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Anything Goes in a Bowl Power Lunch

Power Lunch Annie

 

Alright, I’m not going to bore you with an extensive list of ingredients and tedious steps on how to make a healthy lunch.  If you’re like me, you don’t have the patience to read through chapters and chapters of steps.  ‘Work smarter, not harder’ is what I believe in and Folks, this recipe is the result of that philosophy.   The following ingredients are just guidelines simply because they were leftovers.  You can alter this recipe as much as you want, just remember to keep it simple and healthy.

 

Power Lunch

 

If you don’t have leftover quinoa, black beans, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and kale, NO PROBLEM.  Use whatever whole grains and fresh veggies you have in the fridge.  I often find myself wondering what in the heck to do with veggies that are close to going bad or I’m just not in the mood to eat alone.  The solution?  Throw everything together  in a bowl.

Power Lunch Bowl

 

 

Chop your veggies into small pieces or keep them chunky if you prefer.

Afterwards, put ingredients in microwavable bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes until mixture is warmed through.  Not a fan of warm salads?  Feel free to skip the heat.

Finally, add a serving or less of your favorite dressing. (Read food labels and pay attention to serving size.  Some dressings are well over 120 calories per serving.)

DIG IN!

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Substitute Ideas:

Whole Grains: Quinoa, Wheatberry, Barley, Brown Rice, Farro, 100% Whole Grain Pasta (Make sure packages are labeled 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat)

Veggies/Fruit: Carrots, Onions, Spinach, cucumbers, cubed sweet potatoes, apples, pears, blueberries, melons

Protein:  Chicken, Beef, Salmon, Chickpeas, lentils, tofu

Dressing: Whatever rocks your world (Just make sure it’s low in calorie or use less if it’s not.  Better yet, shake things up a bit and make your own healthy concoction.)

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Mango Ginger-Berry Smoothie

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(Makes 2 servings)

1 cup fresh mango

1 cup frozen berries (your choice)

1/2 banana

1/2 cup coconut water

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 cup spinach

1-2 tsp honey

Ice (optional)

*Toss all ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Detox and Enjoy!

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Brussels Slaw with Almonds and Ginger Dressing

Ginger Brussels Slaw with Almonds

(This week’s Brown Bag Secret Ingredient: Almonds)

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(Makes 4 servings)

1/2 pound brussels sprouts, shredded

4 tbsp slivered almonds

2 tbsp raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)

Ginger Dressing:

1 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup white wine or rice vinegar

2 tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)

1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp honey

1 apple or pear (optional)

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil

  1. Wash and shred brussels sprouts first if you are unable to find pre-shredded sprouts.  Set aside.
  2. Boil water while making dressing.
  3. Next, add carrots, vinegar, tahini, ginger, soy sauce, honey, and apple/pear (for extra sweetness) to blender or processor.  Blend mixture on low and gradually increase speed until mixture is smooth.
  4. Slowly add sesame and canola oil to blender.  Set dressing aside.
  5. Add salt and brussels sprouts into boiling water.  Boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Drain sprouts and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and keep them crisp and green.
  7. Shake away as much excess water as you can before adding sprouts to mixing bowl.
  8. Slowly add ginger dressing to sprouts until desired flavor intensity is reached.
  9. Add almonds and raisins before serving.
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Almond EnJOY Bars

Almond EnJOY Bars

(This week’s Brown Bag Secret Ingredient: Almonds)

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(Makes 4)

8-10 deglet noor or medjool dates (soaked in unsweetened almond milk for 1 hour)

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 tbsp hemp seeds

1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or sugar-free

  1. Add dates, almonds, walnuts, coconut, and hemp seeds to food processor or blender.  Blend until paste forms.  Feel free to leave a few chunks depending on your preference.  I like the CHUNKY stuff 😀
  2. Line small rectangular container or muffin pan with wax paper or paper cups.  (Divide mixture into four portions if using muffin pan).
  3. Pour mixture into bowl and mix in chocolate chips with spoon or by hand.  This step could be fun, but messy.
  4. Divide mixture into four portions or pour all mixture into small container.
  5. Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting.
  6. Add chocolate drizzle on top if you just have to have more chocolate in your life.
  7. ENJOY!
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The Brown Bag Secret Ingredient REVEAL!

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This week’s secret ingredient is the almighty BANANA.  Never underestimate the power and versatility of America’s number one fruit.  Have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a snack, or dessert.  Not only are bananas nutritious and awesomely sweet, they’re very inexpensive. Known mostly for its high levels of potassium, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure and keeps your “ticker” functioning properly, bananas also provide a healthy dose of Vitamin C and dietary fiber.  Bananas are also used as a natural antacid to prevent stomach ulcers and protect against ulcer damage.  Here’s one more thing you should know about bananas.  They can help build stronger bones due to a compound known as a prebiotic (fructooligosaccharide), which works with probiotic or the friendly bacteria in your colon.

Below are a few ways I like to enjoy these beauties!

 

Banana Fritters

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Banana Raisin Wrap

Banana Wraps

Sweet Potato Fluff

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

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Coconut-Banana Creme Bowl

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Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7

http://www.corsinet.com/trivia/bananas.html

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Coconut Banana Creme Bowl

I love ice cream.  I mean, who doesn’t?  It’s creamy, sweet, smooth, and out of this world, but it can also damage the waistline.  Everything in moderation, right?  For the past few years I’ve noticed quite a few alternatives to the typical ice cream or fro-yo shops and I have to admit that I’m very impressed with the new kids on the block.  For those of us who aren’t able to enjoy dairy and are just tired of the same soy products on the market, there are more nut and coconut based options.  But one thing that I really enjoy making in my own home is a banana based ice cream made from, well, just bananas!  I was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrows’ new cook book, It’s All Good!

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Here’s what I came up with!

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Coconut Banana Creme Bowl

(Makes 2 Servings)

(Adapted from: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2013/04/banana-ice-cream-roasted-almonds)

2 Bananas

1/4 cup lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

2 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut

  1. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
  2. Slice bananas into 1/4″ pieces and spread evenly on cookie sheet.
  3. Freeze bananas for 3-4 hours.
  4. Add banana pieces, coconut milk, extract, and protein powder into blender until soft serve consistency.  Add more coconut milk if needed.
  5. Toast shredded coconut on dry non-stick pan until slightly brown.  Watch coconut carefully to avoid burning.  Coconut will toast quickly once heated through.
  6. Divide banana mixture into bowls and top with toasted coconuts.  Feel free to add other toppings!
  7. ENJOY!
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Banana Raisin Wrap

I am the Queen of Throwing Things Together when it comes to making a quick meal.  Sometimes I surprise myself when things actually turn out okay.  Right now I’m falling back in love with wraps because they are easy, versatile, and a good alternative to the typical sandwich.  You know, if my mom would have made wraps for my lunch when I was in junior high, I probably would’ve been one of the coolest kids on the block.  Did I say I was a huge fan of the wrap?  Oh, yeah!

The wrap that I made for you guys is meatless.  Sorry, but I’m trying to stick to this week’s Brown Bag Secret Ingredient.  Must use bananas!  No turkey wraps today, Folks!  I think this wrap would make a great lunch with a side of baby carrots, yogurt, or baked chips.  Feel free to switch things up with whatever you have on hand.  If you’re not into almond butter, peanut butter is amazing too.  Use whole grain, whole wheat, natural, and the least processed ingredients if possible!

Banana Wraps

Banana Raisin Wrap

(Makes 1 serving)

1 whole wheat or whole grain tortilla

1 tbsp natural almond butter

1 tbsp raisins

1 whole banana

2 tsp shredded coconut

Pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Honey (optional)

  1. Lay tortilla on a large plate or napkin.
  2. Spread almond butter on tortilla.
  3. Peel and place banana on top of layer of almond butter.
  4. Sprinkle the raisins, coconut, and cinnamon on top of banana.  Add a drizzle of honey if you prefer.
  5. Roll tortilla tightly.  Make sure mixture is secure in wrap.
  6. Toast your wrap in the oven for about 5-8 minutes. (Optional)
  7. Enjoy!
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