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French Green Beans with Shallot Red Pepper Vinaigrette

24 Nov
IMG_1979

Served with seasoned grass-fed beef (minced shallot, oregano, thyme, basil, fennel seeds, bay leaf, sea salt) and kalamata black olives.

Side dishes do not need to be complicated, especially during the busy holiday months, but life is too short for them NOT to be delicious and healthy. Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

Ingredients:

2 lb French green beans

1 Tbsp Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Place clean green beans in a steamer basket (set in a large stock pot with boiling water) and steam for 8 minutes or until tender, but not mush. Remove and place in an ice bath or run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Pat dry. Set in large bowl.

2. In a bowl (or dressing shaker), whisk the remaining ingredients. Pour desired amount on green beans, toss and serve.

3. Serve them as a side or mixed in as one dish (as shown in photo). Toasted walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds are also a nice option.

Bison and Black Lentil Chili

3 Nov

IMG_1973A bowl of chili on a crisp night with a classic book soothes my soul–bonus points for a crackling fire. I like my chili hearty, so it’s loaded with vegetables and can easily be made vegan/vegetarian by replacing the ground bison with an extra cup of lentils.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground bison (or grass-fed beef, turkey or chicken)

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small red onion, diced

6 carrots, chopped

2 red bell peppers, diced

2 heads broccoli cut into florets

5 celery stalks, chopped

1 cup dry black lentils, rinsed

24 oz jar crushed tomatoes, low or no sodium

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, low sodium

1 tsp sea salt

20 turns cracked black pepper

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 Tbsp dried oregano

2 Tbsp chili powder

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Directions:

1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, brown the bison and drain the fat.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to simmer for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Serves 6-8

How to Throw a Halloween Hootenanny 101

20 Oct
Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Let it be said: I am from the generation that slayed vampires as opposed to falling in love with them and letting them sparkle (it must be noted that Buffy the Vampire Slayer did produce some enjoyable vampires in Angel and Spike). So there’s that. Now, let’s enjoy Halloween minus the guilt, shame, upset stomachs and sugar comas!

 

Here are 2014’s Tips for a Halloween Hootenanny to Remember…

1. Bring Nature In. Rather than decorating with candy corn, use acorns, apples, or leaves to add a homey vibe to your fall decor… or (un)lively things like mummies, zombies and spiders. Whatever…

2. Let it Glow! Swap the spider cupcakes and bloody cookie fingers in your gift bags for a G-rated Rave and hand out some glow sticks.

3. Work Your Thang. Build special memories with your kids and show them (and yourself) that play is fun and important for a healthy body. Start the night with a Mini-Monster’s Ball before your dinner. Play the Monster Mash and other fun Halloween tunes and dance your little vampire heart out. After dinner, join the kiddos and walk house-to-house with them while they trick-or-treat. Take turns thinking of different ways to get to the next house… maybe you do the Igor Foot Slide, the Boogie Man Boogie or the Headless Horseman Trot.

4. Bat Wings, Brains and Barf. Doesn’t that menu just scream “Eat Me!?” Plan a fun Halloween dinner that will actually excite the kids to sit down and eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. Think chicken “bat” wings, scrambled “brains,” carrot “fingers” with almond “fingernails” (stick the slivered almonds on the carrots with a little hummus), or guacamole vomit (bonus points for extra chunky and having it come out of a pumpkin or other figure) with vegetable dippers.

5. Savor Your Sweets with Enjoyment and Pleasure. It is Halloween, have your favorite candy or cookie or dark-chocolate dipped carameled apple and enjoy it in the company of your family or friends. The key is to not just devour it, but savor it. Eat it slowly, taking time to notice all of the flavors, colors, textures and feelings. Make it a game and see who can eat the slowest. The more we enjoy food, the less power it has over us and the better we realize that one actually is enough.

6. Spread the Love. Allow your kids to choose 10 pieces of their favorite bite-size candy (a month supply at two pieces per week). Allow them (and yourself) to have one or two pieces of candy that night. Place the remainder in the freezer, picking one night during the week when they may have two more pieces of candy. This will give all of you something to look forward to and know that you aren’t depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treat. After they choose their candy, bag the rest and donate it or throw it away. Many organizations and dentist offices will collect the candy (and some will pay you for it) and donate it to troops overseas. Go to http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com for a list of participating businesses.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween, laugh often, be safe and enjoy the little moments in life.

Spaghetti 2.0

13 Oct

IMG_1969Sometimes traditional recipes just need a little nutritional upgrade that doesn’t downgrade the flavor. Mangia!

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

5 cloves garlic, skin on

4 heads of broccoli

1 lb ground bison (can also use grass-fed beef or turkey)

1 small yellow onion, diced

24 oz jar tomato sauce (I like Bionaturae brand)

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried basil

1/2 tsp sea salt

20 turns cracked black pepper

optional garnish: toasted squash seeds, fresh basil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Cut the top stem and bottom off of the spaghetti squash, then cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds (rinse and pat dry for later if you want to toast them), coat the skin with olive oil and lay each half cut side up on a baking pan. Also, coat the garlic cloves (skin on) in olive oil and place them on the sheet too. Roast for 20 minutes.

2. While the squash is roasting, chop the broccoli into florets and steam in a steam basket for 15 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water to cool.

3. About now the timer will go off on the squash and garlic. Remove the roasted garlic and place the squash back in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes or until done.

4. Then, brown bison (or meat of choice) in a large skillet pan. Drain grease. Peel the cooled garlic, mince it and add it to the skillet along with the diced onion, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Allow the squash to cool while the meat sauce is still simmering. Once cooled, use a fork to remove the spaghetti-like strands. Plate the spaghetti, then broccoli and top with the meat sauce. Add additional toppings such as the toasted squash seeds (the toasting method is described in this recipe) or fresh basil.

Serves 4-6

Hearty Chicken Soup with Basil Oil

15 Sep

IMG_1956Soup is the ultimate comfy cozy food. This healthy take on an old-fashioned favorite, Chicken Noodle Soup, is Danielle Walker’s recipe (her recipes and her story are amazing, so please check her out). I added more vegetables and topped it with basil oil for dimension. When I’m in a time crunch, it helps to buy a rotisserie chicken and let it cool before shredding it (which is a perfect time to chop the carrots, celery and onion).

Chicken Soup Ingredients:

1 roasted free range chicken or 3 chicken breasts, hormone and antibiotic free, cooked and shredded

8-10 celery stalks, chopped

8 carrots, chopped

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

6 cups low sodium chicken broth (I like Pacific Foods brand)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

2 lbs zucchini

 

Basil Oil Ingredients:

2 cups basil, tightly packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

1. Shred cooked chicken into bite size pieces or cubes and place in large stock pot. Then, add cleaned and chopped celery and carrots, diced onion, chicken broth, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

2. While pot is simmering, use a mandoline slicer to julienne cut cleaned zucchini (you can peel the zucchini prior to cutting if you want it to look more like noodles). Set zucchini “noodles” aside.

3. Now make the basil oil, adding basil, olive oil, salt and garlic to a food processor. Blend, place in an air-tight container and set aside.

4. Once the 25 minutes is finished, add the zucchini and continue simmering for another 8 minutes.

5. When soup is finished (total of 33 minutes on the stove), remove the bay leaf, spoon soup into the bowls, drizzle with basil oil and feel all warm and cozy!

Serves 6-8

Spice-Roasted Acorn Squash

9 Sep

IMG_1952Just 1 cup of this cute little pumpkin (including all other winter squashes) is loaded with Vitamin A (60% of DV), C (26%), 5 grams of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Winter squashes are also shown to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels…. so how do you cook this delectable veggie? Well, while I love to use butternut squash in soup, I find simply roasting acorn squash in spices and herbs to be warm and comforting too!

 

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

1/2 tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

***you can also skip the spices and use herbs such as thyme, oregano and parsley with the sea salt

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Wash acorn squash thoroughly and pat dry. Cut off stem and bottom of squash, then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. You can discard the seeds or roast them. The skin is edible, so I don’t peel it, but you can if you want or if you’ve purchased a non-organic squash.

2. Cut the halved squash in half again, then cut into 1/4″ wedges (I follow the natural grooves of the acorn squash) so they resemble steak-size fries.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and spices (or the herb options with sea salt).

4. Place the acorn squash wedges in the coconut mixture and coat well. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes.

Serves 2-4

Your New BFF: Best Food Friend

2 Sep
Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Homemade or store bought, this food is a health powerhouse!

Remember when your mom made chicken soup for you when you were sick? Well, moms are awesome and this is solid gold proof. Bone broth is the bee’s knees of food. My evening isn’t complete without a cup of bone broth and tea. Whenever you decide to drink yours, these benefits will be yours…

1. Heals the Gut. Gelatin found in bone broth protects and heals the lining of your digestive tract. If you’ve ever heard of leaky gut syndrome and/or suffer from food sensitivities, bone broth is your new best friend.

2. Gives you Happy Joints, Skin, Hair and Nails. Glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus found in bone broth helps stimulate new collagen, bone and hair growth; repairs damaged joints; strengthens nails; and reduces pain and inflammation.

3. Helps You Rest Easy and Detox. Glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, is very calming to the body and it helps detoxify the liver–BONUS!

4. Better and Cheaper than Supplements. Bone broth is simple and inexpensive to make. (You can also buy it prepared as pictured above.)