Green Lentil Salad

Who doesn’t like an easy, mindless recipe?  That’s what this lentil salad recipe basically is, plus, it makes great leftovers, is super healthy and tastes delicious!  I think it’s perfect for this season when the weather is warmer since our bodies are looking to be nourished with more cooling foods.

It’s best to prepare your lentils within a couple months of buying them as it’ll make cooking them simpler.  Know that it is best not to add salt or any acidic ingredients to the lentils until the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, as this will result in crunchy lentils even though they’re cooked.  Also, there are different types of lentils, therefore, different cooking methods required, so this recipe specifically calls for green lentils.

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Ingredients

-1 cup green lentils

-2 cups chicken broth (or water)

-1/2 yellow onion, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-1 bay leaf

-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

-1 avocado, cubed

-2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

-1 tablespoon pesto

-1/2 lemon

-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon

-Splash of red wine vinegar

-salt and pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Rinse lentils in a mesh strainer making sure to check for pebbles (remove pebbles if you find them).  Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.  Once hot, add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 30 seconds or until softened and aromatic.
  2. Add the lentils and bay leaf to the pot with broth or water.  Turn heat up to medium-high.  Once at a gentle boil, turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes. Add salt to the pot the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Remove from the heat and keep covered for at least 10 minutes so lentils can soak up the rest of the water.
  3. While the lentils finish cooking, make the dressing by mixing together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small cup or bowl.
  4. To a large bowl, add the chopped lettuce, lentils, feta, avocado, pesto, and the dressing.  Option to serve with a side of toasted pita bread.  Enjoy!

Exotic Tagine with Spices Recipe

This recipe is for those nights when you want to eat something satisfying and healthy, but have too much on your plate to put too much thought into a meal. Although it’s not a traditional African tagine recipe, it shares some of the elements of one and holds up great as leftovers for a few days. You can go totally meatless with this dish and add extra vegetables, but I’ve made it with ground turkey on one occasion and with ground pork on another and liked both these too. I recommend any of these options. Flavoring is the name of the game with this dish, so make sure your spice cabinet is well-stocked. I tend to eyeball with most spices, and I welcome you to do the same.f167d4cb-14f2-4838-8be7-3dd3da36899e.jpg

Ingredients (serves 2 people)

-1 lb. ground turkey or pork

-1 yellow onion, chopped

-4 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 tablespoon of each of the following spices: garlic powder, onion powder, ground turmeric, paprika, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground coriander, cayenne, salt, and ground pepper.

-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-1 cup uncooked jasmine rice or cous cous

-1 1/2 cups water or broth

-optional: raisins or golden raisins

Instructions

1- Set oven to 400 degrees F. On the stovetop, heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add about 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Next, add the onion, the fresh garlic, and meat to the skillet. Add all of the spices to the pan, mix in with the meat and onions, and cook until the meat is browned.

2- Add the uncooked rice, chickpeas, and water/broth to the skillet. Add a little more salt, mix together, then place in the oven covered for 40 minutes.

3- That’s it, food is ready! BE CAREFUL after removing the skillet from the oven. It’ll be HOT and I totally burned myself!

Enjoy your meal 🙂

How to Win the Never-Ending Battle Against Late Night Snacking

Fighting off late night munchies can be a true battle. No matter how big of a dinner you eat, sometimes it’s too difficult to say “no” to snacking before bed.  If you are trying to sleep better or lose weight, avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime. Otherwise the food you eat will store as fat, rather than being processed or burned off (source: Dr. Hyman). If you struggle with late night eating, try these tips to curb bedtime snacking.

1- Eat breakfast. Having breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day, but not just any breakfast. Having a high protein breakfast will keep you satiated longer and energize you throughout the day. If you eat late, you might not be hungry enough in the morning to get the right breakfast you need to power through your day, so it’s important to break this cycle.

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2% Greek yogurt with fruit, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and bee pollen = lots of protein!

Some of my go-to, protein-packed breakfasts might include chia seed pudding, eggs (with the yolk!), a smoothie with proteins such as almond or peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, greek yogurt, or protein powder. I also like to add green vegetables to my breakfasts whenever possible. A meal like any of these really gives you the brain power you need, but also keeps your blood sugar levels steady throughout the morning. When my blood sugar levels take a dip, this is when I find myself so starved I’ll reach for anything in sight, no matter how bad it is for me. Eating some protein and healthy fats with every meal really makes a difference in your overall energy and health, versus eating no breakfast or something lacking in nutrition, like cereal or a bagel.

2- Drink water. When we are dehydrated, sometimes our minds will interpret that as hunger. Try drinking water when you feel a late night craving come on before you head to the kitchen for some snacks. I like to infuse my water with cucumber, lemon, fresh herbs, or berries. I find that I can drink much more water when I’ve infused it, especially with my favorite, cucumber.

3-Eat mindfully. Eating too quickly doesn’t give the body enough time to realize it’s full. Practice chewing your food and remember to breathe while eating. The more you chew your food, the more the food is broken down, which means it digests more easily in the stomach. This is a pro tip for weight loss!

4- Turn off the tv and go to bed! It’s really easy to eat mindlessly when eating while watching tv. On occasion, if it’s getting late and I find myself getting hungry again after dinner, I will actually just send myself to bed. If I continue to stay up, then of course I’m going to get a snack to fuel me. Try having that glass of water instead or some warm almond milk or tea, then hit the hay.

5- Identify areas of your life that may be out of balance. Snacking is often triggered by emotions. Think, for example, about the image of a girl (or guy) shoveling ice cream in her mouth after a bad breakup as an example. Whatever the trigger may be, even if it’s just craving dessert after dinner out of habit, try to identify what could be causing you to have unhealthy cravings. This may not even apply to food; it could be some sort of substance abuse too. Think about the quality of all your relationships, career, spiritual practice, finances, home environment, or exercise routine. How satisfied are you in each of these areas of your life? If any aspect of your life is missing or unsatisfactory, it’s possible that this could be causing you stress, which can then lead to late night binge eating or unhealthy habits. Once you’ve identified what’s stressing you out, take measures to make improvements and reduce any stress.

Here is an exercise for you to try to find balance that I use with my clients throughout their program. This is called the Circle of Life (source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition). On the circle there are a number of important categories listed, each one representing a major aspect of life that contributes to overall mental and physical health. Being satisfied in each of these categories is extremely important for living a well-balanced life.

Here’s what to do. Place a dot in each category of the circle. The closer your dot is to the outside of the circle, the more content you are with that area of your life. And the closer your dot is to the inside of the circle represents less satisfaction with that category. When you are done connect all the dots and see what areas of your life need nourishment. If your dots create a perfect circle when connected, then you should be living pretty much stress-free.

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6- Identify your food sensitivities. We are typically allergic or sensitive to the foods we crave the most. For many people this is gluten or dairy. Experiment with an elimination diet, or just try removing these two food groups and/or sugar for a few weeks and see if you feel any improvements. After a few weeks of eliminating certain food groups, gradually add back one food group at a time for a few days to see if any symptoms (maybe even some you weren’t aware of before) return. Other foods that tend to cause sensitivities or allergies are corn, soy, alcohol, sugar, red meat, processed foods, or nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, etc).

If you have experimented with these tips and are still finding yourself reaching for the cookies before bed, then replace those temptations with healthier options. I can recommend peanut butter with green apple, chocolate chia seed pudding, roasted salty chickpeas, or black bean brownies.

Please leave other suggestions in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in talking about how a health coach can help you eat better and improve your overall health, sign up for a complimentary 50-minute consultation with me!

Guilt-Free Chocolate Banana Avocado Cookies

Apologies, these cookies photograph like moose poop, but I promise they are amazing!FullSizeRender.jpg

I have a dangerous sweet tooth, especially for chocolate, and sometimes my go-to tricks to suppress my cravings just don’t work. It’s moments like these that I find it necessary to have two foods on hand, an avocado and a banana, so that I can quickly whip up a guilt-free dessert. I have another two desserts I love, my raw chocolate mousse and ,  that can be made with avocado and banana instead of using ingredients like sugar, milk or butter. The other thing I love about my raw chocolate mousse and these delicious chocolate cookies is that they take less that 15 minutes to make. Can’t beat that.

So these cookies were my first attempt. They came out delicious, but a little thin and gooey. Didn’t bother me one bit, but if you’re a burnt cookie lover, then maybe try baking yours longer than 12 minutes. These would actually pair incredibly well with vanilla ice cream, but since we’re being healthy, maybe make some banana ice cream instead or pour some almond milk over the cookies and eat with berries, or just enjoy the cookies on their own… you decide 🙂

Ingredients

-1 banana

-1 ripe avocado (but not brown on the inside)

-1 egg

-1/2 cup dark cacao powder

-1 scoop peanut butter (optional- I used Earth Balance peanut butter with coconut oil)

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-dark chocolate chips to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Start by placing banana chunks and the avocado flesh in a food processor and mix. Next add the egg, baking soda, peanut butter (optional), and cacao powder. Continue to mix.
  3. Toss in some chocolate chips (also optional). Scoop the mix into balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies are firm.

 

I adapted this recipe from Paleo Leap and made it my own.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Veggie Frittata All Day

I’m pretty confident that even a novice chef can make a frittata. In fact, I recently made frittatas with a group of about 20 kids under the age of 12 and they were able to make some delicious frittatas. Two of my favorite parts about frittatas is that you can get creative with your ingredients and a frittata is so great to have in the fridge for any meal of the day. Pick up some of your favorite vegetables, chop and sautée them, whisk some eggs, add some cheese (optional), put it all together and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Incredibly simple.

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Ingredients 

-1 handful mushrooms

-1 bunch broccolini (you’ll probably only use about 1/4-1/2 of the bunch)

-1/2 zucchini

-3/4 cup peas (defrost, if frozen)

-6 eggs (preferably organic)

-1 tablespoon milk (goat milk often works great for people with dairy sensitivities)

-goat cheese crumbles

-salt, pepper, red pepper chili flakes

-extra virgin olive oil

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Defrost peas. Chop the other vegetables into small pieces.
  3. Sautée vegetables all together in oven-safe pan** with olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add a dash of salt and pepper. **(If you don’t have an oven-safe pan than have an 8×8 baking dish/brownie pan available for later and whatever skillet you have).
  4. Meanwhile, whisk eggs with milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add the goat cheese crumbles (as much as you’d prefer) and stir. Add more salt and pepper and add chili flakes.
  5. If you have an oven-safe pan, add eggs to veggies and cook on the stove top for about 30 seconds to brown slightly, then place in the oven for 10 minutes. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, then transfer the veggies and eggs to the baking dish and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Make sure the vegetables are evenly coated with egg.
  6. After 10 minutes your frittata should be looking ready to eat. If you’d like it brown a little more then leave it in the oven for a few extra minutes.

ENJOY

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Meatless Monday- Rice with Kale and Toasted Cashews

We live such busy lives that we deserve an easy, warm, home cooked meal. So many nights I find myself digging through the pantry looking for an quick dinner.  This rice dish with kale and cashews is great because it’s simple and it offers a little bit of everything- whole grains, protein, healthy fat, and leafy green vegetables. I also love it because it can last a few days, so you only need to cook once and eat three or four times, something that’s ideal for the average busy person.

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Ingredients:

-1 cup uncooked arborio rice

-3 cups water or chicken broth

-a couple handfuls of cashews

-1 bunch laciano kale, stems removed and leaves massaged

-1/2 cup chopped onion

-1 tablespoon organic butterunnamed-2

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. Saute onion in oil and butter in a skillet for three minutes.

2. Add rice and stir for two minutes.

3. Stir in 1 cup broth or water. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Gradually stir in next cup of liquid.  Add kale to rice and mix in.

 

4. When liquid is absorbed, add remaining one cup liquid.  Meanwhile, toast cashews until unnamed-3golden brown, about three minutes.  When the last of the broth/water is absorbed and kale is wilted, add toasted cashews. Serve and enjoy!