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P1120877This last weekend, my second son was baptized. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful baptism and it’s always beautiful to have my family all together. Entertaining in our tiny, temporary campus home is always a bit of a trick but feeding all these people a tasty, healthy meal was a piece of cake.

I’ve had quite a few recipe requests, so here goes:

I was going for easy — as little prep as possible and totally customizable.

Post-baptism luncheon

Post-baptism luncheon

I’ve gotten really big on build-it-yourself meals. This way you can accommodate picky eaters, gluten-free eaters, and others with special dietary needs.

Taco salads fit the bill for just about any occasion. I made a rice and bean salad that could go in the taco salad or on the side and we had chips, salsa and guac, along with pita chips and hummus for non-salad-lovers and general snackage. I had some veggies to put out with the hummus but ran out of time/room. I don’t think there was any room left on plates either though, so that’s okay. My wonderful mother-in-law provided the yummy, gorgeous fruit plate!

Taco Salads

Rice and Bean salad (recipe below)
Crockpot beans (recipe below)
Chopped romaine
Mixed greens
Tortilla chips or corn tortilla strips
Sliced baby bell peppers
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Sliced green onions
Salsa (the tub from Costco with the yellow lid- can bespicy)
Guacamole (again, Costco pre-made)
Lime wedges (which stayed in the fridge, forgot to put them out)
And I put out Ranch dressing for the kids

This salad doesn’t need dressing. The bean broth, salsa and lime make a great dressing without adding any effort or extra calories. Add guacamole for a creamier version.

Rice and Bean Salad


3 cups cooked basmati rice
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 green onions, sliced
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I usually leave it out)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix in a big bowl, chill for at least one hour (overnight is best) and enjoy on it’s own, on a salad or in a pita.

Tweaked ever so slightly from One Perfect Bite

Crockpot Beans

3 cups dry pinto beans, well rinsed
9 cups water
2-3 bay leaves

Cook on low for 6-8 hours

Then add:

Chili powder (lots, to taste)
Cumin (lots, to taste- almost equal to chili powder)
Garlic powder (or garlic salt)

Set to warm for another couple hours or high for a bit until flavor is absorbed. Keep beans in the fridge to use throughout the week.

Fruit and Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine in a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped (optional, but recommended)
1 cup dried fruit (I use 1/2 craisins, and 1/2 raisins)

Combine in small bowl:

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and then drop onto parchment paper, a nonstick baking pan or a greased cookie sheet. These stick badly on a regular cookie sheet due to the lack of fat.

Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your cookies. Edges should be golden brown. These freeze really great and are perfect for school lunches and snacks

Slightly tweaked from these No Sugar Oat Drops

Brownie bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 cup almond flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour for the gf ones)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or stevia)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 well mashed banana
4-5 ounces dark chocolate chips (I use the large ones)


Lightly grease your mini-muffin tin (nonstick might work?) or an 8×8 pan.

Mix dry ingredients (minus chocolate chips) in a large bowl and wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir. Add chocolate chips and then drop batter into muffin pan, even with the top or just over.

Bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Watch these closely the first time you make them- all ovens are different.

Leave out the chocolate chips for a totally guilt-free treat!

Tweaked from Healthy Pumpkin Brownies