My Definition of A Foodie

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m not sharing a recipe, but rather my opinion on what it means to be a true foodie and to eat healthy. Ever since I have become passionate about healthy cooking and writing, I have worked on coming up with my own definition of healthy food, or “foodie food,” which is very similar to the ideas of other blogs that I have seen, with a few differences. While my blog is recipe based, I thought I’d like to share with you what I think healthy eating consists of, as well as why I am a foodie and what that is.

In my opinion, eating a whole food diet consists of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), as well as some local meats and dairy, and proteins like seeds, nuts, and beans. As far as whole grains go, I always opt for whole wheat, and, like most other blogs write, I believe that as few ingredients in a prepackaged food there are the better- that is, if the ingredients are wholesome and don’t have any refined sugar or oils. This is very similar to what other bloggers may believe, but my key belief is that I think the most important thing is choosing the best choice at the time. For example, in a situation less than ideal at a restaurant, it is better to choose the slightly better option rather than go for deep-fried fast foods simply because you are there anyway, and you have already had some processed food.

I bet you’re still wondering why a fourteen-year-old girl would choose to do all this. Most, of the time, parents make their kids eat healthy, right? For me, it is both a passion and something that I think I have to do if I want to be my best. As a student and busy athlete, I notice a difference when I eat healthy, whole foods versus the processed stuff. Additionally, I am trying to encourage other kids my age to do the same (or at least take some steps in the right direction) because our generation will only be able to do some amazing things in the future if we are healthy. Take a look at this chart, which shows the increases in childhood health problems and obesity.

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According to the CDC, people who are obese are far more at risk to and prone to “Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and mental illness.” (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/)  So, if more and more of our population is getting sick, then we won’t be able to achieve great success and innovate in the future. This is why I am on a mission to inspire other kids to eat healthy (on a serious note!)

Additionally (on a lighter note), I want to inspire other kids to get in the kitchen and make healthier choices because health food sometimes has a bad rap, but it can be really delicious! Most people don’t realize how many delectable healthy recipes are out there, but when you take a little time and look, you may find that the homemade version is much better than the boxed, prepackaged mix.

So, my goal is to inspire and reach as many other kids, teens, and adults (but specifically my age group) to get cooking! In my opinion, the more people that know the truth about what we eat the better, because the more people who choose to cook and eat healthier food, the bigger the “real food revolution.” If you agree, please share with others, as I am trying to share my thoughts with as many kids as I can. Let’s spread the real food revolution and passion!

 

Honey Thyme Roasted Carrots- a Healthy Side

Hi Everyone!

Happy 2017! I can’t believe 2016 is over; it has been such an incredible year for me and The Mini Foodie blog, so I cannot thank you enough! What is your best memory of 2016? Let’s just say going into 2016 I never would have thought I’d have the opportunity to meet my “real food idol,” see my blog grow from having fifteen followers on Instagram to now having close to 1500, and be on my way to teaching a class at Whole Foods. Wow! I am so incredibly grateful for such an amazing year.

What do you think 2017 will bring? At this time of year, I hear a lot about New Year’s Resolutions, mainly to eat healthier and/or exercise more. It is the start of the new year, which is amazing, but why do we only change our habits at this one point in the year? Why don’t we change our unhealthy habits in say, July? In my opinion, anytime is a great time to start eating less processed food!

On with today’s recipe, I’d like to share with you my Thyme Roasted Carrots recipe. This is a perfect side for any type of meal, and is even great in your lunchbox the next day over a salad. We had these delicious roasted carrots at Christmas dinner with our family- yum!

So, without further ado, please enjoy this recipe, and share with friends and family! Have a happy and healthy 2017, and thank you for making it a great 2016! 🙂

Honey Thyme Roasted Carrots 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 12 large carrots, or 1 bag presliced carrot sticks (not baby carrots)
  • 3 tbs. olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 2 tbs. freshly chopped thyme

Steps:

To begin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, wash and slice the carrots into sticks, or your desired shape. The carrots will shrink when you cook them, so be sure to make thick slices! In a large bowl, toss the carrots with all of the remaining ingredients, and stir to evenly coat. Next, transfer to a sheet pan and spread in an even layer, cooking for 20 minutes or until tender, but not mushy. Let cool, and enjoy! 🙂

 

Healthier Peppermint Hot Cocoa (that is still delicious)

Hi Everyone!

Today I’d like to share this recipe for a slightly healthier hot cocoa recipe, with the twist of peppermint! Yum! This is so delicious, and much healthier than any kind of processed hot chocolate mix at the store. 

Around the holiday season, hot chocolate is a popular drink of choice for a special dessert or treat.  But when hot cocoa mix is filled with chemicals and unnecessary additives, it really isn’t hot cocoa. After all, it is hot cocoa, not hot artificial flavoring!

In one hot cocoa mix box, I found these ingredients:


Yuck! I don’t know about you, but usually I don’t cook with modified whey, diglycerides, and sucralose. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a tasty mug of cocoa. 

I have tried many recipes for a homemade hot cocoa, but this is by far my favorite. The slight mint flavor is something I love, but you could add cinnamon instead or leave it out all together. For a tasty treat, try adding a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top- yum!

Without further ado, enjoy this recipe, and please stay tuned for my new Facebook page and Pinterest account coming soon! 🙂 As always, please share with family and friends if you love healthy food too, and Happy Holidays!

Homemade Peppermint Hot Cocoa

SERVES 2- 10 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbs. special dark cocoa or cacao
  • 1 tbs. local maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract
  • 1 tbs. good quality dark chocolate (preferably higher than 70%)
  • 1/2 tbs. coconut oil

Instructions:

Start off by making the chocolate sauce with the dark cocoa and maple syrup. Melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate, and add that to the sauce. Next, warm the milk in a pot on the stove or in the microwave, and add in the chocolate sauce with the peppermint and whisk to combine. Pour into holiday mugs and top with homemade whipped cream and enjoy! 🙂


Apple Spiced Oatmeal (a perfect winter breakfast!) 

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m sharing a new healthy, easy recipe for a warm, hot breakfast. Oatmeal is one of my favorite meals to make any time of the year, but when it is snowy and the temperatures dip down low, it is an especially perfect choice. There are so many varieties out there (honey raisin, pumpkin, blueberry, the list goes on) but this is by far my favorite. The carmelized spiced apples are a great addition, and this keeps me full for hours. 

This is also a great recipe to make for a crowd- double or triple the recipe for family that is visiting and a healthy, delicious recipe will be ready in minutes. You could also halve the recipe and microwave the oatmeal, if you’re short on time. All in all, this is just one of my favorite meals to make and I hope you enjoy it too!

Happy Holidays! What’s your favorite winter breakfast to make and share? Please leave in the comments below! 🙂


Apple Spiced Oatmeal  

SERVES 2- 20 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain oats
  • 2 cups whole, organic milk (see my post on this subject for why) 
  • 1 organic apple, chopped (preferably the honey crisp variety)
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1-2 tbs. pure maple syrup or honey (however much you like)
  • 1 tbs. coconut oil (or grass fed butter)

Steps:

In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer on medium low heat, and then add in chopped apples and half of the spices. Cook for 5 minutes, or until apples have softened to your liking. Set aside, and add the milk and oats to a small pot. Bring to a light boil, and then turn to medium low, simmering for 10 minutes. Add in the rest of the spice, and pour into your favorite holiday bowl or mug. Top with the chopped apple mixture, and stir to combine. Optionally, top with sliced raw almonds, raw apples, and chia seeds or enjoy on its own. Share with friends, and bon appetit! 🙂

Beet Berry Blast Breakfast Smoothie

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m sharing a recipe for one of my new favorite breakfast smoothies, Beet Berry Blast! It is so delicious and the most beautiful color, plus it has all of the amazing benefits of beets. Any kind of green smoothie packs a lot of nutrition into a small drink, and in my opinion it is one of the best ways to start the day. Not to mention, picky eaters and young kids will love this green smoothie because of its pretty pink color and berry taste- I did not like beets so much until I tried to experiment with adding them to a smoothie.

After all, you never should give up on a certain food- you could end up liking it in certain ways! This smoothie has several ingredients, in effort to add as much nutrients as possible, and serves about 2-3. However, feel free to add more of one thing and skip something you don’t have on hand; add what you like!

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The benefits of a smoothie like this include:

  • source of Folate, Potassium, and Vitamin C
  • source of fiber, which keeps you full
  • yogurt and chia seeds add protein for sustained energy
  • banana balances blood sugar

 

So, without further ado, please enjoy this Beet Berry Blast Breakfast Smoothie! 🙂 Thank you!

Beet Berry Blast Breakfast Smoothie


Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium beet, chopped (or whole if you have a strong blender)
  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries and strawberries
  • 1 cup baby organic spinach or kale
  • 3/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • *optional* 1/3 cup fresh/frozen pineapple
  • 11/2 cups milk (any kind), coconut water, or filtered water

Steps:

To begin, blend liquid and fresh greens until smooth. Then, add in other ingredients and blend once again. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 24 hours or a thermos for up to 6. Enjoy and share! 🙂

The Best Lunch Container to Purchase (by age)

Hi Everyone!

Almost every week I see a new lunch box or container being advertised. “Leak-proof!” “Good for the environment!”  and “Easy to Wash!” are all claims being made, but what lunch packing system is really the best? Quite honestly, that’s up to you and your lifestyle! There is no perfect lunch box for all age groups, rather it depends on what you need when! So, I decided to come up with the ideal lunchbox for every age group- after all, preschoolers need a different kind of container than adults or high school students who pack their lunch each day. So, without further ado, here is the best lunch container for every age!

Preschool (ages 2-4)

Yumbox Original Divided Container:

 This lunchbox is the perfect choice for any young child who is just learning about how to pack healthy lunches and cook. At the preschool age, this container is especially fitting, as it has labels for each food group in individual compartments, and it is both leak-proof and dishwasher-safe. This lunch container is the perfect one to invest in for a long-time student or lunch-packer!

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LunchBots Duo:

This container is also great for the younger age group, as it is made of sturdy stainless steel and is dishwasher safe. While it is not leak-proof, small side containers that are can be purchased, and it is the perfect size. This is a sturdy container that will last for years!

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Elementary (ages 5-10)

Yumbox Original and Panino Containers:

Like the original (which is also great for elementary school kids) the Yumbox Panino is a leak-proof, durable, and dishwasher safe container. It has one larger sandwich/salad compartment and two smaller ones, so its the perfect choice.

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Lunchbots Cinco Lunch Packing System:

Like the smaller duo container, this is a sturdy, stainless steel choice that is easy to wash and has five compartments. It easily has enough space for small portions of several different foods, and is available in a number of different lid colors. Overall, this is an excellent option for the elementary age.
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Middle School (ages 11-14)

Yumbox Panino Container:

Like I stated in the elementary category, this is an amazing container that truly is leakproof, and it is bigger than some of the smaller containers which is great for the middle school age. This container does not have labels for different food groups, therefore making it a little bit of a more mature design.

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Planetbox Rover:

This is another stainless steel option, and I personally love this container because it is dishwasher safe (though it is easy to wash), spacious, and durable. It is definitely on the pricier side as far as containers go, but it is worth the money because of its long-lasting quality.

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Ziploc Divided Container:

This is a perfect, budget-friendly option for any age, but particularly the older kids/adults age group. It is now easy to find in many stores, and is the least expensive option, though they do last a slightly shorter time. I have found that these containers work great for me as they fit the right amount of food and are dishwasher safe!

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High School (ages 14-18)/ Adult

Ziploc Divided Container:

As I wrote above, this is an excellent, money-saving lunch container that fits the right portions for lunch and is dishwasher safe, as well as BPA-free.

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Lunchbots Bento Trio Container:

A bigger sized container like the duo and cinco, this is a sturdy and reliable choice for packing lunch for the high school and adult ages. Like the Ziploc containers, it has three compartments, one bigger and two smaller, and it is easy to wash. It also comes in a variety of designs for the lid, and it is a great choice- the only con with this container is that it is not leakproof.

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Planetbox Launch:

This is also a durable stainless steel lunch packing container that will last for years, like the Rover pictured above. It includes a tall dipper container for dressings and dips, and is easy to clean, though it is dishwasher safe. It is 30% larger than the Rover, and holds 7.5 cups of food, which I think is more than plenty for an adult-sized portion. This is a great container that I highly recommend!

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I hope this post has helped you decide what lunch container is best for you, and Happy Thanksgiving from The Mini Foodie! 🙂

 

The Best New Real Food Cookbook (and sneak-peek recipes!)

Hi Everyone!

Today I am sharing an especially exciting post with you… Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food (www.100daysofrealfood.com) is coming out with her new cookbook titled “100 Days of Real Food Fast & Fabulous,” in just a week! I am so excited to share a little bit about her new book with you all- make sure to pre-order your copy now for the guaranteed lowest price (right now it is just $16.00)! She has been working on this project for two years now, and I am so impressed. She has always been an incredible role model for me (she inspired me to create this blog in the fifth grade!) and this book and the last show how much talent she and her team has!

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So, do you remember her last cookbook, and how amazing it was? It was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and for good reason, as it was packed full with a guide to transitioning to eating real food and tons of helpful recipes. Well, imagine an even more awesome (if there is such a thing) book and guide to cutting out processed food! As a an active, busy 14-year-old, I love finding recipes that are quick and easy to make, because it allows me to cook them more often. I found this cookbook especially helpful in finding what recipes are perfect for me to make on a weekly basis with my schedule, and it even has a special mini-guide at the beginning of the book about how to begin cutting out processed food. So, this book is perfect for everyone who is looking to make real food accessible and delicious.. check it out!

On to what’s inside… there are numerous breakfast recipes, work and school lunch recipes, simple dinner recipes, dessert recipes, and snack recipes for readers to enjoy, as well as Lisa’s family’s staples. I was so excited to receive my advanced copy of this cookbook, so I could immediately get cooking! Every recipe I’ve tested so far has been delicious, but I am going to share a certain one with you today- Cinnamon Glazed Bananas!

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This is a photo I took after making the delicious treat- it is amazing how delicious it tastes with such a short cooking process! So, try this recipe out for yourself (I know you’ll love it) and preorder Lisa’s new book today for even more amazing ideas!


 

CINNAMON GLAZED BANANAS

“This dessert is similar to Bananas Foster. It’s fabulous by itself and even better over vanilla ice cream. Such a tasty real-food treat!”

Difficulty: Super easy

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Makes 4 or 5 servings

GLUTEN-FREE

DAIRY-FREE (IF COCONUT OIL IS SUBSTITUTED FOR THE BUTTER)

VEGETARIAN

NUT-FREE

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large bananas, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Vanilla ice cream (optional), for serving

In a skillet, combine the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla and set over medium heat. When it starts bubbling, add the bananas and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring to coat. Serve as is or over vanilla ice cream.

LISA’S TIP: You could try this cooking method with other fruits as well, such as apples, pears, or blueberries!

“ You should totally put this recipe in your new cookbook—it’s my new favorite dessert!”

—SIENNA LEAKE, AGE 9

*This recipe is copied out from Lisa’s new cookbook, and I have not modified it or changed it in any way! Please order her new book for some of the best recipes I’ve ever made!


 

Please visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Park Road Books (for a special signed edition), iBooks, Indie Bound, Books-a-Million, and Walmart to preorder your copy with the lowest possible price! 🙂