Dec 302014
 

Happy almost New Year! Although 2014 has been an incredible year, I am even more excited for 2015. In 2015 I’ll become an aunt (for the second time), become a wife (for the first time, thankfully), and will start my dietetic internship so I can FINALLY become a registered dietitian. A new year as big as this one calls for something especially fancy: enter truffle oil.
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Santa knows me so well and slipped a little bottle of the this delicious delicacy into my stocking this year. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to start using it.
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This recipe is the perfect upscale munchy for your New Year’s Eve party. Despite the impressive flavor, it’s super easy to make. Simply pop some corn (either air popped or with oil in a pot), toss with truffle oil, plenty of salt, pepper, some parmesan and a few fresh parsley flakes for color.
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Nutrition Highlights: Although truffle oil seems decadent, it’s really similar to olive oil in it’s nutrition (as the base to most truffle oils is actually just olive oil). Used in moderation, it’s a healthy source of monounsaturated fat. Popcorn is a much healthier snack than most other salty snacks like pretzels and chips. That is because it’s all natural and minimally processed (it’s really just corn that you pop, duh) and very high in fiber to keep you full. The parmesan cheese in this recipe adds a great savory, saltiness, but you can just as easily leave it out if you want the recipe to be lower in fat and/or vegan.
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Truffle-Parmesan Popcorn
makes a big old bowl of popcorn (about 12 cups)
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What’s in it:
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil (or other high smoke point veg oil)
2 teaspoons white or black truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional:
3 tablespoons finely grated or shredded good parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

How to make it:
1. Pop your corn. For oil popped corn, place the oil in the bottom of a large pot along with 3 popcorn kernels and cover. Heat over medium high and wait until those kernels pop (that’s how you know the oil is ready). Once they pop, quickly add the remaining kernels and cover the pot. As the kernels start to pop, shake the pot frequently to allow the air to escape and prevent the popcorn from burning. Once the popping slows or stops, remove from the heat.
Note: Don’t want to pop your own corn? Buy PLAIN, natural microwave popcorn bags and pop a few bags instead.
2. While still in the warm pan, drizzle with the truffle oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of the parmesan and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Shake so all the popcorn is evenly coated. Taste and add additional oil/seasoning as needed.
*Note: I do this in the still warm pan because I find the salt sticks better to the kernels when they’re still warm.
3. Transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl and top with the remaining tablespoon of cheese and parsley. Enjoy the truffley goodness!
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Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

Dec 222014
 

Anyone else feeling a little bit (figuratively and literally) sick of all the Christmas cookies and sweets? I have a very sweet these days, and even I am feeling a little bit overloaded by all of it. Here’s a recipe that proves that fruits and veggies can be just as festive as all those peppermint covered sugary chocolatey treats…well almost. Try this Winter Kale Salad which is as healthy as it is tasty and beautiful. To get on Santa’s nice list, serve it in a chip and dip platter so it looks like a wreath!
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There are so many different things you can put in this salad that would be amazing, but I decided on mostly red (roasted beets, pomegranate seeds) and green (chopped kale, granny smith apple, pistachios) with a little orange pop from some persimmons. The persimmons may have thrown off my red/green color scheme a tad, but I was intrigued by them so I bought a few. They are incredibly sweet and have a nice soft texture, kind of like a peach. If you can’t find persimmons, you can leave these out or just go with another winter fruit, like navel orange segments. A good dressing is key too, and this one is the perfect tart but slightly sweet mix, with lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil.
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Nutritional highlights: We all know that holiday dining isn’t always a shining moment for healthful choices. This salad is a perfect addition to your holiday spread to solve that problem. Fill a big portion of your plate with this salad, and take it easy on the indulgences. There’s also some serious powerhouses in this salad. The kale, apple, and pomegranate seeds (and really all of the ingredients) have a ton of fiber that will keep you full…maybe even full enough to pass on dessert (but let’s be honest, probably not). The pistachios add healthy mono and poly unsaturated fats as well as B-6 vitamins and iron. Beets and persimmons are packed with antioxidants to help control inflammation in your body and ward of diseases. I served the salad with a little shredded pecorino on the side, but you can also mix it right in, as it adds a great saltiness that the salad needs. To keep the salad vegan you can leave it out.
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Winter Kale Salad with Persimmons, Beets, Apples, Pomegranate, and Pistachio
Makes 5-6 servings as a side (3 as a main)
*vegan* gluten free*
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What’s in it:

For the salad:
5 cups finely chopped kale
1 granny smith apple
4 red baby beets, cut into 1 inch pieces and roasted
3 fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (from about ½ large pomegranate)
1/3 cup shelled roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Optional: 1/3 cup shredded pecorino cheese (omit for vegan version)

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from one juicy lemon)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or another light vinegar like champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ freshly ground teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
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How to make it:

1.If you are roasting your own beets, preheat your oven to 425. Scrub and dry the outside of the beets but no need to peel. Cut off a tiny bit on the top and bottom end, and cut the beets into 1 inch chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for about 40 minutes, until the beets are tender. Alternately, you can buy already steamed or roasted beets and skip this step.
2.Prepare the remaining ingredients. Seed you pomegranate, chop the nuts, dice the apple and cut the persimmon (no need to peel skin). Chop the kale so it is small chunks, almost like a slaw. This will help the leaves get very tender as they sit in the dressing.
3.Prepare the dressing by mixing the first 5 ingredients together and then whisking in the oil gradually. Taste the vinaigrette to see if it needs more of anything (too acidic? Add more oil or maple syrup. Too bland? Up the salt and pepper).
4. Toss together the kale, apple, persimmon, beets, and all but 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate, pistachios, and pecorino. Toss with the dressing, adding gradually and tasting until it is your desire of dressed-ness.
5. To serve as a wreath, pour the salad into a chip and dip tray and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, pom seeds, and pistachios. Enjoy this festive, flavorful, and nutritious salad!
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Leave the leftovers (if you have any) out of Santa this year instead of cookies and maybe he’ll be looking a little fitter in his suit next year!
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Dec 152014
 

So you’ve been invited to a thousand holiday parties and you’ve resigned yourself to looking a little more “jolly” this holiday season. Sadly, that ugly christmas sweater doesn’t hide quite as much as you would like. Luckily, holiday parties don’t have to mean the end of your diet. A few tips:
1. Focus on dishes with fruits, veggies, and whole grains as the main ingredients.
2. Make one plate to enjoy rather than grazing the whole party.
3. Scope out the spread before digging in, so you can be selective. Indulge on the things you really love, but skip the ones your’e not dying for.

Here are a few of my favorite festive recipes for your holiday parties this year. Here’s to not having to make a new years resolution this year :)

Check out Healthy (http://www.foodie.com/6721684/collections/healthy-holiday-entertaining%22%3EHealthy) Holiday Entertaining

by Marissa (http://www.foodie.com/6172048/profiles/marissa-lubin%22%3EMarissa) Lubin at Foodie.com

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*this is a sponsored opportunity with foodie.com

Dec 082014
 

As the weather’s been getting colder, I’ve started to crave warm, comforting foods to initiate my impending winter hibernation. I don’t know what got into me, but somehow I came home from grocery store with a bag of russet potatoes. I can’t remember the last time I bought a standard, non-sweet potato. I have to say, potatoes are pretty underrated both in taste and nutrition, and this healthier version of a comforting classic was even better than I imagined it would be. Watch out yams, spud’s making a comeback.
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I’m not sure what it was that made these simple tots so freaking tasty. Maybe it was the perfectly baked potato, or the spicy garlic roasted broccoli and onions, the sharp cheddar, the creamy greek yogurt, or the quinoa, but whatever it was, a little magic happened inside these potatoes. The key is a perfectly seasoned filling, so don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. And a melty crusty cheesy top doesn’t hurt either.
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Here’s how it happened. Potato gets baked. Potato gets scooped. Potato gets stuffed. Potato gets baked again. Potato gets eaten. Fast.
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Nutrition Highlights: Potatoes have gotten a little bit of a bad rep in all the low carb madness that has ensued in recent years. But the truth is, potatoes are super healthy in moderation. They are the world’s number one non-grain crop for a reason. They are packed with vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. One medium baked potato only has about 150 calories, not bad. Stuffed potatoes often ruin all these health benefits by smothering it in sour cream, butter, and tons of cheese. This recipe adds protein in the quinoa, lowers the calories and carbs by scooping out some of the potato, lowers the fat by using greek yogurt and just a little bit of cheese, and ups the fiber and vitamins with lots of broccoli. The potato is pretty stuffed but you won’t be (just comfortably full).
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broccoli, cheddar, & quinoa stuffed potatoes
makes about 3 medium potatoes
* vegetarian * gluten free *
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What’s in it:
3 small to medium russet potatoes
1.5-2 cups small broccoli florettes
1/4 white onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar or mixed cheese
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

How to make it:
1. Preheat your oven to 400. Wash and dry your potatoes. Rub the exterior with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt and place on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet. Bake for about 1 hour or until you can easily pierce with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, spread the broccoli and onions on a small baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and plenty of salt and pepper.
3. When the potatoes are done, remove and turn the oven up to 425. Roast the broccoli-onion mixture for about 10-15 minutes until broccoli is beginning to brown on the edges.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your potatoes for stuffing. Using a paring knife on an angle, remove an oval shaped top from each potato. Scoop out the filling of the potatoes so only a 1/4 inch layer remains.
5. Make the mixture by combining 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup of the remaining potato filling (the rest you can toss or save for another recipe), 2 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup cheese. When the veggies are done, add the roasted broccoli and onions and stir until well combined. Taste the mixture and season with additional salt, pepper, garlic powder, or chili flakes, as needed.
6. Stuff each potato with as much of the mixture as you can squeeze in there. It’s OK if the stuffing goes over the top a bit. Top each potato with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese and broil for about 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
7. Enjoy these amazing potatoes right away or wrap individually in foil to enjoy throughout the week! I loved them topped with a little hot sauce, because why not.
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