Simple Meals are Best

Healthy, simple meals that don’t take 4 hours to prepare are possible!! I promise. I often hear the ‘I don’t have time to prepare something elaborate,’ or ‘How long did that REALLY take you to prepare?’ or ‘Healthy meals are boring and tasteless!’ Ok, I don’t really hear the latter, but I know that’s a general misconception.

I stopped eating land animals (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, quail, bunny, venison, buffalo…if it walks or flies, I don’t ingest it!) almost 2 years ago and have expanded my culinary palate to new heights. I’ve had to! To make sure Mike and I are getting the correct nutrition, I’ve incorporated legumes, plant protein, nuts, whole grains in a variety of ways. It’s fun to think about food not only as delicious and comforting, but as fuel our body needs to function correctly.

So, what the heck does all this mean for the time-deprived, busy, multi-tasking, I need something quick, average person?! Well, here are two super simple, super healthy, super quick meals you can make for dinner. Let me know how un-boring healthy can be afterwards. The below recipes are portioned for 2 adults.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Balsamic Tempeh
Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Kale & Balsamic Tempeh

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Marinated Tempeh and Kale

Pesto Sauce

3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
1 1/2 cups of spinach
6-10 basil leaves
3-5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of Romano Cheese

Blend all in cuisine art till well mixed

Cube Tempeh – put in bowl and add 4-5 tablespoons of balsamic. Put in fridge and marinate for 20-40 minutes.

Halve a spaghetti squash – de-seed & microwave for 10-12 minutes until tender. Shred squash using a fork into a bowl & mix with pesto sauce – keep warm.

Saute 2 cloves of garlic in pan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 cups of kale – saute for 3-5 minutes. Add marinated tempeh, sauteing until brown on all sides.

Voila! Scoop the spaghetti squash onto a plate, then top with kale & tempeh. Enjoy!

Sweet potato & Kale Flat Bread Pizza
Sweet potato & Kale Flat Bread Pizza

Sweet Potato & Kale flat bread Pizzas

1/2 red onion minced
1 garlic clove
1 large sweet potato
1 heaping cup of kale
4 tablespoons of fresh Parmesan or Italian cheese
2 pieces of Flat bread of your choosing (I actually used garlic naan!)

Toast flat bread for about 5 minutes. Saute onion & garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Throw sweet potato in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften. Chop potato into tiny cubes then add to the pan, along with the kale, for an additional 5 minutes (until potato is slightly brown). Linea a baking sheet with parchment paper and top toasted flat bread with all the sauteed goodness (there will most likely be overflow). Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

New Season: No Excuses, No Apologies, No Time Wasted

This summer has literally been a blur, and looking back, seems that I may have been slacking a bit…with blogging, working out, exploring things on my own. I have the best intentions at the beginning of each week: wake up a half an hour earlier, greet the day with yoga, or a run, get out in the evenings to explore my new city (Denver has SO much to do – free stuff, culture, restaurants, art, music, bars, trails, lakes, comedy, the list goes on & on!).

Well, that hasn’t happened as much as I would have liked this summer and I’m pretty disappointed with my efforts. Again, my thirst for drinking in everything in my path exceeds the norm. But if I’m not pouring my self a ‘drink’, putting effort into quenching that thirst, well shame on me, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been sitting on the couch eating chips (we don’t have cable anyway!) and I do appreciate those days and nights that are filled with the necessities and nothing else (cleaning, laundry, working, demoing, yard work, emptying the dishwasher.). Life doesn’t need to be one long series of activities without down time built in; it’s what makes you appreciate new experiences.

Spaghetti Squash bowls

The one thing that hasn’t waned: cooking. There is a constant there.

I’ve come to realize I need to stop using excuses though, there aren’t any. I need to stop apologizing for things I want to do but don’t. And I really need to stop wasting time. When you commit to yourself, hold yourself accountable. It’s important to fulfill your own wish lists, even if it’s as small as ‘check out a new hiking trail’ or ‘go to the local farmers market’. Knowing when to give your body, mind and soul a rest is just as important. Finding a quiet, peaceful moment for yourself doesn’t mean you’re wasting the day. Be present with where the day takes you and honor yourself. There are 24 happy hours in a day, so use them wisely. A new season brings with it new chances for new adventures!

Here are a few things I’ve spent my hours on this summer…and this didn’t even scrape the surface!!

Trying two new restaurants in Cherry Creek & two new DOG-Friendly breweries in Edgewater (Hogs Head & Joyride Brewing)

Red Rocks, Denver

Getting back into working out with the help of Pearl Street Fitness & Asana Studio

Demoing our Retaining wallWall demo

Demoing (helping) our outside retaining wall, watched as it was reconstructed, then helped put 4 tons of rock into the side for drainage!

Evergreen Off-Leash Dog Park

Scoping out Evergreen Lake & Elk-Meadow off-leash dog park with the doggies

Zucchini Fritters

Cooking several new recipes (red bean meatballs; citrus & honey brussel sprouts; zucchini, kale & LightLife ground ‘meat’ Stromboli; Tofu fried rice; Zucchini fritters; Spaghetti squash bowls with faux meatballs,  Zucchini ‘lasagna’, Barley veggie soup to name just a few!)

Bird of Paradise on Mt. Sherman

Climbed my first 14’er (Mount Sherman!) and visited Leadville for the first time

Leadville, Colorado

Participated in a 21 day Yoga Challenge – amazing – tomorrow is day 21 so I’ll blog about that experience later this week

Mountain Biked for the first time at Table Mountain

Phish, Dick's Sporting Good Stadium

Went to my first Phish show, did my first public handstand, and visited shakedown street for the first time. Yikes!

Lots more to list….but even more to come. Can’t wait for fall!

Veggied Out: Day 1 of Our Month without Meat

One of my favorite things to do is cook, wether it be after a long day of work or on a Sunday afternoon. My love affair of food has been a long time in the making, developed over years of budding tastes, refined palette, and branching out of my comfort zone. Food has always interested me, especially the eating part of it. When I was young, the four main food groups came into play in almost every meal and eating my fruits and vegetables wasn’t negotiable. In fact, my love and appreciation for fresh, healthy food began at a tender age and has only grown throughout the years, especially now that the grocery shopping happens when I write out the list and round up Mike.

Lately, I’ve been even more conscious of what I’m consuming, making healthier choices as I’ve started to think of my body as a machine. Why wouldn’t you want to put only the best fuel in, especially if you want the best performance? Makes sense. And with very little effort, I wove in 3 -4 vegetarian meals throughout the week. With Pinterest, my Cooking Light subscription, and the Internet, finding meatless dishes is fun, a challenge even and so much healthier.

So, after a night in, after we ate homemade chicken kiev, we settled in to watch the movie Vegucated, a documentary of a New York Vegan who recruits three other New Yorkers to take a 6 week Vegan challenge. No meat, dairy, animal bi-products. Plus, an education on the cruelty of animals used in the meat and dairy industry. Needless to say, I had to watch in installments, as the documentary is quite upsetting. Once the movie ended, I knew I wanted to increase the plant based foods we were cooking and eating and decrease if not eliminate the animals I consume. Mike let me know that no one turns Vegan in a matter of moments and realistically he was right, but something had to change. And that brings us to the 30 day challenge.

30 days. No meat. All vegetarian, with the exception of fish. I mean, I’m just trying to be realistic here, so figured it was a start to cut out meat. It’s going to be a challenge for us both, Mike even more so, but think we can definitely do it.

Day 1 Dinner: Tofu parmesan with a side of Mushroom & Shallot Orzo in a tomato basil sauce.