Mediterranean Salad

Dietitians have been long-time fans of the Mediterranean diet for its heart health benefits, but a recent study published by the British Medical Journal have found new benefits for gut health, specifically for the elderly.

We decided that is a good enough reason to share with you one of our favorite Mediterranean-inspired salad recipes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium feta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 15 oz can chick peas, drained (optional)

Directions

  • Make dressing by whisking together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (separation is normal, just mix/shake it up again before using).
  • Toss together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • drizzle dressing on top as desired, and it is ready to serve!

An Extra Tip

To add a little crunch to your salad, consider roasting the chick peas! I recommend drizzling them with 1 Tbsp olive oil, dusting them with paprika and garlic salt, and roasting them on 400 degrees F in the oven for 20-30 minutes, tossing them periodically.

This is a huge salad that can easily be eaten throughout the week. To keep your salad fresh longer, keep the dressing in a separate container and drizzle it on right before you eat it.

Happy eating!

Frozen Chocolate Covered PB Banana Bites

In need of a sweet, yet somewhat healthy treat to share with your ~lover~ this Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re enjoying a romantic evening with your soulmate or having a sappy rom-com and wine night, we’ve got you covered.

Image Credit: Not Enough Cinnamon Blog

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas (the riper, the sweeter!)
  • 1/3 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 12oz semisweet chocolate chips (carob chips to make it vegan!)
  • coarse sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel and slice bananas into “pennies”.
  2. Make cute lil’ peanut butter sandwiches with your banana pennies.
  3. Let ’em freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Heat chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 20-30 seconds until consistency is just melty, gooey goodness.
  5. Using two forks, dip the frozen PB banana bites into the chocolate and lay them out on a baking sheet with wax paper. Sprinkle with sea salt if you’re feeling wild & dangerous.
  6. Freeze them again for at least another 30 minutes.
  7. Turn on The Notebook, keep tissues close by, and dig into these delicious little babies. Happy V-Day ūüôā <3

Pumpkin Muffin

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Ingredients:
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a non-stick muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients (oats–salt).
3. In another bowl whisk together all wet ingredients (egg–applesauce).
4. Add dry ingredients slowly into wet ingredients, whisking to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Transfer batter into muffin tins (about 1/4 c. per slot).
6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tops are slightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts (per muffin):
Yield- 9 muffins
Calories: 186 kcal
Carbohydrates: 33g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 6g

Chickpea Pumpkin Curry

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Ingredients:
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup tomato, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 15 oz. can chick peas, drained/rinsed
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 15 oz. can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. red pepper curry paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:
1. Spray large pot with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Dice onion and place in pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes. As onions become translucent add garlic.
3. Dice tomato and carrots and add to pot after garlic cooks for 1 minute. Let cook for 5-8 minutes until carrots soften.
4. Add pumpkin puree and chick peas (drained and rinsed). Stir until well combined.
5. Stir in coconut milk and spices. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
Yields 6 (1 cup) servings
Calories: 189 kcal
Carbs: 27g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 7g

Homemade Almond-Sun Butter with Dried Cranberries

homemade nut butter

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unsalted almonds (or 1¬Ĺ cup salted & 1¬Ĺ cup unsalted) good source of fiber, healthy fats & a source of plant based protein
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels excellent source of vitamin E & great source of copper and vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • ¬ľ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • Optional: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

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Week 1 Lunch and Dinner Meal Prep

See below for recipes for lunch and dinner to get you through Monday-Friday. Prepare all ahead of time or break them up throughout the week!

Lunches For The Week:
Monday- Apple Turkey Sandwich + baby carrots
Tuesday- Buffalo Turkey burger on whole wheat bun + roasted broccoli
Wednesday- Turkey meatballs + whole wheat pasta + asparagus
Thursday- Buffalo turkey burger + brown rice + parmesan green beans
Friday- Apple Turkey Sandwich + baby carrots

Dinners For The Week:
Monday- Buffalo Turkey burger (no bun) + brown rice + roasted broccoli
Tuesday- Turkey meatball hoagie + side salad
Wednesday- Chicken Teriyaki stir fry + brown rice
Thursday- Buffalo turkey burger  + sweet potato fries + side salad
Friday- Lemon Ranch chicken + brown rice + side salad

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Weekly Meal Prep Set-Up

I can’t stress to my clients enough the importance of being prepared. When you are prepared you can make a better decision. It takes the guess work out of what to make and takes you out of situations where you are stuck and are forced to make a bad decision.

Even if you can’t prepare your whole meal ahead of time, I think it can still be extremely helpful to at least do what we call, “meat” prepping. Preparing your meats in advance allows you to take away the most time consuming part of the meal. Dinner on a week night should not take you more than 20-30 minutes,unless you are someone with a more flexible schedule who can balance cooking dinner on a regular basis. I recommend spending the bulk of your work on the weekend. After grocery shopping, it should only take you 1-3 hours to clean, cut, and cook. For some people, breaking apart the cooking into a Sunday and Wednesday night can better maintain freshness of meals but still create some ease during the week.

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Week 1 Breakfast Meal Prep

Below are overnight oat recipes for breakfast to get you through the Monday-Friday. Some recipes are doubled and are to be made for multiple days of the week!

Grocery list:

Dry oats (2 1/2 cups)
Skim milk (2 1/2 cups)
Chia seeds (1 tbsp. and 2 tsp.)
Honey (3 tsp.)
Walnuts (2 tbsp.)
Chocolate chips (2 tbsp.)
Banana (1 medium)
Natural Strawberry Jelly (2 tbsp.)
Mixed berries-fresh or frozen (1 cup)
Natural peanut butter (2 tbsp.)
Apple (1 small)
Cinnamon (1/4 tsp.)

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Apple Oatmeal Bake

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Ingredients:
2 c. dry oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 medium apple, diced
1 egg
1/4 c. honey
2 c. skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Dice apple in small bite sized pieces.
5. In another medium sized bowl, whisk together egg and honey. Add milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
6. Spread half of the oat mixture into the 8×8 pan evenly distributed. Add half the apple pieces.
7. Add the other half of oat mixture, then top with the rest of the apples.
8. Pour liquid mixture over oats in the baking pan so it is evenly distributed.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
Yield- 12 servings
Calories – 100
Carbs- 20g
Protein- 4g
Fat-1g

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 c. skim milk
nutmeg, pinch
cayenne pepper, pinch
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. whole wheat macaroni noodles, dry measure (whole box)
1/2 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, to garnish

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over each half of squash, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place 1 clove of garlic in each bulb of squash.
4. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Re-set temperature to 350 degrees after cooking squash.
5. Let cool slightly, scoop insides of squash into large bowl and mash with fork.
6. Add squash and 2c. skim milk to large pot, whisking until well combined. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne pepper while stirring.
7. After a few minutes, add cheddar and parmesan cheese. Continue to stir to combine and melt cheese.
8. Spray a large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange pasta noodles evenly over bottom of pan. Pour squash/cheese mixture over noodles. Mix until well combined.
9. Spread 1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs over top of mac and cheese dish.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until warm and tender. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving):
Yield- 10 servings
Calories- 280
Carbs- 45g
Protein- 12g
Fat-5g