Archive for the ‘vegetarian’ Category

Grocery Shopping 101

July 9, 2016

So here’s the deal, you don’t have time to cook full meals because you work, and have kids, and have to go to the gym, and you don’t have the right ingredients in the pantry, and…I get it!  Step 1 for healthy, home-cooked meals is having the food available to cook.  If you only have frozen pizza, canned soup, and condiments then there’s not much available to cook even if you found the time.

Cooking full meals requires planning (until you become so good at it you could MacGyver that pizza and soup into a 4 course gourmet meal).  Even then, there will still be some planning involved and this starts with filling the fridge and pantry with versatile ingredients.  Remember that bag of frozen chicken tenders we discussed previously? Not only could that be used for the Chicken Enchilada Bake, but also: Asian stir fry, shredded BBQ chicken, Greek chicken kabobs, chicken in mushroom sauce, and tons of other quick and easy recipes.

Then there are the add-ons like cheese, salsa, herbs and spices.  Keep your favorites handy.  Shredded 3 cheese blend is great for Mexican dishes, omelettes, and even on top of burgers.  Choose a couple of sauces and salsas you like. Yes, you could make these from scratch too, but let’s start simple.  For now, buy the sauces and condiments.  There is an array of sauces available depending on your mood: BBQ, Asian peanut, green and red salsas, curries.  Keep a couple of options in your pantry.

Next are the veggies.  Again, we’re keeping this simple for now.  Pick one or two you like that can last a while.  I almost always have broccoli and avocados.  I get carrots and celery as needed (you know, for stir frys or chicken salad).  Seasonally others may show up in my cart like spring asparagus or winter squash for variety.  Onions also go in just about anything.

A few other staples to keep on hand are good quality butter, coconut oil, eggs, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, and good quality salt and pepper.  If you can find these in the grinder jars, even better!  By keeping versatile staples available, meal prep will be so much easier and you can even prep a meal on the fly when the mood strikes.image

To get the most out of your shopping trip  and to keep it as short and painless as possible (you are very busy after all), make a list. If possible, put the list in order of your grocery store layout.  This will keep you from backtracking and ending up with a cart full of items you probably don’t need.  My local store has produce just inside the door, then fresh meats, frozen, pantry, then dairy.  I can usually fill a cart from my list in 10 minutes and I’m outta there!

Lets say you now have all of the ingredients listed above.  What can you do?  The last post gave you a Chicken Enchilada Bake (chicken, salsa, cheese).  This time, let’s go for an Asian Stir Fry (chicken, broccoli, rice). We are keeping this simple, and there’s no need for a wok, so I guess technically it would be a chicken vegetable sauté. Whatever.


  • chicken (estimate 1-2 tenders per person, cut into 1″ chunks)
  • broccoli (about 1/2 cup per person)
  • rice (about 1/2-1 cup cooked per person)
  • soy sauce


Do yourself a favor and buy a rice cooker.  Rice can be cooked on the stove, but you don’t have time for that, remember? Follow the directions on the bag of rice and your cooker for amounts, typically 1part rice to 2 parts water.  A full pot of rice will take less than 45 minutes and will stay warm until you need it.

Put the rice on and go do some chores, a quick workout, or relax with a cold beverage.  A rice cooker will automatically switch to warming mode when rice is cooked and stay warm until you are ready.  Since the stir fry will only take a few minutes, you now have some time to chill.

Once the rice is cooked, add a table spoon of coconut oil,to a heated frying pan.  Toss in chicken cubes and cook until done (the small cubes will only take a few minutes).  Drizzle soy sauce to taste (go light at first, a little goes a long way and you can always add more).  Turn heat up, add a splash of water and broccoli.  Cover and let steam about 5 minutes.  Serve over or next to rice.

This is a very simple version to get you started.  You can embellish with additional veggies like carrots, onions, and celery.  Toasted sesame oil sprinkled on top after cooking gives a fantastic depth of flavor.  To have this meal during the busy work week, you can cut up the chicken and vegetables beforehand and store in the fridge.  They will then be ready to toss in a pan and ready in 10 minutes.

You can just do vegetables for a vegetarian meal.  You can make a larger portion of meat and veggies and omit the rice for low carb.  Once you get the hang of a basic one-pan meal like this, the sky is the limit on which ingredients you use!

Something New, and Kinda Weird

May 12, 2014

So you’ve heard of chia seeds.  Maybe you’ve even seen them on store shelves.  They’re actually not all that new.  It’s said that the Aztecs used chia seeds to survive long journeys. They even make really cool pets (yes, these seeds marketed as food are indeed the same little seeds that came in your Chia Pet kit).  But what the heck can chia seeds do for you?  For starters, they offer antioxidants (and who doesn’t need more antioxidants?)  They also provide significant amounts of Omega-3’s (these are the Omegas we need more of).

As mentioned in the title, they are a little weird.  They are hard little seeds, but when added to liquid they get gelatinous.  Kinda soft and squishy and slimy.  You can add them to your yogurt or smoothies for an extra nutrient kick.  This is probably one of the most popular uses.  But when you add the proper amounts of the right ingredients, you can get a wonderful (healthy) dessert.

Chia pudding 1Chia pudding is one of my favorite desserts these days.  If you are ok with the texture of tapioca pudding, then you’ll probably enjoy chia pudding.  While you can use almond milk and fruit, my preferred recipe includes coconut milk, dates, and raw cacao powder.  The dates give a wonderful sweetness and the cacao powder offers a healthy dose of antioxidants as well as magnesium and iron along with a great chocolately flavor.

Give it a go if you dare!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients: 1-1/4 cup coconut milk, 3-4 dates pitted and chopped, 1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1/4 cup chia seeds

Method: Soak dates in coconut milk for 20-30 minutes to soften.  Stir in cacao powder until well blended.  Add vanilla and chia seeds and stir well.  Cover and let set in refrigerator for about 30 minutes for flavors to come together.  Enjoy!


But It’s GREEN!

June 27, 2012

Green drinks can take a little getting used to.  They look and taste, well… green.  Freshly mowed lawn and algae sometimes come to mind… but, put all that out of your mind.  Green smoothies are chock full of nutrients, more in one glass that most people get in an entire day!

But it’s GREEEEEN!

OK, get over the green thing.  Let’s consider what’s in the green drink.  Here’s a smoothie I drink almost every day:

Green Smoothie

Ingredients: strawberries, pineapple, baby spinach, avocado, wheatgrass powder, fresh parsley, peeled cucumber, chia seeds, coconut water, raw milk kefir or carrot juice.

Optional Ingredients: flax seeds, flax oil, bee pollen

Method: Add 1 Tblsp chia seeds to 1/4 cup coconut water and set aside to gel.  I use frozen fruits and let them thaw in the blender cup overnight in the fridge so they are soft but still cold in the morning (about 3-4 strawberries and 3-4 chunks of pineapple).  To the fruit, add a small handful of spinach leaves, 1/2 an avocado, 1 scoop of wheatgrass powder, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, and about 1/4-1/2 cup cubed cucumber.  I then add about a teaspoon of either flax seeds or flax oil and 1/4 tsp of bee pollen.  Add raw milk kefir or carrot juice (1/2 – 1 cup depending on consistency you want).  Blend thoroughly.  Just before drinking, stir in gelled chia seeds in coconut water.

Of course, you can alter the fruits, veges, and optional ingredients.  To make this vegan, use carrot juice instead of raw milk kefir and do not use bee pollen.

You might be wondering about some of these ingredients.  Parsley is a wonderful detox herb, aiding the kidneys in flushing toxins out.  It is also very high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and calcium.  Chia seeds provide protein, magnesium, dietary fiber and Omega-3’s.  The gel also helps move toxins through (and out) of the intestines.  Wheat grass powder is an easy way to help you reach your 5+ servings of vegetables each day.  It is chock full of antioxidants and dietary fiber and also supports your immune system.

So what are you waiting for, GO GREEN!

Food For Life

June 18, 2012

So, another blog about food.  There are many with healthy recipes (yup, this is one).  There are many with quick and easy recipes (yup, this is one).  There are many with fun, new ideas about eating (yup again, this is one).  Seems like there are so many out there these days, what makes this one any different?  Well, for starters, my definition of healthy eating is somewhat different than most others.

I do not promote low-fat, low-cholesterol, diet, low-calorie, light, low-carb or any other food-like substances.  I believe in whole food in its whole form (as much as possible).  My theory on healthy eating is that if my grandparents recognized it as food, then it’s food.  If it comes from a plant or ate plants, then it’s food.  If it was made in a plant, I’ll pass thank you.  I promote food that keeps you alive and healthy.  Food for life.

More about my theories and feelings about food and nutrition in future posts.  For today, let’s take a look at comfort food.  I’m home for a couple of days with a back injury and really not up to doing much of anything except trying to be as comfortable as possible.  Is it possible for comfort food to be healthy?  Absolutely!  Comfort food is food that invites you to hunker down with a big bowl of something simple and delicious.  No frills.  No mess.  While there are plenty of other healthy, comforting recipes, this one is a favorite of mine and I hope will become one of yours too.

One key to keeping this recipe (and many others to come) quick and easy, is to always have a few key items on hand.  One of my kitchen staples is a pot of cooked rice.  A rice cooker is a beautiful thing and I almost always have a pot of rice in the fridge ready for stir-fry, fried rice, soups, or whatever.  A few other staples: butter (REAL butter from a cow, not hydrogenated or soy based butter-like product that is nothing like butter), avocados (a true superfood that goes in everything from chocolate pudding to breakfast smoothies to nachos), lemons and limes (both versatile flavor enhancers as well as alkalizing and cleansing).

OK, enough already, the recipe…

Avocado Rice

Ingredients:  rice (I mix 1/2 brown basmati and 1/2 white basmati), avocado, butter, salt (Himalayan or Celtic preferred), pepper, lime

Method: Scoop hot rice into a bowl.  For the purpose of this recipe, let’s say 1 – 2 cups.  Add about a tablespoon of butter (yes, a whole Tablespoon, maybe two if you’re using 2 cups of rice) and stir so butter melts into rice.  Cube the avocado and add to the rice.  Add a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently with a fork and enjoy.

So simple and so satisfying.  Serve warm on a cold day or let cool to room temperature on a warm day.  Either way, it’s nourishing and comforting.