Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto! My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too. I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!   Kale-Almond Pesto (yields one quart)   Ingredients: 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed) Juice and zest of 2 lemons 2 cloves of garlic 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2...
Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

We live in a world addicted to sugar, it’s true, but going cold turkey doesn’t always work out so well. Deprivation can lead to yo-yo eating patterns, which won’t help you sustain your long-term healthy eating goals. A better approach that I often help my wellness clients take is making healthier versions of your favorite meals. Dessert, while not the most essential of meals, is nonetheless an important food ritual many of us enjoy – and hey, life is best when enjoyed! One of my favorite challenges is finding ways to make sweets better for you without tasting like sawdust or bland ice. With that in mind, I recently experimented with  a Mango Coconut Popsicle recipe, spiced with ginger. Ginger is a superfood linked to relieving nausea, inflammation, pain and a whole host of digestive issues. I also threw some turmeric in there because, well, why not? It too has anti-inflammatory properties and might help your skin and joints look and feel their best. This fast and tasty recipe is guilt-free and impossible to mess up. Bonus: any leftovers that won’t fit in your molds can be enjoyed on the spot as a healthy smoothie. Enjoy!   Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles Servings: 6-8 popsicles   Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups frozen mango 1/2 very ripe banana 1” fresh ginger, peeled 1/2” fresh turmeric, scrubbed 1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes 8 oz unsweetened almond milk   Directions: Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds leaving about a 1/4” at the top. Any leftovers can be consumed like a smoothie – yum!...
Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Breakfast just got a whole lot easier. If you’re on the go as much as I am, it always pays off to spend a little extra time over the weekend to prepare some grab-and-go meals that will keep your full and focused throughout the week no matter what calendar cluster-Fs may arise. For the past two weeks I’ve been making a big batch of healthy egg muffins on Sunday afternoosn, switching up the vegetables and accoutrements to keep things interesting. Below you’ll find my current favorite, but you can check my Instagram account for a recipe with asparagus, summer corn, and grape tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with either! Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins Makes 12 egg muffins, or 6 servings. Ingredients: Butter, coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray, to coat pans – or, use silicone baking cups 8 large eggs Splash of milk (can use nut milk if preferred) Generous pinch of sea salt and ground pepper 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed and minced 2 tsp olive oil 2 cups kale, cut into thin ribbons 1/2 cup sweet & spicy cherry peppers 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 3/4 – 1 cup shredded parmesan Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk with the milk, thyme, salt and pepper. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan as desired. Sauté red onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt. Add kale, sweet and spicy pepper, and garlic and sauté another 5-7 minutes. Divide veggie mixture and cheese between each muffin cup, then carefully pour eggs in...
Big Batch Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Big Batch Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Let’s face it, oatmeal can get pretty boring, but oats are so good for you – loaded with heart-healthy fiber and minerals. What to do?! Get baked. Err, get baking! My baked oatmeal is super easy, cost-effective, and since it’s a big batch recipe you’ll be set for breakfast all week. Convenience – check! Taste – check! Healthy – check! Even if you don’t typically dig oatmeal, give this method a try. It changes the texture and fuses the flavors so you might just feel like you’re eating dessert, all the while you’re fueling yourself with clean energy for an active day. And best of all, there’s no added sugar so there’s no guilt with this breakfast decadence. Go on, shake up your morning meal. It’s good to the last bite! Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 50 mins Serves: 8 servings Ingredients: 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pecan pieces 1/2 cup toasted, unweetened coconut flakes 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds 1/4 cup chia seeds 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats 1 Tbs ground cinnamon A pinch of fine-grain sea salt 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen will work too – just defrost and discard any liquid) 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk 2 large eggs 2 Tbs melted coconut oil 1 tsp vanilla extract Optional toppings for serving: plain yogurt, maple syrup or honey for drizzling, and/or more fresh fruit Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish with butter or coconut oil. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. In a smaller mixing bowl,...
Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

I highly recommend taking a long weekend with friends, yummy food, and outdoor walks in the sunshine; and without a computer or to do list. Like highly recommend it. I recently did just this up in NYC with some of my dearest girl friends with whom (is that proper grammar??) I studied abroad nearly 10 years ago. Damn, the years are flying by! Anyways…   We had a ball! Despite bopping around a bunch like an itinerant little gypsy, the weekend wasn’t stressful at all. Leaving my computer at home certainly helped, but mostly it was my lack of an agenda – something I struggle to let go of in my daily DC grind – that created space and time to do everything I needed and wanted with flexibility and a sense of ease.   Here are some highlights…   On Saturday, I went to the Union Square Famers Market (amazing) and gawked at peonies the size of my face and farm-fresh eggs that looked like the most beautiful golden nuggets I’ve ever seen. I would have stayed there the whole day if it weren’t for the sweltering heat and sweaty mess I had quickly become.     Sunday, was a day filled with jamm, which means “peace” in Wolof, Senegal’s native tongue. The girls and I throw that word around a lot when we’re together since Dakar was our study abroad destination and jamm was our main objective while there.   All day I was surrounded by these four mighty and magnificent women who inspire, nurture and love me to no end. How lucky am I? Together, we made a...
Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Need an easy weeknight dinner idea that won’t leave you wanting for flavor? This past week was a crazy one for me but it doesn’t mean a girl doesn’t still need something tasty, homemade and nutritious to restock the tank at the end of the day. For me, roasted chicken always hits the spot when I crave something cozy, satiating and convenient.   From start to finish, this easy recipe for chicken thighs takes under 30 minutes. It’s delicious served hot, but leftovers can be easily stored for lunch or dinner throughout the busy work week. Pair it with a side kale salad and roasted veggies for a filling, healthy and budget-friendly dinner perfect for a small gathering, family meal or broken down into several individual servings (batch-cooking style) for one.   Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs (makes 4-5 servings of protein) Ingredients For the Chicken 4-5 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on 3-4 Tbs grapeseed oil Salt and pepper to taste   For the Marinade 1 Tbs Tandoori Seasoning Blend (Penzey’s) 1 Tbs Pomegranate Molasses 3 Tbs Grapeseed Oil 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar 1 Tbs Tomato Paste Pinch of Sea Salt   Directions For the Chicken Pre-heat over to 350 F. Heat an oven-safe sauté pan over high heat. Add 3-4 Tbs grapeseed oil. Bring chicken thighs to room temp. Pat dry. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Start chicken skin side down in pan. Cook untouched for 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 4 minutes. Pour marinade over chicken thighs, coating evenly. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let...
How much do you know about Nutrition Labels? Take this quiz. It might surprise you…

How much do you know about Nutrition Labels? Take this quiz. It might surprise you…

It definitely surprised me a few times, and I like to think I have some knowledge on the subject. Labels can be so misleading and this quiz really drives that home. Go ahead, test your food label IQ and become a smarter consumer in the process. Brought to you by Nursing@Simmons FNP Programs Share this:Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...
One Year On.

One Year On.

With my hands planted at the top of my yoga mat, a genuine 90-degree angle at my wrist and elbow, I marveled at how normal I felt this morning balancing in Crow Pose. This normalcy evoked a deep sense of gratitude that I could not only make this shape but that I could hold it without grit or strain. I hovered there thinking, wow, the body is an amazing machine and one that can heal in the most remarkable ways. One year ago today, I was struck by a car while riding my bike. What followed—the surgery, physical therapy, baby steps back into my active lifestyle, and eventually greater challenges to my rebuild strength (like a very humbling Rocket Yoga teacher training)—was tough stuff but helped me learn tools I now use on a regular basis to heal other areas of my life beyond just the physical. Life has this funny way of throwing a whole lot of challenge your way all at once, doesn’t it? We’ve all been there. What’s so wonderful about these low points is that when we crumble we’re left with all these pieces of different size, weight and shape and we have to consciously figure out how we want to put them back together. We get this rare chance to build ourselves up better than before. As Nikki Giovanni recently said on one of my favorite NPR podcasts, On Being with Krista Tippett, “ sometimes you must take the ingredients you’re given and make the best thing you can make.” It wasn’t all roses. So many times over the last year I’ve felt angry, scared...
How to pick the best yoga mat for you.

How to pick the best yoga mat for you.

Reviews.com recently conducted over 50 hours of research atop dozens of different yoga mats to determine the best buy for traction, cushioning, budget, environmental conscious and more. The 9 Overall Best Yoga Mats Manduka PROlite ($74.18) Lululemon “The Mat” ($68.00) Jade Harmony Professional Mat ($59.95 – $217.14) Manduka Black Mat Pro ($98.00 – $283.36) Hugger Mugger Para Rubber ($83.52) PrAna Revolutionary Sticky Mat ($90.00) Kharma Khare ($70.00) PrAna E.C.O ($28.80 – $48.00) Gaiam Print Premium ($29.98) Having spent thousands of hours atop my yoga mats over the years, I can attest that my top two line up with their #3 and #1 respectively. I’m a Jade girl, through and through, but love the Manduka PROlite as well – so much so that we carry it at my studio, Yoga Heights. Why do I prefer my Jade though? First, the Jade Harmony Professional Mat offers excellent traction and support and it only gets better with time. The best part about this mat however is that it’s made from all-natural rubber, making it environmentally friendly. As a bonus, JadeYoga also plants a tree for every mat that’s purchased – so far that’s a whopping 1,099,000 trees! I love that this mat got Reviews.com’s “Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat.”  Check out the full article to learn about their top picks and discover the best mat for your needs. Share this:Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click...
Beauty Blooms from Muddy Waters: A Guide to Getting Unstuck

Beauty Blooms from Muddy Waters: A Guide to Getting Unstuck

There is an ancient Buddhist value which espouses that the most beautiful things bloom from the muddiest of waters. “Like a lotus flower that grows out of the mud and blossoms above the muddy water surface, we can rise above our defilements and sufferings of life.” {here is an associated meditation you can try} Sometimes it takes a while to believe that and you often have to go through heartbreak, illness, or some kind of soul-shaking duress to realize it’s true. For me, the process of getting unstuck from that mucky bottom to the freedom of a sun-kissed surface goes a little something like this… You lift one foot and it feels as heavy as a Clydesdale. You set it down only to feel it sink into the mud. You’re stuck, like your feet are frozen in a ice tray. You muster all your strength to free it from the tundra only to find that familiar weight again. And so it goes. A slow, slog through muddy waters until you get close enough to the shore that the ground beneath your feet is more compact, less exhausting and more forgiving. Pretty soon the water clears and you’re hitting your stride. One foot in front of the other. You’ll likely be tired, in need of some time to make the conscious and challenging choice to shake it off, but you’re reassured of your strength and perseverance all the same. After all, you didn’t sink; you didn’t drown; you made it. It’s not easy. In fact your journey, whatever adversity it stems from, kind of stings. You will survive. Yes you will be...