Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Speedy Supper #2 - Arugula Salad with White Beans and Pesto, Grilled Sesame Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Hoisin Chicken with Scallions

This post, the second in my Speedy Suppers series, utilized three recipes from the Real Simple "Simple 3-ingredient Recipes" article in the July 2011 issue. They're called "recipes," but don't be intimidated - these are simple instructions as to how to put a few things together for a quick and healthy meal, no complicated ingredients required! Thus, making three "recipes" for dinner really is as simple as making sure to have 9 ingredients on hand. I used the following recipes: Arugula Salad with White Beans and Pesto, Grilled Sesame Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Hoisin Chicken with Scallions.

This is all the stuff you'll need!

You can make the salad a few hours ahead of time or prepare it while you're grilling the chicken and sweet potatoes. These recipes are great, too, because you can prep everything ahead of time and just throw it on the grill when you are ready. Plus, this minimizes clean up of pots and pans!

Arugula Salad with White Beans and Pesto

4 cups arugula
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/3 cup pesto (aim for olive oil-based pesto)
Sea salt and black pepper

In a medium bowl, toss together the arugula, beans, pesto, and 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper.

Grilled Sesame Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used sesame oil because I avoid canola)
Sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Heat the grill to medium. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Grill the potatoes, covered, until tender and lightly charred, 5-7 minutes per side. Drizzle with the sesame oil and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

(I toasted the sesame seeds by adding them to a heat-safe bowl in the convection toaster oven for about 5 minutes.)

Grilled Hoisin Chicken with Scallions

4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken cutlets, which I had on-hand)
3 teaspoons canola oil (I used sesame oil)
Sea salt and black pepper
2 bunches scallions
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (I found mine at Whole Foods; it's gluten-free)


Heat grill to medium. Brush the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, toss the scallions with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Grill the chicken, covered, until cooked through, 4-7 minutes per side. Brush with the hoisin sauce and turn occasionally during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

(Put the hoisin sauce in a bowl to make for easier brushing on the chicken while at the grill.)

After the chicken has cooked for 5 minutes, grill the scallions, turning occasionally, until tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

Serve all recipes together and enjoy your speedy, yet elegant and flavorful, supper! (I threw a few croutons on the salad for the crunch my husband enjoys!)



Speedy Supper #1 - Red Curry-glazed Salmon

I've been trying to simply many parts of my life lately, including my cooking life. ("Trying" is the key word...) While traveling for work, I came across a really interesting article in Real Simple magazine that showcased 3-ingredient recipes. It seemed to fit my "less is more" mantra as of late and gave me an idea for a blog series: Speedy Suppers!

Most of my clients like to cook and even have a few fun recipes up their sleeves; they just struggle finding the time to make tasty, healthy meals for themselves and their families. I wanted to showcase a few recipes that are extremely simple yet flavorful for even the most pressed-for-time cook. (Note: the magazine article I snagged these from considers olive oil, salt, and pepper as "freebies" and doesn't consider them part of the 3 ingredients. I adapted the recipes slightly to accommodate my ingredient preferences.)

This first Speedy Supper features Real Simple's Red Curry-glazed Salmon. I served it with a homemade salad of mixed beans, chopped onion, avocado, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

Red Curry-glazed Salmon

4 5-oz pieces salmon filet (or 2 larger pieces, shown here)
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon canola oil (I avoid canola so used sesame oil or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar (I used honey)
Sea salt and black pepper


Heat broiler. Place the salmon on a foil-lined broilerproof baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, oil, sugar (honey), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Dividing evenly, brush the salmon with the curry paste mixture.

Broil until salmon is opaque throughout, 5-7 minutes. Serve with a big salad or mixed veggies.

My favorite part? Leftovers for lunch the next day!

Enjoy - with less stress and more time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Favorite Oatmeal on the Go

I came across a really cool product, Umpqua Oats, while grabbing iced tea at my local AJ's grocery store. Umpqua Oats is based Oregon and sells a variety of individually packaged oatmeal in a variety of delicious and healthy flavors. The best part? Just add water!

I'm normally not a fan of many "convenience" foods because they're often loaded with artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, and refined flours. Your typical instant oatmeal has lots of added sugars, colors, and flavorings. Fortunately, Umpqua sticks to the "real thing" when making their oatmeal - and it tastes delicious! They use only whole rolled oats, which are more slowly digested than instant oats, plus a variety of nuts, natural sweeteners, dried fruits, and other healthy ingredients, such as flaxseed.

Oats can be a really healthy addition to our diets. Research suggests that oatmeal is cardio-protective, helps fight cancer, and even may ward off infection. The trick to eating oatmeal is to find a combination that's balanced, satisfying, and contains healthy "add-ins" (keep reading!).

A lot of my clients report that they feel hungry very soon after eating oatmeal. This is a very true phenomenon. When we eat a mostly carbohydrate-containing meal, such as instant oats with a banana, we have a quick rise in blood sugar. This prompts the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that "unlocks" the door to each cell and lets the broken-down carbohydrate from the blood to enter the cell. When the carbohydrate in the blood ("blood sugar") moves into the cell, our blood sugar drops quickly, prompting sensations of hunger. We then reach for something to give us another "boost," like pretzels or candy, and complete the cycle over and over. Not only do we end up eating a lot more than our bodies actually need, but we're riding a roller-coaster of blood sugar peaks and valleys, which makes us feel hyper, then lethargic. Furthermore, mounting research suggests that this cycle of high blood sugar and the resultant high insulin response is what leads to heart disease and a host of other maladies.

So how do we temper this cycle? Just remember three things: fiber, protein, and fat. These three nutrients slow down the rate of conversion of food into sugar in the blood. Whenever you eat grains, opt for whole grains that are as minimally processed as possible. This will add nutrients and fiber. Also, make sure to add some sort of protein and fat to each meal. Protein, found in hard boiled eggs, nuts, dairy, beans, fish, seeds, and animal products, maintains muscle, provides essential amino acids for cellular and cognitive processes, and helps us feel satisfied and more clear-headed longer. Don't forget the fat! Fat is essential for cellular communication, since every cell is surrounded by a lipid (fat) layer. It also is necessary for nutrient absorption, healthy skin and hair, and in fighting disease, plus it makes food taste good! Fat can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados, dairy, avocados, olives, fatty fish, meat (like organic, grass-fed beef), and butter (like organic pasture butter).

The folks at Umpqua know that this balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is important. Their "Not Guilty" flavor contains only rolled oats, flaxseeds, chia seeds, blueberries, and apples. With 8 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of fat, you're getting a nice balance of nutrients. I like to add a little stevia for a hint of sweetness. This flavor is only 220 calories, which is pretty light for a breakfast (especially if you're active), so you might want to add a hard boiled egg or piece of fruit. However, if you're not a big breakfast eater or want a really yummy snack, it's a great option!

Of course, Umpqua also has more creative options, such as Monkey Bars (chocolate, peanut, and coconut) or Lei'd Back (cashews, macadamia nut, papaya, and coconut), plus a slew of other delicious varieties. Many of their flavors are sweetened with evaporated cane juice (sucanat sugar), a minimally processed, more favorable option than the high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners you might find in other products. Monkey Bars went over extremely well when taste tested at my Karve Studio Scottsdale seminar in June.

To make Umpqua oats for yourself, just add hot water to the level indicated on the container, wait a few minutes, and enjoy. It's warm, satisfying, and super easy, especially on busy mornings. Stash a few in your desk at work and you will never miss breakfast again!

Find Umpqua Oats at your local AJ's store (in Arizona) or at a variety of vendors nation-wide. Check out their website for more information. (A big thanks to Norm Price of Umpqua, who graciously provided over 40 samples for my Karve and k Pilates "Breakfast" seminars - you rock! They were a huge hit!)

If you want to check out Umpqua Oats for FREE, come to my k Pilates seminar this Saturday, July 16th at 11 AM in Mesa, Arizona. For more information, go to