Author Archives: SofiaMarrion

Intro to the #TruthSeries Journals

 

The #TruthSeries Journals ARE My Stories Of Struggles and Learning Who I Really Am 

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior

In the coming days, months, years or however long it will take – I will cover and share several of my life experiences that will make me very uncomfortable, and most likely some of those close to me as well. My goal is for you to be able to read, watch or hear what I’ve struggled with & learned and to use it in some way that is beneficial to yourself.

The Truth Series Journals will consist of several different personal topics that are all inter-connected in some way. I am trying to find out who I am, who my spirit is, and what it is that I need to accomplish in this lifetime. I feel an overwhelming need to share these experiences with you. I have been suppressing this feeling of sharing for a while because putting myself out there is HARD and scary. I have decided to do this now because I’m over this feeling of self-pity and paralysis. This is my first outward step in a different direction from nutrition.

Let me start by saying that I am still early on in my journey to my core (who I really am- you’ll hear me call this a few different things that I’ll use interchangeably because I get bored pretty easily) and this is by no means a how-to guide because I am how-to’ing myself and just want to start writing it down and getting it out there in case you can relate and learn a thing or to about your own journey.

photo cred: Jairo Alzate

photo cred: Jairo Alzate

The truth has always been something I can relate to because it is not politically correct. The truth is kooky! It is unusual, its scary, humorous, sexy even… but really – the truth is so familiar because it is the only way I can relate to other people. I love it when someone else has completely stripped themselves of who they think they are and leave themselves unprocessed, rough, and organic to the core. This core is what we can identify with – its like ripping off the blanket and although we are cold and don’t feel protected, we are also able to allow someone to get close and make that skin to skin contact that will protect us. It may be a weird analogy but it came to mind first!

That intimate connection and relationship to other people is what I love, I need it to feel like I am living and moving forward. Without feeling connected I am lost, off my path, and depressed.I’ve always known I wanted to work with people; I’ve always been interested in getting to know people and am so curious about their lives. So perhaps being intrigued by other people is my way to understand my own life.

Many of the truths I am going to share aren’t what I have portrayed on social media because social media is usually a place where I post things that are really positive in my life and not where I want to talk about all my struggles. BUT I hope to change this over the process so that my social media accounts represent who I genuinely am and what I am going through as a real person and not just the shiny parts of my life. Many of you that know me might not know about these struggles but these are things I want to talk about because they are part of me and I have learned so much from each of them!

How does this relate to a “Clean Will Of Health” or rather my health coaching business? This is a large part of why I remained in paralysis for so long (having too many ideas and not knowing how to start). Once deciding that I was going to make a career out of helping people heal their body’s ailments just as I had done myself (get the scoop here) I went to school to train how to become a health coach and embarked on a new and scary journey of being an entrepreneur. This took a LOT of effort for me to step out of my comfortable bubble and do something different – create a website, market myself, do the work, etc. While I do enjoy helping people make healthier food choices and notice a difference in how they feel and look, I also want more and know I am capable of more.

I want to reach people on a soul to soul level to make extreme change possible.

How am I going to do this?? NO IDEA how I’m going to do this and that has been difficult. Trying to rationalize that this “soul to soul” thing relates to my current health coaching business and the detox groups I run has been mind-numbing. Because of this internal and ongoing struggle, I have been torn between being marketing myself as a health coach and aligning myself with what I really need to do. I need to find and be my authentic true self.

Health and nutrition has provided a wonderful and NEEDED foundation that I will use for the rest of my life. I am aware that figuring out who I am is related to health on several levels but I don’t know how to bridge that gap yet. I have faith I am going to though ;). I am ready for my path to do more zig-zagging now!!

My soul is yearning for me to speak the truth about my struggles in an effort to bring some of us together. I have been silencing this part of my soul for so long that it is now time to spit it all out and be vulnerable. Because I want to keep my emotions raw and unadulterated, I don’t want to edit my truth series very much. So if I miss a few grammatical things, let them go – because I have too!

I hope to provide my thoughts, feelings, trials, errors, fears, frustrations, accomplishments, successes to you along the way. These will come in the form of my #TruthSeries Journals which will be written or recorded via video/audio, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: As I go deeper into this journey, I am still making myself available for a limited number of personal coaching clients so please message me if you want to have me coach you through PCOS, burnout, simple nutrition, digestion issues, incorporating more vegetables, loving yourself, hormone stuff, and baby steps to a more sustainable and healthy life! These are all things I have personal experience with and am happy to help you with and share about.

In TRUTH & LOVE,

Sofia :)

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

This chocolate mousse is decadent, creamy, and dairy-free (vegan-optional) but most importantly made with good-for-you ingredients. Plus it takes less than 5 minutes to make and has 5 ingredients!!!

5 Ingredients (makes 2 large-portion dessert servings), directions below:

2 large avocados

1/3 cup cacao or cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2-4 TBSP honey (preferably raw & unfiltered) or brown rice syrup (vegan option)

1 TSP vanilla extract (OPTIONAL)

1/2 TSP pink Himalayan salt (to taste, OPTIONAL)

But why is it healthy?

Avocados have numerous benefits, here are just a few: great source of Omega 3, chock full of dense nutrients like more potassium than bananas, vitamins B, C, E, and K, folate, high in good fat (learn about the amazing oleic acid here), high in fiber, low in carbs due to fiber content, the high fat content helps to absorb other nutrients that are fat soluble (E, K, antioxidants, etc), has antioxidants (Lutein & Zeaxanthin) which help to protect from free radicals like pollution, vegetable oils, ozone, chemicals, even stress, etc… plus avocados are just so darn versatile. Eat them savory or sweet…delicious either way!

Raw cacao powder also has numerous benefits, Dr. Mercola notes, “Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate – more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present.” As mentioned above, it is really high in magnesium so for those of you who crave chocolate ALL the time (like me) add some magnesium to your diet or routine and it may help fight off cravings. Lately I have really enjoyed indulging in chocolate instead of taking magnesium regularly, but when I go back to eating less sugar, supplementing with magnesium will come in very handy. According to the I Quit Sugar site, “Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter).” Unsweetened Cocoa powder is still a great option if you don’t have cacao powder handy. Because it is highly processed it doesn’t have the same health benefits but it will work just fine in this recipe

Raw and unfiltered honey is great for several body processes, just like the first 2 ingredients above. Thank you Dr. Axe for breaking it down for us, “It contains natural antioxidants, enzymes and minerals including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the nutraceuticals contained in honey help neutralize damaging free radical activity.”

Quality vanilla extract can be as powerful at reducing inflammation and enhancing mental abilities as cayenne pepper, according to The Bulletproof Exec, Dave Asprey. Be sure to use a high quality vanilla from vanilla beans and not made with “natural flavors” or “vanillin”.

Pink Himalayan salt is a wonder on its own as well. The pink salt boasts a whopping 84 minerals our body needs. It is said to help overall adrenal and thyroid function, boost metabolism, and works as a natural hormone balancer.

Brown Rice Syrup (vegan option sweetener) comes with its own benefits, too. Because it is made up of complex carbs (those are the good ones), it takes more time for your body to break down and metabolize. This is great because it doesn’t dump on your liver as quickly as regular sugar or even honey, which spike your blood sugar levels. So this is a great choice if you are watching your sugar intake as well. It is great for baking because the flavor is smooth. It also has a decent amount of fiber and no cholesterol or fat.

Directions:

In a blender, put in all the avocado flesh, all the cacao powder, 2 TBSP honey or brown rice syrup (you can add more to taste later, less is more here), vanilla extract and salt (in the video, I added the salt later because I forgot about it!). Blend ingredients until smooth and taste. Add more of whatever you think it needs then stir and blend again. Make sure the consistency and taste are right and if not, keep tweaking the recipe until you get what works for you. Once ready, pour the smooth and blended mixture into dessert cups, or a big bowl. This recipe makes 2 large dessert ramekins. You can either eat the mousse right away or put it in the fridge to get really cold (my fave). Because they are so rich and creamy, they are perfect to split with someone special or indulge on your own (been there!).

Do you have a healthier twist on an old favorite? Please let me know in the comments below! I will also take suggestions… :)

Are YOU Reading the Ingredient List Under the Nutrition Label???

New VLOG alert!!

So you bought a bag of something to snack on, a processed food, I get it because I personally love snacking on crunchy, salty things like chips.

Do you buy foods only because of the brand? Do you read the list of ingredients on the back? Can you pronounce each item? Do you know how each ingredient affects your body? Do you know that corn starch and citric acid, unless otherwise specified (like “NONGMO verified”), are genetically modified? Do you know what food starch and natural flavors really are?

These are all important things to know about when buying food that is supposed to “fuel” you. Do you want to be “fueled” by GMO’s, pesticides, and MSG? I don’t.

Ideally, a diet that is primarily whole-food-based is best, but when you need a processed food to keep you going, make sure you know what each ingredient is, pay attention otherwise you’ll get taken advantage of!

 

I’m The New Gal In Town Again!

SO my husband received an opportunity to join the Men’s Basketball coaching staff at the University of Idaho and we decided to take the plunge and move to Moscow, Idaho to see what life has in store for us out here on the Palouse, again! We lived in Pullman (the next town over) for 1 year back in the 2013-2014 Washington State University Men’s basketball season.

Rather than get an 8-5 job which pays less than $9/hr (slim pickings out here) that would suck up 1/3 of each day, my creative energy and my drive to grow my health business, I have decided to focus on my business by putting myself out there more, virtually I mean. This means I’m going to be IN YO’ FACE a lot more . I’ll be coming at you with………..with cool short videos doing weird things and a whole lot more. I’m not quite sure just yet but it will be Aaaaamazing!!

So now that I live in Moscow, I have the opportunity to reinvent myself (always exciting)- getting the Palouse healthier and getting you all around the world healthier one at a time or 5 or 10 at a time… So stay tuned.

The BEST Way To Pop a Zit!!!

Sooooooooo, I might make some of you cringe with this one! I realize ACNE doesn’t affect everyone, but if you know someone dealing with acne, zits or pimples (I don’t like any of those word but I’m sticking with “zits” for the sake of the post) please pass this along as a good way to pop them without scarring. And while I am a true believer in holistic healing from the inside out and fixing acne/zits from within, sometimes it is one hell of a long ride to healing and it’s always good to have a backup plan when a little (or BIG) red monster zit creeps up on you!

Sadly, whether occasionally or frequently, many of us can relate to getting zits, right? Or maybe you feel like you are the only one around getting them, not true! Having suffered from PCOS, I know I had to worry about zits popping up at some really inopportune times (weddings, job interviews, dates, oh my!!).

Photo cred: Andrei Porfireanu

Photo cred: Andrei Porfireanu

I have been tweaking and perfecting my zit-popping-ritual for over a decade now and have put it all in one neat place for you. As you might be able to tell if you continue reading, I have grown fond of popping zits, while I don’t enjoy getting them, I really like the ritual of bursting them, watching the pus come out and cleaning it up for proper healing. Call me crazy!

Here is my tried and true solution to popping zits the best way with the least recovery time and without scarring!

 

 

Following the whole method is the KEY.

  1. Night Popping- Let’s say you have a zit forming on your face, and you notice it when you wake up in the morning. DON’T pop it then!! What I have noticed is that when I’ve popped my zits during the day is that my fingers (subconsciously and consciously) wanted to be around my popped zit all day, causing more bacteria to get into my open zit wound. Has anyone else noticed this? After you pop it, you are so aware that it is on your face, and it still oozes. Popping zits at NIGHT is the way to go! If you pop your zit right before you go to sleep, it has the whole night to restore and heal without any grubby fingers touching it. This is also when the rest of your body is restoring and healing, SCIENCE,  so there you go ;). I realize no one wants to walk around all day with a big, red zit on their face, or worse, a whitehead but sometimes you gotta suck it up today for the sake of tomorrow and this week’s beauty! (See below for some quick inflammation reducers in emergency)
  2. Whiteheads are best- Now before you pop the zit (AT NIGHT), it’d be best if it has a white head but I’ve worked some without white heads and can attest to similar results even if the zit is almost ready. If it does not have a white head then you need to be sure the zit is ready to pop and ooze the good stuff (this takes experience haha), otherwise you risk squeezing to hard leading to possible scarring. To ease the process of getting a zit to form into a whitehead, finger-touching comes in handy. So if I feel a zit coming on during the day, i’ll touch it with my fingers as much as  possible to get it to form a white head so I can pop it that night! Gross I know :/ but it works!
  3. Clean Fingers and Clean Tweezers- This is especially important to not spread bacteria and/or infection, I wash my hands and tweezers with hot, soapy water and usually wipe the tips of my tweezers with Hydrogen Peroxide or Rubbing Alcohol before and after popping. If you don’t like using these to clean, just sterilize by setting tweezers or needle in distilled boiling water for 2 minutes.
  4. Sharp Tweezers or needle- I don’t condone using needles, mainly because I love my Tweezerman tweezers (shout-out to Tweezerman! I love these tweezers for many reasons), you’ll want something sharp that can poke a very small hole on the tip of your zit. Now while tweezers we most likely not intended for zit-popping and it may frighten some of you- I assure you, it is not as painful as it sounds. Because the skin on your pore is already fragile and easily penetrated (i.e. the zit is full of goopy pus) tweezing a tiny little hole on top won’t hurt as bad as NOT tweezing a tiny hole and just squeezing your fingers together for dear life. Making a tiny hole is important because it lets the goopy pus come out easily and with direction.
  5. Squeezing- After you tweeze a tiny hole, you’ll need to force out all the goopy pus (white/yellow/greenish). It is important to get ALL the pus out otherwise the zit will be twice as big and red the next day!!! How do you do this? Take 2 clean fingers (and squeeze the zit from the sides: East and West), make sure you have tissue or toilet paper handy to catch the pus. After you squeeze once from the sides (use 2 fingers again and squeeze from the top and bottom: North and South). Keep switching after squeezes, East/West & North/South, until no more pus comes out. After the pus is all out you should see a little blood, usually this means the wound is clear of goop but can also be deceiving sometimes because I’ve seen a little blood mixed with goop when I’ve squeezed a little to hard. A good indicator is if when you run your clean finger over the open zit wound that it is not raised to a head like the zit was at first, because all the pus will be gone it shouldn’t feel like a zit anymore to your finger. Now you’ll still have a slight bump and it will be RED and inflamed so you won’t want to go out in public afterward, hence WHY you do this RIGHT before bed. Also, schedule nookie time appropriately if you’re worried about it ;).
  6. Washing the zit wound- I found what works for me after I pop a zit is to immediately wash the zit with warm/hot soapy water. Since I don’t use soap on the rest of my face, I only spot-wash my zit which is me just soaping and washing the 1/2 inch radius around my zit as well as my zit, I get up in there with the soap to make sure it doesn’t come back with a vengeance the next day!  Then I cleanse my face with my normal skin routine at night and apply a light moisturizer. After washing and drying, you may notice some residual clearish-colored oozing, this is good! It will dry on its own pretty quickly. Don’t touch it with your fingers, bring a tissue to bed and blot your oozing zit a few times before you fall asleep if you like.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep- I’ve popped a zit or 2 at night having had an awful night’s sleep (3-5 hours) and awoken with a not-so-happy zitty and painful wound the next morning so please give yourself ample time for rest so your whole body can repair.
  8. The next morning- If you are like me, you may be excited to see what your zit looks like the next morning and how much better it looks. If done properly, it should just have a teeny tiny reddish scab that will go away within a day or 2. DON’T TAKE the scab off and try not to pack on the makeup because bacteria can still get into the wound with a scab. If you are desperate for coverage for your tiny red scab, blot a little light green powder on it- NOTE, I only do this in emergencies because I like the zit to dry out naturally with no makeup on or around it. But you should not see a bump of any sort. Personally, I think the worst part of zits/acne is the bumps that come with it so I’m usually a happy camper when the bump is gone the next day and the healing is underway. If you will be in the sun, apply an SPF, if only on your zit at least, preferably an SPF without all the nasty chemicals in it!

For those of you that need a quicker fix, you can try some of these:

dab on lavender or tea tree essential oil,  or an aspirin/water paste for 10 min, rub a potato slice on it, or do a honey mask

I’d love to hear from you, what rituals and products have you tried on zits? Has it worked? What is your tried and true method?

I am in no way getting paid to promote anyone’s products, The product I link to in this article or have linked to in past article are of products I personally use and love, and I would never promote something that I didn’t love and use myself

10 Healthy Snacks for Busy People

So we all ideally want to eat healthier (right?) but sometimes don’t have the time to make healthy snacks  so we reach for what comes easy… like hitting up the vending machine or reaching for some unhealthy snack that takes 3 seconds to open and stick in your mouth for instant gratification. Been there! While working in corporate America, it become a cycle to fuel myself with crap just to get through the day, i.e. I didn’t get enough sleep at night leaving me more hungry throughout the day, more irritable and more likely to make small mistakes in my work. This was very stressful on my body (even if I brought a healthy salad for lunch) because in order to fuel myself I drank sugary coffee-like substances, ate sugary office treats or grabbed a bag of salty chips to shut my hunger up. I was working out  4-5 days a week but wasn’t losing weight, still getting acne, wasn’t sleeping better and was still stressed! All the while, I brought very healthy lunches with me to work thinking because I had at least 1  or 2 healthy meals a day would be enough to keep me healthy. Not the case, this cycle of mine was not a good one.

Here are 10 healthy snacks that you can prep at work or at home so you can easily grab something and satiate yourself in a normal 5-10 break at work. Most of these healthy snacks require you to bring things with you to work or better yet store them at work so they are always available in a pinch. I used to store my healthy snack ingredients (that didn’t need refrigeration) in my desk: Extra Virgin Olive OIl (EVOO), sea salt, pepper, seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower), healthy crackers, apple cider vinegar (ACV), nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut), and fresh seasonal produce that doesn’t need refrigeration such as tomatoes/avocados/ peaches/ nectarines/apricots/lemons/oranges/grapefruits/etc. Don’t forget a bowl, plate, fork, spoon, knife, etc if your place of work doesn’t supply these items to you.

  1. Photo cred: Leonie Wise

    Photo cred: Leonie Wise

    Avocado & Tomatoes with Olive oil, salt and pepper (Prep at work)- bring your avocado to work (feel free to use tomatoes too!) cut it up in a bowl, add EVOO, salt and pepper, mix with fork and enjoy.

  2. Bell Peppers (Prep at home or work)- Cut them up the night before and put into a ziplock or bring the peppers to work whole and cut them on your break, or bite into them like an apple… the green ones are not as sweet so beware!
  3. Photo cred: Juan José Valencia Antía

    Photo cred: Juan José Valencia Antía

    Handful of nuts (Prep at home or work)- If buying raw nuts in bulk, you should soak your nuts to remove some phytic acid, Here is a great example of how to soak your nuts (hehe) and why it is beneficial (shout out to the blog author, Kayla!) and also how to dehydrate them. Soaking nuts will make the process more time-consuming but when buying in bulk, it is much easier because they save well. Make sure not to eat too many, they are high in fat (good fat) but still have quite a few calories.

  4. Berries (Prep at home or work)- buy fresh or frozen but make sure they are ORGANIC Frozen berries- put a handful or two of frozen berries in a tupperware at night and take to work next day, use a fork or spoon and enjoy with all their juices. Fresh berries- wash and put in tupperware or bowl and eat.
  5. egg-869300_1280Hard-boiled eggs (Prep at home)- try to find eggs from chickens that are raised on pasture, hard boil the eggs the night before (I set a timer for 10 minutes because i really despised over-cooked hard-boiled eggs). Then after the 10 minutes, I pour the boiling hot water out, add really cold water, and let them cool a little. I then peel them and put them in a tupperware, rough-cut them in the tupperware, add salt, pepper, sometimes nutritional yeast for extra nutrients, and EVOO then put the lid on and stick it in the fridge to bring to work the next day, eat at any time for a protein boost.
  6. Cream cheese on crackers with salad greens on top (Prep at home or work)- spread your cream cheese (This is my favorite cream cheese) on cracker of your choice, add a little salt, pepper and some fresh salad greens like arugula, spinach, mixed greens and drizzle some EVOO on top. I sometimes add my soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds, turkey lunch meat, tomatoes, etc and it can even become a full meal. It can get oily and drippy with the EVOO but it is totally work it!
  7. Cucumbers and Salt (Prep at home or work)- At home, cut up cucumbers and place in tupperware and add salt then put in fridge and bring to work the next day. Or cut up at  work, add a pinch of salt and perhaps even a spritz of lemon, then eat it up.
  8. IMG_3121Homemade no-bake chocolate-rice crispy treat (Prep at home)- I just threw some stuff together with no real measurements here, SO in a bowl mix up coconut oil, nut butter of your choice, brown rice syrup, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla powder, vanilla extract, pinch of salt then throw in some chocolate rice cereal (I used this one), then once you mix in the rice cereal with all the wet ingredients listed first, just pour it all into a pan, even the top and put in the freezer for an hour. Take out, cut up and enjoy, then store leftovers (if any!) in fridge.
  9. Apple, celery or banana and nut butter (Prep at home or work)- cut up fruit of your choice and add some nut butter (cashew, almond, peanut, etc)
  10. Photo cred: Alex Munsell

    Photo cred: Alex Munsell

    Homemade popcorn (prep at home)- buy USDA Organic or nonGMO corn only and no I do not condone microwave popcorn, even if it has “healthier” ingredients than the others. This is where I learned how to make my own without burning any kernels, thanks Elise! I make a big batch (3/4 cup or 1 cup un-popped kernels), season with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and then put the popcorn in to-go bags to take as a snack.

Now I realize these are all not instant snacks but they are really not too time-consuming and will bring you back into consciously thinking about your snacks and how you are fueling yourself daily. After all, we all could stand to benefit from taking better care of ourselves. What do you crave while you are at work? Leave a comment and let me know…

Zucchini Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Hey there ZUCCHINI and/orIMG_3092 LASAGNA lovers, here is a hearty recipe for the Italian in each of us, still full of flavor and sans the pasta! My husband loooooooves lasagna and has been a bit bitter that I have never made it for him. Homemade lasagna takes a lot of time and effort (making and cutting the pasta dough, sauce, etc) so to cut down on time, gluten and starch, I used strips of zucchini instead of pasta/lasagna noodles and my own tomato-based pasta sauce that I make in large batches and freeze.

So, at the local farmer’s market, zucchini are CHEAP right now and cheap, organic produce is how I roll! Zucchini are really good for you too, here are some health benefits of zucchini (shout out to OrganicFacts.net)! So I bought a bunch of seriously large zucchini in the hopes of making some really yummy and healthy dishes.

Zucchini Lasagna (serves 4-6, prep time: 15-20 min, cook time: 50 min)

Ingredients (non-dairy and non-meat-eaters substitute with the appropriate non-dairy and/or non-meat items and let me know in the comments how it turned out!):

1 extra-large zucchini** (mine was HUGE, like the size of my inner forearm from the inside of my elbow to the top of my palm right where my fingers start (13-15 inches) and about as wide as the same palm (3-4 inches)… ( )= I’m ballparking here :)

1 lb ground beef, turkey or other protein substance

2.5-3 cups seasoned pasta sauce (mine was previously made with organic diced tomatoes which I simmered with basil, salt, garlic, onion, and a dash of balsamic) but any jar of tomato-based sauce will do

8 oz Mozzarella cheese (it will need to be shredded)

15 oz Ricotta cheese (I only needed about 12 oz. though)

1 T garlic powder

1/2 T onion powder

1-2 T salt (some for meat and some for zucchini)

1 T avocado oil

1 9×9 in pan for baking

1 sauce pan (enough to hold 1 lb protein and 3 cups of pasta sauce)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F, brown meat/protein on low-medium temp in a sauce pan and add some salt, the garlic powder and onion powder while its cooking. Once it is browned, add your 3 cups of pasta sauce to the meat and simmer, I will refer to this meaty sauce as “meat sauce”

While meat is browning, cut up your zucchini into thin, long strips. I tried to cut mine really thin because I personally like several thin layers vs a few thick layers but i ended up cutting them thicker anyways (Doh!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can cover any thinness of your zucchini layer with another piece of zucchini anyway :)

Once you cut up your zucchini, grate your mozzarella so it is ready. While you’re at it, take the lid of your ricotta (assuming it comes with a lid) and make sure that is ready to go as well and have your salt on deck because you’ll need to sprinkle salt on each layer of raw zucchini.

OK, so once you are prepped and ready, coat 9×9 in pan with 1 T avocado oil (if you don’t have avocado oil, use a high smoke point oil that is not hydrogenated and don’t use extra virgin olive oil because the heat in the oven might be too hot for your olive oil). Then add a ladle full of “meat sauce” to your 9×9 pan and move it all around the pan like you did with the oil. Now you are ready for your first layer of zucchini. Place your first layer of strips to cover the whole pan, I recommend 1 layer only but if you do it any differently, let me know how it turns out in the comments!

Once you see no more meat sauce and only zucchini, add a sprinkle of salt on the zucchini (this will help its flavor (as long as your meat sauce isn’t too salty). After the salt, add another ladle or two of meat sauce. Next is the ricotta, I grad it with my hands and sprinkle blobs onto my lasagna, you can also spread and even layer if you like as well. After the ricotta, grab a handful of mozzarella and sprinkle on top (don’t neglect the corners of your pan because they need love too). Now you are ready for your 2nd layer of zucchini…

So it goes… oil to coat pan, then meat sauce, then zucchini layer (salt), then meat sauce, then ricotta, then mozzarella, then start over with zucchini layer (salt), meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, etc. until you get to the top of the pan. You’ll want to end the last layer of zucchini with meat sauce, ricotta and mozzarella and not just plain zucchini. Don’t fill past the top of the pan! If you have extra of everything, make a second zucchini lasagna in a separate pan. Lastly, you’ll want to use a fork to stab the top of the unbaked lasagna all over, as far as the fork will go to the bottom of the pan (this will help the juices move all around and distribute more even cooking). Then cover with foil or a lid and put in the the oven to bake.

Bake your zucchini lasagna for 50 minutes

**Please be aware that zucchini has a lot of water in it and that when this lasagna bakes, it will develop its own little pool of watery meat sauce (tasty sauce but not attractive on a plate), my husband and I didn’t mind it at all but if you do mind or are making it for guests, you can always scoop out the watery sauce after it is done cooking (or during) and use it in another dish or toss it out

Have you made any healthy takes on old favorites? Leave a comment below, I’d love to read about it!

Turn Leftover Rice Into Delicious “Risotto” in under 20 min

My Mushroom And Pea "Risotto"

My Mushroom And Pea “Risotto”

I’m a big fan of getting the most use out of what I cook. Since I am the only “chef” between my husband and I, it is way easier to make rice in bulk (2 cups dry rice) so we can use it for a couple of meals during the week instead of only making what I need for 1 or 2 meals. Since rice is so handy and versatile as far as what you can make with it, its perfect to make in bulk!

So who doesn’t love a good risotto? Being Italian, I know it is a delicacy because mom rarely made it at our house… it is labor and time intensive (about 1 hour constant stirring, not including prep) so when she did, it was savored. If there is a risotto on a restaurant menu, I will usually order it because of this! Now while I love the flavor and all of the love that goes into a homemade risotto, it’s just not practical for those of us who don’t have the kind of time to cook, so tonight I came up with a faster, tastier version. Now while it’s not a real risotto, my husband can’t tell the difference and loved it. I almost forgot to take a picture so I made him stop eating so I could combine our rice on a new plate (to look prettier). We had a larger portion than this but I had to get a pic, hehe!

Bare with me here, I NEVER measure the amount of ingredients I add to a dish (unless following a strict recipe while baking) so be sure to play around with the measurements until you feel comfortable. For now, since this is my first recipe post, I will err on the side of caution and probably make sure the measurements are on the lower side. Moving forward, I will start to think about figuring out my exact measurements, to make following recipes easier. But as with any recipe, add flavor to your own taste!

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (I used wild rice which is why the pictured rice is darker)

1/2 cup white wine

2 cubes chicken stock (I make a large pot of broth and freeze half of it in large containers and the rest I freeze in normal ice-cube trays for when I need a little at a time while cooking) I bet you would be fine using between 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup chicken broth

1-2 cups frozen mushrooms (depending on how much mush flavor you like, I used shiitake for this but any edible mushrooms will work)

3/4 cup frozen peas (or more, again depending on your preference)

2 T oil  Use enough to lightly coat the bottom of your pan if food sticks to it!

Butter (optional) I used 2T after I turned off the heat

Salt (to taste) I used about 1T I believe for the whole dish

Directions:

On Low/Medium heat (I used a mixture of Avocado and Extra Virgin Olive because the heat remained  #3 out of 10 on my electric coil stove), heat the oil then add the leftover rice. Add the 2 cubes of chicken stock and wine, stir and let simmer with top on for a minute or 2 then add your frozen mushrooms and let simmer a few minutes, staying careful of keeping the liquid in the pan and not letting your “risotto” dry out because it needs to be moist and creamy, keep stirring every time you add something. If you think it’s looking dry, add more stock or wine and let simmer another couple of minutes. Add some salt then taste it. Peas don’t take long at all so those should be the last to go in unless you like them mushy haha. Once you are satisfied with the flavor and texture, turn off the stove and you can add in some butter if you like, then plate and enjoy!

This recipe will work with several different variants and additions of proteins, veggies and flavors- I happened to use what was in my kitchen.

If you try it yourself, let me know how it turns out and how the measurements played out for you… What would you add to make yours unique? Have you tried your own “risotto” recipe? I’d love to hear your comments :)

 

 

 

It Finally Looks Like A Website, Woot Woot!

So thanks to Geoff Blake, shout out to Geoff, I learned how to go from a boring-looking blog to a simple-looking website and I’m so thrilled! If you too want the link, this is it.  It’s his simple YouTube tutorial and for non-techies like me, it was groundbreaking.

It may not be the chicest (haters gonna hate hate hate) but I’m happy with it for now. Come here for more up-to-date health news by the week. Leave a comment if you are curious about something in particular!