I'm loving this delicious, healthy and little spicy spin on your typical minestrone soup. First, I skip the regular canned tomatoes and use organic fire roasted tomatoes to give this dish an extra kick. Instead of pasta, chick peas do the trick here to add a nice texture and a dose of fiber. Ground turkey is my go to when making meatballs but you can all always substitute with another organic, grass fed meat of your choice.
Make the soup:
Ooh Yum! This raw vegan cheesecake is always a hit in my house. I adapted it from several different recipes online to come up with the perfect combination of crust and filling. It's perfect for decorating with edible flowers, herbs and in this case, chocolate Easter eggs! So get creative and try this beauty at your next dinner party!
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
12 fresh dates (medjool), pitted
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
optional unsweetened coconut shreds
1 tsp sea salt
Make the crust: Grind nuts and seeds in a blender or a food processor for about a minute. Add dates, coconut oil and sea salt and run the processor until it all comes together. Flatten it out on the bottom of an 8-inch non-stick spring form. Store in the fridge while you make the filling.
Lemon Coconut Filling
1 cup cashew, soaked
2 organic lemons, juiced-plus zest of 1
¼ cup full fat coconut milk
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
pinch himalayan pink salt
Pinch of Healthy On You® Turmeric Ginger Spice (for color)
¼ cup coconut oil, gently melted
I can't tell you how much fun it was teaching this class and from the response from these incredible women, I think they had fun too! The menu was mostly raw food and Vietnamese all the way. I decided to teach this class after taking a series of cooking classes on my travels to Vietnam and Cambodia earlier this year. The cuisine is so flavorful and fresh. We used copious amounts of Vietnamese mint, basil and cilantro to create these amazing dishes. I think these incredible photos tell the story! I'm definitely going to teach this class again over the summer so if you missed it, there will be another opportunity coming up!
This is a winner chicken dinner if I ever tasted one. Its great for a weeknight meal and you can make it for two, four or six easily. I often get bored with chicken, repeating the same recipe over and over again. This recipe is different, mainly because the chicken is not cooked in the sauce, so the the curry flavor is not all consuming. The fresh carrots and broccolini are steamed and then added to the pan. They add color and nutrients to the dish.
*Tip: I usually slice a chicken breast horizontally to make two breasts out of a very thick piece and also for consistency in sizes.
In a new study published in JAMA, it's been discovered that people who cut back on highly processed foods, refined grains and added sugar and replaced them with nutrient rich foods like salmon, olive oil, brown rice and barley, lost weight faster than people who simply count calories. If you’ve taken my classes, then you already know this. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve decided to teach people how to cook healthy meals at home as a tool for losing or maintaining a healthy weight.
What’s even more amazing about this study is that portion control was out of the window and not even a consideration in the results. As long as the participants consumed healthy foods and reduced added sugar over time, they lost significant amounts of weight.
Many believe that their body type matters. The study is observed to show that it actually does not. A diet that is high quality, low in fat and low in carbs goes a lot further in helping you achieve your weight loss goals versus simply cutting 500 calories from an unhealthy diet.
What You Can Do Instead of Calorie Counting
Adjust Your Diet
One of the hardest lifestyle changes is changing up your diet. Often times, we are so used to our style of consumption, that we fall into dangerous patterns that harbor weight and excess water. By adjusting our diets for the better, we can begin to introduce our bodies to whole, nutrient dense foods into our system, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle.
First, a great way to begin your new lifestyle shift is to eliminate unhealthy foods from the kitchen, your office, or anywhere else that you have food easily accessible. For more information on ridding your space of unhealthy foods, check out my other blog here.
Finally, we must find alternatives to the unhealthy foods we love. Below, I've compiled a short guide to help you ease into these changes.
The kinds of foods that are up for elimination cover a huge portion of the standard American diet. These include processed foods, diet foods, and further adulterated foods. These do not break down as well in the body - as naturally, we are not meant to process artificial and processed matter.
Foods to eliminate:
● So called “low-fat foods” like chips, brownies and cakes. Unfortunately, they are still chips, brownies and cake.
● Zero –calorie drinks, sodas and sugary juices
● Refined sugars and flours (white bread, bagels, etc)
● White rice
● Muffins - A huge culprit. Pastries are full of sugar and fat.
● Processed foods + snacks (i.e. chips, chocolate bars, gummies)
Now that we’ve covered foods to eliminate, we can begin to dive into foods we can consume as alternatives and replacements. These foods are whole, nutrient dense foods that offer us nourishment and keep us satiated longer.
Foods to replace:
● Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
● Wild salmon and other fish high in Omega 3s
● Pasture raised, grass fed animal foods
● Olive oil
● Brown rice
● Steel cut oats
● Lentils, chickpeas, beans
Additional Tips to Keep Your Health Up and the Weight Off
● Read the Labels:
I encourage you to read labels of the foods you purchase, like yogurt, for instance. The low fat version, may have more added sugar than the whole milk versions. Ensure that you are taking the time to truly understand what you’re eating, because buzz words like “100-calorie-pack” and “0 carbs” can often hide other nutrient deficient or unhealthy culprits.
● Get Your Sweat On:
Keep your body moving. A great rule of thumb is to exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week. This includes walking! If you’re not particularly active, easy ways to sneak in some exercise can include:
○ Parking your car further away from your destinations so you’ll have to walk further to and from your car.
○ Using work breaks to take walks.
○ Take the stairs.
○ Walk your pets often, take the longer route.
○ Enlist a workout buddy to hold you accountable.
For more information about Healthy On You, Healthy Cooking Classes and to sign up for my newsletter.
So much fun this week at Rancho La Puerta teaching a beautiful cooking class in La Cocina Que Canta-the kitchen that sings! I had an incredible group that came down to cook with me and we had the best time. The theme was adding flavor with spices so I taught a Moroccan Spiced Salmon, an Apple Fennel Galette, Provencal Roasted Fennel, a delicious Spinach & Parsley Soup, Citrus Carrots & Parsnips, Cauliflower & Chick Pea Salad with Quinoa, a Kale & Brussels sprouts Salad, a Vegan chocolate mousse with lavender salt . All vegetables came from the organic farm right outside our door.
Salvatore, the farmer who has been working at the Ranch for over 20 years, was enthusiastic about showing us around the farm; describing the soil conditions and all the various vegetables that were being harvested. 80% of the food and vegetables served comes from this incredible productive garden. With our recent cold snap, he described how the citrus trees were heavily damaged due to the morning frost but he reassured us that they would be ok once the weather warmed up.
Look at this amazing bed of romaine lettuce-a staple at the ranch and is included in most salads during lunch and dinner. I had so much fun exploring and checking out all the vegetables including fennel, parnsips, broccoli, arugula and spinach!
Healthy On You Recipes and cooking tips by Samantha Binkley. Many of these recipes use Samantha's 100% Organic Spice Blends that take the guess work out of cooking.