Time to re-post -- so many sites have been added! If you like to cook healthy meals you'll love these recipe blogs and healthy food sites. Great inspiration for healthy eating!
I continue to add to the list as I find new sites!
Vitacost Health Blog
Sondi Brunner's Nutritious Recipes
The Chic Life
The Clean Eating Chick
Real Food Liz
Life's a Plate
Oatmeal With a Fork
The Healthy Apple
The Earth Diet
The Greatist - Cheap Healthy Recipes
My Man's Belly
Green Kitchen Stories
Girl Cooks World
Healthy Blender recipes
Clean Program Recipes
the Nourishing Gourmet
the Healthy Foodie
For the Love of Food
Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
365 Vegetarian Days
A Harmony Healing
Real Food Outlaws
Whole Green Love
We Like it Raw
Here's a great flexible recipe for homemade tomato soup.
2 TB. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium onion chopped
1 TB. Tomato paste
3 Cloves garlic minced
1 Tsp. xylitol
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glen's organic fire roasted diced tomatoes)
1 Tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Teas. dried basil
1 Teas. dried thyme
2 Cups water
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and saute until clear. Add the tomato paste and xylitol and stir well for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, thyme, basil and water. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the soup to a blender or blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Optional variations include adding 3/4 cup light cream in step 2 and/or 2 Tbs. organic butter. Top with croutons or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese or chopped fresh basil if desired.
I don't usually write about a specific product, but as I was making soup in my Vitamix Blender last night I thought it was time to share the truth about the blender. The simple truth is the companies claim that the Vitamix is amazing is absolutely true. Check out the recipes on their site. For example, if you blend your soup recipe long enough it even heats the soup up for you!
I bought my Vitamix Blender over 20 years ago. It was the first major kitchen appliance I ever purchased. It was a big decision for me, let's face it, they are definitely on the pricey side. I can't even tell you how many times over the years I've been thankful I decided to invest in one.
I have not been easy on my blender. I often pile in more vegetables than I should or not enough liquid. I've been known to pile in too much of ice with some organic half and half for my homemade ice cream milkshakes (recipe below). The blender has handled it all with aplumb.
One day I overdid it, the motor was clearly struggling with a very thick nut butter, and then it stopped altogether. A quick call to the helpline relieved my fears that I'd finally broken the poor thing. At their advice I turned it off for a while and sure enough, the motor was revived and started working again just like new.
The Vitamix Blender is definitely an investment and if you want to make an investment on a kitchen appliance that you'll always use, this is the one. (They have slightly lower priced reconditioned blenders available too.)
Here's a current favorite dessert recipe of mine. If you have another heavy duty blender give it a try, it may work just as well. It never fails with the Vitamix.
Yummy & Organic Sugar Free Milkshake (1 Personal Servin5)
Place in blender:
5 ice cubes
1 cup Organic Half and Half (Organic whipping cream can be used for a richer shake)
3/4 dropper full Liquid Vanilla Stevia (or to taste)
Optional: 1/3 cup blueberries or other berry of choice, so yummy!
Blend until the ice is completely ground and pour into a tall glass for an amazing and healthy milkshake.
~ If you're low fat dieting you can use fat free half and half for a really low fat dessert treat! Use organic with the lowest sugar content you can find as low-fat usually means some added sweetener.
~ If you freeze some half and half or cream as ice cubes ahead of time and use them with some liquid cream you will get a lovely ice cream consistency.
Click on this link to see the variety of choices of Vitamix Blenders and what they can do.
I tried a gluten free dinner roll recipe over the holidays and I have to say, they didn't really thrill any of us as the spicy herbal dinner roll I was expecting. I immediately recognized them as the perfect gluten free alternative to fill another place however. They puff up and are stable enough to be perfect sandwich or hamburger rolls! Here's the recipe -- let me know what you think.
Makes about 8 burger sized rolls.
3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup hard cheese of choice (Parmesan or cheddar work well)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
optional: 1 small onion grated
1 tbsp. chives
1 tbsp. parsley chopped
1/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Mix almond flour, baking soda and powder, cheese, chives & parsley in a bowl.
3. In another bowl whisk the eggs, then add yogurt, garlic, onions & water
4. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Batter is very wet, I didn't think it would bake -- but it does!
6. Using a spoon scoop onto a baking pan lined with parchment papaer or greased and floured. Because it's such a wet batter, parchment paper works best.
7. Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes.
Recipe adapted from AndreAnna
I've tried several of the pizza dough's made with cauliflower and nut flour that can be found on the web and I haven't been happy with any of them. I decided to work on a flour-free cauliflower snack instead. I love the recipe I've come up with. It can be frozen and warmed up for a snack very quickly in the oven. It's a delicious alternative to a piece of bread with a meal and yes, it can even perform well as a pizza dough for a small personal sized pizza. If you wanted to add a couple of tablespoons of nut or garbanzo flour I'm sure it would be even stronger. For myself, I've decided I love the cheesy feel of the recipe without the flour.
So if you're eating paleo (with eggs) or gluten free , or just want a yummy snack without any flour or sugar - here it is.
1 head cauliflower
2 egg whites
1 cup mozzarella cheese ( 8 oz.)
1/8 teas. pepper
1/2 teas. onion powder
2 grated cloves garlic
Optional if using for mini pizza -- 1 Teas. Italian seasoning
Turkey pepperoni or other toppings of choice to put on top for
last 5 minutes of baking.
1. Pre-heat oven to 450.
2. Grate the cauliflower in a blender or with a box grater. You want fine granules about the size of split peas.I do it in my blender in 3 portions so it chops well.
3. Cook the grated cauliflower in a dry skillet, stirring constantly, until it's cooked through and softened, about 5 minutes. Pour it in a bowl to cool.
4. In a food processor or blender mix the remaining ingredients well.
5. Add the cauliflower and blend a minute longer to mix it.
6. Scoop by the tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten them to your preferred size. They will be the same size when they're cooked so experiment with your preferred size. I make small ones for cracker-like snacking and slightly bigger ones for mini pizzas.
7. Bake for 10 minutes or until starting to brown, then turn them over. I sometimes flatten them a little more with a paper towel at this point. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until browned. If you're making mini pizzas you can add some additional mozzarella cheese to the top a minute before removing from the oven.
8. If you want to freeze some lay them on a baking pan in the freezer to freeze individually, then wrap several together in foil. To reheat just put them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350.
How delightful that scrumptious Kale is also one of the very best foods for us. It’s highly nutritious and reasonably priced. It does happen to be one of the top 10 vegetables containing pesticide residue however, so be certain to wash it especially well or buy organic.
What, you don’t find kale scrumptious? Well, you need the right recipes then, and I’m here to give you some!
Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves grated/minced garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon or orange juice
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large bunch kale, ribs cut out and cut or torn into small pieces
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. To toast the pumpkin seeds, wipe a skillet with your preferred high temperature cooking
oil, I like grapeseed oil, coconut oil is another good alternative. Toast the seeds, stirring
frequently, until slightly browned. Some will pop & puff up which is desirable.
2. Whisk or blend together the oil, lemon or orange, garlic and pepper flakes.
3. Add the kale and toss, coating the kale with the oil mixture. Add the grated cheese and pumpkin seeds and mix well.
4. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes.
5. Eat and enjoy this healthy treat.
Moroccan Kale & Chickpea Stew
1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight if dry or use canned &undrained)
2 cups water
1 onion chopped into medium chunks
1 large green bell pepper chopped into medium chunks
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large grated/minced garlic cloves
1 can diced or skinned tomatoes (undrained)
1 ½ Tablespoon Chile powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1. In a large skillet cook the onions and garlic, stirring regularly until the onions are
2. Add the peppers to the skillet and stir until soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to meld
all the flavors.
4. Serve by itself or over cous cous or brown rice with hearty whole grain bread.
There's another measurement of food "health" that's making the rounds. The ANDI scale can be very useful whether your eating habits are just so so or you're eating well but still feeling like you aren't quite where you want to be nutritionally. ANDI stands for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. The ANDI score of a food reflects its nutrient density on a scale from 1 to 100. Calculations for ANDI scores include consideration of a foods micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities.
I came across the ANDI Scale on the Whole Foods website as they are now using it as a part of their whole foods Health Starts Here educational strategy. The ANDI Scale was created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and is the base of his healthy eating strategy. Dr. Fuhrmann advocates a nutritarian diet, a concept of eating foods that maximize the nutrients in your diet.
You can use the scale as a way of learning the relative healthiness of the foods you eat. For example, what if you want to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck out of a stew that includes greens and beans? The ANDI scoring system tells us that collards and kale are super nutritious at 1000 on the ANDI Scale, while spinach clocks in at an impressive 739.
I've mentioned before how I love tips & tricks to make home cooked meals even more health enhancing. I can see the ANDI Scale will be a new additional to my healthy cooking repertoire.
These two books teach such simple ways of enriching the healing quality of our foods, it’s a shame we aren’t all raised with this knowledge. But it’s available through these cookbooks!
Several years ago I bought a cookbook that changed forever the way I cook. Secrets from a Healthy Asian Kitchen by Ying Chang Compestine is not only a great cookbook, but suggests methods of cooking integrating health giving ingredients into a variety of dishes.
For example, those of us who are garlic lovers use garlic whenever we can for its taste, knowing we’re also reaping the benefits of its side effects of immune support, and support in preventing heart disease and cancer. She takes us further, advocating not only the regular use of garlic, but also ginseng, ginger & other healing foods.
One of the ingredients she advocates using frequently is green tea. You’ve no doubt heard that green tea has antioxidant cancer fighting properties; it’s also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Compestine uses green tea as a base in recipes where we would normally use water. It was a novel idea to me! As I got into the habit of using green tea, I expanded into other herbal teas depending on what I had available or what I felt I needed. In the spring, a rejuvenating tonic of dandelion tea can turn into a soup or spaghetti sauce base.
Taking the concept a step further, why not use the water left after steaming vegetables? Steamed broccoli gives a broth base to cook rice or pasta in. Now I almost always use a health giving tea or a vegetable broth as a base for my dishes. It’s a healthy addition to any recipe that doesn’t alter the taste.
Her recipes are light and delightful. This is where I learned to make a basic Thai sauce and candied walnuts for garnish. She includes a section on stir frying that includes an explanation of the order of foods to add in order to have them all cook together evenly.
Another book that has influenced my recipes is Sandra Cabot, MD’s Raw Juices Can Save Your Life!: An A-Z Guide to Juicing She provides the basic process for making health giving vegetable and fruit juices in your blender or juicer. She gives specific combinations that are the most effective for over 50 conditions including concerns such as candida, asthma, fluid retention and skin problems.She even covers different types of juicers. I have a good blender, not a juicer, so I have the choice of straining my results for a juice, or drinking it with the pulp. More often than not I strain it and use the pulp as a base for soup or a sauce. Juicing aficionados prefer a juicer that removes the pulp.
It’s a wonderful reference book too. I love that I can look in her book to see the beneficial nutrients and effects of different fruits or vegetables. If I’m feeling worn down, I know I need to pull out the wheat grass or if I have a cold coming on the garlic, ginger and lemons are on my list.
Try adding some of these simple tricks to your meal preparation, it's such a simple way to increase the value of the meal!
It's hard to keep up with what we're "supposed" to be eating to be healthy. Wheat products are a great example. In the 50's and 60's fortified bread was supposed to be healthy then we're told we should be eating whole wheat bread, then we hear whole wheat isn't adequate, it has to be whole grain. Now we're finding out we're consuming too much wheat period!
We've all experienced the confusion of the unending variations on healthy diet advice. Here are 6 definitive steps you can take to improve your health for good.
1. Replace your unhealthy sweeteners. No sugar, no corn syrup. Use alternatives such as Stevia, Succanut and Xylitol. Even the "good" sweeteners should be used sparingly since sweet tastes tend to make us crave more. It’s hard, but worth it. If you drink soda look into alternatives such as making your own with a Soda Stream, or mix seltzer with flavored liquid stevia. Xylitol has the added benefit of supporting dental health, especially in children. (Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye: A Do-It-Yourself Mouth Care System for Healthy, Clean Gums and Teeth) So get rid of your sugar. Sugar is really, really bad for you.
~ Spikes your blood sugar levels causing tiredness and food cravings
~ Appears to be addictive in many people, the more you have the harder it is to resist
~ Feeds cancer
~ Ages your skin and causes puffiness (Dr. Perricone's book Forever Young: The Science of Nutrigenomics for Glowing, Wrinkle-Free Skin and Radiant Health at Every Age explains the science behind this and what we can do about it)
~ Causes cavities
~ The more our blood sugar is spiked, the more likely we will develop insulin resistance, which means the body can’t stabilize its blood sugar adequately anymore
~ Insulin resistance leads to diabetes and heart disease
2. Cut out Trans Fats. Think of trans for artificially transformed, these fats are also known as partially hydrogenated fats. Food companies love them because they have a longer shelf life than healthier natural fats. Thankfully food companies are now required to list trans-fats on their food labels. Watch for other names though - like partially hydrogenated fats. California and some cities like New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, have banned the fats. Trans-fats are really, really bad for you.
~ Compromise bodily tissue repair (Dr. Mary Eng Eat Fat, Lose Fat: the Healthy Alternative To Trans Fats)
~ Compromise insulin metabolism and adrenal function causing fatique
~ Cause weight gain
~ Contribute to high cholesterol
~ Displace healthy fats disrupting our hormones and immune processes (Udo Erasmus Fats That Heal, \Fats That Kill)
~ Aggrevate asthma and contribute to low birth weight babies
~ Promotes ADD/ADHD in children due to the disruption to normal glucose absorption
3. Increase your good fats. Healthy fats feed our brains and our skin. They help our bodies’ hormones, immunity and anti-inflammatory responses. Unfortunately when eating a diet of fast and pre- packaged food we aren’t feeding our bodies as we need to; we're just eating sugar, trans fats and chemicals.
Then there's our meat, which is from factory farms where livestock get little exercise, so there’s more fat, but it’s not healthy Omega 3 rich fat as they fatten up on grains and fillers instead of vitamin and mineral rich grass.
~ Get your livestock meats from local farms that pasture their animals. Animals fed on grass have higher amounts of the good fats in both their meat and dairy.
~ Grass fed beef and wild Pacific fish (available at Vital Choice ) contain higher amounts of Omega 3 than their nutritionally deprived counterparts
~ Cod Liver oil supplements, egg yolks, evening primrose oil, olive oil and flaxseed oil
~ Traditional healthy fats such as organic butter and whole milk. Any dairy you consume should be organic to avoid the added growth hormones, and antibiotics
~ Use olive oil and butter for low temperature cooking. Use grapeseed oil or coconut oil for high temperatures.
~ Can support weight loss (Kat James The Truth About Beauty: Transform Your Looks And Your Life From The Inside Out )
4. Eat organic when you can, if not organic, buy local. Organic is still expensive, so prioritizing what organic foods to eat is necessary for most of us. While some studies show there’s no difference in the health of organic vs non-organic food, those studies have primarily looked at the vitamin and mineral content and have not included variables such as pesticides or the effect of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Other studies, such as this California study, say organic food is healthier. Consider some of the issues below and see if it doesn’t make sense to get organic food into your diet.
One very important caveat about organic foods. The cost of gaining the organic label is cost prohibitive to many small farmers. Check with your local farm, their products are fresher and they may not be able to afford the cost of the organic certification but nevertheless be virtually organic. In that case their product would be better for you than a store bought organic item that's traveled hundreds of miles.
~ Unless organic, corn products are virtually always GMO.
~ Unless organic, wheat products are virtually always GMO
~ Unless organic, soy products are virtually always GMO. and by the way, GM foods are not currently required to be labelled, so you don't know you're eating them
~ Salmon is being considered for genetic modification. You can avoid this possibility by buying organic.
~ The pesticides on the surface of fruits and vegetables can be washed, although I wonder what growing in soil full of fungicides and herbicides does to them. ( See this California study mentioned above).
~ You can prioritize which fruits and vegetables to buy organic based on this list of which are treated with more pesticides :The Dirty Dozen from the Environmental Working Group.
~ Livestock products (beef, pork, even chicken) that aren’t organic may contain growth hormones and antibiotics and may have been fed various unsavory fillers, including GMO corn, as part of their feed. The practice of feeding cattle ground parts of other dead cattle contributed to the spread of Mad Cow Disease several years ago.
~ Dairy products that aren’t organic may contain growth hormones and antibiotics and come from livestock that have been fed various unsavory fillers, including GMO corn, as part of their feed.
~Our fruits and vegetables have far less vitamins and minerals than they used to (2004, Donald Davis, University of Texas in Austin), however organic produce has been found to contain higher amounts of beneficial antioxidants called phytochemicals (Alyson Mitchell, PhD, study in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry).
5. Reduce consumption of wheat and high carbohydrate products. Wheat is high glycemic because it converts to sugar in your blood steam. If you eat a lot of bread and high carbohydrate products your body is in constant fat storage mode. Unless organic it’s also treated with a host of pesticides and grown in soil treated with herbicides. It’s believed the increasing incidence of gluten intolerance may be related to the increased consumption of processed wheat products over the years. Unfortunately wheat isn't as nutritious as it once was.Your diet should be primarily (healthy) fats, fruits and vegetables, with some protein on the side, not primarily carbohydrates.
6. Consume foods that support digestion. Yogurt with active cultures, probiotic and enzyme supplements, sauerkraut, kefir and kim chi all support your ability to get the most nutrition from your food through good digestion. Consume one of these digestion supporting foods or supplements every day. Note that the most effective probiotic supplements are refrigerated, as they are indeed live cultures that will die off if kept in a warm environment.
These steps all support weight loss as well. Work to decrease the highs and lows in your blood sugar, which will in turn decrease binging on unhealthy foods. (Again I would refer you to Kat Jame's wonderful book for more information on stopping cravings and binging). This means eating on the lower end of the glycemic index, a measure of the amount a food will convert to sugar in your system.If the list is too overwhelming, prioritize ridding your diet of sugar and trans fats.
Oh yea, and back to that wheat question. The answer, as indicated in number 5 above, is to watch your consumption of wheat products in general, but any grains you do eat should indeed be from the whole grain. While whole wheat is good, whole grain is even better as it gives you a variety of grain nutrients.The whole grain has a lower glycemic index because it converts to sugar more slowly, avoiding the insulin spike we now know is so detrimental to our health.
Whether you decide to work on just the first two or all six suggestions above you’ve made huge strides to support a healthier you!