Let’s geek out and find your passion!!

I have something super exciting to share with you. I just posted the very first video for melissatrinidad.com on YouTube!!! Click here to watch.  I am so excited that it is up and can’t wait for you to see it!  We all need to identify our passions and live them if we truly want to live happy, authentic lives, so here are some tips. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Craving Sweetness in Your Life? Reach for the Sweeter Things, and I Don’t Mean the Cookies.

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Add sweetness to your life. You’ll need less from your food.

Do you have a sweet tooth?  You are far from alone. Many of us do. Sugary treats are sweet and delicious.  But beware! Anything more than the rare treat can wreak havoc on our bodies. Sugar lowers our pH levels making our bodies an ideal environment for cancer proliferation and disease. It rots our teeth, ages our skin and often leads to weight gain. Increased sugar in the blood stream taxes the pancreas too, possibly leading to insulin resistance or diabetes. YIKES!  Who knew that dessert could do such a thing?!?

No doubt about it, sugar can also be very addictive for some individuals. Eat a little and you crave more and more. But here is the big question… Are your cravings physical or emotional

When those cravings hit, take a moment to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Do I really need something sweet to eat, or am I craving more sweetness in my life?”  Food is a quick, easy replacement for true sweetness, but it often leaves us feeling remorse or even shame.  “Why did I eat that?” “I shouldn’t have.”  Either way, you are going to have to deal with your feelings.  So you get to choose, will it be before hand while you determine what you are truly craving, or afterwards when you are beating yourself up for it.  Please remember a sweet, enjoyable experience should never leave you with an emotional hangover or regret. 

If your body needs some quick energy, and your blood sugar is starting to dip, then of course, you need to eat something sweet.  If that’s the case, then why not reach for a sweet, juicy piece of fresh fruit?  Not only will you be giving your body the quick carbohydrate that it needs, you’ll also be nourishing your body with needed fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that it needs to perform optimally.   What an act of self-love! All while indulging in something sweet and delicious.  Its a win-win!  If you are used to very sugary, processed treats then it may take a while to appreciate the sweetness of “nature’s candy”, but as your body adjusts to less processed sugar, so will your taste buds.

So what are some ways you can add a little sweetness to your own life, without food?  Is it a chat with a friend, a spa treatment, giving to others, a form of creative expression, meditation?  It will be different for everyone.  But I encourage you to just listen to your inner guide, your intuition.  It will never steer you wrong.  I invite you to try incorporating at least one of these “sweet treats” into your day, everyday.  See what happens.  You may find that you crave sweet foods less.  And if you care to share, please leave a comment below and let me know how you plan to add more sweetness to your life. I’d love to hear from you!

Have a sweet day!

Welcome to the new site!!

Hi there!  I’m so glad you found us!  Welcome to holistic happiness!  Are you ready to find more joy and happiness in your life?  Awesome!  Get ready because we are going to embark on a journey to help you become more authentic, improve your connections with others, nourish yourself body and soul and so much more.

A while back I started a little blog where I posted plant-based, family friendly recipes. That was the start.  Now we’re on to bigger and better things.  Get ready of a lot of great information coming your way!!!  To get the scoop on what this “Holistic Happiness” thing is all about, click on the link in the menu on the left.  Stay tuned for inspiring and informative new posts!  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.

WAIT!  Make sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss a thing!

Yummy Nutty “Truffle” Bites

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Well, the big V day will be here before we know it. (Valentine’s Day that is, Feb.14th)  Why not show your sweetheart how much you care by giving him/her a sweet treat that is actually GOOD for their heart.  These do pack a bit of a calorie punch (with all of those nuts), but they also pack in fiber, calcium, vitamin E and other nutrients that you can’t get with candy.

The ones pictured here were actually made by my (almost) 9 year old son this morning. He wanted to bring something to school for snack that was going to fill him up, give him energy and not take forever to eat.  There is playing that needs to be done at recess too, you know!  These worked out great; way better than a granola bar and easy enough for a child to make.  Can’t get much better than that!

They also provide a great opportunity to get creative.  Not a fan of almonds? Fine, try pistachios.  Love dried blueberries?  Go ahead, throw them in the mix! Have fun with it! The original recipe that gave us the foundation for these was found in Chef AJ’s book Unprocessed.  But we have since made  some of our own changes.  Enjoy!

YUMMY NUTTY TRUFFLE BITES

INGREDIENTS

about 2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup almond butter

1/3 cup pitted dates

1/4 cup dried cherries or dried apricots (or a little bit of both!)

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Place the coconut in a small dish  and set aside Place all ingredients (except the coconut) in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse for a while, until everything is chopped pretty finely and sticks together well.  Take a tablespoon at a time of the mixture and roll into a tight ball (If they are not compact, they’ll fall apart easily.).  Roll the balls in the coconut and place in an airtight container.  That’s it!  Store in the refrigerator or just dole them out right then and there.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

This a.m. I was in the mood to bake and had a cup of left over pumpkin puree in the fridge that needed to be used.  My first thought was pumpkin oatmeal cookies, bejeweled with cranberries.  Fortunately I came across this wonderful recipe on the Vegan Yack Attack website.  Click here for the original post and recipe.  These babies are so full of flavor without any oil, eggs, dairy, nuts or refined sugar.  Of course I can’t leave anything alone, so I switched out the whole wheat flour with spelt flour, used date paste (pureed dates and water) as the sweetener, and added an extra pinch of ground clove. Cloves add such a great earthiness and depth.  Enjoy!

Pesto and Marinara Eggplant Bake

Tender eggplant, savory pesto, homemade marinara and cheezy tofu ricotta come together to make an incredible dish!  Serve with a warm crusty baguette and fresh green salad.  And don’t forget the red wine!  If you want to go the quick and easy route, just use prepared pesto and pasta sauce, and skip down to the tofu ricotta part of the recipe.

Marinara

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, choped
  • 4-6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes (or 1 qt.)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 tsp. dried)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano (1 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • crushed red pepper and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat about 3 Tablespoons of water in a large pot.  When bubbly, add onions and garlic.  Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add peppers and mushrooms. Cook until moisture from mushrooms is released and evaporates.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 min – 1 hour.
  4. Turn off heat and if you desire a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender to reach desired consistency. You could also just transfer some of the sauce to a blender and puree it there, if you prefer.

Pesto

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds (or walnuts)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend or pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Store in an air-tight container.  You will have a lot left over. 🙂

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 large package firm tofu, drained
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 shakes of garlic powder
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mash drained tofu until roughly the consistency of ricotta cheese.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.

Tofu Bake Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slice 1 large eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices.
  3. Spoon just enough marinara in to cover the bottom of the pan
  4. Lay eggplant in a single layer (or double up if necessary) on top of the sauce.
  5. Top eggplant with ricotta mixture, then the rest of the sauce.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of pesto onto the top and gently spread them out a bit with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.