The question I am asked most often is, How can I be healthier?  If someone isn’t on a diet that restricts beans + legumes, I always suggest making a big pot of black beans for the week.  Having already cooked beans in the freezer or refrigerator means you are only a few minutes away from a super healthy meal.  This practice has saved me time and time again on a school night when I didn’t have time to prepare something for dinner during the day.

Besides being full of nutrients + fiber, beans are calming, strengthening, satisfying and nourishing.  Beans positively affect the body + mind and they are easily transformed into a multitude of yummy meals.  From a bowl of creamy black bean soup, to black bean tacos or burgers for main entrees to steaming bowl of black beans + brown rice as a side or pureed with Southwestern spices as a dip. And, don’t forget black beans can totally round out a salad, increasing the protein and satiety value.  

Always, always rinse and soak your black beans for a minimum of 8-12 hours before you even think of cooking them.  I don’t recommend the quick soaking method….I feel it takes time for beans to release their naturally occurring phytic acid.  And, you want to want to ensure that has had ample time to occur so your body will be able to absorb all of the nutrients contained within the beans.   

Begin by sautéing finely chopped onion, garlic + jalapeño in olive oil until softened.  Then add in your beans + spices and cover with filtered water by a couple of inches, give it a stir, put the lid on and set the fire to simmer.  Don’t forget to peek under the lid and stir everything around  every so often.  

These are my go-to spices whenever I am making black beans.  I insist on Williams-Sonoma’s New Mexico Chili Powder.  Their toasted cumin powder is also on my list of favorites but I realized I was out of it when I was taking photos for this post!  I recommend their spices over all others!!

Now, let them simmer away for a few hours.  They will actually be cooked after a couple of hours, but I feel like they are so much tastier if I let them cook longer.    Once they are ready, remove the lid of the pot, increase the heat a bit and cook off some of the water.  Now, they are ready to be blended or used for any recipe!  Whatever recipe I am using them for, I always add additional spices + a few dashes of Cholula depending on what that dish may be.  Become comfortable with tasting and adjusting seasonings gradually until you love the taste.  I have made these with homemade chicken broth and with just filtered water like in this post, and find that they are just as amazing with water as the chicken broth, surprisingly.  So, I prefer filtered water for my black beans and save my homemade chicken broth for soups where the difference would be more noticeable.

Feel free to comment with any questions!  I hope this inspires you to pass on canned black beans and start making your own at home!  There’s nothing like a pot of simmering goodness on the stove when everyone comes home from the day’s adventures!  Enjoy!  xxo!

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Breakfast cookie bliss?!  It sounds a little crazy to hear the words breakfast and cookie in the same sentence, right?  But, in fact, it is not!  It is so smart!  I’ll admit, most of us may love the idea of cookies for breakfast, but then we hear our voice of reason whisper; “you can’t have that” and the idea gets banished before the first bite!  Not any more…..these breakfast cookies, you can have and feel energized, happy and satisfied until lunchtime arrives.

Early morning before school is typically a pretty rushed time and a bit stressful all around the world.  Parents are trying to get their children to eat something that will allow them to concentrate on their schoolwork for a few hours, get dressed and make it to school on time.  The catch is finding something to feed them that they will like and will carry them all the way to lunch. There are more than enough unhealthy breakfast options available which may only get them through a couple hours of school before they are hungry and having a tough time concentrating.  Then, there are very few healthy options which are also quick, portable and tasty.  That’s where these breakfast cookies come in!  You can make the dough whenever it is convenient for you, bake the cookies the night before or that morning if you have twenty extra minutes to spare.  These breakfast cookies can be slipped into a wax paper bag or folded in a paper napkin and eaten on the front steps while waiting for the school bus or in the car on the way to school……and sometimes at the kitchen table with a cold glass of milk when things have just gone right and everyone has a little extra time.  This works for busy and rushed adults too!

 There is one caveat though.  My kiddos have a tough time with the raspberries, so I make half of the batch without rolling the dough in freeze-dried raspberries for them.  I feel like my boy’s palates have reverted back to their less mature selves…hopefully, it is just a teenager phase!  Since this recipe is the sprouted oat and chocolate chip cookie recipe found in one of my earlier posts, it is super adaptable to really picky eaters and those desiring something a bit more gourmet.  

Hop on over to my recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies here; https://greensgirlnutrition.com/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/ make a batch and then roll each ball of dough in a bowl of crushed up freeze-dried raspberries.  I found Natierra organic raspberries https://tinyurl.com/yyutod7t  or Amazon or at Whole Foods Market.  Since they are freeze-dried, they are nutrient-packed, crazy yum + amazing in granola, salads, muffins and pretty much any where you would love to add raspberries.  I hope you love them! xxo!  

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As much as I love roasted cauliflower, I cannot believe it has taken me this long to use it as filling for a taco!  Sometimes I just don’t see the forest for the trees and miss out on so much!  Over the past few months, I kept noticing cauliflower and sweet potato tacos on Instagram and thought; “what am I waiting for”?  I started doing a little research and found a recipe in one of my absolute favorite cookbooks, The Love & Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio.  I am totally inspired by her work and everything she does is absolute perfection. 

Let me begin by saying, I’m not much of a meat person, from a compassion for animals point of view and also because I don’t love the taste or how it makes me feel before, during and after I eat it.  Yes, even before!  I totally contemplate whether I should even try it when it is in front of me. Vegetables just have so much more flavor and health benefits!   

For the most part, I followed the recipe in Love and Lemons….it’s that perfect!  My only changes were to not use as much chipotle pepper, add arugula to the tacos and to use chickpea flour tortillas instead of flour or corn.

I also chose to roast the cauliflower with olive oil, New Mexico City chile powder, toasted cumin (both from Williams-Sonoma) + salt in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through.  While the cauliflower roasted, I mixed up the chipotle yogurt sauce.  It takes all of five minutes! Here’s what’s in it…5% Greek yogurt, half of a chipotle pepper from a can, chopped up very fine and mashed a bit, one garlic clove also minced fine, lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil and honey. Set that aside and warm the Chickpea flour tortillas in a non-stick skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side.  While those are warming, set out a bowl of freshly rinsed cilantro sprigs, lime slices and avocado. 

When the cauliflower is ready, remove it from the oven, assemble your tacos and marvel at how unbelievably amazing they are! This has truly become one of my favorite meals to have at home and it takes just minutes to pull together when the cauliflower is pre-roasted! These tacos enable me to power through an afternoon of work while keeping me alert + focused, which is what lunch should do, right? xxo!  Enjoy!

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Did you know, if you consume a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, you can make great strides in disease proofing your body?   Leafy green vegetables are the healthiest, high-protein foods on the planet because they are so abundant in a wide spectrum of phytochemicals, micronutrients, antioxidants and many potent health-promoting compounds that allow our bodies to strengthen themselves against conditions that cause disease.  But, what about genetics, you may ask.  What if cancer or heart disease “runs in your family”?   Do you feel like you have no hope for a healthier future than your mother, father, grandparents or ancestors did?  We have a lot of hope in living a long, healthy life.  It starts with educating ourselves and then taking action.   One of my favorite books on this subject is The End Of Heart Disease by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  And, one of the most powerful sentences in this book is this; “Superior nutrition has such a powerful effect on the body’s ability to defend itself against illness that it can force genetics to take a second role”. 

One of the best ways to get as many nutrients and healthful compounds into our bodies at the maximum absorption is to start with fresh organic leafy green veggies and then to blend them into a green drink, because the better these veggies are broken down, the more protective ITC’s are formed.  ITC’s are isothiocyanates, which are these powerful compounds that help defend plants against predators and luckily for us, these same compounds work to protect + strengthen the human body against weakened immunity or damage to our organs that can lead to disease.   Drinking a green drink is one of the fastest ways to quickly infuse your body with tons of micronutrients and phytochemicals because all of the beneficial plant compounds are broken down to microscopic size from blending, which makes the nutrients are more available for optimal absorption and more readily assimilated by the body and a green drink is easier to take with you when you are in a hurry than a salad!

Some of my clients have a problem with even the thought of drinking something green.  This really is a stumbling block for them.  But, if I can get them to think of it as a longevity-promoting drink and the fact that plants contain thousands (yes, thousands) of healthful, life-span enhancing phytochemical and micronutrients..they become a bit more open-minded.  If you are one who can identify with those who can’t stand the thought of a green drink, try a cold-pressed juice first.  Although, I think everything we eat should taste amazing……green drinks included and I can promise I wouldn’t be drinking them everyday if they were gross!  If you need to take baby steps though, most cold-pressed green juices are blended with fruits in a ratio where you cannot even taste the veggies!

My everyday go-to, which I hope will be yours too, is to take spinach, kale, swiss chard….whatever you have on hand…..toss into the blender, with an apple (cored) or orange (peeled), a big piece of peeled ginger, and then all of the extras shown above with some ice and purified water and blend for a minute until nice and juicy.  Do this everyday.  Not only will you feel energetic and more alert almost immediately, you will start to notice your overall health improve, see your skin glow and your eyes become a little brighter.  That is just in the short run…..in the long run, your immune system will become stronger, your blood will become cleaner and organs will be healthier with less of a toxic burden.  This one simple addition of incorporating protective plant foods into your daily routine will shift your health to a more strengthened, disease-fighting state!  Isn’t that what we all want?!  Try any of my recipes for green smoothies or drinks or make up your own!  Try this energizing green smoothie   https://greensgirlnutrition.com/energizing-smoothie/  or this recipe for my perfect green juice   https://greensgirlnutrition.com/perfect-green-juice/     On days when I just cannot find five minutes to make a green drink, a cold-pressed green drink from Raw Republic Juice in New Orleans http://www.rawrepublicjuice.com  is a must!  xxo!

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So, I have been in a bit of a rut in being able to create or find really delicious meals my boys would embrace and love without meat.  I love looking for new cookbooks and am so happy when I find one that really speaks to my philosophy of food.  The other afternoon, while waiting for one of my boy’s sports practice to finish I had a little time to kill, so over to Barnes & Noble I headed.  I’m not sure how I happened upon it, but somehow I found the Food52, A New Way To Dinner cookbook and was wowed not only by the photography but also the incredible way the two authors meal plan!  Just what I needed, to feel like I wasn’t alone in the kitchen but had these two amazing friends to guide me through a week’s worth of meals in one fell swoop!  This book is a game-changer!  

I looked for recipes that all four of us in our family would like and turned right to this……Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with bucatini, pecorino romano, garlic, red pepper flakes and a little Italian parsley, olive oil, salt + pepper.  Oh, and bread crumbs.  Sounds just like what the guys in my home would L O V E !!  As I made the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and the aromas from the spices I had not used in a while filled the kitchen, I heard all three of the guys asking each other what smelled so good. Yes!  I cooked the bucatini, sautéed two cloves of garlic with the red pepper flakes, tossed it with the roasted cauliflower and sprinkled a little parsley, La Boulangerie bread crumbs and pecorino over each dish. After I tossed everything, I couldn’t help but separate everything and swirl the noodles in the bowls followed by the cauliflower and garnish on top just to make it even more appealing.  Who knew cauliflower + pasta could taste so decadent?!  Enjoy!  xxo!

 

 

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile + Bread Crumbs
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For the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  1. 1 head Cauliflower, cut into small florets
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  3. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (optional)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  5. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1 lime, halved
  7. salt + freshly ground black pepper
For the Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile, + Bread Crumbs
  1. 1 recipe for Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  2. 1/2 package bucatini, cooked according to package directions, reserve a little pasta water
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  6. 1/4 cup grated pecorino
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except the cauliflower until combined. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Turn onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Roast the cauliflower, turning once with a spatula, until tender and charred around the edges, about thirty minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the limes. Set aside.
For the Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile + Bread Crumbs
  1. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes over a very low flame. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, bucatini and pecorino with a little pasta water and stir to evenly coat. At this point, I like to separate the cauliflower from the pasta and swirl the pasta into four bowls. Then I add the cauliflower on top and distribute the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan over the four bowls. Garnish with a little parsley and bread crumbs. Enjoy! xxo!
Adapted from Food52 A New Way to Dinner
Adapted from Food52 A New Way to Dinner
Greensgirl Nutrition https://greensgirlnutrition.com/
 

 

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Salads aren’t just for summer!  They definitely dominate the warmer months for a reason because they are cooling for our bodies when the weather is hot.  And, some greens are meant specifically for the spring to detox our bodies from the heavier, more grounding stews and veggies typically eaten in the winter.  That works nicely, but I find myself craving salads all year-round.  So, what’s a girl to do?!  I made a list of leafy greens having the highest ANDI scores (a measure of nutrient density) and then used those that are more on the hearty side and wintery.  Send in kale, swiss chard, brussels sprouts and purple cabbage.  This salad is a heavy-hitter when it comes to nourishing your body and when topped with toasted pistachios, dried cranberries and avocado, it becomes off-the-charts amazing.  It truly is medicinal in what it delivers to your entire system and is über-yummy as a bonus!

When I am tossing a salad during the cooler months and using more sturdy greens, I prefer to shred them. Thin ribbons of kale, cabbage, swiss chard and brussels sprouts are much more palatable and totally delicious as delicate little strands, but can have too much of a bite when left in larger pieces.  To achieve a finer cut of these bold greens, just stack freshly rinsed leaves on top of one another, roll them up to resemble a cigar and thinly slice from one end to the other.  This is called chiffonade.  And it results in beautiful, thin ribbons of whatever greens you have sliced.  Now, your heavier, heartier greens are light and delicate in texture, but still seriously hearty in substance.

I always include avocado and toasted nuts in my salads for the healthy fats and protein to stay satisfied longer, but also for the difference in textures to keep things interesting.  Just a few dried berries add a little sweetness here and there, without being overpowering.  Once you have gotten this far, remember to whip up a quick homemade salad dressing!  It only takes a minute to mix up a little balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, a tiny touch of dijon mustard and a little honey, salt and pepper for a dressing that works for most any salad.

Taking a few minutes to prepare a couple different types of salad greens, veggies and nuts to have on hand will set you up for success in the kitchen.  Think ahead and plan ahead so you will be more equipped to choose fresh foods over packaged when meal or snack time rolls around.  This simple practice will leave you feeling more in control of your health, which will result in a healthier and happier you. Enjoy!  xxo!

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This is probably my most favorite thing to make and have on hand at all times because it elevates any meal to gourmet status almost instantly with minimal effort. With an abundance of home grown tomatoes from our CSA delivery, I almost cannot resist preparing them without this pesto.  It’s like wow, all of these incredible flavors bursting in your mouth…….a treat for the mind as well as the body.  All it takes is a generous cup of basil, another cup of arugula, zest from one lemon, one clove of garlic and three tablespoons of toasted nuts, a little salt and squeeze of lemon juice.  Oh, and the best olive oil you can get your hands on.  So simple, it’s hard to believe such complexity of flavor can come from just these few ingredients.  

To make it, toast your favorite nuts in the oven or a dry skillet first until they begin to turn a shade darker and you smell their yummy, toasty aroma.  Allow the nuts to cool while you gather the other ingredients.  Toss washed basil and arugula into the bowl of a food processor, zest a lemon over it, roughly chop a clove of garlic and toss it in too.  Have a quarter of a cup of extra virgin olive oil ready to go.  Add a bit of salt and squeeze some lemon juice into the bowl and follow with the cooled nuts.  Put the top on and give it a whir.  Now, pour the olive oil into the top opening of the food processor with it running.  You might need to stop it and scrape down the sides a couple of times, but keep going until everything is tiny in size and uniform.  Pack it in a beautiful little glass jar!  It will keep in the fridge for a week, but I promise it won’t last that long!  Enjoy!  xxo! 

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Yes!  And, it’s nutrient packed!  This came about because as my boys get older, the harder it is to get them to drink green smoothies or green drinks.  Such a bummer.  But, they love chocolate…especially the younger one!  So, since I am determined to get as much healthy food in them as possible, I figured chocolate would be how I was going to make it happen.  This yummy smoothie does have some green in it that is thankfully, in this case, hidden by the chocolate.  But, even without the green ingredients, it is full of some powerful nutrients that make this smoothie anything but sinful, even though it tastes like it!

Here are the ingredients that will ignite your feel good receptors while infusing your body with some much needed phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals…..just to name a few. 

Cacao is what’s behind the bliss in this yummy drink, and not just because of it’s pure chocolatey taste, but mostly because it contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants and magnesium in nature.  Did you know that magnesium is one of the minerals the standard American diet is most deficient in?  So, it’s really important that we eat foods as close to their natural state as possible in order to give our bodies what they need to be healthy.  We need magnesium because it is an anti-inflammatory mineral that offers protection against illnesses like arthritis and Alzheimers disease.  And, since inflammation causes many problems in our bodies that can lead to disease, we don’t want to miss out on nutrients that fight inflammation!   Read more

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In an effort to help my twin sister who has to assemble four lunches for her children every school day, I came up with three of the most nutritious options for trail mixes I could think of, taking into consideration each of their preferences. Two of the girls love fruit, so I mixed nuts, fruit and the chocolate chips for them.  Her only boy likes straight forward and simple.   So, for him, I did almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips.  Girl number three wanted everything but the fruit. Easy!  I will do anything for these kiddos….I call them the fantastic four and I am the very proud founder of their official fan club!

I started this little experiment with raw nuts from the bulk section of Whole Foods.  I also picked up some dried papaya, pineapple, wild blueberries and cranberries.  Oh, and dark chocolate chips!   All of the nuts went onto two large pans and into the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.  While the nuts toasted, I sliced the papaya and pineapple into little pieces and set them aside.  Then, after the nuts were toasted and cooled I started assembly. Tons of nutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants without all of the added and probably rancid oils present in most packaged trail mixes and packaged nuts!   Read more

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This is how I start my day……and how I energize myself in the middle of the afternoon.  It’s where I go when I need a little boost or self-care.  Five minutes in the kitchen with my Vitamix and carefully selected ingredients gives me the power to set everything right.  It replenishes, recharges and renews.  It has to be green, because green is vitality, life and positive energy.  I don’t just limit myself to the typical greens such as spinach and kale.  I go deep.  I need spirulina, blue-green algae, phytoplankton and chlorella just to name a few of the serious ingredients that are part of my daily regimen.  I hope this inspires you to get creative with your blender drinks!  xxo!

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