Tag Archives | dairy free

Tasty trail mix with toasted coconut

Food….I never leave home without it!

No matter where I go I always have some sort of snack stashed in my purse. If I’m on the run all day I pack a whole grocery bag of goodies. Yes, it might seem a little much but it certainly saves me from scrounging for something while I’m out and about and my blood sugar start going dangerously low.

I used to not be this prepared. In the past I wouldn’t eat until my blood sugar was dangerously low – I would feel tired, my heart would start beating faster and I would get the worst case of hangry (hungry AND angry). My friends and family knew that when my eyes started to glaze over and my sense of humor disappeared it was time to feed Tanya. NOW!

hangry

When you’re constantly fighting that blood sugar roller coaster you will always default to the worst choice possible – chocolate bars, blueberry muffins, coffee cake and ice cream will be your defaults. These were my regular snacks and meals for a long time. Nearly 10 years ago when Mr. Wes and I first met he wooed me with candy gummies, lollipops, candy bars and scooter crunch ice cream. I kid you not! He put boxes of candy in the interoffice mail to me when we worked together and met me in my college parking lot after class with a cooler full of ice cream. We laugh now that my standards are much higher now so he has to work a little harder!

My favorite snack to keep on hand is trail mix. Sure, there are plenty of ready made trail mixes to buy and some stores even have “trail mix bars” where you can mix your own. However, those nuts are usually salted and roasted in low quality oils. Some even have sugar, preservatives and other funky ingredients in them. I say, save your money and mix your own!

The secret ingredient to my trail mix is toasted coconut. Coconut contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid which increases HDL (good) cholesterol and is utilized as a source of energy instead of being stored as fat. Plus, it’s delicious!

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So, before you get hangry, get these ingredients and make your own totally tasty trail mix! These are the ingredients I like to use but you can certainly experiment and make your own. In the comments below tell me what you like to add to your trail mix.

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Tasty Trail Mix with Toasted Coconut

Ingredients 

Handful of each of the following:
large coconut flakes (make sure they are unsweetened)
cashews and almonds
pumpkin seeds
raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips (I like The Good Life brand)
Raisins and chopped dried apricots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5-6 minutes. It will brown VERY quickly so keep a close eye on it. You want it to brown very slightly.
  2. Mix the nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs or chocolate chips, raisins and dried apricots in a large bowl. Add the toasted coconut and mix until well combined.
  3. Store your trail mix in jars or divide up into baggies for easy grab and go. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 7, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

A fall favorite – basic beef stew

Beef stew screams fall. Just the THOUGHT of beef stew has me thinking cozy fires, comfy blankets and fuzzy slippers. I used to think making beef stew was something only my mom could make. Why? Because it seemed very complicated and labor intensive. Plus, I was afraid it would never taste as good as hers. That can be a big stumbling block! Even though my mom doesn’t live far away I recently realized that if I want beef stew, it’s up to me to make it.

After a brief call to mom I dove in and made a very simple but amazingly delicious beef stew. That was about 6 weeks ago and Mr. Wes has requested beef stew two more times. I would offer him pizza and he would ask “do you have any more of that beef stew?” Yeah, it’s that good!

As the title suggests, this is a very basic recipe. Don’t be afraid to add different veggies, herbs and seasonings. You could throw in turnips or even cubed butternut squash for a nice sweet/savory dish. I like to double the recipe and then freeze it in small jars for great single serving lunches and dinners.

Enjoy!

 

Basic Beef Stew

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 ¼-1 ½ lbs organic beef roast, cubed (you can also by already cubed beef if you like)
1 pound of leeks, washed and roughly chopped. Whites and some of the pale green parts (if you don’t have leeks use one large white onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 medium potatoes (yellow or redskin will work), cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 cups of water or homemade stock
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of your choice. I like savory and thyme.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and a pinch of salt. Brown the meat about 8-10 minutes until it becomes nice a caramelized and juices start releasing. Give it a stir every few minutes so it cooks pretty evenly.
  2. Place the partially cooked meat in a bowl along with the juices. Set aside. Put your pot back on the stove over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes to the pot and continue cooking the vegetables another 5-6 minutes, giving them the occasional stir so they cook evenly. If they start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot add a splash of water. This will help prevent sticking and release delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Once your veggies have cooked a bit and become slightly softened add your meat and juice back to the pot along with the water bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt and herbs of choice. You want your ingredients to be covered by about an inch of water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook the stew for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally and giving it a stir. Your veggies should be soft but not mushy and your meat cooked through.
  5. Before serving, taste the broth and add salt and pepper and needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 22, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Kick Out Cancer with Cabbage

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this weeks fall soup recipe is packed with a food that can help us kick cancer in the kitchen. By cooking and eating whole, unprocessed foods you are taking a huge step towards preventing and recovering from cancer and many other diseases. True health really begins in your kitchen!

The American Cancer Society’s key recommendation to reduce the risk of cancer is to eat cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. This group of vegetables contains more phytochemicals (mostly in the form of glucocsinolates) with demonstrable anticancer properties than any other vegetable family. Popular studies have shown that the higher the intake of these vegetables the lower the rates of cancer, particularly colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer.

Cabbage is “king” of the cruciferous vegetable family because of its extra-special health powers. The glucocsinolates in cabbage work primarily by increasing antioxidant mechanisms and improving the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and hormones. That means keeping cancer out and inviting health in!

If that wasn’t enough, cabbage also has more vitamin C than oranges. A weakened immune system doesn’t just open you up for the common cold but also creates a more hospitable environment for cancer.

Fall is a great time to fill up on cabbage and all its amazing nutritional benefits. The market has beautiful tender cabbage that is sweet, crisp and perfect for a warming soup. Stop by the demonstration tent between 3-5 pm this afternoon to see how this delicious soup is made and get the first taste. You’ll never look at cabbage the same way again!

Curried Cabbage and Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ head green cabbage (about 16-20 ounces)
1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4-5 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into smaller than bite sized cubes
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (you can also use Indian powdered curry)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups of water or vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove any ragged leaves from the cabbage. Halve the cabbage (so you have two quarters) and remove the core. Slice the cabbage into thin strips about as thick as a pencil. You can do this with a knife or on a mandolin. Cut the long strips in half once.
  2. Warm the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes until they start to become tender and brown a bit. They may stick a bit but don’t worry. The water will help get those stuck bits off the bottom. Stir in the curry paste (or powder), garlic and onion. Cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add the water and chickpeas. Raise the heat and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften. Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a lot of cabbage. It will collapse quite a bit.
  4. Taste your broth and add salt and pepper as needed. If you want a stronger flavor you can add more curry paste or a few shots of tamari. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestion: This soup is delicious on it’s own but I really love it with a splash of coconut milk which gives it a very distinct Thai flavor. Or, you can add less water and put in a whole can of coconut milk – also delicious! You can also add a cup of cooked brown rice or millet to make it even heartier and filling.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

The Power of Food and Cooking (Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette)

*This is an oldie, but a goodie from September, 2013*

This weekend I was reminded how much food and cooking can spread love and create connections between people. Our wedding was this past Saturday and people traveled from all over the world to celebrate with Wes and I. It was nothing short of incredible and our hearts were so full of love and gratitude.

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One of the greatest gifts was having my dear friends and family around to keep us fed and nourished during the days leading up to our wedding. There was an army of amazing women flitting around my kitchen making scrambled eggs for breakfast, incredible salads for lunch and warming stews for dinner. Not only did they cook but they also did the dishes and put away leftovers! They have since left but I’m reminded of their presence when I find bowls in the cabinet for the water glasses.

These mouthwatering meals were not only essential for keeping us fueled but they created time and space for incredible conversation, connection and laughter. Despite some of the chaos, spending time in the kitchen seemed to provide a sense of calm and a place where complete strangers came together and left as friends. I was so grateful to have these ladies take care of me.

The food love didn’t stop in my kitchen! I had asked friends and family members to bring different desserts for our wedding reception to add to the homey feel of the day. I was stunned at the amazing desserts people created in their kitchens to share with us and our guests. People couldn’t wait for the cake cutting before they starting grazing on the fragrant pies, tarts and cookies!

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Today’s recipe is Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette and comes from a dear friend of mine in California. We made this together at a special event in Napa and again here before she left on Monday. She fed Wes and I all week long long with warming beef stew and scrumptious salads. (Jamie, you can come back to visit anytime!) It reminds me very much of how cooking not only feeds our stomachs, but also our hearts and souls. If you have the opportunity to cook or share a meal with someone, do it! It is an amazing gift.

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Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup freshly slivered basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon honey (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. Place in a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss and place the sieve over a bowl. This helps to release some of the liquid from the zucchini so your dressing doesn’t become watered down.
  2. Meanwhile, use the mandolin to remove the kernels from your corn. Simply run each ear over the blade longwise. You’ll want to adjust your slicer a little thicker than for the zucchini. Notice that you may need to run the back of the cob over twice since it those kernels tend to be a bit thicker.
  3. Place the corn, tomatoes and basil leaves in a large serving bowl. Give the zucchini a gentle squeeze to remove any remaining liquid and add to the corn mixture.
  4. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and honey (if using). The honey adds a touch of sweetness which can easily be omitted if you like. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad, toss and taste. Add more dressing if needed and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This salad holds up well in the fridge for 2 days so it’s a good idea to make a double batch and store it for lunch or dinner the next day.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on September 19, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Thai Coconut Curry – Boost your health and your taste buds

 Oh curry, how I love thee! Let me count the ways!

You are flexible. You’ll accommodate everything from green beans to butternut squash and everyone from meat eaters to vegetarians.
You are reliable. Whether summer or winter, you’re a dependable dish that is delicious any time of year.
You are forgiving. With just a few pantry staples you’re a sure thing. It’s virtually impossible to mess you up.
You are simple and straightforward. You might seem hard and tough on the outside, but you’re actually a cinch to make. Busted!
You are exciting and adventurous! Your flavor is complex, exotic and it lights up my taste buds!

Ok, ok. I’ll stop there. You get the idea. Curry is amazing! When I’m waxing poetic about my craziness for curry I often encounter people who tell me how much they dislike it. Here’s the thing. There are so many different kinds of curry, from different regions around the world, all with different flavors. If you’ve had a crippling curry experience, don’t give up! There is a curry dish out there that I know you will love. Perhaps it’s today’s recipe?!

So what is curry exactly?

I like to compare it to chili. There are an infinite number of chili recipes out there. You can have hot chili and mild chili. Chili with beef, turkey or only beans. Some people use ketchup, while others use tomato sauce. And, the type and amount of herbs and spices can be wildly different from recipe to recipe. The same goes for curry.

The two biggest distinctions are Indian versus Thai curry. Indian curry uses curry powder, a powder mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper and other spices. Most Thai curry dishes use either a green or red curry paste in which the base is made up of red or green chili’s, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and other fragrant herbs and spices. Thai curry typically uses coconut milk where Indian curry does not. These are just the basics. As with chili, each region and family has their own unique spin on this adaptable dish.

Today’s Thai curry recipe packs a nutritional punch while being a very satisfying and fulfilling meal. Coconut oil and coconut milk are some of the few plant sources of lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, that enhance brain function and the immune system. They are also an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, the kind that the body metabolizes into energy rather than storing as fat. Gotta love that! Don’t fall for the “reduce fat coconut milk.” It’s just thinned with water. Instead, buy the full fat kind and cut it with water yourself.

You can even take your curry up a notch on the nutritional scale by loading it up with a variety of veggies. Substituting a can of chickpeas for the meat is an easy way to turn this dish into the perfect vegetarian meal. Plus, this recipe is food allergy! It’s free of dairy, gluten, corn and nuts some of the more common food allergens. But, be warned! If you are eating curry in a restaurant chances are it’s not gluten free. Many places use soy sauce, which contains wheat. Ask your server before ordering!

So, have I convinced you that you must give curry a chance?

Great! Come see me at the farmers market today from 3-5 pm. I’ll be demonstrating this recipe and you can get a delicious bite. I promise you’ll be filling your bags with zucchini and running home to make this. I’ll see you there!

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

Ingredients

½ tablespoon coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 pound boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari
handful fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water, optional 

Instructions

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a large glass measuring pitcher or bowl. Add a can of water and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined and let the onion soften, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and stir until it is coated in the oil and onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the zucchini begins to soften a bit. Add the curry paste and stir until the zucchini is well coated. Continue to cook for about a minute until the curry paste becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken, coconut milk, fish sauce and tamari. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the zucchini is tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Give it a taste! You can add more curry paste, tamari or a pinch of salt if it needs more flavor. If adding more curry paste, be sure to squish it on the side of the pot with a spoon so it dissolves into the broth. Otherwise, someone will get a curry paste surprise! Serve over brown basmati rice and a side of cooled cucumber salad. Enjoy!

Cooking tip: If you prefer a thinner, more soup-like curry feel free to add some more water with the coconut milk. You can use eggplant in place of the zucchini or add shredded cabbage towards the end for an added crunch. If you want to reduce the cook-time even more pick up a whole roasted chicken instead of the raw chicken. Shred the meat and toss it in during step 4.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on August 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

A Salad Double-Whammy

It’s often assumed that because I work in the food and health field I only order salad when I eat out at a restaurant. Au contraire! This may come as a surprise but I hardly ever order salad at a restaurant. Why? Because most restaurant salads are HUGELY disappointing, tasteless and completely lacking any imagination. Does anyone really enjoy a pile of iceberg lettuce, barely ripe cherry tomatoes and dried up slices of cucumber? It makes sense that you would douse that in calorie-laden ranch dressing! That’s the only thing that can make a salad like that remotely palatable.

Ok, so maybe I’m being really hard on restaurant salad selections. But, please know that salad shouldn’t be an afterthought and it can taste totally incredible, be completely satisfying and…. (drumroll please)……ridiculously easy to make!

I recently made the green salad I’m sharing with you today at the farmers market. One of my cooking class students stopped by to say hello and told me how she had been making some of the recipes (which always makes my heart happy). But then she said,

Tanya, you make salad taste better than movie theater popcorn!

And then, I almost passed out.

It’s certainly a high bar, but I have to agree. With a few pantry staples and some fresh ingredients a salad can be an incredibly satisfying and delicious meal or snack.

Here are my 4 essentials to making a killer, “better-than-movie-theater-popcorn” salad. There is no reason to eat another mediocre salad EVER again!

1) Fresh – It goes without saying that using fresh, seasonal ingredients is essential for a radically amazing salad. In the spring and summer use fresh baby greens. In the fall and winter cabbage and kale make wonderful hearty salads. Adding fresh herbs will also give your salad a little something extra. Visit your local market and farmers to get the best quality produce possible. Or, grow your own! It’s about time to plant kale so you have it in time the fall and herbs are super easy to grow in pots on your windowsill.
2) Sour – As a kid I would drink the salad dressing out of the salad bowl because I loved the sour, vinegar-y taste. Now….I still do that on occasion 🙂 There are so many different types of vinegars to experiment with – from fancy balsamic to simple white vinegar. Lemons and limes are some of my favorite additions as well. You can also add sour taste with different types of mustard. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
3) Sweet – For the longest time I thought that fruit had no place in a green salad. But, I’ve since changed my mind. Adding a some chopped apple or dried cherries adds a wonderful sweet taste to your salad that can be unexpected. Plus, by adding a little sweetness to your meal you’re less likely to crave the sweets after dinner is done.
4) Crunch – Crunch is key for completing your salad. I toast nuts and seeds ahead of time and store them in glass jars. Then, all it takes is a little sprinkle! They are a great alternative to croutons and pack a big nutritional punch. If they are missing from a salad Mr. Wes immediately asks “where are my nuts!” Yes, that one is always good for a laugh.

And now, on to the recipes!

The great thing about salad is that you can totally make it up. These recipes are just guidelines. You can add in any kind of fruit, shredded carrots, different herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, whatever!

Cabbage and Greens Salad with Tamari Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or grain mustard work well)
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
3 handfuls mixed salad greens
¼ medium cabbage, red or green
1 green onion, white and green parts chopped
1 tablespoon chopped herbs of choice (thyme, chives, tarragon all work well)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring or tossing the seeds frequently so they don’t burn. The seeds should begin to puff up and brown slightly. When most of the seeds have started to brown, turn off the heat and add the tamari. (The tamari will make the pan sizzle loudly and steam will rise – don’t be afraid! This is totally normal). Start stirring the seeds immediately with a wooden spoon so they are fully coated in the tamari. Within a minute or two the tamari will have dried up. Put the seeds on a plate or platter in a single layer so they can cool.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust flavor as needed. For more depth you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  3. Cut the cabbage in half and then cut one of the halves in half again (so you have two quarters and one half). Finely slice one of the quarters using a mandolin or sharp knife. You can run your knife through the cabbage once or twice after slicing it if the slices seem too long. If you want more cabbage or your cabbage is a bit small slice the other quarter. Reserve the remaining cabbage for another use.
  4. In a large salad bowl combine the mixed greens, cabbage, green onion and herbs. Add half the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste the salad and add more dressing if necessary.
  5. Before serving sprinkle with a handful of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Store remaining seeds in a jar. They will keep for weeks and are a great addition to any salad instead of croutons! Or, as a snack as is.  Enjoy!

 Sesame-Ginger Rice Noodles with Cucumbers and Carrots

 Serves 3-4

Ingredients
8 ounces rice noodles
1 large English cucumber
2 medium carrots
3-4 green onions (scallions), white and green parts chopped
1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
juice from half a lemon (you can skip the rice vinegar and use a whole lemon instead)
1 tablespoon white miso paste
2 teaspoons tamari (San-J brand recommended)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup water
cilantro or parsley to garnish
salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add the soba noodles, according to the package directions. You want them to have a bit of a bite. Be careful not to overcook them! Drain and rinse under cold water. Put noodles into a large serving dish or bowl.
  2. Peel the cucumber and then cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds inside with a spoon. Thinly slice each cucumber half so you end up with “c” shape pieces. Add the cucumber to the noodles.
  3. Peel the carrots, cut in half and thinly slice them similar to the cucumber. Add the carrots to the noodles and cucumbers. Add the green onion as well.
  4. In a food processor or blender add the rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, miso paste, tamari, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Give it a spin to start combining everything. Add a bit of the water and blend again. You don’t want your dressing to thick or too thin. Continue adding water until you have a nice creamy consistency. Try the dressing and add salt to taste. You can also add more tamari, sesame oil or lemon juice if it needs a little more flavor.
  5. Pour half the dressing over the noodle mixture and toss with tongs. Add more dressing if needed. The noodles and veggies can thin out the flavor a bit so have a taste and add more salt or other dressing ingredients if needed. Enjoy!
Comments { 2 } · Posted on August 5, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

On the Fly 7-Minute Stir Fry

I’m in the middle of my 4th move in less than 18 months. Yeah, you heard that right. My 4th MOVE! Thank goodness this will be my final move for a VERY, very, very long time.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mr. Wes and I recently bought our neighbors house and are slowly but surely moving in. The houses are only about 100 feet apart so moving is a very manual process of shuffling things into the new place. Good thing Mr. Wes is so industrious and created this handy “moving van” with a built in clothes rack!

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It’s when he gets a little too industrious and suggests putting together a 9-hole golf course to entertain our wedding guests that I have to step in and put on the breaks.

But, I digress.

When things get crazy like this eating well can feel impossible, even for the most dedicated healthy eater. Yes, this girl included! Earlier this week, after endless hours of painting and cleaning I was starving and needed lunch FAST. I opened the fridge and was at a total loss. I had cooked brown rice. Boooring! I opened the freezer and found a bag of organic mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots and green beans) and immediately thought of the “stir fry” my mom would whip up in a pinch when I was a kid. Ok, I admit….she made this for me just a few months ago.

Why 7- minute stir fry? Because, let’s be honest. Anyone who says they can cook something GOOD in 5 minutes or less is full of it.

So, instead of grabbing the cereal box take a few extra minutes and turn on the stove. Trust me, this is way better than a bowl of fruit loops and you’ll be back in action in no time at all!

This recipe can be made simply (as I’ve done below) or made more complex by using fresh veggies, more spices etc. Either way it’s a great basis for a quick and simple meal. So, when hunger strikes, the kids are whining or your other half is asking “is dinner ready yet?” whip up this stir fry and everyone will be oh so happy!

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On the Fly 7-Minute Stir Fry

Ingredients
1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup frozen organic veggies (stir fry veggies, broccoli and cauliflower, corn, peas, carrots and green beans. Whatever tickles your fancy)
1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (Get in the habit of always having cooked grains in your fridge. They are perfect for a quick meal!)
2 eggs, beaten
Drizzle of tamari (This is real soy sauce. San-J brand recommended)
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil, optional
Pinch of crushed red pepper, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot add the frozen veggies and sautee until they beging to defrost and soften. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until everything is cooked through and hot. 
  2. Push the rice and veggies to one side of the pan. Add another drizzle of olive oil and add your eggs. Give them a stir with a fork and let them cook for about 1 minute or so. Before they get too dry mix them in with the rice and veggie mixture until everything is well combined.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the tamari, sesame oil and crushed red pepper. Stir until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Do you have a quickie meal that is a stand-by in your kitchen? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 28, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Beet Slaw with Horseradish

Beets – you either love them or hate them. If you already love them, welcome to the club! If you hate them chances are you’ve had the misfortune of encountering the canned kind on a restaurant salad. I agree. That version is less than stellar. I’m here to convert the haters into total beet-lovers so they can join the club and reap all the incredible benefits. Because, not only is this club delicious, it will do amazing things for your health! Here are just a few reasons to put beautiful beets back in your diet.

1.     Love Your Liver: Your liver works 24/7 to keep to you clean and clear of toxins that enter your body. So, it’s important to give it a little love! Beets have long been used for medicinal purposes because of their ability to stimulate and liver’s detoxification processes.
2.     Beets for your Heartbeat: Beets are generally very supportive of the blood and circulation. Specifically, they contain important phytonutrients such as betanin and isobetanin and key nutrient choline that can inhibit inflammatory markers linked to heart disease.
3.     Grab the Greens: The most nutritious beets are those with the greens still attached. Cut them off as soon as you get home or they will begin to wilt. The greens are highly nutritious and shouldn’t be discarded. They are rich in folic acid, especially important for healthy development of the fetus during pregnancy. They are also an excellent source of vitamin K for strong bones and vitamin A for good eyesight and healthy skin. You can sauté with garlic them, add them to soups or use the tender greens in a salad.

I recently made this recipe at my local farmers market and it was a big hit! The lovers AND haters were big fans of this salad and everyone was amazed at how quick and simple the recipe is. The memorable response was a couple who stopped by once the crowd had subsided a bit. The woman asked for a sample and in the same breath told me how she really didn’t care for beets. She took a hesitant spoonful, paused, nodded and took another bite. Her response….”this is actually pretty good!” Her husband was stunned and said,

“I’ve been married to this woman for 30 years and I’ve NEVER seen her eat a beet before!”

What can I say folks…I’m here for all your foodie firsts! 🙂

Raw Beet Slaw with Horseradish

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ pounds beets, scrubbed
1 large or 2 small spring onion
1 tablespoon fresh horseradish, or more if you like it spicier (Jarred works as well. Read the label to ensure you recognize the ingredients and it’s free of flavorings and oils.)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 sprig tarragon, minced (optional)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Grate the beets on the large grating insert of your food processor. (You can also use a box grater. If you grate them by hand rubber gloves can be very handy!) Scrape grated beets into a large bowl.
2. Peel the horseradish and grate it finely in the food processor or on a box grater. Add it to the beets and mix until well combined.
3. Add the olive oil, vinegar and herbs to the beets and horseradish. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: This slaw can be eaten with crackers, on a sandwich, with grilled meat or alongside a hearty green salad. When in season grated carrots are a nice addition to this dish and replacing the horseradish with ginger gives it a refreshing bite. You can store this salad, covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Photo from HERE

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Mark Bittman
Comments { 0 } · Posted on June 21, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Sautéed Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger

Bok choy has got it all! It has a deliciously sweet and mild taste. Its leaves are tender while its stalks provide a satisfying crunch. Plus, it cooks up quickly! It is most often used in Asian soups and stir-fries but can also be added to salads or served on it’s own as a fantastic side dish. Being part of the cabbage family it is of course also packed with amazing nutrients that are beneficial for your health

Here are 3 reasons to bring this tasty green home today!

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally: Bok choy is packed with potassium and calcium, both of which help to lower blood pressure.
Your Antioxidant Ally: This veggie is loaded in antioxidant vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin A and almost two-thirds the RDA vitamin C.
Dynamic Digestion: Bok choy is a good source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Fiber also helps manage weight, balance blood sugar and helps eliminate toxins.

The farmers market is abundant with bok choy this time of year. Stop by the market this afternoon between 3 and 7 to pick up a few bunches. Then, stop by the demo tent to see me make this recipe so you’ll be ready to hit the kitchen when you get home!

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Sautéed Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ tablespoon coconut oil
2 bunches bok choy
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoon tamari
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
salt to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bok choy by cutting the stalk parts from the leaves. Slice the stalks at an angle into 1-inch pieces. Layer the leaves on top of each other, roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch strips. Place stalks and leaves in separate bowls.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the stalks with a pinch of salt about 3-4 minutes, until they start to become translucent and tender. Add garlic and ginger and give a good stir to combine.
  3. Add the leaves to the pan and toss well so everything is combined. Sauté the leaves about 1 minute until they begin to wilt lightly. Add tamari and toasted sesame oil. Heat through about 1 more minute. Taste and add more tamari, sesame oil or salt as necessary. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can serve this as a side dish alongside chicken or fish. It’s also delicious mixed with brown rice and topped with a fried egg for a quick and simple dinner.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 22, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Easy-Peasy Bean Burger

I have a pretty serious hoarding problem. It’s present in pretty much every room of my house.

The good thing is that my obsession has to do with recipes. Not yarn balls, old comic books, plastic flower arrangements or kittens.

I scour newspapers, magazines, my favorite food blogs (TheKitchen and 101Cookbooks are two fantastic ones!) and Pinterest for recipe ideas. A file folder in my kitchen is overflowing with recipes that I’ve collected for several years now. There is a stack of cookbooks next to the bed that I like to leaf through for inspiration before going to bed. (Yes, I read cookbooks at night while other people read Danielle Steele). And, my desk always has a pile of freshly printed recipes waiting just to be whisked off into the kitchen.

While I love “recipe hunting,” it’s always a special treat when someone passes a tried and true recipe on to me. It’s the recipes you pick up along the way from family, friends and acquaintances you meet at pot luck dinners that always have special memories attached to them – who they came from, how we came about them, and why we’re so fond of them. And, when we make these recipes it’s impossible to not remember the person who shared it with us.

Making and eating food together is such a powerful way of connecting across generations, continents, coasts and cultures.

This week I want to share a recipe from my dear friend Gordon in San Francisco. Gordon and I completed our therapeutic nutrition certifications together and when I’m in his neighborhood he always invites me over for tea. We spend an hour or two catching up, discussing our latest nutrition discoveries and he ALWAYS shares one of his latest recipes with me. I saw him late April and he told me about a new bean burger recipe he had perfected that his clients were going totally crazy over. I thought, “yeah, yeah, I’ve seen a million bean burger recipes. They are messy and always fall apart.” I was skeptical but I promised to try the recipe when I got home.

Turns out, Gordon shared the ultimate secret to making a fool-proof bean burger with me! Chill it!

When Gordon walked me through the recipe he made a pretty big deal about needing to chill the burgers first. I’m not a fan of following directions very closely but I also didn’t want to mess up his recipe. I put my ego aside and followed his instructions. They turned out great! (Note to self….follow directions!)

I took the liberty of making a few little tweaks to his recipe and want to share it with you today. And, when you make these burgers think of me and my friend Gordon in San Francisco!

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In the comments below tell me what treasured recipe you’ve received that has some wonderful memories attached to it.

Easy-Peasy Spiced Bean Burger
Serves 4-5

Ingredients
1 can black beans (kidney beans work as well), drained and rinsed with hot water. The hot water helps to remove the metallic taste from the can. (Eden Organic brand recommended)
½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon Tamari (San-J brand preferred)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or salsa
1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika (you can use your own mix of preferred spices)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place rinsed beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher. An immersion blender is great for this process. Adding a splash of hot water can help break up the beans
  2. Stir in the rice, oats, tamari, tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. If the mixture is a bit wet you can add a bit more oats. If it’s too dry add a splash of water.
  3. You can divide the mixture into 4 large balls or 5 medium sized ones. Shape into 1 inch patties and place them on a plate and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. This is a crucial step as it will help keep the burgers together!
  4. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Grill the patties until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Carefully flip the burgers so they don’t fall apart.

You can serve this alongside a shredded cabbage slaw, potato salad or with a fried egg on top for breakfast.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on May 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes