Category Archives: Recipe

Smoothies

berries-2558_150 Ah!  Smoothies!  I love a good smoothie!  Lately, I’ve been obsessed with pumpkin smoothies that actually give me a feeling of eating pumpkin pie.  Yesterday I made a green smoothie with spinach, pumpkin, avocado, coconut milk and pumpkin spices.  It was soo  delicious and full of important fats, vitamins, minerals and protein.  Kept me full from lunch until dinner.

In keeping with the theme of quick meals, the smoothie may be the best way to get those fruits, veggies and protein in all at once.  If you’re pressed for time, you can pull a few items, throw them into your blender and voila!  Instant meal!

In reading about smoothies, I came across a post by Running To the Kitchen.  I love this blog and  Gina always has something yummy posted like her Blueberry Coconut Chia pudding.  But I digress.  Gina blogged about the ingredients to make the perfect  smoothie.  You’ll find recipes for some great smoothies as well.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?  Share with me if you will.  Thanks.

juice-114628_150Enjoy!

Healthy Meals In A Flash Part 2

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The next part in this series “Healthy Meals In A Flash, we will move onto that mid-day meal – lunch!

Eating in the middle of the day, several hours after breakfast, re-energizes your body and can raise blood sugar levels especially when your focus and concentration are dwindling. Even if you only eat a small lunch, you can renew your energy.  Eating lunch can help you feel refreshed and ready to finish your workday.  In addition, eating lunch keeps your metabolism active, especially if you have a moderately sized meal and a snack before and afterward. “Extended periods of starvation between large meals creates gaps which keep metabolism from staying active,” says Dr. Kurt Hong, the Center for Human Nutrition director of Huntington Medical Foundation.

As much as you need to eat lunch, you also need variety.  Lunch can be one of those meals that allows people to fall into a rut.  My girls would get stuck on peanut butter and jelly for lunch for what seemed liked months on end.  But lunch can be so much more with a smorgasbord of ideas.

So what are some good options for your mid-day meal?  There are quite a few that don’t have to include a stop at the fat (oops, meant fast) food chain of your choice.  Again, making a plan is key.  As I would pack my daughters’ lunches each night, I wasn’t as prepared when deciding what I would eat at work the next day.  Without a plan, your best efforts for healthy eating can be sabotaged.

Start with some simple items you can keep on hand and remember that lunches don’t need to have sandwiches in them all the time either.  Use a variety of items packed in single servings for your family.

Leftover are a great quick meal.  Leftovers from dinner are usually better the next day anyway.  Pasta, soups, meats, roasts, and chicken make great lunches.  Pack them in containers where they can be reheated but don’t use plastics with BPA’s.  Children can also take those leftovers.  If they can’t reheat them, wrap up some chicken from the night before, a piece of fruit, grapes or fruit sliced up, and some carrots, zucchini, pepper strips or broccoli pieces and you’re set for a nutritious lunch that’s easy to eat.

Any of the foods listed for breakfast can also be used for lunch.  You can make a smoothie the night before and put it in a drink container.  When you’re ready to drink your smoothie, give it a good shake or stir and you’re set! Image

Wraps are a great way to include veggies and meat from the left over dinner findings.  You can use lettuce to wrap up any ingredient you like.  Use your imagination and try different combinations.

Here is a list of healthy lunch ideas for you to try.  Some do need a little prep but most are grab and go!

1.  Hard boiled egg, avocado and tuna mixed.  Can eat in a wrap of lettuce.
2.  Yogurt and banana
3.  Hummus, avocado, carrots and spinach wrapped in lettuce
4.  Asparagus and salmon wrapped in lettuce
5.  Stack cucumber, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and greek olives for Greek Salad bites.
6.  Tuna salad made with avocado instead of mayo.
7.  Tuna salad on tomato or cucumbers
8.  Avocado with sunflower seeds.
9.  Make ahead meatballs, freeze and pull out what you need for lunch.
10.Almond butter with apples and bananas.
11.Bake or poach chicken breasts.  Cut into strips and refrigerate in separate bags to grab and go,
12.Chicken salad – avocado, cilantro, salt and lime juice.
13.1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, and 1/2 cup of blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.
14.Salad with veggies and hard boiled egg,
15.Turkey, avocado and hummus wrap.
16.Chicken, berries and avocado salad.
17.Baby spinach, raw apple, sliced toasted almonds, raspberry vinegarette and feta cheese salad
18.Egg salad – mix hummus with eggs instead of mayo.
19.Turkey wrap – sliced turkey, avocado, mustard, tomato wrapped in lettuce.
20.Salmon salad – can of salmon over lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Whether you make an elaborate meal or pick a few items as you run out the door, you can make a lunch that will give you that pick-me-up until your next meal.  Be sure to plan ahead so you can keep those goals you are working so hard toward achieving.
Do you have any favorite lunch recipes?

SALMON – Way to go!

SALMON – Way to go!.

SALMON – Way to go!

The Salmon Solution – A Super Food With All The Right Stuff

We love salmon in our family.  Ever since we moved to the Pacific Northwest over 20 years ago, we have been eating this healthy fish and loving it.  You’ve probably heard a lot of talk over the years about salmon being one of the healthiest fish to eat.  You may have even added salmon to your diet.  But, do you know why?  Here is some information as to why salmon is such a super food and what specific benefits salmon has to offer as a part of your regular diet.

Meet the Super Fish

The mighty salmon is probably one of the most widely studied fish we know. These studies often involve sustainability and contaminants comparing farmed salmon with wild caught salmon. Farmed salmon represents a large majority of available fish in the U.S.  However, these farmed salmon have been treated with antibiotics, have more fat content, and have less beneficial omega 3. For these reasons alone, wild salmon is a much healthier choice for regular consumption.  It’s the only salmon we eat.

Salmon is categorized as a ‘fatty’ fish, but don’t let that scare or confuse you.  This fat is the most powerful super food imaginable – omega 3 fatty acids.  You have probably heard a lot of about these fatty acids recently.  They are essential nutrient elements that contribute to your body’s healthy functioning, beginning right at the top with the brain, and continuing throughout the body.  And, you can get more omega 3 fatty acids in just one 4 ounce serving of salmon than you would get in several days of trying to eat other healthy foods containing some omega 3s.

With so much emphasis on the tremendous amount and availability of omega 3 fatty acids in salmon, some of the other healthy aspects have tended to be overlooked. Salmon is rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that helps the nervous system relax, rest, and even sleep. With more than 100 IU’s of vitamin D in a serving of salmon, you have one of the very best sources available. Also,  salmon is a source of selenium, which is associated with decreased risk of joint inflammation, prevention of certain types of cancer, and is known to protect against cardiovascular diseases.  Selenium and certain amino acids protect the nervous system from the effects of the aging process. It is also known to lower the risk of Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease, and can help prevent blood clots that can contribute to stroke.

And that’s not all!  What about the protein?  Salmon, like many other fish is a great source of protein.  You also get B3 (niacin), B12, B6, phosphorus AND magnesium.  Plus, these are minimal amount either…you will get high doses of nutrients in this seriously delicious fish.

More Salmon Benefits

As you can see, salmon has a lot to offer, but along with all those vitamins, minerals, and omega 3s, salmon is also lower in cholesterol than other seafood and shellfish, like shrimp and lobster.  So, while the omega 3s are improving cardiovascular health, the salmon is not adding a lot of cholesterol to counteract all the benefits.The all-important omega 3s we’ve been talking about in salmon not only contribute to better brain function and memory, but also supports skin health, joint health, heart health, and digestive health, along with a host of other benefits.

Salmon tends to speed up the metabolism which helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. That little four ounce serving of salmon we talked about earlier provides up to 30 grams of protein, which we know supports muscle strength. But, don’t forget about one of our most important muscles – the heart. Yes, salmon has a lot of offer every system of our body. But, how can you enjoy salmon a couple times a week without getting tired of it?

Preparing Pleasing Salmon Dishes

A broiled, baked, or grilled salmon fillet is delicious all on its own, for most fish lovers.  Simple dishes include basic lemon or tomatoe slices on top of the salmon and bake, broil or grill (my favorite!)  But for some, the unique flavor of salmon is better when fixed in slightly different dishes or with a variety of sauces.

Cooked salmon works well with a lot of flavors.  A number of different glazes and seasonings can turn each salmon experience into a unique one.  Some herbs and spices to try in your rubs or sauces include cayenne pepper, mustard, fennel, ginger, and paprika.  A classic sauce for salmon that’s worthy of your time is a maple syrup glaze. Made simply by reducing a mixture of maple syrup with various ingredients like brown sugar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and even chili powder, makes a splendidly sweet and savory glaze that compliments the salmon perfectly.

My family has a favorite recipe called:

Bourbon Basted Salmon.
For every pound and a half of salmon mix
3 TBLS of bourbon,
1/4 Cup of brown sugar,
3 TBLS of green onion, chopped,
2 TBLS soy sauce (tamari if need to be gluten free), and
2TBLS of olive oil

Place salmon, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine all marinade ingredients.  Pour over salmon and marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Brush the insides of a fish grilling basket with oil.  Remove salmon from the marinade but reserve the marinade.  Place salmon in basket and close securely.  Grill salmon in basket over hot coals, turning once, until opaque throughout, about 7 minutes per side.  Baste with reserve marinade during cooking.  Serve hot or cold.  Using the grilling basket carmelizes the brown sugar and bourbon.  It gives the most delicious crust with a tender moist inside meat.

Alternately, you can cook the salmon directly on an oiled grill, or wrapped in aluminum foil, turning once, about 7 minutes per side

Creamed soups are another good option for enjoying salmon.  Much like lobster bisque, salmon bisque has a rich flavor that can be slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and definitely delicious.  Keep this bisque simple as the flavor of the salmon will carry it just fine.

Salmon that has been cooked, cooled, and tossed in a big salad with mixed greens is a great choice for folks who like a little crunch surrounding their salmon. Choose a light vinaigrette and a variety of vegetables for your salmon salads. One vegetable that is especially complimentary with salmon is cucumbers. Try making a simple flaked salmon and diced cucumber sandwich spread for something extra special.  Just mix in a bit of  mayonnaise and spread on veggies or crackers.

Smoked salmon is a favorite for holidays and buffet tables . A few pieces of smoked salmon on a hearty cracker is enough to convince most non-believers that salmon is a food to favor.  But, you can also used smoked salmon to create wonderful salads, spreads, and more.  There is really no end to the ways you can enjoy this super-food.

This popular fish lends itself to a number of different ideas and recipes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors to find the ones you like best. Salmon is a super healthy food that provides countless beneficial nutrients all wrapped up in a super tasty fish.  Now you know why we LOVE it sooo much!  Bon appetit!

My Grainless Granola

My Grainless Granola.

My Grainless Granola

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Whether you eat it for breakfast, with some coconut or almond milk or as a snack, this crunchy, grainless granola will satisfy your hunger cravings anytime of the day.

The sunflower seeds are packed with nutritional benefits.  Not only do they help you feel satisfied but they are loaded with Vitamin E,  62% of daily value in 1/4 C.  Vitamin E helps with inflammation and fighting free radicals.  These powerful little seeds contain magnesium and phytosterals, which are believed to reduce blood cholesterol.  Use shelled raw sunflower seeds for optimal nutritional benefits.

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, also contain Vitamin E as well as other important minerals, especially zinc.  Add the benefit of protein and you have a well rounded seed.  Use shelled, raw pumpkins seeds in this recipe, however, there are many benefits to snacking on raw unshelled pumpkins seeds which contain higher values of Vitamin E.

Coconut and coconut oil have so many benefits it would be difficult to list them all here without leaving something out.  Look for my next post about Coconuts and Coconut Oil but suffice it to say that the mighty coconut is chock full of nutrition.  A few of the benefits, they are an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc, as well as, a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine.

Cheers to your health! Enjoy!

Grainless Granola

1-1/2 C raw sunflower seeds (I use all organic)

3/4 C raw pumpkin seeds

3/4 C raw unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 C melted Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

2 Tbsp raw honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Stir well.

Place mixed ingredients on a foil covered baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and stir well.

Bake for 5 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon if you like.

Cool completely (I know you’re dying to taste it but first you’ll burn yourself and second it will need the time to cool and get crunchy.)

Once cooled, ENJOY!

This can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks (if it lasts that long!)

Let me know how it turns out for you!

Super Spinach

The Spinach Spectacle – A Super Food That Steals The Show

Do you remember that cartoon character Popeye?  All he had to do was eat a can of spinach and instantly he was stronger and healthier.  That alone gives you an idea as to why spinach is considered a super food.  Now spinach may not give you the same super powers, but it is packed with nutrients to give your diet a healthy charge.  Spinach is part of the chenopod super-food family, along with beets, chard, and quinoa.  Let’s take a look at why spinach has gained super food status.

Making The Case For Spinach

Years ago, spinach was not considered a very kid-friendly green (I remember gagging on it as a kid).  Back in the day, either canned or frozen spinach was served. This processed spinach could have a bitter taste or an unpleasant texture, and no matter how parents tried to disguise it, there was no getting around the fact that it wasn’t tasty.

Today, with the increased availability of fresh spinach, the popularity increased considerably.  Cooking fresh spinach properly, or serving it raw in salads, maintains the texture and flavor of the spinach making it much more palatable and tasty. These improved methods of serving spinach have made spinach a ‘new’ favorite super food.

Where Did Popeye Get the Power

The image of Popeye becoming super strong after eating a can of spinach is only a hint of the benefits spinach provides. The list of health benefits is long, including vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, riboflavin, calcium potassium, and vitamin B6. For a complete meal, all you would need to add is an omega rich protein. That’s what makes spinach a super food!

What do all these nutrients do for you?  Vitamins A helps prevent cholesterol from oxidizing inside our bodies. Spinach contains good levels of antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc, and selenium. These antioxidants help lower the risk of several blood vessel related problems, such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Antioxidants are also your first defense against the free-radicals roaming around your body trying to damage your healthy cells.

If you eat one cup of fresh spinach leaves, your body is provided with almost 200% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K. This is a remarkable amount of vitamin K which will ensure you are receiving the ultimate nutrition for your bone health.

Magnesium is a nutrient that our body just loves, considering it is the fourth most abundant mineral in our body. Magnesium protects against heart disease and helps lower blood pressure. Another important mineral found in spinach is potassium, which maintains proper pH levels in our body fluids and regulates the kidneys, heart, and adrenal glands.

Spinach has been shown to do everything from fighting cancer to lowering the risk of diabetes. Because spinach helps build strong bones, we know it helps minimize the incidence of osteoporosis. Even skin conditions ranging from acne to psoriasis to cancer can benefit from adding a healthy dose of spinach to your diet. There is also evidence that spinach can reduce the incidence of migraines, cataracts, and memory loss.

When cooked, spinach provides the most benefit from its lutein and beta-carotene values. Cooking the spinach also neutralizes oxalic acid, which inhibits iron and calcium absorption and adds to the risk of developing kidney stones. If you are not at risk for kidney stones, raw spinach may be your preferred method for enjoying, but consider the health benefits of eating cooked fresh spinach, as well.

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Choose Wisely

Popeye’s canned spinach may have introduced us to the super food qualities of spinach, but the taste just couldn’t sell it.  I believe that if canned spinach was our only option, spinach would most definitely NOT be making the super food splash it is today.

If you choose fresh spinach, you will receive the same super nutrition in both regular size spinach or  baby spinach. Be sure to choose spinach that is a rich, dark green, and not yellow in color.  If the spinach in the produce section looks slimy, avoid it. That is a sign of spoilage.  Organic is best.  Buying from your local farmer or Farmer’s Market will assure freshness.  Store your spinach without washing it first as moisture will cause the spinach leaves to decay quickly. You only have about a 4 or 5 day shelf life, so buy as close to serving as possible. When ready to serve, wash leaves and dry thoroughly.

Endless Eating Choices

Begin your search for spinach dishes by going back in time to find classic menu fare. Let’s start with the always popular Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing.  This is traditionally made with cold spinach on a plate topped with a hot dressing, red onions, crispy bacon (make sure it’s nitrate and nitrite free), and slices of hard boiled egg (make sure they are pastured free range eggs).

Of course, another traditional dish that you’ll find on any good steakhouse menu is Creamed Spinach.  This classic can be made into a healthy version by cooking the spinach until tender, then adding the ingredients which include garlic, coconut milk, a pinch of nutmeg, and sometimes a little Parmesan cheese.

Those two classic restaurant dishes are delicious enough, but that’s just the beginning.  Spinach goes well in a number of recipes including hot and cold pasta dishes, casseroles, and obviously a number of different salads. Spinach can form the basis for a dish, like spinach lasagna, spinach quiche, spinach soup, spinach salad, etc., or it can be a part of a dish like an omelet with spinach, pizza with spinach, fish and spinach wrap, shrimp stir fry with tangy spinach, or any number of recipes where spinach adds a nice element.  It can even be hidden in foods for the little ones because of its mild taste.

All the leafy greens like kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach deserve our attention.  If you still haven’t gotten past the spinach of your childhood memory, now is the time.  Fortify your nerve with a pile of great recipes, then go ahead and eat your spinach!

My favorite recipe
Strawberry Spinach Salad – serves 2
2 Cups of Fresh Organic Spinach (washed and dried thoroughly)
3/4 Cup of Fresh Organic Strawberries – sliced
1/4 Cup of Raw, Organic walnuts – chopped
2 TBSP of Balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour vinegar over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Once the vinegar has covered the lettuce leaves add the olive oil and mix again.  Add sea salt and pepper as desired.Bon Appetit!