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The Final Four Basketball games are upon us. So, I have put together some good healthier finger food options while you’re enjoying the basketball games. I wanted to be creative in using some of the ingredients so on the list for appetizers are Beyond Meatless Sliders, Cauliflower Hot Wings, a Walnut Dip with an assortment of fresh Veggies, Kale Chips and Spanish Popcorn.

Healthy Nutrition on Cauliflower, Kale and Walnuts!

Cauliflower is a Cruciferous veggie. It has an ability to detoxify our bodies in multiple ways offering a host of health benefits including several potent anti-inflammatory compounds. It is a good source of vitamin K, which has been shown to directly modulate the body’s inflammatory response. It also contains substances that the body can convert to sulforaphane, which supports blood vessel health and may offer other cardiovascular benefits. It also has been shown to have significant anti-cancer effects. It provides a broad-spectrum antioxidant protection from free radical damage.  Along with vitamin C and manganese, it contains phytonutrients including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, kaempferol. All of these appear to work together to lower oxidative stress on cells.

 Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.

Walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid similar to the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Enjoy nuts as part of a healthy diet. Sample a variety, avoid nut products full of salt or artificial flavorings, and don’t worry about minor nutritional differences when making your choices. Enjoy them in moderation.


 Beyond Meatless Sliders

  • Gluten free slider buns

  • ¾ cup of vegan mayonnaise, Hampton Creek Just Mayo

  • 1 teaspoon  organic hot sauce  

  • 2 patties from the Beyond Meat plant based burger patties

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 cups of lettuce; spring mix, arugula, spinach or kale

  • 1 avocado


Toast the slider buns, if preferred. Mix together the hot sauce and mayonnaise to desired taste. Spread the mayonnaise mixture on each bun. Add coconut oil to pan. Split the patties in half and reshape them to a smaller size; you can get four patties out of two. Place in pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Place each patty on the slider buns. Top with avocado, lettuce and the other half of the bun. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Hot Wings

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • ½ cup gluten free flower

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 ½ cups warm water

  • 3 tsp egg replacer


  • ¼ cup organic hot sauce or Tessemae’s Mild Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 tsp coconut oil, if using only the hot sauce

  • Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Ranch sauce


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a medium size bowl. Add the water and mix until lump free. Prepare a cookie sheet with wax paper. Dip each cauliflower bite into the wet mixture, letting the excess drip off and place on cookie sheet. Cook for 30 minutes then flip them over and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Toss the cauliflower bites in the hot sauce mixture or Buffalo Sauce.  Serve cauliflower wings with carrots, celery, bell pepper, fennel and the Organic Creamy Ranch Sauce.


Walnut Dip

  • 1 cup walnuts

  • 1 medium bell pepper, any color

  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp diced sweet onion

  • 3Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 Tbsp raw honey, coconut nectar or maple syrup

  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric

  • ½ tsp salt


Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Serve with fresh veggies. Can also be used to coat the kale chips before baking. Enjoy!

Kale Chips

  • 1 very large bunch of kale or two medium bunches, stems and ribs removed.

  • Walnut Dip (optional)

  • Salt


Rinse kale and remove as much of the moisture as possible. If using the Walnut Dip, place the kale and dip in a large bowl and mix well with your hands to ensure all the leaves are well coated (skip this step if not using Walnut Dip). Arrange kale on 2 baking sheets in a single layer, and bake at the lowest temperature typically 170 degrees for 3 hours (this is an alternative way to dehydrating), with the oven door cracked open. Stir the kale chips half way through the baking process to ensure all parts are crispy. Season with salt. Enjoy!

Spanish Popcorn

  • 1 3qt saucepan with lid

  • 1/3 cup Organic Non GMO yellow popcorn

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 Tbsp you favorite Mexican spice seasoning


Heat oil in pan over high, add the kernels in an even layer and place lid on tight. When kernels have started to pop turn heat down to medium low. Keep covered for 30 seconds or until all kernels have popped. When rapid popping has slowed to almost nothing, remove from heat. Transfer to a medium bowl, toss popcorn with salt and spice mix. Enjoy!

To your health,


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About our Illuminations Blog Contributor:

Sharina Heiney is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner who focuses on wellness and prevention of illness through the use of Ayurvedic and Integrative holistic nutritional therapies to achieve optimal health.  The combined use of these therapies was conceived by Sharina through her own personal experience.  She believes this combined approach works to heal the body from a cellular level up by using healing-oriented therapies that take into account the mind, body and spirit while increasing energy and achieving overall balance. Sharina teaches nutrition education, counsels clients and enjoys rock climbing, hiking and spending time outdoors with her family.  She obtained her training from The Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, CO. Check out her website at

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