Category Archives: health

How I’m Not Going to Get Sick

With winter looming, so is sickness.¬†This is how I’m keeping the viral and bacterial bugs at bay. Even with two kids being sick back to back for two weeks (coughing, sneezing, and throwing up,) so far I’m going strong and feeling groovy (please, karma, don’t strike me down tomorrow.)

Before the meds, let’s start with the base:

  1. Sleep. Did you know teenagers need an average of 9 1/2 hours of sleep every night??? When’s the last time your teen got that much? Adults? We need at least 7-8. Our immunity is hugely compromised when we consistently skimp on sleep. I take a daily vow to do better.
  2. Exercise. Even when I’m not feeling well, a short run, walk, or workout makes me feel better and I don’t seem to catch as many bugs.
  3. Morning Smoothies. Packed with greens, fruits, chia seeds, fat, and protein, breakfast can’t get much better. May food be thy medicine.

Usually, if I’m not feeling well, one of the above is out of whack. We can’t skip the base! Now, since we’re not superhuman or perfect all the time, let’s turn to our friendly medicine cabinet for a little extra help.

unnamed-11. Multi-vitamin. No, I’m not pregnant. I just read that multi-prenatal vitamins were good for #hairandnails ūüôā

2. Vitamin D. So many benefits, especially during the winter months when we aren’t soaking it up by the sun! Especially good for kids with growing bones, and females.

3. Oregano Oil. May I suggest the pills, NOT THE LIQUID. Trust me. You’ll burp a few times and taste oregano, but this stuff works!

4. Emergen-C. This flavor is delicious and it kicks coming colds to the curb!

5. Alka-Seltzer. When the cold is definitely on the way, I take this. It’s especially good for headaches and general malaise.

6. The Immune System Super Blaster. My favorite hot drink you can feel all the way down. BEST EVER. So tasty. So effective.

I don’t take all of these every day, maybe a couple times a week or when I’m feeling a little off.

Did you get the flu shot? I did because it was convenient and free with my insurance. Does it do much good? I’m not so sure but I’m crossing fingers and toes.

Okay friends,¬†don’t forget your base (those first three listed!) And may you go forth and be well this winter. Sleep! Run! Eat Plants! Stay home if you’re sick so you don’t infect your friends, and that extra rest will get you better, faster.

Stay well and happy November!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Almond-Chocolate Power Bites

What to whip up for a ravenous¬†group of 11-year-old soccer players? Can’t bring cupcakes, cheez-its, or goldfish crackers. No, they wanted me to speak about healthy snacks and feeling good. So…DSC_0136 (1) ¬†With ten minutes to spare, Brynne and I whipped up these almond-butter chocolate delights. Really, they were so easy.DSC_0142 (1)¬†And they were gobbled up in seconds.

Followed by:

“Can I have the recipe?”

“Are there any more?”

“Can you bring more next week?”

I’ll try, my little soccer friends!

Loaded with tons of protein, energy¬†carbs, and good fat, they’re also much cheaper and easier to make than my previous Protein Bites (which are still good but a little more time-consuming and pricier!)

Your next go-to snack?

Almond Butter and Chocolate-Chip Protein Bites

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2¬†cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon chia sees
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Makes about 12-14 protein balls.

Optional add-in: dried cherries or cranberries. Substitutions:¬†I originally added cashews but some of us¬†have a small and “down-there” annoying reaction to cashews…so I used¬†walnuts. Almonds or any other nut also work! Don’t have almond butter? Peanut butter works, too.

  • DIRECTIONS:

    1. It couldn’t be easier.¬†Dump all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. For uniform balls, use a cookie scooper with your right hand and put the ball in your left hand to make it nice and smooth.
    2. Or you can put the little ball into your child’s hand and have them form a nice little ball, which is what I ended up doing, followed by,¬†hurry hurry roll that ball we have to go¬†right this minute…!
    3. Put in container and refrigerate for a 1/2 hour-1 hour (unless you’re running out the door.)¬†If they feel a little wet? Add a little more substance like the coconut, oatmeal, or nuts. Too dry? Add a little more almond or peanut butter.¬†Another option is to freeze and eat¬†when you’d like to gnaw on something cold and hearty.

Good? Good. Happy weekend – Eat up!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Protein Power Bites: Chocolate Chip & Peanut Butter

We are¬†creatures of habit. In our house we tend to make the same things over and over until we can’t stand it any longer (hello taco soup!) What a wondrous thing to¬†discover a completely different, yet delicious¬†snack: The Power Bite.

Ain’t nothing boring about these babies: healthy, delicious, so cute…DSC_0083¬†Power Bites are now a Maisymak staple. These little balls of yum-yum**¬†are filling, make you feel good, and are chock full of incredibly healthy ingredients like chia seeds, hemp hearts, gogi berries, peanut butter, and coconut flakes. Oh yeah, there’s some chocolate slipped in, too.DSC_0085¬†We¬†devoured this batch in a day or two – and the recipe makes a lot! Reluctant? I’ll tell you, I’m a little weird about “food in my food.” For instance, I absolutely can’t stand brownies and ice-cream “touching” each other. As a child, I carefully ate all my peas, wiped up the juice, and then could eat the rest of the meal. I’ve come a long way.¬†Anyway, I like all this “stuff” together; it’s very chewy, muy delicioso! (espanol practica.)

A sampling of some of the ingredients:DSC_0072Hemp Seeds? Does it conjure up¬†of marijuana? This is not that; but these¬†will give you a high of a different kind (and are legal everywhere.)¬†Sold in your local grocery store (look by the chia seeds, probably in the rice aisle or by Bob’s Mill Food), hemp seeds are heart-healthy and loaded with¬†protein. Hemp seeds are almost tasteless, making them a great addition to other foods (like smoothies and homemade bread).DSC_0092¬†You can use dried cranberries, but I wanted more nutrition and less sugar. These are Gogi Berries, (I can only find on Amazon) a Himalayan Superfruit and Asian herbal medicine. They are non-GMO, gluten-free, and raw. High in protein, Vitamin A, Iron, and Vitamin C. Great for smoothies, yogurt, salad, oatmeal, AND power bites!DSC_0093¬†Unsweetened Coconut. A great source of healthy fat.DSC_0105I used a blend of Steel Cut Oats and Triticali¬†(an optional, high-protein grain.)

DSC_0088Healthy, tasty, power-packed, easy to make – don’t you want a power bite, too? Don’t forget cute. This is definitely a cute snack.

Protein Power Bites: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip

  • 2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Hemp Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Goji Berries
  • 1 Cup Miniature Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS

  • Measure out all ingredients into large bowl. Stir together.
  • Roll into balls or press hard into mini muffin baking pan. Put into refrigerator until ready to eat.

*A few helpful hints: these power bites are sticky; I found it was a little easier to roll into balls if my hands were slightly damp. I also tried using a cookie dough measuring scoop to make them a little more uniform. Either way works.

*The beauty of this recipe is the variation. Want to lower the sugar even more? Reduce the chocolate chips. Don’t have goji berries? Use cranberries, or eliminate all together if you don’t like dried fruit in snacks. Allergic to peanut butter? Try almond butter. Don’t have hemp seeds? Try flax, or skip this time! You just want to get the right about of “stick” to roll into a ball without too much mess.

It’s rather exciting, isn’t it? Questions or comments? Please leave one and share away!

**It was pointed out to me that my overzealous use of the word “yum” was…getting obnoxious. I believe I only used the word, “yum” once in this post and have not used it for at least a whole month while writing online. This is difficult for a “yum” kind of gal who dreams of one day opening¬†“The Yum-Yum Shop.” I hope you are appreciative of my efforts and restraint.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Honey Whole Wheat Bread (delish!)

Here it is, my go-to homemade bread recipe passed down from the ancestors of old to me and now to you! Delicious,¬†nutritious, easy to make, this bread winner is especially dreamy just out of the oven with a pat of melted butter…bread3The finished product may remind you of the good earth.

yeastYou’ll begin¬†with hot water, honey or maple syrup, and a dab of shortening. (Brown sugar works well too, but we’re¬†veering toward more natural products.) Next, using the same measuring cup used for the honey/maple syrup, you’ll add warm water and yeast. This way the yeast flirts with the sugar on the bottom of the measuring cup to make the magic happen.

risingAdd more water, a bit of salt, and white whole wheat flour and that’s it. The party has started.

bread2 The dough will rise twice for two super loaves. I like to bake bread on our baking stones, with a little corn meal laid down underneath. After the second coming rising, the dough looks like this beauty.

bread3 Bake at 400 for about 24-30 minutes. I mean, is that beauteous or what?

DSC_0041 If you prefer more traditional loaves, you can plunk dough in bread pans. Could even sprinkle some oatmeal on top. Let rise until double in size like so:DSC_0043We are now ready for the oven!

Time? Yes, homemade bread takes time. It requires a morning, afternoon, or evening at home so bread can rise. The anticipation is part of the joy of baking, adding one ingredient at a time, letting dough rise, the smell of flour and gluten rising in the air and then baked bread filling the kitchen while children jump at your feet (drooling. always drooling.)

bread6

 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons shortening

1/2 cup warm water

3 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoon salt

6 cups whole wheat white flour (OR 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat white)

Directions:

1. Combine first three ingredients: 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup, 3 tablespoons shortening. Mix until dissolved. (I use a kitchen aid mixer with dough attachment but this is optional Рbread can be made completely by hand).

2. Combine *next two ingredients: 1/2 cup warm water and 3 teaspoons yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until frothy/bubbly. *(Use the 1-cup measuring cup you used for the honey/maple so the yeast will rise in the water.)

3. Pour yeast mixture into mixer/bowl where the first three ingredients are waiting.

4. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously to make a sponge. Mix in remaining 3 cups flour (and 1/2 cup wheat germ or cracked wheat if you like). Knead or mix, adding more flour as needed. You want to be able to knead or mix until it no longer sticks to your hands.

5. Leave in mixer bowl and cover with a damp towel or saran wrap, preferably in a warm place. Let rise until double in bulk (45 min-1hour.) Punch down. Form into two loaves. Put on prepared pizza stones (sprinkled with corn meal) or in bread pans (with a non-stick spray). Let rise double in bulk again (30-45 min).

6. Bake on 400 for 24-30 minutes until the bread is toasty brown.

yumAnd then you may eat.

Happy Weekend, bread fans!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Simple Homemade Tomato Soup

Yesterday morning we had another school delay, due to 3-5 inches of SNOW getting dumped on New Hampshire. These are the times that try the souls of men. And mothers. The kids need to be outside romping! Dear Mother Nature, it’s time to move on to a different season. How do we cope? We¬†make the ultimate comfort food: soup.DSC_0059¬†I owe the¬†deliciousness¬†to Curt, my dear brother-in-law, who prepared¬†this classic tomato soup one year ago when I was in Utah, preparing to run the Salt Lake City Marathon.¬†They don’t eat much meat in their family due to my sister’s stomach issues.

My mouth dropped open as his children devoured this tomato soup, asked for more, and ate it as leftovers the next day. I mean, I had to elbow my way in for a slurp; a soup is filled with vegetables. And the kids were loving it! It’s filling, delicious, and gut-friendly (and believe me, before and after a marathon your gut needs friends).

IMG_6991Let me introduce you to the leek. I’d never cooked with leeks before. What¬†a beautiful food.

garlicFresh garlic was a Christmas gift. Priceless.

leeks1 Leeks, celery, onion, garlic will be your base, sautéed in butter.

DSC_0065 Topped with fresh cilantro. Are your salivary glands working?

DSC_0068 No fresh tomatoes? No matter. Canned work well in the middle of winter.

DSC_0063¬†Light, fresh, and packed with whole foods, you’re going to make your body happy with this dish.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits There are times when I like chunks in my soup. Adding vegetables adds nutrition and substance. Using an immersion blender makes this soup is classically smooth Рand the kids are much more likely to eat it.. Paired with the easy buttermilk drop biscuits, this is one beautiful night at home. Does nothing spell love for the man like warm soup on a cold night? DSC_0064Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 Leeks, chopped

1 Onion

1 Stalk Celery, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 20 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 Cup Water

2 Cubes Chicken Boullion

1 32 ounce Plain Tomato Juice

1 dash Nutmeg

1 dash cayenne pepper (depending on spice factor

1 Tablespoon Honey

Cilantro

Directions:

1. Saute butter, garlic, leeks, onion, and celery until soft.

2. Add lemon juice, crushed tomatoes, water, bullion, and tomato juice.

3. Add dash of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and honey.

4. Bring to simmer so all the ingredients can meld into deliciousness.

5. Use an immersion blender (love this) or blender to puree soup. Add cilantro as a tasty garnish if you like.

And that, my friends, is all there is to it. May you eat soup, live long, and prosper.

xo.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Quick and Tasty After School Snack: Baked Apple Bites

Are you in an afternoon snack funk? For that magical combination of fast, quick, tasty AND healthy?

Check. Baked apples to the rescue!

True, you need an oven, but baked apples are¬†so different than the usual fare, that I was just tickled apple pink at such a quick, healthy, and tasty morsel.DSC_0056¬†Man, I love this season. The apples are in full bloom (are we really into fall?) so it’s time to¬†pick yourself some yum-yum.

Turn the oven on to 400.DSC_0057 Take a knife and cut a circle out of the top

DSC_0058¬†Just like that!DSC_0060¬†Now, darlings, use a melon baller and scoop out the middle, past the seedsDSC_0061¬†It’s surprisingly easy.

DSC_0176¬†Isn’t that pretty?DSC_0179The gorgeous apple! And I love stars. Star was my alias in college. Really ūüôā

DSC_0062 Eat the tops or feed them to the chicken. Or doggie.DSC_0063 There. All scooped out and ready to fill. I suggest putting down foil to prevent dishwashing.DSC_0066 Put a little brown sugar in the center and on the sides. Just a tad. Totally optional.DSC_0067 Add a little cinnamonDSC_0069 Perfect, no?

Now, put in preheated oven for about 15 min.DSC_0084¬†An apple full of love. Isn’t that a perfect heart?

DSC_0096If you accidentally overbake them, no worries, just eat that warm, mushy apple pie right up.

Can you only have these for after school? Heck no! They’re pretty terrific for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even Valentine’s.

Baked Apple Bites:

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash apples, cut off top

Spoon out seeds (scraping sides a little bit), making a little well

Put a teensy bit of brown sugar and cinnamon inside

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how crunchy or soft you like to eat baked apples.

I just inherited a bag of apples from my middle school soccer team so I gotta go – baked apples await! And remember, apples contain quercetin: an apple a day, really does keep the doctor away.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Weekend Recipe: The Leaning Tower of Fruit Cake

While looking for a healthy cake recipe for Memorial Day Weekend, I was inspired by a¬†Weelicious¬†cake…the towering cake of fruit was born.

DSC_0075

Yum yum!DSC_0024

It’s easy to do, especially with all the seasonal fruits available.

1. For the fruit layers: You want to start with larger fruit circles on the bottom. Cut circles of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and pineapple.

2. Use long skewers to keep the cake from falling over.

3. Top with cut kiwis and strawberries. Drizzle with blueberries.

4. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt with honey mixed in.

DSC_0039

Of course mine ended up leaning like the tower of pisa, but no matter, it was still a hit!DSC_0040 IMG_3647

Enjoy!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

The Mango Beauty Smoothie

smoothie

Mmmm…I love mangoes. My children love mangoes. They fight over who mom really bought the mango for. I wish we could grow mangoes in the backyard.

Here’s a question I’ve been starting to ask whenever I eat something: Is it nutrient dense?

Those snack size cheese pringles I ate yesterday – just because they were in front of me! – gave me absolutely¬†nothing nutritionally. What they did do, was tell my brain that I wanted more. Because neuroscientists have engineered our food to make it addictive.¬†I’m on to ya, suckas!

Anyway, mangoes are not pringles. Since you pick them off a tree and eat them in their whole form, It’s no surprise that they are chock full of nutrition:

  • Skin: mangoes clear pores and eliminate pimples
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E: healing!
  • Vitamin B: hormone production
  • Immune System Boost
  • Vitamin A: eye health!
  • Potassium and Magnesium
  • Gut Health:¬†everything is tied to the gut
  • Antioxidants: fights the cancer!
  • Low glycemic index
  • Alkalization: acidity creates body inflammation

mangoCut on either side of seed to get two halves. Slice in chunks and use a knife to scrape into blender.

What’s even cooler? You can eat the seed! Skip the above step and just peel the whole mango and plop right into the Vitamix. No waste! More nutrition. Yes.

Now that we’re all agreed that mangoes are the way to go in life, here’s the Mango Beauty Smoothie that you can drink or use as a facial mask tonight. And then lick off ūüôā

Mango Beauty Smoothie

  1. 1 Cup Water
  2. 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  3. 1 Green Apple
  4. 1 Large Carrot (scrubbed, not peeled)
  5. 2 Large Mangoes (or try some frozen)
  6. 1/2 Avocado
  7. 1 Tbsp Hemp Seed

Blend it up! Use some ice if you like it really cold (I do!)

I didn’t list the other ingredient benefits, but with everything plant-based and nutrient dense, you’re bound to feel like a superstar. In this smoothie you have healthy fat (to add more, add some coconut oil), protein, and those much-needed carbohydrates for energy.

Know someone who might benefit? Please share!

Have a great weekend. I am already smiling because the sun is finally shining in New Hampshire xoxo.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

A Better Banana Bread

Whenever my husband sings praises over something I’ve cooked, I listen up. Because the singing and praising is. rare. Not that he’s not complimentary. He’s just…incredibly sincere. Never in my life have I known him to pay a false compliment.¬†Anyway, the point¬†is,¬†I’m just saying that the man loves this banana bread. Really loves it. Smacks his lips loves it.

And I’m carbo loading this week, so all is RIGHT in the world!

This banana bread is good tasty and good for you.bbread

Adapted from a recipe in The Athlete’s Palate,¬†I tweaked it just a little more by reducing the sugar, swapping out sour cream for Greek yogurt, and swapping white flour for whole wheat white. Success!

I also happened to have tulips hanging around. And a few clementines. They asked if they could be food props.¬†I didn’t bake the clementines in the bread. I was just feeling like the eternal winter needed some color.breadMoist, flavorful, and the smell that fills the house…

bananabreadSo here you go, my most favorite slice of banana yum yum…

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 1/2 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (I use the canned homemade)

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cups walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 9×4″ loaf pan

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and set aside. Beat the sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy. Add oil, bananas, applesauce, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture and nuts. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from Flour’s Famous Banana Bread, by Joanne Chang. Chang is a¬†pastry chef in Boston and has run the Boston Marathon 15 times! I need to go see her.¬†

Have a Most Wonderful Easter!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Green Power Juice {with leprechaun zing!)

Dear leprechaun friends, here’s that amazing green juice you were asking for.¬†
The line-up:  Parseley, lemon, granny smith apples, spinach, ginger.  YUM?
Juicing as its merits, but I think smoothies are easier, less expensive, and healthier.  
“I think it’s time for a new subject,” my husband tells me as I write this post. ¬†But why? ¬†Obsession has not limits.
 
To begin: ¬†Add a cup of water. ¬†Three apples were sufficient, and 2 inches of peeled ginger. ¬†I have become a huge fan of ginger. ¬†It’s got this ZING.
Squeeze a whole lemon in there
Add big bunch washed parseley
Add one cup spinach. ¬†I bought a big ol’ case of spinach so you’re going to be seeing some spinach love around these pahts!
That’s it. ¬†Now blend baby, blend.
Have I, by chance, mentioned my Vitamix obsession?  
 
And now for a little taste. ¬†WOW. ¬†I looked at Gregor. ¬†“The leprechaun’s are not going to drink that.”¬†
So we added some frozen grapes and a banana.  
 
Ice cubes
Aren’t you liking that green?
 
And now. ¬†We’re in business!
The little leprechaun’s think this is a big hit!
 
It tasted like Leprechaun Soda with ZING. 
 
And it’s super duper healthy. ¬†It’s delicious and nutritious!
So complimentary to the meal, my one contribution.  The man cooks the meat.
Drink up!

Green Power Juice:
1 Cup Water
3 Cut Granny-Smith Apples
2 inches peeled Ginger
1 Bunch Parsley
2 Squeezed Lemon
1 Cup Spinach
1/2 Cup Frozen Grapes
1/2 Frozen Banana
1 Cup Ice-cubes

Blend and devour. ¬†Feel the power. And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. ¬†Or whatever.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare