Tuesday, February 28, 2012

80--- Roasted Greens Salad with Balsamic Drizzle

This warm salad is perfect for your winter night.  Chock full of high folate and high antioxidant ingredients, you may actually feel yourself getting healthier as you eat it.  And you will enjoy every bite.

Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness.  Try it with ANY vegetable to make it delicious (or just plain tolerable in some cases).

Roasted Greens Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
Serves 6

2 heads broccoli, crowns cut into 2" chunks and stem discarded
3 cups kale leaves, chopped into 3-4" pieces, stems discarded
1 lb small/medium Brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 shallot, sliced
1/2 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey

For greens, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl toss prepared greens with olive oil, seasoning salt, and pepper.  Transfer mixture onto a large baking sheet and spread evenly, placing kale leaves toward the center of the sheet.  Place sheet on middle rack of oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, checking and flipping vegetables every 8-10 minutes to ensure kale does not burn.  When Brussels sprouts are soft, remove from oven.

For drizzle, add olive oil to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add shallot and saute until softened.  Add balsamic vinegar and whisk in mustard and honey.  Heat to a low boil for 8-10 minutes, until mixture has reduced to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.

To serve, place roasted greens in a large serving bowl and drizzle with balsamic mixture.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup vegetables with drizzle: 148 calories, 6.5 g fat, 5 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Sunday, February 26, 2012

80--- Twigs and Beans (aka: Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Marinara)

This is one of those really good vegan meals that doesn't make you miss meat one bit.  Hearty, flavorful, and filling.

Twigs and Beans
Serves 4

1 can stewed Italian tomatoes
2 cups tomato broth (made from bouillon)
1 cup red lentils
3 vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

For beans, heat stewed tomatoes and tomato broth in a large stockpot over high heat.  Add red lentils and cook covered for 20 minutes, until lentils are softened.  Stir in chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic and pepper.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes prior to serving.

For twigs, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray open halves of spaghetti squash with olive oil spray, then sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Fork skins and place open-side down onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until flesh is soft enough to fork into thin strips.

To serve, place 1 cup spaghetti squash onto a plate and top with lentil marinara.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup squash with 1 cup lentil sauce: 265 calories, 2 g fat, 19 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 444 mg sodium

Friday, February 24, 2012

80--- The Super Pancake

Here's the trouble with pancakes.  They fill you up, and then they leave a big empty hole in your stomach a couple of hours later.  What's missing? The protein, healthy fats, and fiber. 

Protein, fats and fiber will slow your digestion, facilitating a slow release of sugar into your bloodstream giving you energy for hours after your meal.

These Super Pancakes have healthy fats, protein and fiber to make you feel like a superhero all morning long.

The Super Pancake
Makes 6-7 medium pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 egg white
1/2 cup almond milk (or your preference)
1 Tbsp water (more or less for consistency)
1/2 cup all natural granola of your choice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup low fat plain yogurt

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar.  In a smaller bowl whisk together olive oil, egg white, and almond milk.  Form a well in the center of dry ingredients and add wet mixture.  Gently mix together until just combined.  Whisk in water to adjust for consistency.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Reduce heat a tiny bit, then spoon 3 Tbsp batter onto skillet.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp granola, 1/2 Tbsp pecans and 1 Tbsp chopped strawberries.  Cover skillet and allow pancake to cook for ~5 minutes, until cooked through.  You may need to adjust heat, depending on your range.

Transfer pancake from skillet onto a plate and cover with a clean dishtowel to keep warm.

For yogurt, whisk together yogurt and maple syrup.

To serve spoon 2 Tbsp maple yogurt over each pancake.  Spend the rest of your morning doing high energy activities and notice the difference in your energy!

Nutrition Info per 1 pancake with 2 Tbsp yogurt: 181 calories, 7 g fat, 6 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

80---Veggie Noodle Soup for Your Cold

Chicken soup is the typical food RX for a cold.  Why? Not sure.  A veggie soup would make much more sense.  The antioxidant content of the veggies will help your body to fight inflammation, thereby assisting your immune system (theoretically).    These veggies will provide you with a variety of antioxidants, giving you the boost you need!

Veggie Noodle Soup for your Cold
Serves 4

1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 large leek, sliced into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups kale, coarsely chopped
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 cup dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add sliced leeks, kale and red pepper and saute until slightly softened, ~4 minutes.  Add canned diced tomatoes and vegetable broth and heat to a simmer.  Add chopped tomatoes, dried basil, and black pepper and reduce heat to low.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook elbow macaroni until al dente, ~ 6 minutes.  Drain and rinse, then add noodles to soup.  Simmer on low for 5-6 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition per ~1 1/4 cup: 180 calories, 2 g fat, 14 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g fiber

Monday, February 20, 2012

20--- Key Lime Custard with White Chocolate Mousse

Put on your flip flops and pretend that summer is right around the corner!  This light dessert will take you to the Keys.

Key Lime Custard with White Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4

2 egg yolks
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup key lime juice
1/2 tsp finely grated lime peel
1/4 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use an electric mixer and beat the egg yolks until they are thick and turn to a light yellow. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Mix on low speed and gradually add 2 Tbsp of the lime juice. Once the juice is incorporated add the other half of the juice and continue to mix until blended (just a few seconds). Add the grated lime peel and stir in by hand. Pour the mixture into a large liquid measuring cup.

Place four ramekins in a deep baking dish, then pour warm water into baking dish so that the water comes halfway up the ramekins (be careful to keep the insides of ramekins dry).

Pour the lime mixture evenly between the cups. Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Put the baking dish in the oven and bake, until the custards are just set in the centers, ~12-15 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove the dish from the oven and carefully remove pots from the water. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, ~2 hours.
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided

Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.

Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the cream into egg yolk mixture, then add back into hot cream in saucepan and stir. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (careful not to boil). Stir in baking chips until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.

Beat remaining 3/4 cup whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff.  Fold refrigerated mixture into whipped cream. Set aside until ready for assembly.

To assemble:  Remove chilled ramekins with custard from refrigerator and spoon mousse evenly onto the top, spreading with the back of a spoon.  Return to refrigerator for additional 1-2 hours.  To serve sprinkle each with graham cracker crumbs.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

80--- Cajun Corn Chowder

This is a creamy, cream-less chowder!  I made mine vegan, but add in some crawfish or shrimp for a true cajun chowder!

Cajun Corn Chowder
Serves 5

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp cajun crab boil (or other seasoning)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
12 fingerling potatoes, chopped

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, onion and green pepper and saute until softened, ~ 4 minutes.  Add 2 cups corn and seasonings and reduce heat to medium.  Cook until corn is soft, ~ 2 minutes.  Pour vegetable broth into pot and increase heat to high to bring to a boil.

Add chopped potatoes to boiling soup, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and use an immersion blender to puree contents until desired consistency is reached (more for creamier, less for chunkier).  Add remaining 1/2 cup corn kernels and allow to heat through for 5 minutes.  Serve!

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/2 cups: 232 calories, 4 g fat, 12 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Thursday, February 16, 2012

80--- Blackened Tilapia Po'Boy Wrap

Even as a Montana native, I do realize what Fat Tuesday is all about.  Indulgence, right?  But if you have been trying really hard to make healthy lifestyle changes in the new year, why blow it all for one day if you don't have to sacrifice any flavor by eating healthy?

Po'boys can be 80s IF you reduce the amount of white flour involved, which translates to no chewy baguette.  Use a tortilla and you can still have all of the spicy cajun flavor, but less dough.

Blackened Tilapia Po'Boy Wrap
Serves 2

2- 4 oz tilapia filets
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cajun seafood boil (cajun seasoning will work)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2- 10" tortillas
4 large red romaine lettuce leaves
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 tsp adobo sauce (or to taste-- it's spicy!)

Mix together cajun boil, paprika, and crushed fennel seeds.  Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees.  Rub each tilapia filet with 1/2 tsp olive oil, then liberally rub in half of the seasoning mixture into each filet (both sides).  Wrap each filet with a double layer of aluminum foil.  Place filets on grill or in oven for 12-15 minutes, until fish is flaky.

While fish is cooking, whisk together sauce ingredients and place into refrigerator until ready to use.

To serve: place two lettuce leaves into the middle of a tortilla.  Spoon on 1 Tbsp aioli onto  the leaf, then top with cooked filet.  Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and additional 1 Tbsp aioli.  Wrap tortilla around ingredients and serve!

Nutrition Info per 1 wrap: 272 calories, 7.5 g fat, 30 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Tip: Exercise with the One You Love

This Valentine's Day if you really care about the one that you love, do something for their heart.  This does not include buying them chocolates and flowers.  Get them inspired to exercise!

Couples who exercise together have as much as a 90% chance of sticking with it!  In addition, partners who exercise together are more connected and spend more quality time together.

If exercising outdoors, doing so with a partner is also more safe.

Try walking or jogging together, or signing up for a fitness class.  There are many strength exercises that can be performed with a partner, or try a "work in" set where partners switch with each other between sets.

No matter what you do for exercise, involve your partner!  Ensure that the two of you can spend a long and healthy lifetime together.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

20(ish)--- Chocolate Dipped Tortilla Chips with Strawberry Basil Salsa

I made these for my sweetie in lieu of Valentine's Day. He was totally sketched out at first..... he doesn't do the salty/sweet thing very well (odd).  But when he gave them a try he called me a "rockstar". I'm pretty sure he meant it in a good way.

Chocolate-Dipped Tortilla Chips with Strawberry Basil Salsa
Serves 4

2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

20 corn tortilla chips (try to use whole ones for presentation)
2 1/2 oz dark semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

For salsa, combine all ingredients in a covered dish.  Use a spoon to gently mix, cover and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, or until ready to serve.

For chips, heat water to a low boil in a double boiler over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add chopped chocolate.  Use a spatula to keep pieces in the middle of the pot.  Stir frequently as chocolate melts.

When chocolate has melted dip tortilla chips into chocolate, covering half of one side.  Place dipped chips chocolate side up onto a piece of parchment paper.  You may need to use a spoon to spoon chocolate onto the last few chips when amount decreases.  When all chips have been dipped, set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

When chips have cooled and chocolate has hardened slightly, transfer chips to a plate and place in the freezer for 3-5 minutes to allow chocolate to finish hardening.  Remove and serve immediately.

Friday, February 10, 2012

20(ish)--- Doughboy Cookies

No doubt that in any other instance these cookies would be given a solid 20.  However, hear me out:

My hubby loves those certain brand-name cookies that you purchase in a refrigerated package, ready-to-bake, and containing some sort of holiday image in the dough.  Are you following me?

I am not sure where he gained this love.  I surely have never purchased them for him. Ok-- maybe I did once or twice but only because he asks nicely which is why he doesn't get to go to the grocery store with me anymore.  No more Pillsbury cookies (FYI: two of these cookies contain 2.5 g of trans fat-- unacceptable!). 

My version are made with natural ingredients and no artificial dyes-- therefore, they get an ish behind their 20.

Doughboy Cookies
Makes ~50 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

12 oz 100% cranberry juice

Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Use a handheld mixer to combine, then add baking soda and mix well.  Add flour and salt and mix until coarse crumbs are formed.

Form the dough into two balls, then roll the balls out into 16" logs.  Cover each log with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 305 degrees.  Slice each log into 1/3" slices.  Place slices 2" apart on a baking sheet and bake one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes, until edges are slightly golden-brown.  Use a thin spatula to transfer cookies to a cooling rack.  Repeat with remaining slices.

In a large saucepan over high heat, boil cranberry juice for 10-15 minutes, until reduced to ~1/2 cup.  Remove from heat until ready to use.

To place hearts on cookies, use a small pastry brush or spoon to create hearts on each warm cookie.  Allow to set for ~5 minutes prior to serving.

Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

80--- My Tapenade

A tapenade is a dish of finely chopped olives and such.  It pretty much oozes Mediterranean goodness.  Serve it over fish or with pita bread for dipping.

The typical Mediterranean diet is considered to be extremely healthy.  The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids (found in plant oils such as corn, soy and safflower) to omega-3 fatty acids (good sources are fatty fish, walnuts and flax) in this diet is 3:1.  The typical American diet consists of a ratio closer to 10:1.  This is significant because omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation within the body and omega-3 fatty acids tend to decrease it.  Having higher levels of continuous inflammation within the body has been linked to heart disease.

In summary: omega-3's = less inflammation= healthy heart.

My Tapenade
Serves 8

4 oz can chopped black olives
4 oz can sliced black olives, chopped coarsely
1/3 cup green pimento-stuffed olives, chopped coarsely
2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil
4 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Dash fresh ground black pepper

Fold all ingredients together into a container with an airtight lid.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup:  51 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Monday, February 6, 2012

80--- Spinach Yam Hash

Here's a lovely healthy breakfast to break your Super Bowl binge.  It's so basic but so tasty and nutritious.

Spinach Yam Hash
Serves 4

3 medium yams, cubed into 1/2" pieces
1/2 white onion, chopped coarsely
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
5 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped
4 eggs

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and onion and saute ~3 minutes.  Add cubed yams and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping frequently to prevent cubes from sticking or burning.  Stir in salt, pepper, red pepper and baby spinach leaves and saute until leaves are wilted, 4-5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cover.

Heat a separate nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Crack eggs, separated, into skillet and cook until desired consistency.  Slide cooked eggs into hash skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve!

Nutrition Info per ~1 cup hash with 1 egg: 245 calories, 8.5 g fat, 10 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Saturday, February 4, 2012

80(ish)--- Sunshine Upside Down Muffins

We all need a bit of sunshine this time of year, don't we?  These will take you to the islands! This is a bread recipe of my mom's that I have health-ified a bit.

Pineapple is a wonderful source of vitamin C, bromelain, manganese and thiamin, all great nutrients for reducing inflammation and assisting the immune system.

Sunshine Upside Down Muffins
Makes 1 dozen

1 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, divided
1Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 large carrot, finely grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt butter.  Stir in 3/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained of juice) and brown sugar.  Continue to heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, while remaining muffin mixture is prepared.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, olive oil, applesauce, egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.  Fold flour mixture into liquid mixture, stirring only until moistened.  Gently stir in grated carrots.

Spray the cups in a muffin tin generously with baking spray (without flour).  Spoon ~1 Tbsp warm pineapple mixture into the bottom of each cup, spreading evenly.  Spoon muffin batter on top of pineapple mixture, filling each cup ~2/3 full.  Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes on middle rack, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to run around the edges of each muffin.  While muffins are still warm, turn tin over onto waxed paper to release muffins.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container.

Nutrition info per 1 muffin: 175 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, February 2, 2012

80(ish)--- Chipotle Black Bean (& Bacon) Dip

How about a last minute healthier Super Bowl recipe?

I know, I know. Bacon? An 80? I typically feel the same way.  But here's the deal: Bacon can add a LOT of flavor to a dish with just a small amount.  You can totally omit the bacon in this recipe and it is still good but give it a shot-- it's worth it!

Chipotle Black Bean (& Bacon) Dip
Makes ~ 2 cups

2 slices lean bacon, cooked (I like to cook mine in the microwave between paper towels to absorb the majority of the grease)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped (total chopped is ~ 2 Tbsp)
1/4 whole red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

In a small nonstick skillet, saute onion over medium heat until softened (you may use olive oil spray if desired).

Add all ingredients into a large food processor and puree until well-combined.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup:  50 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber