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No hassle Super Bowl snacks

January 23rd, 2014 No Comments

After years of throwing football parties, I’ve realized people don’t come for the healthy food.  In fact they almost use the Super Bowl as an excuse to not eat healthy. That being said, I can’t serve crap at my house, I just won’t do it.

For a half-time “dinner” I’ll serve chicken (see a grill-less recipe below)  and a big salad.  Otherwise, it’s snacks galore around my house.  In the past I’ve put a little too much effort into the snacks and I didn’t get to enjoy the party.  With this list I’m going to try and help you avoid that.  As my friend Kim would say, here are some “easy breezy” snack recipes that are healthy and indulgent.

FARMER’S MARKET CROSTINIS

Farmer's Market Crostinis

I made these on Christmas for guests to much on while I prepared dinner.

All you need is a baguette, something that spreads, and your favorite fresh veg.

For the plate above I:

  1. Sliced and toasted the baguettes
  2. Spread on either avocado or vegan all nut milk ricotta (amazing BTW)
  3. Added arugula tossed with dressed with olive oil, salt, and lemon
  4. Topped with either sliced persimmon w/a drop of honey or tomato and basil.

FRESH DIPS 

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I posted all of my dip recipes in October.  Honeslty, the only thing work the hassle is the guac and the home-made ranch dressing (which is greek yogurt and spices).  Queso dip from scotch is pretty amazing too. Otherwise, buy the salsa and hummus you love!  

KIND NUT CLUSTERS 

KIND Bars as snacks

I would have NEVER thought to tear up KIND bars and serve them in a dish at a party.  But!  I received a pitch from their publicist a week ago offering alternative suggestions to just chowing down, and this was one of them.  Last weekend when we were low on food at the house and people were coming over, I busted out a couple KIND bars from my purse and served them.  If people didn’t rave about the snack, I wouldn’t recommend it to you.  To my surprise, served next to chips and salsa, the sweet nut clusters were a hit!

SUPER EASY BAKED BBQ CHICKEN

(Please excuse the old pic!)

If for some reason you’re not grilling, here’s how you can make an impressive chicken in the oven. This is my mom’s recipe so you know it will a quickie.

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast per person
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (check for corn syrup please!)
  • Put chicken in baking pan and cover with sauce as much as possible. Save some sauce for later.
  • Bake at 350 until cooked through.
  • Serve with extra sauce.

Sounds too simple to be edible, but it’s delicious.

LAST YEAR’S RECIPES

I make this list every year! Here’s what I suggested last time:

The most popular recipe I’ve ever posted is one of them: Baked Avocado Fries. Unfortunately you can’t make these ahead of time, but the rest of them you can.

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Needless to say….

January 20th, 2014 No Comments

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IT’S TIME TO DETOX!

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Honestly, at this point, my body is begging for a break. From sugar, bread, booze, salt, and processed crap.  I don’t know how I got so off track with my diet…possibly Mexico?  I feel like I flew off the handle before that. It happens, I’m human :)

Now I’m off for one of my biannual cleanses.  As I said, I’m really excited about it.

Kreation Juice and Kafe, a brand I’ve loved for a while, is actually one of my new clients!  I’ve taken over their social platforms and am working with their marketing team to create a brand identity you’ll all love to follow, even if you don’t live in the Los Angeles area. Follow me @KreationJuice on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

 Marjan founder of Kreation Juice

Marjan, “The Kreator,” is such an inspiring woman.  She’s thoughtful, passionate, meticulous, and loves to share her knowledge.  We were talking the other day about gluten and she said to me, “You know, people stress about gluten and every little thing they eat. What they don’t realize is that it’s the negative thoughts they put around the food that is poisonous.  Not the food.”  I’ve never really thought about it that way.

Mary Rambin Kreation Juice

For the next three days I’ll be juicing with mostly green juice and almond milk (you can see what I chose above).  I can’t stand carrots and beets so I’ve decided to cut them out of most of the cleanse. (Plus they’re high in sugar.) Otherwise, the green juices are my favorite in town.   For two days following, I’ll continue the juice and start to incorporate steamed veggies (easiest to digest) back into my diet.  Of course during this detox, I’ll do one or two colonics depending on how I feel.

If you’re interested in cleansing, check out these posts:

 

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DIY Granola Protein Bars

January 16th, 2014 No Comments

DIY Protein Bars

One of the reasons a granola bar isn’t a satisfying snack is due to their lack of protein.

Sara Forte, blogger at SproutedKitchen, came up with a tasty solution!  Her granola protein bars aren’t PACKED with protein, but there’s enough in there to keep me full and fueled for at least 2 hours.

As she says in her cookbook (which I LOVE, thank you Rhelda), you can put whatever you want in these as long as the ratio of dry goods to rice syrup and water is the same.

GRANOLA PROTEIN BARS

Makes 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup brown rice crisps (I use plain rice cakes broken up)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (whey, egg, or vegan)
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • Parchment paper

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spread oats and nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and barely toast them in oven.  About 10 minutes. Turn down head to 300.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together brown rice syrup, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Add toasted oats and nuts, rice cereal, and protein powered.  Stir until everything is coated.  Stir in cherries.

3.  Line 8×8 baking sheet (I’ve used a rectangular one as well) with parchment paper.  Make sure to leave excess paper on the sides.  Dump granola mixture onto pan.  Using a large spoon or your fingers, press the mixture down compactly (wetting the spoon or fingers with warm water when they get sticky), being sure to push it all the way to the corners.  Bake until the top is slightly toasted, 23 to 25 minutes.

4.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.  When totally cooled, pull them out by the parchment paper.  Cut bars into equal size.

To store them, wrap them individually in plastic wrap.  They will keep for about a week.

Sprouted Kitchen Granola Protein Bars

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How drunk do you have to be…

January 9th, 2014 No Comments

Burrito Box

 

To eat a burrito that comes out of a vending machine?

I don’t think I could EVER eat a burrito that comes out of a machine.  I barely indulge on the ones that are hand-made.

So, this is the BurritoBox kiosk located in a Mobil station in West Hollywood.  You put in $3 and it gives you a hot burrito in 60 seconds.

You have 6  pre-made options (all of which are apparently made with natural ingredients, animals not treated with hormones, and free range chicken)  a few sauces for an additional fee. It looks something like this:

Burrito Box burrito

 

Um, gross!

To my shock and dismay, Taco Bell still exists.  Is that not fast and cheap enough for taco-lovers?  Club hoppers? People on a budget?

I think I’d just rather eat dirt.

 

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Maple syrup on my salad? You betcha!

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

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The other night at a dinner party I was blown away by the salad they served.  Spinach never tasted so good! The reason, it tasted like waffles…with a side of bacon :)  And I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why.  When I asked the chef she spilled her secret: maple syrup!

This salad is sweet with a hint of savory.  Perfect to serve with chicken and butternut squash.  That’s what popped into my mind.  I’m sure you’ll find tons of other combos and additions to make it your own.  Guests will love it because it’s so unexpected and unique.

FALL SALAD WITH MAPLE CIDER DRESSING

Salad

  • Spinach
  • Chopped fuji apples
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Blue cheese
  • avocado
  • Candied walnuts

(I’m not a blue cheese fan so I opted out of that and the walnuts.  Honeslty, I didn’t miss them)

Maple Cider Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Chopped chives to taste
  • Garlic, salt, pepper to taste

 

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“Eat a banana, not a cookie.”

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

Banana Infographic

 

That’s what I tell myself when my sweet tooth starts to rage!  I keep Trader Joe’s flattened bananas in the car for that very reason.

(Click the image to enlarge.)

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New yogurt blends make for a more satisfying snack

November 21st, 2013 No Comments

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Yogurt frustrates me to no end.  The grocery store stocks TONS of it, yet there are only a few that actually meet my criteria as a “healthy” snack.  I’m looking for at least 14 grams of protein, minimal sugar (no sugar is preferable), and no additives (starches).  These criteria leave me reading labels for at least ten minutes or picking up the same old stuff when I’m in a hurry.  If I have time, I seek out new brands and get my hopes up high that when I read the nutrition label, I’ll see tons of protein and no added sugar.  Tough bill to fill.

My frustration continues after I eat a yogurt and I’m STILL hungry!

On so many levels yogurt is simply unsatisfying…until now.

Big brands and more notably local producers are making an effort to create well-rounded and satisfying yogurt cups for those of us on the go.

Chobani was the first one I spotted.  The divided dish has slightly sweetened yogurt in one side and all of my favorite additions in the other: chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. From a nutrition standpoint, I have to compromise the 13 grams of protein and added sugar for the energy it delivers before a workout.  After eating it with half a bottle of water, I feel full and not weighed down when I have to move.  And it’s SOOO convenient to just flip one side over and mix…while I’m driving.  (It’s true!)

The Epic Seed is local and meets all of my standards for protein and carbs.  It’s lacking in fat (which is necessary to feel full) so I’ll eat a few almonds along with it.

The most “filling” feature of these cups are the chia seeds, which I’ve discussed before.  There are several brands making them now, you just have to pay attention to the protein and sugar source.

When I can, I make the mixture at home.  No measuring, I just throw what I want into the bowl.  Usually, to a small cup of flavored yogurt, I’ll add a couple spoonfuls of plain non-fat to bring up the protein.

 

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6 ways to lighten your load for Thanksgiving

November 14th, 2013 No Comments

For those of you who host family and friends at your house, you must be getting stressed already.  So much to do!  As much as I’m sure you love it (I would), it doesn’t hurt to be efficient and take some of the angst out of the event.

Here are 5 suggestions to hopefully help lift some of the weight off your shoulders:

1.  DELEGATE THE DISHES

People are always asking what they can make or bring.  This year take them up on their offer.  Make a list so everyone brings one dish.  Be prepared to offer a recipe so they don’t feel intimidated by having to hunt for a credible one online.

Here is a list of links to healthy basic recipes I think you’ll love.  Also consider this Whole Wheat Dressing.  Click here to get my recipe for pumpkin pie from scratch.

2.  USE FRESH VEG

Substitue the calorie-killing baked dishes with salads or grilled veg.  People might actually find the greens refreshing combined with the heavier dishes.

Try these hearty salads you can make ahead of time.

3.  ORDER THE BEST PECAN PIES EVER

Even though I’m totally against bringing purchased food to holiday parties, I make an exception for Goode Company Pecan Pies.  Admittedly, they are better than mine.  One bite into it and people’s jaws will be dropping begging for the link to order for Christmas.  Order them NOW so you save on shipping.

4.  LIMIT YOUR PLATES, GLASSES, AND SILVERWARE

People are notorious for just grabbing plates and glasses like they’re disposable.  Inform guests there is one plate and glass per person, and they’re welcome to fill it up as many times as they’d like.  Stick to it!  For dessert, maybe you use nice paper plates.

Also, before the feast begins, make sure the dishwasher is completely empty so you can load it to the brim as people finish eating.

5.  EAT BREAKFAST

If you’re starving yourself to “save room” for the feast, let me fill you in on why that’s a bad idea.  First of all, if you don’t eat breakfast, your metabolism won’t be raring to go when it’s time to dig in.  If you’re hungry, you’ll snack while you wait or double down when you fill your plate. Finally, without a meal, your blood sugar will be low which means you’ll be cranky and irritable.  Thanksgiving is stressful enough without your body working against you.

6.  DO YOUR FLOWERS 2 DAYS AHEAD

When you buy fresh flowers, they need a couple days to open.  If you do them a couple days before the feast, you’ll get the task checked off your list and the arrangements will have time to come to life.

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