Tag Archives: Olive oil

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

Why Get Sick…

…when you can NOT get sick?

Unfortunately, it’s that time of year…you know the one I’m talking about. The germy, sniffly, feel yuck time of year. Don’t join that party. Because we all know it ain’t any kind of party.

So on that note, here are my best recommendations for fighting off the flus and colds and other gross mystery illnesses:

1. Wash your hands!

Wash ’em right and wash ’em often! Use warm, soapy water. Wash for the duration of 2 renditions of Happy Birthday. That may sound like an eternity, but it’s 10-15 seconds. Let’s not be dramatic.

2. Greens

Eat your greens, drink your greens…whatever. Just get as many green veggies into your body as you can. They are your best defense.

Cooking them is especially good this time of year, as it will be warming to your system and will kill off any bacteria. Don’t overcook, of course. Just lightly steam or sautee them. And add a bit of healthy fat after cooking, like olive oil or avocado, so the vitamins and minerals are better assimilated into your body.

3. Berries and Citrus

Eat your antioxidant-rich foods! Berries and citrus are loaded with Vitamin C and and good-for-you vitamins. It’s very important to eat real, whole foods, to stay healthy and to recover faster if you do get sick.

Additionally, organic blueberries are more reasonably-priced this time of year. And berries are low in sugar. See #7 for more on that.

4. Rest

Tired? Don’t go get a quadruple latte. Take a few minutes to lie down and let your body recharge. If it’s tired and you caffeinate, you’re just going against it and that’s not going to work out well for you in the end.

5. Herbal Remedies

I recommend Gaia Respiratory Defense, Black ElderberryAshwagandha, and Astragalus Reishi. These help you fight stress and boost your immunity. Take note, my pregnant readers: these are not for you.

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6. Fish Oil

Fish oil fights systemic inflammation, so it’s a good idea to take a high quality one daily to support the immune system and overall health. It also boosts fertility, is essential for pregnant women and their growing babies, as well as those suffering from arthritis, heart disease, or other chronic diseases.

My recommendation is Pharmax Finest Pure Fish Oil Capsules – all pcbs, dioxins and mercury have been removed and these won’t give you fish burps.

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7. Avoid sugar
Know what won’t boost your immunity? You guessed it: sugar. Sugar wreaks havoc on your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to all the nasty bugs out there. And once the bug is in your system, it feeds on sugar and exacerbates the illness.

If you love your sweet stuff, my recommendation is to ease way up when you’re feeling sick. Otherwise, you’ll just be sick for longer. The choice is yours…

Hope you all stay healthy out there!

6 Comments

Filed under Health, Products, Sugar, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

Got the Munchies?

Seems some of you liked the looks of that superfood oatmeal from yesterday’s post. Thanks for the great feedback – I hope you got to give it a go today!

So now that I’ve established that I’ve got some hungry readers, I wanted to give you some snack ideas. I should tell you that back in the day, I was known for my “afterschool munchies.” I must admit, this sounds like a recreational drug, but it was actually a bag full of snacks that I would dive into at the end of the school day. Seems I’ve been a lifelong snacker!

Okay, folks, here we go. My top 5 quick, easy, super healthy snacks:

1. An apple with peanut butter.

A perfect pairing. Make sure to buy organic apples, as conventional apples top the list for highest pesticide residue. I’m loving gala these days. Also make sure to choose a high quality peanut butter without added sugar or preservatives, and preferably one that’s organic. I personally recommend Maranatha Creamy with Sea Salt. You can even sprinkle some cinnamon on for extra flavor. (Cinnamon is great for you – I promise that post is coming soon!)

2. Avocado on whole wheat bread.

Get a good dose of fiber, heart healthy fats, and protein here. Sprinkle on spices like cayenne pepper, turmeric, and coriander for an extra boost of flavor and health benefits. Add some romaine or cucumber slices on top for  crunch. Choose a bread that is low in sugar and doesn’t have too many ingredients. My choice is Trader Joe’s Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread.

3. Seaweed with avocado, cucumber, and cheese.

Fill a sheet of nori with avocado, cucumber, and your choice of cheese – preferably organic cheese! For those who don’t eat dairy, it tastes just as good without the cheese. Or sub in dairy-free cheese. Either way you’re getting the heart healthy fats from the avocado and lots of vitamins and nutrients from the seaweed. And a good, refreshing crunch from the cucumbers.

4. Steamed asparagus.

Ready in 5 minutes, steamed asparagus is a delicious snack all on it’s own or with a squeeze of lemon and/or olive oil drizzled on top. As far as veggies go, asparagus has a good amount of protein – 1 cup has only 30 calories but 4 grams of protein! Additionally, it is not a vegetable you have to buy organic, although you can if you want. Cook it al dente and you get a nice little crunch. Easy to make and easy to eat.

5. Bell pepper.

It seems people either love ’em or hate ’em, but this time of year a red or orange bell pepper couldn’t be sweeter, crunchier, or more delicious. Cut one up  or just bite right in. Great when you’re on the go. Make sure to buy these organic, though, as they are on the list of dirtiest produce, which means they have the highest pesticide residue.

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Filed under Organic, Raw, Snacks, Spices, Vegetables

Who’s Hungry?

You’ve all been such patient blog followers, reading my posts on various health-related topics. So it’s high-time I post a recipe already. Right? Who’s hungry?!

This one is a big hit with my family and so easy to make, it’s kind of ridiculous.

Mushroom Barley Soup (makes 10 servings):

1 3/4 cups of water
4 cups of organic chicken broth
1 cup of low sodium organic chicken broth
16 oz of mushrooms
1 cup of carrots
1 cup of celery
1/4 cup of onion
1 cup of barley (either organic purple prairie barley or pearled barley)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves
Italian seasoning
1/2 lb of organic chicken breast (optional)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery; cook and stir until onions are tender and transparent. Stir in mushrooms and continue to cook for a few minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and add barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a good amount of Italian seasoning (feel free to get really liberal with this one).

Couldn’t be easier. Couldn’t be more delicious. Good for dinner. Good for lunch. And healthy, too!

(And don’t forget to buy organic veggies. 😉 )

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite one pot dish?

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Filed under Chicken, One Pot Dish, Recipe, Soup