Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Red Beet Hummus

Beets were never on my list of favorite foods as a kid, but I’ve grown to like them. And I especially like that they are so healthy and good for you. I make recipes with beets every so often–probably not as often as I should–and I had the perfect opportunity to make a beet recipe when I received a complimentary package of Gefen’s Vacuum-Packed Beets, which are organic and also pre-peeled, making them very handy and convenient to use.

These beets work great in everything from salads to smoothies. I decided to make Red Beet Hummus. I love trying different hummus recipes and hadn’t tried one with beets yet. I really like this hummus! It doesn’t have a super-strong beet flavor, since it just has about 1 medium-size beet in it. I think the mild beet flavor goes nicely with the other hummus ingredients, and adding beet to the mix makes this hummus so healthy! If you don’t happen to have any Gefen’s beets on hand, you can use precooked beets or roasted beets instead.

RED BEET HUMMUS by NancyC

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (also called chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, cooked (or roasted), peeled red beet (about 1 medium size beet)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove minced garlic (you can use 2 cloves if you want a stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of paprika

Add garbanzo beans, chopped beet, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Add sea salt, pepper, and paprika and blend everything together. Add more seasoning to taste if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies or use as a spread on bread or bagels.

I’ve learned that beets are a great source of of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and essential minerals. I really need to get more beets in my diet! Do you make any dishes with beets?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

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Yogurt with Mixed Berries, Walnuts, and Dark Chocolate

This is such an easy and healthy recipe for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! it’s from a new book called The SirtFood Diet. Before I received my review copy, I had never heart of “Sirtfoods.” In a nutshell, what I read in this book was that polyphenol nutrients from certain plants are good for us. And plants that have “noteworthy amounts” of sirtuin-activating polyphenols are called “Sirtfoods.” I know this sounds pretty technical, but the book gives a good explanation about all this. It also provides information about the top 20 Sirtfoods, along with other foods that are beneficial. I found that I actually like a lot of these foods, which include Arugula, Garlic, Green Tea, and even Cocoa!

This book explains that Sirtfoods, rich in special nutrients that help activate the same “skinny genes” in our bodies that fasting triggers, can help in effective weight loss–and so the Sirtfood Diet was created by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten. I haven’t tried the diet, so I can’t endorse it, but I’m sharing what the book says about it. The diet includes a plan for losing 7 pounds in seven days, along with keeping the weight off. There’s a recipe section that includes a good variety of healthy dishes–some even include chicken and beef. The authors also recommend having a good juicer to get the most benefits from this diet.

After looking through the recipe section, I decided to try this yogurt recipe because I loved all the ingredients and it was so simple to make. Simple as it is though, I actually made this recipe the wrong way! I put the berries over the yogurt instead of the yogurt over the berries! it does work better to put the yogurt over the berries as the recipe says, so be sure to layer the ingredients right! Even though I made this wrong, it does look pretty, doesn’t it? 🙂

YOGURT WITH MIXED BERRIES, CHOPPED WALNUTS, AND DARK CHOCOLATE from the SirtFood Diet

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 1/3 cups mixed berries (I used some organic fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries)
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative, such as soy or coconut yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa solids), grated

Add the mixed berries to a bowl and top with the yogurt. Sprinkle with the walnuts and chocolate.

That’s all there is to it! I’m so glad dark chocolate is good for you, even if it’s the 85% cocoa solid kind; I actually like the really, really dark chocolate better than the sweeter varieties.

Are you a healthy eater and have you heart of Sirtfoods?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots

I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.

Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.

I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!

CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox

The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.

Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

Creamy Navy Bean Soup

Creamy Navy Bean Soup @ NancyCRosemary is one of my favorite herbs. Unfortunately, my big outdoor rosemary plant did not make it through the winter, so I have a new small one growing inside right now. I’ll put it outside soon, hoping it will grow into another big plant! I used some of the rosemary from this little plant in this Creamy Navy Bean Soup recipe.

I made this soup several weeks ago on a chilly day. Even though the weather has warmed up, this is still a great recipe for any time of year if you are a soup-lover! Creamy soups usually call for heavy cream as an ingredient, but I used plain Greek yogurt in this soup–I thought the tangy yogurt would give the soup a nice flavor, and it really did! The rosemary gives it a great flavor, too. You’ll want to use fresh rosemary if you have it, but dried rosemary also works.

CREAMY NAVY BEAN SOUP by NancyC

Makes about four servings

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans Navy Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Additional fresh or dried rosemary for garnish

In a  4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and heat for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and onions; cook until onions start to get tender and a little translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add in the broth and beans, heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let soup cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place half of the soup mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into a large bowl, then blend the remaining soup mixture and add to the large bowl.

Stir the plain Greek yogurt into the pureed soup mixture, blending well (if the yogurt is lumpy, use a hand better or immersion blender to smooth the mixture). Pour the soup mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat for 5 additional minutes.

Pour into 4 serving bowls and top with a garnish of fresh or dried rosemary, if desired, and serve.

In addition to rosemary, I also like to grow basil in a pot every summer–that’s another favorite herb of mine. Do you grow your own herbs, too, and what are your favorites?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday. Weekend Potluck, Full Plate Thursday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

Coconut Date Granola

Coconut Date Granola @NancyC

It was time for me to make some homemade granola–I make it every few months and this Coconut Date Granola is a sweeter granola than I usually make, because in addition to honey and maple syrup (I usually use one or the other, or some of both) this also is sweetened with light brown sugar. It also has the natural sweetness of chopped dates, which are really good for you. Some other healthy ingredients in this recipe include pepitas, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, and chopped pecans. And some light olive oil, too.

I shared this granola with some friends and co-workers, and they all really liked it. So if you’re a granola-lover, you’ll have to keep this recipe in mind!

COCONUT DATE GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 13 cups (halve the recipe to make a smaller amount)

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds-you can use roasted pepitas, but add those in after baking)
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled, raw sunflower kernels (you can use roasted kernels, but add those in after baking)
  • 2 cups sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line 2 rimmed baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, wheat germ or ground flaxseed, pepitas, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, and chopped pecans; set aside.

In a small microwaveable bowl, heat honey for 20 to 30 seconds to make the consistency thinner. Then, in a medium size bowl, blend honey, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, and salt, blending everything well. Pour honey/maple syrup/sugar mixture over oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well coated.

Spread granola mixture on prepared baking sheets and bake at 300˚F for 48 to 55 minutes, until mixture is golden, stirring mixture every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in the chopped dates (half of the dates for each baking sheet), and let granola cool completely (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools). Some of the granola may dry in larger clumps, so you may need to break those into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

This granola makes a great breakfast with milk. It also makes a great breakfast parfait with yogurt. And it also makes a yummy snack to munch on later in the day! Do you make homemade granola, and what is your favorite kind?

Sharing this recipe at Weekend Potluck, Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

 

Zucchini Vegetable Soup

Zucchini Vegetable Soup @ NancyCSoup is a favorite winter meal of mine–a big hot bowl of soup on a cold day is just so warm and comforting! This winter has actually been on the milder side where I live, but we’ve had some chilly days and I’ve been making homemade soup every so often.

anysharpIf you like veggies, this Zucchini Vegetable Soup is a good one to try. In addition to zucchini, it’s also made with green beans, chopped onion, and sliced carrots, all cooked until tender in a tomato–vegetable broth (or you can also substitute chicken broth if you like).

So there’s some chopping and slicing involved, but it’s worth it! And it gave me a chance to try my new complimentary AnySharp  knife sharpener that I received in the mail. It’s safe and easy to use and comes in a convenient small size for easy storage. It really helps make chopping and slicing veggies so much easier! You can visit AnySharp.com to learn more about it.

You can seed your zucchini before slicing it if you want, but if you don’t mind having some seeds in your soup, you can just slice it without seeding like I did.

ZUCCHINI VEGETABLE SOUP by NancyC

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or substitute chicken broth)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 medium)–cut slices into halves or fourths
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) green beans, sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cups sliced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, depending on how seasoned you want it
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • additional salt and pepper to taste

In large pot, over medium heat, stir together the broth and tomato paste. Add the zucchini, green beans, onions, carrots, salt, dried parsley flakes, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic. Heat mixture to boiling, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 35 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired, then serve.

The Italian seasoning adds a great flavor to this soup, along with the garlic and onion. If you’re trying to get more veggies in your diet, this is a great recipe to try! What kinds of soup have you been making this winter?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Dark Chocolate-Almond Trail Mix

chocolatealmond-trail-mix-nancyc

Trail Mix is such a great snack and so easy to make! I just made a mix with some healthy ingredients I had on hand and also added in some new Lärabar Bites that I had recently larabarbitesreceived as complimentary samples. These are truffle-like bites made from real food like fruits and nuts, just like Lärabars. The bites come in 4 different flavors: Cherry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Macaroon, Double Chocolate Brownie, and Mint Chocolate Truffle. I really liked all the flavors, which is not surprising, since I love chocolate so much! But you can feel good about eating these bites, since they’re made with healthy ingredients and fair trade certified chocolate chips. They’re also gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and dairy-free.

I thought these Lärabar Bites would be perfect in this trail mix I came up with, which you can make in no time. It’s perfect when you want a healthy sweet snack! This makes 2 1/2 cups, but if you want a larger amount, you can always double the recipe.

DARK CHOCOLATE–ALMOND TRAIL MIX by NancyC

Makes 2 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped Lärabar Bites, cut into fourths (I used the Double Chocolate Brownie bites) or, substitute 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds

Add all ingredients to a medium-size bowl and mix. Store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.

It’s nice when a snack is both yummy and healthy, isn’t it? What healthy snacks do you like to keep on hand?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets

popcorn-cauliflower-nuggets-nancyc

This recipe had me at the word “popcorn,” being the popcorn-lover that I am. But it actually doesn’t have anything to do with popcorn; it’s a roasted cauliflower recipe, flavored 61lqkjHsHuL._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_with some spices that really give it some punch–chili powder, cumin, and paprika. I found this recipe in The Quick Six Fix, a cookbook by Stuart O’Keeffe that has 100 easy recipes with six ingredients, six minutes prep time, and six minutes cleanup. That’s my kind of cooking!

The Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets recipe calls for an 18 x 26″ pan, and the largest size pan I had was 13 x 18,” so I halved the recipe below. I loved the spicy taste of these nuggets! It was hard to stop eating them, they were so tasty. The recipe says it makes 4 to 6 servings, but if you’re really hungry and you really like these, it may just make 2 servings! 🙂

POPCORN CAULIFLOWER NUGGETS from The Quick Six Fix

Serves 4-6

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, broken into popcorn-sized florets
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a rimmed 26 x 18-inch baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.

Place all florets in a Ziplock bag along with the rest of the ingredients. Shake and toss well to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and empty the bag onto the piping hot baking sheet.

Return the pan to the oven for 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is browned all over.

I liked these cauliflower nuggets more than I thought I would, and I’ll definitely be making them again! What’s your favorite way to fix cauliflower?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Stovetop Apple Cinnamon Butter

Stovetop Cinnamon Apple Butter @ NancyC

Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.

This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!

STOVETOP APPLE CINNAMON BUTTER by NancyC

Makes 3 3/4 cups

  • 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
  • 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).

Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.

This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.

Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck.

Mixed Fruit Granola

mixed-fruit-granola-nancycGranola is one of my favorite breakfast items and I love making my own–I’m definitely hooked on homemade granola! I often used dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, and blueberries, but this crunchiestime I used some freeze-dried fruit. I recently received some complimentary samples from CRUNCHIES® and thought they would work great in granola.

CRUNCHIES® offers a variety of freeze-dried fruits (and even freeze-dried beets, which are pretty tasty), and their process retains most of the nutrients of fresh fruit. They are light with a great crunchiness to them–kind of like a chip, which makes them perfect for snacking on! I really liked all of the fruits they sent me–my favorites were the strawberries, grapes, and mangos. You can visit their site to see all the freeze-dried items they offer. In my granola, I used some of their freeze-dried strawberries, strawberry banana mix, raspberries, and grapes. So this granola is definitely fruity!

This is also a very versatile recipe–you can substitute other freeze-dried fruit or regular dried fruit like blueberries, cranberries, raisins, and banana chips, for example. The flavor of the freeze-dried fruit I used was really good, though, so you may just want to try that out!

MIXED FRUIT GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes 16-18 servings 

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup wheat germ (or you can substitute flaxseed)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sunflower kernels (or use roasted kernels but add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 2/3 cup non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups freeze-dried fruit (or regular dried fruit–I used a combination of CRUNCHIES® freeze dried strawberries, strawberry banana mix, raspberries, and grapes)
  • parchment paper for lining pan

Adjust oven rack to middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside (or use two rimmed 10 x 15″ cookie sheets).

In a very large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, wheat germ, and sunflower kernels.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together the oil, honey, cinnamon and salt; heat in microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, then stir until well-blended.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture in large bowl, stirring to coat evenly. Spread mixture in an even layer on the lined 13 x 18″ pan.

Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove from oven, stir mixture (so it will bake evenly), then return to oven for another 20 minutes–for a total baking time of 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in the dried fruit. Let granola stand until cooled, then stir again to break any large clumps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

This granola not only makes a great breakfast, but it’s a great snack for later in the day, too. The fruit in it gives it a nice natural sweetness and tartness. I love how colorful it is too–that freeze dried fruit really adds some color punch!

Tomorrow it will be October already! I mentioned last week I have a some apple recipes to share with you, and I’ll be posting one next week! Have you made any good apple recipes lately?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday. Weekend Potluck. Inspire Me Monday.