Banana Cream Pie Protein Smoothie

bananasmoothieThe day banana cream pie became healthy enough for breakfast is now upon us! Frozen bananas are blended with vanilla Greek yogurt, a touch of spices and a serving of protein to help keep you full and satisfied.

There is nothing better than an ultra decadently-tasting treat that is actually nutritious and low in calories. Amiright?

I’m on a personal mission to turn all of my favorite desserts into nutritious smoothies. Not a fan of banana cream pie? How about a banana split? Or perhaps an oatmeal raisin cookie? Or better yet, a big ol’ slice of red velvet or carrot cake? Drool.

bananasmoothie3Freezing overripe bananas is the best thing I’ve ever done for my smoothies. Frozen bananas add a wonderfully decadent, creamy consistency to smoothies that almost mimics ice cream.

Using any frozen fruit can generally double as ice, so no additional cubes are needed. This helps keep the smoothie creamy even longer and prevents it from getting watered down. Not that my smoothies ever last long enough to get watered down, but you catch my drift.

I typically like to add at least half a serving of protein powder to my smoothies to round-out an overall balanced meal or snack. Adding a rich source of protein can help prevent any potential spike in your blood sugar from consuming a large amount of fruit in one sitting.

Even though the Greek yogurt adds a nice bit of protein, the addition of protein powder adds some extra sweetness and flavor. I used Snickerdoodle Select Protein in this shake which was the perfect compliment to the other “pie” ingredients! Any type of vanilla, cinnamon or plain protein powder will do the trick, though.

If you’re not adding a flavored protein powder, you may want to add an additional sweetener – honey, agave, Stevia, etc. Whatever your sweet little heart desires :)

bananasmoothie2This smoothie is my version of a big hug to you.

Banana Cream Pie Protein Smoothie

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Citrus-Balsamic Chicken with Nectarines, Basil & Goat Cheese

IMG_1171Orange-marinated chicken breast topped with caramelized nectarines, a sweet balsamic glaze, fresh basil and creamy goat cheese. It’s almost nectarine season and I’m prepping early with this 6-ingredient dish.

Nectarines are in their peak season in the summer months, mainly July and August, however I seemed to have hit the jackpot early with this batch. Juicy, sweet and an array of colors when sliced through. The inside of a ripe nectarine seriously resembles a sunset in my opinion.

And pretty food always wins in my kitchen ;)

IMG_1172This combination: sweet nectarines, savory balsamic and tangy goat cheese all messed together with crisp basil just makes me crazy. I adore the flavor. The sweet and the savory – it’s wild.

The one necessity for this dish (and life, in general) is a good-quality balsamic vinegar. I can’t stress how worth the extra few bucks it is. I know because I drove almost an hour to Sarasota to restock my stash last week. Restock is actually an understatement. Though in case of a zombie apocalypse, I will sleep easy knowing I’ll at least have delicious chicken entrées and endless Caprese salad.

When you’re craving something easy, yet slightly creative – this dish fits the bill.  Perhaps it could be your summer solstice dinner on June 21st to kick off the season? I’ll bring the mojitos!

Citrus-Balsamic Chicken with Nectarines, Basil and Goat Cheese

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Overnight Oats – My Staple Recipe

ono2No time for breakfast? I have a delicious solution for you.

Overnight oats have become quite popular, and for good reason! Especially with the warmer weather creeping upon us, there is just something so comforting and satisfying about cold, creamy oats first thing in the morning.

onoThese oats have to be among the quickest and most nutritious breakfast options out there. The night before, simply combine the ingredients in a Tupperware container or mason jar and let the oats soak up the liquid, yogurt and spices overnight. In the morning, a fiber- and protein-rich breakfast is awaiting you. Trust me, jump on the overnight oats bandwagon and you will zero desire to get off.

One of my favorite things about overnight oats is how creative you can get with your add-ins. I love adding mashed banana, frozen berries, vanilla extract, spices and different flavors of protein powder.

Among my favorite toppings: sliced banana, almond butter, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, chia seeds, nuts and granola. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know there is not such thing as “too many toppings” in my book. The more the merrier!

IMG_1156Another grandiose thing about this recipe is you can actually turn the oats into pancakes if you wake up and you’re not in an ‘oats mood’. Simply spoon the oats onto a heated skillet into 3-4 rounded pancakes and let them cook for 3-4 minutes per side. The pancakes come out so light and fluffy and require zero additional ingredients. Toppings, of course, can remain endless :)

I sweeten my oats with mashed banana and little flavored protein powder which adds the perfect dose of sweetness. If you prefer your oats on the super-sweet side, I would add a touch of honey, agave or a granulated sweetener of your choice.

Give these oats a shot for a simple solution to your busy weekday mornings. Your taste buds will thank you!

Overnight Oats – My Staple Recipe

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Honey-Soy Salmon with Coconut Sriracha Sauce

salmon2It’s only fitting I share a dinner recipe with you all on this fine little Monday. It’s simple enough for a weeknight, yet decadent enough to really spoil the taste buds.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m always more than ready for a filling, balanced meal after the weekend. I’ll actually wake up Monday morning craving fruits and vegetables if I spent the weekend having too many YOLO moments of overindulging. Guilty…

It seems like Monday can so easily morph into one of those days where snacks turn into dinner or endless bowls of cereal are consumed because you’re just 150% over the day by 5PM. BUT regardless of what you ate over the weekend or how bogged down you may feel, this meal has proven to cure the Monday blues.

salmonThe marinated salmon filets are embellished with sesame seeds, sliced green onion and the most delicious sauce. This sauce mimics the Yum Yum Sauce you typically find at Japanese steakhouses, but on a much lighter scale. You know, the sauce some people drown their hibachi in or pour over their sushi like a sauce-tsunami. Trust me, folks, a little goes a long way.

Let’s also talk about my favorite way to prepare salmon. It’s quick and yields little-to-no mess. Win-WIN. I line a baking sheet with foil, set the fish skin-down and broil the filets on HIGH for ~6-7 minutes. Broiling the filets makes the outside crispy and the inside soft, buttery and flaky. It practically melts in your mouth. Heaven.

Not only is salmon the most rich, flavorful fish (in my opinion), but it’s also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats, an excellent source of protein and brimming with many vitamins and minerals. I make an effort to prepare it at least once a week.

salmon3I’ve exploited my fair share of salmon recipes here over the last year or so but my go-to’s, the ones I continue to make regardless of what else I try, are my BBQ-Rubbed Salmon with caramelized pineapple salsa and Salmon Almondine. Love those two so, so much. And now I think I can add a third to my repertoire. Woo!

Serve it over rice with a side of veggies or serve it over a big glorious salad. If you go the salad route, you could add a little extra sauce to double as the dressing.

It’s Monday and you deserve a plate of something nutritious and delicious. Let’s eat!

Honey-Soy Salmon with Coconut Sriracha Sauce

Serves four

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Thyme Roasted Carrots and Beets with Balsamic and Goat Cheese

carrots4Roasted tri-color carrots and juicy beets served on a bed of peppery arugula topped with goat cheese and balsamic glaze. Aka: your next excuse to host a dinner party ;)

I absolutely love any roasted vegetable. It really brings their sweet, rich flavor profiles to life. Add a subtle char to the skins and you’re golden. As a dietitian, if I’m ever working with someone that typically doesn’t like vegetables or simply doesn’t know how to prepare them, this is always my first-line recommendation.

Set your oven to 400 degrees F, lightly coat your vegetables in coconut oil, throw them in the oven and let the oven do the work for you. I always turn the oven up to broil during the last few minutes of roasting to add that beautiful char to the skins.

Roasting beets, in particular, intensifies their flavor and brings out their earthy sweetness. They’re one of my favorite salad toppers!

carrots

Another great thing about this “salad” is you can enjoy it hot or cold. It makes the perfect snack or side dish. It also pairs well with just about any entrée – chicken, fish, red meat, pork, tofu — whatever tickles your fancy.

Speaking of pairing, If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you may notice I’m quite fond of pairing goat cheese with vegetables. I love the contrast of a soft, creamy cheese with crunchy, savory vegetables.

Then the balsamic comes in to add that extra kick, making it a complete ‘party in your mouth’ salad.

carrots3In addition to the great flavor combinations, this dish is also brimming with Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A), folate and other antioxidants. Between the fiber-rich vegetables and low-fat cheese, this dish is a low-glycemic, heart-healthy option the whole family can enjoy.

It’s simply fantastic. And just so pretty. Pretty food always wins.

carrots2

Thyme Roasted Carrots and Beets with Balsamic and Goat Cheese

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Savory Spinach and Manchego Waffles

waffles1Savory Spinach and Manchego Cheese waffles topped off with a soft boiled egg and all.the.yolk.porn. Major breakfast game-changer right here.

Anyone else go through the morning conundrum of savory vs sweet? This is a daily battle for me. It gets so bad sometimes that I just flail my hands up in the air and make a protein shake. Pure defeat.

But here’s the thing. I go nuts over a runny egg. I think of it as a creamy, decadent sauce on top of my egg whites. Some people get the heebie-jeebies with runny egg yolks which gives me this impulsive urge just to crack a raw egg right over their head. Direct confrontation to get over your fears, right? ;)

waffles2I digress. These waffles pack so much flavor between the sharpness of Manchego cheese, spice of cayenne pepper, sweetness of brown sugar, and of course, the crisp fresh spinach.

The soft-boiled egg topping can only be compared to a cherry on top of a rich, hot-fudge sundae. It just MAKES the dish. However, you could totally sub the egg for pure maple syrup or whichever topping you prefer and your taste-buds will still thank you.

If you’re in a breakfast rut, I would highly recommend giving these waffles a shot. Between the whole-wheat flour and spinach, they pack more fiber than your typical waffle and will help keep you full and satisfied as you tackle your day.

Also, if you’re a breakfast-for-dinner (aka brinner) fan – these 100% fit the bill!

Savory Spinach and Manchego Waffles

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Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread with Dates and Walnuts

zucchinibreadRich, moist, whole-wheat zucchini bread with dates, walnuts and a hint of spice. This delicious bread is rich in fiber, heart-healthy fats and brimming with nutrients.

In all honesty, I wanted to call this the best healthy zucchini bread ever but accordingly to Pinterest, that name has already been taken. Whomp, whomp.

This is by far the best bread I have baked, and not to toot my own horn, but the best zucchini bread I have ever eaten! Bold statement, I know. The blind eye would never guess it was actually a healthier version of a typically higher fat bread.

zucchinibread3I absolutely love the flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg combined with sweet dates and rich walnuts. It will make your whole kitchen smell like Williams-Sonoma and the bread taste like Christmas morning. So comforting and satisfying.

So what is the deal with adding the zucchini? Besides the added dose of fiber, the zucchini actually adds a nice bulk to the bread while adding in extra moisture. You can’t taste the vegetable at ALL. Especially since there are so many delicious flavors combined with it. I also personally love the green specs the shredded zucchini adds throughout the loaf. It’s all about the aesthetics, folks! ;)

Zucchini breads and muffins are sheer brilliance, if you ask me, crafted from the same ingenious logic as carrot cake. The only problem is some people may assume these are healthier options because they contain vegetables. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Most of these breads, muffins and cakes are loaded with sugar and oil. Spoiler alert :(

Luckily, with a few substitutions, it’s easy to lower the fat and sugar content to turn these baked goods into delicious, nutritious treats for the whole family.

zucchinibread2

Enjoy this bread for breakfast, dessert or a snack. I personally love it plain, however it’s also delicious with a little almond butter or Neufchatel cheese smeared on top.

Happy weekend baking!

Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread with Dates and Walnuts

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

beanbrownies2Rich, chocolatey fudge brownies that are gluten-free, dairy-free, low in sugar, high in fiber and the decadently delicious. A healthified version of my favorite dessert and hopefully yours, too!

The secret to pleasing friends and family with these is just to not initially call them “black bean” brownies. Offer them a “dark, rich, fudgy, chocolate peanut butter brownie” and spare them the details until they ask what the secret it. Cheers to healthy deception!

IMG_0635I’ve been disappointed by mediocre black bean brownies recipes in the past so I was determined to create something that I could please friends, family and even the pickiest of eaters with. Well, I’m happy to report these are kid, boyfriend, and dietitian-approved!

I honestly couldn’t get over how decadent and fudgy these were. The blind eye would never assume they were actually a healthy dessert. I’m a huge sweets girl and I’ll usually opt for a couple bites of an unhealthy dessert over a whole serving of a healthy one. Sometimes the more nutritious option just doesn’t completely satisfy my sweet-tooth. These brownies, however, completely won me over after just one bite. Chocolate peanut butter heaven.

beanbrowniesThey’re also ridiculously simple to make. Just a handful of ingredients that you may already have on hand, a food processor (or blender) and pan for baking. Clean-up is a cinch and your reward is oh-so satisfying.

beanbrownies3Enjoy these plain, topped with some vanilla ice-cream, slathered with a little extra peanut butter, or topped with fresh berries and Greek yogurt. As long as they make it to your mouth, you are winning at LIFE. Exaggeration totally warranted.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

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20-Minute Shrimp Brown Rice Noodle Bowls with Peanut Sauce

shrimpbowls2Brown-rice noodle bowls with assorted vegetables, cashews, shrimp and cilantro in a sweet peanut sauce topped with a drizzle of spicy Sriracha. Quick, simple and totally delicious.

Easy weeknight meals on deck! The words simple, quick and flavorful are KEY for weeknight meal planning for me. Nutritious, of course, is an added bonus.

I’ve been experimenting more with brown rice noodles and absolutely love them. They’re a great, healthful alternative to ordinary pasta and cook in less than FOUR minutes. Four minutes! They’re also gluten-free, an excellent source of fiber and have a nice mild flavor that allows for a wide array of sauce pairings.

shrimpbowlsThe best thing about bowl-style meals like this is you can get as creative and versatile as you want. You can essentially customize it to coincide with your food preferences and I’ll bet any combination you choose will be delicious. Toss in whatever vegetables you have on hand and a protein of your choice (chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu, etc.).

The sauce has four simple ingredients: rice vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, peanut butter and coconut palm sugar. The Sriracha topping is optional, though since the sauce is on the sweeter side, I love the spicy contrast of the Sriracha sauce.

It also makes for fantastic leftovers to take for lunches during the work week. Believe it or not, this dish is actually great served either hot or cold. Leftovers would be great served over a bed of fresh spinach for a hearty salad!

bowlAlso worth mentioning, all of the components of this dish (with exception to the noodles) are prepared in ONE pan. Can I get a Hallelujah?? I don’t know about you guys, but nothing impedes my love for cooking like a huge pile of dirty dishes at the end of a meal. I absolutely loathe them. I will gladly prepare anyones meal if they agree to do the clean up afterwards. Any takers?? ;)

Give this fun, flavorful bowl a try for your next weeknight dinner. It’s sure to be a crowd and taste-bud pleaser!

Shrimp Brown Rice Noodle Bowls with Peanut Sauce 

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Honey-Roasted Almond, Coconut and Dark Chocolate Granola

granola3Sweet, crunchy honey-roasted almond granola with coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips. A nutritious, energizing snack and the perfect topping to your yogurt parfaits or smoothies. It’s snack time and this granola is calling your name!

In addition to the almonds, chocolate chips and shredded coconut, I also tossed in flaxseed and chia seed for an extra nutritional punch. The granola is baked in a mix of vanilla extract, honey and coconut oil and will make your entire house smell like pie. Or the holidays. Or heaven. Can someone please make this into a candle scent??

granola2The combination of chocolate and coconut make this granola taste like decadent treat, yet it is lower in fat and calories than most store-bought granola. It is rich in protein, fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fats to keep you full and energized. What else do you need in a snack? Besides another batch… ;)

My absolute favorite use of granola is on top of smoothies. I just feel like i’m having a more complete, satiating snack if I have something to chew, as opposed to just something to drink. The granola gradually sinks down to the bottom of the smoothie and you end up with frozen, crunchy chunks of granola as the grand finale to your smoothie-drinking experience. Anyone else look forward to this?? #confessionsofasmoothieaddict

granola4This morning I topped my banana, kale and peanut butter smoothie with this granola and it was a match made in breakfast heaven! Naturally sweetened and brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If a kale and banana smoothie doesn’t strike your fancy, be sure to check out my other smoothie recipes for alternative deliciousness. Especially the one that tastes like a Wendy’s frosty. Try it and you will totally see why it is my favorite!

Kale, Banana, Peanut Butter Smoothie

  • One frozen banana
  • 1 handful of fresh kale
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk
  • Ice to desired consistency — I only needed a few cubes

granola1Give your breakfast some extra love this week with a batch of this delicious, nutritious granola. Though before I bid you adieu, I will leave you with these two warnings:

  1. Store-bought granola will never look as appealing
  2. It is HARD to stop at just one handful. Portioning out in advance is highly recommended…. ;)

Honey Roasted Almond, Coconut and Dark Chocolate Granola

Makes roughly 3-3.5 cups prepared

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