Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raw Apple Crisp

Wow!  The link above brings you such a simple, yet delicious variation on the classic without all the added sugar and calories of the original bakery.  Go ahead, have seconds!

Raw fruits and vegetables contain the most vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so eat them in plenty! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Easy Mac-n-Cheese

Follow the link below for homemade mac-n-cheese that is just as simple and much more tasty than anything you can buy in a box!

Note:  I always use plain yogurt instead of cream, milk or sour cream.  Yogurt is full of digestive enzymes that help regulate your system and improve nutrient absorption.  Use whole milk yogurt without any added sugar or flavorings.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

from The Get Real Plan Cookbook

This fantastically fast dish combines the health benefits of the whole grain, quinoa, with a variety of colorful, fresh vegetables.  Use as a side dish with broiled salmon, or as a main dish for a lighter, vegan meal. 

2 cups Quinoa, rinsed
1 small eggplant
1 red pepper
1 zucchini
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Chop eggplant, peppers and zucchini.  Coat lightly with olive oil and salt.  Roast all vegetables at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.  While vegetables are roasting, bring 2 cups quinoa with 4 cups water to boil.  Cover and lower heat to low, cooking for 20 minutes.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and top with roasted veggies.

Why It's Better:

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a whole grain that is very low in gluten and easily digested.  It is high in protein and has a light, fresh taste and texture. 

Red peppers are packed with antioxidants, which protect your body from free radicals.  They are easier to digest and have more health benefits than green peppers, which in reality are simply unripe.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Simple Soul

Chicken Soup for the Simple Soul

This soup goes from chop block to table in under 30 minutes, but your family will think you spent all day on it, just like grandma. Substitute cooked brown rice or barley for the noodles whenever possible. I always make this the day after having a roast chicken to use up my leftovers, but the taste is nothing less than deliciously fresh.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery heart including leaves, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
3 cups water
1 ½ cup whole grain egg noodles
3 cups organic free range chicken broth
1 ½ cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or ½ tablespoon dried

Saute onion in oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 8 minutes or until vegetables can be pierced with a fork. Add noodles and return to a boil. Simmer another 10 minutes until pasta is tender. Add chicken broth and cubed chicken, then season with salt and parsley.

Why It's Better:

Organic free range chicken products are far superior to commercially farmed chickens for several reasons. First, commercial farms overcrowd their cages full of chickens to the point of becoming unsanitary. Free range animals are allowed to forage and exercise daily, creating better health and nutrition for the animal and therefore a higher quality food product with more nutrients. Also, many non-organic chicken broths and canned soups contain MSG, a harmful chemical taste enhancer that contributes to diseases like autism, Alzheimer's, diabetes and obesity.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rainbow Salads

The color of fresh fruits and vegetables not only makes them aesthetically pleasing, but also indicates which nutrients they contain in abundance.  Experts agree that eating a variety of different colored fruits and veggies is a great way to ensure that you are getting the diverse vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimal health.  I challenge you to eat a rainbow of fresh produce every day.  Here are two simple salads that look and taste truly brilliant:

Rainbow Fruit Salad (serves 6-8)

1/2 a seedless watermelon, cubed
1 cantaloupe, seeds removed, cubed
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup purple grapes

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.  You could also try layering the ingredients in a clear glass dish to create a delicious rainbow effect that tastes as good as it looks.

Why It's Better:

Blueberries are renowned for their antioxidant properties, and are considered one of the most important "super foods."  They are also an excellent source of manganese, a vital nutrient which aids in the metabolism of both fats and carbohydrates. 

Pineapple is rich in the digestive enzyme bromelain and can aid with an upset stomach, heart burn and diarrhea.  Be sure your pineapple is ripe and juicy.  It's skin should smell sweet even before you cut it.

Rainbow Salad

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, sliced or grated
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium head romaine, red leaf lettuce, and/or spinach
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 small red onion, finely sliced 


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon expeller-pressed flax oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.  Combine all dressing ingredients in a dressing shaker or mix together in a small bowl.  Toss vegetables with dressing and serve immediately.

Why It's Better:

Red peppers and onions are full of antioxidants and are considered "super foods."  Romaine, red leaf lettuce and spinach all contain more nutrients, including calcium and magnesium than iceberg lettuce or green leaf varieties.  A rule of thumb is the darker the green, the more health benefits it contains.

Flax oil is an important part of a healthy diet as it contains a balancing amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats.  Buy high quality, expeller pressed flax oil in a dark colored bottle and store in your refrigerator.  Never heat flax oil or it will become rancid.


Dressing, for one

Dressing, for one

Here's a perfect homemade salad dressing in an instant. Try your favorite herbs in place of the pepper. I love to sprinkle fresh basil, thyme, cilantro or even dried herbs on my salads.  Using a capful of oil and vinegar makes measuring easy, no matter where you are. 

1 capful Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 teaspoons)

1 capful Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (about 1 teaspoon)

1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)

Sea Salt

Black pepper

Sprinkle all ingredients over the top of any fresh vegetable salad. Season to taste. I find that less is usually more when it comes to salad dressings; keep it simple and allow the flavor of one or two herbs or seasonings to shine through. You could also use balsamic vinegar with delicious results, but I prefer the raw apple cider vinegar for its digestive benefits. This dressing is delicious on a bed of crisp greens, a chopped vegetable salad of broccoli, red peppers and olives, or a fresh tomato and mozzarella dish.

Why it's Better:

Store bought salad dressings are expensive and are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like soybean oil, MSG and preservatives. Extra virgin olive oil provides healthy fats, including Omega 3 and Omega 6. It is also rich in antioxidants. Always look for the “extra virgin” variety which is not as highly processed and retains much more of the oil's natural nutrients.

Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar contains small strands of naturally occurring “mother of vinegar” which promote healthy digestion and provide beneficial nutrients. Vinegar also helps flush toxins from your body and can even aid in weight loss.

Garlic has more health benefits than almost any other seasoning. Entire books have been written on the positive effects of including fresh garlic in our diets. It can prevent and relieve symptoms of the common cold and flu, relieve diarrhea, prevent heart attacks, reduce stress and even relieve pain, to name just a few. If you enjoy the taste of garlic, eat it to your hearts content (quite literally!) and if you are not as fond of its sharpness, use only very small quantities, which will still be good for your family's health.