Tag Archives: Cook

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Professional cyclists DO NOT eat a healthy diet. Especially not the riders over in Europe. Mike and I saw this first hand when, while following the Giro d’Italia, we picked up their discarded feed bags on the side of the road. All we found were pastries and “energy bars” full of refined sugar and bad carbohydrates. It was unbelievable to us that their team directors think it acceptable and, above all, profitable to fuel their riders with these kinds of food. How much better would they perform on a 5 hour race day if their bodies could actually use the food they were given?

FeedZoneCookbook

This weekend I met two of my favorite chef’s: Dr. Allen Lim and Chef Biju Thomas. They co-authored “The Feed Zone Cookbook.” Allen Lim was the director of sport sciences for professional cycling teams, Radioshack and Garmin. He introduced the idea of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of a healthy diet in a training plan. Biju Thomas is an avid cyclist and chef to some of the top riders in the US. The cookbook is based on very simple but very healthy meals that could be cooked with 3-5 ingredients on one stove-top while on the road. I love it.

One of my favorites (and now perfectly adapted for me) recipes is their Chicken Tikka Masala. Their version uses lots of yogurt which is fine if it’s raw (or at least organic) but I wanted to see if I could get rid of it altogether. So I replaced it with canned coconut milk and OH-EM-GEE. Really, really yummy.

I was always nervous about cooking curry because it’s so tasty that I figured it would be complicated. Absolutely not the case. This is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever cooked and it now holds a preferred spot on our meal planning menu.

Curry-Published

 

Ingredients (3 servings, double this to make 6 servings and last a couple days)

  • 4 cups of cooked quinoa for the base
  • 2 lbs chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I used my leftover chicken from my roast last week)
  • 1-cup tomato sauce
  • 1 12oz can organic coconut milk (shake before opening)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 a sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper or 2-4 green chiles, cut into strips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and, if you can, let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. I didn’t have time for this and it was still delicious.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a deep pan and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Spoon on top of your quinoa and enjoy!

It’s the simplest and most delicious meal. Definitely one of our favorites. Try to pair it with a spinach salad to get your raw veggies in.

Let me know how it goes! I hope you’re all having very fun and spicy days 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Meal Planning and Taco Night

A common excuse for why people don’t cook for themselves is that it takes too much time. To these people I say, “NO!” If you want to be healthy, you have to figure out how it works into your schedule. Of course, I can help you with this.

My Solution: Cook three times a week, the nights you have a bit more time. Easy meals that take no more than 30 minutes. Cook double and eat leftovers on nights you really don’t have time to cook. However, make sure that you are reheating the leftovers in the oven and on the stove top, microwaves are BAD. Let the 7th day be your meal vacation day and get a pre-cooked pizza or order in.

This strategy means I only grocery shop once a week and it’s only for the three meals I need to cook plus a little breakfast and lunchtime stuff. And now nothing goes bad either!

So this week one of the three meals was make-your-own tacos. YUM. It’s cheap and so incredibly delicious.

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Make-Your-Own-Tacos

Side Ingredients (mix or match with whatever you have, and organic is best)

corn tortillas

refried beans

no sugar salsa

cucumbers, chopped

guacamole

pecorino cheese, grated (< hard sheep’s cheese, like parmesan but without the lactose)

Taco Meat Ingredients

ground turkey or chicken (< very important that it’s organic)

1 onion, diced

1 Tbsp coconut oil

garlic, 2 cloves minced or 2 tsp powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt and pepper

optional: portobello mushrooms, other soft veggies

Instructions

1. Cook the taco meat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the coconut oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the ground turkey/chicken, spices, and veggies. Set to medium-low heat and cover. Stir occasionally while heating side ingredients. Cook for a total of about 15 minutes.

3. Heat refried beans in a pot on stove. Stir frequently.

4. Heat tortillas in oven on lowest setting for 5 minutes. While you’re plating the sides.

5. Put it out all nice and pretty and let people serve themselves! Enjoy.

Hope you’re all having wonderful Tuesdays 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Guacamole!

Who doesn’t love guacamole? And all you people out there that are shaking their head, “no I hate guacamole, that delicious healthy fat combined with all those savory veggies and awesome spices, I hate it.” Obviously something’s wrong with you. The great thing about making your own dip is that you can take out any flavors you don’t like!

With this batch, I decided to try to add some protein. I put in some black beans and they are so tasty. Definitely be doing that again.

Guac is great to bring to parties with some crackers/chips or to put on top of salads. And it makes taco night SO much better. Plus, it’s so easy! This took me about 20 minutes to make and it will (hopefully with some restraint from Mike) last at least 3 or 4 days.

Easy Black Bean Guacamole

Ingredients

3 ripe avocados

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, pressed

6 oz salsa or 1 medium tomato, diced

juice from 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon, OR 1 orange (I didn’t have anything else and it actually worked really well)

1 tsp cumin, to taste

2 tsp sea salt, to taste

1 tsp ground pepper, to taste

dash of chili powder

6 oz black beans

Instructions

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1. Our avocados were unripe yesterday so I took them out of the fridge and wrapped them in a brown paper bag. For some reason they ripen faster in paper bags. This morning they were perfect.

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2. Cut avocados in half, take out the pit, and scoop into a large bowl. Add all other ingredients besides black beans. Mash it all up with a fork or masher.

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3. Stir in beans or other add-ins. Taste test it! Mess with the spices however you see fit. It looks kinda gross but it is OH SO GOOD!

What is your favorite way to eat guacamole?

Hope you’re all having happy days 🙂

Just-Try-It Thursday: Frittata

This recipe is really flippin’ easy. And cheap! (I got it from an awesome blog I read regularly: Once A Month) I cooked it immediately after my workout and was eating within 20 minutes. It is a pretty basic dish though so I also had a couple of pieces of toast. One with almond butter, one with honey. It would be delicious with roasted potatoes though.

Veggie Frittata (serves 4)

Ingredients

8 eggs – keep the yolks! They’re a healthy fat.

Whatever veggies you have – I used green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of spinach. Onions would be really good too.

1/2 cup almond, coconut, or full fat milk

salt and peppa

1. Chop up all the veggie and sauté the hard veggies (peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onions) in a Tbsp of oil. Medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. While they’re cooking, scramble the eggs and milk together. Use a big bowl and a whisk. Don’t stop until the eggs get frothy.

3. Add the soft veggies (tomatoes) to your sauté and spread everything out evenly.

4. Pour on the eggs. And top with any green leaves you have. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then transfer to the oven to broil for another 5 minutes.

5. Take it out and cut into it! I kept mine covered for a few minutes before eating it and it went from pretty and fluffy to sadly deflated. But it was still delicious!

Let me know how it goes! (< do this by clicking the title of this blog post and entering your message under “penny for your thoughts)

Tasty Tuesday: Winter Soup

We had some friends over for dinner the week before last and it was just starting to get cold out. One of the guests was vegan which I actually love because it’s a challenge! So I made this delicious AND vegan Winter Soup in my slow cooker. Thanks to Oh She Glows for the base recipe!

Don’t be scared! It seems like a lot of ingredients but you just chop them all up and throw them in.

Quick tip: I doubled this recipe and it fed 7 of us at dinner and there were leftovers for another night. Always make enough for leftovers! It means less time cooking.

Winter Soup (serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

1 large carrot

1 cup red quinoa, uncooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion

1 medium zucchini

3 cloves garlic

1 vegetable bouillon cube (not low sodium)

6 cups water

15oz can diced tomatoes

15oz can black beans

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of black pepper

2 cups baby spinach

Instructions

Chop carrot, onion, and zucchini. Heat the oil then sauté onions over low heat until translucent.

Add the carrot, zucchini and garlic and continue to sauté for 5-7 minutes.

While that’s cooking, in separate pot, boil 6 cups of water and add bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved. Combine sautéed veggie, bouillon water, and all other ingredients, except for spinach, in a large pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Chop spinach and add to pot. Simmer for 15+ minutes. The longer the better.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Winter Recipe?

 

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato Pancakes

I am a big believer in spending some time on breakfast. One of my favorite things about having a day off or being on vacation is being able to spend time cooking and enjoying breakfast.

A yummy pile of food + a book/newspaper + a good cup of tea or glass of mulled cider + good company = AWESOME MORNING.

This past Sunday, Mike and I enjoyed a new (and now frequent) recipe. I hope to enjoy an equally lovely breakfast every day of this Thanksgiving holiday.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small

3 eggs

1/2 cup almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have)

1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond, coconut, whole milk, whatever…)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp sea salt

high heat cooking oil (coconut, grape seed, or sesame oil)

Instructions

Boil sweet potatoes until soft when stabbed with a fork. Start heating pan on Medium during this last step. Drain then add sweet potatoes and all other ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth.

After preheating pan for 5-ish minutes, pour two small pancakes at a time. Flip when the centers start bubbling. Cook on other side for 3-5 minutes.

Stack a pile, add a topping (bananas, sautéed apples, raisins, honey, maple syrup, etc.) and ENJOY!

*this recipe was adapted from Sammie Kennedy.

By the way, thanks to everyone that commented on my post yesterday. Recognizing the amazing qualities of the people around you starts to make you more amazing too! If you want to add to the comments, there’s still time! I’ll be reposting them on all Friday.

What are some of your favorite breakfast traditions?

Thriving Thursday: Back to Basics Applesauce

When was the last time you had applesauce? Does anyone remember the blue kind? Why do kids love to eat weird colored food? Scratch that, why do PEOPLE love to eat weird colored food? Anyway! In my quest to get healthy, I’ve started cooking lots of stuff from scratch, in big batches, and then eating it for a week or two. It’s actually amazing how simple some of these recipes are.

So this week I tried to recreate my favorite Trader Joe’s chunky applesauce.

Back to Basics Applesauce (large batch)

Ingredients

8 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp stevia (optional)

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium for 15-20 minutes or until apples are soft.

Then mash them up with a fork, masher, or in a blender. For chunkier sauce, wait until apples are cool and do not blend.

Enjoy! I even saved my old TJ’s jar and all the sauce fit perfectly 🙂

Ashley Life Update: I have to boast a little, I am a serious BAMF (bad ass mother f’er). A couple of friends (yep friends) and I went on a bike ride on Sunday morning. The winds were about 30 mph and as I was parking to get ready, I realized my shoes were at home, 20 minutes away. So I biked 25 miles in my Crocs with shoe covers on. I usually chicken out when something like this happens so I’m really proud that I stuck it out. And it was even better because I got a great ride in and met a new friend 🙂

So! What recipes do you think would be even better/healthier homemade?

Turbulent Tuesday: Cooking for Mental Health

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I am trying SO hard not to complain and to look at everything in a positive way but jeez louise it’s getting difficult. I am very healthy, have a wonderful boyfriend, and loving family and friends all over the world. I write this awesome blog with awesome readers like you and I get to help people become happier and healthier all day. But something’s missing.

Maybe this is the problem with a lot of post-grads but I just expected my life to be slightly easier after I went through 6 years of 80 hour weeks in college. My social life was pretty great but I had no time to enjoy my friends. Now I’m finally making money (not much but it’s something) and am only working 50 hour weeks. But I don’t have any friends! Poor Mike bears the brunt of my breakdowns but they’re coming more and more often lately and it’s getting harder to turn my mood around. I would never trade my time with him for anything but WOMEN NEED WOMEN. And every attempt I’ve made to make plans with the ladies here has resulted in a great party/dinner/event but then never a word from them afterwords. Pretty discouraging and I’m just not sure what else to try.

Yesterday was rough. I had evening work to do but I said F that shiz and I cooked instead! I turned on my “singing” playlist and drowned myself in the music and the methodical process of cooking a meal. Ratatouille was the dish, taken from this awesome blogger. I never even knew what Ratatouille was so it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever made but I’ll try it again and it will be even better.

The point is that I am finally starting to learn what calms me and brings me into the present. Having anxiety (check out this post) is a constant struggle against your own thoughts. It’s not an easy battle to win, but I’m trying. I fail a lot but I also succeed sometimes. My hope is that the successes will soon outweigh the failures and I can live my life in a more balanced way.

 

 

^ When I figure out how to make this better I will post my recipe.

So this morning I woke up and determined that it would be a better day. I’m starting off by writing to you (another one of my calmers) and now I’m about to work out and eat a nice, slow breakfast.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. And if you’re not, figure out how to recenter yourself.

 

Thursday Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Yesterday I forgot to say Happy Halloween, so….HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope you all got lots of awesomely dressed trick-or-treaters. We got one (Darth Vader) and he looked very confused when we gave him dried fruit leathers. Haha.

Also, today I am on my way to my first ever business trip! Me and the three coworkers are headed down to Orlando, FL for 4 days for a conference on health, wellness, and leadership. I’m actually kind of excited 🙂

On a totally different note, here’s the post for today:

This recipe is grain-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free. Sounds disgusting right? WRONG. I had heard rumor of the awesomeness of Spaghetti Squash but this was my first experiment with the pretty yellow gourd. I decided, since it’s already in the name, to make Spaghetti and sub the noodles for squash.

Mike and I were a little wary but jeez it’s good! A little time-consuming because the squash has to be cooked for a while but other than that it’s super easy.

Ingredients (makes 3 servings):

1 spaghetti squash

1 can crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce

1 lb ground beef (grass-fed) or organic ground turkey/chicken

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cut the squash in half and cook at 450°F (230°C)  for 45 minutes. While it’s cooking, simmer the tomato sauce, beef/poultry, and garlic.

When the squash is slightly brown, take it out and go at it with a fork! It’s easier than it looks, I promise.

Mix the noodled squash with the butter, salt, and pepper.

Top with the cooked sauce and enjoy!

It’s a great evening meal because it doesn’t spike your insulin levels like normal pasta does. Keep those sugar and carb levels down before bed!

Smile, it’s almost Friday 🙂

Recipe Sunday: Healthy Fried Rice

Hey All. Sorry about the late post but Mike and I have had such a busy and relaxing (awesome combo) kind of day. Earlier this week I tried my own healthy fried rice and it didn’t come out so well. I only post delicious recipes so I retried it last night and it ended up being so good!

Healthy Fried Rice

Ingredients:

brown rice (cooked)

3 or 4 eggs (beaten)

veggies (I used red pepper, spinach, and broccoli)

liquid aminos (the healthy soy sauce, I use Bragg brand)

meat (optional)

little bit of sunflower oil for cooking

Instructions:

^ Saute all the veggies on low heat. If you are using meat, cook with the veggies. When it’s all cooked through, add the beaten eggs. Stir as it cooks to coat everything in egg. When egg is cooked, empty it into a bowl.

^ Add the rice to the empty pan and spray some liquid aminos on there (it has a very salty taste so make sure not to use too much). Just until it has the “fried” brown look. Cook until heated.

Add the veggie/egg/meat and mix it all together. Enjoy!

Ashley life Update: Last week, Mike and I decided that we were starting to settle into a very sedentary life. Unacceptable. So today, our day off together, we went for an awesome pancake breakfast and then to a GIANT antique market about 40 minutes away. We didn’t have long at the market but we saw some really beautiful stuff and I bought a cast iron skillet, yay! I’ve been wanting one for a while because they’re such a healthy, non toxic way to cook and they last forever. Got an 8″ pan for $14 (I’m a great haggler). It was a wonderful day with my man 🙂

 

I hope your Sunday was as great as mine! If not, tomorrow is a new day, so smile 🙂