Why I made this recipe: Because I am smitten with smoothies and equally smitten with matcha tea. So why not combine the two? Oh, and because I was hungry and I had these things in my house. Just being honest.
Why I love this recipe: This mango matcha smoothie is one of those recipes that’s super simple to make, yet the ingredients make it feel sophisticated. Love it for that and also because it tastes great.
How this recipe is healthy: Lots of reasons. First, portion size. It’s just one cup, which in my world, is the perfect size for a smoothie. Because let’s face it, take-out smoothies end up more like colossal milk shakes rather than nutritious, cups of joy. Second, it’s got matcha tea powder in it, a really interesting type of tea made out of whole tea leaves, which means you get loads of antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain diseases like heart disease. Nothing wrong with that, right? Also, I like it because it’s not super sweet. This isn’t dessert, it’s a snack or a nice supplement to breakfast or lunch. Enjoy it as is or use it as the base for an amazing smoothie bowl. Yum!
Why I made this recipe: Because certain people in my life (ahem, my friend since the 2nd grade, to be precise) told me they need quick recipes that taste good, can serve a small army, I mean, family, and aren’t loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Enter the Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Pork recipe.
Why I love this recipe: Mission accomplished! I’m pretty sure I met all of the criteria established during the serious brain storming session when said friend (see above) was last in town for a visit. Fast, simple ingredients, large quantity, tasty, healthy and freezable! Woo hoo! It’s always good to make sure your friends are happy.
Why this recipe is healthy: Instead of using pork shoulder, a relatively fatty cut of pork, I chose pork loin roast. This is a leaner cut and performs quite well in the slow cooker. Sometimes there’s a little extra layer of fat on this cut too, so feel free to cut some of that off before putting the rub on it. Besides that, pretty much that dry rub, pineapple and slow-cooking make this a relative healthy alternative to so many other pulled pork recipes.
A simple rub of vibrant jerk spices makes this pork perfect in a sandwich, on top of a bed of lettuce or whole grains, stuffed in a pita or as a topping for pizza.
2–3 tablespoons jerk seasoning (use 2 for less heat, 3 for more heat)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 1/2 pounds pork loin roast, trimmed of excess fat
1 small yellow or white onion, sliced
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
In a bowl, combine the jerk seasoning, brown sugar, garlic and salt. Rub seasoning mixture all over pork roast. If doing this step the night before, place the pork in a rimmed baking dish or rimmed sheet pan, cover and refrigerate.
Spread the sliced onions in the bottom of a 4 1/2-6 quart slow cooker. Place pork roast on top of the onions.
Pour 1/2 cup pineapple juice and the chicken broth around the roast. Cover slow cooker with a lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
Carefully remove 1 1/2 cups of cooking liquid and discard. Using two forks, shred pork in the slow cooker. Add the remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice and the apple cider vinegar. Cover and cook on low for at least 30 more minutes. Season with salt and serve.
This recipe makes about 6 cups of pulled pork. Lucky you!
Not hot enough? Top with a dash of hot sauce before serving.
Making sandwiches? Top with a carrot or cabbage slaw tossed with a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and canola oil.
It’s time for another recipe for the Short and Sweet Series:
Let’s talk blueberry muffins!!!
Why I made this recipe: Because I wanted muffins. 🙂 Oh, and I wanted to try and make them healthier by using Greek yogurt.
Why I love this recipe: Because they are loaded with blueberries and I adore blueberries (see below). Plus, I like that they are a little heartier and denser than your average muffin, thanks to the Greek yogurt.
Why I made this recipe: Because I need things to be simple sometimes, yet I also want them to taste good and be relatively healthy. I mean, who doesn’t want that? Or, should I say, why wouldn’t we all want that!?
Why I love this recipe: It requires no cooking which means my kitchen (and all of those in it) stay cool. It’s quick and easy to put together, something your kids could definitely help you do. It’s loaded with flavor, especially if you use a delicious hummus that’s loaded with good things like veggies or garlic. I also love it because I utilized a simple restaurant trick of dressing the greens before putting them in this sandwich. Yum, it’s a step you shouldn’t skip!
How this recipe is healthy: It seems I am turning into a bit of a vegetarian these days. Or maybe I am just having a summer love affair with vegetables? I can’t help it, they are so good. So, this recipe is loaded with healthy, nutrient-rich vegetables and accented with a tiny bit of full-flavored feta cheese. The dressing on the greens is made from olive oil (yay to unsaturated fat!) and the hummus is a great spread that adds flavor without adding excessive calories and fat. Pile it all on some seriously delicious, whole-grain bread, and you’ve got yourself a winning dish that would make any dietitian (or mom) proud!
1 cup hummus (plain, roasted red pepper, garlic, whatever!)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup sliced tomato
In the bottom of a mixing bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil and season with black pepper. Add the spinach or arugula and toss to coat.
If desired, lightly toast the bread slices. Lay out the bread slices on a clean surface and spread 1 tablespoon of hummus onto each slice. On half of the slices, add the feta, cucumber, spinach and tomatoes. Top with other bread slice and serve.
Why I made this recipe: Because I love trying new smoothie recipes and mango is one of my favorite fruits.
Why I love this recipe: This one is super creamy, and the touch of coconut makes it feel indulgent and tropical, like you’re on vacation, laying on a beach, reading a good book, under the shade of a palm tree…you get the picture.
How this recipe is healthy: Oh, it’s healthy alright. If you read the ingredient list, you’ll know that this smoothie is jam-packed with good nutrients. It’s loaded with healthy fats from the avocado and flax seed and it’s bursting with powerful vitamins like A and C and important minerals like potassium. And don’t forget the calcium, it’s in there too, thanks to that healthy dose of low-fat milk.
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (or other non-dairy milk alternative)
1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 tablespoons grated or flaked dried coconut
2 teaspoons honey
Spread the sliced banana and mango cubes evenly out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. (If desired, this step can be done advance, just be sure to transfer partially frozen fruit to a re-sealable freezer bag to prevent it from sticking to the paper).
Pour the milk into the bottom of a blender and add the frozen fruit, avocado, ground flax seed, coconut and honey. Puree until smooth. Pour into cups and serve immediately.
Makes 3 cups.
This smoothie isn’t mind-numbingly sweet. But if you’re looking for some additional sweetness, add a little more honey.
It’s time for a new recipe! And here it is, the Short and Sweet (this is what I am calling my new abbreviated, get-to-the-point recipe blog posts) version!
Why I made this recipe: Because I love Thai food and I adore veggie burgers, so why not combine them?
Why I love this recipe: Because these little chickpea burgers are super flavorful, satisfying and with the lime-infused slaw, taste so clean and refreshing.
How this recipe is healthy: I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but Americans don’t eat enough fiber. Getting enough is a tall order considering the average adult needs between 25-35 grams of fiber each day! One easy way to get more fiber is to eat more beans. Beans can help fill your “fiber bucket” to the tune of about 8 grams per half cup, and these burgers make it easy. And there’s more! Besides fiber, beans are also a superb source of lean vegetarian protein and they offer other goodies like folic acid and iron. The beans are great, but so is the slaw, which is made with fresh veggies including cabbage and carrots then tossed in a light lime-infused vinaigrette. It’s a nutrition-packed, satisfying meal!
A chickpea burger that’s bursting with fresh garlic, ginger and Thai Green Curry paste then topped with a refreshing lime-infused cabbage slaw.
For the slaw
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (red or green or both!)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 green onion, white part only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
For the burgers
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon thai green curry paste (and up to 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
10 small whole wheat hamburger buns or dinner rolls, split in half and toasted
For the slaw
Combine the mustard, lime zest and lime juice together in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl. Gradually add the olive oil, whisking until incorporated. Add the cabbage, carrot, green onion and cilantro and toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.
For the burgers
Place beans in a large mixing bowl and partially mash with a fork or avocado (or potato) masher.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together with the olive oil, cilantro, curry paste, ginger, garlic and salt. Add mixture, along with the bread crumbs, to beans and stir to combine.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, loosely scoop out the bean mixture and shape into patties.
Heat half of the olive oil in a non-stick pan set over medium heat. Add half of the patties and cook for about 5 minutes. Carefully flip them over and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove the patties from the pan and cover with foil to keep them warm. Add the remaining oil and repeat the process with the remaining patties.
Place the cooked patties on the toasted buns and top with a rounded 1/4 cup of the slaw. Serve immediately.
Attention vegans and others with egg and gluten allergies! You can make these without the egg and breadcrumbs. Simply omit them and follow the instructions as written. The burgers will be a little crumbly, but still super tasty. And enjoy the burger sans bun or opt for a GF bun for all you gluten sensitive folks.