Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In The News: Move Over Gatorade, Try Bananas!

Couldn't help but share this really cool study that was just released about using bananas vs Gatorade in measuring the effects on sports performance (specifically in cyclists). When comparing the two, no significant differences were found in measures of sports performance (such as changes in blood sugar, inflammation and oxidative stress). However the subjects did need to consume the equivalent amount of water (that would be in the sports drink) along with the bananas and authors did note that the subjects felt a bit more full/bloated eating the bananas, likely due to the fiber consumed. The study was funded by Dole (a major banana producer) but the research was very sound and the publication states "the funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript". Does this mean I think all athletes and avid exercises should "go bananas" with bananas and force themselves to consume large amounts? No! But the study certainly confirms that bananas are a great food to consume during long term exercise and I would also think as a pre/post exercise food too. The authors make a good point in stating that bananas are a natural, cost-effective source of good carbohydrates, potassium and anti-oxidants. Try some bananas in my Banana Pancakes, Strawberry-Banana Snack Smoothie, Click Here to see the study too!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Sesame Seaweed Salad – My first Recipe ReDux Post!

This month I took the plunge and joined Recipe ReDux, a blogger recipe group started by dietitians Regan Jones, Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly for dietitians and other health conscious bloggers to come together and create recipes for a monthly challenge featuring specified foods/ingredients/themes. I have enjoyed checking out past challenges because the recipes submitted by these very talented group of “ReDuxers” are not only healthy but very creative as well. I decided that though a bit intimidating, joining this group would expand my culinary boundaries and encourage me to develop recipes using a wider variety of healthy and delicious foods, that I may or may not have tried before. Well, this is my first challenge and it has done just that! May’s theme was to use little fishes (sardines, anchovies etc) or sea veggies like kelp or seaweed, NONE or which I have ever cooked with, nor tried except for seaweed. I have enjoyed seaweed salad ever since I was introduced to it by my husband on our first date at a sushi restaurant years ago. The seaweed salads that I have consumed at various sushi restaurants in the past have been delicious yet very basic. They are usually scant with ingredients, almost like a condiment, containing primarily seaweed and the dressing. I decided that I wanted to create a heartier seaweed salad of sorts, using the seaweed as a back drop studded with a variety of salad ingredients like cucumbers, carrots and even edamame. I did stay somewhat traditional with the dressing and added sesame seeds for a double sesame kick. The result is a seaweed salad that is a bold side rather than a mere accompaniment and that can even be made a meal with the addition of some fish, chicken or tofu on top. Check out the salad recipe as well as the awesome recipes from the recipe ReDux clan below.

 2 cups re-hydrated wakame seaweed (start out with about ½ cup dry)
½ cup chopped cucumber (I used the Persian variety)
½ cup finely shredded carrot (a julienne peeler works great)
½ cup cooked and shelled edamame
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce (use a gluten-free brand such as San-J if you are on a gluten free diet)
½ teaspoon brown sugar a dash or two of red pepper flakes (optional)


Rehydrate and soften the seaweed by soaking it in cold water for about 3-5 minutes, then rinse and pat dry. Toss the seaweed, cucumber, carrots, edamame and sesame seeds in a medium bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Then add this dressing to the bowl with the seaweed salad and toss until even coated . Chill if not serving immediately

Makes about 3 cups, 6 servings

Serving size: ½ cup Calories 80 Protein 3 g Carb 6 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 3 g Fat 6 g Saturated fat 0.5 g Sodium 310 mg


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Sunflower Bars

After really enjoying the taste of my Ridiculously Easy Peanut and Almond Cranberry White Chocolate Oat Bars, I decided to give a bar recipe with sunflower butter and seeds a try.  Great for those with nut allergies!

1 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)
½ cup creamy sunflower butter (I got mine at Trader Joes)
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Wax or parchment paper


In a medium sized bowl, combine the maple syrup, sunflower butter, vanilla extract and mix well.  Stir in the oats and sunflower seeds and mix some more. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan. (Lining the pan with a large rectangular piece of parchment paper, placing the mixture on one side and then folding the paper over to press down works nicely since the dough is so sticky.) Chill in the fridge for an hour or more (if you can wait that long!) and cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge.

Makes 16 squares

Serving size: 1/16th of recipe  Calories 90 Protein 3 g Carb 8 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 3 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat <1 g Sodium 40 mg


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Banana Pancakes

If you like your pancakes soft and doughy then this is your recipe!!
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 cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium sized, preferably over-ripe banana, mashed

In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour and brown sugar 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. Mix in the banana well. 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 6 more times for a total of seven small pancakes.
Makes 7 pancakes
Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 80 Protein 3 g Carb 13 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 120 mg


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Portobello Mushroom Fajitas

Pass on the chicken and steak and try portobellos in this surprisingly filling veggie version!

1 green bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
½ medium to large onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise 2 large portobello mushroom caps, or 4-5 small, stems removed, sliced into ¼ inch thick strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon taco seasoning (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand free of gluten such as Trader Joes)
6 corn or very small flour tortillas (for gluten free diets use corn or gluten free tortillas)

Add the olive oil, peppers and onions to a large skillet or pan and sauté on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Throw in the mushrooms, seasoning and continue to sauté until the veggies are browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon about into tortillas and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Serving size: 1 tortilla with 1/6 of mixture Calories 110 Protein 3 g Carb 18 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 3 g Fat 3g saturated fat 0 g Sodium 85 mg


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