Eat Happy Blog

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 [...]

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry and Celery Salsa

Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry Salsa Sauteed Sea Scallops with Strawberry Salsa

Sea scallops are a wonderfully decadent treat, especially when crisped up in some butter and olive oil.  I love ordering scallops at restaurants on a special occasion, but there’s really no reason to limit them to a restaurant experience; you can make them at home just as well and they’ll be more affordable.

The key to making delicious seafood at home is to start with good seafood, then to not overcook it.  With good-quality seafood I find that it’s actually much easier than other proteins like chicken or steak to prepare.  They have so much flavor on their own that a simple salsa on top is enough to make a restaurant-quality dish.  If you can, buy fresh (not frozen) scallops, which will sear well.  Frozen scallops will still be very tasty, but because they hold on to some water, won’t form that golden crust.

This recipe is from Eat Happy Meal Plan.  Check out the whole week’s menu here.  Sign up and get the other recipes along with the shopping list and weekly planner that will save you time and energy here.

Scallops with Strawberry Celery Salsa
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

1 lb domestic wild sea scallops, preferably fresh (fresh will sear better than frozen, but frozen will still taste great)
3 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into ½ inch dice*
2 stalks celery cut into 1/3 inch dice
2 limes, juice and 1 tsp zest reserved
1 tsp honey, raw and local [...]

Scallops and Strawberries: Meal Plan Menu for July 20

Meal Plan Menu July 20 2014 Meal Plan Menu July 20 2014

Are you ready for Eat Happy Meal Plan to transform your relationship with dinner?

Here’s sneak peak of next week’s Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu!  This is the menu for the week of July 20-July 26th, and it will arrive in inboxes this Thursday at 6am!

Next week you could be enjoying these delicious scallops with an easy Strawberry and Celery Salsa, an amazing Summer Vegetable Tart with an even more amazing homemade 5-minute tart crust, sweet and savory Hawaiian Tuna Stackers with Pineapple and Canadian Bacon, and a simple Quinoa Pilaf made with vegetables you’ve roasted earlier in the week.

Enjoy meals that are homemade, fast, nutrient-dense, and full of fresh flavor with this meal plan.

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

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

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 [...]

  • 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

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


  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).

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

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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.