Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs

Does anyone have zucchini or summer squash overflowing in their garden? This recipe is a great way to use a lot of it! To julienne the squash or zucchini use a julienne peeler. I also included a really basic sauce recipe because I did not have any tomato sauce but I did have tomato paste so I made my own. It actually came out amazing! It had a lot of flavor and was really easy. I definitely recommend making it if you have a few minutes while the meatballs are cooking.  I had this for lunch for about 3 days and did not get sick of it. It is absolutely delicious, enjoy!

 

meatball

 

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 2lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Zucchini:
  • 3 zucchini's, julienned
  • sea salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Easy Sauce:
  • 2 6oz cans organic tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. First add all of your sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add all spices, flour, and the egg in a large bowl and mix. Once all ingredients are mixed add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until all spices are worked in.
  3. Form into meatballs and place inside crock pot. You can also bake this in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes each side.
  4. If cooking in a crock pot, cover meatballs in ⅔ of the sauce. Save the rest of the sauce to add at meal times. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Julienne your zucchini/squash and place in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. This is when a lot of the water comes out of the veggies. This allows them to stay more firm like noodles when you top them with the meatballs.
  6. Put zucchini/squash in large container with peppers and store in fridge. Top with meatballs and 2-3 tbsp sauce when serving.

Green Tea Ice Cubes!

green tea cubes

Green Tea Ice Cubes…Can’t Wait Until They’re Frozen!

Tea is a something I don’t drink enough of! It’s full of flavor, antioxidants, and offers the body a mellow but effective boost of energy that won’t leave your head on the desk a few hours later like coffee often times does.  I have decided that this summer I’m determined to always have a batch of iced tea in the fridge to use as a base of my smoothies or to enjoy instead of coffee. While I can’t always find 100% organic tea, I do look for brands that use minimal pesticides, “natural”/artificial flavorings, and have integrity in the way their tea is grown and packaged. Here are some brands of tea that Practical Nutrition likes:

  • Yogi (love the inspirational quotes on the tea bags!)
  • Numi
  • Choice
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Rishi
  • Any organic, fair traded brand of tea you can find

When it gets warmer out I love having different flavors of ice cubes to throw in my smoothies or glasses of water to keep me hydrated without the boredom of plain water all the time. Also, I find when I use a green tea ice cube in my smoothies, I get an extra burst of energy from the antioxidants and caffeine in the tea. Making these nutrient dense, tasty ice cubes is super easy and can incorporate a new panel of flavors into your every day beverages!

Here’s what you do to make the iced tea ice cubes:

1. Brew a strong batch of iced tea (I use 1 bag per 4 ounces, and then when it cools I add 4 more ounces of cold water per tea bag). While still hot, add your sweetener of choice (optional). I use 1 tsp. of honey per bag of tea. Other options for sweetness include stevia, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

To ensure the best flavor of your tea, here’s a guide for how long to steep different kinds of tea: 

  • Plain Green Tea : 1 minute
  • Flavored Green Tea: 2 minutes
  • White Tea: 4-5 minutes
  • Oolong Tea: 4-7 minutes
  • Herbal Tea: 5-6 minutes
  • Black Tea: 2-3 minutes

2. Pour the iced tea into ice cube trays and enjoy in a variety of ways: 

  • Use in smoothies to give you extra energy in the morning or before a workout
  • Put in seltzer water with some stevia for added sweetness
  • Put in a glass of water or sparkling water with some fresh berries to make a refreshing beverage
  • Enjoy them by themselves as a treat an alternative to ice cream

Enjoy the blessings of summer, take care of you, and have fun…

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

The PN Team :) 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocados are one staple item I try to always have in my kitchen. Not only can they brighten up any meal with their delicious flavor but they also provide the same vitamins and minerals that a dark leafy green,like spinach or kale has. To top it off, 1 avocado contains 10-15g of fiber depending on the size. That is a little over 1/3 of our daily needs for fiber! Using something like an avocado to make a healthy dessert was very fun and is a great food to share with friends. Enjoy!

 

Avocado Chocolate pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 1 Spotted Banana
  • 4 TBLS Pure Maple Syrup or Raw Honey
  • ½ cup Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1⅓ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • Coconut Flakes and Raspberries to garnish
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Add more almond milk if mixture stays too thick.
  3. Can serve right away and top with coconut flakes and fruit or put in air tight tupperware in fridge. This pudding tastes great the next day!

Springtime Super Food (and yummy spring rolls!)

Happy Spring everyone!

For those of you reading this from the East coast, I hope you all have gotten a few moments of solar therapy this past week after a long winter! Seeing the sun shine makes me want to be more active, and it also gets me craving fresher, creative new foods. That’s why I decided to demonstrate how to make Superfood Spring Rolls on Better CT yesterday.

The foods I chose as this year’s “Spring Super Foods” offer your body a broad spectrum of health benefits. To name a few, they are full of nutrients that boost your immune system, help to ward off seasonal allergies, detoxify your body after a long winter, and help slim the waist line to help you get ready for summer! Watch the video below to learn how to incorporate these superfoods into your everyday life by making a simple and tasty Superfood Spring Roll!

  • Citrus: Grapefruits, lemons, or oranges any time of day! Enjoy lemon in your water, grapefruit as a side to your breakfast, or a juice orange for a dessert on a warm day. 
  • Quinoa: Use for cold or hot side dishes, on a salad, or in a Spring Roll!
  • Dandelion Greens: Throw these peppery greens into a salad, in a soup, or in a lunch wrap for an added zing to your meal!
  • Raw Local Honey/Local Bee Pollen: Put in tea, yogurt, smoothies, or enjoy a spoonful raw!
  • Walnut Oil: Use for cold foods only (not for cooking); enjoy its nutty flavor in a dressing or on top of a favorite grain dish such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Asparagus: Grilled, sautéed in a stir-fry, or put in a Spring Roll, asparagus are a hearty spring vegetable full of nutrition that will keep you feeling full for hours!

 

Springtime Superfood Spring Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • The Rolls:
  • 6 large rice wrappers (found in international section at grocery store)
  • ½ Cup (cooked) quinoa (any variety)
  • 6 grilled asparagus (grilled or roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of mixed, Asian, or other type of greens (for "base" of spring roll)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 TBLS fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBLS walnut oil
  • 4 TSP local honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional addition for extra protein)
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBLS Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 TBLS water
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ orange
Instructions
  1. The Rolls:
  2. Combine the quinoa, carrots, and dandelion greens into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the walnut oil, orange juice, chili flakes, sea salt, and honey into a dressing. Whisk briefly and pour over the quinoa salad, tossing gently. Take a spring roll and gently submerge in a shallow bowl of water for 8-10 seconds. Place on a non-stick surface (parchment paper or cutting board) and line with a thin layer of mixed greens, 1 asparagus, and a thin line of the quinoa salad. Gently fold the top half in, followed by the sides, and gently roll until mixture is tight within the spring roll. Cut in half and serve with the sweet chili sauce as a side dip.
  3. Sweet Chili Sauce:
  4. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp.
Notes
PN RX (may vary depending on ingredients)
For 3 rolls (with ingredients indicated in recipe above): 2 free veggies, 1 carb, 1 fat

 

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!

Sometimes I like to have dessert for breakfast! I came up with the Cookie Dough Smoothie the morning after I made “PN Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies” (recipe coming soon!). I woke up wanting to have one of the cookies I made for breakfast. Although they taste good and have very clean ingredients, they don’t have enough protein to be considered a healthy breakfast. So, I decided to make the ingredients into a smoothie to satisfy my craving and give my body the protein it needed to start my day right.

This smoothie contains one of my favorite ingredients: raw cacao nibs (found in the health food section of most grocery stores). Cacao can be found in a powder or solid form, and is an amazing food for your body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original, minimally processed state. If you’re used to sweetened chocolate, like most of us are, it will be a bitter at first, once you are accustomed to its unique flavor profile, just a small handful seems to do the trick in satisfying a chocolate craving. What’s in the raw cacao bean that we love so much?

 

raw cacaoScreen shot 2014-05-16 at 7.10.41 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:

  • By providing minerals that most people are deficient in, raw cacao may help decrease sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Raw cacao promotes a healthy digestive system with all the fiber it adds to the diet
  • Contains “theombromine”, a protein that stimulates the central nervous system, which relaxes smooth muscles and gives the body a gentle boost of energy and feeling of “bliss” we often get from eating chocolate (without the added sugar and ingredients from processed chocolate!)
  • Improves overall mood and may help fight depression due to its ability increase the bioavailability of Serotonin to the brain

Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet "stevia in the raw" or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 TBLS (15 grams worth) unflavored whey protein (we use Standard Process)
  • 2 TBLS raw cacao nibs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (more if you like it icier)
  • ¼ cup water, or more to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until the smoothie has reached your desired consistency. Enjoy!
  2. Note: I usually add spinach and/or another leafy green to my smoothies. Since this is more of a "dessert" smoothies, I decided to leave it out. When I don't get greens in at breakfast, I make sure to be extra conscious of getting them in later in the day!
Notes
PN RX:
1 Protein, 1 Fat, ½ Carb

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Teriyaki Sesame Bison Balls

 

 

American_bison_k5680-1

Trying different types of foods is not only fun and adventurous but it is also important for our health. At Practical Nutrition we believe in varying the foods in your diet as often as possible in order to allow yourself to get as many different nutrients as you can. If you are accustomed to eating beef, chicken, and fish you can try expanding your nutritional horizons with eating bison.

Bison is a great source of nutrients, it has the basics: zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6 and selenium.  A quick review of some important functions these nutrients have:

Selenium – helps prevent cellular damage from free radicals

Zinc- does a lot- helps immune system, hair and skin health and overall cell function

Niacin helps convert food into energy for the body – all at the cellular level

Iron- carries oxygen through the body

B6- tons of value of for physical and even mental health

Bison is also extremely tasty so I recommend giving this recipe a try! Enjoy!

Teriyaki Sesame Bison Balls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 6-7
Ingredients
  • 2lb Organic Ground Bison
  • ½ cup Almond Flour
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Gluten Free Sriracha Sauce
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place foil on top of a baking sheet.
  2. Add all ingredients except for the ground bison to a large bowl and mix.
  3. Add in ground bison and mix with your hands until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. Make 12 bison balls out of the mix and place on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then flip and bake for another 12-14 minutes.

Herb Vinaigrette Baked Salmon

herb salmon

I am obsessed with making new salmon recipes lately. I wrote about all of the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids not too long ago in this post. If you aren’t sure if you like fish I would definitely give the recipe below a try or this one here. They both have a nice blend of flavors that you can add to any meal. I baked some asparagus and sautéed a plantain in coconut oil to complete my meal. You can also add some salmon to a salad or eat it with a nice side of quinoa and brussel sprouts.

In this recipe I marinated the salmon in my Zesty Herb Dressing recipe I posted a while back. I make a bunch of this dressing at once and store it in old pasta sauce jars to have for recipes and to add to salads. It is very convenient having your own dressing already made and it only takes 5 minutes!

Give this recipe a try and let us know how you like it!

Herb Vinaigrette Baked Salmon
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Fish
Ingredients
  • 1.5 to 2lb of Wild-caught Salmon
  • 6 Tbsp Zesty Herb Dressing*
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Dill
  • Oregano
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place salmon fillets in a large glass baking dish.
  2. Take seasonings and cover each fillet and rub in with fingers. Pour zesty herb dressing over each fillet. Flip fillets over a couple times to make sure they are fully coated with the dressing.
  3. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
  4. Bake in oven for 12 minutes then flip over and broil skin for 3-4 minutes. If you do not want to broil skin then bake for 18 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4oz Calories: 288 Fat: 18 Protein: 33

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Purification/Cleanse Friendly)

pudding

I began another 21 day purification journey this past Tuesday, which means tasty, new cleanse-friendly recipes! Most of our recipes on the blog are cleanse-friendly but it can be tricky to make a dessert that doesn’t have any offending ingredients and still tastes like a treat. I have  seen a lot of chia seed pudding recipes online and decided to make a super simple version and see how it tastes. It came out really good! This recipe not only has just five ingredients but it also contains chia seeds, which have many health benefits.

chia-seeds

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds are most commonly known as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber but have many other health benefits.

A one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber, which helps us stay fuller longer, avoid food cravings, and slows the absorption of of sugar into the blood
  • 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and heart health
  • 18% of the recommended daily intake for Calcium and 27% of the daily intake for Phosphorus, which helps to maintain healthy bones
  • 30% of the recommended daily intake for Manganese, which is important for bones and allows our body to properly use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin
  • 4.4 grams of protein

You can add chia seeds to any food since they don’t have any flavor. My favorite way to incorporate them into my diet is in smoothies. Add one tablespoon to your meal and you will be set!

 

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Purification/Cleanse Friendly)
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Raw Honey
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a glass dish and mix until everything is incorporated. Cover so that the dish is air tight.
  2. Place in fridge for 3 hours and stir every hour or store in fridge over night.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ recipe Calories: 156 Fat: 7.5 Carbohydrates: 15.5 Protein: 7

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites

photo-5

 

Bacon can be a controversial topic when it comes to the nutrition community. I personally feel that bacon has gotten a very bad name and is unrightfully associated with many health problems like heart disease. The true culprits are refined sugar, processed food, trans fats, and lack of activity. That being said, bacon is still more processed than if you purchased fresh, grassfed steaks or pastured pork chops. For this reason, I think it should be eaten in moderation (2-4 slices),  no more than 2-3 times a week. Another controversy around bacon is the discussion of how harmful nitrites and nitrates are for our bodies. Many people do not know this but we get more nitrites from vegetables than cured meats like bacon. Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine doctor, has a great article on nitrates and nitrites on his website here:  http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon.

One fun fact from his article:

“It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs.”

Most bacon that says “nitrate free” does in fact contain nitrates, however, they are from celery root or beets and usually have even more nitrates and nitrites than regularly cured bacon. This is why whenever you are buying bacon the main concern should be to get organic, pastured bacon rather than only worrying about whether or not it has nitrates and nitrites because all types will.

Overall, I think bacon has a place in a healthy diet, like most foods, when not eaten in excess. These are a really great appetizer to have at a party or family get together and are very low maintenance  to make. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1lb bacon, cut strips in half
  • tooth picks to keep bacon in place
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, cut sweet potatoes into small cubes about 1.5-2 inches. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each sweet potato cube with half a bacon strip. Use tooth picks to keep bacon in place.
  3. Cover baking sheet with foil and place bacon wrapped sweet potatoes on there spread out evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes soft and bacon cooked to your liking.
  5. Be careful of tooth picks when eating this delicious treat!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara

Sometimes I crave a good old pasta and marinara sauce dinner! It’s hard to find a recipe that is tasty AND health promoting. Having a bit of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fat is the best way to make sure you leave a meal feeling energized and satisfied. Amanda and I  have been loving this Gluten Free Black Bean/Mung Bean Pasta lately (like most of our suggestions, you can find this pasta in the Gluten Free section at most major grocery stores). This pasta, combined with this clean and simple homemade high protein marinara sauce, is the perfect alternative to the typical “refined” white pasta you grew up on- and will taste better too! Enjoy!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara
 
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Try this quick and easy pasta dish when you're craving pasta or something with an Italian feel! Feel amazing and light after you eat it as it's full of fiber, B Vitamins, and protein!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Bag Black Bean Spaghetti*
  • Sauce:
  • ½ Bag Ming Bean Spaghetti*
  • 6 and ¼ cup water
  • 1 Jar Organic, No Sugar Added Tomato Sauce (made with olive oil)
  • 1 Small Can (6 oz.) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 4 TBLS Italian Seasoning (We like the brand Frontier Organics)
  • ⅛ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Handfuls Organic Spinach
  • 1 Cup Raw Mushrooms
  • 2 TBLS Chopped Garlic (fresh or from the jar)
  • 1 Avocado (for garnish) and Pint Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Baked Free Range Chicken, Chunked
  • Any Other Vegetable You Love!
  • * Find Gluten Free Black Bean or Mung Bean Pasta at most major grocery stores or local health food store!
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in medium pot. In the mean time, combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms in a medium sized skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Allow to sit on stove for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned and softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and spinach to the skillet. Once water is boiling, add dry Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta to the water and allow to boil for about 7-10 minutes until soft, "pasta like" consistency is reached. Drain the pasta when finished and set aside. Allow your sauce ingredients to simmer for about 10 more minutes or until mixture has come to a slow boil, and the spinach has cooked down/is well combined into sauce. Add chicken chunks (or other desired protein) to the sauce until they are warm throughout, and serve over the Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta. Top with chunks of avocado and cherry tomatoes- enjoy!
Notes
PN RX for ¼ of the sauce and 1 Cup Pasta: 2 Carbs, 2 Fat, 1 Veggies, 1 Protein