Pear Ginger Smoothie

There are times in the morning when I'm not so hungry.  But I know that come 10am, I will be starving if I don't have a little something first thing (and coffee doesn't count!) A smoothie is perfect and I came across on in Brendan Brazier's Thrive Foods book a few weeks back.

Brendan is a former professional triathlete and ultra marathoner, who is completely fueled by plant-based food sources.  The book explains nutritionally dense foods and why they are important to our health.  For example, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 (nuts, fish, seeds) are better for our bodies than other fats (saturated, trans fats).  EFA's are a healthy fat that will help our bodies to better burn fat as fuel, where as saturated fats will simply add pounds to our frame. Some of the ingredients are from a specialty grocery store, such as Whole Foods, but I've put suggestions for supplementation if you don't have them readily available.

This yummy smoothie is perfect for a post-workout boost, because of the ginger which helps our bodies to fight inflammation.  I store the second serving in a mason jar and enjoy the next day, or later that afternoon as a snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sunflower hempseed milk (You can use almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (a great source of Omega 3 & 6)
  • 1 tbsp hemp protein powder (pea protein could work)
  • 1 tbsp peeled, grated ginger

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Queen

In London, I ate.  I'm thankful that we did a lot of walking, because I survived on the beige diet for two weeks (read: pasta, bread and sugar) and dessert every night.  With foods that my body isn't used to eating on the regular, it was nice to come home and cook healthy, fresh foods. Originally slated to land on Thursday night, the airline told us that the plane was having mechanical issues, therefore the flight was canceled.  We were booked on the next available flight, which was 5pm the next day.  Guess what? Another night of the beige diet! I told myself that once I was back, I was going to go back to eating clean (non beige) foods, but for the meantime, I enjoyed the pasta. To be clear, I am a believer in moderation -- I enjoy desserts, bread and pasta, but I blew the doors off of moderation while in London and it was time to get back to a routine.

First meal was Sunday dinner.

Deciding to go light with a salad, I made a go-to recipe that is easy, hands off and filling.  It's also perfect for most guests, as it's vegan, as well as gluten and dairy free.  They are called Ganesha's Sweet Potatoes and Italian-Style Sweet Potatoes from Kimberly Snyder's book, The Beauty Detox.  They taste decadent, but they are clean eating at it's best and full of good nutrients. You'll thank me! Below are two different recipes, both divine, for sweet potatoes.

Recipe #1:

  • 2 pound sweet potatoes cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1 Tbs. curry
  • 1/2 turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Celtic or Himalayan sea salt

Recipe #2:

  • 2 pound sweet potatoes cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 Tbs. grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste, optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. Celtic or Himalayan sea salt

Directions (the same for both recipes):

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Toss the potatoes with the coconut oil, curry, turmeric and sea salt.  Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until cooked through well and crispy on outside.

{side note: If you have a convection oven, you can use that as well.  I bake them at 400 for 45 minutes, and they're delicious.}

Dessert for Breakfast

In a perfect world, I would have 48 hours in a day, during which I would create my own recipes, get in a long workout, and have time for all the other "things" that I try to pack into one sun up-sun down day.  Unfortunately, the day does not have 48 hours, the workouts max out at 90-minutes on a good day and I haven't been able to stockpile a collection of recipes that I've created on my own.  C'est la vie.What I have done is try other people's recipes.  Many recipes come from an assortment of cookbooks, some recipes from friends who have attended culinary academies worldwide and several recipes from various websites online.  After cooking and baking for a few years, I generally know what I will like and pass on the ones I know that I won't enjoy.  Of late, I've become more adventurous in trying ones that could go either way; the one's I read and think, "That could be interesting."  This recipe was one of the successful ones.

The texture is if-y, so if you don't care for the consistency of rice pudding, porridge or grits, this might not be your thing.  But don't fret, there are more yummy (and healthy) recipes coming your way. Promise.

The oats will have to soak for 24-hours, but after that it takes 2 minutes to whip the ingredients together in the morning.  I know, it sounds odd, but trust me on this…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Oat groats (you can find these in the bulk section of Whole Foods) OR steel cut oats
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup of dates (pitted)
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/2-teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  • Place the oats in a bowl and cover with water (sit over night)
  • The next morning, drain the water and put the oats into a blender.
  • Measure out the dates and raisins; add to the oats.  Add cinnamon.
  • Blend.
  • Enjoy.

Soaking the oats over night will soften them, so there’s no need for the stove and pot.  The recipe makes 2 servings, which lasts me two days; on the second day I eat it cold right from the fridge.  There are 300 calories, less than 2 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber.  The sweetness comes from the fruit, so there’s no added processed sugar.

I haven’t tried this with other fruits or nuts, but it could be fun to mix and match for different flavors and textures.  Enjoy!

 

Egg Sandwiches on the Fly

Egg sandwiches are fast and easy to grab when you're on the go, but the nutritional value of most is appalling, right? There are a few that are a better option than others, but approximately $3 per sandwich over the course of a few days can add up. I have a solution!  Why not make them at home? For less than $20, you can create your own sandwiches, with the ingredients of your choosing AND provide a healthy breakfast to start the morning.

It’s not as labor intensive as it sounds, only taking one hour to make 12 sandwiches, and most of that time is hands-off.  Another benefit of making these sandwiches at home is that you choose the ingredients that go into the final product AND they freeze beautifully.

What you’ll need:

Food:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • Cheese – the amount and kind is up to you, as it depends on what kind and how much cheese you like on the sandwich
  • English muffins – whole wheat or white work great
  • Butter, margarine or Pam spray

Equipment:

  • A 12 -count muffin tin
  • 2 cookie sheets

STEPS :

  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat the muffin tin with a spray of Pam or a swipe of butter
  • Crack one egg into each of the openings in the muffin tin
  • Pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes. (My eggs we extra large, so I left them in for 20)
  • Slice the English muffins in half and spread them out onto two cookie sheets
  • Place them in the oven while the eggs are cooking, allowing them to toast
  • If you are using a block of cheese, this is the time to grate it while waiting for the eggs to finish cooking.

 

ASSEMBLY :

  • On half of the muffin, place a slice of cheese or sprinkle as much cheese as you like (you can also add a smear of butter, some salt & pepper or hot sauce if you choose for a little added flavor)
  • The eggs should slide out easily, since the tin was greased/sprayed beforehand, so scoop out one egg and place it on the other half of the muffin.
  • Once you have all of the eggs on their respective muffins, you can match the cheese tops with the egg bottoms.
  • Voila!

EATING :

  • If you are eating them immediately (would be great if you are feeding a large group, i.e. after a kids sports practice, game or casual brunch) put the sandwiches back into the over on 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to melt
  • If you are freezing, place the assembled sandwiches onto the cookie sheets and pop them into the freezer for about an hour, to cut down on some of the moisture.
  • Remove them after an hour and individually wrap each one in tin foil.
  • You can reheat them into the microwave, but they are best in the oven.   Pre-heat the oven to 350 and pop in the oven for 25 minutes while you’re getting ready in the morning.
  • In a pinch, heat the sandwich in the microwave for 45-50 seconds.  Remove the sandwich and then place the egg only back into the microwave for an additional 30-45 seconds.  Reassemble and enjoy!

 

 

Adapted from www.macheesmo.com

Crispy Garlic Chicken

Fast. Easy. Delicious. And a healthy alternative to fried chicken. Doug was preparing for a client meeting and was planning to leave in about an hour.  I walked into the kitchen to find him digging through the cabinets and rummaging through the fridge for something to eat.  He mentioned that he was hungry and probably wouldn't have time to eat until later that night, and was on the hunt for something substancial. I had some chicken thawing in the fridge, and pulled together this quick, easy, and delicious chicken recipe, in less than one hour!

Ingredients: 

  1. A package of thawed chicken breasts
  2. Smart Balance (or other margarine, Earth Balance is another good one)
  3. Tabasco or another favorite hot sauce
  4. 1 cup of bread crumbs
  5. 3 cloves of garlic

In a cereal sized bowl combine: 

  • 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • A few dashes of Tabasco to your taste
Cover a salad-sized plate with the bread crumbs and place it next to the cereal bowl with the 3 ingredients listed above.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Dredge the chicken in the liquid
  3. Coat the chicken through the bread crumbs
  4. Place chicken in a baking dish
  5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes
And you have this...

Doug did say that the chicken was best hot and fresh from the oven, but it didn't stop him from enjoying the remaining chicken, post-meeting, late last night!

A great recipe for the whole family, as you can control the amount of hot sauce.  The outside is crispy and the inside was juicy. A win, win!