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Healthy Eats

There's no denying it: good, balanced nutrition is key to healthy, vital aging. And cooking fresh, wholesome food at home is a wonderful way to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes to support your adventures in the kitchen. 

Mangia! Mangia!

(Eat! Eat!)

 

Elegant Wild Rice Salad

wild rice salad

Make this wonderful salad ahead and refrigerate. It's great the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to marinade. Serve with grilled salmon or chicken breasts for a delectable, healthy meal!

Dressing:

  • 1 1/3 cups good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
(Or, to simplify the recipe, choose your favorite pre-made oil-based salad dressing.)

Salad:

  • 3 cups wild rice, cooked according to package directions and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 6-oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, cut into halves
  • 1 10-oz package frozen peas
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or grape tomatoes whole
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

Drain artichoke hearts reserving marinade. Toss together artichoke hearts, peas, pepper, onions, tomatoes, and avocados. Stir gently into rice. Add the artichoke marinade and 1/2 the dressing. Toss well and chill. Just before serving, add Parmesan cheese, nuts, and additional dressing to taste.

 

Green Smoothies

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Have you caught on to the smoothie and juicing craze? Green drinks seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason. When they're done the right way, without artificial sugars and
loaded with fruits and vegetables, these concoctions pack a nutritional wallop! Follow these steps to create your own nutritious, delicious smoothies in your blender at home.

  1. Start with about 2 cups of a non-dairy liquid like almond milk or coconut water in the blender.
  2. Add two handfuls of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, or swiss chard.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add about 2 cups of fruit (mix and match to suit your palate), such as bananas, peaches, apples, berries, pineapple, or avocado (yes, it's a fruit!). Using frozen fruit works beautifully and gives the final product a rich flavor and cool feel. Otherwise, add a few ice cubes if you like.
  5. Blend again until smooth.
  6. To super-charge the nutritional value of your drink, consider adding one or more of the following boosters and blend again:
    • Protein powder
    • Chia or hemp seeds
    • Coconut or flax oil
    • Raw chocolate (cacao nibs)
    • Almond butter

Sip and enjoy as a meal replacement or healthy snack! If you find this is definitely for you, search the internet for "green smoothie" or "green juice" and you will discover a vast repertoire of recipes and information.

 

   

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Is spaghetti squash one of those “mystery vegetables” for you? If so, it’s time to become familiar. Spaghetti squash is a mild winter vegetable which is sometimes used as a gluten-free alternative to pasta. Light yellow in color, it resembles other squashes on the outside. But, once cooked, the flesh shreds into long pieces resembling spaghetti.

There are different ways to cook a spaghetti squash, and baking is a good one. Cut the squash in half lengthwise using a large, sturdy knife. Be careful – this can sometimes be difficult and we don’t want any emergency room visits! Place the squash with the flat, cut sides down in a shallow baking dish. Add a little water to the dish and bake in a 375° oven for about 45 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out of the skin using a fork into a bowl.This should be easy; if not, it isn't done.

To complete the casserole, you’ll need the following:

  • Two Baked medium to large spaghetti squash (about 6 cups)
  • 3 large, ripe sliced tomatoes
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Other spices you enjoy, such as dried basil, parsley, oregano, garlic and onion powder
  • 8 oz lowfat shredded cheese of your choice; Italian or Mexican blends work wonderfully

Turn the oven down to 350°. Prepare a 9x11 baking dish with nonstick spray, or grease with a little olive oil. Then layer the ingredients:

  • Spread about 1/3 of the squash at the bottom of the pan
  • Cover with a layer of tomato slices
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and selected spices of your choice
  • Top with 1/3 of the cheese
  • Repeat layers two times, ending with cheese.

Pop the casserole into the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese on top is beginning to brown.

This delectable casserole can be served as a main dish with a leafy green salad or as a side to meat, poultry or fish. Enjoy!

 

Potato Pumpkin Leek Soup

iStock 000014599797SmallThis rich, flavorful soup is sure to satisfy on a chilly autumn night. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread for a complete meal.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 3 large leeks, white part only
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 28-oz can cooked pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ cup whole milk or cream

Put the water and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil. Clean, peel, and dice the potatoes. Add the potatoes and simmer gently.

Clean and slice the leeks, then sautee them in the butter over medium heat until they are soft. Stir the leeks into the potatoes and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes or so.

When the potatoes and leeks are very soft, stir in the broth and the pumpkin. Purée the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor until no lumps remain.

Return the mixture to the pot and season with the lemon juice, sugar, additional salt, and white pepper. (Keep tasting - you want to get the sweet/sour balance just right.) Add a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon, then whisk in the milk or cream. Re-heat the mixture gently.

Garnish with chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives if desired.