Monthly Archives: August 2015

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Recipe: Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas were always a staple in my family. The first thing I learned how to cook on my own was roasted chickpeas with cumin, salt and olive oil. I guess I did inherit some of the habits and tastes from the Moroccan side of my family!
In the last year, my dad found a chickpea soup that he just loves. It seems like he’s made it almost every time I go to visit. It’s very basic, just chickpeas, onion, rosemary and lemon. I decided to add my own flare to it with more veggies and greens.
For those of you who follow my posts, you know I’m not that into recipes. I like to work with what I have, what looks good in the market, and I tend to measure by eye. That said, someone on Instagram (hi Yogacheeks!) asked that I post a recipe for the soup after posting this photo. So here it goes!
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*Note* This recipe uses dried chickpeas. It makes the soup really rich and creamy because you’re basically making stalk while cooking the beans. However, this takes a longgggggggggggg time, so feel free to sub in canned chickpeas and start at step 7.

Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Herbs

Ingredients
  • 4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into small pieces
  • 1 tomato (fresh if in season, canned if not)
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight.
  2. Drain them the following morning, add the baking soda and leave for 1 hour.
  3. Rub the chickpeas in your hands or with a towel to remove the skins.
  4. Rinse the chickpeas very well 4 or 5 times.
  5. Put chickpeas in a pot and add just enough water to cover the chickpeas.
  6. Bring to the boil, removing the froth at the top with a wooden spoon just before they come to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes.
  7. Drain the chickpeas and then put them back in the pot with more water (cover them by about 2 inches). If you are using canned chickpeas, this is where you start.
  8. Bring to a boil, add grated onion, carrots and rosemary and simmer for about 1½ hours (30 minutes if canned) or until they are really tender – don’t let them get dry and add water if necessary.
  9. Add cauliflower and tomatoes when the chickpeas are soft, cook for 5 minutes, then add the spinach.
  10. Whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice together and add to the chickpeas.
  11. Simmer for about another 5 minutes and then serve.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste and add any fresh herbs you have on hand (cilantro, parsley, basil or chives would be amazing).

Enjoy!

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Dinner for Breakfast

Say it 5 times fast and see what happens! ha, just kidding.

A couple of years ago I spent a week in San Diego in the middle of February. One of the best parts about being on vacation was having time in the morning to relax. Add the inspiration of the beautiful and bountiful produce, and you end up with on of my favorites, dinner for breakfast!

Over the week, we made use of whatever was fresh and local. By the way, did you know that California grows over 28 varieties of avocado? What a great reason to eat guacamole!

Here are some of the dinner-like breakfasts we enjoyed:

  • Sauteed red cabbage with fresh peas from the farmers market
  • Garlicky asparagus and avocado
  • Heirloom tomato and avocado salad
  • Sauteed kale with shallots

Everything was prepared simply, we just sauteed the veggies with a tad of coconut oil, salt, and garlic or shallots when they were around. For our protein, we had paleo bread (it’s a type of gluten free bread made with coconut flour and eggs) with almond butter.

It may seem strange at first, but there are a lot of cultures around the world that eat more typical lunch and dinner items for breakfast. In fact, they might look at our sugary pancakes, cereals, donuts and bagels as strange! Want some visuals? Check out these breakfast photos from around the world.

Breakfast in Turkey, Courtesy of NYT Magazine

Breakfast in Turkey, Courtesy of NYT Magazine

Besides it tasting good, why eat dinner for breakfast? So many of the foods we eat for breakfast in the US are heavy and filled with refined carbohydrates and simple sugars. If you’re used to it, you may not notice how these foods make you feel. But, if you start observing your energy levels, you’ll likely see that it’s a surefire way to end up crashing. After the initial energy boost from the sugar, these foods often leave us feeling tired, bloated, and unsatisfied. It’s a perfect setup for the chocolate in the office, or the candy bar across the street. I know you know what I’m talking about. You know, I always wondered why my former boss kept chocolate for all of us in her office, but it made perfect sense. And more chocolate, candy bars, coffee and muffins means more spikes and drops in our blood sugar, leaving us tired and worn out.

But there are other ways to keep your energy up throughout the day without depending on these pick-me-ups. One way is by starting your day with dinner foods for breakfast. You don’t even have to cook! It’s a perfect way to eat your leftovers 🙂

Here are some ideas for wintery breakfast foods, I am back in NY, after all. These recipes include things like whole grains, protein and veggies. The whole grains and veggies are rich in fiber, which keep you feeling fuller longer and keep your digestive system running smoothly. They also will regulate your blood sugar level. The protein will also give you the energy you need to hold you to your next meal without crashing. Remember, you can use whatever seasonings you like to fit these recipes to your taste. You can also substitute the types of grains, beans, and veggies used. The possibilities are endless!

Dinner for Breakfast recipe ideas (just click on the links for the recipes):

  • Brown rice with chickpeas and some steamed or sauteed greens (kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard etc).
  • Savory Steel Cut Oats with Miso and Walnuts: I leave out the sweetener in this one, it’s super delicious and rich.
  • Root Vegetable Stews: One of my favorite flavor combos is adding peanut or almond butter to soups and stews, especially with sweet potatoes. It adds a lovely creaminess, and a bonus of extra protein. The links above include recipes for Sweet Potato and Peanut soups and stews.
  • Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with a cumin lime dressing.
  • Miso Soup with loads of veggies, a boiled (or poached) egg and some rice or soba noodles. If you are gluten-free, make sure you read the ingredients on the soba noodles, they often are made with a percentage of wheat flour.
  • Tofu Scramble or a Veggie Omelette

What are some of your favorite breakfasts?

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Why I hired a Personal Trainer

When I wstrong womanas in college I worked at the gym… swiping people’s ID cards 🙂 I was not a fan of working out, in fact I thought it was silly.

I always loved to dance, and that’s how I would get my exercise. I’d go out one night a week and dance for hours and hours. It felt great, and that was that. Sometimes friends would remind me that regular physical activity was an important part of a healthy lifestyle, not just the way you eat. I would “yeah yeah” them, and move on. I’ve always been active, walking everywhere (I live in NYC for goodness sake!) and dancing, and that’s about as much mind as I paid to exercise.

Then a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I didn’t want to go on prescription drugs to regulate my hormones, so I had to find some other ways. Regular exercise happens to be a great way to regulate estrogen, so I jumped on board. I’m also a bit type A (and wouldn’t change that!) and store a lot of stress in my body, just like most of us. And we all know yoga, cardio and almost all exercise is a great stress reliever.

I started going to the gym three times per week. And, for a year that was enough for me. I did the same thing almost every time I went, and I felt super proud of myself. I would tell my trainer and fitness friends that just walking into the gym was a victory in itself, and I was cool with that (and still am to a certain extent! baby steps!).

Until…

I’ve always wanted to be strong. But I thought it wasn’t attainable. And because I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t want to try. After all, some of us feel it’s better not to try if there is a risk of failure. If you never try, then you’ll never have to face the potential failure. Except you constantly face it! It’s like a little whisper in the back of your mind that never goes away. In fact, it’s so constant that it becomes like white noise and you can’t even tell it’s there after a while.

Well, I’m not in the business of staying in my comfort zone anymore, so I decided to face my fears head on. I hired a personal trainer because I had no idea what it would take for me to get strong, and I knew that on my own, without accountability, I would likely weasel my way out of it (that whisper and I have quite a long history and it has a lot of influence!).

I still go to the gym three times per week, but I have a routine to follow that someone who specializes in this stuff customizes for me (shout out to Will at NYSC Astoria!). I have someone who watches me to make sure that I’m doing things the correct way and not hurting myself in the process. I pay someone a lot of money because this is valuable to me, and that helps keep me motivated (I want my money’s worth!). I also have someone who is going to ask me if I did my exercises each week. That bit of accountability really helps me step up my game. And I have someone who is cheering me on and who gives me high fives and fist bumps, satisfying the part of me that loves affirmation. And (I can’t believe there are still more ands!) he can let me know when I’m making progress, even when I can’t see it myself. Having a set of outside eyes committed to my progress is huge.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because we all need coaches sometimes. They are an incredibly valuable asset and tool. Over the years I’ve hired health coaches, life coaches and trainers, and I am so thankful I did. In fact, I wish I knew coaches existed years ago when I first got sick. The support would have made a huge difference. And that’s why I do what I do, because I know it makes a difference for people.

If you’ve been thinking of hiring a coach, whether it’s a health coach, life coach, personal trainer or career coach, send me a quick email. If we’re not a good match, I know tons of other coaches and I guarantee you I can find you someone that will help you rock your world.

Sending you lots of love,

Samantha

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