Thursday, July 27, 2017

spelt berry breakfast bowl

Spelt is one of those whole grains that doesn't get much attention. Sure, it may take a little time to cook, but once you have made a big batch for the week, the possibilities are endless! Because it is a variety of wheat, spelt does contain gluten, but as a whole grain it also contains a significant amount of fiber and protein, two things very important in your diet.

Spelt berries are great for throwing into salads and soups or making a hearty side dish with some fresh herbs and vegetables, but my favorite is eating them for breakfast! Once they are cooked you can have them cold or hot with a little almond milk, cinnamon, and loads of fresh fruit.

Breakfast should be your biggest and most nutritious meal of the day. It has become unfortunately common to either skip breakfast or have something fast and sugary to start your day. This won't fuel you for long though and leads to overeating later in the day, when you aren't going to do anything but watch Netflix and go to bed. Although it is important to refuel yourself at the end of the day to ensure proper recovery, be aware that you aren't going to be burning many calories between Game of Thrones and catching up on sleep and that overdoing it at dinner can lead to storing extra body fat.

I suggest a breakfast that will ensure you are fueled up and properly nourished so you can take on your day with full force. A combination of whole grains and fresh fruits gives you lasting energy with a good dose of fiber and plenty of micronutrients. Just one cup of dry spelt will make enough for at least three days of breakfast!

spelt berry breakfast bowls
  • 1 cup dry spelt
  • 3 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh fruit of your choice
  • almond milk 
  • cinnamon
  • maple syrup if you need a little sweetener
  • sprinkle of nuts or seeds

Soaking the spelt berries overnight will cut down the cooking time but is not necessary. If you do soak them, drain and rinse before cooking. Add the 3 cups water and cook in a saucepan over medium heat for 40 minutes (may take up to 60 if not soaked). Drain excess water and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To construct bowls mix together spelt berries, cinnamon, and almond milk. Top with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds.

How do you eat your spelt berries? Let me know!! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

roasted potato salad

Dieting doesn't mean starving or depriving yourself, in fact, its the opposite. A diet is the composition of foods that you consume throughout your day, the foods that nourish and fuel your body on its many adventures. And a plant based diet is no exception. It's not about the foods that you "can't" have or that aren't "allowed", its about the abundance of foods that you can and should eat to achieve maximum health benefits! 

I am always caught off guard when people ask me what I eat if I don't eat animal products. Well, I eat everything else! In fact, animal products are the only foods that I don't eat (and even then I make some exceptions). While some people may think I am depriving myself on a plant based diet, I actually have to eat a lot of food to fuel my active lifestyle and I don't feel deprived or hungry at all. (Unless I have done 4 Orangetheory Fitness classes in a week, then I am constantly hungry because my body won't stop burning calories!)

So how do I fill up? Potatoes are a great way to fill up on a plant based diet. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, potato curry, potato salad.... starting to sound a lot like Bubba here. What I'm getting at is they are versatile, nutritious, and seriously fill you up. By pairing roasted potatoes with a variety of roasted veggies and fresh herbs you can have an irresistible potato salad that can be served as a side or a main at any meal. 

roasted potato salad
  • baby potatoes (I got the baby creamer potatoes from Costco, they're the perfect size!)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp seedy mustard
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 ears of corn
  • handful of fresh herbs- basil and parsley

Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces. For these baby creamer potatoes I only had to cut them in half, for others you may have to quarter them. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves, add to potatoes and toss in olive oil, just enough to coat.  Add mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Spread potatoes out on a lined baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees F. After about 20 minutes add the ears of corn and thinly sliced red onion. 

Roast for another 15 minutes, turning the corn once. The potatoes should be fully cooked and browning on the outside and the corn should turn bright yellow. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the potatoes and onions into a large mixing bowl. Cut the corn from the cob and roughly chop the parsley and basil and add them to the bowl. Toss everything together and serve. This salad is good warm or chilled! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

black bean summer rolls + creamy cashew salsa

Traditionally, a fresh Vietnamese summer roll contains crisp veggies, chilled vermicelli noodles, either tofu or shrimp, mint, and is served with a sweet dipping sauce. I've discovered that you can wrap up just about any variation of fresh veggies and protein in a rice paper wrapper and call it a summer roll. This recipe follows a southwestern theme using roasted corn, tomatoes, carrots, spring mix, and green onions as the veggies and black beans as the protein. Any number of veggie combinations would work in this recipe, or different beans for that matter! The crisp veggies and fresh cilantro make these rolls perfect on a hot summer day. Dip them in a creamy cashew salsa (that is so easy you won't believe), and sip on an ice cold margarita to cool off. Yep, sounds good to me!

creamy cashew salsa
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashew pieces, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup salsa 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water

Soak cashews for at least 20 minutes, but up to a few hours is recommended. Drain and rinse them and add them to a high speed blender. Add salsa (I used fresh salsa from whole foods), salt, nutritional yeast, and water. Blend until super smooth. Transfer the sauce to a jar or container to let set while you construct your summer rolls. 

summer rolls
  • rice paper wrappers
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • corn, either roasted and cut off the cob or canned and drained
  • carrots, cut julienne
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • mixed greens or romaine lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • other ideas: bell peppers (any color), jalapenos, zucchini, squash, cucumber, etc...

Prepare all veggies and rinse your beans. I like to fill a shallow plate with hot water to dip the rice paper in. Quickly dip one sheet at a time into the water. Once the rice paper sheet is completely wet, place it on another plate or cutting board for constructions. The sheet should still be a little stiff but bendable, as it will continue to soften as you work with it. If you soak it for too long it will be too soft to work with and will fall apart. It helps if the surface you lay it on for construction is wet too so the rice paper doesn't stick to it.

Place all ingredients onto the middle of the sheet and roll it like a burrito, starting with the short ends and then rolling away from you. The rice paper will stick to itself, sealing the summer roll into a pretty little package.

Dip those suckers into your creamy cashew salsa and you have yourself a summer meal!

Not into rice paper? Seems like too much work or too complicated to roll? Try the same thing in tortillas! Fresh tacos with creamy cashew salsa might be more your style!

Original recipe and inspiration from Blissful Basil