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Cashew Cookie Hemp Energy Bars

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I found this recipe right after getting hooked on the Navitas Naturals brand of raw and rare “superfood” ingredients and products. I had also just fallen in love with Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts and recently had purchased their hemp protein powder. The Navitas website has tons of great recipes that I was browsing and after trying this one decided it was the best energy bar I have ever had. I made some slight adjustments such as adding a little more protein powder, maca and honey and slightly less nuts but the difference is marginal. Another change I’ve made is making these into bars rather than balls – much less messy to make the bars then to roll the mixture in your hands. The original recipe is here.

This is an awesome option for a bite before an early morning workout or a snack after work before the gym.

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Cashew Cookie Hemp Energy Bars (Veg, DF, GF)
Makes 10 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 Cups raw or roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1 Cup raw pitted dates*
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon maca root powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey (or agave to truly make vegan!)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw hemp hearts

*Both Medjool and Deglet Noor work. When using Deglet you may need to add a tsp of water for more moisture.

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients except the hemp hearts to your food processor.
  • Pulse until all ingredients are pretty finely ground like in this picture. If the mixture doesn’t seem sticky enough add another 1/2 tablespoon of honey or even water.
  • Next, pour whole mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper. Fold the paper over the mixture and begin to flatten our with your hands or a rolling pin. I roll mine out to about 1/2 inch thick. Once rolled out to desired thickness, flatten out the edges with hands.
  • Unfold the wax paper and sprinkle the hemp hearts on top. Lightly press them  into the mixture with your hands and then cut the piece in to 10 even bars (the nutrition info below is for 10 bars but you can always cut into larger or smaller servings).
  • Separate the bars and cut the large sheet of wax paper to wrap the bars. Throw one in your lunch bag or purse & store the rest in the fridge for up to 10 days.

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Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Dates, in my opinion, are natures candy! They are a source of natural sugar which can be helpful to athletes before and during exercise when they need a quick absorbing energy source. They provide fiber and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and even some calcium. Instead of packaged products, I use dates as fuel during long outdoor workouts and even races.

Nuts like cashews are known for their heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats. Most do not recognize the high iron, copper and magnesium content. Female athletes especially need more iron for proper metabolism, blood & immune function, and oxygen delivery around the body. Copper is important for the blood too but also supports your body’s antioxidant systems. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzymes reactions in the body for metabolism, bone and heart health.

Hemp protein is an excellent alternative to dairy proteins like whey and casein. Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand for both protein powder and hemp hearts; they highlight amino acid content here. Other than its protein content, hemp also provides both soluble (great for your heart) and insoluble (excellent for your gut) fiber, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and lots of iron. In addition, hemp protein is a terrific vegan source of omega 3’s.

Due to its natural sugar content honey is a great sports nutrition aid as discussed in this Runner’s World article. When purchasing real nectar or clover honey, especially local to your region, honey is also great for the immune system. And your mom didn’t add honey to tea when you were sick for no reason; it is an excellent cough suppressant. See more on its nutritional benefits at the National Honey Board. *Be careful what you purchase though as a report revealed most store bought honey isn’t real honey and the pollen, which has immune benefits, is removed (more info here).

Maca root has small amounts of calcium, Vitamin C and iron as well as fiber, phytochemical antioxidants and plant sterols which are known to aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It is most sought due to claims to boost energy and endocrine function (particularly in females). Maca has been consumed in Peru for thousands of years for these reasons, but there is not a large body of conclusive scientific evidence for those claims. I tried Navitas Naturals brand mostly to see what the hype was about. I enjoy the taste and do feel it provides a small energy boost when I add it to my oatmeal and skip the morning coffee – but that is just my feedback, not a research study! Lot’s of studies related to endocrine function are linked to from a summary here and you can evaluate more research at examine.com.

Nutrition Information:

  • Servings: 10
  • Calories: 160
  • Total Fat: 7.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 22 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Sugar: 13 g
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Sodium: 120 mg   5 %
  • Potassium: 220 mg 5%
  • Vitamin A: 2%      Thiamin: 10 %               Riboflavin: 5 %
  • Niacin: 3%              Vitamin B6: 6 %            Folate: 3 %
  • Vitamin C: 1%        Pantothenic Acid: 5 %
  • Vitamin E: 3 %       Calcium: 3 %                Iron: 12%
  • Zinc: 15%                 Copper: 35 %               Magnesium: 20 %
  • Phosphorus: 15 %  Manganese: 20%        Selenium: 6 %
  • Omega 3: 0.2 g  (12%)

**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

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Habanero Rosemary Hummus

These flavors just mesh so perfectly! My first experiment with habanero and rosemary was in my sweet and spicy white bean soup and it went perfectly. This experiment resulted in an equally delicious versatile hummus. I have used it as a dip for veggies and flackers, an omelet topper and spread for my veggie packed ezekiel wraps. If you are looking for a Superbowl dip packed with flavor and nutrients to help fill you up, this quick hummus is perfect!

If you are looking for heat but are apprehensive about the habanero, my spicy sweet potato hummus may be more your pace. Not a fan of spice at all? You wouldn’t survive in my house, but I have an easy roasted red pepper hummus for you!

Habanero Rosemary Hummus (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

  • 200g dry garbanzo beans prepared or 2 *cans no sodium added garbanzo beans
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1-1.5 habanero peppers
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh or 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of 2 lemon wedges
  • 1/3 C water
  • *Purchasing tip: If I do purchase canned, I buy beans at Trader Joe’s because they do not contain BPA. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the carcinogenic chemical BPA. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, click here for brands that are BPA free.

Directions:

Add all ingredients to food processor or high quality blender
Pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape edges with rubber spatula.
Pulse an additional 30 seconds.
If needed, add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Serve with baked tortilla chips, sliced peppers or add to meals as I suggested above. Enjoy!

Mustard Greens Fall Power Bowl with Cranberry Dressing

Plant-based protein bowls are part of my diet multiple times per week, especially in the fall so, seeing this theme for The Recipe Redux made me very excited.Packed with protein, fiber and color, plant power bowls are trendy and delicious.
Show us the healthy recipe that’s in your bowl.”

Plant-based proteins are not just attractive and delicious. They also provide anti-inflammatory benefits that are great for athletes, particularly those who have joint pain or slow recovery.

It is important to understand that animal proteins do not need to be a part of every meal or even every day in your life. While I follow a very plant-based diet, including eggs and fish, I realize that there is no one diet for everyone and the inclusion of animal products in other’s diets is a personal choice. You need to eat what works for your body. Having said that, research shows that everyone can benefit from more plant-based meals since fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds all promote longevity.

Plant products, in their natural form, contain many beneficial nutrients but, a big focus is on the wide variety of antioxidants obtained from them as well as their fiber content! I regularly preach the fiber benefits of carbohydrate foods (plants) in my practice but, the research I was presented with at FNCE a few days ago re-affirmed these benefits. Fiber from plant foods, specifically soluble fiber, is fermented by good intestinal bacteria and its by-products induce many health benefits.

Researchers are finding many connections between not only gut health and immunity, but also gut health and mental health. Between this and the better blood sugar control fiber gives, plants are able to reduce your stress levels and potentially anxiety. Yay!

As mentioned, I am a plant-protein bowl fanatic. Typically though, I just sort of wing it throughout the week. A big part of weekly food prep for T and I is cooking a couple of whole grains, prepping some plant proteins such as lentils, bean or tofu, and roasting lots of veggies. Throughout the week I’ll just mix and match what we have prepped, add tahini dressings, nuts or avocado for healthy fats and the meal is ready to go!

Here’s a sampling of other bowls I had this week when returning from FNCE. The first I threw together with farro that I had prepped previously and frozen, some canned low-fat refried beans, pickled hot peppers, and clearly avocado. The other

This yummy bowl includes roasted oriental yams, brussel sprouts, onions, carrots, beans and tahini over steamed kale.

I decided to really highlight the seasonal flavors and colors of fall with my redux recipe though. I utilized mustard greens, a new favorite of mine, and the cranberry sauce I just posted to make a vinaigrette. I simply added some almond oil, a couple of tablespoons of orange juice, freshly ground black pepper and some garlic powder.

Grouped with protein rich adzuki beans and einkorn wheat berries, as well as roasted delicata squash, brussel sprouts, onions and pumpkin seeds, we’ve got fall in a bowl right here! I recommend roasting the veggies and making the dressing ahead of time so that you can throw easy meals together throughout the week in no time.

I cannot wait to see what delicious ideas my fellow reduxers have come up with, too. You can check out there ideas via the link at the bottom of this post.

Mustard Greens Power Bowl with Cranberry Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1/3 heaping cup homemade cranberry sauce
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp almond oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salad:

  • 6 Cups mustard greens, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp oil for roasting vegetables
  • 1 small delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 2 Cups fresh brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 2 small-medium sized red onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 Cups adzuki beans, cooked from dry or low-sodium canned
  • 1 1/3 Cups cooked einkorn wheat berries (can sub farro or kamut)
  • 4 Tbsp pepitas

Directions:

Dressing:
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Roasted vegetables:
Set oven to 400 degrees F.
Place delicata squash flesh side down on baking dish coated in cooking oil.
Drizzle oil lightly over the carrots and roast on the same baking dish whole or, if desired you may roast them cut.

Toss brussel sprouts and chopped onion in 1/2 tbsp oil and add pepper and salt if desired. Place in a glass baking dish.

Cook squash and onions for 25-30 minutes, until fork can easily go through the skin and flesh of the squash.

Cook the brussel sprouts and carrots for 30-45 minutes, depending on desired texture.
While vegetables are roasting, chop mustard greens.

When vegetables are ready, add all ingredients, except for pepitas, to a large mixing bowl and toss well.

Divide into four bowls or, pack into pyrex containers to bring to work for a power packed energizing meal.

Top each with 1 tbsp of pepitas.

Green Garlic Pistachio Pesto

The past couple of years we have opted not to partake in a CSA share since we spend so many summer weekends traveling and visiting family. Whenever we are home though, we head to the Wrightstown Farmer’s Market since we absolutely love the super seasonal produce that might only be available for a week or two each year! It’s also great to support local farms and have food immediately after harvest.

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My travel unfortunately made me miss the fiddle-head ferns and garlic scapes this year, but green garlic was a great consolation. It took me a few google searches to figure out how much of the plant I should actually be using and thankfully, we can go ahead and eat all of it!

After under 3 minutes of prep and food-processing you can add this to pasta, spaghetti squash (like my avocado walnut pesto), or use it as a topping or marinade for tofu and fish. We even mixed it in with some plain hummus!

Green Garlic Pistachio Pesto

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup pistachios
  • 1/4 Cup basil
  • 2 long green garlic stems and bulbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • 1/3 C water

Directions:

  • Cut the root end of the garlic bulbs off and discard
  • Chop the bulbs off and in half and cut the stems into 1-2 inch long pieces
  • Add all ingredients, in order listed, into a food processor or high quality blender
  • Pulse for 20-30 seconds, until desired consistency is reached
  • Enjoy!

What is your favorite seasonal vegetable?
I’d love to hear about it and how you like to use it!

Potato, Leek and Kale Soup Recipe

Teaching last semester was so hectic that I really took my mid-semester break to relax. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up some delicious, real food meals. One of my favorite soups to make in the winter is potato leek and adding kale is not only great for its nutrition profile of but also for color and taste! Potatoes tend to get bashed in the “diet” world but they are actually a very nutritious staple carbohydrate to consume. It’s the deep frying or the addition of bacon, cheese, sour cream and butter that make the root vegetable unhealthy!

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I based this recipe off of one I found on care2.com which has more of a creamy texture than mine due to the use of an immersion blender and it also does not have kale. I am a big fan of chunky textured soups rather than broth-y ones so I choose not to blend. In addition, I took out the salt since the vegetable broth provides plenty, altered the quantity of potatoes used, and added a couple of other spices. If you prefer a creamy textured soup but want to add kale, use the immersion blender before adding the green super-food. The original recipe can be found here.

Potato, Leek and Kale Soup (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients(see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):

  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil (olive works too)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large leeks – white & light green portion in 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 C chopped white onion (about 1 large or 2 small onions)
  • 2-3 Med-Large Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes (about 1.5 lbs), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 Cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3-4 Cups chopped kale (I used curly kale but tuscan or red winter could work too)
  • dried rosemary, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
  • *Purchasing tips: Since it is no longer farmers market season, I was happy to see BJ’s wholesale club began selling organic bagged potatoes and onions. In addition, organic kale was on sale at Whole Foods which helped the cost of the recipe last time I prepared it too. Using frozen bagged kale may be more cost effective; if you do this only add 1.5-2 cups.

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Directions:

  • Chop your garlic and vegetables as indicated with the ingredients list. For the leeks, I halve the long stalk and then chop finely as shown in the pictures below. For the potatoes, I remove any imperfections that may effect the texture but I do leave the skin on since there are so many nutrients and fiber there.

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  • Place a stock pot over low-medium and heat canola oil for 1 minute
  • Add chopped garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes
  • Before the garlic turns brown (that means it’s burnt) add the chopped leeks and onions. Stirring occasionally, cover for 5-10 minutes, or until the onions & leeks take on a slightly translucent color and begin to reduce. Add your chopped potatoes and vegetable broth and cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for a total cooking time of 20-25 minutes.
  • Add about 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary and black & crushed red pepper to taste.
  • Using a potato masher, carefully mash the contents to mix up the ingredients. You can do this to whatever consistency you prefer or even use an immersion blender to make it creamy.
  • Stir in the kale and turn of the heat.
  • While this soup can be served cold, it can really warm you up on a cold winter day and I prefer it hot!

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Garlic, Onions & Leeks are all part of the same family, providing the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health. Both onions & leeks provide Vitamin C. Onions are also a great source of vitamins B6 and folate while leeks contribute vitamins A & K in great amounts as well as the mineral manganese.

Potatoes are packed with potassium which is very important for fluid balance in the body. Fluid balance is essential for all of your body’s functions and how energized you feel. And guess what? You would have to eat 9 bananas to get enough potassium in one day, so start looking to more fruits & veggies for this nutrient. Potatoes also provide you with iron and magnesium among other minerals and are a good source of Vitamin C and B vitamins, especially B6. Over 60 phytochemicals have been found in potato flesh & skin including phenolics, flavonoids, polyamines, and carotenoids, which provide antioxidant and cardiovascular enhancing properties (1).

While there is actually no definition for “superfood” I still like to consider kale as one. One serving gives you more than your daily need of Vitamins A, C and K. It is also a known vegetarian source of calcium and iron as well as magnesium and copper. In terms of phytochemicals, kale provides about 40 flavonoids which are great antioxidants.

Canola Oil is my go to when I am cooking. While olive oil has great flavor and a good fat profile, canola oil actually has much more omega-3 than olive oil and a lower content of saturated fat. I don’t eat animal products on a daily basis and my fish consumption is low, so using canola oil in cooking helps me meet my daily needs. Since most canola oil in stores is genetically modified, choose an organic brand – it will still be cheaper than conventional olive oil.

Nutrition Information

  • Servings: 10 (1.5 Cups each)
  • Calories: 130
  • Total Fat: 2.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: less than 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 25 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3.3 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 75 mg 5%
  • Potassium: 550 mg 11 %
  • Vitamin A: 26 % Thiamin: 9 % Riboflavin: 7 %
  • Niacin: 8 % Pant Acid: 7 % Vitamin B6: 30 %
  • Vitamin C: 50 % Vitamin E: 4%
  • Calcium: 7 % Iron: 10 % Zinc: 5%
  • Magnesium: 12 % Copper: 20 % Selenium: 2.5 %
  • Manganese: 28 % Phosphorus: 11 % Omega 3: 5% (0.08 g)
  • **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

References:
1. Food Research International 2011, April. Beneficial phytochemicals in potato – a review. Ezekiel Rakarathnam, Singh Narpinder, Sharme Shagun, Kaur Amritpal.

Sweet Potato with Poblano Garlic Black Beans & Wilted Kale

Baked Sweet Potato with Poblano Garlic Black Beans & Wilted Kale (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients (see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):

  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes, baked
  • 1 Tablespoon organic canola** or olive oil
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, roasted and skin removed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 medium jalapeno, chopped finely
  • 2 cups black beans, prepared from dry (*if canned, rinse well!)
  • 2 packed cups chopped kale (I cheated and used bagged but I prefer fresh!)
  • 2/3 cup organic corn ** (I used frozen this time but you can cut from the cob)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

*Purchasing tip: If I purchase canned, I buy beans at Trader Joe’s because they do not contain BPA. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the chemical BPA. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, click here for brands that are BPA free.
**If not purchasing organic for these items, at least choose Non-GMO Project Verified brands to ensure your food is free of genetic engineering.

20130822-202954.jpgDirections:

  • Bake the sweet potatoes & roast the poblano in the oven at the same time
  • If you have never baked a sweet potato follow the instructions here but skip the step where they say to add butter!
  • You don’t have to broil the poblano. To save time, I put it right on the rack when the sweet potatoes are in the oven
    at 400 degrees and turn the pepper every 5 minutes or so (about 15 minutes total) until the whole outside is blistered.
  • Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with foil, or even a plate, for about 10 minutes
  • Peel the skin off of the pepper and dice it; if it is not completely removed that’s ok! I leave the seeds in for extra heat but you can choose to remove them
  • Head the oil over low-medium heat in a skillet
  • Add the chopped garlic, poblano and jalapeno, stir for about 1-2 minutes
  • Add the corn, beans and kale and cover
  • Allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes, until kale softens but maintains color
  • Add all spices, stir well and remove from heat

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  • Sweet potatoes should be cooked and out of the oven at this point
  • Plate each sweet potato and cut them open down the center
  • Top each sweet potato with1/4 of the bean mixture

20130822-204055.jpgIf you’d like, add extra toppings. I topped the dish with my simple homemade guacamole and it was the perfect addition.

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Real Ingredients with Real Health Benefits:

Sweet Potatoes: there are so many nutrients in this versatile veggie! Other than a good mix of soluble & insoluble fiber, they provide lots of Vitamin A and are also rich in Vitamin C, B6, potassium and manganese. You’ll also get some copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins and even calcium. Sweet Potatoes give you carotenoids and quercitin as well, which are phytochemicals that aid eye, brain and lung health while reducing inflammation.

Black Beans are a great source of mono-unsaturated fat, potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, iron, copper, magnesium & manganese. They also provide calcium. Phytochemicals include lutein, epicatechin, quercetin and proanthocyanidin – these benefit your eyes, reduce inflammation, and support the immune system.

While there is actually no definition for “superfood” I still like to consider kale as one. One serving gives you more than your daily need of Vitamins A, C and K. It is also a known vegetarian source of calcium and iron as well as magnesium and copper. In terms of phytochemicals, kale provides about 40 flavonoids which are great antioxidants.

Corncontains fiber, folate, potassium, and antioxidant carotenoids which are great for your eyes and immune system.

Garlicprovides the phytochemical allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health and act as antibacterial agents.

Poblano & Jalapeno peppers as well as cayenne powder all contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. You may have noticed before but, these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!  In addition they have been found in research to be anti-bacterial, and even anti-allergy due to nutrient content including vitamins A and C, some B vitamins and potassium.

Cumin contains many phytochemicals that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phenolic acids.

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 like 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?

Spaghetti Squash with Plum Tomato and Lentil Bolognese

It is my favorite food season of the year! Early-mid September in eastern PA we now have a great mix of fall foods (squash and apples for example) while still being able to benefit from summer produce such as tomatoes! I purchased my first spaghetti squash of the season but also still have an abundance of tomatoes and basil growing in our backyard so a classic Italian spaghetti squash dish was in the works. This meal, unfortunately though, provides no protein so adding lentils to the mix was perfect. My last Italian style spaghetti squash post is pretty simple using white beans, but I know my husband loves a good bolognese and lentils give much more of that texture. Plus, they are more rich in many minerals including iron.

The best part about this dish is that it took me next to no time to prepare when I had a few hours at home. With spaghetti squash in the oven I chopped the ingredients for the sauce and tossed them into the slow cooker.  With the squash out of the oven I had time for laundry and grading assignments. Then I added lentils and seasonings to the slow cooker to let cook while I was at the NAC providing nutrition classes for members. When Tim and I got home, dinner (and lunch for the next day) was ready to go!

To make a complete meal, feel free to add a high quality parmesan or asiago (preferably raw and grass fed) and if dairy free, some cashew “cheese” or nutritional yeast. A side salad or green veggie is also recommended 🙂

If you are looking for other spaghetti squash recipes, it is super versatile so I have posted several. Try my Mexican style spaghetti squash if you’re in a fiesta mood or my walnut avocado pesto over spaghetti squash with peas.

Spaghetti Squash with Plum Tomato and Lentil Bolognese (GF, V)

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced (less if you don’t LOVE this flavor like me)
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 Cup dried green lentils
  • 2 Cups water + 2 tbsp tomato paste or 2 Cups no sodium tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 tbsp dried)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
  • Dig out the seeds & pulp (pictured w/out seeds on left below)
  • Optional: save the seeds for this roasted seed recipe.
  • Set the squash cut side down in a large glass baking dish, filled 1/8 inch with water
  • Place in the oven and cook 30-40 minutes
  • Remove squash from the oven and carefully flip to flesh side up, letting cool at least 5 minutes
  • With a fork,  “rake” from one side to the other to remove the “spaghetti”
  • While spaghetti squash is in the oven, mince garlic, dice onions and tomatoes, and chop any fresh herbs.
  • Add to crockpot on high heat for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, when mixture becomes more liquid in texture, add 1 Cup of lentils and spices.
  • Maintain high heat an additional 4 hours.

Do you have any other fun and nutritious spaghetti squash recipes you enjoy?

Austin Healthy Food Review

Hello Austin, TX!! I have missed you and your delicious food and fun activities!

A little over a week ago I flew out to ATX for McGraw Hill Publishing. In case you missed it, here was my IG pic of “lunch” on the plane. Cheers to packing for travel! Despite a speedy layover I still got 2 servings of fruit, 22 g of protein and 14 g of fiber in for lunch I landed early around 1 but had to wait for he McGraw hill pre-planned transportation to the hotel for about 30 min – not easy! I was so eager to get there and be outside. It was 20 and windy when I left Philly 81 here. ‘Nuff said.

I knew I would have very little time Friday & Saturday due to the pre-planned schedule so as soon as I got to the hotel, I checked in, exchanged my boots for flip flops 😎 and got walking… to Whole Foods Flagship.  🙈 Yeah I know, I’m a food neRD. But if you’ve never been there before, there is no explaining its majesty. I picked up some essentials for the room, and since I hadn’t had lunch yet got a baby order of fresh shrimp & veggie summer rolls and this local kombucha. It never hurts to get a probiotic boost while traveling and this new-to-me brand and flavor was amaaaazing.

Send your stuff to the Food Magic!  I did more walking around the cute streets and along the river on the path and was still a little hungry. Not knowing what I would be served for dinner, I stopped at Second Bar + Kitchen where Tim and I had gone a couple of years ago. This place got me addicted to blistered shishitos so, ordering them here {w/ miso glaze} was a must. I treated myself to a “Pink Pony Paloma” {tequila, melon aperol, grapefruit, lime} and a side of their kale & sweet potato panzanella with ginger jus. Mind blown. I absolutely did not expect the amount of flavor and texture I got out of that tiny dish. Even better than those shishitos (close though!). Unfortunately, the leftovers I had from both never got eaten because McGraw Hill’s offerings at the JW Marriott for each meal were actually great but, I HIGHLY recommend stopping here for both of these apps to share with a friend in your travels!

That evening I met with close to 15 other nutrition pros at the hotel to kick off or weekend. I was thrilled to meet a fun group of people to spend the next couple of days with! We got to know each other by starting to design and build a guitar for a local charity that donates guitars to troubled teens. We went with the “eat a rainbow” theme and gave it a little edge! We drew fruits and veggies by the deadline and someone else assembled it to become a functioning electric guitar. So cool!!

After a great dinner and some wine I got to bed so I could explore in the AM before an early breakfast with the group. 6 AM in Austin is dark in February!! I did a nice 3+ mile run down Congress st. around the gorgeous State Capital building and then to the Texas campus.

Once back I headed to breakfast and then some nutrition text technology/collaboration sessions with my cool new nutrition friends.

As a mostly vegetarian it’s always nerve-wrecking when someone else has picked out meals. Thankfully lunch on Friday didn’t suck. It was great! A build your own taco/taco salad bar with a chips and condiments station as well as enchiladas. I successfully filled a plant based plate that was delicious. Indulged in a bit of sweet corn bread too 👍🏼

After afternoon work I had about an hour before we were meeting for dinner. I had to get outside and see the sun so I walked along the river again. It was a gorgeous day!

While I didn’t snap a picture, I had dinner at Cooper’s BBQ. No, they don’t have a vegetarian friendly menu. BUT the Senior Nutrition Editor for McGraw Hill follows a diet like me and ensured that vegan and pescetarian options were brought over from JW Marriot. Thanks again Marija! You are amazing! I had delicious red snapper with brussel sprouts and then did grab a coopers baked potato. A little salty but really good too. While many complained of digestive issues later I was feeling glorious! Yay healthy food!

We went out to enjoy some of the unique Austin nightlife on 6th street. This city is known as the live music capital of the world! You can see how they shut down traffic on the street at night due to the foot traffic. First though, I convinced or group to check out the Driskill Hotel bar. It’s a cool building with fun history and a unique vibe. Afterwards we went to a local bar that had a large rooftop area with a band playing. Oh, and perfect weather!

We wrapped up the next day and I headed right to the airport. Almost missed my connection but made it that night and Tim and I tried a new spot in Philly. Stay tuned for Monday’s post to see some yummy veggies!!

Who has been to Austin? What was your favorite restaurant, meal or live music venue? Next time I hope to get in more activity like paddle boarding on the river!

Mexican Inspired Shakshuka

Happy National Egg Day! Long gone are should be the days of egg whites and fear for the yolk, and now lies the celebration of this nutrient powerhouse! Eggs are actually trending this year and Americans are celebrating not only their nutrient power but also their versatility.IMG_2050.JPG

You’ve probably had them in omelet form, scrambled, fried, over-easy, poached and more. Today’s recipe is a new favorite in the Jones household that we’ve been obsessing over since early this year. Shakshuka!

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Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in tomatoes with chiles, onions and spices, often served with pita or fresh baked bread. We discovered it at good ole’ Dizengoff at Whole Foods in Fairmount and decided it was time to start preparing it on our own. With our love of Mexican flavors, we decided to move from the traditional Middle Eastern flavors slightly by switching to jalapeños to mesh heat with sweet bell pepper and adding plenty of cilantro! Pair with your favorite bread post workout for a balanced recovery meal.

Mexican Inspired Shakshuka

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper or poblano, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 – 6 eggs
  • 1/4 Cup cilantro (loose, not packed)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat cast iron pan over low-medium and add the olive oil.
  • Add the garlic and jalapeños, stir and let cook roughly one minute before adding the onion and bell pepper. Stir, cover and cook roughly 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Next, stir in spices and pour in tomatoes. Stir and let cook, uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Crack eggs into small ramekins and before adding, make small wells in the tomato mixture with a spoon for each egg.
  • Pour eggs into the wells one by one and put the pan, uncovered in the oven and let cook for 8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, add cilantro, and serve with pita or your favorite hearty bread!