Archive | January 2013

Teriyaki Nori Roll

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In all of my years of cooking, I had only attempted to make sushi once until about a month ago. The first time was in culinary school years ago, and I did such a botched job then that I swore I would leave it to the Japanese and never mess with making it again. However, many friends of mine (some working in the industry and some not) had assured me that making a nori roll is as simple as any other intermediate kitchen task. According to them, if you can follow a recipe precisely, cook rice correctly, and roll a mat forward (all instructions that I must have missed the first time), then you can also make sushi.

My latest attempt at the nori roll was just recently when I was staying on a farm in Western Australia of all places. The family that I lived with for a month had not only previously spent 15 years  in Asia, but they had also once rented a room there on the farm to a Japanese backpacker who gave them a weekly sushi-making lesson. When I asked them about showing me a trick or two about the nori roll, they laughed assuring me that they were no experts, but that I could probably pick up the skill fairly easily. After a quick demo from Anne, the mother of the house, I managed to shape out what appeared to be an edible nori roll myself. After rolling a couple more, I felt stupid for going all these years never having made sushi, as it is one of my favorite things to eat. Like anything else, a little practice will make your nori rolls a little more perfect each time. However, practicing is easy because once you eat a couple of pieces, you will undoubtedly want more!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 ounces extra firm tofu, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 T olive or vegetable oil
  • 4 sheets nori seaweed sheets
  • 1/2 cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 avocado, julienned
  • 1 t wasabi
  • 2 T soy sauce + 1 t wasabi for dipping (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, cover rice with water and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. In a shallow dish or bowl, combine soy sauce, Teriyaki, honey and garlic. Marinade tofu in this mixture for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Bring water and rice to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky. In a large glass bowl combine cooked rice with rice vinegar.
  4. Meanwhile, saute the tofu in the oil, browning each side as much as possible.
  5. Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat. Working with wet hands, spread 1/4 of the rice evenly over the nori, leaving about 1/2 inch on the top. Sprinkle the marinated tofu in a straight line evenly about 1 inch from the bottom. Layer strips of cucumber and avocado evenly alongside the tofu.
  6. Roll nori tightly from the bottom, using the mat to help make a tight roll. Seal by moistening the ½ inch of nori at the top with water. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Slice with a serrated knife into 1 inch thick slices.

Things to remember: 

I found it to be easier to spread the rice on the nori by keeping a spoon in a cup of very hot water. Measuring the rice with a spoon keeps each roll more consistent. You can also dip the spoon back in the water and spread the rice evenly across the the nori with the back of the spoon. This limits the stickiness and mess of using your hands, while also keeping you from having to constantly wash them.

This recipe is just a base for the vegetarian, but other possibilities are endless. The same recipe can be used by substituting the tofu with Teriyaki chicken, fresh fish, cream cheese, or other vegetables such as carrot or bell pepper.

Black Beans and Spanish Rice Pilaf

Black beans and rice

I’m not exactly reinventing fine cuisine with this recipe, but there are few meals that are tastier, healthier, and more versatile than the standard South American dish of black beans and rice. I love making a pan of this and then creating different uses for it. I generally eat it as a main course with a little hot sauce and a perfectly ripe avocado, but sometimes I add a little broth to it to make a soup. I also use it as a side to tacos or fish, however my favorite way to eat rice and beans is to wrap them up in a flour tortilla and make a burrito. This serves 6.

Ingredients for Beans:

–       ½  yellow onion diced

–       1 red pepper diced

–       1 carrot diced

–       3 cloves garlic minced

–       1 tablespoon olive oil

–       1 can of black beans wash and drained

–       1 teaspoon of cumin

–       1 teaspoon chili powder

–       salt and pepper to taste 

Preparation for Beans:

Saute the diced onion, carrot and pepper in the olive oil at medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent in a medium sized pot. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute before adding the beans. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer the beans for 5-10 minutes at medium to low heat.

Ingredients for Rice Pilaf:

–       ½ yellow onion diced

–       1 carrot diced

–       1 stick of celery diced

–       2 cloves garlic minced

–       1 tablespoon olive oil

–       ½ cup brown rice

–       ½ cup white wine

–       1.5 cups of chicken stock or water

–       1 tablespoon of paprika

–       1 teaspoon cumin

–       ¼ teaspoon of cayenne

–        salt and pepper to taste

–       2 Tablespoons of cilantro

–       2 roma tomatoes diced

Preparation for Rice Pilaf

Repeat the first steps for the beans by cooking the vegetables in the olive oil the same way. After adding the garlic and cooking until everything is soft, but not starting to brown, add the rice and then the white wine to the pan, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Then add the chicken stock (or water), the paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook rice for 30-40 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish the top of the rice and beans with the tomatoes and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts:

170 calories / 5g fat / 28g carbohydrates / 6g fiber / 6g protein

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

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This month’s recipe is a hearty alternative to traditional entrees that consist of meat. These stuffed Portabellas have often been the vegetarian option on menus that I have concocted in the past. The goat cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, nutrients that often lack in a vegetarian diet, while also making the mushrooms a bit more filling of a meal. Another added bonus with these is that they are almost entirely comprised of vegetables, providing a lot of nutrients for very few calories. Feel free to be creative with these, as there are many different ways to improvise. I sometimes mix quinoa into the vegetable mix, which is a great way to add more protein and fiber.  They can also be cut up into small pieces and used as an appetizer or as a side. This recipe makes 4 entrée-sized servings.

Ingredients:

–       4 portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed

–       2 Tablespoons olive oil

–       2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

–       1 red onion, sliced

–       2 zucchini, sliced

–       2 yellow squash, sliced

–       1 red pepper, sliced

–       1 carrot, sliced

–       2 cloves garlic

–       1 teaspoon salt

–       1 teaspoon black pepper

–       1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme

–       1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

–       1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

–       ¼ cup goat cheese

Preparation:

  1. Drizzle cleaned portabellas with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Place on a sheet pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. They need to cook about halfway, enough to soften but not all the way through.
  2. Toss vegetables, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary in a bowl, and then lay on sheet pan and roast for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until soft and starting to lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to sit out until cool enough to handle.
  3. Lay vegetables out on a cutting board and chop roughly into smaller pieces. Toss in a bowl with parsley and goat cheese. Stuff portabellas with mixture and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the tops begin to lightly brown. Serves 4.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 210 / Fat: 10g / Saturated Fat: 3g / Carbohydrates: 14g / Fiber: 4g / Protein: 4g

 

Halibut with Saffron Buerre Blanc

 

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This is a recipe for halibut that was recently featured in Fish Alaska Magazine. It may not appear to be that heart healthy, as it was prepared for a group of gruff old fisherman after a 12-hour day out on the Kenai River. However, the sauce can be greatly lightened by eliminating the cream and cutting back on the butter. Either way, it only takes a drizzle. Good fish should never be drowned in a sauce.

http://www.fishalaskamagazine.com/archives/2013/0113_recipe.html

Neale Bayly Rides: Peru

Some of you may already know that I am currently working on a TV project called Neale Bayly Rides: Peru  (originally Kickstart) that will be airing as a pilot series on the SPEED Channel in late May 2013. Neale and I have been friends for many years, and we have worked together on several projects. The show focuses around Neale, who is a professional motorcycle rider and photojournalist, as he takes a group of riders on the journey of a lifetime through Peru. I will have a part on the show as well, serving as a driver, chef, nutritionist and general support for the cast and crew. The trip will conclude with a visit to an orphanage that is funded by a charity that we began a few years back called Wellspring International Outreach (www.wellspring-outreach.org).

The article below is one that I wrote in 2010, and it explains how the story all began. It was published in the now defunct Carolina Health and Fitness magazine, and it got noticed by Emmy award winning TV producer Linda Midgett. Linda and Neale came up with the idea for the show and after one expedition, lots of editing to make a sizzle reel, and nearly two years of proposals to various networks, filming for the series is finally scheduled to begin next month.

Enjoy the story about one man’s mission to do some good in the world while also pursuing his passion for adventure on motorcycles.

Man on a Mission

By Brandon McDearis

Last week Portugal, next week South Africa, the week after that who knows? California, Malaysia, Australia or Japan? Or maybe it’s a relaxing day taking notes at a local coffee shop, or heading into a corner at 180mph on a new Superbike in Qatar. Whether he’s testing the latest motorcycle in the Alps with Rock Stars, blasting round a race track in Spain on world champion Valentino Rossi’s million dollar motorcycle, or joining the 200 mph club, there is seldom a dull moment in Neale Bayly’s life.

Neale moved to Charlotte around the same time I landed here in 2005. As his next-door neighbor at that time I watched with astonishment, as this scruffy, long-haired Englishman would slip in and out of the building from week to week. Juggling luggage and camera gear up and down three flights of stairs in our condominium complex, he would usually be on his way out of the country on yet another wild adventure. Unfortunately for me, we would often cross paths while I would be scurrying off to my own boring, unfulfilled life. However, the quick passing in the hallway soon turned into afternoons of tea, where the well- traveled Englishman (21 years my senior) would become my mentor, modestly coaching me with his insight on life. Turning into informal seminars on the value of frugal living, and the importance of sobriety in a very intoxicated and overspent society, he helped me redefine my goals. Maybe most importantly though, the man who has traveled in 61 countries, forty of them on a motorcycle, taught me how to achieve my burning desire to become a world traveler. He also played an integral role in turning that dream into a reality.

Born in Walsall, England, in 1961, Neale Bayly has been the consummate traveler and motorcyclist since leaving high school at fifteen years of age. After traveling all over Europe throughout his teens, Neale landed in America in 1984 where he spent the next six months hitchhiking around the country. An overland trip through Central America ended in war torn Nicaragua, where dodging bullets and trading money on the black market to survive were par for the course. Back in the States, he came to conclusion “the US is the biggest freak show on earth” so he decided to stay, setting up in Florida. Within six months he was on the move again, this time on a 13-year old Honda motorcycle with his new girlfriend on the back. They made it to Alaska, before hitchhiking to California where they bought one-way tickets to Japan. The next months were spent between main land China, the jungles of Malaysia and hiking volcanoes in Indonesia, before landing in Australia on one-way tickets with $22 to their names. A year later they returned to the US. Over the 25 years that have followed Neale resided mostly on the Gulf coast of Florida, with a short stint in the mountains of North Carolina, and the last five years in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte.

During the early years he worked jobs that included the titles of construction worker, truck driver, motorcycle salesman, and chauffeur, before the high school drop out began his career in photojournalism as the 20th century was coming to an end. Riding to raise money for cancer victims in India sparked a career in writing, photography, and television for the then 38 year-old married father of two. Yielding the first of many cover shots, the trip took him through the foothills of the Himalayas along the Tibet and China border, and it’s been a nonstop adventure ever since.

Ten years later Neale Bayly finds himself in a much different place. The once obscure, penniless foreigner is now a well-established and recognizable face around the world. In addition to being a full-time, freelance motorcycle journalist, Neale is also the motorcycle editor at http://www.speedtv.com with a television travel series on the same network just coming to an end. While hopping flights to far away places to ride exotic motorcycles, and meeting with famous people is all part of the job, there is something that burns within this rugged Brit that is deeper. A passion that drives him harder than anything he has done in is life to this point.

In a remote town in the South Eastern desert of Peru, the now single Brit has found love. She is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, and as with every long distance relationship there are challenges. Kathleen is brain dead and has no family to care for her, and is one of around 300 abandoned children who live on a farm run by Sister Loretta, a 78-year-old Nun from Canada.

Neale first learned about the orphanage, named Hogar Belen, during a chance meeting with a Catholic priest by the name of Giovanni Battaglini in the high mountains of Peru in 1995. Neale and the priest became good friends, writing to one another regularly for years to follow. However, tragedy would strike the priest in 2001 when he was killed in an accident on a lonely mountain road.

After finding out about “Father” Gio’s death in 2004, Neale made it a priority to return to Peru so that he could visit the orphanage that Gio had supported. In early 2008, he accomplished that goal by traveling to Hogar Belen to perform a medical mission with a Doctor and Father Gio’s sister, Maria Fitzgerald. This trip was one of the few times the kids had ever received any medical treatment. It was also on this trip that Neale met Kathleen and began a close relationship with Sister Loretta, the nun who has fed cared for as many a 300 children at times for the last 40 years. Returning home after the mission, Neale decided to form a charity organization for the abandoned children of Peru called Wellspring International Outreach (www.wellspring-outreach.org).

2008 brought Neale Bayly a wave of success. Work was steady, stories were published, his TV series doing well, the charity organization was being developed and money raised! However, as the year came to an end, the 47 year-old found him self a bit baffled at where to go, and what to do next. While it is a situation that he is all too familiar with, Neale felt a new level of uncertainty in his life at this time. Within months he had dealt with a cancer scare, watched his industry plummet, along with the rest of the economy, and for the first time since entering his career was questioning if he could continue on as a motorcycle journalist. In addition, he was also finding less fulfillment in scribbling about motorcycles alone as he began to wonder as a writer, “is this the best that I can do?”

As 2008 came to an end and 2009 began, Neale and I sat down for an afternoon chat over English tea, as we had so many times before. Only this time, we both contemplated what looked to be a bleak future as self-employed people. While the American economy began to crash, Neale realistically evaluated the likelihood that people would keep paying him to ride motorcycles all over the world as the magazine industry declined. In my case I had to wonder who would be hiring a personal chef to take care of their diet and cooking duties, or who was going to have extravagant events catered in the near future? While I was simultaneously hunting an affordable place to live, while trying to put together travel plans for the year, Neale and I made a pivotal decision. We decided to not worry about it. We were going to keep working, but not on making money. We were going to start working on ourselves as human beings.

So the mission began. We figured out that the best way to kill multiple birds with one stone was for me to move into his spare bedroom. I no longer had to worry about being homeless (which was a relief), and the rent money I saved each month helped soften the blow that would be coming throughout the year. Part of the deal included me setting Neale up on a diet plan and helping with weekly meal preparation. The new and improved diet would include a variety of foods rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Most meals began to consist largely of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fish, while gradually eliminating as much processed and unrefined sugar as possible. Not only was this strict, nutrient dense pattern of eating aimed to make us both lean, but it was utilized to reverse the aging process for the nearly half-century old motorcyclist. Multiple crashes, a couple of them over 100mph, a serious back surgery, too many broken bones and the early stages of arthritis had left Neale with joint pain, and often fatigue. However, instead of surrendering to the pain, Neale’s solution was to endure even more of it. A lot of it in fact, but instead of inflicting pain on himself by crashing bikes, he now began to inflict it through exercise.

The exercise routine was not simply a schedule of 3 days a week for 30 minutes on a treadmill, but rather a brutal regimen of cross training 5-6 days per week, that included cycling, weight lifting, swimming, boxing, hiking and yoga. Most days start around 6am with a brisk 3-mile walk as a warm-up and usually end the same way in the evening. These walks are often used as therapeutic sessions to evaluate progress, discuss new goals, and note areas of improvement. In addition to the clean eating and vigorous exercise, a spiritual component was integrated as well. Religious reading, attending church, meetings with people of other spiritual beliefs and backgrounds became part of the program: As well as regular appointments with a massage therapist.

As the year came to an end, a chance to put the physical component to the test came in Portugal. With a press launch of the fastest Superbike yet built, Neale found himself pitted against his peers as they tested the limits of the new BMW Superbike. Braking for turn one at 180mph, cornering at speeds over 130mph with their knees on the ground, it’s the most physically intense 30 minutes imaginable as they muscle these fire breathing machines around the track. Ending the day faster than he had ever ridden before was the perfect reward for all the hard work.

A physical with his family doctor showed perfect cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart rhythm, while also scoring flawless liver and kidney function. His pain level fell noticeably in 2009, and he had dropped around 12 pounds. However, as good as all of this was, the biggest accomplishment of the year in 2009 was the completion of another successful trip to Peru.

Neale orchestrated and lead an 11-day, 3000 Km motorcycle expedition throughout the country that ended at Hogar Belen. Riding through deserts, crossing mountain passes at 14,500 ft it was a very physically demanding journey. The idea of the trip, which was conceived shortly after the “lifestyle change” discussion, was to complete an adventure ride and create a travel story to document the journey. In turn, the recognition and publicity received from the resulting magazine articles could be used to spread awareness about the abandoned children of Moquegua. The plan was followed through precisely, money was delivered to Sister Loretta, a video was produced, and four new people were brought on as dedicated members of Wellspring.

So, during a year when a lot of people were panicking over a tumbling economy, overindulging in a nutrient idle diet of alcohol and processed drivel, and growing more sedentary by the day, Neale Bayly had pushed himself to the limit while approaching the last half of his life. Not only has Neale’s business survived the tough times, but also he is currently the busiest he has been in years. More importantly, he may be the healthiest and most spiritually aware that he has been too. All of this is just proof to himself and others, that a strong faith, and a strict focus on the positive things that life has to offer does indeed have a beneficial payoff.

Today Neale couldn’t be more grateful for all of the luxuries that he has been blessed with in life. While he stresses the passion of his job, his healthy lifestyle, and his philanthropic efforts, nothing is more important to Neale today, than being a positive, healthy influence for his son Patrick and stepson, Luke. So whether you see him and the boys around Ballantyne hauling dirt bikes or race bikes to the track, or you catch him on TV racing the fastest motorcycle produced, you can guarantee this crazy old Brit is dreaming up some wild new adventure. An adventure you’ll be able to read about here in CFM.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/12/26/3747016/small-screen-big-ideals-charlotte.html

http://motorcycling.speedtv.com/article/bikes-peru-travels/

New Year’s Detox

Now that the holidays are over, it is time to put down the sweets, take a break from the booze, and get back on track with a normal pattern of eating. The last few weeks (or months) are often a time of overindulgence that leave us feeling sluggish, bloated and worn down. The cause behind these uncomfortable conditions is normally due to an overload of toxins. The liver works as the body’s detoxifier, however when the body is overburdened with toxins then it’s ability to function properly is greatly hindered. While many of the foods we consume can contribute to a toxic wasteland within the body, the good news is that many foods can help to cleanse the liver and rid us of these problematic compounds.

There are many diets and programs on the market today that are being sold and promoted as a quick-fix for detoxification. Personally, I don’t think that most of them sound very pleasant or all that effective in the long-term. However, incorporating detoxifying foods into the diet is a relatively easy thing to do without experiencing the discomfort of a week-long “detox” that may send you right back into a pattern of overindulgence.

10 Foods for Detox:

1. Garlic is one of the best detoxing foods out there. It helps stimulate the liver into producing detoxification enzymes that help filter toxic residues from the digestive system.

2. Citrus Fruits that are high in vitamin C, such as lemons, limes and oranges aids the body in flushing out toxins by transforming them into digestible material.

3. Leafy Greens such as kale, spinach, arugula and wheatgrass detoxify the liver and rid the body of harmful environmental toxins, such as heavy metals and pesticides.

4. Fruits such as apples and berries are high in both fiber and liquid, which helps to wash the body of toxins.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage help to purge toxins due to their high sulfur content which acts to stimulate liver detoxification.

6. Green Tea washes toxins from the system and one of its many antioxidants, catechins works to stimulate the liver.

7. Nuts and Seeds such as almonds, walnuts, flax and chia seeds are high in fiber and easily digestible, helping to rid the body of toxins.

8. Onions contain the amino acids to provide the raw materials to make glutathione, a detoxifying compound in the liver. Red onions have been shown to provide the most benefit, especially when eaten raw.

9. Omega-3 Oils such as avocado, fish oil, flax oil and olive oils work to lubricate the intestinal walls allowing toxins to be absorbed and easily eliminated.

10. Herbs and spices such as parsley, cilantro, rosemary, cayenne, turmeric and ginger all work to support the function of the liver, lymphatic system, bowels, urinary tract and skin thus helping to cleanse and detoxify the body. Turmeric has been shown to help increase bile production which works to expel toxins and reduce liver inflammation.

Approaching a New Year’s detox can be relatively simple. After eliminating alcohol and cutting out processed junk, you can begin to include some of these cleansing foods into your diet. Adding herbs, spices, onions, garlic and leafy vegetables to soups, stews, and stir-fries are easy ways to incorporate detoxifying properties into meals. Snacking on fruits and nuts, adding berries and flax seeds to yogurt and smoothies, and making it a goal to consume some green tea with lemon every day are also ways to cleanse the body. In addition to making some changes in the diet, exercise will also help speed the cleansing process. Any physical movement is good, whether it is intense or leisurely. Yoga is great for the internal organs and relaxing in saunas and steam rooms are a good way to sweat out toxins through the skin.

Enjoy these recipes that are chalked full of detoxifying ingredients.

White Bean and Kale Soup 

white bean and kale soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 medium-sized carrots diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of dry white wine such as Chardonnay
  • 1 16oz cans of Great Northern Beans (strained and rinsed)
  • 1 16oz can of white butter beans (strained and rinsed)
  • 4 16 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of kale (washed, pulled from stems and roughly chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 dash of Tabasco
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, saute the onion, pepper, and carrots in the olive oil at medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for 1-2 more minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and let reduce half way for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the Great Northern Beans, the the butter beans, the stewed tomatoes, and the vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to a boil while adding the kale a handful at a time until it wilts down. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir, then cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients, stir, cover again, and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to your liking and add the green onions and chopped cilantro.

Coconut Vegetable Curry 

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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cauliflower florets

2 carrots, sliced

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 cup chickpeas

1 cup light coconut milk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon Sirracha (optional)

 Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion at medium-high heat until it becomes light and translucent. Add the curry powder, garlic and ginger and continue sautéing for 1 minute. Add the other vegetables and continue sautéing for another minute.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook slowly for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

3. Taste and adjust seasoning if additional flavor and/or heat is desired. Serve over brown rice, couscous or quinoa.

Detox Smoothie

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Ingredients:

–       1 banana

–       1/2 avocado

–       ½ cup coarsely chopped kale leaves (packed), center stalk and stem removed

–       Juice of 1 orange

–       Juice of 1 lemon

–       ¼ cup frozen blueberries

–       ¼ cup flaxseed

–       ¼ cup low fat plain yogurt

–       1 tablespoon honey or agave

–       1 teaspoon cinnamon

–       1 teaspoon tumeric

–       1-2 cups water (depending on how thick or thin you prefer it)

Preparation:

Simply combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Stop and scrape the blender as needed.

Roasted Vegetable Medley

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You don’t have to be a nutrition professional to be aware that most people in the western world do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day. The benefits of vegetable consumption are huge, whether you are trying to lose weight or trying to prevent cancer. Avoiding or limiting vegetables in the diet is simply not an option for people that want to live long, healthy lives. The advantages of increasing your veggie intake will not only benefit parts of your body on the inside, such as the heart and digestive tract, but it can also result in a brighter, more vitalized appearance as well.

This month’s recipe is very simple, but it can be utilized in a number of ways. Feel free to get creative, add or omit whatever vegetables you wish, and include the medley as a component in whatever dish you feel appropriate for a couple of days after preparation. I personally like to make a batch of this medley to go with a main course like chicken or fish. Then, I will use the leftovers for various things throughout the week, such as rolling inside veggie wraps, mixing into soups or salads, chopping up into quinoa or rice, tossing with stir-fries or pastas, or blending into omelettes. While the left-over options are limitless, there is no doubt that this recipe is a flavorful and interesting way to sneak a heap of nutrients into a variety of meals throughout the week. It serves 8.

 

Ingredients:

–       1 zucchini, seeds removed and sliced

–       1 yellow squash, seeds removed and sliced

–       1 red onion, sliced

–       1 carrot, sliced into thin strips

–       1 red bell pepper, sliced

–       2 cups of Brussels sprouts, halved

–       1 small to medium-sized butternut squash, seeds removed and cut into ½-inch cubes

–       4 cloves of garlic, minced

–       2-3 tablespoons olive oil

–       1 tablespoon fresh thyme

–       Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Simply mix the first 5 vegetables together with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, all or most of the garlic, half the thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread out on a sheet pan that has either been greased with more olive oil or sprayed with pan spray. Repeat the same step with the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and lay out on a separate pan. (Note: I find that the Brussels sprouts and the butternut squash cook a little more evenly when they are cooked separately from the rest of the vegetables).
  1. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for about 15-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender, but beginning to brown. Ovens often vary in how quickly and evenly they cook, so it is best to check on the vegetables after 5 or 10 minutes, rotate the trays and mix the veggies with a spatula or tongs. The Brussels sprouts and butternut squash will more than likely take a bit longer to cook all the way through than the first pan of vegetables.
  1. Mix the two pans of vegetables together and serve.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 140 / Fat: 4.5g / Saturated Fat: 0g / Carbohydrates: 24g / Fiber: 4g / Protein: 5g