This week my friend Jackie came to me with a task: create a “healthier” version of edible cookie dough for a family member’s upcoming birthday. Challenge accepted! (Please excuse the baby feet in the following photos. Momma was on recipe and baby duty!) […]
Month: September 2017
10 short years ago I had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester of college. While the sights were unforgettable, I could not get enough of the FOOD! From stracciatella in Venice to tapas in Barcelona, these were dishes that I still dream about […]
You guys. You know when something sounds too good to be true, but it is actually real life? We love moments like this, especially when it comes to creating delicious and good-for-you recipes. As if Friday couldn’t get any better as is, feast your eyes upon today’s heavenly dish:
Friends, meet the Blissful Banana Bread Breakfast Parfait. Now, while this sounds like more of a dessert than a breakfast, rest assured this delectable dish offers 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of filling fiber, and only 1 TSP of added sugar. Yes, you read that right: 1 teaspoon. You will want to get your pen and paper ready to write this one down. Or, you know, just follow along below.
The base of this banana bread parfait is of course, banana bread, but know that this is no ordinary bread. We wanted to boost the nutrient factor by adding extra protein and fiber to help this meal satisfy you all morning long. So, while it looks and tastes like a dessert, it’s actually filled with whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein to keep you going strong and uses only fruit for sweetness. It’s so good you may want to eat the bread on its own!
Nutrition Notes: This meal is perfect for those mornings when you need to satisfy that sweet tooth and don’t want to dive into the donut box at work (we feel you). This parfait is full of whole grains, lean protein, soluble and insoluble fiber**, and unsaturated fats to help keep you right on track.
**There are two types of fiber present in foods: soluble and insoluble. While most fibrous foods contain a blend of the two fibers, certain foods contain higher levels of one over the other and can help benefit our health. Soluble fiber dissolves in water (think Metamucil) and creates a gel-like substance that helps bind to cholesterol. When eaten consistently, soluble fiber can help us lower our lousy LDL cholesterol! Soluble fiber is found primarily in flaxseeds, oats, beans and legumes, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato skins, citrus, mangos, bananas, and apricots. Insoluble fiber is like a giant push broom for our GI tracks. This fiber is known for really, *ahem*, getting things moving. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include wheat, brown rice, beans and legumes, starchy vegetables like corn, winter squash, and green peas, as well as seeds and berries.
For the banana bread:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (recommended brand: Bob’s Red Mill)
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
2 tbsp pure egg white powder (or other preferred protein)
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 frozen bananas
3/4 cup oil (we like Spectrum Organics walnut oil)
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
1/2 banana, sliced
1 tsp chia seeds
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, flaxseeds, egg powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. Using a blender or food processor, blend banana, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Add wet mixture to dry and fold over until just mixed (careful not to over mix). Pour mixture into a lightly oiled 9×9 baking pan and bake for 22-24 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes prior to slicing into small squares (makes approx. 14 servings).
In a small bowl, mix yogurt, sweetener, and chia seeds. For a thinner “pudding” (aka yogurt) add a few teaspoons of milk until you reach desired consistency. (Full disclosure, the first time I made this I was out of milk and used coconut cream in a pinch – woah 😯 ). Grab your mason jar or a bowl and get ready to layer!
Slice the banana bread into small cubes (or use a round cookie cuter to make circular ‘discs’) and place in the bottom of your dish. Pour half of your yogurt mixture over top. Continue until you reach 2 layers of each. Garnish with banana slices and chia seeds. Dig in!
Calories – 340 Fat – 8g Carbohydrates – 49g Protein – 20g Fiber -7g
Poor pumpkins. 8 months out of the year they are ignored, overlooked, and practically forgotten. Then September hits and WABAM! Pumpkin. Overload. From PSLs to pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds (yes, that’s a real thing) we can’t seem to escape pumpkin mania. Unfortunately, most “pumpkin” flavored treats […]
Herbs, Spices, and Vinegars or, as we like to call them, HSVs, offer a huge array of flavor and dimension to food and can replace calories, sugar, salt, and fat in almost any recipe.
Studies indicate HSVs may offer additional benefits on our health:
- reduce blood pressure
- reduce inflammation
- improve blood sugar control
- boost immune health
- aid in the prevention of certain cancers
If you are unfamiliar with HSVs, scanning the spice section at the grocery store can be overwhelming. Start small and follow these simple steps:
1. First, get started with well-known flavors:
- Garlic and onion powder
- Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, curry powder
- Chili, jalapeño, chipotle, or cayenne powders
- Fresh citrus zest or juice
- Bragg’s liquid aminos or coconut aminos
- Ultra Premium olive oils and no sugar added balsamic vinegars
- Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning, any variety
- McCormick Recipe Inspirations
- Grill Mates Seasonings -some of these contain added sugars, so use sparingly
- Simple homemade vinaigrettes – (ex: olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic)
2. Once you get comfortable with those basic seasonings, start creating your own blends!
Try experimenting with flavors from different cuisines:
Italian – basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, garlic, thyme, sage, bay leaves
Mexican – cumin, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, chipotle, marjoram, lime zest
Asian – chili, ginger, lemongrass, sweet basil, coriander, tamarind
Middle Eastern – cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, sumac, caraway, aniseed, turmeric
3. Finally, keep track of your favorites:
Once you create a blend of flavors you enjoy, write it down! You may be surprised that the same seasoning you use for one dish one night works just as well another dish a separate night. Keeping these simple blends on hand will ensure that you never have to go without flavor.
Here are a few of our favorite homemade seasonings:
Classic Dry Ranch Seasoning – great on potatoes, popcorn, chicken, roasted veggies, and more!
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Want ranch dressing? Add this mixture to 1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, and 2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice. Whisk together and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to use (let the flavors get happy).
Taco Seasoning and Rub – great on chicken, beef, veggies, and rice!
4 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp MSG-free seasoned salt
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Shake well before each use.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts incorporating more delicious homemade seasonings!
For as long as I can remember, my grandfather ate oatmeal every single morning for breakfast. After suffering a heart attack and undergoing corrective surgery he made some dietary and lifestyle changes to improve his health, and the oats were a new staple. Wanting to […]
I have a confession to make. We Compstons love our pasta. And by love I mean pasta is consumed multiple times per week in our household. This statement may have struck fear into the hearts of many, but worry not! In a world full of nutrition fear mongering, shaming, and gluten/grain/dairy/soy/sugar/fat/joy/fun/pleasure-free foods, we are here to set the record straight. Appropriate consumption of ANY food can fit into a well balanced lifestyle.
Yes, you TOO can consume pasta regularly and reach or maintain your weight and health goals. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “You’re just saying that” or “You were blessed with good genes” or even, “You probably eat like a mouse”. To that we would say, “Have you met the Compstons!?!?”. There truly are no gimmicks or fast ones to pull on you here.
In order to keep everything in balance we recommend that your pasta-based dishes are comprised of two parts non-starchy veggies (any veggie you can name with the exception of beans, corn, potatoes, peas, and winter squash) to 1 part protein and 1 part pasta. It’s that simple! The inclusion of extra veggies helps provide added nutrients and filling fiber for fewer calories and carbohydrates while allowing you to still enjoy the pasta you love! Other benefits? Veggies = volume to meals meaning you get more servings for fewer dollars.
Last week we talked about the different ways to meal plan. Our favorite method is “Batch Cooking” and this recipe fits the bill! This is one of our favorite Sunday prep meals because it makes 6 (yes, 6!) hearty servings to get us through the week. We also love this recipe because you can mix and match proteins, veggies, and seasonings to create so many different meals. For instance:
- Swap feta cheese with grilled chicken and avocado, cucumbers for tomatoes, and lemon for lime juice and chili seasonings for a Southwest twist.
- Going Italian? Replace cucumbers with sun-dried tomatoes, feta with mozzarella, and add basil, thyme, sage, and rosemary to your vinaigrette. Mangia!
Nutrition Notes: Our Upgraded Greek Pasta Salad recipe is a step up from traditional pasta dishes. The inclusion of quinoa adds whole grain goodness for a wide range of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and all 20 amino acids (making it a plant-based complete protein all on its own). The variety of vegetables adds immune system boosting vitamins A and C, fiber, and phytonutrients. By making a quick homemade vinaigrette, we avoid unnecessary added colors, sugars, and sodium commonly added in the bottled dressings.
3 bell peppers, diced
4-5 Persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/3 cup pepperoncinis, diced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, diced
1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts or sun-dried tomatoes, diced
4 cups cooked orzo (approx. 10 oz dry)
1 cup cooked quinoa – we used tricolor but any color is fine
1 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice or Sicilian lemon balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
Wash and chop all of your vegetables. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together your vinaigrette ingredients; set aside. Cook orzo and quinoa (separately!) according to directions provided. Once cooked, rinse under cool water and drain. Combine orzo and quinoa and add 1 tbsp olive oil to keep pasta from sticking. Add veggies to grain mixture and stir until well incorporated. Pour vinaigrette over mix and toss well.
–Be careful not to oversaturate the pasta salad with dressing as it can become soggy. Rather, prepare additional dressing that you can add later in the week just prior to serving.
–We like to cook a batch of quinoa up at the beginning of each week to throw in to other dishes. This is really helpful for this dish in particular so you don’t have to turn so many burners on. In fact, you can pre-cook both the quinoa and pasta days in advance. Be sure to toss with evoo so it doesn’t stick to itself and turn into a pasta brick.
Nutrition Facts (per 1 3/4 cup serving)
Calories – 370 Fat – 11g Carbohydrates – 54g Protein – 15g Fiber – 7g