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 new experiment resulted in an equally delicious versatile hummus. I have used it as a dip for veggies and Flackers crackers, as an omelet topper and as a spread for my veggie packed wraps. If you are looking for a Superbowl dip packed with flavor and nutrients to help fill you up, this quick hummus is perfect! Continue reading

Easy, Creamy, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus has been super popular for years and I don’t see it going away anytime soon! While it is a healthful snack or spread, you are spending way too much money on it! This recipe can give you 4 times what you’ll get in a store bought container for a lower cost and with a better, fresher taste. Even if you think you can’t cook, it is so easy that I promise you can do this! Since red pepper is one of the most popular flavors, I figured it was a perfect one to post.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

2/3 C Roasted red peppers (I buy organic jarred or roast my own!)
1.5 cans or 3 cups soaked garbanzo beans
1.5 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup warm 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 except the water to your food processor.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com

-Pulse for 30-60 seconds. If the mixture is very thick and difficult to blend, add 1/8 cup of water. If you use canned beans, you are less likely to need to add the water. Pulse for another 30-60 seconds and then gauge if you think you need the remainder of the water.
-Pulse an additional minute or until mixture is very creamy.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com
-Add to a serving dish or pour into a storage container and enjoy within a week!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.comShown above on the right with black bean dip on the top and cashew cheese dip on the bottom. Who doesn’t love a variety of dips for your veggies?! Looking for another fun dip? Try my spicy sweet potato hummus or my dairy free creamy spinach & artichoke dip.

Since my home only consists of myself and my husband, I sometimes will freeze half for next week if we won’t be having anyone over. Just throw it in the fridge a day before you want to eat it 🙂

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Garbanzo Beans, aka “chickpeas”, contain protein, fiber, manganese, folate and even some iron.

Tahini which is a paste made from sesame seeds, is an ingredient in the hummus you buy at the grocery store that you maybe never knew was in there. It provides great flavor but also gives you some protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and plant sterols. Vitamins and minerals in tahini include thiamin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

Red Bell Peppers provide you with tons of Vitamin C (even more per serving than citrus!), lots of Vitamin A and fiber as well as Vitamin E, B6 and potassium. Phytochemicals include lycopene (associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer & heart disease) and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are great for eye and cardiovascular health.

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

Spring Food Prep

Whether it’s not procrastinating on a homework assignment, creating an elevator speech, or making some meals and snacks ahead of time, being prepared helps us when life throws us a curve ball or when it’s just crazy busy in general! As I covered in my first food prep post in the fall taking some time once per week saves time and stress later. When it comes to making decisions about food, you can’t ignore them or put them off. We need to eat at least three times per day in order to feel physically and mentally well. When we make the right decisions, we may not consciously give ourselves enough credit to reinforce those good decisions but unconsciously they are balancing our mental well being, making our brain more sharp, making us feel happier and more energetic. Being prepared with meals and emergency snacks helps us make the correct dietary decisions during crunch time and then influences the rest of our abilities for the day and week.

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If prepping ahead is not something you are in the habit of doing or you are not ready to tackle, read the beginning of my fall post where I highlighted what needs to be done before you commit to planning out your meals (ex: start with a list like the one to the left). Earthbound Farm Organics gives similar tips too.

While prepping food is a major part of my life most Sundays, I have made a commitment to post a new week of food prep each semester. At this point, my students have learned a lot about the science of nutrition, specifically what essential nutrients are, why they are important for the body’s metabolic processes, and where to get the nutrients from. However, we are just now getting to the application. There is no one diet for everyone and to improve health, each individual person needs to focus on small goals/changes that they can make to change bad habits into good ones for the rest of their life. A diet is simply a pattern of eating. What can you do to improve your pattern?

In addition to the above, I always have the follow fresh and ready to eat foods on hand:

Apples, bananas, clementines, nuts & seeds, nut butters, raisins & dates, and not so fresh but still fairly clean rice cakes.

 

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Here is how prepping went:

Sunday morning we decided to have pancakes. I made my buckwheat pumpkin pancakes but used applesauce instead of pumpkin. For the two of us, the whole recipe makes enough for Sunday and a couple of days during the week. You can either cook them all, freeze, and reheat in the toaster or you can cover the batter with press and seal and make fresh the next couple of mornings. I like to make them fresh when I can because then I can add different things for more variety. One morning I added walnuts and banana and topped with peanut butter and this morning I added chopped dark chocolate, unsweetened dried coconut & hemp seeds and drizzled some local honey on top.

20140408-125906.jpg banana walnut buckwheat pancake  Banana, chocolate, coconut buckwheat pancake

Crockpot black beans

After breakfast and the gym and right before church I threw 3 C dry black & pinto beans, 6 cups water, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp cumin and pepper in the Crockpot and set on high for 8 hours. When they’re done you can mash or use an immersion blender to really get the “refried” texture, or you can just leave as is and they’re still really good. Throughout the week we add these to salads, potatoes, or have with a random grain and vegetable for a meal. Super versatile and if you are a family of less than 4 I recommend freezing half for another week. Also, if you don’t own a slow cooker I don’t know what you’re waiting for. These things are a gift from God to save us all a ton of time.

 


Late afternoon
potatoes and sweet potatoes went in the oven as did asparagus and a chopped red bell pepper for the frittata. I also thinly sliced fresh beets and tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper and baked them. It saves time and energy ($) to cook as much in the oven at once as you can.
While those were in the oven on the stove top I quick cooked some garbanzo beans from dry for hummus, a cup of brown rice, and a package of Trader Joe’s quick cook farro.
With all of that going, I chopped garlic for the guacamole, hummus, soup, and sauce as well as chopped onion for the guac, soup & sauce and jalapenos for the guac. It saves time to chop everything at once so you don’t have to keep going back. With the cutting board out this was a good time to chop carrots and celery for snacks.

When the asparagus & pepper were ready I chopped them and threw them into a bowl with thawed spinach to let cool. The beet chips were all set and went right into a container.

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Food processor came out and I made simple date & cashew energy bars. There’s simple and more fresh than larabars, though I do like my cashew “cookie” hemp bars a little better!

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I put the rice away for sushi night Wednesday and used that burner to cook organic green beans from frozen. Drizzled a little Tubby Olive Tuscan Herb on top with some pepper and those were done in minutes. I then started the white bean soup (but you can prep any soup!) which was also quick since it was vegetarian and while it was cooking made a quick red sauce for the farro.

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Last steps of food prep were making the hummus in the food processor, smashing up the guacamole, and cooking the frittata. Here is a hummus recipe I have up but you can also just throw in garbanzo beans, garlic, salt, pepper, tahini and water, pulse and you’re done. I always have extra garbanzo beans so we can have them on salads. Here is an easy guacamole recipe too. Make it in the storage container so you don’t have to wash an extra bowl. For the frittata, I added 6 eggs to the spinach, asparagus and red pepper mixture and cooked in a large non stick eco pan on low so it wouldn’t burn but would cook through. You can also bake frittata’s. I cut it into 6 pieces and stored in a pyrex in the fridge. Tim eats it for lunch and I even had some with already baked potatoes after a workout one night as dinner.

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The prep I did not do Sunday was crockpot oats Wednesday night so breakfast was ready early Thursday (and Friday) morning for us. 1 Cup steel cut oats, 2 cups almond milk, 2 cups water, cinnamon & vanilla. Low for 8 hours. DONE. Added cacao nibs, coconut, hemp hearts and sunflower seed butter and had some mango on the side.

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Things we still prepared during the week:

We still have to pack lunches every night but its a lot quicker when you just ladle soup or farro into a pyrex and throw lettuce and veggies in another container for a quick salad. Below is the bpa free silicon salad dressing containers I picked up recently at Bed Bath & Beyond too. No one likes soggy salads at work!

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Wednesday was salad & sushi night. After having a salad easily with pre-washed lettuce and some oil & vinegar, we took the already prepped rice and simply chopped up some avocado & shredded some carrot. We rolled out the sushi and had some pickled ginger, low sodium soy sauce & chili sauce on the side. To add protein we also split a package of organic frozen edamame that was easily heated up in a pot in minutes.

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Hope you are feeling inspired to start prepping on your own. I promise its so much better to only have to reheat food after a long work and/or school day! While it seems like a lot of work above, it only took about 3 total hours which would have added up to a lot more cooking breakfast and dinner each individual day of the week. You’ll also spend less time doing dishes! If you already prep, maybe there are some new ideas above too. As my students already know, I am always open to comments and question. Have a healthy weekend!

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus

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I am a huge hummus lover –  as a dip, on wraps & sandwiches, on top of potatoes or sweet potatoes, and even on salads. Hummus can for certain be a healthy addition to any diet but making it at home from scratch means it will taste more fresh and you can make more for your money! In the summer, roasted pepper and garlic is my favorite but in the winter when sweet potatoes are in season this combo hits the spot. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a food processor. With “Big Game Sunday” coming up, and everyone thinking about what they are going to eat I thought this would be a good time to post something that can fit in to your football party food without making your health fumble. For a lot of people who made new years resolutions or goals, by late January/early February the chances of slipping up increase. So remember, you can make super healthy foods that taste amazing and won’t leave you regretting your intake later! Here is a post I put up last year on healthier choices for the big game and better alternatives to your football food staples.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

eat real live well tahini & garbanzo's1.5 Cups/250 grams garbanzo beans, prepped from dry (or 1 can rinsed & drained*)
2-3 cloves garlic
2 medium jalapenos, stems chopped off
1 small-medium baked sweet potato (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1/8 tsp each: cumin & cayenne
Fresh ground black pepper & sea salt to taste
1/4 C warm 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 except the water to your food processor and pulse for 30-60 seconds-If mixture is very thick and difficult to blend, add 1/8 cup of water. If you use canned beans, you are less likely to need to add the water. Pulse for another 30-60 seconds and then gauge if you think you need the remainder of the water.
-Pulse an additional minute or until mixture is very creamy.
-Pour into a storage container and enjoy within a week!

Since my home only consists of myself and my husband, I sometimes will freeze half for next week if we won’t be having anyone come over or visit. Just throw it in the fridge a day before you want to eat it 🙂

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Garbanzo Beans, aka “chickpeas”, contain protein, fiber, manganese, folate and even some iron.

Tahini which is a paste made from sesame seeds, is an ingredient in the hummus you buy at the grocery store that you maybe never knew was in there. It provides great flavor but also gives you some protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and plant sterols. Vitamins and minerals in tahini include thiamin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. 

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.

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

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.

Fall Food Prep

I am writing this post specifically for my students. They have learned about the science of food and nutrition up to this point in class and this week, they are taught how to actually apply it to their life to be more healthful. The biggest complaint I hear about from students is that eating healthy food is too time consuming. I especially hear this from students who are also parents coming back to school. Just like studying outside of class requires time management, so does your meal plan! How can you possibly stay energized to take on school, work, exercise and family time without eating well? I know I wouldn’t be able to! So it all comes back to planning and preparation. Taking a few hours one day to prepare a couple of meals and ingredients for later in the week will make your life less stressful and will save time, money and energy later.

First, it is important to have a running grocery list at all times. I cannot imagine going to the grocery store without a list! {{How some people manage, I will never know}} For some of you maybe this is your first goal. Get accustomed to having a grocery list of things you actually need for the coming week. Put a notepad on your fridge or by the family computer to update when you realize you need something. Also, if you make a time saving rule that you won’t run back to the grocery store Monday-Friday, you will be sure to get everything you’ll need on that list. Oh yeah, and only put healthful nutrient dense foods on the list. If you only have nutritious foods in the house, you’ll only eat nutritious foods.

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Once making grocery lists is just a part of your lifestyle and you don’t need to give it a second thought, your second step is to make sure those lists actually correspond with meals you are going to prepare for the week. Start just by having a plan for dinner each night. This means that yes, you will choose what you will be eating for the coming week ahead of time. Ditch the excuse of “but what if I don’t feel like X on Wednesday”. If you have 4-5 meals planned you can move them around! This way you are going to buy only what you need and be much less likely to eat junk or order out. After planning dinners becomes part of your lifestyle, start to include breakfast, lunch and snacks in your planning.

Now, if you’ve gotten used to the organizational side of things on paper, that doesn’t mean it has been easy to throw those meals together each night. So this is what makes life the easiest: weekly food prep. Based on your family’s schedule, Sunday may not be the best day for you to prep so evaluate your week and pick whatever day is easiest for you. For me, it is Sunday so in the fall, I do all my food preparation while football is on (we are lucky enough that the kitchen is connected to the living area and I can see/hear the TV). This way, I get to pay attention to the games but instead of sitting on my butt, I check things off my to do list and make eating healthy meals and snacks easier the rest of the week. I know there is no way especially Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, that I am going to get a workout in and make a satisfying healthy dinner, so food prep has become a big part of my life. Below I have an example of a typical week of food prep in the fall. I think fall and winter are sometimes the easiest seasons for meal prep because of one pot meals like soup, chili, and even crockpot oats for the morning.

A couple of things that I do most weeks are prepping black beans and garbanzo beans from dry and baking potatoes and sweet potatoes. You can do both of these things at the same time. I prefer dry beans over canned because it is much more fresh and also easier than wondering if the cans are lined with BPA (since most cans are). Plus, its more economical. I usually prep 1/2 of a 1 lb bag but you could prep the whole bag if you have a big family or if you want to freeze half.

Since the oven is on, I typically maximize the space and energy being used by baking or roasting something else. This week I roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots and onion. I also put a poblano pepper in to roast for hummus as well as a delicata squash and an acorn squash, each halved.

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Prepped & Drained Beans // Red Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes  // Veggies for roasting

While the beans were finishing up I started chopping ingredients for the soup & sloppy joes below. I was sure to chop enough onions and garlic for both of those recipes at the same time. I put some farro on the stove that I used to make this quick dish with it Wednesday night, and also used some for a salad during the week. When the beans were done, I started to make my potato kale and leek soup. With that going, I also started my cooking lentils for my lentil sloppy joes.

soup joes
Potato, Leek & Kale Soup            //  Lentil Sloppy Joes

Each week it is essential to have fresh fruits & veggies available for snacks at all times. We always rinse romaine & mixed greens and have a lot ready in a huge salad bowl in the fridge. In addition, I will chop carrots, celery and when we have them peppers and other veggies to dip into hummus as a snack. I make my own hummus too since its much more fresh. Red chili pepper hummus is my go-to but this week I used the roasted poblano and garbanzo beans to switch it up. I don’t have any hummus recipes on the blog but here are lots of simple ideas: hummus.

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Chopped veggies                  Roasted Poblano   Poblano Hummus

Now what do you do with this stuff during the week?

I always have garbanzo beans leftover after making hummus. My husband loves them plain as a snack but I prefer to add them to salads.

Black beans are also something we add to salad (below w/ avocado) and one day I added to half an acorn squash w/ farro, brussels & hummus and brought it to work for lunch (left below). On Thursday I made a half batch of quick black bean soup. Again, no recipe on the blog but here is a crockpot one (aka throw ingredients in and its done in 8 hours without you doing anything else).

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Potatoes are generally eaten by us alongside veggie packed omelets or with black beans and topping of choice (salsa, hummus, guacamole). Obviously possibilities are endless with this food so do what you wish (other than adding butter, bacon, sour cream, cheese etc). I often have sweet potatoes right out of the fridge as a pre-workout snack after work. You could also throw this recipe together quickly.

The roasted carrots, brussel sprouts and cauliflower were added to salads this week but could easily be thrown into a tortilla wrap or omelet for a meal too. I even dip brussel sprouts in hummus as a snack! I also mixed the brussels with farro in a pan with some garlic and olive oil and added them to one half of delicata squash for dinner one night. I liked it so much it became lunch at work the next day too.

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As mentioned above I used most of the farro for my farro fried rice, and it should be self explanatory that you eat the kale soup for lunches and dinners. The sloppy joes have recommendations for serving within the post itself.

For other ideas on food prep, head over to the blog of another Registered Dietitian, The Lean Green Bean who has lots of posts on the topic!

Hope this is helpful and feel free to leave comments and questions below!