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Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Dinner in under 30 minutes with little to no cleanup? Try this tasty and simple Pesto Baked Tilapia Sheetpan Dinner for your next weeknight meal!

Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

As apple season arrives, it’s time to get out those cozy sweaters! If it isn’t obvious enough, my favorite season is fall, and yes I am a fan of anything pumpkin-flavored! With the colder weather approaching, hot cereals are the go-to breakfast routine, so why not change it up with muffins! Using a seasonal favorite combined with the uniqueness of lavender, these apple muffins will not dissapoint!

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t

mean to skimp on your H2O! Hydrate yourself with this

new recipe for a refreshing Blackberry Watermelon

Caprese!

 

 

 

Drink Up!

No matter the season, adequate hydration is crucial all year round! Who hasn’t heard the advice to “drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day?” Let’s be honest, in reality, not everyone is drinking only water during the day. The newer guidelines I discuss below address recommended intake of all fluids, including fluids from food items! Watermelon is one of the most hydrating food items; other produce that will quench your thirst are oranges, cucumbers, and cantaloupe. And don’t forget foods that are in fluid form (or melt at room temperature), for example, soup, ice cream, and gelatin, these foods count towards your fluid requirement too!

So, what is our daily fluid requirement? There is no perfect number. The recommended amount can vary based on age, sex, health status, and your physical activity level. More general fluid requirements range from 25-35 milliliters of fluid per body weight in kilograms. If you are a numbers person and prefer more calculations, check out Nutrition 411’s article here. Instead of calculating out your needs, you can follow these guidelines by the Institute of Medicine. The adequate intake (AI)  of fluids for men is 3 liters per day (about 13 cups) and for women 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) per day.

 

blackberries
Fresh blackberries boosting with antioxidants and hydration!

 

Watch for the Signs

Before you grab your liquid measuring cups, keep these helpful indicators in mind too! The color of your urine tells you a lot about your hydration status. The lighter the color, the more hydrated; aim for the color of lemonade. Darker yellow is a sign of dehydration, and those noticing amber or red tints (not including from beet consumption) may want to seek medical advice as this can mean your urine is blood-tinged. Moving on from toilet talk, these are a few symptoms of dehydration to be aware of: thirst, fatigue, dizziness, and increased respiratory rates during exercise. For more on hydration during physical activity, read this excellent article by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.

 

watermelon caprese
This refreshing Blackberry Watermelon Caprese can be ready in minutes!

 

Mouth-watering Watermelon Caprese

This watermelon caprese is bursting with hydration thanks to its fresh fruit content. In under 20 minutes, you can enjoy this delicious fruit salad as a healthy side, appetizer, or dessert! For other recipes that can quench your thirst, click below!

 

 

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 1 cup

Blackberry and Watermelon Caprese

Ingredients

  • 3 cups watermelon, deseeded and chopped
  • 12 oz whole blackberries (thawed if frozen)
  • Juice of one lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz mozzarella balls (or chopped mozzarella)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Top with additional basil as a garnish (optional). Enjoy!
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Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Breakfast Polenta: Simple, Sweet, Savory

Tired of oatmeal every morning? Try breakfast polenta as your next sweet or savory brunch alternative!   A-maize-ing Polenta Are you more of a sweet or savory breakfast eater?  Most days I crave eggs during the week, but on weekends I am ready for a […]

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Lay off the mayo with some heart healthy avocado! Try my new recipe for this Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad at your next cookout!   Hold the Mayo… When it comes to our favorite side dishes at summer cookouts, we mostly think of creamy coleslaw, potato […]

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Add some spice in your life this summer season with these delicious and healthy Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers!

These burgers can be enjoyed as a sandwich or alone on top of your favorite salad! If fish and meat are not your favorite, read on for my vegetarian chickpea burgers!

 

salmon burgers
Salmon burger patties ready for the grill! While cooking aim at an internal temp of 145 degrees Farenheit to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

 

Delicious Salmon Burgers

In place of the very popular beef burgers, why not try salmon, which is loaded with heart healthy unsaturated fats and protein? Lately, there has been a trend in consumption of bacon, butter, and coconut oil. Previously, I have talked about coconut milk and its source of MCT fats, but new reports from the American Heart Association suggest that excessive intakes of these fats are not beneficial to our health. In fact, consuming too much of these fats is linked to raising bad cholesterol, and may also make consumers miss out on nutritious fruits and vegetables, fish, and legumes. For more on the benefits of limiting saturated fats in our diet, click here.

Like the healthy salmon burgers described in this post, salmon naturally provides an excellent source of protein, B12, and Selenium.  As the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines suggest, aim for two servings of fish a week. For those that prefer vegetarian options, try legumes like chickpeas or black beans!  Adapted from my Vegetarian Chickpea Meatballs, check out below my recipe for Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers!

 

Spice it up with Harissa!

Harissa spice continues to be a trendy spice for good reason! This smoky, spicy flavor enhances any dish without the need for salt or other condiments.  I am talking to you, ketchup fans!  Harissa is most commonly seen in a paste, but also comes in a dried form. I previously used the paste version as a marinade on roasted cauliflower and fell in love with the spice! My recipes for both chickpea and salmon burgers include the dry form of harissa spice, and still provides an excellent flavor kick! So, whether you prefer the salmon or chickpea version, try it with harissa for an exciting new twist on your next burger! For more on the magical spice blend, harissa, click here.

 

 

Harissa Spiced Healthy Salmon Burgers

Harissa Spiced Healthy Salmon Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 4-6 ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, largely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium preferred
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground harissa spice
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, leaves and stems chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large food processor, pulse together all ingredients except the parsley and scallions. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the salmon achieves a pureed texture.
  2. Transfer the salmon burger mix into a large bowl and stir in the scallions and parsley to combine.
  3. Working with clean hands, form the burger mix into patties about 2" wide and 1" thick. Adjust the size based on your liking. Place on a clean plate.
  4. Whether using a grill or grill pan, cook the burgers on medium hot heat for 3-4 minutes each side. The internal temperature should reach at least 145 degrees Farenheit.
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Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground harissa spice
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley ,largely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large food processor, pulse all ingredients except the onion and parsley. Mix until all ingredients are blended thoroughly to a thick consistency. Add more oats or breadcrumbs if the mix is too watery. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the onions and parsley. Combine thoroughly and set aside.
  2. In a 10" cast iron skillet or large pan, heat oil on medium high heat (this can also be heated on top of a grill if using the cast iron skillet). With clean hands, shape the chickpea mixture into 2" patties and gently place on the pan. Cook for at least 3 minutes each side or until the middle is cooked through. Turn off the heat and serve hot.
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Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

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 […]

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

A fulfilling and nutritious meal in under 30 minutes! Try this summer classic, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho for a light and healthy dish this season!     Gazpacho Basics Ice cream is not the only summer refresher! Stay cool with vegetables! Gazpacho, a cold soup summer […]

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

A quick and healthy pizza in under 30 minutes! Try these tasty BBQ jackfruit Naan pizzas for your next Meatless Monday!

Jackfruit, a magical, mysterious, and mouth-watering fruit that fools even meat lovers! The delicious fruit is taking over the role of chicken and pork in your favorite tacos, sliders, and stir fries. This recipe uses nutritious jackfruit in place of BBQ chicken or pork for a tasty pizza topping!

 

 

BBQ jackfruit
Tastes like chicken, looks like chicken! Raw shredded jackfruit prior to cooking

 

The Benefits of this Miracle Fruit

Jackfruit is becoming more and more popular as a meat replacement and for good reason. Naturally lower in calories and saturated fats compared to most tender meats, this fruit also packs in some good-for-you nutrients! Jackfruit also contains excellent sources of:

  • Potassium- making it an excellent post workout meal
  • B6 (pyridoxine)- keeps a healthy nervous system, involved in serotonin production
  • Vitamin C- builds healthy skin, aids in iron absorption, and may prevent heart disease
  • Magnesium- for blood pressure control and building strong bones

 

 

BBQ Jackfruit
Jackfruit cooked in BBQ sauce

 

BBQ jackfruit
BBQ Jackfruit pizza prior to baking

 

 

Summer Cooking with BBQ Jackfruit

Forget worrying about undercooked food at your next barbecue! Unlike cooked meats, jackfruit doesn’t require the internal temperature requirements and takes half the time to soften. I first dabbled with jackfruit when I made jackfruit tacos last year. They were so hearty and tasty that even our “meat lover” friends enjoyed them!

In this recipe, I created a healthier take on BBQ pizza using the combination of tomato paste and a natural BBQ sauce by Motherlode Provisions with only 5 grams of sugar per serving. Most BBQ sauces out there can average up to 20 grams of sugar per serving! When shopping for barbecue sauce, aim for less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for a healthier choice. Even better? Make your own homemade BBQ sauce!

The recipe is extremely versatile and can be replaced with different vegetables, cheeses, and even protein choices.  I hope you enjoy this meatless meaty dish for your next weekday dinner or cookout!

 

 

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 Naan Pizzas

Serving Size: 1 Naan Pizza

Calories per serving: 385

Fat per serving: 10g

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 20 ounce can jackfruit (preferably in water), rinsed then chopped into smaller pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small naan breads (or half of larger naan breads)
  • 3/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pineapple chunks (thawed if frozen)
  • BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce (preferably less than 10g sugar per serving)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the jackfruit and saute for 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the tomato paste and BBQ sauce. Saute for additional 3 minutes to coat the jackfruit. Turn off the heat.
  3. Place the Naan breads on the baking sheet. Layer evenly with the cheese then distribute the jackfruit, pineapple, and pepper for toppings.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  5. Drizzle with additional BBQ sauce, optional.
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Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

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 […]


My Food Adventures

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Two bread favorites are combined in this healthy treat spiced with hints of cardamom and cinnamon! Try this zucchini banana bread for a great make-ahead breakfast or post-workout snack!

We have all heard it before. When you have leftover ripened bananas make banana bread!  Well, what if you have an excess of both bananas and zucchini in your kitchen? To prevent food waste, I figured the two quick breads favorites could blend nicely together to make a zucchini banana bread. Could this be the new peanut butter and jelly, or rice and beans? Probably not, but I promise you it is delicious as a quick bread!

 

The Freezer is Your Friend

Since 2015, it is estimated that about 40% of food made in America is gone to waste. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), up to $120 worth of groceries is wasted per an average household of four in the United States.  If you account for all of these households across the nation, that’s billions of dollars in a year. The NRDC suggests freezing your leftovers within 3-4 days and fresh fruits and vegetables that show no signs of mold. Storing extra foods in the freezer can make it easy to forget it’s there. The NRDC recommends to keep your freezer organized and meals easily accessible.What’s more upsetting is that while we continue wasting food, we cannot forget that there are others having trouble accessing food.

zucchini banana bread
Leftover spiralized zucchini? Don’t let it go to waste!

Social Media is Not the Only Beauty Critic

What would you say if I told you that most produce is wasted because it is either deformed or just “ugly”? Sad, right? These produce items are rejected by retailers and most likely end up in a landfill. This leads to the food waste issue which then leads to environmental issues that we are all unfortunately aware of.

The Ugly Fruit and Vegetable Campaign, mentioned in a recent article by Food and Nutrition Magazine encourages consumers and retailers to buy this “ugly” produce. Retailers can sell the produce at a better value which is a win-win given it makes foods more affordable for consumers. We have all heard the saying that beauty is on the inside that counts. Well, this is true for the “ugly” produce. This campaign is trying to encourage customers that the nutrients are truly the same in both aesthetic and deformed food items.

Ugly Produce is Beautiful is another campaign trying to influence consumers and retailers to be less judgmental.  Sarah Phillips, a pioneer in the food industry, creates gorgeous images and recipes to make our society more aware of these easily rejected food items.

Besides these inspiring campaigns, there is even an app called Food For All that delivers leftover food from restaurants for a cheaper cost. College students, rejoice!

 

Zucchini Banana Bread for Breakfast or a Post-Workout Snack!

Whether it is breakfast, dessert, or a snack, this quick bread provides a good source of potassium, fiber, and carbohydrates. To make it more balanced and hunger-fighting, add a protein like one tablespoon of nut butter. Another option? Serve it with a 6oz serving of protein-rich yogurt (or a dairy alternative).  Adding in the recommended protein will benefit those hard-working muscles post exercise.

The zucchini banana bread recipe includes both whole white and whole wheat flour. If you prefer avoiding the white flour altogether, use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for the dry ingredients portion. Don’t miss out on the flax seed meal! It adds in beneficial omega 3’s and fiber to make this bread more nutrient dense than other baked goods. Did I mention that this bread only uses 1/3 cup of vegetable oil? Thanks to the nutritious zucchini and banana pulp, this bread is still just as soft as other versions. The warm flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice will make you forget that this is also refined sugar-free!

I would like to give a very special thanks to my mother-in-law. This recipe was created with her tremendous help and support. Not only is she a beautiful person inside and out she is also an incredible baker!

 

 

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole white flour*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about one small zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients (not including the walnuts) in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients and then combine with the dry.
  4. Stir in the zucchini and optional toppings, such as the walnuts, dried fruit, etc.
  5. Pour batter into a greased or non-stick loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes using a clean knife or toothpick to test if it's done.

Notes

* If you prefer not to use white flour, use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for the total flour portion. **Optional toppings: dried fruits, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips

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Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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