Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Perfect Paleo Pancakes

 

This morning, I was not in the mood for any of my typical breakfasts. Eggs and toast - bleh, savory oatmeal -  too hot, a protein smoothie – not filling enough, a greek yogurt bowl - lame… I wanted something new and exciting! But still satisfying, delicious, and healthy.

I peered in the fridge. No inspiration. I opened up the freezer, dug around, and saw my abandoned almond flour. I had tried to pancakes with it before, but they were too eggy and covered in second degree burns. It was time to try it again.

Perfect paleo pancakes with caramelized banana compote – for one!

for just the right kind of full

These pancakes came out perfectly! They are fluffy and lightly sweet with a hint of vanilla. They are very low carb, high protein & fat, paleo, and sugar & dairy free! I had a scrambled egg + an egg white on the side as well :)

Recipe: Serves 1

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp almond milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

~6 drops liquid NuNaturals stevia (or to taste)

dash cinnamon

dash salt

For the compote- 

1 ripe banana

tsp coconut oil

tbsp real or sugar free maple syrup + plus extra for drizzling

Directions –  Place a pan on the stove with 1 tsp of coconut oil. In a bowl, mash a banana with some maple syrup and spoon into the pan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the banana is caramelized.

Meanwhile, combine all of the pancake ingredients in a bowl (I recommend in that order) and mix well. Place a non stick pan on the stove on medium heat (mine was on 3.5 out of 8). Pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan. Let the bubbles rise to the top. Once the bubbles start to disappear, flip the pancake with a spatula. It should be light brown on the other side. Let cook for an additional minute or two. Remove pancake and place onto a heating plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. Plate the pancakes and top with the caramelized banana and additional maple syrup.

Benefits:

Almond flour * by subbing almond flour for regular flour, you are getting more healthy fats and less carbs in your cookies. These are monounsaturated fats, which raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels! Almonds also have fiber, manganese, vitamin E (another antioxidant), tryptophan, copper, B2 and phosphorous!

Banana * A good source of fiber and potassium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Coconut oil * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism. It is great to cook with because it is stable at high temperatures!

almond flour pancakes with caramelized banana and maple drizzle

Make these!

Detox: Day 3-5. Conquering of the migraines!

Day 3:

Day three was a success as far as the detox went. My headaches were still present, but more of a dull humming rather than an opera of cracked out hyenas. ………  I didn’t have any coffee, dairy, refined sugar or wheat, but my food was fugly. I was rushing around all day going to class and studying for my midterm and simply lived off of leftovers. Lunch looked appalling and I don’t want to desecrate my blog with photos of it.

workout: bikram yoga class

Day 4:

By day 4, the headaches were almost completely gone, but I was starting to crave MEAT. I wanted bigger meals and more quality protein, so thats what I had! I don’t remember all of my snacks, but I know that fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and grain-free banana bread was in thur (somewhur?).

Breakfast: 

bowl lickin’ good

Breakfast bulgur heated up with some almond milk and a banana-peach pie topping! The topping was completely inspired by Natalie. Simply put some coconut oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add a few slices of peach and banana and saute. Add in a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Cook until everything is caramelized and delicious. Scoop on top of the bulgur.

Lunch:

Grilled chicken, bulgur, broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes tossed in basil walnut pesto. BOMB!

90 minutes of  indoor rock climbing!

Dinner: 

For dinner, I experimented with something that is new to me – white miso paste! I made a tasty stir fry with bok choy, japanese eggplant, yam noodles, and chicken that I will perfect and post soon!

Day 5:

Caffeine headaches were absent, but I finally started to miss my dearly beloved gelato! Snacks were the same as yesterday.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal topped with 3 scrambled eggs cooked with some butter, 1 sunny side up egg with yolk popped, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Satisfying.

Lunch: 

Best meal of the day fer sure. 

BBQ salmon and white bean salad

Recipe: Serves 1

2 cups romaine lettuce

sliced cucumber

cherry tomatoes

~2 tbsp Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch dressing

4 oz salmon, grilled

~1/2 cup white beans, cooked

~2 tbsp Trader Joes BBQ sauce

pinch salt

handful whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Directions – Toss the salad, cucumber, and tomatoes with the ranch and plate. In a bowl, combine the salmon, white beans, and BBQ sauce. Mix well. Scoop on top of the salad. Top with a sprinkling of whole wheat bread crumbs.

Football Field Sprints Workout

10-15 minute warm up jog

100 meter sprint down the football field

100 meter walk back to start

repeat 10x

10 minute cool down jog

There is something sexy about running on the football field. I think it is because it has been somewhat of a forbidden fruit for me these last few weeks. Every time I run to the high school track and football field, it is infested with pre-pubescent boys practicing for pre-season, and I am stuck with the track and bleachers again.

Dinner:

Dinner was another stir fry, and just as delicious as the first! It was too late to take a photo, but the main ingredients were bok choy, quinoa, egg plant, chicken, shredded coconut, and the rest you will have to wait for!

Post Dinner… 

Seeing as Day 5 was a) my second genetics midterm, b) the anticipated end of my detox and c) Friday, I made mojitos and went out with some wonderful friends!

Skinny Mojitos

best summer drink e v e r 

Recipe: Serves 1

2 oz silver rum

~6 drops NuNaturals liquid stevia (or to taste)

2 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)

2 tbsp fresh mint

6 oz water

ice

Directions – Combine the rum, stevia, lime, and mint in a glass and muddle. Add the water and ice and stir. Enjoyyy!

I am going to keep up with not drinking coffee for as long as I can. I am hoping to simply only drink coffee when I really need it. I also might reduce the dairy a bit, since my digestion seems to have improved without it. Or was it the lack of coffee? Or gluten? Or..

Guess I’ll never know!

Ps – If you are a winner of my NuNaturals Stevia giveaway and you have not contacted me yet, please do so by Monday at noon. Otherwise, I will have to re-pick several winners! You can check here.

Detox: Day 1

The detox today was quite the success! I woke up and decided to forgo my usual coffee. I do not think that coffee is “bad for you” because we learned in Food Science that the effect that coffee has on our heath depends on our genetics. People who are fast metabolizers of caffeine (AKA can fall asleep in class soon after drinking 24 oz of light roast nectar) will not suffer ill effects from drinking coffee. Those who are slow metabolizers (people who are bouncing off the walls for hours after a small) may have an increased risk of heart attacks. While I am definitely a fast metabolizer of caffeine, I do think that it contributes to my constant state of mild dehydration. I could fix that by drinking enough water, but water is so borringggg.

Basically what I did for the detox was eliminate dairy, caffeine, and refined sugar and emphasize veggies, fruits, and whole grains in a series of mini meals. (Except I forgot there is some parmesan in my pesto…) The switch to mini meals was really different for me since I usually eat three big fatty meals a day. This way of eating, though, is a bit hard on the digestion. I prefer larger, more lavish meals over lighter, more numerous meals simply because they are more satisfying and usually have more complex flavors.

My number one beef with normal detoxes and “cleanses” is that they are usually essentially protein-free. I am not down with that. Eating or drinking only vegetables and fruits or weird spicy lemonade drinks is basically asking your body to please please burn off my muscle. Dietary protein is not stored in the body; our only sources of it are what we eat while it is still in our system and our own muscles. Every day, the cells of our muscles, hair, skin, everything turn over. We are constantly breaking down our muscles and rebuilding them. Sure, some of the protein that we broke down goes back, but some does not, and we need dietary protein to rebuild our cells every single day. So, to prevent muscle loss (and thus a slower metabolism!), I made sure I got enough protein through both complete sources and complementary sources.

First things first to get things movin':

1 mug of hot water with fresh lemon and ginger

Mini meal #1:

Superfood Smoothie Recipe

I have had this Vega stuff sitting in my kitchen for over a year now and have hardly used it. To be honest, it really does not taste very good. Very planty, with essence of earth. But the nutrition facts are out of this world and I like that it has lots of enzymes to help things along!

1 1/2 scoops vega vanilla chai powder

~3/4 cup frozen blackberries

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

handful ice

~3/4 cup almond milk

Directions – Blend away!

Mini meal # 2:

Fruit & spice infused bulgur cereal

 

Recipe: Serves 1

3/4 cup bulgur breakfast mix (recipe below)

~1/2 cup almond milk

handful pecans and walnuts, chopped

Directions – Pour the almond milk over the bulgur breakfast mix and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Top with nuts.

Bulgur Breakfast Mix

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

1 cup bulgur

2 cups water

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

1 tbsp dried cherries

1 tbsp dried blueberries

1 tbsp dried raisins

1/2 tbsp flax

1 tsp psyllium

cinnamon to taste (I also added a pinch of nutmeg)

Directions – Combine the water and bulgur in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Pour into tupperware and add the almond milk, dried fruit, flax, psyllium, and spices. Seal and let sit in the fridge overnight.

30 minute run!

Mini meal # 3:

Kale & Carrot Salad with Honey Sesame dressing 

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was definitely inspired by Natalie!

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 bunch kale

1 large carrot

handful shredded coconut, toasted

1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds

for the dressing -

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 tbsp coconut butter, melted

2 tsp honey

Directions – Heat the coconut oil and coconut butter in the microwave until melted, about 20 seconds. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stalks into a bowl. Grate the carrot into the bowl. Toss with all of the salad dressing. Top with sesame seeds and shredded coconut.

Mini meal # 4:

4 hardboiled eggs  (minus a yolk or two)

1/2 slice of grain free banana bread (recipe to come!)

Bikram yoga class for the first time in a year!

Meal # 5:

Summer vegetable & white bean-quinoa salad with basil walnut pesto

 

 

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 cup white beans, cooked

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1 small patty pan squash

1 small zucchini

1/4 small sweet onion

~2 tbsp basil walnut pesto (recipe here!)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the squash and zucchini and onion into small cubes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for one hour and remove the onion and zucchini. Bake the squash for an additional 30 minutes. Combine the quinoa, beans, and vegetables in a bowl and toss with the pesto. Enjoyyyy.

Mini meal # 6:

1/2 slice grain free banana bread

2 hardboiled eggs

Whew! I feel pretty darn good. ;)

Fresh recipes for summer!

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! The week really flew by. Between classes, my internship, and being a Yes Woman, I feel like I have hardly sat down in the last 6 or so days. My internship at the fertility center has gotten much more stimulating lately. Even my busy work was fun this week. Instead of filing charts and alphabetizing papers, I got to handle ‘delinquent’ charts, which for whatever reason are lacking key information needed to close the chart. Basically, I got to call patients who completed treatment (in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination) and find out whether or not they gave birth and what the sex, name, and weight was. Luckily, everyone I called had a successful outcome and were now the parents of healthy, beautiful babies. Hearing the joy and pride in their voice as they told me little Alexa or Trevor was born on this or this day and weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces left me smiling for days. It was a good lesson in talking to patients on the phone and both keeping it professional, yet showing emotion and excitement for their new family addition. My other shift was even better: I got to watch 4 ultrasounds! At 8 weeks, you can hear the heartbeat  – and it is usually around 170 beats per minute. Crazy.

I need to research on my own and talk to the endocrinologist at the center more before going into details, but I have been meaning to share something he taught me with y’all for weeks now. As most of you are probably aware, foods have been labeled with a rating system called the Glycemic Index. Basically, a high GI food spikes blood sugar and a low GI food keeps blood sugar stable. The whole point of the glycemic index is to predict the body’s insulin response to a food. When we have high blood sugar, our body secretes insulin to make our cells suck it up from the blood. Insulin spikes cause a MASSIVE chain of events in the body and do many things, including promoting weight gain (and growth), and in the long term can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. So, people have been afraid of high GI foods for years now, but as it turns out the GI rating system is not always a good predictor of insulin response. For the most part, it is, but there are many exceptions. It thoroughly depresses me to report that yogurt (yes, including Greek yogurt) actually spikes insulin quite badly (more so than white bread) despite the fact that it is high protein and low GI. This is because whey and casein protein are insulin promotors. Some other proteins (like beef) appear to be low GI but actually have a higher insulin response than would be predicted. In contrast, some higher GI foods have lower insulin responses, like popcorn and brown rice and pasta.  Im not saying to stop or start eating anything, I just think it is good to be aware that the relationship between glucose response and insulin response is not so clear. Once I learn more and can make a better judgement about actual diet modifications related to insulin response, I will certainly share. For now, you can check out this cool chart comparing GI and insulin index ratings and an interesting blog post from a few years back (I don’t know about the accuracy of either).

I am currently in Tahoe with my girlfren Carlyn and am not cooking a single meal this weekend, but here are a few summer-inspired recipes I have been lovin’ on lately.

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Pops

cool, refreshing & high protein!

Recipe: Makes 3-5 pops depending on mold

1 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup blueberries (Rhythm and blueberries are the best, if you’re semi-local!)

NuNaturals liquid stevia, to taste

1/2 tsp lemon zest, very finely grated

3 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

Directions – Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Fold in blueberries. Divide mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

Sesame-Sugar Snap Peas

such a filling, delicious snack

Recipe: Makes 1-2 servings

1 cup sugar snap peas

1/3 cup edamame, shelled

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

dash salt

Directions – Lightly steam the snap peas and edamame (unless you prefer raw!). To do this the lazy way, simply add 1 tbsp of water to the veggies in a bowl and cover with a plate and microwave for about 10-15 seconds, until bright green. Drink the leftover water and pat dry! Toss with oil, seeds and salt. Enjoy!

World’s Best Honey Mustard Dressing

greens, snap peas, grilled parsnip, chicken, sunflower seeds, whole wheat panko

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp greek yogurt

1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 egg yolk

1 drop stevia (or pinch sugar)

dash salt, to taste

Directions – Combine all in a dish and mix with a fork until homogenous. For the weird vinegar measurement, I simply used a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon and filled it half way with apple cider vinegar and filled it to the top with white balsamic vinegar.

Just make sure you re-wash your pre-washed mixed greens!!!!

I came thissss close to eating the little guy. 

Q: How are you celebrating the 4th?

The breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas.

I have my final final today for the quarter at 1pm. I will then rush on over to my internship until 5, maybe (but doubtfully) squeeze in a quick run or something, and then get ready for the celebratory festivities of the night! I am quite excited. Perhaps a little of this…

Little of that?..

the annual bar crawl

Either way, I need some substantial fuel for the day. I’ve been fiending for eggs lately (I just made up the stupidest joke regarding the fertility center I work at in my head), so I made the breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas. 

come to Mama

This actually tastes like pizza. Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil (that I grew!), sun dried tomatoes, oregano, thyme, onions, spinach, perfection.

Italiano Supremo Breakfast Pizza

Recipe:c serves 1

1 egg + 3 large egg whites

2 tbsp onions

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

handful spinach

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes

basil

oregano

thyme

garlic salt

Directions – Toast the tortilla until it is just firm enough to hold its shape. Place a pan on the stove on medium low heat and grease with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, or however much you need to make sure it is very well greased (including the SIDES of the pan). Spread the onions in the pan. Crack the egg and egg whites into a bowl and mix well. Pour over the onions and cover. Don’t stir! Let cook until it is almost done and then add the cheese, tomatoes, spinach, basil, and spices. Recover. When the cheese is melted and the eggs are completely cooked, take a spatula and tease out the egg pancake. Try not to break it, but its fine if you do! Lay the entire egg pancake on top of the tortilla. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Onion * Contains quercitin, an antioxidant that halts the growth of tumors! Also, studies have linked regular onion consumption with lower cholesterol and reduced risk of colon cancer. A prime source of chromium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Basil * Has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids protect your cells from damage (and thus, in the long run, cancer).

Fun Fact

10 most purchased grocery items in America (in order) are:

soda, milk, bread, beer, salty snacks, cheese, frozen entrees, cereal, wine, cigs

Its vegan? Throw some chicken on it.

I have so many foodie pictures and recipes from this week that they are taking over my desktop! Probably because all I have done this week is cook yummy food, study for finals, work out a bit, and go to my internship. Yesterday was a breakthrough day for me at the fertility center. I got to witness my first ultrasound!! I saw twins and heard their heart beats. It was amazing. Apparently, today I might get to sit in on a new patient consult, so I am really excited! A break from filing is always appreciated ;).

Anywho, onto some food!

Whole Wheat Cheddar Waffle Breakfast Sandwich

its a shame you can’t see the cheddar :(

This was bomb. The maple syrup contrasts fabulously with the sharp cheddar cheese!

Recipe: I simply followed a recipe online for whole wheat waffles and added 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese to the batter right before putting into a waffle maker. Then, I scrambled 1 egg with 4 egg whites and topped the cheddar waffles with the scrambled eggs and 1 tbsp real maple syrup and some truffled salt.

Lunches

so fresh and so clean clean

This was Alaina’s Coconut, Spice, and Everything Nice salad. I subbed out the chickpeas and added grilled salmon. It was delicious! The only issue was that the coconut oil hardened on the salad and it would have been nice if it had stayed liquidy.

Maple Glazed Salmon and Cheddar ‘Spaghetti’

I brought this lunch with me to campus and it was perfectly portable.

Maple + cheddar = YES

Recipe: Cook 4 oz. salmon on the stove with a dash of butter and 1/2 tbsp real maple syrup. Once it is cooked all the way through, remove from heat and peel away the skin.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash with some edamame. Top with 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Nuke.

Lay the salmon on top of the spaghetti. Add an extra drizzle of syrup if you wish and sprinkle on a bit of salt. Dont forget to pack an extra side of veg + hummus!

Dinners

If you haven’t noticed, I blog dinners far less often than I do breakfast and lunch. This is because by the time dinner rolls around, I have been going going going all day and I am usually HANGRY. This means I want delicious, nutritious, and filling food – NOW. Aka: throw a bunch of yummy shit in a bowl and devour. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for pretty, blog-worthy photographs. No sir. But, to give you an idea of my typical dinner, it usually involves a protein, lots of veggies, a bit of whole grain, all doused in a fattyrich sauce. [Followed up with something sweet of the vanilla bean variety.]

Vegan “cheeze” sauce have been on blogs for ages and lately I have really been loving them. Clearly, I don’t have a problem with cheese. I love it (now). Although, it took me about 20 years to come to appreciate it. I’m still not on the level of stinky cheeses – but give me a good goat, feta, cheddar, or fresh mozzarella cheese any day. I don’t really like just having one flavor in every bite, so I have been pairing vegan cheeze sauces with nut butter sauces for a nice contrast in my dinners.

Cheezy Chicken & Pasta topped with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Its vegan! Except for the chicken I threw on top…

tastes a million times better than it appears

Recipe: In a pan, saute veggies of your choice (I had cabbage, turnips, onions, and kelp noodles on hand) and grill 4 oz chicken until cooked all the way through. Combine veggies, chicken, and 1/4 cup whole wheat pasta in a bowl and toss with a spoonful of cheeze sauce (recipe below). Take 1 heaping tablespoon of your cashew cream sauce base (recipe below) and place into a small bowl. Mix in 1/2 tbsp milk (or milk alternative to keep it vegan) and 1/4 tsp garlic salt. Stir together. Pour on top of cheezy pasta bowl.

Vegan Cheeze Sauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp chili powder

dash onion powder

Directions – Mix it all up!

Mmmm… cheezy with a kick!

Creamy Cashew & Garlic Sauce

1 1/2 cups roasted cashews

~1/3 cup water

Directions – Blend the cashews in a blender starting with 1/4 cup water. Continue to blend and add small amounts of water until the desired consistency has been reached. I wanted mine pourable but not watery. This is your base for a million different sauces. To make the creamy garlic sauce simply take a portion of the base and add…

garlic salt (to taste)

This dinner was very similar. I tossed cabbage, red bell peppers, kelp noodles, and 4 oz grilled chicken in cheeze sauce.  Then I cooked 1/3 cup Trader Joes 4 Grain Cereal in 1/2 cup water, mixed in 1 tbsp almond butter, and added it to the bowl. Next, I thinned out another tbsp of almond butter with milk and drizzled onto the bowl. Super good!

This post is getting longgg, so I shall be back with  more recipes and health benefits later!

I invented a cookie.

I have an obsession with all things vanilla bean. Vanilla bean gelato. Vanilla bean yogurt. Vanilla bean creme brulee. Cake. Oatmeal. Pudding. Vanilla bean infused buerre blanc. (Yes, I have had it, and it was too good for this Earth.)

I also have phases of being obsessed with tahini. I love how rich and savory it is! It goes extremely well on salads, veggies, eggs, oatmeal, basically anything.

One day about two weeks ago, genius slapped me in the face and screamed WHY HAVE YOU NEVER COMBINED TAHINI AND VANILLA BEAN BEFORE?

And thus, Vanilla Bean Tahini Cookies were born.

After I made these, I googled the name to see if anything came up. Nothing did.

THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE YOU CAN GET THIS RECIPE!

Cookies made from whole wheat flour, tahini, and vanilla bean infused sugar and rolled in sesame seeds.

Over the last two weeks, I have made 4 batches of these cookies and basically have 2 very similar versions of the recipe. One is for a denser, more rich cookie (that I preferred) and one is for a more fluffy cookie (all the pictures). I recommend going for the more rich and dense version unless you really prefer fluffier, lighter cookies. I love them. They satisfy my sweet, savory, buttery, and nutty cravings all at once. When I gave the girls in my sorority some to try, they were a hit!

My victims:

Amanda, Sydnie, Marena, Me, Megan, Abby – Michelle, Sarah

(Hi Sydnie and Megan!)

DG approved. ;)

Recipe: Makes 8 cookies

(I am posting the denser version with the fluffy alterations in parenthesis)

Wet ingredients – 

1 tbsp butter, melted    (1/2 tbsp butter, melted)

3 tbsp tahini  (2 1/2 tbsp tahini)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients – 

1/4 cup vanilla bean infused sugar + plus extra for rolling in

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/8 tsp salt

no baking soda (fluffy uses 1/8 tsp baking soda)

1/4 cup sesame seeds (to roll in)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add in the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until well combined. Next, take out a plate and spread the sesame seeds over it. Sprinkle in some extra vanilla bean sugar and salt (if you love it like I do). Take a spoonful of dough and roll into a ball. Roll in the sesame seed/sugar/salt mixture and lightly flatten onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes (1o max). Don’t overcook!

If you don’t have vanilla sugar: scrape the seeds from half a vanilla bean into the wet ingredients and use regular sugar.

If you don’t have vanilla beans: Buy some. Or… if you must, add an extra 2 tsp of vanilla extract

How to make vanilla bean sugar:

Method 1: Take 4 vanilla beans and scrape seeds into 1 pound of sugar. Chop up the bean pods and throw into a food processor with the sugar. Let process until the vanilla bean pods are a homogenous part of the sugar. Store in an air tight container and let flavors meld for 1-2 weeks, if possible.

Method 2: Scrape seeds from 1 vanilla bean into 1-2 cups of sugar. Place the empty bean pod and sugar in a jar and let flavors meld for 1-2 weeks, if possible.

Words and photos can’t do justice. 


Benefits – HELL YES COOKIES HAVE BENEFITS:

Tahini * a good source of essential unsaturated fatty acids, copper, iron, calcium, fiber and B vitamins. Copper is good for treating some of the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Magnesium can help lower blood pressure and help women going through menopause maintain normal sleeping patterns.

Sesame seeds * have the highest content of phytosterols of all nutsPhytosterols look similar to cholesterol and are believed to lower cholesterol levels, aid in immunity and decrease the risk of some cancers!

Whole wheat flour * unlike refined flour, whole wheat flour has more B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.

Anddd a Nina photo to get you through today:

my little shoe destroyer

And a weekend photo to get you through to Friday:

Spring formal! Me, Sara, Erin, Noelle, Danielle…and sketchy couple?

(Make the cookies.)

Whole wheat pasta and shrimp tossed with wasabi sweet potato & ginger sauce

Happy Saturday everyone! The week really flew by. Between class, lab, internship, meetings, baking up a storm, and my car breaking down, I finally feel like I can breathe again! The car issue was pretty embarrassing. It has been making screeching noises for months now, but I haven’t quite had the time to take it in (mhmm). Finally, late on Wednesday night I drove to a friend’s house (whom I don’t know all that well) to return a jacket he lent me on a blustery night downtown when my car started going nuts. The screen and dashboard went black, the lights went out, and the radio went out while I was driving. I pulled into his driveway as it puttered – puttered – died. Dead. Kaput. I awkwardly knocked on his door with his jacket, a “thank you” crystallized ginger & wasabi brownie, and a dead car behind me. We tried to jump start the car, but it couldn’t even hold a charge so we pushed it out onto the street to be dealt with later. I had it towed the next day and as it turns out, one of the necessary belts was completely missing. I am pretty sure I ran it into the ground until the belt snapped and fell off… Woops. At least I learned my lesson! Don’t put car repairs off. 

Anywho, these crystallized ginger and wasabi brownies are the best brownies I have ever tasted and one of my favorite recipes. Joanne is a genius. I would never have thought to combine spicy wasabi with chocolate! MAKE THEM. 

Do you see the chunks of crystallized ginger?!

Since making these, I have had the ginger wasabi combination on the brain. I have been eating it on everything! For example, I brought lunch to school yesterday and the main course was grilled chicken and asaparagus tossed in a teriyaki-wasabi-ginger sauce.

plus wasabi peanuts, roasted peanuts, an apple, and a homemade protein bar

And for dinner last night?

Wasabi Sweet Potato & Ginger Pasta with Shrimp

Incredible.

Recipe: Serves 1

For the sauce:

1 cup light coconut milk

1/4 cup baked sweet potato

1 tsp ginger

1-2 tsp wasabi  (to your taste)

1 tsp crystallized ginger, chopped  + extra for garnish

pinch cayenne pepper   (optional)

Directions – Heat the coconut milk in a pan on the stove on medium low heat. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer until it is a thick consistency. Once the desired consistency and flavor has been reached, remove from heat.

For the pasta:

1/3 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked

1/2 cup spaghetti squash, cooked

~12 shrimp, raw

~1 tbsp wasabi peanuts

Directions – Cook the pasta and spaghetti squash according to directions, I recommend making extra. Place the shrimp in a pan on the stove with 2 tbsp water. Cook on medium low heat until opaque, flipping after ~2 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain if necessary, and toss with some of the pasta sauce. In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta and squash and toss with the rest of the pasta sauce. Transfer to a plate. Garnish with shrimp, crystallized ginger, and wasabi peanuts. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Shrimp * extremely high in protein and low in fat! Contains selenium, tryptophan, vitamin D (key for bone health), B12, iron (needed for a healthy thyroid), phosphorous, B3, and zinc. The fat that shrimp does contain is the healthy monounsaturated kind.

Ginger * contains gingerol which relaxes blood vessels and thus improves circulation. It also aids in digestion and can soothe the stomach. Contains TONS of compounds that fight cancer!

Spaghetti squash * contains vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, B6, and lots of fiber!

Whole wheat pasta * unlike refined white flour, whole wheat flour has more B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.

Spotlight on: Vitamin D!

Good morning! The title of this post refers to an idea I had this week for the blog. Last week and over the weekend, I had to keep track of everything I ate and drank for my nutrition class. On Monday during our lab, we input all the data into a computer system and had it calculate every possible piece of information about our diets. Do you know how hard it is to input some of this stuff on Food Works?!

Tropical bowl

Breakfast version: Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, coconut milk, chopped mango, coconut

Dessert version: Vanilla yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt!), coconut milk, chopped mango, shredded coconut

Cheeseburger on whole wheat bun with pickle and homemade cookie!

Delicious

Summer Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

Recipe: Serves 1

4 stalks asparagus, chopped

2/3 cup quinoa, cooked

1/4 cup lentils, cooked

1 tbsp dried cherries, chopped

1/2 tbsp truffle oil (or olive or grape seed)

Directions – Grease a pan with oil and place on medium heat on the stove.  Add the asparagus and cherries and cover with a plate. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, remove the plate, and add the cooked quinoa and lentils. Cover again and let cook, stirring occasionally. It is done when the asparagus is soft (but still crunchy) and everything is hot! Remove from heat and toss in a bowl with the dressing (recipe below). Serve with a protein source, like grilled salmon!

Creamy avocado dressing: 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp greek yogurt, garlic salt, cumin, couple drops of lemon juice – Mash together!

The results of the lab were fascinating! As it turns out, I…

get 25% of my calories from protein, 35% from fat, and and 37% from carbs

I was within 2 calories for my estimated caloric need! SO WEIRD.

It is incredible how the body has the ability to regulate our hunger and fullness with such precision. Of course, this often goes down the drain for many people when they get stressed out, are on vacation, or are overweight. Abdominal obesity especially can disregulate hunger cues by messing with the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satisfied hormone leptin.

32% of the fat I ate was saturated, 21% was polyunsaturated, 28.5% was MUFA

I ate 233% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein

 137% of the RDA for calcium

352% of the RDA for niacin

256 % of the RDA for B12

Basically all of my vitamins and minerals were way over the RDA except for Vitamin D, which was a a bit deficient, and Vitamin E which was barely satisfactory. This surprises me since I eat seeds and nuts on a daily basis. I think part of it is the 4 days that were sampled and also the computer program that was used (seeing as it said that one day I got 0% vitamin D). Everything is so variable that you have to take all the information with a grain of salt. The results got me wondering what the best sources of vitamin D and E are and I thought it might be cool to highlight a nutrient every so often on the blog.

Whuddup Vitamin D?

Function: aids in absorption of calcium, necessary for bone growth, immune function, neuromuscular function, cell modulator

Factoid: Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so many products are enriched with it.  It is a fat soluble vitamin and can also be obtained from the sun, although glass and SPF’s over 8 prevent this.

Natural Sources: 3 ounces sockeye salmon (112% daily value), 3 ounces mackerel (97% DV), sardines, shrimp, 3 ounces canned tuna (39% DV), 1 egg (10% DV)

Fortified sources:  1 cup fortified milk (30% DV), 1 cup fortified OJ (25% DV), 1 cup fortified yogurt (20% DV)

Groups at risk for deficiency: older adults, people on very low fat diets or with fat malabsorption, people with limited sun exposure, people who have dark skin, and people who are obese.  [image source]

Whole Wheat + Avocado Bread = amazing.

Last night, I went on a baking binge. I made a cookie recipe that I have been eyeing for a while. I made banana pudding because I have gotten several banana recipe requests lately. And I made whole wheat avocado bread.

To. Die. For.

All of the things I made were tasty and will eventually make it to the blog, but this avocado bread is so good that I have to share it. Now. It is hearty and moist and you can really taste the avocado. I had it for breakfast this morning with eggs…

half toasted, half not because I am indecisive

And then I had it again with lunch during my Nutrition lab. That lab is every Monday from 2-5 and it perfectly coincides with when I want to have lunch. It’s usually pretty awkward… mainly because I have a tendency to bring entire chicken breasts in transparent tupperware containers smothered in ketchup and it looks like I’m eating a crime scene. Bringing food to school is so stifling! I usually end up packing some kind of protein, fruit, a bag of nuts, a baked good, and a bag of sugar snap peas and carrots.

Do you see the amazing chunks of avogasm? 

Recipe: Makes 5 slices (feel free to double the recipe!)

Dry ingredients – 

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp wheat bran

1 tbsp quick oats

2 tbsp kamut flour (optional, you can sub in more of any of the the first three ingredients – I just wanted to stir up the nutrients)

1 tbsp coconut sugar (or any sugar)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients – 

1 ripe, medium avocado

1/3 cup greek yogurt

1 egg

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. In another bowl, mash the avocado and add the yogurt, egg, and oil and mix well. Pour the wet over the dry and stir with a spatula until just combined. Pour into a well greased mini-loaf pan and bake at 350 for 36-40 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let it cool in the pan before removing or slicing.

Benefits:

Avocado * contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. Also contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, zinc, and iron. Their greatest asset is their monounsaturated fat content, which is linked to lower cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, weight loss, and even alleviating depression.

Whole wheat flour * unlike refined white flour, whole wheat flour has more B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, and iron. Whole grains reduce your risk for diabetes and have also been linked to weight loss and maintaining a lower BMI.