Showing posts tagged with: recipes

Flippin Delicious Whole Food Carbohydrates

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

Every decade seems to have the source of all evil (or fat) macronutrient. For years we endured fat phobia! Fat free foods lined the shelves & as companies removed the evil fat, told you to ditch your butter & replaced it with yummy chemicals like hydrogenated XYZ. YUM Chemicals! Thankfully that trend of low fat living seems to have passed once everyone realized they were ADDING body fat by eating less dietary fat. So of course we are on to demonizing the next macronutrient.Good-Carbs-vs-Bad-Carb-300x217

INSERT low carb everything!! *Sigh*

Carbs aren't bad

Fat is not bad

Protein isn't bad

It's all in the quality, quantity & what's best for YOU! The biggest issue I see with carbs is the dependency on super processed options such as long ingredient breads, pastas, breakfast pastries, sugar filled cereals, "fruit" filled yogurts & so on. These foods aren't BAD because they are carbohydrates, they aren't IDEAL because they are super processed & not very nutrient dense. SO when people ask if they should go low carb I say YES you should go low Kashi for breakfast, a "whole wheat" sandwich for lunch & organic pasta for dinner. You SHOULD replace those with mostly amazingly delicious, super nutritious whole food (single ingredient) carbohydrate options.

What am I talking about:

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Winter Squash: butternut, pumpkin, kabocha, delicata, spaghetti, acorn etc.

  • Plantains

  • Parsnips

  • Beets

  • White Potatoes **GASP**

These are the highest quality & most beneficial carbohydrates that our body can best utilize for energy without crappy additives. Am I say NEVER have pasta or bread? No but maybe not every day of the week. Especially if your goal is fat loss or optimizing your health.

Ok enough WHY you should eat the good starchy foods, let's chat HOW! I've become the queen of incorporating these carby root vegetables into every meal of my day. I've gathered a few easy starter recipes PLUS more fun recipes around the web. Ready to upgrade your boring bread, pasta & grain based diet to include MORE whole food based carbohydrates?? Woohoo!!

ParsnipParsnips:

A first cousin of the carrot with a sweeter taste & starchier make up. This root veggie is delicious in a variety of preparations including roasted, baked into fries & mashed or pureed. Give this mashed recipe a try, I find the taste SO much more flavorful then standard mashed potatoes. Plus it adds that texture contrast we crave!

 Garlic Mashed Parsnips:Ingredients:- 1 lb parsnips (my store sells them in a bag)- 1/3c unsweetened almond milk (or liquid such as coconut milk or broth)- 1 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste (or add herbs of choice!)- 1 tbsp fat (coconut or olive oil, butter or ghee)6952340499717b93683c65d2b07ab63cDirections: 1) Peel and chop the parsnips like you would a carrot.2) Boil the parsnips until tender. Drain.3) Add in other ingredients and mash! I use my immersion blender, but a hand or stand mixer would work the same. Basically do the same as you would for mashed potatoes, which I know you all know how to make. Other Awesome Parsnips Recipes:Paprika Parsnip Fries w/ SrirachaCider Roasted Carrots, Parsnips & Brussel Sprouts (my add in!)Parsnip & Kale Soup 

0923_gunst-squash4-e1411417750609Winter Squash:

While most people have tried butternut squash, there are SO many varieties of deliciously creamy winter squashes!  These healthy whole foods carb source has a never ending amount of preparations to where you will never tire of the great squash.

 Super Simple Roasted Kabocha Squash:Ingredients:- Kabocha Squash- Coconut Oil- Salt & Peppertumblr_lsom5leAfs1qdei8mDirections:1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees & line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.2. Use a GOOD knife to cut squash in half & scoop out seeds from the center.3. Toss with coconut oil, salt & pepper, lay flat on baking sheet.4. Cook for around 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.Other Favorite Winter Squash Recipes:Rosemary Bacon Butternut Squash FriesTurkey & Mushroom Stuffed Delicata SquashPizza Spaghetti Squash Pie - my FAVplantains

Plantains:

Plantains are a member of the banana family but contain more starch & are lower in sugar.Green plantains are less ripe & usually cooked in a savory way. The yellow overripe variety is on the sweeter side & often used for dessert recipes.

 Simply Sautéed Plantains:Ingredients:- 1-2 Slightly Yellow Plantains (w/ black spots like an overripe banana)- Coconut Oil- Himalayan Sea Salt (bc it's so tasty)Directions:Plantains5-7251. Heat medium sauté pan to medium, peel the plantain & slice 1-1 1/2 inches thick. TIP: I slice the peel long ways down each side to make easier to peel.2. Add coconut oil to the pan, let heat up & add plantains. Cook 2-3 minutes on one side until golden brown & flip for another minute or so.3. Sprinkle w/ salt & enjoy! I love these for breakfast beside eggs & kale!Other Go-To Plantain Recipes:Chicken Mofongo - SO good!Homemade Plantain ChipsPlantain Tortillas

Ready, Set, GO FORTH & cook your way into deliciously nutritious carbohydrate heaven. I promise you won't miss mediocre bread or boxed pasta when you can have flavorful plantains or creamy mashed parsnips. Gauge your portion on about a palm sized portion for us ladies & two palm sized portions for you gentlemen. I stick with 2 servings a day with 1 meal being mostly lean greens, protein & that healthy fat for fuel! But you do you, test, notice how you feel & adjust as needed to FEEL your best. Happy trial & error! <3

Have a QUESTION or favorite RECIPE to share?? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at emma@healthybalancewithemma.com. Follow me on IG to see MORE ways I incorporate many of these recipes into my day.

SUNDAY MEAL PLAN: WEEK OF 12/4-12/9

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Recipes Uncategorized

11709665_10152999976828589_2402333278699294805_n{SUNDAY MEAL PLAN}

It's been a minute since I shared our meal & prep plan for the week ahead. Never fear it's still been a Sunday staple but we've been keeping in on the boring side out of ease. This week we are making a few new recipes PLUS I'm indulging my hubby in a mid-week Mexican food penciled in.

Tonight we will be prepping the first few night's protein & sides so we can simply saute a few veggies to have food on the table quickly:

SUNDAY: Chicken Mofongo w/ Simply Kalep1090088

MONDAY: Ina Garden's Roasted Chicken w/ Fall Roasted Veggies

TUESDAY: Leftovers - Monfongo or Chicken, to each is own!

WEDNESDAY: Jalapeno's - hubby' request! I typically get fajitas w/ blacks beans & guacamole

THURSDAY: Salmon w/ Baked Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli - Straight from the freezer to oven!

FRIDAY: Out to Dinner w/ Friends - Heading to a new spot, the Atlantic Eatery! 

SUNDAY PREP PLANS:page-130-web-horizon

  • Cook the mofongo for tonight & to have as leftover for lunch or a dinner. We are using chicken thighs instead of breast because they were on sale! Easy swaps to save a buck.

  • Roasted the chicken! Again i'll use the leftovers on top of salad for lunch at least once. PS If you haven't made Ina's perfect roasted chicken, you must! It's awesome to have in your culinary arsenal.

  • Chop the veggies for tomorrow night & make vinaigrette for it plus to use on salads. Monday's I get off work in time to roast those bad boys in the oven. If it was a laer work night i'd go ahead & roast them tonight to reheat tomorrow.

  • Since the oven will be on I am going to roast some beets, chopped sweet potato & broccoli to have throughout the week. Having these pre-cooked veggies make it MUCH easier to increase my veggie intake every day!bananabread2

  • I'm craving banana bread so I'm going to try out this recipe but make them into muffin. I may toss in some leftover canned pumpkin just for a little fall flavor. Will let ya know if good!

That's about it around these parts. Keeping it simple & making it easy for us to get in home made meals on the busiest of weeks.

What's on your weekly meal plan? Any new recipes your are testing out?

Forget the Fuss – My BAS Salad Cheats

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Meal Prep Nutrition Recipes

Scrolling through my own Instagram page I noticed the large trend in many of my meals being what I fondly call a BAS. Aka a big ass salad. They are a staple in my diet & one of my daily DEAL breakers I have written about previously. They are an easy way to get in a big dose of veggies (yay micronutrients!), have a lot of volume (which is needed for someone who enjoy a larger quantity of food to feel satisfied) & make me take the time to sloowwww down for lunch. BUT I will admit that I don't always have time mid-day to spend 30 minutes chopping, sautéing, mixing  or whatever appears to be needed for a satisfying salad. SO I wanted to share a few of my quick cheats to having everything needed ready & waiting for assembling so you too can enjoy a daily BAS.cheatsdesignCHEAT #1: Protein - Save Small Dinner Extras OR Prep a Little MoreWe often cook a meal & just have a little bit of extra meat leftover. For example when my husband grills a few chicken breast, I often eat 1/2 or 2/3 of a piece because the serving was quite large for me. I save that extra bit, throw it in tupperware & toss is on a salad for lunch. When I am thinking a little more ahead I simple toss on an extra chicken breast or two & use it throughout the week.This is an example (nope not glamour shot of how I eat but real) of how this weeks salad toppers are looking:

meats

Top Left (Steak), Top Right (Burger), Bottom (Chicken)

Sunday Dinner: We cooked grassfed burgers & I saved an extra to be used as a lettuce wrap this week.Monday Dinner: We grilled a flank steak that was around 1lb. We each had our share that night & there was a nice serving leftover which will be delicious for lunch on Wednesday. Heck I will probably just recreate the salad we ate that evening, as it turned out awesome!steak saladMonday Meal Prep: We did a little bit of meal prep on Monday, as it was a holiday weekend. Chicken was on sale so we cooked the 3 pack for him to use for 2 lunches plus enough left for me to use for 2 as well. Easy peasy!Forgot to cook? No problem. These are a few additional no cook protein options for salads that we keep on hand. Canned tuna, salmon, hard boiled eggs or quality deli meat can be easy options as well. Note: Beans such as black, chickpeas, lentils & so on are really more of a carbohydrate source. However if I am only have a small portion of meat leftover I enjoy adding some extra eggs, cheese & even beans to supplement the source of protein. Plus a little variety never hurts!image2CHEAT #2: Buy a Variety of Package Greens OR Pre-Wash Ahead:I love the idea of buying a beautiful head of lettuce from the farmer's market to use for my salad bases during the week. But I'll be 100% honest, I can be LAZY & hate washing greens. If I wash them too far in advance, they go bad quickly. If I wait until I am ready to eat, I get busy or don't feel like taking the time to clean. Therefore I go grab another food that is more convenient. So instead I bite the bullet, pay a little more & eat the pre-washed organic greens. I enjoy a variety to mix & match so it makes each meal a little different. Super simple but quite effective.
greens

I love this variety because I can even saute some of these greens, throw in a smoothie or sneak in a sauce to use up.

CHEAT #3: Easy Flavorful ToppingsThere are days I have plenty of time to chop veggies to eat raw or cooked in my salads. On a Tuesday at 1pm with 30 minutes to eat, that's not going to happen. Therefore I stash a variety of easy salad toppings that add different textures, flavors & nutrients for a well balanced salad I actually WANT to eat.image1-1I do work to add as many VEGGIES first, then a small amount of fruit (with preference of fresh over dried). My next toppings include a satiating mix of healthy fats:image2-1I am MINDFUL of the portions used when I toss in a mix of nuts, seeds, cheeses, olives & avocado but I always include a serving of dietary fat in my meal. Why? These add much needed nutrients for brain function, skin health & tons of other key functions in our bodies. Not to mention they create a sense of satiety to keep you fuller, longer between meals.CHEAT #4: Easy Salad Dressings Made Ahead of TimeI won't pretend to not have a bottle or two of pre-made salad dressing in my fridge. I am careful to check the ingredients to include the shortest list possible with no gross corn syrups or added sugars/sweeteners. All common in many "light" dressing many deem as healthier options. However I prefer to either make 1 salad dressing on a Sunday to store in the fridge or simple toss a little vinegar, oil, salt & pepper on top & call it a day. A few of my favorite clean go to's include:image1Nothing fancy here & all are easy pantry staples to match a variety of salads. My favorite dressing is a mix of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dijon, olive oil, salt & pepper. Sorry I totally don't measure but don't be scared to mix, taste & balance to your palate preference. However no guilt if you must use a pre-made dressing. Just take the time to read your ingredients & make a more educated choice for your goals.Takeaways:Don't overcomplicate the meal by thinking you have to create a new gourmet salad every day of the week. Follow this simple formula, pick a "theme" for the week & start with making the goal of included 2-3 BAS this week:
  • BASE OF GREENS: PRE-PACKAGED READY TO GO
  • PRE-COOKED PROTEIN: LEFTOVERS ARE GREAT, COOK ONCE & EAT ALL WEEK
  • CHOOSE YOUR TOPPINGS: MIX OF ALL THE VEGGIES YOU LIFE + A FEW SPECIAL INGREDIENTS (INCLUDING HEALTHY FATS, FRUIT & EVEN CARBS LIKE QUINOA OR SWEET POTATOES)
  • DRESSINGS: MAKE 1 HOMEMADE OPTIONS FOR THE WEEK OR KEEP A CLEAN OPTION ON HAND
I have a feeling they will catch on & become one of your weekly staples that leave your feeling great midday. Questions? Just ask!Any favorite BAS ingredients that really make your meal?

Chimichurri Recipe – 1 Sauce, 3 Meals!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

chickenchimichurriIn the gym, I am a big fan putting in the hard work, embracing the process & truly believe that trying to take shortcuts won't get me results! In the kitchen however, I am always seeking ways to be a bit lazy while still getting what I want. If I can skip a step or two, fine by me!! As long as the end result tastes good I am all about it.I am also relatively cheap in my grocery shopping. Don't get me wrong, I spend money on quality ingredients such as organic meats, eggs & certain veggies. Yet I still want my budget to stay on the lower side so I am often looking for ways to utilize every last bit of what I buy. I HATE throwing out food, which often leads to a bit of...creativity in the kitchen? Or as my husband call it, my special concoctions. Luckily for you this isn't that type of recipe.Technical report templatesWe found top sirloin steaks on sale at Whole Foods on Sunday & decided to cook those up but wanted a sauce to go with. We both enjoyed a chimichurri sauce at a restaurant recently & decided to give that a go. Which meant buying a big bunch of parsley, cilantro & oregano. Yes I should start growing my own herbs but I struggle with black thumb syndrome. AKA I am too damn lazy to water them daily..Instead of wasting 1/2 a bunch of each herb we doubled the recipe & ended up with a ton of sauce. We knew we didn't want steak every night this week so my brain began wondering how to reuse the extra. I saw a packet of chicken breast in the freezer & decided that would be a perfect vehicle for meal #2. This sauce is quite versatile, super easy to throw together & filled with whole food ingredients.Basic Chimichurri Recipe:

Servings: MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPSchimichurri-sauce-940
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Combine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, garlic, shallot, and jalepeno in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil. Remove 1/2 cup chimichurri to a small bowl, season with salt to taste, and reserve as sauce.*Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe.*
Meal #1: Grilled Steak w/ Chimichurri Sauce, Sweet Potato Soup & Sauteed Red Wine Kale6Meal #2: Marinated Chimichurri Chicken w/ Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice & Spicy Broccolinichimichicken*Preparation: I simply defrosted a pack of 4 boneless chicken breast overnight, in the morning put 1/4c of the sauce in a plastic ziplock, tossed in the chicken & let it marinate while at work. When I came home I heated up my cast iron skillet to medium, added the chicken w/ extra marinade & cooked it about 10 minutes. Make sure you don't move it around to much in order to get that nice crust on the outside. We added a little extra chimichurri on top & enjoyed!Meal #3: Eggs, Leftover Steak & Potato Hash w/ Chimichurri (the hubby's breakfast recipe)IMG_0668* My husband even used up the last few bites of the steak we cooked for a breakfast treat. Steak w/ eggs & chimichurri sounds fancy for breakfast right? In reality this took about 5 minutes using last night's leftovers. It's an easy way to have a quick grab & go breakfast for the busy work week.Shockingly by the end of the week I was still not tired of any of our meals. Choosing simple ingredients that are easy to use in a multiple of ways keeps actual cook time short but variety of meals endless! Although I can honestly say, eating the same meal 2-3x a week is just fine with me. As long as I like the meal that is. Which is why I eat foods I enjoy & don't force myself to eat "superfoods" I hate. It's all about finding what works for you! Any eating plan can work if you stay consistent, but that's the struggle right? That's why you have to experiment with what makes you feel good, fits your lifestyle & gives your body what it needs. Is figuring out how to balance your busy life with healthy goals still a struggle? Email me today & let's troubleshoot together!Any favorite versatile ingredients you use for multiple meals throughout the week?Ready to receive exclusive weekly updates straight to your inbox? Sign up for my weekly newsletter to get access to recipes, new workouts & practical tips to maintain YOUR healthy balance. Click HERE to sign up today!
 

Simple Lemon & Mustard Salmon Salad

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Recipes

One of the most common roadblocks that I work through with clients is the quick fix meal. I hear frequently from people with busy schedules, can't cook or simply don't like to. I can totally relate! Im no gourmet chef & don't care to spend much time in the kitchen during the week.Now don't get me wrong, I love food! You won't see me eating bland meals I dislike just bc they're "healthy". I eat most of my meals from home & enjoy what I eat. What I've learned to do is build a repertoire of quick fix & no cook meals that fit with my criteria for MY goals: ~ whole foods ~ high protein ~ lots of veggies ~ healthy fats ~ delicious!1937225_583253035161288_6027473260461089615_nToday's lunch checked all those boxes & is a favorite no cook flavor filled recipe! Try out this easy salmon salad for fresh flavor, a nutritious dose of healthy omega 3's & enough protein to hold you for hours. Add on top of a big bed of greens or pair with your favorite side of veggies for a well balanced meal.Lemon-Dijon Salmon Salad: 1 Can Wild Alaskan Salmon Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1tbsp Dijon mustard 1tsp olive oil S&P to tasteAny favorite no cook meals?Ready to stay up to date with the helpful nutrition, fitness & lifestyle tips? Sign up for my newsletter to never miss out on the tops ways to find your healthy balance! Click the link below, sign up & show up strong every single day: Receive Healthy Tips, Tricks & Recipes!

Protein Packed Pumpkin Oatmeal – Step By Step Tutorial

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

Protein Packed Pumpkin Oatmeal in a Jar

As much as I hate to admit it, I to fall prey to the pumpkin madness once fall arrives. There's just something about the spices that accompany it that screams fall comfort. One of my favorite uses of pumpkin is to add volume, creaminess & a boost of nutrition to my oatmeal.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

2015-02-28 09.34.38gluten free oatmeal

egg whites

canned 100% pumpkin

chia seeds

banana

cashew milk (or milk/nondairy of choice)

almost empty nut butter jar (I used peanut butter)

cinnamon &/or pumpkin pie spice

2015-02-28 09.36.23Step 2: Add Oats & Bring to a Boil

1. add 1/3c gluten free old fashioned oats to small pot.

2. pour in 2/3c cashew milk or milk of choice.

3. toss in 1tsp of chia seeds.

4. stir & bring to a boil.

5. remove pan from burner & cover with lid for 20-30 minutes.

*most of the liquid will be absorbed during this time & chia seed expands to add volume. I will often start this in the morning & then go take a shower while they sit.

 Step 3: Return to a Boil & Add the Fun

2015-02-28 10.18.011. Remove the lid, add 1/3c of water or milk, 1/3 thinly sliced banana & turn the burner to medium. Stir vigorously until banana combines with other ingredients. Allow mixture to come to light boil.

2. Add 1/3c liquid egg whites & stir vigorously for 2 minutes until egg whites have cooked & combined with oatmeal. Make sure you continue to stir so you they blend with oats instead of scramble.

3. Reduce heat to medium low, add 1/4c pumpkin, cinnamon, pie spice & stevia (if desired) to taste. Allow to combine for 1-2 minutes until desired consistency is reached.

Step 4: Add to Almost Empty Jar & Enjoy!

2015-02-28 10.23.11

 1. Add deliciously creamy oats to your almost empty nut butter jar. I usually let them cool off just a touch in the pot before adding to a plastic jar. Glass jars are recommended.

2. Stir in any additional ingredients desired. I've used chopped apple, the rest of the banana I sliced, dried fruit, dates & even mini chocolate chips.

3. Enjoy!

2015-02-28 10.25.57-1

Creativity with Cauliflower + Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

For many years I overlooked, ignored & completely neglected the amazing vegetable known as cauliflower. At first glance this boringly white & oddly shaped cruciferous veggie seemed to simply be a garnish added to a cheap vegetable tray. Nothing like cold, raw cauliflower to turn most people off adding it to the grocery cart. However over the past year I have found it to be one of the most versatile veggies, boasting a tons of unknown health benefits.

A Closer Look at Cauliflower Nutrition:

  • Nutrition Stats: 1 cup cooked = 29 calories.
  • Vitamin & Mineral Content: a serving contains 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
  • Brain Benefits: a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.
  • Detox Properties: includes antioxidant nutrients to boost Phase 1 detoxification activities and sulfur-containing nutrients to boost Phase 2 activities.
  • Digestive Support: contains 9 grams of fiber for every 100 calories.
  • Additional Health Links: includes anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting & cardiovascular improving properties.
Recipes to Try:
  • Mashed Cauliflower: I love mashed cauliflower as a creamy side dish to any main meal. We use this basic method & mix it up by adding different herbs, cheeses & additional seasonings for any occasion.
florets

Step 1: Cut head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 2: Add to boiling, salted water.

Step 2: Add to boiling, salted water.

Step 3: Cook until fork tender, 5-7 minutes. Drain & add to bowl.

Step 3: Cook until fork tender, 5-7 minutes.

Step 4: Blend in bowl w/ immersion blender. Add salt, pepper & additional ingredients to taste. (we love garlic, parmesan or goat cheese)

Step 4: Blend in bowl w/ immersion blender. Add salt, pepper & additional ingredients to taste. We love garlic or goat cheese!

mashedplated

Step 5: Enjoy! We ate this goat cheese mashed cauliflower w/ pork tenderloin & green beans.

  • Shepherd's Pie: We use this mashed cauliflower dish to top a basic shepherd's pie recipe, which is posted here. It's a great way to lighten up a heavy dish plus add additional vegetables to your day.
Shepherd's Pie - 1/2 with cheese, 1/2 without.

Shepherd's Pie - 1/2 with cheese, 1/2 without.

Sherperd's Pie served with sauteed kale. My fav!

Sherperd's Pie served with sauteed kale. My fav!

  • Cauliflower Rice/Cous Cous: This is another fun way to cook cauliflower that takes a short amount of time to throw together. I love this method as it can easily be seasoned to go with any flavor profile you are aiming for.

Here is our basic how to:

Step 1: Chop head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 1: Chop head of cauliflower into florets.

Step 2: Add florets to food processor.

Step 2: Add florets to food processor.

Step 3: Process into rice sized pieces. Tip: don't over process, as it's good to have the texture.

Step 3: Process into rice sized pieces. Tip: don't over process, as it's good to have the texture.

Step 4: Heat up a saute pan over medium heat & add riced cauliflower. Cook for 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. We usually saute onion & garlic before adding cauliflower. Add salt & pepper to taste & serve!

Step 4: Heat up a saute pan over medium heat & add riced cauliflower. Cook for 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. We usually saute onion & garlic before adding cauliflower. Add salt & pepper to taste & serve!

~ Additional cauliflower rice flavor combos to try out:

Lemon & Garlic: Lemon adds a fresh punch to any recipe. This paired amazingly with simple grilled chicken & sauteed asparagus.

Spanish Rice: Looking to lighten up a mexican meal at home? Give this a try! We served a side with steak fajitas & the must have homemade guacamole.

Fried Rice: Making an asian style stir fry but want to skip the rice or increase the vegetables on the plate? Sub in this fried rice style cauliflower to round out the meal.

  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust: We made the infamous low-carb pizza crust a couple of times & really enjoyed the final product. We followed the recipe here & added our own his & her topping combos of preference. Cooking tips: Get as much moisture out of the riced cauliflower as possible & go light on the toppings. Too much cheese & heavy toppings will weigh down the delicate crust.
His & her toppings of 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage & peppers.

His & her toppings of 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage & peppers.

  • More Fun Way to Enjoy Cauliflower:

Cracklin Cauliflower: a flavorful curried version, roasted with tons of taste.

Roasted Garlic & Cauliflower Soup: a great way to warm you up in the winter months.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: a fun way to entertain a crowd with a healthy twist.

Cauliflower Steak w/ Chimichurri: an eye catching dish that pleases a dinner party.

 Question: Any favorite ways you have enjoyed getting creative with cauliflower?

5 Tips for 4th of July Healthy Eating + Flavorful Recipes

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Mindset Nutrition Recipes

Designs-by-Serendipity-Fourth-of-July-Poster-Image-2Fireworks, sunshine & finger food galore! Time flies & somehow the 4th of July weekend is only a few days away. I personally love this holiday, as it's a wonderful time in history to celebrate & a great reason to throw a backyard bash! This means firing up the grill or bringing over a dish to mingle with friends over a large buffet of food & drinks.These types of weekends use to bring me major anxiety! Anytime I was working hard to stick to a healthy eating goal I would stress about what to eat & how I could avoid going overboard. As much self control as I thought I had acquired, there is always the table with 10 different desserts. How do you pick just one? Plus after a fruity cocktail or two my "oh well" attitude would slide in & my choices usually went downhill from there.

(Backyard Bliss)

(Backyard Bliss)

Now that's not to say there is anything wrong with indulging a bit on a holiday weekend. To me it's all about who are you & what are your goals! How does that type of gathering effect your psychologically?- If you enjoy 2 slices of cake are you guilt ridden the next day or do you shrug it off & get back to your green smoothie for breakfast?- Are you at a healthy weight, active & just trying to maintain? Then maybe it's not something to even worry about. As you shouldn't go around feeling stressed about food choices if you already have healthy habits 85% of the time.- However if you are working towards a goal to lose weight for health reasons or really struggle with binge eating to the point of discomfort, then it's far more important to have some strategies going in.SMART-goalsAgain it's about what unique goals you have, not one size fits all. For me personally I don't mind an extra treat or two as long as I really enjoy them. I strive to eat mindfully & I not overdue it to the point of feeling sick. As we have all had that long lasting belly ache from ignoring our hunger cues & stuffing down an extra scoop of ice cream or two...oops!4th of July

1. Have a Plan: I don't mean you need to plan ahead every bite you are going to eat. Just having some goals going into the event will give you some parameters to work within. For myself, I may have the goal of sticking with 2 drinks while having a glass of water in between. I often share that goal with my husband to help hold me accountable. This at least helps to keep me mindful of my choices, slow down & enjoy what I am actually consuming. Other great goals may be to skip the one dish you know triggers less than healthy choices, only eat one carby side dish or choose one dessert. Even if your Make a Plangoal is to simply be mindful of when you are full, that may be a victory you will feel proud of!

2. Bring a Dish: I don't enjoy being stuck at a BBQ with all fried foods, mac & cheese or mayo filled potato salads. While some of those may be enjoyed, I do prefer having a fresh salad, veggies or fruit to snack on along the day. My solution? Bring what you enjoy eating! No one is going to complain about an extra dish on the table & often times the lighter fair becomes the hit of the party on a hot day. Choose a recipe you are excited to eat & not just another bland veggie tray. This will make you more likely to fill up on the good stuff & steer clear of foods that don't fit your goals.

3. Indulge in the Homemade: This is always a factor in my decision making process when I hit an event. There is a major flavor difference between the store bought 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies & that made from scratch delicious dessert. Why waste it on the foods you can grab from the store any day of the week? I am much more likely to sample a dish I know is phenomenal which I don't get the opportunity to eat often, versus the slightly stale cookie cake that's always available. In short...be picky!!!

(Look for a local race!)

(Look for a local race!)

4. Start the Day with a Workout: The reason I recommend starting the day with a workout is not about trying to burn off the extra calories you are planning to consume. As I'm not a big fan of working out to negate overdoing the eating. Guess what..that doesn't work! However the reason I love working out on a day I have a social gathering is I typically make better decisions. After a good workout in the morning I am more likely to focus on refueling my body for recovery & getting myself ready for the next. Therefore I naturally lean towards a few less drinks & a bit more healthy protein throughout the day. Plus I typically feel a bit better in the outfit I plan to wear after a good sweat session;)

5. Relax: We often get so wrapped up being afraid we might fail, that we set ourselves up for disaster. All that pressure is giving WAY too much control to the food around us. Look at your motivation, goals, have a plan & enjoy the experience. These events are about the people, fun & memories made along the way. Let the food stress take a backseat where it belongs!

The good news? Fourth of July grilling can be both incredibly tasty & super nutritious! Why settle for one with you can have both. Check out a few of my favorite simple meal ideas plus recipes from around the web:hummus-stuffed-strawberries-Healthy-4th-of-July-Recipes-Your-Family-will-LoveCelebrate the 4th - Healthy Recipes:

Lettuce Wrap Burger: Enjoy all the goodness of a burger, just lighten it up by skipping the bun. Either grab a fork & go at it or stuff it in a crunchy lettuce wrap. Choose toppings like tomato, pickles, caramelized onions, mustard & a touch of ketchup to add tons of flavors without too much extra unhealthy fat.

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Lettuce Burger w/ Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Romaine Salad: Cut a whole romaine lettuce heart in half & toss on the grill flat side down. Get a quick char & top with fresh parmesan cheese plus a light drizzle of healthy caesar, balsamic or favorite salad dressing for a fun twist on a summer salad.

Chunky Greek Salad: I love this cool salad during the hot summer month. It has tons of flavor & textures that always makes it a huge party hit. I chop up chunky cucumber, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, chunky feta, kalamata olives & an olives oil dressing with red wine vinegar. Salt & pepper to taste & you are ready to serve.

7ebd6ce55a448349f966f13016e790e7

Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

Fresh Cut Fruit + Yogurt Dip: Everyone wants a sweet treat so if you are trying to skip the heavy desserts, this is for you. Choose whatever fruit is in season (berries are my favorite) & serve with a side of vanilla greek yogurt. I love making my own dip by using plain greek yogurt & adding fun mix ins such as peanut flour, vanilla/almond extract & cocoa powder.

Lightened Up Mojito: I have a weakness for a fruity summer cocktail, especially the delicious mint mojito. The way I enjoy a lighter version is muddling mint, raspberries & stevia. Then adding club soda & vodka for a flavorful mixed drink that is a MUCH better choice than the high calorie super sugary margarita. PS mixed drinks can be anywhere from 300-800 calories PER DRINK. Don't waste all your hard work on one beverage.

From the Web:

Potato Recipes:

- Potato Salad with Herbs & Summer Squash

- Quick & Easy Mustard Potato Salad

- Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

- Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

Entree Ideas:

- Simple Grilled Lemon Chicken

- Chili Lime Turkey Burgers

- Grilled Balsamic Pork Chops

- Foil Packet Grilled Fish

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

(Greek Broccoli Salad - From Cookie & Kate)

Healthy Salads, Sides & Such:

- Greek 7 Layer Dip

- Strawberry & Avocado Spinach Salad

- Coleslaw with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

- Greek Broccoli Salad

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Skinny Margarita (from Robb Wolf)

Desserts & Beverages:

- Patriotic Parfait

- Grilled Peaches

- Norcal Margarita

- Lightened Up Mojito

Your turn! What's your favorite summer gathering dish? 

Healthy Made Simple – Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

Healthy-Eating-Made-Simple-basic-graphic-300x200If you've read any of my blog post you will notice a trend. I am not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination. I LOVE food, recipes, fine dining & all the foodie aspects of eating. However I absolutely lack the patience & skills to put together a fancy feast every night of the week. Instead I want to eat simple meals that I enjoy, are nutritious, satisfy my taste buds & don't stress me out to prepare.funny-cooking-quotesWhen going through my weekly meal planning routine I also look for versatility so we aren't locked into eating the exact same combo day in & day out. As I quickly noticed by the 4th day in a row of chicken, broccoli & brown rice, I am much more likely to suggest grabbing take out instead of the prepared food in the fridge. This is where I've found a basic slow cooker style chicken breast to be the perfect go to protein to incorporate into any meal. Also let's be real, who enjoys being very hands on cooking chicken? After being a vegetarian for almost 10 years (a topic for another day) I struggle to handle meat to intimately. Any options of from package to slow cooker with not handling in between is a win for me!These are a few super simple crockpot recipes to try out:2015-05-04 09.39.27

  • Salsa or Salsa Verde Chicken

Ingredients:

- 2lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (or thighs, I just prefer white meat)

- 2 Jars Favorite Salsa

- I added a tbsp of onion powder, minced garlic & cumin. Can omit if not on hand.

Cooking Methods:

1. Add chicken & salsa to slow cooker.

2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 4-6 hours until cooked through.

3. Remove from slow cooker & shred with forks. Add back to slow cooker with sauce.

2015-05-04 16.48.40Favorite Uses:

Fajitas - saute onions, peppers & other vegetables. Add in chicken & serve atop a salad, lettuce or in a corn tortilla.

Rice Bowl - I love this chicken with the extra sauce atop a burrito style rice bowl. A simple layer of rice, black beans & chicken is quite hearty served with a basic side salad. Or as I usually do throw it all in a bowl with a dollup of plain greek yogurt on top!

Tacos - try a lettuce wrap or corn tortilla with a flavorful lime cabbage slaw (shredded cabbage, salt, pepper & lime juice) with diced tomato & sliced avocado.

2015-04-27 13.15.35

  • Basic Versatile Slow Cooker Chicken 

2015-04-27 12.53.37Ingredients:

- 2lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (or thighs, I just prefer white meat)

- 1tsp of salt & pepper.

- Splash of chicken stock or water, enough to line the bottom.

- I sometimes add 1/2 tsp of garlic powder & oregano if I'm feeling frisky.

Random veggies & chicken topped with eggs. Done & done!

Random veggies & chicken topped with eggs. Done & done!

Cooking Methods:

1. Add chicken, stock, s&p to slow cooker.

2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 4-6 hours until cooked through.

3. Remove from slow cooker & shred with forks. Add back to slow cooker with juices if desired. I usually shred the chicken & add a few splashes of fresh stock to maintain moisture.

Asian stir fry of chicken, frozen veggie mix, leftover asparagus, tamari & cashews.

Asian stir fry of chicken, frozen veggie mix, leftover asparagus, tamari & cashews.

Favorite Uses:

Salads - Combos I love include:

- Spinach, chicken, feta, strawberries, walnuts & balsamic dressing.

- Cobb style chicken, hard boiled egg, gorgonzola, tomato & mustard vinaigrette.

Quesadilla, Tacos or Fajitas - to make a healthy meal balance the amount of fat, carb, vegetables & protein. Choose one carbohydrate source, aka either rice or a corn tortilla. Choose one serving of healthy fat, aka avocado or cheese (or 1/2 serving of each) & load up on lots of vegetables with the protein rich chicken.

Asian Stir Fry - any vegetables, rice if desired, tamari or stir fry sauce you enjoy (check ingredients). I love fibrous broccoli, cabbage & snap peas for a great mix of texture in this dish.

Omelets - fill up a an omelet with some extra protein! I love chicken, sundried tomato, spinach, basil & feta all sandwiched between a couple egg omelet. This is sure to hold you over all morning.

Other great ways to use: as a simple protein snack with cheese, a meat + 3 combo including your favorite healthy sides of sweet potato, asparagus or whatever floats your boat, add to a sauce to top pasta or zoodles & so many more!

2015-05-27 14.12.24-1

Chicken lettuce cups w/ avocado, tomato & spicy yogurt sauce.

What's your favorite slow cooker hack to have healthy meals all week?

Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Recipes Uncategorized

Quick Fix MealsWhether you love spending hours in the kitchen or are more the take out type, after a long work day it's easy to fall prey to unhealthy habits when short on time & high on hunger. Even on my most motivated days, by 8pm I don't have the patience or focus to care about the nutritional quality of my meals when I can't think over a rumbling belly. That's why I have learned through many mishaps, that I can save myself the stress & regret by having quick fix staple meals on hand. By keeping a few quick fix items on hand I can easily have a healthy & delicious meal on the table in 20 minutes or less. Here are just a few of my go to foods that helps to keep my actions in line with my goals:

Frozen Salmon w/ Mustard Glaze + Broccoli. All from the freezer & tossed in the oven.

Frozen Salmon w/ Mustard Glaze + Broccoli. All from the freezer & tossed in the oven.

Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potatoes: This is a super simple combo that is my go to when I need a dinner that is hands off cooking. I love being able to take it straight from the freezer to the oven so it cooks while I shower. By the time I have cleaned up it's ready for me to sit down & enjoy. This is also just the general idea of throwing together any protein + starch + vegetable together to make a well rounded meal. Make sure you have some source of healthy fat, whether it's the protein (beef/salmon), olive oil or other added quality ingredient.My quick fix cheats:- Frozen Salmon Filets: These need no defrosting & cook in around 20 minutes. We buy these from Whole Foods to make sure they are from a sustainable source.- Par-cooked Sweet Potatoes: I wash & put these in the microwave for 3-4 minutes before tossing in oven to cut the cook time but still get the roasted taste & texture.- Frozen Broccoli: Even if I run out of fresh produce, I always keep frozen on hand to round out a meal.My methods:1. Flip the stove on 450 degrees & grab a sheet tray plus aluminum foil for easy clean up.2. Wash sweet potato, stab with fork & wrap in wet paper towel to microwave while assembling the rest.3. Spray sheet tray with aluminum foil & place salmon & frozen broccoli on. Season as desired!4. Add sweet potato to tray & toss in the oven.5. Set the time & I am off to shower within 5 minutes of walking through the door.
Broccoli + Eggs + Squash

Broccoli + Eggs + Squash

Breakfast for Dinner: As long as eggs are on hand I can never say "we have nothing to eat". Eggs are an egg-cellent healthy balanced option to avoid the drive through & enjoy a hot meal in minutes.A few egg ideas:Omelets: toss in veggies, herbs, cheese, leftover meat or whatever is on hand! I love a spinach, tomato & feta combination personally but anything will work. And yes, please keep the yolk!!Scramble: This = hi my name is Emma & I am hungry/lazy. Same general principal as an omelet but scrambled for a quicker preparation.Top it with an Egg: Throw an egg on any mix of vegetables & you have a delicious meal with a built in sauce. I love taking kale, leftover roasted sweet potato, goat cheese & topping it with an egg.Sides: I like have a multiple component meal so I often pair my omelet or scramble w/ fruit, bacon, toast or any other on hand items that sounds appealing. PS I keep frozen GF bread in the freezer to easily pull out one piece, toast & enjoy. No worries of it going bad or not having on hand for the occasional enjoyment.
Rotisserie Chicken w/ Quickly Sauteed Kale & Root Veggies.

Rotisserie Chicken w/ Quickly Sauteed Kale & Root Veggies.

Rotisserie Chicken Dinner: This is just as easy to grab on the way home as take out! Not to mention cheaper, healthier & fits your goals. Win-win! This is another easy to pair combo with anything you have on hand.Here are a few different ways to use:Throw in the breakfast for dinner concept is an easy one.Meat + Veggies + Carbs = Heat up your frozen broccoli & steam in a bag brown rice for a super clean dinner made in 3 minutes. Other easy items: green beans, asparagus & sweet potatoes can all be quickly cooked up & pair well with a basic rotisserie chicken. I will add a clean ingredient bbq sauce or mustard for added flavor.Salad Topper - Have veggies in the fridge that need to be used up? I follow my standard not another boring salad formula which is:
  • Base - favorite greens depending on texture preferences. Herbs are also a great addition here.
  • Veggies - I like a mix of textures & temperatures such as crunchy carrots + sauteed squash
  • Protein - chicken in this case but can be anything you enjoy. I love adding hard boiled eggs!
  • Healthy Fats (or flavor add ins) - I usually stick to a serving or split that serving among a few different ingredients. Examples include: cheese, nuts, seeds & avocado.
  • Starch - For a lunch salad I usually skip the added carbohydrates but do enjoy the addition for dinner. Try any bean, fruit or grain you enjoy & your body can digest well. I enjoy added apple or chickpeas or even hummus to my salads.
  • Dressing - I stick to mostly vinaigrette's & love making them my own by keeping staple items in the pantry. Make it fun by using ingredients such as mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic & more to the basic olive oil/vinegar mix.  This takes 1 minute to whisk together but yes I do keep a few healthy pre-made dressings on hand.
Canned Salmon w/ Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower.

Canned Salmon w/ Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower.

Canned Salmon, Tuna & More: This may not appeal to everyone but I really enjoy canned salmon. Besides being healthy it's shelf stable, therefore I can always have it on hand. We keep a can of tuna (hubby's preference) & salmon (my preference) in the cupboards at all times to make sure we skip the fast food.Salmon or Tuna:
  • Add lemon juice, dijon mustard, jarred olives, salt & pepper for a flavorful bite.
  • Another combo for the creamy fans can be using plain greek mustard or a tbsp of REAL mayo to the mix. Add in any crunchy veggies such as carrots, celery, onion or heck pickles. Whatever floats your boat!
Not to sound redundant but this is also where I pair quick cook veggies such as asparagus or frozen such as broccoli to the meal. This is all about keeping ready to eat items on hand to excuse proof your success!
2015-06-02 18.38.30

Leftover pork tenderloin from freezer, microwaved sweet potato w/ cinnamon & quickly sauteed frozen veggies.

Random veggies topped with eggs. Done & done!

Random veggies topped with eggs. Done & done!

Asian stir fry of chicken, frozen veggie mix, leftover asparagus, tamari & cashews.

Asian stir fry of chicken, frozen veggie mix, leftover asparagus, tamari & cashews.

Conclusion: There are plenty of other quick fix meals to have on hand for those late, tired or unplanned evenings. My game changer was finally realizing that not every meal needs to be a restaurant quality full scale event. Simple is not only easy but often pretty dang delicious! When trying to improve your eating habits, I find it overwhelming to attempt to put a fancy dinner on the table every single night. Not to mention clean up the dishes afterward. Keep basic staples on hand to set yourself up for simplistic success & reduce the barriers to creating the habits you are reaching for.What's your favorite throw together meals?