Here lies a lesson in patience and creativity. My boyfriend insists broccoli, carrots and corn are the only vegetables worth eating. I like them too, but I can’t eat that limited selection every night. For years I’ve tested new varieties, and I have resigned myself to the fact that I’m dealing with a “picky eater.” Time to get creative…
What better way to get a picky man to eat new veggies (brussels sprouts, nonetheless) than adding BACON! Combining his bacon-of-the-month membership with my CSA box proved that it’s possible to have a meal with fresh seasonal veggies even for the most discerning of pallets.
If the bacon doesn’t sway your opinion of Brussels sprouts, how about this: these little cruciferous veggies are low in calories and high in protein (1/2 a cup = 2g), fiber (2g), folate (46.8 micrograms), potassium (247mg), and vitamins C, A, K, and E. Since the vitamins this vegetable boasts spells “CAKE” let’s think of these little nuggets as nature’s treat for you! Thank you, nature.
Ingredients (serves 2):
10 red potatoes
10 Brussels sprouts (cut in half)
6 strips of thick cut bacon
Seasonings of your choice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Fork the potatoes and microwave for 2-3 minutes to pre-cook them a bit. When you take them out, slice them in half – be careful, they’re hot!
- Line a baking sheet with foil, then place all ingredients on the baking sheet. Brush the brussels sprouts and potatoes with oil then season everything according to preference – I recommend salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, general purpose seasoning, etc.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bacon is done and the potatoes and Brussels sprouts are browning.
When access to cooking appliances isn’t avail, I have to start getting creative. Carrots and hummus can only be eaten so much before your taste buds start bullying you around to come up with something different. In talking with a friend about Ak-Mak crackers recently I discovered my love of them is not unfounded, as she shares the passion. I truly believe they are the best healthy cracker option on the market – they are 100% whole grain organic wheat and so tasty!How do I love thee, Ak-Mak’s? Let me count the ways: I love you with cheese, peanut butter, avocado, hummus, jam, sliced meat, cream cheese, tuna salad, and finally – with goat cheese and pizza sauce! Enter my favorite new snack:
Goat Cheese Pizza Snackers
1 slab of Ak-Mak crackers (they come in slabs of 4 perforated crackers)
1/4 cup of your favorite clean marinara
1 oz. pack of goat cheese (Trader Joe’s sells these medallions, it’s the perfect amount for this snack!)
Directions: Spread some goat cheese on the crackers, then spoon some marinara on top. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite no-bake snack?
On Monday I did a 1-day juice cleanse voluntarily with my sister and brother in law (strength in numbers, ya know?). We chose to purchase a pack from Nekter Juice Bar since they have one in Brea and I have one in Costa Mesa, and it worked out because when we purchased them on Sunday they were on sale for $40 (versus the regular $68)! They give you 6-juices in a reusable insulated bag, which is very convenient.
The purpose of the cleanse was to reset our systems while pumping it full of vitamins and nutrients. We all lead pretty healthy lives, and even drink fresh pressed juices regularly, but we’ve never fully cleansed our body for any extended period of time. While one day might not seem like enough to make any real difference, I’d like to think of it as a trial run for an extended cleanse someday. And by someday I mean a loooong loooong time from now, because even going one day was difficult.
Though I like to think I have a pretty firm grip on my body, boy was this cleanse a shocker. I am amazed at how fast my body started feeling the effects of no food. My brain felt hazy, my eyes found it hard to focus, and despite the fact that my body felt generally energized my motor skills seemed delayed. I wasn’t starving because I had 6 juices to drink throughout the day, but my brain continually took regular cues and reminded me it was time to eat (for instance, one of my co-workers arriving usually signals my breakfast time, coming back from my mid-day break means going straight to kitchen to prepare something for lunch, etc). At these times my body craved the feeling of food in my mouth, chewing, and swallowing….juice just didn’t satisfy that craving.
Planning for meals has become such a regular part of my life that I didn’t even realize how much brain time it takes up. Not having to plan and execute breakfast, lunch and dinner leaves some serious voids in my day. These mental plans are what lead to cravings (for me anyway), and I can imagine that thinking of food this regularly is a pre-cursor to overeating or eating the wrong things. I see this as a great lesson in the cleanse process: by replacing meals with a pre-planned juice regiment, you not only physically cleanse your body of unhealthy cravings, but also of the thoughts that lead to unhealthy cravings.
So what was I drinking anyway? Well, Nekter does a good job of mixing the juices up a bit, but that doesn’t mean they’re all delicious. Here’s what we drank:
Juice 1: 7:00 am - apple, parsley, kale, spinach, mint, lime, cucumber, celery
My thoughts: this is not great after brushing your teeth, it tastes like pickle juice. I had to chug it, but could only really do 3 big gulps at a time before I couldn’t take it any more and had to take a break. Blegh.
Juice 2: 10:00 am - cucumber, coconut water, pineapple
My thoughts: tastes much better than the last, but not great. A bit nutty from the coconut and sweet from the pineapple.
Juice 3: 12:20 – celery, parsley, kale, spinach, apple, cabbage, lemon
My thoughts: there was a time when I loved celery, this cleanse may have ruined it for me forever. I never realized how salty it is until I had it in juice form. It completely dominates every other flavor. It is taking away my hunger pangs, I’ll give it that.
Juice 4: 2:20 – filtered water, lemon, agave nectar, cayenne pepper
My thoughts: ummmm, yum. It seems I’m done with celery juices, so now it’s all looking good. This tastes like a delicious sweet lemonade with a little spice once it hits your throat hole. I seriously needed this sweet boost!
Juice 5: 5:00 – apple, cucumber, parsley, spinach, lemon, ginger
My thoughts: this is similar to a juice I get regularly, so it’s not too bad.
Juice 6: 7:00 – filtered water, raw cashews, agave nectar, vanilla bean
My thoughts: tastes so good. A nice, creamy respite from the acidity of the previous 5 drinks. I have a headache and feel like I need to go to sleep.
I don’t remember the last time I went to bed at 8:00, but I saw no benefit in staying up any longer and decided to retire early. I anticipated waking up extra early just to eat something on Tuesday morning, but surprisingly I had no desire to eat my normal breakfast options. Instead I was craving some refreshing fruit, so I had applesauce and a little later I had blackberries. I had some almonds and kale chips for a snack, and by lunch I was ready to eat like normal, but still only had a salad with homemade dressing and some steamed zucchini. I’m feeling very nourished, and I feel like I put in the work to detox my body for a day (which was not easy), so why mess it up with a crappy day of eating? Last night we had cashew chicken with cauliflower rice, and I think it was my first cooked meal in over 48 hours….
Final thoughts: In retrospect, I liked the cleanse, and I think it would get a little easier the longer you stick with it. While doing the cleanse, however, it was not pleasant….I really like food, and I missed it dearly.
Have you ever cleansed for the heck of it? What did you think?
I’ve never made hummus because, to be honest, I didn’t know where hummus came from. When I learned that it was ground garbanzo beans the entire concept became so much more approachable, and of course, I had to give it a whirl. With a plethora of recipe options available, my recommendation for anyone jumping into the hummus game would be to start with a basic recipe so that you can fine tune it and learn the in’s and out’s of hummus prep before going overboard.
If you like Trader Joe’s plain organic hummus, then I think you’ll like this one; it tastes so good you’re going to think Uncle Jesse’s yaya Katsopolis whipped it up herself!
15 oz. can of organic garbanzo beans (try Eden Organics - the can is even BPA free!)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup of organic tahini
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp. water
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon (reserve the other half for flavor adjustments)
What is your favorite hummus recipe?
Born from a love of pizza and a lack of time, these super quick whole wheat pita pizzas are a great lunchtime creation! My office has a toaster oven, which is the perfect appliance to bake these little slabs of heaven, but a conventional oven would certainly work just as well.
I have two fab variations that I switch between, but let’s be honest, there are no boundaries with pizza. Fill ‘em up however you wish, and share your results with me!
Variation #1 – The Traditional
1 Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita
1/3 cup Trader Joe’s organic marinara
2 slices of Trader Joe’s Havarti cheese
Feel free to add any other pizza toppings you want!
Directions – prepare your pizza and bake in a toaster oven or regular oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Check for crispiness of the pita and adjust bake time as necessary.
Variation #2 – The Indulgent
1 Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita
1/3 cup goat cheese
Fruit of your choice – I recommend sliced grapes, kiwi, or blackberries
Honey for drizzling
Directions – prepare your pizza by spreading the goat cheese on the pita, then spreading the fruit out across the pie. Bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees (or until the pita is crispy), then remove from heat and drizzle honey on top.
Now you have two quick pizza recipes to satisfy your salty and sweet cravings! What is your favorite quick pizza topping?
Holla! I have been quite remiss in my duties as “blogger” lately. Forgive me. School has been both a nightmare and an absolute joy….I am a complete nerd about school, and this semester has been very fruitful! I sometimes wish I had a personal assistant who could just ride along in my car and take notes about cool things I want to blog about, I have the best ideas on my commute. I tried to get Luda to help, but that whole no opposable thumbs thing is holding him back…he’s also the laziest employee ever.
I am excited to report that my plan to run has been a *relative* success. In March, I ran over 10 miles….April was kind of a failure with about 3 miles (I could have done better)….and in May I’ve logged 4 miles so far. Now that school is nearly done for the semester, my running consistency will get better. It HAS to…3 miles in April makes me sad.
Given my sub-par performance you might not want to take running advice from me, but I’m going to list some things that have helped me anyway. Here goes:
- Plan for it – make an appointment for “you” time so you can’t let life get in the way…because it will. Literally, right down what day and time you’re going to run.
- Set a goal – this helped me a lot, in March especially, since I registered for a 5K (and again now in May). When you have something specific you’re working towards it makes all the effort much more focused.
- Bring your clothes to work – do you find it hard to get back out of the house once you get home from work? I do. If I change into running clothes at work I can literally step out of my car when I get home and start running.
- Get new gear – this is simple…it’s fun to shop. Check out these new kicks!
- Find some buddies to run with – even if it’s not for your every day runs, it’s fun to have a group of peeps to plan running events with….and it keeps you accountable for your training because you don’t want to be the lagger everyone is waiting on at the finish line (been there, done that).
That’s all I have for now, but serious runners, what other tips do you have??
How difficult is it to keep up with the latest diet trends – low fat, high fat, low carb, no meat, all meat, Mediterranean, South Beach, this supplement, that pill, fasting, this cleanse, that vitamin. Of course you’re going to be confused (and probably lose interest), there’s a lot to follow! On the flip side – you know fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unrefined oils, unrefined sugars, and organic dairy is best for you, right? BINGO, you understand clean eating. The basis of clean eating is using REAL ingredients….from the earth, minimally processed (obviously something like cheese has to be processed), not made with ingredients you can’t find in your own kitchen, etc.
Your body will thank you, and you didn’t even have to put in that much effort – great, right?! Here are the benefits I’ve reaped from clean eating so far – energy (more of it and more consistent), less migraines, healthier hair, clearer skin, and a more stable mood (I think this is associated with the energy peaks and valleys I used to experience). My blood pressure is also back to normal after a minor scare. When you’re putting nutrients (including healthy calories) into your body, your body will respond by functioning more efficiently and even letting go of some of that fat it’s been storing for a rainy day.
Afraid of missing out on pizza, creamy pastas, dessert, or bacon? Don’t be, it’s all still here for you. This is the easiest “diet” on the market and the most valuable thing you can do for your body. Something to think about…
“The food you eat can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” -Dr. Ann Wigmore
I’m gonna be honest, despite documenting my cooking efforts on this blog, my sister is the real cook in the family. She’s just got that certain something that makes everything taste better! The best part is that most of the recipes she shares with me are easy to execute, yet flavorful and healthy. She proves you don’t have to get all fancy shmancy in order to plate a tasty meal. I’ve mentioned before that I work with my sis, which means she saves me samples of her new and exciting recipes, and when I tried this one I said “you HAVE to do a guest post about this” – it’s delicious! So without further ado, I welcome Jackie:
Hello all Hesitantly Healthy followers! Even though writing is not my forte, I am honored to be a guest post-er on Jess’ blog! I am excited to share this awesome recipe because I think everyone will love it and it is totally clean too! My husband and I are trying a strictly (I use this loosely ) Paleo diet for 30 days and so far this Paleo recipe has been my absolute fave! Sadly, no one was able to try it out fresh with me, but it’s been just as good for leftovers.
The recipe I used was from one of my favorite Paleo websites – Paleo Table - it was so delicious that I didn’t intend to make any changes to the recipe, but while writing this I realized I forgot the crushed red pepper. I guess that means you don’t need it if you don’t have because it was still fantastic without it.
I was a little hesitant to use the raw honey in the recipe because a strict Paleo diet means NO sugar, but the amount was minimal so I figured what the heck. If any of you out there try it without honey let me know how it turns out! Keep in mind you do have to plan ahead a little for this recipe because it requires “Paleo Ketchup.” I used the recipe off the link for the Cashew Chicken to make the ketchup earlier in the week and it was super fast and easy.
The chicken, sauce, and cashew mixture threw me off a little when I took my first bite since I wasn’t expecting a teriyaki flavor. I guess I have never been a big eater of Cashew Chicken to know that it tastes like teriyaki …who knew?! If teriyaki flavoring isn’t typical in Cashew Chicken keep that in mind when you go to take your first bite Also, if you are nervous about the cauliflower rice, don’t be. The chicken is so flavorful, and there is a little bit of extra sauce that coats the cauliflower rice, so you can’t even taste that it is cauliflower. It’s like playing a trick on your brain! (I know Jess posted about fried cauliflower rice this week too, try it!).
The recipe doesn’t specify clean chicken, but in case you were wondering I used Rosie Farms free range, no hormone, antibiotic free boneless skinless chicken thighs from Sprouts. Thighs are better than breasts for this recipe.
I literally felt like I was eating a chicken bowl, so if you are craving a little bit of teriyaki and rice flavor with the yummy crunch of cashews (who doesn’t love cashews?) try this recipe out right away. It is very very good!!!
Paleo Cashew Chicken (again, all credit to Paleo Table for this recipe!)
2.5 – 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large pieces
½ cup coconut aminos (can be replaced with low sodium soy sauce)
¼ cup coconut vinegar
¼ cup paleo ketchup
2 tbsp raw honey, warmed to a liquid state
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp grated, fresh ginger root
½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- Cut raw chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Warm coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown chicken for about 3 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is a rice-like consistency. Transfer it to a microwaveable glass dish and add about 1 tbsp. of water. Cover it and cook on high for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Keep warm.
- When chicken is browned, drain the liquid from the pan.
- Add half of the sauce (about 1/2 cup) to the chicken and stir to combine. Cover skillet and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add cashews and the rest of the sauce. Stir to combine. Serve over cauliflower rice.
I hope you enjoy!
Clean Eating Magazine offers a wealth of information, and I recommend it for anyone looking for great recipes and tips/tricks on eating clean and healthy. It is basically everything this little bloggy wishes it could be someday! Cue dream sequence…
So they recently published their list of ”12 Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen” and I like the list….I think it’s practical and executable. It also serves as a good reminder of the easy changes you can make to streamline your daily eating. I added a bit of my own input, but here ya go:
- Never skip breakfast again
* What they’re trying to say here is have some options available each morning- have grab an go options like yogurt and oatmeal ready, have your cereal bowl waiting on the counter for you, and make your eggs and protein in advance.
- Plan ahead – have fruits and veggies washed and ready, cook in batches and remember your freezer is your friend
* This is a game changer….seriously.
- Use a pressure cooker to save time on dried beans
* I’ve never done this, but soaking garbanzo beans overnight before being able to use them is a pain, so the pressure cooker is on deck for next time.
- Make and store your meal in one container – i.e. blender
* They say blender, but in reality who wants a blender sitting in their fridge? Try a bullet style blender, they’re amazing! You can blend quick dressings, soups, dips (like salsa and guac), smoothies, baby food, and spice mixes in smaller quantities, then lid it. For $30 (for the model I have), you really can’t beat the price/utility ratio.
Make a versatile spice blend that lasts all week
* My idea – keep a few key spices on hand to jazz up any dish, such as sea salt and fresh ground pepper, cumin, oregano, and an all-spice of some sort (Trader Joe’s has a clean blend called the “21 Seasoning Salute” that I like)
Pre-wash and chop cabbage for fast side dishes
* This is redundant, see #2
- Peel frozen bananas in a snap – freeze whole banana, submerge in a ziplock baggy in hot water for a few minutes and they’re ready to peel
* Along with this, freeze a ton of fruit! Or buy organic frozen fruit already bagged. I love making smoothies in the morning or whipping up something quick in the evening if I have a sweet tooth.
- Keep quick cooking proteins on hand – shrimp, scallops, fish – they defrost much faster than chicken and beef
* Shrimp is a personal favorite…it’s a perfect addition to stir fry, soups, salad, and pastas. From frozen you just run it under hot water for a few minutes and you’re ready to use it.
- Turn spare herbs into a paste for dips, dressings, marinades and more
* How often do you have to buy a whole container of herbs just to use one sprig of mint or 2 bay leaves in a recipe? Repurpose them! Need ideas? Check out my Pinterest board called “Using Herbs“
- Get the right tools for the right job
* Word…..everything from a crock pot to a cheese grater.
- Keep organic, sulfite free, dried fruit in your pantry for snacks and quick desserts
* I also keep a few options at my desk at work and in my backpack for school.
- Shop, chop and organize once to cook all week
* This sounds crazy, and believe me, it’s not possible EVERY weekend…but if you have an hour or two on a Sunday this little prep period will make you very happy as the week wears on. Additionally, what excuse do you have to reach for the bag of Cheetos when there is a bag of baby carrots calling your name from the fridge? Real food, eat it.
What tips do you have for saving time in the kitchen each week?
Have you ever thought about what a big bully Pinterest is? Mocking you, pestering you, pushing you around, coercing you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. “Try these” it says, “your boyfriend will love these” it promises, ”make this” it pressures. Before I know it I’m pinning a squirt food baby spoon (I don’t have a baby), how to make an outer space cocktail (stellar), and I’m convinced I can only ever pour my pancake batter from a recycled ketchup bottle.
Enter cauliflower rice….at first glance this sounds like mumbo jumbo, but everyone keeps pinning it! You’re trying to tell me cauliflower can be a substitute for rice? Fine Pinterest, you bully, I’ll try it.
Here’s my reaction in a nutshell: “No chance, not buying it, still cauliflower…cook cook cook…..let me just take a little nibble……wait a second, ohh shit that is fresh.”
Basically I loved cauliflower rice, I would like to replace regular rice forever, and bask in it’s healthy glory! To be fair, my boyfriend said you can still get hints of cauliflower in this recipe, and since he’s a rice lover he wasn’t overly in love. Just remember you’re not actually making rice….come to the table prepared for that and you’re golden.
1 head of cauliflower
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
1 organic egg
Low sodium soy sauce to taste (I used about 2 tbsp)
Optional: cubed chicken, cooked
- Grate the cauliflower (you can use the largest holes on a hand slicer or the grating blade in a food processor)
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet
- Sweat the garlic and onions in the skillet, careful not to burn
- Add in all of the cauliflower and fry for about 4 minutes until the cauliflower starts to color a little (don’t overcook or you’ll have a mushy meal)
- Add in the soy sauce, then push the cauliflower over to one side of the skillet and scramble your egg on the other side. Blend the egg with the cauliflower.
You can add chicken if you want, but otherwise this is it! Super easy, quick, and limited ingredients. It’s great for lunch or dinner, and reheats well! Enjoy.