All Posts In Healthy Recipes

Make Your Own Girl Scout Cookies

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Meal Makeovers, March 2, 2012
girl scout cookies
Homemade Girl Scout cookies, inspired by Thank U Berry Munch cookies.

It’s that time a year again! We covered homemade recipes for classics like Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalongs, now it’s time for one of the newest Girl Scout cookie flavors.

Giving Thanks

Don’t get us wrong – our intention is not to thwart the fundraising efforts of deserving girl scouts. But let’s face it, all packaged cookies need preservatives to stay fresh. We’re offering a recipe with nothing but real ingredients. Besides, you can only get your hands on these cookies once a year so it’s nice to have a recipe on hand when girls scouts are on hiatus.
Thank U Berry Munch” cookies debuted in 2010. Made with sweet-tart cranberries and white chocolate, our version has all the flavor and none of the preservatives. Some online reviews noted that this cookies was overly sweet so we took that into account when creating this tasty version.

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Why We Love Tofu

by in Healthy Recipes, February 28, 2012
bbq tofu
Barbequed Tofu

If you’re looking to reduce your cholesterol or eat more plant foods, tofu is an excellent protein-packed option. Choosing the type of tofu can get a little confusing, but we’ve got you covered along with recipe ideas too.

Tofu 101
Also called soybean curd, tofu is made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant (such as calcium sulfate or nigari, which is found naturally in ocean water). It’s then pressed (similar to cheese) and the firmness depends on the amount of liquid that’s extracted.  Tofu has a bland, slightly nutty flavor that absorbs the flavors you combine it with.

There are 3 types of tofu available at the market: firm, soft, and silken. Firm tofu (also found as “extra firm”) holds up well in dishes where you want it to maintain its shape like on the grill or in a stir-fry. Soft tofu is appropriate for recipes where you blend the tofu like puddings, tofu scrambles or eggless egg salad. Silken tofu is made by a slightly different process where the end result is a custard-like product. It’s great in pureed dishes like smoothies and mousse.

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Gluten-Free Spiced Matcha Crunch Truffles

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes, February 19, 2012
gluten-free matcha truffles
Gluten-and-Dairy-Free Matcha Truffles -- Photo by Silvana Nardone

The one thing that matters to me, even after Valentine’s Day is that there is chocolate in the house—really, any kind will do. By nature, chocolate is gluten free. But chocolate treats are often full of dairy—and other added ingredients that aren’t exactly good for you. After a little playing around in the kitchen, I realized that there was no reason to pigeonhole myself in traditional truffle-making technique.

Instead, I relied on the properties of individual ingredients to give me the texture I wanted. In place of heavy cream, which adds silkiness, I used tempered egg yolks to emulsify the chocolate truffle mixture. To hold the truffles together, I swapped coconut oil (I prefer the flavorless kind, but you can use either) for the usual butter.

Then came the fun part: Adding immune-supporting spices and teas, like turmeric root and green tea. In these truffles, which are infinitely adaptable to any flavor combination, there also just happens to be some feel-good, aphrodisiac ingredients, like chocolate and vanilla.

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Meet This Grain: Amaranth

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes, February 17, 2012
amaranth
Have you tried amaranth?

This under-appreciated grain is a perfect way to get in your whole grains, plus it’s gluten-free. Get tips on cooking it and creative recipes to try this tiny grain.

What is Amaranth?
Also called pigweed or Chinese spinach, amaranth was a staple crop of the Aztecs who used to make idols from amaranth, honey and human blood. This outraged Cortes who burned the amaranth fields and decreed that anyone growing the crop would be killed.

Amaranth was rediscovered centuries later and about 60 varieties are available today. Although amaranth is categorized as a grain, it’s really a seed (just like quinoa). The tiny seeds are about the size of sesame seeds and have a yellowish color. The seeds can be used whole or ground into flour. They have a sweet and nutty flavor and are a bit crunchy when cooked. The greens of the plant are also edible and have a sweet flavor.

Today China is the biggest producer of the grain, but it’s also cultivated in Mexico, Central America and some areas in the U.S.

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Chocolate 5 Ways

by in 1 Food, 5 Ways, Valentine's Day, February 13, 2012
Celebrate Valentine's Day with chocolate treats morning, noon and night.

Just a touch of chocolate is all you need to remind that special someone how you feel. This Valentine’s Day, enjoy any of these scrumptious chocolate delights morning, noon or night.

Breakfast
Start Valentine’s Day with chocolate-filled French toast. Even your kid will be shocked you served chocolate for breakfast! With only 1 teaspoon of bittersweet chocolate chips per serving, a little goes a long way.

Recipe: Chocolate and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

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The Veggie Table: Meatless Mexican Lasagna

by in Healthy Recipes, The Veggie Table, February 10, 2012
mexican vegetarian lasagna
Mexican lasagna: Meat-free and flavor-packed.

Lasagna is one of those dishes I reserve for the winter months, when I want something warm and comforting. This Mexican Lasagna, which uses tortillas in place of lasagna noodles, has some added heat from the salsa and jalapenos to really warm things up on a cold winter day. If you can’t stand the heat, use a mild salsa and omit the jalapeno.

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Nuts About Pistachios

by in Healthy Recipes, February 8, 2012
pistachios
Pistachios are wonderful on their own, but they make a great appetizer when drizzled with honey and served with apples and cheese.

No other nut boasts an emerald hue like the pistachio does. Find out what you’re getting when you crack open a pistachio.

Pistachio Basics
Commonly grown in Turkey and Iran, 98 perecent of the American crop of pistachios is grown in California. You can spot these distinctive nuts by their tan outer shell and the small green nut peaking out (the shell splits open when the nuts are ripe). Pistachios are available shelled or unshelled, salted or unsalted. Some research suggests that shelled nuts are a better choice for portion control– having to pop open the shell slows you down when munching.

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Make Your Own Hostess Cupcakes

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, February 7, 2012
hostess cupcakes
Skip the packaged cupcakes in the supermarket and make your own instead.

We had so much fun making homemade Girl Scout Cookies, we just had to try and recreate another childhood classic.

Why Make your own?
Using real ingredients like butter, sugar and chocolate in this recipe means our version won’t be low in calories. BUT, what you will be getting is a super fun and delicious cupcake made without preservatives, fillers, thickeners and hydrogenated oils found in the store-bought version.

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Spice of Month: Peppercorns

by in Healthy Recipes, February 7, 2012
peppercorn
Our February spice of the month: Peppercorns.

This under-appreciated spice is anything but ordinary. Grab your pepper mills – we’re serving up fresh facts and 10 recipes that make pepper the star.

Peppercorn Basics
A prized commodity dating back to ancient Egypt, pepper is more than just a black powder to mindlessly sprinkle. Grown from the Piper nigrum (a.k.a. pepper plant), peppercorns are available in a rainbow of colors.

The most common variety, black peppercorns, are slightly immature berries that have been dried. Malabar and Indian Tellicherry are two popular varieties, bursting with aromatic warmth.

White peppercorns are fully mature berries whose skins have been removed. They have less heat than the black variety and are ground into a white powder typically used to avoid black specks in food.

Green peppercorns are unripened berries, most commonly found preserved in brine and used to liven up sauces with a punch of salty vinegar and spice.

Some peppercorn blends will also feature pink peppercorns. While these pricey berries look and taste similar, they aren’t true peppercorns. Grown from a special variety of rose plant native to Madagascar and imported from France, pink peppercorns are spicy with a hint of extra sweetness.

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Cancer Prevention: Cruciferous Veggies

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, February 4, 2012
broccoli
Broccoli is loaded with cancer-fighting plant chemicals.

In honor of World Cancer Day, we’re focusing on cruciferous veggies—those from the cabbage family. Studies show that these vegetables have a special plant chemical that protects against cancer. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your everyday eating plan.

The Power
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These superstar veggies are packed with so many nutrients it’s tough to keep count. They contain fiber, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, B6, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fats. What’s more, they also have plant chemicals known as glucosinolates that have been shown to help reduce the risk of various types of cancer.

A 2011 study in the International Journal of Urology found that the more veggies that were eaten from the cabbage family, the lower the risk was from prostate cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, studies also link the various components in cruciferous veggies to helping reduce the risk of colorectal, esophageal, stomach, mouth and pancreatic cancer.

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