Buckwheat Pancakes

I have tried making buckwheat pancakes a few times but couldn’t get them to taste exactly how I wanted until today ๐Ÿ™‚ ย 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. ย 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 ย 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. ย 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.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

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Dinner Tonight….Snapper !

Bryant found this great snapper recipe on freshfromflorida.com this weekend so I thought it would make a great weeknight meal. It was super easy and quick, and of course both delicious and nutritious. ๐Ÿ˜Š

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Recipes/Seafood/Snapper/Pan-Grilled-Red-Snapper-with-Avocado-Strawberry-Salsa

This is how mine turned out:

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I paired it with balsamic grilled vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms and eggplants) and quinoa.

imageFish is a great source of protein and healthy fat…try to eat twice weekly for health benefits! ๐ŸŸ๐ŸŸ

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

Sorry I wasn’t able to post last week but I was in Puerto Rico for a friends 30th birthday so I was busy doing beach things and exploring the island. ๐Ÿ‘™๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒด Before I left I did make a really good spaghetti squash dish that I thought I could share today. It was my first experience working with spaghetti squash so I was surprised how easy and quick it was to make. I wish I had tried it sooner!

Spaghetti squash contains many important vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin c, vitamin a, and dietary fiber. It also is lower in calories than traditional spaghetti noodles so it can help with weight loss when substituted.

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients

1 Spaghetti Squash

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 Cup Diced Purple Onion

1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms

1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped

1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped

Dash of Salt and Pepper

Rinse off spaghetti squash and poke several holes with a knife to allow steam to escape while cooking. Microwave spaghetti squash on high for 15 minutes. If your microwave doesn’t rotate make sure you turn about half way through cooking to ensure it is cooked evenly. Remove squash from microwave when finished cooking but do not attempt to cut it open yet. It will be very hot and needs to cool down for several minutes. Heat olive oil in a medium sautรฉ pan on medium heat and add garlic and onions. Cook until onions appear translucent. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for several minutes longer until vegetables are warm and mushrooms are soft and decreased in size. Mix in basil and oregano and cook for 1-2 more minutes to blend the flavors. Turn off heat and add a dash of salt and pepper if desired. Cut open spaghetti squash in half lengthwise if cool enough and remove seeds. Use a fork to scrape out strands and put each half on a plate. Top with sauce and serve warm.

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Cinnamon Baked Apple Slices

Normally I buy gala apples to pack with my lunch but braeburns were on sale the other day so I thought I would give them a try. Unfortunately I forgot I am not a huge fan of eating braeburns fresh…. So I thought I would try and bake them with some cinnamon and brown sugar to give them a bit of a different flavor. I really liked the way that they turned out and will definitely make them again. This recipe could be used as a side, a snack or a dessert! ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ

Makes 4 portions.

Ingredients
2 Apples
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Unpacked Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice apples and remove core and seeds but do not peel off the skins. (Peeling the skins removes a significant amount of fiber and other healthy nutrients) Place sliced apples in a glass 9×13 inch baking pan. Drizzle lemon juice over apples and mix to ensure evenly coated. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over apples and mix again to distribute evenly. Spread apples out so that they are in a mostly single layer in the baking dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, until apples are cooked to desired softness. Remove from oven and split into 4 portions. Add a dollop of vanilla low fat frozen yogurt if desired to make it more of a dessert.

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Nutrition Analysis per serving:
Calories: 60
Carbohydrates:16g
Fiber: 2.5g

*Not a significant source of protein or fat.
**Adding 1/4 cup of low fat vanilla frozen yogurt adds an additional 50 calories, 1g of fat, 2g of protein and 9g of carbohydrates

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Making stuffed peppers can be really easy… in this recipe I basically just threw together some things I already had, mixed them up and tossed them into green peppers and baked. Making brown rice can take time so you can cook it the night before or do what I did and start it as soon as you get home from work and get in a quick workout while it is cooking ๐Ÿ’ช

Ingredients

1 Cup Uncooked Brown Rice

1 Can Low Sodium Beans

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Cumin

2 T Salsa

1 Jalepeno

1 Plum Tomato

2 T Fresh Cilantro, Minced

4 Medium Green Peppers

1 Cup Shredded Reduced Fat Cheese

Cook brown rice according to package directions. After rice is cooked, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain and rinse canned beans and mix in with rice. Add garlic powder, cumin and salsa. Remove seeds from jalepeno (unless you like things really hot ๐Ÿ”ฅ) and dice into small pieces. Dice tomato and add to rice mixture along with jalepeno and cilantro. Mix well. Cut tops off of green peppers and fill with stuffing, dividing evenly between peppers. There should still be some room left in the peppers for the cheese after you are done. Top each pepper with 1/4 cup cheese. Fill a shallow baking dish with about one half inch of water. Place peppers in dish and bake for about 25 minutes or until peppers reach desired softness.

Tip- if you just want to just make 2 or 3 peppers you can still make the same amount of rice mixture and save whatever you can’t fit into the peppers for lunch the next day.

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