Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Flaxseed

By now most health-concious people have heard about flaxseed and know of it's health benefits.  It is high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  But did you know that it is also rich in Vibamins B6, E, Folic Acid, Magnesium and phytoestrogens called lignans? Lignans act like estrogen in the body, blocking estrogen receptors on cells and cotnribute to reduced rates of some hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer.   Just a tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 2.3 grams of fiber.  Just be sure that your flax seeds are ground.  Your body can't break them down whole.  They will come out the same way they went in and you won't reap the benefits.  You can find them ground just about anywhere.  Bob's Red Mill makes some- I've even seen it at Walmart. You can also find it in the bulk section of your health food store.  I store it in the fridge to keep it fresh longer.

Key Nutrients:
ALA fatty acid
Vitamins E, B6
Folic Acid

You can find a great recipe for my super simple to make granola that features ground flaxseed as a main ingredient here. Eat it for breakfast and I promise you won't be hungry until lunchtime. :)
I also like to add about a quarter cup of ground flaxseed to any baked goods I make- breads, pancakes, cookies, birthday cakes, everything!  It's a great way to sneak some nutrition into not-so-good for you foods.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Dark Chocolate

Not many people can say they don't love chocolate.  And isn't it wonderful that more and more studies are showing how wonderful it is for our body?  Dark chocolate (not milk, it is too high in fat/dairy/sugar to fall onto a healthy foods list) is loaded with antioxidants in the form of flavinoids, which are also found in red wine and many fruits and vegetables.  Dark chocolate actually has more flavonoids than any other food! For the most antioxidants look for dark chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa.  The higher the percentage, the higher the antioxidant punch.  I encourage you to try many different percentages and find the one you like best.  It can take a while for your palate to transition from milk to dark, but your body and your waist line will thank you. 

I like to get my daily dose of chocolate by eating a small amount of dark chocolate chips or a square or two of a good quality dark chocolate.  Because the cocoa flavor is so strong it doesn't take much to sooth my chocolate cravings, and I feel good knowing I'm doing something for my body that feels so decadent!

Key Nutrients:
Vitamins A, B1, C, D, E

If you want to get a little fancier with your chocolate give this recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks a go.  It's an easy dessert that sounds, and looks, fancy.  Perfect for impressing dinner guests or your sweetheart on Valentine's Day!


12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
8 ounces (1 cup) very hot strong coffee
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Place the chocolate chips in the blender. Crack in the eggs, then add the vanilla and the salt. Pulse 5 to 7 times, or until the chocolate chips are partially pulverized.

Turn on the blender, then pour in the very hot coffee through the hole in the top in a steady stream. The coffee will melt the chocolate and turn it into a smooth mixture.

Pour the mixture into small mason jars, pretty wine glasses or demitasse cups. Place the jars on a tray and refrigerate them for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.

Whip the cream with the sugar and plop it onto the top of each glass.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Carrots

Today we continue with #5 on my list of the Top 20 Healing Foods.  Most people like today's food, the carrot.  However, we tend to get into ruts with this veggie.  Carrot sticks, carrot salad, that's pretty much it.  But I encourage you to play around with this wholesome root vegetable and find new ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Key Nutrients:
Vitamins B6 and C

Beta-carotene gives carrots their bright orange color and provide significant health benefits.  One large carrot provides almost all the vitamin A you need in a day.  If you cook it rather than eat it raw, it provides even more.  The darker the carrot, the more beta-carotene it will provide.  Carrots are high in fiber which can help lower cholesterol, vitamin A is great for eye health and carotenoids like beta-carotene help protect against cancer. 

Cooked carrots provide more beta-carotene than raw since cooking breaks down the cellular walls that encase it.  Cook them in as little water as possible to maintain the highest levels of nutrients.  Tip: eat your carrots with a little fat, as this helps the body absorb the beta-carotene.

This is a really easy recipe for a quick side dish.  I adapted it from a recipe from Ina Garten.


2 pounds carrots
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley
Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 6 cups of carrots. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. Add the butter and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter. Off the heat, toss with the herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, a member of the cabbage family, and one of the most potent anti-cancer foods.  The sulfur compounds in broccoli signal our genes to boost production of enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing compounds.  Eating broccoli regularly and you can slash your risk of cancer by as much as half. 
It is loaded with nutrients. One stalk has as much vitamin C as two oranges and as much fiber as a bowl of healthy breakfast cereal. It is a great source of non-dairy calcium, and is high in potassium.

Key Nutrients:
Anticancer compounds
Vitamin C
My favorite way to eat broccoli is steamed crisp and topped with Annie's Goddess Dressing.  If you haven't tried this delicious dressing yet, you're really missing out.  It's great on salads, roasted or steamed veggies, chicken, and on rice and other grain dishes. 
If you want something a little more exciting than steamed broccoli, give this creamy soup recipe a go.   It's made with pantry staples so you can probably whip some up without a trip to the store.  And I've been told that even broccoli haters love it! :)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, and saute onion and garlic until tender. Mix in broccoli, potato, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
With a hand mixer or in a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and reheat. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pink Raspberry Cosmopolitans

I'm planning on having a little Pinterest Party at my house in the next few weeks.  Just a night to get the girls together to craft up some of the hundreds of things we pin and never make.  I'll have some tasty snacks and a pitcher of these yummo cosmos.  I like to rim the glass in sugar, like you would for a margarita, for a little extra flair.  This is just the tastiest, prettiest drink to have for girl's night!  It makes a nice big pitcher (serves 10) and I know you'll love it!

Also, how pretty would this be for a Valentine's dinner??

I borrowed this photo from another sight and the link didn't post and now I can't find it again!
  If this is your photo please let me know so I can give you credit!

1 cup raspberry vodka

Fill a pitcher with ice, and pour in the vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cran-raspberry juice. Stir to mix. Serve garnished with a lime slice that has been rubbed around the glass edge.  Dip edge in sugar if you like.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Stock up!

See those fancy-schmancy new tabs up there?  I've shared how I stock up my kitchen with whole-foods ingredients so I can whip up a healthy meal without a trip to the store.   There is also a hand-dandy graphic of the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" to help you buy the safest produce you can. Bookmark it, pin it, share it.  Save it on your phone so you'll have it for reference at the store.  Happy shopping!

Top 20 Healing Foods- Blueberries

Key Nutrients:
Vitamin C

Blueberries have more antioxidants than 40 other common fruits and vegatables.  Antioxidants help prevent all sorts of things: cancer, heart disease, eye diseases, urinary tract infections and memory loss to name a few. The fiber in blueberries can be a powerful antidote to constipation. Just 1/2 c. of blueberries contains almost 2 grams of fiber, the same as a slice of whole-wheat bread! 

Blueberries are delicious in lemonade- just throw a few in a glass and muddle before pouring the lemonade on top.  They are also delicious in pancakes and muffins like these.

Or, give this recipe a whirl!


3 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.

Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

*You can cook this in regular loaf pans, but you will most likely need to increase your cooking time.  Or try throwing it in muffin tins for a quick breakfast.  If you want to add a streusel topping you can find a recipe for it in the comment section here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Beans

Welcome back to Day 2 of my "Top 20 Healing Foods" series.  Today I present you the humble bean.  Beans are amazing sources of soluble fiber, which soaks up cholesterol so your body can dispose of it before it sticks to your artery walls.  It also is rich in protein, with a cup of cooked lentils providing the same amount as a t-bone steak!  Beans are also rich in folate (a B vitamin) which is essential for a healthy pregnancy, and magnesium which helps relax arteries, giving blood more room to flow and lowering blood pressure.  Choosing red beans gives you an antioxidant boost as well!

Key Nutrients:
Vitams A and C

Here are a collection of bean recipes I've posted in the past.  Try one or try them all!

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salsa
Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos
Black Bean Fiesta Pasta Salad
Hearty Pasta Sauce
Summer Quinoa Salad
Black Bean Soup

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top 20 Healing Foods- Avocados

At Naloma Kitchen I hope to inspire you to eat real, whole foods, and eat deliciously.  I don't believe that you need to give up on delicious, sometimes decadent, food just because you want to eat more healthfully.  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing recipes I've put together using the to 20 healing foods.  Add these to your diet over the next few weeks and see how amazing you'll feel.

Key Nutrients:
Vitamin A
Monounsaturated fat

Avocados sometimes get a bad wrap because of their high fat content.  But they are an incredible source of good-for-you monounsaturated fat.  Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats can help to lower your cholesterol.  Avocados are also high in beta-sitoseterol, a plant sterol that blocks the absorption of cholesterol from food.

They also contain more soluble fiber and protein that any other fruit.  Half of an avocado provides more potassium than a banana.  And they are chock-full of glutathione, a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant.

2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then pour into a medium bowl. Stir in the garlic chili sauce and lime juice. Set the dressing aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, mangos and avocados. Arrange the spring salad mix on serving plates, then top with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture. Pour dressing over the top.

Editor's Note: A friend of mine asked whether the chili garlic sauce was homemade or not.  It's not.  You buy it.  This is what you're looking for.  If you can't find in your area you could always try stirring some garlic into sri racha sauce.  But I think it's a lot spicier so you might want to just do it to taste!  Also, it makes a lot of dressing, so you'll probably have some left over. It would make an awesome marinade.  :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pomegranate Feta Salad

When I was a kid living in Arizona we had a pomegranate tree growing in our yard.  I remember coming home from school and picking them right off the tree, cracking them open and eating the seeds. Little did I know that the fruit I was eating contained such an abundance of good things for my body.

Pomegranates are chock-full of polyphenals, plant chemicals that are powerful antioxidants.  Studies have shown that these polyphenals slow cancer cell growth and actually encourage cancer cells to kill themselves off. 

In addition to antioxidants, pomegranates are also anti-inflammatory and can be helpful for arthritis sufferers.  The juice has been shown to lower the levels of inflammatory chemicals leading to an abundance of an enzyme in the body that can wear away your cartilage.

Pomegranates are also high in flavinoids.  The more flavonoids a person eats the lower the likelihood of develoing dementia and Alzheimers. 

Here's a salad that is quick to throw together and looks amazing.  Give it a try!

1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby greens

Place the lettuce, pomegranate seeds, and feta cheese into a large mixing bowl; set aside. Whisk together the lemon juice and zest, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Black Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

I don't know that I'll ever become a vegetarian, though I have been very close in the past.  But then I'd go for a run and smell someone's BBQ and lose my resolve.  However, I do like to eat a few meatless meals each week.  It's easier on my wallet and easier on the environment.  This soup is hearty, full of protein and super filling.  And I promise you won't miss the meat!  Feel free to play around with the spices and give it your own twist.  Sometimes I like to throw some corn in at the end, and top with cilantro and sliced avocado.

It makes a large amount (about 10 servings) so it's great for a crowd.  Throw it together in the crock pot the next time you head out for a day of skiing or sledding and you'll have a nice hot dinner waiting for you.  It's especially good with a side of cornbread.  Just be sure to give yourself ample time to soak the beans.  You can soak them overnight or give yourself a couple hours before assembly and follow the directions in step one.

1 pound dry black beans

In a large pot over medium-high heat, place the beans in three times their volume of water. Bring to a boil, and let boil 10 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain, and rinse.

In a slow cooker, combine soaked beans and 1 1/2 quarts fresh water. Cover, and cook for 3 hours on High.

Stir in carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, lentils, and tomatoes. Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, red wine vinegar, and salt. Cook on Low for 2 to 3 hours. Stir the rice into the slow cooker in the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Puree about half of the soup with a blender or food processor, then pour back into the pot before serving.  If you have a hand blender, just stick it in the pot and blend until you get a consistency you like.  You want to have some chunks left!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Valentine's Dessert- White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I've never really been one to get all gaga over Valentine's Day.  I don't really see the point in making a big deal out of it, or when I was single, feeling sorry for myself if I was alone.  Yes, it's nice to have an excuse to treat our loved ones, but do we need a special date on the calendar to remind us that we should be showing the ones we love how much we care for and appreciate them?  Maybe some folks do.  I guess I should consider myself lucky that I am married to a man that makes me feel loved and appreciated even when the calendar doesn't tell him to. :) 

So, Valentine's Day around here is pretty low key.  Usually we just have a nice dinner and maybe a fancy dessert like the one here.  Almost always we stay in for Valentine's.  Now that we have kids we do fun things as a family like making cards for each other and exchanging little homemade gifts. 

This cheesecake is a real crowd pleaser.  The kids love it, but it's also decadent enough and fancy enough to serve for a romantic candlelight dinner for two, or one!  Single guys and gals, treat yourself!

If you want to recreate the heart pattern on the top simply drag a toothpick or butter knife in a spiral through your raspberry drops to create the hearts.


1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mediterranian Lemon Chicken

Has anyone else been fighting this horrible crud that has been going around this winter?  I caught it the first time around right after Thanksgiving.  The day after I had no voice and a horrible hacking cough.  No other symptoms, but the cough leaves you drained.  I thought I'd finally gotten over it and felt great over Christmas but now it seems like it's back with a vengance! It's not easy to lose one's voice when you teach preschool by day and yoga by night.  Luckily all of my students, old and young, are very understanding.  The preschoolers think it's hi-LA-rious when I try to sing and the yogis are very gracious, even when I'm hacking up a lung during savasana.  The hardest part of the whole thing though is that it seems to be the worst at night so I'm not getting any sleep.  That's why I love simple, yummy recipes like this.  It keeps us out of the drive-through and you-bake pizza lines and on top of our healthy eating, and I don't really have to think about it much.

This is a really great chicken recipe to have in your arsenal for easy weeknight dinners. It goes together quickly with really simple ingredients and has a nice fresh flavor. And a plus? Most of the ingredients you should already have in a well-stocked pantry. This chicken goes well with a side of rice or roasted veggies. The original recipe called for chicken legs, but around here we don't like chicken with the bones (or, God forbid, VEINS!) in it so I used breasts that I cut into half so they would cook faster. I'm sure you'd get more flavor with bone-in chicken, but what's the point if no one will eat it?! Do what works for your family.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a 9x13 inch baking dish, grate the peel from 1/2 the lemon, squeeze out the juice (about 1/4 cup) and add to peel with the oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.
Remove skin from chicken pieces and discard. Coat chicken pieces with the lemon mixture and arrange, bone-side up, in the baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes. Turn and baste chicken.
Reduce heat to 400 F and bake uncovered, basting every 10 minutes, for about 30 more minutes. Serve chicken with pan juices.

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