Thursday, January 12, 2017

What I’m Loving Lately 75

Good morning and very happy Friday the 13th to you!

I can’t believe I haven’t written a What I’m Loving Lately post since the summer. Jeez, Louise. Well, I guess it’s kind of morphed into our Friday morning coffee date posts, but, hey, let’s bring it back and switch things up this morning, shall we? Ok, here’s what I’m loving lately!

Beauty Bursts Soft Collagen Chews – Having radiant skin has never been so easy or so delicious! My friends from Whole Foods Market Hingham got me hooked on these delicious fruit-flavored collagen soft chews. Each one has collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C, which all work together to nourish skin from the inside out. They’re tasty and an easy way to get nutrients into my diet, so they’ve quickly became a part of my daily routine! Big fan.

Beauty Bursts 2

Beyond Bone Broth – Another recommendation from my friends at WFM Hingham! I love the idea of bone broth (it’s SO GOOD for you), but I didn’t love the idea of making it. I’m sure it’s easy, but I’d be the only one in my house drinking it, so Beyond Bone Broth makes a lot more sense. I just mix up a mug when I’m in a mood for a warm, savory beverage, which I’m especially loving this time of year. And, of course, I love that it’s loaded with collagen peptides and minerals, including 11 grams of protein and 30% DV of calcium per serving. It’s such a simple and nutritious addition to my day (or evening – I like sipping it before bed), it’s definitely a habit that’s here to stay!

Bone Broth 2

I’m loving ALL the pullovers and hoodies right now, especially this Pullover Sweatshirt and Hoodie from Zella. Ooh, so cozy, right? And they’re perfect for warming-up pre- or post-workout and wearing over leggings. I lovvvvee. I want both of them in every color.

cozy pullovers zella

I’m also loving this hoodie from Brooks (it comes in pink too), which is on sale for only $45 right now!!

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Qman’s Cubbies shirt – Ok, I know I already mentioned this shirt earlier this week, but it really is the greatest invention ever. It’s a long-sleeve fleece shirt with mittens attached by zippers. You can easily zip the mittens on and off, but it’s the perfect way to keep them on (and not lose them). If you’d like to purchase one for the special little person in your life (sizes range from 18m – 4T), you can get FREE SHIPPING with code CNCFS. I mean, it’s only January… we still have a lot of winter ahead of us!! FYI: Qman owns the 3T size, which fits perfectly.

Photo Jan 08, 10 19 14 AM

Speaking of toddler favorites, just wanted to give another shout out to our beloved Lollacups! I get questions from readers all the time about Qman’s straw cups, and we are die-hard Lollacup fans. They’re a little pricey, but worth every cent because they last forever and don’t leak.

5-Ingredient Cheesy Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice – Looks so good and so easy! Definitely adding this to my meal plan next week! 🙂

Sweet Potato, Spinach & Feta Egg Bake – Omg, I am obsessed. Ob. Sessed. This egg bake is truly incredible, and I can’t wait to share the recipe on CNC next week!

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10 Blogger Recipes I Make Again and Again – Love this round-up from my friend, Julie!

Cookie Dough Protein Balls – I made a batch of these babies earlier this week… and holy yum!

COOKIE DOUGH PROTEIN BALLS

How I Cut Out Sugar and Refined Flour – Great post with lots of realistic ideas!

Question of the Day

What are you loving lately?



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Primal Transition 101: Insider Kitchen Tips

Inline_Insider_Kitchen_TipsTransitioning to the Primal Blueprint way of eating should be simple. There’s no need to invent the wheel at every meal. That said, it does likely mean shifting some of your routine in the kitchen. If you’re used to processed food, enjoy getting your hands a little messier. If you’re used to take-out, capitalize on the chance to use your creative skills. (Don’t worry, you’ve got an abundance of recipes and cookbooks right at your fingertips.) That said, all Primal cooks—beginners to old-timers—can make life easier with a few select tactics.

Cook Large Pieces of Protein

We could also call this “Learn to Love Leftovers.” If you’re turning on your oven and cooking something, you might as well make a lot of it. Instead of cooking a pork chop or a chicken breast, cook a pork roast or a whole chicken. Large pieces of protein (e.g. roasts, chickens, salmon filets, etc.) can provide several different meals over the course of a week. Check out this past kitchen tips post for a short primer on how to cook any large cut of meat.

Be Fearless with the Produce

Salads are great. Keep eating them. But don’t use the convenience of pre-washed salad greens as an excuse for neglecting the likes of Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, collards, and other dark, leafy greens. These greens provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and they’re easy to cook. They don’t deserve to get passed up in the produce aisle—or to die a slow death in the bottom of the vegetable crisper.

Here’s what you do: First, swish the leaves in cold water or rinse under running water. Shake the excess water off, but don’t worry about drying the leaves; the moisture will help them cook faster. If the stems are thick and woody, tear the leaves off the stems into bite-sized pieces. The leaves can also be cut into thin ribbons, making the greens less chewy and easier to eat. Add raw greens to soups and stews in the last 10 minutes before serving.

For greens as a side dish, heat a drizzle of oil (or bacon fat) in a skillet, add garlic and sautĂ© 1 to 2 minutes. Add greens a handful at a time, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding more. SautĂ© only about 4 minutes. For softer greens, sautĂ© 4 minutes, then add a ½ cup of stock and saute 5 minutes more. There you go.

Roast, Don’t Steam

Yes, steaming is an easy and healthy way to cook vegetables, but roasting will get you more flavor every time. Buy two rimmed baking sheets—the rims keeps things from dripping or rolling off the sides but are low enough to let air circulate, which means the outside of whatever you are roasting will brown nicely. Cover the baking sheets with parchment paper, which makes clean-up nearly effortless.

Cut veggies the same size so they cook evenly, coat lightly with oil, salt and pepper. Spread the veggies out evenly. This is no time to crowd the pan. Roast at 400Âș F for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice (cooking time might be longer or shorter depending on the vegetable). Look for lightly browned and crispy on the outside and insides that are easily pierced with a fork. Cook large batches, and eat the roasted veggies all week as a side dish or on salads. You can even puree them for a soup if that’s what you’re in the mood for.

Cut Down on Cooking Times

Want to magically cook great tasting food in a half or a third of the time that it usually takes to cook? (Is there really anyone who would say no to this?) Buy a pressure cooker. A popular, user-friendly brand is Instant Pot, which can quickly make stews, bone broth, curries, short ribs and much, much more. These days, Primal and paleo pressure cooker recipes are easy to find, so you’ll have no shortage of recipes to try.

Meet Two Pots That Make Your Kitchen Life Easier

A cast iron skillet and a Dutch oven are worthy investments. Both will last forever—people pass these things on as heirlooms. Use either to sear meat on the stovetop, then go directly into the oven. A cast iron skillet can be used for any type of vegetable or protein, even a whole chicken. A Dutch oven is a go-to for stoups, stews, braises and roasts.

 Never Over-Cook Your Meat

You don’t need a degree in culinary arts to cook a perfect steak. You just need an instant-read meat thermometer. This simple tool helps both beginner and expert cooks know exactly when meat is done. Buy one and use it regularly.

Expand Your Idea of Breakfast

Many a person has been undone by a breakfast rut. Smoothies, eggs, and bacon are great, but you don’t need to eat them every morning. Any and all leftovers in the refrigerator are fair game for breakfast. Sip a mug of hot soup or broth, grab a cold chicken drumstick on your way out the door, eat leftover salmon with a dash of hot sauce, or have a bowl of fresh berries and nuts.

Add Umami in Three Easy Ways

Think of the condiments fish sauce, soy sauce, and coconut aminos as secret ingredients that amp up flavor. Keep a bottle of each in your fridge, and add a drizzle of one or more to soups, stews, chili, and tomato sauce. When you sauté or stir-fry vegetables, add a dash in the last few minutes. Add a tablespoon to marinades for bigger, bolder flavor.

Use One Simple Trick for Tastier, Healthier and More Appealing Food

Let’s be honest: visual appeal matters. And so does the perception of freshness. Herbs are perfect for this. It’s hard to think of a meal that won’t improve with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Chefs don’t just sprinkle fresh herbs on dishes because the green color offers a visual “pop.” Herbs also make everything taste fresher and bolder (and they have some fascinating health benefits to boot). Use kitchen shears to snip herbs over almost everything you serve. Parsley is the most versatile herb and keeps well in the refrigerator. Thyme, mint, cilantro and basil are good all around choices, too.

Note Three Ingredients No Cook Should Do Without

There are many types of healthy fats you can, and should, cook with. But here are my go-to basics. Avocado oil is my hands-down favorite for cooking itself because of the high smoke point (and I happen to think it tastes great in salads, too). Two others I always keep on hand are high quality butter and olive oil.

Yes, “good” butter and olive oil are more expensive, but they can be used sparingly after a dish is finished. If your meal tastes a little blah, simply top it with a small pat of really good salted butter or a drizzle of great olive oil. It can make all the difference.

That’s it for today, folks. How’s your transition coming along? What are the kitchen tips you use the most and would offer to beginning Primal types? Thanks for reading.

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Contest: What’s in Your Primal Kitchen?

Ultimate Primal Kitchen GiveawayPrize: The Holy Grail of PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Care Packages!

Restock your pantry with Primal Kitchen’s entire line of products!

1 Bottle of Avocado Oil: More heat stable than olive oil and a wonderful alternative for those who don’t like the taste of coconut oil, PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Avocado Oil is perfect for searing, drizzling, sautĂ©ing, stir-frying and dressing. Use to make marinades, finish sauces, or even in lieu of butter for all your baking needs.

1 Bottle of Extra Virgin Avocado Oil: PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Extra Virgin Avocado Oil is the first ever avocado oil made from 100% California premium avocados, freshly picked and immediately pressed for the highest quality and richest flavor. Why Extra Virgin Avocado Oil? Extra Virgin means the oil undergoes minimal processing to keep flavor and aroma molecules intact for a nutrient-dense, healthful oil. You can literally see this superfood’s nutrients reflected in its emerald green color! It’s a healthful addition to all your favorite culinary creations.

3 Jars of Avocado Oil Mayo: PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Mayo is the perfect companion for your deviled eggs, coleslaw and chicken salad needs. Every dollop is chock is full of good fats, phytonutrients, and other antioxidants, so you can use it lavishly—not sparingly—to upgrade the flavor and nutritional profile of your meal.

3 Jars of Chipotle Lime Mayo: Craving mayo with a kick? This Chipotle Mayo is a spicier version of our classic mayo. Phenomenal taste, sugar free, non-GMO project verified, organic lime zest plus organic chipotle powder, garlic and chives make for the most perfect dipping sauce and flavoring agent.

2 Canisters of Primal Fuel: Quick, easy, and convenient, Primal Fuel provides balanced, healthy doses of high-quality fat, protein and carbs in a delicious and incredibly satisfying shake. It promotes and maintains lean muscle mass with 20 grams of whey protein isolate—which has the highest biological value (BV) of any protein source—in each serving. It contains the finest coconut milk as its primary source of healthy fat, which takes the edge off hunger for hours and provides exceptional nutrition. With fewer than 6 grams of natural sugar per serving, Primal Fuel helps keep your insulin levels low and helps shift your body into fat-burning mode all day long. Moreover, it’s loaded with vital prebiotics that help rebalance and re-establish a healthy gut.

1 Bottle of Ranch Dressing: Using 100% pure avocado oil as a base, PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Ranch includes only the finest health-enhancing, all-natural ingredients, including organic garlic, onion, dill, cage-free organic eggs, black pepper and chives. And that means no dairy, no buttermilk, gluten, soy, canola or sugar in sight. So go ahead and finally enjoy your childhood favorite again! No guilt here.

1 Bottle of Greek Vinaigrette: Using real, organic oil of oregano, organic apple cider vinegar and the freshest ingredients (avocado oil, organic red wine vinegar, black pepper and lemon) our perfectly balanced vinaigrette is a tantalizing and refreshing complement to any salad. Its lush herb flavor is balanced with a hint of sweetness, savory spices and the zest of fragrant lemon oil—the quintessential addition to roasted chicken…or drizzle some on top of your vegetable lasagna. It also pairs very well with heavier fish like mackerel or sablefish.

1 Bottle of Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: This succulent dressing packs in the pungency of stone ground mustard and the sweetness of organic honey, perfectly enhanced by a tangy bold touch of lemon. It pairs well with slightly bitter greens, like chicory, Belgian endive, escarole or radicchio, and is succulent enough to be used as a dipping sauce for veggies…or to flavor your favorite fish, chicken or beef dishes. Honey mustard-flavored braised short ribs, anyone?

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Dark Chocolate Almond Bars: A healthy and tasty alternative to sugar-laden energy bars, Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bars boost energy with 15 grams of healthy protein (from grass-fed collagen), and just 3 grams of sugar. Indulge whenever you are on the go and your stomach is rumbling…or when your taste buds are jonesing for a treat.

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Coconut Cashew Bars: Cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds satiate with a nutty crunch, while coconut imbues our bars with a creamy, sweet flavor. Delicious as a pre-workout, post-workout, or after-dinner snack!

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Chocolate Hazelnut Bars: Get your chocolate fix in the nuttiest of ways with our paleo-approved Chocolate Hazelnut Bar, the perfect complement to your morning cup of coffee or tea.

12 PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars: Who doesn’t love the distinctly buttery, sweet flavor of macadamia nuts with a hint of sea salt? PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Macadamia Sea Salt Bars are made with 8,000 milligrams of grass-fed collagen (that’s more collagen than a cup of bone broth!), 15 grams of protein (from collagen, nuts and seeds) and only 12 grams of carbs—the lowest carb bar in the Primal Kitchen family!

The Contest:

An oldie, but goodie. Originally inspired by a Time photo montage featuring families from around the world surrounded by a week’s worth of their groceries, I told readers to surround themselves with a week’s worth of their Primal groceries. Check out last year’s submissions:

So round up the kids (or parents, or fiance, or roommates) and toss all the groceries on the table, because I want people to see “What Grok Eats.” The pictures don’t have to be fancy, nor do they have to be 100% Primal (or even 80%, just so long as people can see what you eat in a week). Mad props go to the most Primal family, but the winner will be selected in a random drawing, so don’t feel obliged to play “Keeping up with the Grokses.” Just post your photo to Instagram, tag @MarksDailyApple and use hashtag #PrimalHaul in the post text so the Worker Bees and I can see your entry.

Don’t have an Instagram account? No problem. Email me the picture instead. Please use the email subject heading “Grocery Submission.” Otherwise, there’s a good chance I may miss your submission.

As long as there are groceries on the table and smiling faces, you’re entered to win.

Examples:

From the NY Times:

Picture1

The winner from 2015:

Chris L

Now it’s your turn.

Who is Eligible:

This one is global, so anyone can enter!

How A Winner Will Be Decided:

A random drawing will be held among all entrants who submit adequate photos.

Deadline: January 22, midnight PDT.

Fine Print:

MDA reserves the right to publish all submitted material.

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Is Sweet Potato Toast the New Avocado Toast?

Thanks to the social mediasphere, sweet potato toast has emerged as one of the biggest food fads of the last several months. The concept of simply toasting a sliced sweet potato intrigued me, so I had to check out what the frenzy is all about. While I wouldn’t say sweet potato toast resembles toasted bread, it is an easy and delicious way to add more vegetables to your day, especially if you love sweet potatoes like I do. Plus, that vibrant color is sure to bring joy to mealtime. Here is what you need to know about sweet potato toast.

Nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes

Beta-carotene, the nutrient that the body converts into vitamin A, reigns as the nutritional crown jewel of sweet potatoes, providing more than 230% of the daily value in just one small tater. For the sake of this post, I’m using one small, 60-gram sweet potato, which is closest to the weight of a slice of bread that weighs in at 43 grams.

What’s better for you: sweet potato toast or whole-wheat toast?

Sweet potatoes count as a vegetable, and whole-wheat toast provides you with a serving of whole grains. Therefore, we’re not comparing apples to apples. Your body benefits from both whole grains and vegetables, since they provide different ranges of nutrients.

Perhaps the most significant nutritional differences between sweet potato toast and wheat toast show up in the form of calories and certain vitamins. One small sweet potato contains half the calories as a piece of toast. Vitamins A and C don’t even register on the charts for bread, while sweet potatoes offer a good source of vitamin C and some potassium.

One small sweet potato contains 12 grams carbs with 2 grams fiber, whereas a slice of store-bought 100% whole-wheat bread provides 19 grams carbs and 3 g fiber. A significant difference? Not really. The total grams of sugar only varies by 1 gram, however the kind in bread is added sugar totaling 3/4 teaspoon, like from honey, white sugar, molasses or high fructose corn syrup. The sugar in sweet potatoes is naturally occurring inside the sweet potato.

A slice of bread contains 160 milligrams sodium, whereas a sweet potato contains only 22 milligrams—a nice feature. However that difference is miniscule if you regularly eat fast food, canned soup and frozen meals, which top the charts in sodium contents.

In defense of bread, though, whole grains are an excellent source of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals like manganese, selenium, magnesium and thiamin, generally beating sweet potatoes by strong margins for these nutrients. For you protein seekers, whole-wheat bread contains 4 grams, whereas a sweet potato only contains 1 gram.

How to make sweet potato toast

Making sweet potato toast is easy. First, wash the sweet potato well as you would any piece of fresh produce for which you eat the peel, since it contains a concentrated source of fiber. Slice the sweet potato into the thickness of thinly sliced bread, about 1/4-inch thick. Place the sweet potato slices directly into your toaster and toast on the darkest setting until bubbly and browned, which will take two to three cycles, depending on your toaster and the size of the sweet potatoes. If you have a toaster oven, allow 8-12 minutes.

What to put on sweet potato toast

A variety of toppings pair well with sweet potato toast. I love to mash on avocado slices, creating sweet potato avocado toast—a double threat. Boost flavor with flaked sea salt, ground cumin or chili powder. Other favorites include hummus or pulled pork sprinkled with pomegranate arils. Or turn your chips and salsa ritual into sweet potato and salsa bruschetta. If you have a toaster oven, sprinkle feta, pecans and smoked paprika on top for a drool-worthy meal or appetizer. I also make sweet potato toast as a simple side dish to enjoy alongside dishes missing a vegetable or carb, like soup or salad.

The bottom line

Sweet potato toast and 100% whole-grain toast are both good for you. Most importantly they’re delicious. Rotate them in your meals for the widest range of beneficial nutrients.

Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love.



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Saving Money On Workout Clothes & A Giveaway

This post is sponsored by thredUP

ThredUp

With my 2017 word of the year as “intentional,” I am working on making my wardrobe as tailored to my lifestyle as possible. And since I go to the gym almost daily and live in lounge clothes, that means the biggest percentage of my closet belongs to active attire. When it comes to workout clothes, you really can’t have enough! Not only do I wear a large variety of workout styles in my weekly routine (and seasonally too), but I don’t want to have to do laundry more than once a week, so keeping a large rotating stock is ideal. If you’re on the hunt for some new staples like me, thredUp is always worth browsing first!

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thredUP is a huge online store that buys and sells high-quality secondhand clothing for women and kids. All of the items are in like-new condition, or even brand new with tags, at up to 90% off retail price. What I love most about it is there is such a huge selection that you can always find what you’re looking for, whether filtering by size, category, or a specific brand. They have tons of brands including Lululemon, Athleta, Patagonia, GAP, J.Crew, LOFT and Anthropologie. If you are curious, because I was, the clothing does not smell like a musty closet. In fact, it smells relatively new. As a smell person I was pleased to discover this! When you are ready to trade in some of your less-worn clothing, thredUP offers a Clean Out Kit that helps simplify the consignment process by letting you fill up a bag and ship it back to them. Reduce, reuse and recycling to thredUp makes Mother Earth happy.

ThredUp

I always get my moneys worth from workout clothes because I wear them to the ground. It’s nice when “moneys worth” stretches a long way, and I got nearly a dozen items for about $150. My order was estimated to save me 66% off of retail value, or $319. Check out the different pieces I got. I put the emphasis on tank tops (which I wear year-round) and hoodies for wearing to the gym and lounging around at home. Thanks to my friend Gaby for taking these photos and making me do funny things during our photoshoot : )

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^^Active by Old Navy Tank ($11.99 // retail $27)

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^^Lululemon Active Tank ($28.99 // retail $58)

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^^Under Armour Pullover Hoodie ($14.99 // retail $60) and Under Armour Active Pants ($16.99 // retail $45)

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^^Under Armour Active Tank ($14.99 // retail $45) (Can…never….get….high….tree!!)

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^^Gap Fit Active Tank ($15.99 // retail $54) (My favorite of the bunch)

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^^New Balance Pullover Hoodie ($29.99 // retail $95) and Nike Shorts ($12.99 // retail $36)

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And for Mazen, I continued the hoodie theme by searching for “Superhero” and this is what I found for $6.99 (retail $17). He loves it!!

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Look what the hood does!

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thredUP is offering Kath Eats readers a special discount: the first 100 people to use my code KATHEATS40 will get an extra 40% off their first order. (Applies to new customers only. Discount up to $50) Click here to shop now. And scroll down for a special giveaway for one lucky reader!

thredUP is offering 1 lucky reader a $250 shopping credit to use on their site. To enter just visit here and comment back on this blog post with the link to one item you’d love to have : )

Thanks to thredUP for sponsoring this post! 

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Clean Eating Cranberry Oat Bran Muffins Recipe

Clean Eating Cranberry Oat Bran Muffins Recipe

Bran muffins are supposed to be good for you. But truth be told, many are not. They are filled with sugar and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients. So I just had to try my own version.

I used one… Read more →



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