Tag Archives: vegetarian

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

I might have a new dark chocolate obsession with this recipe. Not like I wasn’t already obsessed with dark chocolate in general but this, this one is really awesome.

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This is a truly decedent dessert that is also really healthy! If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed it was made with loads of cream and mounds of rich buttery goodness…fortunately that is not true and it still tastes just as sinfully delicious.

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As far as dessert goes this chocolate pudding is packed with healthy fats like omega-3’s and full of antioxidants. To start, avocados are an amazing fruit. If you haven’t added it to you diet yet, you will want to after hearing this. Not only are avocados incredibly versatile and delicious but they also pack quite the nutritional punch. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, they are rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) — as well as potassium and fiber. Avocados have been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular disease, regulating high blood pressure, high blood sugar. They have also been shown to aid weight loss (Bergh).

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Dark chocolate also contains some great health benefits (not like I needed any more convincing to eat it). Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are believed to help the body resist damage cause by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes. It also contains flavanols, which may have influence on cardiovascular health such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and making platelets less sticky and able to clot (“Health and prevention,” 2014).
So there you have it, a delicious, healthy, gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian (easily made vegan by replacing the honey with agave) dessert.

AVOCADO DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Ingredients:

1 avocado
3tbsp unsweetened almond milk
3-4tbsp Honey, depending on the size of the avocado and how sweet you like it.
2tbsp Dark chocolate coco powder
(optional) blueberries and pistachios for topping.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor till smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate till chilled and serve topped with fresh fruit and nuts of your choice.
ENJOY! ☺

Sources:

Bergh, B. (n.d.). Health benefits of avocados . Retrieved from http://www.regenerativenutrition.com/content.asp?id=443

Health and prevention. (2014, January 12). Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate.aspx

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Oatmeal Bites

These little oatmeal bites are maybe one of the best grab and go snacks or on the go breakfasts. IMG_4792

What so great about them? Well first of all there are super easy to make, secondly you can customize them with whatever fruit or nuts or spices you have available, they are filling, quick and easy to make, and most importantly they are healthy AND delicious.

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I love oatmeal for breakfast. It’s filling and packed with fiber to help keep me full all morning at work so I’m not starving by lunchtime. Not only is the fiber in oatmeal good for keeping you full, but it is also good for your heart. I am sure you have all seen those Cheerios commercials talking about how they can help lower your cholesterol. Well that’s because Cheerios are whole grain. Just like oatmeal! The soluble and insoluble fibers in oatmeal and other whole grains are associated with and increase in diet quality and a lower risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is even shown to slightly reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) beyond what is achievable by a diet solely low in saturated and trans fats (“Whole grains and,” 2013).

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The one downside about eating oatmeal in the morning is that it’s not very portable, you have to eat it with a spoon and if you are like me, I like to add some fresh or frozen fruit to it too. So, sometimes when running late it’s hard to take those extra few minutes to warm up my oatmeal* then sit down and eat it before I leave for work at 6:50am. That is what is so wonderful about these oatmeal bites. I can just grab a few running out the door and bring them to work for breakfast or a midmorning snack.

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Don’t like oatmeal but still want the benefits of fiber? Here are a few other fiber packed foods:

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Brown rice
  • Barely
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apples with the skin
  • Strawberries
  • Whole wheat breads
  • Whole wheat cereal
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Brussels sprouts

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* Quick tip: You don’t have to use instant oats for quick oatmeal. You can microwave old fashioned rolled oats just as fast.  Just add water and pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on how done you like it. I only do 1 minute because I like them with a little more texture.

OATMEAL BITES

Ingredients:

2 medium mashed bananas
2 cup quick oats ( if you don’t have quick oats like I didn’t, just chopped old-fashioned oats in a food processor).
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup raisins.
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger.
1/8 tsp ground clove.
1 Tbs honey.
Scant ¼ tsp salt.

Directions:
Mash the banana in a medium mixing bowl and all of the ingredients. Mix well, and spoon onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 deg. For 8 minutes, or until golden

ENJOY! 🙂

Source:

Whole grains and fiber. (2013, January 14). Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Whole-Grains-and-Fiber_UCM_303249_Article.jsp

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Back into action (Greek layer dip)

Oh my, I have been absolutely horrible lately. It’s been so long since I have made a post that I almost don’t know what to do! Life has just been crazy. With my new job and summer traveling I have been a lazy bum. By the time I can sit down, that’s all I want to do. So, starting now I am making a new rule that I will be better about keeping up with my blog.

I wasnt joking about my pictures being horrible.

I wasnt joking about my pictures being horrible.

Along with that train of thought, I am thinking my blog needs an overhaul. But seriously, my photographs are not doing my food justice at all….but I guess that’s what you get when you don’t own a real camera, not to mention It could use some re-organizing.

At least now that I have a camera they will get better...hopefully.

At least now that I have a camera they will get better…hopefully.

To get back into the swing of things I have been collecting a few recipes I have been meaning to post. This first one is one of my favorite dishes to bring to potlucks or to have as an easy, delicious and healthy appetizer anytime of the year. Are you ready for it? It’s a Greek hummus dip and it is SO GOOD, yet so simple. I brought this to a tailgate once and it was gone in about 5 minutes…I’m not joking, I didn’t even get any. Same thing happened when I brought it to a recent work potluck. So, if you make this for a party or potluck make sure you snag a bite before you set it out or you will never get a chance to taste this delicious dip.

Ingredients:

Hummus

1-15 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid)

Scant ¼ cup tahini

Two large cloves roasted garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

About a ½ teaspoon of salt, add more or less to taste I find that it can taste a little bitter or bland if you don’t use enough

Pepper to taste

Olive oil and chickpea liquid (see directions below for amounts)

Directions:

In an food processor or blender add drained chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Start with about a tablespoon of olive oil and blend. When it comes to adding the more olive oil or chickpea liquid it becomes personal preference from now on what consistency you like your hummus, it also varies depending on how juicy your lemon is. I personally don’t like to add a ton of olive oil, so if I have already added a good amount and It is not quite the consistency I want I will add the chickpea liquid, but if you don’t want to use the chickpea liquid you don’t have to. Just blend till you get the a good creamy texture.

Layered Dip Ingredients:

Homemade hummus

1 ½ -6oz container plain, non-fat, Chobani Greek yogurt

1 Roma tomato, diced

½ Cucumber, peeled and diced

2-3 Green onions, diced

Feta cheese and pepper to taste

Directions:

Start by spreading the hummus into a glass baking dish. Next, spread the Chobani over top, you may need a little more or less depending on the size of your dish.  I used a 9X12, I have also used and 8X8 and got away with just one container or yogurt.

Sprinkle yogurt layer with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions, then top with some fresh cracked pepper….I told you it was easy. Now pair that with some of crunchy corn chips (I like Trader Joe’s guiltless corn chips) or pita and hurry up and grab a bite before it’s all gone!

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Quinoa and Kale Salad

I love quinoa, it is such a versatile delicious grain, it’s quick and easy to cook, you can eat it cold or warm and it is full of nutrients, so much so that it is considered a “superfood” Just so you can see for yourself, here are just a few of the benefits of quinoa:

  • Protein rich: Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids that are essential for our complete nutrition. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world making quinoa a great source of protein for vegetarians.
  • High in fiber: Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains.
  • Good source of Iron: Iron is essential because carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction.
  • Contains lysine: Lysine is mainly essential for tissue repair and growth.
  • Rich in magnesium: Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Now that you know some of great health benefits of quinoa, If you have not already added it to your diet, I highly recommend it. It has a delicious nutty flavor and you can add pretty much anything to it for a great side dish or main meal. So, if you are new to quinoa or are just looking for some different ways to throw it together here is one of my favorite quinoa salad recipes!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup quinoa
  • 2 Cups water
  • 3 Cups raw kale pulled off the stem in bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers or pine nuts
  • 3 green onions diced
  • 1/4 Cup dried cranberries
  • Juice of a 1in-1.5 in wedge of lime
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized pot add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water, over med-high heat with lid on until it reaches a boil. Reduce to simmer with lid on and cook till water is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking toast almond slivers or pine nuts in a small non-stick pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Set aside when done.

Once the quinoa is done add 3 cups raw kale to a large bowl. While quinoa is still hot add it to the kale and stir it up. The heat from the quinoa will help to wilt the kale a little bit.

Add cranberries, almonds/pine nuts, green onions, lime juice and salt and pepper, stir it up till combined, serve, and enjoy!

**Note: you can always add more of less of any ingredient, if you want more nuts and cranberries or lime juice, go for it! It is all up to your individual taste.

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