What's In Your Fridge?
There are some things in life a girl just can't live without. Mine happen to all be food related. Want to see me in a bad mood? Remove one of these items from my kitchen. The following lineup tops my grocery list every week, and sends me into a panic when they've run dry...
1. Spinach - I love kale, I really do, but not in my smoothies. I like my meals to taste as delicious as possible, and kale just gets in the way. Spinach, on the other hand, sneaks right in there, undetectable.
2. Coconut Oil - Stirred into hot oatmeal, blended into a smoothie, or tossed into a stir-fry, coconut oil is my everything. It also makes for a cheap and highly effective night cream.
3. Bananas - Are smoothies ever the same without them? Is oatmeal? Is breakfast?
4. Quinoa - How much better are salads when they're tossed with some warm grains? Quinoa is my go-to grain in stir-fries and salads, mostly because it makes me feel healthy and bumps up my protein intake. It's also delicious in place of your standard breakfast cereal. I toss warm quinoa with some coconut oil, vanilla, and cinnamon, and then fold in some sliced banana or avocado, berries, and toasted almonds.
5. Kale - Besides not being a huge fan of a kale smoothie, you can bet I'll consume it any other way. If juice bars weren't so outrageously expensive, I'm almost positive I could live off of green juice - although that doesn't sound like a very sustainable diet. I've been on the kale salad bandwagon for so long, the thought of eating a spinach, or dare I say, romaine salad just sounds boring and wimpy. Kale packs a bite, feels hearty, and can sit tossed in dressing for enormous lengths of time while only getting better and better tasting. Pretty much any savory meal I make, I fold some chopped kale into. As long as the stems are removed, and the leaves are thoroughly massaged in dressing, sauce, etc, you can basically do no wrong. All hail Kale!
6. Lemons - Lemon water in the morning, lemon water in the afternoon, lemon added to basically any beverage I'm going to consume. Like salt, lemon makes everything taste better, fo realz. I squeeze some into my smoothies, my green juice, salad dressing, soups, stir-fry, roasted vegetables, fluffy quinoa, seriously everything.
7. Sesame Oil - A little goes a long way when transforming your kale into a culinary masterpiece. I add about a teaspoon of sesame oil to most salad dressings I make before tossing it with my greens. A great addition if you're new to the kale thing, and are trying to hide the, well, green taste. In place of your standard kale chip, I'll toss some torn kale and large flaked coconut with a mixture of coconut and sesame oil, then bake for about ten minutes until crispy. Check out this recipe while you're at it.
8. Garlic - Along the same lines as the sesame oil and lemon, garlic is a superb flavor enhancer and masker (not a word) at the same time. Kale can get a bad rap by those who find it too earthy and "health food" tasting, but I'm guessing those same people just aren't doing it right. When I make kale salads, you can bet I'm also making a flavor-packed dressing to combat those pungent greens. This sweet and spicy peanut sauce is a favorite of mine, but if peanuts aren't your thing, swap it out for some almond or cashew butter, mashed avocado, or tahini.
9. Apples - If I'm forced to make my own juice at home, and even worse forced to wash the juicer afterwards, I better have a bag of apples in my kitchen. They offer the perfect balance for vegetable based juices. Apples also add a great sweetness and crunch to salads without having to load up on dried fruit and nuts. They're also just pretty delicious on their own. I'm an October-born, autumn aficionado, of course I love apples.
10. Frozen Broccoli - Now I'm not hugely into frozen dinners, but there definitely are some healthy options in the freezer aisle for when time is not on your side. And when this happens, I always add some frozen broccoli to my frozen meal to bulk things up and add a little more green. Broccoli also happens to be my favorite vegetable. Feel free to use fresh, but I thought we were short on time here.
11. Maple Syrup - I'm big into flavor balancing. A complete dish should have some sweet, spicy, salty, and acidic action going on. My sweet contribution mostly comes in the form of maple syrup. It's not too sweet and slightly smokey, making it an excellent addition to both sweet and savory meals. If I'm relying mostly on herbs and spices, rather than a thick sauce to enhance my dish, I'll add a teaspoon of maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of himalayan salt to really develop all of the flavors inside. A quick and simple dressing for greens and grains: 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a pinch of salt.
12. Avocado - Mash up 1/2 an avocado, add salt and lime juice, then eat with everything - slathered on toast, as a dip for roasted sweet potatoes, a dip for french fries, a dip for fingers. Avocado is another one of those "makes everything better foods." Of course my meal could use some diced avocado, I'm alive aren't I? And if God forbid you're out of bananas, avocados make a pretty great alternative for that creamy factor in your smoothies - maybe just add a date or two to sweeten things up.
Written by our rockstar intern, Hayley Sullivan.
Weekly acupuncture sessions and a serious love for Food Network sprouted a health and wellness passion for Hayley Sullivan during her years at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She recorded her semesters experimenting in the kitchen on her blog, Buff Chickpea, and even started an online bakery business with a close friend and philosophy buff. Their goal was to deliver something sweet to body and soul. And even though there's nothing quite like working alongside your best friend, Hayley's heart was really not into all that sugar and butter. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in marketing, she began nannying while she searched for her dream job. Through her constant browsing of healthy living blogs, and a little luck, Hayley recently landed an internship at Sakara Life where she will be spreading her wisdom daily. She can't wait to see what the future holds!