New Year! New You!

For many people, the beginning of a New Year typically signifies change and a chance to make a fresh start. That is why some people make resolutions for themselves and figure, “New Year, New You” and new goals. Having goals gives us the opportunity to strive forward and accomplish things we deem important. For many of us, better health and diet often top the list.
goals

The New Year is a great time to take charge of your health and make changes to your diet. It is also a good opportunity to change up your routine and allow yourself the time to exercise more. Many people today are frustrated with their weight or have health problems related to their diets and are looking for help. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” I talk about how society today consumes more processed food containing artificial ingredients than real, wholesome foods. Many people don’t know the difference and think “food is just food” and that is a big problem. Many of us are eating the wrong foods, which can cause weight gain and make you sick.
weight gain

Why not start out the year with a life-style change incorporating healthy eating habits? Remember—eating healthy is a choice, which requires a commitment. Following are some things you can do daily to commit to your health.

Ways To Commit To Your Health

  1. Eat Breakfast
    According to many nutrition experts, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, many people, including children and adults, skip breakfast and jump right in to their day, which is not good for you. After a long night’s sleep, your body requires nutrients to get you going. Eating breakfast helps gives you energy for the day ahead and will help you perform and feel better. While you may feel rushed, there are plenty of foods you can grab quickly to take with you out the door, or make in a minimal amount of time. Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard, or complicated. If you are in a hurry, grab a banana or some other piece of fruit. You can also grab a yogurt, nuts or perhaps a protein bar. If you have some time to spare, why not mix some healthful ingredients together to make a smoothie? You can add protein powder, a handful of spinach or kale, fruit, coconut oil and more. You can also make yourself some eggs, a breakfast sandwich or a breakfast burrito. There are many options to make a healthy breakfast.
    Eat Breakfast
  2. Eat More Fruit And Vegetables
    Eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. Some of the best sources of these nutrients come from fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, many people do not include enough of them in their diet, especially vegetables. Do yourself a favor and try to include them at every meal. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips to go along with your sandwich, why not grab an apple or banana. If you bring your lunch to work, why not include some healthy vegetables such as carrots, peppers or broccoli to go with your meal? You can also choose to have a side of vegetables with your dinner, instead of fries or bread. Try including fruit and vegetables in your morning meals, as well. Oh—and don’t forget to incorporate fruit and vegetables for a morning, afternoon or evening snack. Try having some carrots, cauliflower and celery with hummus or your favorite dip, or snack on them alone. Apricots, raisins, cherries and grapes also make great healthy snacks. Find your favorites and enjoy their sweet flavor.
    fruit and vegetables
  3. Stay Active
    The morning is a great time to exercise. If you have the time, why not go for a walk, get on your treadmill (if you have one), do some stretches or yoga? You can also jump rope for 10 minutes. There are many possibilities. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning, make sure you schedule some time in your day for it. Your body was meant to move. Make sure you find ways to stay active. You can go to a gym, lift weights or do kick boxing. You can also get on a stationary bike or get outside to run or go a long walk. If those things don’t interest you, find some other activity that does. There are  many options.
    yoga
  4. Plan Meals
    Many people these days opt for processed foods, go out to eat and eat unhealthy foods on the run. To help avoid these tendencies, try and make more home-cooked meals. The best way to do this is to pre-plan your meals. You can start by making a list of several meals you would like to make for the week. You can write down some of your favorites, or look for some new recipes to try. Why not pull out  your favorite cookbook, or search Pinterest or some other food site. Next you can make a grocery list of any ingredients you don’t already have on hand and then plan a trip to the grocery store. Once you have your groceries, you can prepare some items ahead to make things easier. For example, you can chop vegetables in advance for salads, stir-fries, or snacking. If you are making several recipes with chicken, why not cook them together? You can also cook a few extra chicken breasts to have on hand for salads, a quick stir-fry or some other dish. By planning ahead, you can save yourself time, eat healthier and avoid that usual visit to that local restaurant when you don’t necessarily have items on hand.
    cookbook
  5. Add More Good Fats To Your Diet—
    Fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. Unfortunately, many people are still hooked on low-fat foods, which aren’t all that healthy. Low fat foods tend to have added sugar, chemicals and preservative added to them to make them taste better. It is better to choose foods that contain monounsaturated fats (MUFAS), which are good fats. You can find them in a variety of whole foods including: avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and certain varieties of fish. Make sure you start adding more good fats to your diet to reap their health benefits.
    avocados
  6. Take Time For Yourself—
    Make sure you take some time daily to practice a little self care. We all lead busy lives and can get stressed out from work, running our children around or attending meetings all day. It is easy to get caught up in our daily lives and the needs of others. That is why it is important to take a little time out of your day, just for you. There is nothing wrong with tending to some needs of your own. Make sure you allow yourself time to do a little reading, go shopping, work out, have a pedicure or something else you enjoy.

    reading

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Make Conscious Choices To Eat Healthy During The Holidays

With the holidays upon us, it is hard not to think about eating food and more of it. After all—There’s often more treats at work or the office that are hard to walk by and resist.

Christmas cookies

Holiday parties are popular too, and typically include tempting entrees, appetizers and sweets. There’s also Christmas dinner, with those heavy comfort foods. You know—the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pie and more that make you feel beyond full. Many people end the year celebrating with food, as well. And what’s a New Year’s Eve party without the plates of hors d’oeuvres and sweet drinks? It is no wonder many people find it a challenge to eat well this time of year. The good news is there are ways you can eat healthy by making conscious choices.

Following are a few ideas you can try…

  1. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”
    If you are finding it hard to walk past those Christmas cookies someone brought in to work, without grabbing one, stop for a minute and take a breath. Next, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If you do feel hungry mid-morning or afternoon, try bringing a healthy snack to work you can eat instead. If you are craving something sweet, try eating an apple, banana or some other type of fruit. Better yet— snack on some sweet vegetables, like carrots or bell peppers. If it close to lunch-time, remind yourself you will be taking lunch shortly and don’t need the empty calories from a sugar-coated cookie.
  2. Fill your plate with rainbow colored foods—
    Many parties have a variety of foods and appetizers to choose from. Why not reach for the vegetable plate first? Our eyes are naturally drawn to bright colors, so make sure you grab some bright veggies like carrots, peppers or celery, before trying some other snacks. Vegetables provide many vital nutrients your body needs and craves. Fruit is another healthful option and a good way to increase your daily intake of vitamins. Many fruits also contain fiber, which helps trigger satiety and help you feel full, so go ahead and grab a strawberry or two or some other fibrous fruit that appeals to you.
  3. Make a healthy recipe to share—
    If you need to bring an appetizer to a party, why not search for some healthy recipe you like? There are many appetizers that are easy to make and contain healthful ingredients. By making your own healthy recipe, you can rest assured there will be at least one item you will feel comfortable eating at the party. You also will be doing others a favor, by providing a healthier choice, as well.
  4. Choose healthier sweets—
    If you don’t want to deprive yourself of a few tasty treats during the holidays—don’t. It is OK to indulge from time to time. You might want to try some healthier choices for baking, however. There are many recipes these days, that use healthier ingredients. Try searching Pinterest for some recipes that use coconut flour or almond flour. You can also substitute coconut oil for other unhealthy oils, or substitute coconut palm sugar for regular sugar. Honey is another sweetener that can be a substitute for sugar. You can also look for recipes that use a smaller amount of sugar, or other alternate sweeteners, such as stevia.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

P.S. If you want to learn more about making conscious choices about eating and eating healthy, you may want to check out my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can download a FREE Chapter here.

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight Health Benefits Of Clementines

In this blog post, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of clementines.

clementines

Clementines are abundant this time of year and are a popular fruit of the season. It is no wonder grocery stores tend to stock up on these tasty gems. Many stores carry clementines in bulk quantities, especially during the holiday season, which makes them an affordable fruit. A lot of consumers like clementines because they have many health benefits, are sweet to eat and are a low calorie food. Like bananas, clementines are easy to peel, making them an easy option for an on the go snack. Clementines are loaded with a variety of vital nutrients your body needs for health, which is extremely important this time of year, when colds and flu are prevalent. In addition, clementines contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps promote healthy gut flora (gut microbiome).

grocery store produce section

Some nutrients found in clementines include:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate

Clementines have other health benefits too. Since clementines have a significant amount of vitamin C, they help strengthen our immune system, as well as protect our skin from UV radiation. They also help build collagen and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Clementines also have antioxidant properties that help prevent cancer and other disease. Folate found in clementines helps promote brain functioning and may help to reduce depression. Additionally, clementines contribute to muscle and bone health.

vitamin C

In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk about how eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs and some of the best sources of these powerful nutrients come from fruit and vegetables. In this season of giving, make sure you gift yourself by eating right. Make sure you reach for clementines and other rainbow colored food to help increase your daily intake of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

clementines

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/clementines.html

The Great Grain Debate…

Whole grains have been a central part of the human diet since early
civilization. That’s not surprising, given the fact that they provide a host of beneficial nutrients for your body including, iron, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B and a number of essential enzymes. Grains also have other benefits that contribute to health as well, including helping to reduce heart disease, stroke, obesity and more. But with all their known benefits, why has there been a great grain debate about them lately?

question

It is true that grains have been around for thousands of years, but today’s grains are much different than grains of the past. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about how today’s grains are different and how some people can tolerate them and others can’t in the chapter titled, Know Thyself. Most grains today bear little resemblance to the grains found in the diet thousands of years ago.¹ Many grains today are genetically modified and are treated with chemicals to help preserve them give them and give them a longer shelf live. It is no small wonder that many people have developed food allergies, sensitivities and problems tolerating gluten as a result of the modifications. Packaged food items, which have become a staple in the diets of many consumers, contain heavily processed grains. Unfortunately, they  don’t have the same benefits for your body, as eating whole grains.

genetically modified

What Are Whole grains?

Whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions.²

grains

About Grains

Grains are easy to make and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Grains have a distinct texture and mild flavor. If you want to enhance the flavor, you can easily add herbs, spices, vegetables or fruit to a recipe. Many people enjoy grains as a side dish at lunch or dinner. Others may include grains as part of a healthy breakfast. Try adding fruit, nuts, seeds, greens or avocados to your morning rice, oats or quinoa to make it even healthier for you.

grains

Common Grains

If you are a person who enjoys grains, there are many to choose from.

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Wheat

Other Grains Available

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Couscous
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Teff

There are a number of grains that have gained  popularity recently, such as quinoa and millet, yet they date back to biblical times. If you tolerate grains, why not experiment with other varieties and enjoy their healthful properties? Grains are abundant in supply and can be a healthy addition to the diet for some individuals.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Sources:
¹Permutter, David. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 62. Print.

²“Definition of a Whole Grain.” Definition of a Whole Grain | The Whole Grains Council, wholegrainscouncil.org/definition-whole-grain.

 

Easy Spinach Parmesan Squash Noodles

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some Easy Spinach Parmesan Squash Noodles I made the other day.

Easy Spinach Parmesan Squash Noodles

They are simple to make and include only 5 ingredients, which is great! I was at Whole Foods the other day and came across some butternut squash spirals that looked good to me, so I decided to give them a try. Although I’ve never used butternut squash noodles before, I knew I could find a good recipe on Pinterest. The one I selected, called for zucchini noodles, but I figured substituting squash noodles would work and I am happy to say, the recipe was delicious!

butternut squash

Butternut squash is good for you and includes some healthful ingredients including vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron and more. It is also high in antioxidants and helps boost your immune system, which is important this time of year. Give it a try if you are looking for a quick, easy recipe. It would be a good one to add for your Thanksgiving dinner!

thanksgiving

Easy Spinach Parmesan Squash Noodles

Butternut squash spirals (10.7 oz. package or make your own)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups packed spinach
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until slightly brown. Add in the butternut squash noodles and spinach. Gently toss and cook until spinach leaves are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and toss until butternut squash noodles are coated in the Parmesan cheese. Add salt and the ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for other healthy recipes, you can find some in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon.

 

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato And Feta Salad…

In this blog, I wanted to share my recipe for some warm quinoa, spinach, tomato and feta salad. It is easy to make and a favorite of mine. This recipe includes some healthy vegetables and spices, which promote vitality and contain some anti-inflammatory properties. It also includes avocados, which have feel good-fats your body needs to move and function properly. In addition, it includes the ancient grain, quinoa, which is considered a super-food. Quinoa not only has a number of healthful vitamins, but includes a healthy dose of fiber and is rich in protein, which helps sustain energy. If you are looking to plan a meal, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is easy to prepare, wholesome and delicious.

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato & Feta Salad

Warm quinoa spinach tomato and feta salad

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 or 2  large handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 handful feta cheese crumbles (1/8 cup feta cheese, approximately)
  • 1/2 avocado cut in to pieces
  • cajun seasoning
  • tumeric
  • soy sauce or coconut aminos

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil.

olive oil

Add the spinach, onion, and garlic. Stir on medium heat, until the onion begins to brown and the spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle the top with the turmeric and Cajun seasoning. Stir in the quinoa with the warm with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and stir, until they are just warm. Spoon the salad on a plate. Add the feta cheese and avocado pieces on the top of the salad. Sprinkle with a little coconut aminos or soy sauce, if desired and serve warm.

Note: You may also add black beans, chick peas, or another vegetable to the mix to make it your own.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. You can find this recipe, as well as other healthy recipes in my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon.

Fibrous Fruit—Spotlight On The Health Benefits Of The Pear

In this blog, I wanted to spotlight the health benefits of the pear.

Pear

Pears are a popular choice for many consumers, especially in the fall when they are abundant. Like the banana and apple, pears are convenient to eat and are quite tasty. They are sweet and have a soft, appealing texture. Pears are loaded with many nutrients that help your body function optimally too.

Some nutrients in pears include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • And more

Pears grow on trees that produce a high energy, nutrient dense fruit. While pears do contain some natural sugar, they are one of the lowest calorie fruits available. Pears contain right around 100 calories, making them a popular choice for many people, especially those looking to lose weight. Pears contain a healthy amount of fiber, which is beneficial for the digestion process. The high fiber content, which helps make you feel full, coupled with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, makes the pear a perfect food choice and delicious snack.

pear tree

There are other health benefits of the pear too. Pears are an anti-inflammatory food and can help boost your immune system, which is great, especially for those suffering from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Pears also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and are beneficial in the prevention of a number of different forms of cancers. In addition, pears help improve blood circulation and may help build your red blood cell count, making them a good choice for many, especially those dealing with iron deficiency anemia.

Pears come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. In fact, there are approximately 3000 different species of pears available world-wide.  Wow—that’s quite an assortment. Some varieties look similar to the apple, where others have more of an elongated look and still others have several color tones, making them unique.

pear varieties

Pears can eaten for breakfast, enjoyed as a snack, or mixed in your favorite smoothie or bowl with other healthy ingredients. There are many possibilities.  Some people enjoy baking with pears too. Pears make a tasty pie, cobbler, crisp, muffins and more.

Make sure you reach for this nutrient dense fruit, while it is in season to enjoy its many health benefits.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pears.html

Jolly, Rajan Singh. “The Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Pears.” HubPages, HubPages, 3 Jan. 2016, hubpages.com/health/The-Nutritional-And-Health-Benefits-Of-Pears.

Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some Easy Chocolate Zucchini Bread that I made over the weekend. I had a few zucchini’s in my refrigerator that a friend gave me from her garden I needed to use. I decided to make a recipe from another friend who made me some Chocolate Zucchini Bread last year for my birthday. I like traditional zucchini bread, but I am a chocolate lover and I have to admit, this chocolate version is delicious. I did substitute honey for some of the sugar the original recipe called for, as well as put in some other substitutions you can use.

This recipe is easy to make and contains some healthful ingredients including fiber, vitamin C and magnesium from the zucchini, plus some good fat from the chocolate, (especially if you use a high cacao version of the chocolate chips). Give it a try if you are craving some chocolate or having a seasonal craving for zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread
chocolate zucchini bread

2-1 oz. squares chocolate
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
(You can also use coconut palm sugar for a lower glycemic load.)
1/2 cup honey
(You can substitute 1 cup of honey and omit the sugar.)
1 cup oil
(I used olive oil)
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
(You can substitute rice flour, if you are looking for a gluten free option.)
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
(I used one with a higher cacao content)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans. Using a double-boiler, or similar, melt the chocolate squares. Stir until smooth and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, honey, oil, zucchini, vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the flour. Add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter in the two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes, or until a toothpick in center come out clean.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie!

Smoothies have become a popular choice for breakfast these days and why not?Many people are concerned about their well-being and are looking for ways to eat healthier. Smoothies provide a quick, easy way to include a variety of healthy, whole food ingredients in your diet. They also can be fun to make, as there are many options and combinations you can try. While many people use protein powder and fruit, there other selections you can add to your smoothie mix to add more vitamins and boost your nutrient intake to make it better for you. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 ways to boost your smoothie. Let’s take a look…

Learn 5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie:

Boost Your Smoothie

  1. Greens—Many people naturally add a banana or another type of fruit to their smoothie, but adding vegetables, especially greens, is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Try adding a handful of spinach, or kale to your smoothie for some added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, iron and more. When I was dealing with iron deficiency anemia, smoothies became a staple in my diet. Many protein powders contain a healthy dose of iron and when you add greens and other vegetables, it boosts the iron content even more. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about the importance of eating vegetables at every meal and how adding more greens to my breakfast smoothie helped improve my energy level. As an added bonus, I became less prone to getting sick. Make sure you experiment with adding more greens to you diet to experience a boost in your nutrient intake and health too.
    spinach greens
  2. Super Foods—Why not start your day with an added boost of energy? Super foods are foods that are considered nutrient dense and extremely beneficial to the body. Try adding super foods such as coconut oil, maca powder, cacao nibs, or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to help improve your well-being.  Super foods can help make you feel super good and super energized and who doesn’t like an extra kick-start to get the day going? Try adding one or 2 to super foods to your smoothie to see how they make you feel. As you go along, you can try more or mix them up and see how your energy improves.
    coconuts
  3. Protein—Over the last several years protein powders have become extremely popular and many people like to add them to their smoothies. There are many options when it comes to protein powder including, whey, vegan and bone broth varieties.  Make sure you choose one that works best for you and look for a good, quality brand, (one without a lot of additives and sweeteners).  If you are not a protein powder fan, try adding peanut butter, another nut butter, nuts or seeds to your smoothie to get your morning dose of protein. Play around and see what you like best.
    peanut butter
  4. Healthy Fats—Avocados are another nutritious item you can add to your smoothie. Avocados contain healthy fat and fiber your body needs and craves. Try adding a half of avocado to your mix to not only get some good fat, but some extra vitamin C, E, potassium and more. You can also add cashew butter, peanut butter, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
    avocados
  5. Spices—You can also add a variety of spices to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient content and flavor. Try adding cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg or ginger to your smoothie. Many spices contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote good health. Some of them also contain warming properties, which are especially beneficial during the winter months.Try adding some fresh ginger to help fight a cold, the flu, or aid in digestion.
    ginger

Thanks for reading and happy smoothie making!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more ways to improve your health and live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Recipe: Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some easy sausage spinach vegetable lasagna that I made over the weekend. This recipe is a favorite of my family and I make it quite a bit, especially in the fall and winter months, when your body craves more comfort foods. It combines a healthy dose of vegetables including spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and olives that not only are good for you, but provide a host of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. I also put in some options if you have a gluten sensitivity, or prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a try if you are looking for a new recipe to try for dinner.

Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

spinach lasagna

  • 1 small box lasagna noodles (1/2 lb or approximately 9 noodles).
    You can use a gluten-free variety if you have issues with gluten.
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
    I used a local brand called Anna Lisa Spicy Pasta Sauce I got at Whole Foods that had no sugar or preservatives added. I really like this brand, but you can use any variety you like.
  • 1 container cottage cheese
    You can also use ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
    I usually shred my own to avoid the added cellulose in cheese and other pre-packaged foods used to prevent caking. It is derived from wood pulp. Yes-wood pulp.
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
    You can also leave this out if you prefer to make a meatless version of lasagna
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
    You can also you kale
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1 small package fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1/2 jar green olives
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium size tomatoes diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning

Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Turn down heat a bit and boil the noodles for 10 minutes and then strain off the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Stir the mixture until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add in the olives and the salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste and stir. Add the spaghetti sauce to the meat and vegetable mix and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the top and stir, just so they become warn and then remove from the heat.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with olive oil. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spoon about 1/3 of the meat and vegetable sauce over the noodles. Grab a handful or so of the spinach and place it on top of the sauce. Next scoop about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of the spinach and then add a layer of the mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

lasagna layers

Repeat these steps 2 more times to create 3 layers total.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared pan of lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40, or until slightly crisp on the top. Remove from the oven and let set and cool for another 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.