Sunday, December 25, 2011

Baked Veggie Pancakes

Hanukkah is the "festival of lights" and is a holiday where oil has a special meaning.  Because of this, there are a lot of foods served with heavy oil for this Jewish holiday.  Instead of frying your latkes, try baking them with a minimal amount of oil to keep them healthy - they will still be crispy.  Add your favorite veggies to the classic potato mix (this recipe adds carrots and zucchini) to pump up the nutritional variety of this holiday treat.

Keep in mind, without the frying and excessive amount of oil, latkes can be a wonderfully healthy snack. 

Makes about 24 latkes

  • 2 russet potatoes, skin peeled
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 6 medium sized carrots
  • ½ Vidalia onion
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil or olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Seasonings: black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Using a food processor, grate the potatoes, zucchini, carrots and onion
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel
  4. Place the shredded veggies in a large mixing bowl
  5. Mix in the remaining ingredients
  6. Spray a muffin pan or baking sheet with olive oil
  7. Place mixture in muffin pan or on baking sheet
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  9. Let cool on wire rack and serve warm with hummus (rather than sour cream) and unsweetened applesauce
Note: This recipe is vegan and does not use eggs so the latkes will be very delicate.  Handle with care.

Health Benefits
Potatoes often get a bad rap because of how they are prepared.  However, potatoes actually have an impressive nutritional content including being a rich source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Like other vegetables, potatoes are a low calorie food and are free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Avocado Crostini with Pistachios

This recipe’s inspiration came from an appetizer at an excellent restaurant in downtown DC - Cork Restaurant & Wine Bar.  It combines four rich and satisfying ingredients that balance each other out well from both a taste and texture perspective.  It can be served as a unique appetizer or a healthy, high-fiber snack (or even breakfast) – making it enjoyable anytime of day.

Serves: 1

  • 2 pieces of 100% whole wheat bread or 1 English muffin sliced in two
  • ½ avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp pistachio pieces (lightly salted)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Grill or toast your bread lightly
  2. Slice your avocado thinly and arrange a single layer on top of your toast
  3. Place pistachio pieces on top and drizzle with olive oil
  4. Serve  this creamy, crunchy recipe immediately 

Optional: You can lightly toast the pistachio pieces to help bring out their incredible flavor.

Dairy-Free, Creamy Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

My secret weapon to staying healthy this flu-season?  Antioxidants and nutrient-rich foods.

Keep your immune system strong this winter with this warm and flavorful soup.  And, if the flu does get you this season, this soup is a great throat soother and stuffy nose fixer!  

  • 1 bag of broccoli and 1 bag of cauliflower (to make it easy, buy bagged - pre-washed, cut)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1, 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups reduced sodium broth
  • Black pepper to taste

  1. Microwave the broccoli and cauliflower in the bag (with a small slit) for 3 minutes (or for fresh veggies, steam for 3 minutes).
  2. Sauté diced onions and garlic in pan with olive oil (about 6 minutes)
  3. Add rinsed cannellini beans, broth and pepper and bring to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add broccoli and cauliflower
  5. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor
Health Benefits
  • Broccoli packs in tons of nutritional bang for your buck.  It is a fantastic vegetable.  With only 31 calories per serving and providing you with Vitamin A, C, K, B Vitamins and potassium – WHAM! 
  • Cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant – POW!
  • Garlic contains sulfur components which are virus fighters – SHAZAM!
  • Beans are a good source of the B vitamin folate and zinc – TAKE THAT, FLU!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

With no added sugar, these vegan muffins pack a lot of health punch without losing any flavor. These muffins contain whole grains, protein and fruit making it great for a complete and satisfying breakfast on the go.

Makes 12 muffins


Dry ingredients
  • 1.5 cups oat bran
  • ½ cup 100% whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup raw walnut pieces
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Stevia to taste 

Wet ingredients
  • 3 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (or any milk alternative)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spray muffin pan with canola oil spray
  3. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl
  4. Add wet ingredients and stir until incorporated
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on oven)
  7. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes in muffin pan before removing from pan
  8. Let muffins cool on wire rack
Build a better breakfast with these healthy breakfast ideas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pistachio and Cranberry Studded Quinoa

There are so many fun ways to cook quinoa.  This particular recipe is one of my all time favorites. The nutty flavor of the pistachios combined with the tart and sweet flavor of the cranberries makes this quinoa oh-so-special.  And, the colors add a festive note to any holiday meal. 

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups broth, reduced sodium
  • 1 yellow and/or red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup dry roasted and salted pistachio halves
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

  1. Heat oil in large pot then add shallots and quinoa
  2. Sauté for 5 minutes until quinoa is lightly toasted
  3. Add broth and bring to boil
  4. Add the yellow bell pepper, cranberries and pistachios
  5. Cook until liquid is fully absorbed (usually about 20 minutes)
  6. Season with garlic and black pepper
Health Benefits of Pistachios
Pistachios are one of the lowest fat, lowest calorie and highest fiber nuts.

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.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mushroom Chicken in Dijon-Wine Sauce

Make your chicken dinner impressive with this flavorful recipe that will leave a lasting impression with your holiday guests.  It actually came from a jar of Grey Poupon Dijon mustard.  It is only slightly modified to be a bit healthier by swapping the regular white flour with 100% whole-wheat flour. 

Serves: 3-4

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ cup 100% whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Rinse chicken and pat dry
  2. Coat chicken with flour (shake off excess)
  3. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat
  4. Add chicken and cook for 8-10 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides
  5. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet
  6. Cover chicken to keep warm
  7. Add mushrooms to skillet and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender
  8. Mix together wine and mustard with a wisk, then pour into skillet with mushrooms
  9. Bring to boil
  10. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover for 7-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through
  11. Sprinkle with fresh parsley

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mega Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This time of year, who doesn’t love a holiday cookie party?  Wow your friends and family with these chocolaty treats (and no one has to know they are healthy).

These cookies sound over-the-top decadent… and they are.  So much chocolate decadence can be found in each bite and yet they are vegan, healthy and have whole grain ingredients.

Dry Ingredients
  • ½ cup 100% whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup old fashion oats
  • ½ cup dark chocolate mega chunks
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Optional: sprinkle Stevia or use your favorite natural sweetener
Wet Ingredients
  • ½ cup cashew butter (or any nut butter)
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup chocolate almond milk (or any chocolate milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray 2 baking sheets with canola oil
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in mixing bowl
  3. Add in wet ingredients and stir until incorporated
  4. Spoon mixture onto cookie sheet leaving space between cookies
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes
  6. Let cool on wire rack before enjoying
Yields about 20 cookies

This cookie recipe is great for those with egg and dairy allergies.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Morning Mango Smoothie

Grab-and-go with this lusciously-creamy (and super healthy) smoothie!  It is a cinch to prepare in the morning and will help you start your day right!   

Serves 2 (less than 100 calories per serving)

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup milk (regular, soy, almond) – I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup OJ 

  1. Add ingredients to blender and puree until smooth
  2. Enjoy immediately

For the health of it...
  • Select an OJ with added calcium and vitamin D
  • Grab a handful of your favorite raw nuts and enjoy on the side for added protein to complete this meal

Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Teff Peanut Butter Cookies

Teff flour is a gluten-free and highly nutritious substitute for other flours (substitute ¼ cup of teff flour per cup of wheat flour).  This recipe (modified just slightly from the back of the Bob's Red Mill teff flour bag) allows teff flour to remain the star flour ingredient. 

My husband could not stop eating them and mentioned after each cookie how delicious they taste.  Even if you aren’t avoiding gluten, these cookies are unique and decadent…

Makes 12 cookies

  • ¾ cup teff flour
  • ½ peanut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients and blend well
  3. Spoon the mixture onto a lightly greased cookie sheet
  4. Flatten using a fork in a crisscross pattern (for that lovely peanut butter cookie appearance)
  5. Bake for 13 minutes
  6. Let cool on wire rack
  7. Enjoy!  We started with 12 cookies and 3 remained after less than 10 minutes… you do the math…

Health Benefits
Teff is a nutritional miracle for those avoiding gluten in their diet (it consists mostly of the bran and germ).  This ancient grain is a good source of fiber, protein and iron. - it is also rich in calcium.

Did You Know? Teff is the smallest grain in the world – in fact, it takes 150 teff grains to weigh as much as 1 wheat grain!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Soup

What better way to combine the star foods of fall than a soup?  This soothing soup contains fall’s favorite vegetables with savory flavor from the curry, nutmeg and cinnamon.  It is creamy (without the cream) and will keep you warm (and healthy) as the weather gets cooler.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sweet potato
  • 7 cup broth, low sodium
  • ¾ cup Vidalia onion
  • ¼ cup shallot
  • ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced at a diagonal
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut your squash in half length-wise and remove seeds
  3. Line aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil
  4. Place open sides of squash down and bake for approximately 45 minutes
  5. Place sweet potato in foil in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes
  6. Remove both from oven and let cool to room temperature
  7. While cooling, chop the onions and shallots
  8. Saute onions and shallots on medium heat in pot with oil
  9. Remove skin from sweet potato and cut into cubes
  10. Remove skin and seeds from squash and cut into cubes
  11. Add cubed squash and sweet potato to pot
  12. Add broth and pumpkin puree to pot
  13. Bring to boil
  14. Add seasonings and remaining ingredients
  15. Let cook for 30 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in blender/food processor
  16. Puree the ingredients in blender/food processor
  17. Before serving, reheat the soup in microwave or on stove
  18. Garnish with scallions 
Health Benefits
This might as well be called "Vitamin A Soup"…
  • 1 medium sweet potato (5’’ long & 2’’ diameter) has 440%* of your daily value of vitamin A
  • ½ cup butternut squash has 230%* of your daily value of vitamin A
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree has 280%* of your daily value of vitamin A

*Based on a 2,000 calories diet

Why is Vitamin A important?
Vitamin A is important for your vision, bone growth and reproduction. Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system so your body can prevent or fight off infections more effectively.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Pesto

Stuffed peppers provide a beautiful presentation with their vibrant color and unusual shape.   You can really get creative with what you stuff them with and what sauce you add for extra flavor.  For this recipe, I’m going vegan-style and stuffing with protein-rich quinoa and boosting the flavor with a vegan pesto sauce drizzled on top.

Serves: 3 (1 stuffed bell pepper per person)

  • 1 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
The Stuffing
  • 2 cups low sodium broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup shallot, diced
  • ¼ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Vegan Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut off the top (stem side) of the bell peppers and remove seeds, set top aside
  3. Sauté shallots and sweet onions in oil on medium heat
  4. Add quinoa and stir until lightly toasted
  5. Add chicken broth and bring to boil for 5 minutes
  6. Add green onions and zucchini
  7. Dice up the top of the bell peppers that surrounded the stem
  8. Add the extra, diced bell pepper to the quinoa
  9. Simmer on low to medium heat for an additional 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed
  10. Stir in garlic and black pepper seasoning
  11. Spoon the quinoa into the bell peppers until full
  12. Lightly spray baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
  13. Place stuffed bell peppers on baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes
  14. Remove from oven and drizzle with pesto sauce
  15. Serve warm and enjoy! 
Make sure you select bell peppers that have a semi-flat bottom and can balance on their own. 

All About Bell Peppers
Bell peppers range in color based on how ripe they are.  Their stage of ripeness determines not only the color, but also the flavor of the pepper. A red bell pepper is riper and therefore sweeter and milder than a green bell pepper. More importantly, they also contain eleven times more beta-carotene and four times more vitamin C than green bell peppers.

Comparison of the Nutrients
1 serving, ½ cup, chopped
20 calories

Green Bell Pepper
Vitamin A       4%*
Vitamin C       60%*

Red Bell Pepper
Vitamin A       45%*
Vitamin C       240%*

Yellow Bell Pepper
Vitamin A       2%*
Vitamin C       230%*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gluten-Free Energy Bars

I’m a busy person with a ton of allergies… so allergy friendly recipes that provide on-the-go healthy energy is important.  This recipe is very flexible in terms of the type of nuts and other fun ingredients you can add to switch it up.  It is full of whole grains, healthy protein and naturally sweetened by the applesauce.  The result is almost like a soft biscotti – who wouldn’t want that for an on-the-go breakfast or mid-morning snack!?  This is clean eating at its best!

  • 1 cup gluten free quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp arrow root powder (a thickener which helps in gluten free baking)
  • ½ cup raw walnut pieces for baking
  • ½ cup almond milk (or rice or soy)
  • ½ cup almond butter (or your favorite nut butter)
  • ½ cup salted pistachios (I buy them at Trader Joe’s with the shell already removed)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg or cinnamon)
  • Stevia for desired level of sweetness (optional)
  • Optional additions: dried fruit, coconut, mini dark chocolate chips and other types of nuts (i.e. almonds, cashews) can be used for variety in energy bar
  1. Oven
  2. Small loaf pan
  3. Spoon
  4. Knife
  5. Measuring tools
  6. Mixing bowl
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients
  3. Press mixture into the bottom of a greased small loaf pan with a fork until it is ½ inch thick
  4. Cook for 15 minutes
  5. Let cool on wire rack
  6. Cut into 1 inch wide strips (about 4 inches long)
  7. Should make 6-8 bars depending on pan dimensions

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chunky Guacamole

This guactastic dish is super easy and so yummy.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 avocados (perfectly ripened), cut into large chunks
  • 20 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ lime, squeezed
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  1. Gently mix together ingredients with spoon without smashing the avocado
  2. Serve chilled with your favorite chips, veggies or Tex-Mex cuisine!
Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium (60% more potassium per ounce than bananas), magnesium, and folate.

Shish Kabobs

Traditional shish kabobs are made with lamb… this recipe uses white meat chicken with an easy homemade marinade, as well as bright and colorful fruits and veggies.  Fire up the grill and try these kabobs out on Labor Day weekend!

  • 2 lbs. white meat chicken
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 yellow peaches
  • 1 mango
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 3 Portobello mushrooms
  • 6 white button mushrooms

  1. Cut the chicken up into cubes and add olive oil, fresh garlic, black pepper and onion powder – let marinate for 2+ hours
  2. Use metal skewers or soak wooden skewers in water for 20+ minutes before placing on the grill
  3. Slice veggies and set aside
  4. Add alternating layers of chicken and veggies onto the skewers and place on grill for approximately 20 minutes.  Some recommend keeping the skewers uniform by type of food to allow for even cooking. Your call.

Special thanks to Melissa for the total inspiration for this recipe :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wild Curry Salmon Cakes

The curry in these cakes adds a special kick.   I like to serve with curried quinoa and diced sweet potatoes.

  • 2 cans wild Alaskan pink salmon (skinless, boneless and no salt added)
  • ½ Vidalia onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Open cans and drain water completely
  3. Combine salmon with the rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly
  4. Make 6 patties with your hands and place on baking tray sprayed with olive oil
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top

Health Benefit
1 serving of the canned salmon (before prepared) has 13 grams of protein, only 60 calories and 1 gram of fat – super healthy!

Tomato, Basil, Avocado Salad

A perfect no cook appetizer with the perfect taste of summer! 

Grab a large heirloom red tomato from your farmers market, some fresh basil from your herb garden and one creamy avocado to make this oh-so-fabulous appetizer.  It is cool and refreshing and boasts surprising flavor from this fresh dressing.   

  • 1 red heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • ½ shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Fresh black pepper to taste

  1. Chill tomato and avocado in fridge for 2 hours
  2. Slice tomato and avocado
  3. Layer the tomato, basil and avocado in alternating layers
  4. Wisk together dressing ingredients in bowl
  5. Drizzle dressing on top of tomato, basil and avocado layers
  6. Chill for 10 minutes and serve

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pesto Broccoli Slaw

This is a unique summertime side dish that is a real crowd pleaser.  With BBQ season in full swing – now is the time to try out this healthy and savory slaw.

The gourmet twist on this dish is the pesto sauce… it is unexpected and balanced out with the sweetness of the dried fruit and the tanginess/bite of the granny smith apple.

  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw (can be found at Trader Joes)
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced with skin on
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)
  • 4 sprigs of green onions, diced
Vegan Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and stir in the vegan pesto sauce until fully incorporated
  2. Chill for 2 hours before serving

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pesto Quinoa

This is pesto with a vegan twist… no cheese!  This makes a great side or main dish and is also gluten-free.

2 cups quinoa, rinsed
4 cups water

Vegan Pesto Sauce
2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup walnuts
4 garlic cloves, pressed

  1. Bring water to boil and add quinoa
  2. Cook for 20 minutes until quinoa is translucent and all water is absorbed
  3. Mix pesto sauce ingredients in mini food processor until smooth
  4. Add pesto sauce to cooked quinoa and stir until evenly distributed
  5. Garnish with fresh bail leaves and serve hot or cold

The vegan pesto sauce contains heart healthy fats from the walnuts, zero cholesterol and much lower saturated fat than a classic pesto recipe.  The sauce can also be used on whole wheat pasta, brown rice or even fresh fish.

P.S. did you know quinoa is a seed and not a grain!?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sugar n’ Spice Walnuts

Did someone say party food!?  This recipe is perfect for parties or festive occasions.  You and your friends will be totally addicted to these coated nuts!

  • 3 cups raw walnut halves, unsalted
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with canola oil
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine walnuts with honey and spices
  4. Stir until nuts are evenly coated
  5. Taste one (cause it is fun to do that)
  6. Place in a single layer on your baking sheet
  7. Place in oven for 15 minutes until well toasted and golden brown
  8. Remove from your oven and let cool completely before serving
  9. Store in airtight container in your refrigerator

Walnuts and Your Health
Walnuts are often times referred to as a “superfood” for their outstanding nutrition content.  According to the American Dietetic Association, ¼ cup of walnuts contain over 90 percent of your essential omega-3 fatty acid, which may be good for your heart, promote better cognitive function and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Walnuts also may support your immune system and have several anticancer properties.  Plus, walnuts contain phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamin, iron and potassium. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Easy Cauliflower Mash

The point of this recipe is not to say that potatoes are bad – this is simply an opportunity to incorporate cauliflower in a fun way into your meal. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C and is low in calories (just 15 calories per serving versus 70 calories per serving of potato).

Cauliflower works as a potato substitute because it has an almost identical texture when pureed, looks the same visually and has a mild flavor like potatoes.  No one will know the difference.  I promise.

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Garnish with paprika, green onions or chives
  • Other spice ideas: Try with ground curry for some punch OR fresh rosemary
  1. Peel off the leaves of the cauliflower and cut off the stem just above where the florets join together
  2. Cut florets uniformly so it cooks evenly
  3. Steam cauliflower florets (steaming better preserves the vitamin content than boiling, especially the B vitamins).  To steam, place florets in a steamer basket and place in a pot with 2 inches of boiling water. Cover for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Place in blender or food processor with all ingredients and puree until smooth.
  5. Garnish as desired
Buying and Storing Cauliflower
  • When purchasing your cauliflower, look for a head that is white or creamy white, firm/compact and heavy for its size.  Stay clear of speckling, brown patches or any discoloration.
  • Proper storage of your cauliflower is key for flavor.  You can keep it in the vegetable drawer of your fridge for 5-7 days and will want to store it with the stem-side up to prevent moisture from collecting on it.
I want to end by emphasizing that potatoes are not a bad food! They contain important nutrients including potassium, vitamin C and are also a rich source of fiber (most of the nutrients in potatoes are contained in the skin and just below the skin).  Potatoes mostly get a bad reputation for the way they are prepared.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Roasted Sesame Asparagus

Spring season always means fresh asparagus at your local market.  Asparagus can be enjoyed in so many ways.  My personal preference is the simpler the better.  This recipe is pretty basic but has enough of that *something special* to make it a crowd pleaser.

  • 25-30 asparagus spears
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut off the hard end of the asparagus and discard (see Time Saving Tip below)
  3. Lay the remaining asparagus on a baking sheet or glass baking dish (one layer works best)
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with sesame seeds, diced shallots, whole wheat bread crumbs, freshly pressed garlic and ground pepper
  5. Cook in oven for 20 minutes
  6. Serve immediately 

Time Saving Tip
Asparagus typically come batched in a rubber band.  To easily find the perfect spot to cut off the hard part of the asparagus (that you won’t want to eat or serve) follow this trick:
  • Leaving the asparagus bunched in the rubber band, remove just one asparagus. 
  • Hold one end of the asparagus with your left hand and the other end with your right hand. 
  • Lightly bend the asparagus until it snaps.  It will naturally snap off where you should be cutting it.
  • Then, lay that asparagus piece next to the rest of the bound batch and cut the entire batch with one fell swoop at the same breaking point
  • Discard the hard ends and remove the rubber band and voila – you’re done! (So much better than guessing (which can lead to wasting your asparagus) or snapping each one individually (which takes way too long).

Chocolate Dessert Quinoa

This recipe takes quinoa to a whole new level.  I have featured quinoa as a hot entrée, cold side dish, breakfast option – and now I’m touting it as a dessert.  Stay with me here…

Quinoa is basically flavorless which allows for creativity in its preparation. It absorbs liquid and flavor well while staying light and fluffy. This is what makes it such a flexible food in terms of when and how you can serve it up. 

Similar to rice pudding, this dish is velvety and naturally sweet.  By adding just a small amount of dark chocolate (1 tablespoon) you get that rich, decadent flavor that you expect with any chocolate dessert.  This light dessert is nothing short of delightful.

Serves: One-Two Servings (depending on how much room you leave for dessert and how much of a chocoholic you are)

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or ‘milk’ of your choice)
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

  1. Bring 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to a boil on your stovetop
  2. Add quinoa, chocolate, cinnamon and stevia and stir until milk is fully absorbed (takes about 15 minutes)
  3. Garnish with extra chocolate chips if desired (they will melt anyways but not as thoroughly) and serve with ½ cup cold or warm almond milk as a topper (it will get absorbed by the quinoa fairly quickly so add more if desired).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Breakfast Quinoa

Are you in search of the ‘perfect breakfast’?  Well look no further… this breakfast solution includes the must-haves for an all-star breakfast: a combination of lean protein, whole grains and fruit.  Plus, it tastes creamy and a bit like dessert (something to look forward to in the morning).

For those of you who say “But I’m not hungry in the morning” and are trying to ease into the whole breakfast concept, I highly recommend Breakfast Quinoa.  It is so light and easy to digest and won’t leave you feeling overstuffed early in the morning. 

Serves: One

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or ‘milk’ of your choice)
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp raw, unsalted almond butter (optional)
  • Stevia to taste (optional)
  • ½ cup raspberries or blueberries (or berry of your choice)

  1. Bring 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to a boil on your stovetop
  2. Add quinoa, almond butter, cinnamon and stevia and stir until milk is fully absorbed (takes about 15 minutes)
  3. Garnish with your fruit and add 1 cup cold almond milk (or store immediately and add berries and milk later)

Serving Suggestions
I recommend preparing this the night before as it will likely take about 20 minutes total.  It can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on your preference.  If cold, I recommend pouring the extra cup of almond milk on top just before eating.  In this way, it will taste somewhat like a soft breakfast cereal.  The other fantastic way to enjoy this dish is served hot with cold ‘milk’ as a topper.  The quinoa will slowly absorb the ‘milk’ so keep adding as needed/desired. 

Health Benefits
  • Breakfast is so important for kick starting your metabolism in the A.M. – it gives your body the fuel and energy it needs to move, think and be happy. 
  • Quinoa is a great way to ‘get your breakfast on’ – it is an ancient grain that is actually a complete protein and a whole grain all in one.  In this way, I consider it to be a magical food!  The almond milk and almond butter provide you with fiber, the antioxidant vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that won’t raise your cholesterol. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Orange Spritzer

Here is the perfect low-calorie, high-flavor drink if you are craving something to quench your thirst that is both light and sweet.  This orange spritzer does the trick... it is a mouthwatering concoction that, in the words of my husband, “is really refreshing!”

Your Ingredients
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 1 packet of Stevia (optional)
  • 3 fresh slices of orange
  • 1/8 cup fresh orange juice
  1. Pour sparkling water in glass cup over ice
  2. Stir in Stevia (optional)
  3. Add 2 slices of orange
  4. Top off with orange juice
  5. Use third orange slice for garnish
  6. Serve immediately 
  1. For added orange flavor use mandarin orange flavored sparkling water in place of regular sparkling water.
  2. Play around with the ratio of orange juice to sparkling water to get the perfect consistency for you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chilled Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

Delicious does not begin to describe this crowd-pleasing appetizer… forget the cocktail sauce and bring out the natural flavor of fresh shrimp with this refreshing marinade.

  • 25 shrimp
  • Marinade:
    • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp canola oil
    • 1 shallot, minced
    • ¼ Vidalia onion, extra thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Arugula for garnish

  1. Whisk together marinade ingredients then pour over shrimp
  2. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes
  3. Serve chilled alone or on top of the arugula
Shrimp is a lean source of protein (low in total fat and saturated fat) and contains important nutrients including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus and selenium.  Shrimp is high in cholesterol so you will want to enjoy this in moderation (daily recommendation is less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Breakfast Sausage Patties

Start your day with lean protein!  These mango-apple “sausage” patties will give you energy (and flavor) without all the greasiness.  For weekday breakfast, I recommend preparing these the night before so you can heat and go the next morning.

Makes 20-25 patties
  • 1 lb. ground white turkey meat
  • ½ apple, diced
  • ½ mango, diced
  • ½ cup Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
Oregano, parsley, thyme, black pepper, onion powder, allspice, cinnamon

Sausage Makin Time...
  1. Spray baking pan with canola oil spray (can also cover with aluminum foil and spray)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  3. Place small spoonfuls on baking pan and press down for a smooth top
  4. Bake on 400 degrees for 5 minutes
  5. Flip each patty and return to oven for another 5 minutes
These can also make great sliders!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Baked Falafel

Easy, cheap and super healthy!  Bake your own falafel and save hundreds of calories and grams of saturated fat.

2 cups chickpeas (low-sodium, drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup minced Vidalia onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp ground cumin

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine all falafel ingredients in food processor
  3. Pulse for about 20 seconds until incorporated
  4. Form mixture into 20 balls and place on greased cookie sheet
  5. Spray lightly with olive oil
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, flip each falafel ball and bake for an additional 10 minutes 

Falafel balls should be lightly browned.

Serving ideas…
… in a warm pita with hummus, tomato, cucumber
… on top of whole wheat couscous
… on top of fresh salad with lemon hummus tahini dressing

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Farina "Breakfast Porridge"

Farina was my husband’s favorite breakfast growing up.  His wonderful mom made this for the family on snow days.  So, you can imagine some fond memories were made around farina.  I personally never had farina much growing up so was excited to experiment with this so called “breakfast porridge” and see how to best add flavor to this mild and creamy grain. 

Serves 2
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk
  • 6 tbsp enriched farina
  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 strawberries, quartered
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries or blueberries
  • ¼ cup slivered raw almonds
  • 1 tsp butter or butter substitute (to melt in the center just before serving)

Preparing Farina 
  1. Bring almond milk to boil and gradually stir in farina
  2. Stir constantly over low heat while adding in almond butter, honey and cinnamon
  3. Once milk is fully absorbed, serve immediately with berries and almonds
  4. Place a small pat of butter in the center and let it melt in the cracks of farina
Enriched farina is an excellent source of iron and calcium.  It contains 50% of your dietary iron per serving and 20% DV of calcium (not to mention 10% folic acid along with some other B vitamins).  This makes it a wholesome and nutritious breakfast option for vegans.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

Chewy, moist, soft with peanut butter goodness!  Homemade cookies never tasted so good!

Mix together in a large bowl:
  • 1 ½ cups old fashion oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup vegan mini dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Stevia extract to taste (optional for added sweeteness)

Beat flax seed with almond milk to create an egg substitute….
  • 2 tbsp flax seed
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Add the following wet ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir mixture together until everything is incorporated and place spoonfuls of mixture on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy your freshly baked, warm cookies with a cold glass of (almond) milk knowing these cookies are oil-free, egg-free, butter-free and sugar-free.

special thanks to my husband, Bobby, for the picture 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tomato Avocado “Bruschetta”

Basil, Garlic, Shallots – oh my!
Raw, fresh produce can be more exciting than the go-to salad option if the right seasonings are used to bring out the natural flavor within these nutritional powerhouses. 

Classic bruschetta is made with buttered, toasted bread topped with tomato salad. For a healthy alternative, enjoy the tomato salad on its own or pair with whole wheat couscous (which does a great job of soaking up the marinade).  Another idea - use it as a relish for your favorite fish.  The possibilities are endless!

  • 3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced into fourths
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 sprigs green onion

Shown as a salsa/relish on top of wild salmon
Combine ingredients in mixing bowl and chill for 1 hour.  Serve alone as a fresh salad or with whole-wheat couscous.  Another option would be to serve on top of toasted whole-wheat bread brushed with extra virgin olive oil – yum!

Health Benefits
The stars of this dish have more in common than you would think!  Tomatoes and avocados are both commonly believed to be vegetables but are actually part of the fruit family.  More importantly, they both contain loads of nutritional goodies to keep you healthy!

Tomatoes are an excellent source of immune boosting and disease fighting vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A. They also contain a high amount of the antioxidant lycopene, a pigment that gives tomatoes their red color.  According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), several studies suggest that consumption of lycopene-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And, according to the National Cancer Institute, population studies show that people who eat large amounts of foods with lycopene have a reduced risk of prostate, lung, and colon cancer.  Since the body cannot produce lycopene, we must consume it in foods like tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit - tomatoes have the most out of all three.

According to the ADA, the amazingly creamy avocado contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and nutrients that actually REDUCE your cholesterol levels, promote healthy vision and potentially protect against cancer.  They contain folate, vitamins E, C, and B6, potassium and soluble fiber. 

With all the health benefits between these two fruits you really can't go wrong.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Almond Butter Cookies

Almonds are the shining star of this soft baked cookie recipe. The quintuple-threat almond flavor of these cookies are definitely worth blogging about!

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate mini chips
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Stevia extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 4 tbsp raw, unsalted almond butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray 2 baking sheets with canola oil spray
  3. Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl
  4. Add wet ingredients
  5. Place spoonfuls of cookie mixture on baking sheet
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Cool on baking rack and enjoy immediately or store in airtight container in fridge for up to three days
You can enjoy this dessert knowing you are getting loads of nutrients from the main ingredient: ALMONDS.  Almonds provide protein and fiber as well as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  They are naturally low in sugar but yet provide a sweet and distinct flavor that makes these cookies savory and delightful.  

Basil-Lime Fish Fillet

Part of any healthy eating plan should include foods from under the sea.  Fish provides a lean source of protein.  So, dig in to this healthy and refreshing recipe featuring lime zest and fresh basil.

  • ¼ cup fresh basil, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • ¼ cup lime zest
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-pound hake (or any white fish)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Black pepper to taste
Basil, lime zest, diced shallot
and garlic cloves
  1. Dice the basil and shallot, zest the lime, and prep four cloves or garlic for the garlic press
  2. Heat pan and spray with olive oil cooking spray
  3. Place fish on pan and drizzle with olive oil
  4. Evenly sprinkle the basil, shallot and lime zest
  5. Press the garlic and sprinkle on top of fish
  6. Add onion powder and black pepper
  7. Cover pan and let cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes
  8. Serve on top of brown rice and drizzle with extra basil-lime marinade from pan

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Broccoli Slaw with Lemon Hummus Tahini Dressing

This is a healthy twist on the traditional coleslaw.  It makes a great side dish at a bar-b-que (save this one for summertime).  The thick lemon hummus tahini dressing makes a great substitute for mayonnaise used in traditional coleslaw.

  • 6 cups raw broccoli slaw
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup green peas
  • ½ cup fresh fruit (such as blueberries, apples or mangos)
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted walnut pieces
  • ½ cup scallions, diced
  • ½ cup hummus
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 sprigs scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
Toss slaw ingredients with the lemon hummus tahini dressing and serve chilled.

All of the ingredients in this dish are super healthy.  The newest ingredient to my blog is the use of the leek (which peaks in early spring) so I'll focus on why leeks rock.  They contain a good amount of iron, calcium, and Vitamins A and C.  They are closely related to scallions and shallots but tend to be sweeter and more subtle.