It’s not about eating less. It’s about eating clean. Which is AWESOME, because I love food!
Another unconscious eating trap I’ve seen (and experienced) is forgetting about the visual part of eating. Marketers know that if you have a beautiful table setting and food arrangement, diners will mistake fast food for haute cuisine. And many dieters have reported that when they involve several senses in their meals, they feel full faster and longer! So, it’s worth the few extra moments it takes to think through how to make your meal more visually appealing: thoughtful plating, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, or similar! And just in case you’re interested, the simple recipe for the mushroom salad is below.
Super-Simple Mushroom Pasta Salad (pictured above)
3 cups (or more if you like) of fresh mushrooms – whatever you have on hand – cleaned and chopped if they are large
3 cups (or more if you like) of greens – a mix of bitter winter baby greens is delicious with this
1 cup of cooked pasta (dried or fresh)
Couple of dashes of vinegar (I prefer white wine vinegar)
Two “glugs” of high quality olive oil – one for the pan, one for the salad
Prep the mushrooms and heat a cast iron or similar skillet with a bit of olive oil. When hot, toss in the mushrooms, and cook for about 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring/flipping occasionally, until slightly browned.
Note: do not use a nonstick pan if you can help it. In addition to releasing chemicals, these pans keep the mushrooms from browning properly.
In the meantime, wash the greens, cut if necessary, and dry. First toss in the vinegar, then a pinch of salt, then toss with olive oil. (Order is important – if you start with the olive oil, the vinegar will slide off.)
When the mushrooms are ready, toss in the cooked pasta (great way to use cold leftover pasta) until the pasta is warmed through. Add fresh ground pepper, taste, add salt if needed, and then plate the salad with the mushroom/pasta mix over it.
One of the first steps to healthier eating is to become more aware of what and when you’re eating.
For most of us (me included), mealtimes can devolve into a handful here, a handful there … and before you know it, you’re full and you don’t even really remember enjoying food at all! One simple step to help break this pattern is to commit to lighting a candle before taking a bite, any time you have a meal or snack. This one small change has helped lead many people to seemingly effortless changes in their habits … simply by bringing awareness and focus to the food in front of them.
This is Day 1 of 7 Days of Eating Consciously tip … don’t miss the next one – use the button in the upper right of this page to subscribe to the blog!
NOTE: If you love the sea glass candle shown in the graphic, click here to see how to make one.
A little secret: I used to think I disliked mushrooms … but the only ones I’d had were those crazy little white button mushrooms that come pre-washed and wrapped in plastic, for who knows how long. A few years ago, the local mushroom growers at my farmer’s market opened my eyes and now I’m positively addicted, and super-thankful for it!
You know I love things super-simple, so it’s probably no surprise that my favorite way to cook them is an easy sear of trimmed (but not chopped) mushrooms in a single layer in a cast iron pan with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Sometimes my family and I stand over the pan and eat them hot and crispy, before they ever make it to the table. Occasionally I get fancy and add shallots and a bit of white wine at the end, but really, there is nothing like hot and crispy mushroom bits fresh out of the pan.
File this under “necessity is the mother of invention!” We don’t get much snow where I am, but we got a dusting yesterday. So, the roads closed right about the time I got to the bottom of my veggie crisper – oh, no!!
Lunch today meant getting a little creative with the giant (SERIOUSLY giant) sweet potato I had on the counter, and some cashews from the fridge. And it turned out AMAZING. Give this a try, even if it’s not the last food you have left in the house!
– 2 large sweet potatoes (or one freakishly large one – I think I had a 2-pounder!), sliced into 1-2″ chunks
– 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have coconut)
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– sprinkle of salt
– 1 cup fresh, unsalted cashews
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 cup Dried coconut flakes, unsweetened (can be omitted)
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the spices, stir, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the water, stir, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
In the meantime, in a high-speed blender (like Vitamix), add the cashews, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut flakes, add water to come to just the top of the cashews, and blend until super-smooth and creamy, with no trace of the nuts.
When the potatoes are ready, put them in a bowl, and mash them with the cashew cream to taste. Top with a little more, just for fun.
NOTE: You will have leftover cashew cream, which is AWESOME. Use it as an amazing fruit topping, in smoothies, over any baked goods (bread, whatever), eat it straight from your bowl as a treat, or just make more sweet potatoes tomorrow!
There’s not much cooking here, but a fair amount of chopping. It helps if you have a grocer with a good salad bar nearby … but even if not, it’s about 5 minutes of chopping, and I promise it’s well worth it!
2 quarts water
1 cup Broccoli florets, in small pieces
1-2 cups Sugar snap or Snow peas
2 Carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 Shiitake mushrooms, cut into matchsticks or finely diced
2 Chinese napa cabbage and/or bok choy, finely shredded
handful Bean sprouts, well rinsed
2 tbsp Sesame oil
2 Garlic cloves, pressed or cut to small dice
1 Small piece ginger, cut to small dice
1/2 Onion, finely diced
2 Scallions, sliced lengthwise, very thinly
2 1/2 cups vegetable or miso broth (or 2 1/2 cup Water + 1 tsp stock granules)
2 cups Udon, soba or rice noodles – cooked ahead/separately, or with the soup, per the below
Tamari or soy sauce
Asian Hot pepper sauce
Put water on to boil, and prep the broccoli, peas, and carrots. Toss into the water and cook for 5 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, prep the mushrooms and cabbage. With a strainer, remove the vegetables (leaving water boiling) and rinse in cold water, and set aside. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, and bean sprouts to the boiling water, cook for one minute, then rinse in cold water, and add them to the rest of the veggies.
In a large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat, and add the garlic, ginger, onion, and scallions and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Remove from heat, and carefully (so it doesn’t splatter) add the broth and 1/2 to all of the cooking water from the veggies. If you want the soup brothy, add more; if not, add less.
Add the noodles to the soup (using rice noodles will keep the broth nice and thin, as they’re less starchy), and cook until the noodles are ready. Add the veggies back in, top with sauces as desired, and serve.
Developed and posted by: Jennifer Silverberg, Eat Yourself Well
I like this dish super-simple, to let the natural flavors of the polenta and winter vegetables shine. If you want to fancy it up a bit, feel free to add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end, or add just about any fresh spices you have on hand to the veggies, midway through cooking.
1 cup organic (non-GMO) polenta
5 cups water or homemade vegetable broth
1 tbsp coconut oil
2″ x 2″ square of fresh parmesan cheese (optional – omit for vegan version)
1 tsp sea salt
About 8 fresh small turnips (about the size of a large radish), trimmed and quartered
About 16 small carrots (the kind sold in a bunch) – Washed, and if they are any bigger than your finger, slice them lengthwise
10 – 15 brussels sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher/sea salt to taste
Microgreens/sprouts as garnish, to add texture, flavor, and nutrition!
Note: I give these instructions in two steps because I have only one oven, and can’t cook the polenta and veggies at the same time. If you have two ovens, feel free to do both steps below at once!
First, start the polenta. Then, while it’s cooking, prep the veggies, and later add them to the oven.
Preheat oven to 375. This is the easy way to cook polenta – very little stirring! Measure the polenta, salt, coconut oil and water/broth into an oven-ready saucepan and stir. Place the saucepan in the preheated oven, and stir about every 10-15 minutes until the polenta is done (about 40 minutes). After the polenta has been removed from the oven, stir in the parmesan cheese, and keep the polenta warm over very low heat.
Meanwhile, prep the vegetables, then toss them in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Put on a bake sheet in a single layer (really important – if they are overcrowded or overlap at all, they will steam and be mushy, rather than deliciously brown and crispy!). When the polenta is ready, pop the veggies in the oven and turn up the heat to 400 (425 if your oven runs a little cool). Roast, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned like in the picture above.
Plate the dish by placing the roast veggies over the polenta, adding the greens next to or over both. Add fresh ground pepper over all and serve.
I don’t really need reasons to love almonds – I love them anyway – but here are some ways in which my love is requited :-). Be sure to stick with raw, unsalted organic almonds whenever you can. When people tell me about eating nuts “by the handful,” they are almost always referring to roasted or salted nuts, where the oils and salts are driving the cravings. Raw nuts are more nourishing and filling, and for most people, quell cravings rather than increase them.
This is one of my very favorite recipes, because it’s endlessly variable. Add coriander with the cumin. Top with that leftover salsa. Slip in some spinach … and on and on. But I digress … here is the basic recipe!
Makes Two Meals
1 cup raw quinoa – any type
1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tbsp cumin
splash of olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin – you’re cooking with it)
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
About 2 cups (or more) of arugula
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup tablespoons balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Optional: Avocado, pepitas, lime juice, walnuts, diced bell peppers, or anything else you have on hand!
Preheat oven to 425.
Slice the sweet potato into small squares (no need to peel first). Toss in just a small bit of olive oil, the cumin, and salt, put in single layer on cookie sheet (or similar) and put in oven for about 25 minutes or until brown. Stir once or twice so that they brown evenly.
In the meantime, rinse quinoa, place in saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
While they are cooking, put the raisins/cranberries, arugula and green onion into a bowl, and sprinkle with the vinegar, mustard, and salt, then toss to coat (yes, you can just toss it all in there and stir it around). Let sit for a few minutes, then add pepper and olive oil and stir it around again. Add any optional items you would like.
When it’s all ready, plate the salad, spoon some quinoa over it, and toss on the crispy, delicious, hot sweet potato.
And have fun with this … have some fresh herbs on hand? Toss ’em in. Like garlic in your dressing? Toss it in. Don’t have raisins but have apples? Go with that. Enjoy!