Vegan Crockpot Tacos

Since I’m currently 36 weeks + 3 days pregnant I’m in major nesting mode between cleaning, organizing and cooking I’m trying to do everything I can to get ready for baby.  This includes some make ahead meals.  Now I certainly do not intend for these to last another month, but it does means I will be testing recipes that are quick, easy and can be made ahead prior to baby’s arrival.  It also means finding very simple recipes that my hubby can easily re-produce while I’m in resting, healing and taking care of baby mode.

So in an attempt to find a few more creative ideas I went to Pinterest and found a really tasty looking mexican quinoa crockpot recipe and thought I would give it a try. I stumbled across this really fantastic blog, Chelsea’s Messy Apron.  I wanted to give her tacos a try but of course add my own spin on them but it was a great base and thought starter for me.  She also has beautiful food pics which I always appreciate!

Super easy just throw everything in the crockpot.  PRep time is minimal and really easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 can organic corn
  • 1 tbsp Spiceologist Chili Margarita Lime Seasoning
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1/2 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper (with seeds removed to take out the spice)
  • 1 fresh squeezed lime (1/2 for crockpot mixture and 1/2 for garnish when serving)

Instructions:

  1. In a large crockpot add the all the ingredients above. Make sure to rinse the beans, corn and quinoa prior to adding to the crockpot.
  2. Stir. Cover and cook on high for 2.5 – 3 hours.  Make sure to check this as all crockpots cook at different speed and temps.  You may want to add more time if needed.
  3. When quinoa is fully cooked serve on tortillas or alone.  I made paleo tortillas the other day and they are a huge hit with my hubby and I so we will probably use these rather than buying tortillas.  Link to the recipe here
  4. Lasty, garnish with your favorite toppings.   I love garnishing with avocado and fresh squeezed lime.

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Can’t Beet this veggie burger!

If you love veggie burgers like I do then you are constantly on the hunt for the next best, freshly created burger.  If not, you opt to create you own.  The thing about great veggie burgers is they are mushy, messy and typically very hard to maintain in burger form which is ironic they are called a burger.  However, the point is that these delicious variations take some prep time and its certainly not something you want to make on a Monday night after work for dinner.  This is more of a weekend project where you have time, are ready to make a mess and stock up for the weeks ahead.

The wonderful things about pepping these burgers is you can freeze them and save them for months.  I have a constant stock in my freezer to take out at any given time.  I like to always have something available for a very quick meal on the go or a late dinner after a long day.  The other great thing is they are filled with so many veggies and beans they literally provide all of the essential nutrients and macros in one patty that you would need to create for an entire meal.  It makes it easy to everything at once on the go!  Now, who can resist making these after hearing that?  I mean, there’s no downside except the prep!

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These veggie burgers are also gluten free, vegan and all freaking natural just the way I like them!  Now, get ready to make you kitchen and hands a mess!  Have fun!!

  • 3 medium roasted red beets
  • 1 large roasted parsnip
  • 4 roasted Jerusalem artichokes
  • 2 large roasted carrots
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans
  • 3/4 cup brown rice cooked
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp Spiceologist Greek Freak
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

First, roast the beets, carrots, parsnips & artichokes at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Set aside and cool.

Meanwhile, bring approx 2 cups of water to a boil and add brown rice.   Set aside and let drain and cool.

Begin sauteing garlic, onions and kale with olive oil.  this shold soften the onions and kale but shouldn’t be charred just golden brown.

Peel and chop the roasted veggies and set aside.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Add all of the veggies, oats and beans to the food processor.  You may have to process half the mix and then the second half.  Once you have processed lightly for about 5-10 seconds then combine in large bowl.  Add the brown rice, spices, egg & flour.

Heat a large pan with a generous amount of olive oil.  form mix into patties the size of your palm.  They  will more look like balls but that’s ok!  They don’t form right way and take a minute to simmer in the olive oil to form and brown.  Let simmer on each side for approx 5-8 minutes.  Make sure both sides are brown/charred and carefully continue flipping until the patties have hardened enough to remove from the pan.

Once you remove from pan, move immediately to parchment paper to cool.  Let set for approx 5-10 minutes and they are ready to eat!  If you are planning to store them, let cool for 30-45 min before packaging.  I like to keep them in the freezer and heat in the microwave whenever needed.

I hope you enjoy!!!  Until next time, I’d love to hear feedback or tag me in your pictures if you try the recipe @AngieRHart1 on Instagram!!

 

 

Balanced Bowls

Spicy Tempeh Macro Bowl

If there’s one thing that I love to create the most, it’s BOWLS!  I love creating them because you can throw in a hodgepodge of ingredients and they always turn out great.  Some require more effort than others but overall the concept is the same.  Anything from smoothie bowls, salad bowls, macro bowls to just a bowl of freaking food, I love making bowls.

Since my recent trip to LA I’ve noticed the trend is really focused on Macro bowls.  I visited some of the hottest vegan joints from the Butcher’s Daughter, Café Gratitude, Gracias Madre & more.  I made it my mission to find as many possible raw, vegan, farm to plate restaurants as possible during my week long stay.  While the food was more incredible from one place to the next,  I noticed a common theme with a variety of bowls on the menu.  The spectrum is quite broad when it comes to the bowl themes.  If you are looking for a comfort bowl you can go for the southern food sampler with red beans and dirty rice, blackened jerk tempeh, barbecue sauce and some jalapeno gluten free biscuits, or you can go for the Mexican inspired bowl made with pinto beans, pico de gallo, salsa Verde, avocado, Portobello mushrooms and pickled veggies.  Whatever your taste buds desire, the bowl is got it made and you are sure to leave not feeling hungry!

The word macrobiotic is a diet in which an attempt is made to balance the yin and yang elements of food; this means that grains are a staple, supplemented with other foods such as vegetables, seeds, sauces & good fats.  When making a bowl you should start with these basic steps:

  • Grains – base of your bowl. These should make up about 40-50% of your meal.  You can use anything from brown rice, barley, millet, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, buckwheat & etc. are recommended sources.
  • Vegetables – Veggies are the most important part of your macro meal. Cooked and raw veggies should make up 30-40% of your bowl.  Leafy greens are key and using local and in season veggies are always preferred.
  • Protein – Anything from fish, tempeh, tofu, chickpeas, lentils & etc. should make up about 20% of your bowl. *If you eat meat you can certainly substitute here as well to make a bowl it just isn’t part of the macrobiotic diet.
  • Condiments/Oils – Oils like coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil are great. Miso paste, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, tamari, tahini, brown rice syrup, veggie broth, avocado & etc. are great options.
  • Fermented foods – Tempeh is ideal but pickled veggies are a great option to bring lots of probiotics into your diet.
  • Sea Vegetables – Sea veggies like seaweed, kelp and etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals and great additions to your health and can be added as extra toppings.

Now that you know the basics, you are ready to start making your bowl!  I also love spices and have a variety on hand.

First I started with the rice, since that takes some time to sauté over the stove it’s nice to start it early so it’s simmering when you are preparing the rest of your ingredients.  Bowl making requires some juggling in the kitchen and I had 4 projects going on at one time so make sure you are equipped with space and you can set aside the ingredients to prepare a beautiful bowl at the end.

Second, I started the kale salad since I wanted to massage the kale to ensure it was nice and lathered making it more desirable when eating.  First I removed the steps from the kale then chopped it into smaller pieces and set aside into a colander.  Once I had filled the colander I rinsed the leaves and patted dry with a paper towel and set aside.  Meanwhile, it was time to prepare the dressing.  I made a vegan avocado “Caesar” dressing because it really does taste like Caesar dress, however it doesn’t look like it!

Third, start sautéing the onions & mushrooms with the tempeh.  You will want to put a small amount of olive oil in the pan and add in the chopped onion and mushrooms.  Let the veggies sauté and lightly brown and remove from heat.  Immediately following the removal of the veggies, I used the same pan and threw in the tempeh.  After slicing into 1”x 3” slices you can place them into the pan and lightly season.  Depending on your spice tolerance you can go plain or throw in more spice.  My recipe consists of a spicy tempeh.

Avocado Caesar Dressing

  • ½ avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water

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  • Chop garlic cloves and add to blender with avocado, vinegar, tahini, lemon juice and water. Blend until smooth and is liquid enough to pour.  It should be the consistency of a creamy dressing like ranch or Caesar dressing.
  • Pour over kale leaves and toss until fully massaged though the leaves.

Spicy Chickpea Croutons

  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp curry
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Rinse beans and place into colander to ensure they are fully rinsed. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Spread evenly on baking sheet and top with oil. Mix the beans to ensure they are coated with oil to better absorb the spices.
  • Evenly distribute the paprika, curry, sea salt and cayenne pepper over the beans and shake the pan to evenly coat the beans.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chickpeas are a bit crispy
  • Remove and set aside to let cool then top on kale salad when you have the bowl prepared.

Spicy Tempeh & Sautéed veggies

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup shitake mushrooms
  • ½ onion

Sauté in pan for about 5-8 min on high.  Remove from pan and set aside.

  • 1 pkg light life 3 grain tempeh
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

 

  1. While pan is still hot, add in the sliced tempeh so they are flat in the pan so one side starts to sear and brown.
  2. While those are sautéing, add all of the spices (pepper, salt, cayenne & paprika) into a bowl and mix.
  3. Sprinkle on the spice mix so you use about ½ of the mix.
  4. Turn the tempeh to sear the other side and use the remaining spice mix. Both sides should be lightly browned and crispy.

Now that you have prepared all of your ingredients you can remove the rice from the stove, drain and set aside.  The last piece here is to take your seaweed paper and cut into 1×1” chunks.  I used about ¼ cup per bowl.

Now that you have all of the ingredients, you are ready to create your bowl!

  • Start with you base and add approx. ½ cup – ¾ cup of rice
  • Section out the bowl into quarters.
    1. Add your tempeh to cover ¼ of the section of rice. It will be approx. 4-6 piece.
    2. Add the sautéed veggies to cover approx. ¼ section of the rice
    3. Add kale salad to cover approx. ¼ of the bowl (depending on what veggie you want more of you can cover more or less of the bowl with the topping). Top with approx. 2 tbsp crispy chickpeas
    4. Add seaweed chucks to ¼ section of the bowl
  • If you want to add a topping, you can drizzle the avocado Caesar dressing or a dressing of your choice.

Now you are ready to enjoy your balanced Macro bowl! IMG_0829

Week 1 – Healthy Eating on a Budget

The great thing about being prepared is you don’t stress out about lunch and you know you are eating healthy.  I’m also saving a lot of money this week and it’s only day 2!  Beyond the groceries I have I would typically get a regular coffee for close to $3.  I generally would spend between $12-15 for lunch, at least 2, sometimes 3 days during the week.  For dinner, we always have a bottle of wine (averaging about $15-18) and for the past two nights we’ve been going wine-less.  In one day, I’ve saved over $30 which is pretty exciting!

Going back to my previous post on my groceries bought for lunch in my week 1 post, I had the following meals on Tuesday.

DAY 2 – Week 1

9:30 AM – Breakfast (at work post spin class)

1 pkt 365 Instant Original Oatmeal (150 cal/2.5g fat/27g carbs/4g dietary fiber/1g soluble fiber/<1g sugar/6g protein)

½ scoop Sun Warrior Blend Chocolate Protein Powder (which I keep stock in vanilla and chocolate at all times)

1 Tsp maca (I use as a supplement because it is rich in vitamin B, C, and E. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids)

1 tsp PB2 ( I typically have in the house and this is just for flavor if I want to keep my fat content lower at a specific meal otherwise I would use the nut butter itself)

Mix in all the above ingredients.  Add approx. ¾ cup water (hot or heat in microwave for 1 min).  Stir & add in ¼ cup of almond milk until consistency is creamy.  Add more milk if needed.  Heat another 20-30 seconds, stir and enjoy!

12:30 PM  – Lunch

½ cup leftover homemade daal & ¼ cup brown rice (From Sunday’s dinner)

1 slice Ezekiel bread

¼ sliced/mashed avocado

1 bottle Kombucha – post meal.  During lunch I drink water

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3:30 PM – SNACK

Wallaby 0% Greek Plain Yogurt

1 Tbsp Almond butter

1 medium mango sliced

8:00 PM – DINNER

2 – Homemade Black Bean Sweet Potato Burger topped with ¼ sliced avocado & salsa (recipe to come tomorrow and will be linked)

*Made baked lemon pepper chicken for my fiancé so I’m including that recipe here since I don’t eat meat)

  1. Cut 2 large organic chicken breasts and divide into 2  (makes 4 pieces)
  2. heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in microwave for 20 sec or until melted.  Pour mixture over chicken breasts
  3. squeeze 1/2 lemon over chicken breasts and top with black pepper
  4. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes or until cooked all the way through

1 Liter of water

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SNACK – post dinner

½ cup wasabi peas (not recommended for a clean diet by craving them!)

 

DAY 3 – Week 1

10AM – Green Juice

12PM – HU Kitchen

This was a last minute lunch with an out of town friend who was in the city for 1 day. I went outside of my grocery list to meet her because sometimes there are things that just come up and you have to make exceptionsJ

  • 1 paleo wild salmon cake
  • 1 paleo curried sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry Kombucha

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3:30PM – Vega One Spiced Chai protein shake with almond milk

7:00PM – Dinner

  • Homemade sweet potato burgers from the previous night topped with sliced avocado, sliced tomato and a side of salsa

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DAY 4 – WEEK 1

8:30AM Breakfast (post workout lifting)

2 hard-boiled egg whites

1 slice whole grain bread

¼ avocado smashed on toast

1 tsp hemp seeds sprinkled on top

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LUNCH 12:00PM

2 slices of whole grain toast

¼ avocado smashed on top of one piece and lemon dill tuna on the other

1 hard-boiled egg white

 

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SNACK 3:30PM (need extra carbs for spin class at 6:30)

Bowl of fruit drizzled in raw almond butter.  (1 small mango, 3 strawberries & ½ banana sliced)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we are leaving for Miami tomorrow morning the goal was to clean out the fridge and that meant getting creative and mixing a lot of sides to equal a main.  It ended up delicious and very filling!  Best part is we cleaned out the fridge before we left for the weekend to start week 2!

Dinner 7:30PM (empty out the fridge night)

Sauteed brussel sprouts & tempeh  + leftover homemade sweet potato & black bean burger topped with a slice of avocado

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Breakfast on Friday pre our 8am flight was 2 hard boiled egg whites, leftover avocado and a slice of sprouted grain bread.

The weekend consisted of eating and drinking whatever we wanted.  We enjoyed wine, mojitos, gelato, chocolate desert, sushi, chips & guacamole, tacos and whatever we wanted.  We also were very active walking, running, biking and dancing the night away in little Havana.  We enjoyed the food, drink, culture and spent time with friends.  Life is about balance and its not worth it if you can’t enjoy yourself once in a while.  Next week goes back to eating clean.

 

 

 

 

Health Food on a budget challenge Week 1

I decided to challenge myself to actually track how much I spend on groceries.  I love seeing how creative I can get with the groceries I just purchased for the week combined with what I already have in my cabinets.  Now I have pretty basic ingredients to start but if you don’t know what I mean by basics you will start to learn if you follow along throughout this challenge.

I always like to purchase groceries for my fiancé and I and plan meals for the week.  We give ourselves a weekly budget but let’s be serious, we never stick to that budget.  Of all places we live in New York City with the best of the best restaurants, happy hours and a very packed social and work calendars.  Some weeks eating at home can be challenging but to hold ourselves to this challenge we removed our wine budget, yes we have a wine budget, and challenged ourselves to really stick to what we purchased this week.  Here’s a log of what was purchased to be prepared at work for lunch, including total cost, and a breakdown of what I ate today.

Lunches

Every Monday I walk to Whole Foods at lunch and get a few groceries for the week.  I’m usually pretty good about sticking to what I purchase but usually 1 or two days I’ll opt to go get sushi, a bowl or something else that sounds more appealing that day.  Here’s an image and long of what I purchased for $62.58.

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Here’s the full list of food purchased:

Ezekiel Bread

Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 mangos

2 avocados

3 small bananas

2 pink grapefruit

.84lb lemon dill tuna salad (no dairy)

1 jar organic almond butter (no sweetener, just almonds)

12 oz raw organic pressed beet juice

2 wallaby 0% plain Greek yogurt

12 oz vegan carrot ginger soup

Engine 2 Tuscan White Bean Burger

Monday, April 4th Log

Wake up 6:15 – Hot water with 1/2 sliced lemon to start every day

Breakfast 10AM (not standard. Case of the Mondays = no workout and late arrival to work) – Juicy Cube fresh juice 12 oz Detox Expert (carrots, spinach, cucumber, ginger, apple, parsley)

Lunch 12:30pm – 1/3 cup lemon dill tuna salad + vegan carrot ginger soup 12oz + small homemade falafel brought in by colleague at work topped with tsp tahini.  I drink water with lunch but have my kombucha after to serve as my probiotic which is key in my diet.

snack 3:30 – 1/2 grapefruit + 1 tbsp almond butter drizzled on 1 sliced banana

*dinner 7:30 – baked sole & zucchini noodles

Tonight my fiancé and I were craving sweets so I had a ton of frozen bananas and made nice cream with what I had in the cabinets(cashew butter, cinnamon, coconut milk, coconut flakes & cacao nibs) Now these kitchen ingredients are not standard but I’m not normal so they are for me and I typically have a variety of foods like this hanging around:)

I also drink a ton of water all throughout the day.  Key to keep hunger at bay and maintaining or losing weight.

That’s about all I can write this evening because I’m just exhausted and need to get up early.   However, tomorrow I’ll share my dinner pics and groceries purchased from Fresh Direct and log my daily meals from that order.

 

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Experimenting today with the ripened bananas I have left in my kitchen and decided to experiment with a few different ingredients to see how delectable and nutritious I could make these little muffins.  Given I had a craving for chocolate today, I decided to spice up the typical banana muffins and add in some more flare and protein.

These guys came out quite delicious and was a fairly quick and simple baking process with no more than 15-20 min prep time and 15-20 min baking time.  I decided to add protein because I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more protein into my diet.  These were the perfect delivery method for a grab and go breakfast or snack.

I first mashed the bananas and started mixing and whipping the liquid ingredients.  Second, I added the dry ingredients of coconut flour, oat flour, plant protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, hemp seeds and mixed it till the mixture was very thick and smooth. I ended up adding some coconut milk to the mixture to keep the consistency moist for pouring into the muffin tins.

After mixing very well I added about a cup of chocolate chips to the mixture. Depending on your love for chocolate or your craving for the day,  you can add more or less but I prefer to have a multitude of chips in my cookies and muffins!

Makes approx 12 medium-large muffins.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and line your muffin tin and set aside

In medium mixing bowl, mash your bananas and add in your honey, vanilla, coconut oil, applesauce, eggs, coconut milk and almond butter.

Mix in your coconut flour, baking soda and oat flour and allow to sit for 2 minutes to thicken up. The mix will look runny at first but as the coconut flour absorbs the liquid the consistency will become more like a cake batter. 

Add in the chocolate chips and mix so the chips are evenly distributed.

Pour your combined mixture into your muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins start to rise and the top wills start to develop a golden brown color.  The muffins should be dense and fully cooked at this point.  You may want to do the fork test to ensure the muffins are cooked all the way through.  

Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Liquid Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 -3 ripened bananas
  • 3 tbsp honey or agave
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbs melted coconut oil or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup almond butter

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 scoop of plant protein (I used plant fusion)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds or chia seeds (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Here’s the end result!

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I hope you all enjoy!!

 

 

Pumpkin Protein Muffins

After a pumpkin craving struck I decided to take action and bake this weekend.  Just the smell of baked goods in the oven is enough to make you want to snuggle up on the couch with a fluffy faux fur blanket, sip on some ginger tea and indulge in delicious baked goods. When something tastes this good, it kinda feels like cheating but I call it, “clean cheating”.

Rather than add much dialog here I’ve outlined the recipe and ingredients below.  I also took some pics of the ingredients and the process along the way.  Don’t mind my photography skills as this are down and dirty shots intermittent with baking!  Hope you find these helpful!

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Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs (2 egg whites and 1 full egg)
  • 2 tbsp raw agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 scoops Plant Fusion Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

Mix all ingredients together – depending on how dense you want the muffins you can add more almond milk/coconut milk as desired.

Once all ingredients are blended spoon mix into muffin tin so its fills approx 3/4 of the way.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or fork comes out clean when put into a muffin.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with coconut sugar and almond butter topping(below).

Topping:

  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 2 tbsp well mixed organic raw almond butter

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Meatless Monday Lentils

I try to make an effort to post on a regular basis but I’m a bit lagging due to my busy schedule.  I have very long and full days starting with a 5am wake up for the gym, working all day and finding time to shop for groceries and cook can sometimes be a chore.  I really make an effort to ensure I eat clean on a daily basis and to do that it requires additional time and effort especially when I live in a city with so many great restaurants!  By the time I get home I don’t start prepping dinner until 7:30, which can make a very hungry boyfriend start to scavenge if I don’t work fast!  I say this because I am absolutely certain all of you deal with the same types of challenges everyday, which is why I started this blog.  Clean eating can sometimes be a chore, but it’s so worth it for your health, the health of your family and your wallet!

I decided to start with lentils because they are loaded with protein on a vegetarian dinner night and quite filling.  I wanted to use what seasonings and veggies I already had with an exception of a few extra items where I typically like to find inspiration at my local Chelsea market.   As I peruse the produce aisle I notice a bright pop of color coming from the beautiful peppers.  I was drawn to these very fall and festive looking vegetables and decided to pick up bright red and orange peppers and make stuffed peppers.  After grabbing a few more flavor boosters like garlic, onion and paprika its time to head back to my cooking haven to start dinner before the scavenger comes out.

Start by boiling the lentils, for those take by far the longest to prepare!  30-40 minutes is pretty typical to boil and simmer so the prep time can be painful when you are in a crunch.  To save yourself some time, try putting the lentils in the crockpot with the seasonings. You can use the below ingredients and cook them on low all day to get a nice pot of fully prepared lentils upon arrival.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup green lentils

3 cups water

2 Cloves fresh garlic

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp basil or small handful of fresh chopped basil

1 tsp paprika

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1-2 tsp cracked pepper

1-2 tsp salt

2-3 large peppers in bright colors

1/3 cup goat cheese

Start by preparing your pan with the garlic and olive oil.  Try to crack open your garlic clove and chop into into fine pieces.  Let the olive oil and garlic start to coat the pan to prepare to add the lentils.  Bring the lentils to a good boil and begin adding the remaining ingredients one by one as the lentils are boiling.   After all ingredients have been added and lentils are boiling, bring the lentils to medium and let simmer for 35-40 minutes, while stirring and watching for the water to dissolve into the lentils.  Keep adding water 1/4 cup at a time until lentils are soft.  For a little added creamy texture, try adding almond milk.  It really brings out the flavor and adds a nice creamy consistency(right).

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While lentils are finishing up, prepare the peppers by cutting in half and removing the core and seeds.  Clean them out so there is a nice opening to lay out the lentils evenly.  Place the half’s in at least a 1-2″ deep pan and drizzle some of the above seasoning and/or olive oil. For some added flavor, crumble goat cheese to the bottom of the peppers.  Once the lentils are soft, add them to the peppers and top with goat cheese.

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Place in oven on 350 and heat for approx 10-15 minutes or until peppers are browned at the edges and starting to soften.  Below is a picture of my final product:)

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7 tips to be a hydrated and healthy traveler

Staying hydrated and healthy can be a challenge in our daily lives, let alone while traveling. Whether you are taking a long haul flight across the world, hopping your next business flight or heading on a weekend getaway – you need to follow a few simple tips to stay hydrated and healthy.  These are my go to rules for flying the friendly, and sometimes not so friendly skies.

Hydrate

1.) Water, water and more water.  Grab your water bottle before boarding to ensure you can stay hydrated in flight.  To reduce waste and cut costs on expensive water bottles at the airport you can take your own empty bottle and refill at the numerous water bottle stations available. It’s nice to have something with you at all times because the minute you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  If you don’t plan to bring water, try to at least drink 8-12 ounces prior to flight.  However, don’t plan on the mini sips of water provided on the plane. Water in flight is barely enough to wet your whistle, let alone provide sufficient hydration.  Come prepared.

 

2.) Get your sleep.  Yeah you can get a mini snooze on the plane however that barely warrants sufficient sleep.  And what if you are lucky enough to be seated next to a chatty Cathy or a crying baby?  Your sleep time is over before it began.  So, do yourself a favor and get a good night’s sleep before jumping that flight or hit the hay a little earlier that night if possible.  Your skin will thank you.

 

 

Moisture

3.) MOISTURIZE.  There’s no such thing as over doing it.  To prep my skin before flight, I use an anti-aging serum, moisturizer and I also bring along a tube of ARTISTRY CC cream because is moisturizing and provides a light coverage.  Keep the makeup light and use extra moisturizer.  More on this topic to come….

 

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4.) Ease of up on the in-flight makeup.  I get you want to look good if you are heading to a meeting shortly after arrival, but use a good moisturizer as a base and avoid a heavy makeup or powder.  You can always add makeup once you land.  Keep it clean and your skin will return the favor.  I keep mascara, lip gloss, and ARTISTRY cc cream in my bag at all times.

 

 

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5.) Pass up the processed.  I know airports are carb and sugar haven’s but that doesn’t mean you need to subject your body to the destructive properties of such foods.  At the very least, reach for fresh ingredients like a piece of fruit.  I typically make and bring my own snacks, but no matter what airport you are flying to, you can find a banana, apple or orange.  Now fruit may not be your first choice but trust me the fiber will help the flying bloat and you will thank me for passing up the bloat inducing bagel.  Trust me, this is something you won’t regret.  Opt for fruit and grab yourself a plain yogurt or oats to go and your tummy and skin will thank you.

am 4556.) Lay off the coffee.  We all reach for the caffeine when traveling, especially for those early flights!  It get it.  Caffeine is necessary when you are up at 3:50am to catch a 6am flight.  I do early flights regularly where my eyes are still puffy and my brain isn’t yet functioning.  However, if you are going to do coffee, drink at least 8oz of water to compensate for the dehydration your body will experience.   Try to limit coffee and maybe try to drink tea, a green juice, pop a B12 vitamin or grab an XS Energy drink to help combat the morning haze for those early flights.

HAnds7.) Keep it clean.  Wash your hands!  I’m not a huge fan of antibacterial sanitizers but at the very least give your hands a thorough wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds to kill germs that can lead to infections.  Laying your head on a germ infested pillow or blanket on top of being exposed to so many people keep your hands clean.  Not only will it help you stay healthy but if you touch your face you avoid spreading the germs to your skin.

Work snacking healthy and simple

Looking for some nutritious snacks at work without all the prep time?  There are just some days we all don’t even have time to use the restroom, so why would we have time to go out to lunch let alone prepare lunch the night before?  The alternative then becomes the processed, sodium packed foods you find in your frozen food aisle at the grocery store, salad bar at work or the nearest food emporium.  This can not only become expensive but it tends to typically contain hidden calories and fat even though you think you are eating healthy!

The other option is taking time to meal prep on Sunday or the night prior.  Now I’m a huge proponent and love to prep, but with life, work, families and etc. it sometimes becomes an impossible feat.  Most of us are not in the business of body building and have many other priorities so it becomes this monster of a task to have healthy prepared meals in advance.  Now in the absence of having prepared meals, you start to snack and if you were any where like I do, the snacks are NOT healthy!

I’m here to help make this easy and take out the guess work and added stress.  I’ve had numerous creative trials with my office snacks & lunches and as long as you have a few simple ingredients it takes 2 minutes to create something delicious and nutritious.

Things to pack for this easy snack.

  1. Plain Greek Yogurt.  I prefer Fage or Siggi’s plain because they are low in sugar (<5g) and high in protein (15-17g) per 150g container (or individual size).
  2. Granola.  Whether it’s prepared or homemade the secret is to look for natural granola without the sugar.  My gauge is typically to search for granola with 10g of sugar or less, which is hard to find!
  3. Fresh Fruit.  Always have some on hand to add to any smoothie or bowl.  Berries and bananas are a staple for me because they are easy to add.  While traveling a banana and apple work great.
  4. Protein Powder.  No matter where I am, its always on me.  Either opt for a small container or the single serve pouches are great for carrying in your purse, suitcase, cupboard, laptop bag for work and etc.  Never leave home without it.  I prefer plant based options like Plant Fusion, SunWarrior, VegaOne, Garden of Life and many more.
  5. Superfoods.  I buy bulk hemp seeds, dried goji berries, chia seeds, maca powder, spirulina and more to have on hand at all times.  These can be easily added to any smoothie or bowl and are easy to take in small plastic containers or ziploc bags.  There are many health food stores that also sell individual pouches of these items as well.

Directions:

  • Mix a scoop of the protein powder(or 1 serving size) with the greek yogurt (1 serving size).  Once you have formed a good mixture that is evening mixed you are ready to add the toppings.
  • Chop up 1/2 banana and lay the slices on the mixture
  • Add your fresh or dried fuit
  • Add 1-2 tbsp of granola

Sprinkle with your superfoods and you are ready to enjoy a tasty protein packed snack!

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Strawberry protein powder + greek yogurt 2 tbsp Goji berries 1/2 Banana 1/2 tbsp chia/hemp seeds 1 tbsp granola

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Let me know your thoughts on what you like to see posted!  I’m no journalism major by any counts but I love sharing healthy recipes, workouts, and just inspiring in any other way I can to help YOU lead a healthy life.