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Recipes

Fiesta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It is finally starting to feel like fall and with it comes some of my favorite foods!  This is the only time of the year when beautiful orange winter squashes and sweet potatoes are in abundance.  We got our first round of sweet potatoes in our crop share basket this week so I wanted to try doing something different with them.  I love how versatile sweet potatoes.  Some of our favorite ways to eat them are mashed, as fries, cubed, hash browned, and baked.  However, I wanted to try something that would be more filling as an entree instead of just a side dish.  That's how these fiesta stuff sweet potatoes were born.  Maybe you can tell from the Italian Stuffed Pepper recipe, butstuffed sweet potatoes 002 a common meal at our house are stuffing whatever vegetable is in season with whatever meat you have and it is always surprisingly delicious.  Besides sweet potatoes and peppers, zucchini, acorn squash, and butternut squash are some of our favorite things to eat this way. 


On to the recipe.  This is very easy to prep ahead and reheat and depending on the type of meat and spices you use can be adapted to your family's style. 

Fiesta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 8 - 1/2 sweet potato portions

Serves: 4-8

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 diced onion
  • Spinach or other green
  • Seasonings to taste (for a Mexican flair, I used chili powder, garlic, and little cumin)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Avocado and cilantro (as a topping)

What to do:

Bake sweet potatoes at 400 for 1 hr.  While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef and add onion once beef is almost cooked through.  Add in desired spices and greens until the greens are cooked down and the taste is to your liking.  Once the sweet potatoes are done, slice in half length wise and using a fork push the flesh of the sweet potato down as much as you can.  Scoop a healthy amount of the beef mixture onto the sweet potato.  Return to oven (or reheat later) at 350 for 10 minutes.  Top with avocado and cilantro when serving.

Three Days Worth of Nutritious Meals in 2 Hours

One of the most common questions that I get is, how is it possible to actually eat only real, unprocessed foods, in the midst of the busyness of life? My response is that it takes preparation! It is very possible to eat real food without it feeling like it is taking over your life but it does take some time to figure out a routine that will work for you and your family and it definitely takes planning ahead.

My typical week involves grocery shopping once per week and two days (usually Saturday or Sunday and Wednesday) spent preparing food to have meals ready for the next 3 or so days for two people. That way, besides those concentrated times where I am in the kitchen, I do not feel like a slave to the kitchen the rest of the week or dread it being the end of the day and not knowing what we will have for dinner.

batch cookin 001

Here is what went down in that two hour cooking session this past weekend.

What I made:

What will this give us?

The egg casserole yields 6 healthy servings so this is our breakfast for 3 days. We will have 2-3 meals out of the soup for dinners or easy lunches packed in thermoses. The extra veggies and sausages will make out the rest of our meals and can be heated up simply as is or used in stir fry’s or curries to provide some variation but still quick meals.

What I did:

I begin by preheating the oven and prepping my veggies for the egg casserole. I toss this together and throw it in to bake at 350 for 40 minutes. While the egg casserole is cooking I get the soup going. I already had shredded chicken and broth from dinner the night before (a great thing to make in the crock pot the night before food prep to have on hand!) Instead of roasting the veggies like she suggests in the recipe link, I simply throw them in the stock pot with the broth and let them cook in there.

Now we have the egg casserole in the oven with about 15 minutes left and soup simmering on the stove. Next I prep veggies that I want for the week. On one baking sheet I did cubed butternut squash, on another other I roasted a mixture of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and onions. The egg casserole timer dings and I take that out. Bump the temperature up to 425 to roast the vegetables and throw both pans of veggies in at 425 and set the timer for 30 minutes.

The egg casserole is done and cooling, the soup is simmering on the stove and the veggies are in the oven. All that’s left is the Italian sausages. I quickly mix the ingredients together for those and cook them on a cast iron pan. The sausages are finishing just as the veggies are beeping. The veggies aren’t quite done yet so I set the timer for five more minutes and take the sausages off of the pan. Next the veggies come out and begin cooling. This gives me a chance to get back to the simmering soup. Per the recipe, some of veggies in the soup are pureed while the others are left whole so I use a ladle to scoop a 4-5 ladles worth of soup into the blender and blend until pureed. I throw the puree back in with the rest of the soup and add the spinach until the spinach is wilted and everything is blended together.

OK! You did it! This is the final stage now that everything is cooked and just needs to be packaged up for easy meals. I slice the egg casserole into 6 pieces and place into separate containers for easy to heat up meals in the morning. I put the sausage in one container to simply grab and reheat as needed. I put the roasted veggies in a few containers depending on what I have on hand (sometimes individual containers are nice to be throw into quick lunches to go). The soup gets stored in a big glass bowl in the fridge for easy stove top reheating.

Whew! Did I mention that this was also a good workout? You are so close at this point, just the clean up remains. Maybe you can recruit a willing child or spouse to help you out with this part but in my experience, it’s best to just tackle it right away to get that full feeling of accomplishment, instead of letting it wait for later and get harder to clean.

Now you can relax in knowing that you have several nutritious meals packaged up and ready to go for the next few days! Now you can get a few extra minutes of precious sleep in the morning and you will certainly avoid the fast food line at dinner!

 

Article by: Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP

Healthy Game Day Snack Option: Eggplant Pizzas

Fall is coming and football season is now in full swing. Along with it comes the desire for fried chicken wings, pizza, and an abundance of chips.   Instead of turning to these processed, fake foods that will leave you feeling lethargic Monday morning, these Egg Plant Pizza’s are a great real food alternative that will satisfy the junk food craving in the football fans in our lives, without leaving the unpleasant side avocado brownies and egg plant pizza 019effects.

Mini Egg Plant Pizza’s

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg plant (the wider the better for a bigger “crust”)
  • Pizza sauce (homemade of look for one with only real food ingredients and no sugar)
  • Cheese, preferably raw and organic (we LOVED the smoked cheddar on the ones pictured)
  • Optional toppings (uncured pepperoni, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc)

Directions:

Slice egg plant into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices. Lay slices in a single layer on top of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant slices generously with sea salt and let sit for 30-60 minutes. This step is VERY important to remove moisture from your eggplant, otherwise they will be soggy. After 30-60 minutes, blot egg plant with towels to remove excess water. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Once cooked, top egg plant slices with pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings as desired.   Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes. Check every couple of minutes to avoid burning. Enjoy!

 

Article by: Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP

Healthy Food Prep Tip for the Week: Make a Giant Salad!

Giant SaladI must admit, that while I try my best to eat healthy, one of the hardest obstacles is having food prepped and ready to go. Oftentimes I find that I have about 45 seconds left to pack a lunch in the morning before work. Other days, my husband gets home from work after his long commute, and is famished when dinner is not quite ready. Having a ready made option in the fridge during times like these is a lifesaver!

I find that our healthy diet stays on track so much better when I have at least 1 bulk made dish prepped and ready to go to supplement the other food that we eat!

Last week, this item was… The Giant Salad!!

Ingredients for Salad

2 Large Heads of Romaine Lettuce (washed, dried, chopped)

2 Large Avocados (diced)

5 Slices of farm fresh bacon (cooked and diced)

Chicken (I used the leftover shredded meat from a half chicken that we cooked the day before)

2-3 Tomatoes (diced)

4 Hard Boiled Eggs (peeled and diced)

 

Ingredients for dressing (Homemade Honeymustard)

1/4 Cup Apple Cider or White Vinegar (I used champagne vinegar) or juice from a lemon or lime

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

2 Teaspoons Honey

1 Teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

All I did was prep and chop all of the ingredients, and toss them in the largest glass bowl that I own. I love the large bowl from this set that is 4.5 quarts and has a lid.  I use this separate container to make and mix my salad dressing so that the salad doesn’t get soggy. That way I can add as much as I’d like when I am ready to have some salad. Making my own salad dressing allows me to avoid the unhealthy processed ingredients in most store bought dressings. The dressing container that I linked to even has the recipe and fill lines for honey mustard and a few other dressings right on the side of the container.

The possibilities for a salad like this are endless! You can try different forms of protein (steak would be delicious!). If you want to add some crunch, try adding whatever nuts you like. Some other vegetable options are zucchini, cucumber, olives, sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, etc. You can mix up the greens by trying spinach, kale, or other leafy greens. If you don’t do well with cheese or eggs simply leave these ingredients out and add some others! The proportions listed above were simply what I did, but use whatever you have and whatever you like! The beauty of something like this is that you really can’t screw it up, and you can make it different every time you make it!

Good luck, be creative, and enjoy!

Brunch Worthy Egg Casserole

A Nutritious Breakfast for Hectic Mornings

This is a go to recipe for us for either easy make ahead weekday breakfasts or a dish to share at a breakfast event. In fact, a variation of this recipe appeared at Dr. Jamie’s recent baby shower brunch! The ingredients are basic and versatile depending on what you hSummer 15 croppedFreeze individual portions for a quick grab and go breakfast!ave and what you like. It also reheats beautifully for great leftovers and can be frozen in slices for future use (see picture).

 

Simple Egg Casserole

 Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

12 Eggs (preferable organic and free range)

*2-4 vegetables of choice (greens, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, sweet potato, or any other vegetable)

Breakfast meat -bacon, ham, or sausage (Optional)

Seasonings of choice

Salt and Pepper to taste

*tip- Use a lot of vegetables and Meat! The layer in your 9x13 dish should be at least an inch thick. Remember, this is feeding 6-8 servings of people. The higher your ratio of yummy toppings to eggs, the less likely the casserole is to have that "bouncy" egg consistency. 

For example, the picture contains one 5 oz package of kale, 1 large sweet potato, 2 onions.  Another combination we enjoy is 1 medium sized zucchini, 2 bell peppers, and an 8 oz package of sliced mushrooms.

 

Directions

If using meat, cook and remove from pan. Sauté vegetables together until soft. In a large bowl mix meat, vegetables, and a dozen cracked eggs. Add in desired seasonings. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish.   Cook at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove when eggs are cooked through.

 

Italian Stuffed Peppers

You know those nights when you are staring into your fridge looking at the hodge podge of food trying to figure out how to puSummer 15 002t them all together to make dinner? This recipe was inspired by one of those nights. You can substitute or add almost any vegetable depending on what you have and what’s in season – shredded carrots, zucchini, mushrooms would be great! My husband commented that this was one of the best things he’d ever had, so I had to share! The peppers reheat really well and make great leftovers. Enjoy!

 

Yield: 8 half pepper servings

Serves:4

Ingredients:

4 bell peppers – seeded and sliced in half

1 lb ground beef (sustainably raised and grass fed is best)

1 head cauliflower shredded or “riced” in food processor

2 cups tomato sauce

1-2 tbsp of coconut oil, lard, bacon grease or other good cooking fat

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Italian seasonings (Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme)

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Directions

 

Sautee onion and garlic in the fat until soft. Add ground beef and brown with the onions and garlic. Add cauliflower, tomato sauce, and spices to mixture. Let simmer together for 10-15 minutes. While that is cooking is a great time to prep the peppers. Lay your peppers out on in glass dish (9x13 works great) and fill generously with filling. You can top with cheese or extra tomato sauce if desired.

 

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.