Festive Sweet Potato Bread

Festive Sweet Potato Bread

Quick bread makes a festive, fun, and sweet treat to bring to the holiday party, a gift to your loved ones, or something to enjoy with your family. This recipe features nutritious sweet potato, fresh cranberries, rosemary, and toasted pecans to give it a nice flavor. Why not make this sweet treat this holiday season?

Fancy Sweet Potato Bread

This quick sweet potato bread makes a festive treat to bring to a holiday party or give as a gift. It features sweet potato and fresh cranberries, as well as candied rosemary and toasted pecans to add a lovely pop of flavor. Share it with family and friends!

  • 12 oz sweet potato (roasted)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 2/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz fresh cranberries
  • 4 oz pieces pecan
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  1. Roast sweet potato at 400 degrees F, until tender. Cool, peel and set aside.
  2. Place fresh rosemary sprigs, in simple syrup, for at least 10 minutes or overnight. Remove sprigs from syrup, coat in granulated sugar and dry for at least 10 minutes. *Dry these in your pre-heated oven and they’ll break up nicely as you prepare the pans of batter.
  3. Lightly toast the pecans and set aside.
  4. Mash the sweet potato in a large bowl, then add kosher salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, canola oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs. Whisk till well combined.

  5. Gently stir in the flour, then 3 oz of the pecans and the fresh cranberries.
  6. Pour batter into greased loaf pans, then top with the remaining pecans and the candied rosemary (strip the stems and discard these).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F. ~35 minutes for mini loaves and ~1h5m for 8×4 loaves.
  8. Cool completely, then enjoy!
Baked Goods
baked goods

Lentil Mushroom Burgers

Lentil Mushroom Burgers

If you’ve followed along this year, you probably noticed we have some recurring themes with our cooking demonstrations. We love plant-forward meals that are easy to prepare and, of course, friendly on the budget. 

Today I want to tie in eco-friendly or sustainable. You may think, hey, we’re already in that neighborhood, but we want to take that one step further. We’ve encouraged 

  • mostly plants
  • local foods
  • in season foods

In addition, there are more specific food choices we can make, like, lentils, which belong to the pulse family. They are nitrogen fixers. 

So not only are they easy, tasty protein, but they improve the soil in which they’re grown. Another choice is mushrooms; these can grow on logs, and they can grow on compost. They require very little water and very little space. So not only are they tasty, but they give us lots of vitamins and minerals. There are others on this list of eco-friendly foods, but we’ll focus today on those two. They are the stars of this burger. 

You may notice that the recipe tells you to portion these burgers and bake them in the oven, but I like a little extra texture, so I’ve chosen to sear them on the cast iron skillet and then cook them until they’re the right firm. 

Vegetarian Curry in a Flash

Vegetarian Curry in a Flash

Some days (or weeks or months) are just too crazy to spend hours in the kitchen each week. That’s why at Well Balanced we are always looking for simple meals that are just as quick as they are nutritious. Our newest recipe is brought to you by Coach Bella’s favorite store, Trader Joe’s. It calls for a few frozen items, some seasoning, and some tofu. The best part it is it requires minimal cooking. Just a few minutes in the microwave, a little sauté action, and BOOM- a fast, delicious, and well balanced meal (or meals) is ready to be enjoyed.

Well Balanced Tip: if you use more than one package of the frozen rice and channa masala (like the recipe calls for), then you are likely to have enough food for a few people or few meals worth, However, if you are only in need of one meal then use half a bag of rice, 1/4-1/2 of a block of tofu, and one channa masala.

For those that track: if you follow the recipe, the macro breakdown per serving is:

  • 445 calories
  • 14.5 g fat
    • 2.75 g saturated fat
  • 58 g carbohydrates
    • 5.5 g fiber
  • 18.5 g protein

Trader Joe’s Tofu and Chickpea Curry on Rice

Need a delicious, plant-based meal in a flash? Try this quick and easy recipe the next time you need something simple yet nutritious without racing against the clock.

  • Microwave
  • pan
  • 2 bags Trader Joe's frozen jasmine or brown rice
  • 2 packages Trader Joe's frozen Channa Masala
  • 1 package Trader Joe's organic sprouted tofu
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  1. Microwave the rice and chickpea channa masala

  2. Saute the tofu in a pan with curry powder and garlic powder

  3. Combine everything and enjoy


Plant Based Meal(s) on a Budget

Plant Based Meal(s) on a Budget

Are grocery prices making meal planning more difficult?

As if meal planning wasn’t hard enough, the ever-rising food and gas prices can make it feel not only timely but costly. Meal planning, grocery shopping, and prepping feel more stressful than ever these days. That’s why I (Coach Bella) decided to go on a mission to create a simple, affordable, and quick recipe that won’t break the bank or your back!

Bean, Rice, and Veggie Bowl

Cooking plant-based can actually be quite affordable, especially when opting for nutritious staples like rice and beans. For this recipe, I got my ingredients from Trader Joe’s and even opted for organic versions of a few ingredients (spinach, zucchini, kidney beans, and chickpeas). The prices are listed beside the ingredients.  The grand total, with tax, was $12.18. However, this is meant to provide about 3 meals if eaten alone, or 5 meals if something is added to it like eggs, chicken/turkey, more veggies, or a side salad. That’s only $4.06/meal for 3 meals or $2.44/meal for 5 meals (with the additional cost of whatever else you add)!


  • 1 bag of spinach ($2.29)
  • 1/2 bag of rice jasmine, brown, white ($2.99)
  • 1 onion ($0.99)
  • 2 zucchinis ($3.69)
  • 1 can of chickpeas ($0.99)
  • 1 can of beans- kidney, black, northern, or your fav ($0.99)


  1. Chop the zucchini and onion
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and beans
  3. Cook the rice
  4. As you can see I had some brown rice to use up so I mixed the jasmine and brown rice together.
  5. Sauté the zucchini and onions
  6. I used olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season
  7. Add the spinach to the pan with the onions and zucchini. Cook until spinach is wilted or cooked to your liking. (Option to leave spinach raw and have it as a base to the dish.)
  8. Add the beans to the pan as well to lightly cook.
    1. I added more seasoning once the beans were in the pan.
  9. Optional toppings
    1. Salsa, shredded lettuce, and Mexican cheese
    2. Sriracha
    3. Green goddess dressing
    4. Curry sauce
  10. Enjoy!

I used kidney beans + chickpeas. Two cans of beans could be used as opposed to chickpeas and beans.

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Bowl

There are few recipes simpler than rice and beans. However, this bowl has a world of possibilities depending on the veggies and toppings you choose to add. Please play around with the ingredients and use this as a guide to create a yummy bowl!

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1/2 bag of rice (jasmine, brown, wild rice)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 zucchinis (or veggie of choice )
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of beans- kidney (black, northern, or your fav )
  1. Chop the zucchini and onion
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and beans
  3. Cook the rice
  4. Sauté the zucchini and onions

  5. Use oil and seasonings of choice

  6. Add the spinach to the pan with the onions and zucchini. Cook until spinach is wilted or cooked to your liking. (Option to leave spinach raw and have it as a base to the dish.)

  7. Add the beans to the pan as well to lightly cook.

  8. Add optional toppings such as Sriracha, curry sauce, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc.

  9. Enjoy

Double Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

Double Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

Healthy Balanced Snack Secrets

Snacks are so fun, aren’t they!? The best snacks are balanced, containing a carbohydrate plus some protein and/or fat. Snacks can also be a strategic way to get in more fruits and vegetables. Make these muffins as a delicious mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up. You’ll be satisfying your sweet tooth and nourishing yourself with a healthy, balanced snack. If you want to hear more about the Well Balanced Way to snack, check out our workshop on Balanced Snack Secrets. 

Cooking with Chef Christy

In this episode of cooking with Chef Christy, I bake a delicious muffin that works as a wonderful, balanced snack. While it is not your normal super light and fluffy muffin, it IS very nutritious and fun!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

These muffins make the best Well Balanced Snack! They contain carbs, fat, protein, fruits and veggies. making them balanced, nutritous and delicious.

It's a great way to use fresh zucchini and strawberries which are abundant in the summer months.

  • food processor
  • silicone muffin cups
  • cookie/muffin scoop
  • muffin tin
  • mixing bowls (2)
  • measuring cups
  • 1 cup oats (ground (or 3/4 cup oat flour) gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 zucchini (small) (grated and dried (makes about 1 cup grated))
  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries (chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or alternative)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbs coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Grind the oats in a blender to create a fine flour (or purchase oat flour).
  3. Grate the zucchini, then squeeze out the excess water in cheesecloth (or chop in a mini food processor to save time).
  4. Chop the strawberries (use a food processor to save time).
  5. Spray muffin tins with baking oil or use silicone liners.
  6. Prepare the wet ingredients:

    In a large bowl: combine the strawberries, nut butter, eggs, and vanilla and stir to combine.

  7. Prepare the dry ingredients:

    In a separate bowl: whisk the oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt, cocoa powder, and coconut sugar

  8. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

  9. Fold in the zucchini and half the chocolate chips.

  10. Scoop the batter into 12 muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 of the way full (or completely full if using silicone liners).

  11. Top the muffins with the other half of the chocolate chips.

  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  13. Let the muffins cool for 10 mins in the muffin tins, then remove and let cool on a cooling rack for a few more minutes.

Storing Options:

  • Store in the fridge for a week
  • Freeze for 1-3 months. To freeze, cool completely, and then place muffins in a freezer bag. 


Equipment Suggestions:

baked goods
dairy free, gluten free

Take A Dip

Entertaining this summer?  Make some crowd-pleasing dips. They are a convenient and delicious way to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory vegetables, spices, and healthy fats. While we love the convenience of purchased dips like packaged hummus, some brands may contain unnecessary levels of fat, sugar, salt, preservatives, and hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!

The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables [eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower] that are blended with oil or another liquid. Add flavor boosters such as tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice, and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt, and pepper, and your dip is complete. Here are some of our favorite combinations with healthy vehicles ideas:

Ingredient and flavor combinations

  • Chickpea hummus [and other beans] – The classic chickpea base is very versatile and can be made with any bean. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin to chickpeas for a traditional version. Variations include [but are not limited to] roasted red pepper, lemon kale, Moroccan carrot, roasted zucchini, kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, and creamy pesto. Try this crowd-pleasing version for Lemon Dill Hummus.
  • Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado, but the calories can be intimidating. Cut the amount of avocado in half by adding defrosted edamame beans – you will decrease the calories and increase the protein. Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh. Our Kale and Edamame Guacamole is a team favorite.
  • Roasted vegetables – Baba ganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy. Start with store-bought for this nutrient-dense and super flavorful Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip.


  • Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle-cut carrot chips or slice carrots on an angle. Baby carrots work too.
  • Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
  • Broccoli or cauliflower – Lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness – you want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.
  • Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
  • Endive – This nutrient-dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.
  • Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.
  • Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go-to vehicle.
  • Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.
  • Cherry tomatoes – We love using grape tomatoes on our crudités platters, but dipping them can be tricky. Using toothpicks can help keep your fingers free of dip.

If you are interested in more Well Balanced snack options and new recipes, join us for our monthly webinar.