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Five Tips to Maximize Your Smoothies



Summer is here already, and it is a great time to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet! Around the Dodge house, we’ve made it a goal to make more smoothies to kick start our day with a nutrient-rich drink! Here are five simple tips to help you get more out of your smoothies!

  1. Green Smarter – Save time and money with a few simple tricks. Especially if you are a CSA member or have a great local Farmer’s Market, buying greens in their growing season will give you the best prices. You can save these extra greens a few ways! If you have a dehydrator or if your oven has a low setting, you can dry your greens and toss them in the food processor to create your own “greens powder.” Store in an air-tight glass container and scoop dried greens into your smoothies! Secondly, save and freeze greens you used to discard – carrot top greens, strawberry stems, broccoli leaves? Keep them and toss them in when you are low on other greens!
  2. Prep Your Powerfoods – Prep your seeds and nuts in a food processor ahead of time. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp protein, and spirulina are some of our favorites. If you want a mix of these in each smoothie, mix up a big batch for easy daily use! Simply add a tablespoon or two to your blender after you’ve added the liquid. You’ll end up adding these high quality nutrients more often in if they are easy to reach for!
  3. Balance Your Smoothies –something sweet, something green, something powerful! While a four-fruit smoothie may taste great, it is a missed opportunity to amp up your diet with extra greens and powerfoods. Bananas, mangos, and pears have strong and sweet flavors, and can stand up to strong flavored greens. Always add in something green – collard greens, kale, and spinach are all easy to find options! Be intentional about adding something with power – add hemp for protein, avocado for healthy fats, flax seeds for omega fatty acids, parsley for digestion and detoxing.
  4. Step Up the Liquid – It’s common to add water or ice, which is simple and perfectly fine! For an even more nutritious smoothie though, add your made-at-home almond milkor coconut milk, or plain coconut water! Each of these alternatives have their own nutrient benefits, including vitamins and minerals in their natural form.
  5. Save Leftovers – Make a smoothie pudding with the leftovers by adding a tablespoon of chia seeds per ½ cup. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays, add back to future smoothies or enjoy a small frozen treat! Make popsicles with a popsicle mold! Make fruit leather (with non-dairy smoothies) – smooth out on a silicone mat in the oven at 200 degrees, or keep it living and dehydrate fruit leather at 115 degrees! Stretch those smoothie leftovers to get more out of your efforts!

 

Smoothie Recipe Round Up

Here’s a few great smoothie recipes for you to try! 

  1. Green Ginger Peachhttps://www.marthastewart.com/965191/green-ginger-peach-smoothie?czone=c&center=997029&gallery=968757&slide=965191
  2. Avocado Pearhttp://simple-nourished-living.com/2012/06/avocado-pear-smoothie-a-38-power-foods-cookbook-recipe/
  3. Kale Pineapplehttps://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/kale-smoothie-recipe
  4. Berry Chiahttps://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Antioxidant-Chia-Smoothie-Recipe-28552408
  5. Greens and Parsley http://www.wholeliving.com/152126/7-detox-smoothies/@center/152870/2012-whole-living-action-plan#106790

 

What is your family’s favorite smoothie combination? What powerfoods do you love to add? 

Holistic Meals for the Family: Veggie and Bacon Mini Frittatas

Another recipe from the Doc’s wife!

I am not the best about making and eating nutritious, good breakfasts for myself. I got into the habit of just making our son’s eggs or quinoa breakfast, and not making anything for myself until lunch. In an effort to reform that and make something the Doc would enjoy too, I experimented with making mini frittatas, and have worked out a little recipe along the way! Now, in our home, we call these “egg cups” because that is what our 2.5 year old wants to call them. But Fancy Nancyhttps://www.amazon.com/Fancy-Nancy-Jane-OConnor/dp/0060542098 would call them mini frittatas, I think. So let’s call them that.

Veggie and Bacon Mini Frittatas

 

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups of broccoli, diced

2 cups of kale (or spinach), chopped

1 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces while uncooked

16-18 large eggs

1/4 tsp salt, optional

1/8 tsp pepper, optional

1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, optional

cupcake/muffin liners

 

Makes about 18 servings

 

Preparation:

Cut bacon strips into 1/2 inch pieces – kitchen shears make this simple. Fry bacon until crispy and set aside. Strain bacon fat into a mason jar, and return about 1/3 cup back to your sautee pan. (Yes! I am a bacon fat user and saver. The pastured porkhttp://livestockfirstranch.squarespace.com/pastured-pork/ that we use is  worth it, but not cheap. I intend to use all of its “beyond organic” goodness! In a balanced, nutritious diet, Dr. Dodge and I “heart bacon”http://holisticsquid.com/i-heart-bacon/ just like the Holistic Squid. If saving bacon fat isn’t your thing, I suggest a high quality coconut oil.) To the bacon fat, add your diced onion and broccoli and sautee till tender. Add kale when the onions and broccoli are almost done. Toss bacon pieces back in and turn off the heat. I use a full muffin tin and a half tin, because that’s what I have. This will make about 18 servings. if you want a dozen, back off the broccoli, kale, and eggs a bit.

Line the muffin tins with cupcake liners – I like these unbleached liners https://www.amazon.com/If-You-Care-Unbleached-60-Count/dp/B000FAIR96I can find at Market Street. Add about 1/4 cup of the veggie and bacon mixture to each cup. Add whisked eggs to fill about 4/5ths of the liners. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes.

I don’t add salt and pepper – each ingredient is very flavorful. But add it if you want! I also don’t add cheese, but would during pregancy to bulk up the protein count!

To store for a week’s worth of breakfast, we place them in a shallow glass dish, cover them, and keep them in the fridge! You could certainly wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze them individually as well. Pop them back in the oven or toaster oven in the morning, and you are all set! Enjoy!

Holistic Meals for the Family: Paleo Meatloaf

 

This is one of Dr. Dodge’s favorites! Since we do our best to stay clear of gluten and dairy, Paleo meals are a great option. With the beef, eggs, and almond meal, this makes for a high protein meal! We leave the ketchup out because our son reacts to it, but Sprouts right here in Coppell carries an organic ketchup if you want to include it. We use Bragg’s liquid aminosinstead of worchestire sauce – it is salt, GMO, and preservative free.

Recipe:

1 lb of grass-fed ground beef

1 onion, diced

3/4 cup almond meal

2 eggs

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp Braggs liquid aminos

Optional:

1/3 cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients. Place in a rectangular baking tray, bake at 350 degrees Farhenheit for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Serves: 4

Holistic Meals for the Family: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Hi all! When Daniel brought the huge bowl back EMPTY from his Coppell Senior and Community Center wellness talk last week, I was floored! I was sure that there’d be a good portion left over! He said that they had loved it, that so many people asked for the recipe, and that we definitely had to share it on the blog! So, as requested, here is the Quinoa and Black Bean Salad that Dr. Dodge brought for lunch last week!

For those of you who didn’t attend the talk, Dr. Dodge discussed the benefits of eating high quality carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables, and- this recipe gives you a bit of all of those. You can read his talk in the previous blog post. This recipe can also easily be adapted for your preferences!

The original recipe is from epicurious.com – I’ve made a few tiny changes based on convenience and preference.

 

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Prep and Cook Time: 30 min, plus time for quinoa to cool

Serves: 4-6

1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 ears fresh corn, sliced off the cob

1/2 cup green peppers, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Dressing

5 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 1/4 tsp cumin

1/3 cup olive oil

 

Rinse quinoa seeds well before cooking. Cook with a 1:2 quinoa to water recipe, so cook 1 1/2 cups of dried quinoa with 3 cups of water. There are many methods of cooking quinoa, but I am happy with just boiling the quinoa and water together, then letting it simmer for 10 minutes or so. While the quinoa is cooking, add beans, corn, pepper, cilantro and vinegar and mix. After the quinoa has cooled, combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, salt, cumin. Slowly add the olive oil, continuing to whisk. Incorporate dressing to salad, add salt and pepper to taste (I add a good bit of pepper, maybe 1/4 tsp).

Salad can be served cold or at room temperature.

This is a versatile recipe, as you can change ratios and add any ingredients you like! Add halved cherry tomatoes, different types of peppers, cucumber, avocado…yum!

 

Cold quinoa salads are pretty popular – how do you make yours? Share recipes and ideas with us please!

Holistic Meals for the Family: Lentil Soup

It can be really tough to make healthy, tasty food for your family. Add in the importance of eating as organic as possible, and it can be expensive, too! Through our “Holistic Meals for the Family” series, we’ll share some of our family’s “frugal” recipes and ideas, and give you a little background on some of those special healthy ingredients you might not be familiar with. First up: LENTILS!

What are lentils?

Lentils are a type of legume, like dried beans. What we buy in the store to cook and eat are the dried seeds of the lentil plant, which come in little one- or two-seed pods.

They are small, so they cook pretty quickly. They also absorb flavor quite well, so they can be very versatile!

 

Why are lentils good for us?

Lentils are tiny but mighty legumes. For only about 230 calories per cup, they pack a ton of nutrients. Check out their nutritional contents here.

Lentils are an excellent source of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps your body get rid of cholesterol-containing bile, and insoluble fiber is excellent for overall digestive health. The fiber in lentils helps them act as a slow burning carbohydrate, which helps stabilize blood sugar. Lentils are especially healthy for people with blood sugar related conditions. The high folate and magnesium content in lentils makes them a particularly “heart healthy” food as well. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which is especially important for pregnant and nursing mothers. To top it off, lentils contain less than a gram of fat per cup! As far as we see it, these little legumes can’t do wrong! However, if you avoid high-purine foods, be aware that lentils do naturally contain a moderately high level of purines.

For more information, read The World’s Healthiest Foods article on Lentils. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=52

 

Where do I get them, and what do I buy?

You can find lentils prepackaged in most grocery stores with the dried beans and rices. You may also be able to find them in the bulk foods sections – Sprouts right here in Coppell carries lots of varieties at great prices. We get our organic lentils in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods. I’ve also found the Arrow Head Mills organic green lentils locally, at Market Street. We recommend buying the dried variety and cooking them yourself, rather than the canned option. This just brings you closer to eating less-processed foods, and avoids the potential for BPA-lined cans.

 

How do I cook them?

If cooking plain lentils, use a 1 cup of lentils to 3 cups of liquid (stock or water) ratio. You can bring the liquid to a boil with the lentils already added, or boil the water first, then add lentils. Either way, once the liquid and lentil combination is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Green and brown lentils take right about 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Smaller, thinner lentils like red and orange lentils may be ready in 20 minutes. For recipes that call for cooked lentils, like a cold lentil salad, taking the lentils out a little “al dente” is usually preferred.

 

Recipe: Lentil Soup

I certainly don’t claim to be an excellent cook, but my two taste-testers, Dr. Dodge and little Charlie, are big fans of my lentil soup. It is pretty simple flavor-wise, so I think it is a great introduction to lentils. If you try it and hate it, don’t give up on lentils! There are lots of great recipes out there – I’ve linked a few at the end for you to check out! I also won’t add “organic” in front of every ingredient, but you can easily find all of these ingredients in their organic variety in the grocery store! We’ll post more in the future on the importance of eating organic and local!

 

Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8-10

¼ cup olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)

2 cups diced carrots

1 ½ cups diced celery

1 ½ cups diced onion

2 cups dried green lentils (if you use a different type, read the instructions for cook time)

6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1 tsp salt (I highly recommend pink Himalayan sea salt – it is delicious!)

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp thyme

There are lots of ways to jazz this up – I’ve added fennel, local sausage and bacon from Livestock First Ranch…add what sounds good!

Add olive oil, garlic, carrots, onion, and celery to a large sauce pan. Sautee (medium low – medium) until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Add lentils, stir to coat. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender. Add stock, salt, and pepper to preference. Enjoy!

 

Yummy-Looking Recipes to Try:

Curried Lentil Soup from Oh She Glows

Mediterranean Lentil Salad from Elly Says Opa

Moroccan Chicken and Lentils from Epicurious

 

 

Please share your experiences with lentils! Do you have any great recipes we should try?