Living a healthy life is supposed to be fun and filled with good food!


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Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Does your kitchen need spring cleaning? Try this simple and versatile recipe for Dukkah!   Move over fairy dust! Dukkah, a delicious Egyptian blend of nuts and spices is pure magic! This versatile topping combines a sweet, savory, and nutty taste all in one. Use it as a crust on […]

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Craving cabbage for St Patrick’s Day? Rather than serving it with its famous sidekick, corned beef, try stuffed cabbage with protein packed pulses instead!   These stuffed cabbage rolls are mixed with green lentils and brown rice as a healthy, plant-based meat subsitute to corned beef. Topping […]

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Pita sandwiches are a classic lunch staple. This soft, whole grain bread as a pita pizza with artichokes and pesto gives it a new look that is healthy and in season!

 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year! Flowers are just starting to bloom and baseball season is almost here (go Sox!). Let’s not forget the other fantastic season starting in March. Yes, it is time for the delicious and stunning artichoke to peak! I personally enjoy them in all forms, such as in dips, salads, and pasta dishes. So, why not step it up and throw it on a pizza? And to go a step further, why not as a pita pizza?

 

pita pizza
The artichoke, a nutritious spring favorite!

 

The Perfect Pita

Most pizza doughs can be made with refined white flour, providing very little nutrition. Pita bread, on the other hand, can provide a minimum of 6 grams protein and 3 grams of fiber with under 200 calories per bread serving. In addition, this wholesome pita bread is naturally trans fat and cholesterol free!  Recently, I signed up for a pita recipe contest held by Toufayan Bakeries, and was so impressed with the generous samples provided.  I was blown away by the numerous varieties like garlic, sweet onion, and even low carb to name a few.

There is more to pita than just the pita pocket. The versatility of this healthy, whole grain bread is endless. Try pita in your favorite quesadilla recipe, to serve with your favorite dip, or yes as a pizza!  We all love pizza, but not so much the mess involved when kneading the dough. Half the time we end up with flour all over the floor or in our hair!  I found that using pita bread, such as the Toufayan Bakeries’ delicious version, as a single serving pizza was simple, healthy, and less messy.

 

pita pizza
The many flavors of Toufayan Bakeries’ Pita Bread

For this recipe….

Out of the several flavors, I decided make several pizzas using the whole wheat, garlic, and sweet onion for my pita pizza. Since each pita makes one serving, forget arguing over toppings to share! Each loaf packs in an excellent source of protein and fiber with no saturated or trans fats.

These pita pizzas also make it much easier to sneak in your daily servings of vegetables. Pair them with your favorite protein and sauce and voila! For this pizza, I used artichokes and a spinach-basil pesto (with hemp seeds and almonds) to keep it seasonal. Not to mention, artichokes are also a nutrition powerhouse lending high amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, and dietary fiber (7 grams to be exact). Not a fan of artichokes? Feel free to try other spring favorites, like asparagus and green peas. Whichever you choose, you’ll still gain the nutritional benefits of  the pita bread alone!

pita pizza
Pita Pizza topped with Spinach-Basil Pesto

 

 

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

Artichoke Pesto Pita Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6 pita loaves

Serving Size: 1 Pita Pizza

Artichoke Pesto Pita Pizza

Feel free to substitute for different toppings as desired. Other great options? Shallots, asparagus, and lemon zest!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 medium sized whole pitas, such as Toufayan
  • Spinach Basil Pesto*
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts (or fresh artichokes if preferred), drained, rinsed, chopped
  • 3-4 small radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh thyme leaves, optional
  • Spinach Basil Pesto:
  • 4 cups raw spinach leaves
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded or grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Set aside pita loaves on a greased or parchment paper lined pan.
  3. Make the pesto:
  4. Combine pesto ingredients in a large food processor and pulse until well blended. Set aside.
  5. Spread the pesto evenly on the pitas, about one tablespoon each pita (there will be leftover pesto).
  6. Top the pitas with the toppings as desired.
  7. Place the pitas in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until feta has started to melt and pita is hot.
  8. Freeze the remaining pesto for up to 3 months.
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3-Step Mediterranean Style Buddha Bowl

3-Step Mediterranean Style Buddha Bowl

Want to get more balance in your diet? This simple 3-step Mediterranean buddha bowl is bursting with colorful vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and filling whole grains! The name is catchy, but really what is a buddha bowl? This dish got its name because it is overstuffed with […]

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

Delicious almond bars topped with a berry chia jam rich in antioxidants and healthy fats! Did I mention it requires no baking? Nowadays we all want something simple and convenient. I get it! With our busy lives, we are all on that one mission to find […]

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Try a plant based twist for Taco Tuesday! These King Oyster mushroom tacos with a pineapple miso dressing make a unique, Asian inspired meal the whole family will enjoy!

Let’s “taco bout” it! Taco Tuesday has become very popular on social media lately and for good reason. Tacos are, as we know, delicious, but they are also extremely versatile.  Whether it is vegetarian, gluten free, or dairy free, tacos can meet your dietary needs. The basics of a taco include your choice of protein, vegetables, and toppings. Another plus? Taco dinners are affordable! This simple-to-make meal consists of tortillas that can average under $3 for a pack ranging from twelve to even thirty count. Any leftover tortillas can easily be frozen and used for a quick weekday meal. Did I mention these mushroom tacos took less than 30 minutes to make?

“Tastes Like Chicken”

Most traditional ingredients in tacos are of Mexican cuisine.  I wanted to try a fun take on tacos by using King Oyster mushrooms that I had recently purchased at the local asian market. If you are not familiar with King Oyster mushrooms, these are your new favorite meat alternative! Some will say they taste like chicken, or even scallops. I first tried them with pasta over the summer for a seafood substitute; let’s just say I fell in love.

King Oyster mushrooms look just as they sound:  they are a “king size” version of the oyster mushroom. Don’t let the funny appearance fool you, once sliced, they look like scallops or white meat. Unlike other mushrooms with a woody-textured stem, you can eat the entire king oyster mushroom. Try these delicious mushrooms in any dish you choose. Instead of tacos, they are excellent in pasta, stir fries, soups, and even as a side with your favorite meat dish.  The food blog, The Kitchn, has an excellent article for more about King Oyster mushrooms.

 

mushroom tacos
Is it sliced King Oyster Mushrooms or scallops?

 

Mushroom Tacos for a Plant-based Taco Tuesday!

Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein for a plant-based, meat free meal. Did you know these fabulous fungi rich in vitamins and minerals are also immune-boosting? High in Selenium and Niacin, mushrooms are being studied for their potential use in fighting inflammation and strengthening our immune defense system.

For this recipe, I roasted the mushrooms to bring out more flavor. If you prefer not using your oven, sauteeing makes them just as tasty.  For an asian inspired meal, I topped the mushroom tacos with antioxidant-boosting red cabbage and carrots. Regular green cabbage can also work here to give it a crunchy texture with additional nutrition benefits. I used a miso dressing balanced with sweet pineapple instead of avocado. Miso gives it a nice umami taste, but if you do not have miso, feel free to use more plain yogurt for a creamy texture. Personally, I absolutely love mushrooms.  If you can’t stand mushrooms (I know you are out there!) feel free to try it with beans or tofu as a lean protein and plant based substitute.

 

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 2-3 tacos

Roasted Mushroom Tacos with Pineapple Miso Dressing

Ingredients

  • 8-12 ounces King Oyster Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (or any mushroom variety of your choice)*
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 10-12 small corn or flour tortillas (if gluten sensitive, make sure certified gluten free)
  • Optional toppings: red cabbage, carrots
  • Pineapple Miso Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup frozen or fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (if gluten sensitive, use Gluten Free certified Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon Miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (replace with dairy alternative if vegan preferred)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the sliced mushrooms on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil and black pepper. Do not add salt just yet because it will cause the mushrooms to shrink. Feel free to add salt after cooking.
  2. Roast for 20 minutes or until desired level of roasting.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, place all of the ingredients of the dressing in a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. Warm the tortillas in the oven while the mushrooms have a few minutes of cooking remaining.
  5. Once the mushrooms and tortillas are ready, fill the tacos with the mushrooms and add any toppings of your choice (I used cabbage and carrots) and the dressing.
  6. For a complete and balanced meal, serve with a side salad or non-starchy vegetable of your choice.

Notes

* King Oyster Mushrooms do not require removing the stem. If you are using other mushrooms, I would recommend removing the stems as other types have a woody texture.

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Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu

A new takeout alternative is here! Try this healthy and delicious Crispy Baked Cara Cara Orange Tofu for your next restaurant craving! Are you a fan of Chinese food takeout on the weekend?  Join the club! Making your own favorite recipe with healthy modifications saves you money […]

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

A heart healthy recipe with beneficial nuts, oats, and dark chocolate all in one serving for National Heart Month! These Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears will have you and your loved ones reaching for seconds! Thinking about a rich chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day? How about […]

Three Potato Soup with Ricotta Topping

Three Potato Soup with Ricotta Topping

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Potatoes USA and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

A potato soup recipe that includes three kinds of potatoes topped with protein-packed ricotta to provide you the nutrients you need after a hard workout!

 

You Say Potato, I Say…

A natural food that gives you nutrients for a pre- or post-workout and keeps your wallet happy? The potato, a delicious and all natural food item, is also an economical gem! This complex carb provides the fuel you need for better performance whether it is in your exercise routine or upcoming competition!  In fact, this nutrient dense food provides not only energy, but the necessary electrolyte, potassium. When it comes to being a better source of this critical mineral, potatoes beat out their rival, bananas, by almost two fold. Besides being a performance food staple, potatoes come in many varieties. Russet, yellow, purple, and fingerling, the choices are endless!

potato soup
The vibrant color of purple potatoes

Fill That Empty Tank

When it comes to a tough workout, a greasy cheeseburger may be the first craving! Instead of wasting your post-workout needs on empty calories at your next meal, aim for a nutritious one to help your body recover. Choosing a meal high in carbohydrates of at least 50 grams will help replete those glycogen stores your muscles used up during exercise.  A moderate source of protein, with a minimum of 10 grams is going to rebuild those hard working muscles. Even though most of us still want that cheeseburger, it is best to keep your meal low in fat, about 20% or less calories per meal.

Besides macronutrients to fill that empty tank, don’t forget the crucial electrolytes! Your body needs to sodium and potassium to maintain hydration status and improve muscle contraction. Aiming for at least 100 milligrams a serving will reap the most benefits for these electrolytes to do their functions properly. And speaking of fluid balance, it is important to rehydrate after a meal.  Altogether, these nutrients will assist with muscle recovery and create a satisfying post workout meal.

potato soup
The many varieties of the nutritious potato!

In this recipe…

 

Want to make this potato soup a complete, balanced post workout meal to meet all of the nutrition requirements? Serve it topped with protein rich ricotta cheese and delicious Naan bread or a whole wheat dinner roll. This potato soup recipe is so simple and almost as delicious as that juicy cheeseburger! In addition to being nutrient-packed for a post sweat session, the soup is vegetarian and gluten free.

I hope you enjoy this potato soup recipe for your next post workout treat. Whether it is training for your next marathon or lifting weights at the gym always remember recovery is key. Treat your body well, and your stomach too!

 

Three Potato Fennel Soup with Ricotta Topping

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Three Potato Fennel Soup with Ricotta Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large onion), chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • A few fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (purple, red, yellow used in this recipe), chopped
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • Optional toppings:chopped pecans and chopped chives

Instructions

  1. Heat a large soup pot with olive oil on medium high heat. Saute the fennel and onions stirring frequently until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and herbs, saute until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Using an immersion blender (or high powered blender in batches) blend the soup to a pureed consistency, or desired thickness.
  6. Transfer to soup bowls for serving and top with two tablespoons of ricotta cheese.
  7. Top with chopped pecans and chives, optional. Enjoy.

Notes

For additional toppings, try scallions or diced purple potatoes for a nice color combination (and taste!). Feel free to substitute different potatoes, for example, white or russet potatoes for the purple.

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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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Mini Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada Cups

Mini Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada Cups

When it comes to Superbowl Sunday, most of us think of nachos, buffalo wings, and cheese dip. America’s biggest TV night can be just as enjoyable with some healthier food options. Whether it is tuning in to watch your favorite team (Go Pats!) or the much anticipated commercials, these mini black bean and cheese enchilada cups will make a great snack or meal!


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.


All Time Favorites

Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Dukkah: The Ultimate Spice Mix

Does your kitchen need spring cleaning? Try this simple and versatile recipe for Dukkah!   Move over fairy dust! Dukkah, a delicious Egyptian blend of nuts and spices is pure magic! This versatile topping combines a sweet, savory, and nutty taste all in one. Use it as a crust on […]

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pita Pizza

Pita sandwiches are a classic lunch staple. This soft, whole grain bread as a pita pizza with artichokes and pesto gives it a new look that is healthy and in season!   Spring is such a beautiful time of year! Flowers are just starting to […]

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam

Delicious almond bars topped with a berry chia jam rich in antioxidants and healthy fats! Did I mention it requires no baking? Nowadays we all want something simple and convenient. I get it! With our busy lives, we are all on that one mission to find […]

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

A heart healthy recipe with beneficial nuts, oats, and dark chocolate all in one serving for National Heart Month! These Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears will have you and your loved ones reaching for seconds! Thinking about a rich chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day? How about […]

Mini Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada Cups

Mini Black Bean & Cheese Enchilada Cups

When it comes to Superbowl Sunday, most of us think of nachos, buffalo wings, and cheese dip. America’s biggest TV night can be just as enjoyable with some healthier food options. Whether it is tuning in to watch your favorite team (Go Pats!) or the much anticipated commercials, these mini black bean and cheese enchilada cups will make a great snack or meal!