Jul 252014
 

Sometimes the best dishes appear when I pick up a random ingredient with no plan in mind as to how to use it. This is one of those times. I’ve been noticing beautiful black figs at the grocery store lately, so I decided to pick up a box and think of a way to use them. I love the flavor of figs paired with the sweet/acidic flavor of balsamic vinegar, so I made two dishes using this combination.
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Both of these dishes could not be easier. All I did was halve the figs, brush with EVOO and a tiny pinch of salt, and grill for a few minutes. For the “sundae”, I used store bought greek frozen yogurt (of course you can make your own too) and topped with the grilled figs and the balsamic reduction. This is the perfect dessert for someone who doesn’t like overly sweet desserts. If you’re like me and DO love overly sweet desserts very very much, no worries, you’ll still like it. It’s a perfect light summer dessert and putting balsamic reduction on frozen yogurt makes you feel like a grown up.
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The salad was delicious in it’s simplicity as well. To the same grilled figs, I added mixed greens, sliced peaches, roasted almonds, shaved manchego, and topped with balsamic reduction. It was sweet and savory and super fresh with just enough acidity.
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Nutritional Highlights: Figs are a great source of fiber and potassium, and even though most people eat them dried, they’re even more delicious and healthy when you eat them fresh. These grilled fig dishes are both incredibly healthy, and highlight the natural sweetness. This sundae is way better for you than your average chocolate whip cream covered vat of deliciousness. I used fat free greek frozen yogurt which is lower in sugar, fat, and higher in protein than ice cream. Balsamic reduction and figs are much lower calorie and sugar toppings, sadly, than hot fudge and sprinkles. The salad is also incredibly healthy, getting a little extra protein from the almonds and even though higher in fat, I shaved the manchego very thinly so you get the bold flavor without adding too much.
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Grilled Figs & Balsamic Reduction – Two Ways
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You really don’t even need recipes here, but I’ll give you the synopsis

For the grilled figs: Halve your fresh figs and spray or lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt. Grill on a medium-hot grill cut side down for about 3-4 minutes or until slightly charred and softened.

For the balsamic reduction/syrup: Add 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey to a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it has reduced significantly in volume (to 1/3 cup). Let cool completely.

To make a salad: Toss your favorite greens with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and top with grilled figs, fresh peach slices (I did this mostly for color, so you can just let the figs stand alone), a few roasted salted almonds, and shaved manchego. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction. You can also swap goat cheese for the manchego, or any nut for the almonds.

To make a sundae: Use store bought or homemade vanilla greek frozen yogurt (or ice cream if you musttt) and top with a few grilled figs, chopped toasted nuts, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

Enjoy some figs outside of the newton for once!

Jul 102014
 

Ever get into a breakfast rutt? Are you a serial cereal eater? Do you wish your toast was toast? Looking to scramble your egg routine a bit? (Insert additional breakfast puns here). I find that more than any other meal, I am a creature of habit and often go months eating the exact same breakfast. For the past several months for me this has been cereal with almond milk, berries/banana, and cinnamon. A great breakfast, but I was looking for a change. I decided to go the savory route with these super healthy, protein-packed quinoa, veggie, and egg bites.
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A few great things about this recipe. 1) It’s the perfect refrigerator clean out recipe. You can pretty much throw in any type of vegetable or cheese and these will turn out great. 2) It’s easy to make and makes 6 servings so you’re set for the whole week. 3) These are SO healthy…stay tunes for more on that…
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Nutritional highlights: If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast you really can’t do much better than that. The bulk of these muffins are veggies and quiona, which provide tons of vitamins and protein. A few eggs to bind it together adds even more protein and some healthy fats. I used 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs because the bulk of the nutrients in the egg are actually in the yolk (like B vitamin choline). Plus, contrary to popular belief, even though the yolk is high-ish in dietary cholesterol, it doesn’t actually seem to increase our blood cholesterol. So why not use all whole eggs? Of course you could, but to keep the calories in check I went with half and half. And two of these little cups are only 150 calories! That with a piece of fruit and a coffee (or two or three, oops) is the perfect breakfast.
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Mini Summer Vegetable & Quinoa Frittatas
makes 12 muffins (6, 2 muffin servings)
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What’s in it:
1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked in 3/4 cups water
1 leek, chopped
2-3 cups chopped vegetables (I used zucchini, yellow squash, and baby portobella mushrooms)
2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk but any type you have works)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray.
2. Get your quinoa cooking. Note: Your quinoa box/bag probably says to use a (1:2 ratio), ie 1 cup of water for a 1/2 cup quinoa, but I like it to have a little bite and not be too mushy. But prepare according to your preferences!
3. While quinoa is cooking, saute your vegetables. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add your chopped leeks. Saute for 1 minute and then add your other chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 minutes until the vegetables a softened and slightly browned. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, whole eggs, and milk. Add cooked quiona and vegetables and spoon into your prepared muffin tin. Top with three cherry tomato slices each and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until frittatas are cooked through.
6. Enjoy hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Notes:
1) This is more of a quiona-veggie muffin than it is a true frittata. If you’re looking for something light and fluffy and eggy, use more egg and less quinoa/veggies.
2) Feel free to swap any type of vegetable or cheese that you like.
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Here’s to switching up your breakfast routine this summer!
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