Winter Wrap-Up + Snowday Cookies

It’s March and winter won’t let go! Yesterday we had ice and snow and today the snow has stayed because it’s so cold. That is not normal this time of year. It seems all I’ve been doing the last few weeks is trying to stay warm! I’ve been gravitating towards warm, comfort foods and vitamin C packed citrus. (Oh and the snow day prompted me to bake cookies!)

My yoga student brought me some oranges and grapefruits fresh from an organic grove. I’ve been cutting way back on fruit since following my lean meal plan, but I couldn’t not try these. I split the grapefruit in half, sprinkled a small amount of brown sugar on top, and broiled for 3-4 minutes to let the sugar caramelize.

broiled grapefruit

It was so good and juicy! The oranges were like candy and I limited myself to 2 of those.

I’ve also been enjoying healthy bowls of food for simple lunches and dinners. My boyfriend isn’t a fan of this, he likes a knife and fork,  but I love the idea of throwing everything together in a bowl and sprinkling with nutritional yeast. It’s simple and easier to clean up. I start with rice or a grain, then add a protein, and top with cooked veggies. I’ve made this with tempeh and tahini and called it a “Buddha Bowl” 

Buddha Bowl

Lola got a spring haircut a bit too early. She is shaved down to a slick coat and it’s still pretty cold out, but I think she loves it- her energy level is way up and she’s acting like a puppy. She’s been curling up with us on the furniture whenever possible as if she knows how cute she looks.

Peke haircut

The ultimate snowy day activity for me is baking! I have not baked in a long time and yesterday it was so fun to make these chocolate chip/oatmeal/peanut butter cookies.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Recipe:
1/4 stick butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 peanut butter, 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1 teaspoon each of salt, baking soda, baking powder, 2 cups rolled oats, 1 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.

Mix all wet ingredients, add flour, coconut, chips and oats. Drop on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes at 375.

They are SO good and I love that there is no white sugar or white flour in them. Check out my other healthy cookie recipe for Tahini Cookies 

Enjoy!

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Clean Turkey Chili

It’s cold. Everywhere. The holidays are over and normal activity has returned. Here is a super simple recipe to make for a winter’s night meal that will not get you off track of your clean-eating meal plan. Start it early and let it cook while you go to the gym!

Clean Turkey Chili

Brown 1 lb Extra Lean ground turkey and 1/2 white onion in skillet.

In a slow cooker combine:

1 can no salt kidney beans

1 can no salt crushed tomatoes

1 can no salt tomato sauce

Add browned meat/onion mixture

Stir in:

2 Tbs Chili powder

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Garlic Granules

Dash red pepper flakes, black pepper

Cook on high 3 hours. To cook longer (for more gym time) set to low.

Serve topped with plain greek yogurt if desired, or spoon over brown rice or quinoa for more complex carbs.

Holiday Love

Sharing the spirit of Love with all of you this Holiday Season!

Christmas Love

Christmas is over and for me it came and went without a lot of fanfare. It was a quiet day spent with those I love and we enjoyed some delicious home-cooked food and presents, of course. I got a beautiful bell to use for yoga. I am starting a little collection of chimes and bells it seems. I think the Universe is sending me these things as a sign.

chimes and bellls

I met some new friends, saw some old friends and listened to a TON of Christmas music.

I baked and baked and baked and shared the goodies with friends, family, and neighbors.

I bought a tiny tree that I plan on keeping as a houseplant. I know Norfolk pines are fussy and can get dry, but I am hopeful. I would like to keep this guy for awhile.

norfolk pine

And now it’s back to teaching, yoga, writing, coaching, and working to take CreateWholeHealth to the next level. But I never really stop doing any of those things, even when on holiday. To me, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a love, it’s who I am; I’ve never thought of it as a job. I keep thinking “I should get a real job” but then nothing sounds as fun and exciting as what I’m doing right now- so here I go!

It’s ok to not always try so hard to be somewhere that we aren’t. Sometimes where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be……

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Love

~Carole-Ann~

Holiday Baking Love

This year I decided to bake some homemade Christmas gifts for friends. As usual, most everyone expects something super healthy from me: “Is it gluten free?” “Is it vegan?” “Are these whole wheat?” And the answer to all of those was “Nope”. I wanted to go old school and make holiday classics with simple, real ingredients like sweet cream butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and spices. I wanted to bake everything with love and intention and hand deliver them. To me, those things are just as healthy as omitting certain ingredients from our diets.

I believe that how we FEEL about the food we eat and how we FEEL while we are eating it is an important component in how we digest and react to certain ingredients. I’m not saying some people don’t have allergies or sensitivities to different foods, but something causes those reactions and our state of mind and attitude contribute greatly to our overall health on all levels, including digestion.

sweet cream butter

The first 2 of these recipes is from theKitchen, an awesome blog I subscribe to that always has tons of interesting recipes and cute interior design stuff too.

Snickerdoodles were my first batch. I love the simple sugar and cinnamon flavor of these and I know it’s an all-time favorite of a lot of people. Plus the name is fun!

snickerdoodles

Then I made Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars which I chose because the recipe was found in an old (1950’s?) cookbook from my town. I felt like a true junior league-er as I pressed out the crust and stirred away at the warm caramel filling. Spreading the warm chocolatey topping on was sort of meditative too.

shortbread toffee bars

These hardened up just enough to stay together and be firm. Half candy, half cookie.

shortbread toffee bar

My next recipe was Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Minimalist Baker which features really healthy recipes. This recipe was gluten free so I went to the original source which was none other than Martha Stewart.

Mmmmmmm these are exactly what I envisioned- warm, chewy, soft, and buttery.

chocolate chip cookies

What made these extra good was the vanilla I used that I got in Mexico in the spring. It was SO strong and sweet that it gave them a different flavor. And I used dark chocolate chips rather than milk chocolate.

christmas baked goods

Packed and ready to be delivered with love to the lucky recipients! Please check out both of these wonderful blogs- they are definitely worth subscribing to if you love to cook.

PS Yes, of course I sampled. But now I am ready to get these out of my house they are SO good!

10 Things to Love about the Season

1. The Winter Solstice is a time of returning light. This means after Dec 22nd the days will once again start getting longer and daylight will begin to increase.

winter solstice

2. Things slow down….or they should this time of year. We have extra time off work to celebrate the season and rest. Use this time to slow it down and draw inward as nature does, rather than inviting more chaos into your precious time. Read here on how to not self-sabotage during the holidays.

snowy meditation

3. Hearty, Warming Foods. Slow roasted root vegetables, thick stews, hot soups, and savory meats are all winter foods that give us grounding energy and stability. Enjoy the warmth of these.

homemade chicken noodle soup

4. Reconnecting with old friends. Christmas gatherings, parties, or cards allow us to catch up with friends and family we may not see other times of the year. Welcome these connections into your life.

5.  Contemplation. This is when we reflect over the last year and note the areas of our life that were gratifying, fulfilling, and productive. It is also when we can resolve to leave behind that which no longer serves us as we move into the new year.

peaceful wish

6.  A New Fresh Start. Everyone feels recharged and ready to make positive changes January 1st. Setting goals and creating vision boards is exciting this time of year when the future is truly a blank page. Be creative!

new year7. The Christmas Spirit. Whatever Christmas means to you, there is no doubt that a lot people are happy and joyful right now and that can be contagious. Absorb that good energy while it’s here!

8. Curling up and staying warm. What’s more comforting that thick socks, a warm blanket, hot tea, and a fire? This time of the year just begs for us to feel cozy, soft, warm, and nurtured.

sleepy kitty

9. Hot tea. OK, I drink hot tea all year long but it’s especially good this time of year. Warming from the inside out and enjoying spicy flavors like chai and cinnamon is just better in the winter.

hot tea

10. Dark, leafy, winter greens! Full of phytonutrients and calcium, dark leafy greens grow best in colder weather.

kale

*11. Bonus reason: My birthday is right around the corner! And that means cake.

*12. Extra bonus reason: The pretty falling snow that WordPress provides!

Mediterranean Wheat Salad

This is the first time I’ve made anything with bulgur wheat since I’ve been experimenting with different grains. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m happy to say I’m a big fan of the nutty, crunchy texture and the simple preparation. Traditional tabouli is made with these grains and I wanted to do something like that but not quite that.

I created my own version of this popular greek and mediterranean dish using mostly the same ingredients

tabouli

Soak bulgur wheat in boiling water- 1 part grain 2 parts water. I used one cup of wheat, 2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit until all water is absorbed. About 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop up fresh tomato – I used some cute heirloom green and dark red guys

herbs and tomatoes

1/3 white onion

3 cloves garlic

And a good bunch of fresh herbs. I picked what looked fresh and green on my patio: Parsley, Orange-Mint, and Basil. Mince to make about 1/2 cup or more to taste.

chopped fresh herbs

Mix together with grains after they have completely absorbed the water and cooled.

Add 1/3 cup olive oil and the juice of 1 fresh lemon

fresh lemon

Toss in 1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles

bulgur wheat salad

Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir well and refrigerate before serving

mediterranean salad

Such a cool, refreshing, light salad for summer. I love the combination of the different herbs. I thought about adding chopped nuts or raisins but had to stop myself from over-doing the simplicity of this salad. There’s always a next time……

I am going to use bulgur wheat a lot more. I get tired of brown rice and oatmeal and am enjoying trying different whole grains like buckwheat, oat groats, black rice, wild rice,  and now wheat bulgur. Next stop: Amaranth!

Be sure to visit my new website CreateWholeHealth for more information on healthy eating and lifestyle!

Coconut Thai Legumes

After weeks of eating meat and upping my protein intake every chance I can I’ve hit a wall. I’m craving my simple vegetarian meals that I ate all throughout the winter. The stews, soups, and slow-cooked meals that kept me warm. It’s only August so there is still a lot of hot weather left but today I wanted warmth. I stopped at my favorite natural foods store for some hot soup for lunch and it inspired me to want to cook tonight.

I made this very simple but hearty bean stew. I kept throwing in different ingredients and flavors until it turned into something sort of thai flavored. It’s also high in protein so I don’t have to worry about getting off track with that. It’s just nice to have a break from chicken breasts every so often.

Lentils and Chickpeas go so well together and luckily I had both!

coconut lentils

1 cup dried red lentils

3 cloves garlic

1/3 white onion

1 can coconut milk

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can tomato stewed sliced tomatoes

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup broccoli florets (I used frozen)

2 tablespoons fresh basil

1 tspn red pepper flakes

1 tblspn curry

½ teaspoon turmeric

salt/pepper

Saute chopped onion and garlic in coconut oil Add dry lentils and 1 cup water. Cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add tomatoes with juice, coconut milk and spices. Cover and let simmer on low 5-8 minutes Add fresh spinach, broccoli and basil. Stir well, turn off heat, cover and let steam 10 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or basmati rice

~www.createwholehealth.com~

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