During my time this winter cooking at a retreat center in Costa Rica I realized how many people don't know how to create a healthy well balanced MEAL (especially one without meat!).
"Meal" meaning not just one dish, but two to three foods that create a well balanced and full meal. Or in other words...side dishes to accompany a main course.
As a retreat chef and nutritionist that plans meals (and a passionate foodie!) I have learned how to take a main course and combine it with sides to make a healthy vibrant meal.
It is not a lot of extra work and makes a plate more nutritious, colorful, and delicious! So if you want to impress your family (or yourself!) here are a few plant based meal ideas for you to try. The recipes are linked from some of my favorite bloggers that I think you will enjoy.
PRO TIP: do a batch cook night so that you have ingredients on hand throughout the week. For example boil sweet potatoes, roast veggies, cook brown rice and quinoa, make your fav salad dressing, and cut up any veggies on hand to make week night prep easier!
PLANT BASED MEAL IDEAS
Creamy carrot soup with vegan Thai salad in peanut sauce and optional brown rice.
Sweet potato black bean quesadillas with mango salsa and cole slaw.
Lentil soup with brown rice or quinoa and Moroccan carrot raisin salad.
Soba noodle bowl with cucumber side salad.
Fattoush salad with Baba Ganoush and toasted pita chips.
And just for fun, here is an incredibly easy dessert that received rave reviews at the retreat center in Costa Rica...
Banana nice cream with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.
Put the nice cream in a pretty glass dish, top with a drizzle of agave syrup, and then wedge in a cinnamon sugar tortilla triangle. It looks so fancy, but is oh so simple!
Do you have any favorite entree and side ideas? Please comment below!
PHOTO by Stacey Hamblett (me!) at Kindred Spirits in Costa Rica.
Combining nourishing practices like mindful eating and listening to your body with foods that support rather than deplete will naturally make you healthy, strong, and full of vitality!
For the next 6 weeks pick one tip per week to commit to and build into a new habit. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.
Source Local and Seasonal foods. Get to know the farmers in your area and shop at the farmers markets. A great resource is LocalHarvest.Org. Visit their website to find farmers markets, CSA’s, recipes, cooking programs, community gardens, and more.
Another great resource to find out what is in season is on SeasonalFoodGuide.org. Visit their website for a printable guide of seasonal foods, markets, and more.
If you live near me on the beautiful seacoast of New Hampshire then check out my favorite resource for local and seasonal foods, Seacoast Eat Local.
Host a Pot Luck. Invite family, friends, and/or co-workers over to join you in a community feast. Not interested in hosting one? Check out sites like Meetup.com to find like minded individuals hosting potlucks in your area.
Eat Mindfully. When sitting down to eat, fully be in the moment of eating. Involve all your senses in the art of eating. Feast your eyes on the vivid colors of the food. Smell the enticing aromas. Notice the texture and feel of the food. Allow the taste to linger on your lips and your tongue. Chew well and enjoy everything the food provides. Then allow it to nourish and fuel your body, mind, and spirit.
Follow Tradition, Learn a New Tradition or Start Your Own. Does your family have certain traditions that you may have lost touch with? Do you not have any traditions or customs around food? Get back in touch with and honor family traditions, learn a new tradition from another culture, or start your own and pass it down.
Eat with Nature. Take your meal outside. Eat on the patio or pack a picnic basket to go. Cook over a natural fire. Use items found unaltered in nature and use in your meals (add edible flowers to your salad, sprinkle chopped pine needles in pasta, enjoy wild foraged foods like dandelion leaves).
Listen to Your Intuition. Start listening to your body and the needs of your body. Notice the difference between being physically hungry versus psychologically hungry. What does your body want? What does it need? Are you overeating because food is ‘’free” and available to you? Or are you grounded, secure, and safe in your body and know what it needs to be nourished and well fueled? Learn to trust in yourself and your body’s inherent wisdom.
**This blog post is an excerpt from my eBook titled Eat to Nourish & Support your Beautiful Vibrant Life. If you want a free copy (includes a dozen recipes!) email me and let me know what recipes you are looking for as I am working on the next eBook!
It’s the New Year and you want to make healthy living your new norm. This means developing habits that nourish and fuel your body so that you can wake up every day ready to positively take the world on. You want to live life to its fullest, adventure, be wild, feel energized and exude vitality right?! Yes!
Here are 5 new habits to get you there this year:
Habit #1 – Wake up, fuel up.
Start the day first and foremost in gratitude that you are alive. Deep breath, stretch, smile. This day is gonna be awesome. Ditch the coffee and try a hot lemon water with a pinch of cayenne. Your cells with plump up and say thank you. Make yourself a pot of warm oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.
You just owned this morning.
Habit #2 – Stop the rush, sit down, chew your food.
Yes I said it. Sit down, take another deep breath, and enjoy doing nothing but eating your lunch mindfully. This may seem weird to you (and your co-workers) at first, but you will come to enjoy this once you notice how well your body digests and utilizes nutrients when you are relaxed and actually chew your food.
Take THAT mid-day slump.
Habit #3 – Bypass the office cookies, eat a healthy snack.
Now that you started your day right and ate a healthy lunch you will want to continue the good feeling by powering up the mid-day with energy boosting snacks. Try making your own granola bars, trail mix or other homemade energy snack. These types of snacks will give you the boost you need to get you ready for the after work marathon/indoor climbing/cross training session (insert whatever kick butt activity you like).
Afternoon adventure, here I come.
Habit #4 – Refuel from your kick butt after work activity.
Your body loves protein after a good workout so hydrate with lots of lemon or cucumber water (yes it sounds spa like, but your body will love you if you add cucumber slices to your water bottle), then make a protein packed smoothie. Good choices include banana, peanut butter and almond milk or strawberry, banana, and almond butter with spinach, chia and either hemp/whey added.
Feeling strong, loving life.
Habit #5 – Relax, nourish, love.
You made it through the day full of vitality so now it is time to relax and nourish your body. This may mean something different for everyone. What does it mean for you? Maybe a yoga session, meditation, tea at a local café with friends, drawing, taking a bath, reading, playing music, watching football, cooking…. Whatever it is take time to do it. Wind your body down, nourish it with good food, and express love.
Girl, this day was awesome.
So there you are. Five simple habits to living this year and every year full of vitality, adventure, love, and life. Now go positively take the world on!
I hear so many people say "I am not a chef" and I tell them "You can be."
We all cook every day for ourselves, our families, and our friends so every single one of us has the ability to be an amazing chef. All it takes is a little training and a lot of playing....Oh and passion is important too.
I am not one of those chefs who went to culinary school, or had a parent/grandparent who taught me how to cook, or who grew up in a kitchen. I just liked food and I liked to create, so I began playing.
An old college boyfriend who is now a good friend still makes fun of me because of a chocolate peanut butter cake that I baked for him in college which was lopsized. I kept trying to tell him it was because of my tiny oven, but he didn't believe me. I didn't let that get me down. I kept playing.
And because of my passion for food and the nourishing art of it, I kept finding work in the field. I got a job as a bread baker and never once baked a loaf of bread, helped open a vegetarian cafe in a foreign country when my main background was only in baking, became a pastry chef at a fancy pants restaurant when I was only a casual baker, and recently created a successful line of To-Go foods for a company with 9 locations thus somehow making me an Executive Chef.
I am still amazed that I am a professional in the culinary world simply because I love food and I love creating. I don't make perfect cuts in my veggie prepping, my knife skills aren't that of Julia Child, there are some foods I still don't know how to cook, and I tend to make a total mess in the kitchen, but again that doesn't stop me.
I love food and everything about it. It nourishes my body, my mind, and my soul. It connects me to nature, to my community, and to the world. It nourishes, it heals, and it allows me to express love and gratitude. And that is how I am a Chef.
So if you want to bring out your inner chef (because you definitely have one), but you just need some training, then join me in cooking classes in 2018. Together we will learn this playful, fun and nourishing art of cooking. And combined with skills, play, and learning to tap into your intuition, I will guide you into finding your passion in the kitchen and harnessing that amazing Chef within.
Currently I have a few classes on the schedule at the Frinklepod Farm Cooking School in Arundel, Maine. Sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Facebook to stay tuned for upcoming classes. Classes will also be posted on my website too. If you have any questions or are interested in a private class please contact me!
Now LETS COOK!
In a recent cooking class I used the dried powder of a root called Maca to enhance the malty caramel notes in a raw truffle. Ok well I also used it to boost the libido of those who ate the truffles too, tee hee.
When I told my students this their eyes lit up and they all acted like giddy teenagers. Of course they all wanted to know more about this interesting plant that only grows naturally in the mountains of Peru.
Maca is a vegetable that has been used as a food and medicine by Peruvians for thousands of years, over a 100 years in Chinese medicine, and is now rising in use in the global market...and for good reasons. It is thought to be an adaptogen herb that boosts libido and fertility, reduces the stress response, balances hormones, aids in anemic conditions, and is an all around tonic.
The root of the maca plant is the part primarily used and is dried into a powder. This powder is creamy yellow in color and has a malty flavor to it. The way Westerners use it is to add it to smoothies, shakes, raw desserts, porridge, and baked goods. The Peruvians generally would boiled it, ferment it, and make a porridge.
Whether the Western way of just adding the dried root powder works as effectively as the boiled and fermented version is something for you to simply experiment with and see. I have personally experienced and heard from clients that the dried root powder has worked great. All happy clients for sure!
If you are interested in learning more about this plant here are some good reputable sources. This article from the University of Michigan is short and sweet. But if you want solid info and research data, check out this article from the National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health.
If you are already sold and want to explore this amazing plant's tonic and balancing properties, then go to your local health food store and purchase a quality brand of maca root powder. Again you can add it to your favorite smoothie recipes, hot oatmeal or quinoa porridge, raw truffles, or protein shake. Or check out The Maca Team website for a database of recipes and ideas.
And comment below if this herb brings you any magic ;)
Love and vitality to you....
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.