Spicy Chana Masala

ChanaMasala

I came across this recipe on Happy Herbivore’s page and I wanted to give it a try. I’m so happy I did, because it’s delicious! I was limited on time, but next time I make this I’m going to add organic carrots and organic potatoes (not entirely traditional, but I think they’ll make this dish even yummier :). I will also add a bit of roasted jalapeno as I thought the original recipe was fairly mild. This dish is delicious, easy-to-make, cooks quickly, and everything required to make it is affordable. I had about 1/2 a bowl full of organic baby kale that was left over from lunch, so I added that to my chana masala and it was delicious! Make sure the cans that you are using are BPA free, otherwise you should buy the chickpeas and cook them, and then roast some tomatoes with jalapenos. Here’s the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 whole onion, small
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis 
  • 1¼ tsp coriander or fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (probably a bit more though)
  • ¼ tsp ginger (or fresh ginger)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder if that’s what you have on hand
  • Tiny bit of roasted jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup organic baby kale to have with your meal (I just stirred mine into my plate)

I’d also recommend adding 1 organic carrot (chopped) and 1 small, organic potato (cut into medium sized chunks).

Instructions:

Add vegetable broth or water to a medium sauce pan and saute the onions for about 3 minutes. Add black pepper and minced garlic and continue to saute until the onions are translucent. You will likely need to keep adding vegetable broth or water, so keep these handy. Add cumin, turmeric, paprika, roasted jalapeno, and ginger, and continue to stir the mixture for a couple of minutes.I usually make fresh salsa at home and I always have a bit of roasted jalapeno left over, so I’d use this. You can roast a jalapeno in a toaster oven if you have one – it’s a fairly quick and simple process :). If you’re using ground coriander, add this as well. If you’re using fresh cilantro, I’d wait to add it until the end. Add the chickpeas and  fire roasted tomatoes with the remaining broth or water and stir everything together. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in garam masala or curry powder and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to taste and serve with brown rice or whole wheat pita bread. Enjoy!

ChanaMasalainPot

 

 

My Homemade Salsa

FreshHomemadeSalsa

   {It was super sunny outside when I took this picture, so please excuse all of the shadows!}

One of my favorite things to eat is fresh salsa. I’ve been making it for so long that I’ve grown accustomed to adding spicy, delicious, fresh salsa to my vegetables, whole grains, burrito bowls, and more. My friends and family love this recipe as well. I’ve often posted on Instagram that I top dishes with my homemade salsa, and I’ve since received lots of requests for my recipe. I actually have tomatoes and jalapenos in my garden, so it makes it even easier to enjoy fresh, homemade salsa all the time!

If you love salsa as much as I do, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s not only delicious, it’s healthy, too! Tomatoes are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, as they contain lots of vitamin C, biotin (vitamin b7), vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, copper, manganese – and lots of other essential vitamins and minerals! Tomatoes are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is important for heart health. Like tomatoes, jalapenos also have vitamin C. They also contain capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and have a fair amount of vitamin A as well. Like tomatoes and jalapenos, garlic also contains vitamin C – this is a great way to get your vitamin C year round! The health benefits of garlic are vast, and they range from providing you with essential vitamins and minerals to offering you yet another amazing anti-inflammatory food to add to your diet. As you can see, salsa is not only delicious, it’s also good for you – my favorite way to eat! Let’s not forget all of the spices included in this recipe as well: between the cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, you’re getting even more healthy goodness into your body. Now that I’ve shared just a fraction of the benefits of eating fresh salsa, here’s my recipe – enjoy!

Ingredients:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

8 medium sized tomatoes

1 Anaheim pepper or 1 green pablano pepper

1 small jalapeno

1 small lime

Cilantro

Tiny bit of fresh garlic or garlic powder

Smoked paprika

Cumin

Chili powder

Cayenne pepper (optional) – use it only if  you love spicy salsa :)

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Wash and dry the peppers; place them on parchment paper and put them in the toaster oven or a conventional oven so that they can roast for about 10 minutes. I usually put mine in a toaster oven, but I’ve put them in a conventional oven as well (300-350 degrees should be fine). I love the flavor that the roasted peppers give to the salsa!

While the peppers are roasting, wash and chop up the tomatoes into medium sized chunks. Add 1 small lime, smoked paprika, dash of cumin, a small bit of fresh garlic (I add just less than a small clove – or you can use garlic powder – or both!), chili powder, salt, pepper, fresh cilantro, and taste. I am not including exact measurements, because everyone’s taste buds are different, so please add the spices to your liking :).

Once the peppers are done roasting (this shouldn’t take very long at all), carefully remove them from the oven. I like to remove the seeds from the peppers so that the salsa isn’t too spicy, and I’d suggest doing the same. Anaheim and poblano peppers are both mild, but the jalapeno is fairly spicy, so it’s best to be on the safe side and remove the seeds before adding the peppers to the salsa. I like to cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, and then chop up the peppers into medium sized chunks, and then I add the peppers to the tomatoes and spices.

I enjoy a thicker salsa, so my trick for keeping salsa nice and thick is to blend the salsa in batches on grind – not liquefy. This recipe makes a huge bowl, so I usually have another big bowl on hand. As I blend each batch of salsa in the blender, I transfer it to the bowl that I’ve kept on the side. If you have time, I’d recommend letting the spices settle with the tomatoes before you add everything to the blender. I like to taste the liquid at the bottom of the bowl to see if my mixture needs more salt, pepper, lime, spices, etc. You can also taste the salsa as you blend it to see if it needs more heat. If you don’t want your salsa to be too spicy, add half of your jalapeno first, and then see if you want more. Conversely, if you love spicy salsa, you’ve added all of your jalapeno, and you’ve tossed your seeds, you can add a dash of cayenne pepper. A little bit of cayenne goes a long way, so be careful not to add too much!

Health tip: If you’re dipping tortilla chips into your salsa, pay attention to how much you’re eating. Chips typically have lots of fat, as well as sodium, so try limiting your consumption of them. You can use vegetables instead. I am so tempted to have salsa and chips that I usually avoid buying chips altogether. I’ll have them from time to time, but I’d rather get my fat grams from avocados, nuts, and seeds.

I hope that you’ll enjoy this delicious recipe as much as I have been! Cheers!

Native Foods in Culver City

When I first tried Native Foods several years ago, I have to admit that I was not a big fan of the food. But since so many people kept raving about it, I knew I had to give it another chance – and I am so happy that I did! Now I go to Native Foods about once a week (mainly because I can’t get enough of their delicious tortilla soup!). I’ve tried many of their bowls and handholds, so I want to share some of my favorites, and hopefully you’ll stop by! I live closest to the Culver City location, so I go there the most; they’ve also got locations in Santa Monica, Los Angeles (on Gayley), Palm Springs, Colorado, Oregon, Chicago, Orange County, and San Diego. I’ve been to their location in Santa Monica and it’s just as yummy as the one in Culver City!

This tortilla soup is so good, I could eat a gigantic bowl of it every day and be incredibly happy. I wish I could recreate this soup at home, because then I really would have it all the time! I also wish that I could order it more often at Native Foods, but it is only available on Fridays – TGIF, right? If you want this soup to be gluten-free, ask for it without the tortilla strips, because they are cooked in oil that has wheat/gluten.

NativeFoodsTortillaSoup

 

I enjoy the Bangkok Curry Bowl, which is packed with lots of vegetables, seared organic tofu, and drizzled with ginger coconut-milk. I love that it comes with lots of greens and is served over brown rice. This bowl is filling, and I always have delicious leftovers. I wish I had a picture to share, but trust me, it’s delicious! The menu says that the Bangkok Curry Bowl is gluten-free, but the page that discusses dietary restrictions says that the tofu is cooked in oil that contains wheat/gluten, so double check with the kitchen to make sure that this is truly gluten-free if you have allergies, an intolerance, or Celiac disease.

I also love the Soul Bowl; the menu says that it is back by popular demand, and I can see why everyone else loves it, too. This dish comes with lots of red beans, greens, steamed vegetables, and Native Chicken, but I always get it with blackened tempeh instead of the Native Chicken – and it’s so ridiculously good! The vegetables are covered with vegan ranch and barbeque sauce, but the sauces are not overwhelming when you mix everything up together. The Soul Bowl also comes with vegan, homemade cornbread – yum! I would highly recommend this dish for your next trip to Native Foods.

NativeFoodsSoulBowlTempeh

My boyfriend has gotten the Soul Bowl before. He got it with the Native Chicken, and I did manage to take a picture of it before he started eating, so here it is!

NativeFoodsSoulBowl

I love that Native Foods is sure to offer gluten-free entrees, such as the delicious Baja Blackened Tacos! You get two soft corn tacos filled with blackened tempeh, which is covered in guacamole, cabbage, and a delicious, creamy, chipotle sauce. I love ordering this with the tortilla soup; I’ve also gotten it with a side of the potato salad, which is pictured below.

NativeFoodsBajaTacos

My mom and boyfriend both love the gyro bowl. I’ve had a couple bites of it, and I agree that the flavors of this dish are so delicious! I really like that it comes with lemon garlic sauce and hummus – yum! If I were to get it, I would probably sub the seitan for tempeh, although the recommendation for making it gluten-free is to go with portabello mushrooms and black beans (maybe I’ll try that!). I don’t have a picture to share, but if you enjoy Greek gyros, I imagine you’d enjoy this bowl as well. I will sneak a picture the next time my mom or boyfriend orders this dish, because I know they will!

I tried the Scorpion Burger recently and it was really good. It was incredibly filling and hearty, but that’s because I’m not used to having huge sandwiches. If you are really hungry, or want a super filling sandwich, give it a try! The man working at the counter recommended that I have it with some vegan cheese, so I did. The bread is not gluten-free, but the tempeh is, so maybe you can ask for it on a bed of kale and ask if that will make it gluten-free.

NativeFoodsScorpionBurger

I’ve tried the Roccin’ Moroccan Bowl, but it’s not my favorite thing on the menu. I don’t have a picture to share, but it’s packed with vegetables, just like their other Earth Bowls. My boyfriend does enjoy this dish, so if it sounds like something you might like, give it a try!

Native Foods used to have this Raddichal Farm Salad, but I have not seen it on the Culver City menu in a long time. This salad has lots of grilled radicchio, roasted potatoes, greens, and other vegetables, and it comes with creamy caper dressing, tofu, and shallots. I’m not sure if the other locations are still making this salad, but if it sounds like something you’d like to try, I have a picture to share!

NativeFoodsRaddichalFarmSalad

I would recommend Native Foods for when you want a quick bite that’s affordable, filling, and mostly healthy. If you get the Earth Bowls or one of their salads, you’ll be enjoying lots of vegetables, which is exactly what I love to do! For dessert, try the chocolate cupcake. Sometimes they have a rose cupcake, and it’s delicious, but they always have chocolate cupcakes and brownies, so I would say that you should try one of those if you are a chocolate lover. Go easy on the sauces, but go wild with your greens! If you stop by, let me know if you enjoy your meal :).

Spring Super Smoothies Workshop at Whole Foods Market

WholeFoodsPasadena

Last  night I gave a health workshop at Whole Foods Market in Pasadena. The focus of the workshop was how to incorporate healthy, whole foods in our diet and I  made three different smoothies for people to sample. I am so happy to say that the workshop went well; everyone working at Whole Foods was kind and supportive. The audience was a pleasure to speak with, and I was so excited when Jay, the marketing manager said that he had never seen a group of people so engaged during a workshop at Whole Foods! I love to have interactive workshops, so I was thrilled to have so many people asking questions and being fully present during the presentation.

It’s always fun for me to meet new people who are interested in making healthier diet and lifestyle choices. During the workshop, people learned how different foods affect our health; many people were surprised by all the benefits we get from making simple additions to our diet, including eating more greens, berries, pineapple, coconuts, ground flaxseeds, raw cacao, and more. I had such a wonderful time and am grateful for this amazing opportunity. Below is a picture of all the yummy ingredients I used to make the smoothies:

WholeFoodsMarketWorkshop

During the workshop, I made my Super Green Smoothie, Superfoods Smoothie, and Dessert Smoothie (which I also call my, “Tropical Island Smoothie” because it reminds me of being on vacation on a beautiful island :)).

If you missed last night’s workshop, but would like to attend another one soon, I’ll be giving a health workshop at Whole Foods Market in Porter Ranch on March 25th at 6:00PM. I would love to see you all there!

 

Are You Struggling to Eat Healthy Foods on a Budget?

Pumpkins

For some reason, most people I know think that in order to eat healthy foods, they have to spend way more money on their groceries. When I work with my clients, I take a look at their receipts and see where they can make some improvements when they are shopping, so that they can buy foods that are good for them, but not spend a fortune in the process. Here’s what I’ve noticed: most people spend a lot of money on packaged goods that are marketed as being healthy. When you are trying to save money, the best foods are whole and natural. Below is a list of foods that you should stock up on and some that you should avoid.

1. Beans, Lentils, Rice, Oats, and Whole Grains

These foods will be your best friend. Things like canned beans are inexpensive and when you purchase dried beans in bulk, they’re even more inexpensive. Stock up on lentils, oats, and a variety of rice (try brown rice, brown Jasmine rice, etc.). Not only are these foods affordable, they are also packed with protein, fiber, and lots of vitamins. These foods will keep you full and are a great addition to every meal you make. Try having oatmeal for breakfast, adding beans and rice to your lunch, and enjoying a lentil soup for dinner – yum! Consider becoming a member of Thrive Market’s community, where you’ll be able to purchase healthy foods at wholesale prices. Here you’ll find beans, rice, pasta, lentils, and much more. Thrive Market believes in bringing healthy, affordable food to everyone. In fact, for every person who purchases a membership, a low-income family will also receive a membership. For more information, please contact Thrive Market’s team.

2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The easiest way to save on produce is to buy as much food that does not need to be organic as possible. Broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, bok choy, cabbage, and mushrooms are all powerhouse foods that are packed with nutrients and they don’t need to be organic! Eggplants, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, and asparagus are all also really good for you and don’t need to be organic. There are several fruits that are affordable and healthy, too: pineapple, kiwi, persimmon, and pumpkin don’t need to be organic. Apples, imported grapes, and berries should be organic so splurge on these when you can. From my experience, shopping at farmers’ markets is much more affordable than most other places. And farmers’ markets are great because you know that what you are purchasing is local and in season! I often buy organic kale from the farmers’ market for just $1.00 – it doesn’t get much better than that! Use lots of delicious vegetables to make a yummy stir fry. Enjoy it with a salad, rice, and soup and you’ll have plenty of healthy food to keep you happy and satisfied.

3. Eat What’s in Season

If you’re looking for berries in winter and persimmon in the summer, you’re making things harder on yourself! Find out what foods are in season, and eat those ones. This will help you be in harmony with nature and believe it or not, it will also keep your grocery bill down. Foods that are in season are abundant and often go on sale, so keep a list of what’s in season handy and go from there.

4. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

These are not my ideal choices, but they’re actually really helpful when you’re trying to save money and time. Stock up on frozen vegetables such as sweet peas, okra, and even broccoli. I like to buy frozen, organic berries and keep them handy for when I’m making smoothies.

5. Skip the Alcohol, Sweet Drinks, and Starbucks

Things like beer, wine, soda, lemonade, and your morning latte will cost you a pretty penny in the long run. They’re not friendly on your wallet or your waistline, so do yourself a favor and easily transition out of drinking these unnecessary calories. Try swapping your morning latte for a homemade smoothie, or if you must have coffee, make it at home. Why spend your hard earned money at Starbucks and Coffee Bean when you can make the same drink at home? Plan in advance and watch those savings increase.

6. Limit or Avoid Processed and Packaged Foods

Even though many food companies are working hard to make you believe that their packaged foods are healthy, don’t believe them! Just because a box of cereal has the words, “natural” and “healthy” on it, it usually doesn’t mean anything. Chips, cereal, and other processed foods are often expensive, especially when they’re trying to be promoted as being good for you. Kale chips in particular are way too expensive, especially when you can buy kale, season it, put it in the oven, and make chips yourself. Stick to whole foods, and leave your favorite packaged goods for a time when you can splurge. And when you’re ready to splurge, buy your favorite items from Thrive Market at a reduced price! Enjoy free shipping on orders of $49 or more and be sure to search their vegan products for delicious treats to enjoy.

7. Limit Dairy, Meat, and Sugar

I don’t purchase dairy and meat, and I’ve limited sugar intake, so I feel that these are great places where I save money. I also don’t buy eggs, so that keeps my grocery bills down a bit, too. By the way, if you do eat these foods, this is not a place to skimp on quality. Processed cheese and ground beef are not the way to go when you are trying to save money and eat healthy foods! Think of all the chemicals, additives, and preservatives you’re eating and hop right over to the produce section of your store instead. If you’re looking to replace meat, try organic tofu and tempeh instead. I buy tempeh from Trader Joe’s and it’s only $1.99 a block! Tempeh is filling and I enjoy making things like tempeh tacos and even tempeh sandwiches – yum!

8. Cook at Home

Eating out gets expensive, fast. Try to plan your meals in advance so that you have food at home. I like to make a huge batch of lentil soup on Sunday, so that I have it for the rest of the week. I also make brown Jasmine rice and keep it in the fridge for a few days, so that I don’t have to make a new pot every day. Make sandwiches, wraps, and salads and fill up on things like beans, broccoli, and oats. Splurge on a meal at your favorite healthy restaurant every once in a while, instead of eating out every day for lunch because you forgot to prep in advance.

In conclusion: load up on beans, oats, lentils, legumes, whole grains, and drink water. Purchase as many fruits and vegetables as you can that don’t need to be organic and try as much as you can to cook at home and not eat out. I hope this helps!

If you’re struggling to eat healthier and lose weight, a Health Coach is an amazing resource to have. Learn how to eat foods that are good for you, without spending a fortune. Get the time and attention you deserve to talk about your health and wellness goals with someone who will listen and help you live the life of your dreams and get the body you deserve. Contact me for your free initial consultation and we’ll get you started on looking and feeling your best, now!

Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Diet

GwynPaltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to public scrutiny, especially when it comes to her diet and lifestyle, and she’s done it again: she’s sharing her latest diet with the world and it’s detailed in, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. In this cookbook, which was ranked the No. 1 cookbook on Amazon two weeks before its release date, Gwyneth credits her new way of eating for making her look and feel great.

Critics were quick to knock Gwyneth’s new diet (she refrains from eating gluten, coffee, dairy, eggs, sugar, shellfish, deep-water fish, meat, soy, alcohol, and anything processed) and Gwyneth once again has to defend herself. She states that her hectic schedule and tendency to overindulge in heavy foods caused her to feel stressed out and exhausted. As a way to detox, her doctor recommended this cleaner diet for her – and Gwyneth made sure her family was on board, too. Even though this may seem extreme, I actually love that she finally took the time to listen to her body. While I wish that she would discover a diet and lifestyle that is more balanced, I can’t blame her for being more cautious with what she and her family eat. Of course I wish she would come up with a cookbook that includes recipes for how she eats all the time and not just when she wants to cleanse (every time we eat we have an opportunity to cleanse; we should not load up on junk food and then detox – it’s all about balance – not jumping from one extreme to the next), I applaud her for sharing her journey with others.

We all have our own experience with life and food; the more that we create a safe space for sharing our thoughts and experiences with others, the more that we can all learn and heal.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you want to discover a way of eating that’s right for you so that you don’t have to yo-yo diet anymore? Schedule a free initial consultation with me so we can get you started. Your life is waiting.