Thursday, December 13, 2018

80(ish)--- Sugar Plums

Sugar plums sure get a lot of attention around the holidays.  But what is a sugar plum?



These sweet treats are old-world confections make with a combination of pureed dried fruits (plums and others) and nuts, rolled into a ball and coated with sugar.  I found many different recipes on the NPR website and then took the liberty of making my own version with things that I had sitting in my cupboards. 

Christmas bonus: No cooking is required! I'm sure that Santa would enjoy a healthier treat when he visits your house this year!

Sugar Plums
Makes ~14

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Dash ground allspice
Dash ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
2 Tbsp dried unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp finely crushed pistachios

Place walnuts and apple juice into a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, until slightly softened.  Drain apple juice and place walnuts into a food processor.  Add spices, zest, lemon juice, dried fruits, honey and coconut.  Mix until a puree is formed.

Combine powdered sugar and crushed pistachios in a bowl and mix until evenly distributed.

Remove ~1 Tbsp fruit mixture and roll into a small ball.  Place on waxed paper.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  With clean hands, roll each ball in sugar mixture, then roll in hands to evenly coat.  Place onto a plate.  Repeat with all balls.

Refrigerate sugar plums for ~1 hour prior to serving.  Store in refrigerator.


Nutrition Info per 1 ball: 78 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Sunday, November 25, 2018

80--- Caesar Buddha Bowl with Chicken Mushroom Meatballs



Making a batch of meatballs is such an easy way to get in an extra serving of vegetables {in this case mushrooms}! I love making these and freezing the leftovers on a baking sheet before transferring them into a ziplock bag for later.  Then you can grab and go for lunches or another dinner.

Buddha bowls are such a fun way to mix up your meals.  Add a grain {in this case Banza chickpea pasta}, some veggies, and a protein. Drizzle with a sauce and you've got a meal.  Even if you use the same grain, veggies, and protein the next day, choose a different sauce or dressing to switch up the flavors entirely!

Chicken Mushroom Meatballs
Makes 28

1 Tbsp olive oil 
1/2 large yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 lb fresh mushrooms (slice or whole), chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb lean ground chicken
1 egg
1 cup panko crumbs
1 tsp low sodium chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
8 large basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook until softened and liquid is mostly absorbed, 6-7 minutes more.  Transfer mixture to food processor and mix until a puree is formed.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes (fridge will cool if faster).

When mushroom puree is room temperature, add remaining ingredients and use your hands to combine ingredients evenly. 

Form meatballs by rolling ~3 Tbsp mixture in your hands.  Place meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs reach 160 degrees internally. 

Nutrition info per 1 meatball: 67 calories, 3 g fat, 5 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber

Caesar Buddha Bowl
Serves 4

8 cups fresh baby arugula leaves
1 box Banza pasta of your choice, cooked per package instructions
1/2 cup caesar dressing of your choice (I like the greek yogurt Opa brand)
4 oz parmesan or other Italian cheese, if desired
Balsamic syrup, if desired

Toss arugula leaves with caesar dressing.  Place 2 cups of arugula, 2 oz pasta, and 3-4 meatballs in a bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with balsamic syrup if desired.




Friday, November 9, 2018

80(ish)--- Candied Yam Bisque


Here is one more holiday meal recipe for you! Again, like my Green Bean Casserole Dip, this recipe is based on the premise that you want to make ALL THE FOOD but don't necessarily need the leftovers of ALL THE FOOD.  

Who doesn't love a sweet potato casserole? It's the one time of year where marshmallows on the dinner table is not only acceptable but encouraged.  However it can be overshadowed by the other favorites at Thanksgiving.  This recipe brings you all the flavors, simple ingredients, and easy make-ahead prep!  It's even lightened up a bit.  Consider serving this for a lighter meal earlier in the day to save room on the dinner table!  It will surely get everyone excited for the meal to come.

Pro tip: when placing those bowls topped with marshmallows under high broil, don't take your eyes off of them, not even for a second.

Candied Yam Bisque
Serves 6

32 oz sweet potatoes, unpeeled (~2 extra large)
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or other plant milk of your choice)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus additional for drizzle
2 oz chopped pecans
~36 mini marshmallows
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop sweet potatoes into 1" cubes (yep we're leaving that peel on). Spread cubes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until cubes are softened.

When sweet potatoes are cooked, heat almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  When bubbly, add sweet potatoes, a dash of salt, and maple syrup.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (alternatively you may transfer the mixture to a large blender in batches and puree, then return to saucepan). 

* If making the day ahead, stop here.  Transfer contents to a large covered container and refrigerate. Reheat in a saucepan prior to serving.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to high broil.  Ladle servings into oven-proof bowls and top each bowl with 5-6 mini marshmallows.  Place bowls under broiler and watch carefully for marshmallows to toast, ~30-60 seconds is all that is needed!

Remove bowls with toasted marshmallows from the oven and sprinkle each with chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Nutrition info per 1 1/2 cup serving: 255 calories, 5.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Friday, November 2, 2018

20(ish)---Green Bean Casserole Dip



Now that Halloween is over we can get going on that holiday menu planning!  If you have a small(ish) family like ours, you may be finding that serving ALL of the traditional dishes just isn't feasible without resulting in a ton of uneaten leftovers.

One of these dishes in our family is the infamous Green Bean Casserole.  While it's delicious, it's no one's favorite, so it often ends up forgotten.

But this year, I want to bring back the love.  In an appetizer form.

And I present to you, the Green Bean Casserole Dip.  All of the fabulous flavors, I promise you.  Just offered before the bird.

Green Bean Casserole Dip
Makes 4 cups

2 tsp butter
8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos
12 oz plain Greek yogurt
8 oz neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese)
3 cups fresh green beans, stemmed and chopped into 1/8" pieces
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup crispy French fried onions (more if you love 'um)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onions and saute until softened.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce and cook for additional 2-3 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and chop finely.  Add yogurt and cream cheese and mix until a puree is formed.  Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

In a medium mixing bowl, add chopped green beans, then stir in pureed mixture and parsley.  Transfer mixture to an oven-safe baking dish.  Top with crispy onions.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve with melba toast, slices of sourdough, or other crackers of your choice.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

80--- High Protein Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal



I love a high protein, high fiber breakfast.  The sustainable energy keeps me motivated all morning!

This quick and easy breakfast recipe is an easy meal prep that will give you THREE mornings of pumpkin pie deliciousness.

Pro tip: stir in the oats the evening prior to your planned breakfast to keep them from getting "gummy".

High Protein Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal
Serves 3

1 can pumpkin puree
12 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat, but feel free to use whatever you like)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup (4 scoops) vanilla protein powder (link to my favorite herewhey is great, but you can also use plant-based if you like)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (rolled oats)
3 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine all ingredients EXCEPT for oats and pumpkin seeds.  Whisk until combined.

Pour mixture evenly into three storage containers.  Cover and refrigerate until the night before eating.  

Stir in 1/2 cup oats into each serving 8-12 hours prior to eating.

Just prior to eating, top each serving with 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds.  

Nutrition info per 1 serving: 405 calories, 8 g fat, 35 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Monday, October 15, 2018

80--- Apple Pie Protein Bites {Macro- Friendly, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut Butter-Free, No Added Sugar}



Tis the season.....for fall flavors, celebrations with friends and family, and for overindulging.  A high protein snack can help curb your cravings and help you control portions at your next meal!

Apple Pie Protein Bites to the rescue. Keep these on hand in your freezer as a quick grab and go snack, made with healthy ingredients and no fillers!

Apple Pie Protein Bites
Makes 18

2 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder (I like Tera's Whey)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup applesauce (alternatively, if you have a freezer stash of homemade apple pie filling, give it a whirl in your food processor)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add in applesauce and mix well.  

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Roll mixture into balls (golf ball sized) and refrigerate.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days OR place on a plate and freeze, then transfer frozen balls to a ziplock bag for freezer storage.

Nutrition info per 1 ball: 89 calories, 1.4 g fat, 8 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, October 11, 2018

FALL in love with breakfast

Fall is a busy time in our household.  With the start of kindergarten for our daughter, some fun family adventures, and three out of four of our birthdays in September and October, I haven't had a ton of time to devote to recipe development.

But the one thing I always make time for? Breakfast!  I will have a new pumpkin breakfast recipe coming at you soon, as well as some seasonal protein bites.

Until then, here are a few of my favorite fall breakfast recipes..... seasonal and the perfect way to start your day!