Back to you with Flourless Griddle Cakes – Enjoy!

Hi all! I’m back after what seems like a long social-media vacay. Truth is, getting kids geared for the new school year can take up some time and energy. Now my twin girls are in two separate classes in 1st grade – a first time, separation and… to my surprise, no upsets — they are actually thriving!

Back to the biz of Nutrition. I’ll be hosting a Nutritional workshop at the end of Sept. on the ease of packing healthy school lunches for great taste & variety! So if you’ve got a winning lunch combo you’d like to share, please do! Now here’s the recipe you’ve been waiting for:

flourless pancakes

Flourless Griddle Cakes

(makes four 4″ pancakes)

Serves 2 

  • 2 eggs (or 2 egg whites or 2 Tbsp flax seeds soaked in water, although the eggs seem to hold up better)
  • 1/2 cup of pureed squash (zucchini or butternut) or 1 medium banana, mashed. Hint: you can buy organic baby food to save the trouble of cleaning your food processor.
  • 1 scoop gluten-free Protein Powder (or 2 Tbsp from one of these choices:  PB2, Coconut flour or Almond meal)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Optional add-ins:

  • For sweeter cakes, add one tsp Cinnamon and/or Allspice
  • For heartier cakes, add 1 Tbsp wheat germ or flax meal

Blend eggs, pureed squash (or mashed banana), protein powder or nut meal and olive oil. Blend in spices and/or wheat germ (or flax). Heat pan on stove – use cooking spray or a wee bit of olive oil and griddle your cakes. Delish! Top with a dollop of Greek plain nonfat yogurt and some frozen strawberries thawed in their own juice. Delish.

Calories per serving: (2 pancakes) Approx.  250 – 300, depending on ingredient choices above.

 

Q: How would you top these?

Try variations such as blueberries or mixed berries, peanut butter or even just a dusting of cinnamon.

 

Mayo Just Got Better #HamptonCreek #ProductReview

OK I admit, I do like Mayo (no, not the fake stuff, I go for the real deal). I really discovered the creamy, rich taste of full-fat mayo when I visited Brussels years ago. Since then I’ve been longing for a real good mayonnaise with a similar mouthfeel and taste. While it’s hit and miss – I’ve only had it in certain restaurants – that homemade pleasure to the tastebuds, I have had yet to discover it in a bottle.

Well Hampton Creek has done it — and surprisingly without the yolk. Yep, no eggs at all. Instead plant-based nutrients including pea protein and beta carotene. And the oil used is NonGMO, even better! It’s called Just Mayo – but it’s more than just a rich, creamy spread. And it’s not too sweet nor too vinegary (a problem I find with commercial blends). Now I don’t mind eggs – the egg yolk actually contains a lot of heart-healthy nutrients. (See why eggs are not so bad for you – scroll down to bottom of article.) But for someone watching their cholesterol, eggless products can be a helpful thing, especially if your looking forward to enjoying a whole egg (the egg yolk alone has 186 mg cholesterol – – 300mg / day is the limit for healthy people, according to the American Heart Association).

Just Mayo 2

 

So the first day I tried a little of the Just Mayo Garlic  on a leftover baked chicken thigh. Well, that little bit had a lot of good flavor – it was like an Aoli spread, creamy, garlicky and oh so good. But since I really wanted to review this product using a recipe I decided to use it in a spread to coat my fish for a delicious baked salmon.

Move over processed mayo (leading brand), Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo has arrived! This eggless product not only tastes great, it’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Kosher, too! And don’t forget – it’s Non-GMO. (See label at bottom of this post.)

A Rainbow Fish Dish

Years ago, I discovered a recipe that had way too much added fat. But oh it was so delicious. Basically you coat salmon filets with 1/4 inch thickness of real mayo before baking. It melts into the fish and voila – loaded with fat and calories. Not what I want! So here’s my version:

This recipe isn’t what you think. Although I love Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, it still has 100 calories and 10 gram of fat per Tablespoon. (Don’t get me wrong – even heart-healthy Olive oil has a lot of fat per volume). The good news, it doesn’t take a lot to satisfy.

photo 4

It I turned to my plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and figured I’d give this same treatment a go using part Mayo / part nonfat yogurt. The result, well as sinful as it looks – it really isn’t that loaded (in fat/calories), but all that great flavor is in their. That’s because I used 3 parts Just Mayo – Garlic and 2 parts plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. And to make the meal even richer (without a lot of added fats) I baked my coated fish over a bed of processed Cauliflower with rosemary & sea salt. That way a bit of the mayo/yogurt blend would drain into it to bring out the seasonings.

Recipe:

  • 3 Tablespoons Just Mayo – Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
  • 3 (6 oz) Salmon filets
  • 1 head of purple Cauliflower
  • 3 Tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1 loose handful of fresh Rosemary + 4 sprigs
  • Zucchini sliced

Preheat oven to 425º F. pray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Blend Hampton Creek JustMayo – Garlic with yogurt. Spread evenly over salmon, set aside. In a Cusinart, process cauliflower, sliced almonds and rosemary until resembles rice. Pulse in a pinch of sea salt. SLayer bottom with the Cauliflower mixture. Place coated salmon filets on top. Bake in 425º oven for about 25 minutes or until you can smell the tasty dish and the mayo starts to brown a little. Ten minutes before its done – top with Rosemary sprigs carefully dipped in the au jus drippings formed from the melted Mayo mixture. Serve with steamed or lightly sautéed zucchini.

Now this dish looks like it came out of a fairy princess story feast. Truth be told, my kids choose the purple cauliflower – they were excited to see Purple cauliflower (let alone the golden yellow and light green). And with pink salmon – well we’ve covered their favorite colors in this rainbow fish dish.

ENJOY!

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Learn more about Hampton Creek Products here.

Pasta Rules + a lightened, satisfying #dairy-free #recipe

I’ve always been drawn to the more fattening types of foods. (And sugary, too). Doesn’t mean I eat them all the time, but boy do I have a hankering sometimes for a bowl of golden baked Mac-n-Cheese with bread crumbs. The texture, taste, mouthfeel — it’s just so satisfying and yummy. But since I don’t like the excess fat and calories, I’m always game for trying a lightened version.

Did you know?: 

There are actually “rules” for choosing your pasta, specific to your type of dish??

c48157dbbb040264d24972ea58cf39d4_galleryimage_gallery

These are Gemilli noodles (pictured above). This type of pasta works well with pesto and beans (a more common type dish in Northern Italy).

Not to long ago, my hubby bought me a book on various pastas – it details how the shape, size makes a difference in how we perceive it in taste. For instance a macaroni or a corkscrew pasta will be denser and feel more satisfying than a Capellini (thin) spaghetti, not to mention it holds onto (heavier) sauce better. So, for starters I chose a denser, compact pasta most similar to Casarecce because I didn’t have corkscrew (proper name: Fusili) or any macaroni.  The book is entitled: Pasta by Design. Very helpful for knowing the best suited combos, seasonings and/or sauces to accompany the pasta you are using.

The Recipe

A lightened, yet still satisfying, pasta dish

Now the easiest way to lighten up a pasta dish is to add in fresh veggies into the mix. That means per portion you’ll end  up with less pasta carbs and include nutrient-dense veggies that don’t affect the flavor. In fact I think they enhance it! My lightened baked Mac-n-Cheese is all this and a secret ingredient to replace the breadcrumbs. It was all an accident. Honestly I don’t mind breadcrumbs sprinkled on my healthy meal combos, but I didn’t have any bread or bread crumbs available. So I hunted through my cupboard and choose wheat germ – because it roughly has the same texture and it has a mild, nutty sweetness for very little calories (and ADDED FIBER, I should add).

pasta dish DF

Here I’ve used a noodle similar in shape to Casarecce noodles.

So here’s how I got cookin’ on this recipe:

  • 2 cups of cooked corkscrew pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons Smart Balance Light
  • 2 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
  • 1 cup Broccoli
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans

I started off with my corkscrew noodles. A great choice, because as I mentioned these denser bits of pasta hold onto any type of sauce and/or seasoning much better than thin spaghetti strands. I lightly steamed broccoli. Then, in a pan I heated up Smart Balance Light and added the Wheat Germ – I tossed in garbanzo beans to heat and season. The garbanzo beans add a little more heartiness to the dish (both in satisfaction and plant-based nutrient content). Then I mixed everything together. Now I know this doesn’t sound much like Mac-n-Cheese but the texture and taste had a similar satisfaction that I get from the traditional comfort food. I was going to prepare a dairy-free “cheese” sauce*, but it tasted so good already, so this dish is actually lightly seasoned without the sauce. Probably because in the pasta I chose – Casarecce –  is well suited with a sprinkling of pepper and Parmigiano-Regianno cheese (very similar to the simplicity of the seasoning and the texture of the Wheat Germ).

Nutritional Info. to come. 

*Note: If you’d like a delicious sauce to make it more creamy, I think this is a very good vegan “mac-n-cheese” sauce from VegKitchen.com by Nava Atlas. And maybe use the Fusili or a Macaroni noodle for best results!!

Enjoy!

 

Cranberry, Beet & Kale Salad w/ Feta

I’m always flattered when someone requests a recipe. And I’m happy to share it with my FB friend and the rest of you. It’s my Cranberry Beet & Kale Salad I made for this year’s 4th of July celebration. RED (beets, cranberries), WHITE (Goat feta cheese) and well…(not quite) BLUE…  (I guess you could say Kale is sorta blue-ish / green – more dark green, I know. But for the celebration, this green would have to do. Okay, then Red, White and Green. lol!

photo 1

So here’s the recipe:

  • 1 8-oz bag of Chopped kale greens, rinsed  (my bag has some shredded carrots and dressing but I tossed out the dressing in favor of my own) – that’s approx. 3 cups
  • 1 large beet, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3 oz of goat milk feta
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional – I forget to add them, but the salad is yummy either way)

Dressing:

  • 4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 4 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • just a tiny pinch of each: Sea salt & Pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Place Kale in a bowl, top with beets, cranberries, feta and walnuts. Add dressing. Toss when ready to serve. ENJOY!!

Note: Or try the cranberry-licious dressing from the wonderful Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados, courtesy of  the Cranberry Marketing Committee on behalf of The Cranberry Institute. Click on the link to see my blog posting. It was delish!!

 

The Greek Yogurt Diet #BookReview

Despite the overwhelming popularity of Greek Yogurt (a not-so-new food) and the numerous cookbooks on the subject, The Greek Yogurt Diet is definitely a book you should take the time to read. And not just for the delicious recipes, it’s got much more than that — sustenance you’ll want to digest.

Just thumbing through this book, I could see how the authors took good care in laying out their contents to not only engage the reader but drive the reader toward understanding / progressing into a solid, healthy weight loss plan including Greek Yogurt, overall diet and exercise. The authors have taken the careful time to research the essentials, benefits — utilizing  peer-reviewed studies to support the weight-loss potential behind this creamy eat.

THe Greek Yogurt Diet

TRY THIS: Greek Yogurt-containing Curried Chicken Salad, a recipe by Dr. Sonali Ruder, co-author of The Greek Yogurt Diet.

Dr. Sonali Ruder, a board certified Emergency Medicine physician, chef, recipe developer and food blogger, co-authored this engaging, informative book with Jo Brielyn, who isn’t a stranger to publications in health and wellness, she’s got over 16 books on the subject to her credit. And this book is more than just a healthy, delicious read. With their combined experience, they’ve taken a popular subject and treated it with so much much than just recipes and healthy tidbits. This book is chockfull of heart-healthy research-based advice directed with focus on wellness through integrating Greek yogurt into a healthy lifestyle. It contains so many tools for managing your weight (and keeping your health in check) including:

  • 14 Day meal plan
  • A chart for body measurements
  • Physical Activity Goals
  • A food diary

It provides the essentials to healthy weight management and shows you how to incorporate intake of Greek yogurt into your daily diet. Not every meal contains Greek yogurt, but everyday on the included 14 day meal plan shows just how creative and tasty your recipes can be when you include Greek yogurt, with quick thumb reference to the recipe by indicating the page. It extolls the importance and virtues of water intake and takes you step by step into a healthier lifestyle.

What is really delightful about the book is that Dr. Ruder and Ms. Brielyn discuss the significance of Greek yogurt and how it can effectively be used for weight loss. Not just as a convenient, tasty “dairy food”, you can fit into a healthy diet, but also a high protein, gut-healing source of fuel that nourishes and satisfies. The include research and evidence to back their claims and provide useful tips for selecting, storing and using Greek yogurt. As you know, not all yogurts are created equal so they are careful to include specs to look for in choosing a healthy brand. (And if you are making it yourself – of course there is a recipe for that.)

You probably know by now that Greek yogurt isn’t just for snacking or dessert, it can help cut the fat in dishes by substitutions of creams, mayonnaise and butters, for both sweet and savory dishes. And what better way to showcase so many amazing and delicious Greek yogurt dishes than to include some fabulous foodie bloggers recipes in addition to her own. If you didn’t know, Dr. Sonali has quite a talent for cooking – she’s competed on the Food Network and has since enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education to further her skills – in the blogosphere, she is known as The Foodie Physician where she matches her clinical background and desire to lead good health with delicious, inspiring meals — meeting at “healthy can be delicious!” And this book certainly serves her mission.

I highly recommend this book!

Click her to order your copy: The Greek Yogurt Diet
To learn more about Dr. Sonali Ruder, visit her site, The Foodie Physician and be sure to check out  Jo Brielyn’s Bio and books on Amazon

Cranberry Bog Update!: Cranberries Make a Great Addition to Your Summertime Salad!

A tangy, sweet dressing is on it’s way (scroll down) — it’s one you’ll surely enjoy. And the complete salad is quite healthy, too! It’s rich in Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C.  And you’ll get plenty of fiber-rich, nutrient-dense greens. I really enjoyed it and my MIL (mother in law) couldn’t stop commenting on how delicious the salad was.

Cran bog salad

 

What makes this salad so special. Well, there are three ingredients that already taste wonderfully on their own. But as a combo, and with this delightful dressing recipe, they make  quite a splash!!

Avocados – add a creamy-licious mouthfeel

Spinach – Adds a great base and has just the right strength of flavor/texture to go with a “zingy” cranberry-mustard dressing

And finally  – the

Cranberries, the highlight of this salad. These antioxidant-rich rubies of the plant world, dried and lightly sweetened, add a tangy-sweet essence to the dish. And BTW, did you know Cranberries can help control blood sugar? Recent research suggests that the antioxidant tannins — proanthocyanidins (PACS) — found in cranberries may be more effective at blunting blood sugar responses than the  tannins isolated from other fruits. Because the tannins in cranberries are larger and more complex than those found in other fruits such as grapes, they appear to more effectively inhibit the enzymes that aid in carbohydrate digestion – effectively slowing them down to control blood sugars.

Okay, enough about chemistry and the body. And how good cranberries are for you. Well, trust me, they are. : )

 

Want the recipe? Of course you do.

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee — Makes 4 Servings

Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp cranberry juice
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil (I used Grapeseed oil b/c that’s what I have in my pantry)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 Salad Ingredients

  • 3  1/3 cups fresh spinach leaves (I used baby spinach)
  • 1 small head of frisee´lettuce
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 small read onion, thinly sliced

Dressing

Place cranbverry juice and dried cranberries in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in vinegar and Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in oil so the mixture emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad

Rinse spinach and lettuce, spin dry. Note:  If you use baby spinach you won’t need to worry about removing the thick stems or cutting the leaves into bite size pieces. Add chopped avocado and onion.

Tip: To prepare in advance, sprinkle avocados with lemon juice to prevent discoloration which occurs from exposure to oxygen (oxidation). Add salad dressing when ready to serve. Or if you are preparing a “Mason Jar Salad” keep the wet ingredients on the bottom (dressing, onions) and the dry ingredients (i.e.: lettuce, spinach) on top so they don’t absorb the liquid and become wilted. Here’s how I prepared my portion of the salad so I could enjoy it for a quick, healthy “toss-n-serve” lunch the next day. I took a portion of each ingredient and assembled into my mason jar.

cran bog salad in a jar

 

Nutrition Info. per serving (excludes salt and pepper): Cal 320, Cal from Fat 250, Sat Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 29g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 125mg, Total Carb 18g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 70%, Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 10%, Iron 10%

 

ENJOY!

Quinoa Salad with Red Beets, Feta & Kale

I’ve seen various quinoa salads posted online (FB, Pinterest, online magazines, etc) and I’m always inspired by those colorful dishes I see. The other day, I bought some red quinoa because I love quinoa, and the color of this variety really adds to the visual appeal of the dish. While I may have been tempted to make any of the variety of quinoa salads my friends and colleagues have shared, I simply had certain items in my refrigerator and pantry I wanted to use. And what a great way to enjoy my current staples. Here’s the salad below, followed by the recipe.

quinoa salad mason

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans (or rice – I actually had maybe 1/4 cup of leftover rice which I tossed in this dish)
  • 2 red beets, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 oz of goat milk feta, chopped
  • 1 cup of rinsed, finely chopped kale (I bought a pre-mix of finely chopped kale and carrots)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (and zest)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Tamari

 

Directions

Cook quinoa and let it cool. In a mixing bowl, add quinoa, garbanzo beans (or rice), feta, cranberries and finely chopped kale. In a small bowl make the dressing — combine olive oil, honey, lemon, garlic, tamari and stir well. Pour dressing into the quinoa mixture and toss well to coat. Serve over greens! Optional: Add 1-2 tsp toasted pine nuts or crust walnuts. Scoop us a cup of the quinoa salad and serve over 1-2 cups of greens (i.e.: Romaine or mixed greens). ENJOY!