Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Happy Holidays!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, staying warm, and eating lots of tasty treats!

“Santa” was kind enough to bring me a juicer for Christmas! I took some time today to test it out and made some green juice (kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon, and green apple), then froze the leftover pulp in an ice cube tray so I can easily throw them into green smoothies. I can’t wait to try making fresh orange juice :)

Green Juice

I had so much fun with it that I wanted to make something else, so I decided to try juicing some veggies to create broth for soup. From there I improvised, throwing whatever I had lying around the kitchen into the pot, until I ended up with this delicious stew! It’s the perfect meal to sit back and relax with after a busy week of holiday celebrations :) It’s also vegan and gluten-free!

Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Vegetable Juice
1 tomato
1 small onion
1 red pepper, de-seeded
2 carrots
1 stalk of celery

Stew
Vegetable juice & pulp
500 mL no-salt-added vegetable broth
2 cups chopped butternut squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can white cannellini beans
1-2 handfuls each of kale and spinach
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
A couple of pinches of dried sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. To make the vegetable juice, put the tomato, onion, pepper, carrots, and celery through a juicer. Pour the juice and pulp into a large stock pot. Add the vegetable broth, squash, quinoa, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and squash is tender. You may need to add some more water as you go, if necessary.

2. Add the beans, kale, and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in large bowls and enjoy!

Rosemary Quinoa, Bean & Butternut Squash Stew

Be Well xo

Eating Healthy on Vacation

Written by: Cole Millen (see bio below)

Vacations aren’t supposed to be a time for challenges. The whole reason we undertake them is so we can escape the stressors of everyday life and relax. Unfortunately, there is usually one problem that many vacationers face, and that’s trying to maintain a healthy diet. Many of us tend to eat fairly well when we can control our food options. Yet when we go on vacation, sometimes our options can be rather limited. Fortunately, there are ways for us to still enjoy ourselves without our stomachs hating us later. Here are a few tips for eating well while on vacation:

At the Airport:

The airport is often cited as the most frustrating aspect of traveling – and it certainly doesn’t help anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet. Most airport restaurants tend to offer fast foods or other high-fat, high-sodium options. You can counteract this by seeking out healthier alternatives like sandwich shacks and salad bars. Some food stands also offer items like fresh fruit and veggies, pita and hummus, and smoothies.

Unfortunately, once you’re airborne your food options become even more limited. There are a lot of airlines that offer healthier options, so be sure to ask your steward/stewardess. Worst-case scenario: bring along healthy snacks to munch on during long flights (as long as you don’t mind paying airport prices!).

At the Hotel:

Hotels are absolutely critical for maintaining a healthy diet on vacation. After all, this is the place that you essentially “live” at, for all intents and purposes. For this reason it is important to ensure that you are staying somewhere that can cater to your healthy needs. Taking the time do to a little research beforehand is a great way to ensure you find the right place. Reading reviews from consumers can provide the most unbiased and honest form of information. In a recent trip of mine, I found a great site that listed reviews for amenities and restaurants at Las Vegas hotels. This was extremely helpful and assisted me with finding a hotel with a fitness center as well as a gluten-free restaurant!

As another option, you’re more than welcome to bring in outside food items to store in your hotel room. Buying things like soup, oatmeal, or fresh veggies will help keep you on a healthy track. If you want to indulge in a continental breakfast, don’t forget the fruit! Fruits are high in fiber and a healthier alternative to doughnuts and pastries.

Eating Out:

Most people end up eating out at some (or a series) of restaurants when they’re on vacation. There’s nothing wrong with this, but be sure to remain focused on eating well. For starters, try to gravitate towards restaurants that serve fresh and locally sourced foods. Check the menu beforehand so that you can avoid last minute temptations and surprises. Seafood restaurants and salad bars can be great options. As well, eat a healthy snack before dining out to help prevent over-eating.

Once you’ve arrived at the restaurant, resist the urge to order appetizers. Try to stick to boiled, broiled, fat free and grilled food. Remember, fat-free does not necessarily mean low calorie or low sugar. Use caution and better judgment when ordering your meals. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress if they have nutritional information available for their menu items! Another helpful tip – a colorful meal is more likely to be high in nutrients and fiber. Order a side of vegetables to bulk up your entrée rather than getting fries or onion rings. Finally, customize your meals to include lower amounts of fat and sauces. For example, when ordering a salad, ask for less dressing or for the dressing to be on the side.

Staying healthy on your vacation is absolutely possible; it just takes a little discipline. If you follow these tips you can find yourself coming home looking just as great as when you left!

About the Author:

Cole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Check out his blog for more fitness and nutrition tips at http://colemill.blogspot.com/.

Be Well xo