healthy recipes

Warm Apple Salad

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Ready for a new side dish?



Warm Apple Salad
Makes 4 servings



Ingredients:

4 to 5 cups loosely packed spinach or spring mix salad blend
1 lemon, zested and juiced (separated)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste
¼ cup onion, chopped
4 apples, sliced
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. Wash the greens and place in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the garlic into the lemon juice. Stir in the sea salt and lemon zest. Whisk in the olive oil until it’s emulsified into a vinaigrette.

3. Pour half the dressing over the spinach and toss well. 

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add in the onion, cooking until translucent and slightly caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the apples, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Toss in the pumpkin seeds to warm.

5. Add the onion-apple-pumpkin seed mixture to the spinach. Add the rest of the vinaigrette and more salt if desired. Serve and enjoy!



In good health,
Tara


P.S. I have just 1 (but I can be talked into 2) spots left for 1-on-1 coaching in June. If you are interested in learning more, you are welcome to schedule a free 15-minute call. We'll chat about your goals and what you need and find out if it's the right fit for us to work together.


P.P.S. If you prefer to check out some details - including the cost - on your own first, I totally get that! I'm the same way. ;-) Check out my 1-on-1 virtual coaching package here.

Greek-Inspired Veggie Balls with Avocado Tzatziki Sauce

Hey guys,

If you are anything like me, having a recipe that doubles-triples-quadruples as a variety of food types (snack, main dish, side dish, appetizer…) feels like a best-kept secret. This recipe has the potential to be that for you, too. Try it out and let me know what you think!

This recipe is plant-based / vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, no added sugar, egg-free, soy-free…but NOT free of flavor! ;-)

Oh, and the tzatziki sauce is really versatile as well.

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Greek-Inspired Veggie-Balls with Avocado Tzatziki Sauce 
Makes 6-8 servings 


For the Veggie-Balls: 

16 oz. lentils, cooked 
3/4 cup onion, finely diced (set aside a little for the sauce) 
2 cloves minced garlic 
1 tsp dried oregano 
½ tsp cumin 
1 tsp coriander 
½ tbsp lemon zest 
1 tsp sea salt 
Ground pepper, to taste 

For the Tzatziki: 

1 ripe avocado 
1 medium minced cucumber, seeds removed. 2 garlic cloves 
1-2 tbsp diced onion 
2 tbsp lemon juice 
1 tbsp fresh dill (if using dried, use ½ tbsp) Sea salt and pepper 

Directions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Mix together the veggie ball ingredients. Form into 2-inch balls, and place them on a baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. 

3. When it’s time to serve, put all the tzatziki sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy. 

4. Serve and enjoy! 



In good health,
Tara

P.S. If plant-based and gluten free meals are your thing, make sure you grab my FREE 3-day Meal Plan for Losing Body Fat. Not only will you be working on those health & body goals, but you’ll get an arsenal of new recipes to try at the same time!

INTRODUCING - CUSTOM Meal Planning!

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**INTRODUCING** CUSTOM Meal Planning!


I had a colleague reach out to me recently asking for my best business advice. The first thing that came to mind is ABL….Always Be Listening.


Those of you who have been hanging with me for a while know that I believe real change takes a lifestyle upgrade, education, practice, and accountability. That being said, you've also been requesting meal plans from me for a while. ;-) 


I get it! I do. I've seen first-hand how a curated meal plan helps me and my family. It also helps to kick-start results and motivation to continue kicking butt! In fact, someone recently emailed me to tell me she lost 4 pounds on my free, 3-day meal plan! Wow!


So, I have decided to listen to your requests. :-) This service is BRAND NEW and now available to YOU.


What does this entail? The cost is $89 for a 7-day, FULLY CUSTOM plan. After you sign up, I will email you a quick intake form to fill out online that gets me all the info. I need to create this plan for you. Once you've filled out that form, you will have your plan in your hands within 3 business days.


Along with the day-by-day, meal-by-meal plan, I will provide you with a complete grocery list and of course all the recipes!


Pretty exciting, right?


The one pictured above is for someone that wanted just 6 days of a vegan plan. But yours will be 7 days…and doesn't have to be vegan. ;-)


What types of things do I take into consideration when I make this for you?

  • Your goals. Are you looking to lose weight, reduce bloating, balance blood sugar, have some new inspiration in the kitchen…?

  • Your allergies / sensitivities. Dairy free. Gluten free. Nut free….

  • Any particular style you like to eat such as plant-based, paleo, keto, mediterranean.

  • Your likes and dislikes. Hate beets? I won't include any in your plan. Like guacamole? Bring on the Mexican dishes!

  • How many people? I can give you a plan for 1 or make sure the servings can feed a whole soccer team if that's what you need. 

  • Leftovers. Yay or nay? You'll see this sample plan pictured above has lots of grayed-out meals. These are leftovers and help save TONS of time in the kitchen. You may want to include lots of leftovers to maximize time, or you may want something new for each meal. Or something in between. Your call.

  • Cooking time. Do you want fancy meals that may take an hour or more? Or would you like me to stick with things that can be thrown together in 20 minutes or less? You decide.

  • AND MORE… I can adjust your meals and snacks to a certain amount of protein, calories, sodium, etc. if you have very specific needs.


Are you ready to sign up for your first-ever, fully customized meal plan for yourself or your family? I can't wait to help you!



In good health,
Tara

Eggs in a Butternut Squash Nest

Eggs in a Butternut Squash Nest
(
Serves 2)


Ready for a new recipe?! This works just as well for Breakfast-for-Dinner as it does for regular Breakfast-for-Breakfast. Sorry, Lunch.


Ingredients:


1.5 cups butternut squash (spiralized into noodles)
2 tsp. coconut oil
4 whole eggs
sea salt + pepper to taste
1/4 microgreens (optional)


Directions:


1. Form the spiralized squash noodles into nests, making a small well in the center for an egg.


2. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Use a spatula to transfer the squash nests to the pan and cook for about 7 minutes.


3. Crack eggs into cups and transfer them into the wells of the squash nests.


4. Transfer the egg nests onto a plate and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with microgreens (optional) and enjoy!

In good health,

Tara

P.S. If you enjoy recipes like this one, you’re going to want to hop onto my newsletter list! ;-)

Blueberry Muffins - Nut free & Healthified

Hey guys,

It’s no secret that I care - a lot - about my family eating healthfully. It’s also no secret that when they’re in school, there’s a certain amount of control we give up. There are birthday parties and holiday parties and beginning of the year parties and middle of the year parties….

It can all get a bit out of hand. If you are a mama / parent / caregiver of young children like I am, then you might find yourself in a similar debacle from time to time. Not only that, but so much of my homemade treats include alternative flours like almond flour - which is an obvious no-no in our nut-free schools.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here is a blueberry muffin recipe that I made recently during a particularly party-heavy time at school. My kids got to enjoy a treat that I felt good about and we were very cautious about other kiddos’ allergies. :-)

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Blueberry Muffins

(Makes 10 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup coconut flour

  • 5 eggs

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (make sure not to use nut milk if strictly nut-free)

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 2/3 cup blueberries

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp. ginger

  • pinch sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Mix all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender, except blueberries.

  3. Fold in blueberries.

  4. Line a muffins tray with liners.

  5. Fill each muffin cup until 2/3 full.

  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes. You’ll know they are done when the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the muffin.

  7. Enjoy!

In good health,

Tara

Zucchini Fritters

Hey guys,

Last week. I came to you live on Facebook to walk through a little cooking demo (talk-through, really) of how I made Zucchini Fritters. My version is gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free with extra Omega 3s, fiber, and protein.

Here’s that video

For those that requested I write up the recipe, here ya go!

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchinis, grated

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds

  • 1/4 cup cheese of choice (I used non-dairy cheese)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

1) Add grated zucchini and salt to a colander and place in the sink for 5 minutes. Allow extra fluid to drain.

2) Place zucchini in a cheese cloth and squeeze out any additional fluid.

3) Add the eggs, nutritional yeast, flaxseeds, and cheese and mix well.

4) Add oil to a pan and over low-medium heat, cook 1-2 T of fritter mixture at a time (like a pancake). Once edges start to brown, flip over. This takes approx. 3 minutes per side.

5) Keep extras for up to 5 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in toaster or oven.

Enjoy!

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In good health,

Tara

Chia Watermelon Fresca

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Watermelon, watermelon...everywhere!  Want to put this fruit to good use before it's out of season?  Try this deliciously refreshing recipe!

 

Chia Watermelon Fresca (Serves 1)

 

Ingredients: 

• 1 1/2 cups seedless watermelon cubes

• 3 tbsp. water

• 1 tbsp. chia seeds

• 1 slice lime, for garnish

• Sprig of mint, or strawberries, for garnish

• Ice

 

Directions: 

1. In a blender, puree watermelon and water until smooth. 

2. Stir in chia seeds and let them sit for about 5 minutes (to thicken up). 

3. Stir again, and let it thicken for as long as you’d like!

4. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with lime and sprig of mint or strawberries.

 

Enjoy!

 

In good health,

Tara

White Bean and Spinach Stew

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These days, many people are looking for more plant-based meals for various reasons and still crave a hearty meal. Plant-based can still mean something with sustenance, warmth, vibrant colors, and flavors to help fill your belly and your soul!  Stews are a great way to satisfy that need for a heartier meal.  They can be served warm in the colder months, and cold on a hot and humid day.  

The spinach in this meal delivers a serving of low-glycemic vegetables, gut-promoting fiber, and vitamin K, A, C and folate.  The iron in spinach plays a role in well-functioning red blood cells which help to transport oxygen around the body.

The phytochemicals ("plant magic") in onions can reduce the amount of damaging free radicals circulating in your body.  The sulfur and chromium work in tandem to help reduce blood sugar.

Olive oil is rich in heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat.  This helps us absorb all the fat-soluble vitamins in the dish, promote healthy hormones, and nourish our skin and hair.  Olive oil also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is a staple in health-promoting Mediterranean Diet.

Thyme is known to help sore throats...as well as lowering high blood pressure and helping to manage elevated cholesterol in the blood.

Garlic is highly nutritious, yet low in calories.  The powerful compounds in garlic can help to reduce and stabilize blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Cannelli beans brings a plant-based serving of protein to help heal damaged tissues and promote and strong and lean body.  These white beans are also full of fiber which promote a diverse microbiome, weight management, and regular bowel movements.

The lycopene (that red hue) in tomatoes are activated most during the cooking process.  It has been shown to promote the health of the skin, prostate, heart, bones, and blood vessels.

 

White Bean and Spinach Stew (Serves 4)

 

Ingredients: 

• 1 tablespoon olive oil 

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 4 cloves garlic, minced 

• 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried) 

• 2 x 16-oz. cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed & drained 

• 1/2 cup water 

• 4 canned plum tomatoes, drained (organic if possible)

• 1 x 14-ounce low sodium veggie broth (organic if possible)

• 3 cups baby spinach, chopped

• 1/4 tsp. sea salt 

• 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 

Directions: 

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. 

2.  Add garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. 

3.  Add the beans, water, tomatoes, and broth. Increase heat to high until stew begins to simmer. 

4.  Reduce heat; let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add more water, if needed.

5. Stir in the spinach, and cook until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

***If you want to make sure you catch my recipes, weight loss videos, and wellness tips, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter list here.***

In good health,

Tara

Amazing Stuffed Mushrooms

Somewhere around this time every year - the first week of January - it's like my body is ready to be done with the cookies and wine and wants REAL food.  I used to be left with sugar cravings after the holidays, but ever since practicing my own Reset (such as the 10-Day Healthy New You Reset starting this Monday), I've learned how to quickly bounce back and give my body more of what it needs (balance!) so it stops yelling at me to feed it more sweets.  :-)

So, here we are in the first week of January and, once again, I was craving something substantial.  REAL food. A meal. Substance. 

I thought you might be as well.  Or, at least, you might benefit from the real food to help quiet your own post-holiday cravings!

If you plan on making this vegan & gluten-free dish, drop a comment and let me know!  I enjoy hearing from you!

Amazing Stuffed Mushrooms (Serves 4-8)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs mushrooms (you can use baby portobellos, cremini, or button)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (reserve a little extra for serving)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • sea salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Remove mushroom stems (and set aside for later). Brush mushrooms with a little olive oil, place (stem side up) on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  3. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 T of olive oil.  Saute the shallots, bell pepper, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes for about 3 minutes - until they start to get tender.  
  4. Add in the parsley, finely chopped mushroom stems, and chopped walnuts, cook another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in chopped spinach until it wilts.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove mushrooms from the oven, pour off any water that accumulated in the mushrooms.
  7. Spoon the sauteed filling into the mushrooms and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes.
  8. Top with fresh, raw, diced red bell peppers and serve warm.

If you enjoy trying new healthified, gluten-free & vegetarian recipes, sign up for my newsletter so you can receive them straight to your inbox. :-)

Hope you enjoy!

In good health,

Tara

Almond Coconut Bliss Balls

Hellooooooooooooooo!

It's December 3rd.  Yup.  Go check, I'll wait.

:-)

Well, sometimes you need a break from the fancy-schmancy cookies and pies that turn your kitchen upside down and your floors into a flour skating rink.

I feel ya.

Try these Almond Coconut Bliss Balls!

These are a delicious snack or dessert and require NO BAKING!  They come together quickly, so they work wonders when you're in a pinch and need to bring something sweet to your office potluck, your next holiday party, or just to have something on hand for out-of-towners.

<<<These are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, grain-free, no refined sugar, vegan>>>

Enjoy!

In good health,

Tara

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Almond Coconut Bliss Balls

 

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)

½ cup almond flour

2 T honey

2T coconut oil

1 tsp pure almond extract

½ tsp cinnamon

 

Directions:

1.    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.    Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden.

3.    Roll into balls (approximately 1 T each).

4.    Place in freezer on a wax paper covered plate for at least 1 hour.

5.    Keep in container in freezer or refrigerator and serve cold (will melt if left out too long).

Lentil - Veggie Soup

When does soup season officially start in your household?  My car said it was 45 degrees outside yesterday morning when I was up and out early.  Commence souping!  

I've been focusing on natural immunity boosting this past week with my private Facebook community, Lean In with Tara Allen Health.  The omnipresent echo of late October sniffles always seem to inspire my most nurturing of recipes.  Besides the winning ingredients (garlic, spices, plants, protein) in this next recipe, the fact that it is a soup - a hot liquid - will be key in helping to fight off some germs.  When we bring a mug of something nice and hot close to our face (no burning yourself though, deal?!), the steam helps to kill off those pesky buggers that like to hang out in our nostrils and cause head colds.  So, take your time with your soup or tea or coffee and try to inhale as you canoodle with your warm cup of ANYthing. :-)

Here's a soup recipe that I happen to love.  I wanted something warming, hearty, plant-based, and free of dairy and gluten so my whole family could partake.  If it passes that taste-test for your family, make it in large batches next time around and freeze some so if/when you ARE feeling under the weather, you have this on the ready and don't even have to worry about cooking.

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***Lentil-Veggie Soup***

 

Ingredients:

 

1 pound lentils, rinsed

2 quarts broth (chicken, veggie, whatever)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

 

Directions:

 

1. Pour olive oil in bottom of large saucepan on stovetop (medium heat).

2. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes (onions should become slightly translucent).

3. Add all remaining ingredients.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

5. Cook an additional 30-35 minutes on low.

6. Serve as is for a chunkier consistency.  Or, use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in batches) for a smoother consistency (picky toddlers, anyone?). ;-)

7. Freeze any leftovers that won't be eaten over the next few days.

 

Watermelon "Cookies"

I've been on a watermelon kick lately, because…Summer.  Our latest creation involved the baby, the toddler, some fun cookie cutters, and MOST DEFINITELY a couple of baths afterwards.  ;-)

Check it out:

Super Green Protein Cookies

So here's the deal…my kids like cookies.  I like cookies.  There was a 2-for-1 deal on spirulina, and alas….the Super Green Protein Cookies recipe was born.  

I should mention, my investigative 3-year old does always double-check, "These are healthy cookies, right mama?".  Yes, of course!  And they're GREEN!  These cookies will awaken the inner Hulk in us all.  They satisfy a sweet or crunchy tooth without sending your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride.

Spirulina is what gives these cookies its color and is a type of blue-green algae that comes packed with protein, vitamins A, K1, K2, B12, iron, chromium, and maganese.  With that fresh-from-the-ocean smell and taste, it's best to keep portions small and include it in recipes in which it can be camouflaged (such as these cookies or a smoothie).

I used goji berries too, to add texture, sweetness, and plant magic, but feel free to substitute with raisins or omit altogether.  The green-red combo was really pretty though!  I'm thinking I'll have to repost this recipe closer to the holidays for the Christmas celebrators.  (Can someone remind me?  I've got that mommy-brain-sleep-deprived thing going on).  ;-)

The key to the perfect crunch is allowing them to bake until the edges are golden-brown and then being patient enough to let them cool down on a cooling rack (or some other place where the air can get all around).

This recipe makes about 24 cookies.  I've had a lot of inquiries recently about serving sizes (more information to come on that).  To be technical, 1-2 cookies is a good serving for most… per sitting.  So just stand up and sit back down to have more.  Ha!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked like that?!?!

Let me know if you try these and what you think.  The million $ question…did your kids like them?

 

In good health,

Tara

Super Green Protein Cookies

Ingredients:

 

Dry:

1.5 cups almond flour

½ cup ground flaxseeds

3 T dried goji berries (sub: raisins)

1 T hemp seeds

1 T chia seeds

1.5 tsp. spirulina powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

 

Wet:

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup honey

1 T vanilla

 

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir well.

3.    In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and stir well.

4.    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dough is formed.

5.    On a greased baking pan, place tablespoon-sized balls about an inch apart.  Press down / flatten slightly with a fork.

6.    Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F – until the edges are golden brown.

7.    For best results (and crunch!), allow to cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Staying Healthy for the Holidays - Interviewed by Kimberly Chacon

A few weeks ago, I got the pleasure of being interviewed by a very special, local Mommy blogger.  We chatted about life, mama stuff, kiddos, and her journey as a young breast cancer survivor.  

Kimberly Chacon is a graduate of New York University.  Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, she taught English for ten years in New York City.  When she's not running after her 18 month old twins and eight month old baby, she blogs about kids, food, and motherhood at partyoffiveblog.com.

Thanks for taking the time to write this, Kimberly!  Here's the article and a quick picture we managed to sneak in (Kimberly, Magnolia, Jagger, and I):

I don't know about you, but winter always starts out great. I love the chill in the air and the approaching holidays, goodies, and gatherings. Then, I inevitably eat too many cookies at EVERY celebration and I fall into the "I'll get healthy in January" mindset. This year is different. I've been working hard to lose the baby weight and I don't want to go backwards. In addition to weight loss, it is also about keeping my energy up and staying healthy. So, I spoke with an expert to help me figure it out.

I sat down with Tara Allen to discuss health and winter woes. Her credentials include Registered Nurse, Certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer and mom. But I want you to know something else: when you meet Tara she glows with good nutrition. Clear skin, lots of energy, and just "something"that tells you she's healthy. Additionally, I got to meet her darling kids, Jagger and Magnolia. As soon as Magnolia, three years old, sat down with her crayons she wanted to write a grocery list that included Brussel sprouts and green beans. Yes, that happened. At that moment I knew that Tara was the real deal, not just talking the talk, but walking the walk! Surrounded by kids and coffee we had a great chat.

K: Tara! Save me from myself this holiday season. I love ALL THE TREATS. I inevitably eat too many cookies and goodies at every celebration. Help! 

T: Don't show up to a holiday party starving. Just don't do it. Eat a light meal before and then think carefully about your choices. Choose which treat you are going to have and really savor it. If you love pumpkin pie, then wait until you have the best quality, most delicious pumpkin pie and enjoy it! Don't deprive yourself from all the treats or that will backfire. Also, always be prepared. If you know you are going out for a long day of holiday shopping, make sure to have trail mix or a fruit packed in your purse. This will help you avoid eating junk while you are out.

K: Ok, what about this dilemma? My main exercise has been walking, but now it's getting colder and it gets dark at 4 p.m. What workouts do you recommend for winter?

T: You can do workouts at home! Try this while the kids are playing: 10 push ups, 10 squats, walking lunges while wearing or holding your baby, then run up and down the stairs. Repeat this a few times during the day. There is always a way to work it in!  Alternate HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) with long walks and yoga. Also, look on Youtube for free workout videos that you can do in your living room. (Addendum: After our interview, I made it a point to try and work in these kinds of exercises and it is possible, but you have to put your mind to it. The neighbors probably thought I was crazy, but I did squats while holding the baby in the backyard and ab twists using the pumpkins after Halloween. (Tara made a video showing this on her website and I was inspired to recycle my decorations. The pumpkin workout is no joke.)

K: I am trying really hard to avoid that winter "blah" feeling this year. What are some of the things you do to stay healthy during this season?

T: The first thing is that you should eat warming foods at this time of year. I am constantly roasting vegetables during winter. These are easy to pop on a baking sheet and into the oven to eat throughout the week.  I choose one temperature (usually 400 degrees F) and stagger cooking times as needed for each vegetable. In particular, I find myself making a variety of squash, most notably spaghetti and butternut squash.

My second recommendation is take more vitamin D. I love that you wrote a whole blog article about it and women need to know how important it is to their health. One source of vitamin D that people may not be aware of is pastured eggs. These are eggs from chickens that roam free. Their diet is better and makes them a great vitamin source. Also, find a great supplement that works for you. I take up to an extra 1,000 IUs daily during the winter. This helps to build your vitamin D stores when we have less access to sunlight.

K: Do you have any tips for implementing healthy holiday traditions for kids?

T: Actually, yes! My family has a strong tradition of making my grandmother's delicious recipes for Christmas goodies, but as you can imagine, those recipes are laden with shortening and white sugar. But, they are part of our family tradition, so here's what we do: we choose ONE of my grandmother's recipes to make and then make two healthy treats. We use the combination of traditional and healthy treats as gifts for friends and neighbors. This is my most popular "treat" recipe: Healthy Holiday Fudge (scroll down for recipe).

K: You write a lot about kids eating vegetables and I literally just heard your daughter ask for Brussel sprouts. How do you do it?

T: I have tried to make a practice that she eats a vegetable at every meal. I let her choose between two, so her voice is heard, but we eat them together and she loves them. She also helps me with writing grocery lists and meal planning. If you are struggling to get your little ones to eat vegetables, try my recipe for Butternut Squash Apple soup (see below). I suggest starting with it very sweet (more apples at first), then adjusting it to lessen the sweetness over time. It works! 

Thank you for all of these great tips! 

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Healthy Holiday Fudge

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • 2 T honey or maple syrup

 Directions:

1.    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.    Pour into silicone molds or spread evenly in pan.

3.    Place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours (or overnight).

4.    Pop out of molds or cut into squares and place in an air-tight container.

5.    Serve right out of refrigerator, as they will melt if kept at room temperature.

 

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Butternut Squash Apple Soup

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 Butternut squash, raw - peeled and chopped
  • 2 apples, any kind, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

  

Directions:

 

1.    In a large pot, melt coconut oil.  Sautee onion for 3-5 minutes, until translucent.

2.    Add broth, water, squash, and apples.

3.    Bring to a boil.

4.    Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 35 minutes.

5.    Use an immersion blender or transfer batches of soup into a blender / food processor until it is a pureed consistency.

6.    Add cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, and salt and pepper.

7.    Garnish with pumpkin seeds or fresh herbs.

Snack Attack - Pumpkin Pudding

Raise your hand if you're on the pumpkin-everything-until-January bandwagon.

I'm right there with ya!  ;-)  If you answered no, first of all, what's wrong with you?  Kidding!  Or am I?  Regardless, you may know someone (like a child, a spouse, a friend) who DOES love pumpkin everything.  Here's a super-quick, easy, and healthy recipe that works well as a snack, a dessert, a dip for fruit, mixed into oatmeal, under granola, or on top of yogurt.  The kitchen is for creativity!  How do you plan to eat this Pumpkin Pudding?

In an earlier social media post, I promised you guys some nutrition facts.  I think there's a time and place for counting calories, protein, etc.  I don't believe it's for everyone or forever, no matter what your situation is.  I'm a strong believer in listening to your body, balancing hormones, reducing stress and cravings, and eventually being able to be so in tune with your own needs, that there's no food journaling or strict tracking needed.  That being said, it IS helpful sometime.  Example: If you want to start your health journey and have NO IDEA how many calories you take in on a typical day, you may want to track for a few days to get a baseline.  Or, as in this case, I created this recipe custom for a client of mine that has Gestational Diabetes.  She needed something high in protein, high in fiber, low in carbs/sugar, and wanted it very "pumpkin-y".  Haha!  So, here you have it...

  • 150 Calories
  • 8g fiber
  • 12g net carbs
  • 11g protein
  • 1 full serving of veggies
Pumpkin Pudding

Pumpkin Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 T peanut flour (a.k.a. powdered peanut butter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1. This is the easy part - mix all ingredients together in a bowl / mug / cute cup.  That's it!  Enjoy immediately, store in fridge up to 3 days, or freeze and serve at a later date for your holiday party.

Enjoy.  In joy.  In health!

Tara