This is a recipe I’ve been making for 28 years. It was recommended to me by a naturopathic physician from John Bastyr. I love so many things about it: Simple, easy to transport and completely full of everything good for you! I feel like if I start my day this way every day, I’ve got a leg up on my week. Give it a try!

Lemon Coconut Balls

Over the years, I’ve learned how satisfying having a little treat is, both for me and for family and guests.

Kids love to have something delicious but I’m not always crazy about what’s available commercially so making my own treats has always been attractive to me. I love to have something sweet to serve after dinner or with tea, and this is a perfect solution!

Blending dates, oats and some kind of flavorings like lemon or peanut butter or cacao usually can’t go wrong and I have made lots of variations of these “balls” but I think this is my favorite!

I’ve posted about the benefits of oats, dates, AND lemon in the past…everything in this recipe has a benefit for you. You could make them without the vanilla JP Complete powder… just might want to play around with more oats to get the consistency right.

I like adding the powder as it adds tons more nutrition: spirulina, pomegranate and pumpkin powder, ancient grains, sprouts as well as a plant-based protein blend (and a lot more!) If you message me, I can tell you where you can get it!

Mango Sorbet and Berries

All I can say is YUM! Choices for vegan, gluten-free desserts are usually quite slim…often just fruit. This simple-to-assemble dessert is a staple at our house. I always make sure to have Trader Joe’s Mango Sorbet, Limoncello and fresh berries on hand. (frozen will work, in a pinch) This dessert makes any dinner end on a special note. (you could leave out the limoncello, if you don’t care for adding alcohol)

Now, some of my viewers may think this isn’t really a recipe…and you’re right! It’s more of an idea but I just had to share it with you.

The dish you use can make all the difference; I love fancy!

I just start with a generous scoop of the sorbet, a handful of the berries (I prefer raspberries and blueberries) and a splash of the limoncello over the top…it kind of makes little crystals…really cool texture! You can play around with toppings but in the years that I’ve been making this little gem, I have to say this combination is my favorite!

Apart from the small amount of alcohol in the limoncello and sugar in the sorbet, this dessert carries many health benefits! Berries, mangos and lemons are such power-houses.

I’ve written about mango and lemons in past seaons so let’s focus on berries. They are one of the most nutrient foods on the planet.

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, that may help keep memory sharp as you age, and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. All berries are great sources of fiber, a nutrient important for a healthy digestive system. But if you need more reasons to dig into summer’s sun-kissed little fruits, look no further than two new studies, which suggest that berries may be good for your heart and your bones as well.

In a study of 72 middle-age people published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health.

Polyphenols like ellagic acid and anthocyanins may increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that produces a number of heart-healthy effects. One is helping to relax blood vessels, which subsequently results in lowered blood pressure. Polyphenols may also help preserve bone density after menopause, according to new research in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. More research is needed but the data suggest that eating even a small amount of blueberries each day—perhaps as little as 1/4 cup—could be good for anyone’s bones. (source:

Walnut Cranberry Hummus

I love, love, love this dish! I felt it needed more of everything (garlic, rosemary, salt, lemon, cranberries and walnuts) and the second time I made it, I added all of the above and loved it event more! Already, I’ve decided that this is one of my “go-to” dishes for all parties…super simple yet special and beautiful (way better than that store bought stuff…) AND so good for us!

I’ve talked a lot about the health benefits of beans, garlic and walnuts in other episodes so today I want to mention how beneficial rosemary and cranberries! Rosemary can help to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory and hair growth! Wow! Who knew? Cranberries, of course, really aid in urinary tract health but also may help to lower blood pressure and thus, positively impact our circulatory system. Hard to believe that something this delicious can be this good for us!

I REALLY like it with the red lentil flatbread from earlier in the season!


Cucumber Rolls

I LOVED the idea of this recipe and it was the first one I tried for this season. I am always on the look out for “fancy” dishes that I can use for parties and this one sounded like it might fit the bill.

First the positives: love using cucumbers as the “wrapper”: they’re great for your skin as they aid in detoxification, which also helps promote a healthy weight. Red peppers are super high in vitamin C (anti-cancer) and can improve night vision because of the high folate levels. I used more than the recipe called for and I liked the way the red looked with the green and white of the cucumber and hummus. Using hummus is always a positive, no matter what it’s made from: chickpeas, white beans, etc…beans are great for us on every level!

Then the Ho No Chevre Pure! OMG…I’m definitely in love with this product…a very unique flavor. Made with cashews, lemon, and nutritional yeast, we get all the health benefits of these ingredients along with the amazing taste and NO milk! Yay!

Now, the drawbacks: for an unaccomplished chef, getting the cucumber sliced as thin as it should be will be a challenge, as it was for me. I might try asking the deli counter at my grocery store to slice them…great idea! I was able to soften them a bit by salting them and storing them in the fridge overnight. (I like the flavor the salt added)

These remind me of my eggplant roll ups and I think rather than spread the ingredients over the whole surface, it might be easier to concentrate them at the beginning of the roll up.

Overall, I loved the flavor and the look of the ones I actually successfully arranged but they were pretty time-consuming. I’m definitely going to try this recipe again and would love to perfect them for summertime gatherings.

cucumber roll

Joy’s Ice “Cream”

In this episode, I used frozen and dried mango, coconut flakes and coconut milk but yo should experiment to get the flavor and consistency you desire. Many folks like to use frozen bananas as a base for their creamy texture that gives an end product more similar to ice cream. Adding citrus (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) will give more of a sorbet taste and feel.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Oh, my gosh! I grew up with that little ditty as a REAL thing…every day! Although we didn’t have much money growing up, we always seemed to have one of those giant plastic buckets with vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I had a big bowl of ice cream almost every day!

Maybe you also have an ice cream habit and even though you eat a pretty healthy diet, this is your one weakness. And you probably like “really good” ice cream, right? Not the stuff in the plastic bucket. Can’t be that bad for me, right?

Well, consider this: half a cup of premium ice cream contains between 17 and 25 grams of fat, depending on the flavor and brand you choose. 1 slice of cooked bacon contains between 3 and 4 grams of fat. That means when you have ½ c of ice cream, you are basically eating the equivalent of up to 6 slices of bacon. And lets get real: who stops at ½ a cup? Most of us consider the little pint-sized containers it comes in to be 1-2 servings…. you do the math!

This is a super easy recipe to make, especially if you have a high-powered blender, which I recommend for every well-equipped kitchen. I personally like Vita-Mix but there are several good ones out there.

Try your own version of this simple recipe and get your friends and family involved. Find your favorite twist and adopt a whole new “ice cream” habit!

No Bake Brownies

Note: These can also be made into bars by pressing the dough into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper, then placing the pan in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and slice the mixture into bars. Again, store these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Makes 12-14 bites

Many of us CRAVE treats! Many of us CRAVE chocolate! This recipe is so great because it satisfies AND is actually good for us! There are several different variations of this recipe, some involve grains, seeds, etc. I will probably feature them in the future…stay tuned!

All of the ingredients in this treat is PACKED with health benefits. We have talked about nuts and nut butters in the past so:

The Benefits:

Let’s talk about Dates!

A Summary Of Dates Health Benefits: Dates Are Great For:

  • Weight loss
  • Relieving constipation, supporting regular bowel movements
  • Promoting heart health, reducing heart disease risk
  • Diarrhea
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Impotence
  • Promoting respiratory and digestive health
  • Pregnancy deliveries
  • Hemorrhoid prevention
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Reducing colitis risk
  • Preventing colon cancer

Now How About Chocolate?

There are actually many health benefits associated with chocolate! Aren’t you glad? The secret is to not get all the other stuff many chocolate candies include.

5 Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao

  • 40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries.
  • Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron.
  • Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Heart & Brain.
  • More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk
  • A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-Depressant.

Joy Creates Hotel Cuisine

The holidays! Such a fun time to travel for family get-togethers! It can also be a horrible time for weight gain, lethargy and illness. Much of this has to do with getting out of our normal routine, not exercising like we normally do, more meals than we normally eat, fewer healthful choices that we would normally make.

In addition to the recipes in this little book, I also suggest that you go into each holiday phase with your own “survival kit” of better food choices so that when you go to a holiday function, you’re not starving AND you’ve gotten some good stuff in your body and have set yourself up for better choices.

I call this section “hotel cuisine” but even if you’re not staying at a hotel, consider stocking your kitchen (or the kitchen where you will be staying) with some quick things to grab. If you ARE in a hotel, I always ask for a fridge to be put in my room and sometimes, as in the video that accompanies this, I have to get creative and use the mini-bar or even an ice bucket! Planning ahead makes it work.

If you’re able to get to a grocery store once at your destination, this can be easier but I’ve made do with what I can get in my bag, as well!


Raw almonds & Cashews mixed with dried cranberries. (Any mixture of nuts and dried fruit will do. I suggest making your own to ensure quality and absence of those chocolate pieces lots of “trail mix” has in them,) remember that if you are watching your weight, a handful or 2 of this is plenty.

Your favorite snack bars (ask me if you want to know what I use!)

Fresh Fruit. If you’re bringing from home, I suggest “sturdy” choices: apples, even grapes and berries in containers. Avoid things like pears and bananas as they can get “smushed” and all over everything. If I bring berries, I like to take them along when having breakfast out to add flavor and nutrition to the meal. I like to do this with avocados at any meal!

Baby carrots, cut up celery, red peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Hummus and/or nut butter. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to take these through security so either check in a bag (well sealed) or buy at your destination.

Gluten free crackers or baked chips (lentil, corn, etc.)

I’ve even brought left-over healthy dishes with me!

My number one tip and strategy, however, is to start each day with a whole food shake. Not just a protein shake but one that is dairy free, high in fiber and contains really quality ingredients. I usually just bring a shaker and use water or I pack a tetra pack of plant milk, if I’m checking a bag or buy a container of it at my destination. I also know that you can freeze any of these liquids and they will pass through security as long as it is still frozen. (U.S. rules…did not work last time I went to Canada!) I have gone so far as to pack my nutri-bullet when I want to entice my husband to join me in this healthy way to start the day!
(Ask me, if you want to know what smoothie mix I like best!)