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!

Homemade Organic Grass-fed Burgers (only $8!)

The restaurant industry in San Diego is booming. In the past couple of years, several new “gourmet” burger restaurants have popped up; To name a few, Burger Lounge, the Counter, Eureka. Some of these restaurants have grass-fed burgers and others have “vegetarian-fed” burgers (whatever that means lol).

I love that restaurants are working with the “farm-table” concept and that they are using more sustainable animal meat. However, most restaurants still use cheap industrial seed oils.  Also, the price per burger is pretty expensive with tax, tip, plus add-ons like avocado and fries. On a personal note, when I eat at restaurants, I tend to eat bigger portions than I do at home. I’m totally okay with occasionally spending the money and eating at restaurants but on a weekly basis I prefer to make HOMEMADE BURGERS.

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner. I made these wowmazing homemade burgers and get this…. With all the toppings and sides they cost around $8 per person. As you can see in the picture below, this $8 meal contained: organic grass-fed patties, avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, whole wheat bun (or you can go naked style with no bun- thats how I roll) and some delicious crispy potatoes.

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Oh and did I forget to tell you that the burgers only take 20 minutes?!

Homemade Burger Recipe

Ingredients

  • Optional toppings/ sides: sweet potato fries, potato crisps, spinach, cheese, avocado, sprouts, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers
  • 1 lb organic ground grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, Ghee, or Organic Tea Seed Oil

Method

  1. Prep any burger toppings/ sides prior to cooking the burgers.
  2. Turn on oven to 350F degrees.
  3. Place ground beef, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly with your hands.
  4. Break the beef mixture into quarters and then form each quarter into a patty with your hands. You don’t want the burgers to be too thick
  5. Pre-heat your grill-pan or cast-iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Melt ghee or coconut oil.
  6. Place burgers on the pan for 3 minutes or until the bottom is browned. Then flip the burgers and cook for another 2 minutes. Take a knife and cut into the middle of one burger. Peak inside to see if the burger is cooked through. If not, then place the burgers in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until cooked to your desired temperature. (We like ours cooked “medium” so we only leave them in the oven for 1-2 minutes)

Serves 4

Is a Clean Home Really a Healthy Home?

What type of cleaning supplies do you use in your house?

Are you still buying your cleaning products from a conventional supermarket or from Costco?

Maybe you want to think again.

When it comes to our health, we tend to focus on eating nutritious food and working out. One component that we seem to push aside is our environment. Each day we are exposed to THOUSANDS of chemicals and toxins. Our liver has to work really hard to eliminate all of these toxins. When our “filter” or liver gets overloaded, we can start to have some serious health issues.

“In the U.S., 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis (US National Center for Health Statistics). Treatment for these conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment. “

Conventional cleaning products are loaded with toxins. They are also pretty expensive too. What ever happened to cleaning with baking soda? Or a vinegar and water solution. These cleaning options actually work REALLY well.

When we spray our homes with these strong chemicals, we breathe them in. These are unnecessary toxins that we are voluntarily exposing ourselves to.

It is healthier to have a clean home, if and only if,                                          you are using non-toxic cleaning supplies.

Non-toxic cleaning supplies, green cleaners

As you can see in the picture above, you do not have to make your own cleaning supplies. There are some great options for “green” cleaning supplies at your local health-food stores.

If you are in San Diego, you can find these products at Sprouts, Whole Foods, People’s, or at Jimbo’s….Naturally!…

If you want to make your own cleaning supplies it is really simple:

Vinegar solution= equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  This vinegar solution is great for countertops, sinks, toilets, tubs. (Not good for marble. Test on a small area surface before using on wood or tile.)

Baking Soda is great to use as a rub baking soda stain remover, deodorizer and for polishing. Example: rub baking soda into stain with a damp cloth then rinse with water and towel dry.  So easy!!

For additional natural cleaning options, go to www.eartheasy.com

Comments? Questions? Please share your favorite “green” cleaning brand or home recipes.

6 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise

This morning I woke up at the same time that I usually do- 6:30am. The problem was, it was much darker than yesterday. OH NO!

It’s that time of year again, when the days get shorter; its darker in the morning AND in the early evenings. These elements make it a lot more challenging to stick with a workout plan. Oh, and not to mention the fact that we can hide behind our sweaters/ jackets if we do happen to gain a little bit of weight.

The truth is that when we start to skip our workouts, we have less energy, more stress, and it is easier to put on weight.

Here are 6 ways to stay motivated during the fall and winter season:

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1. Find a workout partner- working out with a friend helps to hold you accountable for showing up and for working hard. Ask a friend to join you for your workouts, it’s way more fun than working out alone.

2. Write a workout schedule- being prepared ahead of time is crucial when it comes to health. Planning a workout schedule will help with the consistency of your workouts. You also won’t have time to make excuses while deciding what workout to do.

3. Try a new workout class- find a workout class that is challenging yet enjoyable. Going to a workout class second best to having a personal trainer, however we usually get a better workout in during a class than we would on our own. For example, I usually wouldn’t ride on the spin bike for an hour, and definitely wouldn’t sprint or pretend that I am biking up hills if I wasn’t being pushed by the instructor.

4. Set some goals- Your goals should be quantifiable. They should also be challenging yet realistic.

Example of effective goals:

  • To run for 45 minutes by the end of October.
  • To workout 5 days a week until the end of November.

Once you have set your goals, write out some action steps (your “game plan”) of how you plan to achieve those goals.

5. Variety- Doing the same workout everyday can be monotonous and boring. Your body also gets bored when you don’t challenge your muscles. If you want to see results, it is important to switch up your workouts.

6. Set Up Your Workout Clothes– Before you go to bed, take out your workout clothes. The less time you have in the morning to make excuses, the better. Plus, this act of preparation will increase your commitment to your workout the next day.

In Love with Peanut Butter? Me Too

Well here it goes. I like to eat peanut butter. And almond butter. ALOT.

Growing up, I used to eat Skippy peanut butter. That was until I started to learn about nutrition. Not the kind of nutrition where you focus on the calories, but the kind of nutrition where you look at the ingredients before you look at the label.

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Here is what you will find in Skippy peanut butter:

Roasted peanuts, corn syrup solids, sugar, soy protein, hydrogenated vegetable oils (cotton seed, soybean and rapeseed) plus some fortified vitamins and minerals………

WOAH thats a lot of processed ingredients in one jar. If you eat peanut butter every day, like I do, it is important to make sure that you are choosing a peanut butter brand with good quality ingredients.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up your love for peanut butter. There are plenty of other options to choose from. Say goodbye to your childhood friends skippy and jiffy. I promise, you will be better off.

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Guidelines to a healthy peanut butter

  1. Ingredients should ONLY list: “Peanuts” *
  2. Oil should be floating on top of the butter. The should be separated**

*If you are not brave enough to go unsalted for your first jar of healthy peanut butter, then gradually change your peanut butter. Make sure to avoid added sugars AND palm oil/ safflower oil/ sunflower oil.

** If the oil and butter are separated it means that there are no artificial ingredients or binders in the peanut butter. When you open the peanut butter, stir it with a knife until the oil and butter are well-incorporated. Then put the jar in the fridge and then the butter and oil will stay combined.

My peanut butter of choice is the organic unsalted creamy peanut butter from Whole Foods. It is about $4.99 and even though it says unsalted, it still has a salty flavor. The other option is the unsalted creamy peanut butter from Trader Joes for $2.79. Or, if you are in San Diego, you can check out the options for quality peanut butters at Jimbo’s….Naturally!

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Peanut Butter goes well with just about everything. Here are my favorites:

  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Peanut butter in a smoothie… YUM!
  • Peanut butter stuffed dates
  • Peanut butter on a spoon (yes, I do this from time to time)

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

G.M.O. Food Labeling- What, Why & How

The term GMO might seem familiar to you but do you know what it actually means? Until about two weeks ago, I personally did not truly understand what GMOs were, nor did I understand what the whole fuss was about. Now that I have done plenty of research, I am more than happy to share with you the important facts about G.M.Os.

GMOs stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. In the history of agriculture, farmers have cross-bred plants and seeds to produce more desirable traits. Some traits that would be considered desirable in crops are: higher yield, more nutrients, faster growing, pest resistance etc. Unlike crossbreeding which occurs in the fields by farmers, the process of creating GMOs takes place in laboratories by scientists. GMOs have taken cross-breading to another level. Scientists are not just cross breeding the DNA of two plants (or seeds), they are also adding DNA from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Bt toxin (a pesticide) has also now been added to corn, which means that pesticides have been mixes into the DNA of our food. EW! It is harmful for humans to consume these new concoctions of mixed DNAs. There has not been enough testing to show that these new organisms are safe for human consumption. Not to mention that more pesticides have to be sprayed on the crops because the GMOs are more resistant to pesticides. “Roundup (a harmful pesticide) has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced.”  Along with the health concerns come economic concerns and political conflicts.

Europe and many other countries have banned GMOs because they are not safe. Why is it that the GMOs are legal in the U.S.? A lot of it has to do with politics and large agra-business. Monsanto is the main biotechnology company that has earned a less than favorable reputation. They have secured patents in order to restrict the use of GMOs by farmers. This has allowed Monsanto to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs even if the farmer did not purchase or intentionally plant a GMO seed.

The effects of GMOs on our health are just beginning to surface to public knowledge. Since the beginning of GMO production in the 1990s there has been a rise in autism and autoimmune disease. Research shows that “GMOs can be toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than non-genetically modified crops.”

“The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini  and yellow). GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.”

GMOs are found in the majority of packaged food products including: cereals, snack bars, chips, crackers and processed meats. Most restaurants also cook with vegetable oil and/or canola oil. You can always ask for them to cook your food in butter! (Which, in my opinion, is a much better option than having your food cooked in canola oil or vegetable oil.) Additionally, conventional animals are fed GMO corn and grains. If we consume conventional (not-organic) animal products, we are in turn consuming GMOs. It is really important to ask for Organic:Grass-Fed Beef, Pasture-Raised Eggs and Wild fish.

The biggest problem that we see is that GMOs are not regulated. The process of mutating genes and combining genes must be regulated for safety if humans are consuming them. About 80% of our food supply in North America has GMOs. It is important to note that buying Organic food is a great step toward protecting you and your families’ health. Due to contamination and lack or regulation, it is difficult to say that organic food is 100% GMO-free. What we do know is that under regulation of the National Organic program, it is illegal for Organic Certified farmers to knowingly plant GMO seeds.

The ONLY way to know that there are no GMOs in packaged food is to look for foods marked with the “non-gmo project” seal:

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To find out more about the non-gmo project, please view their website. They have some GREAT resources and knowledge to share with you: http://www.nongmoproject.org/

Education is our protection against the large biotech and food companies. If we purchase more non-gmo and organic products we increase the demand for those products. Higher demand will drive costs down and increase quantity. The power of the purse is SO important as consumers. Remember that every time you buy organic, local and non-gmo, you are voting for a better and safer food system.

Here is a great video from a pro-surfer about the affects of GMOs: