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.  

Mango Shallot Dressing

This refreshing concoction is great for dipping raw veggies or for dressing your favorite salad.  The sweet, tart mango pairs well with the tangy white balsamic vinegar, sharp Dijon mustard and pungent shallot/garlic combo.

  • 4 mango chunks (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 whole shallot
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Puree all ingredients in a mini-food processor and serve chilled.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brown Rice Stir-Fry

March is National Nutrition Month and the theme this year is ‘Eat Right with Color’.  So, for my first March post, I’m thinking GREEN.  This dish can be a side or you can add your favorite protein to make it a one-pan meal. 

Either way, this creation contains much less fat and sodium than traditional fried rice.

  • 2 cups brown rice (save time with frozen, microwavable rice)
  • 2 chicken sausage, diced (optional, if using as main dish)
  • 4 sprigs of green onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cup green peas, frozen and boiled on stovetop for 5 min
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • Season with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper
  • 1 avocado for garnish
  1. Cook brown rice fully
  2. Meanwhile, heat pan with olive oil and add remaining ingredients
  3. Stir-fry for 5 minutes then add rice and stir-fry for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Serve immediately and garnish with diced avocado and more green onions

Health Benefits
  • Green peas are a member of the legume family.  They provide a low-calorie, sweet punch to this dish.  Peas are also considered a good source of protein - 1 serving has more protein than a whole egg without the cholesterol and with only 1g of fat.  PLUS, they contain iron and vitamins A and C.  What a nutritious little legume!
  • Brown rice is a whole grain that contains more fiber than white rice to keep you fuller longer and aid in digestion.
For another colorful recipe check out "Eat the Rainbow Salad" from November.