Category Archives: Nutrition

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Meatless Monday: Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwiches 

This smashed chickpea & avocado salad is great for sandwiches and it is also great as a dip for veggies, crackers, and pita chips. It is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free-as long as you use gluten free-bread or serve as a dip with veggies or gluten-free crackers.

If you are looking for a quick and healthy lunch idea, make this Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich. It is one of my favorite sandwiches and I hope you like it too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 a small ripe avocado
  • 1 small spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices of wholegrain bread
  • Small handful of fresh spinach (or micro-greens of choice)
  • Tomatoes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mash the chickpeas and avocado until avocado is well mashed and most of the chickpeas are not whole.
  2. Add the onion through spices. Mix in. Taste and adjust salt and spice if needed.
  3. Prep the sandwich bread by toasting if desired. Add a layer of spinach or micro-greens of choice. Layer a good helping of the smashed chickpea avocado mixture.
  4. Add a layer of juicy tomatoes and serve.
  5. Serve in sandwiches, tacos, wraps or salad bowl.
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    MEATLESS MONDAY: SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH AVOCADO SAUCE 

    These tacos are perfect for your next meatless Monday or taco Tuesday, as these tacos can literally can be made in under 30 minutes, making them an easy weeknight dinner.

    The roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and slaw will all last in the fridge for a good two-three days so you can heat up the sweet potatoes and black beans and assemble the tacos as you’re ready to eat them.

    Ingredients 

    Tacos:

    • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 (15oz) can of black beans, warmed up
    • white corn tortillas

    Slaw:

    • ½ bag (~8 ounces) of shredded cabbage/ coleslaw (broccoli slaw would also work well)
    • ½ cup of chopped cilantro
    • juice of 1 lime
    • ¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
    • 2 tablespoons of agave
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin
    • 2 tablespoons of white whine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

    Avocado Sauce:

    • ½ cup of nondairy sour cream
    • 1 avocado, pitted and skinned
    • small handful of chopped cilantro
    • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Optional for garnish: extra cilantro
    • Sriracha

    Instructions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste.
    3. On a prepared baking sheet, evenly spread out the diced sweet potatoes and put them in the pre-heated oven to roast for 20 minutes.
    4. While they roast, prepare the slaw: In a large bowl, melted coconut oil, lime juice, cumin, white wine vinegar, and agave are mixed together. Then the slaw is tossed in as well as the cilantro. Set aside.
    5. To prepare the avocado sauce: add Avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper are blended together in a food processor until the sauce is creamy smooth.
    6. Heat the black beans on the stove.
    7. Once the sweet potatoes are done roasting, the tacos can be assembled by topping a tortilla with the sweet potatoes, black beans, slaw, and the sauce.
    8. ENJOY!!

    This recipe serves 8

      

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    Spooktacular Treats for Halloween

    Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Dressing up in costume is so much fun, and since I have a son, the whole family really gets into it. Yep, we’re one of those families who does a group costume! It’s such a fun way to get everyone involved and make the day a little more special. Another way to add fun to the day? Spooky foods!
    Whether you’re hosting a Halloween bash or just want some tasty snacks before heading out to trick-or-treat, these recipes are sure to be a hit. Here are a few ideas to get your evening off to a boo-tiful start.

    Halloween Apple Bites from Oh She Glows

     
    Banana Ghosts from The Vegan Woman  

    Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits  

    Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh pineapple, oranges and nondairy whipped cream, with a couple pieces of candy corn on top!

    Ingredients

    • pineapple, cut into bite sized chunks
    • oranges, cut into bite sized chunks (or use the small Cuties)
    • nondairy whipped cream
    • candy corn

    Directions: In a clear glass, layer pineapple, then oranges and top with whipped cream and a couple pieces of candy corn. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

    Spiders on a Log  

    Things you’ll need: Celery sticks, Natural peanut butter and Plastic spiders

    Directions: Slice celery sticks crosswise. Fill each stick with peanut butter and arrange on a platter. Decorate theses snacks with plastic spiders … just be sure to remove them before digging in!

    Halloween Graveyard Salad from Fork and Beans  

    Happy Halloween!!!

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    Vegan Pumpkin Waffles

    Although it doesn’t feel like late October outside (75 degrees yesterday), it sure does look like fall!

    These vegan pumpkin waffles come together quickly and are perfect for a relaxed weekend breakfast. Delicious, whole grain spiced pumpkin waffles that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This pumpkin waffle recipe’s secret ingredient is oat flour! 

      

    Vegan Pumpkin Waffles
    (Yield: 2-4 waffles)

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 cup oat flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • ½ cup pumpkin puree
    • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
    • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons warm water, mix then set aside for about 5 minutes or until consistency of egg white)
    • Coconut oil spray (or other cooking spray)

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl. 
    2. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the wet ingredients until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
    3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes while your waffle iron heats up.
    4. Preheat a waffle iron and coat with spray coconut oil or cooking spray. 
    5. Once 10 minutes is up, give the batter one more, gentle swirl with your spoon. The batter will be pretty thick, but don’t worry… Your waffles will turn out great!
    6. Spoon about ⅓ – ½ cup batter per waffle onto iron and spread batter out to edges. Cook according to waffle iron directions, repeating until all batter is used.
    7. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter. Once the waffle is deeply golden and crisp, *transfer it to a cooling rack or baking sheet.   
    8. Repeat with remaining batter and serve with desired toppings on the side.

    *RECOMMENDATIONS:

      Don’t stack your waffles on top of each other or they’ll lose crispness. If desired, keep your waffles warm by placing them in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve .

       FREEZE IT: 

      These waffles freeze nicely. So, you might want to make a big batch and treat yourself to pumpkin waffles are busy weekday mornings. Just store in freezer-safe plastic bags and pop individual waffles into the toaster until warmed through and you’re good to go!

      Happy National Pumpkin Day!!!

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      Nutrition and Anxiety: Is Your Diet Making You Anxious?

      Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. (affecting over 40 million adults). 
      You may think that the stress in your life is just a result of your hectic schedule or financial worries. But what you may not realize is that the food you eat for comfort could not only be adding stress to your system, but could also be causing you to see the challenges in your life as more stressful than they are.

      Symptoms such as insomnia, irrational fears, and chronic worrying are red alerts that your body and brain are stuck in “fight or flight” mode. But how did you get there? We often blame our jobs or family life, but what’s on our plate can also turn up the tension. Although there are many causes of anxiety, there are some common foods that may be making your anxiety worse. So, I have put together a list of 3 common foods that might be making you anxious.

      1.  Caffeine 

      Millions of people rely on a regular caffeine fix to jump start their day or to perk up when their energy nosedives. Caffeine is a stimulant (which can be bad news for someone with anxiety). Caffeine’s jittery effects in your body are very similar to those of a frightening event. That’s because caffeine stimulates your body’s “fight or flight” response. Studies have shown that consuming too much caffeine can make anxiety worse and even trigger a panic attack (racing heartbeats, shortness of breath, etc). Similar to the symptoms of anxiety, consuming too many cups of coffee may leave you feeling nervous, moody, and unable to sleep! 

      Try this instead: 

      • Drink more water, and decaffeinated tea and coffee, and ask the barista for only a single shot in your long black. 
      • Avoid energy drinks. Some have the equivalent of five cups of coffee in one can.
      • Wean yourself off caffeine over time to avoid symptoms such as headaches, and switch to drinks such as dandelion coffee and herbal tea.

      2. Sugar 

      The Standard American Diet, which is full of sugar and fat, does not necessarily cause anxiety but it does appear to worsen anxiety symptoms and impair the body’s ability to cope with stress. Individuals who suffer from panic attacks, for example, are hyper-alert to signs of impending danger. Sugar can cause blurry vision, difficulty thinking and fatigue, all of which may be interpreted as signs of a panic attack, thereby increasing worry and fear. A sugar high and subsequent crash can cause shaking and tension, which can make anxiety worse.

      Try this instead: 

      Make a goal to eliminate sugar for 1 week (or 2) and see how you feel. You might not even realize how bad it makes you feel until you add it back in. Try it out for yourself!

      3.  Food additives: Aspartame, Food Coloring, Dyes  

      Many people suffer from mood swings after eating food additives like artificial flavors, colors & sweeteners. Avoid them where possible or if you do have something with an artificial dye or sweetener try to monitor how you feel afterwards. Many artificial sweeteners & colorings are neurotoxins and can disrupt the normal functioning of your nervous system resulting in increased feelings of anxiety.

      Food for Thought:

      If you experience stress and anxiety or panic attacks, making some modifications to your diet may help alleviate your symptoms. 



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      Meatless Monday: Apricot Oatmeal Granola Bars

      Granola bars are one of my favorite grab-n-go snack foods. They’re easy to pack, store well and can give you a much needed energy boost when you’re out and about but aren’t ready for a full meal.  Homemade granola bars are quite easy to make and definitely fit the bill for a tasty snack.

      So, if you’re looking for a high energy snack that won’t weigh you down, you’ve got to try these granola bars. They taste great and are completely vegan (no eggs, milk, or dairy products)!

      Apricot Oatmeal Granola Bars (V)

      Ingredients:

      • 2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
      • 1/4 cup peanut butter
      • 1 large mashed banana
      • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
      • 1/3 cup chopped apricots
      • 1/3 cup raisins
      • 2/3 cup maple syrup
      • 1 tsp cinnamon

      Instructions 

      1. Preheat over to 325 degrees and toast the pecans for 10 minutes on a small baking sheet. 
      2. Meanwhile, prepare the granola batter. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana and peanut butter. Add maple syrup and cinnamon and whisk until combined.
      3. Stir in the oats, making sure that all of the oats are moistened. Add more maple syrup or peanut butter if needed. (note: the less “wet” ingredients you add, the crunchier your bars will be)
      4. Remove toasted pecans from oven and stir into the oat mixture. Add raisins and chopped apricots. 
      5. Press mixture into 8×8 baking pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and tightly packed.
      6. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares. (Makes 16 bars)
      7. Enjoy!   

      Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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      Meatless Monday: Avocado Brownies

      The avocado is one of the best foods you can eat. You will find over 20 essential nutrients in an avocado. These include B vitamins, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Potassium, and Fiber just to name a few.  

       There is an added health benefit of eating avocados. They contain healthy fats which bind with nutrients from other foods allowing the body to absorb and digest them better.

      Many people who are trying to lose weight are concerned about the calorie content of an avocado. It is true that they are one of the more calorie dense fruits but this generally isn’t something to worry about for most people. For those who are trying to maintain or lose weight, the bigger concern is the fat content. One cup of avocado has about 21g of fat. 

      Even if you are on a diet and concerned about the calories and fat content you can still enjoy avocado (in moderation) a couple of times a week. The nutritional benefits far outweigh any possible down side associated with this delicious fruit!

      One of the greatest things about this delicious food is the wide variety of recipes you can make using it.

      Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is for vegan avocado brownies! These are healthy brownies made with black beans instead of flour, and avocado instead of butter or oil. Holy Guacamole, you’re going to love these fudgy chocolate-packed vegan and gluten free treats!!!

      Avocado Brownies (Vegan, GF)

      Ingredients

      • 1 large flax egg (1 Tbsp Flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp of water)
      • 1 – 15oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
      • 1/2 medium to large ripe avocado
      • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
      • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

      Instructions 

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
      2. Place flax egg, black bean, avocado, vanilla, and brown sugar and process in a food processor until smooth. 
      3. Add in cocoa powder, coconut oil, baking soda, and baking powder and process again until smooth. Batter will be thick. If batter is way too thick and won’t process, you can add in a tablespoon or two of almond milk. This batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. 
      4. Fold in chocolate chip or sprinkle onto batter then transfer to prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to sides. 
      5. Sprinkle top of batter with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips.
      6. Bake for 22-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean. We don’t want these to dry out, but we also don’t want them completely raw either! The top of the batter should be completely set and no longer jiggle. 
      7. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 bars.
      8. Enjoy!  

      Notes

      The brownies are best went made in a food processor so that beans can blend together better.

      The brownies are best when served at room temperature or cold. They should be stored in the fridge. 

      Recipe from www.ambitiouskitchen.com