Saturday, March 28, 2015

Birds Nest Protein Bites

Here's a Spring treat you can feel good about enjoying! Packed with protein and relatively low in sugar, (yet decadently delicious) this makes a great dessert, snack or goodie for Easter baskets or parties.


½ cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter or almond butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla  
1/2 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)
1.5 scoops of protein powder, preferably unflavored (the average scoop is about 4 tablespoons or ¼ cup, 25-30 Grams, so 1.5 scoops would be approx 6 tablespoons) *
48 M&Ms or small jelly beans
1/8-1/4 teaspoon sea salt (if starting with unsalted PB/almond butter add the 1/4 teaspoon)
Wax or parchment paper


In a medium sized bowl, combine the maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and peanut/almond butter and mix well.  Stir in the oats, protein powder 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 roll the dough  into 16 balls. Press 3 pieces of M& Ms or jelly beans into the center and serve. Store in the fridge.  These bites also freeze well!

·      I have had great success with Nature’s Best Isopure Perfect Natural Whey Protein Brand- Unflavored, it is all natural, gluten-free, lactose Free and works great

Makes 16 bites, sixteen servings

Serving size: 1/16th of recipe  Calories 100 Protein 5 g Carb 8 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 5 g Fat 5 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 65 mg


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux Post # 32 Meets Gabby's Eats: Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

I was very excited to partake in March’s Recipe ReDux for two reasons.  First,  the “Two for One” challenge idea was awesome! (We were asked to take one of the recipes already posted on our blog and show how to use the leftovers in an additional original new dish),  And second, my daughter Gabby wanted to help me all along the way :)  It was fitting that she would be my partner in crime for this ReDux since the recipe I wanted to use was one that she and I developed together- her Mediterranean Rice Salad. It was a special creation of ours and we actually made a cooking video about it and entered it in the Uncle Ben’s Beginners cooking contest last fall.  Although it did not win, we still were so happy to have made this great salad together to enjoy for lunch or dinner.  I decided that it would pair well with two other of my previously posted recipes, my Cucumber Salad and Baba Ganoush.  Gabby and I have never made lettuce wraps together before so we thought rolling all three of these recipes into one would be a delicious and unique type of wrap, and it sure was!  The wraps were fresh, flavorful and healthy and our whole family enjoyed them!  If you do not want to make your own baba ganoush, you can buy store bought or even use hummus. We hope you will try our ode to leftovers and also take a look at all the creative Two for One recipes from the talented Recipe ReDux group as well! 


Gabby’s Mediterranean Rice Salad, (for recipe click HERE)
Cucumber Salad  Recipe (for recipe click HERE)
Baba Ganoush (for recipe click HERE, or use store bought)
Romaine or other large green leaf lettuce


Prepare the Rice Salad

Prepare the Cucumber Salad

Prepare the Baba Ganoush or use store bought, which we did this time around!

To make one large lettuce wrap, spoon ¼ cup baba ganoush, ½ cup rice salad and two heaping tablespoons of cucumber salad into the middle of the lettuce, roll up and eat!

To make one smaller lettuce wrap, use 2 tablespoons baba ganoush or hummus, ¼ cup rice salad and 1 heaping tablespoon of cucumber salad.

Eat immediately and Enjoy!

Serving size: 1 large wrap  Calories 280 Protein 10 g Carb 30 g Fiber 9 g Sugars 5 g Fat 12 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 470 mg

Serving size: 1 small wrap  Calories 140 Protein 5 g Carb 15 g Fiber 4.5 g Sugars 2.5 g Fat 6 g Saturated fat 0.75 g Sodium 235 mg


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bringing Back The Shout Out Posts! This One Goes Out To Karen Page and Her New Book "The Vegetarian Flavor Bible"!

Remember my Shout Out posts, a special section of my blog where I give "props" to others who have done amazing work in the field of food, nutrition, writing etc...?  Well I haven't done one in awhile and the prefect opportunity came up this month, so here it goes.....

I was BEYOND excited to be contacted by Karen PageTwo-time James Beard Award-winning author of THE FLAVOR BIBLE, WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, DINING OUT, CULINARY ARTISTRY, BECOMING A CHEF, THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO WINE and now THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, along with her husband, author and photographer Andrew Dornenberg.  It was a great honor to be asked to review their latest book The Vegetarian Flavor Bible and post about it on my blog as part of a her Virtual Book Tour in celebration of National Nutrition Month this March. 

After I accepted, I could hardly wait for my book to arrive and once it did, I dove right into it!! Let me begin by saying there was A LOT of greatness to explore.  The book is a hefty 554 pages and all of it is useful and interesting information. The introduction begins with a heartfelt account of the author's decision to adopt a vegetarian, plant-based diet after losing both her father and step mother to cancer. She then goes on to describe her approach to this eating style calling upon both her nutrition and culinary expertise thus giving sound and really creative recommendations.

Then the first chapter, For the Love of Plants: Vegetarianism Through the Ages, discusses the history of vegetarianism with a very detailed and thorough timeline of key events relating to this diet from 3000 BC  all the way up to the present. It is filled with all kinds of exciting facts and tidbits that were very enlightening and inspiring.

Chapter 2, Maximizing Flavor: Creating a New, Compassionate Cuisine, reviews 5 key trends that Karen believes will mark the evolution of a "new compassionate cuisine" over the next decade, which are:  vegetarianism, health, globalization, gastronomy and flavor.  We should all be so lucky and grateful if these 5 concepts continue to take off and influence ways of eating throughout the world and I love her examination and explanation of them all.

The real heart and majority of the book, the literal piece de resistance, is Chapter 3- Vegetarian Flavor Matchmaking: The Lists.  Here the reader is presented with an overwhelmingly useful, detailed and thorough A-Z list of many, many ingredients and foods from A (starting with Acai) to Z (ending with Zucchini blossoms).  You will get so much information about each item listed, such as flavor descriptions, key facts, pairing and cooking suggestions and even substitutions.  These lists can be a springboard for creativity and encouragement to try and experiment with a new food/ingredient in the kitchen and they give fresh and fun twists on things that may be familiar to you already as well. 

I can't even begin to describe how much is in this section, you will just have to pick up a copy and be wowed for yourself!  I am confident that this book with be a learning tool for me to use, a sort of kitchen counter encyclopedia,  as I continue on my journey of recipe development and food blogging. Another thing I look forward to is sharing this book with my daughter as she grows, creates cooks and blogs with me in the kitchen, as I am sure she will enjoy using it as well.

So a big shout out to Karen and her husband to creating this amazing piece of work and a huge thank you to them for allowing me to read and share it. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Acorn Squash Apple Soup

Winter is coming to an end, though I cannot say that we have had much of a winter all here in LA. Regardless, I thought I'd post one more soup recipe in the spirit!


1 medium-large acorn squash ( you will need 3 cups cooked acorn squash total)
½ tablcspoon butter or margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup peeled and finely chopped apple
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and roast acorn squash whole for 40-45 minutes until the outside is starting to brown, the skin is soft and it is easily pierced with a fork or knife. Allow the squash to cool for 10 minutes and carefully cut in half (watch for trapped hot steam inside). Scoop out the seeds and then set aside 3 cups of cooked squash.  While the squash is cooling add the tablespoon butter/margarine to a large pot and throw in the apple.  Warm on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes and it is lightly browned and softened.  Put the squash, broth, cumin and brown sugar in the pot and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, 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 5 cups, 5 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 90 Protein  1 g Carb 21 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 6 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium 350  mg* 

*analysis does not include added salt


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