Add a little goodness…

There are so many ways to incorporate just a little more health into your daily routine just by adding some hidden ingredients to foods you already eat and enjoy. Often times you can do this without even altering the taste of the food and in essence you are boosting its nutritional content with minimal effort.

A good example of this is with our oatmeal. Even though we love making morning smoothies for breakfast, a couple of times a week we make the kids (and myself) oatmeal for breakfast instead of a smoothie. I like switching breakfasts so no one gets bored of eating anything nutritious!!!

So before I used to just make a bowl of oatmeal with some almond milk and voila! With time that has changed. Flaxseed is an incredible “superfood” and is great to incorporate into your daily diet. Lots of people add flaxseed to their smoothies or buy it in liquid or pill form and have a spoonful everyday, etc.

I found that its quite simple to add a tablespoon of powdered flaxseed to our oatmeal. It doesn’t alter the taste of the oatmeal at all and we just boosted our breakfast with some awesomeness!!!!


High in Protein
Rich in Soluble Fiber
Contain Vitamins B1,B2 C, E and carotene, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium
Contain high quantities of Lignin- Lignin has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral propereties.
High in Omega 3 fatty acids

Isn’t it great that one little ingredient can help boost immunity, promote healthy skin, help with constipation, aid cardiovascular health and stabilize blood sugar????

Flaxseed is one of many examples of ways to add goodness to your diet.

And for people that struggle with eating habits, small changes help a lot!

So the next time you make yourself breakfast, lunch or dinner, ask yourself….how can I add a little goodness to this meal? The options are endless!!!!


Friends, this is more than just a movie about a mouse who can cook. This is a delightful meal that hopefully will become a weekly staple in our home. I’m blown away by it!!! So we went back to our Annie’s box of Organics last week. At some point in November, I had cancelled my subscription. I had some issues with the box.

The cons:
1. we get berries but never enough for the size of my family so the one box of blueberries goes the first day we get the box.
2. the box can sometimes get repetitive and we get the same vegetable a couple of weeks in a row (i.e. potatoes…and we really don’t eat potatoes, so that gets annoying)
3. some of the items in the box doesn’t have to be organic so we’re paying organic prices for some veggies we really can get cheaper elsewhere (i.e. avocados)
4. we don’t get to choose what we get.

We thought we had gotten to a place where we had explored most of what the box was going to give us and really we were veggie-savvy enough to go to Whole foods, or Publix or any other market and get whatever vegetables and fruits we wanted for the week without having someone else pick it for us.

RESULTS… The variety declined. Even though we would only get one little box of berries every other week, at least we were getting a box. We’d go to Whole Foods every week and rarely can we find organic berries. At least at our store. They’re simply not available. So we’d end up not eating berries at all instead of our one little box that we all enjoy thoroughly!
And then we started falling back on the most comfortable dishes…our cabbage soup, our salmon with cauliflower and asparagus, our veggie tray…but week after week we were eating the same meals and I even found myself going back to my blog to re-discover some of our own recipes because I didn’t know what to buy at the store.


January 7th we went back to our box. I went online and found that in the 2 little months I had strayed they had started a new box that they call the Paleo box. (Note: we are not on a Paleo diet but what I like about the Paleo box is that it excludes potatoes, which we rarely eat and don’t care to get in our box). So that was a good solution to one of our box complaints. And I also realized I could tweek my box however I wanted. If I want to add berries, I can pay a little more for that. If I’ve gotten one veggie too many weeks in a row, I can email them and ask them to substitute it with another item for the following week. There are options, I was just not exploring them. Of course I still have to go to the store and buy certain staples that didn’t come in my box. But I just simply love having my refrigerator stocked with veggies and fruits week after week and once I have them at the house, we eat them. Whereas for the last couple of months, I was buying fruits and vegetables of course because that is the main source of our diet, but I was actually being more repetitive when I was choosing them for myself, getting less variety (meaning less sources of nutrients) and always trying to remember what we would get in the first place. I feel like I have reconnected with my greens again and it feels wonderful!

But best of all… I discovered that I love having vegetables in my home that I did not choose at the store. WHY??? Because it forces us to use that vegetable before it spoils, and therefore look for recipes around that vegetable. That has proved easier for us than choosing a recipe and buying vegetables for that recipe. With 2 kids, 1 on the way, and work…we don’t have time to sit in front of a computer and browse through random recipes. But what is easier is googling – “eggplant recipes” and finding something that fits with our lifestyle.

And that is where our Ratatouille was born!! Ratatouille is basically a baked dish of layered vegetables. Yesterday we had an eggplant sitting in the fridge from our box last week (one of the only remaining vegetables in the fridge) and I told Orlando we had to use it. He browsed some recipes and decided to make the Ratatouille. Luckily we also had Shitake mushrooms from the last box and got heirloom tomatoes in the new box…ingredients that go into ratatouille. As usual, Orlando took what he liked from different recipes and came up with this…

Here is the recipe:

1 large Onion (sliced)
1 large eggplant (skin-on and in 1/2 inch cubes)
2 or 3 large tomatoes (thinly sliced)
2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
2 or 3 zuchinni (evenly sliced in rounds)
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
olive oil
parmesan cheese
1/2 large red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 large green bell pepper (chopped)

– Preheat the oven to 375
– Chop and slice the veggies
– Saute the onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers in little olive oil adding salt and pepper
Make sure to not saute for too long. We are just trying to cook them down a bit, we don’t want them caramelized. I’d say 5 min max. Then set aside in a bowl.
– Now saute the eggplant in olive oil for about 8 minutes. The eggplant tends to soak in the oil, but don’t go over-board with olive oil either. Then when the 8 minutes are up, add the fresh garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper while cooking!
-In a baking dish arrange just over half of the eggplant mixture
covering the bottom
-now layer the zuchinni slices on top like you are making a lasagna
-lightly oil and salt the zuchinni
-Now do the same with the tomato slices. Layer them on top of the zuchinni slices covering the top like you are making a lasagna. Add Salt and pepper to the tomatoes.
-Now layer the onion, mushroom, and pepper mixture on top of the tomatoes.
– Add a nice bit of parmesan atop the mixture
– layer remaining eggplant
– layer remaining zuchinni
– layer remaining tomatoes
– layer remaining onion mixture
– Add parmesan
– Place foil on top and bake for 45 minutes

We served this on whole wheat cous cous, but I think that quinoa or millet would be great too. The texture of the cous cous was awesome with the veggies.The cooking time on this dish is 45 minutes, which is a long time…but Orlando says that its not a labor intensive meal because there aren’t that many ingredients. I would suggest, if you are pressed for time, preparing it on a Sunday night so that you only have to put it in the oven the next day. I loved it so much I can’t wait to have it for lunch today and give it to the boys for dinner!

We hope you can enjoy it as much as we did!

Superfood Monday Smoothie

Happy Monday to all!!!!! So today is the day where the grand majority of us started our regular routines again. Kids are back in school, we are back to work and 2013 is in full effect. Orlando and I were committed to starting today with a bang. It is incredible how just a little organization and planning makes one feel so much better prepared for the day to come. For example, we made sure we went to bed early in order to get a good night’s rest, had the house clean, picked up the drycleaning, did the groceries…all those little details put us in a great mental state and that made all the difference.

As you know I’m in charge of breakfast and lunch so I wanted to power up Orlando, myself and the kids with a superfood smoothie.

We buy a superfood called PURE SYNERGY. What does it have…. almost anything healthy you can imagine from algae such as spirulina, chlorella, kelp to fruits, vegetables and herbs such as kale, collard, wheat grass, sage, rosemary… and the list goes on. It is exactly what it purports to be…SUPERFOOD! and it is a brand we trust.

So this morning I made the following recipe:

1/2 Quart almond milk
1 tbsp of PURE SYNERGY Superfood
1 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
4 drops of stevia

I have bought a green superfood from Whole foods also called Green Vibrance that I think is great. I know the smoothie sounded to me a bit more adventurous than most people are comfortable with but I think its totally worth trying. So I urge you to try it if you dare!!!!! Your body will thank you for it!

New Beginnings

Happy New Year to all!!!!! The holidays are “officially” over and there will be a shift in the energy around you. All of a sudden you see the gyms and gym classes are packed with new faces, people seem more focused, and no one is bringing desserts to the office. Everyone means business! Some will make new year’s resolutions, others will make intentions, and others will simply avoid the process because of the reality that most new year’s resolutions are quickly forgotten and people sink back into old patterns rather quickly.

I do believe in resolutions/intentions. But not only on New Year’s. I’m a believer that you can make resolutions at the beginning of every day, week, month, or year. If we’ve had a particularly disorganized weekend with parties and events, I resolve to start Monday fresh and on a good routine. If I was impatient with my children today because I was preoccupied with other matters, I resolve to be a better parent tomorrow. I believe that as long as we are breathing we have the opportunity to start over again. Its never too late until we are no longer around.

And I saw a true New Year’s resolution happen last year. At this time last year Orlando decided to change the way he eats and he actually stuck to it. Naturally, he slipped into the Holiday spell just like I did the last couple of months but a lot of our eating habits are so ingrained in our lifestyle that despite all, we did manage to make a lot of good choices amidst the bad ones. And here we are again, on his 1 year anniversary of our journey and starting 2013 in a much better place than 2012. So I guess I am a true believer!!!!

Most resolutions are pretty generic: lose weight, make more money, exercise more…etc. and those seem to die down I think mainly because we don’t change our perspectives, we only voice our intentions. What worked in our family was changing our perspective from trying to lose weight, to trying to live healthier lives. So here are a couple of suggestions I think might help you change your perspective, if losing weight or being healthy fell into your new year’s list this year.

1. GO TO THE DOCTOR AND GET A BLOOD TEST. Check everything. Check your liver, your heart protein, your vitamin D levels, your glucose, your cholesterol, everything. I went to see a doctor that believes in nutrition as a primary source of medicine so when I did this he told me things like I needed more good fats in my diet and guided me and orlando as to which supplements were best for us. I now try to do a checkup for my husband and myself every 6 months to know how we’re doing not only on the outside…but on the inside!

2. GET A DNA TEST. okay I know this sounds whacky!!!!! But I did this and plan to dedicate an entire post to this in the near future. My dad bought me a DNA kit from 23andme. I put my saliva in a tube and sent it in for testing. I found out all sorts of things about myself…like that I’m most likely to be pre-disposed to blood clots. Well now I know that I will always have to exercise to keep my blood and circulation in good condition. NOTE: this information is still somewhat limited but at least it gives us a general idea of things we should watch out for to live as healthy as we can. Some people will argue…hey we all have to die of something, so why bother? I know I have to die but ideally, I’d like to live as long as I can with as much quality of life as I can.

3. FIND OUT YOUR BLOOD TYPE. I’ve been learning that your blood type has a lot to do with the way you digest food and process food. Its called Nutritional Typing. I’m still learning about this but I find it interesting because of this simple concept – 2 people can eat the same way and one loses weight and the other doesn’t. Once you learn about yourself, you will have a better idea of what eating patterns can work best for you so you can avoid making sacrifices that will end up frustrating you and not working anyway.

I guess my suggestion to you all for 2103 is take a little time to learn about yourself and your body. That will help you make changes to your lifestyle that will help YOU. Anyone can lose weight by cutting calories for a few weeks or drinking shakes as meal supplements…but quick fixes die hard. It is impossible to maintain.

LIFE IS TO ENJOY!!!!! You should not feel that you’re eating habits are a constant sacrifice. But when you find foods you enjoy and can digest properly and can incorporate meals you love or learn to love in your daily routine, it becomes a lifestyle instead of a diet and your results will be long term.

I’m grateful to have been given the gift of another year. Let’s embrace it, enjoy it, and make it count!