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.


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.

Winter Kohlrabi Salad

Winter Kohlrabi Salad

Try this delicious and healthy seasonal salad with all the crunch and flavor you’re craving!


  • 1 medium purple or white kohlrabi
  • 1 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale
  • ¼ head red cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • juice of half an orange
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave (optional)
  • salt to taste


Shred or julienne kohlrabi, the skin can be eaten! Add thinly sliced kale, cabbage, almonds, and sesame seeds. In a small blender, add all dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour over veggies and massage the dressing into the veggies for a few minutes. Allow salad to marinate for at least 1 hour for best flavor. Salad stores really well in the fridge for 2-3 days!

*Not sure what kohlrabi is? Kohlrabi is a vegetable in the brassica family, meaning it is related to broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Brassicas are cruciferous vegetables that are known for their protective qualities against cancer.

The vegetable looks like a root but it actually grows above the ground. Its flavor and texture are very similar to broccoli stalks. This vegetable is very hardy and can be grown in Reno winters. It actually prefers cold weather! Check out this picture of a freshly harvested purple kohlrabi from my 2018 winter garden.


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

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.

Recipes – Eggplant Pie

Eggplant Pie

Cooler weather has us reaching for comfort food, and this lightened up lower-carb version of Eggplant Parmesan (or Eggplant Pie as Samira calls it) has us ready to go home and cook!

Don’t worry, this isn’t some weird way of sneaking vegetables into your dessert. This eggplant pie is a perfect side dish. Warm, savory, and full of nutrients!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium/large eggplants, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • cheese for topping (mozzarella)

Preheat oil in a small pan. Saute onion and garlic on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside. In a large pot, cover egg plant with water, only covering half-way. Bring to a boil and simmer until all water is evaporated. Using a potato masher, mash egg plant until creamy. Add sauteed onions and garlic, basil, and Parmesan. Mix well and remove from heat. Mix in one raw egg.

In a 10-inch pie dish, spoon egg plant mixture and smooth the top. Top with tomato slices and cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy with your favorite protein and a side salad. Yum!

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