Advertisements
Archive | Dips/Spreads/Butters RSS feed for this section

Creamy Spinach Avocado Dip

14 Aug

Yes, another avocado recipe! They are so delicious and nutritious, I couldn’t help but continue this week with more recipes.

We all love that creamy spinach and artichoke dip, but our waist doesn’t always agree. That is why avocados are a great way to create a healthier version. Avocados are packed with nutrients to provide a vast amount of nutrition, and with all of it’s healthy fats it contains, it keeps that delicious, creamy taste we all love in the typical unhealthy dip.

As I have said in previous posts, avocados are a perfect seasonal ingredient! Not only are they healthy for you, but the are refreshing and very versatile. You may think of using avocados only in guacamole, but that is certainly not the only possibility with this lovely fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!). Packed with healthy fats, this fruit not only keeps you satisfied longer, but serves as a great substitute for any typical, unhealthy fat in any recipe. If you look back at my last posts, you can see they are even great in desserts!

Missed the benefits of avocado in my last couple posts? Find them below the recipe here!

dip

Creamy Spinach Avocado Dip
-1 ripe Avocado
-1/4 cup Low Fat Mayonaise
-1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
-4 oz. Spinach, cooked and cooled
-1 Garlic Clove, minced
-1 tablespoon Lime Juice
-1/2 teaspoon each: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Honey
-1/4 teaspoon each: Sea Salt, Red Pepper seasoning

Directions: Place all ingredients except spinach in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add in Spinach and blend for a few seconds. Chill covered in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Avocado Benefits:
1) Filled with Monounsaturated Fats: types of fats that help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.
2) By adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients
3) Provides all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, the body readily absorbs avocado protein because avocados also contain fiber.
4) Pack with Folate:  a water-soluble B vitamin that promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”
5) Contains Lutein: a carotenoid that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.
6) Rich in Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
7) Good source of fiber

Source: http://www.trueactivist.com/avocado-health-benefits-the-worlds-most-perfect-food/

“I received free samples of California Avocado mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Avocado and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Advertisements

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Substitute

5 Aug

It’s never too early to start using pumpkin in recipes.

Is it just me, or does just thought thought of the holidays and the smell of those fall flavors put a smile on your face? It just makes me so happy!

I use to absolutely love making a pumpkin cream cheese. But see, I had a problem. The low fat version still had a lot of calories for the amount I would go through of it (2 tablespoon serving size?! I think not). But then the fat free version was just filled with all sorts of artificial ingredients and fillers for the lack of fat. So yesterday I came up with a solution for this problem. And the solution was delicious. Low in fat, high in protein, and still that delicious creamy taste of cream cheese!

Did I mention I have been loving cottage cheese lately? :)

pumpkincreamcheese

Whats your favorite holiday flavor?? I guess mine isn’t too hard to guess!

pcc

Pumpkin “Cream Cheese”

-1/4 cup+2T Pumpkin Puree
-1/2 cup Cottage Cheese
-1 packet Stevia or 2T Honey
-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
-1/4 tsp Cinnamon + Nutmeg
Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Keep in jar. Use as a spread on toast, a sweet dip, or even a simple add-in into oatmeal or shakes.

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

Raw Honey Benefits
1) Alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants
2)Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fingal properties
3)Promotes body and digestive health
4)Strengthens immune system
5)Eliminates allergies
6)Excellent remedy for skin wounds and infections
7)Stabilizes blood pressure
8)Relieves pain
9)Calm nerves

Pumpkin Peanut Butter

29 Jul

Ever since I was a child, I have loved peanut butter. It’s one of those things I don’t think I could ever get sick of. I use to sit on the couch after school with a banana and an entire jar of peanut butter. Spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, repeat continuously. Banana is gone? No problem, I would just start eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Thankfully I’ve learned the meaning of moderation now, at least most of the time :)

As I was enjoying some peanut butter yesterday, a brilliant idea came to me. Why not made a more creamy and light tasting butter by adding pumpkin?! It only made sense as I love my pumpkin.

IMG_1764

The result was incredible. It give the typical heavy and rich peanut butter, a more refreshing, mousse like texture. And guess what? It cuts the calories and fat down in a natural way! The addition of pumpkin lends that lovely taste of fall inside that spoonful of delicious nut butter<3

This is absolutely delicious on toast, as a dip for apples, a mix-in to oatmeal and yogurt, of just by the spoonful!

IMG_1787

Pumpkin Peanut Butter
-1 cup homemade peanut butter (or any natural peanut butter)
-1 cup pumpkin puree (or decrease to 1/2 cup if wanting a richer taste)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Optional: 1T honey or stevia
-Optional: 1/4 tsp seal salt (if butter is not already salted)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Store in fridge.

Note: Turn it into a sinlessly sweet butter with the addition of sweetener and extract, or enjoy as your typical savory peanut butter by just adding pumpkin.

Note: Want a really low calorie option? Instead of 1 cup peanut butter, use peanut flour and almond milk to make 1 cup worth!

Note: Want a really low calorie dip? Use peanut flour mixed with water or almond milk in place of the peanut butter! (But don’t be afraid of all the healthy fats, they are good for you!)

Peanut Benefits
1)Rich in energy, containing many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
2)Good levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids
3)Good source of dietary protein
4)Great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant found to protect against cancers, heart disease, and fungal infections
5)Excellent source of vitamin E, which maintains and protects cell membranes and skin
6)Packed with B vitamins

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

{Travel Snacks} Homemade Nut Butters

21 Jul

Sometimes, the food is the best part of the journey.

IMG_1024

One thing I never forget to pack when I am leaving home is my food. Whether it be for a long day of classes as a college student, a road trip for the weekend, or hours in the airport traveling across the country, I always remember to plan.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

That is something I heard awhile back that always stuck with me. It is so very true. The times that I haven’t had time to plan my food for a long day away from the house, I always end up eating unhealthy, last resort foods after becoming too hungry. That is why I’m sharing with you an easy, travel-friendly snack that is a safe option no matter how far your travels are taking you.

I must admit, this is my favorite snack, even when I’m not traveling. It is my go-to food whenever I get those hunger pains mid-day. But when the theme this month for Recipe Redux was travel food, I knew immediately what I wanted to share.

Homemade Nut Butter. All kinds. With fresh, crunchy celery as dippers, or even apple slices. Could there be anything more delicious or refreshing? Is has those healthy fats along with protein to keep you satisfied.  The best thing about it, is they are airport safe! I take a little container of my nut butters every time I fly, and have never had a problem. What is the great result? Instead of eating those salty, oil saturated peanuts, I enjoy my healthy, all natural nut butter with some veggies or fruit!

IMG_1022

I have a couple of homemade nut butters on my site already, like my Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter, my healthy version of Nutella called “Not-tella“, and my Almond Joy Butter. But I made two new, absolutely delicious butters to share with you today. Something I love to live by for most of my diet, keep it simple, yet keep it tasty. These nut butters are just that. Coconut Cashew Butter & Cinnamon Java Butter

IMG_0067

Cinnamon Java Almond Butter

– 1 cup almonds, toasted
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp instant coffee powder
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Place nuts in food processor and blend until butter forms (this will take at least 5 to 10 minutes).

IMG_6559
Cashew Coconut Butter

– 1 cup cashews, toasted
– 1 tsp coconut extract
– 1 tsp coconut oil
– optional: 2T unsweetened shredded coconut, stirred into final product
Directions: Place nuts into food processor. Blend until butter forms (again, about 5-10 minutes). Add extract and oil and blend for about 10 more seconds. Keep in container.

*Neither of these butters need to be refrigerated if consuming within a week!

IMG_0039

Yum. And benefits?

Almond Benefits
1) Reduce Heart Attack Risk
2) Lower Bad Cholesterol
3) Protect artery walls from damage
4) Build strong bones and teeth
5) Provide healthy fats and aid in weight loss
6) Lower rise in blood sugar after meals
7) Alkalize the body

Cashew Benefits
1) Prevents Cancer
2) Heart Health
3) Increases Hair and Skin health
4) Beneficial for Bone Health
5) Good for the nerves
6) Prevents Gallstones
7) Aids in weight loss

Coconut Benefits
1) Fights viruses and bacteria growth in body
2) Fights yeast, fungus, and candida
3) Positively affects hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control which leads to increase metabolism, energy and endurance
4) Aids in digestion
5) Absorbs fat soluble vitamins
6) Lowers cholesterol
7) Special fat called medium chain triglycerides (Research shows 2T a day allowed women not only to gain less weight but lower abdominal fat)

Sources: doctoroz.com, care2.com

Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter & Pumpkin Protein Crepe

7 Jul

I have TWO recipes to share with you today. I have been going a little bit crazy with the pumpkin lately. But when you have delicious, fresh puree to use, why not?!

I love nut butters, all kinds. Well, all MY kinds that are made fresh and healthy, without added sugars and bad oils that is! I literally am pulling out my food processor at least one time if not two times a week to make some. It just seems to..disappear. Weird.

And I don’t think I have to tell you how much I love pumpkin. So the two combined together to create a smooth, creamy, fall favorite flavor–flawless. I was tempted to just eat it all with a spoon! (Okay so maybe I did have a spoonful or two and made sure none was wasted on the food processor). Anyways, it is a must try if you are a fan of pumpkin! A warning that I sometimes don’t think of since mine never lasts that long, nuts go bad when combined with liquids after about a week, so make as much as you think you will have in that time frame (and keep refrigerator!) :)

Next up, I came home from a long 4 hour morning of organic chemistry class (yes, I am stuck taking organic chemistry during the summer), and wanted a protein packed sweet treat. I was going to resort to egg whites and have something on the side at first after not being able to decide, but then knew I really wanted to use my pumpkin once again. So, call me crazy, but I combined the two. What resulted from the combo+ some other ingredients, was something I can’t quite call a pancake, or a crepe, or a sweet omelette. I wasn’t really sure what to call it, but crepe was the closest in texture :) I filled it with some vanilla “cream”, and had a delicious, sinlessly sweet pumpkin creation sitting on my plate. High in protein, healthy and delicious. Don’t judge it until you try it!

photo 1

Pumpkin Pie Walnut Butter
-1 cup walnuts, toasted
-1/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 tsp ground flaxseed
-1 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Optional: Sweetener of choice (fresh pumpkin was sweet enough for me, but if using canned, you will want to add 1 or 2T honey or 1 packet of stevia)
Directions: Food process toasted nuts until butter forms–this will take about 5-10 minutes of blending. (Check out how to make homemade nut butter here). When smooth nut butter has formed, add all other ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Enjoy! Great on toast, oatmeal, or any other way you typically use nut butter!

photo 2

Pumpkin Protein Crepe with Vanilla Cream filling
For Crepe:
-2/3 cup egg whites
-1/3 cup pumpkin
-2T cottage cheese
-1T ground flaxseed
-1 tsp baking powder and vanilla extract
-dash of sea salt
*Sweeten to taste (fresh pumpkin and my filling were sweet enough for me alone)

Vanilla Cream
-1/4 fat-free or low-fat ricotta cheese
-1/4 greek yogurt
-1/2 very ripe big banana
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1T honey if banana isn’t sweet enough

Directions: Blend all crepe ingredients until smooth in blender. Cook in pan on medium heat until done (makes one big crepe or 2/3 small). Blend all vanilla cream ingredients together. Fill crepe/crepes with filling, and roll up! (Mint leaf for decoration) Enjoy!

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

5 Jul

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!

Who doesn’t like good ole’ Barbeque? That pork and chicken, smothered in BBQ sauce, mmm.

What guess what that delicious, tasty barbeque sauce is made of? TONS of sugar, mainly in the forms of either molasses or white sugar. What’s wrong with that? Well in small amounts, nothing is truly wrong with sugar or molasses unless your following a strict no sugar diet. But see, typical barbeque sauce doesn’t contain tiny amounts of barbeque sauce. It contains a whole lot of the stuff. Usually being one of the first ingredients listed which means it’s one of the main ingredients!

A serving size on a barbeque sauce bottle is typically one tablespoon. I am almost certain that no one enjoys a good barbeque dinner with only one tablespoon of sauce. Without mentioning exact numbers or amounts consumed, let’s just take it for granted that a typical BBQ meal is not the healthiest. Tons of sugar and calories, and not good ones.

So why am I saying all of this? Because I love a good old barbeque dinner, and I wasn’t willing to give it up. But I was willing to find a better solution. And that is when I went to work. The sauce ended up being delicious, still having that barbeque sauce taste, yet not near as much sugar or calories. Now I call that a win.

Homemade barbeque sauce, pulled chicken, all stuffed in a tomato. It was a great way to celebrate the fourth of July for lunch! How did you spend your Independence Day?!

photo 1

Homemade Barbecue Sauce
-1 8oz can tomato sauce
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-2T liquid aminos (or normal soy sauce)
-1T dijon mustard
-1T apple cider vinegar
-2 tsp stevia
-1T molasses or honey (or more stevia to taste)
-1/2 tsp instant coffee grains
-1 tsp each: cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt
Optional: dash of liquid smoke (makes for a great taste!)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove, and cook on a medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Store in jar in the fridge. Keeps fresh for about one week!

Tomato Benefits
1)Low in calories
2)High in vitamin C
3)Good source of vitamins A,K,folate and potassium
4)Provides thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper
5)Source of fiber
6)High water content
7)Source of beta-carotene and lycopene (good skin protectors)

Source: fitday.com

Kalamata Olive Hummus

25 Jun

I could eat a whole container of hummus with carrots. It’s just so good. On sandwiches as the sauce, on crackers, or or as a dip for veggies..you can never go wrong by having hummus in your fridge!

It is such a great appetizer to prepare when having people over too. I always make this hummus when guests are coming, and it is always the first bowl I’m refilling!

But did you know that hummus is made of a lot of oil and tahini (basically ground sesame), when buying packaged? That is what give it that oh so smooth texture. But because of those ingredients, just two tablespoons of dip is quite costly in calories. And let’s be honest, who truly only eats two tablespoons?

The way I have created this hummus, allows you to enjoy guilt free, as it is made of almost nothing but chick peas, olives, and spices! And it is just as delicious as the other stuff. Everyone is always asking for the recipe, so I thought I would share it with you.

photo 2

Kalamata Olive Hummus
-1 15oz can chick peas
-1/2 4.25oz can chopped kalamata olives
-1/4 cup liquid from chick pea can
-lemon juice from 1/4 of a lemon
-1 or 2 garlic cloves (if not wanting to taste much of  it, use 1)
-2 tsp dried onion
-2 tsp cumin
-1T cajun spice seasoning

Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. If needing more liquid, add more reserved liquid from canned chick peas. Enjoy!
Chickpea Benefits
1) Great source of protein and fiber ( 1 cup has 10g fiber and 12g protein)
2) Rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc
3) Can improve your circulatory and heart health
4) Fiber aids in a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol

Kalamata Olive Benefits
1) Good source of monounsaturated fats
2)Rich in vitamin E, polyphenols and flavonoids which pretext against free radicals, reduce inflammation, and build the immune system
3) High in vitamin A, which helps fight cancer and maintain healthy eye sight.
4) Rich in minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium–good for strong bones and clear skin
5) High in fiber

Source: Livestrong.com