Kale Chips

2015-08-28 07.24.06I grow kale in my garden quite well, all summer, so I find different ways to use it up before it wilts and dies. I found a few recipes for kale chips recently so I decided to give one a try mostly because I was intrigued by the method of massaging kale leaves with a mixture in a bowl before laying on the baking sheet. It worked out quite well though I would omit the ground flax seed due to its clumping up.

Here are the steps and the results.

Ingredients:

A bunch of kale leaves

2 Tbs. oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast – it has a cheesy/nutty flavor

1 Tbs. tahini

1 tsp. each of onion powder and garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Wash leaves and tear them up into small bite sized pieces, add to a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over kale leaves. Massage with hands until all leaves are coated well. Spread in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour at 300° or until crisp and dried.

2015-08-27 20.10.112015-08-27 20.10.23

2015-08-27 20.24.562015-08-28 07.23.48

Gearing Up for Back to School and a Full Schedule

Books (640x383)As your schedule gets busier it’s important to eat healthy while on the run. It’s not always necessary to pick up take-out or heat frozen processed foods in the oven to feed yourself and your family. Cooking fresh ingredients can be done as quickly as tossing things into a pan and tossing the pan in the oven or stove top and they taste a whole lot better, have less calories and less sodium!

Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with a few quick essentials such as brown rice, barley, whole grain couscous, quinoa and whole grain pastas. Have a few different kinds of good quality beans on hand such as black beans, garbanzo/chick peas, white beans and kidney beans. Keep your refrigerator stocked weekly with fresh green vegetables, red and green peppers, squashes, cucumbers, leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, spinach and lettuces. Look for the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Visit your local farm or farmers market while you still can!

Keep chicken, pork, beef and fish on hand. Perhaps when you purchase them, separate into serving sizes, either singles or family portions, you can even preseason them with your own concoction of spices and freeze each portion for future dinners. To use: defrost what you will use in the refrigerator the night before. When you get home it’s simple to simmer rice or other grains while you bake, grill or saute the meat portion of your meal and vegetables can be quickly steamed.

Get creative, save time and pans and make a stir fry by quickly browning the meat, add olive oil or your favorite nut oil/coconut oil and toss in the veggies and stir fry until the veggies get bright in color, eat as is or serve over your whole grain of choice. You can have an entire meal in 20-40 minutes and you can feel good in knowing that you have complete control over what is in your food.

To keep your lunch and your children’s lunches healthy make sure you add healthy raw ingredients such as carrots, cucumber bites, apple, pear and peach slices(dipped in lemon juice to keep their color), red pepper slices, nuts, seeds, and leftover chicken or other meats cut into strips with hummus, apple sauce or nut butters to dip them in. This will make a filling meal for adults and kids alike. Use dinner leftovers as often as possible for lunches as they’re healthier than processed deli meats.

Whole Food ~ Live Food

july-2011-004.jpgEating whole unprocessed foods is easier than you think. Try it for just one week to start out. A whole food is anything that isn’t in a box or can, hasn’t been altered by preservatives, added chemicals and so-called flavorings such as sodium, sugar, oils, *spices (especially when they’re not listed individually) etc. A few examples of whole foods are fresh fruit, berries, fresh leafy greens, broccoli, squash, onions, potatoes (white and sweet), and anything else from the produce section of the store that is loose for your pick of the bunch. Other examples of whole foods are chicken, pork, beef, fish, but these items should be limited to lean lighter cuts and proper portion sizes which I will explain shortly. Whole grains are also and important part of your everyday meals. Whole grains aren’t limited to breads; some whole grains include brown rice, no, white rice isn’t a whole grain, its beneficial parts have been stripped off exposing just the insides, quinoa is a nutritious, quick whole grain, barley, bulgur wheat, and there are many more but I want to limit the list to whole grains that are quick to prepare.

Dried beans are a very nutritious whole food however most of them take a long time to cook with the exception of lentils, a perfect food in my opinion. To save time, it’s ok to use canned beans. Buy a good quality, low sodium brand and rinse them well in a strainer before using. Beans should be eaten a few times a week. A serving of beans is generally ½ cup. They can be added to grain dishes, soups, salad, and even eaten as a healthy snack. Try a variety as each bean has it’s special nutrients.

So, with the lists and explanation of foods above, you can pull together a filling, healthy meal in about 20-30 minutes. It’s that easy! And the nourishment you’ll receive far exceeds nutrients from processed foods and you’ll give your organs a rest from trying to process chemicals.

Proper portion sizes are approximately:

Fresh raw or steamed vegetables-unlimited! 5-13 servings/day

Whole grain- ½-2/3 of a cup 3 servings/day

Meat- the size and thickness of your palm, fingers excluded (this is enough meat for 1 full day)

Fruit- about the size of a baseball, whether it’s an apple, orange, grapes, cherries etc. 1-3 servings/day

An easier way to estimate portion control is the amount that fits in your opened hand can be considered a portion.

Try a new fruit, a new vegetable, and a grain you’ve never tried. Get creative in how you prepare them, abandon some of the rules but of course be sure to cook animal proteins properly. Use wild abandon when it comes to spices and other seasonings you use in your vegetables, grains and meat.

Chickpeas!

Chickpeas (aka) Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are a delicious high protein food for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They’re high in insoluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body; it also helps prevent digestive disorders such as IBS and diverticulosis. Its soluble fiber helps control cholesterol, and helps prevent strokes and heart disease.

Chickpeas may help prevent elevated blood sugar levels, making them a good choice for diabetics or if you have insulin-resistance or hypoglycemia.

Chickpeas are very high in folate, magnesium and potassium which help balance body fluids, protect against fluid retention and heart disease. They are also a good source of minerals including iron, zinc and calcium.

Chickpeas come canned or dried in the dried beans section of your store. If you used canned, be sure to rinse them thoroughly as they usually contain a high amount of sodium. If using dried, soak them for several hours or overnight then simmer for at least 1 ½ hours.

They’re very versatile as they can be used in any dish, salads, roasted for a crunchy snack and to make hummus. You can even sprout them!

Simple Hearty Chickpea Soup

2 ¼ cups chickpeas soaked in water overnight (or 2-15 oz cans rinsed and drained)

2Tbsp. Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb. Swiss chard, washed, trimmed and finely sliced

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes

pink sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

If using dried chickpeas, drain them and add fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours skimming foam off the top and adding water if needed. Drain peas reserving the cooking water. (You can use a cooking spider or a colander). Season chickpeas with salt and pepper and Place 2/3 of them into a food processor or blender with some of the cooking water and pulse until smooth adding water if necessary to achieve a soup consistency, set aside.

Add onion and garlic to the saucepan, cook over medium heat until soft. Add Swiss chard and rosemary, cook for 5 minutes and add tomatoes and remaining chickpeas. Cook about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down to an almost smooth sauce. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Return the chickpea puree to the saucepan and heat through 3-5 minutes. Serve.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt (optional)

garlic salt (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

You can use any combination of your favorite herbs or spices

Preheat oven to 450° (or roast on the grill in a grill pan)

Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

Get creative! Add chickpeas to any combination of salads, stews, soups and whole grain dishes. The possibilities are endless.

5 Steps Toward Detoxification & a Body Reset

Zucchini & Crookneck squash with tomatoes, onions & garlic - roasted on the grill

Zucchini & Crookneck squash with tomatoes, onions & garlic – roasted on the grill

A good way to begin a healthy summer is by eliminating toxins from the body.       
What are toxins? Toxins are poisonous substances produced in living cells that are often responsible for causing disease, illness and negative side affects in our body. Toxicants are man made chemicals that can be absorbed into our bodies as well.

Both toxins and toxicants raise havoc on our health which quite often we don’t recognize as toxic overload. They enter our body through breathing the air, eating foods with these substances on or in them, and through the skin.

The ways we can clear them out of our body vary from fasting, to a cleanse, to daily clean eating. You can choose which one is right for you. The following are simple guidelines for clean eating detox.

1 – Drink plenty of pure water. Aim for at least 50-80 ounces a day of plain water.

2 – Clean out your digestive track and bowels daily. If you find it more difficult than you wish to admit to eliminate regularly, don’t stress, there are a few natural things that can help. Magnesium citrate is extremely helpful; you can get it in capsule form or powder form to mix as a drink, this product is called Calm and you can find it online or in most health food stores including Whole Foods. Some other help can be found by taking 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and a good quality acidophilus supplement as well as drinking plenty of water as proper hydration helps promote healthy bowels.

3 – Eat clean, especially naturally detoxifying foods like dark green vegetables, leafy and cruciferous, as well as lemon juice, garlic and onions.

4 – eliminate processed foods – they are heavy with chemicals that are toxic and offer little nutritional value

5 – Daily exercise which includes breaking a sweat helps toxins move through and out of your body

6 – Eliminate ‘white’ foods such as breads, pasta, white rice, and potatoes-sweet potatoes and yams are always great to eat.

7 – Minimize or eliminate drugs that are especially toxic to the liver. When you detox the body, you often find less need for medications. As always though, NEVER stop taking a medication without the consent of your doctor.

8 – Relax daily. Clearing your mind also clears the body. Take time to sit quietly, walk gently, meditate and breathe fully and gently.

If you’d like to know more about a full cleanse or personal coaching to help you eat and live better please contact me and I will happily work with you. You can write to me at Dawn@InitiateWellness.com .

Do You Have Aderenal Fatigue?

Headaches, Tired, Craving Salty or Sweets, Feeling Overwhelmed, Dizziness, No Energy, Excess Thirst…are signs of adrenal fatigue.

If you feel overstressed, overwhelmed, no energy or feel like you have more energy after 6pm than you do all day maybe your adrenals are fatigued. Your adrenals are your stress receptors and if you’re constantly under stress your adrenals get overworked and end up not knowing what is a true stressor and what is daily stress. This causes them to work overtime and become drained.

Causes for adrenal fatigue are stress, overwhelm, too much responsibility and no time to unwind, slow down or relax.
Learn the signs and a few easy steps you can take to support your adrenals that are healthy for your whole body by reading Signs, Symptoms and Nutritional Choices for Adrenal Support 

In addition to eating and drinking properly it’s vital that you find ways to de-stress. As a health coach I work with my clients to find easy and do-able ways to find peaceful calm each day; I can help you too! Please feel free to contact me at Dawn@InitiateWellness.com or at 508-243-4523 to find out how I can help you on the road to better health, more energy and peaceful calm in your everyday life.

The Best Meals Are the Ones We Create

2015-06-16 19.01.55

Mahi Mahi with Yogurt-Lemon-Dill sauce, baked potato (out of sweets) and asparagus

I have a deep love for a few things, most of those things belong in or around a kitchen and those things include cookbooks, proper pans and Polish pottery. Of all the kitchen gadgets and electrics, those three are on the top of my list of necessities that I would rather not live without. I remember way, way…okay one more way back when I was able to flip pages in a magazine sitting on the floor beside my grandmother’s magazine rack (I wonder where that went?) on Friday nights reading through recipes and food articles from Women’s Day, Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. If I had to skim my list down further, though I love cookbooks and have probably over one hundred of them, I can live without them. This is why…

I have discovered that the best meals I make come from pure love of fresh, whole food cooking. Throw me in a kitchen and let me use whatever is available and I can likely throw a good, healthy meal together – given that the chosen kitchen doesn’t stock processed foods; in that case I could prepare a pretty strong chemical $#!t storm as they say.

When you view food as fuel for your body and a meaningful centerpiece for social gatherings you can thoroughly enjoy just enough food and no overeating because good quality food is so very satisfying.

Stock your refrigerator, freezer and pantry with healthy choices and build your meal upon what you feel like tasting each day. Keep colorful vegetables, assorted lean meats & fish, true whole grains (quinoa, barley, farro, bulgur, oat, etc.), beans of all kinds, spices and herbs, root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, carrots, ginger, onions and garlic stocked up.

Decide on your protein for the meal, add your veggie and your root veg or whole grain. It’s perfectly well to eat a meal of just vegetables, beans and whole grains a few days a week too.

Don’t stress over meals, keep it simple and healthy. You’ll find that cooking can be fast and easy as well as deliciously satisfying.

Veggie Enchiladas

June '15 Veggie Enchiladas1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 15-oz can black beans or black eyed peas, rinsed & drained

3-4 handfuls torn kale or baby spinach washed and dried

1 cup salsa – your choice of mild, medium or hot (I used my own home canned salsa)

1/2 cup or more extra salsa to top enchiladas before baking

1 small onion, chopped

1 small  bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup (plus more to top) shredded cheese, cheddar, Monterey jack, or other

8 flour or corn tortillas (can use gluten free)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of filling and roll up tucking sides in halfway and lay in a 9 x 13″ baking dish seam side down. Spoon extra salsa over top and sprinkle with extra cheese. Bake in over at 350° for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

“I want to eat a loaf of bread but I won’t”

2015-05-13 Mood FoodI want to eat a loaf of bread, it’s sweet and soft and comforting but it goes against everything I believe in and everything I teach my clients so I settle for a healthy snack of veggie sticks with freshly ground pepper and raw, unsalted nuts. I eat them slowly and chew them carefully; mindful snacking.

Your mood affects the food you eat, but the food also affects your mood so I choose the better of choices. I’m not in a bad mood, maybe a little bit sad or rather misplaced and defeated…but only for a moment. I deal with it by writing about it in my journal, I’ll get it off my chest for now and keep it off my “belly.button.thighs” for always.

Simple Chicken Bake

I kept seeing a picture of chicken with potatoes and a veggie all cooked in the same baking dish so I decided to give it a try. This meal was one of the simplest meals to put together and the taste was deliciously comforting. I didn’t follow a recipe if there is one along with the photos floating around social media, I just added what I thought would taste good to me.

Here’s what I did, how it looked and how it came out…

I used 3 organic boneless chicken breasts

1 small bag of tiny red potatoes-scrubbed

3-4 servings of my own garden grown string beans that I sealed with a food saver and froze-they were so tasty-fresh

half bag of grated carrots – it added a nice natural sweetness

A couple of Tablespoons of a spice mixture for chicken

Drizzle of olive oil

Line the chicken on one edge of a 9×13″ baking pan – line the potatoes beside the chicken and then line the string beans or whatever vegetable you chose. Drizzle the olive oil over all of the ingredients then sprinkle with your chosen spice mixture.

Bake at 350°2015-04-29 18.10.57