After The Party Smoothie

chocolate-cherry smoothie bowl with banana slices and chia seeds, easy smoothies

You guys know that I use the kitchen as an apothecary of sorts, particularly favoring smoothies. Smoothies provide a slew of nutrition – particularly antioxidants, veggies and superfoods – with little work and minimal prep time, which makes my life easier. With little effort and maximum benefits, smoothies are a go-to meal or snack for any busy bee.

You’ve heard it before that a healthy lifestyle is made of small, consistent choices that benefit you over the long-haul. Mental, emotional, or physical, these small changes made over time compound to bring about lasting ease in your body! Swap that pack of Skittles or BLT with fries for a nutrient-packed smoothie once or twice a week and you will see results.

To get you started, here’s a powerhouse packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals & inflammation (which could present as joint pain, redness in the skin, brain fog) and veggies, healthy fat, and protein to stabilize blood sugar and give you a lasting feeling of fullness. This one is particularly helpful after a night on the town or weekend girls’ trip!

After The Party Smoothie

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. frozen cherries
  • 1/2 c. ice
  • 1/2 nut or seed milk
  • 1 c. H2O
  • 1/3 c. raw cauliflower
  • 1-2 scoops protein powder; this one in vanilla is our fave these days!
  • 1 tbl cacao powder
  • 1 tbl avocado
  • 1 tsp maca
  • 1/3 banana
  • Optional add-in’s: turmeric, chia seeds, flax seeds or flax oil, goji berries, whatever else you choose!

Directions:

  1. Except for the banana, blend all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Slice banana on top.
  3. If you opt for chia seeds, stir them into the smoothie once blending is complete.
  4. Try it out, make it your own and tell us all about it!

We love hearing how you incorporate healthy recipes and habits into your lifestyle, then share those tips with those around you. A rising tide lifts all ships, and together, we can help shape a healthier, happier world! Share this recipe with anyone on social media or in real life who might enjoy it, or better yet make it together! Cheers to your health.

Sprout and Rosebud Dairy-free Cheesecake

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program of The Job Front & Delegation to bring you this recipe – perfect for your July 4th picnic!
slice of cheesecake covered with syrupy strawberries
Lighter than traditional cheesecake and more like flan, S&R Cheesecake is a healthier option and friendly to those with gluten, dairy and nut aversions.

I have not had cheesecake in YEARS since the ingredients – cream cheese, graham crackers and sometimes almonds – were found to wreak such havoc on my body.  Although, like many of you, I’ve gotten used to a cheesecake-free life, I’ve been curious to see if a Sprout & Rosebud option could replicate that taste and texture. … or at least something similar to offer to the roulette wheel of desserts in our house!

The rules were simple: no gluten in the crust, no dairy in the filling, and no nuts anywhere. If possible, less sugar, too (after reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution, you’d cut back STAT, as well). I decided to go with a pre-made crust and found Mi-Del’s at the local grocery story. The challenge would be to recreate that rich, almost tart taste of the full-fat cream cheese traditionally used. Let’s be honest right up front that tofu or coconut options are highly unlikely to satisfy that texture and taste.

Coconut was out because of my sensitivities, so I went with Tofutti Cream Cheese, which I had enjoyed over the years as a bagel shmear.*

Only in the most fortunate of parallel universes would cream cheese made from tofu be equivalent to real cream cheese, and I definitely sensed that I may have bitten off more than I could chew, as they say 😉 #punintended

The final product was like the love child of cheesecake and flan.

Delicious, though different than “normal” cheesecake. Lighter, less saccharine sweet and without the after-effect of bloating and guilt. Definitely a treat I wouldn’t mind putting into rotation for Client recipes, dinner parties and the like. The cherry on top was the positive review and second serving by my taste tester, who fancies himself a Chicago cheesecake connossieur with a refined palette and borderline sugar addiction!

The Sprout & Rosebud Cheesecake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

One pre-made Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust

For filling:

  • Two 8 oz. tubs of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (or cream cheese sub of your choice)
  • 2/3 cups of Stevia, Stevia/Sugar blend or sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For fruit topping:

  • One package of organic strawberries
  • Two Tbl Sugar or or Stevia/Sugar Blend

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Let the cream cheese get to room temperature, then beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add the two eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into the crust and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
  5. For the filling, rinse, hull and slice the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar. Let sit until they get syrupy.
  6. Once the cheesecake has cooled, slice and serve with the strawberries and syrup on the top.
Pre-oven, the crust is filled with the S&R filling (which, PS, tasted great) 🙂
Voila!
Topped and ready to serve!

*Note: Although Tofutti’s “Better than Cream Cheese” does contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil (which I strictly avoid), this option was preferable from a food-allergen standpoint, so I went with it. As always, choose what’s the best for YOU and aligns with your health goals and priorities. 

We love hearing how you customize this recipe to make it your own. Share your thoughts with us below, or send us a note!

S&R’s Roman Omelette

You may be familiar with a Tortilla Espanola, or Spanish Omelette, a delicious dish from Spain consisting of eggs, potatoes and onions and perhaps a few spices, like chives. Having studied Spanish cuisine and culture for years, I was immediately inspired to create a unique recipe for a similar dish with an Italian flair when things went a little awry while preparing Italian “Fried” Cauliflower. As with many creations throughout history, some of our best ideas come about when amidst a total mess 🙂

Instead of thinly sliced, layered potatoes, the S&R Roman Omelette includes slices of cauliflower, mixed with sliced onion and covered by an egg solution, chockfull of the herbs and spices to give it that Italian flavor we know and love.

Get a load of this! Not only is it rich with Vitamin C (move over, oranges!), a slew of B Vitamins (including Folate, important for women!), and Vitamin K (good for strong bones and preventing heart disease), but Cauliflower is also a powerhouse of phytochemicals and antioxidants. In fact,  the National Foundation for Cancer Research considers it a cancer-curbing cruciferous veggie! Sounds like eating a delicious dish full of this superfood is una buona idea to me, Paisan!

Roman Omelette

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head raw cauliflower
  • 1/2 one yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 dozen cage free eggs, or 2 cups egg whites

Italian herbs and spices to taste; we used:

  • 1 tsp parlsey
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp course black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

  2. Spray or grease a large pie pan or casserole dish.

  3. Slice the head of cauliflower parallel to the base into half-inch steaks. If florets or pieces fall off, you can include them, too!

  4. Layer the cauliflower steaks and the onions in your pie pan or casserole dish.

  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the herbs.

  6. Once fully beaten, pour over the vegetables in the pie pan or casserole dish.

  7. Bake for ~45 minutes or until the eggs have finished cooking and the top is slightly golden.

  8. Enjoy!

a scene of sliced cauliflower on a cutting board
Sliced cauliflower steaks replace the sliced potatoes in this new-world take on an old-world staple.
a casserole dish filled with cauliflower
Layered cauliflower and onion slices.
the casserole dish with the egg mixture added to cover the cauliflower
Make sure to cover all the cauliflower with the egg mixture.
The casserole dish cooked next to a serving of the omelette with a greens salad topped with grapefruit
The Roman Omelette is lovely for brunch or dinner, and can be paired with a simple greens salad, sautéed spaghetti squash, or simply as-is! Buon Appetito!

Another delight about Italian living is the slow pace of mealtime and the enjoyment of the people with whom you share it, so share this dish (or recipe) with your loved ones, and enjoy each moment as you savor each bite!

 

 

‘The Struggle is Real’ Rice Pudding

Fast breakfast of Rice Pudding in a white porcelain mug on top of a dark wooden table with goji berries and a drizzle of date paste syrup.

Named accordingly, this healthy-carb’d, protein-packed, deliciously fast dish is the perfect breakfast for those mornings when you want to eat well, yet you have NO TIME to make anything that would resemble a breakfast of champions, if you eat breakfast at all! The struggle is real, right?

Well, first things first, put down that Pop Tart and Double Soy Unicorn Latte (not a good breakfast, girls!), then check this out.

"The Struggle is Real" Rice Pudding

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cooked rice (brown or black is the best!)
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond, soy, organic cow, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites or one egg
  • 1/8 tsp ghee, coconut oil or grass-fed butter

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ginger, cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbl raisins or Goji berries
  • Drizzle of honey, date syrup or brown sugar; go easy if your milk is sweetened

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe non-plastic bowl (plastic leeches chemicals into the food when cooking).

  2. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. If you prefer the stove, bring the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

  3. Stir.

  4. If still runny, add another minute. Continue doing so until the eggs are cooked.

  5. Enjoy!

As you see, there are yummy & healthy options available to you in a pinch (particularly if you’ve been using your healthy shopping lists). All you need is a few minutes, and you’re good to go with a breakfast that will keep your brain sharp, your belly full and you at your peak. Now, THAT is a Breakfast of Champions!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your breakfast best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little morning overhaul, please feel free to share this post!

Out & About @ Taqueria del Mar in Monterey, CA

On a recent trip to Big Sur for the infamous Big Sur International Marathon, our appetites and Yelp! App led us to one of the highest-rated restaurants, yet best-kept secrets in Monterey, California. The unassuming Taqueria del Mar, a Mexican eatery, is a beautiful hidden gem found on Lighthouse Avenue.

Taqueria del Mar logo and wall signage
Look out for this friendly parrot in the window, or you might walk right by this hidden gem!
small bowl of fresh guacamole topped with fresh pico de allow and a small basket of gluten free corn chips
Delicious guacamole with housemade gluten-free chips! (aka my favorite appetizer!)

Its calm, warm ambience with simple decor offers the freshest, made-to-order fare you may find in the area. (Trust me, I ate my way through the region!) Worthy of its cult following, the carnivore, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items range from the expected, such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas to the quite unexpected, like guaraches, chimichangas and carne al pastor!

 

Grilled fish guarache covered in raw cabbage and pico de gallo alongside a crab soft taco with fresh lettuce and pico de gallo
Delicious grilled fish guarache and crab soft taco with a slew of fresh cabbage and pico! Hold the cheese, please! 🙂

The food at Taqueria del Mar is nourishing, delicious and prepared with care; the airy, open space with its bar of window-seating facing Lighthouse Ave and Mexican tile floor reinforces the simplicity and authenticity of the cuisine. Within walking distance of Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fishermans’ Wharf, it’s a convenient “must-try” for your next adventure along the Monterey Bay!

Taqueria del Mar
530 Lighthouse Ave
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-7887

Asian Black Rice Salad: An Easy, Elegant Favorite

Black rice with chopped vegetables and drizzled with sesame seeds and sriracha. So good and good for you!

Looking for a fast, easy and healthy dish for your next soiree? Try out this new Thanksgiving fave in our house: Asian Black Rice Salad! The subtle heat of the hot sesame oil along with the crunch of the veggies and antioxidant-rich black rice make this dish a healthy and memorable addition to any table.

 

Asian Black Rice Salad
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked black rice
  • 1/2 cup napa cabbage, chopped (substitute chopped kale, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped (substitute chopped yellow or white onion, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbl soy sauce or gluten free Tamari
  • 2 Tbl roasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 Tbl sriracha
  • 1 Tbl hot sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • Combine the rice and veggies in a large mixing bowl
  • Whisk the sesame oils, rice vinegar, Tamari, and garlic powder
  • Pour dressing over the rice and veggies and stir so you’re coating the rice
  • Transfer the dressed rice and veggies to your desired serving dish
  • Drizzle the Sriracha
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds
  • Serve

Bon appetit!Black rice, unchopped napa cabbage and varieties of bell peppers and scallions, chopped vegetables, vegetables mixed with rice

 

A Classic Twist on Homemade Applesauce

If all the fall apple picking leaves you with more apples than you know what to do with,
put them to use with this easy, yet decadent homemade chunky applesauce. Low in sugar, but big on flavor with a hint of sweetness, you can eat it by itself, use it to top your oatmeal  (or pancakes!) or enjoy with a dollop of your favorite whipped topping. (One friend suggested using it as apple pie filling because it was so tasty!) The secret ingredients are a Granny Smith apple and … Chinese Five Spice, a blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, cloves, and <gasp> pepper!

However you choose to indulge, you can do it without the guilt with this one!

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • A variety of 5-6 apples, including one Granny Smith (for tang)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. Chinese five spice
  • 3 Tbl. date sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Peel the apples.
  2. Core, then coarsely chop.
  3. Place all the ingredients into a pot on the stove on medium heat, cover and cook until soft (about 25 minutes).
  4. Stir occasionally to ensure the applesauce doesn’t get too hot or stick to the bottom; if it sticks, add a little more water and stir.
  5. If you want a smoother consistency, put into a food processor or blender after it cools  and blend until you reach your desired consistency. Make sure the applesauce has cooled though!
  6. Enjoy!
file_000
So easy! Put all your ingredients in the pot.
file_006
Voila!

Italian “Fried” Cauliflower

This recipe is one of my absolute favorites! It’s been in the family for a few generations, if you can believe it, and it’s remarkably easy, gluten free and healthy! (No, really.)

file_002-1Ingredients:

  • One head of cauliflower
  • Italian seasonings of your choice; I enjoy:
    • 1 Tbl of basil
    • 1 tsp of oregano
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2-3 garlic cloves minced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour or gluten free bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbl Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cooking Tools:

  • Multiple mixing bowls
  • Mid to large size frying pan
  • Tongs (a fork will also do!)
  • Whisk (or another fork)

Directions:

  1. Heat half of the oil in the pan on medium heat.
    Watch the oil; you do not want it to burn!
  2. Chop (or break) the cauliflower into medium-sized florets and steam.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the Italian seasonings. Include the Parmesan, if you’d like.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the salt and pepper with the flour.**You are now going to start dipping the cauliflower into each of these mixtures then “frying.” To make it easier with less clean-up, set up your bowls near the stove and put them in this order: cauliflower // egg mixture // flour**
    File_000 (1).jpeg
  5. Test the pan to make sure it’s hot by sprinkling a little water into the pan. If it doesn’t sizzle, turn up the heat then check again in 1-2 minutes; once you hear a sizzle when dropping in water, you’re good to go!
  6. Fork each cauliflower floret, coat in the egg mixture, then coat with the flour or breadcrumbs. Drop into the pan.
  7. Using the tongs or fork , turn the cauliflower over once it’s browned and crispy on one side. You may only need to turn it twice; other times, you’ll need to turn it 3 times to make sure you get all the sides.
  8. Repeat for each floret; put as many in the pan as you’d like leaving enough room that they aren’t on top of each other.
  9. Once all the florets have been fried, plate and serve! They are delicious as a side item, or just on their own at any time of the day. (Even breakfast!)
  10. Enjoy!

A few other tips:

  • If you’re looking to cut carbs, you can skip the flour/breadcrumb step and, instead, steam the cauliflower florets, put into a pan and pour the egg mixture over them. Let it sit for a little bit until the egg sets, then flip them (either individually or as an omelet.)
  • You can also follow steps 1-6 above, but then bake in the oven at 350 until browned if you’d prefer rather than frying.

We’d love to hear how you enjoy and any tweaks you try to make this your own recipe! Leave your comments below!

Buon appetito!

Out & About @ Bistro on Main in Highlands, NC

Fried green tomatoes, crab cakes

File_002I have been traveling a bit more lately, particularly taking road trips, and what I have come to love about North Carolina in these recent travels are the many healthy options available in seemingly small towns that offer both experience delicious cuisine and gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free options.

The most recent of these road trips took me to Highlands, NC, an absolutely darling town amidst waterfalls and gorgeous mountain views, and, as it turns out, the location of a quaint bistro tucked inside a local historic boutique inn, The Inn on Main Street.

After walking through the charming streets (and one of us checked Yelp), we landed on Bistro on Main (which had great Yelp ratings, in case you were wondering 🙂 ). The patio offered a wonderful view of a sunset to complement the yummy noms we enjoyed al fresco.

Something unique about Bistro on Main is that it has quite the array of appetizers, salads and entrees that would appeal to almost anyone, regardless of dietary style or preference, which is quite impressive considering the menu is simply one page!

Every item that we ordered, from the craft cocktails to the fare itself, we raved about. If you’re in Franklin, Cashiers or even in Atlanta, just looking for a fun day trip, definitely make the trip to Highlands!

Bistro_on_Main_Header
A Quick Snippet of the Menus @ Bistro on Main.
File_004
Ginger Lemon Drop Martini with a slice of candied ginger! Very delicious, a little sweet. The bartender kindly made the next round specially for me with more spice, less sweet. 
File_006
Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer (NOT gluten-free) and the Lemon Basil Crab Cakes, which were simply DI-VINE! 
File_008
Lightly blackened North Carolina Mountain Trout with spicy green tomato-cilantro salsa, rice and broccoli. So, so good! 
File_009
A wonderful, wondrous view of the sunset as we wrapped up our celebration dinner in Highlands. Simply spectacular. 

Easy, Inexpensive and Healthy Snacks for On-The-Go

Apples, Edamame, tomatoes!

 

No more vending machine snacks!Does this sound familiar? It’s late morning or that ever-delightful mid-afternoon slump time, and you’re hungry. You do a vending machine drive-by and grab some chips or peanut butter crackers to quell the hunger pangs. … Or how about that time when you snagged whatever you could find in the break-room that was leftover from a lunch meeting earlier in the day? #HelloCookies

Afterwards, you probably felt icky… not just from the lack of nutrients of which you’re in dire need, but also from the side of guilt that went along with it. You deserve better!

To help take some of the work out of figuring out healthy alternatives that require minimal prep time, here are some low-maintenance, healthy snacking options for you busy bees!

 

Veggies + Hummus
Think baby carrots, sliced zucchini, sliced yellow squash, sliced cucumber with a few tablespoons of any variation of hummus will do! Even edamame or homemade black-eyed pea hummus (for you overachievers) serves as a nutrient-dense option for curbing hunger. The crunch is also satisfying, and you won’t miss the chips!

Tuna/chicken/”egg” salad + veggies
This one is a favorite of mine. Homemade tuna salad + carrots, cukes, even pickles satiates me for longer than veggies on their own b/c of the protein from a healthy homemade tuna salad that can be tossed together in seconds. If you’re vegan or partial for chicken salad, there are other options that you can make quickly at night or over the weekend, so you have convenient, healthy choices throughout the week!

Fruit slices + nut butters (or go nuts and do veggies, too!)
Peanut butter, almond butter, even nut-free sunflower seed butter or tahini (my fave!) is delish with a tart apple or crunchy pear. If you’re a fan of the crunch, like I am, include some celery sticks, as well (see above note about the satisfaction of crunching)! If you find yourself needing healthy snacks multiple times a day, then consider including this option among others vs. relying solely on nut butters to satisfy you. The higher calorie/higher fat content, when overeaten, may cause weight gain.

Fruit slices + single serving of cheese wedge
Similar to the fruit and nut butter option, fruit with a serving of soft cheese, like Laughing Cow, offers sweetness or tang with crunch and protein in one compact, nutritious dose! With the single serving of cheese – if you’re into that sort of thing – you may find you have more portion control (and, subsequently, have confidence that you can make healthy choices), which will certainly satisfy and motivate you on your road to good habits!

Yogurt + berries (easy on the sugar and additives)
For the dairy-friendly folks, unsweetened Greek yogurt, for instance, is a lovely, nutrient-rich option. Sweetening with berries gives you a burst of antioxidants and natural sugar, so your blood sugar stays relatively stable, meaning you won’t crave sweets or chips later. If you are dairy-avoidant, try goat milk yogurt or soy yogurt. Again, use moderation because many of these yogurts have added sugar, which will encourage you to crave sweets later in the day.

Other grab-and-go options include:

  • A handful of nuts (see above note on using moderation)
  • One or two string cheeses
  • Steamed edamame, which you can find in the freezer section and steam the night before to eat at any temperature when you get the snacking bug
  • Yogurt with granola (light on the granola to keep the fat and sugar content lower; less than 1/4 cup)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Raw veggies
  • …Any combination of the above!

If you’re a road warrior and looking for healthy tips and tricks, check out this post.

The important thing to all snacks (anything you put in your body, actually) is to pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Did a combination keep you full or not so much? Did your nose start running or your tummy feel strange within a few minutes of having a yogurt? Tapping into your body’s signals will help you navigate the road to YOUR optimal well-being, so you can choose the snacks that will work for you. Every body is different, and only you can be the expert on what your body needs, what foods make you feel your best, how often you need to eat, and how much is right for you!

Happy snacking!

Apples, Edamame, tomatoes!