Tag Archives: healthy

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{dehydrated baby bananas}

2 Mar

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whenever i notice any kind of produce is starting to lose its freshness, such as these adorable baby bananas, i know it’s time to bust out the dehydrator.

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banana faces 🙂

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banana chips make for some great snacks!!

i also love to throw them in smoothies, as an alternative to frozen or fresh ones.


do you use a dehydrator? what are some of your favourite things to dehydrate? 

 

 

{pan-seared wild-caught salmon}

13 Feb

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i love salmon! and although it’s not in season just yet, i try to eat it at least twice a month, but ideally i would like to get back to consuming it once a week or more. it’s full of omega 3 fatty acids and healthy lean protein. this particular wild-caught salmon filet was hand-delivered to me by an alaskan fisherman! 🙂

my favourite way to prepare salmon is to pan-sear it. don’t be intimidated, it’s a very easy method.

i simply sprinkle my salmon filet{s} with a little S&P and squeeze a little lemon juice over it, as well.

then, start with a medium-high heat skillet coated with a little olive oil, and place salmon filet in skin-side up. cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and finish with skin-side down, another 4-5 minutes. cooking it this way usually allows for the filet to come up easily off the skin when serving. i like to serve mine over a bed of greens or a simple couscous recipe.

bon appetite! 

{farmers market turmeric root}

6 Jan

 

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have you ever seen turmeric root like this before?

i was fascinated when i spotted this at my local farmer’s market. when i go to visit, there is one stand in particular that i like to frequent. the lady who owns it is so sweet and always has a ton of good information on her products and she is always willing to answer my and all of my questions. it seems that the prices for produce at farmers’ markets are sometimes half the price of grocery stores or health food markets, which is just another reason why i love to support the farmers!!!

a few other reasons i choose to put my money into farmers markets are as follows : accessibility, freshness, availability, integrity, seasonality, friendliness, knowledge, willingness, and as i mentioned, affordability.

i had never seen turmeric root in this form, and i couldn’t wait to pick some up to take fotos of. sometimes i’ve seen parts of it broken off into larger and smaller pieces, but not in a huge chunk like this. i have been wanting to incorporate turmeric into my diet more frequently, particularly because i have been experiencing some pain in my elbow lately. and as you may know, turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. i am hoping that by consuming turmeric regularly, the pain in my elbow will substantially subside.

i thought it would be fun to share these fotos of turmeric, since it is so intriguing to look at! check out all the ‘knobs’ and ‘nodules’ and the funny/fascinating shapes it takes on and how it forms that way. i love all root vegetables, and when i find something in its natural state, i get even more excited about it. did you catch that cool post about ginger-root? i just love going to the farmer’s market and i one day hope to have a nice big garden in my backyard, as to grow lots of wonderful food. i basically want to be a farmer.

one of the things i’ve been doing with turmeric lately is making tea, which i am just loving! have you ever tried turmeric tea? i have been wanting to try it for so long now, but as with anything “new,” i tend to get intimidated until i actually just go for it! and i’m so glad i finally did! i made some tea with this beautiful chunk of turmeric, and i loved it so much that i wanted to share the recipe.

you can usually find fresh turmeric at health food stores. or if you have access to one, check at your local farmers market, as well. some of my research has discovered that you can also use the ground spice to make turmeric tea, however i prefer the fresh stuff. it’s definitely more time-consuming, but for me, it’s so worth it. plus, i just love the creative process. having said that, to be even more economical, you could make it with a mix of fresh and dried root.


super simple health-boosting turmeric tea :

turmerictea Continue reading

{baby pineapple!}

30 Nov

check out this cute tiny little pineapple i dropped a whopping five bucks on! haha

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i have to say, i think i’ve decided that pineapple might be my favourite fruit.

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this one was so adorably cute, i just had to have it!

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i obviously ate the whole thing in one sitting 🙂


pineapple nutrition fun facts :

pineapples are totally loaded with vitamin c – tons of it! they are also high in manganese and fiber. furthermore, they help support a healthy digestive track. pineapples are, somewhat surprisingly, a good source of b-vitamins, as well. and don’t throw out that core! – it’s full of fiber and can be tossed into your blender to make an awesome smoothie!

{meatless monday : whole grain couscous with fresno and mini bell peppers}

8 Feb

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i haven’t written a meatless monday recipe in a while. i came up with this one by accident.

i love love LOVE fresno peppers. they are so full of flavour and yet mild enough in heat to not overpower most dishes. i also love couscous; it’s simple and easy to make and reheats well, so i will often batch-cook it.

i shared this dish some with a friend this weekend over brunch and she commented on how much she liked it, so i thought i would share the recipe. as i said, i sort of came up with this on accident… but i’m glad i did, as i’ll be sure to make it again in the future!

simple ingredients :

  • 1 cup couscous, 1 cup water
  • 3 fresno peppers, chopped
  • 5-6 mini bell peppers, chopped
  • olive oil
  • S&P

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this is a very easy recipe to make. simply saute peppers in olive oil until tender then pour in water. bring to a boil and add in couscous. remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes. fluff couscous with a fork and sprinkle in salt and pepper.

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i also added in some cumin because i’ve been experimenting with spices… and i really liked it in this dish!

{chopped!}

13 Jan

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bok choy!

{eat the rainbow!}

9 Jan

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happy new year, friends!

in honour of resolutions and commitments to a healthier life and all that jazz… and just because i truly believe in this lifestyle, i want to present a gentle reminder – don’t forget to “eat the rainbow!” as in : plenty of colourful foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables!

some things i’ve been enjoying lately: 

– baked purple sweet potato

– roasted cabbage w/ bacon bits

kaniwa w/ sautéed garlic and onion

red kuri squash risotto

– slow-cooked smoked ham and green beans

nom nom!

{radical red kuri squash}

15 Dec

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i’m kind of obsessed with this stuff. and it makes an AMAZING risotto!

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{mmm… mirepoix}

8 Dec

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with a twist… leeks!

{100-mile diet : taco lettuce wraps w/ local grass-fed beef}

24 Sep

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i’m kind of obsessed with lettuce-wraps, as of late…

they are so easy to make and they are fulfilling without the guilt – gluten-free {if you want them to be}, quick and simple to prepare, and full of colour!

i also like to eat lettuce wraps during my “transition” months… like september, when the weather begins to change and my body begins to prepare for the heartier foods, but i’m not quite ready to let go of lighter fare. lettuce wraps meld the changing seasons together nicely.

i also LOVE grass-fed beef… for the nutrition, the health of the animal, the health of the planet… and the sense of pride i take when purchasing sustainable, farm-fresh food.

furthermore, i love to eat locally and support a “100-mile diet” as often as i can in my life. the 100-mile diet simply means you only eat food that is raised or grown within 100 miles of where you currently live. for me, choosing this lifestyle is the best way i can “vote with my dollars” in supporting a food-system that is sustainable, healthy, and good for our planet earth. i pair that choice with seasonal and organic eating, and it has proven to be the best lifestyle for me.

almost everything in these lettuce wraps was locally grown/made :

  • grass-fed beef
  • mexican spices
  • red leaf lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • red onion
  • black olives
  • manchego cheese
  • homemade salsa
  • guacamole
  • yellow corn tortilla chips

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once you brown your meat {try really hard not to overcook grass-fed beef!} and add in any spices you wish, simply pile it all up on a clean lettuce leaf and wrap it up and eat it!

i created my wrap in this order : lettuce leaf, beef, cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips..

and then…

nom nom… nomcrunch.. NOM NOM!!!

{eat the rainbow!}

27 Aug

eat the rainbow!

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farm-fresh veggies and homemade ranch dip with simple greek yogurt and herbs.

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colourful mixed bell peppers, olives, sugar snap peas, baby carrots, and mini cucumbers.

nom nom!!

{healthy homefries}

18 Aug

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my grandpa used to say, “a potato will cure what ails ya…” and i’ve held on to his words over the years. i can hear him in the back of my head when i’m making mashed potatoes, or any variation of potatoes. i just happen to love them. probably in part due to my irish and german roots and also due to my grandma always teaching me how to stretch a dollar. the potato is an inexpensive food that is loaded with vitamins and minerals. when i was a kid, i used to chop them up into small bits, sprinkle them with salt, and eat them raw!

today, i eat them any way i can get them. lately, i’ve been making a potato hash, or potato homefries. it keeps well in the fridge, and you can make a huge batch and heat them up for breakfast or a side dish with dinner. top with a fresh egg, or dip in a little ranch dressing or ketchup… and nom nom!

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i’ve been keeping it pretty simple with mine :

  • russet potatoes {they are simply heartier and healthier}
  • bell peppers {i choose red for the colour and vitamin c}
  • garlic {does wonders for immunity and the body!}
  • onion {red, again, because – eat the rainbow!}
  • S&P {i mean, can’t have potatoes without it}

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simply heat up some oil or butter on medium to high heat and add in garlic, onions, bell peppers, and potatoes… then cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occaisonally. you want the potatoes to crisp up a little bit… but keep in mind, if you are batch-cooking them, you can reheat them later and crisp them up at that time.

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super easy and simple. and you could even freeze these if you wanted to! but i doubt you will want to or have any left over, because they are just so yummy! 🙂

{before & after}

24 Jul

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simple pasta w/ chix & veg

fusilli, roasted chicken, caramelized onions, green peppers, olives, and fresh tomatoes…

{fun facts about flavourful forbidden rice}

20 Jul

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{colourful, too!!!}

———

fun facts about flavourful forbidden rice {also known as “black rice”}:

– it’s {drumroll, please}… gluten-free!!

– it’s rare {which to me, just immediately makes it cooler!}

– it is cultivated in small amounts – in its early days, was only harvested for the emperor {of china!}

– helps support a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels

– it’s rich in iron and offers a comprehensive range of amino acids

– it is much higher in protein and fiber than any of its cousins – brown, white, or purple

– makes a fun “risotto” or sticky pudding

is extremely fragrant and beautiful on a plate

gentler on the body, easier to digest than its cousins

– contains high levels of antioxidants {i mean, duh – look at that colour!}

———

you can find forbidden rice in health food stores or online. these days, you could probably even find it in your local grocery store, as i notice many of the mainstream chains are stocking more and more of this kind of thing as of late. 🙂

 

{“drink the rainbow” : berry-cream vitamix smoothie!}

16 Jul

it’s been a while since i’ve done a post about a vitamix smoothie!  however, it’s that time of year when i find myself wanting to eat a little less and drink a little more. the heat of the summer causes us to sweat out toxins and i find that my body craves the freshness of a cold fruit smoothie to help replenish vital minerals.

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berry-cream vitamix smoothie : frozen blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches, with fresh dates and coconut milk

do you sometimes do what i do?

…catch myself feeling guilty for not drinking more smoothies, so i’ll run out and buy a bunch of stuff to make them with, but then i don’t make nearly as many smoothies as i said i would, and those yummy ingredients go bad in the fridge. and nothing upsets me more than wasting food! {and money, for that matter!}

well, may i suggest something i do in order to avoid wasting precious resources?!  just keep canned or boxed coconut milk in the house and/or fridge! you can purchase coconut milk in aseptic {shelf-stable} containers. why coconut milk? well, i personally prefer coconut milk for the healthy fat content as well as the the fact that the coconut is pretty much one of the most amazing things on the planet! not only is coconut milk loaded with vitamins and minerals, it’s also great for your heart, your hair, your skin, your nails… shall i go on?! furthermore, i’ve created the habit of freezing any overripe fruits that i buy, and that way i always have the two main ingredients i need to make a smoothie!

of course, you can also add in spinach or kale to get a little extra vitamins and nutrients. for this concoction, i kept it pure and simple. just frozen blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and peaches blended with fresh dates and coconut milk. it’s light and fresh and only gently sweet. dates are nature’s candy! they are loaded with potassium and create a little sweetness without adding in unnecessary calories or sugar. and this smoothie is perfectly refreshing on a hot summer afternoon!

drink the rainbow!

{meatless mondays : red quinoa with grape tomatoes, fresh corn, and black beans}

6 Jul

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this {vegan} dish is totally protein-packed and nutrient-rich. i just love quinoa, don’t you?!

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and did you know that quinoa is considered a complete protein… which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids. this makes it a wonderful protein-source for vegans. the black beans in this recipe add in healthy fiber, which is a great combination with the quinoa!

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i can eat these grape tomatoes like candy!

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and believe it or not, colorado boasts growing some of the best sweet corn in the US!

summer is for corn!!!! Continue reading

{“jimmy nardello” sweet peppers}

18 May

i think these are so beautiful!!! i just love the interesting shapes they take on…


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and did you know red peppers are loaded with vitamin c?!?!  😀

{light & simple fusilli pasta salad with roasted chicken and fresh veggies}

17 Apr

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i love to make this dish… and quite often, too! it’s simple, healthy, colourful, and great as a make-ahead meal to have on-hand for lunches. furthermore, it is an easy to dish to batch-cook… a great choice to take to potlucks or BBQs. it has a lot of fun “crunch” and texture, which we all know i love and enjoy, and as always, you can control the ingredients. i simply buy a roasted chicken from the market whenever they are on sale… then i eat some, shred the rest, and save it for a dish like this or to throw on salads.

i always try to eat something raw with every meal i have – whether it’s a large salad with some warm soup and bread, a ripe banana in my oatmeal, or fresh avocado slices on top of my scrambled eggs – i always try to incorporate raw ingredients. i believe it’s important to balance out a dish with raw components that only fresh vegetables or fruits can offer. what i also love about this dish, is that it can be served hot or cold – it’s great both ways! i love it when my food is versatile 😉

and you can add in whatever veggies you want, really. mix it up with cooked and raw veggies… i would like to try this dish with some fresh spring peas, roasted garlic, and blanched asparagus – to celebrate the season!

———

fusilli with roasted chicken and fresh veggies:

– 16 oz cooked fusilli pasta, drained and set aside {reserve 1/4 cup starchy water}

– shredded roasted chicken {about 1 cup}

– veggies {about a quarter cup for each} :

   ~black olives

   ~cucumbers

   ~red onion

   ~mushrooms

   ~tomatoes

   ~corn

   ~purple cabbage

———

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combine all ingredients and mix together. drizzle in reserved starchy water {this will help “marry” the pasta to the veggies}. add in dressing of choice {i opted for a french vinaigrette} and some S&P to taste. sprinkle in some dried herbs, if you wish…

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and… “eat the rainbow” 🙂

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make a big ol’ batch and take some to work for lunch!

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nom nom… 

{healthy batch-cooking}

11 Feb

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it seems like this is the time of year when everyone promises to “eat healthier!” and so with that in mind, i’m going to write about a little something that helped me change my diet by creating better eating habits and healthier decisions.

i’m referring to BATCH COOKING.

working in the food industry all these years has really helped me learn how to be a better at-home cook.  i wasn’t even much of a cook until recently… i’d say within the last 5 years i really discovered my love for cooking.  it actually is relaxing to me… chopping, stirring, mixing, tasting… all of it makes me feel good.

anyway – between wacky work scheduling, random one-day sales on groceries, and not having a vehicle -something I’ve kind of had to learn to do well is batch-cook. i find it’s much easier for me to spend an afternoon preparing a bunch of food for the week than trying to figure out how i’m going to get three daily meals in during my regular work week. i was first introduced to the idea of “batch-cooking” when i was working at whole foods market. i had never really thought about preparing food ahead of time… it just wasn’t something i had considered. but the more i thought about it, the more sense it made… especially at the time, when i was working the night shift. i simply didn’t have enough time in my day to cook at home as much.

that has all changed, though. now it’s become a regular thing for me to batch-cook at least 2-3 things each week. i don’t plan my meals before shopping, i let the food guide me. when i shop, i simply look for what’s fresh – as well as local and organic. sometimes i’m inspired right on the spot and sometimes i wait until i get home and look at what i got and create dishes based on that and what i have in my pantry.

every week is different. i don’t {and due to where i used to live, couldn’t} rely on being able to get anything i want at any time i want… which is a much different mentality then my days living in manhattan. but it keeps my diet much healthier because i know what i am buying didn’t have to travel very far and therefore is much fresher, and it keeps me eating in tune with nature and the seasons.

here are a few pics of some dishes i batch-cooked recently :

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slow-cooked smoked ham hocks w/ green beans and leeks

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herb-stuffed roasted chicken and veggies…

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savory mushroom soup {with homemade beef broth}…

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dehydrated {rainbow} bell peppers…

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bacon and brussels…

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my mom’s recipe : hearty beef vegetable stew… ❤

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candied carrots, sautéed cabbage and bacon, garlic and onion kaniwa, and red kuri risotto

i also have been LOVING these purple sweet potatoes! i like to bake 3-4 at a time and just bust them out when i’m ready for one.  they freeze really well, too!

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do you batch-cook? what are some of your favourite make-ahead meals? i love to hear from you, so comment below and let me know what you think!

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