Tag Archives: clean eating

Clean Eating: What does it mean??

I’m sure many of you out there keep hearing this catch phrase Clean Eating.  On the surface and at face value it seems pretty straight forward, logical and powerful.  “I’m going to eat CLEAN.” eat-real-food-300x294

But… if you’re like me… you hear these catch phrases and you ask… “OK, what does it really mean?”  My initial though on the phrase is that it means you eat fresh veggies, lean proteins and low Glycemic Index carbohydrates.  You try to stay away from “processed foods” and keep it as healthy and fresh as possible.

But what is processed and what isn’t?  Ketchup? Is that processed?  How about mustard?  Can one be clean eating and the other not? How about those great burritos from Chipotle; they seem to be made fresh. Protein bars? Those don’t come from a plant, tree or animal, they’re technically processed and packaged.  Or how about the All-You-Can-Eat Sushi in town?? They make it fresh right when you order, and it’s fish.  What about soy sauce?  Because let’s be honest… this Chinese girl LOVES her soy sauce, but technically it’s not “naturally occurring”, soy sauce is the byproduct of soy beans being processed… so does that make it not OK?

So much confusion!  So many questions!  It was time to do some research…

After pulling from a couple sources, here and here, this is my conclusion.

  1. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle
  2. Avoid processed and refined foods
  3. Consume food in its most natural state; eat whole foods
  4. Let the food label guide you (Long list of ingredients you’ve never heard of? Pass.)

Gosh? Only four points?  Must mean it’s easy to do… maybe, maybe not.  Since clean eating is a lifestyle it’s an ongoing process and something you must keep at if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’d like to think that many of the recipes I’ve shared on my blog in the past would be considered clean eating.  See… Roasted Broccoli, Siracha Kale Chips, Taboule Salad and many more.RoastBroc2SirachaChip1BulgurWheat1

This blog post is intentionally left open ended; I don’t want to force my own opinion down your potentially clean eating throat.  Maybe do your own research and get back to me.  I’d love to hear your comments below.  So tell me… what does clean eating mean to you?

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Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

It’s a gloomy day today in NYC, so I’m taking advantage of being inside by writing up this yummy recipe for baby bok choy with cashews.  This is a really simple, healthy recipe that’s great as a side dish.

Bok Choy is essentially a Chinese cabbage.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but I tend to gravitate towards buying the baby bok choy.  Like most leafy greens, you want to make sure you do a very good job washing this prior to cooking it.  The layers of leaves make for good hiding spots for bugs and dirt.BokChoy1

When preparing this dish, I usually break the outer leaves off and wash each individually (I know; tedious) and then leave the center as a piece of it’s own.  Depending on the time of year, the baby bok choy can even vary in side.  If your outer leaves seem too big and inconsistent with the cooking size you’re going for, just chop them into large pieces (that’s what I did in this recipe).

I love how quick this dish comes together.  After prepping the ingredients, cook time takes no time at all.  I hope you enjoy this…. If you master this side dish, you’re only a pot of white rice with steamed Chinese Sausage and Pork Wontons away from what my family considers traditional Chinese dinner.

Ingredients:
10 Baby Bok Choy
2 garlic cloves chopped
3-4 green onions chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ C cashews chopped

Directions:  In a large pan (or wok) heat on med to med-high heat.  Add canola oil; allow to warm then add green onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

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Next, add in the cashews, and cook for another minute.  Add cleaned baby bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil; stir then cover with lid.  Covering the pan will help the bok choy wilt and steam.  Keep a close eye on and it make sure to stir it a few times.

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Once bok choy has achieved desired doneness (I like it wilted, but with a crunch when you bite it; not mushy) remove from heat.  Top with reserved chopped cashews and serve.

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Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

Ingredients:RoastBroc1
1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.

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Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Avocado Chicken Salad

It seems like spring just flew by us and Reno decided it was summer over the course of two days.  You gotta love that summer time heat.  To me it means backyard BBQs, going to the lake and spending lots of time in the sunshine (don’t forget the SPF).

Can you believe half of 2013 has already passed us by??  Have you been diligent in keeping up with that New Year’s resolution to be bikini ready by the time summer arrives?  Mentally – I wanted to.  Physically- well that’s another story…  Since I haven’t really had the time to work out, I just try to remember to eat as healthy as I can, and control that portion size.

One of my first posts for Like Write on Rice was Arepas de Venezuela.  The reason I bring this up is because the Avocado Chicken Salad is derived from a common filling Venezuelans like to stuff their arepas with.  La Renia Pepiada is often what this filling is called (in case you ever find yourself in a Venezuelan restaurant).  I’ve altered the recipe just slightly to make it healthier. AvocadoChicken2

One last tid-bit I’d like to express with you is my distaste of canned chicken.  Sure – it’s easy and convenient.  For me, I just can’t seem to get myself to like it.  So, in this recipe feel free to substitute canned chicken.  I like poaching my own chicken and shredding it.  It tastes fresher to me.

To poach chicken (breasts, tenders or any chicken part really) bring a pot of water to boiling.  You can season the chicken ahead of time if you wish, but I usually poach is plain if I’m adding it to another dish.  When the water is boiling throw in your chicken (frozen or fresh).  Turn the heat down to where it no longer comes to a rolling boil.  You want the water to slightly swirl, but absolutely not boiling.  Let the chicken sit in there until it is cooked through.  Time varies based on size and fresh or frozen.

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Tenders (poached, shredded)
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion (like relish)
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/3-1/4 C plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp lime juice
½ an avocado (cubed)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Combine chicken, onion, cilantro, lime juice, Greek yogurt.  Add avocado last and fold in.  Serve and enjoy!

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Another nice substitute/addition to make to this salad is celery.  You can replace the onion with celery if you don’t like onions.  Or add it in as an additional source of crunchiness.

What do you think?  Will you be making this for lunch, dinner or a snack this week?

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like grilling vegetables (see Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers and Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon and Bleu Cheese).  I think I’m drawn to doing this because roasting and grilling gives veggies another dimension of flavor you can’t achieve in other cooking methods.  It also is a low fat way to give your veggie more flavors.  With very little seasoning (if any at all) you can transform a bland vegetable into a vegetable with slightly more flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of eating artichokes.  I know some people have never even picked one up at the grocery store because they wouldn’t know how to go about cooking it or eating it.   Hopefully if you’re an artichoke virgin, this blog post helps alleviate some of those fears about artichokes.

First things first – prepping the artichoke:

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Each leaf on the artichoke has a little thorn at the tip of it, which makes them undesirable to handle.  Before steaming the artichoke, these spiky tips should be removed.  I use a serrated knife to cut off the tops of the artichokes.  I recommend a serrated knife as opposed to a regular knife because the leaves are rather tough when raw, and the serration help cut through the leaves easier.  I also trim up the stem at this point.  My only motivation behind it is so that it fits in the pot easier when I steam them.  Next, you should use a pair a scissors to remove the remaining spiky tips around the rest of the artichoke.

Once that is completed, place them in a pot with some water and steam them anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  The artichoke is ready when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.

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Grilling the artichokes:
I started doing this about a year ago, and now that I’ve tried it, it’s my preferred method of cooking.  The ‘chokes are ready after being steamed, but I like taking it one step further and grilling them.

To do this, cut the ‘chokes in half and remove the heart.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and make sure the flat surface of the ‘choke is covered (the part that will be touching the grill).  Put them on a grill with medium to medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes.  This part is to your own preference on how grilled/charred you like them.

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Traditionally, artichokes are served with some sort of dipping sauce.  Usually it’s a mayonnaise or aioli of some sort, or melted butter.  I wanted to change it up and make a healthier dipping sauce with flavors that compliment the artichoke well.

Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce:
Plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dill
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients above to desired consistency.  The lemon juice is meant to add flavor as well as thin the yogurt a bit so it’s not so thick and easier to dip into.

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There you have it, I hope you enjoy.  What other veggies do you like grilling?

Chili-Garlic Almond Crusted Green Beans

It’s baaaaaacccckkk.  Ever since the Almond Flour Debacle a couple months ago, I’ve been keeping this little treasure in my freezer for just the right moment.  I had hoped an unsuspecting houseguest would inadvertently find it in my freezer while going to get some ice, but no such luck.AlmondFlour7

So, what does one do with homemade almond paste?  I really didn’t know.  The consistency was thicker and not as creamy as peanut butter.  It was really only by mistake that my sister and I made it in the first place.  The positive side of it all is that it packs a strong flavor.

I ultimately decided on trying what I called, “Almond Crusted Green Beans”.  This recipe was cooked up somewhere in the back of my brain, totally experimental and I was unsure even as I was cooking it if it would be worthy of sharing with you all.  I’m happy to report it turned out well enough to be worthy of bloggy-world.  But I will admit – the name is misleading.  The paste does not form a crust. I thought it would, but it really stays mostly moist and does not crisp up, but it appears to look like a crust and naming it “Almond Crusted” was better than “Sloppy Almond Paste.”  Oh the power of using the right words….

I make this confession because if anybody does try this recipe they will realize that it doesn’t get crunchy or crusty at all.  But it tastes good and that’s all that matters.

Ingredients:
3-4 T of Almond paste (I used half of what was in my baggie, this measurement is an estimation)
2-3 tsp of chili garlic paste
½ lb fresh green beans (cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
1 T canola oil
Chicken broth

**Wash and dry the green beans thoroughly.  The method of cooking used is called “dry fry.”  Any water on the bean-beans will cause your oil to spit and may result in injury aka burns**

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Directions:  Combine the chili garlic paste with the almond paste; set aside.  Heat a non-stick pan on the stove on high heat.  You know the pan is hot enough when you flick a bead of water on it and it evaporates immediately.  Add canola oil, it should heat quickly.  Add in clean, dry green beans and start stir-frying.  Keep them moving allowing the outside skin to blister and cook.  Once the beans look cooked, remove them from the pan.  Put the pan back on the heat (you can turn it down to a med to med-high) and add the paste.  I let the paste toast a bit.  I added back in the green beans and started tossing.  To thin the paste and make it more “sauce like” I slowly added chicken broth.  I would guesstimate 1/3 cup of broth was used.  Once the paste covers the green beans evenly you’re done.

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Some variations I considered in cooking this dish… you can blanch the green beans prior to stir-fry, but I caution you doing this with the frying method because of the water-oil no-no.  It’s hard to completely dry blanched veggies.

I hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

One of my favorite indulgences is eating a mess of chicken wings.  I love any excuse to go to a sports bar and guzzle down a nice tall beer with some chicken wings.  The bad side to this is that these tasty little chicken wings are usually deep-fried then smothered with a variety of sauces (Frank’s Red Hot is one of my favs).  Not the healthiest meal out there.

Recently, I’ve seen at several restaurants the Buffalo Chicken Salad option.  This salad is so simple to make, it almost seems silly to buy at a restaurant.  I can justify buying chicken wings because getting the deep fat fryer out to recreate sports bar wings is a little work intensive sometimes.  I hate cleaning up fry oil, plus, when I cook at home I try to eat healthier because I know I can go out and buy calorie laden food.BuffaloChicken2

In my recipe, I decided to use a combo of Panko breadcrumbs and my almond cornmeal from the Almond Flour Debacle post a while back.  The breadcrumb/almond cornmeal combination was amazing.  The salads turned out really well.  This dinner took place at my best friend’s house and she participates in a delivery system of locally delivered produce from Whole Foods, so we used the locally grown lettuce, avocado and tomato in our meal.

I also took a 2nd stab at homemade Ranch dressing.  This version turned out even better than the first.  I used plain Greek yogurt, the same spices from my previous post and thinned the yogurt out with buttermilk this time.  I doubt I will ever buy Ranch dressing again, this version is far superior.

Ingredients:
Chicken tenders (as many as desired)
Panko Breadcrumbs
Almond Cornmeal
Olive Oil
Lettuce
Bleu cheese crumbles
Avocado
Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
1-2 beaten eggs (depending on how many tenders you make)

See previous post for Ranch Dressing recipe.

Directions:

Marinate the chicken tenders in a little bit of the Franks Red Hot Sauce.  Once removed, dredge in beaten eggs then coat in 1:1 mixture of breadcrumbs and almond flour/cornmeal.  In a pan, heat olive oil and cook chicken tenders until golden on each side.  Meanwhile, prepare the lettuce and avocado.  After chicken is cooked, cut into bite size pieces and toss in more Franks Red Hot Sauce.  Assemble salad and enjoy!

Are you tired of salad posts yet?  Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

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