Thursday, July 16, 2009

We've Moved!

check out our swanky new address:! there are some exciting new changes on the horizon for healthy girl cooking...stay tuned!

photo credit: Patrick Cline

Monday, July 13, 2009

Healthy Girl Grilling

It's summertime, y'all! I don't know where you live, but here in Boston I've seen enough rain to last me a lifetime. I finally got the chance to do some grilling last weekend (or, rather, to be a marinade-making 50's housewife while my boyfriend manned the grill.) Below are a few of our successes: Shrimp Kabobs with Red Pepper and Pineapple; Asian-inspired Eggplant, Juicy 'Bella Burgers, Mustardy 'Gus, and Magnum Grilled Cheese.

Shrimp Kabobs with Red Pepper and Pineapple

file under: Seafood; Dairy-free; Gluten-free

for each person, use: 1/3 lb. raw shrimp, 1/2 red pepper, 1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Wash, peel and de-vein shrimp. On skewers, alternate shrimp, pepper and pineapple pieces.

2. Using a brush, dab shrimp and pepper pieces with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

3. Grill kabobs until shrimp are bright pink.

Asian-Inspired Eggplant
file under: Vegetables; Dairy-free; Vegetarian; Vegan

1 large eggplant
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 cloves pressed garlic
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

Mix marinade ingredients. Brush over eggplant pieces. Allow to sit for 30 minutes

To grill, wrap eggplant pieces in foil and cook until soft.

Juicy 'Bella Burgers

file under: Vegetables; Vegetarian; Vegan; Dairy-free; Gluten-free

This sauce is my boyfriend Noah's burger marinade. It makes meat and mushrooms incredibly juicy. Noah refuses to violate his creative process by measuring specific quantities of any ingredient. I finally convinced him to use a vague "part" scale, so good luck recreating the recipe...just trust your intuition! Serve these bad boys alone or on a bun with your favourite burger fixins.

4 Portabella caps
4 parts A-1 sauce
2 parts Balsamic vinegar
2 parts Dijon mustard
1 part Olive Oil
"Abuncha sprinkles" Thyme
"Ditto" Rosemary and Black pepper

Brush mushrooms generously on both sides with marinade. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. To grill, wrap in foil to maintain moisture and cook until soft.

Mustardy 'Gus

file under: Vegetables; Vegetarian; Vegan; Dairy-free; Gluten-free

2 large bunches asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dijon mustard

Lay asparagus pieces in a baking dish, layering if need be. Mix marinade and pour over asparagus. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Grill, unwrapped, until asparagus in nicely charred.

Magnum Grilled Cheese
file under: Vegetarian

I made this sandwich for my vegetarian friend Sam. For the ultimate veg delight, construct the sandwich using generous portions of the ingredients listed below and place it directly on the grill. You can also toast the bread for an indoor treat on a rainy day, or if you don't have time to get the grill going.

For each sandwich: 2 slices whole wheat bread; 2 slices sharp white cheddar; 3 thick slices ripe tomato; 1/3 avocado; 5 spears Mustardy 'Gus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Healthy Girl Gentle Dietary Cleanse: A Complete Meal Plan

You may have read my recent entry about beginning a gentle cleanse to get back on track after too much unhealthy eating. The intention behind this five-day project was to give my body a rest--and thank it for all the amazing things it does for me!--by feeding it only the most nutritious, easy-to-digest foods. That meant avoiding:
processed foods
all chemicals, including preservatives

...and enjoying plenty of:
fresh and dried fruits
beans and legumes
gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice
caffeine-free, all-natural teas
kombucha! (an expensive delight I allowed myself to splurge on during my cleanse)

Though a little higher in fat than the diet I normally try to eat, my cleanse diet consisted of heart-healthy, easy-to-process fats (like the unsaturated kinds found in nuts, which are thought to lower cholesterol.) I feel the need to mention that the elimination of gluten is completely unrelated to the carb phobia that has plagued our culture in recent years; I simply avoided this natural element during my cleanse because it takes more work for our bodies to process.

What follows is a five-day meal plan that you can use (and tweak to your needs, mind you) if you'd like to embark on the Healthy Girl Cleanse! Please remember that I'm not a medical professional, so you may want to check with your physician to make sure that this cleanse is right for you. Also, please don't feel that anything about this cleanse supports starvation as a means of toxin-flushing; I'm skeptical that such claims hold any merit, and would never encourage you to go hungry. My meal plan is designed around eating smallish amounts every 3 hours or so in order to feel satiated and energized at all times. If you find that the portions I list below are filling you up too much or leaving you really hungry, listen to your body and give it what it needs--every body requires a slightly different amount of fuel!

Finally, don't be discouraged if you feel that a gentle cleanse is not right for you. Perhaps just integrating a few snack or meal ideas into your repertoire would be fun! My meal plan includes many recipes that you can find on Healthy Girl, along with others that are self-explanatory (I hope.) Please see the shopping list for an easy grocery store guide; keep in mind that I've tried to include a lot of variety in this meal plan, but by remaking a few recipes you're really into, like I did, you can make this cleanse more budget-friendly. As always, feel free to comment publicly or email your questions, comments and criticisms to I hope to hear from you...happy cleansing!

Day 1


Apple-Spinach juice
Hard-boiled egg with freshly ground pepper and kosher salt

Snack 1
Sliced banana with chopped red apple, 2 TBSP walnut pieces and a squeeze of honey

Egg in a Quinoa Nest

Snack 2
Handful of almonds with 5 pieces dried apricot


Mexican-style baked potato with black beans, roasted corn, steamed broccoli, and salsa

Snack 3
Fresh pineapple slices

Day 2


Creamsicle juice (juice oranges first along with one extra orange, setting aside the extra orange juice to use in a smoothie later)
Handful of almonds

Snack 1
1/4 cup hummus with carrot and cucumber slices
Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Salad, dressed with 1 tsp olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice

Snack 2

Smoothie with fresh orange juice, banana, and pineapple


1 cup cooked red lentils with roasted broccoli, zucchini and squash (make extra for snack tomorrow)

Snack 3

Baked sweet potato topped with honey and cinnamon

Day 3

4 egg whites scrambled with sauteed mushrooms and sliced tomato

Snack 1

Leftover lentils with veggies

Mixed greens with sliced avocado, shredded carrots, black beans and salsa

Snack 2

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Brussles Sprouts


Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (omit veggie sausage and add extra beans; make extras for lunch tomorrow!)

Snack 3

Peach and/or pear slices

Day 4


Egg in a Quinoa Nest

Snack 1

Creamsicle Juice

Leftover Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Snack 2
Roasted sweet potato with brussles sprouts

Lentil Burgers

Snack 3
Peach or pear slices

Day 5


4 scrambled egg whites with sauteed mushrooms and tomato slices
Peach or pear

Snack 1
Sliced banana with chopped fuji apple, 2 TBSP walnut pieces and a squeeze of honey


Hummus and Veggie plate with carrot and cucumber slices, raw broccoli florets, mixed greens drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and 1/2 cup hummus

Snack 2

Handful of almonds with 5 dried apricots


Snack 3

Pineapple slices

Other additions you may enjoy:

*Peppermint, ginger, chamomile, or any of your favourite caffine-free teas (iced or hot)

*Kombucha, a refreshing, cleansing drink made from mushroom-like cultures

*Hot water with lemon and any combination of the following: cayenne pepper, honey, cinnamon, ginger root (as suggested by a very helpful reader!)

*Popcorn--but only the homemade kind, involving nothing but corn kernels and a little olive or canola oil!

P.S. If you're a coffee freak like me, it may be less torturous to ween yourself from The Sauce prior to beginning your cleanse. You can do this by cutting down and/or switching to green tea. I wouldn't wish going cold turkey on my worst enemy.

The Healthy Girl Cleanse: A Complete Shopping List

Below is a shopping list for the meal plan above--a plan bursting with variety (read: a little rough on the ol' wallet.) This shopping list is meant to be a guide that you can tweak to your liking and financial needs. I was perfectly happy repeating the meals and snacks I like the most, and I encourage you to do the same to get the most bang for your buck!

3 large oranges
2 granny smith apples
3 fuji apples
5 bananas
1 pineapple
3-4 pears and/or peaches, or any other fruit you'd like to snack on
1 package dried apricots
1 large lemon
ginger root


1 10-oz packages fresh spinach
2 medium tomatoes, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
2-4 bell peppers, depending on size
2 avocados
1 baking potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 large heads broccoli
1 cucumber
3 zucchinis
3 summer squash
2 bags whole carrots
about 8 button mushrooms
about 10 brussles sprouts
1 package frozen corn
1 package frozen spinach
1 bag salad greens many of my recipes, these veggies can be swapped for others you might prefer (try asparagus with scrambled eggs or roasted eggplant on a salad, for example; don't be afraid to experiment!)

Beans, Nuts, Legumes & Eggs
1 dozen eggs
1 can black beans
1 package black lentils
1 package red lentils
1 package walnut pieces
1 package raw almonds

1-2 packages quinoa
1 bag brown rice (if you'd like to substitute rice for quinoa in some recipes)

Packaged Goods

1-2 containers organic hummus*
1 jar organic salsa*
1 bottle agave or raw honey
Lara bars (HG's favourite raw, vegan, gluten- and soy-free bars for easy on-the-go snacking!)

*Buying organic packaged goods ensures that they are preservative-free.

Time-saving tips for the kitchen:

*When you have time to spare--even 10 minutes--check out your meal plan and do a little prep work for tomorrow. Chop your whole pineapple at once and store the pieces in a covered container in the fridge; that way, you can grab a handful for your smoothie or throw together a totable snack. The same strategy goes for cooking: this meal plan involves a lot of roasted veggies, so when you have time, chop 2 days worth of veggies and roast them all at once, storing the leftovers in air-tight containers or ziplock bags. I also included a lot of quinoa, which I like to make in big batches and draw from all week long.

*Keep a big ziplock full of nuts and dried fruit (or several individual ones, if you have trouble with portion control) in your purse, car or desk drawer for easy pre-made snacking.

*All of the prep work and cleaning involved in juicing can be time-consuming, so do anything you can beforehand, like peeling carrots and oranges and washing spinach. Prepped veggies and fruits can wait for you overnight in the fridge.

Apple-Spinach Juice

I've come across plenty of green juice recipes that involve all kinds of ingredients. This one keeps it super-simple and tastes absolutely delicious! You can play with the ratio of spinach to apple to make your juice tarter (more apple) or milder (more spinach.)

Packed with vitamins A and C, calcium and iron, this fresh juice is a great natural source of energy, as your bod can absorb the vitamins and minerals almost immediately. I suggest drinking some first thing in the morning or right after a workout.

Ingredients (1 large glass)
2 medium granny smith apples
1 10-oz bag fresh spinach

Wash and dry produce and core apples. Give everything a whirl in your juicer and enjoy right away.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lentil Burgers

Discouraged after many attempts at veg-friendly mushroom meatballs, I turned my attention to a similar goal of making a substantial meal out of meat- and soy-free ingredients. I worked on these lentil burgers during my 5-day cleanse (full meal plan and tips coming soon, I promise!) so they had to be gluten- and dairy-free as well, and made from easy-on-the-bod ingredients.

This is still a work in progress; like the meatballs, I think my lentil burgers would incite more lip-smackin' if I were more generous with the oil. Feel free to tweak the following recipe at your leisure--but only if you share your thoughts and suggestions!

Ingredients (makes 6 smallish burgers):

1 small white onion, chopped

2 cups finely chopped carrots (or about 1-1/2 cups shredded)

3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1-1/2 cups cooked black lentils*

1 egg

1/4 tsp. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

olive or canola oil for cooking

*Check your local Trader Joe's; I bought a package of pre-cooked black lentils at mine that were perfect for this recipe!

1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor (if your machine is small, you may need to do this in two batches.)

2. On a cutting board, form balls with the batter. You'll want them to be small enough that when you flatten them in the pan, they'll be smaller than hamburger patties.

3. Warm a few drops of oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the first batch of lentil burgers and flatten them a bit with the back of your spatula. Cook the same way you'd cook pancakes--until each side is lightly browned.

4. Serve your burgers with slices of avocado and tomato and a side of sauteed veggies. I ate mine with garlicky kale--yummy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chilled Melon Soup for Summer

I'm proud to bring you another recipe from my mom--radical babe, inventress, and maker of fantastic eats (like Scrambled Tofu with Portabellas.) This refreshing summer soup is perfect for a leisurely outdoor brunch or as a quick meal on a hot day. I love the simplicity of the dish--it's a breeze to make and to transport, but can also make an elegant addition to a dinner party or luncheon. Mama says:

"This soup can only be as good as the melons--they must be very ripe! Tap on the melon with your fingertips; it should sound like a hollow thump. Honeydew should be very pale green with hints of yellow."

Yield: about 5 1/2 cups; 5 (or 6 small) servings.

1 large honeydew or cantaloupe melon, peeled & cut into small chunks*

Grated rind of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

1 Tblsp finely chopped mint leaves

*My preference is to use 1 ½ recipe, using a whole honeydew & ½ cantaloupe.

1. For optimal presentation, choose individual serving bowls that can be chilled in the freezer, & store them there for a couple hours before serving.

2. In a food processor or blender, process melon chunks until smooth; use a low setting to avoid building up froth.

3. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed.

4. Chill thoroughly and scoop into frozen bowls, garnished with sliced blueberries and mint sprigs if desired; serve immediately while bowls are frozen. Best served within 24 hours.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Latest Obsession: Egg in a Quinoa Nest

This concoction is the result of my search for easy-to-digest, wheat-, dairy-, soy- and meat-free sources of protein to eat during my cleanse. The best thing about this dish is that it's easy to assemble quickly if you have a batch of cooked quinoa in the fridge. On second thought, the best thing about this dish is its TOTAL DELICIOUSNESS. When I fall in love with a food, I want to eat it all the time, and that's exactly what's been happening with this bowl-o-goodness--I've had to force myself to eat anything else! It's easy to transport sans egg, which makes this concoction a perfect weekday lunch.

For a lighter breakfast or a super-energizing afternoon snack, follow the recipe below. For a heavier meal, increase the amounts of quinoa and black beans and add a second egg. I prefer to use poached or over-easy eggs; the gooeyness really pulls everything together! If you're trying to cut fat and calories, scrambled egg whites make a good substitute.

I've included the nutrition facts below (calculated to the best of my knowledge using product labels and internet sources) to give you an idea of how well-rounded this dish is! Besides being super high in protein and fiber, quinoa is also a great source of B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Ingredients (one serving):

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup black beans, drained
1/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach or steamed fresh spinach
1 egg, poached or over-easy
black and crushed red pepper to taste
additions: roasted corn, chopped avocado and tomato

1. Stir quinoa, spinach, black beans and hummus together in a bowl. Create a nest in the center of the mixture for your egg.
2. Heat water in a small saucepan. When water begins to boil, stir from the center to create a whirlpool. Drop eggg into the whirlpool and allow it to cook for about one and a half minutes.
3. Drop egg into the center and marvel at how cute your breakfast is. Add seasoning to taste. Mix everything together and enjoy!

Nutrition facts:
Calories 364; Fat 16.5 g; Saturated fat 1.5 g; Cholesterol 215 mg (71% RDV); Carbohydrates 45 mg (13.5%); Fiber 10.6 g (41%); Protein 21 g; Vitamin A 21%; Vitamin C 9%; Calcium 17%; Iron 27%