Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quinoa

Quinoa is my favorite grain!  It is a complete protein that pairs well with any dish.  It is light, fluffy and absorbs flavor well.  Make this dish once and you will be addicted to quinoa.  Once you try quinoa you never go back!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups low sodium broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 sprigs of green onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, diced

Directions
  1. If quinoa is not prewashed, be sure to rinse it with water
  2. Sauté shallot, spring onion and red pepper in olive oil on medium heat until shallot is translucent
  3. Add quinoa and toast the grain for 5 minutes
  4. Add broth and bring to boil
  5. Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes (or until broth is fully absorbed and grain pops to produce a white tail)
  6. Add in pepper and fresh basil
  7. Serve warm
1 cup of cooked quinoa makes about 5 servings

Health Benefits of Quinoa

  • Quinoa is a whole grain and considered a good source of fiber.  Each serving has 5 grams of fiber.
  • Quinoa is a complete protein with all eight essential amino acids - great for vegetarians and vegans!  It has more protein than other grains.
  • Quinoa is a good source of folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and many phytochemicals.
Where can I find quinoa?
It is widely available and can be found in most grocery stores typically near rice and other grains.  Can’t find it?  Just ask someone to please point you toward the best grain out there. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Berry Vanilla Smoothie

Smoothies are a refreshing way to start the day or refuel after a workout.  Here is my most basic and favorite kind...

Ingredients

Directions
  1. Add all ingredients into blender
  2. Mix until smooth – add more ice to make it thicker and more milk to help thin it out if needed

Health Benefits
  • This breakfast-in-a-blender provides only 209 calories and provides loads of nutrients including one serving of fruit and 15 grams of protein!
  • Optional boost: Add 1 tbsp. ground flax seed for added fiber and some heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids (which helps prevent blood clots).  1 tbsp has 40 calories and 2 grams of fiber.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Garlic Hummus

This healthy appetizer is always a crowd pleaser.  Serve with pita chips or fresh, crunchy veggies like carrots, radishes, celery, red peppers or cucumbers.

Ingredients
  • 2 15 oz. cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1-cup canola oil (the more you use the creamier the consistency)
  • 5 garlic cloves and/or garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp sesame tahini
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Black pepper to taste
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
To turn this into Roasted Red Pepper Hummus simply sauté one red bell pepper with extra virgin olive oil until soft and add everything in the pan (including the oil) to the food processor.  Blend with original ingredients.

Directions
  1. Rinse chickpeas in water and add to food processor
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Health Benefits
The star of this dish, the chickpea, has it all!  It is a legume, which means it contains protein, fiber and complex carbs.  Plus, it is low in fat and contains no cholesterol.  This dish will digest slowly and can be filling so in addition to making a great appetizer, it can be used as a spread on sandwiches.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lean 'n Green Smoothie

Honeydew is the sweetest of all the melons.  This recipe balances the sweetness of the honeydew with the tartness of kiwifruit and tanginess of a granny smith apple to create a refreshing and crisp tasting smoothie.  It is full of mouthwatering flavor and boasts a whole lot of nutrition too!

Ingredients
  • ½ honeydew melon
  • 2 kiwis
  • ¼ Granny Smith apple
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Preparation
  1. Rinse the kiwi with water and peel the fuzzy skin away by cutting off the top and bottom ends and then peeling down the sides with a vegetable peeler or knife 
  2. Wash the Granny Smith apple and then cut into quarters, remove seeds (leave skin on)
  3. Wash the honeydew in warm water before cutting to get rid of any impurity on the rind that might be carried from the knife blade to the flesh.  Cut the honeydew in half, remove seeds and cut each half into fourths. Using a knife, separate the edible melon from the rind
  4. Combine all fruit in food processor with ice and serve immediately*
  5. Garnish drink with thin apple slice (optional)

Health Benefits
  • 1 cup of honeydew offers 100 percent of the RDA for vitamin C and is a good source of potassium. They have high water content and are relatively low in calories
  • Kiwifruit is available year-round and has 140 percent of the RDA for vitamin C
  • Granny Smith apples are available year-round and are a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C
Did you know? You can eat the fuzzy skin on the outside of the kiwifruit. The skin is very thin and just needs to be rinsed and rubbed lightly to dry. Then, cut in quarters like an orange and enjoy - skin and all!

*Note: This smoothie is made best in a food processor instead of a blender.  In a processor, the tiny seeds of the kiwi will remain whole, while in a blender the seeds give the drink an unpleasantly bitter taste.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No-Bake 10-Minute Cookies

Do you find it impossible to create a healthy and satisfying dessert during a busy work week?  This no-bake (yes, no oven needed) recipe makes it possible. 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup milk or milk alternative (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate powder (from hot cocoa mix)
  • Cinnamon and Stevia sweetener to taste
  • 1 cup quick cook oats (not old fashion oats)
  • 2-3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Directions
  • Minute 1: Bring milk to boil on stovetop
  • Minute 2: Add peanut butter, chocolate powder, cinnamon and sweetener and stir
  • Minute 3: Turn off stove and stir in quick cook oats in the pot. 
  • Minute 4:  Add spoonfuls of mixture to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and press down to flatten cookies.
  • Minute 5: Place individual chocolate chips on top of cookie.
  • Minute 6-10: Stick entire cookie sheet in fridge to let cool. 
  • Enjoy!
Eating healthy does not mean giving up dessert cravings.  I find this recipe to be not only simple and quick but also healthy and satisfying.  Important adjectives when considering dessert. 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eat the Rainbow Salad

We all know how important it is to eat our fruits and veggies.  This recipe is a great way to pack in a colorful assortment of both.  In addition to being chock full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, fruits and veggies are full of disease-fighting phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are usually related to color. Fruits and vegetables of different colors contain their own combination of phytochemicals and nutrients that work together to promote good health.  So I always like to vary my veggies and eat the rainbow.

The presentation of this dish is key!  Just pick one veggie or fruit for every color of the rainbow and section off the ingredients as shown in the picture.  Here are some colorful ideas…

Rainbow Salad
Red: strawberries, red pepper
Orange: shredded carrots
Yellow: peach, yellow pepper
Green: spinach, arugula, avocado, cucumber
Blue: blueberries
Purple: purple onions, grapes

Beyond the rainbow… other colors to introduce:
White: mushrooms
Brown: chopped walnuts

Bonus points for making homemade dressing.  I like knowing what is going into my salad dressing.  Plus, you can control the sodium content when it is homemade.

Elaine’s Go-To Dressing
Just like your favorite pair of jeans, always be armed with this delicious salad dressing recipe.  I make a batch and use it throughout the week for salads or a fresh veggie dip.

Ingredients
1 whole shallot (just peel it and stick it in a blender)
1.5-2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Handful fresh basil
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (red or white)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pepper to taste

Directions
Blend everything in a food processor or blender and serve cold. 

Did You Know? One serving of vegetables is only 25 calories! Don’t just vary your veggies; eat a lot of them!

This dish makes for a great start to any meal.  Or, can serve as a main dish by adding grilled chicken or your favorite lean protein.