RANT: Be Grateful

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I used to joke that I didn’t need a holiday to over eat, that I could do that all year long.  I suppose the same could be said for ‘giving thanks’.

pumpkins

It’s nice that we pause, for one day in our lives, to give thanks (and to over eat and drink, yell across the table with loved ones, then sloth-out on the couch and watch football) but shouldn’t we do that all year long? Give thanks, that is.

So, like it or not, here are a few things I’m grateful for. . .and a few things I’m not so grateful for:

GRATEFUL:

Nourishing Food

Laughter

Family

A good story

Puns

Bargains

YouTube and creative comedy

Bass  (the beat to shake your rump to, not the fish, or the instrument, but those are cool too)

Those free return address stickers I keep getting in the mail with a nickel

The wild world web

Nike Commercials

The ability to talk like a hard-core gangsta though I’m a middle-aged, white girl

Ryan Gosling

Not having been to prison

SNL musical parodies

Time travel (when it’s discovered I’m gonna be super grateful–actually I just want to be able to fly somewhere without it taking all day)

NOT SO GRATEFUL FOR:

Junk Mail

Paper Cuts

The cost of a lift ticket

Things that don’t work that SHOULD

That mailmen don’t have more stylish uniforms

Music app commercials—just let us listen to the music, geez, I’m not changing car insurance!

Awkward sunburns (unless it happens to someone else, like my younger brothers, then they’re kind of fun)

The notorious Soccer Player “Flop” to draw a call. Come on guys, we’re losing potential fans!

The neighbor that parks their car so we can’t get in to our garage

Finding a human tooth in a sandwich once

_____________

So while this is the month of gratitude, let’s keep it going all year long!

 

RECIPE: Kale, Celery and Quinoa Salad

I know this is my 3rd variation of a Kale and Quinoa salad, but this is probably my favorite.  Quinoa packs serious nutritionally-rich, protein punch and Kale, well it’s about the healthiest thing you can put in your body! (and has the highest ANDI score)

Kale and celery are both alkalinizing (which means that prevent things like cancer and premature aging!)  The sunflower seeds add additional protein, major fiber, calcium, magnesium, the list goes on!

I dared to take this healthy dish as an appetizer to a party where I knew only the host, and I’ll tell ya’ it was a hit!  The gals there were eager to score the recipe, so, Ladies of Lapaloma Lane, this one’s for you!

kale and quinoa celerey

INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS:

In a small pot add 1 cup of quinoa (or bulgur, barley or faro) and 2 cups water, bring to a boil, then simmer until water is gone.

While quinoa is cooking, In a large salad bowl add:

1 bunch or bag organic kale, washed and de-stemmed
3 organic celery sticks chopped
1/4-1/2 cup sunflower seeds
8 oz Annie’s Goddess salad dressing (or Annie’s Woodstock or your favorite salad dressing; or 1 tub of hummus, 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar as your dressing)
1 Tbsp Siracha (or any ole hot sauce–for you hot sauce haters out there, you won’t even notice it, I promise; Plus, hot sauce revs the metabolism and fights infection!)

Add cooked quinoa to salad bowl and cover with a towel. The warm grain helps steam the coarse kale.

Salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.

Serve Warm or cold. And prepare for a fan club or recipe requests!

Keeps in fridge all week.

RECIPE: Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

photo-9

Ahh pumpkin season.  The time of year when we, as a nation, overindulge and pack on the pounds.  But did you know that pumpkins are a low-calorie vegetable?!

A 100 g serving provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fat.  Pumpkins are rich in dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins. But wait, there’s more! Pumpkins are also a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene and are packed with minerals like calcium, potassium and phosphorus.  This vibrant vegetable is recommended for cholesterol and weight reduction!  So go get your pumpkin on!

You want to enjoy this veggie in a dessert form, but want to steer clear of the pumpkin pie?  Well, you’ve seen pumpkin lattes, so why not a pumpkin smoothie?!

photo-9

In a blender combine:

1 15 oz can organic pumpkin (or 1 large, cooked, soft sweet potato)

1 cup organic vanilla yogurt (or 1 14 oz can coconut milk or 1 3/4 cup milk of your choice)

1 cup ice

1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water if using milk instead of yogurt)

1/2-1  Tbsp all spice or Pumpkin Spice (if you don’t have this, just 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon plus a dash of nutmeg would work)

4-6 Tbsp of maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

1 pinch of salt (trust me)

1  tsp vanilla (optional)

1 cup spinach or kale (optional, but you won’t even taste it)

You play around with the ingredients and see which variation you prefer. Recipe here makes enough for 4.  Pumpkin Yumkin!

RULE: Get Outside

Forrest Park

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about living in Portland, it’s that, except for 2 months each summer,  it is always raining, about to rain, or looks like it’s about to rain.  Most of the time it just looks like it’s about to rain, so I’ve learned to just get outside anyway.  So what if I get a little wet, or completely soaked, as it may be.  There are always excuses not to go outside (it’s too hot, it’s too cold, too muddy…) or not to exercise or not to take the kids to the park, but the truth is WE NEED TO BE OUTSIDE.  Studies now show depression and suicide rates are higher in people who do not spend time in nature.  That’s scary as most of us live inside, work inside and spend the majority of our time….INSIDE.

So what can we do to combat this?  GET OUT!  Plan vacations doing outdoor things picnics, bike rides, hikes, scavenger hunts, (REI rents camping equipment and Craig’s list sells it), go to the park with your family, talk a walk after dinner, eat in your back yard.  Open your windows.  Explore your local parks over your lunch break.

Some cities and companies around the world are building in “nature time” during the work day to keep their citizens and employees happy and healthy.  So instead of a smoke break or a gossip break, or TV time, roll your ole’ bones outside and drink in the wonder! It will keep your brain and your body functioning optimally!

(picture taken by yours truly in one of my favorite outdoor places, Forrest Park)

RECIPE: Good For You Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie profile

For those of us who feel compelled to enjoy the seasonal deliciousness that is: Pumpkin Pie, here is an all natural, healthy, dairy-free version.

I really went above and beyond for this pie pictured here.  I made my own crust, a real coup for me, you should know.

Pie crust Recipe can be found at Smitten Kitchen (or google ” healthy pie crust recipe” or grab a pre made at the store, as long as the ingredients are real).

Sub gluten free flour for a wheat free option.

pp ingredients


PIE FILLING: In a large bowl combine:

3  Eggs

1  15 oz canned organic pumpkin (another recipe for pumpkin pie is on side of the can, but this one’s better, and better for you, trust me)

1/2  13 oz can coconut milk (use ~6-8 oz; I used lite coconut milk; MOST LITE things are filled with artificial sweeteners, not this though, save remainder for a smoothie)

1 Tbsp pumpkin spice (or allspice, or get creative and mix your own, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom concoction)

3/4 Packed brown sugar (I actually used evaporated organic cane sugar, but use sweetener of your choice)

1/2 tsp salt

——

I’m told it’s best to cover the edges of your pie crust with tinfoil to prevent it from burning and bake the crust for ~ 5 min before adding filling, to prevent the center from being mushy.

Pour mixture into your pie crust and bake in pre heated oven at 375 for approximately 40 min.

Center of pie will still jiggle a little when its done, but don’t fret, it will continue cooking while you cool it for 30-40 minutes.

You hear me? Cool it! Don’t go scorching your tongue trying to get a quick taste.

Oh and your house will smell amazing.

pumkin pie half

RECIPE: Hard Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

Eggs are nature’s perfectly packaged nutrient and protein rich little gift.  People used to avoid egg because they were told the yolks were high in cholesterol. Now research has found that eggs also raise the good cholesterol that our bodies need.  So I’m not saying go all ‘Cool Hand Luke‘ on me, but enjoy eggs regularly, don’t fear them!

It almost seems  ridiculous to call it a “recipe”.  So call it a reminder. Hard boiled eggs are your healthy, cheap, quick breakfast, snack or protein fix. Grab and go on your way out the door, or put ’em atop a salad for added protein and to keep you fuller longer. Make a batch to enjoy at your own pace, they’ll keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.

1. Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by at least an inch or two of cold water. Starting with cold water and gently bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking.

2. After a minute in boiling water, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes

3. Either remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water

4. Once cool, roll the egg(s) you want to enjoy on a hard surface to uniformly break shell, peel off shell and enjoy

(I throw a little salt and pepper on ’em)