Monday, July 21, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Mango, Yogurt & Almond Medley

This weekend in Los Angeles, we had a nice little break from the intensely hot weather we’ve been experiencing lately. The past couple of mornings were slightly overcast, the air had a cool breeze, and we even received a few drops of unexpected rain.

The weather is scheduled to heat up again this week which has me brainstorming of simple, no-cook nutrient-rich recipes I can whip up in a cinch.

For me, this often equates to fruit and yogurt parfaits. When it comes to yogurt, Lisa and I like to opt for reduced-fat, unsweetened varieties. I usually stir vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a little bit of honey into my plain yogurt, but the addition of almond extract to yogurt – as shown in the recipe below – kicks up the flavor to a whole new level. I highly recommend you try it especially if you’re hoping to make the transition from flavored, sweetened yogurt to plain. 

Mango, Yogurt & Almond Medley

Serves 4

1 pound bag of frozen mango chunks, thawed
The juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers

1.      In a small bowl, combine yogurt with lemon juice & zest, honey, and almond extract. Stir until well combined.
2.      In a medium bowl, combine thawed mango chunks and yogurt mixture.
3.      Serve desired portion into a small bowl and top with 2 tablespoons almond slivers.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love!

Friday, July 18, 2014

French Lentil Salad with Cherry Tomatoes & A Plant-Powered Giveaway!

A few nights ago, my friend and colleague Sharon Palmer celebrated the release of her second book, Plant-Powered for Life at Real Food Daily in Pasadena. 

Sharon and I, selling her two books, The Plant-Powered Diet & Plant-Powered for Life, as well as her (super cute!) organic "I AM Plant-Powered" tees
I worked with Sharon to organize the event and we were so happy to see such a positive turnout.

I absolutely love that plant-based eating is really starting to make waves.

Lisa and I are both “plant-powered omnivores,” as Sharon calls it. While we both eat animal products, plants usually have the starring role on our plates at each meal. And I think that’s really what it boils down to. Americans tend to revolve our menu planning around animal protein first – fish, pork, chicken, or beef. But, all it takes to become a plant-powered eater is a subtle change in mindset. Think of plant foods first.

For example, this time of year, there’s nothing better than sweet summertime corn. Maybe you’ll cook up some cobs of corn, mix the kernels with in-season avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and red wine vinegar. You can serve the mixture over black beans and quinoa, and serve with a ounce or two of salmon. You see? The plants take the starring role, and the salmon is the meal’s accessory.

Below is a plant-powered recipe Sharon offered to share with us. And don’t forget to scroll down to the very bottom of today’s blog for your chance to win a copy of Plant-Powered for Life!

French Lentil Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

  • Active preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Total preparation time: 30 minutes (not including chilling time)

Beans aren’t the only member of the legume family worth celebrating. Lentils, packed with fiber and protein, are just as nutritious. Plus they cook up—no soaking required—in only 15 to 20 minutes. A French ami shared her mother’s traditional recipe for lentil salad with me years ago. This simple salad, seasoned with a French vinaigrette, is a classic dish in France. It makes a wonderful, protein-rich highlight of any meal. Because the flavors continue to meld, it’s also great the next day.

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
1 pound (454 g) dried lentils (or 3 cups cooked; see Note)
4 cups (948 ml) water
2 teaspoons reduced sodium vegetable broth base
4 celery stalks, diced (160 g or about 1½ cups)
1½ cups (224 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium shallots, finely diced
¼ cup (15 g) packed chopped fresh parsley
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (see page 000)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium garlic clove, minced
Pinch of sea salt, optional

  1. Place the lentils, water, and broth base in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but firm.
  2. Remove from the heat, drain any remaining liquid, and transfer the lentils to a large bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the celery, tomatoes, shallots, and parsley.
  4. In a small dish, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, herbes de Provence, black pepper, and garlic.
  5. Add the dressing to the lentil mixture and toss. Taste and season with sea salt, if desired. Chill until serving time.

Note: If you’re in a rush, use precooked, refrigerated lentils, available at many stores. Although a classic French lentil salad uses lentils du puys (small, dark green lentils), try other varieties for a colorful twist, such as yellow, beluga (black), or multicolored lentils.

Variation: Substitute cooked beans, such as white, fava, or cranberry beans, for the lentils.

Per Serving: 136 calories, 8 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 4 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 55 mg sodium

Star Nutrients: vitamin A (13% DV), thiamine (10% DV), vitamin B6 (11% DV), folate: (40% DV), vitamin C (19% DV), vitamin K (67% DV), copper (13% DV), iron (16% DV) magnesium (10% DV), manganese (24% DV), phosphorus (16% DV), potassium (14% DV)

From Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes Copyright © 2014 Sharon Palmer

Enter to win your own copy of Plant-Powered for Life, Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014)

Plant-Powered for Life is a cookbook-slash-handbook to help anybody make plant-powered eating a habit and enjoy lasting, vibrant health—the fun way! In Plant-Powered for Life, Sharon presents a straightforward, delicious way to meet the challenge. She urges readers to set a personal goal and take one step closer to it every week. Each chapter—from “Aim for at least 6 servings of veggies” to “Give sprouted grains a try”—includes a call to action, a clear, concise explanation, and two to three globally inspired recipes, which cover every meal, course, and season. With this guide, anyone can forge new habits, cook great food, and enjoy a healthy plant-powered life—one tasty step at a time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered For Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes is now in stores!

Disclaimer: While I am Sharon’s Media Relations Manager, I was not compensated for this post. I truly love this book and have already made several of the recipes. And I love being a plant-powered omnivore, too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

A little while ago, my friend and colleague Sharon Palmer, who just came out with her second book, Plant-Powered for Life (stay tuned for a giveaway later this month!) tagged me to participate in “What I Ate Wednesday, RD edition." Through blog posts, registered dietitians are asked to share what they eat on a typical week day. My days are always different, but here’s a little peek into some of the foods I love.

Breakfast: Breakfast is without a doubt, my favorite meal. I change it up often; it could be eggs with sautéed spinach, oatmeal with chia seeds and dried fruit, peanut butter and banana toast, or leftovers from dinner! On this day, I had a whole grain waffle hidden by a heaping spoonful of nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I stir vanilla and cinnamon into mine) with frozen, thawed mixed berries and a sprinkling of slivered almonds. I pour the juice from the frozen and thawed berries over my waffle, too – it acts as my syrup. I enjoy every bite.

Snack: Lisa and I have an ongoing joke that I need to carry snacks with me at all times. To keep my brain buzzing and my energy up during the morning, I like to have a snack before lunch. On this day, I had a small bowl of blackberries and handful of walnuts (I ate a few before I remembered to take the photo!) – they really are nature’s perfect finger foods!

Lunch: On most days, I like to have a big salad for lunch to get in a healthy dose of veggies. Here’s one of my favorite go-to lunchtime salads: arugula, a little bit of farro (or whatever whole grain I have cooked and ready to go), a small cucumber, cherry tomatoes, ½ of a chopped red bell pepper, two hard boiled eggs, and a spoonful of Basil Pesto from Trader Joe’s.

Snack: Our contributing blogger, Jaime recently wrote about my love iced tea in the late afternoon. She knows me too well! Here’s a typical snack: veggies with a spoonful of hummus and of course, my iced tea! I also had a few Way Better Snacks (in Sweet Potato).


Dinner: On this particular day, I went on an early evening hike with a friend and we stopped off at Eat Real Café before heading home. It’s one of my favorite spots in my community. I ordered the Cali Wrap, which is made with grilled chicken, quinoa, red onions, tomatoes, kale, arugula, and artichoke pesto. It comes with a side salad, too. Their house garlic chia dressing is the best!

Dessert: I would say that most of the time I have something sweet after dinner whether it’s a small serving of dark chocolate (I had two small squares on this day), a tiny serving of ice cream, or even just candied ginger. To me, it’s all about portions and eating in a way that helps to keep me feeling good, happy, and nourished.

The WIAW Dietitian Tag! #WIAWRD

This blog post is a part of a ‘dietitian tag’ to see what other registered dietitians from around the world really eat!

To carry on this tag all you need to do is:
1) Copy and paste this section (marked within the ******) to the bottom of your WIAW blog post.
2) Tweet/Facebook the link using the hashtag #WIAWRD (What I Ate Wednesday Registered Dietitian).
3) Add your blog post link into the section below.
4) ‘Tag’ 2-3 other dietitians to carry on the tag via email!

We tag:
Jaime Ruisi (RD To Be!)

Previous WIAW Blog Posts (add yours here along with where you’re from!):
Nic’s Nutrition – Weekend Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)
Gemma Critchley, Dietitian Without Borders (Liverpool, UK)
Nic’s Nutrition – Week Day Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)

Helen West, Food & Nonsense (Uluwatu, Bali)
Diana Chard, Bite My Words (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Mark McGillGlipho (Ottawa, Canada)

Debra, Sensitive Dietitian’s (Iowa,Florida, New Jersey,
Aaron Flores, Balance Variety and Moderation RDN (Los Angeles, CA)

Michaela Ballmann, Wholify (Los Angeles, CA)
Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Blog (Los Angeles, CA)

McKenzie Hall, Nourish RDs (Los Angeles, CA)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

An Angelcot Crumble

I think it’s safe to say that most people love the ocean. There’s a reason people flock to the beach on the weekends; it’s hard to beat the sound of ocean waves, the sunset (or sunrise) over the water, or even the healing power of ocean air.

Every time I see the ocean, it takes a lot of self-control not to jump in. But I jump in a lot. I’m happiest in the water.

Not only do I love the feeling of being in the water, I love how I feel for the rest of the day. You know that feeling you got as a kid after spending an entire day in the swimming pool with your friends? You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re happy.

And those feelings call for comfort food.

Since it’s been over 100 degrees LA this week, most rich comfort foods don’t sound too appetizing. Enter the fruit crumble: summertime’s comfort food. This Angelcot Fruit Crumble is a comforting dish to share on your patio after the sun has set. Bring along a couple extra spoons or forks for sharing with those you love.

If you don’t have access to Angelcots – white-fleshed apricots grown exclusively in northern California – other stone fruit, such as apricots, peaches or nectarines will certainly do the trick!


For Fruit Filling:
11-12 Angelcots
Juice of ½ Meyer Lemon
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup whole wheat flour

For the Crumble:
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup whole rolled oats
1 stick organic unsalted butter, softened (not melted!)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.      Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2.      Dice Angelcots into equal-sized pieces.
3.      In a medium bowl, combine Angelcots, lemon juice, salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir ingredients together. Set aside.

4.      In another medium bowl, combine whole wheat flour, oats, butter, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla. (You may want to use your hands to mix the ingredients together.)

5.      Spread fruit filling into a small casserole dish and top with the crumble.

6.      Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love.

Disclaimer: We were not compensated by Frieda’s Specialty Produce for this post. But, they did provide us samples. And that made us very happy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Homemade Almond Milk + Triple Berry Smoothie

McKenzie loves an almond milk latte in the morning.  My usual is an Americano with a little half-and-half.  But I do keep almond milk on hand for smoothies.  In the summer, I make my husband a smoothie every morning for breakfast.  (In the winter, it’s oatmeal.)

This week, I experimented with making my own almond milk.  I have to say, I’m hooked.  It has a delicious, nutty flavor and a great mouth feel, similar to milk.  I might even switch to almond milk lattes now. 

And it’s ridiculously easy.  Just soak raw almonds in water overnight.  Strain, cover with water again, blend for a few minutes until the almonds are completely pulverized, and then strain the resulting liquid through cheesecloth to get out the almond meal.  There you have it!  Almond milk.

Homemade almond milk keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days, so only make as much as you’ll use during that time.  With at least one smoothie a day, we’re going through a lot of it!  And don’t throw away that almond meal.  Add it to pancakes, muffins or cookies for added protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats.

Here’s the recipe for almond milk, and a bonus recipe for our current favorite smoothie:  the Triple Berry Smoothie.  Frozen berries make the smoothie thick and rich, and add a lot of satisfying fiber.  Ground flax adds even more fiber and heart-healthy essential fatty acids.  Whole dates add sweetness (and even more fiber!) without any added sugar.  The homemade almond milk adds nutty richness, but you could certainly use store-bought almond milk instead.  Just look for an unsweetened variety. 

I hope you enjoy, making the almond milk and smoothie for someone you love!

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds
Water, plus more for making the almond milk

Add the raw almonds to a bowl or jar and cover with water.  Place in the refrigerator and let soak overnight, or up to 2 days.

Strain the water from the almonds.

Place the almonds in a blender and cover with 2 – 3 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your almond milk (I used 3 cups).  Blend on high for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the almonds are completely blended and the water turns a milky color.

Strain the almond milk through a strainer lined with cheesecloth.  The almond milk will keep for about 3 days.  Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.  Save the almond meal and add to cookies, muffins or other baked goods.

Triple Berry Smoothie

Makes 1 smoothie

1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 dates, pitted
1 cup berries (I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries & blueberries)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Enjoy!

Although we do work with the National Raspberry Council, we were not compensated for this post.  All our opinions are our own.  We really do just love berries!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Dietitian Is In: Mustard

When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Here's a recent question we were asked...and here's the answer!

Question: Is prepared mustard really good for you?

Photo courtesy of Bread & With It and Healthy Aperture

Answer:  You can thank mustard for that tingle on your tongue when you bite into your favorite sandwich. Yet, mustard—yellow, brown, or Dijon—may offer more than just flavor enhancement. Prepared mustard, the condiment we typically buy at the supermarket, is made from the seeds of a mustard plant. The seeds, which may be black (Brassica nigra), white (Brassica alba) or brown (Brassica juncea), are combined with vinegar, water, and sometimes spices and other flavorings. A one tablespoon portion of unprocessed mustard seeds contains a healthy amount of selenium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosinates—phytochemcials found in brassica vegetables, which are well-touted for cancer-fighting abilities. Yellow mustard, the most popular variety in the US (often referred to as “American mustard” in other countries), credits it bright yellow hue to turmeric, one of the most celebrated spices in the research world for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Keep in mind that, while mustard is often praised for its lower calorie and fat profile compared to other condiments, it is high in sodium; one tablespoon can contain 200 milligrams or more (about 8 percent of the Daily Value)—depending on the mustard variety. So, enjoy this potent plant-based flavoring in moderation.

This Q & A was written by McKenzie for the March 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition.