Re-Vamp Your Breakfast Recipes, try a Quinoa Bowl

Why try a quinoa bowl for breakfast? Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 10 essential amino acids, and a high fiber content. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of satiating fiber, having it for breakfast will help to arm your body with the tools it needs to get through the day and stay fuller longer. As an added bonus, quinoa is packed with health boosters like zinc, calcium, iron, riboflavin, heart healthy fats and antioxidants that have been found to reduce inflammation.quinoa bowl

Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 15
Yield: 2 bowls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup canned lite coconut mylk + more for drizzling
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened dark cherries
1 tablespoon of toasted pecans
1 tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds

Preparation:
Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
Divide quinoa into two bowls then cover with dried fruits, pecans, + pumpkin seeds and a few extra drizzles of coconut milk.

Chef Notes:  You can use a shelf stable organic Coconut mylk available at Aldi’s Markets. Or you can make your own Almond mylk but that’s for another blog.  Option to add  sweetener of choice,  we find it sweet enough with the coconut milk and fruit.

#Kidfriendly #addtoppingsofyourchoice #mixandmatchfruitsnutsandseeds #yearroundmeal

Nutrition: 302 calories, 10.3 g fat (4.9 g saturated fat), 99 mg sodium, 34.6 g carbs, 5.3 g fiber, 7.9 g sugar, 8.2 g protein

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4 Juices to Help You Touch Your Toes Without Pain

juice for flexibility and inflammation reduction

I once heard a yoga instructor say “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” Well, that woman was a grandmother and didn’t look a day past 40! I’d say she’s onto something. While yoga and exercise, or even chasing after grandchildren, can help your muscles stay in shape, flexibility needs more than exercise: Flexibility also relies on reducing inflammation. These four juices do just that, making your daily exercise routine feel easier, and helping you to touch your toes without pain.

Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which our bodies convert to nitrites, which dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. The result: More stamina! Your muscles need less oxygen to do the same amount of work, making exercise feel less difficult. This is definitely the juice to drink before CrossFit!

Can’t Beet the Staying Power Recipe

  • 1 beet
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2′ ginger
  • 1 stalk kale
  • 1 green apple

Green juice, using kale, spinach, chard, broccoli and celery, improves flexibility through its high water content and ability to cleanse acids from the body. It’s the perfect breakfast for that early morning pilates class.

Hydrating Green Juice

  • 2 red chard leaves
  • 3 kale stalks
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 apple or pear

Barley grass juice or powder contains the stretchy trifecta of beta carotene, iron and calcium which work together to improve flexibility and total body health. It’s a wonderful addition to your favorite juice, but on its own, it tastes a lot like…well, grass.

Turmeric juice, or powder, as an additive to any of your favorite juices, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories out there. Inflammation not only reduces flexibility, but has also been linked to a wide range of health problems, from arthritis to obesity. Bonus: Turmeric also acts as an anti-depressant, giving a mood boost to your day! I like to drink this for dessert to ensure sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.

Turmeric Milk Recipe

  • 2 cups almond/hemp milk
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

And yes, you can combine these four ingredients together for one incredible pre-workout drink!

5 Potluck-Perfect Healthy Holiday Party Recipes

Healthy party food

In the early days of Pinterest (what was that – all of 3 years ago?), when you searched for “Healthy holiday party recipes,” all you’d see is a Christmas tree made of broccoli and radishes. Healthy, but lacking in the vital ingredient of party food: Fun!

healthy holiday party food

 

How times have changed. Taking inspiration from some of my favorite Pinterest finds (Check out my new Intelligent Holiday Entertaining Pinterest Board), I’ve got you covered for all of your holiday entertaining needs – from Brunch to Lunch and Dinner Potlucks.

5 Potluck-Perfect Healthy Holiday Party Recipes

1. Artichoke-Dip Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust (Brunch)

Ingredients

  • Olive oil.
  • 3 Sweet potatoes, sliced into thin rounds (1/8th”) – May need more sweet potatoes or less depending on their size.
  • 5oz blanched spinach (or frozen spinach, thawed). Squeeze out excess moisture.
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (in water), chopped.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced.
  • 1 Cup parmesan.
  • 1 Cup low-fat cottage cheese.
  • 4 eggs.

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate with olive oil and line it with a single layer of sliced sweet potatoes, placed so they overlap. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, until browned. Reduce oven heat to 375.

Whisk together eggs, parmesan and cottage cheese. Stir in artichoke hearts, garlic and spinach. Pour into deep-dish pie plate. (There may be extra filling)

Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is puffy and lightly browned.

2. Christmas Tree Cucumber Tea Sandwiches (Lunch)

Using your favorite bread – sqaw, rye, or pumpernickel work great! – cut into tree shapes with a cookie cutter. Blend light whipped cream cheese (or your favorite vegan substitute) with chopped dill, a pinch of salt and fresh-ground pepper, and spread lightly on the bread. Cut a cucumber in half lengthwise and slice thinly (1/8th”), and arrange on the bread like the boughs of a Christmas tree. Finish with a light squeeze of lemon.*

*This works well with pita bread triangles, avocado hummus, and diced red pepper too!

healthy holiday party recipes

3. Skinny Grapefruit Margarita (Drinks)

For one cocktail, combine: 1 shot of blanco tequila, 1/2 shot Triple Sec, 5oz grapefruit juice, and a twist of lime. Sweeten if necessary with agave syrup.

4. Omega-3 Bites! (Dinner Potluck)

You can call them smoked salmon-avocado bites, but I love these good-fat, brain-fueling appetizers. Lay out 1×3″ strips of smoked salmon and spoon mashed avocado and finely diced cucumber (sprinkled with a little salt and pepper – dill too if you like) into the middle. Fold salmon over the filling and spear with a toothpick. Top with a tiny wedge of thinly-sliced lemon.

5. No-Bake Pomegranate Chocolate Clusters (Dessert)

Ingredients – makes 20

  • 1 pomegranate worth of seeds, rinsed and thoroughly dried (not like a raisin – just not wet to the touch)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Mini muffin pan & mini muffin liners

Put chocolate chips into a heavy-duty ziplock bag and heat in the microwave at 15-second intervals, kneading after each, until the chocolate is liquid. Snip off a corner of the bag, and drizzle a small amount of chocolate into a liner. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds onto melted chocolate, and drizzle more chocolate on top, topping with a pinch of shredded coconut. Repeat 19 more times, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Don’t feel like cooking this holiday season? Come by the store and check out our Holiday Menu!

Turn up the Heat this Summer with Watermelon!

watermelon bites

Usually watermelon is your go-to for cooling down – but not after you read this:

Eating watermelon may lead to better sex.

Studies show that watermelon is the little blue pill of the vegetable world, improving blood circulation throughout the entire body – just like Viagra. The magic nutrient is citrulline, which converts to arginine once ingested, and arginine clears the way for blood to flow. Sure, it also helps with cardiovascular health and may help those with obesity and type two diabetes, but sex is a lot more… sexy.

Watermelon is also rich in lycopene, a heart-protecting anti-oxidant that also promotes prostate health. As if that weren’t enough, some scientific evidence points to lycopene helping with male infertility.

So this Fourth of July, tell your fella to eat watermelon – and you’ll really see fireworks!

Here are my favorite ways to eat watermelon:

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Take 6 pounds of seedless watermelon and cut into 2″ chunks. Blend in a blender in batches, pouring in about 2 cups of water to help with the process. Pour the blended watermelon through a strainer into a pitcher (this should yield about 8 cups). Mix in 1 Tb lime juice and 1 Tb agave nectar. Now, pour into glasses with ice, and garnish with mint leaves. It’s delicious!

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Party Bites

Use a cookie cutter to press watermelon into bite-sized rounds. Then place a mint or basil leaf on top, and using a pastry-bag, top with a dollop of soft goat cheese. Skewer with a tooth pick, and finish with a delicate drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

The watermelon bites pictured are topped with yellow heirloom tomatoes and drizzled with basil and hot chili-infused oil.

Bikini Season Brownies

Cacao

The days are heating up, the layers of clothes are coming off, and all I can think about is chocolate. It’s my theory that life is too short not to eat good food, and if that means a brownie now and then, well, that’s what’s happening.

Fortunately, there is a lot to be said for the health benefits of a good, gluten-free brownie. I like this brownie recipe from Elena’s Pantry, which includes creamy roasted almond butter, 2 eggs, agave nectar, vanilla extract, cacao powder, sea salt, baking soda and chocolate chips. It’s full of good fats, low on the glycemic index thanks to agave nectar, and most importantly, it is full of delicious dark chocolate.

The Power of Cacao

Not all cacao powder is created equal, so if you want the highest quality nutrients, get your chocolate fix from something like organic, raw Arriba Criollo Cacao Powder. Straight cacao, which is undiluted with milk and sugar, is packed with anti-oxidants and Phenylethylamine (a mild stimulant that boosts dopamine, serotonin and other feel-good chemicals). Hey, you already knew a brownie makes you feel better – and now you know why!

5 Health Benefits of Chocolate

  1. Cacao is an appetite suppressant, and it’s low on the glycemic index.
  2. Cacao is an excellent source of iron, magnesium and chromium.
  3. Cacao releases neurotransmitters that help endorphins and serotonin flow.
  4. Cacao is full of flavanoids which, like antioxidants, fight free radicals that damage cells.
  5. Cacao delivers a powerful punch of polyphenols which help fight heart disease and reduce inflammation.

Remember: Eat better, feel better, live better. And everything’s better with chocolate.

Taste the Rainbow: 5 Ways to Use Juicing Pulp

Juicer pulp rainbow

It pains me to throw away perfectly good food, even if it’s been shredded and largely dehydrated. So for those of you juicing at home, here are a few tips for reducing your waste – while reducing your waist. (If you’re on a cleanse, just freeze the pulp.)

Before you whisk that pulp into your next recipe, know that the moisture content varies depending on which juicer you use. Expect some trial and error as you adjust.

1. Green Juice Crust-less Quiche – You’ve seen those photos on Pinterest of mini breakfast quiches baked in muffin tins, right? Using muffin tins is a great way to plan easy breakfasts for the week. Just whisk together your eggs and greens (and goat cheese or feta if you’re inclined) for a delicious portion-controlled breakfast. Spinach, kale and chard pulp is the perfect healthy addition.
2. Soups & Stews – Saute your carrot, celery and parsley scraps along with chopped onion for a healthy base for broths, soups and stews. Literally, just add water (and vegetable broth or tomato juice if you want to kick it up a notch).
3. Pancakes – Carrot and sweet potato pulp make for bright orange and deliciously sweet pancakes and waffles.
4. Muffins – Use apple, carrot and ginger pulp for carrot-apple tea cakes.
5. Beet Carrot Cucumber Salad, with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts – The name says it all. Combine your beet, carrot and cucumber pulp (removing any large pieces), make a simple vinaigrette (2Tb honey, 1 ½ Tb Dijon, 3 Tb red wine vinegar, 1 ½ Tb minced shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil), and toss with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Great for picnics and potlucks.

What’s your favorite way to use pulp? Compost? Birdfood? Sweets?