Tag Archives: health

Apple & Cranberry Oatmeal Recipe

14 Nov

In the Fall and Winter months, it gets SOOOO cold up here. I really like making a hot and hearty breakfast on those mornings to warm me up. Every once in a while I make my oatmeal with apples and cranberries and not only does it taste good, it also reminds me of the holidays. Here’s how I make mine:

Ingredients

  • Oatmeal (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 apple (peeled and chopped) – this is for 2 people so adjust accordingly
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pecans – I like to chop these up
  • Maple syrup – about 1 tbsp
  • Almond milk – probably about 1/4 cup (obviously, you could use regular milk, soy, etc., I just prefer the almond as it has a little bit of a sweetness to it)
  • Cinnamon

Instructions

  • Cook your oatmeal according to the instructions on the package (typically 2 cups water to 1 cup of oatmeal for 2 servings) – I like to use a little less water than what it calls for so that when I add the milk, it’s not too liquidy
  • When you have about a minute left on your oatmeal, stir in the apple, cranberries and almond milk
  • When the oatmeal is done cooking, stir in the pecans, cinnamon (a healthy pinch should do), and maple syrup

Done and done!

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My Weekly Menu

4 Nov

On Saturdays, I spend time thinking about what we will eat for the week and then plan out the menu and create a grocery list. This way, on Sunday, I am ready to go out and get everything I need for the entire week. For me, this saves time, money and energy.

As I’m planning my menu for the week, I make sure to think about what’s going on each night so that I can plan accordingly (i.e. if I won’t be home until later, I will plan to make something with leftovers or ask my husband to make dinner that night).

Anyway, I thought it may be helpful to post my menu’s on the blog, not only for you to get ideas, but also for me to remember what I’ve made in the past when I’m struggling to think of something to add to a new menu.

  • Sunday, 10/30: Vegetable & Chickpea Curry – I made this in the slow cooker and it was delish over a little rice with a few homemade pita chips on the side
  • Monday, 10/31: Vegetable wrap panini w/ a side of sautéed asparagus – usually I prep and my husband makes them when he gets home, but on Monday, he did it all 🙂 – we use onions, red pepper, yellow pepper, portabello mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and a little hummus…we use the Cuisinart 3-in-1 panini press, which has become a staple in our kitchen
  • Tuesday, 11/1: Leftover curry dish – this was a late night for us so I needed something quick and easy
  • Wednesday, 11/2: Steak tips (from the butcher – YUM!), basmati rice w/ peas and carrots (I’ll be posting this recipe later…love it!)
  • Thursday, 11/3: Pizza night…this is another meal that my husband always makes and it’s SO good. I do the prep work and he creates it. We use a beer pizza crust dough from a local restaurant and top it with chopped tomatoes, broccoli, baby bellas, artichoke and mozzarella cheese. BTW…another one of our kitchen staples = pizza stone
  • Friday, 11/4: Shrimp Caesar salad – I will actually roast the shrimp and make the Caesar from scratch using an Alton Brown recipe…much healthier and tastier this way. Also, instead of making croutons and consuming all of that bread, I make a few pita chips and crumble them on top of the salad
  • Saturday, 11/5: White bean and kale (you can sub with spinach) soup – another slow cooker meal

I hope this helps. Let me know your favorite weeknight meals by leaving comments below.

Lentil Soup Recipe

27 Oct

Last night, I made lentil soup for dinner. It was fast, easy, delicious and filling. Of course, it was also healthy and provided a great source of both protein and fiber. Here’s what I did – no exact ingredients…just play around with it and taste as you go…

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb of lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes – I bet roasting these ahead of time would be good too
  • 8 cups of reduced sodium vegetable or chicken stock (I used chicken last night) – you may also substitute 1/2 with water if you prefer
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Cumin (I probably used about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • About 5 splashes of hot sauce
Directions
  • Heat a healthy dose of EVOO over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot – I typically use enough to cover the bottom of the pot
  • As that’s heating up, rinse/drain the lentils and pick out the bad ones
  • Once EVOO is heated, add the onion, celery and carrots and sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt – saute until they start to sweat and the onions become translucent (probably between 7-10 minutes)
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute for about 1 minute
  • Add the lentils and mix it around with the veggies
  • Add the can of tomatoes and mix it around
  • Add the stock, pepper (probably around 1/2 tsp), cumin and hot sauce and give a stir
  • Bring soup to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low
  • Simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are tender
  • [OPTIONAL] Take about 6 ladles full and blend in a blender (or use a stick blender) and then stir it back into the soup
To Serve
  • Last night, instead of bread, I used my last pita and made pita chips. I also served the soup over a little bit of rice and really enjoyed that
  • To make the pita chips, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita into 8 pieces. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and arrange the pieces of pita on the cookie sheet. Drizzle the pita with olive oil and then sprinkle with a little garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and a teeny tiny bit of kosher salt. Rub that mixture into the pieces of pita so that they’re evenly coated. Place the cookie sheet in the oven in the top rack and bake for about 5 minutes or so (keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn). They are ready when they are browned and crispy.
  • Place a little rice on the bottom of your bowl [OPTIONAL], ladle the soup over the rice, sprinkle with a little parsley to garnish and add a few pita chips to the side of the bowl
Enjoy! Please leave your comments if you have recommended modifications!

Basil Pesto Pasta Primavera

8 Aug

I haven’t written in forever, but wanted to share this quick and easy meal I just made with most of the ingredients coming from my garden. I work from home and I am going away tomorrow for a couple of nights so I wanted to make a nice meal for myself for lunch today with enough leftover for my husband to have dinner tomorrow night. This recipe serves 2 so add/deduct as necessary.

Basil Pesto
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – I probably used about 1/2 cup
Handful of pine nuts
Big bunch of basil
1-2 cloves of garlic smashed – depending on how much of a kick you want
Juice from half of a lemon
About 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste

I combined all of the ingredients in my “Magic Bullet,” although you could of course use a different type of food processor or a blender.

Set the pesto aside. Then, start to boil the water for the pasta. I like to use Brown Rice Pasta vs. regular or whole wheat. It cooks very fast and I have found that it has much less carbs than whole wheat pasta. While the water is boiling, chop up the veggies you would like to saute for the pasta. Today I used a fresh zucchini from the garden, some leftover grape tomatoes and 1/2 an onion. I tossed those around in a pan with a little EVOO while my pasta was cooking.

Once I drained the pasta, I transferred it into a large tupperware (since I would be saving the other half for my husband’s dinner tomorrow night), added the pesto, then added the veggies and mixed it up. Done and done.

Delicious, fast, easy and best of all…healthy! Enjoy!

Weekly Menu & Grocery List

27 Mar

I typically plan out my weekly menu and grocery list on Sundays and get all of my shopping done that day for the week to come. Below, you will see my menu for today through Friday. I typically go through Saturday dinner, but this week, we have plans to go out for dinner. I also have an event on Saturday that includes a pot luck lunch so I am planning on making the soup I will bring to the potluck on Friday night and my husband and I will have that for dinner (2 birds, 1 stone).

I have also included a grocery list in case that would be helpful. I have included things that I eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Basically, for each breakfast, lunch and snack, I make sure to include a good carb, a protein and most times, a vegetable. Examples of breakfast include scambled eggs (2 whites, 1 yolk), 1/2 of a whole wheat english muffin or a slice of whole wheat toast, and 2 slices of tomato. Snacks could be organic Greek-style yogurt with blueberries and granola. For lunch, I either have leftovers, some type of quick, easy and healthy pasta dish (with organic brown rice pasta) or a PB & A (almond butter) with a side salad or veggies/hummus.

One more note, I gave up meat for Lent. I am still eating fish, but trying to keep that to 1 or 2 times per week. You can add/substitute with meat with any of the options below.

Menu

Sunday: Veggie Wrap and Baked Sweet Potato fries (I’ll post the sweet pot. fry recipe…quick, easy, healthy and goooood). For the veggie wrap, I will include sauted mushrooms, spinach, onion, tomatoes (I am going to use some leftover roasted tomatoes that I had from last week) and mozzarella cheese

Monday: Broiled salmon, roasted yukon gold potatoes, sauteed asparagus (I would grill the salmon and asparagus, but my grill is not accessable right now)

Tuesday: Homemade pizza with broccoli, artichoke, mushrooms, diced tomato and mozzarella cheese – we use whole wheat pizza dough and substitute the sauce with a little olive oil. My husband is the pizza master in our house so this is his night

Wednesday: Eggplant lasagna – I plan on using eggplant, spinach and roasted roma tomatoes…I am meeting a friend for HH on this night so I will make the lasagna in the am so that when my husband gets home he can pop it in the oven and when I get home we’ll be ready to eat

Thursday: Greek salad and whole wheat tandoori Naan – you could add chicken or flank steak to this and it would be really good

Friday: Black bean soup – YES, I just made this a week ago, but it was SOOOOO good, I want it again. Plus, I am planning to bring it to a pot luck lunch on Saturday so this will make it easier

Grocery List

  • Cilantro (2 bunches b/c making a double serving of black bean soup)
  • Roma tomatoes x 6 (roasting them for the lasagna)
  • Sliced baby bellas
  • Basil
  • Eggplant (3 italian eggplants)
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes x 2 (or 1 gigantic one)
  • Asparagus
  • Yukon gold potatoes x 6-8
  • Onion – 3 extra large
  • Head of romaine lettuce (whichever lettuce you prefer for Greek salad)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Organic mozzarella sticks (good protein for snacks)
  • Small block of cheddar cheese (black bean soup garnish)
  • Feta cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese (2 packages – 1 for pizza and 1 for lasagna (will also need about 2 slices for veggie wraps)
  • 4-pack of Oikos organic Greek-style yogurt (vanilla)
  • 4-pack of 2% milk cottage cheese
  • Organic cage-free certified humane brown eggs…OK, these are expensive, not gonna lie, but do you really want to eat those other eggs?!
  • Organic fat free milk
  • Almond milk
  • Organic half and half (I like a splash for my coffee)
  • Coffee (I am really enjoying “Peets” French Roast these days)
  • Organic fruit spread (jelly)
  • 1 loaf of 100% whole wheat bread
  • 100% whole wheat english muffins
  • 1 package of whole wheat tandoori Naan
  • Chopped walnuts (I use this in oatmeal)
  • Organic granola – read the back and make sure it’s not loaded in sugar (a good rule of thumb = 10g or less per serving)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chicken strips for the dog (I get these in the butcher section)
  • 1.5 lbs of Salmon (make sure it comes from the US) – I like sockeye salmon from Alaska
  • 1 can organic artichokes in water NOT oil
  • 8 15 oz cans of black beans (doubled b/c of extra black bean soup for pot luck)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes (1 for the pizza, 2 for the black bean soup b/c it’s doubled)
  • 2 28 oz cans of organic crushed tomatoes (for lasagna)
  • 2 packages/boxes of organic brown rice pasta (I use this for lunches)
  • Whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 cartons of organic low-sodium, cage-free chicken broth or low-sodium organic vegetable broth (1 is for my dog’s food; 1 is for the black bean soup which is doubled)
  • 1 pakcage of whole wheat large tortillas (for wraps)
  • 1 package of whole wheat pizza dough
  • Nice bottle of Italian red wine for me
  • 6-pack of Stella (beer) for my husband
  • 1 75% dark organic chocolate bar (1-2 squares is nice for a little treat after dinner)

This will cost me about $250, but is my ONLY trip to the grocery store this week – remember, I am only buying organic all-natural products. I may go overboard in that department so you may find better deals. Also, I live in the stix and use a local grocer…because I’m not in a major metro area, our groceries are a little more expensive.

Happy shopping, cooking and eating!

AWESOME Black Bean Soup Recipe

25 Mar

Tonight, I made a black bean soup. I used a recipe that I found on FoodNetwork.com and my husband said it was “possibly the best soup he had ever had!” The best part…it only took about 15 minutes of hands-on time and about 30 minutes total before serving.

This recipe calls for bacon and, while we all know that bacon tastes AMAZING, I decided to nix it in order to keep it healthy. In order to add a bit of a smoky taste and some heat, I chopped up 2 chipotle peppers and added a tiny bit of adobo sauce – I added these in with the tomatoes, ketchup, etc. (Step 5 in “Directions” below).

As far as garnishes, I used an aged cheddar that I bought at my local butcher shop, as well as chopped green onion and a few organic blue corn tortilla chips. I 86’ed the sour cream, but if you like sour cream, I recommend  substituting with organic plain greek style yogurt instead.

The following recipe is by David Lieberman and can be found on the Food Network Website

Ingredients

  • 10 slices bacon, finely chopped – I didn’t use this…instead, I added 2 chopped chipotle peppers and a little adobo sauce
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed – I minced mine
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish – I recommend substituting with organic plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Grated cheddar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes.
  2. Since I didn’t use bacon, I started out by heating 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat
  3. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. – This is where I added the chopped chipotle peppers and adobo sauce
  6. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  7. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes.
  9. Cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Stir in the lime juice.
  11. Serve with the garnishes.

Healthy Lunch – Pasta w/ Pesto and Veggies

16 Mar

Yesterday for lunch, I made a really good pasta dish. It probably took me about 10 minutes total to prepare and it was of course, healthy! You will see that I used mushrooms…AGAIN. Obviously, I had a bit of a mushroom surpluss this week (the only package I could find at our teeeny tiny little grocery store in town was the economy-sized one).

I work from home, but if you go into the office – it would be very easy to prepare this the night before or in the morning. If that’s impossible, it may be helpful for you to prepare all of the components on your day off in preparation for the week (i.e. cook the pasta, slice the mushrooms, slice the tomatoes, etc.) so that all you have to do in the morning is assemble.

Ingredients

  • Organic Brown Rice Spiral Pasta
  • Sliced baby bello mushrooms (you can actually buy these pre-sliced)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2.5 tbsp basil pesto (I will post my recipe soon or, if you don’t want to make your own, try to find a local organic homemade pesto at your grocer and make sure that there are NO PROCESSED ingredients (should only be EVOO, pine nuts, basil, parmesan cheese, etc….REAL INGREDIENTS)
  • Chopped sundried tomatoes (I probably used about 6 of them) – I buy organic plain sundried tomatoes – not the ones in a can or jar, soaking in oil
  • 1 thick slice mozzarella cheese (leftover from paninis) – diced

Instructions

Cook the pasta and drain (the rice pasta cooks in about 5 minutes). While pasta is cooking, saute the mushrooms in a small pan in about 1 tsp of EVOO with a pinch of salt for about 3-5 minutes until they are tender and sweating. After you drain pasta, add it back to the pot and then add the mushrooms, basil, tomatoes, and mozarella. Mix it up…done and done!