Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Give the Gift of Eighty Twenty

Here is an easy, non-judgemental way to tell someone on your holiday shopping list that you love them and care about their health:

Make them exclusive Eighty Twenty jars!

One eighty and one twenty will introduce them to a balanced eating pattern.

Here are the instructions for giving the gift of my Slow Cooker Lentil Chili:
1. In a small baggie combine spices:
4 cubes tomato bouillon
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
2. Add 1 lb red or green lentils to a jar and add spice bag.
3. Click here to print a PDF file for
Slow Cooker Lentil Chili instructions.
4. Place instructions into jar, seal, and decorate as you wish!

Here are instructions for giving the gift of my Green Tea Cookies:1. In a small baggie combine:
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
2 Tbsp matcha powder
2. In another baggie add 1/4 cup fine white sugar.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour into a jar and add two filled baggies.
4. Click here for PDF instructions for Green Tea Cookies. Print and place into jar.
5. Seal jar and decorate as you wish!

Monday, November 28, 2011

80--- Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip- Revamped

This was good the first time around. But I thought that I could do better. And eliminate some dairy and processed stuff. So I did. And now it's better with amazing artichoke flavor. It is still a FANTASTIC tailgating/football watching snack.

I love football. But that love really only extends to college ball. I do not love NFL football. The instant replay challenges drive me mad. Here's my thoughts: the referees are part of the game. No one is perfect, and they are no exception. The calls that they make are PART OF THE GAME. I do not care how much money is at stake. It's a game. There's my two cents.

If I do watch the NFL I choose my team by the best uniform color. And I bet on horse races by the coolest name. Don't take me to Vegas.

This spinach artichoke dip is so tasty. Here's a tip: don't tell anyone that it's healthy. They will eat it anyways and love it.

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
Serves 6-8

6 cups raw baby spinach leaves, stemmed
1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 small white onion, chopped finely
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped onion and saute until tender, ~ 2 minutes. Chop one can of artichoke hearts into 1/2" pieces.  Add pieces to skillet and heat for one minute. Add spinach leaves, turning constantly until leaves have softened. Remove from heat.

In a small food processor, blend remaining can of artichoke hearts until smooth. Add salt and pepper and mix to combine. Spoon puree into a medium bowl. Add sauteed spinach and artichoke heart mixture and fold to combine. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and stir.

Place mixture into a 2-3 cup oven-safe crock. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Place oven on high broil, and broil until cheese is lightly browned.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with Wasa crackers, flatbread, or pita chips.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 95 calories, 3 g fat, 6 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber

Saturday, November 26, 2011

80(ish)--- Leftover Frittata

I hope you still have Thanksgiving leftovers.  If you were shopping ALL DAY yesterday like I was this may be your first chance to dive into them!
Leftover frittatas are not just limited to holiday dinners! Any meal leftovers can be made into a frittata.  Spaghetti? Sure.  Rice and beans? Why not? Chocolate chip pancakes? Maaaayyyybe not. But possibly worth a try.

I am not posting nutrition info, as it will vary quite a bit by what your dinner entailed. 
Leftover Frittata
Serves 6

6 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
4-5 oz turkey, chopped
1/2 cup green bean casserole (or other vegetable)
1/2 cup stuffing (dressing)
1/2 cup yams, chopped (use same method as stuffing if using mashed)
3/4 cup mashed potatoes, chilled
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes into balls, then place onto a plate and flatten into a disc.  Repeat with remaining potatoes.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, paprika and pepper.  Gently fold in turkey, green beans, and yams.

In an oven-safe 10" skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Place potato discs into pan, creating a "bottom" for your frittata (discs do not need to touch). 

Spread some of the melted butter from the bottom of the pan around the inside edge and pour egg mixture into pan, evenly distributing ingredients.  Place 1 Tbsp dollops of stuffing throughout egg mixture, lightly pushing them down into liquid.  Continue to heat over medium heat until bubbly, ~ 5 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and continue to cook for ~20 minutes, or until eggs are done completely and edges of frittata are slightly pulling away from pan.  Remove from oven and allow to cool ~2 minutes.

Frittata should gently slide onto a serving plate.  If not, place a plate upside down onto skillet.  Gently flip over (skillet will be hot).  Repeat process with serving plate.

Cut into slices and enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

80--- Wild Rice Cornbread Stuffing- Stuffed Mushrooms

Thanksgiving leftover recipe! You may use your own stuffing, but this Wild Rice Cornbread Stuffing is excellent as well!

If you choose to use your own stuffing, follow the directions from For the mushrooms on.

Wild Rice Cornbread Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 24 mushrooms

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup wild rice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup corn kernels
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms stalks
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts (saute in a nonstick pan over medium heat until lightly brown)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Dash cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
Cornbread, crumbled (recipe follows)

CORNBREAD (or use your favorite recipe)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
6 Tbsp corn meal
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large egg white

24 large baby portobello mushrooms, washed and stemmed
Olive oil spray
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

For cornbread:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9x4" bread pan with baking spray.  Combine dry ingredients then add in remaining ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Bake 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For stuffing:

For rice, combine 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup water, and rice in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until tender, ~45-60 minutes.  Drain rice if necessary and place into a mixing bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion, celery, mushroom stems and seasoning.  Cool until softened, then add corn and parsley and cook until heated through, ~ 2 minutes.  Spoon into bowl with rice.

Add crumbled cornbread and macadamia nuts.  Stir to combine and add 1/2 cup chicken broth to moisten.

For mushrooms:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x9" baking dish.

Stuff each mushroom with ~1 Tbsp stuffing mixture and place into prepared baking dish.  Drizzle ~1 Tbsp broth onto each mushroom.  Bake for ~15 minutes, or until stuffing is crispy.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 mushroom: 67 calories, 2.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 95 mg sodium

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am feeling overwhelmed with all of the things that I am thankful for today.  Giving thanks is important for our health.  It can help with depression and it can improve the flowage of happy hormones which increases your positive outlook on life. 

Here are my tops:

1.  I am thankful for my health.  Seeing patients who do not have great health really makes me realize that it is, indeed, a luxury.  My body is a fantastic vessel that lets me torture it on a daily basis and it always bounces back.

2.  I am thankful for love.  I have so much of it in my life.  My hubby, whom is the most fantastic man that I have ever met, loves me endlessly even when I do not deserve it. 

3.  I am thankful for my family. My family loves me, even when I feed them nothing but greens. I am thankful that my mom and dad and my in-laws can all celebrate the holidays together and enjoy it.  I am thankful that I have a wonderful sister and the best brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and nephew that anyone could ever ask for.  My parents support me in everything that I do.  Even if it's not the best idea.  I am thankful for all of my grandparents, and that they have lived to such ripe ages that I have gotten to spend as much time with them that I have.

4.  I am thankful for my fantastic homegirls.  The ones I run with.  The ones I don't.  The ones I speak to daily.  The ones I speak to yearly.  They keep me sane and let me cry but most of the time make me laugh until I cry.  They got my back.

5.  I am thankful for my warm home and my simple life.  And my dogs who bring me so much joy and laughter.

6.  I am thankful for my job.  Truly, I am the luckiest person ever.  I love going to work.  I get to help people be healthy.  And talk about food and exercise all day.  And I get paid for it.  And I have wonderful bosses and I love my co-workers.  Fantastic.

7.  I am thankful for where I get to live.  It's beautiful.  My community and the scenery bring happiness and comfort (except when it's really really cold- then it's still pretty, but cold).

8.  I am thankful for all of you.  Those who follow me, those who check on me occasionally.  This blogging thing is truly enjoyable for me and without you it would mean nothing at all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: I am also thankful for whomever took this lovely picture and posted it on Flickr, where I stole it from.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

80--- Edamame Dip with Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Wonton Chips

I'm not sure if I've ever met anyone who doesn't like edamame.

Edamame are immature soybeans. They are often served in their pods, seasoned with salt or soy sauce. These beans are high in protein and fiber, as are most beans. Now ladies, we don't want to overdo it in the soy department, but snacking on these little green buggers in moderation is absolutely permissable.

Edamame Dip with Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Wonton Chips
Makes ~ 2 1/2 cups dip and 40 chips

2 cups shelled edamame, cooked
2 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

20 wonton wrappers, sliced in diagonal halves
Olive oil spray
Sea salt (I used Hawaiian)
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Place wonton slices onto sheet so that they are not touching. Spray slices lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown. Remove from oven. Note: chips will brown while left on baking sheet. Place chips into a serving container. Leftovers may be kept in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

While chips are baking, combine dip ingredients into a food processor. Mix until a puree is formed. Spoon into a serving container.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup dip and 8 chips: 122 calories, 5.5 g fat, 9 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Sunday, November 20, 2011

20--- Rustic Pumpkin Tiramisu

This rustic version of tiramisu will be a fantastic, unique addition to your turkey day dinner. It is made ahead of time, and serving is easy since each portion is pre-packaged into a little jar!

I did not have enough small jars in my cupboard, so I used larger jars that are great for sharing with your sweetie.

Rustic Pumpkin Tiramisu
Serves 6

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp dark rum
1 cup pure pumpkin (canned)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup fine granulated white sugar
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
4 oz Biscoff ginger cookies (found at your specialty grocery)
6- 8oz canning jars

In a medium mixing bowl, mix pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger until combined. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup whipping cream with white sugar with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream mixture into pumpkin mixture.

In an additional mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar. Beat until combined, then add 1/2 cup whipping cream and beat until mixture is thickened.

In a small spouted liquid measuring cup, whisk together maple syrup and rum.

To assemble: Place two ginger cookies into the bottom of each small jar. Drizzle ~ 1 Tbsp rum mixture onto cookies. Add pumpkin filling on top of cookies, then top with two additional cookies. Drizzle 1 Tbsp rum mixture onto these cookies as well. Top with remainder of pumpkin filling. Dollop mascarpone topping onto pumpkin filling and spread evenly.

Put lids onto each jar and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours (can be made one day ahead). Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice prior to serving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

80--- Bobcat Broccoli Smoothie

I am a huge supporter of Montana State Football. One reason is because I spent 7.5 years attending MSU. The more significant reason is that I get to work with the team as their sports dietitian. It's been a great year for the team. MSU football currently has some of the best athletes and best coaches that I have ever known in my college history. This year they have gone undefeated in the Big Sky Conference and are ranked #1 in the NCAA Division 1, FCS division. The National Championship is within sight.

My hubby and I are football season pass holders, and we don't miss games. Ever. Ask our friends who want us to participate in other fun Saturday activities. And when they win, my mom calls me and says "Honey! They ate their broccoli today!". And I say "I doubt it but thank you for your positive thinking!".

Tomorrow the Bobcats will play their greatest rival, the University of Montana Grizzlies. The Cat-Griz game (referred to as the Brawl of the Wild) is one of the greatest games in the west. And tomorrow, it is a home game. And no matter what the temperature, I will be in our end zone seats. Cheering. LOUD!!

This is a tribute to my Bobcats. Eat your broccoli boys. This smoothie has the perfect 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein perfect for refueling. And it doesn't taste yucky either.

Go Bobcats!

Bobcat Broccoli Smoothie
Serves 1 Bobcat or 2 smaller & slightly less athletic individuals

1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 banana
1 cup steamed broccoli florets
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together in a 20 oz blender. Pour into a glass. Drink and then say "Firrrrrst.. Down... Bobcats! Roar Roar Roar!" (if you're a fan- you get it, if not, it's still kind of funny).

Nutrition Info per 1 smoothie: 479 calories, 13 g fat, 22 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

20(ish)--- Cranberry Pistachio Eaton Mess

It has been my mission for the past two years to switch up Thanksgiving dinner a little bit. And since my in-laws have the majority of the must-haves covered, I have been limited (happily) to desserts (and mashed potatoes). Last year I made Punkin Puddin and Apple Pie Panna Cotta. With success. They were lots of mmmmm's and wow's from both.

When typical post-turkey sweet items may hit your belly with a THUD, these will float down nicely and settle on the turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans, potatoes, rolls, etc and so forth. Warning: They may not contain fewer calories and/or fat. They will satisfy without making you feel like a Macy's Parade balloon. All of the flavors.... a little fanciness..... less THUD.

This eaton mess is fantastic. It uses my Pistachio Meringues, crumbled and lightly mixed (or layered) with a homemade cranberry sauce and whipped cream.

Cranberry Pistachio Eaton Mess
Serves 6

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pistachios

Carefully separate egg whites from yolk. Tip: break each egg over a small bowl and separate white into bowl, making sure that no yolk follows the white. THEN transfer that white into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Repeat for remaining egg. This way, if you do have some yolk "seepage" it will not contaminate your other whites! You may freeze yolks for another recipe.

Add cream of tarter to egg white and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and beat for additional 30 seconds. Gently fold in 1/4 cup chopped pistachios.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Gently spread meringue onto paper and spread thin, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios.

Place oven racks in middle 1/3 of oven. Place one baking sheet on each rack and bake for ~1 hour or until meringue is crispy and cooked through (they will crisp up a bit once set at room temperature). Remove cooled meringue from baking sheet and crumble into 1 " pieces.

12 oz fresh cranberries
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

In a nonstick saucepan, combine apple juice, wine, and honey over medium heat. Stir frequently and simmer until mixture reduces slightly. Add cranberries and basil and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer until berries burst and soften. Do not allow berries to become to mushy. Remove from heat, place mixture into a glass container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until cool.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp sugar

Chill a bowl and beaters in freezer for 15 minutes. Add whipping cream to bowl and use a hand-held mixer to beat until thickened. Add vanilla and sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Two ways (just prior to serving):

1. Layer 1/2 cup crumbled meringue, 1/4 cup cranberry sauce, and 1/2 cup whipped cream into individual glasses. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios and serve parfait-style.

2. Fold crumbled meringue and cranberry sauce into whipped cream. Gently mix until combined (but not blended). Spoon into glasses and top with crushed pistachios.

Monday, November 14, 2011

80--- Simple Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash. All winter squash contain lots of nutrients such as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, fiber, and carotenoids. Those antioxidants will surely help decrease inflammation and help your immune system (very important this time of year).

I've seen so many variations of butternut squash soup lately that my head is spinning. They all look fantastic-- but I LOVE the taste of butternut squash and I feel like sometimes it gets lost in all of the other ingredients. This is a simple and healthy recipe for simple squash soup.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 3

2 small-medium butternut squashes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" chunks
Olive oil spray
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
Chives, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash chunks into a large baking dish and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven.

While squash is baking, saute shallots with 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 3 cups of broth to a boil in a stockpot. Reduce heat to a simmer and add 2 1/2 cups of squash chunks (add all if you want a completely pureed soup). Simmer for 5 minutes, then add shallots. Use an immersion blender to puree soup (if you do not have one, carefully transfer in batches to a large food processor or blender and puree, then return to pot). Add remaining squash chunks and heat for additional 3-5 minutes.

Serve garnished with chopped chives (if desired).

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cup serving: 172 calories, 2 g fat, 4 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Saturday, November 12, 2011

80(ish)--- Nutella Hummus

I've been wanting to experiment with sweet hummus for a while. And then I saw a recipe for peanut butter chocolate hummus and it came to me! Nutella! AND it will make me use the remainder of the Nutella in my cupboard so I will quit digging my fingers into it on a daily basis.

This is perfect for dipping apples into or spreading on graham crackers. If you have never had Nutella- here is your free ticket to gastronomic heaven.

Nutella Hummus
Makes ~ 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Nutella
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and mix until pureed. Serve with apple slices or graham crackers.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 188 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Thursday, November 10, 2011

80--- Rosemary-Scented Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving is RIGHT around the corner. Deep breaths.

Research has shown that the average American gains one pound during the "holiday season" between Thanksgiving and the new year. That doesn't seem that bad, right? Unless you consider that the average American NEVER loses that pound..... and then gains another one a year later.......and so on and so forth.

I am here to help you trim a few calories off of your holidays without feeling like you are stranded on a desert island, eating nothing but sardines that are washed to shore.

Mashed potatoes can be absolutely delicious without all of the butter, whole milk, sour cream, etc. Let's add flavor. Not fat.

Rosemary-Scented Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Serves 8-10

5 medium red potatoes, quartered
5 medium yellow potatoes, quartered
1 white onion, quartered
5 cloves garlic, pressed
5 sprigs rosemary
2 Tbsp olive oil
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp dried rosemary (if desired)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss quartered potatoes, onions and garlic with olive oil, then place into a baking dish. Spray rosemary sprigs lightly with olive oil (to prevent burning) and place on top of potatoes and onions. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 min, until potatoes are fork-tender.

Discard rosemary sprigs. Remove potatoes from baking dish and place into a large bowl. Place onions and garlic into a food processor. Mix until a smooth puree is formed. Add puree to potatoes, then mash. Add milk, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary (if desired) and continue mashing until desired consistency is formed.

Serve warm!

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup: 171 calories, 3 g fat, 5 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

20(ish)---- Cranberry Cider

Yes, before we talk about cider let's discuss preventing urinary tract infections. Recent research has shown that it's cranberries' proanthocyanidins that is related to the prevention of UTIs. They may act as a barrier to bacteria that might otherwise latch on to the urinary tract lining. These benefits may be somewhat modest and limited to women who have recurrent infections. However, the antioxidant benefit of these berries cannot be ignored.

The greatest benefit is gained when cranberries are consumed whole, but we will ignore that for the time being. This twist on a classic favorite will warm your insides on a chilly fall day.

Cranberry Cider
Serves 8

2 L 100% cranberry juice cocktail (I used a 100% juice cocktail with pomegranate juice)
1 cup 100% apple juice
1/2 apple
20 cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, sliced
2 Tbsp brown sugar

In a large stockpot, heat cranberry juice and apple juice to a boil. Whisk in brown sugar. Press cloves into apple half (flesh) and add to boiling mixture, along with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Reduce heat to a simmer for additional 20 minutes. Remove orange slices, apple half (with cloves) and cinnamon sticks.

Serve garnished with an orange slice.

*Also tasty with a splash of Chambord for an adult-only beverage.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

80--- Spaghetti Squash Tacos

I read about this somewhere.... I cannot remember where. I had to make some up. They are amazing nonetheless. Spaghetti squash is so versatile, and so easy. I am dreaming up a spaghetti squash dessert just to prove my point.

Squash has loads of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamins B6, B3, B5, B9, and OMEGA 3 and OMEGA 6 fatty acids-- not many vegetables have that claim to fame! Best of all: one cup of spaghetti squash contains only 31 calories.

Spaghetti Squash Tacos
Serves 4

1 medium spaghetti squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeded
Olive oil spray
8 hard taco shells
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Queso fresco (if desired)
Taco sauce of your choice

2 tsp dried cilantro
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder (smoked is fantastic)
1/2 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray each half of spaghetti squash lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle half of seasoning mixture onto squash and place face down onto a nonstick baking sheet. Prick the rind of each squash half multiple times with a fork. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven. Shred squash with a fork and place into a bowl.

While squash is baking, whisk together olive oil and remaining seasoning mixture. Add mixture to shredded squash and toss to coat.

Place ~1/2 cup squash into each taco shell and top with taco sauce (if desired), cilantro, tomato, and queso fresco. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 2 tacos: 223 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Friday, November 4, 2011

80(ish)--- Sugar & Spice Squash Seeds

As I was seeding my spaghetti squash the other day, I wondered what would happen if I roasted them...... I mean, a pumpkin IS a squash...........

The seeds are slightly smaller (but I guess that would depend on your pumpkin), but the taste is the same. I jazzed mine up a bit for a fallery flavor.

Sugar & Spice Squash Seeds
Makes ~1/2 cup (depends on squash yield)

Seeds from one spaghetti squash
Olive oil spray (I used my Misto)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp raw sugar

Remove the squash guts from the seeds, then place into a bowl of cold water to soak for 15 minutes. Drain water, then place seeds onto sheets of paper towels to dry. This may take up to one hour, so alternatively you may place them on a baking sheet in an oven heated to 175 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until dry.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place seeds into a bowl and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Add seasonings and salt to coat. Evenly distribute seeds onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with olive oil spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown and crisp.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to storing in an airtight container.

Nutrition info per 1/4 cup seeds: 85 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g monounsaturated), 3 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

80-- Lighter French Onion Soup

When I say "French Onion Soup" do you think "cheese"? If that is the only reason why you eat this lovely brothy fragrant soup, then you need not read any further. The highlight of this recipe is the flavorful broth and onions.

One of the most common questions that I am asked is "Are onions good for me?". Yes. They are. Onions contain polyphenols, and are especially high in flavonoids, mainly quercetin. Cooking onions does not degrade the quercetins, but they are transferred into the liquid that they are cooked in. These special phytonutrients could lower your cancer risk. Consuming just one onion per week could provide this benefit. When you peel your onion be sure to maintain as much of the edible outer portions as possible, since this is where the majority of the flavonoids are located.

Eat up!

Lighter French Onion Soup
Serves 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large white onions, sliced thin (~ 5 cups)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups water
3 cups low sodium beef broth
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups crusty bread cubes (I used a garlic pain au levain)
1 1/4 cups Parmesan, shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bread cubes onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown and crispy. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, fennel seeds, garlic powder, celery salt, sea salt and black pepper. Saute until coated with oil, then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently until browned.

Add red wine and cook ~2 minutes more. Add broth, Worcestershire, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes more.

To serve: ladle soup into a bowl or crock, then immediately top with 1/2 cup bread cubes and 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Info per 2 cup serving: 214 calories, 6 g fat, 10 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 416 mg sodium