Breakfast Motivation

There will always be those days when it seems impossible to hold strong to your commitment to take good care of your body by putting the right fuel into your mouth. And those days will not always be perfect. Your heart might cry when you see a close friend of yours who worked so hard on a delicious meal just for you, just waiting to see what you think about it. Situations like this are difficult, but to me, should not bring you guilt. Guilt and food don’t mesh very well, and is just a recipe for disaster. There are 2 important things that I try to remember, and that have brought me great rewards thus far:

  1. It’s not about perfection. As long as you’re eating right most of the time, you’re moving in the right direction. (By “most” I mean about 80-90%). But always aim for the stars!
  2. If and when there is a bad day that happens; you’re on the road and have no healthy options, or it’s just a crummy day, the important thing is to get right back up IMMEDIATELY and start fresh with a clean slate. Exercise is a great way to bounce back from the food blues.

That’s what I love about breakfast. It’s the morning, and you haven’t made any bad choices yet (with food or with anything else.) You can either set the stage for a healthy day or an unhealthy one. Truth be told, it all starts with getting a full night’s sleep.

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This recipe is inspired from Rip Esselstyn when he did his “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” show that is available on Netflix via stream. It’s very simple. You basically combine small amounts of 3-4 different kinds of healthy whole grain cereals and load it with your choice of fruit.

Here’s what I used. My measurements are approximates. I just eyeballed it, but I will try to give you an idea with standard measurements:

  • 1/8 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded wheat (unsweetened, where the only flavor is “wheat”)
  • 1/8 cup grape nuts
  • 2 tbsp Uncle Sam’s cereal
  • 3 large strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwifruit
  • Unsweetened almond milk (I have no idea how much I used–I just pour it on real good)

I put the cereal in first, then the chopped fruit, then the milk, just like you would do with standard american cereal. This is a very filling breakfast for me, and I eat a lot for a gal my size. I find that tart fruits like mango, strawberry, or kiwi really give the cereal some powerful flavor that doesn’t make me really miss the sweetened almond milk.

Remember, breakfast can be really simple, delicious, and a great motivation to eat right through the rest of the day. Enjoy!

Summer Harvest Soup

I’m finally experiencing it! Hard-core Nutritarians always talk about what it’s like when you start craving the right foods..how your taste buds change, your sensitivity to processed materials drastically increases, and you feel just wonderful! I guess I had always been waiting for that moment because I was never 100% committed. Now that I am about 90% in, I can definitely see what they’re talking about.

I won’t say that this lifestyle change was immediate for me, or easy, for that matter. And I won’t say that I have been perfect at it. But I will say that I definitely want to eat this way for the rest of my life! Also, the more I do it, the more I want to do it.

There will be days when I feel obligated (or even really really want) to eat junk that’s bad for me. And maybe I’ll cave. But that’s doesn’t mean I blew it! The next time I put something in my mouth, let it be something that my body (and my taste buds) will thank me for. That’s what I have to keep telling myself.

Here is a summer-y soup recipe inspired from the Forks-Over-Knives cookbook I treated myself with for graduation. It was soooooooo tasty, and leftovers are great!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced to desired consistency
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped/minced
  • 6 on-the-vine tomatoes, chopped (you can use any kind, but these were so flavorful and delicious!)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 yellow squash, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn*
  • 6 cups veggie stock, or low-sodium veggie broth
  • 2-3 dashes of dried basil
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (AFTER it’s cooked–it’ll taste stronger that way, and you won’t need as much)

* The original recipe calls for 3 ears of corn, kernels removed, but my husband and I got a little impatient with the fresh corn in the fridge. We ate it as a side for a meal previously throughout the week. Oops. 😉

DIRECTIONS:

  • Sauté onion with some of the veggie stock or some water for about 4 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and sauté for 60 seconds.
  • Drop the tomatoes in and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down.
  • Add the zucchini, yellow squash, corn, and veggie stock. Bring the soup to a boil, and then let it simmer at medium for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the basil and lemon.
  • Enjoy!

Tasty Tofu Vegan Lasagna

I know what you’re thinking. “Tofu + vegan + lasagna = oxymoron a.k.a. can’t be good.” I will admit, I did avoid this recipe for longer than I probably should have because I was worried about wasting a lot of ingredients if I didn’t like it. Luckily, some of my brothers-in-law were over at our house when the finished product was concluded and decided to give it a try. They kept going back for more! So I know that the good taste wasn’t just me. It’s possible that I downplayed it a lot before they tried it, so their expectations were low, but it’s always nice to know that your efforts weren’t a waste.

Instead of “meat” this recipe incorporates tofu, and instead of “cheese”, I used ground cashews. Surprisingly a wonderful combination!

I found the recipe on engine2diet.com, and I will always recommend checking out this site!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package Silken Lite tofu
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 jars Engine 2 approved pasta sauce
  • 2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, ground

PROCEDURE:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid.
  • Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
  • Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
  • Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl.
  • Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl.
  • Drain the silken tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.
  • Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
  • To assemble the vegetable lasagna :
  • Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce.
  • Add a layer of noodles.
  • Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.
  • Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles.
  • Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
  • Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles.
  • Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.

I followed this recipe exactly, and it turned out wonderfully. When I do this again, however, I would probably not cook the broccoli too long. I saw this done on an instructional video and the broccoli looked a lot more green than I mine did. But it tasted just fine.

If you try this, please let me know what you think!!!