Spicy Quinoa And Lentil Bowl (Vegan)

Lately I’ve been incorporating more lentils into my diet since they’re a great source of protein and fiber. I never liked them growing up so I often forget about this delicious member of the legume family. I wasn’t really sure what to call this recipe, so I’m calling it a BOWL. Very similar to chili because it’s spicy and filled with beans, but the quinoa makes it thicker and more filling. It’s packed with flavor and so nutritious! A bowl like this one is perfect for the days I want to go meatless but still feel satisfied. Another reason to love this recipe is for the easy clean up (only one pot!). I’m all about easy clean up and low difficulty level when cooking during the week. Today I happen to have a few fresh Fresno Chilis on hand so I added one to the mix. A jalapeño pepper would work just as well (I love everything spicy). As much as I love my lunchtime salads, I’ll be eating leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I’m obsessed.



What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves - minced

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion - finely chopped

  • 1/2 red bell pepper - chopped

  • 1 chili pepper (or jalapeño, depending on how much heat you want!)

  • 2 fresh tomatoes (can would work fine) - finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup water (plus more if needed)

  • 1 cup green lentils - rinsed

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

  • 1 container black beans

  • 1 container kidney beans

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

  • Avocado for topping



To make:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook for about a minute (until fragrant).

  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.

  3. Add tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, cinnamon, S & P. Lower the heat and let simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add broth, quinoa, lentils, and water. Bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. Lentils and quinoa should be tender.

  5. Stir in black beans, kidney beans, and cilantro. Feel free to add more water here if needed. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes.

  6. Add any extra spices if needed. Serve with avocado and garnish with cilantro. ENJOY!

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Ground Turkey Kale Soup

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I’ve never been big on soup and I’ve always thought of it being a huge production to make. But once I started cooking up this delicious soup and realized how easy it is it became a regular dinner in the rotation. The white beans and turkey make it filling, flavorful, and great the next day. And if you follow my food posts you’ve probably noticed that I love kale in all forms. This recipe originally came from one of my clients and I’ve modified it to make it my own. It’s perfect for a weeknight when you want something hearty and clean that doesn’t require tons of time. Also, preparing the soup doesn’t make a major mess in the kitchen and all you need is one big pot!

 

What you need:

  •  2 tbs olive oil

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast

  • 1 cup onion — chopped

  • 1 cup shredded carrots — chopped

  • 1 cup turnip — diced

  • 2 garlic cloves— minced

  • 1 can white cannellini beans — rinsed

  • 2 cups kale — chopped and stems removed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • salt and pepper to taste

To make:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot.

  2. Once pot is hot add turkey, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Use spoon to break apart turkey.

  3. When turkey is almost fully cooked (not too pink), add bay leaves, carrots, onions, turnips, and cook for a few minutes.

  4. Add white beans, vegetable broth, water, and kale. Bring to a boil.

  5. Cook for 25 minutes.

  6. Add any extra seasoning if necessary.

I hope you enjoy this amazing soup as much as I do! Cheers to a new month and new week!

XO

Liv

Kale Quinoa Salad

The other day I had a 5 mile run planned and the thought of this salad was what got me to the finish line. Kale Quinoa Salad is one of my all time favorites. It’s hearty, tangy, and SO satisfying. I don’t typically eat quinoa for dinner since it’s higher in carbs, but since I had a late afternoon run this nutrient-packed salad was just what I needed for recovery.

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Ingredients:

  • Organic chopped kale

  • 3-4 oz salmon

  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1/4 sumo orange (regular orange would work)

  • 1/2 cup steamed butternut squash cubes

  • 1 tbs honey

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp slices almonds

  • Pepper to taste

  • Parsley to garnish (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (more or less to taste)

  • Dollop of dijon mustard

Salmon:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Place salmon on a large piece of foil on a baking pan.

  3. Pour 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs honey, and pepper over salmon.

  4. Fold sides of foil and wrap salmon so it’s fully covered.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 5.

Salad:

  1. Place kale in a large bowl (removing stems) with chopped orange slices, avocado, quinoa, steamed butternut squash, and sliced almonds.

  2. Pour in dressing and mix up the salad.

  3. Remove salmon from the oven, leaving the honey mixture in the foil. Garnish with parsley and place salmon on top of salad.

Enjoy!!

*I do not measure out kale or most greens. I like to eat as much green as I can!

**Foods like quinoa and butternut squash usually make way more than one serving, so I like to eat the rest over the next two days with other meals.

Banana Coconut Power Bowl

With a few of my regular morning clients away for the Holidays last week I actually got to eat breakfast at home for once (and not in the car!). But whether it’s on the go or at home with a cup of hot tea, I’m a BIG fan of breakfast. I’m one of those people who wakes up thinking about food. My day usually starts very early with a few clients back to back - so my morning meal has to be filling, energizing, and tasty. I put together this dreamy bowl that’s all of those things and more.

  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1 egg white

  • almond mylk (click HERE for my homemade recipe)

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 tbs hemp shells

  • cinnamon

  • bee pollen

First cook the oats on the stove with water. Cook for a few minutes until soft, then add raw egg white. Cook for another 4-5 minutes then move the oats into a bowl. Pour in almond mylk to taste and stir. (I love my oats creamy so I do a heavy pour…especially if it’s homemade!) Top with hemp shells, banana, coconut, cinnamon, and bee pollen. Enjoy!

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Homemade Almond Mylk

As I recently stated on my Instagram story, one of my goals this year is to make a habit of making my own almond mylk. It’s always been my favorite dairy substitute and I tend to use it often. But making your own is great simply because it’s PURE. No fillers, preservatives, added sugars, plastic, etc. The difference in taste and texture is crazy, and although it sounds kooky, you can feel a difference. The first couple times you DIY it’s a little messy, but once you get the hang of it it’s a smooth operation.

  • 1 cup raw almonds (soaked in water overnight in refrigerator)

  • 5 cups filtered water (more or less depending on desired thickness)

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 tbs vanilla extract (optional)

  • Nut milk bag (I purchased from Whole Foods)

  1. Add soaked almonds plus water to a blender then add fresh water, salt and vanilla extract. Blend for 2-3 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. (Milkshake consistency)

  2. Using a bowl or container, place the nut milk bag on top and slowly begin pouring the almond mixture. Allow the liquid to drain out then begin squeezing until there is just pulp left in the bag. Discard pulp, or save for future recipes.

  3. Transfer almond mylk into a jar or closed container and refrigerate. Will keep for a few days, but best when fresh! Remember to shake very well - separation is natural.

    **Recipe can easily be doubled. I double it and it lasts me 3 days if I use it daily in breakfast and in hot tea.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Lately I've been feeling the fall vibes and have been really craving soup. Butternut squash soup, to be specific. I don't eat soup often but something about last weekends' "cold front" here in South Florida put me in a mood. After seeing so many recipes over the past few weeks while scrolling though my favorite food-inspired accounts, I had one saved that I was dying to try by Minimalist Baker. Not only was it butternut squash, it was coconut curry infused. Talk about soul-warming! Aside from the fact that it was everything my taste buds wanted, it's quick and easy to whip up. (I made it last night after getting home from a looooong day) I love so many of her recipes because they're simple yet wholesome with so many of my favorite ingredients. For this recipe, I used a Vitamix blender and I used honey instead of maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly diced (~40 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
  • 6 cups (840 g) butternut squash (~ 1 small butternut squash)
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (12 g) curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 14-ounce (414 ml) can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey 

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add oil, shallots, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add butternut squash and season with a pinch each salt and pepper, curry powder, and ground cinnamon. Stir then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth and honey. 
  5. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until butternut squash is fork tender.
  6. Using a blender purée on high until creamy and smooth. Return soup back to pot.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more curry powder as needed. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over low heat if needed.
  8. Serve as is. Can be stored in refrigerator but best when fresh! 

Feliz Cinco De Mayo

To some people, Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French forces. But for most people here in the US it's the day where people of all ethnicities put on their sombreros and hit the nearest bar for tacos, burritos and mucho tequila. For me, Mexican food is not something I take lightly - it is hands-down my favorite type of food. But it wasn't until my trip to Mexico in 2015 where I really learned about authentic Mexican dishes and how they were much different from what I was used to. In Mexico, a simple taco exploded with flavor and all the salsas were made daily with fresh ingredients. Here in South Florida, Mexican food often means an overdose of cheese, salt, sour cream and not enough flavor. I am constantly inspired to make my own delicious (and CLEANER) dishes and always trying to find ways to replicate what I ate during that beautiful time spent in Mexico. Check out this simple recipe for shredded chicken tacos and guacamole below. 

Shredded Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used organic Que Pasa)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilis
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, salsa, chilies, chili powder, garlic, pinch of salt and teaspoon of pepper. Cover, cook on low for six hours. 
  2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and shred with two forks, moisten with cooking juices.

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 or 2 limes
  • 1/2 red or white chopped onion 
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped and seeded

Directions:

  1. Cut avocados in half around the pit, then scoop flesh out into a mixing bowl. Add lime juice and mash avocado leaving a few chunks.
  2. Add all other ingredients. Serve immediately.

 

This time, I used organic taco shells and skipped the chips for the guacamole. Carb conscious? Throw all ingredients over lettuce and turn it into a yummy taco salad.

Salud, amigos!

Chickpea Coconut Curry With Sweet Potatoes

Happy Monday! I wanted to spice things up and start a new week with a new recipe. I knew I wanted to make something really different from my usual go-to meals and I've been really craving chickpeas (packed with protein and fiber!). So I googled some recipes in between clients this morning and came across this gem on Popsugar.com. It's filled with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach and SO much flavor. I rarely eat rice, but having this curry dish over brown basmati rice was delicious. I'm a crockpot fanatic so of course I am always up for new healthy dishes to try for dinner and next-day lunch. This was the perfect meal to come home to after a long Monday - and my house smelled amazing. 

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Ingredients

Curry:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons minced ginger
15-ounce can chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, chopped

Coconut rice:
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté onion, garlic and fresh ginger for about seven minutes.
  • Transfer the onion mix into slow cooker and add remaining ingredients except for the spinach.
  • Cook on low for six hours.
  • Before serving, stir in spinach and cook for about five minutes.

Rice

  • Add rice, coconut milk, salt and water to a sauce pan.
  • On high heat, bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about forty minutes.
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AMAZING! Enjoy.

Remember: You can't out-exercise a bad diet to achieve your goals. Make it a great week!

♥ Liv


Welcome, February!

Hard to believe we’re beginning the second month of 2016! January brought new goals, new beginnings and new challenges. Classes were full, private clients were re-focused and new clients were ready for a change. Overall, it was a great month and I felt tons of positive energy! For some, it was more of a "trial month". Maybe you fell off the wagon or maybe your diet wasn’t exactly as great as you hoped it would be. Good news: It’s the first of the month and it’s Monday! New week, new month, new goals… another chance to be great. Here are a few tips to help you stay on (or get back on) track:

1. Write it out

For me, making a list helps me to stay focused. Whether it’s a list of goals, groceries, to-do’s or a food log, it helps to keep me from getting overwhelmed during a busy week. Seeing things on paper helps to prioritize and it also keeps me accountable.

2. Get plenty of Z's

 I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but sleep is so important for your body and mind and often gets over-looked. If you know you’ve got a lot going on, be conscious of how many hours you're giving yourself to sleep at night. When it comes to working out, sleep is crucial for the body and repairing muscles. After a good night’s rest, you’re more prepared to take on the day (and your workout) with mental clarity. 

3. Cook extra!

Whether you’re into actual food prepping or not, cooking extra helps to keep your diet on track. Being prepared and having food that’s easily accessible is the key to eating healthy. One of my favorite kitchen staples is the Crock Pot. I like to put four to six chicken breasts in the Crock Pot so I have plenty of food for several meals. This morning before I left the house for my first appointment, I set my Crock Pot on low for five hours. Can’t go home for lunch? Set it up right before you go to bed and cook while you sleep. What I love most about cooking chicken this way is that it has the best left-over taste. Check out my go-to recipe below!

Crock Pot Mojo Chicken

 

What you need:

  • 4-6 chicken breasts  
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup mojo marinade
  • Peppers (optional)

What to do:

Combine chicken, broth, mojo, onions, garlic and peppers (I had left over bell peppers from the weekend so I threw them in, too!) and cook on low for five to six hours.