Goes Together Like Peas and Carrots

Peas and Carrots CollageEvery time I hear “peas and carrots” I think of Forrest Gump and Jenny. Am I the only one? Is that an Alabama thing?

Regardless, I’ve got peas and carrots on the brain today. Both are just lovely this time of year!  I’m over at Magic City Post dishing out a recipe for Spring Peas and Carrots with Browned Butter. Won’t you join me?


Black Bean and Corn Roasted Salsa

Folks, Vore and I have an addiction. A local supermarket carries a black bean and corn roasted salsa in their fresh case. We buy multiple containers at a time and go through it at an alarming rate.

There are a few problems: 1) Only one store carries it, and it’s often out of the way to shop there. 2) Unpronounceable ingredients show up on the list. 3) At $3.99 a container, it’s expensive!

What’s a girl to do? Make up a copycat recipe, obviously.

salsa for vore

Black Bean and Corn Roasted Salsa

1/2 cup fresh cilantro–mostly leaves–packed

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced jalapeño

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can fire roasted tomatoes, well drained

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup corn kernels

the juice of 1 lime

Get out your food processor. Add the cilantro, garlic, red onion, jalapeño and salt. Pulse a few times until your cilantro is chopped up.

Add the tomatoes. Pulse a few times until all ingredients are well combined and the tomatoes are broken into smaller chunks. The size is up to you, but I wouldn’t get this too smooth. You don’t want sauce!

Carefully stir in the black beans, corn and lime juice. Pour into a serving bowl and enjoy!

*Special thanks to Vore for serving as my hand model.

Why You Need a Spring Cleaning and How to Do It…

I’d like to introduce you to the dynamic Melissa of Real Nutrition Living. She and I thought it would be fun to trade posts this week. I’ve got a delicious Indian Spiced Soup waiting for you over there, and she’s got some easy detox tips for us. Without further adieu, here’s Melissa!


Image Credit: the lovely Sara Beth Cobb of Nimblee Designs.

Spring has finally arrived, a time for showers, flowers, sunshine, fun and cleaning! What, Cleaning? Well, you know the drill. It’s time to clean out closets and break up the dust.  While you’re in that cleaning mode, let’s not forget the most important thing to take care of, YOU! Just as April showers bring May flowers, you need a shower too. No, not literally- well maybe, but what I mean is you may need to take a little time to take care of yourself so you come out bright, beautiful and energetic, just like those May flowers.

Unfortunately, we’re living in a toxic world, my friends. Our food supply, beauty, and cleaning products are full of chemicals, eighty-percent of our air tests positive for metals, we’re stressed and pressed for time, and the list goes on. Often, these toxins can take up residence in the fat cells, muscles and other tissues and organs in our system.  We know these toxins can overload our immune system, causing fatigue, inflammation, weight gain, acne, mental fog and the list goes on.

This is most definitely not a helpless situation. There is much we can do to cleanse our systems and stay bright as those May flowers.  Here’s a practical list:

  1. Drink lemon water first thing in the morning to wake up the liver and digestive system. It helps to flush out toxins, as it acts as a diuretic. It will help balance pH and alkalize the system as well as clear up your skin and provide relief against inflammation. Sip throughout the day for full benefits.
  2. Make at least half of your diet raw or uncooked, and almost all organic. Additionally, make sure the majority of these foods are fruits and veggies. Juicing, salads, and green smoothies are a great way to clean up the system. Remember to keep a 3 vegetable: 1 fruit ratio!
  3. Drink dandelion root tea to cleanse the liver. The liver is the filter of the body and just like your vacuum filter; it must be cleaned out from time to time. Eating plenty of greens also helps cleanse the liver. We also know the bile of a clean liver will flow properly aiding in healthy digestion and elimination. When all of our elimination channels are open, we rid of toxins more easily and keep healthy and energetic.
  4. Have fermented foods daily (sauerkraut, komboucha, homemade kefir or yogurt, and cultured veggies will all do just fine). It will help promote good bacteria in our gut. We now know gut flora (bacteria) is actually linked to not only our immune system, but our heart health as well!!
  5. Sweat every day! This simple step is often over looked, but we eliminate a lot of toxins through the skin and when our pores are all opened up, it will assist this process. If you’re not up to moving yourself, get in a hot sauna or take a hot bath.
  6. Do an electronic detox. While cleaning up the body, it’s a good idea take some extra quiet time for spirituality, meditation, and/or extra rest. Leave the phone and computer off and turn off the bedside clock, even just for a few hours. Instead, take a nap, a bath, a walk outside with Fido or go have a raw food picnic in the park with your sweetie. Anything that nourishes you and fills you up. The Law of Physics says energy is neither created nor destroyed (and who can argue with physics??) So while you rid of excess negative energy (toxins), refill the tank with positive things to leave you refreshed and as beautiful, vibrant and energetic as those May flowers.

Lastly, if you’re feeling pretty toxic and require a deeper cleanse, please seek the expertise of a Holistic Health Practitioner to assist you. A professional will be able to assist you through your cleanse to be sure you get optimal results, as well as help guide you through any side effects or symptoms. Because we are all bio individual, a health care professional will also be able to make the best recommendations for you with regard to your health and lifestyle.

Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. She’s been an on-camera expert for ABC, NBC, and GoodDayLive, with her writing published on a number of healthy living and nutrition websites. She also teaches cooking classes and workshops at Whole Foods and various other retail outlets.  She’s an avid yogi, always improving surfer, and a firm believer in faith, love, and the healing power of green juice. She’s got a heart for helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest happiest life.  Check out her website, Follow her blog, “Like” her on FaceBook , and enjoy tips and tweeting here.

How We Save Money: The Weekly Shop-N-Chop

I confess: meal planning can be a little daunting. That said, it can save a bundle of time and money throughout the week. I’ve jumped on the train for the last couple of months, and we are loving the results. Here’s how it works:

Grocery List 1

I keep food separated by areas of the store. It’s easier this way!

On Saturday or Sunday, I take an inventory of our current supplies, then I visit the grocery website in search of sales/coupons.

I plan meals around what we’ve got and what’s the most economical that week. Then go I to the store with a meticulous list. The goal is to hit the grocery one time/week and stick to the plan I’ve mapped out. If I’m hard-headed enough, I can usually make it on both counts.

When I get home, I pull out my knife and get to work. I spend an hour or two, chopping and storing the vegetables that suit themselves to early prep. I find that I dread the chopping less when Vore is home to keep me company, and that weeknight meal prep is ever so much easier when the ingredients are ready to go.

I thought it might be interesting to show you what our pantry, fridge and freezer look like AFTER I have stocked them for the week.

Pantry labeled 1Remember how much I love jars? I save them all, then keep our pantry full of goodies from the bulk bin. Bulk bins help us control how much we buy and are almost always less expensive than packaged goods. This lets you buy organic!

We don’t do a whole lot in the way of canned stuff, but I do usually have sliced olives, pumpkin and diced tomatoes on hand.

The Fridge

As for the fridge, I was feeling particularly zealous this week. I made my almond milk from scratch. This is not the norm–there is usually a big container of Blue Diamond in there! I rarely stock dairy milk anymore, as it seems to bug my stomach. (This horrifies me! Dairy has always been an easy protein for me.) I sometimes have pre-made decaf coffee in a jar, as I don’t do caffeine and the man does. We keep beer and water as well. It’s fun around here!

I’m a huge fan of taking your fresh things out of the crisper and putting them right in front of your face. It will encourage you to add greens to your eggs or choose fruit as a snack instead of something processed.

You can see all my veggies chopped and ready to go in beloved glass lock containers. These are brilliant at keeping fresh things fresh–highly recommended. There’s a big batch of red quinoa in there as well, so I have whole grains ready on the fly.

The freezerThe freezer and I are besties. For real, I freeze e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! Vore and I have a leftover rule. We eat a meal fresh one time, then dip into the leftovers twice. After that, it’s getting frozen for a time when we aren’t sick of whatever it is.

A few years ago, I invested in a vacuum sealer, and it’s genius at keeping our frozen meals fresh. I also keep my flour and baking supplies in there so they stay fresh.

So there you have it–a week in the grocery life of team Veggie + Vore. How often do you visit the grocery store? Do you plan your meals ahead of time, or come up with something on the fly?

Trash-to-Treasure Vegetable Broth

veg broth

The notion of homemade vegetable broth sounds a little too high maintenance for me. But last weekend, as I was cutting the ribbing out of my lacinatno kale, I decided to hang on to it. Why not give it a try, just for the sake of experimentation?

I pulled out a gallon size freezer bag, and started filling it with all my veggie trash. Pretty much all my trimmings went in there–peels, cut out parts and stuff that was just a little past its prime. (I left out potatoes, as they seemed too starchy for this purpose.)

I kept the bag in the fridge, and added to it throughout the week. I easily filled an entire bag! Here’s what I ended up with:

  • the outer layer of onions, minus the papery stuff
  • extra shallot
  • broccoli stems
  • red and green pepper caps
  • mushroom bottoms
  • green beans
  • carrots
  • Brussells sprout bottoms and rogue leaves
  • kale stems
  • sweet potato ends and peels

Here’s how I made the broth:

  • Add 10 cups of water to a large soup pot
  • Dump in a gallon sized freezer of “veggie trash” and a tablespoon of sea salt
  • Bring it to a low boil, then set your timer for an hour
  • Strain your mushy veggies and toss them. You’ll be left with a lovely broth that tastes far superior to the canned stuff. The yield is about 8 cups. 

I must say, I went into this thinking I’d make vegetable broth one time–just to say I had–and never bother with it again. Now I’m wondering if I will every buy bullion cubes or canned broth again. Better taste + minimal effort + essentially free? Sign me up.

Another bonus: This recipe gives you the ultimate control. Don’t like celery? Me either. Leave it out! On a low sodium diet? Decrease or omit the salt! See where I’m going here? The possibilities are endless.