Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Level 7 Culture

Welcome to Level 7 - Your resource for elevated health, nutrition, and fitness. So please share and enjoy . . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sprouted Chipotle Hummus

I love hummus and spicy food, so hey why not get the best of both worlds. Try my sprouted chipotle hummus it is sooooo good, and yes it tastes great in your veggie and egg morning scramble, tacos, chip dip and of course veggie dip . . . Enjoy!

Step 1: measure out 1 cup of dry chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) and sprout.

Step 2: after beans have sprouted . . .
4 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 cloves garlic
3 each, juice of limes
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 adobo chilies
2 teaspoons of adobo chili sauce

Add all above ingredients in Vita Mix and blend. Slowly add sprouted beans to blend into hummus consistency.

*Adobo chili's can easily be adjusted to your desired level of heat.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

As I mentioned before never never throw out your extra herbs, well the same goes for vegetables too! My mom gave me a bag of the sweet tri-colored peppers that were about to spoil, now I love peppers but I can only consume so much in a day and these babies were about to expire. No fear when in doubt throw it in a food processor and call it pesto!

Step 1 roast the peppers. Place peppers on broiler pan into oven preheated to Broil Lo setting. Once they start to char flip them over. When pepper are slightly blackened and the skin looks wrinkly remove from the oven.

At this point put them directly into a thin plastic bag (not a ziploc it is too thick), one that is thin and cheap and tie it in a knot. This allows the peppers to steam and helps the skin to separate from the meat.

Step 2 let the bag sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 3 remove the peppers from the bag (caution they will still be warm) and peel the outer skin off and discard, some places are more stubborn than others. Just do the best you can to remove the majority of the skin.

Step 4 pat yourself on the back because now you can roast any and kind of pepper.

*Do not wash the seeds from the any peppers with water. Some people use water but I learned that basically strips away the flavor. So if you want the seeds removed open the pepper when it has cooled and just use your hand to slide them out. I only remove the seeds from bell peppers and poblanos.

Now for the easy part:

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup packed fresh basil
1 1/2 cups roasted peppers
*(I used about 1/2 cup sweet peppers and 1 cup red bell peppers)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic

Put all ingredients in food processor and process to pesto consistency.
*I saved the extra juice from the roasted peppers, add this in at the end to get the desired consistency.

This was soooo yummy on my Udi's gluten free pizza crust piled high with veggies. I also used it in lasagna and for a sandwich spread. Oh yes and I just ate a spoonful here and there because it was that good!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spicy Pesto

This is a recipe I found from Giada De Laurentiis, however I changed it slightly. This pesto can be used on pizza, noodles, eggs, or as a smear on a sandwich. Make one batch and freeze individual servings and remember a little bit of pesto goes a long way . . .

3 oz. Baby spinach
3 oz. Arugula
1 Cup Walnuts
1 Jalapeno pepper
1/4 Cup Cold pressed olive oil
2 Garlic cloves
1 tsp. Kosher salt

*Remember always choose organic ingredients when possible.

Add all ingredients into food processor and blend to pesto consistency, that's it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Get Sauced

After having Sidney, my first (4 years ago) I went to a fitness/nutrition coach to help me loose my pregnancy weight. I am proud to say I did loose that weight but it was really miserable at times (post-pregnancy with Lucie was much easier). My coach was not a fan of salad dressing, dips, spreads or sauces of any kind, my dinner for many months was steamed broccoli and chicken-so boring.

Since then I have learned how to eat healthy and more important I have re-discovered how to prepare really, really yummy meals. I usually have on an average three to four homemade sauces, dips, dressings or spreads of some sort in my refrigerator, all dairy free. Food is sooo much more enjoyable and exciting with a homemade sauce of some sort.

For example, did you know pesto is not just basil, parsley, pine nuts and oil? There are hundreds of pesto recipes! I use pesto in my breakfast veggie scramble, on my sandwiches, rice wraps, pizza, pasta, rice, quinoa, veggie dip, etc. I make my own sauces now because its easy, fresh, raw, preservative free, and I control the salt content (very important). I make large batches and freeze small portions for later, its so easy.

So please next time you have extra spinach, arugula, cilantro, basil and/or parsley, do not and I repeat do not throw it out. Toss it in a blender with some nuts, sea salt, and cold-pressed olive oil and your good to go! Stay tuned for one of my favorite pesto recipes.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bottled Water

I promise more recipes to come, but everywhere I turn I find how ridiculous and ignorant we have become. We have bought into bottled water and how great it is for us but you need to know what you are contributing to when you purchase a bottle of water . . .


Return to purely honest food and water for you and your family!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fresh VS. Pasteurized

Our entire family loves orange juice in the morning. Although we purchase the best store bought orange juice available it is still pasteurized, otherwise it would be spoiled by the time it reached our breakfast table. Pasteurization kills everything, including the good stuff. Did you know juice begins to lose its vitamin power after squeezing. Fresh citrus juice loses 20% of its vitamin C potency within 24 hours! I have researched juicers and they are quite pricey and bulky, I was in search of something quick, easy, and cheap, and I am excited to tell you I found out. Meet my new best friend the Cuisinart Juicer. At Bed Bath and Beyond it is$29.00 ($23.00 with the BB&B coupon). I am so happy it is one less packaged item I depend on at my grocery store.

For more pasteurization information go to:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Agave No More

I just like many consumers have been duped once again. Agave is not any better than high fructose corn syrup or any more natural. (See link below for more agave information).

This is more proof that you really need to practice farm to table methods, cut out the boxes (even it it has healthy claims), refineries, and big box corporations when purchasing and consuming food. These companies are not interested in your health just the almighty dollar! I have removed my oh so yummy macaroon recipe and will be re-posting it without agave. Unfortunately, there is not any way around sugar being healthy, as my father always said "eat in moderation" and remember practice farm to table eating like the old days.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Tempeh is fermented soy and is much healthier than tofu, as well as a great alternative for meat. Check out the following link for more information on tempeh: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/03/27/why-this-type-of-soy-is-better.aspx

Westsoy Tempeh Five Grain is my favorite and can be purchased at most natural food stores.

*Tempeh Quesadillas*

1 8oz. package of Westsoy Tempeh
1 cup homemade salsa of your choice
Avocado slices
Fresh chopped cilantro
Tillamook white peppercorn cheese
Sour cream (see previous recipe)
Whole wheat tortillas (see previous recipe)

Steam tempeh for 5 minutes. Crumble tempeh into small pieces and marinade in salsa overnight. The next day let mixture sit out a few hours before meal time so it's room temperature. On a cast iron skillet place tortilla flat, sprinkle small handful of cheese onto tortilla, once cheese starts to melt place tempeh mixture on 1/2 of tortilla with avocado slices and cilantro. Fold tortilla in half and add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

*Sour Cream*

1 Cup cashew pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 Cup filtered water
1 Tablespoon fresh herbs (chives, basil, cilantro, etc)

Blend all ingredients in Vita Mix or high speed blender until smooth and refrigerate.

*Try on quesadillas, breakfast burritos, vegetable dip, smear on an english muffin - yum!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

*Whole Wheat Tortillas*

4 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoons sea salt
4 Tablespoons organic all vegetable shortening
1 1/4 Cups filtered lukewarm water

*Optional 1 Tbs molasses (for softer tortilla with a touch of sweetness)

Combine dry ingredients, mix thoroughly. Add shortening and molasses, mix. While mixer is on slowly add water. Should form a ball, don't over mix. Form a ball and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Pinch dough into golf ball sizes and roll out (a $20 tortilla press is worth the money). Cook on low heat in a cast iron skillet, once bubbles start to form flip and cook the other side. Store in refrigerator.

*You can add lime, garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, etc to the dough for a variety of tastes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Food, Inc.

I watched the documentary Food, Inc. last night and I have to say I am outraged and pissed off at the government, corporate America and well myself. I watched Fast Food Nation some time ago but honestly I closed my eyes when the animal segments were on. This time I forced myself to watch Food Inc. in its entirety (altough Jason said it was not nearly as revolting as Fast Food Nation). I am angry at myself for supporting animal cruelty, the degradation of our true American Farmer's, immigration, and buying into conventional American foods. You need to watch the movie to really understand what I am talking about, if you don't watch Fast Food Nation or Food, Inc. please know this:

Purchasing meat that is mass produced not only is unhealthy, but you, yes you are supporting animal cruelty that is LEGAL! Why is it legal because the government and large corporations have pushed technology, production, more, bigger, better, faster, cheaper before our eyes. We don't ask questions, we buy into branding that is drilled into our heads over and over ("Save Money, Live Better" - whatever), fault lies with us just as much as the government and corporate America.

I really thought I was in the know about organic vs. conventional but there is work to be done on my part, I read labels but I never paid attention to what really is in season, where did my meat come from, how far does my produce travel to reach my gorcery store, and yes the soybean is it good for you or not? In my opinion soybeans are being pushed for those that have denounced corn (guilty) and its biproducts, read my previous long winded February post about soybeans.

I pledge to purchase only meats that are farm raised in a cruelty free and organic environment.

I pledge to continue improving my grocery shopping to eliminate purchases that involve science, factories, large corporations, and ingredients I can't pronounce (most boxed and pre-packaged foods).

I pledge to teach my children (and whomever else wants to listen) that food, our bodies, animals, and our planet should be treated with respect.

*I am happy to loan out my copy for anyone that is interested (tax, interest and shipping apply J/K).

To purchase go to: http://www.amazon.com/Food-Inc-Eric-Schlosser/dp/B0027BOL4G

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

*Rice Paper Wraps with Almond Dip*

1 Rice paper wrap
Fresh herbs of your choice (mint, basil, cilantro, dill, etc.)
Julienne vegetables of your choice (carrots, zucchini, red peppers, beets, etc.)
Greens of your choice (spinach, spring mix, micro greens, sprouts, etc.)
Black sesame seeds

*See YouTube video for assembly in previous post.

Almond Shoyu Dip:

1/4 Cup Almond Flour
2 Teaspoons Shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce)
1-2 Tablespoons raw honey (depending on desired consistency and sweetness)
1 Clove Garlic

Mix all ingredients in blender and refrigerate. This is for 3-4 wraps.

*For citrus flavoring add zest of orange in dip.

Rice Paper Wraps

Rice paper wraps are a great for appetizers, on the go lunch or a quick dinner. I love salads - seriously, but this is a great alternative (I pack mine with veggies and fresh herbs). Rice paper wraps are located in the dry food section, typically at an Asian market or health food store. The following link is an instructional video to prepare the rice paper wraps.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Soybeans - Not all it's cracked up to be . . .

History of Soybeans
Soybeans come to us from the Orient. During the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice. However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen. The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, sometime during the Chou Dynasty. Thus the first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and shogu (soy or tamari sauce).

At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century B.C., Chinese scientists discovered that a puree of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth pale curd -tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia. Although the highly flavored fermented products have elicited greater interest among scientists and epicures, it is the bland precipitated products that are most frequently used, accounting for approximately 90% of the processed soybeans consumed in Asia today. The increased reliance on bean curd as a source of protein, which occurred between 700 A. D. and the present time, has not necessarily been a beneficial change for the populations of the Orient and Southeast Asia.

Fit for Human Consumption?
The Chinese did not eat the soybean as they did other pulses (legumes) such as the lentil, because the soybean contains large quantities of a number of harmful substances. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors which block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.

These"antinutrients" are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking and can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. The soybean also contains hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin have been rightly labeled growth depressant substances. Fortunately they are deactivated during the process of fermentation. However, in precipitated products, enzyme inhibitors concentrate in the soaking liquid rather than in the curd. Thus in tofu and bean curd, these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in quantity, but not completely eliminated.

Soybeans are also high in phytic acid or phytates. This is an organic acid, present in the bran or hulls of all seeds, which blocks the uptake of essential minerals-calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc-in the intestinal tract. Although not a household word, phytates have been extensively studied. Scientists are in general agreement that grain and legume based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in third world countries.

Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy and rice based diets prevents their absorption. The soybean has a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume that has been studied. Furthermore, it seems to be highly resistant to many phytate reducing techniques such as long, slow cooking. Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. Thus fermented products such as tempeh and miso provide nourishment that is easily assimilated, but the nutritional value of tofu and bean curd, both high in phytates, is questionable.

When precipitated soy products are consumed with meat, the mineral blocking effects of the phytates are reduced. The Japanese traditionally eat tofu as part of a mineral-rich fish broth. Vegetarians who consume tofu and bean curd as a substitute for meat and dairy products risk severe mineral deficiencies. The results of calcium, magnesium and iron deficiency are well known, those of zinc are less so. Zinc is called the intelligence mineral because it is needed for optimal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It plays a role in protein synthesis and collagen formation, it Is involved in the blood sugar control mechanism and thus protects against diabetes; it is needed for a healthy reproductive system.

Zinc is a key component in numerous vital enzymes and plays a role in the immune system. Phytates found in soy products interfere with zinc absorption more completely than with other minerals. Literature extolling soy products tends to minimize the role of zinc in human physiology, and to gloss over the deleterious effect of diets high in phytic acid.

Milk drinking is given as the reason second generation Japanese in America grow taller than their native ancestors. Some investigators postulate that the reduced phytate content of the American diet-whatever maybe its other deficiencies-is the true explanation, pointing out that Asian and Oriental children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effects of a high phytate diet, frequently suffer rickets, stunting and other growth problems.
Marketing the Soybean
The truth is, however, that most Americans are unlikely to adopt traditional soy products as their principle food. Tofu, bean curd and tempeh have disagreeable texture and are too bland for the Western palate; pungent and tasty miso and natto lose out in taste; only soy sauce enjoys widespread popularity as a condiment. The soy industry has therefore looked for other ways to market the superabundance of soybeans now grown in the United States.

Large scale cultivation of the soybean in the United States began only after the Second World War, and quickly rose to 140 billion pounds per year. Most of the crop is made into animal feed, soy oil for hydrogenated fats margarine and shortening. During the past 20 years, the industry has concentrated on finding markets for the byproducts of soy oil manufacture, including soy "lecithin", made from the oil sludge, and soy protein products, made from defatted soy flakes, a challenge that has involved overcoming consumer resistance to soy products, generally considered tasteless "poverty" foods.

The quickest way to gain product acceptability in the less affluent society," said a soy industry spokesman, " ... is to have the product consumed on its own merit in a more affluent society."" Hence the proliferation of soy products resembling traditional American foods-soy milk for cows milk, soy baby formula, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, soy cheese, soy flour for baking and textured soy protein as meat substitutes, usually promoted as high protein, low-fat, no cholesterol "health foods" to the upscale consumer increasingly concerned about his health. The growth of vegetarianism among the more affluent classes has greatly accelerated the acceptability and use of these artificial products. Unfortunately they pose numerous dangers.

Processing Denatures and Dangers Remain
The production of soy milk is relatively simple. In order to remove as much of the trypsin inhibitor content as possible, the beans are first soaked in an alkaline solution. The pureed solution is then heated to about 115 degrees Centigrade in a pressure cooker. This method destroys most (but not all) of the anti-nutrients but has the unhappy side effect of so denaturing the proteins that they become very difficult to digest and much reduced in effectiveness. The phytate content remains in soy milk to block the uptake of essential minerals. In addition, the alkaline soaking solution produces a carcinogen, lysinealine, and reduces the cystine content, which is already low in the soybean. Lacking cystine, the entire protein complex of the soybean becomes useless unless the diet is fortified with cystine-rich meat, eggs, or dairy products.

Most soy products that imitate traditional American food items, including baby formulas and some brands of soy milk, are made with soy protein isolate, that is the soy protein isolated from the carbohydrate and fatty acid components that naturally occur in the bean. Soy beans are first ground and subjected to high-temperature and solvent extraction processes to remove the oils. The resultant defatted meal is then mixed with an alkaline solution and sugars in a separation process to remove fiber. Then it is precipitated and separated using an acid wash. Finally the resultant curds are neutralized in an alkaline solution and spray dried at high temperatures to produce high protein powder.

This is a highly refined product in which both vitamin and protein quality are compromised-but some trypsin inhibitors remain, even after such extreme refining. Trypsin inhibitor content of soy protein isolate can vary as much as 5-fold. In rats, even low level trypsin inhibitor soy protein isolate feeding results in reduced weight gain compared to controls. Soy product producers are not required to state trypsin inhibitor content on labels, nor even to meet minimum standards, and the public, trained to avoid dietary cholesterol, a substance vital for normal growth and metabolism, has never heard of the potent anti-nutrients found in cholesterol-free soy products.

Soy Formula Is Not the Answer
Soy protein isolate is the main ingredient of soy-based infant formulas. Along with trypsin inhibitors, these formulas have a high phytate content. Use of soy formula has caused zinc deficiency in infants. Aluminum content of soy formula is 10 times greater than milk based formula, and 100 times greater than unprocessed milk. Aluminum has a toxic effect on the kidneys of infants, and has been implicated as cause in Alzheimer's in adults.

Soy milk formulas are often given to babies with milk allergy; but allergies to soy are almost as common as those to milk. Soy formulas lack cholesterol which is absolutely essential for the development of the brain and nervous system; they also lack lactose and galactose, which play an equally important role in the development of the nervous system. I would strongly discourage the use of soy formulas.

Nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens, are often found in soy protein foods, and are greatly increased during the high temperature drying process. Not surprisingly, animal feeding studies show a lower weight gain for rats on soy formula than those on whole milk, high-lactose formula; similar results have been observed in children on macrobiotic diets which include the use of soy milk and large amounts of whole grains. Children brought up on high-phytate diets tend to be thin and scrawny.

Fabricated Soy Foods
A final indignity to the original soy bean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to product textured vegetable protein (TVP). Numerous artificial flavorings, particularly MSG, are added to TVP products to mask their strong "beany" taste, and impart the flavor of meat. Soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, diet beverages and fast food products. They are heavily promoted in third world countries and form the basis of many food give-away programs. These soy products greatly inhibit zinc and iron absorption; in test animals they cause enlarged organs, particularly the pancreas and thyroid gland, and increased deposition of fatty acids in the liver.

Human feeding tests to determine the cholesterol lowering properties of soy protein isolate have not shown them to be effective. Nevertheless, they are often promoted as having beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.

Cancer Preventing or Cancer Causing?
The food industry also touts soy products for their cancer preventing properties. Isoflavone aglycones are anticarcinogenic substances found in traditionally fermented soybean products. However, in non-fermented soy products such as tofu and soy milk, these isoflavones are present in an altered form as beta-glycoside conjugates, which have no anti-carcinogenic effect. Some researchers believe the rapid increase in liver and pancreatic cancer in Africa is due to the introduction of soy products there.

The fatty acid profile of the soybean includes large amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids compared to other pulses legumes); but these omega-3 fatty acids are particularly susceptible to rancidity when subjected to high pressures and temperatures. This is exactly what is required to remove oil from the bean, as soybean oil is particularly difficult to extract. hexane or other solvents are always used to extract oil from soybeans, and traces remain in the commercial product.

While fermented soy products contain protein, vitamins, anti-carcinogenic substances and important fatty acids, they can under no circumstances be called nutritionally complete. Like all pulses, the soybean lacks vital sulfur-containing amino acids cystine and methionine. These are usually supplied by rice and other grains in areas where the soybean is traditionally consumed. Soy should never be considered as a substitute for animal products like meat or milk. Claims that fermented soy products like tempeh can be relied on as a source of vitamin B12, necessary for healthy blood and nervous system, have not been supported by scientific research.,' Finally, soybeans do not supply all-important fat soluble vitamins D and preformed A (retinol) which act as catalysts for the proper absorption and utilization of all minerals and water soluble vitamins in the diet.

These "fat soluble activators" are found only in certain animal foods such as organ meats, butter, eggs, fish and shellfish. Carotenes from plant foods and exposure to sunlight are not sufficient to supply the body's requirements for vitamins A and D. Soy products often replace animal products in third world countries where intake of B12 and fat soluble A and D are already low. Soy products actually increase requirements for vitamins B12 and D.

Are soy products easy to digest, as claimed? Fermented soy products probably are; but unfermented products with their cargo of phytates, enzyme inhibitors, rancid fatty acids and altered proteins most certainly are not. Pet food manufacturers promote soy free dog and cat food as "highly digestible"

Only Fermented Soy Products Are Safe
To summarize, traditional fermented soy products such as miso, natto and tempeh, which are usually made with organically grown soybeans, have a long history of use that is generally beneficial when combined with other elements of the Oriental diet including rice, sea foods, fish broth, organ meats and fermented vegetables. The value of precipitated soybean products is problematical, especially when they form the major source of protein in the diet. Modern soy products including soy milks and artificial meat and dairy products made from soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are new to the diet and pose a number of serious problems.

The above information was abstracted from an article written by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, Ph.D. (an international expert renown in the field of lipid chemistry) for Health Freedom News in September of 1995.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smoothie Power

Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to sneak in a few veggies and give me a boost of energy before my workouts. I used to think it was all about dairy and fruit which quite honestly is more of a sweet treat than a healthy daily snack. My favorite base for my smoothie(again purchased at Costco) is 100% organic carrot juice. In my pantry I have 16 clear containers all containing different nuts, dried berries, vanilla beans, figs, shredded unsweetened coconut, flax seeds, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, etc. In my refrigerator I always have fresh green veggies on hand: spinach, bok choy, celery, etc. Last but not least, the fruit bowl on my counter contains, lemons, limes, oranges and bananas. Having a variety of pure ingredients on hand equals infinite smoothie possibilities . . .

Here are some hints for putting a healthy smoothie together:
-Use a Vitamix to emulsify veggies - chunks are not pleasant.
-Bananas and nuts mask the green veggie taste.
-Lemons and limes add a little punch.
-Want a more filling smoothie? Add 1-3 tablespoons of oats, buckwheat or quinoa.
-Have fresh fruit that is about to spoil? Toss the fruit in a ziplock bag and freeze, frozen fruit works great in smoothies.

*Carrot Smoothie*

Smoothie of the day:
1 Cup carrot juice
1 Banana
2 Stalks of baby bok choy
1 Tablespoon golden flax seeds
9 Cashews
1 Tablespoon goji berries

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

*Tuna Salad*

Yields: 4 Servings


1 can (12 oz) White albacore tuna drained
1 ea Red bell pepper diced
4 ea Celery stalks diced
2 tablespoon All natural dill relish
2 tablesppons Vegenaise
3 tablespoon Fresh dill chopped

In large mixing bowl add well drained tuna, diced red pepper, diced celery, dill relish, vegenaise and dill. Mix together, serve in wheat pita with sprouts or byitself topped with sprouts.

*If you have leftover peanut crusted halibut, fishsticks or any other lef over fish it works realy well too instead of tuna!

Cuisine : American Main Ingredient : Tuna

Thursday, January 14, 2010

*Coconut Curry with Peanut Crusted Halibut*

Yields: 4 Servings


-- Sauce --
1 can (12 oz) Coconut milk lite
2 tablespoons Red curry paste
-- Stir Fry --
3 bunches Bok choy
1 carton Baby portobella mushrooms caps only
1 ea Red bell pepper
1/4 ea Red onion
-- Halibut Crust --
1 cup Raw unsalted peanuts
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 ea Eggs
-- Garnishes --
Thai Basil

Open can of coconut milk and pour into sauce pan (unheated) add 1-2 tablespoons of red curry paste (depending on how much heat you want), whisk together cold. Keep half in sauce pan and pour other half into mixing bowl. In same mixing bowl add four servings of halibut along with half of fesh squeezed lemon, some thai basil, cilantro and sea salt. Gently toss filets and let rest for a couple of hours.
Prep vegetables: Thinly slice onion, julienne red bell pepper and slice mushrooms. The bok choy simply cut off the bottom so the stalks separate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop or pulse peanuts in food processor into similar size as the Panko bread crumbs. Mix Panko and peanuts together in a shallow dish. Crack two eggs and whisk together in another shallow bowl. Grab one filet at a time and let marinade drip off for the most part, dip in egg wash and then transfer into crumb mixture to coat on all sides. Place filets in baking dish lightly coated with Pam or oil. Place into oven, depending on the thickness of the filet cook for 15-30 minutes flipping once.

While halibut is cooking heat up sauce pan to low just enough so its warm when serving.

In large wok or skillet preheat on medium-high heat. Once pan is heated add just enough sesame seed oil to coat bottom of pan (don't overdo it). Toss in onion and red pepper and saute for a minute, then add in mushrooms constantly moving veggies in skillet. When mushrooms start to cook down add in bok choy and saute for a couple more minutes.

Place halibut filet over bed of sauteed veggies and top liberally with coconut curry sauce. Garnish with thai basil and cilantro.

If you prefer the RAW version leave vegetables uncooked and finely chopped/dices and lightly coat with sesame oil.

*Helpful hint: If you need something for the kiddies skip the curry marinade, cut halibut into fish stick portions and marinade in lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Before you coat your curry halibut coat their halibut in crumb mixture the same way, cook exactly the same way as filets and viola real fishsticks! Any leftover fish makes amazing halibut salad for a sandwich the next day (stay tuned for recipe). Enjoy!!!

Cuisine : Thai Main Ingredient : Halibut

*Peach Cobbler*

Yields: 12 Servings


-- Crust --
3 cup Pecans dry
1 ea Vanilla bean
3/4 teaspoons Sea salt
3/4 cups Dates pitted
-- Syrup --
3/4 cup Dates pitted
3 tablesppons Coonut oil
1/2 ea Vanilla bean
2/3 cup Filtered water
-- Filling --
3 cups Ripe peaches, mangoes, or pineapple mashed

To prepare crust, process pecans, vanilla, and salt into into fine consistency. Add 3/4 cup pitted dates and process until well mixed. Press mixture into shallow pie pan (I used mini saucers) of choice. Its best to line the pan with plastic wrap if you want to remove it from the pan/dish prior to serving (the mini saucers worked great for individual servings - no plastic wrap needed).

To make syrup, process 3/4 cup dates, oil, vanilla bean, and water as needed to make a thick syrup.

Pour filling into pie pans and chill.

Prior to serving lift pie out, slice and top with syrup.

Cuisine : American Main Ingredient : Pecan

Books and DVD's

Check out my favorite books and dvd's. Tracy Anderson workouts are perfect for home, she doesn't involve a lot of equipment. I still do the post pregnancy workout, it's by far the best abs workout I have found. She is a former dancer and doesn't believe in heavy weights for women, she designs her workouts for the long and lean look go to: http://action.tracyandersonmethod.com/.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Food Prep

Food preparation and planning is vital to healthy eating. My mom could not figure out how and when I managed to create meal after meal while working full time, having two kids and Jason being out of town? The secret is I never cook a meal start to finish all at one time, the meals I make take 2 days to a week of planning and preparation. Here is an example of how it works start to finish:

1. Go to www.foodnetwork.com or whatever recipe website you like. Type in a keyword for whatever you have on hand, whatever is in season, on sale or a craving you have. Once you type in the keyword usually you will get a dozen options for the one keyword. Narrow down your results to a healthy choice and of course whatever looks yummy. If its not exactly what you want then change it - duh. A recipe=guideline, cooking does not have to be by the book, I constantly swap out unhealthy ingredients with healthy or RAW ingredients.

2. Get a magnet and slap it on your refrigerator. I usually have 3-4 ideas posted on my refrigerator.

3. Make a grocery list and start gathering ingredients. In Utah because the grocery stores are so lame I have to go to Costco, Sunflower Market, Good Earth, Harmons, Whole Foods, Smiths Marketplace, Chinese and Mexican stores, Honeyville and Albertsons simply because they are all good for specific items. With that said I slowly gather ingredients until the recipe is complete.

4. In the morning before my kids get up or while they are eating breakfast I chop veggies, gather ingredients and simply place them on the counter for later, wash vegetables so they are dry that evening, marinade meats, etc. It sounds silly but just getting the my ingredients next to the Vita Mix for later I am one step closer to completing my recipe. If its as simple as opening a can of coconut milk for later or peeling garlic cloves I do it.

5. I never cook dinner at dinner time. Why you ask? I go to the gym at 4:00, go pick up my kids at 5:00, so by the time I get home my kids and I are starving. If I had to make a meal from start to finish we a)wouldn't eat until 8:00 b)I would pass out from hunger or c)I would be more likely to either eat something quick and unhealthy or god forbid get fast food. So I don't set myself up for failure. I prepare meals after the dinnertime and/or after the kids go to bed! I only ASSEMBLE meals at actual dinner time. So the veggies are chopped, the nuts or cheeses are chopped or shredded, the sauces are made, the meat is ready to go, the pans are out, the cans are opened, the spices and measuring spoons are out. Before I leave to go to the gym I usually get refrigerated items (food will not go rancid in a few hours) out and set them on the counter (even meat) so if I am lightly cooking my veggies they aren't going from cold to hot. Its all sitting out when we get home to make a fresh, healthy meal in 10-15 minutes, this is not microwave cooking people this is smart and efficient cooking.

Use this method and you will start a cycle of painless, fun and healthy meals. You and your family deserve it!

RAW Food Fusion

Many of you have asked how to get started eating RAW foods, is it expensive, what do I buy and where do I start? Let me start by saying it is indeed overwhelming, I feel like I have only discovered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about food and health. About 6 months ago after purchasing my first RAW cookbook and reading about how cooked food is less nutritious I went a little overboard and started eating as much RAW food as possible (let me clarify 100 % RAW lifestyle=vegan which I am not). My stomach starting getting really bloated and I didn't connect the two until my dad had a Dr. visit with our wonderful doctor (mentioned previously) and he explained this: Raw food has a cellulose structure around it, upon digestion if your stomach does not have enough acid to break that cellulose down than your body will not absorb the nutrients, hence me looking like I was pregnant! So while eating RAW food especially veggies it is really important to chew really well, pulse your veggies in a food processor to break it down (smoothies are an excellent choice), take an enzyme supplement to help break down the food, or lastly very lightly steam or sauté your veggies. I now feel like I have the best of both worlds and I eat my way which if you had to name it I would call it "RAW Food Fusion" and I feel great mentally and my weight is right where I want it. I am not willing to give up my morning latte which involves milk (vegans are animal bi-product free), omega 3 eggs, and fish and cheese on occasion. If you notice my French Toast recipe comibines RAW food elements with cooked. My suggestions to start moving toward concuming more RAW foods are:

1. Start by not buying any pre-packaged foods with the exception of the basics (milk, cheese, yogurt and bread). That will start weeding out all of the boxed food as well as cut down the gorcery bill.

2. Stop consuming white flour and refined sugars as well as limit your flour intake altogether.

3. The first investment is a Vita Mix Pro, I don't know how I lived without it.

4. I love dessert and RAW desserts are incredible, I can honestly say I can indulge a lot more than I used to with conventional desserts (perhaps daily sometimes) and I do not gain weight. With RAW desserts the nutrition absorption is not an issue because the ingredients are always put into the food processor or Vita Mix, moreover you are not dealing with vegetables. Start exploring RAW desserts, it is so much fun!!!

5. Along with RAW desserts, explore dressings and sauces too. These are again easy and will eliminate the need for store bought items.

Start with these steps and you will easily start the progression toward more RAW foods and feeling a lot better. More RAW Food Fusion recipes to come . . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Subscribe to Blog Update Notifications

If you would like to be added to our mailing list via email, please email alishadoyle@me.com. Once you are added you will be emailed new posts automatically.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

*Buckwheat Waffles/Pancakes*

Yields: 12 Servings


2 cups Buckwheat groats ground
1 cup Raw pecans or almonds ground
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
4 ea Dates pitted
4 oz Applesauce
1 1/2 cup Egg white
1 can (13.5 oz) Coconut milk
1 ea Vanilla bean
1 tsp Cinnamon

In vitamix ground buckwheat and nuts seperate both to a fine powder, then combine together in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Consistency should be a bit runny for waffles, save remainder for the next day and make pancakes. Top with berry syrup.

Cuisine : American

Main Ingredient : Buckwheat

*Use pecans, add zest of one orange with orange oil or juice into batter and top with raspberry syrup
*Use almonds, add zest of one lemon with lemon oil or juice into batter and top with blueberry syrup