Monday, January 28, 2013

Vegetable Lentil Soup

This soup is great as its so versatile and can throw any vegetables you have laying around really... celery or chunks of potatoes would taste delicious also. This soup is of course full of nutrients & protein, has a ton of flavor, is filling,
and perfect for those cold winter days.

Vegetable Lentil Soup: (4 servings)
Ingredients:
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
5 cups water
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tomato, diced
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 frozen peas
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 vegetable bullion cube, reduced sodium
1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil & toss in onions and garlic. Let saute for a few minutes until translucent in color.
  • Add in all the other vegetables and lentils. Pour in canned tomatoes, add bullion cube, and mix together to let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Finally, pour in water and add any other desired spices. Bring to a boil, then turn on low heat. Cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes. Lentils should be soft, if water looks too low, add in another 1/2 cup at a time. 
  • Serve alongside your meal or pair with some whole wheat bread for dipping. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mexican Quinoa Salad

This "Mexican" inspired quinoa salad is packed full of protein from the quinoa & black beans, as well as full of flavor from the spices, herbs, & citrus. This is a great light lunch of perfect side dish to accompany any
Mexican style cuisine & can be served warm or hot.
What's great about this too is its simple, healthy, tasty, and easy to travel for a picnic or potluck. Plus you can add anything else you'd like that you have on hand, even
some greens would be a great addition.

Mexican Quinoa Salad:
(serves 4)
Ingredients:
2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed
1/ 4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 small limes, juiced
1 tsp chili powder
olive oil
avocado slices (optional)

Directions:
  • Heat a small skillet & saute onions in a little oil for a few minutes until translucent. Add chili powder & mix, let sit for a minute to combine flavors. 
  • Combine the tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, quinoa, beans, & onions in a large mixing bowl, toss together.
  • Add the lime juice, & cilantro, & gently combine into salad.
  • Top with avocado slices & serve.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Banana Bread Mug Cake

This has seriously become my favorite snack or dessert treat, but the best part of it is that it's completely natural-- gluten-free & no added oil, egg, diary, or sugar-- the banana acts as an agent for everything. This mug cake is packed full healthy fats & nutrients to fuel your body, meanwhile simultaneously satisfying any craving. And it couldn't get any easier, done in 5 minutes from beginning to end. This cake comes out fluffy, rich, delicious, & is super filling, you won't be disappointed. There are lots of optional ideas listed, but that's just for the sake of those who want to go above & beyond ;)

Banana Bread Mug Cake: serves 1
Ingredients:
1 small/medium banana*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs flax seed meal
1/4 oats, ground*
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/8 tsp ground clove (optional)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)


Directions:

  • In a mug, break banana pieces to fit inside, mash with a fork until there are no chunks.
  • If you need to grind your oats, coconut, flax seed, or even nuts, use a food processor or blender. Blend for about a minute, until fine like flour.
  • Add flour mixture to mug with cinnamon, baking powder & cinnamon, & optional chopped nuts. Mix until thoroughly combined. The batter should be thick, but wet enough to easily combine together.
  • Zap in the microwave for 2 minutes (time may very due to strength of microwave). Possible check 1:30 minute mark to see if it is still wet on top. Mixture should be cake-like & have no mushy sections.
  • Either slide cake out on another plate (comes out easy & clean) or eat straight from the mug! Top with nut or seed butter & enjoy.
*Note:You can also use frozen banana by heating in the microwave until softened about 30 seconds & then mush with  fork-- often when bananas are getting too brown or I only use half of one, I stick it a zip-lock bag in the freezer to sue for later.
*Note: For the flour mixture, you can easily sub in any of your favorites, even whole wheat or white. I usually do a mix of different whole grains-- brown rice, chickpea (garbanzo), oat, & coconut. Adapt it to your preference.







Monday, January 14, 2013

Healthy Re-fried Beans

So these technically aren't re-fried because well they're not fried, but still tasty and much healthier. This recipe is seriously so easy & can pair with so many dishes, packed with flavor, as well as nutrients & protein from the beans. Using dried beans is actually much cheaper, healthier as its not filled with any extra toxins, & its simple-- do not be intimidated. 

There are THREE ways you can make your beans, you can either soak them overnight in water, so they soften up a little bit, or if you forgot, you can simply place them in you pot covered with water & let cook for a longer period of time, or use your crock pot, letting time do all the work. I personally soak my beans before as it only takes a couple of seconds to prepare before bed. But really its whatever works for you.

You could definitely switch this up using different beans as well, black beans would be great! You can enjoy these so many ways, tacos, quesadillas, as a side dish, on nachos, freeze them for later even... the possibilities are seriously endless.
Ingredients:
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
6 cups water or 9 if using crockpot
1 jalepeno, seeded & chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili flakes (otpional)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oil

Directions:
Soaking Beans:
  • The night before,  pick over beans to make sure there are no rocks or beans in bad conditions, rinse, & place in water in a large bowl or pot. covered with at least 2 inches of water above the beans. Cover & let sit overnight.
  • Next morning, pour out water, give a quick rinse to the beans, & again cover with 6 cups of water in a large pot, which should cover beans with 2 inches room again. Place jalapeno & 1 tsp salt with the beans. Bring to a boil, turn on low, & cover. Let cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until beans are soft. If you see the water has fallen below the beans, add more. 
  • Heat a medium pan & saute onions in oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic & spices & mix. Remove from heat and set aside
  • Once beans are finsihed cooking, drain water, but reserve at least 1-2 cups. Take a masher tool or fork & begin mashing beans. Add 1 cup of reserved water & onion mixture & continue mashing, until you reach your desired consistency. If you like yours more thin than pictured, add more reserved water to the beans & continue mashing.
Un-soaked Beans:
  • The directions are same as Soaking beans, except obviously the soaking part. So instead of cooking for 1 hour, it will take at least 2-3 hours. 
Crockpot:
  • Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, spices & seasonings into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. NOTE: If water has decreased more than about 1 cup, the temperature is probably too high.
  • Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the water. Mash the beans with masher tool or fork, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.




Friday, January 11, 2013

Tip: Removing Underarm Stains

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This is a little odd topic to consult here on the blog, but I had to share it. You know you all have those white or light colored t-shirts and tank tops that well, lets just say you a little embarrassed to lift your arms up in anymore... I also needed a solution to this problem as it happens even with some of my newer clothes, especially during La Paz's long HOT summers. I came across this mixture after searching on Google and had to try it as it was so simple, easy, and inexpensive. Plus I already had all the ingredients on hand, gave it a try, I think you will be amazed with the results! 
Now I didn't take any before or after pictures because well, it would be a little gross-- don't you think? But I can honestly say it cleaned up my shirts and they look like NEW, like magic.

Underarm Stain Remover Solution: (1:1:1 ratio)

You will need:
1/4 cup Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup Water

towel
tooth brush or bristle brush

Directions: 
Mix all 3 together in a container of some sort. Place a towel on the surface you will be working on top of. Lay your clothing item on top of the towel. Begin scrubbing spot by dipping brush in mixture and working to remove the stain. You will be able to see it disappearing some. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, place it in in the laundry machine with your next load. When finished it should look like new.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Citrus Chia Cornmeal Muffins w/ Honey Citrus Yogurt Glaze


These muffins are bit more cake-like, but have a healthier twist, so you can eat them for breakfast too. They are a soft & fluffy cake, but protein & nutrient heavy, using Greek yogurt and chia seeds to the batter. 
I love that the chia seeds give these muffins a poppy seed look. But these sure are some delicious citrus muffins that won't disappoint. 
Like I mentioned earlier in a previous post, our grocery stores are just brimming with mandarins and well, so is my refrigerator... so I thought I'd make some muffins using some up paired with cornmeal, a perfect match. Surely you could use any orange you have on hand, even add some blueberries in there if  you would like. I just made a batch using 6 muffins so we won't b tempted to eat all of them, however, these were gone too fast, you may think about doubling this recipe-- wish I had ;)


Citrus Chia Cornmeal Muffins with a Honey Citrus Yogurt Glaze: (6 servings)
adapted from: FageUSA.com

Ingredients:
Muffins:
1/4 cup + 2 T sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 chia egg (1 T chia seeds + 3 T water)
zest of an orange (I used mandarin)
2 T coconut oil, melted or vegetable oil
1/4 orange juice, fresh (I used mandarin)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
Glaze:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1-2 T honey
2  T orange juice, fresh (I used mandarin)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners. 
  • Make chia egg in a small bowl combining chia seeds & water, stir, and let sit.
  • Prepare all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing  thoroughly. In another medium/large bowl, add eggs, yogurt, oil, & juice. Whisk until everything is mixed. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet, stirring simultaneously. Stir until just combined. 
  • Evenly disperse the batter between muffin holes, almost until the top of the liner. The batter will bake above the pan, but this gives it a nice "muffin top" or you can opt to make an extra muffin.
  • Place in the oven & bake for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown & knife comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, remove & let completely cool before topping with glaze.
  • For the glaze, simply mix the ingredients together & keep in the fridge until using.
 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mandarin Chicken w/ Broccoli & Rice

At the markets here there is just an endless mound of mandarins which I have been gladly taking advantage of and also enjoy a good Asian inspired dish. Well the fact is you regular take-out isn't that healthy sadly, so I have taken the favorite orange chicken & put it a little spin on it, using mandarins, but of course you could use whatever type you have in your kitchen. Making this healthy is rather simple, use wholesome ingredients, less sugar, add vegetables. What else is great about this recipe here is that its easy, delicious, and most likely you have all the ingredients already.

Mandarin Chicken with broccoli & rice: (serves 2)
Adapted from: calorie count

Ingredients:
Chicken:
1 chicken breast
1 egg
1 cup corn flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
1 mandarin, peeled & diced
1 head of broccoli
1 T coconut oil
Sauce:
2 T honey
1/4 c mandarin juice, fresh squeezed
2 T water
3 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
To serve:
sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup rice cooked ( I prefer brown-- more nutrients!)

Directions:
  • Crack egg in a bowl & whisk. Place corn flour in a bowl & mix in seasonings. Dice the chicken in small 1 inch pieces. Heat a pan over medium heat with oil, let sit while you work on the meat. Place one chicken piece at a time in the corn flour, dip into the egg mixture, & again into the corn flour. Drop into pan and continue until all pieces are cooking. Let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes, rotating sides to cook each one evenly. 
  • Meanwhile, heat a pot with 1 cup water on high heat. Place broccoli inside and cover, let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from stove, drain water, and slice into individual florets. 
  • Prepare the sauce, by mixing in all the ingredients together. 
  • Once chicken is browned & crisp on all sides, toss in broccoli florets & diced mandarins. Pour sauce over mixture & let simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring to cover entire mixture with the sauce. Once sauce has been majorly absorbed, it is read to serve over 1/2 cup rice & top with sesame seeds.