Never in my life did I imagine that at 44 years old I would:

1. wear a singlet in public
2. lift weights in front of judges and a crowd of people

But last weekend I did just that when I competed in my first powerlifting meet.

squat

And I had a awesome day, you guys! I lifted well and I had a really great time. I very much look forward to doing it again. I’ll try to write more about the experience when I’ve had a little more time to process “all the feels”.

Now let’s talk about this Thai Chicken Curry recipe. It comes from The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks by Nina Planck. I received an advanced reading copy of this cookbook from the publisher a few months back, and I have tried a bunch of the recipes since then. In addition to this Thai Chicken Curry, my favorite recipes so far have been the Caesar Salad, the Ricotta Pesto, and the Fermented Ginger Ale. The Downy Vanilla Cheesecake is also terrific!

thai chicken curry | healthy green kitchen

I really like Nina’s writing. I enjoyed her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why(2008) very much, and was excited when I heard she was writing a cookbook. The great thing is this cookbook is not preachy or pretentious, and it’s filled with exactly the type of food that I like and want to eat: food that’s nourishing and immensely satisfying, without being fussy. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find the ingredients needed to make the food in this book :)

My son proclaimed this his favorite Thai dish that I have cooked, and since I use Thai flavors a fair amount, I think that says a lot. FYI cold leftovers are quite wonderful!
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As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am competing in my first powerlifting meet tomorrow. I am nervous but also looking forward to it. I’ve spent this week training pretty light, stretching a lot, and trying to get as much sleep as possible so I can go in with lots of energy and minimal anxiety.

I decided to compete in this meet about two months ago and since then I’ve made some adjustments to the way I eat, especially when it comes to my protein intake. Protein is always important, but perhaps even more so when you strength train with heavy weights. I work particularly hard to make sure I am eating enough of this macronutrient.

High Protein Oatmeal | Healthy Green Kitchen

Though I previously wasn’t that big a fan of protein powders, I have found them to be nothing short of essential as of late: without supplementing with some protein powder on a daily basis, I simply don’t eat enough protein to meet my current needs. Right now I am eating about 110 grams of protein a day (this is 1 gram or protein per pound of my body weight).

Does this mean I think everyone should be supplementing with protein powder? No, not at all. While protein at or near the amount I am consuming may be useful to you, the amount of protein you need and whether or not protein powder is right for you depend on the context of your lifestyle and activity level, not mine.

{Ah, context. Such an important concept when it comes to matters of nutrition. We don’t all inhabit the same body nor do we live the same life (obviously!), so “one size fits all” nutritional recommendations really don’t make sense, do they?}

I like this recipe because I can quickly mix up 4 individual servings. Then I can grab one from the fridge in the morning and add a little more milk and maybe some fresh fruit (in these photos I’ve used pomegranate arils) before I head out to the gym. The lid makes tucking one into my purse super easy.

I don’t usually put my recipes through a nutritional calculator but just for kicks I decided to do it this time. The calorie and macronutrient breakdown of this overnight high protein oatmeal recipe (without any fruit or anything else added on top) comes out as follows:

For each serving (presuming 4 servings), approximately:
300 calories
10 grams fat
34 grams carbs
24 grams protein

I think this is great because there’s almost 1/4 of my protein requirement right there.

This recipe was inspired by Refrigerator Oatmeal from The Yummy Life. I used short 1 cup glass canning jars with plastic lids to make this recipe.
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cinnamon rolls in pan | healthy green kitchen

On the weekends, my husband and I try to take our dogs for a long walk on both Saturday and Sunday. Last Saturday was really rainy so there was no walking or much of anything else (we stayed home and watched 3 movies instead!), but on Sunday we were excited to hit our favorite trail. It was a gorgeous day with an decidely fall-ish chill in the air; the foliage is pretty spectacular this time of year so it was great to be outside in the midst of it.

hike with dogs

hike with dogs

hike with dogs

Before we left, I made some cinnamon rolls for us to eat on the way and for my kids to munch on once they got up (there seems to be no convincing our teenagers to join us on our weekend walks these days as they’d rather sleep in…surprise, surprise). I wasn’t really looking for gooey, super sweet cinnamon rolls; rather, I wanted something satisfying, but not too decadent. These honey and greek yogurt glazed cinnamon rolls were perfect.

I used Jovial Organic Einkorn Flour in the dough, and added honey both to the dough and the glaze.

flour and honey

The dough mixes up quickly…

dough and toes | healthy green kitchen

and doesn’t need any time to rise since there is no yeast.

dough on counter | healthy green kitchen

The brown sugar filling can be doubled if you are looking for a sweeter treat.

dough and filling
dough and filling cut | healthy green kitchen

(This recipe was inspired by three sources: Quick Cinnamon Rolls from Once Upon a Chef, Vegan Cinnamon Buns with Chocolate and Figs from Laura Wright for Baked The Blog, and Honey Buns from Martha Stewart. If you want to make a slightly different quick cinnamon roll that’s also gluten free, try my buckwheat cinnamon roll recipe.)
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It’s been a few months since I published a Friday Shares post, but I have lots to tell you about today, so let’s get right to it.

1. I wrote an eBook! It’s a mini cookbook called Fresh and Flavorful: Sauces, and I had great fun putting it together. You can find out more about the book and buy it here.

2. I had my first print article published! It’s an editorial called Changing Perspectives and it appears in the Fall issue of Edible Hudson Valley Magazine. You can read it here.

3. I am training for my first powerlifting meet! I have been strength training for exactly 2 years and while competing is not something I ever thought would happen, I signed myself up for a meet that will take place two weeks from tomorrow. Wish me luck :)

deadlifting550
Photo by Kelli Nielson

4. I am enrolled in a professional sports and exercise nutrition certification program. As some of you know, I have a degree in naturopathic medicine, but I have not worked with private clients in some time. When I am finished with this certification, I plan to start working with clients again as a nutrition coach: I am really excited about this. I may also get certified as a strength coach in the not-too-distant future :)

Ok, that’s enough about me and what I am up to. Here are some links to other “stuff” I think you should know about:

Miscellaneous:

Learning to Love Criticm (The New York Time)

Are Anti-Vaccinators Stupid or Disingenuous? (Gawker)

Why I Hope to Die at 75 (The Atlantic)

Why I Stayed, Why I Left (Smith Bites)

Here Are 4 Problems that GMO Labeling Won’t Solve (Grist)

The Problem with Home-Cooked Meals (Vox)

Recipes I want to make:

Cauliflower Kale Chickpea Curry Pot (The First Mess)

Masala Chai (A Brown Table)

Apple, Rosemary, and Sausage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (Adventures in Cooking)

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Skillet Brownie (Country Cleaver)

Of note for those who are gluten free:

The Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends Campaign on Kickstarter

Let Us All Eat Cake: Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Cakes (I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher and it’s beautiful!)

Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed (This is a cookbook by my friend Silvana Nardone which I’ll be posting about soon.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kraft. I am being compensated to share my experiences with their product; all opinions are 100% my own.

chicken raspberry salad 2

I adore salads and while I eat them just about every day, I rarely make the same salad twice. There are so many options when it comes to nutritious salads! In this post, I want to show you how you, too, can be creative with salads, and how you can make a salad substantial enough to be a meal. I also want to tell you about a new favorite salad that I “discovered” this summer.

When you make a salad as a main course, you’ll generally want to start with some sort of greens. One to two cups per person is a good amount to shoot for, though of course you may use more. Depending on the season and what looks good in the garden/at the market, here are some ideas:

Red or green leaf lettuce
Arugula
Watercress
Romaine
Endive
Frisee
Radicchio
Escarole
Mixed (mesclun) greens
Spinach
Beet greens
Kale (remove tough stems)
Collard Greens
Napa cabbage

Chopped herbs such as cilantro, parsley, mint and basil can also be added, as can wild greens (aka “weeds”) such as chickweed, purslane, and dandelion greens. Occasionally I use these instead of using any of the greens in the list above. (Greens should be very fresh. It’s best to rinse them in a bowl full of cool water, swishing around to remove dirt and other debris. Repeat with fresh water if necessary. Dry in a salad spinner or rolled in a kitchen towel to remove all moisture, then chop or tear and place in your salad bowl.)

Next, add 1-2 cups of any combination of the following, chopped into bite-sized pieces, or any other raw or cooked vegetable that’s not on this list that you like (roasted vegetables are terrific in salads).

Broccoli
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumber
Tomato
Carrot
Radishes
Summer Squash
Winter Squash
Beets
Jicama
Fennel
Sprouts
Mushrooms

Next, I add smaller amounts of one or more of the following:

Chopped avocado
Olives
Raw or toasted nuts/seeds (some of my favorites are almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews)
Chopped apples, pears, sliced stone fruit, and/or whole or sliced berries
Raisins or other dried fruit, chopped or sliced if necessary
¼ – ½ cup cooked rice, quinoa, millet, or another grain

If the salad is indeed going to be the main part of your meal, definitely add some protein* which could be:

Cooked tofu or tempeh
Cooked beans
Chopped soft or hard boiled/poached eggs
Sliced cooked grass-fed meat, poultry, or wild fish
Cubed or crumbled cheese (some of my favorites are cheddar, feta, Fontina, and goat cheese)

*People’s protein needs do vary based on their size and activity level. I try to eat quite a lot of protein because I work out with weights and I am training for a competition right now, so I really load my salads with the high quality protein sources I mentioned above. I suggest becoming familiar with the amount of protein that you need each day: this will help you add the appropriate amount of protein to your salad.

Dress the salad with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing per person. I generally use olive oil and some balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to dress my salads, but sometimes I prefer something different. In that case, I may venture into homemade creamy dressing land (I enjoy buttermilk and yogurt-based dressings). Or I may reach for one of the bottled dressings I keep in the refrigerator when I want to change things up in a pinch. Though I used to stay away from bottled dressings as a rule, this is something I have relaxed about lately because I enjoy some of them and they make up a very small part of my diet.

I made the grilled chickensalad you see in these photos with organic Romaine lettuce (2+ cups), 1/2 cup raspberries, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 chopped grilled chicken breast, 4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, and 4 tablespoons chopped raw pecans. I dressed it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing. It was so tasty!

Change up your dinner routine with Kraft. Visit KraftRecipes.com for great recipes and meal ideas, featuring Kraft. Because food deserves delicious.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.