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healthy eating

Food & Recipes

Sweet and Salty Roasted Kalettes

September 24, 2015

If I had to choose my favorite vegetable, I would have a seriously difficult time deciding between kale and Brussels sprouts. I know, I know, how chilché and expected, right? But here’s the thing about food trends: most of the time foods become trendy because they’re actually really delicious, so I’ll sing the praises of trendy veggies for as long as I live.

Why all this talk about kale and Brussels sprouts? Well, I recently tried Kalettes, a kale-Brussels sprout hybrid, for the first time while eating at the Lunds & Byerly’s salad bar in Edina and have been hooked ever since. They require zero prep before cooking (something I can’t say about kale OR Brussels sprouts) and have a fun taste and texture that really is a good cross between the two veggies. A crisp-tender base with leafy, tender, kale-like tops.

Since I am all about the sweet-salty combinations, I turned these little Kalettes into an Asian-inspired side dish. They’re crispy and caramelized around the edges thanks to a bit of brown sugar but have plenty of salt to balance out the sweet. My personal favorite way to serve this dish is on top of brown rice (the kind that cooks in the microwave in 3 minutes!) for an easy, healthy lunch or dinner. If you’re looking to add a little bit more protein, you could always scramble the brown rice with an egg for a quick fried rice as well!



Asian Roasted Kalettes
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 bag (xx oz) Kalettes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Hot-cooked brown rice for serving (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425F. Toss the Kalettes with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, curry paste and ginger.
  3. Drizzle mixture over Kalettes after 10 minutes of cooking and toss to coat evenly. Roast 5 to 10 minutes more or until edges of Kalettes are crispy and caramelized and they become tender. Serve immediately over hot-cooked brown rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

*This post is sponsored by Kalettes. All opinions are my own. 

Food & Recipes

On Going Vegetarian Again

September 9, 2015



About a month ago, I decided to go back to my vegetarian roots and, once again, embrace the type of eating that helped me get to my body weight “happy place” years ago. Those of you who have been following this blog for any extended period of time probably remember the days when I was vegetarian. In fact, I’ve only been eating meat again for the last year and a half.

When I was trying to get pregnant, after having a couple miscarriages, my acupuncturist suggested eating plenty of organic, grass-fed red meat. At that time I was willing to try almost anything to get pregnant, so I jumped on board and started eating meat, something I hadn’t done for years. While I don’t attribute eating meat to my pregnancy success (since we changed many things the third time around) I don’t think it hurt the process, either. Once I got pregnant I craved all sorts of foods I don’t normally crave, including, you guessed it, meat along with every carb under the shining sun.

After having Ainsley I was eager to lose the extra weight I had gained while pregnant. Low-carb, paleo-style eating seems to be all the rage these days, so I thought I would jump on board and give it a try myself. In the back of my mind I knew my body had never responded well to a meat-centric way of eating, but I lost a little perspective and bought into the hype.

You see, when I first started eating vegetarian years ago something in my body just clicked. I can’t explain it, but it was like my metabolism finally got into gear and I lost the extra weight I was carrying around post-college without really trying. Sure, I was eating a lot of veggies, but I was also eating plenty of (good) carbs and the occasional treat. Although it was almost all healthy, I was eating a LOT of food.

Fast-forward to 5 months postpartum and I found myself with an extra 5 or 6 pounds that just didn’t seem to budge. I was working out, eating “clean” and doing everything in my power to get back to my “happy weight” but the scale just wouldn’t budge. And sure, the scale isn’t a total indicator of health, but add to that the fact that my clothes weren’t fitting like I wanted them to and you have a recipe for more than a few crummy days.

I decided to go back to what I knew worked for my body: Eating vegetarian. Heavy on the veggies and whole grains, high in fiber and plenty of healthy fats and dairy. And you know what? Those extra pounds practically melted away. I was as shocked as anyone!

The moral of this post is less about pushing everyone to go vegetarian and more about encouraging every individual to find the way of eating that works best for their body. For some people a low-carb approach works amazing! For others, cutting out gluten and dairy works really well with their system, and for another group, like me, eating vegetarian seems to be the way to go. Take time to experiment, listen to your body and discover what works for you.

And if you happen to see a few more vegetarian recipes around Espresso and Cream in the coming months, now you know why!

I would love to hear stories from you all? Have you found a way of eating that just “works” for you and your body? I’m curious to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience. 



Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges

March 17, 2015

Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges

A number of weeks ago, before Ainsley arrived, the sweet people over at Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges offered to send me a case of their oranges for review. Joe loves oranges, so he was as excited as could be, but I was a little hesitant. You see, I’m not really a fan of oranges. There, I said it! It’s not that I mind them, but I rarely sit down and eat an orange for a snack because I always find the flesh a little tough and unappealing. Clementines on the other hand? I could eat five or six at a time!

Despite my hesitation I agreed to sample the oranges, and they couldn’t have arrived at a better time. They showed up at our doorstep a few days before Ainsley was born while we were battling horrible colds and we were eager for the extra dose of vitamin C. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be as blown away by these oranges as I was, but they are truly amazing. Since the team sent us a box of 72 oranges, we gave them away to everyone who visited us in the weeks following Ainsley’s arrival and everyone who tried them had the same reaction.

The flavor of these oranges is incredible and the flesh is soft and tender, almost like a giant clementine. I think it may have something to do with the age and quality of the trees? The trees they are grown on are anywhere between 50 and 112 years old. Dare I say these oranges were my version of citrus fruit heaven? They’re only available from February through April, and for you Twin Cities residents, word on the street is that they’re available at Cub Foods right now, so look out for them when you’re at the grocery store!

Orange Berry Smoothie (1) | Espresso and Cream

We’ve been working our way through our giant supply, finding ways to incorporate the oranges into meals and snacks. Joe has even taken to making smoothies with them in our Vitamix! I thought I would share with you our favorite combination as of late. Since Ainsley arrived, smoothies like this one have been a staple in my diet because I’m able to get a bunch of nutrition into a single meal.

Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 1
  • ½ cup milk or non-dairy milk of choice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I like the antioxidant blend from Target)
  • 1 Heritage Reserve Naval Orange, peeled
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium high speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes to really break up the flesh from the oranges. Serve immediately.



A Peek Inside My Fridge

June 14, 2014

I guess I’m a little bit of a snoopy person, or as I would prefer to think about it, I’m just naturally curious. I’m endlessly fascinated with what people eat for breakfast, what they buy at the grocery store and what the inside of their fridge looks like. There aren’t many things that truly gross me out, but one of the things that gets me every time is a fridge that is bursting to the seams with food. I’m sorry if you fall into that category, but the idea that there is food in the back of a fridge that may be expired or rotting or kept at less than ideal conditions just gets me every time.

That said, our fridge is always operating at lean as possible while still having everything we need for the week. With the exception of eggs, milk, yogurt and butter (which, as you know, we buy in bulk at Costco most of the time) we usually only have just enough food to get us through the week. I’m not super Type A in all things, but I certainly am in this manner.

So what’s in our fridge? Let’s dive in!

Top Shelf
Greek Yogurt: Joe prefers Greek yogurt with fruit while I favor plain Greek yogurt so we stock up on both types.
Eggs: As I mentioned in my last post, I buy cage-free, organic eggs from Costco in bulk.
Fresh Berries: We usually have one or two types of fresh berries on hand. These organic raspberries are from Costco.

Second Shelf
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread: For lunches throughout the week for Joe and toast for breakfast
Jumbo Costco Container of Sabra Hummus: We go through hummus like crazy!
Guacamole Packs: These don’t last long at our house, either. I love guacamole with my sweet potatoes and on salads.
Meatloaf: Sometimes I bring home food leftovers from projects at work. This meatloaf will make quick meals for Joe this week.

Third Shelf
Mini Sweet Peppers: These are so easy to toss onto salads or use as dippers with hummus, guacamole or salsa.
Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce: We usually have two bags of lettuce for the week. I love large salads for lunch so it doesn’t last long.

Fourth Shelf
Organic Whole Milk: We switched to whole milk a while back and I love it! It feels like a treat every time I put it in my coffee, which is usually the only time I drink milk.
Almond Milk: For smoothies and oatmeal.
Burger Buns: White bread! My hubby prefers white bread for his burgers and I can’t say I blame him. Sometimes classic is best.

Produce Drawer (not pictured)
Costco-Sized Bag of Green Beans
2 bunches of kale
4 zucchini
Bag of celery
2 heads of broccoli

Beer Drawer (also not pictured)
Yes, Joe gets a whole drawer for beer. And most of the time that drawer is totally stuffed!

What’s your fridge style? Do you stuff your fridge to the max or keep it lean and streamlined? I’m guessing that once we have kids it may be a little harder to keep our fridge this organized, but for now I love having it all in order. 






My Favorite Healthy Items to Buy at Costco

June 13, 2014


Every 3 weeks or so I make a trip to Costco to stock up on a select few products that we go through in larger quantities. Since there are only two of us, it’s important that we choose wisely what we buy at Costco. That means it either needs to 1) have a long shelf life or 2) be able to be frozen and thawed. This doesn’t include fresh produce, which I still purchase from time to time.

If you’ve ever been overwhelmed at Costco and not sure where to start, I thought I would compile a list of the healthy foods we love to buy there. Since Joe and I try to eat as much organic as makes sense financially, I’ve included a lot of organic items in my list. I find that Costco is one of the best places to find reasonably-priced organic food.

Cage-free, organic brown eggs (2 dozen)
-Organic Whole Milk (three 1/2 gallon containers that last for weeks!)
-Greek yogurt case of 15 (we usually just buy Joe’s fruit-flavored Greek yogurt at Costco)
-Organic butter (It comes in a 2-pack and butter can be frozen and thawed, giving it longer shelf life)
-Almond milk

Refrigerated Misc. 
Pre-packaged guacamole (they have a couple different types, and we go through it quick in our house!)
-Hummus (lots of varieties to choose from)

Dry Items 
Old-Fashioned Oats (two VERY large bags, we keep the bags downstairs and refill a canister for our pantry to save space)
Kirkland Signature Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (two very large jars, the pb only contains peanuts and salt)
Nut’N Better Natural Almond Butter (two regular-sized jars, contains only almonds and salt)
-Organic TruRoots Quinoa (4 lb bag)
-Cinnamon (we go through a lot of cinnamon so it makes sense to buy the big Costco container)
-Chia Seeds (they usually have great prices on large bags of chia seeds)

Trident Seafoods Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers (these are so easy to throw in the oven straight from frozen for a quick meal!)
-Wild alaskan salmon or other wild frozen fish filets (we rotate between salmon and halibut most times)
-Frozen organic mixed berries (a very large bag for a very reasonable price compared with traditional grocery stores)

Fresh Produce
This is a hard category because the bags of produce are very large so we sort of have to pick and choose each time we go what we’re going to buy. These are just a few of our regular picks:
-Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce (a bag of 6 heads of lettuce)
-Berries (I always have good luck with the quality of their berries)
-Avocados (usually they come in a bag of 5 or 6 avocados)
-Broccoli florets
-Green beans (they usually come in a 2-bag pack and we go through them very fast in the summer)

-Bread (I don’t eat much bread, but Joe has a lot of sandwiches for lunch. We buy a 2-loaf pack and keep one in the freezer)
-Nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc. – They store well in the freezer)
-Food Should Taste Good multi-grain tortilla chips (one very large bag, we eat them with dinner and for snacking)
-Beer and wine! (Okay, not really healthy, but they do have great prices so we shop there when we have larger parties)

Are you a Costco shopper? It’s one of my favorite places to stock up, but I try to avoid it at all costs during the peak weekend hours. What items would you add to this list? 


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