Fill the Energy Void With These 5 Healthy Snack Ideas

Fruit snack

 

Let’s face it, your snack is boring. You’re out of ideas, so you always grab the granola bar or your “usual” bag of trail mix when a hunger pang hits. Sure, those things are easy, but if you’re eating the same things all of the time, how are you ever going to get all of those fabulous nutrients you need!? Read about ways to jazz up your snacking to prevent snack boredom and boost nutrition from my newest article on Stack.com.

Easy Mango Preserves

Image Source: capl@washjeff.edu

 

I love mangoes. They are exquisite in every way. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than enjoying the sweet, tropical flavor of a ripe mango. Mangoes have only been a relatively recent discovery for me. Growing up in Indiana, I never once encountered a mango anywhere. That’s not too ironic, I suppose. Now, it seems mangoes are everywhere. Thank goodness! And when they go on sale, I just can’t help myself and buy way more than I (or the rest of my family) can possibly eat. Not wanting to waste their tasty goodness, I needed to find a way to make use of mine before they went from ripe to inedible. I immediately thought of jelly/jam/preserves. Since my breakfast EVERY DAY consists of peanut butter on toast with some kind of jelly, I knew, that if I turned those extra mangoes into preserves, I could enjoy them EVERY DAY! Woo hoo! So, with just a little bit of time (20 minutes max!) and only a little bit of sugar and lemon juice, I had a winning recipe for mango preserves! Now I share the recipe with you! Enjoy and feel good that you made something delicious and perhaps, even better, than some of those store bought preserves.
 

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Easy Mango Preserves


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

This mango preserve recipe is simple to make is a delicious treat on toast or as a topping for yogurt or ice cream!


Ingredients

  • 3 large, ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly.
  2. Remove from heat and allow preserves to cool before placing in a jar or bowl. Once fully cooled, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  3. Enjoy within 7-10 days.

Notes

  • Jazz it up! You can add other ingredients for a fun twist. Add a cinnamon stick while the mixture simmers (remove before storing) or add the zest of a lime or lemon after the mixture has been taken off of the heat. You could even add flaked coconut or chopped, dried pineapple for a fun tropical version.
  • Makes about 1 cup.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 16
  • Calories: 50
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 1
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 13
  • Protein: 1
  • Cholesterol: 0

Freekeh with Black Beans and Avocado Dressing

In the quest to be the best dietitian I can be, I have been working diligently to incorporate more, “new” whole grains into my (and my family, friends’ and clients’) recipes. I have to admit, for a while I was stuck on quinoa. It’s simple and versatile…it was a love affair for sure. That love affair continues, but I am opening my mind to new, wonderful grains like freekeh. It’s just as easy to cook and just as easy to love. In fact, it’s a lovely platform for this freekeh with black beans and avocado dressing recipe.

Read more and get the recipe on The Cutting Board!

Homemade Marinara Sauce – Recipe Redux

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Pizza and pasta are staples in my house. You can safely assume then, that I’ve purchased more than my fair share of jarred marinara sauce. Blown away by the cost of a jar of organic pasta sauce, I decided there was no reason I couldn’t make my own. So after some trial and error, I was finally able to come up with one that I really liked and it’s been a staple in my kitchen ever since.

This month’s Recipe Redux theme invited us to share our recipe for something that we once purchased, but now make from scratch. I am happy to share this marinara recipe, a healthy, low-sodium alternative to the jarred stuff. Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all at once, it freezes amazingly and also makes the perfect gift.

 

Simple ingredients are the key to this marinara.

Simple ingredients are the key to this marinara.

 

Peppers, onions and garlic add layers of flavor!

Peppers, onions and garlic add the right touch of sweetness and complexity.

 

Bay leaf is a perfect, flavorful addition.

Bay leaf is a perfect, flavorful addition.

 

This marinara can be blended right in the pan, but be careful with the hot liquids!

This marinara can be blended right in the pan, but be careful with the hot liquids!

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Homemade Marinara


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

A simple homemade tomato sauce that’s perfect for pizza or tossed with pasta.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red (or yellow) bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil a deep-sided sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and the peppers and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are slightly tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the diced tomatoes (entire can with juices), water and vinegar. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to lift off any of the brown bits stuck to the pan. Add the Italian seasoning, bay leaf and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the bay leaf and add the salt. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the mixture until smooth. Alternatively, work in batches using a blender or food processor for pureeing, exercising caution with the hot mixture (follow manufacturer’s instructions for pureeing hot or warm ingredients).
  3. Use immediately or allow to cool then refrigerate or freeze.

Notes

  • This recipe makes about 4 1/2 to 5 cups of marinara.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 402
  • Sugar: 35
  • Sodium: 1325
  • Fat: 15
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 66
  • Protein: 9
  • Cholesterol: 0

 


Breakfast Fuel: Top Trainer’s Reveal Their Favorites

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Smoothies are a great way to get nutrition when mornings are busy!

 

Being a personal trainer is no easy job. Demanding schedules and clients can make eating a good breakfast a challenge. Although you may not be a trainer, your busy schedule and desire for results in the gym align you with their needs in the morning.

I reached out to a variety of trainers to ask them about their go-to morning meal. Their answers revealed a unique look at the foods they find worthy of fueling their mornings. Here’s what they had to say along with some easy ways to add nutrition to your breakfast regimen. Click here to read more about it on Stack.com!

Bacon, Lettuce and Turkey Wraps with Chive Aioli

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When did a sandwich become a wrap and who had that brilliant idea? More importantly, why didn’t I come up with it? Joking aside, I love the idea of wraps. How many times have you picked up a sandwich only to have all the ingredients fall out of it? Or the mustard or pickle juice ends up all over your hands? With a wrap, you never have to worry about those things.

Want the recipe? Check out my latest blog post on thecuttingboard.org for my Bacon, Lettuce and Turkey Wraps with Chive Aioli Recipe.

Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles

waffles

Transporting your waffles to a warm, happy place.

 

I love when Recipe Redux time rolls around each month. It gives me inspiration for creative time in the kitchen, which I love. This month’s theme is “stop being wasteful and use the stuff that’s been sitting in your pantry!” Ok, that’s just my summation of the theme. It was put more eloquently of course, but that’s basically it. Pick something that’s been in the pantry for awhile and put it to good use. Great idea!

So off I went to my pantry, on the hunt for something inspiring. I opened the door and immediately (and embarrassingly) noted its “fullness.” Ugh, there was plenty of food in there that was simply begging to be used. So I acknowledged my pantry with a quick “noted” comment and promised to cook and use that food before it went to waste. Then it was back to my original task…finding the one thing that’s been in there for far too long. After a quick inventory, it came down to three things: brown rice, canned diced chiles and light coconut milk. A glance at the packages revealed that the light coconut milk would be heading to the trash can soon if I didn’t use it, so the light coconut milk was the winner. Now, just what was I going to do with it?

I immediately thought of Thai food. So many delicious dishes use coconut milk and I had a million (ok, maybe just two or three) ideas running through my head. But then something struck me. Maybe it was the delicious scent coming from the apartment next door, but I swear I smelled waffles. It smelled so amazing, that my thoughts of Thai food were immediately replaced with thoughts of waffles. Then, the light bulb went off and my Vanilla Coconut Whole Wheat Waffles were born.

I adore waffles which made this recipe even more fun to create! They are a great breakfast option, especially when all-purpose white flour gets replaced with whole wheat flour and when a simple topping of fresh fruit is the perfect finishing touch. Coconut milk and a little toasted coconut add a fun tropical twist and the vanilla bean paste add just the right of balance and “sweetness.” These are a perfect treat for breakfast or a handy snack. Try these waffles and I promise you’ll fall in love.

Ok, so my part is done…now it’s time to take a look at what’s in your pantry!

 

Delicious vanilla bean paste. A pantry must-have!

Delicious vanilla bean paste. A pantry must-have!

 

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Coconut Vanilla Whole Wheat Waffles


  • Author: Sara Haas

Description

Yields about 10 Belgian-style waffles, 4-inches by 4 1/2-inches


Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (or canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and flax seed.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milks, butter, vanilla and brown sugar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Note that the batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently stir in the coconut.
  5. Cook waffles following waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Serve garnished with freshly chopped mango and toasted coconut.

Notes

  • These waffles freeze well. Place them in a freezer bag, separated by pieces of parchment and freeze until ready to eat!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5
  • Calories: 502
  • Sugar: 14
  • Sodium: 368
  • Fat: 25
  • Saturated Fat: 17
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 59
  • Protein: 12
  • Cholesterol: 88


It’s Redux Time: Whole Wheat Crackers with Currants and Granola

Cracker Final 2

In my house, we eat a lot of crackers. It’s almost slightly embarrassing the number of boxes of crackers we go through in a month. After buying a box at a time, I finally succumbed to buying in bulk. Ironically, even though we chow-down on them, I hadn’t thought much about the crackers themselves until this month’s Recipe Redux challenge. This month’s theme is to take a recipe that we have already made and essentially “re-purpose” it. I was excited and decided my first step should include a quick trip through my blog.

You know where that landed me? Right on the granola recipe I use and make at least once a month. It’s a great one, adapted from a recipe I found on Martha Stewart’s website for Honey-Pecan Granola. At that moment, all I could think was, “wouldn’t this be a yummy base for a cracker?” Which got me thinking even more which led me to wonder why I am buying all of these silly crackers at the store when I can make them at home?

Making crackers is super simple and requires very few ingredients. After a little tinkering, I came up with a recipe that has now become a household favorite. The best part about it is that it’s a perfect way to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They can help roll out the dough and if they’re old enough, they can help cut (using a pizza cutter with an adult close by!) the dough into crackers.

Use my recipe as a base, but feel free to experiment with your own additions. I topped mine with a little dusting of cinnamon and sugar, but you can also add spices and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. This is my gentle push, encouraging you to put that box of crackers down and make your own!
 

And here are some pics to guide you along the way!

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Simple ingredients!

 

Cracker food processor

Using a food processor makes the task even easier!

 

Process until it comes into a ball.

Process until it comes into a ball.

 

Beautiful cracker dough ball.

Beautiful cracker dough ball.

Now roll it out.

Now roll it out.

Then cut them out and bake!

Then cut them out and bake!

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Whole Wheat Crackers with Currants and Granola


  • Author: Sara Haas
  • Yield: 12

Description

A simple, homemade cracker recipe filled with plenty of flavor.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons homemade granola
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup currants

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the whole wheat flour, salt and the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 2/3 cup of the granola and pulse 1-2 times. Add the water a little at a time and pulse until ingredients come together in a ball.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and place on a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead in the currants and the 2 tablespoons granola and shape dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400’F. Cut three large sheets of parchment paper, big enough so that each piece will fit on a large sheet pan.
  4. Unwrap the dough and cut into quarters. Take one quarter of the dough and on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a circle, about 1/8″ thick. Transfer the circle to a piece of parchment and using a knife or a pizza wheel, cut into squares or other desired shape (I like 1 1/2 inch by 1 inch rectangles myself!). Continue the same process with the other 3 pieces of dough.
  5. Move the parchment with crackers onto a large sheet pan and place in the oven. Cook 6-8 minutes or until browned.
  6. Remove crackers from the pan and place them on a cooling rack. Continue the process with the remaining crackers.

Notes

  • These crackers are tasty by themselves, but also wonderful when sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar before baking. The recipe is a good base for trying other flavors too. Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or cayenne. Or try adding more dried fruit or topping with parmesan cheese just before baking.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 1550
  • Sugar: 44
  • Sodium: 631
  • Fat: 71
  • Saturated Fat: 33
  • Unsaturated Fat: 33
  • Trans Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 197
  • Protein: 32
  • Cholesterol: 122


Ramps, A Spring Vegetable Worth Trying!

I remember my first encounter with ramps (no, not the kind you drive or walk on, that wouldn’t be a very nutritious topic), it was during my culinary externship. Everyone in the kitchen was out-of-their minds excited about a shipment of ramps that were arriving shortly. I, of course, pretended to be “in” on the ramp excitement. Nodding my head and grinning, acting like I was a ramp expert. No way was I going to let these guys know I didn’t know what a ramp was! The buzzing in the kitchen was escalating and pens and notepads were taken out and millions of ramp recipes were created. The whole time I kept thinking, “all of this excitement for a vegetable!?” I couldn’t wait to see what this stuff was! It had to be amazing. When it arrived, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. All of that clamoring over this thing that looked like a lost cousin to a green onion? Seemed crazy to me. Well, then I got a lesson. Because one of those chefs figured me out and immediately gave me a solid education on ramps. Then, because he was a good guy, he showed me how to cook it and then, magically, I got it! Thank goodness!

With my new appreciation of ramps, I can now say that I look forward to their arrival at the local farmer’s market. That’s because they are the indication that Spring has officially arrived. These delicious little vegetables are members of the allium family (along with onions, garlic, scallions, etc) and are wild-harvested, meaning they aren’t cultivated like most crops. Magnifying their desirability is the fact that they are only available for a short window of time during April and early May. This is why you’ll see them scooped up as soon as they’re set on the table at the market. They look a little bit like green onions, but you’ll know they’re ramps because of their distinctive flat leaves and burgundy stems. As for taste, these little guys pack a strong flavor. It’s a bold, almost wild taste of onion and garlic. While they can be eaten raw, many people prefer it cooked, which eliminates some of that piquant taste. My favorite way to eat them is to toss them lightly with olive oil, salt and black pepper and then grill them. Easy and delicious! Serve them as a side dish to any meal or chop and add to salads or pasta.

Oh yes, you are wondering about the nutritional value, aren’t you? Of course! Well, let’s just say they are loaded with Vitamin A (eat the leaves to get this powerful antioxidant) as well as Vitamin K, folate, iron and manganese. And you can be sure there are other disease-fighting phytochemicals in there too.

You’ve got a few more weeks until ramps arrive, so get your recipes ready!