Category: GBOMBS Page 3 of 6

Yay for Tempeh! Why We Love This Plant-Based Protein

I had never heard of tempeh until about two years ago when I was about to enroll in a Culinary Nutrition program.

One of the recipes my instructor, Meghan Telpner, had on her blog that I was curious to try was for Orange Maple Tempeh.

orange maple

I had never heard of tempeh (say TEM-pay).

I had no idea what it was.

And I wasn’t exactly jumping to try it because it sounded and looked, well…weird. I haven’t always been one to try “weird” foods, but I had gotten to a point in my food journey that I was more open than ever before.

What’s the worst that could happen? I wouldn’t like it? I was okay with that.

The rest of the ingredients in the recipe sounded so good that we decided to gave it a shot.

I’m so glad we did! It’s now one of our FAVORITE dishes…including my meat-eater husband, Bill. This is one of his go-to meals. If we had only five meals in our rotation for the rest of our lives, this would be one both of us would pick.

So, what exactly IS tempeh?

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans (keep reading!) and is an excellent source of easily digestible, plant-based protein (15 grams per 3 ounce serving!) and fill-you-up fiber. Tempeh is a probiotic food, so it helps our digestive system (AKA our “gut”) produce healthy bacteria.

Having a healthy, well-fed gut is important for a strong immune system, so we want to make sure we’re including probiotic-rich foods in our diet. As I’ve shared before, 70-80% of our IMMUNE SYSTEM sits in and around our digestive system, so what we eat is critically important to our overall health, well-being and feeling good.

Tempeh has a “meatier” and denser texture than tofu and a mild, nutty taste, so it feels more like meat in a recipe than tofu does. If you’re a tofu hater (I’m not a huge fan of it), then give tempeh a shot. Tempeh can be baked, sauteed, grilled, and chopped up to be added to things like chili, salads, and stews. It can be a little tricky to figure out how to work with it the first time, but this post from onegreenplanet breaks it down into 5 easy tips:

5 Tips for Making Amazing Tempeh Dishes

Another perk is that tempeh is also a LOT cheaper than meat. One block of tempeh at my local market (MOMs) is $3.00. Not a bad deal for something that can serve as the main dish of a meal. We always make sure to buy organic tempeh, since the majority of soy crops these days are genetically modified. You’ll find tempeh in the refrigerated section of your grocery store next to the tofu.

Ready to give this lesser known protein a try? Here are our top two most favorite tempeh recipes (and great places to start for first-timers!). Click the picture to get the recipe.

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BalsMapleTempeh

And here are a few more tempeh recipes that we want to try.

Have you ever tried tempeh? Have you found any recipes you like that you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment or question below!

Rachel D’s 30-Minute Meals: Veggie Pasta UNrecipe!

I’m usually a bit more on top of the whole Christmas shopping thing, but with all that has been on my plate this year, I really fell behind and started doing the bulk of my shopping on Friday.

Some people love the adrenaline rush of waiting until the last minute…I’m definitely not one of them!

After spending a few hours shopping on Friday with all the crazies, Bill and I were hungry and ready for dinner. Since we’d just spent money on gifts, I didn’t want to spend more money on food, so I was determined to make something using what was already in our fridge and pantry.

That’s how this (under) 30-minute meal came to be!

We had a box of Tolerant Foods’ red lentil rotini pasta, so I threw together a bunch of veggies from our fridge and a few simple add-ons like lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil to give the dish some flavor.

tolerant rotiniTa da! Dinner is served 🙂

When I posted the picture on instagram and Facebook, a friend of mine asked the question, “Where’s the recipe??”

Short answer?

There isn’t one!

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Consider this an “un”recipe (you know, just like those “un”birthdays in Alice in Wonderland?!).

This is one of those dishes that I literally pieced together based on a template that works no matter what you have on hand. Check out the basic process below.

<30-Minute Meal Basic Ingredient List

  • Base: Quality, gluten-free pasta of choice (We use Tolerant Foods pasta because it’s packed with fiber and protein or brown rice pasta. Both are gluten-free and contain only ONE ingredient, which is ideal!)
  • Cooking Broth or Fat: Veggie broth, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter
  • Aromatic Veggies: Onion (red, yellow or shallots), Garlic (2-4 cloves)
  • Simple Seasonings: Sea salt (coarse grain), Black pepper
  • Flavor Burst: Lemon
  • Finishing Fat: Extra virgin olive oil
  • LOTS OF VEGGIES! (cherry tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, squash, kale, spinach – add leafy greens at the very end)
  • Any add-ons like chickpeas, cannellini beans, chicken, fish, etc.
  • Top with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc. And if you like other herbs and spices, add them in along the way!

Here’s the foolproof process to follow:

Cook the pasta – saute the veggies – blanch the broccoli – toss everything together – top with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

And for those of you who like more detail…here you go!

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. During the last 90 seconds of cooking, add the broccoli florets to blanch them (quickly cook!).
  2. While you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Cut onions into thin half-moon slices. Add a few tablespoons of veggie broth or cooking fat of choice to the skillet. Add onions and saute 5-7 minutes until they soften. Add more veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking. Add tomatoes and garlic and saute until you can smell the garlic.
  3. Once pasta is cooked and broccoli is still bright green, drain the water in a strainer and add the broccoli and pasta to the veggie skillet.
  4. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste and finish with the zest of one lemon and the juice of one lemon. I used half a lemon to start and added more as I tasted. Finish it off with a few drizzles of olive oil.

We topped ours with some paleo parmesan cheese 🙂 The combination possibilities are endless, so HAVE FUN with it…and get cookin’!

25 Energizing Breakfast Recipes {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

For most of my life, the back of the cereal box was the highlight of my first meal of the day.

As much as I enjoyed starting my day that way, I’ve learned that typical breakfast cereals and other breakfast foods like donuts, bagels and granola bars are not the most filling or nourishing choices.

We’ve heard that breakfast is an important meal, and it’s true.

Eating breakfast helps us stabilize our blood sugar levels throughout the day, which affects things like our energy, alertness, and mood.

Not hungry when you wake up? You might have eaten too late the night before and spent your night digesting instead of repairing and resting. Another possibility is that you might not have gotten enough quality sleep and could still have some stress hormones floating around that are dampening your appetite.

When we grab something to “break the fast,” the key is to make sure we’re eating the most filling and satisfying combination of food to keep us going throughout the day. The secret to lasting energy and feeling satisfied after a meal is eating a combination of…

PFF

Fiber only comes from plants, so that would mean we want to include something that was growing in nature at some point. Protein can be plant-based or animal-based. Examples of healthy fats include things like nuts, seeds, avocado, wild caught salmon, and coconut.

Remember, breakfast is a time of day, not a group of foods. Anything is fair game!

Check out this video I put together that walks through some of my favorite breakfast ideas. Then, take a look at the links below that direct you to a bunch of the recipes I mention in the video!

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to jam pack nutrition in a glass, but drink them slowwwwly instead of downing them in 90 seconds, as I have a tendency to do. Smoothies are so easy to make as well and can be done in minutes with the help of the Best Juicer! Getting nutrients from veg and fruit has never been so easy.

Make sure you follow the guidelines of the PFF combo – protein, fiber AND some healthy fat in each smoothie. Most of the time when we make smoothies, we put in lots of fruit and juice and very little protein or healthy fats, so we spike our blood sugar and end up feeling hungry a couple hours later.

My basic formula for making smoothies looks like this: ~2 cups veggies (spinach, baby kale, lettuce, cabbage), 1 cup fruit (berries are best!), 1 -1.5 cups liquid, 2 tablespoons protein (nut butter, hemp seeds, protein powder) and then some add-ins like coconut oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, dates, cinnamon, or cacao powder. My preferred protein in smoothies are hemp seeds, sprouted pea protein, or sprouted brown rice protein (you can get all of them on Amazon). Sun Warrior and Vega are two good brands.

These are some of my favorite smoothie recipes, especially the Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Smoothie, Caribbean Island Breeze, and this Snickerdoodle Smoothie.

Whip up a smoothie in the morning and put it in a thermos. It should stay cold for about four hours.

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You can also find lots of free smoothie recipes here at Simple Green Smoothies.

Here’s a link to an awesome and FREE downloadable smoothie guide from the Academy for Culinary Nutrition that you can print out and put on your fridge.

I like smoothies, but I don’t drink them every day. Sometimes my body wants something warm or something a bit more savory like a frittata, so I pay attention to my cravings and eat accordingly!

Gluten-Free Grains

Sugary cereals aren’t the only bowl-based option for breakfast. Check out some of my favorite hot and cold cereal recipes below. I serve them with some almond milk or coconut milk. Yum!

PS Oatmeal Banner

Granola Aerial

No-Bake Bites

Enjoy these as a side to some fruit and/or veggies or oatmeal. If you make a lighter smoothie based mostly on veggies or fruit without fat, try these as a side to that, too. They also make a great snack!

coconut chai biteslacto cookies

Egg-Based Dishes

For more savory options, the dishes below are some of my absolute favorites. As the weather gets cooler, my body tends to crave these warmer, veggie-packed, nutrient-dense meals.

Beet Shakshuka Recipe from Two Moms in the Raw cookbookMexican Black Bean Scramble

Leftovers

Who says breakfast has to be a boring bowl of cereal? Have some leftovers from the night before? Heat them up for breakfast!

currycrock pot chili

Curry-Lime Chickpea & Protein-Packed Pasta {Gluten-Free}

After getting back from a long weekend away for Thanksgiving and my sister-in-law’s wedding (which was SO fun!), we hadn’t thought much about what we’d be eating for dinner this week.

So, when I got home from work tonight, I checked the pantry and fridge and used a few things we had on hand to whip up this recipe. That’s the value of having a well stocked pantry – even when you have no time and no plans, you can create a delicious dish pretty quickly without making a trip to the store.

This meal came together in about 20 minutes and was filling, delicious and nourishing (the trifecta of food awesomeness!). It showcases GBOMBS – some of the most anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting, immune-boosting, health-promoting foods we can eat!

If you’re not eating pasta because of the gluten or refined flours, keep reading! I have a solution for you 🙂

Meet, Tolerant Foods pasta.

Tolerant Green Pasta

I first tried their pasta last fall at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. At the time, the only pasta I ate was brown rice pasta (ingredients = brown rice + water), but I was curious to try Tolerant’s pasta because it was made from one ingredient.

Beans.

Or, in this case, lentils.

We had tried the black bean variety and the red lentil version, but this year I was introduced to the latest and greatest addition – green lentil pasta.

Here’s why this pasta is so awesome.

Unlike regular highly processed pasta that’s usually made from enriched flours that can send our blood sugar (and energy levels and weight) on a roller coaster, Tolerant’s pasta is PACKED with satiating protein and fill-you-up fiber. 

Just over 1/3 of a box of the green lentil pasta has a whopping 21 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. It’s also full of energizing B-vitamins, iron and zinc. It’s also made with non-GMO, organic ingredients.

Green lentil label

What’s not to like??

The pasta cooks up in 8 minutes, making it a great option for a quick dinner. And because of its pale green color, it looks more like pasta than the red lentil or black bean pasta, so it would be an easier sell with kiddos or bean-based pasta skeptics.

It’s sold at a higher price point than a box of Barilla, but I focus more on nutrients/dollar than calories/dollar, so it’s worth it to me.

MOMs and Whole Foods sell Tolerant pasta (sometimes on sale!), but you can also buy their stuff online at Vitacost or Amazon. Check out this link to use the store locator to find where Tolerant sells their products near you.

Then, make this recipe 🙂 (And don’t mind the less than stellar pics taken from my iPhone without daylight!)

Curry Lime Chickpea PastaChickpea Pasta Pan

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil
  • 1 8-ounce box Tolerant pasta (or other gluten-free or bean-based pasta)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, no salt added, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside 1/3 cup pasta water. Strain pasta and leave in strainer.
  2. Heat ghee or oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and saute 5-7 minutes or until they start to soften. Add ginger, garlic, and curry powder and saute another minute or so. Add pasta water and stir to loosen up anything stuck to the pan.
  4. Add chickpeas, coconut milk and pasta and reduce heat to medium. Stir to combine. Add spinach and toss until coated and slightly wilted. Add lime juice and stir to combine.

I added some sea salt throughout, probably about 1/2 teaspoon total. How do you know when you have enough? If your food tastes flat or bland, add a little salt at a time to increase the flavor. The acidity from the lime juice, fat from the coconut milk, and spice in the curry powder give this dish a lot of flavor, so just add salt to your liking 🙂

Immune-Boosting Magic Mineral Broth

On one of my morning walks, I was listening to an interview that Evelyne Lambrecht of Elevate Your Energy did with “Author, Educator, and Culinary Translator,” Rebecca Katz.

The topic was Eat Well for a Healthy Mind and Longer Life, and Rebecca’s playful, positive approach and style intrigued me.

I love finding other people in this field who are out to make the world a better place through food, health and healing and who do it in a positive, build-you-up way. It’s what I aim to do as well!

Rebecca says this about her work:

I teach people how to connect the dots between foodbig flavor…& vibrant health!

She invented the term “Culinary Translator” to describe what she does, which is essentially translating nutritional science to the plate. She got to this place in life after a stressed-out career in the business world led her to seek a more nourishing life.

She’s an expert on eating for health and healing, especially for when it comes to boosting immunity, protecting the body and brain from chronic conditions (especially cancer), and living longer.

You can find her cookbooks here on Amazon.

Katz Books

We’ve made some of her recipes over the past few weeks and have not been disappointed!

The base of many of her soup recipes starts with her Magic Mineral Broth. Here’s what she has to say about this nourishing, immune-boosting staple:

This rejuvenating liquid, chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium, allows the body to refresh and restore itself. I think of it as a tonic, designed to keep you in tip-top shape.

I’ve made my own vegetable broth before using scraps from things like celery, carrots, onions, scallions and other veggies (find that recipe here), but I wanted to give this one a try.

It’s loaded with healing, nutrient-dense, mineral-rich ingredients like garlic, celery, leeks, onions, sweet potatoes, and kombu (a seaweed that has been a pantry staple of ours for years!).

MMB Ingredients

You can sip this broth on its own, especially when you are feeling a bit run down and want a mineral boost, and you can also use it as the base for any soup recipe that calls for vegetable broth.

We used this broth to make a few of her soups, and I will post about them this weekend, so you can have some new ideas for soups to try this fall and winter.

Click the picture below or click here to get the full recipe for Rebecca’s amazing broth!

Broth

My Favorite Good-for-You Crunchy Snack…Chickpeatos!

As you know, I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes.

Most of the time when I do this, I’m pretty successful. But sometimes I end up with duds despite my best efforts.

I’ve tried to make crispy baked chickpeas about five different times with no success!

I’m still open to figuring out a way that works, but when I don’t feel like doing that, I opt for these yummy snacks instead. Although I make a majority of my own meals and snacks from scratch, sometimes I buy stuff in packages.

Like these.

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They’re called Chickpeatos. A fun play on “Cheetos,” one of my favorite snacks as a kid.

One of the co-founders was in medical school when he started making his own roasted chickpeas to curb his afternoon hunger pangs. He shared them with his peers, and the idea took hold.

If you’re from the Baltimore/DC area, you may recognize the former branding of this DC-based company, which used to go by 2Armadillos.

Known simply as Watusee Foods, they’ve created new packaging and branding that’s more attractive, fun and relevant.

Get it? What-You-See Foods?!

I love creativity and transparency, and this company delivers on its promise. You know exactly what you’re getting inside every package. No fillers, preservatives, or ingredients we can’t pronounce.

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Their crispy baked chickpeas are SO GOOD.

I’ve been sampling them at one of the health and nutrition workshops I teach about how to Fuel for the Road and Eat Well on the Go, and everyone is loving them!

As the front of the bag indicates, the rosemary chickpeatos are “Simply prepared with only 5 ingredients.”

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If you’ve read about my top eating guidelines in the past, you know that eating foods that contain a minimal number of ingredients is super important to me.

I apply the same standards for packaged foods as I do for fresh food.

Quality matters.

For that reason, I try to eat as many foods as possible that ARE ingredients (i.e., ingredients in an apple?…APPLE!) vs. foods that are made from lots of different ingredients.

Unlike other crunchy snacks that are usually loaded with a bunch of processed ingredients like genetically modified corn, artificial colors and flavoring, and pro-inflammatory refined oils, Chickpeatos are made from real, whole, quality ingredients. They have a lot going for them:

  1. Organic
  2. Gluten-Free
  3. Vegan
  4. Not genetically modified
  5. Simple ingredients. Here’s the ingredient list for the rosemary version: organic chickpeas, organic olive oil, organic rosemary, salt, organic garlic powder

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They come in four different flavors:

  • Rosemary (my favorite)
  • Tomato Basil
  • Cinnamon Toast
  • Spicy Cayenne

I’ve found Chickpeatos locally at MOMs Organic Market and Whole Foods, and I bet Wegmans sells them, too. You can also buy them directly from Watusee Foods’ website here. It looks like they’re adding a Store Locator functionality soon, so that should help you find them.

I like eating them as a snack OR putting them on top of salads for a nice crunch – just like croutons, only better for you!

Have you ever tried crispy chickpeas? Or maybe, unlike me, have you had success baking your own chickpeas that stayed crunchy and didn’t burn?

Either way, I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment!

Disclosure: I received free snacks in exchange for writing this review, but I loved the product and what it stood for before this opportunity came to be. 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, believe in, and use myself! 🙂

Happy National Kale Day! {10 Kale Recipes Plus a Must-See RNK Video}

My friend Natalie texted me this morning to wish me a “Happy National Kale Day.”

She’s super thoughtful and was actually the person who got me an awesome Eat More Kale shirt last year for my birthday. I was so excited that I had to make a short video dedicated to today’s vegetable of honor!

In addition to posting that video on my Facebook page today about why kale is so awesome and some tricks for how to make it taste good and NOT bitter, I thought I’d whip up a quick blog post 🙂

Kale is related to some of my other favorite veggies, including cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts! It scores 1,000 on the ANDI scale, which measures the nutrient density of a food. In English, that means it packs in a TON of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals essential for our health, growth and development).

The more nutrient-dense our diet is, the better off we will be!

Kale is loaded with antioxidants that protect our body (inside and outside!) from damage caused by things like stress, poor diet, lack of activity and smoking.

This leafy green also contains isothiocyanates (say “eye-so-thio-CY-a-nates”) more simply known as ITCs. These compounds have strong cancer-preventive properties. Not only that, but kale contains over 45 flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient (FIGHT-o-nutrient) that protects plants from disease as they are growing. Flavonoids protect our bodies as well AND are give plants their colorful pigments.

Veggies at the San Diego Farmer's Market, including lots of kale!

Veggies at the San Diego Farmer’s Market, including lots of kale in the middle!

Kale is full of micronutrients like beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin K is an important nutrient involved in blood clotting and one cup of kale contains 7 times the RDA for vitamin K.

You may have heard people express concerns about eating too many leafy greens if they are on blood thinners. In fact, the well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin (Coumadin) works by blocking the function of vitamin K, which is why anyone taking those medications should talk to their doctor about any dietary changes like significantly upping their intake of vitamin-K containing foods.

When there are ways to naturally support our body rather than using medication, I’m all for it!

Kale is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, so it helps us calm the fires inside of our body and get rid of toxins that can build up as a result of how we live, including how we eat. Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, writes and speaks about how inflammation and toxicity are two of the reasons we are sick, develop disease and have trouble losing weight. Check out his video about it here.

If you want to learn even more about the awesome benefits of kale, check out this post by Authority Nutrition about the 10 Proven Benefits of Kale.

Oh, and if you want to be entertained, make sure you check out my National Kale Day tribute video on Facebook!

In the meantime, here are some recipes to try (and check out others on the National Kale Day website):

My Famous Super Food Kale Salad!

My Famous Super Food Kale Salad!

Med Kale Salad

  1. “Taste the Rainbow” Super Food Kale Salad (my signature salad that gets RAVE reviews!)
  2. Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
  3. Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
  4. Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
  5. Peachy Keen Kale Salad
  6. White Bean & Fennel Soup
  7. Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
  8. The Recipe that Will Make You Fall In Love with Kale All Over Again from MindBodyGreen
  9. Lentil & Carrot Salad with Kale from Serious Eats
  10. Bobby Flay’s Sauteed Kale from Food Network

Do you have a favorite kale recipe or one that you want to try? If so, feel free to share it below!

Easy Sauteed Greens & Onions {Paleo, Vegan}

As often as I share recipes for sweet treats and snacks, you might think that’s all I eat!

Fortunately, that’s not the case.

In fact, I’m a huge fan of vegetables and I eat LOTS of them. I eat vegetables at almost every meal and am a big fan of what Michael Pollan has to say about them:

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He goes on to say:

THAT, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

Pollan’s advice is something that everyone in the nutrition community can 100% agree on, which is a rare thing these days.

Most of us spend so much time pitting one diet against another that we lose sight of the basic, universal truths all of us believe and know to be true about food and want people to know.

That’s why I wanted to share this recipe with you today. It’s loaded with plant-based goodness.

I’ve been cooking this dish for over 5 years and, for whatever reason, had never taken the time to share it with you!

greens onions

What prompted me to do it was hosting a table at two client health fairs in the past week and sharing my passion for G-BOMBS. G-BOMBS is an acronym coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who wanted to come up with a simple way to remember the most nutrient-rich, anti-aging, immune-boosting, disease-preventive, protective foods on the planet.

You can read more about G-BOMBS in this blog post (which happens to be the most often read post on this blog!), but to sum it up here, it stands for:
Greens
Beans
Onions
Mushrooms
Berries
Seeds

This dish uses 4 of the 6 GBOMBS, but I’ve made a version of it with all 6 and will share that in another post.

A stack of Swiss chard at the farmer's market!

A stack of Swiss chard at the farmer’s market!

In this recipe, I’m using Swiss chard, a leafy green vegetable that often has colorful stems (rainbow chard) or white stems (regular chard). It’s a softer green than kale or collard greens, and it works really well in this recipe and in frittatas.

It’s packed with anti-aging antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, supports bone health because of its high vitamin K and magnesium content, and has even been found to benefit blood sugar regulation – a KEY to having sustained energy and maintaining a healthy weight. Read more about this super star veggie here.

It comes together in about 20 minutes and is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We use it as a side dish and can easily split the whole thing between the two of us. It’s versatile, too.

Don’t have Swiss chard? Use kale.
No pumpkin seeds? Try sunflower seeds.
Out of red onions? Use yellow.

Just make the dish. It’s delicious, packed with nutrients and flavor and is simply prepared. Simple is doable, and simple is often best 🙂 Enjoy!

greens saute words greens plate

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients
1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 bunches Swiss chard
1 1/2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 of a large lemon)
1/4 cup lightly toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries or goji berries (optional)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cut off stems at base of chard and compost or toss it. Chop chard leaves into 1/2 inch strips and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt oil/ghee. Add onions and cook about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not browned (it turns bitter when it browns). Add 1-2 tablespoons water to prevent sticking, if needed.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and add greens and remaining water and toss with tongs to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes until greens are wilted but still BRIGHT green.
  5. Remove from heat and toss greens with cider vinegar (or lemon juice), pumpkin seeds, cranberries and sea salt and pepper, to taste, until everything is evenly coated and combined.

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 🙂

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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