Turkey Burgers & Kale Chips

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Hands down the best turkey burger I’ve made to date. These will quickly become your go-to recipe. Conveniently double or triple, and freeze extra patties for a quick dinner. Wrap burgers in a lettuce wrap and top with desired toppings like tomato, onion, avocado or hummus.

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Crispy, crunchy kale chips are a great addition and a healthier version of fries. You may want to make several batches to snack on after dinner or try them as an appetizer.

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SEASONED TURKEY BURGERS
gluten & dairy free
serves 4

• 1 1/4 lb LEAN GROUND TURKEY, 93/7
• 1 tsp GARLIC POWDER
• 3/4 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
• 1/4 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
• 1/2 tsp SEA SALT
• 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 1/8 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER, GROUND (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well incorporated. Form mixture into four equal size patties.

2. Grill or pan sauté burgers, 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

VARIATIONS: Add fresh chopped cilantro, green pepper or onion to patties before cooking.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 200 calories, 10g fat, 82mg cholesterol, 1g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 28g protein

KALE CHIPS
gluten & dairy free
serves 4

• 1 bunch FRESH KALE
• 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER, to taste
• 1/4 tsp GARLIC POWDER

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove kale leaves from stem and tear into bite size pieces.

2. Toss dry kale pieces with olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper until well coated. Spread kale in one even layer onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes before eating. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and pepper if desired.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 50 Calories, Total Fat 4g, Cholesterol 0mg, Total Carbohydrate 4g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 0g, Protein 2g

PRINT RECIPE PDF

Detox Water & Resolution Tips

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Happy New Year! It’s that time again, resolutions sprouting everywhere. Part of me loves it, and part of me gets sad. The passion and desire people have to be healthier is great, but unfortunately most declarations end up being one month, not whole year commitments. Do you want lasting transformation in your life this year? Here are three simple tips to help move you in that direction:

1) Make practical goals -
Don’t shoot for the moon. Making small changes over time is proven to be the most effective to achieve lasting change. If you wanted to learn how to play tennis you wouldn’t expect yourself to be amazing and perfect after one week of practice. It’s the same with our wellness ambitions. Make practical, obtainable, simple goals, but ones that still challenge you. Don’t go all out in January, pace yourself, practice a new habit each week, or month as you continue the previous ones. For example, this week I may drink 5 glasses of water a day and next week I’ll go for six, working up to 8 or 10 per day. If you practice a new habit every month, after one year you’ll have adopted 12 new lifestyle changes. It may be slow and steady, but the tortoise won the race.

2) Make a plan -
We humans don’t just drift into healthy behavior (as much as we’d like to think we do, myself included). Plan for your week, month or year. Schedule meals, workouts, goals, rest and write out grocery lists. Get outside, be active, make it fun. It’s been said that the best exercise is the one we will actually do. But, planning is the first step. So, grab your phone, tablet, planner, chalkboard or old fashion paper schedule and write in one or two next steps that you will practice this week. Find joy in treating your body well, acknowledge what you can do, and not what you can’t. Our thinking directly affects our behavior.

3) Find a buddy –
Studies show that people lose twice as much weight when journeying with a companion opposed to the lone ranger approach. We are stronger in numbers, and healthy endeavors are no different. Those days when it’s raining and we’d rather sleep in or eat potato chips on our couch in pajamas we need friends! People who care about us and have similar goals, it keeps us motivated. And also gives us someone to share in the struggles and celebrations. Don’t give up, get a buddy.

Have a great, hydrated start to 2015!

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DETOX WATER
• 1 large GRAPEFRUIT (or 2 ORANGES)
• 2 KIWI
• 1 LIME
• FRESH MINT LEAVES
• FILTERED WATER

Cut grapefruit or oranges into large sections, slice kiwi and lime. Place fruit and 15-20 mint leaves (or amount desired) into a large pitcher and fill with water. Cover and let set in fridge 8 hours or overnight. Add any favorite fruit.

Other Flavor Combinations:
1) Fresh Cucumber, Lemon & Mint
2) Fresh Strawberries (quartered), Blackberries, Oranges & Lemon
3) Fresh Pineapple, Strawberries, Oranges & Lime

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters with Sea Salt

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Looking for a last minute Christmas goodie or gift option? And a super simple breakfast or brunch sweet for holiday gatherings? Both of these are healthy and can be whipped up in minutes. Made with only 3-4 ingredients, dark chocolate in each, automatically make them a winner in my book.

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I’ve been siding with simplicity this December and these recipes fall right into that category. That’s partially why I haven’t posted many recipes this month. I’ve been practicing making space, slowing down, enjoying the peace and joy of this season. It was hard at first but I have to say I’m liking this new tradition.

Merry Christmas!

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DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND CLUSTERS with SEA SALT
gluten & dairy free option
makes 18 clusters

• 10 oz DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS*
• 3 cups ALMONDS, whole or chopped
• SEA SALT

*Use allergen free chocolate chips if desired, I like Enjoy Life brand.

Melt chocolate chips in a large glass bowl in the microwave or stove top double-broiler; whisk frequently until smooth. Fold in almonds (make sure room temperature or chocolate will seize). Drop tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until set.

Additional Mix-Ins: Peanut or almond butter, pure honey, cinnamon, shredded coconut, mint or almond extract, dried cranberries or substitute other nuts for almonds (mixed, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or peanuts).

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QUICK BREAKFAST COOKIES
gluten & dairy free option
makes 12 cookies

• 2 large RIPE BANANAS
• 1 cup DRY QUICK OATS*
• 1/3 – 1/2 cup DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS*
• 1/4 tsp GROUND CINNAMON & SEA SALT (optional or to taste)

*Use allergen free oats or chocolate chips if desired.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil). Mash bananas with applesauce; fold in oats, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sea salt (if using). Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet, bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Additional Mix-Ins: Pure honey, maple syrup, chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds), dried cranberries, raisins, peanut or almond butter.

PRINT RECIPE – PDF (includes both recipes)

Green Bean Casserole

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Green bean casserole will be present on most Thanksgiving tables this week, but nothing beats homemade green bean casserole.

Frozen green beans and sautéed mushroom soup swaps out the typical canned ingredients. And the best part, the crispy, crunchy, preservative free topping. The onions take a little love (or patience) but are so worth it. They almost disappeared before making it onto the casserole. I recommend not taste testing because of that reason.

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I could honestly skip the turkey, potatoes and pie this year and just eat this savory, creamy casserole. Okay, maybe not forfeit the pie. Happy Thanksgiving!

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
gluten & dairy free
serves 10-12

Green Bean Base:
• 8 oz PORTOBELLA or CREMINI MUSHROOMS
• 2 cloves GARLIC, minced
• 3 tbsp EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 3 tbsp ALL PURPOSE FLOUR BLEND*
• 1 1/2 cup VEGETABLE BROTH*
• 1/2 cup COCONUT MILK, CANNED
• 1 lb GREEN BEANS, FROZEN

Crispy Onions:
• 2 medium YELLOW ONIONS
• 1/4 cup ALL PURPOSE FLOUR BLEND*
• 1/2 tsp GARLIC POWDER
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• GRAPESEED OIL

*Use gluten free flour and vegetable broth.

1. Mushroom Base: Thaw green beans. Chop mushrooms into 1/4″ cubes and sauté over medium heat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper (until they begin to sweat about 3-5 minutes). Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes longer. Add flour (I used Trader Joe’s AP gluten free flour blend) to mushrooms and stir to coat evenly. Add the vegetable broth a 1/2 cup at a time, whisking frequently with a fork. Once all broth has been added, cook 1 more minute. Stir in coconut milk and simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring often (approximately 5-6 minutes). Once thickened, remove from heat and mix with green beans; add additional sea salt and pepper if needed. Pour bean mixture into a greased 11″ x 7″ baking dish, set aside.

2. Crispy Onions: Cut onions in half lengthwise and peel outer layer. Using a sharp knife thinly slice onions. Place cut onions on paper towel and pat to remove excess moisture. Place flour, seasonings and dried onions in zip bag and shake to coat evenly. Shake off excess flour and fry onions on stove top (just until lightly browned) in grapeseed oil in small batches to prevent burning. Set aside on a paper towel, lightly covered with another paper towel to prevent soggy onions.

3. Layer crispy onions on top of green beans and bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes (if onions get too brown while baking cover casserole loosely with foil to prevent burning.) Serves 10-12.

Make ahead tip: The day before serving assemble casserole through step one, cover and refrigerate. Complete step two half way, slice onions, dry and refrigerate. Mix flour and seasonings, keep sealed in air tight zip bag. Fry onions the day of baking and complete step three.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (about 1/12 casserole): 125 Calories, Total Fat 8, Saturated Fat 5g, Total Carbohydrate 11g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 3g, Protein 2g

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Thanksgiving Favorites

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It’s almost time to stuff that bird, slice a wedge of pumpkin pie and gather round the table with those you’re thankful for. If looking for additions to your menu, or to swap out traditional selections for healthier ones, here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie with Almond Crust
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Berry Crisp
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Cinnamon Applesauce
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Roasted Butternut Squash & Pecan Salad with Warm Apple Vinaigrette
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Butternut Squash Soup with Turkey Bacon
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Sweet Potato Crunch Casserole
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Kale, Butternut Squash & Cranberry Quinoa
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Herb Roasted Turkey Breasts
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Rosemary Potatoes (Smashed & Roasted)
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Sausage Apple Stuffing
with Quinoa
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or Bread
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Happy, Healthy Turkey Day!

Pumpkin Pie Bars

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Let me just say, “these are incredible”. I know, not a stellar description but trust me they are good. The ingredient list may look a bit long, but several are repeated in each layer.

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With a crunchy almond-oat crust, a creamy, orange zest infused pumpkin filling, and a nutty, maple-cinnamon streusel topping, these are the perfect bite. I think I just drooled on my laptop keyboard.

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Bake some up this weekend, then save the recipe to switch out traditional Thanksgiving dessert with these pie like bars this year. Make enough for a crowd, double the batch and bake in a 9 x 13″ pan. Family and friends will thank you. Enjoy!

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PUMPKIN PIE BARS
makes 16 bars
gluten & dairy free

Crust:
• 3/4 cup ALMOND FLOUR
• 1 cup ROLLED OATS*
• 1/4 cup GRAPESEED or COCONUT OIL (melted)
• 1/4 tsp SEA SALT
• 1/4 tsp BAKING SODA
• 1 tsp PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
• 1/2 tsp CINNAMON, GROUND
• 2 tbsp 100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP

Filling:
• 15 oz can PURE PUMPKIN
• 3 EGGS, large
• 1/3 cup 100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP
• 1/2 cup UNSWEETENED ALMOND or COCONUT MILK
• ZEST FROM 1/2 ORANGE
• 1 tbsp PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
• 1 tbsp PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
• 1/2 tbsp CINNAMON, GROUND

Topping:
• 1/2 cup ALMOND FLOUR
• 1/4 cup ROLLED OATS*
• 1/2 cup PECANS, chopped
• 1 tsp CINNAMON, GROUND
• 2 tbsp 100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP
• 1 tbsp GRAPESEED or COCONUT OIL

*Use gluten free oats if desired.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ square baking dish with oil.

2. Pulse 1 cup oats in food processor or blender until flour consistency (or substitute additional almond flour for oats). In a small bowl combine all crust ingredients (first 8) and press into bottom of prepared pan with a fork or the bottom of a flat measuring cup. Bake for 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely.

3. In a large mixing bowl add all filling ingredients (next 8 ingredients), whisk or use an electric mixer to stir until smooth. Pour mixture into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes.

4. While filling is baking combine topping ingredients (last 6) in a small bowl with a fork and set aside. Sprinkle topping over bars after first 10 minutes of baking, return to oven and bake an additional 15 – 20 minutes, or until bars are set. Cool and cut into 16 squares.

VARIATIONS: Sprinkle raisins or dried cranberries over bars after baking. Use walnuts, almonds or pumpkin seeds for pecans. Substitute pure honey for maple syrup.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: Calories 200, Total Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 75mg, Total Carbohydrate 18g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 9g, Protein 5g

**Adapted from Multiply Delicious blog’s, Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars: http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2012/11/pumpkin-pecan-pie-bars/

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

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Store bought turkey sausage is often highly processed, full of nitrates, and other chemicals. And the good stuff tends to be a little pricey. So, why not make homemade sausage?

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Enjoy these savory patties with eggs or my Mini Greek Frittatas at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Crumble patties, and add to other dishes like spaghetti sauce or soup.

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Make up a batch or two, and store in the fridge or freezer to conveniently reheat. A flavorful mix of seasonings, unsweetened applesauce and olive oil create a juicy, healthy side dish. An easy and delicious way to add lean protein to any meal.

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Turkey Breakfast Sausage
gluten & dairy free
makes 12 patties

• 1/4 cup UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE
• 3/4 tsp SEA SALT
• 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
• 1/2 tsp SAGE, GROUND
• 1/2 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
• 1/2 tsp GARLIC POWDER
• 1/4 tsp ONION POWDER
• 1/4 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER, GROUND (optional)
• 1/4 tsp CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES (optional)
• 1 1/4 lb LEAN GROUND TURKEY, 93/7
• 2 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN

1. In a large bowl mix together first 9 ingredients with a fork. Add ground turkey and mix just until spices are incorporated (careful not to over mix or meat will become tough).

2. Form turkey mixture into 12 patties (about 1/4 cup turkey in each) and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a little cold pressed grapeseed oil. Makes 12 small patties. May cool and store in refrigerator or freezer to reheat for later use.

NUTRITION INFO (PER SAUSAGE PATTY): Calories 70, Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 25mg, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 11g

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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I’m on a smoothie binge and it’s fall. So, that funneled my efforts into this deliciously creamy, yet healthy treat. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, antioxidants, fiber and minerals like potassium. It also creates a velvety textured smoothie. A scrumptious fall breakfast or snack, and easy use for remaining pumpkin in your fridge.

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Add a nutrition boost. I supplemented a scoop of vanilla protein powder to mine this morning. The added protein keeps you fuller longer and helps sustain blood sugar levels. Feel free to toss in some dark chocolate chips, raw cacao nibs or ground flax seed too. I used Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia to sweeten, but feel free to use regular Stevia, 100% pure maple syrup, honey or healthy sweetener of choice to desired taste.

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On a side note, today is the 3rd anniversary of my blog. So, a big thank you to all of you for joining me on this journey. I hope my blog continues to be a source of motivation and an equipping tool for you and your family to enjoy and maintain a healthy, vibrant life.

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PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE
gluten & dairy free
serves 1

• 1/2 cup LITE COCONUT MILK, canned (almond milk or choice milk)
• 1/2 cup WATER (or additional milk)
• 1/2 cup 100% PURE PUMPKIN, canned (I used Farmer’s Market organic BPA free)
• 1 tsp PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
• 1/2 tsp GROUND CINNAMON
• 12 drops LIQUID STEVIA (maple syrup or honey, to taste)
• ICE (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender with ice (if desired for a thicker consistency) and blend until smooth. Serve topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon stick or pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Boost Add-Ins: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, dark chocolate chips, raw cacao nibs, ground flaxseed or 1/2 banana.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 150 Calories, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 6g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 35mg, Total Carbohydrate 14g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 6g, Protein 1g

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Berry Protein Shake

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Protein shakes are a quick, easy and healthy on-the-go breakfast or lunch. Adding spinach increases the nutrition value without even tasting the greens. My husband comments his dreams have come true that we can make vegetables taste like a strawberry. A great way to get vegetables into kids or husbands.

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I use a brown rice or pea based protein powders. Choose one with a low sugar content or made with Stevia. Growing Naturals and Vega One are a couple good brands that come in chocolate, vanilla and berry flavors. Substitute peanut or almond butter and 100% cocoa powder for the berries and you’ve got an excellent candy-like shake.

Frozen berries create a thick, creamy icy cold shake. Feel free to add other greens (like dandelion, kale, swiss chard) or fruits to switch up your blended treat.

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BERRY PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
gluten & dairy free
serves 1

• 1 cup WATER
• 1/2 cup UNSWEETENED VANILLA ALMOND MILK
• 1-2 scoops VANILLA PROTEIN POWDER
• 2 cups FRESH BABY SPINACH
• 1 cup FROZEN MIXED BERRIES
• LIQUID STEVIA or RAW HONEY (optional)

Put all ingredients into a blender, liquids first. Add drops of Stevia or raw honey if more sweetness is desired. Blend until smooth.

Add almond butter, chia seeds or ground flaxseed for an extra boost of healthy fat & fiber!

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (w/ 2 scoops protein powder): 330 Calories, Total Fat 4g, Cholesterol 0mg, Total Carbohydrate 48g, Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 16g, Protein 33g

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

Garlic Hummus & Vegetable Platter

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Hummus is my go-to condiment. I top everything with it, eggs, omelets, veggies, salads – it’s basically treated like sour cream in our house. It’s flavorful, creamy and nutritious.

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The fun part of whipping it up in your kitchen is the freedom to create your own flavor (and it’s preservative free!). Cumin and fresh garlic were my add-ins, but avocado, black beans, cayenne, basil, sun dried tomatoes, jalapenos and kalamata olives are wonderful additions. Your options are endless really.

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Saturday night I served my hummus surrounded by beautiful grilled, roasted and fresh veggies. A stunning and easy appetizer or side dish. Pictured are roasted sweet potatoes spears and broccolini (baby broccoli). Grilled zucchini, green onions and green peppers. And fresh cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Delicious with grilled chicken and brown rice to round out the meal.

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GARLIC HUMMUS

gluten & dairy free

serves 12

• 15 oz can GARBANZO BEANS, rinsed & drained

• JUICE FROM 1 LEMON

• 2 cloves GARLIC, grated

• 1/2 tsp CUMIN, GROUND

• 1/4 cup OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN, unrefined

• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding additional olive oil if needed for desired consistency. Serve room temperature or chilled with a drizzle of olive oil, flake sea salt and cracked pepper. Serving size: about 2 – 3 Tbsp.

Great with grilled or fresh veggies of your choice!

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: Calories 80, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Total Carbohydrate 7g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 0g, Protein 2g

PRINT RECIPE – PDF

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK

Lately, I’ve been loving pyramid style workouts. Below is one for your abs and it’s nothing short of good. Working out doesn’t have to be complicated. Body weight workouts are fabulous because no equipment or gym is needed. They travel well and are a do anywhere, anytime heart trainer. Grab a friend or spouse and try it out (you can enjoy some hummus and veggies as a reward after)!

AB Pyramid

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