Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Drinks of Christmas Past

Because I rarely prepare anything other than beverages on Christmas.....

Because my family and I are too busy having fun.....

And because I have great in-laws who enjoy doing the rest.....

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

20--- Citrus Sangria

Bloody Marys are my family's Christmas morning go-to after the gifts have been opened.

But after making this sangria, I may have to veer this year.....

Citrus Sangria
Serves 10

2 bottles white wine of your choice
3/4 cup white grapefruit juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1 red grapefruit, washed well and sliced
1 orange, washed well and sliced
1/2 pomelo, washed well and sliced
1/2 cup Triple Sec
24 oz Pompelmo San Pellegrino sparkling fruit beverage (you may use any other flavor if you wish)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight prior to serving.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Healthy(ish) Last Minute Gift Guide

Do you still have people on your list to buy for who would benefit from a healthy nudge?

There's still time to engage in some online shopping AND have it shipped to your door, in many cases FREE of charge.

Here are a few picks:

1. Athleta is having a sale.  I just tried out their activewear for the first time and I really truly love it.  Says the diehard Lululemon follower.  Right now if you spend $50 you can still have it shipped in time for Christmas- for FREE (last day is the 20th).

2.  If you are an Amazon PRIME member, you still have four days to get your hands on these gems:

--A survival seed vault.  You know, just in case our overly abundant food supply comes to an end.  No, but really, it contains non GMO seeds of your favorite plant varieties.

--For the young ones on your list, these activity cones will keep them moving for days!  Set up obstacle courses around the house (inside and/or out) and spur some of those gross motor skills!

--And of course, we can't forget about the FitBit!  The ever-popular gift from last year is still a great fitness inspiration tool!

--How about a healthy cooking prezzie? Chopping fruits and veggies will be much more fun with these knives!

--Hydration will be easy with this glass water bottle.

3.  Two of my favorite GIFT selections of 2014 come from Anthropologie and Nordstroms.  Not all are health-inspiring, but all are still fantastic.

4.  If you absolutely positively run out of time to have items shipped, these ideas can come to the rescue in a flash!

Gift cards:
-- To a local gym for a personal training session
-- For a massage (better yet, schedule it for them)
-- For a new workout shoes
-- To a local health food store

Happy Last Minute Shopping!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

80(ish)--- Buffalo Bean Dip

Do you need a yummy app for that holiday party coming up?And maybe have it not blow your entire calorie budget for the day?

How about a simple bean dip..... with a kick?  Reminiscent of this, but vegetarian and higher in fiber!

Buffalo Bean Dip
Serves 8

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
2/3 cup hot wing sauce
1/3 cup chopped white onion
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 oz blue cheese crumbles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large food processor, combine white beans, ricotta, and hot sauce.  Mix until a puree is formed.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in celery, onion, and blue cheese.  Prepare a shallow baking dish with baking spray, then transfer mixture into the dish.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until hot.

Serve warm with tortilla chips, or crudite for dipping.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 174 calories, 4 g fat, 11 g protein,19 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Thursday, December 11, 2014

80--- Holiday Water

Water does not have to be boring.  It shouldn't be sweetened (artificially or otherwise), but that doesn't mean it has to be taste-less. 

Enter homemade flavored water.

In your refrigerator, chilled.  Ready for hydrating.  And entertaining.  And bathing (just kidding- unless you really want to).

Holiday Water
Makes 2 liters

2 liters filtered water
1 cup fresh cranberries, halved
1 tangerine, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Combine all ingredients into a pitcher and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours prior to serving.  Drink within three days for freshest tasting water!

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, BUNCHES of antioxidants

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

20--- Lazy Girl's Chocolate Truffles {Easy}

When I hear the word "truffle" the first word that comes to my mind is "trouble".

With a two year old running around, all of my holiday preparations are on fast forward.  These sweet little truffles take the pain-staking step of rolling completely out of the picture.  And the result is equally as beautiful, and equally as delicious as their more troublesome counterpart.

Sprinkle yours with whatever topping you see fit!

Lazy Girl's Chocolate Truffles
Makes 18

7 oz 60% cacao chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sugar (I used finely ground candy canes)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder or powdered sugar (optional)

Prepare mini muffin tins with liners.  If desired, sprinkle the bottom of each liner with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

Heat butter until melted over medium heat in a nonstick saucepan.  Add in cream and gradually bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and add in chocolate chips, stirring until melted and smooth.  Stir in sugar.

Transfer mixture to a spouted measuring cup or bowl.  Pour the mixture into each lined muffin cup until 2/3 full.

Sprinkle each cup with topping of choice (I again used finely ground candy canes- but you could also use cocoa powder, sprinkles, etc).

Transfer muffin tins into the refrigerator and refrigerate overnight prior to serving.  Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unique Christmas Cookie Roundup

There was a study recently published analyzing the amount of calories that were eaten by women when they were offered either (a) lower calorie cookies with a "healthier" brand or (b) higher calorie cookies with a "less healthy" brand name.  The results?  The women ate significantly more calories when offered lower calorie cookies.  What is my conclusion? 

1.  Food labels should be read carefully
2. Sticking with the higher calorie option could be more satisfying

Keep that in mind during this holiday season.  If you REALLY want a Christmas cookie, have one. Don't try to "eat around it" by consuming anything OTHER than the cookie (fruit, chocolate chips, anything sweet in the cupboard).  That behavior will likely cause you to consume more calories AND still not be satisfied.

Here is a roundup of some of my ultimate favorite cookie recipes that I have posted on Eighty Twenty.  I will have a new recipe for an amazing cookie coming to you next week!

(Ok I guess I really have a thing for shortbread)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

80--- New Mexican Turkey Hominy Stew

Do you still have some turkey leftovers to use up from the big holiday?  How about a deliciously spicy twist....

Don't let the simple ingredients in this stew fool you- it has a TON of flavor!  I admit, I was a little hesitant about using hominy (alkali-soaked corn kernels).  But it was a fantastic edition that added great texture (fiber) and flavor.

New Mexican Turkey Hominy Stew
Serves 6

2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, chopped coarsely
1 oz dried ancho chiles (about two large)
8 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cans hominy (white or yellow), drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 2 cups of broth to a boil in a bowl in the microwave.  Submerge dried (stemmed) chiles into the broth, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to soften for 30 minutes.  Once softened, remove seeds and chop coarsely.  Reserve broth.

In a soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.  Transfer onion mixture to a food processor, along with chopped chiles and reserved broth.  Puree until smooth, set aside.

Heat remaining oil in the soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the hominy and saute until coated and slightly softened, ~5 minutes.  Add chile puree, turkey, remaining broth, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 1 hour.

Serve with chopped avocado if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups: 193 calories, 2 g fat, 25 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

80---Butternut Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

This brothy soup will help to fill you up without weighing you down.  And it's super yummy and simple to boot.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Serves 10

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, chopped, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
8 -10 cups cubed butternut squash (I used two small-medium sized squash)
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
5 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
Dashes of salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large souppot over medium high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until coated.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir regularly until onions soften, ~5 minutes.  Add brown sugar and stir until incorporated.  Continue to cook onions until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 7-8 minutes.  Remove half of the mixture from the pot and set aside.

To the pot, add the squash, broth, and pepper.  Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until squash has softened.  Use an immersion blender to puree soup.

To the remaining caramelized onion mixture, stir in sundried tomatoes and goat cheese.  Just prior to serving, stir the mixture into the soup, or you may add it to each serving dish.


Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 194 calories, 7 g fat, 12 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Sunday, November 23, 2014

80--- Vegetable-Loaded One Dish Stuffing

I received a phone call from a news reporter this week asking if I had tips for people for a healthier Thanksgiving.

I told her that I usually tell my patients to simply enjoy the holiday, because no one day of indulgence will throw off a healthy lifestyle.  

She said "Ummmm, okay, but what if people want to make healthier foods?"

So I relented.  I half-heartedly told her to tell people to mash up some cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and add more veggies to their stuffing.

The conversation made me realize that people may very well be nervous about overindulging in the Thanksgiving meal and may want to make healthier choices.

So I took my own advice and made a veggie-loaded stuffing.  The result is lower-carb, higher fiber, lower glycemic index, more colorful, and just as tasty as the original.

Vegetable-Loaded One Dish Stuffing
Serves 8-10

1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped butternut squash
10 oz chopped cauliflower
8 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
3 cups vegetable broth, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
8 cups whole grain bread cubes, dried

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven-safe stoneware pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add fennel, thyme, and garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add remaining vegetables, stir to distribute oil, then cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until slightly softened. Add 2 cups broth, white wine, salt, pepper, and sage.  Cover and bring liquid to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Stir in bread cubes and gently fold until bread is moistened.  Pour remaining 1 cup of broth over the mixture.  Cover pot and place into the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove lid and bake for additional 20 minutes, or until top of stuffing is slightly crisp, but liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per ~3/4 cup:  158 calories, 6 g fat, 6 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Things That I Know..... Pre Thanksgiving Edition

Rustic Pumpkin Tiramisu circa 2011
I am still working in a couple of new Thanksgiving recipes to share with you next week.

In the mean time, here are a few things that I know.....

1.  This Cranberry Mango Sauce looks like a sweet change from the typical.

2.  Mock Mashed Potatoes.  This combo is genius!

3.  I love the idea of an apple crisp served inside of an apple.

4.  Looking for something new to add to your Smartphone? For the tech-minded, here are a few apps that can support a healthy lifestyle:

- Foodtweeks can help you to shave calories off of restaurant meals, recipes, etc.

- Dirty Dozen- from the Environmental Working Group to help you make good decisions on organic produce

- Skin Deep- provided by the environmental working group (creators of the "dirty dozen" list) for helping you to choose skin care products wisely

- Nike Training Club- exercise routines at your fingertips focusing on your goal!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

80(ish)--- Chipotle Mushroom Breakfast Burritos

It's no secret that a large portion of the population is deficient in vitamin D.  This powerful antioxidant can be synthesized by our bodies when there is exposure to sunlight.  However, with all of the protection that we are taking from the sun's harmful rays, many of us need to get vitamin D from other sources.

Where can you get vitamin D from your diet other than from a supplement or fortified milk?  Mushrooms.  True, you would have to consume quite a few of them daily to get your vitamin D ration.  But every little bit helps!

Chipotle Mushroom Breakfast Burritos
Serves 8

8 tortillas (10")
2 tsp olive oil
12 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, finely minced
1/4 cup salsa
1 Tbsp flour
12 eggs (or you may use 6 whole eggs and 9 egg whites)
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften.  Add salsa and continue to cook until soft, 4-5 minutes.  Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir until thickened.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings in a small bowl.  Pour mixture into the mushroom mixture and reduce heat to medium.  Use a soft spatula to gently scramble the mixture until cooked through, but still moist. Sprinkle mixture with cheese and stir until cheese is melted.

Scoop ~1/3 cup mixture onto each tortilla and roll into a burrito. Serve immediately. If freezing burritos, wrap each burrito in freezer paper or waxed paper, then place into a ziploc bag and freeze.

Nutrition Info for one burrito: 218 calories, 10 g fat, 15 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

80--- Sweet Potato, Farro, and Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Are you looking for something healthy and different to serve at Thanksgiving?  

This salad makes me think of the diet of the pilgrims.  Whole foods and simple ingredients combine to provide big flavors. No need for marshmallows (likely not something pilgrims ate).

Sweet Potato, Farro, and Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8

2 yams or sweet potatoes, cubed
Olive oil spray
1/4 tsp salt
Ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup kale, chopped
1/4 whole red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place sweet potato cubes onto a baking sheet and spray with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast sweet potatoes for 12 minutes, or until cooked through (but not mushy).  Remove from oven and place sweet potatoes into a bowl and refrigerate.

Bring vegetable broth to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for 30 minutes, or until all broth has been absorbed.  Transfer farro to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and chill for 30 minutes.

When sweet potatoes and farro have cooled, toss with onions, kale, and pecans.  Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour dressing over the salad.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately, or chill for 3-4 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 2/3 cup: 164 calories, 7.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Monday, November 10, 2014

20--- Pumpkin Hand Pies

In testing out a Thanksgiving dessert recipe this weekend, I also made my first ever pie crust!

I know!  What has been keeping me from it?

I think I have just been avoiding crusts all together.

The verdict? WAAAAYYY easier than I expected.  I can honestly say that there is NO reason to purchase the processed, pre-made crusts from the grocery store.  As far as expense, ease, and ingredient control, you win with making your own.

Trust me.


These sweet little pies are just enough goodness to follow a hearty Thanksgiving meal.

Pumpkin Hand Pies
Serves 8

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, chopped
3-4 Tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp white sugar
Additional flour for rolling

2/3 cup pumpkin puree
3 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp half and half
1 egg
Additional ground cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

FOR CRUST: place flour into a large food processor, then add chopped butter.  Mix until a coarse mixture is formed (do not overmix).  Add 3 Tbsp of water and mix until combined.  Remove the top of the processor and feel the dough for moistness.  Dough should stick together, but should not stick to your fingers.  If needed, add additional 1 Tbsp of water and mix until combined.

Roll dough into a ball and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for one hour.

FOR FILLING:  whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie seasoning, cinnamon, and half and half in a bowl.  Set aside (or in refrigerator) until ready to use.

FOR ASSEMBLY:  preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a rolling pin until ~1/8" thick.  Use a 4- 4 1/2" round cookie cutter to cut out 16 circles (I used a water glass- no joke) (you may need to roll out dough additional times to get 16 circles. 

Place 8 of the circles onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Roll out remaining circles slightly so they spread a bit.  Place ~1 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin mixture onto the center of each of the 8 circles on the baking sheet.  Place remaining 8 circles onto the tops to form covered pies.  Press down gently to remove an excess of air from being trapped in the pie (careful to not squish out the filling).  Use a fork to seal the edges of the dough to form a complete pocket.  

Beat the egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush each of the pies.  Sprinkle each with a small amount of cinnamon and sugar.  Use a toothpick to prick the tops of each of the pies a couple of times.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12-14 minutes, until pies are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature (or transfer to the refrigerator to chill) prior to serving.  


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nutrition Tip: Holiday Outlook {Repost}

So you've made it though Halloween....but the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day brings many folks lots of anxiety around the food situation.

You know, the abundance of food situation.

The abundance of tasty but not so healthful food situation.

So how do you handle the situation when you are trying your darndest to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

In my opinion, you have two options:

1)  You can make health-ify holiday foods, eat smaller portions, fill up on vegetables, fruits, and healthy salads, skip the desserts, drink sparkling water, etc. etc. so on and so forth.  In other words, try to go 80 as MUCH as possible.


2) You can treat your holiday meals and parties like the celebrations that they are.  Treat them like a 20! Indulge in the pie at Thanksgiving, have a cheeseball or two at the dinner party, celebrate with champagne at New Year's.  AND THEN........then........the very next chance you have to make a healthful choice without feeling like you are missing out, get back on track and make good choices.  No one meal, or one day of unhealthy choices, will ruin your healthy lifestyle.  What will ruin it is going off track day after day, which, in my opinion, is more likely to happen if you skip your favorite foods time and time again, resulting in frustration and anxiety.

The choice is yours!

Keep in mind that the holidays should be a HAPPY time!  

Whatever your choice, stick to it and get in some extra exercise when you can!  Yes- shopping counts as long as you don't stop moving and keep your heart rate up!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

20--- Pumpkin Ginger Fall Shandy

A shandy is a beer mixed with a carbonated beverage of sorts.  This one will satisfy that sweet and spicy kick you've been craving from a liquid libration.  Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice for an extra bold bevy!

Pumpkin Ginger Fall Shandy
Serves 2

12 oz Pumpkin Ale of your choice
12 oz Ginger Beer (highly recommend Cock & Bull- it's the best)
Garnish of an apple slice, pumpkin pie spice, and/or a piece of candied ginger

Slowly pour 6 oz ginger beer into a pint glass.  Top with 6 oz pumpkin ale and garnishes.  Serve and enjoy!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

80--- Chunky Turkey Tomatillo Chili {Crock-Pot Recipe}

My hubbster said that he could eat this chili every day for the rest of his life.  So..... I guess I have to make it again?  Better make freezer space!

Chunky Turkey Tomatillo Chili
Serves 10-12

1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
3 yellow potatoes, cubed
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 oz diced green chiles (canned)
40 oz green enchilada sauce
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
7 fresh tomatillos, peeled, stemmed and cubed

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook ground turkey until crumbled and cooked through, adding 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder while cooking.  Transfer turkey to slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients, mixing until combined.  Set slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.  Serve hot!

Nutrition Info per 1 1/4 cups: 190 calories, 4.4 g fat, 19 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Things That I Know-- for your man

My hubby's birthday is this weekend.  I've been racking my brain for ideas on what to do/ what to get for him/ how to make his day stellar.

He's the best husband and father that I could EVER wish for and I thank the heavens for his presence in my life daily.  Truly, I married up.

Anyhoo, as I've been scheming I've come across some great gift ideas, and past Eighty Twenty recipes that are very man-friendly.

Seeing as my hubby rarely checks his email, I can guarantee that he never reads my blog.  So I feel pretty safe sharing this list with you even though it involves some of his weekend secrets.  Just don't tell him, ok?

1.  Restoration Hardware "stocking stuffers".  Yes, the same place that brings you gorgeous whoa why does that cost so much decor and furniture has a great list of gifts (toys and tools) for just about anyone, but especially for the male gender.  And they're not crazy expensive.

2.  Polenta- Stuffed Poblano Rellenos.  He begs me for these.   If you have a fire-loving Mexican-eating man in your life these are a must.

3.  Russian Cream.  So simple, yet SO good.  Top it with shaved dark chocolate, crushed pistachios, berries, or whatever your dude desires.

4.  A US Forest Service cabin rental.  Not the luxury kind.  The backcountry kind.  If you're feeling woodsy you can join him.  I was actually really hoping I could make one of these work but they book up quite early!

5.  Create your own Vans.  My hubby loves Vans.  Always has.  Always will.  Yep he still wears checkers. I suggest going the gift card route with this one so he can experiment.

6.  Ultimate Chipotle Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos.  Birthday morning breakfast! I love these too. Bonus!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

80--- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chopped Salad with Smokey Honey Mustard Dressing

It's time to start thinking about holiday side dishes! This is an easy, beautiful make-ahead dish that will ensure that you get your helping of greenery at your meal.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Chopped Salad with Smokey Honey Mustard Dressing
Serves 5-6

2 lb Brussels sprouts, stemmed and chopped
Olive oil spray
Dashes of salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp roasted pepitas (or other nut or seed of your choice)
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion

 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp honey
Dash salt

For Brussels sprouts, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray baking sheet lightly with olive oil spray.  Add chopped Brussels sprouts, then spray with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure that leaves do not burn (sprouts will not be entirely softened).  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

When Brussels sprouts have cooled, toss with remaining salad ingredients.

For dressing, whisk together all ingredients and mix with salad.  Serve immediately or allow to chill for 3-4 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat, 7.5 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Thursday, October 16, 2014

80--- Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs

Do you know what meat extenders are? They are high protein non-meat ingredients that are used to reduce the cost of meat products.  Often, in processed foods, this refers to soy.  Soy beans are less expensive than 100% meat, and are added to products, such as sausages, and most people never know they were added.

This simple recipe calls for the addition of your own meat extender, but also adds fiber and plant protein too!  You can turn 20 oz of turkey into 50 meat balls by adding a few beans, without sacrificing flavor! The total cost of this creation was $10.06, assuming you have a few spices on hand, and from that you will have several meals and options.

Add different ingredients for different flavors.  In example, add a few fennel seeds, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, and capers for Italian flavor.  Or, add some feta cheese, chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean meal.

One recipe, many options.

Simple Turkey and Bean Meatballs
Makes 50 meatballs

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
20 oz lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs (try gluten-free)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large food processor, combine all ingredients except for turkey.  Mix until a smooth puree is formed.

Transfer puree to a large mixing bowl.  Add ground turkey and use your (clean) hands to mix well until evenly distributed.  

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 - 2" balls.  Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil spray.  Over medium-high heat, sear the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer seared meatballs to a large baking pan or sheet.  Once all meatballs have been seared, bake meatballs for 17-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve with marinara sauce and pasta, on a salad, or with roasted vegetables and brown rice (or any other option).  If freezing meatballs, place on a plate and place in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to transferring meatballs to a Ziploc bag (so that meatballs don't stick together in the bag).

Nutrition Info per 1 meatball: 41 calories, 1 g fat, 3.5 g protein, 3.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20--- Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies

My love for shortbread stretches into every season.  So it was only fit that I work some pumpkin and spice into my favorite cookie recipe.  They turn out small and soft and just sweet enough! The perfect addition to your cup of coffee or chai tea latte.

Pumpkin Shortbread Cookies
Makes ~30 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp maple extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.  Add in pumpkin puree and maple extract and mix until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to wet, small amounts at a time, mixing with each addition until combined.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2" balls.  Place the dough balls onto the parchment paper, spaced 2" apart.  Press down slightly on each ball.

Bake for ~10-12 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

When cool, store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

80--- Tomato Basil Soup {from no salt-added canned tomatoes}

Did you get a bummer crop of tomatoes as we did?  We had an early freeze that rocked my poor tomato plants that, until up to that time, had AMAZING potential (yes, we covered them, didn't do the trick).  The few remaining tomatoes were quickly digested by my toddler and that was that.

I had SO many plans for those tomatoes.  But when life gives you NO tomatoes.  You need to make homemade tomato basil soup anyways.

Why? Because YOU can control all of the ingredients (ie: the sodium content).  AND it's less expensive.  I promise.  Especially when you use some canned tomatoes (no salt added) that you got on sale.

Tomato Basil Soup {from no salt-added canned tomatoes}
Serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (you may use chicken broth)
2- 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (no salt added), with juices
1/2 cup pine nuts, soaked in water for one hour
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (if you have them available)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup basil for serving.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  

Use an immersion blender to puree all ingredients.  Alternatively, you may transfer batches to a blender to puree, then return to the pot to heat through.

Prior to serving, sprinkle each bowl with remaining chopped basil.

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/2 cups: 190 calories, 9 g fat, 13 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber