Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan
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    Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers, Shaved Parmesan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers, Shaved Parmesan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan Arugula and Steak Salad with Grilled Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan

You know it’s a good food week when your leftover meal is even better than the original meal the leftovers came from – such is the case with this Arugula and Steak Salad. Using leftover Lime-Marinated Steak and grilled onions and peppers from Eat Happy Meal Plan’s Lime-Marinated Steak Fajitas I created this super simple and fast salad.

This salad is really well-balanced: bold steak paired with sweet onions and peppers, peppery spiced arugula, and all tied together with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.  I added a little crunch with some sunflower seeds, and what could be wrong with some shaved Parmesan on top?  (It pairs so nicely with the balsamic vinegar!)

No worries if you don’t enjoy steak – simply sub in whatever protein you prefer – tofu, chicken, or even even shrimp will all work with the lime marinade and ultimately result in a great salad.

Arugula Salad with Grilled Steak, Onions and Peppers and Shaved Parmesan
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4

Ingredients
5-7 ounces arugula leaves
1-2 cups leftover grilled steak, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1-2 cups leftover grilled onions and peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 ounces parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the arugula leaves and spin or pat dry.  Place in individual bowls or a [...]

Sneak Peak: Meal Plan Menu for Week of June 29

Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List June 29, 2014

Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List June 29, 2014

It’s a sneak peak of next week’s Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu!  This is the menu for the week of June 29-July 5th.

We are really getting into summer now and I’m having great fun cooking simple meals with the fresh ingredients that are beginning to abound at the market.  Tomatoes, herbs, arugula, and snap peas are favorites on this week’s menu.  Even better – cook once and eat twice this week by cooking some extra steak and vegetables at the beginning of the week, then make a delicious and super-fast salad with the leftovers later in the week.  I love making menus that save time and effort.

Don’t do steak?  No problem – make the whole week vegetarian by using tofu or seitan, or sub in chicken or whichever protein you like.  They’ll marinate equally well and the recipes will still work (tips on how to make substitutions are included).

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By |June 24th, 2014|General, Meal Plan|

Boost Your Natural SPF With Antioxidants

Various kinds of tomatoes Improve your natural SPF with lycopene-rich tomatoes

Here’s another reason to eat lots of antioxidant-full plant-foods – recent studies are again showing that certain foods can improve the skin’s ability to protect and heal itself – both by increasing its natural spf and by reducing cancerous skin tumors.

One study showed that supplementing the diet with tomato paste reduced the number of sunburns and improved participants’ natural SPF by up to a third:

“A study out of Athens Medical School in England found people who ate about a quarter cup of tomato paste every day, suffered fewer sunburns and raised their skin’s natural SPF by a third.  The antioxidants in dark greens like spinach disperse in your body and destroy free radicals from the sun.”

Food really is medicine in this instance.  Damage caused by the sun is almost instantly fixed by the nutrients circulating around your system from the foods you’ve eaten.

While many people assume that raw foods are always more nutritious, this isn’t always the case – especially for certain antioxidants.  One of the most widely studied and very beneficial carotenoids in tomatoes is lycopene.  Lycopene in tomatoes actually multiples when cooked, so tomato paste – which has been cooked for long periods of time and condensed –  is one of the richest sources of this powerful antioxidant.

A separate study showed that patients who already had skin cancer could reduce their cancerous tumors by over fifty percent with just one serving of leafy greens per day. Isn’t food amazing!  Don’t forget to maximize your absorption of the nutrients in these vegetables by eating them with a little fat- extra-virgin olive oil is the [...]

The Organic Debate: Ask These Fruit Flies

I love this take on the organic debate – as much as a story about an awesome 8th grader as a story about the importance of organic food.  After listening to a debate her parents were having about the importance of organic foods, a middle school student in Dallas, TX decided to design an experiment for her upcoming science fair devoted to the topic.

Go to the full story for details, but in a nutshell, flies that ate organic bananas and potatoes vs. conventional had better outcomes in fertility, stress resistance, and longevity – nearly every outcome measured.  And, organic produce was found to have higher levels of vitamin C.

The study was so well-designed and compelling that it was published in a prestigious scientific journal – pretty cool beans for a middle schooler!

The research didn’t determine exactly what variable led to the different health outcomes – the variance in nutrient levels, pesticide/fungicide residues, and/or natural chemical compounds present on the produce.

In the press the organic debate appears to go back and forth, but when paying attention to the details I find the reasons to go organic very persuasive.  All of the above theories are compelling reasons to seek out organic when possible.

  • Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List June 8, 2014
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    This Week’s Meal Plan ~ Healthy Meal Plans ~ Mediterranean Week!

This Week’s Meal Plan ~ Healthy Meal Plans ~ Mediterranean Week!

Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List June 8, 2014 Eat Happy Meal Plan Shopping List June 8, 2014

I don’t know anyone who cringes at Mediterranean food – it’s so delicious! – so why not devote a week of healthy meal plans to this wonderful cuisine?

This happened quite by accident, as I started with lovely Hummus, Tomato and Avocado Sandwiches, which led to a savory Mushroom and Hummus Soup with Spinach (need to make the most of hummus leftovers!), and then a filling Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole.  Since it’s spring and the local farm eggs are amazing, I added a quick and filling Green Eggs and Ham Frittata to the mix.

Eat Happy Meal Plans are all about eating the most health-supportive ingredients in the most enjoyable ways, saving time, energy, and money.  Each of these meals is prepared in 30 minutes or less of active time, and using the “cook once, eat twice” strategy you can get a super-fast yet completely different meal out of leftovers (this week using hummus).  Homemade hummus is so easy and economical, if you’ve never made it before…let’s just say you’ll be pretty happy with yourself.

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  • Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole
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    Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with lots of good stuff

While putting together the Eat Happy Meal Plan for next week I inadvertently ended up with a bit of a Mediterranean theme – including this Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole.

Mediterranean food is renowned for its health benefits as well as its tastiness and, for lack of a better term, the level of satisfaction this way of eating provides.  Because it’s not deficient in any major food group (lookin at you fats) and includes a lot of variety in foods and flavor, it’s a very satisfying way to eat, which also happens to make it very sustainable.

This casserole is a bit of a smorgasbord of Mediterranean ingredients – kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, cannellini beans, feta cheese (look for authentic goat or sheep milk varieties), fish, and fresh herbs.

You do have to cook the quinoa, but other than that the preparation is as simple as tossing chopped ingredients in a bowl (many of which conveniently coming from the pantry), mixing, then transferring to a casserole dish to bake.  Twenty-five minutes, easy peasy.

Serving of Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole Serving of Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole

Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole with Kalamata Olives, Roasted Red Peppers and Cannellini Beans
From: Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 55 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Serves:  4 with leftovers

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in a fine-mesh sieve
2 cups chopped tomatoes with liquid from about 1 can
3 roasted red peppers, about 1 jar, cut [...]