Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Share your love of raspberries!

We have the sincere pleasure of working with the National Processed Raspberry Council, an organization that represents raspberry growers and importers from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

As two dietitians that love talking about food from both a health standpoint and a taste standpoint (hey, we love good food!), raspberries are easy to talk about.

They pack in a serious amount of fiber per serving – 9 grams per 1 cup to be exact, or about one-third of your daily fiber needs. And while fiber certainly has gained some clout in the world of health professionals for its digestive benefits, scientific research is now booming on fiber’s ability to boost immune health and reduce risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. You can learn more about the health benefits of fiber here. On top of that, raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and supply our bodies with anthocyanins, powerful health-promoting pigments which boast anti-inflammatory properties and are linked with a long list of health benefits such as cancer protection.

Aside from their health properties, raspberries are simply delicious!  Their sweet and tart taste is reminiscent of summer fun, can conjure up happy childhood memories, and is perfectly paired with chocolate, cream, oats, pancakes, and even pumpkin! That’s why we’re so excited to announce that the National Processed Raspberry Council is launching a recipe contest this month.

All you have to do is submit a recipe of a frozen raspberry-inspired appetizer, salad, entree, dessert, and beverage between October 15 – November 15, 2014 for your chance to add a wonderful raspberry-red addition to your kitchen! 

Here’s what you’ll be eligible to win!

One 1st prize winner will receive: A raspberry-red Kitchen Aid counter mixer 

Three 2nd prize winners will receive: A raspberry-red Kitchen Aid hand mixer 

Five 3rd prize winners will receive: A raspberry-red Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware 8 “ Square Dish 

Recipe Contest Guidelines

·       Recipes may be sweet or savory, including breakfast, snacks, beverages, appetizers, side dishes, salads, soups, entrees or desserts. 
·       All recipes must use a minimum of 1 cup of frozen raspberries.
·       Recipes must contain no more than 10 ingredients.
·       All recipes must be original.
·       You may submit more than one recipe.
·       Please submit one picture with your recipe.
·       All recipes and photos must not feature any specific brand of raspberries.
·       Recipes will be judged on use of frozen raspberries, taste, appearance, creativity, and consumer-friendliness.
·       All recipes fitting the above criteria will be featured on the website, crediting the creator of the recipe. 
·       Three winners will be chosen among all the submissions.  Winners will be notified by December 15, 2014.
·       Recipes should be submitted on-line at between October 15 and November 15, 2014. 

For some raspberry inspiration, check out some of our raspberry recipes including:






We can’t wait to see what recipes you share with their online community!

Friday, October 10, 2014

In Celebration of National Pasta Month, Roasted Tomato & Hazelnut Pesto Carbonara

By posting this recipe I am entering a contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest.  I was not compensated for my time.

I know what you’re thinking.  Pasta carbonara is a bacon-and-egg pasta.  Roasted tomato and hazelnut pesto doesn’t sound like carbonara.

There’s a story behind this dish.  Many years ago, I worked on a project in Seattle called Seeds of Compassion, where we brought together leaders in the science and practice of peace to create a multi-generational dialogue about how to practice peace in our schools, businesses, neighborhoods, faith communities, governments and the world.

The project was fast and furious, coming together in a very short time with the dedication of a passionate team of volunteers and visionary leaders.  Working on the Development and Communications team, I have never worked so hard, felt so much emotion, experienced my own limitations or realized my own potential.  It was an intense and transformational experience.

In times of stress like these, we all have comfort food dishes we fall back on—those dishes that fill us up, warm our souls, nourish us.  During my work on Seeds of Compassion, my comfort food was my own healthy version of pasta carbonara.  Created in desperation one night out of an almost-empty refrigerator, the bones of this dish were born—dried whole wheat pasta, eggs, parmesan cheese and leftover vegetables became a lightning-quick fiber- and protein-rich dinner that satisfied me on every level. I ate a version almost every night after that until the project was done.

Since October is National Pasta Month, it seems a good time to share this recipe. 

Anyone who knows me well knows I could eat pasta almost every night.  It’s my ultimate comfort food meal, and one I feel good about eating.  Whole wheat pasta is a good source of fiber, and paired with lots of vegetables and a good source of protein, it’s a complete meal-in-a-bowl. 

Carbonara is my favorite.  Instead of traditional bacon or pancetta, I boost the flavor and nutrition of this pasta with whatever vegetables or herbs I have on hand—roasted broccoli, sautéed kale, grilled zucchini, or fresh spinach or arugula.  Combined with a creamy (but creamless!) egg sauce, the pasta becomes alchemy.  True pasta carbonara is enriched with only eggs—not cream—which adds satisfying protein to the dish as well.

Last week, I was craving carbonara.  I had some oven-dried tomatoes and hazelnut pesto in the freezer, both of which I had made this summer.  I quickly thawed them both and tossed them into the pasta, along with some fresh spinach.  It’s a perfect, nourishing dinner.  Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator to make this healthy, filling, easy and inexpensive comfort food meal.  And then share it with someone you love!

Roasted Tomato & Hazelnut Pesto Carbonara

Serves 6

1 pound dried whole wheat spaghetti or fettuccini
6 whole eggs, preferably organic
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons hazelnut pesto, or a prepared pesto (see recipe, below)
12 oven-dried tomatoes or jarred sun-dried tomatoes (click link for recipe)
2 cups fresh spinach or arugula

Cook pasta in boiling well-salted water for 2 minutes less than package directions.

In the meantime, add the eggs, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and pesto to a large bowl.  Whisk together until very well combined.  Gently whisk in the oven-dried tomatoes.  Add the spinach or arugula.

When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.  Add the drained pasta to the bowl with the egg mixture, stirring well. 

Place the pot the pasta cooked in back on the stove over low heat.  Add ½ cup of the pasta water to the pot, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the pasta and egg mixture to the pot, stirring vigorously for 1 – 2 minutes, until the egg mixture has thickened and the spinach or arugula has wilted.  Add additional reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as desired.

Enjoy, preferably with someone you love!

Hazelnut Pesto

4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Zest of one lemon
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Add basil, hazelnuts, salt, red pepper flakes and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until a paste forms.  With the processor running, pour in the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.  Scrape the mixture into a bowl and then stir in the cheese.  Pour a layer of olive oil over the top and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to four days.  Or, you can freeze it for up to three months.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Healthy Berry & Grape Waldorf Salad

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. My extended family is getting together in the town my grandma lives; it's a place that every time I visit conjures up happy childhood memories.  

From my experience, my American friends love to learn that Canadian Thanksgiving is just like American Thanksgiving – the same menu and the same decorations – we just celebrate earlier. And because of this, we don’t really associate it with the start of the holiday season. 

I’m so happy I have Alberta to call home and to be celebrating Thanksgiving (even if it's from afar) this weekend. But, my family often teases that they knew I was destined for California living. So while I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, I’ll be adding a touch of summertime to my meal at home, and will also be serving it in Californian-inspired sunshine-y dishes.

This recipe below will be on my menu.

Wishing all Canadians a very happy Thanksgiving!

Healthy Berry & Grape Waldorf Salad

Healthy Waldorf Salad

This Waldorf salad is a nice side-dish to enjoy during the autumn months while still incorporating aspects of summer. The earthiness of apples and walnuts are nicely balanced with the sweetness of berries.

1 large apple, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup seedless grapes, sliced in half
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup reduced fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen and thawed raspberries

1.     Combine first 5 ingredients and stir until will mixed.
2.     Stir in Greek yogurt.
3.     Gently fold in the raspberries.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love!

Healthy Waldorf Salad

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pin It Party!

We love the idea of starting the work week with a party! And the kind of party that allows you to stay in your yoga pants and hang out on your comfy couch is our kind of Monday night party.

Enter the Pinterest Party.

One of our favorite bloggers (who also happens to be a registered dietitian), Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean is hosting a Pinterest Party this week, and we are so exciting to be joining! The idea is simple. We’re going to share some of our favorite recipes that we’d love to see more of on Pinterest, and in return, we’ll share the love!

And just in case you’d like to follow us on Pinterest, here’s where you can find us!

A healthier spin on one of our favorite childhood holiday dishes, recreated with less sugar, butter and cream, but still delicious.

This dessert celebrates pumpkin season, while still being reminiscent of summertime BBQs and picnics.

This gratin can be made with any leftover grains and greens that you have in your refrigerator.  You could use quinoa or barley, add roasted squash or zucchini—the options are endless.

The slow cooker may not be new, but using it for breakfast puts it to a new use!

A creamy smoothie packed with protein and fiber that’s perfect for breakfast or a post-workout snack.