Step Away from the Chocolate Bunny!

Carrot Ginger Juice

Easter is just around the corner, and while it’s not the basis of the holiday, if you’ve got kids, there will be candy… lots of candy.

Unfortunately these candy-laden holidays can derail all your efforts to lose weight and get healthy.

There’s Halloween in the fall, Christmas, Hanukkah and Valentine’s day in the winter, and Easter in the Spring. And how many of us sneak a piece, or 5 from our kid’s Easter baskets?

If one piece of chocolate or sweet leads you into a sugar free-for-all, then it’s time to “step away from the chocolate bunny”!

Some people really like that sugar rush, but it’s quickly followed by a sugar crash, which does real harm to your system.

And worse yet, studies show that most people feel guilty and upset with themselves because of a perceived lack of will power.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I want to encourage you to change your thinking from “I can’t have that chocolate bunny” to “I prefer not to have that chocolate bunny and it’s side effects, AND I’m going treat myself to something that’s wildly delicious & healthy.”

For me, that’s my Carrot Ginger Juice. It’s carrots, ginger, turmeric, and an apple. That’s it!

Even the Easter Bunny will envy you!

Carrot Ginger Juice
Carrot Ginger Juice
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Carrot Ginger Juice
Carrot Ginger Juice
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Wash (but don’t worry about peeling) carrots and apples (remove the seeds), and cut into 1” chunks
  2. Add all ingredients, a few at a time, in to the shoot of a juicer (According to juicer directions.)
  3. When all ingredients have been juiced, stir liquid to blend flavors and drink up!
  4. Pour any extra into a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Juice is best consumed the same day it’s made.
  5. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

*Feel free to add more of what you like or add in other ingredients (like beets, celery, spinach and more!)

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Perfect Spring Pasta with Lemon, Feta and Arugula

 

It’s warming up on the East Coast, which means Spring is right around the corner. While cozy comfort foods have kept me warm and energized through the winter, I’ve recently been craving lighter dishes with vegetables and zippy, bright flavors. This bow tie pasta dish with lemon, feta and arugula is the perfect marriage of all that I want.

Bonus – It took less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish, and there was very little work involved. Perfect for those on-the-go weekday meals!

Bow Tie Pasta with Lemon, Feta and Arugula

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound bow tie pasta (or other short pasta)

4 Tbsp olive oil

¼ c lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

2 Tbsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

Salt & pepper to taste

6 oz feta cheese, cubed

3 – 4 c baby arugula

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and add pasta. Cook to al dente, according to the package instructions.
  2. Reserve 1 c pasta cooking water, then drain pasta into a colander.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and feta cheese into the warm pot, and warm on low – medium heat.
  4. Return pasta to pot, add arugula and toss gently to coat. (If you need, add a little of the reserved pasta water here.)
  5. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Serve immediately.

Play around with the flavors & ingredients to suit your taste. Here are just a couple of ideas.

  • Change out the arugula for asparagus or fresh peas
  • Swap out the feta for ricotta cheese for a creamier flavor

Happy Eating!

xo,

Dianne


A Word to Shape 2017

 

Every New Year’s Eve, I pick a word to help guide me through the year. This word serves as both a business and a personal beacon. Last year, my word was Joyful, the year before, it was Savor, and before that it was Bold. You get the picture.

 

Now, many good things happened in 2016, but the end of the year left me feeling disappointed and less than Joyful. It really took a while. I thought about a lot of words. And, after much thought and soul searching, I found my word for 2017… It’s Connected.

 

Connected resonates with me because my goal is to create or deepen connections with people in both my personal and professional life, and in my relationship to the environment, which nourishes and sustains all of us.

 

Okay, now it’s your turn! I invite each of you to choose a word to guide your year. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong word, just something meaningful to you, and it can only be one word (not a phrase). Share your word here, and a little bit about why you chose it.

 

Looking forward to hearing what you chose!

xo,

Dianne

 


Easy, Peasy Summer Gazpacho

Easy, Peasy Summer Gazpacho

gazpacho soup & corn chips

I don’t know about you, but my summer has been hot & sticky! The kinda hot that melts your ice cubes 10 minutes in to your drink! With record temperatures this year, the last thing you want to do is stand at the stove, or even the grill and cook hot food! But, so much of healthy eating is preparing food at home with quality ingredients.

The remedy? For me it’s dinner outside, preferably on my patio under the pergola covered with grapevines and twinkly lights, where you can occasionally catch a cool breeze.

And, the perfect meal for this time of year? Chilled gazpacho. It’s quick and easy to make, and there’s no heating up the oven or stove top. Use the plethora of local tomatoes, onions, zucchini, garlic, peppers and more that you can find at the farmers market, grocery or if you’re really lucky, in your own garden.

Gazpacho simply requires some food prep. However, if you play your cards right, you can make most of it in a blender or serving bowl, and have very little clean up to do! Woo hoo! Compliment it with some tortilla chips and guacamole, or a black bean salad, and you have my kind of summer meal!

Don’t believe it’s that simple to make? Here’s a quick video to show you just how fast and easy it is!

 

Easy, Peasy Summer Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 quart sized jar home-canned tomatoes, chopped, or 4 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces and 3 c. tomato juice
  • ½ c. fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 -1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Directions

Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, cilantro and red onion into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and add the garlic, jalapeno, tomato juice, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.  Will keep in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

 


I chose Joyful

Rainbow

Rainbow

Every January I pick a theme word to guide me through my year. This year, I considered some great words. But, like clothes, words have to fit well to make you feel comfortable. While there were many fabulous words, none resonated with me until I found Joyful. It’s perfect!! Joyful makes me think of blue skies, kisses and rainbows. It’s exactly how I want this year to develop.

Joyful has been an auspicious choice. Building a business can be challenging and lonely, so choices matter. Whether it’s spending time with family, trying out a new skill or paying bills, approaching the activity with joy colors how I feel about it. Instead of being pissed that I have to pay bills, I’m happy to have them! Bills to pay mean I acquired something. Just like employing new skills mean I’m continuing to learn… you get it!

Wanna play? We’re only one quarter into 2016. It’s not too late to pick a theme word for this year. If you already have a word, how it’s going? Did you choose Abundance and get more love, money or time? Maybe you picked Savor, and are now enjoying dancing, family dinners, or dog walks! And what if your word is not working for you? It’s not too late to pick a better word! How about Determination? Laughter? Creative?

Post your word to the blog! Share how it’s impacted you, and let us cheer you on!

 

 

 

 

 

 


7 Tips to Thrive Through Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I hear a lot of women say they are dreading the day. They say they already feel overwhelmed by the volume of cooking (and cleaning up) and at the mercy of the calories and temptations they know they’ll be facing.  Okay, a huge piece of Thanksgiving is about the meal… but the holiday is about so much more!

There are ways to not only “survive” Thanksgiving, but to actually thrive through it! Thriving happens when you take advantage and slow down, “to give thanks” and be mindful of all you have, like family, friends and an abundance of food. Here are a few tricks that I use to enjoy the holiday along with my family and guests:

  • Delegate. If you’re having family or friends over, it does mean cooking larger quantities than usual, which can feel daunting. We are sharing the holiday with another family, so we’ll make larger quantities of food but split the responsibilities… I make a tasty turkey, but my friend is a way better baker. That way, we play to each other’s strengths AND get to enjoy each other’s company!
  • Don’t stress about overeating. The food will be delicious, but keep in mind that you don’t need to stuff yourself. There will be leftovers, so that same great food will be around later to enjoy again.
  • Chew. Take a little of everything, about half of what you normally would and chew it thoroughly. Chewing reduces choking incidents, aids in digestion, and allows your body to register satiety (feeling full) so that you don’t eat too much.
  • Take a time out. If you’re feeling stressed by lots of people, close quarters, and things to do, remind yourself that it’s just food. Your company is there to be with you and that Thanksgiving is only one day out of the year. Take a moment to go into a quiet room, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the scene again.
  • Focus on the people you’re spending your day with, even if it’s the same folks you see everyday. Try to discover something new (a hobby, your ancestry, etc.) to talk about with them.
  • If you need something to remind you of all that you have, volunteer some time for those in need. Whether you serve meals at a homeless shelter, foster a dog, or knit clothes and blankets for refugees, there’s a way to show appreciation for all that you have.
  • And lastly, get moving! Don’t just watch sports on tv, get outside and play a game, rake leaves or go for a walk! You’ll be thankful that you did!

This list is what works for me, but if you have a tip for thriving through Thanksgiving, I’d love you to share it in the comment section.

I hope you all have a relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving!

Dianne


No-guilt Frozen Summer Treat

Summer time in the Mid-Atlantic means heat & humidity. So when I want a treat, it’s got to be creamy and cold. I do love ice cream and sorbet, but lately my “go-to” snack is frozen banana chunks drizzled with chocolate syrup. Why do I adore it so much? Not only is it easy to make, but most people usually have all the ingredients (bananas, vanilla, cocoa powder, sugar and salt) in their kitchen already. No need to run out to a store!

frozen bananas with chocolate sauce

Here’s how I make it.

For the bananas:

Use bananas that are ripened to the point of being covered in brown spots & soft to the touch, but not mushy. Peel each banana, and break it into bite-sized chunks about 1 inch long. There will be 5-6 chunks per banana. Figure a serving size will be about 1 – 1 ½ bananas per person.

Place the chunks into a storage container. (I like glass, but you can also use a plastic freezer bag.) Place in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours (but longer is better.) Bananas are naturally sweet and freeze well. They’re fat and cholesterol free, are high in potassium and have about 3 grams of fiber (per medium banana), all of which help protect against heart disease and cancer.

When it’s snack time, just put 5 or 6 banana chunks into a bowl. You can eat them plain, but they’re incredible drizzled with the following chocolate sauce!

For the chocolate sauce:

This recipe comes from epicurious. It’s super fast, easy and delicious!! Here’s the link, and my additions to the recipe. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chocolate-syrup-107781

1 c filtered water

½ c regular sugar or coconut sugar

2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp salt (I used sea salt)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, bring the water & sugar to a boil, whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in cocoa and salt, and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened (about 3 min.) Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool. (Syrup continues to thicken as it cools.) You can make this in about 5 minutes time, but it’s best if you make it and cool it ahead of time. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

And there you have it, a guilt-free frozen treat that satisfies any sweet craving! What’s your favorite summer treat? Post a comment and share your favorite guilt-free snack!

 

 

 


Interview with Tinsel & Tine

In April, I had the pleasure of meeting Le Anne Lindsay at a women entrepreneur’s networking meeting. Le Anne is the writer/editor of Tinsel & Tine, a Philly-based blog featuring news about Philadelphia film and theater events, as well as culinary event commentary. Shortly after the networking event, Le Anne contacted me about highlighting MooreBetterFood in a more in-depth interview.

Now, what you should know is Le Anne is not your average writer/blogger. She’s creative in her approach to entertainment and food, so she brought some women with her to record the interview for a more well rounded perspective. She brought drawtographer, Diane Roka, who’s gifted at drawing images that capture a person’s essence and passion, and videographer, Jessica Lucky (yes, that’s her real name) to record the interview.

Who knew anyone could have this much fun being interviewed, drawn and videotaped?! Fortunately, I got the chance to show my appreciation to these awesome women, and dispel any myths that healthy food cannot be delicious and satisfying, by serving up some MooreBetterFood favorites. Sunny Carrot Ginger soup paired with Zucchini Muffins. The muffins are delightful on their own but are even better paired with decadent molasses butter.

Sunny Carrot Ginger Soup

Sunny Carrot Ginger Soup (adapted from a recipe by Janice Gill)

Makes 6-12 servings

Ingredients*

3/4 c. onion, minced

1/4 c. gingerroot, minced

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil

6 c. water or vegetable stock

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, sliced

1/4 c. unsalted butter

1/4c. All-purpose flour

1 c. light cream

Zest of one orange

Salt & pepper

Steps

  1. In a medium saucepan, add1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion and gingerroot, and cook over moderate to low heat until the ginger is fragrant and the onion is softened.
  2. Add water or vegetable stock, carrots & sugar, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until carrots are tender.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat and whisk in flour to make a roux. Reduce heat and cook about 4 minutes until it becomes foamy and slightly thickened.
  4. In a blender, puree soup mixture in batches, (no more than ¾ full at a time).
  5. Pour pureed mixture into large saucepan with roux, and stir until smooth.
  6. Add orange zest, cream, and salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Gently simmer at least 5 more minutes, careful not to boil.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Yield: 8 cups

*To get the best flavor and nutrients from this soup, use organic ingredients.

Zucchini Bread (recipe courtesy of Chef Christina Martin, Vegan Commissary)

Ingredients

¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

¾ cup unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ c safflower oil

½ c maple syrup

¼ c unsweetened non-dairy milk

¼ c apple juice

1 c grated zucchini

½ c walnuts, toasted and chopped

Steps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard loaf pan or muffin tin. Set aside one tablespoon of grated zucchini for garnishing the top(s).

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a medium bowl and add to dry. Stir just enough to incorporate all ingredients, and then stir in zucchini and nuts.

Transfer mixture to a loaf pan and distribute remaining zucchini over the surface. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. (20 minutes if making muffins.)

Allow loaf to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool on wire rack.

 

Molasses Butter

Ingredients:

4 tbsp unsalted butter or non-dairy butter

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp molasses

Pinch sea salt to taste

Steps:

Bring butter to room temperature, whisk with other ingredients until smooth.

It was so much fun to be interviewed/videotaped/drawn. But more than that, it was so enjoyable to meet these three amazing and talented women. What do you serve to company you want to impress? Leave a comment in the Comments Section and let me know.

 

To read the Tinsel & Tine interview, go to www.tinseltine.com/p/in-spotlight.html.

For more from Le Anne Lindsay and Tinsel & Tine check out: www.tinseltine.com

Instagram https://instagram.com/tinsel_tine

 

To see more of Diane Roka’s work, check out:

www.dianeroka.com

Instagram https://instagram.com/dianeroka/

 

 

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Is Your Kitchen Making You Fat?

Is your kitchen making you fat?

Is your kitchen making you fat?

Does this sound familiar? You’ve changed your diet, gave up soda and sugary snacks, and you exercise regularly. Yet you just can’t lose those last 5 pounds? The cause of your difficulty just may be Obesogens.

Obesogens are chemicals in our food and environment that interfere with the way we metabolize and store fat, impact the hormones that tell us we’re hungry or satisfied, and change the size and functioning of our fat cells. Pesticides, Obesogens, and Phthalates (Oh my!) are a trio of environmental toxins cause chemically induced weight gain. They’re present in everyday items in our homes – canned food, plastic containers and packaging, and non-stick cookware.

The problem is that most people don’t even know they’re there! But if you’re not reducing or eliminating these environmental toxins from your diet and lifestyle, it doesn’t matter how clean your diet is or how much exercise you do, your efforts will be undone.

Want to know more? On April 8th 2015 (12 – 1 PM), I’ll be talking on The Skinny on Chemicals and Weight Gain: How your Kitchen can be Making You Fat at American Executive Centers, 101 Lindenwood Drive, Suite 225, in Malvern.

 


Simple green smoothie

Normally breakfast at our house is hot oatmeal. It’s especially perfect on cold winter mornings before the furnace really kicks in. But this morning, as I was preparing to make breakfast, I noticed the end of a bag of spinach in the fridge. It had been bugging me for a couple of days because it wasn’t fresh enough to make a salad, but I hated for it to go to waste.

Making a green smoothie seemed like a no-brainer. Since it was a chilly morning, the only ingredients used were odds & ends from the refrigerator and pantry. Everything blended together in less than 5 minutes, and Voila! My husband and I had tasty, healthy and satisfying smoothies. This recipe made enough for each of us to have a tall glass (about 1.5 cups). I felt so good all day that I’m going to try to include green smoothies a few times each week. What about you?  Leave a reply in the comment section and let me know what your favorite smoothie combinations are.

 

Green Smoothie                            Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 – 2 dates, pitted

1 banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk*

½ cup cold water

1 Persian cucumber

½ bunch parsley

1- 1.5 cups spinach

 

Instructions:

Add one to two dates and the almond milk in the blender, and blend on low for 2 minutes or until dates are broken down well. I actually use the ice crush setting to start, because dates can be tough to break up. Add the spinach, banana (broken into 3-4 pieces), the Persian cucumber (cut into 4 or so pieces), and parsley, stems and all (roughly cut in half). Blend adding just enough cold water to come to a smooth consistency. Serve & enjoy!

*Substitute other non-dairy or dairy milks here depending on preference.