Overhauling the Refrigerator

It is not uncommon for me to say, “A clean home aids in a clear mind.” I am a big fan of organization and cleanliness. When my home, my car, or my office feel unorganized, I can definitely feel my stress level increasing specific to those areas. So, I suppose that it was weird that I hadn’t realized that the same principle would apply so deeply to my refrigerator.

As most of you already know, I think about food a lot. I plan, prepare, shop, research, and often scrutinize what I am eating. I wouldn’t say that my food areas are a disaster, but just like anyone, the mess and disorganization can add up. Over the past few weeks, I could see that the fridge was getting bad. I started with throwing out all of the expired bottles but knew that it needed a scrub-down. So, after our camping trip last week, while it was still a bit barren, I did just that. I took everything out and scoured the sucker. Then, I carefully replaced everything, made my grocery list and went about my week.

I felt a major change all week. Every time I opened my refrigerator, I felt good about what was in it. It looked fresh and tasty. I was excited to prepare it and eat it. I felt less desire to reach for comfort food. I didn’t even have any ice cream or dessert all week. The shine and good light, allowed me to really see what was in there and not get lost among the clutter. I felt like a little kid, fascinated by one toy, rather than bored by the toy box.

I often do pantry or fridge clean-outs, tossing the stuff that is no good or no good for you. However, I have never simplified it so much. I think that sometimes I do the opposite. I may over-stock so that we have plenty of good options. I think that I am a changed woman after this week. A nice fridge scrub-down will probably get added to my weekly chore list. This way, I know everything that is in my kitchen and in my diet. Just another tier in mindful eating.

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Super Veggie Pasta Salad

I have been in love with creating pasta salads this summer. It is a super easy way to have a fresh and healthy meal. Try this one at your holiday party this weekend.

Ingredients

1/2 lb whole wheat rotini pasta
1 zucchini squash (if small, use two) , cut into small chunks
1 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 Tbs olive oil
Italian dressing
Salt and Pepper

Boil a pot of water for your noodles. Cook until tender. In a sauté pan, add olive oil, garlic, and onion. Cook until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add your zucchini and cook another 2-3 minutes over medium heat. You just want to sweat them a little. Make sure they stay firm and crisp. Toss in your spinach to allow slight wilting. Remove from heat.

Rinse your pasta in cold water. Toss veggies in. Add Italian dressing, salt, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Eggplant Stew

I just made the most amazing, quick, easy healthy, affordable, high fiber, dinner. I was also blown away by how inexpensive Eggplants are. Great buy!

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 1 Bell Pepper (I used Yellow)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomatoes
  • 1/2 C Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper

Now, I chopped and mixed all of the ingredients in the Crock Pot cooked low for about 5 hours. A few extra options would be to add mushrooms to create extra heartiness or shredded mozzarella for extra decadence. Serve with your favorite grain, such as quinoa, couscous, or whole grain pasta.

Tuna Stuffed Peppers

I cannot take credit for the invention of this recipe, but it was entirely too delicious and easy not too share. Thanks MOM!

Tuna Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 Cans White Albacore Tuna Fish
  • 2 Bell Peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil mayo
  • 1/2 Tbs Sweet Chili pepper sauce
  • 1/2 diced onion (optional)
  • 1 Tbs grated cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse the red peppers, cut out the top stem and de-seed. Mix the tuna, mayo, diced onion, and sweet chili pepper sauce. Stuff tuna mixture in red pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with pepper jack or mozzarella cheese for an added treat.

We also served ours with a side of quinoa. All I can say is YUM! It took about 10 minutes to prep and ready in less than 30 minutes. Tons of flavor, not to mention protein and fiber.

 

Testimonials of a Wellness Coach

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do. It has taken me several years to get to be at this place in my career and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I always knew that the essential tools and lessons that I was learning through education, experience, and introspection were missing somewhere in life lessons 101.

Here are a few amazing testimonials and feedback that I have received from individual and group wellness coaching in the last couple of weeks.

“I have lost 11 lbs in 5 weeks. This is unreal. Thank you so much.” ~L.S, 32

“I am going to bed every night before 10:30. It was hard at first but now I am sleeping and rested. I haven’t felt this way in years.” ~ J.L, 39

“I stopped my psychotropic meds. I just don’t need them now and I feel great.” ~G*

“This is why everyone needs a coach. Women need to hear that it is ok to stop beating themselves up!” ~H.T, 35

“It is hard to balance your weight loss goals with your goals to go out and meet people, but I am doing it!” ~L.S, 32

“I have started eating breakfast or having a smoothie and am seeing changes in my mood, energy level, and weight.” ~A.B, 28

“Powered through a 4 mile run. It was a challenge but I finished.” ~E.H, 26

*Not recommended without consulting a physician

Eggplant Bruschetta Pizzas

Of course, I am always looking for new recipes that are fast, healthy, and delicious. These eggplant pizzas are just that! We made them last night and I didn’t feel guilty about the two slices of artisan bread that I paired with it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • Fresh Mozzarella
Heat oven to 375. Dice tomatoes, mince garlic and toss with olive oil. Chop 3-4 basil leaves and add to tomato mixture along with salt, pepper, and red pepper (to taste). Set aside. Slice your eggplant about 1 inch thick. Place on a large cookie sheet. Top your eggplant with bruschetta mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes. Now add your cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted (about 3 minutes). Turn the broiler on for about 2 more minutes to crisp cheese slightly.
That’s it. Serve with an arugula salad, artisan bread, or pinot grigio. Delish!

Cooking with Quinoa Part II

You all must love some quinoa! Thanks for the responses and feedback from the first Cooking with Quinoa post! Well here are 2 more quinoa recipes to add this superfood to your breakfast and lunch!

Quinoa for Breakfast

Prepare quinoa on the stovetop. One cup of quinoa, two cups of water. Boil, simmer, and cover. Add dried or fresh fruits, nuts, and/or milk. Here are a couple of delicious combinations. Cook your spices or dried fruit in with the quinoa for added flavor.

  • Peanut Butter and banana
  • Almond milk, raisins, and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • Coconut milk, macadamia nuts, and dried mango
  • Peaches and soy milk
  • Dried cranberries and orange zest
Now onto lunch- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Prepare quinoa: 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water. Boil, cover, and simmer. Set quinoa aside.
Roast 1 red pepper and 1 small eggplant. Remove and let cool.
Dice red pepper and eggplant. Add to quinoa.
Add white onion, kalamata olives, spinach, black or garbanzo beans, and/or feta cheese.
Mix together with half tablespoon of olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Chill and enjoy!
And that’s cooking with quinoa!

Easy, Healthy Jambalaya

In the mood for a little spice? This jambalaya recipe is easy, healthy, and delicious for leftovers. Enjoy.

1 Bell Pepper (color of your choice)

1 White Onion

3 garlic cloves

1 Tbs olive oil

1 pack andouille chicken sausages

1 can black or kidney neans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup brown rice

Salt

Pepper

Cajun seasoning

Prepare rice. Chop your veggies evenly. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add garlic, onions, and pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until they begin to soften. Add tomatoes and beans. Add cajun seasoning to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, letting flavors mix. Serve over brown rice.

Cooking with Quinoa

I am all about simple, healthy cooking. If you haven’t tried Quinoa (keen-wa) yet, it is a must. Quinoa is not only packed with flavor, it is one of those highly acclaimed superfoods because of its high protein and fiber content. I, too, was nervous to begin cooking quinoa. How do you do it? What does it taste like? What does it go with? The simple answer is that it is easy to make, tastes great, and goes with anything. Oh, yeah, and it’s cheap!

Buying Quinoa

Quinoa can be purchased from most local grocery stores or health food stores. You can buy it plain or with seasonings already in it. My favorite quinoa is the plain stuff from Trader Joe’s. Most recipes encourage you to rinse your quinoa before cooking otherwise it can be murky looking), but the one from Trader Joe’s always appears to be clean.

Preparing Quinoa

Preparing quinoa is much like preparing rice. Boil some water, insert quinoa, reduce heat and simmer. As mentioned above, your quinoa may have to be rinsed in a fine strainer or cheese towel before boiling.

Quinoa Recipes

Here’s where you can get creative. You can add almost anything to quinoa and make it taste delicious: veggies, herbs, mediterranean flavors, southwestern flavors…

Quinoa Chicken and Veggies

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast (optional)
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 zucchini
  • Fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese
  • Any additional veggies optional
Prepare Quinoa: Bring chicken broth and one cup of water to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cut chicken and veggies into bite-sized, cube pieces.
In a hot saute pan add olive oil and chicken. Cook chicken until browned. Add garlic, onion and veggies. Saute until lightly softened. Mix quinoa and veggies in a large bowl. Top with feta cheese.
YUM!
Quinoa Burritos or Burrito Bowls
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Mexican Chili Powder
  • Salsa
  • Avocado
  • Plain Greek yogurt
Prep quinoa as mentioned above. Toss in cilantro and garlic while simmering. Steam the corn and black beans together with salt, garlic powder and chili powder to taste.
Combine in a bowl or a whole wheat tortilla. Top with salsa, avocado, and greek yogurt.
Enjoy!