Quick And Easy Vegetable Stock

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Thanks so much to Doug from The Kitchen Professor my guest blogger today for some great tips about how to make your own vegetable stock. This tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store!

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I don’t know about you…

But I always seem to be out of vegetable stock whenever I need it.

There are some big advantages to making your own vegetable stock:
1. You won’t feel silly when you don’t have it and need it.
2. You can control the amount of salt, i.e. sodium, in your meal.
3. It is much cheaper to make your own stock than to buy it premade.

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What I Learned From My 10-Day Cleanse

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One of my detox breakfasts: oatmeal with frozen berries, pumpkin and chia seeds with a swirl of almond milk

I completed my Fresh Start 10-Day Cleanse at the beginning of this year with a group of clients and it was the perfect timing for me – after a non-stop party and holiday season with definitely too much sugar, carbs and alcohol. I love working with clients to do a gentle seasonal detox at the beginning of the year as it can shake up your diet, hit the reset button and help you lose a few pounds and feel more energetic and ready to tackle anything at the beginning of a New Year.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats

Lasagne Boats

We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.

I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
  • 1 pack lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  9. Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  10. To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.

 

How To Stay Healthy Over The Holiday Season

It’s getting cold outside, the evenings are drawing in and this is the week that America celebrates Thanksgiving. At this time of the year, it’s natural for us to turn to rich, heavy, comforting foods. With the sugar craziness that starts at Halloween and finishes after New Year’s, many of us throw out our diet and nutrition goals and forget about healthy food options and our good intentions from the summertime.

Don’t worry, here are some easy tips that you can use throughout the entire holiday party season that will keep you healthy and won’t have you starting all over again with unrealistic health goals on January 1.

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5 Healthy Fats To Add To Your Green Smoothies

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Do you love green smoothies as much as I do? I have one nearly every day, adding in kale, chard, spinach or parsley and watercress into mine. Green smoothies are so delicious and nutritious. If you have digestive problems, it’s the perfect way to add extra greens into your diet.

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Sweet Potato Brownies – OMG so good!

Sweet Potato BrowniesMy kids are always ravenous after school. I like – no, LOVE – baking. I don’t want to give my kids too much sugar – but we all love chocolate. My son is an especially fussy eater (sigh) and doesn’t really like vegetables. Add it all up and you get my new fascination with sweet potato brownies!

I’ve been trying out different recipes for these delicious sweet potato brownies in my kitchen all week with my own twist and have come up with this recipe. They are easy to make and are a delicious and guilt free treat any time of the day since there is no sugar and they are naturally sweetened with raw honey and the sweet potato. I use coconut flour which makes them an excellent gluten free option and together with the coconut oil, gives them a nice coconutty taste. The walnuts add the right amount of crunch. Make sure you use high quality baking ingredients and take some time to roast the sweet potato.  I find that making a double batch and freezing some is extra handy when you have lots of mouths to feed.

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Crunchy Chickpeas For Movie Night

Crunchy ChickpeasMy kids don’t watch too much TV during the week but when it comes to the weekend, we allow them to stay up a little later and choose a favorite movie. After a big dinner, we cuddle up on the sofa and pick a new title (lately it’s been Star Wars and Frozen for the 100th time…) We’ve been experimenting with different snacks for movie night and one that we love and is so much healthier than pretzels or chips is crunchy chickpeas. They are super easy to make and the bonus is you can make any flavor you want depending on your mood or which movie you are watching.

Here’s how you make them…

Crunchy Chickpeas

1 large can garbanzo/chickpeas (I especially like the Eden Organic brand as they are cooked with kombu, a Japanese seaweed which helps digestion)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt

Spices of your choice: curry, turmeric, oregano, basil, cajun, chili, paprika – whatever takes your fancy!

  1. Rinse the can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas and dry really well with a dish towel (this is key to developing a good crunch).
  2. In a large bowl, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and your sea salt and spices.
  3.  Roast on a flat baking tray at 400F for about 30 minutes (shake a little half way through cooking) until crunchy!