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.

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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!
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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:

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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!

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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.

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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. 👙😎🌴 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 sauté 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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