Salad Creations + Italian Roasted Garlic Cloves

I like big salads and I cannot lie.  Like, seriously.  The bigger the salad, the happier I am.

And I’m not talking boring old salads.  I like to dress those things up.  Salads are an excellent way to fill up with a ton of veggies and they are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I know, I’ve had one for each meal. Salad Creations + Italian Roasted Garlic Cloves | Life Healthfully Lived Continue reading

How To Eat More Vegetables


I can bet that you have been told that you need to eat more vegetables.  It seems to be the first thing that comes out of peoples mouths when anything remotely close to eating healthier is mentioned.  Eat more fruits and vegetables!  In all honesty, it’s good advice even if it tends to be overstated.  The problem is that the advice stops there.  We’re told to eat more vegetables but not necessarily how to do it.  A lot of people have bad associations with vegetables.  Some were forced to eat them as kids or were served mushy tasteless dishes that made them believe all vegetables taste the same, gross.  Maybe you want to eat more vegetables but you have no clue how to go about doing that.  My post today is going to focus on simple ways  to incorporate more vegetables into your meals.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, tasteless, or boring and the more that you eat vegetables the more you will come to love them as much as I do!

Roast Them Up

This is my absolute favorite way to prepare vegetables.  It’s an amazing way to add great flavor to your vegetables and it works on virtually any vegetable.  I roast everything from sweet potatoes to zucchini, cabbage and beets.  If I can slice it up and add a little olive oil to it, I can roast it.  If you have a hard time enjoying the taste of vegetables, this cooking method is for you.  Simply preheat your oven to 400-425 and prepare a baking pan with a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat.  Then take your vegetable and cut it up into bite size chunks and place them in a large bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of oil (I alternate between olive oil and coconut oil) and whatever seasonings you like (try Italian blends, curry powder, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, or even just salt and pepper) and mix everything together.  Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the pan and roast for 20-45 minutes depending on the vegetable you are using.  I usually rotate the pan halfway through the cooking process.  Once you start to get a nice brown edge, your vegetables are done!  You can eat them as is, add to salads, or stir fry’s.  Roasted vegetables also keep really well in the fridge and make great leftovers.

Make Soup or Stew

Soup is another easy way to get in more vegetables as well as large quantities of vegetables.  You can add vegetables to any soup you’re making and bulk it up with extra nutrition and flavor.  You could puree a variety of root vegetables, like sweet potatoes or parsnips, and after you have roasted them, add either broth or water or even almond milk to make a creamy soup.  Or you could blend up a variety of vegetables from your garden like tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini and make a refreshing gazpacho on a hot summer day.

Sauces and Dips

This is another favorite way to add more vegetables to my meals.  Make sauces and dips out of them!  You can make a simple homemade salsa with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro.  Or maybe you’re a guacamole fan.  Try making your own homemade spaghetti sauce and besides the tomatoes, add in zucchini and carrots.  You can even make creamy sauces with cauliflower or try a vegetable based spread like baba ghanoush.  Kids especially like dipping things in sauces and this is a really good way to get a little extra nutrition into their meal without fighting over broccoli.

Drink Them

While I think that juicing is a great thing, I am also a big fan of eating my meals.  But I know that for some people juicing their vegetables is what works best for them due to time constraints or they really can’t handle the taste of eating vegetables.  If this sounds like you, try juicing your vegetables or adding them to smoothies.  Leafy greens are very easy to add into your drinks and as long as you add some fruits like apples or pears, you don’t have to feel like you’re drinking grass.  If you have a juicer, you can juice pretty much any vegetable quickly.  I like the combination of carrots, beets, spinach, apples, and a little bit of ginger, but get creative and see what flavors you like.  Remember though, if you can, it’s better to eat your vegetables so that you can get all the fiber and nutrients that fruit and vegetables have to offer.  Sometimes, just drinking juice can leave you feeling hungrier sooner than eating those same foods would have.


I know this one sounds obvious and is probable one of the least favorite ways for people to get their vegetables in but salads don’t have to be boring or taste yucky.  There are so many ways to spruce up a salad, like adding more vegetables, dried fruits, nuts or seeds, herbs, and topping it all with homemade dressing.  Salads are a great way to get in a TON of vegetables into one meal as well as a great way to use up all the odd leftovers you have in your fridge.  Start with a base of some type of leafy green (think outside the romaine and iceberg box and try kale, arugala, collard, watercress, or spinach), and add whatever you want.  Try leftover cooked chicken or fish, roasted sweet potatoes or cauliflower, raw almonds or pistachios, dried (and unsweetened) cranberries or goji berries, add pumpkin or sunflower seeds for a little extra crunch.  And the dressing options are endless and just as simple to make.  Give salads a chance and you might just fall in love with them.

Eating more vegetables shouldn’t make you want to run screaming to your nearest bakery and shove as many donuts as you can into your mouth.  Incorporating these healthy foods into your meals is simple and only takes a little bit of effort and creativity.  So now that you know what to do, go eat your vegetables!


How To Dress A Salad

oil and vinegar

No, I’m not talking about putting little shirts and pants on your lettuce leaves.  I’m not that weird.  Ok, yes I am but that is beside the point.  Salads are a great way to get in a ton of vegetables and there are endless varieties of salads.  Even with so many different combinations, people still find salads boring.  Their solution to fix boring salads is to top them off with dressings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love dressing and probably have consumed a mind boggling amount of ranch dressing.  Store bought dressings though are LOADED with chemicals and preservatives and a ton of other not good for you ingredients.  Go ahead and get that bottle of dressing out of the fridge and read the ingredient list.  I’m going to bet there are some things in there that you can’t pronounce.  That’s no good.  Fear not! You do not have to give your dressings, you just need to go about them in a different way.  Homemade dressing is super simple to make and so much better for you than store bought.  In fact, you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make your own simple dressing.  I’m going to show you how to make a simple dressing and give you a few variations so that you can make your own delicious salad dressing!

The basic components of a salad dressing are simple.  Oil and some kind of vinegar.  Your ratio of oil to vinegar can be made to your preference, but I tend to like a little bit more vinegar than oil in my dressing.  Now there are a variety of different oils that you can use to make your dressing beyond the obvious olive oil.  I also like avocado oil, flaxseed oil, and I have even tried walnut oil which was pretty tasty.  You want to stick with lighter tasting oils since you won’t be cooking the oil.  Oils like peanut, coconut, or palm oil will have a little bit stronger taste and could overpower the other flavors of the dressing.  Once you pick the type of oil you want to use you can pick a vinegar to go with it.  The three that I use the most are apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and white wine vinegar.  I’ve also made some dressings with rice vinegar.  There are many types of vinegars out there, so pick ones that you like the most.  Once you’ve chosen an oil and a vinegar, it’s time to add some seasonings.  The sky is the limit here so use your favorites or whatever you have on hand.

Ok, that is the bare bones of a homemade salad dressing.  Tasty for sure, but a little boring.  Good thing it is easy to come up with a variety of different dressings to top your salad.  The easiest way to make most of these dressings is to place all the ingredients in a jar and shake them up.  That way they are easy to store and you can add to them whenever you need to.  Some of the dressings I’m going to share need a blender or food processor, but I’ll make a note if they do.  Here are a few dressings that I have made myself:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar – 1 tsp oregano – 1 tsp basil – pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil – 1/3 cup rice vinegar – 2 tbsp lime juice – 1 tsp cilantro – 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed oil – 1/3 cup white wine vinegar – 2 tsp italian seasonings – pepper to taste

These are quick and easy to make and will keep in your fridge for a few weeks.  Now, perhaps you are more a fan of creamy dressings (ranch lovers unite!) and these oil and vinegar combos are not doing it for you.  Not to worry, there are plenty of options when it comes to homemade creamy dressings.  These dressings will need to be made in a blender or food processor to get the right consistency.

  • 1/2 avocado, diced – 1/4 cup tahini – 3-4 tbsp lime juice – 1 tsp cilantro – 1 tsp chili powder – salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter – 1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos – 2 cloves garlic, minced – 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream – 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter – 2 cloves garlic – 1-2 tsp smoked paprika – salt and pepper to taste

You can also do a very simple herb and oil dressing.  Using 1/4 to 1/2 cup oil of your choice, blend in a few handfuls of your favorite herbs, and a few tbsp of mustard (I like spicy brown) until you have a pourable consistency.

There are so many options when it comes to homemade salad dressings.  Get creative and try making some of your own concoctions.  Use pureed beans to get a creamy, hummus like dressing or go super simple with just a little oil and vinegar.  Find flavors that you enjoy and will have you devouring salads by the plateful!  Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  More often than not, it’s better to just keep it simple!