Quinoa & Edamame Burgers (a.k.a. Your Dinner Table’s Next Meatless Marvel)

Trivia Question: how does a self-proclaimed foodie, who really really loves veggie burgers, cope on Friday night when her boyfriend ditches her (but all is forgiven, Broski!) for some old-school Nintendo 64?

By creating a kickass recipe to satisfy said veggie burger cravings! Obvi.

I’m not vegan, but I do have a healthy appreciation for vegan cooking. So, that’s exactly what we have here — veggies, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.  Pure, nutritional deliciousness! And I can assure even the most committed carnivores out there that this burger hits the spot.

Nope. You won’t miss the meat.

Don’t believe me? Alrighty, then. Make it yourself. (I’ll just be over here, chanting: “told ya so!”)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1/4 cup Quinoa (cooked)
  2. 1 tbsp. Mushrooms (diced)
  3. 2 tbsp. Roasted Red Peppers (diced)
  4. 2 tbsp. Edamame
  5. 2 tbsp. Rolled Oats
  6. 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

veggie burger ingredients

  • Preparation:
  1. Preheat a small saucepan on a medium-high stovetop setting, then cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.
  2. Preheat a small skillet on a low stovetop setting, then saute the mushrooms and roasted red peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Puree the edamame in a blender or food processor until coarsely mashed, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Puree the mushrooms and red peppers in a blender or food processor until they reach the same consistency as the edamame, then transfer to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the quinoa, rolled oats, and mustard into the mixing bowl, then stir until the ingredients combine to form a slightly “mushy” texture.
  6. Mold this mixture into patties (I made 1 large patty, but you could just as easily make 2-3 small patties), then transfer them to another skillet and turn the stovetop setting to medium.
  7. Cook the burgers for approximately 5 minutes on each side, then remove from heat and allow them to cool slightly before serving.

veggie burger before

  • Serving Suggestion:

Play off the Asian-inspired flavor of the edamame by wrapping your veggie burger in a Nori sheet (dried seaweed) instead of a traditional bun. Not only will the crisp saltiness please your palate, but it’s also a much healthier swap-out.

In fact, while we’re at it, why not continue this plant-based theme we’ve got going and substitute cheese for cashew cream? It’s a snap to whip up and makes a tasty topper for our veggie burger.

Simply soak 2 tbsp. raw cashews in 1/4 cup water for 1-2 hours (feel free to skip this step if you’re pressed for time), then drain and toss the cashews into a blender, along with 1 garlic clove, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Puree these ingredients until smooth, then spread the cream on your patty.

veggie burger after

 Aaaaaaand….Dinner is served!

10 Ingenious Ingredient Hacks that Equal Smoothie Perfection

Yeaaaah. I’m that girl, who’s best friends with her blender and thinks smoothie-making should be considered the ultimate in culinary expertise.

And, therefore, I don’t just limit myself to the standard, predictable “fruity fare.” Not that I don’t love a classic strawberry-banana combo, but experimenting with unusual flavor profiles is what keeps luring me back to the kitchen.

That’s why no liquid concoction in my repertoire would be complete without the following add-ins. Once blended all together, you might not even notice their subtle, sublime presence; nevertheless, these “superfood” ingredients boost your diet with natural, (mostly) plant-based nutrition without compromising the velvety texture and refreshing taste that you expect from a perfectly-pureed smoothie.

1. Hemp Hearts

hemp hearts

image courtesy of babble.com

 These crisp and nutty seeds are loaded with protein, iron, Vitamin E, whole grains, and Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, metabolic, reproductive, and anti-inflammatory health.

2. Rolled Oats

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

This hearty and filling cereal is loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin E, whole grains, and antioxidants (polyphenols, carotenoids & flavonoids) for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, and digestive health.

3. Almond Butter

almond butter

image courtesy of amyshealthybaking.com

 This thick and creamy spread is loaded with protein, calcium, copper, fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol musculoskeletal, neurological, nervous, and digestive health.   

4. Leafy Greens

leafy greens

image courtesy of busterbucks.hubpages.com

These fresh and nutrient-dense veggies are loaded with potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C & K, folate, magnesium, and antioxidants for cardiovascular, circulatory, immune, and respiratory health (serving suggestions: spinach, kale, chard, collards & watercress).

5. Chia Seeds

chia seeds

image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com

These crunchy and micro-sized seedlings are loaded with protein, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, immune, anti-aging, energy endurance, and metabolic health.

6. Green Tea

green tea

image courtesy of webhealthjournal.com

This light and invigorating beverage is loaded with antioxidants (catechins & flavonoids) and natural caffeine for  cardiovascular, immune, dental metabolic, energy endurance, neurological, and circulatory health (serving suggestion: matcha, or finely powdered green tea).

7. Coconut Water

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

This tangy and hydrating beverage is loaded with fiber, electrolytes, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, bio-active enzymes, Vitamin B, and natural sugar (glucose) for digestive, circulatory, anti-aging, and gastrointestinal health.

8. Raw Cacao

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

This tart and chocolatey powder is rich in antioxidants (polyphenols & flavonoids), fiber, digestive enzymes, Vitamins A, B, C & E, chromium, magnesium, zinc, iron, sulphur, manganese, and Omega-fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, circulatory, and neurological health.

9. Greek Yogurt

image courtesy of leanitup.com

This rich and satisfying dairy product is loaded with protein, calcium, iodine, potassium, Vitamin B, and probiotics for musculoskeletal, energy endurance, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and neurological health (serving suggestion: unsweetened variety).

10. Avocados

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

 These indulgent and buttery fruits are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, phosphorus, folate, and Vitamins A, B, C, E & K for cardiovascular, cholesterol, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory health.

So, yeah. That’s my arsenal of secret smoothie superbness. Got any of your own faves worth adding to the list? Share in the comments below!

Bergamonte a Day Makes Your Heart Say “Yay!”

bergamonte cardiovascular support

image courtesy of Nutri Lifescience

If you’ve taken even a casual interest in my social media escapades lately, chances are you’ve noticed  I’m a big believer in Nutri Lifescience dietary supplements. These products, made with wholesome and premium-grade ingredients from around the world, are ideal for promoting both physical and mental wellness, vibrancy and longevity.

Right now, I’m particularly loving Nutri Lifescience’s Bergamonte vegetarian capsules. Conveniently sized and easy-to-swallow, Bergamonte can be ingested on a daily basis to support optimal cardiovascular and cholesterol health.

This supplement contains naturally pure properties from the juice and albedo of a citrus plant called Bergamot, grown in coastal Southern Italy where its nutrient-rich extracts have long been valued for heart health maintenance.

bergamot

image courtesy of Nutri Lifescience

So, that’s why I’m fan-girling over here — because Bergamonte fuels my entire body with nourishment, energy and invigoration, so I can tackle an on-the-go lifestyle.

But, don’t blindly take my word for it (although I do speak from personal experience)…Try this incredible product for yourself!

Incorporating a Bergamonte regimen into your existing routine couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how the process* works:

  • During your first month of usage, just follow the recommended dosage of 2 capsules twice daily on an empty stomach before lunch and dinner.
  • During your second and third months of usage, maintain the results you’ve already achieved by taking 2 capsules once daily, also on an empty stomach.
  • Keep going!!! At the end of those 3 months, I’m betting you’ll be so amazed by Bergamonte’s positive affect on your cardiovascular and endocrine systems that committing to long-term usage will be a no-brainer!

 *Nutri Lifescience strongly suggests that you have current lab results-on hand before beginning this process, then undergoing another lab test after 3 months of continuous usage.*

Easy peasy, right? This dietary supplement fits into every schedule and activity level. Just swallow, then go! Talk about foolproof.

Plus, from NOW–April 5, Nutri Lifescience will be offering 10% off  each 60-capsule bottle. This discount is an ideal opportunity to inexpensively test out Bergamonte’s 3-month regimen. So, click the Amazon link and place your order while this fabulous, limited-time incentive still lasts.  And did I mention FREE shipping? Holla!

Thanks to Bergamonte, cardiovascular vitality, cholesterol wellness and even weight management can be achieved the natural way.

Bergamonte bottle

image courtesy of Nutri Lifescience

Fall Has Fallen Into My Kitchen…

This past weekend, I visited a farmer’s market in the historic downtown section of my Southwest Florida stomping grounds. Even though autumn in my neck of the woods doesn’t necessarily mean colorful leaves and blustery wind gusts, we beach babes still get into the seasonal spirit.

So, – like I was saying before I went off on a “Floridians love this time of year too” tangent – I went to a farmer’s market. And I came home with an butternut squash, a bag full of apples, and other freshly-picked, locally-sourced fall-ish produce.

Then, I set to work putting these farmer’s market finds to use. And if you’re gonna whip up some autumnal comfort food, you might as well do it right. You might as well make soup.

Butternut squash soup. Butternut squash soup with apples. Sprinkled with aromatic spices on top. Warm, hearty, soothing. Ahhhhhh!

So, yeah. From my “fall friendly” kitchen to yours…here’s the recipe:


  • Ingredients:
  1. 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)
  2. 1 butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
  3. 1/2 red onion (chopped)
  4. 1 apple (peeled and chopped)
  5. /2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
  6. 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  7. 1/4 tsp. sea salt

butternut squash soup ingredients

  • Preparation: 
  1. Combine the butternut squash, apple and union cubes in a medium-size pot, then pour in the vegetable/chicken stock.
  2. Cover the pot and place it on a stove-top burner, then turn the heat up to high until the stock has reached a rolling boil.
  3. Uncover the pot and reduce the heat to low, then let this mixture simmer for approx. 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and pour this mixture into a blender, then puree until the soup is thick and smooth.
  5. Pour the soup back into the pot and turn the heat on low, then simmer for a few extra minutes, while stirring constantly.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then give the soup another quick stir. (Side note: I also found that tossing in 2-3 packets of organic Stevia added a lovely sweet and savory combination to this recipe.)

butternut squash soup before

butternut squash soup after

  • Serving Suggestion:

I prefer my winter veggie soups on the slightly sweet side, so I mixed 1/4 cup plain coconut milk into the soup, which added some creaminess to the texture and perfectly complemented the squash’s already nutty flavor.

butternut squash soup with coconut milk

It’s Meatless Monday. Make It Marvelous.

Even sworn carnivores won’t be asking “Where’s the beef?!” with this zesty twist on a classic Asian stir-fry. It’s loaded with protein (from the Edamame and Greek Yogurt), whole grains (from the Brown Rice), fiber (from the Sugar Snap Peas), and Vitamin D (from the Mushrooms). So, serve up a heaping helping of vegetarian deliciousness on this – or any – Meatless Monday. Going “green” never tasted so good!


Kickin’ Horseradish Stir-Fry (yields approx. 4 servings)

horseradish stir fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Horseradish
  • 1 cup Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt (non-fat)
  • 1/2 cup Edamame Beans (shelled)
  • 1/2 cup Shitake Mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce (low-sodium)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice (cooked)

Preparation:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, boil the rice, according to the cooking instructions on the packaging.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, soy sauce, horseradish, and rice wine vinegar.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, add the peas, edamame, and mushrooms then stir thoroughly.
  4. Stir the sauce into this mixture, then sautee the rice on low heat until the vegetables have softened.

Meal Prep: Learn It, Love It, Live It

When you plan ahead and prepare meals in advance, it’s simple to formulate a diet around whole foods and balanced nutrition.

Rather than calling for take-out, throwing together whatever’s been taking up space in your pantry or – worse yet – stopping at the drive-through window, just set aside a couple hours each week to whip up some easy-to-store-enjoy-anytime recipes. Then, simply heat your creations in the microwave as needed throughout the coming days.

I’ve compiled a list of instructions, along with corresponding visuals, to walk you through the steps of proper meal prep. The recipe below is just one example of a make-ahead meal that’s convenient, satisfying, and completely guilt-free – whether on its own as a filling lunch or as a tasty side dish for dinner.

And here’s more fabulous news: all you need to pull this off are a few basic, fresh ingredients!


  • Step 1: Chop your vegetables of choice (any veggies you have on-hand will work; I used onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and corn).

food prep step 1

  • Step 2: Transfer the vegetables into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge while you continue with the remaining prep work.

food prep step 2

  • Step 3: Assemble your seasonings (I used olive oil and garlic) and whole-grain carb (lentils are my go-to, but quinoa or couscous will work too).

food prep step 3

  • Step 4: Rinse off the grains, transfer them into a Teflon pot, and allow them to soak in water for approximately 10 minutes.

food prep step 4

  • Step 5: Place the pot on a stove-top burner and turn the heat on high until boiling, then lower to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally.

food prep step 5

  • Step 6: Add the seasonings (1 tsp. garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil), then re-cover and let the mixture simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

food prep step 6

  • Step 7: Once the lentils (or another whole-grain of choice) have softened, add the vegetables you prepped earlier and stir thoroughly.

food prep step 7

  • Step 8: Allow the vegetables to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, then strain this mixture to remove any excess liquid.

food prep step 8

  • Step 9: Transfer the lentils (or another whole grain of choice) into a Tupperware container and store in the fridge until your next meal.

food prep step 9

*** 1 16-oz. package of lentils yields at least a week’s worth of lunches/dinners. ***

Believe the Hype: Juicing Is Your Brand New “Bestie”

…When it’s done right, anyway.

While I don’t necessarily advocate going on a 100% juice diet (there is something to be said for detoxing your system periodically…just not enough evidence yet to support this trend with science), juicing – as a nutrient-rich snack, sweet-tooth satisfier, or breakfast supplement – is a tasty way to sneak that recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies into your diet. So, blend up some wholesome deliciousness, and let’s drink to good health!

(Just be warned: juicing as a meal replacement should be cleared with your doctor beforehand).

juicing   

(image courtesy of healthyjuiceblends.com)


For a Metabolism Boost:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup spinach (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup green tea (brewed)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. cinnamon (ground)

For a Clear Complexion:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup watermelon (cubed)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup kale (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. walnuts (chopped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup coconut water (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. turmeric (ground)

For a Healthy Heart:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup red grapes (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. peanut butter (organic)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup almond milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. honey (raw & organic)

For a Strong Skeleton:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup banana (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup watercress (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup oats (whole grain)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup rice milk (unsweet)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. ginger (ground)

For an Immunity Kick:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup apricots (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup sweet potato (mashed)
  • The Protein: 1/4 cup egg whites (whipped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup orange juice (organic)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. cloves (ground)

For an Energy Injection:

  • The Fruit: 1/2 cup avocado (sliced)
  • The Veggies: 1/2 cup cucumber (chopped)
  • The Protein: 1 tbsp. almonds (chopped)
  • The Liquid: 1 cup beetroot juice (strained)
  • The “Extra”: 1 tsp. dark chocolate (70% cacao)

Clean Up Your 4th of July Cookout

Hotdogs and baked beans are so 1776.

Fire up the grill, gather some friends, and serve these even better alternatives to a traditional all-American BBQ. Your backyard is sure to be this year’s block party hot-spot long after the fireworks display fades out.


Chick Pea Veggie Burgers (yields 6 – courtesy of Best Grilling Tips and Recipes)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 16-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
  4. 1 red bell pepper (seeded & halved)
  5. 1 red onion (quartered)
  6. 1/2 cup olives (sliced)
  7. 6 cloves garlic
  8. 3/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)*
  9. 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
  10. 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  11. 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  12. 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  13. 1 tsp. black pepper
  14. 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs**
  15. 6 whole wheat pita pockets

*If your dietary needs exclude dairy, substitute extra-firm tofu soaked overnight in lemon juice.

**If your dietary needs exclude gluten, substitute crushed GF Rice Chex cereal.

  • Preparation:
  1. Boil the water in a small pot and add the brown rice, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
  2. Allow the rice to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is tender and the water has absorbed.
  3. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees (Fahrenheit) and coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray.
  4. Once the chickpeas have dried off from being rinsed, transfer them to a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
  5. When the chickpea mash becomes thick and pasty, set the mixing bowl aside temporarily.
  6. Put the pepper, garlic, olives, and red onion into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
  7. Strain the excess water out of this veggie mixture, then add to the mashed chickpeas and stir thoroughly.
  8. Pulse the cooked rice and feta cheese (or tofu) in the food processor, then stir into the chickpea mash.
  9. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, Italian dressing, oregano, parsley, garlic, and black pepper.
  10. Add this mixture to the chickpea mash as well, then stir in the bread crumbs until the mash holds its shape.
  11. With your hands, form 6 patties and place them on the greased sheet of aluminum foil.
  12. Coat the grill grate with cooking spray, then place the aluminum foil holding the patties on the grill.
  13. Cover the grill and cook the burgers for about 20 minutes, flipping them once after 10 minutes.
  14. Place 1 burger inside each pita pocket and serve with any condiments of your choosing (I suggest a dollop of plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp. olive oil).

chick pea burgers   

(image courtesy of thedailyspud.com)

Chili & Lime Corn-on-the-Cob (yields 6 – courtesy of All Recipes)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 6 corn-on-the-cob ears (husks removed)
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup lime juice
  4. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  5. salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • Preparation:
  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and coat the grate with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add the corn, then let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In another mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper, then set this mixture aside temporarily.
  4. Remove the corn from the water, dry them off completely, and place on the heated grill grate.
  5. Cook the corn cobs for 3-5 minutes on each side, turning periodically and brushing on the chili mixture as you turn them.

corn on the cob   

(image courtesy of allrecipes.com)

Quinoa, Black Bean & Mango Salad (yields 6 – courtesy of Skinny Taste)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1 15-oz. can black beans (rinsed & drained)
  2. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  3. 1 cup corn (off the cob)
  4. 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  5. 1 mango (chopped)
  6. 1/4 cup red onion (diced)
  7. 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  8. 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded & diced)
  9. juice from 1 lemon or lime
  10. 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  11. 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  12. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  14. 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Preparation:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, black beans, mango, corn, pepper, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno.
  2. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon (or lime) juice, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and olive oil.
  3. Drizzle this mixture over the quinoa salad, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

quinoa salad   

(image courtesy of skinnytaste.com)

Minty Rosewater Lemonade (yields 6 – courtesy of Banglish Kitchen)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1 bunch mint leaves (chopped)
  3. 1 1/2 cups Stevia powder or organic honey
  4. 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  5. 3 tsp. rosewater*

*You can typically purchase rosewater at Middle Eastern ethnic markets.

  • Preparation:
  1. Boil the water in a medium-sized pot, then add the mint leaves and Stevia powder (or honey).
  2. Continue boiling this mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sweetener has dissolved in the water.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and rosewater, then allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove the lemonade from the heat, pour it into a pitcher, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Add some ice cubes and more lemon juice or sweeter to taste, then refrigerate the lemonade for another 15 minutes before serving.

rosewater lemonade   

(image courtesy of sunandglory.com)

Berry & Tapioca Parfaits (yields 6 – courtesy of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

  • Ingredients:
  1. 3 cups almond milk (divided)
  2. 1/3 cup tapioca pearls
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  4. 3 tbsp. agave nectar
  5. 1/2 vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
  6. 1 lb. strawberries (washed & stemmed)
  7. 1 pint blueberries (rinsed & drained)
  • Preparation:
  1. Put the tapioca and 2 1/2 cups of almond milk in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook this mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of the remaining almond milk and set aside temporarily.
  4. When the tapioca pearls have become translucent, add the remaining almond milk, 1 tbsp. agave nectar, and vanilla bean to the pan.
  5. Return the heat to a slow boil and continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until the pudding thickens.
  7. Remove the pudding from the heat and transfer it to a metal bowl and scrape out the vanilla bean.
  8. Place the metal bowl in an ice bath and allow the pudding to chill for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Slice the strawberries into quarters and pulse them in a food processor with 2 tbsp. agave nectar, then divide the puree into 6 glasses.
  10. When the pudding has cooled, divide it equally among the 6 glasses on top of the strawberry puree.
  11. Refrigerate the glasses for at least 15 minutes before serving, then top with a generous amount of blueberries.

parfait   

(image courtesy of blog.fatfreevegan.com)

15 Snacks to Get You Through the Day Without Undoing Your Diet

Need an afternoon pick-me-up halfway between lunch and dinner? Well, next time you find yourself poking around for the Cool Ranch Doritos, nibble on these guiltless goodies instead:

1. Frozen Grapes: put approximately 30 (1 cup) red or green grapes in a large Ziploc bag and store inside the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours

2. Apples & Nut Butter: core 1 apple and cut horizontally into thin slices, then spread 1 tbsp. nut butter (I suggest almond) on 2 slices and press them together to make a “sandwich”

3. Carrots & Hummus: peel and slice 2 large carrots into fourths or simply grab 10 pre-cut baby carrots and serve with 2 tbsp. organic hummus

4. Edamame & Sea Salt: boil approximately 10 (1 cup) edamame pods, then shell the individual beans and sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt

5. Greek Yogurt & Honey: swirl together 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt (preferably nonfat) and 1 tsp. organic honey, then top with fruit slices or a dash of cinnamon

6. Green Tea Smoothie: put 3/4 cup of green tea, 2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt, 2 tsp. agave nectar, and 6 ice cubes in a blender and puree until smooth

7. Baked Kale Chips: slice the stems off 1 bunch of kale and tear into bite-size pieces, then drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil and cook in the oven at 400 degrees until crisp

8. Toasted Almonds: place approximately 20 (1/4 cup) whole almonds in an ungreased skillet and sautee over medium-heat until golden brown

9. Avocado & Lime Juice: peel and thinly slice 1 avocado, then coat the slices with 2 tsp. lime juice and top with a few dashes of organic stevia powder

10. Oatmeal & Berries: boil 1/2 cup of whole grain rolled oats in 1 cup of water, then mix with an assortment of fresh berries (I suggest blueberries or raspberries)

11. Spiced Orange: slice 1 orange in half horizontally and sprinkle with a mixture of organic stevia powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves

12. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: lightly brush 1 tsp. olive oil over 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown

13. Tomatoes & Feta: dice 1 medium-sized Roma tomato and mix with 1 tbsp. feta cheese, then top with a few squeezes of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

14. Dried Mango: peel and slice 1 mango and brush with 2 tsp. agave nectar, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 185 degrees, flip each slice and cook for another 30 minutes

15. Egg White Scramble: sautee 1/4 cup raw spinach and 1 clove of garlic in a skillet on low heat, then add 2 egg whites and scramble until fluffy

Greet the Day With Wholesome Protein Power

Earlier today, my sister and I indulged in the obligatory Sunday brunch at a cozy homestyle cafe. But instead of the infamous grease-fried bacon, buttermilk pancakes bigger than your head, and other coronary bypasses served at a typical breakfast joint, this restaurant offered a tantalizing (and cheap!) array of healthy menu options…all of which were calling my name. Finally, I settled on a protein wrap and proceeded to lick my plate clean. In fact, I enjoyed it so immensely that I’ve decided to replicate the recipe.

This is one breakfast you’ll definitely consider a morning staple.


Ingredients:

  • 1 10″ whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup spinach leaves (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. low-fat shredded cheddar*

*if your dietary needs exclude dairy, then substitute vegan “cheese

Preparation:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a small skillet, then add the beaten egg whites.
  2. Turn the stove-top burner up to medium and scramble the egg whites until the consistency is fluffy.
  3. Heat the remaining tbsp. of olive oil in another skillet, then add the garlic and veggies.
  4. Turn the stove-top burner down to low and simmer the veggies, stirring occasionally.
  5. Scoop the scrambled egg whites into the center of the open-faced tortilla, then spread to the outer edges.
  6. Spread the veggie mixture over the eggs and top with the mashed avocado.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar (or vegan substitute) over the avocado.
  8. Fold in the edges of the tortilla and roll it tightly (like a burrito), then cut in half before serving.

Serving Suggestion:

Garnish this breakfast wrap with a dollop of Publix Greenwise organic salsa and a few avocado slices fanned out on the plate.

Image   

Here’s what the final product should look like. Tempting, huh?!