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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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Greek-Style Green Beans

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Need a quick and simple side dish, but do not want to compromise your nutrient intake? 

Looking for a side dish that provides a nutrient-dense punch with delicious flavor?

Do you have 5-minutes?

If you answered yes, then Greek-Style Green Beans are the perfect side dish for you!!!

Greek-Style Green Beans are extremely versatile. They pair nicely with sandwiches, grilled wraps, or alongside chicken, tuna, or salmon salad. (Pictured below is Greek-Style Green Beans Mediterranean Chicken Salad from Whole Foods on a Bed of Greek-Style Green Beans -- Flavorful Lunch Idea That is Quick on Time and High in Nutrients!!)

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These flavorful beans also provide the crunch that most individuals enjoy about potato chips.

Consider this dish for your next tailgating party. It can be served hot or cold and compliments all grilled meats, burgers, and sliders!

Greek-Style Green Beans:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package Green Beans in a Steamable Bag
  • 2-3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach Leaves
  • ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or Coconut Oil
  • ½ Red Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
  • Garlic Salt to Taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Microwave green beans according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté baby spinach and diced red onion in a skillet over medium heat. Once green beans are cooked, add the beans to the spinach and onion mixture. Gentle toss in crumbled feta, garlic salt, pepper and olives. Serve hot or cold.

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!    

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

Putting Pumpkin Seeds on the Plate

The first step of cooking pumpkin seeds, is to rinse the seeds well under  running water in    order to lose the pumpkin flesh flavor. Once the seeds are clean, use a damp dish towel to blot the seeds dry.  After drying the seeds,  sprinkle them with the herbs of your choice and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  For even cooking while in the oven, it is best to turn the seeds every 10 minutes. Also feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors such as cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or Italian herb mix for example.  If you prefer your seeds to have a salty flavor, consider boiling your seeds in salted water.

Pumpkin Seed Serving Tips

  • Add crunch to your vegetables by adding pumpkin seeds
  • Add flavor to your salad by sprinkling candied pumpkin seeds on top of your mixed green salad

Candied Pumpkin Seeds:  Recipe From www.tasteofhome.com

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Spread into a greased foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 250° for 45-50 minutes or until seeds are well-glazed, stirring occasionally. Cool completely; break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 1 cup.

  • Whole Foods offered this great tip: Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
  • Make your morning oatmeal standout by adding canned pumpkin and chopped pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are also a great addition to your favorite cold cereal.
  • Add pumpkin seeds to your homemade granola.  Don’t have time to cook?! Pick up Back to Nature’s Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Granola at your local grocery store!
  • To give your burgers more texture, add ground pumpkin seeds
  • Add kick to your afternoon snack by packing Spicy Pumpkin Seeds in your lunch bag! (Following Recipe is from All Recipes)

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds -  Recipe From www.allrecipes.com

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 drops hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Stir together the pumpkin seeds and butter in a bowl. Add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and hot pepper sauce; stir. Spread the seeds in a single layer on the baking pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until crispy, about 45 minutes.

Wanting to know more? Check out this link which will provide  More Pumpkin Seed Information