Side Dishes

Chickpea Bolognese

chickpeas.jpg

Ok, so this may not be a typical meal that you would create on a weeknight...

BUT IT SHOULD BE!!!

It is quick, filling, tasty, high fiber, rich in vegetables, EASY, and affordable!

This is a fun twist on an Italian classic that is normally high in cholesterol and saturated fat!!! This will have your entire family reconsidering a MEATLESS MONDAY!!!!

food processor
food processor
ChickpeaBol
ChickpeaBol

Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup

soup.jpg

Thanksgiving is only 11-days away and I'm busting at the seams with joy and excitement! I absolutely LOVE this time of year! I love the anticipation of what each day holds. Yesterday, as I walked with my husband (Mike), I spent the majority of the time rambling about the different possibilities for Thanksgiving and how special this day was going to be. Almost as if I was willing it to be!  Of course I had to confirm that watching the Macy's Day Parade and reading the Black Friday ads were first on the agenda! I love an excuse to make a fuse, to throw a party, to gather with family and friends, the justification to showering others with gifts and the wonderful joy in the air of closing out another year with the hope and expectations of dreams to come in the looming year ahead! Its AMAZING!!!! It feels... HOPEFUL because I find I am more reflective this time of year than any other which allows me the chance to acknowledge the purposeful gifts and mighty ways God has shown up and showed off in my life!

Ok.... so I will stop digressing and get back to my point in writing this post.... THIS SOUP. AHHHHMAZING!  (and full of amazing nutrients as well!) If you really want to get creative this Thanksgiving and take the pressure off of providing a labor intensive meal... join me in my Laid-Back GREATFUL Holiday Extravaganza movement!!! I'm going rogue this year and getting away from traditional, and embracing more free time to enjoy the loved ones in my life!!!

I'll be serving up this amazing Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup alongside a fresh Cranberry & Spinach Salad with Turkey & Brie Crostini. Nutritious. Delicious. And Easy!!!

Soup 2
Soup 2

Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup                                                         (Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 1/2 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne (to your taste)
  • Salt + Pepper, to your taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (I recommend Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in half and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, add the maple syrup and cinnamon sticks to a large soup pot, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. You want the maple syrup to thicken and reduce to a syrup like the consistency of honey.

Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and add the orange flesh to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Add 1 cup of broth and puree until smooth. Slowly stir the sweet potato mixture into the thickened maple syrup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the apple cider, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and a pinch of salt + pepper. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bourbon (if using) and cream. Continue to cook another 5 minutes and then add the cheese + butter, cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is silky smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more broth to thin. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.

Whether you are planning a traditional menu or creating new menu, I would love to hear what you are planning on having for Thanksgiving! Regardless of your main entrée, make sure you serve it up with plenty of gratitude for the beautiful life that you lead!!!!

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

tart-4.jpg

Having company over and need a crowd pleasing recipe?

Want a creative recipe that showcases the beautiful heirloom tomatoes you found at the farmer's market?

Looking for a quick weeknight dinner option that provides flavor and nutrition for your family?

This recipe will be your new best friend!! This recipe is full of flavor, loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, and is ready with minimal effort in the kitchen!!!

tart 3
tart 3

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

Ingredients

  • Prepared Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed (I recommend Dufour’s Puff Pastry)
  • 1/3 cup Fig Preserves
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Salt + Pepper
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese or Burrata Cheese
  • 8 slices Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stack two pieces of puff pastry one on top of the other and press gently to adhere. Repeat with the other two sheets. Cut each pastry into a large circle or leave as a square. You may also make mini tarts by cutting the pastry into smaller circles or squares. Whatever shape you prefer works fine.

Place the puffed pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and spread about 1/3 cup of fig preserves over the puff pastry.

In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Add the cherry tomatoes to the balsamic mix and toss well. Arrange the sliced heirloom tomatoes over the puff pastry sheet evenly. Add the cherry tomatoes along with any remaining balsamic mixture left in the bowl. Sprinkle the tart with crumbled blue cheese.

tart 1
tart 1

Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes or until the crust if puffed and golden and the cherry tomatoes lightly burst. Remove from oven and top with torn mozzarella or burrata cheese and prosciutto. Let tart stand for 5-6 minutes to set. Garnish with basil. This tart makes 6 servings.

This tart is great to serve alongside a simple arugula salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette for lunch and/or dinner. This tart reheats very well! If you have leftovers, consider topping with a fried egg and serving for breakfast!

tart 2
tart 2

Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest

Smoked Salmon & Farro Salad 

img_6412-0.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked Farro
  • 2 diced Fuji apples
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

PREPARATION

Place farro in a medium saucepan. Cover Farro with water to 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook, uncovered, 30-35 min or until tender. 

Combine cooked Farro, diced apples, and next 4 ingredients (through celery) in a large bowl. Combine oil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over Farro mixture; toss to coat.

Moroccan Chickpea, Carrot, and Spiced Quinoa Salad

Tired of packing a boring sandwich for lunch?

Want to boost your antioxidant level by increasing your vegetable intake?

Want to wake up your taste buds with fresh, exotic flavors?

This quick and easy salad is perfect for you!

Don’t settle for a sandwich, when you can re-energize your body mid-day with this nutrient dense, flavorful dish!

You are worth it!

Moroccan Chickpea, Carrot, and Spiced Quinoa Salad

Yields: 4-5 Servings

Recipe Inspired ByHappy Hearted Kitchen

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Spiced Quinoa

  • 1 cup Tri-Colored Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup Salted water
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  •  1 ½ teaspoon Ground Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Roasted Chickpeas:

  • 2 cans Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed; Pat dry
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Salad

  • 8 Medium Carrots
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Local Honey
  • ¼ cup Raisins or Currants
  • 1/2 cup Raw Almonds, Sliced or Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss chickpeas with spices. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until chickpeas are slightly brown and crunchy. Toss the chickpeas halfway through cooking time to evenly cook.
  2. Rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add rinsed quinoa and water to a pot and season with salt. Add in spices. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, slice carrots into ribbons.  Drizzle with olive oil, honey and lemon juice and set aside.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add to the carrots. Mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

If you are taking this salad for lunch, go ahead and portion into individual servings so the dish is ready to go when you are!

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Need a quick weeknight dinner idea?

NutriFocusRD has got your answer!

This creamy, nutritious soup hits the spot!  It is a guaranteed family favorite!!

unnamed[2]
unnamed[2]

Creamy Tomato & Tortellini Soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ lb. Italian Sausage
  • 1 Diced White Onion
  • 24oz Organic Marinara Sauce
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 32oz Reduced Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 8oz Diced Bella Mushrooms
  • 4-5 cups Fresh Organic Baby Spinach
  • 16-20oz Frozen or Refrigerated Whole Wheat Cheese Tortellini
  • ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • French Bread or Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (Costco)

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, add EVOO, diced onion, and Italian sausage. Cook until sausage is brown.
  2. Add marinara sauce into the meat mixture and stir well.
  3. Using a whisk, stir in cream cheese until blended well. Once blended, add chicken broth and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, baby spinach, and cheese tortellini to broth and combine well. Allow to simmer for 7-9 minutes.
  5. Serve soup warm, topped with 1-2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, and with a warm, crusty French bread for dipping! Enjoy!!!
unnamed[1]
unnamed[1]

Gambling on Meat? Grass-Fed or Grain-Fed?

unnamed21.jpg
Confused by the hype of grass-fed versus grain-fed beef? Is grass-fed beef really worth the extra expense?

Today NutriFocus highlights 4 good reasons to consider choosing grass-fed beef....

  1. Grass-fed beef is much higher in nutrient levels. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta carotene.  Grass-fed beef has shown to have 4x the levels of vitamin E and 6x the levels of Omega-3 (compared to grain fed beef) which helps reduce the risk of arthritis, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies and autoimmune diseases.  It is also a good source of CLA which is a healthy fat that protects against cancer.
  2. Grass-fed beef is better for the animals. Supports a natural and humane approach to sustainable farming BC the animals are allowed to roam free on the land.
  3. Supports local farming science. Raising livestock on pasture requires knowledge and skill -- it is a true science!!
  4. Grass-fed animals are healthy and drug-free. Cows fed grain can suffer digestive problems because grain is not their natural diet and is not digested properly. This can lead to the use of  antibiotics and other medications which ultimately pollutes our food supply and environment.

This NutriFocusRD original recipe won me major points with my husband so I could not resist sharing this easy, slow-cooker meal with my NutriFocus Family!!!  This chili is super easy, full of fiber, powered with protein, and packed full with vegetables!  It is perfect for a weeknight dinner or to serve at your next tailgating party!! Best news is... it is even better the next day!!!  Hope you guys enjoy!!

Organic Beef and 3-Bean Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • unnamed[3]
  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 (29oz) can Tomato Puree
  • 1 (15oz) can Red Kidney Beans, Drained
  • 1 (15oz) can Cannellini Beans, with Liquid
  • 1 (15oz) can Chickpeas, Drained
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin (optional)
  • ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • 2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce

Directions:

Place ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Season with 1 Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 Tbsp Cumin, ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp Garlic Salt, and Ground Black Pepper. Cook until evenly brown. Drain remaining liquid.

Place the beef in your slow-cooker. Add in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, drained kidney beans, drained chickpeas, and cannellini beans with liquid. Season mixture with 1 Tbsp chili powder, dried parsley, garlic salt, dried basil, oregano, black pepper and sriracha sauce. Stir mixture well. Cover and cook on low for 8-hours!

Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and low-fat sour cream and serve alongside sweet cornbread muffins!

unnamed[1]
unnamed[1]

To Locate Local Grass-Fed Farms, Check Out the Eat Wild Website for Farms Across the Southeast!

3 Reasons to Start Eating Chickpeas!

unnamed1.jpg

I love foods that are versatile!!!  This is probably the main reason I love chickpeas!! Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis or stews.  I highly recommend that you consider roasting chickpeas as a tasty and inexpensive protein source!

unnamed[2]
unnamed[2]

 In addition to their versatility, chickpeas also offer 3 health benefits you do not want to miss.

  1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels: Research has shown that including 3/4 cup of chickpeas in your diet can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which in turn, lowers your risk of heart disease!  Research has also shown that individuals that consume chickpeas on a regular basis have better body fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower total cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels.
  2. Control Hunger Cues: Due to their high fiber and high protein content, this powerful combination will stabilize your hunger cues.  My consuming 1/2 cup chickpeas in your daily intake you are more likely to eat an appropriate amount of calories for your body due to more accurate hunger/fullness cues.  The long-term benefit means your body will rest at a healthy body weight.
  3. Improved Digestive Support: Did you know that 2 cups of chickpeas will give you approximately 28 grams of fiber? That is 100% of the recommended daily value!  Consider chickpeas a staple on your grocery list if you want good colon health. 65-70% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber.  This means the fiber is not digested until it reaches the very end of your colon which promotes healthy bacteria growth and reduces your risk of colon cancer!

Today, I'm sharing the easy concept of roasting chickpeas so you can always have a tasty, nutrient dense, meatless protein option available for your main entrée or for a snack!

Roasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:

unnamed[1]
unnamed[1]
  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Low Sodium Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Assorted Herbs and Spices of Your Choice (I like to use Dried Thyme, Oregano, Ground Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Rosemary)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pat dry.  Once dry, toss chickpeas with EVOO, assorted spices and herbs of your choosing, garlic salt, and ground black pepper.  Toss chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated with EVOO and herbs/spices.  Pour chickpeas onto baking sheet and spread out so that all chickpeas are in a single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  Stir chickpeas halfway through cooking process to cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot or cold.  This recipes makes 4-5 servings.

I like to serve roasted chickpeas on salads or over rice as a curry!  Roasted chickpeas are great to make hummus and delicious as a portable snack!!!  Be creative and enjoy this nutrient dense food!!!

unnamed[3]
unnamed[3]

Greek-Style Green Beans

photo1.jpg

Need a quick and simple side dish, but do not want to compromise your nutrient intake? 

Looking for a side dish that provides a nutrient-dense punch with delicious flavor?

Do you have 5-minutes?

If you answered yes, then Greek-Style Green Beans are the perfect side dish for you!!!

Greek-Style Green Beans are extremely versatile. They pair nicely with sandwiches, grilled wraps, or alongside chicken, tuna, or salmon salad. (Pictured below is Greek-Style Green Beans Mediterranean Chicken Salad from Whole Foods on a Bed of Greek-Style Green Beans -- Flavorful Lunch Idea That is Quick on Time and High in Nutrients!!)

photo[2]
photo[2]

These flavorful beans also provide the crunch that most individuals enjoy about potato chips.

Consider this dish for your next tailgating party. It can be served hot or cold and compliments all grilled meats, burgers, and sliders!

Greek-Style Green Beans:

photo[1]
photo[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Green Beans in a Steamable Bag
  • 2-3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach Leaves
  • ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or Coconut Oil
  • ½ Red Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
  • Garlic Salt to Taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Microwave green beans according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté baby spinach and diced red onion in a skillet over medium heat. Once green beans are cooked, add the beans to the spinach and onion mixture. Gentle toss in crumbled feta, garlic salt, pepper and olives. Serve hot or cold.

Salsa Verde Mexican Potato Hash

recipes-01.png

Mexican Potato Hash:

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 Russet Potatoes, Grated or 1 Bag Refrigerated Potato Shreds
  • 1 Onion, Diced or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • ½ Tbsp Ground Red Pepper
  • Garlic Salt (to taste)
  • Ground Black Pepper (to Taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Salsa Verde Chicken or Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
  • ¼ cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese or 50% Reduced Fat Cabot Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
  • Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • Sliced Jalapenos (optional)
  • Sriracha Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Heat coconut oil in large skillet. Mix grated potatoes, onion, cumin, ground red pepper, garlic salt, and ground black pepper together. Place in skillet in flat layer. All potatoes to cook around 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Flip potatoes over which may need to be done in segments. Cook another 7-9 minutes. Meanwhile saute spinach in skillet until wilted. Re-heat Salsa Verde Chicken or shred rotisserie chicken to prepare for assembly.

Place 2/3 – 1 cup shredded potatoes on plate. Top with sautéed spinach, 2 Tbsp shredded cheese, salsa verde chicken, sriracha sauce, sliced jalapenos, and a dollop of low-fat sour cream. Recommend serving with a salad or roasted vegetable of choice!

photo 1[1]
photo 1[1]

Roasted Tomato Pie

It's Not Summer Until You've Enjoyed A Roasted Tomato Pie!! ROASTED TOMATO PIE InspIred by 2FrugalFoodies Deep Dish Pie Crust 8-10 Tomatoes Fresh Basil Leaves 1/2 cup Low-Fat Hellman's Mayo Dried Oregano 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

To Roast Tomatoes: Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil. Slice tomatoes into 1/2- inch slices and lay flat on baking sheet. (It usually takes about 2 baking sheets.) Baste tomato slices with EVOO, sea salt & ground pepper. Bake in oven for 45-55 minutes.

Increase oven temp to 400 degrees. Bake pie crust for 10-minutes. Take out and pie crust and place 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese at bottom. Layer 1/2 tomatoes with 1/2 Fresh basil leave and repeat once. Top tomatoes with mayo mixture (mix mayo, Parmesan, pepper, Salt, and oregano) and remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. ENJOY!!!

IMG_3132.JPG
IMG_3132.JPG

Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad

I LOVE summer!!! When it comes to fresh produce, no other season compares!!! The bright colors of fruits & veggies, the fragrant smell of fresh herbs, and abundance of local farmers markets, can entice anyone..... I fell victim this weekend when I made a trip to Pepper Place Farmer's Market located in Birmingham .... I came home with arms loaded!

20140804-200339-72219343.jpg
20140804-200339-72219343.jpg

One dish I created from my farmers market trip was inspired by MyRecipes.com. This recipe is quick, easy, and full of summer flavors!!!

20140804-202212-73332712.jpg
20140804-202212-73332712.jpg

Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad:Serves 4Salad Ingredients: 3-4 Heirloom Tomatoes (a variety of colors add dimension) 3-5 Small Tomatoes (green zebras, red zebras, and yellow tomatoes) Handful of Cherry Tomatoes 2 Peaches, Diced 1 Red Onion Diced 1 Large Avocado, Diced Sea Salt Ground Black Pepper 1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese Handful of Purple Basil, Shredded Salad Dressing: 1.5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar Salt Ground Black Pepper 2 teaspoon Honey

Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Mix EVOO, sherry vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and honey in a bowl or shake in a small mason jar. Pour over tomato mixture. Gently fold in avocado, Basil, and crumbled feta cheese.

Serve as a side with sandwiches or grilled burgers. This salad also pairs great with grilled chicken, fish or pork, or as the main entree along side pecorino & pesto crostini!

20140804-202308-73388658.jpg
20140804-202308-73388658.jpg

Organic Tomato & Avocado Slaw

Feeling Sluggish?! Fatigue? Lethargic? Depressed? Frequently Sick?

Wake yourself up from the inside out!!!

Too often we focus on what we need to REMOVE from our diets instead of ADD to our diets to improve our energy levels, reduce toxins, boost our immune system and promote health!

Removing “labels” such as good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy can change your perspective when it comes to your approach towards food. Food does not have a moral code, but it does offer health benefits!!!

How would your attitude & approach towards food and your body change it you started looking at food for its benefits and not its caloric content?! (Heard the term “missing the forest for the trees?”)  

photo[1]
photo[1]

Organic Tomato & Avocado Slaw:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sauerkraut
  • 2 Organic Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1 Large Avocado, Diced
  • ¼ cup Feta Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Gourmet Garden Basil Paste
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Lime Infused Olive Oil (I used Organic Persian Lime Oil from Oli.O Shop in Birmingham, AL – You can also use EVOO and Lime Juice)

Directions:

Warm Sauerkraut in microwave or on the stovetop. Once heated, add basil herb paste, feta cheese, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil (or EVOO mixture) and stir. Gently fold in tomatoes and avocado. Enjoy as side dish or as a garnish on eggs, tomato pie, salads, burgers and sandwiches.   

Benefits: fermented foods remove toxins and aids in improving digestion of foods. Tomatoes are full of antioxidants which fight cancer & boost immune system. Avocado provides healthy fats which improves brain function and development and allows you to absorb all the vitamins and minerals in other foods.

Remember, food has the power to give life and to heal so don’t shy away!

Dinner Gets Creative & Fun with Puff Pastry

20140723-153901-56341455.jpg

When meal planning, I get inspirations on what to make for the week by seeing what ingredients I have on hand. This helps me to think outside the box, reduce food waste, and save on my grocery budget! Last week I ventured out to try a new recipe (Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart) by Just A Taste. I had 1 puff pastry sheet leftover from the recipe and did not want it to go to waste…. So I got creative and Puff Pastry Pizzas were born!!!

The fun aspect of Puff Pastry Pizzas is that the options are endless in terms of flavor combinations!!!! This meal was super easy, inexpensive, and requires minimal cooking skills. This would be a great recipe for families to make together, for individuals to whip up on a whim, and couples to enjoy on a date night!

photo[2]
photo[2]

MUSHROOM & PESTO PASTRY PIZZA

Ingredients:

  • 1 Puff Pastry Sheet, Cut in Half and Score Around the Edges with A Sharp Knife
  • Basil Pesto
  • Portobello Mushroom
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Salt & Pepper
  • Goat Cheese (or Cheese of Choice such as feta, gorgonzola, etc)
  • Pine Nuts

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Once puff pastry is scored, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and gently pierce pastry with a fork to allow air to escape. Spread 2-3 Tbsp Basil Pesto on pastry.

While oven is warming, cut portobello mushrooms into long strips, coat with EVOO, garlic salt, and pepper. Sauté or grill portobello mushrooms until soft. Place mushrooms, pine nuts, and kalamata olives on pizza. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until pastry is slightly brown. Before serving, top pizza with goat cheese and cut into 4 slices.

20140723-153901-56341455.jpg
20140723-153901-56341455.jpg

BASIL & MOZZARELLA PASTRY PIZZA:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Puff Pastry Sheet, Cut in Half and Score Around the Edges with A Sharp Knife
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Marinara Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Portobello Mushrooms

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Once puff pastry is scored, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and gently pierce pastry with a fork to allow air to escape. Spread 2-3 Tbsp spaghetti sauce on pastry and top with fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pastry is slightly golden brown.

While pizza is cooking, cut Portobello mushrooms into long strips, coat with EVOO, garlic salt, and pepper. Sauté or grill portobello mushrooms until soft.

Once pizza is done, top with fresh arugula and mushroom slices. Cut into 4 slices and serve immediately.

20140723-154148-56508700.jpg
20140723-154148-56508700.jpg

BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR PUFF PASTRY PIZZA! SHARE YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR COMBINATION WITH THE NUTRIFOCUS FAMILY!!!

Roasted Okra .... Your New Favorite Food

Wash & Pat Dry Okra. Toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Place on a Baking Sheet in a Single Layer

Roast for 15 minutes!

20140617-070742-25662854.jpg
20140617-070742-25662854.jpg

ENJOY AS AN APPETIZER, SIDE DISH OR A NUTRIENT DENSE SUPERFOOD SUMMER SNACK!

Okra is high in antioxidants such as xanthin and lutein, Vit A & C & B, Calcium, Iron, and Fiber!

And the seeds are high in PROTEIN!

Easy Easter Side Dish

Need an easy and healthy side dish for Easter!!! Look no further than this flavorful and colorful dish..... Edamame, Cranberry, & Feta Salad makes 6 servings 2 cups frozen shelled edamame 2 cups dried cranberries 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil freshly grated pepper to taste 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Defrost edamame in microwave and allow to cool completely. Toss edamame and cranberries together with olive oil and pepper until combined. Gently stir in the feta cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from: www.loveandzest.com

National Nutrition Month 2014

20140319-144811.jpg

The theme of National Nutrition Month this year is "Enjoying the Taste of Eating Right." Do you enjoy what you eat?! Do you choose what you LIKE to eat versus what you SHOULD eat?! What criteria do you use to choose your food?!! Is your nutrition information accurate or factual?!!

Try adding JOY back into your diet!!! Try adding color with fruits and vegetables, add variety with different cooking methods, add fresh herbs that you plant at your home, take pride in your food, and take time to enjoy food!!!

In honor of National Nutrition Month I tried a new food to week. I tried ROASTED AVOCADO!!! And was glad I did!!!!

ROASTED AVOCADO: 1-2 Large Avocados, sliced into Quarters Olive Oil Sea Salt Pepper Garlic Powder

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve on a salad, sandwich, in a taco, or make roasted guacamole!!! Be creative!!!

20140319-144359.jpg
20140319-144359.jpg

I encourage you to seek the professional help and guidance from a dietitian if you feel you are overwhelmed or confused by the mixed messages in the media surrounding food. Get factual information and get guidance on how to improve your health!!! www.nutrifocusonline.com

<a

Do you know......? :

  • 1 cup serving of sweet potatoes contain 65% of daily amount of Vitamin C?
  • Sweet Potatoes are a great source for calcium, folate, and potassium
  • Sweet potatoes are a low glycemic food!  Sweet potatoes have an index of 17 which can be compared to a white potato with the index of 29
  • 90% of the world’s crops are grown in Asia
  • Sweet potatoes are great for your skin due to their vitamin A content!
  • Help reduce muscle cramps due to the potassium content
  • The Tater Day Festival, one of the few festivals devoted to sweet potatoes, is held in Benton, Kentucky each year!
  • Color-related phytonutrients (Cyanidins and Peonidins) help to lower the risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals in the digestive tract

Want a recipe idea for sweet potatoes? Try to following recipe from Eating Well -- It's delicious!

photo
photo

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

4 servings, 2 fritters & 1/2 cup beans each | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (see Note), divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 lime wedges for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  4. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Bring on the Brussels Sprouts!

As members of the cabbage family, it is easy to see by their cabbage-like appearance.  Typical Brussels sprouts range from 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Brussels sprouts are readily available year-round, but the peak season is from September to mid-February.

A firm sprout, with small bright-green head is indicative of a sweet taste.  When choosing sprouts, look at the size for taste, but also for cooking purposes.  It is important to choose sprouts of similar size so they will cook evenly.

To store the sprouts properly, remove any loose leaves and place the unwashed Brussels sprouts in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  You can expect most sprouts to store for approximately 3-4 days before the flavor begins to turn unpleasant.

To cook sprouts properly, wash each Brussels sprout, pat dry, and trim the stems.  Brussels sprouts should not be cooked for more than about 10 minutes.  Their green color should remain intense.  A drab color is indicative of overcooked sprouts.

Why Eat Brussels Sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer.
  • Brussels sprouts may have a detoxing effect on our bodies due to their content of glucosinolates and sulfur.  Enzymes in our cells required for detox, can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates.
  • Our natural detox system also requires sulfur to run efficiently, which Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide in abundance!
  • Brussels sprouts are powerful dietary source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, and E. Vitamins A and C help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Anti-inflammatory response can result from the Vitamin K content in Brussels sprouts.  Vitamin K (also known as potassium), helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Other important vitamins:
  • Folate- necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron - necessary for maintaining red blood cell count

I tried a new recipe with hesitancy.  My favorite Brussels sprouts are at Ocean’s (www.oceanbirmingham.com) located in the Five Points area of Birmingham, AL.  The recipe I used was titled: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, which I found in the March 2011 edition of Cooking Light. Thank you to one of my awesome clients that brought me the magazine to session (you know who you are!!)

I started the recipe with cooking 4 pieces of Applegate Bacon (nitrite and nitrate free) in a deep dish skillet.

Once the bacon was cooked, I placed onion slices and dried thyme in the same skillet with the bacon drippings.  I allowed the onions to sauté long enough to turn soft and slightly transparent.

Blog Pictures 007
Blog Pictures 007

Next, I chopped the Brussels sprouts in half and added to the onion mixture in the skillet, along with 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

Blog Pictures 008
Blog Pictures 008
Blog Pictures 011
Blog Pictures 011

The mixture did not take long to bring to a boil, but once boiling, I placed the lid on the skillet and allowed to cook for approximately 7 minutes.  The recipe was ready to serve!  I plated the Brussels sprouts and sprinkled the fresh cooked bacon to add flavor.

Blog Pictures 013
Blog Pictures 013

Although the Brussels sprouts were not exactly like Ocean’s, they most certainly were close!!!  A super easy recipe helped add flavor and variety to my dinner plate.  I get tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’ green vegetables, so I’m pleased to share this simplistic recipe to help you add variety to your dinner plate as well!!  Hope you enjoy as much as my household did!!! I served the Brussels sprouts with boneless, center-cut pork chop topped with black cherry sauce (you can find recipe in an earlier blog!), baked sweet potato, and a slice of rosemary sourdough bread! The total amount of time spent on cooking was approximately 30 minutes!   

Bon Appetite!

Blog Pictures 014
Blog Pictures 014

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Other Time: 20 minutes Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

3 slices center-cut bacon, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 cups presliced onion 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain.

2. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

(You can find the recipe in the March 2011 Edition of Cooking Light or on the web at www.cookinglight.com)

National Nutrition Month - GO GREEN!

Green fruits and vegetables get their color from the plant pigment called chlorophyll! Chlorophyll may help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration which leads to blindness, in combination with lutein. Lutein can be found in spinach, dark leafy greens, green peppers, peas, cucumber, and celery.

Not only will you get lutein from eating your greens, but also a certain vitamin B known as FOLATE!  Folate helps reduce the risk of birth defects!

Other great green produce includes: green apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, honeydew melon, kiwi, lettuce, limes, peas, zucchini

In the spirit of National Nutrition Month,  I added COLOR to our meal last nigth by incorporating spinach!  I made a Basil-Potato Frittata (recipe can be found on www.myrecipes.com) which included eggs, cheese, basil, and potatoes but NO VEGGIES!  The problem was easy to solve. While sautéing the onion, I threw in 2 large handfuls of spinach and added both items to the mixture!  It did not alter the taste, but did increase the amount of vitamins and minerals we consumed!!  I recommend giving this recipe a try and be creative…. Add your own vegetable combination and let the NutriFocus family know about it!!

Blog Pictures 006
Blog Pictures 006

Basil-Potato Frittata

2 cups diced baking potato (about 1 large) Vegetable cooking spray 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, separated into rings 1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 2 tablespoons water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 4 egg whites, lightly beaten 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place the diced potato in a medium saucepan; cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook 7 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add onion; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Combine 3 tablespoons of cheese, basil, and the next 5 ingredients (basil through eggs) in a medium bowl; stir in potato and onion. Wipe skillet with paper towels, and recoat with cooking spray. Place skillet over medium heat until hot. Add egg mixture, and cook 6 minutes or until almost set.

Wrap handle of skillet with foil, and broil 1 1/2 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, and broil for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Drizzle vinegar over the frittata, and cut into 4 wedges. Serve warm.