FREEKEH Foods Review and Recipe

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to review (meaning cook and eat!!!!) the fabulous Freekeh Foods.

Curious as to what Freekeh really is? I’m glad you asked :) Read on for this info straight from the source:

What is Freekeh?

So glad you asked! Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created. We’re proud to offer you this tasty, nutritious ancient grain with a funny name.

whatisfreekeh.jpg

So what do you do with Freekeh?

The question should be… what can’t you do with it? We love it in soups, pilafs, salads, you name it! There really is no wrong way to Freekeh! So go ahead — unleash your imagination and make it your own. Adopt it, fall in love with it.

 

Freekeh truly is one of the most versatile grains I have worked with AND the texture is amazing. I tried two different types (regular and rosemary sage) and was able to find LOADS of recipes on their site.

The family favorite was the Freekeh Jambalaya. We had this after returning from a trip to New Orleans, where we tasted the real deal. The Freekeh Jambalaya was a winner and hit the spot :)

Freekeh is a nutritionist approved way to add more healthy grains to your diet and reap the benefits from fiber, carbs and all natural goodness.

 

Special Guest Post: The Art of Eating In

 

the art of eating in
Eating out is practically synonymous with the weekend.  It’s among the best ways to relax, enjoy some company and eat deliciously!  Unfortunately, the majority of restaurants aren’t concerned about using low-calorie cooking methods or ingredients, and those few meals out may stick with you even after the weekend is over.  Oh, thanks for the souvenir…on my hips.

Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight is mostly about what we put in our bodies.  Bummer!  I wish it were something else, like how much I laughed every day.  I’m a serious laugher.

Cooking at home allows you 100% control over what goes into your meal, giving you opportunities to eat your favorite items, but with a much lower calorie count.

I am not discouraging eating out, or asking you to give it up.  If I didn’t eat out once a week, I would either be wallowing in self pity or be so annoyed I’d stress-eat my way through a whole box of cereal.   I just need to eat someone else’s food, in a place that isn’t my table, counter, or desk….or bed.

But, during the week, I enjoy EATING IN just as much as eating out because I’ve learned how to keep food healthy, light, and delicious.

Eating fresh, natural food gives me plenty of energy, and it balances out a weekend indulgence or two.  I don’t feel deprived; I feel balanced and happy.  For me, it’s leading the delicious life!

Realities Of Restaurant Food.  Warning: This may get ugly. sizzle pie

Restaurants need to keep costs down in order to make any money.  I completely understand, and I don’t expect them to do otherwise.  The restaurant business is tough!  They also need to ensure customers LOVE their food, so they typically load it with fat, salt and sugar.  In order to accomplish these two, they will:

  • Cook with plenty of oil and butter
  • Use full-fat ingredients (tastier) and/or processed ingredients (cheaper)
  • Fill the majority of the meal with carbohydrates: bread, chips, some form of  potatoes. Carbs are cheap, bulk up your portion, and make you stuffed full so you feel you got your money’s worth.
  • skimp on the healthier ingredients like fresh produce and lean meats because they’re the most expensive.

breakfast and blogging

Practicing the Art of Eating In

  • Old-fashioned oats, cooked in vanilla almond milk with ribbons of almond butter, a few raspberries and a tablespoon of flaxseed
  • Over-easy      eggs (1 whole, 2 whites), garden-picked tomatoes, sprinkled with Parmesan, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream
  • Decaf chai tea with almond milk
  • Ice water infused with fresh mint

This Meal Eating Out Vs. Eating In

At a restaurant, this meal would be at least $10.  It cost me less than $1.  The meal at the restaurant would have skimped on the tomato, the sour cream would have been full fat, the oatmeal would have been loaded with cream, and I would have had to ask for 1 egg and 2 eggs whites, annoying the waitress and chef. Almond milk, my favorite, would likely not have been an option.

My oats were creamy because of the way I cook them, not because I added a 1/4 cup of half and half.  I used a whole handful of cherry tomatoes, not a little garnish on the top.  The eggs weren’t cooked in a chunk of butter, but a spray of heart-healthy canola oil.
I saved money, calories, and time.  I boosted the nutrition.  And, it was all very simple to cook.

You may be thinking,
“But Jessica Joy, I don’t like cooking, like you do.” Well, I assumed I also hated cooking until I got a decent knife.

a decent knife
A good knife improves your entire cooking experience!  I found this life-changing tool for $25.  Your cooking does not need to be elaborate or time-consuming, but it is worth investing some time and money in for your health’s sake.

Easy ways to save calories when cooking at home

  • Use  canola spray, olive oil spray or a little coconut oil.  These are both heart-healthy and in a small portions.
  • Fill half  your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Feature one or two carbs per meal.  For me, I love popcorn, so often I forego rice or potatoes to have some popcorn afterwards.  Or, I might have an open face  sandwich to create a little wiggle room for a treat.
  • Eat  protein, preferably lean protein, with every meal to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you fuller longer

 

Eating in is a delicious art.  Enjoy healthy food, keep the cooking simple, and reap life-boosting benefits.  You won’t leave the table with a “food-brick” in your belly, and you can stay in your pajamas….if you like. 

Want more from Jessica Joy? You know you do! Check out her blog here:  http://www.thefitswitch.org/ and read her bio below!

never give up lorna jane blog profile

Hi,
I’m Jessica Joy, writer, group fitness instructor, mom of 2, doggy mom of 2,
and married to Chadly. During my baby weight de-poofing, I
discovered that living healthier is living happier, and staying
fit is like flipping life’s AWESOME switch.  Thus, my third child,
TheFitSwitch.org was born.  This baby is all about motivating you to
flip YOUR fit switch, and gives you the know-how to do it.  Your
awesome life awaits.  Let’s do this!

Finding My Happy Space

Happy Hump Day!

This morning I was able to spend some time in one of my favorite places in the house: my kitchen.

While some won’t think this odd at all, I must confess that I times I disregard my love for the kitchen. Sometimes I simply don’t want to enter it for fear of dirty dishes and big messes. Can any other moms and dads relate here?

The kitchen has always been a vital part of my life. On weekends, my mom could often be found in the kitchen making a true southern breakfast, complete with biscuits, eggs, pancakes AND bacon! I also remember baking chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen and learning the bare (EXTREMELY bare!) basics of baking. The kitchen has always signified a place of nurturing. Unfortunately, as I embarked upon my weight loss journey, my love for  the kitchen dimmed.

My second confession today is that I love food! I really do :) I love crisp, fresh salads and rich, creamy soups just the same. And I can get really excited over  a well cooked hamburger too! Food has seemingly always been a passion for me, so it’s natural that I became a nutritionist. The funny thing is that with my emotional roller coaster with food, I haven’t begun to utilize my nutritionist skills until recently. Here is the very basic thing you need to understand about food: IT WAS MADE TO BE ENJOYED.

You read that right! When did food become the enemy? Ahem…..somewhere in the early 80′s when “diet gurus” starting butting in and telling us what to eat. Have you noticed something? The DIET industry is BOOMING…and so are our waistlines and worse, disease. Coincidence? Well, that’s another post entirely and it is coming :) Food is not your enemy and your enjoyment of food needn’t be martyred to lose weight. In fact, if we would learn to relax and nourish our bodies with what they need (NOBODY needs a Big Mac and fries people), then the body is more complying with letting go of unwanted weight. I speak the truth!

So, I have made a shift from killing my body in the gym to pouring my heart out in the kitchen. My husband and kids LOVE when these moments come around! My intent is to spend time in my happy space every day, preparing meals that nourish us from the inside out. So, that’s all great, but what’s in it for you right? Well, I’ll be sharing my happy space journey with you. I’ll let you in on all the happenings, including the kitchen updates and new gadgets. I just got a Vitamix (OBSESSED!) and I’m in desperate need of picking a color for the kitchen walls. All of it, from recipe remakes to failures to videos on how to ensure you shop your store smart, stock your pantry with confidence, travel light (intestinally speaking) and even make your own dressings and kimchi (oh yes, YOU can do this!).

Why am I doing this? Every good nutritionist (the GOOD ones!) have periods of self experimentation. This ensures that what is being recommended actually works. Through years of research, I have noticed the one common denominator for those seeking help to lose weight or overcome illness is this: FOOD. It’s not that our bodies are just lazy, our food isn’t working FOR us. Actually, over the past couple of decades our food has begun working against us. Any kind of workout will help most people feel better IF they are feeding themselves well. My intention is to make that possible. Eating healthful is not impossible, no matter your career choice or current life situations. Come along for the ride and get ready for vibrant health, renewed energy and all the weight loss your body needs.

From our kitchen to yours,

kitchen help

 

Michelle

 

Thirsty Thursday! Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies, My Fave Coffee Treat, and a Watermelon Chiller

Nutrition can be a whole mess of fun if you would just loosen the reigns a bit really. I hardly ever follow recipes, rather I just follow my taste buds. I encourage you to do the same!

Here are this weeks offerings for your palate. Play around and see what happens :)

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

I love living a life where I can have cookies for breakfast! And at 90 cals per serving (about 3 cookies), you’ll feel satisfied and still have room for a yummy coffee treat.

Dry Ingredients:

3 Cups oatmeal (whole, uncooked)

1 cup whole wheat flower

1 cup unbleached bread flour (this makes them chewy)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1.5 teaspoons apple pie spice

Mix together in large bowl.

Wet Ingredients:

2T unsalted butter (softened)

2 T EVOO

1 cup no sugar added apple sauce

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup all natural turbinado sugar

1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup dark molasses (all natural, unfiltered)

1/2 cup dates (optional)

1 cup raisins (optional)

Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add butter, oil, egg and turbinado and mix on medium/high until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients (except dried fruit) and mix on low until combined. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Once combined, fold in dried fruits.

Place on cookie sheet (they will rise, but not spread) and into oven preheated at 450 degrees F.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until outer edges are very slightly brown.

This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, so share! :)

My Fave Coffee Treat

This is a truly indulgent treat for me and I enjoy every sip. You will need to break out the old french press for this one.

In small sauce pan pour 1 cup no sugar, plain coconut/almond milk. Place whole cinnamon stick inside and heat on low (you don’t want to bring milk to a boil).

Do a coarse grind on quality coffee beans (I use Starbucks Sumatra) and place in press. Add 1-2 teaspoons turbinado sugar and a dash of nutmeg.

Once milk is warm pour into press and let stand for 3-5 minutes.

Press slowly and serve in your fave mug. Little bit og heaven :)

Watermelon Chiller

There is NOTHING better on a sweltering day than watermelon right? This is super easy and a great crown pleaser.

In blender combine:

3 cups seeded watermelon

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

juice of 1 lime

pinch of salt

Blend and serve chilled.

The almond milk provides a bit of protein, but doesn’t curdle since it’s not dairy (important on hot days!)

You can add other fruits to the mix for more flavor and even a little vodka, for adults only!

Until next time, hope you have a safe and happy Thursday!

Michelle