Easy Pesto

Ever wonder would could be an easy option to spice up a lot of different foods? Try Pesto. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that took me, seriously, about 5 minutes to make.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Garlic – peeled
  • Nuts – if you want them, pine nuts are the usual, but you could use walnuts or pecans instead.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

The Cooking Part …

I just made this the other night – it was quick, easy and great for days. I like a lot of garlic and we did not use any nuts in our pesto blend.

First, peel the garlic cloves. I put about 3-4 in my blend. Put in a food processor or blender and chop. Then pull the basil leaves off the stems, add to the food processor and begin to blend on low. While blending add some olive oil to the processor. Add just enough oil so that it blends well, but is still chunky. I add salt and pepper to taste. Done. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week or so.

What to serve with …

I added mine this week to spaghetti  squash for a fantastic side dish. We eat it on crackers, cucumbers, with tomatoes and cheese, eggs. The options are endless if you like basil and garlic 🙂

Easy and Impressive Egg Fritta

Want a breakfast that looks great, tastes good, and is easy to prepare? It can feed just one or two people or a whole bunch of you. If you don’t want to share save the leftovers for lunches or future breakfast meals.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Butter or other cooking oil – olive or avocado oil works well here – enough to cover the bottom of your pan
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Scrambled Eggs – 6 to 12 depending on the number of people eating and how big your pan is.
    • optional: Milk or half and half for scrambling
  • Broccoli – 1-2 crowns
  • Shredded Carrots – 3-4 large

Garnish Items – if you want:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese – enough to cover the top of the fritta.
    • Amount will depend on personal preference and size of the pan.
  • Sliced grapes tomatoes, pico de Gallo, or salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado

The Cooking Part …

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an oven safe pan, melt the butter in the pan over the stovetop.
  • While it melts dice the onions and garlic.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter.
  • Chop the broccoli into small pieces, eliminating the hard parts of the stems, and shred the carrots.
    • Amount of carrots and broccoli will depend on your preference and how many eggs / people you are feeding.
    • You want enough to have the fritta feel hearty but not so much that it drowns out the egg.
  • Add broccoli and carrots to the butter, onion, and garlic.
  • Cook on medium to low heat until the onion is transparent and the broccoli and carrots are soft, but not withered looking. About 5-10 minutes.
  • Scramble the eggs and pour over the mixture and cook until the egg sets up.
  • Transfer pan to the oven until the egg is cooked through. The top begins to set.
  • Add cheese if you want and return to the oven. Place on high broil for 5 minutes to melt the cheese
  • Top with the tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado

What to serve with …

All sorts of breakfast foods – toast & jam, fried potatoes or hash browns, fruit, breakfast salad, juice, coffee, tea.

This meal will keep in the fridge, it is also great as a left over for lunch the next day or you can freeze and reheat as needed for future breakfast meals.

Eggplant Chips

Eggplant is not high on my list of foods I should make sure to eat, However these were delicious! Plus after we ate the first batch the second took about 10 minutes. Quick, healthy, and easy. What’s not to love.

From the kitchen of my friend Claudia …

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Salt &pepper 

You can also add other spices – chili powder, turmeric, etc. 

The Cooking Part …

Cut the eggplant into small thin pieces. Coat in olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so. I also like to broil instead of bake to get the crunchy option. However, make sure you pay attention. Broiling on high makes it really easy to burn them very quickly. 

Food as Medicine

Food is medicine. Treat it as such.

If you missed yesterday’s blog post and video on the links between food and mood check it out here: Food and Mood

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food" - Hippocrates
Let food be your medicine. Whatever is ailing you, do not underestimate the role food plays in your ability to create what you need to heal. Learn about minerals, vitamins, nutrients and eat to heal and support your physical structures and your mental capacities.

Food and Mood

Ever noticed that you feel different after eating different foods? In the past the links between food and mood may have been considered pseudoscience as food is just fuel, right? Not anymore. In today’s world we know the quality of that fuel (food) matters.

Over a decade ago Wallin and Rissanen (1994) were discussing the impacts of food and food cravings on psychiatric diagnoses. Today we are studying how the gut microbiota are impacted by diet choices and influence behavior (Jørgensen, 2014). There is lots of research linking how well children do in the classroom to meals eaten throughout the day, how strong our workouts will be to when and how we eat, and shows us how our focus and concentration fluctuate with what additives and ingredients were packaged in that meal you ate. Today, consider how you are eating for your brain.

For many of us we eat a routine set of items. In these items we often find the same things we ate and were exposed to as children. As a result we are fueling similar to our biology and culture. This used to be a good thing, as more research is showing us how ethnicity impacts ability to digest particular food items. However, with such diversity in our food system, easy access to all sorts of new foods, and things like GMOs, additives, colors, and preservatives many of us do not feel as good as we used to when we eat the same foods from our past. We have moved away from those family, cultural, and ethically focused meal plans and begun to source our food miles and miles from our homes.

As you eat this week, notice how you feel before you eat. What is your emotional state? Are you really hungry? Are you just bored? Do you feel sad, happy, angry? How did you feel yesterday? Many times our food choices are based on energy levels from yesterday. Then notice the same about how you feel when you get done eating. Did that meal satisfy you? If not why not? What is the emotion set you are feeling as you finish eating?

Next notice your thoughts. As a personal trainer and former fitness center owner, people around me often say things like: “I know I shouldn’t eat this … but” as they take a huge bite of something. This is not the way to help your mind create an experience of health or your body feel good about what you are eating. If you want that piece of cake, eat it, but be careful how you think about it. If you are saying “I shouldn’t” then have a smaller piece and say “I am so grateful I have the opportunity to sample this sweetness, I am also grateful that I only need a little to feel satisfied”. Then eat the item mindfully and enjoy it fully. As you swallow tell your belly, “We are enjoying the sweetness of life in this moment”. Do the same when you eat salad and fruit and vegetables, and drink water. As you eat, tell yourself how great these items are for your cells, your gut flora, and your brain.

The connection between what we think and what we manifest is well known. You will cultivate what you what you put your attention on. Use the power of your attention to focus on what you want, not what you don’t. As you tell yourself you are making healthy choices and you are caring for your body well, you begin to manifest increased healthy behaviors. Don’t believe me? Begin to think about something you like, focus on it, Just do not think about pink elephants. How many of you saw a pink elephant in your mind?

The subconscious works in pictures. When you give it a subject, like pink elephants, “bad” food, things you hate, it puts resources toward creating the experience of noticing pink elephants (or other items). If it is this easy to see pink elephants in your mind, imagine how easy it will be to see your body working exactly as it should, humming along, doing just what is needed in each moment to fully function. Think about how easy it will be to take a food, tell yourself the food is helping your body, and create a healthy pattern of engagement between food that is good for you, feeding yourself well, and generating positive moods as a result.

As you increase the healthy foods, your mood improves, your sleep gets better, and it’s easier to manage stress in your life. Your body has the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to make the neurotransmitters you need to feel happy, content, and connected. All of which help you feel regulated and grounded. Want more ideas to help yourself stay on track? Check out an easier post: Eat Well, Feel Well

As you feed yourself today, say something positive and thankful over your food. You will be surprised how that shifts your focus and brings a different experience to your eating … Here’s to happy eating, enjoy!

References

Jørgensen, B.P., Hansen, J. T., Krych, L., Larsen, C., Klein, A.B., Nielsen, D. S., Josefsen, K., Hansen, A. K., Sørensen, D. B. (2014). A possible link between food and mood: Dietary impact on gut microbiota and behavior in BALB/c mice. PLOS ONE, 9(8), e103398 1-15.

Wallin M.S., Rissanen A.M. (1994). Food and mood: relationship between food, serotonin and affective disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 377, 36-40.