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Tag Archives: healthy cooking

Squashed! Cookbook finally out

It’s been a while in the making, but my 3rd cookbook just got released last week.

SquashCookbook

I hope you check it out and let me know what you think of it.

Enjoy!

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Green Soup

Green Soup

So as I said yesterday, I went shopping for this wedding I’m cooking for on Wednesday.  As always, I over did it.  I am only cooking for 30 but I planned for 300.  And I bought way too much food.  Good news is, I can still use it.

Tonight, I decided I’d use up some excess spinach and cauliflower.  So I made what I’ll call Green Soup.  It was creamy, savory, simple, and chalk full of vegg, at only 150ish calories for a big bowl.  It is sure to warm you up on these colder nights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 pound of baby spinach
  • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 8 ounces of non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheeseonion

In a large soup pot, heat butter over medium heat.  Add in sliced onions and garlic cloves.  There is no need to chop these small, you’ll be pureeing them later.

cauliflower

Roughly chop the whole head of cauliflower, including the stem.  Add to the onion and garlic.

broth

Add in broth, and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes or so to soften the cauliflower.

spinach

Add in the spinach.  Stir.

puree

Transfer to a blender, or use a stick blender to puree the soup.

soup

Serve with an ounce of Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

240 meals

Starting tomorrow if we are eating at least 6x/day, which all of my clients do, you have 240 meals until the end of the year. Even if you have 3 holiday meals planned and lets say 5 holiday parties/events that are not in line with your health goals that’s only 8 meals total that you can plan for/schedule in leaving you with 232 other opportunities to make healthy choices and stick to your plan. Isn’t that cool? I don’t see any reason why making great progress through the holiday season isn’t possible!

Rather than waiting til after the holidays (which come every year), you can choose health now and be down 15-30 lbs BEFORE the new year and feel AMAZING! That sounds terrible doesn’t it? (wink). It’s all about perspective. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

I guarantee losing 15-30lbs before New Year, having more confidence, energy, and just feeling better overall will give you more satisfaction than gaining the average 7-10 lbs during the holidays and feeling terrible.

Think about it. You are ultimately in control. If you need help reeling in that control, email me at mybetterbalance@gmail.com and let’s set up a complimentary consultation to see how you can control your health and choices.

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Turkey Soup

image-1

I threw this beauty together tonight on a whim… it was like Thanksgiving in a bowl.  Honestly, when ever you combine sage, squash and turkey, it is Thanksgiving in a bowl.

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know that I recently baked a 20+lb turkey, upside down mind you. And now I have gobs (or gobbles) of meat in my freezer.  So after a hard workout at the gym (really I did heady intervals on the elliptical for an hour, only because I can water food network and sweat at the same time.  It makes it that much more enjoyable [ and really, I’m having a hard enough time walking right now as it is.  I worked with a trainer on Monday and did squats until the sun went down and my poor legs are still mush]) I needed something quick and hardy to put together.

Using left over turkey, turkey drippings, and stock made from turkey drippingsSo here is how it when down:

  • 1 tbsp turkey ghee or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tbsp sage
  • 1 1/2 quarts of turkey stock
  • 1 quart milk
  • 4 ounces melting cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 6 cups shredded turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. 1.  In a large soup pot, heat ghee or butter over medium heat.  Add in onions, celery, and squash.  Stir and cook until the vegetables get a golden brown coloring.
  2. Add in sage and turkey stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes, or until the squash is soft.  Using a stick blender, puree.  (If you don’t own a stick blender, transfer the solids and about 1/2 of the liquid into a blender and then return to the pot.)
  3. Add milk, cheese, zucchini and turkey.  While simmering, continue to stir so the milk and cheese don’t scorch.  Taste to see if you should add any salt or pepper.  Depending on the stock you use, you may not need to add any.

Serve and enjoy!

**If you wanted to make this paleo, you could substitute coconut milk and not use cheese.  However, if you eat primal, go ahead and add in milk and cheese.

Comment below if you try this recipe, or if you have a favorite way to eat left over turkey.

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Squashed Tip

I frequently get asked

how I do as much as I do.

To be honest, I don’t know other than the grace of God, and the gifting of planning and creativity.  With out planning and creativity (being able to spin things around, twirl in some awesome and sprinkle on some uniqueness) my days would be dull and lifeless.  So I opt for awesome days.  One of the major things that helps me in life stay balanced and sane is to prep food.  I LOVE FOOD. You already know that about me. I love to cook, grocery shop, plan, search for recipes and even sometimes I like to do dishes (this is rare). But for the most part, as much as I love the kitchen, I have too many other things to do than stay in there all day everyday.

So in order to still create healthy, flavorful meals for my husband and myself, and have meals that can turn into lunches and left overs – I cook for 10 rather than 2.

Things just seem to last longer when you have more….

I’ve been cooking up the latest in my Squashed cookbook, so here’s a tip for you:

Squash tip: Roast 1 more squash than you’ll need for your recipe. Keep it in the fridge and use it for another recipe later in the week. Best part about it is that it makes for an easy meal later and you’ll use less electricity heating up your oven only once.

Enjoy!
Comment below on things you do to help your days and weeks go more smoothly with meal prepping

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“Spold” – Spicy Mockaroni and Cheese

So there is this restaurant here in Portland called The Montage.  And they are famous for their Old Macaroni and Cheese.  Its not old pasta … I think, but the recipe I am guessing is.  Then they have one called the Spold.  Its Spicy and Old.

Its been a long time since I’ve been there, and I don’t eat too much pasta anymore.  But the flavors were great.  I was working on one of my recipes for my new cookbook today.  It will full of recipes featuring Zucchini and Summer Squashes as the main ingredient.  If you haven’t already checked out my cauliflower one, please do so… I think its great and I’m in no way biased.

Ok, so I was working on my Cheesy Zucchini recipe and found some extra ingredients in the fridge and thought I’d give it a whirl. And what did you know, I rendered a healthier version of the Spold in my own kitchen.  It is delish!  Enjoy.

 

Spold
4 medium zucchinis
1 lb of chorizo sausage
1/4 cup diced onion
1 jalapeño – finely diced
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp oil
4 Tbsp cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
2 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
cilantro (optional)

Cube zucchinis into 1/2” pieces, and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, brown chorizo along with onions, jalapeño, garlic and oil. When fully meat cooked and onions are translucent, add cream cheese, cottage cheese, mustard, pepper and zucchini chunks.  Stir constantly for a few minutes while cheese melts and zucchini gets warm.  Taste to see if it needs salt.  Toss in chopped cilantro if you wish and give it a few stirs.

*Chirizo can be a pretty fatty ground sausage.  To save calories and time (they are already cooked), try using Al Freso’s chicken chorizo sausage.

Chorizo chicken sausage

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Pickles

grandma's painting

My grandma was FAMOUS for her pickles in Stayton! My uncle recently opened up a senior care home in her honor and I had the chance to paint this mural in memory of her in the entry way.

I never had the opportunity to learn from the source how to make them.  But last summer my aunt taught me how to make them. And today I got to teach some friends about them.  Its a fun process, but it takes a few hours.  NO matter how gumptious and quick you are, you need to set aside at least 3-4 hours and bring in a few friends to help in the process.  Its cool to watch the pickles take shape in the jars, they are so pretty and bright. Then when you soak ’em a while in the color starts to turn.

pickles changing color

Marcey’s Pickles

  • cucumbers
  • fresh dill stalks
  • garlic toes (peeled)
  • dried chili peppers (if desired)
  • rock salk
  • sugar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • mustard seeds
  • alum

*Amounts not specified because you can make as few as 3 quarts or as many as you want.

You’ll need to sterilize your canning jars. Running them through the dishwasher will do this just fun.  Let them air dry inside the dishwasher.  The seals need to be brand new, but the rings can be used.

Scrub your cucumbers in a bath of water. Try to removed the pockies.  Using a knife or your fingernail, scratch off the end where the flower used to be.  If you’re using small pickling cucumbers you can leave them whole.  If they are larger, slice them into 4ths or 8ths.  Some times larger pickle’s seeds can be a bit bitter.  So make sure to taste one before hand.

Stuff your jar with a stem of dill, 3-5 toes of garlic, 1-3 dried chili peppers (to desired heat), and pickles.

In a large stock pot, prepare your brine. You’ll make 3 quarts at a time.

4 cups of water

2 cups apple cider vinegar

4 Tbsp rock salt

4 Tbsp sugar

Bring brine to a boil.  Pour hot brine over packed jars of pickles.  Let sit for about five minutes.  While they are steeping, bring another batch of brine to boil. Pour onto 3 more quarts.  Be sure to keep these 3 newer ones separate from the first set.  Pour the brine from the original three back in the pan.  Reheat.  On a back burner, in a small sauce pan, heat some water to a boil and put in your your seals.  Add a dash of alum and an 1/8th of a tsp of mustard seed to the jars.  Pour brine back on top of pickles.  Place the seals on top, and screw on the ring. Repeat this double brining method for all the jars.

Next is the water bath.  You can do this as they come up, or wait until all the jars are sealed and ringed.  For me, it makes things easier to wait until the brining is all done.

Bring a large canning pot of water, preferably with a rack on the bottom, to a boil.  Boil jars in the water for 3 minutes.  Jars should not touch, and the water should be high on the jar, but does not need to cover it.

Remove jars, and turn upside down on a towel.  You should hear them popping.  Let sit until cooled to insure a good seal.

Be sure to clean off the outside of the jars before storing. They will be sticky.  Wait about a month before opening.

pickles

Feel free to be adventurous as to what you pickle.  Cucumbers are not the only thing you can pickle.  Try carrots, beets, cauliflower, lemon cucumbers….

What non-cucumber pickled things have you tried? And what were they served with? Comment below.

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its been a while… Cucumber Greek Salad

Its been a while since I’ve taken time out to post something. So here is a quick catch up!

I have been running around like crazy! In a good way.  Growing vegetables, helping people get healthy, cooking lots of great food, lifting weights and soaking up the sun and basking in God’s glory.

Its been an incredible summer and I am getting kind of sad to see it leave.  But not really. I am excited to get back to school soon.  I taught an art camp last week.  “Sun in the City.” We built a giant card board city, made sundials, built things out of clay and melted crayons! It was super fun!!

cardboard city                         crayon melt

I’ve also been working hard at getting my own body into better shape.  About two months ago, I started taking a weight lifting class and have been putting some effort into that.  After a recent check in, I’ve lost 4.2% body fat! I am super stoked!!! You can almost see that really huge muscle just ready to pop out on my arms!!

musclesI’ve also been getting to know many more people as we walk together on their health journeys.  It seriously has been such a blessing to get to know more people.  And to see them get closer and closer to the life THEY want to lead.  Some incredible successes have been a gal dating again! And another was able to cross her legs! And another client is able to walk up a hill and not huff and puff! And another client is using his health journey to inspire those around him! Its so cool how one person’s decision can affect their own life in little and dramatic ways!  If you’ve ever been curious if health is even possible – let me tell you IT IS! But if you need more than that to believe it, please click here and fill out a Request for Information and I’ll give you a call to chat about what it is you’d really like to have in your health.

Our summer has also been filled with some gardening.  Not too much of our own garden.  Although my amazing husband built me some garden boxes to catch the tiny bit of sunlight we have for some zucchini plants.  But we do have some awesome friends with a huge organic garden that we often gather from.  One night, we had a huge dinner party with veggies from their garden. We made this great salad that I thought I’d share.

Cucumber Greek Salad

Lemon Cucumber Greek Salad

  • 8 lemon cucumbers, peeled
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 apples
  • 15-20 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • the juice from one orange
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Dice cucumbers, tomatoes and apples.  Rough chop basil leaves.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.  Enjoy!!

I have been so excited to see that so many of you are reading my blog, and reading my cookbook! Thank you Thank you!!!  I am working on my next one featuring Zucchini!  What are some vegetables you’d love to see more recipes about? Comment below

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Cookbook!!! I finally did it!

So I was the kid growing up that, Christmas after Christmas, I asked Santa for an Easy Bake Oven! images

Seriously, just ask my mom.  I dreamed and salivated over this!  All my friends had one.  But instead, my mom let me use the real oven.  Now, as a kid, this was not as cool as an Easy-Bake. No where near as cool.  Cakes just don’t have that flair as ones baked by light bulb.  But after years of feeling at a loss, I realized that my mom had given me a better gift than what an Easy-Bake-Oven could have provided.  She taught me how to actually COOK and BAKE.  No “Just mix powder and water” for this girl.  I was doing the real deal.  Betty Crocker Cookbooks_2

Also, I have to mention that not only did my mom let me cook with her.  But I read and day-dreamed a lot through cook books.  I used to read this old Betty Crocker one daily.  I ear marked the page with the gorgeous picture of the club sandwich.  My grandpa used to make those and boy were those like “THE BEST.”  (I wont lie and tell you that my husband and I didn’t order those for room service everyday of our honeymoon) This cookbook really helped shape me into the cook that I am today.  It helped me to see what was possible and what I wanted my house, my home, my family and my friends to have around them.

Now, in college, I studied art.  Don’t get me wrong, I love art. I love painting and printmaking and drawing and crafting. But really I love all that because it involves creating.  I LOVE CREATING.  It brings a whole new spark and joy in my heart.  I love looking at the things I’ve created and saying WOW.  And it also makes me really see how God must have felt when he created us, in awe of His creation. When God made us in His like-ness, He definitely gave me some of His creative genes.

So post college, my art studio has shifted from being filled with overly large canvases, to pots and pans and vegetables and meats.  And now I am creating meals, my true love in art form.  I just listened to a sermon and Jesus and eating.  And again, I feel like things are just being confirmed that me and food go hand-in-hand.  Now, I have to remind myself, that this is all within balance.  I can’t go hog-wild because somebody said its ok.  Jesus ate and drank and was with people.  He loved through food.  I want to be like that.  I want to walk and talk and do life with people over a meal.  I see nothing wrong with that.  In fact, there can be so much good that comes from it.  People get fed, and if I have anything to do with it, I want the food that’s being fed to be healthy and delicious.  I mean, who doesn’t feel loved when they are served a beautiful, healthy meal?

Ok, so lets put this all together. I love cooking, creating, being with people. I want to move past my Easy-Bake oven obsession and more into the realm of Betty Crocker. I used to say when I was younger that I either wanted to be a Kindergarten Art teacher or the next Betty Crocker.  I teach art to kindergarteners, check! Now on to my next goal…

I wrote my first cook book. I hope its the first of many.  Its all about Cauliflower, and will hopefully offer you lots of opportunities to try, experiement, eat and enjoy a vegetable that maybe has been just sup-par or standard for you.  I hope to spice it up a bit!

If you click the picture, you should get a link to download it for your Kindle.  Enjoy!!

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What helped shape you into the cook you are today? What gadgets and cookbooks did you (or didn’t you read) as a kid? Share your story below in the comments.

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Fish Tacos

After both of us being gone this last week, it was time to make a home-made lunch.  I was in Canada on a field trip and Randy was in Arizona consulting a coffee shop.  They were fun trips, but the one thing they seemed to lack, vegetables.  We both eat way more vegg than the average person, and so we were feelin’ it by the end of the week.

Today we hit the market and stocked up.  And made Fish TacosImage

  • 4 cabbage leaves or iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 2-3 white fish fillets, I used Swai
  • 1 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1 carrot’s worth of ribbons (use the peeler to create ribbons)
  • 1 tsp chopped jalapano
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup crumbled mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp jam, I used marionberry
  1. Cook fillets on the stove or on the barbecue, sprinkled with chipotle seasoning.
  2. Chop up fish into bit size pieces and combine with remaining ingredients  (except for cabbage leaves).
  3. Fill each cabbage leave with a quarter of the fish mix.
  4. Enjoy with a crisp cerveza.  

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