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!
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.
Need a little afternoon pick-me-up? These Vanilla Espresso Energy Bites are a perfect energy boosting snack. I originally posted this recipe back in 2014 on my travels to Blog Brulee in Vermont. Boy, a lot has changed since that conference. That conference hands down was the most amazing experience and I contribute a lot of my blogging success from that conference. It gave me the confidence to turn my hobby into my business.
One of my biggest goals was to focus on my food photography. When you are sharing a recipe online, it has to look visually appealing. While some of my old recipes taste delicious, they are not very photogenic. I am working on updating old recipes this summer. This is one of my favorite energy bite recipes, but the photo definitely needed an upgrade. Every time I take food pictures, I am constantly learning and improving. It is a constant learning process.
If you are a coffee lover, you’ll love the addition of the espresso powder. It will give you that little jolt to power you through the afternoon. Find espresso powder in the coffee aisle of the grocery store.
Make these ahead and enjoy all week (if they even last that long). Just remember to store in the refrigerator, or they dry out and get very crumbly.
This past September I traveled to California for the first time. I was so fortunate that California Almond Board invited me on an amazing trip to the almond orchards in Lodi, California with a group of amazing Registered Dietitians and food bloggers. We learned a wealth of information of all things almonds, including sustainability, growing methods, almond life cycles and nutrition research. Disclosure: I was provided with free travel and accommodations to the California Almond Orchard experience. I was not additionally compensated for my time or to write this post.
Ever wonder where those almonds that are in your trail mix, granola bars, and cereals are from? The almond lifecycle has many stages before they end up in your kitchen cabinets.
Did you know, there are more than 30 different varieties of almonds? 10 of them comprise the majority of almonds produced in California. 80% of the world’s almonds are produced in California, and from raw almonds and almond butter to almond flour, almond milk, and almond oil. The Central Valley of California is the perfect spot for almonds to grow due to their mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The Almond Lifecycle: November – February: Almond trees go through a period of dormancy when the cold weather lets them sit back, relax and store up almond nutrients for next year’s crop. Late February – early March: Almond tree buds burst into light pink and white blooms in preparation for pollination. Nonpareils are among the first to bloom, while other varieties, such as Carmel and Mission, bloom later.
Many almond trees are not self-pollinating, so bees provide the missing piece of the puzzle. Populations of bees are brought to the orchard to carry pollen and initiate crop development. March – June: Almonds continue to mature, with the shell hardening and kernel forming. Also at this time, green almonds are harvested for various culinary uses.July – early August: Almond hulls begin to split open exposing the almond shell and allowing it to dry. Shortly before harvest, the hulls open completely. Mid-August through October: Mechanical tree “shakers” harvest the almonds by vigorously shaking them to the ground. The almonds then dry naturally for 8–10 days in the orchard before they are swept into rows and picked up by machine.After harvest, almonds go to a huller/sheller where the kernels pass through a roller to remove the hull, shell, and any remaining debris. Next stop: the handler for sizing, where the almond kernels drop into separate bins according to size.
After sizing, almonds are kept in controlled storage conditions to maintain quality until they’re either shipped or further processed into any variety of different almond forms for diverse culinary uses. (source: California Almonds)
Did you know – Almond trees are grafted on the roots of peach or plum trees for a stronger root base. The almond trees are grown in a nursery, then grafted onto the root of a peach or plum tree to grow to maturity. Through the orchard you are able to see the point where they were grafted since they overlap each other. Did you know there are three parts to an almond? The hull, shell, and kernel make up this mighty little nut and all parts are used. The hull is the dry and fuzzy outer later. Hulls are sold as livestock feed, which reduces the amount of water used to grow other feed crops. The shells go to various alternative farming uses such as livestock bedding. The kernel, which most think of when thinking about almonds, is the nutrient-rich almond we eat. Each serving (28 g) contains 6 grams of energy-packed protein, 4 grams of hunger-fighting fiber, 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat.
Warning: these almonds are addicting. The whole batch was gone in less than a week. Add them to salads, pair with a piece of fruit, the possibilities are endless. Be on the look out for another recipe soon using these almonds!
Place almonds in a small bowl. Pour the balsamic vinegar into the bowl, stir to coat the almonds. Let sit for one hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 350˚. Drain the vinegar from the almonds and pat almonds dry. Add sea salt and rosemary to the bowl and stir well to coat the almonds evenly. Spread almonds evenly onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes (stir the almonds halfway through cooking).
Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Store almonds in an airtight container.
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Thank you California Almonds for this amazing experience! To learn more about California Almonds check out their website. They have great resources for health professionals!
Fruit is a great healthy dessert option during the summer. Leave the grill fired up after dinner and kick up the flavor of your fruit by grilling it! Get your fruits and veggies in shape this summer! With produce galore, now’s a great time to enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables. This is a perfect theme for the Recipe ReDux members to share how we are all serving bounties of gardens and orchards in shapes like ribbons, noodles, cut-outs, or other creative cuts. Buying a whole pineapple at the grocery store is typically way more affordable than the peeled and cored or already diced packages. Cutting a pineapple can be a little tedious and messy in the kitchen, but one kitchen gadget that can help is an all-in-one corer slicer. I have a ton of kitchen gadgets and some may be used only once in a blue moon, but this one is super useful!
Now my shape might not be as exciting as ribbons or noodles, but I cut these perfect rounds in under a minute! No mess, success! Just one cup of pineapple provides 132% of the recommended intake for vitamin C (an antioxidant vitamin that is required for healthy skin and immune function) and 76% for manganese (plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation). Add fun toppings to make it into more of an indulgent dessert. I added vanilla Greek yogurt, sliced almonds and shredded coconut.
Need a little pick-me-up in the afternoon? Fuel up on a snack that is nutritious and delicious that can curb all flavor cravings with this week’s Supermarket RD’s Pick: Nourish Snacks.
Have you tried Nourish Snacks before? Just launching about over a year ago, Nourish Snacks are making their mark in the snacking department as a convenient, portion-controlled, and nutrient-dense snack. Nearly 25% of our daily calories come from snacks, so it’s important we make these snacks count, nutritionally. Joy Bauer, RDN, nutrition expert of the TODAY Show and founder of Nourish Snacks, set out to create a nutritious grab-and-go snack that can work for any kind of snacker. With a wide variety of flavor combinations, there is sure to be a Nourish Snack that you’ll like. From sweet, salty, chewy, and crunchy, each combination has a balance of protein and fiber to help you feel energized and satisfied.
All Nourish Snacks are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian-friendly and free of bioengineered ingredients. You can always find me with snacks stashed in my purse or glove compartment in my car. Just the other day, I was stuck in rush hour traffic and my stomach started grumbling.. it was a snackergency. Nourish Snacks to the rescue! Disclosure: Nourish Snacksdid not sponsor this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own to share healthy items found in your grocery store to RDelicious Kitchen readers.
Add a boost of flavor and nutrition with a Tropical Wild Blueberry Smoothie. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
It dropped to 2 degrees here in NJ this past weekend.. BRRR. Simple tasks like running errands was brutal in the cold. I kept envisioning a getaway to a warm tropical island. Sadly, there were no tropical island trips planned in the near future, so I had to improvise. Instead I created a tropical wild blueberry smoothie.
You may think I’m contradicting myself for wanting to get away to a warm place and then make a cold smoothie, but smoothies are a staple in my kitchen year round, no matter what the temperature is. Why? Because smoothies are so easy to pack in a ton of nutrition with a variety of healthy foods coming from all food groups.
Plus, smoothies are so easy to customize with various combinations, so you’ll never get bored! I always like to experiment in the kitchen with new combinations and new ingredients. One new ingredient I tried in this smoothie recipe are wild blueberries. Wild Blueberries have twice (2x) the antioxidant capacity of larger cultivated blueberries. A growing body of research shows the potential health benefits of Wild Blueberries including gut health, diabetes, cancer and brain health.
I often find that certain fruit flavors, like blueberries, get lost when getting mixed into a smoothie because other strong fruit flavors take over.
Wild blueberries are a little extra special than your regular cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries have a more intense flavor than regular blueberries. Wild Blueberry plants grow wild and are genetically diverse with thousands of interlocking plants spreading naturally across fields called barrens. It’s this diversity that gives Wild Blueberries their complex and delicious flavor — an extraordinary mix of tart and sweet. Smoothie Tip: Use frozen fruit when making smoothies. This will chill the smoothie plus thicken it without using ice, which can water down the flavor.
The Wild Blueberry crop (99% of it) is frozen. These potent little berries are individually quick frozen (IQF) at harvest locking in their nutrition and taste. It’s nature’s pause button.
Switch up your snack routine with Savory “Cheesy” Popcorn!
Have you recently bought a new ingredient that is sitting in your pantry just because you really don’t know really how to use it? I bought nutritional yeast for one recipe and it’s been sitting in my pantry ever since.
Did you know… National Popcorn Day is January 19th? I wanted to celebrate with a delicious new popcorn recipe! Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Many people don’t realize, but popcorn is a whole grain. The white part that puffs up is the endosperm, the flakey part is the bran, and the part that usually gets stuck in your teeth is the germ.
Popping popcorn at home is very simple. Bonus – there is the flexibility to play around with different toppings.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. Because it’s inactive, it doesn’t grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability. Yeasts are members of the fungi family, like mushrooms. (source)
The golden flakes of nutritional yeast have a nutty aroma and well known cheesy flavor, making it a go-to vegan substitute for Parmesan cheese. (Hence the quotes in the recipe title “cheesy”) If you like this recipe and don’t have or want to use nutritional yeast, simply swap with Parmesan cheese.
Using nutritional yeast is a great alternative for those with lactose intolerance or who are vegan. Plus, nutritional yeast is rich in Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Vitamin B12.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn and call it a day, or add a few extra spices to kick it up a notch. I added salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika for an overall savory flavor profile.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add a few pieces of popcorn – if the corn slowly spins in the oil then the oil is hot enough.
Add remaining popcorn and cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot gently to have the oil evenly coat the kernels.
Remove from heat when the popping stops (when you can count to 3 between pops) and transfer to a large bowl.
Combine the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl and mix to combine.
Get a large serving bowl and place half of the popcorn in it. Spray generously with olive oil then sprinkle over half of the spice mix. Add the remaining popcorn and repeat once more. Toss to coat and serve.
It’s movie night! When you are craving a crunchy snack, but can’t decide between popcorn or chips, combine them into this healthy new twist!
When it’s movie night, my snack of choice is always popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, which is a great snack choice and about 3 cups are in a serving, so you can feel good about filling up on this healthy snack fare. But it’s often what we put on popcorn that makes it go from a GO food to a SLOW or even WHOA food. (I use the go, slow, and whoa method when I teach children). So instead of lathering your popcorn with butter and salt, try a a healthy new twist. When you are craving the “crunch-factor” kind of snack, double up with double crunch. I had some crumbs at the bottoms of a terra veggie chip bag sitting in my pantry and a light bulb went off when I was making this popcorn to put them together. Then, adding Cabot’s Cheddar Shake! Powdered Premium Cheddar Cheese made this EVEN BETTER! Cheddar makes everything better, right? I’ve added parmesan cheese to popcorn before, but cheddar was a fun new twist. Recently my girlfriends and I got together for a movie night. My friend Kate is a total movie buff and brought along, an adventure/sci-fi movie, Divergent. Those type of movies are not my first choice, but Kate never disappoints me with her movie suggestions. Plus, there is some eye candy, that definitely was a plus. When the movie ended, we were all hooked. The sequel, Insurgent, recently came out and of course we had to get together for movie night, round 2. This time with Cheesy Veggie Chip Popcorn. The key is, once it’s freshly popped, toss on the veggie chips and cheese powder right away so it sticks right on to the popcorn.
1 cup your favorite veggie chips, crushed (I used terra chips)
Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.)
Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).
Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
Quickly toss the Cabot cheddar shake and crushed veggies chips when popcorn is still warm and will adhere to the popcorn.