Mar 132016

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but there was a good excuse. Cramming for the RD exam unfortunately trumped cooking and blogging for the past month, but I am happy to say I am now officially a Registered Dietitian! There will be many RD approved (ahhh I can actually say that now!) recipes coming soon, and here’s the first–Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili.
Odds are you have a neglected can of pureed pumpkin in your pantry from your unachieved fall pumpkin pie goals. Well here’s the perfect way to use it up before pumpkin and chili season are no more (which the groundhog says will be soon, thank goodness). I actually made this chili months ago and completely forgot about it until I gleefully discovered a container of it while scavenging my freezer for dinner one night. Although I love the added nutrients the pumpkin provides, I have to say the flavor is pretty subtle in this dish. Still, this recipe met all my chili requirements–just enough heat, lots of veggies and beans, and of course, enough to provide me with a weeks worth of meals (and then some).
Nutritional Highlights: I love making chili because it is incredibly versatile and can incorporate just about any vegetable, any bean, any grain, and any meat. This one is about 75% veggies and beans and 25% lean ground turkey, but you can easily make it vegetarian by subbing cooked lentils or quinoa for the turkey. You get a little extra fiber and beta carotene from the pumpkin puree in this recipe, plus a slight sweetness to balance out the heat. A serving of this chili is the perfect well rounded meal, packed with protein, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
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Pumpkin Turkey & Veggie Chili
Makes about 6 servings
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What’s in it:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (or leave some of the seeds in for more heat)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 can pumpkin purée
1 cup of pumpkin beer (water or broth work fine as well)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans of beans (I used 1 kidney and 1 pinto), drained and rinsed
Optional toppings: Crumbled cheese (feta, goat, or cotija work well), cilantro leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime wedges

How to make it:
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeños and garlic and stir frequently, until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up into small pieces with your spoon. Season with the chili powder, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper and stir for another minute.
3. Add diced tomatoes, pumpkin, and beer/water/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed
4. Serve and top with crumbled cheese (cotija, goat, or feta), cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

– I find that chili is even tastier the next day, so feel free to make a head and reheat the next day.
– Feel free to add any additional veggies to make this even healthier–like zucchini, squash, corn, etc.
– For a vegetarian version, swap ground turkey for cooked lentils, quinoa, or any other high protein grain!
Here’s to this being the LAST cold weather recipe I post for a while. Maybe? Pretty Please?

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.
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.
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.
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).
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.

Jan 312016

People everywhere are predicting the big food trends that are coming in 2016. Things like poke, matcha, and acai bowls (or anything in a bowl for that matter) are definitely coming atcha this year. Another trend I’m particularly excited about? Breakfast salads.
I have to say it’s pretty brilliant. Why should salads be restricted to lunch and dinner? Why not start getting those greens in first thing? Nobody puts baby in the corner. Breakfast salads are here and there’s no end to the possibilities. Whether it’s a savory version with a fried egg on top or a sweet version like this one–with grapefruit, ricotta, almonds, chia seeds, and honey–breakfast salads are the perfect quick healthy way to start your day.
Nutrition Highlights: They say it’s the most important meal of the day, but breakfast can very quickly veer off the nutrition. The truth is most quick and easy options–like bagels, pastries, cheesy-bacony sandwiches and even many granola bars, yogurts and oatmeals–can be packed with added sugar and fat, and lacking in any real fiber or protein to get you going. A breakfast salad is the perfect way to make sure you’re getting a little bit of everything you need–fiber and vitamins/minerals from the greens and fruit, protein, fiber, and healthy fat from the nuts and seeds, and protein and calcium from the ricotta (or greek yogurt). The honey here is definitely optional and I would might omit it if I was using a sweeter fruit (like a pear), but with the tart grapefruit a tiny drizzle was perfect.
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Perfect Breakfast Salad Equation!
(a non-recipe recipe)
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What’s in it:
GREENZ- 2 cups (like arugula, kale, mixed greens)
FRUIT – 1/2 cup (like grapefruit, berries, mango, melon, apples, grapes, pears, pomegranate seeds)
NUTS- 1-2 tablespoons chopped, bonus flavor points for toasted (like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans)
SEEDY THINGS- 1 tablespoon (like chia, flax, amaranth, sprouted buckwheat, sprouted millet, quinoa, hemp seed)
DAIRY – 1/4 cup (like ricotta, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese)
DRIZZLE – Tiny drizzle of olive oil and/or honey and a sprinkle of salt
Other fun options – 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup whole grains (like cooked quinoa or farro), 1/4 cup cooked beets, anything else you can think of!

How to make it: Literally mix those things together and eat –> Breakfast of champions. Go.

Jan 102016

Resolution season is upon us–the gym is more crowded and the produce section is more picked over. While I’m not usually a New Years resolution fan (why are we waiting for January 1st, people?), I can get on board with cleaning up our diets a little, especially after the eating spree that tends to occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas (guilty). If you’re going to make one resolution this year, make it to eat more food that looks like this: mostly plant-based and exploding with color (and not the kind you find in sour patch kids, sorry).
The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about an hour to make and leaves you with 15 falafel, enough for 5 meals, so you lunches (or dinners) for the whole week are set. They may be cute and little but they have a HUGE amount of flavor and nutrition.
Nutrition Highlights: This recipe is vegan and gluten free but still packed with protein and fiber and is seriously filling. Here are a few of the key players:
-Chickpeas: high in fiber and protein so they keep you full and keep things moving along (if you know what I mean).
– Butternut Squash: get it’s bright orange color from carotenoids which turns into vitamin A in the body and helps support vision, immunity, and controlling inflammation. It’s also very high in fiber which helps keep blood sugar in check.
– Oats: Instead of flour, this recipe uses whole grain rolled oats to bind everything together, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and may help with heart health and blood sugar control.
– Turmeric: SO hot right now. I’m not ready to jump on the crazy turmeric supplement train, but it does appear to have some pretty powerful anti-inflammatory effects (and thus may help with arthritis, IBD, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions), so I’m not against sprinkling a little bit more in our food.
– Hemp seeds: OK, it’s another trendy one, but for a reason! It’s super high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and several minerals. Plus they’re nutty and tasty and crunchy…all good things.
And although I could go on for days about the benefits of each nutrient in these foods, the best part is they’re all real foods with nothing processed. Go plants!
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Butternut Squash, Turmeric & Hemp Seed Falafel
makes about 15 falafel (5, 3 ball servings)
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What’s in it:
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried well (*you can also soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight)
– 2 cups cubed butternut squash
– 1/2 onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 cup fresh herbs, looseley packed and roughly chopped (I used half cilantro and half parsley)
– 3/4 cups rolled oats, divided
– 3 tablespoons hemp seed, plus extra for sprinkling
– 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (adjusted to you preference)

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put the butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl and cover (allowing a slight opening of steam to escape) with a microwave safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften the squash. **Alternately you could use leftover roasted/mashed squash or frozen pureed butternut squash.
3. While the squash is cooking, put half the rolled oats into the food processor or blender and blend into flour. Pour back in with the rest of the non blended oats and set aside for now.
4. Put the onion and garlic into the blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, butternut squash, and spices (turmeric, cumin, salt, red pepper) and blend until well combined. Add the herbs and pulse so they get chopped up but not totally blended so the falafel stays yellow rather than green (for aesthetic purposes only).
5. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and mix in the oats and hemp seeds. If the mixture is warm (from the squash), put in the freezer for a bit so it gets cold and is easier to form into balls.
6. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Form the falafel mixture into golf ball sized balls (about 15). Spray the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with a few hemp seeds, flip and repeat with the other side.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the falafel and bake for another 10 minutes or until they falafel are slightly browned.
8. Enjoy falafel in a big salad bowl with lots of veggies like this one (mine has beets, carrots, broccoli, cilantro, pita chips and a drizzle of tahini) or in whole wheat pita or just straight up. Really you can’t go wrong.
I think this is what they meant by taste the rainbow, right?

Dec 202015

Tis the season to be jolly…and also to eat and drink excessively while wearing ugly christmas sweaters at about 14 different holiday parties. Oh, you know what I’m talking about. Sweets at holiday parties are inevitable, so here’s a slightly healthier option that will still satisfy your sweet tooth. You can even leave a few out for Santa too…I hear his cholesterol was a little high this year.
These truffles have a whopping 4 ingredients, and 2 of them barely even count: dark chocolate, avocado (yup, I said it), vanilla extract, and sea salt. You can roll these in pretty much any crushed up toppings, but for the holidays I kept it festive with crushed pistachios, coconut chips, and freeze-dried raspberries.
Added bonus, they take 0 real cooking, and all you have to do is blend up the avocado and mix it into dark chocolate that you melted in the microwave. Let it cool in the fridge and then roll into balls and cover in your favorite toppings and you have a seriously impressive dessert or gift to share for the holiday.
Nutritional Highlights: We’ve all heard that (thank goodness) dark chocolate has so great health benefits from antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals. This all goes out the window, though, in typical truffle recipes, which are made with cream, butter, and probably some corn syrup or another sweetener. This recipe maintains the integrity of the dark chocolate without adding any extra sweeteners or saturate fats, and even adds another powerhouse ingredient, avocado, which makes these truffles extra creamy and provides additional monounsaturated fats which have been shown to improve heart health, as well as fiber and B vitamins. The toppings I chose are also a whole lot healthier than the sprinkles and caramels that often top our truffles. The coconut and pistachios provide additional healthy fats and fiber, and the crushed dried raspberries add virtually no calories but a killer red color. One of these truffles can absolutely be part of a healthy, balanced diet!
Added bonus, these are gluten free (as long as you don’t use any gluten containing toppings) and can be vegan if you choose vegan chocolate.
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Dark Chocolate-Avocado Truffles
Makes about 12-16 truffles
(go for 16 and you have less calories per truffle!)
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What’s in them:
6 oz good dark chocolate, I used 72% cacao but you can go as dark as you like (about 1 cup chocolate bar squares, chunks, or chips)
1/2 cup pureed ripe avocado, about 1/2 large avocado or 1 small avocado
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Toppings of your choice: coconut flakes or chips, crushed nuts, crushed freeze dried fruit, cocoa powder, crushed candy canes, or any other toppings you can think of

How to make them:
1. In you blender or food processor, add the avocado, vanilla, and salt, and blend until very smooth. My avocado was slightly less ripe than I wanted it to be so it needed some help in the blender so I added 1 tablespoon of soy milk to provide a little extra liquid.
2. In a microwave safe bowl or double boiler melt your chocolate. If using the microwave, stir every 20-30 seconds to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Stop cooking as soon as all the chocolate is melted.
3. Mix the avocado puree into the dark chocolate and stir until well combined. Transfer to the refrigerator for about an hour to let the mixture harden.
4. Lay out a piece of parchment. Scoop small amounts of the chocolate mixture (a little less than a tablespoon) and use your hands to roll them into balls.
5. Roll the chocolate balls in your favorite toppings and enjoy!
6. These should be good at room temperature for about 2 days, but keep in the refrigerator or freezer to make them last longer.
It’s such a shame that I don’t have any more holiday parties to bring these too. Whatever will I do with 16 chocolate truffles…

Hope everyone’s holidays are filled with family, friends, and of course, a little chocolate!

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.
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.
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.
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

Nov 272015

Thursday November 26th, 8:27 pm: “I will never ever eat again.”
Friday November 27th, 9:02 am: “I’m starving, where is the pie?”

It happens to all of us: After feeling more stuffed Thanksgiving night than the bird in the middle of the table, somehow we wake up the next morning even more ravenous than usual. May it’s the sugar hangover. Maybe it’s the regular hangover. Or maybe it’s the fact that we know there’s a fridge full of leftovers that have somehow become even more delicious overnight. To combat those pie craving and get back on track, I made this hearty Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with stone ground oats, quinoa, and tons of healthy toppings. Let the leftovers wait until lunch time.
Homemade oatmeal is nothing like that stuff in the packets. By cooking it on the stove or in the crockpot with lots of spices (and in this case, a whole can of pumpkin), the flavor and texture are so much better than that instant stuff. And even though it’s not “instant”, it’s still pretty darn quick and can be done in 30 minutes on the stove (or overnight in the crockpot if you’re more a set it and forget it kind of person). The other secret to oatmeal nirvana is an amazing array of toppings–nuts, seeds, fruit, you name it. The world is your…bowl of oatmeal?
Nutrition highlights: In this recipe, I mixed two different grains (well one is technically a seed) to maximize nutrition. The steel cut oats provide complex carbohydrates and tons of fiber while the quinoa provide a complete source of protein, even more fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and folate among others. The can of pureed pumpkin (the unsweetened stuff!) adds more than just amazing flavor, it also is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and beta carotene. This recipe has virtually no added sugar but can be adjusted to your taste. The toppings can be incredibly healthy as well, with protein, healthy fats, and fiber from things like chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, or coconut. The best part about this is it’s will keep you seriously full until lunch time (but not in a unbutton your pants kind of way).
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Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Oatmeal Bowls
Makes 4-6 servings
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What’s in it:
1 cup steal cut oats
1/2 cup quinoa (any color is fine), rinsed
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (admit for no sugar added, add more if you like a sweeter oatmeal)
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like)
Topping options (any combination of your favorites): pomegranate seeds, chopped apples or pears, chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, toasted or candied pecans, slivered almonds, roasted coconut chips, (brown sugar or maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth).

Step -1. I skipped this part due to laziness, but many recipes recommend toasting oats/quinoa in a skillet with a little bit of coconut oil for 1-2 minutes prior to making the oatmeal.
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan on the stovetop.
2. Once boiling, add the quinoa and steel cut oats, turn heat down to low/medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in pureed pumpkin and spices and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
3. Add the almond milk and maple syrup and turn off the heat.
4. Serve with a little additional almond milk if you like a looser oatmeal. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

*If you prefer to use the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients and cook on low for ~6 hours.