GUZZLE THIS: green citrus smoothie

The past year I’ve been having nothing but this one cacao smoothie and I needed a change. I wanted something citrusy and green-basically the exact opposite of the other smoothie.
Plus, since I’m a girl and I need a lot more iron than guys do, so some spinach was in order.
A lot of people say that spinach isn’t the best source of iron because the oxalates inhibit absorption. BUT it just so happens that our good old friend vitamin C promotes absorption of iron, making the iron in spinach suddenly a good source!
This smoothie has protein from the Greek yogurt, vitamin C from the tangerine juice, iron from the spinach, and fiber from the banana. Plus, the wheat germ has a whole boat load of awesome things: vitamin E, both omega fatty acids, protein, fiber, the B vitamins, and a ton of minerals!!
So drink up!!

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Green citrus smoothie
serves 1

ingredients
1 cup tangerine juice
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 banana
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small handful spinach

1. Blend all the ingredients for the smoothie! Add a few ice cubes if you want it cold.

MUNCH THIS: blueberry almond butter pancakes

I use to eat pancakes a lot growing up. Drenched in syrup, slathered in butter… You could hear yourself getting fatter (Tommy Boy reference for anyone who caught that). But then I grew up.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought that I would treat myself and get some pancakes for breakfast. It had all the above stated necessities. About two seconds after I finished eating it, I wanted to puke. I felt so… Icky inside. It didn’t even taste as good as I remembered. I guess eating cleaner caused my taste buds to prefer the healthier foods and reject the heart attack on a plate foods.
Put I still like the idea of pancakes, so I didn’t give up on them.
A few days later, my sister in law introduced me to a cleaner, healthier version of the sinfully sweet breakfast treat. And it is my civic duty to pass the recipe on to my fellow health nut followers!

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Clean blueberry pancakes
serves 2

ingredients
1/2 cup almond butter
1 banana
2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the first three ingredients really well. Put two tablespoon portions onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the top with the honey, blueberries and Greek yogurt!

** Try this out on a lazy Sunday morning. Make extra and store them in the fridge for the week! Just reheat them in the oven!

Eating healthy on a post grad budget: making the struggle easier

I have one more semester until I’m completely done with school and honestly, it scares the sh*t out of me. It’s hard to get excited about graduation when all I can think about is the impending doom of being on my own and having responsiblity thrust upon me. Thankfully, I have learned how to at least feed myself on a limited budget so I won’t starve to death or survive off of plain pasta.
One of my friends who graduated in May asked me to shed some light on how to eat well while pinching your pennies. I’m going to provide tips that have gotten me through hard times of barely any money and an example week of how to eat when you can’t even rub two dimes together.

SURVIVAL TIPS

1. Meal planning will become your best friend. It can be extremely annoying to have to plan out what you’re going to eat each day for 5 days, but unfortunately, you’re broke and you don’t have much more of an option. When you’re making the big bucks, you can go crazy and decide on a whim what you’ll eat, when you want to eat it. But for now, you have GOT to learn how to meal plan.

???So how do you meal plan???
Great question, young post college graduate. That leads me to my next point…

2. Make simple meals that all use some of the same ingredients. This is really important. Lets say you want to make a veggie pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. Use the leftover vegetables the next day to make a veggie quinoa bowl. It takes some planning, but it gets easier, I promise.

 

I’ve told you how to plan to eat cheaply for a week… now how do you make it healthy?

SIMPLE!

3. Use the recipes that I post to plan your meals around! And stay updated with the recipes that I post. I have been living a healthy and CHEAP lifestyle on my own now for four years. I’ve learned a lot. Use my information to help you succeed in staying healthy on a budget.

 

Now I’m going to lay it all out for you in a 5 day example so that you can get the gist of how to do this. I’ve  listed enough meals for each category to get you through the week. Some won’t have 5 different meals and that’s because you can eat this on multiple different days to save you money:

Breakfast: Eggs and toast, strawberry and almond butter toast (use bananas instead of strawberries), leftover savory eggs and potatoes

Lunch: raw kale salad with avocado dressing, fajita style chicken lettuce wrap, dinner sized salad (add chicken),  chicken sandwich (using leftover chicken from one of your meals), black bean quinoa bowl 

Snacks: peanut butter protein bars, kind bar, greek yogurt

Dinner: Vegan shepherd’s pie, green monster quinoa bowl, savory eggs and potatoes, potato leek soup with toast, teriyaki chicken plate (use quinoa instead of rice)

Drinks: a bottle of wine… you know… for the weekend. or something.

You can eat ALL OF THIS healthy food for only $55.61. And I even included a bottle of WINE! Take that out and you’re under $50!! I actually went to Trader Joes, wrote down the cost of every item that you need for these meals, and then figured out the cost of everything. You’re welcome. Now you don’t have any excuse! Go eat healthy and check in for more recipes on my blog! All are diet friendly. All approved.

Just a reminder… THESE are all the money saving meals that you’ll be able to make. Looks a lot different than ramen, huh?

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MUNCH THIS: Portobello mushroom steak with roasted cauliflower

Wow, if you’re looking to impress friends and family with a recipe, MUNCH THIS. I made this last night to just try it out. I’ve heard of “cauliflower steaks” before at fancy vegan restaurants so I went ahead and made that portion… Except that the finished product looked like a brain.

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Plus, a dish of roasted cauliflower just didn’t sound like it would be satisfying at all, so I added in my usual Portobello “steak” recipe. The Portabello steak combined with the cauliflower steak, a slightly strong raw cheese and a red wine sauce…. Drooling as I type this.

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It presents really well also! Try it out when you’re feeling a little adventurous!! Plus, the entire meal is only 270 calories

Portobello Mushroom Steak with Roasted Cauliflower and Red Wine Sauce
serves 1

ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 portobello mushroom
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1/4 cup red wine (I used chianti)
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 thin slices of a mild raw cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Slice the very tip inch of the cauliflower off, then cut a 1 inch thick steak from it.
*the cuts should be parallel to the base of the cauliflower. Careful while you cut down so that you don’t break the steak into chunks.
3. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle two teaspoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper over it. Put into the oven for 25 minutes.
4. While that bakes, take the portobello mushroom and remove the stalk by pulling it out. Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil into a pan and heat to medium. Put the mushroom, gills up, into the pan and sprinkle it with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook both sides for 3 minutes then add the thyme and wine. Let this cook for another 4 minutes or until the wine has reduced. Turn off the heat, add the chicken broth and butter and stir until a sauce is formed.
5. Place the entire cauliflower on a plate and drizzle it with the red wine sauce. Place the mushroom on top of the steak and add the sliced cheese to the top.

Yummmmmmmm.
Definitely MUNCH THIS!

Bibimbap (AKA fancy way to say fried egg, rice and veggies)

I choose what I eat based off of three factors:
1. It looks pretty
2. It tastes good
3. It’s healthy

And it’s in that order of importance as well. The bibimbap has all three of these. In my opinion, it’s one of the prettiest things you can put into a bowl. Plus, with complex carbs coming from the vegetables and brown rice, protein from the egg and good fats from the olive oil it’s cooked in, you couldn’t really get an all around healthier meal.
If you’re an athlete, the bibimbap is an amazing post workout choice. If you already have the rice cooked and pre-chopped veggies, the entire cooking process only takes a matter of 15 minutes.
Did I mention it’s PRETTY??

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Bibimbap
serves 1

ingredients
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup bean sprouts
1/4 diced zucchini
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 radish, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 cup raw spinach
3 garlic cloves
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
Sweet and sour sauce on the side for added flavor

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1. Put the rice into a large bowl.
2. Heat a large skillet and put I teaspoon of olive oil in it. Heat to medium and add the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each) and sauté for 5 minutes. Once done, put on top of the rice.
3. Repeat step two with the mushrooms and carrots.
4. In a second skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil to medium heat and crack the egg inside. Cook to your liking (soft, medium, or hard) as a fried egg.
5. While the egg cooks, dice the garlic and put it into the large skillet with another teaspoon of olive oil. Add the spinach and sauté for about two minutes. Add this to the rice bowl.
6. While you wait for the egg, add the green onions, radish and bean sprouts to the rice bowl. Add the egg on top last.
7. I used sweet and sour sauce on top but you can also use soy sauce, teriyaki sauce or whatever else you like!

Easy home made ALMOND MILK (without all the nasty preservatives!)

If you’re like the majority of health conscious Americans out there, you’ve probably lessened up on the milk and opted for almond milk (or other variations) instead. Growing up, I never drank regular cows milk. My parents supplemented my cereals with rice milk and that stuff… sucked. It always tasted so watered down and lacked any flavor. I was excited when I first discovered almond milk and the whole new realm of this flavorful and substantial liquid. It wasn’t until the last few years in the midst of studying for my Nutritional Sciences degree that I decided to take a hard look at the premade Almond Milks that you buy from stores. I was surprised to find the the majority of almond milks have around 11 ingredients. I didn’t even understand half of the ingredients and I study food labels in school! This sort of freaked me out because I believe in eating food as close to it’s original form as possible. So I decided to make my own almond milk and was surprised to find how easy it was to make. The one catch is that it only lasts about 3 days. That really makes you think because store bought almond milk lasts up to two weeks in the fridge after it has been opened. Just how many preservatives are in those almond milks that it can last that long?? It’s worth trying. Plus it just tastes so much better when you make it yourself. Another positive: it makes you seem ultra impressive to your friends when it really didn’t take that much effort on your part.

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Homemade Almond Milk
makes 4 cups
what you’ll need
1 cup raw almonds
1 nut bag
1 mason jar
Water

1. In the mason jar, soak the almonds in two cups of water for 12-24 hours.
2. After soaking, drain and rinse the almonds. Put the almonds into a blender with 4 cups of water and blend for about 30 seconds.
3. Position the nut bag over the mason jar and pour the water almond mixture into the jar. You’ll have to do this in batches but it’ll go by quickly using the nut bag. Make sure to squeeze the bag with the almond meal in it to drain out any liquid. Do this until the all the liquid has been drained from the almonds.
**this will last for up to 3 days
Try adding some dates and vanilla extract to make it taste even better!

The best damn dinner salad ever.

Okay, I may be a little biased, but this salad is really good! Plus, it looks so fricken pretty as if it came directly out of a food photoshoot for Bon Appetit magazine! It’s a perfect picture of hearty avocado with crunchy seeds, light lettuce and other fruit and vegetable delicacies. Make it. Eat it. Love it. Definitely two thumbs up. Top it with some sun dried tomato hummus to really sass it up!

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The Best Damn Dinner Salad Ever
serves 1

Ingredients
2 cups mixed greens
1 small carrot
1 small beet
1/2 small cucumber
1/2 avocado
1 handful parsley
1 handful cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup roasted tomato hummus
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a large salad bowl, pour in the mixed greens.
2. With a zest-er or a grater, zest thin strips of both the carrot and beet. Add to the salad.
3. Cut the cucumber into thin slices and add to the salad.
4. Cut the stalks off of the parsley and add to the salad.
5. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the salad along with the green onions.
6. Slice the avocado and scoop out on top of the salad.
7. Heat a small pan to medium and add in the pumpkin seeds. Allow the seeds to slightly brown while constantly moving them around do that they don’t burn. This should only take about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the crunchy seeds on top if the salad.
8. For dressing, add the hummus to the top and drizzle the olive oil over the entire thing.

**This salad is extremely filling so you probably won’t need anything else for dinner when you make it! Enjoy!