healing cuisine logo

healing cuisine logo

Monday, May 30, 2011

Zucchini Pasta Chicken Salad

Get out your julienne spiralizer!  It's time to make a healthy serving of today's recipe!  It gets better day after day as you eat the leftovers from your fridge, so I usually double this recipe.  I use my spiralizer on the thinest noodles setting, but you could make them any thickness that you prefer.

Spiralized Thin Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini Pasta Chicken Salad
Makes 4 Servings

2 medium organic zuccchinis
2 medium organic yellow squash
1 organic tomato, diced
1 cup black olives, diced (preservative free)
1 lb free-range chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp organic unsweetened mustard
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

1.)  Using your spiralizer, make noodles out of the zucchinis and yellow squash.  (TIP:  Keep the zucchini and squash cores for soups/stocks or stir fry dishes.)

2.)  In a large sauce pan, bring a few cups of water to boil.  Place steam in bottom of pan and steam the zucchini and squash noodles for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat and drain.

3.)  Toss together the noodles, chicken, tomatoes, olives, and parsley.

4.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Pour over the salad and toss to combine.  Enjoy warm or chill for a few hours before serving.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creamy Artichoke Soup

A great soup for spring/summer!  And it's super quick to prepare, too.  I've made this as a Core Plan soup with just a few redskin potatoes because they really add a creamy body to the soup.  However, you can make this Advanced Plan by simply replacing the redskins with 2/3 cup pureed white beans.

Easy Creamy Artichoke Soup
Makes 4-6 Servings

1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
32 oz organic sodium-free vegetable broth
2  9oz packs frozen artichoke hearts
4 small red skin potatoes, thinly sliced (peeling optional)
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dried cilantro
Sea salt, to taste
White Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup organic almond milk, unsweetened plain flavor

1.)  In a medium pot, saute the shallot and garlic in coconut oil over Medium heat until softened.  Stir in artichoke hearts, potatoes, celery seed, cilantro, and vegetable broth.

2.)  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to Low.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the artichokes and potatoes are fork tender.

3.)  Remove from heat.  Blend, carefully, until smooth with a steel immersion blender or in a glass blender in small batches.

4.)  To the soup, add sea salt, white pepper, lemon juice, and almond milk.  Return to a boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.  Top with a dollop of organic Greek yogurt (optional).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars, lemon bars!!  These are Dave's f-f-favorite dessert in the whole world.  Well, next to ice cream of any flavor.  I've botched experiments in the past trying to come out with lemon bars close to the same texture and taste as "conventional" lemon bars.  It's taken me many trials, but this is it I think!

These come inspired by a patient who made these for a church function from a recipe she had found in another paleo diet cookbook.  I've made my own crust layer and altered the lemon layer to be Advanced Plan.  The original recipe called for honey.

These are must-make bars!  They haven't lasted long in our home..  Once Dave's nose got whiff, half the pan was devoured!  And that makes me happy.

Lemon Bars
Makes 18 Bars

1 cup almond flour (fine ground)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp powdered xylitol*
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp raw unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond flour (fine ground)
1/4 cup powdered xylitol*
2 tsp Stevita Spoonable stevia
4 large free-range eggs
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.

2.)  CRUST   Combine the almond flour, powdered xylitol, and sea salt in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, stir together coconut oil, butter and vanilla extract.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined.  Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until lightly golden.

3.)  LEMON TOPPING   While the crust bakes, prepare the topping.  In a blender or food processor (or by hand with a whisk), combine the almond flour, powdered xylitol, stevia, eggs, and lemon juice.  Blend on Medium speed until smooth. Remove the crust from the oven.  Pour the topping evenly over the hot crust.

5.)  Pop back into oven.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F until the topping is golden at edges.  Let cool in the baking dish for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours to set.  Sprinkle with extra powdered xylitol (optional).  Cut into bars and serve.

*The recipe for powdered xylitol can be found in Season's Eatings Holiday e-Book on page 47.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cucumber Raspberry Mint Salad

I know, I know, it sounds weird to enjoy garlic with raspberries.  But seriously, this salad is delicious!  It's a spin off of the classic cucumber garlic mint salad.  Mine is refreshing and savory at the same time.  Give the dressing and cucumbers 24 hours in the fridge to blend together, then add the raspberries just at serving time.  The flavors work really well together!

Cucumber Raspberry Mint Salad
Makes 6 Servings

2 cups plain full fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium organic cucumbers, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup fresh organic raspberries
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

1.)   In a mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, lime juice, mint, and garlic.

2.)   In a salad bowl, toss cucumbers with yogurt sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Gently stir in raspberries just before serving.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To: Eye Makeup Remover

I LOVE this DIY eye makeup remover.  For a while there, I was just using plain old olive oil to remove my makeup, but found it left my eyes extremely oily afterward, even after cleansing.  This is the perfect eye makeup remover blend.  It takes care of stubborn eye liner and mascara.  I use the natural stuff, but still, it's stuck on there for days unless you use something like this.  Give it a try!  It's pure, gentle, and nourishing.  Follow with a mild organic face wash (I prefer MiEssence Purifying Cleanser) and toner (I prefer MiEssence Balancing Skin Conditioner) before bed.

To be honest, I've had this blend of oils on hand (almond, apricot, and vitamin E) as I also use a similar mixture on my baby belly after the shower to help prevent stretch marks.  But if you don't have these already, you can find them pretty inexpensively at a place like Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, or online on Amazon.com.  Be sure to read the ingredients and production process before buying to ensure a pure and safe product!

For mixing, storage, and use, reuse an old glass bottle or purchase one here or here.

Eye Makeup Remover
Makes 1 Month's Use

4 Tbsp almond oil
1 Tbsp apricot kernel oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
2 drops chamomile essential oil

In your glass container, add all ingredients.  Screw on lid and shake until mixed.  Ready for use immediately.  Shake before each use.  Keep in a cool, dark place.  Shelf safe for up to 6 months.

You can use a cotton ball/swab/pad for makeup removal, but I'm all about using green and reusable products.  I have a small stack of soft organic cotton washcloths that I use strictly for makeup removal.  That way if they get stained, no big deal, since they're for makeup removal only.  (You'll find natural makeup doesn't really stain anyway...)  And the beauty of it is no trash!  Just throw in your weekly laundry bin and you're set.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Key Lime Pudding

So I've had a bit of a rough week here food-wise.  Dave and I attended an event this past weekend that had us there 8am-8pm both Saturday and Sunday.  In all the fun and work, we forgot to do our meal plan and go grocery shopping!!!  Monday came and we had that YIKES moment!  Neither of us really has time to make it to the grocery store during the week days (although I'm thinking of skipping out on an event I'm supposed to be at tonight and make a trip to Earth Fare before bedtime...).  We've been eating from what little we have in our pantry, which has mostly been steal cut oats for breakfast with frozen blueberries and coconut milk, black beans and salsa mixed together over spinach for lunch, and frozen broccoli and black beans for dinner.  That's been our life the past three days.  I'm getting sick of it!  If you follow this blog you know I love my variety, so this has been torture!

I just finished my beans & salsa salad for lunch, and boy was I craving something sweet.  We have a roommate here in Charlotte, and she had offered us two avocados she'd had on her counter for over a week.  She said she didn't know what to do with them.  I told her I'd whip her up something tasty.  ;)  And I saw in the fridge she had a bag of limes.  Eureka!  So here is my after lunch sweet treat, which I was inspired to make from my signature and most favorite dessert recipe Raw Key Lime Pie.  This simple twist on my key lime pie recipe is quick, requires just a few ingredients, and tastes SO GOOD!

Key Lime Pudding
Makes 3 Servings

2 organic ripe avocados
1/2 tsp pure liquid stevia
3-4 Tbsp lime zest (yup, zest the whole bag of limes!)
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (and yup, squeeze almost all of them!)

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on High until smooth.  Serve immediately or chill for an hour or two before serving.  I topped with crushed almonds to add a little protein and mimic pie crust.  DEEEElicious!

I went ahead and used standard limes that you'll find at your grocery store (Tahitian).  However, you can definitely go ahead and use Key limes if you have them or find them.  Key limes are naturally sweeter than Tahitian limes, so you can go a little less on the stevia.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Zucchini Casserole

Still getting used to having fresh organic produce so early in the year.  Living in a warmer climate definitely has its benefits!  This side dish is great with grilled chicken.

Zucchini Casserole
Serves 6

2 tsp coconut oil
2 medium organic green zucchini, sliced into 1/2" pieces
4 organic scallions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 medium organic yellow zucchini, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
5 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
5 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 organic tomato, thinly sliced
2 ounces organic feta cheese, crumbled

1.)  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a large skillet over Medium heat. Add green zucchini, half of the scallions, half of the garlic, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Saute until zucchini has softened and starts to brown, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

2.)  Repeat process with yellow zucchini and remaining coconut oil, scallions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Transfer to bowl with cooked green zucchini; let sit until cooled.  Drain and discard any liquid.

3.)  Add dill, parsley, and eggs to zucchini, stirring to combine.  Pour into a 9-inch casserole dish.  Cover with tomato slices.  Sprinkle with feta crumbles.  Bake until set, about 1 hour.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Questions Answered: Aches & Pains During Pregnancy

Laura commented on yesterday's post, Exercises During Pregnancy.  I thought she had a great question, and found myself giving her a full on consultative response.  Wanted to share with everyone as this may benefit many of you.  Here's Laura's question:
"Love these Elise. Can you recommend any (or others) that will aid in pelvic aches during pregnancy?  I had pretty bad ones with Ella, and like clockwork, as I start Month 5, am feeling the aches of my joints loosening and shifting again.  I'm determined to be more active with this pregnancy, so I'm curious about what will best alleviate these aches/pains so I can continue my yoga/run-walking/biking through full term?"
My response:

Hi Laura!  Congrats on your 2nd pregnancy! :)  How exciting!

So you already participate in yoga regularly?  That would be my first recommendation, to get those joints and ligaments stretching regularly, at least 3 times a week if not daily.

Second, if you aren't already a member of a Maximized Living health center, I strongly encourage you to get involved asap!  Not only are the chiropractic adjustments crucial to a safe and healthy pregnancy/birth, but your pain could be caused by nervous system interference.  Your Maximized Living doctor will be able to tell you if this is an issue for you and how to correct it.  To find an ML clinic near you, type in your zip code: www.maximizedliving.com

Third step is making sure you are consuming enough Omega 3 fat.  This is important thru your pregnancy in general as baby's brain is composed almost entirely of fat and needs fat to develop (the healthy fats).  Beyond that, healthy fats are a natural anti-inflammatory, so they will help to relieve the pain you are feeling.  Include about 2-4 Tbsp of healthy fats per meal (avocado, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, raw nuts, etc).  On top of that, you should be supplementing with a high quality fish oil, 2-4 grams daily (6-8 grams when you are in pain).  I recommend the Innate Choice brand of fish oil.  Just be sure the brand you choose is third party tested to be pure and heavy metals-free.

Step four, make sure you are consuming enough protein.  While pregnant, you want to consume a minimum of 80 grams of protein per day.  If you aren't consuming enough, your body could be eating away at your existing muscle to make up for it.  This could be the cause of your aches and pains.  Keep a food long for 1 week, adding up your protein intake each day.  You'll quickly see if you are eating enough protein or not by day three.  Work to increase, which can be done simply by adding a high quality protein shake (20-30 grams).  I recommend Sequel Vega or Garden of Life Raw Meal.

And step 5, when in doubt, take a bath for a short-term fix.  A bath can help to get you relaxed enough to sleep, if the pain is a huge discomfort.  Keep the water a touch on the cooler side, under 100 degrees, as baby doesn't yet have a way to cool itself off like we do (sweating or getting out of the water).  I also don't draw the water up as high so my belly isn't completely covered.  I usually stay in the bath about 40 mins max.  You can add 2 cups of Epsom salt to the water to help your body draw out toxins, which could also be a contributing factor.  And treat yourself to some relaxing essential oils -- my favorite in the bath is lavender.  :)

Let me know if you have further questions on this.  Hope some of this helps!  And seriously, get in to see your ML doctor!!  If not for your aches and pains, to at least get your pelvis checked!  Many blessings and best of luck!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Exercises During Pregnancy

I'm back!  Wah, it's been way too long since my last post!!  Hope you all had splendid Easter celebrations and that spring has graced your backyard by now..  (My poor family and friends in MN and MI are still suffering from snow!)

Well, we made it to Charlotte, NC safe and sound.  And let me say, we are absolutely LOVING it!  The area really reminds us of home with all the trees and how nice the people are.  A big change compared to Orlando area.  I've been absent from blogging while we got situated here.  Dave (Dr. Dave) is in full swing with his practice, which he started last week.  We've also been spending time getting to know the community, finding a church we love, and joining local small groups in hopes to meet people and make some friends.  Looking back, I can't believe all we've done and it's only been about a week!  It's been a lot of fun so far and I'm looking forward to these next few months ahead while we get rooted in Charlotte.

If you or a loved one lives in Charlotte area and you want to get plugged in to Maximized Living (or just meet us!!  Like I said in my last post, we don't know anyone here and would love to get to know YOU!), email me, email Dave, or give the office a call and ask for Dr. Dave: 704-540-0055.  We'd love to hear from you!  We are slowly working on setting up a website for Dave, and will share that as we get our act together.

Now, what I wanted to share today are some exercise tips for pregnant moms.  You can tell where my mind is these days...   :)

Thought this would be a helpful topic for you other expectant moms!  Many of these exercises are beneficial post pregnancy and to help with bladder control.  The more I learn about the importance of strong pelvic floor muscles for woman as we age, I can't help but encourage all women to practice these exercises regularly.

I do all of these exercises every day.  Depending on our burst line up, I'll rotate in other moves, too.  But the ones I'm listing below are extremely beneficial while pregnant and will not only help ensure a healthy pregnancy and easier labor, but will help you to bounce back after birth.

Kegel / Pelvic Floor Exercises

Kegel Exercises are so extremely important!  Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor, the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels.  By strengthening these muscles during your pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth.

Pelvic Floor exercises are also highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and help these muscles return to a healthy state.  Another great benefit is increased urinary control.  So if you sneeze, laugh, or cough and a little pee squirts out uncontrollably, you've got a weak pelvic floor and you'll want to start working on that daily.


To do Kegels, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine, clenching in and up your pelvic floor muscles.  When you do this, you are practicing Kegel / Pelvic Floor exercises.  Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a count of three and then relax.  While doing Kegels, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles.  In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises.  The beauty is, you can do them anywhere!  You also want to ensure your bladder is empty before practicing the exercises.  Working out with a full or partially full bladder can result in a bladder or urinary tract infection, which can be hard to get rid of while pregnant.

I recommend doing a minimum of five sets of 30 Kegel exercises a day.  More is better if you can get them in.  During the first trimester, I was having trouble remembering to do mine, so what I did was taped a little affirmation to my bathroom mirror to remind me to do my Kegels after every time I go to the bathroom.  I made a point to make it into an affirmation vs just a reminder note so that not only is it reminding me every time, but it's also changing my subconscious every time I read it.  "I will do 30 Kegel reps 5 times each day."  It's been two months since implementing my note, and I haven't forgotten a day since!

Tailor Exercises

Tailor exercises strengthen the pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles.  This can help relieve low back pain in the third trimester and give you strength during labor.

Tailor Sit:  This practice helps to eliminate unnecessary pressure in the pelvic area which improves circulation to the legs.  It uses your sit bones (your pelvis) to support your weight, preventing unnecessary discomfort of using your pelvic floor muscles to support your weight while you sit through the day.  Sitting in Tailor Sit also allows you to lean forward, taking the weight of the uterus off your back.  Tailor sitting also stretches the inside of your legs to help prepare you for second stage labor.


Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat together (alternate option: ankles crossed).  Lean slightly forward, and keep your back straight but relaxed.  Use this position whenever possible throughout the day.

Tailor Press:  This exercise stretches your hip and thigh muscles while strengthening your arm and leg muscles.


Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat together.  Grasp your ankles and pull your feet gently toward your body.  Cup your hands under your knees.  Inhale.  While pressing your knees down against your hands, press your hands up against your knees (counter-pressure).  Hold for a count of five.  Repeat.  You can perform on yourself, or have your partner help you.
Pelvic Tilt

This position helps relieve back pain, a common problem during pregnancy.


Get on your hands and knees, arms shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart, keeping your arms straight, but not locking the elbows.  Tuck your buttocks under and round your back as you breathe in.  Relax your back into a neutral position as you breathe out.  Repeat at your own pace.

Squats are so simple to perform and can be one of the most powerful exercises to prepare your body for birth.  I recommend any pregnant woman squat every day to relax and open the pelvis.  This will provide easy relief as your belly grows.  But more importantly, over time the squats will strengthen the upper legs which are crucial for use during labor.  As you start to feel heavier in pregnancy, use props such as an exercise ball between you and the wall for stability.


Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed outward.  Contract your abdominal muscles, lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Lower your tailbone toward the floor as though you were going to sit down on a chair.  Find your balance — most of your weight should be toward your heels.  Take a deep breath and, exhaling, push into your legs to rise to a standing position.  Focus on relaxing and letting your breath drop deeply into your belly.
Prenatal Yoga & Stretching

Prenatal Yoga comes highly recommended from many friends who have had beautiful births.  I had  tried a few classes in Orlando as the studios let me attend for free.  However, it can be a bit on the pricier side, especially if you go to someone specifically trained in prenatal yoga techniques.  You want to look for a yoga studio that specifically offers a prenatal/postnatal class.  This ensures the instructors are educated on various poses you can do safely as you progress in your pregnancy and your tummy grows.  I also recommend emailing or calling the yoga studio before attending.  I was offered a free class at all three studios in Orlando that I contacted so I could try prenatal yoga out first and see for sure that I liked it and would want to continue through my pregnancy.  This is great, because you can get to know the instructor, feel the energy of the class, and meet some of the other great moms-to-be in the area.

While I loved the yoga sessions and appreciated the group setting (you can really learn from the others in the room, and meet other moms-to-be like you!), it's unfortunately not in our budget right now to continue with the yoga sessions.  So, I did some research online for the best rated prenatal yoga DVDs.  I found two gems that I alternate using daily:  Healthy Mom, Happy Baby and Prenatal Kundalini Yoga.  Both DVDs were $20 each, well worth it as you can use it thru your entire pregnancy.  I love them both for different reasons.  Healthy Mom, Happy Baby is more focused on the poses, helping you get them right, and giving tips on how to do them correctly as your belly grows.  Prenatal Kundalini Yoga is more focused on the meditation process thru the poses (something I really needed help with).  I alternate each DVD daily so I get a well rounded experience.  I love it!  Highly recommend either or both of these!

If yoga just doesn't sound like you, then I really urge you to do at least some simple stretching a few times a week.  Yoga and stretching will enhance your flexibility, prevent your muscles from tightening, and make you feel looser and more relaxed.  All of this is in preparation for the birth.  Be sure to breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.  As you progress in your pregnancy, your ligaments will become looser and more relaxed naturally.  Stretching will help to take the tension off, release the stress of weight-bearing ligaments, and prepare the body (especially your pelvic area) for the birth.

Here are some simple stretches you can do every day at home:

Shoulder Circles

While seated or standing, rotate your shoulders backwards and down in the largest circle you can make.  This opens the chest, counteracting the rounded shoulders so many pregnant women get.

Chest Stretch

Standing in a doorway, place both hands at shoulder height on either side of the doorway, elbows bent.  Step your right foot forward until you feel a slight stretch in the chest muscles (being careful not to stretch too much).  Hold for 30 seconds.  Switch feet, stepping your left foot forward.  Hold for 30 seconds.


Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart a comfortable distance from the wall, knees slightly bent.  Inhale, then as you exhale, draw in your abdominal muscles, moving your chin toward your chest as you roll your torso down one vertebra at a time.  "Roll" as far down as you're comfortable going.  Keep your weight centered between your feet.

Inhale at the bottom of the roll-down, and as you exhale, roll back up, trying to "print" each vertebra on the wall.  As you return to an upright position, make sure your head is the last part of your body to uncurl.  Repeat.

These are my pregnancy exercise tips.  Hope you found something to add to your daily routine!

Related Posts with Thumbnails