Category Archives: Diet

For the Love of Pesto!

Walnut Pesto

  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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It has been too long since I posted, so I thought with summer gardens and farmer's markets in full swing I would take advantage. Basil growing all over the place? Pesto time!


  • For those with walnut allergies, feel free to substitute with parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves, rinsed and allowed to dry (if you have a salad spinner, use it)
  • 1 tbsp garlic (about 4-6 cloves) or more (I use closer to 1/4 cup because, well, I love garlic)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup shallots
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until finely chopped.
  3. Drizzle in olive oil until combined.
  4. Marinate for at least 2 hours before using.

Thai Coconut Curry with Zucchini Noodles

Thai Coconut Curry with Zucchini Noodles

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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When I buy zucchinis, I buy 4-5 at a time and use my “spiralizer” to make them into noodles. I usually use several cups immediately and pack the remainder into freezer safe containers, about 2-3 cups each. This recipe uses 1 container of my frozen zucchini spaghetti combined with whole wheat fettuccini. Serves 2. This recipe can totally be multiplied to make more servings.




Ingredients

  • 2 oz dry whole wheat fettuccini noodles
  • 3 cups of spiraled zucchini
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 oz shallots, chopped
  • 3 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white beans
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 ounce chopped scallions (optional)
  • Prepared peanut sauce (optional)

Directions


1. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. If your zucchini is frozen like mine, you can use the boiling water to thaw quickly before putting in the pasta.
2. In another pot (4 quart minimum) or large sauté pan, combine the water, carrots, shallots, mushrooms, and beans. Heat on medium for 10-15 minutes until vegetables have soften.
3. Toss in the curry paste and coconut milk stirring until combined and heat for another 5 minutes.
Toss in pasta and serve immediately topped with scallions and peanut sauce (if using).

Yuca Con Mojo (Cassava with Garlic Sauce)

Yuca Con Mojo

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a simplified way of making this dish quickly and with less oil than the traditional version. This recipe will serve 2 people (or 1 if you really want, I won't tell anyone).

Ingredients

  • 1 serving of frozen yuca (cassava), about 200 grams
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 4-6 garlic cloves (I go for 6 large ones)
  • Juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place frozen yuca in a sauce pan of boiling water. Boil for 10-15 minutes until a knife able to slice easily (similar to when boiling potatoes). Save the water.
  2. Heat olive oil separately in a skillet for 1-2 minutes at medium heat.
  3. Add shallots and garlic to the olive oil, stirring often for 3-5 minutes until the shallots become somewhat translucent. Don’t walk away or your garlic may burn, then yuck!
  4. Remove yuca from the boiling water and slice into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Add yuca to the skillet with shallots and garlic. Toss to combine.
  6. Add 1/4 cup of the boiling water. Continue heating and stirring until water reduced.
  7. Toss in the lemon juice and serve. My favorite is with black beans and guacamole (and roast pork for you omnivores out there).

Tex Mex Pasta

Tex Mex Pasta

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe serves 1, however it can easily be multiplied or split into multiple portions if you are using it as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz whole wheat penne
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
  • 2 oz shallots, chopped
  • 3 oz chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 oz frozen (or fresh) kale
  • 1/2 cup black beans (canned), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup “cheese” sauce (I am a fan of the Happy Herbivore version, vegan or diary based (1oz of shredded cheese of choice if using dairy based)
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile flakes (optional)
  • 100 calorie pack of guacamole (optional), served on the side

Directions

  1. Cook penne according to package directions.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable broth in a separate pot until boiling.
  3. Add shallots, mushrooms and kale and simmer for 5 minutes until mushrooms soften and kale is cooked through.
  4. Add beans, corn, cheese sauce, and chipotle chile flakes. Stir until completely combined.
  5. Add cooked pasta.
  6. Stir and serve immediately.

Buffalo Tofu Pasta

Buffalo Tofu Pasta

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is a super easy meal that is ready in about the same amount of time is takes to cook the pasta. I chose tofu, however I am sure any protein (e.g. chicken, wheat gluten etc.) you choose will go well in this dish. Serves 1 and easily multiplied


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 oz onion of choice (scallions or shallots work great), chopped
  • 3 oz chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped tofu
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 oz whole wheat penne
  • 1 oz cheddar style cheese (vegan or dairy based)
  • 1-2 oz sour cream or mayo (vegan or dairy based), optional

Directions

  1. Cook penne according to package directions.
  2. Boil 1/2 cup of water in a separate pot until boiling.
  3. Add onions & celery and boil until reduced.
  4. Add tofu and buffalo sauce and heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add cooked pasta, “cheese” and cream or mayo if using.
  6. Stir until combined.
  7. Serve immediately.

The International Year of Pulses 

The United Nations has declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” to raise the awareness of their nutritional prowess and sustainability in food production. Pulses refers to the edible seeds in certain plants. This is their way of saying “eat more beans, peas and lentils” my friends. They are good for your body and good for your planet.  Most recipes and meal/snack ideas I post will incorporate pulses of some sort.  Below is a total treat for me from Taco Bell. Soft bean al fresco tacos (I added some vegan “cheese” I made last night, but they are great without them too), topped with, you guesses it, more beans with red sauce (no cheese), plain potatoes and pico de gallo. Oh and a side of guacamole, of course. A gut buster in more ways than you can imagine. Beans: They really are magical.

Top 5 Secrets to Optimal Health

healthy_back Black SHIRT

Some of the best tools in your kit for reclaiming your health, involve more than just changes in what you select to eat and what you choose to avoid.

5 things to keep in mind when making a plan to “Bringing Healthy Back” include:

  1. Always eat with hunger and not out of habit.
  2. Be present at every meal.
  3. Know your trigger foods.
  4. Get plenty of quality sleep.
  5. Find ways to alleviate stress.

Whole Wheat Orzo with Kale, Chickpeas and Tomato “Cream” Soup

Whole Wheat Orzo with Kale, Chickpeas and Tomato Cream Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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The vegetables don't need to be chopped finely or perfectly, most will go in the blender anyway. Feel free to pass this along


Optional: My family enjoys this meal with sausage instead of the chickpeas. I just prepare the sausage in the toaster oven to bake while I make the soup and orzo. You could also opt to use any leftover over protein you may have in the refrigerator like tofu, beef, or chicken. I serve all the ingredients separately and let everyone make their own bowls with as much or as little as they would like.

Ingredients

  • 16oz package of whole wheat orzo (I use Delallo Organic but feel free to use any other small shaped whole wheat pasta)
  • 4 tbsp of Earth Balance Butter (however feel free to use regular butter or other butter substitute, ah, heck olive oil will do)
  • 2 Celery Stalks, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2-4 tbsp dried basil or 1/2 cup fresh basil (depends on how much basil you like, I go all in)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth (chicken broth will do)
  • 2 cans of whole or crushed tomatoes (28 oz each can)
  • 8 oz of vegan cream cheese (feel free to use regular cream cheese)
  • 1-2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the whole wheat orzo according to package directions while you make the tomato cream.
  2. Melt the Earth Balance Butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the celery, onions and garlic and saute for approximately 5-6 minutes (add the salt and pepper here).
  4. Add the basil and broth.
  5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the canned tomatoes and cream cheese.
  6. Puree the mixture with a food processor or blender (in batches) until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender, however remember it may have a chunkier consistency.
  7. Return to the stove and reheat on medium setting. Once the soup boils, add the kale and continue to heat until the kale wilts.
  8. To serve, plate approximately 3/4 cup of the cooked whole wheat orzo, 1/2 cup chickpeas and top with 1-2 cups of the tomato cream (add as much or as little as you would like).

Welcome 2013.

Usually I take the time at the end of every December to write up a blog that gears me (and my readers) up for the year to come.  I did not make any resolutions last year, and truth be told, I never do.  Rather, I embarked on a journey into self discovery and converted to a more compassionate lifestyle including my diet and behavior.

In 2012, I learned to:

  • Toss away the storybook notions I thought dictated how my life should be.  Instead, I embrace the uniqueness of how beautiful things have become no matter how tattered their appearance.
  • Accept the beauty of the hiccups and bumps I encountered in the road.  I wear my battle scars proudly!
  • Go through life knowing things are going exactly how they destined to be. There is a purpose for all I experience.

Let the journey continue and happy 2013 to all of you!

Yvonne, Nutrition Map

Copyright NutritionMap 2013
Copyright NutritionMap 2013

Making Fitness a Family Affair.

The Color Run: Finish Line (Photo Copyright Nutrition Map 2012)
The Color Run: Finish Line (Photo Copyright Nutrition Map 2012)

Over the weekend my family and I walked The Color Run in Englishtown, NJ. I would have loved to run the 5K instead of walking, however my husband and I joined a group of friends and our children to walk together as a team.  I am so glad we did.  Eventually we will run some races without them, however this particular event was fantastic for families and I was amazed at the amount of children excited to exercise (and get pelted with color).  How do you implement physical fitness as a family?