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

Ingredients
  • 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 

Preparation
  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

Ingredients
  • 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

Preparation
  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!  

Ingredients
  • 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

Directions
  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

Ingredients

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


Preparation
  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

Ingredients
  • 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


Preparation
  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

Ingredients
  • 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

Preparation
  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 
Preparation
  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.