Monthly Archives: June 2014

Red White and Blue Popsicles

Strawberry, Coconut & Blueberry Popsicles

My ugly but delicious dairy free popsicles!

My ugly but delicious dairy free popsicles!

No one is ever going to tell you I make pretty food.  I make tasty food that is usually pretty good for you but it usually looks like a train wreck.  But that’s ok with me if it’s ok with you.  Don’t judge my ugly 4th of July popsicles by their outer appearance.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts.  And if you make these yourself you won’t have to go dig up some change when you hear the ice cream man’s music come rolling through the neighborhood. The best part about these popsicles is that you don’t need to worry about gross ingredients like food coloring and high fructose corn syrup and since they contain real fruit you are giving your kids (and yourself) a treat that you can feel good about.  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of most store popsicles?  They’re usually not even food. I’m looking forward to trying these with other fruits – I’m thinking mango & lime juice would be good too! This made 6 good sized popsicles out of small solo cups.  Despite using small solo cups they were still pretty large popsicles.  I think if you are using molds you’ll get a few more out of the mixture. It’s strawberry season right now in NH so by all means, use fresh if you can get them!

Ingredients
3/4 can full fat Coconut Milk
8 – 10oz organic fresh or frozen strawberries
8 – 10oz organic fresh or frozen blueberries
4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Directions
If your honey is very thick or crystallized, you’ll want to melt it first.  You can do this by heating it in the microwave but I prefer to put it in a glass measuring cup and then setting the measuring cup in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes.  Once the honey is melted, blend the strawberries with 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of honey, plus a dash of vanilla and a tiny bit of salt.  Once they are well blended, scrape the blender out and set the strawberry mixture aside.  Rinse the blender and then do the same with the blueberries (+ honey, vanilla and salt) and again with the coconut milk, setting each one aside in a separate container.   Once all have been blended, spoon a heaping tbsp of the strawberry mixture into each popsicle mold, then a couple of spoonfuls of coconut milk, then a heaping tbsp of the blueberry mixture and so on until you run out of the mixtures.  Freeze for at least 4 hours before eating.

Freaking out because you don’t have popsicle molds? If you don’t have popsicle molds (I certainly don’t!), you can use small plastic or paper cups instead!  The popsicles won’t look as fancy and they may be a little awkward shaped but it will do. You just pour the mixtures in then cover with plastic wrap and make a small hole for a popsicle stick or plastic fork/spoon, then insert one into each hole.  The plastic wrap will keep the stick in place.  Pop into the freezer and wait patiently.  When the popsicles are frozen you may need to run the sides of each cup under warm water for a few seconds to release the popsicle from the plastic cup.  If you use paper cups you can probably just peel them off.  We used plastic forks in ours in place of popsicle sticks (since we didn’t have those either) and the cool thing about that was as your popsicle starts to melt you can just stick it back in the cup and eat it with the fork that has been acting as your stick.  So fancy.

You don't need popsicle molds to make your own popsicles.  Look around your kitchen, you'll find something that you can use.

You don’t need popsicle molds to make your own popsicles. Take a good look around your kitchen and I’m sure you probably have stuff you can use in a pinch!

I will totally be having one of these tonight! Yum!

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Secret Green Chocolate Banana Smoothie

 

chocsmoothie

Green Smoothies!  They’re all the rage these days, aren’t they? They’re a great way to get some veggies in, especially if you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare vegetables or you don’t really like them.  But, if you are really squeamish about veggies, the idea of a “green” smoothie is about as appealing as eating grass clippings as you mow the lawn.  That’s where sneaky secret green smoothies can help!

I published this one on social media before I even thought about putting it in a blog post.  My veggie hating clients really enjoyed it and that was a big win and I wanted to share.  I figured I should probably have it in a more permanent place too so up on the blog it goes!  This is a sneaky little bastard.  It doesn’t look or taste like there are any vegetables in it.  It tastes like Chocolate Banana pudding and it’s so thick (especially if you use chia seeds) that you can actually eat it with a spoon.  It’s so good!

This badboy has about 15 g fiber, 15 g protein and 15 g fat to get you through your day.  It is a meal replacement more than just a snack. I can drink one of these at 9 am and not need to eat anything else until at least 2pm, sometimes later. So filling!

It also has almost 100% of the Vitamin A you need each day, 30% of your Iron, 50% of your calcium and it’s also a great source of potassium and magnesium. To help absorb the iron, have a glass of water with lemon with your smoothie. And it has less sugar in it than most protein bars out there (the banana is the sole source).

Secret Green Chocolate Banana Smoothie
1/2 cup cooked oats (i like steel cut) or 1/3 cup raw rolled oats
1 heaping tbsp cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana, peeled
1 tbsp unsweetened nut/seed butter of your choice
1 tbsp chia or hemp seeds
1 cup of unsweetened almond, rice or hemp milk
1/2 cup romaine lettuce
1/2 cup baby spinach

Directions
If using raw oats, blend them with the cocoa powder and chia seed first until ground finely, then add the rest of your ingredients blend, chill and enjoy! It also freezes well but be sure to stir well after defrosting (before drinking).

This recipe is gluten free (if you use gf certified oats), dairy free, soy free and vegan.

I prefer to use cooked oats in mine – I think it adds a creamier texture!  You can also use water in place of any of non-dairy milks.  It will change the color/texture slightly but the chocolate banana flavor will still dominate.  If the 1 cup of greens in this freaks you out as a first timer, start with just a few leaves.  If you feel ok with that, add a few more each time you make it.  And someday you’ll be amazed that you even needed your greens to be masked!

Do you hate your veggies? Try this and let me know what you think and please share with your friends if you think they would enjoy.

 

Wild Cod with Parsley, Lemon & Shallots and Arugula Salad

Wild Cod with Lemon, Parsley and Shallots - can't go wrong.

Wild Cod with Lemon, Parsley and Shallots – can’t go wrong!

Yay for summer!  I secretly (or not so secretly) love heat and humidity but that doesn’t mean I love being in a hot kitchen on those days (like today!).  When it’s a perfect summer day outside, I want to minimize the amount of time I have to spend indoors so I love having quick dinners at my fingertips and that’s where fish and a raw salad come in.

Wild cod takes just a few minutes to cook and a little chopping and slicing is all this arugula salad takes to make.  You can have healthy and delicious dinner on the table in 15 minutes tops.  Feel free to use any white mild tasting fish for this recipe.

If you are brave (and have amazing grill skills), feel free to grill your cod outside.  I find fish a little too delicate to do on the grill with my clunky bear-like coordination (unless it’s on a wood plank).  But by all means show me up with your gracefulness and report back.  And then come over and get grilling, thanks!

A tip for you:  Keep things like parsley, lemon, shallots, garlic, vinegars and oil/butter regularly in your kitchen.  Why?  Because almost anything tastes like you slaved over it when you add some of those ingredients.  Almost any combo of those ingredients makes a delicious salad dressing, chicken marinade, pasta or potato salad dressing and of course in this recipe, a topping for fish.  Get into the habit of keeping a few simple ingredients in your kitchen and you’ll always be able to whip up something delicious at a moments notice.

Ingredients
4 Wild cod fillets (skinned/skinless)
1 tbsp olive oil

1 organic lemon zested and juice reserved*
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsp pastured butter
1 large shallot, minced
sea salt to taste

Arugula Salad
4 cups baby arugula, chopped (try other baby greens if you don’t have arugula)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 large carrots, shredded or sliced thinly
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt to taste

*it’s really important to use an organic lemon in any recipe that uses the peel or zest.  That is where all the pesticides are and they are not easily washed off.  If you are just using the juice of a lemon, conventional is ok but please go for organic when using zest (and rinse well before using anyway).
Arugula salad -a simple and quick way to get a spicy new green into your diet.

Arugula salad -a simple and quick way to get a spicy new green into your diet.

Directions
Cook cod in a hot sauce pan with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. When hot, cook the cod for 3-4 minutes on one side, flip and then immediately put in hot oven.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes in the oven (exact time will depend on the thickness of your fillets) and remove when fish is opaque and flakes easily.

While the fish is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan, cook shallots for 3 minutes or until softened/browning.  Turn off heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, parsley, sea salt and remaining butter.  Spoon over fish.

Make the arugula salad before you begin making the fish or during (it takes just 5 minutes to make). Chop and prepare all your veggies and then dress with the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Serve the cod and salad immediately.  Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings.

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Let’s talk about priorities

I know I need both alone time (spent outdoors) and social time to feel my best.  How about you?

I know I need both alone time (spent outdoors) and social time to feel my best. How about you?

Today I want to talk about what is getting in the way of the things you wish you had time for. Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You envy your friend who finds time to workout almost every day but you’re too busy.
  • You miss going out with your girlfriends once in awhile but that laundry isn’t going to do itself.
  •  You’d like to eat healthier but you just don’t have the time to cook.
  • You’d like to start a meditation practice but you just aren’t disciplined enough.
  • You’d love to have a date night with your husband but you’re too tired at the end of the week

If some of these statements are true for you, you should take a moment to reevaluate your priorities. We all have things that we’d like to do more or less of and have a hard time making them happen.  The three biggest reasons for this are because:

  • it’s not really something we want that badly (despite feeling like we should want it)
  • we’re not ready for change
  • we don’t believe we deserve it

Are any of these ringing bells for you? If you’re like most busy women today, you fall into the 3rd category but don’t even realize it. We spend so much of our time taking care of the needs of others (husband, wife, kids, job, our home etc) that we often end up neglecting our own needs. That isn’t to say that these other things aren’t important (quite the contrary) but in order to give them the attention that they deserve we first have to make sure that we are getting what we need.  This means becoming #1 on your priority list.

Eek, did I say that?  Yes, I know it’s not popular to put ourselves first or to own up to the fact that we are number one.  It’s considered selfish.  We’ve been taught to put others first and for some reason we ignore ourselves entirely in the mix.  The only way you’re going to be any good to any of the people, activities or obligations in your life is if you take care of yourself first. Think about the flight attendant safety spiel we hear every time we get on an airplane:  “put your oxygen mask on first” before helping other passengers.  That’s no joke.  You can give more when you’re getting what you need.

So what do you need to perform your best?  Think about this.  For me, that means sleep, exercise and good nutrition have to come before anything else.  If I’m getting those three things most days, I’m going to have more energy (and less attitude) to do all the things that I need to (or want to).  Those are 3 of my priorities because when I let them go, I become a crabby lunatic who cries at commercials or gets flustered for seemingly no reason.  I also need a good balance of alone time and social time.  When my instinct is to say “no” to events, I know it’s time for a quiet day at the beach or a walk in the woods, alone!  Get to know yourself and your needs.

Here’s an exercise to try.
On a piece of paper, draw a line down the center so that the page is divided into two columns.  On the left hand side, list how you would spend your ideal day if you had no obligations or restrictions (would you sleep in late? get up early and go for a run? volunteer at your daughter’s school? go for a massage?).  Once you have that side well squared away, list how you actually spend any given day on the right hand side.  Include all the little things (like checking facebook 10 times throughout the day, watching TV after dinner, meal prep etc).  When you are done, compare the two and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is there anything that you are doing during your actual day that you could do less of so that you could have a little time for something on your ideal day list?
  • Is there something you could delegate to someone else?
  • Could you get by with putting off laundry, errands etc for just another day or two?

Your first instinct will be to say “No, Andrea I can’t delegate or push things off. I’m too busy!” but I bet if we videotaped you every moment of every day for a week, we could find some lost time. As busy as we all are, we accidentally waste a lot of time.  Those minutes we spend searching for something to watch on Netflix or goofing off on the internet really add up.  How satisfying are those moments really? Not knocking watching movies or browsing the web (or anything else in your life) but how important are those other things vs. the things you really want?

If you are frustrated that you don’t have time to exercise each week but are spending an hour on facebook or watching TV each night, why not cut that FB or TV time down to 30 minutes and give yourself 30 minutes of exercise. Heck, you could do them at the same time.  I’ve been known to do tricep dips, squats and pushups while watching my trashy Bravo shows.  Or maybe it’s household chores that are taking up too much of your time.  Ask the kids to help.  There’s no reason they can’t pitch in (even the young ones can help a little).  You are not a mean parent for asking your kids to pick up after themselves. There will be a learning curve but it will ultimately benefit all of you.  And if there are no concessions you are willing to make then maybe it’s not about not deserving these things, maybe you just don’t really want it.  It’s ok if you just wish you wanted to exercise but really don’t have the desire.

But if you are truly willing to make yourself a priority, make no mistake about it, if there is something you really want to do or someone you really want to see, you can and will make it happen. I don’t care how busy you are.  Your friend with two kids who somehow manages to workout each day? Your sister who seems to always be out with friends?  Your co-worker who always brings in a healthy homemade lunch? They all have busy lives too. In order to get exercise, have an active social life, and eat healthy they may be putting something else on the back burner that you can’t see.  Odds are it’s not the important stuff like family or the job, but it’s the little piddly things we busy ourselves with.  Before you judge that someone else must not have that much to do because they’re able to do something you can’t, take a moment to check in with yourself. Are you jealous that they feel they deserve those things?  Put the torches down folks, I’m not saying that you ARE jealous, just asking you to quell that judging thought process for a sec if that is popping up for you.  As a side note, you have no idea what their life is like anyway (despite thinking you do) and our reactions to other’s lives are usually about us, not them anyhow.

Now that I’ve got you questioning what your needs are and what you deserve, I want to bring your attention back to other’s needs for a moment. For some of us, time with friends is very important for our wellbeing.  Or maybe it’s not that important to us but there are people we care very much about who want to spend time with us.

Think about what you are saying about yourself when you don’t make time for your needs (you don’t deserve it, you’re not valuable etc).  You also send a message to others when you don’t make time for their needs. Maybe you can’t hang out with your best friend on the spur of the moment like you used to, but if she calls you and wants to get together for dinner this week but you’re just too busy?  Don’t hang up the phone with her until you find a time you can get together. It doesn’t have to be on the time schedule she is asking for but you’re going to eat meals anyways, why not spend a few minutes together, even if it’s shorter than you’d like? Meet for breakfast the following week or try facetiming or skyping on your lunchbreak at work if you have to. It’s understandable if it takes a few weeks to find a spot of time that will work for both of you (especially if you don’t live in the same town) but if you really want to, you’ll make it happen.  If you really care about this person, you’ll find a way to put less important things on the back burner for a moment (laundry, facebook etc) and spend time with her. And if you don’t? Well, she’s probably not a priority for you and don’t worry, she’s hearing that message loud and clear.  Again, this doesn’t mean you have to drop everything when a friend reaches out, but don’t leave them in limbo.  Make sure they know they are on your priority list, even if it’s a tough one to juggle.

The takeaway to this long post?  

  1. You deserve the things that make you able to give/perform your best (sleep, massage, social time etc).
  2. Figure out what your priorities are and how you can get more of those needs fulfilled.
  3. Remember that you don’t know what someone else is giving up to get what they need.
  4. Be conscious of the messages you send. Make time for those who consider you a priority (if you consider them a priority) even if it takes some juggling.

I think that’s all for now!  Does any of this resonate with you?  Do my words infuriate you or make you feel empowered?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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