Mango Chutney Sandwich

It’s getting warmer and everyone is trying to tone up to have a “summer body.” Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and having a plant-based diet is a great way to lose weight in a healthy way.

Try our Mango Chutney Sandwich - you’ll love the hint of tropical flavor! Here is the recipe:

Mango Chutney Sandiwch

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe mango

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 3 mushrooms

  • Handful of salad leaves

  • 1/2 ripe avocado

  • 2 pieces of your favorite bread

  • 1/2 tbsp light mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First, we’ll make the mango chutney. Cut mango into cubes. Mix it with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, wholegrain mustard, and sea salt. Set aside (recipe will make more than for 1 sandwich - you can keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days).

  2. Slice mushrooms and bake for ~10 minutes.

  3. Rinse salad leaves.

  4. Slice avocado into ~1/2 inch thickness.

  5. Toast your favorite bread, spread mayo, and layer salad leaves, avocado, baked mushrooms and mango chutney.

Mangoes

Mangoes can add texture and flavor to the sandwich, and are also high in vitamins A and C! Some people may find it difficult to cut mangoes because of the large seed in the middle, but it’s really easy once you know the trick: place a mango on a cutting board with the stem end facing down. Then, place your knife to ~1/2 inch outside the center and cut down. Repeat for the other side. Without cutting through the skin, make long slices down the length of the mango, then cut crosswise to form cubes. Gently press the skin up from underneath to turn the mango inside out. Don’t eat them all before making the chutney!

REFERENCES:

  1. Mango. Ohio Department of Education Web site. https://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Other-Resources/Food-and-Nutrition/Resources-and-Tools-for-Food-and-Nutrition/Fresh-Fruit-and-Vegetable-Classroom-Education-Mate/FRUIT-MANGO.pdf.aspx. Accessed March 21, 2019. 

Asparagus Cupcake

Happy First Day of Spring!

There’s nothing more exciting than finally saying good-bye to the long winter. Even at grocery stores, you may start seeing signs of spring — like fresh asparagus!

Looking for a fun way to eat asparagus? Try our Asparagus Cupcake!

Asparagus Cupcake

Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (for 12 cupcakes)

  • ½ onion

  • 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil

  • ¾ cup almond milk

  • 1 egg

  • 2 1/3 cup self-rising flour

  • 2 tbsp. baking powder

  • 12 asparagus

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 pinch pepper

  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a cupcake tray by lining it with parchment paper.

  2. Finely dice onion and cook it in a frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Once the onion is soft, remove from heat and let it cool.

  3. In a bowl, mix almond milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, and egg.

  4. In a separate bowl, mix self-rising flour and baking powder.

  5. Finely chop asparagus.

  6. Add the cooled onion, the asparagus, dried oregano, salt and pepper to the wet mixture, then add the dry mixture and combine.

  7. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases, top with grated Parmesan cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven.

  8. Cool on a wire rack for ~10 minutes.

Asparagus is low-calorie (1 cup of cooked, fresh asparagus is only about 35 Calories!) and nutritious. It is an excellent source of folate, and a good source of vitamins A and C.

It's highly perishable so try to eat it within 1-2 days after purchasing.If you don’t have time to make our Asparagus Cupcakes, simply eat them in a salad!

Asparagus Salad

REFERENCES:

  • Ohio State University Extension. Appetizing Asparagus. May 20, 2014. https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/food/williams-973osu-edu/appetizing-asparagus/

Slow-cooked Vegetable Stew

What's better than eating a lot of veggies? Eating a variety of veggies!

Having various colors in your diet is an easy way to increase variety in your meals- red, green, yellow, orange, white, etc. Using these colorful ingredients can not only make the dish appealing to the eyes, but will also help you get a broad range of nutrients.

To eat more veggies, salad isn't your only solution! Cooking veggies reduces the volume and makes it easier to eat more.

Try our Slow-cooked Vegetable Stew:

Slow-cooked Vegetable Stew

Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 2 medium carrots

  • 2 medium onions

  • 1 cup green beans

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 2 cups cauliflowers

  • 1 can tomatoes (crushed)

  • 2 cups vegetables stock or broth

  • salt and pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and chop sweet potato, carrots, and onions. Chop green beans and bell pepper.

  2. In a slow cooker, place all the chopped vegetables, 1 can tomatoes (crushed), and vegetable stock. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours. Use salt and pepper to your taste.

  3. While the stew is cooking, steam 2 cups cauliflowers.

  4. Serve the stew with cauliflowers on top.

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Tropical Chia Pudding

Have you had chia seeds before? They are sometimes called "super food" because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats and may have some health benefits.

They can be brown, black, or white and have a nutty flavor. Including chia seeds to your diet is easy- just sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, soups, salads, pancakes, etc. They go well with pretty much anything! Our Tropical Chia Pudding is also a delicious way to enjoy this super food!

Chia Pudding

Here is the recipe (makes 2 servings):

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • ½ cup hazelnut milk

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • ¼ tsp vanilla

  • a pinch of salt

  • 3 tbsp coconut yogurt

  • 2 passion fruit seeds

  • 1 mango (diced)

  • chocolate bits or cocoa nibs (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix chia seeds, hazelnut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Leave to soak overnight.

  2. Next day, mix the chia mixture with coconut yogurt.

  3. In a container, layer passion fruit seeds, chia pudding, and diced mangoes.

  4. Top it with chocolate bits or cocoa nibs and enjoy!

REFERENCES:

Emily Wax. Healthy food trends -- chia seeds. MedlinePlus. April 23, 2018. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000727.htm

Chia seed

Healthy French Truffles

Valentine’s Day is coming up!

Going out for a romantic dinner with your significant other, cooking a gourmet dinner at home, and sending cards/gifts to each other… Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show the people around you how much you love them, and to feel how much you are loved!

These Healthy French Truffles are wonderful gifts for Valentine’s Day - they’re easy to make, delicious, and much healthier than many desserts!

Healthy French Truffles

INGREDIENTS:
• 20 pitted dates
• 2 tbsp coconut flakes
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• 2 tbsp cocoa + some extra for coating

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a blender, add pitted dates, coconut flakes, coconut oil, and cocoa. Mix well.
2. Form bite-size balls.
3. Roll them in cocoa to cover.
4. Leave them in the refrigerator for an hour.

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

Eating is not just an action to provide energy and nutrients for the body, but is also an enjoyable, exciting, pleasurable experience for many people. So even if desserts may not provide you a lot of nutrients, you don’t need to totally avoid it.

Making desserts at home is often a great way to reduce calories (use less butter/oil, or sugar) and add more nutrients (add fruits, etc.). Canned pumpkin purée (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix) is a great ingredient when making desserts at home. 1 cup of canned pumpkin is only 80 calories, contains more than an entire day's worth of vitamin A, and is also a good source of vitamin C! Try our super easy Pumpkin Pudding Parfait.

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 can pumpkin purée
• ¾ can low-fat evaporated milk
• 5.1 oz (1 ½ package of the 3.4 oz packages) instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 12-oz box chocolate chip cookies
• Cocoa powder or cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a blender or a food processor, combine pumpkin purée, evaporated milk, instant vanilla pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate for ~1 hour.
2. Layer the pudding mixture and chocolate chip cookies in a serving dish, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Sprinkle some cocoa powder and/or cinnamon to taste.

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

REFERENCES:
1. The Ohio State University. College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Chow Line: New from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Oct. 30, 2015. https://cfaes.osu.edu/sites/cfaes_main/files/site-library/site-documents/News/chow_pumpkin_103015.pdf

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

It is commonly said that the average American gains a few pounds or more during the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day). However, there’s not much data to support this statement, and one study showed only 0.37 kg (0.81 lb) weight gain over the holiday season.

If you gained a lot more than that, that’s okay. New Year is a great time to start changing your eating habit. Avoid any extreme diets because even if you lose weight rapidly, you’ll likely gain it back once you go back to your regular diet. Instead, try to gradually change your habits to a healthier one, and aim for slow but sustainable weight loss.

Increasing your vegetable intake is a great way to eat healthier and have better control of your weight. Eating veggies doesn’t mean that you have to eat boring salad (lettuce + cucumber + tomatoes) everyday. Be creative and enjoy different flavors and textures in your salad - using fruits will add some sweetness and using seeds/nuts will add some crunch.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Here is a recipe for our Grapefruit Avocado Salad.

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 ruby grapefruit
• 4 banana shallots (or 2 small red onions)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt + some extra to massage the shallots
• Handful of salad leaves
• 2 precooked (boiled or roasted) beetroots
• 1 avocado
• 1 small can of butter beans
• Thyme (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Supreme ruby grapefruit- save any juice you get while supreming.
2. Thinly slice banana shallots (or red onions), massage it with salt, and put it in a bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and any juice from the grapefruit. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
3. Rinse and dry the salad leaves. Cut beetroots into 8 pieces. Slice avocado. Drain the canned butter beans.
4. On a large plate, start layering the salad leaves, butter beans, beetroots, avocado and grapefruit. Top it with the shallot dressing that you made and sprinkle with thyme.


REFERENCES:
1. Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O'Neil PM, and Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 2000 Mar 23;342(12):861-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336296/

Our Favorite Smoothies

It’s almost the end of the year - did you accomplish your New Year’s Resolution?

The key to achieving your goals is to set specific goals. For example, instead of broad goals like “I will eat healthier in 2019,” your goal should be something like “Instead of skipping breakfast everyday, I will make smoothies at least 3 times a week.”

Smoothies

For those of you that always have hectic mornings or those that don’t have great appetite in the morning, smoothies are an easy, healthy, and delicious way to start your day!

Try one of our favorite recipes (from left top, clockwise):

Banana, Avocado and Papaya Smoothie
In a blender, mix 2 bananas, 1/2 avocado, 1/3 papaya, 2 cups almond milk and ice.

Raspberry Mandarin Smoothie
In a blender, mix 1/2 cup almond milk, 3 oz coconut yogurt, 1 tbsp honey, 3 oz frozen raspberries, 1 banana, juice of 2 mandarins, pinch of ground cardamom, and pinch of salt.

Blueberry Mango Smoothie
In a blender, mix 1 banana, 1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), 1/3 cup mango (fresh or frozen), 1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt, 1 tsp bee pollen, 1 tsp coconut oil, and 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Spinach Banana Smoothie
In a blender, mix 1 ripe banana, 1 cup packed spinach, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tsp bee pollen, and top it off with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can add more or less depending on how thick you like it).

Have a nice day!

Fruits

Homemade Hummus

Did you know that hummus is made of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans? Studies show that people who eat chickpeas/hummus had higher intake of some key nutrients like vitamins and dietary fiber. Studies also show that chickpea/hummus consumption may be associated with better weight management and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Let’s make some homemade hummus today - it’s super easy!

Hummus

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 can chickpeas (drain and keep the liquid)
• 1 juiced lemon
• 3 tbsp tahini
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp ground cumin

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place chickpeas (you can save some to decorate on the top), lemon juice, tahini, garlic, olive oil, salt, and ground cumin in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. If the hummus is too thick, add the chickpea liquid, one tbsp at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
3. Taste, adding more salt and lemon juice as needed.
4. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Hummus can be a healthy alternative for a lot of things - replace mayonnaise in your sandwich, cheese on your cracker, or creamy dip for your veggie sticks. Our favorite dish is spreading the hummus on cucumber slices and topping it with half a sun-dried tomato, sunflower seeds and paprika!

Hummus

REFERENCES:
1. Wallace TC, Murray R, and Zelman KM. The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 29;8(12). pii: E766. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/
2. O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, and Fulgoni III VL. Chickpeas and Hummus are associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Diet Quality, and Levels of Some Cardiovascular Risk Factors: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010. J Nutr Food Sci 2014, 4:1. https://www.omicsonline.org/chickpeas-and-hummus-are-associated-with-better-nutrient-intake-diet-quality-and-levels-of-some-cardiovascular-risk-factors-national-health-and-nutrition-examination-survey-2155-9600.1000254.pdf

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Looking for a delicious festive breakfast? Try these sweet potato pancakes!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 large sweet potato (steamed and mashed)
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup almond milk
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tbsp butter
• coconut yogurt, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and maple syrup to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix together the mashed sweet potato, eggs, almond milk, salt, and ground cinnamon.
2. Over medium heat, melt butter and cook the sweet potato pancakes for approximately 2 minutes per side (don’t flip them too soon so that they don't break!)
3. Top them off with some coconut yogurt, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and maple syrup.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, but are also one of the best sources of beta-carotene, which are converted into vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A protects body from infections, supports cell growth, and is involved in eye and skin health.

Enjoy sweet potatoes for meals and snacks - the easiest way to cook them is to just rinse and bake in an oven until they are soft. You’ll be surprised how sweet they are without having to add any sugar :)


REFERENCES:
1. California Department of Public Health, Network for a Healthy California. Harvest of the Month. 2010. http://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/documents/Winter/SweetPotatoes/Sweet%20Potatoes%20-%20Educator%27s%20Newsletter_Final.pdf

Carrot & Apple Soup

On a freezing day, coming back from a long day of work, how does a nice warm cup of soup sound?

Here is a simple, delicious soup recipe that can be made ahead to make your week easier!

Carrot & Apple Soup

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 onion (diced)
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves (minced)
• 8 cups vegetable broth
• 1 lb carrots (ends chopped off and sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs)
• 2 apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
• 2 tsp turmeric
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1/2 tsp salt
• milk or cream, fresh herbs (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Sautée the diced onion in olive oil.
2. Once onions are translucent, add in the minced garlic cloves and sautée for another 1-2 minutes.
3. Add in vegetable broth and the sliced carrots. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until carrots are tender.
4. Add in the diced apples, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until apples are tender.
5. Using an immersion (or regular) blender, blend the soup until smooth.
6. Top with a splash of milk or cream and fresh herbs.

Carrots

Carrots contain vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc. Because of these nutrients, carrots may be beneficial in preventing cancer and enhancing your immune system. There are also some reports suggesting their effects in preventing diabetes, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Apples

How about apples? There’s a saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” so they must be really healthy, right?

Unfortunately, a clinical study that compared people that typically ate at least 1 small apple a day vs. those who didn’t concluded that there was no evidence that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

However, many studies show an association between eating apples and a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and asthma. Apples contain various phytochemicals, many of which have antioxidant and/or anticancer functions.


REFERENCES:
1. Silva Dias, J.C. (2014) Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2014. 5;2147-2156. http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014120411490798.pdf
2. Davis MA, Bynum JP, Sirovich BE. Association between apple consumption and physician visits: appealing the conventional wisdom that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 May;175(5):777-83. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2210883
3. Boyer J and Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3:5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/pdf/1475-2891-3-5.pdf

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

Halloween is coming up - what are you going to be this year?

Pumpkin's beautiful bright color comes from an antioxidant called beta-carotene. Diets high in foods with beta-carotene may be associated lower risk of certain types of cancer and heart diseases.

How about some Roasted Pumpkin Salad for dinner today? It’s full of different flavors and textures.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

INGREDIENTS: (2 servings)
• 1 lb 5 oz cubed pumpkin
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp chili flakes
• Dash of salt and pepper
• 4 handfuls of spinach leaves
• 2 oz pistachios
• 3 oz feta
• Pomegranate seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix the pumpkin with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Place them in a baking tray and bake at 390º F for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse and dry the spinach leaves. Place spinach in a bowl, add roasted pumpkin, and top it with pistachios and feta.
3. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds for a crunch (optional).

Halloween

REFERENCES:
California Department of Public Health. Harvest of the Month. Published: 2012. Accessed: Sep 13, 2018. http://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/documents/Fall/Pumpkin/Pumpkins%20-%20Educator%27s%20Newsletter.pdf

Salmon Crêpe

It’s almost the weekend!

What is your favorite brunch menu? Pancakes, waffles, omelets… It’s hard to just pick one, but one of our favorites is bagel + smoked salmon + cream cheese! If you also LOVE this combination, try our Salmon Crêpe. It tastes just as good (if not better!), and looks a little fancier to brighten up your weekend.

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INGREDIENTS:
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup milk
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• Smoked salmon
• Cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. Add the egg, sugar, salt, milk, flour, and baking powder into a blender and blend until smooth. Wait for 20 minutes, then add vegetable oil. Mix well.
2. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Slowly pour a little scoop of the batter while holding pan off the heat and swirl the batter in a circular motion to get a thin layer. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes or until loosened from the bottom of the pan and lightly browned. Flip the crepe and cook for another minute until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a plate and continue the process until the batter is gone.
3. To assemble the crepes, spread a small amount of cream cheese and some smoked salmon. Roll the crepe and cut into 3 parts. Enjoy!

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.

If you have some leftover smoked salmon, put it on a toast or rice cracker with some mashed avocado - a super easy breakfast/snack recipe!

Salmon Avocado

Green Quinoa Salad

Preparing your lunch and/or dinner on weekdays is not an easy task, but it’s definitely worth it. It is so much easier to control your weight when you’re preparing your own meals. Here’s an easy healthy recipe for a weekday meal – Green Quinoa Salad.

Green Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
• 1 cup dry quinoa
• 3.5 oz edamame (frozen or fresh)
• 3.5 oz peas (frozen or fresh)
• 12 asparagus spears
• 1 carrot
• Grated zest and juice of half lemon
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
• Handful of coriander
• Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook the dry quinoa as per package instructions and spread it on a wide plate to cool.
2. Boil edamame and peas for 4 minutes.
3. Cut asparagus spears in half, blanch for 2 minutes, and leave to cool.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave carrot into ribbons.
5. In a small bowl, make the dressing by mixing grated zest and juice of lemon, olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the quinoa, vegetables, and coriander (chopped), add the dressing, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa contains higher amounts of protein than other grains (~8g protein per 1 cup cooked quinoa), and unlike some plant protein, it is a complete protein (i.e. contains all 9 essential amino acids). It is also rich in fiber, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and thiamine.

Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice and pasta in many dishes. You can also try making a breakfast quinoa cereal with some fruits and cinnamon!

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REFERENCES:
Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Quinoa. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/quinoa/. Accessed Aug 9, 2018.

Whole Wheat Pancake with Applesauce

Looking forward to the weekend?

LOVE going out to brunch and getting those pancakes?

Eating out and experimenting different restaurants is definitely fun, but making your own pancakes from scratch is also a lot of fun! It's also a great way to make it healthier so you don't have to feel guilty afterwards. 😊

Whole wheat pancake with applesauce

Try our Whole Wheat Pancake with Applesauce.

INGREDIENTS (~10 pancakes):
• 1 cup and 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 tbsp honey
• 6 tbsp applesauce
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• Oil or butter for the pan
• Fresh seasonal fruits

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Add unsweetened almond milk, honey, applesauce and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix to incorporate.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Brush a bit of oil or butter and cook the batter until bubbles form. Flip and cook the other side.
4. Serve them with fresh seasonal fruits and some extra drizzles of honey.

applesauce

In this recipe, applesauce is the secret ingredient, preventing the pancake from being dry without having to add extra fat/oil. This secret tip works for many other recipes - when you're baking a muffin or a cake, try replacing 1/3 to half the fat/oil with applesauce.

Roasted Carrots with Ricotta Cheese

Looking for a delicious side dish to impress your friends or significant other with? Try our Roasted Carrots with Ricotta Cheese. You don't need to buy any fancy ingredients, but the dish will still be delicious and impressive!

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INGREDIENTS:
• 1 whole bunch of carrots
• Olive oil (enough to coat carrots + 1 tsp)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or silvered almonds
• 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
• Balsamic vinegar (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop the stems off the carrots and lay on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 20-30 minutes in the oven until carrots are browned.
5. While the carrots roast, in a small frying pan, add in olive oil and pine nuts (or slivered almonds).
6. Roast in the frying pan for 2-3 minutes until the nuts are lightly toasted.
7. On a serving plate, spread the ricotta cheese. Layer the roasted carrots on top, and then top with toasted pine nuts. If desired, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. Enjoy!

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Carrots contain vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and flavonoids that may prevent cancer and enhance immune system. They are available all year round, inexpensive, and lasts longer than most veggies so it's a great vegetable to always have in stock. 


REFERENCES:
1. João Carlos da Silva Dias. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2014, 5, 2147-2156. http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014120411490798.pdf

Hazelnuts & Basil Pesto

Nuts may be calorie dense, but they are rich in healthy unsaturated fat and plant protein. They also contain vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, fiber, and various other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Eating more nuts have been associated with lower risk of heart disease. Some studies also suggest beneficial effects on hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc. 

A smart way to incorporate nuts into your diet is replacing chips and other unhealthy snacks with nuts. That way, you're not adding extra calories to your total daily intake, but can get all the healthy benefits from nuts.

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Another way to increase your nut intake is to incorporate them into your meals. Sprinkling them onto your salad or roasted veggies is an easy way. You can also try our Hazelnut & Basil Pesto for dinner. It's super easy and great for a meatless night. 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup dry couscous
• ~3 oz basil
• 3 cloves garlic
• ~3.5 oz hazelnuts
• 3 Tbs olive oil
• 1 Tbs lemon juice
• Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook couscous as per packet instructions (makes 2 cups).
2. In a food processor, add basil, garlic cloves, hazelnuts, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste. Pulse several times.
3. Incorporate the pesto with the cooked couscous.
4. Serve it with baked sweet potato, avocado and pomegranate seeds or any side veggies you like!
*The pesto-couscous will sit perfectly in the fridge for a few days, ready for a lunch on the go!

basil and hazelnut pesto

REFERENCES: 
1. Ros E. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul;2(7):652-82.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/pdf/nutrients-02-00652.pdf
2. Nuts for the Heart. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Web site. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nuts-for-the-heart/. Accessed May 4, 2018.

Turmeric Salmon

Everyday, we hear more and more stories about how good fish is for our health. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of fish and/or a type of fat in fish (called omega-3 fatty acids) is associated with improved body composition, cardiovascular health, and mental and cognitive status. 

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You might think cooking fish is difficult, but it's really easy - the key is to get fresh fish and avoid overcooking. Here is a recipe for perfectly cooked Turmeric Salmon:

INGREDIENTS:
• Two 4-ounce salmon steaks
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/4 tsp paprika
• dash of cayenne pepper
• dash of salt and black pepper
• 2 slices of lemon

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place two 4-ounce salmon steaks on separate pieces of parchment paper.
2. Lather each salmon steak in 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.
3. Sprinkle each salmon steak with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp paprika, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a dash of kosher salt and black pepper.
4. Top each salmon steak with a slice of lemon.
5. Fold the parchment paper around each piece of salmon so that a small envelope is created (for more info on how to wrap the salmon: search "salmon en papillote").
6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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Using the spices not only add flavors to the salmon, but may also add health benefits! For example, turmeric has been traditionally used for digestive health and some clinical studies also suggest its benefits. 

REFERENCES:
1. Fish or n3-PUFA intake and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2014 Aug;15(8):657-65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24891155
2. Fish consumption and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. Public Health Nutr. 2018 May;21(7):1297-1306. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29317009
3. Association between fish consumption and risk of dementia: a new study from China and a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Public Health Nutr. 2018 Mar 19:1-12. doi: 10.1017/S136898001800037X. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29551101
4. Fish consumption and depression in Korean adults: the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013-2015. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan 17. doi: 10.1038/s41430-017-0083-9. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29339828
5. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 28;3:71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24973984

Beet Linguine

Beet's dark red color is not only a great addition to various dishes, but it may also have health benefits! Its pigment called betalain is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and may be associated with lower risk of diseases.

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Not sure how to cook them? Try our Beet Linguine.

INGREDIENTS:
• 2/3 pound raw beets
• 1 pound chicken breast
• Salt and pepper
• 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 10 ounces of linguine
• 1 pound baby spinach
• Grated Parmigiano cheese (optional)
• Olive oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400-425º F.
2. Peel beets, slice them into ~1/4 inch thickness, and cook them in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.
3. Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in a frying pan with coconut oil (3-5 minutes on each side).
4. Fill 2/3 of a large pot with water, add 1 tsp salt, and boil.
5. Cook linguine for 5-7 minutes and drain.
6. Mix linguine with baby spinach, beets, and chicken.
7. Add Parmigiano cheese and olive oil to your preference and enjoy!

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REFERENCES:
1. Tom Clifford, Glyn Howatson, Daniel J. West, and Emma J. Stevenson. The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2015 Apr; 7(4): 2801–2822. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Having issues with your cholesterol? Try oats!

Whole grains are higher in fiber and overall better for health compared to refined grain. Furthermore, studies show that among the whole grains, oats are the most effective in lowering cholesterol.

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Oats are a good source of plan protein, fiber, thiamine, and iron. 

 
*Data from the Asken Diet app

*Data from the Asken Diet app

 

Having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is an easy way to incorporate oats into your diet, but if you want other ways to get more oats, try our delicious Peanut Butter Oat Balls for a snack!

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
• 1/4 cup honey or agave syrup
• 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, simply combine all the ingredients except for the shredded coconut
2. Once mixed, roll the dough into small ball shapes
3. Cover each ball in unsweetened shredded coconut
4. Cool in the fridge for 20 minutes, then serve

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

REFERENCES:
1. Harvard Medical School. Harvard Heart Letter: Whole-grain oats: Best bet for lowering cholesterol. Harvard Health Publications Web site. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/research-were-watching-whole-grain-oats-best-bet-for-lowering-cholesterol. Published: October, 2015. Accessed September 8, 2017.