Tag Archives: Cooking Healthy

Craving Something Unhealthy?

Well, I was too! I wasn’t craving the worst thing, Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable Soup, but there are things on the ingredient list that just don’t work for me. The corn is most likely GMO which is a controversial subject, but I choose to err on the side of caution and avoid it when possible. And the pasta is made with wheat which I try my best to avoid because it causes me grief, and eggs (probably not pastured and who knows what the chickens ate) and sugar which shouldn’t be necessary to cut the acidity of the tomatoes because there are carrots in the soup.

All of which left me in the lurch so I started checking around and found Amy’s Organic Fat Free Vegetable Soup which was delicious once I added a squirt of olive oil, but pricey at around $3.60/can. That can was enough for one nice-sized bowl and I definitely bought it, then found it for a around $2.50 online through Walmart.

One day a few weeks ago I was walking through the grocery store and spotted a package of mixed veggies. That’s something I hadn’t looked at or purchased in years, but the picture got my attention because it is exactly what’s in Campbell’s or Amy’s vegetable soup. The light bulb came on! I checked out the ingredients on Amy’s can and knew that with a can of tomatoes and a few spices I could duplicate the veggie soup of my craving! And, it works! Here’s how:

  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
  • 1/3 bag of frozen organic corn*
  • 1/2 bag of frozen edamame*
  • 1/2 bag of frozen spinach
  • 1-2T reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • Dehydrated onion flakes, celery salt, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste
Delicious, and lots of it! The bowl in the front was today's lunch served with some watermelon slices. YUM!

Delicious, and lots of it! The bowl in the front was today’s lunch served with some watermelon slices. YUM!

Using a large pot, put all of the ingredients together along with 1 1/2 tomato cans of water. Heat it all up and then simmer for a couple of hours.
I like extra corn and wanted a bit of protein thrown in. Use organic when possible and practical. You can use onions, garlic and celery, I just didn’t happen to have any on hand when I put mine together.
The second time I made it I cleaned out the bits and pieces of veggies in my freezer and added some okra, peas and kale. Play with it and enjoy!

So, the moral of the story is, you don’t have to pay a fortune for a healthy version, nor does it have to be difficult to create. I’d love the challenge of finding healthy alternatives for you. Visit my website http://www.nancyoglesby.com and click on Contact Me.

Bon Apetite!



Challenge #1: I Challenge You to …

Today I am challenging you to add in one healthy habit THIS WEEK!challenge Add in fresh fruit. Add in a green smoothie or salad. Add in a ten-minute walk or a meatless meal. Add in a little self-care. Add in a hearty, protein-rich breakfast. Add in a social gathering or a dance class. Add in journaling. Add in a cooking class. Add in lunch with a good book. Add in date night. Add in a brown rice or quinoa pilaf. Add in a healthy take-out by going to the grocery and picking up a rotisserie chicken and salad from the salad bar. Add in a gratitude list. Add in dancing in the living room to your favorite beat.

Today I am challenging you to add in one healthy habit this week. Start today. Pick an easy one. In a week or two pick another, one a bit more challenging, and make a plan to make it happen.

I’m not just writing these for you to read and forget about. I write them so that you can add in healthy habits. Pick one. Add it in.

I challenge you to better health!

If you’re interested in journaling, I’m offering two classes this week: Thursday, May 15th at 7PM and Saturday, May 17th at 11AM. Both classes are at my office in downtown Overland Park and are offered on a Love Offering basis. Email for details.

Nancy’s Soon-to-Be Famous Accidental Chili

I’ve found a combination of ‘secret’ ingredients that make meatless soup, chili and spaghetti sauce taste, for lack of a better word, meaty. I’ve tested my recipes on diehard, meat-loving dudes and they are all shocked when they find out there’s no meat in them.

So, add this to your meal rotation and save the money for a grass-fed steak! (For more on reasons to add in meatless meals see Breakfast for Dinner.) The story explaining the name is in the recipe instructions below.

This recipe is high in protein, fiber and phytonutrients. Enjoy!

(Gluten Free)

1 Can (28oz)     Diced Organic Tomatoes
2 Cans (15oz)   Kidney Beans (I like Light Red)
1 Can (15oz)     Pinto/Black Beans
1 Can (15oz)     Pizza Sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic)
2 Med                 Onions (chopped how you like them)
2 Cloves            Garlic (crushed)
6-8 Small           Red Potatoes (quartered, unpeeled)
1 Cube               Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon (or a brand you prefer)
1 T                     Bragg Liquid Aminos (available either online or in the health section
of your grocery
1.5T                   Smoked Paprika  (or to taste)
3 T                     Chili Powder  (or to taste)
2 T                     Cumin  (or to taste)
1.5 T                  Coconut Oil (I use raw, organic, extra virgin)

Rinse & drain the beans, toss everything in a crockpot, cook. J I have to confess that I don’t always use a raw onion or garlic cloves. If I’m in a hurry and don’t have either, I add dried, minced onion and garlic powder. (There, I said it. Confession over.)

Okay, here’s how the accidental, fabulously delicious potato chili happened:

I was at the grocery store and googled ‘chili’ since I can never remember the ratio of tomatoes to tomato sauce or paste. I checked out three and all of them had only 1 large can of tomatoes so that’s what I bought. I got home and started adding ingredients and quickly realized that I needed another tomato product so I looked in my cabinet and the only thing I had was a can of Muir Glen Pizza Sauce. I read the ingredients and thought, “That should work. The Chili Powder and Cumin should do a good job of covering up most of the basil and oregano.”

I tossed everything in the Crockpot and cooked it several hours before dinner. I fixed myself a bowl, took a bite and realized that the bouillon cube added way too much salt … Hmmm, potatoes will absorb that, so tomorrow I’ll add some potatoes.

The next morning, I tossed it all back in the Crockpot and cubed 6-8 small red potatoes and added them. Several hours later I had the best chili I’d ever tasted … NancyO’s Accidental, Fabulously Delicious Potato Chili! But you don’t have to believe me. I demonstrate this in my cooking classes while the students eat some that’s already cooked. This is what I hear:

“OMG – the chili was AWESOME! … That is a recipe my meat-eating hubby would like too!”

“This chili is really amazing!”

“I can’t believe there’s no meat in this. It’s delicious!”

I hope you get a chance to try this because it is really good and the perfect answer to Meatless Meals!

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

The Trouble with Meatless Meals

Chicken Trouble

Most people are aware of the four basic tastes, but recently there’s been a lot of talk about the fifth taste: umami, and that it is often missing from a meatless dish.

We’re all familiar with sweet, sour, bitter and salty and have many ways to satisfy them, but Americans have traditionally satisfied the desire for umami with meat and animal products. It’s really glutamate that creates the flavor and animal products are loaded with it.

Think about how many products and restaurant meals have added MSG … That’s added glutamate! They add it to enhance flavor and it works. Let’s look at some vegan options for adding umami flavor to plant-based dishes. Try some of these in your next stir fry, batch of chili or pot of soup.

The following list is not necessarily complete, but they are the ways that I add umami flavors to my meatless meals, typically adding at least two to each dish. Primarily I rely on tamari, Bragg liquid aminos, smoked paprika, trouble cowmushrooms (whole, sliced and/or powder), garlic, fennel, caramelized onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Resources on the internet add toasted nuts, caraway seeds, miso and even MSG.

Visit my recipe page for great ideas and recipes for meatless meals. Serving meatless meals is a great way to save money so that you can afford grass fed beef instead of the hormone/antibiotic-laden meat sold in grocery stores.

A simple quick dish is to caramelize onions in some coconut oil, add edamame, brown rice and diced, sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle on some salt and a touch of chili powder … YUM!

I start a new series on Thursday: Step-by-Step: Your Journey to Better Health & Weight Loss. I hope you’ll join me and find your first step!
Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. However, primarily I add links because it allows you to know exactly what product I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

11 Kitchen Hacks … Fast, Easy, Healthy!

I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to cut my time in the kitchen and still maintain a healthy diet. These are some of the things that work for me:

  1. If I want a slice of onion for a sandwich, or if I’m11 Kitchen Hacks Small chopping up a few tablespoons for tuna salad, I go ahead and cut up the whole onion and store it in a glass container in the fridge. I find myself using it up every time because it’s so easy. I’ll put onions with scrambled eggs, brown rice or pasta, or add it to a sandwich, just because it’s already cut up.
  2. I cook once and eat several times. I’ll make a double batch of spaghetti, cook an entire bag of pasta and freeze it individually for easy dinners. I do this with casseroles, soup and side dishes.
  3. Having great knives and glass cutting boards is a must for easy prep. Even if I cut only once, I want it to be fast and efficient. With glass cutting boards I don’t have to Chef-knivesworry about how sanitary it is. When I’m finished, I pop it in the dishwasher.
  4. A Foreman Grill is a big deal in my kitchen. I use it primarily for fish. I love the salmon burgers and mahi burgers from Trader Joe’s. From frozen they take about four minutes. Add in a side salad from the salad bar and a bit of rice pilaf and I’m good to go in under 15 minutes!
  5. I would have a hard time eating healthy if I didn’t have my slow cooker. In the summer it keeps the house cool and in the winter it makes soups so easy to prepare! This is where I cook my Vegan Spaghetti, Split Pea Soup, Sweet Potatoes, Chili … Actually, most things! My favorite is the Hamilton Beach; It’s reasonably priced and works simply.
  6. Sweet Potatoes & Butternut Squash are a big deal for me and I almost always have one of them on hand. I cook them in my slow cookerSweet Potatoes without any added liquid, for 3-4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. They are the best tasting sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. When I make Butternut Squash Soup, I don’t bother with cubing or peeling. I throw the whole, washed squash into the slow cooker until cooked, remove it, scrape the meat into the blender, and add the rest of the ingredients, then puree. I put it back in the slow cooker for about an hour to let the ingredients meld together. Delish!
  7. Then there’s my Ninja Professional. It’s a blender, food processor combined. Knowing what to use when took me a bit, but it was worth the investment. I can make GF breadcrumbs with the end pieces of the Udi’s bread I buy. I crush the chickpeas I add to my Vegan Spaghetti. I make my hummus, refried beans and black bean dip.
  8. NutriBullet makes my smoothies a breeze. I have a really small kitchen, so I keep most of my appliances in a closet. The NutriBullet caught my eye because of its small size. It sits on my counter and I whip up my morning smoothie easily. It also comes with three cups and a milling blade which makes grinding the fennel for my Vegan Spaghetti a snap!
  9. A toaster oven is great for reheating things that require crispness. One of my guilty pleasures is a dish called Crispy Tofu from Blue Koi, a restaurant in KC. I bring home leftovers and the next day I put them in the toaster oven, on toast, and they come out crispy and delicious! Toaster ovens are good for when you don’t need the large size of a regular oven. Oh yeah … they make toast!
  10. Salad in a Jar is one way to easily make a healthy lunch. Using large jars (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce jars), fill about half way with your choice of lettuce. I use a mix of romaine and spring greens from the salad bar. Then toss in some premade Cole slaw mix or broccoli slaw mix, and veggies that you like on a salad. I use cucumbers, peppers and a little red onion. You can add beans (I like chickpeas) and dried cranberries. Then top it with a few grape tomatoes. On the day of, I add nuts and seeds. I take along a little container of salad dressing and at lunchtime I add the dressing, re-close the jar, and shake like a bartender to mix. The only caveat: Make sure you’ve got a fork that fits to the bottom of the jar you choose.
    These last three days in my refrigerator. It seems the bagged lettuce lasts longer in the jar than it does in the bag … weird.
  11. Just toss stuff together! You probably have some regular flavor profiles that you depend on. Try something with what you’ve got on hand. I tossed some edamame, onions and pasta together with some tamari, garlic, salt and coconut oil for a fabulous stir fry! Here are the pics:


I hope these make your life a bit healthier and easier. I am all about helping people fit healthy choices into their busy lives. I love for you to ‘like’ my Facebook page. It can be found at www.facebook.com/healthworkskc

Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. I do like it that you know exactly what model I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.

Get Yourself a Prep Cook

Get Yourself a Prep Cook!

Get Yourself a Prep Cook!

The number one thing that stops me from preparing a healthy meal at home is the prep work. All that washing, peeling, slicing and dicing is not what I want to be doing when I get home from work.

One solution would be to hire a Prep Cook. Unfortunately, I’m not Oprah. My wallet currently does not support hiring a kitchen goddess. However, I’ve figured out the next best thing: Use the services of someone else’s Prep Cook. The salad bar at your favorite grocery store is the perfect place to find most of the ingredients you’ll need to create a delicious meal.

There are no signs up at the salad bar that say, ‘SALADS ONLY!’ Go ahead and load up on washed, peeled, sliced and diced onions, celery, carrots, beets, cabbage, mushrooms, snow peas, bean sprouts, spinach, kale … whatever you need. Going for a sweet dish instead of savory? They have cranberries, melon, strawberries and nuts as well. You can also get small amounts of cheeses and meats.

Kitchen Prep Made EasyThe per pound price might be higher, but I’ve saved a bundle by not buying the full-sized package or bundle of ingredients that I don’t need and often never use. After all, how many mung bean sprouts can a single person use in a few days? This choice also keeps a lot of food out of the landfill.

Want one more tip? While you’re there, pick up a salad for tomorrow’s lunch!

If you like these ideas, and are in the Kansas City Metro, check out my Class Schedule at HealthWorksKC. Just click on ‘events’ at the top of the page.

Next up? Make mine pilaf!
Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach

Breakfast is for Champions!

It’s critical that you end your overnight fast, and fuel your body for the coming day, with good, solid nutrition. I’ve heard so many people say they feel hungrier if they eat. I’m going to guess that they begin their day with sugary cereal, donuts or muffins. This is your opportunity to end that!hat the

The key to a great start is protein, so start with an egg, nut butter, lean meat, beans or low-fat dairy. Protein powder is my easy solution. I don’t eat meat or dairy, so I add a scoop of Sun Warrior Raw Vanilla Protein Powder to my smoothie in the morning. Even a healthy fruit smoothie can leave you hungry if you don’t have protein to slow down the release of sugar into your system.

One way to add a healthy breakfast to your daily routine is to decide what you’re going to have and make it consistent. If you love eggs, have them two or three days a week. On the other days have a smoothie, yogurt or nut butter with an all-fruit spread on whole grain toast.

Fast, Easy, Healthy
Hard boiled eggs is one of the easiest, lowest-sugar ways to add protein to your morning and it speaks to our standard of having eggs at breakfast. Cook up several at a time so that they’re handy.

Make the same smoothie for the week. Buy the ingredients, measure and freeze into individual bags, and all you have to do in the morning is toss in the blender with your choice of liquid and you’re good to go.

If you choose the nut butter option, make sure to measure your nut butter so that you don’t kill it on the calories. I enjoy organic sunflower butter, Trader Joe’s Organic Super Fruit Spread (Morello cherry, red grape, blueberry, pomegranate) on a Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cracker (so much better than any others).

Be careful when you buy yogurt. It’s loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. To avoid that, buy a large container of plain yogurt and a bag of frozen berries. Thaw the berries and combine with the yogurt. Transfer to single serve containers.

winnerIf you love bananas, add a mashed banana to plain Greek yogurt, sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and you have a powerhouse breakfast!

These breakfasts are all under five minutes in the morning and can even be taken with you on your commute (except for the yogurt).

Start your day with nutritious food as the first step on your journey to better health.

Nancy Oglesby, the practical health coach.