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

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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. […]

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 a heart healthy dish of baked pears drizzled in rich dark chocolate? As we express our love for others this month, let’s also show love for ourselves by promoting a healthy heart!

 

Not all Fats are Equal

Based on current research, replacing of-the-moment saturated fats found in meats and dairy with unsaturated fats still have a greater benefit to prevent heart disease risk. Unsaturated fats, especially the polyunsaturated fatty acids (known as PUFAS) help lower our bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise our good type (HDL). Saturated fats are not the enemy. A little butter on your toast or sweet potato is not going to hurt us. In fact, saturated fats are also known to help raise our good cholesterol.

One key suggestion by the American Heart Association is to not avoid these fats, but to focus on limiting to 10% or less of total calories. Based on an average 2,000 calorie diet, that is 200 calories or 20 grams saturated fat on a typical day. To summarize the fat dillemma, if we aim at a majority of our total fat intake (25-30% of total calories) being unsaturated fats, we reap greater benefit for our heart health. For more excellent recommendations for heart health, visit online the Healthy Living section of the American Heart Association here.

 

baked pears
Make a Heart Healthy dessert using fresh or frozen fruit!

Taste the Rainbow!

In addition to eating healthier fats to benefit a healthy heart, an abundance of colorful and vibrant fruits and vegetables will also do the trick! This has been shown in studies for many years following the Mediterranean diet (who also consume mainly olive oil). As the USDA recommends, fill half your plate with these crunchy and luscious plants to feel more satiated and dramatically reduce excess calories at meals. Extra bonus? Fruits and vegetables are boosting with antioxidants that fight excessive free radicals that can potentially lead to chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, and you guessed it, heart disease.

Chocolate Lovers Unite!

Speaking of antioxidants, flavonoids found in natural dark chocolate may also benefit our heart. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve the blood flow to the heart.  These factors can benefit the prevention of heart disease and even risk of stroke. Now that we know there are potential benefits, that doesn’t mean to have entire bar of chocolate or huge slice of chocolate cake. Moderation is key, so  let’s all try to aim at a small square for a daily serving (it’s not easy I know!).

 

baked pears
Pears stuffed with oatmeal topping ready for baking

In this recipe…

These Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears include all of the top heart healthy foods in just one recipe! Nuts, check. Fruit, check. Dark chocolate, check. Did I also mention the oatmeal topping is another hearth health food winner? Oats, naturally high in soluble fiber, can benefit our cholesterol levels!

For the topping, I used a small amount of butter (only 3-4 tablespoons for the entire recipe). Want a vegan alternative? Replace the butter with benefical coconut oil for the same great taste and fat effect for the baking. Gluten sensitive? Make sure to buy certified gluten free oats. Nut allergy? Replace the hazelnuts with some delicious pumpkin seeds! I hope you enjoy these baked pears as a healthy dessert option for you and your loved ones! Happy National Heart Month!

 

 

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: One pear with topping

Hazelnut Oatmeal Baked Pears

These baked pears can last in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to three days. To make a great breakfast dish, serve with protein-rich yogurt for a balanced meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 whole pears, such as Anjou or Bosc
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, gluten free optional
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or pure honey if preferred)
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted melted butter (or coconut oil if preferred)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup hazelnut pieces*
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate bar, for chocolate drizzle, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the pears in half and scoop out the middle with a tablespoon or melon ball scooper.
  3. Place the halved pears face up in a shallow pan. Fill enough water on the bottom to keep the pears from drying out during baking time, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the all of the remaining ingredients except the chocoate for the topping. Scoop the topping into the pears to just fill the top.
  5. Place in the oven and let bake for 30-45 minutes, or until pears are soft and the topping is crisp.
  6. Optional: While the pears bake with just 5-10 minutes remaining, melt dark chocolate in a small metal bowl over a boiling pot of water (or a double boiler if available).
  7. Remove the pears from the oven and drizzle the melted chocolate on top

Notes

* I used the bottom of a heavy liquid measuring cup with a piece of parchment paper covering the hazelnuts to break into pieces.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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 […]

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!

Roasted Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta Toss

Roasted Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta Toss

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 they simply taste like dirt. Others find them too messy. I can see both sides to this. Yes, beets have an earthy taste, but why not try them with herbs and spices. Or better yet, using garlic like I did here in the beet pesto. And yes, beets can cause pink stains making it look like a Law & Order scene in your kitchen.  Those purple hands you are left with are not permanent and naturally will fade with proper hand washing. If you prefer to remove beet stains faster, they can easily be removed with lemon juice, as mentioned in this article on leaf tv.com.

This Root Vegetable Favorite Can’t be “Beet”!

Yes, I had to do it. Forget the taste and stains, now comes the hard decision. How do you want to cook them? Beets can be steamed, boiled, and even eaten raw. The most popular version however is roasted beets. Roasting brings out the best flavor and natural sweetness of beets. The length of time to cook this root vegetable can be 45 minutes to over an hour. Picturing this for a weekday meal after a busy workday seems like torture. I hear you. Try including beets for a weekend meal prep to shorten the cooking time for a meal. I roasted mine the night before I made the pasta dish. Not only did it make the recipe preparation easier, I also had some free time to prep for my morning breakfast.  Check out this fantastic article from The Kitchn for basics on roasting beets; hint hint no peeler needed!

beet pesto
Beauty and the Beet

Budget-friendly Beet Pesto

Beautiful color. Check. Tasty and Versatile. Check. Costs under three dollars a serving. Check!

While many of us are joining the fight to prevent food waste, others are working their hardest to save money on food for their families. When trying to save money, the cheap and processed food items are usually the chosen alternative. Fear not. Choosing seasonal and even local produce can save you dollars. As mentioned in a previous post, retailers are starting to sell “ugly” produce for much less in their stores. In addition to seasonal produce, buying frozen produce can help you save. Frozen produce is usually picked at its peak meaning all of the beneficial nutrients included.  Thinking about including almonds in your breakfast cereal? Buy foods such as nuts, beans, whole grains, and dried fruits in bulk. Lastly and most important, try not to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. This really works!

 

beet pesto
Roasted Beet Pesto

 

The estimated total spent on this meal per serving was $1.80 for a household of four. This recipe made a lot of pasta and can be divided into six servings (making it even cheaper!). There was also extra beet pesto as I did not mix all of it in with the pasta. Try the extra pesto on crackers or topped over your favorite protein or roasted vegetables! This price per serving can also not be beet!

 

Roasted Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta Toss

Roasted Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta Toss

Ingredients

  • 16 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water from boiling
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-4 cups (loosely packed) beet greens or other mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted (save half for the pesto)
  • Beet Pesto:
  • 1 lb beets, roasted or steamed, chopped
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh sage or thyme
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • remaining half of pumpkin seeds, unsalted (can substitute for other seeds or nuts)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook the pasta until al dente (10 minutes or more). Turn off the heat. Drain the pasta while reserving one cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot.
  2. While the pasta cooks, transfer all of the Beet Pesto Ingredients to a large food processor and blend until a creamy consistency is achieved. A high-powered blender can be used in small batches if a food processor is not available. Set the pesto aside.
  3. With about 5 minutes remaining for the pasta, heat olive oil in a non-stick pan or skillet on medium hight heat. Sautee the pumpkin seeds for 1-3 minutes. Add the greens and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add in the the beet pesto (a large spoonful at a time) and the greens to the pot of pasta and stir to combine with tongs or a pasta fork. Add in as much pesto to your liking (you will have extra). Use as much of the reserved pasta water as you prefer to thin out the pesto.
  5. Top with more cheese and pumpkin seeds, optional.

Notes

*If you do not have fresh sage or thyme, feel free to use the dried version. I recommend decreasing to 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herbs.

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http://onehungrybunny.com/roasted-beet-pesto-and-greens-pasta-toss/

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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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 […]

Creamy Matcha Overnight Oats

Creamy Matcha Overnight Oats

A healthy breakfast staple and meal prep for the week ahead! This Matcha Overnight Oats recipe will make a vibrant start to your day! Overnight oats are part of the batch cooking or meal prep trend you may have seen on Instagram or Facebook. Simply prepping your […]

Healthy Ramen Soup Made Simple

Healthy Ramen Soup Made Simple

A healthy ramen soup with Bok Choy and hints of miso makes this college staple a major upgrade!

Many of us likely remember the famous ramen noodles in its small and square, bright and saturated colors. And better yet, the number of these packages you could purchase for a total of $1!  Well, ramen noodles are making a comeback, and not the extremely cheap kind. Ramen noodle restaurants are popping up in many metro areas, and for good reason.

Is it for the broth that warms the soul? Or the flavors in the soup itself that draws you? For me, it’s the soft, chewiness of the crinkly noodles. A healthy ramen soup from a restaurant (or better yet homemade) will contain no seasoning packets and are bursting with nutrient-packed vegetables and proteins.

 

healthy ramen
Ingredients for a Healthy Ramen Soup

 

What’s so great about this soup is that it is still affordable to make at home and requires only basic ingredients (also making it a versatile dish)! This soup can be made vegetarian or with meat and seafood; it all depends on the basics. These ingredients in ramen are the noodles, broth, and toppings. For more on ramen basics, check out this article here written by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the James Beard Award winning chef and blogger for Serious Eats.

Miso…so good for you!

Most of us may recognize miso in the form of the delicious miso soup served at sushi restaurants. The umami-rich miso is actually fermented soybean and grains formed into a paste. Key word here is fermented. Yes, it’s a probiotic! This paste, has potentially good-for-your-gut and immune-boosting bacteria.

These probiotic foods are so popular that they are even seen in pills and supplemental powders. Research is still out there to back these claims being made by food and supplement companies. One potential clinical benefit being mentioned is for people with digestive disorders. An article by Stat last year states that there is “tremendous promise”. There is still ongoing discussion on the safety and regulations of supplemental use.  Most health experts suggest sticking to foods naturally-containing these bacterial strains. Kefir, kombucha, and kimchi sound familiar?  For more information on food sources and supplementation use, here is an interesting article by NPR’s The Salt.

Cold and flu season is here!

I hate to break it to you, but there is not a single food item that will magically cure a cold. Eating an abundance of healthy foods however, these will boost your immunity and fight inflammation! Foods with potential benefits are garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and colorful vegetables such as broccoli and red peppers. Another excellent food group to incorporate would be fatty fish thanks to its abundance of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. For vegetarians, I would recommend walnuts or flax seeds that naturally contain these healthy fats.

Ramen soup contains a majority of these potentially immune-boosting food items. If you wish to replace the bok choy, try vitamin C and K-rich broccoli or leafy greens. And if mushrooms aren’t for you, try fish or tofu as a healthy substitute.

 

healthy ramen
Sauteed Bok Choy

 

Besides choosing the right foods or exercising to prevent a cold, the most effective is actually proper hand hygiene. Have you heard of washing your hands to the length of the “Happy Birthday” song? Well, it’s true! In combination with washing your hands under running water, the CDC recommends scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds. Just remember, there is no shame in singing out loud next time!

 

Healthy Ramen Soup Made Simple

Healthy Ramen Soup Made Simple

Ingredients

  • 1 tablesoon olive oil
  • 8oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 scallions chopped, white and green pieces separated
  • 1 teaspoon crushed or minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 medium boy choy, stems separated, core removed
  • 8oz ramen or egg noodles
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat half the oil on medium-high heat in a large pot and sautee the mushrooms, about 3-5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and white scallion ends. Continue for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. While the broth is simmering, saute the bok choy with remaining olive oil on medium-high heat using a skillet or non-stick pan, about 5-7 minutes to lightly brown (if preferred, bok choy can be steamed). Set aside.
  4. Once the simmering has 5 minutes remaining, add the noodles to the simmering broth and bring to a boil. The noodles should soften in 3-5 minutes. Once noodles are softened, add the miso and sesame oil, continue for one extra minute or two to mix well. Turn off heat.
  5. Pour the soup into bowls and distribute bok choy evenly into the soup. Top with green scallions.
  6. Other optional toppings: meat, hard boiled egg, seafood, tofu, and hot sauce.

Notes

This soup does not include salt due to sodium content in the soy sauce, broth, and miso. Based on your preference, adding salt is optional.

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http://onehungrybunny.com/simply-healthy-ramen-soup/

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.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier or eat more vegetables for 2017, try this delicious Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad! Salads aren’t just a summer thing! These beautiful and delicate blends are good all year round. To keep up with the winter season choose vegetables such […]