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Archive | June, 2013

Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels + Garlic and Herb Quinoa

23 Jun

You can never go wrong with a chicken dinner.

Tonight was a very exciting night. My boyfriend is back in town for the week so he and his family came for dinner. As I’ve been home taking classes all summer, he has been up at the university we both attend taking classes, so I haven’t been able to see him since spring semester ended! I wanted to keep the dinner simple, yet delicious.

We had these spinach and mushroom chicken pinwheels, savory garlic and herb quinoa, my freshly baked herb bread, and some delicious tomato salad made with chopped celery, bell pepper, cucumber, and red onion. It was a great night.

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Don’t you love those stuffed chicken breasts you can get out at restaurants? Unfortunately, most of those are filled with high fat cheeses and ingredients, and then cooked in so much more fat! (Don’t even get me started with the unhealthiness of most restaurant meals) I will never understand why chefs must take such delicious ingredients, and lather them in butter. Reason why I love home cooking, still delicious, and healthy.

This recipe will allow you to enjoy that delicious stuffed chicken breast flavor, without guilt!

What is your favorite chicken meal to prepare?

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Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels
1 lb Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins
1/2 cup Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup pieces Mushrooms
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Chopped Spinach, drained
1 tbsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Crushed Garlic
1T Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Olive Oil
Directions: Place tenderloins in between two pieces of wax paper. Pound down chicken until very thin. Combine rest of ingredients up through sea salt (using only 1 tsp of salt) together in bowl. Place about 1T mixture on the end of one side of each tenderloin, and roll up. Place chicken seam side down on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle rest of sea salt and Italian seasonings. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Simple Garlic and Herb Quinoa
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 tsp Trader Joe’s crushed garlic
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1T dried basil
1T dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Add all ingredients to a pot on the stove, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until all water is gone.

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Best of Both Worlds Smoothie

22 Jun

Sometimes, you can’t just choose one flavor. And sometimes, that is just okay.

Why not get the benefits of fruit, and vegetables, all in one glass, without getting a yucky mixed flavor taste? This will solve all the problems for us indecisive ones..

The Best of Both Worlds Smoothie

Base:

-1 frozen banana

-3 frozen almond milk cubes

-1/2 cup Greek yogurt

-1/4 cup cooked oatmeal

-1/4 cup almond milk

-1T chia seeds

*Pour half into glass and set aside

Strawberry layer

Add for frozen strawberries and ¼ tsp coconut extract, and 1T shredded coconut to base. Blend, and pour into a different glass.

Green Layer

-Pour the other half of the base back into blender. Add a handful of spinach, ½ tsp greens powder, and 1T peanut butter (or peanut flour for lower calories). Pour on top of strawberry layer in glass. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Benefits

1) 1 Cup has only 43 calories and 13% RDA fiber

2) Contains the antioxidant compounds called phenols

3) Phenols fight inflammation in the same way over the counter drugs do

4) Fights cancer due to antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, and flavonoids

5) Decreases chances of muscular degeneration

6) 136% of RDA’s vitamin C

7) Rich in manganese, which is great for bones and inflammation

Spinach Benefits

1) 20% RDA fiber in one cup

2) Contains flavonoids, phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties

3) Rich in neoxanthin and violaxanthin which are two anti-inflammatory agents

4) Rich in antioxidants—Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc, and selenium

5) Inhibits the angiotensin I-converting enzyme which aids in lowering blood pressure

6) Rich in vitamin A which is beneficial for the skin, and fights sickness in the body

7) Rich in vitamin K (1000% RDA), which helps density and strength of our bones, and aids in brain functioning

 Source: HealthDiaries.com

Pumpkin Peanut Butter No Sugar Granola {1st RecipeRedux Post!}

21 Jun

Why does every single granola today have to be loaded with sugar as well? Here people think they are being “healthy” by having yogurt and granola, yet they are eating flavored yogurt with tons of sugar, and granola with tons of sugar. Sugar overload without even knowing it?? I think so. This sugar detox I have been on this last month has really open my eyes. There really is so much added sugar in almost everything these days! I am constantly having to read labels throughout this detox for fear of buying and eating something with sugar; even products you would never guess had sugar!

That is why I decided to make my own granola. And what better way to make it than a pumpkin and peanut butter flavor, my two favorite things? Well, actually I could name a few more things to squeeze on that list, but those are certainly two of them :)

No, this granola isn’t super sweet like the store-bought stuff you are normally use to, as it does have no sugar; but it is quite good! And without the super sweet taste, it won’t spike your blood sugar levels and lead to overeating! My mom even liked it better than the one she was eating prior to this.

It is loaded with many of my favorite seeds: hemp, flax, and pumpkin seeds! Which leads me to why I had to hold out on sharing this recipe for a little bit. This is my first month being a part of Recipe Redux, which is an awesome community of healthy living bloggers that strive to create more nutritious recipes. Each month, we get a theme that we must make a recipe according to. Can you guess this month’s theme?! You got it, SEEDS! “Sowing Seeds” to be exact :) I knew I had been wanting to make a healthy no sugar granola for awhile when starting my sugar detox, so this was a perfect opportunity to do just that. I hope you enjoy, I know I did as mine only lasted a couple days!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter No Sugar Granola
-1 cup oats
-1/2 cup hemp seeds
-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/2 cup currants
-1/4 cup mashed ripe banana
-1/4 cup pumpkin
-3T ground flaxseed
-2T peanut butter
-1T coconut oil
-1 tsp each: vanilla extract, cinnamon
-1/2 tsp sea salt
optional: 1/4 cup cacao nibs, or 2T of honey if wanting a sweeter granola
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all seeds, oats, and currants, cinnamon, sea salt, and cacao nibs (if using) in a bowl. In small bowl, combine mashed banana, pumpkin, oil, extract, and peanut butter. Mix in wet ingredients into dry ingredients. (if too dry, add more pumpkin or oil, if too wet, add a touch of flaxseed). Mixture should be crumbly but sticky. Place on non-stick cookie sheet (can place on aluminum foil on sheet to prevent mess if desired). Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Take out and toss mixture around, bake for another 10 minutes. Check: if browned, it is done and you can take out; if not crispy yet, bake for 5 minute intervals, watching closely, as it burns very easily! Take out and let cool on tray. Enjoy!

Hemp Seed Benefits:
1)High Protein (and very digestible protein)
2)Contains all 20 amino acids (including the 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce)
3)High Fatty Acids and Fiber amounts
4)Contains vitamin E and trace minerals
5)Perfect 3:1 ratop of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid
6)Rich source of phytonutrients
7) Richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids

Flaxseed Benefits
1)High in fiber, both soluble and insoluble
2)Contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body cannot make
3)Contains lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities
4)Rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids
5)May reduce inflammation

Pumpkin Seed Benefits
1)Filled with minerals including: phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, iron, and copper
2)Contains phytosterols, compounds that have shown to reduce cholesterol
3)Contains L-tryptophan, which help with good sleep and lowering depression
4)High in zinc, serving as a natural protector against osteoporosis
5)Good Source of vitamin E
6)Most alkaline-forming seed
7)Excellent source of vitamin B group
8)Contains good quality protein
9)Reduces inflammation without side effects of drugs
10)Good for prostate health



 

TVP Apple Pie Porridge

20 Jun

TV what?!

If you don’t know what TVP is, don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until just recently coming across it at my health food store. It is a dried vegetable protein, (Textured Vegetable Protein), and is a defattened soy flour.

Basically, in a crunchy texture, and you are suppose to rehydrate it with vegetable stock to make it like meat for a vegetarian. So what was I doing flavoring it like apple pie?!

Haha, well, see after re-hydrating it the first time, I realized it was almost like overnight oats, except with that vegetable stock flavor. And since I’m not vegetarian, and do not plan on substituting this for actual meat, I decided to try something fun! Call me crazy.

Looking at the unsweetened apple sauce I had, and all my red delicious apples, I knew what I wanted to make. With being on my sugar detox, I have to pick fruity flavors so that I can sweeten it naturally :) And apple pie has always been a winner in my book!

Results? It was surprisingly good! Was it your normal “porridge” or oatmeal texture, no. But it was an awesome way to get in a TON of protein! 12 grams of protein per 80 calories! That means in the same amount of calories as a 1/2 cup oats, you are getting 24 grams of protein! And it tasted great as well.

I will be continuing my experiments with this as I have 16oz of it now, so stay tuned!

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TVP Apple Pie Porridge
-1/2 cup TVP
-1 cup almond milk
-1/2 big apple, chopped
-1/4 cup applesauce
-1 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract
-Optional: sweetener to taste (being on my sugar detox, I skipped out on any!)
Directions: Combine all ingredients in mason jar, and allow to sit in fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Take out a fridge and place mixture into blender. Blend until smooth (don’t skip this, texture is weird). Pour into bowl and enjoy! Sprinkle with extra apple, cinnamon, or anything desired!

TVP Benefits
1)High in protein (24 grams per 1/2 cup dry)
2)Beneficial in prostate cancer prevention
3)No Cholesterol, unlike many meats
4)Low costs
5)High in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Source: Livestrong.com

Spinach Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Meatballs (using ground turkey!)

19 Jun

I have been hooked on ground turkey lately. It really is just so delicious, and spices things up for the typical chicken I was having for dinner almost every night. Plus, it is so versatile! You can eat it on the side as your protein with any meal, on top of a salad for taco salad (recipe here), or put it in tomato sauce and scoop it onto some noodles or spaghetti squash! The possibilities are endless.

So after eating a whole pound of the stuff just cooked up plain in various ways, I decided to branch out and try making something out of it; something like meatballs. But when I make something, it can never be just an ordinary recipe, there has to be a ton of flavor to it. So, I added some delicious vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, and the result was incredible! I will definitely be making more of these to freeze so that I can have them whenever I want :) Hope you enjoy!

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Spinach Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Meatballs (using turkey)
-1lb ground turkey
-2 handfuls spinach, torn into small pieces
-1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
-1/2 cup canned artichokes, diced
-1T each (dried): basil, oregano, thyme, onion, parsley
-1tsp garlic puree (or finely chopped garlic) and sea salt
*No need for egg with ground turkey, held together perfectly! If using real ground meat, may need to use 1 egg or 2 egg whites or flax egg (1T flax+3T warm water)
Directions: Place ground meat in big bowl. Gather all vegetables and place into the bowl. Combine with big spoon or hands. Place all herbs and seasonings into meat mixture, and combine until thoroughly mixed. Shaped into small balls and place on cookie tray. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Take out and move around to brown the other side. Bake for 5 or 10 minutes more depending on size of meatball. Take out, and enjoy! Great just by itself or on top of squash/noodles!

Turkey Benefits:
1) One 3.5 oz serving is packed with 30 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat
2) Loaded with B vitamins:phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and iron
3)Rich in Selenium–antioxidant necessary for thyroid metabolism
4)Contains tryptophan–amino acid that triggers serotonin production and aids in sleep

Spinach Benefits
1)Loaded with fiber–aids in digestion and curbs overeating
2)Contains flavonoids–phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties
3)Anti-Inflammatory
4)Rich in Anti-oxidants
5)Lowers Blood Pressure
6)Aids in immunity (high in vitamin A)
7)Vitamin A–promotes healthy skin
8)Rich in vitamin K–good for bone density and crucial component for preventing calcium build up

Source: HealthDiaries.com and MensHealthMagazine

Where is all the pumpkin?! +my homemade squash substitute

18 Jun
No more Libbys canned pumpkin in SW Florida :((

No more Libbys canned pumpkin in SW Florida :((

But seriously..is anyone else having a hard time finding canned pumpkin in their normal grocery store?! You know me, a little pumpkin obsessed. Yet, Publix (my grocery store), doesn’t have it anymore! Ever! All they have is that yucky sugar filled “pumpkin pie filling”. No thanks.

I had to do something about this problem. Hence, why no pumpkin recipes have been posted lately :( But have no fear! After some research, I found out that buttercup squash is almost just like a pumpkin, but just a bit drier in texture! So, I went and bought myself one of those buttercup squashes, and the result was absolutely delicious.

It was a little dry compared to fresh cooked pumpkin like it claimed, so I decided to puree it all with a couple little additions, so that it would be ready to take out and use when desiring it! It added a little bit of flavor and sweetness without any added sugar along with a creamy smoothness, so that I could use it as a delicious spread on my daily toast (yes, I have toast every single day, I love it<3). Or in shakes, or in oatmeal, or with a spoon! Ahh, why do I love pumpkin so much? Yes, this definitely fulfilled my pumpkin expectations<33

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Buttercup Squash Pumpkin Substitute
-1 buttercup squash
-2 cups almond milk or water
-1T cinnamon
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Place squash in preheated oven at 400 degrees (yes, you can just put it in whole to prevent extra mess!). Bake until slightly soft on outside, about 45 minutes to an hour. Take out of oven when slightly soft and cut in half. Scoop out seeds. Discard or wash to bake later! Scoop out the flesh of the squash from the skin and place it into a blender. Add the milk/water (milk for creamier version), cinnamon, extract, and salt. Blend until smooth. Store in fridge! Can you in place of canned pumpkin, or as a simple not too sweet spread on toast :)

Buttercup Squash Benefits:
1)Iron rich, comparable to red meat!
2)Rich in Calcium-22% more calcium than milk
3)High in vitamin A
4)Low in fat
5)Fiber content is higher than most vegetables
6)Excellent source of beta-carotene
7)Rich in magnesium (important in activating enzymes required for muscle and nerve function)

Kale Tzatziki Dip

17 Jun

Do you love that tzatziki dip that is always served at any Greek restaurant and on those delicious gyros you can order? Well I decided to take that typical dip, and add a little crunch and greens to it! A mix between your typical veggie dip and tzatziki sauce :)

What better way to add some greens, than incorporate some detoxifying kale, and adding that delicious crunchy texture that everyone loves in a dip by adding some refreshing jicama?

Everything in this dip has so many benefits, it should be called a dip of champions! Only kidding. But really, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And when you can have a whole cup without feeling guilty like most veggie dips, I think you’ll be quite happy!

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Kale Tzatziki Dip
-1.5 cups of Greek Yogurt
-1 cup steamed Kale (about two large leaves), chopped
-1/2 cup cucumber, chopped small
-1/4 cup jicama, diced small
-1/4 cup onion, diced small
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1/2 tsp each: garlic powder, dried onion, pureed garlic, beau monde, dill weed, italian seasonings, sea salt
Directions: After all vegetables are chopped, place in bowl with yogurt and rest of ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Serve with veggies or crackers!

Kale Benefits:
1) Aids in digestion
2) High in antioxidants
3) Anti-Inflammatory
4) Prevents and Combats cancer
5) Cardiovascular Support
6) Detoxifying
7) High in Vitamin K,A, and C

Greek Yogurt Benefits
1) Easy to digest compared to most yogurts
2) Low in carbohydrates
3) 50% less sodium than most regular yogurt
4) Twice as much protein than regular yogurt
5) Thick and Creamy texture, with a very versatile taste

Source: HealthDiaries.com