Disclosure: I received free samples from Snap Kitchen while at the event as well as meals to take home. All opinions stated are my own.
I had such a great time checking out the brand new Old City Snap Kitchen location in Philadelphia last week before the grand opening! Local bloggers and IGers were invited to not only try whatever foods we wanted but also snap blog-worthy photos with the picture station they had set up that you can see below – so much fun! I’m sure you can still see a collection of the pics on Instagram by searching #snapkitchenphilly. Continue reading →
Snowmageddon is here! If you still have power and can plug in a waffle iron, I have a perfect Saturday breakfast recipe to keep you warm. I fully intend on having these delicious and comforting waffles with some really strong fair trade coffee mixed with equal exchange dark hot chocolate in a few minutes. Yum! As you can see by the pictures below, we aren’t going anywhere today!
Buckwheat and oat flours are perfect together in my pancakes, so why not try them as waffles? I originally wanted buckwheat only on a Sunday AM a few weeks ago but only had a 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour left. That would not provide breakfast for myself and Tim plus extra for the week. What to do?! Continue reading →
Why does labor day make everyone bid farewell to summer and start eating and drinking only pumpkin containing foods? In Newtown, PA it is going to be 95 degrees and there is still an abundance of zucchini. So while everyone else is blogging about pumpkin, I am going to support everyone trying to hold on to summer as well as anyone that still has a pile of zucchini to use! If you’re getting sick of zoodles & zucchini bread try this quick gluten and dairy free baked zucchini I threw together this past week.
1 lb zucchini (organic or non-GMO verified), sliced thin and halved or quartered
1/2 Cup nutritional yeast, like Bob’s red mill brand
1/4 Cup organic flax seed, ground
1 tbsp italian seasoning or choice fresh herbs, chopped
olive oil to drizzle
Set oven to 375 degrees
Mix nutritional yeast, flax and herbs together
Lightly drizzle the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish with olive or avocado oil
Lay zucchini on the dish and sprinkle mixture over top. Continue to layer like this until you’ve used up all of the zucchini.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
When removed from heat, the zucchini should be cooked through and tender while the topping should be slightly crispy.
Plate as a side dish, add to a cooked whole grain, or throw on top of a salad and enjoy!
What is your favorite way to use zucchini? I love to hear of new creative recipes, too!
I adapted this recipe right from my cashew cookie hemp energy bars because I wanted to make a nut free alternative for those with nut allergies! My brother is sadly allergic to tree nuts, but not peanuts, and in trying to find convenience energy bars for him, I had hardly any luck. These can give you a less sweet Reese’s like taste and are great for anyone who loves a PB + chocolate combo food (who doesn’t?). Like my cashew hemp and date/almond bars, these are a good, clean, snack to have in between meals or before a workout. I really like to make a batch of bars every week so we can easily add one to our lunch bag that we take to work.
For those of you who are still getting on your food prep game and might have a nut allergy, I was able to find several Clif Brand bars that per their website, are tree nut free (but not peanut free). Please note that while they do use more natural sources of sugar than most bars, these types of bars are best for physically active individuals due to their sugar content.
CLIF kid zbar protein: chocolate chip, chocolate mint
If you are concerned with any other allergies such as dairy, eggs, soy or wheat, use Clif’s allergen table to see what convenience snacks are safe for you. Now for the recipe!
Peanut Cocoa Energy Bars (Veg, DF, GF) Makes 12 bars
Ingredients (use organic whenever possible):
1 1/2 Cups raw or dry roasted unsalted peanuts (I use whole foods 365 organic)
1 Cup raw pitted dates*
1/4 Cup hemp protein powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (omit if using salted peanuts)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raw cacao (or even cocoa powder if that’s all you have)
Optional: 1 tablespoon maca root powder
Optional: 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
-Add all ingredients to your food processor, dry first and liquid last.
-Pulse until all ingredients are pretty finely ground like in this picture, approximately 1-2 minutes.
If the mixture does not 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.
-Cut the pieces evenly into 12 bars. You can obviously cut to larger or smaller if you want, but nutrition info below is for 12.
-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.
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.
Peanuts are a good source of most B vitamins, especially niacin. They also provide vitamin E, minerals like copper and selenium, and the phytochemical resveretrol (you may have heard of this because it is in red wine) They are known for their heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats.
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.
Maple Syrup is a source of added sugar but can have some benefits if it is 100% pure and is used in moderation. it actually provides teeny amounts of calcium, iron, mangnesium & zinc. One study in 2010 found Canadian Maple Syrup to contain over 26 antioxidant compounds (1)!
Cacao powder is different from cocoa powder in that it is not processed with alkali which can remove some antioxidants and nutrients. When using cacoa, you are getting minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium which help regulate metabolism and keep your blood system and bones healthy. You also get some fiber, and phytochemicals theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamine which have been found to support brain health and promote well-being.
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 summaryhere and you can evaluate more research at examine.com.
1. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708-16. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Li L, Seeram NP.
Serving Size: 1 Bar
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 17 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 5.5 g
Sodium: 50 mg 5 %
Potassium: 220 mg 5%
I was inspired to make this mix by Nature’s Path Qia. Qia is simply hemp seeds, chia seeds and buckwheat groats. Despite its name, buckwheat is actually gluten free for any of you Celiac or gluten intolerant readers out there. I love Qia because its so easy to use and super filling with lots of nutrients, especially omega 3’s! However, I also found I loved adding some cacao powder or nibs to whatever I was eating it with (especially oats) and sprinkling some shredded coconut on top. So I decided to start making my own ready to use mix. Sorry Nature’s Path, I still love you.
Here is how delish it looks in my oats (I add it while they’re cooking on the stove… and sometimes add more on top):
Cacao Coconut Multi-Seed Mix(GF, V, DF)
The brands I like to use are pictured below, but as I do with cacao and buckwheat (not pictured), you can get all of these from the bulk section at Whole Foods, Wegmans etc.
Simply toss each ingredient into an old nut butter jar, pyrex or other container…
Shake well and store until use. I keep it right next to my nut butters since I think they pair together fantastically!
Now, what to do with the mix? I’ve been loving adding it to my oats in the morning, as you can see here:
But, the mix has also been perfect for travel with all the long weekend trips Tim and I have been taking this summer. Just put some in a small bag or glass container, and bring along a banana and some nut butter. Dip the banana in nut butter and then the mix and you’ve got a delicious, nutritious and filling raw breakfast on the go!
While I don’t consume dairy, if I still did I would for sure be adding this to yogurt & berries as another meal option. For dessert it’d be perfect on some fro-yo and I see myself adding to some banana ice cream in the very near future! Enjoy this protein, omega 3, mineral and fiber rich snack mix 🙂
Nutrition Information* (per 2 tablespoons):
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 8 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sugar: 1.5 g
Protein: 4 g
Sodium: 0 mg 0%
*Nutrition information for vitamins and minerals is incomplete as companies nutrition facts panels do not include all micronutrients. This mix likely contains much higher amounts of B vitamins and minerals.
I have been meaning to begin posting restaurants for a long time now (like, at least a year). Blue Sage this past Friday gave me the extra push to spend the time! As important as it is to eat real, it’s also important to enjoy food!! I do both daily, every time I eat, and believe you can dine away from home healthfully whether you’re in your home town or traveling for business or leisure.
I’ve lived in Bucks County for almost four years now, and have always known that Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille existed. I am embarrassed to say that the outside appearance of the place in Southampton (envision small space in dated looking strip mall on a busy road) kept me from trying it out. After hearing good things via social and other media, Tim and I decided it was time to give it a try! Since I refer to my diet as 90% vegetarian, I don’t know how I thought I could go wrong with a BYOB that’s stayed opened for thirteen years on an all vegetarian menu. So, when we arrived we saw it was actually really cute inside, and by the fact that every table was full and there was a line of people waiting for food to go, we knew we were going to have a good meal. We sat and looked at the menu and had no idea what to order. This was not because nothing sounded good but because literally every menu item sounded good and everything we saw going by to other tables looked amazing. We started with an appetizer (even though our appetites wanted to start with three) and decided on the “Tartare”. Here is the menu description:
Of avocado, red lentils, roasted corn, fresh basil, ginger; coco malanga dipping chips”
We were pumped about the dish but the chips didn’t look like anything special. We were wrong. Coco malanga where have you been all my life?! Coco malanga, we came to find out is basically taro root. If you’re still confused, it looks similar to a sweet potato (see picture here) but has a more earthy taste in my opinion. At Blue Sage they slice the root very thin and fry them right there – clearly it was a flash fry because these chips were super thin and crispy with absolutely no excess oiliness. The tartare itself tasted super fresh with clear flavor of the roasted corn. The basil and ginger added more complexity and since I am not an official food critic, cannot do it justice with a description on a blog.
Entree’s took a while to choose. I could tell the waitress was getting annoyed with my indecisiveness. I finally decided on the dairy free “Poblano” and Tim chose the “Havana Quesa”.
“Poblano Roasted bell pepper filled with grilled eggplant caponata, roasted tomato-pumpkin seed pesto over brown ‘butter’ spaghetti squash and roasted corn gravy”
This meal was just ridiculous. And while I absolutely loved the eggplant and bell pepper with the crispy pumpkin seeds on top, the spaghetti squash in the roasted corn gravy was my favorite part. Ate every bit of it. (Second picture is just the pepper sliced open to see that awesome eggplant)
Grilled whole wheat tortilla with moterey jack, adobo black beans, mango and cilantro. Served with avocado roasted corn salsa, and baby greend in chili lime vinaigrette”
He was pleasantly surprised that it also came with guacamole.
While I didn’t have a bite of the quesadilla due to the cheese, I can comment on the fact that Tim stopped speaking for awhile as soon as it was delivered. And it also says something about that chili lime vinaigrette, that he finished every bit of the salad before taking a single bite of the quesadilla. I tried the salad and guac. Both amazing.
Now dessert. Did we need to order dessert? Nope. Did we sort of have to? Obviously… There were two vegan options and we settled on the “Hazelnut Toffee Basket”
Another OMG. They lied about the mousse because I think its actually fudge. Thank God this wasn’t a huge portion, because even with us splitting it, the richness was significant enough for us to split with another person too. Despite this, it was good enough that I could have eaten the entire thing myself. So if you go there, do yourself a favor and never ever order a dessert for yourself – always share!
Needless to say, we’ll be heading back here a lot and are adding it to our Bucks County favorites list (alongside Yardley Inn and Sprig & Vine). Their website is under construction, but their current menu is listed on their Facebook page (the ones on urbanspoon and other dining sites are outdated).
Spinach and artichoke dip has become a very popular appetizer whether at restaurants, parties or just at home with family. While spinach and artichokes are healthy veggies, the average dip contains so much cheese and saturated fat though that you can hardly call it healthy. I’ve attempted several times in the past to make a healthier version and finally on Super Bowl Sunday, I got it right! This easy lightened up version has great flavor and a creamy texture without shocking amounts of fat and sodium. Continue reading →
Spaghetti squash was actually not on my grocery list this past week. I only purchase it in season and always classify it as a fall/winter food. But there in Whole Foods was a display of local Lancaster, PA organic squash. I couldn’t resist and am happy I didn’t! I have made a variety of different pesto in the past with avocado, cashews, walnuts and of course pine nuts, but had never combined the creamy avocado fruit with the crunchy texture of the nuts. Definitely a winning combination!
Spaghetti Squash with Peas and Avocado Walnut Pesto(GF, V, DF)
Ingredients(see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):
1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
1 Medium-Large avocado
1/3 Cup Walnuts (chopped or in pieces)
5-6 cloves garlic (we love garlic, you might want to halve this!)
1/2 Cup packed basil (about 1 ounce on the food scale)
1.5 cups green peas, cooked from frozen (I used Whole Foods Organic-not pictured)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
-Take your spaghetti squash and carefully cut in half lengthwise. The first cut may seem difficult but once the knife is in its a lot easier to cut the rest of the squash.
-Dig out the seeds & pulp (pictured w/out seeds on left below)
-Save the seeds for the roasted seed recipe that I posted in November with my Italian Style Spaghetti Squash.
-Set the squash cut side down in a large glass baking dish & add 1/2-3/4 C water
-Place in the oven and cook about 40 minutes (may vary depending on size of squash & oven)
-While the squash is cooking, you can make your pesto and cook your peas
-Get out your food processor, bullet blender, or other blending tool
-Add all ingredients except for the peas and pulse until most of the mixture is smooth but you can still see tiny pieces of walnuts for texture
-Cook the frozen peas in a pot according to package instructions (I just cook over low-medium for about 5-7 minutes)
-When the squash is done you should easily be able to stick a fork in through the skin
-Remove it from the oven & carefully flip so the flesh side is up
-With a fork, you’ll basically want to “rake” from one side to the other to remove the “spaghetti”
-We used all of the pesto mixture and peas with about 2/3 of our squash to yield 4 servings. This will vary since your squash probably won’t be the exact same size. The leftovers can be used on a salad, in an omelet, or you can top it with any sauce.
-You can either stir your pesto mixture & peas right in with the squash, or keep separate for each dish that you plate and add the mixture on top.
-We also chopped up an heirloom tomato to add a little color and sweetness to balance out the delicious but strong garlic and basil.
Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:
Spaghetti Squash isn’t going to provide you with tons of one specific nutrient but it will contribute a balanced amount of most vitamins and minerals to your diet especially Vitamins C & B6. What shines for spaghetti squash is the fiber & healthy carbohydrate content as well as the carotenoid antioxidants.
Avocadoscontain mostly the healthy mono-unsaturated fat that your body needs for heart health, brain function, joint protection and immune function. Avocados are also a good source of fiber,potassium, vitamins E, C, and K, as well as the B-vitamins folate and B6. Another compound this fruit gives us is beta-sitosterol. Just like we get cholesterol from animals, we can get plant sterols from certain plants. Sterols like beta-sitosterol help block cholesterol absorption in the small intestine, enhancing heart health. The phytochemicals that avocados are highest in are the carotenoids lutein + zeaxanthin which are associated with eye health, immune and antioxidant function.
Walnuts have been pinned as the most heart healthy nut by many researchers due to their high omega-3 content (discussed here at walnuts.org) and their vitamin E and antioxidant phytochemical content. Omega-3′s support heart health by helping to regulate inflammation, Vitamin E is heart protective by protecting cells and fatty substances in the body, and the phenols present are thought to support a healthy metabolism and healthy blood vessels.
Did you know that peas are a good source of plant protein? Per 2/3 Cup serving you get 5 grams! As a reference, an egg contains 7 grams. Peas are also an excellent source of Vitamins K, C, A, B1, and folate. They contain the phytochemical coumestrol which has been found in research to reduce stomach cancer risk as well as other phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties.
Basilalso packs a lot of vitamin K as well as some iron, calcium, and Vitamin A. The phytochemicals in basil have been found to be anti-inflammatory, heart healthy, and anti-bacterial.
Garlic provides the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health.
Tomatoespack in lots of Vitamins A, C, and the important fluid balance mineral Potassium. They are well known in terms of phytochemical content for their lycopene which is known for reducing risk of prostate cancer. This was one of the first phytochemicals that really made a name for itself. It is often forgotten that tomatoes also provide other carotenoids and flavonoids such as quercitin.
I am not at all ready for summer to be over but have to admit I’m getting excited for fall foods!