Posts filed under ‘Healthy Tips’

Hemp Cacao Protein Shake (SRC)

Smoothies are an everyday must-have for me…99% of the time I start my day with a large glass of blended goodness (aka energy surge in a jar), mmmm!

I find that kicking off the morning with a smoothie or fresh juice is easiest on my tummy. Not only does it rev-up my digestion for the remainder of the day, it also squelches my hunger for a couple hours when I have time to eat a more solid meal and ensures that I have at least one nutrient-packed, high-quality meal no matter what the day throws at me.

Oh you know, the days when you plan on cooking that new elaborate dish you’ve been eyeing for a while…but (after a longer day than you anticipated), you wind up eating a couple scrambled eggs over quinoa for dinner…or a bowl of popcorn and a leftover energy bar from your purse. Yep, I have had more days recently like the latter than I’d like to admit.

hemp cacao smoothieI also realized it had been quite some time since I had posted a drink or smoothie recipe, so when I was assigned Rebekah’s lovely blog Making Miracles for the February’s Secret Recipe Club post…I chose her Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake for this month’s reveal, I was so excited to come across this recipe!

hemp cacao smoothie 3

I had a giant bag of hemp seeds from Costco in my fridge calling my name and I was craving something sweet and chocolatey, yet simple…wa-la! This shake was a delicious change from my go-to blueberry-Maca blend I’ve been making…so much so that I craved this nutty-cacao smoothie the next morning too :) 

I tried to stay true to Rebekah’s recipe…I couldn’t help but add my usual handful of baby greens (kale/chard/spinach)  and I wound up soaking the hemp hearts, dates and water in the fridge the night before to soften the dates a bit. The next morning all I had to do was add the remaining ingredients and blend…Breakfast on the go!

Just a few perks about Hemp Seeds in case you need a little nutritional nudge:

  • REWARD YOUR TASTE BUDS: Hemp hearts are delicious, they are nutty, often compared to sunflower seed or pine nuts… only better! Sprinkle on salads, cereal, quinoa, rice, roasted veggies, yogurt, add to smoothies, muffins, breads and other recipes…or eat a spoonful straight from the bag.
  • REWARD YOUR BRAIN: Your brain has many of the fatty acids found in bulk Super Hemp. Regular consumption may help improve your memory. Super Hemp seeds may also help symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving your mood.
  • REWARD YOUR WEIGHT LOSS: Super Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant making you feel full longer. Adding just four tablespoons of hemp seed to your meal can reduce your food cravings significantly. You will also feel more energy which can help you power through workouts and other activities to lose weight.
  • REWARD YOUR HEART AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE: Super Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that help reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in your arteries. Super Hemp fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation.
  • REWARD YOUR DIGESTIVE TRACT: Super Hemp provides high amounts of both insoluble and soluble fibers which keep your digestive tract healthy and clean. Super Hemp contains plant sterols and antioxidants helping reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate concerns. Super Hemp does NOT contain oligosaccharides such as found in soy, which often causes stomach upset and gas.

Intrigued? Give this shake a shot!

hemp cacao smoothie1

Hemp Chocolate/Cacao Protein Shake (slightly adapted from Making Miracles)
(Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Fruit-Sweetened, Refined Sugar-free, Primal, Nut-free, Egg-free) 

1 cup cold filtered water
1 cup ice cubes
1 banana, cut into chunks (or use frozen for a colder, thicker textured shake / smoothie)
1/2 cup raw hemp seeds/ hemp hearts
2-4 pitted dates, depending taste (I used two but increase if you prefer sweeter) 
1-2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder, to taste
Handful or fresh leafy greens (such as baby spinach, kale, and/or chard), optional but for added nutrition 

5 minute prep Directions 

  1. Blend water, ice, banana, hemp seeds, dates (remove any pits), and cocoa powder together in a blender until smooth. 
  2. Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.

Plan-ahead soaking method Directions

  1. The night before, combine hemp seeds, dates and water in a jar. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. When you are ready to make your smoothie, add hemp/date/water mixture to blender container. Add ice, banana, cacao/cocoa powder and greens. Blend until smooth. 
  3. Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 2-3
hemp cacao smoothie 2For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

February 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm 12 comments

Skillet Sorghum Pilaf with Mushrooms

Until recently, I had only experimented with sorghum flour in baked goods but I’d never eaten the whole sorghum grain. I was missing out! It looks a little bit like barley (a no-no for us gluten free folk) or a small black eyed pea and is a delicious substitute for rice, quinoa or other cooked grain when boiled.

In case you need a little more convincing…
Why should you eat sorghum?
A 1 cup serving of cooked sorghum provides 6 grams of fiber, 10.5 g of protein (of which is made up of numerous amino acids, including large amounts of the essential amino acids valine and leucine). This gluten-free grain is naturally low in fat with only 3.2 g per one cup and contains very little sodium and no cholesterol. Although low in sodium, sorghum contains large amounts of iron, phosphorus and potassium. One serving provides over 50 percent of the recommended intake for iron for men and 24 percent for women. This is more iron than that in an equal serving of either brown rice or quinoa. One serving also supplies 39 percent of the recommended intake for phosphorus and 17 percent for potassium. Sorghum also contains significant amounts of three of the water-soluble B vitamins. One serving contains more than 18 percent of the recommended amount for thiamin, also known as B1. One 1/2 cup of sorghum also contains more than 10 percent of the recommended intake for riboflavin and 40 percent for niacin.
How do you cook and eat sorghum?
Sorghum can be cooked just like rice or quinoa on the stove top or in a rice cooker; the ratio of liquid to grain is 3:1, meaning that you need 3 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of grain. Sorghum can be cooked into porridge, ground into flour for baking, boiled and used in a pilaf or popped like popcorn: heat a small amount of oil in a pot, add sorghum, cover, and cook until all the grains are popped.
Elegant yet rustic and easy but delicious, this vegetarian pilaf is a simple dish that can be served as a main meal or an easy side dish alongside your favorite protein. Button mushrooms and green onions are sauteed with the cooked sorghum and tossed with chopped walnuts and finished with shredded sharp cheese for a comforting combination.
Skillet Sorghum Pilaf with Mushrooms
1 cup uncooked sorghum grain 
3 cups vegetable broth or water
2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)
8 oz container of button mushrooms, sliced (about 12-15 mushrooms)
3 garlic cloves, minced
7-8 green onions, chopped (could also use 1 sweet onion, diced and caramelize for a different flavor)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (pecans, almonds or pine nuts would be good too)
1/2 cup grated parmesan, romano or other sharp cheese + more for serving/garnish (1-2 Tbsp per serving) 
salt and pepper to taste

For cooking sorghum – stove method

In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of broth (or water) to a boil (if using water add salt for seasoning).  Add sorghum grain, return to a simmer and cook until tender, about 60 minutes.  Drain thoroughly.

For cooking sorghum – rice cooker method (this is what I use) 

In the bowl of the rice cooker, combine broth (or water) and sorghum. If using water, add salt for seasoning.  Set cooker to rice mode and cook according to manufacturers instructions. 

For pilaf

1. In a large wok or skillet, heat oil (or butter) over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in green onions and walnuts and cook until mushrooms are golden brown.
2. Add cooked sorghum to the pan until warmed through, about one minute. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper. Divide among serving dishes, garnish with additional cheese and enjoy!  
serves 4 (as main dishes)

February 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm 8 comments

Top 11 Recipes for 2011 and Happy New Year!

The last day of 2011 has arrived, and quite quickly I must say! It seems like the past six months have flown by…yet I feel like I say this every year :)

2011 has been a wonderful twelve months for me — this year has been one of ups and downs, many surprises, new adventures (blogging included), discovering more about myself and embracing who I am all while striving to be a better wife, daughter, friend and colleague…and blogger!

Thank you my lovely readers, for stopping in and allowing me to share my kitchen creations with you.  I’m still amazed at all the people who drop by and read what I have to say on my humble little space.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to a blessed new year in 2012! I was emailed the following and just had to share :) Wishing you a….

Fantastic JANUARY
Love able FEBRUARY
Marvelous MARCH
Fool less APRIL
Enjoyable MAY
Successful JUNE
Wonderful JULY
Independent AUGUST
Tastiest OCTOBER
Beautiful NOVEMBER

Now to count down the “Top 11 Recipes from 2011″ :)

11. Flourless Chunky Monkey Chip Cookies

10. Caramelized Onion, Butternut and Goat Cheese Pizza with a Grain-Free Crust

9. Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bake

8. Turkey Stuffed Peppers

7. Banana Bread Quinoa Flake Bake

6. Banana Split for Breakfast

5. Baked Beet Chips

4. Southwest Quinoa Patties with Avocado Sauce

3. Roasted Fajita-Spiced Chickpeas

2. Banana Buddy Shake

And the number one recipe for the year is….
1. Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Aioli

Love, hugs and health to you all!

Nora :)

December 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm 6 comments

7 Ingredients for a Healthy Holiday Season

The holiday season is all about giving, family and close friends and of course, food. This time of year is full of rich, delicious meals that are both comforting and frequent at parties and on our dinner tables. Incorporating certain foods into your feast can benefit you long after your New Year’s resolution.
I received a monthly newsletter from registered dietitian Adrien Paczosa noting the following top seven foods to incorporate during your holiday and I wanted to pass along!
1. Pomegranates: A pomegranate a day can keep the doctor away. The old adage uses apples, but during the holidays, we say pomegranates are the way to go. This delicious fruit is bursting with Vitamin C which keeps the free radicals at bay and is believed to prevent some types of cancer. So add a splash of pomegranate juice to a cup of hot tea and enjoy OR add some pomegranate arils to these stuffed endive and goat cheese appetizers for some added nutrition with a festive flare!
2. Nuts: Nuts contain both poly- and mono unsaturated fatty acids.  These are healthy fats that can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering the amount of inflammation of the arteries. Nuts are also a good source of protein and fiber that can help keep you full. This can keep you from over indulging and keeping the holiday pounds in check. Finally, nuts are a rich source of vitamin E which is good for the skin. Who doesn’t need a little holiday glow?
As you may have guessed, I am 100% on board with this ingredient! A few ways to incorporate more nuts:
For snacks, whip up a batch of honey roasted snack mix or protein nut butter balls
If you’re in the mood for a savory main dish try turkey chili with almond butter or healthy kung pao chicken or tofu
Is dessert calling your name? Try flour less chunky monkey cookies or vegan maple almond spice biscotti

3. Chocolate: Nothing is more comforting on a cold winter day than a cup of hot chocolate. If you make that a cup of dark hot chocolate you could be enjoying more than just guilty pleasure. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids and polyphenols. These are antioxidants that can help prevent arterial damage from cholesterol as well as lower your blood pressure over time. So join the kids for a cup of my (dairy-free) hot cocoa and drink to your health.
This is good news for us chocolate lovers, but eat in moderation of course! You can also make your own chocolate bark/fudge :)
4. Olives: Extend the olive branch through the season and reap the nutritional benefits. Olives are a low calorie way to get in your healthy monounsaturated fats. Using extra-virgin olive oil to create your culinary masterpieces during the holidays can lead to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. You can use the olives to add a little salt to your meals, just be sure to watch your sodium intake. 10 small green olives have about 451 mg of sodium. *According to new recommendations by The American Heart Association sodium intake should be limited to 1500 mg or below per day.
*Although I mention olives, unfortunately I am not a fan (I should give them another chance) — do as I say not as a do because they do have nutrition! For a delicious recipe using olives, hop on over to The Healthy Foodie for Sonia’s green bean and goat cheese salad :)
Photo courtesy of The Healthy Foodie
5. Cinnamon: The smell of cinnamon in the air is a sure sign that the holidays are near. This time of year is a time for giving and also a time for indulgence. When we over indulge on rich foods it can leave us feeling a little out of the holiday spirit. Adding cinnamon to your holiday treats can help curb the effects of overindulgence by reducing heartburn and bloating. Studies have also found that 1 tsp a day of cinnamon can help better manage insulin and blood sugar levels.
Add a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee, cup of oatmeal, or for an extra nutrient packed snack serve plain non fat Greek yogurt with dried cranberries, nuts, and a dash of cinnamon. Try some spiced pumpkin dip or cherry walnut oat muffins as well!
6. Peppermint: Candy canes are a signature of the holiday season.  Sometimes used for decorating the trees or enjoyed in tea or hot chocolate. This holiday treat can soothe heart burn and nausea. It also kills bacteria in the mouth that leads to bad breath. This will come in handy when meeting under the mistletoe.
Add peppermint oil to this rich and creamy hot cocoa, indulge in dairy-free mint chocolate ice cream or treat yourself to a small candy cane :)
7. Cranberries: The holiday spread would not be complete without cranberry dressing or our favorite cranberry oatmeal cookies! Cranberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also provide antioxidants which help prevent some types of cancer and promote the formation of visualpurple pigment which is essential in color as well as night vision.
Bonus – try my fruit-sweetened cranberry yum bars and you have two of the top seven ingredients listed – nuts and cranberries! I give you permission to dig in :)
I can’t believe there are only FOUR days left before Christmas! Love to all and I hope you are enjoying this holiday season so far : )

December 21, 2011 at 10:30 am 4 comments

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