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.

Ingredients
  • 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
Preparation
  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)

Ingredients
  • 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 
Preparation
  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! 
Tip
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!

Ingredients
  • 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
Tools
  1. Oven
  2. Small loaf pan
  3. Spoon
  4. Knife
  5. Measuring tools
  6. Mixing bowl
Preparation
  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