Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hey Readers- I've added a search function to my blog!

It's been a long time coming... I finally added a search function to the blog! Check it out on the left side, right beneath my banner. Now you can search for any of my recipes you like and retrieve them with a click of a button!!

Hope this encourages you to try more of my recipes and that it makes my blog more user friendly for you all.

And a big thanks for your readership and support as always!

:) Marie


Friday, March 21, 2014

Recipe ReDux Post # 21: Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant Stack

March Recipe ReDux put a super fun twist on the theme of St. Patrick’s Day.  In the spirit of “celebrating the ‘patty’ all month long”. We were encouraged to come up with our own patty recipe, but take it a step further and stack em’! I adore grilled eggplant (eat it almost daily) so I knew I had to do a veggie stack incorporating it.  I often pair it with red peppers so I know those had to be in there too.  The theme I chose was Mediterranean and I brought the veggies together (or shall I say stacked them) with olives, basil, hummus and then topped the stacks with the amazing combo of creamy feta cheese and crunchy walnuts.  These taste amazing and I hope you will try them!!  Do not be intimidated by the stacking aspect, it’s quite easy and I have some step by step pics in this post to give you the visuals.  So veggie stack away and check out the other cool “patty stacks” by the Recipe Reduxers listed below :) 
1 large eggplant
2 red bell peppers
¼ cup pre-prepared hummus
8 small green or black olives, sliced
4 large fresh basil leaves
4 teaspoons reduced fat feta cheese
2 teaspoons chopped walnuts
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the eggplant into twelve ¼ inch rounds and place on a clean plate or cutting board. 

Cut the top and bottoms off of the peppers, then cut in half lengthwise.

Cut each of the pepper halves into 4 squares (to get a total of eight squares from each pepper, 16 altogether) 

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the pepper and eggplant slices on it. Roast on the top rack of the oven about 15 minutes, until starting to soften and brown. Remove from the oven, flip the slices over and return to the oven to roast again for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the oven again let cool. Meanwhile chop up the olives and walnuts.
Assemble the stacks as follows:
Start with one round of eggplant, spread with 1 teaspoon hummus, top with 2 pepper squares and one basil leaf.  

Then add another eggplant round on top. Spread the second eggplant round with 1 teaspoon hummus, add 2 pepper squares and 2 olives chopped.  

Place the third and final eggplant round on top, spread with one teaspoon hummus and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon feta cheese and ½ teaspoon walnuts. Repeat this process 3 more times for a total of 4 eggplant and pepper stacks.
Makes 4 “stacks”, four servings

Serving size: 1 stack  Calories 100 Protein 3 g Carb 14 g Fiber 7 g Sugars 6 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat 0  g Sodium 210 mg


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kale Coleslaw

In the spirit of St. Patty’s Day approaching, with greens and cabbage in mind, I present to you a unique and delicious coleslaw recipe that incorporates kale!  Not only is it a powerhouse of nutrition, offering fiber and vitamins and minerals- but it is tangy, crunchy and the sunflower seeds top it off just right!

3 cups shredded kale *
3 cups shredded cabbage (use 2 cups green, 1 cup purple) * 
¼ cup light mayo (*use a gluten-free brand such as Best Foods if you are on a gluten-free diet)
¾ cup low fat buttermilk or plain low fat kefir
1-2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup sunflower seeds

Put the kale and cabbage in a medium sized bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the mayo, buttermilk/kefir, rice vinegar and sugar until smooth. Pour the dressing into the bowl of cabbage/kale, add the sunflower seeds and mix well. Chill and serve.

Makes 6 generous cups, six servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 100  Protein 4 g Carb 9 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 3 g Fat 7 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 220 mg

Trader Joes actually sells a pre-shredded mix of kale and cabbage (even some brussels in there!) that works great in this recipe as well.  It's called Cruciferous Crunch.


Monday, March 3, 2014

In The News: More Evidence That Eating Chocolate May be Good For You, Especially When Heart Health Is Concerned!

Back in November I posted some interesting research that suggested eating chocolate may lower body fat and now there is more good news for all you chocolate lover out there- it may help the heart too!!

Researchers in the Netherlands have just published a study in the FASEB Journal (link to abstract HERE) that looked into various mechanisms for dark chocolate's beneficial impact on cardiovascular health.  A lot of past scientific study with has focused on flavonoids, naturally occurring antioxidants found in some plants, including cocoa, that are believed to be responsible for cardioprotective effects of chocolate, such as increasing endothelium-dependent vasodilation. These scientists "investigated whether consumption of regular dark chocolate also affects other markers of endothelial health, and whether chocolate enrichment with flavanols has additional benefits".  44 overweight men aged between 45 and 70 years were looked at over two periods of 4 weeks, and the men were required to eat either 70 g of regular dark chocolate each day or 70 g of specially produced dark chocolate with high levels of flavanol . (Both chocolates were similar in their cocoa content.) In addition, subjects were asked not to eat other high calorie foods during the study period, in order to prevent them from gaining weight.

The results were quite surprising- the dark chocolate helped restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels- both of which may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis. These were "new insights on how chocolate affects endothelial health!" And the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect,  both types of chocolate produced the same heart benefits.

So I said it before and will say it again, enjoy a little chocolate by breaking of a small square from a high quality dark chocolate bar or in my Chocolate Walnut Coconut Bites and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bar recipes!


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