Monday, November 2, 2009

What to eat when you're sick - a simple vegetable broth recipe

So you got sick. Now what? Lisa Miller of Lisa Miller Wellnesssays that it's critical to continue to fuel your body with the right foods and liquids.

When people are sick they usually don't want to eat," Miller said. "It's important to drink broth, or other fluids, to keep hydrated, and to get your vitamins and minerals to fight off the illness."

The heat of the broth will help to think mucous and clear congestion. You can drink this broth several times a day.

What you'll need:

A few cloves of garlic

8 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, sliced

2 large celery ribs, sliced

1 cup of mushrooms

1 bay leaf

(any other vegetables or scraps of vegetables you have lying around)


Add all of the ingredients to a large soup pot. Bring to a simmer and then cover. Simmer stock for approximately 45 minutes or until the vegetable become very tender. Strain the vegetables and broth through cheesecloth or a nut bag for a smooth consistency. Feel free to eat the vegetables, or puree them for an easy and healthy meal.

You can also check out this simple juice recipe to boost immunity and to hydrate your body.

Photo courtesy of; they've been an invaluable resource for many of my posts - thank you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's flu season: Boost your immune system with this simple juice recipe

It's that time of year again. It's fall and we're experiencing fewer sunny days (meaning less natural vitamin D from the sun), the kids are back in school and germs are liberally being passed around - and around and around.

According to Mike Adams, editor and founder of, "fresh cabbage juice cures ulcers and prevents cancer. Fresh celery juice alkalizes the body, boosting bone density and healthy immune function. Fresh parsley juice is anti-cancer and cleanses the entire digestive tract of toxins. Almost any edible plant can be juiced and they all contain powerful natural medicines: Carrots, cucumbers, pears, pineapple, oranges and much more."

A juicer is a very valuable appliance to have in your home. One very cheap way to begin juicing is to try and score one off of to see if juicing fits into your lifestyle. Remember, though, that the more powerful the juicer (like the Breville Juice Fountain), the more juice your fruit will yield; very important when buying more expensive organic produce. When selecting produce to juice, make sure to refer to the Dirty Dozen Guide put out by the Environmental Working Group to determine what fruits and vegetables are more likely to contain pesticides and chemicals.

Give your immune system a boost with this simple and versatile juice recipe.

What you'll need:


1 bunch of organic parsley

1 handful of organic spinach

3-inch piece of ginger

3 medium-sized organic apples

2 stalks of organic celery

3 large organic carrots


Juice the above produce in the order listed, according to the manufacturer's directions.

Fresh juice should be consumed right away, as it will begin to oxidize as soon as it hits the air (plus it tastes better!). If necessary, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Bottoms up!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am the Grand Rapids Healthy Food Examiner for

I've been on a search for a "job" where I could get paid for talking about healthy foods, restaurants, foods, recipes, etc. and I finally found one! I am the new Grand Rapids Healthy Food Examiner for

You can visit my page here:

So far, I've written five articles on school lunches, The Green Well Gastro Pub, my green smoothie recipe, my homemade nut butter recipe and am working on three more articles on VP Farms in Caledonia, Sisters Natural Foods in Byron Center, and a stay-at-home-mom blogger who makes most of her food from scratch.

If anyone has any restaurants, recipes, or other story ideas that relate to healthy food, please let me know! I'm always on the lookout for new story ideas

The above image is from VP Farms, located at 3422 - 76th Street in Caledonia. It's hundreds of tiny little basil plants - and they smell wonderful! If you get a chance to check this place out before the season's over - go for it! Everyone I've talked to there is extremely helpful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's A Wrap!

I constantly find it mentally draining to figure out what I'm going to feed my kids every night. My husband and I rarely ever eat at the same time as they do, and we almost always eat something different from the kids. For that matter, my husband and I usually eat something different from each other as well.

Trying to appeal to the whole family, I decided that a wrap was the ideal vehicle. I could prepare a variety of stuffings and we each could choose our own. The one pictured here is made with chicken cooked in my electric skillet (more on this FABULOUS piece of cookware later), mexican blend of cheese, low-fat vegetarian refried beans, and a salsa that I made out of blueberries, corn and tomatoes. It was a hit with my kids, and later that evening my husband and I had a more traditional burrito with chicken, hot sauce, refried beans and lettuce.

I've been really enjoying hitting the farmers markets in the area this summer, and picked up some excellent corn that I cut straight from the cob and put it into the salsa raw. The blueberries were also from the farmers market and the tomatoes were from my garden. I tossed everything in together and seasoned with a little sea salt. It was especially good with crunchy, salty tortilla chips.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthy Popcorn and Light Sabres

After a recent work trip, my husband came home with two light sabers (or "light savers" as Bodin calls them). We decided to watch the actual Star Wars series with the kids to see if they liked them. I prepared a batch of our favorite popcorn and we all settled in. Reese, in between handfulls of popcorn, kept asking: "Where's Luke? Where's Luke?" After some fights between the kids with the light sabers (Mine is the red one!!) we finally got through the first two movies, and they really liked them!

Both kids almost always want a snack before bedtime, so I try and find healthy ones that I don't feel guilty about sending them to bed with. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I found this recipe, but it's one that I've been making regularly for a few years now.

Brown-bag air-pop your kernels in the microwave. I just place 3-4 Tablespoons of kernels into a brown lunch bag and stick it in the microwave. No oils required!

Then, I take my oil sprayer (usually filled with grapeseed or olive oil) and spray the popcorn. Then, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and nutritional yeast, and you have a great-tasting and healthy fiber-filled snack. My kids shove each other's hands out of the bowl to finger-scoop some of the excess flavorings; it's sooo good. Nutritional yeast is very good for you. Here's an excerpt from:

"Nutritional yeast contains 18 amino acids (forming the complete protein) and 15 minerals. Being rich in the B-complax vitamins, it it vital in many ways and particularly good for stress reduction. The B-complex vitamins help make nutritional yeast such a valuable supplement, especially to the vegetarian."

You can get nutritional yeast at any health food store. It's very inexpensive and lasts for a long time. Happy popping!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First Tomato of the Season

I just wanted to share a photo of Reese pointing out the first tiny tomato of the season. I started a patio garden and everything is progressing nicely. I'm looking forward to explaining to my kids what's happening and incorporating these fresh ingredients into recipes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Do I Look Like a Cool Dude?

I went grocery shopping the other day, and when Bodin got out of the car, he struck a pose and said to me, "Do I look like a cool dude like this, Mom? Will you take my picture?" After attracting the attention of my fellow shoppers by laughing so loudly, I whipped out my camera and took a picture. I have NO idea where he learned this (but probably from TV), but it was so cute. I squeezed him hard and told him he was my favorite boy. 

For lunch yesterday I made the kids something they ate at Festival '09 in downtown Grand Rapids. Now, at first this seems like a fairly unhealthy, indulgent and 'snacky' meal, but I realized that each ingredient isn't particularly offensive. It's a tortilla wrap with peanut butter, honey, sliced banana and chocolate chips. I used a mini LaTortilla, homemade peanut butter (I haven't bought Jiff in at least five years!), raw and organic honey, a banana and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. Roll it up and voila! The kids ate it up! 

Making homemade peanut butter is SO simple. Take a food processor and just grind up the peanuts until they are smooth and creamy. It takes about five minutes for about two cups of nuts for me. My favorite is cashew butter, which I usually add a bit of grapeseed oil to because it gets rather dry. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ramped-Up Mac 'n Cheese

After golfing on Father's Day, we went out to an Italian restaurant afterward (see picture of Reese entertaining the group with her aDORable personality and heartbreakingly good looks). Knowing that any dinner choice I made there would be bad, I went for the pizza for Bodin and mac 'n cheese for Reese. Reese didn't have a single bite of hers, so we took it home. The next day, I doctored it up with some steamed broccoli and some baked chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, neither one really liked all three items together in one bowl.

But, remembering that it sometimes takes kids up to 10 times to try a food and like it, you bet I'm going to keep trying with this one!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Green Smoothie

I'm starting to drink more and more green smoothies, made with fresh greens (spinach, beet greens, etc), frozen fruit, water, BoKU Superfood, rice protein powder and a little agave nectar. They are SO good for you, even though the taste takes a bit to get used to. Here's a picture of my morning's creation. 

My kids will drink these, too, especially if I doctor them up a bit, adding more fruit and less greens. We call it "Super Juice!" (yes, we always say it with an exclamation point) and tell them it makes them run fast. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Beach and the Farmers Market

My mom and I went to Oval Beach in Saugatuck today - it was SO hot the sand absolutely blistered our feet! But, it was a lot of fun. The concessions stand actually had homemade hummus and pita bread and carrots on the menu (for $7), so we all shared that. I fed the kids one of those horribly processed Smuckers crustless (what the crap is so bad about the crust!?) peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with some pretzels. They had an organic juice box as well. 

Feeling bad about the sandwich, I've decided to make dinner from scratch. We stopped at a new farmers market in Saugatuck and I picked up some potatoes, a spring lettuce mix, some strawberries and some sugar peas. 

I'm making almond/parmesan/oat crusted chicken breast served along with some homemade pesto using basil from our garden. As a side, I'm roasting the potatoes with some rosemary and garlic salt. For dessert, we're having fresh strawberry "cake" - made by placing the cut strawberries in my new pot and covering it with some organic cake mix. With the lid on and the heat turned on low, dessert will be ready in 15 minutes, and will keep warm for at least an hour. It turns into this cobbler-like gooey yummy mush of a dessert and everyone loves it. 

I'm excited to be back to this blog! Look for pictures of my meals and my kids to come shortly!