Monday, April 30, 2012

Foodie Penpals: April

I was so excited to get this package, you would have thought it was my birthday! My foodie penpal, Carly, writes a blog Change for Good and packed some awesome vegan goodies for me. As a dietitian, I counsel vegans so I know a bit about what is involved but mostly just on paper. Getting an all vegan package was a very cool adventure...thanks Carly!

Now, I need to set the stage for this post...dinner is in the oven, I just got home from work and in front of my lies this foodie package. So I read each individual item: dark chocolate, seasnax, vegan jerky, green tea, Justin's almond and peanut butter. And then, in a 10 minute time span, I take a bite out of just about everything. AND THEN, I call everyone over and THEY take a bite out of everything. It was all so amazingly good that we snacked for dinner instead of having what I cooked! Again...thanks Carly! :)

 These Seasnax are full of crunch, crunch, crunch. If you like potato chips, these are a really cool snack and they come in really great flavors: Chipotle, Wasabi, Sea Salt,

 I am a cookie freak! I can bake 'em and eat 'em every night if someone continues to keep me supplied with ingredients. These little homemade nuggets with carob chips were very good! Would be great with a cup of coffee :)

I'm not a jerky fan, so I was totally pleased that this was vegan jerky...well, pleased that it wasn't real jerky. I read over the ingredients...none were alarming. I smelled it...very "Thai Peanuty". Tasted a little bite...not bad. Tasted another bite...still good. Ate the whole thing! This is a non-meat stick of goodness!!

And what would a snacking for dinner-dinner be without having some chocolate...dark chocolate (filled with those awesome antioxidants)! The Justin's almond butter goes great on this chocolate too.

Carly, you did an amazing job sharing your vegan snacks with a meat eater! I have really found some items that I will be adding to my weekly grocery list - mission accomplished! And if you want to join in this fabulous foodie penpal fun, check out The Lean Green Bean for details.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Fun Finds: Somersaults

Oh the crunchy, crunchy, peppery goodness!!
Find them. Buy them. Eat them.

In the News: Nutella

Here is a fun article for some Saturday morning reading. I am not sure why someone would imagine Nutella would be healthy in any quantity other than the serving size as part of a balanced meal. "Part of a healthy breakfast" also applies to Coco Puffs and Coco Krispies...are we going to sue them to? When does taking ownership of our own thoughts and choices come into play here? Read the labels, make a choice and stop blaming the companies. These lawsuits are getting out of hand.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chia Strawberry Jelly

Lindsay, from The Lean Green Bean, has this great recipe not only for jelly but for PB & J cups! Check it out:

I made this strawberry jelly this past weekend and LOVE it! You could really use any berry or combination of them. For the kids, I may add a little sugar though.

If you have never seed Chia Seeds, except for the Cha Cha Chia commercials, they are an amazing Superfood! These little seeds are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids - brain and heart health. Because of their make-up, they thicken the food or liquid they are placed in. So, instead of a sugar mixture to thicken this jelly, the Chia Seeds get the job done!

Place 1 cup of frozen berries in a glass bowl and sprinkle 2 Tbsp of Chia Seeds on top. Cover it and microwave it all for 2 to 3 minutes. Take it out and start mashing it like the picture below.

Once it is at a consistency that you like, put it in an air tight container in the fridge and it will continue to thicken a bit. Just lovely!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Easy Parmesan Chicken

This is an easy-as-pie chicken recipe! It takes about 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. I serve it with a mass amount of steamed vegetables because of the fat in the mayo....balance it all out :) So, you take 3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place them in a sprayed glass dish. Take four tbsp of mayo and four tbsp of parmesan cheese - mix them together. Below is my mayo my arm!

Once the cheese and the mayo are mixed, spread a tablespoon on each chicken breast. Sprinkle some seasoned bread crumbs on top and into the oven! Bake at 350* for 20 to 25 minutes.

Golden and cheesy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yummy Graham Snack!

This Hazelnut Butter isn't as sweet as Nutella, but that's okay because it still tastes awesome! I love Justin's Maple Almond Butter too. Check out all of their varieties:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Portion Distortion: IHOP

The kids love IHOP! I'm really not sure why IHOP is greater than any other breakfast joint out there, but it seems to light up their faces. I always like to look at restaurant menus and compare the nutritional values to either what I would cook at home or to an actual portion size. The differences in the calories alone explain a lot about why our country is overweight...I don't think that anyone realizes how much they are shoveling in their bodies.

 Above is an order of Strawberry Banana Pancakes with 2 slices of bacon from IHOP: 1050 calories

Here is a kids breakfast of Baby Cakes (the one strip of bacon has already been devoured!): 210 calories

I have preached before - the kids meals are correct portion sizes! Whether you are at Wendy's or Bob Evan's, go for the kids meal because it usually contains the correct amount of calories, carbs and fat for an average person for a meal. And if you think that you are going to eat a big breakfast to fill you up for most of the day, check this out:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Berry Banana Oat Squares

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 medium mashed banana
1 cup sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl combine oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, mixing until combined.

Measure out a cup of milk, then whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir into dry oats.

Stir in mashed banana and melted butter, then the sliced strawberries.

Pour mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges are brown.


Friday, April 20, 2012

New Fun Find: Nut Crunch

These little suckers are CRUNCHY and I love 'em! I keep a bag in my desk for my 2:30 sweet craving. They come in little squares so they are easy to portion out. I saw about 5 different kinds in the store and I can't wait to try the others.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Overnight Cooked Oats

These are so creamy and wonderful after being cooked all night in my new little crock pot :) I use 1 cup of oats and 3 cups of water (4 cups of water if I add golden raisins). Put in all in the crock pot, give it a stir and let it cook. In the morning, just before eating it, put a dash of milk or cream in your bowl with some brown sugar...Lovely!

Love This: Spend Smart, Eat Smart

Here is a great tool to plan grocery costs!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Dirty Food Revolution

Dirty Foods? Why....why are they dirty?

Dirty foods refer to foods that are dark color in mostly. From black rice to black beans to black berries, these foods are starting to trend in healthy recipes and restaurants. What makes them so healthy and appealing? Often foods are black — or deeply hued – because of natural plant pigments called anthocyanins. Derived from the Greek words for “plant” and “blue,” anthocyanins are what make blueberries blue, cherries red, and blackberries black – or almost black. Typically the darker the color, the more anthocyanins are inside. Research suggests that anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties and may offer protection against heart disease and caner.

I found this black rice at the store and thought of a cool salad idea!

Black Rice, cooked (follow the package instructions for cooking 1 cup of rice)
Pineapple Tidbits, drained
Mandarin Oranges, drained
Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette

I cooked the black rice based on what the package stated. I drained one can of pineapples and one can of oranges. Then I mixed everything in a bowl with about 1/4 cup dressing. If you are going to eat this salad tomorrow, wait to dress it. The rice will soak up the dressing and taste gummy. Enjoy!

Health Benefits of Fish

Friday, April 13, 2012

Love This: Thoughts on Baby Food

I have to say, I was a half Gerber and half homemade mommy. Most foods I steamed, pureed and froze into ice cube trays. Easy to make, easy to thaw, easy to feed. When we traveled, the Gerber plastic resealables worked very well too. At the end of the day, I watched and was worried about what went into my a mom and a dietitian, who would expect anything less.

Check out a great post from Bitchin' Nutrition about the subject:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Fun Find: Maple Almond Butter

Oh, do I love, love, love this! I found it as I was searching the health food isle for something new to try. It comes in individual pouches to buy (instead of having to buy a whole box only to find out that you hate it). I tasted it first before spreading it on my banana. It has a slight crunch to it, but not as crunchy as Jiff Crunchy Peanut Butter. It is a tad sweet and a tad perfectly for me! When I shop next, I am going for the big jar on this one :) Enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Take Your Vitamins!

As a dietitian, I like to try and steer people to the path of getting nutrients from real food. As a real person, I know that not everyone eats that many fruits and vegetables every day. Daily vitamins are a good supplement (not substitute) for daily nutrients. With so many vitamins on the shelves these days, which one to choose? Well, I did a little experiment at work the other day for a presentation about vitamins and their effectiveness. Check it out!

I had three bottles of vitamins: Women's One a Day, Alive! and something very expensive from the health foods store. I took cups of warm water, plunked a vitamin in each cup and waited. Within 5 minutes, the Women's One a Day dissolved almost completely (the least expensive of the three). After 20 minutes, the Alive! vitamin's slimy coating finally came off so that the real vitamin could start to dissolve (totally dissolved within 30 minutes). The most expensive, health food store vitamin - after an hour it began to soften. After two hours there was a copper type substance that began to cloud the water. After 3 hours, I threw it out!

Here is a cool article about what can be in your vitamins:  Stay healthy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Slush Mug

I found this cool mug that turned beverages into slushies! I figured that the kids would love something like this, especially with all of the warm weather coming. As a note from the dietitian...remember that many hidden calories are from beverages. Making a fun slushy from orange soda, as the fun advertisement shows, will add a good (and unneeded) 100 calories (including juices!). So, what does a mom with a slush mug do? Use infused waters for freezing!

Squeeze some lemons, limes and oranges into your water and store in the fridge for everyday hydration as well as using it in the mugs. Or crush a few pieces of fresh pineapple with some mint leaves. Or slice up cucumber with some fresh lemon juice. Smash strawberries with lemon. The combinations could be endless - pick a fresh fruit, vegetable or herb and try it out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chia Seed Peanut Butter Cookies

Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil, including α-linolenic acid (ALA). Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white.

These hearty cookies are wonderful! This recipe makes about 12 cookies.
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a non stick cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, flour and chia seeds. Set aside.

 In another bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until creamy. Add peanut butter, eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly stir in the oat mixture to combine. Add chocolate and fold in.

 Place heaping tablespoons of dough (I use a small ice cream scoop) onto the cookie sheet. 
Bake for 12 minutes and cool before eating. Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

I remember once when a friend of mine was trying to cut down on carbs and she heard that mashed cauliflower was a good substitute for mashed potatoes. She wasn't happy with the result :( I don't know why that stuck in my mind, but this weekend I wanted to see what else I could do with cauliflower....roasting it seemed to be a great idea.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the fresh cauliflower head and break off all of the green leaves. Place the whole head into a glass baking dish. I drizzled mine with a little olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt. Place it into the oven and cook it for about a hour and 10 minutes. If the flowers are tender sooner, take it out.

Cut off the flowers and serve (or eat it standing over the oven like I did). Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Brussels Sprouts "Pizza"

I saw something like this dish a while back on a foodie blog. That recipe had pumpernickel pizza dough and bacon, so mine is a tad different but good enough for the kids to eat it :)

Wash these little babies off and pick off the outside leaves that look a little limp. I use a mandolin to get the slices thin enough, but you can use a knife. I used the 1/4" setting to slice up the whole container. Watch your fingers!

Heat up the pancetta in a medium heated pan. No need to add oil...there is plenty in the meat already! Brown it on both sides for just a minute or two. Because the meat is very thing, it only takes a short amount of time.

 While the meat is browning, set up an ungreased cookie sheet with slices of rye/pumpernickel bread with thinly sliced fresh (the really soft kind) mozzerella cheese.

No need to add any oil to the pan, just use the drippings from the pancetta! Cook the slices for about two minutes, stirring most of the time.

 Top the cheese with a slice or two of pancetta and cooked sprouts.

 Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!