Recipe of the Month: Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas on the Go

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Making a commitment to healthy eating is never wrong. But many of us find it difficult to maintain that commitment when it comes to lunch. It becomes a battle of reality vs expectation. You buy things ahead and hope to prep each morning, but shoot..kids are uncooperative or nuts, the greens went bad…it just doesn’t happen and frustration sets in. Next thing you know you are at the little fast food place trying to Google what you should eat.

Menu planning can be one of the most useful tools in creating a realistic expectations and outcomes. If I know I am making roast chicken one night (or dashing to the store for a rotisserie one when Plan A fails), I plan to use the leftover chicken in a salad the next day. If I make a larger dinner (like lasagna) one night, I plan on the leftovers being my lunch later in the week. Sounds simple, right? I will not lie and say each week runs seamless, but a menu does allow for me to make plans and allot resources in a more efficient manner than scrambling to be innovative each morning.

Here is an example:

Monday:

Lunch-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice

Dinner-Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach with garlic

Tuesday: 

Lunch-Balsamic Chicken Salad (1)

Dinner: Sausage Lasagna with Roasted Beets

Wednesday:

Lunch-Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed (2)

Dinner- Pan-seared  Salmon with Baked Sweet Potato and Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: 

Lunch-Sausage Lasagna with Greens Salad

Dinner- Bean Enchiladas with Homemade Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

Friday:

Lunch-Cheese Quesadillas with Guacamole

Dinner-Tagliatelle with Roast Chicken, Broccoli and Beets

Is it the most inspired menu? No, probably not. But each item is prepared at home from scratch. You will have control over quality of ingredients and quantity. Less sodium and fat and more fresh vegetables into your diet is never a bad thing.

 

1.Balsamic Chicken Salad

  • 2c Greens (I use baby spinach because it seems to be the best mix of hearty and taste)
  • 3oz roast chicken
  • 1/4c cubed feta cheese
  • 4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • homemade balsamic dressing (1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and salt/pepper to taste; whisk until emulsified)

2. Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed

  • 2c homemade chicken broth (using the bones from the roast chicken)
  • 1/4c pulled chicken (rib and wing meat from roast chicken)
  • 1c cooked brown rice
  • 1 sheet of nori, crumbled

Heat the broth in a sauce pan until just beginning to boil. Add the rice, chicken and crumbled nori and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 mins.

 

 

 

Recipe of the Month: Herbal Bitters Tonic

 

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Angelica

The holidays are often a time of indulgence. Too much of this, too little of that and you can find yourself feeling out of sorts. Bitters have been used for centuries to promote healthy digestion. While many people associate them with an addition to cocktails, they also have several curative uses. They contain herbs (like angelica, licorice and/or dandelion) and aromatics (orange, lavender or ginger) that help soothe and restore over-taxed digestive systems. You can either make your own or buy a pre-made version (my personal favorite is Urban Moonshine).

Herbal Bitters Tonic

  • 8oz Sparkling Mineral Water
  • 1 tsp fresh pressed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh pressed ginger juice
  • 1/4 tsp bitters

Mix and enjoy at room temperature. While there is the tendency to want to put this over ice, it will help the digestive system more to consume at room temperature. Enjoy this tonic once daily before or after a meal. Often the herbs in bitters are contraindicated for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please ask you provider if you have any questions.

Recipe of the Month: Elderberry Syrup

Shorter days, more inside time and colder weather take a toll on the immune system. Elderberry syrup can help with immune support and has been shown to shorten the duration and severity of illnesses. It is a tart and tasty supplement that is easy to make.

  • 4oz Dried Black Elderberries
  • 4 c Water
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1 1/2 c Molasses or Raw Honey

 

  1. Add water, berries and honey to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer for 45-60 mins.
  3. Strain mixture into a jar (discarding the berries and ginger root) and allow to cool.
  4. Once cool, add molasses or raw honey.

This blend will be slightly different from the store bought varieties. The amount taken will be the same (1tsp for maintenance, 2 tsp for active illness). The molasses contains minerals like magnesium and iron as well as B vitamins. The local, raw honey can also provide  allergy support. It just depends on your needs and taste desires. Molasses can be an acquired taste. But either way, you will have something that will help your family through cold and flu season.

 

Recipe of the Month: Ayurvedic Postpartum Porridge

From an ayurvedic perspective, the mother is supposed to rest and recuperate the first 42 days after childbirth. During this time she should eat soothing and lubricating foods that restore inner heat and keep the mother hydrated. Today, we will look at an easy to prepare breakfast staple that will encourage healing and milk production.

Cook Time: 30-40 mins

1/2 c rolled oats

2 c water

1 tbsp of ghee (clarified butter)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp fenugreek

1/2 tsp ground ginger

maple syrup to taste

Cook the oats and water for 30-40 minutes. The ending porridge should resemble a thin soup. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the remaining ingredients. Should be eaten warm, but not too hot. Adding chopped sweet almonds would also add additional pacifying and healing qualities, in addition to protein and milk production benefits. The oats and the fenugreek also promote lactation. The ginger and the cinnamon are warming and promote healing. Bring this dish to a new mother…and then do some laundry and hold the baby while she eats. 😉

 

Recipe of the Month: DIY Natural Sunscreen

As Summer winds down and we prepare for cooler temps, we may forget to be as diligent about sun protection. But using sunscreen is no less important in daily life. This recipe provides you with an easy, safe and effective sun screen that is free of harsh chemicals and/or additives.

  • 1/2 c jojoba oil
  • 1/4c shea butter
  • 1/4 c beeswax
  • 2 tbsp of non-nano zinc oxide
  • 1 tsp carrot see oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil

Place all ingredients but zinc oxide in metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan with water on medium heat (bowl should not be touching water in saucepan). Warm gently until all ingredients are melted. Slowly incorporate the zinc oxide in the warmed mixture. (Use mask as not to inhale the zinc oxide dust.) Once the mixture is well incorporated, transfer to air tight jar. This product should be good to use for up to 6 months. It will need to be reapplied following swimming and activity.

 

Recipe of The Month: DIY Natural Cleaners

In the spirit of detoxification, we will look into your cleaning cupboards. Many of the widely used cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that not may harm you and the environment. Taking steps to eliminate these cleaners creates a healthier, happier home.

All Purpose Cleaner

Fill spray bottle and use to clean kitchen counters and ceramic surfaces. The lemon and vinegar cut through grease and mess.

Toilet Fizzies

  • 1c Baking Soda
  • 1/2c Citric Acid
  • 30 drops each of Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint Oils

Use a mask and gloves to mix the dry ingredients. Hand mix in essential oil blend until mixture holds together. Spoon onto parchment paper or into silicone mold to dry overnight. Store in air-tight container. Use as needed to freshen and clean your toilet.

Fruit and Vegetable Spray

  • 2c water
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice

Even organic produce may have residues from transit. This simple spray can help remove residue and food-grade waxes on your fruits and vegetables. Mix the water and lemon juice in spray bottle. Spray on fruits and vegetables. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Rinse in fresh water to remove spray.

 

Recipe of The Month: Wellness Tea Blend for Seasonal Allergies

Many of us dread each allergy season as a time where we must choose between toughing out our symptoms or taking an over the counter medicine that may make us feel foggy and sleepy. Luckily there are natural ways to help relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies without the side-effects. This simple tea can be prepared each day to help boost the bodies own natural defenses. This custom blend contains herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties that will nourish and soothe the nasal and breathing passages.

  • 3 tbsp nettles
  • 3 tbsp peppermint
  • 3 tbsp lemon balm
  • 1 tbsp ginger root (dried)

You can buy these herbs in bulk here. Blend the herbs evenly in a large bowl and store in an air-tight jar. Each morning add two teaspoons of the loose tea to a tea ball or reusable tea bag. Add 2 cups of boiling water and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. You can add a teaspoon of raw, local honey for sweetness and additional allergy fighting benefits. (This tea blend may not be appropriate for pregnant mothers or those actively trying to conceive.)