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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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!

Go Green Burrito

What more can I say about the benefits of eating greens?? The most nutrient dense veggies are dark leafy greens like Kale, Spinach, Collards, Chard, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc  and provide our bodies with more calcium than MILK! Why not get more bang for your buck in the produce aisle and go straight for these instead of the white potatoes? Not that I have anything against white potatoes except that they are high on the glycemic index and don’t contain nearly as many micro-nutrients as greens. OK I do have something against them….

I throw greens into as many different meals as possible: Soups, salads, juice, smoothies, eggs, sandwiches, and tacos or burritos.

Start “sneaking” them into everything you cook! Spinach is the most mild in flavor and will not be noticed in most dishes even by picky eaters. Frozen kale is a great addition to smoothies too!

Last night I made this vegetarian burrito and it totally filled me up!  I started with cooked black beans , diced up a small baked sweet potato and combined them in a bowl.

slow cooked black beans

baked sweet potato

I added green salsa made with tomatillos for a tart spicy flavor. I love this brand that is found in most grocery stores. It’s not too salty and tastes pretty fresh for a jar.

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I layered the bean/sweet potato mixture onto a whole wheat flour tortilla. The TJ’s handmade ones are pretty good!

black bean sweet potato burrito

Then I topped with fresh baby spinach leaves and sliced avocado for some healthy fats.

spinach, avocado burrito

Before rolling up I added plain greek yogurt and some fresh cilantro.

fresh cilantro on burritoHealthy eating does not have to be fancy or complicated. With a few good quality ingredients and plenty of fresh produce on hand you can let your intuition guide you in the kitchen. Read about my accidental Greek Burrito here

Rebellious Chicken Roll-ups

I was taught this recipe over the phone last week and decided to try it right away. I slightly adjusted some of the prep work as you will soon read. It’s relatively low in fat and a great source of protein with chicken, spinach and goat cheese.  I will admit, it’s a bit more preparation than I normally go through for a meal, but I’m sure for most cooks it is nothing. I am just exceptionally lazy in the kitchen. The end result was worth all the extra prep.

Start with thinly sliced chicken breast:

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Here’s a big step I skipped due to afore mentioned kitchen laziness- I didn’t pound them out extra thin with a meat mallet like I was told. It was a risky move I know, but my rebellious streak spoke up like it always does when following someone else’s recipe: I don’t even own a meat mallet and I don’t really want one. How often would I actually use a meat mallet? What exactly is a meat mallet? Who needs to pound meat more than…ever?? But sometimes being a rebel in the kitchen doesn’t serve one well…..

Lightly saute fresh spinach and garlic in olive oil until limp. Set aside to cool.

I chopped up some oregano from the garden

I chopped up some oregano from the garden

Allow goat cheese to soften. Chop sun-dried tomatoes or buy them pre-cut like I did (thank god for pre-cut sun-dried tomatoes).  Spread an even layer of goat cheese on chicken breast, top with sun-dried tomato, spinach and oregano. Starting at short end, roll up tightly.

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Roll in whole wheat flour to cover.

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Mine look more like a fat burrito than a “roll up” because the chicken was thick

Wrap each chicken roll in saran wrap tightly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

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These would be longer and thinner had I pounded the chicken with a meat mallet.

Remove saran wrap and roll in flour again if it has absorbed.  Lightly brown in skillet with olive oil.

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Place skillet in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Slice and serve!

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Aren’t they pretty?

I served with quinoa and acorn squash. Next time I will perhaps experiment with other fillings like: curry, walnuts, apple, feta cheese, etc.

100_1801Moral of the story: It’s ok to experiment- even if you mess up, you’ve learned something. I still don’t think I need a meat mallet, these were awesome tasting and that’s really all that matters.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Happy Holidays!

My gift to you is this cleaned up version of old-fashioned apple crisp. You’re welcome!  The original recipe appeared in Clean Eating Magazine and I modified it to fit the ingredients I had on hand. I also added in cranberries for color and tartness.

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Thinly slice 5 baking apples, I used fuji. I always leave the peel on after washing well. Mostly because I am too lazy to peel all that fruit plus I think it’s pretty.

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Mix apple slices with the juice of 1/4 lemon, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and cinnamon and nutmeg. The lemon keeps the apples from browning. Make sure you are using 100% PURE maple syrup and not the stuff on the store shelves that is corn syrup with fake maple flavoring and artificial color. Real syrup is more expensive but it will change your world and pancakes forever.

Set apples in a baking dish and top with fresh cranberries. I used about one cup.

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Combine 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup turbinado sugar. I actually think this is too much sugar so next time I will cut it back to 1/2 or 3/4. I don’t like fruit desserts overly sweet.

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Add 2 egg whites and 2 tablespoons melted butter.  I rarely cook with butter but when I do, I make sure to use real butter, not margarine or other fake “spread” made from hydrogenated fat and chemicals.

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I added chopped walnuts and gently mixed all ingredients. Spread topping evenly over apple/berry mixture and bake for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven.

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It came out Delicious!! Moist, crumbly, sweet and tart.

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Have a healthy holiday! Christmas dinner posts coming soon- I’m very excited about what I will be preparing.

High Protein Pancakes

I like to say “Food is fuel, not entertainment” and these are definitely a good example of that.  Of course everyone is familiar with the old-fashioned pancakes made with butter, white flour, sugar, etc. But those are a thing of my past. They always left me sluggish, fatigued and hungry quickly. I now eat clean and feed my body what it needs to function, build and repair muscle, and feel great. Try these before a workout and see how well they sustain you.

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In a blender combine:

2 scoops whole oats (blend on high to create a powder)

1 scoop protein powder (I use whey vanilla flavor)

1/2 scoop whole wheat flour

1 heaping tablespoon cottage cheese

1 egg

dash of cinnamon

coconut milk or water to moisten. Amount will very depending on how thin/think you like your pancakes.

Blend all on high and pour onto HEATED skillet/griddle

Serve with  any of the following: fruit, agave, honey, sliced bananas, walnuts, almonds, greek yogurt.

These are packed with protein and whole grains that will keep you full for hours. Just be careful how much sweetener you use so that your blood sugar doesn’t go all whacky while you’re in the middle of your workout.

Avo-Egg-Hummus wrap

This is an easy preparation snack that has good fats and high protein readily available for times when you need something quick and healthy. I came home from the gym tonight and didn’t have anything ready to cook and I remembered my friend’s recipe for this spread. Luckily I always have hard-boiled eggs in my refridge because they are the perfect go-to protein source. I boil a half dozen at a time and keep them in a separate carton that I’ve marked so I don’t have to worry about an accidental raw egg cracking mess.

Mash 2 or 3 hardboiled eggs in a bowl. I use 1 yolk for 2 whites.

Add hummus and avocado and mash some more. I like to keep it a little chunky. By the way, I didn’t use that whole container of hummus, it was almost empty…..seriously…..

Spread on whole wheat tortilla and enjoy!

SUPER SIMPLE! You can add tomato, lettuce, sprouts or any other vegetable you’d like. I really just wanted it in my mouth.

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