Posts filed under Food

My Top 20 Healthy Foods from Trader Joe’s

Healthy Food at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

I’m going to preface this by saying … I LOVE TRADER JOE’S.

Yes, that needed to be shouted. I love their branding. I love their prices. I love their feel-good ambiance. And can we talk about the Trader Giotto’s/Trader Jose/Trader Ming epicness? One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is get there right when the doors open at 8:00 a.m., load up on the free coffee and samples, and discover new and different culinary delights while I blissfully stroll the still-empty aisles.

I don’t always get my produce at TJ’s, but I buy tons of staples there – nuts, medjool dates, almond butter (have you tried the raw kinds? So good dude), coconut oil, RX Bars, chia seeds, sprouted grain bread … the list goes on. This list, however, is a round-up of 20 of my favorite finds that you can’t find everywhere else.


Fridge

1. Sweet Potato Ribbons: A delish alternative to pasta. Sautee with oil, salt and pepper, then toss with sauce.

2. Broccoli & Cabbage Slaw: A great way to reinvent the boring spinach or lettuce salad. Great in a cranberry and apple situation.

3. Steamed Lentils: Lentils are an awesome source of vegan protein, and these are ready to eat warm or cold.

4. Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Made with avocado, green onion, lemon juice, chives, basil and garlic. Need I say more?

5. Sriracha Flavored Baked Tofu: I love this stuff! Super firm, full of flavor and ready to eat. Chop it up and toss on a salad or grain bowl.

6. White Bean & Basil Hummus: I’m a sucker for flavored hummus (jalapeno and cilantro! Roasted red pepper and garlic! Artichoke!), and this kind is unique and a crowd-pleaser.

7. Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip: I feel like this was really “in” when it came out a few years ago, but it’s worth the hype. Try with baby carrots or as an alternative to sour cream.

8. Almond mozzarella style shreds: If you’re looking to cut down on dairy, try swapping in this almond “cheese” on top of pasta or pizza (pair with the cauliflower pizza crust).

9. Roasted butternut squash, red quinoa and wheatberry salad: My favorite of the grab-and-go salads. Hearty, healthy and only $3.99.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

Freezer

10. Colorful Carrot Coins: The perfect easy-to-heat side dish to add to your dinner. Warming and full of flavor.

11. Zucchini Spirals: Spiralizing your own veggies is kind of a production (what? It is!). These taste just as good as fresh, and are amazing paired with a little olive oil, pesto, garlic and nutritional yeast. They also have carrot spirals if you want to mix it up.

12. Cauliflower Pizza Crust: I always have at least one of these chilling in my freezer for easy weeknight dinners. Made with just 7 real ingredients and ready in 10 minutes.

13. Salmon Burgers: Another good one to have on standby. Full of healthy fats and omega 3s, plus their fish is wild caught and sustainably harvested.

14. Gone Bananas! Chocolate Covered Banana Slices: A delicious sweet treat that isn’t that bad for you.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

Shelves

15. Gluten-free Ancient Grain & Super Seed Oatmeal: If you’re an oatmeal fan, definitely consider swapping out your average oats for these fiber- and antioxidant-packed ones.

16. 10 Minute Farro: Basically fool-proof and creates fluffy, perfect farro in no time, every time.

17. Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta: Sometimes “healthy” pasta can be soggy, weird-textured or flavorless. This stuff tastes great and holds the weight of sauces and add-ons.

18. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend: This has been trending for a reason – it’s addictive on eggs, chicken, popcorn, roasted veggies, vegan mac and cheese

19. New Zealand sweet apple rings: Satisfies my sweet tooth and excellent dipped in almond butter

20. 3 seed sweet potato crackers: I just discovered these and LOVE LOVE LOVE. And all that’s in ’em are: yellow corn, sunflower oil, sweet potato, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and sea salt. Boom.

 

BUT far and away my favorite thing that comes out of TJ’s is … the FEARLESS FLYER. You know, their quarterly newsletter highlighting new and featured products. It is honestly amazing and the most entertaining read ever. My favorite issues are: October (pumpkin everything), November (gingerbread everything), and December (peppermint everything). Get into it. You’ll thank me later.

Want more? Peep some new healthy TJ goodness here.

 

Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under Food.

What I Eat in a Day

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Alright guys, Thanksgiving is behind us, and along with it all the buttery stuffing, gravy-sogged turkey, both kinds of pie, and excuses for “just one more” glass of wine (“My family drives me to drink”/”The holidays drive me to drink”/”Whatever, I’ll just do sober January” … take your pick).

It’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming, especially since the season of holiday parties (and hence, holiday dresses) is mere days away. So, I’m sharing what I eat on an average weekday.

Please note – this is most definitely not true for every weekday, and my weekends include a lot more indulgences like farmer’s market scrambles with a side of Bloody, fish tacos, you get the idea. Also, on an average day I drink 1-2 cups of decaf coffee with soy milk and Splenda, and as much water as I can force down. Also … La Croix. #basic


Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

I drink the same breakfast smoothie almost every day, based on the Fab Four Smoothie formula, and here’s what’s in it: one heaping handful of organic baby spinach, 1 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk, 1 scoop vanilla coconut collagen protein powder, 1 TBS almond butter, 1 TBS flaxseed, 1 TBS chia seeds pre-soaked in water, ¼ cup frozen organic blueberries, 2 ice cubes. I blend it in the Vitamix, seal it in a mason jar, and drink it at the office. If I’m running late or the Vitamix is dirty, I’ll grab the Epic Green smoothie from Project Juice (obsessed).

Lunch: Power Bowl

The concept of a power bowl is simple – it’s any combination of roasted veggies, legumes and cooked grains you have on hand, topped with a healthy dollop of hummus and a big scoop of avocado. Typically I roast a big batch of veggies on Sunday and make either a pot of quinoa, farro, or black beans, then reheat as the day goes on. My favorite roasted veggies to include: broccoli, chickpeas, sweet potatoes or butternut squash, red onions and bell peppers. Also, after lunch I usually eat two or three chocolate-covered pretzels because I have a raging sweet tooth.

Snack: Trail Mix or Banana with Peanut Butter

Chalk this one up to laziness, because both of these options are just steps away in the Salesforce kitchen. I’ll either grab a heaping handful of trail mix, or slice up a banana and top it with a packet of Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter.

Dinner: Seafood + Veggies + Grain

This one varies, and we for sure don’t have fish every night, but after my trending vegan journey started we pretty much never cook meat at home anymore, so that leaves seafood, veggies, and grains. A few easy options are salmon tacos or whole-wheat pasta mixed with zoodles and shrimp. We also get Gobble meals like pan-seared tilapia with garlic cilantro rice delivered (kinda like Blue Apron but wayyy faster to make). Oh, and I also can’t get enough of this vegan mac and cheese recipe with broccoli.

Dessert: “Healthy” Treat

I require a little dessert every night (remember, I have a raging sweet tooth), and I love to bake, so most weekends I whip up something sweet to carry me through the rest of the week. After dinner, in front of Bravo (fine, sometimes E!), I’ll have a mini ramekin of healthy chocolate chip cookie dough, a black bean brownie topped with almond butter, a raw date, coconut and cashew ball, or another healthy dessert.

And there you have it! Nothing too crazy but helps me stay on track, at least Monday through Friday. Now here’s hoping I can actually stick to it once the holiday sugar cookies stat magically showing up in the office …

Posted on November 27, 2017 and filed under Food, Lifestyle.

5-Ingredient Healthy Cookie Dough

Along with limp frozen pizzas and milk in a bag, my public high school cafeteria served deliciously hot, gooey chocolate chip cookies melted onto strips of greasy wax paper. AND, if you had the lunch lady hook-up, for 50 cents you could also score an off-the-menu, under-the-table scoop of the raw cookie dough itself. It. Was. Bomb.

I mean, nothing tastes quite as amazing as sweet, sticky, licking-the-spoon-clean cookie dough, but it’s obviously not in the least bit healthy (and that’s not even taking salmonella into account … is that still a thing?). Fortunately, this recipe feeds all my cookie dough cravings and is vegan, gluten-free, protein-packed, and ridiculously easy to make. The only hard part is not eating it all in one sitting (so far I’ve kept it to two or more, totes proud).

Keep in mind, you can obviously use any chocolate chips for this recipe. I found these Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips at Whole Foods and love them because they’re vegan, non-GMO, and sweetened with Stevia so lower in calories.

Also – spoiler alert – chickpeas are the same thing as garbanzo beans. Which I didn’t know until about a year ago so … there’s that.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. P.S. Want to make the dough into actual cookies? Bake on parchment paper for 10 minutes at 350 F. Super doughy and delish.


Ingredients

  • 1 can organic chickpeas

  • ½ cup creamy organic peanut butter

  • ½ cup chocolate chips

 

Fixings

  • 3 TBS maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor or Vitamix and blend until smooth.

  • Stir in chocolate chips.

  • Chill in the fridge for an hour or more, then dig in!

 

Posted on May 1, 2017 and filed under Food.

Sweet Veggie Breakfast Muffins

I love breakfast. And I love breakfast food. Specifically pastries. Muffins, scones, pecan buns, cinnamon rolls, Kouign amann (what's the plural of that? No clue.) Yeah, I could go on.

But obviously, pastries usually aren’t the healthiest, and loading up on sugar in the morning makes me crash not long after (and it’s already hard enough to get through the workday as it is). So I’m constantly trying to come up with healthier versions of my faves.

Enter these veggie-packed breakfast babies! They’re vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and have a serving of veggies hidden inside. I made a batch last Sunday and ate two warmed muffins with a dollop of almond butter for breakfast every day, and it was awesome.

If you’re sick of green juice but still want to get your greens in in the A.M., this recipe’s for you. Enjoy!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic baby carrots

  • 1 cup organic baby spinach

  • ⅓ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 6 pitted Medjool dates

  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbs water)

  • 2 cups oat flour

  • Optional: ½ cup raisins

 

Fixings

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

 

Instructions

  • Soak dates in warm water for 20 minutes.

  • Stir flaxseed into a small bowl with water and pop into fridge for 15 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.

  • Blend dates, carrots, spinach, coconut oil, applesauce, flax egg and vanilla in a blender or Vitamix until smooth.

  • Pour into a bowl. Slowly mix in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir with spoon.

  • Pour into lined muffin tins. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes, then lower heat to 375 F and cook for 20-25 minutes or until fully baked.

  • Store in fridge in a Tupperware, or freeze.


Inspired by this original recipe

Posted on February 27, 2017 and filed under Food.

My Month as a (Mostly) Sober Vegan

After the indulgence of the holidays, it’s common to do “Sober January” to reset healthy habits (and to give your liver a freaking break). This year I took it a step further and also cut out alcohol, meat, dairy, and eggs FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.

Why embrace the #sobervegan life? Well, I was in need of a major dietary shake-up after December (hellooo cocktails and cheese plates galore). I tried Whole30 in the past and it wasn’t for me – I’m not much of a meat eater, and the lack of grains left me feeling low-energy and kinda miserable.

What sealed the deal is the abundant research that links a plant-based diet to lower risk of disease and obesity and increased life expectancy, not to mention the catastrophic impact of the meat and dairy industry on climate change and animal well-being. After watching Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fat Sick & Nearly Dead and reading Fast Food Nation, Skinny Bitch (love), and Food for Life (Omnivore’s Dilemma is next), I figured it was time to give it a go.

Now, I was by no means perfect. I didn’t cut out honey, I ate fish a handful of times, and I treated myself to wine a few nights when I had family in town visiting. But hey, it’s progress. And after 30 days, here’s how it went:


The Pros

  • My digestion improved. This was the most drastic change I saw, and within the first week. I digested and eliminated my food quickly and easily and never felt “backed up.” Let’s put it this way - my bathroom behavior was on fleek.

  • My energy increased. I consistently woke up before my alarm, never feel tired or groggy after lunch or dinner, and could power through tough workouts without a problem.

  • I felt skinnier. Although I can’t say for sure (the batteries in my scale died a few months ago and I still haven’t replaced them), generally I feel lighter, and think my clothes fit better and my stomach is a bit flatter.

  • It was easier than I thought. I didn’t miss meat or cheese at all, and was surprised by how many vegan options there are in restaurants, and how many thousands of vegan recipes are available online. Turns out, vegan is trending.

The Cons

  • My social life took a nosedive. Grabbing drinks is one of the main ways I connect with friends and coworkers. Hey, drinking is a big part of our culture, especially in SF! I wasn’t as eager to attend gatherings since I knew I couldn’t drink, had to be way more creative when planning activities, and overall just didn’t have as much fun.

  • I had to think a lot more. Being newly vegan means I had to think ahead when it came to grocery shopping, meal planning, hosting, and especially eating out. I’d scour restaurant menus before suggesting a location to others; I mentally ran through my day’s meals to make sure I was getting enough protein. Let’s just say it wasn’t effortless.

  • I missed wine. Yeahhhh.

So, What DID I eat?

               Breakfast

               Lunch/Dinner

  • Lentil bolani with hummus, pesto, avocado and chili flakes

  • Brown rice tortilla wrap with hummus, avocado, shredded carrots, onions, soy cheese and spinach

  • Farro bowl with black beans, diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, guacamole

  • Crock pot veggie chili with soy-based sausage

  • Butternut squash soup with a slice of gluten-free toast topped with Earth Balance spread

  • Black bean burger on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and onion

  • Polenta with beans, corn, peppers and tomatoes

                Snacks

  • Banana with almond butter and chia seeds

  • Baby carrots or Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus

  • Pressed Juicery Freeze

  • PB&J protein balls

               Dessert

               I also saved a ton more recipes on Pinterest

The Verdict

Honestly, this past month has been seriously transformational. I feel awesome and am going to stay on the no meat/dairy train as long as I can. I’m sure I’ll have a few slip-ups, and I’m going to keep eating fish for now (sushi obsessed over here, hi), but this is something I really want to stick with.

Alcohol, well … that’s another story (this blog is called BELLINI Bootcamp, after all). It felt great to take a break, and I’m trying to move forward drinking less overall.

But I’m also flying out to Vegas later today. So …. bye!

 

Have you tried cutting out alcohol, meat or dairy? What was your experience like? Would love any tips and inspiration! #strengthinnumbers

Posted on February 2, 2017 and filed under Food, Lifestyle.