Get Loaded

Get Loaded!

Crisp air, the leaves are starting to change color… Autumn is here and along with it comes my cravings for comfort food! My recipe of choice today—loaded baked potato soup, but wait! I’m a health coach—there must be a way for me to make this yummy soup and feel proud of it.

Soooo… here you go! Get loaded with my baked potato soup, it’s everything you love about a baked potato loaded with cheddar, bacon and chives!

Potatoes, bacon, cheese   oh my!  I knew I had to hide a vegetable in this soup to bulk it up without added calories. My attempt was cauliflower and it was a winner. It really made me feel like I was eating a loaded baked potato, without all the guilt.

I confess, cauliflower is NOT my favorite vegetable, but because of its health benefits I have been looking for a creative way to incorporate this veggie into my food. Cauliflower and potatoes are wholesome vegetables, loaded with carbohydrates, protein and Vitamin C. The Vitamin C in these veggies makes them great antioxidants which repair cells in the body— plus increasing your Vitamin C might also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Trust me, if I was able to trick myself into liking cauliflower in this delicious dish, I’m sure it will please even the toughest critic in your home. Give it a go!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 10 tbsp reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 tbsp chopped chives, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can use turkey bacon if you prefer)

Directions:

Peel potatoes, cube and boil in water until tender.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to pot. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil. Blend to puree until smooth.

potato soup1

Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheese, remaining chives, and bacon. *This would also be great topped with broccoli and cheese if you prefer to forgo the bacon.

potato soup2

Enjoy!

In health,

Johanna

Great Granola Bars

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Here is a healthy recipe that you can add to the “healthy snacks” list! It’s perfect for on the go and super easy to make. I made about 20 of these this morning and bagged them for snacks. This recipe comes in handy no matter who you are or where you plan on eating them. Its perfect for the office, sending your kids to daycare, road trips, before sports, study snacks and breakfast. It’s also vegan for those looking for healthy vegan recipes. It’s so natural and healthy that guilt won’t haunt you after you’re done.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars
1 can coconut milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups rice krispy cereal
1 cup dried cherries
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond slivers

In a large bowl combine oats, rice krispy cereal, and cherries. And set aside.
In seprate bowl combine coconut milk, brown sugar, and honey. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Pour mixture over oat cereal mixture and stir well.
Quickly stir in dark chocolate chips.
Press into a cookie sheet or large sheet type pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Let cool

Press again and let sit in fridge for 1 hour before cutting into bars.
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Make-ahead and storage: Keep cut granola bars in an airtight container for up to a week. These bars are moist and won’t dry out as the days pass.

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Enjoy!!

In health,
Johanna

Less Wheat = Less Weight

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore… but wait… did I just say PIZZA? Get ready to fall in love with my latest recipe! Fall in love with flavor and leave the wheat!Looking for less wheat in your life? Perhaps a medical or health practitioner has suggested the change. Maybe you have a member of the family who has an intolerance or allergy. Or it may be as simple as a ‘gut instinct’, urging you to explore ways to feel better in your body.

Whatever your reason, reducing or eliminating wheat or gluten can tremendously enhance your quality of life. Countless people suffer needlessly from the consequences of gluten intolerance, enduring a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and weight gain. Relief may come easily through altered food habits – but you won’t know until you try.

If wheat free is something you are considering, try going gluten free as a nutritional experiment – try it for a week and see how you do 🙂

But before you decide, let’s discuss the benefits…there are multiple benefits of enjoying a gluten free or wheat free diet. Going wheat or gluten free is a great opportunity to increase whole food variety in your diet. Modern processed foods, (the ones in packets), often made with a few basic refined, over-processed and adulterated ingredients, especially wheat and corn. Whole vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, seeds and lean meats have more nutritional goodness than refined products, plus they contain a ton of vitamins and minerals.

* Eating healthier food can actually cost less, especially if you eat more seasonal vegetables. Plus you will literally get more value in nutrients per mouthful, than processed snacks and meals.

* Your body will thank you for it. Unpleasant symptoms may vanish, cravings can disappear, and many people find their weight going down.

* Your family will be blessed by your newfound passion in the kitchen. Get the kids involved in making some of the healthier sweet treats, and you’ll be sure to convert the skeptics.

Okay, so where do you start?
* Become a label reading detective. Even better is to reduce your intake of packet products and increase your use of wholefoods. Introduce one new ingredient and recipe into your routine at a time. Take it gently.

* Make big batches of dips like hummus, soups, and main meals in the weekend. Freeze in meal sized portions.

* Keep extra loaves of gluten free bread sliced in the freezer. Toast it when you need it.

* Pre-soak your breakfast grains: we soak our yummy Bircher muesli the night before. If you feel like a hot grain, soak the grain (like quinoa) over night, and pop the pot on to boil when you get up. Soaking grains overnight in the pot will make cooking the next day faster.

* One way to make lunch box prep easy is to do it the night before. You may like to make extra dinner and take some for lunch the next day.

* Containers of natural yoghurt with fresh fruit alongside are good choices for work.

* Canned salmon or tuna with avocado on top of a big green salad is sustaining and won’t weigh you down, plus you get those healthy brain omega oils.

* Try to keep a stash of snack food for the inevitable times when you’re out and can’t buy something good to eat. Nuts and seeds are one option. Boiling eggs in the morning is a good idea, plus containers of hummus with lots of dipping veggies.

The most important benefits of a wheat free diet are the increase physical comfort and the growth of your creative cookery skills. Try a new recipe today! Here’s a wheat free Portobello Mushroom Pizza we had for dinner—it was delicious!

pizza

Portobello Mushroom Pizza

  • 4 (4-inch-diameter) portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped away (reserve stem & gills)
  • Olive oil
    1/2 cup purchased marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (imitation cheese for vegan opition)
  • fresh basil, chopped, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush mushrooms with oil, on the smooth outside of the mushroom; arrange oil-side down on a baking sheet. Bake mushrooms until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  2. Mix marinara sauce with cheese and chopped mushroom stem & gills.
  3. Fill each mushroom cap with marinara sauce mix and sprinkle fresh basil over the tops.
  4. Bake mushroom pizzas until heated through, about 10 minutes. Makes 4 pizzas. Serves 2.

You’ll like this – I promise. All of the flavors are there…and if you want to add pepperoni or olives, do it! You can top your shroom any way you like it…that’s the beauty of this beauty…the only thing you can’t do with it is fold it in half and eat it like a New Yorker…but really this is yummy!! Try it!

Buon appetito!

In health,

Johanna

Happy As A Clam!

Lord, I love a man who can cook!! Last night my husband “Chef Phil” made linguini with white clam sauce using native RI clams, fresh herbs, handmade linguini & freshly shredded parmesan cheese from a local dairy– we are happy as clams!  Life is good!

The way to this woman’s heart is through her stomach, what’s more… these beauties are not only the way to my heart, they are good for my heart too!

Clams have heart healthy fats! Clams contain about 140 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per 100 grams (about 3 1/2 ounces.) How does that compare with recommendations? There are no formal dietary recommendations for omega-3 intake, but studies have shown that 250 to 500 milligrams per day may be useful in achieving optimal heart health. If you are getting tired of eating oily fish each week to meet recommendations, add clams to your recipe rotation a few times a month.

Don’t be chicken….clams qualify as a lean protein with more than 20 grams of protein and less than two grams of fat in a three-ounce serving. Clams have more protein than oysters and scallops, but roughly the same protein and fat content as chicken. There are major differences, however, in the nutrient profile of clams and chicken. Clams contain significantly more vitamins and minerals than chicken. It makes nutritional sense to choose clam chowder over cream of chicken soup!

Don’t have a cow– clams have more iron than beef! Clams are surprisingly high in iron. So high, in fact, that t-bone steaks don’t compare. A three-ounce serving of cooked clams, or about nine small clams, has about 24 milligrams of iron. That’s more iron than recommended each day for most adults (iron RDA is 18 milligrams per day for pre-menopausal women and eight milligrams per day for adult men and post-menopausal women.) Some individuals, especially women, have a difficult time getting enough iron each day, resulting in anemia if not treated. If you suffer from low iron, eating clams occasionally will help maintain your iron. The minerals in clams doesn’t stop with iron… clams are a good source of phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, as well.

We are fortunate to live in the Ocean State– where fresh seafood is bountiful from our shores.

Here’s our yummy recipe– give it a go!

Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Phil used canned baby clams in addition to fresh littlenecks in this pasta, but you could easily use one or the other. If you want to omit the canned clams, stir about a half cup of clam or fish stock into the sauce. You’ll also want to be sure to slice the garlic, not mince it. This will allow it to melt into the sauce and will give you a nice, mellow flavor rather than a bitter one.

 

  • 8 ounces dry linguini
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 head garlic, sliced
  • pinch dried hot red pepper flakes
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 8 Tbs dry white wine
  • 1/2 can baby clams, plus juice
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 1 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the linguini according to the directions of the package.

While that cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet or pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, red pepper, and oregano and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Stir in the wine (the sauce will turn white as you add it!) and the liquid from the baby clams. Cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Add the littlenecks, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes or until the clams open. Stir in the baby clams and cook until just heated through. Remove from heat and set aside the littlenecks. Stir in the butter and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Top with littlenecks.

Enjoy and be happy as a clam!

clam

In health,

Johanna