Sweet Potato & Carrot Hash Toast

Hubby and I have been listening to quite a few podcasts  regarding food. We've recently come across The Foods We Eat on TED Radio Hour. It provides insight into questions such as: How has our food system evolved? What is sustainability? How can the individual contribute to a sustainable food system? It is worth a listen.

Our take-away from the talk was this: choose local produce, eat seasonally and eat more plants. We wanted to start somewhere so we've focused on our meat consumption. While we eat tons of fruits and veggies, we generally have an animal protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner. We figured it would be a fun to try replacing the protein in at least two of those meals with plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, tofu etc. 

I've realized that I rely pretty heavily on meat to be the center of most of our meals. So, this will also be a good way to test my culinary skills. I'll try to share as many of my creations as possible with you!

This first recipe is a Sweet Potato Hash Toast - it was hubby and wifey approved. The hash was made from a combo of sweet potato and carrot. It had a warm spicy flavor which was complimented perfectly by the sweet undertone of the veggies. I added black beans to give the dish a nice meaty texture. Of course, I had to top it with avocado because who doesn't love a perfectly ripe and creamy avo?! I hope you all enjoy! 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium sized sweet potato (or yam) 
  • 1 small whole carrot 
  • 1/4 red onion 
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • Bread of choice (sourdough or cracked whole wheat works well) 
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil 
  • 1 1/2 TSPS Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste  

Optional: 

  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Cilantro 
  • Avocado 

Directions

  1. Grate the sweet potato, carrot and onion. Season with cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet with olive oil.
  3. For a softer hash (which is what I prefer over toast) fry the sweet potato in the skillet. Use a spatula to remove from the bottom of the pan and stir every minute for 5 minutes. (If a crispier hash is desired, let the hash fry without moving for about 2 minutes. Use the spatula to turn over onto the other side and allow to fry for another 2 minutes.)  
  4. Add the black beans to the hash mixture and cook until the beans are warm. 
  5. Toast the bread until crispy. 
  6. Top the toast with the hash and if desired mashed avocado, tomato, onion and cilantro. 

Nutrition Content:

Yield: 2 Servings

1 Serving:     

  • Calories: 350 cal
  • Protein: 9.6 grams
  • Fat: 13.3 grams
  • Carbs: 51.3 grams
    • Fiber: 14 grams

Easy Creamy Vegan Pesto

While I was prepping for my bikini competition, I relied heavily on healthy fats to keep my hunger at bay. Fats take longer to digest, which means they help the body stay fuller for longer. Some of my favorite fat sources came from sesame oil, nuts and nut butters. One of my all time favorite recipes to come out of the last few months was this super easy cashew based pesto. I love the versatility that cashews have to offer. They have creamy, nutty flavor that lends itself well to both savory and sweet dishes.  

With a buttery, garlicky flavor, this pesto made for a perfect pasta sauce. The cashew base made it super creamy which gave it a more decadent consistency than an olive oil based pesto. This sauce is a new staple in our kitchen. It can be used as a pasta sauce or simply as a nice alternative to mayo, butter or sour cream in some of your favorite dishes! 

Nutrition Tip: Try cutting your serving of pasta in half and bulk up your meal with extra veggies and lean protein!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil 
  • 1 large glove of garlic 
  • Salt and black or red pepper flakes to taste 

Nutrition tip: If following a low sodium diet substitute salt with a squeeze of lemon to give it a nice zing! 

Directions: 

  1. Place the cashews in a small pot and add just enough water to cover the cashews. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  
  2. Mince the clove of garlic. 
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cashews from the water (reserve the water) and place them in a blender. Add half of the reserved water to the blender along with the basil, garlic, and pepper to taste. 
  4. Set the blender to puree and blend for 2 minutes, stopping in 30-second increments to push ingredients from the side of the blender down with a spatula. The mixture should appear smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too "mealy" add more of the reserved water until desired consistency. 

Yield: ~ 2 servings 

I paired my creamy pesto with half of a serving of whole grain rotini, grilled zucchini, mushrooms and chicken then topped it with red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Yum!

I paired my creamy pesto with half of a serving of whole grain rotini, grilled zucchini, mushrooms and chicken then topped it with red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Yum!

Serving Size: ~1/4 cup     

  • Calories: 86 cal
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
    • Fiber: .8 grams

 

 

Low Carb Berry Peach Pie

Well folks, I have been pretty much MIA in the blog world. I have a good excuse, I swear! I competed in my very first National Physique Committee (NPC) fitness competition! My summer months have been filled with strict dieting, heavy lifting, and cardio. Yes... I did just say dieting. If you have read my prior posts or the "About Me" section you'll know that I simply do not believe in diets. I believe in intuitive eating and following healthy dietary patterns. Yet in order to cut weight, for the sole purpose of this competition, I found myself following a very low carb/ high protein/ high-fat diet.  There is so much I have to say regarding this topic and but I feel like I still have to wrap my brain around it before I can put my thoughts into words. In the coming weeks, I will devote an entire post to my experience in the "Ask the Dietitian" section of my site. 

What I will say about my experience is this; food is meant to be enjoyed whether or not you are eating to lose weight. As my calorie intake changed, I found myself becoming more creative in my cooking. There are some really tasty recipes that came out of these summer months. I can't wait to share all of them with you!

This next recipe was by far my favorite. A lower carb version of a berry peach pie that is absolutely to die for. A standard slice of pie has about 40 grams of carbohydrate. My version has 19 grams.  Instead of standard flour, I used coconut flour which has a delightfully nutty taste when baked. I found my low carb pie crust recipe on fitlivingfoodies. The peaches I used were ripe so there was no need for additional sugar. I cooked the peaches and berries down to a compote so the sweetness from the peaches pulled out all of the flavors from the berries. The combination was sinlessly delicious! 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup margarine (Earth Balance or Smart Balance) 
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour 
  • 3 large ripe peaches 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 4 medium strawberries 
  • 1 TBS cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • Coconut flakes/ fresh fruit as desired for topping 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Place the margarine in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for ~30 seconds in 10-second increments until the margarine is melted. 
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, eggs and margarine until the mixture is combined. Form the mixture into a ball. 
  4. Place the ball of dough in saran wrap and flatten out into a 1-inch "pancake". Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  5. Cut the peaches into slices and slice the strawberries. 
  6. Heat a large skillet over low to medium heat. Coat the skillet with pam. 
  7. Place the peaches, blueberries, and strawberries in the skillet. Cook over low to medium heat. As the mixture becomes sticky, add just enough water to prevent it from sticking to the pan (~5-8 minutes). 
  8. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fruit mixture and combine with a spatula or spoon. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. 
  9. Spray a pie pan with pam to coat the bottom and sides.
  10. Take the dough from the refrigerator and press into the pan until it covers the bottom and sides. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of the dough. This will allow the steam to escape without forming bubbles in the dough. 
  11. Place the pan in the oven and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. The crust should be slightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. 
  12. Once the crust has cooled, fill the pie crust with the fruit filling. Top with fresh peaches, berries or coconut flakes as desired. Cut into 8 slices and serve! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1 slice     

  • Calories: 213 cal
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbs: 19 grams
    • Fiber: 6 grams

Spicy Brussels and Turkey Bacon

For as long as I remember I was certain that brussels sprouts were, in fact, grown in frozen bags. I recall the days of microwaved brussels sprouts sitting on our dinner table, wafting their sulfury compounds around the kitchen. I have to give mom credit for all of the amazing dishes she made, brussels sprouts were not one of them. Sorry, mom! As soon as I was out of my parent's house, I vowed to never eat another sprout again. That was until, one night, at a restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado, Restaurant 415. I was out with a group of friends who insisted we order the restaurant's brussels sprouts appetizer. I was pretty sure they were all crazy. Yet, what came to the table was not my preconceived bowl of sulfury mush. It was a plate full of slightly caramelized, greens with an incredible savory aroma. Their bright green pigment was very much unlike the greyish color I was anticipating. Lo and behold was the dish that changed my view of the brussels sprout, forever. I have since made renditions of the dish, making sure to keep the crunch of my sprouts intact (I have found that this is the secret).

This most recent dish has been, by far, my favorite. I have combined roughly chopped brussels sprouts with turkey bacon (the leaner cousin of the pork variety). I added a splash of tamari and bit of sriracha to add just the perfect amount of piquant and heat. This is quite possibly one of the most wonderful flavor combinations to come out of my kitchen. If you don't believe me, just give it a try! You won't be sorry. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of shredded brussels sprouts 
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon, chopped 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 2 TBS of tamari 
  • 1 tsp of sriracha 
  • 1 TBS olive oil

Directions: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and saute until it just begins to turn golden brown. 
  2. Add the brussels sprouts and all other ingredients. 
  3. Saute the mixture for 1-2 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts begin to wilt very slightly. 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1/2 cup    

  • Calories: 55 cal
  • Protein: 2.5 grams
  • Fat: 3.4 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
    • Fiber: 1.5 grams

Cilantro Mango Marinade with Tilapia

I can't deny the convenience of bottled marinades but I find that many of them are loaded with tons of sugar. Like the high fructose corn syrup kind. Ten grams of sugar in a marinade? Please... just give me a brownie instead. You have to pick your battles ;). I have been playing around in the kitchen with different marinades and this Cilantro Mango marinade is darn near perfect! I tried it on tilapia, which I find to be a bland fish, so you really get the flavor of the marinade. I'm sure it would pair well with steak as well. You can also just use this marinade as a topping or dressing. 

Ingredients: 

Marinade

  • 1 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro 
  • Juice of 1/2 orange 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime 
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1/2 mango (~1/2 cup) 

Optional

  • 4 fillets of Tilapia 
  • 1/2 avocado 
  • 1 TBS of olive oil 

Directions:

  1. Peel and grate the ginger. 
  2. Place all marinade ingredients in a blender. Set blender to liquefy. May add water as needed if the consistency is too thick.
  3. Place the tilapia in a zip lock freezer bag and pour in half of the marinade. Make sure each piece is coated. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. While the fish is marinating, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Add 1/2 of an avocado and 1 TBS of olive oil into the marinade mixture and blend until well combined. Set aside. 
  6.  Coat the bottom of a pyrex cooking pan or cookie sheet covered in tin foil, with a light layer of olive oil or cooking spray. Place the fish on the pan and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The fish should flake easily when done.
  7. To serve, top with the avocado dressing. 

Nutrition Content:

Marinade

Serving Size: 1/4 cup    

  • Calories: 23 cal
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
    • Fiber: 0.5 grams

Marinated fish with dressing

  • Serving Size: 1 fillet     

  • Calories: 144 cal
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams
    • Fiber: 2 grams

Dill-Dijon Salmon

Salmon is one of my all-time favorite healthy proteins. Its full flavor and meaty texture put me more in mind of a tender steak. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended intake of fatty fish is 2 servings (3.4oz) per week. I find that people who aren’t too keen on fish find that salmon is an acceptable compromise. This next dish finds its way onto our table a few times per month. It’s super easy and incredibly delicious! I typically use a large salmon fillet to last the week but this recipe can easily be modified for smaller cuts such as salmon steaks. This dish is packed full of flavor and only requires three ingredients! You have to give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (16oz) of salmon fillet
  •  ½ Cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Olive oil or oil spray of choice

Directions:

  1.  Set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a metal cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with a light layer of oil of choice.  
  2. Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry. Set on the cookie sheet.
  3. Spread the Dijon mustard over the fillet until every inch is covered.
  4. Evenly cover the fillet with the chopped dill.
  5.  Place in the oven and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on desired doneness. Thicker cuts may require more time.

Yield: ~5 servings 

Served my Dijon-Dill salmon with wild rice and grilled asparagus, it was the perfect dinner combo! 

Served my Dijon-Dill salmon with wild rice and grilled asparagus, it was the perfect dinner combo! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 3oz   

  • Calories: 335 cal
  • Protein: 23 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 0 grams
    • Fiber: 0 grams

Chai Quinoa Porridge

There is nothing more satisfying on a cold day than a warm bowl of porridge. It makes me feel like I can brave the cold weather... at least until I step outside! This Chai Quinoa porridge has been my go-to breakfast for the past few weeks! If you're interested in learning a bit more about the health benefits of quinoa, check out  this article from Health and Fitness Shop. 

In this dish, I've combined of some of my favorite super grains in almond milk to create a creamy blend with just a little crunch. The chai seasoning is so warm and delicious, it is the perfect compliment to the nutty flavor of the grains. This breakfast seems to warm my belly as I eat. I seriously can't get enough of this dish!      

Ingredients:

  •  ½ cup of quinoa
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • 2 TBS of chia seeds
  • 1/4th cup of honey
  • 1 cups of water
  • 2 cups of almond milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  •  1/4th tsp ginger
  • 1/8th tsp cardamom 

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Add the oats, spices, honey and 1 cup of almond milk to the quinoa, gently mix until combined.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the liquid has absorbed.
  3. Add the chia seeds and another ½ - 1 cup of almond milk depending on desired consistency. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.   
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes. 

Yield - ~ 3 cups

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1/2 Cup 

  • Calories: 167 cal
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 3.8 grams
  • Carbs: 31 grams
  •  Fiber: 4 grams

Mini Egg Frittatas

I’m prepping all of my meals for this next week. This next recipe is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Mini Egg Frittatas are the perfect on the go breakfast. They are warm, savory and have just a hint of spice. My mom used to make these and freeze them away for us. If we were in a hurry we could just grab them and microwave them before running out the door. Definitely better than a breakfast burrito ;). Packed with veggies and protein, these little guys are the perfect healthy start to the day. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes  

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined.
  3. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into each cup until 2/3rds of the way full. Make sure each cup has an even distribution of egg and vegetables.
  5. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. 
Breakfast is served.

Breakfast is served.

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1 Frittata 

  • Calories: 120 cal
  • Protein: 8.8 grams
  • Fat: 8.2 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
    • Fiber: .4 grams 

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pasta

I don't know what it is about pasta that I love so much. It just feels like the ultimate comfort food. Every Friday night, as a kid, my mom would make pasta in my dad's homemade Italian gravy. Dad's Gravy is a pasta sauce recipe that has been handed down throughout the generations and is probably G-d's gift to mankind. It also takes an entire day to make and more counter space than my tiny kitchen affords me. In all honesty, sometimes I'm just impatient and I want something delicious and quick. Rather than turning to bottled sauce, because I prefer to know the ingredients in my food, I find myself creating quick vegetable mixtures to throw over pasta.

This last mixture was too good not to share. I had purchased already roasted garlic from the store. I combined this with sun-dried tomatoes and used the oil from the tomatoes as my base. I added eggplant, mushrooms and spinach to the mixture. The mushrooms and eggplant added a wonderful meaty texture while the spinach gave it a beautiful pop of color. The savory flavors of this dish were brought together perfectly with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. I served this dish with turkey sausage, but it stands perfectly well on its own. 

Ingredients: 

  • 8-10 cloves roasted garlic 
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil 
  • 1/2 eggplant 
  • 5 large button mushrooms 
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 TBS oil from sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 TSP salt 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked pasta of choice 
    • May substitute whole grain, gluten free, spiralized veggie noodles 

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. 
  2. Remove the skin of the eggplant. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle the slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes to an hour. The eggplant will begin to form beads of liquid on the surface. This helps rid the eggplant of its bitter aftertaste. Rinse the eggplant under cold water and pat dry. Dice the eggplant into small cubes. 
  3. Roughly chop the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes as seen below.
  4. Wash and dice the mushrooms.
  5. In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomato and mushrooms. Season with salt and cook until the mushrooms begin to turn a golden brown.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the spinach and pasta. Combine until the spinach just begins to wilt. 
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and serve. 
Almost too pretty to eat.... but not really. 

Almost too pretty to eat.... but not really. 

Nutrition Content:

* If using whole grain pasta

Serving Size: ~3/4 Cup

  • Calories: 275 cal
  • Protein: 9.1 grams
  • Fat: 16.5 grams
  • Carbs: 27.4 grams
    • Fiber: 5.9 grams

Roasted Vegetable Crostini

My family is in town this week! So excited to show them the city. So this next blog post is going to be super short but I just had to share this next recipe with you! Roasted Vegetable Crostinis. Yum! It is the perfect light and lean appetizer. I made it for a Friendsgiving dinner this past weekend and it was definitely a hit! I’ve combined a sweet roasted vegetable with a creamy savory cream cheese spread on a toasted crostini. The sweet and the savory makes the most incredible flavor combination. It’s almost like Thanksgiving dinner in one bite. The dish is not only delicious but pretty to look at. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Ingredients:

·       1 Cup of Brussel sprouts

·       1 Cup of cubed sweet potato

·       1 Cup of cubed butternut squash

·       ½ cup of maple syrup

·       8 oz of low fat cream cheese

·       1 TBS of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

·       1 TBS of fresh thyme, finely chopped  

·       1 pack of crostini’s or any whole wheat cracker

·       ½ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

·       ½ cup of dried cranberries

*I found the already made crostini’s at Whole Foods Market

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl with the maple syrup until well coated.
  3. Spray a large cookie sheet pan with pam. Evenly spread the vegetables on the pan. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Allow to cool when done.
  4. Combine the cream cheese with the fresh herbs and spread a light layer on the crostinis.
  5. Cut the Brussel sprouts into halves and the sweet potato and butternut squash into smaller cubes. Place onto the crostinis.
  6. Top the crostinis with the toasted pumpkin seeds and the dried cranberries. 
Delicious and beautiful! 

Delicious and beautiful! 

Vegan Pumpkin Curry

If I had a dime for every time a client told me, ‘It’s too expensive to eat healthy”, I’d be a very wealthy lady. Unfortunately, if you don’t know where to look, it’s easy to rack up a grocery bill. Been there, done that. Sometimes still do that… But the point is, eating healthy foods doesn’t mean you have to shop only the most expensive, organic brands. You don’t even have to purchase the fresh fruits and veggies if you feel you can’t afford them (although I would always recommend shopping fresh whenever possible). It’s important to keep in mind that produce prices change with the seasons. In the summer, you’ll typically find produce from local farms which makes cost pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, this changes as winter approaches and more produce is brought in from other countries.

Come winter you may find that frozen and canned fruits and veggies are more affordable. I know that may seem like a sacrilegious statement for a dietitian to make… but don’t worry… I think they’ll let me keep my day job. Believe it or not, frozen foods may actually be more nutrient dense than their fresh counterparts! Why? Because fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak then frozen immediately. This preserves their nutritional value. Fresh produce, on the other hand, is picked then transported to a store where it will sits on the shelf. The longer produce sits, the more it degrades and the more nutrients it loses.   

Canned food aren’t necessarily more nutritious than fresh but they can be much cheaper. The down side is that they can be very high in sodium. It is important to either buy, “no salt added”, or to rinse the veggies under cool water. Canned fruits can also pack a lot of extra sugar. To avoid this, always purchase the, “packed in water”, version. Canned fruits and veggies may lose some nutrient content in the packaging process but are probably still more nutritious than a frozen pizza.

I could talk about the nutrient differences in fresh versus canned versus frozen, all day long. In the end it isn’t going to matter if you aren’t eating your fruits and veggies! So if cost is a factor, then get what you can afford. You can still make delicious meals like this next creation!

I have made an absolutely delicious pumpkin curry using primarily canned and frozen foods. I started the curry with a super easy cashew cream base. The cashew cream adds a luxurious creamy texture to the pureed pumpkin that is absolutely divine. The nutty pumpkin mixture is the perfect counterpart to the warm curried spices. The dish is also packed full of nutritious veggies which make it feel hearty and healthy. This meal is the perfect comfort food for the fall season. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 16 oz bag of mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • ½ of a yellow onion
  • 2 TBS of curry powder
  • 1 TBS of cumin
  • 1 TSP of turmeric
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • Brown rice or other grain of choice

Directions:

  1. Prepare the brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Roughly dice the onion and set aside.
  3. Place the vegetables in a microwavable bowl and microwave according to package directions. Place the thawed vegetables in a colander to allow the excess liquid to drain.
  4. Place the cashews in a blender with 1 cup of water. Puree the mixture for approximately 1 minute or until the mixture forms a thick cream.
  5. Add the can of pumpkin puree, 1 cup of water and the spices to the cashew cream. Blend until well combined.
  6. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onions in a large frying pan until fragrant and slightly translucent. Add the can of diced tomato, decrease the temperature to low and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin tomato mixture and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. Add water as needed to obtain the desired consistency.
  7. Mix the vegetables into the sauce until well coated.
  8. Serve over brown rice and top wish cashews.

Yield: ~ 4 cups 

pumpkin curry ingredients
DSC_0246.JPG

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1/2 Cup

  • Calories: 192
  • Protein: 6.3 grams
  • Fat: 8.6 grams
  • Carbs: 23.1 grams
    • Fiber: 4.3 grams 

Slow Cooked Autumn Pork Roast

The fall season is by far my favorite time of year. The air is so crisp and cool, you can almost feel that change is around the corner. I feel so inspired by the gorgeous colors. The markets are full of colorful autumnal produce. This is the time of year that I am at my most creative in the kitchen. I find myself craving warm, hearty meals. I love to match my flavors to the weather so I always lean towards sweet and savory flavor combinations.  This next recipe epitomizes fall. Slow cooked pork with apples, tubers and red kuri squash. I used a lean pork roast to keep the fat content to a minimum. I seasoned the roast with warm, savory spices and added just a pinch of cinnamon to help bring out a smoky flavor. The pork was stuffed with apples, craisins and onion which kept the meat juicy while adding a slight hint of sweetness. I surrounded the roast with hearty chunks of yam and sweet potato. Finally, I covered the roast with sliced red kuri squash. Placing the squash on top of the roast allows the squash to steam to a perfect consistency. If the squash is placed below the meat, the juices typically cause the squash to become too soggy. The roast cooks on low for an 8 hour cycle. By the end, the house is filled with the most delicious aroma and you have a full, hearty meal for the entire family. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lb Lean Pork roast
  • Red Kuri Squash (may substitute another winter squash) 
  • 1 medium to large yam
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1-2 apples of choice
  • 1/4th cup of craisins
  • 2 TBS Cumin
  • 1 TBS Tumeric
  • 1 TBS Coriander
  • 2 TSP Salt
  • 1 Pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Wash the yam and sweet potato. Cut into large chunks and set aside.
  2. Remove the core of the apple and cut into medium chunks. Cut the ½ onion into similarly sized chunks. Combine the apple, onion and craisins in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a sharp chef knife, slice the red kuri squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half into quarters.
  4. Combine the spices.
  5. Rinse the pork roast under cool water and pat dry. Generously coat the roast with the spice blend. Place the roast in the slow cooker.
  6. Create two lengthwise pockets in the roast by using a sharp chef knife cut two slits. Make sure to not cut all the way through the roast.
  7. Fill the pockets with the apple, onion, craisin mixture.
  8. Surround the roast with the chunks of sweet potato and yam and cover it with the red kuri squash.
  9. Cook on low for an 8 hour cycle.
  • Note: To serve the red kuri squash, remove the flesh from the skin and gently mash. It is delicious when served with margarine.

Yield: ~ 6 Servings 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 2 Slices of pork (1/3rd lb), ½ cup tubers, 1 cup red kuri squash

  • Calories: 331 cal
  • Protein: 12.4 grams
  • Fat: 7.2 grams
  • Carbs: 55 grams
    • Fiber: 9.3 grams

Spicy Tuna in Endive Leaves

My blog thus far has been 100% focused on eating healthy. Keeping a healthy diet plays a huge role in staying healthy but I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t the only factor. Staying active is just as important. Notice I didn’t say, “Exercise is just as important.” I don’t know about you but for me the word “exercise” brings back bad memories of 8A.M. gym class…. And getting picked last for dodge ball. Which I was totally okay with. You don’t necessary have to jump on a treadmill to stay physically active. Being active could be as simple as putting aside the television remote to take a 30-minute walk or going for a short hike on the weekend. You have to do whatever works for your lifestyle!

Personally, I really do enjoy going to the gym. I find that it is easiest for me to stay active if I go as soon as I get done with work… before I plop down on my comfy couch. I will admit that I have recently signed up with a personal trainer. I felt that I needed someone who can help keep me accountable while also teaching me how to lift weights without hurting myself. I have been lifting weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I do light cardio on Tuesday and Thursday mainly to stretch out my muscles. It has already been an amazing journey. One outcome of this routine that I didn’t anticipate is how much more I need to eat! I already eat a ton of fruits and veggies but I need to work on getting more lean protein into my diet. This next recipe, Spicy Asian Tuna in Endive Leaves, is the perfect lean snack to help me incorporate  some extra lean protein into my diet.

I used tuna packed in water to provide lean protein. The tuna is mixed with a sauce made from tamari, sesame oil and Sriracha to give this dish a delightful nutty yet spicy flavor. I happened to have tamari on hand but you can use soy sauce instead. If you are sensitive to gluten then I would recommend using tamari as this is always gluten free. The cilantro that is mixed into the tuna gives it a wonderful burst of freshness. Finally, I placed the tuna salad in an endive leaf. The endive is very similar to lettuce, but it offers a nuttier, mildly bitter flavor. I chose to use endive rather than lettuce as it is smaller, but you can easily substitute lettuce if you can’t find endives. I have found myself eating this dish after my workouts to refuel. It is absolutely scrumptious! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 TBS of tamari
  • ½ TBS of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of sriracha
  • ½ tsp of ginger
  • 1 can of albacore tuna packed in water
  • 1 endive
  • 2 TBS chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small handful of cilantro, chopped  

To Garnish (optional):

  • Avocado
  • Purple cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:

  1.  Finely grate the ginger. The skin may be left on for this step.
  2. Combine the sesame oil, tamari, Sriracha and grated ginger in a bowl.
  3. Combine 1 can of tuna, drained, with the chopped vegetables and the tamari mixture.
  4. Separate the leaves from the endive and rinse. Pat dry.
  5.  Place a scoop of the tuna salad in each endive leaf.
  6. Garnish with toppings of choice. 

Nutrition Content:

Yield: About 8 Endive leaves

Serving Size: 4 stuffed endive leaves

  • Calories: 80 cal
  • Protein: 8.4 grams
  • Fat: 4.1 grams
  • Carbs: 5.1 grams
    • Fiber: 2.6 grams

Mocha-Chia Pudding Cups

As August has approached, Boris and I have celebrated some big milestones. We moved to Philadelphia in June of last year. Boris began the first of a three year residency program. He has now completed his first year! I am constantly in awe of how hard this man works. I too have been working for a year at the hospital, as a clinical dietitian. I continue to learn so much every day. Last week we celebrated our one year anniversary as a married couple. I feel so fortunate to be with such an incredibly supportive man, who hasn’t gotten sick of my kitchen creations. And last, but not least, Making Foods Fit has officially been up and running for a whole year! I so look forward to creating and sharing healthy creations with all of you! With so many big milestones to celebrate, I wanted to share a sweet creation to celebrate such a sweet year. What better way to celebrate than with chocolate?

Chocolate is one of those foods that is frequently misrepresented. It is touted as a health food that is rich in antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to have preventative effects against cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer1. This is, of course, in addition to a healthy diet… so I wouldn’t go raiding the leftover Halloween candy just yet. While it is true that some chocolate is high in antioxidants/ polyphenols, it is important to keep in mind that not all chocolate is created equal. Chocolate comes from the cacao bean, which is the purest form of chocolate. The cacao bean is ground into chocolate liquor which can be combined with varying ratios of cacao butter (the fat extracted from the cacao bean) and sugar to make different types of chocolate – milk, unsweetened, bittersweet, etc2. As you might suspect, as the percentage of cacao increases in your chocolate the more antioxidants there are.  You’re better off purchasing a chocolate that is at least 65% cacao (as you can see in the ingredient photo below).

You may have guessed (as if my spiel didn’t give it away), this next recipe features dark chocolate! Following a healthy dietary pattern doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some sweets, but while you’re at it… why not get some antioxidants out of the deal? These Mocha-Chia Pudding Cups will satisfy the sweet tooth while also boosting your daily intake of antioxidants and fiber. I have combined a rich dark chocolate with a Mexican style mocha-chia pudding to create a perfectly decadent dessert. The chocolate cups take some time to make but they give the dessert such an elegant feel. If you don’t have the time to make the cups, then the mocha-chia pudding stands perfectly well on its own. We have been eating it for breakfast.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I have enjoyed blogging for the last year. Happy, healthy eating!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4th cup chia seeds
  •  1 TBS honey
  •  1 TSP instant coffee powder
  •  1 TSP cocoa powder, unsweetened
  •  1/8th TSP cinnamon
  •  12 oz dark chocolate (at least 65% cacao)

Directions: 

  1. To make the chia-seed pudding, whisk the first six ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the pudding to thicken.
  2. To make the chocolate cups, place ½ cup of chocolate chunks in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. If the chocolate has not melted, place back in the microwave for increments of 10 seconds until completely melted. Place approximately ½ tbs of chocolate in a foil cupcake wrapper. Using a basting brush, spread the chocolate evenly to coat the bottom and sides of the cup. Place the cup in the refrigerator to solidify. Using this technique, make 8 chocolate cups. (Note: likely will not use the whole bag of chocolate chunks)
  3.  When the chocolate cups have solidified, remove from the refrigerator. Follow the technique in step 2 to place a second coat of chocolate in each cup. Return them to the refrigerator to solidify.
  4. When the chocolate cups have hardened. Remove them from the refrigerator and gently peel the foil from each cup.
  5.  Fill each cup with the mocha-chia pudding, fruit and chocolate chunks. 
Chocolate chunks galore!!!!

Chocolate chunks galore!!!!

Perfection. 

Perfection. 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1 Pudding Filled Cup

  • Calories: 117 cal
  • Protein: 2.1 grams
  • Fat: 7.1 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
    • Fiber: 4.1 grams
1.       Scalbert, A., Johnson, I., Saltmarsh, M. Polyphenols: Antioxidants and Beyond. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 81 no. 1 215S-217S (2005).
2.       Sharp, M. Chocolate Info Archives – Facts About Chocolate. (2015) 

Vegetable Cabbage Rolls with Spicy Marinara

I have to admit, my time in the kitchen has been slim to none the past few weeks. Boris and I were down to one car so that meant that I was driving him to work, driving myself to work, and then picking him up. We weren’t getting home until 8pm most nights! Of course, in my world this equated to…. “I guess we have to get chipotle tonight.” I try to make healthy food choices outside of the home but let’s be honest, when you’re faced with a $1.75 addition of guacamole and chips the choice is pretty clear… guac it is! When I’m eating at home, there is simply less room for temptation. Not to mention, I know the ingredients that go into my recipes. 

Naturally, when I got back into my kitchen I felt the need to go all out… and that’s not just because I was worried about my produce going bad. I had purchased a head of cabbage two weeks prior with good intentions of making classic stuffed cabbage, one of Boris’ favorites. The cabbage was still good but, of course, we had already used up the ground meat. So I had to get creative. I emptied out the remaining vegetables we had in the fridge, made some quinoa (which we always have on hand) and came up with this lovely veggie filled stuffed cabbage. The veggie mix was perfect! The zucchini and mushrooms gave the filling a perfect meaty bite. Rather than making a classic Hungarian sweet and sour sauce I thought an Italian sauce would pair nicely with the veggies. Boy, was I right! The sauce adds a garden fresh sparkle to the cabbage rolls that was perfect for a summer night. This recipe isn’t quick but it is definitely worth it!

Ingredients: Spicy Marinara 

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water 
  • ½ red onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 2 tsp basil 
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes 

Ingredients: Cabbage Rolls 

  • 1 large head of cabbage 
  • 1 medium sized zucchini/ squash 
  • ½ red onion 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (prepare the quinoa according to package directions) 
  • ½ pint mushrooms 

Directions: 

1.    Prepare the Sauce
Dice ½ of the onion and mince the garlic. In a medium sized pot heat a tablespoon of olive oil then add the onion and garlic. Sautee until fragrant and the onion is slightly translucent. Add the can of tomato sauce, can of diced tomato, 1 cup of water and the spices. Turn the heat on simmer and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. 
2.    Prepare the filling 
Grate the zucchini using a cheese grater. Finely dice ½ of an onion. Chop 1 cup of walnuts. Wash and chop ½ pint of mushrooms. Combine these ingredients with the quinoa and ½ cup of sauce.  
3.    Prepare the cabbage leaves 
Fill a large pot to the half point with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place the cabbage in the pot and allow to cook. As the leaves soften, use tongs to remove them from the head of cabbage. Set the leaves aside. 
4.    Fill the cabbage leaves 
Cut the core out of each from each leaf, as shown below. Place the filling in the center and roll it up while keeping the filling secure, inside. 
5.    Prepare the pan 
In a large pyrex pan, place a thin layer of sauce at the bottom. Cover the sauce with a thin layer of cabbage leaves. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls over the leaves and cover with a layer of sauce. Cook in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.   

Hearty, healthy and delicious! 

Hearty, healthy and delicious! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1 stuffed cabbage roll     

  • Calories: 208 cal
  • Protein: 6.5 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 15.4 grams
    • Fiber: 4.1 grams

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Figs

A few weekends ago Boris and I went to an awesome Spanish tapas restaurant. Tapas are basically like tasters or appetizers, typically served with wine or beer. What’s better than making a meal out of lots of appetizers? One of the more sinfully delicious tapas plates we had was a bacon wrapped fried date. It was delicious but a good reminder that meal starters are generally not so waist friendly. This got me thinking, how can I make a healthy, gourmet appetizer without all of the calories?

I was inspired by my favorite fruit, the lovely fig. The California fig happens to be in season from now through September. Sweet and slightly chewy in texture, figs seem like a gourmet treat to me! So rather than using a date, I used a fig as the base of my tapas creation. I wrapped the fig with turkey bacon rather than pork bacon to cut down on calories and saturated fat. Honestly though, the flavor is just as rich because all you need is the perfect salty complement to the sweet fig. I wanted to really bring a richness to this recipe so I drizzled the bacon wrapped figs with a creamy yogurt dressing. Serve this tapas recipe at your next gathering and I guarantee it will be a hit! It has most certainly become a hit in the Bayerman household. 

Ingredients: 

  •  1 Pint of figs
  • 1 Pack of turkey bacon
  • 1/4th cup of low fat greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS of Dijon mustard
  •  1 TBS of honey
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  •  Kabob skewers*

*If you don’t have skewers, you can substitute toothpicks.

Directions:

  1. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix the yogurt, Dijon mustard, curry powder and cayenne in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Wash and cut the figs into quarters.
  4. Slice the turkey bacon in half, lengthwise.
  5. Roll 1 fig quarter in 1 turkey bacon slice as shown below. Secure with the skewer. The skewer should be able to hold 4-5 bacon wrapped figs.
  6.  Heat a light layer of canola or vegetable oil in a grill pan or sauté pan over high heat. When ready, place the skewer in the pan and cook on each side until slightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  7. To serve, keep the turkey bacon wrapped fig on the skewer and drizzle with the yogurt dressing.  

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 4 Turkey Bacon Wrapped Figs with dressing    

  • Calories: 127 cal
  • Protein: 7.5 grams
  • Fat: 5.2 grams
  • Carbs: 14.3 grams
    • Fiber: 1.9 grams 

 

 

 

Tex Mex Brussels Salad

I got back from the Public Policy Workshop in D.C. about a week ago. The workshop was awesome! We had the opportunity to view the film Food Chains and meet the director, Sanjay Rawal. The workshop focused on policies related to nutrition and how to advocate for our profession as registered dietitians, in congress. At the end of the workshop, we went to Capital Hill to meet with congress members to discuss a few particular acts that pertain to the prevention of diabetes and obesity. I won’t get into the nitty gritty because this isn’t a political blog… it’s a food blog! If you are interested, please feel free to email me at shawna@makingfoodsfit.com.  

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been cooking too much this past week. I love the heat but standing in front of a hot stove in 90-degree weather… not exactly appealing. So it has been salads and easy meals for us in the Bayerman household. This next salad recipe was a pleasant surprise! We were going to a friend’s house for a BBQ and I didn’t have time to go shopping. So, I used what we had in the fridge! The end result was this super delicious Tex Mex Brussels Salad. For those of you who aren’t too keen on Brussels, you can definitely substitute a coleslaw mix. Honestly though, you can’t even tell. The wheat berries add a really nice wholesome bite to the salad. I braved my kitchen long enough to roast some corn so it came out nice and toasted, but you can also use canned corn if you don’t have fresh on hand. The spices add a savory smoky flavor which is offset perfectly by the lime.  This salad is super crisp and delicious, definitely keep it in mind for all of those 4th of July BBQ’s coming up!

Happy Summer everyone! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2-3 ears of corn
  • 15 large brussels sprouts or 3 Cups of shredded brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries  
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • ½ TBS cumin
  • ½ TBS coriander
  • 1 TSP chili powder
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS margarine 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the wheat berries according to package directions.
  3. To prepare the corn, remove the husk away from the corn while making sure the husk stays intact at the base. Coat each ear of corn in a thin layer of margarine then sprinkle with chili powder and lime juice. Pull the husk leaves back, over the ear of corn. Place directly on the middle oven rack and roast for 35 minutes.
  4. When the corn is done, remove the husk and place back in the oven for another ~15 minutes or until the corn is slightly charred. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool then remove the kernels from the cob.
  5. Shred the Brussels sprouts horizontally, as shown below.
  6. Drain and rinse the black beans in a colander.
  7. Chop the handful of cilantro.
  8. Place all of the ingredients, including spices and juice of at least two limes into a bowl and mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Yield: 5-7 cups 

I think this salad has 4th of July BBQ written all over it! 

I think this salad has 4th of July BBQ written all over it! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1/2 Cup  

  • Calories: 109 cal
  • Protein: 3.1 grams
  • Fat: 4.6 grams
  • Carbs: 14.8 grams
    • Fiber: 3.2 grams 

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Before I talk about this lovely Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, I wanted to share some news with you all! I was recently appointed the Public Policy Chair Elect position for the Philadelphia Dietetics Association. This role is such an honor for me. It will give me a chance to speak to congress members about crucial health and nutrition related issues that affect not only PA, but the nation. This upcoming weekend I will be going to Washington D.C. for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Public Policy Workshop 2015 to learn about crucial policies that will benefit the nation. Needless to say, I have been a busy bee trying to get ready. With all of this preparation, I haven’t had much time to blog. I did have a nice break last weekend to go strawberry picking with my love so of course I had to whip up a recipe!   

We went to Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA. If you have local farms near you, I would highly recommend checking them out! I have so much to say about the importance of supporting local farms, but I will save that for another time after the workshop. If you are interested in reading more, I would recommend visiting the Sustainable Table. I will say that picking is a great activity for the family. It’s such a great way to introduce kids to where their food comes from. Not to mention, it is so incredibly rewarding to take all of that produce home to cook with. We brought home about 10 pints of strawberries! I made an incredible strawberry rhubarb compote with a really delicious ginger kick. We are going to can it so we have extra all throughout the summer. Boris has been eating the compote with peanut butter and I have been eating it over Greek yogurt. Sometimes it’s the simple recipes that offer the most versatility! I apologize for the short blog, but I hope you enjoy the recipe! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints of strawberries
  • 6 small or 3 large stalks of rhubarb
  • 5 cubes of crystallized ginger*, finely chopped
  • 1/4th cup of honey
  • 1/4th cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla

*Crystallized ginger can be found in the bulk section of Whole Foods or Wegmans, or in the spice isle of your local grocery store 

Directions:

  1. If you have large rhubarb, you may need to peel the skin as the skin can make it tough. It is okay to leave the skin on the smaller stalks. Chop the rhubarb into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Wash and remove the stems from the strawberries. Roughly chop half of them. Leave the remaining strawberries whole.
  3. Finely dice the crystallized ginger.
  4. Combine the rhubarb, water, and honey in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Allow the rhubarb to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add the strawberries and ginger to the pan, turn the heat on high. When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Mix constantly to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

*I prefer my compote to be more on the tart side, but you may add more honey to desired sweetness.

Yield: 4 Cups 

Prepping my ingredients. 

Prepping my ingredients. 

The finished product... so yummy! 

The finished product... so yummy! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1/4th Cup  

  • Calories: 42 cal
  • Protein: .5 grams
  • Fat: .2 grams
  • Carbs: 10 grams
    • Fiber: 1.2 grams

 

 

Vegan Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

“I hate a delicious stack of pancakes to start off my day,” said no one ever! Seriously though, pancakes are one of my all-time favorite foods.  They were the first food I learned how to cook. I started with Bisquick then graduated to the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook recipes. The pancake is a great way to learn the basics of cooking. You can easily see how adding too much, or too little, of an ingredient can alter the end product. Let’s just say, my parents had to suffer through their fair share of awful pancakes. Luckily, I learned the basics and have since graduated onto my own recipes!

This next one is not only delicious, but packed with protein and fiber. I’ve used whole wheat flour and oat bran as the base to help boost the fiber content. The fine whole wheat flour gives the pancake the perfect mouth-feel. Rather than using sugar, I used a ripe banana. This provides the sweetness and keeps the finished product from drying out. I let the chia seeds sit in the batter for at least 10 minutes. This gives them time to gelatinize so the pancake comes out nice and fluffy! The peanut butter adds a delicious nutty taste and to be honest the peanut butter and banana combo is amazing! This recipe is a brunch time hit! It is also vegan, which is perfect because Boris and I love to host brunch and we want to accommodate all dietary preferences! I topped my pancakes with bananas and almonds but you can use anything to dress them up. Yum! Try them this weekend and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine whole wheat flour*
  • ½ cup oat bran*
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (any PB will do, but as close to natural as you can get)
  • 2 cups almond milk (or other milk of choice) 
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Vegetable or canola oil to fry in
  • Liquid sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar etc.)
  • Slivered almonds and extra banana to serve

* These items were found in the Whole Foods bulk section

Directions:

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a mixer and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
  2. Allow the mixture to set for 10 to 20 minutes. This allows the chia seeds to gelatinize.
  3. Place 1-2 TBS of vegetable oil in a pan and heat over medium heat for 30 seconds.
  4. Using a ¼ cup measuring scoop, measure out the batter and place in the pan. Make sure that the oil is well distributed. Cook for about 1 minute or until the underside of the pancake has turned a golden brown.
  5.  Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute. Both sides should appear golden brown.
  6.  Remove the pancakes from the pan and place onto a paper towel to cool slightly. 
  7. To serve, top with almonds, banana and liquid sweetener of choice. 

Yield: 12 Pancakes 

So few ingredients for such big flavor! 

So few ingredients for such big flavor! 

Yum!!!

Yum!!!

 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 1 pancake

  • Calories: 130 cal
  • Protein: 4.2 grams
  • Fat: 6.2 grams
  • Carbs: 16.5 grams
    • Fiber: 4 grams 

Spicy Avocado Lime Dressing

For the last few weeks I’ve been getting a lot of questions about weight loss. Maybe it’s just a product of summer fever. Bikini season seems to instill fear into the hearts of those hiding under their winter sweaters. More specifically, I’ve been getting questions about which diet I think is the best for weight loss. To be honest, I can’t even keep track of these diets anymore! As a consumer it must feel so completely overwhelming to pick the perfect diet or at least the least miserable one. You have to mentally prepare yourself for at least a week before starting. You have to lock up your chocolates, so they’ll tempt you from behind a closed cabinet rather than from the candy bowl. You have to practice what you will say to your mother who will inevitably try to overfeed you. Then you have to closely monitor your progress… one dreaded weigh-in at a time. The worst part, when the diet is over the weight comes back.

The whole process seems so daunting, doesn’t it? I would know. I battled with my weight for years before I took an interest in nutrition. I too was well practiced at the art of yo-yo dieting. I tried them all. Low fat, low carb, diet pills, cleanses… In the end, I would spend months thinking about nothing but food and weight. Eventually, I would give into cravings (my body’s cry for proper nutrition) and eat everything in sight. I would feel wracked with guilt which would just cause me to overeat until my next feverish attempt to lose weight. Not only was this whole process exhausting, but it made me completely lose sight of anything else around me. It was a perfectly joyless way of living.

In the end, I decided to really educate myself about how to nourish the human body properly. I focused both my bachelor’s and master’s degree on nutrition sciences. The more knowledge I gained, the healthier my relationship with food became. I started to make small changes such as selecting less processed foods. I replaced the saturated fats like butter, sour cream and mayonnaise with foods like olive oil, tahini and Greek yogurt. I traded in empty calorie foods (the foods that are high in calories but have no nutritional value) for foods that were nutritionally dense. I found that when I ate foods with a higher nutrient profile I naturally ate less because my body wasn't looking for the nutrition it needed. I eventually found that small changes dietary changes lead to big results both mentally and physically.

This next recipe is a perfect example of one of the small changes I have made in my diet that has added up to big results. I love a good creamy salad dressing to dip my veggies into. Unfortunately, many salad dressings on the market are loaded in calories but devoid of any sort of nutrition. Not only that but I can’t even pronounce most of the ingredients on the label. My Avocado Salad Dressing is a great alternative to those prepackaged dressings. It is made with ingredients that are packed with the good types of fats and antioxidants. The best part is that it satisfies my craving for something creamy and delicious! With undertones of citrus and cilantro, this dressing makes any salad sparkle with flavor!

Ingredients:

  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ jalapeno
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves  
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/4th cup olive oil
  • 1/4th cup water  
  • 1/8th TSP coriander
  • 1/8th TSP cumin
  • 1/4th TSP Salt 

Directions:

  1. Take the pit out of the avocado and remove the skin.
  2. Place all ingredients in the blender. If the dressing is too thick, add more water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  3. Set the blender to liquefy until all ingredients are blended well.
  4. Serve over salad or as a dip.

Note: This recipe may be refrigerated but is best when served at room temperature. 

The perfect addition to any salad to make it sparkle with flavor! 

The perfect addition to any salad to make it sparkle with flavor! 

Nutrition Content:

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

  • Calories: 78 cal
  • Protein: .2 gram
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Carbs: 1 grams
  • Fiber: .7 grams