Month: May 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

MYO Chipotle-Style Bean Burrito Bowl {Vegetarian, Gluten-Free}

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “how can I eat healthy without going broke or spending hours in the kitchen?”

My kitchen is my happy place, and I love spending lots of time there, but I know that time and patience to cook tend to be on the short side for most people.

That’s why I’m sharing a SUPER simple recipe with you today. It’s cheap, easy, quick AND delicious! You can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. 🙂

When I finished making this dish for the first time, my husband Bill said, “You’re done already?”

Yup! It was that quick!

After his first bite, he gave me an “Oh yeah” and said this is one of his new favorite dishes. Success!

If you like Chipotle or Qdoba but don’t want to spend $8/person on a meal, this could be a new “go to” recipe for you. I bet it will become one of your favorites!

Chipotle Bowl 2

Here are a few keys to keep in mind when making your own quick and healthy meals, which served as the motivation to test out this recipe!

  • Cook more, dine out less. You will almost always pay more to dine out than to make a meal yourself. On average, a McDonald’s dinner for a family of four costs almost $7/person compared to a dinner based on rice and beans, like this one, which costs less than $2.50/person.
  • Make some of your meals meatless. Meat and dairy products and processed foods tend to be some of the most costly items on a grocery bill. Swapping out meat with beans – even one day a week – can help you save money…and time!
  • Eat vegan before 6:00 p.m. Mark Bittman was given the choice to either go on medication or adopt a vegan diet. He didn’t want to do either, so he started eating vegan before 6:00 and then having smaller portions of high quality animal products at dinnertime. He lost 35 pounds and didn’t have to go on medication. Click here to learn more about his story and book. In the meantime, check out this awesome recipe!

RNK Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (2 – 15 ounce cans or 1 – 29 ounce can) black beans and/or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I use Eden organic beans)
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Optional add-ons: grilled or sautéed meat or seafood and/or sautéed veggies (onions, peppers…whatever you like!)
  • Optional topping: dairy-free sour cream

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (if you like a little heat!)

Directions

  1. Heat up rice on stove top or microwave brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together.
  3. When the rice is finished, dump it into a bowl along with the beans, salsa, avocado, and lettuce.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette on top, and toss all ingredients together to combine.
  5. Enjoy!

If you want to save this for 2-3 days, add the lettuce and avocado when ready to serve to prevent browning and preserve freshness.

Minty Watermelon Mojito Salad

Mojitos are my favorite cocktail.  The combo of tart lime and smooth mint is so cooling and refreshing and perfect for summer!

Mmm, fresh mint, limes, and seedless cucumber

Mmm, fresh mint, limes, and seedless cucumber

I remember my first mojito experience.  

I had just come home from a semester abroad in Granada, Spain and was really into everything about the Hispanic culture from the food to the music and dancing. I loved their energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life!

When my friend Allyson invited me to go with her and some friends to The Latin Palace in Fells Point shortly after returning from my trip, I was all in. I had a blast as I was led through all sorts of Latin dances for hours!

When it was time to take a break from dancing, I was introduced to what would become my favorite mixed drink – mojitos.

WOW!

It’s been almost 10 years, and I still don’t think I’ve had a mojito that was as perfectly prepared as my first.

As I was looking for recipes to prepare today for a Memorial Day cookout, I stumbled across this one for a minty watermelon mojito salad.

How could I resist?? 

Watermelon + mint + lime + cucumber = the ultimate warm weather refresher.

It’s DELICIOUS and was really simple to prepare, too. This will be a hit at any cookout, picnic or party, and I guarantee kids will love it, too!

Minty Watermelon Mojito Salad

Ridiculously refreshing minty mojito watermelon salad

Ridiculously refreshing minty watermelon mojito salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (here’s how to pick a perfect watermelon)
  • 1.5 cups seedless cucumber, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, sliced thin (“chiffonade” if we’re being fancy about it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • Zest from two limes (here’s the zester I use)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Click here for the full recipe from one of my new favorite blogs – Stupid Easy Paleo!

Thank you to all of the men and women who selflessly serve our country, especially our friend, Joe, who recently left for a multi-year tour in Germany!

2-Minute Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for (peanut butter) ICE CREAM!

I grew up loving ice cream and had an ice cream cake for every birthday, but since I’ve cut out dairy products, I’ve had to come up with other options.

With the weather getting warmer (finally!) and summer on its way, I wanted to share this recipe to give you a healthier option for ice cream!

Today’s recipe for peanut butter banana ice cream is incredibly simple, kidfriendly, and deliciously dairyfree. 

It turns out JUST LIKE soft serve ice cream in texture and consistency, so I know it will become one of your new favorites!

Even the ingredients are simple. In fact, you probably already have all of them on hand! Not only that, but this is a GREAT way to use up bananas that have seen better days rather than throwing them away 🙂 Just peel and then freeze them so you’re always prepared to make banana ice cream!

pb-ice-cream-scoop

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled, frozenm and cut into 1/2″ discs
  • 2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: 1/4 avocado for extra creaminess

Chocolate Peanut Butter variation: Add 1-2 tablespoons cacao powder (to make peanut butter chocolate ice cream!)

Directions

Banana discs and peanut butter ready to go!

Step 1: Frozen banana discs and peanut butter ready to go!

Step 2: Put the bananas in the food processor (we used a mini one)

Step 2: Put the frozen bananas in the food processor (we used a mini one)

This is the big food processor we use and this is the mini one. You can make the banana ice cream in either one. We bought our mini one at Home Goods for about $28!

Step 3: Grind the bananas until they resemble this gravel-like consistency

Step 3: Grind the bananas until they resemble this gravel-like consistency

Step 4: Keep pulsing until the bananas resemble this consistency and then add in the peanut butter, vanilla extract and salt

Step 4: Keep pulsing until the bananas resemble this consistency and then add in the peanut butter, vanilla extract and salt. If making chocolate peanut butter ice cream, add the cacao powder at this point, too.

Tada! Peanut butter banana ice cream!

Tada! Peanut butter banana ice cream!

Refreshing Quinoa, Apple & Almond Potluck Salad

In the springtime, our bodies naturally want to start detoxing to “clean out” all of the gunk that we’ve stored up over the winter (which was pretty brutal this year!).

Wastes and toxins build up in our bodies from stress, processed and refined foods, sugar, fried foods, chemical additives, and pesticides.  That is just one of the reasons we often feel tired and sluggish, hold on to extra weight (toxic tissue is a fat storage hog!), and don’t radiate health in the way we look.

Fortunately, this salad contains a bunch of ingredients that naturally promote the elimination of wastes and toxins. Check out all of the detoxifying ingredients!

  • Scallions (also a GBOMBS food!)
  • Celery
  • Lemon Juice
  • Parsley

This is a great dish to bring to a potluck or cookout. You can even make it the night before and store it in the fridge to let all of the flavors come together!

I went to one of my best friend’s birthday parties a few weeks ago (yay for turning 30!) and brought this salad with me. I doubled the recipe for the party, and it made enough for a group of 50 people. It was a HIT!

Refreshing Quinoa Salad with Apples & Almonds

Bring this to your next potluck or make it for your family!

Bring this to your next potluck or cookout or make it for your family!

Ingredients*

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (here’s how to cook perfect quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used raw honey)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup peeled, diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (you can use regular raisins if you can’t find golden ones :))
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions*
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • Coarse salt and pepper

*I added about 1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions/scallions to the original salad recipe, since they are in season and add another dimension of flavor. They are also detoxifying and an anti-cancer GBOMBS food!

Click here for the full recipe!

6 Keys to An Amazing Marriage: How We Nourish Ours

As much as I love food and spend most of my time either reading, writing, or talking about it, shopping for it, or prepping, cooking, and eating it, it’s not the only way I nourish myself.

I’ve had a few conversations with friends lately that have prompted me to write this post about what we do to not only nourish our bodies but also our relationships.

Dancing at our wedding!

Dancing at our wedding!

My husband Bill and I have been together for almost eight years and married for just about three. Like any couple, we’ve had highs and lows in our relationship, some of which have been more challenging to get through than others. We still make mistakes as we learn more about what this lifetime promise called marriage looks like.

Both of us are putting forth effort, striving to grow as individuals and as husband and wife, and looking out for the other person, not just ourselves. We’re committed to having a great marriage.

We’ve learned that it means having grace, compassion and a whole lot of patience and humility.

I’ve seen this demonstrated in my parents’ marriage as they’ve gone from pain and marital separation to renewing their vows, now serving as marriage counselors at their church and even collaborating with two of the top marriage experts in the country.

We’ve learned that great marriages don’t just “happen,” but no matter where you are in your relationship, amazing transformations can take place. You can have the relationship of your dreams.

Here are 6 ways Bill and I have learned to nourish each other in our marriage.

Handwritten notes mean a lot to me, and Bill loves me well this way

A little appreciation goes a long way!

We regularly appreciate each other.

One of the main reasons so many couples struggle to connect and communicate is because they are prone toward negativity and being unpredictable. When people are critical and unpredictable, we don’t feel safe around them. When we don’t feel safe, we get anxious and either withdraw or act out. We can’t connect or communicate when those things happen.

On the other hand, when we focus on appreciating each other, being predictably positive, and looking for the good in each other, we create safety. When we feel safe, trust builds, which leads to a desire to connect and be intimate with each other. When we’re connected, passion, intimacy and communication thrive.

Whether it’s thanking the other person for something thoughtful they did, for being who they are, or for something simple like making dinner or doing a chore, intentionally looking for good and expressing it really makes a difference. We even start tough conversations with something we appreciate about the other person, and it leads to much better outcomes because it helps create safety.

We learned about this approach from my parents, this amazing book, and this life-changing retreat. It has been wonderful for our marriage.

In Rhinebeck, New York for the Getting the Love You Want couples retreat

In Rhinebeck, New York for the Getting the Love You Want couples retreat

We invest in our marriage.

We tend to invest so much money in things like our cars, houses, electronics, clothes, 401(k), etc. We tell ourselves it’s worth investing up front to save ourselves headaches later, right? Yet, for some reason, we’ve decided that investing in our marriage is ONLY necessary when things get rocky.

When Bill and I went on a transformational couples retreat last fall, and I told people where we were going, they would ask, “Is everything okay?”

Why do we automatically assume that something is wrong? We don’t think that way when someone invests in any of the other things I mentioned above. Any investment in your marriage, whether it’s a vacation, retreat, date night, book, or counseling, is worth it.

It's the thought that counts! My first Valentine's card

It’s the thought that counts! My first Valentine’s card

We tell each other what we want and need and have learned how to communicate effectively.

This took me a LONG time to figure out. For years, I would get frustrated that Bill couldn’t read my mind and know exactly what I wanted, whether it was a gift, a response, a way of communicating, etc. I told myself that he should know what I like and what I want. “If he really knew me/loved me/was right for me,” he would do what I want/give me what I need…without me needing to tell him. A lot of us do this, don’t we?

Unfortunately, people aren’t mind readers. I’ve found that it helps when I tell Bill what I want and need and vice versa. After having those conversations dozens of times, we start to learn what the other likes, wants, and needs, but we still openly communicate about it instead of leaving each other in the dark. There’s still an element of surprise because I don’t know how/when/exactly what he’s going to do to surprise me, but at least he has a place to start.

This book and this retreat have given us the tools to connect and communicate effectively and lovingly, so we feel heard, understood, validated and affirmed. It’s an amazing feeling, especially considering how much we struggled with communication for a good portion of our relationship.

We check in with each other regularly and ask 5 key questions each week.

Our friend Cam recently gave an awesome sermon at our church, and in the sermon, he outlined 5 questions to ask your spouse each week. It may seem odd at first, but if you commit to doing it, you’ll be amazed by what it does for your relationship. We’ve been committed to doing this for the past 3 months, and it has really made a difference in ours:

  1. How did you feel loved this past week? (This is not an invitation to bash each other by saying “I didn’t.” Be positive, even about something small like taking out the trash!)
  2. What does your upcoming week look like?
  3. How would you feel most loved and encouraged in the days ahead? (This will save you a lot of time because it prevents the need to mind read, and instead, gives the person a chance to share what they want and need.)
  4. How would you best feel pursued in sex/intimacy this week? (This isn’t just about how often you have sex, it also includes quality time and other physical intimacy expectations. It’s not about being demanding.)
  5. How can I pray for you this week?
Having a blast at our friend's wedding!

Having a blast at our friend’s wedding!

We laugh and have fun together!

We first connected in college through music and dancing, and both are still a part of our relationship. Some of the other things we like to do together are: cook, hike, dance, walk around our neighborhood, explore new cities and towns, go out to local restaurants, serve others through our church, spend time with friends and family, exercise, play games with friends, go to sporting events, do crossword puzzles, or just chill and watch TV or a movie every now and then.

By creating new positive memories together, we create safety, build intimacy and truly enjoy the time we spend together more and more. Remember, being positive and predictable leads to safety, trust, and connection. Focus on building new memories based on things you enjoy doing together. Having fun together is so important!

Bill playing soccer at El Canyon when we were on our missions trip to Nicaragua

Bill playing soccer at El Canyon when we were on a missions trip in Nicaragua

We support and encourage each other to pursue individual interests and passions.

If we’re always together doing the same things all the time, we miss out on the opportunity to pursue things that make us come alive individually. Bill loves to golf…and play just about any sport. If it’s a really nice day, I might text him and suggest he go to the driving range after work. I might support him in joining a local soccer team, since I know he is so passionate about soccer.  I know he appreciates when I do those things.

Likewise, Bill has been my biggest supporter as I pursued graduate school, health coaching training, and writing this blog. He supports me when I spend hours in the kitchen on a Saturday morning prepping and cooking. He’ll run a bath for me and encourage me to read a book and relax if he knows I’ve had a tough day. We keep communication open, so expectations about these activities are clear and then do what we can to support each other.

Give your partner some space to pursue what they love and what makes them come alive. Your relationship will be better for it!

Super Simple Asparagus Spears

Asparagus is in season, so I couldn’t wait to make one of my favorite, super simple springtime recipes starring this beauty detox vegetable. Check out all the cool things asparagus helps your body do!

  • Create the proper electrolyte balance (and reduce puffiness) because of its potassium content
  • Cleanse the digestive system and get rid of toxins because of its high fiber content
  • Better absorb calcium
  • Prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones

To prep asparagus spears, you’ll first need to snap off the “tough” bottom part. Hold the spear with both hands and bend until the bottom snaps off. It will naturally break off where the tender portion ends and the tough, woody part begins. Use one spear as a guide for where to cut the rest of the bunch.

One of the tastiest ways to prepare asparagus is to roast it, but I also enjoy it in salads and soups. If you prefer, you could grill this recipe, too!

Super Simple Asparagus Spears

Perfect for the spring!

Perfect for the spring!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: toasted almond slices

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss asparagus in the oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place stalks on a foil-lined baking sheet, so they’re not touching, and roast for 8-10 minutes. (Well-cooked spears are tender when pierced with a fork but still bright green in color. Be careful not to overcook. We don’t want limp and dull green asparagus!)
  3. Remove the asparagus from the oven and dust with lemon zest. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top for extra flavor, and top with toasted almond slices for some crunch!

Is it your first time trying asparagus? You might notice that your pee smells funny when you go to the bathroom after eating asparagus, but that’s totally normal!

A Healthy Foodie’s Dining Guide to Baltimore

Dining out + healthy choices. Is it possible to have both?

Fortunately, the Baltimore area has lots of great, convenient, delicious AND healthy dining options. Many of them source high quality, often organic, fresh, and nourishing ingredients from local farms. At the very least, these restaurants offer much healthier, fresher options than what you’d find at a typical fast food joint or deli.

Whether I’m cooking for myself or dining out, a simple food rule I use to guide what I eat is: “Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants.”  (Thanks to Michael Pollan. To learn more about my food philosophy, click here.) One thing all of these restaurants have in common is that they make eating more plants easier, tastier and even exciting!

Some of the restaurants are geared toward vegetarians, vegans, and those with food sensitivities and allergies, while others are not. I’ve indicated the best options for vegan and gluten-free diners below. Most of these places cater meals, too, so if you’re looking to bring some healthy options to your workplace or event, be sure to check out their websites for catering options!

Don’t live in/around Baltimore? Scroll to the bottom and check out how to find healthy dining options near you!

Baltimore-cover

sweetgreen (Baltimore, MD – Harbor East; Multiple locations in DC, VA, PA, NY, MA, CA)

I’ve been waiting for almost 7 years for this place to make its way up from DC and open an location in Baltimore. I first found out about them at a client health fair in DC years ago and loved their food. Since then, I’ve made it a point to go there almost every time I’m in DC for lunch.

Started by three guys who were seniors at Georgetown University at the time, sweetgreen now has over 30 locations nationwide and will continue to expand. Their farm-to-table, sustainable, passion + purpose philosophy is totally aligned with how I live my life and what many of strive to do. Their food is second to none, and they rotate their menu seasonally, too. In the fall, my #1 pick is the Roasted Turkey & Brussels Sprouts Salad with roasted sweet potatoes and a cranberry vinaigrette. You have to check them out!

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Naked Lunch Cafe (Inside MOMs Organic Market Baltimore, Rockville, Washington, DC locations)

When the new MOMs (My Organic Market) opened in Baltimore City earlier this year, I was stoked to check it out, even though we live within walking distance of the Timonium store. I was most excited about the addition of the Naked Lunch Cafe, which sells a variety of plant-based dishes for lunch, dinner or just a snack! Their butternut squash and chickpea soup is one of my favorites, and their bowls will cover you for two meals. My favorite bowl is the Crowder Bowl, which is made with brown rice, cashews, fresh veggies, tofu and a coconut curry dressing that is divine! You have to try their cauliflower steaks and vegan cauliflower nachos, too, because both are delicious. You’ll never look at cauliflower the same way again. They also sell fresh pressed juices and rotate their specials seasonally.

Stall 11 (Baltimore, MD – Remington @ R House)

You know an eatery is good when you’ve eaten about half of the items on their menu, and they’ve only been open for a few months. I LOVE THIS PLACE. It’s a hot spot for vegetarians and has lots of gluten-free options. Some of my favorites are the carrot bean smash with raw veggies, Korean BBQ Cauliflower (addictive and incredible), Kale Caesar Salad with Black Garlic Dressing, Kyoto Bowl, and any soups they serve.

Everything is fresh, delicious, colorful, and flavorful. You need to know about this place!

Harmony Bakery (Baltimore, MD – Hampden)

I was bummed when I first found out that Breathe Bookstore in Hampden was closing but was excited to find out about this bakery and cafe that has some similar menu items for lunch. Their kitchen and products are 100% gluten-free. They have lots of vegan options and change their menu seasonally, a sign of a true farm-to-table restaurant, which is something I look for when I’m picking a place to eat.

Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen (Baltimore, MD – Locust Point)

You know you’ve arrived at a cool spot when you meet the CFO – Chief Falafel Officer – on your first trip there. When we’re in the mood for Mediterranean, Baba’s is where we go. Whether you’re in the mood for a hummus platter (order the veggies instead of the pita), kabobs, or platters with a gluten-free base of quinoa, this is the place to go. It’s a hole in the wall, so don’t expect to find a table, unless you’re there off hours, but make sure you check out this place. It’s one of our favorites!

Atwater’s (Baltimore, MD – Towson, Belvedere Square, Catonsville, Bare Hills)

If you’re looking for an amazing cup of soup or a beautiful fresh salad, look no further than Atwater’s. I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of their Towson location, so we love walking there for dinner on warmer nights (or on snow days – which we have done multiple times before!). All of their meals are made with fresh, often organic and seasonally local ingredients. They usually have vegan or at least dairy-free soup options, too, which is a huge plus for me and any others with food allergies or sensitivities who still want delicious food.

Zia’s Cafe & Plantbar (Baltimore, MD – Towson & Belvedere Square)

Zia’s Cafe focuses on local & organic ingredients and has healthy choices for meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans & gluten-free eaters. They serve fresh fruit & vegetable juices and smoothies, fair-trade organic coffee, and a variety of delicious lunch options, including salads (Moroccan is my fave), soups (SO good), sandwiches, and black bean burgers. Their dairy-free desserts, especially the fruit-inspired dairy-free cheesecakes, are incredible. Zia’s also caters corporate meals and special events

Zia’s opened a sister location called Plantbar in my favorite place in Baltimore – Belvedere Square! Plantbar focuses on fresh pressed juices and smoothies but also carriers Zia’s signature line of delicious gluten-free, vegan eats. (Ideal for vegans, vegetarians, and dairy and gluten-free diners.)

Alma Cocina (Baltimore, MD – Canton)

My friend, Jinji, who owns an award-winning chocolate shop in Baltimore (seriously the best chocolate of your life), recommended this place to us. We’ve been back about 5 times since because we love it so much! They serve authentic Venezuelan food, and their arepas (think pita pocket but not) are gluten-free, so we always get at least one each. Their salads, ceviche, soups, entrees, appetizers and sides have always blown us away and are beautifully and artistically presented.

You have to try the cassava bread (gluten-free) with three dips. It’ll blow your mind 🙂

Great Sage (Howard County – Clarksville, MD)

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Celebrating my birthday at Great Sage!

This is the BEST vegan restaurant in the Baltimore area. We stumbled upon this place a couple of months ago, and it has quickly become one of our favorites! The restaurant is located just outside of Columbia in a place called Conscious Corner and serve amazing plant-based meals. Everything from their Israeli hummus appetizer to their seasonal salads, soups, sautéed greens, smoothies, and rich, dairy-free desserts are phenomenal. (Ideal for vegans, vegetarians, and dairy and gluten-free diners.)

Sweet 27 (Baltimore, MD – Hampden)

This cafe, bakery, bar and restaurant combines the best of all things, and they ‘re open late, too. Featuring a completely gluten-free menu and lots of options for omnivores and vegans alike, Sweet27 serves brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert. Their multi-cultural flare means you’ll find a variety of unique options inspired  in South Asian and Caribbean flavors.

Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore, MD – Clipper Mill)

This is our absolute favorite restaurant in Baltimore when we want to have a date night or are just looking for an amazingly delicious meal. They cater to the gluten-free and dairy-free crowd, labeling their plates with clearly labeled stickers to identify dishes as GF and DF. They partner with local farmers and value sustainability and top notch ingredients. Their head chef, Spike Gjerde, was the first Baltimore chef to win the prestigious James Beard Award.

The atmosphere is super cool, too. If you’re visiting Baltimore, this should be on your list!

Whole Foods (Baltimore, MD – Harbor East, Mount Washington, Annapolis)

Sure, the stigma is that Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck, but they’re trying their hardest to debunk that mentality. They have an awesome salad bar and a prepared foods counter that serves lots of healthy, tasty AND affordable options, including seasonal kale salads, slow roasted sweet potato wedges, and a variety of delicious proteins. The best part? All of the ingredients are natural or organic and as many as possible are locally grown. That means no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives or heart-clogging trans fats. 

Nalley Fresh (Baltimore, MD – Hunt Valley, Downtown, Towson, Timonium)

Think Chipotle in terms of the “make your own” approach…and then think of every salad topping you could possibly imagine, and that sums up Nalley Fresh. I’m a fan of their “SuperBowls” that feature either proteins, sweet potatoes, or brown rice as a base followed by your choice of dozens of veggies and finished off with broth, if you choose, or dressing. You can even order online and pick up to avoid the long lines at lunchtime.

The Flying Avocado Cafe (Owings Mills, MD)

I used to live just up the street from this cafe, and it’s my go to spot whenever I meet someone for lunch in Owings Mills. I love their roasted vegetable salad with balsamic vinaigrette and roasted salmon. They also have smoothies, soups, homemade guac and hummus, salads, a variety of vegan dishes and a huge selection of herbal teas.

One World Cafe (Baltimore, MD – Near Hopkins)

With a variety of gluten-free, plant-based options that are both “planet and wallet friendly,” this popular spot near Hopkins’ Homewood Field is a great option for breakfast (yummy smoothies), lunch or dinner, and they’re open late (until 2:00 a.m.), so no matter when you’re looking for a healthy option, you can find one there.

A few others worth checking out:

  1. Grind House Juice Bar in downtown Baltimore
  2. Liquid Earth in Fells Point
  3. The Land of Kush in downtown Baltimore

Don’t live in Baltimore? Check out this post about five apps and websites to use to find healthy options near you!

What are your favorite healthy dining places where you live or have traveled? Feel free to share below!

Make Your Own Zucchini Pasta…In 5 Minutes or Less!

Growing up, I LOVED pasta, especially angel hair pasta. I ate it multiple times a week with butter, garlic powder and heaps of parmesan cheese. It was my go to meal, even in college.

Since removing gluten from my diet a few years ago, I’ve tried alternatives like lentil and brown rice pasta (that are delish!), but sometimes I want something even lighter.

If you’re looking for some creative alternatives to pasta that are packed with nutrients, won’t weight you down and are perfect for warmer weather, you have to try…zucchini noodles.

AKA Zoodles!

 

 

Meet, the spiralizer. This gadget will open a whole new world of food possibilities for you. You can use it with zucchini, carrots, beets, cabbage, and a range of other fruits and veggies. Better yet, if you have kids and you’re trying to introduce them to certain veggies, let them use this gadget and I bet they will be a little more tempted to try what they spiralize!

I’ve included a video below for how to use it.

Zucchini noodles are a great alternative to pasta because they don’t spike our blood sugar or contain gluten like most pasta. You’ll be AMAZED at how similar the texture is to pasta…you can still twirl it on your fork, too!

Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

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Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • dash of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • paleo parmesan cheeze

Directions

  1. Here’s the fun part…spiralize the zucchini! Watch the video below to learn how. (Then, cut the the strands in chunks with scissors, otherwise you will end up with one very long strand of pasta!)
  2. To make the pesto, put the red pepper, walnuts, garlic, and sea salt in a food processor (we used a mini one), and pulse until blended but still a bit chunky.
  3. Top the zucchini pasta with one or two spoonfuls of pesto and some paleo parmesan cheeze and enjoy!

10-Minute Broccolini with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic

Aside from being delicious, the best part about this recipe is that you can whip it up in 10 minutes!

It’s simple, flavorful, and really good for you.

I just started cooking with broccolini in the past few months and really love it! The stalks are thinner than broccoli, so I find that I’m able to eat the whole stalk, which means less food is wasted.

Making this dish also gave us an excuse to keep using our perfectly paleo parmesan cheeze – we couldn’t stop eating it!

If you missed the post from a few months ago about broccoli, here’s why broccoli and relatives of broccoli like broccolini are so good for you! Tom Malterre, one of the most renowned nutrition experts, even calls broccoli “the DNA whisperer.”

10-Minute Broccolini with Cherry Tomatoes & Garlic

This dish was incredible! We will definitely be making it again.

This dish was incredible! We will definitely be making it again.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 bunches of broccolini, trim off about a 1/2 inch on the bottom end
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups (about one container) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Paleo Parmesan Cheeze

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat.
  2. Add garlic and sauté  for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  3. Add broccolini and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add water and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 3 minutes.
  5. Add salt and black pepper; cook, uncovered, 4 minutes or until broccolini is crisp-tender but still bright green.
  6. Top with paleo parmesan cheeze and enjoy!

Green Goddess Guacamole!

Think of a food you dislike.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you know you don’t like it, and there’s no way anyone can get you to try it…right?

Until about 4 years ago, guacamole was one of those foods for me. Why? Because I was CONVINCED that guacamole had mayonnaise in it…and I’ve always disliked mayonnaise.

One day at work, we had a healthy cooking demo taught by a health coach like me, and we were learning to make none other than…guacamole!  I had all but made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I realized that it was NOT made with mayonnaise and that everyone else was trying it, so…

I gave in to peer pressure and was shocked to find out I LOVED IT!

What had I been missing??

Ever since that day, I’ve been an avocado and guacamole lover.

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat AND are known as a beauty detox food. Here are just a few of their awesome health benefits:

  • Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals promote moisturizing from the inside, which means healthy, smooth, radiant skin (a true beauty food!)
  • The healthy fat helps our bodies better absorb antioxidants from other fruits and veggies
  • The antioxidant they contain – glutathione – is a powerful cancer-fighter
  • The combo of good fat and fiber helps control blood sugar

My favorite ways to use avocados are in dips, soups, desserts, mixed in to salads, and (of course!) in guacamole. I found a super simple recipe that used a slightly different combo of ingredients than the usual ones, so I thought I would test it out.

Two of the other ingredients in this guac – cilantro and scallions (AKA green onions) – are also great for you. Cilantro helps the body detoxify and onions are one of the top anti-cancer GBOMBS foods, so enjoy them all you want!

Green Goddess Guacamole

Creamy guacamole goodness

Creamy guacamole goodness

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled (here’s how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH lime juice (don’t sub the bottled kind)
  • 3-4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced (also called scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours to be a bit chunky, so we don’t mash it too much.

We love dipping fresh veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, red peppers, and sugar snap peas into our guac, along with these tortilla chips!

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