simple + healthy meal ideas

Many people believe that healthy and easy can’t be in the same sentence. Why does healthy need to be paired with words like time consuming and complicated? It’s like when someone says healthy we all imagine chopping, prepping and washing veggies for hours on end. Here’s to putting an end to those thoughts and to making healthy easy, fun and SIMPLE! While there is a little bit of planning to go into eating healthier, but it will make your life so much more enjoyable if you can grab a healthy snack instead of sneaking to the closest vending machine. I’ve put together some simple steps that can help us all avoid our cravings for those tempting packaged and processed goods.

Let’s find 15 minutes in our busy schedules to make a giant batch of a high-energy, healthy treat that we can use as a grab and go. A granola with some nuts, seeds and a dried fruit is perfect to keep you going throughout the day. Peanut butter granola with pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and dried cherries.

Sandwiches, wraps, pitas!! Start off with a wholesome bread like Ezekiel bread, whole grain or a whole wheat pita and then fill it up. I loved to spread some hummus or avocado on mine and then stack it up with veggies. Some veggies that are great are tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, sprouts, avocado and some carrots for a crunch. Another tasty and healthy addition are slices or roasted beets. The world is your oyster when it comes to building a delicious sandwich, wrap, or pita. If you want to ditch the bread try using collard greens and roll as if you were preparing a wrap. Get creative and think seasonal. If the weather is nice, head to your local farmers market for some local, organic veggies to get the optimal health benefits.

What is simpler than packing a ton of vitamins and minerals into one? A smoothie! Throw all your seasonal fruits, veggies,  a splash of almond milk, into one blender, give it a swirl and BAMB! You have a healthy cool treat that will send those candy cravings out the door. Quick and simple.

Healthy and salads go hand in hand, but salads can be easy too. There is no cooking with salads! You’re salad can have all your favorite ingredients in it and can be an on the go item. Throw it in a bowl and slap a lid on that baby and you’re out the door without any regrets or wondering what’s in store for lunch. Another idea is layering your ingredients in a jar- putting the dressing in first so Salad-in-a-JarKeeps nuts, beans and lentils on hand. They are an easy additive with what you’re making.

What takes two 2-3 minutes and is just about the best source of protein you can find? The egg! Eggs can be a part of any and every meal. You can scramble them up with some sautéed veggies, you can put it in salads, throw it in a sandy. Eggs can make your meal that much more nutritious and will fill you up. If you can, buy pastured eggs from your local farmer. If not, look for organic, avoiding antibiotics.

Cooking in large batches will help us from scavenging through the pantry then end up with chips and salsa on the couch.  Making a healthy stir-fry, salad, or salad in bulk can be saved in your fridge and brought out on a day where you just don’t feel like spending any time in the kitchen.
Have breakfast items that you can grab on the go. Yogurts, fruit, granola are all great things to have at all times so you we 1) don’t skip breakfast, then over eat at lunch or 2) end up going to the closest drive through for a breakfast sandwich or seeing donuts at the office and diving in.

Keeping fruit on hand will fulfill our sweet cravings. Apples and peanut butter, handful of strawberries, and blueberries and yogurt are a perfect fit.

Frozen veggies and frozen fruit can come in handy when we are in a pinch. Keep them on the back burner when you don’t have any produce. Just keep an eye out for sodium levels and added sugars.

clumpygranola

EASY BIG BATCH GRANOLA RECIPE
INGREDIENTS
3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup small-dice dried fruit
1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw or toasted nuts or seeds

INSTRUCTIONS
1) Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

2) Place the honey, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pour over the oat mixture and mix until the oats are thoroughly coated.

3) Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and continue baking until the granola is very light golden brown, about 5 to 15 minutes more.

4) Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool the granola to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Note: It will harden as it cools.)

5) Add the fruit and nuts or seeds to the baking sheet and toss to combine. Store the granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Festive Healthified BBQ favorites + a Patriotic Sangria Recipe. Happy Independence Day!

Did the 4th spring up on anyone else out of no where? June up and went and all the sudden July flew in. July 4th can be a long day so let’s be ready for it. We have the staple points of 4th of July: early parade around 10AM, either town festivities like pie eating contests or a family/friend BBQ at 1PM, cook outs and pool parties till 6PM, then you have a few hours to get ready for your local fireworks!  We will all need a ‘pick me up’ to keep us going through all the activities, sun and the commotion that comes along with our Independence Day. Let’s mix the 4th up with some new recipes that will keep you moving all the way through till you can finally sit down and watch some fireworks. Leave the hot dogs and hamburgers at home and WOW your friends and family with a few fresh and healthy recipes that won’t leave them sleeping through the firework finale!

Creamy Dill Potato Salad
vegan, makes 8 cups
1 lb mini potatoes, halved/quartered
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp vegan mayo, Vegenaise (if not vegan make sure to use an organic mayonnaise)
2 Tbsp spicy Dijon mustard
3/4 cup sweet onion OR scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh dill, chopped (stems and fronds)
1/4 tsp cayenne fresh black pepper and sea salt to taste

*feel free to add in healthy additions for a flavor boost – like more fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives), nutritional yeast, or smoked paprika

Directions:
1. Prep all your ingredients. Scrub your potatoes well. Halve and quarter them. Smaller potato bits will cook faster.
2. Bring salted water to a boil and drop your potatoes. Cook until tender – do not over cook or you will end up with more of a “mashed” potato salad. I like to rinse my cooked potatoes in ice water to halt cooking.
3. There are two options now. You can chill your cooked potatoes first – then fold your ingredients directly into the potatoes and serve or chill. This prevents the vegan mayo and other creamy ingredients from ‘melting’ into the hot potatoes. The other option is to simply toss all the ingredients into the warm potatoes – and then chill until ready to serve. Doing this will allow the flavors to marinade nicely – but it may also wilt the “thickness” of your creamy potato salad sauce. The last option is to fold all the ingredients into the potatoes and serve warm. This is also delicious! 4. Chill your salad until ready to be served – or serve warm. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs and a drizzle of good olive oil and fresh black pepper over top

Black Bean Fiesta Burgers (Black Bean Freedom Burgers)
vegan, makes 5 burgers

5 whole wheat burger buns
Burgers:
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained/canned (unsalted)
3 Tbsp fine bread crumbs
3/4 cup baked/mashed sweet potato
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro – including stems
1/3 cup diced white onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 jalapeno, diced/de-seeded
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast – or use more bread crumbs a few dashes of chipotle powder or cayenne for extra heat

Special Spicy Sauce: 1/2 cup vegan mayo +  2 tsp garlic hot sauce
5 round onion slices and 5 round tomato slices
optional: lime-juice spritzed avocado slices (not shown in burger photos – but recommended!)

Directions:
1. First off prepare the Fiesta Slaw according to the directions. (recipe) – Chill in fridge until ready to add to burgers.
2. Whip up your “special spicy sauce” – set aside in fridge as well.
3. Next up, prepare the burgers. Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor. You can also mash well by hand – but a fp is a tad faster. Next, hand-form burger patties with the mixture and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. I like to roll my burgers in a touch of bread crumbs so that they have nice crisp edges.
4. Bake your burgers at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before assembling burgers. The last 5 minutes of cooking – add your burger buns to the oven to warm/toast them.
5. Assemble those burgers! Warm bun, spread of special sauce, tomato, onion, optional avocado, burger, fiesta slaw and finally another slather of the special spicy sauce on the top bun.

Time to cool refresh and cool down!

Blueberry Kale Pops 

Ingredients
1 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. baby kale leaves
2 c. organic purple grape juice

Directions
1. In a food processor or high-powered blender (I use Vitamix),  blend all ingredients until perfectly liquefied.
2. Pour into ice pops molds or ice cube molds (
3. Freeze until solid.

….now what’s a party without some festive and fun Sangria?!  Enjoy this delicious recipe:

RWBSangria6

 

Patriotic Sangria

2 bottles dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good)
1.5 TBS orange zest 5-7 drops organic orange oil
1/2 cup organic distilled vodka (berry flavor optional)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 cup simple syrup (see tips below) or agave (basil simple syrup works wonderfully in this recipe as well)
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink, or serve over ice.

Tips:
*To make 1/2 cup simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup granulated organic cane sugar. Turn heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool. (For basil: just add 4-5 leaves basil leaves when you add cane sugar, drain and discard leaves once cool)
*Make more simple syrup if you like on the sweeter side
*Use fresh fruit for this recipe.
*To make star-shaped pineapple pieces, cut long & wide pieces of pineapple off the side of the fresh fruit. use a star cutter to cut shapes.