Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of last 3 spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, water, oil, salt, and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
  3. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves (or pumpkin pie spice). Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Serve with cream cheese frosting.

What to do with the leftover pumpkin puree?

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Trader Joe’s Lentil Salad

Made from ready-to-eat items from Trader Joe’s, this is a quick, delicious, and healthy salad that holds up for days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta Sauce (refrigerated)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (refrigerated)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Basil (optional)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine entire packages of lentils and bruschetta.
  2. To serve, lay a bed of baby spinach onto the bottom of a bowl. Top with a scoop of lentils and garnish with feta cheese and torn basil.


Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

Rather than paying a higher price to consume artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono and diglycerides, artificial color, yellow 5, yellow 6, bha (preservative), make your own mix! It only takes a minute.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a container with a lid or a ziplock bag, combine all ingredients. When ready to make, pour the powder into a cold pot and add the following ingredients:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir over medium heat until thickened. Enjoy warm or refrigerate until cold.

Sweet & Spicy Ginger Green Beans

Photo from Milk Street

Ingredients

Recipe by Milk Street. My alterations are always in parenthesis.
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional – I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I use 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved on the bias (I just snap them into smaller pieces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Ground white pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the beans and cook, without stirring, until beginning to color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water and immediately cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the beans are bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Clear a space in the center of the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (I don’t add any more oil) to the clearing. Stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the sugar-fish sauce mixture into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and coats the beans, about 1 minute.
  5. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar.


Beaming Rockstar Smoothie Copycat (Your new favorite smoothie)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Almond milk
  • Coconut water (at the end if needed for thinning)
  • 1/2 frozen banana or (1/4 Avocado to make low-glycemic)
  • 1 date or (1 teaspoon Yacon syrup to make low glycemic) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Beaming *Protein Powder (see note for sub)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon coconut butter (optional)
  • 5 cubes of Ice
  • Add: Fit Matrix, E3live & Blue Majik (I skip this)

My additions – sometimes I throw in a spoonful of cacao nibs or 2 tablespoons of granola

*A comparable protein powder substitute that is much more affordable. I use 1 scoop of the unflavored whey plus 1/2 scoop of the Vanilla Veggie Protein (see image).

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a high speed or regular blender. If adding cacao nibs, blend a bit first and add at the end to maintain crunch.

My sub for Beaming Protein Powders. Veggie one found at Sprouts. Unflavored on Amazon.

30 Minute Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans

Photo from Milk Street
This is one of my favorite recipes.
Adapted from Milk Street

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch chunks.
  • 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 bunches scallions (I use 2 bunches), thinly sliced, white and green parts used separately – I use all the white and dark green parts and not the light green parts as I feel it’s just too much onion.
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (this is a strong flavor. I only use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom (this is also a strong flavor! I only use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 2-15½ cans cannelloni beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use 1 teaspoon Better than Bullion with 1 cup water)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chicken and scallion whites, then cook, stirring once or twice, until both the chicken and scallions begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom, turmeric, 1.5 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the bean liquid, broth, lime zest and juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until the chicken is opaque when cut into, 5 to 7 minutes (I like to cook this, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get really tender. I then like to shred up the chicken a bit before the next step.
  5. Stir in the scallion greens and the beans, then cook until the beans are heated through, another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the liquid when draining the beans. It adds both body and flavor to the dish. If you do accidentally discard it, simply increase the chicken broth to 2⅓ cups. The braising liquid will be thinner, but the dish will still be tasty.


Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats

Adapted from Elie Krieger

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings
  • 2/3 cup whole natural almonds, divided (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 1.5 cups nonfat or 1% milk
  • 1 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
  • 1/3 cup all-fruit blueberry jam (I use 3 tbsp low-sugar blueberry jam)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 cups blueberries, divided (I use 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then chop them coarsely (I put them in a ziplock bag and pound them into smaller pieces).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, yogurt, jam, and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the oats, chia seeds, and half of the almonds.
  4. Stir in most of the blueberries, leaving out some for topping.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly among four 12-ounce (1[1/2]-cup) jars. Top each with the remaining blueberries and almonds. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (Note: the nuts on top will soften a bit in the refrigerator. If you want them extra-crunchy, sprinkle them on right before serving).
The jars will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition facts calculated using my recipe alterations

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 267 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8 g12 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 8 mg3 %
Sodium 76 mg3 %
Potassium 322 mg9 %
Total Carbohydrate37 g12 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g23 %
Sugars 17 g
Protein 13 g26 %
Vitamin A 6 %
Vitamin C 5 %
Calcium 66 %
Iron 6 %

Beet & Carrot Salad with Black Rice & Kale

This salad is inspired by Mendocino Farms’ the Healthiest Side Dish in the World.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded raw beets (about 3)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (about 3)
  • 2 cups shredded kale (about 3 stems)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup black rice (this measurement is for uncooked) – add as much black rice as you’d like – the more the heartier.
  • a few tablespoons chopped, fresh mint
Dressing
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes or Espelette
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Directions

  1. Boil the black rice in about 2 cups of water until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain. Cook the black rice in 3 cups of water. Taste for when they are tender, approximately 10 minutes; Drain.
  2. Shred the beets and carrot (I use the shredder attachment in my food processor).
  3. Remove the stems from then kale and shred or chop finely.
  4. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss with about half of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing as needed.

Black Bean & Corn Salad (low fat)

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (rinse in cool water to defrost quickly)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A few basil leaves, julienned or a handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (taste with one tablespoon and add another tablespoon if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Crumbled tortilla chips for serving

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss again and serve with crumbled tortilla sprinkled on top.


Oatmeal Pancakes with optional Carrot & Flax Meal (Gluten Free)

The son was 6 years old the first time he tried these and asked why we were having cookies for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or any flour)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (optional)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender, liquefy the carrot and milk. Pour the milk into a bowl and stir in the oats. Let sit for 20 minutes or overnight.
  2. After 20 add eggs, vanilla and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Mix the two bowls together. If the batter seems too thick, add milk – one tablespoon at a time – until the consistency is pourable.
  5. Heat a greased griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Use the back of a spoon to help spread the pancake so it’s not too thick.
  6. Cook until bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.
  7. Note: These pancakes tend to brown quickly. Adjust the heat as necessary. You may need to lower the heat and cover the pan if they seem to be browning too quickly.