Almost time for the holidays? Try a meatless main dish! Bursting with seasonal cranberries and rosemary flavors, try this Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash at your next holiday meal! Feed that Healthy Gut! This stuffed acorn squash may be the main star […]
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.
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 […]
Try a delicious, gluten and dairy-free flatbread for your next sweet treat or savory meal! If you’re craving a pizza, crepe, or taco shell, Socca is simply satisfying!
This delicious and versatile flatbread, originally from the regions of France and Italy, is naturally gluten, dairy, and nut-free. Made from chickpea flour, Socca is usually served hot and enjoyed as is. It can be enjoyed as a simple flatbread, or can even be used as a pizza crust, taco shell, or crepe with your favorite jam!
The Truth About Food Reactions
Millions of Americans each year suffer from food allergies and reactions to foods. So, if this flatbread alternative is calling your name, you are not alone! Many even mistake the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity.
When our immune system responds to a food substance (a protein), that is a food allergy. Symptoms can be minor, such as itchy eyes or a runny nose, although other symptoms can be much more severe. The most common food allergies, causing almost 90% of food reactions annually, are: dairy, eggs, seafood, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat. Food allergies should always be taken seriously. Whether you are at a restaurant or family gathering, informing others about your food allergy is important.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are not life threatening, but they are unpleasant. A sensitivity occurs when our body cannot properly digest a food substance. Some examples, gluten, the protein commonly found in wheat, or lactose, the sugar in milk. Symptoms can range from abdominal cramping to diarrhea, and even migraines.
Think you may have a food allergy or sensitivity? Talk to your doctor first. He or she may recommend a blood or skin test to determine if it’s a food allergy. Food sensitivities are not as easy to determine. Health professionals may suggest keeping track of your symptoms in a food log and taking part in an elimination diet to narrow out the food triggers. For more information on food allergies and sensitivities, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
In this recipe….
I decided to make Socca as a light and healthy pizza with sauteed mushrooms and fresh arugula. The options for toppings are endlesss! If you prefer to go dairy-free, use a little drizzle of olive oil or a cheese alternative. To make the batter savory, add in your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices. Socca is simply a 1:1 ratio of chickpea flour to lukewarm water for the batter.
Use socca as a pizza crust, taco shell, and even to serve with your favorite dip or spread!
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (half for the batter)
- Salt to taste
- Optional add-ins: fresh rosemary, thyme, cumin, garlic powder
- Prior to cooking, whisk together the chickpea flour and water, one tablespoon of olive oil, and any additional herbs and spices. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Once the batter is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.*
- Place a large (10-12 inch) cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven to heat up.
- Carefuly remove the hot skillet from the oven and swirl one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Slowly pour in the batter evenly to cover the bottom of the hot pan.
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the batter is cooked through in the middle and the edges are slightly crisp. The batter should resemble a thick pancake. Drizzle additional olive oil on top to prevent dryness, optional.
- * If you prefer cooking on the stovetop, cook the socca on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes each side.
Socca is a great alternative carbohydrate choice for anyone with food allergies and sensitivities. Thanks to the simple ingredients of only chickpea flour and water it is naturally free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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!
- 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
- 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.
- Add the broth, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour the soup into bowls and distribute bok choy evenly into the soup. Top with green scallions.
- Other optional toppings: meat, hard boiled egg, seafood, tofu, and hot sauce.
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.
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.
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 […]