Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


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Cranberry Pecan Carrot Couscous

 A few years ago as I was searching for Thanksgiving side-dish ideas I came across a New York Times recipe for couscous with cranberries, pecans and carrots. I love this dish because it has bright clean flavors that help balance out fatty meals.

Saturday Nathaniel and I had his co-worker and his co-workers wife over for dinner and this was one of the sides I prepared. I doubled the recipe which made WAY more than four adults could reasonably eat at dinner time.

Some of the leftovers made for a great light lunch today.

Tip- Since there is so much chopping involved I suggest you prep all the ingredients before you start making the rest of your meal. If everything is chopped and ready to go this dish only takes another 10 minutes to put together.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup couscous

Salt

2 large carrots grated

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup olive oil (or more as needed)

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (or more juice as needed)

1 teaspoon coriander

Black pepper
to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1. Put the couscous in a small pot and add 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from the heat. Let steep for at least 10 minutes, or up to 20.

2. Put the slightly cooled couscous in a large salad bowl along with the carrots, pecans, cranberries, scallions, oil and lemon zest and juice, and sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper. Use 2 big forks to combine, fluffing the couscous and tossing gently to separate the grains. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3. Stir in the parsley and sage. Taste and adjust the seasoning, moisten with a little more oil and lemon juice as you like, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

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Healthy Mexican Inspired Veggie Soup

 

 

Nathaniel and I used to eat fideo a lot. For those of you who don’t know, fideo is a Mexican soup that has pasta in it. Since step one of making fideo is stir-frying the noodles we haven’t had it since I moved back to California.

I wanted to make a healthier soup that had all the flavors of fideo in it: onions, cilantro, garlic, tomato etc. and this is what I came up with.

Also- I made the decision to use canned beans and corn for convenience to our readers. I understand sorting and cooking beans for hours is something I am used to doing but that many of you are not.

Makes 4-6 servings.

At 4 servings (using chicken broth) it is 217 calories per serving with only 2.25g fat

Next time I am going to make it with vegetable broth.

If you aren’t counting calories as much as we are corn tortilla quesadillas and avocado would make a nice side.

Ingredients:

½ Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 small onion diced

4 small zucchini cut into bite sized pieces

Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 tbsp. of loosely packed and torn cilantro

15 oz. can Black Beans (drained)

15 oz. can corn (drained)

8 oz. tomato sauce

32 oz. chicken or vegetable broth

½ tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder (or something else you prefer like cayenne)

2.5 tsp. garlic salt

**Suggested but not necessary: Limes can be served on the side

  1. Heat ½ tsp Olive Oil on medium heat in a large pot. Once hot add onions and stir frequently.
  2. Once onions are soft add all other ingredients to the pot – turn up heat and bring to a boil
  3. Remove from heat once zucchini is tender (less than 10 min.).
  4. Blend half of soup and then pour back into a pot – let cool slightly and serve.


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Best Vegetarian Sandwich

How to make the most delicious vegetarian sandwich you will ever have…

About a month ago I visited Outerlands in San Francisco with my friend Lauren and had a delicious almost vegetarian sandwich. I wanted to re-create it home but Nathaniel insisted I stick to our vegetarian Monday-Friday routine.

In doing a version of the Outerlands sandwich I invented one of our favorite healthy meals although today was only the second time I’ve made it.

I will list the steps separately but if you can multi-task with two skillets by all means do it. 8 steps looks like a lot of steps but it’s really not – I was just really detail orientated in how I broke it down.

Ingredients:

2 small zucchini

1 small yellow onion

1 granny smith apple

5 oz. shitake mushrooms

4 slices of low fat cheese

2 large slices of sourdough bread from a round loaf (or whatever bread you prefer)

Olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

Salt and Pepper

***Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Thinly slice one small onion as you melt 1tbsp of butter on a skillet (low heat). Once the butter is melted toss in the onion and stir it every once in a while as you do steps 2-6.
  2. Slice your zucchini into ¼ inch wide strips or ¼ inch rounds and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with PAM
  3. Slice an apple into 6 ¼ inch rounds and place on another baking sheet that has also been sprayed with PAM
  4. Pour about 1 table spoon of olive oil onto a small plate, dip a fork into the oil and use the fork tongs to lightly dot olive oil on top of the apple slices and zucchini.
  5. Salt and pepper the zucchini before sliding the two trays into the oven. Zucchini and apple can be taken out of the oven when they are easily pierced with a fork (10-15 minutes).
  6. After you get the zucchini and apples into the oven your onion should be almost done. When the onions have caramelized to your liking place them off to the side in a small bowl.
  7. Add the shitake mushrooms to the same pan you cooked the onions in and cook on medium-low until soft (5-6 minutes)
  8. Once the zucchinis, apple, onions and mushrooms are cooked you are ready to layer them on top of your bread with cheese and broil for 10-15 minutes.

From the bottom layer up I constructed them: bread, cheese, apple, onions, mushrooms, zucchini and cheese. Each piece of bread only had 2 slices of low fat cheese on them and as you can see by the photo it was more than enough.

I washed dishes as the cheese melted atop the sandwiches so after dinner we only had two plates to wash.

Total time: 40 minutes and I wasn’t hurrying.

Makes 2 servings. Each Serving: Approx. 400 calories and less than 10g fat.

We paired ours tonight with a salad.

Enjoy!


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An ode to the omelet!

I love omelets, especially the kind that cost $15 at restaurants and come with sour cream, avocado, bacon and all that other delicious stuff… mmm…

One whole egg however nearly maxes out your recommended daily cholesterol intake.

I started making omelets at home because they are delicious and restaurants overcharge for them.

I started making egg white omelets because an omelet with 5 whole eggs will eventually kill you.

Each egg white only has 16 calories while the yolk has 54 along with most of the egg’s cholesterol and protein.

My lunch today was an almost egg white omelet (it had one yolk) filled with spinach, onion, 1 serving of feta and a sliced tomato on the side. You can obviously customize yours anyway you want and have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Total calories for lunch: 230 with 24.3g protein

Quick Tips on making an omelet:

  1. You should cook your eggs on medium to medium high heat
  2. Make sure your pan is up to heat before you place your eggs inside of it – if you take too much time cooking the omelet it will dry out
  3. Allow it to half cook before you add your spinach, feta, mushrooms etc…
  4. Make sure you are using a nonstick pan and/or nonstick spray because folding your omelet will be a disaster if it sticks (French people will tell you to use a lot of butter to coat the pan which will taste better but also defeat the purpose of making an egg white omelet)

For more omelet tips read this blog entry on bonappétit.com

***Note: If I ever talk about making something you want to try and you don’t understand my directions ask me to clarify.  I will do a step-by-step how to either with photos or a video.


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Soup: Carrot Ginger

Nathaniel and I eat a lot of soup for a few reasons: It’s filling, it can be really low in calories and you can make a whole lot of it at once. Nathaniel takes soup to work for lunch nearly everyday and I usually have the same thing at home.

But- I also really love cooking and trying new recipes.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for carrot ginger soup from The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It turned out delicious which is why I decided to share it here.

This soup is even healthier than the lentil soup we usually eat so I predict you will see it mentioned with frequency in the future.

I just purchased ‘The Vegan Table’ (although I am not vegan) because it has great photos and health information for every recipe which makes choosing new and healthy recipes easier than some other cookbooks do. Also – you can always adapt the recipes for your own lifestyle.

For example: I used low sodium chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and the feta was added for the photo but it tasted great on top.

Carrot Ginger Soup

(Yield: 4 Servings)

7 or 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

1 large yellow onion, diced or sliced

2 medium yukon gold potatoes quartered

2 tsp ginger minced

2 garlic cloves minced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

(If you stay true to the recipe and use vegetable stock each serving only has 145 calories and 2 g fat)

  1. Sautee onions in a medium to large put using either butter olive oil or water (water is used in original recipe)
  2. Once Onions are soft add potatoes, garlic, ginger and carrots to the pot.
  3. Pour in enough liquid (chicken or vegetable stock) until vegetables are covered
  4. Simmer ingredients until carrots and potatoes are easily pierced with a fork
  5. Blend all ingredients in a blender till you have a nice thick soup – you can add more stock to thin the soup if you wish
  6. Season to taste and enjoy!