RECIPE: Goat Cheese and Chard Rolls

WARNING: This dish is super Yummy.  It does have more steps and ingredients than what I’m comfortable handling, but if I can do it you can do it. A client sent me this recipe from “bite this” and I’ve made it 3 times this month, impressing my dinner guests (and myself) each time!

I did have to go to 2 different grocery stores to get the ingredients, but that’s only because Trader Joe’s didn’t have fresh mint (a key ingredient) and chard.

This dish tastes like a magically scrumptious lasagna.

chardroll chardrollfilling

2 bunches of chard (about 6 leaves in each)

2 cups brown rice (I used TJ’s jasmine brown rice)

1 packed cup of arugula

1 small 6 oz goat cheese sleeve

1/2 cup chopped mint leaves

1 cup cooked lentils (I used TJ’s ready to serve, but bet use could use a canned version)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup grated parmesan

2 Tbsp Olive oil

1 16 oz jar of marinara sauce (you choice, I used 3 cheese TJ’s)

chardrolls

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  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with olive oil for non-stick. Set aside
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. While the water is heating up, remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise. Trim the ends from the leaves to make each leaf-half about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. Add the chard leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Remove the leaves and rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  3. For the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown rice, arugula, goat cheese, lentils, mint, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and garlic. Season with additional salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling onto the end of each chard leaf and roll up like a jellyroll.
  5. Spoon 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil or dot the top with butter, if using, and bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through, about 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Now, go get your chard on!

chardroolcooked

RECIPE: Great Green Salad

arugula and cucumber salad

By now, hopefully you’ve gotten the memo on eating more greens! Greens boost immunity, prevent cancer, give us energy, and pack a powerful nutritional punch to keep our bodies functioning optimally!  So figure out ways to include them in your meals EVERY DAY!

I usually start my day with a spinach smoothie and have a salad with my lunch.  Below is a simple green salad I love because it ‘s easy to make (heck, it only has 3 ingredients), it tastes delicious (because I use what ever dressing I’m loving at the moment) and I know its great for my body!

Bowl full of arugula (use romaine or spinach or mixed greens if you prefer)

1/2 to 1 avocado cubed

1/2 small cucumber or celery stick sliced

FAVORITE DRESSING (mine is either Annie’s Goddess or Trader Joe’s Champagne dressing)

You can add feta or onions or anything you choose to make it YOUR favorite!

RECIPE: 7 Easy Exercises for Travel

I want to keep you guys fit while on the go!

All that sitting (on planes, buses, cars and while dining) makes us pretty weak and floppy!

So below are some simple exercises to keep your core strong and your balance good!

You can do most of these on the plane, in the boarding area, on a train, bus, or car, at your desk! or in your hotel or living room!

1) Sit in a chair, stand up, sit back down, stand up. REPEAT 10-20 times. Do this 3 x day

(try not to rock forward or push off with your hands)

Challenge: do this without a chair, instead of sitting, squat! (Form: Hips go no lower than knees, and don’t let knees go beyond toes)

2) Sit up straight in a chair. Tighten your stomach. Without using your hands, and with knees bent, lift one foot off the ground about 3-5 inches.  Set it back down. Now lift the other foot. REPEAT 10-20 times. Engage your core as you do this!

Challenge: hold for 5 seconds or pulse 20 times. Or lift both feet off at the same time! No leaning back!

3) Sitting or standing.  Extend your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing each other.

Tighten your stomach while you scissor your arms (cross them, left on top then right on top)

quickly do 30 reps (Keep elbows straight!)

Challenge: do this while doing lunges

4) Sitting or standing.  Extend arms out in front of you. Keep them straight. Make little circles. 10 reps rotating arms out, then 10 reps rotating arms in. Repeat 3 times.

Challenge: do this while in a Sumo squat (knees and feet turned out)

5) Stand on one leg. Lift opposite knee towards your chest, then reach foot behind you, tap foot to the ground, lift knee towards chest, repeat 10 times each side. (try to remain standing straight, don’t lean to one side, that’s cheating!) Challenge: bend knee of standing leg and don’t tap floor in between

6) Standing, hands on hips. Tighten Stomach. Bend slightly forward, then bend to Right, then lean backwards, then lean Left, then bend forward again. Repeat in opposite direction. Do 5 times each direction.

Challenge: do while standing on one leg

seated exercise

And don’t forget to stretch!!

TORSO STRETCH:

Sitting in your chair. Twist upper body to the right, hold and take 10 deep breaths.  Then twist it to the left and hold for 10 deep breaths(as shown in photo). Repeat.

NECK STRETCH:

Point your chin to the ceiling and hold. Point your chin to the floor an hold. Roll R ear to R shoulder, then roll L ear to L shoulder.  Bring head back up to neutral. Look over L shoulder. Look over R shoulder.

RANT: Wants and Needs

Sing it with me! “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes… you get what you need”
Awwww yeah.
mick jagger
Sometimes what you need and what you want coincide:
“I need a vacation” and “I want a vacation” or
“I want to take a nap” and “I need a nap”  (hypothetically, of course)
But more often than not, what you want and what you need are diamterically opposed:
“I need to work out, but I want to go for cocktails” or
“I need to go to work, but I want to stay in bed”.
 “I need to drink more water, but I want a mocha frapacino”
What are you not doing for yourself because of wants?
Are you letting your family suffer as your wants supplant need:
“My kids need more vegetables, but I don’t want to hassle with them, so I’ll just let them order fries”
“I need more sleep so I won’t be so moody, but I want to keep facebook stalking”
Check in with what you truly need and why you want what you want.
A lot of time we want something because our needs aren’t being met.
(I want an ice cream sunday, but really I need a glass of water, or more sleep, or to feel loved)
What we want is not as important as what we need
Meet your needs first, then entertain wants!

RANT: Give a Little Thought

balloonsFor those of you who celebrate Valentines Day, or feel the need to recognize your loved one with something sweet, this year consider something other than the the trite box o’ chocolates. Don’t get me wrong, I like real chocolate as much as the next addict, but most of what’s being peddled this time of year ain’t really chocolate (it’s milkfats, additives and sugar with chocolate flavoring).

My favorite idea for a Valentine’s gift EVER was conceived by my very clever best friend, Kelly, when we were in high school.  I decided I was going to fill my boyfriend’s jeep with red and white balloons, so she and I drove out to his house Feb 13th, while he was sleeping, way out in the country only to find a locked jeep in his driveway.  I ended up breaking his car door trying to get those things in, which I ultimately did. I got pulled on the way home by a sheriff because I had a head light out, and my boy friend was late to his morning basketball practice because his jeep door was broken and he had to clear all the balloons out of his car before he could drive it.

Kelly, on the other hand, gave her boyfriend a gift for each of the senses.  A framed photo for his eyes, Drakar collogne (or was it Cool Water?) for his smell, a CD for listening, I can’t remember touch, maybe a massager?, and she probably did include a heart-shaped red metallic box of candy for taste….but I’m sure that was because he really special!

So get creative. And take the “eat” out of V-l-n-ine’s Day!

RANT: Food Addiction

I totally ‘get’ addiction. I can fully relate to patients who struggle with substance abuse.  There are desserts I’ve tasted that I would knowingly steal and sell my mother’s jewelry just to taste again. There are days when I ‘need’ chocolate, and will rummage through cabinets and drawers with the same tenacity as a junkie searching for ‘smack’.  If under extreme duress, a plate of warm, fresh-baked, chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream atop could tempt me to devious sexual acts…I’m just sayin….

But narcotic use and alcohol consumption by addicts is called abuse.  And usually results in a rapid decline in health, morals and finances.  ‘Using’ is considered taboo, irresponsible, even sad; and is illegal. With food addiction, you aren’t ostracized and you won’t die a fast death.  In fact, you are encouraged by every commercial, every relative, every waitress and social occasion to over-indulge (or abuse food).  So you unknowingly experience a slow decline in health, physical fitness, and esteem.  A slow, unhealthy death.

If I approached abdominal sculpting or telethoning with the same gusto I approach ingesting delicious food, lets just say I’d be one washboard-ab-having-fundraising fool! (and much thinner). But there is something deep in the brain, perhaps my satiety center, that lights up like Disneyland on the 4th of July when deliciousness meets my mouth.

I now know, that same chemical reaction in the brain I experience with sugar, is what happens when a person uses cocaine or heroin.  Sugar is like a drug to our brains and I can’t seem to get enough.

Until I do. More than enough.

Then I’m sick. And full. And I say “remember this feeling, and don’t do it again”, but I do it again. Just as the heroin addict finds another needle.

But no one is going to feel sorry for a food addict like they do a drug addict.  Yet there are millions of us out there abusing food.  Where and how do we get help?  Help is Here