Archive for August, 2013

August 13, 2013

Fresh and Fast: Veggie Burritos

summer heat

Wow, it’s hot outside! Surviving the month of August has always felt like an endurance sport to me. When even the mosquitoes are worn out from the heat, you know summer’s getting pretty serious. The last place you want to be is stuck in front of a hot stove cooking dinner, right? Well, I have the perfect dish for you! It’s delicious, healthy, involves almost no cooking, and makes enough leftovers for several lunches—yippee! These veggie burritos have become a favorite of ours, and I bet your family will love them too.

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Veggie Burritos

  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c. brown rice, cooked
  • 3 green onions, white and green portions, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, or 3-5 small tomatoes, chopped
  • small bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • ½ c. shredded Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, or nondairy cheese (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp salsa
  • 3½ Tbsp lime or lemon juice, fresh
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp cumin (optional)
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • whole wheat or corn tortillas
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • white mushrooms, sliced
Looking good already!

Looking good already!

Drain and rinse the black beans, then put in a large mixing bowl. Add the brown rice to the beans. If you are really pinched for time and don’t have a batch of rice on hand, just use a package of frozen brown rice and heat it up—a total lifesaver! Add the green onions, tomato, cilantro, shredded cheese, and salsa to the rice and bean mixture and stir.

Fresh and light

Fresh summer veggies over rice and beans

In a separate bowl, combine 3 Tbsp lime or lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, sea salt, and black pepper. Using a small whisk or a fork, stir the canola oil in to the lime dressing. Then pour the finished dressing over the rice and bean mixture, stirring thoroughly. Tasty trick: Drizzle the remaining ½ Tbsp lime or lemon juice over the sliced avocado, and then add a bit of sea salt. Set aside.

Rice and bean mixture--ready to go

Rice and bean mixture–ready to go

If you like, warm the tortilla, and then spread 2-3 Tbsp of the rice and bean mixture down the middle of the tortilla. Arrange the avocado slices along the mixture, then add the slices of mushroom. If you like (and I always like), drizzle some extra salsa and cheese across the top before serving. If you make this dish for dinner, you will have even tastier leftovers for several days that make lunch prep a total snap!

Other Yummy Additions

When it comes to adding veggies and fruit to jazz up the flavor, the sky’s the limit. Be sure to add the extra bits at the very end or after heating up the rice and beans for leftovers. That way, the additions keep their cool sweetness and crunch. Here are some great ideas:

  • Shredded carrots
  • Matchstick-sliced radishes, zucchini, squash, jicama, or cucumber
  • Sliced mango
  • Mango salsa (yum!)
  • Sprouts
  • Baby spinach leaves or other raw greens

Mmmm . . . I’m hungry already. Enjoy and stay cool!

XO, Brooke

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August 7, 2013

Apple Sandwiches for Summer Treat or School Lunch

Hey everyone! Can’t believe its already Thursday! So school starts August 18 and my sweet baby girl is going in the first grade. So many emotions, for one I can’t believe time has passed so quickly and my baby is now a precious little girl, that said I’m actually looking forward to school starting so we can get back on a routine.

I’ve already been thinking about school lunches and healthy snacks. I came across these apple sandwiches, which are so going in my daughters lunch.

Recipe

Apple Sandwiches

Makes 3 sandwiches

3 tablespoons nut butter (your choice)
3/4 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon raisins, chocolate chips
1 medium apple (green or red)

Mix together the nut butter and honey.

Core and slice the apple into 6 rounds. (If you don’t have an apple corer, you can slice the apple first and then cut out the centers with a small cookie cutter or knife. Use heart or star shape cutter for the kids.

Spread 1 tablespoon of your chosen nut butter on 3 of the apple slices and sprinkle with filling. Top with the remaining apple slices to form sandwiches. 

To prevent browning, dip the apples in mixture of water and splash of lemon juice.

 

 

variations

 

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Kathy

August 7, 2013

‘Tis the Season for… Cinnamon!

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‘Tis the season… for cinnamon! I promise I won’t chat holidays just yet, although who doesn’t like a warm house filled with the aroma of cinnamon apple pie? That yumminess aside, I love knowing about the benefits of one of my favorite spices: Cinnamon! Nothing reminds us of the holidays quite like cinnamon does, but let’s not save such greatness for just the holiday season. I dare you to incorporate cinnamon year-round. Here’s why!

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Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest-known spices and has healing properties that rival many other products on your spice rack. It’s natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties make it easy to have a love affair with cinnamon. Go ahead! Smell it, taste it, wear it… indulge! Try to incorporate it into your everyday routine to reap the most benefits. Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions:

Brain Power Booster

It was found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. Carry a cinnamon stick around with you, and take a whiff every so often to keep you focused at work or school.

Pain Reliever

Cinnamon is used to treat pain because it reacts with the hormone-like substance prostaglandin, which contributes to the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Sprinkle some in your bath water!

Diabetes Treatment

Studies have been conducted on diabetic patients, whom were each given one-quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon over 40 days, researchers observed that patients’ blood sugar levels fell as much as 30 percent.

Weight Loss

Because of cinnamon’s effectiveness in reducing insulin resistance – research reports that cinnamon triples insulin’s capacity to metabolize blood sugar – the spice can thus reduce hunger and sugar cravings, which leads to weight loss.

Menstrual Aid

Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help women with heavy menstrual bleeding. (You’re welcome!)

Circulation Booster

Cinnamon is commonly used to thin blood, which in turn increases circulation throughout the body. This not only helps to reduce pain in troubled areas but promises that oxygen is being supplied to the blood cells. Cinnamon is also a great dietary complement for heart attack survivors.

 Complexion Enhancer

Due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities as well as its antioxidant power, cinnamon is effective in treating acne and skin blemishes. Mix 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon with 3 tablespoons of honey, apply to the skin, and let the mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Wash off with warm water.

Cold and Flu Reliever

Cinnamon is commonly used across East Asia and Europe as a warming herb for conditions involving the body to become cold. In these cases, cinnamon is combined with ginger to treat a cold or flu.

Yeast Infection Fighter

Cinnamon can be used to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. High blood sugar levels can lead to candida overgrowth, and cinnamon is helpful in lowering blood sugar levels. Cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties are also helpful in combating the effects of a yeast infection.

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My Favorite Cinnamon Uses

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If you have no time…

  • Add cinnamon to your vanilla protein shake
  • Sprinkle Cinnamon on apple or pear slices, dipped in cashew butter
  • Put cinnamon in your morning coffee to start your day off with zest
  • Having a spinach salad for lunch? Sprinkle some cinnamon on it!
  • Cinnamon on baked chicken shakes up an otherwise bland protein option

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If you have the time, here’s a favorite recipe…

Cider-Glazed Roots with Cinnamon Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Make yourself a warm cup of herbal tea.

2. If using parsnips, quarter lengthwise and remove the woody core before cutting into 1-inch pieces. Whisk cider, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish until the sugar is dissolved. Add root vegetables and toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil. Now, add cinnamon to your cup of herbal tea, and sip.

3. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir the vegetables. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are glazed and tender, about 1 hour more. Ask someone about their day… husband, children, or call and put a friend on speaker phone. Tell her you’re cooking but wanted to chat–you’ll make her feel important and special.

4. Meanwhile, place walnuts in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir until the butter melts and the nuts are coated. Spread out on a plate to cool slightly. Tell the family something fabulous is coming!

5. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon walnuts. Give your favorite pup (or husband) a taste and celebrate their gratitude over such a yummy treat.

 (recipe compliments of http://www.eatingwell.com plus my own additions)

August 6, 2013

I eat food….

“What do you eat?”–I must get that question a bajillion times a day. My answer is always, “FOOD!” I am not trying to be a smart a$% when I answer it that way, but its simply the truth. I don’t count calories. I know for a lot of people that works…but the problem is too many people look at the number versus the quality of the food. 100 calories of Oreos is still Oreos. For me, I like to just really think about the food that I am eating and putting into my body. The better the quality of the food and the more dense nutrition packed in there the more of it I can eat. I don’t necessarily have to worry about my portion control that way. Why? 

Did you ever wonder why you can sit down and eat an entire bag of chips or a an entire pizza pie and not be full?  Yet if you are eating a steak and sweet potatoes you fill up rather quickly with no room in your belly for more? Its because the steak and sweet potato are filled with dense nutrition which signals your body that its full. When you are eating those “empty calories” filled with zero nutritional value, your body requires way more to be satiated, at which point it never really is. So when I say I eat food, and I don’t have to portion or weigh it out, its because when you are choosing food that is whole and good for you, you will know when you are full. Its when you are choosing those items that are processed and have little to no nutritional value that you really have to weigh out your portions because otherwise you will overeat. 

Make better choices. Eat less food from boxes and more food from the Earth. So that next time someone asks you what you eat, you can say FOOD! Image

August 1, 2013

Banana Ice Cream and Pilates! Two of my favorites!

Hi! Happy Thursday! Hope everyone is having a wonderful day and staying cool in this heat. Since my daughter has been in sports camp all summer long, we tend to end most days with a frozen yogurt, ice cream or maybe even a snow cone. I always opt for a better healthy choice but the calories, sugar and dairy are adding up!

I decided to try frozen banana ice cream. It was unbelievably easy to make. I keep chunks of frozen bananas for my smoothies, so I went to the freezer, grabbed my bananas, threw them in the blender and within five minutes, we were enjoying ice cream! (or so my daughter thought – which was amazing)! I actually don’t eat ice cream since I don’t do dairy and it was a delicious treat for me as well! Since then I have been tinkering and came up with a few blends I wanted to share:

Base for all – Banana Ice Cream – 2 servings
2 frozen bananas cut in chunks
Blend in food processor or blender until you have a soft serve consistency. Your blender will be loud, but keep going soft serve coming soon.
Transfer left overs to a container and freeze.

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Green Tea Ice Cream
1 Tablespoon Green Matcha Powder
Blend in Matcha powder.

Almond Butter & Honey
3 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons honey
Blend in almond butter and honey.

Dark Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of coco nibs

Coconut Banana Ice Cream
3 tablespoons canned coconut milk
Add baby coconut meat
Berry Ice Cream
1/3 cup chopped frozen berries

Avocado Kale Ice Cream
1/3 cup chopped dates
handful of kale
1/2 avocado
splash of coconut milk

Hope you enjoyed the recipes and as always, experiment with your favorite ingredients!

And one last self promotion, if you live in Dallas and ever wanted to try Pilates, now is the time!! Book my Gilt City Dallas special, packages are limited and moving fast! Love to see you and meet you in the studio!

http://www.giltcity.com/dallas/liftpilatesexp

Kathy

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