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Coconut Whipped Cream

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Simple to make and with a deliciously rich flavor -- once you taste coconut whip you'll never go back. Coconut whip cream has slightly fewer calories than full fat cream, but with the added anti-inflammatory benefits of coconut. Not too mention this dairy-free swap is much better for digestion and adds a unique flavor twist to an otherwise expected dish.

Tips for success:

- I have had the best luck with the brand Native Forest. WholeFood brand is ok too (Image Below) 

- While overnight chilling brings the best results, if you are short on time you could use the freezer for 30 minutes 

- Experiment with added flavors! I love almond or cardamom extract or added orange zest 

INGREDIENTS 

2 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk, chilled overnight 

2 Tbs of honey or maple syrup

1 Tsp of vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Begin by opening your chilled coconut milk cans and scooping out just the solid coconut cream layer that has solidified at the top of the can into a mixing bowl. Pour the leftover liquid into a container and save for another use (I add it to smoothies!)

Now add the maple syrup or honey, and the vanilla into your mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and beat on high for ten minutes (until the whipped cream is fluffy and you can make peaks.)

**I have done this by hand with a whisk -- its possible, but be prepared to call for back up. It takes much longer than normal whipped cream. 

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No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

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No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

FEATURED ON OLD SCHOOL Given my busy training schedule I often find myself with clients (or driving like a maniac) during meal time. Although I really try hard to avoid processed food, my number one slip-up is protein bars.  I've searched high and low for a bar that has it all: made from real foods, low in sugar, high in nutrients, offers anabolic support (for muscle repair and regrowth), and gives me plenty of energy to hit those hills (again!). While I've come close to finding it, there is always something standing in the way of the perfect bar - usually sugar or processed soy. So I decided to hit the kitchen and see what I could come up with.  The final product was so delicious that it's now a regular on my weekly menu.  The bar (and how I eat it) continues to take many forms.  Try it warmed up and served with almond milk, or for a pre or post workout treat.

Note: Once you get used to the concept of making a protein bar, you can easily modify to accommodate your pantry supplies, creativity and specific energy needs. Some of my other favorite combinations have been:

Dried pineapple and crispy quinoa

Cacao and goji berries (best served raw)

Pecans and cranberries

Nut and seeds galore! (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.)

HOMEMADE POWER BARS

Tools:

  • Food processor
  • Baking dish
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole rolled oats
  • ½ cup good quality protein powder (rice, pea, or hemp is the most easily digestible.)
  • ¾ cups chopped walnuts (or almonds, or pecans)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (brown or white)
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbs flax or chia seeds (best with a combination of the two!)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup coconut oil (olive oil or safflower oil can be substituted)
  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 5 Dried apricots
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 325.

Begin by placing the flax and/or chia seeds in a small bowl with 4 Tbs. water. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all your dry ingredients: oats, walnuts, poppy and sesame seeds, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a food processor, blend all the wet ingredients: banana, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, dates, apricots, lemon juice and zest.

By this time, the flax/ chia/ water will have become gelatinous.  This will be used to bind the bars.  Add them to the food processor at the last minute and pulse to combine.

Now add your wet ingredients to the dry. Using a big spoon, mix well.

Place parchment paper along the bottom of a baking pan.  Add the ingredients, evenly distribute and press down your bars.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Let the bars cool then slice them into squares about the size of a deck of cards.

Enjoy them easily for a quick breakfast on their own, warmed and served with almond milk over the top, or as a healthy pre-workout snack. They will store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

The Skinny: Why go to the trouble of making your own protein bars? Because anything you make in your own kitchen, will give you control over important things like oil, fat and sugar content.  Many of the bars on the market these days contain high sugar (immunosuppressant & blood sugar destabilizing), processed soy (harmful to the thyroid), whey protein (hard for most to digest), and preservatives. Plus, these bars are a great breakfast-to-go , which will help steer you clear of sweet rolls and sugary cereals.

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Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

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Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

There's no better way to fight the cold weather than to start your day off with a warm bowl of oatmeal! Try this seasonal version with persimmons, pumpkin seeds and anti-inflammatory turmeric. TURMERIC SLOW COOKED OATS

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water (or a mix of water and milk)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: Pour the water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then stir in the oats and the salt and stir.

Return the water to a rolling boil (this should only take a few seconds, then reduce heat to low.

Let the oats simmer for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until the oats are very tender and the oatmeal is as creamy as you like it (longer cooking will make thicker oatmeal). Once cooked, stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Remember your oats are a vessel for superfoods! Limit your bowl of oats to 1-1.5 cups and then boost the dish with lots of goodness like: ground flax or chia seeds, hemp hearts, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruit.

** Protein boost! Add 1 egg directly into the oats in the last 5 minutes of cooking. This will add 6 grams of protein to your breakfast and give it a custard like texture. **

Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 week: The oats are ready to eat immediately. You can also let the oats cool and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The oats will thicken in the fridge; stir a little milk or water into them when reheating to loosen.

The Skinny: In a world of Paleo & Atkin lovers, oatmeal has gotten a bad rap. I blame this on the "over-sugerfication" of our breakfast cereals. At it's heart, cereals are hearty whole grain that offers fiber, protein and vitamins B & iron. To reclaim your oatmeal you need to think outside the box. Breakfast cereals can be made with any whole grain (think quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.), and should be seen as a vessel for superfoods (not sugar). Load your oatmeal with as many superfoods as you can: Think flax or chia seeds; hemp hearts; raw nuts and seeds; anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric or ginger; eggs for protein; coconut or MCT oil for good fats; etc., etc, etc...

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Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

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Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

I usually drag my feet/ never get around to adding the recipes that you all ask for.But 'tis the season for sharing (and for baking!) So if we treat, make it a wholesome treat!

To me the perfect muffin has the following components: 1) Packed with secret super-foods 2) Minimal and natural sugar 3) High in protein 4) Contains fresh fruit 5) An interesting texture

I put this little combination together while doing the unspeakable: mixing and matching baking recipes. And guess what? It was a major win! It's super flavorful, has unexpected crunch and enough protein that you can actually eat it for breakfast without feeling guilty. Not to mention it filled my house with an incredible holiday scent.

Please be brave to substitute ingredients within their types (but not their amounts.) That means if I suggest amaranth (and you say "what the heck is amaranth?"), but have another similar grain like millet or rye flakes, then go for it! If I suggest pumpkin seeds (because they are packed with Vitamin A and Zinc for immunity), but you'd rather have a seasonal hazelnut, be my guest!

Being brave in our cooking allows us to take ownership with what we do, and learn to fall in love with healthy food. My ultimate goal for you this winter is to remove the struggle from your relationship with health and replace it instead with enjoyment. Hense, healthy holiday muffins.

Enjoy!

Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

Ingredients 3/4 cup dried amaranth or millet or rye flakes 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Wholesome Chow High Protein Baking/ Pancake mix because of its high protein content + it's gluten-free. But I'd also suggest the Thomas Keller GF flour mix) 1/2 cup additional gluten-free flour (coconut flour, spelt, rye) If you are not GF, feel free to add whole-wheat pastry flour 2 tsp cream of tartar (optional) 3/4 tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated preferred) 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1 cup of grated firm pear (aprox 1-2) 3/4 cup natural cane sugar (tubinado), honey or maple syrup (you can also can sub loosely packed dates) 6 Tbs coconut oil 1 cup yogurt, Kefir or coconut milk OR *gasp*, coconut milk eggnog (serious yum / slightly less healthy due to sugar content) 2 large eggs beaten 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

*Notes: 1) Chose the firmest pears you can and save the grating until the last possible moment to keep them from going brown. 2) I highly suggest the naughty addition of vegan eggnog, but be sure to minimize your sugar to 1/2> cup if you do. 3) This recipe makes approximately 12 standard muffins

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside - Raw amaranth, flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg

Add sugar to a large bowl then melt coconut oil. Spoon tablespoons into the sugar and mix well. Then whisk in milk of choice, beaten eggs and vanilla. Lastly, grate 1 cup of fresh pear and then fold in gently. Be careful not to over mix.

Meanwhile, lightly toast your pumpkin seeds using the same coconut oil pan. Toast for 1-2 mins shaking often.

Mix in 1/2 the toasted pumpkin seeds to your mix. Reserve the 2nd half as a topper for each muffin.

Oil your muffin tin with coconut oil and fill the cups almost the top. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining pumpkin seeds.

Put the muffins into the oven and immediately turn temperature down to 375. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until golden brown and feel firm to the touch. Or use the handy tooth pick trick: poke it in the middle, if it comes out clean it is ready. We all know that one, right?

When the muffins are ready, pull them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. They will keep for 2 days if you store them in an airtight container or they freeze beautifully!

I like to serve these muffins with my immunity Rose Hip Jam so that I boost my health and lower my guilt, because I want to enjoy every fruit of my labor.

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In case you're wondering about my flour choice, here is a great high protein mix!

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Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus

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Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus

I have long shirked the flavors of overly granola, "hippie" snacks, due to the fact that I was raised on too much granola and hippie snacks.
But low and behold, as promised, "mom is always right."

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

You are not truly a grill master until you have learned the ropes of the vegetable. Grilled vegetables on their own, or along side your protein, make any meal more gourmet, diverse and more nutritious. In this recipe inspired from the San Francisco Chronicle, the vegetables are paired with a flavorful miso dipping sauce which is frankly so good you'll  find yourself dipping much more than vegetables in it.

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white miso

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled)

2 teaspoons of garlic (aprox. 2 cloves)

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tables spoons mirin (*can be substituted with 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs white wine or sake, and 1 tsp honey*)

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 olive oil

1 pound of broccolini

Yellow squash, cut lengthwise

1 medium carrots, peeled and sliced length wise

Olive oil as needed

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place the miso, ginger, garlic, vinegar and mirin in a food processor  or blender. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Combine the sesame oil and olive oil in a measuring cup and mix together. Slowly drizzle the oil into the miso mixture as you continue to blend it. Taste and adjust to your taste if needed with black pepper and sea salt. Garnish the sesame seeds

Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high, clean and oil it. Wash and slice all your vegetables as needed and toss with olive or coconut oil and salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with the miso dipping sauce and impress all your grill master friends!

The Skinny

When you eat animal proteins like eggs, meat, poultry, or fish, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest them in the ideal, highly acidic conditions. When you eat carbohydrates your body produces an alkaline environment. When eating protein and carbohydrates together the acid and alkaline environments cancel each other out, making it difficult to digest anything effectively. By eating non-starchy vegetables alongside your protein, you ensure better digestion and proper nutrient absorption.

For more on the principles of check out the Body Ecology Diet.

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Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

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Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

This smoothie is begging to be enjoyed in the sunshine! Treat yourself to some pampering over the weekend! INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups almond milk 1/4 cup goji berries 2 tbsp cacao powder or nibs 2 tbsp raw hemp seeds 1 tsp chia seeds (ground or whole) 1 heaping cup strawberries 1 date, or a few drops stevia for sweetness

DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients in your blender or food processor. Enjoy~!

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Beet-O De Gallo

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Beet-O De Gallo

For me, beets are nostalgic. They remind me of family dinners and of my father.  Even way out in Hawaii, he always managed to bring beets to our table, along with stories of Californian farming and summers spent on river bottoms.  Lately, in my house, beets have been finding their way into the most unexpected of dishes.  New favorite: using rich, tangy and colorful beets to liven up salsas.  Take this delectable Beet-O De Gallo: Beet-O De Gallo

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (1-2 tomatoes)

1 cup of diced, roasted beets

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Two small limes, juiced

3 tablespoons loosely chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1) To roast beets, first wash, then place in a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the tinfoil around them. Beets should be roasted at 400 for 20-40 minutes (or until they can be easily pierced).

2) Once the beets are soft, remove them from the oven and foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

3) While the beets are cooling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl to make a classic Pico de Gallo base.

4) When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel.  If fully cooked, this should be easy enough to do with just your hands, although a small paring knife can be used as well.

5) After removing the skin, dice the beets and mix them into your tomato salsa base.

6) Transfer all ingredients to your serving bowl and season with salt, pepper and fresh chili powder to taste.

*My favorite way to eat this salsa is on a veggie-heavy tostada!

 

The Skinny

Why eat beets? Because beets, (especially the greens), are packed full of vitamins C, A, calcium and iron.  They also have high levels of folic acid, magnesium and potassium and are excellent sources of fiber.  They have long been used in treating liver disorders, by stimulating detoxification as well as for lowering cholesterol.

Beets have also gained attention for their anti-cancer properties.  The bright red pigment that gives beets their color, AKA betacyanin, is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting agent.  Betacyanin works to inhibit cancer-causing cell mutations, specifically in the stomach.  To top it all off, the excellent fiber found in beets helps to increase bowel function and heighten detoxification, helping to cleanse the body of its toxins. (Micheal Murray, 2005)

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Mint Melon Cooler

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Mint Melon Cooler

It's a boiling 70 degrees here in San Francisco and feeling a lot like summer has arrived early. This rare hot spell is a great reminder of what is to come. Stay hydrated and feeling fit with light, refreshing meals. Here is a smoothie that will help you stay cool and get you ready for summer. Natural electrolytes help keep you hydrated while you're out playing in the sunshine. Serve with tiny umbrella (or sip while under a larger one). INGREDIENTS 2 kale leaves

1 small cucumber

3 celery stalks

1/4 avocado

1 whole lemon, peeled

1 cup fresh (or frozen) honeydew melon

10 fresh mint leaves

1 cup coconut water

DIRECTIONS

Blend it up and enjoy!

THE SKINNY

Smoothies are a great way to get your daily calories in check. They generally have about 300-400 calories, and with a good protein powder you'll stay full through lunch time. Plus they are jam-packed with super fresh nutrients and tons of natural fiber. 2- 3 smoothies a week will improve your digestion and immune and keep your weight in check.

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

I have a new love in my life and his name is chocolate.  It's crazy, I know, but for years I hated chocolate. I thought it too rich, too sweet and would pick around the chocolate chunks of my cookies. Can you believe that?! Then something happened. Maybe I was struck by lightning, maybe my hormonal needs have changed as I approach, ehem 30, or maybe I just wised up. Either way this new found love has me smitten, and like any destructive relationship I am forced to find a healthier way to indulge. Enter power cookie.

I can have a chocolate cookie if its packed with fiber, protein and omega 3's right? YES! So I did.

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies Adapted from My New Roots

Yield: 12 cookies

INGREDENTS

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature

1/3 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup agave (or maple syrup, honey)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

cayenne pepper, for sprinkling (optional)

Recipe subs: If you don’t have coconut oil or chia seeds, you can try butter and eggs, respectively, instead (although you should really just invest in those delicious ingredients!).

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Place beans, coconut oil, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add maple syrup and chia mixture and pulse to incorporate. Remove blade from the food processor and fold in the chocolate and cherries.

Use a tablespoon to measure cookie batter onto lined baking sheet. Use about 1.5 tablespoons of batter per cookie for 12 medium cookies. Nudge the batter into the approximate shape you want with your fingers, including flattening the top of cookies slightly, as they will barely spread when baking. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cayenne, if desired.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops of the cookies start to look slightly dry and the edges start to look taut and almost crisp. Cook for less time if you want a fudgier consistency. Cool before eating. Store in the fridge.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 16 evenly distributed dollops of batter. Bake for around 10 minutes (the cookies should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Place the saved black beans on top. Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve with fresh almond milk.

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Corn Bread (Gluten Free!)

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Corn Bread (Gluten Free!)

Corn bread is god's gift to gluten-free eaters. It is rich, nostalgic and indulgent and in its truest form, is naturally gluten-free. Using whole grain corn meal, coconut oil and Keifer I transformed these American favorites into a wholesome Sunday breakfast. The addition of apple sauce, Greek yogurt or Keifer will help keep them moist. Play with additions like corn kernels, green chilies or Middle Eastern Dukkah.

  • 1 cup milk (Almond, Coconut, Hemp, etc. )
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 cups fine or medium cornmeal (I used whole-grain, but regular is ok.)
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or regular sugar (I like my cornbread southern-style, with zero sweetness, so I like to omit this. But everyone else who tried the recipe preferred the sweetened version. I’d recommend leaving it in, especially if you’re making this recipe for the first time.)
  • 1 and 1/2 packets stevia (or 2 more tbsp sugar)
  • 11-oz can corn, drained (not unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp coconut or canola/veg oil (see nutrition link below, for a fat-free option)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce

Mix the vinegar with the milk, and set aside. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, corn (pulverized if you wish), and milk-vinegar. Then pour the wet into dry and mix until just mixed. Pour into a greased 8×8 dish and cook at 420 F (preheated) for about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to cut, or it will crumble.

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

Now that we are in the holiday season, sugar cravings are high.  Instead of breaking out the Christmas cookies early, use up the last of your Thanksgiving pie ingredients with this magically creamy pumpkin ice cream.  This delicious, guilt free, holiday dessert is vegan and very low in sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

2 Frozen bananas (break into pieces before freezing.)

3 TBS Pumpkin Puree

Few splashes of Vanilla Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Or Cow Milk. (just enough to create a creamy consistency)

1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon & 1/4tsp Ground Clove (or substitute both cinnamon and clove with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie mix. )

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1 Tsp honey or maple syrup

2 Tsp. toasted pecans to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the frozen bananas to a food processor or heavy duty blender.

Pulse a few times to break them up, then add the milk and blend until smooth (you may need more or less depending on the consistency your looking for.)

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend slowly until it is mixed.

Dish up into ice cream bowls and serve immediately!

The Skinny

Having less sugar in you diet will improve your immune system, control your food cravings and promote healthy skin. Did you know that just one teaspoon of sugar, inhibits your immune system for 12 hrs?! If your someone who craves sweets, find creative ways around the habit.  When those cravings kick in, satiate the body with good fats instead.  Pumpkin "ice cream", apples with cinnamon, or 1 Tbs of almond butter are all good choices....

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

For both kids and adults Halloween is the gateway into the holiday eating season. It marks the beginning of the many celebrations to come, and with it our hard earned health and weight loss goes out the window.  Many of our holiday festivities are centered around eating which is arguable the best and worst of traditions.  Halloween in particular, sabotages our weight because of the high amounts of sugar we consume.  And as much as I love a tiny witch knocking on my door, I can't help but feel that I am working against my own values when I stock their buckets (and my own pantry) with sweets. Now I don't want to be the house on the block known for giving out weird kale treats (or do I..?), but I do think there are healthier options for our trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas to help you and your neighbors be a little less sugar crazed.

    • If you have kids of your own, try to keep the focus on the spirit of Halloween. Play dress up and make creative costumes, carve pumpkins, decorate your house and yard, play games, build a haunted house, tell ghost stories, and have parties with friends.
    • Don't over buy trick-or-treat candy! Running out is okay, I promise.  Every house on the block (including your own) will have more candy then they know what to do with. And that extra Halloween candy that is enticingly left out on the counter, will undoubtedly sabotage your health plans.
    • Give toys: false teeth, temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, plastic spiders and rats, Halloween pencils and erasers, hair clips, and bracelets.
    • Offer healthier treats: instant coco mix, graham cracker cookies, 100% juice boxes, fruit leather, air-popped popcorn packs, box raisins, natural fruit snacks, and trail mix.
    • If you do buy candy opt for the smaller versions: Hershey's kisses, tootsie rolls, etc.
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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

It's my birthday month (yes, all month), and that means I've had more then my normal quotient of indulgences. It also means that my sweet-tooth has been awakened and is demanding my attention. In order to appease the sweet-tooth gods and keep my eating habits under wraps, I have been reaching for fresh fruit in the evenings.  This week my CSA came with a double dose of plums and pears, and I have been dreaming up creative ways to enjoy them. This brings me to my point and case: Poached Plums (or Pears!) This is so easy to make and could be enjoyed at the end of a busy day, or brought out at a dinner party to impress your friends. I choose both.

Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

INGREDIENTS 3 TBS Honey 1 Tsp Lemon Zest 3 cups of water 4 Plums

Greek Yogurt (or coconut ice cream) Toasted Pistachios (or your favorite toasted nut)

DIRECTIONS Bring water and honey to a boil and whisk until mixed. Add the lemon zest and plums and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer plums for 10 minutes and then remove from water.

Let them rest for 5 minuets and enjoy over yogurt with toasted nuts.

The Skinny

Why choose fruit over chocolate bars? Fruit offers you a sweet taste and a whole lot of added benefits.

Fiber- Fruit is full of fiber (especially if you eat the skins) which helps with digestion, eases constipation and helps you stay full longer. Fiber also helps to slow the rate in which the sugar is metabolized, making those blood sugar spikes less extreme.

Vitamins- Fruit is packed with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Plums in particular have high levels of vitamin A and potassium good for vision and strong bones.

Fats- Fruit contains almost zero fat and help to lower cholesterol levels.  They greatly reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Sugars- Fruits do contain naturally occurring fructose, but it is much less sugar than you'd get if consuming sweets. Also, fructose being natural is always the better choice over high fructose corn syrup.

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Mama Says, "Eat Your Edamame"

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Mama Says, "Eat Your Edamame"

This is a quick, nourishing snack that is literally, just like mama used to make. My mom always had a pot of soybeans marinating on the stove. Her classic was a soy sauce, ginger, & garlic marinade, but when I called to let her know  I'd be blogging her favorite snack, she told me to get with the times- lemon and sea salt was the new fav. Like usual, mama was right. The lemon and sea salt is fresh and summer, and I am once again hooked.

In with the new (but keep the old). This was, and always will be my favorite snack.

INGREDIENTS

3-4 cups of frozen soybeans

 

Shoyu + Ginger Edamame:

1/2 cup soy sauce (Shoyu in Japanese) + 1 cup of water

3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1 Tbs sesame oil

1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds

 

Lemon + Sea Salt Edamame

1 Tbs salt+ 2 cups of water

3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves

1 lemon + zest (or add orange zest.)

1 Tbs olive oil

 

Begin by adding your frozen edamame to a sauce pan.  Cover with the water (adding either soy sauce or salted water.) Water should just cover beans. Add the garlic cloves and  if your doing the soy sauce version - add ginger. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer.

 

Cook the edamame for about 10-15 minutes (frozen soybeans are pre-cooked).  Drain and make a marinade for the soy beans.  Either:

A. Sesame oil, soy sauce, and fresh ginger 

B. Lemon juice, oilve oil, sea salt and zest.

 

Marinated beans will last up to a week in your fridge.

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The "Good Girl Scout" Cookie

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The "Good Girl Scout" Cookie

These little balls of goodness were first introduced to me by a colleague at Bauman Collage.  On our final day of class she brought them in as gift and I reacted like a feign.  First a nibble, then a whole ball, then counting out my coco balls to be sure I had enough, followed my months of freezing/ rationing the rest.  You get the picture. You see, these totally raw, vegan balls struck a nostalgic cord from my girl-scout days past. They remind me of a Samoa cookie- but with all the right stuff. Make them, share them, freeze them and enjoy them without even a drop of girl scout induced guilt.

The Good Girl Scout INGREDIENTS coconut oil coconut flakes

equal parts dried dates dried Turkish apricots (not the bright orange ones) coconut butter

DIRECTIONS 1. Remove pits from the dates and cut dried fruit into rough pieces to make it easier for the food processor. 2. Mix dates, apricots and coconut butter then blend in a food processor in batches until evenly mixed and it looks darker and wet from the oils in the coconut butter. 3. Roll into small balls. Depending on the stickiness of your batch you may need to pack them together more than roll. Sometime batches are crumblier than others. 4. Store in the fridge for a couple hours to solidify. 5. Melt coconut oil and pour into a small dish like a measuring cup. Pour coconut flakes into another slightly larger small bowl. 6. Dip each date ball into the coconut oil then roll it in the coconut flakes. 7. I place them on wax paper as a go to allow the coconut oil time to solidify then store in the fridge again to harden.

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Pre-workout energy boosters

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Pre-workout energy boosters

Wondering what to eat before and after you workout? The mantra is: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Try to eat carbohydrates before, and protein after a workout to help maximize your efforts. 

Carbohydrates, stored in your body as glycogen, are the main source of muscle energy, and will help you train stronger and longer.  Amino acid-rich protein, when eaten 30 minutes after exercise (your "anabolic window"), will help repair and build muscles.
You're probably familiar with sports bars and protein shakes, but for today, let's look at a more nutritious, whole- foods approach:
PRE-WORKOUT
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-glycemic carbohydrate, meaning that it releases energy slowly to the muscles.
Tip: Make a large batch the day before and reheat. We like ours with coconut milk, chia seeds, and cardamum.
Bananas and Almond butter: An update on a childhood favorite, almond butters often have less additives and hydrogenated oils then its popular cousin peanut butter, and are rich in the good, essential fatty acids. Bananas are the perfect compliment, a carbohydrate-rich fruit high in potassium to prevent muscle cramping.   Tip: We like almond butter on a brown rice cracker with bananas sliced on top.
 
POST-WORKOUT
Kiefer: a high-protein dairy drink full of good bacteria to help your body digest and build strong immune function.
Tip: Go for plain varieties and sweeten it yourself. Try 1 cup of plain Kiefer, a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 Tbs of ground flax seeds.
Hardboiled Eggs:  Eggs are the unsung heros of the balanced eater, as just one egg has six grams of protein.
Tip: Cook a half-dozen eggs at the start of the week, and have them on stand-by for a quick snack. For energy rich eggs, try 1-2 chopped hardboiled eggs with a handful of arugula, dash of flax-oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery! Building  strength and loosing weight shouldn't stop after boot-camp is over. Let your food be your ally. Remember, the mantra: carbohydrates for energy, and protein for recovery!
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Olive Oil, Cherry and Macadamia Nut Granola

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Olive Oil, Cherry and Macadamia Nut Granola

It's my sweetie's birthday tomorrow and there is little he loves more then his mother's homemade granola.  Since I will be out bootcamp-ing, rather then here to make him a birthday surprise, I decided to plan ahead and make him some of this homemade goodness.  I adapted this from a New York Times recipe with a few available or preferred ingredient modifications. I was unable to get my hands on raw, unsalted pistachios so instead I used 1/2 a cup of salted pistachios and a cup of raw, unsalted macadamia nuts.  Also, I opted for dry cherries, as the glorified mama version uses these sweet, plump fruits.

It was amazingly easy to make and has that fresh roasted nut flavor.  So good in fact, we could not wait for birthday breakfast-  We had to have a warm bowl for dessert tonight.

3 cups old-fashioned thick rolled oats

1/2 cups raw pistachios

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup coconut flakes

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, mac nuts,  pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.

Store in a large glass jar or freezer bags.  Enjoy all month (if it lasts that long.)

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