Roasted Red Pepper Recipe

I used to only eat roasted red peppers at restaurants. They kind of seemed like a “gourmet” ingredient, and I never even thought about making them at home. Turns out, they are really easy to make! I love roasted vegetables because the roasting process enhances the flavors of the vegetables. Roasted red peppers are a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches, homemade hummus, homemade pesto or as a filling in tamales.

I made them in the oven under the broiler. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook and 30 minutes to cool.

Here is how it’s done!

  1. Turn oven on to the “broil” setting. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil
  2. Rinse red peppers and pat dry. Cut around the stem then pull it out. Cut the pepper in half (from top to bottom- length wise). Cut out all the white parts and remove the seeds. If some of the seeds are sticking, I like to run the pepper under cold water to get rid of them.
  3. With your hands or a knife, flatten each half-pepper and place them peel side up on the baking sheet.
  4. Place under broiler for 8-10 minutes or until the pepper is fully charred. (Don’t worry, we will remove the skin so it won’t look so ugly!) You may need to rotate the peppers half-way through to make sure that they get charred evenly.
Ugly... I know! But they won't look like this at the end.

Ugly… I know! But they won’t look like this when at the end.

5. Take the peppers out of the oven, wrap them in the tinfoil. Let sit for 30 minutes

6. Peel the skin off the peppers with your hands or a knife. Then chop and serve!

5 Ways to Overcome Your Sugar Cravings

Getting in control of your sugar cravings will lead to plenty of improvements to your health during this holiday season. Overcoming your sugar cravings will:

  • strengthen your immune system
  • boost your energy
  • improve your mood
  • enhance your sleep quality
  • help clear up skin irritations (acne, breakouts, eczema, psoriasis)

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The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is hands down, the most challenging to resist sugar temptations. It only takes on bite to trigger your sweet tooth and then it is a downhill slope from there.  Next, we begin to make the excuse ” I will get back on track in January.” Sound familiar?

So how can you get your sugar cravings back in control?

1. Eat a protein-based breakfast- starting your day with a carbohydrate based breakfast (Cereal, toast, bagels, juice) is going to trigger your sweet tooth. You are also depriving your body and your mind much needed nutrients to stabilize your energy. Here is a video of a great protein-based breakfast (good for both men and women, just adjust quantities): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuH71rDeMB0

2. Set a Goal- if you are trying to change an unfavorable habit, it is essential to set goals. An affective goal should be challenging and quantitative. For example: “My goal is to eliminate sugar from my diet for 14 days.” Write your goal down in places that you will see it every day. Share your goal with at least 2 people.

3. Clean out your home– When there are candy bars, chocolate, ice cream or cookies in your home, it becomes much more difficult to resist. Remember that the choices you make in the grocery store affect how you eat at home. Don’t wait until your chocolate stash is finished, go ahead and toss it out now!

4. Sugar replacements– If you still want a sweet taste without the addictive qualities of sugar, choose a natural sugar alternative like Stevia or Xylitol. These sweeteners come from natural sources, they do not affect the blood sugar, and have no carcinogenic effects.

5. Pack a snack– Make sure to always have a snack handy. Waiting more than 4 hours to eat is a poor decision if you tend to have sugar cravings. When we wait too long to eat, our blood sugar levels drop and we crave sugar to get it back up.  Eating a quality snack will help stabilize the blood sugar as opposed to causing a blood sugar spike.                     Click here for examples of quality snack options 

Power Breakfast for Men- Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs and Avocado

This post is in honor of Movember– a month dedicated to Men’s Health!

Most men eat a breakfast comprised of carbohydrates and coffee. This is something that has to change! If you are  a man reading this article and you want energy throughout the day, you need to get a jump-start with a power-breakfast. The ideal breakfast would consist of protein, healthy fats and some healthy (un-refined) carbohydrates. A balanced breakfast will provide you with the nutrients your brain and muscles need for a productive day.

Check out this simple recipe that was designed just for you!

[Click to View VIDEO]

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Sweet Potato Hash with Scrambled Eggs and Avocado

Prep time: 5 minutes                                                                                            Cooking time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • ½ diced onion
  • ½ cup shredded sweet potato
  • 4 eggs (or 1 egg with 3 egg whites)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • ½ avocado

Directions

  1. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and melt 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan
  2. Add your diced onion to the pan and stir for about 3 minutes until translucent
  3. Add your sweet potato and saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until your sweet potatoes soften
  4. In a separate pan, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or organic butter). Pour in eggs and cook over medium heat until cooked through.
  5. Add your spinach to your eggs and stir often until fully wilted.
  6. Plate sweet potato hash on a plate and top with eggs. Slice up some avocado for the side OR top with goat cheese.

Chef tip= Double the sweet potato hash recipe, cook it and leave some in the fridge for another quick breakfast. Next time you can heat up the hash and then you only have to cook the eggs.

Spaghetti Squash With Garlic and Butter Sauce

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite winter dishes. It is a great gluten-free alternative to regular or whole wheat pasta. Unlike pasta, spaghetti squash is considered a “whole food,” that means that it is unprocessed, more easily digested, and still has all of it’s nutrients.  One other benefit to spaghetti squash is that it is significantly lower in carbohydrates than pasta.

Here is a simple spaghetti squash recipe for you to try. There are some additional suggestions for recipe variations below.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 Tablespoons organic butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)

Directions for Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half (long-way from top to bottom) and scrape out the seeds.
  3. In a large glass baking dish, pour enough water to cover the bottom of the dish until there as ¼ or ½ inch of water.
  4. Place spaghetti squash halves face down in the dish and cover with tin foil.
  5. Bake in the over for 35-45 minutes– until the squash is easy to grate with a fork.
  6. Run a fork down the squash to create “spaghetti-like” strings.

Saute

  1. In a medium pan, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add roasted spaghetti squash to the pan and mix until well-incorporated and heated through. Season with salt and pepper (and optional chili flakes)

Serves 2-3

Chef recommendations

  • Plate the spaghetti squash sauté and add a piece of Wild Tilapia or Grilled chicken
  • Option to add Italian spices like oregano, basil and/or thyme
  • Add a homemade pesto or tomato sauce to the Spaghetti squash

Homemade Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free)

I am not much of a baker. Yet for some reason, this pumpkin bread recipe from the Comfy Belly blog, was calling my name yesterday (aka the first day of fall). It is such an easy recipe to make and the spices really won my tastebuds over.

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Oftentimes gluten-free bread has a chalky or crumbled texture. This recipe definitely breaks that stereo type. The pumpkin puree keeps the texture nice and fluffy.

Ingredients
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp  each:
sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger
1/2 cup walnuts

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl, whisk.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well (no clumps)
5. Fold in walnuts
6. Using organic butter or melted coconut oil , grease a bread pan. Pour mixture into bread pan and bake for 40 minutes (or until outside is brown.) When it’s done, a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.

If you live in San Diego and are looking for some healthy holiday recipes, join me for my Healthy Holiday Cooking Series. These classes are a great way to learn how to cook with healthier ingredients. We will discuss the benefits of using natural sweeteners and flours and how to improve your nutrition during this holiday season.

Get Prepared for a Healthier Holiday Season

Pumpkin croppedIt’s starting to feel like fall here in beautiful San Diego, which means that the holiday season is just around the corner. How exciting! And a little scary…

First, we will kick it off with plenty of Halloween candy, then we will join our families and friends to feast for Thanksgiving, and finally, we will end this year (as we always do) with desserts galore for Christmas/Hanukah and New Years. By that time, we will be ready to set new years resolutions and try to get back on the healthy bandwagon.

imagesWhat if I told you that you don’t have to finish the year off feeling run down, overweight and moody? What if I told you that you don’t have to have the same “guilty” conversation with yourself after “cheating” on your diet?

The point is, that we need to be prepared for the holiday season. We need the tools in our pockets in order to navigate through all the temptations that the holidays will bring. This does not mean that we need to give up sweets and only eat vegetables for three months while everyone else indulges. It means that we can indulge in a smarter and healthier way!

Good news is that I will be collaborating with Marc Sklar from Reproductive Wellness  to teach a healthy holiday cooking series. Join us for three fun evenings full of new recipes, taste testing and nutrition tips to prepare for the holidays.

  1. Halloween: Healthy Treats– Wednesday, October 23rd 6:30-7:30
  2. Thanksgiving: Healthy Sides/ Appetizers-Monday, November 18th 6:30-7:30
  3. Christmas: Healthy Deserts- Monday, December 16th 6:30-7:30pm

Cost is $25 per class or $60 for all 3 classes

Bring a friend and come join the fun. Please e-mail Ana to RSVP: ana@reproductivewellness.com

Classes will be located at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle in Solana Beach:   533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, San Diego, CA 92075

Looking forward to sharing the pre-holiday festivities with you!

Lemon and Dill Baked Salmon

I have always been a fan of baked salmon, however I only recently become a fan of fresh dill. I have never been very comfortable cooking with dill because I never knew what to pair it with. Since it is summer and I am feeling adventurous, I decided to try something new. I absolutely love this fresh Lemon and Dill Salmon recipe. It is more than perfect for summertime.

Salmon is well-known in the nutrition world as a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our health because they are anti-inflammatory. Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include: fish oil, olive oil, avocados, and almonds.

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Ingredients
1lb wild-caught salmon
1 Tbsp tea seed oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 small lemons, 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on the baking tray.
4. Rinse salmon then dry. Rub both sides of salon with tea seed oil, sea salt and pepper.
5. Place 3-4 lemon slices and 1 Tbsp chopped dill on top of salmon.
6. Add organic vegetable stock to the baking dish to surround the salmon
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. (cooking time varied depending on thickness of salmon)

Note: Serve hot or take salmon out of the oven to cool for an hour before serving