Get Well Salad

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get sick. Never, not ever. So we’re gonna call whatever I’m experiencing this weekend simply me “feeling under the weather”. That works for me. I will admit to sickness when I’m throwing up, hacking up a lung, or delirious with fever. I’m not any of those things today. Still, it’s really no fun feeling under the weather. I slept ’til 10, woke up, made breakfast, and went back to bed ’til 2. Probably sounds like the average weekend for high school students, but I’m generally up and at ’em at 8 on Sunday morning. Also, my nose is raw and red from wiping all the stuff that won’t stop pouring out of it. TMI maybe, but that’s what’s happening around here. And did I mention my head feels like it’s going to explode at any moment? Yuck.

For dinner, I decided the smartest thing would be to throw all of the healthiest, vitamin-rich, healing foods in my kitchen in a bowl. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll feel like superwoman in the morning!

Get Well Salad
Serves 1 under-the-weather person

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped thin
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 small granny smith apple, cored and sliced thin
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Dressing:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 very small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tsp raw local honey
1.5 T freshly squeezed orange juice

Make the dressing first by combining all ingredients. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and strain, discarding the ginger and garlic pulp. Combine all salad ingredients and toss with dressing. Serve immediately.


~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Juicing 101

Raw power.

I’ve blogged casually about juicing, but I think it’s time for me to get serious. If you don’t have a juicer, well, you should. I’ve seen some decent ones on amazon for as low as $65, but if you’re able to make a bigger investment, it’s totally worth it!

While I’m making suggestions, I may as well add that you ought to take some time to watch the following documentaries: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Food Matters, and the Gerson Miracle. They will change your life; at least, they changed mine. No, I’ve never been seriously overweight or sick before, but watching those films has drastically altered the way I eat and think about food, which will ultimately affect my lifelong health and longevity, not to mention the health habits of my future children. These documentaries also gave me a greater respect for the power of fruits and vegetables. Nature is truly incredible.

Ideally, everyone should start off the day with fresh green juice. It is a super-concentrated, unique source of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis. Most of us are deficient in some way, whether we realize it or not, and drinking a cup of green juice is the perfect and natural way to give your body the vitamins it’s lacking. You’ll find that when your body is equipped with the vitamins and nutrients it requires to function correctly, it is next to impossible to become sick. Fresh juice has magnificent healing properties and a faithful juice fast can cure numerous ailments.

I’m a big fan of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, but it’s not everybody’s thing. For those of you who have trouble consuming the 8 – 9 recommended servings per day, juicing is a quick way to get those servings without all the chewing. It would take a good hour for me to eat all the stuff I put in my morning juice; it’s much more convenient to drink it within a matter of seconds.

The beautiful thing about juicing is that you can put practically anything through there and it will taste great…as long as you add a piece of fruit! I still can’t stomach pure green juice that doesn’t at least have a bit of apple, beet, or carrot to sweeten it. Some quick rules of thumb:

1. Always juice greens. It just doesn’t make sense to go to the trouble of juicing and not throw some greens in there. Unless you put like 4 heads of collard greens in one juice, you won’t really notice much difference in the flavor, but you’re adding tons of nutritional content. Don’t be scared, just do it.

2. Always juice celery, even if it’s just half a stalk. It helps to deliver the nutrients to your tissue.

3. Because of its high water content and mild flavor, add cucumber when juicing vegetables with strong flavors (such as the collard greens I was talking about).

4. Drink your juice right away. It starts to lose nutrients immediately, so gulp that baby down as soon as possible!

If you’re hesitant to juice random combinations of produce, here are a few “recipes”, if you will, that I use often. Remember to always wash everything very thoroughly and chop to the correct size for your juicer’s chute. A helpful hint: greens are sometimes difficult to juice, so always juice them by handfuls along with something large and dense, like a quarter of an apple, beet, carrot, and celery. If you fill the entire chute with kale, you’re likely to have issues. Oh, and don’t forget to stir!

Morning Glory
Makes 2 large servings
You can substitute any dark greens for kale. I personally like the flavor of kale and it has the greatest nutrient density.

6 cups kale, spines removed (optional; they can be bitter)
4 celery stalks
4 medium carrots
Half of one large cucumber
Half of one large beet
2 Granny Smith apples (nice and tart, but you can use any apples)
Lemon or lime, to taste

Green Explosion (ingredients shown above, photo of the juice seen at the top of this post)
Makes 2 large servings

6 cups kale
3 cups spinach
4 stalks celery
2 apples
Half of one large cucumber
Fresh basil, to taste
Fresh mint, to taste
Handful of wheatgrass

Note: One ounce of wheatgrass has the equivalent of 2.5 cups of green vegetables in nutritional value. The Green Explosion is quite a mighty elixir!

Pineapple Citrus Blast
Makes 2 servings

Half of one pineapple, peeled
1 large grapefruit, peeled
2 medium oranges, peeled
1 large apple
3 cups turnip greens (or greens of choice)
Fresh mint, to taste
Lemon or lime, to taste

There you have it, a few of the juices I enjoy regularly. I hope you enjoy them, too! I am currently nearing the end of day three of a five-day juice fast. I am doing this to clean out the junk my body has built up over the holidays and past month, which has come to my attention by way of bad skin and a couple of pounds. When my body is thoroughly cleansed, I look forward to maintaining my squeaky-clean innards with lots of great new recipes that I can’t wait to share with all of you!

Happy Juicing!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Veggies-for-Breakfast Muffins

I have officially pulled myself out of the Thanksgiving coma. It was nice to live in a fog of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for a few days, but my body was definitely missing its giant helpings of raw fruits and vegetables. And I don’t even want to think about dessert for a few weeks.

That being said, let’s make muffins!

I promise I’m not contradicting my anti-dessert claim, here. These are not “dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast” muffins. They are not double chocolate chunk muffins. They are not gooey gobs of sugar and fat that destroy the good name of “blueberry” muffins.

No, they are made of fruits and vegetables, like all good muffins should be! This is a tasty breakfast idea for those of you who are getting tired of oatmeal (a.k.a WEIRDOS). This recipe is from VegNews and I followed it to a T (that’s how great the ingredient list looked!).

Veggies for Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 giant muffins or 12 regular 🙂

Ingredients:

1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 apple, grated
1-3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small cup, add water and ground flaxseed, stirring with a fork. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until mixture thickens.

2. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla, and applesauce. Add in zucchini, carrot, and apple. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. To agave mixture, add flaxseed mixture and stir to combine. Mix dry ingredients to wet, and stir to combine.


3. Divide batter evenly into muffin tins and top with walnuts, if using. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. Spread butter or jam as desired, serve, and enjoy!

My husband gobbled all of these up before I even had a chance to eat a second one! I guess I’ll have to whip up another batch; after all, you can’t eat too many veggies, right?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Mini Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

I’ve been thinking about tarts a lot lately. Fruit tarts, savory tarts, chocolate tarts, ugly tarts, pretty tarts, any and all tarts. I came home with every intention of making tarts (three ways, mind you), but at the end of the night I had 25 mini empanadas staring me in the face and not a tart in sight.

I don’t know how that happened. I must’ve been baking on auto-pilot again.

Fear not, fellow tart-lovers, they’ll make their debut. For now, let’s enjoy what tastes like a bite of warm apple cinnamon cheesecake wrapped in a whole wheat blanket. As it turns out, empanadas don’t have to be fried or filled with greasy meat to taste utterly sinful. Waistlines, rejoice!

Mini Apple Cinnamon Empanadas

Dough Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 T stevia (or other dry sweetener)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter or alternative (I use Smart Balance Lite. You can also sub half oil of your choice. And please, PLEASE don’t ever use margarine!)
1/4 cup cold water

Apple Filling Ingredients:
3 – 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 – 2 T butter alternative
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 – 2 tsp agave (optional)

Cream Cheese Mixture Ingredients:
4 oz tofu cream cheese (or neufchatel cheese, non-vegan alternative)
1 – 2 tsp agave (depending on desired sweetness)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Step 1: Prepare your dough. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sweetener, then cut in the butter (or alternative) with a fork or pastry cutter. Sprinkle the water and cut in until the dough is crumbly. Knead the dough lightly for a minute, form into a ball, wrap, and put in the fridge to rest for about a half hour.

Step 2: While the dough chills, peel, core, and chop the apples. Chop small pieces for smooth filling or larger pieces for a chunkier filling.

Step 3: Heat a pan to medium low and add the apple filling ingredients (apples, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave). Cook down, stirring frequently, until the apples are completely soft, gooey, and about half their original size. While they’re cooking, preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine all cream cheese mixture ingredients (cream cheese, agave, and vanilla), beat until smooth, and set aside.

This is the beginning of the cooking process; as you can see, they're not gooey yet. The aroma was irresistible, and I was burning my fingers so bad picking out apple chunks that I eventually just got a fork to eat them straight from the pan to spare my scorched fingers. These apples are dessert all by themselves.

(Note: Brandy would be an excellent addition to the apples. I was momentarily tempted to tell my husband that I was taking up drinking so that I’ll always have alcohol on hand just in case a recipe calls for it, but I must have caught another waft of buttery vanilla and lost my train of thought. All this to say that if you happen to have Brandy in the cabinet, please add a splash or two.)

Step 4: Remove the dough from the fridge and roll onto a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out as many 4-inch rounds as you can (I used a large jar lid to do this; be creative if you don’t have the right tools!) and line them on a floured cookie sheet. Gather the leftover scraps of dough, knead together, and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used.


Step 5: Top the dough rounds with a spoonful of the apple filling and cream cheese mixture. Fold one side over and seal the empanada closed by crimping the edges with a fork.


Step 6: Brush the tops of the empanadas with a very light layer of non-dairy milk (optional) and add a few more sprinkles of cinnamon (if you’re a cinnamon freak like me). Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until slightly crispy around the edges. Let cool for five minutes and serve warm with a drizzle of coconut cream or a little scoop of non-dairy ice cream if you want to really indulge!

Warm, seasonal, and so darn cute! These little guys just took my cinnamon obsession to a whole new level. I’m beginning to think that in addition to calcium, manganese, and vitamins A and K, cinnamon may also contain a significant amount of crack. Autumn is the season of giving and generosity, so give yourself permission to be generous with cinnamon at all times. It’s critical to your health. 🙂

Here’s hoping autumn never ends!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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