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Cook Once, Eat Twice

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

People are always asking me the best way to eat healthy on a budget and on-the-go. The answer is there is no magic wand to wave over your kitchen to make a meal magically appear that is healthy and doesn’t break the bank. What I usually tell me people is that you have to plan ahead. Just like you plan your work day and even make plans for keeping your house in order and taking care of the kids.

 

So how do you do it? For some people who are master planners you can pick a day on the weekend to do your grocery shopping and do some food prep like cutting up veggies and/or baking a protein so that you can easily whip up a meal later in the week. For others who don’t want to spend that much time in the kitchen it’s all about keeping healthy foods on hand that are easy to prep.

 

This recipe is for those people who do plan ahead and have a cooked protein and grain already on hand. My motto is ‘cook once and eat twice’ so I will prepare a meal on Sunday night and be able to incorporate part of it into mini-meals later in the week. It saves a ton of time during the week when you can simply reheat a food and mix it in to make something else.

 

Sunday Meal #1 Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl (~25 minutes total prep/cook time)

Serves 2 (With left overs for lunch and the chicken and rice can be used in another meal)

2 Chicken Breasts (sliced)

1 onion (sliced)

2 green bell peppers (sliced)

1 garlic clove (diced)

2 tsp EVOO

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp salsa

2 pinches of shredded cheese

4 cups cooked brown rice

½ avocado sliced

 

To Make:

Sauté chicken breasts in pan with EVOO & garlic until mostly cooked throughout

Remove half of chicken and place in container to be used in another meal

Add sliced onions, peppers and cumin to the remaining chicken mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes

Add ½ cup rice to bowl and top with chicken & peppers

Add salsa and cheese

**If you want to heat up some black beans to add in some additional protein feel free to add those as well

You can add leftovers to a salad for lunch the next day as well. Or you can wrap up in a whole wheat tortilla to make a chicken fajita burrito.

 


 

Monday Meal #2 Chicken Stir Fry (~ 15 minutes total prep/cook time)

Serves 2

Leftover chicken breast (~1 chicken breast)

Leftover brown rice (~ 2 cups)

2 pounds green beans (Can chop off the ends if you have time but otherwise these can go straight into sauté pan)

1 Bunch of Green onion (chopped)

1 garlic clove (diced)

2 tsp sesame oil (can also use EVOO)

¼ cup teriyaki marinade (Wan Ja Shan Organic or Kikkoman; you can also make your own with soy sauce, honey, garlic & ginger if you have the time)

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional for extra heat)

 

To Make:

Sauté green beans and garlic in sesame oil for 3-5 minutes on medium/high heat

Add chicken and teriyaki marinade and stir together for another 3-5 minutes

Add rice and continue stirring until marinade is mixed well with the rice

Top with green onion and stir again

Serve in a bowl and top with red pepper flakes for added heat

 


It's National Pancake Day

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is there a better reason to wake up and have pancakes for breakfast?!! Instead of reaching for a mix which is loaded with processed ingredients and trans fat try one these easy, made-from-scratch recipes for a healthier start to your day. Now you can have your cake and eat it too…and no guilt!!




Wheat-Free Pancakes

3 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or milk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted

 

To Make:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly.
  • Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency.
  • Lightly oil a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour batter onto skillet to make large or small pancakes. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Top with Greek yogurt and berries or your maple syrup if you want a sweeter treat. I like mine with dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs!


Ever wonder what to do with that leftover quinoa? Or if you've never tried quinoa this is a great way to enjoy it. The quinoa gives your pancakes a fluffier texture and you can sweeten them up with syrup or fruit.



Quinoa Pancakes

1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1/4 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
Fresh fruit or fruit preserves (optional) for serving

  •  
  • To Make:
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, butter, milk, and syrup until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2 minutes.
  • Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning). Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit or preserves if desired.

​Cajun Shrimp & Rice Stuffed Peppers

Friday, February 20, 2015

 

This is currently my absolute favorite meal to prepare! After trying to find some healthy grain dishes, I decided to combine several recipes into my own spicy taste of heaven. If you don’t have (or like) shrimp you can add chicken, sausage or ground turkey as a protein alternative. Since we live on the coast, seafood is in healthy supply so I cook with it every chance I get. They make great leftovers too. (My husband even ate them for breakfast.) You can also make these ahead and freeze them for a mid-week easy meal prep. I would take them out in the morning so they are ready to pop in the oven when you are home from work in the evening. 

 


 

Makes 4 Peppers (Enough for 4 people plus a side)

 

2 Large Red Peppers – cored and cut in half

(Save the tops of the peppers to dice into ~1/4 cup)

1 Onion – diced

2 garlic gloves – diced

1 cup chicken stock

2 cups brown rice - cooked

12-24 shrimp – deveined and cut into ~1” pieces

1 tbsp Tony’s Cajun seasoning

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 375°

Saute onion, red pepper and garlic in olive oil for ~ 5 minutes (Onion should become translucent)

Add shrimp and Tony’s seasoning and continue cooking until shrimp turn pink (~3-5 minutes)

Add rice and chicken stock and cook for another few minutes stirring occasionally

Place the 4 pepper halves in a baking dish

Scoop the shrimp/rice mixture into each of the 4 pepper halves and top with the mozz cheese

Bake for ~30 minutes or until cheese becomes bubbly

 

Enjoy!!!

 


Heart Healthy Oatmeal Casserole

Friday, February 06, 2015

Eating the same bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can get boring so I decided to mix it up into a hot casserole. You can use any type of berries (preferably ones in season) and also substitute any type of milk.

 


Serves 6 (Double the batch for a larger breakfast crowd)

1.5 cup of rolled oats

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

½ tsp aluminum free baking powder

¼ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup honey or agave (can eliminate if you want to reduce the sugar; I used just a drizzle on top)

1 cup coconut milk (any milk will work)

1 egg

1 tbsp soft butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1-2 bananas, sliced into ½-1” pieces

1.5 cups blueberries

 

Heat oven to 375°. Coat a 9x11 baking dish with butter (or light baking spray)

Mix oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside

Whisk milk, egg, vanilla extract together and set aside

Place sliced bananas on bottom of dish in a single layer

Add ~1/2 of the berries on top of the bananas

Spread the oatmeal mixture on top of the fruit evenly

Add the rest of the berries and then slowly pour the milk/egg mixture on top of the entire dish

(You may need to shake the dish a few times to make sure the milk mixture is evenly distributed across the entire casserole)

Sprinkle the walnuts on top and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until slightly golden brown and bubbly

Drizzle honey on top after removing from the oven

 

Heart Healthy Benefits:

  • Eating oatmeal can reduce the ‘lousy’ cholesterol (low density-LDL) and also helps to lower blood pressure
  • Blueberries contain flavonoids that help prevent plaque build-up in the arteries as well
  • Adding cinnamon to your food (or coffee) can help control your blood sugar

Are You Ready for the Super Bowl?

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Have you ever tasted a dish that made you moan because it was so good? Well if you haven’t then you are missing out! I went on an adventure/fitness retreat to Costa Rica with Sonja Franzmann who is an awesome retreat leader and basically one of the most incredible women I’ve ever met. We literally moaned our way through meals for a week and basically existed in food and fitness bliss. One of our best meals was a salad made of quinoa, avocado, lettuce, tomato, carrots, celery and broccoli. Every bite was a different blend of veggies and quinoa so you always had a slightly different taste with every bite. It was totally moan-worthy!! When I came back from Costa I was obsessed with this salad so I decided to try my hand.

 

You may be wondering what this has to do with the Super Bowl? Well this bowl is full of SuperFoods. You may recall from a previous blog that there are some incredibly powerful foods out there that can help fight infection, cancer, cardiovascular disease, aging and many other ailments. SuperBowl Sunday gave me a reason to pile all of my favorite SuperFoods together into one blissful, moan-worthy bowl. So here’s to my own SuperFood Bowl!!

 

The NanBowl (Makes enough for 2 but you can always use more and invite friends over to make their own bowls)

1 cup Brussel sprouts halved

½ sweet potato cubed

1 beet cubed

2 cups quinoa cooked

½ onion diced

Small bunch of spinach or kale (any leafy green will do)

½ cup cherry tomatoes halved

½ avocado sliced

 

Mix all of these ingredients together and toss with your favorite dressing. I like a simple balsamic vinegar/extra virgin olive oil drizzle. Or you can make this phenomenal Avocado Lime dressing.

 

Avocado Lime Dressing

½ to 1 avocado mashed

2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or 1 whole squeezed lime)

½ tbsp honey

¼ tsp cumin

1 tbsp white or red vinegar

1tbsp evoo

1 tsp minced garlic

¼ cup water

 

Whisk all ingredients together and toss on top of your own superfood bowl and have your own ‘moan’-ingful moment!! You may not even care who wins or loses while you are enjoying this bowl of bliss!!

Super Foods to the Rescue!

Monday, January 19, 2015

There’s a lot of contradicting information out there in regards to foods and nutrition. There are, however, some really great ways to keep your body operating at its best. One easy way to do this is by incorporating as many SuperFoods into your diet as possible. It may sound complicated but these foods are likely already a part of your diet and you don’t even know it. Check out my SuperFoods recipe blog for some tasty recipe ideas too.

 

Beans

Eating beans may help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce certain cancers like colon, breast & prostate. They contain a highly concentrated amount of a certain phytonutrient called polyphenol which acts as an antioxidant and is also anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic. Fava beans, pinto/black beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are a few of my favorites.

Blueberries

If I could pick one SuperFood that I had to eat everyday it would be blueberries. I’ve spent some time in upstate NY in the summer and the local farmers market has the best fresh berries. Some of the sidekick berries include cranberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries. Eating a cup daily can prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, senility and degenerative eye diseases. This is THE most powerful disease-fighting antioxidant than any other fruit or veggie. You can add these to yogurt for a great boost to your breakfast; to an afternoon smoothie; or even eat a handful on the go.

Broccoli

Many people I’ve talked with still have a negative stigma about broccoli. It might be because that was the one food that our parents made us eat even though we hated it so we still revolt against it today. Hopefully you’ve outgrown your dislike of this vegetable because just ½ cup to 1 cup daily provides a natural protection against cancer. They contain powerful antioxidants that help to fight cancer. There’s also a study that found that eating broccoli more than 2 times/week provided a 23% lower risk of cataracts. If you aren’t a huge fan of broccoli, you can try Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower.

Wild Salmon

There’s been a great debate about eating fats and one of the ‘good’ fats known as polyunsaturated fat helps to increase the good cholesterol, control hypertension, prevent cancer, mitigate auto-immune disease and relieve depression. These polyunsaturated fats known as Omega3 and Omega6 are greatly concentrated in wild salmon. Eating this fish 2-4 times/week will give you the needed Omega fats and help maintain good health. One important note is to beware of farm raised salmon due to environmental concerns over the toxicity levels of raising these farmed fish. ( http://draxe.com/the-dangers-of-farmed-fish/ ) Although many improvements have been made over the years to raise clean farmed fish, the known benefits are directly related to wild salmon. Some other sidekicks include Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sea bass, oysters or clams.

 

By adding these foods into your diet on a daily/weekly basis you are well on your way to ensuring that your body is well-defended from many diseases.

SuperFood Recipes

Monday, January 19, 2015

Here are a few easy ways to prepare some of the most nutritious super foods for you and your family.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 cup dried garbanzo beans (or 2 cans drained and rinsed) *You’ll need to cook the dried beans according to the package

6 cups vegetable stock

½ tsp ground cumin

1 medium red bell pepper

½ cup nonfat plain yogurt (1/4 cup soft silken tofu)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp sea salt to taste

Add cooked (canned) beans, stock, cumin into large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer gently for about an hour. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bell pepper in half. Remove the stem & seeds and lay cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake until pepper is tender and skin begins to wrinkle. Remove from oven and use paring knife to remove the skin. Cut the pepper into chunks and add all ingredients to a food processor.

Pulse until smooth. You may need to add a bit more tahini and/or yogurt to taste. (Some people prefer chunkier hummus but I prefer a creamier one so I tend to use a bit more yogurt.)

Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend together.

Add to serving bowl and serve with sliced raw vegetables and pita crisps.

 

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

1 sliced banana

1 cup fresh blueberries (Can also use frozen)

1 cup plain fat free yogurt (Can also use any type of milk or water)

1 tsp almond butter (or peanut butter)

1 tsp ground flax seeds

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Great energy boost and keeps me full all morning.

 

Roasted Broccoli/Cauliflower

1 head of broccoli

1 head of cauliflower

1-2 tsps olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves minced

¼ cup red pepper flakes

Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place broccoli and cauliflower to baking sheet with oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Roast for 12-15 minutes or until slight browning on top.

Remove from oven.

**Cauliflower can also then be pureed in a food processor with a bit of milk or cream and served as mashed cauli. This is a great way to ‘trick’ the kids into eating a vegetable that they may not normally touch.

 

Teriyaki Salmon

2 filets of wild salmon (Can be found at most major grocery chains incl Publix, Harris Teeter, EarthFare, WholeFoods, FreshMarket, etc)

1 cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp ginger minced

1 tsp agave syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place salmon in baking dish skin side down.

Mix last four ingredients together and spread over fish. (Leave about ¼ cup to spread over fish at the end of baking)

Bake for ~15 minutes until fish is flaky. Be careful not to overcook as it will become dry.

Remove from oven and drizzle remaining sauce over fish.

Eat the Rainbow

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eat the Rainbow



 

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you always eating the same things every day? Variety of food is an important factor in eating. Studies show that increasing variety of fresh, whole foods helps to round out nutrition and ensure that you get a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Maybe you have heard that you should “eat the rainbow”, enjoying one food from each color of the rainbow every day.

 

 

Examples of foods from the rainbow:

Red – apples, berries, red peppers

Orange – sweet potatoes, carrots

Yellow – squash, lemons, pineapple

Green – cucumbers, kale, spinach, zucchini

Blue – blueberries

Purple – blackberries, eggplant

 

 

Antioxidants

 

By enjoying a rainbow of colors in your diet, you are accomplishing something very important: You are eating an antioxidant rich diet. Antioxidants are natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. They are believed to prevent disease and aging by fighting free radicals in the body.

 

What are free radicals? - They form when the body incurs any type of stress - stress from unhealthy foods, toxins in the environment like cigarette smoke, aging, changes in hormones and our breathing.

 

Focusing on antioxidants is great way to stay healthy without jumping on the bandwagon of another fad diet or counting calories until you’re blue in the face. By eating a colorful diet, you will be supplying your body with more power to fight off free radical damage, keeping it younger and healthier for longer.

 

If you’re finding it difficult to get started, try choosing one or two colors that are usually missing from the food you eat. Focus on eating foods with these colors for the next two weeks, long enough to create a new habit and notice any change.

 

©International Association of Wellness Professionals

Healing the Common Cold with Soup

Thursday, January 08, 2015

With the change of season from fall to winter, it’s important to keep your body fueled to fight off those pesky viruses and colds that can plague you during this time of year.

If I begin to feel the onset of a cold, I turn to my kitchen for the cure. Many of us remember the chicken noodle soup mom served us as a go-to cure for a sore throat or stuffy nose. Fast forward to today, and mom’s recipe plus a few powerhouse herbs and spices give this classic the power to fight off even the nastiest of colds. The super immune-boosting herb, astragalus, the anti-microbial agents in the ginger and the anti-inflammatory properties in garlic all help sustain the immune system. Plus the extra special benefits of preparing your own broth make this soup a must-have for the winter season. <Insert blissful sigh here!>

Serves 12

Chicken & Ginger Soup

For the Broth**:

1 whole organic chicken (3-5 lbs)

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 whole head garlic, cut in half cross-wise

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger (or more!)

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

4-5 chopped shiitake mushrooms

1 stalk fresh lemongrass, chopped

3 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt

**Why make your own broth?

Homemade broth contains numerous minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulphur vital for good health. It also contains amino acids that help detoxify the body. The cartilage & tendons provide chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine that help with arthritis and joint pain. Bone broth is also rich in gelatin which has great benefits to the digestive system including strengthening the gut wall and helping to reduce inflammation.

For the Soup:

1 medium onion, chopped

3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 to 3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 head napa cabbage, chopped

cooked chicken pulled from the bone and chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional Additions/Toppings:

rice noodles (place in empty bowl and pour hot soup over rice noodles before serving)

chopped fresh basil (instead of using cilantro)

Astragalus reference site: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/astragalus/


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