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Baby Kale Health

Summer Inspiration

family pic.salida


I’ve been a little delinquent with my newsletters lately. I’m spending my time doing what’s closest to my heart…spending time with my daughters. It’s been a fast-paced summer between softball and t-ball games, and a 10 day “working vacation” with the fam, but it’s been fun.

My family recently followed the Ride the Rockies tour as my husband’s company, Happy Llama, was the Official Merchandise Vendor. The daily schedule was: Wake up and be on the road by 7am, arrive in a town in Colorado, set up the tent and merchandise, work the booth all day, tear down and load up the trailer, and then head to the next town early the next morning. It was a lot of hard work and some long hot days, but I was so proud of my family for finding the fun, entertaining themselves, working hard, and barely whining at all!

Mountain and lake

We’ve been back for a few days, and I find my thoughts wandering to special moments captured on our travels. I was extremely inspired by so many different things including, landscape, nature, restaurants & food, craft beer and whiskey, so many kind-hearted PEOPLE!, hot springs, art galleries, jewelry stores, window shopping, small town Colorado, hard-working PEOPLE, bicyclists with so much heart & soul, blind bicyclists, 80+-year-old bicyclists, conversation, creative dreamers, and coming home to my dog and my life.

Eatery 66

I believe it is important to get out and experience new things. EXPAND your heart and mind. Whether it’s a new restaurant or shop, a hiking trail, a class, sitting on a bench people watching or just walking around town, being inspired feels so exciting, fresh and good. You will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on challenges that might have been weighing you down.

I want to encourage you to get out and explore this summer. Take your time, use your five senses, be present, EXPAND and BREATHE.

 

SIDE NOTE: As I said, I am taking the summer to be close with my family. I’m planning on checking in, but if I don’t, I’ll be back when school starts up again????

Baby Kale Health

An Easy Spring Detox Salad

kale avocado salad

Clean a bunch of kale from the tough stalks and rip into small bite-size pieces. Squeeze half a lemon and half an avocado into the bowl of kale. Sprinkle a pinch of Himalayan salt or celtic sea salt into the bowl. Using your hands, massage the kale mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. There will be small chunks of avocado. Sprinkle with hemp and sunflower seeds. DONE! You can also add cucumbers and/or tomatoes, but it’s just as good to keep it simple.

This is such an easy and awesome salad to add to your weekly rotation. You’ll be surprised how the lemon and avocado transform the bitterness to a sweetness!

Kale is a detox powerhouse for a number of reasons, including:

- “Kale is a member of the brassica family of vegetables which contain substances called glucosinolates which help to stimulate the liver detox enzymes.” (www.thedetoxspecialist.com)

- Kale contains iron, vitamin K, fiber and antioxidants 

- Rich in carotenoids and Chloryphyll, which are anti-cancer agents 

Avocados are another fantastic ingredient to add to your diet during a detox because it is a healthy fat. The avocado helps your gallbladder release bile, which in turn eliminates toxins. At that point, your gallbladder is better able to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

Lemon will be the star of your detox showdown! Lemon has loads of vitamins, but more importantly is able to balance the pH of your body so that it is alkaline instead of acid. When your body’s pH is less acidic it becomes more able to release toxins.

Just this one salad can make a big detox difference in your diet. Add it to your weekly rotation of dinners, and your body will thank you!

 

 

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Baby Kale Health

Rainbows All Around Us...Rainbow Chard

rainbow chard


I didn’t grow up eating Chard. In fact, I didn’t eat many green vegetables at all…let alone any color of vegetables! I was a very picky eater (I symbolize hope for all of you Moms of picky eaters!). I don’t know what or how it happened, but after college I became very interested in cooking, exploring new foods, and eating healthy.

Now, I try every day to teach my kids through cooking, grocery shopping, and just random facts at the dinner table about food and nutrition. I have to admit I got really lucky because my oldest became obsessed with salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil at a very early age. If I put any kind of veggies in some sort of vinegar, she’ll at least try them! Her enthusiasm for salads and vinegar has definitely influenced my youngest, who is not as obsessed with vinegar, but likes it. She’s branching out to different types of vinegars now.

So, what did I do with the gorgeous Rainbow Chard I received in my Door to Door Organics box the other day? Yep, added vinegar!

Rainbow Chard Health Benefits

As with any dark leafy green, Rainbow Chard is a nutrition powerhouse that can be eaten raw (not as bitter as spinach), and is sturdy enough to hold up in soups, stews or gratins.

Here’s what it’s loaded with and good for:

- One of the most antioxidant rich foods on the planet!

- Packed with Iron – combine with vitamin C to help your body absorb the Iron.

- Excellent source of fiber

- Virtually fat free (depending on what you put with it!)

- Tons of Vitamin K (brain and nervous system function)

- Loaded with calcium for bone health

- Regulates blood sugar (especially good for diabetics)


Here's a super simple way to make up some Chard, whether it's Rainbow or Swiss.

Garlicky Balsamic Chard

1. Chop up the chard.

2. Smash a couple cloves of garlic (leave it whole to get the flavor, but not the pungent pieces).

3. Throw it all in a sauté pan with a little olive oil. (Maybe just a tsp. of olive oil – no slimy greens allowed!)

4. Wait until the chard wilts down a little and then add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. (Be mindful about the level of wilting – you don’t want mushy greens)

5. Cook off the vinegar and EAT! (Make sure to remove the whole garlic cloves)

Options: You could throw in some red onion, toasted nuts and seeds or maybe even apple and golden raisins!

Baby Kale Health

Something Outta Nothing!

Grand Canyon

My family and I recently returned from a short spring break vacation to Grand Canyon National Park. I love getting outta Dodge for a change of pace. I feel re-inspired, invigorated and excited for new things to come. While I love coming back home, trying to find something to feed my family before a trip to the grocery story is tricky! However, I love the challenge of using what I have to make something tasty. I love digging into the depths of my cupboards and fridge, and often create something new and exciting!

Today, I was scrounging for lunch. I found leftover Mexican black beans (they were still good)…sweet, taco salad – one of my all-time favs! But no greens☹. I kept digging through my almost empty fridge and found one kale leaf, green peppers, radishes, shredded carrots and some hatch green chili. Perfect! I chopped up all the veggies and mixed them with the green chili, warmed up my beans, added some chips and dug in.

Crunchtastic taco salad

I actually really liked the addition of all the crunchy veg. Usually I stick to the same ol’ greens, beans and salsa with chips. This was so much more flavorful, crunch-tastic and interesting. My taco salads will forever be changed!

Here’s my Top 5 Tips For Making “Something Outta Nothing!”

1. Check out the leftover situation to see if there’s anything you can build on. Meat, beans, salads, rice, quinoa, etc.

2. Look for fresh produce. If there isn’t anything, look for frozen fruits and veg. Canned fruits and veggies just aren’t as fresh and nourishing as fresh or frozen.

3. Got any cans of beans? You can always make something with some beans. For example, soup, salads, smashed up dip or sandwich spread, etc.

4. Would a sauce or dip really make or break your creation? Look for vinegars, salsas, mustards, citrus, fresh herbs, dried herbs, greek yogurt or sour cream, etc.

5. Is your creation warm or cold, in a bowl, on a plate, in a wrap, on top of bread, etc.? Sometimes it helps to figure this out first.

I’m a true believer that you can always make something out of nothing, and it might even be better than something you specifically shopped for!

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Baby Kale Health

Rainbow Week 2017

rainbowveggiewrap


My Daughters’ school just finished Rainbow Week. As part of the Health and Wellness committee at their school, I was highly involved in all of the events.

We sent home a nutrition and health bingo card with different activities for the kids to do, including try a yellow vegetable, crab walk for 5 minutes and relax or do yoga for 10 minutes. We also provided fruit infused water during their lunch periods, and they received a rainbow stamp if they brought fresh fruits or veggies to school. We sent home a Rainbow Challenge worksheet, which gave each member of the family space to keep track of the number and colors of the fruits and veggies they ate. It was a fun week, and I received great feedback from both students and parents.

In honor of Rainbow Week, my kids cooking class made Rainbow Veggie pinwheels. So simple and so fun for the kids, but still super awesome for adults!

I brought cream cheese and hummus to use as “glue”, asparagus, purple cabbage, shredded carrots, micro greens (which they were all super curious about!), multiple colors of peppers, grape tomatoes, spinach and basil. While the class started out not-so-excited about veggies, they were all super jazzed by the time they left. I LOVE classes like that! They made such beautiful creations – “for their parents” – and then ended up eating it themselves!! (In my class, my students do NOT have to try anything they don’t want to, which takes so much pressure off of them!)

Ever since class last week, I’ve been craving and obsessed with veggie wraps. I thought it might be a great thing to share with you…to help you switch up the norm lunch salad or sandwich, OR to give you some inspiration for lunchboxes!

Here’s some ideas for your Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels:

- Use ricotta, cream cheese or nut butter and fruit instead of veggies

- Sprinkle fruit with cinnamon

- Use ricotta cheese or goat cheese

- Use all sorts of seeds or sliced nuts

- Cut the finished wrap in half or cut them into thinner pinwheels

- Use different types of wraps: corn tortillas, gluten free, spinach, tomato basil, etc.

- Instead of hummus or cream cheese, use smashed up beans like white, pinto, or black

- Use nori wraps, rice paper or collard greens instead of tortillas

There are all sorts of variations that you could do, just make sure to get those fresh, vibrant colors in their first!




Baby Kale Health

Trail Mix Treasures

trail mix


It’s such a simple well-known snack that sometimes it gets overlooked, but trail mix truly is the perfect snack for anytime!

Recently, I realized that my family and I were reaching for the pre-packaged snacks more than I feel comfortable with. Yes, it’s easy. And, yes, I try to pick items that are healthful with few ingredients, but I can’t help but KNOW how much better homemade snacks are! Sooooo, I decided to start making different trail mixes every week for snacks. (I think traditional trail mix is how I ended up stepping away from it as a snack – I got bored, and didn’t really think to switch it up!)

Last week, I was inspired by some dried apples that I bought at Natural grocers. They were full rings, but I wanted to stretch them and make them last longer, so I cut them smaller. I threw in some almonds, craisins and a small portion of white chocolate chips. My girls were psyched about it so much that the trail mix was their number one request every day!

This week a container of dried pineapple caught my eye. I toasted some cashews to make them crunchier, added in some flaked coconut, a few craisins (really, just for color because it all looked so pale!) and then some dark chocolate chips.

Why is trail mix the perfect snack?

Protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The nuts fill you up and keep you full, and the dried fruit gives you quick energy for exercise. The sweet and salty combo satisfies any craving you might have!

Since I decided to try this, I’ve been scoping out and brainstorming some new possibilities to add in to the mix. Here’s a few ideas I have for future trail mixes:

· Yogurt covered raisins

· Yogurt covered almonds

· Chocolate covered nuts

· Dried papaya

· Curry cashews

· Maple walnuts

· Maple walnuts with sesame seeds

· Tamari almonds

· Sundried tomatoes (I know, but I’m going to try it!)

· Yogurt covered pretzels (broken into smaller pieces)

· Popcorn

· Cereal

· Freeze dried fruit

· All kinds of seeds

· Peanut butter chips

I’m trying to stick with whole foods and minimal effort on this commitment. Hopefully I can make a new bucket of trail mix happen every week. Follow me on Instagram (Babykalehealth) to track my #trailmixtreasures. Wish me luck!

Baby Kale Health

Turmeric, the Queen of Spices

turmeric

Maybe you know, or maybe you don’t know that I’ve been making food for the Taspen’s Organics 1st Saturday Wellness Fairs for about 3 years now. This past Saturday was the last fair in their original space before they move to a new space…a new beginning. It was important to me to make something special to show my gratitude.

However, last Thursday, I started feeling a little sick. This became the inspiration for my wellness fair menu. After much thought, I decided it was exactly perfect for the wellness fair because wellness has to do with taking special care of yourself, especially when you’re under the weather! I wanted to make gentle but vibrant food that would nourish others that might be feeling sick. ‘Tis the season.

Turmeric came to mind, so I started researching some recipes. I found a Detox broth that became the base for a quinoa stew that I made for the fair. It was so comforting…and gentle. With tons of garlic, turmeric and ginger, I felt like I got healthier with each spoonful!

Turmeric, or the Queen of Spices, is an amazing spice used around the World not only to season food, but also to heal a number of different illnesses and diseases. Turmeric is an:

          · Anti-inflammatory

          · Antiseptic

          · Antibiotic

          · Antiviral

          · Antioxidant

          · Antifungal

In addition, the spice contains protein, fiber, Vitamin C, E, & K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc. It’s no wonder that Turmeric:

· Prevents Cancer

· Relieves Arthritis

· Controls Diabetes

· Boosts your Immunity

· Reduces Cholesterol

· Manages Weight

· Heals wounds

· Prevents Alzheimer’s

· Prevents Liver Disease

· Improves digestion

Turmeric is an absolute powerhouse!

The wellness fairs have been so great for me. Not only for promoting my business, but also for pushing me to explore my creativity and knowledge! Through the years, I have met so many people, each on their own journey, and each of whom inspired me on my own journey. I have loved those wellness fairs, and I look forward to our new beginnings!

Turmeric Detox Broth

From www.feastingathome.com

1-2 tablespoons oil

1 onion- diced

1- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

4-5 garlic cloves- grated or finely minced

2 teaspoon turmeric powder (or 3 teaspoons fresh turmeric, finely grated - see notes)

¼ teaspoon mustard seed (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

¾ - 1 teaspoon salt

4 cups water

4 cups veggie or chicken stock

⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar - or lime or lemon juice ( to taste)

Instructions

In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, saute onion in 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add ginger. Lower heat to medium low and saute 5 minutes until it begins to brown, stirring often.

Add garlic, saute 2 minutes. Add all the spices and cook 1 more minute.

Add water, stock and salt.

Bring to a simmer.

Add vinegar or citrus.

At this point, you have a broth that can be used as the base for any soup that you make. You can add quinoa, noodles, rice, veggies, chicken or seafood, or tofu. Get creative with this healthful foundation. Freeze the extra to have on hand for future soups!


Baby Kale Health

Chicken Enchiladas Make the Cut!

chicken enchiladas

I love it when I cook things that BOTH my girls really like – so much so that they actually say something about it. The real kicker, I mean, when I REALLY know that I nailed something is if it’s “lunchbox worthy”! It happened…just last night, so I wanted to share.

Drumroll please…Presenting….Chicken Enchiladas.

Now, this is not the first time I’ve made this. And, believe me, the other times didn’t get great reviews. However, this should be a testament to all of you that you just have to keep trying things over and over. Don’t give in to the mac ‘n cheese ridiculousness.  Our kids (and ADULTS) need real, homemade food, and they need to see it on a regular basis in their own homes! (ok, stepping off the soapbox.)

So, back to the chicken enchiladas.

I threw some chicken in the crockpot yesterday morning with just some water, garlic cloves and salt and pepper. I had extra rice in the fridge from a previous meal, so that was already done. All I had to do was make the sauce, shred cheese (which my little one did for me while her sister finished her homework) and assemble.

My sauce is nowhere near a traditional sauce, but it works for me and my family. If it were up to me this sauce would be a lot spicier! I put 2 cans of tomato sauce in a saucepan. I add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and a little oregano. That’s it!

To assemble the enchiladas, I mix some shredded chicken with rice and a little bit of the sauce. Grease the baking dish. I warm up the corn tortillas in foil in the oven. Then, I scoop some of the chicken and rice mix in the tortilla, roll it, and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the dish is jam-packed. Then, spoon the sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake at 400 until cheese melts and then switch to broil to get that awesome bubbly browned cheese!

Last night, I served it with some frozen pineapple and blueberries that I had on hand!

 

Enchilada Sauce

2 cans tomato sauce (Bonus: I had about a pint leftover to freeze for the next time I make enchiladas!)

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. cumin

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

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Baby Kale Health

Water check!


glass of water with straw

It’s that time again. I wanted to check in and remind you to drink your water! It’s so simple, yet so hard to remember, and sometimes just so uninteresting;)

When I’m out ‘n about, I have a specific water bottle that I use – not in love with it, but I like the size. (I’m always on the lookout for the perfect water bottle!) When I’m home, I try to choose one of my nicer glasses or a pint glass to drink ice water out of. However, this weekend I wanted something different, but I wasn’t sure what. My water intake has been way less than stellar, and I’m always looking for new ways to motivate myself to drink more water! I spent awhile looking through my cupboards. I ended up with one of my smoothie cups, complete with a reusable straw. It only holds 16 oz., but the straw is what I needed this time. I’ve been sucking down water like crazy ever since!

What’s your trick to drinking more water?

I do add fruit to my water sometimes. Fruit infused water switches it up and even adds some vitamins, too.

Ice or no ice? I’ve been on a no ice kick, but yesterday I wanted ice…and a straw!

Do you use your FitBit to help you drink more water?

Here’s a few reminders of why we need to drink ½ our body weight in ounces every day:

1. Physical performance

If you’re dehydrated, you’re likely to experience fatigue and lack of motivation during your workout or exercise. Not being properly hydrated can make your workout seem much harder. YUCK!

2. Weight loss

Drinking a good amount of water everyday can boost your metabolic rate and make you feel full for longer. To lose weight, drink water cold so that your body has to expend energy to heat it up.

3. Flush Toxins

Over time, toxins build up in our bodies causing fatigue. Water helps to carry those toxins to the kidneys where they can be flushed out of the body.

Not to mention, water consumption can prevent constipation, gastritis, heart burn, ulcers, migraines and kidney stones.

Go drink some water…

No really, go drink some water…right now!

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Baby Kale Health

Your Nightly Ritual for Better Sleep

For the past few Valentine’s Days, I’ve tried to focus on all matters of the heart! It’s a great day to focus on and learn about heart healthy foods, stress management and exercise habits. This year, I want to dive deeper into stress management because I believe it’s the root cause of many chronic diseases and illnesses.

Did you know:

· 1 in 5 Americans experience extreme stress, such as heart palpitations, depression and shaking

· Work stress causes 10% of all strokes

· 3 out of 4 Dr. visits are for stress-related ailments

· Stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40%

· Stress increases the risk of a heart attack by 25%

· Stress increases the risk of a stroke by 50%

These numbers are super scary to me. Especially because many of my clients that I work with are effected by stress in some manner. Symptoms of too much stress include trouble sleeping, muscle aches, headaches, migraines, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems.

Today, I want to focus on one method to help you fall asleep and stay asleep!

I want you to create a bedtime ritual that will help your body realize that it’s time to go to sleep. By having a ritual, your body will learn the steps and start to relax faster.

Your ritual might look something like this:

·  Light a candle

·  Play soft music

·  Wash your face with warm water

·  Apply moisturizer

·  Floss teeth

·  Brush teeth

·  Go to the bathroom

·  Climb into bed

·  Self massage and apply relaxing essential oils on your feet (lavender, frankincense, vetiver,         cedarwood)

·  Turn the light off

·  Blow out the candle

These are just a few little things woven together to allow you time for self care, time to let go of the daily grind, and time for just you. Start today, so your heart can begin to heal from all that stress.

Sooo, what does your nightly ritual look like? Take some time right now to jot down your unique ritual. 





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