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3 Reasons to Start Eating Chickpeas!

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I love foods that are versatile!!!  This is probably the main reason I love chickpeas!! Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis or stews.  I highly recommend that you consider roasting chickpeas as a tasty and inexpensive protein source!

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 In addition to their versatility, chickpeas also offer 3 health benefits you do not want to miss.

  1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels: Research has shown that including 3/4 cup of chickpeas in your diet can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which in turn, lowers your risk of heart disease!  Research has also shown that individuals that consume chickpeas on a regular basis have better body fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower total cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels.
  2. Control Hunger Cues: Due to their high fiber and high protein content, this powerful combination will stabilize your hunger cues.  My consuming 1/2 cup chickpeas in your daily intake you are more likely to eat an appropriate amount of calories for your body due to more accurate hunger/fullness cues.  The long-term benefit means your body will rest at a healthy body weight.
  3. Improved Digestive Support: Did you know that 2 cups of chickpeas will give you approximately 28 grams of fiber? That is 100% of the recommended daily value!  Consider chickpeas a staple on your grocery list if you want good colon health. 65-70% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber.  This means the fiber is not digested until it reaches the very end of your colon which promotes healthy bacteria growth and reduces your risk of colon cancer!

Today, I'm sharing the easy concept of roasting chickpeas so you can always have a tasty, nutrient dense, meatless protein option available for your main entrée or for a snack!

Roasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Low Sodium Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Assorted Herbs and Spices of Your Choice (I like to use Dried Thyme, Oregano, Ground Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Rosemary)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pat dry.  Once dry, toss chickpeas with EVOO, assorted spices and herbs of your choosing, garlic salt, and ground black pepper.  Toss chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated with EVOO and herbs/spices.  Pour chickpeas onto baking sheet and spread out so that all chickpeas are in a single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  Stir chickpeas halfway through cooking process to cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot or cold.  This recipes makes 4-5 servings.

I like to serve roasted chickpeas on salads or over rice as a curry!  Roasted chickpeas are great to make hummus and delicious as a portable snack!!!  Be creative and enjoy this nutrient dense food!!!

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Wild-Caught Pesto Cod with Tomato & Olive Relish - Dinner in Less Than 15 Min!

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Time.

It seems to be the most common and prevalent barrier between people eating a nutrient-dense diet and fueling their body to do the activities that are taking up so much time!

How many times have you justified going through the drive-thru window b/c of no time? How many times have you skipped a meal due to a “lack of time”? How many times have you microwaved an unappetizing tv dinner due to a time crunch?  

Food Myth: “To eat “healthy” or nutrient dense means I must spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, dirty up a lot of dishes, and eat bland foods.”

NutriFocusRD has news for you!!

THAT IS A LIE!!!!! And I can prove it!!!!

Last week, I started with fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients and had dinner on the table on 14min and 23 seconds flat! Yes, I timed it and proud of it!!! I wanted to see exactly how long it would take to prepare and serve a balanced, tasty meal. And I was extremely surprised!!!

I proudly served up Wild-Caught Pesto Cod topped with a Tomato & Olive Relish on a Bed of Wilted Organic Spinach. I finished off the dish by pairing it with warm slices of Rosemary & Sea Salt French Baguette!

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So no more excuses… It’s time to make health our priority so we can enjoy our loved ones, hobbies, and activities to the fullest!!!! I’ve shared the recipe below!!! Bon Appetite!

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 Wild-Caught Pesto Cod Served with Tomato & Olive Relish:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Wild-Caught Cod Filets (Frozen – Allow to Thaw Before Cooking) (Can also use tilapia, mahi-mahi or other white flaky fish)
  • 4 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Cooking Spray
  • 4 Tbsp Homemade or Store Bought Pesto
  • 1-2 Small to Medium Sized Tomatoes
  • 8 Kalamata Olives, Pitted & Sliced
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • French Baguette
  • Sea Salt
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Organic Baby Spinach or Frozen Spinach Leaves

Directions:

Pre-Heat Oven to 425 Degrees.

Pat fish dry and place on a baking pan covered in cooking spray. Top each cod filet with 1 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese. Place in oven to cook for 8-10 minutes.

While fish cooks, prepare relish, bread, and spinach. For relish, dice tomatoes and place in small bowl. Add Kalamata olive slices to the tomatoes. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Toss with EVOO and sit to the side.

For bread, slice French baguette into single servings. Drizzle each slice with EVOO and sprinkle with sea salt and dried rosemary. Place in heated oven with fish for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté spinach on the stovetop in a skillet over medium high heat with a drizzle of EVOO. If you purchase frozen spinach, place in microwave.

When fish is done cooking, top each filet with 1 Tbsp pesto. Place each pesto cod filet on a bed of wilted spinach and garnish with Tomato Olive Relish. Serve the Rosemary & Sea Salt French Baguette on the side! Delish!    

Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad

I LOVE summer!!! When it comes to fresh produce, no other season compares!!! The bright colors of fruits & veggies, the fragrant smell of fresh herbs, and abundance of local farmers markets, can entice anyone..... I fell victim this weekend when I made a trip to Pepper Place Farmer's Market located in Birmingham .... I came home with arms loaded!

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One dish I created from my farmers market trip was inspired by MyRecipes.com. This recipe is quick, easy, and full of summer flavors!!!

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Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad:Serves 4Salad Ingredients: 3-4 Heirloom Tomatoes (a variety of colors add dimension) 3-5 Small Tomatoes (green zebras, red zebras, and yellow tomatoes) Handful of Cherry Tomatoes 2 Peaches, Diced 1 Red Onion Diced 1 Large Avocado, Diced Sea Salt Ground Black Pepper 1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese Handful of Purple Basil, Shredded Salad Dressing: 1.5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar Salt Ground Black Pepper 2 teaspoon Honey

Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Mix EVOO, sherry vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and honey in a bowl or shake in a small mason jar. Pour over tomato mixture. Gently fold in avocado, Basil, and crumbled feta cheese.

Serve as a side with sandwiches or grilled burgers. This salad also pairs great with grilled chicken, fish or pork, or as the main entree along side pecorino & pesto crostini!

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Vinaigrette 101

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Making vinaigrette is all about making it your own. I tend do keep my vinaigrette dressings at 2 parts oil, 1 part vinegar. You can use a wide variety of vinegars such as balsamic, red wine vinegar, white balsamic, or apple cider vinegar.

Instead of vinegar you can also use citrus juice as your acid such as lemon juice (think kale salad) or pink grapefruit juice which works nicely baby spinach salad.

Basic Vinaigrette 1 Tbsp Dijon 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup olive oil

Place Dijon into a jar or bowl and add vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake or mix vigorously. Add oil and continue to mix or shake. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Dressing will keep up to 1-week on your counter.

To add sweetness add sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.

To add creaminess add goat cheese, feta cheese, or Gorgonzola cheese.

Add fresh herbs to add zest and character. For example, add oregano and thyme for a Greek inspired vinaigrette.

Be creative! It's your salad!!

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Pictured Above: Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad tossed in Lemon Vinaigrette topped with Organic Walnuts, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Red Onion, Organic Sun-Dried Roma Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Feta Cheese