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Healthy Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

 healthy spinach lasagna roll ups

 

It’s been forever since posting last, mainly because when I do have free time, I’ve been working on a new site that I am so excited about!

Though I love posting new healthy recipes, I have a passion for something more.  I want to continue giving people ideas for healthy living beyond just recipes.  Stay tuned for more to come in the next month or so!

Until then, I want to share a delicious, healthy and easy lasagna recipe with you!  The great thing is that it is meatless but full of flavor and you won’t even miss the meat!

I modified this recipe to make it slightly healthier by using Dreamfield’s high fiber pasta.

dreamfield pasta

This not only tastes wonderful, but is really a pretty dish.  Added bonus: you can freeze part of the recipe!  I’d recommend freezing half of this recipe.

 Healthy Lasagna Roll-ups Recipe

What you’ll need:

9 Whole wheat or multi-grain lasagna noodles

1 10-oz frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

15 oz reduced fat ricotta cheese

32 oz tomato sauce (I used Bertolli’s and it worked great)

3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Thaw spinach in microwave and drain all excess water off.

3.  Cook lasagna noodles until done.

4. While lasagna noodles are cooking, combine spinach, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

5.  Place each lasagna noodle flat on wax paper.

6. Spread 1/3 cup of mixture evenly on each noodle and roll up.

7.  Put about 1 cup of tomato sauce in bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Place the roll-ups in pan, seam side down.

8.  Pour rest of the tomato sauce over all of the roll-ups. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper.

9.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

{note: if you want to double the recipe and freeze some, put roll-ups in freezer bag or container before cooking!}

 

healthy lasagna recipe

 lasagna roll ups

 healthy lasagna roll up recipe

 

Enjoy with a colorful salad for a satisfying, healthy meal!

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Healthy Baked Oatmeal Recipe

healthy baked oatmeal recipe

I am so not a happy person in the morning.  I’ll admit it: I’m just a different person before 10 a.m. than I am later in the day.

That’s what drove me to create a healthy baked oatmeal recipe.  Not only does it make the morning less stressful, but it also tastes great.  Maybe even a little too great.

If you are like many other people who skip breakfast because the mornings are just too busy to cook a large spread for breakfast, consider making something healthy on the weekends that is very convenient during the week.

Also, it is true that breakfast is such an important part of your day.  Your body has gone many hours without food and needs to be re-fueled in the morning. (Sidenote: if you find that you just are not hungry in the mornings, take a look at your lifestyle and be sure you aren’t eating too much late at night!)

It uses the good old fashioned oats, honey, cinnamon, butter and whatever other things you may want to get creative with (like raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit).

healthy baked oatmeal


This could also be used as a snack for yourself (or your kids!) and is wonderful in that it uses whole foods.  As always, with anything that is real tasty, it may be beneficial to pre-portion these into individual ziplock bags to avoid turning it into a high calorie snack!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

3 cups old fashioned oats (rolled oats)

2/3 cup honey

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk (you could certainly use almond or soy milk)

2 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

(*optional ingredients: chopped nuts or dried fruit)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together all of the dry ingredients while melting the butter.  Next, beat in the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla).  Once mixed, stir in any other optional ingredients (nuts or fruit).  Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes.  I strongly recommend checking at 20 minutes and keeping a close eye on it.  I wanted mine more on the “crispy” side, but it could quickly get too crispy.

 

cinnamon baked oatmeal

This healthy baked oatmeal could be made even healthier by cutting back even further on the honey.  I did use the 2/3 cup when I made it, but next time I will definitely be trying it with 1/2 cup of honey.  Also, substituting part of the butter with applesauce is another way to save on some fat!

This baked oatmeal is delicious warmed in the microwave and can be served with milk poured over it!   Before you know it, your plate will look like this:

 

baked oatmeal with honey


Hope you enjoy!  I’d love to hear what your favorite quick breakfast foods are!

 

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Homemade Hummus

Surely I’m not the only person out there who has a hard time paying good money for store-bought hummus, knowing that around our  house it will not last long.  Right?

Though we occasionally buy hummus when it’s on sale, for a long time now, we have made our own with our Vita-mix.   It is super-easy, much cheaper, and you can make it taste just the way you want it to taste.

Nutritionally speaking, it’s a wonderful little snack (that is, unless you eat too much of it — which is kind of easy to do!).  The chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are not only high in fiber (6 grams per 1/2 cup serving to be exact), but also have a decent amount of protein (6 grams per 1/2 cup) and also give you a little calcium and iron.

The other nice thing about making a big batch of this stuff, is that once it’s made, it’s made.  There is not much prep for a nice healthy snack!  I love stuff like that, especially when the Little Stinker is having a meltdown when I’m ready for a snack (which happens quite often these days).

Here’s the recipe I use, but feel free to play around with it and make it to suit your tastes!

What you’ll need:

2 15-oz cans of chickpeas

1 clove of garlic OR 1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 Tbsp raw sesame seeds OR 4 Tbsp sesame tahini

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Directions:

Drain one can of chickpeas and pour into Vita-mix or other food processor.  Then empty an undrained can of chickpeas into food processor.  Add all remaining ingredients and run food processor until smooth (takes about 1 min with Vita-mix).

Store in container with lid in refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts: (Serving size: 1/4 cup) Calories: 99, Fat: 3 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 4 g

 

The  key to keeping this homemade hummus healthy is portion control.  It’s so good that you have to pre-portion it out before you start eating.  As you can see from the picture below, I started eating it while I was taking pictures!


Pair it with some homemade pita chips or carrots!  Enjoy!

 

 

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Beet Shake Recipe


Today I came up with a beet shake recipe, and it was so good I had to share.

beet shake recipe

The other day, my Little Buddy asked me if we could buy a beet.  A BEET!  This is coming from my picky eater!

So…I of course made sure to pick some up from the store.  I’ll admit, I’ve never bought beets.  I know, horrible that a dietitian has never purchased a single beet.  I did not grow up eating beets and I’ve never really eaten a beet that tasted good to me!

Well, this week for our food chart, we are doing strawberries.  Every day this week the Little Buddy has been eating fresh strawberries with cool whip, but his little brother finished those off this morning, so we decided to do a shake in the Vita-mix with frozen strawberries.

And what better time to add some beet?!

It was absolutely delicious!

vita-mix beet shake

Beet Shake Recipe

1 cup vanilla low fat yogurt

1 banana

6-8 frozen strawberries

1/2 beet

water as needed for consistency you like

(note: we added a little bit of apple juice to make it sweeter but you could skip this – and I may next time!)

 

The Vita-Mix allows you to just throw in the raw beet in big chunks and completely pulverizes it, but if you are using a regular blender you could always cook the beet and puree it if needed.

This beet shake was seriously delicious and was a fun hot pink color!  Both of my boys liked it, but my picky eater actually loved it and asked for a refill!

Beets are a great source of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese.  I’m going to be trying some other fun things with beets, and if any of them taste good I’ll share them soon!

But for now, I’ll be making beet shakes.

 

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Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Roasted garbanzo beans {aka chickpeas} are quite the craze…and for good reason!

roasted garbanzo beans

 

They are:

  1. Delicious
  2. High-fiber
  3. Good source of protein
  4. Easy to make
  5. Cheap
  6. Tasty…did I mention that already?!

Who would have ever thought a legume could be transformed into a sweet or salty, crunchy snack?

Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are legumes whose seeds are high in protein.   They can be prepared and eaten many different ways, from eaten cold on a salad to being thrown into a food processor to make one of my favorites: hummus.

Below you will see the chickpea plant, which grows 8-20 inches high and needs tropical or subtropical climate to thrive.

 

chickpea plant Source

 

Enough about the history of the garbanzo bean, let’s get to the good stuff.

I finally bit the bullet and tried something new, which I have heard others rave about: roasted garbanzo beans.

What You’ll Need:

  • At least one can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasonings (see different seasoning ideas below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2. Pour garbanzo beans into colander and rinse with lukewarm water for a few seconds (this helps to loosen the skins)

roasted chickpeas

3.  Put paper towel in bottom of a pan and pour the wet garbanzo beans on top.  Remove skins from the garbanzos.

garbanzo beans

4.  Once all of the skins have been removed, pat dry with a paper towel.

chickpeas

 5.  Remove paper towel and drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over the garbanzo beans.

6.  Stir the garbanzos to be sure the oil is even coating them.

7.  Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes, and then sir.

8.  Roast for another 10  minutes and then check the garbanzo beans to be sure they are cooking evenly and not burning.

{this is where I recommend taking a couple out of the oven, letting them cool a little, and tasting…this will help you gauge how much longer to cook them!}

9.  If they are not ready, cook for another 5-10 minutes.

10.  Let them cool before eating/serving!

 spicy roasted chickpeas

I experimented with different flavors!  Add the seasonings after they have cooked.  Here are some different flavor ideas:

  • Cocoa powder and sugar sprinkled on top
  • Onion powder/Garlic powder (salt optional)
  • Cayenne pepper, onion powder (salt optional)

My Little Buddy (the picky eater of the family) ate the cocoa ones!

(*Tip: You have to watch these carefully as they are roasting.  They can easily burn, but you also need to let them cook long enough to get crispy!)

 

Enjoy roasted garbanzo beans as a healthy snack!

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Healthy Blueberry Muffins

healthy blueberry muffins Everyone loves a good muffin for breakfast from time to time.

The problem is that, oftentimes, muffins are just full of sugar and white flour.  They can even be close to 400 calories!

As part of my 30 Day Eat Less Processed Foods Challenge, I decided to make a muffin that would satisfy a sweet tooth while also providing lots of good nutrition for the family.

This is a muffin you can feel good about eating, because it is full of omega-3 fatty acids (from the flax seed) and fiber (from the whole wheat flour and flax seed).

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup of milled flax seed

1 cup nonfat milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 large egg

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use my fave — King Arthur’s Unbleached White Whole Wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)

2 tablespoons organic sugar or sugar in the raw (this is optional, but the large sugar crystals makes for a nice light topping on the muffins!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease muffin cups (unless you’re using liners).

2.  Mix together milled flax seed and milk. (I milled my own flax seed in a coffee grinder)

ground flaxseed 3.  In a different bowl, mix together egg, brown sugar, vanilla and applesauce.  Bean in the flax seed mixture.

4.  Add the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir in just until blended.

5.  Carefully fold in the blueberries.

6.  Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle with the sugar (optional).

7.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested.

healthy blueberry muffin recipe whole wheat blueberry muffin Makes 12 muffins.  1 muffin contains 145 calories, 4 g fat, 5 g protein.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

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Curry Chicken Recipe

easy curried chicken recipe This curry chicken recipe is full of vegetables, whole grains and flavor!

As part of my 30 Day Less Processed Food Challenge, I thought I’d try a recipe that contains a lot of whole foods.

Though it is fairly simple, it’s a little more time consuming than most recipes I typically like to make.

{Warning: This recipe is only for people who have a taste for stronger foods!  It is anything but bland.  In the words of my husband, it has some “kick” to it!}

Here’s a little nutrition tidbit about quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”):  it is a grain, technically a seed, that is full of a nutty flavor and nutrients.  Not only does it contain protein, but it is a complete protein (meaning that, like meat, it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs).  It is also a source of fiber, manganese, folate, magnesium and phosphorous.

If you’ve never tried quinoa, this is a great recipe to try it out in.  It pairs great with foods you might normally pair with brown rice.

Curry Chicken with Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Quinoa

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 cauliflower, cut

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 14-oz can chicken broth

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups quinoa

1.  Cut the chicken into small pieces and cook on medium-high heat on the stove with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook 8-10 minutes. (see step 2 while chicken is cooking)

curry chicken recipe 2.  Cut the vegetables (onion, sweet potato and cauliflower.)

curry chicken and vegetables 3.  After chicken is cooked, remove and set aside.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet, along with the onion and sweet potatoes.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

curry chicken with sweet potato 4.  Add cauliflower, curry, cayenne pepper and remaining salt and cook for about 4-5 minutes.

5.  Add broth and tomatoes.  Cook about 5-7 minutes.

6.  Add chicken to the skillet with vegetables.

7.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Serve with the curry chicken and vegetables.

curry chicken curry chicken and quinoa Hope you enjoy this curry chicken recipe!

 

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Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

homemade granola bar recipe As part of the 30 Day Eat Less Processed Food Challenge, I knew I needed to find a way to make my own granola bars.

I love granola bars and quite honestly they are a good backup plan for breakfast when things get crazy.

This recipe is probably not the absolute healthiest in the world, but it is super easy and does contain some very good-for-you ingredients!  In fact, I had them mixed up and in the oven in 10 minutes flat!

Ingredients:

3 cups plain quick oats

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 pan.

2. Mix the quick oats and sweetened condensed milk.

easy granola bars 2.  Melt the butter.  Add butter, chocolate chips, cranberries and almonds to the mixture.  Mix with hands or gently with a spoon.

homemade granola bars easy homemade granola bars 3. Press into the greased 9×13 pan.

4. Bake for 18-22 minutes.  Be careful to not over-bake by watching the edges.

chocolate chip granola bar recipe {Adapted from this recipe}

Divide into 20 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 175, Carbohydrate: 26 g, Fat: 7 g, Protein: 4 g

If you are careful to not over-bake, they will be very chewy and full of flavor.  This homemade granola bar recipe does have some sugar in it from the sweetened condensed milk, but at least you know everything that’s going in it!  So much less processed than a lot of the bars you would buy in the store.

almond granola bar recipe {Linking up to Life Made Lovely}

 

 

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In Search of a Christmas Tradition: Ebelskivers!

ebelskivers Have you heard of Ebelskivers?  I had not, until just the other day.

I have wanted our family to have a Christmas morning breakfast tradition, but could never figure out what that should be.

When my sister-in-law gave me a Williams-Sonoma gift card for my birthday, I immediately went to their website to try to figure out what I wanted (most).  I discovered something I had never even heard of before: an ebelskiver pan!  {I, of course, went that day to the store to buy it since I’m such a patient person}

ebelskiver pan Apparently, ebelskivers {also spelled aebleskivers} originated in Denmark and traditionally were served before Christmas.  They are small round-shaped pancakes that are light and fluffy.  Oftentimes, they are filled with fruit, cream cheese, or other delicious fillings.

My first attempt at ebelskivers went fairly smoothly.  I filled them with apricot preserves and sprinkled a little bit of powder sugar on top.  Maple syrup completed them and they were delicious. I am in love!

I am now in search of the type of ebelskiver that I want to make on Christmas morning.  I’ll post more flavors as I try them out this week!

ebelskiver {Sidenote: The ebelskivers pictured above are not anything especially healthy, but I am going to try out various types, including some made with whole wheat flour!  I consider these more of a fun thing to do for special occasions…not an everyday breakfast.}

{Linking up to Tip Junkie, Today’s Creative Blog, 30 Handmade Days & Life Made Lovely}

 

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Pumpkin Smoothie

pumpkin smoothie In efforts to enjoy something festive yet also healthy, I decided to make a pumpkin smoothie.

And not just any pumpkin smoothie, but a pumpkin pie smoothie!

If you want a delicious way to get Vitamin A, protein, fiber and omega-3’s, make this.

Here’s what you will need:

1/2 cup of canned pure pumpkin (you could actually use a little more for a stronger pumpkin flavor)

1/2 cup nonfat plan greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup agave nectar (or you could use honey!)

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons flaxseeds

dash of cinnamon (optional)

pumpkin smoothie pumpkin smoothie greek yogurt pumpkin smoothie agave nectar pumpkin smoothie flaxseed Directions:

Put all ingredients into Vita-mix (or other blender).  If using a regular blender, grind your flaxseeds in a coffee grinder.  If using a Vita-mix, you can put the whole seeds in and it will grind them for you.

Blend until smooth and mixed well.  I added about 6 cubes of ice to get it cold enough to suit my taste!

My picky eater (who just turned 5) even loved it!

pumpkin smoothie pumpkin smoothie jar During the holidays, there are so many temptations.  When a strong pumpkin pie craving hits, make this delish pumpkin smoothie!

 

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