10 Ways to Increase Your Veggie Intake

Holy nutrients! Vegetables are awesome. These tasty suckers have so many health benefits, make you feel good and might even cut down your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Some people don’t think vegetables taste too awesome or they take too long to prepare, so here’s a list of simple ways to increase your veggie intake:

cooking-cookware-cuisine-175754.jpg1. Try a stir-fry. Stir-fries are great because they can be so easy and flavorful! If you don’t feel like taking the time to cut up vegetables, you can even buy a bag of frozen stir-fry mixed vegetables that are ready to go. Add a little protein and a simple sauce, and voila, you have a tasty, nutritious meal!

2. Wash and cut up a bunch of vegetables ahead of time. It’s easy to snack on raw vegetables or add them to a salad if they’re ready to go.

3. Cook your vegetables in a new way. Try grilling zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus or peppers. How about roasting some cauliflower and broccoli? Play around with seasonings, too!

4. Try vegetable steamer packs. Pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and they’re ready. I do this when I’m running short on time, and sometimes I’ll season with a little salt and pepper.

5. Make soup. These are two of my favorites that use a decent amount of vegetables: Chicken Detox Soup and Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup. Another tip: making soup is a great way to use up vegetables that are about to spoil.

20180603_102326 (1).jpg6. Add vegetables to an omelet or a casserole. Try this Egg Bake recipe and load it up with veggies!

7. Order a side of steamed, grilled or raw vegetables or a side salad when eating out. Even if it’s not shown this way on the menu, try asking to substitute some vegetables for chips or fries.

8. Take a look at my Favorite Recipe FridaysI try to incorporate vegetables into most of my dishes.

allie-smith-1092451-unsplash.jpg9. When you can, buy seasonably. Visit a Farmers Market, grow your own or plan meals based on what you’ll find at the grocery story. In season vegetables are usually priced well and taste delicious!

10. Blend some veggies into a smoothie. Add a cup of spinach, and besides the color, you probably won’t notice much of a difference. Squash, cauliflower, kale, beets, cucumber and broccoli are a few others that work well, too!

 

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Organize Your Fridge to Reduce Waste & Save Money

Grocery shopping can be exhausting, and when I get home and haul everything to the kitchen to be unpacked, I’m pooped. I’m totally guilty of throwing everything in the fridge however it will fit.

But there’s actually a way to organize the fridge’s contents in order to optimally preserve your food. Check out these tips to coordinate your fridge to reduce waste and save money:

manki-kim-353734-unsplash.jpgTemperature is key. Door bins and upper shelves are the warmest spots, and the bottom of the fridge holds the coldest spots. The back of the fridge is also usually cooler than the front.

What to put where
(according to consumerreports.org):

Door bins: butter, condiments, juice
Top shelf: jams, leftovers, hummus, yogurt, berries, deli meat, herbs, cheese
Lower shelf: eggs, milk, and raw meat, fish and poultry. Ideally, you want the raw meat to be the lowest so that it can’t contaminate anything under it. If that’s not really going to work for your fridge, make sure to put trays underneath the meat to catch any drippings. Some fridges have a meat drawer, or you can purchase a plastic bin to keep it in.
Crisper Drawers:
-Low humidity: to simplify, fruit
-High humidity: to simplify, vegetables

scott-webb-98682-unsplash.jpgFoods that should not go in the fridge: bananas, bread, coffee, unripened fruit, garlic, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes

A few other tips to reduce food waste:
– Shop your fridge first when you’re planning out your meals for the week. Take inventory of what you have and what needs to be used. Find recipes that will use up those ingredients.

– Post a list of your meals and snacks for the week on the outside of your fridge. Use a whiteboard, chalkboard, calendar, or a scrap piece of paper. You’ll know when you’re supposed to eat what and nothing goes to waste.

– What to do with foods that are about to spoil:

  • Vegetables: egg bake, soup, vegetable stock, stir fry
  • Fruit: cut up and freeze for smoothies, banana bread
  • Freeze stuff

So there ya have it— an organized fridge, longer lasting food, and some extra cash in your pocket.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Easy Enchilada Skillet

Here’s a great low carb substitute for chicken enchiladas.

Ingredients

1 tsp. olive oil
2 c. cauliflower rice
½ c. diced green pepper
2 c. chicken, cooked and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 4-oz. can of chilies
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic
½ tsp. oregano
½ c. black olives, thinly sliced
2 c. cheddar cheese, grated, divided

Instructions

  1. Add oil to pan and heat on medium-high.
  2. Add cauliflower and green peppers and sauté about 2 minutes.
  3. Add all other ingredients except the cheese. Stir to combine and cook 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 c. cheese and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the rest of the cheese on top and turn the burner off. Cover and let cheese melt for about 2 minutes.

 

Favorite Recipe Friday: Mediterranean Cabbage Steaks

I love this easy vegetarian Mediterranean recipe. The melty cheeses with pesto and the artichokes… so mouth-watering.

Play around with the ingredients –Kalamata olives and mozzarella might be tasty, too!

IMG_20181215_112926124.jpgIngredients
1 small head of cabbage, sliced into steaks
3 oz basil pesto
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 oz crumbed feta cheese
Approximately 8 grape tomatoes, sliced in thirds
1-14 oz. can of artichoke halves

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 and cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

2. Arrange the cabbage in a single layer on the sheet pan so the edges are all touching. Spread pesto on the steak halves.

3. Top with cheese, and tomato, and artichokes. Bake about 20 minutes.

7 Tips for Healthy Holidays

Want to maintain weight, stay healthy, feel good, and enjoy the holidays? Follow these tips for your healthiest holiday season!

adorable-animal-animal-photography-7918621. Get sleep and rest. Have some wind-down time each day. Read, take a bath, watch a light TV show, do some yoga, meditate. Stick with a regular sleep schedule.

2. Stay active. Go to the gym, try skiing, walk, snow shoe, ice skate, or do some indoor youtube workout videos. Caution: don’t use your exercise as an excuse to binge on Christmas cookies or 5 glasses of egg nog. It’s not likely you’ll burn that many calories. But it certainly helps with stress management and keeps you away from food for a bit.

buffet-chicken-cooking-5938.jpg3. Bring a healthy dish to pass at holiday parties. That way, you’ll KNOW there’ll be something healthy there that you can eat. There’s always the classic salad or veggie tray, or you can try one of these ideas.

4. Limit alcohol. Save yourself some calories, embarrassment, and a hangover.

5. Focus on faith, family, and friends, not food. Watch a movie with the fam, craft with friends, play a game, go to church, share stories, go for a walk, play in the snow. Unhealthy food is not required to have a good time!

drink-drinking-female-14586716. Drink water. This will keep you hydrated, fend off cravings and make you feel more satisfied.

7. Make it a holiday meal, not a holiday month. You might have 10 Christmas parties to attend, but that doesn’t mean you need to go hog-wild at each of them. Strategize your splurges. Maybe you wait all year for Aunt Mary’s Christmas cannoli, but you’re not too keen on office party cookies. Leave the cookies alone and enjoy the cannoli.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Creamy Potato Kale Soup

This Whole30 friendly soup makes a creamy, filling meal.

I did another round of Whole30 with a friend over the last few weeks (mine was Whole20 this time). It was fun to experience this diet at a different time of year with different kinds of foods.

This soup really hit the spot. These are some of my other favorite Whole30 recipes.

Ingredients
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 c. chicken broth
3 medium russet potatoes, roughly cubed
Approx. 4 c. chopped kale
13.5 oz. can coconut milk

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add ground turkey and cook on medium-high until browned.

2. Add the onion, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper and sauté for 3 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and stir.

4. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

5. Stir in kale and coconut milk. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Mozzarella Turkey Meatloaf

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for awhile, but we always eat it up before I remember to take a picture of it! It’s so delicious and filling.

A side of roasted vegetables pairs nicely with this cheesy loaf.

IMG_20181202_072843106.jpgIngredients

1 lb ground turkey
1 c. bread crumbs
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 oz. mozzarella sliced
3/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9×13 glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, and Italian seasoning.

3. Place one half of the meat into prepared pan and shape to form bottom half of the loaf. Place mozzarella slices down the center, leaving a little room around the edges of the loaf. Place remaining half of meat on top of the bottom half of the loaf, and seal the edges.

4. In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Pour half of this mixture over the meatloaf, reserving the other half for later.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Then, remove loaf from oven and pour remaining sauce on top. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Easy Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables will change your life!

I tossed some of my favorite veggies together with some spices and oil and popped them in the oven. Magic happened, and in 40 minutes I had crispy-tender, decadent morsels of nutrition.

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 c. baby Brussels sprouts
½ small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
¼ c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cover large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
4. Evenly spread the vegetables on the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 40 mins.
Optional: Scramble eggs separately and add on top of vegetables. I drizzled a little hot sauce on mine, too!

 

Favorite Recipe Friday: Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

Do you have some leftover cranberries from your Thanksgiving dinner? Use them up in this sweet and tangy chicken recipe.

This chicken is great in a sandwich, in a salad, or alongside some roasted fall veggies.

Ingredients:
2.5 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1 Tbsp. dried Italian herbs

For the Marinade:
1/3 c. cranberries
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp, black pepper
2 garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray. Place chicken inside baking dish.
  2. Make the marinade: Blend all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  3. Pour marinade over the chicken, coating evenly.
  4. Cover and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hrs.
  5. Once marinated, preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Add extra 1/2 cup cranberries and Italian herbs to the chicken dish. Spread it out evenly on and around the chicken.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Orange Pomegranate Salad

Need to take a dish to pass to Thanksgiving this year? This salad makes a light, sweet and tangy side. It looks like a lot of steps, but it really doesn’t take long at all!

And look at how pretty and colorful it is!

IngredientsIMG_20181110_155717418.jpg

For almonds:
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. honey
½ c. sliced almonds

For dressing:
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. dried ginger
¼ c. olive oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For rest of salad:
4 c. mixed greens (spinach, arugula, etc.)
3 medium oranges, peeled and cut into eighths
½ c. pomegranate seeds

Directions:

For the almonds:
1. Melt butter in a medium size, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add honey and stir to combine.
2. Add the almonds and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until almonds are golden brown.
3. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray, and spread almonds out onto foil to cool.

For the dressing:
Mix dressing ingredients together.

For the salad:
Place greens in a large salad bowl. Top with orange slices and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with dressing (you don’t need all of it) and sprinkle almonds over the top.