Four Nutritious, Fool-Proof Slow Cooker Recipes

The slow cooker saves the day as my secret weapon in the kitchen more than I care to admit. What could be better than throwing a bunch of ingredients in the pot, pushing a single button and coming back to a delicious meal? As I've been on my slow cooker journey, I've found a lot of recipes that might be easy, but have limited nutritional value. If you've also felt that struggle, try one of these four incredibly easy AND healthy slow cooker recipes next time you need a meal plan that will satisfy your whole family without taking up your whole day.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

The flavors in this one make it a warming winter meal. Just combine the following ingredients in your slow cooker:

  • 6 c water

  • 2 carrots

  • 2 onions, whatever kind you happen to have

  • 1 T of your favorite curry powder

  • 1 T grated fresh ginger or powdered if you don't have access to fresh

  • Half a cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set the timer for 4 to 5 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours to cook the soup on low. Before serving, puree the soup with an immersion blender to achieve your preferred texture. I love this soup with a bit of Greek yogurt and a few nuts for garnish.

Slow Cooker Salmon

Fish in the slow cooker? Believe it! Follow these steps for incredibly moist, tender salmon:

  • Line the slow cooker with parchment paper.

  • Layer lemon slices on top of the paper. One lemon should cover it.

  • Season a 2-lb salmon filet with salt and pepper to taste, then place it on top of the lemons.

  • Add 1 1/2 c seafood or veggie broth and the juice of another 1/2 lemon.

Cook your fish on low for just 2 hours and serve with brown rice and a sprinkling of fresh dill for an easy and incredible meal.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Garlic Sesame Chicken

Takeout sounds great until you consider the calorie count, not to mention the cost. Keep it light and fresh with this simple Chinese-inspired chicken dish. Here's your guide:

  • Make a sauce in seconds by whisking 1 T brown sugar, 1/3 c sesame oil, 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce and 1/3 cup mirin (rice wine).

  • Place 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts into the bowl of your crockpot. Add salt, pepper and the soy sauce mixture you just made.

  • Add 8 cloves of garlic and about 1 inch of fresh ginger cut into small chunks.

Cook the chicken on low for 5 to 6 hours, then remove, shred and return to the sauce. I love serving this low-fat meal with brown rice, steamed broccoli, and fun toppings like sesame seeds, sliced red chilis and green onions.

Ground Turkey Chili

From game day to potluck picnics, this turkey chili delivers in flavor with less fat than its ground beef counterpart. Just combine these ingredients in your slow cooker:

  • 1 lb. 98% lean ground turkey or chicken (or sub 1 lb. beans)

  • 1 chopped red bell pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 32 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 15 oz can corn

  • 1 c chicken broth

  • 4 T of your go-to chili powder

  • 2 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. oregano

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Toppings are a must when you serve this incredible chili. I always make sure to have lime juice, sliced avocado and low-fat sour cream on the table.

With these easy recipes, you don't have to spend the whole day in the kitchen to eat well and nourish your body. Take back your time, save money and stick to your meal plan by investing in a slow cooker.

Unique Ingredients That Are Good for Your Health

Are you trying to eat healthier but running out of creative ideas for nutritious meals that actually taste good? You’re not alone. It seems like I make a resolution every year to eat healthily, but I get bored of my options about a month in and give up. This year, however, I’ve decided to make sure I don’t fall for this same mistake. Since I know that eating healthy is so important if I want to maintain a good weight, avoid illnesses and just feel better about myself, I figured out a way to stick with my resolution this year.

To help me keep my meals exciting and interesting, I decided to make a game of healthy eating. Instead of eating broccoli and chicken every night, I am challenging myself to use a variety of ingredients in my meals each week. Here are some unique ingredients I decided to try. They’re very healthy, and they might just make things interesting enough that I’ll meet my goal of eating healthy all year. You should try it with me!  At the very least, it will be an educational adventure, right?

Spirulina

OK, I have to be honest here. I’ve heard about the incredible benefits of spirulina for a while, but I tasted a tiny bit of it plain once and I never wanted to eat the stuff again. But then I found out that it’s best to mask the flavor of spirulina (which is slightly fishy because it’s a seaweed) with other ingredients. It’s especially helpful to throw a teaspoon of spirulina into fruit smoothies. You won’t even taste it, but you’ll benefit from it.

Spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in existence. It’s full of things like protein, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, copper and iron. It’s also quite an energy booster (as I can attest to!)

Kudzu

No, I didn’t just sneeze. Kudzu is a root that’s native to Japan and is also commonly called kuzu. It has a thick consistency, which makes it a great thickener for sauces or soups. Kudzu tastes a little bit like spinach, but it’s easy to mask the flavor with other ingredients.

Kudzu is thought to strengthen the circulatory and digestive systems. It may also help relieve hangovers and minimize headaches while having a general calming effect on the mind and body. Kudzu has long been used in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m planning to make a Kudzu pudding this week and experience the benefits for myself.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Maca

Maca is a well-known superfood from Peru. It’s a cruciferous root vegetable that’s often made into a powder that can be sprinkled in oatmeal, smoothies or lattes. It has an earthy taste that lends itself well to many different dishes.

Maca provides caffeine-free energy that can help you get through your day without the typical afternoon energy crash. It may also balance hormones and enhance fertility (which is not something I need, but may be great for you younger ladies!)

Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a type of nutritional mushroom that has a wide variety of health benefits. It’s easy to add it to stir-fries, stews and salads. It also comes in powder form that makes it easier to add to smoothies and lattes.

Some studies show that cordyceps can lower inflammation and support heart health. There is even research that suggests it can help slow down cancer growth! It’s also thought to reduce fatigue and help improve sex drive. Heaven knows I could use that last benefit!

Get Healthy With Me!

These are just a few of the unusual but incredibly healthy ingredients I plan to rotate into my regular meals this year. Why not join me? Let’s experience firsthand how fun and energizing healthy eating can really be.

Soothing Recipes for When You’re Feeling Sick

When you're not feeling well, cooking is probably the last thing on your mind. However, to get better, you need good nutrition! Also, you're probably hungry. When figuring out what to eat when you're sick, you should consider a few different things. First, you need to stay hydrated, so soup is always a good choice, right? Plus, it's warm and soothing, and it feels like a giant hug in a bowl. Second, your body needs vitamins, minerals, and protein to boost your immune system. Third, you don't feel like cooking, so you need something quick and easy. Better yet, think about making some "sick day" meals when you are well and stashing them in the freezer. With all these points in mind, here are a few tried and true recipes to make your next sick day a little less miserable.

Nourishing Soup

Homemade soup is a fantastic option when you're sick, for many reasons. When you make your own soup, you can avoid adding sodium levels normally found in canned soup. You can also customize the dish however you like, without worrying that the store will run out of your favorite type. Soup is often filled with healthy vegetables and protein, which can help you feel better, and all the liquid broth is good for keeping you hydrated. For a simple vegetable soup, use bone broth or stock and add whatever diced veggies you have on hand, roasting them first for more flavor. Add in whatever sounds good, from leftover rice to quinoa to diced chicken, beans, or ground beef. Remember that any grains you add will take up some of the liquid, so be prepared to add water or broth at the end.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Nutritious Smoothie

When you have a sore throat or a stomach ache, you may find that the thought of food makes you feel worse. In that case, a cold, blended, fruit-and-vegetable smoothie may be the answer. You'll get an extra boost of nutrition without feeling bogged down by a big meal. To make a basic green smoothie, add two cups of liquid, such as water or almond milk, and two cups of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, to a blender. Puree. Next, add three cups of chopped, frozen fruit to the mixture and blend again. For an extra boost, add a small amount of ginger or turmeric before the second blend.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious, easy to prepare, and, when cooked, have a soft, creamy consistency that warms and soothes. They're also packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. To roast sweet potatoes, scrub them, poke them several times with a fork, rub them with oil, and bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for around 45 minutes. Once they have cooled slightly, slit the tops, lightly mash them inside, and fill with warm toppings of your choice. Try white beans with wilted kale, or a simple salt, pepper, and butter mixture.

The beauty of all these recipes is that they are packed with powerful antioxidants and are easy to either make ahead or throw together even when you don't feel like being in the kitchen. Here's to a speedy recovery!

Stomach Upset? 5 Soothing Teas To Sip That Will Ease Nausea Discomfort

Sipping a cup of soothing tea is one of the best ways to calm an upset stomach. There are a lot of teas that work, but I want to share five that you may not have tried before:

1. Ginger Tea

Ginger is one of the best teas for getting rid of nausea and stomach aches quickly. Many moms-to-be drink ginger tea as a remedy for morning sickness. My daughter did that when she was pregnant with her baby girl and it helped her a lot.

Another reason I recommend ginger tea is that it has lots of flavor. If you normally dislike herbal teas because they’re too “light,” ginger has a tangy pop of flavor you’ll love.

How to make ginger tea: Cut a piece of ginger a few inches long and peel it. Add this whole piece to boiling water and let it simmer for 3–5 minutes. If you want, add some honey for sweetness.


2. Peppermint Tea

The menthol in peppermint has a relaxing effect on intestinal muscles. This makes peppermint tea an excellent choice for cramps and stomach pain. Personally, I find that even just smelling the aroma of peppermint tea helps me get rid of nausea. Each time I take a sip, I breathe in the calming steam that rises from my cup.

How to make real peppermint tea: I love fresh peppermint. To make tea with fresh leaves, crush a handful of peppermint with the back of a spoon. Let it steep for around 7 minutes. You can either filter the leaves afterward or savor them.

Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


3. Fennel Tea

Fennel looks like a strange type of celery and it tastes similar to licorice or anise. When it comes to alleviating the different symptoms of upset stomach, fennel does it all. It can help with gas, bloating, heartburn, nausea, stomach pain, menstrual cramps and other digestive troubles. It even has antibacterial effects for the times when indigestion is because of a mild stomach infection.

How to make fennel tea: The easiest, and cheapest, way to make fennel tea is with 1–2 teaspoons of whole fennel seeds. First, crush them gently with the back of a spoon. Add them to 2 cups of water and let them boil for 2–3 minutes.


4. Lemon and Honey Tea

Citrus fruit has refreshing oils that calm nausea and vomiting. If fact, smelling a cut lemon may give you all the relief you need. I like the double combination of lemon scent and warm tea. Honey gives your digestive system some antibacterial help at the same time.

How to make fresh lemon and honey tea: Squeeze the juice from one medium or large lemon into a cup (about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice). Add 2 teaspoons of honey. Pour boiling water into this glass and stir the mixture until the honey dissolves.


5. Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea

A newcomer in the U.S., holy basil is a sacred herb in India (called tulsi) that’s been used for thousands of years. This exotic relative of common basil helps to decrease stomach acid, protect the lining of your stomach, soothe nausea and even calm anxiety, all of which can help your tummy feel more comfortable.

How to make tulsi tea: Add 2–3 teaspoons of holy basil leaves or dried leaf powder to a cup of boiling water and let everything simmer for about 5 minutes.

Trust me, these 5 teas work wonders for an upset tummy. They’re pretty tasty and relaxing, too.

How to Make Recipes Bread-less

I’m learning that as I get older, my body doesn’t tolerate certain foods like it used to. One of those foods is bread. Unfortunately, bread is in almost all of my favorite recipes, so I was under the impression that I’d have to give up my most beloved dishes to get rid of the constant bloating and discomfort I was feeling. Have you found yourself in this sad situation before?

The good news is that you don’t have to give up all your favorite recipes after all! I’ve discovered I can still have all of my preferred foods if I make a few small adjustments to the recipes. Though they taste a little bit different, they are similar enough to keep me satisfied. Here are some of my favorite ways to make recipes bread-less.

Cauliflower Bread

Many people like to substitute cauliflower bread for regular wheat bread. The nice thing about this option is that you can find a variety of commercially produced cauliflower products, so you don’t have to make them at home if you don’t want to. Cauliflower makes great bread and pizza crusts. If making your own, you’ll first need to grate and cook the cauliflower. Then, you’ll mix it with bread, spices and cheese before baking. There are many different cauliflower bread and pizza crust recipes out there. Give one or more a try and see for yourself how versatile this white vegetable can be!

Portobello Mushrooms

OK, hear me out. If someone had told me just last month that I could use big Portobello mushrooms in place of bread in my favorite recipes, I would have laughed myself silly. So I don’t blame you if you’re rolling your eyes right now. All I’m asking is that you try it.

I made the juiciest turkey burgers last week, and I thought I would never be able to fully enjoy them without my signature buttered bread buns. Happily, I proved myself wrong! I grilled up two of the biggest Portobello mushrooms I’ve ever seen and used them as my buns. Let me tell you, the flavor was out of this world. It was one of the most delicious turkey burgers I have enjoyed in my lifetime. I like the taste of mushrooms normally, though. If you don’t, you may want to try one of my next suggested bread substitutes.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Cloud Bread

Thanks to the current low-carb craze, there are several different low-carb bread recipes you can substitute for regular bread. One of my favorites is cloud bread. Though it looks a lot like puffy bread, it doesn’t include an ounce of wheat. In fact, its only ingredients are eggs, cream cheese, cream of tartar and some seasonings. That’s it! There are different variations to this recipe, so go online and give a few of them a try until you find the one that you like best.

Lettuce

Lettuce makes a great substitute for bread, and I’m not even pulling your leg! The key to using lettuce for your sandwiches and burgers is to choose large strips of lettuce. I prefer iceberg or butter lettuce varieties because they have a naturally cupped shape that holds food inside quite well. You can also use green lettuce and romaine lettuce. Simply put the ingredients you want into the center of the lettuce leaf, then roll or fold the leaf around the ingredients and enjoy! As long as the interior of your sandwich is nice and substantial, you won’t even notice the absence of bread.

While there is no substitute in the world that tastes just like bread, there are plenty of options that come close. My favorites are cloud bread and Portobello mushrooms, but your favorites may be completely different. Give each option a try until you discover your most preferred bread alternative.