Healthy Eating

Ellen Postolowski’s Recipes

My book, It’s Just Personal offers a combination of smart shopping ideas, an introduction to energizing foods, and tips on cooking to save you time and calories without sacrificing taste. With a little revision of your own meals here and there, these strategies on when and what to eat for health success will soon be at your fingertips. You can visit these recipes often without guilt or fear of making the wrong choice.

I am a personal chef because I wanted to help a family put better food choices into practice while helping them to have a greater awareness of and a positive outlook on natural food options. My clients feared their families, always on the run, would get caught up in the fast-food downward spiral of bad eating habits. My job was to turn those attitudes around and convince them that vegetables were not the enemy. Clients like these are lucky. Most of us cannot afford a personal chef to come to our house every day. It’s Just Personal is an encouraging back to basics approach to healthier eating, shopping and cooking. It is a non-strict guide that follows the principals of healthier eating with a light -hearted approach. There is always room for a little indulgence here and there when you make better choices and implement those options into an everyday habit worth the effort.

Here are some delicious AND nutritious recipes from Chef Ellen.  Check out Ellen and her book at www.chefellen.com.

My morning smoothie is such a habit in my life that when I go away or am out of town I literally feel as though I am ‘off’ when I can’t have or am not in a situation where I can make this wonderfully good-for-you and simply delicious drink.  There is such a balanced array of nutrients and vitamins in one glass.  Starting your morning this way will energize you for hours with all the appropriate ingredients.  Stick to this one and start a habit that will in no time get you glowing from the inside out.

You can stuff an avocado with almost anything.  Sautéed mushrooms, tuna salad, chicken salad and shrimp salad is just the beginning.  Avocados are feared as a highly fattening food.  What most people don’t know is that the avocado is a nutrient dense fruit (yes- fruit!) and powerhouse when it comes to what is good for you.  The fats prevalent in the avocado are healthy monounsaturated fats that promote favorable cholesterol.  The nutrients in avocado may protect against prostate cancer and macular degeneration. It is also low in carbohydrates and packed with a good punch of fiber as well as protein.  Look for an avocado that is black skinned (this means it is ripe) but not too mushy to the touch.  Reap the benefits of this delicious, buttery-tasting goodness.

BLT STUFFED AVOCADO

1 California Avocado (ripe)

2 Slices of cooked turkey bacon (no added nitrates), cooked crispy and broken up into pieces

1/4 C chopped tomato

5 spinach leaves chopped

3 Tablespoon lemon juice

chopped jalapenos (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel skin from ripe avocado and then split avocado in half.  From one half of each avocado, slice off a thin layer from the inner half (this will create a bigger area to stuff) and add to all other ingredients.  Mix all ingredients well.  Take half of mixture and stuff into avocado half.  Serve immediately.

1 Serving: Calories 181, Fat 15.5g (saturated fat 3g, polyunsaturated fat 2.5g, monounsaturated fat 9g) Carbohydrates 9g, Fiber 5g, Protein 5g

This tasty little sandwich is perfect for lunch, brunch or a shower.  This flavorful combination will have your guests curiously questioning your creativeness.  Remind them how beneficial all its ingredients are to their bodies and smile knowing that you are sharing its plentiful benefits.

SPINACH, AVOCADO & CUCUMBER FINGER SANDWICHES

2 C spinach leaves

1/2 avocado sliced and dressed with a splash of lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper

1 large cucumber sliced

A bunch of fresh cilantro roughly chopped

4 slices whole wheat hearty-type bread

1. On two slices of bread, arrange spinach leaves, avocado, cilantro and cucumber slices.  Top with remaining bread, remove crusts and cut in half twice.  You will have (8) tea sandwiches.

Serves 4

1 serving: Calories 130, Fat 5.25g (saturated fat 1g, polyunsaturated fat <1g, monounsaturated fat 3g) Carbohydrates 19g, Fiber 4.2g, Protein 4.5g

This dish is full of fiber as well as cancer fighting antioxidants.  Wheat berry is a nutritious alternative to rice, barley or other starch.  This innovative salad is great dish for a party. It has a tangy kick and the whole grains will leave you feeling satisfied.  Cut the recipe in half if for fewer persons (the portions will last throughout the week and still stay fresh).  Do not let the use of oils in your salads scare you.  Consuming healthy oils assist in lubricating the skin and keeping the body in optimal health.  I have a friend whose father would have them take tablespoon of olive oil every morning.  She has the most beautiful, youthful and supple skin I have ever seen.  Buy healthy oils that are not commercially processed.  Look for oils that are labeled cold pressed, expeller pressed or extra virgin.  Given the fact that even healthy oils are high in good fat and calories, keep daily consumption to about two tablespoons.

WHEAT BERRY SALAD

2 C wheat berry or kamut (available at health-food or specialty stores)

2 Tablespoon sesame oil

3/4 C dried cranberries

3 scallions chopped (white parts only)

1 1/2 C chickpeas (garbanzo beans) well rinsed

1/2 C crumbled feta cheese

2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoon sweet chili sauce

2 Tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the wheat berries in 6 cups of water overnight.  Drain the water after soaking and simmer the wheat berries for 20 minutes in 4 cups of water.  Drain the wheat berries and rinse with hot water and drain.  Put the berries in a large bowl and combine with sesame oil, cranberries, green onions, chickpeas and feta.

In a separate bowl whisk together olive oil through lemon juice and pour over wheat berry mixture.   Serve immediately.

Serves 10 (1/2 C serving)

1 serving: Calories 225, Fat 6.2g (saturated fat <1g, polyunsaturated fat 2.1g, monounsaturated fat 2.9g) Carbohydrates 4.1g, Fiber 6.5g, Protein 7.8g

Biscotti have to be one of my favorite desserts.  It’s the perfect compliment to a nice hot cup of tea or coffee.  In this spa collection of recipes I chose almond biscotti mainly because I love almonds, but more importantly because of the nutrition these small nuts have to offer our bodies.  Adding nuts (specifically almonds) to your diet may improve your actual weight loss. One handful of almonds provides 50% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E.  Almonds are low in saturated fat and high in the good cholesterol lowing fats we are constantly hearing we should implementing more into our diets.  I’ve added oat flour (see super-foods list) to sneak in some added nutrients.  All within moderation when it comes to “treats”.  This treat is definitely one of the keepers.  Dried cranberries are also a nice addition and high on the antioxidant list.

ALMOND BISCOTTI

1/4 C finely chopped almonds

1/2  C sugar

2 Tablespoon butter (room temperature)

4 egg whites

2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 C white flour

1/2 C brown rice flour or whole wheat flour

1 C oat flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In small frying pan, pan spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add chopped almonds and brown, stirring constantly for several minutes.  You will notice they will smoke slightly and brown.

2.  In medium bowl beat sugar and butter with electric mixer till smooth.  Add egg whites and almond extract and beat again till well blended.

3.  In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder and salt.  Add wet mixture and almonds and stir together until it becomes well blended.

4.  Divide the dough and place into two separate loaf pans that have been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.

5.  Bake the dough for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

6. Remove from loaf pan and when cool enough, cut into 16-1/2” thick pieces.

7. On a sprayed cookie sheet, bake all cookies side-down for an additional (5) minutes on each side.  You want each side to get a nice slightly golden brown color.

Serve warm or cooled and store in an air-tight container.

Serves 32

1 serving: Calories 53, Fat 1.4g (saturated fat <1g, polyunsaturated fat <1g, monounsaturated fat <1g) Carbohydrates 9g, Fiber <1g, Protein 1.5g

ELLEN’s SIGNATURE SMOOTHIE

1 C carrot juice (many supermarkets carry carrot juice, I prefer organic carried at Trader Joes and Whole Foods Markets.

1/2 C 100% pure aloe vera juice

A handful of frozen fruit (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries)

1 ripe banana

1 scoop vanilla whey powder

1 1/2 teaspoon flaxseed oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high till mixture resembles a creamy and yummy assortment of goodness.  Drink immediately.  Yum!

Calories:  305  Fat 8.5g (saturated fat 1g, polyunsaturated fat 4.5g, monounsaturated fat 3g) Carbohydrates 38g  Fiber 13.5g  Protein 23.5g

The ingredients and their benefits:

Flaxseed oil - Essential fatty acids offer protection to the cell membrane.  This barrier (the cell membrane) needs to be resistant and strong.  When tough and resilient the cell membrane will hold moisture and in turn generate younger looking skin.  The best known essential fatty acids are omega 3 and 6.  Most people lack the omega 6.  Our bodies cannot manufacture EFA’s, so they must be ingested. The best sources are fish, walnuts and flax seed oils.  Since implementing flaxseed oil in my diet not only am I content with the fact that I am getting the essential oils my body needs, I have also noticed as well as being told of an improvement in the appearance of my nails, skin and hair.

Aloe Vera Juice – 100% pure Aloe Vera Juice is gaining popularity and recognition in today’s dietary needs.  It soothes skin topically but when ingested can provide a whole new realm of benefits including vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.  This natural juice nourishes the digestive and intestinal organs.  It can be purchased at any natural foods store.

I started adding aloe vera juice in my morning smoothies because I read that it helped patients with severe acid reflux symptoms.  I have been drinking this juice for almost a year and have been off my prescribed reflux medication for almost as long.  This is my personal experience and a favorable one at that.  I have also read that aloe vera juice is not recommended for diabetics.  As with any new regimen, you should consult with your doctor when change is implemented in your diet.

Carrot juice – The beta carotene in carrots convert to vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is beneficial to the skin and eyes.  The beta carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like heart disease, cancer and macular-degeneration.  Carrot juice is one of the best ways to get your daily dose.  Juicing the carrot actually breaks apart the fibers allowing the beta-carotene direct access to absorption.

Too many times, tuna salad is thought to be a healthy choice in a sandwich.  Then the mayo is added and there is too much saturated fat to even talk about.  I’ve lightened up the typical recipe and complimented the tuna with the crispness of vegetables, the lightness of lemon juice and creaminess of avocados.  When all is said and done with this recipe, you can sandwich it, top on a salad or toss in pasta noodles for a summer picnic.  If tuna is not your thing, substitute chicken.   It’s just as delicious.

LIGHT AND HEARTY TUNA SALAD

1 C water packed solid white tuna

1 diced red or granny smith apple

1 ripe avocado diced

1 C cherry or grape tomatoes halved

3 Tablespoon chopped dill pickle

1 C chopped celery

WHISK TOGETHER:

2 Tablespoon pickle juice

3 Tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoon plain non-fat yogurt

2 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl.

2.  Whisk together next six ingredients and add in with tuna mixture. Stir gently and serve.

5 servings – 1 1/2 C per serving

1 serving: Calories 165, Fat 9.8g (saturated fat <1g, polyunsaturated fat 3.2g, monounsaturated fat 4.4g) Carbohydrates 12.2g,  Fiber 3.4g, Protein 9.2g

Tiny lentils pack an enormous amount of protein, fiber and iron.  Lentils are inexpensive, nutritious, filling and probably one of the tastiest in the legume family.  These small beans are truly a nutritional powerhouse.  Lentils are a good source of vegetable iron. Their texture and consistency make them favorable for replacing meat in recipes.  I have been known to throw in a couple of cooked lentils to my turkey meatball recipe with nothing but tasty results.

MEDITERRANEAN LENTIL SALAD

Dressing:

1 pack Italian seasoning dressing mix

4 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 Tablespoon lemon juice

2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a big bowl add:

1 C raw chopped carrots

1 C cherry or grape tomatoes halved

1 C chopped zucchini

1 C chopped cucumbers

2-15 oz canned well-rinsed canned lentils

1-15 oz. canned well-rinsed chick peas or garbanzo beans

6 olives (black or green) pitted and chopped

2 scallions (white part only) chopped

1.  Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together.  Add dressing mixture slowly to lentil and vegetable mix and combine well.

12- 1/2  C servings

1 serving: Calories  131 Fat  3.25g (saturated fat <1g, polyunsaturated fat <1g, monounsaturated fat 2g) Carbohydrates 20.4g, Fiber 5.8g, Protein 6.4g

  • Danielle

    Great ideas, Chef Ellen. I am looking forward to trying both recipes. I loved your website too!