A recipe using up left-overs – Vegetable Fried Rice

The idea of using up left-overs started at a young age. Growing up with not a lot of money, once a week, my mom would serve left-overs for dinner. No big deal! After all, back in the day, you ate whatever was served at dinner. There was no separate meal made for different family members and their particular taste buds. Meal time was what ever mom or dad prepared. Period.

As I got older and eventually lived on my own, left-overs of certain sorts grossed me out. Like left-over fish…NO WAY! When I use to eat red meat, couldn’t really get down with that either as a left-over (unless used in spaghetti sauce or something). These days, I see the benefit of cooking once and eating twice. For instance, on Sunday I may make a large batch of brown rice. 3 meals for a couple people can come of this. Possibly a type of porridge or brown rice pudding for breakfast, rice with beans for lunch, and in stir fry for dinner.

I was out of town for the weekend and had a couple options for lunch. However the brown rice that was made a few days earlier was staring me in the face. Then I thought about fried rice. That’s it! So easy to whip up, delicious & nutritious! Doesn’t get much better than that!

Ingredients:

Brown rice (left-over friendly)

Veggies of any sorts (for this I used broccoli & carrots)

Garlic

Oil (sesame or toasted sesame will add to the fried rice style but I didn’t have any on hand so used grape seed)

Egg

Tamari or soy sauce

Pepper and any other spices

Directions:

1. Saute garlic & veggies in a little bit of oil. Set aside when reached your desired texture. I prefer mine a little crunchy so sautéd about 5 mins.

2. Add a little bit more oil to pan and add rice. Use spatula to flatten out rice in a single layer.

3. Meanwhile, mix the egg, tamari and pepper/spices in a bowl. Add to pan with rice. Move around like scrambling an egg for about 7 mins until egg is cooked through and the fragrance of fried rice is in the air.

4. Transfer to a bowl and add the veggies.

**This can easily be made vegan by omitting the egg and substitute with tofu.

left-overs for lunch BEFORE

left-overs for lunch BEFORE

left-overs for lunch AFTER

left-overs for lunch AFTER

YUM

YUM

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A health coach on the road

Healthful living is greatly tested during traveling times. And staying committed to healthy living while traveling takes more preparation to fight the urge to give in to convenience. While recently traveling to St. Augustine for a music festival, I made it a priority to actively engage in this uncommon way of taking a vacation. So we (my A-man and I) made a list of the things that taste great, travel well, and provide nourishing nutrients. This is what we came up with (I’d love to hear from you about your tricks of the trade):

  • homemade granola (gf oats, liquids like coconut oil/honey/applesauce/pb/molasses, cinnamon, dried fruit, and nuts/seeds)
  • apples & bananas
  • carrot sticks
  • homemade pasta salad (brown rice pasta, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, artichokes, feta, basil, oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper)
  • dried fruit
  • candied ginger (in case of icky tummy)
  • herbal tea
  • coconut water

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We realized that throughout the trip, we will have to eat at local restaurants a few meals and so researched ahead of time for the best fits for us. Now add another layer to the puzzle, traveling with a group of people. So, we ended up eating out a bit more than we’d hoped but were always able to find something enjoy. (One night we split a grilled mahi mahi dinner with vegetable sides; lunch we found a delicious taco place with the freshest guacamole; and a breakfast/lunch place with tofu scramble and incredible veggie sandwiches which I highly recommend! http://www.manateecafe.com) We’d hoped to visit a local juice bar yet with a strict concert schedule that we didn’t want to miss and the ocean calling, we sacrificed and ate our snacks instead. We had thought of bringing our juicer or blender to hotel yet decided not this trip. But what a great tool to have if you have electricity where you are staying!

So next time you hit the road via plane, train, or automobile utilize these tips to stay on track:

  • prep ahead of time
  • pack snacks
  • if you know you’ll be eating out, research your destinations options
  • be prepared to be flexible, especially if traveling in a large group. now this doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your health and well being

The music was unbelievable! To hear the work of such artists is truly something to witness. A couple surprises were from Bear’s Den, The Walkmen, Justin Townes Earle, and Thao and The Get Down Stay Down. Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros, The Vaccines, and Mumford & Sons were of course off the charts!

And a few shots of the amazing music from festival:

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

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Gentleman On The Road

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mumford & sons! they did 2 songs like this…coming together on one mic!

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Breakfast Breads – Quick, Nutritious, Delicious

Hello out there! This blog post I’d like to share a breakfast option when you don’t have much time but want a great source of protein, fiber, and vits/minerals.

Toast has been a popular foodie novelty for many years and its style and toppings transform throughout different cultures. As a kid, I remember toast with honey or cinnamon & sugar was the only thing that sick Keely could swallow. In college years, a quick bowl of cereal or toast topped with nut butter was the perfect nibble as I ran to early morning class (and the occasional smoothie with my very own blender as a 21st birthday present :). Unfortunately, breads are not made like they were years ago. If you have the time try making your own bread! That way you know exactly what is in it and don’t have to play the guessing game.

Like most of us, time is of the essence. So become a label detective and research before going to the store to save yourself the frustration. Commercialized breads are extremely processed and reading labels brand after brand may feel overwhelming. KNOW THIS:

  1. Most breads contain some form of corn or soy. So if you are not interested in consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), then stay clear of conventional breads. 
  2. Commercialized breads want you to think they are ok to eat. They place things like no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) on the label and WHOLE GRAIN but this is not the whole truth. Most breads use enriched flour. Ask yourself, “Why does this bread need to be improved or enhanced?”. Because  when the flour is processed, the good stuff (bran & germ) is removed. 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR:

  1. Artificial stuff. If you can’t pronounce it, it was made in a lab and therefore is artificial. And stay away from colorings! I’ve seen caramel color in bread! Why does bread need color added to it!?!?
  2. Preservatives. Calcium propionate, aka cultured wheat starch/cultured whey, is a popular and may be tough to escape. This preservative is used to prevent mold and bacteria in food. Don’t know about you but I grew up thinking mold in bread was a natural occurrence and am more concerned about my shelf life than breads. Over time, it has been associated with stomach ulcers, headaches, and behavioral changes.
  3. Trans fats = HYDROGENATED ANYTHING!!! Steer clear!

I have tried a grain-free life and it has not served well with my body’s needs. But is an option you may want to try. Rice and I do very well. Quinoa too. So find what works for you! I will say that I eat a lot less grains than ever before and feel a huge difference.

Toast options : Recent years too much gluten has shown to upset my insides so I watch consumption carefully. I can do the occasional whole grain, rye or pumpernickel. Sprouted grain breads (Ezekiel, etc) are a great option but if you do better gluten free you may need to limit consumption. The main thing here is choosing fresh bread, that has only pure ingredients. SARASOTA PEEPS, check out Whole Foods Market, Detweiler’s, Island Gluten Free Bakery for clean options. Publix also stocks a decent selection of sprouted/gluten-free options, usually found in the freezer isle. (*There are many more bakeries around town that I did not mention because I have not looked at ingredients lists)

Whichever toast you choose, there is a WIDE VARIETY of toppings!

  • Nut butters of all kinds (peanut, almond, sunflower, cashew, hazelnut/homemade nutella, etc). A close friend of mine introduced me to a sort-of nut butter that I would have NEVER thought to put on toast…tahini (see below for pics of my tahini topped toast that was delicious!)
  • Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
  • Veggies – avocado toast is HUGE in our house. Scoop it out, mash it with lemon juice and a little salt & pepp. Sliced tomatoes with sprouts. All sorts of options here!
  • Natural sweeteners like honey.
  • Spices like cinammon.
  • Fruit – fresh & dried.
Gluten-free rosemary biscuits *CLICK PIC FOR RECIPE

Gluten-free rosemary biscuits *CLICK PIC FOR RECIPE

Gluten-free toast with homemade nutella!

Gluten-free toast with homemade nutella!

Gluten-free toast with tahini, blueberries and cinnamon

Gluten-free toast with tahini, blueberries and cinnamon

Gluten-free toast with almond butter, chopped dates, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon

Gluten-free toast with almond butter, chopped dates, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon

 

So being super busy in the morning is no longer an excuse to grab the nutrient sucking bar or bowl over preparing a quick nourishing bite!!! Let’s commit to begin each day with gratitude for waking and take that a step further and commit to breaking-that-fast (BREAK-FAST…get it!?) with nourishment in mind.

Femininity & Beauty- how do you define the two?

I was recently asked to define what femininity and beauty meant to me. This took me by surprise. First the question. Then the blankness of a response. In my college years, a male once called me “femi-nazi” (something along the lines of I was always on the defense when it came to the feminine spirit).

feminazi

The fact that I attended an all female liberal arts college added fuel to the fire around this description. And here I stand, not really sure how to answer. However, it has been an important part of my own Operation Transformation to define the womanly beauty of me.

My response to this recent question started with, “You know the women that are so calm and certain in their inner wisdom.” The person asking this question took note of this being internal. Then I was asked to define beauty. My response, “Nature. The blooming of flowers and plants…the growth of trees…the moon and stars…the sky…animals…the cyclical process of it all.” External.

The point of this exercise blew me away. Before any sort of shift in my life was to occur, I needed to marry the two.

I began to see that for so long I was too afraid to honor my own inner experience. By comparing myself to others since the ripe age of 8, I robbed myself the chance to fully express and serve from my intuitive voice. This habit formed a life full of satisfaction issues, feeling not good enough and/or too late in the game BS. Getting in my own way.

I looked outward to see beauty. I considered nothing about my internal self beautiful. Well not completely at least. You know, those exercises at workshops or trainings when you’re forced to find SOMETHING good about yourself. Well I came up with ‘those’ and then clung to ‘those’ but the ‘those’ didn’t carry much meaning behind them. Not honoring and focusing in my way enough.

Getting in my own way + Not focusing in my way = DOUBLE WHAMMY STAGNATION

Not being interested in this stagnation thing, Operation Transformation begins and is moved from kinda important to utmost importance. This a-ha moment was my first step towards recognizing myself as both feminine and beautiful. The first step to truly loving all that I am, was and will become. All the inner-bashing and comparing I was use to could now be greeted with the idea that by looking into my own heart, I can create the life I truly want to live. And the last 9 months would shock you with the amount of yummy change all this important work has brought about.

Today, I would define femininity and beauty as:

A focus inward, at the networking of the self and its gifts. That way the outward, day to day is seen and heard with keen eyes & ears, felt with a tender heart, and tasted with an open mind. A continuation of metamorphosis from womb to tomb…laughing so hard that tears roll out of the corner of eyes and possibly a little tinkle from the folds of privates. A feeling of being dressed up even when naked or in rags. For my heart is love felt and my wisdom so worth sharing.

So I ask, how do you define femininity? And beauty? What words or visions come to you when pondering the two words FEMININE and BEAUTY? At first, try not to think too hard about this. See what comes up and out and then make the connection. Would love to hear from you!!!

A couple shots of Operation Transformation:

cheers to parenthood with a new perspective AND a healthy focused childhood

cheers to parenthood with a new perspective AND a healthy focused childhood

healthy start to each day

healthy start to each day

looking and feeling great about turning 32!looking and feeling great about turning 32!

maintaing peace of mind during bumpy rides

maintaing peace of mind during bumpy rides

work out the physical

work out the physicalIMG_0018

Summer soup – Pea & Mint

IMG_0378On a tight budget as summer winds down. We decided to TRY to use up what we had in the fridge, freezer, pantry, produce bowls, etc. On Friday, as the week winded down, we were looking for something yummy, nutritious, and light. The perfect meal to accompany a funny movie.

Earlier this summer I had made a pea & mint bruschetta for a friends birthday party, pot-luck style. It was a hit. I knew we had frozen peas in the freezer. Our mint plant is kicking ass this summer. So we decided on pea & mint soup with a nice salad (inspired by one of my favs, Sarah B’s Chilled Parsley and Pea Soup at My New Roots www.mynewroots.org). We had to purchase the lettuce for the salad. We are learning the essence of being a tad-bit flexible with ourselves and our lives. Striving to be like a lotus leaf, unattached to the water around. Able to sway and bend with the wind, obstacles, and challenges presented.

The recipe:

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 – 3 cups of veggie stock or broth

1/2 bag frozen peas (organic if possible)

3/4 cup loosely picked or packed mint leaves, remove from stems

zest of 1/2 lemon, and 1 tbsp lemon juice

splash of olive oil

sea salt (to taste)

freshly ground pepper (to taste)

**We had Parmasen cheese that needed to be used up so we grated some on top. All this soup is delicious on its own as well.

1. Heat coconut oil in large stockpot. When oil is melted, add the onions and a couple pinches of salt, sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.

2. Add the broth (reserving some for blending process), add peas and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat. Fold in the mint leaves until wilted.

3. Transfer the soup to the blender and blend on high until smooth (adding extra broth if needed). Add lemon zest & juice, olive oil, salt & pepper if desired and blend a little more.

4. Serve as is or let cool slightly. Also good fully chilled. Will keep in fridge 3-4 days.

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Pigeon Pose and the directions of depth

The other day in pigeon pose, a couple words repeated in this monkey mind. DEEP. DEPTH. 

When off the mat, I was compelled to write “Depth isn’t always downward. The depth of a projection outward. The depth of a hug & leaning in to someone or something. The depth of evolving spiritually. The depth of intention.” I was able to pull from this the many directions of depth. Once seen as only moving downward, you know…deep into the earth. Now seen as multi-dimensional. Depth isn’t always downward.

As I love to do, looking up the word depth in the dictionary it is found in a noun form to mean 1 of 2 things:

  1. The distance from the top or surface of something to its bottom.
  2. Distance from the nearest to the farthest point of something or from the front to the back.

Practicing poses on a mat (aka as Karma Yoga) continues to offer profound influences to my life. Deepening my desire to stop posing and start living! Deepening my vision of living out my ideal life. Don’t get me wrong, laying in pigeon pose is indeed not so comfortable at first. Which helps me remember that in life, experiences that are the most uncomfortable are usually the ones that propel us to make the deepest change or growth. So when life throws curves, fastballs or humps (whatev descriptive words you chose), remember there is a top with a bottom, a front with back and a rise with a fall. A nice reminder is that sometimes we have to get off our own backs. Ease into something that is deep and uncomfortable. And be kind to ourselves as we deal with what we find in it as well as when we come out of it.

So get deep into the funk that lies within this pose and see what offerings it has for you.

**This blog is not intended (not for the time being anyway) to teach or guide or strut yoga poses, which is why there are no photos of this pose included in the post. What my pigeon pose looks like is most likely not what yours looks like. However, if you are curious about the physical aspects of the pose, use your search engine and you will find a TON of varieties. Also, yogajournal.com is a great resource for more information on basic yoga poses. http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/2313

Dressings. 3 easy, affordable, delicious dressing recipes

This post is all about dressings. Notice, the word salad doesn’t come before dressings. Why? Because salads aren’t the only foods that can be dressed. Veggies, pastas, fruit, sandwiches, and fish/meat. All dress-able! Read on for tips on ways to play with color and flavor and dress up those dishes.

Most of us crave salads, fruits, cooling foods in the summer time. Most of us tend to get bored with the same ol’ salad and dressing. What we don’t realize is making our own dressings cuts out a lot of the fat and adds a lot more flavor. Plus you can customize to your liking. Plus you are eliminating unnecessary toxins entering your body through preservatives in the pre-packaged, processed dressings on shelves. Don’t get me wrong, for the sake of time, our house has purchased dressing from the store at least once this year. However, we much rather make it at home. Here are a few of our staples:

1. Citrus – squeezing citrus is one of the quickest way to add fresh flavor to any dish or drink. When I was younger, and much too concentrated on eating a low-fat diet, I use to squeeze lemon on salads. Still do on days my body screams “feed me whole, simple foods please!” On days I need a little more, I’ll whip up a citrus inspired oil:

Citrus oil dressing

In a bowl, whisk fresh lemon juice (lime or orange works too), olive oil, minced garlic, honey or agave, sea salt, and pepper. VOILA!

2. Vinaigrette – LOVE vinaigrettes! Lately, my favorite is dijon. Versatile and ready for grilled veggies or salad.

Dijon Vinaigrette

Makes 1 1/4 cups. Will last up to 1 week in fridge. Whisk all ingredients or put into jar with sealable lid and shake!

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons agave (light or dark, depending on your preference)

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (sherry vinegar also works well)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Speedy Dijon Vinaigrette

Find an infused vinegar (fig or raspberry) and mix with a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard.

3. Herb inspired – basil, parsley, cilantro, mint… all great herbs to utilize in homemade dressings. Chimichurri (usually a green sauce made up of parsley, oregano, lemon zest, and oil, used for grilled meat) is one of my all time favorites to use as inspiration.

Creamy Cilantro

Makes about 3/4 cup. **May turn to brown color if using avocado.

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, rinsed & stems removed

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt OR 1 avocado

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1-2 garlic cloves

Splash of vinegar (white wine vinegar goes well)

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt to taste

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A creamy avocado sauce on top of veggie enchiladas!

So the bottom line here is to have fun and get innovative with what you have around to add pizzazz! One last tip to share…a dear friend of mine years ago made a dressing that blew my taste buds away! She used olive oil, high quality mustard, jelly, and spices. I have yet to recreate one that was as good as hers but I have not given up.

What tips can you share?