Thursday, November 27, 2014

Southwest Turkey Soup

Here it is, just in time for all the turkey leftovers that will be found tucked in the fridge tomorrow.  If your family is anything like mine, Dad will buy THE biggest turkey he can find... even if it's just to feed a family of four.  And there are always a tremendous amount of leftovers.  As many turkey sandwiches as we can eat, and we still can't get through all the deliciousness.

My  advice... take your leftover turkey, make this soup and freeze at least half.  Then you have a healthy meal ready to go in the next few weeks when you are in the midst of holiday crunch time!  And, it's always nice to add a little variety to your leftovers.

Today, and everyday, I am thankful for all of you reading this!  I hope everyone has a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, and you find the time to truly count your blessings.   Here's to our good health!  This one goes out to all the soup guys out there...

Turkey Tortilla Soup
2 Tb olive oil
2 bell peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1Tb chili powder
1Tb cumin
1Tb fresh oregano (or 1tsp dried)
1tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups chopped leftover turkey
32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen corn kernels

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bell peppers, onion, celery and garlic.  Saute over medium, stirring frequently, until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.  
  2. Stir in your spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt and pepper.  
  3. Then add your vegetable mixture to your crock pot, along with your leftover turkey (yay leftovers!), chicken broth, tomatoes, black beans and corn.  Cook on low for at least 4 hours.  
  4. Enjoy with a dollop of guacamole, fat free Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cilantro.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Curried Cashews

As you are gearing up for Thanksgiving travel and black Friday shopping, remember to plan ahead to stay on track with your healthy eating plan.  Nuts make a great portable snack- buy individual pre-portioned packs to store in your car, carry on, purse, or pocket. Or, better yet... make your own roasted nuts and portion about 1/4 cup in snack-sized bags. 

Try this yummy, warm and toasty recipe to keep on hand for when you are out and about this week.

Curried Cashews
Makes about 12 servings (1/4 cup each)

3 cups unsalted, raw cashews
3Tb lemon juice
2Tb curry powder
1tsp turmeric
1Tb coconut sugar
1tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

Whisk together lemon juice, curry, turmeric, coconut sugar, salt and cayenne.  Pour over cashews and toss until evenly coated.  Spread evenly on baking sheet.  Cook in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until browned, stirring every 10 minutes. 

Let cool completely.  Stir in airtight container.

Recipe Facts

1/4 cup
5 minute(s)
20 minute(s)
Nutrition Facts per serving (40)g
Calories: 203.8
Fat Calories: 141
Total Fat 16g
  Saturated Fat 3.2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 200.1mg
Total Carb 12.8g
  Dietary Fiber 1.4g
  Sugars 2.6g
Protein 5.4g
24% Carb
10% Protein
66% Fat

Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY Honey Mustard Almonds

Just a handful a day!!!
It's no secret that almonds are a healthy snack.  The mono-unsaturated fats help to optimize our serum cholesterol levels, and along with the fabulous fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants that almonds provide, may help us decrease our risk for cardiovascular diseases. 

Just 1 ounce of almonds (about 24), also provides us with ~7gm of protein, roughly the amount in 1 egg.  This combination of protein, fiber and fats makes for a great satiating snack between meals.  And the best part is that nuts are wonderfully portable- keep a small baggie in your desk, car or purse so that hunger is never an excuse to stop for a less optimal meal.  

And the greatest part about making your own? DIY is much more economical than shelling out anywhere from 3-7 bucks on each small container of nuts in the grocery store!

Start by whisking together your honey mustard mixture... 

Then, toss your almonds in the sauce until well coated.  

Then, you just spread evenly on your prepped backing sheet, and cook at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes until almonds are fragrant and browned, about 30 minutes total.

Soooooo, easy right??!!

Honey Mustard Almonds
3 cups raw almond
1/4 cup honey (preferably local)
1Tb Dry Mustard Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and lightly coat with non-stick spray.
2. Whisk together honey, mustard, salt and paprika.  Pour over almonds and mix well to evenly coat. 
3. Spread almonds on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes.
4. Pour almonds into shallow container to cool.  Stir frequently to keep the almonds from sticking together when cooled.  Store in an airtight container for about a week.

Recipe Facts

 1/4 cup
 10 minute(s)
 30 minute(s)
Nutrition Facts per serving (38)g
Calories: 191.7
Fat Calories: 132
Total Fat 15g
  Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 97.2mg
Total Carb 10.9g
  Dietary Fiber 4g
  Sugars 6.8g
Protein 7g

21% Carb
14% Protein
65% Fat

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spice Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes

I am up to my neck in sweet potatoes right now... stocked up big time at Drumberheller's Orchard when we were last in VA.  I am not complaining... love me some sweet potatoes and the versatility they lend themselves to in all kinds of recipes.  Roast them with some chili powder and cayenne for a smoky sweet side dish, or "bake" in the microwave and stuff with black beans, cheddar and salsa for a vegetarian quick meal, or add a little cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for a sweeter twist.  

I went with the latter option in my spiced protein pancakes.  I've posted on protein pancakes before- they are quick, they are nutritionally balanced, they freeze well, and even picky eaters won't notice the difference between these and your classic, "out of the box" pancake variety!  

I personally always double the recipes for a grab-n-go breakfast option for the work week.  

And to keep with the Fall flavor profile I have been LOVING over the past couple weeks, I made a quick pumpkin-y topping in lieu of dousing these babies in syrup.  

So, here ya go... quick and easy... start by throwing all your pancake ingredients into a food processor (oats, eggs, mashed sweet potato, cottage cheese, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup).  

And blend until smooth... use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Next, use 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion out pancake mixture onto hot skillet.  Use  a spoon to smooth down into a pancake- the batter will be thicker then your run of the mill, boxed (read nutritionally-void) pancake mix.  Keep heat to medium low, and after 3-4 minutes (or when pancakes start to firm and brown), flip and cook the other side.

The recipe will make about 12 pancakes (4 servings, of 3 pancakes each).  

Meanwhile, while your pancakes are cooking, you can make your topping.  Whisk together 1/3 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, and 1/4 cup jarred pumpkin butter.  Yup, it's that easy folks.  While pumpkin butter does have added sugars, we are keeping the portion minimal (just 1Tb per serving), and we are adding the protein-packed Greek yogurt to help the sweet flavor go a little further.  

Next, all you do is plate your pancakes, drizzle the pumpkin-yogurt topping over top, and sprinkle with a few pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) for a little crunch... not to mention some extra healthy fats and protein :)

Spiced Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes
Makes about 12 pancakes (4 servings)

1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
1 cup oats
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
2 eggs
1Tb maple syrup
1tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp baking powder
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup pumpkin butter
4Tb pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1. Add sweet mashed sweet potato, oats, cottage cheese, eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and baking powder to food processor.  Blend until smooth, scraping bowl with spatula as needed.
2. Heat skillet over medium-low heat.  Add 1/2tsp coconut oil, then spoon out ¼ cup pancake batter and use a spoon to smooth into a circle.  Repeat with batter until you have about 4 pancakes in your skillet.  Cook about 4 minutes, per side and flip.  Repeat with remaining batter until all pancakes are cooked

3. Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt and pumpkin butter.  Use as a topping for pancakes, along with a  sprinkle of pepitas.  

Recipe Facts

 About 3 pancakes
 5 minute(s)
 15 minute(s)
Nutrition Facts per serving (240)g
Calories: 319.3
Fat Calories: 70.4
Total Fat 8g
  Saturated Fat 1.8g
Cholesterol 106.7mg
Sodium 377.5mg
Total Carb 44.6g
  Dietary Fiber 5.2g
  Sugars 17.6g
Protein 18.7g
55% Carb
23% Protein
22% Fat

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Southwestern Sweet Potato Souffle

After spending a weekend in the mountains of Schuyler, VA earlier this month, Sonny and I made our usual trip to Drumheller's Orchard where we STOCKED up on all kinds of apples and sweet potatoes.  I haven't had a chance to make any apple recipes yet (hoping I can get to that next week), but the Fuji apples have made some wonderful snacks!

I have managed to tap away at some of my sweet potato stock- we've roasted, mashed and baked, and I'm planning on making some sweet potato protein pancakes for tomorrow.  And this healthy casserole-style meal I made last week is definitely worth sharing.  The recipe is packed with nutrient-dense vegetables- but no one will consider this "health food" when noshing through the smoky-sweet, flavor-packed bites!

First, start out by steaming your chopped carrots and sweet potatoes- the carrots will take a little longer to steam so start with just the carrots and add the potatoes about 15 minutes in.  Reserve some of your steaming liquid, about 1/2 cup.  

While your skin-loving, beta-carotene rich veggies are cooking, start on your sauteed vegetables.  This recipe is all... "veggies on veggies on veggies!"  Heat a large (like, the largest you have) saute pan or even sauce pan with your oil, then add in your onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute over medium until veggies are tender and onions are translucent.  Stir often so garlic does not burn.  When vegetables are soft and beautiful, turn off the heat and stir in your beans and corn.  

Then, when your orange vegetables are fork tender, transfer them to a large bowl.  Add in 1/2 cup reserved steaming liquid and beat with a hand mixture until mostly smooth... small chunks of carrots and sweet potato are A-ok!  Then, add in your eggs, chili powder, cumin, salt and ground black pepper.

Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Stir the shredded cheddar and your sauteed veggie-bean-corn blend into the mashed sweet potato mixture, and spread into your prepared baking dish.  Place that bad boy in the oven, and take care- that dish will be heavy!

Bake until set and browned on top.... you will know it's ready when your house smells like southwestern paradise and your mouth is uncontrollably watering.  

For a dose of heart-healthy fat, and yummy creamy goodness, I added a dollop of guacamole.  And since this was a refuel meal after a tough squat-packed workout, I also added a poached egg for an additional protein punch.  So good, so good, so good.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Souffle

3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1Tb chili powder
1Tb cumin
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2Tb olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
8oz mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese. 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly coat 13x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
2. Steam carrots and sweet potatoes until fork tender- carrots will require a slightly longer steaming time, so start them and add the sweet potatoes 15 minutes later.  Reserve ½ cup steaming liquid.
3. With a hand mixer, beat the steamed potatoes and carrots with the ½ cup reserved liquid until fairly smooth (some chunks remaining are fine).   Then, add in one beaten egg at a time, along with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Mix until well combined. 
4. While sweet potatoes and carrots are steaming, start on your veggies.  Heat olive oil over medium low in large sauté pan.  Add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in beans and corn. 
5. Stir veggie mixture into mashed sweet potatoes.  Stir in cheese and spread evenly in prepared baking dish.  Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes until slightly browned on top.

6. Serve with mashed avocado and a poached egg on top.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Smoky Turkey & Kale Soup

The abundance of instagram posts praising the various food and beverage items available in Pumpkin Spice flavor can only mean one thing- Fall is here!  Which means there are plenty of other flavors to celebrate- pomegranates, apples, winter squash and dark leafy greens are becoming readily available.  And my crock pot is in for some work over the next few months!

Monday was the first morning I have had to throw on a sweatshirt before taking Buddy out for his daily walk...

And when it's cool enough for hoodies, it's cool enough for soup!  So before heading out to the gym, I prepped a soup complete with the wonderful warming flavors of smoky paprika and cumin. 

Start out by heating your saute pan over medium heat.  Brown your turkey with paprika, oregano and red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.  Mmmm... the toasty fragrance reminds me of Sundays curled up on the couch watching football with my family.

After the turkey is browned, move it from the pan, into the crock pot.  Next, cook your peppers and onions in olive oil until translucent and fragrant.  

Add sauteed veggies to the crock pot, along with zucchini, brown rice, paprika, oregano, cumin and broth.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours- perfect amount of time to clean up, walk the dog and head to the gym!  When you get home, add your kale and cook another 15 minutes.  

This recipe provides an ideal amount of lean protein and healthy carbohydrate to refuel and rebuild after a strength workout, while the anti-oxidant rich kale will help decrease inflammation and soreness post sweat sesh.  Now, there's nothing left to do but dive in!

Smoky Turkey & Kale Soup
1lb lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch fresh ground pepper
2Tb olive oil
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 zucchini, diced
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
1tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, leaves trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces

1. Lightly coat medium saute pan with non-stick spray- add ground turkey, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika and fresh ground pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until turkey is browned.  Add to crock pot.
2. Add 2Tb olive oil to saute pan and cook bell pepper and onion over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add to crock pot.
3. Add remaining zucchini, rice, 1tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1/4tsp salt to crock pot.  Stir to combine, then pour broth over veg.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours.  Stir in kale during last 15 minutes of cook time.

Recipe Facts

 About 1.5 cup
 20 minute(s)
 120 minute(s)
Nutrition Facts per serving (210)g
Calories: 299.2
Fat Calories: 68.1
Total Fat 7.7g
  Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 41.5mg
Sodium 271.4mg
Total Carb 35.4g
  Dietary Fiber 4.3g
  Sugars 1.8g
Protein 24g

Monday, September 1, 2014

Whole Wheat Peach Pie Pancakes

When life is so go-go I look forward to cooking a nice brunch for Sonny and I on the weekend.  We love to eat on the back porch and sip coffee and enjoy the down time with each other.  This morning, with only two eggs left in the fridge, I knew omelets were out.  But with a bowl of summer-fresh, local NC peaches on the counter, pancakes seemed like the perfect comfort food after a busy couple days.

Sonny helped out by slicing and dicing up the juicy, summer peaches, then serenaded me on the guitar while I took care of the rest... life is good :)

As with any pancake recipe, you want to start by mixing together your dry ingredients.  For a nutrient-dense recipe, I opted for high-fiber, vitamin-rich whole wheat flour and old fashioned oats instead of the more processed, refined white flour.  Using whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat white flour provides a lighter texture.

Next whisk together your wet ingredients until frothy...

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet.  Add the diced peaches and gently fold together just until combined.  DO NOT over mix- this will leave you with a dense pancake... no good!

Cook your pancakes over medium heat in batches until golden brown.

Meanwhile, make your topping.  Cook your sliced peach in coconut oil over medium heat.  The peaches will break down and release their delicious, sweet summertime juices.  Add a little protein and healthy fat (not to mention delicious nutty flavor) with some pecans... peaches and pecans just seem like the right thing to do!  A little pure maple syrup mixed with the peaches allows a little sweetness to go a long way.

Now, the only thing left to do is settle down with some good company, and enjoy a delicious (and healthy) start to this beautiful day!

This recipe makes A LOT of pancakes... about 18.  This is great for wrapping up and freezing individual servings for a quick breakfast on a weekday.  However, if you don't want this many leftovers, simply halve the recipe.  

Whole Wheat Peach Pie Pancakes
Makes about 9 servings, 2 pancakes each

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp salt
4tsp baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
2 large eggs
2 cups coconut milk (unsweetened, or use milk of choice)
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1Tb vanilla extract
1 cup diced fresh peach

For the topping:
1 peach, thinly sliced
1tsp coconut oil (or butter)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut sugar, coconut milk, yogurt, vanilla until frothy and yogurt is no longer clumpy.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients.  Throw in diced peaches and gently fold until just combined (do not overmix- this will lead to dense pancakes).  Allow batter to sit for about 3 minutes until it thickens slightly.

Heat pan over medium heat.  Lightly coat with non-stick spray.  Cook pancakes in batches, flipping when bubbles start to form, about 3 minutes per side.  Add more non-stick spray to the pan as needed.  Keep in oven at lowest temperature to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, make your topping.  In a small saute pan, add 1tsp coconut oil and warm over medium heat.  Add peaches and pecans and cook until peaches start to break down and release their juices, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often.  Add maple syrup and turn heat to low to allow a gentle simmer for about 7 minutes.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Nutrition information per serving (2 3 inch pancakes): 265 calories, 8gm fat, 2gm saturated fat, 47mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 44gm carbohydrates (3 carb exchanges), 7gm fiber, 14gm sugar, 7gm protein.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cilantro Lime Sweet Potato Salad

Want to start eating healthier?  A first step can be to eat more color.  All fruits and vegetables have health benefits, but for the best balance, be sure to fit in green, orange, red, yellow, and even white several times per week.

And as any of my clients will tell you, it's not about what we are removing from our diets to make ourselves healthier, but what you are adding in to better fuel yourself, prevent chronic disease, optimize energy, and yes... add flavor to your life!

Take potato salad... traditionally this dish is not considered "health food."  But instead of avoiding it at the Labor Day cookout this weekend, make a better, more colorful, fresh-tasting side dish to wow the crowd!

Not only does this recipe pack a lot of flavor from the zesty lime, the sweet roasted onions and the fresh cilantro, but you have to know the ingredients I chose are going to help you be your best.  The lycopene in the tomatoes and beta carotene in the sweet potatoes will help prevent any long-term damage from the sun exposure you're bound to get this labor day weekend.  And the vitamin C in the bell peppers will help keep your immune system strong, regardless of how much fun you decide to have.

Cilantro Lime Sweet Potato Salad
3 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 Tb olive oil
1 bell pepper, any color
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice (preferably fresh)
2Tb olive oil
1tsp sriracha

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss sweet potatoes and onion with 2Tb olive oil and a pinch salt and fresh ground pepper.  Spread evenly on baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop your bell pepper and halve your tomatoes.  Place vegetables in a large bowl with the black beans.  Gently stir in sweet potatoes and onions and toss to combine.  Mince the cilantro- whisk in lime juice, olive oil and sriracha.  Pour dressing over vegetables mixture and gently toss to coat.

Serve with fresh grilled fish or chicken for a healthy, well balanced meal!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cookie Cutter PB&J Bars

I've been putting some thought into what makes a good "kid-friendly" recipe... and I've come up with 3 major points:

1- It has to be hands on for the kids (i.e. not too many knives or too much heat)

2- The food has to be fun to look at (just like adults, kids eat first with their eyes)

3- It has to taste good (well yeah!)

My various no bake bars typically fit the #1 and #3 criteria... but since I usually just cut them into bars or shape them into balls, I had to think about how I could make them visually appealing for the kiddos.  I had just finished up making some homemade dog treats with the leftover spent grains from Sonny's beer brewing escapades this weekend... I had used a squirrel-shaped cookie cutter to make Buddy's dog treats.  So why not use a cookie cutter to make my bars more visually appearing for the kids??!!

And that's how I came up with the idea for my Sea Otter PB&J Bars... of course you can use  any cookie cutter or a variety of shapes depending on what the kids are into!

Now the recipes is not only tasty and easy with lots of kid-friendly steps, but now my bars are also super fun for kids (and adults) to eat!

Cookie Cutter PB&J Bars
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup prunes
1 cup peanuts
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1Tb unsweetened almond milk

Pulse oats in food processor until finely ground.  Add prunes and peanuts and pulse until finely ground pieces form.  Add peanut butter and pulse for another 30-60 seconds until PB is well distributed.  Add just enough almond milk (1tb at a time) until mixture is sticky enough to form a ball.

Roll your "dough" out about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Use cookie cutter of choice to cut out fun, edible shapes.  Store your bars in the refrigerator for best results.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cherry Bites

Just like most of my bar concoctions, this recipe is as easy as throwing a bunch of stuff in a food processor (or blender).  And this combination of ingredients sure as heck beats some of the sugar-packed granola bars on the market.  We get all the natural sweetness supplied by dried cherries and dates, without the need for any extra sweetener.

And not only is the taste of the chocolate-cherry combination magical, but there are some great health benefits behind my choice in ingredients as well... as if you could expect anything less ;)  These tasty little morsels can act as a great post workout refuel with the healthy carbohydrates supplied by the fruits and oats.  As far as the cherries... these tart, tasty little fruits have been found to contribute some incredible anti-inflammatory effects... great to aid in recovery of sore muscles and reduce oxidative stress after a tough workout.

But why stop with the cherries?  We've all heard that the polyphenols in chocolate provide some pretty great anti-oxidant properties.  But let's be honest, a chocolate bar (yes, even dark chocolate) is still candy.  By using pure unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe, we are gaining all the benefits of the cocoa bean, but bypassing the extra sugar found in store bought chocolate products.

So, have you got 10 minutes?  Then, you have time to make your own energy bites!

Start by pulsing the oats, flax and cocoa powder in a food processor.  Then add in your cherries, dates, almonds, and vanilla.  Pulse until you have a fine mixture.  Add in your unsweetened almond milk, tablespoon at a time, until your mixture comes together and resembles the texture of cookie dough.

Next, just roll your mixture into balls- about the size of a rounded tablespoon.  I was able to get 24 balls out of my mixture by making them a 2-3 bite size (or one bite if your my husband).  Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Bites
1 cup oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried cherries
10 dates
1/2Tb vanilla extract
2-3 Tb unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1. Pulse the oats, flax and cocoa powder in a food processor.
2. Add in your cherries, dates, almonds, and vanilla.  Pulse until you have a fine mixture.
3. Add in your unsweetened almond milk, tablespoon at a time, until your mixture comes together and resembles the texture of cookie dough.
4. Roll mixture into balls, about the size of a rounded tablespoon in order to get 24 bites.
5. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator.

Recipe Facts- Chocolate Covered Cherry Bites

 1 Ball
 10 minute(s)
 0 minute(s)
Nutrition Facts per serving (26)g
Calories: 88.5
Total Fat 3.8g
  Saturated Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 3.7mg
Total Carb 12.2g
  Dietary Fiber 2.2g
  Sugars 6.9g
Protein 2.1g

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zucchini "Fries"

Warning... this recipe may have your kids requesting vegetables more.  Gasp... is it possible??!!  Remember, anything is possible, sometimes it just takes trying the same things a couple different ways until you get it to work!

First things first, get yourself two medium/large summer fresh zucchini.  Cut into French-fry shaped pieces.  Toss your zucchini "fries" in about 3/4 cup egg whites (I always keep cartons of egg whites in my fridge for stuff like this- easier than cracking and separating eggs). 

Have your kiddos help you with the next step- the more hands on stuff the kids can get involved with, the more willing they are to try the final product.  Have the lil guys help you combine bread crumbs, ground flaxseed, parmesan cheese, ground black pepper and Italian seasoning in a gallon size bag... or multiple gallon sized bags if you have multiple helpers :)  Close the bag and give it a little shake to combine the ingredients.  Then open again and drop about 5-8 zucchini fries in at a time. 

Seal the bag tightly and gently shake until each zucchini fry is well coated.  This is a very fun step for children... or 29 year old children at heart!
Lay out your coated zucchini fries so they are evenly spread across a prepared baking sheet.
Then bake in your preheated oven until golden brown and crunchy on the outside. 
And voila!  You can enjoy as is straight off the plate, or dip in warmed marinara sauce as your "ketchup." 

Zucchini "Fries"

2 medium/large zucchini
3/4 cup egg whites (or about 3 whole eggs slightly beaten)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly coat baking sheet with non-stick spray
2. Slice each zucchini in half width wise, then slice in thin fry-shaped slices.
3. Toss zucchini in egg whites.
4. Combine remaining ingredients in gallon sized Ziploc bag and toss to coat. 
5. Add small amount zucchini to the bag at a time (about 5-8 "fries").  Seal the bag and toss until each piece is well coated.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and lightly coat with non-stick spray (I prefer the olive oil spray for this). 
6. Bake in preheated oven until browned and crisp on the outside, about 20-30 minutes. 
7. Enjoy with warm marinara sauce if desired.