Veggie-Packed Recipe Round-Up

Last Friday I talked about the importance of eating non-starchy veggies and challenged everyone (myself included) to include more into every meal.

Veggie-Packed Recipe Round-Up

Admittedly, my biggest struggle in this challenge has been adding greens to breakfast. Green smoothies make things simple enough; as do eggs and omelets with sautéed spinach or kale but this past weekend my mom made sticky buns and I had no idea how to incorporate greens with it in a way that wasn’t complete blasphemy. I am (slightly) ashamed to admit that I ended up just grabbing a handful of spinach afterwards and eating it raw. Gotta do what you gotta do though, right?

Anyway, with that in mind, I wanted to share some recipes for breakfast, lunch dinner and snacks that incorporate lots of delicious veggies! I hope this will encourage more of you to join in my #HappyHealthyApril Challenge. This challenge means a lot to me because as we get closer to summer, I see more and more ads and challenges to get that “beach body” and products and companies stressing workouts and diets that “shred fat”. I want to encourage people to focus on self-care and being happier and healthier mentally, physically and nutritionally.

Breakfast:

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro from A Little Rosemary and Time

Poached Eggs Over Avocado Smoked Salmon from Cookin’ Canuck

Poached Eggs and Rainbow Chard on Sourdough Toast from Brooklyn Supper

Breakfast BBQ Tacos from A Little Rosemary and Time

Lunch:

Glazed Beet + Carrot Salad from Sprouted Kitchen

Raw Massaged Kale Salad from A Little Rosemary and Time

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet and Farro Winter Salad from Joy the Baker

Fully Loaded Spring Samosas from My New Roots

Dinner:

Mini Ratatouille with Cherry Tomatoes and Fairytale Eggplant from A Little Rosemary and Time

Leek and Brussels Sprout Quiche from Mitzy at Home

Cauliflower Crust “Pizza” with Chickpea “Pepperoni” from Half Baked Harvest

Eggplant Rollatini from The Iron You

Broccoli, Beet and Kale Brown Rice Bowls with Pesto from The Roasted Root

Healthy Tempeh Tacos Made Easy from A Little Rosemary and Time

If you’ve already joined me in my #HappyHealthyApril Challenge, please tell me- what have you been doing to be happier and healthier this month? Have you been working towards new goals or making changes in your daily life? Have you found yourself struggling with anything? I want to hear from you!

Fit Fridays: Eat More Non-Starchy Veggies!

Hello and Happy Friday! I don’t pay attention to the weather reports so I genuinely had no clue what the weather would be like today. I wondered if it would be rainy again or cold and windy but so far, it looks like a lovely spring day!

This week I started sharing about my #HappyHealthyApril Challenge and if you are a part of my email list, you received an email just for subscribers, talking more frankly about the challenge and my purpose and goals for it. (This is where I point you to my “Subscribe for Emails” link and say you should sign up now so you don’t miss anything!)

In short, I’m really pushing the #HappyHealthyApril Challenge as a way to combat all the negative expectations we start to see as we get closer to summer, aka “bathing suit season”. I want to counter all the diets to get that “bikini body” and the workouts to shred fat and boost that booty. I believe in living a balanced lifestyle and that being healthy and happy is about a combination of mental, physical and nutritional health. We are so much more than a number- so much more than our size, shape and appearance.

EAT MORE NON-STARCHY VEGGIES

So with the idea of health in mind and a happy healthy April, I wanted to focus this Fit Fridays post on a healthy diet, specifically through eating more non-starchy vegetables.

Now, all veggies are inherently good, but non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, eggplant and beets are basically one of the foods you can eat endlessly. Non-starchy vegetables are full of fiber but lower in carbohydrates than starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and winter squash), and thus are lower in calories so they are essentially considered a “free food”. I personally enjoy that I can eat them in abundance. Being full of fiber, non-starchy vegetables are great for maintaining blood sugar levels, aiding in proper digestion and bowl movement as well as promoting good gut health by providing prebiotics, which serve as food for your gut bacteria.

By eating a variety of non-starchy vegetables daily, you are also consuming a variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential to proper health. I’d like to go into detail about the specifics with regards to which vegetables contain which vitamins and minerals and the benefits of each but I’d like to save that for another post.

I’m quite sure you’ve all heard that you should eat more vegetables but – and I know this from personal experience- there’s a difference between knowing and doing. That’s why I am challenging myself to incorporate vegetables into each and every meal (yes, I mean breakfast too!) this month and I’d like to challenge you to do so as well and join me.

To prepare for this, I’ll be heading out shortly to stock up on lots of veggies before I start prepping them by steaming, sautéing and roasting them in batches to make them easy to incorporate into meals during the week. I think my biggest challenge will be adding them into breakfast daily. It will take a little more forethought but I think it’s doable- more green smoothies, maybe adding more greens to scrambled eggs and omelets or maybe some chopped veggies on top of a piece of toast.

As I work through this, I’ll be sharing about it here and on Instagram using the hashtag #HappyHealthyAril- I hope you’ll join me and share what delicious meals you create or healthy habits you are working on mentally, physically and nutritionally.

#HappyHealthyApril Challenge

Yesterday morning, I went for a run outside. It’s been a very long time since I’ve run for any extended time, let alone outside. I generally despise running for any sort of distance or doing anything that might be considered “endurance”. Running is uncomfortable at best- it’s laborious and continuous; your legs start burning and muscles you didn’t even know you had start begging you to stop, your breathing starts coming out in gasping huffs with your chest heaving just to catch up- it’s just not an enjoyable experience. And yet, Sunday night, I made a decision and promised myself I would go for a run Monday morning.

#HappyHealthyApril

While I’ve been getting back into working out regularly and have been narcissistically taking pleasure in seeing my strength return and muscles start to show again (when it comes to short sleeves and tank top season, I’m a ‘Sun’s Out, Guns Out’ kind of gal), I’ve really been avoiding any cardio.

Now for some, running and cardio in general is all about burning calories and slimming down but endurance exercises, such as running, are fantastic for improving your cardiovascular abilities and thus strengthening your heart but also help to activate different muscle fibers (in this case, Type I Muscle Fibers). I want to start running more often to improve my cardiovascular abilities but also to use my muscles in a different way, which should ultimately help me to  strength train better. But enough about the details as to why I’m starting to run again- let’s get to the real point.

The point of all this is that I’ve slowly been making changes and trying to adjust what I do daily to live a happier, healthier life. Healthy lifestyles don’t come from big moments, they come from the little decisions you regularly make each day. So, this month, I’ve decided to dedicate each day and the posts I share to be about being happier and healthier mentally, physically and nutritionally.

I’m using the hashtag #HappyHealthyApril and posting about the journey daily on Instagram and Twitter and if you haven’t already, sign up for my email list where this month I will also be sending tips and tricks for a happy, healthier you!

Anyway, I hope you’ll join me using the hashtag #HappyHealthyApril and share what you are doing to live a happier, healthier life!

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Spring is in the air, I’m already getting freckles and Mr. C can’t stop sneezing.

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Spring is a transition state and so while it’s no secret that I hate the heat and humidity of summer but I’m already finding my mind wandering to thoughts of ripe, juicy peaches and wondering if this year there will finally have a good crop.

I suspect I lust after the ever-perfect peach, with its sweet nectar, the way Mr. C lusts for mangos. Each summer he pokes and prods every mango he sees and will buy from just about every street vendor until he finds one that sells just the right one (hint: “lots of vanilla, little hair”) and then he will remain loyal to that vendor all season.

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Warm, sunny, slightly breezy weather like this reminds me of the Dominican Republic. Mr. C and I went to visit his aunt last June, which happened to coincide with mango season. She had various fruit trees in her backyard including 2 mango trees (along with a mini pack of mango-hungry dogs). At night from our room we would occasionally hear mangos crash down through the lower levels of branches and leaves before hitting the ground with a loud thud. Ones that fell to the other side of the fence onto the main street were immediately snatched up by passerbys but each morning, his aunt, Ellie, would walk to the backyard and pick up the fallen fruit. There were always copious amounts of mangos (in fact, during the 5 days we were there I think I saw at least 12 trash bags full of them- some we ate ourselves, some were snatched up by opportunistic dogs and many were given off to neighbors and friends) and the occasional soursop. During this time, I finally understood Mr. C’s obsession with mangos.

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

While I haven’t found any that even compare to those in the Dominican Republic, sometimes you just have to make due with what you have, or, in this case, make smoothies.

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

I’m a big fan of green smoothies, but I don’t usually post recipes for them these days since it’s typically just a matter of tossing in a handful of leafy greens, some fruit, liquid, maybe some protein power, send it for a whirl and then drink. A smoothie “bowl” isn’t much of a different story; it’s honestly just a glorified thick smoothie but I’m ok with that. The real reason I’m sharing this recipe isn’t for its tropical influence so much as the addition of cilantro. I love adding herbs like basil, cilantro or parsley to smoothies as it brings out a very different sort of brightness to them and seeing as we are getting into spring and herbs will soon be very prolific, it’s a good way to use them up!

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Serves 1-2

1 Mango (Approximately 1 ½ Cups)
1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
¼ Cup Packed Cilantro
1 Cup Spinach
½ Orange, peeled
¾ Cup Milk or Almond Milk

Toppings (Optional)
Chia Seeds
Sliced Banana
Flaked Coconut

In a blender, add mango, rolled oats, cilantro, spinach, orange and milk and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl (or a cup, I won’t judge you) and top with toppings of choice.

Super Green Springtime Smoothie Bowl with Cilantro

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto

I’m currently swimming in carrot tops.

Carrot Top Pesto

The farm I work with recently sold a good 30 pounds of baby carrots they had been growing to a woman to make carrot kraut (which I realize sounds strange, but it’s really quite good). All of the greens were trimmed before they sent them off, so I was called to ask if I wanted any.

I did; I did indeed.

Carrot Top Pesto

While I only took less than half (the rest I gave to a friend of mine who has chickens that simply love them), I still have a large bulging brown paper bag full of dirt speckled greens. Since picking up them earlier this week, I’ve now acquired several more pounds of other mixed greens but that’s a story for another day and another post…

Carrot Top Pesto

I enjoy making use of “waste”, or at very least, I enjoy trying to make use of as much as possible to produce as little waste as possible. Carrot tops, turnip greens, beet leaves, strawberry leaves- they’re all perfectly edible and are fantastic sources of vitamins and minerals. This week has been a week full of green carrot top smoothies and minced carrot top leaves in salads. While I pack a lot into my smoothies I started making pesto to try and cut down the supply before they go bad.

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto

This pesto would make a great sauce over top of veggies but also is fantastic as just a pesto with pasta!

Carrot Top Pesto

½ Cup Packed Carrots Tops (“leaves” only- try to trim the stem portion off)
1 Garlic Cove
¼ Cup Pine Nuts
1/3 Cup Walnut Oil
¼ Cup Shredded Pecorino Cheese
Salt

Add carrot tops (really pack them into that measuring cup!), garlic and pine nuts into a food processor and process until everything is broken down evenly. Stream in the walnut oil and add a pinch of salt. Purée again until smooth. Taste the pesto and add more salt as needed.

Carrot Top Pesto