Friday, May 30, 2014

June Kindness Challenge

Join me on June 1st for the next rendition of the 10-day awareness challenge. Each month for the first 10 days, I host a wellness challenge. Over the last 5 months, the challenges have consisted of: juicing, ACV shots, eating the [real] rainbow, oil pulling, and more! RSVP at the link above. 

As a Certified Health Coach, I focus my teachings on the 4 pillars of health (L.E.A.N.) identified as Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition and many of my resources point to the L and N and occasionally they focus on the E but this challenge will focus on the A and it will include several components of the other letters. 

Here is a sneak peek into what each day's challenge will look like. I will post the day's challenge the night before so that those on different time zones can participate. You'll post on the wall what you did and if you have images of your thoughtfulness, you're welcome to share them as well! 




Having the right attitude in our wellness journey is what helps us open up the possibilities. I shared a guest post on Heal Thyself about Smiling and in there I talked about how when we smile first thing in the morning (even when it's hard) it will help create the tone throughout the day. So when it comes to being kind, when we reach out to do unto others, we will receive blessings in return. Kindness is a win-win situation. While it's important to be kind to others, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves, too. We must pull from a place of satisfaction, love, and acceptance in order to give fully and authentically. 

Did you RSVP yet? 

Join us! It'll be fun and rewarding, and great for your immune system. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cauliflower Steaks with Pesto

Are you a fan of cauliflower? I can eat it lightly steamed topped with a little real butter and sea salt or roasted with a heart healthy omega-9 oil like olive oil along with some herbs. 

A big shout out to That's Fresh with Helen Cavallo for this post's inspiration!



I must admit this recipe came out delicious! When in doubt, opt for adding pesto (it compliments almost any savory dish). You may like these other recipes using pesto: Make your own here, spinach pesto balls here, and wrapped asparagus here

Ingredients:
1- head of cauliflower cut into 1 inch 'steaks'; core removed 
2 tbs of olive oil; divided
2 tsp basil (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp sea salt; divided
3 tbs pesto
1/2 tsp feta cheese, crumbled  

Preparation:
1. Rinse cauliflower and cut length wise into 1 inch thick 'steaks.' Discard the core (or save it for a future vegetable broth/stock like this). 

2. Coat the cauliflower steaks on both sides with sea salt, basil, and olive oil and put into your broiler for 5 minutes on high. Flip and broil for another 3-5 minutes. 

3. While cauliflower is cooking, combine the pesto and feta cheese. If your pesto is really thick, you can add a little olive oil to thin it out. 

4. As soon as the cauliflower steaks come out of the broiler, drizzle the pesto-feta mixture over one side of the cauliflower. 

5. Let cool slightly about 2 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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Monday, May 19, 2014

DIY Foot Spray & Powder with 5 Ingredients!

My son is back in gymnastics. After two sessions on the mats with bare feet, I thought about needing to make a foot spray to reduce the chances for bacteria (fungus) to take up residence in my son's shoes.  

So, I asked two friends, Stacia of Tehacha-Bee and Jessica of Scratch Mommy what was the best way to make a safe and effective liquid foot spray. They both suggested using distilled water, witch hazel, and tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Since the oil separates from the water it would need to be shaken before application. We have used the spray a couple times already and it'll be my go-to until I learn of a better way. If you have a recommendation, feel free to leave it in the comments. 


Ingredients for the Foot Spray:

Distilled water
Witch hazel
Tea Tree oil
2 oz spray bottle (can find them in the travel section)

I filled the spray bottle to the almost half way point with the distilled water and then filled it to the almost full point with the witch hazel. I added 5-8 drops of the tea tree oil. That's it! Shake before applying and fan to dry.  

A liquid foot spray is ideal for sports where bare feet is mandatory but having a foot powder is equally important especially if you've got kids whose feet sweat a lot! This recipe is using 2 ingredients and a shaker cup. 


Ingredients for the Foot Powder

Arrowroot powder
Tea Tree oil
Shaker cup

I really wanted to find these cups locally but I settled for the one pictured. It's small enough to fit in my purse but having one slightly larger will allow me to use the ingredients more generously. 

Fill the container to the almost full line with arrowroot powder and add about 10 drops of Tea Tree oil. Secure the lid and place your palm over the top while you shake vigorously to mix the oil with the powder. You can always add another oil to make it smell differently. I recommend lavender for its numerous benefits and it's one of the most versatile oils IMO. 

Sprinkle in shoes after a long day and especially in ones whose feet sweat a lot - you know, kids! =)

I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

Subscribe to my blog here to never miss a post.

You're invited to share your own DIY foot spray and powder recipes or if you use mine, be sure to come back and leave your experience as a comment.

Note: Though these recipes are safer than most store bought products, it's still important to ensure that you keep them out of reach of children and avoid using near the eyes and mouth. 

Be well! =)


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

This past Easter my son asked to dye eggs and the only way I would do it was using natural dyes. More on this here. So we had a nice amount of eggs leftover and I didn't want to make egg salad. I had seen a few recipes on Pinterest for deviled eggs but I'm not a fan and I had an avocado I needed to use so I made Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs. 


Ingredients:

5-6 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, halved; yokes placed aside 
3-6 slices of bacon, cooked 'til crisp and crumbled (nitrate/nitrite free)
1 avocado, peeled and seed removed
juice of a 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cilantro (like this)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (like this)
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbs mayo (make your own like this)
2 tsp. Dijon (or deli-style) mustard

Preparation:

1. Cook bacon until crisp. Allow to cool. Crumble it. Set aside.

2. Using a fork, mash avocado with the juice of 1/2 lemon, spices, and the garlic until a creamy texture. 

3. Remove yolks from hard boiled eggs and mash them with mayo and Dijon mustard. 

4. Combine the creamy avocado (step 2) and creamy yolks (step 3) together until flavors and colors are blended.

5. Take the avocado-yolk mixture and spoon into each of the halves. 

6. Top with crumbled bacon. 

7. Share with a friend. Enjoy! 

I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

Download my free eGuide when you subscribe to my newsletter and / or subscribe to my blog here to never miss a post.

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Monday, May 12, 2014

April Montessori Wrap-Up

This is a collection of images from my April wrap-up of supplementing my son's Montessori education at home. We use a lot of what I consider "unschooling" methods that are generally every day stuff we adults do like cooking and cleaning that kids can do too (and they're generally pretty excited about helping). So not only will you get some help, but they will get some sensory satisfaction out of it too! Plus it's a fun learning environment for them and you just might have a chef-in-the-making on your hands! 


One night for dinner I made roasted chicken with leeks and broccoli (see recipe here) and I asked my son to help me clean the leeks. I find this part to be therapeutic - cutting, cleaning and prepping the leeks. He enjoyed it immensely too. I cut them. He cleaned them. 

Next up: PVC Pipes & Screws 



I've been working with my son to develop and strengthen his hands and fingers. He prefers to write with his left hand and this took some time to figure out. He uses both hands to play and eat. We've had this sensory box for several months and we take it out about once a week. He matches the pipes to the others and tightens them. There are also some screws with nuts to tighten. When they're all put together, he takes them apart and puts them away. It's a great way to increase dexterity. His hands are getting stronger. As his fingers get stronger he'll be able to write better and for longer periods of time without tiring easily.  

Next up: Sweep 'Em Up


This activity compliments the one above because it helps strengthen the wrists. Using blue painter's tape, my son made a rectangle which is the area that he worked in. You can use any objects to sweep. I went with paper clips. Other ideas include: confetti or cereal. Since this was our first time doing this activity, I used the paper clips so that he could immediately see his efforts. 

After creating the rectangle, he poured the paper clips into it then swept them up and poured them back into the storage container. We repeated this exercise on his right hand then switched to his left. He was more efficient with his right hand. We will try one of the other objects next time. 

Next up: Dyeing Eggs; Mosaic Craft 


This Easter my son asked if we could dye eggs naturally. In year's past we just used the plastic eggs and filled them with trinkets. My son is five and he understands the negative effects of artificial dyes (more on this here) and like me he believes that artificial dyes are best used for crafts. 


After hard boiling a dozen eggs and cooling half the batch, we used Maggie's Naturals dyes (like this), turmeric and cayenne pepper. I used my wine glasses because they were the best fit for each of the eggs. We didn't measure but probably used 10 drops of the natural food dye to start, 1 tbs of white distilled vinegar and filled the rest with water. After about a half hour, we added more drops to the red, yellow, and orange (probably another 10 drops). Then about at the one hour mark we used cayenne pepper with the red dye and turmeric with the orange dye. The eggs soaked for about 2 hours. 


The other half of the batch, we used crayons to melt over the hot eggs. We used the egg carton so that we wouldn't burn our fingers (or least try not to). We had one small burn on a pinky but was resolved, or shall I say, forgotten about while we had fun coloring the eggs. These eggs came out really pretty. 



On the Tuesday following Easter was Earth Day and we decided to 'upcycle' our egg shells to make a Mosaic craft. We crushed the eggs and separated them by color then using them as 'broken glass' we glued them to pictures of free printable butterflies. This was a great way to show how easy it is to reuse. I have read that egg shells and used coffee grounds can help with maintaining rose bushes. I haven't tried it yet because we don't drink coffee. And, if you'd like to see some other ways to use egg shells, try this link

That's it! Of course, throughout the month we do other unschooling activities and many of them compliment what he's learning in school at the Montessori program. 

If you homeschool or unschool, what activities did you do this April? Link them in your comments. I'd like to pin them to my boards: Homeschooling, Sensory BoxesMontessori, or Inspiring the love of learning

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Simple Solutions Series: Speedy Snacking Solutions

Simple Solutions Series

April Healthy Eating Presentation


If you noticed, I published my Simple Solutions Series for May before this one and I did this because I wanted to publish the fresh salsa recipes on Cinco de Mayo. You can find it here. Let's rewind a bit back to April (and my second food demo): 

My friend and I teamed up for the second time to bring forth yet another opportunity to showcase how easy (and affordable) it is to eat healthy. Here's the recap from March when we covered Grazing on the Go.

We reviewed the Traffic Light Eating (TLE) concept and reminded our guests that we'd be focusing primarily in the green and yellow light categories. In the TLE, sometimes the foods we choose fall in what we consider the continuum and sometimes foods can straddle the yellow-red part of it. Anything with added unnecessary sugar (natural or not) can be considered in this section. If the sugar is refined and processed, it is a red light food, but if it is natural and the consumption has been lessened and depending on the other ingredients, it may fall closer to the yellow. One of the recipes we made today falls in the yellow continuum section. 


Topics



#1 - Washing produce (We used strawberries.)

I filled the sink mid way with tepid water and added 3 tbs of white distilled vinegar. The strawberries soaked for about 5 minutes. Why this works: The vinegar kills bacteria and helps to dissolve the wax and contaminant residues found on the skins of many fruits and vegetables. 

I also covered that you can make a quick spray using a spray bottle, juice from 1/2 of a lemon, 3 tbs vinegar, and 1 cup water. Mist the produce, rinse and wipe clean. 

A few of the guests are doTerra reps and they shared with me that lemon E.O. can be used in place of fresh lemon but that smaller batches must be made to preserve the E.O. and if possible, to use a darker color bottle. 

The benefits of making your own produce wash: cheaper than store-bought, cleans more effectively than water alone, and all-natural (as even the store-bought types in health food stores can have lots of unnecessary ingredients). 




#2 Build a Trail Mix 

Ingredients we had: dried cranberries, raisins, and cherries; unsweetened coconut chips, banana chips, crushed almonds & walnuts, and dried pineapple. My friend showed various containers that can store the ingredients and keep them fresh longer. Everyone was given a bowl to scoop out the ingredients they wanted to snack on while we started demonstrating snacks. Making your own trail mix is great to have in a pinch and as a healthy snack. You can make yours ahead of time and store it in a mason jar in your car or in a resealable snack bag or in a small container that fits snugly in your bag or purse. This will help you avoid the drive-thrus and reach for something nutrient dense. [I will be publishing a recipe on DIY trail mix later and will be linked here when it goes live.]

#3 Strawberry Reduction 

On the stove top, I reduced down 1 cup of sliced strawberries with 2 tbs of water and a pinch of coconut sugar. The strawberries weren't very sweet so I thought a pinch of natural sugar would compliment what we were making. The recipe for the strawberry reduction (without added sugar) is here

#4 Aloha Dip (two kinds)

Dip 1 - Ingredients: 8 oz of softened Greek yogurt cream cheese, 2 tbs of powdered sugar (DIY here), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1 cup of strawberries. The tool, Power Chef System, in the right corner of the image above is what we used to make both recipes.  

#5 Slicing a fresh pineapple 

Before I share the second Aloha Dip recipe, I showed the guests how to slice a pineapple. The way you may be thinking works great when your pineapple has sat on the counter a bit too long and most of the sides are yellow but IMO it requires extra steps of prep and you waste more of the pineapple. Visit my May Healthy Eating post here to see how I demonstrated cutting the pineapple. 

Dip 2 - Ingredients: 8 oz softened Greek yogurt cream cheese, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple. We chose not to add the DIY powdered sugar to this recipe because the pineapple was very sweet already. The guests agreed that it didn't need it. 

#6 Not Your Mama's Shortcake (as seen here

This recipe was made as per the blog post (linked above) and I made a double batch as we had 9 adults and 2 kids in attendance. 

So -- which topic number fell in the yellow-red light continuum? Any guesses? 

Secondly, which topic above peeked your interest and one that you will be incorporating more of in your week?

Choose, eat, and live well! =)


Monday, May 5, 2014

Simple Solutions Series: Summer [Vegetarian] Salsas

Simple Solutions Series

May Healthy Eating Presentation


Summer [Vegetarian] Salsas 

& a bonus tip: How to Cut a [Fresh] Pineapple


With an ode to growing up in Texas, Cinco de Mayo, eating the [real] rainbow and an early kick-off to summer, I held the third rendition of the Simple Solutions Series entitled, Simple Summer Salsas (I have not published my April presentation yet; you can find March's here.) My focus is always educating the importance of eating from the L.E.A.N. Traffic Light concept (more here) and these recipes fall in the green and yellow light categories which makes them A+ in my book! I hope you will agree!!

We made 4 fresh food chunky salsas. Three were savory and the last was the 'dessert' option. We had a variety of chips and crackers available for all palates including gluten free and without sunflower products (one guest has a food allergy).

The day of the food demo was unseasonably warmer than I remembered from last year. It reached 95* and though we were at an outdoor kitchen, it was shaded and we had several fans blowing. Thankfully we even experienced a light breeze here and there (which says a lot for being in the high desert because really, there is no such thing in the Spring for a 'light' breeze; winds are usually called gusts and they can go up to 55 mph all.day.everyday!). With that said, we wanted to finish earlier than normal and so we forgot to take pictures of the food as we talked about it during the demonstration. 

But guess what? My husband later told me that he wants to bring in a salsa to work on Monday for their potluck style on Cinco de Mayo. I also knew that I really wanted images for the recipes so that I could publish THIS post! So, the next day I went into the kitchen and made all of the recipes from the demo. These recipes were made using my Vitamix so it didn't take much time at all! At the presentation though, we used my co-host's Quick Chef system from Tupperware. You can find them here.  

One quick note before we dig in, these recipes are clean-eating and compliment the Clean Transformation Challenge a.k.a #ctransc. You can message me if you'd like further information on ways to incorporate more green and yellow light foods into your health regimen!

Without further adieu, here they are and I've even included several other food bloggers' recipes so that you have more than a few to choose from. I secretly hope that you choose mine to make and come back to give me some feedback. If you make theirs, be sure to leave a comment on their blog approving of their ingredient profile. I've not made theirs but I like them because they fall in the green and yellow light category of mostly fruits and/or veggies, healthy fats, and herbs and spices. =)

Southwestern Salsa Fresca


This recipe includes two types of plant protein - avocado and black bean. There was only a corner left after the guests tried their samples. I'd say that everyone liked it! =) (The recipe is here.)



Mango Cucumber Chunky Salsa



Ingredients for the dressing:

zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes
1 tbs raw honey (optional)
2 shallots
1 jalapeno, seeded 
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
fresh cilantro (to taste)

Yields: 3/4 cup

1. Using a Vitamix [or a food processor of your choice], add all of the ingredients to your container then blend on variable low for 10 seconds. The jalapeno, garlic, shallots, and cilantro will be chopped and the mixture should be a light, creamy green color. 

2. You will be using up to 1/4 cup of the dressing for this salsa recipe; set aside. The other 1/2 cup can be refrigerated in an air tight container to be used with your next salad! 

Note: If you do not have a Vitamix or food processor, you can chop everything by hand. It may take a few extra minutes but it'll still taste wonderful! You can whisk the dressing by hand as well until the flavors are developed to your taste preferences. 


Ingredients for the salsa:

1-2 mangoes, peeled 
1/2 english cucumber, unpeeled and cut in half
1/4 cup strawberries, hulled

1. Using your Vitamix, place mangoes, cucumber, and strawberries in the container and turn on variable low using tamper to push food towards the blades. In ten seconds, food is chopped! (Again, you can chop by hand.)

2. Pour the chopped ingredients into a medium bowl and add up to 1/4 cup of the dressing. Stir gently until combined. Dip with your favorite chip. Enjoy!!

Pineapple Prep & Spicy Salsa



About six years ago I was taught how to slice a pineapple from a food demo that I had attended at a health food store in Southern California. See, I had known about the other way where you slice down the sides of the rind until you're left with the flesh but I found that that way presented a lot more waste. Now I must caveat and say that the other way works great if you've let your pineapple turn completely yellow on the counter. It will help remove all the brown spots but of course, you're still wasting a lot of food. 

So you can do two things: 1) don't let your pineapple turn completely yellow and 2) cut it the way I'm about to share with you to cut down on waste. 

The best pineapple is heavy for its size and mostly green. The bottom will be yellow. This is the time to cut into the pineapple! Follow my images for the how-to and if this way was new to you, try it then come back and share with me your experience, okay? 





This way yields way more pineapple! This particular pineapple gave me 6 cups!! The pineapple cost me $3 (which is a very good cost considering I've seen them as high as $6.50). So when you pay a lot for your pineapples, don't let them turn completely yellow and then cut them the way I showed you above so you can get a good return on investment. =)



Now onto the salsa! 

Like the Southwestern Salsa Fresca this was also a crowd favorite. Two of the guests are not fans of pineapple but enjoyed the recipe because of the spiciness of the ingredients. IMO it was too spicy for me! But, I'm happy everyone else enjoyed it. 



Ingredients:
1 large shallot
2 cups of [fresh] pineapple (see demo above on how to cut)
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Sea salt to taste 


Preparation:

1. Add all ingredients to a Vitamix and blend with tamper for 15 seconds. Done! 

2. Pour into a bowl and couple it with chips of your choice. I used Bean & Rice chips that are gluten free. 

Note: Like the mango cucumber salsa, you can chop by hand. It will take a few extra minutes and then you can control the sizes of the ingredients. 


Chunky Strawberry Apple Salsa 


From my food demo recipes, I saved the best for last - dessert!! We've all seen varieties of this simple fruit based salsa before but I wanted to switch things up by adding a fuji apple and kiwi. Some recipes call for onions to cut the sweetness but I really wanted to end my demo with a dessert option. Plus this is great for kids! I mean all of them are but this flavor profile is gentler on the palate.

A thought hit me when I was writing this blog post, I know for certain that adding soaked chia seeds to this recipe would bring up the nutritive benefit quite a bit (add 2 tbs)! I mean you've already got the seeds from the kiwi in plain view - why not add the chia!?! You try it and see if you like it. I prefer to soak my chia seeds so that they'll be easy to chew and digest. 


Ingredients:

1 apple, seeded
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 lb of strawberries, hulled
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbs raw honey (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon-coconut sugar mixture (just add 1/4 tsp of each together)



Preparation:

1. Using a Vitamix, toss in the apple alone first and chop it on variable low for 5-10 seconds. There were a few pieces that didn't make it to the blades so I ate them! Remove from Vitamix container and pour into a medium bowl. 

2. Toss the kiwi, strawberries and the juice of half of a lime into the Vitamix container and blend them on variable low for 5-10 seconds. Pour chopped fruits into bowl with chopped apples. Stir.

3. Sprinkle the cinnamon-coconut sugar mixture over the chopped fruits. If your fruits are not very sweet, you can add the optional raw honey at this point. If they're already sweet, omit the honey and gently stir the fruit salsa. 

4. Serve with organic animal crackers, plain or cinnamon pita chips, or it can be eaten alone. It is very good! The apples give it the necessary added crunch I believe it needs. 

I hope you enjoyed my recipes and that you'll be back for more. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to never miss a post that is delivered to your inbox! 

Now onto more vegetarian salsas from my foodie friends!


Pineapple Salsa (raw-vegan) from JarO'Honey {w/Bonus decorative bowl}

Tropical Fruit Salsa & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa from Honey, Ghee and Me 

Mango and Traditional Salsas from The Organic Kitchen 

Fresh Summer Salsa with Cucumber from Recipes to Nourish

Homemade Mango Salsa from Live Simply 

Lacto Fermented Salsa from Economies of Kale


Strawberry Salsa, Cherry Salsa & Salsa Fresca from Fresh Bites Daily 

You can order a Vitamix from Costco, Amazon, and direct from the manufacturer. I purchased mine direct in April 2010. It came with a 7-year warranty and for those that needed which I did at the time, an interest free installment plan. You can order one direct and use my code {06-00 8064to earn free shipping (value $25 US/$35 CN). You can buy them at other places and some may come with the 7-year warranty. I prefer to buy from the manufacturer when I'm making a large purchase. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

I do receive a small commission from Vitamix.com if you purchase anything through their site using my code above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.


Be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you don't miss recipes and other helpful tips in your journey to wellness. (Please verify your account when you subscribe.)

If you're interested in learning more about how to choose quality, real foods for your family, you may enjoy my online L.E.A.N. Start "Nutrition Simplified" classes. You can learn here

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Whole Food Therapy with Leeks


Other than celery, I haven't met a green vegetable I didn't like (everyone has at least one [real] food item they wish they liked but don't). Today's post features leeks. It was new to me when it showed up in my CSA box. I got onto YouTube and found a great video on how to clean them because I had learned previously that they are very gritty with lots of sand and dirt - so, simply placing them under running water won't cut it - pun intended. Leeks have a mild flavor - like a mix between garlic and onion. They smell like an onion but when cooked - YUM-O!! Prepping the leeks was the best part of the recipe. I don't know if you feel the same but sometimes prepping vegetables can be somewhat therapeutic. See another recipe on whole food therapy - fava beans

Onto the recipe...



Garlic-Butter Seasoning:
1 stick of butter (unsalted I had on hand)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (not needed if butter is salted)

Preparation:
1. Melt butter with garlic, oregano, and salt until just melted. While melting, clean and slice leeks. Remove butter from heat. 



Ingredients:
1 (or more) leeks (you'll want more than 1 for sure!)
1 bowl of cool water with 1 tbs lemon juice
4-8 chicken breasts
Additional veggies of your choice - I used Romanesco and Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 375*.

Preparation:
1. Remove dark green tops of leek(s) (place aside) and cut the light green-white part into thin slices. (The dark green stalky tops of the leeks can be rinsed and tossed into your freezer bag of scraps for your future vegetable stock.) Toss the thin slices into a bowl of water with lemon juice and give it a good swirl. After slicing, proceed to rinsing them in a colander under cold water for an extra few moments. 



2. Use a few tablespoons of the garlic-butter seasoning in a skillet on medium heat. Toss the sliced leeks in the butter and cook lightly on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. You don't want to brown them, just soften them. Turn off heat. 
3. While leeks are cooling (this helps the nutrients meld and marry (see WHFoods), prep the other raw vegetables that you'll bake with your chicken. 



4. In a olive oil lined pan, place the sauteed leeks at the bottom. (I wish I had more than just one leek - the pan looked a bit sparse!) Top the leeks with the chicken breasts. Pour the cooled garlic-butter seasoning over the chicken breasts. 



5. Place other veggies along the sides of the chicken. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in the pre-heated 375* oven. Cook until chicken is done or when juices run clear. Let cool for 5 minutes. Optional: Top with fresh parsley. Serve alone or with rice. We prefer jasmine rice from Thailand.



Other recipes you might like:

Roasted Veggie Chicken Bake
Baked Salmon Packets
Dairy-free homemade pancakes
YUM-O! Pesto in the Vitamix
Southwestern Butternut Squash Chili (like a boss)

Choose, eat, and live well! =)