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Dates! 5 Reasons Why You Need to Add Them to Your Pantry.

July 13, 2015

Dates have become a staple in our kitchen. I love them for so many reasons. The best reason of course, is that they make a F-A-BO-LO-US sugar alternative for a multitude of recipes. They’re especially good to sweeten up my morning green smoothies. Not that Kale, Collard Greens and Spinach aren’t sweet enough on their own or anything… 🙂

But, if their sweetening benefits weren’t reason enough to find a place in your pantry for these little guys, here are a few more:

Dates. Up close and personal.

  1. They are incredibly “fiber rich” (aka, they’ll may help you become “regular”!) Why does this matter? Because the dietary fiber found in dates helps to move waste smoothly through your colon – gross stuff like LDL (bad) cholesterol and other crap containing cancer-causing chemicals – neither of which you want in  your body.
  2. They keep your eyes healthy. My mom not only has melanoma, she also has suffered from early onset macular degeneration for years. But, do you know what helps fight against macular degeneration? Yup. Dates. I had no idea either. The B-vitamins contained in dates, such as the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, absorb into the retina to maintain optimal light-filtering functions and protect against macular degeneration. You like seeing, right? Yes, me too. So, eat a date and get your Vitamin A.
  3. Dates are great for muscle recovery. If you’re actively participating in a favorite exercise routine or about to get started. Muscle recovery is super important.
  4. They are the healthy sweet option.  Fruits, such as dates, are important both for what they offer and for what they do not offer. California dates are sodium-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free! Trifecta!
  5. Bow-Chickie-Bow-Wow. I cannot make this stuff up. Apparently, studies have shown that dates are beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. Organic Facts, suggests soaking a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk over night, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey and drinking it for the full effect. Who knows! It doesn’t hurt to try right? (Honey, if you see goat’s milk in the fridge later, now you know why!)

 

But don’t take my word for it. Do your due diligence and check out these reliable sources:

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/dates.html
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/17923-nutritional-value-dates/
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/natural-foods/natural-weight-loss-food-dates-ga.htm

 

 

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Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Hangover Helper Smoothie

June 29, 2015

Okay, okay. So, this is not going to cure your hangover, but it definitely will fill your depleted body with the yummy goodness, nutrients and vitamins that you need to start your week. Get some.

I know I needed it after my celebratory birthday weekend of adult beverages and processed food.

Enjoy!

Ingredients List

Prepping the Vitamix!

Prepping the Vitamix!

2 cups Kale
2 cups Collard Green
1/2 cup Parsley
3 Celery Stalks
1 Anjou Pear
1 Peach
1 small Avocado
3 Dates (or more if you want it to be sweeter…like my preference)
1 tablespoon Hemp Seed
1 cup Almond Milk
Water (as much as you need to get to the desired/preferred consistency
Plant-based protein (optional)

Recipe Steps

  1. Add liquid to blender then pile on other ingredients and BLEND AWAY! (If you have a high voltage blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec this will take no time at all. For other blenders it may be more of a gradual process and consistency may still be grainy.)
  2. This recipe blends a full batch. I take one to work and store the remainder in the fridge for the next day. Do not store for more than 48 hours as there are no gross preservatives in here.

 

Hangover Helper Smoothie

Et voila! Enjoy!

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating Simply Wholly Living

Three Bean Salad with Balsamic Reduction

June 22, 2015

Seriously this recipe is so yummy.

I made it for Father’s Day and it was a hit. Such a quick and easy lunch too. Enjoy!

Recipe Ingredients

1 can (15 oz) BPA-free black beans, rinsed and drained

Rinsed and drained beans

Rinsed and drained beans

1 can (15 oz) BPA-free garbanzo, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) BPA-free kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, chopped super fine
Unrefined sea salt to taste
1/2 balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons organic maple syrup OR raw honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons organic Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup fresh and finely chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to your preference

Recipe Steps

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Reduce to medium heat, then add the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. The shallots should become very soft.
  2. Pour the balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to a mixing bowl and stir up well. Add the mixture to the saucepan and let us reduce by about half.
  3. Pour the sauce on top of the beans and stir well so they are all nice and coated. Add parsley and toss well. Season with salt and pepper based on your preference.
  4. Allow the beans to sit a room temperature, cool off and the flavors blend together before serving. (I personally love these at room temperature or a little warm!)

Enjoy!

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating Simply Wholly Living

Crunchy Salmon Burgers & Honey-Vinegar 3-Bean Salad

May 19, 2015

This was a labor of love but so worth it. Perfect for a spring/summer lunch or dinner. Pair this with your fave white wine (or water, like I did) and greens and you have yourself a patio worthy meal.

Salmon Burger Ingredients

Salmon Burger Ingredients

Salmon Burger Ingredients

1 cup whole grain flake cereal
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup red bell pepper
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (14 oz.) can Wild Alaska pink salmon, drained and bones picked out
Unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh cilantro cilantro
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salmon Burger Recipe Steps

  1. Do yourself a favor and get all your ingredients diced, measured etc. before starting this recipe.

    14oz. can Wild Alaska pink salmon

  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set it aside for a bit.
  3. Put the cereal in a blender and blend into fine crumbs. Then split the contents in half. (Just eye ball it.)
  4. Heat up 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the red pepper and sauté for another couple of minutes.  (Check that the heat is not getting to hot and turn down if needed. The onion and red pepper should be softening but not turning super brown.)
  5. Next stir in the flour and cook for about a minute before adding in the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and cereal crumbs.
  6. Now, add in the salmon that you have already drained and deboned. Break up the salmon really well and watch for any bone that you may have missed. Stir all ingredients together as evenly as possible.
  7. Season with the salt, pepper and then form the mixture into 4 burgers.
  8. Pour the remaining crumbs into a mixing bowl, add the last tablespoon of oil, cilantro, parsley and parmesan. The coat each burger by gently pressing the mixture into each side.
  9. Place each burger on the baking sheet and bake in the over for 20-25. They should be a nice golden brown color and crispy on the outside.

Tip:
If you don’t have avocado oil. No biggie, Use olive oil or another of your fave oils that can be use do to cook at medium-high heat.
If you are not a parsley or cilantro fan, it’s not a problem. Use whatever you prefer or don’t. This recipe is really flexible which is my favorite part.

3-Bean Salad Ingredients

2 tablespoons avocado oil (not shown in picture)

Black beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans

Black beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans

2 large shallots, minced
2 tablespoons peele and grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 packages (10 oz.) BPA-free beans (like Jyoti’s pictured) rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen organic corn, thawed
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt, to taste

 

3-Bean Salad Recipe Steps

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or so until everything softens nicely.

    Rinsed and drained beans

    Rinsed and drained beans

  2. Add the well-drained, 3-bean mix and corn to the skillet and stir well. Then put into your favorite serving bowl.
  3. Mix together the honey and vinegar and pour over the beans and coat well. Season with salt. Serve as-is, at room temp, or chilled! Any way you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it! Crunchy Salmon Burgers & Honey-Vinegar 3-Bean Salad

Crunchy Salmon Burgers & Honey-Vinegar 3-Bean Salad

Crunchy Salmon Burgers & Honey-Vinegar 3-Bean Salad

 

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

6-Step Snack: Almond Butter Chews

May 17, 2015

Whipping up this treat is super easy and super fast. And my son loves them. That’s a recipe trifecta!
This recipe was actually part of my Purple Carrot delivery that was gifted to us from one of my husband’s former clients. Incredibly kind and generous and we are very grateful.

Almond Butter Chew Ingredients

Almond Butter Chew Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 brown rice syrup
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1/4 raisins or cranberries

 

Recipe Steps

  1. Add all of the almond butter to a microwave safe bowl and melt for about 30-40 seconds.
  2. Pour in all of the brown rice syrup and give it a stir.
  3. Gently fold in the puffed brown rice cereal.
  4. Add your raisins or cranberries and mix gently to form a dough.
  5. Roll into balls by taking about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and coaxing into 1 inch balls. You should be able to make about 14-15. (The instructions that came with the recipe said to wet your hands before rolling the balls, but I didn’t. Probably why I thought the “rolling” was a bit difficult.)

Tip: Wedding bands, rings, etc and this dough are not friends. Take the jewelry off.

And voila! In 6 steps, you’ll end up with a batch of Almond Butter Chews just like this…

Almond Butter Chews

Almond Butter Chews

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Shrimp Tacos with Lime & Coconut Cream

April 24, 2015

Seriously. It’s Friday and it’s been a hell of a week. So, you know what? I’m eating dairy and something sweet.

And I.FEEL.NO.GUILT.AT.ALL.

Shrimp Tacos with Lime & Coconut Cream

I hope you enjoy this yummy goodness as much as I did tonight.

Ingredient List

Bag of thawed raw and deveined shrimp*
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 Chobani  coconut greek yogurt
1 diced avocado
1 diced mango (Hint: How to peel a mango)
Quinoa Tortillas**
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
10 oz of your favorite white wine

*Try to find a brand without Sodium Tripolyphosphate. I used 35-40 count but get more or less depending in how many you are feeding
**You would have to make these ahead or time or buy your fave gluten-free or whole grain brand.

Recipe

  1. Grab yourself a strainer and a bowl. Pour the bag of thawed shrimp into the strainer and drain out the extra liquid. Then begin the tedious, but really rewarding task of peeling each piece.
  2. Toss the container of the yogurt in a bowl, add one tablespoon of the lime juice and the honey and mix on up. Then be sure to taste it because it is flippin’ good. And then you can add more lime or honey to your preference. I personally like a little more lime. Set aside.
  3. Grab your mango and peel it. Then dice it and set aside.
  4. Then grab your avocado and peel it. Then dice it and set aside.
  5. Grab your wine. And drink. You deserve it.
  6. Snatch up a handful of the fresh and fragrant cilantro and chop on up. You will use this as garnish on the tacos before you serve or you can add some right to the coconut/lime cream you just made. Your preference.
  7. Heat up the coconut oil in a pan over medium/high heat. (You can test when the oil is ready bring adding a drop of the lime juice in the pan and seeing if it sizzles a bit.) While you wait take a sip of wine.
  8. Add the peeled shrimp to the pre-heated pan. Stir frequently adding in both the salt and pepper. You know the shrimp is cook when it changes in color on all sides from translucent to opaque. This really only takes a few minutes per side if your pan is giving off medium high heat.
  9. Take a gulp of your wine or 2. This is a judgement free zone.
  10. Once you are sure that the shrimp is cooked (which means leaving it in the pan for 20 minutes if you are my husband. “Just to be safe.”) then throw in the remaining lime juice and give it a stir to coat everything.
  11. Now you’re ready to assemble! So quickly grab that glass o’ vino because you won’t get another sip for at least 100 seconds.
  12. Grab one tortilla, add shrimp, layer on a spoonful (or 3) of the cream, a few pieces of mango and avocado and a garnish with cilantro.

Tip 1: If you need something a bit heartier, make some quinoa in advance as a side or as a layer in the taco.

Tip 2: Be sure you buy coconut oil that can handle high heat. If not, follow the oil’s heat settings so you do not burn anything. Burnt coconut oil is awful.

Now, get back to your wine!

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Seriously Easy Gluten-Free Protein Bars

April 18, 2015

This past week I spent my stay-cation at home with my husband working on our laundry room. Needless to say, I need a vacation.

But, if I had planned correctly, having these bars on hand would have made our snacking needs a lot easier. Instead I am making now for the week. At least, I will have super healthy snacks for the week.

This recipe is so easy.

I do suggest you find the 9×11 pan or use a 9×13 if you like thinner bars rather than brownie thick bars. The last time I used a smaller pan because I was afraid of over-cooking and they were a bit too thick for my liking.

Now, go preheat your oven to 350 and find your pan.

Ingredient List

1 cup almond, peanut or cashew butter (Whatever you prefer!)Easy gluten-free protein bars
3 ounces vanilla protein powder (You can go plant-based as well. I used what we had on hand.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda

Steps

  1. Be sure to pre-heat to 350. Spray your cooking pan. I use EVOO from a mister rather than a cooking spray. It does not affect the taste!
  2. Use an electric mixer to mix, almond/cashew/peanut butter, protein powder, and maple syrup. Beat in both of the eggs.
  3. Then add the oats, coconut and baking soda. Be sure to allow the baking soda to really mix in thoroughly because a mouthful of baking soda tastes straight-up awful. Moving on.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes (ish). Baking is not an exact science.  And depending on a bunch of variables, I will not bore you with, it may be a minute more or less. I like my bars a bit more firm, so I tend to cook on the higher end on the time – even maybe a little extra. Again, totally up to you.
  5. Take the pan out and LET IT COOL before cutting. I promise I already screwed this up more than once which is why I am warning you. I am just too impatient. But if you cut too soon, your lovely bars come out like an amoeba-shaped creatures and crumble apart. Let them cool so that the firm up nicely. Then cut into nicely shaped bars.
  6. Grab an air-right container and store for the week. Boom. Done!

I especially love these along with a piece of fruit and my green drink for breakfast because Lord knows I never have time to actually sit down and make a hot breakfast for myself in the morning.

 

Enjoy!

 

Simply Wholly Eating What's on my plate

What’s on Deacon’s Plate?

April 6, 2015

Here it is folks. A typical dinner for the wee one. He eats whatever we eat – for the most part. And there are plenty of nights that means omelets because, who has the time?

In this pic we got a little bit of a lot including: Avocado, grass-fed beef, BPA-free beans, Na-nana (AKA: banana) and blue-blues (AKA: blueberries). He probably also got some starch of some sort but, I forgot to photo it. Or maybe he didn’t because I forgot to make it.

I should mention that I hardly ever make dinner for my son but this is one time I got the chance to. My hubby gets home much earlier than I do and manages “Dinner Duty” amongst everything else. (Thanks, honey!)

The point is that dinner does not need to be complicated to be simple and whole.

What's on Deacon's plate

A Day in the MS Life Just Because What's on my plate

Happy Easter!

April 5, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, I call this piece of art made by my mother-in-law, “I am human”.

And yes, I ate one. And I loved it. Every last bite of it.

 

Easter cupcake

Simply Wholly Eating

The Dollars and Sense on Going Organic

March 31, 2015

Since starting this blog I get a lot of questions about the food I eat.
Especially about organic food and our family’s choice to eat organic and why it costs such a god awful amount over “regular food”. So, let’s clear a couple things up.

Farmers Market Strawberries

Do you always eat organic?

Look, there is no question in my mind that if and/or when I can select organic food, I do. There are a whole bunch of reasons and plenty of data to back-up the benefits of going organic. That said, if budgets or accessibility are an issue – AND THEY ALWAYS ARE – then just choose the best options you can! Your health is all that matters. And a banana over a candy bar is always the better choice. And no, we don’t always eat organic. It’s just not possible all the time – for us anyway. Besides, I still really really love cookies.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for a healthier lifestyle, no get-better-quick pill that is going to cure all of your ailments forever. (Although the pharma industry may not agree with me on that one.) So as you start down this path to a healthier, more wholesome life, in addition to being kind to yourself during the process, you should not create unnecessary blocks like committing to only organic food. It’s not necessary. What is necessary is committing to healthier choices. A commitment to yourself because you are totally worth it.

If you want to buy some things organic but are not sure where to start, check out the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15 lists from the Environmental Working Group to guide you. I love this site.

Why is organic so damn expensive?

Organic food it too flipping expensive. But most folks think that it’s because these (typically smaller) farms want to milk every penny they can out of us for healthier food. That’s just not the truth though.

Here are some of the reasons that organic food costs more. A bunch more can be found here*.

  1. Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do.
    Therefore, the price of organic food reflects actual cost of growing this food. There are no breaks for them. (So, if you use pesticides and other types of un-natural food stuff to grow your crops (conventional farming), you get a credit from our government, so you can sell your food cheaper. But, if you want to grow food free of all the nasties then, you’re shit out of luck. No breaks for you and the consumer gets stuck with the higher prices. Awesome how that works.)
  2. Organic farmers pay to have their farms certified and regularly inspected to label their food as organic.
    And you guessed it! Conventional farmers don’t.
  3. Organic farming is WAY more labor and management intensive.
    If you are not using all the “short-cuts” to yield fruitful crops, then you need more people, more time intensive methods, and more expensive processes. Period. (The best things in life are free. Except organic food.)
  4. Much better living conditions for animal and live stock.
    Have you ever priced out or purchased grain-free food for your pets? Well try doing to that on a farmer’s budget, with no government credits, longer processes, more people, less short-cuts and a hell of a lot more animals to feed. The bill adds up.

But if you get as fed up as I do about it, there are always options. Check out LocalHarvest.org, enter you zip code and find farmers markets near you. Cut out the middle man and save yourself some mula. Or checkout Thrive Market and get the food delivered to your door at wholesale prices. Who doesn’t like not having to go to the grocery store!

 

 

*I never thought I would share anything that originated from Fox News, but there is a first for everything. And it actually happens to be accurate.

Note: Any sites, links, vendors, etc. that I link to are not paid endorsements. Just me running my mouth about things that have made my health journey more manageable. However, if any of the said sites, links, vendors are reading this and want to pay me. Let’s talk. 🙂

 

 

photo credit: Fresh Strawberries via photopin (license)