Tag Archives: Nutrition

Roasted Eggplant with Quinoa, Spinach and Feta

Roasted Eggplant with Quinoa, Spinach and Feta

roasted eggplant quinoa spinach feta vegetarian gluten free

I’m having a love affair with eggplant lately. I guess I never realized how versatile it is. I always knew it was nutritious but didn’t see a big variety of cooking options until I came across this recipe. It inspired me to add a couple of ingredients and tweak some others. What I got was a delicious new eggplant recipe that happens to be gluten-free and vegetarian.

roasted eggplant quinoa spinach feta vegetarian gluten free

You can eat this dish plain on it’s own, add some feta or olives (kalamata or black) or both, top a veggie burger or have it as a side dish. All of the ingredients bring out the delicious flavor of the roasted eggplant. This made me like eggplant even more.

roasted eggplant quinoa spinach feta vegetarian gluten free

Roasted Eggplant with Quinoa, Spinach and Feta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Protein
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained if not using pre-rinsed variety
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed (about 1 inch cubes)
  • 8 - 10 ounces of baby spinach (I used a 6 oz. bag and a half of another 6 oz. bag)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos (can sub with soy sauce but it wouldn't be gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sweet basil, dried
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • "Optional: ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives or black olives
Instructions
  1. EGGPLANT PREP:
  2. Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
  3. Cover a cooking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray).
  4. In a large bowl combine cubed eggplant, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Make sure eggplant is coated in olive oil.
  5. Place eggplant on cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, set aside.
  7. While eggplant is baking, you can prepare the quinoa.
  8. QUINOA (if you haven't it before, this is my go-to technique):
  9. Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Once the little sprouts appear on the quinoa and all the broth has been absorbed, remove from heat and set aside.
  10. SAUTE:
  11. While your eggplant is cooking and quinoa is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon garlic. Saute for a minute until lightly browned.
  12. Add spinach and saute until just wilted.
  13. Once eggplant is done, remove from cookie sheet and put in skillet with spinach, reduce heat to low. Saute for a minute, stirring occasionally.
  14. Add coconut aminos, dijon mustard and onion salt to skillet and combine with eggplant and spinach.
  15. Add cooked quinoa and combine. Saute everything for a couple of minutes until everything is distributed evenly.
  16. If you choose to add kalamata or black olives, you can stir them in now or you can use them as a garnish, it's up to you.
  17. You can either stir in the feta now or use it as a garnish, that's up to you too.

 

 

 

 

39 Things I Keep Stocked At All Times

39 Things I Keep Stocked At All Times

healthy ingredients paleo gluten free low carb vegetable

If you are looking to eliminate chemicals, preservatives, food colorings, laboratory created ingredients, etc., this list will help you stock up your pantry so that you can pretty much make any healthy meal you want whether it be paleo, gluten-free, clean eating, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic, etc.

I personally don’t label myself as paleo , gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. when it comes to my eating habits. My goal is to eat whole foods meaning the least ingredients the better, the least chemicals and preservatives the better. I try to maximize the nutritional value of everything I eat. I am more concerned with reducing chemicals than calories.

fakeeasy

By being more concerned with reducing and/or eliminating chemicals from the food I consume, I naturally eat healthier, more nutritious foods and in turn allowing my body to absorb it’s necessary nutrients. When my body has what it needs nutritionally, I’m not constantly hungry and tempted to snack all the time leading to weight gain. In fact, a side effect of eating this way has helped me lose weight and keep it off. Just from eating, imagine that.

calorie chemical whole foods clean eating paleo organic non-gmo

My husband and I are big time label readers. We read almost every single label on what we purchase at the grocery store. It took more time at first but now that we know which products are better for us, without chemicals, preservatives, gmo’s, etc, it doesn’t take as long anymore.

For example, the bread we eat only has 5 ingredients. Take a look at the list of chemicals in the bread you currently have in your pantry. Yikes, right? All those chemicals we ingest disrupt the way the body processes it’s required nutrients and functions. The liver and the rest of the organs have to work overtime to try to process these foreign chemicals that do not have any nutritional value. Over time this can lead to cancers and illnesses.

whole foods eating clean organic

In eating this way, I happen to have a lot of ingredients that just happen to fall into the paleo and gluten-free world. I’ve realized lately that when it’s time to try a new healthy recipe, I usually have all of the ingredients in the pantry already. So that means I only need to worry about picking up the fresh organic ingredients.

fresh food non-gmo organic paleo clean eating

So I put together a list for you of the staple items I keep around the house. I stocked my “healthy ingredient arsenal” little by little because some items are more expensive than others but you can find good deals at Costco or Amazon. Every time I went to the grocery store I would just pick up a thing or two until I was satisfied with my stock.

Most of the ingredients go a long way so it’s not like you will be purchasing all of these items on a regular basis. There are some items that I do purchase more frequently like coconut oil (I use it for beauty products as well as cooking), raw honey, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut flour, and quinoa (lots and lots of quinoa).

{ I purchase organics every single time if it’s available, even spices. If I can’t find organic I will at least make sure it’s non-GMO }

healthy ingredients paleo gluten free clean eating pantry food

organic food clean eating non gmo whole vegetables nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Things That Helped Me Lose 100 Pounds

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

5 Things That Helped Me Lose 100 Pounds 

My 100 pound weight loss did not happen overnight. I actually took about a year and a half. In that time I’ve learned so much about food, exercise and myself. I learned that food is fuel and energy and good food is necessary for my body to be at it’s optimal health and happiness.

Good food never makes me feel bad after I eat it. I never feel ashamed or regret working out and when I see the scale going down, I never feel defeated or discouraged. Every time I do these things I’m telling myself “I Love Me”.

I’ve had a terrible relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Who knew that unhealthy relationship would affect almost every relationship I had during that time. I didn’t love myself enough to treat my body right therefore I certainly didn’t attract the people that would treat me right.

It’s a vicious cycle but you can make it a healthy and happy cycle. You can turn things around  by making small changes. Small changes become habits and before you know it, they are big changes. A consistent drop of water over time makes a very big pond.

This is why I started this blog. To inspire and share what I’ve learned. These are the top 5 things that have helped me the most in my journey to shed 100 pounds.

EAT WHOLE FOODS:  Read and repeat…put crap in, get crap out. Gone are the processed food days. Foods with laboratory created ingredients, preservatives, dyes and chemicals have no place in my body. The least ingredients on the label, the better.

I purchase organics every chance I get, from poultry to cheese, even spices. GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) scare the crap out of me. GMO labeling is required in 64 countries but not in the United States. Why? The big food companies are afraid they will lose billions if we are informed of the cancer causing, nutritionally void foods they are putting on the grocery shelves. I encourage you to do your research.

“Natural” doesn’t mean organic or non-GMO. The label needs to say that it is certified organic or at the very least “is a non-gmo food”. Only certified organic labeled products are certified organic. Know what’s in your food.

By eating organics, I know I’m getting the full nutrition benefit of the food I eat. This way I can make an educated decision based on the nutritional benefit of my food. In doing so, my body doesn’t require a truck load of food to get the same nutritional benefit as a cup of organic food provides. Simple organic whole foods, period.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy yoga hikingHOT YOGA:  When the hubby and I decided to get healthy for each other, we knew exercise would need to be a part of our lives. We needed to find something we loved enough to stick with. The hubby originally tried jogging but it was just too hard on his body. He ended up falling in love with biking.

I had not found my niche yet but I started biking with him. I really liked it but I wasn’t in love like he was. My co-workers were all taking hot yoga, they looked great and were losing weight. I remembered taking a regular yoga class years ago and really liked it. I started researching the benefits and found that it was a great way to build strength and lose weight so off I went to my first class.

Guess what.  In love.  Addicted. I attribute to at least 70 pounds of my weight loss to hot yoga. It makes me feel like a warrior when I’m all done soaked with sweat on every single part of my body. I feel confident and strong and sleep like a rock after a yoga class. I still do other forms of exercise like biking, light weight training, a P90 video here and there, some wi-fit and hiking when the weather permits. But hot yoga is my main and favorite form of exercise.

PORTION CONTROL:  After meeting with a nutritionist and re-learning about food, she helped me see food in a whole new way. I used to eat until I was stuffed, took huge bites, didn’t always chew my food and down went huge chunks of unchewed food.

This was wrong for a couple of reasons. I would be full LONG before I stopped eating but because I was eating so fast, my stomach didn’t have time to tell my brain. We do not require a belly full of food. I can’t even count the times I had to loosen my pants or went into a food coma from eating so much.

Another reason this is bad was because I was taking down chunks of food at a time, my digestive system had to work extra hard to break down that food and get the nutrition from it if there was any. This left me with all kinds of digestive issues.

Today I eat 6 -7 meals a day, 3 – 4 ounces at a time. The key is to make each meal count nutritionally. I give my body what it needs now. It does not need junk food or processed foods.

In taking smaller bites and really chewing my food, it made me eat slower and savor my food. It also made my smaller portions go a long way. Then by the time I swallowed, the digestive juices in my gut were able to easily absorb the nutrition from the food and not putting undue stress on my digestive system. It also keeps my metabolism constantly running which in turn helped the pounds to come off even without exercise. I actually lost my first 30 pounds with just diet.

BYE-BYE BAD CARBS:  I still eat carbs, just heavily limit the bad ones like white bread, pasta, rice, white sugar, white flour, rice, potatoes, etc. I am not gluten-sensitive that I know of but have noticed a big difference in how I feel when I eat gluten-free foods.

I rarely eat bread but if i do it’s a small piece of sour dough or pumpernickel and usually has 4 or 5 ingredients or I make my own. I use zucchini or spaghetti squash for pasta, quinoa in place of pasta, rice, meat, potatoes and oats. Lots of quinoa. I also use coconut flour and coconut sugar.  Real maple syrup and honey are staples in our house too. I still get all the taste, I just make better food choices.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my sweets from time to time. I just make much better choices now to satisfy my craving and I don’t take down the whole box of cookies. I actually eat the suggested serving size, take small bites and savor it. It’s a once in a while treat, not a daily routine anymore.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

STAY HYDRATED:  Last but not least. We’ve all heard we should drink 8 glasses of water a day.  I just couldn’t stomach all the water. I felt like I was drowning. But it wasn’t the actual water that was giving me hesitation. I just hadn’t found the right “water” for me.

While I was in the hospital for hernia surgery I was supposed to drink water but just couldn’t get it down so the doctor suggested warm tea. It was like the skies opened up, the light bulb went on and I realized what the problem was all along. My tummy loves WARM liquids. Ever since then, I get in my 8 glasses and then some in each day. I even take lukewarm tea to yoga. The key was finding what “water” worked for me.  Everyone is different and one glass of water does not fit all.

success story weight loss 100 pound before after fat thin unhealthy healthy

 That’s my story. Thank you for reading it and allowing me to share it with you. I hope you’ll come back and see what’s new here at The Organic Rabbit real soon.

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Kale Chips Baked – Easy and “Cheesy”

I love me some kale!  I use it soups, salads and snacks.  I even included them in my Top 7 Favorite Snacks post a while back. I used to purchase my kale chips from the store but I eat them so fast that I would need a cart full and a lot of money to keep me in healthy snack heaven.

Do you know how awesome kale is?  One of my all time favorite blogs MindBodyGreen wrote about kale.  I encourage you to read it. You won’t believe how incredible this leafy vegetable really is.

Here is a basic list of the benefits that I found here:

1. Detox and weight loss: One cup of kale has 36 calories and zero fat. It also contains 5 grams of fiber, lowering cholesterol, and aiding in digestion and elimination.

2. Chock full of Vitamin C: (200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)), which increases metabolism, supports the immune system, promotes healthy blood sugar levels, relieves stiff joints, and maintains healthy cartilage.

3. Kale is great source of iron for vegans and vegetarians: Containing more iron than beef. Iron is necessary for hemoglobin formation, oxygenating the blood, cell growth, muscle function, and proper liver function

4. Kale contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids:  Providing health benefits for skin. Fatty acids are also great anti-inflammatory component, fighting arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.

5. Packed with vitamin A: (180% of the RDA), Kale helps strengthen eyes, nourish the skin, and prevent lung and oral cancers.

Now that we’ve had our lesson in kale.  Here is how I make mine.  It was difficult not to eat it all before I had the chance to take pictures.

Kale Chips Baked – Easy and Cheesy

braggs nutritional yeast vegetarian gluten free nutritious dairy-free b-vitamins

To create the “cheesy” flavor I used Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning.

This stuff is an amazing seasoning.  It is nutritious, vegetarian, gluten-free, salt-free, sugar-free and is full of B-Vitamins.

It wasn’t easy to find though.  I know now that Whole Foods sells it in the bulk section but before I learned that, I found it at my local Vitamin Shoppe.  Go figure.  I felt like I won the lottery when I finally found it.

If you can’t find it locally, you can purchase it on-line here.

kale chips yeast vegetable iron fiber nutritious

kale chips www.theorganicrabbit.com

Kale Chips Baked - Easy and Cheesy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Kale chips are a super nutritious snack that will not stay in your house very long. They are delicious and addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
: Vegetarian
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of organic kale
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Prepare the kale. Separate the curly leaves from the thick stem that runs up the middle of each kale leaf. Keep the curly pieces as large as you can because they do shrink up in the oven.
  3. Next, rinse each leaf and pat dry with paper towels.Try to get as dry as you possible can. I lay my rinsed kale out on paper towels for a little bit then cover with another paper towel and pat dry.
  4. In a large bowl put about half of the rinsed and dried kale and drizzle with a little oil of your choice. Start with a little because it goes a long way. You can always add a smidge more if you need it.
  5. Massage the oil into each leaf. It goes pretty quick as raw kale is pretty hearty.
  6. After massaging leaves with oil, sprinkle about a ¼ teaspoon of salt and about a tablespoon of yeast. Toss so that all the leaves get some salt and yeast.
  7. Place kale leaves on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with more yeast if you want.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from oven, turn leaves over and rotate pan.
  9. Bake for another 25 minutes
  10. Transfer to a container of your choice.
  11. Repeat process until you have baked the whole bunch. I'm guessing that your first batch will almost be gone by the time the second batch is done baking.
  12. Because I go through these so fast, I make 2 bunches at a time, usually on a day that I'm home bound since they take a little time.

 

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Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

With another snowstorm upon us in the Midwest, staying inside and keeping warm sounds just about right.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend it’s hot as blazes outside.  I mean we don’t stop eating ice cream do we?  Warm and cozy inside or hot as blazes outside still calls for a delicious sweet treat.

What do you get when you combine frozen blueberries and Greek yogurt?  A sweet, nutritious, kid friendly snack that everyone will love.  Even non-yogurt lovers!

Until recently I have never ever been a fan of yogurt of any kind.  Trust me, I wanted to love it.  My husband eats it like it was going out of style.  But I recently found a way to love Greek yogurt and I can’t believe how simple it is.

Ingredients:

  • Organic blueberries (I used fresh)
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt (or any flavor of your choice)

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

Directions:

Seriously, these are so easy that you will be like “is that it”?

  • Line a pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil if you have no parchment paper.  I used a glass pan because I like how cold they get.
  • Using a toothpick, dip each blueberry in the yogurt of your choice.  Get it nice and covered.  Place it on the parchment paper.  Try not to let them touch otherwise they will all freeze in one big clump. 

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

  • Place pan in freezer for about an hour.
  • Take pan out, enjoy fruity yogurt treat.
  • IF you have any leftovers just keep them in the freezer covered until the next time.

blueberry greek yogurt organic fiber snack sweet treat dairy fruit frozen

These are a delicious and fun healthy alternative to high sugar popsicles and ice cream.  But I’m not waiting until summer, these are too good to wait for.

You can use this same technique with green grapes or even raspberries using any flavor of Greek yogurt.  Let the kids make up their own flavor combinations.

See, I told you they were easy.    Enjoy.