber. So their list of health benefits goes on and on. Research even suggests that cranberries help improve cholesterol.

Always include cloves in your holiday recipes. Cloves are the number one food source for antioxidant activity ranking highest on the ORAC scale which measures antioxidants. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more.


1 pkg. (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
1/8 t ground cloves
1 cup xylitol*
1/2 cup water
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t stevia (Sweet Leaf)

Combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice, ground cloves, xylitol and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for several minutes until berries have stopped popping. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and stevia. Garnish with a little orange zest if desired. Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce. ©Janice Moreland

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This is such a quick and easy dish to make. It is both filling and refreshing. I love the combination of  the sweet orange with the smokey spice from the chipotle pepper.


The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A, C and K as well as several of the B vitamins. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Greens are full of nutrients that protect the body and fight disease. They also contain important antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Among all groups of food commonly eaten worldwide, no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fiber than legumes which includes both the tempeh and the black beans. From a single, one-cup serving of legumes you get nearly 15 grams of fiber, well over half of the daily value and 15 grams of protein, nearly one-third of the daily value. The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system.

Given the impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in black beans, it is not surprising to see numerous studies connecting black bean intake with reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Constant excessive oxidative stress and chronic excessive inflammation are both risk factors for the development of many cancers. By increasing the body’s supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, black beans may be able to help lower cancer risk. Black beans provide soluble fiber, and this is precisely the type of fiber that researchers have found especially helpful in lower blood cholesterol levels. Decreased risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack have both been associated with increased intake of soluble fiber from food, and in particular from legumes. They are choke full of antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory which helps fight free radical damage, many diseases associated with inflammation and aging. They are full of folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and provide about 180 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per cup.

When buying products made of soy, such as the tempeh, check to make sure it is made of organic soy. All the soy-based products I mention by name are always organic. I also look for “non-GMO” this means that the soybeans are not genetically modified. Usually genetic modification means that pesticide (whether herbicide or insecticide) is now in the gene structure of the product. There is much controversy over the consequences to the human frame of eating GMO products. I recommend to always avoid them.  Other common genetically modified products are corn, canola, cotton (such as cottonseed oil), zucchini and as of 2011 also sugar beets and alfalfa. Buying organic ensures the products are non-GMO.

Just 4 ounces of tempeh provides 41.3% of the daily value for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. Soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol. In addition to healthy protein, tempeh’s high points include the following: riboflavin, a nutrient essential for the mitochondria in cells and in the regeneration of one of the liver’s most important detoxification enzymes, glutathione; magnesium, which plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those that control protein synthesis and energy production; manganese and copper, which are trace minerals that serve numerous physiological functions. The protein and fiber in tempeh can prevent high blood sugar levels and help in keeping blood sugar levels under control. Some diabetics even find that the effects of soy foods, such as tempeh, and other legumes on blood sugar are so profound that they need to monitor their new blood sugar levels and adjust their medications accordingly. The fiber in tempeh provides preventative therapy for several conditions. Fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins and remove them from the body, so they can’t damage colon cells. Soy has been linked to protecting the prostate from cancer in men and a reduction in hot flash symptoms in menopausal women. There is also evidence that soy foods may be able to help reduce the bone loss that typically occurs after menopause.

Recent research studies have confirmed that coriander can alleviate the symptoms of diabetes by stimulating the secretion of insulin and lowering blood sugar, reduce the amount of damaged fats in cell membranes, and lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind), while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). It has been used in India for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Kelp, even in very small quantities, contains large amounts of iodine which is a mineral vital to proper thyroid function but difficult to find naturally from plant sources. Though it may not be adding any flavor to this dish the kelp is a powerhouse of iodine and other much needed minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and vanadium.


For the tempeh:
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
1 pkg. tempeh
2 T taco seasoning
1/4 t  kelp powder*
1/4 cup salsa (Arriba)

Saute the onion until translucent and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and Serrano pepper stirring to combine. Meanwhile, slice the tempeh in half to create two thin sheets. Cut each into very thin strips, matchsticks or small cubes. Combine tempeh with the taco seasoning and kelp powder in a gallon sized plastic bag. Seal bag and shake to evenly coat tempeh. Add entire contents of the bag to the onion mixture, then add the salsa and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble salad.

For the salad dressing:
2 t orange zest (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T fresh lime juice
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/8 t stevia (Sweet Leaf)
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all but the olive oil in a small bowl. While stirring vigorously, slowly pour in the olive oil. Set aside.

For assembly:
Spring greens as desired
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can medium olives, drained
1 avocado, sliced
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Toss together the ingredients for assembly in a large bowl. Add the tempeh mixture and drizzle with the dressing, toss well. Serve over organic tortilla chips, cooked brown rice or quinoa if desired. Serves 4.

Other possible add-ins could include corn, red onion slices, mushrooms, diced summer squash, shredded carrots, pinto beans or green onion slices etc…. ©Janice Moreland

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In the heat of the summer a citrus drink is cooling and refreshing. This cooler has a big plus with no added sugar. As you may notice I use more than one sweetener, this is because it produces a rounded and more pleasing sweetness when more than one variety of sweetening is used. The beautiful lemon yellow color comes from using the zest of the lemons in this recipe.


Lemons, limes and oranges contain unique compounds that have antibiotic, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. They contain vitamin C is vital to the function of a strong immune system. In a study done in Africa, lime juice sprinkled on food proved to have a powerful effect against cholera. Several other fascinating research studies on the healing properties of lemons and limes have shown that cell cycles—including the decision a cell makes about whether to divide or die are altered by lime juice, as are the activities of special immune cells called monocytes.

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact both inside and outside cells. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and cause inflammation, in the body. This is one of the reasons that vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Citrus fruits, contain a compound called limonin which have been shown to help fight several cancers. Limonin’s bioavailability can last as long as 24 hours! Whereas other anti-carcinogens from green tea and chocolate remain active for only 4 to 6 hours after consumption.

Vitamin C-rich foods, such as lemons and limes, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

Oranges and lemons may help keep ulcers away. The bacteria responsible for causing peptic ulcers and in turn, an increased risk for stomach cancer cannot do damage in the gut when orange or lemon juice is present.


Juice of 1 large lime
2 large lemons
1 large orange, peeled
2 Medjool dates, pitted
2 T xylitol crystals*
1 t stevia (Sweet Leaf)
2 cups cold water
2 cups ice
lemon slices and mint sprigs for garnish

Wash all the fruit. Pour the lime juice into a Blendtec* blender. Remove the lemon zest from the lemons with a peeler and add to the blender. Peel the pith off the lemons and discard. Put the meat of the lemons in the blender. Add the peeled orange, the dates, xylitol, stevia and water to the blender. Whirl on the whole juice setting. Add the ice and pulse briefly until crushed. Serve garnished with lemon and mint. Makes 4 servings. ©Janice Moreland

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Salad instead of dessert? You bet! Sarah, thank you for your request, it truly inspired me and here are the results. Sarah has a sweet tooth and loves cookies but sugar in all forms are not healthy and contribute to many health problems. Even the recipes I’ve posted here on The Kitchen Twist that have some form of sugar in them I’ve been clear to point out that the health benefits of the sweetener are marginal at best. The forms of sugar I’m alluding to are: agave nectar, muscovado sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup etc… Salad on the other hand is great to eat with seemingly endless health benefits! I recommend to eat one big salad daily if possible. I like using Sweetleaf brand stevia. Because it is less sweet than other brands it becomes more manageable to use and easily measured. If you choose to use another brand I suggest to use far less stevia.

This recipe is the first in a series of vinaigrettes that are clearly dessert inspired that I will be sprinkling among the various other posts through the spring and summer. With this vinaigrette on the salad as part of your meal, I highly doubt that dessert would even be missed!


Cacao powder has more antioxidant activity than any food tested to date! In fact, it has up to four times the antioxidants found in green tea. Cacao powder is not the same as cocoa powder. The processing of cacao powder is so minimal that the nutrients are retained as opposed to being destroyed by the heat and processing associated with making cocoa powder. There is little difference between the taste and texture of the two, however, cocoa powder is generally darker in color. Raw cacao powder contains over 300 nutrients including: protein, fat, fiber, iron, magnesium and sulfur, which is considered the beauty nutrient as it helps form strong nails, silky hair, and beautiful skin. It also helps to cleanse the liver and it helps support the pancreas. Cacao powder helps us feel happy, excited, focused and alert, and causes an increase of a positive mood and decreased feelings of depression. Cacao appears to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with insomnia, anxiety, constipation, muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing, headaches high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, extreme fatigue and joint problems. This seems to be reason enough to eat more dessert inspired salads with this vinaigrette!

Nutrients in the orange peel lower high blood pressure and cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory properties. Also, studies on the vitamin C content in oranges indicate that eating a whole orange or consuming orange juice provides protective benefits far beyond simply taking a vitamin C supplement which tells scientists that there is more than meets the researchers trained eye in a humble orange.  The Vitamin C in the orange is part of a matrix involving many beneficial nutrients that work in concert with one another.

Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidant that may slow the aging process. It can also reduce the frequency of headaches, help strengthen the bones, prevent anemia and fatigue, and can help suppress appetite and therefore aid in controlling weight.

Stevia has such a negligible effect on blood glucose that it has become extremely attractive as a natural sweetener to help manage diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The wide use of stevia throughout many parts of the world has been without any apparent harmful effects and instead it helps greatly reduce cravings for sugar or sugary sweets and snacks. It is certainly an attractive option as a safe and natural sugar substitute.

Xanthan gum derives its name from a strain of bacteria and although it sounds a bit alien it is actually a completely natural product and is safe to use. This bacteria is frequently found on many fruits and vegetables. Xanthan gum works as a natural stabilizer in this vinaigrette.

Flax oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids which aid in brain and nervous system function, and can help reduce the inflammation associated with asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and migraine headaches.

Walnut oil is rich in manganese and copper, as well as melatonin, a hormone that aids in regulation of the body’s internal clock. Walnut oil also helps prevent plaque from accumulating in the blood vessels.


Zest and juice from 1/2 fresh orange (about 1/4 cup)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t raw cacao powder*
1/8 t stevia (Sweetleaf)
1/16 t xanthan gum (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 T flax oil
2 T walnut oil

Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Combine the oils and whisk into the mixture to blend well. Serve drizzled over a salad of greens with sliced strawberries and walnuts. Serves 8. ©Janice Moreland

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