Who starts a blog post like that? Oh, I do! Why? Because I’m feeling a little bit like a slacker dietitian, because…well…because I’ve NEVER made overnight oats. Nope, never have. I know, crazy, right? Overnight oats are everywhere and everyone claims they’re awesome. They always look tasty, but I’ve never tried them. When I heard that this month’s Recipe Redux theme was to try a fellow Redux-er’s recipe, I knew I had to try Amber’s Blueberry-Walnut Overnight Oats as my overnight oats “guinea pig.”
Avocados are great and if you know me, you know I live for guacamole. But sometimes, I could be a little more creative when it comes to what I do with them. Feeling inspired by the upcoming grilling season, I stepped out of my guacamole comfort zone and tried the latest avocado trend, grilled avocado.
And let me tell you this, grilled avocado is awesome. Really, believe the hype. I simply adore the slightly smoky flavor of them and they’re delicious so many ways. Besides being tasty, they still supply that same powerful nutritional punch. All of those satisfying healthy fats can help with everything from cardiovascular health to keeping your skin looking radiant. Time to get to the grocery store and fill your cart with avocados.
5 Ways to Enjoy Grilled Avocado:
Plain, straight up and out of the skin!
Chopped up and thrown into salads.
Sliced and served on top of scrambled eggs.
Mashed and turned into guacamole (of course!).
Turned into a salsa and used as a topping for grilled fish or shrimp.
Want more ideas? Of course you do! Check out my Shape.com article on how to make grilled avocado, recipes included!
In my opinion, canned salmon is an unsung hero in the food and nutrition world. Convenient, versatile and super-nutritious, it’s a shame that it’s so under-appreciated.
Why don’t we use canned salmon more often in our recipes and meals? Perhaps it conjures up memories of the dry, flavorless salmon patties of your childhood. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of foodie “buzz”, because the culinary world hasn’t exactly embraced it either. I mean, when have you ever seen it featured in a dish on a menu at a trendy restaurant?
With the negative connotations and the lack of fanfare, canned salmon hasn’t had much of a chance to shine. I think it’s time to change that! Here’s why:
Bring on the Canned Salmon! 3 Reasons Why It’s Great.
It’s Versatile! – Canned salmon can be used for salads, burgers, meatballs and so much more! That seems like a pretty great blank canvas if you ask me!
It’s Convenient! – All you need is a can-opener, no cooking required. Highly portable and easy to use. The definition of the modern connivence food.
It’s Nutritious! – Loaded with nutritious Omega-3 fats as well as selenium and protein, canned salmon is an easy way to fit more fish (you should be eating at least 8 or more ounces per week!) into your diet.
Place bulgur in a medium bowl. Add salt, then cover with boiling water. Immediately cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let bulgur steam for about 20 minutes.
To a blender add the the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and blend until smooth. (Dressing can be made without a blender, finely chop garlic and dill and then whisk all ingredients together.)
Divide lettuce and portion into bowls. Top each bowl with bulgur, salmon, cucumber and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
Love cheese? Sure you do! How about grilled cheese? Oh yes, of course you do!
Did you know that this delicious comfort food can actually be a nutritious choice, even when it comes to fertility? It’s true!
And here’s some amazing news, not only is it National Grilled Cheese Month, but it’s also Fertility Friday and that means it’s time to get started on this series of posts dedicated to nutrition and fertility. In last week’s post, I introduced you to this series and today, I present you with the goods I promised – delicious, nutritious insight on food and fertility. Once you’re done here, don’t forget to check out Liz’s post over at Shaw Simple Swaps for her amazing post and recipe. You don’t want to miss it!
Ok, back to that grilled cheese. First, let me say that I love that these two days are intertwining, because grilled cheese can be a nutritious, fertility food. Who knew, right? Well, I did, but let me explain. It’s all about variety and moderation and fertility friendly foods.
Let’s take my recipe for Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Broiled Tomatoes as an example:
Whole Grains: This recipe starts with a whole grain baguette base. Why whole grain bread? Well, because it is more nutritious than it’s refined, white bread counterpart. Whole grains have more vitamins and nutrients and even more fiber. See, I told you, more nutrition!
Fertility Focus – Whole grains help regulate blood sugar. Who cares about blood sugar? You should. You see, refined white breads, sugary cereals and candies can cause your blood sugar to spike quickly. Your pancreas has to work over-time to drive that blood sugar down. To do this, it sends out a handy hormone known as insulin to do to battle all of that sugar. This results in a high level of insulin in your bloodstream which have been indicated by research, to inhibit ovulation. So, no thank you white bread, white rice, chips and the like. I’ll stick with my whole grains!
Tomatoes: Who doesn’t love a sweet, juicy tomato? Ok, well, I didn’t until my early 20’s, but I’ve learned my lesson. These little red dynamos pack a serious nutritional (we’re talking Vitamin C and Vitamin A) punch. So eating them is a real win-win in my book! Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a compound responsible giving tomatoes their vibrant red color. Lycopene just happens to also be a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants keep us healthy by preventing damage from free radicals. This is great health insurance, considering if free radicals are left to their own devices, they can do serious harm to our healthy cells and DNA.
Fertility Focus – Men, take note. Lycopene may offer some benefits in terms of fertility. More research is needed, but there is evidence that lycopene could help with not only sperm count, but also sperm viability. Seems like a good reason to eat more tomatoes to me.
Whole Milk Cheese: This recipe uses sharp, whole milk cheddar cheese because of it’s great flavor. Sharp cheddar is so brilliantly savory and rich, that you don’t need a lot of it. And here’s the good news, cheese might be a great fertility food (see below) plus it’s also a fabulous source of bone-building calcium.
Fertility Focus – The Nurses Health study revealed that women who ate ate least one serving of whole milk or dairy foods a day were less likely to experience infertility caused by an inability to ovulate. What does this mean for you? It means you can try swaping one serving of your typical low-fat or fat-free dairy foods with their whole milk counterparts. But tread lightly here, as those foods will still be high in calories. Bottom line, make this temporary adjustment but modify other foods in your diet to allow for the extra calories.
Amp up the nutritional value of your grilled cheese by adding delightfully delicious broiled tomatoes.
1/2 (15-ounce) whole-grain baguette, sliced in half horizontally
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
dash Italian seasoning
Preheat the broiler.
Place the cut baguette on a medium-size sheet pan. Brush the cut sides of the bread with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Slice garlic clove in half and rub over cut sides of the baguette. Place in the oven and toast 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.
To a mixing bowl, add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and black pepper. Spread out onto a small sheet pan lined with foil. Broil for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove and reserve.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over bread slices, then dust with Italian seasoning. Place in the oven and broil 3-4 minutes.
To serve: Distribute the broiled tomatoes on top of toasted bread halves, cut as desired. Serve immediately.
For more fun and flavor, consider topping with fresh herbs before serving. Fresh, thinly sliced basil or freshly chopped parsley would be a fabulous addition!
That’s what everyone wants right, for everything in life to be a little easier? No lines at the post office, no red lights on the way to work or perhaps someone around who can clean your house and do your laundry? Well, sure that would be fine and wonderful, but it’s just not possible. The good news though? There is one area of your life that I can assure you can be easier, and that’s meal preparation.
“How?” you ask.
Just ask my friends at the Recipe Redux. The theme this month is simplicity and simplicity to them means recipes that contain less than 7 ingredients. Brilliant! My recipe for this month is super easy. I start with French green lentils, which are earthy and delicious and hold their shape and texture well. Then, I add fresh veggies in the way of bell peppers, cucumber and spinach. I jazz it up with a little fresh parsley and feta cheese and then use simple vinaigrette-based salad dressing to put that exclamation point on EASY! And there you go, in just about 30 minutes, you’ve made an amazing lentil salad that is not only delicious, but nutritious. Bravo!
And when you’re done making this recipe, check out the recipes below for more inspiration. They’re all super delicious and nutritious, less than 7 ingredients and EASY!
And Here are the Pretty Pictures of my French Lentil Salad:
A simple, yet elegant salad made with green French lentils, fresh spinach, cucumbers, parsley and feta cheese.
1 cup green or French lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup seeded, diced cucumber
1 cup fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Balsamic vinaigrette or Italian salad dressing
Place lentils in a medium-size pot and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in salt and continue to simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Spread on a sheet pan to cool or, rinse in cool water.
To a large salad bowl, add the cooled lentils, spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, feta cheese and cooled lentils. Drizzle dressing over the vegetables and lentils, then toss to combine. Add salt and black pepper, if desired.
And it’s time to switch things up a bit. Yes, romaine is good and so are tomatoes and all of the other “usual” salad suspects, but why not try something new? What would you say to Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette?
“That’s too fancy!” Is that perhaps your answer? I sure hope not because that’s just not true. Yes, it may sound fancy, but the ingredients are simple and the recipe is easy. See, not fancy at all!
My new salad obsession just happens to begin with my favorite green, baby arugula. There’s just something special about that little green leaf. It’s just so….spicy and interesting. And I like my food spicy and interesting! When you pair arugula with dried chopped apricots (for a little sweetness), sliced apples, pistachios, feta cheese and champagne vinaigrette, you’ve got a unique salad that is incredibly interesting (and nutritious).
So bust out that bowl and salad tongs and get mixing!
The Pretty Pictures of My Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette:
I always have, and I likely always will. In fact, I’m convinced I’ll be the old lady at the nursing home hoarding cookies and scarfing them down in my rocking chair, collecting a pile of crumbs on my nylon pants. Hopefully it’ll be a nursing home with a good housekeeper. 😉
But, I digress. My point is, besides tasting awesome, there’s just something special about a good cookie. It evokes happy childhood memories and can make a day that wasn’t so great, pretty awesome. While my heart belongs to the chocolate chip cookie, I also have a big place in my heart for the oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal and chocolate is actually a favorite of mine too, go figure. But, because a certain someone in New York said she needed an oatmeal cookie recipe, I wanted to be creative and “think outside the box” with this recipe. It didn’t take long for me to come up with Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies. No chocolate, but still so delicious.
Are cookies a health food?
Oh no, no they’re not. But here’s the deal. Cookies exist because of that special-ness I mentioned above. So, you must enjoy them on occasion. How can I say this as a dietitian? Well, because I am a real person. I know that we all need to treat ourselves and I know that we can do it in a way that won’t destroy all of the other good things we’ve done to nourish our bodies. So, here’s the deal. Use some whole wheat flour, get rid of some of the sugar and keep the portion small.
Now treat yourself by making and enjoying these Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies!
And here, the beauty shots of my Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies:
A classic oatmeal cookie made with dried apples and plenty of cinnamon.
1/2 cup all purpose flour (75g)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (77g)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (I used salted butter)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dried apple (about 1 ounce)
3/4 cup rolled oats (183 grams)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350’F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Blend about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed until just combined. Add the apple, oats and pecans and mix until just combined.
Drop dough by the rounded spoonful (about 20 grams per cookie) on the prepared cookie sheets, a couple of inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly on the pan before moving to a rack to cool.
What? Another quick bread recipe? Oh yes, yes it is.
You know why? It’s because my family loves a good snack, so I’m always looking for new ways to nourish them. Since pumpkin season is officially over, I’ve moved on to bananas.
Like pumpkin, bananas are incredibly versatile and add great moisture, interest and natural sweetness to baked goods. I love them for that and for the nutritional goodies they supply.
Here’s the deal, you could spend 50 cents on a lackluster burrito, or you could spend half that and have a tasty burrito loaded with nutritious ingredients. If you’re like me, you’ll choose the 15 cent burrito. Not sure how to make this amazingly inexpensive, delicious burrito? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. My Easy Freezer Burritos recipe is below and some pictures in case you need inspiration or instruction.
Don’t buy burritos anymore! Make them yourself with delicious, nutritious ingredients to fill you and nourish you.
1 cup prepared quinoa*
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup tomatillo salsa
12 whole wheat or sprouted whole grain 8-inch flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa and cheddar cheese.
Lay tortillas out onto a clean work surface then spread 1/4 cup bean mixture down the middle of each tortilla.
To roll: Fold one end of the tortilla to meet the other. Gently push back the tortilla and ingredients so they are tight. Fold outside edges inward, then roll until burrito is closed. Repeat the process with the remaining burritos.
Tear 12 sheets of foil. Place a burrito in the center of each piece of foil and tightly roll up. Place foil-wrapped burritos in a freezer bag. Label and date them before storing them in the freezer.
Remove burritos from foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Cover and cook on high heat for about 1 minute. Check and add more time if necessary. If you’re unsure, use a food thermometer and cook until internal temperature reaches 165’F.
Makes 12 burritos
*Of course I wouldn’t leave you hanging! Here’s how you prepare the quinoa: https://www.sarahaasrdn.com/freezer-quinoa/