Feb 062016
 

Super bowl, meet super food. I know I know, the first thing that comes to mind on game day is not usually cruciferous veggies, but give it a chance. These buffalo cauliflower bites (which are gluten free and vegan I might add) may be my new favorite sports snack.
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Not only do these rival the the best wings out there, they are also super easy to make, with only about 5 ingredients and a half hour in the kitchen.
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You can use any color cauliflower, but when I saw an orange one at Trader Joe’s this week I knew it was fate. Check out this beaut.
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Nutritional highlights: We all know super bowl is typically a pretty epically bad day for our diets, and Americans consume even more calories than on Thanksgiving! Wings, which are on most super bowl spreads, are deep fried, covered in a buttery hot sauce, and you end up eating 1% meat and 99% greasy skin. This substitute is incredibly healthy, and showcases one of my all time favorite veggies. Cauliflower is packed with vitamins (C, K, folate, B5, and B6), fiber, and is is super low cal. This recipe has a very thin batter made of just water and chickpea flour, and then a light coating of hot sauce mixed with a *tiny* bit of butter or oil (because you have to live a little).
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The blue cheese dip I used was store bought, but you could easily make a greek yogurt based blue cheese dip to save even more calories. Serving along with the traditional carrot and celery garnish gets you even more veggie points. Everyone wins. Well, except the team that doesn’t. But who’s really watching the game anyway?
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Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
makes about 40 “bites”
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What’s in it:
1 medium head cauliflower, broken or chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (or any flour you have)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon honey (optional, if you like a slightly sweet wing)
1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil if you want it to be vegan)
2/3 cup hot sauce

How to make them:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, water, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth.
3. Toss cauliflower pieces in the batter until each piece has a light, even coating. Spread the battered cauliflower on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
4. While they cauliflower is cooking, combine the hot sauce, butter, and optional honey and microwave for 30 seconds.
5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and dip each piece in the hot sauce mixture, and place back onto the baking sheet, flipping each piece in the process. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until cauliflower is browned and crispy.
6. Serve with blue cheese or yogurt dip, carrots, and celery.
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Enjoy!
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Dec 132015
 

Growing up in a half-Jewish home, Hannukah meant a lot of things to me. It meant lighting the menorah (which sat on our mantle above our hanging stockings) every night and placing bets on which candle would last the longest. It also meant underwear night, which was the night that instead of cool gifts, we got new underwear (don’t ask). And of course, it meant good food with a great family–including latkes. With one night of Hannukah left, it’s not too late to get in your latke fill. This version has some extra veggies, extra color, and some upgraded toppings.
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This grown up version version is made with butternut squash and beets in addition to the standard potatoes and onions which make them healthier, tastier, and prettier all at once. The topping are just as important as the base, and I served mine with some homemade chunky apple sauce or with a yogurt-chive sauce and smoked salmon. I liked them, a lat…ke.
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The one issue I have had with latkes in the past is the pain of grating all the veggies. This year I enlisted my new spiralizer and spiralized all the veggies using the thinnest blade. Not only was this much easier, but it also made gorgeous spirals that added a cool shape to the latkes.
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Nutrition highlights: These latkes are way healthier than your average latkes with added phytochemicals, antioxdiants, and fiber from the beets and butternut squash. They also get a little protein from the eggs that bind them together. By making my own apple sauce, I could make sure it didn’t have too much added sugar, and instead of sour cream, I made a creamy sauce with fat free greek yogurt. Although I still pan friend mine, you could also bake these instead for a lower fat version.
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Beet, Butternut Squash & Potato Latkes
makes 15-20 small latkes
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What’s in them:
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
Approximately 1/3 butternut squash, peeled*
1 small or medium onion
2 large eggs, egg
1/3 cup whole wheat or regular flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the cooked latkes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil) for pan frying
Optional toppings:
– homemade or store bought apple sauce
– chive-yogurt sauce or low fat sour-cream with or without smoked salmon

For the chive-yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make it: combine all the ingredients, stir, taste, and season to taste.

For the apple sauce:
2-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
To make it: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until apples are very soft. Taste and add additional sugar/spices to your tastes. For chunky sauce, just smush the apples a bit with your spoon as they cook. For a smooth sauce, run through the blender or food processor.

How to make them:
1. Shred all the vegetables using a box grater or thinnest spiralizer blade. If using a spiralizer, run a knife through the spiralized veggies a few times so the strands are not too long.
2. Wrap veggies in paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Careful with the beets…those guys stain like woah.
3. Combine the veggies, egg, flour, salt/pepper and stir until well combined. Note, everything will look pretty red at this point, that’s ok.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high, once hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the pan per latke, making sure you leave enough room for flipping. Flatten mounds slightly while they cook. After 2-3 minutes or when golden brown, flip the latkes and cook the reverse side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel lined wire rack or plate to cool.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil per batch and continue until all your latkes are cooked.
7. Serve with your choice of toppings (I did half apple sauce, half chive-yogurt with smoked salmon). Enjoy!

*Note: you want to have approximately equal amounts of potato, beets, and butternut squash so you can adjust the amount you use of each based on the size of your veggies
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Jul 072015
 

This just in–trends are no longer just for clothes, shoes, and hair. Food trends are taking the world by storm. Kale, for example. I’m pretty sure kale existed in nature before 2013, but I sure hadn’t seen, tasted, or juiced it before. Now it’s everywhere all the time (and I’m not mad about it). Don’t get me started on “bone broth”. And if I see another instagram post of a big fluffy donut or ice cream sandwich…well let’s be honest, I’ll probably just like it. And finally, the trend I’m talking about today–toast. So simple, so versatile, so delicious. I’m jumping on the toast train with 2 simple toast recipes: Avocado, Lemon, Chili & Sesame and Blackberry-Nectarine Ricotta & Honey.
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Guess how long it took me to make not one but TWO awesome toast varieties you see below. Just GUESS. 10 minutes, that’s how long. The key to toast success is three fold. One, you need perfect toasted bread. None of that processed pre-sliced stuff here. My favorite is something sturdy and seedy like a multigrain loaf. Two, fresh, simple toppings. Here I used avocado brightened up by fresh lemon juice, and ricotta topped with seasonal fruit. Three, texture and color. Don’t underestimate the power of some black sesame seeds, chili flakes, and lemon zest or toasted pistachios and a drizzle of honey to make your toast that much more exciting.
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The real beauty of the toast trend is that it can be eaten for any meal of the day. It can be a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even an impressive appetizer when you have guests over. You can add a poached egg on top for extra protein, or some fresh greens to get in an extra serving of veggies. The possibilities are endless.
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Nutritional Highlights: Toast is an amazing vehicle to get a variety of macro and micro nutrients into one meal. Using a healthy whole grain bread provides fibers and healthy carbs. My avocado toast has tons of healthy fat (adding an egg would up the protein too). The ricotta version has healthy fat and protein from ricotta (which is pretty low calorie compared to other cheeses at 50 cal per 2 tablespoons) and pistachios, and tons of vitamins from the fruit. Skip the honey if you’re watching your sugar intake, but I love the touch of sweetness. The other great thing about toast is it’s essentially just an open faced sandwich (duh) so you’re only eating 1 slice of bread instead of 2 to manage carbs and portions. I’ll toast to that.
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Two Perfect Toast “Recipes”
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Avocado-Lemon Toast with Sesame & Chili

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 large avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each fresh lemon zest, chili flakes, and black sesame seeds, a few cilantro leaves

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 of the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slice the remaining 1/4 avocado thinly.
3. Spread the toast with the mashed avocado and then the sliced (note: using the mashed and sliced combo is for aesthetic purposes only…if you’re not serving this to guests feel free to just mash it all!)
4. Top with the chili flakes, lemon zest, black sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and additional salt as needed.

Ricotta, Nectarine, & Blackberry Toast with Pistachios and Honey

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
3 tablespoons ricotta
Fresh fruit: I used 1/2 nectarine and about 8 blackberries, but any berries/fruit would work!
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1 Tablespoon toasted pistachio (or other nut) and a drizzle of good honey.

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Top with the ricotta, arrange fruit, sprinkle nuts, and drizzle with honey.
3. Eat.
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Mar 302015
 

In honor of Easter, I figured it was appropriate to make some “rabbit food”. Some really really tasty rabbit food that you should eat ASAP. This is my favorite hummus I’ve tried in a while, and the color is absurdly awesome. I’m hoping that if I make enough springy food, then the weather might catch on and stop being so miserable and cold. Wishful thinking…
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Homemade hummus- SO much better than the store bought stuff it’s not even comparable. The best part is it’s also SO easy to make. You throw things in a food processor and press a button, doesn’t get much easier than that. This recipe does have an extra step to roast the beets, but the subtle sweetness and gorgeous color it gives is so worth it.
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Nutritional highlights: Beets get that awesome red color from a phyto-chemical called betalain, which have mega anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties. Simply put, it does good things for your body and you should eat it. In addition to the beets, we also have lots of fiber and protein from the chickpeas, heart healthy garlic, healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini. One thing to note about homemade hummus: it doesn’t last as long as the store bought stuff (because it doesn’t have any of those nasty preservatives, duh). So eat in less than a week…don’t think that will be problem. Extra bonus: This recipe is gluten free and vegan/vegetarian!
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Roasted Beet Hummus
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
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What’s in it:
1 large or 2 small red beets
1 can chickpeas (15 oz, try for the less sodium kind)
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 1 tsp zest and about 2-3 Tbspn juice)
2 small cloves of garlic (or one if they’re mega)
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp good olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

How to make it:
1. Roast your beets (this can be done in advance or you can use a few left over beets). Preheat your oven to 400. Cut the beets in quarters drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 40 minutes until beets are tender (check by piercing the center with a fork). Set aside to cool.
2. Rinse and drain your chickpeas in a colander (this helps get rid of some of the extra sodium).
3. In a food processor, add the cooled beets, garlic, half of the lemon zest, all of the lemon juice. Pulse to combine.
4. Add the chickpeas and tahini. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil. Pulse until smooth.
5. If the hummus still seems too thick, add an additional Tbsn oil or water (for lower cal/fat) to thin it out.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse again to combine.
7. Garnish with a few chickpeas, remaining lemon zest, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve with any assortment of veggies, pita, or crackers, and enjoy!
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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!

Nov 202014
 

OK, it’s definitely a working title, but these meatballs are perfect little Thanksgiving bundles of joy. Have you ever thought on Thanksgiving, hey, what would happen if I took this mundane dinner roll and put a little bit of everything on my plate on it? And then you did it and realized your life had been changed forever? We’ve all been there, and although the future dietitian in my does not condone the regular consumption of stuffing, mashed potato, and gravy coated turkey sandwiches, on Thanksgiving anything goes. This year for my A Cappella group’s “friendsgiving” brunch, I decided to put this concept to the test in the form of meatballs. And so the pilgrim ball was born.
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These meatballs have a little bit of all your thanksgiving favorites–ground turkey, cranberries, stuffing, onions, and sage. On top of that, they are something that Thanksgiving dinner is usually not–super easy to make. You basically mix all the ingredients, roll into balls, cook, cover in gravy, eat, repeat.
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Nutrition Highlights: This is not the healthiest recipe you’ll find on my blog, but I have to say it still does have a few things going for it. One, it’s made with ground turkey, which is a lean protein source. Two, they’re individually portioned, which leads to inherent portion control (something that is not my strength on Thanksgiving). As long as you take it easy on the gravy (which can be high in fat) and cranberry sauce (which can be high in sugar), than you are good to go.
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Thanksgiving Meatballs (a.k.a Pilgrim Balls)
makes about 16 medium sized meatballs
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What’s in them:
1 1/2 lb ground turkey meat (I used half ground turkey and half sweet turkey sausage for extra flavor)
1 1/4 cup of herb stuffing cubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Other add in ideas: shredded carrots or chopped mushrooms to make these a little healthier

How to make them:
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Coat a 9×13 inch baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey/turkey sausage, cranberries, eggs, onion, sage, and salt. Add half of the stuffing cubes whole, and crush the other half in your hands a bit so they are more like bread crumbs. Mix everything together with your hands until it is all incorporated.
4. Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil and roll the mixture firmly into balls about the size of golf balls. Place the meatballs in the baking dish directly next to each other in rows (see photo). This will help them keep their shape while baking.
5. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and slightly brown on top.
6. Serve meatballs with gravy and cranberry sauce, and enjoy!
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Nov 112014
 

There is one great thing about the recent drop in temperatures…soup season is back! I typically stick to chunky vegetable soups and chilis, but I decided to see why people love creamy blended soups like butternut squash so much. I get it now.
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I think butternut squash soups can be too sweet sometimes, but not this one. It was loaded with spicy red curry paste, and savory garlic and onions, to contrast with the sweetness from the butternut squash and coconut milk. Topped with some crushed peanuts, pomegranate seeds (it works, I swear), and cilantro leaves, this was the perfect lunch all week long.
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Nutritional highlights: Butternut squash, like many winter squashes, is packed with beta carotene, which can be used in the body like Vitamin A, promoting healthy vision. It also has a lot of fiber, good for keeping things regular as well as lowering cholesterol. This soup is creamy, but still totally vegan! Light coconut milk and the natural starches in the squash give it the creamy texture we’re looking for without adding too much extra fat. The oil used in this soup is also coconut oil, which is a hot item right now. The research is still new, but coconut oil may be helpful with heart disease prevention, weight loss, and keeping our immune systems at their best (which we could all use this time of year).
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Thai Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup
makes 6 small or 4 large servings
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What’s in it:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion (yellow or vidalia), chopped
1-2 teaspoons (depending on preference) grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
1/4 cup red curry paste
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
Juice from 1 fresh lime
Toppings: Cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts, pomegranate seeds

How to make it:
1. In a large pot over medium heat, head the coconut oil.
2. When it’s melted, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the ginger and curry paste, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the squash cubes and vegetable broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is softened, about 20 minutes.
5. Let it cool slightly, and blend the soup until smooth (using an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender).
6. Return mixture to the pot and stir in coconut milk, lime juice, and salt (adding more to taste). Cook the soup on medium/low for another 10 minutes until it’s warm throughout.
7. Serve topped with peanuts, pomegranate seeds, and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!
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You can store leftovers in the fridge for about a week, or freeze extra portions for your winter hibernation that we all know is coming.
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Stay warm!
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