Archive | May, 2014

Joyful Rainbow Salad

26 May

IMG_1028I know… it’s hard to say “eat the rainbow” and NOT think of those tiny sugar pellet candies. This would be the healthy non-food coloring version, hence the word “rainbow” sandwiched between “joyful” and “salad.” Hit up your own garden or favorite farmer’s stand to create this quick burst of delicious energy.

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 bunch carrots, chopped

1/3 small red onion, coarsely chopped

1 jar green olives (pitted and stuffed with garlic)

1 jar kalamata black olives (pitted)

fresh basil and oregano to taste

1 tsp olive oil to coat

Directions:

1. Mix ingredients and enjoy!

2. May also add: radishes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, kale or other greens, feta cheese, balsamic or red wine vinegar–whatever inspires you!

For more food inspiration, check out these recipes. Yum!

Homemade Produce Wash: How to Get the Funk Off Your Fruit (and Veggies)

19 May
This pear is about to get a spa treatment.

This pear is about to get a spa treatment.

Obvious statement: I dig gardening and Farmers’ Markets. Always have, always will. I remember many instances eating strawberries and chives straight from my parents’ garden as a little girl. No rinsing or checking for bugs… maybe just a little air to blow the dirt off if I noticed any. Probably not my finest moment in food hygiene, but I definitely excelled at the Farm to Table experience in my younger years.

 

Now that I am a gardening adult, fully aware of the amount of manure I use in my garden, I like to make sure my food is actually clean before I eat it. The secret weapon: apple cider vinegar. Not only can it make your hair shine and improve your digestion, but this little wonder can clean your produce of dirt, bugs and bacteria. Woot, woot!

 

Here’s how…

 

Mix 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar (I prefer Bragg’s) for every 1 cup of filtered water you use. Place the produce in a bowl or your kitchen sink (make sure the sink is clean) and soak it in this mixture for at least 5 minutes. Scrub (with a designated produce scrub brush or your hands), rinse with water, pat dry and savor!

3 Ways to Enjoy Asparagus… (and why it makes your pee stink)

12 May
Chicken Zucchini "pasta" with sauteed asaragus, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Chicken Zucchini “pasta” with sautéed asparagus, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

This delicate spring green is one of my favorite vegetables, but it is in season for such a short time that I binge eat it–enjoying every last bite and not-so-much enjoying every last drop of stinky pee (more on that later). My parents have always grown asparagus in their garden, but you can find it at any Farmer’s Market stand or in the grocery store.

 

Since it is delicate, you have to be careful you don’t cook it into a fine mushy consistency and kill all of its flavor and health benefits… a few of which include fiber, folate (helps brain function), vitamins A, C, E and K, chromium (helps regulate blood sugar levels), cancer-fighting and age-defying antioxidants, and it is a diuretic which is awesome for anyone who suffers from edema or any heart-related disease.

 

Here are three quick and simple ways to enjoy asparagus.

 

1. Steamed. Place half an inch of water in a large stock pot and then place a metal steam basket in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. While water is boiling, clean and cut asparagus stalks into 3-inch pieces, making sure you snap off the rough ends. Place in stock pot and steam for 7-9 minutes depending on how thick the stalks are. When finished steaming, use a hot pad to take the basket out and place the asparagus in a cold water bath to cool and retain color. Pat dry and serve.

 

2. Roasted. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Snap off rough ends, wash and pat dry asparagus, then toss with coconut oil, sea salt and pepper to taste (garlic is nice too). Lay asparagus on a cookie sheet, ensuring they do not overlap. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until asparagus is crisp and tender.

 

3. In Stuff. Now that’s descriptive, isn’t it? Once you clean it and snap off the ends, you can toss it in egg bakes, frittatas or saute with mandolin-sliced zucchini for a light olive oil based veggie pasta (see photo). Yum!

 

…. And why does it make your pee so stinky? Well, when our body digests asparagus, it breaks down a chemical, asparagusic acid, into a sulfur-containing compound. When that baby is airborne, watch out ’cause your pee is gonna stank. That sulfur compound becomes a gas at room temp, rising out of your urine and into your nose. However, only 25% of the population reports stinky asparagus pee which scientists believe is linked to a single gene mutation, meaning you have an extra special sniffer if you can detect that pungent odor. Yay you!

The Fit 5: How to Stay Healthy and Happy on Vacation

5 May
Rock climbing in Utah.

Rock climbing in Utah.

Part Two in a two-part series on staying active and healthy while on vacation. If you missed Part One, click here.

Turn off your cell phone, slip into something comfy and channel your inner Olivia Newton-John, ‘cause we’re about to get physical. Why return home tanned when you can return home toned, energized and more joyful than ever? Here are five simple tips to stay healthy while you relax and recharge.

  1. Savvy Sights. It is easy and fun to stay active at a resort or national park. Take advantage of hikes, water sports, cycling, rock climbing, yoga and skiing. Is an Urban holiday more your taste? No problem. Skip the taxi and walk as much as possible, visit plenty of museums, zoos or amusement parks and book a hotel with a gym, swimming pool or outdoor playground (Monkey bar pull ups and elevated single leg swing seat squats anyone? Yes, please!) Always have fun with creative play and movement—whether you are enjoying the beaches of Carmel or the grassy patch in your backyard.
  2. Snack Smart. Planes, trains and automobiles—whatever your mode of transportation, pack healthy treats to keep energy high and blood sugar levels stable. Before your trip, purchase raw nuts or seeds, fruit (apples and pears are durable) and individual nut butter packets. If you have a cooler, you can also add hummus, cut vegetables, plain greek yogurt and pre-made wraps for meals.
  3. Keep Cool. Booking a hotel with a kitchen or even a mini-fridge is a great way to save money and your waistline. Once you reach your destination, go to the grocery store and stock up on staples for breakfast, snacks and even lunch. Possibilities are endless with a kitchen, but with a mini-fridge you can still fix delectable delights like yogurt parfaits (greek yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts), make portable wraps by purchasing plain cooked meats at the deli (chicken, salmon, etc.), cut veggies, hummus, guacamole or cheese and buy plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated.
  4. Divide and Conquer. Resorts have buffets, cities have fancy-pants restaurants and you always have a choice to enjoy delicious and nutritious food without depriving yourself. Ensure every meal has vegetables (bearer of bad tidings: corn is not a vegetable and potatoes are starches) and protein with a small portion of “oh my gosh, I must have this!” side item or split a dessert four-ways. Not trying to be a fun-hater, but avoid battered and/or fried foods and make sure your vegetables and protein are not drenched in cheese, gravy or creamy sauces.
  5. Drink Water. I’m talking bowel movements, people. Ya know how traveling can disrupt your normal routine? Who wants to be bloated and dehydrated on vacation? Not I! Plane rides, warmer climate, activities—they can all dehydrate us, even cold weather activities like skiing. Pack water bottles, opt for water over soda or alcohol at meals and sip herbal tea instead of dehydrating coffee or fruit juice in the morning. Your bowels will thank you.