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!

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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

Spring Veggie Wrap

This Spring Veggie Wrap makes for a great light snack! You also have the option to load it up with additional veggies, tofu, or animal protein to make it a more substantial meal option.

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Nutrition Suggestion: Consume at least 1 salad, smoothie, or veggie wrap each day

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients
1 Tortilla*
1 Tablespoon of Pesto (Recipe: Kale & Almond Pesto)
4-5 leaves arugula or spinach
Broccoli sprouts
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Radishes, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: organic feta or goat cheese

* Whole wheat, organic corn, or gluten-free tortillas are widely available alternative to white flour. I like the Rudi’s Brand! If you’re looking for a lighter meal or snack, you can also try wrapping your ingredients in collard greens.

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Spring Salads- Build Your Own @ Home

Spring Salad Components (Build Your Own @ Home)

Having one salad a day can ensure that you get some added veggies into your diet. Many of us only eat the vegetables on sandwiches, burgers or tacos for lunch. Here are some great salad components that you can put together for a hearty lunch or dinner salad.

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Base

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mixed Greens
  • Chard
  • Mustard greens

Carbohydrate (give your salad some substance!)

  • Quinoa
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • White Beans
  • Chick peas
  • Roasted veg (beets, carrots, sweet potato)

Protein 

  • Wild Salmon, Talapia, Halibut, fresh or canned tuna, sardines
  • Grilled or roasted chicken
  • Tofu

Healthy fat

  • Goat milk feta
  • Toasted Pumpkin seeds
  • Toasted Sunflower seeds
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped nuts
  • Pine Nuts

Additional Toppings

  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Snap Peas
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Orange segments
  • Sprouts!

Salad dressing combinations

  • Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic, sea salt, cracked pepper)
  • Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice,1 tsp dijon, sea salt, pepper)
  • Citrus Vinaigrette (olive oil, orange juice, salt & pepper)
  • Asian dressing (use sesame oil as the base, brown rice vinegar, tamari)

Sample Salad

Ingredients
1 large handful of spinach
1/2 cup adzuki beans (pre-cooked)
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1 Tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
Your choice of protein (chicken, tuna, fish, tofu)
Topped with broccoli sprouts

Salad Dressing:
Pinch of sea salt
Crack of black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Directions
1. Assemble salad ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place Dressing ingredients in a ball jar and shake until well combined
3. Pour dressing over salad.

Nutrient Density vs Calorie Counting

CalorieCounter

Whether your goal is to loose weight, put on weight, gain muscle mass or to get lean muscle tone, this nutrition concept will get you to where you want to be. What exactly is nutrient density? This term refers to the amount of nutrients per bite. The more nutrients that you can fit into each bite, the more efficiently your body can digest, absorb and use that food for energy.

We are so used to the concept of “calorie counting” in order to gain or loose weight that we have forgotten the fundamental aspects of eating REAL FOOD. If there is one motto that I wish we could re-instill in this country is “EAT REAL FOOD.” This means, eat foods that are produced by nature rather than being produced by machines. Eat ingredients that your body can use for energy rather than ingredients that slow us down and hold us back from achieving optimal health.

Real Foods include:

  • Whole grains- 100% whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, oats
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes- adzuki beans, lentils, white beans, chickpeas, garbanzo beans
  • Organic eggs, grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken, wild fish varieties

Someone who is eating very few calories of poor quality food-with the goal of losing weight- is truly harming their health. On the same note, someone who is eating large amounts of calories of poor quality food-in hopes of putting on weight- is also harming their health. The solution is to eat moderate amounts of good quality foods. Depending on your own personal goal, you will have to play around with the amounts and percentage of carbohydrates to protein to healthy fats. You will go beyond your goal by choosing to eat real food because your body will be able to process the food much more efficiently.

It’s enough of counting calories. We are all tired of it. Look at the ingredient list instead! That is where the important information can be found.

Juicing or Smoothies, What’s the Difference?

Both juices and smoothies are very efficient ways of packing nutrients into your diet. I recommend having either a juice or a smoothie every single day! You see, it would be pretty unlikely to eat 1 apple, 2 celery stalks, a handful of kale, a handful of spinach and half a lemon with some ginger in 1 sitting. Therefore, it is more effective to combine them together into liquid form.

The main difference between juices and smoothies is fiber. When you make a juice, the fiber from the fruit and vegetables is removed. When you make a smoothie, the fiber remains. This is not to say that smoothies are better than juices, they are just different in how they affect your blood sugar levels. Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar into your blood stream.

When you are juicing you want to make sure that you are using lots of green vegetables instead of just carrots and beets. As you may know, some vegetables have higher glycemic indexes than others. When food has a high glycemic index, it spikes your blood sugar levels up higher than a food that has a low glycemic index.

When you are making smoothies, it is advisable to incorporate 50% fruit and 50% leafy greens rather than making a smoothie from all fruit. Spinach is the best leafy green to add to your smoothie if you are looking for a very mild taste. Since you are already getting some sweetness from the fruit, it would be best to use water or milk as the liquid part of your smoothie instead of fruit juice.

Regardless of whether you are consuming a smoothie or a juice, it is important to also have a protein and a fat at the same time. It is easier to incorporate protein and fat into a smoothie by using nut butter, flax seeds and some protein powder. It is not much harder to incorporate a protein and fat at the same time while consuming a smoothie. The importance of adding carbohydrates and fat to your daily smoothie or juice routine is to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. You will remain full for longer when you consume some protein with your juice or smoothie.

My suggestion is to keep some variety in your diet. So instead of just drinking smoothies or just drinking juices, I suggest that you alternate between the two. It is also optimal to rotate through different recipes so that you can incorporate a variety of different vegetables.