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Cooking with Love

New Year, new you?

Brooke Hagerty

(1/2016) Let's face it at the start of the new year we all have wonderful ambitions of eating right! All very wonderful intentions but things don't always work out as planned and our new years resolutions are usually by the wayside within the first sixty days of the year. A big part of this is not because of a lack of wanting to change but by a lack of planning. All good things need a plan.

So lets talk about our proper eating plan. Notice I did not call it our diet plan. The word "diet" itself can have a negative connotation and can tend to make us feel bad about the shape we have gotten ourselves into. Therefore, this is our Proper Eating Plan. The first thing we need to do is clean house in our kitchen. Go through your pantry and get rid of the items that you know just don't belong in your belly. You know what I am talking about, the chips and other unhealthy snacks. Then do the same thing in your refrigerator and freezer. You will be surprised at how liberating this can be!

Now it's time to restock! Perfect pantry items include items like whole grain or brown rice pastas, quinoa all natural almond butter in place of peanut butter. Oatmeal, dried and canned beans and nuts are all amazing items to have on hand. And the recipe ideas are endless for all of these items!

Our refrigerator also gets a makeover. Now that we have cleaned out the "bad" in our cold storage units we can reload with some amazing items. I am sure you have all heard the old saying about the more colorful your plate the more nutritious it is. Well, it is the same thing for your frig and freezer. I know that I just recently restocked my refrigerator and it is a sea of greens and yellows, oranges and reds!

These are great raw in a salad or also as a quick saut with a zing of ginger for an unexpectedly amazing flavor. A plethora of peppers again, raw or sauted are a great addition to any meal. One of my favorite items to have on hand at all times is the ever popular avocado. What I love so much about the avocado is that believe it or not has a relatively long shelf life. When you are picking your avocado's be sure to get varying degrees of ripeness. I always try to buy a couple of hard ones and then a couple more that are a little riper. Once they have ripened on your counter to your desired ripeness you can store them in your refrigerator for up to about ten days.

Let's not forget about our freezers. My freezer routinely has lots of frozen berries. They are perfect for juicing and can have more nutrients than there fresh counter parts as once they are frozen they do not lose any nutrients. Fresh fruits and berries begin losing their nutritional value as soon as they are picked as they are not being fed anymore by mother earth. One of my favorite juices is filled with things I have written about in this article; baby spinach, frozen berries, avocado and cashew milk all blended together make for a great mid day snack or lunch replacement.

Eating healthy does not have to be hard or time consuming AND it definitely does not have to be boring. Juicing is a great way to fill your tummy and get your day started or as a mid afternoon snack.

Remember our colorful refrigerator and freezer redo for the month? Try this great recipe using items from both for a pick me up any time of the day!

Protein Shake

Ingredients

  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 avocado or 1 whole banana
  • 1 handful of your favorite frozen berries
  • 1 tablespoon each hemp meal and chia meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk

Combine all of the ingredients in your blender or juicer and mix to desired consistency. Note: the avocado or banana adds a special creaminess to this amazing beverage!

Mediterranean Style Quinoa

Another great and simply delicious choice is Quinoa. This wonderful grain is packed with protein and oh so easy to prepare. When purchasing your quinoa do not get the flavored ones, be sure to get organic. If you would like to add a little more color to your dish get the tri-colored quinoa. This recipe does not have quantities; base it according to the package directions on the box of quinoa.

Ingredients

  • Tri-colored quinoa
  • Red, yellow and orange peppers - diced
  • Vidalia Onion - diced
  • Minced garlic
  • Kalamata Olives - rough chopped
  • Feta Cheese
  • Fresh basil - shredded

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, saut your peppers and onions in a little bit of EVOO and white wine and garlic. Once both the quinoa and the pepper mix are complete combine together in a separate bowl. Add in your Kalamata olives and fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste and top with shredded fresh basil.

This is a great side dish for salmon that is grilled or roasted with a generous amount of fresh lemon juice (I suggest 1/2 lemon for each piece of salmon). Garnish with lemon zest and serve over the quinoa mix.

Twice Baked Potato

Ingredients

  • 2 whole baking potatoes or sweet potatoes, rinsed
  • EVOO, Montreal Steak seasoning, lemon pepper, fresh garlic and rice wine vinegar
  • Low-fat cheese of your choice
  • Green onion, thinly sliced on the round

Pierce holes in potatoes and rub with EVOO and Montreal Steak seasoning. Wrap in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes. Once potatoes are fork tender remove foil and slice in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out inside of potato and place in a mixing bowl To desired taste, add Montreal Steak seasoning, lemon pepper, garlic, white wine and low-fat cheese. Once mixed together scoop back into potato skin, top with a little cheese and melt in oven. Remove from oven and garnish with green onion.

As always, should you have a question, an idea for an article or are in need of my personal chef/catering services please contact me at brooke@thefoodchick.biz. Be sure to check out my website, www.thefoodchick.biz.

Until next month, Happy Eating!

Read other articles by Brooke Hagerty