Recipes

All About Herbs!

Last week we talked about a lot of unusual produce you might find at the Farmers’ Market or grocery store (read here if you missed it!), but herbs are another great item to source from your local market or store. When it comes time to discuss vitamin and mineral content of foods or antioxidant rich sources herbs are often forgotten, but they can be a great source of all three!

Some herbs are perennial, some biennial or annual, but for the most part they tend to offer their best harvest in the summer and early fall. Even with herbs that will survive a snowy winter, it’s important to harvest before the frosts start to settle in. You can extend the life of your herbs by freezing them on the stem or chopping and placing in a bag – or even freezing in ice cube trays with water! Usually it is suggested to make use of them within 2 months, but to extend their freezer life a little try freezing them in olive oil! This ensures preservation of their flavor up to 3 or 4 months and makes them very convenient to use in soups or while sauteing vegetables.

MINT

Mints are incredibly hardy perennial herbs which make them very easy to grow. They spread so willingly, in fact, that many people choose to plant them in a large pot, and then plant that pot in the ground so they don’t take over an area!

Mints have one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food! Try adding fresh mint to salsas and salads or toss it in your water for a refreshing flavor! You can also steep the leaves for 5 – 6 minutes in hot water for fresh mint tea.

Click here for a fresh Summer Roll recipe containing fresh mint!

OREGANO

Oregano is another perennial that is easy to grow (and split to share with a friend!). It’s known not only for its common use in Italian foods and on pizza, but also for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties! Oil of Oregano is a fantastic natural immune booster when antibiotics are not available or necessary.

Try this different take on classic pesto using oregano and spinach!

BASIL

An annual herb, basil is best harvested by pinching off a few leaves from a few different stems to encourage the plant to fill out vs getting tall and spindly. Traditional basil uses include pesto, marinades, bruschetta, and soups. Basil is another great addition to fresh spring rolls or tossed into a fresh greens salad. Try steeping 3 basil leaves in 1 cup of boiling water to create a tea to relieve an upset stomach or digestion!

Here’s another Summer Roll (*not fried spring roll) recipe to try – so fresh you can even cut out the dipping sauce if you’re concerned about the extra calories!

CILANTRO

This annual herb is often confused as a perennial because it reseeds so easily. Cilantro, in addition to being abundant with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, is also known to combat heavy metal toxicity in the body and aid in digestion. Unfortunately however, about 15% of the population has a gene that causes them to detect aldehyde chemicals which are found in both cilantro and soap. If you find that you fall into this group and you dislike cilantro, swap out parsley in any of your favorite recipes that include cilantro. Those in Wisconsin will even find, with the heavy frosts, cilantro can sprout up on it’s own from the prior season. When growing, the green leaves can be harvested as cilantro. Let it flower and go to seed and you have grown spicy coriander seeds! Cilantro is used in many Mexican or Asian dishes such as guacamole, salsa, and cilantro lime rice.

DILL

Like Cilantro, dill reseeds easily, but is a biennial since a plant will only live two years. Toss seeds just about anywhere, and you’ll have fresh dill available readily for years to come. Dill tastes great in fresh in salads, greens, and as flavoring for roasted or grilled vegetables!

Click here for grilled carrots with lemon and dill!

There are many, many herbs out there worth mentioning, but some easy perennials that have a wide variety of uses are Rosemary, Thyme and Sage! Plant all kinds of herbs and try using something brand new to you – your tastebuds will thank you!

Ad-veggie-venture! (Conquering Mysterious Produce)

Gardens are overflowing and the Farmer’s Markets are full of produce, ready to fill your vitamin and mineral needs! I’m sure we all snagged up the strawberries over the last couple of weeks. Maybe you got some early lettuce or beans…but what about all those mystery fruits and veggies?? We all see unknown produce and simply pass on by without giving it a second thought. The next time you see something unfamiliar, buy it! Make it a mission to learn 1 or 2 ways to use it. You will probably like it, AND you’ll have something new to incorporate into your regular meal/snack rotations to keep it from getting boring. As an added bonus, you will introduce your body to vitamins and minerals that you may not currently be getting! Let’s get started:

Yu Choy (yow – choy)

Go past any Asian stand at a farmer’s market and you’ll likely find Yu Choy. This Chinese green is most identifiable by their yellow flowers, which are edible! Yu Choy (or rapeseed) are primarily grown to produce canola oil, but also have a sweet taste that make it perfect to sautée, stir-fry or add to soups. Yu Choy’s flavor is a sort of cross between spinach and mustard greens. Grab a pound of Yu Choy, stir fry in some oil and garlic and then steam in ¼ cup of chicken broth for about 3-3.5 minutes until the stems are softened. Say Nǐ hǎo to something new!

Kohlrabi (cole – RAW – be)

In German “Kohl” means cabbage and “Rabi” means turnip; this green or purple bulb like vegetable is commonly eaten in German speaking areas and in Vietnam. However, it is slowly becoming more mainstream here in the U.S. The bulb can have the green skin cut off (knife or vegetable peeler) and the inside, sliced or cut into sticks and served alone or with a dip like hummus. It has a nice, crisp taste with a slight cabbage flavor. Some may be surprised to learn that the greens on the top of kohlrabi can be used like kale or collard greens. Look for smaller size bulbs to ensure they are not “woody” as often found in the larger grown vegetable. Use kohlrabi in other ways too, such as pureed in soups, roasted, or steamed. Any time you get a veggie where you can eat the root and the greens you’ve got a bargain!

Golden Beets

You might have noticed we’ve included a few root vegetables in this post, in large part because unless it is a carrot or potato most people tend to steer clear of this category. What a shame! Because the roots are generally the major source of absorption for vitamins and nutrients from the soil, these veggies (beets, rutabagas, ginger, etc) pack a big nutritional punch! Geosmin, a compound produced by microbes in the soil, is what gives beets their earthy taste and seem to polarize so many into beet lovers or beet haters, but even beet haters may be pleasantly surprised by the flavor of golden beets! These golden beauties have been described to taste like sweet corn when cooked, and are well-known for their high fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid. One bonus is they don’t “bleed red” and stain your clothes or teeth. Beets also have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, which is why they can be found in some desserts (like beet brownies!). Beets can be enjoyed roasted, poached, or boiled.

Jicama (HE – ka – ma)

Although you won’t find jicama grown locally as it needs 9 months frost free, you can generally find it in most supermarkets. It’s traditionally grown in Mexico and South America. Also known as a Mexican turnip, Jicama is in the legume family and the brown, bulbous root vegetable we are used to seeing is just that – a tuberous root at the bottom of a large vining plant. Jicama is most commonly enjoyed raw and tastes like a savory apple, a crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet snack. Just cut the skin off (it’s too thick for a vegetable peeler) and cut into sticks or slices. Other ways to enjoy jicama are stir-fry (like water chestnuts), julienned into spring rolls, and even diced into salsa or a coleslaw!

Fennel (FEN – null)

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet – closely related to parsley, carrots, and dill. It is fully edible, from its bulb to the leaves, and has high concentrations of phytonutrients which make it an antioxidant powerhouse. Fennel has been repeatedly studied for its ability to reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Many associate the taste to black licorice, however if black licorice isn’t your thing, when the bulb is chopped and sautéed (many like it sautéed with onion) or braised, that licorice-type taste almost fully dissolves into a complementary side dish primarily for fish or other seafood. The stalks can be used in soup and the leaves can be used as an herb. Search pinterest or google some recipes and give it a shot!

Venture into the Farmers’ Market or grocery store with a little extra confidence this week, and proudly request some new produce with the correct pronunciation and a sense of accomplishment! When it comes to diet, one particular principles with regards to exercise is extremely applicable: if you are bored, you won’t stick with it very long. Explore new fruits and veggies to boost your vitamins and minerals, make your meals more enjoyable, and wow your friends and family!

Until next time…Happy Harvesting!

Super Kale! To The Rescue!

Kale is a popular superfood – maybe the most popular one around – with its high fiber, iron, vitamin A & K, calcium and antioxidant content. Pound for pound (or gram for gram), kale has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk! Got Kale? It has become a pretty notorious scapegoat for social media mockery:

Haters gonna hate…

If you haven’t grown to love it yet, we’re here to give you a few innovative ideas to give it another try or to shake up your kale standards!

START SIMPLE: Add some kale to your smoothie for a quick nutritious boost! It’s flavor won’t overpower fruit-based smoothies, and it blends well for a leafy vegetable.

SUPER KALE DRESSING: A salad may truly only be as good as its dressing! The somewhat bitter flavor of kale can be curbed by purchasing young/earlier harvested kale from your local Farmers’ Market, OR consider complementing that bitter flavor with some sweet!

– 2 c of your favorite fruit (raspberries are a great choice)
– 2 Tbsp. Dijon or Tahini
– 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
– 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. of a fresh herb like thyme or rosemary.

SUPER KALE CHIPS: Cut the thick stems off your kale and tear into bits. Rinse, then run through a salad spinner to dry thoroughly. Rub olive oil and salt in, spreading the leaves over a cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minute at 350 degrees or until the edges are brown but not burnt. Get creative with different seasonings like Cajun or Chili Powder!

SUPER KALE PESTO: Mix up the flavor profile of your Pesto by swapping the basil out for kale!

– Pour 1 c of olive oil into a food processor
– Add 3 cloves of garlic
– Add 12 cups of chopped kale leaves until blended.
– Stir in 1 cup of pine nuts, 1 cup parmesan, and salt to taste.

**For added veggie goodness, serve over zucchini noodles!

SUPER KALE SOUP: Consider adding roughly chopped kale into soup for texture and flavor! Much like the use of endives in Italian Wedding Soup, Kale is a great complement in broth-based or even cream-based soups! Kale can be purchased in bulk, tossed in a freezer bag, and then simply crumbled into your bowl!

SUPER KALE TACOS: Few social media trends are more prolific than the mockery of healthy eating habits, but the insatiable craze over Tacos may have the upper hand! Hurdle your hesitation on this one and try out this delicious recipe below from Cookie and Kate!

and yes…I know tacos and burritos are not quite the same thing 😉

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/simple-kale-and-black-bean-burritos/

Party Pepper Salad

This vegetarian salad takes about 15 minutes to prepare and an hour to chill.  It is a crowd pleaser that even makes kids happy!  This recipe was originally posted By Amy Roskelley on Super Healthy Kids, and we think adults will love it too!

The Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers, chopped ( a mix of orange, red, green, and yellow.
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt

The Instructions

  1. Combine all the vegetables in a very large bowl.
  2. Combine the dressing separately, and pour over vegetables.
  3. Allow dressing to marinate your vegetables in the fridge as long as you choose.
  4. Top with feta cheese

Photo & Recipe Cred: Super Healthy Kids

Mango Guacamole? Yes, please!

Grilling at the neighbors house?  Graduation party coming up? Need a show stopper for a 4th of July barbecue?  Make this mango guac.  Guaranteed to leave you with an empty dish and requests for the recipe.  Here’s what you need:

2 Fresh Mangos

3 Ripe Avocados

The Juice of 1 Lime

1 Seeded and Ribbed Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper

One Bunch of Fresh Chopped Cilantro (discard the stems of course)

Salt and Garlic to taste

Mix together. Serve chunky with chicken or corn chips. Enjoy!

Hack Your Summer with these Cool Tricks

Are you ready for fun in the sun??

But really, are you ready for all that comes along with that? The beautiful weather lures us out in the heat, but lurking everywhere all Summer long are cold, sugary temptations like ice-cream and popsicles! And spending all that extra time out in the sun is sure to affect your hydration – which as we’ve learned in the past has drastic implications for our health and fitness goals.

But fear not! We have some great tricks you can use this Summer to keep you cool, well hydrated and most importantly satisfied all Summer long without boosting your sugar intake.

Protein-Packed Coconut Popsicles

Few things are more satisfying than an ice cold popsicle on a hot, dry day! Boost your protein and energy with this delicious alternative to popsicles containing all kinds of additives, preservatives etc. It’s super simple!

– Blend 2 Scoops of Bio-Whey with 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
– Pour into popsicle molds and serve frozen

Frozen Grapes

Hands down one of the easiest ways to cool down with a delicious treat is to freeze your grapes! Wash beforehand and pat dry so they don’t all clump together. Put in the freezer and enjoy them straight out of the icebox! Or if you want a slushier texture let them thaw a couple of minutes before eating.

Protein Packed Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is another great way to keep cool, and you can boost the flavor and nutrition by mixing in a scoop of Bio-Whey and 1-2 tsp of water to thin a little. 37 grams of protein come packed into this combo!

Stay Well Hydrated

Like the glue that holds together all of your sound nutrition choices, hydration is essential for ensuring your body is working properly and handling the nutrients you are giving it in an effective way! If the taste of water just doesn’t do it for you, consider flavoring it with some citrus! And if carrying a lemon around with you is not really your thing…maybe try something like True Lemon. True Lemon contains no artificial sweeteners, real fruit flavor, and no preservatives; their new crystallized citrus comes in lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange flavor.

Tired of the ice melting in your water bottle within moments of stepping outside into the hot sun? Fill it half full and freeze your bottle over night lying on it’s side. That way when you fill it up the long, vertical ice cube will keep your water refreshingly cold much longer!

Now, no Summer post would be complete without a suggestion for the grill, so save time and flavor up that boring chicken! Before freezing your chicken, toss in your marinade! As the chicken thaws it will be soaking up the tasty flavors. Try lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger OR a lemon juiced w/ zest, garlic, olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper.
https://www.noshtastic.com/grilled-paleo-lemon-chicken-thyme/

Building Blocks: 2 Ingredient Recipes

Hey Fit Family!

The road to Health is paved with good intentions…

The best way to develop clean eating habits for the long term is to start with BASIC ingredients that you recognize!
__________
Love Pizza?
Don’t deny yourself the things you love! Try this simple recipe that cuts out loads of unsavory ingredients in take out pizza:

1 C of Plain Greek Yogurt
1.5 C of Self-Rising Flour

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Create your pizza shape and top with choice ingredients. Bake at 500 degrees 10-12 minutes.
__________
Pudding the right way?

Soak 2 TBSP of Chia Seeds in 1 C Almond Milk for at least 10 minutes. Make it smooth by blending or sweeter by adding a little honey. An Omega-3 and Protein rich snack!
__________
Banancakes!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 2 eggs until slightly frothy. Batter will be thin. Play around with toppings or roll them up with Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

and let’s be honest, pancakes are awesome – so here’s another recipe to try!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 1 C of Oats for thicker, more filling pancakes.
__________
Chicken + Salsa

Layer 3 – 4 Chicken Breasts in a slow cooker with a jar of salsa on top. Cook on low for 4+ hours and you’ve got ready to serve chicken for tacos or over rice, Mexican chicken salad, or get creative with your own idea!
__________
Homemade Snack Bars

In a food processor (an essential kitchen tool to make clean eating easier!) pulse together 1 part Dates and 1 part Oats. Combine until they are the consistency of jam (add just a little bit of hot water if too dry). Press the mixture into a 1/2″ deep pan and freeze for 1 – 2 hours.

Cut it into bars for a super-quick whole food snack for energy on the go!
__________

Until next time, remember to keep it simple at first! Nothing derails your best-laid intentions faster than jumping into the deep end before you know how to swim! Build up your repertoire one simple recipe at a time.

It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Today we are going to highlight ONE ingredient recipes!
wait is that a recipe or just food..?

Food…in a different way!

Hard-Boiled Eggs are one nearly essential source of simplicity for anyone interested in building healthy eating habits. Protein at breakfast is sometimes a challenge. Cereal? Nope. Bagels? Not really… Even oatmeal? Only about 6g of protein per 27g of carbs!
Enter: Hard-Boiled Eggs. 7g of protein; 5g of fat; ZERO carbs. Worried about the fat? Egg whites contain over half the protein of the egg, and NO fat nor carbs. Adding these into your diet is an easy way to boost your protein (which is essential for those cutting it close on calorie intake), and help you make better choices the easy way.

Chickpeas – Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain chickpeas and blot with a paper towel to dry, then toss in olive oil and a little salt (or cayenne/paprika if you like it spicier!). Bake about 35-40 minutes until browned and crunchy! Delicious

Grab a Date! No, not that kind…The sugar addiction is very real, and when you get hit with that craving it is hard to ignore. Dates – unlike processed sugar – are a natural, whole sweetener complete with fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium (all major sources of “craving” feelings). Snack on a date to satisfy your sweet tooth, add sweetness to a protein shake, or re-fuel during an endurance activity (running/cycling)!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, into the freezer!

Banana “Nice” Cream they call it: Take your ripe/over-ripe bananas and freeze them overnight. Peel and cut into 1″ chunks for the food processor or blender, and blend about 1 minute or until they become a smooth, creamy, frozen dessert! Top with blueberries, a little cocoa powder or even peanut butter! Whatever floats your boat.

Or perhaps you prefer sorbet? Watermelon when frozen and pureed makes a delicious, scoopable delight. Freeze on a baking pan to avoid them clumping together and puree them in batches. Pack the puree into a bread loaf pan or other container for storage.

Grapes make an excellent frozen treat as well! Flash freeze about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet (so they do not all clump together when you transfer to freezer bag). The texture and taste is fresh and pleasing, especially on a hotter day.

That’s all for now!
Look out next week for TWO Ingredient recipes!

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple for Success!!

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Great advice; hurts my feelings every time.

The more complex your strategy, the harder it is to execute. Especially when we are trying to build NEW habits, it is extremely important that we pace ourselves and keep it SIMPLE! This week we wanted to share some great, high protein, high veggie recipes to help you make good choices throughout the day!

Go shopping! You will only need: cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, tuna, lemons/limes and raw vegetables/avocado.

Classic Cottage Cheese Dip:
Don’t run away yet! Cottage cheese haters must give this dip a try before knocking it! Mix it all together and dip your fresh veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)

  • 1 c Cottage Cheese
  • 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Dill Weed, Celery Salt, Onion Powder to taste
  • tiny pinch of Sugar

** Take the leftover dip and toss in chopped veggies for a high protein salad on the go!

Classic Protein Pancakes:
Who doesn’t love pancakes?! Get funky with your add-ins – berries, cooked apple, peanut butter, raisins, cinnamon, honey – you name it! Blend these three ingredients below to make your batter and bust out the griddle.

  • 1/2 c Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 c Cottage Cheese
  • 3 Eggs

Simple Chicken Salad
Avocado and Plain Greek Yogurt are an excellent swap for the mayonnaise in traditional chicken salad, and dare we say it may have a better texture and taste. Mix it all up for an easy go-to To-Go recipe! (Quantities will depend on desired consistency and how much veggies you add-in)

  • Avocado
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Chopped Chicken
  • Onion (preferably red)
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste

*Add an assortment of Veggies, Craisins, Chopped Almonds – whatever you like! Or swap the Chicken for Tuna and try a whole different flavor profile!*

See the link for this recipe below:
http://www.organizeyourselfskinny.com/2014/06/18/avocado-and-greek-yogurt-chicken-salad-no-mayonnaise/

 

Cancer Fighting Foods

How many of you worked cabbage into your diet after last week’s blog post? If your answer is no, then maybe we have some other, more tasty options for you!

In honor of October being breast Cancer awareness month, let’s talk about a few more Cancer fighting foods. Look no further than your fridge for these healthy warriors.

Broccoli

All cauriferous veggies have cancer fighting properties, but broccoli has a decent amount of sulforaphane, a potent compund that flushes out chemicals involved in causing cancer and boosts protective enzymes in the body.

Berries

These cancer-fighers are packed with phytonutrients. Particularly, black raspberries contain high concentrations of phytochemicals, called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins aid in slowing down the growth of premalignant cells, keeping new blood vessels from forming (potentially feeding a cancerous tumor). Add a half a cup a day to your diet for overall health benefits

Tomatoes

A juicy red tomato is the best dietary source of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue. And that’s good news, because lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study inNutrition and Cancer.

broccoliblackraspberriestomato