It doesn’t get much greener than this!!
What makes this smoothie so healthful and energizing is the not-so-secret-anymore spirulina!! Have you heard about this multi-vitamin?! All it takes is one teaspoonful a day to boost immunity, increase energy and support cardiovascular, eye and brain health.
I teach for three consecutive class periods in the early morning, which means I must be on and ready to go. This smoothie not only tastes better than coffee, it’s a healthy, natural alternative to caffeine. It leaves me satisfied and energized for that first essential half of the day!
Try this combination and you won’t even realize you’re drinking healthfully ~ it’s just too delicious!
Coconut Almond Green Smoothie
- 1 tsp Spirulina
- 2 tbs raw almond butter
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 frozen banana OR 1 avocado (if you don’t want all the sugar)
- 2 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2/3 cup filtered water
Mix all of the above in a Vitamix or blender, and enjoy!!!!
A slow-cooked meal is a gift from your early self to your later self. This one makes the house smell extra scrumptious.
I made this for the first time this Christmas season. I discovered it in my latest issue of “Muscle and Fitness Hers” (Jan/Feb issue) so you know it’s healthful!! My family members tried something new this year. Rather than exchange material gifts (except for the young ones, of course), we took turns preparing special dinners for each other. Here is what I decided to make . . . it is a definite repeater. It is, in fact, the best lasagna I’ve made – and it’s healthful, on top of it!!
Slow-Cooked Turkey Lasagna
~ 6 – 8 whole wheat or whole grain lasagna noodles
~ 12 oz 99% fat free ground turkey
~ 1/4 cup red cooking wine
~ 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
~ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
~ 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
~ 6 oz low-fat part skim mozzarella cheese
~ 6 oz can tomato paste
~ 29 – 32 oz tomato sauce
~ 1 cup chopped white onion
~ 2 tsp minced garlic cloves
~ 2 tbsp dried parsley (divided)
~ Mrs. Dash to taste (or whatever spices you have on hand!!)
~ 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook ground turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is browned.
2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, Mrs. Dash and 1 tbsp of parsley to meat mixture.
3. Simmer for a few minutes on low. Remove from heat. Stir in cooking wine and set aside.
4. In another bowl, combine all cheeses with remaining parsley and nutmeg.
5. Spoon one layer of turkey mixture across bottom of slow cooker.
6. Add one layer of dry lasagna noodles (you will need to break them to fit in slow cooker)
7. Add a layer of cheese followed by a layer of cooked turkey.
8. Repeat steps 5 – 7.
9. Top lasagna with a pinch of parsley, cheese, and 1 – 2 tbsp of red cooking wine.
10. Cook on low in slow cooker for 7 – 8 hours.
My mom created this recipe recently trying hard to please yours truly during one of our visits, knowing my affinity for delicious, eat clean food. I brought a batch to work today and received some oohs and ahhs. My lovely desk partner is going to make her husband cook this for her! It’s amazingly good for such a simple little dish. Make this ahead on Sunday and enjoy healthful leftovers throughout the work week.
(got veggies? I list specifics here but go ahead and throw in whatever you have in your fridge. Any should be delish!)
4 chicken breasts
2 red, orange, and/or yellow peppers
6 sweet potatoes (do not peel – clean and scrape off bruises)
1 – 1 1/2 zucchini – sliced (do not peel)
1 large yellow onion – sliced completely into thin wedges
1 cup carrots – peeled, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup grape tomatoes – sliced in half (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Dust the chicken breasts with pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. Place the chicken in an 11 X 7 glass casserole dish. Place the sliced vegetables (exeept the tomatoes) around the breasts in a single layer. Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the chicken and veggies. Sprinkle the entire dish with one more dash of the basil, oregano, and parsley. (or Italian Seasoning). Place in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes, depending on how hard/soft you like your vegetables. If you are using tomatoes, throw them in during the last 10 minutes. Mangez!!
I blend smoothies almost every morning; and, on Saturday morning before working out I really experiment (such as last weekend when I combined avocado and frozen blueberries to make a refreshing green gem.) I never tire of smoothies – maybe it’s because I used to enjoy a shake literally every day for lunch in high school (my pre eat-clean days!) or maybe it’s because smoothies conveniently provide essential vitamins and supplements in one scrumptious slurp.
Well, here’s my latest invention. If you like chocolate and peanut butter, you will LOVE this. This truly tastes like a sinful shake – but it’s super good for you!!!!
Grading Girl’s Dark Coco PB Power Smoothie
~ 2/3 cup plain, nonfat kefir (I recently discovered the probiotics benefit of this “champagne of dairy”)
~ 1 tablespoon oat bran
~ 1 tablespoon chia seeds (I feel like SuperGirl after eating these. Check out how good they are for you here.)
~ 1 tablespoon wheat germ
~ 2 tablespoons Maranatha’s Dark Chocolate Almond Spread (If you go to Whole Foods for only one item, this should be it!!)
~ 1 frozen banana
~ 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
~ a few ice cubes
Blend the above in a blender and BOOM! You have a chocolate/peanut butter “shake” to blast your day off in high gear.
**Want an even stronger peanut butter taste? Add 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
**Want an even stronger chocolate taste? Add a dash of espresso powder.
I’ve been making this dish since I found it in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food a few years ago. I make it often for special people in my life! I’ve cleaned it up by replacing the heavy cream in the sauce with fat free half & half – it tastes just as scrumptious. Buon appetito!!!!
Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage
– 16 oz rigatoni (whole grain or wheat)
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 medium red onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup vodka (optional)
–1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
–1/2 cup fat free half & half
-10 ounces baby spinach
-12 ounces chicken sausage, halved lengthwise & sliced 1/4 inch thick (I use apple chicken sausage)
-6 ounces fontina cheese (4 ounces cut into 1/2 inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated)
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Add spinach, cooking just until wilted. Drain and return contents to pot.
2. While water is coming to a boil, heat oil is a separate skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion, cooking until translucent (approximately 3 minutes). Stir in garlic. Remove skillet from heat, stir in vodka, and return to heat, cooking until almost evaporated (about 1 minute).
3. Stir in tomatoes and oregano, cooking for 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes are falling apart. Add half & half and cook until warmed through (5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and the cubed cheese to the large pot with the pasta. Toss with a large spoon to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into baking dishes (I use one 9 x 13 and one 8-inch square). Top with remaining shredded cheese and parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees until browned and crisp (20-30 minutes).
**To freeze–prepare dish (except the extra cheese on top) and let it cool. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. To bake, do not thaw. Remove from freezer, take off plastic wrap, cover with foil, and bake at 400F for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours. Remove foil, top with additional cheese, and bake for 20-30 more minutes. It truly tastes just as delicious from frozen!!
I made this last night for tonight’s dessert. It is actually good for you while tasting indulgently yummy! I can’t take the credit for this concoction. I stumbled upon the recipe in the November/December 2009 issue of Clean Eating – GG’s favorite cooking magazine, by the way!!! It took me all of five minutes to mix all the ingredients in my blender. This is my “good dessert” for the evening:
Spiced Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 10 (I cut this recipe in half.)
- 2 15 oz. cans 100% pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1-lb pkg silken tofu, drained well
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used sugar-free)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 3/4 tsp ginger, ground
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (I eliminated this ingredient)
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt (I used my very fave 0% Fage!)
- 1 oz dark chocolate, cut into thin shards
In the bowl of a food processor (I used my blender), combine pumpkin and tofu. Process until combined, about 30 seconds. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Process until combined, about 30 seconds more.
Transfer mousse to a resealable container, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Drain any water that has accumulated from mousse. Give it a quick stir and scoop 1/2 cup mousse into each of 10 small glasses or ramekins. Top each serving with 2 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp chocolate. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. (for those extra sweet tooths, fat free Cool Whip works well too)
This tastes like a very gooingly good pumpkin pie without the crust and more of the scrumptious filling!!
Now, my daughter’s palate does not yet appreciate consistently clean eating as I’ve grown to love; her younger metabolism can afford more cheats. Soooo . . . being the wanting-to-please everyone cook that I strive to be, I’m making this “bad dessert” tonight as well:
Thank you to my very kitchen-capable bro who introduced me to this easy sweet treat!
- 1 package Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Vanilla or Caramel Cheesecake ice cream
Place the cookie dough as one sheet in an 8 X 8 pan. Bake according to package directions.
Immediately warm out of the oven, divide the cookie into four parts. Place each warm “cookie” in a large bowl. Scoop the ice cream on top and serve immediately! Hmmmmmm . . . . .
This is one of my favorite desserts of the fall and winter seasons. Pumpkin is so good for you! Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, but it’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E along with lots of minerals including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Wooo . . . that’s alot of punch to this bright orange veggie. My mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember; she, however, makes the delectable original version. Here’s my slightly “doctored,” eat clean version that tastes just as sinful. I’ve included the original as well.
Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (original 2 1/2 cups flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (2012 update: my bro used pumpkin butter which made the cookie denser)
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg whites (original 1 egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla in another bowl. Beat until light and creamy. Mix dry ingredients until well blended with the pumpkin mixture.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Smooth tops of cookies.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.
**Drizzle with your favorite homemade vanilla frosting recipe.
( I combine skim milk (about ½ cup), butter (about 2 tbs), powdered sugar (about 2 cups), and vanilla (about a teaspoon). I don’t have specific amounts. I blend these to taste. 2012 update: My bro just made these for us; he used maple syrup instead of butter for the frosting. Pumpkin & maple syrup combine to form one fine fall indulgence!
I found this in a past issue of Women’s Health and made it the other night so that I wouldn’t have to worry about making lunches for the week. I just savored my last portion for lunch. I hunt for recipes like this that don’t taste as “clean” as they are. The spices coupled with the fresh veggies and tender beef make for a satisfying meal that provide the right ratio of protein, carbs and fat. This can also make for a perfect post-workout meal or delicious dinner.
An A+ Dinner
NUKE-AND-EAT ASIAN STIR-FRY
Time-saving Tip: Make this recipe on Sunday, then freeze it in single-serving portions—you’ll have a healthy “fast-food: meal ready anytime you want it.
(I modified to make it even cleanier by eliminating extra salt, replacing one egg with two egg whites, and using low-sodium soy sauce.)
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 lb beef sirloin, sliced into 2″ strips
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 carrots, sliced into 2″ strips
- 1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced into 2″ strips
- brown rice (you can make a batch of this ahead of time as well and portion it along with the stir fry)
In a bowl, combine the egg whites and 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce, and stir well. Then add the sirloin strips and set aside to marinate. Next, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet while you mix the remaining soy sauce, the cornstarch, and the crushed red pepper in a bowl—this is your sauce, to be used later. Once the skillet is hot, stir-fry the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Then, at 30-second intervals, individually add the carrots, water chestnuts, onion, and scallions. Next, remove all the vegetables from the skillet and place them in a bowl. Put the beef-marinade mixture in the skillet, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the sauce, stirring and cooking until it’s thick and bubbly. Finally, add the vegetables back to the skillet, and cook everything together for a couple of minutes, or until hot.
Let it cool, then place individual portions in plastic containers and freeze. When you’re ready for a quick lunch, microwave the stir-fry for 3 minutes or until hot and serve with one serving of the brown rice. Makes 3 servings
Per serving: 486 calories, 42 g protein (2.2 g leucine), 45 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 7 g fiber
GG’s Tip: You can substitute with other veggies you have on hand . . . broccoli, cauliflour, red peppers . . .
An A+ Dessert
A reader asked me why I only post healthful (not healthy) recipes so I decided to post a more decadent dessert that only seems un GG-like. This is actually fat free despite its creamy richness. So go ahead, we all need to splurge once in a while. Everything in moderation . . . including moderation. 🙂
I love all things cherry – I eat marochino cherries out of the jar, cherry lifesavers are my favorite candy, and I pop bing cherries like popcorn. My mother’s Cherry Delight dessert may have been the dish that started it all. I fondly recall racing my dad to the fridge for the last piece of this no-bake treat. I was working out yesterday, of all things, and was trying to think of a way to give this dish an “eat clean” makeover. I had a taste for it and can’t remember the last time I enjoyed it.
GG sits before you now exclaiming that the experiment worked. I have to say it tastes more sinful than it is. This is a great warm weather dessert that’s always been a crowd pleaser in our family. If you like sweet, if you like creamy, and if you like cherry, check this out. It’s real simple and quick to whip up (unless you’re feeling the urge to make your own angel food cake, like I did):
- Angel Food cake, cut into small cubes (homemade or store bought) ****Don’t forget, there are no egg yolks in angel food cake. That means no fat!!***
- 2 packages sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix (original recipe calls for regular vanilla instant pudding mix)
- approx. 2 cups of pitted Bing cherries (original recipe calls for 2 cans of cherry pie filling) **my favorite cherry pitter is from Williams Sonoma
- 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (original recipe calls for one pint sour cream)
In a 9 x 13 pan, spread half of the cubed Angel Food cake on the bottom. Make the pudding according to package directions (use skim milk). Mix the yogurt with the pudding. Layer half of the pudding mixture on top of the broken cake in the pan. Place the second half of the cake cubes on top of the pudding. Layer the second half of the pudding on top of that. Place the cherries on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. That’s it!
There you have it ~ a family recipe made over into a non-fat decadent dessert!!!!
Two A+ Energizing Snacks
As I illustrate in my post on healthful eating shortcuts, I make as many meals and snacks from scratch as I can to avoid unneccesary additives and preservatives. But who has time to spend hours in the kitchen? Working all day, devoting a couple of hours in the evening to a workout, and spending quality time with my daughter leaves little time for much else. I’m forever looking for easy, quick recipes that don’t require a lot of labor. Here are two of my new favorites that I happened upon in one of my favorite fitness magazines, Oxygen. I made these last week, they satisfied my appetite between meals, and they helped to fuel my workouts. These are “repeaters,” as my daughter would say.
TLC’s Trail Mix
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup banana chips
1/2 cup apple chips
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup carob chips (optional . . . I didn’t have these last time I made this, and it was just as yummy)
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and divide into 1/4 cup servings.
Makes 12 servings
1 cup natural peanut butter (I used reduced fat)
1 cup honey
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1. Combine peanut butter and honey in a large nonstick pot and heat on low until runny. Mix in the oatmeal, apricots and nuts, stirring until all ingredients are well coated.
2. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with waxed paper. Press the mixture into the pan. Let cool, then cut into 16 bars.
Makes 16 servings
Both of these snacks taste more sinful than they are!!!
GG’s Power Protein Shake = A+
I make this at least three mornings a week. It’s my favorite Saturday breakfast right before going to the gym for a nice long weekend workout. It tastes much more sinful than it is. It only takes a couple of minutes from start to clean up too. I’ve also varied this with frozen strawberries and a scoop of strawberry whey protein for a different treat. Go ahead ~ put that blender to use.
GG’s Power Protein Shake
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup water
1 scoop vanilla, cookies n cream, or graham cracker flavored whey protein powder
1 tbs oat bran
1 tbs flaxseeds and 1 tbs chia seeds
1.5 tbs wheat germ
2 tbs natural applesauce
**When I really feel like getting my greens, I add a handful of baby spinach and/or mustard greens. It mixes well and tastes surprisingly good with the banana!!!
A small scoopful of ice
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Breakfast in a blender!
New ‘Nana Bread = A+
What’s a (grading) girl like myself to do when I come home from a great workout with papers ready to grade, new blog pages ready to fill, and a sweet tooth that won’t subside. Well, I found a solution this evening that won’t waste those hours at the gym. I’ve been searching for a healthier banana bread recipe in fitness and nutrition magazines, but never discovered one quite as delicious as the original; the alternatives are either too dry or bland. Thankfully, my sister-in-law solved this dilemna with her latest kitchen experiment – it takes the grade, peeps! Moist and sinfully sweet as dessert yet happily healthy as whole grain. Mmmm . . . this aroma makes the words fly out of my fingertips. . . Try this – no guilt required.
New (Ba)Nana Bread ~
Sift the dry ingredients:
– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (original = 2 cups all purpose flour)
– 2 teaspoons baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3 or 4 ripe bananas
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/2 cup blackberries (this addition is key!)
Mix the following in this order:
– 1/2 stick melted butter (original = 1 stick)
– 1/2 cup Truvia or Splenda blend (original = 1 cup sugar)
– 1 egg, 2 egg whites (original = 2 eggs)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
Add the dry ingredients and the mashed banana mixture alternatively to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Bake in a sprayed loaf pan @ 350 degrees for 1 hour, 10 minutes.