Za’atar and Cheese Pita

You know the likes of peanut butter and jelly, pasta and tomatoes…? Well, you can officially include za’atar and cheese as a perfect pairing. Keep Reading!

A Cult Classic From Hanoi: Cha Ca La Vong

There is a restaurant in Hanoi that has a one-dish menu. Imagine that, a restaurant that serves just one thing! The restaurant is called Cha Ca La Vong 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem; 84-4-3825-3929, which also happens to be the name of the classic fish dish that they serve. This tiny joint is still run by the descendants of the dish’s creator, and has been cooking Cha Ca La Vong for over 100 years.
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Make Your Own Hummus

To me, pita bread is like a plate. Layer on an assortment of toppings and tear, roll or slice like a pizza and eat. Keep Reading!

Take Polenta To The Next Level With Two New Recipes

I just had one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments! Why not polenta? It’s such a versatile grain that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner! Commonly known as a boiled porridge made from cornmeal you would be surprised at the many things you can do with a pot of hot, creamy, cheesy, corn-studded polenta.

Keep Reading!

5 Tips For Meal Planning Success

So, you want to eat healthy and meal plan like a pro?

Don’t fail before you even begin! Spending time each week searching for recipes, making list after list of ingredients and groceries, getting to the store and prepping for the week ahead is about as exhausting as writing this run-on sentence… BUT it’s worth it.

Here is why: Anything you begin, a new job, a new family, a fitness goal etc. does not come easy, you struggle every day with hitting sales goals, waking up in the middle of the night with a hungry baby, working out once a day, saying no to office donuts… You get the picture, life is tough but, once you get your groove and understand how to NOT overcomplicate the process, all of that hard work begins to pay off. Soon you’ll find yourself meal planning and eating clean without even thinking about it.
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Consistency is key, give anything about 21 days (this is the magic number that science has come up with) and you’ll form a habit. This means doing that one thing EVERY DAY for 21 days, no cheats, no skips and no tomorrows. Meal plan every day for 21 days and you’ll become a pro!

Follow these tips for meal planning success:
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1. Get Inspired, Gather Recipes: Browse blogs and websites for ANYTHING that looks delicious and sticks to your clean eating goals. Store these recipes and don’t waste time or complicate things. I use Pinterest to store my faves because it’s visual and fast. Another option is Evernote For Food a quick way to grab recipes from the web on any device and create a cookbook, grocery list and meal plan. I’m also known for marking up cookbooks with sticky notes. Hey! whatever works.
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2.
 Keep a Food Diary: Overwhelmed with the task of creating delicious, healthy and easy-to-execute meals for your household every day? You may want to start keeping a food diary. This habit can take away the headache of meal planning at the last minute. By recording meals that were definitely keepers you will have a go-to reference of stand-by meals that will make grocery shopping and meal planning much easier.
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3. Start a Calendar: You’ve got to write it down. Choose a method that works for you, whether that be a chalkboard on the fridge, a journal, a Google Calendar or an Excel spreadsheet (like mine in the photo above.) Start filling in daily menus for the week with your clipped recipes or fave stand-by’s from your food diary.
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4. Choose a Shopping Day and Create a List: You have your menus organized in your calendar now it’s time to really get organized. The goal of a grocery list is to ensure that you buy only what you need and it gets you in and out of the store quickly. Have your recipes nearby, take inventory of what you have in the cupboard and fridge and maintain a master list of things you buy each week (yogurt, eggs, milk…) then add to your master list the items you need from your recipes. Next, organize your list by grocery store department to save time like this:

  • Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts
  • Fats, Oils and Sweets
  • Staples, Condiments and Miscellaneous Foods (spices, baking powder, etc.)
  • Health and Beauty Products
  • Household Items (laundry soap, light bulbs, etc.)

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5. Food Prep:
Think of this as an extension of grocery shopping. As soon as you return from the grocery store and begin unloading your bags, food prep begins. Wash and dry lettuce. Chop onions. Roast vegetables. Soak beans for tacos. Shred zucchini for zoodles. Stack up glass containers of prepped ingredients in the refrigerator and bask in your own awesome preparedness.

There you have it. Now go, get organized and become the meal planning warrior that you were meant to be!

Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Salad

If you are akin to me then lunch is something to look forward to, a mid-day stretch for the mind and energizing the belly. I’m not one who can handle the doldrums of eating the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch everyday and feel that a packed lunch should be something to look forward to, it should inspire and satisfy.  Get creative, re-purpose leftovers and pack a lunch that excites you!

This electrifying green salad is great for perking up a brown bagged lunch.  Versatile in use, it can be used as a sandwich filling or dip for veggies and pita chips.  Light up your day with a Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Sandwich

Smashed Avocado and Chickpea Salad 

1 (15oz) can chickpeas 
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bread of your choice 
Fresh spinach/lettuce leaves or other fave sandwich toppings

***I’ve also substituted parsley for the cilantro and lemon juice for the lime juice which is equally GOOD!

1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. 

2. In a medium bowl, using a fork or potato masher smash together the avocado and chickpeas. Add in cilantro, green onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Spread salad on bread and top with your favorite sandwich toppings. 

Note: This salad also makes a great dip served with veggies, crackers, or pita chips. It is best eaten the day it is made because it can turn brown due to the avocado.  If you do make it the night before I’ve had success in maintaining a vibrant green hue by  placing the salad in a glass Tupperware dish and covering with plastic wrap (not the top of the container but actually compressing the plastic wrap atop the salad) this seals out any air which oxidizes the avocado causing it to turn brown, then cover with a Tupperware lid and refrigerate.