Sunday, April 29, 2012

80--- Beet Salsa

Did you know that 10-15% of the population experiences beeturia, aka: red urine after consumption of beets?  Are you one of them?  If so, not to worry.  It's a harmless condition.  My friend is married to an internist who gets phone calls about it quite often....


Beets contain two special antioxidants, betanin and vulgaxanthin, which may have detoxifying effects. 


Beet Salsa
Serves 4-6


3 medium beets, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Submerge beets to blanch for 4-5 minutes.  Remove and strain into a large colander and rinse immediately with cold water.  Allow to drain for 5-10 minutes.


Place beets into a large bowl and add jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey and salt.  Add liquid mixture to beet mixture and fold to combine.  


Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.


Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup: 40 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Friday, April 27, 2012

20(ish)--- Banana Split Cookies

It's fun to bake while you are pregnant.  These really interesting (and never before experienced) cravings lead to interesting recipes.  This is one of those.

The texture of these cookies is a little bit more like bread than a cookie- so soft and moist.  It's hard to eat just one!

Banana Split Cookies
Makes ~20 cookies

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 rings pineapple, chopped (~1/2 cup pineapple tidbits)
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
20 Marciano cherries, drained (one for each cookie)

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.  Combine butter, mashed banana, sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Use a mixer to mix well. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix dry ingredients into wet.  Fold in pineapple and chocolate.  Place cookie batter into refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Scoop spoonfuls of batter onto sheet, leaving ~ 2 inches between each drop.  Top each drop with a cherry.  Bake on middle rack for 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly brown and centers are set.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to transferring to waxed paper to finish cooling.

Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

80--- Berry Beet-utiful Smoothie

Do you like my boot glass?  It brings out the cowgirl in me.  That needs to happen every now and then.  I'm sure our baby will love it.  And I am sure that he/she will love beets too.  Just wait until I get to make baby food! Look out!

Berry Beet-utiful Smoothie
Makes one generous serving

1 small beet, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
3-4 large strawberries, stemmed
2 tsp honey
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
Ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until a puree is formed.  Continue to add ice cubes until desired consistency is achieved.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 smoothie: 184 calories, 2 g fat, 3 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Monday, April 23, 2012

80--- Little Baked Roasted Red Pepper Falafels

A falafel: fried hummus patty.  Except mine are baked. And full of flavor, thanks to roasted red peppers and tzatziki.


Little Baked Roasted Red Pepper Falafels
Makes ~ 15

1 can chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 jarred roasted red pepper
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour

Tzatziki
1 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
Dash fresh ground black pepper

Falafels: Combine all ingredients into a large food processor.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.  Transfer puree into a bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet generously with olive oil spray.  Drop 1 1/2 Tbsp chilled mixture  onto baking sheet.  Bake on middle rack for 18 minutes, gently flipping patties halfway through baking.

Tzatziki: Whisk together all ingredients and place into a covered container for one hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 falafel: 52 calories, 1.5 g fat, 1.7 g protein, 6.5 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber

Saturday, April 21, 2012

80--- Yam Tots

Frozen tater tots are often coated in flour, making them in-edible for those avoiding gluten.  It's so easy to make your own!  Using yams instead of potatoes will up the vitamin and mineral content, and give you more flavor.

Yam Tots
Makes ~ 24 tots, depending on size of your yams

2 medium yams
2 egg whites, divided
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup corn meal

Wash yams, them wrap them in foil and bake them at 425 degrees for ~45 minutes.  Yams should be softened, but should still "pull" at your fork when you poke them.  Remove from oven and place in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

Peel chilled yams, then chop the flesh and place cubes into a food processor.  Pulse to create a course puree.  Scoop puree into a small bowl, then fold in one beaten egg white, olive oil and salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together remaining egg white and milk in a small bowl.  Place cornmeal into another small bowl.

Prepare a baking sheet lightly with baking spray.  Mold 1 Tbsp yam mixture into a small ball.  Dip into egg white mixture, then roll in cornmeal and place onto baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining yam mixture, spacing balls 1" apart on sheet.

Place baking sheet into oven on middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes, flipping balls over halfway through cooking.  When outside coating is lightly browned, remove from oven and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 6 tots: 152 calories, 1.8 g fat, 4 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 173 mg sodium

Thursday, April 19, 2012

80--- No- Bake Peanut Energy Balls

Since I've been pregnant I've been really conscious of my protein intake.  I do not eat a lot of meat, and I don't really want to.  This is a quick, delicious way to get in a bite of protein (and some other healthy stuff too).  Yes, I do realize that I could just eat a spoonful of peanut butter.  But adding some fiber and omega-3s is more my style.

No-Bake Peanut Energy Balls
Makes 8

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup peanut butter (remember low fat= more sugar-- go natural!)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp almond milk
1 tsp chia seeds

Whisk together peanut butter, honey, and almond milk.  Fold in rolled oats.  Roll ~1 1/2 Tbsp of mixture into a ball. Continue with remaining mixture.  Place balls onto a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle chia seeds onto a large plate.  Roll each refrigerated ball into the seeds, distributing them onto each ball evenly.  Return to refrigerator and serve chilled.

Nutrition Info per 1 ball: 103 calories, 6 g fat, 4 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

20(ish)--- Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip

We went to Las Vegas last month.  I know what you're thinking. What was a pregnant girl doing in Vegas?  Well, this pregnant girl was shopping, eating (mainly pistachio gelato), and spending quality time with fantastic friends.  Another of the spectacular things that I ate was Buffalo Chicken Dip at Holsteins.  All you Pinteresters out there may be familiar with this one-- it gets a lot of attention.  One bite and I knew that I had to health-ify it a bit by adding some veggies and not using ranch dressing as my base.  The verdict? Just as good, if not better (spoken by my hubbster).

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip
Serves 6

1 lb chicken breast, trimmed, boiled and shredded
3/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together hot sauce and ricotta cheese.  Fold in shredded chicken, celery, onion and 1/4 cup of blue cheese.  Transfer mixture into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with remaining blue cheese.  Bake for ~20 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve hot with celery and carrots sticks, pita chips, or tortilla chips.

Nutrition Info per 1 serving (~1/2 cup): 195 calories, 7 g fat, 27 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber

Sunday, April 15, 2012

80(ish)--- Coconut Quinoa Pudding

A new way to eat quinoa!  This rice-pudding-ish dish is great hot or cold, for breakfast or dessert!  A little plant protein never hurt anyone.

Coconut Quinoa Pudding
Serves ~4

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk, divided
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)

Whisk together 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, water, and quinoa in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently for 20-30 minutes, until quinoa is cooked and liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, coconut and raisins.  Allow to sit 5 minutes prior to serving or place in a shallow container and refrigerate.

Nutrition per ~ 1 cup: 191 calories, 4 g fat, 5 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g fiber

Friday, April 13, 2012

80--- Polenta Lasagna Cups

I had never thought of using polenta in lasagna until my friend Gina asked me to give it a whirl.  First try= success!  The best news?  It's easy.  Really easy.  These are vegetarian, but feel free to add in meat if you wish.

I made mine in individual cups.  They are perfect for a single serving. AND, let's say you are having a dinner party, planning on serving up your famous lasagna, when......(dun, dun, dun) you have a friend mention that they are avoiding gluten!! What to do?  Make them a cute little individual lassagna.  No sweat.

Polenta Lasagna Cups
Makes 4

18 oz tube quinoa polenta
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup marinara sauce of your choice
1/3 cup basil chiffonade
12 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the polenta into 16 even slices (I discarded the ends). In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat polenta slices just until lightly crisp on each side.  When all have been seared, cut 8 of those slices into half moons. Spray ramekins or small glass dishes with olive oil spray.  Layer ingredients as shown below:

(Top)
2 Tbsp Mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp marinara sauce
1 Tbsp chopped tomato + sprinkle basil
1 oz ricotta cheese (~1 Tbsp)
1 1/2 slices polenta
1 Tbsp marinara sauce
1 Tbsp chopped tomato + sprinkle basil
1 oz ricotta cheese (~1 Tbsp)
1 1/2 slices polenta
1 Tbsp marinara sauce
1 Tbsp chopped tomato + sprinkle basil
1 oz ricotta cheese (~1 Tbsp)
1 slice polenta
1 Tbsp marinara
(Bottom)

Place ramekins onto a baking sheet (to catch drips) and bake for ~20 minutes.  Change oven setting to high broil and watch carefully as cheese browns lightly.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving. 

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 320 calories, 7 g fat, 20 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

80--- Split Pea and Ham Sandwiches

That leftover Easter ham isn't going to eat itself!  If the warmer spring weather has you dreading the idea of soup, go for these sandwiches instead!

The split pea spread adds a wonderful dimenion, and lots of fiber, folate, and molybdenum (I bet you didn't even know that you NEEDED that, did you?).

Split Pea and Ham Sandwiches

Split Pea Spread
Makes ~1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup split peas
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp low sodium chicken bouillon
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, pressed
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 tsp lemon juice

Combine split peas, water, bouillon, chopped onion, garlic clove, and black pepper in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer ~ 30 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed and peas are softened.  Stir in green peas and allow to sit to defrost peas.

Transfer content, along with lemon juice into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Sandwiches
Serves 4

4 English muffins, or other bun of choice
8 oz lean ham, sliced to desired thickness
1/4 cup mustard of your choice (I like yellow, my hubby likes stone ground)
2/3 cup Split Pea Spread
1 cup alfalfa sprouts

Toast English muffins, then layer each with 1 Tbsp mustard, 1/4 cup sprouts, 2 oz ham, and 3 Tbsp Split Pea Spread.  Enjoy!

Note: spread keeps very well in an airtight container in the refrigerator and can also be served as a dip!

Nutrition Info per 1 sandwich: 222 calories, 3.5 g fat, 17.5 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber

Monday, April 9, 2012

80--- Greens, Eggs & Ham Salad

Dr. Seuss would be proud.  As well as his cardiologist.

This is a fantastic egg salad to use up leftover Easter eggs AND Easter ham!  The greens add a crisp crunch, as well as a ton of nutrients!

If you don't have leftover hard-boiled eggs, here's a trick: Instead of going through the painful process of hard-boiling eggs (are they done? are they not done?), then peeling them, then chopping them, use an egg poaching pan and poach them until the yolks are solid.  Benefits: 1) you KNOW that they are done, 2) no peeling.  I poached two full eggs as well as four egg whites for this recipe.  I recommend chilling them prior to chopping.

Greens, Eggs & Ham Salad
Serves 4-5

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped coarsley
4 hard-cooked egg whites, chopped coarsely
2 celery stalks, de-ribbed and coarsley chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
3 green onions, sliced thin
6 oz lean ham, diced into small cubes

DRESSING
1/2 cup low fat or non fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow mustard (use Dijon if you prefer)
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Fold together all dressing ingredients and set aside.

Gently combine all salad ingredients, then fold in dressing. 

Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.  Enjoy served on a toasted English muffin, or by itself.

Nutrition Info per ~1/2 cup: 135 calories, 7 g fat, 14 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Saturday, April 7, 2012

20(ish)-- Apple Pot Pies

Oh my! Apple pie!  Bring these out for your Easter festivities. 

At this point in my life (exhausted from growing a baby in my belly) I am so NOT about spending time in the kitchen and so want to just GET IT DONE! They are so much easier to make than apple pie, but just as tasty.  AND a bit healthier.  I even included the nutrient breakdown to prove it.

Apple Pot Pies
Serves 4

6 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced into very thin slices
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Baking spray
4 sheets phyllo dough

In a medium mixing bowl, combine apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Toss to coat.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray.  Add apple mixture and heat over medium heat.  Saute until apples are softened, 10-15 minutes.  When apples are soft, sprinkle mixture with flour and mix to coat.  Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat four ramekins with baking spray.  Evenly spoon apple mixture into ramekins.

In a cutting board, lay out one sheet of phyllo dough, spray with baking spray, then layer with additional three layers, spraying between each one.  Cut into four even squares.

Lay one square onto each ramekin and press phyllo dough down onto apples, leaving edges to drape over ramekin.

Bake for 8-10 minutes on the middle rack, or until phyllo is lightly brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 pot pie: 232 calories, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Thursday, April 5, 2012

80(ish)--- Asparagus Blue Cheese Frittata

I'm loving eggs right now, I must be needing the niacin.  Not sure where the idea for this one came from, all of these ingredients just sounded like they belonged together!  If you dislike blue cheese, you may substitute feta.

My hubby, Mr. Egg-Avoider, was really excited about this dinner and he stated that he enjoyed it immensely.  GOAL!

Asparagus Blue Cheese Frittata
Serves 4

3 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp hot sauce of your choice (optional)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 bunch asparagus, thick ends trimmed
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp vegetable seasoning (or seasoning mix of your choice-- Cajun would be yummy)
1/2 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray, then place asparagus spears onto tray.  Spray spears with olive oil, then sprinkle with vegetable seasoning.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until tender.  Remove from oven and set aside, keep oven heated.

Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  Set mixture aside.

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add onion and saute until fragrant.  Add egg mixture to skillet and stir to combine onions into eggs.  Allow to cook on stove top for ~10 minutes, or until bottom is set.  Spread cooked asparagus spears evenly onto surface of the egg mixture, then sprinkle blue cheese on top.  Place skillet into heated oven and bake for ~12-14 minutes, or until eggs are completely set and frittata pulls away from edges of the skillet.

Remove from oven and use a large spatula to loosen frittata from pan and transfer to a serving plate.  Cut into quarters and serve!

Nutrition Info per 1/4 frittata: 155 calories, 8 g fat, 14 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

80(ish)--- Homemade Wheat Saltine Crackers

These are for all you pregnant women out there living on saltines.  I am so lucky that I have had barely any nausea thus far in my adventure towards motherhood.  I know many that are not so blessed.  Just having a little something in your stomach may help with symptoms (possibly a reason why I experienced so little- not sure my stomach was ever empty during my ravenous first trimester). 

Crackers are so easy to make and you can add flavors that appeal to you at that very moment.  True, these are not as "lightweight" as saltines, but the little bit of fat will help keep you a bit more satisfied, and hopefully less nauseous.

Homemade Wheat Saltine Crackers
Makes ~30 crackers

1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup + ~1-2 Tbsp ice cold water
Sea salt (or other seasoning of your choice)

Preheat oven to 365 degrees.  In a large food processor, pulse flours and baking powder until combined.  Add chunks of cold butter and pulse until coarse crumbs are formed.  Add 1/4 cup water and pulse.  Test dough to see if it sticks together.  If it still crumbles, add 1-2 Tbsp remaining cold water until it does (not sticky, however).

Remove half of dough from processor and form it into a cube (do your best).  Place on a lightly floured cutting surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll thin, making sure that your dough does not stick to your cutting surface (flip and use more flour if necessary).  Note: these crackers will not puff up much during baking, so therefore the thickness of your dough will be approximately the thickness of your crackers. 

Sprinkle dough lightly with sea salt and gently roll to press salt into dough.  Use a sharp knife to trim edges and cut dough into 2" squares.  Place squares onto baking sheets that have been heavily prepared with canola oil spray.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, place sheets on the upper and middle racks of oven.  Check halfway through and switch racks. Make sure that the crackers along the edges of the pan do not become overly brown.

Remove from pan to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per 4-5 crackers: 128 calories, 7 g fat, 2.5 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 230 mg sodium

Sunday, April 1, 2012

20--- We're Having a Baby Lemon Cupcakes with Candied Ginger Buttercream Frosting

No Fools.  At the end of September my hubby and I will officially be parents.  Not just dog parents.  Real life ones.  And MAN are we jazzed!

Have a cupcake with us to celebrate!  Or make these for your preggars friends who may not be tolerating any other food groups very well.

Lemon Cupcakes with Candied Ginger Buttercream Frosting
Makes one dozen

CUPCAKES
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup milk
1 cup + 2 Tbsp cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
Zest from one lemon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a small measuring cup, combine lemon juice and milk.  Place in refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk chilled milk and lemon juice mixture with egg whites, set aside.

In medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest.  Use your fingers to combine, pressing the moisture from the zest.  Add in butter and use a mixer to mix until a coarse sand is formed.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and continue to mix.  Add half of egg mixture and vanilla extract and mix well.  Add remaining flour and egg mixtures and mix on medium-high speed for several minutes, unti light and fluffy.

Line muffin pan with paper baking cups.  Spoon batter into cups until 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until springy to touch and cooked through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool entirely before frosting.

FROSTING
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Whip the butter on high speed, then add 1 cup powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Add in milk, remaining sugar, and ginger.  Continue to whip for one minute, until fluffy.  Place frosting into a large ziploc bag or frosting bag.  Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes or until slighty firm.

Frost each cupcake, then garnish with small slices of candied ginger.