Category Archives: Recipes

26Jul

One may say I’m a bit crazy about my love of coconut oil, but over the years I have seen such awesome results from glowing skin, to creamy beverages to tasty vegetables. It wouldn’t be right if I held onto this beauty, baking and bad-*ss fat burning ingredient all to myself, so I’ve decided to just pick my personal top 7 uses for coconut oil and share them with you! If you poke around the internet you will find upwards of 80+ ways to use this oil.  My list below encompasses daily uses in the Davenport Home.  I love that his oil has gone mainstream in the last five years or so.coconut

Isn’t Saturated fat BAD for me?

Yes, coconut oil is considered a saturated fat, which we know is most commonly found in animal products such as red meat, poultry, pork and full fat dairy.  We know the dangers of eating high amounts of saturated fats – increasing your risk of heart disease.  But coconut oil is different.  This particular type of saturated fat is in the form of medium-chain fatty acids versus the long-chain fatty acids found in animal products and these medium chains actually boost your health when taken daily.  
 
Saturated fats in coconut oil have anti-bacterial properties that help control parasites and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.  Coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, help control cravings while increasing muscle.

Pick one new use and go wild this week!

A little bit goes a long way – topically and orally – so go ahead and keep a container of coconut oil in your kitchen and one in your bathroom and have fun (separate containers friends, don’t want any cross contamination)!

Where & how to buy?

Because I go through this magical ingredient by the case, I like to buy in bulk.  Costco, Homegoods even TJ Max sells coconut oil at a great price!  Always go with organic unrefined to reap all the nutritional benefits while sparing you of the toxins.  While coconut oil is solid at room temperature it melts around 78°F, so you’ll notice it turn to liquid when it hits your skin or if it’s particularly warm where you store it.

1. Lather up your babies!

Gone are the days of buying Johnson & Johnson lotion for my girls, no offense J&J, I loved working for you all those years, but you can’t get more natural than organic coconut oil! It’s full of vitamin E, leaves your skin silky smooth, and gives you that glow (and who doesn’t love the smell of suntan lotion? It’s one of the most powerful mood lifters for me).  And, I never worry about it getting in my babe’s mouth – go ahead and eat up, Ruby! Since I brought her home from the hospital I’ve applied coconut oil head to toe and she never has had any cradle cap or dry skin!

2.  A little massage?

I love to mix a palm size dollop with a drop or two of Young Living’s essential oils (lemon, lavender, Thieves) and rub my neck, my feet and my back for soothing, uplifting and antimicrobial properties.  Coconut oil is an amazing carrier oil.

3.  Bake baby bake!

Sub for butter, margarine and vegetable oil. This is my go-to oil for baked goods.   You may taste a slight difference, but it’s a delicious variation of your usual suspects.  If you are substituting coconut oil in a recipe just go with a one-to-one swap. I like to melt the oil for more precise measurement prior to adding to recipes.

4. Use it as hair serum/bye bye fly-aways!

A little goes a long way! I’ll rub a little between my hands and apply it to my curls or the bottom of my hair to minimize the frizz.

5. Sautee your veggies with it!

Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is fantastic for sautéing, roasting and/or baking vegetables.  Do I use it for exclusively? No, I still love a little variation (butter, olive oil, ghee) but I personally think it enhances the flavor of my asparagus, carrots, Brussels sprouts and baby greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard).

6. Swirl half a teaspoon into your morning Joe!

It’s delicious.  Really.  I’ll still add a drop of unsweetened almond milk to my coffee, but gone are days of adding refined sugar, fat free, sugar-free, artificial sweeteners into my morning cup – nothing good comes from those chemicals!  Once you get beyond the sight of the oil droplets floating, you will have a hard time parting with this combination.

7.   Make Chocolate!

Read the ingredient list of a Hershey’s bar (and yes, I still use them to make S’mores from time to time) but the very first ingredient on the list is sugar followed by milk, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier, artificial flavor… a few items in there I’m pretty sure aren’t “food”.  To make chocolate, mix 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil + 1/3 cup raw cacao powder + 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup and a dash of sea salt.  OMG YUM! Drizzle over your favorite nuts, pretzels or fruit and refrigerate for 20 minutes!

Let me know which of these appeals to you most and have fun!!! Being healthy should not be a chore rather a fun way to bring loved ones together!

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09Jan

How to Decode Your Honey…

As a holistic health coach I always talk to clients about where they believe the source of their stress to be, as stress in their lives affects bodily systems and physical health more than they realize.  And in many instances, for all of us, it’s our loved ones who are driving up our cortisol and adrenaline levels and putting a damper on our weight loss goals!  But, I’m by no means a love expert, so this post is not referring to decoding and deconstructing the actions, behaviors, idiosyncrasies and or love language of your man, this post is about the HONEY on your grocer’s shelves (or bee-keeper’s back yard)…:)

smooch

I always suggest that clients become cozy with honey.  We are all in need of some sweetness in our lives and this one for me tops the charts with all the options out there.  The list of naturally derived sweeteners and artificial sweeteners (the enemy to any natural food lover) is longer than I can go into right now.  But my opinion and my personal preferences is to always keep a jar of RAW, ORGANIC HONEY on hand.  

honey

Why?  First, it’s so sweet and creamy and has an earthy natural taste that just makes me happy! Seriously.  It sounds corny, but it’s true.  I have really come to love and look forward to my rendezvous throughout the day with my honey.

Second, it’s really, actually good for you! Has amazing health benefits!  Raw (uncooked/unheated), unprocessed, unfiltered, organic (pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer free) honey, contains 27 minerals, 22 amino acids and 5,000 live enzymes.  Because it’s a strong antioxidant and antimicrobial It keeps you healthy by fighting disease and boosting the digestive system.

Third, even the bible tells us to eat honey!  Proverbs 24:14 “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.”  :)

One daily spoonful in your tea or spread on your rice cakes or organic whole grain toast is all that is needed to reap these benefits!   And in terms of antioxidants, the darker the better when it comes to selecting your honey.  How to decode: if the honey says it’s organic – great! You’re steering clear from all those toxic chemicals = cancer causing agents found in conventionally farmed products.  And when I bake, which I do quite a bit, experimenting with healthy hearty sweet treats and breakfast muffins for the family, I will use certified organic honey (not necessarily raw as the honey will be heated in the oven, anyway)!   But there is always a jar of 100% certified RAW organic honey next to my stack of rice cakes for those are eaten as is.  Processed honey is heated, robbing it of many of its natural nutrients. 

As with anything in life, and in your diet – all in moderation.  Honey is still sugar and so we don’t want to be dousing everything we eat or drink with this sweetener, but its affects on the body and mind are so much more beneficial than refined sugar which leaves us with not much more than a spike in our blood sugar followed by the crash and white sugar actually has collateral damages.  Because refined sugars are void of vitamins and minerals, the body must utilize its store of valuable nutrients to digest refined sugar!  This process adds to the crash we feel and it depletes the supply of minerals essential to break down other foods we eat, like cholesterol!

Real food, raw food is so amazing and when you allow your body to experience these foods (combination of raw and cooked in my opinion is the best) you will begin to feel lighter, have consistent energy, increase your immunity and health.  Your hair, skin, smile will all be brighter.

Two of my favorite winter rituals using RAW honey:

1 or 2 organic brown rice cakes with raw almond butter and a smearing of RAW HONEY.

1/2 cup (cooked) steel cut organic oats with 1 tsp RAW HONEY, 1/2 tsp coconut oil, cinnamon, chopped apples, bananas or berries, ground flax seed, unsweetened original almond milk.

So give it a go and let me know your thoughts!

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06Jan

Overfed and Starving – Recipe Included

CCCarotCookiesA number of clients have shared with me that one of their biggest challenges is keeping enough food in the fridge for their growing teenage boys.  ”How in the world can he still be hungry when he can out-eat all of us?! I can’t keep enough food on hand for him!”

This is actually not that atypical a situation.  Teenagers require a great amount of energy (calories) as they are growing at a ridiculous rate on top of all the exercise that comes along with being a football, basketball and/or lacrosse player.  But I tend to think the issue more often than we realize is the type of food they are eating.

Again, this isn’t always the case, but in many instances (for kids and adults), the issue isn’t that they need MORE food, it’s that they need more complex foods.   It’s not your fault moms and dads…blame it on the food industry tricking you into thinking foods are healthy (95% of all marketing and advertisement dollars are spent on processed, packaged, boxed, refined, nutrient poor food, so it’s really no wonder most Americans are living off these foods and are hungry all the time!  When was the last time you saw a commercial for lentils or sliced apples with almond butter?!)   For some unlucky kids, they may develop diabetes and/or obesity from eating too many of these foods, clear indications that change is necessary.  But for others, well, they appear to be completely healthy as they are thin and function “well enough” so the impetus to change is absent.

Both children, despite their weight differences, may be equally malnourished   Yup!  You heard that correctly, your child may eat 10-15 times a day and still be malnourished!  You see it’s less about the AMOUNT of food or the NUMBER of calories they consume which leads to satiety and more about the NUTRITION and TYPE of carbohydrates that are being ingested at each meal.  When we don’t feed our body what it needs to thrive, it will send smoke signals by way of cravings, hunger pangs, headaches, etc.

And here’s the breakdown

Simple Carbohydrates/nutrient poor foods (simple chains of glucose bound together by nothing substantial to feed our cells for the long-term):

Processed cereals, muffins, most sliced breads, bagels, most granola bars, waffles, breakfast sandwiches, crackers, pretzels, cookies, chips, candy.

Complex Carbohydrates/Nutrient Rich foods (long chains of glucose bound by fiber, nutrients, vitamins, which slow the digestive process and deposit “good stuff” into the cells the body can use for energy at a later time):

Oatmeal, oats (steel-cut & rolled), real whole grain bread (Ezekiel, for example), brown & wild Rice, barley, faro, couscous, vegetables.

The foods that are made readily available to us Americans (at drive-thus, in frozen boxes, packaged goods) are mostly in that “simple carb” list.  How angry does that make you!?  These foods provide energy for the cells for the short term, but cells need minerals, vitamins and enzymes to do their jobs properly for the long term (physically, mentally and emotionally).

And so, the never-ending phenomenon of craving food all day long is the body’s way of saying “I’m STARVING FOR NUTRITION.”

My advice is to keep it simple.  Make substitutions or additions before you begin taking away.   And don’t give up just because your new recipe wasn’t a success the first time around.  Getting a kid to change his eating habits is hard work, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.  Our taste buds are adaptable.  Today they may be accustomed to artificial flavors, processed foods and sugar, and so whole natural foods will most likely taste bland at first.  It takes kids and adults 3 – 5 times of trying a food before they really begin to enjoy eating it! So don’t give up parents!!! You’re doing the right thing just by reading this post…

Starting small is the way to make lasting changes.  Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourselves… add in some complex carbohydrates and notice the change you see in the satisfaction your kids feel.

Here is a “healthy cookie” I made this week using whole grains, vegetables and natural sweeteners.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Chocolate Chip & Carrot Cookies

Makes 24 -30 cookies

Ingredients

  • ¾ c. Carrots (about 4 whole), shredded
  • 3 Bananas (ensure they’re ripe!)
  • 2 c. Rolled oats
  • 4 Tbsp Natural peanut butter
  • ½ c. Unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ c. Chocolate chips (go really healthy and break up a bar of dark chocolate with 70% cacao)
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Chia seeds and/or ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet  (butter, coconut oil, whatever your choice)
  • In a large bowl mash bananas until they create a creamy paste.  Add peanut butter and stir.  Add applesauce and carrots and mix.    Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
  • Use a scooper to create round cookies, drop on a baking sheet and slightly flatten with the back of your scooper.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes and enjoy!

AND! They’re easy enough to have your kids help with the baking!!  A great way to get your kids interested in food is to have them join you in the kitchen :) photo

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05Dec

I love me some Cacao….

We all have food cravings.  Okay, let me re-phrase, MOST women I know struggle with cravings… generally speaking, they come in the form of sugar or carbs… and more specifically, usually once every 4 weeks or so :) , it’s an unquenchable need for chocolate!  My advice, don’t ignore it! If you’ve read my posts before you know that I believe in deconstructing the craving before trying to discover the one tried and true solution because reality is, that tried and true may not always work if the root cause changes! The catalyst for the chocolate could be a number of things or even a combination of things: a mineral deficiency, a yin/yang imbalance, a lack of sweet nutritious vegetables and/or leafy greens in one’s diet, an overabundance of “junk” that sets us on a never-ending roller coaster for sweets, perhaps it’s more emotional.  A need for something unrelated to food, like a hug, some rest, a good sweat, and the true desire masks itself as a craving for food.  Discovering what lies at the heart of our cravings takes WORK! it’s a lot of work to learn to listen to our bodies.  It’s a lot of work to journal and look for patterns in our food/mood connection.  And it’s a lot of work to change our habits and to give ourselves what we really need… i.e: choosing a hot bath and a great book over a sleeve of doubles stuff Oreos!

But this post isn’t a lesson on deconstructing cravings.. that’s where coaching comes in (wink – call me for a consult)  this post is to bring to light a very underrated superfood that for me, has been a fantastic solution to the occasional need for chocolate.. drum roll please…..  CACAO Powder. Bam.  Organic, energizing, sugar-free, RAW chocolate.

“God already created the best pill ever, it’s chocolate” – David Wolfe.  I love this line.

what is it?

Chocolate (cacao powder) comes from the cacao bean, the seed/nut of a fruit of an Amazonian tree.

cacaopowder

why is it considered a superfood?

Cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet and the #1 source of magnesium of any food (therapeutic levels), and has an enormous amount of manganese, and chromium.  A few cacao beans provides 323% of the RDA of daily iron, and so many women out there seem to be iron deficient – probably because of the decrease in animal protein we are consuming (which is a good thing, ladies!).  Just how super is it?  The amount of antioxidants in cacao is about 10-15% x greater by weight than what is in blueberries, 20x that of red wine and 20x that of green tea….  in summary, it helps to promote IMMUNITY, CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH, IMPROVED MOOD, ENERGY, BUILDS STRONG BONES, LONGEVITY, APHRODISIAC (yee-haw!)

what to do with it?

Throw it in a smoothie (below is one of my favorite creations)

Almond Butter Cup 

  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of roasted, unsalted almonds
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Drizzle of pure honey
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 4 ice cubs
  • additional water to meet your desired consistency

Make a natural hot chocolate (1 cup almond milk, 1-2 Tbs cacao powder, 1 tsp honey – blend in your nutri-bullet and heat on low on your stovetop), or enjoy a chocolate bar with a good amount of cacao in it!   I always keep a bar of dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao in my fridge and nibble on a square when my craving hits.  

AlmondButterCup

Give it a try and tell me what you think.  And be open-minded people.. sure, it’s a bit more bitter than your kit-kat and snickers bar, but it comes with a whole host of benefits that those commercially available chocolate bars can’t touch!cacao 

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15Oct

CROWDING OUT is the new IN !

Four workshops in 8 days all focusing on building the “Healthy Lunchbox.”  What a fantastic opportunity it has been for me to reach out to the community (both in Hoboken and in Fairfield, NJ) to talk to expectant parents and new parents about the importance of a nutritious diet.  How do I have the energy to do this with a rambunctious 2.8 year old and a 4 week old at home?  First, pure luck!  In that I was born with an insatiable hunger to help others.  Second, my diet, one rich in phytonutrients (fruits and veggies), lots of healthy fats, whole grains, plant based proteins and essentially zero processed or fried foods.   And third, a tremendous amount of support from my husband, my parents, my sisters and my neighbors (shout out to Dee Bernstein for entertaining Maya while I cook, do the laundry, write blogs and shower for the week!)

So let’s dive right in.

Crowding out. Yup!  Let’s not focus (today) on what you should REMOVE from your diet; rather, let’s focus on what you should add into your diet (and those of your kids).    I’m going to try to make this easy.  Give you stats that will creep back up on you when shopping, cooking and packing those lunch boxes.

65, 35, 5.  These numbers are representative of the breakdown of the average American diet.  65% of the all the calories we take in come from refined grains & sweets (cereal, bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, granola bars, pretzels, chips, cookies, cakes, protein bars), 35% comes from animal protein (ham, bacon, cheese, meat, chicken, beef), 5% comes from fruits/vegetables…  Okay, now remember these numbers 2, 11, 100.

 

NDL

When looking at the Nutrient Density Line (thank you Joel Fuhrman, MD for creating this visual for us) you can see that the MAJORITY of our diet rests on the BOTTOM of the nutrient density line!  In other words, 65% of what we eat throughout the day has a value of “0” or “2” if we’re being generous on how nutritious it actually is.   And what provides our cells with the greatest amount of energy, immunity, strength, endurance, etc, (leafy greens, green veggies, non-starchy veggies) is only eaten 5% of the time!!  The problem?  Food absolutely dictates how we function in society – physically, emotionally and mentally.  So is it any wonder we live on coffee (you know who you are) to get us through the day or that at 3pm without fail, that bar of chocolate is calling our name? Or that 25% of our children take Rx regularly?   Or that this may be the first generation of children to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents (David Katz.  MD.) because of the rise of diabetes and obesity.

  • Food will give us lasting energy or create highs and lows
  • Food will keep our mood stable or it will wreak havoc on our emotional and mental state
  • Food will keep our heads clear or create headaches and withdrawl
  • Food will stave off the disease that lingers deep in our cells or will lead to the expression of symptoms that become chronic disease

And it’s not for lack of caring that we as parents are caught up in this conundrum.  Rather, or at least I believe, it stems from our lack of time, lack of patience, lack of sleep and our kids’ lack of desire to eat the foods we’ve slaved over preparing for them!  I mean, what kid would naturally chose to eat a kale and quinoa salad over a creamy delicious mac and cheese lunch or a salty, greasy hot dog for dinner over a tofu and arugula salad?   And that’s where we come in as parents whose job it is to at least try. Try and try again to offer more variety, more healthy, more whole foods.  And where do I suggest we start? Not in yanking their mac and cheese, or hot dogs for dinner rather by adding in new foods and offering choices for our kids.  It’s not negotiable in other words.  Would they rather have an apple or banana with their breakfast?  Would they rather the sliced cucumbers or the cherry tomatoes before they eat their chicken fingers? Would they rather the turkey meatballs (with hidden zucchini and carrots) or the lentil and barley soup for dinner?  Eventually, they’ll pick one of the two options you give them.

  • Give them choices (between healthy option #1 and healthy option #2)
  • Give them more veggies and fruits at every meal or at every snack
  • Experiment with a new WHOLE grain every week (brown or wild rice, barley, bulgar, couscous, spelt, oats, polenta, quinoa)
  • SNEAK a veggie or two into your typical burger, meatball, mac&cheese or sandwich
  • Find a friend (or a health coach – hint, hint) to lean on for support

Eat this way yourselves before expecting to see a change in them – we need to model behavior first and become convinced ourselves that food actually does change the way we feel.  We have to trust at first that food will fuel us or will act as a toxin, and then use our experience to drive our behavior.  I guarantee you, if you stick to this plan, you will see and feel a difference in yourselves and in your children.

Below are some of the creative ways I used whole foods this week:  whole grains, real fruit, natural sweeteners, hidden veggies.

Apple Cinnamon Drops & Peach-Coconut Rounds in place of fruit rollups or fruit snacks!

CinAppDrops

Veggie Mac & Cheese (sneaking in cauliflower & butternut squash) vs. Kraft Mac & Cheese.

VegMac&Cz

If you’d like to learn how to make recipes like this one, or you’re ready for a change in your own self, reach out @ chrissydavenportcoach@gmail.com

It’s never too late to Revitalize & Nourish YOU!

 

 

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10Jun

A Lighter Alternative to PASTA this Summer… (from a full-blooded guinea)

I love pasta.  Who doesn’t?! But what I don’t love is HOW I feel AFTER the delicious meal: bloated, frustrated for being so out of control with my portions, the crash that follows the meal, and the guilt that often times accompanies too much of this amazingly delicious Italian specialty.    And the fact is, that many refined carbohydrates, or processed grains leave us feeling this way. It’s a fact. Refined carbs (wheat in particular), like bagels, pasta, crackers, pretzels, breads just leave us feeling blah… for many, it’s hard to stop the cycle that ensues – after a few bites, we’re left feeling unsatisfied and we feel the urge to eat more.  For others, starting the day off with refined carbs leads us on a sugar or carb roller coaster for the remainder of the day.  For others, it might lead to feeling tired and lethargic.  All these side affects are real.  And I’m happy to talk to you about the rationale behind this phenomenon (email me to carry on with the discussion), but the intent of today’s post is to provide you with a lighter alternative to pasta for this summer season :) .

Spaghetti squash is a great way to enjoy sauces, meats, veggies and beans, anything actually, that you love to pair with your pasta of choice:  penne, rigatoni, spaghetti, farfalle (a few of my favs).   AND, what’s even better (as compared with our nutrient-poor pastas) is that this vegetable contains a wide range of vitamins.   A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.

Take a peek at how easy it is to prepare!  Step 1.  Saute, cook, roast, the toppings that you love (or just open a jar of marinara!) Step. 2.  Roast your spaghetti squash in the oven for 40 minutes or until the pulp peels away from the skin.CknSuasageVeggiesSpaghettiSqTwo of my favorite ways to enjoy are photo’d below.  Recipe to follow:

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Sauted Broccoli RabeSpagSquashBroccoliRabe

 

Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus & White BeansIMG_8191

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (3-4 lbs)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

for the sauce for the SECOND photo above

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • ¼ cup white cooking wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ can canalleni beans, rinsed & drained
  • Parmesean cheese & red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop the seeds and inner membranes out of the hollows then sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Place both halves down on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill the sheet with about ½ inch of water.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the squash becomes translucent and the skin begins to soften.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the fleshy “noodles” with a fork and place in a bowl.

To make the sauce, first toss the chopped asparagus with olive oil and sauté for about 3 minutes on each side until the asparagus is at your desirable crunchiness. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside in a dish.  Meanwhile, blend (using a mixer/food processor) the can of tomatoes and chopped onions.  Add this mix to the olive oil in the same saucepan you used for the asparagus. Allow the tomatoes to cook until they start to bubble.  Add in the white wine and a about 2 tablesppons of water (or chicken/vegetable stock).  Cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Add in the beans and the asparagus for a just a few more minutes.

Top the squash with the sauce and season with Parmesean cheese and red pepper flakes.

 

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14May

Lentils: 2 great ways to incorporate this legume into your home this season

Hello friends!

It’s 80 degrees here in NJ and I’m LOVING IT! With the advent of warm weather comes not only clothing changes, but meal changes in our home…It’s time to shelf my many soup ideas for the next few months and bring forward meals that are more seasonally appropriate! So I’ve brought back out the lentils (which I often use for soups) and I’ve made a few salads to celebrate our spring/summer days.  Are you a fan of lentils?  I love these legumes for their versatility and nutrient dense properties.  And lets face it – who’d doesn’t get tired of chicken, salmon, tuna as their protein of choice?  Other than a great source of protein, lentils are packed with additional health benefits:

lentils

They are great for weight loss and keeping you satisfied throughout the day because the soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels.   The fiber in lentils helps to prevent constipation, and they are high in iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body is key to energy production and metabolism.  Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health! Interestingly magnesium could often times be the reason for cramping – from time to time I’ll get leg/food cramps and have learned that magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. So when I think cramping, I think Magnesium deficiency = lentils!  Lastly, for those watching their waistline, there is essentially zero fat in lentils (although healthy fats are essential to weight loss) and low in calories (about 230 cal. in one cup of cooked lentils).  So get cooking and embrace these legumes this season :)

Here are two recipes that I’ve made recently.  VERY easy.  If you have 20 minutes to allow the lentils to cook, and a few more to chop veggies and toss some dressing, this is a great salad to prepare on the weekends and bring to work for lunch or pair with something for dinner.

Greek Lentil Salad:

GreekLentil

Makes 6 to 8 servings

LentilSetUp

What you’ll need:

Salad:

  • 2 cups lentils (whichever color you like!)
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 persian cucumbers, cut in ¼ inch cubes
  • 6-8 oz feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Instructions 

1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil (and one bay leaf if you have it -remember to discard after the cooking process). Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Strain and set aside.

LentilToss

2. Whisk olive oil, zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. It should be well seasoned as it will be tossed with the rest of the ingredients.

3. Add 1/2 the vinaigrette to the lentils and allow lentils to fully cool. When cooled, add the chopped parsley, onion, tomatoes, cucumber & feta and remaining dressing.

Lentil, Kale & Apple Salad:

KaleAppleLentil

Salad:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups of chopped kale, stems trimmed, thick inner ribs removed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized Granny Smith Apple chopped into small cubes

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 medium clove raw garlic, grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

Follow the same steps above used for the Greek Lentil Salad.  For those of you who are not fans of raw kale, you may want to sauté your chopped kale in a saucepan coated with some olive oil for a few minutes until the leafy green begins to soften. I actually did do this on the last go-around and it created a much more palatable kale, in my opinion.

For more recipes visit http://www.chrissydavenport.com/recipes.html

 

 

 

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10May

Crowding out Junk and Adding in Plants – MORNING ROUTINE IDEAS

So I’ve noticed lately that in many of my consultations the question always surfaces…. “How the heck can I squeeze veggies into my morning routine?”  So this morning, I’m providing you with 3 easy ways to do just this.

I’m a big believer in “crowding out” junk foods (processed, sugary, empty calories, low nutritional foods which always lead to roller-coasters of hunger) with healthy, nutrient dense, low glycemic, fiber-rich foods – that’s a much more appealing concept than “removing and depriving”.   Not just at dinner-time, but all times of day.  Why?  Well, for starters, we not only want to LOOK great and LIVE longer, but we want to FEEL great too, right?  Vegetables are packed with phyto nutrients (phyto=plant) that give us energy, strengthen our immunity, aid in  blood purification, are cancer reducing, just to name a few benefits.  AND, the fiber in veggies helps fill us up with the good stuff leading to less cravings soon after breakfast- the cravings and highs and lows are usually a result of refined sugar and carbs… I’m sure most of you can relate to the bowl of cereal at 7 am followed by hunger pains at 9am!

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, control that inflammation, reduce sugar cravings, or just adopt a healthy lifestyle, here are 3 ways I incorporate these powerful plants into my morning routine.

OH! And my first requisite for suggestions on this blog:  TIME SENSITIVITY. Who isn’t overloaded with tasks these days and too little time to do anything but the necessary!? My belief  in living a healthy lifestyle rests in the following: PLAN, SHOP, ORGANIZE, COOK (and freeze!)   Second requisite: BALANCE! I suggest trying to incorporate lean protein, healthy fat and veggies at each meal to keep energy and satisfaction at optimal levels :)

Eggs.  For those of you who LIKE eggs, this is one of my favorites… and I get pushback a lot that people don’t have TIME to make omelets in the morning before work.  If you can break 2 eggs and scramble in a bowl, and wait 2 more minutes for them to settle in a pan, you can do this !

1.  On the weekends, I sauté with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) a variety of the following: onion, green/red pepper, mushrooms, spinach (or whatever I have in the fridge).  I add a handful of frozen peas the last minute of sautéing.  Add some sea salt, and place in a covered bowl and leave in the fridge for the week.

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2.  The morning of, I throw 2 eggs in a greased pan (olive oil spray), toss in 2 forkfuls of veggies, scramble up (I’ve never been crazy about the omelet shape – as long as it’s cooked I’m happy), add sea salt, maybe a little cheese, and turmeric (great anti-inflammatory properties).  In place of cheese I will often cut a bit of avocado – a fantastic source of healthy fats.

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2.  Juices/Smoothies:  As long as you have a good blender that pulverizes or you have a juicer, you’re set. I personally love my Nutri-bullet because it’s compact, easy to clean and affordable :) $85/Costco!

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1. Ensure you always have at least one variety of leafy green on hand, some berries (I always have a bag frozen), perhaps a banana to aid in “creaminess” and some seeds or nuts (this is where the protein/fat comes in).

2.  I’m not crazy about the particulars.. as long as you’re using one type of leafy green, I’m happy! One such example:  1 handful baby spinach or kale (remove the rough stems), frozen berries (low in sugar, very sweet), other great additions 1/2 green apple , 1/2 banana, and always a seed or nut: ground flax seed, hemp seed, chia seed, almonds, walnuts, and enough water to your consistency-liking.  Many people use milk in their smoothies, but try it with water, with the right produce you really don’t need to add the dairy.

3. Veggie packed breads or muffins.  If you can bake once and freeze 12 times, you can do this!!! I bake just about every other weekend. Wrap breads by the slice or through a bunch of muffins in a ziplock bag – grab and go! Or remove the night before and it’s delis in the am.   My favorite veggies to bake with:  pumpkin, zucchini, carrots.

This photo below is of a gluten-free zucchini & carrot bread. It’s great! A bit crumbly, but ‘ve gotten used to the consistency of using almond flour for baking. The key is using a binding agent – something a bit gooey to hold the bread together (banana/pumpkin are great for this).

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Here is the recipe/instructions for this particular bread.. (I used a small loaf pan and made 3 of these)… If you are trying to go gluten/dairy/sugar free, this really is a fantastic alternative because it’s all healthy and packed with protein, healthy fat and veggies.  If on the other hand you’re fine with a little gluten and natural sweetener, you can find muffins on my website which are yummy!

GF Carrot Zucchini Bread

Makes 10-12 servings

2 c. almond flour

2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. sea salt

2 large eggs

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

1.5 c. shredded carrots and zucchini mixture (used a food processor)

1/4 c. sour cream or coconut milk

1/2 c. coconut oil

* this recipe does not call for a sweetener other than applesauce, but if you want to add some honey or maple syrup, go for it! ¼ – ½ cup is usually a good amount

Preheat oven 325.  Grease a 9×5 in. loaf pan with coconut oil (or a few mini loaf pans).

Combine first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Combine remaining wet ingredients and veggies in another bowl and mix.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry until well-incorporated. If stiff, add a little more coconut milk.

Press dough into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out dry.  Remember that when baking with almond flour, the resulting baked goods tend to be more delicate and crumbly, so allow bread to cool before removing.

I used this recipe for Apple Walnut Bread as well! I added in ¾ cups of chopped walnuts to the dry mixture and I removed the veggies and added a banana.  It was delicious!  You could also make Pumpkin Bread by using 1 ½ cups of pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce and adding 1 ½ tsp. nutmeg to the dry mixture.

For more ideas or recipes, contact me at chrissydavenportcoach@gmail.com

It’s never too late to Revitalize & Nourish YOU!

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19Apr

My Top 11 Snacks for Kids: Lunch Box’ing 101

So, I hear it over and over again from friends.. well, I hear two things, “I can’t get my kids to eat ANYTHING healthy” and “I run out of ideas and don’t know WHAT to pack for them in their lunch boxes!”  I hear ya!  Wouldn’t it be great if goldfish and fruit snacks were “healthy”? Sure, they’re better choices than fries and candy, but are they really providing our kids with the nutrients they need? sorry, nope!

Here’s a few ways I sneak veggies (fiber, nutrients, vitamins, color!) into their lunch boxes.

1.  ”Green” Apple Sauce:  apple sauce+baby spinach+cinnamon:  sometimes I’ll peel and steam my own apples OR I’ll use unsweetened organic apple sauce and put in my Nutri-bullet with a handful of baby spinach, sprinkle with cinnamon, and I assure you, NO ONE will taste the spinach!  I bought these reusable food pouches off diapers.com and they’re great (and they hide the color “green” pretty well :)

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2.  Persion Cucumbers + Hummus:  these little guys are the best! They’re very crunchy, have little moisture/seeds, so you can peel, chop, and send to school and they won’t get mushy and messy like the regular cucs we’re used to eating.  I’ll either make my own hummus http://www.chrissydavenport.com/hummus.html or I’ll cheat and use store-bought. I like to pair veggies & fruit with some type of protein and/or healthy fat which provides more energy and lasting satiety than the veggie/fruit alone.IMG_7935

3. Orange slices + Cheese:  cut em’ up and pair with cheese. I like “Nature’s Best White Sharp Cheddar” or I’ll buy the organic string cheeses for Maya.  

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4.  Nutty Fruit Mixture:  If you’re kid has peanut allergies or isn’t able to bring any nuts to school, this may have to be adjusted (use just seeds, or skip the nuts all together) .  This is age-dependant, but Maya’s been eating this snack since she was 18 months or so.  I’ll throw in dry roasted, almonds, cashews, peanuts, jumbo raisins, apricots, goji berries and/or dried apples (I’ll cut the larger dried fruit pieces and cut the larger nuts in half)

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5. Banana Sammy:  Slice a banana in half, shmeer some nut-butter, and cut into pieces. Again, if there are nut-allergies in school, try it with some Sunflower Seed Butter – it’s delish!

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6. Pumpkin Muffins:   I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t LOVE the sweetness and gooeyness of these little suckers.  Best of all, there is NO refined sugar, and it’s mostly pumpkin! So it’s a great way to sneak in Vitamin A, antioxidants, beta carotene). If you’re going gluten free, substitute whole wheat flour for almond flour, recipe here (those little white specks are millet – a nice gluten free grain that gives the muffin a bit of “crunch”!  http://www.chrissydavenport.com/gooey_muffins.html

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7. Yogurt Parfait:  it’s a little fancy, I know, but I send Maya to school with a small container of Plain Organic Yogurt, drizzled with my chia seed jam and if it seems a bit bitter, I’ll add some honey.  It’s a healthier alternative to the “Go-Gert” and other sweetened yogurts which are loaded with extra sugars.  Tip: when choosing a yogurt, avoid fat-free, go organic with dairy, and look at the grams of sugar, shoot for less than 18g:  recipe for Chia Jam on this post:  http://blog.chrissydavenport.com/?cat=1

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8. Flax Chips or Black Bean Chips: a GREAT alternative to goldfish, tostitos, potato chips.    Trader Joes has some great brands.  Ingredients on the Black Bean/Quinoa include Stone ground white corn, sunflower oil, organic red quinoa, black beans, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, water, trace of lime… look at that! all ingredients that are pronounce-able! :) (aka-real food!)

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9.  Air Popped Pop Corn:  if you think it’s too time consuming to make you’re own, this batch took 2 minutes 30 seconds, an equal amount of time as the microwave popcorn bags (those little bags come with a host of controversial health issues, so trust me when I tell you when you pop your own, you’re doing your kids a favor).  Add a little olive oil, sea salt, and for some sweet & salty mixture, I’ll throw in dried fruit.  Yes, there’s a very good chance the corn you’re buying is GMO, so just try to look for organic or non-GMO corn kernels.

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10. Homemade Granola Bars:   Making these require ONE bowl and a mixer (or your hand).   I make a batch about every 3 weeks, individually wrap and freeze, take one out each night or morning and pack.  http://www.chrissydavenport.com/granola_bars.html

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11.  Raisin Bread with Strawberries:  why do I love “Food for Life” Ezekiel breads?  Because they’re truly made with WHOLE grains and nothing added that’s bad for your kids. Most breads are highly processed, have High Fructose Corn Syrup and stuff that’s not easily pronounced = non-food.  If you have a gluten sensitivity, Food for LIfe has a great variety of breads made with rice.  Ingredients include: organic sprouted wheat, raisins, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, seat salt, cinnamon.. and THATS it! Yes, I keep it in the freezer because it does NOT include preservatives.  Note to self: the longer a foods shelf life, the shorter yours, my friends :) so it’s a GOOD thing to have to freeze your breads :)  I’ll defrost, smear some real butter and slice some fruit to go along side.

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16Apr

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS and other nutty/seedy snacks!

It’s hard to find snacks that are nutritious, filling, satisfying and delish for the whole clan.. this is one of my family’s favorites… it’s so easy to make – requires no stove top, oven, broiler, microwave, nada… just gather, mix, roll and freeze (for best storage).  Peanut Butter Balls  OR for those with peanut allergies/sensitivities, I gave it a go with Sunflower Seed oil and they’re just as yummy.  I usually offer them to Maya (my two year old) after lunch/dinner as a little dessert, or as a mid-day snack to hold her over.  And just look how happy and sweet they make her :) ha!

IMG_7922  I like them pre-workout or just for something creamy, sweet and satisfying throughout the day.  They’re a bit hard to pack in lunch boxes because they really are best if eaten frozen…. but they’re a great snack to always have on hand.

Here’s how you make em’:

Mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl with your hand or a spatula:

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1/2 cup Natural Peanut Butter  (you can use Skippy/Jiff etc, BUT those are loaded with extra sugar and sometimes hydrogenated oils – not good for you).  I like to get my nut-butters at Fairway, where we press our own.  I prefer them over store bought natural nut-butters because the oil doesn’t separate from the nuts making it hard to mix.

1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed (I usually buy whole, and use my Nutri-bullet to ground), I store all my nuts/seeds in the fridge.

1/2 – 3/4 cup quick cooking oats (if you’re trying to stay away from any gluten skip this ingredient and add shaved coconut or up the amount of Flax)

1 Tbsp honey (or agave) you can adjust the amount based on your sweet tooth, but this is a good amount to start with.

1/3 cup raisins you could use cacao nibs or chocolate chips -most healthy chocolate is dark chocolate with 70% cacao.

Mix everything together – it’s going to be gooey and a bit rough to blend.  Then use a spoon or scooper and form round balls in your hands.  Place on a paper plate, cover with foil and freeze for about an hour (or indefinitely).

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I will usually remove from the freezer once solid and throw in zip lock bags for storage.

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For my friends with peanut allergies, I used the following seed-butter in place of peanut.  They taste great!  This brand does include some cane syrup but hey, it was the most healthy of the options I could find :)

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My other favorite use of nut-butters is to smear on rice cakes – I know, most people think of cardboard when they think of rice cakes, but they’ve made some improvements over the years.  My two favorite brands:

IMG_7924 The ingredients: brown rice and sea salt.  Maya likes the Quaker because they’re softer and don’t crumble as easily, I prefer the Lundberg, they’re just really crunchy.

I literally have this either for breakfast each morning (or right when I wake, with a cup of tea or coffee) followed by something like eggs and fruit an hour or two later OR I’ll have one as dessert or a snack.

IMG_7925 Keep in mind you’re reading a post from someone who literally thinks the world of nuts and seeds, and basically anything natural and whole… this is my fridge.  I always have plenty of these on hand and refrigerate (or freeze large bags) for best results as the oils will go rancid if stored at room temp.  IMG_7929

Top shelf:  sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pine nuts, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, shaved almonds.  Bottom shelf: pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, ground flax seed and lastly a bar of organic dark chocolate 73% cacao (Trader Joe’s brand).

Enjoy, my friends!

 

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