Thursday, April 17, 2014

L.E.A.N. Approved Snack - Chicken & Veggie Mini Pizzas

Before I share the quick recipe for DIY pizzas that even young children can make, I'm going to do a quick recap of what L.E.A.N. stands for...

L.E.A.N. is an acronym - Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition. It is a philosophy taught by coaches certified from the Sears Wellness Institute (like me!). We teach quality and integrity of foods like nutritionists do and our basic foundation is the Traffic Light Eating (TLE) concept. When we think of foods in the 3 colors of a traffic light, we can quickly ascertain which foods fuel our bodies. Green and yellow light are the categories you want to stay in at least 80% of the time! More information on TLE can be found on a post I wrote in March 2013. 

L.E.A.N. Approved Snack - Chicken & Veggie Mini Pizzas

3- 100% whole wheat English muffins (without HFCS or hydrogenated oils)
2 tbs EVOO (like this); divided
Spaghetti sauce (I use this one or make your own like this)
Leftover chicken breasts, chopped
Veggies on hand - I used broccoli florets and onions
1 tsp oregano
Shredded Mozzarella cheese (can omit)
Unbleached parchment paper (like this)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and separate the 3 english muffins. Set it up like an assembly line. This is a great time to get the little ones to help! 

2. While the little one is separating the English muffins and putting them in two rows of three, heat 1 tbs EVOO on medium heat in a skillet. Prepare veggies for a quick stir-saute. 

3. Using a silicone basting brush (like this) put a little EVOO on each slice of the English muffins. 

4. Cook the veggies for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and seasoning with oregano. Stir in the chopped chicken breasts and finishing heating for 3 minutes. 

5. Turn on your oven's broiler to low. 

6. After all English muffins are topped with EVOO, use the same basting brush to top them with spaghetti sauce. Make it as thick as you'd like. 

7. Top the English muffins with the cooked veggies & chicken and if using, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. 

8. Place in the broiler for up to 10 minutes. Remove. Cool. Enjoy!!

If you'd like your English muffins to be more crunchy than soft, you can place them in the broiler with the EVOO (step 3) for 4 minutes. Then carefully (if children are helping), remove from oven and top with spaghetti sauce. Follow directions 7 & 8. 

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Simple Solutions Series: Grazing on the Go

Simple Solutions Series

March Healthy Eating Presentation

I enjoy putting resources into the hands of people who want to dive deeper into wellness. One of my favorite activities is holding free presentations for communities in need. I've been invited back twice since holding my first talk with the local diabetes chapter. They would like me to come back monthly but due to time constraints, I'll be back every quarter. 

For the first time since moving to the High Desert, I was able to put on a collaborative event (this makes my heart sing!). My friend and I teamed up in March to give busy parents some helpful ideas on how to make healthy foods in a jiffy and with ease. We both know this is a need in our community as we live in a food desert. 

My neighbor was so kind to let me use her outdoor shaded kitchen for our talk. We demonstrated 4 healthy recipes that the guests could sample.

My friend demonstrating the chopper after serving our guests the hummus dip.


#1 – Importance of Breakfast
I shared L.E.A.N. tips and talked about boxed cereals. I shared two types of boxed cereals - one seemingly healthy and the other a much better alternative then we made: 

#2 - Grazing
I shared why small nutrient dense meals are preferable over 3 large meals.
We demonstrated a hummus dip with vegetables and a grazing tray.

#3 – TLE (Traffic Light Eating)
I shared the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.

        I blended my signature green smoothie. (A new recipe to follow with images.) My friend demonstrated her container that prolongs the freshness of fruits and vegetables and she also demonstrated a veggie omelet using her tools.  

We served pineapple infused water in between the demonstrations. 

All adult guests left with a door prize and two guests went home with a giveaway valued at $35 each. 

We are looking forward to doing more of these events in the months ahead. Our goal is to do these "solution" based talks several times a year. Each talk will somewhat overlap the previous and they will build upon one another. 

All the recipes are using mostly green and yellow light foods. More on this color, search Traffic Light Eating on my blog or click the link above in #3.

The outline and discussion points for our April talk will be shared soon. Stay tuned.  

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Got asparagus? 

Wrap it with prosciutto. It is delicious! 

I also added basil pesto and crumbled feta before wrapping the asparagus. It was a nice added touch! The prosciutto I used was nitrate free. You can make your own pesto in under a minute in your vitamix as seen here

Roast the wrapped asparagus in a 400* oven for 10 minutes and about half way through drizzle EVOO on the ends of the asparagus. The prosciutto is already cooked and if your asparagus is really thick, you may need to add a few more minutes to the roast time. Sprinkle with sea salt when out of the oven. Cool for 2 minutes. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Apple Wedges with a Secret

Apples. They are sheer delight, right? YES! But, sometimes we've got to change things up especially if we have children. Or maybe we use that as inspiration to try more foods? Either way, I like these apple wedges not only for their chocolate and granola toppings but also for their secret ingredient. Can you guess what that is? 

That secret ingredient is not what you think it is.. or is it? The images I've seen for apple wedges used the chocolate to coat the apple. I used the secret ingredient because I wanted added nutritive benefit and not just added sweetness. The secret ingredient is naturally sweet but it offers so much more!


1 large organic (preferable) Fuji apple (makes 12 wedges)
1/4 cup organic (preferable) Bob's Red Mill granola
1 ounce of 70% (at least) dark chocolate (or 1/4 cup of cacao powder / nibs)
1 tsp of organic cold-pressed coconut oil (more or less, as needed)

Edit: If you're using cacao powder, I recommend starting with a small batch so you can get the flavor profile you're seeking. I made a batch with 2 tsp of coconut oil, 3 tbs of cacao powder, and 1 tsp of raw honey. I heated the coconut oil and added the cacao powder, stirred and allowed it to bubble on low heat. After a few minutes, I turned off the burner (stir while it's heating) then I added the raw honey. It was somewhat bitter as cacao naturally is so I think I will add maple syrup in lieu of the raw honey next time to give it a slightly different taste. For this rendition, I coated the apples in the cacao (after it cooled) then I topped it with crushed walnuts and almonds. Pretty good! 


1. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil together. This will eventually create a shell over the granola.

2. Take the ... raw honey [secret ingredient] and spoon a little on each wedge (may need to use two spoons to keep one clean at all times to dip again for more honey). The honey may slide down the sides of the wedges but that's great! The more the merrier! 

3. Sprinkle the granola over the honey on the apple wedges.

4. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the granola. 

5. Refrigerate until ready to devour. =)

I really enjoyed the ease of this recipe and my son really enjoyed eating most of it. Thankfully I ate a few before I took the dish out to him. My husband should have eaten one when he had the chance because he didn't get any! Maybe next time. =)

Choose, eat, and live well! =)