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Kids Archives | Elizabeth Borelli

Easy Beanie Chili

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

10 servings

Nothing warms you up from the inside quite like homemade chili.  This dish is so rich and hearty, you’ll never miss the meat.  It’s easy to prepare, too, and makes great leftovers (and also freezes well).  Feel free to like to mix different beans—black with pinto and kidney, or any combination you like.  Serve with a side salad and a slice of corn bread for an easy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dried or 8 cups cooked black beans, kidney beans, and/or pinto beans in any combination
  • 2 large onions, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (or 1 28 oz. BPA-free can)
  • 4 cups bean cooking broth; or 4 cubes or teaspoons vegetable broth
  • 2 cups salsa,  or 1 16 oz. jar of your favorite organic variety
  • 1 6 oz. jar or BPA-free can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional:  2 cups ground seitan, or try my favorite; Upton Naturals seitan-
    based ground beef/sausage

To prepare beans from scratch,  soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the bean by at least 6 inches.   Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½  to 2 hours until tender.  Let sit on the stove if you’re making the chili the same day, or refrigerate beans in cooking liquid until ready to use.

When you’re ready to make your Easy Beanie Chili, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil in a large stockpot on medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients,  including 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid (can be replaced with broth or water); cover and cook on medium heat, simmering, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding bean cooking liquid, broth, or water as needed.

Continue to simmer on low heat until ready to serve.    Spoon into serving bowls and top with shredded cheese if desired.

Pumpkin Chia Breakfast Pudding

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

This uber-healthy and sinfully delicious breakfast pudding is protein and fiber-packed enough to keep you going all morning long.  If you’re new to the wonders of chia, these tiny seeds are extraordinarily high in both of these key nutrients.  And just 2 oz. of chia seeks pack more than 8 times the omega 3 content than an ounce of salmon.

Another unique chia characteristic is the gelatinous coating they developed when soaked in liquid.  Thus the pudding connection which offers endless options for a yummy breakfast, portable lunch or even a healthy dessert.  Soak your chia seeds in water, plant or dairy milk overnight for best results!

Pumpkin Chia Breakfast Pudding

Makes 3 generous cups (3 servings)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup strong ginger tea
  • 1 cup rice or your favorite plant-based milk
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 dried, pitted dates
  • 1 cup fresh cooked or (BPA-free) canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • Dash salt

Combine tea (warm or cold), milk, chia seeds and dates in a glass jar or bowl, cover and let stand for at least an hour, or, preferably refrigerated overnight before using.

When you’re ready to prepare your pudding, add the chia mixture and the remaining ingredients to a Vitamix or blender and blend until just combined or super-smooth, depending on your preference.

Enjoy!

Savory Pumpkin Curry Sauce

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Makes 4 cups

Pumpkin recipes are all the rage this time of year, and with excellent reason.  Pumpkin is a nutrition powerhouse that rings with Fall flavor, sending the culinary creativity soaring.  This Savory Pumpkin Curry Sauce is a family favorite at my house, where my kids love the creamy texture and savory blend of flavors in the cozy Fall dish.

Easy to prepare, this sauce is perfect to simmer your favorite veggie blend in (see suggestions below), and serve spooned over brown rice.

In keeping with my theme of planning ahead, the recipe makes enough to freeze a batch for use whenever you need it. For best results, freeze in a glass jar, lid left slightly ajar until fully frozen to avoid breakage, for up to 2 months.

Ingredients :

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in just enough water to cover them, for at least 30 minutes
  • 2 large onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups cubed cooking pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1” cubes, or 1 cup cooked pumpkin (cooked or BPA-free canned)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 3 cups rice or your favorite plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or a dash of stevia
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger or 1-inch piece of ginger root (unpeeled is fine)

Optional for added heat :

  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper or cayenne powder

Ingredient suggestions for creating your Savory Pumpkin Curry stir fry:

  • (Steam, covered in 1” water for 12 minutes before adding sauce)
  • Sweet potato cubes (1” cubes)
  • Broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • Carrot (halfed lengthwise and cut into 1” pieces)
  • Asian eggplant (halfed lengthwise and cut into 1” pieces)

(Steam, covered in 1” water for 8-10 minutes before adding sauce)

  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped cabbage
  • Sliced mushrooms

(Steam, covered in 1” water for 5 minutes before adding sauce)

  • Diced green onions (1” cubes)
  • Diced tofu
  • Chopped basil

Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan. Add cubed pumpkin or butternut (if using) onions, garlic and cover, turn heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Let stand on the stove for 5 minutes longer, covered,  then remove the cover and let it cool off for at least 5 more minutes.

When you’re ready, pour the steamed veggies into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Savory Pumpkin Curry Sauce freezes for up to 2 months, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Veggie Taco Pizza (gluten free)

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Makes 2 12” pizzas, 4-6 servings
Preparation time:  20 minutes
Bake time:  30-40 minutes

Easy Vegan Taco Pizza is so savory and satisfying, you won’t believe how nutritionally stellar it is.  It’s gluten-free and vegan optional too.  This recipe is very abundant, so if you’re only cooking for one or two, freeze half of the crust, then just thaw, top and bake when you’re ready to serve it.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium-sized carrots, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 large parsnip, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • Coconut oil for the cooking dish
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean or brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups pico di gallo or salsa fresca
  • 2 cups plant or dairy based shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup chopped olives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.  Lightly oil 2 cookie baking pans with coconut oil.

Place chopped carrots, parsnips and sweet potato pieces in a saucepan with 1” of water.  Heat, covered, on a medium high stovetop to simmer, then lower the heat to medium low and steam for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Turn off the heat and drain the liquid from the veggie mixture.  Let the pan sit for a few more minutes to allow the vegetables to begin to cool.

Add the steamed veggies and the sage to the blender or food processor, and process until well blended, but there is no need to completely puree here!

Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the flour, salt, seasoning and garlic until blended.   Divide the dough in half and using your hands, flatten each half onto one of the oiled cookie sheets to create a 12” round pizza crust (it will be about ¼” thick).

Bake for 10 minutes, before removing from the oven.  Sprinkle with cheese, top with pico de gallo or salsa fresca (and olives if your using them) and return to the oven to be for 10-15 minutes longer, until cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Coco Nut Protein Bites

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Makes 16 pieces

Prep time:  15 minutes

Yummy, protein-rich morsels are a great option for a healthy snack or dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, pitted and soaked in just enough water to cover for at least 15 minutes
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate (bar or chips)
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds

Drain the dates and add along with oats, almonds and dark chocolate to a food processor or blender, and pulse just until the mixture reaches an even consistency.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until well-combined, then roll into 1 ½” balls and enjoy!  Store finished Coco Nut Protein Bites covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Kung Pao Noodles

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

4-6 servings

Prep and cook time:  15 minutes

This delicious dish is so quick to make it actually takes less time than stopping for takeout, and you control what goes into it.  Typically a dish high in salt, sugar and fat, this version of Kung Pao Noodles is optimized for taste and nutrition without compromising the yum factor.

You can easily convert this kid-friendly, vegan recipe to a gluten-free version by just substituting rice or quinoa pasta for the whole wheat spaghetti listed below.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound package whole wheat (or your favorite) spagehetti noodles
  • ½ cup real peanut butter (no sugar or high fructose corn syrup added)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  •  3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce (Sriracha is our family favorite)
  • 2 cloves crushed or teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated or powdered ginger

Cook the pasta according to instructions on the package. While it’s cooking, wash your veggies, shred your carrots (no need to peel them first), and chop the green onions.

Measure peanut butter and add to a glass dish (you can use a 2 cup or larger glass measuring cup as your mixing bowl if you have one).

Add the remaining ingredients to the peanut butter and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, until warm.

Mix the sauce until the consistency is smooth.

When the pasta is done, drain it and put it back into the cooking pot.  Add the shredded carrot and green onion to the pan and cover it for 2 minutes so the hot pasta slightly steams the veggies.

Finally, add the peanut butter sauce and toss with large serving forks to combletely combine.  Serve warm or cold, topped with chopped smoked tofu if you like.

 

Overnight Breakfast Bread Pudding

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

4-6 servings

10 minutes prep time

30-35 minutes to cook

Whether it’s work, school or play that gets you hustling in the morning, a healthy breakfast is key to sustaining energy (and willpower!) all morning long.  While the best breakfasts don’t often come in a box, it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or complicated process either.

Take this high fiber, high protein, low sugar breakfast pudding – simply prep it the night before, pop it in the oven when you get up, and voila!  Overnight Breakfast Bread Pudding makes a warm and satisfying breakfast your whole family will enjoy.

I prefer to buy bread a whole loaf and slice it thick,  the hearty Whole Wheat Walnut at a local bake shop is my favorite.  But whatever you choose, I suggest you keep an eye on the fiber count if you’re buying pre-packaged.  At least 4 grams of fiber per serving  and 0 added sugar is a good benchmark.

Ingredients

  • 5 1” slices of whole grain bread, preferably whole loaf (or 6-8 slices, pre-sliced)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plant or dairy milk
  • 2-3 whole bananas, peeling and thinly sliced (1/2” thick), optional
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • ½ tsp. stevia powder or 1 tbsp. maple syrup.

Break the bread into 1” cubes and set aside.  Whisk the egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (except for the bread) and continue to whisk until fully blended.  Add the bread and toss to fully coat the cubes.

Bake, covered at 375 for 35-45 minutes, until eggs are cooked solid and slightly browned.  Serve hot or warm, topped with fresh or thawed frozen berries for an extra yummy treat.

Easy Lunch Kabobs

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Many among our older generation are surprised to see today’s parent frantically whip up an entirely different meal for their kids than they’re eating.  The kids’ food category is after all a relatively new construct, and although it creates exciting marketing opportunities for food companies, it isn’t such a win for kids and parents.

Most “kid foods” contain more sugar, fat and sodium than the adult versions, tastes which shape their food preferences into what can become a vicious cycle as time goes on.  Taste buds become so saturated that healthy, whole foods with their more subtle flavors have a hard time delivering enough sensation to satiate.

I agree, it’s hard to get children to eat kale and quinoa when they really just want a Happy Meal, but fortunately for all of us, there are happy mediums too.  When time and patience are at a premium, it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve to keep the Mac ‘n Cheeze at bay.   Mama Bears Tips for Healthy Eaters is here to help, or check out this fun and easy Kabob suggestion, because as the photo-shoot props and my nine-year old reminded me, kids are infinitely more likely to enjoy food that comes on a stick, even tofu.

Kabobs are a great way to pack a healthy, kid-friendly lunch using last night’s leftovers or fruits and veggies straight from the fridge.  Share the menu below with your kids and let them check off their choices so they can be sure to add them to your grocery cart or market tote, and create their own lunchtime masterpieces.

Easy Lunch Kabobs                                                                                                                                       Choose your favorites:

  • Bell pepper
  • Cheese
  • Grapes
  • Steamed cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Rolled lunch meat
  • Smoked tofu
  • Melon
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cubed whole grain bread
  • Chicken or turkey cubes
  • Steamed potatoes
  • Celery squares
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Pineapple chunks

Bamboo skewers are easy to find at your local market or retail store, but often too long to pack in a lunchbox.  Use kitchen scissors to snip them into two pieces, then skewer your favorite combination, leaving just enough of the stick free for easy pick-up.  Pack or wrap in a BPA-free reusable container for an easy lunchtime treat.

Mama’s Italian Zucchini

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Summer Abondanza!

My mom used to make this delicious dish as frequently as our zucchini was plentiful when I was growing up. It reminds me of long summer days and lively family dinners outdoors in the warm night air.  Although she’s not actually Italian, I suspect mi mama got this simple recipe from her mama-in-law, who most definitely was.

The cook time here is much longer than I typically recommend for vegetables, but the results are melt-on-your-mouth delicious.  Sprinkled with bread crumbs or cheese, Mama’s Italian Zucchini turns kid-friendly favorite too!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups of zucchini, sliced into ¼ – ½” rounds
  • ½ red or yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of crushed, or 1 tsp. powdered garlic
  • ½ – 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1 8 oz. (BPA-free) can of diced tomatoes
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped OR 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Garnish with:  ground black pepper, seasoned bread crumbs or grated parmesan cheese

Add the first 5 ingredients to a large saucepan (with cover) and lightly sauté for 5-7 minutes, until onions begin to soften.   Stir in tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat.  Cover and cook at a low simmer (you’ll probably have to lower the heat) for 20-30 minutes, until veggies become soft and almost translucent.  Add the basil during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

Serve warm, garnished with bread crumbs or grated parmesan cheese.

Sizzled Sprout and Carrot Slaw

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Sautéed fresh mung sprouts, scallions and fresh raw carrots combine to form a  sweet and savory Sprout and Carrot Slaw the likes of which you’ve never seen.  This simple recipe comes together in ten minutes or less, but you may want to let it marinate for an hour after you make it to really let the flavors meld.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sprouted Mung beans
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 carrots, shredded (about 2 cups)

Heat the coconut oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add Mung beans, green onions, garlic and Bragg’s or salt.  Sauté on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until beans begin to soften, than add remaining ingredients and cook, covered for 5 minutes longer, lowering heat to medium. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Serve warm or cold.

Super Energy Breakfast Bars

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

One of my go-to food staples.   These Super Energy Breakfast Bars really are all good; high in nutrients, fiber and protein with very low sugar and no saturated fat.  And very kid-friendly!  The ingredients are easy to find, even a good chain grocery store should have them.  These hearty oat bars store and travel really well too, perfect for on the go or on the road.  While the ingredients list looks long, the prep is very easy and the recipe makes enough for at least a week, they’re quite dense.  I like to whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy them all week long!    If you bake more than 5 days’ worth, consider freezing some of the bars for later.

Note:  I recommend using an 8 or 9” square baking pan or dish, but don’t let that throw you off track.  Substitute a cake pan or similar in a pinch.

Oven Ready

Oven Ready

Ingredients

  • 3 cups steel cut oats, spelt, rye or tricale
  • 1 ¾ cups rice milk (or substitute any plant milk), keep ½ cup reserved
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ cup 100% peanut butter or almond butter (made without added sugar or other ingredients)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 tbsp. chocolate or vanilla protein powder (Vega Protein Smoothie is our favorite)
  • 1 -2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 – 2 tsp. stevia (optional)

Add oats to a large mixing bowl, and pour in 1 cup rice milk and vanilla.  Mix well to combine, then let stand for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.   Thinly spread coconut oil along the inside surface of an 8 or 9” square baking dish to prevent sticking.  Add banana, oats and remaining ½ cup rice milk to your blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Pour into oat mixture and add remaining ingredients.  Stir until well blended.

Spoon the mixture into the pan, spread evenly and pat it down with a large spoon or spatula.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the pan in for at least 15 minutes longer (or until the oven is cool).  Cut into squares and serve.  Store covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Mung Bean Griddle Cakes

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

 

Mung Bean griddle cakes

Mung Bean griddle cakes

I’ve been smitten with Mung Bean pancakes, or griddle cakes as it were, since the ever-inspiring Mark Bittman first introduced me to the concept in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  Why not? I reasoned, after all there are plenty of versions of veggie pancakes and Mung Beans are so easy to sprout.  And since I do like a good shortcut, neither was I opposed to using a mix.  So I turned to my stash of Bob’s Red Mill for starters. 

I used a multigrain pancake mix and whipped it up according to the recipe on the package.  I added scallions and sprouts and cooked them to a lovely golden brown.  Without actually specifying that the pancakes were made with sprouts (code name Asian Veggie seemed to suffice), I served them for dinner.

Never ones to refuse a good pancake, my kids and husband enjoyed them as politely as kids and a husband can, meaning there were none left and no one complained.  Serve your Mung Bean pancakes griddle cakes with a side of plain yogurt, chutney or your favorite salsa for a fun and savory dinner treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup multigrain pancake and waffle mix (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup rice, soy or dairy milk, more if needed
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups sprouted Mung Beans
  • ½ cup chopped scallions (white and green)
  • Coconut oil to prevent sticking

Condiment suggestions:

  • Fresh salsa
  • ½ cup plain yogurt combined with 1 tbsp. onion jam
  • Tomato chutney

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl until batter is smooth.  Add sprouts and scallions and mix thoroughly.  Add 1-2 additional tablespoons of milk if needed for pancake-thick batter.

Add about 1 tsp. of coconut oil to a large frying pan or skillet and heat to medium high.  Spread the melted oil evenly around the pan, and drop the batter, 2 tablespoons at a time, into the pan, leaving about 1” between the pancakes.

Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 5 – 10 minutes until bubbles form the surface of the cakes, then flip and cook for 3-5 minutes more on the 2nd side, until cooked through and lightly browned.  Enjoy!

Overnight Oatmeal

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

1-Sprout Kit 033This amazingly easy overnight oatmeal recipe takes the cooking time out of steel-cut oats on a busy morning.  You’ll love the less mushy texture too, almost like oatmeal is supposed to be made.   This breakfast is a truly a win-win, since oat fiber has been shown to help regulate cholesterol,  maintain steady blood sugar levels and keep hunger pangs as bay. Studies show that just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (as in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers cholesterol levels by 8-23%. Pretty impressive!

Oats also contain healthy antioxidants and plenty of other nutrients which I could go on and on about.  But in all honesty, my kids just eat them because they’re flavorful and satisfying, especially when combined with berries, nuts and cinnamon.  Yum!

Use this fun preparation technique to make 3-4 servings of instant oatmeal, no cooking required.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups steel-cut oats, or any combination of spelt, triticale, rye, or barley flakes
  • 2 ½  cups rice or almond milk (carrageenan free)
  • 1 fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, or 1 teaspoon stevia (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

The night before you plan to enjoy your oats, place all ingredients except for the nuts in a glass bowl or jar and and stir or lightly shake to combine.  Store in the refrigerator and serve cold or briefly heated in a saucepan the next morning, sprinkled with nuts.  No cooking required!

Snappy Veggie Stir-fry

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

 4 to 6 servings

On those days when you’re caught without a plan (we all have them!) and the pressure’s on to whip something up in a hurry, here is an easy, throw-together idea for a delicious, nutritious, one-dish meal.  

More of a cooking method than a formal recipe, this dish invites you to use whatever you have on hand.  Add a sauce (pre-made if possible), some tofu, and a grain (brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta…) and you’ve got all your bases deliciously covered.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 cups of any of the following, coarsely chopped:  carrots (peel on or off), cabbage, celery, onion (peeled), broccoli florets, cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts or sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup of any of the following sauces:  Vegan Curry, Ginger Peanut, Cilantro Mint, or Basil Pesto

    Snappy Veggie Stir Fry

    Snappy Veggie Stir Fry

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat, add chopped vegetables and tofu, and stir-fry for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender.  If mixture becomes dry, add a tablespoon of water as needed to prevent burning.  Add mushrooms or sprouts if using, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.  Mix in salt and sauce and stir to coat.  Remove from heat and serve.

Chia Berry Breakfast Pudding

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

If you haven’t tried chia (the seeds not the pet), you’re in for a treat.  These tiny seeds contain more omega 3s than salmon, more antioxidants than blueberries, plus ample calcium, fiber and protein (4 grams in just 2 tbsps).  Relatively low in calories for all of the amazing nutrients they deliver, chia seeds are an excellent addition to baked goods also for the nutty flavor they impart.

But the real fun of chia seeds comes in the soaking.   Placed in liquid, they’ll absorb up to 12 times their weight and thicken to resemble a tapioca pudding texture, the mild flavor of which pairs perfectly with fruit.   Soak them overnight in a jar and store in the fridge so they’re ready to use when you need them.

Chia pudding is a quick and nourishing choice for breakfast, and a fave with the younger set who will see and taste pudding, so no complaints there.  I blend mine smooth using frozen fruit, banana and avocado for the creamy texture and good monounsaturated fats that round off this brain food powerhouse.  What better way to begin a day?2013-11-05 08.36.47

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1/4  cup of water
  • 1 whole orange
  • 4 tbsps. of chia seeds
  • 3 cups frozen  blueberries
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • ¼ tsp. stevia or 1 tablespoon honey (or similar sweetener)
  • ¼ cup mango (optional
  • ½ banana (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)

Soak chia seeds in water the night before, or at least 10-15 minutes prior to blending.  Add all ingredients to your blender or vitamix and blend until smooth.  Pudding will continue to thicken after it’s blended.  Serve plain or topped with coconut.

 

Smokey Bacon-Bean Simmer Pot

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Smoky Bean Simmer Pot

Smoky Bacon Bean Simmer Pot

6 servings

How can a hearty bean stew made from scratch be made simple?  By breaking it down into 3 simple, 5 minute steps, neatly fit in to your regular routine. The lentil and bean combination makes a stew so rich and delicious, you won’t believe how easy it is to put together.  Simply cover your beans in water the night before you plan to serve them, rinse and simmer the next morning, turn the stove off before you leave  to start your day and wrap up your recipe with the remaining ingredients that evening.  Serve warm or hot.  Add a fresh green salad and some thick, crusty whole grain bread for a satisfying meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried bean soup mix, or a mixture of your favorite bean and lentil varieties you have on hand
  • 4 cups finely chopped cabbage or chopped kale (do your chopping in the morning while you’re waiting for your beans to come to a simmer)
  • 1 cup coconut bacon, or smoked tofu, chopped
  • 2 cups jarred or BPA-free canned tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
  • ½ tsp. liquid smoke or smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water (4” above the dried bean level), in the same saucepan you’ll use to cook them.  The next morning, rinse and refill the saucepan with water to the same level.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ -2 hours before you start your day.  Scoop out a spoonful, rinse and decide if they’re soft enough.  When fully cooked, add the cabbage, turn off the heat, cover and leave them for at least 15 minutes more.  If the room temperature is less than 70° throughout the day, leave the covered bean and cabbage blend on the stove until you get home.  Otherwise, when the pot is sufficiently cooled, place it right in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat it to finish the dish.

Drain the cooled bean and cabbage mixture when ready to complete the recipe, and add remaining ingredients.  Heat again to simmer and cook covered for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

Fruit and Nutty Breakfast Bars

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

heart food picture

Fruit and Nutty Breakfast Bars

Serves 8

Ditch your packaged bars and make the switch to a home-baked alternative – you’ll save money while trading up to wholesome, un-processed goodness.

These tasty bars are easy to make and a great source of nutrition for a healthy nosh on-the-go.

And if you haven’t tried spelt flakes yet, here’s your chance!  Higher in iron than rolled oats, but similar in taste and fiber-content, spelt makes a hearty oatmeal-style breakfast dish as well.

Time saving tip:  double the recipe and freeze the rest!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. walnut or sunflower oil
  • 1 ¼ c. spelt flakes
  • ½ c. raisins or dried cranberries
  • ¼ c. pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • ¼ chopped almonds, raw or toasted
  • ½ c. honey
  • ¼ c. natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line an 8×8 baking dish with waxed paper.  (Eco-friendly paper goods manufacturer Natural Value has a great green alternative to standard waxed, which contains petroleum by products).
  2. In a bowl combine spelt, dried fruit and nuts and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan combine honey peanut butter, oil and vanilla.  Cook over medium heat until melted.  Pour mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to baking dish and smooth the top to even.  Bake for 20-25 minute until golden.  Cool completely in pan.   Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to one week.


Betty’s Bean Burritos

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

BettysBeanBurrito---opt6 servings

Betty’s Bean Burritos are a delicious opportunity to use leftover beans and rice for an easy dinner or satisfying lunch. As quick to make as they are healthy, I usually add shredded cabbage for an extra dash of green; as always, have fun creating your own version!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans, precooked
  • 2 cups brown rice, precooked
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 6 whole-grain tortillas
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese, vegan or dairy
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ cups salsa (jarred is fine; choose your preference, from mild to hot)

Optional:

  • ½ cup olives 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup smoked tofu, diced

Heat beans and rice separately by placing into a saucepan, adding ½ inch of water, and warming over medium heat, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. If beans are unseasoned, stir in salt before serving.

Warm your tortillas by wrapping a stack of 6 tortillas in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350° oven until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Layer each warm tortilla with beans and rice and any other fillings you choose, spreading evenly in a line down the center. Top with cheese and salsa, tuck in the ends to keep the goodness in, roll up, and enjoy.

Nutty Party Mix

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

chexcroppedMakes 10 cups

This crunchy treat is a healthier tribute to the classic Chex Snack Mix, minus the  corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, excess sodium and preservatives—and you won’t miss them.  This Nutty Party Mix is not only scrumptious, it’s high in protein and amino acids too!  I use it in creating healthy, no waste lunches and my kids love it – in part because it’s snacky enough for happier noshing with fewer uneaten returns.

You can get creative with the ingredients but here is what I like to use:

Ingredients:

  • 1 10- 13 oz. box of  healthy whole grain Chex-like cereal (look for low sugar and GMO-free), Cascadian Farms and 365 Brand are good options
  • 1 7-8 oz. package whole grain pretzels,  Snyder’s Organic or Newman’s Organic are a great choice
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Bragg’s amino acids (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder (optional)

Directions:
1. Mix cereal, pretzels and nuts  together in a large mixing bowl
2. Add Braggs and olive oil and mix well
3. Add garlic and onion powder
4. Toss with your hands to make sure it’s all coated well.
5. Spread flat on the pan.
6. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes at about 300 degrees. This can vary with ovens and altitude, so check frequently.  It should just look toasty.
7. Remove from the oven and cool before serving.


Fruity Morning Smoothie

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

JuiceServes 2

Beginning the day with a yummy and super-nutritious  smoothie boosts energy, mood and brain function.  We don’t always know what happens once those kids are out the door, but if we can pack in some goodness to get them started, we’re on the right track!

The nice thing about this Smoothie is it disguises the foods kids might not be otherwise be into for breakfast.  I start with 2 good, blend-able fruits they love, like banana, mango, blueberry, raspberry or strawberry.  I add carrots and avocado to my daily version, which my kids like the flavors of better than the notion, but the extra nutrients are too good to skip.  Add some protein-rich flaxseed and a bit of sweetener, and you’ve got a super-blend your kids will love.

The trick to including the secret ingredients is to stay within the color family of the fruit you’re basing the drink on, and don’t add new or spicy flavors except possibly in small doses.  With a bit of experimenting with different fruit and even the occasional veggie combination, you’ll find what works for you.  Stevia is an excellent sweetener to use since the intense fruit flavors hide the aftertaste it can sometimes have, and this all-natural, low-glycemic alternative enables you to keep extra sugar out of the morning meal.

Ingredients:

  • Choose 2 fruits (2 cups total): banana, fresh or frozen mango, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries are favorites
  • Choose 1 liquid (1 cup total): rice milk, almond, soy milk, dairy milk
  • Sweetener: ½- 1 tsp. stevia
  • Protein Booster: 2 tbsp. flax seeds
  • Options (1/2 cup total): carrot (peel on), beet (peel on), cucumber (peel off), romaine lettuce, buckwheat or sunflower sprouts, avocado

Add all ingredients to a blender, food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth.

Quick trick: premake “smoothie packs” by pre measuring and packing your solid ingredients together, placed in the freezer until ready to use.  Note:   cucumber, lettuce and sprouts don’t freeze well, so if using, add fresh before blending. 



Ten Minute Spring Rolls

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Ten Minute Spring Rolls 1The actual prep time for these delicious spring rolls depends upon your choice of veggies, but when time is of the essence, ten minutes is enough.  Cabbage, lettuce, avocado, tofu and sprouts are your speediest options.  Carrots, peppers, cukes and herbs take a bit longer, but not much.  The rest is a snap; just dip the spring roll wrapper in water for a few seconds as it softens like magic and you’re ready to fill and roll.  Here’s my eight-year old helper Talia to demonstrate her fabulous ten minute spring rolls, one simple step as a time:

Ingredients:Ten Minute Spring Rolls 2

  • 8 rice paper wrappers (available in the Asian-foods section of most grocery stores)

Filling options (choose 3-5 for best results):

  • 1/2 cups alfalfa or radish sprouts
  • 1 cup green-leaf lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup red or green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, shredded or julienned (sliced in thin strips)Ten Minute Spring Rolls 3
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned (sliced in thin strips)
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and julienned (sliced in thin strips)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped (a blender or mini food processor is great for this)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (see above)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, raw or roasted, chopped
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, plain or teriyaki-flavored, cut into 16 thin stripsTen Minute Spring Rolls 4
  • 1 avocado, seed and peel removed, cut into 16 thin strips (optional)

Optional:

  • ¼ cup teriyaki sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids for dipping

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip a wrapper into the warm water for just a second or two to soften, then lay it flat on a plate and get ready to wrap.Ten Minute Spring Rolls 5

Place your choice of ingredients in a row across the center, place, leaving about 2 inches on either side of the wrap without any ingredients.

Fold the “naked” sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, burrito-style. Repeat with remaining ingredients.   Served room temperature or chilled, with (0ptional) dipping sauce.

Time Saving Tip: If a stop to the market is on your agenda, visit the salad bar and stock up on precut veggies like carrots and red peppers to save the time of cutting them yourself.

Quickie Quesadilla

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

1-2 servings

Remember way back in the day before the microwave when the go-to appliance was the toaster oven?  While you don’t need a toaster oven per se, this recipe is definitely inspired by it.  Just use your oven or even a large, covered sauté pan to briefly heat your creation, and voila!  Quickie Quesadilla, just like that.  It’s so easy, you might encourage your kids to put together this tasty sandwich-alternative high-protein lunch or snack.

Ingredients:

  • Whole grain or brown rice tortilla
  • ¼ cup shredded mild cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (plant-based or hormone-free dairy)
  • ½ avocado, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup black, pinto or kidney beans
  • Optional:  mild salsa for dipping

For oven cooking:  preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle beans across the top of the tortilla, then cover with cheese.  Place the quesa on a cookie sheet, then cook for five minutes until cheese is melted,.  Remove from heat, fold in the middle, slice up pie-style and serve.

For stovetop preparation: place a saucepan (with a cover) on the stovetop, heat to medium.  Sprinkle beans across the top of the tortilla, then cover with cheese.  Place the quesa in the saucepan, cover then cook for five minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat, fold in the middle, slice up pie-style and serve.

Baked Kale Chips

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Kale Chips

2-4 servings

Baked Kale Chips make a tasty alternative to the standard bagged snack.  Some of the most die-hard veggie-phobes have been known to change their tune after just one bite.  Fortunately they’re a snap to make, and surprisingly kid-friendly too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, washed and dried
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break or cut kale leaves from stems, break into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.  Whisk remaining ingredients together in a cup or small bowl.  Drizzle the mixture over the kale and toss to coat.

Spread kale leaves over the baking sheet and bake until the edges of the kale are browned but not burnt, 10-15 minutes.  Serve at room temperature.  Store for up to one week in an airtight container.