General

New Babies and Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate banana bread Chocolate banana bread

Welcome to the world little Larson Alexander Glenn!  I just had my 3rd sweet little baby and he’s adorable.  I have been enjoying more of a break from cooking in the week since his birth, but since I’m nursing I have been HUNGRY.  Like, really really hungry.  And oddly after having a baby I seem to crave chocolate.  This led me to make the above loaf of chocolate banana bread.

If you have some ripe bananas hanging out in your kitchen, there’s nothing more tasty and convenient to make than banana bread; and what’s even better than regular banana bread…chocolate banana bread!

I like to eat this chocolate banana bread as a snack, or even for breakfast with some sunflower seed butter.  This recipe will be chocolaty and moist and have sweet bursts from chocolate chips if you use them.  Add some nuts and some rolled oats and it will be even more substantial.

Fair warning: it won’t taste like cake, which is what most banana breads and muffins taste like these days.  Because I eat it more like a mini-meal and not like a dessert I prefer it this way.  You can vary the sugar to your tastes; with 1/2 cup of sweetener the bread will be slightly sweet, 1/3 cup will be barely sweet, and you could always increase it to 3/4 cup (which is the amount in the original recipe) for a more dessert-like bread.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 – 1/3 cup sugar or honey, or a combination of both
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe banana

By |September 18th, 2014|General, Recipes|

Meal Plan Menu Week of September 7-13, 2014

Meal Plan Menu Sept 7-13

Meal Plan Menu Sept 7-13

I had to post this particular meal plan menu, because it’s a celebration of something I love: traditional Italian tomato sauce!  I didn’t always love tomato sauce, but when I started making it myself (and especially when my Italian husband started to make it in large batches) I really began to appreciate how wonderful and versatile tomato sauce is.

In next week’s meal plan menu, you’ll get a chance to make your own simple tomato sauce from scratch and see just how much fresher and more delicious it is than store-bought options.  Then you’ll get to savor your work in two wonderful summer dishes: the Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan and a Traditional Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.  Sometimes traditional is simply comforting, after all.

 This is the meal plan menu for next week, Sept 7-13, came out this past Thursday morning.  But if you sign up before next Monday and shoot me an email I’d be happy to send it to you so that you can enjoy these delicious dinners:

  1. Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Steamed Broccoli
  2. Super Healing Summer Soup with Greens, Garlic and Chickpeas and Sardine Toasts
  3. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and a Spinach Salad
  4. Brazilian Black Beans with Red Pepper, Kale and Jasmine Rice

Enjoy these meals that are loaded with summer’s best produce.  Along with the full meal plan menu and shopping list, you’ll receive the easy-to-prepare recipes and a calendar for the week that describes how to prepare in advance for a super efficient week of dinners.

Sign [...]

Eat Happy Book Sneak Peak Recipe: Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola Homemade Granola

My new book (available this Fall), Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Food You Love features my all-time favorite recipes, including this homemade granola.  Starting your day with a delicious and nutrient-dense meal is so do-able with this homemade granola!   It takes just 10 minutes to toss together the ingredients, 15-20 minutes to toast in the oven, then you get to enjoy it for an entire week or two – which means zero breakfast prep in the am.  I’ve started making this homemade granola again now that my oldest kiddo is back to school and the morning routine is both earlier and crazier than it was during the summer.

Making your own homemade granola is easier than you’d think, and makes a fast breakfast or a filling snack.  Not only does it taste better than store-bought varieties, it will have significantly less sugar and more of the good nuts and fruits that you like.  I still remember my mom’s homemade granola as one of my favorite breakfasts when I was younger.

If you like crunchy granola don’t add any fat to the mix (oil or nut butters).  If you like a chewier granola, try adding some nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc) or coconut oil.  I’m a chewy girl all the way, and I love that the fat makes for a more filling breakfast.

Have fun experimenting with different fruit and nut combinations, and try mixing it up with spices, too.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger are all great options.  My current favorite combo is: 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter, 1/3 cup honey, and about 1/4 cup [...]

Pizza vs. Real Food, Round 1

Summer veggies saute Summer veggies saute

Let me set the stage: it’s 4pm and I”m madly rushing to finish chapters on the manuscript of my first book, which I’m so excited about.  If I get it done in the next week I’ll have an awesome opportunity to present and advertise my book at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Conference in November, attended by 10,000 people!   So exciting, so cool.  I have to do this.

My 2 year old and 4 year old are screaming at each other downstairs, my sitter is off in an hour, and I’m 38 weeks pregnant, uncomfortable, grumpy, and rather stressed.  Dinner time looms.  I have Eat Happy Meal Plans that I need to schedule in advance over the next few weeks so I can take a mini-break when the baby comes.  The baby room isn’t set up, no bags have been packed, and I’m banking too much on the fact that my other two kids were nearly two weeks late.  I need more time to get everything done.

I have wanted to order pizza for the kids for dinner, pretty much every night for the last few weeks, and tonight is no exception.  The leftovers are gone and I’ve pretty much exhausted my go-to quick and healthy dinner ideas.  They’d love the pizza obviously.  But it’s not going to do them any favors (they’re just getting over a summer time cold), it won’t really do me any favors, as it’s not exactly a go-to food to enhance my productivity (quite the opposite).  My book, by the way, is called OverProcessed and Underfed, and is all about how processed food is [...]

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Crust

Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Crust Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Crust

What better way to celebrate the weekend and the end of blueberry season than with this Fresh Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Crust?  It’s really delicious, and tastes like summer.

I took the girls blueberry picking a couple of weeks ago and it was so fun.  It was the most hands-off I’ve been able to be with them in a long time!  The two year old was completely occupied stuffing herself with blueberries, and my four year old was doing a great job filling up her little bucket!  (Which she later dumped in a mysterious location for unknown reasons, but whatever).

Sometimes when we go berry picking we just eat up all of the fresh berries and don’t get around to doing anything particularly special with them.  This time I just couldn’t resist a blueberry cobbler, and I love the corn and blueberry combination, so thought I’d do a cornmeal crust.  Of course I love blueberry pie too, but it’s so much work to do the crust, and I literally had 10 minutes to throw this together before sitting down for dinner.  Plus honestly I prefer cobbler toppings to pie crust.  Pies are prettier, though, I’ll give them that!

If there’s one thing I do differently when it comes down to dessert, it’s that I pretty dramatically cut down on sugar from the recipes I adapt.  So, if you’re a cut down on sugar kind of person, you might not want to cut down on the sugar from my recipes!  They’re already quite low.  I don’t find that people mind, and especially in [...]

By |August 15th, 2014|General, Meal Plan, Recipes|

Meal Plan Menu for Week of August 10, 2014

Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu and Shopping List Week of Aug 10, 2014 Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu and Shopping List Week of Aug 10, 2014

When I don’t follow my meal plan menus, I’m as lost as anyone else when it comes to dinner.  I end up making the same old thing, deciding last-minute, and ending up with something less tasty after a more stressful process.  Not fun!

With Eat Happy Meal Plan I do the planning for you, although you can still decide which meals are best for you in any week.  It can transform your relationship with dinner, if you let it!

 This is the meal plan menu for next week, August 10-16th.  It came out bright and early this morning into subscribers’  inboxes, but if you sign up in the next few days I”ll email it directly to you so you can still start next week!

I take extra care to make summer meal preparation as quick as possible, which is usually easy to do since summer produce doesn’t require anything elaborate or lengthy.  Next week you can enjoy these delicious dinners:

  1. Roasted Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce with Simple Herbed Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli 
  2. Beet and Blue Cheese Salad with Adzuki Beans and Sunflower Seeds and Summer Melon 
  3. Grilled Shish Ka Bobs with Greek Marinade and a Simple Green Salad 
  4. Tomato Chickpeas with Spinach over Brown Rice 

Enjoy meals that are homemade, fast, nutrient-dense, and full of fresh flavor with this meal plan.  Along with the full meal plan menu and shopping list, you’ll receive the easy-to-prepare recipes and a calendar for the week that describes how [...]

Sneak Peak: Meal Plan Menu for Week of Aug 3, 2014

Aug 3 2013 EHMP menu

 

This Eat Happy Meal Plan menu can transform your relationship with dinner, if you let it!

 This is the meal plan menu for next week, August 3-9th.  Can you believe it’s August already!

This summertime menu highlights summer produce and makes cooking times as minimal as possible.  No one wants to slave over the stove when it’s 80 degrees outside!  These simple recipes will help you stay cool and nourished all throughout the week.  Next week you can enjoy these delicious dinners:

  1. Grilled Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Summer Vegetable and Lima Bean Sauté with Basil and Brown Rice
  2. Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Hard-Cooked Eggs with Whole Grain Toasts
  3. Whole Grain Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Spinach and Summer Melon
  4. Chicken or Garbanzo Bean Salad Sandwiches or Lettuce Wraps with a Simple Green Salad

Enjoy meals that are homemade, fast, nutrient-dense, and full of fresh flavor with this meal plan.  Along with the full meal plan menu and shopping list, you’ll receive the easy-to-prepare recipes and a calendar for the week that describes how to prepare in advance for a super efficient week of dinners.

Sign up today to get your this Eat Happy Meal Plan in your inbox.  You’ll be loving dinner next week!

By |July 31st, 2014|General, Meal Plan|
  • Ripening Blueberries
    Permalink Ripening BlueberriesGallery

    The Organic Debate: Organic Produce is Higher in Antioxidants

The Organic Debate: Organic Produce is Higher in Antioxidants

Another fascinating study has been published, revealing that organic produce is higher in antioxidants than conventional produce.

A large meta-analysis of 340 peer-reviewed international studies concluded that organic foods have several health advantages.  Among them, that organics are higher in antioxidants, have fewer pesticide residues, and are lower in toxic metal content than conventional counterparts.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about antioxidants (research for my new book – more on that later!) and the range of positive health effects they can have.  Hundreds of studies have shown that various antioxidants have the power to improve the immune system, shrink tumors, regulate blood sugar, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improve athletic performance.

The primary job of antioxidants, however, isn’t to help us out, it’s to protect the plant they’re growing in – from pests, the sun, fungi, or other threats.  One hypothesis is that organic foods have higher levels of antioxidants because they have to be a bit more hearty to survive in nature.  Conventional produce has the advantage of various chemicals that do that job for them.  So their antioxidants aren’t as high because they simply don’t need to be.  Supply and demand!

Being lower in toxic heavy metals and pesticides that potentially cause cancer, hormone disruption, or neurotoxicity seem like nice advantages, too.  For more on pesticides check out the Environmental Working Group’s great information.

While organics are likely a bit healthier for the above reasons, it’s still better to eat fruits and vegetables vs. skipping them if conventional is what you have.  Even better, look for local options from smaller farms, who are more judicious about using sprays, use more sustainable farming practices, and likely have better soil quality than some of the massive organic [...]

Chocolate Oat Muffins

Chocolate Oat Muffins Chocolate Oat Muffins

How about a weekend treat with these Chocolate Oat Muffins for breakfast?  They’re verrry chocolatey!  But, not too sweet – chocolate cake this is not.  Rather these muffins are a little more dense, tangy, and filling.  What I love most about these muffins is that they’re a treat, but a treat that you won’t feel guilty about eating or feeding to your kids, because they’re so full of nutritious ingredients.  Unlike a lot of the muffins I make, I actually think these taste best after they’ve cooled down a bit, so you can make them anytime and enjoy them when you’re ready.

The more I bake with alternative flours, the less I miss white wheat flour – it’s so unnecessary in quick breads like muffins and pancakes!  The two most dangerous processed foods out there are white flour and sugar, and these muffins don’t have any of either.   I use a lot of oat flour so I tend to buy it when it’s on sale and keep some in the pantry or freezer.  But you can also make your own using rolled oats – just put them into a food processor and blend until they’re a flour consistency.

If you’re still transitioning to whole grain flours, you can always use a 50-50 ratio of whole grain flours to white flour, which should work well in most recipes without any other adaptations.  You can also use whole wheat flour, white whole wheat, whole spelt flour, etc.  Muffins are forgiving like that.

Chocolate Oat Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oat flour (can use whole wheat flour or whatever flour [...]

By |July 10th, 2014|General, Recipes|

Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice

Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries Chia and Purple Rice Breakfast Pudding with Berries

I am very excited to share this Chia Breakfast Pudding with Purple Rice recipe, because it really helped me break my breakfast rut and is perfect for summer.  It takes so little active time to prepare at night, then no time at all in the morning to pop out of the fridge.  And it feels like eating dessert for breakfast which is always fun.

For breakfast I’m usually pretty boring: a lot of oatmeal during the winter and granola during the summer, and mix it up on weekends with pancakes, waffles and the like.  But I have been getting so tired of my go-to breakfast, and I really wanted something cool and something fast (still rushing one kiddo off to camp most of the week!).  I also really love to get something extra nutritious into my body first thing in the day to start things right, but am not quite at the point of eating leafy greens before 11am.

I have also been reading Mark Fuhrman’s excellent book, Super Immunity, which makes a very compelling case for the healing powers of natural plant-foods.  He has a recipe for Forbidden Rice Pudding, which uses a Chinese purple rice that is actually higher in antioxidants than blueberries!  Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.  Eating antioxidants can have a wide range of health effects, including reducing the risk for cancer, inflammation, aging, and cell damage.  It’s good to eat antioxidants.

This seemed promising; the nutritional power of berries in a rice pudding that can be  made [...]