Taking a little time to plan what goes into your pantry and strategically placing the most nutritious items within reach can go a long way in making it easier to incorporate healthier foods into your daily life. For example, I have managed to designate a little superfoods section in one area of our tiny pantry. Each superfood is in a clear airtight container so I can see what is in there and be reminded to use it. So, when I go to make a smoothie, I have maca, cacao, chia, protein powder, hemp hearts, gogi berries, dried coconut, etc. all at eye level and all grouped together so all I have to do is grab what I want and toss it into my smoothie. It really makes a difference on those super hectic mornings when we don't have time for anything……..except a supercharged smoothie!
Also, all of my baking items are all the way at the top of our pantry, grains & sea veggies are right in your face, packaged…aka….processed foods are tucked away and surprisingly…easily forgotten about by everyone….yea! So, basicially the easiest places to see hold the most healthful items. The little dark corners where we actually have to stick our heads inbetween the shelves to see what's hiding back there, well, these days….that's where you'll find marshmallows, Hershey's Kisses and lots of other little goodies just waiting to be turned into little Halloween treats. Hey, who said we can't visit the dark side occaisionally on our quest to be healthy?! It's all about balance!
If you are looking for a super fresh, crunchy with a little bit of sweet and savory energizer, well you found it! The Nori Roll! It is quick, it is interesting and it can stop a craving in it’s tracks! How?! Because it has the flavors most of us crave, as well as, the crunch. And, considering how overfed and undernourished our society is today, many of us are walking around with all of these crazy cravings…..that really could be our bodies trying to tell us how nutrient starved they are. So, try this amazing little treat for lunch or an appetizer….or anytime you have a craving for something and you just can’t figure out where it is coming from. Here’s what’s in it: swiss chard, carrot, cucumber, pear, black & white sesame seeds, and a drizzle of a ginger soy vinaigrette I make…all wrapped in a toasted sheet of nori. See the recipe section for the exact measurements and the healthy eating page for some surprising facts on nori. I’m sure you will find it as yummy as we do!
Here is a shot of the purees I most always have on hand in my freezer, thanks to Jessica Seinfeld's book; Deceptively Delicious. The two shown are the most popular one's in our kitchen; butternut squash and spinach puree. I love making these little purees, not so much to hide veggies from my children, but because they really make any sauce heartier and taste better. And, they increase the nutrient and fiber content of anything they are added to. I know I am always striving for that!! The butternut squash and spinach neutralize the acidity in tomato sauces so they are perfectly balanced, while the cauliflower puree beautifully fluffs up scrambled eggs. To make my purees, I pretty much follow Jessica Seinfeld's directions in her book. For example, with spinach, I barely steam it in order to retain as many of the nutrients as possible. As soon as it starts to wilt, it goes into the food processor. Once it is evenly pureed, I let it cool, then measure out half-cup portions into ziploc snack size bags and freeze flat in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, they store very neatly standing up in the freezer door compartment or a small container set on one of the refrigerator shelves. They can easily get lost and forgotten about if not contained! Believe me, I have learned the hard way!! If this is a new practice to you, make sure your purees are placed neatly in a spot in your freezer that is visible every time the freezer door is opened. Seeing them will make you want to use them and once using them becomes a habit, you won't see how you lived without them!
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!
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.