Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turning Four And Looking Forward To Another New Year!!

Another year has passed by and I am celebrating my FOURTH year of blogging and still going strong! I am continuing to increase my readership and improve my photos (many have been accepted on food sites like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, and Healthy Aperture!)  I also joined the Recipe ReDux group and have been enjoying creating recipes for their monthly challenge! This has been a great year of developing lots of yummy and healthy recipes too, especially my protein bars!  Thanks so much for all your support and I look forward to another fun year of cooking and blogging!  Here’s to a awesome new year- but first, here are some of my favorite recipes of 2012!  


Friday, December 21, 2012

Zucchini Spaghetti Primavera- Recipe ReDux Post # 8

I cannot believe that Christmas is almost here and I am knee deep in the holiday season already!  Luckily most of my shopping is done and I have picked out a lot of fun gifts too.  Speaking of gifts....this month's Recipe ReDux challenge is focused on that very subject- picking a favorite cooking "Gadget Gift"  and sharing a recipe that uses it.  Well my choice would have to be the julienne peeler, specifically the one made by Kuhn Rikon. I have previously featured this lovely tool in August in both my Summer Squash Noodle Tutorial and Zucchini Caprese Salad posts and today I will highlight it a bit more.  It is easy to use and clean and I find it works great to make thin shreds of veggies for salads or to use them cooked as faux noodles. It costs about $15.00 and I bought mine on  Some features the manufacturer points out about it are that it "cuts food in one motion, has a stainless steel blade, has an easy to grip two-toned handle and it is dishwasher safe." A recent recipe that I have created using it is Zucchini Spaghetti Primavera- it's chocked full of veggies, low in calories and its red and green hues are perfect for the season.  Enjoy and happy holidays!!  Also check below to see some additional great Gadget Gifts and recipes that use them from the talented bloggers and members of the Recipe ReDux group.
4 cups raw zucchini “noodles” SEE how to make these HERE
3 cups sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped white onion
2 cups chopped sweet bell pepper (red, yellow recommended)
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼-½  teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup of your favorite basic marinara sauce (if you like it “saucier” you can add a bit more!)
chopped basil (optional for serving)
parmesan cheese (optional for serving)
Coat a large pan with the olive oil, add the mushrooms, peppers and onion and sauté on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and softened.  Add the zucchini noodles, marinara sauce, garlic and mix well and then continue to heat for about 5-7 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, until softened and cooked through.  Top with basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
Makes a little over 4 cups, 4 servings
Serving size: A little over 1 cup (not including cheese)Calories  90 Protein 4 g Carb 13 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 7 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium  300 mg 

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad With Cranberries and Almonds

Brussels sprout salads are all the rage right now and I just HAD to jump on the bandwagon and create one J This recipe is a nice blend of sweet and savory and it makes a great holiday side dish with its red and green hues!
8 cups Brussels sprouts, stems trims and halved 
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
salt and pepper
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and trim stems of Brussels sprouts and cut into halves. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray and roast for 20-30 minutes, (turn/toss them half way through) until lightly browned and tender but firm when pierced with a fork.  Let cool and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, mustard, maple syrup.  Chop up the cooled Brussels sprouts and add them along with the cranberries and almonds to the bowl and mix well until evenly coated with dressing.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge if not serving immediately.
Makes 8 cups 8 servings
Serving size: 1 cup Calories 110 Protein 3 g Carb 12 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 5 g Fat 6 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 65 mg



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Simple But Delicious Homemade Applesauce

Once you make this, you may never want store bought applesauce again!!
7 cups of peeled, cored and cut apples (chop into about 1 inch chunks), best to use sweet, softer varieties- I used Gala
1.5 cups water
optional add ins: maple sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract
Bring the water to a boil on high heat in a large pot, add the apples and reduce to medium low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are very tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain the water out in a colander and transfer the cooked apples into a medium bowl.  Mash with a fork until the desired consistency is reached.  If you would like to add a little sweetness, stir in 1-2 teaspoons maple sugar (or brown sugar) and you can also add a dash or two of cinnamon and a splash vanilla for some flair. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes 3 cups, 6 servings
Serving size: 1 /2 cup Calories 80 Protein 0 g Carb 20 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 15 g Fat 0 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 0 mg


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gingerbread Pancakes


I have never been a major fan of ginger (maybe a hint here and there in a baked good, a soup or a stir fry),  well that was until I discovered the flavor synergy that is gingerbread!  The combo of ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves,  nutmeg and brown sugar plus a splash of molasses takes the flavor to a whole new level!! That flavor in this recipe is not overwhelming but just enough.  These pancakes are easy to prepare, will give your kitchen an amazing aroma and make your taste buds very happy - perfect for the approaching winter and holiday season!  I have a hunch that I will be creating some more ginger bread themed recipes soon :)


1 cup oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or
you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon  pumpkin pie spice (you can use plain cinnamon if you don’t have any)
1 teaspoon molasses
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup egg whites
½ cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour, ginger, pie spice (cinnamon) and brown sugar together.  To a larger bowl add the egg whites, molasses, vanilla, applesauce and milk and mix together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  (If you are making this the night before, or storing the leftover batter, you will need to add splash of milk to thin it out a bit right before cooking. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high heat for 1-2 minutes each side.  Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 4-5 more times for a total of 5-6 small pancakes.

Makes about 5-6 pancakes

 Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb 13 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 35 mg


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms- Recipe ReDux Post # 7

The theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is centered on “Vintage Side Dishes”- very timely with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching!  I was a bit stumped with this one because I have already “ReDuxed” a bunch of my family recipes, like Texas Hash, Dumplings, Cucumber Salad, Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes  to name a few.  I have been wanting to re-make a stuffed mushroom recipe for awhile now and luckily when I started looking up vintage recipes on the Web, stuffed mushrooms were definitely among the “old school” favs listed- a perfect choice!  Most traditional stuffed mushrooms call for less than healthy ingredients like refined white breadcrumbs, fat laden butter and cream cheese as well as sausage and bacon.  I decided to put my own healthy twist by using the super grain quinoa, low fat cream cheese, turkey bacon and just a touch of parmesan cheese. The result was a delicious and flavorful stuffed mushroom that is actually low fat and low calorie too!  Try these as a great appetizer for your next party! And check out the some of these other great “Vintage Side Dish” recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan!

12 large button mushrooms
½ cup cooked quinoa
2 slices turkey bacon
3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
1/8- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 T cream cheese
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Coat a small pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil and add the onions.  Sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the cooked quinoa, broth and garlic powder and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat, let cool a bit, then transfer to a small bowl and then stir in the cream cheese. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and divide/add the filling to them. Bake for 15 minutes, until starting to brown. Remove from oven top with parmesan cheese, and bake for another 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly toasted.
Makes 12 servings
Serving size: 1 mushroom  Calories 40 Protein 2 g Carb 3 g Fiber 0 g Sugars 1 g Fat 2.5 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 85 mg


Monday, November 5, 2012

Fabulous Food Finds: Nature’s Best Isopure Whey Protein Isolate

I am all for using whole, natural foods in my recipes and diet so when I found myself looking for a protein powder to add a little protein power to my smoothies, oatmeal and recipes I was very excited to find Nature's Best IsopureWhey Protein Isolate when searching online.  I have tried many protein powers before but they either tasted too chalky or had too many artificial ingredients and additives.  Isopure is a great name for this product because that’s what it is, pure natural protein without any artificial colors or ingredients. “Pure naked protein” is what is appropriately stated on the container!   Whey protein is derived from milk, yet this brand has the lactose removed which is great news for those with lactose intolerance.  I have found few other lactose free whey protein powders like this one.  I also like the fact that it is unflavored and easily mixes into smoothies, oatmeal and has worked really well in a line of protein bar recipes that I have developed and will soon be revealing.  One scoop of this powder contains 110 calories 0 fat/carbs/sugars and 26 grams of high quality protein.  (A scoop is about 4 tablespoons so sometimes I’ll just add 1 tablespoon to a smoothie for 6 grams of protein, which is equivalent to about an ounce of protein). Whey protein contains branched chained amino acids (BCAAs) that are thought to aid in muscle recovery after exercise.  I buy mine online via and it costs a little over 40 dollars with free shipping, though I believe it is available at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe too. Try a tablespoon or two in my Strawberry Banana, Watermelon, or Berry-nana smoothies and look for it in some upcoming protein bar recipes I will post too!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Parmesan Soup

A great soup to fuel up on before trick-or-treating!  Happy Halloween :)

3 cups fresh roasted pumpkin, about the average amount obtained from one pie pumpkin  (directions on roasting listed below)
3.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½  teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (the shredded kind, NOT powdered!)
salt and pepper to taste

Roasting pumpkin-

I like to roast my pumpkin whole, on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 40-60 minutes. The actual time will vary based on the oven's actual temperature, the moistness of the pumpkin, the variety of pumpkin and it’s size. You will know it's done when a knife slips into the flesh very easily. Let it cool a bit before slicing open - and even then, be careful when slicing open for the steam will rush out and could definitely burn. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then scrape the pumpkin off the skins. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The soup-

Add the broth to a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat.  Add the pumpkin and garlic powder and reduce heat to low -medium and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and carefully transfer the soup into a blender. If you have a smaller blender only add one fourth to half of the mixture at a time (you can put the other half in the dish until ready to blend).

A note about blending hot liquids: in order to be safe, it is recommended when you blend hot liquids that you never fill the jar more than half full, that you put the lid on and then cover it with a dry towel and hold it down by hand. Or instead, cover with the top, but leave out the center plastic covering, place a kitchen towel on top which will allow air to escape more gently Also, use as slow a speed as possible. NEVER blend hot liquids fully covered and at high-initial're just inviting burns as the hot liquid quickly blends, heats up the air above it, and causes an explosion through the blender top

Blend on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until a smooth consistency is reached. Put the blended mixture back in the saucepan and warm on low heat stirring frequently (to prevent the thick soup from spattering) for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 cups, 4 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 80 Protein 4 g Carb 12 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium  620 mg


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Spaghetti Squash "Mac N’Cheese"

Try this instead of the traditional type with noodles for less calories and more antioxidants. A great way to get your kiddies to eat this healthy starchy veggie!


1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (click HERE for cooking info)
1 teaspoon butter or margarine (I used Earth Balance margarine)
¼ cup shredded cheese (I used a combo of mozarella and cheddar from Trader Joes)


Put the spaghetti squash in a small dish, add the margarine/butter and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir well evenly coat. Sprinkle in the cheese and mix well. Return to microwave and heat for another 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted

Makes 1 serving Serving size: the whole dish!

Calories 180 Protein 7g Carb 11 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 12 g Saturated fat 7 g Sodium 20 mg


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Almond Oat Cookies or Bars- Recipe ReDux Post # 6

I was very excited when I saw that the Recipe ReDux challenge for October called for recipes incorporating orange antioxidant foods in season this Fall.  My cupboard had just been stocked with cans of organic pumpkin that I was waiting to use and here was the perfect opportunity! I have created pumpkin cookies  in the past which I enjoyed. This time I decided to do a pumpkin cookie with a twist- vegan, gluten free and using almond butter as a healthy source of unsaturated fat. This is a very easy dessert recipe with the flavors of fall but no eggs or dairy needed! Using almond butter a part of the base adds subtle flavor and provides a moist but also dense and hearty result. You can make these as drop cookies or bars, either way they will not be around for long! So get baking and make these awesome cookies/bars plus check out some of these other great “Fall Orange” recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan!


½ cup creamy or crunchy unsalted natural almond butter (I used Trader Joes Raw Unsalted Crunchy)
½ cup pure maple syrup  
3/4 cup canned or fresh cooked pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie type)
1 ¼  cup oats (old fashioned, not quick)(*use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
1 teaspoon vanilla 
¼  teaspoon cinnamon
½  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoon raisins 
Cooking spray


For Cookies :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Drop the dough in rounded spoonfuls onto a baking pan coated with cooking spray. The dough will spread out a bit, like the size of a finished cookie, don’t worry because they keep their shape and will not spread mush more when baked. Bake for 15-18 minutes until set and lightly browned on the edges. 

For Bars:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan lined the pan generously coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned on top. Cut into squares and serve. 

Note : These cookies/bars are very moist, almost cake like. So you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep longer and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so to warm them up for a nice treat!

Makes 16 cookies or bar squares

Serving size: 1 bar/cookie  Calories 100  Protein 3 g Carb 13 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 7 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium  0 mg


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vegetarian Antipasto Salad

A vegetarian version of a classic Italian starter dish.


1 cup marinated mushrooms, sliced in half (I used Trader Joes Brand)
1 cup marinated artichokes, chopped (I used Trader Joes Brand)
1 cup grilled red peppers (I did mine on the barbeque or you can buy some in the jar, like Trader Joes brand)
½ cup sliced black olives
1 cup cubed light mozzarella cheese (I cut up 4 light string cheese sticks)
½ cup chopped fresh basil 4 cups chopped lettuce (I used a romaine, butter, spinach mix)
light vinaigrette dressing of your choice ( I used Trader Joes fat free)


Toss all of the above in a large bowl, add dressing to taste and serve. Chill in the fridge with the dressing on the side if not serving immediately.

NOTE: to cut calories, try to find the veggies marinated in vinegar (Trader Joes has them all) or if you get the ones packed in oil, simply rinse them before using .

Makes 8 servings    

Serving size 1/8th of recipe (about a cup) NOT including dressing Calories 80 Protein 5 g Carb 9 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 2 g Fat 3.5 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 480



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Simple Banana Cake

Banana bread meets cake! Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor) 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute ½ cup packed brown sugar ¼ cup margarine, softened (I used Earth Balance) ¼ cup light maple syrup ½ cup 0% Greek yogurt 1 cup smashed ripe banana ½ teaspoon vanilla extract Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, egg, margarine, Greek yogurt, vanilla and banana. Slowly start adding the flour mixture to the larger bowl with the egg/sugar mixture until soft thick batter is formed. Add batter to a 9 X 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings Serving size: 1/12th of recipe Calories 140 Protein 2 g Carb 21 g Fiber 1g Sugars 14 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 280 mg


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In The News: Eating Yogurt May Protect Against High Blood Pressure

A new study suggests that including yogurt in ones daily diet may protect against high blood pressure. According to research presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions- the "study found long-term yogurt-eaters were less likely to develop high blood pressure and on average had lower systolic blood pressure than those who didn’t eat yogurt. Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading. It measures the force of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart is beating". The study, funded by the Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and by a research grant from the Dannon Company, Inc., was conducted for 15 years and over 2000 volunteers were followed. Results showed that participants were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure if at least 2 percent of their daily calories came from yogurt (this is equivalent to eating at least one six-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt every three days) In addition, their systolic blood pressure increased less than that of people who didn’t eat yogurt. You can read more about the study abstract by clicking HERE. Want to add more yogurt into your diet? Try my Yogurt Parfait Shots, Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Dip or my Ridiculously Easy and Healthy Fruit Yogurt!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Three Ingredient Healthy Homemade BBQ “Ranch” Dressing - Recipe ReDux Post # 5

I have recently just discovered kefir and was excited to incorporate into a dressing recipe for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge- using “Fermented Foods”.  For those of you unfamiliar with Kefir  it is a fermented milk drink, with a taste very similar to yogurt.  It is a great source of calcium, protein and probiotics and can also be low in fat if you choose the low fat varieties.  There are even lactose free brands out on the market (such as Green Valley which I used in this particular recipe) for those that are lactose intolerant. Because plain kefir is thinner than actual yogurt and has a nice tangy taste so I started thinking it would be a nice base for a dressing, especially a homemade mock ranch of sorts.  Bottled dressings tend to have so many ingredients and preservatives I am really trying to make more from scratch.  One afternoon I was short on time and hungry for a salad so I just poured some kefir and BBQ sauce in a bowl and threw in a dollup of mayo to thicken/emulsify and this recipe was born.  Let me tell you- I cannot believe how great the combo of these three ingredients tastes as a homemade dressing! And it is soooo low in calories, fat, sugar and sodium- it seemed too good to be true so I checked the nutrition facts calculations I ran through my database twice :)  So whip up some of this awesome dressing to top your next salad and check out some of these other great recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan! 


½ cup plain low fat kefir (I used Green Valley Lactose-Free)

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise (I used Best Foods Light)

¼ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce ( I used Stubbs Original, this a great brand to use for those on a gluten-free diet)


Add all of the above to a small bowl, whisk together and serve, that’s it!! Chill in the fridge in an airtight container if not serving immediately.

Makes 14 tablespoons 7 servings

Serving Size 2 tablespoon Calories 25 Protein 0.5 g Carb 2.5 g Fiber 0 g Sugars 2 g Fat 1 g Saturated Fat 0 g Sodium 104 mg


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lentil Taco Filling

A flavorful and hearty vegetarian taco filling, you won’t miss the meat in this one- promise!


3 cups cooked lentils (I used canned, Westbrae)

2 cups diced bell pepper

1.5 cups finely chopped white onion

4 cups chopped button or cremini mushrooms

3-4 teaspoons taco seasoning

A dash or two of garlic

1-2 teaspoons olive oil


Cook the lentils according to package directions, or if using canned precooked, rinse well and put aside. Coat a large pan with the olive oil. Put on medium heat and add the bell pepper and onion to brown for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Throw in the sliced mushrooms, cover and cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the lentils, taco seasoning and garlic and stir well. Heat uncovered for a 3-5 minutes until warmed through.

Serving suggestions:

Enjoy this filling in corn tortillas or lettuce wraps or even over salad.  Top with avocado, cheese, salsa and or Greek yogurt.

Makes 6 cups, 6 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 150 Protein 10 g Carb 25 g Fiber 11 g Sugars  6 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium 230 mg


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vanilla Cantaloupe Smoothie

One more Summer recipe before the season and it's bounty of delicious fruits is a thing of the past!
1 cup small cubed cantaloupe * (see below for food safety/preparation note)
½ frozen banana
¼ cup milk (I used vanilla unsweetened almond milk)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all the above in a blender and blend until smooth.
Makes 1 smoothie, 1 serving
Serving size: all of recipe Calories 120 Protein 2 g Carb  27 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 19  g Fat 1 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 70 mg
 Cantaloupe has been in the news recently and in past years due to some unfortunate food safety issues.  Click HERE to read some important tips on washing and preparing it safely for consumption.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cherry Pecan Sweet Potato Salad

News Flash- sweet potatoes taste good cold!  So what to do with them? Try this recipe!! In a sense, this is like a cool summer version of a popular Thanksgiving side dish.
2 cups cooked, cooled, cubed sweet potato
1 cup pitted, chopped cherries
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Chill of not serving immediately.
Makes 3 cups, 6 servings
Serving size:  Calories about ½ cup 150  Protein 2 g Carb  23 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 12 g Fat 6 g Saturated fat  < 1 g Sodium 25  mg


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes- Recipe ReDux Post # 4

This month's Recipe ReDux Challenge was to recreate a healthier version of a memorable summer vacation meal- FUN! A few years ago, soon before my daughter’s first birthday, we took a summer trip to St. Louis to introduce her to my husband’s family and friends.  One of the meals we enjoyed there was a Saturday morning breakfast at a First Watch.  This is a chain of cute little breakfast and lunch spots and I think they are best known for their AM fare.  My husband ordered some Carrot Cake Pancakes which were delicious and I could not stop taking bites off his plate!  (Luckily he was very kind about that!!)  I have enjoyed creating pancake recipes  over the past few years and have really wanted to do a carrot cake version that was healthy- not loaded with sugar or fat and which truly highlights the taste of fresh carrots.  Well- I think (hope!) I have done that with this one.  I looked up the nutrition facts for the pancakes at First Watch and I can attest that mine have way less fat and calories, but they do taste good too!  Plus my daughter, who just turned three this week, gobbles them up :) P.S. Don't forget to check out the other recipes from the talented Recipe ReDux group down below too!
1 cup oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill  or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons grated carrot
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon coconut
In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour, brown sugar, coconut, nutmeg and cinnamon together.  To a larger bowl add the egg whites, vanilla and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the carrots and raisins and mix well. Allow to thicken for about 10-15 minutes for best results. (This batter is even better when stored overnight.) Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high heat for 1-2 minutes each side.  Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 5 more times for a total of 6 small-medium pancakes.
Makes 6 pancakes, 6 servings
Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 100 Protein 2g Carb 15 g Fiber 2 g Sugars  6 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat  0.5 g Sodium 55 mg


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I enjoyed quinoa so much in my Black Bean and Quinoa Salad recipe that I decided to try it in a Mediterranean inspired version too!


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked lentils (I used Westbrae canned, already cooked)
1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata or black olives
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons reduced fat feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook quinoa and lentils according to package directions and let cool. Meanwhile add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder and chopped basil to a small bowl and whisk together.  In a medium bowl, toss together the cooked/drained quinoa, lentils , olives and cucumber. Stir in the olive oil dressing and feta cheese and serve at room temperature or cold. Chill if not serving immediately. 

Makes 3.cups, 6 servings

Serving size: 1/2 cup Calories 110 Protein 5 g Carb 14 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 1 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat   0.5 g Sodium 130 mg  


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shout-Out Post Number Four: Tips From My Fellow RDs About Making The Most Of Your Farmer's Market Visit!

This week, August 5-11th,is National Farmer’s Market Week so I thought it would be fitting to write a post highlighting farmer’s markets including some great tips and information from a few fellow RDs in the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group I belong to, a group Dietitian Shout-Out post per se :) Farmer’s Markets are on the rise, according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Website “direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. As of mid-2011, there were 7,175 farmers markets operating throughout the U.S. This is a 17 percent increase from 2010.” Luckily there is increased interest in obtaining foods locally, directly from the farm and I think the USDA website states the purpose of a farmer’s market best: “Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grows the produce.”

I wholeheartedly admit that I NEED to visit my local farmer’s market more often, and this is one of my goals this year. I picked up a couple of nice suggestions and some key information about making the most of a farmers market visit from a few of my RD colleagues too! Karen K. Ehrens, RD, LRD of Ehrens Consulting makes an important point- “I think one of the greatest things folks can get from a market is meeting the producers and the folks at the market. Shopping a farmers market is so much more than just a transaction of dollars. It is an opportunity to know from where your food comes and the people who are growing it. You can learn so much about the seed, the care, the time and the challenges of growing food. If your growers are still at market, you are lucky. The drought affecting 65% of the United States is also taking a toll on small produce growers. If you go, thank your grower!” Carrie Peacock MS, RD, LD, a Culinary Dietitian suggests “ask the farmer when the food was picked or harvested and if they have any favorite recipes.” Toby Amidor, MS RD CDN, of Toby Amidor Nutrition, has some AWESOME tips for navigating the farmer’s market, click HERE to check out the post on her blog including how to pick the best produce and some great food safety info too! And for additional important information on food safety at the farmers' market, HERE is a wonderful recent post on the Food Network’s Healthy Eats Blog by Dana Angelo White, MS RD ATC, Nutrition Consultant Certified Athletic Trainer. Need some inspiration for what to do with all the great produce you pick up? Go the veggies section of my blog for some easy recipes! Many of my dessert recipes feature some great fruits as well!!


Monday, July 30, 2012

In The News: High Dietary Antioxidant Intake Might Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Increasing DIETARY intake of vitamins C, E and selenium could possibly reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to two thirds according to new research published in the journal Gut by UK investigators from the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia, Norfolk arm of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study. (The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) is a large multi-centre cohort study looking at the connection between diet and cancer. EPIC-Norfolk is part of this Europe-wide program).

The researchers followed the health of more than 23,500 40 to 74 year olds, who had entered the Norfolk arm of the EPIC study between 1993 and 1997, all the participants completed detailed food diaries as part of the study.  According to the summary published in Science Daily: "The analysis showed that a weekly intake of selenium in the top 25% of consumption roughly halved their risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with those whose intake was in the bottom 25%.
And those whose vitamins C, E, and selenium intake was in the top 25% of consumption were 67% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who were in the bottom 25%.
If the link turns out to be causal, that would add up to the prevention of more than one in 12 (8%) of pancreatic cancers, calculate the authors. Antioxidants may neutralize the harmful by-products of metabolism and normal cell activity -- free radicals -- and curb genetically programmed influences, as well as stimulating the immune system response, explain the authors."

This is exciting news because pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, often with a very serious prognosis, so if simple dietary measures could be taken to aid in its prevention this could be a tremendous help!  It's important to note that this was a cohort/observational study so more research needs to be done to prove a causal association.  Also a key thing to note is that the research pointing to prevention may be through diet NOT supplements.  Other studies investigating antioxidant supplements have not produced such successful results, possibly because food sources of these nutrients may behave differently from those found in supplements scientists report.

Food sources of selenium include turkey, chicken and tuna, so try my Easy Chicken Cacciatore, Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Kabobs and Tasty Turkey Salad recipes to get a healthy dose. Sunflower seeds and oats are a good source of selenium AND sunflower seeds provide vitamin E so make my Simple Sunflower Bars recipe to get these nutrients in at snack time.  Other nuts like almonds and hazelnuts also provide a decent amount of vitamin E, so have a side of my Almond Cranberry Rice with your meal. Vitamin C is plentiful in citrus fruits and red peppers, as well as broccoli and strawberries so choosing to prepare my Spinach and Strawberry Salad, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, Creamy Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce or Snappy Stuffed Peppers will be sure to put some in your daily diet!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cornflake Energy Bites

These easy prep refrigerator cookie treats are a great pick me up for a snack or mini-dessert!


½ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (I used Trader Joes salted crunchy)
¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups cornflakes, crushed


In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup or honey and vanilla extract and mix well.  Stir in the cranberries and cornflakes and continue to mix until well incorporated. Form into balls and place onto wax/parchment paper or a container lightly coated with cooking spray and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Makes 16 bites, 16 servings

Serving size: 1 bite Calories 80 Protein 2 g Carb  8 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat < 1 g Sodium  50 mg


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zucchini Caprese Salad- Recipe ReDux Post # 3

I hope you all enjoyed last week’s summer squash “noodles” tutorial, now on to some recipes using them as promised! This has easily become one of my favorite salads and when the Recipe ReDux challenge for July was unveiled to be “No Cook Meals” I was so excited to share this recipe as one of mine.  My husband loves it to and my toddler will even eat it on occasion.  I have enjoyed using the zucchini “noodles” cooked as a pasta substitute so much that it had never occurred to me to try them cold.  One warm evening I decided to test my luck with using them raw in a salad and this recipe was born. It is a great refreshing ow calorie side dish that can even be made a meal topped with some white beans, tuna or chicken- like my Simple Grilled Garlic Chicken. Try it and some of these other awesome no cook recipes by the talented bloggers from the Recipe ReDux Clan
2 cups zucchini “noodles”(check out how to make those HERE)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 sticks low fat string cheese sliced into 1/4 inch think rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
a dash garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the above in a medium sized bowl and serve.  Chill if not serving immediately
Makes 6 servings
Serving size, a little over ½ cup: Calories 45 Protein 1 g Carb 2g Fiber 0 g Sugars 1 g Fat 4.5  g Saturated fat <1 g Sodium  0 mg 

Variations: This salad is also great topped with 1-2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese or even without any cheese (if you want to drop the Caprese theme and go non-dairy!)
You can also sub in any of your favorite light vinaigrette or Italian dressing in place of the olive oil/lemon. I have enjoyed this salad topped with Trader Joe’s fat free balsamic vinaigrette


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