Kitchen Nutrition & Recipes
Avocado Deviled Eggs
8 hard-boiled eggs (add some baking soda to the water before boiling to help peel)
1 large ripe avocado
1-2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup chopped white or green onion
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
2 Tbsp of hemp hearts (optional, works fine without if you don’t have any)
1 small lime, juiced, 2 Tbsp. reserved
¼ tsp cayenne
Pinch sea salt
Remove shells from the hard-boiled eggs and slice lengthwise. Carefully removing the yolk and place in a small/medium bowl
Add the avocado to the yolks and mash. Mix in the tomato, onion, cilantro, hemp hearts, and 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, cayenne, and sea salt. Give a taste test and if needed add a little more lime juice and salt.
Once you have the mixture to your taste, spoon into each egg white half, and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with a
sprig of fresh cilantro.
Any extra mixture is great on crackers, chips, or as a veggie dip. Super fun for St. Patrick’s Day appetizers!
White Bean Chicken Chili
Super easy! Super delicious! You can swap out any type of bean you like. You can also use chicken breast
SERVES 6 -1 CUP PORTIONS
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Sweet Onion (medium, chopped)
1 Jalapeno Pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 Red Bell Pepper (chopped)
2 Garlic (cloves, minced)
1 1/2 tsps Cumin
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
3 cups Organic Chicken Broth (divided)
3 cups White Navy Beans (cooked and divided)-may use canned
1 lb Chicken Thighs (boneless, skinless)
1/2 cup Frozen Corn
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
1 Lime (sliced into wedges)
Optional for the less health conscious guests:
Corn chips, sour cream and/or shredded cheese.
Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it for later.
May omit the chicken and use extra beans.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
Heat oil in a large pot with a lid over medium-high heat.
Add onion, jalapeno and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft.
Add garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt and cook for another minute until
While vegetables are cooking, add a third of the stock and half of the beans
to a food processor or blender and blend to puree the beans.
Add the remaining stock and pureed beans to the pot and stir to combine.
Place the chicken in the pot, cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook at a slow gentle boil for 20 minutes and the chicken is cooked though.
Remove the cooked chicken thighs from the pot and carefully shred the
chicken with two forks.
Return the chicken and any juices back to the pot with the remaining beans, frozen corn kernels and cilantro. Stir to combine
and season with additional sea salt if needed. Allow soup to cook for an
additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Divide the chili into bowls and serve with a lime wedge. Enjoy!
Is it just me? Did the holiday’s used to start just a few weeks before Christmas and end right after the New Year? Lately if feels like as soon as the Halloween candy is off the store shelves, the Christmas countdown is on! I love the holiday season, the sights and smells and “doing for others”, but when you add up the indulgent meals, cocktails, parties, the stress of traveling, scheduling as well as the pressures of finding and paying for the perfect gift, it is hard to stay healthy (or sane) during this wonderful season…
So lets talk. What can we do about it?
Support your immune system.
When our immune systems are challenged, we’re less likely to maintain overall health. Consequently, most of the things we splurge on during the holidays – alcohol, candy, pastries, processed foods, snacking, running around and staying out late – tax our bodies and hinder proper immune system functions.
The immune system is not like an organ that does a certain job. It is a complex series of pieces and parts that have to work together to in order to form your body’s total defense system. Part of it is the glands in our neck/throat, armpits and all the other “pits” we have. Part is the lymphatic system that removes toxic wastes (think back to the pits and how they squeeze to move fluids) It works with the veins that deliver oxygen in the blood throughout the body. Another part is in the small intestine, and yet another is in our bones. The thing you need to remember is that we need all of it to be properly nourished and cared for in order for the immune system to do what it is supposed to, support you in times of stress and prevent illness.
Common Immune Suppressors
- Increase in quantity and decrease in quality food
- Not enough sleep
- Not enough water
- Not enough of sunlight
- Not enough exercise
Health-wise, the best defense is a good offense. Be prepared!
Here are a few ways to offset planned holiday indulgences
1. GET YOUR SLEEP ON
The late nights are one of the hardest things to deal with during the holiday season because we’re trying to accommodate events that are outside of our normal routine.
- Make sure to include foods with healthy fats, such as organic nuts/seeds along with their oils, organic ghee or coconut oil, and responsibly sourced cold-water fish. Bonus: pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium which helps you sleep better.
- Start mega dosing on your vitamin C. You can take anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 mcg. Remember to take it in divided doses through the day – vitamin C, and A, D, and K are water soluble, you’ll pee whatever you don’t absorb.
- Ensure each of your 3 meals include a healthy fat (see above), a clean protein, and fiber (fruit and veggies).
2. WATCH THE SUGAR
- Be picky and don’t overdo it! Be selective about the sweet treats you indulge in and choose wisely. Choosing meaning ONE. You have my permission that if it doesn’t taste as good as it looks, leave it or toss it. I don’t care if it is any of the big 3 C’s: Cake, Cookies or Cocktails!
- Make something from scratch and use healthier sweeteners like honey (which has anti-bacterial properties as a bonus)
- Cocktails are always optional. There has been quite a lot of discussion online the last few weeks about holiday events and alcohol. But honestly, you are the one that chooses. No one cares if you are drinking soda water or champagne. If someone does, re-evaluate the relationship. IF you choose to drink, avoid the fancy fruity cocktails and stick with a simple red or white wine. Alternating with big glasses of water helps to keep hydrated and keeps something in your hands.
- Speaking of water: Drink a lot of it to stay hydrated. Sugar is actually dehydrating and can lead to more cravings. Make it pretty! I love adding fresh herbs and berries to ice cubes. Rosemary and cranberries look gorgeous!
3. SHAKE, MOVE, DANCE
With the late nights and extra treats, energy levels drop. This can make you want to skip your regular yoga class or hike in the mountains. Don’t do it! Seriously, don’t. Keep up with your normal
physical activities. Invite a friend to take that class or join you in a snow shoe trek, or dance in your kitchen like no one is watching! (Yes, I do that?) Now, even if you do stay up too late, and eat too much, your body will stay strong and it will be easier to get back into your regular (or new) healthy routine once the holidays are over.
4. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress just might have the greatest impact on your health out of everything.
Stress reducing tips:
- Getting plenty of sleep.
- Stay in control of your sugar intake
- Learn to say no to any event that just doesn’t excite you!
- Take a yoga class regularly
- Don’t over commit yourself. You don’t have to attend every event you are invited too.
- Sit quietly and just breathe for 10 minutes (aka meditation)
5. KEEP UP YOUR REGULAR ROUTINE.
Don’t through your hands up and make the mistake of ending the year with a crazy, extravagant, do-what-you-please, no matter how bad it will make your feel mantra. Stay on course. Eat 3 balanced meals a day. Plan and prepare your own food as much as you can.
Keep a normal schedule as often as possible. Wake up, go to bed, eat, work and move like you normally do. Do your best, then let it go.
6. COOK -YES YOU!
You all know I love to cook. I think it is fun and extremely satisfying and even a little therapeutic. I love trying new recipes. When I cook I focus on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, gluten-free whole grains, good quality fats along with small portions of clean animal proteins.
The holidays are a great time for you to spend time in the kitchen having fun with the whole family and maybe even teaching the kiddos some new skills that they can use though the year. Kids love eating what they help prepare. There are great, healthy recipes available on the web that you can use to replace some less than nutritious holiday favorites.
7. CONSCIOUS EATING
How we eat is as important as what we eat. when we eat due to stress or boredom, in the car, on the couch, at the desk, or simply not paying attention to what we are putting in our mouth, we’re more likely to overeat and feel awful. Think about that bag of potato chips that all of a sudden is mysteriously empty….
Conscious eating just takes practice. Slow down and pay attention to eat bite. Smell it, taste it, savor it. Likely you will feel more satisfaction and eat much less when you are aware that you are eating. The last bite is never as satisfying as the first few.
Take time with your meals and enjoy the food and the company at the table. Maybe use the holidays as an opportunity to invite your friends over for a homemade treat. The more awareness we bring to the what, where, when and why we are eating, the easier it is to develop life long healthy eating habits.
How to navigate a holiday party:
- Again, drinking is ALWAYS optional! Cranberry/soda is easy and delicious. Add a sprig of Rosemary to make it festive. BYOB can be BYO…… Bring what YOU want to drink and bring enough to share with like-minded guests.
- Often your beverage is more popular than you would expect!
- You’ve heard it before, I know. But eating a small, healthy snack before the party will help you navigate the party food and choose wisely.
- Get just one small plate and fill it with a few consciously selected appetizers so you don’t end up grazing for hours on end.
- Bring a dish you make at home to share.
- Feel confident in asking what something is, or what it is made of. If it isn’t up to your healthier standards, pass it up or ‘deconstruct’ it before you eat it. Think removing frosting, or getting the sauce on the side or not at all.
- Choose the lighter desserts – fruit or a cookie or small piece of one you want to try. Remember you don’t have to eat it all. A little bite will do ya.
- Share dessert with a friend, or split an entree.
- Drink WATER, alone or between alcoholic beverages.
- Remember that every choice will have a result. Will your choice move you toward or away from your desired result?
- Cleanliness is so important in staying healthy! Germs spread! Keep your hands washed and away from your face.
- Rest before the party. When you are tired, you are at risk for getting off the healthy train track.
My easy go-to for healthy recipes is Clean Eating Magazine- online too!
What is your favorite holiday treat? Want help in cleaning it up? Drop me a line!
NC, CNE, ERYT
Basic Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is an easy make ahead choice for breakfast. The texture is like tapioca pudding. Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, which support healthy skin. Ounce to ounce, they contain more omega-3’s than salmon. These fatty acids help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and studies have shown them to be heart protective by lowering blood pressure and inflammation. Adding variety to your pudding is easy. Use what you have, play with your spices. Swap the cinnamon and ginger for cacao (not cocoa) powder or vanilla. You can also add a little Great Lake’s Collagen powder to up the nutritional benefits.
Ingredients to make 4 servings
3/4 cup chia seeds
4 cups homemade almond or plant milk
2 tablespoons pure and organic maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup raw unsalted nuts (optional)
1 tbsp. mini chocolate chips (optional)
Sliced banana, kiwi, strawberries, or any fruit of choice for serving
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
Putting it all together:
- In a large bowl, whisk the chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, and ginger. Add dried fruit and nuts, if you choose. The mixture starts out runny.
- Carefully Pour into four (12 ounce) airtight glass mason jars (I always have to wipe down the sides) Put into the fridge for a few hours if you can’t wait, or overnight to allow pudding to thicken. Top with fresh fruit or more nuts and serve cold.
Note: Keep refrigerated for about 4 days, but I wouldn’t store it much longer than that, since we made our own almond milk, which will spoil faster without all the chemical preservatives.
Magic Green Everything Dip
1 ripe avocado
½ cup pistachios, raw & unsalted
½ cup fresh organic parsley, packed
1 cup fresh organic cilantro, packed
2 cloves garlic, or to taste
¼ cup chopped onion
1 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed
- Not as good with pickled jalapenos (I tried in a pinch)
1 large fresh lime, juiced
½ cup water
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. sea salt (I use pink Himalayan)
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Options: Kick up the heat and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Find your inner Italian and add some fresh oregano.
Place all ingredients except the nuts into a high-speed food processor, like a Vitamix. Mix until blended. Add the pistachios and pulse until you have the consistency you want. Dips will be thicker, marinades require more water.
Play with your flavors and your spices. Use your nose, and if it smells good together, it will taste good together. This recipe is easy to “hide” booster foods in, like a bit of turmeric, nutritional yeast, or sea veggies in place of sea salt.
If you cannot find raw shelled pistachios (worth the extra $, I promise) go ahead with the roasted and/or salted, BUT omit the sea salt until you taste it. You can always add in, but you cannot take it back out! ?
This can be used as a dip, a sauce, a marinade, salad dressing or a spread. Just add more or less water to the consistency and use you desire.
I have been obsessed with this as a dip for roasted brussel sprouts, and grilled shrimp!!
Brownies! Sweet Potato Style!
original recipe from Joy McCarthy
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. (as close as I can get) mashed, cooked sweet potato
¾ cup almond butter
½ cup + 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 single servings organic unsweetened applesauce- or short of 1 cup
1 ½ cups raw cacao powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup dark, semi-sweet mini chocolate chips- I like Thrive and Enjoy life brands
Preheat oven to 350 and bake a large sweet potato until fork tender- about 40 min.
Remove from oven and let cool, set aside.
Reduce oven temp to 325. Line a 9X9 baking dish with parchment paper. (I used an 8X8, they did not spill over, but rose to the rim)
Take the cooled sweet potato and slide the skin off and mash the flesh. Measure out 1 heaping cupful.
In a large bowl add the sweet potato, almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce and eggs. Mix until there are no lumps of almond butter. Pour all of the dry ingredients on top. Do not overmix, or the baking soda will activate too early and the brownies won’t rise. Mix just enough to remove the bumps and lumps.
Pour into the pan over the parchment paper and smooth into the corners. Sprinkle lightly with the chocolate chips.
Bake for about 40 minutes, but check them at 25. Mine took 45 minutes at 8432 feet. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares. Keep and serve chilled. You can individually wrap in plastic and freeze any extra. These will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of antioxidants. They are high in Vitamin C and carotenes. Although it is a starchy veggie, studies have shown that they help in blood sugar stabilization by improving the bodies response to insulin. They are high in fiber too.
Cacao – aka pure chocolate, contains flavonoids and proanthocyanidins which are the same compounds that provide the health benefits in many fruits and medicinal plants.
Almond butter lends a good healthy fat, protein and a little more fiber to the mix.
My Manhattan Styled Meatballs
So, these are not my normal super clean and healthy variety recipe, BUT they are better than most health-wise. We use organic meats, gluten free bread crumbs and free-range eggs. I prefer to use fresh pineapple when it is in season, but a BPA free canned version is fine. The BBQ sauce and preserves you choose should be the cleanest version you can find. Watch for the sugar content and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Do the best you can. My latest batch included Apricot BBQ sauce and Robert Rothschild’s Hot Pepper Peach preserves and I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes too!
2 lbs. of ground elk, grass fed beef, or turkey
½ cup minced onion
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 13 oz. jar of BBQ sauce.
1 12 oz. jar of pineapple preserves.
½ cup crushed and or blended pineapple
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, mix the BBQ sauce, preserves and pineapple together and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley and combine well. (I find it easier to use my hands, just make sure they are clean!) Once it is mixed well, add ½ cup of the BBQ sauce mixture and mix well. You want it to be very moist, but where it still holds together in a ball.
Take a large baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil, form the mixture into 1-2-inch balls and arrange in a single layer.
Option 1: pour the remaining sauce over the meatballs and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the meat is cooked, but not overdone!
Option 2: Bake the meatballs for 30-35 minutes, until just done. In a serving crock pot, place some of the sauce into the pot, add the meatballs and then pour the remaining sauce over the top. This method works great for larger parties.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve with toothpicks!