Chia Jam & A Mini Meatball Sandwich

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Mini Meatball Sandwich

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I made up a tiny snack/meal last night and was so impressed with the look and taste, I had to capture and share it. This mini-meatless-meatball sandwich is full of protein, on sprouted toast, easy to make, and delicious. Below you see my process of making Chia Jam. It’s a simple and easy recipe (Difficult is not my style).  I recycled a ginger jar, so save your old jam/mustard/condiment jars! They work great for things like this. Recipes below!

Mini Meatless Meatball Sandy For One 

1 slice ezekial bread, toasted, quartered
6 meatless meatballs
1 sandwich sliced pickle
2 tbsp baby lettuces
1 tbsp reduced-fat veganaise
Black Pepper
Mustard, for dipping

 

  1. Microwave the meatballs for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your piece of bread. 
  2. Cut the bread into 4 pieces, to make two small “buns.”
  3. Spread all with veganaise and spice up as you like. I used black pepper. 
  4. Cut the pickle into two, and place half on each bottom bun.
  5. Place the lettuce on top. 
  6. Then 1 meatball. 
  7. Smash the top down a little bit. 
  8. This will make two mini sandwiches. Dip the last 4 meatballs in mustard.

Nutrition Facts include all 6 meatballs.
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And onto the jam!

You can see from the photos exactly how easy this is.

Chia Jam 

1 3/4 C Frozen Berries of choice (if fresh, omit microwave process)
1/4 C Chia Seeds
Juice of half a lemon 
1 tbsp of Agave/Maple Syrup/Fruit Juice

  1. Microwave/defrost berries. 
  2. Blend until smooth, or however chunky you like your jam.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, sweetener of choice, and lemon juice.
  4. Place into jar or tupperware. Refrigerate over night.
  5. Enjoy like regular jam!

I really love this on toast, bananas, or Almond Butter and Chia Jam sandys. 🙂 Sandy is officially my nickname for sandwiches now. Forget “sammy” I like Sandy.  This is not for those who like “jelly.” Unless you use blueberries, it will have plenty of “crunch” or texture because of all the seeds. The chia seeds get smooth, but the raspberries and strawberries have seeds. I like it. And most jam lovers do. But jelly-lovers, beware!

Thriving Forward In The Kitchen

Clean Food from a Non-Chef, Non-Photographer

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I’ve always wanted to try zucchini pasta. I finally dished out the surprisingly low amount for one of these. You can see the awesome veggie-pasta maker above. The Thrive Forward program been reminding me to eat more raw, fresh foods. It has inspired me to use my Vitamix daily, boil some quinoa, and eat less wheat. I haven’t started sprouting yet, but I do have my own organic herb garden growing! The pasta above is mostly raw, minus the silken tofu. I was searching for an oil-free pesto because I try and follow the Forks Over Knives philosophy of not eating oils, or keeping them to a minimum. I actually looked at a few vegan pestos and then made up my own. (Recipe below.)

Oil-Free Avocado Pesto & Raw Zucchini Pasta
Recipe

1 avocado, small and ripe
1 oz basil (1 pack)
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup silken tofu
dab of ground garlic (mine is in a squeezy tube)
juice of 1/4 lemon
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of vegan parmesan, optional 

One zucchini
1) Place all ingredients, except the zucchini, in a Vitamix or Food Processor. Leave on for 5-10 minutes, stirring down sides as needed. I used the Vitamix stirring tool to keep things going. If it’s not moving, add more lemon juice.
2) As it is churning around on low, turn your zucchini into pasta. If you don’t have the pasta machine, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips.
3) Stir it all together and eat… or cover and refrigerate for dinner, or lunch the next day. Enjoy!
The entire bowl of pasta is under 300 calories! I’m proud of this recipe and it is all clean and organic! =D
Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 9.00.57 PM*The calories include all of the ingredients listed, including the zucchini.*

Soon after, I went on to making these cookies.

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I need to start using my expensive camera. :/ Dang blurry phone pics!

Personally, my boyfriend and I wouldn’t call these cookies. They are more like little bundles of yumminess, but not a cookie. They are gluten-free and don’t contain any flour. You could honestly eat the dough for breakfast or dessert, without even cooking it. It’s great, but not a typical “cookie” dough form. I bought some coconut flour on sale today, so maybe my next cookie dough will look/taste more like a wheat cookie.

The main ingredient in these “cookies” is quinoa. Freshly-cooked plain quinoa, quinoa flakes, and bananas make up the bulk of this dough. It truly is guilt-free. Look at the Nutrition Facts. I measured each cookie out with a tablespoon measuring spoon.

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3-Ingredient Protein Hot Cocoa

Performance Cocoa
Performance Cocoa
Tomorrow: Frozen Hot Chocolate

First of all I want to say, whenever I see a recipe that has less than 5 ingredients, I click on it. No matter what they are, I’m like, “Only 3!?! I can do that!” I’m no chef by any standard. I hardly measure anything  and I truly suck at baking 95% of the time. Tonight was a lucky one when I made this concoction.

I was getting bored with mixing my protein powder with cold water and drinking it as if it couldn’t taste good. I knew it tasted well, but underestimated its ability to become a star. Tonight, it became a shining one.

I saw a post about hot cocoa with soy whip by Kathy Patalsky  on twitter and thought, “Mmm that sounds yummy.” And since I’m not cool and dandy with a stock of soy whip or one of these, I figured I would turn my protein powder into a hot cocoa. I have raw cacao powder next to all my Vega and smoothie stuff so my hot cocoa was just asking to be made. Here is the simple 3 minute post-workout delicious drink you will never turn down.

Recipe

1 Big mug of Unsweetened Almond Milk, Vanilla (12 oz)
1 Scoop Vega Performance Protein, Vanilla
2 tsp Raw Cacao Powder
Stevia, to taste (a good sprinkle) 

Place all ingredients in a mug and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir again. Enjoy!

With 28 grams of branched-chain amino acid protein, only 9 complex carbs, and a hot chocolate delicious taste to warm you up, this cocoa really can’t be beat. Why have it any other way?

Frozen Hot Chocolate: Freeze the prepared drink in an ice cube tray, throw it in the blender with a 1/2 frozen banana. Add extra almond milk (about 1-2 cups) to get the frozen ice and banana to move! Use your Vitamix or high powered blender and stirring tool.

This frozen hot chocolate seriously tastes and looks  like chocolate ice cream! But so healthy. (If you don’t have a Vitamix, it will be more of an Icy milk.)

hot cocoa info

More Info On Nutritional Timing: http://vegasport.com/en/timing
More Info On Vega Sport Line: http://vegasport.com/en/system

Clean Eating: Good Fats and Carbs

I woke up to this beautiful display this morning:

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SuperFoods!

I was inspired to make my own trail mix after seeing an easy how-to chart on Thrive Forward. The Maca and Cacao powder are for my super smoothies and other recipes (which I will feature here later) but the berries and savi-seeds were going in the mix! Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of trail mix, but knowing I could make it a mix that I enjoyed every part of, I was in. (Usually I have to pick out my favorite parts and the bag is left with all the nasty parts.) Here is the motivating chart to help you make your own mix:

snack mix chart
Choose Your Favies!
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What I Chose
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My Current Selection
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Bag up in small portions and add your coconut flakes.
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Admire and share your “hard” work.

This took all of about 5 minutes, including taking the photos. So order some up, or head to your local health food store that has bins, and mix and match your favorite super foods. You can bring these to work, keep some baggies in your car,  put one in your purse, or hand it to a hungry friend trying to be healthier! No more excuses of running to the vending machine for chips, crackers, or candy. You’ve got a healthy snack right in your purse or desk.

 

Good Fats and Carbs

It’s important to get the right kinds of carbohydrates and fats in your diet. This means getting whole grains and plant-based fats. You may think that cutting out carbs and fats will make you lose weight. WRONG! Eating packaged and bottled fat-free foods and low/no-carb stuff is not healthy. Those are packed with sugar, chemicals, and preservatives to give them proper taste.  It’s healthier to eat full-fat avocado than a processed fat-free dressing. A good way to start eating cleaner is to look at this Thrive Forward Food Pyramid. (The order in which the items are placed are not by importance, but by suggested portion.)

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A Great Food Pyramid

Figure out your favorite versions of each category and incorporate them into your meals. Click on the pyramid, read the “Reference: Thrive Staple Foods,” and get your health into a better situation today. Throw out or donate all the junk food in your house. Organize your cupboards with healthy foods so that it’s a joy to enter the kitchen and eat healthy, not a hassle or hard task. Make your shelves look pretty by putting brown rice, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in big, glass, mason jars. (You can get them at Wal-Mart for cheap!) Wouldn’t you love your kitchen to look more like a cooking show than a pre-packaged mess?

Water

It’s important to stay hydrated through out the day. Every action your body does, from digesting food to cleaning your blood, requires water. Without a proper amount, you will feel fatigued, hungry, and uninspired.  I like to keep a big bottle of fruit-flavored water or herbal tea around at all times.

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Lemon+Ginger+Strawberry

Fresh lemon will help your body stay at a good Ph level, which is important for a variety of things. Fresh Ginger root will assist your intestinal tract with proper digestion and decrease the chance of inflammation throughout your body. This is especially important if you plan on exercising, since it will prohibit your soft tissues from becoming over inflamed. The frozen fruit you choose will flavor your water and keep it cool. And when you’re done you get to enjoy a sweet treat. 🙂

I suggest frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and mango. You can also place a tea bag in, like a green tea or yerba mate. (Just take off the string and paper part if it has one.) Fresh lemon is best, but if you don’t have local organic ones around, buy a bottle of organic lemon juice and keep it in your fridge. Ginger root is sold at most grocery stores, so go pick one up and start grating!

Answer This!

What is your favorite trail mix?

Do you tend to get the ones with more candy or healthier stuff?

How do you stay hydrated through out the day? 

Thriving Forward: Eating Clean with More Kale

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Delicious Kale Chips – Replace your Lays with these Kays!

 

Cheezy Kale Chips
Cheezy Kale Chips

 

Eating Clean
Eat Clean, Try Kale

It has taken me a while to come around to Kale. I’ve had some experience with Kale in the past few years, but never dared to make it myself. And when I tried, I usually failed and had to pretend it was great. The best recipe I made with Kale (before this salad) was Creamed Kale. But now I want to replace my baby lettuces with Kale more often, and have finally found a way to do that.

I’ve found out that there are different kinds of Kale, and some are better for cooking, like Tuscan Kale, and others are better for eating in a salad, like this Dino Kale. The leaves are less bitter, more  pliable, and quite tasty with the right massage! So be sure to get the right Kale for your recipe.

After making the Kale Chips above from Thrive Forward (click on pic for recipe), I wanted more Kale.  Since I’ve had Kale Chips before I knew I liked a spicy-cheezy flavor, so I added Nutritional Yeast Flakes and Cayenne onto the original recipe from Thrive. Feel free to use whatever spices you choose. I was tasting it raw before baking into chips and decided I wanted a salad of it for dinner. Here’s the recipe!

2 Cups Dino Kale, washed & de-spined
2 Different Colored Bell Peppers, halved and chopped (Save the other halves for dipping in hummus!) 
2 Palm Shoots, Jarred from Trader Joe’s 
A handful of Smoked Sun-dried Tomatoes
Juice of one Lemon
Organic canola oil, in Misto Spritzer
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Himilayan Sea Salt 

  1. Turn on your George Foreman Grill or Oven Broiler and place the chopped peppers on. Let cook/warm while you do the following:
  2. Place the kale in a large bowl. Spritz a few seconds of organic canola oil onto leaves. Douse in spices & lemon juice, and dig in with your hands. Massage the kale until it starts to shrink and deflate. It will become softer and tastier. 🙂 Feel free to pick up a leaf and take a bite. 
  3. Chop the palm shoots to bite-sized pieces. 
  4. Take the peppers off, throw everything into a bowl, and toss.  

Enjoy eating clean. Buy a veggie you never have before and experiment with it. Have fun with being healthier. Don’t make it a chore or pain.

Have you ever tried Kale? What did you think? What’s your favorite lettuce to use in salads? 

Thrive Forward Program

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Thrive Forward

I want to help you in every way possible. Something great has come along that is assisting me and I want to spread the joy.

Brendan Brazier has launched a fully FREE, educational, video series to teach you everything you need to know on leading a healthy plant-based whole-foods diet. It reminds me of taking an online course in college, yet everything is free and well organized! The forum is Twitter and Facebook

A little about the creator:

“Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is now a successful performance nutrition consultant, the bestselling author of the Thrive book series and formulator of the award-winning Vega line of plant-based nutritional products

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition, Brendan has dedicated his life to spreading the word about an ethical, environmentally-friendly, and healthy lifestyle through plant-based foods. Brendan currently works with elite athletes all over North America, including athletes in the NFL, MLB, NHL, UFC, PGA and several Olympic athletes. He has appeared on CTV and CBC in Canada, and NBC, ABC, and FOX in the United States.

Thrive Forward, Brendan’s latest endeavour, is the next generation of Thrive in 30— his original free online program that helped over 70,000 people harness the power of clean, plant-based nutrition to feel their best.”

 This program is not about counting calories, worrying about your weight, or fretting over a latte. It shows you a complete step-by-step overhaul to your health, from how to shop to how to sleep.  The subjects are as follows:

I highly encourage anyone and everyone to watch these videos, read the references, and make the recipes. Share this with your family and friends. Share it with the world. We need better nutrition, facts, and myths busted out there. These videos will do that. I’ll be posting my personal experiences on Twitter, so keep an eye out for my photos of shakes, trail mixes, kale chips, and more. If you look now, you can see plenty of links already!

Have fun!

Best Health,

Nicole

rainbow salad
Rainbow Salad – Click for Recipe

 How are you thriving forward this year? Are you trying to eat cleaner, increase your energy, or buy locally?

Easy Overnight Homemade Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is all the craze right now. It’s less calories, more protein, and thicker. It’s easy to sub into recipes to make them have less fat and sugar. And best of all, you can make it at home with my cheap and easy solution.

All You Need 

  • 1 Container Regular Yogurt (I use soy since I’m lactose intolerant)
  • 1 Big Pot
  • 1 Strainer (that fits inside)
  • 1 Coffee Filter
  • Plastic Wrap

What To Do 

1. Place strainer inside pot. Place coffee filter flat on the bottom and push down.

2. Plop all the yogurt in.

3. Cover with plastic wrap.

4. Refrigerate over night. That’s it!

When you come back in the morning, use a big spoon to scoop the yogurt back into it’s original container. You’ll see you’ve got about half the amount that is 3x thicker! The water underneath the strainer is called the whey. It’s very nutritious so use it wisely. I like to use it make my morning oatmeal or smoothie. Since I use vanilla yogurt it’s sweet and has a vanilla taste. Enjoy!

FREE: Fight the Holiday Bulge Recipe Booklet

I’ve put together a PDF booklet of my favorite holiday recipes. They are healthy, easy, and great to bring to all your family gatherings this season. I’m giving it away free, but worked very hard on this! If you can, please Donate so I can continue bringing you free advice, recipes, and daily tips. If you can’t donate, please Facebook share, Tweet, and Pin this! (Buttons Below Post)

 Happy Holiday Season!

Best Health,

Nicole

PS: Rotate counter-clockwise when you open the link! Save as a PDF and share!

Simple Fridge Tips For Weight Loss

  • Make Your Fridge A Salad Bar 
    • By making your fridge look like a healthy salad bar, each meal you make will be quick and easy. Imagine turning your food into a subway, but only the part where the vegetables are. Forget the processed meats, breads, and cheeses. Those are gross and bad for you!

  • Prioritize Your Food
    • Place items in order of healthiness and importance. Veggies and raw juices go on top with non-dairy milks behind them. Then comes the margarine, jams, yogurts, and pita bread. In the drawer is packaged beets and applesauce. (The beets could be on top, but the package is small and will be used fully in a salad or recipe, so no need to container it.)

  • Following lower you’ll see tofu and a bag of brocoli. Again, the brocoli could be in a container on top (which today mine is) but I didn’t have enough space or containers to do this. So once one of my kale containers got juiced, I dumped the brocoli in it for easy snacking. The tofu is still on display in front next to my Brita water, so it’s in direct view and easy access for recipes.

  • Juice If  You Like To 
    • Juicing isn’t for everybody. (And I’m not talking about steroids when I say “juicing”) It’s raw vegetable and fruit juice of course! Some people hate chopping and washing just to juice, but I find it relaxing and therapeutic. I don’t juice all the time, especially if I’m super swamped with work and life, but if I find the time, I love to do it. I actually just bought mason jars because I wanted to make enough to drink 2-3 16oz jars a day! So I’ll make 3-6 jars at once and have a couple days worth of yummy & refreshing vitamin water. The REAL vitamin water! Haha.
  • Juicing for Weight Loss
      • Having a raw green juice (all green vegetables) in the morning is a fantastic way to add a liquid salad to your breakfast. It is surprisingly filling alongside a small yogurt or banana. Also, it’s great in place of a coffee or tea. Green juice is very energizing because of all the vitamins and minerals it holds. It is guaranteed to wake you and your body up, any time of day. 
      • Green: I put 3/4 rough veggies and 1/4 fruit, like a green apple or pear, as seen below. If it’s too bitter for you, mix half with ice cold water.
      • Orange/Red: If you want a sweeter juice, for say, a lunch or midday treat, make a carrot-apple base and add a green veggie like spinach or sprouts. So it would be 1/2 carrot-apple, 1/2 green veggies.

  • Juice the Right Way
    • If you’re going to juice, get a cold presser like this one. The spinny (Jack Lalane) ones are super annoying to clean and get a lot of spillage. Plus, this is scientifically the best kind of juicer to extract the most, and most nutritious, juice from your veggies.
      • PLUS! It doesn’t only juice. It makes frozen bananas (or any frozen fruit) into soft serve like no blender can do (even my Vitamix), turns cookies into dust for pie crusts, turns veggies and fruits into baby food (just in case you plan on that/ or have a baby) and so much more. Seriously, this is the opposite of a unitasker!
    • Invest in some mason jars/ Ball Jars with rubber sealed lids. This will keep your juice from oxidizing (turning brown and losing nutrients.) I suggest ingesting your juice within 48 hours of making, and a total maximum of 72 hours.

You can see my funnel and jars all set up for their juice. 🙂

  • Other Miscellaneous Tips
    • Get rid of the junk! If you have cookies and chips in the house, you’re going to eat them. No one likes a food waster! So, simple solution: Don’t put them in your house. If you want junk, eat it outside your sanctuary.
    • Organize If you’re pantry and fridge is organized with healthy food, eating will be a stress free, quick, and easy time. You don’t want to connect negativity to eating healthy, so make it a positive experience.
    • Use Small Plates The average american dinner plate is 2/3 the size of a European dish. Start eating like our thinner neighbor and use portion control. Your food will look like a bigger amount if it’s place on a small dish.
    • Stop drinking soft drinks. Soda, energy drinks, and processed juices like V8 and Tropicana are full of junk and GMO crap that will take away from your weight loss. Soda does a whole lot of no good to your body, so just stop buying it now. Try Kombucha, Organic herbal teas, Sparkling Mineral Water, and water with lemon, limes, and/or cucumbers. It’s quite refreshing and hydrating!

Enjoy the process of eating clean and being healthy. It should never feel like a chore or downfall of life.

Let food be thy medicine, not poison! 

Simple Steps to Fight Holiday Bulge

Holidays: A time to see family you never see and enjoy a buffet of homemade food that took “blood, sweat, and tears” to make. After sitting down for 2 hours and feasting, you feel like you’re going to explode and fall asleep at the same time. This isn’t healthy, to say the least.You figure you’ll lose all the extra poundage after your New Year’s Resolution in January that you keep for 3 weeks, and then realize you’re too lazy and have to go through canceling your gym membership. That’s fun. As you sit inside going through all this paperwork to cancel something you talked yourself into 3 weeks before, your car gets towed because it’s been there for more than an hour. Now you not only have to pay the “early termination” fee, but the cab fee, towing fee, parking ticket, and impound fee. YAY!  Let’s not go through that. And yes, that’s a true story! (Not mine.)  I’ve got the facts and tips you’ll need to fight that holiday bulge, enjoy your family time, and even eat some healthy comfort foods! Read on…

Here are the facts: Simple. Clean. Cut.

  • Fact #1: People overestimate how much they think others (and themselves) gain during the holidays. They THINK they gain 3-5lbs.
  •  Fact #2: On average, people gain the most of 0.8 pounds! Not even a whole pound! 
  • Fact #3: They continue to gain that weight each year, not losing it ever, and that weight accumulates making them THINK they gained it all during the holidays. So by the end of the year, because of celebrating various year-round holidays, birthdays, and other occasions, they have gained 3-5 pounds…and continue to gain it year after year. (It’s not just Thanksgiving and Christmas.) Gaining weight is a year-long process.
  • Fact #4: To avoid gaining weight over the holidays, eat holiday meals like you would any other: Make a regular sized dinner plate of food and enjoy a tiny portion of dessert if you have the “extra” calories to spare.  (So keep your total calories the same, even if you’re eating holiday-styled food. Just figure out the calories of each, and eat a small portion of it.)
  • PORTION CONTROL IS KEY!
  • Fact #5: Continue exercising normally, even if it is snowing outside, so you are still burning calories like normal, and still losing weight/ staying healthy and fit.
It’s pretty simple. Calories in and calories out. YEP! That’s the secret to weight loss. Math.
Eating is like spending money from your bank account. If you overdraft (eat too many calories) then you get a penalty (gain weight). I’m sure you’ve heard this simile before.  So what else can you do?I make healthy versions of holiday foods. Like instead of adding butter and sugar to things, enjoy their natural sweetness. I’ll work on my holiday recipes for you and get them out soon!

Don’t forget to Like, Follow, and Pin this post below! ❤

Best Health,

Nicole
PS: If you’re receiving personal training from me, or want tips on exercising to burn extra calories during the holidays, send me a message or comment below with your return email.