Jammin’ on the one!

Since my childhood, I’ve had a non-committal relationship with jam. I always preferred the smooth transparency and easy spreadability of jelly. Jam, with it’s chunky, nebulous, spread-resistant constitution, placed a very distant second to my beloved jelly. As an adult, my tolerance for jam had significantly increased as my aversion to chunky textures disappeared. Until recently, what stood between us was that most store bought jams have way too much sugar and even if I wanted to make my own, I had no more space for equipment, storage or unitasking ingredients like pectin. So I just went without. And then it happened. A friend of mine shared a recipe for a pectin-free, sugar-free Refrigerator Jam.

Shut yo mouth!” you say.
Right?! I would, but then you wouldn’t get the recipe. Back to the story.

Once my head stopped spinning like the wheels of a slot machine and I realized that everything I had ever known to be true, wasn’t… OK. Well, more like everything I had known about jam wasn’t true. Anyway, once I realized that, I was able to make my own loose interpretation with stuff I already had on hand. And it was da bomb! Continue reading

Okra Soup

Okra is one of those veggies that people either love or hate. I was in the latter group until I had it prepared for me while visiting Nigeria.  As a child and later as an adult, I had a hard time getting beyond the slippery texture and had simply decided that it wasn’t for me. Thank goodness for good manners and not wanting to offend my gracious hosts because what they prepared for me on that most memorable of evenings is now one of my favorite soups ever. Cooking the okra in a soup does two things: it makes the okra itself less slippery and capitalizes on the gelatinous nature of the vegetable as a thickener for the soup. This makes it very hearty and perfect for those cold, winter days. In Nigeria, this soup would be served along with a starchy side such as gari, fufu or pounded yam and eaten with your hands. Being that I partake of a mostly Paleo diet, I simply enjoy it by itself, in a bowl, with a spoon. I have adjusted this recipe somewhat for easier to source ingredients, but the outcome is still as delicious as it’s West African inspiration. Let me know what you think!

THRIVE in Livity!

Angela Continue reading

Stewed Brussels Sprouts

Easy. Nutritious. Delicious.

I am a veggie lover. Especially green veggies. But somehow, in all my years, I have never managed to have a single brussels sprout pass my lips. It was one of those things that when put on a plate in front of me as a kid, I would just go to bed hungry. Fast forward X amount of years and I finally had my first taste of them about a month ago. Wow! Who knew? These nutrient dense wonders are packed with Vitamins A, C and K and also high in folate and fiber. 1 Cup of brussels sprouts has 56 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Stewing them in tomatoes also adds the additional benefit of lycopene which has been suggested by studies to be associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related eye disorders. So “Eat your Brussels Sprouts,” just like your Mama said…only this time, enjoy them!

Prep Time: 10 min      Cook Time: 35-40 min      Servings: 2- 4

What you’ll need:

BRUSSELS SPROUTS11 lb of brussels sprouts, rinsed and drained

2 C water

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, diced

½ medium onion, chopped Continue reading

Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew

Nothing beats a warm bowl of stew on a cold day, especially if it spent the day cooking itself and all you have to do is serve it up and chow down! This particular stew is also a nutritional powerhouse which is a Double Win in my book! Full of insoluble fiber and containing nearly 1/3 of the %DV of protein per serving, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are already satisfaction superstars! Add to that the high %DV of manganese, copper, iron, folate, phosphorus and zinc and we’re talking All-Star, baby! Holding their own are the other main ingredients, garlic and carrots. Garlic has been used for conditions linked to the circulatory system including high cholesterol and high blood pressure and is also a powerful anti-infective agent. Carrots are high in Vitamin A (good for your peepers) and are a good source of Vitamins K and C (helps with blood clotting, supports immune system and healthy teeth and gums). Aside from how good this stew is for you, the taste is also phenomenal! The Indian influences of Curry, Garam Masala and Cayenne will warm you up as much as the heat from the steaming pot itself. Put it in a crockpot, put a lid on it and let the magic happen! Leave a comment below and let me know how much you loved it!

 

Curried Chickpeas2

Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew 

Prep Time: 8 hours      Cook Time: 6 hours      Serves: 6-8

What you’ll need:

2 C dried garbanzo beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight

3 garlic cloves, diced

¼ C onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

4 C of water or vegetable broth

1-14oz can light coconut milk

1 Bay leaf

2TBS Curry powder

1TBS Garam Masala

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (double if you like spicy)

How to Prepare:

1. Discard the water the beans were soaked in and rinse beans well.

2. Place all ingredients in the crockpot.

3. Cook 6 hours on High or until garbanzo beans are tender.

4. Using a potato masher or the back of a serving spoon, smash beans to desired texture and let cook for another 30 min.

5. Remove bay leaf. Serve warm and enjoy!

How to stay GREEN when everything around you is brown!

The AWESOMENESS of drinking green juices has been well heralded. The benefits of increased fruit and vegetable intake include increased phytonutrients, increased antioxidants, increased soluble fiber and increased oxygen availability just to name a few. Green juicess make you feel alive and give you an instant energy boost to start the day off right. In warmer climates they can be super cooling and refreshing. And guess what? In colder climates, they are still super cooling, which it turns out, is not so refreshing. On their long list of stellar achievements, green juices have never been called comfort food. That luscious fare that hugs your body and soul from the inside and leaves you feeling warm and happy regardless of the temperature and evidence of the changing season outside. No, sadly, our champion falls short in this arena. Green juice is more like a chest bump than a hug. It pumps you up and gets your adrenaline flowing, but soothing and comforting, it is not. Why, you wonder, do I bring up this ever so slight shortcoming? Why not let it go unsaid and even unnoticed by those who live in warmer climates and who don’t have to experience drinking a green juice after coming in from 30 degree temps or less? I do this because I am a fan…one of their biggest. Continue reading

Holiday Eating Survival Tips

HOLIDAY EATING SURVIVAL TIPS

Holidays are a favorite time of the year for many people and there’s no wonder why! The parties, the festive atmosphere, spending time with loved ones, and the delectable dishes and goodies that are never more than a stone’s throw away. But wait! You have adopted a lifestyle based around healthy eating of anti-inflammatory, whole foods and juicing. Or, you’ve at least started to be more mindful of your eating habits and don’t want to fall back into old patterns. How will you ever be able to sit down to a holiday with family and friends who haven’t?

Not to worry! Whether you are preparing the meal or simply an honored guest, there are several strategies that can be employed to navigate holiday tables with ease. Broken down into 3 categories, these 12 tips will empower you to stay in control while enjoying the holidays without stress. Continue reading