Top 12 of ’12: Vitacost Recipes and Healthy Foods You Loved

It’s been a  delicious  (and healthy) year! Plates were piled high with colorful salads. Meatless Mondays trickled over into Tuesdays (and Wednesdays and Thursdays”¦). You kicked gluten to the curb. Burned out your blender on micro-greens smoothies. Fell harder in love with chocolate than you ever thought possible, once you tasted it raw.

From better-for-you breakfasts to dairy-free desserts, Vitacost has shared a virtual cookbook full of tasty, nutritious recipes with you in 2012. In case you didn’t bookmark them the first time around, here they are again””along with some of the most raved about healthy foods we were proud to bring to your table (for less!) this year.

1. Cuckoo for Coconut: Vitacost Coconut Oil
This is no ordinary crush. When it comes to coconut oil, Vitacost customers are deeply, madly in love””and they don’t hesitate to shout it from the rooftops! For baking, cooking and homemade-skin-and-hair-care-concoction making, 5-star-rated Vitacost Coconut Oil is your number one choice for flavor, quality and value.

2. Recipe: Coconut-Fried Pumpkin Cakes
Speaking of coconut oil, next up on the list is this chart-topping recipe from  healthy dish  developer, Maura Knowles. These bright-colored, savory-tasting pumpkin cakes are lightly fried in coconut oil, and””like potato pancakes””served with applesauce or cashew cream for dipping.

3. Sweet on Honey: Y.S. Organic Bee Farms Raw Honey
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, raw honey is a hit in the world of healthy foods””and for good reason. This unfiltered, unprocessed, naturally sweet sensation contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients that add an instant nutritious boost to any beverage or food. Spoon it into tea, spread it on toast or sneak it straight from the jar (we won’t tell!).

4. Recipe: Eggplant “Skinny Fries”
Of course you want fries with that””but all those extra calories and fat grams? No thanks. Luckily, Vitacost blogger Amie Valpone shared her recipe for a healthier version, made from thinly sliced eggplant, splashed with fresh-squeezed orange juice, coated with coconut flakes and baked to crispy perfection.

5. Crazy About Chia: Vitacost Chia Seeds
Kitschy clay planters may come to mind first when you hear the word “chia,” but that began to change in 2012. Heralded as one of the hottest superfoods of the year, chia seeds add fiber, protein, omega-3s and more to anything they’re sprinkled on. When mixed with liquid, they transform into a gel that can be blended into smoothies or used in baking recipes.

6. Recipe: Cacao Chia Cake
This mouthwatering confection calls for not one, not two, but three favorite ingredients of our health-conscious customers””though you’d never guess a slice is actually good for you. Gelled chia seeds, coconut oil and raw cacao powder are combined to create a luscious, bakery-box worthy cake. Happy birthday, indeed!

7. Revved Up for Raw: Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao
As powder, paste, nibs and butter, raw cacao flew off Vitacost shelves in 2012. Not the same as “cocoa,” raw cacao (pronounced “kah-COW”) is a bean, from the cacao plant. All the chocolate you know and love starts with this stuff””so imagine the goodness in its purest, most concentrated form. Add to that antioxidants, magnesium, iron and other potent plant nutrients. What’s not to love?

8. Recipe: Raw Chocolate-Strawberry Paleo Protein Smoothie
Paleo was the way to go this year, at least for some of our smart shoppers. But whether or not you dabbled in this back-to-basics diet, you jumped for joy when we shared this protein-packed, raw chocolate-strawberry smoothie recipe from Nell Stephenson, a.k.a. The Paleoista. A creative way to use raw cacao nibs, this smoothie also stands out for its unique main ingredients: icy-cold green tea and a scoop of raw almond butter.

9. Pumped for Peanut Butter: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
What could be better than smooth, creamy peanut butter? How about smooth, creamy peanut butter with 85 percent less fat calories than the traditional spread? That’s PB2! A versatile powder, PB2 is made by pressing the oil from peanuts, leaving rich, roasted peanut butter flavor, and not a whole lot else. Simply add water to make a paste, or scoop the powder into smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, shakes, pancake batter, cookie batter”¦ (we could go on and on!).

10. Recipe: Zucchini “Noodles” with Broccoli Pesto
Next up is a recipe spin on classic pesto pasta, from  Vitacost blogger  Maura Knowles. In it, spaghetti-like strands are julienned from fresh zucchini, then topped with a broccoli pesto sauce made with homemade cashew “cheese.” Talk about a raw vegan dream come true!

11. Gaga for Gluten Free””Everything!
You asked for it””we got it. Gluten-free foods earned their very own category at Vitacost.com in 2012, with hundreds of safe, tasty snacks and staples to satisfy our friends with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Craving pasta? Come and get it. Want a sandwich? Here’s the bread. Nothing makes us happier than for our gluten-free customers to be able to eat foods they enjoy (except maybe that we can save them a little money doing it!).

12. Recipe: Summer Squash Pizza
Gluten-free folks, vegetarians, even gardeners rushed to the kitchen to cook up this creative pizza from Vitacost’s Kitchen Diva, Angela Shelf-Medearis. Not only topped with fresh veggies, it has a bread-free vegetable crust””made by cleverly pressing grated zucchini into a pan and lightly baking before adding the zesty pumpkin-tomato sauce. With pizza this good, who needs delivery?

It’s time to toss that 2012 calendar into the recycling bin. But we promise that 2013 will be another year of good-for-you foods and irresistible recipes here at Vitacost.com. Stay tuned and”¦

Happy New Year!

 

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