Category Archives: Healthy Ideas

Recipe Roll Over

In an attempt to continue to eat healthy despite the busy schedule of fall, I spent a lot of time in the produce section of the grocery store this week.  I bought a large eggplant.  I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I thought it would come in handy.  When I got home, I realized that I had some corn pasta and canned tomatoes in the cupboard, as well as some fresh basil in the front yard.  So, I made a mish mosh of recipes!

I cooked the corn pasta, made a quick tomato sauce, and sliced the eggplant to make crispy eggplant (oh, how I love this recipe!).  I served the pasta and sauce over the crispy eggplant for a perfect week night meal!

To make a quick tomato sauce… in a deep roasting pan, I put:

  • 1 large can san marzano crushed tomatoes
  • one half of a shallot, diced
  • generous seasoning of salt and pepper
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • one half cup coconut creamer (optional)

I then put the roasting pan in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes until heated through.  This recipe is similar to Mama’s Meat Sauce, and almost as tasty!  You could certainly use Mama’s Meat Sauce over the corn pasta and eggplant for a heartier meal.

Serve the corn pasta, crispy eggplant, and homemade sauce for a great recipe roll over meal.

Happy Allergy Free Eating!

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Giveaway!

After moving and getting back into my kitchen and new neighborhood, I am trying to keep up my usual eating and exercise routines.  It is tough in the summer!  But staying on track is very important to meeting my health goals.  By staying on track, I hope to lose a little weight and feel better about exercising.

I recently came upon SlimKicker, an app that helps you account for your healthy goal progress.  In their own words, “SlimKicker is a calorie counter and game that turns your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game with points, rewards and challenges. You level up by tracking healthy calories and exercises, and completing challenges such as quitting soda for a week. They also have healthy recipes for many diets as well.”

I’d love to hear your own healthy challenge ideas.  If you comment below in 1-2 sentences about a fun or creative diet or fitness challenge, you could win a stainless 6 quart slow cooker!  Just share your idea and SlimKicker will pick their favorite.  The winner will be announced next week.  Good luck, and I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

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Orchard Bars

I recently received a complimentary sample of Orchard Bars, a fruit and nut snack bar.  The bars are gluten free and vegan, so they are also dairy free!  They are loaded with fruit, nuts, and various seeds, giving them great nutritional content.  They have about 200 calories and 5 grams of protein… very filling for an afternoon snack.  And what enticing flavors!  Strawberry Raspberry Walnut… Cherry Almond Crunch… Banana Mango Macadamia… Pineapple Coconut Macadamia… and Blueberry Pomegranate Almond.

I was excited to try them, and even shared a few with friends.  The texture was a little too fruity for my personal taste (I have a weird tongue for fruit), but the taste was really good!  You can tell that the ingredients are pure and healthy.  My friends gave them the thumbs up and said that they were a good sweet treat.  A must try if you like a natural, healthy snack that is sweet and fruity.

Happy Allergy Free Snacking!

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Super Salads

I have been finding myself eating meatless (and often vegan) dishes for breakfast and lunch… not necessarily on purpose, just because it tastes good!  My new favorite breakfast is half of an avocado with some sea salt and balsamic vinegar, and a small bowl of gluten free granola with soy milk.  It has really been hitting the spot in the morning!

For lunch, I like to bring salad to school.  Instead of using meat as a protein, I have been incorporating quinoa and beans for some added fiber and protein.  Here are a couple of my favorite lunch salads lately:

Roasted Beet, Broccoli, and Mushroom Salad with Quinoa

Black and White Bean Salad with Celery, Scallion, and Cherry Tomatoes

Potato, Red Bean, and Baby Carrot Salad with Goat Cheese and Parsley

I use some mix of vinegar and olive oil for the dressing each day, but this dressing has been particularly tasty:

Raspberry Rosemary Dressing

In a shaker, combine:

  • 4 tbsp. raspberry vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
  • a few shakes of lemon pepper
  • a few shakes of smoked sea salt

Happy Allergy Free Eating!

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Lemon Water

When I visited my parents a couple of weeks ago, I came downstairs in the morning to my mother making a seriously sour face.  I looked at her quizzically, and she responded “lemon water.”  She heard that drinking hot water with the juice of one lemon in the morning has some serious health benefits.  Although sour sounding, the benefits seemed worth it.  So, I have been drinking hot water with the juice of one lemon in the morning… and after a couple weeks, I have to admit that I feel great.  I feel healthy, I am sleeping really well, and I feel energized.

So, I started researching the topic and found…

1)  Hot water in the morning revs up your metabolism for the day.  It gets the fire going after an entire night of sleep. (I haven’t slept so soundly or had so much energy, despite a tiring few work weeks.)

2) Lemon juice flushes toxins out of your body.  It is a natural cleanser. (We all know lemon juice can clean around the house.)

3) While flushing toxins out of your body, it is cleaning your liver and flushing out fat… thus aiding weight loss. (I admit that my pants feel pretty good… with the lemon water and my exercise routine.)

4) Vitamin C in lemon juice boosts your immune system.  (No colds yet this season!)

5) Lemon juice aids in allergy relief and breathing easily.  (Despite the pollen, my runny nose has been actually dry!)

 

Sounds pretty good to me!  All great reasons to pucker up in the morning.  I admit that I actually crave it in the morning!  I would rather it than a cup of coffee.  Although, I did start drinking the lemon water through a straw so I don’t hurt my tooth enamel.  Hope you find great benefits, too!

Resources:

http://lajollamom.com/2011/01/drink-warm-lemon-water-in-the-morning/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/215380-drinking-hot-water-lemon-in-the-morning/

http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water_health/health1/1-putting-warm-lemons-in-water.htm

http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/top-10-health-benefits-of-lemon-water-1422542

 

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Snack Time!

I’ve come across a few blog-worthy snacks lately that I wanted to share.  Not sure if they are new to the market, but they are new to me!  Hope you enjoy.

I do love my coconut yogurt, but it does have a high fat content, so I don’t eat it everyday.  Then I found a lactose free Yoplait yogurt!  And it is 99% fat free.  I really enjoyed this, especially since there was no fruit on the bottom :).  And I didn’t have any reaction to it.  In the shopping cart for next week…

You’d be amazed at how hard it is to find gluten free soup.  I did find this Wolfgang Puck version, and it was really good!  I would definitely buy this again.

I’ve been pumping up my workouts lately, and I hear that coconut water is good for hydration.  However, I really don’t like the taste of coconut water itself.  So I found this Sobe vitamin water that has coconut water in it… there are three different flavors, all equally delicious.

And then I found DARK CHOCOLATE coconut water… and I fell in love.  It tastes like chocolate milk!  And it’s fine print says its dairy free. This will definitely become a workout staple.

Happy Allergy Free Snacking!

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Simple Steak Dinner

Having a couple nights this week where I have to be at school, I was looking to make a quick and easy dinner combo.  Steak with peppers and onions is perfect in a pinch, but also great for when the grilling days really get going.  The steak can be marinated overnight or for a few hours, whichever works best for your schedule.

I marinated a flank steak with:

  • one quarter cup red wine
  • one quarter cup worchestire sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt

Using a cast iron pan, I seared the steak on high heat for about 3 minutes each side and then put it in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes (cooked for a medium rare taste).

While the steak was cooking, in a large saute pan I combined:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced lenthwise into strips
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • one half of an onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 tbsp. worchestire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lemon pepper

Saute the peppers and onions by stirring, just until they are tender (8-10 minutes).  Their flavors will mimic the steak.

When done cooking, let the steak rest for about 5 mintues and then slice against the grain.

Serve the steak hot, with the peppers and onions on top!

Happy Allergy Free Eating!

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Sweet Potato Hash Brown Beginnings

Weekend mornings are a time to sleep in, enjoy a big mug of coffee, and make a big breakfast… at least mine are!  This morning, I made hash browns with sweet potatoes, onions, and paprika and then started thinking about all the different combinations you could make with this base.  The sweet potatoes and onions are delicious on their own, but if you were making a big breakfast, there are plenty of add ins you could use.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Pieces:

  1. one sweet potato, peeled and chopped into matchsticks with a mandolin
  2. 3 tbsp. chopped onion
  3. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  4. one half teaspoon each, sea salt and pepper
  5. 1 tsp. smoked paprika

Process:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saute pan.
  2. Stir 5-7 minutes over medium heat, until sweet potatoes and onion get tender.
  3. Serve hot with your favorite breakfast add ins.

 

Other ideas and combinations:

  • serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce
  • add brown sugar and a drizzle of honey
  • add your favorite sausage… mine is kielbasa
  • add chopped green and red peppers
  • serve with rosemary, thyme, and lemon juice
  • add white potato matchsticks
  • serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives
  • put on top of a waffle with some maple syrup

Happy Allergy Free Breakfasting!

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Sick? Need Soup.

Feeling under the weather over the past couple of days, I was craving soup.  There is something comforting about the warmth, the hearty textures, and the ability to hold a whole meal in your hands.  Instead of making homemade soup that required my full energy, I made halfway homemade soup.  I had one of those soup mixes, gluten free of course, and added some of my own veggies to really make it hearty.  The mix was Red Pepper Corn Chowder.

Have you seen these mixes before?

Gluten Free!

I used its base, and then added my own chopped potato and red pepper pieces.  First, I simmered my potato pieces in gluten free chicken broth for about 15 minutes, until just tender.  I then added my red pepper pieces and the soup mix and let it bubble some more, about 10 minutes.  At the very end, I added soy milk creamer to really make it rich, and let combine for just another minute.  Stir, pour, and enjoy!  Topped with chives, it was the perfect way to get over the hump of being sick.  And, because my add ins added so much depth, there are leftovers for lunch!

These mixes are so great because you can add anything you have in your fridge and make new flavor combinations… or just enhance the ones they gave you.  To this one, you could also add chicken or seafood for some added protein.

Happy Allergy Free Eating!

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Can something be half homemade?

This time of year is perfect for making homemade soup.  Soup out of a can can be great in a pinch, but there is something so much more satisfying about making soup from scratch.  This weekend, I made homemade soup… well, half way homemade soup.

I had these gluten free soup packs in my cabinet… you have probably seen them before… a package of spices that you just add meat and chicken stock to on the stove.  A little heat, and about 20 minutes later you have soup.  I wanted to try the Tomato Basil mix I had, but wanted to add some umph to it.  So, I found “Soup Mix” at Whole Foods… a package of pre cut veggies just for soup!  Carrots, celery, parsnips, butternut squash, onion.

 

I took the spice mix, a box of gluten free chicken broth, the pre cut veggies, and put them in a soup pan over medium heat for 20-30 minutes (until the veggies were tender).  Ta-da!  Halfway homemade soup!  It definitely tasted better than canned soup, but wasn’t as much work as doing every step from scratch.

Happy Allergy Free Souping!

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