Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Veggie dishes

I have two to share tonight, one the baby Badger LOVED, the other he shunned. But the adults in the room enjoyed both, so they'll stay in the rotation! Veggie burgers (the big hit) and veggie shepherd's pie.

Veggie Burgers

1 can black beans
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes with diced chiles (I did mild)
1 garlic clove minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp onion powder
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped (didn't have so we skipped this, but I'm sure it would be good)
1 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
2 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400 deg. Process first 7 ingredients until blended, add to oats (mine seemed really soupy at first, so I let it sit for a few minutes and the oats absorbed a lot of the liquid). Form into patties (I got about 8 out of this). Put on a baking sheet and bake 8 minutes. Then you have options:

-Turn oven up and broil 2 minutes until browned
-Cook in frying pan with a tiny bit of oil, about a minute on each side
-Use counter top grill and grill until score marks appear (this is what we did)

Because there were oats, I didn't feel like putting these on a bun, so we ate them bun-less, dipped in a tiny bit of bbq sauce. We all enjoyed them this way. If you can't live without the bun, these are a really good, meaty texture that would masquerade well as a regular burger.

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

5 small red potatoes
1 clove garlic
1 onion diced
1 stick celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped and washed thoroughly
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 can of beans, drained
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or regular)
1/4 c grated low-fat cheese

Cook potatoes until soft.
Saute veggies in a little bit of olive oil for 10 min
Mash the potatoes with the milk and cheese

In a 9x9 baking dish, put veggies on bottom, top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for 20 min.

This is adapted from a recipe I found on allrecipes; the biggest change I made was that I halved the amount of potato to balance our plate a little. I don't feel like the dish suffered from it, and the veggies were allowed to play a main role.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Worrying about the holidays?

For a lot of people, they think of food when they think of the holidays. The scents, sensations and tastes of rich holiday food are probably washing over you right as you read this. This year, I hope that my new health-focused approach to life will help me remember what wonderful things I'm forgetting if I just think about food:

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for our plentiful conditions. Did you know that at one time some Americans actually FASTED to celebrate Thanksgiving? What a thought! I am grateful for my God, my family, and a wonderful job that lets me help people find health and happiness.

Christmas is another time for reflection and gratitude. Celebrating Christ's birth, spending time with those I love, and stepping away from life for a little while are the most wonderful things about this holiday for me. What does a sugar cookie have on that? (I'll give you a hint: NOTHING!)
I am so glad I have this time of year to remember what's important to me. And, by the way, many people on my program actually LOSE weight during the holidays! My mom started right as the holidays went into full swing and she did amazing. So if you want to refocus with me AND start your journey to optimal health, CLICK HERE to learn more!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Year

About a year ago I made a phone call that would transform my family forever. I called my friend about this health program she kept posting about on facebook, blogging about, shouting about from the rooftops. I thought it would be a good fit for my mom. Well, it was a great fit, and I learned all I could about what made it different.

Not long after, I signed on as a health coach for the same program. My family, immediate and extended, weighs less, which is awesome, but more than that, we are HEALTHIER and HAPPIER. I remember taking a health assessment when I started my journey to optimal health. My results were...not exactly what I expected. After all, I've always been thin. Doesn't that equate health?

Not exactly. And that's why I'm so glad I found this program when I did. I have a healthier, brighter future ahead of me, and so does my family.

Curious what your score would be? Check out this health quiz. And visit my website, to learn how you can find optimal health in your life!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

That one thing

What is your food vice? The one food you just can't seem to give up? Post your answers and we'll all brainstorm for healthy alternatives!

Mine is pizza. I LOVE pizza, and so does Daddy Badger. We can eat an entire extra large Papa John's pizza between us. Not that I would know that or anything...anyway, we obviously know that Papa John's isn't exactly heart-healthy. So we've found a replacement that we've come to love even more!

First off, use THIS pizza dough recipe, but use whole grain flour. Since this crust is meant to be crispy, it won't affect the texture to use all-purpose whole grain. Plus it's super easy and takes like 10 minutes to make. Note: I like a flavorful crust, so I add garlic and Italian spice mix to the dough, which means you'll need a tiny bit extra water.

Then cut up some zucchini, summer squash, yellow bell pepper, onions, and/or your favorite veggies of choice. Toss them with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and then grill them up--we use our George Foreman and just grill them until they have light grill marks on both sides. Add some sliced tomatoes and LIGHTLY sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella and bake for about 14 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned.

I've yet to meet an adult who didn't enjoy this pizza. I have run across some petulant teenagers who wouldn't even try it. But that's a story for another day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

News and a recipe

First off, I have to brag about my client who had an amazing doctor's visit! L started the program pre-diabetic, and she knew she needed to do something. Her most recent visit to the doctor had him astounded with how well she's doing with her health! She had amazing #s to show for her time on the program. He wanted to know what she was doing and told her to keep it up! I love helping people get healthy!

Ok, and the recipe. Can I say YUM and what an amazing, healthy snack? We eat them like potato chips, but with no guilt. They are low fat, low glycemic, and pack a boatload of nutrients. We had them with dinner tonight, and Baby Badger was chomping down, saying "yum, yum, yum" between bites. I love when he loves his veggies :)

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I like to throw it all in a mixing bowl that has a lid and just shake it all up).

Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe to try

I've developed an I am so glad I have so many friends who are trying to live healthier lives, because they share ideas for recipes that I am so excited to try. It makes it easy to ignore the recipes for the sugary, fattening treats other friends post! I made this salad last weekend for dinner and Eric and I both loved it. Baby Badger wasn't too keen on it (I think the lime threw him off), but he feasted on some plain corn as a side instead, so it worked out ok. Here's the recipe:

Sauteed Corn and Black Bean Salad (from say YES! to hoboken)

Sautee kernels from 3 ears of corn in 2 T of butter until they start to brown slightly in spots. I used a little olive oil instead of the butter called for because I don't usually have butter around
Remove from heat and toss with:

A can of drained black beans
1 sliced avocado
2 T chopped green onions
Juice of two limes and
A handful of roughly chopped cilantro

Serve chilled

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dying happy

Who hasn't heard someone say--or said it themselves--about the food they choose to eat: At least I'll die happy.

(Cinnabon Caramel Pecanbon cinnamon roll,
1080 calories--info and photo from

Will you really? Death is inevitable, but would you like yours to be a consequence of the food choices you make? Obesity is now the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States (Journal of the American Medical Association). Millions of people suffer from the debilitating effects of poor nutrition and fitness decisions. Does that sound HAPPY to you?

On the flip side, I know so many people who have decided to make HEALTH their decision, and they are truly happy. They enjoy and savor the food they eat, but it does not dominate the spectrum of joy in their lives. They are able to enjoy a full life, facing no limits because of their health.

My family is on this path, and I'm so glad we've made the decision early to find THIS kind of happiness. It's never too late, though! Sign up for my newsletter to hear about my 83-year-old grandfather who chose health and is enjoying life more now than he did when he was 80!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We're all toddlers at heart

A friend was pleading with her blog readers to help her figure out how to tame her picky eater, and so I went to my go-to book about feeding children to see if I could find any tips for her. I stumbled across a reminder of why we're all like toddlers. The author talked about how a toddler needs 15 to 20 exposures to some foods (vegetables in particular) to learn to like them.

I am not sure adults do much better.

But since vegetables are one of the best foods for weight loss and continued health (source), what is a person to do? I mean, no one is there cooking every meal for you, offering bite after bite of brussel sprouts (which I have recently discovered, and love, btw).

That's why I love being a health coach. Because of the simplicity of this program, I have seen people transform their attitude toward food. I love watching as people expand their palate and discover the yumminess that was missing because they had not even considered the possibilities that a lot of vegetables offer.

So open your mind to the possibilities and try a new veggie dish today. You might be surprised! Here are links to a few of my recent favorites:

Simmered leeks

Butternut squash and bean tacos with green salsa (recipe on I modify a few things to make it a little healthier and suit my tastes, like using whole grain wraps instead of tortillas and no cheese, but the recipe is already pretty healthy as-is.

Roasted Eggplant Spread--an Ina Garten recipe that doesn't have a pound of butter in it :)

Eggplant and Pepper Parmesan Sandwich I didn't have goat cheese or the tapanade (not regulars in my pantry...) but this was still incredible. Roasted veggies are amazing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The REAL breakfast of champions

Veggies are amazing. So amazing that I want my family to have them with every meal, including breakfast! An easy way to do that is by making green smoothies.

I've been messing around with my green smoothie recipe to get one that Daddy Badger would actually enjoy and not just endure (Baby Badger and I are easier to please when it comes to smoothies, I guess). This is the latest and we all drink it happily for our breakfast. We usually have some nuts and some toast to round it all out.

1 15 oz can no-sugar-added peaches in water
Three [very] large handfuls of fresh spinach or kale (it should nearly fill the blender)
1 banana
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 cup of ice
As much milled flax as you can handle ;)

Pour the peaches and liquid into the blender, puree. Add greens and puree until smooth, about 30 seconds or so. Add in banana, yogurt and flax; blend briefly to mix. Add ice and puree until smooth.

Super quick and easy, so incredibly healthy, and super tasty. If you have family members who might gag at the sight of green liquid, you can add a cup of mixed frozen berries instead of ice, which gives it a nice purple tone (but ups the price tag).