Tag Archives: nutrition

No-Sugar Added Pumpkin Pie

24 Nov

I was on a mission this weekend. A mission to create a dreamy, creamy, no-sugar added pumpkin pie. I have been dreaming up this pie for a couple weeks now.

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The hubs was traveling and I decided to dedicate my weekend to making my dream a reality.

 

 

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Cold weather in the Mitten = me wanting to crank on my oven, bust out the sugar, butter, and eggs and get my groove on in the kitchen. While this is mentally and emotionally comforting, physically, it doesn’t do the body good.

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I’m all about moderation in the food we eat. When the temperatures drop, I crave comfort food. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the warm comfort  of my Paper Bag Apple Pie, slathering some butter on my Maple-Thyme Parmesan Biscuits, or indulging in some Toasted Oatmeal Scones…once in a while. Usually the moderation part comes easily for me but when the wind chills plummet to below zero and the snow piles a foot high before Thanksgiving? I find balance in my diet a lot harder to achieve. I feel like us midwesterners deserve these foods. We deserve the comfort, the aroma, the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of these treats.

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Since this winter looks like it is going to be a long one, I have decided that I should start tweaking some of the comfort foods I make so they are a little friendlier on the waist-line.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been focusing on cutting back sugar in my cooking/baking. Sometimes it’s a total success, as it was with this pumpkin pie and sometimes it’s a total failure, as in the time I tried to cut the sugar by half in a brownie recipe and we were basically gnawing on cardboard. You win some and you lose some.  Luckily, I won some with this pumpkin pie and you will, too!

No-Sugar Added Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8

Note: It’s important to keep an eye on the edges of your crust as this pie bakes. As you can tell from my photographs, I got distracted and my crust got a little burnt. Use tin foil folded over the edges of your pie to prevent them from burning while your pie finishes baking. 

For the Crust:

1 1/4 cups pecan halves

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 teaspoon salt

11 Medjool dates, pitted

1 tablespoon vanilla

For the Pie Filling

11 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/16 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse pecans, flaxseed, and salt together until it forms a fine meal. Add the dates and vanilla and pulse until combined.

3. Firmly press the crust into a greased pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

4. Add all of the pie filling ingredients into a high speed blender. Turn blender on lowest setting and quickly increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

5. Pour pie filling into crust. Smooth the filling using an offset spatula. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow pie to set out for 3 hours before serving.

 

Tofu Nicoise Salad

5 Sep

As I browse through my instagram, Facebook, food gawker, etc. I can’t help but notice the influx of spicy pumpkin recipes that have taken over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to crank on the oven and have a hot date with Libby but it seems like summer is just starting to show itself up here in Michigan. There’s something about pumpkin that doesn’t pair well with 85 degree temps and 80% humidity. I just can’t wrap my mind around it, no matter what month it is!

Until the temperatures cool and the overcast skies appear, I have this beautiful nicoise salad for you.

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My friend gave me this great recipe for baked tofu and it made the perfect replacement for a hearty fish-less option on this salad.

Just check out the colors in this salad…

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It screams nutrition! Each one of those colors packs a punch with a different disease-fighting phytochemical.

This salad is really versatile. Feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand to make it work for you.

Tofu Nicoise Salad

Makes 4 servings

Note: To drain the tofu, I slice the tofu into 8 equal pieces and place them on a few layers of paper towel for 30 minutes. Lightly pat the topside dry with paper towel. 

For the tofu:

1-14 ounce package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 equal pieces

3/4 cup broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons soy sauce

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

1 /2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:

8 cups mixed greens

2 cups steamed green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

12 olives, pitted and halved

2 cups roasted potatoes, quartered

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 hardboiled eggs, sliced

1. For the tofu: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk all ingredients except for the tofu in a small bowl. Place tofu on lined baking sheet and brush with half of the marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip tofu over and brush with remaining marinade. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients except for the olive oil in a small bowl or pulse together in a food processor. Gradually whisk in olive oil or, with the food processor running, slowly pour olive oil in and process until combine.

3. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with desired amount of dressing. Plate tossed greens on individual plates and divide remaining ingredients among each plate.

 

Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

28 Aug

I have been like a little kid in the candy store lately.

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I literally cannot wait until Saturday mornings. My recent Saturday morning routine has been as follows:

I wake up at the crack of dawn (sans alarm) like a kid on Christmas morning. I sip on a cup of coffee while I map out my strategy for the farmer’s market (when you stop at the vendor with the plump juicy peaches and then continue on to the vendor with  your favorite 5 pound bag of potatoes which are placed on top of your peaches, you no longer have edible peaches…lesson learned the hard way). Next, I jump into the car as the butterflies build in my stomach…I’m almost there! As I make my way through the farmer’s market, my game face is on. I tend to do a once (or twice) over to figure out what I want to get. I begin drooling as I head from vendor to vendor looking at the fresh picked blueberries, the crisp red apples, the bountiful flowers, and the tomatoes! Oh, the tomatoes! I can’t take my eyes off of them! I giddily go up to each vendor, chat about the new crop, make my purchases, pick up some flowers with any cash leftover, and head home to unload the goods. I usually spend the better part of my weekend creating dreamy dishes with my #farmersmarketfinds.

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I ended up with a surplus of tomatoes this past week. Surprisingly, I went through them all and I need to restock this Saturday. That’s in part because of this delicious tomato tart I made over the weekend. This tart is three things:

1. Easy on the eyes.

2. Simple.

3. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

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This tart is the perfect example of using good quality ingredients to get a tasty result.

Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

Adapted from Taste of Home

Note: the portions listed below are for a 4×4 casserole dish. You can easily fit this into an 8×8 dish or a 9×16 dish; just adjust the size of your sheets of phyllo and increase the amounts of other ingredients. The portion sizes in parenthesis are for a 9×16 pan. 

7 sheets of phyllo dough, cut to fit the size of your pan

2 tablespoons olive oil (1/3 cup)

3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (1/2 cup)

1/4 sweet onion, sliced very thin (1 onion)

3 small tomatoes, sliced thin (about 10 small tomatoes, or 4 larger tomatoes)

1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced (1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)

Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush casserole dish with olive oil to prevent tart from sticking.

2. Begin layering the phyllo dough and goat cheese. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with goat cheese. Keep remaining sheets of phyllo dough covered with a clean damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough.

3. Top final layer of phyllo dough with parmesan cheese, sliced onions, tomatoes, chives, basil, salt and pepper. Fold over any phyllo dough that is hanging over the edge of your dish.

4. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, until tart is browned (baking time may be longer depending on the size of your tart).

 

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

22 May

This salad is inspired by a recent trip we took out west.

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I know what you’re thinking…”she just got back from visiting wineries in Sonoma and has this new appreciation for grapes and wine and came home ready to get her grape on in the kitchen.”

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As much as I wish that were true, it’s not. This meal is a recreation of an airport meal that I had on our way home. I know, so anticlimactic. I can promise you that this dish won’t be anticlimactic for your taste buds, though.

This would be the perfect side dish to contribute to your next “bring a dish to pass” gathering or can easily act as the main star for a light lunch or dinner. You can make it ahead of time and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Did I mention that it’s also packed with fiber and healthy fats?

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If you’ve never been to the San Francisco airport, you should go. Seriously. Not only do they have awesome food selection (inspiration for this salad), but they have a yoga room! And yes, I practiced in it! And no, I wasn’t the only person in there!

After getting my “om” on and having a delicious lunch, I was ready for the long flight ahead!

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

Serves 4

For the Grapes:

3 cups red seedless grapes, detached from stems

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Pesto:

1 cup arugula

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

For the rest:

8 oz farro

Juice of half a lemon

1/2-1  tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (to toast a small amount of pine nuts, place in a non stick skillet over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast at  30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until grapes start to burst and release some of the juice.

2. While the grapes are roasting, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse together arugula, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. Scrape down the sides. With the food processor running, gradually add olive oil until pesto reaches a smooth consistency. (the pesto could be made a day in advance)

3. Cook farro by adding it to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In a large bowl, combine farro, roasted grapes along with any juices on the pan, arugula pesto, and pine nuts. Toss with lemon  juice and olive oil.

 

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

4 May

Hello hello. I have been MIA and I apologize. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with another whirlwind week ahead. I had some quality family time over Easter and some quality sister time soaking up the sun in Florida. The hubby and I head on a West coast adventure later this week. All exciting things that have left me with very little time to cook or blog!

I thought I’d sneak in a quick post just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

I love roasted chickpeas. They satisfy the need for a crunchy snack and are full of protein and fiber. You can easily season them how you like. These Mexican roasted chickpeas are the perfect healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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The inspiration for these chickpeas came from these delicious lentil tacos. I tossed a can of chickpeas with the spice mixture from the tacos and some vegetable oil, popped them in the oven and waiting while they roasted to perfection.

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My favorite way to enjoy these was atop a clean version of a taco salad. I tossed together some romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, crushed Beanito chips, avocado, and topped with some olive oil and lemon juice…yum yum yum.

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Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with vegetable oil. Add spice mixture and toss until chickpeas are well coated.

4. Spread chickpeas into a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until crispy, tossing or stirring chickpeas every 15 minutes.

 

Loaded Quinoa Cookies (vegan)

25 Mar

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I’ve mentioned before that I love snacking…specifically the kind that makes you feel like you’re “splurging” but you’re really getting loads of good-for-you ingredients. I especially love that kind of snacking when it’s neatly packaged into a cookie.

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These loaded quinoa cookies do just that.

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The cooked quinoa adds satisfying protein that make these cookies great for an on-the-go breakfast or a tasty snack.

Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you have on hand. The first time I made these cookies, I used a jar of odds and ends mix-ins I had been collecting. The tablespoon of pistachios leftover from making granola, the 1/4 cup of shredded coconut leftover from making banana bread, and the handful of chocolate chips left from making cookies. I’ve made these cookies a few times and use a different combination each time. My favorite combination included pistachios, toasted coconut flakes, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and chocolate chips.

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Leave a comment below with the mix-ins you tried. Happy snacking 🙂

Loaded Quiona Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

3/4 cup mix-ins (any type of nut, dried fruit, chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Add whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and mix just until combined. Fold in quinoa and other mix-ins.

4. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using you fingers, gently press dough balls until flattened. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Go-To Green Drink

17 Mar

Another one of my favorite things: starting my morning with a refreshing clean green smoothie.

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Every now and then I decide to mix it up, but I have a new go-to smoothie that I can’t get enough of in the morning.

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Going along with the “green theme” for St. Patty’s Day, I found it appropriate to post this recipe today. Also, you might appreciate this smoothie tomorrow morning in case you have one too many adult green beverages tonight!

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Here’s the run down on the goods:

Almond milk: low calorie, flavorful source of calcium (as long as it’s fortified)

Banana: great source of potassium; perfect for getting rid of excess water weight from St. Patty’s Day!

Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers, Spinach: hydration, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron

Mango: Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A

Fresh ginger: may help relieve indigestion

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Go-To Green Drink

Makes 2 servings (about 1 cup each)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 banana, peeled

2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks (about 1/2 of a large cucumber)

2 cups spinach

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Turn blender on, increase speed to high and blend for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until well blended. Add ice if desired.

 

 

 

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