This is one of our favorite weeknight go-to dinners when the day has been extra demanding and we need a strengthening warm meal to sit down to. It was a perfect dinner after an exciting first day of school, especially when I wasn't able to be home during the day. What makes it so great, besides being really nourishing, is how quickly and easily it comes together. So, first I start with a high-quality jar of spaghetti sauce and add it to browned grass-fed ground beef or buffalo. Then, I start my pasta-it's only Jovial Einkhorn pasta here! This special wheat pasta has four grams of fiber and nine grams of protein per serving and as much Lutein as a whole egg. It is absolutely amazing. While these two pots are simmering away, I grab my frozen spinach and butternut purees out of the freezer so they can defrost. I have competely embraced this practice from Jessica Seinfeld's book; Deceptively Delicious. Not necessarily to hide vegetables from my children, but because adding veggie purees to most sauces obviously increases the nutrient content and makes them heartier.
Just before it is time to serve, I stir the defrosted purees into the sauce, making sure they are thoroughly incorporated. Alongside, I serve Chinese five spice steamed broccoli and a warm little french roll, with a generous dusting of parmesan over the spaghetti. Then, seemingly, right before my eyes, my boys are transformed from lifeless looking little beings to alert, content, and satisfied little boys! Besides being a nutrient powerhouse, this meal is a great source of protein, micronutrients, fiber and complex carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates help boost levels of serotonin, the brain-calming, mood-enhancing mineral which will help everyone wind down….just what we need after a super-charged day!
When I make green smoothies, this sort of image is always in my head. So, when I set out to capture what a green smoothie means to me, this shot just came naturally. When I make a green smoothie, it’s full of spinach, kale and dandelion greens-mostly. It’s all about creating health! For my boys, it’s all about creating strength-they are very into that concept! So, when they ask for a green smoothie, and they do a lot (your children will too-really!) there is always a discussion about how powerful the sun is and how the sun’s energy is converted into chlorophyll and by consuming dark green leafy vegetables we can harness the sun’s energy for ourselves. Well, let’s just say, by that point in the conversation they are holding their glasses out saying one word; “more”.
I converted my two boys into green smoothie aficionado’s first with a taste test with the smoothie’s in white paper cups, lids and blue straws-so they couldn’t see any color. We made a green smoothie and a pink strawberry smoothie. Needless to say, they couldn’t decide which one was the green smoothie! The fruit is actually stronger in flavor than the greens (especially spinach), so the fruit is what they will taste predominately…..and be hooked!
Green smoothies are super concentrated in many beneficial plant compounds that your body immediately recognizes and knows exactly what to do with. Try this two or three times a week and you will significantly increase the amount of leafy greens in your diet, and with that, create health because dark leafy greens are the number one disease fighters and health promoters! And, when you break down the cellular structure of plants by whirring them all in a powerful blender (my favorite is Vitamix), then all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants are readily accessible to your body to utilize in numerous ways. So, give it a try! It will be a very welcome cool and creamy treat right as the summer heat sets in.
I made these little muffins this morning before everyone was up….I thought it would be a fun, healthy mini-surprise to wake up to! They are super yummy and healthy all at the same time. I made them with whole wheat flour and brown rice flour, which adds in fiber and phytonutrients as compared to using white flour. Then, the carrot and zucchini add a little sweetness and moistness in addition to more fiber and nutrients. In most of my cooking I substitute coconut oil for other oils because it is nature’s richest source of medium-chain fatty acids, which are easily digested and immediately burned by your liver for energy and boosts your metabolism through this process.
I picked these up today at the Whole Foods Market on Magazine Street in New Orleans! Wow! They are a such a rare find and so special. As I was working on a new recipe, I looked up and noticed how beautiful these Peonies were and how our health and happiness isn’t all about nutrition, but also about taking care of ourselves in so many other ways too.
It’s about surrounding ourselves with people we love and who love us back, treating oneself to an occasional perfectly pink bouquet of Peonies (if you can find them) or granting yourself permission to go on a quiet run in the park right at the break of dawn and hearing so many little birds chirping about the promise of a new day. Whatever it is that takes care of you, it is critical to build those things into your day to provide balance and happiness in your life!
Some foods energize us, some comfort us, some even make us more alert, and others can make us irritable. Not all foods react the same in everyone. What makes one feel energized and focused may make another feel tired and sluggish.
Experimenting with different foods and really focusing on how you feel after eating them will help sharpen your awareness toward what foods nourish your body and those that leave you feeling foggy and ready for a nap. In knowing this, you will be better prepared to make food choices that help you meet the demands of your day.
We all want to wake up feeling healthy and energized and for that energy to sustain us throughout the day into evening. But, for many, our energy and alertness starts to fade mid-afternoon and we find ourselves vulnerable to quick pick-me-ups like sugar and caffeine. Unfortunately, sugar and caffeine give us energy through stimulation, not nourishment. They stimulate the adrenal glands, which result in quick, immediate energy that is short-lived and leaves us tired and moody.
Choosing nutrient-dense, whole foods at each meal will help you feel alert and focused. These require less energy to digest than processed foods, and also give you long-lasting, sustainable energy so your mind can be focused on your daily activities rather than your stomach.