Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Carrot and Fennel Risotto

Ever struggle with cooking for a crowd due to the variety of food allergies and requirements that come with it? Risotto is a perfect go-to option thanks to it's versatility, satisfying needs of gluten free, vegetarian and even vegan eaters. This delightful rice imitates pasta and makes a perfect background to carry vegetables or meat.

In this version, carrots and fennel take center stage to give an interesting warm fennel flavor with the slight sweetness of carrots. When cooked properly, risotto is creamy on it's own but I did dip into some manchego cheese for a bit of extra salty creamy goodness. Not only does it taste good, but it develops a gorgeous golden color.

There are keys to cooking risotto to help develop the creaminess are pretty easy to get down; toast the rice, preheat the liquid before adding it and use a wooden spoon to help determine when to add more broth (more on that below). Take your time and let the risotto develop, it's worth it.

This dish is great on its own or pair it with roasted meat as a side dish for a fat and happy crowd pleasing meal.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Raw Chocolate Crunch Energy Bites

Binge season is upon us; there is no reason to try to deny it. But you can fight it, deliciously.

These little raw chocolate balls are not new, but my version adds in crunch to help satisfy that crunchy, cookie need with popped millet. It takes a few extra minutes to pop the millet, but it's so worth it for the addition of gluten free crunch.

The bonus with these balls is that they don't just satisfy your sweet craving but they do it with natural sugar and energy from the dates, good fat from the coconut oil and antioxidants from the cacao and they help to regulate blood sugar with the cinnamon. Set these out but don't tell anyone what they are until after they try them and comment on how good these are.

Indulge if you must right now, but keep these babies in the fridge or freezer year round as your go to healthy, sweet, energy option.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Broil Roasted Squash with Chimichurri Dressing

I cannot stop coming up with squash recipes! Gotta get them in while we can right? One of the ways I've been enjoying squash these days is charring the skin, either on a grill or in the oven. It's delightfully crunchy and tasty, especially next to a slightly acidic sauce.

This dish plays like a warm salad but feeds like a hearty, meaty dish. I've used both acorn squash and butternut squash and they are both great in this dish; use both for the best variety. Any grain would work in this salad; try brown rice, farro or or wheat berries.

Grill, roast or broil your squash for a super delicious, healthy and hearty meal.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Leftover Turkey Pasta with Roasted Poblano and Avocado Tahini Sauce

Aside from the craziness of Black Friday shopping, the day after Thanksgiving begins the drudgery of what to do with the leftover turkey. Sure you could make a sandwich or eat them plain as is, I also highly recommend this Potato Cake with Champagne Mushroom Ragu, or this Turkey Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette. If you are looking for something a bit cheesier you might try this Horseradish Mac n Cheese dish.

But perhaps this year you want something a littler and healthier?  This is the dish for you. Loaded with veggies and topped with a super yummy poblano 'cream' sauce that is filled with the good fat that will keep you nourished from the inside. Toss in whatever veggies you have, from tomatoes to left over brussel sprouts.

The sauce is so creamy you won't believe that there isn't cream or cheese in it. Just healthy avocado, roasted pepper and raw pumpkin seeds. Yes, pumpkin seeds. I used them as my tahini base instead of sunflower seeds; it's a tasty way to get your zinc in. Once you make this sauce, you might start using this on your salads, as a sandwich spread or as a dip!

You'll be so excited for this pasta, you might just throw a another turkey in the oven~ who knew leftovers could taste soo good?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five Spices Pumpkin Soup with Orange Pepper Cashew Cream

Pumpkins are a dime a dozen this time of year, hence the many of them adorning my counter tops right now. I've been playing with a crazy number of recipes that you will be seeing here soon.

Since our biggest eating holiday is coming up next week, I'm going to post a simple pumpkin soup recipe first. In this soup I used a touch of Chinese Five Spices to give a little flavor twist over the typical pumpkin soup. It's an interesting mix of cinnamon, clove, pepper, fennel and anise. It marries quite well with meats but you'll find it sweet, savory and complex in this soup. If you haven't tried this spice blend before, you may find yourself become immediately addicted to it and find yourself putting it on everything. It's quite concentrated so a little goes a long way.

Orange Pepper Cashew Cream tops the soup in a creamy, non-dairy way. If you haven't made a creamy, dairy substitute out of cashews before, now is the time to try. It's super simple, just add cashews and water and blend.

Instead of ending your Thanksgiving meal with a pumpkin, perhaps this is the year to start with it. Pumpkin 5 Spices Soup with Orange Pepper Cashew Cream, a deliciously healthy pumpkin soup.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chickpea Pancake with Pulled Pork, Lemon Gremolata and Eggs

Mixing breakfast with typical dinner items gives me great pleasure.  Why do we not have pancakes in the evening and pulled pork in the morning? Who imposed these limits?  I for one am not going to follow them.

Enter the chickpea pancake, topped with pulled pork, runny eggs and a tart lemon gremolata. Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Could be made for any of them- even brunch!

When you serve this, don't mention that this dish is gluten free, nobody will notice. The chickpea flour is filled with protein and gives a really yummy and hearty base for the eggs and pork. This is the perfect dish for left over pulled pork; of course you could substitute in chicken or turkey if you like. Lemon gremolata tops the dish with a touch of freshness.

Break through the meal time barriers for a fat and happy dish, you'll be glad you did!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Basic Pulled Pork

From a basic pulled pork recipe you can make a myriad of recipes. From bbq sandwiches, port tacos or even a chickpea pancake.

This isn't earth shattering, just an easy crockpot way to slow cook pork until it's so tender it just falls apart.

Cook, enjoy and then tell me great ways you ended up using this pork.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Grill Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Basil Sauce

I can't stop trying to eek out a few more days on the grill before Snow Miser rears his pretty blue head.  Once again I found myself with a spaghetti squash so I cut in half, scooped out the seeds and plopped it on the grill to get just a little smoky flavor.

I'm also using up the last of my home grown tomatoes about now, so a quick warming of onions and garlic with them makes a super quick sauce.

When you chop the basil, do chop up the stems and eat them. They add a tiny crunch and additional basil flavor.

The whole dish is a healthy, tasty, rendition of classic pasta and sauce, just a little different.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Coconut Lime Sweet Potato Stew over Wild Rice

Stew season has hit the Midwest; it's bittersweet. Love making stews but that also means it's getting real chilly outside.

I rode my bike through a few flurries today and was in need of something a little hearty to warm me up. But I didn't have all day for a classic stew, so this quick sweet potato and black dish came together in less than an hour (wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook.)

Wild rice has such an interesting, nutty flavor and it brings a fun element to any dish and especially paired with the lime coconut milk.

It's a fairly simple dish that will fill you up and keep you happy and healthy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Garlicky No-Noodle Mushroom Lasagna with Soft Egg Yolks

This isn't your typical lasagna. There's not red sauce, no cheese and no pasta. So why did I even call this a lasagna? it's layered like one....that might be the only reason. Doesn't really matter cuz the result is pretty damn tasty and interesting.

Here is the thing, as much I love pasta (especially my home made pasta) I need to also find ways to replace pasta noodles for a healthier, gluten free lasagna option. I've done the classic substitutes of zucchini, eggplant and beets. But then I came across an idea to use an egg white 'crepe'.... wha?

Most things I create focus on anti-inflammatory, foods that bring the inflammation down. Garlic, ginger, turmeric are key players. Mushrooms help with sleep, learning and memory. This is a can't miss tasty and healthy dish.

This will look like a lot of steps at first glance; take a deep breath and read through them first. It really is more simple than it appears and comes together quite quickly. Set out all of your ingredients, take a moment to pre-chop and it will be a fat and happy snap.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eggs with Orange and Sweet Potato

I'm a big fan of smoothies for breakfast, but lately my breakfast looks a lot like dinner with cooked
vegetables to ease my digestion system.

I'll take whatever is left over from the night before and top it with a runny egg- it's simple, tasty and genius way to use up left overs while getting in good fats, protein and carbs.

Try substituting or adding in cooked squash, pumpkin, carrots or any cooked veggies. Keeping the egg yolk runny helps to create a little 'sauce' that mixes so well with the fresh orange and coconut oil. Add a few walnuts on top for a little  crunch.

Fast, yummy, healthy breakfast can't be beat!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mashed Guac-mmus Lettuce Wrap

Looking for a simple, fresh lunch or snack that is healthy, tasty and fresh? This little number is yummy and crunchy and filled with healthy fats and protein.  I created these guacamole and chickpea wraps for one of my detoxes and I've been making them ever since.

Chick peas are only 23 percent protein; combine with other beans, rice or sunflower seeds to make a complete protein. In this recipe we use seeds, but add rice or beans as you see fit.

Make each wrap your own by adding in additional nuts or seeds or whatever veggies are in your fridge; chop up or grate zucchini, beets, onions or fennel.. Try serving atop a bed of brown rice for a complete meal.

Enjoy your happy healthy meal and then go do something with all your new found energy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cranberry Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Fall weather is fast approaching and I'm trying to enjoy every ounce of my grill before the snow starts. That mean the flames are kicking and the sauce is has to match. Barbecue sauce recipes typically have a ketchup base. Condiments like ketchup are a hidden playground for sugar and sodium, not to mention loaded with coloring and preservatives. All these items can trigger inflammation in our bodies (puffiness and pain aside, this leads to serious disease.)

So what's a gal to do when when the BBQ hankering kicks in?? Get creative!

Luckily I happened to attended a Cranberry Festival over the weekend and came home with a 5 pound box of fresh cranberries. I couldn't resist using the cranberries as the base of my sauce.

Mole flavors started to speak to me so I used raw cacao to give the sauce depth. Horseradish and harissa bring on the lingering heat of the sauce. Once it's all cooked and blended  it becomes rich, silky, dark and tangy with a hint of spice.

You can add more spice for more heat or additional cranberries for more berry notes- make it your own before grilling season is over. This recipe is a Happy and Healthy winner!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mini Peppers Stuffed with Apple Rice Salad

One of my favorite time saving tips is to make a big batch of rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week; then I use that as a base for a hoard of other dishes.

This week I had a bit of cooked  brown rice on my hands and I needed  a super quick and simple appetizer to welcome a few guests into our home. Using what else I had available, this yummy little dish came together in a snap.

It's the green apple that really sets this apart. Tart, crisp and fresh. The  hummus helps the rice stick together slightly and stay inside the pepper a bit better. For a warmer option, check out the Happy Healthy Tip below to turn this into a cheesy warm grilled version.  Either way, it's delicious!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Grill Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Warm Artichoke and Spinach Pesto

By now, most people know that spaghetti squash is fun option in place of pasta. If you haven't worked with one before, it's quite stunning really how the squash gives up its' flesh in these long, gorgeous yellow strands after roasting. The perfect base for a bevvy of toppings. Classically roasted in the oven, but easily roasted on the grill too for just a nice hint of smoke.

My topping today is a warm artichoke and spinach pesto. I'm using the 'pesto' word real loosely here; it's probably closer to to a sauce than a pesto but don't get caught up on the title. We have artichokes and spinach topping a squash- fairly simple and mostly delicious.

And all round healthy! Fall is squash season so now is the time to get happy with heartier meals.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin Lime Dressing

It's no secret I'm a fan of salads. Raw, roasted, grilled, fresh, tossed, chopped, stuffed or layered. Different vegetables, different proteins, all make for the delicious base. But isn't really the dressings that entice us?

The nutty, earthy, warm and peppery flavor from cumin comes alive with the sharp, sour, freshness from the lime over the roasted cauliflower. Don't stop there, this Lime and Cumin Vinaigrette is great on a number of other dishes as well, try it on any salad, grilled tuna or even over a burger.

Simple store bought dressings appear so harmless, but the truth is they are filled with sugar, chemicals and  lots of other fake ingredients that ultimately hurt your body deep inside. Save yourself by spending just a few extra minutes preparing your own dressing. Your body, and your taste buds, will thank you for it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lemony Red Lentil Hummus Spread

Having an array of sauces and spreads in your kitchen repertoire is key to elevating flavor in your dishes. Equally as important is creating those items in a healthy manner.

Sure, you could just purchase a pre-mixed, pre-packaged spread from the grocery store, but what you get with that is a whole bunch of sugar and chemicals that are going to wreak havoc on your body. Plus it's really easy to make your own, especially of you happen to have some pre-cooked lentils around.

This isn't a true hummus, which calls for chickpeas and tahini, it's a lentil spread or dip or salad topper - perfect for sandwiches and snacking. The lemon adds a brightness which is perfect on grilled chicken and veggies (I used it on a lettuce wrap filled with just such items.)

Light, super healthy and super delicious- this lemon and red lentil dip spread is a perfect addition to any meal.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Spicy Tomato Peach Jam

Tomato season- it's the time of summer we wait patiently all year for. Maybe patiently isn't exactly true. Buying those off-season tomatoes and then complaining about the lackluster flavor happens all too often, yet we rinse and repeat.

But now, now is the time to yank that fresh tomato off the vine (or off your farmers market table) and directly insert into mouth. Ah, a mouthful of heaven.

However, sometimes we are a tad overzealous in our planting (and purchasing) and find we have more tomatoes than we can chow on. This is an important time to decide what to do with your deliciously colourful bounty.

Two words: tomato jam. A lovely mixture of tomatoes and peaches with a hint of honey and spice. Earthy with just the right mix of sweet; super fantastic on grilled meats, sandwiches, crackers or on a simple piece of bread.

Save some of your next tomato haul for this delicious tomato jam, it's a happy and healthy addition to any meal!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Turkey Salad Stuffed Pears with Mustard Vinaigrette

  Turkey and pomegranate seeds really remind me of the winter holidays, but his is a recipe that could be great year round. Yet I served these adorable stuffed pears
at a summer brunch recently and  they stole the show; fresh and delicious with no heavy winter feel.

I'm rarely interested in most turkey salads because of the use of mayo; notice there is no mayo in this one. Simply whisking together mustard with lemon juice and olive oil gives a rich and creamy dressing without all that extra fat and chemicals (assuming you are using jarred.)

Chop, whisk, toss and assemble. Pretty simple for such a WOW happy and healthy dish!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grilled Pepper, Bacon and Brown Rice Salad with Dill Dressing

Interesting summer salads are key to quell summer boredom. I'm a huge fan of greens and urge you to get them into your daily intake.  But for a little variety try moving away from the world of lettuce and toss in something grilled.

A sticky brown rice mingling with grilled peppers, all coated with bright fresh dill dressing - it's hearty, fresh and delicious with a touch of smokey. A great option that matches anything else you're grilling.

Kiss your salads with a taste of the grill- your guests will thank you for it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Avocado Citrus Salad

I created these adorable little devils when catering a baby shower recently- not only are they healthy and delish, but they are super gorgeous and perfect for a brunch appetizer.

Let's get something out of the way - Avocado is GOOD fat! It lubricates the body

keeping your hearth healthy and brain running efficiently. The avocado helps fight inflammation as well and is known to help with arthritis in particular.

No cooking required, just whisk, cut and assemble. Eat healthy, get happy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Strawberry Walnut Milk

I've never really been a milk fan. I can't even remember drinking a glass of milk as a kid. But there are great uses of milk, such as in a smoothie.

Dairy is a controversial things these days and I'm not about to tell you whether you should or shouldn't be eating dairy or if it's right for your body; that is something you need to use your intuition for. (As a Health Coach, I can help guide you in this area.)  But, this Strawberry Walnut Milk is dairy free - so you can set the controversy aside on this one.

Raw walnuts blended with fresh berries and a touch of almond, it's creamy and delicious. Walnut milk is rich with omega 3's which lowers cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure and improves arthritis symptoms. So blend up and drink up!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Spinach Fig Hummus

Ever get bored of hummus? It's everywhere; probably because it's a basic go-to when you need a quick appetizer option. Don't get me wrong, I do like hummus, but I also like flavor.

I found myself with a lot of spinach the other day, even after making a spinach salad, sauteed spinach-stuffed potatoes and this super yummy spinach and  mushroom dahl, I was beginning to wonder if I could eat any more spinach. But then I found myself in need of a quick dip to go with veggies and I just happened to have some dried chick peas soaking, it seemed like a blender marriage.

The result is a beautiful green hummus with hints of sweet from the fig jam. A wonderful break from typical hummus and perfect as a dip or a sandwich spread. This makes an enormous amount of dip, great for a large party; cut the recipe in half if you are making this for yourself or a small party.
No matter how much you make, it's a Fat and Happy and Healthy delicious!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Dahl with Apricot Chutney Yogurt

I've been catering seminar lunches at my favorite Physio Therapy place- Entropy. Their focus is on complex  conditions and restoring hope - something I can personally speak deeply about. Preparing food for this group is like cooking for friends who admire healthy options, we all are connected  through our strive for wellness, which goes beyond just food.

Dahl is basically a stew that can be made from lentils, chickpeas or black beans. For this dish I went the lentil route, the organic green lentil route. Then I stuffed  it full of mushrooms and spinach and topped it off with cumin, garam masala and a touch of curry.

A veggie lentil stew isn't necessarily boring, but my chutney yogurt creation is what really brings this dish alive. Pulling from my recent Moroccan visit, a touch of sweet really shines with ethnic spices and the creaminess calms the heat (if you decided to go heavy on the jalapeno.)

This dish pretty much cooks itself, it just needs your love and  some good friends to appreciate it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pesto meets Vinaigrette: Herbed and Minted

Recently I stumbled upon this Green Chermoula recipe because of a photo that look interesting, but the reviews of it were seriously lacking. And even though I'm still not a fan of cilantro, the ingredients looked intriguing, using both parsley and cilantro with a side of mint and jalapeno.  So I decided to give it a go, knowing I could doctor it up as needed.

Turns out the recipe did need a little help; a splash of lemon and a doubling of the mint and ginger did the trick. The result is an interesting herby, minty, slightly spicy pesto-like vinaigrette that grows on you. The first few tastes didn't totally hook me or my guests, but half way through our meal people were asking for the recipe (and that has happened twice!)

So far I've used this on flat bread pizza, as a spinach salad dressing, drizzled across baked sweet potatoes and then as a light spread on a chicken salad wrap. Talk about versatility! It whips up in seconds, no cooking required. And with these great health benefits (see Happy Health Tips below), adding a second helping is almost a requirement!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chive and Goat Cheese filled Raspberries

The concept of Farm to Table has been taken a step further with cutting-edge, hard working entrepreneurs like the folks at Outstanding In The Field by taking the table out of the restaurant and placing at a local farm. Regular people get a chance to explore growing first hand and then enjoy the the farm goods as cooked by a local chef. It's fresh, upscale, informative and super delicious.

We attended one of these dinners last year in South Haven, Michigan where we first encountered these delightful raspberry nibbles. Creamy goat cheese and sharp chives cradled in a bright berry, nestled on top of a finishing crunch. A perfect bite.

Mine are slightly different from what I remember. They used a puffed rice for the crunch while I used a popped quinoa. They may have used different herbs in the filling, I happened to have fresh chives and love the little onion hit with the berries. All in all, it's a gorgeous little presentation and is fairly simple to put together.

Try these super tantalizing appetizers for your next outdoor party, then I highly recommend visiting your local farm to see what inspires you. I'm personally psyched for our farm dinner this year in Door County; good food and good friends abound.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

John Bubbly (or The Thai Champagne)

I know, I know, make up one name for your new drink and stick with it. When I first concocted this drink I definitely molded it after the classic John Daly drink (iced tea, lemonade and vodka) which is a play on an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade.)

Skipping the lemonade, I mixed iced tea with Champagne- it was that easy. The bubbles give just a little sparkle to a basic tea. To get into the details, I made the drink to go with a this snappy coconut milk cod, which is Thai-like, not to mention somewhat difficult to pair a cocktail with (this one worked great with that dish!) That lead me to iced tea, which lead me to the John Daly which got us to this point.

Because the flavors already rolling around the kitchen involved ginger and lemon grass, I tweaked my tea in that direction by brewing basic tea with a slice of ginger and stem of the lemongrass.

Now, your version doesn't have to be Thai-esque.
You could use a straight black tea or even a fruity tea; skip the lemongrass and add in a cinnamon stick. It all goes and it all depends on your palate.  I don't like anything too sweet, so the plain unsweetened tea actually helped to calm down the sweetness of the champagne for me, but you could add a touch of honey to your tea while it's steeping.

It's a refined John Daley.  It's a simple afternoon sunny sipper. It's a base idea for you to have fun with.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spicy Lime Coconut Grilled Cod

Memorial Day weekend has become our National Biggest Grilling Weekend,
unofficially. For many, this marks the true start of summer. Most kids are done with school for the summer, families start to head to beachy areas for a little rest and relaxation and grills get lit for the first time since the first snowfall at the start of winter.

Ok, truth be told I've fired up my grill a handful of times already this year, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I was able to grill without a hat, scarf and mittens on!

The request was for something tasty, Dave had been traveling to locales with very limited options and he just wanted something with flavor. My mind immediately honed in on a fresh dish with spicy notes. Fresh grilled fish and asparagus in a pool of spicy, garlic and gingery coconut milk with a huge squeeze of lime to keep it all bright! The ensuing recipe delivered in taste and meets my health nod.

Kick off your Summer with something a little more interesting than a burger - like the songs says: Put the lime in the coconut and throw the shell away!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quick and Easy Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

Every Sunday I make a huge batch of grains to use for the week. Usually it's quinoa, sometimes it's brown rice or lentils and often it's a mixture of all three. Whatever it is, it's stored in the fridge and becomes a base for lunches and dinners...and yes, even breakfast!

Think of the quinoa as oatmeal- it's kind of a vessel for the cinnamon, nuts and maple syrup.  And just like oatmeal it's completely versatile- add what you like. Raw honey instead of maple syrup, bananas and almonds in place of the walnuts and goji berries. Just have fun with it!

This is a great breakfast to toss together in a glass jar on your way out of the house and then enjoy when you get to work! Easy healthy fat and happy breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Quick Honey Spiced Pickles

I love vinegar, from balsamic to apple cider to champagne. It's a taste I developed as a child and has stuck with me ever since. So it's no surprise I love anything pickled. Too bad I didn't develop patience too.

This quick pickle recipe is perfect if you are like me. It's quick, about as simple as it can get and (most important) crunchy and tasty! 

Using raw honey is so much healthier than a refined sugar. Refined sugar is a "negative" nutrient, this means it literally does not have any nutritional value and eating it actually makes your body use up stored nutrients to process it. Honey on the other hand has many beneficial nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants; raw honey is best as typical honey processing (the kind of honey you'll find at your grocery store, often shaped like a bear) destroys many of the enzymes and antioxidants that give the benefits of raw honey. Save a bear, use the raw honey.

Next time you have an extra cucumber or two, slice them into these delicious honey pickles for a super Fat and Happy addition to any meal.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Healthy Fried Brown Rice

It's May 2nd and I'm thinking about turning the heater on. Our brutal Chicago winter is extending into Spring and causing a lot of angst in the process.

This is the time of year where we are naturally supposed to take off a few layers, get moving outdoors again, bask in the crisp sun, get excited about buds on the trees and shed a bit of that weight old man Winter packs on us. Spring's bounty, produce like sprouts and asparagus, is meant for that purpose - to help us cleanse our systems

However, I don't really want a cold salad when the temps are hovering in the 40s. So today's recipe incorporates sprouts with a hot brown rice for healthy fried version. It's warm, comforting with a hint of  Spring freshness.

Warmer weather is just around the corner; until them, try my Healthy Fried Brown Rice to. Oh, is that a little blade of grass I see popping up?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Moroccan Mint Tea

Hot off our most recent travel adventure to Spain and Morocco, be prepared to read more than one post from me that has to do with the amazing food and drink we encountered. Today it's Moroccan Mint Tea, the Moroccan drink of choice and now mine as well.

No matter where you go in Morocco, you will be greeted with lovely mix of green tea and fresh mint leaves. Hotels, restaurants, houses, even rug sellers all had a fresh teapot waiting for us. Rows of shiny pots hang in the markets and piles of fresh mint are plentiful; my favorite glass of tea was from a unassuming cafe in the little beach town of Asilah.

The act of tea in Morocco is a ritual, a sign of friendship, a welcoming and a matter of etiquette. Served from shiny silver teapots, the tea is poured with bold grace  from high above into small, ornate glasses. It is felt this aerates the tea; I'm not sure I would notice the difference but the performance is exciting to watch and and completes the ceremonial act.  Did I mention it's also delicious?

Green tea is considered one of the world's healthiest drinks with it's anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Mint has been know to alleviate indigestion, nausea and headaches while quenching free radicals, clearing congestion and help to inhibit the release of histamines which often spur allergy symptoms. Mint also grows like a weed so this is a perfect way to use it up. 

Add mint to your green today today, make a spectacle while pouring it and then sit, take the time to enjoy your glass while you feel the worldly atmosphere of the Moroccan culture. Happy really does eat healthy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Green Chili Bloody Mary

Last week I posted two recipes for homemade Gatorade, it's a great way to replenish your electrolytes naturally whether you are depleted from imbibing or intense exercise.

As a Health Coach, I wouldn't typically recommend morning drinks if you have already had a full evening, but sometimes hair-of-the-dog is what is going to happen. So how can you get the most out of your morning drink?

The base of a Bloody Mary is tomato juice (or V8),  at least you will be getting some much needed vitamins out of it. I prefer my drink to be spicy and have some serious flavor so the horseradish and hot sauce are key. The green chili and Worcestershire give this depth while the squeeze of lime freshens it up.

If you are going to indulge the morning after, stick to just one with this yummy, spicy Green Chili Bloody Mary. You might want to follow that up with a glass of natural gatorade too

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Are you nursing a Hangover today? Try one of these 2 Homemade Gatorade options.

If you happened to have imbided during this St Patrick's weekend, you might be feeling a little worse for the wear today. And you might be wondering how to get yourself right as quickly as possible.

Time really does heal all wounds, even the pounding head, queasy stomach, heavy eyelid kind. But there are a few things you can do to help pass the time.

Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, so it's imperative to drink water.

Coffee only causes further dehydration, but if you feel the need to help you be more alert, don't drink it on an empty stomach and do double your water intake.

You liver is busy metabolizing the alcohol and will have a hard time also producing the additional gluclose your body needs from stored carbs  resulting in low blood sugar, so get some good carbs in you.

Move- the endorphin release could boost your mood so get moving.

And finally, skip the Gatorade, it's filled with sugar and other non essentials. Even though they stopped using high fructose syrup, it's still filled with chemically treated ingredients and refined sugar.  Instead, replace your electrolytes with Homemade Gatorade.

Below I'm giving you two recipe options; option 1 is simply squeezing some fruit in a jar and shaking. Option 2 requires a few minutes of steeping fresh ginger (which is a good antinflammatory and helps to settle upset stomachs). Both are great, just may depend on the level of effort you are up for.

The flavor on both of these is reminiscent of the classic yellow gatorade, but they are definitely more natural and have their own taste. Not in a bad way, they are pretty decent. I found the more I drink the more I crave the next sip.

I recommend using coconut water, it contains the same five electrolytes found in human blood and is a great hydrator and that is key to stopping your aching noggin.

For those looking to replace electrolites from intense exercise rather than drinking, these are the perfect choice over a store-bought, chemically filled option. It's a Fat and Happy cocktail that will keep you going for a few more miles.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Avocado and Spinach Breakfast Parfait

St. Patrick's Day calls for green. Green shirts, green rivers, green beer and green eggs and ham. Last year I made this luscious homemade creme de minth. But this year I'm sticking to the healthy-side of the green holiday with a super nutritious avocado breakfast parfait.

Sweetened spinach and avocado yogurt layered with fresh fruit and topped with almond and date granola. Delicious and filling! It's a great way to get your leafy greens and healthy fats in at one time. Avocado and almonds, while both calorie heavy,  are super important for energy, keeping our skin healthy and for proper functioning nerves and brain.

Do green the right way, with this Fat and Happy Breakfast Parfait.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shrimp Boil Fajita with Tabasco Corn Relish

Fat Tuesday is just a few days away and  I feel the need to get into the spirit early due to a hankering for some shrimp and sausage. I wanted to make a shrimp boil, it's pretty simple as there are only 4 main ingredients to it: shrimp, andouillle sausage, potatoes and corn... on the cob.

This is Chicago and we are in the middle of a polar vortex, there are no cobs of corn to be found here. So I had to adjust my plan. I decided to skip the boil portion and just cook the remaining ingredients in ghee and lemon. Ghee is essentially clarified butter, the milk and water solids have been boiled off leaving rich, golden butterfat.

Whoa you say- butterfat can't be healthy, can it? Ghee stimulates the production of stomach acid, increases the absorption of other nutrients, and is very supportive for acid reflux, ulcers, and other digestive complaints. Ghee appears to help lower cardiovascular risks, but with everything you must enjoy in moderation. It also has a higher smoke point so great for high temperature cooking. Because it's free of casein and other milk solids, if you are intolerant to butter you might be able to eat Ghee

So the shrimp and sausage were covered, but that leaves the corn, what to do with the corn. A simple toss with some red peppers, lemon and tabasco and I ended up with perfect  relish topping for my shrimp and sausage saute. Add a tortilla and I essentially ended up with a fajita-like dinner.

Get out the beads and get your taste buds ready with this Fat and Happy fajita-like Shrimp Boil (sortof).

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Punxsutawney Phil gets a bad rap. He is just a cute little groundhog who gets blamed for a prolonged winter if the sun happens to be out.

Whether you want to blame Phil or Mother Nature, the cold weather is sticking around a bit longer. For me that means creating warm and comforting soups like this one, which combines hearty squash with a hint of sweet apple.

No fancy ingredients or complicated cooking, just a simple saute with nutritious food.

Warm your cold winter chills with this Fat and Happy Squash and Apple Soup and let Phil live out a peaceful spring at Gobbler's Knob.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cheese Grapes and Champagne Gelee

You can't have too many appetizer recipes, you just can't. Hummus is great but it isn't exactly elegant, and how many times do you feel the need to 'take watch' to ensure no double-dipping is going down?

These adorable little cheese-stuffed and covered grapes are cute and require one bite, a bonus for those times you don't want to carry around a plate with you (you need those hands for drinks and shaking.)
When I put this tray together I wanted something special on it - like edible flowers. But since we are in the midst of a polar vortex, even non-edible petals are hard to come by, that wasn't going to happen.  The tray didn't really need more food on it, but it needed just a little something to set it apart. The guest of honor and I have a penchant for Champagne, I began to look for ways to incorporate.

Yes it was a fancy and stylish party and yes, jello shots (or in this case gelee) fits right in. These aren't the nasty little neon jello shooters you get from a half-naked girls at the local club. These Champagne gelee cubes are light, tender and the perfect accompaniment to the grapes. Just a little square or two is needed; though a couple of us polished off the remainder of the pan in record time later in the night.

Below I've listed two flavor options for the grapes and a couple of options for how to put them together too. My goat cheese and lemon with toasted pine nuts version is super lovely while the more traditional blue cheese and walnuts arrangement is just a classic taste combination. In both cases, the grapes are a wonderful sweet vessel for the ingredients.

Take your next appetizer tray to a new level with Fat and Happy Grapes and Champagne.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Arugula and Prosciutto Appetizers

Quick and easy appetizers that are both gluten and dairy free don't have to be lame on taste. How many times do you stand at a snack table and see the same boring offerings of crackers and cheese? Or fattening dairy dips?

Next time bring your own noshes to table and say goodbye to the cracker box. These tasty Arugula and Prosciutto morsels offer a little spicy crunch from the arugula, a touch of salty from the prosciutto and a hint of sweet from the jam. The last time I set these out among a plethora of other goodies, they were the first to go.

Keep yourself fat and happy with these simple nibbles.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gluten Free Chickpea Flatbread

This amazing gluten free flatbread recipe can now be found at my Happy Eats Healthy site- where we talk all things that heal the body.

Gluten Free Chickpea Flatbread

Gluten Free Chickpea Bread, Flatbread, Socca, Farinata, Skillet Bread, Crepe Bread, no matter what you call it, it's delicious!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kumquat Martini (Moroccan Punch)

I have Morocco on my brain; could be because we are heading there in a few months.  So when a friend asked me to cater and give cooking classes for her birthday dinner, it should be no surprise that we ended on a Moroccan theme.

We will greet guests at the door with little jars of soup to tantalize their taste buds. Chickpea skillet bread and braised chicken follow later. By the end of the night, everyone will want to join in the Morocco trip.

No party is complete without a signature drink (and every birthday girl should have one.) This drink was born the moment I saw the kumquats at the store. Kumquats are an interesting little fruit that felt Moroccan to me at the time, so I went with it. They are similar to a tiny orange in some ways. The outside peel is bitter, the inside is a little sweet. It makes for a lovely entrance drink that set the tone for the night. And one that I will make again.

For a little extra effect, I made giant cubes of ice studded with mint, kumquats and clove, one for each glass. It completes the look and offers added flavor as the ice ball melts. A total Fat and Happy party extra.


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