Clean eating

Migas

Let’s get to it. Have you bought the cookbook, It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow yet? I don’t know what more I could do to promote this book. I have loved everything about it- including my most recent re-creation, Migas. It looks like there are a few variations of the dish, translated as “crumbs” depending on where you go, Spain, Portugal or Mexico. These are more Mexican style, using tortillas and eggs to make an awesome “breakfast nacho” dish. (Although the first time I made them, they were eaten for dinner and did not disappoint. They were “migas with amigos” -thank you Chad.) I’ve added a little twist with my chunky guacamole salsa. And I should note, that from here on out all corn tortillas should be fried with diced onion. It should be a law. Drop the mic.

As organic as possible:

Inspired by Migas, in It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow… which serves 1- so I quadrupled the following recipe in “1 serving” batches:

1-2 Tbsp of Olive oil

3 mini corn tortillas, quartered (making 12 wedges)

2 Tbsp diced white Onion

2 Eggs

Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1/4 cup grated Mild Cheddar

2 Tbsp Guacamole Salsa

2 Tbsp Salsa

3 slices Jalapeño (optional)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

 

In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the tortilla wedges and onion. Cook until onions start to soften and tortilla starts to crisp.

Crack the eggs right over the tortillas and onions.

Season with salt and pepper, and give the whole thing a messy stir. When eggs are almost cooked through add the cheese and give a stir.

Transfer to a plate and top with the guacamole, salsa, jalapeño and cilantro.

Migas

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • 3 mini corn tortillas, quartered (making 12 wedges)
  • 2 Tbsp diced white Onion
  • 2 Eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Mild Cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp Guacamole Salsa (see Sadie's Nest for recipe or substitute with sliced avocado)
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa
  • 3 slices Jalapeño (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the tortilla wedges and onion. Cook until onions start to soften and tortilla starts to crisp.
  2. Crack the eggs right over the tortillas and onions.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and give the whole thing a messy stir. When eggs are almost cooked through add the cheese and give a stir.
  4. Transfer to a plate and top with the guacamole salsa, salsa, jalapeño and cilantro.
http://sadiesnest.com/migas/

Hot Potato

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to…

Did you know how healthy potatoes are? I’m not talking about diced, shredded and fried (although undeniably Delicious). I’m referring to the low-cal (about 110 calories in 1 medium) naturally gluten-free vegetable with more potassium than a banana, 45% of your daily intake of vitamin C, 10% of vitamin B6, zero fat, zero cholesterol that contains essential minerals like magnesium and zinc to mention a few. We all know the story: eat your potato while drinking a glass of milk and live forever! Or at least avoid scurvy. But seriously, with necessary blood aids like iron and much needed digestive assistance from fiber (of which sadly our diets are greatly deprived), it just might be what the doctor ordered. That is of course baked- to maintain the most nutrients. (Save the sticks of butter and cups of cream for special occasions 😉 ) And if I may, please make sure you buy organic- not crazy hi-bred weird GMO who knows what they are potatoes, because I can’t vouch for those.

Serves 4-6

2 1/2 pounds -about 10-12 medium Potatoes (Russet, Idaho, Golden, Red…)

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1-2 Tbsp Course Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375°. Wash, scrub and rinse the potatoes. Remove any eyes or blemishes that you don’t want to eat. Dry the potatoes completely with a towel. Brush on the olive oil (a little goes a long way) or get messy and use your hands to cover the skins. Generously sprinkle the potatoes with the course salt. (Do not be afraid of this- the Kosher course salt is not as “salty” as fine salt. If you are using regular table salt, go easier obviously… I trust your judgement.)

Place potatoes on a baking sheet. I like to cover the sheet with Silpat or parchment paper for easier clean-up. Bake for an hour (sometimes 15-20 minutes more if using large potatoes) until skin is crispy and inside of potato is tender. Eat just like this, or with a pat of butter and a little salt and pepper, or with a dollop of sour cream (or plain yogurt if you’re eating clean) or crumbled bacon if you’re feeling wild. I’ll stop. You know what you like.

For more information on the healthiness of potatoes along with recipe ideas check out potatogoodness.com or an interesting article on the health benefits at livescience.com.

What I Learned During the 21 Day Fix

I took the 21 Day Fix challenge. I fit in my 30 minute workout everyday and I stuck to the meal plan. (With the possible exception of day 20 in which I cannot confirm nor deny that I might have exceeded my “blue” container, a.k.a. healthy fats, in the form of cheese and a possible “unhealthy” white sauce that I did not mean to order on top of my vegetarian style eggs.) Was it fun? I had some creative menu planning moments, but no. Was it easy? There were without doubt better days than others, but no. Was it educational? Absolutely.

Here is a little about what I’ve learned…

  1. I eat too many carbs. Apparently if you have oatmeal for breakfast, you are not supposed to have a wheat pita at lunch if you are going to have rice for dinner. But that’s really the least of my concerns, because I like muffins and pastries. My daily intake of refined sugar (even in the form of organic cane sugar) and all purpose unbleached organic flour is just too high. I’ve got to face the facts.
  2. I don’t eat enough whole grains. Just because I have been buying whole grain organic bread for over a decade doesn’t mean I’m really eating whole grains. I have pasta, pita chip, cereal, cracker and tortilla opportunities just to name a few. Alas, what’s a girl to do?
  3. My portions are out of proportion. So this one is not a shocker. Yes, I have a tendency to get carried away at a breakfast buffet, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There is too much of a good thing, meaning you can even overdo it with healthy meals. For example, some salad dressings are caloric nightmares. It’s a work in progress.
  4. I don’t exercise enough. I can honestly say I feel like I’m on my feet all day. I do dishes, laundry, chase my one year old, make snacks and meals- clean them up, make beds… the list goes on. But getting your heart rate up and sweating for just 20-30 minutes is a different beast. Granted, I am not naturally prone to loving that, but I think know I need more of it.
  5. I need to drink more water. I don’t drink half of my body weight in ounces on a regular basis. (Because you are probably good at math, I won’t tell you what that is; let’s just say it’s over the standard 64 oz.) There are days I can reach that goal, but I really need to push myself. Thankfully this program has no restrictions on coffee, tea (unsweetened and without cream of course), and flavor infused waters- even carbonated. I’m actually fortunate that way, I am completely satisfied with just those options. If I could only drink more water…
  6. My attitude could use an adjustment. I was doing this to better myself, reset my habits so to speak. I started off with excitement and optimism. I made fun and healthy, (and delicious) snacks. I made some separate food for myself, but to be realistic I’d have to create dinners my family would eat also; which I really enjoyed. Knowing I was doing good for them too was heartwarming. I made it through my birthday, Mother’s Day, my brother-in-laws birthday, a weekend getaway- streaming my workouts mind you, a church pizza party… Yet, somewhere along the way I fell out of love. Around day 15-17, I got pretty grumpy. I started having thoughts like “A little pita with this hummus would be nice. I can’t help it if the restaurant doesn’t serve whole grain…” and “If I wanted to workout on vacation in ‘real life’, I would go to the hotel fitness facility, instead of exercising in the dark while my children are sleeping.” It turned into more of fulfilling my commitment than bliss.
  7. I am going to apply more of these principles into my life. I definitely need to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables in my diet. I’ll be honest, if I eat oatmeal for breakfast and a wheat pita for lunch, I’m not going to worry about having a little rice for dinner- but I need to pay attention. I can’t have a daily intake of waffles for breakfast, french fries with lunch and pasta at dinnertime followed by dessert- on a regular basis without knowing it’s going to have an effect. The program suggests the 90/10 rule; if you follow the guidelines 90% of the time you can treat yourself 10% of the time. And I think until I reach my goals I’m going to try hard to follow that.
  8. It works. The results are in the “chia” pudding. I’ve lost over 5 pounds. (Not the most dramatic results in weight, but it’s only been 21 days.) However, in three weeks I have lost over 3 inches in my stomach, and over 2 inches in my waist. That’s amazing! I think some mom’s like myself (and certainly women who are not and men too) start to think “this is just my body type now.” The truth is we CAN do something about it.

I still have some work to do to achieve my goals, but this was a great platform and eye-opener. The knowledge that it can happen is encouraging. I can do this! (And I am really looking forward to this week “off”… I earned it!)

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Bites

I love zucchini. It’s a green vegetable with a creamy, almost buttery, texture when baked. Top it with a little pepper and salty Parmesan, and well you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. But let’s take this one step further and serve it with a side of marinara dipping sauce. Oh my goodness! Guiltless indulgence is like an oxymoron when it comes to healthy eating… but it does exist!

As organic as possible:

Snack serves 2 (or a hungry 1) 

Olive oil cooking spray

2 Medium Zucchini, washed, dried and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

3 oz. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarse Kosher salt

Freshly ground Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with olive oil. Place zucchini rounds on the oil-misted parchment paper, not touching eachother. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pinch a tiny mound of Parmesan cheese to top each slice of zucchini. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until Parmesan turns golden brown. Serve warm with a side of marinara. (And maybe an iced glass of S.Pellegrino?) Indulge.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were kind of a staple growing up in my house. It’s game night and the cheerleaders are coming over for dinner, what are we going to have? Sloppy Joes! We had a big test in school today, and I could sure go for some comfort food, what’s for dinner? Sloppy Joes! Or it’s been a particularly busy day, mom hasn’t had time to prepare a huge meal for dinner, what should we have? Sloppy Joes! To be fair to my mom, maybe we had them 2 times a month at most, but it always felt like the best answer to me. Yummy comfort food, great for a crowd and easy to pull together. That just so happens to be my favorite kind of food to feed my family today. Here’s just a delicious and healthier twist, because eating healthy should be comforting too!

As organic as possible:

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium Green bell pepper, finely diced
2 lbs ground Turkey
1 1/2 T granulated Onion
1 1/2 T granulated Garlic
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 14.5 oz can Tomato sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use organic with a cane sugar, and I think it gives the mixture a little depth of color and flavor, but for die-hard clean eaters feel free to omit)

Whole grain Hamburger buns

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil spray over medium heat and add the green pepper and turkey. Start to separate the turkey with a wooden spoon (or utensil of your choice) and add the granulated onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Continue to incorporate spices into meat mixture as it browns.

(Side note: For Sloppy Joe’s made with beef, I prefer to use freshly diced onion and minced garlic. However, I like the concentrated flavor of granulated onion and garlic for ground turkey. Also, I like to flavor the meat as it is browning- I think it tastes better. Could you add the spices to the turkey after it has been strained -so you don’t lose any- along with the tomato sauce and ketchup? Yes… but I wouldn’t.)

When turkey is mostly cooked through (because turkey has a tendency to dry out, and it will continue to cook in the sauce) strain the majority of the excess fat- a little keeps some flavor… (Who knew Turkey Sloppy Joe’s were so technical?) Add the tomato sauce and ketchup. Stir until combined and saucy. Allow to simmer on low for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve on whole grain buns, because there is no reason to cut corners on our healthy meal. And if I may, I suggest a side of baked sweet potato fries because they are awesome.

Beet Chips & Cilantro Hummus

You know I’ve been digging the veggies lately. Just can’t get enough… they can be really fun and super delicious! Again to give accolades where they are due: thanks to Gwenyth Paltrow and her new cookbook, It’s All Easy. Eating healthy doesn’t mean bland, or that you have to squash your creativity. In fact, just the opposite, vegetables can make your mind whirl with possibilities! For example beets can be more than a Greek salad or Bortsch, they make for great chips! I love their red color and there little sweet crunch. Adding herbs like parsley or cilantro to your hummus, is a nice way to play with flavors and add a little variety to your intake of nutrients. But seriously, even if none of that matters to you- you’re going to love this because it is yummy!

As organic as possible:

Beet Chips

1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more more for the baking sheets

2 medium beets, peeled  or very well scrubbed

leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (*I used almost 1/2 tsp dry)

Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease two baking sheets lightly with olive oil.

Use mandolin to slice the beets as thin as possible.

In a bowl, toss the beet slices with rosemary, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Arrange the beets in an even layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure that none of the slices overlap. If you can’t fit all the slices, use another baking sheet.

Place the baking sheets in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, bake for 10 minutes, then switch their positions and bake for another 10 minutes. Let the chips cool on the baking sheets before eating. Eat plain or with the cilantro hummus for dipping.

 

Cilantro Hummus

1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1/2 large lemon, plus more as needed

1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more as needed

3 Tbsp tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, very finely minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with 1/4 cup water and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (alternatively, use a food processor). Adjust with more lemon, salt, or water to taste.

 

 

Szechuan-Style Green Beans

This dish is amazing. Yes, you can serve it as an awesome side. But I am telling you this dish could stand up to being a meal in itself. Seriously, it is that good and flavorful. Even better, it’s easy and quick! Yay! The original version can be found in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Easy; which I am loving btw… It’s makes healthy eating fun! A couple of the ingredients might not sound familiar, so here’s a quick note: you could probably replace the tamari with soy sauce and the sambal oelek with a chili paste (such as Thai). Enjoy!

 

As organic as possible:

Salt

2 tsp minced fresh Ginger

2 tsp Sambal Oelek

1 Tbsp Tamari

1 tsp toasted Sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp Maple syrup

1/2 pound Green Beans

3 Tbsp Olive or Peanut oil

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the green beans.

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, sambal oelek, tamari, sesame oil, and maple syrup to make the sauce.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook just until the water comes back to a boil, about 3 minutes; drain well and dry on a kitchen towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the green beans and cook until sizzling and beginning to blister, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce, turn off the heat, and let sit for 2 minutes before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Berry-Banana Smoothie Bowl

Now that I’m a raging health nut… I buy healthy recipe magazines. And according to my Clean Eating periodical, “Smoothie Bowls” are all the rage. They’re smoothies you can chuck so full of nutritional goodness and frozen fruits/veggies that you can’t suck them through a straw- hence the bowl and spoon. Of course if you know me, you know I am all about cutting edge (and regularly sarcastic). But I thought, why not? I like smoothies and I certainly know how to freeze a banana. However, for all my strides in stocking my pantry with chia seeds, coconut milk, almond flour, and avocado oil; I still came up short on my chlorella, maqui berry and maca powders. So I came up with my own, and I must say that it does feel indulgent. Like eating berry ice cream for breakfast! 😉

 

Serves 2 (or a hungry 1)

As organic as possible:

9 frozen Strawberries

1 frozen Banana, sliced into 2″ pieces

1/2 cup Almond Milk (Soy or non-fat milk)

5 Ice cubes

2 cups mixed frozen Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

1/3 cup granola (preferably with some source of protein: nuts or seeds), plus more for topping (optional)

1 Tbsp Honey (buzzword “raw” optional)

 

Make sure to freeze your fruit the night before or at least several hours in advance (or you might end up with a regular old smoothie). Place all the ingredients in a blender and flip the switch! (Or push the button…)

Spoon the ingredients into a bowl and top with granola or slivered almonds if you’d like, and eat up butter cup. You’re so healthy!