Encouraging Health and Happiness

Author Archive

Superhero’s for your Gut

I recently saw the new Batman Movie ” The Dark Knight Rises”   Christian Bale once again struggles to keep Gotham City safe from Crime and Harm to citizens.

  • Did you know that certain foods you eat, destroy your gut and it’s ability to fight off infections, weight gain and zapp your energy and moods?

Get  some Superhero’s in there to kick some bad guy booty and clean up your gut!

They’re called Pro-Biotics ( they mean  literally “for life”)

The best and most powerful enzymes – are found in fermented foods

EAT FERMENTED  VEGETABLES!

Get  thinner, gain energy,  reduce bloat and digestive issues, and boost your immune system! (more…)


Olympic Foods – What world class athletes need

I decided to celebrate the Olmpics this year with an Opening Party!

My husband and I had some friends over and watched the Opening Ceremonies from London with some amazing foods!

OLYMPIC FOODS!  – stay tuned this week for recipes!

1.  Jicama Watercress salad with citrus vinagrette

2.  Black rice and mango salad

3.  Cinnamon beef

4.  Fish

5.  guacomole (avocado)

6.  corn on the cob

7.  pickled onions

8.  corn tortillas

Foods world class athletes eat.  Why?

 

These foods increase

  • circulation
  • energy
  • heart health
  • cellular metabolism
  • immune system
  • mineral absorption
  • bone density
  • digestion

they also decrease

  • inflammation (overtraining induced)
  • weight gain
  • oxidation (from bad foods and pollution)

Jicama Watercress salad with citrus vinagrette 

Why athletes eat it:

Jicama Anti-inflammatory, high in B vitamins, potassium, iron, magnesium, increases cellular metabolism (a must for endurance athletes)

Why you eat it:

it’s loaded with all sorts of healthy benefits including vitamin C, lots of iron, and a dietary fiber called inulin that speeds up your digestive system!  The best thing about eating it?  Virtually no calories!

Watercress 

A study published in the British Journal of  Nutrition reports that eating a small amount of this leafy green each day raised  levels of key antioxidants that fend of damage caused by exercise. – Overtraining causes stress on the body and inflammation

Why you eat it :

Decreases inflammation and oxidants from bad foods and environments.

This salad is chock full of nutrients and deliciousness – Read on for recipe!

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Breakfast Club, Final Meeting!

Are you eating breakfast?  Could it be better?

Last week I posted options for rushed days, to keep your sanity, energy and pant size (or DROP ONE!)

This is the last of the breakfast club!   I have given you two more options.
For more relaxed days and in-between days.    Get on the breakfast train!

All Olympic Athletes eat breakfast!  Be awesome and beautiful, join the club!   Read on

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Breakfast: No Time? No Worries!

FAIL PROOF BREAKFAST OPTIONS    

Every day is different – Right?  Just like our Seattle Summer Weather we never know what the day will bring.  You may hit the snooze button too many times and sit bolt upright in a panic.  You may wake up early and have the day off.  Or you may just have a typical day where you have just enough time – but no extra.

Since Time is the common thread here to a good breakfast.  I have made three options for you.  This is my week last week and what I had to work with.

Biggest take away here – is always have a prepped option, for your no-fail plan!

Day 1 :  Busy Day – no time!

I rarely wake up late.  I cherish my sleep and usually get to bed by 9:30 – but this morning, I surfed the web a little too long, and hit snooze a few times – OOPs!

No time!  What to do for breakfast?

– Before I take the dog around the block, I pop a waffle in the toaster, smear some almond butter on it and grab a banana.    The best waffle choice I have found is nature’s path – I love the Chia Plus and Buckwheat Wildberry.

Either one gives you fiber, whole grains, low in sugar, mod in carbs.  great for a slender waist and high energy.   Almond Butter gives you more protein and keep you full longer.  Look for kinds with nothing else added.  Ingredient label should say: Almonds – THAT’S IT!  1 tbsp is plenty.  Remember you will burn this off by lunch.

 

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Let’s say – I was in such a rush I forgot my waffle.  That’s when I grab a Pro-Bar , superfood slam.  I love this one!  That way I’ve already started my day with some greens, fiber, protein and healthy carbs – to rev up my metabolism and keep me going till lunch.   I always buy 2 a week – keeping one in my bag and one in my glovebox.   Fail Proof!

 

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Stay tuned  for other breakfast on not so harried days!

 


Legs up the Wall, Easy and necessary!

sit close to wall – knees bent and arms around knee- rt shoulder and knee pressed against wall – then turn onto your back. Adjust accordingly. Keep back flat and legs straight – bend knees if too intense

The previous post on Flexibility is and awesome and much needed post! This has been a recent focus in my weight loss group class – COVER SHOT.   Did you know that if you are more flexible, you will gain more muscle?  And that more muscle burns more calories?   To burn brighter.. learn to lengthen and let go ( stay in the stretch.. try 2 mins per stretch)

Last Wed ( 7/ 18) We were joined by Jasyoga http://www.jasyoga.com  
Erin Taylor, Owner and RYT , along with associate Kendra – let participants through a stretching sequence and letting go exercises, to release tension and stress in both their body and mind. With more flexibility you can strengthen much more and reduce setbacks.

One exercise – Super simple , than ANYONE can do every night – legs up the wall.

Contact Erin Taylor at http://www.jasyoga for info!


Join The Breakfast Club

Last week I posted an entry on beautiful people (surfer’s) and what they eat.  One big component to a great body is BREAKFAST!

Listen to your mother – Eat your breakfast!  If you would like

1.  Clearer thinking

2.  Weight Loss

3.  Better mood  thourghout the day

4.  More Energy

5.  More Money and Friends

Allright – # 5 is not guaranteed, but if you  are thinking clearer and have more energy and better mood at work – you definitly should be in the running for a raise and people should be flocking to you !

If you’re not eating breakfast  within the first couple hours of your day  I challenge you to

Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Smart and Gorgeous people eat breakfast!

Read on for easy ways to join the club and get results!

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Get a surfers’ bod!

  Surfer’s bodies are gorgeous!  They are long and lean and strong!

 

With nice defined muscles and not bulky – also these wave riders are glowing!    Yeah this could be the sun and surf – But they also fuel up for this demanding sport – for that they need energizing grains, high vitamins and minerals and protein!

 

Keep your Energy high and waist line down with these great meals. 

Make ahead and keep on hand for great take to work or travel options!

I have found two great recipes- both chock full of anti-oxidants, fiber, nutrients, metabolic boosting and energy boosting!

1.  Bon Appetite- Surfer Granola  July 2012

2.  PCC Indonesian Rice Salad – tons of beautiful color and flavor!  I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!

Read On for recipes!  

Oh – and if you need a guide to your getting to your kick ass physique and eating habits to brag about – contact me!  New workshops in both group training and nutrition this Sept!

Bcurran@macseattle.com

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What’s Cooking! July 6th

Hello!  Currently I am sitting at a coffee shop at Greenlake – looking at the beautiful weather and happy people.  Cooking in a hot kitchen does not sound so delightful – so I have chosen a  great Summer salad

I got this recipe out of Bon Apetite magazine – it’s got everything I love ;  Bursts of color, Asian flavor , heartiness without heaviness.

This dish will satisfy your belly and make it presentable for summer viewing as well!   i’m gonna double it and use it for lunches next week!

Click on my profile for more great  Recipes and tips!

Breanne Curran

Health Coach, Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer

or … your arsenal to a kick ass body and  eating habits you can brag about !

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables

We like vegetarian mains in summer; for a heartier dish,  add shredded rotisserie chicken or sliced grilled steak.


Stay Lean! Eat Clean – Grapefruit!

Burn Fat and Keep Healthy!

Did you know that  anti-oxidants are found in colors?  Any naturally colored food has anti-oxidants.  Grapes, kale, eggplant – the darker and denser the more anti-oxidants and nutrients. This July eat more Grapefruit!

Nutritional Benefits of Grapefruit are many.  Packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants. Grapefruits are loaded with all kinds of vitamins (namely vitamins A, C, Calcium and Magnesium) Grapefruit also contain lycopene, an antioxidant pigment that’s found red fruits and Vegetables.  Lycopene is llinked to reduction of prostate and breast cancer as well as cardiovascular disease. Naringenin is another antioxidant found in grapefruits. It’s actually what gives the grapefruit most of its flavor.

Naringinen keeps you slim and Burns Fat!

  • Increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin
  • Studies show naringenin forces the liver to burn fat rather than storing it

Email me at Bcurran@macseattle.com for my monthly newsletter with this and other great info !

Read on For Delicious Recipe !

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Healthy Travel Foods

Breanne’s pant size saving snacks for on the go.

These are my favorite go to snacks for myself and clients when  traveling. For most of us – this means decreased activity. We are most likely not going to be hitting the gym for an hour everyday on vacation(or work trips), and we are probably going to find ourselves indulging in some added treats throughout the day. So – to keep you from undoing all the hard work you put in the week before:  Take these great snacks along with you. You will regret it if you don’t – Trust Me! If you can – prep up some snacks and breakfast go-to’s  at home before your trip. Taking 1 hour to make these  will save you a lot of grief and pounds!  Plus – you’ll save money !

1.  Homemade Granola

Double this and take some for travels.  Any coffee stand can give you a tall cup of milk to add the granola and some fruit too.  Boxed cereals have more sugar, less protein and more carbs = hello tight pants!

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Father’s Day Thoughts

I tell all my clients to do yoga – any type.  It basically forces your body and your mind to unwind and calm.  For Type A people like me (who have a hard time holding still) it saves you.  Your body and your mind, forces you to hold stretches and keeps your monkey brain quiet for a bit, always after a class – I am renewed, relaxed and have better and clearer thinking.

SO tonight- I left thinking about my Dad.  How I spent a great father’s day with him and how great it is that we now have open conversations as two adults, not just as parent and child.  He has definitely instilled in me many of my traits I carry now.  Some of these are 1.  Have a strong sense of self  2. Never turn down an adventure 3.  Don’t be afraid to leap… just look where you’re going.

My dad is a wanderer (he literally has a business card stating this) He wanders the world, most often from the Northwest to the Far East to the Beaches of Mexico.  He doesn’t carry much — because he knows that less is more (in every way), and quality is much better than quantity (which is why he has a nice new backpack for his flight  tomorrow)

(Dad on recent Mule expedition in isolated Baja to see cave paintings thousands of years old)

My father has made me great at what I do and keeping myself challenged to always do better.  As a trainer, nutrition specialist and health coach I keep in mind (for myself and my clients)  to know what is possible and not be afraid to leap to get there !  If we pack our bags right for the journey ahead  and  look where we are going  – we will not only get further but land sure footed (for more leaps) – so Thank you Dad!  Here’s to many more challenges, adventures and leaps

Oh – and please read below for a great kale, beet, walnut salad my dad made last night – it was in direct competition with my miso cabbage salad.  I think his won 🙂  Both recipes below.

I am adding some avocado and salmon to the miso salad tonight – it is delicious!

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What’s cooking!- June 15 2012


Asian Salads. 

These 2 salads are both high in anti-inflammatories, protein, iron, magnesium and happen to be delicious!

As previously promised.. I post every Friday, what I am cooking up this weekend for healthy eats and for a great set up for the next week.  This helps keep me on track with healthy choices and it makes my week a heck of a lot easier.

I’ve got one breakfast item planned (Grainola)

And 2 salads – 1 with some grains in it for more substantial eats.

I also am gonna cook  up some yellow squash with Kale and red pepper (to combine with rice or other grain for easy dinner… I love egg and kimchi on top of cooked grains and greens for dinner)

Read below for the Chopped Miso Salad recipe and  Wild Seaweed Salad

These are both anti inflammatory, cleansing and alkaline meals.. as well as great flavors I love – more thai/ japanese

tastes.  Some people crave burgers.. I crave seaweed!  It’s high in protein, iron and magnesium. (more…)


Eat Slow, Drop Pounds!

Get Slow, Drop Pounds

Last Week, at my Cover Shot  Workshop we talked about eating slow,  how this is one of the necessary foundations for weight loss.  This is also homework for the participants to do at every meal, through the program.  While this is about consistency and integrating healthy habits.  I thought I’d give some further science behind this.

And there happens to be   a recent article in Yoga Journal,  June 2012 that touches exactly on this.

By Katherine Guthrie

Sweet and Slow    mindful eating enhances weight loss naturally

Eating out can lead to excess.  But a new study shows that women that practice mindful eating can lose weight without dieting!  Even when continuing to dine out regularly.  Women who used these techniques which include taking the time to savor the appearance, smell , texture and taste of their food, ate roughly 300 fewer calories per day then those who didn’t and lost an average of 3.7 pounds over six weeks.  ” The goal is to maximize the pleasure of eating out”  syas lead author Gayle Timmerman, a nursing professor  at University of Texas, Austin.

” If you are paying more attention you can be satisfied with less”  The mindful eating skills transferred to the women’s own kitchens, leading them to eat fewer calories at home.


Cover Shot – Clear Eyes, Full Hearts!

You, Unleashed!

ROAD TO THE ULTIMATE COVER SHOT!

This is my 3 month group Weight Loss Group Series.  I’ve got a full group with Big Goals and the Best of Intentions.  Now, Intentions will only get us so far… we’ve got to have the skill power with that will power!

To keep this group dropping pounds, inches, stress and feeling fabulous – I’ve got an arsenal of pros for Support and Accountability, not to mention some kick ass tips and workouts. Last week in review:

Last Wed and June 20th =  Meghan Smith – RYT – Local Yogi – check out her classes at www.meghanjoyyoga.com

Meghan brought us info on how Yoga kickstarts Weightloss and the many benefits along with this.

She’ll be back next time for a powerful sequence to charge us up and make us sweat!

Did you know?   Cortisol is the number 1 reason for weight gain and belly fat.  Yoga incorporates intense core work and body stabilization, along with breathing techniques that calm the body and releases stress (#1 cortisol increaser) .  A double whammy to blast belly fat!

Jimmy Curran – Chef and coffee shop owner – Bustle – 6th and McGraw – Queen Anne

Jimmy presented easy meal prep tips.  If you hate preparing meals at the end of a long day – or you think it’s not worth it for just one person to do – Think again!

Jimmy brought his expertise to demo how you can prep up vegetables to keep stocked, for easy meal additions to cooked grains, proteins .  Great for Stir Frys, salads, additions to cooked rice or quinoa.

Dinner in 5 mins- sans the work!

Did you know?  If your have things portioned out and prepared you are 80% more likely to include healthy items in your meal.  Also – Red Bell Pepper is extremely high in Vitamin C.  Chop it up baby!

Me – Nutrition Specialist, Health Coach and Personal Trainer

All these tips add into buiding a strong foundation to weight loss.  With some yoga prep exercises, and great core building exercises – along with daily diet steps  and vision exercises –

We’ve got the recipe for Success!  Eat better, Get Kick Ass workouts and results!

Did You Know:  Digestion Takes over 70% of your total energy?  Need more energy?  Slow down when eating and stop at 80% Full.  Fully chew every  bite and put away your food when apporaching full. You will feel lighter and lose weight!

I am thrilled to keep participants reaching  to their Ultimate Cover Shot with Clear Eyes and Full Hearts!


What’s Cooking this weekend! June 8th

Best of Intentions

If you are like me, once the week hits, you don’t get much of anything in your personal life done. I pretty much work and prepare for work…lucky for me I love what I do, and the days fly by!  But I am still trudging up the steps after a long day, exhausted and looking forward to dinner and relaxing.

 Rather than snacking on random foods and stressing about what I have in the fridge, I avert this whole bad situation by stocking up on the weekend. Every weekend I cook up foods that will last me at least through Thursday

A breakfast option, lunch and something to toss in with a protein for dinner.

  So weekly I post what I am making this weekend. this keeps me eating  better, but I saving  money and looking forward to my next meal. Everything is done in one hour.  So pump up some tunes, get out your knives and pots and try it out with me! (more…)


Link

Behold the Power of Apple Cider Vinegar!

 

Cleaning House!   Your True Home

Our bodies are constantly seeking balance, when we eat too many heavy, greasy processed foods, sugary foods, foods lacking in nutrients – our digestive tract suffers and we get bloated, tired and fat… our
eyes, skin, teeth and hair suffer. Basically we feel and look gross.

Luckily we have sources – are loaded with beneficial bacteria that are intensely interested in cleaning up their new environment- your intestines. They will do everything in their power to fulfill their mission.
Working with you to create a healthy body, they soften hardening fecal material, attack toxins, combat parasites and balance the acidity/ alkalinity of both intestines .

Best Digestive Flora –
Fermented Foods are the most healing of foods

They increase immunity, energy, higher absorption and assimilation of nutrients. They even provide your body with beneficial micro flora for a cleaner, leaner you!
Get the most from your foods, reduce belly fat and bloating.

Micro flora in fermented foods produce B vitamins, B-3, B6 and B12 play a critical role in assimilation of fats (use of fats that benefit the body- rather than storing fat) Once your system is established with
lots of B vitamin producing friendly bacteria, you’ll find it easier to digest fats. Enzyme and mineral rich superfoods aid digestion, eliminates toxins and restores a healthy ecosystem. Also cultured veg are a
wonderful way to control sugar cravings.    One of these magic detoxifiers to the body is Apple Cider Vinegar

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Surviving weekends with the Fam.. while eating well!

Every Weekend I post – What’s cooking !  This weekend it’s foods  (and activities) to keep me on track and focused while enjoying family time and having fun!

So this weekend what’s cooking is easy foods that keep me balanced and cool.  Why?  the in laws are in town.  No , really I enjoy my time with my in-laws, but this also means nieces and nephews and cousins.. lots of family. This means lots of events with lots of different foods, that may not be my first and healthiest choices.

So.. to keep my healthy eating in check and feeling energized and good.. I am making these two recipes.  These will be my back ups to eat before not so healthy functions ( and not give into the less healthy temptations around me.. or just have less of those tempting treats)

Also – it’s important to reset yourself, when you’re zapped and feeling overwhelmed.  I make sure and take some time for myself, before hanging out with family, this way I get to clear my head .. and have more energy and better mood for loved ones.  This morning it was a jog around greenlake and Kettlebell class at kettlebility!

Tomorrow am – it’s Spin and Yoga at Live Love Flow (12th and cherry- Cap Hill)  folllowed by delicious green smoothie at  Heleo!  What a way to start the day!  (seriously) wish I could do that every day.

Read on for

1.  Hijiki and edamame salad – Protein packed and cleasing!

2.  Roasted Yams and Kale – filling and nutritious! – no headaches or belly aches

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Hungry for a Better Body ?

Diets don’t work.. pure and simple, that’s why people go ON them… because they always go OFF them.  Something that remains constant is lifestyle.  Get to great eating habits that sustain.. and stop going ON diets.

   Check out this link to  a great film , that speaks exactly about this 

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

Put this into action and get Real Results, join me and other wellness professionals this summer (experts in cooking, yoga, massage, kettlebell, gardening and more)  Stay accountable and supported with

COVER SHOT – weight loss and nutrition series, starts June 6th @ 6 PM (few spots remaining!)  .  Get to your best ever!

Contact Breanne Curran  bcurran@macseattle.com

Cetified Health Coach, Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer and Movement Specialist

 


Cooking for Therapy

Image       I find cooking to be therapeutic.  It doesn’t demand from you, you can be loud and messy  and in the end you get a great product that makes you feel great.  I have a much better week if I have healthy options on hand, and don’t have to think about what I’ll eat after a busy day- or for lunch.  To get set up for the upcoming week, I have a process, on Thursday evenings I watch some brainless sitcoms, while I thumb through our many recipe books and magazines – and plan out a few dishes for the following week.  Then after work on Fridays I gather my goods, then when inspiration hits me over the weekend, it’s all there.  Check weekly for what’s on my menu

So what’s cooking this weekend? (more…)


Healthy Snacks For Work

Dry Roasted Edamame with Cranberries – delicious and nutritious, packs a protein and anti-inflammatory kick to your day!

Get more delicious snack ideas @ http://www.wholeliving.com/136112/best-snacks-take-work/@center/136761/healthy-snacks

Ever noticed that when an urgent project at work comes up, so do cravings? Reach for one of these healthy options rather than those M&M’s in the conference room, undoing your morning workout.

Learn more belly and health saving tips from the Pro’s! Check out the COVER SHOT – your health magazine in real life!

REGISTER BY TUES MAY  15TH  FOR BIG SAVINGS!

email Breanne for more info :  bcurran@macseattle.com

FYI:  Anger, Stress and Anxious feelings increase your metabolism and cause hunger.  Sadness and Fear decrease metabolism and lowers hunger. 


Kettlebell Intro Series

 Get leaner and stronger, specifically see more definition and decrease your workout time.  Sound good? 

Then start training with Kettlebells!  They give you a high metabolic, calorie blasting and muscle pumping workout.   Did you know that the more muscle you have – the more calories you burn.. all day long?

What I love about kettlebells is they’re Fun, efficient and they tone.. they do not bulk. Get the biggest results by learning correct form and ways to add to your workouts.

INTRO TO KETTLEBELL SERIES

Starts Friday May 12th  6 AM (45 min)  

3 week series – May 12, 19 and 26th 

Contact me at  bcurran@macseattle.com for pricing and details. 

HURRY!  spaces limited . 


Good Eggs

GOOD EGG

 

I’ll make this simple.  Eggs are good for you!  They are good for your heart, eyes, brain, they fight against cancer (specifically colon cancer) and bad cholesterol (LDL) .  They help you digest fat and proteins .  Eggs also help you build healthy hair, nails and skin. 

 

Want to know how?  And why how they got framed in the past with bad cholesterol?  Read on my friends  J

 

Curried Egg Salad

Curried Egg Salad http://www.101cookbooks.com

 

Curried Egg Salad Recipe

Use any type of onion you like here, I’ve done this version of egg salad using yellow, white, and in this version I had a tiny red one on hand, so I grabbed for that.

5 good quality eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (your favorite)
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 big pinches of salt

1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium apple, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 small bunch of chives, minced

First off, you need to boil the eggs properly (the key to good egg salad!). Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking and place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so – long enough to stop the cooking.

While the eggs are boiling and cooling, combine the yogurt, curry powder and salt in a tiny bowl. Set aside.

Crack and peel each egg, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the curried yogurt, onions, apple, pecans, and chives. Now mash with a fork. Don’t overdo it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more plain yogurt to moisten up the mixture a bit, go for it a bit at a time. taste and add more salt if needed. Enjoy as-is, or served wrapped in lettuce, with some spelt crackers, salad greens, or in a wrap!

Serves 3-4

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Love the Earth, eat great Real Foods!

Today is Earth Day ! Get out there and enjoy it. Also, try going meatless today.
Try reducing your meat consumption this week – check out my blog for Curried Millet and Spring Panzanella salad to get you set up with a full plate of nutrients! Take the challenge! no meat Earth Day!
there are facts we cannot ignore :
Random facts from journalist Mark Bittman

… In terms of energy consumption, – serving a typical family of four steak dinner is the rough equivalent of driving around in an SUV for three hours while leaving the lights on at home.

60 billion animals are raised every year for food, 10 animals for every human on earth. The only way to reduce factory farming is to demand less meat,

40 calories of fossil fuel are required to produce 1 calorie of beef protein
more than 50% of corn grown in US is fed to animals

Get out there and take advantage of the Spring Produce!  Asparagus, peas, basil and a hearty healthy delicious grain bread make this a hit!

Spring Panzanella

Spring Panzanella Recipe

The bread I used also had walnuts and dried cranberries in it, but I think I’d prefer a seeded whole wheat version. Use whatever you like.

1 lb loaf of hearty, day-old, whole wheat bread into 1-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme – just pluck leaves from the sprig
a couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
4 handfuls spinach
1/4 cup small basil leaves

In a large bowl toss the bread with the garlic, shallot, thyme, salt and olive oil. Turn the bread out onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes – or until they are nice and golden and crunchy.

In a cold skillet pour in a splash of olive oil, a splash of water, and a couple pinches of salt. Dial up the heat and when the water starts to bubble stir in the asparagus. Cover, wait about twenty seconds, now add the peas. Cover, wait a few seconds, now add the spinach. Cover and cook just a few more seconds until the spinach starts to collapse just a bit.

Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Now pour the asparagus and peas and all the pan juices over the top of the bread.

Give it a good toss, add the basil leaves and toss again. Serve the salad family-style on a big platter.

Makes about 6 – 8 servings.  From 101cookbooks.com   Thank you Heidi Swanson!

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Easy Spring Dinner.

Lemony Minted Aparagus with Saffron Rice

– I made this for tonight, and doubled it for a busy week ahead.  Eat on it’s own or add some protein.. salmon or ground lamb would go great with this!

Makes 6 servings

This recipe is based on one from Vegetarian Times magazine.

1 1/2 cups white rice
3 cups low-salt vegetable broth
Pinch of saffron threads (see Note)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
9 green onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 to 2 small fresh red chilies, sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup sliced mint leaves
Salt and pepper
2 lemons, cut into wedges for garnish

Combine rice and broth in a large saucepan. Crumble in saffron threads. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Lest stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a work or heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat pan, then add green onions, chilies and garlic. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes. Add asparagus and stir-fry 2 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and tender. Remove from heat. Stir in almonds and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Fluff rice. Spoon onto a serving plate. Top with asparagus mixture. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Note: Saffron threads are available at gourmet markets and in the spice section of some supermarkets.No worries if you don’t have it – still tastes great!