Roasted Beet and Cali Yogurt Smoothie
Recipe Redux – Healthy Snacks for Men, Women and Kids recipe challenge
Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Real California Milk products and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Sometimes the easiest snacks are the ones you can drink. This smoothie makes for a delicious and healthy snack option, especially on one of your heavy workout days. The yogurt supplies protein to help rebuild your worked muscles. The beets contain natural nitrates, which may help you with better oxygenation. The orange is loaded with vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant that helps neutralize cell damage. Walnut oil is a good source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. And this smoothie’s vibrant color and great flavor even makes it quite kid-friendly too.
It was especially fun making this recipe because I got to work with Real California yogurt. California leads the nation in producing milk, ice cream and butter, and is ranked second in yogurt and cheese production. Did you know that 99% of California Dairies are family-owned? It always feels good to support the little guys.
I recommend roasting way more beets than the 1 cup needed for this recipe. That way you have the extra beet pieces for salad toppings, or to make even more of these smoothies!
1 cup Real California yogurt, plain, low-fat
1 cup Beets, peeled, diced
1 large Orange, peeled, seeded
1/2 teaspoon Orange zest
5-6 leaves Mint, fresh
1/2 teaspoon Walnut oil
PREPARATION To roast the beets: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and dice beets. Place beets on to a large sheet of aluminum foil. Lightly season beets with salt and pepper. Fold up sides of aluminum foil so that beets are enclosed inside. Roast beets for about an hour, or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Cool roasted beets in the refrigerator before using.
To make the smoothie: Place yogurt, chilled roasted beets, orange, orange zest, and mint into a blender. Blend until smooth. Drizzle in the walnut oil while still blending.
Garnish with orange slice and/or mint leaves, if desired.
Chia Cheesecake Pudding with Maple and Berries
Recipe Redux – January, 2016: New Year, New Ingredients
With every new year comes new resolutions. One of the more popular choices is to eat healthier. A great addition to most any diet are healthier fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
There are several foods that are great sources of omega-3s, including salmon, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, chia seeds, sardines, fish oils, walnuts and even certain spices like basil, clove and oregano. While there are many recipes out there using salmon or walnuts, many other good omega-3 fatty acid sources are often less utilized.
I decided for this post to make a recipe using Salba, or more commonly known as Chia seeds. Not only are they loaded with Omega-3, these
nutrition powerhouses also contain antioxidants, calcium, fiber and protein.
Chia seeds are perfect for thickening, as they can hold as much as 10 times their weight in water! Use them to make quick-jams, or for puddings like this recipe. However, do use caution if eating Chia seeds without soaking first, as the dry seeds may cause choking issues for some if they get caught in the throat and then swell.
When storing, keep Chia seeds in the refrigerator or freezer, so to help better preserve the omega-3 fatty acids.
I topped this pudding with colorful blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Other berries and/or fruits could be just as tasty, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand.
You can serve this pudding for either dessert or breakfast. Either way, your family is sure to enjoy it.
1 cup Cottage cheese, low-fat
1/2 cup Milk, low-fat or non-fat
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain, non-fat
1/3 cup Chia seeds
4 tablespoons Maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups Berries, assorted, fresh, rinsed
To a blender add the milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, chia seeds, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend ingredients together for about 30-40 seconds.
Drop a small scoop of the berries into each bottom of four serving glasses. Scoop one quarter of the prepared pudding into to each glass. Cover each dessert with plastic wrap and refrigerate the puddings for at least two hours or overnight. Top the puddings with the remaining berries and serve cold.
It’s no surprise that quick breads are very popular around the holidays. They are easy to prepare and can be made days in advance of the big meal. With so much to do for any holiday feast, any dish done ahead of time is most welcome.
From a healthy standpoint, the downside to quick breads is that often these recipes are loaded with processed sugars. I decided for my challenge I would instead sweeten my bread with fruit and fruit juice. With date, orange, apple and cranberry in every bite, one could easily rename this fruit bread! But trust me, this tastes nothing like any holiday fruit bread most are accustomed to having.
My recipe here is a redux of one I discovered online in Epicurious for Orange Nut Bread, and which first appeared in Bon Appetit in January, 1998. My newer, Recipe Redux version is gluten-free and includes whole grain flours. The butter is replaced with olive oil and apple sauce, the white sugar with dates, and the orange juice concentrate with fresh squeezed juice. Fresh cranberries were used to add tartness. I also added some vanilla extract for nice contrast to the tart cranberries.
Because this bread is sweetened entirely with fruit, the end result is less sweet than typical quick breads. It also holds its shape nicely during slicing and eating, making it a great candidate for use with open-faced sandwiches. Top a slice with leftover turkey and other holiday fixings. Yum!
Tip: When combining the liquid with the dry ingredients, do not worry about stirring your batter too much. Since there is no gluten, you can not cause your bread to turn out tough by over-mixing.
While I did not use nuts, they could also work nicely in this recipe. If desired, stir in a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds when you also add in the fresh cranberries to the batter.
3/4 cup Dates, pitted
3/4 cup Orange juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup Apple sauce, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
1/4 cup Olive oil
3/4 cup Tapioca flour
1/2 cup Buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Sorghum flour
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Orange peel, grated
3/4 cup Cranberries, fresh
In a small bowl, soak dates in orange juice for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add soaked dates and orange juice to food processor and blend for about a minute, or until dates are pulverized. Continue processing and add in the apple sauce and vanilla extract, then add in eggs one at a time, and lastly slowly add in olive oil. Stop processing.
In a large bowl mix together the tapioca, buckwheat and sorghum flours, baking powder, Xanthan gum and salt. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry 1/4 at a time. Stir the orange peel and fresh cranberries into the batter.
Lightly spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2″ loaf pan with olive oil. Pour batter into pan.
Bake loaf about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove bread from oven and cool 5 minutes in pan. Remove bread from pan onto cooling rack. Cool bread completely. Slice bread for serving.
Store bread at room temperature wrapped in plastic.
Bread will hold at room temperature for 2 days.
Some days we simply want nothing more than to satisfy our sweet tooth. These Walnut Date Candies are a delicious, and healthier, solution to those occasions. The dates provide a such a great amount of sweetness that it really does feel like you are eating a sugary candy. The flavors from the walnuts and coconut compliment the fruit nicely too. And as long as you have a refrigerator, these candies are easy to both prepare and store.
I find that when I use fresh Medjool dates in this recipe I usually need to use a little less of the soak water during the food processing than when I use other varieties. Also, the older the dates, the drier they will become and the more soak water you will need to utilize during the food processing. Remember you are aiming for a pasty, not crumbly, consistency from the processed dates.
This recipe is fun to make with kids, especially when rolling and shaping the candies in the wax paper. For this post I shaped the candies into squares, but creating round, cylinder shapes works well too.
Do make sure to coat the outside of the candies with the coconut instead of mixing the coconut into the candies. As dates can be sticky, the shredded coconut on the outside makes these healthy treats easier to hold with your fingers.
I like wrap the candy pieces into individual portion sizes with plastic wrap for freezer storage. That way I can quickly grab a single serving out of the freezer when I need it and go. Serve the candies for breakfast, with boxed lunches, or anytime you crave a sweet treat.
2 cups Dates, fresh
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Coconut, shredded
Add dates and water to a medium bowl. Soak the dates in the water for an hour.
Add dates and about 1/2 the remaining soak water into a food processor. Process the dates until they are a smooth paste, adding additional soak water if needed to get the fruit to the right consistency.
Add the walnuts to dates and process until walnuts are finely chopped.
Scoop 1/2 of the walnut date mix onto a 14-16 inch long piece of wax paper. Gently roll the wax paper around the mix and massage the paper to smooth, lengthen and shape the candy roll. Once at desired length and shape, gently peel back the wax paper. Sprinkle 1/2 of the coconut all over the outside of the candy roll. Carefully slice the roll evenly into 8 pieces, then roll candy back up in the wax paper, place into a large ziplock bag and freeze for at least 2-3 hours to set candy. Repeat with remaining 1/2 of walnut date mix.
Candies are ready for eating once they are set (hard). Candies can be served frozen or thawed. After candies are set, they can also be individually wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for future use.
Not Your Mama’s Porridge
Recipe Redux: The Beef Checkoff
Every meal, every day it is a healthy idea to include some protein on your plate. Many people have a hard time accomplishing this at breakfast. With muffins, breads and cereals often taking center stage in the morning, the total protein amount can fall far short of the 20-30 gram amount that’s ideal for muscle maintenance and building. Anyone trying to control their blood sugars will find it easier to do so when their meals include a good protein source.
This recipe will surely put a fix to the morning protein dilemma…
Creamy grits + savory steak and mushrooms + fiery pepper sauce = total mouth party!!!
The creamy grits make for a comforting hot breakfast and pairs deliciously with grilled steak and mushrooms. This fiery pepper sauce recipe is one of my favorites. Feel good about eating as much as you want of it, as it’s made from pureed roasted vegetables. The recipe will make a big batch of sauce; more than is needed for this breakfast for two. Have the extra sauce with corn chips or another meal. You can cut the sauce recipe in half for less of a commitment, but don’t blame me if you make that call and then later find yourself upset when you run out of sauce so quickly!
This recipe is for two people. If cooking for more, you can easily multiply the porridge, beef and mushrooms. You don’t need to make extra sauce (unless upscaling for an army).
Just about any lean cut of beef will work with this recipe, including round, flank, tenderloin, ranch, sirloin or strip. I especially like using flank steak for this; if you choose it make sure to cut it against the grain. Whichever lean cut looks good and is on sale that week, I say that’s the one for you to use!
This dish would also work well with poached egg. If you decide to add eggs, use small sized and cut the beef portion in half.
Not your Mama’s Porridge
INGREDIENTS (for the Fiery Pepper Sauce)
2 large Bell peppers, red
2 large Plum tomatoes
1 medium Onion, Peeled, sliced in half
2-4 small Cayenne pods, or other dried hot pepper
1+ tablespoons water
1 teaspoon White wine vinegar
To taste Black pepper, fresh ground
(for the Porridge)
1 1/3 cups Milk, low-fat
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
1/2 cup Grits, yellow or white, coarse ground (for the steak and mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups Mushrooms, sliced thick
2 tablespoons Parsley, flat-leaf, chopped
7 ounces Steak, lean cut, sliced into strips
PREPARATION (for the Fiery Pepper Sauce): Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Place the peppers, tomatoes,onion and dried peppers into a small oven-proof dish and roast for an hour, or until the bell peppers lose all their firmness. Take dish out of oven and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove foil and let vegetables cool slightly. Peel skin from tomatoes and bell peppers and remove stems and seeds from bell peppers. Discard the removed skins and seeds.
Place roasted vegetables into a high-powered blender with a tablespoon of water, teaspoon of vinegar and some freshly ground black pepper. Blend on high for 2 minutes. If sauce is too thick, you can add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Note:If you accidentally make the sauce too thin, you can thicken it by adding a teaspoon or two of chia seeds and blending on high for 2 additional minutes.
(for the Porridge): Add milk, water, salt and white pepper to a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the grits. Bring to a simmer again. Without stirring, cook until the grits float the surface, about 2 minutes.
Cover porridge with a tight-fitting lid and remove from heat. Let sit until all the moisture is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in a little extra milk if needed to reach a creamy consistency.
(for the Steak and Mushrooms): Lightly spray saute pan with cooking oil and heat pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to and saute 2-3 minutes. Add parsley and saute another 30 seconds. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Reheat pan. Season steak with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook to desired doneness (medium rare, medium, well-done).
To serve: Place 1/2 of the porridge onto a plate or bowl. Top with 1/2 the steak and mushrooms. Serve with fiery pepper sauce.
Makes 2 servings.
Disclosure: I received beef product mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Pear Chocolate Chip Pie with Almond Buckwheat Crust
Recipe Redux – June, 2015: Pie Love
Break out your sweet tooth, because it’s about to get indulged… and without all the saturated fat that usually also comes along with pie-eating.
Here, fresh dates, olive oil and almonds take the place of the butter and lard usually stuffed into a pie crust. So your heart will be as happy as your taste buds. This crust recipe also calls buckwheat flour. Now, don’t let the name fool you – buckwheat does sound like it has wheat, but they are not even related. It is gluten-free, whole grain goodness (OK, technically buckwheat’s a seed, but it’s so nutrient dense and versatile I keep it in the grain category for posterity), and it’s totally delicious, especially when combined with pear. Use any leftover buckwheat flour to make crepes.
Normally I reserve pears for tarts and apples for pies. I won’t make that mistake again! This pear pie was so devine; to call eating it “love” is absolutely appropriate. I used d’Anjou pears, but other varieties could work too.
To lightly toast the sliced almonds, pour almonds into a medium fry pan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing almonds often. Cool before using.
Do note that several ingredients will be used in both the pie filling and crust.
Tip #1: Before you fold the chocolate into the pears, do make sure to cool the filling well enough so that the chips keep their shape and don’t melt away on you. The separate tastes of the little chocolate bits on your tongue, along with the luscious pear, plus the dark, decadent almond crust- wow, total mouth party!
Tip #2: Use 1 or 2 pears that are real ripe; the rest firm. The ripe ones will break down extra during the pan cooking process and give you a thick, delicious syrup. Don’t use too many really ripe pears or you will only have syrup! If you do make it super syrupy, use extra arrowroot to thicken it up. Likewise, if you use all under-ripe pears and get little syrup with cooking, then cut your arrowroot by half.
Got to have nothing but love for a slice of pie that’s healthy enough to call Breakfast food.
1/2 cup Dates, pitted, quartered
1/4 cup Water, to be divided
1 cup Almonds, sliced, blanched, lightly toasted
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Buckwheat flour, to be divided
1/4 teaspoon Salt, to be divided
2 tablespoons Olive oil, to be divided
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, fresh grated
3 pounds Pears, fresh, rinsed
2 tablespoons Arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Chocolate chips*
In a small bowl add the dates and water. Let dates soak 15 minutes. Do not throw away soak water!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Into a food processor add the soaked dates, almond slices, 1/2 cup of the buckwheat and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. As you pulse-mix the ingredients together, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons worth of the reserved date soak water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix until you have a moist, nut-speckled thick “paste”. Press the crust into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie pan, making sure to evenly distribute. Set shell aside.
In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/8 tablespoon of the salt and the remaining date soak water and stir to combine. Peel and core pears, then slice to about 1/8-inch thick, tossing the pear slices into the sugar syrup as you go to keep the fruit from browning.
In a large pan add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pears and cook while stirring, about 5-7 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove from heat; into the pears stir in the remaining tablespoon of buckwheat flour.
In a small bowl, add the arrowroot. Add a few tablespoons of pear syrup to the arrowroot and stir until the arrowroot is fully dissolved and there are no lumps or clumps. Pour the arrowroot mixture to the cooked pear slices and stir well to combine and thicken.
Allow the pear slices to cool down. Fold the chocolate chips into the pear slices then pour filling into pie crust.
Bake for an hour. Cool pie on a bake rack. Before it has cooled, gently run a butter knife between the crust and the pie pan edge once (helps keep crust from sticking as it cools). Once cooled, slice into pie wedges and serve.
*Allergy note: Double check that your chocolate chips are dairy-free and gluten free before using, if needed.