Egg-cellent Lo Cal Lunch

IMG_3445As a freelance Creative Director/Writer I work both on and offsite and often find myself at home for lunch. It’s a lot easier on my wallet but also requires some creativity to keep calories in check, tastebuds satisfied. And this 250 calorie meal (yes!) is one of my good-for-you, good-to-eat go-tos. In all, it’s super easy to prepare and includes an open face sandwich, beverage and “dessert.” And yes, it keeps me going all afternoon long.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_2523I love to bake. And my family loves when I do. Over the years I’ve tinkered with recipes and tried to make them my own. And these cookies are probably everyone’s all-time favorites. Yes, they’re a sweet treat. But when made with all-natural and/or organic ingredients, they’re a little bit of good-for-you decadence we all deserve. I’m not a professional Nutritionist, but I’ve compared my ingredients to Tate’s, which are the one store brand I’ll actually buy. My estimate is 80 calories a cookie. 

Five Supplements I Take Every Day

IMG_1740IMG_1744IMG_1729When it comes to my mornings, I’m happy to be a creature of habit. Sure I’ll go for eggs over easy,  crispy bacon and whole grain toast once in a while. But that’s a “brunch with friends treat” as far as I’m concerned. My typical AMs start with a cup of coffee and almond milk. I’ll have a second cup as I put together some version of a smoothie — my breakfast of choice (or champions?) for decades. No stress about what to eat and pretty much no mess. Smoothie in hand, I organize the five supplements I take every day. I truly believe they are essential components of my 50+ health and beauty regimen.

Probiotic: My favorite is Udo’s Choice Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic. The high level of L. acidophilus in this formula helps maintain proper yeast balance in the body — super important in those post-menopause years. This is also an ideal supplement to bring along when you travel as it helps to maintain healthy flora (regularity, folks!) while away from home. Trust me, it does. Because probiotics are living organisms, their potency slowly decreases over time (2% per month) so it’s best to keep them refrigerated. (Tip: I store all of my supplements together on a lazy susan in the fridge.)

Calcium & Vitamin D3: I’m so happy I discovered Nova Scotia Organics. They use the highest quality organic ingredients and many are water-extracted from plant sources. Their Calcium & Vitamin D 3 is free from GMOs, fillers, synthetic or irradiated ingredients. As you know, I’m recovering from a stress fracture in my left knee, and my Orthopedist was relieved to hear I am taking this supplement. Again, a big boost in combatting possible bone density loss.

Glucosamine Chondroitin: Our joints absorb a lot of stress, especially when we exercise. I spent 20+ years taking ballet and modern dance, then switched to running, then switched to the elliptical, treadmill and brisk walking. Then throw in tennis, hiking and skiing.You get the picture. Decades later, my hips and knees just aren’t as young as they used to be! Glucosamine is a compound naturally found within the cartilage of our joints. For me that makes its cartilage-building properties a no brainer. It can also help lower pain and tenderness, plus combat inflammation. Something I also know about as someone who’s had Lyme Disease. These days, I’m liking Nature’s Bounty. They have an over 40 year commitment to making products with only the purest ingredients. No GMOs, artificial color, artificial flavor, artificial sweetener, preservatives, sugar, starch, milk, lactose, soy, gluten, wheat, yeast or sodium. I’ve even got Chris taking it, and he swears his joints feel better than ever too.

Tumeric: Found in a plant in the ginger family, Tumeric is a natural anti-inflammatory compound and can also increase the antioxidant capacity of your body. You may know it as the source of the orange-yellow tumeric spice commonly found in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. And while I really do like cooking with it, I know it’s made its biggest difference for me as a daily supplement — especially as I battled inflammation from Lyme Disease. These days I’m trying (and liking) Nature’s Lab Tumeric Curcumin with BioPerine.

Olly Undeniable Beauty for Hair, Skin & NailsThese almost-sugar-free (just 1 gram each!) grapefruit-flavored gummies are the cute, fun way to get your daily dose of Biotin, Vitamin C  and Borage Oil. Why this trio? Biotin is a powerful nutrient that helps your body metabolize fats and proteins — essential for the growth of healthy hair, nails and skin cells. Vitamin C is a key nutrient in the production of collagen, the protein which can contribute to your skin’s strength and “youthful glow.” And Borage Oil is the highest known potency for naturally occurring GLA — an omega 6 fatty acid. I can honestly say my hair, nails and skin all look noticeably better, healthier since I started taking these.

As always, you should consult your doctor before adding supplements to your daily diet, especially if you have any serious health concerns.

If you do try any (or all) of these, let me know what you think!

All photos by MP Allegaert

 

 

Spring Smoothie

img_1678I had planned to make March my “makeover Month.” A retooled exercise regimen, healthier eating, fewer cocktails. And that’s still the plan with the “slight” hitch of a stress fracture in my left knee. All impact exercise is out, including any more than minimal walking. Swimming yes, but now I need to find a pool. I’m also going to be fitted for a biodynamic knee brace that I’ll have to wear for the next 6 weeks. (It will not be appearing in any fashion posts, even as a prop!) So…I will be retooling my exercise regimen, just not as expected. And healthier eating and fewer cocktails are going to be non-negotiable.

Da Bomb Banana Bread

img_1276I love the Blog Probably This. Its adorable food-and-wine-loving creators, Beau and Matt, have great style and great recipes. Inspired by their “Best Banana Bread” but without a key ingredient (Madeira wine??? Not something we typically stock in our bar.) and unwilling to use another (not a fan of canola oil, sorry) but rich in overripe bananas, I decided to try coming up with my own version.

Snack Attack: Banana Oat Balls

img_0517One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to eat as healthy as I can — work, life, travel permitting. So for me this snack is the perfect answer to combining healthful ingredients …and getting rid of overripe bananas! My ad agency served as guinea pigs, and I can report that these bite-size balls were a huge hit. Best of all, I literally put this snack together while drinking my AM coffee. Super easy, super good.

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MP’s Banana Oat Energy Balls

Ingredients:

2 (or 3) overripe bananas (prefer organic)

2 cups oatmeal (prefer organic)

1/4 cup mix of chia and flax seeds (prefer organic)

2 tbsp agave syrup (prefer organic)

1/2 cup peanut butter (I LOVE Crunch Time Chunky PB but go with your favorite nut butter)

1/3-1/2 cup choc chips (Your choice! Here I used dark and white, but for my first batch I just went with dark. My favorites are Guittard and Ghiradelli.)

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1. Peel and smash Bananas.

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2. Mix in oats, chia & flax and agave.

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3. Add in chocolate chips.

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4. First line a plate or air-tight container with wax paper. Then start rolling your balls! The mixture is kind of sticky, so you will have to work each ball (about the size of an ice cream scoop) in your hands for a bit. Space out on wax paper, layer by layer ( probably 2). I found I had to rinse my hands in-between layers.

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5. Place plate or container in refrigerator, preferably overnight.

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6. Share…and enjoy! (These will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

All photos by MP Allegaert on iPhone 6.

 

Hello 2017!

img_9631It’s January 2nd and I don’t know about you but I feel like the year is off to a fast and furious start. I am booked solid on a slew of exciting TV and Digital projects, which as a freelancer is the best start to your year. But I also don’t want to ignore LAS. It will be hard for me for the next month or so, so I hope you’ll hang in there. It means so much that you do!

Is it Soup yet?

img_9153Brrr. It’s cold outside.  So as far as I’m concerned it’s time for soup. “Tasty” inspired this recipe, and since I was missing a few ingredients I ad-libbed a few of my own. What I can say…delicious. Hope you enjoy!

img_9002img_8997img_9008img_9015img_9020img_9023img_9026This Curried Butternut Squash Soup is really pretty simple to prepare. I’m giving you proportions so you can adjust to how many you are cooking for. Seriously, it’s so good I suggest you make more than you think you need and refrigerate or freeze. You won’t be sorry!

Ingredients:

2-3 Butternut Squash Soup (you will have to adjust other ingredients based on this)

2-4 scallions

3-5 cups Vegetable Broth

1 Tsp Curry Powder

4 Cardamon Seeds (or 1/2 tsp Powder)

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Ginger

Saffron (optional)

Fresh Ground Pepper  Salt (I used Kosher)

Olive Oil

For topping: Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I prefer organic).

Wash, dry and peel 2-3 Butternut Squash.

Slice squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, then cut into chunks.

Scatter on parchment lined baking sheet.

Peel scallions, then add to baking sheet.

Sprinkle squash with spices (you can adjust to your preferences) and Olive Oil, then mix together by hand. (Yes…you will need to wash your hands with soap and the blade of a stainless steel knife to get rid of smell!)

If you have Saffron, sprinkle a few threads over squash as well. Great for color!

Drizzle scallions with olive oil.

Sprinkle both with freshly grated pepper and salt.

Bake in oven for @ 30 minutes or until soft when pricked with a fork.

Once ready, let cool for about 10 minutes..so you can handle.

Scrape Squash, Cardamon Seeds  and Scallion into blender (or food processor).

Add Vegetable Broth, beginning with 2 cups and then to your desire thickness.

Either transfer to pot and simmer on stove or store and reheat when ready.

If simmering stovetop, lower oven to 350 degrees and put Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds into baking dish and toast for @ 7 minutes. Then sprinkle on hot soup.

I also treated myself to one piece of toasted and buttered sour dour bread. Think this might be my “Go To” winter soup. Hope you enjoy!