Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday; A Spring Salad for Youthful Skin

This week's What's Cookin' Wednesday is a delicious take on healthy looking skin! Bon appetite! 

This week’s post is inspired by the fact that I have a birthday coming up. Let’s look at a few foods that help our skin look younger!

Avocado:  One of my favs! It has Vitamin A, D, And E, all rich in antioxidants that prevent those crazy free radicals from damaging your skin.

Spinach: Rich in Vitamin K which helps keep skin springy and firm. Also contains zinc, which helps protect against blemishes and breakouts.

Ruby Red Grapefruit: Contains lycopene, which has been shown to protect against burning from the sun’s UV rays. Also helps fight against wrinkles, sagging and skin discolorations.

Blackberries: Protect against cellular damage and help shield the skin from damaging UVB rays. Also helps to repair existing damage.

Ok, so now that we know that, here’s a great recipe that combines all 4! Delicious on a nice spring or summer day!

2 smaller ruby grapefruits
2 tbs blackberry preserves
¼ cup unrefined avocado oil
8 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
½ cup fresh blackberries
1 small avocado-peeled and cubed

-Peel grapefruit with a sharp knife so you can totally remove the white pith. Cut between membranes to release the grapefruit pieces. Do this over a bowl so you can catch all the juice. Once you have all the pieces out, squeeze the membranes over the bowl capture all the juice.

-Whisk the jam in the grapefruit juice until well blended. Slowly drizzle in the avocado oil and whisk until creamy. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.

-In another bowl, combine your spinach, grapefruit pieces, fresh blackberries and avocado cubes. Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to mix.

-Delicious served as is, or sprinkled with toasted macadamia nuts, or any other nut of your choice!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday; An Organic Lunch Box Option in Honor of Earth Day!

This week's What's Cookin' Wednesday features a fun twist on organic options for your child's (or yours!), lunch box! Thanks to our OWN Wellness Coach, Delia Rice, for this creative recipe!

Happy EARTH DAY! This year we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day, but as I like to think…EVERY DAY IS EARTH DAY! When I was about 9,  I asked my parents to create a recycling bin for all of their Sunday newspapers and soda cans. I started making my brother turn off the water while he brushed his teeth. I made my Dad happy by finally realizing the importance of turning off the light when I left the room. My first restaurant job-  I convinced my boss to start recycling all those beer bottles and called the city to deliver a container! A few years later I was working at a major coffee chain and saw all of the left over pastries and sandwiches being thrown away night after night. A few calls into the local homeless shelter fixed that! 

Then, I became a Mom, and you guessed it, I used cloth diapers! HA!  I am now, more than ever, aware of the importance of living a “GREEN” life. I REDUCEREUSE, and RECYCLE everything I possibly can! Raising an Earth-Friendly/Green Family is easier than you think. Teach your children to respect nature and Mother Earth. Tell them how our actions have an impact on the environment. Involve the kids, make it fun, be a role model!

                *let kids help at the grocery store by reading labels and finding the least processed or packaged foods
                *plant flowers, a tree, or a garden together
                *have a clothes swap with friends instead of buying brand new
*appreciate a sunset together
                *instead of buying toxic household cleaners, have the whole family help make your own
                *visit the farmers markets, follow the 100 mile diet. (only buy food grown within 100 miles of where you live)
                *walk, bike or use public transportation whenever possible
                *start a compost bin together
                *turn off the TV-play a real game together. We love UNO!
                *repurpose an item that would have been thrown out
                *at least once a year go through your children’s toys. Collect the ones they have out grown and pass down to friends or family with younger children or         donate to a local charity.
                *track fireflies, observe bees, keep a growth chart of the plants in your garden. Help kids experience the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of nature!
                *buy products that are kind to the environment and safe for people (non-toxic materials, organic ingredients, biodegradable, recycled)

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future.” –John F. Kennedy

Another  great way to practice GREEN living with your kids is to create a GREEN lunch kit. The average kid’s lunch generates 67 pounds of packaging waste per year!! Start by purchasing a reusable lunchbox or bag. Replace plastic sandwich/snack bags with reusable cloth bags. You can find them online, at a few bigger name stores, or just make your own! Invest in reusable drinking bottles and a thermos for soups. To complete your green lunch kit, use real cutlery and small cloth napkins. Just remind your kids to bring it all home so you can both pack another healthy green lunch tomorrow!

To honor the folks that started this Earth Day back in 1970…I am sharing my new favorite healthy GRANOLA recipe!
Delicious by itself as a crunchy, protein packed, good for you fats, snack OR with milk, like cereal. I like mine with coconut milk!

1.5 cups whole raw almonds
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup walnuts
1 cup macadamia nuts or pecans
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup Medjool dates
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Mix together all your nuts, flakes, and seeds in a bowl.
Put about 2/3 of the mixture into a food processor and pulse it until it has a crumb like texture- until it looks like granola!
Return that to your bowl.
In another bowl, mix together the coconut oil, almond butter, dates, cinnamon and vanilla.
Add that to your nut mix and stir it until evenly coated.
Spread the mix onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake 45 minutes….I suggest stirring it/ flipping it every 15 minutes though for even crispiness.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container. 

My 5 year old helped me make this last night and we enjoyed it this morning for breakfast!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin Wednesday; Healthy Morning Muffins!

This week's #WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday from our OWN Wellness Coach, Delia, focuses on breakfast... and how to impress your coffee guests! Enjoy! 

This past weekend my Mother- in -Law came over for breakfast. I love when she comes because she tells the most wonderful stories- all I have to do is keep her coffee cup full! To go along with that java, I made some of my favorite healthy muffins! 

This recipe uses coconut flour which is gluten free, full of dietary fiber and protein. It also has
medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) - essential protective fats with antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. MCTs have also been shown to boost  metabolism!

6 eggs
½ cup butter or coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup blackstrap molasses
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup coconut flour
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
3 cups shredded carrots
½ cup raisins(optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk eggs, butter or oil, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Sift in the coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add carrots and raisins and combine together. 

In a muffin tin, scoop ¼ cup of the batter into each spot. I was able to make 17 muffins out of this batch.
Bake for 35-40 minutes(I pulled mine out at 34 minutes..perfect!) ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday; Eating clean from the farmers' market!

This week's #WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday features our OWN Wellness coach Delia Rice and some great tips for eating fresh... and healthy... as our farmers' market season gets in full swing! 

Inspired by the fact that my favorite local Farmers Market has opened for the season…I wanted to share with you something that’s important to me: The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. Yes, the first one IS a great movie, but for now, I am talking about fruits and vegetables! You can copy this list and carry it in your purse or wallet so you can have it handy when you are at the market.

Dirty Dozen                                                                        Clean 15                                                                                              
                Apples                                                                                  Asparagus
                Bell Peppers                                                                       Avocados
                Celery                                                                                   Cabbage
                Collard greens, Kale, Spinach                                      Cantaloupe
                Cucumbers                                                                         Cauliflower
                Grapes                                                                                 Eggplant
                Hot peppers                                                                       Frozen Peas
                Nectarines, Peaches                                                       Grapefruit
                Potatoes                                                                              Kiwi
                Summer squash, Zucchini                                             Mangoes
                Strawberries                                                                      Onion
                Tomatoes                                                                            Papayas
                                                                                                                Sweet Corn
                                                                                                                Sweet Potatoes

Now, without making my dad call me a “tree hugger” like when I was in 8th grade and wanted to join the World Wildlife Fund or when I forced him to watch the documentary called An Inconvenient Truth…I just want to make folks aware of Pesticides. They are used in almost all of our farming practices today. Residues remain on our fruits and vegetables EVEN after you wash them. Certain fruits and veggies have been tested to show higher levels remain, thus they have been grouped into the Dirty Dozen list. The list is compiled from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, below is some eye-opening information from their website.
“Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms -- insects, plants and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been confirmed by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.
As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
o   brain and nervous system toxicity
o   cancer
o   hormone disruption
o   skin, eye and lung irritation

“Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national biomonitoring program has detected pesticides in blood and urine samples from 96 percent of more than 5,000 Americans age 6 and older (CDC 2009b).
The agency reported finding 21 chemical biomarkers corresponding to 28 pesticides that can contaminate fresh fruits and vegetables, according to an EWG analysis of CDC and EPA data. More than 60 percent of Americans tested positive for seven or more of these pesticides and pesticide metabolites.”

It is highly recommended that you buy the items from the Dirty Dozen in Organic form only. “Organic” is a designation used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program to certify food that was produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.” Obviously every person and every family has to decide how and what they spend their hard earned money on…and yes, sometimes organic produce is a bit more expensive, but I encourage you to do some more research and make your own informed decisions. Try to reduce your exposure to pesticides as much as possible.  Spring and summer is the best time to support your local farmers too! Here is a link to a website that helps you find local farmers markets. is a delicious warmer weather recipe—quick and easy to whip up and great by itself or as a side to any main dish!

2-3 ripe tomatoes of your choice, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey(local is better!)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon(one of my favorite, under-used spices!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut your tomatoes and place on a serving platter.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then spoon the vinaigrette over the tomatoes just before serving. You can garnish with fresh basil leaves if you want! DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#WCW What's Cookin' Wednesday! A festive take on egg salad!

This week's #WCW features a fun and festive take on egg salad and making it healthy for you and your family. 

Easter weekend is almost here! I love Easter for many reasons—family get togethers, spring weather, spring cleaning, a re-birth, re-awakening….and….all those hard boiled eggs! MMMMMM! Egg salad is one of my favorite things! In the old days I would eat it in between 2 slices of bread, but nowadays I eat it as a lettuce wrap to avoid those unnecessary processed carbs!

Here is a healthy version of Classic Egg Salad. 
This  makes about 4 servings.

2 tablespoons  minced red onions or shallots
8 hard- boiled eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 1.5 of fresh
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (yes, use a real lemon!)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher or finely ground sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper(or try white pepper if you never have, love it!)

Soak the minced onion or shallot in a small bowl of ice water for about 5 minutes to remove the “bite.” You can peel and dice the eggs while you wait!
Drain the onion, put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix together and enjoy!

If you want to change it up a bit, try adding…
- ¾ tsp of red pepper flakes
-  2 tablespoons of crispy bacon
- ½ tsp curry powder and some halved red grapes!! Ohhh Delicious!!