healthy

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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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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Dinner Idea: Mango Ginger Chicken

Are you in need of quick dinner ideas? Grab this delicious Mango Ginger Chicken recipe from my Olum's Cooking project. Click here for the recipe video and recipe. 

Mango Ginger Chicken - Quick and Easy! 

Mango Ginger Chicken - Quick and Easy! 

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Quick Salad: Mexican Quinoa Salad

This salad recipe has a homemade jalapeno vinaigrette dressing that is absolutely delicious and not too spicy! Plus it is really beautiful and colorful. 

Grab this recipe and watch the recipe video from Molly's cooking project with Olums: https://youtu.be/oJPCQnuarBQ

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

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Game Day Snack: Red Hot Chicken Fingers

Looking for an appetizer that is perfect for game day snacking? Try this Red Hot Chicken Finger Recipe with Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dip from Molly's cooking project with Olum's. 

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers and Homemade Pickled Red Onion

If you are looking for a homemade veggie burger recipe, this recipe is full of flavor! What is great about it too, the base of the burger is sweet potato, rice, beans, and pecans can then be spiced up to your preference. Instead of the cumin you could use onion powder and garlic powder, or even try an Indian-style veggies burger with curry powder!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger

The only trick to making the burgers is to press the mixture firmly together when forming them into patties, as the mixture will be a little sticky. Then during cooking, when you go to flip them half-way through, press them gently with a metal spatula before flipping and it helps them stay together. 

As a side note, the homemade pickled onions are a great addition as well and are quick and easy to make!  

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger with Home-made Pickled Red Onion

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger with Home-made Pickled Red Onion

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger

Serves 12

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed
1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinshed
1 1/2 cups white rice, cooked
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup scallions, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprkia
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Add the black beans to a large mixing bowl and mash. Then add remaining ingredients and mix well. 
3. Use 1/3 cup of the burger mixture to hand form patties. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
4. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, flipping carefully half way through. 

Serving suggestion: Serve on mini rolls topped with sliced tomato and pickled red onions (As pictured above)! Other topping ideas: sliced avocado, lettuce, fried egg, cheese, Dijon mustard, etc. 

Nutrition Facts (per burger): 125 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat,  5 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 4 grams protein 

Homemade Pickled Red Onions

Serves 12

Ingredients:
1  red onion, sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. In a small sauce pan combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. 
2. Place the sliced onion in a glass container and top with the boiling mixture. Cover and refrigerate. Let the onions marinade for at least 20 - 30 minutes. 

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Korean BBQ Cauliflower

During my travels for work in Ottawa, there is a favorite restaurant of mine (Pure Kitchen) that serves Korean BBQ Cauliflower that is so delicious! I have been trying to replicate that dish at home and I finally have gotten pretty close. If you try this recipe, I hope you love it as much as I do and would love to hear from you. 

The Korean BBQ Sauce recipe calls for Gochujang which is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from chili powder, glutinous rice, meju (fermented soybean) powder, yeotgireum (barley malt powder), and salt. You can typically find this in the Asian food aisle at the grocery store. If you can't find it, you could use red chili paste instead!

Korean BBQ Cauliflower

Korean BBQ Cauliflower

Korean BBQ Cauliflower

Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 small heads of cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 8 cups)
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 medium scallions, sliced
1 cup Korean BBQ Sauce (See below)

Korean BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup lite soy sauce or gluten-free
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon Gochujang or chili paste
1 tablespoon corn starch - blended with 2 tablespoons water

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
2. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking tray and spray lightly with olive oil. Roast the cauliflower florets for 20 - 25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. 
3. In a small sauce pan, whisk together all of the Korean BBQ Sauce ingredients - except the corn starch. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes more. 
4. Stir 1 teaspoon of the corn starch and water mixture into the sauce and stir, allowing the sauce to thicken. Note: use more of the corn starch and water mixture if needed.  
5. Heat a skillet and add the roasted cauliflower and about 3/4 of the prepare Korean BBQ Sauce. Stir to coat the cauliflower generously with the sauce.
6. Transfer the cauliflower and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with sliced scallions and serve. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 470 millgirams sodium, 17 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar, 4 grams protein

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Oh Yum! Bean & Veggie Dip

Bean & Veggie Dip

Bean & Veggie Dip

This dip is simple to put together and it is perfect in SO many ways! I love it as a dip with tortilla chips, it tastes great with chicken or fish as a topping, or even just as a side dish by itself. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (11 ounce) can super sweet corn, drained
1 sweet onion, diced
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced red bell pepper

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Note: for best results, refrigerate overnight before serving! 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 170 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 6 grams protein

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