Holiday Feasts Out! Healthy Fare In! Recipe: Healthy, Whole Food, Whole Grain Pancakes

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Good Morning!

Sunday Mornings are the best- full of relaxation, fun, and of course our favorite breakfast meals! For a few years now I have been using pancake mix from the health food store but family was not loving! And well, who wants to eat pancakes if they aren’t great? So I gave in and bought Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat “Blend.”When I finally decided enough is enough, I searched some blogs and found a few different recipes for whole grain pancakes made from scratch. After some trial and error, I came up with these, a hit all around, healthy and non-healthy eaters alike. They are easy to make and totally healthy!

Easy Whole Grain Pancakes:

Ingredients:

1.5 cups Arrowhead Mills Whole Grain Pastry Flour

1 cup organic milk (you can use almond milk as well, just opt for the unsweetened I haven’t tried this yet)

1 organic egg

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon sugar in the raw

2 Tablespoons maple syrup (pure maple syrup – not Aunt Jemima etc.)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

 Method:

1. Combine dry ingredients, then wet.

2. Mix together until lumps disappear.

3. Heat pancake griddle on medium heat, lightly grease with spray or oil if desired, drop spoonfuls of batter to desired size and flip when they begin to bubble!

4. Optional: If you are adding chocolate chips do so after you drop the batter onto the griddle, not directly into the batter. I use Chocolate Dream Dairy Free Chocolate Chips.

Enjoy!

Please let me know if your family liked these!

TIP: If you only want to make a few pancakes, you can save the raw batter in the fridge for the next day, they come out as good if not better as the day before!

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Is ORGANIC really worth it? An Interesting Read…

Many people are confused about what “organic” really means, and whether or not to buy organic given how costly it could be. The following article, from the New York Times, sums this up nicely.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/science/earth/study-questions-advantages-of-organic-meat-and-produce.html?smid=pl-share

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Salad Re-hash: How to Reuse and Renew

Hi everyone! So it’s the last weekend of the summer, and to finish it off without discussing salads would be, well- WRONG!

So here are 2 of the salads that I made this week using what was in the fridge from the night before. Now I am not usually one for meal of complete “leftovers,” BUT it just wouldn’t be right to let that chili limit itself to 1 use! And well, as for the caramelized onions, I’ve decided to keep them on hand pretty much at all times, because the flavor they add is well pretty much AWESOME!

Salad no. 1:  Tons of different greens (think -varied greens, varied health benefits…) that have already been chopped for the week, prepped and ready to go (check out my Tips & Tricks and Minimalist Kitchen categories to get a few more prep hints). There is romaine lettuce, baby arugula, cabbage, grape tomatoes, and a healthy dose of omega-3’s in that gorgeous avocado. I also stole some onions from the squash to add some zing. The dressing is a simple clean balsamic/EVOO, with some lemon and spices…) And of course, in  the middle some LEFTOVER Brown Rice and Beans…

Salad no. 2: I was craving some tuna on a salad but I also wanted some carbs and FLAVOR! I took my leftover roasted tomatoes that were screaming with flavors of garlic, oregano, and spicy red pepper, threw in some onions that I caramelized on a tray the day before, added some fresh avocado, and voila, a yummy-easy-healthy-clean salad with tuna! Unfortunately, the sweet potato, that was leftover also, is hidden underneath the top layer of the photo, but that adds fullness factor, as well as loads of nutrition and flavor- YUM!

Sweet potato and tomato recipes to follow next week! Also to follow, a discussion on the health benefits of herbs and spices!

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Recipe: Easy Baked Artichoke “Fries”

A simple side dish or appetizer that is a great addition to pretty much any meal!

Recipe: Baked Artichoke “Fries”

Ingredients:

1 Bag Frozen Artichoke Bottoms

1 Tablespoon Organic Lemon Juice

Large pot of boiling water (about 3 cups)

Sea Salt

Fresh Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper

Method:

1. Bring water to a full boil then remove from heat.

2. Place artichoke bottoms in water and add lemon juice. Cover pot, and let sit until artichokes are tender.

3. Remove tender artichokes and slice lengthwise to desired thickness (the thinner, the crispier…)

4. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper that has been lightly greased with organic olive oil Spray. Also spray tops of artichokes (or toss with a little EVOO), and season with sea salt, fresh pepper, a lot of garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to taste.

5. Bake at 350 for about 2 hours, but keep checking for desired doneness.

6. Serve alone or with a dipping sauce like salsa. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Black Bean Chili/ Protein 101

 

This is a recipe that was recommended to me over a year ago by my cousin Sari. It is from the TASTE cookbook that was distributed by the Yeshivah of Flatbush a few years ago. This is a definite crowd pleaser! Served with brown rice, this meal makes for a complete protein.

A few changes family and I have made to the recipe: add water to thin out the chili (about 1/2 cup should do). You can also add fresh garlic (2-3 cloves should do).

Recipe: Black Bean Chili (Taste Cookbook)

Ingredients:

2 cans Goya black beans, not drained

1 onion, chopped finely

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 orange/yellow pepper, chopped

1 can tomato paste (I use Muir Glen Organic)

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. hot sauce

dash of red pepper flakes

1/2 cup water (optional addition, not part of original recipe)

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional addition, not part of original recipe)

Method:
1. Saute onions and peppers until tender (garlic, if using).
2. Add beans and tomato paste, stir.
3.  Add remaining ingredients.
4. Cover, and cook over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Proteins 101:

Proteins are made up of amino acids, 9 of which are essential amino acids. They are considered essential because our bodies cannot make them. Our bodies need protein for growth and for tissue/muscle repair.

Animal proteins like fish, eggs, meat, poultry, milk etc. are usually referred to as complete proteins or high-quality proteins in the sense that they contain all of the essential amino acids in the correct  proportions.

Plant-based proteins like beans, whole grains, and vegetables are considered incomplete proteins because each is lacking certain proportions of certain amino acids. However, whole grain rice and beans, complement each other because each contain the amino acids that the other is lacking, together making up a complete protein. They are therefore referred to as complementary proteins. Complementary proteins do not need to be eaten  in the same meal in order to get complete protein benefits. As long as they are eaten over the same day, the body can use the amino acids effectively.

Much of the more current scientific research is encouraging people to consume less animal-based proteins and more  plant-based proteins. This is a lesson for another day! For now, you have a new vegetarian recipe to add to your weekly rotation!

Side NoteQuinoa is unique in that it is plant-based, but also a complete protein. You might also like to know that Quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain! Soybeans are also a  plant-based complete protein, but I do not recommend eating soy foods in excess, a lesson for another day!

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Quick, Clean, Delicious: Squash with Vidalia Onions

Here’s a recipe that I have been making for years. It really is quick, easy, clean, and delicious.

The squash gets a sweet and carmelized taste, and this dish works as a side dish to almost any dinner. Try it and see!

Recipe: (choose organic if possible)

Squash with Vidalia Onions:

4 yellow squash, sliced into rounds (not too thick)

1-2 vidalia onions, sliced into rounds

Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Method:

1. Place squash on a tray lined with parchment paper that has been greased with Organic Olive Oil Spray (or EVOO).

2. Spray the squash with olive oil spray (or drizzle lightly with EVOO) and season with salt and fresh pepper to taste.

3. Cover with sliced onions.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 until squash and onions begin to brown.

Enjoy!

(Notes the squash does not need to be turned over in the oven. The less you touch it, the better!)

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Dinner Tonight!

I am excited to begin sharing recipes with all of you, but more, I am looking forward to your comments, feedback, and contributions!

For my first contribution I chose to provide you with a complete meal. It contains: A whole grain, a lean protein, and a non-starchy vegetable. Both recipes contribute to a family dinner that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. They are simple, clean, and easy to prepare. Props to my mother-in-law Michelle Haddad who introduced both of these recipes to me. I have been adding both to the weekly rotation ever since.

Recipe 1:

Chicken Chili:

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

1 lb. organic ground chicken (white meat is preferred)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1  8 oz. can of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce

Method:

1. Sauté chicken and  garlic in EVOO until chicken starts to brown.

2. Add tomato sauce, and continue stirring over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil for 3-4 minutes.

3. Serve over Brown Rice, (if preferred, you can use Quinoa, Bulgur or any other whole grain)

Suggestions:

1. You can also throw this chili right over some mixed greens for a delicious dinner salad.

2. For a spicier dish add crushed red pepper, or hot salsa.

3. If your family prefers a sweeter chili add a sautéed onion as well.

Recipe 2:

Fresh Broccoli sautéed With Garlic and EVOO

This recipe sounds like any other, but for some reason when I follow my mother-in-law’s exact directions it really comes out perfect. So here it is:

Ingredients:

1 head fresh broccoli (organic if possible), cut into florets

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon EVOO

Method:

1. Place broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute exactly. Remove and immediately rinse under COLD water.

2. Sauté garlic in EVOO until nicely browned, then add broccoli and continue sautéing over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or really until desired degree of doneness. ENJOY!

Note: I usually double this recipe for a family dinner, as one head of broccoli really doesn’t cut it!

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