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 :) 

Pomegranate Salad!

Sweet, salty, crunchy, savory, refreshing, and disease preventing all in one…how can you go wrong?! The health benefits of pomegranates are endless! As we know they are full of antioxidants– they are one of the highest foods on the ORAC list. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity…the effectiveness of a food to fight off free radicals in your body, helping to keep your cells healthy and happy. Www.oracvalues.com will show you other foods to consume more of to boost antioxidant action in your body. Pomegranates are also are full of fiber, immune boosting vitamins and minerals, hydration, and help to curb sugar cravings. I had an extra pomegranate laying around from a lecture antioxidants I did last week, so figured I would get creative with a colorful and flavorful salad. After a bit of scrounging around in the kitchen to make something out of nothing, heres what I came up with. Not bad for on a whim…this will definitely be a staple for me as a beautiful side salad around the holidays.

Pomegranate Salad!
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Seeds and juice of 1 pomegranate (split in half and carefully scrape out seeds, seperating seeds from the fibrous rind)
  • 4 cups organic baby spinach
  • 2 TBLS sesame oil
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 4 TBLS toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBLS raw honey
  • 2 TBLS crushed walnuts
Instructions
  1. Separate out 2 TBLS of pomegranate seeds for garnish. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, putting dry ingredients in first and topping with oils and honey. Gently shake until spinach is well coated and sesame seeds are evenly dispersed. Dish out onto 4 plates and garnish with extra pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
  2. PN Rx: 1 cup of salad= 2 free veggies and 2 fats

Curried Chicken over Cinnamon Butternut Squash

It’s fall, which means winter squashes are in full bloom! Butternut squash and buttercup squash are two of my favorites. Not only because they taste delicious with some butter and cinnamon, but also because they provide our bodies with some great nutrients.

1 cup of butternut squash provides:

214% of the daily value for vitamin A

32.8% of the daily value for vitamin C

22.9% of the daily requirement for fiber

*It also provides 6-20% of the following nutrients: vitamin B6, Potassium, vitamin K, Folate, Tryptophan, Copper, Vitamin B2, Omega-3 Fats, and Magnesium!

*To put these numbers in perspective, on food labels, a food is considered a significant source of a nutrient if it has 5% or more.

Who knew butternut squash had so many great benefits?

Curried Chicken

 

Curried Chicken over Cinnamon Butternut Squash
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Curried Chicken:
  • 2lb ground chicken
  • 1T curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1T onion powder
  • ½ T garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • Cinnamon Butternut Squash:
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2T organic butter
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut stem off of butternut squash first then cut the squash in half.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and place squash cut side down. Bake for 45 min to an hour. Once you can stick a fork easily through the squash it is done.
  3. While your squash is baking, brown your ground chicken in a large pot. Once chicken is almost all of the way cooked through add in all of your spices.
  4. Once chicken is no longer pink and completely cooked add in your coconut milk and mix well. Change heat to low.
  5. When you can pierce your squash easily with a fork take out of the oven and let cool.
  6. Peel skin off of the squash then place in a large bowl and mash. Add in your butter and spices and mix until smooth.
  7. Take 1 cup of butternut squash then add ⅙ of the curried chicken recipe on top and enjoy!
Notes
1 Serving: 1 cup mashed butternut squash and ⅙ of curried chicken

PN Rx:
1.5 Pro
2 Fat
2 Carbs

30 Minute Chili!

chili 1Eat with the seasons- this super easy, warm, hearty chili has been hitting the spot lately. Check this out…batch cook it and enjoy it’s nourishing goodness as the nights get cooler and you crave those yummy comfort foods!

 

30 Minute Chili!
 
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 28-oz can(s) organic diced tomatoes with peppers, onions
  • 32 ounce(s) organic, grass-fed lean ground beef
  • ½ cup(s) chopped organic onion
  • 1 16-oz can(s) organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-oz can(s) organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp(s) organic Chili seasoning (try Simply Organic)
  • 1 cup(s) spring water
  • 1 16-oz can(s) organic tomato sauce
Instructions
  1. Brown beef in a deep pot over medium-high heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes or until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain well. Return beef to pot; sprinkle evenly with seasoning mix, add onion and sauté 1 minute over medium-high heat. Stir in diced tomatoes and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. PN Prescription: 1 serving=1 free veggies, 1 protein, 1 carb

Pumpkin Chai Latte!

Unlike most pumpkin beverages you’ll undoubtedly be tempted by this season, this treat actually contains pumpkin (always make sure what you are eating/drinking contains what it says it is…label reading 101!) I made 2 of these lattes today and was tempted to make a third, but cleaning the blender 4 times in a day (I had a smoothie for breakfast) just seemed ridiculous (although we all know its been done before…)! Enjoy life, fall, family, friends, and treat your body and soul right with this yummy, creamy pumpkin chai latte!

Pumpkin Chai Latte!
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Hot Beverage
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 chai tea bags (any type- I use organic tea whenever possible)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk (organic dairy milk is okay too)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Maple Syrup (or other sweetener of choice: honey, stevia, etc; amount used depends on your preference)
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger
Instructions
  1. Boil your cup of water and steep the tea bags for about 7 minutes (less time if you don't want it as strong). Heat up almond milk until almost at a boil. Pour hot steeped tea, hot milk, and all other ingredients into your blender or magic bullet. Blend for 2 minutes on high or until mixture is frothy when blender is stopped. Start with a small amount of sweetener and adjust until desired sweetness is found. Dust top with cinnamon, nutmeg and dash of the sweetened you choose. Enjoy the comfort and warmth of this yummy, must have seasonal beverage without all the extra additives and sugar you will find else where!

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

Ana Elisabeth

Banana Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Here at PN we like to make things realistic and practical for people. I am currently doing the 21 day cleanse and to be honest it is pretty hard. Doing the  21 day purification isn’t about not having a treat for 21 days (that just wouldn’t be realistic for me!)… plus it’s fall and I LOVE pumpkin. Needing to come up with “cleanse friendly” treats led me to developing a cleanse friendly pumpkin muffin! (to learn more about the 21 day purification program I am talking about, click here!)

Banana Pumpkin Pie Muffins (Cleanse Friendly)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Treat
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Dry:
  • 1 cup of gluten free rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 scoops Whey Pro Complete or unflavored whey (60g)
  • ¼ tsp stevia extract
  • Wet:
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut or almond milk
  • 3 T red palm oil or coconut oil
  • 3 T organic almond butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bananas in food processor or blender and blend almond or coconut milk until smooth.
  3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Combine all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
  5. Add wet ingredient mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix with a whisk until evenly incorporated.
  6. Grab a paper towel and put some solid coconut oil or palm oil on it then coat a muffin tin with oil so the muffins do not stick.
  7. Fill each muffin tin ¾ of the way.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Notes
*If you do not have almond flour or want to leave out nuts you can use ½ cup of coconut flour and add an extra egg (so use 5 instead of 4), and leave out the almond butter or replace it with sunflower seed butter. I wouldn't replace with peanut butter because of its distinct flavor.

For those of you following a PN prescription:
Serving size: 2 muffins (2 Fats, .5 Pro, .5 Carbohydrate)

Get Out Of Your Salad Rut!

fall salad

If you’re not careful salads can get boring really quick. Sadly, this causes you to miss out on their tastiness and health benefits…salads  are undeniably one of the healthiest meal choices there are (assuming you make a “clean” salad, aka not a leaning tower of creamy dressing/cheese/bacon/croutons). What helps me not get sick of having a salad almost everyday for lunch is making sure I have “go to” seasonal ingredients for my salads. Try some of these this week to get your green lunch’s rolling again!

  • Apple Slices- I always forget that adding an in season fruit to a salad gives it a nice twist- apples add a sweet and refreshing crunch
  • Sweet Potato Croutons- make some extra of these, you will thank me later…preheat your oven to 400*. Thinly slice 2 raw sweet potatoes into rounds; in a separate bowl mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1 tsp sea salt. Lightly coat the sweet potato in the oil mixture and spread onto a pan. Bake for about 25 minutes until crispy. Layer these on your salad to add a crispy and savory bite to your greens
  • Pumpkin Dressing! Click Here for the recipe! You can make a batch of this goodness and keep it in the fridge for a few days- it really ties everything in a fall salad together…it will all make sense after you try this dressing!
  • Cinnamon- Don’t forget that a small amount of a spice or herb can go a long way! Dust off a fall salad with a pinch of cinnamon and enjoy its blood sugar stabilizing qualities. Consider even trying a pinch of turmeric, nutmeg, thyme, basil, or rosemary to switch things up even more!
  • Pumpkin Seeds- Be careful not to throw away the “guts” of your jack o lanterns this year- save the seeds and toss them in olive oil and sea salt; put them in a preheated oven at 375* for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle them on your salad for a boost of minerals, fiber, and antioxidants too!
  • Avocado- Well, its not really a “fall food” but I can’t leave out my favorite “out of your salad rut” ingredient! No matter what avocados take a salad to a whole new level adding a boost of healthy fat that leaves your full and satisfied for hours! Slice them, dice them, put them in whole…however you can get them into the salad go for it!

The more you satisfy your taste buds with different flavors and textures of whole, unprocessed foods, the less you will crave foods that are damaging to your body (processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, packaged foods, sugary drinks, etc).

I took myself out of my “salad rut”  this saturday afternoon…the combination of the flavors, textures, and colors of the salad definitely did not let me down! The second I ate this salad my already elevated mood from this beautiful fall weekend was increased even more knowing the high quality fuel I was putting into my body. We enjoyed the salad with a side of sauteed almonds/scallions/sweet potatoes mixed into wild rice, and a glass of home brewed chai spice tea!

photo (3)

 

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

Ana Elisabeth

Harvest Pumpkin Dressing

 

Harvest Pumpkin Dressing
 
It's pumpkin season! Try this creamy pumpkin dressing on your salads this fall. It's made from real-food ingredients, and it's super tasty!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: Seasonal
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp sage
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender for 10-15 seconds, that's it!
  2. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Keep refrigerated.

 

 

RD’s at the Big E: Fair Food Frenzy!

Child like joy at the Big E!

Child like joy at the Big E!

This past weekend a couple of the Practical Nutrition Associate Dietitians attended the Big Eastern States Exposition…aka Big E! I personally haven’t been to the big E since childhood, so getting into the spirit of the fair was lots of fun. The experience was full of childhood memories, excitement over the 100′s of vendors lining the streets, over crowded conditions (if you like to people watch this is the place to be!), but most of all…“FOOD!” (I have that in quotations because the nutrient depleted, over heated, battered, inorganic, synthetically derived, grossly portioned “food” offered at the fair goes against my every definition of food…but thats not the point of this post!) There were amazingly over 140 locations offering food and beverages ranging from from fried butter balls, to pulled pork parfaits, “Craz-E-Burgers” (bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts), and types of meats and sweets in every shape, form, and flavor. I never thought I could see the word “fried” in front of so many foods- from oreos, cheesecake, kool aid, cream puffs, and jelly beans, to clams, vegetables, and kangaroo!

I went into the day only focusing on the positives…how could I not, its the BIg E! We all know the food choices at fairs are disastrous- and part of me wishes I could have handed out “day after nutrition recovery” cards to reverse some of the damage people were doing to their body all day long. But that’s not why I went. The neat thing about the Big E for me was the variety of “classes” of food available. The craziest food options were found scattered throughout the fair in between tents selling things that were fun to look at but otherwise completely useless. The  interesting and real food options were found on the Avenue of the States.  Each state in New England was designated their own building and featured food and beverage options traditional to their state- of course Vermont had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and every possible grade of real maple syrup, New Hampshire featured fresh culinary herbs and homemade fudge, Connecticut had local J Foster ice cream and Rose’s Berry Farm, and Maine offered fresh lobster rolls, wild blueberry crisp, and what seemed to have the longest line of them all: Maine Baked Potatoes! These bad boys were the biggest baked potatoes I’d ever seen, loaded with every type of topping imaginable! When I went onto the Maine Potato Board’s website I was amazed at some of the ideas they have for baked potatoes-  breakfast baked potatoes, Maine crab baked potato, and even a sloppy joe baked potato! No one thinks quite like a native of Maine!

Ana: "When in Rome!" Brendan: "Someone get me out of here!"

Ana: “When in Rome!”
Brendan: “Someone get me out of here!”

After a few laps of strolling around the fair observing  the most popular “foods” consumed, we had to try a few! The items of choice for the Practical Nutrition team were as follows: Vermont apple pie with vanilla ice cream, giant turkey leg, home cooked kettle corn, and yep, I’m admitting it…fried butter balls (had to do it!)!

A day at the fair was definitely a bonding and eye opening experience for the Practical Nutrition team. As fun as it was trying a few out of the box foods, we were excited to stop at a local health food store on the way home and pick up a bottle of Kombucha (a cleansing, fermented tea beverage!), some fresh vegetables, and lots of water. The night was finished off with a huge salad, loaded with protein and some more water to wash help regain hydration in our body after all of the offending treats.

Here are my three takeaways from our field trip to the Big E: 

1. Make time to enjoy the simple joys in life…enjoy a ride at a fair… even in the rain…be a kid again!

2. Don’t let a fear of “bad food choices” get in the way of enjoying an event with family and friends-  include detox foods (beets, greens, bright vegetables at most meals, lean protein, healthy fats, lots of water) on a daily basis so your body can handle the once a year you eat a fried butter ball

3. Have a plan after a splurge day to get you back on track with your nutrition maintenance plan. A solid “recovery nutrition plan” includes a meal heavy in greens, vegetables, and a protein the night after, lots of water, a cup of Yogi Detox tea, 2 Cleanse Smoothies the day after, 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise, and being conscious of limiting refined sugars/grains, sugary drinks, alcohol, and excess caffeine 3 days after the splurge to make sure you don’t get caught in what I call a “sugar cycle”- which can dangerously turn a one afternoon splurge into a week long, unintentional spiral of eating fair food!

Keep in mind making healthy choices is something you have to do for yourself, and can’t be influenced by the choices of those around you. Make sure your decisions to splurge are your own. If you’re feeling a treat outside of your usual plan, go for it! If not, hold back even if those around you are indulging…slowing down and taking time before you enter a social situation to identify what’s best for you is the easiest way to succeed in staying on track with your health.

Stay disciplined and treat your body right with real food as much as you can. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what you have to do to get back on track when you get off…don’t make excuses. Enjoy life, family, and friends. Its a good life!

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

Ana Elisabeth