Aug 192013
 

Oh HEY there! I’m finally back from my blogcation. But really, it wasn’t quite as relaxing as you might think. I was busy working with Kristy from ohksocialmedia.com to move the blog over to wordpress and give it a spiffy new look. What do you think? And don’t worry, I was still cooking up a storm while I was away (a girl’s gotta eat) so I have some awesome recipes to share over the next few weeks. This first one highlights my absolute favorite summer ingredient: Peaches.
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This appetizer is perfect because it’s easy to throw together (so you can focus your efforts on sweating outside in the sun rather than in your kitchen) but still incredibly tasty and even pretty fancy looking. It also uses a whopping 5 ingredients- multigrain baguette, peaches, burrata, honey, basil…ok, and also olive oil, salt and pepper, but those don’t really count.
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Nutritional Highlights: The farmers markets are overflowing with peaches right now, which means you’re getting them at their peak nutritional level. That means you’ll be getting tons of vitamin A, C, E, K, fiber, and potassium. Quickly grilling the peaches develops the sweet flavor without losing any of those nutrients. Using multigrain baguettes for your crostini a great way to add in some fiber and whole grains and no one will notice the difference. Burrata, like most cheeses, may not be the healthiest food ever, but it is certainly one of the most delicious so a little goes a long way. It’s summer…you have to indulge a little.
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Peach, Burrata, & Basil Crostini
makes about 16 crostini
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What’s in it:

  • Whole grain baguette, cut into 1/4 inch slices on a diagonal
  • 3 ripe yellow peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into about 6 slices each
  • 6-8 oz burrata ball
  • 10 large basil leaves, julienned
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • salt & Pepper

How to make it:

1. Slice your crostini and lightly brush both sides with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toast in 2 batches in the toaster, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned and crispy.  You could also do this in the oven but you couldn’t pay me to turn on my oven right now.

2. Heat grill or grill-pan over medium high heat.  Spray your peach slices with olive oil spray and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, until there are nice grill lines and peach as softened slightly but is not mushy.  Set grilled peach slices aside.

3.  Construct your crostini by spreading 1-2 teaspoons burrata on the toasted baguette.  Season with a little salt and drizzle with honey.  Top with a grilled peach slice and julienned basil.  Enjoy!
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Jun 192013
 
I have a new theory:  The most dangerous time when you’re trying to be healthy is snack time.  Meals are more straightforward for me—am I eating a lot of produce, whole grains and protein?  Did it not come from a drive through window or a delivery man who remembers my name because I’ve been calling so much?  Then I’m probably doing pretty well.  But snack time is another story.  When you’re on the go or busy at work and you need a snack, it the options can be limited.  Most vending machines are filled with chips and cookies and even if you have a granola bar on hand, that may be secretly packed with sugar and processed ingredients.  So, one of my new favorite go-to snacks are roasted chickpeas.  You can make savory and spicy varieties or you can make sweet versions like these Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Chickpeas.  Either way, they are portable, healthy, easy to make, and won’t leave you with a guilty snack food hangover afterward. 



 I stole this recipe from my friend Kori at Paint and Tofu and it was such a yummy and easy one.  I’ve only tried savory roasted chickpeas in the past (because I am usually a salty over sweet craver, although I try not to discriminate).  It’s a great substitute if you love candied nuts, because it still gives you that sweet crunchiness but without all the fat and thick sugary coating that they often have.
Nutritional Highlights:  This is a great vegan and gluten free snack option.  As you all probably know, chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans) are packed with protein and fiber so this snack will keep you full longer.  I have to confess that there is still some sugar in this recipe, but only a small amount.  If you’re watching out for sugar, try a savory version like chili powder, lime, and garlic powder. 

 



Roasted Cinnamon-Sugar Chickpeas
Recipe Adapted from Paint and Tofu

Ingredients:

• 1 can (15oz) chickpeas

• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
Instructions:
• Drain the chick peas and dry them well on a paper towel. Drying is very important to crispify (it’s a word) the chickpeas properly so don’t ignore this step! You can peel the skins off if you’d like…I have found that it makes them crispier but it’s also a pain in the tush so I’ve given up on it.

• In a small bowl, whisk together oil, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Add chickpeas to bowl and stir until evenly coated.

• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 25-30 minutes on 375 degrees.

• Shake the chickpeas around, and drizzle with agave or honey.

• Bake for another 15 minutes and let cool.


Mar 302013
 

Happy Eastover!  Last year my rice crispie egg post definitely favorited the Easter half of Eastover so I thought this year should pay tribute to the passover half.  I have to start off by making it clear that the future dietitian in me DOES NOT endorse this recipe.  But the inner fat kid in me?  She definitely endorses this recipe.  This Dark Chocolate-Toffee Matzo Bark is one of the most addictive things I’ve made in a while.

There are so many great things happening here. It’s crunchy, sweet, salty, and basically melts in your mouth.

A few of the toppings can give this a healthy disguise, but don’t be fooled…it is not.  The slivered almonds, dried, cranberries, pistachios, whole wheat matzo and dark chocolate- pretty healthy. The butter and brown sugar caramel hiding under the chocolate- NOT healthy.

Hope everyone has a happy healthy Passover or Easter.  Or if you’re me, BOTH!

Dark Chocolate-Toffee Matzah Bark with Pistachios, Almonds, and Cranberries

adapted from David Lebowitz

Ingredients:
  • – 6 to 8 sheets unsalted whole wheat matzohs
  • – 3/4 cup  unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • – 3/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • – big pinch of sea salt
  • – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • – 1 cup (160g) semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used a mixture)
  • – 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for drizzle
  • – Optional Toppings:  1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios, 1/2 cup dried cranberries.  (other options: toasted coconut, walnuts, orange rind, or anything else you can think of!)
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
3. In a 3-4 quart (3-4l) heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F (175C) degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.
5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.
Note: If making for passover, omit the vanilla extract or find a kosher brand.
Apr 122011
 

 In case you didn’t know, March was National Nutrition Month!  I guess I’m a little late spreading the word, but better late than never, right? In honor of this important holiday, the hospital I work at had a healthy cooking demo with the head chef Pnina Peled(who’s been on Chopped a few times!) and a R.D. (registered dietitian for those of you that don’t know…and what I’m currently in school to become) about creative ways to prepare veggies.  This was one of the recipes she prepared, and it was so simple, colorful, and tasty that I had to give it a try.

You’re going to be shocked when I tell you how few ingredients go into this–cauliflower florettes, chickpeas (optional), curry powder, olive oil, and salt (and I added some cayenne pepper for added heat).    This is a perfect snack or side dish…so curry up and make it (hahahah, get it? curry up?).  


Nutritional Highlights:  The key point of the cooking demo was that just because it’s a vegetable, you can’t assume it’s healthy.  Do you like to cover your vegetables in butter, oil, or cheese?  Well you’re kind of missing the point there.  BUT,  did you know that the WAY you cook the vegetables influences their nutrient content.  For example, because many vitamins are water soluble, when you boil vegetables, all those nutrients seep out into the cooking liquid.  Also, cooking your vegetables too long reduces the nutrient content.  Therefore, the nutritionist suggested roasting as a way to preserve the integrity of your veggies.  Add a little bit of oil and lots of spices, like in this recipe which utilizes an incredibly heathy cruciferous vegetable.  So I guess we missed National Nutrition Month, but maybe we should try celebrating all year round??


Curry Roasted Cauliflower


Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets


1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (I used cayenne pepper for more heat)
1 tablespoon curry powder ( or to taste)

Optional–One can drained chickpeas (as dry as possible)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 450.  In a bowl, toss the cauliflower pieces with oil and seasonings and spread on to foiled baking sheet.  Roast for about 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. It’s done when the cauliflower is just tender and browned, and the chickpeas are slightly crisp.  Enjoy as a snack, side dish, or in a salad.  


Mar 262010
 

There are two important things this post is going to accomplish. 1) share my recipe for a healthier homemade granola, and 2) serve as the birthday card I forgot to send my mom. So happy birthday mom, from you responsible, thoughtful daughter. But this really is a perfect post to dedicate to my beautiful mother on her 39th birthday (see, I’m winning points back already). Like me, my mom starts the day with yogurt, fruit, and granola…breakfast of champions.

addendum: for those of you who didn’t pick up on my web-sarcasm, my mother is not, in fact, 39 years old (which would have made her eligible for MTV’s 16 and pregnant). We have been celebrating her 39th birthday for quite some time now…


So why go to the trouble to make your own granola? Let’s say you’re at the grocery store thinking it’s time to get healthy. What better place to start than with breakfast. You pass right by the sugary cereal even though Captain Crunch and that jolly leprechaun are calling your name. Good work. You see some granola and you think…now that must be healthy…and throw it in the cart. Although granola can be packed with nutrients, the store bought varieties can also be loaded with sugar and fat (yeah, even granola is made with partially hydrogenated oil). That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands.

So I went to the store and picked up some dried fruit (I went with dried apples and blueberries), some nuts (pecans, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds were my go to), and wheat germ. I already had the other ingredients in the pantry: flax seed meal, oats of course, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, canola oil, and apple juice. There are a lot of ingredients that go into this recipe, but once you buy them once you’ll see how easy and quick it is to throw this recipe together.

Step 1: mix the dry ingredients: Oats, nuts, flax seed, wheat germ, and cinnamon.

Step 2: mix the “wet” ingredients separately…that’s your honey, vanilla extract, apple juice, canola oil, and brown sugar (even though that’s not really wet). Pour this into the dry mixture and stir. Stir again.

Oh wait…step -1: preheat your oven to 300.

Step 3: Pour mixture onto a baking sheet. Don’t make the same mistake as I did and use a pan with no edges. Some of the oats will dive off the side of the pan and burn at the bottom of your oven. Doesn’t smell so hot.

Step 4-6: Cook for 10 minutes, stir…Cook for 10 minutes, stir…and finally, cook for 10 minutes and take it out of the oven.

Step 7. While the granola is cooling, get the dried fruits you’re using ready. I used dried blueberries and chopped dried apples which was scrumptious. Next time I will try cranberries and apricots. What ever makes you happy. Or if you’re a traditionalist like my mom, you could go fruitless.

Step 8: Once the granola is cool, mix in the dried fruit.

Step 9: Put the granola on your kitchen windowsill and watch the beautiful sunset over the east river. Or is that just me?

Nutritional highlights: This homemade granola is very low in fat and sugar which is the fatal flaw of most store bought varieties. The rolled oats are a great source of fiber, almonds can help lower cholesterol and give you protein, and the dried blueberries have tons of antioxidants. Another key thing with granola is portion control (not one of my strengths). Although this recipe is incredibly nutrient rich, it still has a decent amount of calories so try to eat 1/3 cup servings. I also sometimes mix 1/4 cup granola with 1/4 cup fiber cereal to “thin it out” if you will.


Happy birthday mom!!!!


Granola:


3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon (depending on your preference)
1/2 cup apple juice
1-2 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit


Directions:


Preheat oven to 300
1. Mix first 7 ingredients (dry ingredients)
2. Separately mix wet ingredients (everything else except the dried fruit)
3. Stir wet mixture into dry. Spread onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and checking often.
5. Let granola cool and then mix in the dried fruit. Enjoy!!