Almond Butter Energy Bites

Almond Butter Energy Bites

I made these beauties while teaching organic cooking to the wonderful employees at Anchin this week. We also make some Spicy Sweet Potato Quinoa and Roasted Cauliflower. More recipes to be posted soon! Stay in the loop by adding your email above or below! And in the meantime, don’t be afraid to drool. 

IMG_9169

IMG_9163-1PREP: 10 MINS 

TOTAL: 10 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
  • Dash (or 2 or ten) of cinnamon

 

  • DIRECTIONS:
  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.

Whenever your sweet tooth calls out after a meal, this is a great go-to and alternative to… well, you fill in the blank. 😉

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How to Stash the Best Snacks: What snacks to keep at the office

How to Stash the Best Snacks: What snacks to keep at the office

It’s 3pm and you’re feeling a bit gnoshy (like you want to gnosh on something?), or as our British friends might say– peckish. Aww heck, you just want a snack!, it’s easy to grab what is near by. When our body is hungry or tired or… stressed, we tend to reach out to three specific things:

1) Salts

2) Fats

3) Sugars

These are three things our ancestors would seek out when they were in survival mode. They were harder to come by in nature but would10442943_10100215864407828_5385196373248115734_n aid in quickly satiating them and giving them a calorie-dense form of sustenance. Nowadays our instincts are still in tact, but “lucky” for us we have salts, sugars, and fats everywhere we turn– vending machines, super markets, staff events.

One helpful way to avoid snacking on the wrong foods, is to make sure you are stocked with the right foods. That way, if your cravings come a knocking you are set up for success in the snacking arena. Here are some healthy snack options for you!

  1. Nuts: Nuts are one of my favorites to snack on because they give you the crunch you crave and are packed with protein and fiber. They will keep you fuller for longer! The best way to get your nuts is raw and unsalted. You also want to limit consumption to about a 1/4 cup a day (about a small handful).
  2. Fruit: Fruit give you that natural sugar when you’re looking for something sweet without the guilt. Any type of fruit is loaded with vitamins and fiber. Avoid dried fruits as they are extremely high in sugar and often contain harmful sulfites. Fruit is best paired with a healthy fat (like nuts or avocado), to help slow down the absorption of the sugar, and give you prolonged energy.
  3. Veggies and hummus: Veggies like peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber just to name a few are great with dip. Hummus is a great alternative to ranch or any other type of high fat salad dressing. Also there are many flavors of hummus that you can choose from. Look at your label when choosing a hummus for artificial ingredients, added sugars, and I stay away from any hummus with soybean oil in it. 
  4. Dark chocolate: We all love chocolate and there are actually several studies that show that dark chocolate does benefit our health. Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants so having a piece of dark chocolate every day is very beneficial to you! Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao.
  5. Kale, apple, or radish chips (pictured above): You can buy these chips at the store, dehydrate, or roast them yourself if you would like! These are a great alternative to potato chips or doritos. 
  6. Snap Peas: These are so yummy and convenient to take along with you in a container. They taste great raw and are easy to tote around with you.
  7. Green juice: Sometimes we need a surge of nutrients to give us energy at 3pm. Instead of reaching for coffee try keeping a green juice on hand. Raw green juice — NOT pasteurized– is filled with energizing enzymes and will tide you over until your next meal. Plus it has anti-inflammatory properties! Try Raw Generation‘s Skinny Cleanse, and stock up on some of my favorite raw juices.

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Simple Roasted Cauliflower

Simple Roasted Cauliflower

I recently made this robust Fall dish for a cooking demonstration for the wonderful employees at Anchin, Block, & Anchin.

It’s a great side dish to bring to holiday dinners or potlucks. Even if you don’t like cauliflower, the taste completely transforms in the oven as it browns. The simplicity of the sea salt and olive oil are brilliant and delicious.

Simple ROASTED CAULIFLOWERIMG_9165

INGREDIENTS:

  • Head of cauliflower
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Himalayan Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat over to 450 degrees F, and line a baking tray with tin foil.
  2. Wash and chop up cauliflower, and toss in bowl with olive oil and himalayan sea salt.
  3. Roast for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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Spicy Quinoa with Yams

Spicy Quinoa with Yams

I recently made this robust Fall dish for a cooking demonstration for the wonderful employees at Anchin, Block, & Anchin, and it was heavenly. I used all organic ingredients. Why organic? IMG_9193

Organic refers to the way a food was grown, raised, or produced and is certified based on government-defined standards. 

Originally, all foods were “organic.” They were grown and prepared without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or irradiation.

Foods were unrefined, whole, or minimally processed. Since World War II and the advent of chemical farming and food processing, the soils and foods of much of the world have been depleted of many important minerals and nutrients.

Our food these days is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and farming chemicals. The modern process of denaturing foods via heavy refining and chemical treatment deeply affects the life force of our food supply, making it difficult to foster equilibrium and health.

Pesticides have been shown to create extra work for the immune system, causing cancer and disease in the liver, kidneys, and blood. Pesticides accumulate in the organs, resulting in a weakened immune system, allowing carcinogens and pathogens to filter into the body. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict natural procedures.

Try making these for a holiday function (family parties are perfect!), or make a big batch on the weekend for an easy stash and dash lunch or dinner.

IngredientsIMG_9183

  • 1 3/4 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 small yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water—let sit for an hour+; drain.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the quinoa is dry, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape; reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the red onion and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, coriander and cumin and cook, stirring, until the spices darken, about 1 minute.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the jalapeno, sweet potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  1. Add the sweet potato mixture to the quinoa, then add the cilantro and lime juice and toss; season with salt.

Recipe adapted from the Food Network

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Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

Below is a delicious smoothie I made this past week for the amazing employees at Allen & Overy. A big thank you to Allen & Overy for having me!12193295_10100475876037438_3214555096335368018_n

Before we get into the goods, here are some helpful hints for you:

  1. Let your bananas go brown- they’re sweetest when they start to go spotty and perfect for smoothies. Once they begin to spot, you can peel them, cut them into pieces, and stick them in a plastic bag in your freezer. They’re easy to add to smoothies this way. BONUS: If you have an ice cream craving, try bending up the frozen bananas to make “ice cream.”
  2. Berries are a great fruit to add, since they are low glycemic and are a whole food. What do I mean by this? We consume berries as a whole, with the skin, fruit, and seeds. As a whole food, your body knows exactly what to do with it and you get the benefits of each part, acting together to nourish you.
  3. Lemon will add a bit of tanginess to the smoothie, AND when you begin to add greens (go ahead, I dare you), the acidity in the lemon will counter the bitterness in the greens. How cool is that?
  4. As we discussed last week, in every smoothie and every meal you always want three things: Fiber, fat, and protein. This smoothie only has fiber. So how can you easily get fat and protein? Almond butter! The fat and protein in nuts will help slow down the absorption of the sugar in the fruit to give you more sustained energy. You can find some more cool mix-ins for your smoothie here.

Alright, let’s talk about this delicious smoothie…

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

smoothiesYield: Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup slightly thawed frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk (my favorite is the full fat Whole Foods 365 Days brand)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Blend strawberries, banana, coconut milk, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

 

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Easy Healthy Filling Breakfast

Easy Healthy Filling Breakfast

Breakfast can be one of the most confusing meals of the day. This is partially due to the scenario that we have been inundated since a young age with product placement. I don’t know about you, but I grew up on having cereal and milk pretty much every morning, and sometimes a treat of pancakes on the weekend.  And not just the “sugary” cereals, like Lucky Charms (although they are magically delicious… so is candy).

I grew up on Cheerios and Chex, and although I thought I was eating the “good” kind of cereal, little did I know that these were at the same time destroying my gut. Think about it– no matter what the cover touts, it’s processed flour, which is going to turn into sugar as soon as it hits your body. Look at your labels and you’ll find “Enriched with…” If they hadn’t stripped the grains of all their nutrients in the first place, we wouldn’t need to enrich them in an artificial way. If you think your body is going to absorb these nutrients the same way as if they were in their natural form, think again.

Even when you go to Whole Foods or other health-conscious stores, you may be surprised when you look at the label. I remember being in Whole Foods, picking up a “healthy” children’s cereal, and the FIRST (and thus, most abundant) ingredient? Sugar.

Cereal is one of those foods that is touted as “healthy” and is actually one of the worst things you could eat. Add hormone-filled cow’s milk, and we have a recipe for tummy-aches and energy zaps galore. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox for a moment. Maybe not, because I’m still talking…

So let’s look at foods that we think of as breakfast foods:

  • Cereal
  • Poptarts
  • Donuts
  • Quaker Oatmeal
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes

Yummmmm… Sugar, sugar, sugar, and more sugar, aww honey honey. Who decided these are the foods we need to eat each morning? Clever advertising, of course! 

So what do we do now? If I just bashed all your beloved breakfast foods, are you to starve yourself in panic? What are you to eat? 

Answer: the same thing you would eat for lunch or dinner, you can make for breakfast! I give you permission. You’re not crazy if you eat greens for breakfastScreen Shot 2015-09-03 at 1.06.02 PM. Here is an easy breakfast I often times throw together:

Ingredients

  • 1- 2 hard-boiled eggs (Boil a bunch at once and keep them in your fridge for easy access)
  • 1- 2 cups mixed greens (I get the prewashed, precut ones to make my life easier)
  • 1/2 Avocado

Sprinkle on top:

  • Hemp hearts, Nutritional Yeast, Sea Salt, Pepper

Drizzle on top:

  • T olive oil, 1/2 T balsamic vinegar

Call it a day!

Got a great go-to breakfast you like? Not sure if what you’re eating is ideal for you? Share below. 

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How to Make Zucchini Pasta!

How to Make Zucchini Pasta!

You know that feeling of fatigue, guilt, and pants-button popping after you consume a plate of pasta? Let’s avoid that. 

11954695_10100447861174448_2282437885262855254_nTrading out pasta can be easier than you think– after all, it’s usually more about the sauce and accoutrements than the actual pasta. 

This past week, I saw some awesome pasta sauce on sale at Whole Foods, and the inner Italian in me wanted some spaghetti. I looked at the different pastas– regular, organic, gluten-free, and decided this… no matter which pasta I chose, it was still going to be a processed food and I was still going to be tired after I ate it. Then I remembered a wonderful trick for pasta cravings:

Zucchini pasta!IMG_4833

I dusted off my vegetable spiraler, and got to work. I think you can do the same thing with acheese grater, but the spiraler is a better band-aid free alternative. You simply cut off the end of the zucchini (local is best), and crank the lever! 

I baked some chicken thighs to mix in for some protein, used Cucina Antica Tomato Basil tomato sauce, and topped it with some Nutritional Yeast, for a cheesy-parmesan-like effect. Voila!

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Hate Running? Try this.

Hate Running? Try this.

Some people love running. Heck, I find myself in periods of running-loving myself. To all you haters out there, from a likeability standpoint, I find that when you are out of season with your practice, it typically takes about 3 weeks of consistent running to get back into your groove. The first week you feel like your appendages weigh 1000 pounds, you can hardly breathe, and the thought of stepping outside seems like a chore that you don’t wanna do [stomps feet]. The second week, it starts to make sense. You get the whole “running-thing” and its appeal. You start gaining some momentum, speed, and consistency, but it still feels like exercise. By the third week, you’re in a groove. You actually want to run, and not even just that, but it’s engrained in you. You can’t wait to lace up those sneakers and find yourself bounding along the pavement lost in your thoughts, admiring the beauty that surrounds you, and embracing the pumping of oxygen surging through your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Alright, enough of that. So why wouldn’t someone want to run on a regular basis (other than the trifle It’s hard excuse). Well as you may have noticed at some point in your life, running can be rough on the hips, knees, and ankles. It’s an extended period of impact on your joints, especially when running on pavement or a treadmill. To add to this conundrum, your body is bound to adapt to the impact for the time being. Many a runner can relate to the experience of feeling initial discomfort when starting out on a run, pushing through it, and then feeling the repercussions ten-fold afterward. This is because our body acts appropriately to produce endorphins masking this physical discomfort, but underlying all of this was the initial physical pain which you discredited. 

In addition to being rough on the joints, running causes an excess release of cortisol, our stress hormone, and also the hormone that is associated with fat storage, particularly around the mid-section. Essentially what you’re telling your body is, “We’re in danger! Run!” Our ancestors were not used to running miles at a time to run away from danger, and as a result your body enters an extended period of cortisol being released, with the added bonus of contributing to accelerated aging and hormonal imbalance. 

So what’s the alternative? Well there are lots, and mixing up your workout can be highly beneficial– mix in some yoga, weight lifting, boxing, jumping rope, body work, etc. But if you want to get your run-kick without the standard 2- 6 mile daily run, try doing some interval training. Not only is this better for your hormonal harmony and joints, but it also burns fat more rapidly, melting off fat even into the next day. This can look like the following:IMG_8469

  • 2 minutes Warm Up
  • 15 seconds: Sprint
  • 45 seconds: Slow jog (or walk)
  • 15 seconds: Sprint
  • 45 seconds: Slow jog (or walk)
  • … (Repeat Sprint/slow 10 times)
  • 10- 20 minutes Cool Down (Slow jog or walk)

I found a great app I wanted to share. It’s called IntervalTimer, and you can time out your workout so that it notifies you when to sprint, when to jog, and when to cool down, all while playing your music in the background. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Do you do intervals currently?

What do your intervals look like?

Do you notice a difference in your body composition or lifestyle factors after incorporating intervals in place of, or in combination with running or walking?

Please share below!

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Banana Avocado Smoothie

Banana Avocado Smoothie

Banana and avocado? They’re actually a match made in heaven when it comes to getting a wallop of nutrients. By pairing the banana with the healthy fats of the avocado, you are going to slow down the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream. What this means for you is more sustained energy, without the draining spike and drop of blood sugar. 

I prefer to use bananas that are going brown, since they are a bit sweeter and easier on your digestion. This recipe is low glycemic, and you can make it even lower in sugar by using half a banana (instead of a whole).

By adding healthy protein to your smoothie you can call this a complete breakfast, with the three important components to a complete meal: Fat, Fiber, and Protein. Without Fat, Fiber, and Protein, you may find that your smoothie leaves you hungry an hour later. Two proteins that I love are: Hemp Protein (you can even get this at Trader Joe’s), and clean sources of whey protein without all the added junk– I love this one through TLS— Transitions Lifestyles System.

The coconut milk I prefer is the Whole Foods 365 Days full-fat Coconut Milk. Shake this up to mix the coconut cream with the coconut water. Don’t be afraid of these fats! They will keep you fuller longer, and away from the need to snack. 

You can add any types of greens, but my preferred smoothie greens are the mixed field greens– you get a variety of nutrients, they are a gentler taste, and easier on the digestion. Start with a few if you are new to greens in the smoothie, and add more as you adapt to the taste over time. You likely won’t even taste them in there with just a handful.

The cacao will give you a zing of energy and chocolatey taste.

You can save any extra for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

11148761_10100436770230788_336491818781932626_nIngredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2-4 T protein powder (or one packet TLS Whey Protein)
  • 1-2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1-2 T cacao (raw cocoa)
  • Few drops Stevia (optional)
  • Water to consistency of choice (Start with 1/2 cup and add from there)
  • 4 ice cubes (unless you used frozen banana!)

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in blender.
  2. Start with a 1/2 cup of water and add additional water if necessary.
  3. Pour into a glass and drink slowly– try chewing your smoothie before swallowing for optimal digestion!
  4. Save extra in an enclosed container for a snack.

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