Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Healthified}

I am very excited for my first post with The Recipe Redux! What better way to start blogging with a group of fabulous RD’s and food-bloggers than with a recipe from my childhood.

So, what is this Recipe Redux that I speak of? It is “the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you.” Dietitian and communication experts Regan Jones, Deanna Seagraves-Daly and Serena Ball (of Teaspoon Communications) “founded the group on the belief that healthy eating should always taste delicious.” Just as many other RD’s, that is exactly why I started blogging!

Our challenge this month was to “Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of our first cooking memories.” When I think about my culinary background, I think of both of my grandmothers and my mom. While I can’t say that I picked up all of my cooking skills from them, I did pick up my philosophy to always use real ingredients when preparing meals. I am thankful for this because, despite only wanting macaroni and cheese for a couple of years of my childhood, the eat real philosophy helped me become the dietitian I am today!

My paternal grandmother was the 100% Italian cook.  She’d be in the kitchen much of the day, making dishes from scratch that wowed everyone. While I never ate them (and got hell for it from my family members!), her sausage and peppers as well as her meatballs were a hit with any crowd. So were her stuffed peppers. My favorite was her eggplant. Despite the delicious meals, she never taught any of us how to make them or involved us in the cooking! Cooking for us and not with us was her way of showing love. Needless to say, I am not sharing one of her recipes!

While I was apparently obsessed with my maternal grandmother’s beef stew growing up (the only beef I think I ever liked), it is her baking that I remember the most. My mom made plenty of great balanced meals when I was a kid too but, when my grandmother passed away, it was her baking recipes that I continued making with my mom too. While I thought about making my mom’s amazing blueberry cake for the redux, with it being fall I decided on some oatmeal cookies! I know, it is supposed to be a healthy dish from childhood. Well, I have “healthified” the recipe!

Versus the original, I switched the flour from white to a sprouted whole wheat, eliminated the white sugar, switched the milk chocolate chips to 85% dark and added a ground chia/flax blend for some omega-3’s. I am sure they were this way when my grandmother made the recipe as a child but, I used grass-fed butter from pasture raised cows and certified humane eggs from pasture raised chickens too. These factors are extremely important to me when I do make the exception to consume animal products in my diet.


Guess what? With the boost of health in these cookies, they are just as delicious as the original! I know, I am biased. So is Tim who tested multiple batches without complaining🙂. But, my co-workers and Tim’s co-workers gave the stamp of approval before the last tweaks were made to perfect these baked beauties. The texture is chewy with a bit of fluffiness. I recommend taking them out on the early side if you’re into more gooey cookies like me!

In memory of my Grammy and in honor of my Mom and the real food philosophies they instilled in me, here are my Grandma’s healthified oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I hope you love them as much as me!

Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Healthified}

Makes 18-22 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 stick grass-fed butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milled flax and/or chia
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened soymilk (or other milk)
  • 1 Cup quick oats
  • 1 Cup sprouted whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon high quality cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 Cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a medium mixing bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter with an electric mixer until it is fluffy.
  • Add the egg and yolk, applesauce and vanilla and continue to mix until well incorporated.
  • Add the milled seeds and milk and again mix until well incorporated.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together all of your dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
  • Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet while beating with the electric mixer, until just incorporated.
  • Finally, stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
  • Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Do your best to practice portion control and share with others🙂

Enjoy!

Please check out posts from other members of The Recipe Redux below! I cannot wait to read and see what has inspired them from their childhood!

Comment below – what is your favorite recipe from childhood? Have you tweaked it so you can enjoy it in a more healthful way?

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Meal Prep for the Busy Athlete

I have shared several meal prep posts in the past but, with a new school year underway, many college athletes are looking for inspiration! I know you are probably thinking “don’t college athletes just get free training tables after all of their workouts?”. It doesn’t work like that if you aren’t competing for a fully funded athletic department, for example, in the SEC. If you are living an athlete-life like I did in college, you may be living off campus in your own apartment your junior and senior year, having the occasional on-campus meals with your younger team-mates extra meal plan swipes. For much of the rest, other than travel and competition days, you’re likely on your own!

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I am not here to tell you to measure and weigh out every gram or ounce of food you are going to eat for the week. Nor do I think you should eat the same thing everyday for lunch and dinner – please don’t do that!! Maintain some sanity as a student-athlete. What you do need to do, is remember that healthy eating for an athlete is not the same as healthy eating for a non-athlete. You still need your fruits and veggies – have lots of them! – but, you must ensure you have enough calories, healthy carbohydrates, and protein for the week. Here are some simple, inexpensive meal prep ideas for the busy athlete. Not in college? Not an athlete? It’s okay, you can eat this all too! You just might not need the same portions or need as many snacks during the day in addition to these meals.

In addition to what I prepped below, I recommend having the following on hand to go with what you prep:

  • Hummus
  • Guacamole or avocados
  • Cheese if you can have it, a cheese alternate if you can’t
  • A vinaigrette salad dressing
  • Peanut or another nut butter
  • Ezekiel or whole grain breads/tortillas

You need snacks too! In addition to using hummus, guacamole and nut butter mentioned above, having the following on hand means healthy fueling and recovery with snacks too

  • Low fat milk or soy milk
  • Low fat yogurt or soy yogurt
  • RxBars, Larabars, Clif brand bars such as Z bars pictured below
  • Hand fruits (apples, bananas, pears)
  • Dried fruits (raisins, dates, figs)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • NSF certified for sport / organic protein powder
  • Roasted edamame or chickpeas
  • Baby carrots

 

Here are the main foods that were prepped (black bean sliders and oats not pictured)

You’ve got some ginger and cayenne roasted tofu on the bottom left that cooked in the oven while sweet potatoes/oriental yams, broccoli, flounder, and chili lime shrimp were baking too. On the bottom right is bulgur to mix with black beans to stuff the peppers on top left and then use leftovers to mix with veggies and eat with the flounder or shrimp. Above the bulgur is lentil taco “meat”. Take my black bean taco recipe and use lentils instead of beans. Add some turmeric and ginger to the taco seasoning for an anti-inflammatory boost. Grab some Food for Life soft corn tortilla shells (see below) and guacamole and you’ve got multiple meals (yay leftovers!). The top right are my new pumpkin energy bites which are great snacks, especially before morning practice when you don’t feel like eating. Finally, make the black bean sliders in minutes to eat on whole grain bread or rolls with some dairy or vegan cheese and a side salad, the frittata to pair with potatoes and fruit for breakfast, and invest in a slow-cooker for slow cooker oats.

This picture highlights some easy healthy snacks & ingredients to keep on hand.

What do you do with all of this food you are thinking? Be sure to always pair a healthy carbohydrate with a protein source at meals and snacks. At meals, ensure you have a fruit or veggie and some healthy fat.

Sample day with double workouts:

Pre AM workout: 2 pumpkin energy bites

Post-workout breakfast: egg frittata w/ large prebaked sweet potato topped w/ hummus, side apple

Lunch: PB & banana sandwich and side baby carrots; yogurt

Pre-afternoon workout snack: Larabar

Post-workout dinner: 6 oz flounder, plenty of bulgur w/ a vinaigrette mixed in, roasted broccoli

Night snack: Bean brownie and 1 frozen banana blended with a scoop of protein and some almond milk

Easy, inexpensive options if you have a cost club membership such as BJ’s:

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Below is the ginger people ginger spread I put a touch of on the tofu.
I then sprinkled some cayenne before baking. Next is the powdered ginger, garlic and honey that I added to the shrimp. I also mixed in fresh squeezed lime.

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Tortillas I use for my tacos: 

And how they look when I pack them for work (may be easier as a dinner for a college athlete. Carrying this to class may not be the easiest):

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If you run out of food, later in the week these ingredients a plus a few eggs are all you’ll need for my quick and easy farro fried rice .It has the perfect carb to protein ratio for a post workout meal!
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I mentioned bean brownies for a post-dinner snack. I know you are a student-athlete and have no time to bake. Want to know one of my favorite ready-made healthy desserts? Pure Genius blondies! Athletes can work up an appetite that extends far past dinner so if I were still a D-I swimmer I may be snacking on one of these delicious bean brownies or blondies many nights with some peanut butter a couple of hours after dinner. They’re sweetened with maple and athletes can have a touch extra sugar. You’ll balance your blood sugar reaction from the maple syrup with fiber and protein because they’re made with beans and if you add PB like I suggested get a little bit more protein and healthy fats for recovery and joint health. Yay! {Disclosure: I was sent the 4 bars pictured below but, these opinions are my own. They’re in Whole Foods in NYC and CT and my sister was supposed to grab me some this past weekend in CT and they were out! Luckily I just got an email this morning for 15% off – head to their website to sign up!}

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Hope you use some of these tips for an energetic week with better recovery than last!

8 Healthy Recipes to Satisfy Your Carb Cravings

Happy Thursday readers! Today I am closing off my 5 post carb series with recipes from other registered dietitians. While you can check out my tips for pizza, pasta, and bread, healthy carbohydrates include many other foods!


If I had to pick my favorite healthy carb recipe on my whole blog, it would be my buckwheat oat pumpkin pancakes. Buckwheat has been shown in studies to help manage blood sugar versus other flours*. It is also gluten-free if that is something your diet requires.

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Enough about my recipes. I am excited to share healthy carbohydrate dishes that other nutrition experts have created, and enjoy, too! Let’s keep with the breakfast theme to start and then move to pastas, sliders and salads for lunch and dinner!

Boost your fiber intake with Lively Table’s Banana Nut Pancakes

Kaleigh McMordie of Lively Table has the right idea by utilizing the mighty oat often! “I use white whole wheat flour and ground oats in all of my pancake and muffin recipes for added fiber.” says Kaleigh. Fiber isn’t just important to “keep you regular”! This carbohydrate, only found in plant foods, also helps regulate your appetite and blood sugar, can help lower cholesterol, and support your intestinal bacteria.

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Ease Digestion by Making a low FODMAP Flour Blend

Having digestive issues and cutting out FODMAPs to see if symptoms improve? I’m sure your diet is feeling limited and you may be frustrated. Luckily, Glenda Bishop who specializes in using nutrition to calm symptoms of IBS, has created “a gluten-free and low FODMAP flour blend that’s much healthier than the store bought brands” on her blog A Less Irritable Life. While the media has made the gluten-free aisle at the grocery store sound healthy, those processed products are often low in the fiber and protein that are important for satiety and health. Bishop days this is “good for most recipes where an all-purpose gluten-free flour is needed”. Don’t  let IBS take the enjoyment out of eating – get back to some of your favorite foods!

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Increase Protein Intake with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from Nutritioulicious

Jessica Levinson of the super popular blog Nutritioulicious increases fiber in recipes when she can too. To boost health in pasta Levinson says “I add chickpeas and ricotta cheese to the sauce to boost protein…and make it a more satiating meal.” Just like fiber, protein helps to slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This prevents a blood sugar spike and keeps you feeling full. Try this Quick and Easy Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Pasta to satisfy your cravings for pasta and cream sauces.

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Add Starches to Veggies in a Green Goddess Pasta Salad

Stephanie McKercher over at The Grateful Grazer  packs veggies into her pasta salads to promote satiety. Stephanie says this dish “provides energizing carbohydrates without blood sugar spikes thanks to its high fiber content from whole grain pasta and a variety of green vegetables”. Don’t have the exact veggies she used? Toss in the veggies you do have on hand for a quick and healthy meal!

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Stabilized Blood Sugar with Plant-Based Protein and Citrus in this Legume Salad

Raquel, blogging over at Sincerely Nourished, created this great recipe with two of my favorite ingredients: chickpeas and lentils. Her “Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Dressing is packed with protein and fiber to balance out the energy you’ll get from the starches.” Acid in foods has also been shown to limit a blood sugar spike so the lemon is a great addition!

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Pair Healthy Fats with Carbs to Boost Satiety

Audra Zimmer, of And a Dash of Cinnamon, reminds us that “your brain loves to use carbs as fuel, and healthy carbs can do wonders for your body, as well. The key is to pair them with protein and/or healthy fats to help boost the satiety factor!”. Her 5 Ingredient Sweet Potato and Bean Bulgar Bowl sounds delicious! I recommend adding some avocado for healthy, satiating fat, too.

Hide Whole Grains in Foods You Love

If you or a family member isn’t too hot on a certain ingredient, mix it with an ingredient or into a dish that you love! I don’t recommend actually hiding it and keeping it a secret but, just like Kelli, blogging at Hungry Hobby ,did when her significant other was sick of quinoa, you can get healthy grains into many meals. Try her Quinoa Tuna Sliders for a change-up this football season!

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The key takeaways from this carbohydrate series and from my fellow dietitians above:

  1. Don’t deprive yourself from foods you love. You will just want to go overboard with them later and may feel guilty from doing so.
  2. Never feel guilty about eating a food just because the media or social media says you shouldn’t eat it. Allow yourself flexibility – if you enjoyed it, it was worth it. Just make your next day or meal a little healthier.
  3. Eat carbs in their natural form as often as possible. That means eat more plants!
  4. Pair starchy carbohydrates with fiber, fat, and protein to limit the blood sugar response and boost satiety.
  5. If you’re still confused, find a registered dietitian that can help you find your best diet!

*References: Journal of Jilin Agricultural University, 2009; 31(1):102-4

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Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

Pumpkin season is here, whether you like it or not!!! I am in the bunch of people who usually like to hold off until its really fall at the end of September buuuut people ask for pumpkin so my blog must deliver. I got to recipe testing and quickly came up with these bites and, I am shocked to say that I am now ready for fall food. I am not giving up my fresh zucchini and garden tomatoes yet but, it’s time to mix up the meals with some fall squash and touches of pumpkin spice.

Everyone (yes, everyone) needs snacks each day and these can help you feel like your snacks are indulgent while still being healthy. You can make these in under 5 minutes and have one for dessert to satisfy your craving for sweets! For a perfect energy balance to carry you physically and mentally from breakfast to lunch or lunch to dinner, pair 1-2 with some roasted edamame or an organic string cheese. Even better, 2-3 of these are a great pre-workout energy boost providing natural sugar, a touch of protein and some fiber so you don’t get hangry while you’re exercising!

Hope you enjoy these as much as me, my family and Mr. Scarecrow!


Peanut Cocoa Energy Bars (Veg, DF, GF)

Makes 16-18 pieces

Ingredients:

Bites

  • 1/4 C almond meal
  • 1 1/4 C pitted dates
  • 1/3 C oat bran
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (see below)
  • 1/4 C canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional: 2 tbsp melted dark chocolate chips

Pumpkin pie spice blend

  • 1/4 C cinnamon
  • 4 tsp ginger
  • *1 tbsp ea: nutmeg and allspice
  • 1 tsp clove

If you prefer less of the “spice”, reduce to 2 tsp and increase cinnamon by 1 tbsp

Directions:
  • First, stir pumpkin pie spice ingredients together
  • Reserve 1 tbsp for recipe and store the remainder in an airtight container
  • Add all ingredients to food processor
  • Pulse about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape sides of processor bowl
  • Roll a heaping tablespoon at a time in your hands into balls
  • Melt chocolate in a small ramekin in the microwave and drizzle over with a spoon if you desire
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to one week
Nutrition Information (Without Chocolate)

Serving Size: 2 Bites

Calories 100
Total Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: less than 0.5 g
Carbohydrate: 18 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 12 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 70 mg   2 %
Potassium: 160 mg 4%

Vitamin A: 12%   Calcium: 3 %   Iron: 4%

Yes I eat bread and I think you should too!

 

You might be thinking “but aren’t carbs bad” and “isn’t gluten going to kill me” and “oh my gosh Kelly eats processed bread”?! First of all, if you don’t have Celiac disease, an actual wheat allergy or serious issues with gluten, stop eating gluten free processed garbage. Second, whole grains, in their natural form provide you with fiber, protein and many antioxidants! If you want more info to support this, read about my terrible experience with low-carb dieting back in the day.

I’m not promoting just any bread here {just like I’m picky with pasta and pizza}. Ideally you purchase a loaf with locally ground flour that is baked on site and is loaded with whole grains and delicious seeds but, if you’re looking for one at the grocery store, or want to indulge while out, I’ve still got you covered.

Fresh Baked Breads

Whole Foods Seeduction, 12 Seed and Grain, or Organic Prairie breads



These are available at the bakery counter either as whole loafs fresh out of the oven or, you can have them sliced. I recommend getting a half loaf sliced because portion control is not easy with this level of deliciousness!

Wegman’s “Marathon”


Similar to the Whole Foods breads, marathon bread is also available in half loaf and loaded with hearty pumpkin seeds and grains. You can even see pieces of carrot in this fluffy filling loaf!

Great Harvest Bread Co

I’m still crying over the fact that the Newtown, PA location closed (when ownership changed, things went down hill). Maybe you’re near one of their many other locations though and can over-night me a loaf. Their “high 5 fiber” and “Dakota” are classic faves but if it was closer to me than Maryland I would be all over the hummus bread listed on their site right now.

Soulberry Bread

If you live in Bucks County, rejoice! Soulberry bread, made in Solebury, obviously, is sold at Organnons and Tubby Olive and I am sure some other locations. They have a delicious whole grain sourdough.

Packaged Breads

Now for pre-packaged breads. You have to be careful here. “100% whole grain” on the front of the package doesn’t mean much at all. Maybe the grains in there are whole grain but that in no way means grains are the only ingredient! Check that ingredient list – are there 20 ingredients including high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils (aka trans fat) and preservatives like BHT? Well that company did a great job with their marketing and fooled you, huh? Stick to the following:

Food for Life

More commonly known as “Ezekiel” bread, this brand has been around for decades but is just finally getting the attention it deserves! Sometimes people are turned off that they are often in the refrigerated or frozen section but, I find those that have issues with the bread texture enjoy their English muffins or the “Genesis” variety. Now what makes this brand different than most others? The simple ingredients and the sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are not only more easily digested but, also allow for better absorption of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your body. Woohoo!

Want a little treat? Ditch the Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin bread that I loved as a kid for Food for Life’s cinnamon raisin bread or english muffins. No added sugars, and the same ingredients as their other breads with added raisins and cinnamon. So simple! Top with PB and chia seeds or, as I enjoyed it before recognizing my dairy allergy, with some {organic, hormone free} cream cheese!

Alvarado Street

I’d seen this brand before but never actually tried them until expo east last October. Their ingredients also are mostly sprouted grains but they even make hot dog buns (for your nitrate free turkey dogs of course)! What a win!

Lancaster Food Co.

Another brand I discovered at Expo East, Lancaster Food Co. is relatively local for me here in southeast PA. While this brand contains some sprouted grains, it is mostly un-sprouted whole wheat but is still free of artificial ingredients. If you’re looking for more fluff in your loaf, this brand is for you. Available where I live in Whole Foods and Wegmans, they hopefully are expanding into many mainstream grocery stores soon!

One Degree Foods

Not found in as many places, but in my local Whole Foods, One Degree brand is another sprouted grain option! They pride themselves in using sprouted khorasan wheat, a non-hybridized variety. They also have QR codes on each package for you to research exactly what farms the ingredients in your loaf came from.

While out at Restaurants

I have to say, this usually is not worth it. I advocate for choosing the bread or a starch with your meal while out in most instances (especially if you eat out often like me). However, locally there are two places where it is worth it! Yardley Inn, my go-to local restaurant, has amazing whole grain rolls. I always ask specifically for them before the bread is brought to the table because they do have white rolls and crispy flatbread that they may bring out too – we don’t need any of that. It is usually a good idea to save the warm, fluffy, hearty roll to have with my meal or salad instead of just having it with the butter they serve. Winnie’s Le Bus of Manayunk has pretty much the same rolls! If you are in a similar situation and it is an option, just get double veggies with your meal and skip the pasta, grain or potatoes.

Have another bakery you recommend? Or another bread variety at a typical grocery store? Share your knowledge with me and the world!!

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This Is How You Do Pizza (with Nomad Review)

 

Yes, I am blogging about pizza. This is my 3rd of 5 posts in a series on carbs that started with my low-carb experiences and then touched on my favorite ways to enjoy pasta. While I eat it on a more regular basis and recommend it at home, this post isn’t about garbanzo pizza. It isn’t focused on cauliflower crust pizza either, though, I hear you can get one without any cheese mixed in at Pizza Yeah if you’re in Bucks County, PA.

Remember that dietitians are people too, and often are bigger foodies than you are! I wouldn’t tell you to go out for pizza several times per week and I would probably tell you to skip the local joint you have on speed dial too. I love pizza but if I am going to eat it, it better be damn good. 

While the option most under your control that is quick enough for pizza night may be getting whole wheat dough from whole foods and making your own, I am highlighting where I choose to go out to eat pizza and, other than texture and toppings, reasons why. I do have a special review below on Nomad, though, since that is the last amazingly wonderful pizza experience I had🙂

Restaurant: Zavino
Location(s): Philadelphia 13th and Sansom and University City
What I love:
You can get wheat dough for any of their pizzas or for their yummy rosemary flat-bread and alter their offerings to get #alltheveggies, especially since they use so many seasonal ingredients. The bake their pizzas in their 850 degree oven so they cook quickly and perfectly. Whenever we go here we always get some veggies to share like their brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash (below) or broccoli! I even had their pizza to carbo-load before this summer’s Philly Tri Rock triathlon. One of my favorites there was this special with asparagus, kale, leeks, garlic rosemary and romesco on whole wheat.

Restaurant: Spuntino
Location(s): Northern Liberties, Philly and Doylestown, PA
What I love:
So the crust isn’t whole wheat or organic but it is the perfect texture. So, if you want to splurge, this is the type of pizza to splurge on. They have a huge menu with lot’s of options but you can mix and match if you want. I recommend getting a red pizza with a lean protein such as shrimp and adding veggies so that it is a balanced and satisfying meal. As with any pizza order, ask them to skip the extra olive oil drizzle. As you can see by Tims meal below, you can also get your pizza as a calzone. I just think that makes portion control harder… so, share with a friend!

Restaurant: 00 and Co.
Location(s): East Village in New York City
What I love:
This place is 100% vegan! Vegan cheese, vegan sausage, and vegan everything else. And I am not talking daiya vegan cheese… it is housemade from nuts! Being allergic to dairy and someone who avoids beef and pork for ethical reasons, this place has it all and it tastes fabulous. They also have vegan ‘meatball’ subs and more!

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Restaurant: Molto Pizzeria and Wine Bar
Location(s): Fairfield, CT
What I love:
Another establishment that offers shrimp and other lean proteins as well as veggies to top your red pizzas. Their dough is a little crispier than the above but sometimes you want a little more crunch!

Restaurant: Pepe’s Original
Location(s): New Haven, CT (the original) and other locations in Fairfield & Westchester coutnies
What I love:
It has been voted the best pizza in the US over and over again and, I grew up having it close to home! The thin, crispy crust means you aren’t loading up on extra processed carbs but still are able to enjoy the texture and flavor you want in a pizza. Their tomato pie is to die for and I love to add spinach, broccoli, and garlic!


Now for Nomad

If you live in the Greater Philadelphia region or Princeton, NJ area, I am sure you have heard of Nomad. If not, you need to get out more. Nomad pizza uses organic flour and wood fired ovens to give you the perfect amount of crisp and chew on their crust and, let’s be honest, crust makes a pizza. What else makes a pizza? Toppings. The fact that Nomad’s toppings are fresh, local, and mostly organic, means they taste sooo much better than the spinach you get on your pie from the 10 pizza places in your neighborhood. They even grow their own tomatoes and herbs in season. How fresh is that? When veggies are local and in season, they not only taste better but have higher nutrient content since they didn’t travel very far to get to your plate, and are eaten closer to harvest. Obviously, this pizza sounds like a foodie dietitian’s dream.

What is great about nomad too is that the pizzas and salads on their standard menu are creative and inventive but they always have special pizzas (and at some locations pastas) and salads, too. Check out the specials here from the Princeton location two weeks ago: Jersey corn pizza and the local pizza both sound so delicious and creative. Even better, they aren’t a pain when you ask for modifications or build your own pizza to make it dairy free or vegan but still bursting with flavor.

Before heading to the new Princeton location, we had already been to both center city Philadelphia spots and the Hopewell. Both Nomad Roman and Nomad South Street have a great vibe – and great happy hour (yay vino) – but the Hopewell until this point was our favorite. It has more of a rustic ambiance and better than happy hour is BYOB.

When we saw Princeton was coming we were excited but it wasn’t until the day we decided to go that we noticed they were BYOB too. It does make you feel a little better when you’re spending more for a quality pie. Being that the Princeton location was in a standard shopping center on google maps, I didn’t think the feel would be better than Hopewell – we were just excited to have one a little closer to home. But, the new building they have with a gorgeous patio, both with a modern-classic décor, was a pleasant surprise. Pair that with the light live jazz music (c/o of a group of three males that were clearly Princeton students), and we were excited just walking up to the hostess stand.

I’ve had several delicious pizzas at the Nomad locations and when I am indecisive just default to the marinara topped with arugula. A standout from the past was probably when I added a farm egg and broccoli raab once (I’m telling you, you can really build your own pizza). But, this time I decided to take a stab and ask for the kale that was on “The Local Pizza” special and caramelized onions. Would you take a look at how much of those veggies made it on my pie? They aren’t just throwing on a few flakes of kale and an onion or two.


When they bring out your pie they ask if you want it sliced (and how many slices) so if you’d prefer to pretend you’re in Europe and eat with a fork and knife you can. They also bring shaved parmesan, crushed red pepper that is actually spicy, and garlic oil. By garlic oil, I mean a bit of olive oil mixed with what looked like 4 cloves of garlic, freshly minced.

If you aren’t convinced to head to Nomad, I don’t know what else to tell you. Just be careful and refrain from a Nutella dessert pizza – you’ll want to eat the whole thing.

{Nomad Hopewell above}

So tell me readers – what’s your favorite pizza? Crust, toppings, locations to nosh? Love recs!

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Easy Bean Sliders on Sweet Potato Buns

Who plans on grilling this weekend for Labor Day festivities? Herbivores and carnivores alike will be delighted if you serve them these black and garbanzo bean burgers. While I love my original black bean sweet potato burgers (they were my first post ever after all) and my lentil leek burgers, this recipe can be whipped up much more quickly! Plus, portion control is helpful with soooo many options at a cook out or party. If you’re like me, you’d rather have a bite of everything than choose one item for a meal.

Added bonus? Not having to worry about your friends with celiac disease or a wheat allergy going hungry. Tim and I have been using grilled sweet potatoes or golden potatoes as buns for years but just recently the sweet potato toast craze sweeping the social media world has motivated me to share this idea, too!

When preparing this all you need other than some pantry staples is a food processor or high quality blender and your grill! It is also helpful to have a perfectly shaped 1/3 Cup measuring cup like the one below to portion out your burgers, but you can also scoop and mold if you have the time.

If you don’t have a cook out going on this weekend, Pin the recipe for football season. Whether you’re tailgating or watching at home, this is a great game day bite. Plus, you can make extra for an easy week night meal!

Bean Burger Sliders (GF, V, DF)
Ingredients:

1 can low sodium black beans, drained
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained
1 2 oz can green hatch chiles
1 tsp each: garlic powder, cumin, chili powder
1/2 tsp each: paprika, black pepper
1 cup oat bran
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2.5 tbsp water)
2 large sweet potatoes, 2-3 inches in diameter
1/2 tbsp avocado oil

Directions:
  • Make flax egg in small ramekin or dish. Let sit.
  • Add garbanzo beans and oat bran to food processor or high quality blender.
  • Pulse about 30 seconds or until texture is like a gritty flour.
  • Next add the flax egg, spices and green chiles and pulse until well incorporated.
  • Finally add the black beans and pulse until desired texture is reached. I prefer to have some of the black beans stand out but you can pulse them completely if you’d like.
  • Pour ingredients into a bowl and fold in the garbanzo flour to bind until well in incorporated.
  • Slice sweet potatoes and/or potatoes into 1/3-1/2 inch slices and toss in oil.
  • Heat grill to 450.
  • Scoop 1/3 cup of burger mixture onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Be sure this is a sheet you don’t mind putting over flames on the grill!
  • Place baking sheet directly on grill grates and the sweet potato rounds directly on grill grates.
  • Cook burgers for about 6 minutes then flip and cook an additional 5 with the grill covered. *
  • Cook sweet potato rounds 4-5 minutes then flip and cook an additional 3-4 with grill covered.*
  • Build your burger with desired condiments

*Depending on your grill size and other factors, it make take more or less time so keep an eye on the sweet potatoes especially!

To my burger, I added grilled red onion, grilled sweet red peppers, a drizzle of tahini and drizzle of sriracha sauce. Tim enjoyed his with some homemade salsa!

Have a happy Labor Day and rejoice in the fact that summer isn’t officially over until September 22🙂

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Nutrition Information (per 1 burger patty only):

Servings: 14
Calories: 90
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 15 g
Fiber:  5 g
Sugar: less than 1 g
Protein: 5 g
Sodium: 125 mg 16 %
Potassium: 105 mg 9%

Calcium: 3%              Iron: 8%

**vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concerns