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Fabulous Last Minute (and NON-Fattening) Holiday Gifts

December 19th, 2016
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arinalanis

December 2016 on Better Kansas City

December is always a wonderful time of year… Christmas lights, holiday parties, reuniting with family, seeing old friends, making new friends, lots of opportunities to use the fireplace, holiday cards,  egg nog, cake, and food, food, food!!!

I think we can agree, December is a month that may be hazardous to the waistline, so when I was invited to come up with some fun ideas for KCTV’s Channel 5 Better Kansas City, I thought I would develop a gift that was straight from my heart AND kitchen but also a healthy alternative to cookie or hot cocoa mix in a jar.

Soup, jar, healthy

Soup in A Jar – Great Holiday Gift!

PROTEIN PACKED PEA & LENTIL SOUP:

Hold on to your hats, because this soup packs a massive amount of fiber, protein, and magnesium! So easy, delicious, and super healthy! Substitute the beef bouillon cubes for vegetarian cubes, to turn this soup vegan/vegetarian friendly.

1 Cup Dried Split Peas
1/2 Cup uncooked white rice
1/2 Cup lentils
3 Tbsp Minced Onion
3 Tbsp Dried Parsley
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 beef bouillon squares
1/2 – 1 cup of elbow pasta (pack in a zip lock bag since it will be the last
step in preparation)

DIRECTIONS

1.In a wide mouth 1 quart jar, start layering the peas, rice, and lentils.
Then add the onion, parsley, salt, pepper, bouillon cubes and bagged pasta.

2. Seal with a lid, and place a gift bow on top. Attach a gift card with
ribbon that reads: Add Contents of Jar To 4-5 Quarts of Water. Bring to a boil
and then simmer for 45 minutes, add pasta, simmer for another 15 minutes and enjoy. To elevate this soup recipe, add two stalks of chopped celery, two sliced carrots, 1 cup of shredded cabbage and two cups of diced tomatoes.

soups

VAPOR RUB SHOWER BOMB

3 tablespoons of VapoRub
1 cup of corn starch
Blue and green food coloring (optional)
3 tablespoons of water
Mixing bowl
Wax paper
Spoon

DIRECTIONS

1. In a bowl add in the three tablespoons of VapoRub. You can use any variety of VapoRub you wish.

2. Stir in the cup of corn starch. Mix well. You will notice that the
VapoRub takes a little time to soften. Continue to stir until it becomes a
thick paste.
3. Add in the two tablespoons of water. The goal is to make a paste that can
easily be manipulated with your hands, since you will be creating balls out
of it. Once you see that your mixture is thick enough to work with, it may
be a good time to stop. If you pick it up and try to shape it and it falls
apart, it needs a little water. If it can’t hold a shape, it has too much
water, so add more cornstarch.

4. When your mixture is the right consistency, add several drops of green
and blue food coloring. Continue to stir. This step makes the Shower bombs look like they have mint and spearmint in them, a little visual trick.  But if you prefer to omit the food coloring, feel free. 

5. Once the color is mixed in well, scoop the mixture into your hand. It
will have a play dough feel to it. Knead it into a ball and set on a piece
of wax paper.  For a square look, pack the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, cut each rectangle in two to create smaller squares. 

6. Place in a freezer for 20-30 minutes and then put in a jar. If this is
a gift, include direction on the gift tag to place directly on the drain of
the bathtub while taking a shower. You don’t want the ball to be floating
in the bathtub water during the shower, since it can make the bathtub slick.
Placing it directly on the drain will make sure that it will melt directly
in the drain.

 

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Delicious Vegan and Vegetarian Make Ahead Salads!

March 25th, 2016
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As always, I had a wonderful time on Better Kansas City on KCTV 5!  For this show, I made delicious vegan and vegetarian salads that would be perfect for your Easter celebration or any celebration for that matter!  If there is anything I have learned while prepping for parties, it’s to make as many dishes ahead of time as possible.  I can’t tell you how much easier it makes things on the day of the event.  These salads are perfect for just that!  Each one is made from delicious ancient grains that are rich, filling, and good for you.  And if the fact that they are delicious and healthy is not enough for you,  what if I told you that the longer they stayed in the refrigerator, the better they taste?!  So now you see why I LOVE these salads and hope you will too!

Lisa Teachman and Arina Lanis

Lisa and I after our segment. Love her!!!

Quinoa, Barley, and Orzo salads

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad (lowest bowl), Mint and Green Beans Barley Salad (middle bowl), and Feta and Mint Orzo salads (top bowl) (all are on the left) and Santa Fe Quinoa Salsa with chips and bread (right)

RECIPES

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad 
You can't get more perfect than Quinoa, With its mild flavor, light crunch
and impressive protein content, quinoa is the perfect gluten-free and
non-GMO substitute for pasta, rice or couscous. The below salad is fabulous
for any party and can be prepared ahead and stored for up to three days or
more! 

Serves 6-8 

Six cups of cooked Quinoa
1 can of black beans
1 cup of cilantro 
1 cup of frozen corn or one can of canned corn
1 cup of red pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 avocado

Dressing
1/2 cup Olive oil
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 tblsp of lime juice
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
In a bowl combine your black beans, red pepper, corn, onion, cilantro, and
cooked quinoa.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, pepper and honey
together and toss over bean and corn mixture.

Refrigerator for at least 15-20 minutes

When ready to serve, add your tomato, cilantro, and avocado. Gently toss and
combine well.

If you plan on refrigerating this salad for a couple of day, leave out the
tomatoes and avocados until right before serving.

You can serve this just as a salad or add just a bit of quinoa and instead
serve the "salad" with crackers or chips, more like a dip. 

Orzo and Feta Salad with Lemon and Mint

Orzo is a delicious pasta which takes this spring and summer salad to a
whole new level.  Orzo is simple to prepare, is small in size, and has a
wonderful ability to soak in flavors from other ingredients.  It's a perfect
addition to soups, pilafs, and SALADS!!

Serves 2-4

4 cups of cooked orzo
1 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 finely diced large cucumbers (remove seeds)
4-6 oz of Feta cheese
4 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves


Dressing
1/3 cup of minced shallots
1/4 cup of Olive oil
3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients for the dressing... olive oil, shallots, lemon
juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper.  Mix until well blended.

For the salad combine cooked orzo, yellow bell pepper, cucumbers, mint, and
feta cheese.

Pour salad dressing over salad and toss well.  You can serve immediately or
for an even more intense flavor, let sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.


If you plan on making this salad a few days before eating, leave the mint
off until right before serving.

Spring and Summer Barley Salad with Mint and Green Beans

Whole grain barley is a healthy high-fiber, high-protein whole grain
boasting numerous health benefits. When cooked, barley has a chewy texture
and nutty flavor, similar to brown rice. Although soup is the most popular
way to eat barley, it was wonderful for salads as well.  

4 cups of cooked barley
1 cup of green beans (steamed and cut into one inch pieces)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots (minced)
3 (about 1 cup) ounces white mushrooms (stems discarded and sliced thin).
2 fresh lemons (juiced)
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oi in a small pan and cook the shallots unitl softened.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have given off their
liquid and it has evaporated. Add lemon juice and parsley. Salt and pepper
to taste and let cool.

When mixture is cool, pour over the barley and set aside.  Whisk together
the remaining olive oil with the juice from one lemon. Pour the mixture over
barley and toss everything until well blended.
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PEEPS Decorating Party!

March 25th, 2016
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It’s no secret, my youngest boy loves PEEPS and since his birthday falls around Easter, there is no shortage of the cute little colorful bunnies and chicks decorating store shelves and calling out our names.  So why fight it?

Each year, my kids and I purchase a crazy amount of PEEPS boxes and set out to create our PEEPS creations.  In the years past, I’ve had them create centerpieces and edible treats.  This year, we decided to create story ideas on construction paper.  We also invited a couple of their friends to join us.  The kids had a blast and came up with some funny ideas.  Next year, we are going to continue with this tradition and invite even more friends.  It’s so fun to see their imaginations take off, even if it involves marshmallow bunnies and chicks!

peepsparty-photo-01

PEEPS table, ready for some creativity!

PEEPS table, ready for some creativity!

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers as our art supplies

PEEPS Pikachu

PEEPS Pikachu

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

We used PEEPS, jelly beans, paper grass, and markers

peepsparty-photo-04

PEEPS Picnic

 

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PEEPS comics

 

peepsparty-photo-06

PEEPs Easter Egg Hunt

 

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PEEPS owl

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Healthy Valentine’s Day Yummies – Beet Hummus – No Bake Cookies – Health (ier) Chocolates!

February 9th, 2016
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arinalanis

valentines-01

As always, hanging out with the wonderful people at Better Kansas City is always a treat! On yesterday’s Valentine’s Day inspired show I showed Lisa Teachman a few fun recipes.  May I quickly add that I feel proud that I was the reason she tried beets for the first time!  You gotta love it when you can inspire people to try a fun recipe or experience a new foods!

My three recipes included a Beet Hummus (Brace yourself… this stuff is AH-MAZING!!!), No Bake Paleo Cookies, and home-made chocolates filled with fun and healthy ingredients.  So, without further delay, here are the recipes.  Enjoy!!

valentines-05

ROASTED BEET HUMMUS + BAKED HEART TORTILLA CHIPS

1 cup of roasteded beets (directions to roast below)
1 15 oz. can white kidney beans (mostly drained)
zest of one large lemon
juice of half a large lemon
healthy pinch salt and black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Slice beets into thick slices and toss in olive oil with a generous portion of salt, pepper, and your favorite dried and/or fresh herbs. I love to toss mine with dried rosemary and oregano. Roast at 400 for approximately 15-20 minutes.

2. Let beets cool and place them in a food processor. Add, olive oil, beans, lemon zest and juice, garlic, Process all ingredients until very smooth. Follow my three step rule… Process, scrape, taste. Adjust ingredients according to your taste. I love extra lemon in my hummus, so I may add a bit more as I process. Then, again… Process, scrape, taste.  Do this a total of three times and you should have your perfect hummus!

3. Serve hummus with warm pita bread, chips, crackers, or vegetables. Store extra hummus in an airtight container for up to a week.

For the above photo I used large tortillas which I cut out as hearts (with a heart cookie cutter).  Then, I brushed each heart with olive oil, sprinkled with dried dill, oregano, and garlic salt.  Baked at 375 in the oven for about 10-15 minutes… keep an eye on the tortilla chips so they don’t burn.   Let cool and serve alongside your beet hummus. These baked tortilla chips are so much healthier than the store-bought fried alternative!

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valentines-04
PALEO NO BAKE THUMBPRINT COOKIES

1 cup coconut flour sifted
2 T almond flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4- 1 cup Almond Milk
Dark chocolate
Goji Berries
Hemp Seeds

Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut flour,almond flower, and coconut palm sugar, and cinnamon. Make sure all the dry ingredients are mixed well.

Stir in the almond butter until the dough is crumbly. Using a tablespoon at a time, add the almond milk until a very thick batter is formed. Make golf sized balls with the dough and press down in the center of each to create a small ditch. Place the balls on a lined baking pan. Fill with dark chocolate and top off with god berries and hemp seeds. Refrigerate until time to serve.

valentines-02

candymelt

 

QUINOA POWER CHOCOLATES

Any kind of chocolate Chocolate or candy melts
1/2 cup of toasted Quinoa (toasting instructions below)
Small heart molds or candy molds. I purchased mine at Michael’s in the baking section

Make chocolate with your favorite recipe or melt chocolate chips or candy melts.

Add toasted Quinoa to chocolate and mix well. Fill the heart molds with the chocolate and quinoa mixture. Cool in refrigerator until fully set.  Pop out and enjoy.

HOW TO TOAST QUINOA : Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 10-15 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside. Store extra quinoa in an airtight container.

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Super Bowl Snackadium – Well, sort of!

February 9th, 2016
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What can I say, my friends know how to party!! I am just IN LOVE with this gorgeous and super sophisticated “snackadium” my friend Robynn assembled.  Most of the plates were elevated, although it’s hard to see in this photo.  And although it didn’t have a traditional stadium look, it still fit the bill.  If you think it looks good in the photo, you should have seen it live in person!  I also loved that she incorporated some healthy buffet items.  Two thumbs up!!

superbowl-01

superbowl-02

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Beans, Beans, Glorious Beans – Oh, and Avocados too!! (Chickpea Blondies, Black Bean Brownies, and Avocado Chocolate Mousse)

December 14th, 2015
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ontv3

Hanging out with Courtenay DeHoff and Lisa Teachman!

ontv2

It’s always a fun segment when I get to hang out in the kitchen with the always stylish… Rob Finnerty!


My last show of 2015 was a blast at KCTV5’s Better Kansas City! I know, I know, I keep saying that after every show but it’s true! Every single person who works at Better Kansas City, both in front and behind the scenes, are approachable, super friendly, down-to-earth, and hysterical! And although I am a crazy ball of nerves before the show, everyone has always done everything possible to make me feel comfortable and welcomed. I just have so much love and respect for all of them!

But of course, I must get down to business so here are the delicious recipes from today's show!
 
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CHIP CHICKPEA BLONDIES

No butter, no flour and absolutely delicious!!! (Vegan, gluten-free, dairy
free, flour-free)

1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup of peanut butter (you can use almond butter if you prefer)
1/2 cup of agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven 350 and spray 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray or rub
with coconut oil.
2. In food processor, process all ingredients except for the chocolate
chips.  You will notice that the batter is super thick, which is the way it
is supposed to be.  Fold in the chocolate chips but leave some for
sprinkling on top.
3. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and sprinkle with the remainder of
the chocolate chips.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out
clean. Cool for an hour.

VEGAN AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

2 large ripe avocados
1/4 cup of raw cocoa powder
1/4 cup of coconut milk or almond milk
3 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp of natural vanilla extract

PREPARATION

1. Puree the avocado until smooth (super important... you don't want any
lumps)
2. In a mixing bowl, mix the cocoa powder and milk until combined.  
3. Add the avocado to the cocoa powder and milk mixture
4.  Add nectar, vanilla, and any other ingredients you wish to add (frozen
fruit, almonds, etc.)

Transfer the mouse to individual martini glasses and chill in the fridge.

The key to this recipe is to make sure that the mouse is WELL CHILLED and
FRESH.  Also, make sure that the avocado is well pureed. 

BLACK BEAN AVOCADO BROWNIES (VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN FREE) 
If you would like to make this recipe vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, replace the egg with a Flax Egg.

1. 1 large egg
1- 15 oz can of low sodium and non flavored black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large avocado
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (you can use more if you like your brownies
sweeter)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips 

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 baking pan.
2.  Process egg, black beans, avocado, vanilla, and brown sugar until
smooth.  Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, baking soda, and baking powder and
process again. Warning: Batter will be thick. If the batter is too thick,
you can add two tbsp of almond milk.  But thick batter is good, so don't
overdo it!  
3. Fold in the chocolate chips
4. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with some
chocolate chips
5.  Bake 25-35 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.  Make sure
that the top of the batter is not jiggling and is well set. Cool completely,
cut and serve.
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SIMPLE VEGGIE PLATE

November 5th, 2015
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veggieplate

Sometimes the simplest thing can be the most beautiful on your table.  That is what I love most about fruits and vegetables, they are so gorgeous and no matter how you arrange them, they WILL look beautiful.  This simple vegetable platter was created by my sister for one of our parties a few weeks ago.  I bought a large vegetable tray at Sam’s and I’ve used it non-stop for YEARS!!  I don’t even bother putting it away, because it gets used on a regular basis.  It looks great with all kinds of things, but it looks the BEST with fruits and vegetables.  My sister also made sure to separate the colors, which plays a big part in presentation.  But all in all, it was one of the simplest food items at our party and the most popular!

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A Veggie Kaleidoscope With Beet Hummus – FABULOUS Veggie Plate!

November 4th, 2015
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veggiekaleidoscope

I don’t know if you heard the news, but the Kansas City Royals won the World Series!!  It’s a pretty big deal in KC.  In fact, they closed all the schools yesterday so that everyone can enjoy the Rally and Parade.  Over half a million people attended and it was a celebration like no other!  And while most of Kansas City was enjoying the parade, I decided to skip the crowds and instead, had a watch party at my house.   My friend brought over delicious Dean and Deluca salads, while I created this vegetable platter.  Unfortunately, no blue vegetables (Royals color)… but this  Kaleidoscope of colors did the trick!  The Beet and White Bean hummus was delicious.  I found the recipe on Marthastewart.com and played around a little with the ingredients, which I will post at a later date.  But for now,  Martha’s Beet and White Bean Hummus recipe is very good!!

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DELICIOUS VEGGIE WHEEL PLATE

November 3rd, 2015
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veggiewheel

Who wouldn’t love a Veggie Wheel Plate at your next gathering?!  You don’t need those fancy schmancy veggie bowls with the separate compartments for your vegetables, just make your own.  I used different colored carrots to separate the vegetables.  It was easy and beautiful.

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ALL WHITE CRUDITES or VEGGIE PLATTER

November 2nd, 2015
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vegetable plate

Delicious all white vegetable plate

If you think that vegetable platters need to be an assortment of colors, I beg to differ.  I served this all white crudités at last year’s holiday party and it was a hit!  Most people are so impressed to see that vegetables come in all sorts of different colors, like white asparagus.  It’s one of those “surprise” elements I like to incorporate into all my parties.  Alternatively, creating a colorful veggie plate with purple cauliflower or heirloom tomatoes, also gets “oohs and aahhs” from guests!

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