Cabbage Sprouts or Jimmy Choos?

You know how some women go shoe shopping when they really don’t need any shoes but they think they might find something cute and irresistible? That’s how I am at Farmer’s Markets.

I didn’t need anything today but we ended up there after Sunday coffee. I kept thinking of my fridge packed with kale, watermelon, sweet potatoes, eggs, apples, carrots, celery, beets, etc and just knew NOTHING else would fit. I was ONLY going to look.

But then I saw these adorable little cabbage sprouts from a local farm. I have never prepared them before, in fact, I had never seen them before. I scooped up a half dozen and delighted in their beautiful, rose-like design.

Cabbage Sprouts

I treated them as I would any cabbage. I chopped them up after removing the very tip of the stalk. After sauteing a green onion in olive oil, I added the cabbage sprouts and let cook over medium heat.

chopped cabbage and onion

I also found some pretty yellow zucchini- and like a good pair of strappy sandals, I couldn’t pass them by.  They are sweeter and milder than yellow squash. I sliced them and added to the cooked cabbage/onion mixture.

yellow squash

I used my TJ’s lemon pepper grinder that I haven’t touched since winter and it decided to break over the skillet so a bunch of peppercorns got into the veggies.  I figured adding more vegetables might help balance the extra spice so I added one yellow summer squash.

summer squash

Then I got creative and threw in some baby spinach and it began to take on an italian twist.

steamed spinach

I covered and let it all simmer a few minutes until the spinach was soft. I found some really good parmesan cheese in the freezer that I had gotten last year at Lazzoroli’s, a little local italian market and shredded that on top.  Can you believe I stood over the hot skillet picking out visible peppercorns with my freshly polished nails?? It was actually quite meditative.

I snipped some fresh basil from my garden and added before serving.

The combination of the sweet squash, firm cabbage, savory basil, and green spinach topped with the tangy parm was PERFECTO!!

Spinach Squash Cabbage Stirfry

Muffin Disaster, Storm-Chasing, and Breakfast Love…..

It’s been an interesting food week for me as I seem to have gone from craving weird things to having little appetite. Not sure what’s going on but I think it’s the heat, the summer solstice arriving, the full moon, etc. I am in the mood all the time for breakfast foods! Eggs, oatmeal, fruit, smoothies, juice, toast and peanut butter, pancakes, waffles…I think in my mind breakfast foods are comforting and represent a fresh start to the day.

I especially love Sunday breakfasts. It’s  my one day of the week to stay in my pj’s, drink tea slowly, and listen to music while I leisurely cook something fancy.

belgian waffle

My favorite belgian waffles with fruit, greek yogurt and real maple syrup

I did discover this sweet little evening treat: Cottage cheese topped with some maple syrup sweetened berries, cinnamon, banana, and sunflower seeds. Good protein source and not too heavy for me before bed.

cottage cheese with fruit

We were total storm-chasers on Saturday night at Shelby Bottoms Park. There was an amazing summer thunderstorm moving in just as the sun was setting and we watched the whole thing evolve.

Sun and storm clouds shelby bottoms

Luckily we left the park RIGHT before the huge downpour, although I would not have minded getting caught in a warm summer rain. Bare-feet, piggyback ride, and laying on our backs watching the clouds………perfect Saturday night date.

Perfect sunlight before the downpour

Perfect sunlight before the downpour

I made my favorite dinner this week; the Buddha Bowl. Nothing comforts me like brown rice topped with kale, sauteed  tempeh and rich tahini sauce topped with raw cashews. I added some zucchini that I didn’t use in the muffins. 

kale, tempeh and tahini

My first fresh summer fruit bowl!!! Don’t you love this retro bowl from the 60’s?

fresh fruit bowl

Confession: My zucchini walnut muffins did not turn out good at all! I got the recipe from Viking cooking school but I modified it too much. I used coconut oil instead of canola and brown rice flour instead of whole wheat. And I also added extra zucchini. They were ok right out of the oven but the next day they were a wet, mushy, flavor-less, sticky mess!! My poor BF tried one before I figured out they had basically fermented overnight.

zucchini walnut muffins

 Live and learn…..I’ve said it before- I’m not great at following recipes, I’m better at making them up!

Chilled Quinoa Pesto Salad

This might be my new favorite thing to eat this summer!  I stumbled onto it accidentally, or actually because of a rabbit….

I had purchased a beautiful basil plant and put it on my back patio with great excitement at watching it grow and thrive during the long summer months. 2 days later I awoke to an empty pot with no evidence of any plant other than all of the leaves being left on the ground around it. A rabbit had come and eaten all of the stems and conveniently left me with the soft fresh leaves. What else could I do but make pesto?

I stuffed the washed leaves into my food processor-

fresh basil pesto

I added olive oil,

basil and olive oil

walnuts, and fresh garlic cloves and blended on high speed. Done!

walnut basil pesto

Nothing tastes as good as fresh homemade pesto! It can be stored in an airtight container or frozen in ice cube trays for later use.

homemade pesto

For the salad I cooked 2 cups of quinoa after rinsing the grains thoroughly. I added a scoop of fresh pesto and halved cherry tomatoes that had been marinating in balsamic vinegar and chopped basil (Thanks again bunny!)

quinoa pesto salad

After blending well,  I added feta cheese and raw cashews for more protein. I snipped some fresh parsley and threw that in too-

quinoa pesto salad

Let chill in refrigerator for more flavor- stir well before serving and garnish with fresh basil!

pesto quinoa salad

I have been eating this straight out of the fridge with a spoon! It’s so refreshing! I did end up buying a new basil plant and placing it high up on a table out of the way of any visitors who think my herb garden is a salad bar!

container herb garden

Snack Like a Boss

I am big fan of snacking. I sometimes create whole meals out of snacks. Truthfully, I think snack is a useless word. If you’re going to eat; eat, right? The food industry has created an entire market around “snack items” which I think is total bull****

The highly processed, sugar-laden, refined carbohydrates that they stuff in a colorful can or a bag and call “snack packs” are about as filling and nutritious as a foam peanut.  And yes, that includes packaged granola bars which are basically candy bars with fancy names.  I feel strongly about being tricked into buying small-sized items out of convenience that majorly lack nutritional value. ESPECIALLY because most snack items are marketed directly at kids.

Take charge and make up your own snacking rules! Slice and chop up some fresh fruit and veggies and store in the fridge for the week. Make them easily accessible by storing in clear containers in the front of the shelves. Use hummus, pesto, yogurt and nut butters as kid friendly dips. Try food items you wouldn’t normally consider snacks; 1/2 cold baked sweet potato, green smoothies, overnight oats, a pita stuffed with hummus and sprouts.

I made a meal out of this rice cake snack the other night by topping with hummus, cottage cheese, sliced avocado and a sprinkling of seasonings.

high protein rice cake snack

I know what you’re saying “Carole-Ann, rice cakes taste like foam peanuts,  they have no flavor, they are awful, blah blah blah” I hear your complaints, but does THIS look awful? Naturally salty, crunchy peanut butter topped with golden raw local honey oozing over the sides?

sweet treat honey and PB

Maybe you have to use your imagination and work a little harder to make rice cakes interesting but they are a great canvas for snack art.

I also love using whole wheat tortillas for quick small meals. I cut into half and fold into quarters. I packed this one to take to work with peanut butter, thinly sliced apples, and cinnamon.

peanut butter apple sandwich

It folds up neatly and is easy to eat without being too messy, unlike the honey dripped rice cake.

peanut butter apple wrap

Be creative- add raisins, nuts, sunflower seeds, sliced bananas, almond butter, etc.

My other favorite snack is baby carrots- either plain or dipped in hummus or pesto. My dogs love them too!

homemade pesto

Make your own “instant oatmeal” by packing whole oats, cinnamon, nuts, raisins, etc. into individual containers and take one out when you need some healthy carbs.  Here is a jar of overnight oats I prepared for a client. All she had to do was add almond milk and honey and refrigerate overnight.

overnight oatsEat when you’re hungry, forget about the correct “meal time” and feed your body what it needs. Don’t let yourself get famished between meals in the name of “no snacking”- that is counter productive to maintaining a healthy metabolism. But for the love of real food- please stay away from vending machines. Save your money and carry your own!

Farmer’s Market, Raw Food and More

I have had an amazing couple of weeks as far as food is concerned. The farmer’s markets are on FULL SPEED with greens, berries, cheeses, beets, onions, and lots of cool food trucks. I am volunteering at 12South Farmer’s Market which is a producer only market and have met all of the farmers there. The care, love, and concern that goes into their fruits and vegetables is so different than buying produce at the grocery. You can FEEL the love that has gone into the plants!

12south farmers market

12south Farmers market

12south farmers market

I got my first summer squash this week and I am certain there will be much more to come. I am going to saute it with some coconut oil and fresh basil.

summer squash

I met a wonderful chef, Rebecca Smith, at the market who specializes in raw food, something that fascinates me and I have never tried to prepare. She had us over for an amazing dinner the other night and it was mind-blowing what she made without cooking! A root salad with fresh mint, strawberry sorbet, raw cacao chia seed pudding, nut cheeses, spreads, flax seed crackers, and a pineapple-jalapeno gazpacho. Check out her blog here! We are working on a future workshop together  combining holistic nutrition information, healing with raw food, samples, recipes and more.

raw salad

pineapple jalapeno gazpacho

strawberry sorbet

Plus these delicious coconut-lime-macadamia cookies. I had to take home a few extra!

raw macadamia cookies

My summer goal is to learn some raw food recipes, especially now that I have a new food processor.

This summer is off to an amazing start!!!

My Experience with Anorexia (or lack thereof)

becoming healthy

When I was 16 years old I stopped eating. Not in a big, dramatic sort of way, but in a subtle, nonchalant manner. I was more interested in Marlboro Lights, Mountain Dew (both which my dad willingly provided) and writing poetry.  I wore berets and heels to school and found no pleasure or purpose with the school lunch crowd. I skipped class A LOT.

After complaining of stomach pains (most likely from 6 mountain dews a day), my parents took me to a small town family doctor who, in a thick german accent, declared me “Anorexic”. I had heard the word mostly associated with Karen Carpenter’s death but wasn’t exactly sure what it meant other than intentionally starving one’s self. I did not feel anorexic, nor did I look anorexic. I was skinny, but I was 16 and naturally very petite.

Kids in school eventually began to catch on and showed concern. I thought it was kind, but unnecessary. A part of me liked the attention because it felt like it was meant for someone else and I was just standing in their place. I soaked it up when they patted my arm and said “I think you look fine”. One gym teacher said “Well, you can never be too rich or too thin, right?” I didn’t get it. My parents and I never discussed the situation. This all lasted about 6 months until I became tired of being known as the skinny girl, or as one rude boy put it “A bag of bones with no boobs”….

I started going to a gym near my house and became intrigued with the healthy, energetic people who worked there. My boyfriend at the time was a weight lifter and he took me through routines in his basement with heavy weights. I felt the power of having control over my body and my health. We went to nutrition shops and looked at protein powders and he explained the importance of feeding my muscles.

My whole life changed in that year. I forgot about that Dr’s misdiagnosis and I went from being a skinny teenager with no self-confidence, to a girl who wanted to see how much I could do and accomplish with my body and my mind when they worked together. I still smoked, but I also ate real food with my 195 lb boyfriend and tried to keep up with him. I continued with weight training throughout college and even wanted to compete in bodybuilding. My mom hated to see my thick legs and arms when I came home to visit,  but I was ecstatic with my new muscular body!

I still am in awe of the feeling that I get from treating my body well. How it responds to healthy food, clean air, rest, and physical movement. I am thankful for that time in my life, it made me self-aware and it connected me with my own body more than I ever could’ve done at such a young age.

Sometimes our worst times are our best teachers.

Patriotic Parfaits

I know I know, why didn’t I wait until the 4th of July for this post? Well, strawberries are in season right now and isn’t there a flag day coming up? So it’s still timely! I am in love with my new mason jars that my BF bought me. A whole case of these replaced my old drinking glasses that were caked with lipgloss. Gross.

I started with freshly-picked, juicy, local strawberries from the 12South Farmer’s Market

strawberries in mason jar

Add a layer of plain greek yogurt, it’s like thick whipped cream but not too sweet!

strawberries and yogurt

Spread homemade granola with almonds on top of yogurt-

yogurt parfait with granola

Top that with fresh organic blueberries. I got mine on sale at Whole Foods.

berry yogurt parfait

Another spoonful of yogurt-

yogurt berry parfait

And top with more berries and chopped walnuts.

Nuts, Berries, Yogurt parfait

I sprinkled mine with cinnamon and drizzled with local raw honey before serving with a long handled spoon.

I told myself I would just have a few bites because it was so much. That didn’t really come true.

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