Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Weight Management

Strawberry Almond Smoothie & a Special Offer for National Nutrition Month

Posted by on Mar 8th, 2017 in Breakfast, Nutrition Tips and Topics, Recipes | 10 comments

Strawberry Almond Smoothie & a Special Offer for National Nutrition Month

Celebrate National Nutrition Month and join us at Lightwell Health to learn how to Put Your Best Fork Forward! This post is sponsored by Lightwell Health.  I am a paid member of the company, but I was not compensated to write this post.    I think for many of us, March is the month when we think about change. The clocks. The weather. Our winter to spring wardrobe. It’s also a perfect month to change up our diet. To put aside those heavier comfort foods and bring on the colorful, lighter and healthier fare that’s just starting to pop up in the produce department. So, it’s kind of fitting that March is also National Nutrition Month – a time that I like to remind everyone healthy eating can mean different things to different people, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to eating, or any one-size-fits-all diet.  If you’ve never done so (or if you feel the need for a tune-up), it’s also a great time to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) to learn some nutrition basics that will help keep you young and aging gracefully, to learn how to make the most of the foods you like, and hopefully, to inspire you to try a few new foods and change up the way you think about food.SO… speaking of working with an RDN, I’ve been dying to share some details about a project I’ve been involved with for the past few months, and National Nutrition Month seems like the perfect time! I’m working with a brand-new company called Lightwell Health, and we’re focused on bringing women who are in the prime of our lives together, to be well, eat well, and live well. It’s an interactive community that’s part health media, with interesting topics on nutrition, weight management, women’s health issues, stress reduction, sleep problems – really, anything and everything that we each experience as we mature.     Lightwell also offers a group healthy eating program, called Eat Well, Live Well, which is run by registered dietitians (including me!), and designed to teach, challenge, and motivate you to tune into your body and learn how to nourish it, by replacing the foods that are preventing you from being your healthiest self, with new ones that will make you thrive from today forward. The first Lightwell Eat Well, Live Well program will start April 3, and after a week of helping to get you ready, we’ll dive into a 3-week program which features educational and informational videos, lots of information about the various steps you can take to make positive changes in your diet, and tools to help you move forward.  We’ll have lots of recipes for you to choose from, meal planning and grocery shopping tools, and most importantly, an interactive community of women just like you, who are interested in taking charge of their health.  We’ll chat weekly via phone, or if you like, daily via email or a private Facebook group and share struggles, successes, tips, and encouragement.   #ad It's easier to be in the #CleanPlateClub when you learn from a pro & have support. Learn how to… Click To Tweet And here’s the best part… We’re offering this introductory program at 25% off.  Yep, that comes to less...

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Skinny Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie

Posted by on Feb 28th, 2017 in Main Dishes, Recipes | 4 comments

Skinny Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie

This Skinny, Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie is perfect for when the weather calls for comfort food, but the calendar’s heading toward spring! It seems like no matter where in the country you live, the winter of 2017 has been full of crazy, wonky weather.  We’ve gone from torrential rain in drought-stricken California, to blizzard conditions followed by 70 degrees in New England.  Is it el niño, or la niña or a definite case of global warming? One thing is certain – it makes for some meal planning confusion!  One minute I’m craving soups, stews and comfort food, and the next minute I’m firing up the grill and craving corn on the cob. Since it is almost March, I’m feeling like we should start to lighten things up a bit, because shorts season will be her before we know it!  For me, that means more veggies, leaner proteins, and fewer carbs.  This Skinny version of Shepherd’s pie is a perfect blend of warm comfort food, but I’ve lightened it up with turkey instead of hamburger, and I’ve skipped the corn and subbed in some chopped apple and pecan.  It tastes like Thanksgiving food, but it’s light enough for springtime.      Traditional shepherd’s pie is full of carbs from the mashed potato topping, so I said g’bye to that and used mashed parsnips instead.  Parsnips are one of those root vegetables I love, but I always forget about.  I love them roasted along with carrots, but I also adore them mashed up with some butter and just a drop of cream or milk.  Creamy, dreamy low carb comfort food.     Here’s a fun fact about me: I never knew Shepherd’s Pie was a real thing.  I always thought it was a crazy concoction my husband dreamed up.   PrintSkinny Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie Prep Time: 30 minutesCook Time: 5 minutes Yield: 4 -6 servings Ingredients1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1- inch pieces 1 cup chicken stock plus 1 cup water 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 tablespoons low fat milk 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion, diced 1 pound ground turkey breast 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 small apple, chopped (unpeeled) 1 cup cooked quinoa 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar InstructionsPlace the parsnips, chicken stock and water in a medium sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender. Drain the liquid off, add the butter and milk, and mash the parsnips. Taste and add extra salt if needed. Set aside. Preheat the oven broiler. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the onion. Sauce for about 5 minutes until lightly golden. Add the ground turkey, and break up the pieces. Cook until turkey is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low, and add the salt, poultry seasoning, pecans, cranberries, apple, and quinoa and stir well to combine. Add the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, stir, and cover the turkey mixture. Let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the apple pieces are tender. Transfer the turkey mixture to a casserole dish, or 8 x 10 baking dish. Spoon the mashed parsnips over the turkey...

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A few good reasons to not fear gluten…

Posted by on Feb 24th, 2017 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Tips and Topics | 12 comments

A few good reasons to not fear gluten…

People… Not everyone should cut out gluten!  There are lots of healthy gluten-containing whole grains that need some love. Carbs, especially those that contain gluten, have gotten a really bad rap the past few years, and I’m feeling kind of bad for them.  I’m not talking about donuts, or even Italian or ciabatta bread (although I do love all of you dearly – in moderation!).  I’m talking about good old oats (even though you technically don’t contain gluten), or farro, or wheatberries or all of those other whole grains that deserve a place in a healthy diet.  After all, it’s all about balance, moderation, and quality, right?! Apparently, about 1/3 of us think that gluten-containing carbs are off limits. Well, I’m certainly not in favor of refined carbs – all of that white flour and sugar definitely got us into a bad place nutritionally, but whole grains deserve a place in our diets, even if they contain gluten.  They’re full of the quick energy, fiber, and protein that our bodies need to run efficiently and feel well. Anyone who has ever tried to be productive, or even get a good work out in knows that you just don’t feel as well if you cut out those carbs. Whole grains include things like oats and barley that are packed with soluble fiber to lower blood sugar and cholesterol.  And then there’s  farro – which makes such a perfect low glycemic index substitute for risotto, and wheatberries, which add delightful chewiness and bulk to a grilled veggie salad.  And of course, there’s millet, and sorghum and teff – if you really do want a gluten-free whole grain.  Whole grains are the cream of the crop when it comes to grains and they shouldn’t be on the Do Not Eat List unless you  are gluten intolerant, or have a proven allergy or sensitivity to them! It seems that a few researchers agree, because here’s what they’re sayin’: A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago examined blood and urine samples from a group of individuals who followed a gluten-free diet and found that they had 70% higher levels of toxic mercury and twice as much arsenic in their bodies than their gluten-eating friends.  It might be because they eat more rice, but the cause wasn’t determined. Researchers from Tufts University found that eating a diet rich in whole grains when substituted for refined grains, results in increased metabolism, to the tune of about 100 calories per day – that’s 10 pounds a year people!     Finally, in a study that looked at exercise performance in cyclers who preferred a gluten-free diet because they believe it enhances athletic performance, researchers found absolutely no difference when the athletes ate a gluten-free energy bar or a gluten-containing energy bar.  AKA it was all in their head. Bottom line – if you have celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, you should absolutely avoid grains that contain gluten or wheat. But for the rest of us, it’s all about choosing non-processed grains and eating them in moderation. They really can give you that extra energy boost and a decent amount of fiber which can have many important health benefits. What’s your favorite whole grain?  Do you try to limit gluten? Eat well!          ...

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Pickled Taco Salad {Recipe ReDux}

Posted by on Feb 21st, 2017 in Recipes, Vegetables and Salads | 14 comments

Pickled Taco Salad {Recipe ReDux}

Kick your Taco Tuesday up a notch with these quick and crunchy refrigerator pickled vegetables Happy Taco Tuesday friends!  It’s also the 21st of the month, which means it’s time for a Recipe ReDux post – and how convenient is this – February’s theme is all about tacos!  We were asked to share a healthy, creative take on tacos.  Tacos are kind of a staple food in my house, because they’re such a quick, easy, no recipe and minimal ingredients dinner.  If I have lots of time, I’ll do them with grilled fish and a cabbage slaw, if I have a little bit of time, I’ll grill up some chicken and make guacamole and beans, and if I have absolutely no time, it’s just canned black beans and sliced avocado with a sprinkle of salt. Because most of my evenings fall into the last category,  I decided it might be best to always keep a supply of this Pickled Taco Salad on hand.  It keeps for over a month in the refrigerator, and it adds such a fabulous crunchy, fresh zing of flavor to any kind of taco – even the most plain and simple kind.  It’s even perfect just served with toasted corn tortillas (and a margarita of course).       I’ve made a similar recipe in the past, with radishes and carrots, but I actually simplified the pickling mixture in this recipe, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m totally in love with swapping jicama for the radishes, and the addition of corn.  In fact, after I wrapped up the photos for this recipe, I even added the black beans I used in the photo and I’m lovin’ that even more.  This is the recipe that just keeps on getting better no matter what you add to it!     I’m definitely a corn tortilla kind of girl.  Just a spritz of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a quick toast on a hot pan.  Crunchy-chewy heaven.  And the cool, crisp and tangy veggies along with it are all I need for dinner.  Maybe a slice or two of avocado if there’s one around.     Once you try these vegetables, I swear, you’ll never go back to topping your tacos with lettuce and tomatoes again.  Ever.   Kick your #TacoTuesday up a notch with these quick, refrigerator #Pickled Taco Vegetables #TheRecipeRedux Click To Tweet   PrintPickled Taco Salad {Recipe ReDux} Prep Time: 20 minutesCook Time: 5 minutes Yield: Makes about 6 cups of pickled vegetables Ingredients2 cups white vinegar 1 1/2 cups water 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon pickling salt 1 medium jicama, peeled 3 large carrots, peeled 1 small or 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled 1/2 pound (about half a 16 ounce package) frozen sweet corn 2 large jalapeño peppers, cored, and seeded. 1 bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1 cup lightly packed) roughly chopped InstructionsCombine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool. While the pickling liquid is cooling, slice the jicama and carrots into thin matchstick pieces, about 2-inches long. Slice the onion into thin slices. Slice...

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3-Seed Whole Grain & Kefir Quick Bread

Posted by on Feb 8th, 2017 in Breads, Recipes | 2 comments

3-Seed Whole Grain & Kefir Quick Bread

It’s soup season!  Make some for dinner tonight, and serve it with this whole grain quick bread, warm from the oven. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ReganMillerJones Inc. and the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition on behalf of Progresso™ .  I received free samples of the soup mentioned in the post and I was compensated for my time. As always, opinions are my own. I might have mentioned a few dozen or so times, that I’m pretty much addicted to soup, especially when it’s served with fresh quick bread, warm from the oven.  Is there anything better when the weather is cool, cold, or even warmish?? When I lived in Boston, I could eat it all year long. Now, with the 100+ temps in AZ for several months of the year, I’ve had to cut back a bit, but February is soup season, so I’m in full soup swing – it’s like a big hug or a warm blanket on a cold night.  Soup is also my “secret weapon” for balancing any winter weight that might come from indulging in a few too many sweet treats or comfort foods during these long winter months. Eating vegetable or broth-based soups can fill you up for not a whole lot of calories – in fact, research suggests that people who eat soup tend to have healthier body weights. While I love to get creative and make my own soups, I also tend to keep a few cans of ready-made soup on hand, and one of my favorite brands is Progresso™.  So many great flavors, and did you know that their chicken soups are made with white meat chicken with no antibiotics – ever?  #Truth.  Progresso ™ makes it pretty much the way I make it myself.     Having the quick and easy convenience of Progresso ™ soups on hand means that I have some extra time to play with dough.  This quick bread is the perfect compliment to a bowl of hot chicken soup.  It’s full of fiber and whole grain goodness, from whole wheat and oats, as well as pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds. You can certainly make the dough with regular (or nondairy milk), but I love the tang and extra protein that kefir gives it.  Kind of like kicked-up buttermilk.   #sponsored Warm up this #Winter with @Progresso soup + homemade #WholeGrain quick bread #SoupYourWay Click To Tweet   Print3-Seed Whole Grain & Kefir Quick Bread Prep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 60 minutes Yield: 1 loaf Ingredients1 cup old fashioned oats 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds (divided) 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitos) 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup honey 1 3/4 cups full fat or low fat plain kefir 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (hemp hearts) InstructionsPreheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Place the oats in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, and process until finely ground. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground oats, whole wheat and all-purpose flours, 2 tablespoons of the sunflower seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pumpkin seeds, baking powder, baking soda...

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How Dorot Makes Garlic Chicken Easy!

Posted by on Jan 29th, 2017 in Main Dishes, Recipes | 18 comments

How Dorot Makes Garlic Chicken Easy!

Don’t you just love it when you find a really great product that makes your life easier?  I mean, seriously, what did we do before the Swiffer was invented?  Or how about those Yeti cups that keep your drinks ice cold all day, even in the Arizona summer heat? Have you tried those battery-powered sweater fuzz shavers?  All brilliant inventions, and once you try them, you don’t want to be without ’em. That’s how I feel about these fresh-frozen, preportioned herbs from Dorot. If you haven’t tried them yet – you don’t know what your missing!     The folks at Dorot grow their own cilantro, basil, parsley, garlic, chilis, and ginger. Then they’re nice enough to do the chopping, portion them into little cubes and freeze them, so they last for TWO YEARS in your freezer.  Yes. That means,  no more wasting a whole piece of fresh ginger when you only need a teaspoon.  And no “I thought I had cilantro!” when it’s time to make guacamole.  And absolutely, no more garlic hands! Fresh, organic herbs, with no prep and no cleanup. Brilliant invention, doncha think?     I get mine at Whole Foods – In the freezer section.  Right between the organic mixed mushrooms and the organic edamame.  Lots of other stores carry Dorot though, so visit their website, and while you’re at it grab a coupon for $1 off any of their products!   Click here to visit MyDorot.com and Grab a Coupon!   The other day I had a craving for a Creamy Garlic Chicken Stew, and even though the garlic cloves go into the pot whole and unpeeled, to finish the recipe, you have to 1) fish them out (a whole head of them!),  2) squeeze the softened garlic out of their skins, and then 3) try to get rid of the garlic smell from your fingers all week.  NO.  THANK. YOU.  Love the dish, but hate the work!  Thank heavens for Dorot pre-chopped garlic.  Each cube contains about a clove of garlic, so you just pop them in and you’re done.  Watch:     #ad Have you tried these #Fresh Frozen #Herbs from @MyDorot? Grab a #coupon: https://ooh.li/3c7d978 &… Click To Tweet   Dorot garlic cubes also make garlic bread a SNAP!  No more chopping, sauteing, and hoping that the garlic doesn’t clump in one spot on your bread.  Just thaw out a cube or two and spread it evenly.  Love that!     PrintCrockpot Creamy Garlic Chicken with Vegetables Prep Time: 30 minutesCook Time: 3 hours Yield: 6 servings Ingredients2 tablespoons canola oil 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs salt and pepper 5 large, carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced 1 medium onion, sliced thin 3 large stalks of celery, sliced (about 1 cup) 2 teaspoons dried tarragon 1 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup white wine 1 package Dorot fresh frozen garlic cubes 1 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt InstructionsHeat the oil in a saute pan, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken pieces, and place in a single layer in the pan. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Layer the onions, carrots, and celery in the bottom of a crock pot. Add the chicken...

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Super-Simple Homemade Peanut Ramen Noodles

Posted by on Jan 21st, 2017 in Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups | 6 comments

Super-Simple Homemade Peanut Ramen Noodles

No, it’s NOT your dorm room ramen! These delicious, nutritious homemade Peanut Ramen Noodles hit the spot when you’re starving but time and money are short.    Hey there friends!  It’s time for another Recipe ReDux post, and this month’s theme is “How low can you go?”  We were challenged to create a healthy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal.  It’s a perfect theme for January, as I sort through the never-ending stream of tax forms that come in the mail each day, and realize just how little I earn in a year!  Truth be told, I certainly appreciate a big, fancy and expensive meal – but only if someone else is paying 🙂  I’m just as happy with budget food, as long as it’s fresh. Did you use to eat Ramen Noodles when you were in college?  Or when you graduated and were totally flat broke?  I did.  And honestly, I never thought of them as unhealthy – it’s just very noodle-y soup, right?  Then along came the nutrition facts label, and word got out to check it when buying ramen, and my, oh, my.  That was the end of my Ramen Noodle days!  Besides the fact that there are technically 2 servings in the package – ?really? – here’s what else I learned:  One package has about 400 calories, and 14 grams of fat – half of which is saturated (the bad kind).  There’s also quite a long list of ingredients that I can’t pronounce.  Who. Knew? When I think of budget-friendly food, I usually go with beans, which means Mexican for me, or pasta. This noodle dish is kind of a fun change from those two staples.  It’s a great one to have in your back pocket, because there really is no recipe.  As long as you have the noodles, and some stock or broth (or even a few bouillon cubes if you’re in a pinch), anything else you can scrape up in your kitchen goes.       Here’s what I used:  1 shredded carrot, about 3 mushrooms, one scallion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 semi-hard-boiled egg, a few heads of baby bok-choy, ginger, peanut butter, chicken stock, and of course  – noodles!  If you don’t have fresh ginger, use dry.  It’s great as is, but if you have soy sauce and sriracha sauce in your fridge (if not, why not?) that definitely kicks up the flavor even more.     Here’s another money-saving tip:  Get yourself to an Asian market!  I absolutely love visiting the one near my house.  It’s HUGE, as in full grocery store huge, and it has the very best prices on produce.   I got a huge package of baby bok choy for $1.39, a bunch of celery for 0.79, a pound of mushrooms for 1.99, and eight portions of Chinese noodles for 1.19.  Cha Ching!!  I didn’t tally up the total cost of this meal, because I used such a small portion of each ingredient, but I have to believe it comes in at under $3.00 for 2 servings.   It's #BudgetFriendly, but this is not your dorm room #ramen! Homemade Peanut Ramen… Click To Tweet     Personally, the only rule I would encourage you to follow when making this dish, is to make it colorful!  It’s so much more...

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Turmeric & Ginger Pickled Cauliflower

Posted by on Jan 16th, 2017 in Appetizers and Snacks, Recipes, Vegetables and Salads | 4 comments

Turmeric & Ginger Pickled Cauliflower

This crisp, pickled cauliflower is packed with rich, spicy flavors. It’s a perfect appetizer or accompaniment to your sandwich plate. Is there any better sight to a dietitian than seeing your family or dinner guests devour a huge plate of cauliflower?  I think not.  Even though we’re known to push as much color as possible onto each and every plate, cauliflower deserves a major pass on that rule. It is, after all, a member of the marvelous cruciferous or brassica family – rich in vitamins C, K, and folate, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting compounds. It’s the sulfur-containing phytochemicals, known as “glucosinolates”  that give cauliflower (and it’s cousins broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) its super powers – and it’s funky smell and bitter taste. It’s worth eating cauliflower frequently, because its nutrients have benefits for our cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems, and it’s been associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer.  To cook it, give it a quick steam, or saute or roast it until it turns crispy and caramelizes.  If you want to be trendy, make cauliflower rice:  Break it into florets, and toss them (raw) into a food processor.  Pulse it until the cauliflower breaks apart and resembles rice.  You can use it in the same way you would white rice, without any of the carbs. If you want to get really creative, though, try this sunny, bright, and spicy recipe for pickled cauliflower.     I was inspired to create this recipe by an appetizer I ate last summer at a restaurant in Kauai. I loved their version so much I had to recreate it when I got home, and it’s become such a popular dish with friends and family in my house, I can’t keep enough of it on hand!  It’s equally comfortable on a lunch plate next to a sandwich, tossed into a salad, or sitting along side some cheeses, crackers, and olives on an appetizer platter.   Not only are you getting the goodness of cauliflower, but also, the extra anti-inflammatory and antioxidant punch from ginger and turmeric.  The best bonus is that you can make a huge batch and it keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.  No excuses to not eat some cauliflower each day!   PrintTurmeric & Ginger Pickled Cauliflower Prep Time: 30 minutes Yield: about 8 cups of pickled vegetables Ingredients4 cups white vinegar 2 cups water 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling or Kosher salt 2 cups sugar 4- 2 inch pieces of ginger root, peeled 4- 2 inch pieces of turmeric root, peeled 8 thai chilis (or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes) 9-10 cups of cauliflower florets (from about 3 small heads of cauliflowerInstructionsPlace the vinegar, water garlic, salt and sugar in a large saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Stir well, so the salt and sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat, and let the vinegar/water mixture sit until it cools to room temperature. Remove the garlic cloves. While the pickling liquid is cooling, slice the ginger and turmeric into thin, matchstick pieces. If using the chilis, trim the stems off, but leave them whole.* Trim the cauliflower into florets, and discard the tough stems. Place the ginger, turmeric, chilis, and cauliflower into a large saucepan, and cover...

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Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

Posted by on Jan 11th, 2017 in Breakfast, Recipes | 8 comments

Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

Clean eating never tasted so good!  These Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowls are a balanced breakfast, but they taste like dessert! I was asked to participate in the #TasteTruvia campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger network. I was compensated for my time, but as always, all opinions are my own. I’m totally dating myself here, but a million years ago, there was a television ad for Alka-Seltzer called “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.  That’s kind of how I’m feeling after the holidays.  I try to keep it as healthy as possible for as long as possible, but by about the time December 20 rolls around, I start sneaking the cookies and candy, and then the company arrives, and there are the dinners out.  And my kids love to make their big bacon, eggs, and hash brown breakfasts – with a big side of fruit, of course. And then there are the cheese boards, with things I rarely eat – like peppered salami. And the wine. Lots of wine.  So, by early January,  when the last of them has been dropped at the airport, I’m ready to jump back on the clean eating bandwagon. The best way to reboot your body after the holidays, or anytime you need a diet reset, is to get back to basics. Aim to eat at least a half plate of fresh fruits and vegetables with each meal (and snack!), and include a small portion of lean protein, like fish, chicken, or tempeh. Cut out all refined (AKA, white) flour/sugar foods, and choose only whole grains like oats, quinoa, or any other ancient grains.  Eat a handful of nuts every day, use fresh herbs and dried spices liberally, and drink LOTS of water or herbal teas. If the thought of going cold turkey and cutting out sugar after the holiday feasting is too much – these Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowls will make the transition completely painless. They’re full of lots, and I mean, LOTS of healthy ingredients, and just lightly sweetened with Truvia Natural Sweetener.       Truvia is a natural, great-tasting, ZERO-calorie sweetener made from the sweetest part of the stevia leaf.  I love that it comes in a spoonable jar.  It sprinkles just like sugar and adds just the right amount of sweetness to this smoothie bowl – or anything else that needs a little sweetening.  Truvia makes it so much easier for everyone to make smarter choices and limit added sugar in your diet.     By the way – if you’re not familiar with the smoothie bowl – it’s kind of like a kicked up version of a smoothie, with pretty toppings. You eat it in a bowl instead of drinking it through a straw.  Because isn’t everything better in a bowl and with a spoon?     #ad Brighten your morning with a Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl #TasteTrivia Click To Tweet   PrintCarrot Cake Smoothie Bowl Prep Time: 15 minutes Yield: 2 servingsServing Size: 1 cup Ingredients1/2 cup old fashioned oats 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded 1 cup chopped pineapple 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon Truvia Natural Sweetener (or more to taste) 1 scoop unflavored protein powder 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other low fat/nonfat milk)...

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Apricot Pecan and Honey Goat Cheese Ball

Posted by on Dec 22nd, 2016 in Appetizers and Snacks, Recipes | 8 comments

Apricot Pecan and Honey Goat Cheese Ball

This Apricot-Pecan Goat Cheese Ball is a perfect celebration appetizer, whether you’re having company for the holidays, or celebrating the Recipe ReDux December theme – Grab a Book and Cook!  Happy holidays friends! We’re counting down to Christmas and holiday parties, AND it’s also time for a Recipe ReDux post. This month’s theme is Grab a Book and Cook – to celebrate the end of 2016.  So…. on page 16 of one of my first favorite cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook, by the authors of the Silver Palate cookbook,  I found a delicious sounding recipe for Herbed Chevre Bites, and I’m ReDuxing it to add some fruit and nuts, and up the nutrients a bit more.     What are you making for the holidays?  Do you do a nosh-board, so guests can snack throughout the day, or do you have a formal cocktail and appetizer hour before dinner?  We’re trying something new this year.  Our Christmas is small, it’s just the kids and us, and we have Chinese for Christmas Eve (is that weird?) and then have our big celebration dinner on Christmas day – sometimes turkey, often a beef tenderloin, and occasionally a fancy pasta or fish dish. This year though, we decided to make a big, fancy meal on Christmas eve, open the gifts, and then just feast on leftovers on Christmas day.  We’ll start with a savory french toast (haven’t tried a recipe yet – it will be an experiment!), create a major cheese, fruit, veggie, and meat platter to snack on throughout the day, and finish off the day with leftover roast turkey and sides.  Kinda looking forward to it!   This Apricot Pecan Goat Cheese ball with crackers and fruit is so ridiculously easy, and it will definitely be showing up on Christmas day.  It’s sweet and just a little bit savory at the same time.  Perfect on slices of pears or apples, or my favorite rosemary raisin crackers from Trader Joe’s.  Yum.   PrintApricot Pecan and Honey Goat Cheese Ball Prep Time: 15 minutesTotal Time: 15 minutes Yield: 8 servings Ingredients1/2 cup chopped dried apricots 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves 1 - 5 ounce log of plain goat cheese (room temperature) 1 tablespoon honey pinch of kosher salt InstructionsPlace the dried apricots and pecan halves in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until they are finely chopped. Mix 1/2 of the chopped apricot/pecan mixture into the softened goat cheese. Add honey, and salt, and mix well. Set the other half of the chopped fruit and nuts aside. Pat the goat cheese and fruit/nuts into a ball, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm. Transfer the goat cheese to a sheet of parchment paper, and gently roll it into a ball. Coat the cheese ball with the remaining chopped apricot/nut mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve. NotesAllow the cheese ball to come to soften at room temperature before serving.3.1http://cravingsomethinghealthy.com/apricot-pecan-goat-cheese-ball/cravingsomethingthinghealthy.com   Happy holidays friends!  See you in the New Year!! PS Don’t forget to say hi to the other Recipe ReDux members who are also sharing their recipes...

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