Tag Archives: Nutrition

A Vegetable Interlude

16 Oct

Crispy Edamame – FamilyKitchenBlog.com

I realize I’ve been posting a lot of sweet recipes lately.  And with all the pumpkin and nutella recipes floating around in my kitchen this fall, I don’t really intend to stop.  But for the sake of balance (for which I usually strive), I will throw in this one veggie post!

My family has been in a vegetable rut for quite some time now.  Seeing as how it was time to add something new to the mix, I decided to try edamame (sounds fancy, right?).  I skeptically thought maybe it was actually lima beans being re-marketed as something exotic.  But apparently not!  They are both legumes, but edamames are actually soybeans with origins in Asia; lima beans are from South America.  Nutritionally, edamame has twice the protein and half the carbs of lima beans, but are missing some of the vitamins found in lima beans.

So, how do you cook them?  There are several ways, but I tried this simple one first and it was a hit at my dinner table!


Crispy Edamame
from Allrecipes.com

  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain. Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.  Serve while still warm.


Corn and Black Bean Salad

30 May

corn and black bean salad

Summer is here and I’m excited to break out the summer recipes.  I found this “salad” recipe in my local free newspaper!  It can be eaten with a spoon or scooped with tortilla chips (my fav).  It’s healthy, easy, and delicious.  What’s not to love about a dish like that?!  Kids will enjoy dumping and mixing the ingredients, and maybe, just maybe want to eat it too.

  • 1.5 Cups Corn (canned, frozen, or roasted)
  • 2 Cans Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Can Finely Diced Tomatoes (drained, or 1.5 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 Cup Celery (finely diced)*
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoon Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 Lime (I used juice of two)
  • 1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

In large bowl, combine corn, beans, tomatoes, celery and cilantro.  In smaller bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime zest, juice, garlic, and spices.  Pour over salad and stir until well-blended.

*I love celery and was happy to include it, but found it a slightly odd addition.  Feel free to leave it out or replace with a bell or poblano pepper.

Hello, Quinoa!

18 Mar

Hello, Quinoa!

Have you tried this mild South American pseudo-grain yet?  Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) is such a nutrient rich food that it is worth a try!  It’s benefits include:

  • High protein content
  • A balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source
  • A good source of dietary fiber
  • High in magnesium and iron
  • Gluten-free and considered easy to digest

In case you aren’t familiar with it, quinoa is a round seed with a white ring (germ) around it. It cooks much like rice and can also be prepared in a rice maker.  It can be substituted for rice or couscous in most recipes, but there are a growing number of recipes designed specifically for quinoa.  Here are two I recommend:

Cheesy Quinoa
from Monica Nelson Fitness

  • 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • Veggies of your choice (optional)
  • Good pinch of salt
  • Several shakes of Seasoned Salt
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups Grated Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • Optional toppings- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs, salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions

Lightly saute any veggies you would like in this dish.

Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked (about 15 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 13×9 inch dish (or eight individual ramekins) with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa, veggies, and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Stir until well combined.  Transfer to baking dish and if using bread crumbs add now.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake 30-35 mins, until bread crumbs are browned. Serves 6-8.

I tried this plain (no veggies) and served it and broccoli as separate side dishes.  Next time I would cook the broccoli right in the dish because they tasted wonderful together!


Balsamic Quinoa Salad
from CookingQuinoa.net

  • ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ – ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (depending on if you are watching calories)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups Quinoa
  • 1 Bouillon Cube
  • 5 Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 ounces Crumbled Cheese (blue, feta, goat, etc)
  • 1 can Black Beans

Make dressing by combining vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots and olive oil. Season to taste.

Add quinoa to three cups of boiling water.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Rinse with cool water and place in a fine mesh colander. Boil water and place quinoa and sun dried tomatoes in the colander over the water. Cover with a kitchen towel and lid. Steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Cook red pepper in a small skillet until tender.  Combine pepper and remaining ingredients with quinoa.  Add dressing, toss, and enjoy!

No-Bake Energy Bites

8 Mar


What can I say about this amazing snack?  It’s got everything going for it: taste, texture, nutrition, naturally gluten-free, easy to make, can be frozen, and the ingredient substitutions are endless (although we loved them exactly as is).  If that doesn’t peak your interest, I don’t know what will!  This is yet another recipe worthy of a double or triple batch!

No-Bake Energy Bites
from smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, optional)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (or wheat germ)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or other add-ins, such as raisins)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls, and enjoy for a yummy snack or healthy dessert!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week (or frozen for several months).  For more substitution ideas, see the original recipe website.

Five-Minute Chocolate Cake

17 Jan

Five-Minute Chocolate Cake

So, late last night I’m chillin, browsing through all sorts of randomness on Pinterest, when I came across something called One-Minute Chocolate Cake.  Caught this girl’s attention immediately! Not only is it fast chocolate, it claims it’s healthy and can be gluten-free.  Sounds too good to be true, right?!

Let me explain why this was so meaningful to me.  Just last week I spent the good part of a child-free  (i.e. rare and valuable) day making a gluten-free chocolate cake for my hubby’s birthday.  The poor guy hasn’t had cake since last April when he first started this diet, so I thought it was about time I made the attempt.  It turned out to be much harder than I bargained for, although the final result was actually very tasty!  Maybe someday, I’ll share the recipe and help you learn from my mistakes…

So, when I read that a gluten-free chocolate cake can be made in ONE minute, I had to test it out!  I got up and made it right then and there!  And it actually worked!  I won’t say it was as amazing as the cake that took all day to make, but it was definitely a worthwhile effort! Actually, with the same frosting, the taste/texture of the two cakes might be very comparable! And I’m calling it the Five-Minute Chocolate Cake because I like precision. And while it does cook in under a minute, it took me closer to five minutes to gather ingredients, mix the batter, and bake the cake. :)

Five-Minute Chocolate Cake
from the Chocolate Covered Katie blog

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour (white, wheat, spelt, GF, whatever!)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk (non-dairy milk works too)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients and mix very, very well. Add oil, milk and vanilla, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin, or even a coffee mug. Microwave 40-50 seconds. If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for it to cool before trying to remove it).

If you have frosting on hand that would be the ideal topping, but there are several substitutes if you don’t: fresh fruit, whipped topping, ice cream, chocolate syrup, etc.  As you can see, I used strawberries and chocolate syrup on mine.

Come back soon for some fun Super Bowl party food ideas!

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

13 Jan

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

While I’m on a smoothie kick, I have another yummy one to share.  It doesn’t come out as thick as I like, but the taste is so close to a peanut butter milkshake, that I didn’t want to mess with success.  You could easily serve this to your kids for healthy dessert or an afternoon snack!

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 1/4 Cup Ice Cubes
  • 1 Banana Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (possibly 1 1/2 if you’re a big sweet tooth!)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Place chunky items (ice, banana) in blender first, then top with remaining ingredients.  Blend until well combined.  Enjoy!

P.S.  Did you know you can freeze Yoplait Yogurt Whips?  They come in lots of yummy flavors and are a great substitute for ice cream when the craving hits!


Chocolate-Cherry Breakfast Smoothie

10 Jan

Chocolate-Cherry Breakfast Smoothie

I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to get myself back into the swing of normal life after the long break we had.  Did you set any New Year’s resolutions?  I didn’t make any official ones (saves me from the disappointment when I don’t follow through!), but I have begun a journey to eat less carbs and more fresh foods. Want to come along?

To start at the beginning, I decided to tackle breakfast first.  Right now, out of convenience, this usually consists of cereal and milk for me.  One replacement for this is a fruit smoothie.  And yum! There are some delicious recipes out there!  Here is one loved by ALL in my family:

Chocolate-Cherry-Banana Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Sliced Ripe Banana (frozen is best)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Pitted Sweet Dark Cherries
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Milk (or white milk with chocolate syrup)
  • 1 Scoop Protein Powder (plain, vanilla or chocolate flavored; optional)

First, place fruit in blender. Next add milk (and protein, if desired).  Use more of less depending on how thick you want your smoothie.  Then blend.  That’s it!  Pour into a to-go cup if you’re in a hurry to get out the door.

Now, I must return to the gluten-free cake I’m trying to make for my husband’s birthday… Based on my experience thus far, I will not be posting the recipe to spare all of you the frustration!

O Christmas Tree, Part 2

12 Dec

O Christmas Tree, Part 2

As promised, here are the healthy Christmas Tree options to make with your kids!

Strawberry Kiwi Tree
Idea from Little Food Junction

Cut one strawberry in half.  Use small star cookie cutter to cut into star shape.  Stick a short bamboo skewer into the strawberry.  Peel kiwi fruit.  Slice and cut each slice in half.  Place on each side of skewer, slightly overlapping each other.


Snap Pea Tree
Idea from Little Nummies

Use star shaped cookie cutter to cut a star piece of cheese.  Place snap peas as shown.  Add cheese to top and pretzel rod (or a gluten free option, such as a cheese stick) for the tree trunk.

Summer Salads

10 May

Summer Salads

Okay, okay, I know it’s not summer yet.  But we finally are having a warm week here in the mid-west, and my mind is quickly turning to summer foods.  And by posting them now, you’ll be able to enjoy them all summer long!

Nutrition Note:  One way to better manage your family’s nutrition is to make you own salad dressings.  Store bought dressings often pack in sugar and sodium and should be used in moderation.  Both of these salads come with their own dressing recipe.  The Chinese Chicken Salad uses honey as it’s only sweetener and the Chicken Arugula Salad is a simple oil and vinegar dressing with no sugar added.

Chinese Chicken Salad
from Healthy Homestyle Cooking by Evelyn Tribole

  • 1 Pound Cooked Chicken (2 Cups),
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Oriental sesame oil
  • 8 Cups Romaine lettuce, torn
  • 1/2 Cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 Cup Sweet red pepper or Celery, chopped
  • 1 (11 ounce) Can Mandarin Oranges (drained)
  • Wonton crisps (found with salad toppings in produce section)

Stir together honey, soy sauce, and oil.  Add chicken and stir until coated.  Let marinate for 30 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine lettuce, cilantro, peppers, and wonton crisps.  Divide mixture among four dinner plates.  Place chicken and oranges on top.  Serves four.

Ginger Sesame Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 4 Teaspoons Ground Arrowroot (found with spices in the grocery store)
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 2 Teaspoons Oriental Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced

In a small saucepan, use a wire whisk to combine the vinegar, soy sauce, and arrowroot.  Stir in the honey until smooth.  Stir in broth, juice, oil, ginger, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened and translucent (maximum thickening occurs just before boiling)  Remove from heat and let cool.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes 8 servings.


Chicken Orzo Arugula Salad
My sister-in-law introduced me to the recipe and I quickly fell in love!  The veggies can be adjusted to suit your tastes.

  • 1 Cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) GF Note: Quinoa or Rice can be substituted here
  • 3 Cups Cooked Chicken, cut into strips
  • 1 ½ Cups trimmed arugula
  • 1 Cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ Cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ Cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 Cup (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, I used more (the whole container!)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.  Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.  If you’re on a tight grocery budget, you can choose to only use basil or oregano.  But I do recommend using fresh herbs, not dried.  Top with dressing and cheese.

Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 8 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Or shake in container similar to the one pictured here. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat.

The Incredible Edible Egg

7 Mar

The Incredible Edible Egg

We all know eggs are a good source of protein, but that is not where their nutritional value ends.  The incredibleegg.org website tells us:

Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food, which means they have a high proportion of nutrients to calories. One large egg has 70 calories and provides 13 essential nutrients.”

One way I “sneak” an egg into my son’s diet is by making french toast.  I soak an entire large egg (along with a dash of milk and cinnamon) into one slice of whole wheat bread.

Because eggs are indeed incredible, we feel they should not be limited to breakfast alone.  So, included here are egg recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Easy Oven Omelet
If you’re not inclined to spend the morning in the kitchen performing short-order cook duties, try this easy oven recipe for breakfast!

  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 12 Ounces Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Grated Cheese (swiss, cheddar, colby jack, etc)
  • 2 Green onion, sliced
  • 1 Medium Tomato, chopped (or substitute with small can of diced tomatoes)
  • 5-6 slices Bacon, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°.  Grease 9-inch pie plate.  Beat eggs, milk, flour, and salt together on medium speed.  Sprinkle cheese, onion, tomato, and bacon on bottom of pie plate.  Pour egg mixture gently over top.  Bake 60-65 minutes, until knife comes out clean.  Serves 4-6.

Open Face Egg Sandwich from Cooking Light
While this may not be the most kid-friendly recipe, it sure hits the spot for those of us looking for something a little different at lunch time!

  • 4  slices bread (I recommend pumpernickel)
  • 2  cups  arugula
  • 3  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  large eggs
  • 3/4  cup  part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4  cup  grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

Lightly toast bread. Combine arugula, 2 teaspoons oil, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss gently. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, ricotta, Parmesan, and thyme; spread over bread slices.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan; cook 2 minutes. Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until whites are set. Remove from heat.  Divide salad and eggs evenly over bread. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serves four.

Linguine Carbonara
My mom made this years ago for my dad’s birthday dinner.  It went over so well with the entire family that she’s been making it ever since!

  • 1 pound Linguine, cooked
  • 7 strips Bacon, cooked
  • ¾ Cup Butter
  • ¾ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 6 Eggs, well-beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon and linguine.  Melt butter in pan, add cheese. Reduce heat and add linguine. Toss to coat with butter and cheese. Add eggs and toss just until eggs are cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add bacon and serve immediately.  Serves six.

“Oh, God above, if heaven has a taste it must be an egg with butter and salt”
Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes (1996)