Easy 5 Minute Salsa

I am OBSESSED with salsa. I love it. I love it with the classics like tortilla chips and tacos but I also don’t hesitate to use it on top of my eggs or baked potatoes. Salsa is an amazing condiment that is packed with flavor without the fat and is also a good source of Vitamins A&C. While there are many amazing store bought brands, I decided to whip up a batch of my own that, if I do so say myself, rivals my favorite store bought brands. Since this salsa recipe is SO easy, I think it’ll definitely be a frequent flier in my house!

Easy 5 Minute Salsa

Yield: About 4 Cups

Ingredients:

1/2 of a Green Bell Pepper
1/2 of a Small Jalapeño, Seeds Removed
1/2 of a Sweet Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
One Medium Tomato
1 28 Oz Can of Tomatoes (Wegmans Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes are the best for this!)
2 Tbsp Lime Juice (1/2 – 1 lime)
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Tsp Salt

Instructions:

  1. Cut the green pepper, jalapeño pepper, onion, tomato and garlic into chunks and add to food processor.
  2. Drain the can of tomatoes and place half in the food processor. Add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar and salt.
  3. Pulse ten times. Add remaining canned tomatoes and mix on low for five seconds. Check consistency and pulse longer if you like a thinner salsa.

Store covered in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Use on everything.

5 Tips to Building A Healthier Charcuterie Board

There are very few things that I love more than a good charcuterie board. This time of year is full of gatherings and people stopping over. A charcuterie board is a simple but elegant way to feed a crowd and allow people to pick and choose items that they want to eat. While I love charcuterie, I am a firm believer that not all charcuterie boards are created equal and I have come up with five tips to help you up your charcuterie board game to make a healthier charcuterie board for your next gathering or fun, casual meal.

  1. VARIETY: With so many people who have dietary restrictions and food sensitivities, have lots of choices for everyone. Having an assortment of meat, cheese, olives, fruits and/or veggies, dips, crackers (like my absolute favorite Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Crackers that those who do and do not eat gluten love!), nuts, pretzels, bread sticks, dark chocolate, etc.
  2. HEALTHIER CONDIMENTS: Add in healthier condiments and dips to accompany the items on the charcuterie board such as mustards, hummus, yogurt based dips, homemade pesto and raw honey.
  3. BETTER MEAT CHOICES: While cured meats are inherently salty, choose options that aren’t also loaded with preservatives! Look for organic meats, meats labeled “all natural” and meats labeled “uncured” (they’re still cured, just typically in a more natural way!) when choosing your meat for charcuterie boards. Many times, prosciutto is made with just ham and salt. While these are better choices, don’t eat tons of these cured meats as the salt content is typically pretty high!
  4. BETTER FRUIT & NUT CHOICES: Use better dried fruit and nuts! If you are adding dried fruit, check the label for added sugar, oil and preservatives. If you are buying nuts, look for ones that are raw or dry roasted (roasted but using no added oil).
  5. HAVE FUN: Be creative and don’t stress about it! You can’t mess this up!

If you follow Based Wellness on Facebook or Instagram, tag me in your next charcuterie creation so I can check it out!

My Amazon Wellness Gifts Gift Guide

I shop local A LOT but I also love ordering stuff off of Amazon because it’s so convenient. I’ve rounded up a list of 15 gifts that have a wellness theme to ask for or give!

  1. Himalayan Salt Body Scrub

It feels like it’s rather hard to find products that are on the natural side even if they claim to be but this one is awesome! With ingredients that are safe, this is a great addition to a gift basket (salt scrub, journal, new pillows and a candle for a relaxation gift!), get as a stocking stuffer or tie a pretty ribbon around it as a small gift!

2. Organic Sweet Almond Oil

This is one of my favorite beauty products. This is amazing for all over body moisture for adults and babies! Skip regular scented lotions and baby oil (that is often made with mineral oil) and opt for Organic Sweet Almond Oil. Add a few drops of lavender oil for a relaxing before bed mixture.

3. Sonic Vibrating Facial Cleansing Brush

This little brush makes skincare an absolute breeze. I love this particular one because the size is perfect for travel and it comes with multiple attachments and speed settings. The price point is great too!

4. The Five Minute Journal – Guided Gratitude Journal

I love the idea of a few minutes disconnected from everything to focus on the good that is within every day. I also love actually putting pen to paper! This would be a great gift to get or give!

5. Natural Soy Candle Set

Is any gift list complete without candles? No. Absolutely not. But these candles aren’t just any candles…they’re natural candles made from soy wax which is a lot better for you to burn than some other super popular brands I won’t name.  Gift this as a set or separate them!

6. Waterpik Water Flosser

Don’t think for a minute that you’re oral health is separate from your overall health! Bad oral health and oral hygiene’s connection to other health issues is well documented. I love using a Waterpik to floss with because it gives me an I just left the dentist feeling of clean!

7. Beckham Hotel Collection Gel Pillow
We have so many pillows at my house. I thought I was losing my mind because they kept appearing but really my husband just kept buying them! We have tried so many pillows but these ones are the best and the price for two is amazing!


8. Resistance Bands


Do you know someone who is always on the go but also makes fitness a priority? These take up virtually no space at all and are perfect for a workout at home or on the go!

9. Sleep Mask

I’ve honestly never used an eye mask because whenever I’ve tried one on they’re extremely uncomfortable and it feels like I’m being blindfolded. I purchased this one for a long flight and it’s nothing short of amazing. The mask has super comfy cups (this honestly kind of looks like a mini bra) that allow for your eyelashes to have some room rather than get squished. Being able to get ample sleep is so important for good health!

10. Marbled Pouches

I love these pouches! I bought them to toss in my purse and beach bag all summer so that I could easily transfer items from one bag to another. Use this to store your supplements, your sunscreen, your lip balm or whatever else you may want to have on the go!

11. Heated MassagerEven if you or people on your list don’t have chronic pain, there will always be those days that you are a little more sore than others. This heated massager is amazing and is a great gift to give or, in my case, to even to gift to myself!

12. Organic Tea Set

Have a tea lover in your life? This is a great option so that the tea lover in your life can try a variety of teas to find their favorite!

13. Nespresso


Why am I including this? When I got my Nespsresso, I actually started drinking LESS coffee because it was single serve. This machine makes the best cup of coffee and it even came with a milk frother that works with non-dairy milks like almond milk! While I am typically against single use coffee makers (cough cough Keurigs) Nespress machines are made almost entirely from recycled products, the coffee itself is actually fair trade and sustainable and the pods are recyclable! I was and am totally sold on this product. Additionally, if you know someone or are someone who LOVES buying coffee drinks out, this makes coffeehouse quality drinks at home allowing you full control over the creamer and sugar content!

14. Spiralizer

This easy to use gadget allows any sturdy veggie to be turned into a “noodle”! Use this to make hot or cold dishes or create garnishes.

15. Yeti Water Bottle

I love a reusable water bottle. I always have one with me because I think paying for bottled water is ridiculous and single use plastic water bottles are super wasteful. Use this to keep items hot or cold for hours! If you feel like splurging on another Yeti product, this bag is amazing to pack some snacks or a lunch in or to keep in your car to keep items cold in after you go to the grocery store. As a bonus, it floats!

Savory Stuffed Squash

There is a cute little farm in the town I grew up in that, among many other things, has the most gorgeous squash. After receiving a suggestion to visit this place, I stopped by this farm stand where I was able to purchase a locally raised free range chicken, onions, potatoes, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, blue hubbard squash, butternut squash and two varieties of acorn squash I have never had – baked potato squash and mashed potato squash. These varieties, as their names suggest, have a white flesh that is less sweet than other squash varieties and seemingly a bit more starchy making them comparable to a potato. I am a potato lover so I of course had to try both of these and they were great!

If you are not able to find a baked potato squash, this recipe would be equally as amazing with the ever popular and easy to locate acorn squash.

Savory Stuffed Squash

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:
1 Baked Potato or Acorn Squash
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Bunch Tuscan Kale
1 Sweet Onion
1/3 Cup Blue Cheese
1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
Salt
Black Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry the two squash. Using a sharp knife, cut each squash in half length wise. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet. image1
  3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the two halves and use clean hands or a basting brush to distribute the oil evenly.  Season with salt and pepper and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is able to be easily pierced with a fork.  If you’re pressed for time and waiting for the squash to bake isn’t your thing, you can also check out this 10 minute microwave cooking version which is just a quick and easy shortcut!image4
  4. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Lay the cut side of each half down and slice the onion into 1/8 inch or so pieces. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Season with salt a pinch of salt and some black pepper and stir to coat. Allow the onion to cook, stirring occasionally until it become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.image2
  5. While the onion is cooking, wash your kale and peel or cut the leaves away from the hard stem, discarding the stem (or saving it for stock).image3
  6. Stack the leaves on your cutting board horizontally and begin to slice them vertically creating short little ribbons. Add the kale to the cooked down onions and stir. Allow the kale to cook for 5 minutes or until it has wilted and is soft. Turn the heat off and stir in the pecans and blue cheese.
  7. Divide the filling equally amongst the squash halves and place in the 400 degree oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the squash and cut each half in half again before serving.

If the delicious taste wasn’t reason enough, a serving of acorn squash contains about 1/3 of the daily value of fiber and is full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. On top of that, kale is incredibly rich in Vitamins A, K, C as well as Manganese.

30 Healthy Nutritionist Approved Items to Buy at Costco

Costco is DANGEROUS for me and I usually end up leaving with a cart full of items I never even knew I needed.  When we moved to a different town last year, it put some distance between the two of us. For me, Costco is not a place to simply swing by for JUST one thing (yes, I’m looking at you guy in the gym shorts who casually went to Costco for a lone rotisserie chicken), but it’s an event, especially if you do something totally outlandish like go without a list. Even though there are just two of us in my house and I buy most of my fresh produce elsewhere, there are plenty of great items and deals to be had in bulk at Costco that will work for a household of just one or two!

Below, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Costco picks for you guys!

1. Kirkland Organic Greek Yogurt

Costco Kirkland Organic Greek Yogurt
I love this stuff and I use it for so many things! I use it in place of both mayo and sour cream, I use it for a snack with berries and ground flax seed and I even use it in things like tomato soup to add creaminess.

2. Kirkland Cage Free Egg Whites

Costco Kirkland Egg Whites
These are SO convenient and I am not wasting yolks when I use this product. I use these for omelets that I will eat for any meal, for make-ahead breakfast cups and for the rare times I bake and the recipe calls for egg.

3. Kirkand Organic Hummus Single Serve Cups

Costco Kirkland Organic Hummus
These are convenient and delicious. These are a lunchtime and road trip staple in our house! I love these single serve containers because you don’t have to worry about figuring out a serving size and since they are individually packaged, they stay fresh longer!

4. Kirkland Organic Hard Boiled Eggs

Costco Kirkland Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
It does not get easier than this! Use these as a quick grab and go breakfast or addition to a lunch, an addition to a quinoa and greens bowl, an addition to a ramen bowl or to make egg salad.

5. Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

Costco Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
THESE. These crackers are everything. They are delicious, filling and made with great ingredients. These are gluten-free but they’re still a real crowd pleaser, everyone loves them! These big boxes are way cheaper than the smaller single boxes sold at grocery stores and they make for an amazing charcuterie or lunch box addition and go great with a cup of soup!

6. Suja Organic Cold-Pressed Uber Greens

Costco Suja Organic Uber Greens
I am almost always team smoothie over team juice because juice lacks the fiber smoothies have. This juice has a reasonable amount of sugar per serving (4 grams per 8 oz whereas there are 23 grams of sugar in 8 oz of orange juice). I like to have this juice as a pick-me-up and I also really love mixing it with the Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and a pinch of sea salt to make a natural electrolyte drink.

7. Harmless Harvest Harmless Coconut Water

Costco Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
I rarely consume drinks with even natural sugars and that includes coconut water. When I do consume coconut water, this is my favorite coconut water. The taste is amazing and it is a great component to a natural electrolyte drink. While it contains 14 grams of added sugar per 8 oz serving, it also contains 15% daily value of potassium. The price of a pack of this water at Costco can’t be beat!

8. Tasty Bite Vegetable Tikka Masala/Madras Lentils

Costco Organic Tasty Bite Madras Lentils
These super flavorful vegetarian options are also gluten free and are made up of real, natural ingredients. Pair with brown rice or cauliflower rice (sometimes I mix the two!) and bulk it up with fresh or frozen veggies for the easiest lunch and dinner ever!

9. The Good Bean Organic Sea Salt Chickpea Snacks

Costco The Good Bean Organic Chickpeas Sea Salt
Use these on a salad, on top of soup or eat them plain as a great snack option for on the go. Add these in to a homemade trail mix for a satisfying salty crunch that is good for you! One serving contains 20% daily value of fiber, 12% daily value of protein and 8% daily value of iron!

10. Volupta Organic Dried Goji Berries

Costco Volupta Organic Goji Berries
Y’all know I love the facts and it is a fact that goji berries are packed with antioxidants. Add goji berries to salads, on yogurt and in oatmeal. This brand is organic and contains no added sugars.

11. Banza Chickpea Rotini

Costco Banza Rotini Chickpea
This option is great for those who may be obtaining protein from plant based sources as it contains protein rich chick peas as well as pea protein. Use this in place of tradiational pasta and you will have a hearty, filling meal. One serving of this pasta contains 14 grams of protein and 30% daily value of fiber.

12. Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti

Costco Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti
Packed with even more nutrients than the Banza Rotini and made with just ONE ingredient, the Black Bean Spaghetti is an amazing choice. This spaghetti has a whopping 25 grams of protein per serving (which is 50% of the daily value!!) and also contains 48% of the daily value of calcium, 36% of the daily vale of potassium, 32% of the daily value of iron and 15% of the daily value of calcium. Use this hot with tomato sauce as you would regular spaghetti, toss it with some olive oil and cheese and broccoli or use it as a base for pasta salad or pad thai! If you want your meal to go farther, use half black bean spaghetti and half zucchini noodles!

13. Organic Deglet Noor Pitted Dates

Costco Deglet Noor Organic Dried Dates
These are an awesome snack that are full of tons of natural sugar. Eat one or two of these with a smear of nut butter, a sprinkle of chia seed and a pinch of unsweetened coconut as a sweet treat or use these in the base of a recipe such as my Cacao Bites. Add one to a smoothie for sweetness!

14. Whisps Parmesean Cheese Crisps

Costco Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps
These are ridiculously tasty. While you could toss them on a salad or soup, I just eat them plain. Cheese that doesn’t need to be refrigerated? Yes, please! These make a great road trip snack, boat snack or addition to a charcuterie board.

15. Skinny Pop Single Serving Bags

Costco Skinny Pop
A super simple snack with just popcorn, oil and salt these single size packs are great for on the go.

16. Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries

Costco Driscoll's Organic Raspberries
While I don’t usually buy produce at Costco unless I am feeding a crowd, I can singlehandedly take down one of their large containers of berries before they go bad! They tend to rotate deals on berries so I leave with either blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries depending on what they have a good deal on.

17. Whole Organic Chickens “Fryers”

Costco Fresh Organic Chickens
Roast one of these in the oven for dinner and use the leftover meat for shredded tacos or chicken salad (made with Greek yogurt, of course!). Boil the bones with celery, onion and carrots for super flavorful broth to use in soup or to cook your rice or quinoa in.

18. Good Foods Organic Avocado Mash 90 Calorie Packs/Good Foods Tableside Chunky Guacamole

Costco Good Foods Organic Avocado Mash Guacamole

Costco Good Foods Tableside Chunky Guacamole
This avocado mash is perfect for veggie dipping or toast smearing and this guacamole is my absolute favorite store bought brand and makes any burrito bowl or taco that much better with no effort!

19. Kirkland Signature Organic Blueberries

Costco Kirkland Signature Organic Blueberries
Defrost some of these to use in banana egg white pancakes, plain yogurt, in oatmeal or in smoothies.

20. Crepini Egg Thins

Costco Crepini Egg Thins
These are amazing to use in place of tortillas or other wraps. These are great filled with taco filling like beans and cheese, banana and peanut butter or other sandwich toppings!

21. Mini Babybel Cheese

Costco Mini Babybel Original Cheese
Single serving cheeses that are already portioned out are great for busy lives and great for portion control.

22. Imperial Garden Organic Edamame

Costco Organic Imperial Garden Edamame
Frozen edamame is a great snack or appetizer. Remove some of the soy beans from their shells and use in soups, salads or add to a side dish.

23. Tropicland Organic Riced Cauliflower

Costco Tropicland Organic Riced Cauliflower
Frozen riced cauliflower is so convenient and so much easier than making your own. Use this in place of or mixed half and half with regular rice. Use it in rice and beans or fried rice, the possibilities are honestly endless.

24. Bibigo Organic Chicken Potstickers

Costco Bibigo Organic Potstickers
A super easy meal option that combines good ingredients mixed together inside of a little dough pocket. Even as a vegetarian I keep these on hand because people love them!

25. Navitas Organics Organic Cacao Powder

Costco Navitas Organic Cacao Powder
OHMYGOD. This stuff is DELISH. Cacao powder is the raw version of cocoa powder and it is packed with way more nutrients that cocoa powder. I use this cacao powder with dates in my Cacao Bites as mentioned in number 13. I also use it to make the creamiest hot coco and in any recipe place of regular coco powder. It is so much richer than regular coco powder and it is packed with may more nutrients!

26. Nature’s Intent Organic Chia Seeds

Nature's Intent Organic Chia Seeds
These tiny little guys are full of nutrients. They contain 11 grams of fiber and are packed with magnesium and phosphorus. Use chia seeds in whatever you are eating from chia pudding, chia jam or in baked goods.

27. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts

Costco Manitoba Organic Hemp Hearts
Hemp hearts are packed with protein, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Use these in smoothies, to top a bowl of yogurt and fruit, in scrambled eggs, on top of salads or mixed into your favorite pasta dish.

28. Kirkland Signature Organic Quinoa

Costco Kirkland Organic Quinoa
This is a great pantry staple. Use it in side dishes, main dishes, and even sweeter breakfast dishes. Freeze cooled, cooked quinoa in ziplock bags for super quick meals!

29. Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock

Costco Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock
When you don’t have time to make your own, use this to make soups, risottos, and use in place of water to cook rice, savory oatmeal or quinoa.

30. Del Monte Fresh Fruit Bowl

Costco Del Monte Fruit Bowl
This is great for parties and group events but is also great to have already cut up fruit in the fridge and with the variety, it is likely there will be something everyone likes!

The Absolute Best Cowboy Caviar – A Healthy and Versatile Recipe!

A dip full of veggies has to be healthy, right?! This is NOT the case when you LOAD it up with sugar as is the case in some cowboy caviar recipes I have seen! This quick and easy recipe uses a little bit of agave and is loaded with flavor that is only enhanced the longer it is allowed to marinate for. 

IMG_3114

Cowboy Caviar 

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Rest Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:
1 Red Onion, Minced
1 Green Pepper, Diced
1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 15 Oz Can Chick Peas or Black Eyed Peas, Rinsed & Drained
1 15 Oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed & Drained
2 Stalks Celery, Diced
1 Lb Tomatoes, Diced 
1.5 Cups of Corn Kernals, Cooked
Optional: Bunch of Cilantro, Parsley or Scallions, Minced

Dressing:
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Sea Salt, More to Taste
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar or Sweetener of Choice
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: Juice From 1/2 Lime

Instructions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients for the dressing and slowly whisk in the vinegar, agave and oil. Mix well and set aside while you prepare the salad. 
  2. Combine the red onion, green pepper, red pepper, chick peas or black eyed peas, black beans, celery, tomatoes and corn in a bowl. Add the option herbs if you are using them.
  3. Add the dressing and stir well. 
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight if possible, the longer this sits, the better it gets! 

IMG_3117

This cowboy caviar recipe is one of my favorites because it is so versatile. It works well served as a side dish (pair with grilled seafood or meat for a perfect summer meal!), a dip with crispy corn chips, as a topping on tacos, with eggs for breakfast and even on top of some crisp greens as a salad. Stir in some cooked quinoa to the cowboy caviar and you have a super easy weekday bring to work lunch. If you don’t like chick peas or black eyed peas, double up on black beans or add in pinto or kidney beans!