Category Archives: Cooking & Recipes

Mama Mia Healthy Pizza

As a child my favorite foods where comprised of some type of pasta/ bread covered with sauce and cheese. These included anything that had to do with pizza, mac and cheese, grilled cheese etc.; which have most likely led me to my food sensitivities that I experience in full force at this point in my life. Just because I have food sensitivities, doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy comfort foods. It means that I have to be creative to find healthy alternatives that satisfy both my nutritional and emotional desires. This being said, healthy pizza is still a treat in my book that should be eaten in moderation. Simply put, I will not be eating pizza and or pasta substitutes for 90% of my diet. Rather these things fall into the 10% of my diet.

You can substitute just about every ingredient in this recipe to your personal desires & food sensitivities. Spelt flour is a good alternative for whole wheat flour for people with gluten sensitivities or intolerance, however it is not a flour you want to use if you have celiac disease.

In this pizza we used ingredients that are organic, local and seasonal. Arugula has a wonderful bitter bite to it which is balanced out by the creamy texture and saltiness from the goat-feta. The thin-crust has a delightful crunch, along with some sweetness from the honey, lending this pizza to a great flavor combination. You can choose to top the pizza with any veggies that are season. We chose orange peppers. Other veggies that are currently in season in Northern California include beets, radishes, carrots, fennel, and some peas. Get creative, stay local, organic, seasonal and unprocessed.

Without further a due:

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough Recipe

¾ cup  water, heated to 105-115 f

1 tsp      raw honey

1 package or 2 ¼ cups dry active yeast

2 cups   whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or 2 ¼ cups sprouted flour)

1 tsp       sea salt

1 Tbsp   olive oil

  1. Combine the water and the honey in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes, the yeast is foaming proceed with the following instructions. If the yeast is not foamy, wait 5 more minutes. If the yeast still does not foam, start over with new yeast.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast-water mixture and oil. Stir clockwise with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a smooth and lightly floured surface. Knead for 3 minutes, or until the dough is slightly springy when pressed with a finger. (Do not knead for more than 5 minutes if using spelt flour as the gluten in spelt is weak.)
  3. Transfer the kneaded dough to a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 balls. On two pieces of parchment paper, roll out each ball into a 10-12 inch crust, no more than 1⁄4 inch thick. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  5. Top the pizza crusts with desired toppings. Transfer baking sheets to the preheated oven and bake pizzas for 20 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.

Yield: 2 10″ crusts

Adapted from Bauman College

Arugula Walnut Pesto

A unique dairy-free pesto made of arugula and walnuts, Making pesto is a great way to add fresh herbs to any dish. Spices can also be added for extra flavor and nutritional benefits. Keep some for leftovers to put on chicken, eggs or salmon.

¼ cup walnuts

1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 medium clove)

4 cups arugula

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

  1. Toast walnuts in a small pan until golden, about 8 minutes
  2. Add garlic and walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add arugula and salt to the mixture. Pulse until a coarse paste forms. With the machine running, gradually add olive oil. Add lemon juice to desired taste.
  4. Remove pesto from food processor

Servings: 2-3 pizzas

Adapted from http://www.lopezislandkitchengardens.wordpress.com

Pizza is way more fun to make with other people. Invite family or friends to join you in the ingredient selection and cooking process.

Ciao!

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Homemade Hummus (Raw)

I am very impressed with my first attempt at making hummus. This is a great dip or spread that pairs up with crunchy veggies as a tasty snack. You can also use this spread on homemade crackers or a great brand that can be found at any health food store is “Mary’s Gone Crackers.”

Hummus

Ingredients

1 16 oz can of chickpea, garbonzo beans (or white beans for those who have a hard time digesting beans)

1/4 cup liquid from can of beans

3-5 tablespoons of lemon juice*

1 1/2 Tablespoons of tahini**

1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

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Procedure

1. Drain beans of choice- I used garbonzo beans for this one- set liquid aside

2. Add remainder of ingredients to a blender

3. Measure out 1/4 cup of liquid from beans and add to blender

4. Blend until smooth

If needed for texture, add 1 extra teaspoon of olive oil

* Lemons vary in size and bitterness. Start with 3 Tablespoons then add more if needed for taste

** Tahini is a creamy puree of roasted sesame seeds. You can use it for a creamy salad dressing.

Garnish: dried parsley & sesame seeds

Raw hummus should last for about a week. Enjoy on a sandwich or as one of the snacks recommended above. So easy, So delicious, So Nutritious!

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How to Make Pizza A Healthy Option

As we all know, the original form of Pizza is delicious yet quite taxing in the calorie and Nutrient department. Did you know that tomato paste on pizza is approved a serving of veggies for school lunches? (funny, right?) I don’t really want to get started on the politics of pizza in schools however, I do want to provide a healthy option that can be made at home.

The following recipe provides an easy way to make pizza a healthier option while still being able to enjoy the comforting taste.

Zucchini Stuffed Pizza

Honestly don’t worry about measurements on this one. Just choose good ingredients & remember, everything in moderation.. except the veggies!

Ingredients:

2 Large Zucchinis

1/3-1/2 cup Tomato Sauce

Grated Mozzarella or Buffalo Mozzarella

Veggies of your choice

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

12 oz. Ground Beef, Chicken or Tofu

Directions:

Step 1 & 2: Turn oven on to 400 degrees. Cover baking tray with tinfoil

Step 3: Cook protein of your choice in a skillet. I use ground beef, my friend Lizzy used Tofu

Step 4: Rinse zucchini, cut in half length wise, then carve out center portion

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Step 5: Mix seasoning into tomato sauce

Step 6, 7, 8 & 9: Add tomato sauce & your choice of cheese then load on the veggies + protein

ImageStep 10: Add a layer of sauce to keep the veggies from getting dry in the oven

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Step 11: Pop them in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Good way to check if they are ready is to poke the lighter green edges of the zucchini with a fork. The fork should slide in easily when your pizza is ready. The crust (aka skin on the zucchini) will be nice and crunchy.

This pizza is gluten-free. It can be made vegetarian or lactose free! It’s a very versatile dish that encompasses the oh-so-comforting flavors of pizza.

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Newest Breakfast Creation aka Breakfast Delight

Being that I love food so much, I sometimes think about my next meal before I am even finished with my current meal. Must be the inner fat kid inside of me 😉

Thought about this healthy concoction last night before I went to sleep. Trust me, I was not disappointed when I created this masterpiece in the morning. Which is why I feel compelled to share!

Crunchy Yogurt Protein Breakfast Delight

3/4 cup plain (unsweetened) low-fat yogurt  (Mountain High Brand)

1 tbsp ground flax seed (Spectrum)

1 tbsp of pecans (or any nut choice you desire)

1-2 scoops of protein powder (Vanilla MRM egg-white is my preference)

1/4 cup of cereal (must have less than 4 grams of sugar per serving!!! I like flakes or puffs for texture)

Add cinnamon.. Mix.. Add as much unsweetened vanilla almond milk as needed to finish mixing the protein powder in. Top with a few blueberries or raspberries.

You now have a quick, delicious, balanced, textured new breakfast option.

Enjoy!!!

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Cooking Bender.. On a Good One

My new kitchen has been HOT this past week. I have been cooking up a storm (to say the least) which is even more enjoyable given that I have been able to walk to the local markets in Berkeley to get my ingredients 🙂

Some things that have been mixed into my menu since  I moved in on Wednesday are: quinoa, steel cut oats, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, eggs, turkey burgers, chicken salad (with pecans, grapes & apples), talapia, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil.

For dinner tonight I whipped up a delicious well-balanced dinner which included 1/3 cup quinoa, kale, bleu cheese, pecans and blueberries with a homemade olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper dressing. I added some left over talapia for protein. This salad can be adjusted to your taste buds should you choose a different type of cheese or source of protein. All I can say is that this light meal was Deeelushhhh!

Up on the menu next week:

Salmon patties

Chicken Tacos

Zucchini pizza

and whatever remains in my fridge…

One major cooking tip I would like to share is to cook for two meals at once. This means that you should always be cooking enough for dinner at night and lunch the next day OR dinner for two nights in a row. This will save you loads of time in the kitchen.

Will be sharing my favorite recipe from next week’s menu. I urge you to try one new recipe each week!

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Spicy Kale and Pinto Bean Soup + A Few Hearty Additions

Hmm Spicy, Hearty, Healthy, Green, Delicious. No other way to describe this soup.

Serves 4:

Ingredients

2 tbs canola oil

1 small brown onion, chopped (I buy pre-chopped onions because I prefer not to cry)

1/2 tsp ancho chile powder

1-2 tsp of minced garlic

1 tsp red jalapeño

6 cups organic vegetarian broth

2 bunches kale, stemmed and chopped

2 15 oz. cans organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Step 1- rinse, de-stem and chop kale. Drain and rinse pinto beans. Chop jalapeño

Step 2- Heat oil in large heavy- bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and chile powder, and cook until onions are barely translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Step 3- Add garlic and jalapeño, and cook 1 minute more. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Add kale and pinto beans, and return to boil. Reduce heat, and keep at a high simmer (medium-low temp) until kale is wilted and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Step 4- Add salt, pepper and chile flakes for flavor. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve

“PER SERVING: 343 CAL; 16 G PROT; 8 G TOTAL FAT (.5 G SAT FAT); 55 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 428 MG SOD; 16 G FIBER; 7 G SUGARS” Without the rice and cheese

I added 1/2 cup of brown rice and 2 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese to my bowl of soup to make it a well balanced, hearty dinner.You can substitute quinoa for brown rice and if you want to leave out the cheese you can. If you don’t like pinto beans, you can make this with lentils or any other kind of beans. If you can’t handle the heat use the jalapeños without the seeds. As you can see, lots of yummy options for a quick and easy 4-step tasty soup.

Enjoy!

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Navigating Through the Supermarket- Insider Tips

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Grocery shopping can be a mundane, routine, expensive and stressful experience if you allow it to be. However, it does not and should not be such a negative experience. My first supermarket experience by myself was when I went to college. I found myself calling my mom several times to ask questions and most of the time I spent more money than I needed too. Sure I had been to the supermarket with my mom hundreds of times before but like most children I had never been encouraged to be a part of the grocery shopping experience. Most children are told “not to touch that” or to “sit in the cart and behave while mommy shops.” It is important that parents encourage children to be a part of the grocery shopping and cooking experience so that they feel a sense of responsibility for the food that they consume. It is quite surprising how confused people look when they walk into a supermarket that is not a Ralph’s, Vons or Alberstons. Here are my insider grocery store tips to help both those who are experienced and new grocery shoppers. Hopefully I can help put some pep in your step 🙂

Remember that Eating well starts with good ingredients!

Recommended grocery stores:

Sprouts (formerly known as Henry’s)- great produce

Trader Joes- average produce, resourceful/ relatively cheap staple goods

Whole Foods- more expensive yet majority organic

Farmers Markets!- best place to get to know more about where your food comes from. Also a more exciting shopping experience.

Local health food store: in my area its Jimbo’s.. Naturally!

Tips for grocery shopping

  1. Make a grocery list before you go to the store
  2. Don’t shop when you are hungry
  3. Shop around the edges of the supermarket first then head to the isles if you still need a few products.
  4. Fresh-frozen-canned-packaged (listed from most preferable to least)
  5. Read food labels for ingredient content and nutritional value (who cares if its ONLY 100 calories? If the first ingredient is sugar or corn syrup then its not a favorable item)
  6. Avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients, ingredients that you can’t pronounce and artificial ingredients.
  7. Buy seasonally! Fruits and vegetables that are in season taste better and are fresher.  This will also help you break the routine of buying the same products all the time. Spice up your life!
  8. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week
  9. Buy a reusable water bottle to save costs on plastic water bottles each week (not to mention you will be saving the planet as well!

10. Use reusable grocery bags (only 99 cents)

Supermarket sections:

Produce: fruits & vegetables (Vitamins & Minerals)

Spend most of your time in the produce section. Buy a variety of colors when it comes to vegetables. Check fruit for bruises or mold. Remember that fruits are high in sugar so make sure you are shopping for vegetables as well.

Grains: bread, cereal (Fiber)

Always go for whole-grains pasta and bread. Choose brown or wild rice. Shop for cereals that have less than 4g of sugar per serving.

Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt (Calcium)

Dairy products have a high fat content, however most of the fat is considered “healthy fat.” Shop for dairy products that are low-fat or 2%. The fat content is important but whole milk has too much fat per serving. Almond milk is a GREAT alternative for milk if you are lactose intolerant or if you want to switch it up.

Meat, fish poultry: (Protein/ Omega 3)

Buy meats that are GMO, hormone and antibiotic FREE. Organic meats are worth the price that you pay because the animals are treated with respect and they are much healthier than non-organic meats. Fish is great because there is a wide variety of options and it is easy to cook. It also has great Omega-3 fatty acids. Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless chicken.

 Frozen Foods

Frozen vegetables have the same amount of nutrients as fresh vegetables. Frozen foods have a much higher sodium content than fresh foods, therefore they should be eaten in moderation.

 Canned and Dried Foods

Choose canned fruits and vegetables that don’t have any sugar or juice added to them. Canned tuna is healthiest in water. Peanut butter and almond butter are healthy sources of fat in moderation.

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