Thrive Nutrition and Wellness Coaching

Creating healthier lives….

Exciting News….and Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream Sauce

So….first the exciting news.  I’m starting a new series of cooking classes.  Cooking & baking classes will be located at the Eleanor Grace Design House located between Canby and Aurora.  For more information, check out

The first class will be held on Thursday evening from 7-9pm and is titles, “Comforting Autumn Soups.”  We will be making Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili, Spicy African Peanut Stew, Potato-Fennel Soup with Sweet Potato Muffins and Maple Pumpkin Butter. Yum.  Class is $35 a person and includes samples, of course!


Maple Cinnamon Cashew Cream Sauce

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 3-8 hours

almond milk (1/2-1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

small pinch of nutmeg

large pinch of cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place soaked cashews in a blender.  Add a little almond milk (about 1/2 cup) and blend.  Stop and scrape the sides down.  Keep adding a little almond milk until mixture is smooth and desired consistency.  If you would like a thicker sauce, don’t add to much almond milk.  Add rest of ingredients and keep blending.  Serve over pumpkin pie, with fruit or any way a sweet sauce might be used.  Enjoy!

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Cranberry, Raisin and Orange Scones

This recipe was adapted (and changed some) from a book called Scatter Vegan Sweets.  The author is Wendy Gabbe Day…an amazing baker!

Gluten and dairy free scones made from wholesome ingredients.  Yummm.

1/3 cup brown rice flour

2 3/4 cup oat flour (grind your own from oats in a blender, way cheaper)

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

3 Tbsp. flax meal

1/4 raisins

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts

1 orange, zested (save zest), then peeled

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Mix first 6 ingredients.  In a blender, blend walnuts.  Add entire peeled orange, zest of the orange and maple syrup to the blender and blend well.  Mix wet and dry ingredients together.  (It should be very thick.)  Add more brown rice flour if dough is even slightly sticky.  Shape into a circle on top of a silpat or lightly greased baking sheet.  Make sure there is a little brown rice flour under the dough.  Cut in half, then cut into triangles.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned.  Transfer to a wire rack after 3-4 minutes and cool.

Nutritional Info: (14 big scones)

202 calories, 5 fat, 34 carbs, 5.4 protein, 4 grams of fiber

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Chili-Lime Roasted Butternut Squash

Um, yum…that’s all I can say.  Well…and for those of you who don’t ‘like’ squash, try this recipe and maybe I’ll change your mind?

1 medium size butternut squash, peeled, cored and cut into bite size chunks

2-3 Tbsps of each:

chili powder

garlic powder

1-2 Tbsps onion powder

2-3 tsp. cumin

Juice of 1/2 lime

salt to taste

First, peel the butternut squash by starting with the big end. Cut the top and bottom off of squash and discard. Cut peeled squash in half, separating the top from the bottom.  Cut the bottom side in half and scoop out the seeds.  Next cut all the squash in bite size pieces.  Lay on a silpat or greased baking sheet.  Spray water on to coat. (You can use Pam spray, but I prefer to use water.) Sprinkle on the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin.  Roast in oven at 425 degrees for about 35-45 minutes.  Right before serving, juice lime and sprinkle onto squash.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Mix well and serve.  I enjoy mine on a bed of greens.

Nutritional Info: This really depends on the size of your squash. I cup of squash equals about 80 calories.

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Tex Mex Brown Rice Bowls

A delicious, satisfying and nourishing meal for lunch or dinner…

4 cups greens, your choice (I used Romaine)

2 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 cheese sauce recipe (you can find this one in a post in early to mid August…you HAVE to use this, it makes the dish!)

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup red onions, diced finely

1/2 cup sliced olives (about 12)

fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Layer in order of the ingredients listed above in big bowls.  Serve.

Nutritional Info: 265 calories per bowl

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Hazelnut, Cinnamon and Nutmeg Pancakes

The kids asked me for pancakes this morning. Usually, I make pancakes with some kind of fruit in them, but as we are in desperate need for a trip to the store, (because it’s summer and I tend to be a bit lazy with getting errands done…)  I didn’t have much fruit to choose from.  So, I came up with these.  And they both gave me A+’s…so I thought I had better share the recipe.

1 cup WHOLE wheat flour or WHOLE wheat pastry flour (whatever flour you choose, make sure the word WHOLE is listed in front of the flour.)

2 tsp. flax meal

large pinch of sea salt

large pinch of nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup roasted ground hazelnuts

2 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice, honey or agave

1/3 cup almond milk

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet.  Being careful not to overmix, mix wet and dry together. In a lightly greased skillet,  drop batter to make pancakes.  Flip when golden.  Cook and flip until golden on the other side.  Serve with natural nut butter and a little drizzle of agave or pure maple syrup.

Makes 7 pancakes.

Nutritional Info (per pancake): 110 calories, 2.85 grams fat, 19.4 grams carb, 3 grams protein, 3.1 grams fiber

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Moist & Dense Hazelnut Brownies (that are healthy)

These brownies are moist, dense and not too sweet.  They are made of wholesome ingredients that I would okay for even…dare I say it, breakfast.

2 cups oat flour (about 2 1/2 cups oats, blended into a flour in a blender.)

1/2 cup carob powder (or cocoa powder)

1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, ground in blender

1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2/3 cup almond milk (either plain or vanilla…I used vanilla)

3/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce

1/3 heaping cup honey (these brownies aren’t very sweet…for a sweeter brownie use 1/2-3/4 cup)

1 1/2-2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or more)

1/2 tsp. almond extract (NO more…use exact amount.)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (OPTIONAL, does not count in caloric evaluation.)

Mix dry ingredients.  Mix wet ingredients.  Being careful to not overmix, fold wet into dry ingredients. Spread into a lightly greased 8″x8″ pan.  (I use glass.)  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.  Spread with peanut butter. Serve.

Nutritional info (for 8 servings)

Per serving: calories 184, fat 4.8 grams, carbs 31.2 grams, protein 5.4 grams, fiber 3.4 grams


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“Cheese” Sauce with Roasted Purple Potatoes

This sauce is so darn yummy.  It is low fat, dairy free and a super healthy version of a nacho cheese sauce.  The star ingredient is pumpkin…but not to worry, the pumpkin flavor takes back stage and with the help of the other ingredients, the “cheese” flavor really stands out.

In the picture, we served it over roasted purple potatoes, but you can use this sauce in a myriad of ways…in tacos, over brown rice, with whole wheat or brown rice macaroni or over roasted root vegetables.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder

7 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. chili powder

scant 1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2-1 tsp. sea salt, more for taste

1 can pumpkin (I like Libby’s best. Do NOT use pumpkin pie mix.)

In a bowl, mix arrowroot powder and almond milk until completely mixed with no lumps. (Use a whisk.)  In a saucepan turned to low-medium heat, add mixture and cook for 4-7 minutes or until thickened.  Turn heat to low.  Add pumpkin and mix well.  Serve over top roasted potatoes or any other dish that could use a delicious “cheese” sauce.

Nutritional Information for the sauce: (4 servings)

66.25 calories, >1 gram fat, 11.72 grams of carbs, 4.1 grams of protein, 3.68 grams of fiber

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Simple Wraps with Zucchini Hummus


These simple wraps utilize a delicious zucchini hummus. If you can’t tolerate beans well, try making this easy hummus and replacing it wherever you would normally use hummus.  It’s delicious in wraps, as a dip or a spread.

Romaine Lettuce Leaves

Fresh Tomatoes, sliced

For the Zucchini Hummus:

1 1/2 small to medium zucchini (green or yellow), cut into small chunks

1 Tbsp. Tahini

2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

1-2 Tbsp. Bragg’s Amino Acids or Soy Sauce

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 small to medium cloves of garlic, diced

1 Tbsp. Oatmeal

Mix all hummus ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Spread onto romaine leaves and top with fresh tomatoes. Wrap like a taco and enjoy.

Nutritional Info:

Zucchini Hummus: Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 57 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 6.75 grams carbs, 4 grams protein, 2.25 grams fiber

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Watermelon “Cake”

There seems to be an overwhelming amount of birthdays, BBQ’s and events during the summertime…not to mention 4th of July.  Try a healthy alternative to cake…and create a watermelon “cake” for your next bash.

One large watermelon

A variety of assorted fruit and berries

Toothpicks and skewers

Slice the top and bottom off of the watermelon.  Slice the top third off.  Make cuts straight down along the sides of the larger piece and small piece to create a round “cake” shape.  Place smaller piece on top of the larger and secure with 3 skewers. With cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.  Secure with toothpicks and skewers.

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Healthy Waffles

My family absolutely adores breakfast for dinner…any breakfast-like item, including waffles.  Filled with wholesome ingredients like oats, flax meal and bananas, these tasty gems have surely become a favorite in the Carlson household. (And they are super, super quick to make too.)

2 cups oats, old fashion is what I use, but I’m sure quick cooking would work fine as well

1/4 cup flax meal

1 cup water

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 Tbsp. agave

One large banana

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

large pinch of salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix.  Scrape down if necessary.  Fill a waffle iron with batter and cook until done, mine took about 4-7 minutes to fully cook.

Serve with natural nut butter, fresh sliced fruit and a little drizzle of agave or honey.

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