Category Archives: Fruit

Simple Summer Side Salad

Friends! I know it’s been awhile. I’ve missed you.

Well, happy Friday, for starters!

I wanted to send you into the weekend with this fun little recipe. It’s the perfect summery side dish or snack.

Best part? It’s healthy! (Obviously.)

Second best part? It’s easy!

Now, who doesn’t love that combination?

Okay, here we go…

ORANGE COUSCOUS

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 10 dried apricots, chopped* 
  • 2 tablespoons dried raisins*
  • 3 medium carrots, shaved and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • drizzle of olive oil at the end (optional)
  • 2 persian cucumbers, chopped and added at the end (optional)

*Dried fruit should be organic, unsulphured and with no added ingredients – just apricots or raisins

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour couscous into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. In a small pot, combine water, orange juice, and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the dried fruit. Let simmer for about 1 minute.
  3. Give it a quick stir and then pour the liquid mixture over the dry couscous. Stir to eliminate any dry pockets. Add the carrots on top and then cover with a plate or towel to keep in the heat.
  4. The couscous will cook in 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. When the couscous is cooked, stir in the carrots and add in the pine nuts and cucumber. You may opt to drizzle olive oil on top.
  6. Best served cold or at room temp.

Now, some people don’t love couscous. That’s okay. For example, in my house the Hubby doesn’t like it so that means more for me. No complaints. 🙂

While couscous works best in this recipe, if it’s not for you, you can choose a different grain…or non-grain. Buckwheat is a heartier choice and arguably even healthier.

Why? Well, it’s gluten-free because it’s not actually wheat, despite its misleading name. It’s a seed related to rhubarb and it’s a great source of protein, fiber, complete essential amino acids, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins. Plus, it’s whole grain and very versatile, great in a sweet or savory dish.

I recommend Eden Organics Buckwheat. You should cook the buckwheat first (takes 30 minutes) or make it in advance. Then add the ingredients to it as you would uncooked couscous and the results should be similar. BUT, you should reduce the liquid substantially, since the buckwheat is already cooked. I’d say probably 1 tbsp of water, 1/4 cup of orange juice and 1/4 tsp of vinegar to 1 full cup of cooked buckwheat. You don’t want it liquidy. Let it chill in the fridge for a bit and add more buckwheat if it’s still too wet. If you like couscous, though, the recipe works better with it.

Also, I’m not the biggest lover of raisins, so sometimes I make this with just apricots, which I do love. Works great and I don’t feel the need to up the amount either. Plenty of sweetness here.

I’ve also been known to throw in some fresh herbs, too. Parsley and basil from my garden add a different flavor that I like sometimes. Herbs are super healthy, so that’s always a bonus. Just depends on my taste buds on any given day. Get creative!

And as always, all ingredients are organic. You know me. That’s how I do!

couscousBuckwheat

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Filed under Fruit, Gluten-free, Health, Organic, Recipe, Snacks, Vegetables

Let’s Go Shopping!

As a health coach, one of the things I do is give grocery tours. Since not all of my readers are local, consider this your free online grocery tour of Trader Joe’s!

“But Trader Joe’s is so healthy!” you say. “Can’t I buy anything there?”

No, my friends. Not all Trader Joe’s offerings are created equal. Many products contain soy and other iffy ingredients or far too much sugar to be healthy. One of the best things you can do for your health is to learn to read labels.

One tip I’ll give you right here, right now is this: the fewer ingredients, the better.

That being said, Trader’s does offer some wonderful products for amazing prices. So let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Organic Petit Pain Pascal 
Trader Joe’s made a winner here. With only 3 ingredients – organic whole wheat flour, water, and salt – this bread is organic, whole grain and so delicious. You’ll find it in the day bread section, which means they deliver them each morning and not every store gets them every day.

Fyi: Do not confuse it with the Pain Pascal demi-loaf. The Petit Pain Pascal is much softer and moister than it’s cousin the demi-loaf, which I found to be obscenely large and rather dry, but serviceable in a pinch.

Check with your local store for the deets. Oh and did I mention it’s $.99?

Makes you wonder why so many companies add more ingredients when only 3 taste this good…

2. Frozen Organic Berries

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.18.52 AMIn my germ-fighting post, I mentioned the importance of eating plenty of berries to stay healthy this time of year. I love that Trader’s has a frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. This combo-pack really elevates a bowl of oatmeal.

Their frozen berry selection is seasonal, though, so at times you’ll find the mixed berries or wild organic blueberries or organic raspberries. All get my stamp of approval on taste, health, and price. $2.99 (rasps)/$3.49 (mix)/$3.99 (bluebs)

3. Power to the Greens Mix

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.44.50 AMSeveral months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Erika from Raw Green Fitness, brought this product to my attention. And I am so grateful! This bag of mixed greens (baby kale, baby spinach, and baby chard) is super healthy and gets a good mix of different greens into your meal. Cook or eat raw. Each bag is $1.99.

4. Organic Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Treats
Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.20.15 AM
I’ve yet to meet a pooch who doesn’t dig these tasty treats. And at $2.99 a bag, you can feel good about feeding your four-legged bestie good stuff for a great price.

5. Cheapest. Therapy. Ever.

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 10.19.47 AMI am flipping over their daffodils right now. One bunch of these bright yellow beauties is $1.29, lasts about a week, and makes me smile every time I pass by the vase. Find a bloom that brightens your day!

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Filed under BPA, Fruit, Health, Organic, Product Review, Products, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

Deliciousness = Full and Happy Bellies

In my last post I mentioned it was my mom’s birthday. Well, being the health coach that I am, I had to make sure we ate healthy on her special day, so I cooked up an organic brunch complete with Barefoot Coffee. Now, you know healthy doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. Because it was. And we all agreed that I should write a post about it.

Now, I’m tooting my own horn here because I really knocked it out of the park this time, you guys.

And just for letting me toot the horn, I’m sharing these two insanely good recipes with you.

Super simple. Super delicious. Super healthy.

The first was an egg casserole, loaded with veggies. The second was a baked french toast that was dairy-free and had only low-glycemic coconut sugar. Both recipes are completely organic, with the exception of the salt, as salt is not organic. Instead of topping the french toast with syrup, we had fresh fruit, and it was the perfect compliment.

As usual, there were no GMOs here and everything was prepared with safe cookware. See my post on what I like to use to avoid BPA and chemicals from non-stick cookware.

I really should have a picture of this feast, but there was no time for pictures. I couldn’t wait to dive in. Forgive me.

And without further ado…

EGG CASSEROLE
Ingredients:
8 eggs (I used 4 whole, 4 whites)
1 1/2 bags of spinach
1 box of mushrooms
1 tbsp of ghee
1 tsp of turmeric
Seasoning: pink salt and/or pepper and/or Italian Seasoning to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Chop up mushrooms and any other veggies you love.
Tip #1: always let veggies sit for 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to let the freshly broken enzymes do their thing.

3. Scramble eggs in a bowl with turmeric, a pinch of salt, and seasoning (I used a bit of Italian Seasoning). Use whatever combination of whole eggs/egg whites you prefer.

4. Heat the ghee in a pan.

5. Sautee mushrooms in ghee with a splash or two of water – you want just enough for a juice so they don’t stick and burn, but not too much that it’s really saucy. Once cooked (give it about 4 minutes), add spinach. and cook until wilted, not longer.

6. Line a 9×9 casserole dish (stoneware or glass) with unbleached parchment paper and spread the mushroom/spinach mixture evenly along the bottom. Pour the egg mix over the veggies.

7. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes (until egg sets).

8. Tip #2: always sprinkle pepper (any kind will do) on your eggs to break down the glairy mucus from the whites.

Enjoy!

RIDICULOUS BAKED FRENCH TOAST

Yup. Ridiculous.

Ingredients:
1 lb of organic whole wheat bread (I used 1 1/2 loaves of Petit Pain Pascal from Trader Joe’s – it’s in their day bread section and it’s fantastic)
1/2 cup of ghee, melted
4 large eggs
3/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (non-alcohol) + 1/4 tsp of ground vanilla
1.5 tablespoon cinnamon (use 1 1/4 in the mixture, 1/4 sprinkled on top)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
Fixins on the side: 1/2 cup each of blueberries and banana slices

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Line an 11×15 inch pan with unbleached parchment paper. Melt the ghee on the stove on low and allow it to cool so you don’t curdle the milk or cook the eggs.

3. Cut the bread into 1 inch pieces and place on the parchment paper, making sure it all fits along the bottom without too much stacking.

4. Mix ghee, eggs, almond milk, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pour over the bread. Make sure to wet every piece gets wet. Pour a little extra milk if necessary (you may even need to make additional batter if there’s not enough for sufficient soakage), sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon on top. Put a few pieces of unmelted ghee across the top. Cover with foil and let soak for 4 hours in the refrigerator.

5. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. It will brown but don’t overbake because you want it moist. Some pieces should be a little toasted but there will still be some liquid in the center.

5. Serve yourself a big honkin’ piece and top with blueberries and banana, or any other fruit you like. This does not need syrup or additional sugar.

6. Tip #3: go back for seconds because sometimes we just need to enjoy ourselves.

You’re welcome. 🙂

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Filed under BPA, Fruit, GMO-free, Health, Low-glycemic, One Pot Dish, Organic, Recipe, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

Dehydratin’ Away…

So the hubby and I are pretty much inseparable. We work together, we live together (obviously), and we go places together. It’s awesome. And the dog ain’t far behind.

I mean, look at that face. Would you leave her? Exactly.

But this week, I have a new best friend. Her name is Excalibur.

That’s right. Health Coach Jillian is dehydratin’ the bejesus out of anything she can get her hands on with her new 5-tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator. It’s BPA-free and phthalate-free.

But if the hubby feels threatened, he has only himself to blame. (And maybe two employees at Whole Foods.) All three commented on my out of control addiction to kale chips. All of them said, “Why don’t you make your own?”

The first time I got the question I replied, “Whenever I make kale chips in the oven, they burn.”

But last time I got the question, I fielded it differently. “MY DEHYDRATOR IS ON ITS WAY TO ME!! I JUST ORDERED IT!”

Okay, maybe the cashier was unprepared for that level of enthusiasm, but he asked and with my Excalibur en route, I was excited. Super excited.

So now I’m trying anything that sounds like it will taste good when dried out: apple with cinnamon, strawberries, figs, carrots, zucchini, and of course, kale.

Now, one might wonder what the point is. Don’t we want the water that’s in these foods? Sure!

And when you eat dehydrated food you should drink water to rehydrate. So it seems totally pointless, right?

Not exactly.

I keep the temperature on 105F so the foods are still technically raw, but cooked. Cooking with high heat destroys much of the nutrients in food, but at this temperature, I’m preserving the nutrients and the live enzymes that are in raw food. And I get on-the-go healthy snack food – like carrot chips and zucchini chips. This way, I can make some healthy concoctions instead of always eating cold food out of the fridge. But mostly, I just eat truckloads of kale chips.

Finally, I gotta give a special shout out to the Mom and Dad – my new bestie is a result of some birthday cashola (yes, HCJ gets older in the summertime). Thanks, guys! I’m having a blast with my new toy!

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Filed under BPA, Chemicals, Fruit, Health, Organic, Raw, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Water

Sum-Sum-Summatime!

Ah, Summer. I love the summer. I mean, who doesn’t right? Nothing like the long, sunny days and happy people in vacation mode.

Well, this is the perfect time to talk about a hot topic that some of you might have heard a bit about. These days, it’s all about eating locally and seasonally.

The reason these are important is that your body is meant to eat the foods that grow in your climate at this particular moment. You are what you eat, so you should be eating the food that’s thriving where you are.

Also, there’s balance in the opposition. That’s why eating a juicy piece of fruit in the heat of summer feels so much better than a big, hot, heavy meal. And a belly warming stew feels just right in the dead of snowy winter.

Additionally, eating locally reduces pollution and costs associated with transporting foods…and that translates into cost savings for you and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your part to help the environment. And don’t forget about supporting local farmers rather than Big Ag – we need to take a stand against a system that cares more about money than the health of this nation. Check, check, and check!

The first time I experienced the “aha moment” of eating seasonally was this year…when the organic apples ran out at Whole Foods. My snack of an apple and peanut butter had been the culinary highlight of my day for months (I’m so wild and crazy like that) so I was really bummed at first, but what I realized was that I didn’t actually want it anymore – once I broke out of my routine, my taste buds were totally fine! An apple in July? No thank you!

Without my daily Fuji, I was left to explore the summer fruit, and I have to say, I’ve been having a blast with it.

I always love exploring new foods, but I’ve also had the desire for some old familiars that I don’t normally buy.

Last week at Whole Foods: raspberries and red grapes are my usuals, but I threw a couple of plums into the mix.

Farmer’s Market: nectarines. Craving nectarines.

This week at Whole Foods: apricots, red grapes (they were so crazy delicious last week that they went quickly), and strawberries (which are totally blowing my mind right now). I don’t remember the last time I bought strawberries. And I cannot stop eating them.

Later this week: TBD and loving it!

So I encourage you all to explore in season produce. See what you can add to your plate that you haven’t had in awhile…or maybe even ever!

Parent Tip: For all you folks with youngsters, this can be a great way to explore new foods with your little ones. Take them to a farmer’s market or just to the produce section of the grocery and show them all the wonderful, brightly colored fruits and veggies. Encourage them to help you shop – learning about produce and being involved in the decision-making will be fun for them and will help establish better eating habits for life.

As always, I do encourage you to choose organic, at least for the produce on the dirty dozen list. Check it out here if you need a refresher.

Check out this site for info on what’s in season in your area. It’s a great resource!

And lastly, in case you didn’t notice, I now have a fabulous badge on my site. My blog was named one of The Top 100 Health Coach Blogs 2012 by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be recognized. Gotta give a huge thanks to all my loyal readers and to everyone who has been super supportive, especially since the news broke and the badge went up! Crazy to think that doing what I love is just so damn easy… 😉

Now for the Question of the Day…
What quintessential summer moment stands out for you this year?

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Filed under Fruit, Health, Organic, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables