Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the category “Healthy fats”

Raved About Healthy Blueberry Scones Made with Spelt Flour

Blueberry scones 1

After reading the title, you already know these blueberry scones have been raved about. I made them twice in one weekend when I went up to Boston with my family and they promptly disappeared after being removed from the oven. I was also asked for the recipe multiple times. If you make them once you are bound to be asked to make them again (and again).

This recipe produces light, fluffy scones that you don’t need to feel bad about eating. With only 1/3 of a cup of oil and 1/3 of a cup of agave nectar per recipe these are fairly guilt-free. The whole spelt flour produces a lighter scone than white or all purpose flour would and unlike wheat flour these scones don’t have the heartiness or the taste of being a whole grain (which I find as a plus when it comes to baked goods). They are also incredibly moist and a few anti-scone family members even enjoyed them (and came back for seconds). My dad (a tough critic in the kitchen) even said they were the best scones, which I consider a huge accolade coming from him. The word “best,” is uttered very sparingly by him.

I found the recipe on Shannon’s amazing blog (which you should check out if you haven’t – it’s full of wonderful recipes, musings on running, book reviews, and more), Move Eat Create, and only made a couple of changes. I used vegan buttery spread by Earth Balance instead of using hazlenut or coconut oil, which I found to produce a more flavorful and lighter scone (as I have used coconut oil in making these scones in the past, but I can’t speak to using hazlenut oil, as I haven’t used it). I also used fresh blueberries, which I felt made all the difference in the world. They just added this little pop of sweetness, as they are now in peak season in New England. Read on for the slightly altered recipe below.

Blueberry scones 2

Healthy Blueberry Spelt Flour Scones: 

*Recipe from Shannon’s blog titled Move Eat Create (find the link to the recipe in the paragraph above)

*Makes about 9-10 scones

Ingredients:

2 cups whole spelt flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp of fine grain sea salt

1/3 cup of Earth Balance buttery spread, melted (sub with butter if you aren’t trying to make them vegan, and if you want to be a bit healthier but still not have them be vegan, you can use 1/6 cup melted butter 1/6 cup vegetable oil combination)

1/3 cup of light agave nectar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water

3/4 fresh blueberries

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2- Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk to ensure they are well combined.

3- Then, after melting the 1/3 cup of buttery spread, combine the melted buttery spread, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Stir once and then pour over the spelt mixture. Gently mix together.

4- Add the hot water and again gently mix until it’s combined (try not to over mix spelt flour).

5- Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter. Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (to ensure that the scones will be the same size). Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. These kept well in an air tight container for 3-4 days. I stored mine in the fridge and heated them in the microwave or toaster before eating.

If you missed my other scone recipes here are the links for my raspberry chocolate chip spelt flour scones and my ginger peach spelt flour scones. Enjoy!

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Kale & Avocado Hummus Served with Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips and a Social Eating Weakness

Kale, & Avocado Hummus

When I think about going to college, I think about how much fun I had with my roommates. One of my roommates, Tanya, and I always had tons of laughs when we were together. At one point we also made Spongebob and Patrick shaped pancakes for breakfast.

One of the things Tanya used to make fun of me for was my social eating habit or at least that’s what we called it. I was never one to enjoy the cafeteria food and I always had a decent-sized stash of food in the apartment (though at that time I was famous for making English muffin pizzas and breakfast for dinner more than I was for making healthy meals).

A social eating weakness, for those of you who are wondering, is when you drop what you’re doing (at all costs – you could be writing an important paper or talking on the phone) to eat and chat with people. For me, this problem really made itself known while I was at college during my sophomore year living while with three roommates in a tiny apartment with white-painted cinder block walls (if you’re visualizing it now and thinking it looked like a prison, you would be half right – the other half was filled with mismatch college decor). While discovered this urge to eat with others while in college, I think it stemmed from my Italian roots (those people are always forcing food on you, whilst yelling usually).

I didn’t start college as a social eater. No, this problem developed when I moved into the apartment with a small kitchen-living area. As we were in college, we all had different class, work, and eating schedules, but if anyone went into the kitchen and was making a meal I was there too. I just couldn’t resist eating and socializing with others. I did this even if I wasn’t hungry. The act of eating and talking just came so naturally to me (the two seem to go hand in hand).

My social eating habits brought me to share this recipe because it is perfect to eat with others. The dip’s creamy texture and mild flavor balance out the spicy, crisp pita chips. I brought this kale and avocado hummus to a July 4th party and it was devoured by the many guests at the party, as well as by me. Appetizers are my weakness, as are desserts (as is social eating). Does anyone else have this problem or am I alone in this?

Kale & Avocado Hummus 2

Kale & Avocado Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 can of cannellini beans or garbanzo beans (I used cannellini)

1 avocado, halved and diced

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste (roughly 1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, or more to taste)

3-4 leaves of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped (you could try another green like spinach or arugula)

Method:

Add all of the ingredients except for the kale into a food processor. Blend on high until the mixture is well combined and fairly smooth. Then add in the kale. Blend again on high until the kale becomes chopped into tiny pieces or is not visible at all. Serve alongside the spiced pita chips or for a gluten-free option serve with corn chips.

Paprika-Spiced Pita Chips:

Ingredients: 

1 package of pita bread, about 4-5 thick pitas

2(+) tbsp of olive oil (or more depending)

1 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/8 of a tsp of cayenne pepper

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then slice your pita bread into triangles by cutting each pita in half and than slicing triangular shapes by cutting from the middle out to the edge of the pita with a knife.

2- Once the pitas are cut, add them to a mixing bowl. Then drizzle the olive oil over the pitas (making sure not to only pour it in one spot). Sprinkle the spices over the pita. Then mix the pita with the olive oil and spices, making sure each pita piece is evenly coated.

3- Bake for about 15 minutes and then flip each pita piece. Bake for another 15-20 minutes (or until both sides are golden brown). Taste a pita chip and add a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Serve alongside the avocado hummus. Enjoy!

Loaded Southwestern Bruschetta

Loaded Southwestern Brushetta

Just by looking at that picture, you know this is a messy recipe. If you mind getting your hands dirty,then your’e better off looking, rather than enjoying this loaded southwestern bruschetta. I am not afraid of getting my hands or face a little dirty and so I dug in. Like so many other foods, the messiness of the dish was entirely worth it. Think about it, would you avoid an ice cream cone or popsicle in the summer just to keep clean? I think not. Therefore, loaded southwestern bruschetta is a deliciously messy idea. What are some of your favorite finger-licking-good foods?

Thinking about messy summer foods reminds me of my favorite cold treat. Growing up, I was  nearly addicted to toasted almond ice cream (the kind that comes neatly wrapped, on a stick, and sprinkled with toasted almond flavored pieces). Anytime there was an ice cream truck that came by, it was guaranteed I would order a toasted almond frozen treat. I would sit at the beach eating my half melted ice cream pop, not even caring that half of it was on my hands and that the seagulls above were eyeing me. When I was finished, I only longed for more. Maybe that is why I’m also crazy for the Almond Joy.

*Find my Almond Joy Bar post here (recipe from Rawmazing) and my Almond Joy Popcorn recipe here. For an Almond Joy-inspired breakfast treat, try my Almond Joy Overnight Oats recipe (click here for the recipe).

Loaded Southwestern Bruschetta:

*Makes enough topping for about 1/2 a loaf of bread, sliced (I used a wheat loaf from Whole Foods, as I have yet to tackle making my own bread)

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1/2 tsp of garlic or more to taste (1/4 tsp for the bean/corn mixture and 1/4 tsp for the avocado spread)

1/4 tsp of salt and pepper (for the avocado spread)

1/2 of a lime, juiced

2 tsps of olive oil

1 portobello mushroom cap, diced fairly small (1/4 inch pieces)

1/2 cup of black beans

1/2 cup of corn

1 medium tomato, diced

1/4 tsp of salt and pepper (for the bean/mushroom mixture)

1/4 tsp of chili powder

a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 a loaf of whole wheat bread, sliced into thick pieces

Method:

1- First, make the avocado spread by halving the avocado. Then scoop out the green fruit’s ripe flesh into a bowl. Add the spices and the juice of  the lime. Mix well. Then set aside in the fridge to let the flavors combine.

2- Over medium heat, add olive oil to a pan. When the pan is hot, add the diced mushroom pieces. After a couple of minutes add the corn, tomato pieces, black beans, and spices. Stir and heat until the corn is warmed through (if using frozen corn) or until the mushrooms are fully cooked. Put a lid on for the last minute of cooking to moisten up the mushrooms.

3- Spread the avocado mash on the half loaf of bread. Then, slice the bread into thick slices. Top each slice with a generous helping of the corn salad. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Bites

Sweet Potato Bites

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happy. I’ve gone through some major life changes over the past few months, which have caused me to think and rethink how I see the world and how I see myself. I broke up with someone I’d been with for three and a half years. He was a big part of my life and he helped me grow to be the person I am today, but as the last few months of our relationship wore on, it was more and more evident that we were not growing together, but apart. It didn’t feel right to me anymore and at my core, I knew I had to make the decision that was best for both of our futures (and feelings). It was difficult, but I am finally starting to feel at ease with the decision I made. That choice has made me think about what I really want in life and what I want in a partner. Right now, I’m not entirely sure about what I want out of life, but I do know I want to be happy. That is what is most important to me (and one thing I’m not willing to sacrifice).

On the eve of my 27th birthday, one of the things I am certain of are the things I enjoy doing most in life. They aren’t even complicated or extravagant things. Instead they are simple like as spending time outside, gardening, food (eating, cooking, and enjoying it with friends and family), writing, reading, and being creative (as well as appreciating others’ creativity).

Today, I was pulling up weeds in the garden, as well as planting a few extra squash plants my dad had given me and in one word, I felt content. I could have stayed out there for hours, but I had to come in and give my poodles some much-needed attention. Gardening just feels right to me. It is an activity I really don’t need to try hard to like. As Gretchen Rubin would say, “You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.”

What are the activities that make you happiest and that keep you going? What makes you want to wake up each morning to see the new day?

Sweet Potato Bites: 

*Recipe  potato seasoning recipe (changed only slightly) from Thom’s blog, Don’t Switch Off the Light (I’ve used his recipe for Vegan Mexican Roasted Potatoes so many times, but I never tire of it)

Ingredients: 

For potatoes: 

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices (width-wise)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, diced

1/2 tsp of cumin and oregano

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

For black beans: 

1 can of black beans

1 tsp of olive oil

1 large clove of garlic, diced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and chili powder (adjust the amount of chili powder to suit your taste, if you like it spicier then add 1/2 tsp)

For guacamole: (*I made this recipe in the past and it was delicious)

*either use your favorite recipe for guacamole made from one avocado OR use the simple recipe below

1 avocado

1 clove of garlic

2 tsp of fresh parsley, diced

1 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating, slice the sweet potatoes and put them on a baking sheet. Then drizzle the olive oil over them. Sprinkle the spices on and then mix all of the potatoes together with the spices, until each slice is evenly coated. Bake the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes before flipping them and cooking them for another 15 minutes. When finished, they should be tender and slightly browned on both sides.

2- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil, black beans, garlic, and spices in a pot over low heat. Stir periodically. Take off the heat and cover when the beans are warmed. *You can save this step until when the potatoes have been in the oven for about 15 minutes already.

3- Make the guacamole by halving the avocado. Then take the seed out. Score the avocado with a knife by slicing tic tac toe shaped lines on the fleshy part of the avocado (all the way down to the skin – 1 cut per 1/4 inch). Then scrape or squeeze the fleshy part of the avocado out of the skin. Add it to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mash with a fork. Put the guacamole in the fridge until the potatoes are ready (to let the flavors combine). *If I’d had a tomato or cilantro, I would’ve added that to my guacamole too! I just happened to be low on ingredients since the next day was grocery shopping day.

4- Assemble the sweet potato bites by placing sweet potatoes on a serving tray. Then spoon about one teaspoon of black beans on each medallion-shaped potato. Top each with a small dollop of guacamole (Oh how the word dollop still reminds me of Martha Stewart). Serve immediately & enjoy.

Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola

Goji berry crunch

Okay, I admit it. I broke down and bought a couple of different superfoods. After watching Food Matters, I became curious about why people were running out and buying foods like goji berries and raw maca. I didn’t know the first thing about superfoods, aside from the idea that they were supposed to be very good for you.

Not too long after watching that documentary, I gave in and bought both goji berries and cacao nibs. Almost immediately, I found myself adding the cacao nibs to different foods I normally made like oatmeal and in trail mix.

The goji berries, however, were a different story. At first bite, I didn’t really like them. They were fairly tough on the outside and had a fruit flavor that I didn’t like the taste of (which is odd because I’d loved every fruit I’d tasted prior to this experience assuming goji berries are a fruit?). I knew they were supposed to be good for me and I’d paid a pretty penny for a small bag of the pretty, coral-colored berries, so I tried to eat a small handful with other dried fruits I enjoyed, like apricots. I tried hard to like them, but efforts were to no avail. They sat in my cabinet for a couple of months with little or no use.

One day, I was talking with the guy who lives upstairs from me and he was telling me how he and his girlfriend were on this superfood kick. They’d bought all different powders, berries, and seeds in hopes of adding them to their diet. I admitted how I’d tried goji berries, but wasn’t too fond of them. He then told me how he loved eating them with chocolate.

Ding, ding, ding. It was like the light bulb went off in my head. I’d never tried the berries with chocolate. What a genius idea. Almost immediately, the idea for chocolate goji berry granola was born.  The combination was a success and now I have a new use for all those unused berries I bought. Whether eating them with granola defeats the purpose or not, is not something I’d like to consider. It was too delicious to contemplate the idea of how healthy it was.

Goji berry crunch 2

Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola: 

*Yields about 3-4 cups of granola

Ingredients:

1 1/3  cup of rolled oats (I used GF rolled oats)

1/3 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes

2/3 cup of chopped nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and cashews – both tasted delicious with the chocolate flavor of the granola)

2 tbsp of cocoa powder

1/3 cup of raisins

1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp of light agave nectar

(possible substitution: maple syrup)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/3 cup of goji berries

1 tbsp of cacao nibs (*optional)

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add your rolled oats, coconut, chopped nuts, raisins, and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2- Melt the virgin coconut oil either in a small pan or in the microwave. Add the Coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla  into a glass measuring cup. Stir once before pouring over the rolled oat mixture. Mix the oats with the wet ingredients, making sure all of the oats are coated.

3- Spread a thin layer of granola onto the parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The granola is finished when the raisins on the edges of the pan begin to turn puff up. After the granola has cooled for about five minutes add the goji berries and cacao nibs (I thought cooking them would make them lose their many nutritional benefits such as the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that they provide). Let the granola cool before using it (it will become crisper as it cools, it will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven).

*Store in an airtight container. Other possible additions: substitute goji berries for dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or banana chips

In case you missed my two other posts on granola, I’ve also made a banana walnut version, as well as maple pecan granola. Enjoy!

Week Seven: Avoiding Over-Consumption of Fats

My first jar of coconut oil. I chose the Whole Food's 365 brand, before delving into more expensive products (just wanted to make sure I liked using it - which I did).

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to improve my diet by eating healthy fats with cholesterol lowering benefits. I have also completely stopped cooking with butter. In reading more about consuming healthy fats, I learned that good-for-you fats also need to be eaten in moderation. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, which was written by Phyllis Balch, CNC, fats should only make up about 10 to 20 percent of your total calories each day. If I aim to eat about 2,000 calories per day, that would be about 200 to 400 calories. This percentage really made me think about the fat sources I’m consuming and where I should limit myself. In two tablespoons of peanut butter there is about 200 calories, most of which come from fat. I don’t think I’ll be completely cutting out peanut butter or any other healthy fat source, but I will try to limit the amount I eat. I tend to be a snacker, so while I won’t over eat one food, I will eat many little snacks throughout the day and sometimes that includes cashews, walnuts, and pecans,. Time to start paying attention to what I’m actually eating (without getting crazy about counting calories or any unhealthy thoughts that can come along with paying attention to food).

 

The Sticky Failure That Led to Successfully Sweet Rocky Road Oatmeal

Rocky road oatmeal

Recently, I’d been looking up baking substitutions for eggs, butter, and other less than healthy ingredients. I found a pin on Pinterest that said to use ground flaxseed instead of eggs. It seemed simple, but I guess I should have become suspicious at the moment I had that thought. The post explained to add one tablespoon of ground flax to three tablespoons of water and let the mixture thicken. As planned, the golden flaxseed absorbed the water. I decided to try using these “flax eggs” instead of eggs in my banana oat pancake recipe.

Let me just warn you, “flax eggs” and real eggs are not comparable. While the batter held together well, the pancakes didn’t rise at all. They also never really cooked through all the way, as they do when I use eggs.When I finally admitted defeat, I scraped the gooey flat cakes off of the hot frying pan coated in coconut oil and set them on a plate. As expected, the center was still uncooked, but the outsides were golden-hued. In any event, I knew these were never going to fully cook, so I frustratingly carried them to the trash can. Down they went, as did my plans for a delicious breakfast.

I was going to use the last of my baked sweet potato to make sweet potato oatmeal, which by the way, was as tasty as it was healthy. Instead, I thought back to a pin I saw on Pinterest for rocky road banana ice cream. It was then that I was committed to making rocky road oatmeal. There was no way I was starting the day without enjoying a sweet, but healthy breakfast. Rocky road oatmeal turned out to be as simple, as it was sweet. A mashed over-ripe banana, maple syrup, heart healthy walnuts, and dark chocolate chips added flavor to normally bland quick oats. I left out the marshmallows because I didn’t want it to be too sugary. I’m also trying to avoid overly processed products, such as white table sugar (which I was sure marshmallows were full of). Warm chocolate chips compensated for the lack of marshmallows and added both flavor and sweetness. They melted leaving small swirls of chocolate behind as I stirred my warm rocky road  cereal.

UPDATE: The flax eggs may not have been the downfall of those pancakes. Recently, I learned that using oat flour on its own can lead to a gummy end product. Supposedly mixing oat flour with rice four can create a more even texture in baked goods.

Recipe for Nearly Rocky Road Oatmeal: 

*Serves 2

2 cups of water

A dash of salt

1 cup of quick cooking oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Quick Oats)

1 mashed banana

1 tbsp of maple syrup

1/3 of a cup + 1 tbsp of chopped pecans and walnuts

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/3 of a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips (I chose Whole Foods’ 365 chocolate chips, which didn’t contain any milk products)

Method: 

1- Heat 2 cups of water and a dash of salt (less than 1/4 teaspoon) in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.

2- While you’re waiting for the water to boil, mash the banana (I used a potato masher, but you could use a blender or food processor) and chop the nuts.

3- Add the oats to the boiling water and turn the heat down to medium-low. Continually stir the oats and water. After about 3-5 minutes the oatmeal should be a thicker consistency. Remove it from the heat when it is the thickness you desire.

4- Add in the mashed banana, vanilla, maple syrup, and 1/3 of a cup of the chopped nuts. Serve in two bowls. Top with chocolate chips and the remaining tablespoon of chopped pecans and walnuts. This is a recipe that I’m holding on to. It will definitely be made again (and again!).

Let me know what you think! Also, if you have any tips for cooking without eggs or using “flax eggs” feel free to share, as I obviously went wrong somewhere in my disastrous pancake experiment. I hope your breakfast turned out as satisfying as mine did.

A Fresh Zucchini and Quinoa Dish Topped with Creamy Avocado Pesto and My Secret Quinoa Addiction

green quinoa

Do you ever see a recipe online or in a cook book and think that you just have to make it? When I saw a recipe for a green powerhouse pesto plate on Oh She Glows, I rushed to add it to my dinner menu for the week. It included healthy fats like avocado, which I’m trying to eat more of this week. I also didn’t know how I could pass up the opportunity to make this recipe full of green-hued vegetables, when the plated pictures looked so enticing. Of course, it is now one of my many bookmarked recipe websites. The only difference between this one and the others is that I’ve actually made it. As for many of my other foodie bookmarks, I still “intend” to make them (though I’m sure I’d have more than three months of recipes to make even if I made one each day – ah the power of a click of a mouse).

In the end, this  green powerhouse pesto recipe did not disappoint. It wasn’t one of those recipes that was overly complicated or hard to follow. It was simple and straightforward, like the flavors and textures of each ingredient. While the original recipe called for millet, they had run out of it in the bulk section at Whole Foods. I substituted the millet for quinoa. The quinoa added texture and was just as nutrient-dense as millet. I also have to admit that I have totally become a quinoa addict. I now like it more than rice and pasta. It is so versatile because it can be paired with so many different flavor combinations. I make it on a weekly basis because I just can’t get enough of it. It keeps me full and gives me energy at the same time. More quinoa recipes to come. If you have any favorites that include quinoa please feel free to share!

I’m not going to post the recipe because Oh She Glows really did a wonderful job of creating this recipe and I followed it almost entirely. The only thing I changed, was that I used the leftover half of the avocado in the quinoa mixture. I diced it and stirred it in. It had a nice soft texture that went well with the quinoa. I also used quinoa instead of millet. Even if you don’t like zucchini (I’m sure you could add your favorite veggies in and it would still be delicious) or green lentils, make the avocado pesto. You will not regret it. It is deliciously creamy and it adds a rich taste to the dish. I’m sure it would be wonderful with a spring or summer pasta dish (maybe with some peas and hearty portobello mushrooms – can you tell I love portobello mushrooms yet too?). All in all this recipe was a keeper!

Week 6: Adding Cholesterol-Lowering Healthy Fats into my Diet

Avocado

I am an anti-drug type of girl. I don’t like being prescribed pills. Sometimes I am really naughty and I won’t even take prescribed drugs the doctor ordered. Something about taking medicine just doesn’t feel right to me. It just doesn’t seem natural, not to mention the number of side effects that can come with taking prescription medications. If I feel minor discomfort, usually I let it pass. Tylenol isn’t even in my medicine cabinet.

Naturally, I am against taking statin drugs to lower my cholesterol. If there is a lifestyle-change that can be made to lessen or reverse a medical issue, that is the first way I will try to solve the problem. This week I aim to increase my consumption of cholesterol-lowering fats known as monounsaturated fatty acids and essential fatty acids. Last week, I added more flax into my diet (mostly in deliciously purple-colored “green” smoothies), which contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are one type of essential fatty acid (EFA). Other foods are also high in these types of fats like walnuts, which can also help lower cholesterol. While the benefits of decreasing cholesterol in this way are only modest, it is certainly a start in beginning to give my body what it needs to become healthier. Bring on the almonds and foods with plant-based fats such as avocados, peanut butter, olive oil, sesame oil, nuts, and seeds. One thing to be careful of is over consumption of fats. Despite that these fats are considered healthy, they should still only remain a small portion of your total caloric intake (about 10 to 15% of your daily caloric intake).

For a recipe with cholesterol-lowering organic sesame oil, try making my vegetarian rice noodle stir fry.

*To understand more about why Omega 3 fatty acids are so important to our bodies, read this informative post by jennovafoodblog!

Sources: 

Prescription for Nutritional Healing: Fourth Edition by Phyllis, A. Balch, CNC.

Green Smoothies Three Ways

smoothies

 

Over the years I’ve gone through boxes of Cheerios, Trix, Fruit Loops, Quaker oatmeal, Kashi cereals, and more. I’ve also had enjoyable weekend breakfasts that consisted of eggs over-medium with toast or fluffy, fruit-topped pancakes. This week, I decided to make a radical change to my normal breakfast, which is usually cereal with fruit. I made green breakfast smoothies. These frothy concoctions contained heart healthy flax seeds, potassium-rich bananas, iron-filled spinach, and nondairy milk, as well as a few other feel-good ingredients. Whether it was a banana, blueberry, or mixed berry shake, it filled me up and kept my energy levels high until lunch time. I can not say enough about how amazing I felt all week after consuming these green drinks. I am a convert! I was inspired by the recipe I found on Radiance, which is also full of good-for-you ingredients. I have been feeling happier and more lively lately. I attribute some of those good feelings to these deliciously-smooth drinks. They take a bit longer to make than cereal and milk, but it is more than worth it.

Not only did I help lower my cholesterol by consuming nutty flax seeds, but I also had a two servings of fruit and one of leafy greens before 9:00 am. On top of that, these smoothies tasted lightly sweet, with a fruity finish. I have the power to change the course of my high cholesterol. Why should I sit by and consume butter and other unhealthy foods, when I can make lifelong changes to improve my health? We all have the power to change how we feel. Why not take the chance on your health? Make a healthy adjustment. See if any positive results come your way. I doubt you will regret it.

Lately, I’ve been more aware of my body and whether it feel s good, bad, or right (if you haven’t read Gretchen Rubin’s post on happiness and feeling good, feeling bad, or feeling right, I highly recommend it!). I have noticed how much better I’ve been feeling – I attribute it to all of the positive things I’ve been doing for myself. To that – I raise my green smoothie-filled glass. Cheers! Find the smoothie recipes below.

smoothies 2

Ingredients for blueberry banana smoothies (my personal favorite):

1 cup of almond milk (*look for a brand without carrageenan, which can have negative health effects – I used Whole Foods 365 brand)

1 tbsp of flax seeds, ground

1 tsp of green SuperFood by Amazing Grass (*not necessary if you don’t have it on hand)

1 – 2 handfuls of spinach, washed

1/2 of a banana (frozen if you like)

1/2 cup of frozen or fresh organic blueberries

Ingredients for banana spinach smoothies: 

1 cup of almond milk (*look for a brand without carrageenan, which can have negative health effects – I used Whole Foods 365 brand)

1 tbsp of flax seeds, ground

1 tsp of chia seeds, ground

1 tsp of green SuperFood by Amazing Grass (*not necessary if you don’t have it on hand)

1 – 2 handfuls of spinach, washed

1/2 of a banana (frozen if you like)

Ingredients for banana berry smoothies: 

1 cup of almond milk (*look for a brand without carageenan, which can have negative health effects – I used Whole Foods 365 brand)

1 tbsp of flax seeds, ground

1 tsp of chia seeds

1 tsp of green SuperFood by Amazing Grass (*not necessary if you don’t have it on hand)

1 – 2 handfuls of spinach, washed

1/2 of a banana (frozen if you like)

1/2 cup of frozen or fresh berry mix

Directions: 

1- Pour in the liquid first. Then add the chia and flax seeds, as well as the green superfood.

2- Add the handfuls of spinahch. Then top the spinach with the berries and banana (to weigh it down).

3- Blend until smooth!

What positive changes have you made lately? As a result, how do you feel?

*Recently I discovered Oh She Glows – what a phenomenal blog! I linked to her green monster smoothie recipe, which I’d like to try next!

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