Sunday, October 2, 2011

Spiced Almond-Flour Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is officially here, and I am excited about cooking and baking with pumpkins, and squash, and apples!  We had family come to visit this weekend, and my sister is intolerant to wheat and dairy, so I made these pumpkin muffins just for her.  Well, I made them for the rest of us, too.  And we had maple cream cheese frosting on ours.  (Sorry, Sis.)  They were a hit with the gluten-eating crowd as well.  I ended up making a second batch!

Spiced Almond-Flour Pumpkin Muffins
2 1/2 c. almond flour
2 Tb. coconut flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of ground cloves
1 Tb. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 c. stevia in the raw
2 Tb. ground flax seed

3 eggs (or 3 flax eggs, in which case I'd omit the 2 Tb. flax above)
1 c. canned organic pumpkin
2 Tb. coconut oil, melted
12 drops vanilla stevia
1 Tb. agave
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the dry ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until powdery.  (This helps especially if using a grainier almond flour.  I have skipped this step before, but the texture of the muffins is a bit more like corn bread.)

In a separate bowl, beat eggs.  Then add the rest of the "wet" ingredients and mix.

Combine the wet ingredients with dry ingredients.

Scoop batter into 12 muffin liners.  (Optional: sprinkle muffin tops with mini chocolate chips.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tb. unsalted butter
1 tsp. maple extract
2/3 c. stevia in the raw
1 Tb. agave

Allow butter and cream cheese to soften at room temperature.  When soft, mix the two together using a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Then, add maple extract, stevia, and agave.  You can change out the sweetener to use what you prefer.  I've made it without agave at all, just stevia, and it was fine for me but those not used to stevia might not care for it.

Allow muffins to cool completely before frosting.  I usually keep frosting in the fridge and muffins in Tupperware on the counter, then frost right before eating it.

I am submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekend.  Check out the link to find healthful, delicious recipes!  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grain-Free Zucchini Fritters

Even if you don't like veggies, I think you might like these.  Or at least tolerate them.  I suppose I can't promise that.  Some people are just picky!  But my whole family gobbled them up for dinner; I didn't even get to freeze any for another night! It was a delicious way to use up some of the last zucchini from our garden.

I used three medium-sized zucchinis, but I wish I had used more!  Before you begin, shred the zucchini, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and let the zucchini sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes.  Then, wring the heck out of it.  It's amazing how much water you'll squeeze out.  Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze until you just can't anymore.  Some people use a cheese cloth, but I just hold the zucchini strands in my hand. Do not skip this step.  Trust me.  See those nice firm zucchini fritters in the picture above?  Not my first try.  I've tried to make these a few times in order to get it right sans flour and egg, and I attempted these once on a night when I had less time, and there was much muttering and grumbling in my kitchen due to runny, watery fritters.  Once you've gotten that excess water out of the zucchini, you're ready to make your...batter.   (Would this classify as batter???)

Zucchini Fritters Ingredients
3 medium-sized zucchinis, shredded and excess water removed
2 eggs, or 2 flax eggs (2 Tb. flax + 5 Tb. water, microwave for 20 sec. so it's a bit goopy.)
3/4 c. almond flour + more to coat
1 Tb. dill
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. gorgonzola or feta cheese (optional, omit if vegan or dairy-free)
3-4 Tb. chives, chopped
Olive Oil

Makes about 10 fritters.

Combine all the ingredients except for olive oil in a bowl. I've used eggs and flax eggs and both worked just fine.  I've also made them with and without the cheese, and though I like them with the cheese, they are tasty without it and the structure was fine.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil has heated up, take a scoop of the mixture, form it into a patty shape, and coat on both sides with excess almond flour.  (You could use wheat flour, or spelt flour for this obviously, but the almond is lower in carbs and higher in protein.)   Cook the fritters for about 3 minutes on each size.  I keep another pan with a lid on my warming burner so they stay warm until they're all done cooking.  I add more olive oil to the pan as needed so the fritters don't stick.

I like to make these zucchini fritters smallish in size, because they can be delicate - especially if using the flax egg - and it's easier to turn them when they're smaller.  I make mine about the size of silver dollar pancakes. 

A traditional way to eat these would be with a yogurt topping, but I had some homemade tomato sauce I had made over the weekend that was pretty delicious with it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Mascarpone Frosting

I have been a bit obsessed with mascarpone "cheese" lately.  I've used it in both main courses and some dessert-ish dishes.  Mixed with some peanut butter, whipping cream, and butter you've got yourself a frosting that won't make you miss sugar.  I've made several batches, and I have to use serious self-control to not eat the whole thing at once.  I try to balance my carbs, proteins, and fats, or in other words, not eat carbs alone to prevent spikes in blood sugar.  So I have no problem laying on a thick layer of this stuff atop banana bread made with almond flour, or atop cinnamon almond flour pancakes with bananas.  (I'm on what feels like my bazillionth batch of banana bread, and am getting close to perfecting it...)

1/3 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. mascarpone cheese
1/3 c. peanut butter 
2-3 Tb. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Sweetener to taste (Traditionally, a buttercream frosting is made with powdered sugar, but that's out for me! I use about 15 drops of vanilla stevia.  You could use honey, agave, etc.)

Using a mixer, combine the softened butter, mascarpone, and peanut butter.  Slowly add whipping cream, vanilla, and stevia and mix on high.  

Note: When slathered on hot pancakes, this frosting will be melty!  Still delicious, if not as picturesque...  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Caprese Chicken Stuffed with Creamy Pesto Mascarpone

I should warn you.  This recipe is not for those who don't eat cheese...

I knew tonight's dinner would need to include this:

...We've got a tomato version of the amazon jungle in the backyard, and I'm not complaining!  My basil's hanging on, too, and tomato and basil are simply classic and delightful even if a bit uncreative.  (On Fridays I always go back and forth between wanting to cook up some kind of elaborate feast to celebrate the impending weekend, or eating PB&J because I'm so exhausted!  This was a nice middle of the road...)

I happened to have chicken breasts, mozzarella (the good stuff!), mascarpone, and prepared pesto in the fridge.  So, first I mixed some of the mascarpone cheese and pesto.  (I used a 1:1 ratio, about 2 or 3 Tb. of each for two chicken breasts.)

Then butterfly your chicken, but don't cut all the way through, like this:

Spread mascarpone-pesto mixture on the chicken breasts, but don't spread it too close to the side with the opening, or it will run all over when baking.  (You'll probably have some run out a bit anyway.)  I used some toothpicks to hold them together, though I don't know that they actually accomplished anything!

 Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and there is no pink.  While the chicken is cooking, slice tomato, mozzarella, and basil.  Fix any sides you want to accompany this delicious dish...I opted for a spinach salad.  Top cooked chicken with tomato, basil, and mozzarella, and drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.  I served with extra mascarpone-pesto on the side.  Voila!  My two year old gobbled this up (sans tomato) and told me, "This smells bootiful mama!  Yummy, yummy!"  That's really the only critique I need!

Now that we are full and happy we're off to watch the football team at the school where my husband works.  Good food, a happy toddler, and small-town football.  Love it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DIY Cinnamon "Sugar"

In case you haven't's not really sugar in this jar!  It's stevia, and a bit of Truvia, which contains erythritol and stevia.  Easy to shake on toast with peanut butter, or put in my daughter's oatmeal.  (She thinks unsweetened, or plain, cinnamon is "spicy," but she won't eat oatmeal that isn't flavored a bit.  I don't want to load it down with sugar, so she was the inspiration for this new addition to my spice rack!)  I've always heard the ratio of 1 Tb sugar to 1 tsp cinnamon when making your own cinnamon sugar.  I'd say I have more of a 1:1 ratio in this mix, but I didn't measure.

Sprinkled on toasted sprouted grain bread with almond butter and thinly sliced banana. Mmmm.  Clearly, my tastes have changed since relinquishing most sugar...this can pass for dessert for me sometimes.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomato Tart with White Bean Puree

I was in heaven walking through the farmer's market yesterday and sampling all kinds of tomatoes...heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes in every color of the rainbow.  I have red cherry tomatoes growing in our backyard, and I picked up a pint of these gorgeous yellow tomatoes.  (Did you know that yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red tomatoes?  Though yellow tomatoes do not have the antioxidant lycopene...)  

I've been wanting to make a tart since I saw a recipe in Real Simple a while back, and since these little tomatoes are pretty sweet, I wanted to smear something on the tart to make it more savory, so I made a white bean puree with garlic and rosemary that's similar to something my husband has made to put on a grilled chicken flat bread pizza.  All on top of an almond flour tart, which makes it higher in protein and lower in carbs than a typical wheat crust.

Almond Flour Crust

1 1/2 cups Almond Flour  (I made my own by pulsing blanched almonds in my blender until finely ground.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tb water

Mix the dry ingredients together.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and water.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Press the mixture into a shallow pan.  (A tart pan if you have one. I used a 9" spring-form pan this time and it worked just fine.  Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking and then cooling, roast tomatoes and make the bean puree.

Roasted Tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes, any color
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-2 Tb olive oil

Combine all the ingredients on a baking sheet and roast tomatoes at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

White Bean Puree
1 16oz can of Great Northern or Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tb olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tb fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tb ground flax meal
1 Tb fresh rosemary leaves

Saute the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, then add the beans and seasonings to the pot.  Simmer on low until heated through and the beans are easily smushed with your cooking utensil.  Transfer the bean mixture to your blender or food processor.  Add the rosemary at this time.  Pulse until smooth, adding water in very small amounts as needed.  (I used a blender and needed to add a few tablespoons of water in order to get the blender to puree the beans properly.)  

Finally, assemble the tart!  Spread the bean mixture on the crust.  (I found it best if the crust had cooled.)  Top with the tomato mixture.  (You may need to drain some liquid from the roasted tomatoes.)  Devour!  I really enjoyed this recipe, and might be making more tarts in the near future...I contemplated adding cheese to this one, and considered incorporating eggplant, zucchini, and many options!  

I'm submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekend as well!  Stop over at Diet, Desert and Dogs to find some fresh new recipes!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Banana Bread Cookies

The other weekend, I was in the mood to bake, but having rid my cabinet of sugar and flour, did not have a cookie recipe on hand to make.  After tinkering in the kitchen during my little girl's entire naptime, I came out with these banana bread cookies.  My goal was to make something yummy, that was grain-free and sugar-free - including sugars like agave and honey.  I wanted them to contain a good amount of protein, and I wanted to share one with my vegan friend.  A lofty goal.   Overall, I found them a satisfying little treat, though they don't taste like a traditional "cookie..."  They are a bit biscuit-y.  If you are not used to the taste of stevia, feel free to substitute with whatever sweetener you prefer!  If I were baking these for others, I'd probably add some agave.


2 1/3 cups almond flour
2 Tb coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 banana, ripe
1/4 c. coconut oil (could substitute butter)
1 tsp vanilla
1 flax "egg" (1 Tb flax plus about 2  1/2 Tb very warm water, left to gel for several minutes)

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  
  2. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl.  (Banana, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and "egg.")
  3. Mix the wet and the dry together.
  4. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

I whipped up a quick little "frosting" from coconut butter, almond milk, cinnamon, stevia, and vanilla, but to be honest I don't think the cookies needed it.

In my free time...which is sparse now that school's back in session... I sometimes scour the internet and my favorite blogs for recipes to store away, like a squirrel preparing for winter.  Here are a few I have tried or plan on trying:

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cookies by Chocolate Covered Katie
Dairy and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Elana's Pantry
Gluten-Free Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies from Diet, Desert and Dogs  (I love all things with cashews these days...)

Speaking of Diet, Desert, and Dogs I am submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekend!  Check it out for lots of delicious recipes!  Also submitting to Sugar Free Sunday.

DIY Taco Seasoning

What it is about tacos?  Mmm mmm mmm.

We have been making our own taco seasoning for quite some time now.  Originally, it wasn't a health decision; just didn't want to spend a few extra dollars for a taco seasoning packet when we had ingredients to make it at home!  But, now that I pay more attention to food labels, I realize it's much healthier as well.  Most taco seasoning packets have corn starch, and additives to provide color.  (Why would that be necessary?  Just look at the color of those spices!)

We don't measure any more, but here's what we put in ours...approximately...  If you make a big batch then tacos become super easy the next time you make them!  If you consider "1 part" to be 1 teaspoon, then this recipe would season 1-2 pounds of taco meat depending on how spicy you like it.

4 parts chili powder
4 parts cumin
2 parts paprika
2 parts oregano
1 part garlic powder
1 part black pepper
1 part salt
1 part red pepper flakes
1 pinch xanthan gum

I have to say...ground meat of any kind is pretty unappetizing to photograph....but on top of sprouted corn torillas with guacamole and fresh salsa, it is delicious.  Ate it too quickly to photograph it though!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stuffed Strawberries

I've had a serious sweet tooth lately.  Today my husband starts a new night addition to teaching full-time, coaching, serving on various committees, and....oh yes, participating a fantasy-football league.  He's a busy guy!  I figured making him a special treat would be: a.) nice, and b.) a guiltless way of indulging my craving for chocolate.

This dessert is fantastically easy.  I made it frequently in the past, but just the other day realized how easily I could make this recipe fit in with my nutrition goals.  In other words, nix the sugar.  I was pleased to find that I didn't miss it.  If someone had told me that I wouldn't like eating the sugar I was accustomed to eating anymore once I took it out of my diet for a while, I wouldn't have believed them.  But, I have found it to be true.

Cream Cheese Filling:
6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 Tb. coconut oil (melted)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 packets of stevia, truvia, or sweetener of your choice
10 drops vanilla creme stevia  (increase or decrease to your taste)
optional: 1 or 2 Tb. vanilla protein powder

Chocolate Drizzle:
1 ounce unsweetend Baker's chocolate
1 Tb. dark chocolate chips

1. Slice the top (leafy green) off the strawberries so you have a flat top.  (I made about 15 strawberries.)
2. Next, slice slivers of strawberries out to form an "X" shape.  However, be careful not to cut down to the bottom and cut the strawberry in half!
3. Blend the cream cheese, coconut oil, vanilla, and stevia until well blended.  Add in your sweetener of choice and protein powder if you're using it.
4. Put the filling in a pastry bag...or use a ziploc with a small hole in it if you can't find yours!...and pipe into the strawberries.
5. Melt the chocolate in your microwave or a double boiler.  Let cool slightly, and then drizzle onto the strawberries.  Pop those babies in the fridge to allow chocolate and filling to harden a bit.  Hide them behind a gallon of milk to protect them from ravenous toddlers.  Serve cool.  (I've also used tiny morsels of pecans, chopped peanuts, and crunch cacao nibs for toppings...but nothing beats really dark chocolate in my opinion.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blueberry Baked Steel-Cut Oatmeal (AKA - Blueberry Breakfast CAKE!)


Today, I took a break from our usual Sunday Pancakes and made baked oatmeal instead.  Oats are a grain, so I still try to be careful about my portions so I do not cause a spike in insulin.  Since the whole insulin resistance thing, I've started buying steel-cut oats, also known as Irish or Scottish oats.  Steel cut oats consist of entire whole grain groats, the inner portion of oat kernels, and they're cut into 2 or 3 small pieces.  They are processed less that other types of oats so they retain more fiber and protein.  The glycemic index of steel cut oats is 42, compared to 50 for old-fashioned rolled oats.  (Anything below 50 is considered low glycemic.)

I'd never made baked oatmeal from steel cut oats before, so I based my recipe on a baked steel cut oats recipe from Nourished Kitchen.   The pictures of the oatmeal over at Nourished Kitchen look amazing, however I had to change the recipe to decrease the amount of egg (my husband is allergic) and dried fruit due to the sugar.  Amazingly, my first go at it came out quite good!

Blueberry Baked Steel Cut Oats
2 cups steel cut oats
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 flax eggs (2 Tb. ground flax meal + 6 Tb. warm water, left to sit and thicken for a few minutes)
1 egg  (If you want, I think you could do a third flax egg instead!)
1/4 cup butter (or substitute coconut oil)
1/4 unsweetened apple sauce
30 drops vanilla stevia
1 heaping Tb. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup blueberries

The night before making the baked oatmeal, place the oats in a dish or Tupperware that has a lid.  Cover the oats with water, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt.  Let them sit on your counter top to soak.

  1. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Then, place a paper towel in your strainer and drain the water from your oats.
  3. While water is draining, melt the butter.  Then mix together the butter, apple sauce, vanilla stevia drops, flax eggs, and regular egg.  
  4. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Stir in drained oats.
  6. Finally, gently mix in the fresh blueberries.  (Or whatever other mix-ins you want to use: almonds, dried cherries or apricots, peaches, etc.)
  7. Grease baking pan with butter.  Add the oat mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Now I wanted to make sure I got some protein along with these oats, so I made an almond butter sauce inspired by this one by Amanda at Running with Spoons.  I made only a few small changes because I wanted it to have a bit more protein and I wanted a bigger batch.  Also, I added more cinnamon, which helps reduce insulin resistance.  So I used:

Vanilla Almond Butter Sauce
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
5 Tb. unsweetened almond milk
3 heaping Tb. almond butter (no sugar added)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

I mixed the whey protein, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in my blender bottle.  (I use Jay Robb protein or Tera's whey, because they are both sweetened with stevia.) Poured it in a bowl, and used a mini whisk to mix in the almond butter until I had a nice creamy sauce.

It wasn't long at all before the dish looked like this!  Though I did manage to put some leftovers in the fridge for easy breakfast on Monday...

The whole batch as I made it had about 240g of carbohydrates, 73g of fat, and 43g of protein.  I figured about 8 generous servings, so each serving has about 30g carbs, 9g fat, and 5.5 g protein.  The vanilla almond butter sauce brings all of these values up, most notably the protein.

Speaking of sauce, I bet these would both be great on this baked oatmeal:
Maple Mystery Butter from Healthful Pursuits
Chocolate Coconut Butter from Heather Eats Almond Butter

I am posting this to Wellness Weekend on Diet, Dessert, and Dogs!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry with Orange Tahini Sauce

Oh my word.  We have just finished up the first week of school.  The first week back to school is always exciting.   I love watching the kids come in with their uniform shirts tucked in securely, toting giant backpacks full of new colored pencils, notebooks, and Kleenex galore...  There's something a bit magical about a fresh start and the promise of many learning adventures.  I know, cheesy.  The first week is also COMPLETELY exhausting.  This seems to be universal among teachers.  We go conk out completely at 8:30pm when we are used to staying up to 10:30pm.  We drink endless vats of coffee and tea, and suck on throat lozenges to soothe our voices, which have forgotten how to talk so much!      

During the school year I usually plan out our dinners for the week on Sunday.  I might switch them around, but it helps me save time and energy when I get home at 4 and I know what I'm going to cook.  One of our meals this week was this stir fry.  A bit of an experiment, but so good.  I used to make stir fry using one of those bottles of thick teriyaki sauce, which tastes delicious but accounts for my allowed sugars for the whole week!  So I've been playing around with sauces for stir fry.  Hubby and I both liked this one quite a bit!

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry with Orange Tahini Sauce

Orange Tahini Sauce:
1/4 cup Tahini
1/3 cup low sodium gluten-free soy sauce
3 Tb. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 Tb. orange zest
1 Tb. organic peanut butter (only ingredient peanuts)
1 Tb. coconut oil (can substitute olive oil or other oil)
2 Tb. plain Greek yogurt 
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. red curry paste
1/8 tsp. stevia

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.

Stir Fry:
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
a handful of baby carrots, sliced into strips
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 shallots

Cook chicken in oil (I used coconut oil) until cooked on all sides.  Add a few cloves of garlic and some sliced shallots if you so desire.  Meanwhile, steam veggies for a few minutes.  Add veggies to the pan.  Cook chicken and veggies together until cooked to desired tenderness.  Finally, add the sauce and turn the heat down to low.  Heat until sauce is warmed.  Do not over heat sauce or it will become too pasty and thick.   

Serve with chopped fresh basil and lime wedges for a little Thai flair.  

These leftovers would have been so good to eat for lunch at school...if only we had had leftovers!  Though next time, I think I'd simplify the ingredients.  I don't like cooking with such a long list of ingredients, but I kept adding things to make it sweeter.  No, saltier.  No, smoother.  No, thicker...  Hmm, thinking about it now coconut milk might be good...  

Happy back-to-school if you or your kiddos are returning to the land of academics!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Mint Protein Shake and a Day of Food

I have had a few people ask me to post what I would eat during the course of a day in accordance with my nutrition plan.  What is healthy and tasty to me may very well not be in your case, so obviously keep your own dietary needs in mind!  So here's my day in food...

Breakfast:  Chocolate Mint Protein Smoothie

I like my breakfast to taste like dessert.  I don't know why it took me until I had no fresh fruit or berries to make this shake, but it is my new favorite.  (I make a smoothie for breakfast nearly every day.)   Without toppings the whole batch is only 25grams of carbs, but packed with protein and good fats that last me until lunch.  Here is the recipe, which serves two.  

1 cup whole-fat greek yogurt (I've also used regular whole yogurt.) - 7g carbs (And 18g protein!)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk - 2g carbs
2 scoops chocolate protein powder - 2g carbs
2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder - 6g carbs
1 tsp peppermint extract - no significant nutritional value if using alcohol-based extract
2 cups of....spinach! (You don't taste it, I swear!) - ~2g carbs
2 Tb flax seed meal - 6g carbs
A few fresh mint leaves (optional, but I had 'em, so why not?)
Ice - I use about 12-15 cubes

Optional Garnish: unsweetened or very dark chocolate and mint leaves.

Put it all in a blender and blend away!  Yum.  If you want to make it dairy-free you could nix the yogurt and add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil to keep a fat content that will tide you over until your next meal, or use avocado or banana as a base.

Lunch: Sandwich and Salad  
Half sandwich on Ezekiel Bread with American Cheese, Turkey, Salami, Lettuce, Tomato, and mustard.  Small spinach salad with homemade balsamic rosemary salad dressing.

Snack: Cheese, Seeds, & Fruit
A cheese stick, a handful of sunflower seeds, and half of a peach sliced.

Dinner: Mustard and Herb Glazed Salmon with Sauteed Spinach and Caprese Salad
This was a "last supper" of sorts for us...  My hubby and I are both teachers and we are back to school tomorrow!  I picked up this wild-caught salmon at the store at a fantastic price.  (Farm-raised salmon has more toxins than wild-caught, which tends to be much more expensive.)  I know I have read somewhere that the Omega-3s in salmon can aid in reducing insulin resistance.  Whether that's true or not, I will continue to eat it, because it is delicious!  I baked the salmon with a mustard and fresh herb glaze, sauteed spinach with some shallots and garlic, and made a quick caprese salad with basil and tomato from our garden.

Ok, confession. I went a teeny bit above my 15 carbs after dinner when I had a few squares of Lindt 90% chocolate after dinner.  I've always like dark chocolate but now that I've cut out most of the sugar from my diet I like really, really dark chocolate.  I was walking my dog while I ate it, so I must have exercised some of those carbs away, right?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hitting the Trails (& Trail Mix!)

My favorite adventures from our vacation in Tennessee were the hiking trips we took.  Nothing too extreme...we were in an entourage that consisted of multiple toddlers...but so fun, beautiful, and free!  And you can't go hiking without some kind of trail mix.  I made a big batch of trail mix for all.  It's hard to find trail mixes that don't have too much sugar in the form of dried fruit or chocolate.  So here's my basic recipe.  Add in whatever you want!

Trail Mix Ingredients:
1 cup pecans
2 cups mixed nuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup almond meal
2 Tb. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. stevia
1/4 cup agave (optional)

1. Put the peanut butter and almond butter in a bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds to slightly melt.  
2. Stir in the cinnamon, stevia, and agave if you are using it.  (Most of my friends are used to food tasting a bit more sweet so I did use it for this batch.)  Next, mix in the almond meal until you have a nice thick paste.
3. In a large bowl, mix the seeds and nuts.  Then, pour in the nut butter mixture and coat.
4. Spread the trail mix out on a baking sheet.  (I put parchment paper underneath for easy clean-up.)  
5. Sprinkle additional cinnamon on top.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
7. Allow to cool, and enjoy!

Optional add-ins: dried cherries, raisins, dark chocolate chips, carob chips, dried apricots, etc...

Where is your favorite place to hike?