Savory Buckwheat Crepes with Spinach, Tomatoes and Mushrooms

This super easy crepe recipe is made up of whole grains and vegetables to help start your day off right. The whole grains and vegetables can help you feel full because of their fiber content, and the vegetables I used also help provide essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, potassium and iron. These are important for things such as vision, wound healing, bone health, heart health, and delivering oxygen to different parts of our body.

When trying to formulate my recipe, I did find quite a few crepe recipes that said it was best to refrigerate the batter for at least an hour before cooking to help decrease the risk of tearing the crepes. Therefore, I decided to make the batter the night before so I could start making crepes as soon as I woke up. I didn’t have any issues with the crepes tearing or sticking to the pan so I think I will continue to use that method in the future.

For the Batter:

1 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

3 Large Eggs

1 Cup Skim Milk

2 Tablespoons Water

For the Veggie Filling:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 8oz Package of Raw Sliced Mushrooms

1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme

2 Large Tomatoes

2 1/2 Cups  Packed Fresh Baby Spinach

Nonfat or Reduced Fat Cheese to Top (if desired)

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl or tupperware. Add milk, eggs and water and whisk until blended well. Cover and refrigerate over night or for at least an hour. Heat a skillet (approximately 10″) over medium high heat and lightly spray with cooking oil. Add crepe batter (a little less than 1/4 cup at a time) and tilt pan around to spread batter mixture. Flip with a large metal spatula after the edges look slightly browned and are starting to curl up (about 30 seconds). Cook on the opposite side for about another 30 seconds and then remove from heat. Stack crepes on a wire cooling rack, use wax or parchment paper to separate them if sticking to each other. Continue to repeat until all the batter is used. Makes approximately 12 crepes that are 6″ in diameter.

To make the filling add olive oil to skillet and heat to medium/low. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme once skillet is hot. Stir. While the mushroom mixture is cooking, chop tomatoes and then add to skillet. Mix and continue cooking until tomatoes are warm. Turn skillet to low and add spinach, stirring until spinach is warm and slightly wilted. Remove from heat. The vegetable mixture may be a little watery depending on the kind of tomatoes you use. If it is watery, just use a slotted spoon or fork to scoop out the vegetables so your crepes do not get soggy.

Put topping in the center of crepes and sprinkle with reduced fat or nonfat cheese if desired. (I used nonfat feta cheese) Fold crepes over veggies and serve.

Savory Vegetable Crepes 009

Advertisements

Whole Grain Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce

If you are bored of tomato sauce on your pasta this is a great and very different alternative. Cook your pasta (whole grain of course), throw in some cooked veggies and top with an easy flavorful sauce that is full of heart healthy peanuts. If you like, you can add in some left over chicken from the previous nights meal or if you are a vegetarian, tofu would also be great in this dish. Personally, I like to just sprinkle a few peanuts over the top to give it a little bit of crunch, and maybe a little piece or two of chicken.

Serves 6

Ingredients

12 oz Whole Grain Pasta (long pasta such as spaghetti, fettuccine or capellini works best)

Cooking Oil Spray

Florets Chopped from 1 Head of Broccoli or approximately 3.5 Cups of Broccoli Florets

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

1 8oz package of sliced Mushrooms

1 8oz package of Mung Bean Sprouts

5 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter

4-5 Tablespoons of Hot Water

1/4 Cup Reduced Sodium Soy or Tamari Sauce

2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger

2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

1 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil. Add broccoli florets and carrots. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the ginger and 1 teaspoon of the garlic. Stir to coat. Continue cooking for a few minutes until warm and slightly cooked but still firm. Mix in mushrooms followed by bean sprouts. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until vegetables are almost as desired and then turn stove top to a medium low. Add peanut butter to a small mixing bowl and add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time while mixing with peanut butter in order to make it a thinner consistency. (The water must be hot to help melt the peanut butter and make it easier to stir) Add soy sauce and mix until uniform. Add 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon garlic and 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce and mix. Turn off heat on the stove top if vegetables are cooked as desired. If not, continue cooking until desired and then turn off heat. Add peanut sauce to veggies and mix to coat. Add cooked pasta and mix until well blended.


Whole Grain Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce 007

Strawberry Dessert Bites

For Memorial Day I wanted to make a quick, easy and healthy bite size dessert. I found a lot of recipes for stawberries filled with a cheesecake type filling that looked delicious, but had entirely too much saturated fat, calories and sugar for my liking. But I loved the idea of filling a strawberry to make a bite sized treat. Strawberries are full of fiber, vitamin C, and multiple other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research shows that eating strawberries may decrease cancer risk, improve cardiovascular health and boost cognitive functioning so you can definitely feel good about eating these tasty treats! For my filing I decided to use neufchatel cheese (like cream cheese but with 1/3 less fat), nonfat plain greek yogurt to cut the fat and calorie content further, a small amount of sugar (1 teaspoon) and pure vanilla extract. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and they were so simple and easy to make.

Recipe:
1 -16 oz box of Fresh Strawberries (approx 20 berries)
4 oz Neufchatel Cheese
1/4 Cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Clean the strawberries and remove the center of each strawberry with a small paring knife to make a hole for the filling. See picture below. Combine remaining ingredients (cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract) together in a bowl and mix well. Once well blended, scoop filling into each berry with a small spoon. If you want it to look more professional and fancy you can try using a cake decorator or icing bag. (I just scooped the filling in with a spoon because I was in a rush…. that is why mine look a little messy) Refrigerate until ready to serve. Super easy!
 Strawberry Dessert Bites 003Strawberry Dessert Bites 010
Nutrition Info
Serving Size: Approx 4 Strawberries
Calories: 95
Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
Protein: 3.7 g
Fat: 5.4 g
Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
Fiber: 1.4 g

Greek Yogurt

I love greek yogurt. The first time I tried it, I remember thinking it was very different. Growing up we mostly ate the flavored yogurt that was sweet and creamy. I remember putting lemon and strawberry yogurt in the freezer and waiting eagerly for it to freeze. Then I could have a special treat that my brothers and sister would be jealous of and wished they thought of my good frozen treat idea. 😛

Both regular nonfat or low fat yogurt as well as regular nonfat or low fat greek yogurt are both low in calories and chock full of calcium as well as live bacteria cultures making them both healthy choices. Studies have shown that dairy products can help with weight loss and live bacteria cultures are important for a healthy gut and immune system. Greek yogurt does have a slight edge over conventional yogurt, it is thicker and has more protein which can help you feel fuller longer and also has less sugar due to the straining process. Extra sugar can be added during processing for flavor so make sure you check your labels and avoid the ones with lots of added sugar. I prefer to just go plain so I buy the nonfat greek yogurt without any flavorings or additives. Here are some of my favorite choices:

greek yogurt 004

The Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Plain Yogurt (5.3oz container) has 80 Calories, 15g Protein, 6g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat and 15% of your daily Calcium needs.

The Fage Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt (6ozs) contains 100 Calories, 18g Protein, 7g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat, and 20% of your daily Calcium needs.

The Chobani Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (5.3oz) has 90 Calories, 15g Protein, 7g Carbohydrates, 0g Fat, and 15% of your daily Calcium needs.

I do like a little bit of sweetness in my greek yogurt so I usually like to add some fruit and a little drizzle of honey. I prefer adding my own flavorings because I can use fresh fruit and control the amount of sugar. Here is a recipe that is only 135-155 calories to get you started:

1 container Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (5.3-6oz)

1/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries

1/4 Cup Fresh Sliced Strawberries

1 Teaspoon of Honey

Scoop yogurt in a bowl or parfait glass. Top yogurt with blueberries, strawberries and honey. Enjoy!

greek yogurt 008

Buckwheat Pancakes

I have tried making buckwheat pancakes a few times but couldn’t get them to taste exactly how I wanted until today 🙂  I used a recipe I found from Cookie and Kate (http://cookieandkate.com/2013/buckwheat-pancakes/) for guidance and made a few adjustments until they tasted exactly how I wanted.  Buckwheat flour actually is not wheat and is gluten free so those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity can consume buckwheat safely. It is a whole grain so it contributes more fiber and vitamins than regular all purpose flour. I did not use sugar in this recipe, which is normally added to most pancake recipes. I used no sugar added applesauce (fruit contains natural sugar along with vitamins and many healthy plant compounds) which I thought made the pancakes more moist and cake like. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Pancakes

Makes approximately 8-10 4 inch pancakes

Ingredients

Canola nonstick spray

1 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1  Egg

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Skim Milk

1/2 Cup No Added Sugar Applesauce

Fresh fruit for topping

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg in a smaller bowl and mix in wet ingredients (vanilla, milk, applesauce) with whisked egg. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.  Spray large skillet pan or griddle with nonstick spray and preheat to medium heat. Pour batter in pan to form 4 inch pancakes. Flip over after about 1-2 minutes, when small bubbles appear. Cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Put on a plate and top with fresh fruit. Drizzle lightly with pure maple syrup if desired.

SAM_0024

Cinco de Mayo

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo so I thought I would post what I made for dinner (we celebrated a day early) and a few links to healthier Mexican recipes so we can all celebrate without too much guilt 😉

For my Cinco de Mayo, I used a chicken fajita recipe:

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/04/chicken-fajitas-45-pts.html

But instead of the tortilla (I can’t eat corn or wheat), I put the fajita mixture on top of brown rice and black beans to make a sort of fajita bowl. I then topped with a little salsa, homemade guacamole and a sprinkle of reduced fat cheddar cheese. As you can see below, it turned out really delicious.

Chicken Fajita Bowl 012

For the guacamole I used a recipe that cut the avocados with greek yogurt. This helps decrease the calories and fat and provides a little extra calcium, which most people in the United States don’t get enough of. It did taste a little different, kinda like a mix of guacamole and sour cream, but I thought it went really well on my fajita bowl. Here is the recipe I used:

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Low-Fat-Guacamole-35270109

I am very picky with margaritas and hardly ever order them at a restaurant because they tend to be laden with calories and taste like margarita mix, I prefer my margaritas to taste fresh and not have as many calories as my meal. I did find a margarita recipe that was only 100 calories and looks like it would be very refreshing:

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/10-skinny-margaritas-guilt-free-sipping/slide/3

Here are a few Mexican salads:

http://ifoodreal.com/healthy-creamy-mexican-kale-salad/

http://thecafesucrefarine.com/2014/05/mexican-chopped-salad/

And some tacos and quesadillas:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/mushroom-corn-poblano-tacos

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lime-cilantro-pork-tacos

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-chicken-quesadillas-0

And here are some final tips to stay healthy on Cinco de Mayo:

1. Choose leaner meats and trim any visible fat or drain grease to keep calories and fat in check.

2. Use whole grains instead of refined grains, such as whole wheat tortilla or brown rice, to provide additional fiber and help you to feel full longer.

3. Used reduced fat toppings whenever possible, such as reduced fat cheese or lite sour cream.

4. Drinks do have calories and they can add up quickly.

5. Have fun!

Party Pasta

Last weekend I turned 30 (old lady now…) so we thought we would do a beach party on Saturday to celebrate. So of course I wanted to make some nutritious and delicious food to bring so I had to think of something I could keep cold in a cooler and that would be refreshing and not too messy or complicated. Pasta salad seemed to be an easy solution. I used whole grains (good carbs for sustained energy and fiber), olive oil (good fat, anti-inflammatory properties), and fresh veggies (lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). I was able to keep it in a large aluminum tray in the cooler and it did stay cool until we were ready to eat. I also made a fruit salad to bring because it is super easy to just chop up some melons, grapes and strawberries….and who doesn’t love cool, fresh fruit on a hot day? Plus…it is good for you. My pasta salad turned out really delicious and can feed about 16-20 people so keep that in mind when you see the large amounts of ingredients.

Ingredients:

32 oz Dry Whole Grain Pasta

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

1 Head of Broccoli

4 Large Tomatoes

1- Fresh 8 oz Bag of Baby Spinach

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar

Juice from 2 Lemons

1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. While pasta is cooking, clean off sweet potatoes and poke several holes through the skin with a fork. Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through. Rinse broccoli and tomatoes and start chopping into pieces while sweet potatoes and pasta are cooking. Remove sweet potatoes (be careful they will be very hot) and let cool. Put chopped broccoli in the microwave on a microwave safe plate on high for 2 minutes, if you are like me and prefer your broccoli to be slightly cooked but still firm and crunchy. If you prefer it raw you can skip that step. By now your pasta should be done cooking; drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking and add to your aluminum tray or serving dish. Add the bag of spinach to the warm pot you just removed the pasta from and put back on burner on low heat stirring occasionally to warm and wilt spinach until it shrinks to about half. Add warm spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes to pasta. If your sweet potatoes are cool enough, peel off the skin and chop into bite size squares. If they still feel hot please be patient and let them cool down more… you can get burned by hot potato steam. The potatoes should peel very easily with a knife now that they are cooked. Add the sweet potato pieces to the pasta mixture. Now you just need to make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and sugar in a small bowl and pour over pasta. Mix well and add ground black pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat, can be made the day before.

image