Healthy Breakfast Recipe — Tuna Stuffed Avocado

I recently created an educational handout for healthy breakfast recipes with lots of protein. Because here’s the deal: if you notice yourself craving carbs and sugar throughout the day, many times it’s because you aren’t getting enough protein at breakfast. A bowl of cereal with lots of refined flour or grains is satisfying at first, but really it doesn’t sustain you for long.  You ideally should be having high quality protein, healthy fats, and quality carbs (this can be in the form of vegetables or fruits) at breakfast. So, an avocado filled with tuna has healthy fats (tuna, avocado), high quality protein (tuna), and healthy carbs (avocado,which is also high in fiber, and red bell pepper).

If you have a problem controlling yourself around sugar, don’t blame your lack of “willpower”. When your caveman brain is telling you it needs sugar, it’s very hard to resist. But you can help to quiet that voice by setting yourself up to avoid those cravings in the first place. A savory breakfast can help. If you have a sugar problem, but you start your morning eating something really sweet, even if it’s a healthy smoothie, you’re just feeding into it. If you start with a savory breakfast that has fat/protein/healthy carbs, you might find yourself slowly craving sugar less and less.  Just a note: fruits and smoothies aren’t “bad”. But if you are having trouble with sugar, it’s best for a few days to skip the sweet breakfast.

I’ll post one breakfast recipe each day for the next three days. Just give them a try for the next few days and let me know if you notice any difference! This first one couldn’t be any easier, and will take just a couple minutes more than pouring a bowl of cereal.

Enjoy!

 

tuna-stuffed-avocado

Super Bowl Cocktails — The Grapefruit Margarita

grapefruit-margarita

Seems like just a year ago I was posting a recipe for Super Bowl Cocktails. Oh, right! How time flies. The Spicy Michelada was last year’s pick. This year I’m going in a different direction by not including beer in the mix.  And we are going sweet instead of savory.

So for this Super Bowl I’m featuring a Grapefruit Margarita. Margaritas are universally loved, but it’s always fun to do something a little different with them for special occasions. And I love the idea of giving a nod to the Mexican culture so prevalent in Texas.

This cocktail features the bright and fresh flavors of grapefruit and lime. And after the past couple of weeks here in the U.S., I think we could all use a little bright and fresh, don’t you agree?

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time, which frees up your hands for eating too many finger foods (guilty as charged) and making crude totally appropriate gestures at the referees.

NOTE: If you feel like adding some heat to the recipe, place a sliced round of fresh jalapeño pepper at the bottom of the cocktail shaker and muddle it with the ingredients. You can also add a few shakes of chili powder to the salt for a spicy rim (just keep it 3 parts salt to 1 part chili powder)

INGREDIENTS:
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce pink grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (keep the wedges for a garnish)
Ice cubes
1 slice of fresh jalapeño (optional)
Course salt for the rim of the glass (optional)
Chili powder for the salt rim (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all the ingredients up to the salt in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a margarita (served up) or a rocks glass (served over ice) with a salt rim (use the lime wedge to wet the rim). Garnish with lime wedge.

GO TEAM!

You might also like:

NEW RECIPE! Kale Chips

Mocktails– Mango Mule

New Recipe: Easy Peanut Butter Balls (and an update on the elimination diet).

 

 

Mocktails– Mango Mule

cocktailsmocktails

Have you heard the term “Drynuary”? It’s the thing of where you abstain from alcohol for the month of January as a way to reset. Some people do it every year. I can see the draw. Even if I don’t drink enough to feel like I need to take a break (as much as I love talking about cocktails and trying new recipes, it’s rare that I have more than one a night), there are a lot of nights when I have a glass of wine just because. So it’s a good way to be more intentional about your alcohol intake.

Anyway, as I was sipping on a margarita served straight up last night while out to dinner (yes, I see the irony), it occurred to me that starting a collection of non-alcoholic cocktails would be fun. After all, not everyone drinks alcohol. There are all sorts of reasons why someone wouldn’t, like being in recovery, being allergic, not liking the taste, religious reasons, health restrictions, etc.

Hey, and maybe even the kids will enjoy them!

So, here’s the first installment of Weekend Cocktails Mocktails!

This Mango Mule with cucumber looks so good I wonder if we won’t even miss the vodka (of course, I’m sure this recipe easily lends itself to a jigger of something like Prairie Organic for those days you aren’t abstaining). The mango puree will add a bit of i to the drink, which in the middle of winter is a good thing. And I really love the addition of cucumber in just about everything. 

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!  Happy New Year!

You might also like:

HEALTHY NEW YEAR

NEW RECIPE! Kale Chips

LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RECIPE! Kale Chips

kale-chips

Have I lost you already? Did you stop reading when you saw the word “kale”? Please stay with me, it’ll be worth your while.

If you are like me you love salty, crunchy snacks. Unfortunately most commercially made salty crunchy snacks aren’t so healthy. They usually have hydrogenated or other low quality oils, super processed flour or potatoes, and tons of sodium.

May I suggest making a batch of kale chips? They are salty. They are crunchy. There is that pleasing release of olive oil when you bite into them. And dangit, they are good for you too!

What I love about kale is that it’s low calorie, high in fiber, and has tons of antioxidants. It is high in iron (beating beef calorie for calorie) and Vitamin K, C, and A. It has magnesium (which you’ll remember is the “relaxing” mineral) and calcium. You really can’t say that about a bag of potato chips.

Every time I make this recipe for our neighbor gatherings, adults and kids gobble it up immediately. Just make sure you sip on your Aviation or Cucumber Sangria cocktail after you eat them to rid your teeth of any pesky green pieces.

Here’s how to make kale chips.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of kale, any type, washed and dried (make sure it’s really really dry. Try wrapping and blotting it with paper towels, or just spreading it out for a bit to air dry)
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Flake sea salt (or any salt you prefer)
  • Garlic powder (optional but super delicious)

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  • Separate the leaves from the ribs of the kale. The ribs are gross and you don’t want them.
  • Cut or tear the leaves into 1-2″ pieces
  • Spread leaves out on a rimmed baking sheet
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt.  Jiggle the baking sheet to coat the leaves with the good stuff.
  • Bake until crispy, being sure not to burn. This will take about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir the leaves around about halfway through.
  • Serve

Did you try this recipe? Please let me know what you think!

You might also like:

NEW RECIPE! Roasted Chickpeas, Easy After School (Or Work Or Sports Or Whatever) Snack

New Recipe: Easy Peanut Butter Balls (and an update on the elimination diet).

Midweek Mashup

MIDWEEK MASHUP

Happy Wednesday. It’s a short week! For that let’s celebrate. Surely all the kids are back in school and this week is probably hectic for many. Here’s some good information and a quick recipe to get you through to Friday.

I’ve always believed that if more people got in the kitchen and cooked meals for themselves and their families, they would be healthier overall. An acquaintance once lamented that she felt like there were so many nutrition rules that it felt impossible to feed herself and her daughter “the right way”, so she gives up and resorts to takeout. I say that the nutrition and wellness community has failed her if that’s what she (and likely so many others) feel. The truth is, a jar of decent quality pasta sauce and a box of whole wheat noodles with a bagged salad on the side is vastly healthier than a drive-thru burger and fries. So, if that’s where you are starting, that’s ok. Trust me, you will progressively become more confident in your cooking and before you know it you will have a repertoire of healthy and delicious meals that don’t feel overwhelming to make on a weeknight. I loved Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s take on this in her article “The Cure Is in the Kitchen” in  Experience Life’s recent issue. Take a look.

Speaking of making things easier in the kitchen, one approach that I’ve always practiced is to make extra for the freezer or fridge. When making soup, I often double the recipe and fill up Ziploc gallon bags with the excess. Lay them flat in the freezer for easy stacking. On busy nights just pull out a bag and reheat. Sides like roasted veggies are delicious warmed up or cold from the fridge all week long. In fact, I just bought another rimmed roasting sheet on Monday so I can easily make even more.  After this hectic week of back-to-school and houseguest coming on Friday,  I will also start using my weekends or Mondays to make a big batch of quinoa or other healthy salad that I can eat throughout the week for lunch. 

And finally, here’s a simple and delicious looking recipe for your next Meatless Monday or whenever you want to load up on veggies. These Vegan Thai Curry Vegetables look fantastic for a cool fall day, and the gentle spice should be well tolerated by all in your house. I would serve them over brown rice and fruit on the side and call it a day. In fact, it’s what’s for dinner tonight.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading. As always, please pass it along, post it to your pages, and subscribe if you did! And I would love to hear what you think in the comments.

You might also like:

Midweek Mashup

Hearty Lentil Soup

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Friday Cocktails: The Aviation

 

Aviation_cherry_(6127689536)

It’s Friday, and I’ve missed a couple weeks of Friday Cocktails but I am making it up with a whammy of a cocktail that I’ve recently fallen in love with. The Aviator was presented to me last Sunday evening and upon the first sip I knew it would be a keeper.

To back up a bit, I was given a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur for my birthday by my neighbors because I love all things cherry.  Lest you think this is some neon-red concoction full of artificial everything, you should know that maraschino liqueur is a clear liqueur made from special maraschino cherries that has been produced by Luxardo (first in convents in Croatia, then in Italy) since the early 1800’s.  It’s got a fantastic flavor profile and while it is sweet, it’s not cloyingly so.

Since that fateful gift, I have sought out any cocktail I could find that features my new favorite liqueur. I looked at a cocktail menu last Sunday and there it was: The Aviator.  I love the bright flavor from the fresh squeezed lemons. I love the crispiness of the gin. And I love the sweetness from the maraschino liqueur. My  husband, who doesn’t love sweet drinks, thought it was really nice.

I am planning on making this for friends over the long holiday weekend and will look forward to hearing what they think.

One note: some versions of the Aviation include Crème de Violette to make it blue like the sky. I haven’t tried that version, and since I love the Aviation the way I tried it, I think i’ll keep it that way.

So, here it is. Buckle up, this is a strong cocktail that is best sipped! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Maraschino cherry (optional)

METHOD:

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. I like to pour it over an ice ball so that it stays nice and cold.

Garnish with a cherry if desired.

NOTE: I have not been compensated for mentioning Luxardo in my post. I simply really enjoy the product!

You might also like:

Friday Cocktails: The Caipirinha!

Friday Cocktails: The Great Gatsby

Friday Cocktails: The French Pear

Midweek Mashup

MIDWEEK MASHUP

Happy Wednesday.

This week I bring you a delicious cookie recipe that happens to be vegan and wheat free (whaaaat?!) and some information that will hopefully enrich your life a little and maybe even make it better.

Do you eat granola?  And if so, do you consider it a healthier option than other popular breakfast foods? Nutritionist have long known that most commercial granola is chock full of sugar and consider it a dessert. I suppose that rings true with many of the granolas you’ll find on the shelves. I have found one I love with only good ingredients like oats, dried fruit, millet and quinoa. Purely Elizabeth has an ancient grain line that I love, with my fave being cranberry pecan. It has 6 grams of sugar per 1/3 cup. Ok, yes, 1/3 cup is a very small serving. I pour that much into my bowl and add slivered almonds, fresh blueberries and chia seeds. So, then I’ve got good proteins and fat and it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. You can also use it to sprinkle on unsweetened yogurt. The thing about granola is that it isn’t meant to be eaten in large quantities. Think of it as an addition to your breakfast rather than the main event. 

As you might have read in previous posts, my 11 year old is in the middle of an elimination diet. She’s about halfway through. It’s been a challenge, to say the least. But she’s getting used to it. Yesterday she told me she thought giving up wheat and dairy would be the hardest but actually it’s corn and nightshades, because potato starch and/or corn derivatives are in most packaged foods. Most gluten-free products contain one or both. Almost all candy has corn syrup (yes, candy isn’t healthy, we know that). It’s hard to avoid corn, no matter how much you might try, unless everything you eat is prepared at home from scratch (hello, unrealistic for most).One thing that she has missed is a good chocolate chip cookie. Most chocolate chips have dairy, but I found a brand called Enjoy Life that are vegan and also free of almost all allergens. Yesterday she made a batch of spelt chocolate chip cookies that were to die for. I’m not kidding, they are so good. She found the recipe here: Chocolate Chip Cookies. The only thing I did to help was put the cookies in the oven and take them out at the end. Don’t these look amazing?


And finally, if you’re like me and try to make meals using up your pantry items a few times a year, here’s a great list of things you can cook. My husband gets super excited when I do this because it means I’m being economical and there’s nothing sexy than being economical!

Here’s to a great rest of your week. As always, please share this post with someone you think might enjoy it. Even better, click to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any great tidbits!

 

 

 

New Recipe: Easy Peanut Butter Balls (and an update on the elimination diet).


Today is day 10 of my daughter’s modified elimination diet. Tomorrow is the first day that we start adding foods back in. She gets to eat 5-6 servings of one of the food groups that we’ve been avoiding, followed by two days of “watch and wait”. She has chosen nightshades  because she really misses tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.

I’ll be honest: neither one of us has seen or noticed any changes since starting the elimination protocol. Maybe when we introduce things back into her diet she’ll notice something. Hopefully there won’t be a big reaction which would indicate a sensitivity and a need to avoid.

The last 10 days have been trying for her. I get it. When you’re told you can’t have something it only makes you want it more, right? But she is still being a trooper and I commend her for it. There has been no whining, no tantrums, no pushback. She’s stoic (like her dad) and while she really has disliked this experience intensely, she’s persevered.

We just took a three day girls’ trip and I packed much of our food. Eating out was a challenge but we found some places willing to work with us. Two of the restaurants specialized in vegan and gluten-free which usually means that they are more open to special requests. And both happened to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so that was cool. Shout outs go to At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe and Duluth Grill!

Now on to the new recipe I promised. These Easy Peanut Butter Balls are full of protein, healthy fats, and healthy whole grains. They really couldn’t be easier to make and they are guaranteed to please just about anyone. Make a double batch and keep them in your fridge for an easy grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings and after school snacks.

EASY PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup natural peanut butter (I really like the no-stir Whole Foods creamy)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup vanilla protein powder (I couldn’t get by without Orgain, which happens to be vegan)

1/2 cup honey (use local if you have seasonal allergies, as it’s thought to help with symptoms)

Optional: chocolate chips

METHOD:

Stir all the ingredients together, then form into balls the size of a golf ball. If they are too sticky, add a bit more protein powder or oats. Likewise, if they are too dry, add a bit of honey or peanut butter. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Will you try these? Do you have a variation you like?  Tell me in the comments!

You might also like:

NEW RECIPE! Spelt Pancakes: better than you’d imagine!

New Recipe! Pan Fried Tofu

 

Friday Cocktails: The Caipirinha!

Friday Cocktails

This week I’m putting my obsession with watching Stranger Things (can we talk about that show at a later date? I mean, DAMN) and Gilmore Girls on the back burner for the XXXI Olympiad in Rio. I’m trying not to think about the disgusting lake water and uninhabitable athlete villages and instead focus on all the amazing stories of trials and tribulations that suck me in and make me cry. Oh, and also the level of athleticism is ridiculous. Fun fact: did you know Usain Bolt has never run a mile? Like, never? It’s too “far”.  So essentially I am a better runner than Usain Bolt.

Tonight we are going to a get together with friends to watch the opening ceremonies. Just as I was about to text my friend and ask if we should make Caipirinhas, she texted me first and asked the same thing. So yeah, it’s happening. Hashtag great minds think alike. You should also know it’s pronounced Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya. I have been pronouncing it all wrong in my head all these years.

This traditional Brazilian cocktail is reminiscent of a daiquiri, but the limes are muddled at the bottom of the glass and kept in. It uses a traditional Brazilian rum made from the fermented juice of sugarcane (rather than molasses as in the most other rums).

If you want to make your own at home, here’s the recipe.

Caipirinha2

CAIPIRINHA

2 fl. oz. Cachaça (pronounced Ka-Shah-Suh, like a woman’s beautiful exotic first name)
Half a lime, quartered
2 tsp. Sugar (preferably raw or turbinado sugar) or .5 fl. oz. simple syrup (click to learn how to make your own.)

Add lime wedges and sugar to a rocks glass. With a muddler (or the end of a wooden spoon if you’re simple folk like me) press down and crush the limes to release the juice and the oils from the peel. Add ice, then cachaça and stir the drink. Add more ice if desired.

Viva! Saúde! 

You might also like:

Friday Cocktails! The Hot-As-Heck Margarita

Friday Cocktails: The French Pear

 

 

 

 

Midweek Mashup

MIDWEEK MASHUP

Welcome to Wednesday! You’ve made it this far, you should be proud! There’s a lot of health and wellness information coming out this week, and I’m excited to share some of it with you.

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you gave up sugar for an entire year?  Like, really gave it up.  No white sugar, no fruit juice concentrate, no maple syrup, no honey? If I’m being honest, the thought of giving up sweet stuff altogether makes me shudder. I grew up in a house in which my sugar consumption was very strictly monitored. My sister and I would ride our bikes to the corner store to buy candy bars behind our mom’s back. For years afterwards, I was a total candy and soda addict and couldn’t control myself around sugar. I finally figured out how to regulate. Now I raise my daughter differently, to have access to sweets in moderation and to teach her how to self moderate. It’s not easy though, and we sometimes get off track. A reboot sounds like a good idea from time to time. Not a year, but maybe like a week? Read this to find out how one family did it, and how they felt at the end of the year. Thanks to my friend Annie for forwarding this along to me!

I have been subscribing to HelloFresh for a few weeks now, and overall I’m pretty pleased. I love their vegetable boxes because they are more affordable and we are also trying to eat more vegetarian meals. I cringe at the waste of packing materials but we are recycling them so I feel better about that. I love that we get to try new recipes that helps me get out of my meal ruts, especially when time is short and I have less time to give it thought. Tonight I made black bean quesadillas with caramelized onions and they were so good even my 11 year old gobbled them up. Click on the link for the recipe so you can make them at home! Use whole wheat or gluten free tortillas if that’s what appeals to you.

And finally, if you’ve been thinking “Gee, I really wish there was a funny food blog I could read today” look no further than ProntoPup. His most recent post on his attempt to go vegan, only to realize that he’s really a “vaguean” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) is hilarious, honest, and will make you wish you could have dinner with him. Spoiler alert, I get to have dinner with him, and it will probably consist of tofu steak!

Have a great rest of your week, you guys.  Don’t forget to check back on Friday for a new cocktail recipe!