Saturday, February 12, 2011

Good Morning, Valentine...

As Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year, I thought some of you might be celebrating early on Saturday or Sunday.  If you prefer to forgo the traditional candle-light dinner and bouquet of red roses why not consider waking your special someone from their slumber with a kiss and a homemade hot breakfast?  Served with whole grain toast and some fresh squeezed juice, this hearty breakfast is sure to set the mood for romance all day.  Look for Applegate Farms Organic Chicken Sausage at your local Whole Foods.  If you don't mind spending a few more bucks, buy Omega-3 organic eggs.  This is lacking severely from the American diet.  It's a great way to include these essential fatty acids.  For a variation with cheese, add 3/4 cup shredded organic cheddar.  The recipe below is dairy free, but we added a dollop of pesto to the top for an extra kick.  Of course, you can add whatever fillings you prefer.  Some other ideas are mushrooms, chives, tomatoes, or spinach. Happy Valentine's Day to all!  xox Leigh

Frittata with Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Onions
Time: 30 min     Serves: 6

1 doz large organic eggs, beaten
2 links organic chicken sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 325*F.
2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil with the whole garlic cloves.  Remove the garlic cloves after about 3-5 minutes when fragrant, just to flavor the oil.
3. Toss in the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes or until they are almost soft.  Add the peppers and continue to saute an additional 10 minutes until everything is tender.  Add the sausages and just heat through, about 3 minutes.
4. Meanwhile beat the eggs with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  (this is where you can beat in a little organic milk or splash of water to lighten the eggs).
5. Pour in the eggs and then add the veggie-sausage mixture evenly around the pan.  (add cheese if you like)
6. Transfer the pan to the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through and the frittata is "set".  You can check it by lightly shaking the pan.  If the eggs still jiggle cook a few minutes more.  You want everything to hold together when sliced.
7. Allow the frittata to cool for 5 minutes while you toast the bread or pour the coffee ect.  Slice as you would a pie and serve warm. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Game Day Grub

Here I present you with 2 delicious ways to chow down on Mexican dishes this Superbowl Sunday: Pozole and Black Bean Enchiladas.  Although both of these take more time to prepare, I've also posted a Five Layer Dip (courtesy of Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet) because it's an easy to assemble and is perfect to serve with your big bowl of corn chips. 
The theme with all these recipes is the highly nutritious pairing of beans and corn.  When you eat beans with a grain such as brown rice or corn, you get a "perfect" protein of all the essential amino acids plus tons of vitamins and fibers.  NB: When eating corn in any of it's forms, always buy organic as corn is one of the top Genetically Modified foods.  Whatever you choose to eat this Sunday- be aware there are many healthy alternative and additions out there.  It's just another opportunity to make smart eating decisions to ensure your tight end is covered:)
To your health!
PS: Sorry for a couple blurry photos (you'll know which ones!) My camera battery died and I had to use my iPhone.  Not great but at least you'll get the idea of the end result
Organic Dried Hominy 

Time: 2 hours  Serves: 6-8
This hearty sweet and spicey stew is the perfect alternative to chili.  It's a great "one pot meal" to serve if you're inviting over friends to watch the game.  It can also easily be made a day ahead and warmed on the stove before serving.  Whole hominy, or course ground corn grits, is the key ingredient.  The chewy texture is retained perfectly in this dish. ** To save time, you can make this recipe using canned Eden organic beans and canned hominy.  Just skip the first few steps below.
1 cup whole organic hominy
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1/2 cup dried black beans
1/2 cup dried kidney beans
2 quarts filtered water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (rubber gloves advised)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 leaves fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cups diced celery
3 cups diced carrots
3 cups diced turnips (optional)
3 cups winter squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 32-ounce can peeled organic tomatoes and their juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Sort through the beans and hominy to remove any broken ones.  Put the beans and hominy in a very large saucepan and cover with the water (a little less if you omit the turnips) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from heat, cover and allow to sit for 1 hour so the beans and hominy swell.
3. Meanwhile prep the other veggies.
4. After an hour, drain and rinse the beans and hominy in a strainer.  Put them in a large pot with 5 cups of filtered water and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
5. Put the olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy sauce pot over medium heat and saute the onions with all the spices and herbs for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Then add the remaining vegetables and tomatoes.  Reduce heat to low.
6. Add the beans and hominy mixture along with their cooking liquid to the pot of vegetables and spices.
7. Cover and simmer on low for another hour or until everything is tender.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook uncovered another 10 minutes until everything thickens a bit.
9.  Serve hot with Organic Sour Cream (or Plain Low-Fat yogurt), Wisconsin Chedder and/or chopped fresh cilantro.
Black Bean Enchiladas
Time: 2 hours     Serves: 4-6 (makes 6-8 enchiladas)
I love love love this dish.  Yes, it takes some work, but with most of the cooking done ahead of time it is quick to reheat, assemble and bake.   

1 cup dried black beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight OR 1 1/2 15 ounce cans Eden Black Beans (omit step 1 if using canned beans)
1 small yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 small carrot, scrubbed and halved
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves (1 tablespoon) minced garlic
1 small (1 1/2 tablespoon) minced jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt or sea salt to taste
6-8 organic corn tortillas
2 cups chile tomato sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup pumpkin seed-tomatillo sauce (recipe below)

1. Drain beans and rinse well with fresh water and put them in a medium pot with 1/2 the onion, both carrot halves, bay leaf, a good pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low and cook at a brisk boil covered, until beans are soft- about an hour.  Drain beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
2. While beans cook, cut remaining onion into 1/4 inch dice for about 3/4 cup.  Prepare the tomato sauce and pumpkin seed salsa. Set both aside.
3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium flame until the oil shimmers.  Add onions first and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic, jalapeno and cumin and cook another 2 min before adding the beans.  Mash the beans using a potato masher or fork and add as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed for a chunky mixture.  Season to taste with sea salt. 
4. Preheat oven to 250*F. Warm corn tortillas by covering them with a damp towel and placing on a baking sheet for about 15 min or until they're soft enough to roll. (no longer than 30 mins or they will get hard and crack!) 
5. When you are ready to assemble the enchiladas, bump up oven temp to 375*F.  Pour half the tomato sauce into a rectangular baking dish or casserole, spreading around in an even layer of thickness.  Fill each tortilla with 1/4-1/3 cup of the bean mixture along the center of tortilla; roll up and the folded side down on top of the sauce.  (If you have leftover bean mixture, it's delicious pureed for a dip or served with eggs at brunch:) 
6. Pour remaining sauce over rolled tortillas.  Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin seed tomatillo sauce on top of each tortilla.  Cover and warm in the oven for 15 minutes.  You're not cooking it-everything is already cooked!- you're just heating it through and allowing all the flavors to come together.  Serve hot with a side of guacamole and mixed salad.

Chile Tomato Sauce
Time: 20 minutes   Yield: 2 cups
This sauce has a wonderful smokey flavor.  If you make this dish in the summer months when tomatoes are in season, do yourself a favor and try making the sauce's out of this world!  Simply put them under a broiler and sweat them before removing their skins.

2 28-ounce cans Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (look for Muir Glenn brand but if you can't find fire roasted, simply buy the whole peeled tomatoes and drain then puree until smooth)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 3 cloves)
1/2 cup minced onion (1/2 medium yellow onion)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or sea salt to taste

1. Warm a medium saucepan over medium heat and add oil.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds then add onion and cook another 5 min. Do not brown them; just cook until soft and fragrant. Add chili powder and oregano and cook another 2 min, stirring constantly.
2. Pour tomato puree into onion-spice mixture with 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring everything to a low boil and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Taste and add more salt if needed.
Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce
Time: 30 min   Yield: 2 cups
This adds a tangy sweet and nutty flavor to balance the spice in the enchiladas.  The leftovers make an amazing salad dressing!

3/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
6 ounces canned tomatillos
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 medium serrano chiles, halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup vegetable stock (fresh or Pacific or Imagine brand low sodium organic veggie stock)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
2. Bake pumpkin seeds spread on a baking dish in a single layer for 10 min, until they puff up and begin popping.  Shake the pan occasionally as they toast.  Transfer the seeds to a plate and allow to cool. Grind into a powder in a spice grinder or crush with a pestle and mortar, 1/4 cup at a time.
3. Puree tomatillos, garlic, serranos, cilantro and veggie stock in a blender.
4. Warm the oil in a small pot over medium heat; add onion and cook, stirring continuously until limp but not brown, about 5 min. Stir in the pumpkin seed meal and continue cooking another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
5. Add tomatillo mixture to pumpkin seed mixture, along with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Bring just to a boil, then reduce and simmer uncovered, stirring often until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more sea salt.

Time: 40 minutes    Serves: 8
**I serve this with Guiltless Gourmet Tortilla Chips- organic and baked, not fried!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Are you feeling "Blah" lately?  Are your pants fitting too tight?  Is your dull dry skin in desperate need of a nutrient boost?  Well, this super easy CLEANSE is for you!  It's time to shed those extra holiday pounds (or winter "hibernation tummy", as I like to call it) and commit to a healthy 2011. It's time to give your digestive system a much needed rest, stabilize your blood sugar levels and reset your metabolism. 
Unlike a lot of cleanses that are popular right now, this one will allow you to eat!  And I'm not talking cabbage soup or rice alone.  I'm talking hot, balanced, colorful meals that are nourishing and satisfying as in the photo above- curry lentils and brown rice with steamed kale, kabocha squash, brussle sprouts and wild mushrooms.  That's a lot of food.  You don't have to starve to get optimum benefits on a cleanse. In fact, it's not healthy to do extreme liquid fasts that restrict you to only drink juices and soups for days. These cleanses don't support the liver which is essential to any elimination program. These starvation diets also slow down your metabolism and always end up backfiring when you go back to eating normal food again.
Here is a 7 Day Cleanse I've created from what I think are the 2 best detox programs out there: The Ultra Simple Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman and CLEAN by Dr. Alesandro Junger.  This one is a combination of both and is a simple, gentle way to get you off on the right track in 2011. As you'll see from the shopping list and menus below, the following things are not allowed on the cleanse: alcohol, caffeine, dairy, meat, gluten, processed or packaged foods, soy, and sugar- in any form.  If this sounds impossible, miserable or both please don't be afraid!  Just stick to the guide here and you'll be surprised at how easy it is...especially after the first 3 days.  (If possible, stay on this diet for 21 Days. OR if weight loss is your goal, you can stay on the diet until reaching your healthy goal weight). If you like, you can continue exercising on this diet but it's not required.  Walking daily for 20 mins, yoga and gentle stretching are recommended. If you have access to a steam room or sauna it's a good idea to stop by a few times during the week. Be sure to drink LOTS of water and get plenty of sleep.  (Just plan on clearing your social calendar when doing this cleanse. Take a week- or 3!- for yourself.  You will be so glad you did.) 
To your health,
As usual, please check with your doctor before starting any detox plan.
Try to buy organic for as much of the following as possible.  To save money, here is an organic shopping guide.
For 7 days, you will need:

5 organic lemons
1 bag of Raw Almonds, Walnuts or bags of Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds to mix
1 jar Almond Butter (without added oils or salt)
1 box of unsweetened Almond or Hemp Milk (optional)
LOTS of organic veggies: broccoli, kale, chard, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, winter squash, sweet potatoes
fresh ginger root (in the produce section)
turmeric (in the spice section)
1 bag brown rice (short or long grain, basmati, jasmine...all kinds of brown rice are yummy:)
1 box pre-washed quinoa
veggie broth (buy it fresh if you can or make it yourself, otherwise buy the Low Sodium Pacific brand in a box)
2 cans Eden brand organic beans (cannelini, black, navy, garbanzo...your choice)
3-4 organic chicken breasts (about 1 lb total)
2-3 wild salmon, sole, cod, black cod, flounder or tilapia (about 6 ounces per fillet)
1 bottle of good extra virgin olive oil
fresh or dried herbs of your choice
sea salt and pepper

***Buy the following for the "Ultra Shake Recipe":

Brown Rice or Hemp Seed Protein Powder (Nutribiotic Vanilla is my favorite. I also really like Vega's Chai Flavor...expensive but far superior to any other protein mix on the market. NOW Foods brand is also great as is . These usually are available to vanilla or chocolate flavors)
1 bottle flaxseed oil (refrigerator section)
4-6 ripe bananas

1 Bag frozen blueberries or strawberries

On Sunday, shop and make a pot of steamed brown rice ahead of time. This rice will last you 3 days at least. You can also steam a large pot of veggies and reheat them quickly for lunch and dinner.

Morning: Hot Water with 1/2 lemon and/or Green Tea (every morning)
Ultra Shake -

Blend together in a high speed blender or Vitamix:
1 scoop or packet of Rice Protein Powder (Vanilla or Chocolate Flavor)

8oz cold filtered water
2-3 ice cubes
1 tablespoon combination borage and flaxseed oil
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 large or one small ripe banana (I like to keep sliced ripe banana in the freezer and add them to my shake...that way I don't waste the fresh banana each day...they go brown pretty fast once peeled)

Lunch: 1/2 cup beans + 1/2 cup steamed brown rice + 1-2 cups steamed veggies
* flavor these meals with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, herbs and spices to add flavor
Organic Homemade Vegan Soups (Black Bean, Minestrone, ect) with 1/2 cup steamed brown rice
Salad with chicken breast, beans, all and any veggies and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon

1 cup warm Veggie Broth

Handful of nuts (raw, unsalted)
Ultra Shake
Apple with Almond Butter

Dinner: Same as Lunch but drink 1 cup warm Veggie Broth before eating
Green Salad with Chicken Breast or Fish with Olive Oil and lemon juice
Quinoa with Chicken Breast (or Fish) and Veggies
2 of My Favorite Vegan Soups:
Carrot Ginger Soup 
Serves: 2  Time: 30 mins
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 small yellow onion    
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (depending on how spicy you want it)                                                                              
2 cups chopped and peeled carrots (about 2 medium loose carrots)
1-2 cups low sodium organic vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want your soup)                    
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sautee onions, garlic and ginger in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add carrots and vegetable broth (or water) and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until carrots are soft. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Working in small batches using a food processor or blender, process soup until smooth. ***Use caution when blending warm liquids!  Start on a slow speed and always leave a small crack of air for the steam to escape at the top.  
Return to pot or serving bowl and add sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring well. Serve warm.
Zucchini and Basil Soup
Simply follow the same recipe for Carrot Ginger Soup, but substitute zucchini for the carrot and 5 fresh basil leaves for the ginger.  Also shorten the simmer time to 10 minutes.  Zucchini cooks a lot faster than carrots.  If you have raw cashews or walnuts, blend 1-2 chopped tablespoons in at the end.  Serve warm.