by Sara Sullivan on May 13th, 2013

Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means. Shedding layers + wanting to feel {and look} your best.

Are you looking for clarity, direction + focus?

I am so thrilled to be able to share with you my Summer Slim Down Workshop! This workshop will outline a clear, balanced, sustainable plan that has the potential to change the way you eat, forever! In addition, it is designed to help you lose stubborn weight and provide you with healthy eating strategies as well as fresh, easy, delicious recipes!  

*You will walk away with *
copies of my two most beloved cookbooks, two of my favorite superfoods that I eat every day {my children even love them}, your very own 14-day Summer Slim Down menu plan, plus loads of new information, inspiration + motivation! In addition, you will sample green smoothies, raw energy bars + more!

   Summer Slim Down Workshop
     Monday, May 20th, 2013
    6:00pm-8:00pm
              
   $147 per person 
 registration is required
 registration deadline is May 16th
{space is limited}

REGISTER TODAY!
please call me at 207.846.1162 {x.3}
or CLICK HERE www.nutritionsara.com

workshop will be held at:
Strong Bodies Fitness Studio
81 Bridge Street, Suite 101
Yarmouth, Maine 04096  

by Sara Sullivan on May 10th, 2013


The structure of a weekday routine makes it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan, but on weekends there's less structure, and you may find temptations are everywhere!

 Weekend activity + socializing can mean that by the time your alarm sounds Monday morning, you're left feeling overstuffed and bloated.

If you're looking for real results, you must stop this counterproductive cycle.
I recommend building a sustainable plan that you can maintain seven days a week.

Here are a few strategies that can make it happen!

1. Watch the liquid calories.
Happy hour is a great time to meet up with friends but alcohol packs piles of empty calories. Sip water between drinks -- it will keep you hydrated and your tummy fuller. If you really want to drink on weekends, stick to lower-calorie options such as light beer or wine rather than mixed drinks, which can have upwards of 500 calories each. Keep in mind that many people lose their food inhibitions when they drink alcohol, which means they’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices after a cocktail or two.

2. Work out on the weekend.
Working out on the weekend can help keep you in line to eat smarter on the weekends. Find friends that will join you! Instead of meeting friends for drinks and food, have them join you for a run, bike or hike.

3. Eat breakfast.
And, yes, that's breakfast, not brunch. Starting your days with a healthy breakfast will give you energy and make you feel full longer. A healthy breakfast will stabilize your blood sugar and rev your metabolism, and it may help ward off hunger later in the day.
{ try a green smoothie this weekend!}

4. Plan ahead.
Weekends are busy with fun family activities, socializing with friends, as well as running errands. Know ahead of time when you’ll need to eat and plan for it. Bring nonperishable food such as dried fruit, nuts, and nut butters; make a sandwich; cut up some vegetables; this will help prevent you from picking up junk food on the run.

5. Get good sleep.
Studies have found that people who are sleep deprived consume an extra 500 extra calories a day! Maximize your Sunday by unwinding and getting ready for bed early. Capping off your weekend with a relaxing activity and then heading to bed early can have huge pay off to your weight loss efforts.

What are your weekend struggles?
Leave a comment!


by Sara Sullivan on May 9th, 2013



When it comes to lunch, few choices can beat a sandwich for simplicity.
It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s simple to eat whether you’re in your office or on the go. Unfortunately, sandwiches loaded with fatty toppings and bread can transform a simple lunch staple into a high-fat calorie bomb.

Luckily, you don’t have to forgo this lunchbox staple if you follow a few simple sandwich ideas to make your meal both healthy and delicious. Here, easy fixes to increase your sandwich’s nutritional value and keep calories under wrap.

What's your favorite sandwich?
Leave me a comment below -- I would love to hear from you!
Grilled Eggplant, Caramelized Onion + Basil on Sourdough
(serves 2)

1 eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
sourdough bread
fresh basil
extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

1) Roast your red pepper and caramelize your onions:
For the pepper: stick it on a baking sheet at 450 degrees and rotate it every 10 minutes for 30 minutes. Let it cool, peel the skin and remove the seeds and stem, then cut it into smaller pieces. Store it in a container and cover it with olive oil and seal it.
For the onion: cut it in half, and then into smaller rainbow slices. Heat 2 T of oil in a pan at medium high, then sauté them. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar, and keep moving them until they’re clear and browned.

2) Cut your eggplant lengthwise into thin slices (7-8), then brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3) Grill your eggplant on medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes per side until you see your grill marks.

4) Assemble your sandwich by layering your eggplant, roasted red peppers and onions on your slices of sourdough. Add some chopped basil and slide it all on the grill/panini press for 2 minutes to heat through!

p.s. If you add a little goat cheese, you’ll just end up with an even yummier treat!

{recipe + photo credit www.kimberylmichelle.com}
Grilled Peach + Portobella Sandwich
4 portobello mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sprig rosemary sprig
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
3 small cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large avocados, halved and pitted
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into thick slices
4 sourdough ciabatta rolls or Ezekiel hamburger buns, preferably toasted or grilled
2 cups baby arugula

1
Using a wet cloth or paper towel, clean the portobello mushrooms to remove any dirt. Pull half the leaves off the rosemary sprig and roughly chop, leaving the rest of the leaves near the end to use as a grilling brush. In a large bowl, combine the chopped rosemary with the olive oil, thyme, 3/4 of the garlic, and half the lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat well.

2
While the mushroom marinates, mash the avocados in a second bowl and add the remaining garlic, lemon juice, and chopped tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill, or heat a ridged grill pan over high heat for a full minute. Lay the mushrooms on the grill and cook until nicely caramelized and starting to release their liquid, but not completely dry, 3-5 minutes per side. On another part of the grill or grill pan, cook the peach slices until caramelized and soft, 4-5 minutes per side.

4
If desired, briefly toast the rolls or buns on the grill. While the mushrooms and peaches continue to cook, spread the avocado mixture on both sides of the buns or rolls and divide the arugula amongst the four sandwiches. Top with the mushrooms, followed by the peaches. For a neater package, secure the sandwich with large toothpicks. Serve right away while the mushrooms are still hot and juicy.
{recipe + photo credit www.seriouseats.com}
Avocado Asparagus Sandwich

4 toasted pieces of whole grain bread rubbed with olive oil and a bit of garlic
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb of asparagus stalks, trimmed roughly the length of your bread
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 avocado, pitted and smashed
a couple handfuls of arugula, tossed in a bit of olive oil
a handful of toasted pepitas, or almonds, or sunflower seeds

A few minutes before you want to eat heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add the asparagus, and a pinch of salt and cook for about thirty seconds. Add the garlic and caraway, and cook another thirty seconds, or until the spears are a vibrant green. Remove from heat, and assembly the sandwich.

Give each piece of bread a generous slather of mashed avocado. Top that with a bit of arugula, a few asparagus spears, and a generous sprinkling of pepitas or seeds + top with bread.
{photo + recipe credit 101cookbooks.com}

by Sara Sullivan on May 7th, 2013

Believe it or not, some foods can help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome — besides chocolate!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain;
it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family.
It is gluten-free and when cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy and subtly flavored.

Quinoa is chalk full of B vitamins which are crucial for helping to balance our hormones.
B vitamins are also essential in the production of serotonin which will help reduce depression + irritability. In addition, quinoa is also a great source of fiber which plays several roles;
Fiber regulates blood sugar and releases the excess estrogen in your body to consequently metabolize your hormones and control mood swings and lethargy. Fiber also keeps you full longer reducing the your cravings to binge.

Say goodbye to wide belts + tunics during that time of the month!

Some other amazing benefits of  quinoa include:
Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
Quinoa contains high levels of the vital nutrient magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure.
Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body.


To top it all off it is SO easy to prepare and cook.
My best tips for preparation:
1. make sure to rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking
2. use 1 1/2 cups broth or water to 1 cup of grains and cook for 12-15minutes
Quinoa Tabbouleh
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in 1/4 cup dressing.

Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing over.

{photo credit www.thekitchn.com}

by Sara Sullivan on May 3rd, 2013

{Drum roll please....}
Did you know that the avocado is being called the world’s most perfect food?

I fully agree.
I have been devouring avocados for years.
Putting them in sandwiches, on toast, in smoothies, dips and stuffing them with quinoa.

I must admit, for some time I feared the avocado.
 I spent my college years chowing down fat-free crackers, fat-free chips, fat-free cheese + fat-free anything you could get your hands on {anyone remember Snackwell's}.
Clearly not an advisable plan.

So when I finally escaped the fat-free madness of the 90's,
the full-blown fat + flavor of the avocado was beyond welcomed and I never looked back.

Good News!
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, monounsaturated fats—such as those found in avocados—should be added to the list of foods that help you burn more calories {amen}.

While too much of the wrong fat (trans fat and rancid vegetable oils found in cookies, crackers and almost all processed food) is bad for your health and waistline, a diet rich in the right fat -- good monunsaturated fats -- can help you shed that belly weight revealing those lean abs that you know are just hiding underneath waiting to come out!

So put on your sombrero, crank up the salsa music and get cooking!

*Please note that avocado's are a high-calorie dense food.
Just because a little bit of something is good for us, it does not mean that more of it is better.
Bottom line, drinking margarita's and polishing of the bowl of guacamole on Cinco De Mayo will not bring out your six pack abs...


What are your favorite ways to eat avocados?
Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

photo credit www.pinchandswirl.com

Avocado Breakfast Toast
1 Ezekiel English muffin
1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded and lightly smashed
good quality, extra virgin olive oil
crushed red pepper or Tabasco {optional}

Toast your bread and divide the smashed avocado  between the toast, smashing it down with a fork. Now douse with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if using. Enjoy!
Avocado Strawberry Smoothie
serves 2
1 cup unsweetened almond milk {or more to blend}
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup spinach
1 avocado, skin + pit removed
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla extract
several ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smoothie.  Serve immediately.

by Sara Sullivan on May 2nd, 2013

LEMON WATER!

So easy, so delicious and so refreshing!
I prefer to drink my lemon water warm but any way
that you can get it in that gorgeous body of yours will have benefit.

Here are just a few amazing benefits of lemon water...

1. Aids in digestion: 
Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that required for digestion. Efficient digestion reduces heartburn and constipation.

2. Helps with weight loss:  {and the crowd goes wild}
Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which will help fight your hunger cravings.
It also has an alkalizing effect which has been shown to help people lose weight faster.
{more on this in a future post}

3. Boosts your immune system:
Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds and
making sure that your immune system stays in tip-top shape!

4. Gives you glowing skin: 
Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear and
the vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes.

There you have it. Buy those lemons in bulk + start squeezing!

Do you drink lemon water? I'd love to hear how it helps you!
Leave me a comment below

by Sara Sullivan on May 1st, 2013

During the month of May, I will be sharing with you, a few of my secrets for achieving AND maintaining a healthy weight - just in time for summer!

Here's how you can participate:
1.) Follow my blog
www.nutritionsara.com

2.) Like me on Facebook
www.facebook.com/nutritionsara

3.) Send me an email with your weight loss + wellness goals.
I would love to hear your story!  

4.) Watch the Summer Slim Down Challenge on Fox Good Day Maine Wednesday mornings throughout the month of May! I will be sharing tips, tricks + recipes to keep you motivated and on track!


I may not make any friends by saying this, but here goes...
There is no quick, effortless way to lose weight. Nor is there a magic diet pill.
The belief that there is a quick and easy solution to lasting weight loss creates a major problem coupled with lots of frustration, anxiety + self-defeat.

Permanent weight loss can only be achieved by making small, gradual, and realistic changes to your lifestyle. These changes must be made one at a time and repeated consistently over time so that they become a permanent part of your lifestyle.

Permanent changes = permanent results.

So join me this month as I outline a clear, balanced, sustainable plan that has the potential to change the way you eat, forever.

First stop: Breakfast.

What's off the menu?
Refined carbohydrates to include muffins, whole wheat bread, bagels, donuts, pastries, packaged cereals {yes, even Kashi} and pastries.

Liquid calories such as soda, prepared "smoothies",  pasteurized juice, lattes, cappuccino's, as well as skim milk

Bye bye dairy! avoid cheese, yogurt, milk, cream cheese

What do we eat?
An abundance of real food!
Avocados, green smoothies, berries, veggies, almond butter + oatmeal.
I'll continue posting recipes during the upcoming week, but let's start here...

Homemade Granola with Unsweetened Almond Milk
4 c rolled oats
1 c walnuts, halved
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1 c flaked unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup - 1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 c dried cranberries or raisins
1 c dried goji berries, optional

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the honey and coconut oil together. In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coconut and cinnamon. Pour the liquid into the dried mixture and stir to combine. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer and bake. After 15 minutes, stir the toasting bits with a spatula and sprinkle the dried cranberries on top. Let bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown and toasty. Remove from the oven and add the flaxseed and goji berries. Let sit for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. Makes 8 cups.

My favorite Smoothie
2 cups baby spinach
1 cucumber, peeled
1 banana {frozen are amazing}
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
1 cup water {more to your liking}

Blend all ingredients together in your blender and enjoy!


by Sara Sullivan on April 29th, 2013

Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means.
Shedding layers + wanting to feel {and look} your best.

    Are you looking for
clarity, direction + focus?


I am so thrilled to be able to share with you my Summer Slim Down Workshop!
This workshop will outline a clear, balanced, sustainable plan that has the potential to change the way you eat, forever! In addition, it is designed to help you lose stubborn weight and provide you with healthy eating strategies as well as fresh, easy, delicious recipes!  

*You will walk away with*
copies of my two most beloved cookbooks
two of my favorite superfoods that I eat every day {my children even love them}
your very own 14-day Summer Slim Down menu plan
plus loads of new information, inspiration + motivation!
In addition, you will sample green smoothies, raw energy bars + more!

   Summer Slim Down Workshop
Monday, May 20th, 2013
 6:00pm-8:00pm
              
  $147 per person  
  registration is required  
 registration deadline is May 15th

{space is limited to 20 participants}

      workshop will be held at:
       Strong Bodies Fitness Studio
        81 Bridge Street, Suite 101
         Yarmouth, Maine 04096  

CLICK HERE AND ENROLL TODAY!

* * * * * * *
Can't make the workshop?
   {I've got you covered}
       
During the month of May, I will be sharing with you, my secrets for achieving AND maintaining a healthy weight - just in time for summer!

Here's how you can participate:
1.) Follow my blog
www.nutritionsara.com

2.) Like me on Facebook
www.facebook.com/nutritionsara

3.) Send me an email with your weight loss + wellness goals.
I would love to hear your story!  

4.) Watch the Summer Slim Down Challenge on Fox Good Day Maine
Wednesday mornings throughout the month of May!
I will be sharing tips, tricks + recipes to keep you motivated and on track!

I look forward to speaking  with you soon!

by Sara Sullivan on April 24th, 2013

My guilty pleasure?
Chips, guacamole + salsa.

I blame this on my years spent in San Diego where I would stop at the road side stand on my way home from work and buy the most amazing {authentic} salsa fresca + guacamole.
After sitting in traffic for hours, I felt as though it was well earned.

Fast forward to life in Maine, I still enjoy the heat + the fresh flavors
but I try to do so in a healthier way.
I have swapped sweet potatoes for the tortilla chips, and man is it good.

Sweet Potato Chips
I like to slice these into rounds, but you could certainly slice into a wedges.
3lbs sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt to taste
Wash and cut potatoes into rounds or wedges. Preheat oven to 425*F
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and all other ingredients. (If using coconut oil, melt over low heat in a small saucepan). Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure they don’t touch each other as they’ll steam and get mushy instead of crisping up. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crispy + tender in the center. Flip them about half way through cooking.

Guacamole
3 ripe avocados
1 cloves garlic
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but highly recommended)

Cut avocados in half and scoop the meat out into a food processor or mixing bowl (I prefer to mix by hand so that it is chunky. Place all other ingredients in the processor or bowl and process until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary.

Salsa Fresca
I also like to throw in a chopped yellow or orange pepper if I happen to have them.
3 medium vine-ripe tomatoes {muy importante}
1/2 medium red onion
1 jalapeño
1 lime
Cilantro
Sea salt

Finely dice the red onion  and place in a small mixing bowl. Finely dice the tomatoes and add to onions, along with any of the tomato juice that may have spilled out onto your cutting board. Remove the seeds from the jalapeño, mince, and add to bowl.

Add the juice of 1/2 the lime a good handful of finely chopped cilantro leaves and stir into the pico de gallo. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Taste and add the juice of the other 1/2 of lime if needed. Let sit for at least thirty minutes so that the flavors get a chance to meld.



by Sara Sullivan on April 19th, 2013

I don't know about you, but this is the time of year when I feel as though things pick-up and
I am on the run everyday.

To keep me going I came up with this amazingly addictive {seriously} trail mix.

When you grab a handful of this mix and pop it into your mouth,
the flavors + textures are so satisfying.
Tweak it to your liking – you just can’t go wrong.

What do you put in your trail mix? Leave me a comment, I would love to know!

Superfood Trail Mix
1 cup dried cranberries or goji berries
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup goldenberries
1/2 cup mulberries

*Bonus: add organic dark chocolate chunks
Mix all ingredients together. Makes about 5 cups.

by Sara Sullivan on March 27th, 2013

Need a quick boost of energy?
This recipe is hands down the best I've tried so far!
I keep them in the freezer and pull them out when I have a jammed packed day.
They are also a perfect treat for your child's lunchbox.

Homemade Energy Bars
(recipe adapted from Superfood Cuisine by Julie Morris)

1 1/2 cups Medjool dates (pits removed)
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3 tbsp. raw cacao nibs, or you could use dark chocolate
6 tbsp. hemp seeds
1/4 cups of your favorite nuts
1/4 cup of your favorite dried fruit (I love cranberries or dried cherries)

Grind all the ingredients in a food processor except for the 1/4 cup of your favorite nuts and the 1/4 cup of your favorite dried fruit, until a coarse dough has formed. This may take a few minutes.

Stop the machine and check the consistency by pinching the dough. You want it to stick together easily. If it feels dry, add a tiny amount of water, just about 1/2 tsp, and blend together again until the desired consistency is achieved.

Add the last 1/4 cup of your favorite nuts and 1/4 cup of your favorite dried fruit and pulse several times until just coarsely chopped.

Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough on top. Gather into a solid mass and then use the plastic wrap to fold over the sides, pressing the dough into a compact 1-inch thick rectangle.

Place the dough in the refrigerator and when chilled and solid, remove the wrap and cut into 8 bars. You can keep in the refrigerator or place in the freezer. Enjoy!


by Sara Sullivan on March 19th, 2013

Oh Mother Nature, you've done it again!

Just as I was about to bid a fond farewell to root vegetables, snow, snow and more snow.
I'll put the roasted asparagus soup on hold, but please, not for long.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
This recipe, found at www.fortmillscliving.com is just perfect for this snow day!
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder (optional)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
garnishes-  pickled jalapenos or my favorite, avocado

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, and salt and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low (make sure you keep a gentle simmer), cover and cook 8-10 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.
Add beans, tomatoes, and lime juice and continue to simmer 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
photo and recipe credit www.fortmillscliving.com

by Sara Sullivan on March 5th, 2013

I did a bad, bad thing.

I tried on a bathing suit. In March. In Maine. Not advisable.

What fluorescent lighting took away, this absolutely tongue-gripping dressing returned.
Embrace your inner goddess and save the bathing suit shopping for summer.

Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup water
3/4 cup organic tahini
Himalayan Sea Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. cumin
Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more water if desired.
Serve chilled over your favorite salad or as a dip to veggies!

Photo credit www.tastespotting.com

by Sara Sullivan on February 19th, 2013

I think that these would be absolutely delicious with sliced red pepper and fresh salsa!
Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos
Serves: 2

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
½ tablespoon cumin seeds
pinch dried pepper flakes
½ cup black beans, with liquids
1 avocado
1 teaspoon olive oil
juice and zest from ½ lime
2 teaspoons honey
¼ cup goat cheese (optional)
4 corn or flour tortillas*

Preheat Grill
In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes. Seeds should be fragrant and beginning to brown. Place in a pestle with dried pepper flakes and crush until spices are ground.
Return spices to the skillet and add ½ cup of black beans and liquids. Heat over medium low and let cook until liquids have cooked out, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust pepper if needed.
Take avocado and slice in half. Brush with the one teaspoon of olive oil and place cut side down on grill. Let cook until lightly charred. Remove and carefully slice avocado out of skin.
To assemble tacos, place ¼ of the black bean mixture in the center of the tortilla, layer avocado and goat cheese on top. Finally, whisk together juice and zest from half a lime along with honey. Lightly drizzle over taco filling.

(recipe and photo credit www.naturallyella.com)

by Sara Sullivan on February 13th, 2013

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

12 large long-stemmed strawberries
1 3.5 oz. bar of dark chocolate (I use Green & Black)
Rinse and thoroughly pat dry all your strawberries and set aside.

Next, break the dark chocolate bar up into small chunks and place them in a small bowl.

Time to melt the chocolate. Use a double boiler and heat chocolate over low temperature until it is good and melted. Dip each strawberry and lay out on a piece of wax paper (on a plate). When you’ve dipped ‘em all, just place in the fridge to set!

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve and enjoy!

Happy Valentines Day!

(photo credit www.foodnetwork.com)

by Sara Sullivan on February 12th, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, Walnuts, and Parsley Salad {recipe}

1 head cauliflower, washed, dried, and broken into small florets (save the leaves and stalk/stems!!! I throw them into my morning juice!)
2-3 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or other light high-heat stable cooking oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
½ cup cooked chickpeas (if you’re using canned chickpeas, you can just eyeball and use half the can)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (from about half a bunch of parsley sprigs)
1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
optional: paper-thin slices celery and leaves and/or fresh pomegranate seeds, diced avocado.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet or large roasting pan with parchment paper.
Toss cauliflower florets with 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil, about ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few strong turns on a pepper mill. Spread out the cauliflower on the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower florets are have started to crisp and turn golden brown at edges and places where they’re touching the parchment. Remove pan from oven and scrape the cauliflower into a bowl so you can re-use the pan.
Decrease the oven temperature to 325°F. Line baking sheet with new parchment paper.
If your walnuts aren’t already toasted, spread them out the parchment paper and toast for about 10 minutes, or until they start to darken and you can smell nuttiness in the air. Remove from oven, scrape the toasted nuts into a bowl. You can put them in the same bowl with the cauliflower.
Spread the chickpeas out on the same parchment paper. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes or until the chickpeas start to darken and look slightly dry. Remove from oven and pour into bowl.
Add fresh parsley leaves to bowl with roasted cauliflower, toasted walnuts, and roasted chickpeas. Drizzle olive oil and sherry vinegar. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add celery, pomegranate or avocado, at the very end, toss gently (especially with avocado). Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

Serve room temperature.

Recipe and photo credit www.thedeliciouslife.com

by Sara Sullivan on February 4th, 2013


Healthy Shamrock Shake!
Yield: 1 serving

1-1.5 large frozen banana (peel before freezing) (I used 1.5 bananas)
1-1.25 cup non-dairy milk (almond milk or coconut milk work perfect!)
Handful of fresh mint leaves, stems removed
1-2 handfuls spinach
1/8-1/4 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1-2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate, for garnish

Add in all of the ingredients except the chocolate into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste and serve with a garnish of chopped dark chocolate and mint leaves. Enjoy with a spoon.


(photo and recipe adapted from www.ohsheglows.com)

by Sara Sullivan on January 31st, 2013

My husband advised me years ago, that Super Bowl Sunday was certainly not  a day for spa food. Kale chips and green smoothies would not be tolerated. Therefore, I created some dishes that are super tasty, appeal to the men, but secretly are healthier!
7 Layer Bean Dip
Can 7 Layer Dip actually be healthy? Absolutely!
The secret swaps / ingredients that make this dish healthy are:

1 15 oz can of Refried black beans, made with all-natural ingredients with no oil, sugar, etc. added (instead of the processed refried beans) or 1 can black beans
2 Mashed avocados- Season them with 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
Fage Greek Yogurt mixed with chipotle sauce (optional)
Layers of fresh veggies! I used 1 bunch of diced green onions and 3-4 diced roma tomatoes,  olives, jalapenos, diced red pepper, and shredded romaine lettuce.
your favorite salsa

To assemble:
Spread refried beans on a large, shallow serving platter
Spread avocado mixture over bean dip
Spread your favorite salsa
Sprinkle with green onions, tomatoes, red pepper and lettuce
Top with a dollop of Greek Yogurt, olives and jalapenos
(photo credit www.ohsheglows.com)

 
Pizza Potato Skins
Making potato skins starts with 6 small russet potatoes that have been washed, dried and lightly coated in extra light olive oil. They’re baked for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F, then cut in half length-wise. Simply scoop out a small portion of the cooked potato from the center and lightly brush both sides with light butter. Bake them for another 10 minutes. Now they’re ready to be filled. I used pizza sauce and topped them with sauteed mushrooms, chopped peppers, olives and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Bake them until the cheese is browned (about 15 minutes) and you’ve got a much healthier version of a restaurant favorite.
 
 
Stuffed Country Bread
3 peppers, red, green, and yellow
1 large eggplant
2 zucchinis
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 handful watercress or shredded lettuce
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 country boule
optional: mozzarella cheese
 
Cut the eggplant and zucchini into 1/4-inch slices. Cut each pepper in 4 pieces removing the seeds. Place the vegetables on a pan, salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil to coat them and place them on the grill for 7-10 minutes. (Or you can roast the vegetables in the oven for about 30 minutes.)
 
Open the bread from the top by slicing the top off and remove the crumb from inside. Stuff it with layers of vegetables , basil and cheese if using. Place some watercress on the top and close the boule with the top sliced piece of bread. Place the boule on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about an hour to let the bread absorb the flavors. The boule can stay in the fridge for several hours or overnight. When slicing the boule into sandwiches make sure to use a bread knife and cut into wedges holding the top firmly while slicing.
 
Buffalo Chicken Salad
1 rotisserie chicken (meat pulled)
1/3-1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot buffalo sauce
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce (cut into 1 inch thick slices)
2 carrots (shredded)
4 stalks celery (sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
hot sauce to taste
 
Directions:
1. Toss the rotisserie chicken in a large bowl with the hot sauce. Set aside.
3. In a large salad bowl, assemble salad by adding the lettuce, carrots, celery & green onion. Toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  
4. Serve salad topped with chicken and sprinkle with blue cheese . (Add extra hot sauce if you like it hot.)
 
Coconut Chocolate Stovetop Popcorn
2 to 3 tablespoons oil (I prefer to use coconut oil)
1⁄2 cup organic popping corn
Salt and finely grated 85% dark chocolate and chili powder (optional)

Put the coconut oil in a large, deep pan with a lid. Turn the heat up to medium, add 2 kernels of corn, and cover. Once the kernels pop, remove the lid and pour in the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on. At this point, I like to remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a minute before continuing. Cook over medium heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops after about 5 minutes. Based on the sound, take the pot off the heat around the same time that you would take a bag of popcorn out of the microwave.

Quickly pour the popcorn into a large bowl; sprinkle with grated chocolate immediately. Sprinkle with salt and seasonings (like chili powder) while tossing the popcorn. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 8.
(photo credit www.cookieandkate.com)

by Sara Sullivan on January 25th, 2013

super raw winter salad

1 large carrot - grated
1 medium size zucchini - grated
1/4 red cabbage - diced
1/2 red onion - diced
1 packed cup spinach - chopped into ribbons
1 medium size beetroot - grated
1/2 cup raisins or dried apricots
1/2 cup raw seeds and/or nuts
a handful of pumpkin and sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

dressing
1/4 cup of olive oil
juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1 Tbs honey
salt and pepper to taste


Add all dressing ingredients to a glass jar and firmly close the lid.
Shake vigorously till combined.

Chop, dice and grate the vegetables as suggested in the ingredients list above. Place all prepared vegetables except for the beetroot in a bowl. The beetroot will very quickly stain anything it comes in to contact with so I leave its addition till the very last minute.
Add the dried fruit to your vegetable bowl.

Thoroughly mix together the veg, seeds/nuts and dried fruit. Finally add the grated beetroot and 3/4 of the dressing and roughly stir together. Have a taste and if you think it needs it - add the rest of the dressing.

Pile giant spoonfuls onto a plate or a bowl and sprinkle over some toasted sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds if you desire.

This salad also works really well as an accompaniment to a main dish; try it along side one of your meals this week or turn up to your next potluck and amaze your friends!

(recipe adapted from www.eatiitwhole.blogspot.com)

by Sara Sullivan on January 22nd, 2013

WINTER GUACAMOLE SALAD WITH KALE
(recipe and photo credit www.leafandgrain.com)

for the salad:

6-7 kale leaves, thick stems removed (I used lacinto/dinosaur kale)
olive oil
1/2 small avocado, diced
fresh lime juice (from about 1/2 lime)
3-6 cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup corn (thawed, if frozen)
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced (about 6 stems)
salt

for the citrus-cilantro vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice (about 1/2 of an orange)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 of a medium lemon)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced cilantro

for the salad: In a large bowl, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with just a touch of olive and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Use your fingertips to rub the leaves, working in the oil and the salt. Keep massaging until the kale is soft and silky, and has turned a brighter green. Toss the avocado dices with lime juice and a big pinch of salt. Add the avocado, tomatoes, peppers, corn, green onions, and cilantro to the kale and toss well.
for the vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.
Prep Time: 20 minutes         Yield: 2 servings


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