Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

Well, cauliflower has another incredible use… it can double as a hummus. For all those that think they don’t like hummus, dislike chickpeas, or eat low carb, this is the hummus for you!

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Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

Ingredients:
5 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 large cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 fresh lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons water
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and tender. After the cauliflower is roasted, let it cool.

  3. In a food processor (working in batches if needed) add the roasted cauliflower, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic powder. Blend until smooth. Adding water throughout blending, if needed to help smooth the texture.

  4. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

    Serving suggestions: Serve with sliced vegetables, roasted vegetables, or your favorite whole grain tortilla chips.

    Nutrition facts (per 2 tablespoons): 55 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium, 2 grams cabs, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein

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Snack Picks for Busy Days

Snacks can help to fuel the body on even the busiest of days! What you eat and do not eat, will make a difference in helping you power through the day. Here are some practical snack ideas to keep on hand.

Trail mix - a quick handful of trail mix can deliver a mix of healthy fats, some protein, and quality carbs. Opt for those that have mostly dried fruit and nuts.

Apple and Peanut Butter

Pair up apple slices with peanut butter or your favorite nut butter like almond butter for a perfect mix of energy.

On the go tip: Bring along single serve peanut butter cups (e.g. JIF Natural) or nut butter packs (e.g. RX Nut Butter or Justin’s Nut Butter) to go with apple slices.

Carrots and Hummus

Crunchy baby carrots and your favorite hummus is a delicious savory snack! There are so many great types of hummus now, mix up which one you choose to keep your taste buds interested.

On the go tip: Opt for single serving cups (e.g. Sabra) of hummus to go with the carrots!

Pistachios

Perhaps the best thing about pistachios is that 49 pistachios is a serving, which is more than compared to other nuts. Plus cracking pistachios takes a bit of time, which helps to make a serving of this snack last a little longer.

On the go tip: Buy single serving packs of pistachios (e.g. Wonderful Pistachios) that are already portioned out for you! Even switch it up with flavored pistachios like salt and pepper or sweet chili.

Popcorn

This whole grain snack is so tasty! Plus a serving of popcorn is adding in whole grains and fiber to your day. And for an added bonus, 3 cups of popcorn is a serving, which is much larger than a portion size of other crunchy snack foods (a serving of chips is only one handful). Opt for air popped popcorn at home or choose light versions of microwave popcorn or bags of popcorn.

On the go tip: Opt for individual serving bags of popcorn (e.g. Angie’s Boom ChickaPop or similar)!

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Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Busy days call for simple - yet delicious - dinners! This Peach Burrata Caprese Salad is a perfect side dish for dinner. Plus you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

If you haven’t had burrata before, it’s definitely worth a try! Burrata is cheese that has an outer layer of solid mozzarella and the inside the inside is filled with cream. It has a rich creamy flavor and is perfect with a fresh flavors like peach and tomato - or even a traditional caprese salad. Typically burrata is about 2 - 4 oz in size and will serve 2 - 4 people because it is so rich, a little goes a long way. Look for burrata in the cheese section of your grocery store.

This salad is simple to make, you need: fresh peaches, cherry tomatoes or your other favorite type of tomatoes to slice, burrata, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze. Slice the peaches and tomatoes. On a serving plate arrange the peaches and tomatoes around the plate. Top with torn basil leaves and place the burrata in the center. Then before serving, finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 fresh peaches
1 cup cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
1 piece of burrata cheese
balsamic glaze

Directions:

1. Slice peaches and tomatoes. Arrange on serving platter.

2. Top with torn basil leaves. Place burrata in center of serving plate. If you are going to wait to serve this, cover and refrigerate until serving.

3. Immediately before serving, finish with drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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Recipe: Chia Cherry Lentil Muffins

These delicious muffins deliver 5 grams of protein each - plus 2 grams of fiber! The fiber and protein boost comes from the lentils incorporated in the muffins. Check out this recipe and to learn more on how lentils can benefit your health - listen to a recent radio interview registered dietitian, Molly Morgan, click here.

Photo Credit: Novel Studios

Photo Credit: Novel Studios

Chia Cherry Lentil Muffins

Yield 16 Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (370 mL) lentils, cooked
1/2 cup (120 mL) 100% orange juice
2 cups (475 mL) white wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chia seeds
1/2 cup (120 mL) sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup (120 mL) vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) dried tart cherries

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Prepare 16 muffin tins with paper liners or non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine the cooked lentils and orange juice in a food processor until the lentils are pureed.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine the pureed lentils, white wheat pastry flour and salt. Stir to combine.

4. Then add chia seeds, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla yogurt, and eggs. Stir to combine. Then add-in the dried cherries and stir to combine.

6. Pour 1/3 of the muffin mixture in each of the muffin tins. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool the muffins on a cooling rack.

Nutrition Facts (per muffin): 210 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 160 milligrams sodium, 32 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 15 grams sugar, 5 grams protein

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Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Muffins can be a great way to start the day, especially when the base is made with whole wheat pastry flour and filled with blueberries. These muffins freeze great too! Make a batch of muffins ahead or even a double batch, and then freeze some to enjoy at a later date

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Serves 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup (420 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
1/8 (1 ml) teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) melted butter
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) lemon zest
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) vanilla yogurt
1 cup (240 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin with muffin pan liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.

3. To the center of the bowl, add egg, coconut milk, melted butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix just until combined. Then stir in the yogurt and gently fold in blueberries.

4. Divide the batter into prepared muffin tin, fill each muffin cup full with batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Holiday Survival Tips

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As the holiday season is upon us and your schedule gets extra busy! Here are some tips to help you through the holiday whirlwind.

Holiday Preparation Burns Calories

Holiday Preparation Burns Calories

Schedule time and sneak in time to stay active throughout the holidays! Although, also embrace the other ways that you will burn calories during the holiday season preparing for gatherings. For example, one hour of wrapping presents burns about 90 calories, one hour of cleaning burns about 150+ calories, one hour of cooking burns about 240 calories.

Calorie counts based on 150-pound person. Click here for a calorie calculator.

Stock up on healthier snacks!

Stock up on healthier snacks!

Sure there will be extra snacks and treats around throughout the holidays. Also stock up on healthier staples like: almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, etc. They are perfect to put out at holiday gatherings or grab to take with you to keep your energy up while running errands.

Other quick and easy ideas to have on hand: clementines, bananas, fruit and nut bars (opt for lower sugar varieties), popcorn, whole grain fig bars

It’s all about balance!

It’s all about balance!

Holiday celebrations often come along with drinks! Balance out alcohol by mixing in a glass of water or club soda between drinks. It will help to keep your overall intake in check, hydrate you, and leave you feeling better the next day.

Plus remember the calorie count that comes along with drinks to help balance out your intake! For example: long island iced tea (8 ounces) 780 calories, eggnog with rum (8 ounces) 370 calories, gin and tonic (7 ounces) 200 calories, light beer (12 ounces) 95 - 135 calories, red or white wine (5 ounces) 120 calories,

If you are throwing a party, serve up a fun non-alcohol “mocktail” like a Sparkling Holiday Mule! See the recipe below.

Sparkling Holiday Mule Mocktail

Sparkling Holiday Mule Mocktail

Sparkling Holiday Mule Mocktail

Ingredients:
Ice
Poland Springs Ginger Lime Mule Seltzer
Fresh Lime Slices
Whole Cranberries (for garnish)
Sprig of rosemary (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Muddle a lime slice in a copper mug (or other serving glass).

  2. Add ice and fill with ginger lime mule seltzer.

  3. Garnish with whole cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

Cheers!

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Quick Dinner Recipe: Coconut Skillet Chicken

coconut skillet chicken

Coconut Skillet Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) or firm tofu
1/4 teaspoon sea sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (adjust to taste preference)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon corn starch mixed into 1 tablespoon water
2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions:
1. Season each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over a medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook each side for 5-7 minutes or until browned on each side.
3. In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Add the vegetable stock, lime juice, cilantro and chili flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, continue to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes to let the sauce reduce down.
4. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to simmer again for another 5 minutes. Add the prepared corn starch and bring to a boil to thicken the sauce.
5. Add the chicken back to the skillet and let the chicken continue to cook until it is cooked through (about 5 – 10 minutes).
6. Serve over the brown rice.

Click here to watch a the recipe video.

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Lunch Ideas to Switch it Up!

Tired of the same old lunches? Here are some nutrient-rich ideas and product tips to switch up lunches either for yourself or the little ones in your life! Happy lunch packing!

Crunch + Protein

When you are looking to add something crunchy to a lunch, rethink-it and add-in roasted chickpeas. They come in a wide variety of flavors and some treat-like flavors too (e.g. milk chocolate!). What I love about these - each serving is about 130 calories plus it delivers 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. The fiber is important because it will help to slow down blood sugar level increases, in turn providing better long lasting energy.

Click here to buy some today or check your local stores like Target or Wegmans for them as well!

Click here  to buy roasted chickpeas!

Click here to buy roasted chickpeas!

Add a Protein Boost

Pack along a milk box to add a boost of 8 grams of protein to lunch! I love these Horizon Organic milk boxes, they are also available in flavored options like chocolate and strawberry, which are perfect for refueling after practices, workouts and games. Plus for an added bonus these milk boxes are shelf-stable and they don’t have to be refrigerated, which makes them really portable and easy to bring along.

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Salads for Lunch

If your little ones are tired of sandwiches, switch it up with a salad! They can be really quick and easy to make. Start with a base of leafy greens, then top it with sliced veggies or fruit, sunflower seeds for crunch, and some sliced cheese. Or even add some baked chicken or tofu for a protein boost. Drizzle it with your favorite salad dressing.

Note - also pictured here is a mini yogurt parfait, which are great to pack along with a salad or even with a sandwich. Check out the Back to School Lunch Favorites for more on parfaits - click here.

Warm Up with Soup

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Soup can make a great addition to lunches. Plus choosing a vegetable-based soup like Tomato Soup, is a great way to squeeze in extra vegetables. Remember to send the soup warm in a thermos style container so it will still be warm to enjoy at lunch time. Send along the soup with a half of sandwich, salad, or a parfait to complete the meal.

Pictured here is Pacific Foods roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a favorite at our house! Also check out the Pacific Foods new line of bone broth soups.

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Roasted Beet + Cauliflower Fall Salad

Fall Salads are the best!

Fall Salads are the best!

Roasted Beet + Cauliflower Fall Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

2 medium beets beets, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch pieces)*

2 cups cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Biena Snacks Sea Salt Chickpeas

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (shells removed)

Salad dressing of choice

*Short on time? Try Love Beets - all you will have to do is cube them up! They will be ready to go. Look for them in the produce section of the grocery store.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Place the cubed beets on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap up the beets into a packet and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until the beets are tender.

  3. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.

  4. To assemble the salads - divide the lettuce among two serving bowls. Divide the toppings evenly among the salad: roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, roasted chickpeas, and sunflower seeds. Finish with your salad dressing of choice (my go to is balsamic vinaigrette!)!

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Product Picks

I'm on a constant quest to try new foods, and products! Here are a couple of recent options that were a hit. 

Cotton Candy Grapes from the Grapery

Cotton Candy Grapes from the Grapery

UNIQUE + DELICIOUS CANDY GRAPES

These Cotton Candy grapes from the Grapery are full of flavor and delicious. They are super sweet and definitely have a cotton candy-like taste. 

In my opinion they are worth putting on your shopping list and can even double as a dessert. 

The Grapery website explains more about the way that these grapes get their unique flavor, its really interesting and worth a read, click here! And don't wait, they are only available for a short period of time, according to their website now through September 20. 

Pressed By KIND Bars

Pressed By KIND Bars

ON-THE-GO FRUIT

Sometimes schedules call for on-the-go options and Pressed by KIND bars are a perfect way to add in fruit on busy days or in lunch boxes! Plus the bars have a simple ingredient list and each has 2 servings of fruit per bar.

For example, the Cherry, Apple, Chia bar ingredient list is literally - cherry, apple, and chia. There is not any added sugar or sweeteners, which is great! Each bar has 130 calories and delivers 3 grams of fiber. 

They are also available in additional flavors including: Mango Apple Chia, Dark Chocolate Strawberry, Dark Chocolate Banana, Strawberry Apple Cherry Chia, and Pineapple Banana Kale Spinach. You can order Pressed by KIND bars direct from KIND Snacks website or look for them in grocery stores, Target, and more.  

Green Giant Riced Veggies 

Green Giant Riced Veggies 

INNOVATIVE VEGGIES

One of the newest ways to enjoy veggies is 'riced' veggies. The texture of veggies when they are chopped fine is so interesting and especially cauliflower, takes on the texture of almost being rice-like. 

You can make your own riced veggies but these frozen bags are super convenient! Plus they come in great flavor combinations like pictured here, Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic. 

Once cup of riced veggies has only 30 calories and is a perfect side dish! Or try plain riced cauliflower as a stand-in for rice with stir-fry or even made into a fried 'rice' dish. Look for riced veggies in the freezer section of the grocery store. Click here for more information on Riced Veggies from Green Giant. 

Note: These product picks are not an advertisement, just products that Creative Nutrition Solutions owner and registered dietitian, Molly Morgan loves! 

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