Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trail Mix...

So, my husband LOVES to have something to snack on with him at all times of the day, BUT it has to be filling and have some protein to keep the headaches at bay- so we have come up with our homemade trail mix. I find it super easy to make a huge batch so that it lasts a long time, plus, when you make your own, you only put your favorite things in it and for-go picking around those weird little unidentified objects! So, here's what we put in ours, but again, if you have a different preference, change it up a bit and just use this as a guide/idea!
(I go to Trader Joe's for my trail mix ingredients because of their quality, variety, and prices... but you can go anywhere YOU like!)

1 bag raw almonds
1 bag raw cashews
1 bay raw sunflower seeds
1 bag golden raisins
1 bag Thompson raisins (dark)
1 bag dried cranberries
1 bag roasted peanuts (no or low salt)
1 bag roasted pepitas (greenish in color)
1/2 bag dried apricots (cut in half or thirds)

If your taste buds like any of the following, you can also use/substitute:
dried pineapple
dried mango
dried papaya
dried apples
dried peaches
dried cherries or blueberries (more expensive, but full of flavor!)
macademia nuts
brazilian nuts (soooooooooo good for you!)

I just get a huge bowl and start dumping! If I am tossing in dried fruit, I cut mine to make the pieces smaller and more bite sized. After I have everything in the bowl, I mix it up well, and start scooping into sandwich sized ziplock bags. Then, in the pantry they go, and we take them as we need one. My husband and I always leave a bag in our cars because it is a healthy and filling alternative when a "snack attack" strikes!

WHY RAW NUTS??? I choose raw nuts because they have great flavor, are better for you and your heart and they last longer than roasted nuts!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taco Salad

This is an old classic for me, tried and true. It's a yummy way to get some good nutrients- lots of beans and fresh veggies- and you choose ground turkey, shredded chicken, or ground beef!

Romaine lettuce, chopped
red bellpepper, chopped
kidney beans, rinsed and drained
black beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 2 lb. ground/shredded meat w/ taco seasoning
avocado, sliced
* tomatoes
* green onion
* olives
* corn, drained
Cheddar cheese, shredded
tortilla chips, crushed

(All of the * ingredients are optional ideas, depending on your taste buds and depending on what's in your fridge! The other ingredients are a must in my opinion!)

Pretty straight forward, depending on how many you are serving (this is a great recipe for big groups) but you just need to wash and chop your lettuce, add your bell pepper, rinse your beans, and cook your meat. Shred some cheese, slice your avocado, and crush some chips on top and then add your favorite dressing and your done! Easy as that! Sometimes I just drizzle some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder before serving and other times I use the Balsamic Vinegar Dressing, then I toss it all together. You can get away with a simple dressing on this salad because there are so many different flavors with the wide variety of ingredients!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kale Smoothie = Calcium

Ok, I can't help it, I have to launch off--- I try not to do this too often because I know my dietary beliefs are sometimes very different than others, but his one is near and dear to my heart. Since nursing my daughter, I have become even more concerned about getting more calcium in my diet because I know when you don't get enough calcium through your diet, your body will start leaching it from your bones. So, because I am not really a fan of dairy, for more reasons than just flavor, I look to my greens to increase my intake. You have to be careful when looking into calcium concumption because there is more there than meets the eye. For instance, it's not just the amount of mg/per serving, but it's the amount of mg that are actually useable and absorable to your body. An example, one cup of kale yeilds 170 mg of calcium while 1 cup of milk yeilds 302 mg of calcium. BUT- here's where is gets interesting- your body can absorb/use 50-70% of the calcium from kale (107 mg) while it can only absorb/use 30% of the calcium from milk (91mg). So, in short, greens (to me) seem to be like the wiser choice for concumption- especially because they are also LOADED with a ton of other vitamins and minerals- like vitamin A, C, folic acid, and fiber. (** Note: calcium requirements for 1 day are 800-1200 mg for an adult, and increase to 1600 when your prego). Here are some really interesting pages if you are interested in reading more. Calcium1 and Calcium2. Oh, and one more side note while we're here- a major component in ABSORBING calcium is Vitamin D3- which comes from the sunshine. You MUST have Vitamin D3 in order to be able to absorb dietary calcium, which means you should have AT LEAST 30 minutes of sunshine per day. On days when I know don't get this, I take this great suppliment called Osteo-sun. OK, so should I get to the recipe now??? HA! I try to make a kale smoothie 4 times a week, if not everyday- of course it's easier in the summer when you have more fresh fruits, but it's do-able with frozen fruit too. I use my Vitamix (my favorite kitchen appliance because it makes smoothies, soups, ice cream, sorbets, hummus, nut butters, sauces, fruit juice, baby food.... need I go on???!!) to make my smoothies, but you can also use a blender. I add a combination of the following depending on what I have on hand: 1 banana 1 orange 1 handful of frozen mango 1 handful of frozen pineapple 1 shake of frozen blueberries 4-5 frozen or fresh strawberries (with green tops!) 1 handful of frozen raspberries and/or blackberries 4-5 stems of raw kale (I pull the follage off the stem because the stems are bitter) 1 inch of juice (cranberry, orange, pomegranet, pineapple, whatever you have, of course, I think juice NOT from concentrate is better, although it's more expensive) ** If your blender gets stuck or your smoothie is too thick, add more juice. If you don't use frozen fruits, add some ice to the mixture.)

Here's what I start with, an estimation of the amount of fruit:

Then I add my Kale ( and or red cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes) juice, and flax seed:
Finished product:
See, even Emery like it!
Like I said above, I use a combination of these ingredients depending on what I have- with the exception of the kale- I always use kale!!! (You can use spinach, but your body doesn't absorb as much calcium from it due to the high concentrate of oxalate, kale has a low concentrate of oxalate). Anyways, have fun with the combinations, try different flavors and experiment! No two smoothies ever taste the same in my house- and try them on your kids, my 11 month old loves them!

GREAT CALCIUM SUPPLYING SNACK to have on hand: raw almonds! They have 750 mg of calcuim per cup! Wow-zers!