Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

As promised I have a tip and an avocado recipe for you. If you recall in a recent post, I visited Rancho Rodoro and picked farm fresh avocados. #sponsoredtrip #CAavocados They are finally ripe, and quite delish.

Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

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The Recipe:

  • 1/2 medium Hass Avocado
  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup canned, low sodium chickpeas
  • 6- 8 Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1-2 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Optional: Add some chopped raw veggies of choice (I like cucumbers – they are refreshing)

Blend well tahini, soy sauce and lemon juice and set aside for dressing. Toss quinoa, chickpeas and cilantro. Drizzle on dressing. Fold in avocado and strawberries, reserving a few slices of each to garnish. Enjoy!

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AVOCADO-LICIOUS TIP via Katie Ferraro, RD: For better appeal and access to more nutrients, use a criss-cross cut to open and peel avocado. Simply slice length-wise and then around the width. It will easier break off into 4 sections – seed comes right out! It also provides easier access to the most nutrient-dense portion, the dark green area near the peel.

Visit California Avocado Commission‘s site for some other great tips and recipes.

A Festive Salad for Cinco de Mayo

Hi folks! I’ve got a perfect side dish to serve up at your Cinco de Mayo celebration. It’s a confetti of deliciousness, a fiesta of colors and textures and it’s so simple to make. I recently enjoyed it over a bowlful of kale greens with fresh sliced avocado, lime & sea salt and some Flackers (one of my fav Gluten-Free chips – see below). Thank you Cranberry Institute for your “tool kit” and thank you Cranberry Marketing Committee this yummy recipe.

A Fresh Salad for the Start of Spring! (Serve it up at your “Cinco de Mayo” celebration)

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CRANBERRY & CILANTRO QUINOA SALAD

Try a delicious and simple Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad (recipe below) for meatless Monday this week. Yield: 8 servings Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup minced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pinch ground red pepper

Directions

1.       In a small sauce pan, bring water and pinch of salt to a boil over high heat; stir in quinoa, reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 13 minutes).

2.       Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3.       To the bowl of quinoa, stir in cranberries, carrots, red and yellow peppers, red onion and cilantro until mixed.

4.       In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, salt and ground red pepper and pour over quinoa-cranberry mixture; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Does not have to be served cold.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 30, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Sugars 11g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee, uscranberries.com

Disclaimer: I was not paid to feature this recipe or mention uscranberries.com. However, I did receive a “tool kit” of supplies, including dried cranberries and some useful kitchen tools to make this recipe. I am happy to report it was absolutely delicious (and there are no leftovers).

These are the Flackers. They are simply nutritious – basically seasoned sprouted, raw & dehydrated flax seeds. I like this Rosemary variety. I found these at Whole Foods. BTW: They didn’t ask me to feature or mention their product, I just simply like them. : )

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An Incredible Avocado-licious Weekend

Hi folks! I’m back after a mini hiatus, as I’ve been working on my yoga teacher certification.

Though I’m in my final weeks of training, I couldn’t turn down a chance to join the California Avocado Commission for a fun, creative and educational weekend – enjoying everything avocado. Yep, practically everything avocado from every dinner course to a packed day of tours the following day — getting the scoop from the farmers and packers and even getting to pick some of my own avocados from Rancho Rodoro farm.

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Farmer Randy showed as around his farm and let us pick some avocados to take home with us.

I had to take this pic of itty bitty avocados for my little twin girls. They love tiny things. Although we got to pick plenty of good medium sized avocados to take home with us.

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With a daily dose of avocado and accommodations at the Four Seasons, who could resist such an opportunity thanks to the folks at Golin-Harris PR firm, California Avocado Commission and coordinating RD Andrea N. Giancoli.

Here I am with some of my new friends enjoying wine outdoors – at the Four Seasons – before our lovely dinner by the amazing Chef featuring non other than the avocado. On the left is Caroline Kaufman, RD and on my right is Gillian Ferguson, KCRW Producer of Good Food. And in the pic below, another new friend, EA Stewart, RD.

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The chef tells us about our delicious meal, starting with a greens salad with yummy sliced avocado and concluding with a chocolate dessert to die for. Wish the lighting was good enough to take pictures of our yummy meal. Speaking of which, my Nutri-Savvy Facebook page shows some avocado-licious dishes including a Gazpacho and a tasty seasoned avocado over toast by Chef Pink (see pic below this one of Four Season’s chef).

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Since it was too dark to get any good pics of our delightful dinner at the Four Season’s, here’s a pic from one of the many delicious dishes at our Rancho Rodoro lunch:  Chef Pink’s Seasoned avocado over toast .

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Stay tuned for my next Avocado post – waiting for my farm picked Avocados and the package of avocados from our packing facility tour to ripen. Tips I learned from Registered Dietitian Katie Ferraro and an avocado-licious recipe to come.FullSizeRender-84

Heart-Healthy Salads & Tasty EZ Dressings – NNM

Happy National Nutrition Month (NNM). This post focuses Salads and Dressings
that are simple, ez and tasty!!!

It’s easy enough to toss together a salad. Here’s a guideline, but by all means be creative: Start with a cup or more of leafy greens. Then maybe add in a Tablespoon of chopped nuts or seeds, 1/2 medium fruit, chopped (tomato and avocado are technically fruits). If you don’t have avocado – a Tbsp of chopped low fat cheese such as feta will do. If you want to add even more powerhouse nutrients to your salad, toss in 1/4-1/2 cup chopped raw veggies (carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cucumber, carrots… to name a few).

Veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds all add in flavor. But even adding in some lemon juice and a bit of oil can add some zest and bring the flavors all together, especially if your salad has plenty of prominent flavors, such as my
Mixed Greens w/ Pistachio, Feta and Beets:

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Mixed greens with Pistachio, Feta and Beets with a drizzle of oil and a splash of lemon. This salad has enough flavors from the nuts, cheese and fruit that the dressing can be simple. Although a Vinaigrette with Balsamic would work, too!

Tasty EZ Salad Dressings

The dressing you add, can really make your salad pop  – bringing all the flavors together and satisfyingly so. You don’t need a lot – a little goes a long way as long as you coat it evenly.
Tip: place all ingredients in a Tupperware of Ziplock baggie, add lemon juice and a small amount of Oil (1-2 tsp) or your favorite Dressing and toss well. Because store bought dressings often have a lot of junky ingredients (including added sugars, fillers and stabilizers), it’s a good idea to make your own. It’s quite easy.

If you haven’t tried my TANGY TAMARI DRESSING,  <—– here is the recipe.

Here are some other EZ, Tasty Salad Dressings Recipes you can use to add pizzazz and variety to your heart healthy salads. Remember – you don’t need a lot. Just distribute it well. :

DIJON VINAIGRETTE

  • 3 parts Olive oil
  • 1 Part Balsamic Vinegar
  • a Pinch Sea Salt (or No Salt Season Salt)
  • a Pinch (or to taste) of the following:
    • Dijon mustard,
    • Black pepper

SESAME VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium Tamari or low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds

OLIVE OIL & BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE w/ HERBS

  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 – 2 pinches Fines Herbs
  • 1 pinch Garlic powder
  • 1/2 lemon (lemon juice)

CREAMY SESAME DRESSING

  • Mix 1 Tablespoon Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe above) with Reduced Calorie Mayo


Here are some more fun salad/dressing recipes:

Cranberry, Kale and Beet Salad w/ Feta

Refreshing Chickpea and Avocado Salad

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Q: Gotta healthy salad and or dressing? Please, please share! Luv your input and ideas. : )

 

Nutri-Savvy Granola base — made with yogurt

Okay folks, I have for you a crunchy granola base that is low in refined sugars and definitely a good way to use a healthy ingredient you may already have in your fridge – Greek plain nonfat Yogurt. The yogurt brands I enjoy (both for texture and taste, include  Siggi’s Icelandic-style and Fage Strained. These are both thick, dense and definitely work well alone (great as a substitute for sour cream), in combos, and with some of my fav new recipes, including this one.

And BTW: If you are local to me (in the Los Angeles area), I have Siggi’s yogurt coupons — so you can try this great yogurt. : )

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Granola made w yogurt

Nutri-Savvy Crunchy Granola Base w/ Yogurt

Makes 8 (1/3 cup) servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Smart Balance Light
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain, non fat (I prefer thickened or strained varieties)
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (you can you use a packet of Stevia if you prefer)
  • 1 pinch sea salt (salt actually enhances the sweetness in a dish)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla – pure extract
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) Cinnamon
  • 2 cups of Oats, raw

Directions: Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a large brownie sheet with a Silpat or baking liner (even foil will work). Mix slightly melted Smart Balance with yogurt, honey, brown sugar(or stevia), sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Then add in oats and coat evenly. Spread out into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Turn granola mixture to heat each side evenly and bake another 5- 10 minutes until golden. Turn off oven and leave to continue to baking to desired crispness. Optional Add-in’s: Some great add-in’s for this Granola Base include nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds… to name a few) and dried chopped fruits (try: dried apples – crumbled or Freeze-dried fruits, such as raspberries or if you prefer, use a couple Tablespoons of raisins, currants or dried cranberries). Enjoy with “milk”, alone as a crunchy snack or on top of your favorite dishes, such as this Spiced Apple Overnight Oatmeal – recipe compliments of Siggis. Or even for crunchy topping to your yogurt Parfaits. siggis and berries

Q1: What are some of your favorite Granola flavors? (i.e.: Apple Cinnamon, Pistachio Cranberry, Coconut Almond…) Q2:What nuts/seeds and/or dried fruits would you use to add some Pizzazz to your Granola base??

Spiced Apple Overnight Oats w/ yogurt and chia #siggisambassador

I’m delighted to be a Siggi’s Ambassador. From time to time you’ll be seeing my posts with the delicious recipes provided / inspired by the Siggis yogurt folks. My latest breakfast was their Spiced Apple Overnight Oats. So easy to make.

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Nutri-Savvy Approved Recipe!

To create this easy, overnight oats treat, I recycled a jam jar to mix ingredients and refrigerate. Then I took the jar on-the-go to enjoy after my yoga class. However, when you have time to enjoy it at home – it looks quite delectable in this plating below. I topped it with some chopped apples and my homemade granola.

Siggis Oatmeal Chia dish

 

The Recipe: It’s simple — and all whole foods. I simply mixed together 1/2 cup raw oats (I used a blend of oats, rye mixture…from the bulk bin), 1 tsp chia, 1/3 cup Siggi’s non fat plain yogurt (if you live in my ‘hood, just ask — I’ve got some Siggi’s yogurt coupons for you), 1/3 cup grated apples, topped with some apple chunks and my own homemade granola (This time I substituted half the fat for protein-rich yogurt – still delish — STAY TUNED for my NEW Granola Base recipe).

Simply combine all the ingredients into a tupperware or jar, seal and refrigerate. Then take out next morning and enjoy a delightful breakfast or snack you can enjoy at home or take on-the-go!

 

ENJOY! : )

Just in time for Valentines’ Day!

These cupcakes are not exactly a health food. However, I’ve made them low in fat, higher in protein and still quite tasty. Just ask my biggest critics – my 6 year old twin girls. : )

Valentines Cupcakes 10g protein

Adding more protein may be a challenge when working with baked treats. But I thought I’d give it a go. I tried one batch using 6 egg whites (plenty of protein) but this trial worked out more like a sweet Yorkshire pudding – still quite yummy, but not what I was intending.

I wanted a light, fluffy yellow cake, so I went back to my mixing bowl.  I started again, by substituting some of the fat for Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat (which does add in some protein to these delicious treats) and some protein powder. I would have loved to have tested a bean recipe, but alas, I didn’t have Cannellini bean (only kidney beans which would have turned my project into a purplish thing) and I really was aiming toward a light, fluffy, yellow cake taste/mouthfeel. See recipe below.

Keep in mind this is a treat. I make no promises of low sugar quantity. (I was aiming more toward low in fat and higher in protein.) But every now and then, I like a sugary treat. I just keep it in moderation and on occasion. And what better time to enjoy than Valentines’ Day. : )

No “Food Police” here. You can certainly Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too (Just remember moderation and on occasion).

Low-fat Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for Cupcake:

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, plain, non fat (I used Chobani)
  • 1/3 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Smart Balance Light
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Pamela’s Gluten Free Artisan Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder (120 cal, 24g protein)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup Low Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Soymilk (as needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter (optional)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Grease or line muffin tins. Recipe makes 6 regular sized cupcakes or 12 mini cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Start with 1/3 cup Greek yogurt. Add in 1/3 cup powdered sugar and blend well. Follow with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup lightly softened Smart Balance Light, an egg and a tsp of Pure Vanilla Extract and blend until creamy. Then I added  my dry mixture  1/2 cup Pamela’s Gluten Free Artisan Flour, 2 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder (120 cal, 24g protein) and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until fully risen and tops slightly browned. When cooked. Whip up all frosting ingredients in electric mixer until fluffy. Frost – using 1-2 Tbsp per muffin, depending on size (mini or regular).

Here is the Nutritional Analysis for 1 mini muffin, unfrosted.
Cal 87, Fat 2g, Sodium 65mg, Carb 11g, Sugars 7g, Fiber 1g, Protein 5g

Nutritional Analysis for the Frosting (This is for 1 Tbsp since I calculated for mini cupcakes above):
Cal 35, Fat 1g, Sodium 41, Carb 5g, Sugars 5g, Fiber 0g, Protein 0g.

Add both together and you’ve got a  treat for less than 150 cal, a sodium content just over 100mg and one that is complete with 5g protein. How’s that for a sweet treat with a little more protein. Wanna regular size treat – well doubling it up, this one would be close to 250 calories with 10g protein. I’ve seen frosted cupcakes on the market that are much closer to 500 calories. And besides this has no added fillers, chemicals, or artificial flavoring. BTW: The pink sprinkles are made with confectioners sugar and beet dye – very few ingredients (no artificial colorings or weird additives).

 

Happy Valentines Day!

ENJOY : )

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