Batch Cooking Beans


Making your own beans from scratch/dry may seem like a time-consuming task. Though it may take up to 24 hrs from start the finish, most of the work is hands-off and totally worth it!

Canned beans are a great option if you’re in a pinch. However most canned beans have other added ingredients and preservatives such as salt, sugar, calcium chloride, and calcium disodium (what is that??). Plus, why buy a dollar can of beans when you can make 4 times the amount of beans for the same price or maybe even less?!

Here is how I make my beans from scratch!


(recipe makes about 5 cups of cooked beans)

1 lb beans of choice (kidney, black, pinto, red, chickpeas, lima, fava)



Soak dried beans of choice in room temperature water for 12 hours or overnight.

Drain and rinse beans. Place in a thick pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours on medium-low heat or until soft. Adding water as needed. Drain and rinse beans again.

Spread beans evenly on a large cookie sheet and allow to cool and air dry for about an hour. Try to keep beans from overlapping. After one hour, place entire cookie sheet with beans in freezer for 2-3 hours (this allows for the beans to freeze individually instead of in a large block). Using a spatula, scrape frozen beans off of cookie sheet and transfer to a freezer-safe ziplock or container. Work quickly as beans can start to thaw.

Note: When boiling beans, you can add herbs and spices to give flavor, such as garlic, onion, cumin, rosemary, sage, thyme etc. If you would like to add some salt, add at in the last 15 minutes of boiling, as salt can prevent beans from cooking all the way through.


Seasonal Gardening with Samira


Get the most out of your gardening year by planting your garden according to the season. Knowing what and when to plant certain fruits and vegetables can have you harvesting food in every season of the year!

Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Strawberries

These three are the first to start providing in the year. These plants are perennials that go dormant during the coldest months of the year but begin to thrive as soon as the ground begins to thaw. Get these planted in your garden ASAP, as soon as the ground is thawed and soft. They will produce more and more every year! No need to replant!

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, etc (Brassicas)

The brassicas belong to the cabbage family. These can tolerate freezing temperatures in the early spring. Get seedlings transplanted in late February to early March for a mid to late May harvest. These plants actually prefer cold weather as hot temperature can cause them to flower and go to seed.

Peas, Beans, Carrots, Radishes, and Lettuces

Another spring crop that prefers cool weather. Directly sow you seeds in thawed, evenly moist soil in mid March through late April . These will germinate within 2 weeks and be ready to harvest by late May through June, before the weather gets too hot.

Potatoes, Onions, and Corn

Get these planted in early April as they need a long growing season. You won’t be harvesting these until end of August to early September, but the longer they are in the ground the better.  A light frost won’t harm them.

Squash, Peppers, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cucumbers

These summer vegetables love heat and do not tolerate cold weather. Wait until the end of May or early June to get them in the ground. Peppers are especially sensitive to temperatures below 50 so wait a little longer to plant your peppers.

Cabbage Family

Time to get your winter veggies in the ground again so they can get established before the days become too short. The cabbage family will survive through the winter and grow slowly but you can get harvests as early as January if you get your seedlings in the ground by end of September.


Pop these in the ground no later than Halloween for a mid-summer harvest! Garlic needs to establish it’t roots over the winter and a cold snap to grow big bulbs!

There you have it! Vegetables for every season! HAPPY GARDENING!!!

Samira Bouldt, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

Whole Grain Sourdough Crackers


Ever thought about making your own crackers? It’s a lot easier than it seems and its a great way to have total control of the ingredients inside! Plus, lower phytate levels due to fermentation make sourdough bread and crackers easier to digest and absorb minerals! Sourdough also contains natural prebiotics and probiotics and may even help break down gluten which allows some gluten sensitive folks to be able to enjoy sourdough items! Yay! So many benefits!

Read on as Samira shares her go-to sourdough cracker recipe below.  Yum!

Whole Grain Sourdough Crackers


  • 1 cup (180g) “fed” or “unfed” sourdough starter
  • 1 packed cup (150g) whole grain flour
  • ¼ cup (70g) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Optional Ingredients (up to ¼ cup total):

  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sunflower/pumpkin seeds
  • Slivered/chopped nuts

Optional Seasonings (to taste):

  • Granulated garlic
  • Granulated onion


Preheat oven to 300° F. Whisk sourdough starter with water and olive oil. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and optional seasonings. Mix until just combined, but do not over mix. Take dough and roll out as thin possible on silicone mat or parchment paper that fits two standard sized cookie sheets. Make sure to sprinkle flour on top of dough to prevent from sticking. Using a rolling pizza cutter, cut into 1”x 1” squares. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Turn off oven and allow crackers to completely cool INSIDE of the oven. Store in a jar or glass container to prevent the crackers from breaking.

Samira Bouldt, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

3 Ways to Save on Groceries & Eat Healthier

Don’t break the bank by choosing to eat better and more wholesome foods. More importantly, don’t let large grocery bills keep you from feeding your family with good, nourishing food. Grocery stores as well as food producers have become more health conscious and put out more products that are made with better ingredients. Though these better options can be very convenient, the bills can add up quickly.

You can offset these costs by choosing to make some of your weekly staples at home. A dollar saved here and there can really add up over the course of a week, month, or even year!

In our household, our lunches consist of a lot of sandwiches, peanut butter, almond butter, and granola bars to keep us energized.

Let’s do a little accounting….(Depending on where you shop prices may differ slightly, however the prices listed below are the average prices in your most common grocery store or value supermarket)

Comparison #1 – Bread:

1 loaf of whole grain seeded sandwich bread                               $4.99


1 loaf of homemade whole grain seeded sandwich bread                      $1.23


13.4oz Flour                                                                                      $0.66

10g Yeast                                                                                           $0.09

7g Salt                                                                                                 $0.05

2oz Flax seeds                                                                                   $0.15

1oz Pumpkin seeds                                                                           $0.35


Comparison #2 – Fruit & Nut Bars:

5-pack 1.7oz natural fruit and nut bars                                         $5.00 or $1.00/ea


5 1.7oz homemade fruit and nut bars                                            $2.50


(This makes 24 1.7oz bars)

200g rolled oats                                                                                $0.68

625g pitted dates                                                                              $9.77

50g peanuts                                                                                       $0.21

100g agave                                                                                        $0.89

100g quinoa                                                                                      $0.40

Total                                                                                                   $12.02

Price per bar                                                                                     $0.50


Comparison $3 – Nut Butters:

16oz jar of natural unsalted peanut butter                                 $3.29


16oz bulk unsalted dry roasted peanuts                                       $1.88


16oz unsalted natural almond butter                                             $6.37


16oz bulk unsalted raw almonds                                                    $4.60

Total cost of grocery store products                                          $26.60            


Total cost of equivalent homemade products                         $10.38

Total savings                                                                                       $16.22


Let’s say you consume these items in 2 weeks (our average for a 2-person household), this adds up $422 in savings per year!

If this doesn’t convince you to try making some of your weekly staples at home, maybe these recipes will…

Homemade Whole Grain Seeded Sandwich Bread


When making bread, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale.


  • 3 1/8 cups whole grain flour (375g)
  • 1 1/8 cups room temperature water (272g)
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast (10g)
  • 2 tsp salt (7g)
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (56g)
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds (1 oz)


Mix flour and water until well combined. Cover and rest for 30 minutes – 2 hours, the longer the better! Add remaining ingredients and knead by hand for 12-15 minutes or by mixer on speed 2 for 5 minutes. Cover and let double in size for 45 minutes.

Note: The temperature at everyone’s house is a little different, therefore the time it takes for your bread to double in size may also vary.

Preheat oven to 425.

Transfer dough onto floured surface and punch down to flatten into a square. Roll dough into a smooth 3”x 8” log and place seam-side-down into a greased 5” x 9” bread pan. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes until ½ above pan edge.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then drop temperature to 375 for another 25 minutes.

Note: Oven temps also vary, bread is done when golden brown all around.

Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.


Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars



  • 2 cups pitted dates (625g)
  • 2 cups rolled oats (200g)
  • ¼ cup peanuts or preferred nuts/seeds (50g)
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (100g)
  • ½ cup agave (100g)


In a food processor, process dates until sticky paste forms into a ball. In a separate bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix oats, nuts/seeds, and quinoa. Wet hands and break up date paste into smaller chunks over dry ingredients. Pour agave over all ingredients and mix using paddle attachment or hands until fully mixed. If using hand, make sure keep slightly wet to repel the sticky dates. Remove dough and press into a 9”x 13” baking sheet line with parchment paper or plastic wrap until evenly dispersed to all corners of pan. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut into 24 bars. These bars don’t need refrigeration, however they keep their shape better when cold.


One-Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter or Almond Butter


Peanut Butter:


  • 4 cups (1lb) unsalted, dry roasted peanuts


In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree peanuts until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 5 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it.

Almond Butter:


  • 4 cups (1lb) raw almonds


Preheat over to 350. Place almonds on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, mixing/flipping almonds half way through baking time. Allow almonds to cool completely.

**Tip: You can use roasted almonds to save time, however roasted almonds are typically a little more expensive that raw almonds**

In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree cooled almonds until smooth and creamy. This can take up to 7-10 minutes, depending on how smooth you prefer it. Stop food processor after 5 minutes and allow to rest before resuming.

Samira Bouldt, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

kNOw Fad Nutrition


As quoted by Michael Pollan, bestselling author and huge source of influence in the world of health and food, we are living in the “the age of nutritionism”.  There is a recent preoccupation with only eating food for it’s specific nutritional properties, function, or health claim – rather than simply just eating real food.

With the uprising epidemic of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc., it is perfectly understandable why this diet mentality shift is taking place. People are beginning to realize that the food they are consuming is making them sick instead of giving them life.

The food and diet industries have taken advantage of this and have flooded the markets with books and products promoting weight loss and health claims, many of which are not founded by scientific evidence. It is easy to get lost in all the craze with so many different fad diets being introduced… paleo, low-carb, vegan, atkins, plant-based, ketogenic, gluten-free, carnivore, raw, the list goes on.

I am not here to tell you that these diets are good or bad. I’m here to de-clutter your brain, to give you the unbiased evidence-based facts, and to make things a little more simple when it comes to eating FOOD.

Create energy balance. Eat whole foods. Eat your veggies.

Simple, right? Not so much, let’s dig a little deeper into what this means.

Energy balance is achieved when the number of calories eaten is equal to the number of calories burned. Calories IN = Calories OUT. The time of day, type of food, or even nutritional properties do not affect your weight. Whatever “diet” you embark on, it will always come down to energy balance. Want to lose weight? Create a calorie deficit. This means burning more calories than you consume. Want to gain weight? Consume more calories than you use.

Eat whole foods. The more refined and processed a food is, the further it is from it’s natural state. Nature has a magical way of creating the perfect food. When you take away parts of it or change its composition, you are taking away from its perfect balance.

Eat your veggies. We all know this one. The USDA has been providing research founded, evidence based dietary guidance for over 100 years now, and even though much has changed over the years and new conflicting research surfaces constantly, one thing has not changed; vegetables are good for you. The USDA recommends eating AT LEAST 5 servings of vegetables per day.

These three facts are timeless. Take this bit of information and use it as your new platform to educate yourself on the facts, not the fads.

And one last tip from me, enjoy the foods you eat.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”- Michael Pollan

Samira Dilles, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.

Our kNOw Fad Nutrition course which goes more in depth about the above principles runs from February 11-April 1, 2019. Contact our nutrition team at 775.770.3632  or to learn more or to sign up!

Good-For-Your-Gut Hot Cocoa


The snow has hit the valley floor! Let’s welcome the season with a cup of hot cocoa that has a gut-healthy twist! Hot cocoa tends to have quite a bit of sugar and a whole lot of calories. This hot cocoa is low in calories and high in protein, so get your blender and whip up this frothy cup of comfort in less than 10 minutes!

Makes 2 servings


  • 1 tbsp collagen or unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or ¼ tsp stevia (for no sugar)
  • 2 cups hot but not boiling almond milk or water



Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. The proteins in the collagen/gelatin mixed with the healthy fats of the almond butter will make a wonderful foam that will have you skipping the whipped cream on top!

Recipes developed by Samira Dilles, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. For more information on nutrition, recipes, and meal prep, please contact our Nutrition team at 775.770.3632.

Creamy One-Pot Squash Sweet Potato Soup


The cold weather has arrived and what better way to warm yourself up than with this fall-themed soup. A perfect blend of seasonal herbs and veggies to hit all the right spots! This is a perfectly light soup to make after a weekend of feasting!

Creamy One-Pot Squash Sweet Potato Soup

(serves 2)


  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha)
  • 1 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pumpkin seeds for topping (optional)



In a medium sized pot, preheat oil with whole garlic cloves on medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add squash and sweet potato and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.

Add broth or water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (can also be done in a blender).

Serve warm, topped with pumpkin seeds and more parmesan if desired.