Healthy Superbowl Recipes

As most of you probably know, this weekend is Superbowl Weekend! An afternoon spent watching TV, enjoying a football game (and/or the commercials) and indulging in some not-so-good-for-you snacks. The typical game day spread consists of things like wings, pizza, chips, and dips etc. And while there's nothing wrong with a nice, lazy Sunday, you may not want to combine the lack of activity with a bunch of unhealthy food. It's still barely February, we can't give up on our New Year's resolutions now! ;) So to help you out, we have compiled a list of healthy game day recipes that we think everyone will enjoy!

Healthy Game Day Recipes

(Click the titles for links to each recipe)

Baked Chips 

Cheers to a good game and good (for you) food!

 

Immune-Boosting Soup!

It's that time of year again - cold and flu season. Whether you've already been sick this season or you're just trying to avoid it, a healthy diet is a great place to start! My personal favorite thing to eat when I'm sick, is soup. Warm and soothing, this soup in particular is also chock full of veggies that will give you an extra immunity boost! More so than any canned soup claims to do ;)

Mushrooms– the soup is made in a mushroom broth; a power food that contains Ergothioneine, an antioxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals. They’re also a powerful source of Vitamin D.

Coconut Oil – contains two important anti-viral compounds, lauric acid and caprylic acid. Together these help ward off bacterial and viral infections.

Garlic – eating garlic can actually boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream. It also contains alliin which converts to allicin, which is believed to be the major antibacterial compound in garlic.

Turmeric – probably best known for its ability to fight inflammation, turmeric contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin which is responsible for this decrease in inflammation that is oftentimes found to be related to various illnesses.

Bok Choy – it is very high in Vitamin A, which is essential for a properly functioning immune system, while also containing high amounts of vitamin C, an antioxidant that shields the body from free radicals.

Kale – packed full of iron, which is essential for your body working at its ultimate level, along with being a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. 

Immunity Soup

Original recipe from The Healthy Haven

Ingredients

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 lb shitake mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 12 cups water
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, bottoms chopped off
  • 1/2 head kale, chopped
  • optional: 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Chop off the bottom of the stem from your mushrooms and discard. Seperate stems from tops and slice tops and remaining stem if necessary, into large pieces. You will only discard the very bottom of the stems, not the full stems as they contain many nutritional benefits!
  2. Heat up coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add in celery and mushrooms and sautee for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms have wilted.
  6. Add in spices (including ginger, if using) and water and bring to a boil.
  7. Then let simmer, covered for 1 hour or as long as you want (the longer you leave, the better!)
  8. Add bok choy and kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking to wilt.
  9. Serve warm or store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

 

 

One Pot Zucchini Pasta

One pot meals are easily my favorite kinds of meals to make! Not only does it mean less clean up, but because everything cooks together in one pot, they tend to have an amazing flavor. This recipe for one pot zucchini pasta gets its flavor from the fresh summer produce that will only be in season for a short while longer. So if you want to make this dish, you better get on it ;) 

This dish is also gluten free & light thanks to the zucchini "noodles" instead of traditional pasta. I personally like to serve this along side some crusty bread and maybe some grilled shrimp for a little extra protein, but it is also incredible on its own. Hope you enjoy!

ONE POT ZUCCHINI PASTA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds zucchini (approx. 4-5 large zucchini), spiralized
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red onion (or two small), thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • shredded parmesan for topping (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Start by warming the olive oil in a large pot over low to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until fragrant.

Next add the zucchini noodles to the pot and season them with salt & pepper. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so. I prefer to use tongs to toss the noodles so that they cook evenly and I also like them a little firm. You can taste test a piece of zucchini noodle at this point to see if it’s soft enough for your liking. If not, continue to cook for another couple of minutes.

Lastly, add the fresh basil, crushed red pepper (if using), and parmesan cheese (optional) to the pot then stir together. Divide the pasta onto separate plates and garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm and enjoy!

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The zucchini will produce a little bit of water as it sits but you can just pour it out before reheating.

Recipe courtesy of Making Thyme for Health

Things to do with Pumpkin

It's October, and pumpkin season is officially upon us. But more than pumpkin pie and your beloved pumpkin spice latte, there are so many things you can do with pumpkin! Not to mention, they pack a nutritional punch!

"Consuming just one cup of cooked, canned pumpkin would provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus."

These vitamins found in pumpkin could potentially help with blood pressure, preventing certain kinds of cancer (namely colon and prostate cancer), improve eye health, infertility, and general immunity. 

Even your pets can benefit from a bit of pumpkin! The extra fiber has been proven to benefit dogs' and cats' digestive tracts.

But how can you incorporate the health benefits of pumpkin into your diet? The easiest way I have found is to replace some of the fats and oil with pumpkin puree in baked goods!

  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup oil = 1 cup pumpkin
  •  1 cup butter = 3/4 cup pumpkin 

Recipes

There are also some delicious (and healthy) recipes using pumpkin puree! Click the links below to find the original recipes.

For breakfast

Beauty

Aside from eating pumpkin, your skin can also benefit via face masks and body scrubs!

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to incorporate the many health benefits of pumpkin into your diet. So stock up! Pumpkin season won't last forever ;)

~Mandy

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Summer is here and with that comes an abundance of fresh summer produce. Berries, avocados, corn, cherries, peaches, watermelon, tomatoes...the list goes on! My personal favorite summer produce is summer squash AKA zucchini. 

"Summer squash is a very good source of vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B1, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, choline, and protein."

Not only does it provide a multitude of health benefits, but zucchini and other summer squashes are incredibly versatile! They make it easy to sneak veggies into your diet and/or lower carbs if that's your goal. Check out these recipes for zucchini spaghetti and zucchini oatmeal that we've made in the past!

My new personal favorite way to prepare zucchini has been to make chips out of them! With the help of just a little seasoning and some oil, this squash turns into a deliciously crispy snack without the guilt! Vegan, gluten free, paleo, low carb, you name it! Everyone can enjoy this summer snack :)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil (or oil of choice, cooking spray works too!)
  • seasoning to taste

Directions 

*This recipe uses a dehydrator, continue below for an oven-friendly version

  1. Slice zucchini with a mandolin or some other uniform slicer. You will want your zucchini to be sliced evenly and thin. Cutting them by hand probably won't do it.
  2. Toss zucchini with oil (if using) and seasoning.
  3. Place evenly, in a single layer, on your dehydrator trays.
  4. Allow to cook for approximately 5-10 hours (depending on how thick your slices are) at 125 F. 

Oven-Friendly Version

Cook in an oven set at 250 F for about one hour. Check every 15 minutes. For the first 15 minutes, leave the door slightly cracked to allow steam and moisture to escape.

~Mandy

Healthy Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan and Gluten Free!)

Rice krispie treats were always a childhood favorite of mine, but as I grew up I came to realize they weren't necessarily "appropriate" for an adult to consume. I must say, sometimes I still get those cravings though! So in order to crush those cravings, I have come up with a MUCH healthier homemade version of rice krispie treats.

My version only uses 4-5 ingredients, it's vegan, has a high-protein option, and it can easily be made gluten free :) So much better tasting (and better for you) than the traditional rice krispies made with butter and marshmallows! 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups crisp rice cereal*
  • 1/2 cup protein powder of choice (optional)
  • 1/4 nut butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup honey**
  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Method

  1. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cereal and protein powder. Set aside.
  3. Add nut butter, honey, and coconut oil to a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until boiling. Make sure to stir constantly so that it doesn't burn! Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Add honey mixture to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Once mixed, add to prepared baking dish, pressing down firmly, and allow to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Slice into 12 equal pieces, drizzle dark chocolate over top if desired, and serve!

*Make sure to use certified gluten-free rice cereal for gluten free version **Use maple syrup or brown rice syrup in place of honey for vegan-friendly option

These little bars are the perfect sweet treat! And best of all, they're made with real ingredients AND have added protein that helps you feeling full and satisfied. I highly recommend trying them! Especially with a little dark chocolate drizzle ;)

 

Quinoa Taco Bowls

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Whether you celebrate this Mexican holiday or not, I am of the opinion that it is always a good time for Mexican food. Especially when it's so easy to makeover into a healthy and nutritious meal! 

These taco bowls use quinoa instead of the traditional white rice which drastically ups the nutrition value. "Quinoa is naturally gluten free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein and comprised of all pernine essential amino acids." Not to mention, it's delicious ;) 

Ingredients

  • 1½ c. dried quinoa
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 (1.3 oz.) package taco seasoning
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans
  • 8 oz. shredded cheese
  • 3 c. chopped lettuce
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, drained
  • salsa
  • sour cream or plain greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning.
  3. Spoon flavored quinoa into bowls; add toppings as desired.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make and completely customizeable. Feel free to add whatever toppings you'd like! Maybe guacamole instead of chopped avocado? Some grilled chicken breasts for the meat eaters in your family? The options are endless! So get creative and get cookin' ;)

~Mandy

    Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

    Lasagna is one of those comfort foods that reminds me of home. And while it may taste delicious and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it's also a very heavy dish and makes me want to just take a nap! This isn't always a problem, but sometimes I'd like something a little lighter and healthier. That's precisely how I came up with this recipe!

    Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

    Whether you're looking to cut carbs, increase your veggie intake, or just looking for a healthier alternative to your favorite comfort food, this lasagna will do the trick!

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
    • 1-2 small zucchini (about 300 grams), thinly sliced lengthwise
    • 1 cup (244 grams) canned tomato sauce
    • 4 tbs (66 grams) tomato paste
    • Seasonings to taste: I reccommend basil, oregano, garlic, onions, and maybe even a little chili flake!
    • 1 cup (112 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a small (9x9) baking dish with non-stick spray.
    2. Brown turkey in medium skillet until fully cooked.
    3. While turkey browns, make sauce by combining tomato sauce and tomato paste in a medium bowl. Season to taste. 
    4. Once turkey is browned, add sauce and let simmer for a few minutes before removing from heat.
    5. In your prepared pan, layer turkey mixture, zucchini "noodles", and cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used up. Mine was about 3 layers deep.
    6. Bake lasagna for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini is fully cooked.

    This recipe is EXTREMELY versatile! You can easily swap out the sauce for your own homemade sauce or your favorite store bought sauce. You could use 1/2 and 1/2 zucchini noodles to regular pasta noodles if you have a picky eater on your hands. You could use other vegetables! Maybe mushrooms or eggplant? You could also use different proteins. Maybe some leftover chicken you have on hand or some beans if you're vegetarian? 

    The possibilities are endless so get creative! Healthier recipes for your favorite dishes are easy to make, you just have to switch it up a little ;)

    ~Mandy

     

    Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (Vegan)

    I don't know about you, but strawberries are my absolute FAVORITE fruit, and its almost time for them to be in season again! I may have done a little happy dance when I saw that the strawberry stand by my house was open the other day ;)

    In order to celebrate, I thought it would be appropriate to make a healthy strawberry dessert! These strawberry cheesecake bites are not only perfectly portioned, but they are also vegan, gluten free, and paleo. Perfect for any diet!

    Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    • 1½ cup raw almonds
    • 8-10 medjool dates
    • water

    For the cheesecake:

    • 2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight)
    • 1½ cups fresh strawberries
    • ½ cup maple syrup
    • ⅓ cup coconut oil
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • ½ tsp sea salt

    Instructions

    1. Drain and rinse the cashews. In a food processor, combine the dates and almonds. Slowly, a little at a time, add water until you see the mixture clump together. Once it looks like it's holding together, press a little bit into the bottom of each muffin cup. I used silicone muffin liners for these, but you can also use paper liners.
    2. Once all the crust is pressed into the muffin cups, place them in the fridge while you make the cheesecake part.
    3. In a food processor, combine all the cheesecake ingredients and blend until smooth. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each muffin cup. Fill them to the top. Once you are done place them in the fridge to chill. They need a good 6 hours or so to set up pretty well. You can speed up the process by placing them in the freezer for a bit though. These can be stored in the fridge or freezer. Whichever you prefer. They should last a couple weeks in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

    I absolutely love this recipe! It's decadent, yet refreshing. A great spring or summer dessert that you don't have to feel guilty about :)

    Recipe Credit: My Whole Food Life

    Quinoa Fried "Rice"

    If you're like the majority of the population, you made a resolution to eat better this year. An easy way to do this is to add more vegetables to your diet! In attempt to eat more vegetables without just making a salad, (because who wants a salad when its 30 degrees outside?) I started making this recipe for fried "rice"! 

    Quinoa Fried "Rice"

    This recipe is gluten free, full of veggies and protein packed! You can even bump up the protein with a little chicken breast or shrimp if you desire. 

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
    • 2 large eggs, beaten 
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
    • 1 zucchini, chopped
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
    • 3 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or liquid aminos, if gluten free)
    • 2 green onions, sliced
    • Sriracha, for serving

    Instructions

    • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add eggs and fry until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side, flipping only once. Let cool before dicing into small pieces.
    • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    • Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini. Cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
    • Add corn, peas, carrots and quinoa. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
    • Add ginger and soy sauce, and gently toss to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
    • Stir in green onions and eggs.
    • Serve immediately, drizzled with Sriracha, if desired.

    This recipe can also be made vegan by simply leaving out the eggs. And feel free to switch up the veggies used, Its up to you! Get creative and enjoy :)

    ~Mandy

    Healthy Santa Hat Brownies!

    This time of year is full of baked goodies, which can make it hard to stick to your diet. Luckily for you, I have come up with a fun and festive holiday treat that is suitable for any diet! These santa hat brownies aren't just cute, they're also vegan, gluten free & bite sized so that you can treat yourself without going overboard.

    Healthy Santa Hat Brownies

    Makes about 24 bite-sized brownies

    Ingredients

    • 1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans,  rinsed and drained
    • 2 large flax eggs (2 tbs flax meal + 5 tbs water)
    • 3 T coconut oil, melted 
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder 
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups vegan white chocolate, I prefer King David brand
    • 24 small strawberries

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one mini-muffin pan.
    2. Prepare flax egg in the bowl of a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and puree - about 3 minutes - scraping down sides as needed.
    3. If the batter appears too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but nowhere close to runny.
    4. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
    5. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. 
    6. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.
    7. Use this time to hull and clean strawberries.
    8. Once cool, place strawberries upside down onto brownie bites.
    9. Melt white chocolate in a double broiler and pour into a piping bag.
    10. Pipe a ring around the base of each strawberry and a dot on the top.

    And there you have it! A healthy and adorable treat for the holidays. Enjoy :)

    ~Mandy

     

    Pumpkin (Protein) Gingerbread-men Pancakes

    From Christmas lights to holiday music playing on every radio station, it seems like you just can't escape the holiday spirit. But why would you want to? I say breakfast should be no exception! Which is exactly why I decided to make these pancakes in the form of gingerbread men! Aren't they cute? 

    Pumpkin (Protein) Gingerbread-men Pancakes

    This recipe can also be made in a traditional pancake shape. Gingerbread men just seemed more fun and festive ;)

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
    • 6 tbs egg white OR 2 whole eggs
    • 1 scoop cinnamon protein (I used cellucor cinnamon swirl, but any protein powder would work. Different flours should work as well if you don't want "protein pancakes")
    • 1 tbs flax seed meal
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder

    Directions

    1. Mix together all ingredients.
    2. Lightly grease a large skillet and gingerbread-men molds with cooking spray, butter, oil etc.  
    3. Fill each mold with about 1/4 of pancake mixture.
    4. Add a few drops of water to the edges of the skillet and cover with a lid. This will allow the pancakes to steam and cook a bit faster, making them easier to flip and still hold their shape.
    5. After about 2 minutes, flip your gingerbread men and allow to cook for an additional minute or two.
    6. Serve with blueberry buttons and pumpkin spice eyes (optional, but highly recommended)

    Nutrition: (Serves 1) 260 calories 3g fat, 17g carbs & 39g protein

    This recipe is super easy to make, adorable AND good for you! The protein in these pancakes will easily keep you full until your next meal and give you plenty of energy to get through your day. I hope you enjoy and happy holidays :)

    ~Mandy

    Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread | Gluten Free & Paleo!

    Nothing screams the holidays like homemade bread. Unfortunately, for people that are paleo or gluten free often have to pass on these delicious breads. Luckily I have found a solution! This banana bread recipe uses coconut flour, making it not only gluten free and paleo, but it also has no refined sugar. Perfect for any type of diet, no one needs to feel left out :)

    IMG_0652.JPG

    Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

    Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 30-40 minutes. Serves 12. Can also be made vegan with suggested substitutions.

    Ingredients

    • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 Tbs honey (or maple syrup)*
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 2 eggs, room temperature (or vegan egg substitute)*
    • 1/2 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
    3. In a large bowl, mix together wet ingredients (through eggs) until well combined.
    4. In a smaller bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips).
    5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go. Mae sure there are no clumps of coconut flour! You may want to use a large fork to make sure to get all of the clumps out.
    6. Fold in chocolate chips.
    7. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.
    8. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

    Per Slice: 117 calories 5g fat, 15g carbs & 3g protein

    This recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert! I personally enjoy a slice with a hot cup of tea and a bit more peanut butter smeared on top. Delicious!

    ~Mandy

    Pumpkin Pasta & Pumpkin Chili

    October may be over, but if you're like me, you still have a bunch of pumpkin left over! There is only so much pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread you can stand though, so I came up with 2 new SAVORY recipes involving pumpkin.

    Pumpkin Pasta with Chicken, Bacon & Mushrooms

    This dish is one of my new favorites! The sauce has a very slight sweetness while the bacon provides the perfect amount of salty smokiness. Serves 4.

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz. pasta of choice
    • 4 slices center cut bacon
    • 1-1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • 2 cups crimini mushrooms
    • 2 cups pumpkin soup (I used Imagine)
    • 4 wedges laughing cow light cheese (or similar melting cheese)
    • Seasoning to taste.

    Directions

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions on box.
    2. In a large pan, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.
    3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook chicken breasts and season to taste. Remove from pan when they are no longer pink in the middle. Allow to rest a few minutes before slicing.
    4. Slice mushrooms and saute in remaining bacon drippings. When mushrooms are finished cooking, remove from pan and add pumpkin soup.
    5. Break up cheese wedges into soup and allow to melt. Season to taste and stir in pasta.
    6. Serve pasta topped with mushrooms, sliced chicken and crumbled bacon.

    Nutritional Info (using 6 oz portions of chicken): 474 calories 6g fat, 53g carbs & 46g protein

    Pumpkin Crock Pot Chili

    Is there anything better on a brisk fall evening than a warm bowl of homemade chili? Serves 8.

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans
    • 1 15 oz can black beans
    • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
    • Seasoning to taste

    Directions

    1. In a large pan cook ground turkey and diced onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is slightly softened.
    2. Add turkey-onion mixture to crock pot along with remaining ingredients.
    3. Season to taste. I recommend salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and garlic.
    4. Cook on low for 4-8 hrs, stirring occasionally. 

    Nutritional Info (based on 8 servings): 207 calories 1g fat, 28g carbs & 21g protein

    I hope this proves that pumpkin doesn't HAVE to be sweet! Savory pumpkin recipes can be just as good, if not better. Give these recipes a try and enjoy pumpkin for any meal!

    ~Mandy

    Tips and Tricks to Make Any Dessert Healthier

    I'll admit it, I have a crazy sweet tooth. I am never satisfied unless I end my day with a little something sweet. And while I do believe that a healthy lifestyle is all about moderation and it is perfectly okay to indulge every once in awhile, it's probably not the best idea to have ice cream and cookies EVERY night for the sake of my sweet tooth. For that reason, I have compiled a list of healthy ingredient swaps to make ANY dessert healthier. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom too, there will be a whole list of healthy dessert recipes! 

    Swap #1 - Replace the Butter (or oil)! 

    There's a reason desserts taste so good, most desserts have a decent amount of butter and/or oil to make them nice and rich. However, in many cases the amount of butter and oil can be drastically reduced and replaced with healthier alternatives such as:

    • Mashed avocado
    • Mashed banana
    • Pureed pumpkin
    • Unsweetened applesauce
    • Fat-free or reduced-fat greek yogurt
    • silken tofu

    Try replacing half the amount of butter or oil in your normal recipe with one of these swaps. If it turns out well, try swapping even more! 

    Swap #2 - Full-fat Dairy

    This is a pretty easy swap; replace the full fat dairy in your favorite dessert recipe with it's low-fat or even fat-free counterpart. Chances are, you won't even notice the difference. You can even try dairy free substitutions as well!

    Swap #3 - Sugar

    Desserts are inherently sweet so of course they have sugar, but there are a few tricks that can help you reduce the amount of sugar you need. 

    1. Add spices & extracts (cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne?, vanilla) - by adding a little spice you can reduce the amount of sugar used because your dessert will have so much flavor already!
    2. Cut sugar by 25% - most recipes have way more sugar than they actually need. Try cutting out 25% of what the recipe calls for, you probably won't even notice
    3. Use fruit puree - fruits are sweet by nature and by using their natural sweetness in place of sugar, you can add fiber while reducing calories
    4. Sugar substitutes - if you don't mind using sugar substitutes, they can drastically reduce the amount of sugar and calories in recipes. In addition, they are usually 2x sweeter than traditional sugar so you can use much less.

    Swap #4 - Eggs

    While I wouldn't consider eggs unhealthy by any means, they do contain fats and cholesterol that can easily be cut out and make your recipes healthier! Not to mention, by cutting out eggs with some of these swaps, you can potentially make a recipe vegan friendly! So instead of whole eggs try these:

    • Egg Whites - while these aren't vegan, by using egg whites instead of the whole egg, you can cut the fat and cholesterol out completely. 
    • Chia Seeds - combining 1 tbs chia seeds with 3 tbs water left to sit for 15 minutes yields the perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking
    • Flax Meal - mix 1 tbs round flax seeds with 3 tbs warm water. Let it sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and then use in place of 1 egg in any recipe!

    I hope you found some of these tips helpful and you give them a try! Just don't try all of them at once, you may not like the result ;) If you're a little nervous about messing with your own recipes, try some of the healthy dessert recipes below! Just click on any of the pictures and they should take you to the recipe. Enjoy :)

    ~ Mandy 

    Homemade [Vegan] Pumpkin Soup

    While some days may still feel like summer, Fall weather is quickly approaching, and nothing makes me feel better on a crisp, Fall evening than a comforting bowl of soup. And being that everything seems to be "pumpkin spice this" or "pumpkin spice that", I thought it was only appropriate to make some REAL FOOD with pumpkin, not just the spice! Although I must admit, pumpkin spice lattes are still pretty good ;)

    mini-pumpkins-jpg.jpg

    This recipe takes a good amount of time to make, but trust me, it's worth it. Not to mention, it's healthy, vegan & gluten free. Everyone can enjoy this soup! 

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 sugar pumpkin (about 4 lbs)
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, cinnamon & nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp EACH cloves & cayenne (optional)
    • fresh ground black pepper to taste
    • 4 cups vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • 2 tbs maple syrup

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Slice each pumpkin halve in half to make quarters. Brush or rub olive oil over the flesh of the pumpkin and place the quarters, cut sides down, onto the baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork. Set squash aside to cool.
    2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add onion, garlic and salt. Stir to combine.
    3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the pumpkin skin and discard. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne pepper and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper to the pot, followed by the pumpkin flesh. Break up the pumpkin a bit. Pour in the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15.
    4. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, stir in the coconut milk and maple syrup. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer the contents to a blender. Purée the mixture until smooth. Transfer puréed soup to a serving bowl and repeat with remaining batches. Taste and adjust if necessary.

    Don't be afraid to experiment with this recipe either! I'm sure different spices, using honey or heavy cream (if you're not vegan), or even using a different kind of squash would be great additions to this recipe. Try it out and enjoy :)

    ~Mandy

    Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

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    Yesterday marked the first day of Autumn, and food what screams Fall more than any other? Pumpkin of course! 'Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything and in celebration, here is a fall-inspired recipe for Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites. Yum!

    Recipe 

    (Makes about 10-15 bites, it made 13 for me)

    • 1 cup oats
    • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
    • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin
    • 2 tbs maple syrup
    • 1 tbs honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tbs mini chocolate chips (optional, but HIGHLY recommended) 
    1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
    2. Scoop out dough and roll into 1-2 inch balls.
    3. Enjoy!

    *I recommend storing these in the freezer as they can be quite sticky and soft at room temperature.

    Nutrition facts per bite (assuming 13 total): 74 calories 3.8g Fat, 8.3g Carbs (2g fiber/2g sugar), 2.5g Protein

    These bites make for a perfect anytime snack! They're sweet, but not overly so and they're full of all sorts of healthy ingredients. If you've got a sweet-tooth like me, these are the perfect craving crusher!! It's a dessert you don't have to feel bad about eating :)

    ~Mandy

    Healthy Tailgating Recipes (5 ingredients or less!)

    Tailgating season is upon us which means food, football, great times with friends, and probably some more food. Oftentimes we can get caught up in the excitement of the game and snack away a whole days worth of junk in one sitting! Most of the time it isn't even that we're eating a lot of food, but let's face it, the food options at these types of gatherings aren't usually the best for us. Think about it: wings, beer, ribs, chips & dip, you name it. Delicious, yes! Healthy? Not so much. 

    In order to combat the lack of healthy choices at these kinds of parties I came up with two recipes for healthy tailgating snacks that you can make with less than five ingredients!

    Recipe #1: Watermelon Skewers

    • Watermelon
    • Cheese of choice, I chose a sharp white cheddar
    • Mint
    1. Slice your watermelon and cheese into small cubes, about the same size as a die.
    2. Pierce the watermelon with a sharp skewer and layer with cheese and a mint leaf.
    3. Repeat until you run out of watermelon cubes.

    This recipe is great for any summer party! The watermelon is nice and refreshing and the cheese provides a great contrasting creaminess and tang. Add in the mint and you have an incredibly complex snack on a stick, while being ridiculously easy to make!

    Recipe #2: Guac & (Baked) Chips

    • Corn tortillas
    • 1 large avocado
    • 1/4-1/3 cup fresh tomatoes
    • 2 tbs-1/4 cup red onion
    • 1/2 lime
    • Seasonings of choice: garlic, salt, chili pepper etc.
    1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
    2. Slice corn tortillas into triangular fourths. Spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown, flipping over halfway through.
    3. Pit and mash avocado. 
    4. Dice tomatoes and onion. Add to avocado along with the juice of half a lime.
    5. Season to taste and serve with baked chips.

    I absolutely love this recipe as a healthier option to the traditional chips and guacamole. It isn't uncommon for prepared guacamole to have sour cream, cheese and other mix-ins that make your beautiful avocado not so healthy anymore. It's  so easy to make from scratch at home and you can adjust the seasonings and ratios to your own taste! The same goes for the chips, rather than having the typical deep fried corn chips, by baking them ourselves we can can cut out a bunch of unnecessary fat and calories.

    If you'd like to find some more healthy snack recipes, head over to Nuts.com for some great ideas!

    ~Mandy