Posts Tagged ‘ways to keep new years resolutions’

Red Lentil Soup

How’s the weather where you are?

 

Is it still cold?

 

The beginning of March in NYC still has a little bite in the air even though the end of February gave us a nice glimpse into spring weather last week.

So if you’re still stuck in winter weather like me, I have just the thing. If not, just pretend you’re in your sleeping bag jacket and in desperate need of a recipe that will warm up what my dad calls “your kishkes” (or to the rest of us, your soul).

 

How does red lentil soup sound? My recipe is perfect for when you’re craving something hearty and comforting yet nutritious.

 

This soup has 6 ingredients and has convinced even the biggest lentil naysayers that these pink-hued legumes can taste so freaking good. Bonus? It takes less than an hour to make and requires minimal cleanup as it is a one-pot recipe.

The combination of simple ingredients that this soup calls for consists of things that are often hanging around in my fridge and pantry, allowing me to whip it up on a whim. Plus, this soup reheats up beautifully and the lentils provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber, making it a perfect dish to have for lunch or a light dinner throughout the week.

Anything that is this delicious, super heart healthy, easy to make, and hits the spot on a cozy winter day gets an A+ in my book.

 

Red Lentil Soup
Red Lentil Soup Author: Michele Wolfson
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb red lentils, picked over and rinsed very well
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 8 cups stock or water
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the lentils very well until the water runs clear.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot and sauté onions and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Add tomato sauce then add vegetable stock and the lentils. Stir well.
  4. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
  5. Serve hot. Delicious!

 

Butternut Squash Lentil Tacos

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Happy 2017!

I don’t know about you, but I spent the holiday season indulging a bit more than usual.

It’s the time of year when I find it hardest to turn down perfectly baked Christmas cookies and red wine while I cozy up by a fireplace.

I spent a week in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with my sister-in-law’s family the week before Christmas and Chanukah. To say it was delightful would be an understatement.

FullSizeRender.jpg I cooked almost every meal for 11 adults and 2 children and I didn’t hold back on the heavy cream or decadent cheeses.

While I’m not big on skiing, I love the culture around the sport. Meaning I thrive at sipping on hot cocoa or coming in from the cold for a big bowl of chili, and if I am very lucky, taking a dip in the hot tub to help relax the muscles.

I skied a total of one half day the entire trip, but partook in all the other activities like a boss.

FullSizeRender.jpg-6 The holidays are now over and reality has set in, which isn’t a bad thing.

I am not going to come at you with any New Year’s Eve clichés, but I thought it would be wise to post a recipe that you may want to make when you’re feeling kind of lazy, looking to stay on a budget, and want to eat a delicious, healthy dish. 

Here’s a little tip from me to you: MEAL PREPPING AHEAD OF TIME IS WHERE IT IS AT MY FRIEND! Planning what I am going to eat for the week and chopping ingredients in advance has saved me SO much time, money and stress in the long run. It’s simple- Meal planning makes cooking more enjoyable.

FullSizeRender.jpg-4 Anyone who knows me can tell you that I love going to restaurants, but it’s usually not cost effective. The urge to dine out is tempting since I live in Manhattan which is arguably the food capital of the world.

IMG_6477 Not only is eating at a restaurant expensive, there is a good chance that there are hidden calories laced into every scrumptious bite.

Also, when I spent that week in December with my two adorable nephews who are 2.5 and 8 months old, I realized that eating at home is much preferable for many families because… have you ever been at a restaurant with a toddler and a baby? Suddenly the idea of cooking even for 13 people for the week became tremendously more appealing.

I love the results that staying home and cooking new dishes has had on my skillz. The more I cook, the more I enjoy figuring out which meals scale easily and can be prepped in advance to accommodate various diets and food allergies.

FullSizeRender.jpg-7 FullSizeRender.jpg-5 The recipe I am sharing today is the perfect meal post-holidays when it’s time to put down the hollandaise, renew your gym membership, and make healthier choices. Aside from being vegan, this dish is easy to make and Sam and I LOVE the way it tastes! It is so versatile that it started off as a dish on it’s own, but then one day I had corn tortillas on hand, so I turned this meal into lentil tacos. Hello new taco Tuesday recipe!

IMG_6460 I am also going to give you another little tip to make this recipe 100 x easier: If you don’t have the time to do your prep work in advance, buy your butternut squash pre-cubed at the grocery store. You will kiss yourself later for spending the few extra shekels and ultimately saving yourself a little time and effort.

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Eating the filling on it’s own with baked tofu + cabbage soup is another great dinner option!

Butternut Squash Lentil Tacos
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs medium butternut squash (I used pre-sliced butternut from Whole Foods), peeled and sliced into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup black lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • 8 corn tortillas (certified gluten free if necessary)
  • Optional garnishes: shredded lettuce and guacamole
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
  2. To roast the squash: On your prepared baking sheet, toss the cubed butternut in enough olive oil to lightly coat all sides, about 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the butternut in a single layer. Bake until the butternut is tender throughout and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway.
  3. Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
  4. Combine lentils, butternut squash, goat cheese, if using.
  5. To warm the tortillas: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm each tortilla on both sides before transferring to a plate and covering with a lint-free towel to keep warm. Repeat with each tortilla, stacking each warmed tortilla on the last.
  6. To assemble the tacos, spoon an ample amount of filling down the center of your taco, top a spoonful of guacamole down the side. Top with garnishes of your choice and serve immediately.

Simple guacamole (double if you love guac!)
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes (optional)
  • Pinch of salt, more to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the diced avocado, lime juice, tomatoes and salt. Mash with a fork until the mixture is blended and no longer chunky. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.

May’s Meal Delivery Calendar

April showers seem to be still with us in May, but at LEAST May has bought us…

The Dirt on Vegetable’s “4 x 4 Meal Delivery Calendar.”

Spring has sprung, which means summer is right around the corner. Are YOU ready?

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I want you to feel great in your shorts, bathing suits, and sundresses, so let me pitch in and help you towards that goal. Sign up for my meal delivery service here in Manhattan’s Financial District so you can get four meals a week that are designed to be consumed at your convenience during the week. These meals are perfect for either lunch at the office or for dinner after a long day’s work. We are already approaching week two, but it’s not too late to sign up!

Here is the cost break down for the rest of the month:

3-Week Program: $195

2-Week Program: $140

1-Week Program: $75

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The meals are plant-based, health supportive, and SO delicious. It feels almost impossible to eat nutritious and tasty meals on a regular basis with our crazy, hectic schedules, but the meal plan will have you eating dishes that do not contain any refined carbs, sugars, dairy, and meat.

by maple gioga

You have more than enough on your plate (no pun intended), so let me plan your meals and help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Spinflower Soup

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I have been craving a soup that seems creamy, but doesn’t actually have any cream. You know what I mean? Like when you want to fit into your skinny jeans, but you don’t actually want to put in the effort of going outside, heading over to the gym, and then getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes. I was starting to think that my desire for a healthy soup that would taste unhealthy wasn’t going to be possible. My husband often tells me that I am a skinny girl on the outside with the thoughts of a very large (and in charge) person on the inside.

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Whenever my refrigerator is filled with produce that will go bad in a few days, my mind goes to combining all of these extra ingredients and making a scrumptious soup. This dish is easy to make a delicious lunch or light dinner. You can replace the cauliflower with broccoli rabe if you want a super green soup. I added the superfood spinach at the end to wilt.

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If you have an immersion blender, you are going to want to cook this soup in a nice, deep pot. Turn your heat way down, put your immersion blender all the way to the bottom of the pot, and stand back a little so you don’t get splattered. Then, just start whizzing that up and you have your healthy, vegan, no-cream creamy soup all ready to roll! If you do not have an immersion blender, you can just blend this soup in batches. I used my vitamix (a chef’s best friend) and the soup came to a perfect texture. My husband likes to add some grated parmesan cheese on top, which is over-the-top delicious, but I keep mine vegan and I love it just the same.

Spinflower Soup
Adapted mostly from Rachael Ray's Spinoccoli Soup
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (omit butter and use more olive oil if vegan)
  • 2 leeks, whites and light green tops, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, small cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 10 ounces spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful basil, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add butter and melt; when it foams, add leeks and garlic, and stir 2 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and cover to sweat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add stock and bring to boil. Wilt in the spinach, then throw in the shredded basil and then blend with an immersion blender or purée in batches in a vitamix, blender, or food processor. You can add a cup of water if soup is too thick. Adjust seasoning.

 

Tomato Series, Part 1: Barley & Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Hello, readers! I bet you are wondering where the heck have I been… And if you weren’t, I will tell you anyway. On Sunday, August 9th I married my fella of seven years. Tying the knot was everything I pictured it to be and even more. It truly was the best day of my life.

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All the planning and prepping was pretty time consuming, but I am back and better than ever with some new and awesome stuff.

Wedding planning and working to get slim and trim inspired me to prepare healthy meals ahead of time on Sundays or Mondays so I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat when I would come home starving after a long day of work. It’s just so lovely when everything is all planned out for me by the earlier-in-the-week version of myself. She is typically a gal who starts her week off really well organized, goal oriented, and she’s very proactive about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I love when I get all of my ducks in a row on a Sunday or a Monday so that come Wednesday, when the week is in full swing and I become the “if my head wasn’t attached to my neck, I’d probably misplace it” version of myself, AT LEAST I don’t have to think of what I am going to eat because it’s already done! Pretty cool.

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Now my trick has been to think of healthy options that are also economical. Is this the year of weddings for anyone else? I have more than a handful of weddings this year (including my own) and that means bridal showers and bachelorette parties as well. If my bank account could talk it would already be saying things like “Excuse you??? Girl, you better take it easy.” That’s why I need to start coming up with recipes on a budget. I REALLY love perusing the produce department of a grocery store probably more than a healthy, normal amount, so I am trying to reel it in or at least buy just a LITTLE bit of this and that.

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This recipe essentially gives me everything I want from the stipulations that I already mentioned. It is really healthy, super delicious, affordable, and easy to make. Does it get better than that? No. It does not. That’s why I knew right away that I had to share it with my beloved readers. This is going to be our new end-of-summer go-to recipe. I am so excited for all of us because we are going to keep healthy AND have a scrumptious recipe at our fingertips at the same time. YAY VEGGIES AND HEALTHY GRAINS!

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*IMPORTANT TIP: Make the barley and lentils ahead of time so you can make this dish in a pinch when you’re hungry! I usually make about 1.5 times the amount of lentils and barley that this recipe calls for and then use the leftover grains and legumes in other recipes for the week. 

Barley and Lentil Stuffed Eggplant with a Fresh Tomato Sauce
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Roasted Eggplant, Barley and Lentils
  • 3 TBS olive oil, plus ⅛ cup
  • 3 small eggplant, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups barley, cooked
  • 1 cup green lentils, cooked
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roasting Eggplant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Drizzle each half with ½ Tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.Place the eggplant in the oven for 50 minutes to one hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and then add cooked lentils and cooked barley, cooking for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Take eggplant out of oven after fully roasted and scoop out the insides of the eggplant. You can cook up the eggplant insides in the pan that you cooked the garlic and lentils in and add that to the barley mix or you can save the eggplant to use at another time.

  4. To make tomato sauce:
  5. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the fresh tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer.

  10. Assembly:
  11. Add barley and cooked lentils mixture to the pot of tomato sauce. Throw in the arugula and mix.
  12. Stuff eggplant with barley, lentil, arugula and tomato mixture.
  13. Enjoy!

 

Ways to Cut Down on Sugar

Growing up, I was the kid with chocolate all over her face after inhaling Lindt truffles and to this day, you will be hard pressed to find someone who loves chocolate more than Michele Elyse Wolfson. Even though I grew up raised by two health-nut parents; a father who is a physician and wakes up with the birds to go to spin class, along with a mother who has a hotter body than most of my peers, my parents were not awesome at curbing the sugar intake that my brother and I consumed throughout our childhood.

Matt and Michele with candy!

Sugar is very addictive and I guess part of the reason that Matt and I got away with eating Oreo bars, chocolate chip cookies, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all of the time is because we were both crazy skinny and active, so our parents kind of took our sugar binges for granted. I do not have the body of a baby egret anymore and I realize that even if I did, too much sugar is bad news for our health.

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My brilliant cousin, Eve Marson, is the producer of an amazing movie called Fed Up. If you haven’t seen it you definitely should and I am not just saying this because my relative happens to be one of the head honchos of this film. This is objectively an incredible food documentary about health and the effects that sugar has on our bodies, among many other interesting facts relating to the food industry in America.

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Let’s educate ourselves so we can not only look good, but also feel good.  I have clients who look fantastic, but they are constantly suffering with different ailments. Cut out the sugar and you will see a difference. You will have more energy, you will lose weight, you will go to the bathroom more regularly, your cravings for sugar will diminish, and your skin will look healthier. Below are 5 reasons to cut out sugar and a breakdown of a day in my life without added sugars.

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A DAY WITHOUT ADDED SUGARS:

8 am: Wake up and drink a cup of black coffee. I wasn’t always into black coffee, but I weaned myself off the additives and now I love it black.

8:15 am: Eat a small grapefruit with a tiny pinch of salt and drink a tall glass of water with a squirt of lemon.

9 am: Whole Greek yogurt with fresh berries, cinnamon, and walnuts or almonds. Tall glass of water with a squirt of lemon.

11 am: Half of an avocado with sprinkled sea salt. Tall glass of water.

1 pm: Sauteed tempeh, sliced peppers, cucumbers, spinach, onion, garlic, and avocado coconut wraps. Side of sautéed brussels sprouts. Tall glass of water.

4 pm: 1 cup steamed broccoli with lemon. Tall glass of water… see a theme here? Drink a lot of water!

7 pm: Cabbage soup. Barley with green beans in a basil pesto sauce.

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Need a little dessert? Have some banana “ice cream.” Put a frozen banana into a blender (I use my vitamix). It is so creamy and delicious.

Tips & Tricks to get you on your path to no sugar:

Avoid hidden sugars: There are hidden sugars practically everywhere and sometimes in places that are least expected. Dressings, sauces, and condiments add flavor to food, but they are typically loaded with sugar. I make my own dressings, sauces and condiments and guess what? They are very easy to make and not just for a trained chef, for anyone.

Eliminate sugary beverages: You can eat whole foods, but if you are putting sugary liquids into your body, it will make it very difficult to shed pounds and impossible to eliminate sugar. Avoid soft drinks, sweetened waters, sweetened coffee drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and even apple juice. In fact, apple juice can be a combination of apple flavoring and 100% sweetener derived from concentrated fructose from the apple, so it can be called 100% apple juice. This is a tough one if you’re a big drinker of sugary beverages, so your best bet is to cut them out cold turkey. They are addictive and they are not a part of your new way of eating, and it’s not suggested that you allow even small amounts of them into your diet; they have no value. Make a list of all the sugary beverages you drink and create a plan for substitutes so you don’t feel tempted to cheat. Pour the ones you have at home down the sink, and take them off of your shopping list.

Reduce Refined Carbs: Ugh, this is the hardest one for me. Cutting back on white bread, white pasta, and white rice is tough. Too many carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can derail from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates. The process of cutting back on bread, pasta, rice, and so on will take more time than the previous two stages. This is largely because many people are heavily dependent on these types of complex carbohydrates as the primary constituents in many meals.

This is not a fad, this is a lifestyle: Once you cut out these sugary foods, the goal is to continue eating this way for the rest of your life. The moment you start to make cheats every day, the easier it is to get sucked back into the addiction. Knowledge is power, people! Learn what foods contain sugar and then avoid them. Try to identify why certain foods are more difficult than others. Invest the time and energy ion avoiding sugar, it will be so worth it in the long run.

Do you have any good advice on how to cut down on sugar? Comment below and let me know!

Check out my video on reasons to avoid sugar: Reasons to Cut Down on Sugar

Slimming Spring Salad Rolls

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I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for a healthy snack with fresh ingredients. The trouble is that these kinds of quick bites aren’t always easy to come by and when I want to munch on something to get “over the hungry hump” I am usually about to hit starvation mode. Often, my final decision is to just quickly shove something down the hatch and run along to the next activity on my schedule. The truth is, when one is trying to eat a healthy, it’s easy to get off track by choosing an easy-to-open packaged snack that is filled with sugar and processed ingredients.

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I love this recipe because it goes back to the basics. It’s a sexier way to snack on raw veggies. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know my feeling about a lackluster boring vegetable crudité snack. That’s why I call these spring salad rolls, because it’s taking all of those raw salad ingredients and wrapping them up into a thin rice paper, so you can bring your healthy ingredients on the go!

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Rice paper wrappers (also sold as spring roll skins) can be found in the Asian section of many markets. Cut all the filling ingredients about 3 1/2 inches long. Cut crunchy ingredients, like carrots or bell peppers, the thinnest; slice softer ones, like cucumbers, thicker. If making ahead, place rolls in a plastic container, cover with a damp towel and seal tightly. They will keep at room temperature up to 3 hours. I like to prepare all of these ingredients ahead of time, so that when I want to make these wraps in a pinch, it only takes me 2 minutes!

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I truly fell in love with Thai food when I was traveling in Sydney, Australia. They got it going on with their food scene down under in Sydney. I had spring rolls similar to these with the most delicious black rice and tofu curry and I thought, “I wish I could eat here all the time.” To my delight, I found that spring rolls are surprisingly easy and fun to make, while also looking pretty fancy at the same time. I put a spinach leaf on the top of my rolls not only for health purposes, but also because it makes them look so pretty. These rolls are a fan favorite with my guests.

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This recipe lists what I typically put into my spring salad rolls, but you can fill them with whatever you have or buy things that you think might be good. I dip these in a low-sodium tamari sauce, but they are also so good with a spicy almond dressing. If you find brown rice paper wrappers, grab those because they are hard to find!

Slimming Spring Salad Rolls
Author:
Serves: 6-10 Spring Rolls (depending on how much filling you add)
Ingredients
  • 12 8-inch round rice paper wrappers
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 8 oz. Thai-style baked tofu, cut into 24 strips
  • ¼ seedless European cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 green onions, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 small, firm, ripe mango, seeded, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup basil leaves, sliced
  • ½ cup mint leaves, sliced
  • Low-sodium tamari sauce
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fill bowl with hot water; immerse wrappers, 1 at a time, until soft and it becomes flexible enough to wrap, about 1 minute. I do not do the wrappers all at once, I dip one in the hot water and then proceed to fill it up. If you leave it in the water for too long it will get soggy and tear and if you don't leave it long enough it will be too dry and snap. Gently remove the wrapper with both hands and place it on the constructing plate.
  2. Now it's time to put together your spring rolls. Lay spinach leaf on the middle of the wrapping paper. Arrange 3 or 4 strips each of tofu, cucumber, carrot, green onion, mango, bell pepper and avocado in center of lettuce; top with sprinkling of basil and mint. Starting at closest edge, lift edges of wrapper and lettuce up and over filling, then fold in sides. Roll into tight cylinder like a burrito. Place roll, seam side down, on platter. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  3. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve with low sodium tamari sauce or a spicy almond sauce.

New Years Detox & Resolutions

Who is ready to detox with me after the holiday season?

This is the time to kick your booty into high gear and sign up for my 3-Day Detox! You will LOVE the way you feel after 3 days and it will help you to get started on your road to a healthier lifestyle.

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Click here to learn more about the cleanse and read below for healthy tips and ways to keep your New Years Resolutions:

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Did you eat and drink too much yesterday? Who didn’t?! Just look at me… I definitely was enjoying my champagne last night… We know the holiday season is a time when we overlook overeating all in the name of good spirit and celebration. And although we can’t take back everything we ate yesterday, we can take a couple steps to help detox and bring our bodies back to normalcy after much indulgence.

Here are a few tips you can use today to help your body feel great. Feel free to use the same tips if you just so happen to overeat again during the next couple holidays as well.

Drinking plenty of water can help start your cleanse.

Drink ginger tea which helps to improve digestion and green tea which helps eliminate toxins from the body. Watching a show like Downton Abbey makes me crave a spot of tea. Whatever gets you in the mood… drink your detox tea!

Eat leafy greens which can help eliminate extra sugars in your body from that extra cocktail you had last night. Arugula, cabbage, kale, and other greens can help. This cabbage soup is my New Years Day detox dream meal.

Get some exercise! There’s no better way to burn off the extra calories you ate then by getting up and walking it off. So if you’re going shopping even to the gym, park a little farther so you walk a little more today.

Here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2015:

A bad habit I’m going to break:
Procrastinating! I need to put everything in my google calendar and THEN make sure that the task gets done when it’s supposed to get done!

A destination I’d like to visit:
Somewhere with beautiful, exotic animals.

I’m going to work harder at:
Making time for exercise.

A project I’d like to finish:
Decorating my apartment and planning my wedding (which feels like a very fun project).

A class I’d like to take:
Nutrition courses & hopefully food photography.

I’d like to spend more time doing:
Giving back to others and volunteering.

A food I want to eat more of:
Raw fruits and veggies. They’re nutritional gold!

I want to wear more:
Dresses and jewelry. I love getting dressed up!

What are your resolutions for 2015?

Fill out the questionnaire yourself in the comments, or print it out and keep it as a reminder.

And if you want some extra pointers on making your resolutions last, check out my list of tips.

 

 

Broccoli & Navy Bean Salad

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I have always had a very good relationship with broccoli, but I would be lying if I told you that broccoli prepared all ways are equally delicious—that would be crazy talk. I am not a vegetarian who loves to dip raw broccoli into ranch dressing. In fact, if I go to another affair where vegetable crudité is the only vegetarian appetizer… I am going to scream. I don’t really care if that sounds snobby because I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. It’s not that I dislike raw vegetables; I’m just not excited to eat them cut up into strips and accompanied by a mediocre-at-best ranch dressing… Blah! Life is too short for that nonsense.

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There are much better ways to enjoy broccoli and my favorite happens to be when it’s roasted. I love how it takes on a whole new element of flavor when it gets all crispy in the oven. Roasting balances out any bitterness that broccoli might contain and brings out its natural sugars. For this salad, I roast the broccoli at 425 degrees, but it won’t be in there for long. I chop the florets into bite size pieces and if they are still looking large, I just cut them down more until they are modest mouth size bites. Then, I chop the stalks into 8-inch thick slices. I used to only eat the heads of broccoli as a kid, but my dad would try to coax me into eating the whole vegetable before leaving the dinner table, so now I feel that ingesting the whole vegetables is a must.

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The last time I made this, I added some toasted panko breadcrumbs and I thought it was a nice little addition. I toast the breadcrumbs in a separate baking sheet for two minutes so they get nice and brown and then I add them to my bowl of broccoli and roast away! You can also drizzle a little truffle oil on top or serve this with a grain. You know how I love it when you play around with one of my recipes and then get back to me on your amazing creation.

Broccoli & Kidney Bean Salad
Adapted loosely from Smitten Kitchen
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed drained
  • 2 large heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, sliced and toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender and roast until edges are dark and caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  2. While broccoli is roasting, combine remaining ¼ cup olive oil and rosemary in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool.
  3. Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Combine roasted broccoli, nutritional yeast, beans, endive, chives, parsley, almonds and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss. Add lemon juice & vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

 

 

Cabbage Soup

This recipe is NOT related to “the cabbage soup diet,” although it’s very healthy, so if you are looking to stay slim and trim, this recipe will do the trick. Believe me when I tell you that this soup tastes incredibly delicious. When I tell people I am making cabbage soup, it usually invokes the that-doesn’t-sound-so-appealing facial expression, but those people couldn’t be more wrong!

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This soup contains few ingredients, yet it is packed with flavor. I learned how to make this recipe back in 2004 when I was a freshmen in college and my aunt & uncle would invite me over to Staten Island to their house for Sunday supper. The prospect of not having to ingest another gross meal from the college cafeteria was pretty much my version of Heaven on Earth, especially because I knew that I was going to eat an incredible meal prepared by my Aunt Elena.

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When I would arrive, all of my favorite dishes would be splayed across the table like eggplant parmesan, potatoes and eggs, vodka sauce, and cabbage soup. My aunt and uncle would encourage me to bring along whoever I wanted and Aunt Elena would make enough food to feed an army. She insisted that I take home all of the leftovers and would also send me home with a grocery bag filled with gourmet cheeses and pasta as well. I would come home and struggle to shove all of my goods into my sad little mini-fridge. My aunt’s generosity and delicious food, paired with my Super Nintendo setup, made me the most popular room to hang out with on the entire floor.

Shredded Cabbage

Back then, I was a novice in the kitchen, but I craved home cooked meals since I didn’t even have a kitchen on my floor in my college dorm. My Aunt showed me how to make her cabbage soup and it’s so easy, that even a beginner in the kitchen such as my 2004 self could handle. Aunt Elena uses only water in her version and it’s delicious, but I add some broth to mine. This is another old Italian dish that is considered to be “peasant food.” I guess I would have been a really good peasant when it came to eating because all of those recipes are my favorite!

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According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Woods, “cabbage ranks as one of the healthiest of vegetables, with good reason. It supports chi circulation, clears heat, and tonifies the lungs, large intestine, and stomach.” Cabbage in general—but also Savoy cabbage in particular—turns out to be an especially good source of sinigrin. Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has received special attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Cabbage also helps treat contipation, poor circulation, mental depression and irritability. It was used by the Romans as a hangover cure, so maybe plan to have yourself a bowl of cabbage soup the day after your upcoming holiday party!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cabbage Soup
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 gloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups green or savoy cabbage (about ½ head), shredded
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups water
  • Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes (if making vegan) OR ½ cup parmesan cheese (if making vegetarian)
Instructions
  1. Detach and discard the first few outer leaves of the cabbage. Slice the remaining head of leaves into very fine shreds. If you are going to do it by hand, cut the leaves into fine shreds, slicing them off the whole head. Turn the head after you have sliced a section of it until gradually you expose the entire core, which must be discarded. If you want to use the food processor, cut the leaves off from the core in sections, discard the core and process the leaves through a shredding attachment.
  2. Put the olive oil and garlic into a large pot, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes vey pale gold colored. Then add the shredded cabbage. Turn the cabbage over 2 or 3 times to coat it well, and cook it until it is wilted, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, white beans and water. Turn the cabbage over once completely, lower the heat to minimum, and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until it is very tender, turning it from time to time. If while it is cooking, the liquid in the pan should become insufficient, add 2 tablespoons water as needed. When done, add nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and then taste and correct for salt and pepper. Add as much broth as desired. Allow it to settle a few minutes off heat before serving.

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