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Baby Kale Health

A Few Tips for Herbaceous Meals

Herbaceous

Pssst! Do you want to know the real deal trick, the absolute secret to great tasting food? Here it is…(at least one of the big tricks)…I’m spilling the beans right now! Wait for it…

Fresh HERBS, baby! That’s it. Done and done.

“But wait,” you might be thinking “…how do I use them? What do I do with them? Which ones go with my meal or dish? Why even eat them?”

Not only do fresh herbs add interest, complexity and beautiful flavor, they also add a huge nutritional punch. Fresh herbs hold just as much if not more nutritional value than all the different fruits and vegetables in the garden. Many contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. “Ounce per ounce, there is as much nutrition, or more, in raw parsley as there is in lettuce. In fact, parsley has 33 times the amount of vitamin C, 16 times the amount of vitamin K, six times the amount of iron and four times the amount of calcium as lettuce.”*

Some herbs are even used for medicinal purposes. Essential oils from Basil, for example, have anti-infective properties that inhibit different types of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, Enterococci, Shigella and Pseudomonas**.

Here are a variety of ways to add fresh herbs to your daily meals:

1. Add herbs to your raw vegetable or fruit salads.

2. Sprinkle chopped herbs over steamed or roasted vegetables right before serving.

3. Add herbs to your water, lemonade or tea! (Think Mint & Lime or Lemon, Basil & Strawberry or Blackberry, or even Lemon & Thyme) You can add them and leave them in your water, or strain them out.

4. Sprinkle them over soup before serving.

5. Top butter pasta or grain salads with herbs.

6. Mint goes great in a berry smoothie.

7. Make a compound butter.

8. Add herbs to your scrambled eggs or omelets.

9. Cilantro adds pure awesomeness to guacamole.

10. Herbs add zip to any sauce, dip or spread.


This should get you started with some HERBACIOUS ideas, and great tasting meals!

 

*http://health.heraldtribune.com/2014/09/02/nutritional-value-fresh-herbs/

**http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html


Baby Kale Health

Still Gettin' Minty!

Matcha Tea glass

We received almost 5 feet of snow at my house last weekend. That’s April in Colorado for ya! I’m actually relieved because this should put us in the forest fire safety zone for a little while. When you live in the middle of national forest land, snow and rain are one of the greatest blessings. However, I need some GREEN…lots of bright, grassy green in my life!

I’ve been craving green foods since March, but NOW, I’m downright obsessed with finding more green! Enter Matcha tea – the greenest of green tea. The color is so bright and springy, and yet the taste is so mellow and earthy.

My tea cabinet is always ridiculously full and an overflowing mess. I can’t help myself. I don’t drink coffee. I drink tea, and I’m addicted to trying all different kinds of teas. Green tea is my go-to in the afternoon, black tea is usually reserved for weekends so I can keep up with my girls, and I’ve even fallen in love with teaccino, which is actually chicory, or herbal coffee! And now Matcha tea, especially ICED Matcha tea has become a quick, refreshing favorite.

I love the benefits of all tea and Matcha tea, a concentrated form of green tea, is no schlump when it comes to providing health nutrients:

· It’s good clean energy, not the twitchy, nervous kind!

· Prevents and repairs UV damage to your skin.

· Enhances metabolism and weight loss

· Improves mood, concentration and memory

· High levels of chlorophyll naturally detoxify the body of toxins and heavy metals

· Combats aging

· Builds immunity, providing many essential vitamins and minerals

· Prevents cancer

That’s quite the list of reasons to incorporate some Matcha into your life! There are a few different ways to make Matcha, but my recent favorite is an Iced Matcha with Lime and Mint.

Step 1

Add 1 teaspoon Matcha to 1 cup filtered water. Add desired amount of ice. Shake. (I use a mason jar)

Step 2

Add a handful of fresh mint leaves (I rip them up to release essential oils). Add 2 slices of lime. Add sweetener like agave, honey or maple syrup to taste.

Step 3 (optional)

Strain mixture into a chilled glass with ice.

 

Can’t wait to enjoy one of these on my deck surrounded by more GREEN in...hmmm only about one month to go!

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Baby Kale Health

Gettin' Minty Up In Here!

Mint and Lime water



This week’s favorite for me is water with fresh mint and lime! I try to drink a ton of water every day, but I seem to go through phases where it just doesn’t taste good at all. When I’m in a water funk, I like to add different flavors with fruits, veggies and herbs. This week’s flavor of the week is Mint & Lime.

Mint has many nutritional benefits including:

    - Fresh breath and oral health

     - Clears congestion in lungs and nasal passage

     - Prevents cancer

     - Improves memory and alertness

     - Promotes digestion

Lemons and limes are some of my most important ingredients in the kitchen, and have a permanent spot on my shopping list. I know, would you believe that something so simple is one of my key ingredients! I use lemons and limes for salad dressings, dips & sauces, marinades, flavoring energy balls and protein bars, cleaning my cutting boards, aromatherapy (!), and yes, in my water and sparkling water.

Limes have special benefits, too, including:

     - Skin care

      - Relief from nausea

      - Assists with weightloss

      - Prevents heart disease

      - Eye health

Sounds like some pretty great reasons to add mint and lime to a simple glass of water. Oh, I forgot the most important reason…it tastes FANTASTIC! It’s a super simple, refreshing and rejuvenating drink that will keep you fresh and revitalized any afternoon, but especially in the coming hot months.

Mint & Lime Water

Step 1
Fill glass with water and ice, if desired

Step 2
Squeeze a couple slices of limes in the water. Throw the lime slices away or leave them in the water.

Step 3
Rip up a few mint leaves and add them to the water. Let steep or enjoy right away. 

Tip: Keep a pitcher of this in the fridge for refreshing hydration throughout the day!

 

Psst…next week I’ll have another mint and lime drink to share with you. You’re going to LOVE it!

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Baby Kale Health

Spring Into Shrooms

Spring in the mountains of Colorado is extremely temperamental giving us rain one day, warm sunshine the next, and then dumping a quick 6 inches that night. However, there are tiny changes taking place everywhere. The aspens are just waiting to burst and red-winged blackbirds have arrived. I’ve also noticed the appearance of fresh spring produce at our local grocers.

Spring produce includes:

· Asparagus

· Mushrooms

· Artichokes

· Strawberries

· Radishes

· Broccoli

· Beets

· Cabbage

· Cauliflower

· Avocado

· Mango

· Leeks

· Peas

· Rhubarb

I don’t necessarily stick to only what’s in season, but seasonal produce does influence and INSPIRE what I’m cooking. This past weekend, I featured a Springalicious menu at Taspen’s Organics First Saturday Wellness Fair. The Vegan and Gluten-Free items on the menu included:

· Mushroom & Thyme Soup

· Asparagus, Sunflower Sprout & Avocado Salad

· Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad

· Lemon Bliss Balls

· Iced Matcha Mint Tea

EVERYTHING was gone at the end of the day! However, the Most Valuable Player on the menu was definitely the Mushroom Soup, which, by the way, was soooo simple with only 6 ingredients. I wanted to share the Mushroom Soup recipe with you, so that you have one really good, but simple standby for all those rainy, chilly, snowy, muddy, windy spring days to come!

mushroom soup


Mushroom Soup

Inspired by www.pancakewarriors.com

1 large white onion, diced

1 package white button mushrooms (8 oz) sliced

1 package crimini mushrooms (16 oz) sliced

10 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 32 oz. boxes of organic vegetable broth

5 Tbs. tapioca flour

1 dried bay leaf

2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar

½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper

 

Options: As with anything I cook or share, there’s always options to switch it up. So with this recipe, use whatever mushroom combo you want. You could use all button or all crimini. I also like to dice some of the shrooms to add interest in texture. Also, try adding rosemary to the club!

 

Step 1

Saute onions.

 

Step 2

Add mushrooms and cook down until the liquid from the mushrooms is gone. Add salt to draw out the moisture from the mushrooms.

 

Step 3

Add garlic, thyme, rosemary or whatever herbs and spices you want.

 

Step 4

Deglaze the pot with Balsamic Vinegar…you can also use soy sauce or tamari.

 

Step 5

Whisk the tapioca flour with the broth. Then add to the mushrooms.

 

Step 6

Simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


BrAiNsToRm!! I was thinking you could also use this as a Foundation recipe! It could easily be a gravy with less broth, and what about adding asparagus or peas to this...maybe even raw & shaved over the top for some crunch! I've also thought about adding a grain like rice, quinoa or even small pasta shapes to the soup. And, one more thought, was to add Fire-Roasted Tomatoes to this. Hmmmm...so many options!

 

 

 

 


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