Fresh Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Homemade fresh rolls are an excellent no-cook recipe for summer nights. They’re easy enough to make during the week, but impressive enough to serve for a dinner party. Add a hearty sauce and pre-cooked protein to make them a meal, or leave simple for a healthy appetizer.

We love this mix-n-match recipe for being adaptable and veggie-packed. The only prep is chopping the vegetables. Ideally, they would all be julienned into matchsticks like the pros. Or you could do like us, and just cut vegetables into small-ish strips and call it good.

Ready? Here’s what you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS
1. Rice paper wrappers
2. Sauce (see recipe below)
3. Filling Ingredients (mix-n-match from below)

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare all filling ingredients (if adding noodles, make sure they’re cool)
2. Make dressing
3. Fill a shallow pan or cookie sheet with warm water
4. Place one rice paper sheet in pan and let “cook” for about 20-30 seconds
5. Remove from pan, let drip dry and fill with ingredients of choice.
6. Spoon sauce inside and roll like a burrito. Set aside and repeat.
Note: you can make these in advance for dinner guests or let everyone make their own for a fun dinner party idea or hands on meal with the kids.

3-4 Vegetables, julienned
Carrots
Cucumber
Bell Pepper
Cabbage
Butter lettuce or romaine

1-2 Fruits, chopped small
Avocado
Mango

1-2 Herbs, minced
Mint
Cilantro
Parsley

1 Protein
Cooked, shredded chicken
Sliced, Tofu or tempeh
Cooked shrimp

Other Additions
Mung Bean Sprouts
Rice Noodles or soba noodles

Dipping sauce Recipe
3/4 cup nut butter (almond, peanut or cashew)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup reduced sodium tamari (you could also sub coconut aminos or soy sauce)
2 Tbs. Honey
1/2 Tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic

Blend all ingredients until creamy.

We hope you enjoy this healthy summer recipe!

(Image courtesy of Alanna Taylor Tobin | The Bojon Gourmet)

How To Become A Morning Person

Morning

Are you the type of person who enjoys waking up early? Do you feel energized and productive in the morning?Or are you a snooze-5-times and don’t-talk-to-me-for-30-minutes type?

If you struggle in the mornings, there are some proven ways on how to become a (happy) morning person.

1. Get Fresh Air:
The famed “breath of fresh air” actually has some science behind it. This study shows that breathing outside air truly does lower cortisol, leaving you feeling more relaxed and calm. While you might argue that one could get fresh air later in the morning, we think that it’s simply the association we make between mornings and feeling calm that makes, this tip a keeper.

2.  Take Your Time:
What’s your favorite thing about sleeping in? It’s that lazy, leisurely feeling, right? Instead of associating early mornings with rushing, leave yourself enough time to move slow. If you can, find a moment to be alone. Sit with your coffee, watch the sunrise, make a healthy breakfast, lay in bed for 10 minutes before getting up, say a prayer, take a warm shower. Even if it means setting your alarm for just a few minutes earlier, those few moments can make early mornings your favorite time of day.

3. Get Some Sun
There is something about seeing the sunrise in the morning that makes us feel awake and accomplished.  A study notes that exposure to orange light (like the sun’s) can increase brain activity and boost alertness. When you first wake up, immediately open the blinds or curtains to let any natural light in. Summer is the perfect time to start establishing these early morning habits since it’s bright early. During winter months, try to get outside or to a room where there’s sunlight as the sun rises.

4. Have a detailed plan:
The best thing you can do to inspire you to get up is to know exactly what you’re about to do. As that alarm goes off and your thoughts start to rush in, you’ll be much more likely to hop out of bed if you have something to look forward to. The more specific the better. For example, your plan could look like this: sit up in bed and take 10 breaths, put water on for coffee, open the blinds and splash water on your face before and enjoy coffee for 5 minutes.

5. Workout:
For most non-morning people, it’s hard enough to get up for work, let alone a workout before work. However, if you struggle with mornings, changing your workout routine, might be what helps.  Research shows that those who workout in the morning (vs. evening) are more likely to sleep better and reduce their stress. Once we start to consistently feel better (from all that good sleep and reduced stress!) waking up early and exercising will be a habit worth keeping.

Ready for  a way to do all 5 habits in one easy step? Register for our summer session! You’ll get fresh air, see the sunrise, workout, and have a morning routine you love.

Check out our schedule here.

 

10 Healthy 4th of July Recipes

4th of July

Whether your plans for the 4th of July are swimming in the sun or celebrating in the San Francisco fog, you’ll definitely be enjoying some summer food. Substitute the burgers and potato salad for these mouth watering recipes and make your party the healthiest one on the block.

Appetizers

Tomato Basil and Peach Skewers (pictured above):  Adding peaches to tomatoes, mozzarella and basil will make an impressive, sweet and savory appetizer.

Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad: You can’t go wrong with these 3 ingredients. Dress with plenty of cumin and citrus and you have an easy, versatile dish to serve with chips, on top of tacos or as a side salad.

Watermelon Feta and Mint Bites: Simple and easy to make (only 3 ingredients). Plus, nothing says summer like watermelon and mint.

Sides

Napa Cabbage and Kale Coleslaw: While coleslaw is usually one of the only vegetable sides to a traditional BBQ, it’s usually more mayonnaise than veggies. Instead, substitute a lighter (but still creamy) miso dressing and add in lot’s of leafy greens.

Fresh Herb Potato Salad: This recipe from Thug Kitchen uses fresh herbs and a flavorful vinaigrette for a fresh take on traditional potato salad.  As they say on their site “nobody needs mayo in their life”.

Entrees

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers: Easy to throw these on the grill with your meaty burgers for a hearty vegetarian option without extra fuss. This recipe also includes an avocado chimichurri recipe worth making.

Grilled Fish in Foil: Cooking for only a few? These 20 minute grilled fish would be great for 4-6 people. Easy to clean up and unlike a heavy burger will leave you with room for dessert. These also work in the oven.

Grillable Veggie Burger: The problem with most veggie burgers is that they don’t hold up on the grill, right? Wrong! Minimalist Baker has a solution with a grill worthy vegetable burger made with only 10 ingredients.

Dessert

Grilled Fruit: Try pineapple, peaches and even watermelon on the grill for a low calorie and festive dessert option that will please kids and adults, alike.

No Churn Peach Sorbet: As easy as making a smoothie. Just blend and freeze and you’ll have homemade peach sorbet.

Bring one of these recipes to your summer potluck or party and impress your friends with your healthy taste. You can even take all the credit for it, we won’t tell!

5 Hacks For A Healthy Week

Sunrise

When it comes to feeling (and seeing) the results from our health efforts, it can be hard to wait. You’re not alone if you want a little immediate gratification. Try one, or all 5, of these healthy hacks to help feel your best THIS week.

1. Plan and make your breakfasts for the entire weekCheck out these 12 ideas.

2. Stretch or foam roll while watching T.V.  The best way to start a new habit is to associate it with a habit you already have. Since many of us enjoy our favorite T.V. shows at night, use that time to stretch or foam roll (even if it’s just during commercials).

3. Put a full glass of water next to your bed at night. And drink it before getting up in the morning. With up to 75% percent of us dehydrated (1) and since we’re most dehydrated after a night’s sleep (2), drinking a glass of water first thing in the A.M. is a great way to start the day.

4. Set a “move” reminder on your phone or calendar. Sitting for long periods of time can physiologically affect your muscles and metabolism (3). And not for the better. Gretchen Reynolds, NYtimes Well columnist and The First 20 Minutes author, suggests standing up every 20 minutes for 2 minutes. Try setting an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 minutes during long work stints. Check out her interview for more on how sitting affects your body.

5. Try a new healthy recipe. Take some time to scroll through the recipes we have shared on the BCSF blog, dust off your favorite cookbook or find a new food website you like. Pick ONE new recipe to try. Just like one unhealthy meal can make us feel like we’ve fallen off track, one healthy meal can make us feel inspired to eat well all week.

And of course head out and join your BCSF class for a workout! Nothing like a good sweat and workout with your friends to make you feel accomplished for the day.

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393
  2. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27704531/ns/health-behavior/t/wake-up-call-sleep-deprived/
  3. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/09/152336802/stand-up-walk-around-even-just-for-20-minutes

Easy Homemade Falafel

Falafel Pita

If you’re looking for something new to add to your weeknight dinner rotation, we have your perfect recipe adapted from the minimalist baker (one of our favorite resources for simple, easy meals)

These homemade falafels are…

Easy and quick to make
Kid friendly
Great for a meatless Monday meal
Full of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates
A great way to add in new flavors and spices
Made from pantry staples (canned chickpeas, onion, garlic, spices and herbs)

This is a fantastic recipe for a quick 20-minute weeknight meal. You might just need to try it tonight…

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup herbs (parsley and/or cilantro)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
Optional: cardamom and/or coriander to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, optional (if you omit, add in 2 Tbs. Tahini instead to help bind)
Oil to pan fry (we like avocado oil for this!)

Directions
Add onion, garlic, herbs and spices to food processor.
Pulse until chopped
Then add drained chickpeas (and flour and baking powder if using) and pulse until chunky mixture has formed (don’t over blend!)
(OPTIONAL STEP: refrigerating for 1 hour before cooking will help them bind)
Scoop out about 2 Tbs. at a time to form 8-12 small disks about 1/2 inch thick
Heat oil in a large pan on stove over medium heat
When oil is hot drop in patties and cook 4-5 minutes per side
Serve warm (ideas below) or store in fridge for up to 5 days

Serving Ideas
On top of a salad with tomatoes, cucumber, olives and tzatziki (recipe below)
In a whole wheat pita with lettuce, sliced cucumber, onions and tomato and tzatziki

5 Ingredient Tzatziki
(Mix all these ingredients in a small bowl and store in fridge for up to 1 week)
1 cup greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dill
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
Salt and pepper

This falafel recipe was adapted from the Minimalist Baker and The Kitchn
Image from Minimalist Baker

Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas

Make Ahead Breakfast

Grabbing  a banana and a cup of coffee as you run out the door?

Demolishing a  granola bar in 2 bites while driving to work?

Mornings are the hardest times to eat a complete meal. We’re usually in a hurry and don’t have time to prepare a full breakfast, let alone sit down to enjoy it.

Instead, of relying on a processed protein bar or a piece of fruit, try one of these make ahead breakfasts. These recipes are full of fiber, protein, healthy fats to keep you fueled through your morning.

Check out our favorite easy, make-ahead breakfasts:

The Month Before (freezer friendly): great for preparing in advance in large batches and keeping stocked in the freezer to last a couple weeks.

The Week Before: Take some time on Sunday to prep one or more of these recipes that will last a week in the fridge

The Night Before: If you don’t have anything made in advance, take 5 minutes at night to prep one of these grab-n-go breakfasts for the next morning.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes and Blueberry Chia Jam

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.14.09 PM

If you’re a pancake fan (who isn’t?) then you’ll love this healthy recipe for cottage cheese pancakes.

Here’s 5 reasons why we think this recipe beats traditional pancakes.

  1. You can make them in the blender. Blend, pour, done.
  2. 18 grams of protein per serving (without the jam) and about 22g with it included.
  3. Gluten Free. Use a blender or food processor and oats to make the “flour”.
  4. No added sugars, only a banana to sweeten.
  5. Simple, staple ingredients mean you can whip these up on a random Sunday morning without a special trip to the store. (But this recipe is so easy to make and kid-friendly that we think these would make a great Mother’s Day breakfast in bed treat)

Plus, they taste delicious.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (serves 2)

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (almond, coconut, regular)
  • Coconut oil to cook with

Directions

  1. Make blueberry chia jam (recipe below). While it sits, make the pancakes.
  2. Pulse oats in a food processor or blender until a fine flour forms
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth
  4. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet
  5. Once hot, pour a small amount of batter into pan to create pancakes of desired size
  6. When edges begin to bubble, flip and cook until both sides brown
  7. Place in a warm oven until all pancakes are finished
  8. Serve with chia seed jam (recipe below) and enjoy

Blueberry Chia Jam (makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbs. Chia seeds
  1. In a small saucepan heat blueberries, syrup and vanilla for 5-8 minutes, until a liquid syrup has formed.
  2. Remove from heat and add chia seeds.
  3. Stir well to mix. Let sit for at least 5 minutes (and up to overnight) to allow seeds to expand and absorb liquid. Continue to stir and mix every couple minutes.
  4. Note: Store extra in glass container. Will last up to 2 weeks in fridge.

Resources: Nutrition info calculated from myfitnesspal.com

Recipe modified from ambitiouskitchen.com

Your snacks matter: 5 Snack Ideas For On-The-Go

Snack

Picture this…

You’re starving and running in between work and errands. You don’t have a snack and a meal isn’t going to happen for another hour or more.

What do you do?

Run to the gas station for chips? No.

Something from the coffee shop? Naw.

Swing by a grocery store? For what? A protein bar? An entire bag of trail mix? With the chocolate chips. We can do better….

It can be hard to find a snack when you’re on the run. We can easily end up snacking on treats disguised as snacks (chocolate-y protein bars, premade drinks or coffee shop pastries). When we’re on the go or traveling, having homemade snacks, like our mini frittatas , chia pudding or almond bites isn’t an option.

Here are 5 easy grab-n-go snack ideas you can find at most grocery stores anytime, anyplace:

1. Green Apple + Justin’s Almond Butter

Why: Green apples are lower in sugar than other varieties. Almond butter is higher in anti inflammatory Omega 3’s than peanut butter and also higher in minerals.  Eating fat and protein rich almond butter balances the higher carbohydrate fruit. Justin’s single serving almond butter is perfect for grabbing and eating on the run.

2. Hard Boiled Egg (from the salad bar)

Why: Eggs are high in protein (about 6 grams per egg) and also contain healthy fats in the yolk. This combo keeps us fueled and full. Grab a pre hard boiled egg from the salad bar and you’re on your way.

3: Greek Yogurt + Banana

Why: If you’re wanting a heartier snack, this is the one. Greek yogurt offers a bigger volume of food for less calories than most other snacks. We love Siggis single serving Greek yogurt in plain flavor (low in sugar and high in protein) with banana.

4. Olives

Why: Olives make a satisfying, low calorie snack for when you’re wanting something salty or savory. Try Oloves single serving packets found at Whole Foods or health food stores. Or if you’re at a specialty health food store, grab a couple from the olive bar.

5. Single Serving Protein Powder

Why: Most grocery stores that sell protein powder also sell single serving samples. Pick one up for anywhere from $1-$5, empty into your water bottle and shake. Make sure you read our guide to protein powders, first. It’s an easy way to get in some nutrients, without having to spend much time to stop and eat. (This is a perfect one handed snack if you’re needing to eat while driving!)

Simple Homemade Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger Image

All those burpees in your BootcampSF workout got you craving a burger?

These simple turkey burgers come together in a matter of minutes, making them an easy choice for weeknight meals. Plus, they’re a lighter and healthier alternative to the red meat counterpart. We love that they sneak in some extra vegetables and are especially kid-friendly.

Cooking tip: did you know that the #1 reason for dry burgers (turkey or beef) is the common mistake of pressing down on the patties while they cook? Make like a chef and leave them alone in the pan until you flip.

Psst…In a previous post, understanding your cravings we discussed all about how to satiate your cravings (including burger cravings).

 

Ingredients
Serves 4
1 lbd organic ground dark turkey meat
1 small zucchini, grated (use a box grater or food processor)
1 large carrot, grated
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped finely (once chopped should be about 1.5 cups)
1 egg, whisked
¼ tsp cumin
salt and pepper
High heat oil (coconut or avocado oil) to cook
Buns of choice (whole wheat, Ezekiel, gluten free are good choices)
Toppings of choice (onion, cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles)
Condiments of choice (mustard, ketchup, we love primal kitchen avocado oil mayo)

 

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Form into 4 patties (to keep juicy, don’t pack too tightly) and set aside on a plate.
3. Heat oil in Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook patties until browned and cooked through (don’t press down on the burger!), about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate.
4. Serve turkey-spinach patties on buns or lettuce wraps with toppings and condiments of choice

Note: Patties can be formed 1 day ahead and stored in fridge. They also freeze well. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

10 One Pot Meals for Easy Dinners

One Pot Meals

The idea of cooking dinner can be daunting.

We get it.

But often it’s not actually COOKING dinner…it’s the clean up.

Enter the one-pot-meal phenomenon.  There have been entire cookbooks, blogs and recipes created to make the clean up process a whole lot quicker.

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite one-pot-meal recipes to share with you. From hearty meats to vegetable stews to light fish meals, there is something for everyone. The one thing these recipes all have in common….quick clean up.

Take some time a bookmark a couple of your favorite and add them to your meal plan. Then, enjoy a healthy homemade dinner…without the clean up.

BCSF’s No-Dish-Fish – Check out our very own recipe for cooking fish in parchment paper. All you do is wrap your veggies and fish in the paper and bake. Not only does this recipe require only ONE pan, but ZERO clean up.

Vegetable Coconut Curry – Use a Dutch oven or large pot to saute then simmer all the ingredients for this vegetable based curry. Serve with pre cooked lentils or brown rice for a low-fuss dinner.

Greek Lemon Chicken + Rice  – This recipe has you use a pan to cook the rice in the oven (brilliant!). Then you turn up the heat, add the chicken and bake. If it sounds weird, don’t worry – the recipe comes with a quick video that will make you want to run into the kitchen to make this ASAP.

Vegan Pasta with Vegetables and Red Sauce – This recipe adds the pasta, tomato sauce, spices and water to the same pot to cook. Trust us, it works! Then, all you do is add some sauteed veggies (okay, so you used two dishes. BUT no need to deal with a strainer!) and you’re ready to eat.

Martha Stewart’s Black Beans and Sausage – Although this recipe takes a little longer to cook, the ingredients and directions couldn’t be more simple: saute and serve. One pot cooking at it’s finest.

Sheet Pan Fajitas –  Toss all ingredients on a sheet pan and bake. Mexican food in under 30 minutes = happiness.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa – Speaking of Mexican food, try this flavorful spin on quinoa by cooking your vegetables, spices and grains in the same pan. While the dish is still warm, mix with hearty greens (like kale) to complete the easy, healthy meal.

Baked Salmon with Cabbage and Kale – To be honest, there are approximately 5 dishes used in this recipe: a knife, cutting board, bowl, whisk and pan. Regardless, we were impressed by the idea of putting greens and salmon on the same sheet pan to bake.

Steak and Balsamic Vegetables – All you need for a fancy steak dinner is one pan, chopped vegetables, quality steak and your broiler. You can toss all ingredients on the pan to make this a true one-dish recipe.

Shakshuka – A traditional dish of baked eggs in tomato sauce, this one skillet recipe is perfect for when the fridge is empty or needs a clean out. Try adding leafy greens or other vegetables to the sauce for an easy breakfast-for-dinner meal.