Stuffed Dates (Bacon Wrapped)

You know those times where delicious, simple, and nutritious meet? Well, I’ve found it!

If you haven’t ever tried Medjool dates, then you should. They are softer and sweeter than other dates and taste like candy (with one simple ingredient, DATES)!

Snacking on these little guys is always a fine idea, but sometimes a girl just has to do a little more!

Here are 4 different recipes for ways to use dates that I promise you won’t regret!

IMG_2898[1].JPG

Homemade LARAbars.
In a food processor, add 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 12), 1 cup cashews, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1 tablespoon water. Puree until the mixture comes together. Press between sheets of wax paper and refrigerate for best results. (Makes 12).

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
all you need:
12 slices of bacon
24 medjool dates, pitted
4 oz goat cheese

all you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bacon slices in half.
2. Stuff dates with goat cheese and wrap with bacon. Spread bacon-wrapped dates on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.

IMG_2911

IMG_2909

Stuffed Dates
all you need:
14 Medjool dates, pitted
1 oz goat cheese
1 oz blue cheese
2 oz cream cheese, divided
14 almonds
2 Tbsp walnut pieces

all you do:
1. In a small bowl, stir together goat cheese and 1 ounce cream cheese. In a separate bowl, stir together blue cheese and remaining 1 ounce cream cheese.

2. Using a spoon, stuff the goat cheese mixture into 7 Medjool dates, top with 2 almonds. Alternately, stuff the blue cheese mixture into the remaining 7 Medjool dates, top with walnuts.

Note, these can be prepared in advance.

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kalettes

We are about to go crazy for Kalettes! No, that is not a made-up word – Kalettes are a delicious new vegetable that are a blend of Brussels sprouts and the beloved kale. They are made through the process of traditional hybridization and are one of the hottest trends in vegetables right now.

  
Kalettes are functional, simple to prepare and look fantastic. You can expect to overload your taste buds with a nutritious vegetable that tastes sweet and nutty all at the same time. Kalettes are also great because they will appeal to everyone, whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or you just want a new veggie to add to your diet! There is no waste either – the entire Kalette from the leaves to the stem can be used in cooking.

How do you know which Kalettes to pick? Their brilliant purple stems and green leaves will indicate a healthy plant. Avoid leaves that have started yellowing or turned brown. You will find Kalettes in the refrigerated produce section, typically near the other bagged salads. Store Kalettes in the refrigerator until they are ready to be enjoyed.

  
Not only are Kalettes a tasty addition to the everyday diet – they are nutritious, too. They are low-calorie, low-sodium, fat-free and contain a little bit of protein. One serving (one and a half cups) provides 40 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, 120 percent of your vitamin K needs, and 10 percent of your daily vitamin B6 needs.  

There are several different ways to try this new veggie. You can:

  • Sauté. Place Kalettes in a covered pan for about 5 to 7 minutes and cook until tender.
  • Roast. Coat Kalettes with olive oil and place on a baking sheet; bake at 475 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  • Grill. Put Kalettes in tin foil or a basket and grill for about 10 minutes (or until charred) on medium heat.
  • Eat raw. Talk about spicing up your salad! Chop up and add to romaine lettuce or eat Kalettes themselves covered in your choice of salad dressing.
  • Add to recipes for new flavor. Add Kalettes to any recipe where you would add other veggies (i.e.: onions or bell peppers).
Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

You say chickpeas, I say garbanzo beans… We’re both right! 

I love a good salty, crunchy snack. Can anyone say potato chip? And I have found a new favorite. Garbanzo beans, when roasted, are crispy, crunchy, and hearty. 

This homemade version takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time. You’ll want to save your energy for all the snacking you will be doing later. 

  This recipe is so simple and uses ingredients that I always have on hand. 

  1. Canned garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
  2. Oil
  3. Salt
  4. Seasoning

  
A word to the wise, go ahead and make a double batch (using 2 separate pans), but don’t eat a double batch in one sitting. These are still beans, and they may “talk back”. (Not that I know from experience or anything…)

  

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

All you need:
1 (15 oz can) garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
1 tsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Seasonings (I like garlic powder and smoked paprika).

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and drain the beans. Pour on a towel and thoroughly pat dry. 
  2. Spread the beans onto a parchment-lined baking pan (foil can work in a pinch). Drizzle the beans with oil and thoroughly coat. Spread around the pan evenly, taking care not to over-crowd. 
  3. Bake the beans for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Stir and place back into the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. 
  4. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with salt, to taste, and seasonings. Best when allows to cool at room temperature. 
Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

NNM2016Graphic
High protein, low carbohydrate, gluten-free, probiotics, whole grain, green tea, shakes…

Everywhere you look, someone has the newest or best way to eat. All of this information gets confusing and overwhelming. Eating becomes stressful rather than pleasurable.

Food is meant to fuel our bodies. Food is meant to be a pleasant and joyful experience. All too often we rob ourselves of this experience. Rushing through a meal in order to get to the next practice or event, eating in the car, or while on the computer also take our focus away from food.

Food is a part of many aspects of our lives. Food is a vital part of many traditions and social experiences. Cake on birthdays, ham on Easter, grilled hamburgers and brats for the 4th of July, and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving are all examples of food traditions. Food also is a very social experience. Food seems to taste better when surrounded by people. Take time to have conversations, to smell and to taste your food.

I challenge you to “Savor the flavor” of your next meal. Take a moment to enjoy the tradition of food, the social experience, and the great flavors.

How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods – that's the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!

Cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

(source http://www.hy-vee.com)
Serves 15 (1 each)

All you need:
15 medium fresh strawberries
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ c graham cracker crumbs
1 (6 oz) bar dark chocolate

All you do:
1.Slice off the stem end of each strawberry. Use a knife to scoop out a little bit of each berry to make a hole in the center. Set aside.
2.Beat together cream cheese and vanilla with electric mixer until smooth.
3.Using a small spoon, fill each strawberry with the cream cheese mixture, mounding a bit on the top of the strawberry.
4.Place strawberries on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once all strawberries are filled, sprinkle cream cheese mixture with graham cracker crumbs.
5.In double boiler, melt chocolate chips until smooth. Gently dip the bottom of strawberries in chocolate mixture. Set on waxed paper to cool. Refrigerate berries until ready to serve. Best if served within six hours of making.

Posted in On My Mind | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weeknight Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

We all have those recipes that we come back to time and time again. This chicken gyro recipe is one of our staples. It is quick to pull together on a weeknight, and best of all, everyone in my family LOVES them. SCORE! No fighting and complaining during supper. #supermom 

Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce (serves 4; 1 pita each)

All you need:
1/4 seedless cucumber (or 1 picolino cucumber)
1 clove garlic
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1.25-1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts)
4 pitas
Feta cheese (as garnish)

All you do:

  1. Prepare the ingredients. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Finely dice the cucumber. Peel and finely mince garlic. Quarter and seed the lemon. Thinly slice red pepper. Peel and slice half of an onion.
  2. Make the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the diced cucumber, yogurt, garlic, dill, juice from 1/2 a lemon, salt and pepper (1/8 tsp salt and black pepper, to taste). cover and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Season the chicken. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and rosemary over the chicken. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees). Cut into strips.
  4. Plate the meal. Arrange one pita on each plate. Gently open the pita pocket. Add chicken, red pepper strips and onions. Top with tzatziki sauce and feta.


  

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Guacamole to Go. A Perfect Snack

Snack time. It can either be used for good or evil. The foods and portions you choose can add nutrition to your day, or sabotage everything you have done and set you up for a blood sugar roller coaster. 

Americans are snacking on average between 2 and 3 times every day! So it’s easy to see how influential snacks can be. Snacks can either help you achieve your health goals, or lead you astray. 

Many people plan out their meals, but forget about snacks, leaving the decision up to impulse. I’m here to tell you that no good decision can be made when you’re hangry! (And I mean NO decisions should be made with low blood sugar. What to eat? Nope. What to wear? Nope. What to watch? Nope. Which car to buy? Nope.)

This is where snacks can be a benefit. But like I talked about here, snacks should have aid in helping balance blood sugars. 

Welcome GoodFood’s Guacamole to go. You get fresh, chunky guacamole (made with quality, real ingredients), and a portion of corn tortilla chips. 

  
The taste and flavor are spot on. Nutritionally these are amazing. A moderate 200 calories of guacamole goodness. And the package is in the shape of an avocado! 

So RUN, don’t walk to the store and find these next to the other refrigerated guacamole. You will thank me later. 

Posted in Products | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snack Smarter

Snacking has become a nearly universal behavior. Nearly 97% of Americans are snacking at least once per day, with more than 40% snacking three to four times. What you choose to snack on should match your health goals and can make all the difference.

handful-whole-almonds-and-dark-chocolate-pieces
Here are 6 tips to help you snack smarter:
1. Choose wisely. Select snacks that will fill nutrient gaps; avoid snacks that may be low-calorie or low-fat but devoid of nutrients.

2. Drink up. Stayin hydrated is just as important as fueling your body consistently; stick to hydrating low-calorie beverages the still or sparkling water or iced tea.

3. Timing is everything. Don’t wait too long between meals; it could lead to overindulging later.

4. Keep it convenient. Make healthy snacks visible and accessible; you’ll be more likely to grab them when hunger strikes.

5. Portions matter. Too much of a good thing can still be too much; stick to appropriate portion sizs.

6. Plan ahad. Whether it’s keeping the care, desk, or travel bag stocked, planning ahead can save time and keep you on track.
whole-almonds-and-mixed-dried-fruit
When I snack, I aim for finding a source of protein + carbohydrates + fat.

Almonds + dried apricots
Almond butter + apple slices
Cheese stick + orange
Nuts + dark chocolate (a little indulgence can be exactly what I need to make it through the rest of my day).

*Information taken from the California Almonds “Snacking Just Got Smarter” handout.

Posted in On My Mind | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment