It’s a problem. I kind of spend most of my day dreaming about food. I dream about eating it and I dream about creating things with it. Well, maybe it’s not a problem, considering I’ve chosen a career in food. I love a good food challenge too. I love when someone says, “well, I’ve got this and this and this, what can I make out of that?” They see a road block, but I see an awesome way to channel my food creativity. Case-in-point, this Pistachio Ras El Hanout Dip.
Fertility Friday + Smoothies
That’s right, you read that correctly, I said “Fertility Friday + Smoothies!” A random pairing? Of course not, I do everything with intention…ok, well almost everything.
Today for Fertility Friday I would like to focus on the amazing nutritional power of smoothies. Yes, I know that people are crazy about smoothies these days. They make their own, they buy the fancy one that costs 10 dollars and they insist on having them every morning for their “bowl” breakfast. But this is one trend where you can believe the hype…at least to a certain extent.
It’s a fun word. Say it. Seriously, say it out loud. Super fun, right?
Fun and popular, cacao sure is sitting pretty these days. It’s trendy and it’s hip…even though it’s really nothing new.
Nope, cacao has been around for awhile. Never heard of it? Sure you have, it’s also known as cocoa, the more modern-ish term we typically use here in America. Cacao (and cocoa) refers to the dried beans from the cocoa tree. Generally, cacao is synonymous with the unroasted or raw version of the cocao bean, with cocoa being the roasted and sometimes more processed cacao bean. Cacao can be turned into everything from “nibs”( essentially broken pieces of cacao beans) to powder.
If cacao isn’t new, then why this surge in popularity? Well my guess it’s because people are looking for all kinds of ways to add a nutritious boost to their smoothie bowls, oatmeal, shakes and everything in between. Cacao is a good choice then as it’s got a pretty nice nutrition profile, containing several antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron. But like anything, enjoy in moderation.
Looking to try cacao beans? Then try my recipe below for Cacao Pretzel Snacks. They are super easy to make and provide a nice introduction to cacao.
And a big thank you to the Recipe Redux! This recipe was inspired by this month’s theme of building a recipe using an ingredient I’ve never used before.
And the Pretty Pictures of Cacao Pretzels Snacks:
A simple snack made with whole grain pretzels, Greek yogurt and cacao nibs.
- 1 teaspoon Turbinado sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons cacao nibs
- 20 whole grain pretzels twists
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the yogurt and cacao nibs in separate small bowls.
- Dip half of each pretzel in the yogurt, then the cinnamon sugar mixture and finally in the cacao nibs. Place coated pretzels on a clean sheet pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and enjoy.
- Mix it up! Add a dash of cayenne pepper to the sugar mixture or add crushed nuts to the cacao nibs. Have fun by coming up with your own, unique flavors!
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 124
- Sugar: 2
- Sodium: 520
- Fat: 1
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Unsaturated Fat: 1
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 25
- Protein: 3
- Cholesterol: 0
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!
And here are the pretty pictures:
A lightly sweet smoothie made with low-fat Greek yogurt, mango and matcha, perfect for an afternoon snack or as a post or pre-workout snack.
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup frozen, chopped mango
- 1 teaspoon green matcha tea powder
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
- Combine all ingredients in the bottom of a blender and puree until smooth.
- Pour and enjoy!
- Not sweet enough for you? Add a 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 171
- Sugar: 23
- Sodium: 115
- Fat: 4
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 2
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 25
- Protein: 10
- Cholesterol: 10
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.