Posts tagged ‘The Healthy Dish’

June 2, 2014

Oatmeal Zucchini Nut Muffins

 

zucchini+and+cranberry+muffins

Are all baked goods bad for you? No way! To prove it to you, I’ll share one of my new favorite recipes that works for muffins or bread. These zucchini muffins are chewy, full of fiber, and delicious. Try them for yourself . . . then you’ll understand. 🙂

Delicious Details

cranberries and walnuts

What makes these treats so good? Every bite is full of juicy cranberries and plump walnuts, surrounded by moist, dense muffin tasting of cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Oats and zucchini give nutritional heft to these beauties, boosting the fiber content to help fill you up. And yes, they are sweet. But I made a little tweak to the original recipe, substituting coconut palm sugar for the regular sugar. The substitution was easy (1:1), and the muffins turned out excellent!

Here's the coconut sugar I used--yummy!

Here’s the coconut sugar I used–yummy!

Bonus: If you freeze your leftover muffins or bread, you’ll have the perfect last-minute nibble next time someone drops by unexpectedly.

Oatmeal Zucchini Nut Muffins

zucchini-muffins on plate

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ c. coconut sugar
  • 1 c. oil (I used canola)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. raw, unpeeled zucchini, grated
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. dried cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. With a mixer, beat eggs and sugar together.

3. Add oil and vanilla to the egg/sugar mixture.

4. In a separate bowl, combine oats, salt, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.

5. Add these dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture.

6. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in zucchini, walnuts, and cranberries.

7. Add batter to the desired pan, and cook as follows:

  • Large loaves (4” x 8”, quantity: 2)—1 hr.
  • Small loaves (quantity: 5)—35-40 mins.
  • Muffins (quantity: 24)—25-30 mins.

8.  Cook until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thanks for the Inspiration

Wanda and our doggie friend Gracie--love them both!

Wanda and our doggie friend Gracie–love them both!

My sweet friend Wanda shared this delicious recipe with me. Actually, she first shared a muffin, and then she gave me her recipe. She is a wonderful cook who delights everyone with her creations, and while she’s certainly talented in the kitchen, I know her secret ingredient . . . love!

May you all be blessed with someone like my friend Wanda. If you have no such person in your life, whip up these muffins and go be that blessing yourself. 🙂

Have a wonderful week!

Brooke

May 19, 2014

Outdoor Circuits to Ease Into Summer

 

yoga sunset

So, have you heard? Summer’s coming . . . and it’s going to be hot, hot, hot! Now’s the perfect time to start conditioning yourself to tolerate the blazing sun while still reaching your fitness goals. If you take the time now to gradually ramp up your intensity as you exercise outside, you’ll be much better prepared to stay active, healthy, and safe as the seasons change.

Easy Does It

Let your body be your guide when exercising in the great outdoors. Start out in the shade, if possible, and avoid heavy-duty cardio between 10 AM and 4 PM (the hottest part of the day). If you start to crash and burn after 20 minutes, just be kind to yourself—take a break, hydrate yourself, and go easy. You’ll be hardcore in no time!

girl drinking water

Also, drink plenty of water before and during your exercise outside. A good rule of thumb is to drink around 8 oz. of water 15-20 minutes before you start. Then, drink 4 oz. of water or sports drink every 20 minutes while you are exercising. If you experience any of the following signs of potential heat exhaustion (dizziness, fatigue, profuse sweating, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps, headache, or nausea):

  • Stop exercising
  • Get somewhere cool
  • Hydrate yourself
  • Cool your skin with cold water
  • If your symptoms don’t resolve quickly, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Simple Cardio/Ab Routine

EKG

Check out this simple circuit guaranteed to get your heart rate up and break a little sweat. It’s quick and easy (no equipment needed, except maybe a towel or mat for the Ab Circuit), so find your favorite spot outside and get going!

 

Cardio Circuit—(go through the entire circuit, then repeat)

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 high knees
  • 10 burpees

(10-second rest, if needed)

  • 30 speed skaters (15 each leg)
  • 20 walking or stationary lunges (10 each leg)
  • 20 side lunges (10 each leg)

(10-second rest, if needed)

  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 20 prisoner jacks
  • plank (hold as long as you can—30 sec.-1 min.)

 

Ab Circuit(go through the entire circuit, then repeat)

  • 20 crunches (keep elbows splayed out, face and chest to the sky)
  • 10 bicycles
  • 10 V-outs (knee ups)
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 20 leg lowering (both legs)
  • 20 Russian oblique twists (1 rep = twist left & twist right)
  • 10 Prone cobras (keep feet on ground)

Stretch (I love stretching after a workout—it feels like candy for my muscles 😉

Have a great week, and enjoy the spring breezes while you can!

Brooke

i love my active summer

May 12, 2014

Don’t Fear the Sprouts!

no way

Do you remember when you were a little kid, and you would absolutely refuse to eat some food, no matter how good it was for you? Now, imagine years passing, you being an adult, and you still refusing to try something new because you didn’t like it 20 years ago. Sounds silly, right?

What if that food were a nutritional superstar, teeming with more vitamin C than an orange, packed with fiber, and dripping with heart-protecting and cancer-defying compounds? Would you still refuse to try it, knowing now how fragile life is and how important good nutrition is to your health?

And the Mystery Veg Is . . .

close-up brussels sprout

Yes, I’m talking about Brussels sprouts! Over the years, I’ve wanted to like them, have tried them at various points, and have turned away at the stinky smell and bitter taste that hit me about 3 chews in. They are beguiling to behold—tiny baby cabbages! Almost everything is cuter when tiny J And the lovely layers when you slice them open—much more interesting to behold than, say, a potato. Turns out, potatoes and Brussels sprouts are fantastic together!

Turn of the Tide

Oak Brussel sprouts by Brian O.

Crazy-good Brussels sprouts at Oak (Dallas, TX)

But my new love affair with these sprouts began a few years ago when I tried them at Oak, the delicious Dallas restaurant (http://oakdallas.com/). When the waiter told me that people came from miles around for Oak’s Brussels sprouts, I figured I’d give them a go. I almost lost my mind, they were so good! Quartered, tossed with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and Panko bread crumbs, and roasted until gorgeous golden brown with crispy leaves outside. I actually still dream about them. Turns out, anytime you get olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar near a Brussels sprout, you’re going to have a good time!

Green Science

green science

Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family, which includes such stellar greens as broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage. Considering its family members, you can imagine the health benefits that these little beauties provide. They are jammed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, destroy free radicals, and protect against cancer of all types. They are one of the vegetable kingdom’s best sources of vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting as well as bone building. They are also packed with vitamin A (healthy mucus membranes and vision), vitamin E (treating and preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), magnesium, calcium, potassium—the list goes on!

But What About the Stink?

Happily, Brussels sprouts are full of fiber and extremely low on the GI index, making them ideal companions in your weight-loss efforts. They help fill you up without filling you out. But what about the stinky nature of these sprouts (both for them and for you)? They get their particular smell from their sulphur-containing compounds, the fragrance of which is amplified by boiling. To avoid filling your house with that pungent scent as well as cooking away all the nutrients, try steaming or roasting them. As for you and the gas that sometimes accompanies cruciferous veggies like sprouts and broccoli—I’ve found that the more regularly you eat these high-fiber foods, the more adept your body becomes at digesting them efficiently. This goes for beans too.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare Brussels sprouts while preserving all the good stuff inside is to steam them, but roasting them is also a delicious option.

To steam: Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Add an inch or so of water to a pot, cover, and wait for water to boil. When water boils, add a steamer basket full of Brussels sprouts and cover. For halved sprouts, steam about 6 mins. For quartered sprouts, steam about 5 min.

To roast: Heat your oven to about 350-400 degrees. Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Toss with some olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, some balsamic (if you like), and even a dash of red pepper flakes. Arrange on a baking sheet with cut sides up, and cook for 30-40 minutes, until they are deep golden brown. Yum!

I found the following recipe and yummy variations on the Whole Foods website (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/oven-roasted-brussels-sprouts). I can’t wait to try them!

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

closeup roasted bs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 30 to 35 minutes. The leaves that are loose will be especially brown and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Variations

Rosemary Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary to Brussels sprouts before roasting. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1/4 cup pine nuts. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender. Before serving, toss with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup pecan pieces. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender.

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad After roasting, allow Brussels sprouts to cool to room temperature. Toss with 4 cups baby kale mix, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette.

i-heart-sprouts

I hope you will give Brussels sprouts (or any long-despised food from childhood) a chance. You never know—they may just become one of your very favorites!

Happy and healthy adventuring,

Brooke

April 14, 2014

Easy Banana-Apple Bars

granolabars

Morning, Friends! These delicious banana bars are super easy to make, and your family and friends will love them! Even better, you can dress them up or down. If you need a quick kid-friendly snack, serve a couple of the bars with some milk or yogurt. For a simple springtime dessert, you can serve these bars with your favorite healthy frozen yogurt or frozen fruit sorbet on the side. If you want something extra special, drizzle some melted dark chocolate across the bars and the yogurt, and garnish the yogurt with fresh mint. So pretty and easy!

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, ripe
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 large red apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Stir in rolled oats, chopped apple, applesauce, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir thoroughly and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Add parchment paper to a baking pan, and spread mixture in the pan.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  4. After removing from oven, allow bars to cool before slicing them.

love fruit

Have a blessed and happy week!

Brooke

April 7, 2014

Fuel Your Workout: Green Machine

strong is the new

How do you feed yourself for your workouts? Do you have trouble coming up with small meals that will fill you up but not make you feel bloated? I’ve struggled with my pre-workout meal over the years, but through trial and error, I found several solid options that work for me. Scrambled egg whites and oatmeal are great at filling me up, yet they are neutral enough to digest easily. I also like protein smoothies with fresh fruit added—quick and yummy! Your body may respond differently and therefore may need different fuel. But whatever that fuel is, you must figure it out!

Avoid the Bonk

First and foremost, make sure you get all your meals in throughout the day. If you skip breakfast, get a bite of lunch, and then eat a small snack, you may still hit the wall when it’s go time. To avoid the dreaded “bonk” and for some great pre-workout snack ideas, check out my post “Hitting the Wall” (https://thehealthyhousewives.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/hitting-the-wall/).

 

Find Your Feel-Good Snack

oatmeal

You will need to experiment with various foods and see how they make you feel. Look for options that make you feel satisfied yet clean.

  • Does a bowl of cereal leave you hungering for more?
  • Does yogurt tear up your system?
  • Are you a little weak, even after devouring the packet of almonds and a green juice?
  • Does bread sometimes puff you up like Winnie the Pooh?

 

My Favorite Fuel

My favorite protein smoothie du jour is something I call the Green Machine. It’s super simple, tastes amazing (if a little grassy), and fills me up without weighing me down.

Green Machine

Pre-workout meal or afternoon snack–you decide!

  • 1.5 scoops whey or vegan protein powder*
  • 1-1.5 c. almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 serving green phytofoods (Amazing Grass–Green Superfoods, ORAC berry)
  • 1 Tbsp. flax oil blend (Udo’s 3·6·9 Blend)
  • Few cubes of ice (optional)

Blend and enjoy!

 

*Favorite whey protein: Syntha-6 in Strawberry Milkshake

Favorite vegan protein: Sunwarrior Classic Blend in Vanilla

 

Good luck and happy fueling!

Brooke

March 10, 2014

Make Your Water Sparkle!

The orange and mint water was tasty!

The orange and mint water was tasty!

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. You know how important water is for your body, so why is it so hard to hydrate yourself? I struggle with getting my daily amount down as well, but I have found a solution for those of you who may prefer a bit more sparkle and flavor in your water.

Recently, I prepared a Gourmet Water Tasting at Juliette Fowler Communities (where I work) in hopes of encouraging our senior residents to drink more water. March 22 is World Water Awareness Day after all, so I was laying the groundwork. 🙂

water bird

I found 5 recipes for fruit- and herb-infused water for my friends to sample. They were delicious! What I hadn’t accounted for was how gorgeous the fruit and herbs looked in the carafes—jewel tones and freshness all over the place. I kept thinking how pretty a pitcher or two of fruit water would be at my next dinner party. And the prep couldn’t have been easier.

Have fun with your water and play around with your favorite fruits and herbs. Thankfully, there are no rules, except not letting the water sit too long. Here are some easy directions and the recipes I shared with my residents. Maybe you’ll enjoy them too!

Laurie, Liz, and Wanda--love these ladies!

Laurie, Liz, and Wanda–love these ladies!

Supplies

  • 2-qt. or 3-qt. carafe or pitcher
  • Long spoon, spatula, or muddler (potato masher also works!)
  • Fresh water
  • 2-3 c. fresh fruit
  • Small handful herbs, torn or bruised
  • Ice (optional)

Directions

  • Chop or slice 2-3 cups of fresh fruit and place in an empty pitcher.
  • If you are using herbs, tear up a small handful and place in the pitcher with the fruit.
  • Optional—fill pitcher ¾ full of ice.
  • Take long spoon or muddler and press the fruit and herbs so that they can release their flavor—but don’t pulverize them. Just a little mashing is good.
  • Fill the pitcher with fresh water, close the lid, and let sit in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
  • Don’t prepare fruit water more than a day or two ahead of time. Sometimes the fruit will become bitter or pulpy if allowed to sit too long (especially citrus fruit with rind).

Beautiful and healthy

Recipes for Our Gourmet Tasting

Basic Spa Water with Cucumbers

  • Peel cucumber first, then thinly slice ½-¾ of a cucumber, add to pitcher, and fill with water.

Fruit Extravaganza

  • Rinse all fruit with peel. Slice ½ an orange, add a few slices of lime and lemon, a big handful or two of raspberries, 5-6 strawberries (chopped), a small handful of blackberries. Muddle fruit well. Fill with water.

Watermelon Basil

  • Chop 2 cups watermelon and add to pitcher. Tear up about 5-7 leaves of basil and add to pitcher. Fill with water.

Blackberry Mint

  • Slice 2 cups of blackberries and add to pitcher. Tear up 10 mint leaves and add to pitcher. Muddle blackberries and mint well. Fill with water.

Orange Mint

  • Slice 2 oranges and add to pitcher. Tear up 10 mint leaves and add to pitcher. Muddle oranges and mint well. Fill with water.
More friends: Audrey, Judith, and Hazel--what a crowd!

More friends: Audrey, Judith, and Hazel–what a crowd!

Surprise your friends and family with a special water treat that’s not only beautiful but also healthy. Have a lovely and healthy week!

Brooke

March 3, 2014

Sweet Nékter

interesting juice pic

Just what I needed–beautiful purple juice (The Cure)!

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here, and I want to share with you my latest addiction: Nékter Juice Bar! I sure do love my caffeine, but I know I drink too much of it. So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to nourish myself enough to step away (gradually) from my beloved stimulant. I love how happy, fresh, and alive I feel after drinking a fresh-pressed juice, so I started looking for juice bars near my neighborhood. Whole Foods makes amazing juices, but they are pricier than I’d like. And if I had more sense and time management skills, I would plan ahead and juice more at home. But when I’m on the move and I need some TLC, it’s Nékter to the rescue!Healthy History

nekter

Nékter Juice Bar founders, Steve and Alexis Schulze, opened their first store in 2010 with the simple idea of providing a neighborhood juice bar where everyone could enjoy delicious, healthy fruit and veggie juices at reasonable prices. Turns out people were starving for stellar nutrition on the go—Nékter now has 26 stores and counting! Thankfully, the only store outside of California just happens to be down the street from me in Dallas—yippee! One of my client friends even surprised me with a Nékter gift card out of the blue. What a beautiful gift of health—pure plant love.

Recently, as I prepared to get out of my car and grab a juice, I watched customers come and go from the store and I was struck by Nékter’s resemblance to a hummingbird feeder, with creatures zipping in, alighting briefly for nourishing sweet nectar (!), then buzzing away. Somehow, things just feel right when life imitates nature.

Smoothies, Cleanses, and Other Treats

The Cure and spicy kale chips--nutritious and delicious!

The Cure and spicy kale chips–nutritious and delicious!

In addition to the fresh juices, Nékter offers raw vegan smoothies as well as bowls of blended fruit with bananas, granola, and other tasty bits. If you need a good crunch to offset the smooth juices, they offer nuts, trail mix, and my favorite—spicy kale chips! For an easy way to detoxify your life and kick start your path to better nutrition, Nékter offers 1-, 2-, 3-, or 5-day juice cleanses with a handy cooler thrown in. Be sure and check out the Snider Plaza location (near SMU): http://www.nekterjuicebar.com/ You’ll be SO happy you did. 🙂

Homemade Delight

My favorite juice is The Cure, and I love getting it when I’m beset by allergies or changing weather, which is often. It’s a gorgeous deep purple-red color, it’s bursting with antioxidants, and it’s delicious! Here’s my take on this tasty treat:

The Cure

(Makes 16 oz. of juice)

  • 1-1½ small beets, raw and scrubbed
  • ½ small head of broccoli, with stem
  • 1 large handful curly parsley
  • 2-3 kale leaves
  • 1 red apple, small
  • 2 handfuls red grapes
  • 4 celery stalks, with leaves

Cut produce to fit the feeder tube of your juicer. Add pieces of fruit and veggies to your juicer, collecting the juice in a medium-to-large measuring cup or pitcher. Once finished juicing, stir and enjoy!

Here’s to health, love, and juicing,

Brooke

grow through life

 

February 28, 2014

I’ve Got to Get Away!

this way out

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Is busyness overtaking your life? Are you constantly weary and running on empty? We all have so much to juggle that we barely have time to breathe. If you can get away on a vacation, sweet! But what if your schedule or your wallet is a bit pinched? You don’t need a whole week away at a 5-star resort to get some peace in your life, though it would be a great start! Here’s my personal plan for getting away, if only for a little while.

1. Nature

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Go where the wild things are. Go where you can take a deep breath and actually smell the air. Find the wind, search the wide open sky, find some water, or surround yourself with your favorite kind of plant therapy. To a nature-starved soul trapped in the city, even the greenhouse at Home Depot is warm, loamy, and vibrant. I could never articulate why my soul resonated so deeply with watching a fire burning in my fireplace or standing on the deck of a cruise ship, gazing at the horizon as the wind whipped my hair and the waves  broke below me. Then I found Martha Beck’s description of the soothing power of nature in The Joy Diet: “If your body is tired, seek out some fluidly moving part of nature: a fireplace, a river, a field of wind-blown wheat, a thundering surf. Watching and listening to the patterned disorder of the universe is one of the deep soul’s favorite pastimes.” Lovely . . .

2. Loved Ones

My sister, Paige, and I--love her so!!

My sister, Paige, and I–love her so!!

Find the person or people you love the most and just marinate in the happiness they bring you. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, unless doing so will bring you joy. My heart bubbles over in the presence of loved ones—it is therapy like none other for the craziness in my life. When I’m with people I treasure, I love to linger and no amount of time is ever enough. You know the quote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow . . .”? Absolutely true!

3. Animals

animal collage

Seek out some animal friends ASAP! If you love creatures like I do, there’s nothing that makes me more deliriously happy than petting an animal. Some people go crazy for (human) babies—for me, it’s animals. If I can’t touch a creature, I’m begrudgingly content just to watch them. My favorite hotel in Miami, The Biltmore, is famous for its two beautiful, old-fashioned finch aviaries. These cages are in the lobby, are home to at least 20 finches, and are the first things you see when you step into this glorious hotel. If you’ve not heard the sounds finches make, the tiny chirps are soft, constant, and sweet. I could watch and listen to those winged charmers for hours—so very soothing.

4. Free Time

If you are a spontaneous sort like me, having time unplanned is a precious thing. Having an end point at the end of a stretch of time (even for something fun) makes me feel boxed in and anxious. So, on a recent trip to see my sister and her family, we found ourselves momentarily without plans and it was heavenly. When you keep time unmarked by expectation, 1) you can relax and simply be and 2) you leave room for unexpected joys. We enjoyed our free time by visiting, chilling out, reading, and then lucky for me—a puppy play date happened! See, you never know what will happen when you relax your grip on life! 🙂

5. Joy Reading

A few of my favorite things . . .

A few of my favorite things . . .

This seems to be an obvious choice, but for hyper-achieving, busy people, setting down whatever instructional, educational thing you doing can be the first step to getting away for a bit. I’m always studying or preparing for something, and of course there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. So, when I need to escape, I pick up my favorite books that make me laugh and am transported.

This list is my go-to plan for escaping for a little while and regaining some sanity and joy. What do you do to find some peace in your life? I’d love to know! Find me at Brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

May your weekend be blessed and filled with joy,

Brooke