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Baby Kale Health

Buddha Bowls for Zen, Peace & Happiness

Since I completed the whirlwind of my professional plant-based certification with Rouxbe, I’ve been re-inspired and motivated to integrate some new techniques and strategies into my weekly meal plan. One of the newest members to the show is the Buddha Bowl!

A Buddha Bowl is a mix of veggies, greens, grains, nuts, meats, and cheeses…it takes the concept of a burrito bowl around the world. I absolutely LOVE them because they’re healthy, my kids have approved them (!), I can plan for them once a week without it being redundant, I can mix it up with anything I have in my pantry or fridge, everybody gets to customize their own bowl…should I keep going?!

So, here’s how it works. Pick one item from each of the following categories and you’re on your way to a zen meal!

· Protein

Beans, lentils, tofu, hard-boiled egg, chicken or other meats

· Grains, Starchy Vegetables or Pasta

Quinoa, Brown Rice, Millet, Barley, roasted squash or sweet potatoes

· Greens

Spinach, kale, collards, or sprouts

· Non-starchy Veg or non-sweet fruits

Asparagus, Broccoli, shrooms, jicama, peas, bell peppers, tomatoes or zuchini

· Fresh Herbs & Spices or Toppings

Basil, Mint, cilantro, parsley, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, or spice blends

· Dressing or Condiments

Pickles, pesto, salsa, your choice of dressing, hot sauce or tamari

It’s just a meal in a bowl, BUT I believe its pure genius will transform the Zen, peace and happiness of the world!

Decadent Tahini Sauce
Use as a dressing, a sauce, or a dip!

1/4 c. tahini
1 T. maple syrup
1/2 lemon juiced
soy sauce or tamari to taste (optional) 
cayenne to taste (optional)
Add warm water to create desired consistency

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or jar. Add more water after refrigerated to thin out.


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Baby Kale Health

Lunchbox Revival

Congratulations! We’ve been making healthy lunches half way through the school year already! But, are we burnt out or what? It’s time for some new and fun food to add into your rotation. Never fear, I have some fresh ideas for you to add into your “box”.

Bring on the Heat (or not): We have a few super cold months coming up, so it’s the perfect time to let your thermos become the star of the box. Here are a few new ideas that you might not have used yet:

Egg pesto melt and other paninis
Get creative to step outside the “grilled cheese” box. Use sundried tomatoes, olives, spinach, different cheeses and/or meats, hummus or other spreads/dips, etc.

http://weelicious.com/2012/08/27/10-best-back-to-school-sandwich-recipes/

Warm it up
Warm up homemade or store bought applesauce with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger for a change.

Smoothies
A refreshing smoothie might be just what your kidlet needs for an extra boost of Vitamins in the middle of the day, especially if they’re fighting off a mid-winter cold.

Pizzas
Not just leftover pizza, but figure out ways to use pizza ingredients. For example, try a pizza Panini or these pizza pinwheels  or even pizza balls.

Dip away
Use the Thermos for a warm dip like refried beans with cheese on top or a hot spinach-artichoke dip packed with pita chips.

Veg Out
Carrots, celery, cucumber…blah, blah, blah. Time for some new veg and maybe even some new dips and dressings! Think about:
  • Olives
  • Jicama
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Sundried tomatos/sundried dip
  • Pesto
New gear
If you’re like me, somehow your fully stocked Tupperware drawer is a bit skimpy now. It might be time to get stocked up with some new, fresh gear

Resources
These guys are amazing! Check out their websites, buy their cookbooks, sign up for newsletters and follow them on Facebook.

 

100 Days of Real Food

Weelicious

Peas and Thank You   http://peasandthankyou.com/

 

 

 


Baby Kale Health

Help! I Can't Dream Up Another Meal!

Are you sick of coming up with the weekly meal plans that nobody likes? Join the club! And then, consider this solution…or at least an idea to try out with your family. I recently tried it and it has taken off like gangbusters. Here it is. Are you ready for this rocket science?

 

Ask each family member to come up with ONE dinner plan for the week.

 

At first, my girlies were non-chalant. They told me what they wanted for their dinner nights and didn’t think much about it.

 

Then, when it came time for their nights, they got super involved and took big-time ownership in their meal. They both set the table and put “special things” at each setting.

 

Surprisingly, they didn’t request mac ‘n cheese or hot dogs, but they did, of course, include a dessert. Here were their meals:

 

Kidlet (age 7): Fruit salad, grilled lemon-rosemary chicken, green salad with cucumbers, carrots and sunflower seeds with a 3-berry smoothie for dessert.

 

Little (age 3): Make Your Own Pizzas with celery and salad. Ice cream for dessert.

 

I was proud. Both meals were extremely healthy options.

 

I get that it might not be this easy at your house. You might have to let them “win” the first time and then the 2nd time coach them through, saying, “Hmmm, you had mac ‘n cheese for your last turn, do you want to try something different this time?”

 

Other “coaching” tips:

 

“Remember, this is YOUR dinner night. You’re in charge. I want you to think about the whole meal. What kind of veggie would you like? Do you want a dessert?”

 

Make it a big deal for the whole family…”Hey everybody! It’s Daddy’s dinner night tonight! Thank you, Daddy for coming up with such an awesome meal!” (Yes, include your hubster.)

 

So, if you have two kidlets and one hubby, that is THREE meals that you don’t have to worry about planning!! Plus, it’s totally fun for the whole family.

 

Do I need to name more benefits because I can?

 

 

Baby Kale Health

Sledgehammer Your Scale!

Every time I visit someone’s house and visit the restroom, there’s always a grumpy, old scale staring up at me from the floor. It sets my blood on FIRE! I have no idea when this happened, but somewhere along the line I became absolutely, dead against scales and the act of weighing oneself.

 

Many of you know that I recently weighed myself at the end of the cleanse I recently finished. Even weighing myself for the purpose of “research” was a big decision for me. I just don’t believe that the number on the scale has anything to do with who I am as a human being.

 

Do the people I meet or walk by think, “hmmm, I bet she weighs 150”? No. A number on a scale does not automatically deem me healthy or unhealthy, it doesn’t know the food I eat, it doesn’t feel my happiness or sadness, it doesn’t know if I’m menstruating or stressed, it doesn’t slide or stuff my body into clothes. A scale is a machine that makes us addicted to its heartless, mechanical approval or disapproval.

 

Why do many people insist on stepping on the scale as part of their morning ritual, as if they’re brushing their teeth? What is the point, people?! The number on the scale, no matter if it’s a good day or bad day only produces insecurities, guilt and other emotions that don’t usually instigate a life full of carefree happiness.

 

Step off the scale and put it in the closet. Here’s a thought: throw your scale away! Better yet, take a sledgehammer and destroy the piece of #$%&! You are a person. Your worth is not measured by the number of pounds you weigh. Let your body, mind and soul determine how you feel today.

 

Instead of stepping on the scale for your morning ritual, try a daily affirmation. Look in the mirror at yourself. Envision love and light pouring over your entire body and wrapping it in liquid, glittery gold. “I am.”

Baby Kale Health

My Kindergartner Likes Pesto Pasta Better Than Mac-N-Cheese!


 

I stopped in my tracks…wait, what?! “I actually like Pesto Pasta better than Mac-N-Cheese!” my 6-year-old said. It was music to my ears, but I knew I couldn’t let her know how excited I was to hear that. A victory dance might have led to another opposition down the road. So, I calmly replied with, “Huh, that’s interesting.” And then quickly ducked around the corner to revel in my victory with a not-so-pretty (or even close to cool) dance!

 

I usually opted for Annie’s Mac…in bulk at Costco. I mostly had it on hand for emergency nights or babysitter nights. Then, for some reason, I just didn’t want my girls to eat powdered fake cheese. Even if it was organic, it was still highly processed…powdered cheese.

 

I began trying to make my own, homemade mac. I thought it was good every time I made it, but the girls each had their own ideas of what it should be and I was not making the mark. “Too thick.” “I like shells best.” “I don’t like onion chunks in mine.”

 

The list was never-ending! In fact, I’m still determined to make an awesome, healthy mac that both my girls get as excited as they do for Annie’s. But for now, I’ll take the win for Pesto Pasta, especially since the weather is turning and it’s perfect for picnics at the park.

 

Here’s the recipe…it’s really hard.

 

Pesto Pasta

Cook pasta.

Add pesto.

Add whatever veggies you want. (My girls go for tomatoes, kalamata olives, and red peppers – sometimes roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes.) Serve warm or cold.

 

P.S. My Famous Mac-N-Cheese recipe will be posted here at some point in time!

Baby Kale Health

Love Yourself/Shed Pounds

I recently experienced a slight “slim down” – nothing major, but enough for me to notice. Finally. After working out hard for almost TWO years and really trying to eat healthy, my body shed some pounds. Why did it take me TWO years?

 

I wouldn’t say I obsessed over losing weight, I just really wanted to get back to a size 8. However, the minute I stepped away from it and focused on just taking care of myself, the extra weight came off. It was when I STOPPED working out hard and took the time for walks outside or opted for alone time at the library instead of a workout that I lost the weight.

 

I do believe the cleanse I did in April jumpstarted the whole process, but not necessarily because of the food I ate during that time, but because of the “emotional dump” I experienced. I truly let go of some things that had been building up in every corner of my body for years!

 

That being said, here are a few questions to explore if you’re trying to lose weight:

 

1. Is there something that nags you everyday…in the back of your mind?

2. Have you been procrastinating taking care of something in your life? It could be as little as filling out some paperwork or as big as apologizing to an old friend.

3. What do you really like to do that you never give yourself the time to do or “permission” to do?

4. When you’re angry or sad about something, do you hold it in?

5. Do you love yourself? How do you give yourself love?

 

I’m learning more each and every day how health and wellness has everything to do with our emotional state.

 

Daily Affirmation: I am loved. I am enough.

Baby Kale Health

5 Unexpected Gifts I Got From My Cleanse


For me, the cleanse was so much more than just not eating certain things. It was an experience that has continued to impact my life…decisions, choices, thoughts, ideas. Granted, it’s only been a week since completion, but I feel different. Like someone hit the ‘refresh’ icon on my computer screen. My body was obviously effected by the cleanse. Fifteen pounds is nothing to scoff at, but unexpectedly and more importantly, I feel the cleanse effected my emotions, intellect and heart. This is what I’ve discovered and in some cases rediscovered about myself:

 

1. CREATIVITY!

Before the cleanse, I felt bogged down. No real inspired creativity. And no real DESIRE to even try to be creative. I was stuck. Now, I have ideas seeping out of my pores! I feel addicted to writing, a feeling I lost a long time ago.

 

2. New inspiration in the kitchen

Although I’m not technically a vegetarian or vegan, the majority of our meals tend to sway in that direction. Completing the cleanse, made me open to trying new combinations i.e. Curry Cauliflower soup (with peas). I’ve also experienced a new definition of what can make up a meal. Satisfaction can be found from all “side dishes” or all veggie dishes on my plate, as opposed to the typical American meal of meat, veg and starch. I was eating healthy, but the cleanse made me realize how much more I could be doing.

 

3. Mindfulness while eating

Half way through the cleanse, I started “noticing” my food. Tastes, flavors and combinations were more vibrant. Instead of shoveling my food into my face at a rapid pace, I had slowed down. I was chewing and really taking notice of what my tastebuds were “feeling”.

 

4. Closeness to my husband

Similar to what I experienced with my tastebuds, I became more open and aware of my husband. His hugs seemed more powerful and secure, grounded, his kisses tender and purposeful and even the tone of his voice at “good night” seemed clearer and more present.  

 

5. Grateful

Sometimes our lives become foggy. It’s hard to see the path that lies ahead when we’re stuck in the haze of eat, work, eat. The cleanse made the sun brighter, the children more defined and my life simpler. It doesn’t have to be about gain and more. If you stop and RESET your body and mind, it can just be yours…real, bountiful, gracious, love.

 

I’m not saying that the cleanse was the end all, be all. I am just so surprised at the many ways in which it effected my life. I thought, at the most, it would make my body healthier. It did. It shed just the right amount of light in the corners that had become dim.

Baby Kale Health

Introducing the famous and much loved: Mr. Quinoa!

I’ve been experimenting with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) for over a year now. I’ve come to like it more than rice because it cooks faster and has a more “poppy” texture. However, my daughters still make faces and stick their tongues out at quinoa-filled bowls smiling at them on the dinner table.

 

I’ve tried intriguing them with information like, “Did you know that this tiny grain has been around for about 8,000 years, has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all grains?” And, “Quinoa gave the Incas the high energy they needed to be able to run long distances at the high altitude of the Andes Mountains in South America.” But to know avail, they still stick their tongues out.

 

Within its nutritional profile, Quinoa is a powerful little grain that:

 

·         Contains all eight amino acids to make it a complete protein

·         Has a protein content equal to milk

·         High in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium & vitamin E

·         Gluten-free; easy to digest

·         Ideal food for endurance

·         Strengthens the kidneys, heart, and lungs

 

I refused to give up. We have to use this awesome little powerhouse. That’s just the way it works at my house. I don’t stop cooking something that my girls don’t like. Instead, I meet the challenge head on and keep trying it in new ways!

 

Sunday morning, me and my sidekick, Mr. Quinoa finally WON the battle! And, while I kept my mouth shut at the table, I was doing the happy dance around the corner.

 

Here’s how we won the hearts of the littles:

 

Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

Instead of making the quinoa with water, I made it with a can of lite coconut milk, added a few dashes of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and let it simmer for 15ish minutes.

 

In the meantime, I cut fresh mango, strawberries and walnuts, filled a bowl with unsweetened shredded coconut and made an exclamation point with a jar of honey. My cutting board delivered the accoutrements to the table while I dished up Mr. Quinoa with a little almond milk splashed on top.

 

VICTORY!

 

#1 tip for eating with kids: Keep all components of the meal separate and provide a buffet of different toppings. It lets them personalize their meal and introduces them to new ingredients…they think it’s FUN to put their own toppings on.

 

Stay strong, Mamas! The day will come when you can happy dance all the way to Victoryville!

Baby Kale Health

I Took an Emotional Dump!

I knew Day 2 was going to rain down on me the minute I woke up. I tried fighting it and slapping a smile on my face, but it just wasn’t happening. The entire day was filled with ups and downs. Of course, my husband had an evening event that night, so dinner and bedtime were solo. I was hot. I was angry. My ego hurt. My confidence was located somewhere so low it might’ve been in HELL! I yelled. I hurt feelings. I apologized. I was cold.

 

By the time hubby tip-toed down the steps, I was a weeping willow pile of mush balled up on the couch with the box of Kleenex. I composed myself for a millisecond and then just let it all flood, like lava flowing out of a volcano. I could not stop. It was not the usual cry for me…a minute and then stop. I cried…like I’ve never cried before.

 

It was wonderful. I infused each one of those tears with every ounce of anger, envy, sadness and dark thought I could sweep out of the corners of my body.

 

Day 3 was a new day. A fresh start. A new, bright, shiny day of MY life.

 

 

 

Baby Kale Health

Why I did a Whole Foods Cleanse

Why I did a Whole Foods Cleanse

 

For those of you who don’t know, my hubby and I did a 5-day whole foods cleanse last week. It was, essentially, our first cleanse, other than a failed and wimpy attempt at the Master Cleanse. Since we finished last Friday, I have been thinking about how many unexpected way the cleanse changed me, helped me and inspired me.

 

I did the cleanse for a number of reasons:

 

1. I am now a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I figured if I want to help people change their lives, I should experience a number of things, including a cleanse.

 

2. I had never done a cleanse and was curious. Would I feel as great as everybody else I’ve talked to?

 

3. Heading towards the nasty old 4-0, I thought it would be good to clean out the corners from my younger carefree days!

 

4. The backs of my arms have what I call “bumples”…little bumps/pimples. I wanted to see if it might be food related.

 

5. Last, and certainly least from my point of view, I wanted to see if I would lose any weight and experience a jumpstart in my metabolism.

 

I’m learning over and over that it’s important to set intention with whatever I do. Since I did explore the “whys” behind my experience first, my spirit was able to focus and open itself to the universe. I found “answers” to all my questions and curiosities…and then some!

 

1. I experienced a number of ups and downs related to the cleanse that I will forever be able to share with clients that might experience the same or similar challenges while on a cleanse or other journey.

 

2. I really did and still do feel awesome! I have much more energy, more open and clear thoughts and a more positive outlook.

 

3. I’m proud of myself for going through with the cleanse and giving my body a break.

 

4. There was a small improvement to my bumples, but the search continues with that.

 

5. I lost 15 pounds! I don’t necessarily feel like I lost that much and I don’t really look any different, but that’s what the scale said. (FYI – I don’t own a scale at home. I don’t believe in weighing myself everyday…once a year is good for me. I weighed myself in this particular situation just so I would know what to share with future clients.)

 

A whole foods cleanse is so easy. There aren’t any magic potions or crazy ingredients. Just eating real good food. If you’ve ever thought about trying a cleanse…just do it, you’ll learn so much about yourself and the world around you!