Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Savory Irish Oats with Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Chives

It’s time to ditch the notion that oatmeal is only a sweet breakfast to be topped with maple syrup, raisins, or berries. Oatmeal’s neutral flavor profile is perfect for savory dishes as well, and leaves lots of room for creativity. Start thinking of oatmeal in the same way you would polenta or grits, which are often topped with braised meats, sautéed mushrooms, or grilled shrimp.

For this savory oatmeal recipe, we riffed on our favorite baked potato toppings. These steel cut Irish oats are cooked with vegetable broth and almond milk, then topped with turkey bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions. The finishing touch is a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Crack some fresh pepper over everything, if you’re so inclined, grab a spoon, and dig in.

You see? Eggs aren’t the only option for a savory breakfast anymore. Although, a sunny side up or soft boiled egg would make a incredible topper to this breakfast bowl.

Savory Irish Oats with Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Chives

Total Time: 45 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 30 min.
Yield: 4 servings

3 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup dry steel-cut oats
1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
6 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt

1. Bring broth and almond milk to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
2. Add oats and salt. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add turkey bacon, cheese, and chives; mix well.
4. Evenly divide porridge between four serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1 Tbsp. yogurt; serve immediately.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that spaghetti squash is a magical vegetable. Slice it in half, roast it an oven – and voila! – this yellow, football-shaped sqaush turns into perfect strands of spaghetti. All you have to do is run your fork through the flesh to separate the strands, then top with your favorite sauce or vegetables.

In this recipe we sauteéd onions, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes with white wine and finished it with fresh herbs and shaved parmesan. If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash before, now’s your chance! It’s a tasty way to enjoy pasta without the excess carbs. Give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments.

Total Time: 1 hr.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min.
Yield: 3 servings

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup white wine
½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

Optional Ingredients:
Chopped parsley (for garnish)
6 oz. diced Chicken Breast
6 oz. Broiled Salmon

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place squash on parchment-lined baking sheet. Poke squash 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
3. While the squash cooks, heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent.
5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until mushrooms release liquid.
7. Add wine, cherry tomatoes, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.
8. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Scrape flesh into stringy noodles.
9. Evenly divide squash between three bowls. Evenly top with onion mixture, cheese, and parsley (if desired).

Multi-Grain Banana Pancakes

Make your weekend breakfast something special! These hearty pancakes are made with wholesome ingredients and are naturally sweetened with bananas and a touch of honey. They’re a good source of dietary fiber and have 10 grams of protein per serving. And, they freeze well. Layer leftover pancakes with wax paper and freeze. Reheat in a toaster or oven.

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings, 2 pancakes each

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 cup low-fat milk
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 Tbsp. raw honey
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 Tbsp. wheat bran
2 Tbsp. chopped raw almonds
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray
4 tsp. pure maple syrup

1. Combine egg, oil, milk, yogurt, banana, and honey in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
2. Combine flours, oats, bran, almonds, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
4. Heat large nonstick skillet, lightly coated with spray, on medium-high heat.
5. Spoon about ¼ cup batter into skillet for each pancake; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top.
6. Flip with spatula and cook for 30 seconds.
7. Repeat with remaining batter.
8. Serve pancakes topped evenly with maple syrup.

Tomato Soup

Make your own tomato soup from scratch with this easy recipe! What goes better with tomato soup than half of a grilled cheese sandwich?

Total Time: 38 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 23 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 tsp. lemon pepper (to taste; optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
4. Add wine and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently boil for 15 minutes.
5. Place soup and lemon pepper (if desired) in a blender or food processor; in 2 or more batches, if necessary; cover with lid and kitchen towel, blend until smooth.
6. Portion into 4 serving bowls.

Apple Cinnamon Granola

Apples and cinnamon are classic fall flavors, and they both come together to create this healthy granola recipe. It’s crunchy, sweet, and perfectly spiced.

Total Time: 1 hr. 52 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 37 min.
Yield: 32 servings, 2 Tbsp each

¼ cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 medium apple, cored, chopped
¼ cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Heat honey and oil in small saucepan over low heat; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until oil has melted.
4. Add extract; mix well. Set aside.
5. Combine oats, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
6. Add honey mixture, apple, and raisins; mix until oats are evenly coated.
7. Place on prepared baking pan; spread evenly in a thin layer.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until granola is light golden brown and crisp.
9. Cool granola completely (it will get more crisp as it cools).

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This pumpkin spice latte has half the calories of your favorite fall treat.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 5 min.
Yield: 1 serving


  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brewed black coffee or 1 shot espresso
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg (to taste; optional)

1. Heat milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and extract in medium saucepan over medium heat; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is hot, but not boiling. It is ready when there are many small bubbles on the sides of the saucepan.
2. Remove from heat; mix vigorously with a whisk until frothy.
3. Pour coffee or espresso into serving mug; top with milk mixture.
4. Top with nutmeg if desired.

The Importance of Drinking Water

Do I REALLY Have to Drink Water?

Yes.  You do.  We all know that drinking water is important, but the reasons why are not always so clear.  And with so many other beverages at your finger tips, it’s easy to bypass the plain, boring water unless you really have a buy in as to why it’s so necessary.

Reasons Why You Should Drink Waterwater-man

  1. Weight loss- Drinking water is one of the best tools for weight loss!  First of all, it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.
  2. Heart healthy -Drinking water, a good amount of water, could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
  3. Energy – Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
  4. Headache cure- Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking water enough. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
  5. Healthy Skin- Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
  6. Digestive problems- Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
  7. Cleansing- Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  8. Cancer riskRelated to the digestive system item above, drinking water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  9. Better exerciseBeing dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure you are drinking water before, during and after exercise.

How Much Water is Enough?

water-glass-headache-lgTo figure out how much water you need to drink daily, simply divide your weight in half and the answer is the number of ounces you need.  So for me, that’s 114/2=57 oz. which is seven 8 oz glasses per day.  If you’ve never measured out your water, be sure you do!  Most people think a ‘glass’ of water is much more than it actually is.  :) (hint: it’s more like the short glass, not the tall one)

When Should I drink my Water?

The best time for drinking water may not be what you expect.  Most of us are in the habit of having a glass of water with our meals, but this is actually not the best time for water intake.  At meal time, your stomach is filled with digestive acids and enzymes who’s job it is to digest your food.  If you dilute those acids and enzymes, they will not be able to digest your food as efficiently, slowing or disrupting your digestion.  Cold water makes this problem even worse.  It is recommended that you avoid drinking water (or other fluids) 30 minutes before or after your meals.  A few sips of room temperature water to help wash down your bites is ok, just avoid large amounts.
My daily water intake schedule goes like this:
  • One warm glass of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, followed by my workout and additional glass of water throughout.  Wait 20 min while prepping breakfast….
  • Breakfast.  Wait 30 min then…
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Lunch
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Dinner
  • Water, at least 8-10 oz (can’t drink too much before bed!!)
  • Bed

What’s This I Hear About Lemon Water?

lemonWarm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day.  There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT: You should be using purified water and it should be warm-lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.

Can I Add Anything to My Water?

orange-mint-waterThere are lots of great things that you are free to add to your water to give it some interest for fun or if you are having trouble with plain water.  Here’s some suggestions:
  • Give a Squeeze: Add fresh citrus juice, lemon, orange or lime
  • Infuse: Fill a large jug with water, add sliced fruit (try citrus, berries, melon or pineapple); refrigerate overnight.
  • Leaf It: Tear up some fresh mint or basil leaves and steep in water before drinking.
  • Cuke It: Add sliced cucumber!
  • Tea Time:  Any herbal tea is a great way to add flavor and can be served hot or cold.

What About Coffee and Caffeinated Teas?

coffee_beansHaving a small cup of coffee or caffeinated tea is acceptable while eating clean.  It’s the stuff you put IN your coffee that’s often the problem.  Too much caffeine however has some nasty side effects so limit your intake to about 200 mg (2 small cups max).  Remember that caffeinated coffee and teas like Green or White are ok once or twice, the teas are actually quite beneficial, but the caffeine acts as a diuretic, so you will need to add a little extra water to compensate.

Crockpot Honey Mustard Chicken

Crockpot Honey Mustard Chicken

4 Servings
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 4 hrs 0 min
Ready In: 4 hrs 5 mins


  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce low sodium, non-GMO certified preferred
  • 1 Tbsp honey I use raw honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock homemade or low sodium preferred
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Put all ingredients into crock pot, and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  2. Shred chicken to serve.