My Newest Food Fetish: Lentils

I had never cooked lentils (unless they were in a canned soup) until a few days ago, and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all these years!!! At first glance, lentils may not seem very exciting…brown bean-like things with no taste – right?

Wrong. Lentils can be über flavorful. But more importantly, I discovered that they are VERY easy and quick to make. After getting home from the gym at 7pm I’m hungry, and I want to eat NOW. I won’t wait more than 15 minutes to eat! So, I discovered 2 products that will make a healthy meal in 10 minutes or less…

Sprouted lentils are AWESOME because they take 7 minutes to cook (non-sprouted lentils take 30-45 minutes) and they are extremely healthy for you! Sprouted lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.Their high fiber content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils (you won’t be able to eat even that much…they are sooo filling).

When you’re hungry and in a hurry, an all-natural curry sauce goes great with lentils! Once the lentils are cooked, just drain them and put them back into you pot, add a whole jar of curry sauce, and stir for about 1 minute. This curry sauce is also super healthy for you, and includes healthy coconut fats, and vegetables!

1 whole bag of sprouted lentils: ~ $3.00

1 jar curry sauce: ~ $4.00

5 healthy meals/servings for $7 in under 10 minutes? PRICELESS  : )

Have a happy healthy day!

Caitlin

Attack of the Football Season Snacking

I don’t know about you, but something about watching football games on Sundays during the fall induces me to consume high-calorie, sugary/salty/fattening foods (not to mention beer…I’m really digging hard apple cider right now…). SO, my goal for this years football season? To come up with some healthy snacks that still *taste* like junk food. Tricky? Yes. Impossible? No way!  So todays recipe is all about…

CHIP SWAP! Toss the Tostitos and reach for…KALE?

Yep. Kale. That weird dark green leafy stuff that you’ve never tried. I was a little skeptical about this one, but I’M NOT LYING, it’s AMAZING. Crunchy, salty, and just like chips…you can’t stop eating them. Seriously. Just try! And bonus? You get a good dose of fiber, iron, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Kale is super healthy for you!

What you need
  • 1 or 2 (or 3) big bunches of Kale
  • cookie sheets
  • parchment paper or foil
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • an olive oil mister/pump (optional, but SERIOUSLY worth the $10 investment)
 
 What you do
  • line cookie sheets with parchment paper/foil (I’m all about not doing dishes if possible!)
  • wash/dry your kale
  • tear into oversized tortilla chip sized pieces and place on cookie sheet (pack ’em in there…they shrink a ton)
  • spray/sprinkle with olive oil
  • sprinkle with sea salt (LIGHTLY! You don’t need much at all…the first time I made these I over-salted, so I went lighter on the salt the second batch, and they were STILL too salty…a word to the wise!)
  • bake @ 350 for 10-15 minutes (edges should be brown but not burnt)
*If you’re feeling extra crazy, experiment with adding seasonings…crushed red pepper, Thai, lemon pepper, garlic salt…

 

ENJOY! (See how much they shrank? That tray was FULL before baking!)

 

Have a happy, healthy day!

Caitlin

 

 

 
 
 

Substitutions = Cooking on the Cheap(er)

I don’t know about you, but I really hate it when you come across a delicious recipe, only to realize that you only have a handful of the 20 ingredients called for. It’s just not economical to go buy a bunch more ingredients to make one dish!

Last week I had tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and parsley from the garden and really really wanted to make tabbouleh salad. The only problem, I discovered as I opened my pantry, was that I did not have any bulgur/cracked wheat. I was not about to run to the grocery store to get one ingredient for a salad. After rummaging through my pantry, I did find large couscous pearls, and decided to try using that as a substitution for bulgur. WELL, it turned out great. I actually like it SOOOO much better than traditional tabbouleh!

What did I learn from this little experiment? That substitutions will often work just as well or better than the original ingredients of a recipe! I found this great online tool that gives you suggestions for substitutions if you’re missing an ingredient or two. It doesn’t cover every ingredient, but its pretty darn helpful! http://www.deliciousdeliveriesinc.com/images/substituteingredients.pdf

Caitlin’s Tabbouleh Salad

– 1 cup pearled couscous, cooked according to directions on package and rinsed thoroughly with cold water after cooking
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
– 1-2 cups chopped parsley
– 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
– garlic salt to taste (or fresh garlic)
– onion powder to taste (or fresh onion)
– olive oil (about 3 Tbsp)
– lemon juice (about 3 Tbsp)
 

Have a happy healthy day!

Caitlin

Getting to the root of things…

I used to think that the only root vegetables that were semi-edible were potatoes and carrots…but after 5 weeks of CSA shares, I’ve learned to expand my horizon, or “spread my roots” when it comes to root veggies.

Meet: Kohlrabi. It has a spicy/sweet taste and a crisp crunchy texture. I’d compare it to a cross between a radish and an apple. It’s great cut up into chunks and eaten raw, dipped in humus, or sliced on top of a salad.

Health Benefits: Hight in vitamin C and potassium, helps with iron absorption, and is a good source of folic acid. Helps with energy, circulation, and blood sugar imbalances.

Meet: Turnips. Not just any turnips, but baby white turnips. Turnips are not giant mystery roots that your grandma forces on you when you come over for dinner. They are actually delicate, delicious little veggies, when eaten the right way! They are best in the spring when they are still small and sweet. I like to add them to salads or put them in a foil pouch for grilling.

Health Benefits: Low calorie and a great source of vitamin C, various antioxidants, and fiber! If you eat the greens (throw them into the salad) then you’ll also get a bonus haul of vitamin A, K, and folate!

Meet: Radishes. I’ve tried radishes from the store before. Usually I end of throwing over half of them away because they are woody or mushy or gross. Fresh, locally grown radishes are a whole different story. They are crunchy, spicy, and surprisingly sweet. They are fantastic on their own, dipped in humus, or in salads. I could eat these every day!

Health Benefits: Great source of vitamin C (seeing a pattern here with root veggies???), potassium, copper, and folic acid. Radish greens can be eaten too, and will give you loads of protein and calcium. Suprising!

Getting sick of lettuce salads topped with the standard tomatoes and carrots? Try throwing in some root veggies (and their greens!) for a new kick to your salad (both taste and health wise)! Root veggies are pretty cheap, and if you use the greens, can be multipurpose as well! Your body and your wallet will thank you! Pick up some new root veggies next time you visit the farmers market or the store. Let me know what you think!

Have a happy healthy day!

Caitlin

When life gives you lemons, make mojitos???

 

Life has given me a couple of lemons lately…both literally and metaphorically speaking. Last weekend I broke my foot (no, there’s not even a crazy fun story to go along with it) and so, for the next 2 months I won’t be able to drive or walk on it, let alone compete in any of the races I was slotted for this summer.

I also had a bunch of lemons, literally, sitting in my fridge. 25 to be exact. Why did I have so many lemons you’re asking? I decided to make homemade limoncello. I bought 25 Meyer lemons (they are organic, and much sweeter than normal lemons), and the recipe for limoncello uses only the yellow part of the lemon peel. Hence, I was stuck with 25 peel-less lemons that needed to be used.  I like lemonade, but seriously, that’s a lot of lemonade. I’ve been craving a mojito lately, so I decided to try making mojitos with lemons instead of limes. Surprisingly, it turned out great! I may just make all my mojitos with lemons now!

Heres (roughly) the recipe I used! Sorry, no measurements!  : )

Good quality light rum
lots and lots of fresh mint
juice of fresh Meyer lemons
organic white sugar
club soda

 

Making limoncello is a loooong process. I’m still waiting in phase one. I peeled the lemons and now I have to let the lemons soak in grain alcohol for about a month. The peels have been soaking for a while…I plan to check on them this weekend! The next phase involves removing the lemon peels, making simple syrup to combine with the lemon mixture and then letting  it “age” some more. Patience is not one of my strong points…I can’t wait to taste it, hopefully it turns out!

SO, when life gives you lemons, make limoncello OR mojitos! This weekend I’m also going to think of some creative ways that I can work out without using my right foot, wish me luck! I should have a very innovative workout routine to tell you about next week!

Have a happy health day, and take advantage of life’s lemons!

Caitlin

 

Fish Tacos… I’m “hooked”!

I hope you had a lovely weekend, mine was fabulous thanks to an awesome hubby and beautiful weather! On Friday at work, there was a duathlon sprint challenge and I managed to run 1.96 miles in 15 minutes…thats a 7:39 mile pace! Saturday I went to Core Power Yoga for my first ever core power class. I tried the yoga sculpt…omg I’m pretty sure I lost 5 pounds just from sweating! I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much! Sunday I went back again for another class and I officially LOVE Core Power! Sunday after yoga, I (well, actually my husband) got my bike out, dusted it off, and put air into the tires for the first time this year. I rode over to my parents, a 14 mile ride, and relaxed by the pool for the rest of the day! Finally getting that summer tan going!

But, all that has nothing to do with what I actually wanted to post today. My dad loves fish tacos and orders them if we go out to a good seafood/mexican restaurant. As a relatively adventurous eater, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never tried a fish taco. WELL, this past week we had leftover grilled wahoo and tuna steaks that needed to be eaten, so I decided to make fish tacos. I looked online for recipes and they were all unnecessarily complicated. So I decided to go out on a limb and throw together my own recipe (pretty daring, considering I’ve never had a fish taco, no?). I wanted something healthy and fresh, and EASY.

Caitlin’s Tropical Fish Tacos:

Leftover grilled fish (Wahoo, Tuna, or Mahi Mahi are best)
Mango, diced
Avocado, diced
Tomatoes, diced
Fresh Cilantro, minced
Hot Sauce (optional)
Flour tortillas
 
It’s pretty self explanatory…
 
Chop all the fresh fruits/veggies
Heat up a tortilla on the stove (not necessary, but it’s nice!)
Mash/chop the fish and heat it up (I microwaved it…don’t judge).
Pile everything on and enjoy!

The verdict? I LOVE fish tacos! I used a tropical hot sauce that we bought on Tortola while on our honeymoon, but any hot sauce will work if you want to heat it up a bit! Next time you have leftover fish, you know what to do!

Have a happy healthy day!

Caitlin

 
 

Easiest. Dinner. Ever.

Its true. It’s hard to eat healthy when your busy. I know that my life is simple compared to others…all I have to keep on top of is work, the house, and the dogs. No kids, no huge committments…but I still feel like I’m really busy! And I don’t think I’m alone in this! After work I usually head to the gym to work out (if I don’t have errands to run or something else more important to do) and by the time I get home it’s already 7 or 8pm! And then I have to try to cook something healthy for myself (luckily my hubby usually makes his own dinner or else I’d really be in trouble!).  I could really use a few more hours in the day sometimes! That is why I was SO excited when I discovered this recipe. I found it on another site and tweaked it a little. This really is the easiest [healthy] dinner EVER! It takes under 3 minutes to prepare, you can pop it in the oven, take a shower or do something else for a few minutes while it cooks, and before you know it you’re eating a delicious, healthy, HOT meal!

Crustless Quiche

 Ingredients:
any veggies you want (I used cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and mushrooms)
6 eggs
splash of milk
salt
seasonings (optional) ( I used Emeril’s original seasoning, onion powder, and parsley flakes)
grated cheese (optional)
 
Instructions
Cut up veggies. It doesn’t have to be pretty. The chunks can be big.
Put veggies in a round cake pan
Beat together the eggs,milk ,and seasonings
Pour over the veggies
Sprinkle cheese on top if you want
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes
 
Bonus: This reheats really well for an easy breakfast or lunch!
 

Next time your feeling crunched for time, try this recipe! I guarantee you have some type of veggies and eggs in your fridge at home!

Have a healthy happy day!

Caitlin

Eat healthy without changing your diet!?

This sounds too good to be true, right? Am I saying that you can somehow eat a McDonald’s big mac, and be eating healthy? Well…no.  BUT there is a way to make a lot of your “normal” foods much much much healthier! All you have to do is substitute a few ingredients in your normal recipes for healthier ingredients, and you’ll be loosing inches for swimsuit season in no time! So skip the emergency celery diet, and lighten up foods you like instead!

1. Use vanilla yogurt instead of oil
Have a sweet tooth? Love to bake? Yogurt adds extra calcium, dairy, and vitamins to your treat, and gets rid of a ton of unnecessary fat! Use greek yogurt and you’ll get protein too!
 
2. Use turkey bacon
Lots of recipes call for bacon, or you may just like eating it plain. Swap in turkey bacon for your regular bacon. It’s much lower fat (bacon fat is a BAD fat) and just as delicious!
 
3. Toss the yolk
Whether your baking or making eggs for breakfast, replacing most of the egg yolks with additional egg whites will lighten up your recipe. A whole egg has about 71 calories and 5 grams of fat, but roughly the same amount of egg white (1 ounce) has only 13 calories and no fat.
 
4. Get rid of the beef
Any dish that calls for beef can be modified to use chicken, turkey, free range buffalo, or even venison. Beef is very fatty, and often contains growth hormones and antibiotics. Try ground turkey in your spaghetti sauce and chilli, or buffalo burgers instead of beef burgers. You’ll be surprised by how good these other meats taste!

How do you lighten up your favorite recipes?

Have a happy healthy day!

Caitlin

Cinco de May-uhoh?

Cinco de Mayo is kind of like St. Paddies Day…everyone’s a little mexican on Cinco de Mayo! Ok – well maybe it hasn’t caught on in the states quite as much as St. Paddies day… but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate! And this year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Thursday! Not quite as good as a Friday or Saturday, but I’ll take it! Remember the good ole days of college when you wouldn’t think of missing out on a Thirsty Thursday? Well, nows your chance to live it up a little! And the best news? You don’t have to kill your diet to have a little fun this thursday!

Skip the Taco Bell – If you going to satisfy your craving for mexican food, either make it at home or go to an authentic mexican restaurant. I guarantee it will be healthier than Taco Bell. Ideally, opt for dishes made with chicken instead of pork or beef, and dishes with less cheese. My favorite? Chicken tacos (in authentic corn tortillas of course) loaded with tomatoes, salsa, and lettuce.

Gimme Some Guac – Guacamole is one of your best choices for Cinco de Mayo fare.  It’s easy to make at home, and always delish! Plus, its made with 100% veggies. It’s loaded with healthy fats and packed with flavor! For an extra healthy option, use carrot sticks, cucumbers, or peppers to dip instead of chips. Yum!

Drink up! – Don’t tell your boss, but Cinco de Mayo has some GREAT drink options that you really MUST imbibe in…even if it is a Thursday night. If you really really really need that margarita, try Skinny Girl margarita mix…it’s MUCHO lower in calories. But my favorite drink for Cinco de Mayo is a Chelada (or Michelada). Here are the recipes for these authentic mexican drinks!

Chelada:
1 bottle mexican beer (corona…)
1 glass, half filled with ice
aprx 3 TB lime juice
Salt
 
Splash a health dose of lime juice into your ice filled glass. Toss in some salt. Add the beer. If your feeling extra special, rim your glass with salt too!
 
Michelada (recipe courtesy of my friend LIZ!)
1 bottle mexican beer 
1 glass, half filled with ice
aprx 3 TB lime juice 
tabasco
Worcestershire
chili pepper flakes
maggi jugo sauce (mexican hot sauce)
salt

The best part about these drinks? Theres a lot of ice and lime juice, so you end up drinking less beer/consuming slightly fewer calories!

Have a happy, healthy day! Ole!!!

Caitlin

 

Food of the week: Carrots!

I know your thinking, carrots…that’s not a very interesting ingredient! And I have to be honest with you, I’m not a huge carrot fan myself. I definitely don’t reach for carrots when I’m looking for a healthy snack. But I really want to like carrots, because they’re SOOOO cheap and they keep forever! So I went on a quest to find a few easy and healthy ways to use carrots that are a little more appetizing than just biting into a huge chunk of raw carrot. But first…some nutritional facts about carrots!

Health benefits of carrots:

  •  1 cup of carrots = 52 calories   That’s a lot of carrots!
  • Good source of dietary fiber (that’s the digestible kind!)
  • Great source of beta carotene…it boosts the immune system, promotes eye health and hair/skin/nail health
  • Good source of vitamins A, C, K, and Potassium

How to incorporate carrots into your diet this week:

  •  Use carrots to dip in your guacamole or humus instead of crackers or chips. Much healthier!
  • Moroccan Carrot Salad:   (This recipe sounds kind of weird, but I promise it’s REALLY good! And really easy!)        
    • 4 cups carrots, coarsely grated (I get the pre-done carrots!)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon  paprika
    • Pinch of salt 
    •  1 teaspoon cayenne
                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Oven Roasted Carrots:
  • 12 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  •  1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut carrots into ½ inch thick slices. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay carrots on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes. Toss with dill/parsley and enjoy!

  Have a happy healthy Day!

Caitlin

Moroccan Carrot Salad for lunch today! Yum yum! And it took me literally 1 minute to make last night!

 

 

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