Thursday, September 1, 2011

Great Green Smoothies

Found an incredible green smoothie website:
Here I'm listing the recipes that I've tried and loved...even the kids approved!

Straw-Berry Blast Smoothie
½ cup whole strawberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup raspberries
1 whole banana
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1 whole carrot
1/2 – 1 cup water

Calories: 257 | Fat: 1.4g (grams) | Protein: 6g | Carbs: 64.4g | Calcium: 14% | Vitamin A: 257% | Vitamin C: 176%

Peach Green Smoothie
1 medium peach
1 banana
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1/2 cup water

This nutrition info is for the smoothie as above but I also added about 6 frozen strawberries and a carrot. Delicious!

Calories : 169 | Fat: 0.6g (grams) | Protein: 4.4g | Carbs: 44.4g | Calcium: 10% | Vitamin A: 88% | Vitamin C: 71%

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PB & Chocolate Cookies (Vegan)

Now I've raved about Dreena Burton's cookbook before (Eat, Drink and Be Vegan) but this recipe was outrageously delish! My husband and I ate every one of these cookies and wouldn't even share with the kids because they were that good :) I'm already thinking about making more!

1/4 cup unrefined sugar**
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup + 1 tbsp barley or spelt flour (or 1 cup all-purpose...I used spelt)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2-2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (I was out so I used 4 tbsp brown rice can just use more maple syrup too)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4-1/3 natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 7 ingredients (through baking soda). In separate bowl, combine maple syrup through oil until well mixed. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir until just combined, do not overmix. With a knife, cut peanut butter into batter, just barely so there are still nice chunks and swirls visible. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop rounded tablespoons of batter onto sheet. Bake for 11 minutes (longer and they'll dry out) and then let cool for a minute or so on pan and transfer to cooling rack.

Yum!! `

**Update on my first vegan cookie post I hadn't tried unrefined sugar yet. Let me update that I bought a couple pounds of it and just love it! It's more like brown sugar in taste, and makes me feel oh so much better when I use it. I'm pretty close to just chucking all the white stuff in the garbage. I feel awful (physically and emotionally guilty :) every time I use it!

A few tips

I've been compiling a list of healthy eating ideas that I thought I'd post. It helps to hear what has worked for other people when trying to make better choices. Hope it helps someone out there!

1. In my opinion, the most effective tip for healthier eating is to focus on cramming as many vegetables and fruits in or day as possible . Aim for 3 cups of veggies and 2 of fruits a day. 3 baby carrots does not count as a serving. When I try to eat 5 cups of produce a day, there's simply not enough room in my diet for junk! Even if you change nothing else about your diet, this tip will force you to cut our garbage in order to replace it with veggies. I am always amazed at how full and satisfied I am when I meet this goal and my appetite for junk food disappears. And don't just throw broccoli on the side of your plate! Try to find veggie-centered entree recipes so that you develop a taste for healthier fare.

2. Change where you shop. I got this tip from an amazing nutritionist who says that if you surround yourself with beautiful ripe produce and healthy food choices you will naturally shop and eat this way. Try switching to a market like Sprouts or Sunflower instead of your super Walmart or Fry's trip. On that note, those mega grocery stores often have a very poor produce selection because they buy cheap stuff to keep prices low. There are also so many affordable farmer's markets out there that you don't have to spend a fortune to buy produce. Especialy if you cut down on meat and dairy. THAT's the expensive stuff!

3. READ LABELS!! Keep in mind that even if you're shopping in a healthy store, not everything they sell meets good ingredient requirements. I was shocked to buy ginger snaps at one of these types of markets, only to discover when I got home that they contain hydrogenated oils. Yuck! Be an informed consumer. If you keep reading about lecithin and nitrates and corn syrup, go home and Google them. Read as much as you can about the food you're eating and don't believe any email forwards about food until you verify them! Just by switching out a couple of your favorite brands, you can potentially avoid putting hundreds of needless calories or other nasty chemicals into your body.

4. Drink lots of water. You hear this one all the time but I'm amazed at how many people don't follow it. It's always been easy for me because I never developed a taste for soda but if you find yourself stuck in a caffeine, sugar guzzling streak, try this: for one week cut out any liquids but water. Just commit to a week at first so that you can stick with it. That means no juice, sodas, Gatorade, crystal light etc. Nothing but water. I promise you that you will develop a taste for water and you will not even want the other stuff anymore. (ok, if you're a hardcore Dr. pepper fanatic, it may take a couple weeks :). You want to get to the point where your thirst is only quenched by water, because in reaity it is. That other stuff does not hydrate you like water. Another note about soda, don't fall into the "diet" trap thinking that diet colas are better for you. Sure they may not spike your blood sugar but don't put those crappy fake sugar chemicals in your body! Who knows what they're doing to us. Also, remember that any sweet-tasting drink will only make you want more sweets and lead to junk food bingeing. Water cleanses the palate and makes even vegetables taste good!

5. Do not go crazy at first! That means that you can incorporate healthy eating slowly into your life by choosing more whole foods and less processed junk. Don't think that you have to change everything at once. If you do this, you will most likely get frustrated, and dive right back into your old bad habits. And don't beat yourself up over one trip to Burger King. The idea is to change our eating habits forever and we can only do that if we forgive ourselves for our setbacks and make a resolution to do better tomorrow. Also, let me add that if you have a sweet tooth, there ARE healthier dessert options out there! Dreena Burton's recipes are all fantastic and her desserts are to die for...all vegan with no refined sugar. Some of the ingredients may seem weird at first, but where does it say that drinking half a gallon of milk from some other animal's udders is normal?? We're simply conditioned to think that. Do yourself a favor and try a new, healthier recipe this week!

6. Get out there and do SOME form of exercise! Walk briskly around the block, rollerblade, anything that's practical for you in your neighborhood and try to do something every day. It may take getting up a half hour early or carving some time out in the evening. But nothing will help you feel better and be more motivated to eat better than using your body. In the end, food is simply fuel for our bodies...albeit often ridiculously delicious fuel! Remember that everything you eat and drink goes somewhere.
It really helped me cut out sugary drinks, for example, by thinking about what liquid looks like when it comes out of me (not to be gross). Our body pulls all the sugar, dyes and chemicals out of a drink and does something with them. They're stored up in us and probably causing damage! Whereas water pulls all that crap out of our bodies and allows us to excrete it. The next time you're tempted to eat something you know you shouldn't, think about what your body can use it for. If the answer is simply to store fat and toxins, make a better choice! We not only damage our own bodies when we mistreat them, but as a mother I think about the habits and genetic code that I'm passing on to my children. I want long, vibrant, healthy lives for my entire family and the coming generations!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Incredible Curried Lentils (vegan!)

If you're obsessed with Indian food like I am, you'll love this! I found it on epicurious and it was easy and fantastic! I added about 5 small potatoes, chopped, to the soup with the carrots but in the future I'll add them after the lentils. They turned out a little soft for my taste and the lentils need plenty of time to soften. Maybe 10 minutes into the simmering time? I also ended up adding about twice as much curry powder because I just had a generic brand that wasn't too spicy, and a couple dashes of cumin. It tasted pretty authentic! Especially with some naan bread and yogurt sauce we picked up at our local Indian restaurant. Yum!!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

  • Ingredient info: French green lentils are small, dark green, and speckled with black; they can be found at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.

    Add chickpea puree to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add water by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency.

    Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

    Even better the second day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Best Day EVER!!

Isn't that beautiful?!?!!

I am SO happy today!! When I tell you why you will certainly think me daft, but I don't care. Today, I made 100% whole wheat bread from scratch in the oven and it was awesome! Not only edible (which all my previous loaves were NOT) but it was fluffy and soft and chewy and moist and delicious! Nothing like my old doorstops! I tried a new recipe in order to teach my Young Women how to make homemade bread and was so tickled pink with myself that I think I scared the girls. Only my sweet husband understands the depth of suffering we all went through during my learning process :) It's really not hard at ALL, I just tried to cut corners and made a few mistakes that I will help you avoid.

I got this recipe from the food storage master's blog...she has lots of other amazing ways to cook with long term food storage!

NOTE: I didn't have potato flakes but did have potato starch from doing some gluten-free baking. That worked fine.
Also, make sure you're using a "bread flour" setting on your wheat grinder, if applicable. I've ground my wheat using several methods including the "course" setting on my grinder and it never turned out great.
Finally, use a Kitchenaid or Bosch for mixing if at all possible! My kneading attempts never allowed the dough to rise enough and this time I used my hand mixer (and burned out the motor, of course). Moral of the story, spend the cash and get the right equipment!

Delicious Wheat Bread! (yield: 1 loaf)

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 Tblsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground is best, I used hard white)
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp nonfat non instant dry milk
1 Tblsp butter/margarine/oil
1 Tblsp vinegar
1/4 cup potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)

Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
If you are making this recipe in a bread machine, follow your bread machine’s directions for wheat or whole grain selection and add the ingredients in the order listed for their recommendations (only one loaf will fit in a bread maker).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Raw Granola Bars

Got this recipe out of a super healthy cookbook and I was shocked at how delicious they are! Just make sure to refrigerate them well so they hold together. They're actually pretty good frozen too!

3 c. rolled oats

1/4 C. whole seed millet or quinoa

1/4 C. sliced almonds

1/4 C. high nutrition protein powder

2 TBS raw pumpkin seeds

2 TBS raw sunflower seeds

2 TBS flax seed meal

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 C. raw honey

1 TBS coconut oil

1 TBS flax oil (sunflower market carries it in the supplement section)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, combine honey and oils (if needed, lightly heat first.)

Stir into dry mixture and mix very well.

Place about 1/4 cup of mixture onto 5" square of plastic wrap and fold sides in, wrapping tightly, pressing mixture together.

Chill for several hours to set.

I ate one of these with a yummy berry smoothie for breakfast the other day and felt so healthy and satisfied that I didn't need to eat until lunch!

Friday, November 5, 2010


No recipe today, just a bit of a rant. We all know what's best for us when it comes to food, right? At least if we're semi-conscious of health issues and trying to be at least ever so slightly informed about our food choices: whole grains, lots of fresh produce, minimal dairy/meats, etc. So, why is it that we still make so many poor choices? And when I say "we" of course you all know who I mean :). It would be one thing if getting depressed and binging on a pint of Ben & Jerry's or a greasy chicken drumstick tasted sooooooo good and made your cares all go away. But when the binge session just results in a stomachache, guilt and a general feeling of disgusting-ness, I just regret every second.

Case in point: i've been trying the challenge of eating 3 cups of veggies and 2 of fruits a day . Not servings, CUPS. It has been hard sometimes to get it all in, but because i personally HATE eating vegetables as a side (it's like a horrible chore that i dread and leave to the end of my meal) I have to incorporate them into my main dish more and more and my general diet for the week has been incredibly healthy. Not to mention I feel fantastic and am more regular than my toddler :). As life would have it, i busted out wicked ol' Giada's cookbook last night in search of dinner and decided to make 2 double chocolate pound cakes for dessert. With chocolate fudge sauce on the side. Yeah, i like to fall hard :)
Long story short, i felt like garbage last night and then, ate a couple pieces of greasy costco rotisserie chicken for lunch and feel even worse. What do I think I'm accomplishing by allowing that crap back into my life after a healthy stint? It doesn't even taste good anymore! That's the crazy thing to me. And so, next time I've got the blues, I am working on having the presence of mind to make vegan chocolate chip cookies instead of calling my poor husband and demanding he bring me eggs, butter and cream on the way home.

Someday I will learn to dominate this weak flesh!