Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Perfect for a snack, pre or post workout, or even breakfast (though personally I would need something a bit more filling).

Goodies required:

  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter, or nut butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Handful of ice – for thickening the smoothie
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds (optional)

Blend all of it together! Put the liquid and softer items at the bottom so that it blends together better.

Both seeds I listed are optional, however both have great nutritional contents so, why not add them? The same goes for the spinach; trust me, the first time someone suggest to me to put spinach in a smoothie I thought, ew! Would it even blend up? That would have to taste awful.  But in reality, you can’t taste it since there’s so much fruit in it – even it does alter the color a bit.  Give it a try, what’s the worst that could happen?! 🙂

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Who says making quiche is hard?

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My favorite food is breakfast. Or even better, brunch.  I don’t know what it is about these delectable foods that we get to consume in the AM that I love so much, but I do.  Quiche however, is an exception.  You can have quiche with literally any meal.  Breakfast? Yes. Brunch? Aww yea! Dinner? Oh, why yes you can. Snack time? Don’t mind if I do.  Pair your quiche with a salad and some balsamic vinegar and you’ve got a fantastic meal.

Unfortunately though, there’s this illusion that quiche is hard to make.  I’m here to tell you on the contrary, quiche is quite simple to make.  You can make it as a big quiche for everyone to share, or in muffin tins so everyone can just grab their own.  Honestly, I prefer mini quiches.. Probably because they’re just so darn cute. But also, you don’t have to make the entire batch the same.  Which would be especially useful if you had a vegetarian friend coming over, but you would personally like some ham or sausage in yours.

All right, all right.. I’ll stop blabbing on now.

What you’ll need:

*The veggies you put in is going to depend on what kind of quiche you want to make! The one below is just for spinach and mushroom. You can easily add cherry tomatoes, peppers (aka capsicum), onion, artichoke, etc.  With all of these I would do about about 1 cup.

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 8 oz (or 1-2 cups) baby-bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (optional)
  • Splash of milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp basil and/or oregano (optional)

Steps:

  • Preheat to 375F/190C
  • Sautee mushroom
  • Using about medium heat, cook the spinach until wilted

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  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Lightly spray pan with cooking spray (or put liners in)
  • Fill about 3/4 full

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes

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If you would prefer to do these in a bigger dish, you don’t have the change anything for the recipe, only add about 10 minutes to the cook time.  Use the toothpick trick to check if it’s done.

Spinach-Turkey Meatballs

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you truly must!  And for those of you who have; you know just as well as I do how amaze-balls (yes, I went there) spag squash is.  What’s so great is you just have to slice it in half, scoop out the guts, and then bake it face down in the pan for about 1 hour.  You then scoop it out, and can serve it virtually any way you want.  It really takes on whatever seasoning or flavors you put in it.  I usually go for either pesto or a tomato sauce, but the possibilities don’t end there.

This recipe is for spinach-turkey balls, which I paired with spaghetti squash (see, my rant wasn’t completely pointless) and a homemade tomato sauce.  I really love these meatballs, however, since making them the first time I found that they could have some more flavor, so I added sauteed fresh basil & some minced garlic in with them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground lean turkey OR chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 tsps garlic powder (or a little more for flavor)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup wholewheat bread crumbs
  • 1 splash almond milk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375F or 190C
  • Mix chopped spinach, diced onion, egg, cheese (if using), and milk until a paste forms.
  • Add meat, and then fold in the remaining ingredients.

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  • Roll into 1-2inch balls and place on baking sheet with parchment paper for an easy clean up (or lightly grease the pan)

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown

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IDEA: If you wanted to make a burger rather than meatballs – you could easily just form these into a patty instead, and either bake them or cook them in the oven.

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I sauteed veggies to go along with it, and made homemade tomato suace; it was a big hit even for my friends and family who typically scoff at my “healthy” alternatives and such.

 

Grinch Fruit Kebabs

I found this idea on Pinterest, so I unfortunately can’t take the credit for these cuties.  Over the holidays I saw several different versions: some opting out of the banana altogether.  Another (which I think is my favorite) was chopping just a little bit of the grape off so that it could stand on it’s own – so then they’re standing upright on the plate.  I believe next year that’s how I will make these.  They were just so easy to put together, and I actually had majority of the ingredients. 

 

HO HO HOpe everyone enjoyed this Holiday season! Now, I’m ready to start the new year!

 

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Chocolate-Avocado Muffins

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I don’t know about you, but even though I eat clean, does NOT mean I don’t have a sweet tooth. And because of this, in order to refrain from having guilty pleasures ohh I don’t know..everyyyday: I find healthy alternatives to foods that usually would blow my diet completely out of whack.  (Also, can I just say that when I use the word ‘diet’ I mean it by the kinds of foods that I habitually eat – rather than a ‘restricted’ food list).  I’d apologize about stepping onto my soapbox buuut, I’m actually not sorry 😉

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup Wholewheat OR wholemeal flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or agave nectar 
  • 3/4 cup almond/coconut/OR soy milk (your preference)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa or cacao (preferably dark)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

OPTIONAL:

  • 1/2 cup (dark) chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc)

 

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Mix avocado, oil, vanilla together in food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Gradually add the rest of the dry ingredients, adding milk as you go so that it makes them easier to mix

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  • Put in muffin tins, or even do in a bread loaf if you prefer
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean
  • Now.. ENJOY YOUR SCRUMPTIOUS AND HEALTHY MUFFINS 🙂

 

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Oh, and if you’re wondering if you can taste the avo; no, no you can’t. So enjoy those extra nutrients in your muffins without having to suffer through an avo (though, avocados are lovely anyway!)

Aloe Vera Benefits for Skin

Hi there!

It’s been a little bit since I posted about how to make aloe vera juice, and I really want to elaborate about the health benefits of aloe.  

Aloe is a superfood when you consume it; aiding in digestion, immune system, and even weight loss.  In addition to this, it’s amazing for your skin.  Yes, yes, yes – we’ve all bought the crap in the bottle when we are sunburnt to a crisp.  HOWEVER, sunburn is only one of the many ways aloe can be used.  Aloe vera has been used for more than 5,000 years – to the Egyptian times.  Aloe vera has been used to treat burns (not just sunburn!), cuts, eczema, psoriasis, and even acne. Yes, ACNE.  

I’ve always struggled a bit with acne.  I’ve never had very problematic acne, however I’ve never had a very clear face, and though I had to admit it, I get the few random pimples on my back, and chest, and worst of all.. arm pits!  A little over a month ago I started breaking out really bad in my underarms, due to a few different reasons.  With all of the lifting I’ve done over the past 6 months, my body has changed.  A lot of my shirts no longer fit; they’re so tight on my arms that the seam is right in my arm pit — causing an acne-like rash.  My sports bras were not helping this matter either, in fact they were just making it worse.  I became so self conscious of it that I wouldn’t wear a tank top to the gym like I typically would.  In addition to feeling like a hideous creature from this rash, it hurt.. and it hurt bad.

For weeks I had tried everything; various dermalogica (which is what I typically use on my face since I have extremely sensitive skin) products, scrubs, astringent, masks, toothpaste, the list could go on and on.  I tried different variations of all of these products and nothing worked, I wasn’t getting ANY relief. So after no prevail, I decided to use the aloe on my skin as well.  I put it on my face, neck, chest, and underarms twice a day.  

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When I say that after one day I could already tell a difference, I’m not kidding.  I couldn’t believe it.  After a week of using aloe vera the rash in my underarms was gone, and my face was very clear.  My face was not only clear, but very soft as well.  Last week I was told that I have such a good complexion.. I was in shock, I’ve NEVER been told that before.  

After using aloe vera on my skin I feel so much better about myself.  I’ve never been one to wear very much makeup, however I nearly always put at least a little foundation on the “problem spots,” even though the makeup is one of the things that makes me breakout in the first place. Now, I rarely use any foundation (except for maybe for the big, dark spots under my eyes) because my face is that clear!   

We spend so much money on all of these “beauty” products that are full of all kinds of garbage that aren’t good for your body.  We spend all of this money on beauty products that sometimes, and when I say sometimes I mean most of the time, don’t even work.  So then we spend more money buying other products to cover up blemishes, etc.. Where is the logic in this?! Simple answer, there is none.

Food for thought: When you put lotion on, your skin soaks it.  Have you ever thought of where it’s going? It’s absorbed into your skin, and goes into your body; to your blood, organs, etc.  Now, have you ever really taken the time to look at the ingredients in your lotion? I encourage you to take a look at it, and google the ingredients that you aren’t familiar with.  Are they ingredients you would want to eat? No? You wouldn’t want to consume these ingredients? Then why are you putting them on your skin, to be absorbed into your body.. just as if you ate it. Gross, right?

Busy bee

My mom has always called me a busy bee, and I guess it really is true.  I tend to keep myself extremely busy with work, school, gym, cooking, errands, trying to have a bit of life.. You know how it is!

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Fortunately, this fall semester is coming to a close in just about a week now, so I’m going to have a little bit more free time on my hands.  Which means more time to make posts on here!  There are so many recipes that I’m eager to share.   There are also many topics that I want to discuss, such as the benefits of lots of foods, plants, herbs, etc.  I want to address some questions that I’ve had, that some of you may have, such as: what is an omega-3, fatty acid, Do I need them, and if so why, and where can I get it?  Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K? Iron? Potassium? Is all saturated fat, bad fat?

I think one of the reasons I love health and nutrition so much is I’m constantly learning, and trying new things.  The biggest problem we have as a whole, is we simply don’t know what it is that our bodies need.  Hopefully that’s where I can come in 🙂