Move over chickpea hummus. There’s a new hummus in town – Edamame Avocado Hummus.
I recently did a presentation about smart snacking. One thing I like to mention about smart snacking is to opt for real food first. Snacking is an opportunity for nourishment.
Yes, grabbing a bar is quick (some bars do pack in great nutritional value), but really think about your snacks throughout the day. How many of them are real food vs. processed foods?
I’ve been challenging myself to include more veggies into my snacks. I go through snacking phases, and raw veggies have fallen out of my routine a little bit.
Snacking is more fun when you are dunking. I love dunking my veggies into hummus, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use edamame as the base instead of chickpeas. Edamame, a plant-based protein is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.
Adding avocado to the edamame helps make this dip creamy. Avocados can act as a booster to help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the foods eaten with them, like vitamin A. Vitamin A foods, like carrots, contain carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. So, pair carrot sticks with this delicious dip!
These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are soft, chewy, and subtly sweet to add to a balanced breakfast or enjoyed as a snack.
Dear future children, please do not have a peanut allergy. Your future peanut butter addict’s mom will be very sad. Peanut butter is a staple food in my diet. I can confidently say I enjoy peanut butter pretty much every day.
Did you know?
It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. (source)
Health benefits of peanut butter
Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of dry-roasted peanuts (30 grams) contains 12 grams of unsaturated fat, only two grams of saturated fat, and no trans fat.
Peanuts are an excellent source of (20% of the Daily Value):
Niacin: Niacin is an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, aids with the digestive and nervous system, and helps the skin.
Manganese: Manganese is important for processing cholesterol, and nutrients like carbohydrates and protein. (source)
Just one bowl, these bars are easy to whip up. Pair with a piece of fruit and/or yogurt for breakfast, or enjoy alone as a snack. If you are peanut butter obsessed like me, I even added a smear of peanut butter on top.
Do you ever have something on your to-do list that just keeps getting rolled over every time to a new to-do list? Welp. That’s posting this Pumpkin Pie Bites recipe. Sorry for holding out on you.
I know I am often the minority when it comes to the love of my paper planner. (Passion Planner to be exact) For the month of January, the pages are completely filled with meetings, cooking classes, presentations, parties, etc. I’m one of those people who likes being busy, but sometimes things fall through the cracks, like posting this recipe which has been sitting in draft for the past two weeks. #sorryivebeenbusy
A version of this recipe was developed with one of my awesome JWU interns. I have a sweet spot for JWU interns and I am a JWU alum myself. I love spending days in the kitchen as a full “test kitchen” days. It’s been fun working with JWU interns because we speak the same “culinary language”. This recipe was tested a few times until the texture and taste came out just right.
Batch cook these little energy bites for the week. They are the perfect on-the-go snack. Who says pumpkin season is over? Let’s keep the pumpkin around all year round!
The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.
New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips of efficiently using your Instant Pot.
While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.
Don’t fear the yolk!
One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!
Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.
Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.
Why the Instant Pot method works:
Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:
“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.
Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.
Hard Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create into delicious recipes throughout the week.
A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:
Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.
Looking for more recipe ideas?
Go for a traditional cobb salad but switch up your greens with a Kale Cobb Salad
Make PERFECT Hard Boiled and Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Eggs (up to as many that can fit in an even layer in your Instant Pot – do not stack) 1 cup water
Instant Pot with the rack
Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.
For soft-boiled: Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
For hard-boiled: Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
Not one, but two layers of delicious chia pudding. Have you ever tried using pomegranate juice to thicken your chia pudding? You will now because I know you’ll want to try this Layered Chocolate Pomegranate Chia Pudding. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Do you ever go through food phases? Chia pudding has been on constant repeat for me these past few weeks. I love that it’s easy to meal prep in advance for a quick (and satisfying) breakfast in the morning.
Plus, chia pudding is easy to customize with various flavors. Another food phase I’ve been into is pomegranates. It definitely helps that they are in season right now, so I am grabbing one every time I am at the grocery store.
When fresh pomegranates aren’t in season, I can still get my pomegranate fix with POM Wonderful 100% Juice.
POM Wonderful 100% Juice is powered by antioxidants. The pomegranate is whole-pressed, meaning a unique blend of polyphenol antioxidants from two whole pomegranates – including its fruit, pith, and rind – is found in each 8 oz bottle.
You can usually always find a bottle of POM Wonderful 100% Juice in my refrigerator. I love adding a splash of pomegranate juice to sparkling water for a fun fizzy drink.
I had fun partnering with POM Wonderful 100% Juice and The Recipe ReDux to create a recipe using pomegranate juice. With my current chia pudding food phase, this was the first idea that popped into my head. I’ve always made chia pudding with milk or non-dairy milk as the liquid, so I wanted to see if POM Wonderful 100% Juice would yield the same kind of pudding-like consistency.
It did! I wouldn’t be posting this recipe if it didn’t 😛
Not one, but two layers of delicious chia pudding. Have you ever tried using pomegranate juice to thicken your chia pudding? You will now because I know you’ll want to try this Layered Chocolate Pomegranate Chia Pudding.
1/4 cups chia seeds
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/2 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
(Optional) toppings: mini chocolate chips. pomegranate arils
Chocolate layer: In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds, yogurt, milk, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. Cover and transfer to the refrigerate for 1 hour.
Pomegranate layer: In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds, yogurt, and POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. Cover and transfer to the refrigerate for 1 hour.
Assembly: Remove the chia puddings from the refrigerator. In 4 separate serving cups or containers, and 1/2 cup chocolate pudding to each cup. Add 1/2 cup pomegranate pudding on top to each cup. Top with mini chocolate chips and pomegranate arils, if desired.
Keywords: chia pudding
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Be sure to also check out the other pomegranate-inspired recipes from fellow dietitians and food bloggers in this Recipe ReDux link-up. It’s the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. Enjoy!
Spread the holiday cheer by sharing this DIY Chex Party Mix.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” .. name that movie!
Another great way to spread Christmas cheer is sharing a fun little snack with those around you this holiday season.
General Mills kindly sent me a care package to create Chex party mix to spread the holiday cheer. Look how adorable this personalized wooden spoon is!
Last month, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend a couple days at the General Mills headquarters learning all about General Mills and the Bell Institute of health, nutrition, and food safety.
General Mills and the Bell Institute of health, nutrition, and food safety truly stand behind their mission statement – serving the world by making food people love.
When I was there I cooked in the Betty Crocker test kitchen and learned she is a famous woman who never existed. Guys… Betty Crocker is NOT a real person! My mind was blown. The recipe creations they come up with in that kitchen are delicious. I tried a pumpkin spice cheerio latte AND a cinnamon toast crunch latte when I was there. The cereal was actually blended in to the beverage. So creative!
We even saw the behind the scenes of GM’s food photography studio where they take all of their photography for their recipes and the images that appear on the box’s products.
It was interesting to learn that each General Mills brand has their own unique story. Wheat Chex have always been a staple in my pantry. I love the crunchy texture. I often add it to my homemade trail mix.
It’s always so common to do a cookie swap or gift candies during the holiday season, but sometimes it feels like a sugar overload. This year I am packaging up this savory snack mix to pass out this year. I always like making something to pass out to everyone.
If you are still looking for a sweet treat, Chex has got ya covered with a recipe for that too – Muddy Buddies. In my house, we call this “puppy chow”.
Thank you, Chex, General Mills, and the Bell Institute to help make the holiday season a little brighter and cheery for everyone!
1 cup garlic-flavored bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
In a large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips; set aside. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container. (OR Pre-heat oven to 250°. Put cereal and seasoning mixture into an ungreased roasting pan and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes.)
Looking for some simple meal prep solutions? Prep these simple Vanilla Maple Chia Yogurt Parfaits ahead of time for busy mornings. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Nature’s Path and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t on board with the whole chia pudding trend when it first started circulating the internet. I wasn’t a fan of the texture. After trying it a few more times, it really grew on me. That goes to show that tastes/textures do evolve over time and we have to give foods a 2nd or even 10th chance.
This is a lesson I share with my clients all the time. We have to try new foods just more than once and in a variety of ways. I once hosted a cooking class that just focused on one ingredient – cauliflower. In this class, we cooked cauliflower in 5 different ways. It was interesting to see that all participants had their opinions on which version they enjoyed best. At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed cauliflower in at least one way.
For a while, I was blending my chia pudding to create a creamier consistency, but then the texture of the chia pudding grew on me and I really enjoy it as a breakfast since it keeps me full and satisfied all morning. Chia seeds are rich plant-source of omega-3 fatty acids, that can reduce inflammation.
No parfait isn’t complete without the granola layer. I topped mine with one of my favorites – Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed + Flax Granola.
Have your house smell like the holiday season when you bake this Whole Grain Orange Cranberry Bread. Bake loaves as holiday gifts that your friends and family will love and they won’t even know it’s lightened up! I absolutely love baking during this time of year. Many gifts I like to give come in the form of food. When I was younger, I used to help my mom bake mini quickbreads to give to our neighbors, teachers, mailman, etc. to spread the holiday cheer. They were always wrapped with a nice bow and a little note attached. Everyone likes a homemade treat to enjoy during the hectic holiday season. I’ve been playing around with using different types of flours in my baking recipes lately. I have not yet mastered understanding gluten free flours yet (I’m talking to you coconut flour – you dry crumbly mess!), but I am getting better with other whole grain flours.
Do you love baking as much as I do? I try to incorporate more whole grains vs. refined grains into my daily diet and during the holiday season, I do love baking, so why not add some whole grains here too!
White Whole Wheat Flour:
The look of this recipe may be deceiving when I tell you I used a whole wheat flour. Hmmm.. shouldn’t it be browner? Enter – White WholeWheat Flour. Sounds like a contradiction, right?
White wheat is a different type of wheat that has no major genes for bran color (unlike traditional “red” wheat which has one to three bran color genes). An easy way to think of it is as a sort of albino wheat. The bran of white wheat is not only lighter in color but it’s also milder in flavor, making whole white wheat more appealing to many people accustomed to the taste of refined flour.
The term “white flour” has often been used to mean “refined flour,” so “whole white wheat flour” sounds like a contradiction in terms. But it is simply WHOLE flour – including the bran, germ and endosperm – made from WHITE wheat. – source, Oldways
White whole wheat flour is a whole grain and a much easier solution to add in whole grains into your favorite baking recipes without compromising appearance, taste, and texture.
I’ve noticed in baking white whole wheat flour is not as dense as a regular whole wheat flour, but more of the perfect balance in between of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
The orange-cranberry combo is such a classic and always reminds me of the holiday season. While the holiday season may bring some indulgences with it, you still can make recipes taste indulgent with a healthy twist like this whole grain orange cranberry bread, by switching to whole grains, trimming back on sugar, and adding wholesome fruit.
Health Benefits of Cranberries:
Cranberries naturally contain the flavonoid, proanthocyanidin (PAC) and other polyphenols that have potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease. Plus, just one cup of fresh cranberries contain 5.1 grams of fiber, 94 mg of potassium, and over 20% of the Daily Value for vitamin C. Nutrition information provided by the Cranberry Institute.
I caught myself cutting off a piece here and there every time I walked through the kitchen. Get ready friends and family, this Whole Grain Orange Cranberry Bread is going to be delivered to you with a ribbon and a special note from me this holiday season!
Have your house smell like the holiday season when you bake this Whole Grain Orange Cranberry Bread. Bake loaves as holiday gifts that your friends and family will love and they won’t even know it’s lightened up!
2 cups white whole wheat flour
⅓ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 oranges, juiced and zest (reserving 1 tbsp juice)
½ cup milk
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups fresh cranberries, chopped
For the glaze:
1 tbsp reserved orange juice
1 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together white whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together orange juice, milk, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly, until just combined. Fold in cranberries.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean.
Let cool on a rack. Meanwhile whisk together the reserved orange juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle on top of the loaf. Slice and enjoy!
Looking to add more fruits and vegetables in your day? This Banana Berry Smoothie is a simple (and delicious) solution to help you meet the recommended amount of fruits and vegetable each day.
The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern, of the 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines, is 2 cup-equivalents of fruit and 2½ cup-equivalents of vegetables per day. (source)
Reading those recommendations, it may not seem that hard, but on a regular basis, Americans are not meeting that target goal.
Why not start the day with a smoothie packed with fruits and vegetables? If you’re not used to adding vegetables to a smoothie, this recipe is a great one to start off with. The flavors of the berries and bananas take over and you won’t even know the spinach is even in there!
Once you start feeling a little more comfortable with adding vegetables into your smoothie, start trying new variations. Smoothie aficionados are adding vegetables like cauliflower, kale, cucumber, carrots, and even broccoli to their smoothie mix. What vegetables do you add to your smoothie?
Save time in the morning and make smoothie bags. Pre-measure the fruits, veggies, and mix-ins (like chia, flax, peanut butter powder) of your choice in a ziplock bag. Now in the morning, all you have to do is drop the smoothie contents in the blender and add milk (or liquid of choice) for a smoothie ready in under a minute.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, is a popular legume across many cuisines. These versatile legumes are also packed with high-quality plant protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, and beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Grab these for a protein-packed snack or top on a salad. I always tell clients to make these to top their salads when they are looking for a crunch factor in place of croutons.
The best part, you can customize these with any flavor you like! Craving sweet? Try roasting the chickpeas with a little cinnamon and sugar. Looking to add a little heat? Add a little chili powder to the mix.