Get Real!

Finding ways to enjoy the hell out of life, while on our journey towards a healthy, authentic and passion-filled life.


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Real Clean: Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Soups are an amazing way to get a ton of veggies in, without having to add any dairy, grains, or even meat (if you are avoiding that too) to your meal. And they can be delicious and filling as well. All of my soups basically start off with the same key ingredients and then I just play around from there to find different combinations (think pot roast potato and veggie soup, Indian spiced soup, and this chicken enchilada soup). So please! Feel free to adjust the ingredients and add others as you like! The ingredients I have placed a ‘*’ next to are the ones that I would recommend as your base if you do choose to play around!

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Makes 5 good size bowls of soup (feeds 2 more than comfortably, and 4 if you add a side dish), and takes about 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes to fully prepare (most of this is letting the finished soup simmer)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • *1-2 T coconut oil
  • *3 cloves of garlic
  • *1 onion (any kind white, yellow or red will do)
  • *various spices: in this case- cumin, coriander, sea salt/pepper, oregano, chile powder
  • *3 cups chopped tomatoes (I like to mix it up with some roma, and some heirloom, but there are no wrong answers here!)*
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded
  • 2 T chipotle paste with adobo (might take you a moment to find in your grocery store, but it’s there)
  • *2.5 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth
  • *6 oz can tomato paste
  • *2-3 large handfuls of greens (chopped spinach, kale, etc.)

Directions:

Get two pots on the burner (one large enough to hold the 5+ bowls of soup — this one needs to have a lid — and a smaller one that will hold the chicken breasts to boil). Start boiling water on high heat in the smaller pot and add the whole chicken breast/s once boiling (you will want this to boil about 15-17 minutes which should be how long it takes you to chop everything else up).

Place the 1-2 T of oil (coconut) into the big pot, and turn the heat to medium high. Peel and chop the garlic up into small chunks (does not have to be minced super tiny), and do the same with the onion. Dump the garlic and onion into the now melted coconut oil and stir around. Add spices as you like, at least a teaspoon of each! Keep stirring mixture. Let the garlic/onions/spices cook (while stirring occasionally) while you chop up all the tomatoes into bite size chunks of various sizes and dump those in too. Let this all cook while you chop up the bell pepper and jalapeno into bite size chunks and add those in.

Add the chipotle paste with adobo, stir. Add the chicken or veggie broth, stir. Add the tomato paste, stir. At this point, I would add a bit more spice as well, again a teaspoon or so of each.

The chicken should be about boiled by now (after 15 minutes for one, 17 for two), so take this out and chop into bite size pieces (use a fork and knife as chicken will be hot!), and add the chicken to the soup. Add the 2-3 handfuls of chopped greens (I promise you won’t taste them and it is a great way to get these suckers in your diet). Stir everything altogether once more.

Turn the heat to high and once the soup is starting to boil, put the lid on and turn it down to low (1-2 if numbered). Set your timer for about 45 minutes to allow chicken to cook a bit more if needed and the rest of the flavors to all meld together and intensify!

YUMM!

And remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow!

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Healthy Recipes Worth Sharing

Hi all! I’ve had more than a couple friends or family members ask about healthy meal ideas. I will be posting more of my own recipes soon. But before I got to the point where I could just ‘wing it’ without a recipe and make a ground beef stew my boyfriend was willing to stuff himself on like I did last night, or a smoothie that is yummy enough to drink daily… I used these recipes! Well, of course, I still do. But I Just wanted to pass them all on to you guys as well! These are all simple and very healthy!

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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe : Tyler Florence : Recipes : Food Network

I paired this mushroom, onion, rosemary chicken with salad made of romaine lettuce topped with sliced strawberries and pomegranate seeds with a quick dressing made of blended apple, strawberry, pomegranate seeds and fresh apple juice.

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Skinny Chicken Enchiladas | Skinnytaste

Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Scratch! — Oh She Glows

I surprised my sweetie with champagne and candles (and some flowers for myself) for a romantic night in. I topped the enchiladas wih organic sour cream. And the strawberries speak for themselves, which have a nutty chocolate sort of taste… not your traditional chocolate covered strawberries, however they are actually Vegan and much healthier than those would be.

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All-Natural Pumpkin Butter From Scratch + Many Ways To Use It! — Oh She Glows

I have used this pumpkin butter on pancakes, on half a whole wheat bagel while my boyfriend made cinnamon rolls in a can (yes, gasp, I read him the ingredient list and he still insisted on that for himself), or on a large multi-grain cracker as a yummy snack. First you will have to roast your own pumpkin though! I will post more on this later, but basically cut around and pry off the stem, cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all the guts and seeds as you normally would to carve. Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set the pumpkin halves face down. Set oven to 375, and place pumpkin halves in for an hour. If your fork goes into the pumpkin easily you are done, if not cook for a bit longer. Then peel off the skin and throw the pumpkin flesh into a blender or food processor and puree.

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Gingerbread Pancakes | My Whole Food Life

I used pumpkin puree (as made right above) instead of the applesauce, and white whole wheat instead of the spelt flour. Also, one time (for a friend that doesn’t especially enjoy the flavor like I do) I used maple syrup instead of molasses. I use these in our waffle maker. You can use grass fed butter or ghee instead of coconut oil if you prefer.

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Homemade Sriracha Sauce – Foodie Crush

I will admit I could not find thai chiles, so I used half serrano and half jalepeno. It was quite spicy, I don’t know that I would say it tasted like sriracha (although I wouldn’t think so since I didn’t use the right peppers) but it is still a great hot sauce! I have used this on my eggs in the morning, on tacos, and on stir frys. Yum! You can play around with different peppers depending on what level of heat you prefer! Also I used coconut palm sugar instead of regular sugar.

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Remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, if you do that you will continue to grow!


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Real Clean: Pumpkin Pie Power Smoothie

ImagePumpkin Pie Power Smoothie

This is a smoothie I drink almost daily, as a power/energy boost and generally as a meal replacement. I don’t normally calculate calories, etc. (instead I focus on eating only fresh whole ingredients and minding my portions when it comes to high calorie/fat items), however I have the calculations below the recipe. The nutrients and healthy ingredients are more than worth their weight in this smoothie, because they help with digestion and elimination of toxins as well as to increase energy and stave off hunger. This is primarily due to the chia seeds and the filling and fibrous half banana. This smoothie would be considered vegan, paleo, and clean.

The Recipe:

  Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree (canned with pumpkin as the only ingredient, or fresh roasted at home and frozen into ice cubes, this would be around 4 regular sized cubes…can also substitute 2 tbsp nut butter if you prefer)
  • 2-3 Ice Cubes (unnecessary if using pumpkin cubes as stated above)
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • Seasonings to Taste (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice are all great additions .. I use 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of ginger, and a pinch of nutmeg myself)
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds (if new to these, I would start with 1/2 tbsp and increase with each smoothie)
  • (optional but recommended) Add-Ins as Desired (I personally use maca powder most of the time and always top my smoothie with some bee pollen, there are a lot of other possible add ins out there. With maca and bee pollen, as with other add-ins, start with a small amount [1/2 tsp or even less] and increase slowly up to 2 tbsp or so)

Preparation:

First, combine frozen and liquid elements (here it is the banana, pumpkin or nut butter, ice cubes if needed, and almond milk) and blend fully. Then add chia seeds and any other spices or add ins, and blend once more. Top with bee pollen if desired.

Nutritional Info:

This is around 220 calories (depending on the type of almond milk used), 11 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbs. So, yes, I suppose high carb. But again, this is a meal replacement and aids in digestion, energy, and staving off hunger for a good period of time.

Some extra smoothie tips

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  • For the frozen banana, there is no right or wrong way persay. I used to buy bananas and if I wasn’t able to use them before they were starting to brown on my counter, I would just toss them in the freezer and then cut off the skin and cut into chunks when needed. But I have found that buying 7+ bananas at once and peeling and chopping them all up and placing each 1/2 banana into its own ziplock bag works wonders.
  • I do roast the pumpkin myself and then freeze the homemade puree into ice cubes and then toss 4 cubes into each of the ziplock bags with the banana. These two steps make these daily smoothies a breeze. Just dump out the baggie into the blender, add almond milk and blend. Then add seasoning, and additional add-ins, blend again and I’m done.
  • Yogurt can also be frozen into cubes and added to the pre-made smoothie packs.
  • Greens are great to add to smoothies and if you add in just a handful, the taste should not even be noticeable (a handful of spinach for example).
  • Berries are also a wonderful fruit to add in if in season, instead of the Pumpkin or Nut butter (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries… all lower in sugar than many fruits and so high in nutrients).
  • I recommend the use of all organic ingredients.

With all the tips I have mentioned, though, I realize we all have different constraints (be them time related, physical, financial, etc). On this journey to health each of us needs to do the best we can with what we have and what we know. As long as we are doing that, we will continue to grow!


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Easy Vegan, Clean, Eats. (Tortilla is the new bread!)

My latest venture, in healthy, delicious, vegan, clean eating. Things in tortillas! If you thought burritos or quesadillas were out of the question, think again! Make sure your tortillas have 5 ingredients or less, have no added sugar, and are made of whole wheat, oat or sprouts.

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Black beans blended for a moment and spread on, with sliced avocado, and diced tomato, red bell pepper, and onions.

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Spinach artichoke hummus spread on, with sliced cucumber, carrot, onion, tomato, and orange bell pepper.

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All natural (literally, peanut is the only ingredient) peanut butter spread on, with sliced bananas. Spread on only half of the tortilla in order to….

…. quesadilla it!

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And then whatever it is, wrap it up in tinfoil and enjoy while walking your dog. (Or whatever else it is you like to do). Then when you’re done, clean your kitchen floor for heavens sake ; ).

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Getting Crazy Healthy (without going crazy)

IF YOU THINK THAT A VEGAN, PLANT-BASED, WHOLE GRAIN, DIET IS OUT OF WHAT YOU EVER COULD, EVER WOULD, OR EVEN SHOULD DO— PLEASE READ ON. AT LEAST THE NEXT PARAGRAPH OR TWO?

I just want to show you that this is possible, for anyone. And, no you do NOT need to give up meat, dairy, sweets, or anything else that you love … all of our goals and journeys are different, the point is simply getting healthier. I had shared this in an earlier blog but this is my diet before (we’re talking a year ago at least) and after (now). This was a slow process (for me, again everyone’s goals and journeys are different):

  • Before: 5-7 cans of diet coke per day and no water at all most days, fast food (whether drive through burger meals, take out chinese/mexican, deli, pizza, etc) about 12 times per week, microwavable meals otherwise (frozen burritos, sugary cereals, cheeze its, taquitos, pizza rolls), virtually no fruits or veggies (fruit on occasion maybe, avoided veggies at all costs even picking out each single pea and carrot in the fried rice at panda express), alcohol 1-3 nights per week (often enough to black out and make stupid choices). BTW no exercise at all.
  • After: Diet coke only as a treat once a week or so (eventually I’ll cut this out too), 3-8 glasses of water per day, fruits and vegetables (raw, cooked, and/or juiced) every day, no alcohol (90 days now, eventually I may bring it back in at moderation but for now I’m happy without), only whole grains (unless eating out at rest. and it’s not an option, this is maybe once a week or every other week), no microwaving (unless pre-prepping something for cooking, or maybe for rolled oats for breakfast), and newly meat and dairy free. BTW walking 15 min at the least daily, some days up to an hour or more.
  • Results (so far): Loss of 50 pounds (working on the next 40 now), I don’t seem to get sick as often (can’t remember the last time), hair feels softer and less frizzy (always been a problem of mine), I am waking at an earlier time feeling rested since I am able to fall asleep at night now, not as moody as I used to be, much more energy to focus on my puppy and getting other things in my life done, more positive outlook on life, and much more.

I didn’t want the point of this blog to be ‘look, look, look what I can do!’ It’s just look at where I was (can you relate?) and where I am now. I never thought that I could be where I am right now. I never even wanted to be where I am right now. I, personally, took this long and slow. There are different ways to approach this, here are a few ideas:

Slow and gradual (the way I did it). Start off changing one little thing at a time. My process went kind of like this (over a year or so):

  • Starting eating breakfast everyday and packing my lunch for work (ate whatever I like but counted calories so that each meal was about 300-400 calories leaving a big chunk for dinner), then started cooking dinners (again whatever I liked, but counted calories)
  • Started limiting my fast food intake to once or twice a week.
  • Started swapping refined white breads or rice, for whole wheat options. Also started introducing salad to my meals.
  • Started cutting out red meat.
  • Started drinking 4-8 glasses of water everyday, and started limiting soda.
  • Cut out alcohol and other drugs.
  • Cut out soda, except for as a treat (when friends were drinking alcohol).
  • Started adding in veggies to my meals everyday (mostly frozen ones).
  • Started adding in fruits and veggies daily.
  • Cut out chicken and seafood, so now I was meat free.
  • Cut out dairy, except for eggs.
  • Cut out eggs.
  • Started juicing daily (to get my greens in)

Getting healthier through swaps only, don’t change what you already do– just choose some healthier options:

  • Drink almond milk instead of regular milk.
  • Buy fresh fruits and veggies instead of canned.
  • Buy dry beans and rice, instead of canned or quick cooking.
  • Try cooking with low to no oil (put onions in pan to cook first and they will have their own juices to help the process).
  • Use avocado instead of mayonnaise as a spread.
  • Use hummus as a chip or cracker dip, instead of ranch or onion sour cream/milk based dips.
  • Choose whole grains (for cereal, rolled oats/oatmeal, breads, tortillas, pita, chips) instead of refined.
  • Choose organic (I will write a blog soon more about this, but you will get more nutritional bang for your buck, I promise).
  • Not a swap, but I recommend adding fruits and veggies if you don’t eat them already. Limit sugar. And do what you are comfortable with in terms of meat and dairy.

Jump right in! For those of you who prefer to just immerse yourself in whatever you are doing as quickly as possible.

  • Google ‘clean eating challenge’, or ‘get healthy challenge’, to find blogs, websites, or books describing programs to jump right in to whatever sort of lifestyle diet you are thinking of. Often they guide you to trying the diet for one week up to 30 days (I highly recommend 30 days). What do you have to lose in trying?
  • Take a look at my swaps above and try them … starting tomorrow. For at least a week. See how you feel afterwards.
  • Be careful. I know none of us like to talk to the doc before we change our eating habits but a lot of changes all at once can be tough on your body so it recommended. I didn’t have a lot of ‘detox’ effects (some here and there) because I took it slow. If you jump right in, your stomach and body may take a week to catch up with you. From there you would feel awesome.


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3 Easy, Healthy, Breakfasts everyone can enjoy.

In case my ‘nutritional plan’ seemed hard to reach. It is important to remember that each meal can be so full of nutrition that these goals are impossible not to reach. The following are the three simple breakfasts I tend to enjoy in the morning. Clean, Vegan, and delicious of course. Each includes, one serving of whole grains, one serving of nuts, and one serving of fruit. Breakfast on! (and please do, it is, as they say, the most important meal of the day).

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  • Slice of whole wheat toast. I have been searching for my favorite type of bread, and I have found my winner so far. It is Trader Joes ‘Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane.’ It is more of sour-dough thick sort of whole wheat loaf. The only ingredients are: whole wheat flour, water, sea salt, and yeast. Music to my ears! Anyhow, I spread on some organic nut butter. At Whole Foods, I can even grind my own. This morning, I used organic almond butter (only ingredient = almonds!). Then this is topped off with sliced bananas. 
  • Oatmeal (not instant), cooked with water. Chop a handful of almonds and then blend into a fine powder (or as fine as possible), sprinkle onto oatmeal. Core and chop one red apple into whatever size slivers you would like, sprinkle this onto oatmeal. Mix ingredients together and top with cinnamon. 
  • Cereal with almond milk. Be careful here, cereal can be dangerous ground. It is important to find something enjoyable, but as clean as possible. Scour the cereal isle at your local health food stores and get reading (the labels that is). Remember, strive for five ingredients or fewer, look for whole wheat options, look for low to no sugar added in. Also with the almond milk, check the nutrition label as there should be no additional sugar added, and there should be 1-2 grams of fiber (if not, chances are there are not actually many almonds within the milk). Slice fresh berries on top of your cereal or enjoy a kiwi on the side. 

THERE YOU ARE, THAT SIMPLE! HAPPY BREAKFAST-ING!


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Real Clean: Clean Green Juice

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I often double or triple the ingredients below to make friends share in my healthy healthy juice! The comment I receive most is that it smells a bit like grass. But considering how healthy it is (and that fact that it is totally drinkable), ‘bring on the grass’!

First things first. Don’t feel like a juicer is out of your budget. I got mine at Wal-Mart for $30!! I have had no problems so far (black and decker), use it daily, and clean up isn’t too bad (but DO clean immediately after juicing as quickly as you can– so the gunk doesn’t get stuck on– and then enjoy your juice knowing the clean up is done).

So for the recipe. This is nothing out of the ordinary, just things I have thrown together. Be creative. If it’s a little too sour for you, try sweeter options like red apple or carrot. If you prefer more sour, up the lime/lemon quantities. Play around with it. And variety is great too. Also don’t forget I personally recommend organic.

Clean Green Juice for One:

  • 1-2 stalks of celery
  • 2 inch slice of cucumber
  • 1 lemon or lime, or half of each (see note below re citrus peels)
  • 1 green apple
  • handful of green spinach
  • be sure to add addtl greens such as kale (play around with the varieties and mix it up, use 1-2 large leaves), or mustard greens.
  • 1-2 tbsp of Flax Seed (see note below)

Additional instructions:

  • Put the greens through the juicer first, so any left behind gets brought through by the end.
  • Grind the Flax Seed in a bullet or blender before adding juice to it.
  • Blend the final juice, ground flax, and a few ice cubes before drinking to give the drink a cool edge.
  • As for citrus peels: I am currently researching as to whether it is best to juice them or toss them. As of right now, I would suggest tossing all peels other than lemon/lime. With the lemon/lime peels, I would try a small piece to make sure your juicer can handle it. Also, the taste may be affected so it’s worth a try with the peels and then without to see what you prefer. DO always leave as much as the Pith on as possible (which is the thin white skin around any of the citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, or the lemons/limes).

ENJOY AND PLAY AROUND WITH IT! IT SHOULD BE SOMETHING YOU ENJOY (OR AT LEAST MOSTLY), NOT A TASK.

Happy Juicing!