A delicious, antioxidant-rich beet pesto recipe that is good for you and your wallet! If the magenta pink hue hasn’t drawn you already, I promise the taste will! Why So Shy? Just like cilantro I feel most people either love or hate beets. Some say […]
Want a dish that hydrates, restores energy, and satisfies hunger? Try my new recipe for this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl!
I received free samples of NuGo Nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post. The opinions and comments of these free products are all mine.
Summer’s Sweet and Sour Pick
With cherry season here, so is the abundance of fresh pies, jams, and cheesecakes! Cherries may be most often recognized in desserts, but they are also delicious extras in savory dishes. Try tossing them in a salad or risotto, on top of bruschetta, or even as a glaze. These stunning stone fruits make an appearance from late spring to summer, so get them while you still can!
Cherries are a top pick (no pun intended) when it comes to boosting your health thanks to vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, such as quercetin and anthocyanins to name a few. They have been studied for their possible effects on post workout recovery, our sleep cycle, cancer benefits, and even arthritis. For more scientific details, visit Eating Well’s article on the nutrition benefits of cherries.
A Favorite Snack
I fell in love with NuGo Nutrition bars this year when I moved to Boulder. Just last month, I used the NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter as a topping for various desserts, including my Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding. The NuGo Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip in my opinion is the most versatile flavor of the other versions. Thanks to its subtle sweetness, I can eat it alone, add in my yogurt, and yes, top on my smoothie bowls.
This is the ideal snack for a late afternoon or post workout. Whether I am training for my next running event or lifting weights at the gym, these bars pack in the nutrients I need to restore energy. The real dark chocolate coating makes it a perfect combination of a snack and dessert in one! Having the cherry smoothie as a post workout snack or meal will provide me with the potassium and antioxidants my sore muscles need.
More reasons why I love the NuGo Dark in Chocolate Chocolate Chip:
- Packed with 10 grams of protein
- 200 calories or less making it a great pre- or post-workout snack!
- Vegan and Gluten-free for those gluten sensitive or on specialized diets
- Rich in antioxidants from real dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
- 1 cup frozen, pitted cherries (or 3/4 cup if fresh)
- 1 medium banana, chopped
- 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, unsalted preferred
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, optional
- Additional ice cubes to thicken, optional
- 1 Nugo Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip bar, chopped (for topping)
- *Additional topping choices: unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts, cherries, sliced bananas
- In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the toppings. Cover and blend until a smooth and thick consistency is achieved. Add additional ice cubes to thicken if necessary.
- Slowly transfer the smoothie mixture into a bowl and fill to the rim. Add the NuGo bar topping and additional toppings (about 1/4 cup each) of your choice.
- Serve cold with a spoon and enjoy!
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Good things come in small sizes! Enjoy these inidividual mini cheesecake bites, bursting with berries and rhubarb, for under 200 calories!
More than a Pie Filling!
We may recognize rhubarb as the perfect pairing for strawberries in pies and jams. Its natural tartness balances out the sweetness of fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Besides delicious desserts, rhubarb can make an excellent addition to savory dishes such as a fish topping or even a fancy cocktail. Get them while you still can! Rhubarb season generally peaks between April to late June.
Ranging from light green to a gorgeous pink hue resembling colorful celery stalks, rhubarb is loaded with beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, and heart healthy potassium. In only a 1/2 cup serving, rhubarb contains at least 1 gram of fiber and only 13 calories. For more about the benefits on rhubarb feel free to visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Magazine.
Mini Cheesecake for One
These individual mini cheesecake bites are fun for a group or even solo! Each bite sized treat is less than 200 calories! Thanks to the addition of greek yogurt and fruit, this cheesecake has much less saturated fat and sugar. Instead of graham cracker crust most commonly seen in cheesecake recipes, I used a granola with less added sugar. Many granola products can carry excessive amounts of added sugar, so always check the nutrition label and aim for less than 10 grams of added sugar per serving. My new local favorite, Boulder Granola, carries only 2 grams of sugar per serving.
This cheesecake recipe took a few attempts to get the right consistency and flavor. Actually, this was my first experience making cheesecake. I guess you can say I go more for savory than sweet! Baking continues to be a mystery, but as long as I have my blog I will continue to share my adventures in the kitchen!
- Granola Crust:
- 2 cups granola
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
- Cheesecake Filling:
- 1 large egg
- 1 package of cream cheese (1/3 less fat version used in this recipe), softened at room temperature
- 6 oz whole milk greek yogurt, strained
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup raspberries, finely chopped (thawed if frozen)
- 1/2 cup rhubarb, finely chopped (thawed if frozen)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
- Prior to preparing the cheesecake filling and crust, set aside a greased 12 muffin tin ( I used parchment paper cupcake liners).
- In a large food processor, pulse together the granola and oil.
- Evenly distribute the crust mixture to the bottom of the muffin tins, about 1-2 tablespoons per scoop. Press down with your fingers or using the back of a spoon flatten out the crusts. Bake the mini crusts for 5 minutes in the oven or until slightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine, combine all of the cheesecake filling ingredients except the egg and fruits. Using a mixer, whip all of the ingredients until a smooth consistency is formed. Make sure there are no clumps of cheesecake. Add the egg and whip until incorporated (do not overmix the egg). Stir in the fruit. If you prefer pureed fruit, blend together the rasperries and rhubarb in a blender or food processor prior to baking.
- Spoon the cheesecake filling up to the top of the muffin tins. Gently transfer the muffin pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until the middle of each cheesecake slightly jiggles).
- Once done, remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer the muffin tins to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours to let the cheesecakes set.
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A new summer treat filled with healthy fats and protein! Try my new Strawberry Chia Pudding with a chocolate peanut butter topping!
I received free samples of the NuGo nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post.
You could say I am on a berry kick! Last week I shared with you my Berry Lavender Lemonade recipe and now, a strawberry chia pudding! It is no coincidence either. As summer approaches, so does berry season! Bursting with vitamin C and fiber, berries should be your next favorite fruit in desserts, sauces, or even breakfast recipes.
Watch your back Flax!
When it comes to summer time desserts, we mostly think of cold pies, scoops of ice cream, and decadent puddings. Trendy versions of ice cream are now “nice cream” made from frozen bananas and pies are now “no bake”. A not-so-new pudding version is slowly taking over at a cafe and smoothie store near you. Yes it’s chia pudding.
I did my first simply chia pudding chia pudding last year. You may notice a difference in the quality of the photos as I continue to learn more about food photography! Many of us may ask, well what is a chia? Sounds like a wild animal, doesn’t it? Chia is a type of plant that provides the nutritious superfood chia seeds. You may recognize chia plants from the tv commercials showing grassy plants shaped as a puppy or even Mickey Mouse. Similar to flaxseed, these tiny, but mighty seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber!
How-to: Strawberry Chia Pudding
Just like my simple chia pudding, and most standard recipes, the trick is to let the chia seed pudding chill overnight (or for at least four hours). This gives the seeds time to absorb the milk which results in a more viscous consistency. Most times making chia pudding I have always used almond milk. For this version, I finally tried it with low fat coconut milk. Coconut milk and other milks, like soy or cow’s milk will lend a bit more creaminess thanks to their adequate fat content.
To give the popular chia pudding a new take I used my favorite nutrition bars. I have been eating NuGo Nutrition bars since I first reached out to NuGo several months ago. Their passion for quality, plant-based ingredients in their bars and recipes is such an admiration. I have contributed previously to their blog about plant-based meals and really enjoy the recipes they share. Not only are they extremely considerate of their consumers, but they also value good quality nutrition in their food products.
In this recipe, I used the NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter bars as a middle layer in the chia pudding. What I love about these bars is that each are packed with 17 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber! This pudding parfait can be excellent as a dessert or breakfast! If you prefer the strawberry chia pudding without the bars, I highly recommend trying these bars as a new go-to snack. The box of bars doesn’t even last a full week in my house!
- 2 cups strawberries (thawed if frozen), stems removed
- 1 can or 1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk
- 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (for those gluten sensitive, make sure certified gluten free)
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter bars, chopped, optional
- In a blender, combine the strawberries and coconut milk. Pulse until well blended and the strawberries resemble a puree. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds, strawberries and coconut milk mixture, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to food containers with an airtight lid and cover.
- Chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. This allows the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and form a viscous consistency.
- Once a desired pudding consistency is achieved, layer with the chopped NuGo bars, optional.
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