Welcome to Busy Women Mealtime Makeover! Whether you are one of the lovely busy ladies participating in the makeover or just interested in taking your meals up a notch – girl, do I have some rockin’ recipes for you! From now until June 1st, I’ll be featuring twelve new delicious makeover-friendly recipes. This week, we are focusing on eating more dark, leafy greens. (And if you want to join in and get the entire makeover PDF complete with meal plans, shopping lists and recipes, videos and photos of me cooking, weekly emails with additional recipes and kitchen tips and tricks and access to our online forum, you can totally start a few days late – click here and sign up!)
My friend Sara has experienced first-hand how changing the way she eats and lives her life has changed her health for the better. She has suffered from allergies, eczema, depression, and asthma. When she eats real food, she feels better. Period. She has learned that small changes are the way to go.
Sara, you are busy, right? How do you get a decent, healthy meal on the table?
I like to keep meals versatile and uncomplicated - I love making one-pot meals to cut down on cooking time and minimize cleanup. I pick foods that will taste good together and just go for it! I've found that you can pretty much combine any protein, vegetables, and pre-cooked grains to a pan and it will usually come out tasting pretty good. I make the flavor of the foods the star of the meal and use condiments like Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), vinegars, and oils to enhance the flavor of the dish. I also do as much prep work ahead of time - like cooking a large pot of whole grains on the weekend to use in several dishes throughout the week.
Why do you make healthy, real food a priority in your life?
I learned several years ago that my mood and energy level are directly tied to the quality of food I'm eating. I love to feel great, and I only feel great when I'm eating real food - especially dark, leafy greens. Making healthy meals for myself and the ones I love nourishes both my body and soul.
What is your favorite thing to make during the spring months?
I love salads! Spring greens are my favorite. I get inspired by the beautiful spring vegetable at the Farmer's Market - cabbages, leafy greens, onions, herbs and carrots are so colorful and lovely. Slaws in particular are my favorite type of salad because they taste great and hold up well for leftovers, I love experimenting with different dressings to keep the flavors fresh!
What is that one thing that busy people can do this spring to eat a little healthier?
Cook in large quantities so that you will have leftovers - especially when it comes to whole-grains and protein. Having healthy, pre-cooked food in the fridge that can quickly be thrown together for a meal helps ensure that we eat real food - instead of chips and salsa - for dinner.
What is your favorite gadget in the kitchen?
I love my blender. It's great for smoothies, soups, salad dressings, homemade nut butters, and a lot more! We use it almost daily.
Asian Spring Slaw
For the salad:
- 1 cup raw almonds - roughly chopped or sliced
- 2 heads baby bok choy
- 4 scallions
- 4 carrots - peeled with the tops trimmed off
- 2 big handfuls of kale leaves, thick stems removed
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- sea salt + pepper to taste
1. Toast the almonds by spreading them on a cookie sheet and baking them at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes until they are light brown. They will go from toasted to burned quickly so keep an eye on them!
2. In large mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
3. Wash and chop baby bok choy and scallions.and add them to the mixing bowl that contains the dressing.
4. Using a food processor, chop the kale by pulsing it several times with the "S" blade attachment. Switch to the grater blade attachment and grate the red cabbage and carrots. Dump all chopped/grated vegetables into the mixing bowl with the dressing.
5. Mix salad well so the dressing coats the veggies. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Eat right away, or place in fridge for 1-3 hours to allow the flavors to combine.
6. Top with toasted almonds and an extra drizzle of toasted sesame oil before serving.
Note: This is a versatile slaw salad - the almonds make it hearty enough to be the main course, but you can also add your favorite pre-cooked protein to the salad to make it even heartier. The vegetables stay crisp even when mixed with the salad dressing and the flavor gets better over time, which makes this dish great for leftovers. Wrap up leftover slaw in a tortilla with some leftover cooked chicken for an on-the-go lunch. Make prep easy by toasting the almonds or chopping the vegetables the day or two before you plan to throw this salad together.
Prep Time: about 15-20 minutes
Makes about 6 cups of salad.