Month: September 2015

The ONLY Real Food Cookbook You Need to Buy This Year!

One of the things I love about this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to share fun and exciting info and inspiration with you guys. Today’s post is no exception!

As most of you know, I completed a culinary nutrition certification program last year, which helped me take my nourishing and yummy meals to another level.

It also gave me a community of people who love food, health and healing as much as I do!

my people

Meet, Meghan! :)

Meet, Meghan!

The creator and rock star behind the program is Meghan Telpner (more about her here). Her philosophy has inspired and is aligned with so much of the way I eat and how I live.

She has this unique way of presenting nutrition and healthy living in a way that makes it really fun, approachable and not at all intimidating, which is something I’m passionate about doing as well. Both of us want to take the “fear factor” out of eating well and make it accessible, so it’s something WANT to do instead of something we feel like we HAVE to do.

If any of you have come to a class or workshop I’ve taught, you’ve probably heard me declare it a “judgment-free zone” and Meghan takes the same approach, which I LOVE!

Both Meghan and I are happy for you to start from wherever you are on your journey and just make a few small changes, one step at a time. And neither of us will ever preach one kind of eating to you. We’re not pro-vegan, or pro-meat, or anti this or that. We really want people to pay attention to their food, skip the processed stuff and learn how to listen to their bodies to figure out what they need.

You can learn more about her take on everything by watching her creed. 

Meghan’s newest book sums up everything you need to know to live a vibrant, awesome life into one entertaining read.

undiet cover

Over the years, I’ve been following Meghan’s advice and have noticed for myself how much better my mood is, better sleep, fewer colds and flus and overall a better outlook. What I’ve learned is that health becomes this bonus of just following this rule-breaking way of living. I feel like the “UnDiet” lifestyle inspires me to live in a way that lets me feel alive and not filled with guilt or restriction.

I choose to live this way and am pumped to share everything I learn with all of you, so you can have your best life ever, too! That’s why I’m SO excited to tell you guys more about this cookbook put together by my teacher, Meghan.

The UnDiet Cookbook starts by Meghan telling her own story of how she healed from an inflammatory autoimmune disease that her doctors told her was incurable. From there, she breaks it down: why calories don’t count, how to eat real food, why we might want to kick-it gluten-free (with evidence based research to back it all up), and then we dive into 130 simple, delicious, beautiful and health supportive recipes.

The cookbook includes:

  • Over 130 gluten-free + dairy-free recipes (the oat-mazing berry banana muffins are AMAZING…seriously, you need them in your life!)
  • Guidelines for stocking an UnDiet pantry
  • Delicious recipes for DIY beauty care
  • UnDiet on the road: travel tips
  • UnDiet Entertaining menus for every kind of event
  • UnDiet Health Tips
  • Cooking Tips
  • Healthwashing Alerts
  • 85 mouthwatering, vibrant photos

The UnDiet Cookbook is on sale today and when you buy the book, she’s also giving away some pretty cool presents (more on those here). If you’re curious about this book, you can get instant access to your Sneak Peek.

Stay tuned for a few posts from me in the coming weeks giving you even more sneak peeks at the yummy dishes I’m creating from the book! I can only share one of the recipes though, so you’ll have to get the book if you want to know how to make everything 🙂 It will be well worth it!

click here

My Go-To Real Food Protein Bar {Gluten-Free, Paleo}

Because of the nature of my job, I’m on the road a lot and don’t always plan out every single meal.

There are times when I need something to hold me over between meals that will have the pick-me-up, energy-boosting combination of clean protein, fiber, healthy fats and low sugar.

As best as I can, I also make it a priority to stick to the same standards in my snack food as I do with my meals.

I like to think of snack as a TIME vs. a particular type of FOOD (thanks, Dina Rose!). That helps me prioritize health and feeling good whether I’m snacking or sitting down for a full meal.

Here are some of the standards that are important to me whether I make it myself or buy it in the store:

  • Real (the ingredients are actual food, not chemicals, and I can see them when I look at the product)
  • Whole
  • Minimally (if at all!) Processed
  • Non-GMO (not genetically modified)

I forget exactly when it happened, but one day I was at Whole Foods in Baltimore before heading to a meeting, and I was hungry. I didn’t want or have time for a full meal, so I went to the bars section.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of the bars have over a dozen ingredients and contain ingredients that I can’t readily identify as food OR they have as much sugar as a candy bar, so I tend to steer clear of them.

I saw a new bar that had been added to the shelves, so I turned over the packaging to check out what was in it, and this is what I found:

  • 14 grams protein
  • 7 grams fiber
  • 12 grams fat
  • 9 grams sugar
  • 15 mg sodium

Since (real food) protein + fiber + fat = sustained energy (and that’s what I was looking for!), I decided to try it.

That’s how I found out about Ever Bars 🙂

ever bars

These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and locally made in Olney, Maryland! I could also identify all of the ingredients as “food,” which isn’t always the case with bars.

While most bars list whatever sweeteners they use as one of the first three ingredients (because those bars are more sugar than anything else), Ever Bar has sweeteners as their last two ingredients, and the primary ingredient in every bar is organic hemp seeds.

Packed with mineral-rich, plant-based protein from hemp seeds, almonds, and sesame seeds, Ever Bars are one of our healthy snack staples. They’re a bit chewy, compared to some other more crumbly bars, but even that varies based on which bar you purchase.

I’d recommend starting with the Almond Cranberry followed by the Blueberry Cashew and then the Green Power bar. I find that is the best progression in terms of taste based on what most people are familiar with when it comes to bars.

Here’s what the 3 bars look like…up close and personal 🙂

ever bar green power ever bar cashew almond cranberry

I served the Almond Cranberry bars at a workshop for a client about How to Eat Healthy on the Go, and everyone loved them. The following week, some of the workshop attendees told me they had already gone to the store to purchase their own 🙂

You find them locally at Whole Foods and MOMs Organic Market or order online from their website.

I had the opportunity to meet some of the team members who are behind Livity Foods and Ever Bar when I was at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. They were so nice and had a super cool display.

I love meeting the great people behind the foods I eat!

Ever Bar NPEE

Livity Foods is based in Olney, MD. Here’s what they have to say about their bars (and one of the reasons I stand behind them and buy their stuff!):

Ever Bar, handcrafted in Maryland, has ingredients that look like they did when they came from the earth; they are the bar’s source of sustenance as well as flavor and energy.

Working in an environment not based on social hierarchy or a one-way chain of command, but exchange and contribution. The company is structured, but open to participation by everyone involved. This, we believe, is conducive to a cohesive and multi-skilled work dynamic, but is also an end in itself, a desirable social model which embodies effective human cooperation.

To order bars directly from them and to learn more about them, check out their website.

Disclosure: I received free bars in exchange for writing this review, but I loved the product and what it stood for before this opportunity arose! All opinions are my own, and maintaining the integrity of all content on this site is of utmost importance to me. I will never promote products I don’t love and use myself! 🙂

Easy Cranberry Almond Crunch Granola {Gluten-Free}

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to teach a workshop about Yummy Snacks for Healthy, Happy Kids at the Institute for Integrative Health.

One of the goals I set for myself back in April of this year was to present at the Institute sometime this year, so to be able to accomplish that in such a short amount of time was super exciting.

I’m teaching my second class there on October 14th about Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy. Click here to get more info about it and register!

I’m so grateful for everyone who attended Wednesday’s workshop and spent the evening with me! 🙂

group shot yummy snacks IMG_2027 closeup

A common snack that adults and kids eat that is often considered “healthy” is granola, and it was one of the snacks we sampled during the class.

Since there are so many companies that sell pre-made granola, why make your own?

  1. It’s easy.
  2. It’s more nourishing.
  3. You control the ingredients.
  4. It’s fun.
  5. It tastes better!

Let’s take a look at the ingredient list in Nature Valley’s Oats ‘n Honey Granola:

Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Sugar, Soy Protein Isolate, Canola Oil, Honey, Refiner’s Syrup, Rice Starch, Salt, Baking Soda, Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Contains Soy; May Contain Almond, Milk, Pecan And Wheat Ingredients.

Instead of trying to figure out what each of those ingredients is (or wondering why it’s in your granola), why not take a stab at it?

Let me show you how simple it is to make yourself and why you’ll want to give it a try!

Cranberry Almond GranolaGranola Aerial

One thing I’ve learned from all of the moms I’m friends with and from books and blogs I’ve been reading is that kids LOVE to be involved in the process.

For this recipe, kids can help measure the ingredients, pour them and even mix everything together with their hands. If we make eating well fun AND tasty, then there’s a much better chance kids will come on board.

This recipe is meant to be versatile and could be done differently every time you make it, depending on what you have on hand.

You might already have all of the ingredients in your house! If you don’t have one of the nuts or seeds I use, just swap it out for what you do have 🙂 The goal is to keep it real and simple.

You can use this granola as a breakfast cereal, an afternoon snack or to sprinkle on top of something like this 2-minute banana ice cream!

Cranberry Crunch TextGranola Closeup Bowl

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  3. Combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl and pour over granola mixture. Stir with a spatula or your hands to combine.
  4. Pour the granola onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is light brown. Stir the granola every 10-12 minutes or so for an even color and to make sure the granola is cooking evenly.
  5. Remove from the oven and add the cranberries. Stir to combine. Let it cool, as it will continue cooking a little during the cooling process.

Store granola in an airtight glass container, and it should stay fresh for 7 to 10 days. For longer shelf life, store in the refrigerator.

Come to my next workshop about Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy! Click here to register 🙂

Join Me for Yummy Snacks for Healthy, Happy Kids on September 16th!

As a kid, I wasn’t the most adventurous eater. 

I stuck to what was familiar and didn’t venture much beyond that.

I’ve always liked fruit and even liked quite a few less than popular veggies (including broccoli and Brussels sprouts…only if they were doused in Kraft parmesan cheese!).

But I also loved unhealthy snacks just as much as the next kid!

From Doritos and Cheetos to Dunkaroos, Gushers, Swiss Rolls, and Swedish Fish, I was in the same boat as just about any other kid my age growing up.

That’s why I’m SUPER excited to teach a workshop next Wednesday, September 16th at the Institute for Integrative Health about Yummy Snacks for Healthy, Happy Kids

Kids Pics

If you join us for this workshop, you’ll get all of the following benefits:

  • Learn the secrets to inspiring healthy eating in kids and the whole family
  • Discover sweet and savory recipes, including dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free options
  • View recipe demonstrations, and sample the delicious results
  • Explore strategies to get your children involved in a healthy eating lifestyle
  • Learn the tips and tricks I live by, discovered by a couple who raised five kids on nourishing, whole foods
  • Receive a guide with easy recipes and top resources for feeding healthy kids

You’ll come away feeling energized and excited about trying new recipes with your whole family. Plus, you’ll connect with a new community of health-conscious parents, teachers, and other people who take care of children.

The workshop runs from 6:00-8:00pm and is $30 to attend, which includes everything outlined above. Click here to learn more and register.

Please forward this post to anyone you think would be interested in attending this workshop, especially anyone whose kids are dairy-free or gluten-free!

I look forward to seeing you next week! 🙂

Pizza! Pizza! Dip {Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free}

Pizza dip??? 

Yup!

You read that right. And, no, you’re not seeing things 🙂

This post is all about a super yummy new dip that I came up with a few weeks ago.

Pizza DipPizza Spices

I have to start off by letting you guys know how much I loved anything related to pizza for most of my life.

Pizza Hut pan pizzas (it made reading books SO worth it!). Celeste Pizzas-for-One. Totinos Pizza Rolls. Little Caesars (Pizza Pizza!). Joe Corbi cheesy bread and make-your-own pizzas.

Oh, and pizza-flavored COMBOS! Who could forget those little nuggets of joy?? If you’re a combo fan, check out this recipe for addictive paleo pizza poppers.

If you couldn’t tell…I LOVED PIZZA. 

When I realized as an adult that some of the ingredients in pizza made my body not feel so good (dairy + gluten + grease = bloating and ickiness for me!), I was pretty bummed.

So, as I’ve been experimenting with more recipes in my kitchen, I’ve thought about how great it would be to come up with a dip that brings back the delicious pizza flavors without all of the stuff that doesn’t nourish my body.

That’s how this easy dip came to be!

pizza hummus pic

I tinkered with this recipe about five times until I came up with this combo. My friend Sam, who is a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado, gave it two big thumbs up, and the bowl was completely cleared out yesterday when we took it with us to a cookout.

It’s packed with healthy fats and protein from the cannellini beans and tahini, and using cannellini beans instead of chickpeas results in a smoother, creamier dip.

Enjoy! 🙂

Pizza Pizza Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no salt added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (or Lakewood Organics or Santa Cruz lemon juice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (if they’re not soft, soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes to soften, so they blend more easily or try ones that come in a jar in oil)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Directions

  1. Turn on the food processor fitted with the metal S-blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Stream in olive oil if you’re using it until combined. Store in a glass container in your fridge. 

Serve with your favorite veggies or Mary’s Gone Crackers pretzel sticks – so good! 🙂

Crowd-Pleasing Pico de Gallo {Salsa Fresca}

One of my favorite parts of my job is interacting with people and inspiring and empowering them to eat in a way that feels good, tastes good and is good for them.

I feel most affirmed when I see people get excited about making wholesome, nourishing food and sharing it with their friends and family. I’m especially thrilled when they come to me after trying a recipe and say things like:

“I thought I didn’t like kale. Your kale salad is the only way I will eat kale!”

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to spend eight Tuesdays at a company in DC teaching workshops and cooking classes to a group of their employees. For our final class and last hurrah, I thought I’d put a fun spin on it and do a “Taco Tuesday” inspired demo.

We made my favorite walnut tacos with cashew sour cream and a refreshing watermelon mojito side salad (minus the cucumber).

I knew I wanted to serve salsa with the tacos, but to be completely honest, I had never made my own salsa before!

RNK Pico de Gallo

I scoured some of my favorite sites for inspiration about combinations and ratios of ingredients until I tested out and came up with my own recipe.

Since it was my first time making it, I wasn’t sure how it would go over. When one of the employees came up to me afterwards and said, “The salsa gets the Latin seal of approval,” I knew I had a winner on my hands 🙂

Check out this yummy recipe, and serve it with tacos, veggies, this burrito bowl or your favorite dippables!

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 5 roma (plum) tomatoes, deseeded and diced (click here for how to deseed a tomato)
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, red onion, lime juice, salt, and cumin, stir, and set aside for a few minutes while chopping the other ingredients.
  2. Cut out the seeds and inner membrane from the jalapeno and then mince the pepper. Add to the bowl.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and cilantro to bowl and toss all ingredients to combine.
  4. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving. Best served the day it’s made 🙂

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