Spaghetti Bolognese

There’s something so comforting about Italian food, especially the way it brings family and friends together. Whenever I cook Italian, I try to channel an old Italian grandmother by using this age-old secret ingredient: love. By putting all my love into the food and preparation, a good meal can become a great meal.

Bolognese is a staple of Italian cooking, though I actually had zero experience making a bolognese sauce before this.  I’m all about easy always, so this recipe is right up my alley. Use the freshest ingredients whenever possible (just another way you can add love to the meal), including fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones if they’re in season. To make this recipe even easier, I recommend having a blender on hand to help with the sauce.

Ingredients

-5 large tomatoes, medium or large diced depending on your blender (my favorite, if you have access to them, are early girl organic dry-farmed tomatoes)

-6 basil leaves

-3 whole garlic cloves, plus 2 chopped garlic cloves (keep separate)

-1lb ground beef (grass-fed, organic)

-1 yellow onion, small diced

-1 lb shitake mushrooms, chopped

-2 tablespoons tomato paste

-extra virgin olive oil

-salt, pepper

-crushed red pepper flakes

-spaghetti

 

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add these ingredients in the following order: 1/2 cup olive oil, chopped tomatoes, 3 whole garlic cloves, basil, salt, and pepper.  Blend until it’s a sauce.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil or enough to almost cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the chopped meat, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and chopped garlic. Break apart the meat using a wooden spatula or another cooking utensil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until meat is browned and vegetables are soft. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste.  Stir in the tomato paste until it becomes dark in color, then pour the sauce from the blender. Let the sauce simmer for some time (could be as long as an hour) to get a really flavorful sauce.
  3. Heat a large pot of salted water and bring to a rapid boil.  Add spaghetti and cook for about 10 minutes until al dente.  Reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Strain the spaghetti and return to the pot.
  4. Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer for a few minutes.  Add the sauce to the pot of spaghetti and stir in to combine.  Plate and garnish with basil leaves. Enjoy!

 

*Some notes about cooking pasta:

– Never add oil to the pot of water or you’ll get sticky pasta.  Add oil after the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking together.

-Always salt the water.

-Reserve pasta water and add to your sauce to allow the sauce to easily mix and stick to the pasta.

Nourishing Rice Bowl

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Grains, protein, and veggies all in one dish.  Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients

-1 cup sushi rice, cooked

-1 piece salmon

-2 eggs, scrambled

-1/2 cucumber

-1 head of broccoli

-green onions with white bottoms and green tops sliced thinly and separated

-sesame seeds

-2 tablespoons tamari

-1 tablespoon honey

-1 tablespoon olive oil, coconut oil, or toasted sesame oil

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-salt, pepper

*Note- I typically eyeball ingredients, so measurements in instructions might be a little off.

 

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees F.  Place salmon in a zip lock bag.  In a small bowl, combine and whisk together tamari, honey, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce into the bag with the fish and let the salmon marinate for at 10 minutes.  Save any remaining sauce.
  2. Toss broccoli and the whites of the onions in a large bowl with remaining sauce.  Add salt and pepper, plus some extra olive oil if necessary so that broccoli is evenly coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Place the salmon and vegetables on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
  4. Slice cucumbers.  In a small skillet, scramble the eggs.  Remove eggs and put in a serving dish along with some sushi rice and the cucumbers.  Add the salmon and broccoli when they’ve finished cooking.  Sprinkle with the green tops of the onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Delicata Squash and Black Bean Tacos

These tacos are so delicious I nearly forgot to snap a photo for this post because I was too focused on eating them. Rarely do I have vegetarian tacos, but seeing how my New Years resolution was to do more meatless meals, I decided to try something different with one of my favorite winter vegetables, delicata squash. I roasted the squash and paired it with black beans, pickled shallots, cilantro, lettuce, pomegranate seeds and sour cream with spices. The recipe can be made vegan simply by removing the sour cream.  So delicious and quick to make!

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Ingredients

(enough for 1 really hungry person, or 2 moderately hungry people)

-1 delicata squash

-1 small head of lettuce, chopped

-cilantro, chopped

-pomegranate seeds

-1 shallot, sliced

-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

-organic corn tortillas

-sour cream

-cumin

-chili powder

-garlic powder

-chipotle seasoning

-1/4 apple cider vinegar

-1 tbs sugar

-extra virgin olive oil

-salt

-pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Peel squash and cut it into 1/4 inch rounds.  Remove seeds, cut rounds into halves and place in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Place on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine shallots with vinegar, sugar, and salt for a quick pickling.  Stir every few minutes while the squash cooks.  In a separate small bowl, combine sour cream with chipotle seasoning.
  3. Heat drained black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir every few minutes until hot.
  4. Heat tortillas on the stovetop by placing them directly on each open burner and toasting over medium heat.  Flip as each side starts to brown.
  5. When squash is done, put tacos together by filling them with sour cream, squash, drained shallots, beans, lettuce, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds.

 

Let me know what you think!

 

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

You can roll your eyes at the bone broth trend all you want, but the truth is, there’s a reason bone broth restaurants are popping up in major cities and making headlines. While I enjoy bone broth, it feels silly paying $5 for a cup of straight broth, and truth told, with this recipe I can make it better myself at home (and it’s not hard!).

Why drink bone broth?

Bone broth is essentially an anti-aging tonic.  It’s full of pure nutrients and minerals straight from the bones of animals, like chickens, beef, pork, turkey, or lamb, simmered for hours with water and roasted vegetables.  Unlike regular broth which is made with just the bones of animals, bone broth usually calls for some meat on the bones during the cooking process. Grandmothers have been making it for ages, swearing that its healing properties aid the body’s immune system and gut, alleviate inflammation and joint pain, and make skin soft and hair shiny. It makes perfect sense considering bone broth is rich in many important nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, protein, collagen, gelatin and glycine.  Drink it regularly to aid your body in good health!

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Making bone broth is easy enough. It’s recommended to use a mix of bones with and without meat, and choose bones from organically-raised animals only.  You don’t want to extract any potentially harmful additives that could’ve been given to the animals. Same goes for the rest of the ingredients in the broth.  This recipe is for beef bone broth, but you’d essentially do the same thing with this recipe as you’d do if you were using bones from a different animal.  If you so desire, which I highly recommend, you can add your favorite herbs or spices to the broth too to make it more flavorful.

Ingredients

-4 bones beef bones (aim for a mix of bones, some with a little meat and some without)

-1 yellow onion, quartered

-1 leek, chopped

-2 medium carrots, chopped

-2 celery stocks, chopped

-4 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise

-2 bay leaves

-2 tablespoons peppercorns

-1 tablespoon pink Himalayan sea salt or regular sea salt

-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

 

Instructions

1- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place chopped onion, leek, carrots, celery and garlic into a roasting pan along with the beef bones.  Roast for 15 minutes, take out and toss the veggies, then roast for another 15 minutes. Turn oven off.

2- Fill a large stockpot with about 12 cups of water (preferably filtered) and add the bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, apple cider vinegar, and roasted vegetables and bones with any juices and scrapings from the roasting pan.  Add more water to the pot if the water doesn’t cover the bones all the way. Optional- add herbs or spices.  I added a mix of Italian herbs.

3- Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, and cook with the lid ajar slightly. Simmer for at least eight hours and up to 24 hours, occasionally skimming the foam and excess fat from the top with a spoon or lettuce leaf, if you have one. The longer you let the broth sit, the more flavorful it will be.

*Note- do not leave the house with the stove on or leave it on overnight while you sleep. You can always continue to simmer it the next day.

4- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.  Discard the bones and vegetables by straining the broth with a fine-mesh sieve into a large container. I then transferred the broth to a glass mason jar and made sure to skim the rest of the fat off the top.

Store the broth in the fridge for up to five days and up to six months in the freezer.

Cheers to good health!

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Tips and Recommended Products For Glowing Skin

Skin is the body’s largest organ, so your skin can say a lot about your health and what’s going on inside your body. There are many reasons for unhealthy skin, but some of the most obvious are hormones, certain beauty or cleaning products with harmful ingredients, toxins in the environment, or toxins from poor diet or non-purified water. With so many ways for the body to absorb toxins, it’s critical to detox often and take measures to avoid these toxins as much as possible.

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Blemishes on the face can tell you what exactly may be going on inside the body. For a guide to face mapping, click here.

I’ve had a few requests recently regarding my beauty regimen, so I’m going to share with you a few tips for glowing skin, along with some of my most recommended beauty products.

I try to always start my mornings off with my daily green smoothie, and I try to eat organic as much as possible. If you cannot afford to eat organic all the time, check out this list for the produce that’s most important to buy organic. It’s called, “The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15,” aka, 12 foods recommended to buy organic and 15 foods that aren’t as necessary to buy organic.

Drinking lots of water is super important for your health and for beautiful skin, so stay hydrated throughout the day and drink warm water with lemon for an extra detox kick. Hydration and a healthy diet do a lot for your skin, but here are some products to enhance your skin’s glow:

Collagen Powder– To start my mornings off right, I drink my daily green smoothie, which contains lots of green, leafy vegetables, fruit, and purified water. I also like to add a tablespoon of collagen protein powder. I prefer collagen powder to other protein powders because collagen doesn’t have a taste and does wonders for the skin, among other benefits. I’ve noticed since I started ingesting collagen powder that my nails have been healthier and my skin looks younger (not to toot my own horn). Bone broth is another recommended way to get collagen.

Collagen Protein Powder

Collagen Protein- $39 on Dr. Axe

 

COOLA Sunscreen- Whether or not the sun is out, I wear sunscreen on my face every day to protect against skin cancer and early signs of aging. I recently picked up this organic, “antioxidant-infused” sunscreen, and I absolutely love it. It uses all natural ingredients like organic acai oil, omega-3,6,9, vitamins B, C, and E. When I wear it, it’s so light that I don’t feel like I’m wearing sunscreen. Although I don’t smell the rose essence as much as I’d like, this tinted version gives my face a nice, even color so that I don’t necessarily have to use a foundation or powder on top.

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Coola Sunscreen- $36 Amazon

Thayers Alcohol-Free Toner– I love this toner. Not only does it smell delicious like rose petals, but it also moisturizes as it tones and makes my face feel especially clean. I only recommend using it at night after washing your face, rather than in the morning, which may cause skin to get oily during the day. This product may be too much if you’re someone with oily skin.

Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ~ 12 oz

Thayers Alcohol-Free Toner with Rose Petal, Aloe and Witch Hazel- $11 on Amazon 

Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum– Want to know why babies have such plump, dewy skin? Because when babies are born, they are born with high levels of hyaluronic acid, which naturally deplete over time (source: You Beauty). Although this product might sound harsh with the word “acid” in it, it’s quite the opposite. It’s very light on, but has deep hydrating effects. I use this serum in the morning after I’ve washed my face, and in the evenings after my toner.

Best-Selling Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Skin- 100% Pure-Highest Quality, Anti-Aging Serum-- Intense Hydration + Moisturizer, Non-greasy, Paraben Free, Vegan-Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum (Pro Formula)

Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum- $15 on Amazon

doTerra Fractionated Coconut Oil– Most coconut oils on the market work just fine for beauty purposes, but I prefer this liquid coconut oil right here. Coconut oil in liquid form is just easier to apply and spread, but I also like this particular brand because it doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. Coconut oil has at least 100 uses, but for beauty, I like to use it as a makeup remover or moisturizer. It takes makeup off easily, moisturizes the skin, and also helps your eyelashes grow! Check out what else you can do with coconut oil here.

doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil 3.8oz

doTerra Fractionated Coconut Oil- $13 on Amazon

FYI- I have not been paid to advertise any of these products. I only promote products I use and that I would recommend to a close friend or family member. I also have normal/dry skin, so these products may not have the exact same results for everyone.

 

Want to learn more about beautifying your skin naturally? Reach out here to speak with me, a certified health and wellness coach.

 

 

 

 

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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Some of My Favorite Things…

I moved recently.  Anyone that has ever moved before knows just how much it can throw off your routine until you settle into the new place, and this move was no exception for me. I didn’t cook at all for the last couple weeks and felt the toll the exhaustion and stress of moving was taking on my body. I noticed a big difference in my skin too. I was recently introduced to a beauty line, Beauty Counter, that has been so helpful since my skin breakouts recently that I had to share with you all!

I’d like to note that any product you see me market on my blog is a product that I truly love, because I only promote things that I think will benefit others like they benefited me. These particular products by Beauty Counter are especially great because they are made with all natural products and essential oils. The line was created by a mother who just wanted to find safer products to use on both herself and her family.

If you didn’t already know, there are about 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products — only 10% of those chemicals have safety data. The United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients. The U.S?… Only 11. Women absorb almost 5 pounds of toxic chemicals a year by using beauty products and 60% of what we put on our body goes right into our bloodstream. Our skin is our largest organ- we must take care of it!

Here’s one reason why I love Beauty Counter… they believe that our health should NEVER be compromised for beauty.
AMEN to that!
My favorite products so far have been their Soothing Face Wash, Radiance Firming Complex, and the Uplifting Day Cream. I love the way they all smell too!

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Guilt-Free, Raw Chocolate Mousse in Five Minutes

This chocolate mousse recipe is a quick, five minute dessert that’ll satisfy your cravings without making you feel guilty.  Instead of loading up on egg yolks, cream, and sugar, this recipe is raw and substitutes those less healthy ingredients for healthy avocado and banana.

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Ingredients:

-1 banana

-1 avocado

-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

-3 tablespoons organic coconut oil

-2 tablespoons honey or stevia (optional)

-1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

1. Place ingredients in a food processor and process until very smooth (there’s no over processing with this dish!)

2. Spoon mousse into serving bowls and refrigerate for an hour before serving.  Top with fresh berries if you like!

Reasons You Should Cook With This Cancer-Fighting, Pain-Reducing, Immune-Boosting Spice (plus recipe!)

Spices should not be neglected from your cooking, because most spices have health benefits and add amazing flavor or color to foods.  Today I want to talk about the brightly-colored spice, turmeric, which you may have tried before, especially if you’ve eaten Indian food.  Turmeric is argued to be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence, and speaking from personal experience, holy shit! This stuff works.

I started taking turmeric, or curcumin (the main active ingredient in turmeric), in supplement form last year to treat chronic wrist and hip pain. Curcumin fights inflammation and contains lots of cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Within days my pain dissipated.  Here are some other uses for the spice:

Arthritis, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, gall bladder disorders, headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual cramps, depression, Alzheimer’s, water retention, worms, kidney problems, and cancer.

Sound too good to be true?  There’s a reason this spice has been used to treat illnesses for centuries. It works! Cooking with turmeric alone may not be a high enough dosage to make a huge impact with helping any of the above issues, but you can also find turmeric in supplement form to get the full effects.

Turmeric goes very well with black pepper, especially because the black pepper enhances the effects of the curcumin. Turmeric also goes great with other spices like cumin, coriander, curry, etc.

Crispy Turmeric Tofu Tacos

Ingredients:

For the tofu…

-extra firm tofu, drained, cut into cubes (to drain, place tofu block in a colander over a bowl and place a plate with something heavy on top of the tofu for anywhere from 20 minutes- hour).

-spices: turmeric, black pepper, salt, cumin, any additional favorite spices  *turmeric stains bright yellow, so clean immediately if you spill!*

-EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Extras for the tacos…

-favorite beans, soaked, rinsed and cooked

-taco shells

-avocado

-raw red onion, diced

-fresh corn off the cob

-optional: cheese

Instructions:

1. Turn over to 400 degrees F.

2. After tofu has drained and is cut into cubes, toss the cubes in a bowl. Add spices (I eyeball it out, but probably about 1/4 teaspoon of each spice) and oil and coat evenly.

3. Place tofu on lined baking sheet.  Put in the oven on the bottom rack for five minutes. Flip tofu and place in oven for another five minutes, then repeat once more for a total of 15 minute cook time.

4. Put tacos together- cooked beans, raw onion, corn, tofu, and avocado on shells. Serve up and enjoy!

If you have leftover tofu, I like to do another easy dish of sushi rice, veggies, and tofu.

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For the original crispy tofu recipe, sans tacos, click here.

Other Sources: Whole Foods