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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 […]

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 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
Using granola as a crust adds in healthier fats and protein!

 

 

mini cheesecake
Mini cheesecake bites prior to raspberry topping!

 

 

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!

 

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 12 mini cheesecake bites

Serving Size: 1 cheesecake

Calories per serving: 191

Fat per serving: 11

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Prior to preparing the cheesecake filling and crust, set aside a greased 12 muffin tin ( I used parchment paper cupcake liners).
  3. In a large food processor, pulse together the granola and oil.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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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Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

A simple side dish in under 20 minutes! Try my new recipe for Sautéed Radishes with Pesto and Chives for this spring and summer!   Radiant Radishes   You may have seen radishes in salads or as a beautiful flower garnish at restaurants. Or, maybe […]

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Try these protein-packed frittata muffins for your next brunch or meal prep for a busy week ahead in only 30 minutes!   Skipping breakfast due to a hectic work schedule? Or planning a summer brunch with friends? These vegetable frittata muffins are quick and guaranteed tasty!  […]

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

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.

 

strawberry chia pudding
NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter Nutrition Bars for a nutritious layer!

 

 

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!

 

 

strawberry chia pudding

 

 

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.

 

 

strawberry chia pudding
Strawberry Chia Pudding with nutrition bars make a fun snack or dessert!

 

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!

 

Creamy Strawberry Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 cup with one nutrition bar for topping

Creamy Strawberry Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the strawberries and coconut milk. Pulse until well blended and the strawberries resemble a puree. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds, strawberries and coconut milk mixture, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to food containers with an airtight lid and cover.
  4. Chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. This allows the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and form a viscous consistency.
  5. Once a desired pudding consistency is achieved, layer with the chopped NuGo bars, optional.
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Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Summer is almost here and so are our busy schedules! Try this Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender to de-stress and relax the mind!   With the warmer weather coming, this lavender lemonade will be your next favorite summer refreshment or cocktail! Read on to learn more about the […]

Tofu and Shrimp Skewers with Hummus Marinade

Tofu and Shrimp Skewers with Hummus Marinade

This all-time favorite dip is getting a makeover for grilling season! Try this new recipe for my Grilled Tofu and Shrimp Skewers with Hummus Marinade!   I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe […]

Roasted Fennel and Citrus Barley Salad

Roasted Fennel and Citrus Barley Salad

This light, yet hearty roasted fennel and barley salad paired with a citrus dressing will keep you feeling satisfied this spring season!

 

The whole truth about whole grains

Whole grains are getting a bad reputation recently thanks to the hard-to-miss gluten-free food trend. But health experts can all agree, if you are not truly sensitive or allergic to gluten, or have a diagnosis for Celiac disease, why miss out on these chewy and nutritious grains?

Celiac disease is a serious and unfortunate autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of Americans. While gluten sensitivity is not something to take lightly, it is more difficult to truly diagnosis.  Gluten sensitivity can cause very uncomfortable symptoms, such as fatigue, joint pain, and gastrointestinal symptoms. If you think you could be sensitive to gluten, I highly recommend seeking your physician or Registered Dietitian for professional advice, as there is a ton of misinformation from celebrities and the internet these days. If you are one of the three million Americans with Celiac disease or have a sensitivity, aim for delicious whole grains that are naturally gluten free, like quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth.

 

 

roasted fennel
Fiber-rich barley and aromatic fennel make a perfect match!

 

 

Whole grains, whether with or without gluten, are a carbohydrate-rich nutrition powerhouse! These beautiful plants are loaded with fiber, folate, minerals like selenium and phosphorous, and protein, making them a must-have for your daily meal routine. Barley, the grain used in this roasted fennel salad, is one of the best sources of fiber among other whole grains. Packing in almost 8g fiber and 6g protein per 1/4 cup serving, this grain will make your stomach satisfied! Feel free to visit the Whole Grains Council for an excellent nutrition breakdown and background on whole grain nutrition.

Roasted Fennel and Barley Salad

My experience with roasted fennel has mainly been mixed in pasta or as a side dish with other vegetables. Fennel, in my opinion, is the main star! This vegetable has flavors of anise and licorice which makes it an excellent food pairing. Flavors from citrus and chives in the dressing make a refreshing sidekick to this all-star fennel. To save time in this recipe, roast the fennel while the barley is cooking. Or, if you prefer, cook the barley ahead of time (say yes to meal prep!).

 

 

roasted fennel
Roasted fennel brings out the natural sweetness of this beautiful bulb

 

 

Just like oats and rice, barley comes in multiple forms. Pearl barley, the most common type, is smoother and softer due to the outer hull being removed. With the outer part removed, the cooking time is shorter. Compared to the smoother pearl barley, hulled barley (hence the name) is the other type you’ll see at stores. This type of barley, thanks to being in its true whole grain form has more fiber. For more about barley, check out these helpful cooking tips and recipes by The Kitchn!

 

Roasted Fennel and Barley Salad

Roasted Fennel and Barley Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 Fennel bulbs, largely chopped, stems removed
  • 1 cup barley, uncooked (makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked barley)
  • 3 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese or feta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of one medium orange, zest of the orange is optional
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the barley by combining the barley and liquid (water or stock) in a 3-qt saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook covered for 50-60 minutes or until tender. If you prefer, cook the barley ahead of time to reduce total cooking time for the recipe. Store chilled in a covered container if preparing more than two hours before.
  3. Once the barley has been cooking for at least 20 minutes, spread the fennel on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes or until desired browning occurs.
  4. While the fennel is roasting, prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Once the barley and fennel are both done, transfer both items to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the barley and fennel are thoroughly coated with the dressing.
  6. Optional: Top with more chives and walnuts.
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Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna

Put those nutritious vegetable scraps to good use this Earth Day! Try this Healthy Spring Vegetable Lasagna and learn more about ways to reduce food waste!   I am very happy to introduce you to a new colleague of mine in the food blogging world! Jenna Gorham, a […]


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