Monday, August 18, 2014

Apple Oat Pancakes (with Peanut Butter & Raspberry Topping)

Last week while home in Alberta visiting friends and family, I had one of those meals that I wish I could press the “pause” button on. I was eating the yummiest pancakes in the company of wonderful people before heading to the last full day of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Now I’m back in Los Angeles and getting into the groove of things again. But, I’m still dreaming about those pancakes.

So, this weekend, I was inspired to create my own healthy pancakes topped with a classically comforting flavor combination reminiscent of a PB & J. These pancakes are more dense than the typical fluffy variety but they leave you feeling just the right amount of satisfied. Even better? They can be made in an easy 10 minutes. Keep the leftover pancakes in your fridge and pop them in the toaster for an on-the-go, wholesome breakfast to enjoy the rest of the week.

Apple Oat Pancakes (with Peanut Butter & Raspberry Topping)

Ingredients for pancakes:
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 cup of whole rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for topping:
8 ounces of low-fat yogurt or plant-based alternative
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup berries of your choice


1.      In a blender or food processor, combine oats, apple sauce, egg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Blend to develop pancake batter.
2.      Drizzle the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and drop spoonfuls of batter into the skillet to form the pancakes. Once the pancakes start to bubble, flip until cooked through. The pancakes should appear golden brown on both sides.
3.      In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and peanut butter.
4.      Top pancakes with desired amount of peanut butter yogurt sauce and berries.

Makes approximately 4-6 pancakes.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love.

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 (and pancakes)!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shrimp Tacos with Tomato-Raspberry Salsa

You know how much McKenzie and I love, love, love fish tacos.  When we travel to coastal destinations, we’re always seeking the best taco truck or restaurant to get our fish taco fix.  And when we get a glorious sunny day at home, we’re thinking about making fish tacos to eat on the deck.

Last week, I switched up my favorite halibut taco recipe for shrimp tacos topped with a spicy fresh tomato and raspberry salsa.  The raspberries add the same sweetness and tangy pop as pineapple does to tacos al pastor.  The combination of the in-season tomatoes with the sweet-tart raspberries, creamy avocado and spicy jalapeno is really good.    

This recipe is so easy to make—it’s ready in minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.  To serve, let everyone make their own tacos by setting out plates of warmed tortillas, shrimp, and the tomato-raspberry salsa.  I like to serve this with a tangy cabbage slaw and roasted sweet potato fries.  We hope you invite some friends over, make a pitcher of margaritas and enjoy a casual dinner on your deck. 

Shrimp Tacos with Tomato-Raspberry Salsa

Serves 6

1 shallot, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of one lemon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 pint cherry tomatoes, tomatoes sliced in half
½ cup frozen raspberries, thawed
1 avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (seeded, if desired)
2 – 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
12 corn tortillas
¼ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon paprika (sweet or hot, your choice)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
24 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

First, make the Tomato-Raspberry Salsa.  Place the shallot, lemon juice and zest and salt in a bowl and let set for at least five minutes.  The lemon juice will mellow and slightly pickle the shallot.  Add the halved cherry tomatoes, thawed raspberries, avocado, jalapeno and cilantro.  Stir together and let sit while you make the shrimp tacos.

Heat a large cast iron skillet (or heavy bottomed skillet) over medium—high heat.  Place the tortillas in the skillet for a minute or so on each side, to toast and warm.  Wrap the tortillas in a clean dish towel to keep warm until serving.

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika and salt.  Sprinkle the spice mix on both sides of the shrimp.  (Extra spice mix may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.)

Drizzle the shrimp with extra virgin olive oil on both sides.  Place the shrimp in the hot cast iron skillet and cook, about 1 – 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.  Be sure to place the shrimp in a single layer, not crowding the pan.  You may have to cook the shrimp in two or three batches, depending on the size of your skillet.  The shrimp will turn an opaque color when done.  Remove shrimp from the heat as soon as they are cooked and place in a bowl.  

Place two cooked shrimp in a corn tortilla and top with salsa.  Enjoy, preferably with someone (or several people!) you love!   

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup

We have a new juice bar opening in Bellingham, the Electric Beet Juice Company.  Isn’t that a fun name?!  I couldn’t be more excited for the owners, Sara and Kara, and their new venture.  Watch how cute they are in their video, talking about the juicery!

I recently helped Sara and Kara with a fun community event launching their crowdfunding campaign.  They served a variety of their cold-pressed juices, chilled soups, and bliss balls, and I contributed my chilled cucumber and avocado soup—perfect for beating the heat!

This simple, no-cook summer soup is so refreshing and delicious.  The avocado adds creamy richness and a healthy dose of fiber and monounsaturated fat.  If you like, you can also blend in a cup of Greek yogurt for added protein and calcium.   

And if you’d like to help Sara and Kara make Electric Beet Juice Company come to life, you can donate here

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup

Serves 8

2 cups cold water
1 large English cucumber, cubed (peel left on)
1 large or 2 small avocados, skinned and pitted
1 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed
½ bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Place in the refrigerator until well chilled.  Serve cold, topped with the tomato and cucumber relish.  Enjoy, preferably with someone you love!

Tomato-Cucumber Relish

½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
½ English cucumber, cut in small dice
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir together.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.  Relish can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Are You Getting Enough Calcium? And a Green Avocado Smoothie

Sometimes, we just need to talk about the basics.  It’s not sexy, but it’s important to our overall health.  And we want to help you have the healthiest, most vibrant life possible!  And truthfully, writing these blog posts makes us think about our own health, too.  Like, are we getting enough calcium?

What is calcium, and why do I need it?
Calcium is a mineral that is important for many functions in our body.  We all know calcium is important for building strong bones and healthy teeth, but it also is important for blood clotting, nerve impulses, hormone secretions, and muscle contraction.  Our body stores calcium in our bones and teeth.  We cannot make calcium, so it is an essential nutrient we must get from food.  Our body maintains a constant level of calcium in our blood, so when we don’t eat enough calcium, our body takes calcium from our bones, resulting in weak bones.  That’s why eating foods rich in calcium is so important. 

How much calcium do I need?
The amount of calcium you need every day depends on your age and sex.

Ages 4 – 8 need 1,000 mg daily
Ages 9 – 18 need 1,300 mg daily

Age 19 – 50 need 1,000 mg daily
Age 51 & older need 1,200 mg daily

Age 19 - 69 need 1,000 mg daily
Age 71 & older need 1,200 mg daily

Which foods contain calcium?
Dairy products, like milk, yogurt and cheese, are all great sources of calcium.  However, if you don’t eat dairy, there are still many other sources of calcium, including fish (sardines, salmon, perch, rainbow trout), leafy greens* (like kale, collard greens and broccoli), tofu, beans that have been soaked and cooked, and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, oatmeal and breakfast cereals. 

*Although spinach, chard and beet greens also contain calcium, the calcium in these foods is not well-absorbed because they also contain oxalic acid which binds the calcium and prevents absorption.

When you are buying boxed and canned products, check the nutrition facts label to find out how much calcium the food contains.  The nutrition facts label will list the calcium content as a percentage of the DV (1,000 mg of calcium per day). For example:

  • 30% DV of calcium equals 300 mg.
  • 20% DV of calcium equals 200 mg of calcium.
  • 15% DV of calcium equals 150 mg of calcium.
Examples of Calcium Content in Foods*

Serving Size
Calcium (mg)
Milk, whole
1 cup
305 mg
Yogurt, whole
1 cup
274 mg
Cheddar Cheese
1 ounce
200 mg
Cottage Cheese
½ cup
103 mg
Feta Cheese
1 ounce
140 mg
Broccoli, cooked
½ cup
47 mg
Kale, cooked
½ cup
45 mg
Butternut squash
½ cup
45 mg
Sweet potato
½ cup
32 mg
½ cup
38 mg
1 ounce
72 mg
Almond butter
1 tablespoon
43 mg
1 tablespoon
64 mg
Sardines with bones (canned)
242 mg
Blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon
172 mg
Tofu, firm
½ cup
258 mg
Dried figs
107 mg

*Check the nutrition label of the brands you buy for calcium content. Calcium may vary.

If I can’t get enough calcium from foods, should I take a supplement?
If you’re not getting enough calcium from foods, you can consider taking a calcium supplement.  The two main forms of calcium in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is the most common and least expensive, but it is best absorbed with food.  Calcium citrate is absorbed equally well with or without food.  If you experience gas, bloating or abdominal discomfort with the calcium supplement, try taking a different kind.  Also, spread the dose out throughout the day to increase absorption.

What else should I know about calcium absorption?
  • Your body only absorbs about 500 mg of calcium at a time, so it’s best to spread out calcium consumption throughout the day.
  • You need Vitamin D to properly absorb calcium, so be sure you’re getting at least 800 mg of Vitamin D3 each day. 

Here’s a recipe for a calcium-rich green smoothie, to get you started with filling your calcium needs!  It's a delicious way to start your day.

Green Avocado Smoothie

Makes 1 smoothie

1 cup milk or milk substitute (fortified with calcium)
½ banana (preferably frozen)
1/2 small avocado or ¼ of a medium avocado
1 cup baby kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 dates, pitted

Optional:  ½ cup frozen fruit of choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, etc.) or an apple for added sweetness and fiber.

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.

Enjoy, preferably with someone you love! (Make them a smoothie, too!)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Berry Greek Yogurt Bark

I’ve been painfully sensitive since the day I was born.

This article, which I stumbled upon earlier this week titled 16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People fits me to a tee. My sensitivity to noise (I wear earplugs when I write, which is a lot), my preference to exercise solo, my attention to detail, my tendency to cry easier than most, my aversion to open-office plans...all true.

It’s one of the things I love and don’t love the most about me.

I think that’s why developing recipes for this blog and having my articles published initially terrified me (refer to #15). But, as we round out year #3 of the Nourish RDs blog, as I’ve cooked more, and experimented more with what works and what doesn’t, I’ve started to find that just sometimes, things work out better than you could have ever imagined.

That was the case with this recipe, which I whipped up yesterday morning.

I hope you like it! And if you don’t – well, that’s okay, too.

Berry Greek Yogurt Bark

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
The zest of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons honey
1 cup frozen raspberries
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup slivered almonds

1.      Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil.
2.      In a medium bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients. Stir until well incorporated.
3.      Add the berries, pistachios, and slivered almonds to the mixture. Fold in until well incorporated.
4.      Spread the mixture in the baking pan and place in the freezer for about 2-3 hours, or until hardened.
5.      Once hardened, remove the bark from the pan and either cut or break up into pieces.
6.      Allow to thaw for about 5 minutes before eating.

*Store remaining bark in the freezer.

** You can experiment with any ingredients you have on hand. These are some of my runner-ups:
  • frozen cherries and dark chocolate chunks
  • frozen blueberries and unsweetened flaked coconut
  • dried cranberries and pecans

Enjoy, preferably with those you love!

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 (and this bark)!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Raspberry Chia Fruit Spread

We’ve done it. We’ve completely jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. Lisa admitted to being a little bit resistant at first, but along came the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Seed Pudding, and boom! She was on-board the bandwagon, too.

I first fell in love with chia because of its healthy dose of omega 3s and fiber – which admittedly, are two things that make registered dietitians completely geek-out with excitement. But, more recently, I’m fallen in love with chia because of its versatility. I love these little seeds in my homemade breakfast bars for a little added crunch, in my oatmeal and yogurt for their satiating power, and in my dessert and breakfast puddings for extra thickness.

But, at the end of the day, there are always going to be people that aren’t ready or willing to jump on the bandwagon yet (or at all). And that’s completely okay with us. Everyone has different preferences and palates and that’s what makes this food world such a fun, interesting place. (Personally, I’ve always had an aversion to cooked zucchini and summer squash – so slimy!).

That’s where this recipe for Raspberry Chia Fruit Spread was inspired. The chia seeds are blended with the raspberries and coconut milk so you can’t even tell they’re in there. But, the best part? The chia seeds are still supplying your body with all the wonderful anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s.

As someone who never seems to get tired of a good ol' peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this fruit spread is such a nice alternative to jam or jelly – it’s naturally higher in fiber and omega-3s and contains much less added sugar. This fruit spread is also a really yummy addition to plain yogurt and is a great substitution for maple syrup on whole grain pancakes or waffles.

Raspberry Chia Fruit Spread

3 tablespoons chia seeds
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ cups frozen raspberries, thawed
1 teaspoon honey

1. First, make a chia pudding by combining the chia seeds with the coconut milk in a small bowl and allowing to sit in the refrigerator for approximately 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally so the chia seeds are well incorporated in the coconut milk.

2. Once thickened, combine the chia pudding with the raspberries and honey in a blender.

3. Blend until smooth.

* Store in your refrigerator in an airtight container.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love!               

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 (and chia)!