Tag Archives | dairy free

Sea Salt Popcorn with Kale Crumbles

Kale Popcorn Recipe Meme

I’ll be the first to admit it….there is SOMETHING about movie theater popcorn that is utterly delicious. And, no visit to the movie theater feels complete without it.

I also know that just two or three handfuls isn’t enough of this addicting, salty, crunchy snack. Before you know it your down to the crumbs….and those can’t be left behind either! I hope I’m not alone with this…

Unfortunately, the traditional movie theater popcorn doesn’t do much for our health. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest a medium popcorn and soda combo at a Regal movie theater is calorically comparable to three McDonalds Quarter Pounders with 12 extra pats of butter!!!! 

Give me a minute while I pick my jaw up off the ground…..

If you have worked with me, heard me speak or attended one of my workshops you know that I’m not one to dwell on calories. Using calories is a misguided way of choosing healthy foods, in my opinion. To put is simply – 300 calories of broccoli and 300 calories of jelly beans just are not the same nutritionally speaking.

However, the comparison of popcorn to fast food and a load of butter take it to a whole new level. This is NOT ok – especially since sitting and watching a two-house movie isn’t exactly a super energy burning activity.

Aside from the ridiculous number of calories in that box of popcorn we should also talk about the QUALITY of the ingredients. Popcorn ingredients and process varies from theater to theater. But, suffice to say that cheap, low quality ingredients are the norm everywhere. They want to make max profit on that $8 box they’re selling!

Corn is one of the main GM (genetically modified) foods in the US, so you can be sure that this is the kind movie theaters are popping up into those white clouds of crunchy goodness. GM foods have become a concern for many in regards to our health and environmental impacts.

But the yumminess of our popcorn doesn’t stop there. The oil and salt is what makes eating it so satisfying! Many years ago movie theaters used coconut oil to make their popcorn but it has since been demonized as being an unhealthy saturated fat (in case you haven’t heard, coconut oil is NOT bad for you!). In response theaters started popping corn using low quality, canola oil – a VERY unhealthy trans fat. The salt is your traditional, iodized salt which has been depleted of critical minerals. Adding that buttery topping? You’re squirting artificial flavorings, colors and who knows what other weird stuff on there.

I’m not here to ruin your next movie theater experience. I want to give you an amazing alternative that will satisfy the biggest salt craving and add some wonderful nutrients to this normally guilt inducing snack.

Bring your big purse and sneak a few bags into your next movie date…..not that I’m speaking from experience here….

I do recommend getting a air popcorn popper. They usually run no more than $20 and will provide you will endless bowls of delicious, fresh, chemical free snacking. And, a cheap movie snack!

Kale Popcorn Recipe Meme

Sea Salt Popcorn with Kale Crumbles
Serves 3-4

Ingredients

For the kale crumbles
1 large bunch of kale (you can also use bagged kale if you prefer)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
sea salt

For the popcorn
1/4 cup organic popping corn (the organic label ensures that you are also buying a non-GMO product).
6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons sea salt
Nutritional yeast, to take (optional)

Instructions – kale crumbles

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2. Remove ribs from kale and cut into large pieces (1 1/2 to 2 inches). Place kale pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with the melt coconut oil. Toss until well coated. You want the kale to be slightly coated with oil, not dripping. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt.

3. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, turning the leaves halfway through. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven when most of the kale is crisped – often not all will crisp up in the oven, but will finish while the kale cools on the pan. Place the pan on a heat safe surface until the kale cools completely.

4. Once the kale is cool, crumble it in your hands into a small bowl. Set aside.

Instructions – popcorn

1. While the kale is in the oven you can make your popcorn using an air popper.

2. If you don’t have an air popper you can do it on the stovetop. Using the biggest pot you have heat about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. When hot add your corn, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low (the temperature may vary depending on your stove). Shake the pot every 30-45 second to keep the kernels moving around so they don’t burn. Covering the pot lid with a dishtowel can help keep the heat from your hands. Keep shaking until you hear popping, turn off the heat and let the pot sit on the stove until the popping stops. You might want to give it a shake or two while the corn pops to keep the kernels moving.

3. Once your popcorn is done, pour it into a bowl, drizzle with the melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt, nutritional yeast (if using) and kale crumbles. Don’t go too crazy with the salt! Don’t forget the kale has some salt on it and the nutritional yeast also has a salty flavor. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on April 13, 2016 in Healthy Recipes

[Video] How to open a can of coconut milk

Coconut Milk Image

“What is that thick stuff at the top of the can???”

I get this question all the time from clients and students when they open their first can of coconut milk.

My response, “that’s the good stuff!”

Coconut milk is essential when stocking a whole foods pantry.

Coconuts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, E and most of your B vitamins as well as minerals such as iron, selenium and magnesium.

In certain parts of India, especially coastal areas, the coconut tree is referred to as kalpavrisksha which is Sanskrit for, “tree which gives all that is necessary for living” because all parts can be used – the water, milk, sugar and oil.

Check out the video to find out how I open and store my coconut milk.

I recommend buying full fat canned coconut milk rather than the kind found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

The canned version has very few ingredients – coconut, milk and guar gum (a safe stabilizer) whereas the refrigerated version has a laundry list of ingredients, additives and sugar. Ick!

Coconut milk is a great substitute if you’re dairy free or are wanting to experiment going without dairy for a while.

I use coconut milk in curries, veggies soups, smoothies, chia pudding, chocolate milk, and as a substitute in baking recipes.

Recently, I learned you can make whipping cream with it.

I see a fruit crumble in my future…..

Do you have a delicious coconut milk recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on May 18, 2015 in General

[Recipe] Oven stir fry

Guess what?

Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner.

The reasons are varied….

There are days I’m just too damn tired to even THINK about what to cook.

Other times I’m not prepared. Or, what I do have prepped just doesn’t excite me.

Often, I just don’t want to deal with a pile of dishes at the end.

The cooking part can be fun. The cleaning up part can totally suck the fun right out of you.

Can you relate, *|FNAME|*?

I love to cook. Don’t get me wrong.

But, in the hectic of day to day work, house chores, yard maintenance, chicken care, errands and everything else I’m ok with being a lazy cook and making it as easy as possible on myself.

I recently discovered Oven Stir Fry which totally rocked my world and spoke immediately to my lazy cooking ways.

The only dishes are:
1 cutting board
1 knife
1 pan
1 wooden spoon
1 small bowl
Rice cooker
2 bowls and 2 forks (If Mister Wes and I don’t eat directly out of the pan. It’s happened.)Plus, aside from cutting veggies and mixing some sauce it’s pretty much hands off. Throw all the goods in to a deep pan, stir, bake, eat.Oh, and there’s leftovers.Winner, winner, stir fry dinner!

 

Oven Stir Fry
(Recipe note: The beauty of stir fries (and similar dishes) is that you can use a recipe as a guide but then tweak and adjust the ingredients based on your taste and what you have lingering in the fridge. This recipe is very approximate as I literally threw in what I had, mixed a sauce and shoved it in the oven. Trust you instincts and have fun with it! Just make sure all your ingredients fit into your pan.)

Ingredients (This is what I had on hand. Adjust as needed)

2 chicken breasts, cut into smaller than bit sized pieces (I do this to stretch what may not seem like much meat for my meat-loving husband. Sneaky, huh?)
1 medium red onion, sliced
2-3 medium carrots, sliced into bite sized pieces
1-2 crowns broccoli, cut into florets
big handful of green beans, cut in half

 

For the sauce
1/4 cup tamari
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
splash of hot sauce
a few shakes of turmeric
pinch of salt and some fresh pepper
1-2 tablespoons arrowroot powders (this is an excellent alternative to corn starch for thickening sauces and gravies)
water as needed

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Throw all your ingredients into a deep sided pan. I use a lasagna pan.
  3. Make your sauce in a small bowl by whisking together all the ingredients. Give it a taste and adjust as needed. If it’s too salty add some water. But, remember you want it to be pretty strong. Once it gets mixed throughout your veggies and meat the taste will become less strong.
  4. Toss your veggies and meat with the sauce. Cover your pan with foil or a lid and put into the oven.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes and then check to see if your meat is done. I would suggest giving it all a toss about halfway through. If the meat is not done through, put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. If you want to brown the tops of the veggies a bit you can remove the foil or lid for the final 5 minutes of cooking.
  6. Top with toasted almonds and serve over rice, noodles or my favorite…..boiled cabbage for a grain free options. Seriously, it’s delicious!

Recipe adapted from The Yummy Life

Cleanse-Banner-for-Facebook with Start Date

This recipe is a perfect example of the kinds of recipes in the 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse. Real food, simple recipes. Ready to EAT your way to great health? Join me today!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on April 21, 2015 in Healthy Recipes

Cleanse Q&A

The 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse starts in less than 2 weeks! Friday, January 16th to be exact.

I’ve gotten some questions about the cleanse and decided to do a quick video explaining the top three questions I’ve been getting:

1. What will we be eating?
2. Will I have to cook?
3. How does an online program work?

Check out the video below and get all the answers.

This program is not about short-lived solutions, but rather about creating real, sustainable change in the way you shop, cook, eat and live.

There is one question I didn’t answer in the video….

How do I know if the cleanse is right for me?

Great question! The cleanse is not for everyone. However, it IS for you if…..

– You’re sick and tired and feeling sick and tired
– You finally want to know exactly what to eat to experience optimal health, great energy, mental clarity and a healthy weight
– You want simple recipes that don’t require 25 ingredients you can only buy at a crazy expensive specialty store
– You’re physically, mentally and emotionally ready to take charge of your health and learn a new way of nourishing your body
You want to learn, have fun and enjoy great food!

You can learn more about the cleanse HERE. I hope to see you there!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on January 5, 2015 in Events

Warm Cabbage and Fennel “Salad”

Mister Wes and I always eat dinner at the island in our kitchen. Yes, we have a small dining room table just steps away but for whatever reason the island has become our spot. It’s our table/island for two.

When dinner is ready I take the pots, pans, dishes…whatever dinner is made in, do a 180 degree turn from the stove and plop them directly on the island. I grab some serving utensils, plates and silverware and dinner is served. Voila! And, clean up is a breeze. My leftover containers are in the kitchen island and the dishwasher is pretty much within arms reach of where Mister Wes sits. I clean up leftovers and he puts away the dishes. We make one hell of a team!

If you’ve been following me for a while or have attended a class you know that I LOVE salad. I’m not saying that to be the annoying health nut, nutrition coach over here. Seriously, salad is so damn good….if you can make a good salad that is. I’ve got to tell you, I can make a pretty kick ass salad. I had a cooking class student a while back tell me….

“your salad is better than movie theater popcorn.”

I almost choked on a piece of arugula.

Ok, I’m done bragging about my salad-making abilities. But, now that you have an idea of how much I love salad. Here’s the problem. I don’t love salad so much in the winter. When it’s cold and dreary outside I’m yearning for something warm and comforting. As much as I love salad, eating it in December feels kind of like getting a hug from Frosty the Snowman. Brrrr….

After enjoying some amazing dishes at Thanksgiving, come Monday my body was aching for something green. I’d had it with meat and gravy. I wanted green, crunchy vegetables NOW! When it came time to make dinner I looked in the fridge and the veggies were lacking a bit. But, in the far reaches there were a few things that I could do something with.

Cabbage, fennel, half a red onion, and parsley. Without too much of a plan I sautéed them together and then added some white beans I had sitting in the fridge. I served my creation alongside some delicious shredded pork shoulder that had been bubbling the oven for a few ours (recipe coming soon!). Mister Wes looked at his plate, looked at me and asked, “what’s this?” pointing at my veggie creation. My reply…

“Hmmmm…..how about a hot salad?” Mister Wes, “whatever it is, it’s good!”

Sure, officially it should probably be called a saute but “hot salad” sounds WAY more interesting. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Warm Cabbage and Fennel “Salad”

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon olive oil, butter or ghee (I used avocado oil which I’ve been experimenting with and really love it!)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/4 head of cabbage, sliced into thumb thick ribbons
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced into pinky thick ribbons
handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 can (about 1 cup) white beans
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan or wide pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently until it starts to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage and fennel, another pinch of salt and stir until everything is well combine. Cover with a lid, lower heat just a tinge (especially if you have a hot stovetop) and let cook for 3-5 minutes. Check on it, give it a stir and cook another 3-5 minutes. Letting it sit without lots of stirring will let the bits on the bottom brown up a bit which is lovely.
  3. Taste your cabbage and fennel to check for doneness. You want it cooked but still retaining some crunch. Add the beans and cook a few minutes more until they are warmed through. Before serving stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: If you do dairy you could add some freshly grated parmesan on top. This dish can be served as a side with dinner or topped with a fried egg for breakfast!

Comments { 2 } · Posted on December 9, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Super Simple Shephard’s Pie

My family lived in England for one year when I was in 5th grade. It was a wonderful experience! My parents took us into London frequently so see musicals like Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (I desperately wanted to be one of the little kids in a colored t-shirt). My dad let me ride “the tube” around London by myself (yes, in 5th grade!) and my entire school class spent a long weekend on the Isle of Wight.

One thing I don’t remember us doing was eating out. When we moved there my parents were toting around 3 kids under the age of 12 and we quickly learned that children are not welcome in most pubs. This might have changed in the meantime, but at that time we were literally told “you can’t eat here.” Pretty weird feeling!

The English aren’t exactly known for their cuisine so maybe it was for the best. I haven’t eaten a lot of British food so I can’t confirm it from first-hand experience. All I know is Jamie Oliver has some pretty awesome cookbooks so maybe it’s all just a bloody lie.

Last week I must have been channeling my lost English pub meals when I decided a total fridge clean out was in order.

I put every vegetable I had along with a package of local Lincolnshire sausages on my kitchen counter and stared at it.  I decided chopping and sautéing was in order but I had no plan for the end result. Sometimes, you don’t need a plan or a recipe to come up with something amazing!

When I presented the finished product to Mr. Wes he looked skeptical and immediately asked “what’s this?” My first thought was “casserole” but I hesitated. If I had called it that his hesitation would have grown. So I quickly said, “it’s shepherd’s pie!” with a proud smile on my face. He took one bite, and then another, looked at me and said “this is REALLY good!”

It’s all about presentation my friends!

If you have a meat loving man in your life this is THE ticket. He gets his meat AND a load of veggies to boot. You get 2-3 meals in one go! Win-win!

Use whatever veggies you have on hand to create your filling. If you don’t have sausage try pastured ground beef or pork. This is just a guideline – let your imagination run with it. I used a grain topping of millet and amaranth instead of the traditional white mashed potatoes. This lends a nice crunch and adds some great fiber and B vitamins. We ate this over two days but I’m pretty confident this would freeze very well. Enjoy!

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Super Simple Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients
For the topping
½ cup millet
½ cup amaranth
pinch of salt
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

For the filling
2 leeks, washed
3 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
2 cups shiitake mushrooms
4-5 small potatoes
2 cups Swiss chard or kale
4 sausages of choice, casing removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin organic olive oil, ghee or lard
1 cup water
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons tamari

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the millet and amaranth in a rice cooker. Add salt and 2 cups of water. Turn on and let cook until grains are fully cooked.
  3. Cut leeks in half lengthwise and slice into half moons, about the thickness of a pencil. Use white and light green parts. Wash and peel carrots. Cut in half lengthwise and the slice into half moons about twice the thickness of a pencil. Chop the celery and slice the mushrooms. Peel and cut potatoes into pieces just a bit larger than bite-sized. Roughly chop Swiss chard.
  4. Heat oil in a deep saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, mushrooms and potatoes with a generous pinch of salt. Stir until well combined, cover and let cook 5-6 minutes until vegetables start to soften, stirring one or twice in between. Add the sausage and cook another 3-4 minutes until sausage begins to cook through.
  5. In a small bowl combine water, arrowroot powder and tamari. Whisk until well combined and pour over vegetable sausage mixture. The arrowroot mixture will start to thicken. If it gets too thick add a bit more water. Cook 1-2 minutes then pour everything into a large glass baking dish.
  6. When the millet and amaranth are done, stir in parsley and season with another pinch of salt. Spread evenly over the vegetable mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. If you want a browner top place briefly under the broiler. Enjoy!

 Recipe inspired by Clean Food by Terry Walters

Comments { 0 } · Posted on April 29, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

I typically serve a big salad with every dinner. We skip salad plates and usually just eat it right out of a big ceramic salad bowl we received as a wedding gift. It’s become such a habit that I always forget to give dinner guests salad plates and I have to stop myself from diving fork-first into the bowl. You know your friends are considered family when they are invited to eat directly out of your salad bowl.

Yes, we keep it classy on the homestead!

Since delicate greens aren’t quite in season yet I’ve been relying on heartier veggies to create fresh and crunchy salad concoctions. Using things like cabbage, carrots, fennel and Brussels sprouts as bases for salads means salad leftover end up being lunch the next day instead of compost. I made this Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw on a Friday and we ate from it the rest of the weekend! Plus, using your food processor saves a ton of time and your knuckles will be happy that they are not coming into contact with the box grater. THAT is never a good thing!

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Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

Ingredients

For the salad
handful of parsley
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 of a head of green cabbage, cut in half
1/2 an apple, chopped

For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon (lime juice would work too)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional, depends on how sour you like it)
1 drop DoTERRA ginger essential oil (you can also finely grate fresh ginger, use about 1/2 tablespoon and add more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)

Instructions

    1. Add the parsley to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. You don’t have to remove the parsley from the food processor. You’re basically going to build your salad in the food processor. Add grating insert and the grate carrots. Then, remove the grating insert and replace with the slicing insert. Slice the cabbage into the carrots and parsley.
    2. Put the prepared vegetables into your serving bowl and add the apples. Toss until well combined and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar (if using), ginger and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk until well combined and pour over the slaw. Mix the slaw until well coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. The salt and acid will help soften the cabbage a bit and draw out some of the water. Shortly before serving drizzle the olive oil on top and add some freshly grated pepper. Toss and serve. Enjoy!

Are you on Facebook? Then make sure you are a Home Cooked Healing fan! All fans will be entered in the Sassy Saltbox Giveaway. Drawing will take place April, 1 2014!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on March 18, 2014 in General, Healthy Recipes

Damn good creamy mac and cheesy (dairy free)

My mom was born and raised in Germany. When she married my dad (an American) and moved to the U.S. she had quite a few culture shocks. She often tells stories about her first hamburger (the best one ever!) and eating pizza with her hands (Europeans tend to use forks and knives).

As the first born my mom was introduced to all sorts of “kid food” by her new American friends. When I entered that picky eater phase of around 3 one of her friends recommended Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. “She WILL eat this” she told my concerned mom. “The kids LOVE it!” And love it I did. Who didn’t??? Mac and cheese from the blue box was a staple in our house for a very long time. It was probably the first thing I learned to cook for myself.

Like every packaged pasta product boxed mac and cheese is loaded with artificial dyes, genetically modified ingredients and a bunch of funky preservatives. It has no nutritional value for growing bodies, bones and brains! Don’t worry! I’m not faulting my mom for feeding this to me. She made up for it with loads of other great healthy foods 🙂

I recently splurged on a high speed Blendtec blender. I’ve been eyeing it up for over 2 years now and finally bit the bullet and bought one. So happy I did! Last week my mom came over for a little blending experiment party. (Yes, I know! We’re food nerds!). I had soaked some cashews the night before with the hopes of making cashew cream. It worked out so well. But then I had no idea what the heck to do with the cashew cream. So it sat in my fridge for a few days until I decided to mix it with some leftover pureed butternut squash, nutritional yeast and a few other ingredients I had laying around. What resulted was some damn good mac and cheese!

Now, this recipe is totally dairy free but it still has a nice cheese-like flavor. This comes from the nutritional yeast which adds a cheesy, nutty flavor to sauces, dips and popcorn (it’s soooo good on homemade popcorn!!!). Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast and grown through a fermentation process on beet and molasses. It doesn’t make things rise like activated yeast so don’t use it in baking. You can find it at most health food stores – Bob’s Red Mill and Braggs both produce it. If you are gluten free read the label carefully as some brands are produced in places that also process wheat and other products. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins which are essential for energy production. But, most importantly….it’s so freaking tasty!!!!

Ok, enough rambling about yeast. It’s certainly not as exciting as this recipe! Don’t be fooled into thinking that the boxed stuff is easier and faster. The sauce doesn’t take long at all and once you have it on hand you just pour it over your pasta and heat. Easy cheesy!

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Creamy Mac and Cheesy (dairy free)

Ingredients

1/2 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
1/2 cup pureed butternut squash or pumpkin
1-2 garlic cloves (depends on how much you love garlic)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (check your local health food store)
pinch of cayenne and freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon turmeric
handful parsley, chopped
salt to taste
water as needed
gluten free pasta or cooked spaghetti squash

Instructions

To make the cashew cream

  1. Put 1 cup raw cashews in a medium bowl. Cover with filtered water by 3-4 inches and add a pinch of salt and splash of apple cider vinegar. This soaking process helps soften the cashews and remove the phytic acid, which can inhibit absorption of calcium, iron, zinc and chromium. Soaking make nuts also more digestible and easier on the digestive tracts. Soak the cashews for at least 6 hours or overnight.

To make the mac and cheesy sauce

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions
  2. Strain the cashews and put them in a blender. Add about 1/4 cup of water and blend. Add more water as needed and blend until you get a thick paste. You can also try this in a food processor.
  3. Once you have you cashew cream add the squash, garlic, nutritional yeast, cayenne, nutmeg, turmeric and a pinch of salt to the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. You might have to add more water if it’s too thick. Taste and add more salt or nutritional yeast for stronger flavor. Adding a few shots of tamari can also help give it even more depth if you like.
  4. Voila! You’ve got a creamy cheese sauce! Now just pour some of it over your hot pasta, add the parsley and heat through. Sprinkle on some more nutritional yeast for an extra cheesy flavor. You can store extra sauce in a jar in your fridge for about 4-5 days. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on March 11, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Garlicky Spaghetti Squash with Beans and Broccoli

With all the snow we’ve been getting here in Central Pennsylvania it seems like winter is never going to end. With what feels like arctic temperatures and snow up to our knees there’s really nothing to do but hunker down and heat things up in the kitchen. My favorite thing to do!

I’ve been on a huge soup and stew kick the last few week – beef stew, lentil soup, spicy chicken curry…..if it was hot and soup-like I made it! Not only do these dishes warm you up, they are also perfect for stocking the freezer with. I always stash away 2-3 jars of fresh soup our stew in our chest freezer. If I know things will be busy in the coming week I’ll pull one or two out and let them defrost in the fridge. Dinner is only minutes away!

But, now I feel like we’ve been on stew overload and the one thing that has been lacking in our diets are some fresh veggies.  Sure, my stews usually have veggies in them but they often get pretty cooked down and their flavor becomes overpowered by the stew. In warmer weather I make a big salad with dinner every night but in the winter months a traditional salad feels totally out of place. I’ve also reached my meat threshold for a while and am absolutely craving delicious, crunchy, nourishing vegetables. Thank goodness Mr. Wes is also an avid veggie eater – he’s been known to lick the salad bowl 🙂

However, if the meat is missing from his plate he will ask “sooooooo, where’s the meat?”

The other night I decided we needed to take a break from all the meat and load up on the veggies anyway I could. After a full day of working and plowing loads of snow Mr. Wes is grateful for a hot, satisfying meal. This little creation of veggies and beans did the trick! The garlic and crushed chili peppers added heat and spice while the broccoli gave the dish some crunch. He didn’t blink an eye when I put this in front of him….and he didn’t ask for the meat. Maybe he was too exhausted to ask? Possible. But, I’m still going to add this to my list of regular appearances.

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Garlicky Spaghetti Squash with Beans and Broccoli

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil, ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
3 cloves garlic (more or less depending on your love of garlic), minced
pinch of crushed chili flakes (optional)
1-2 cups white beans, cooked (or 1 can, rinsed and drained, Eden Organic brand recommended)
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape the seeds from your spaghetti squash with a large spoon. Place both halves, face down, on a baking sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Check your squash around 30 minutes. If the top starts to get brown, lower the rack in your oven. Your squash is ready when the skin is soft to the touch and you can easily scrape the flesh of the squash into spaghetti-like strands. The best way to do this is with a fork. Be sure to scrape out everything!
  2. When your squash has about 20 minutes left (You can wait until the squash is done, scrape out the spaghetti and keep warm in your oven while you do this next step), heat up the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your broccoli florets and a pinch of salt. Toss the broccoli so it is well coated in the oil and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes before stirring again. You want the broccoli to start to become lightly browned in a few spots. Cook the broccoli for a total of about 5-6 minutes. It should be tender but still have a little crunch and be bright green.
  3. Add the minced garlic and crushed pepper flakes and stir until everything is well combined. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the garlic become fragrant. If it starts to stick you can add a splash of water to loosen the stuck bits.
  4. Add the beans and toss with the broccoli mix until well combined. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes until the beans are heated through. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve by placing the spaghetti squash onto each dish and top it with the broccoli bean mixture. If you prefer to serve everything together you can mix the squash and broccoli together and then put it all in a large serving bowl. You can add a pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil. Grated parmesan is also a lovely addition. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on February 17, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal

“You are what you eat.” You’ve hear that before, right? Haven’t we all!  Unfortunately, this phrase is often used when referring to junk food – all those things we “shouldn’t eat.” When I hear this phrase in my head it always sounds like a nagging Grandmother with a smokers cough and New Jersey accent. This is certainly not my grandmother! But, I digress.

What if we turn “know it all Nanny” into “positive Paula” who’s cheering us on in our endeavor to eat better? Ok, just bear with me here.

Instead of using the phrase to punish ourselves into feeling guilt and regret when we dive into the bag of chocolate chip cookies (I swear I’m not speaking from experience here! 🙂 we use it as a way to encourage ourselves to displace our midday snack of Chex Mix with a handful of cashews and a banana. When you make the extra effort to order the salad instead of the fries with your lunch you say to yourself “that’s right! I am what I eat! Nutrient dense greens, lycopene loaded tomatoes, mineral rich nuts and some lemon with vitamin C.”

In all seriousness, we really ARE what we eat. Think about it for a minute. Our skin, hair, blood, organs and tissues are all made up of protein sources. Our immune system needs vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc from fresh fruits and veggies to nourish the soldiers that fight 24/7 to keep us healthy. Our brains need lots of fats from omega rich sources like fish, grass fed meats and butter, nuts and seeds in order to send messages to the rest of our bodies. Unfortunately, much of what we eat is missing these important nutrients and our bodies are starving for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, healthy fats and quality protein.

What building blocks do you want your body to build you from?

Once we saturate our bodies with nutrient dense foods it’s incredible how much more energy and focus we have, lightness we feel and easy it is to continue to feed ourselves the best food possible.

Starting January 17th I’ll be running the Get Clean in 2014 Cleanse at Yoga at SimplyWell. If you are ready to shed some winter weight, feel vibrant and learn simple strategies for incorporating more whole foods you’ve GOT to join us! You can learn more about the cleanse HERE and reserve your spot. It’s 14-days of fantastic food, great support and loads of fun. I promise!

Want a taste of what kind of food you’ll be eating on the cleanse?

I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE cold weather dishes with you today. Not only is this dish incredibly warming and comforting – it comes together quickly, freezes beautifully and re-heats like a charm.

This is a vegetarian, protein powered dish that will leave you satisfied. The lentils and chickpeas are rich in fiber and iron (think happy arteries and healthy blood!) and the coconut oil is loaded in lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk (the most nutrient-dense food) and converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown useful in supporting our immune systems and fighting viruses and diseases. Now that’s what I want to build my body from!

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Chickpea and Red Lentil Dal 

Ingredients

2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (let sit 5-10 minutes before cooking)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups of water
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can of chickpeas
½ cup full fat coconut milk
Handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, curry powder and cayenne and cook for about one minute more, stirring so everything is well combined.
  2. Add the lentils to the pot followed by the water. Stir and raise the temperature to medium-high, bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chickpeas and coconut milk and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley shortly before serving. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on December 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes