Posts tagged Healthy Food
NEW RECIPE!! Cocoa Coconut Fat Balls! :)
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There is a lot of confusion out there about good fats and bad fats. Some people still think all fats are bad. Some people still worry more about calories than nutritional value. This in my opinion is the wrong approach. Get ready to be EDUCATED :)

I don't want to oversimplify because of course there is always more information to be had but I am all about giving the most important info in the shortest explaination. Here's a simple rule to follow-

Trans Fats, aka BAD FATS  are a type of fat that is produced by hydrogenation (= when vegetable oil is made intosolid fat) and is used in margarinefried foods, etc. In other words this type of fat is processed. So avoid these things if you are trying to live a healthier life as they can lead to heart disease. Now, I would be lying if I said I never helped myself to some fish and chips or some delicious sweet potato fries, but it's all about balance!

GOOD FATS- Good fats generally fall into the categories of monounsaturated fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, etc)  or polysaturated fats (walnuts, seeds, fish). These fats help fight off heart disease as well as the following benefits-

- Helps reduce body fat and maintain healthy weight

- Decrease in possibility of cancer

- Increase in reproductivity

- Stabilizes mood and fight depression

- Better skin and eye health

 With all these amazing benefits you best stock up on nuts, fish, and avocado! 

If you are on the run and need a healthy snack that is tasty and helps give you that healthy fat you are looking for these fat balls are for you! They are quick to make and can be saved in fridge for up to 2 weeks and in freezer for up to a month so WHY NOT make em? 

**Just remember that these tasty treats, while having huge nutritional benefits are high in calories (150 cals)  so should only be consumed 1-2X max a day. Don't fall into that trap of thinking that something is labeled "healthy" so you can eat as many as you want. BALANCE AND MODERATION WITH ALL :) 


Recipe  Makes 10 Balls

Ingredients-

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts or nut of choice
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter  (not coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice, UNSWEETENED
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs

Directions-

Place all ingredients in blender or strong food processer. If using vitamix, turn setting up to 10 right away or the motor can overheat. Figured this out 2x the hard way... If for some reason your Vitamix does stall on you. Allow it to cool down for 30 minutes and it should be good to go. Blend until the mixture starts to meld together. Add cacao nibs last minute or so so that it still maintains nib form. 

Roll into 1.5" balls. Place in frige for up to 2 weeks or freezer up to month! Should be eaten within 1 hr being out of fridge as it will begin to get smushy.. and no one like smushy balls :p

 

 

 

 

Avocado Breakfast Toast
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Breakfasts in the morning can be hectic. Sometimes it's a quick piece of peanut butter toast and it's out the door! However, when I do have a solid 15 minutes to put something together this is my savory, healthy go to. 

Starting your day off with some protein and something green is one of the best things you can do to ensure you have energy until lunch. This quick breakfast contains- protein to stay full, spinach to give you energy, avocado for healthy fats, and pickled cabbage that has great digestive benefits. BOOM! 

And don't feel you can't prepare this diddy for dinner or lunch. If I am in a pinch at any time during the day, this is my quick meal of choice. Generally because I have all the simple ingredients in my fridge.


Recipe Serves 1

Ingredients-

Sliced Bread (rye is best)

2 Eggs

Avocado, smashed

1 C Spinach

1/4 C Pickled Cabbage

1/2 Tsp Pepper

1/2 Tsp Salt


Directions-

Heat small pan on medium. Add fresh spinach with tablespoon of water, cook until wilted. Remove

Add eggs and scramble

While eggs are scrambling, toast bread and mash avocado

Once eggs are scrambled, stack avocado, spinach, eggs, pickled cabbage on toast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

 

 

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Turkey Chili
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Fall is officially here! The weather is cooling, the leaves are turning beautiful colors, and pumpkin spice is everywhere.. Ahh how I love it! 

What does this mean in the kitchen? SOUP SEASON! I love making a big pot of soup and eating it for the next week with a salad or grilled cheese. Chili is one of my favorite go tos. It's healthy, quick, easy, and CHEAP. The big four!

And I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am have been told that my chili is the best! TOOT TOOT :)


Recipe Serves 6

Ingredients-

1.5 lb ground turkey

1 Large Yellow Onion

1 Green Pepper

1 Jalapeno, seeds removed

3 Garlic Cloves

2 15 oz Cans of Chili Beans

1 15 oz Kidney Beans (drained)

1 20 oz Can of Chopped Tomatoes

1 64 oz Tomato Juice

1/4 c Chili Powder

1.5 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tsp Cumin

2 TB Worcestershire Sauce

2 TB OIive Oil

1/2 Tsp Pepper


Directions-

Chop veggies. If you want it more spicy, keep some seeds of jalapeno. I would say without seeds it's a 3 of 5 spice. 

Add olive oil, garlic and onion to pot. Cook until transluscent

Add turkey, cook until brown

Add peppers

Add juice, beans, tomatoes, and spices

Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with TB plain greek yogurt to add some creaminess or avocado. Also tasty served over a sweet potato. Tastes even better the next day and freezes great!

 

 

 

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New Recipe! Grilled Halloumi and Veggie Salad
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Ok- for all the Brits reading my blog, Halloumi ain't no thang. It's seems to be used regularly as a substitute for an animal protein. For those Americans reading my blog, the best way I can describe Halloumi is it's like a large cheese curd. It's squeaky, salty, and AMAZING. I am not sure if it's readily available in the States as I never knew what it was when I was still living there but I would imagine a more high end grocery store with a strong cheese section may have it. Otherwise any protein is a great choice. My husband doesn't believe it's a meal unless meat is included so I also made with grilled chicken. 


Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients-

2 250g package of Halloumi, cut into 1/2" thick slices

1 Eggplant, cut into 1/2" slices

1 Zucchini, Cut with mandolin

8 Sprigs Asparagus

1 Portabello Mushroom, 1/2" slices

1 Red Pepper, Cut into Large Chunks

1/2 Red Onion, 1/2" slices

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1/4 c Olive Oil

1/4 c Balsalmic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

1 Tsp Dried Basil

1 Tsp Dried Parsley

1/2 Tsp Pepper

1/2 Tsp Salt


Directions-

Add olive oil, vinegar, and dried herbs, minced garlic, and S&P to gallon ziplock bag. 

Add sliced veggies to marinate. Allow to marinate for an hour.

After an hour, place veggies on heated grill. Watch closely. Turn veggies after 3 minutes or until they have begun to have a nice grill mark on one side.

Grill for another 3 minutes on opposing side. 

As soon as you turn over veggies, add Halloumi to grill. Cook each side 3 minutes. 

Remove everything from grill and place variety of veggies on a bed of mixed greens. 

Top with Halloumi and add additional oil and vinegar to taste and enjoy!

 

 

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Jambalaya
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One of my favorite trips that my husband and I took together was to New Orleans. It was not only our first trip together but our first real "foodie" trip. We ate our way through New Orleans like Pac Man. Gumbo, Po-boys, Crayfish, Oysters, Beignets, Pralines, and of course Jambalaya :)

Jambalaya is like mom's chicken noodle soup. It has the basic common ingredients but they all taste so different. Everyone has an opinion on how it should be made and what specific ingredients are "required". 

I picked and pulled my recipe from various types I have had along the way. 


Recipe Serves 6

Ingredients-

3 Medium Chicken Breasts, cubed

4 Chorizo Sausages (cooked) or Keilbasa ring, sliced

1 lb Raw Shrimp

1 Green Pepper, finely chopped

1/2 Large Yellow Onion, finely chopped

4 Stalks of Celery, finely chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 C White Rice

4 C Chicken Stock

2 TB Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 Tsp Cayenne

2 TB Cajun/ Old Bay Seasoning

2 TB Olive Oil

Chopped Parsley for garnish


Directions-

Heat large pot on medium. Add oil.

Saute chicken cubes for 3-4 minutes or until cooked. Remove from pan.

Add veggies and garlic, cook for another 3 minutes, until soft

Stir in chorizo and seasonings (cayenee, cajun, and worcestershire) 3 minutes.

Add chicken back into pot.

Add rice and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Stir shrimp into pot. Allow to cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.

Serve into bowl and top with parsley. ENJOY!

*** This dish saves very well as leftovers. Like soup it tastes better the second day :)

 

 

 

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Buffalo Chicken Potato Pockets

So I feel like it's time for me to change my site name to the "Sweet Potato Enthusiast".. ANOTHER sweet potato recipe. I just love them so much and they are easy to work with! 

This recipe is a healthy twist on the American classic, hot wings. This dish will satisfy that hot sauce craving while still helping you maintain a healthy diet. The second best thing about this recipe is how EASY it is! It's just 5 ingredients, 6 if you want garnish. This is a crockpot recipe so it's a set it and forget it kinda thing :)  Doesn't get much better than that! So let's dive in shall we??

(Below are links to crockpot and potato bags should you need them)


Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients-

2 Large Chicken Breasts

4 Chicken Thighs

1 148 ml Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce

1 TB Corn Starch

4 Sweet Potatoes

1 c Blue Cheese Crumbles

Parsley for garnish

 

Directions-

Place chicken and sauce in crockpot. Set on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.

One hour before chicken is done. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks

Whisk cornstarch into sauce until mixed. This will help sauce thicken and adhere to chicken.

Place shredded chicken back into crockpot for remaining hour.

In 30 minutes before chicken is done-

Wash potatoes

Place 2 potatoes in potato bag for approx. 5-6 min. Repeat with other two.

Remove potatoes and cut down middle. 

Place hot wing mixture into pocket of potatoe, Add additional sauce if desired.

Sprinkle with blue cheese and parsley.

 

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Homemade Pasta

After spending 8 days in Italy and enjoying all the fresh delicious pizza and pasta I was feeling inspired to break out my Kitchen Aid and make a batch myself. We were having a dinner party for friends that were visiting from the U.S. and nothing brings people together like a family style pasta dinner! I have been making my own pasta for about 3 years. It seems like an intimidating task but really is quite simple! 

I realize that the "Real" Italians don't use Kitchen Aids. They use the egg and flour volcano method. You can google it. It sounds like what it is. I actually learned to make pasta for the first time with the volcano method but had a Kitchen Aid so decided it was worth buying the attachments. The good news is you don't need a Kitchen Aid or the pasta attachments to make pasta. You can just use the volcano method to make the pasta dough and then hand cut the noodles. It's a bit more time consuming but doable!

Volcano Method

Volcano Method

If you are looking to buy a Kitchen Aid and the attachments, check out the links below to Amazon. I have really enjoyed using mine for a number of things!

Pasta can be made with just about any flour. I prefer semolina flour as it adds a nice al dente bite to the pasta but if semolina is unavailable to you, all purpose flour gets the job done. Also when I make pasta I tend to double the recipe as it keeps very well. You can freeze the pasta in small nests and when ready to use throw them in a boiling pot. They will just need to boil for an extra few minutes. 

Recipe Serves 6

Ingredients-

1 Cup Semolina Flour

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

2 eggs

1 TB Olive Oil

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Pepper

1 TB Water

 

Directions-

Place the dough hook attachment on your Kitchen Aid (KA).

Add first 6 ingredients together in mixing bowl

Turn KA on low and allow to mix. Once ingredients begin to incorporate, slowly pour in water. 

The dough should continue to mix until it begins making a ball.

If the dough seems very sticky add a few TB of flour or if it is not balling because it's too dry add a bit more water.

You want the dough to be the consistency of leather. 

Once consistency is reached, remove ball and place on a floured surface. 

Place flat noodle attachment onto KA. 

Cut your ball into 4 equal pieces. You will be using these to put through your pasta attachments.

Make sure your dough is not sticky at all. Continue to cover with flour as needed.  If it's sticky it will not go thru attachment cleanly an you will end up with holes in your pasta sheet. 

Place attachment on setting 1. THis is the only setting you can sandwich your dough. You may have to put it thru setting 1 multiple times to get a nice piece.

Move setting up to 2. Place piece in. As numbers go higher, pasta sheet becomes thinner. If for any reason the pasta does not come out right (holes, uneven) you will have to go back to setting 1 and start piece over.

Continue this process with all 4 pieces until you reach setting 4. 

Set your sheets off to the side.

Remove flat attachment and replace with fettuccine attachment. set on slowest mixing mode.

Depending on how long your sheets are you may want to cut them in half as they will be easy to run thru noodle attachment.

Insert sheet pasta thru fettucinne attachment. 

Dust with additional flour to keep from sticking and place in nest.

Continue with all sheets. 

You may either boil right away or place in fridge or freezer. Just be sure that pasta is dusted generously to avoid noodles sticking together. 

To Boil- 

Place in a large pot of boiling water. Add 1 tsp salt. Add pasta nests, don't over fill. you may have to do 2 batches. 

Boil for 5 minutes. 

Drain and serve with favorite sauce!

 

New Recipe! Fennel Mandarin Chicken Salad

After our trip to Italy I found myself fat and happy, enjoying one delicious meal after another. There was one in particular that stood out to me. It was in Torbole and it was one of the first meals we had. It was a simple salad. Now when you have meats, cheeses, pasta, and pizza to choose from, a salad may sound terribly dull but it's the simplicity and freshness that made this salad stand out. Just simple, quality ingredients. I think we often forget how good food can taste when it's fresh!  

THis is the salad from Torbole

THis is the salad from Torbole

The salad I had in Italy was just greens, fennel, mandarin, and chicken. I decided to use some corgettes (zuchinni) because I had some lying around. 

Fennel is easy to work with. Just cut stems down to 1". Cut fennel down the middle and slice thinly. See below-

I thinly sliced the corgettes.

Finally I cut the peels off of mandarins and sliced them up. You may just peel but if you want to avoid the stringy pulp it's best to cut them. It also adds additional flavor because some of the juice is exposed to salad.

The dressing on this salad is literally just quality olive oil and REAL Modena Balsamic Vinegar. Real Modena Balsamic is aged in barrels like wine or whisky. The longer it sits the darker and more caramelized it gets. With fake balsamic they just add sugar and boil it down. Real vinegar can cost you a bit more but I am here to tell you.. TOTALLY WORTH IT.  We picked this bottle up from a small shop in Torre del Benaco on Lake Garda. You can sample the olive oils and vinegars like wine. You may not think that sounds appealing but until you have tried it you don't really know what you are missing. It's DELICIOUS!

I decided to saute the corgettes and a bit of fennel in some olive oil and vinegar to add a bit more flavor. It tasted fine but in the future I may skip this step and leave everything raw and fresh.

For the chicken I have been using my George Foreman Grill as we don't have access to a legit grill. It definitely gets the job done and is easy to clean but sometimes I feel it can leave the meat a bit more dried out. Especially chicken. So I decided this time to tenderize the chicken before grilling. It certainly worked and will do it going forward. Just butterfly your chicken, cover with plastic wrap, and use a mallet to tenderize. 

After grilling up the chicken it's time to throw the salad together. Just layer it up!

Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients-

2 large Chicken Breasts

1 Head of Fennel

6 Mandarins

6 Mini Corgettes or 1 regular Zucchini

8 cups (Spinach, Arugala, Mixed Greens, your choice)

1 TB + 1/4 c Olive Oil 

1 TB + 1/4c  Balsamic Vinegar

 Dash of Salt

Dash of  Pepper

 

 

Directions-

Thinly slice fennel, set aside

Thinly slice corgettes/zucchini, set aside

Slice up mandarins, set aside

Butterfly chicken. Place plastic wrap over top and use mallet to tendorize. 

Sprinkly chicken with salt and pepper then grill up. Because it is butterflied it will take less time to grill so watch CLOSELY

(this may be skipped) While chicken is grilling, Heat pan on Medium/High, add 1 TB of Olive Oil and 1 TB Balsamic to pan. Add Corgettes and saute for 5-7 minutes. Until tender but not too soggy

Once chicken is done, allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then cut into slices

Begin assemblying salad 

Top off with a bit of quality olive oil and balsamic

ENJOY!

 

Chicken and Sweet Potato Power Bowl

If you haven’t figured it out I have a real obsession with sweet potatoes. There are just so many different ways to enjoy them and in most recipes they can be done on the fly. They can be prepared sweet, savory, or spicy.

There are many nutritional benefits to eating sweet potatoes. They are high in Vitamin A, E and C, fiber, potassium and iron. Many say sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritional veggies out there!

When in doubt, throw a sweet potato in the recipe or use it as a side! :) Not Yams! Yams are not even the same species and don’t carry the same nutritional value as sweet potatoes. So don’t even try to say they are the same. A sweet potato is a sweet potato and a yam is a yam!

Ok- now that I have had time to cool down let’s get into the dish shall we? I decided to stick with power ingredients for this recipe. Adding quinoa- protein packed, pomegranate seeds- antioxidant packed, and pumpkin seeds-magnesium packed. This power bowl was going to give me superpowers or at least a super healthy meal...

Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients-

3 Large Sweet Potatoes

1 cup uncooked quinoa

3 Large Grilled Chicken Breasts

3 cups Arugula

1 cup Pomegranate Seeds

½ cup Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup Crumbled Feta

 

Herb Dressing-

1 cup Olive Oil

¼ cup Dijon Mustard

¼ cup White Wine Vinegar

1/2 Lemon juiced

2 TB Honey

1 garlic clove

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

 

Directions-

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and cube potatoes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes. Mix halfway through.

Prepare quinoa according to directions, drain, and set aside.

While quinoa and potatoes are cooking, cube up grilled chicken.

Once potatoes are done remove and let cool 5 min.

Mix together Dressing ingredients in jar and shake.

Place quinoa, chicken, potatoes, arugula in bowl. Sprinkle the top with pumpkin, pomegranate seeds and feta.

Drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over bowl.

Bon Appetit!