Morning Step #3: Protein 

The final step in my breakfast routine is protein. 

After a detoxing elixir and nutritious smoothie, the digestive system is awake and cleansed, a great time to consume protein for the body to digest and eventually provide energy into the day. 

**Make sure to wait at least 20 minutes after your smoothie (or fruit) before you eat protein. A lot of gases can be produced in the stomach while digesting fruits (especially whole vs. blended) – you will notice a lot more burping when you start off with fruit – So you don’t want to consume more foods immediately or else you’ll run into some serious indigestion!! **

Here are a couple of options I look forward to putting in my belly…

1) Hard-boiled Eggs with Cheese and a little Tobasco, and half an Avocado

Benefits:

Eggs – protein, vitamin B12 and Dan

Avocado – fibre, foliate, vitamin E, iron, zinc and all 18 essential amino acids to produce proteins which is readily absorbed because of the fibre content 🙂

Both are a great source of essential fatty acids such as omega 3s and 6s.

2) Granola with Vanilla Yogurt, Nut Butter and a sprinkle of Hemp Hearts

Benefits:

Yogurt – calcium, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium 

Granola – fibre, numerous vitamins and minerals 

Nut Butter – fibre and omega 3s and 6s

Hemp Hearts – fibre, omega 3s and 6s, iron and calcium

Try to stay away from meat options. They are harder on your digestive system and you’re looking for efficiency in the mornings!  Save those for a later meal.

Either of these should have you feeling full all the way until the lunch hour and prevent those snacking temptations on unhealthy/convenient foods!

If I’m in a huge hurry, a big spoonful of nut butter usually does the trick!

So there it is. The end of my morning routine/breakfast. Please feel free to share your morning breakfast choices or an alternative protein option 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Your, 
Natural Groove Gal 

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Morning Step #1 & 2: Elixirs and Smoothies

The first step in my morning breakfast routine is an elixir. It wakes up and cleanses the stomach preparing the digestive system for foods and extracting the nutrients efficiently. Here’s a few options I use for my early morning elixir…

1) Juice from 1 lemon
Bitters (such as Angostura), several dashes, and I mean several
Mint (I use Peppermint tea)
Water

2) Juice from 1 lemon
Tumeric powder
Cinnamon
Cayenne, dash
Water

3) Juice from 1 lemon
Ginger, freah and grated
Honey (just enough to sweeten a bit)
Water

So the pic on the left is the lemon juice, bitters and mint tea (steeped strong) adding up to about 8oz. The water I add to it results in the whole drink equaling about 20 oz. A good start to consuming enough water each day (see Water post). Mix it up and find other goodies to add!

All shook up and ready to go!

The second step in my morning breakfast routine is my smoothie. There are so many variations; check out my post on smoothies here. My new thing is frozen fruit….the price is comparable and it’s so convenient.

One thing I’ve started adding to my smoothies is matcha (check out the benefits here). A great energy booster and antioxidant. 

And the third step is protein….stay tuned for this post!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal 

Water – Drink it up!

If it’s one thing anyone can do for their health it’s 

drink 

more 

water. 

You’ve heard this many times before. This is not news (or at least it shouldn’t be!)

One of my beliefs for change is baby steps. It won’t come easy and you have to stick to it….so start off easy! Drinking more water daily is one of the easiest changes you can make.

Here are some facts on water (These are my guidelines for water consumption, but get active and do your own research!):

– You need about 12 glasses of water a day. One glass is 8oz

– However, you consume about 4 cups of water through digesting your food. You now need 8 glasses of water (sound familiar?)

– Pop actually dehydrates the body which means your body steals water already in your body in order to digest the sugar (called “hyperosomotic load”)

– Coffee and caffinated teas are diuretics 

– Water in the morning and water before every meal (about 1 hour before)

– Never drink during or right after meals, it dilutes the bile and acids used for digestion (this goes for ALL drinks, but a few sips here and there won’t hurt, just don’t chug anything!)

– Drink water at room temperature or hotter. Cold or ice cold adds stress to your system and becomes less beneficial

– If you are thristy, drink more!

Benefits

Improves:

– circulation (therefore decreasing cramping and headaches)
– skin condition
– digestion
– hair health
– release of toxins
– weight loss
– alertness (decreasing fatigue)

Mix it up!

Great ingredients to mix with your water in the morning: 
– lemon juice
– ginger
– tumeric
– cayenne
– honey
– bitters
– cinnamon

How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?

Urine – it should be almost clear; a very very light yellow – if it’s darker than that or even begins reaching a dark yellow orange colour you seriously need some water STAT. 

Skin – dry skin is huge indicator – it also means you are lacking essentials fats – omega 3s for example

That’s it for today. Drink lots and prosper!

Your,
Natrual Groove Gal

New Year. New Toy.

Yup folks. The Magic Bullet. Finally! 🙂

This thing is amazing!! Initially I wanted it to make my vast aray of yummy delicious health smoothies among other things……and there are so many other things you can do….excitement rising…

On top of the many possibilities, it’s not only so easy to use….it’s easy to clean too. Yes the infomercials are fully true!! 
Besides the smoothies, my first experiement was to make sorbet. Two different ones, because why not??

Berry Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen berries – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Red Wine – enough to blend smoothly

Peach Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen peaches – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Orange Juice – enough to blend smoothly

Blend. Mix. Freeze.

And there you go! A delicious and healthly treat 🙂
Next I will be trying out soups, dressings, and let’s not forget drinks!

Let’s just say I’m not the only one excited about this…the gormet chef loves it too 🙂

Until next time,

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Christmas Baking: Shortbread

Simple holiday treats.

Exactly what you want right?

Shortbread is one of the easiest and quickest cookies you can make. Done in 30 minutes!

Ingredients:
1.5 cups Butter, softened
1 cup Icing Sugar
3 cups Flour

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. Add softened butter to an electric mixer and mix until whipped, about 3 minutes
3. Add icing sugar and mix until combined
4. Scrape down sides and add flour, mix slowly until just combined
5. Take dough and pat down on a baking sheet. Roll with a rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Prick sparsely with fork
6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are just turning brown
7. Remove from oven and cut into desired pieces and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Place in sealed container. Will last for one week.

Enjoy!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Cooking and Crafts #1: Chili and Cornbread – Christmas Village 

Finally got to do one of these days with my girl Kat!  We’ve been talking about this for way too long. Here’s what we decided to do:
For the Cooking: Chili and Cornbread

For the Craft: Christmas Village

The Cornbread

Found a great recipe on Pinterest which utilized my cast iron skillet. The result below:

Here’s the recipe I followed on This Gal Cooks: Cast Iron Buttermilk Corn Bread

Sidenotes:

*I didn’t have buttermilk so I mixed 1 cup of milk with 1 Tbsp of apple cidar vinegar – Worked just fine!

*I baked it for exactly 20 minutes 

*Also my skillet is 12 inches instead of 10 so the bread came out a little thinner then it was suppose to but it still had a great texture and crunchy crust!

The Chili

Ingredients:
4 strips of Bacon
1 lb Ground Beef
2 Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
2 cans Diced Tomatoes
1 can Kidney Beans, drained
1 can Black Beans, drained
2-3 Tbsp Chili powder (depending on how much you like spice!)
2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Apple cidar vinegar 
1/2 tall can dark Beer
Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnish:
Cheddar, shredded
Green onions, chopped

Directions:
1. Heat up large pot on medium high heat. Once hot throw the chopped bacon in, stirring occasionally until cooked. Remove bacon and set aside. Spoon out half the fat from the pot and turn heat to medium.
2. Add ground beef, stirring occasionally until just cooked. Add chopped onion and garlic, continue stirring.
3. Turn heat up and add diced tomato and beans, continue stirring until boiling, turn low to simmer.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Leave on simmer for 30-45 minutes.The longer you cook it the thicker it will get.
5. Serve immediately with garnish and cornbread 🙂 Enjoy!

The Christmas Village

This idea stemmed from Kat receiving new pieces for her christmas village plus we both love decorating!! And why not do it with some good food and drink??

After dinner Kat and I went through all of her christmas decorations with the help of your two cats Oryx and Kitten. Oryx even got into the festive spirit by dressing up as Rudolph.

We started by placing the cobblestone down (one of the new additions) which fit perfectly on her wine rack width wise, just a little short length wise.

But she had something else that was a new addition to the village…snow!! Which we used to hide the lack of cobblestone on either side.

And the final night scene.

Another section we completed was the woodlands corner.

Tons of fun with many creative results! First cooking and crafts night = success!! 🙂

Thanks to Julie, a fellow cooking gal, for her wonderful cornbread recipe. I will be checking out more of her recipes and you should too!

And thanks to one of my best girls Kat for being a creativity nut just like me!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Chicken n’ Shrimp in Veggie Sauce (yes, hidden veggies!!) with Kale Pesto Rice

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Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
20 Shrimp (I used 1 frozen package)
200 g Pancetta, thinly sliced
1 cup Rice, cooked

For the Sauce:
4 -5 Tomatos, medium
3 Carrots, large
1 Onion, large
3-4 cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Pesto:
Check out my blog Kale Walnut Pesto

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Preperation:
For the Sauce:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Chop all ingredients roughly and place in a roasting dish.
3. Drizzle olive oil all over and toss ingredients well.
4. Roast for 20-30 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
5. Blend in a food processor until desired texture.

For the Dish:
1. Defrost shrimp in cold water.
2. Meanwhile heat saucepan on medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until just crispy. Remove and set aside.
3. Cut chicken into desired pieces. Add to saucepan and cook chicken, stirring occasionally.
4. Add shrimp when chicken is almost cooked. Add veggie sauce and sitr to combine. About 3 minutes.
5. Take cooked rice and pesto. Mix until just combined.

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Enjoy!!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal