Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mother's Day Delightful

Mother's Day is right around the corner.  Is time limited?  If so, I have a solution for you!  This recipe would certainly be delightful for me!  Shower that special someone with love and give her breakfast in bed!  Plus...maybe a spa package!

Here is a quick fix breakfast or brunch recipe that takes total time: 1 hour with prep, or you can make it ahead and let all the flavors come together in 4 hours.

Nectarine and Strawberry Parfait
Serves 4.

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

All you need
3/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Sauterne or sweet Riesling
1/2 cup Hy-Vee honey
2 ripe but firm nectarines, thinly sliced
2 cups quartered hulled strawberries
1/2 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1 cup Hy-Vee nonfat plain Greek yogurt

All you do
1.  Combine wine and honey in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6 to 10 minutes.

2.  Combine nectarines and strawberries in a medium bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the wine syrup.  Refrigerate the remaining 1/4 cup syrup for at least 10 minutes to cool.

3.  Beat cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold or beat in yogurt and the cooled wine syrup until combined.

4.  Spoon a scant 1/4 cup yogurt-cream into each of 4 dessert glasses or bowls and top with about 1/2 cup of the fruit mixture.  Repeat with another layer of each.

To make ahead:  Cover and refrigerate the fruit and yogurt cream in separate containers for up to 4 hours.

Nutrition facts per serving: 352 calories; 12g fat (17g saturated, 3g monounsaturated); 41mg cholesterol; 53g carbohydrate; 34g added sugars; 7g protein; 3g fiber, 35mg sodium; 303mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (82% daily value).

Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

This information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for individual advice. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Smoothie to Fit Your Plate

I have been on a kick with smoothies for breakfast lately...and with the weather warming up, what a great time to enjoy a smoothie for breakfast. Smoothies never become a bore for me because I can modify ingredients everyday and still keep the flavor. According to the USDA, we are to fill our plate with 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch and 1/2 fruits and veggies...this can all be achieved in a smoothie! So skip the morning coffee and have your complete breakfast in a glass :-)
Green Monster Smoothie (without granola)
Servings: 1 • Serving Size: about 2 cups  Calories: 253.4 • Fat: 4.0 g  Carb: 38.6 g  Fiber: 5.5 g  Protein: 17.5 g • Sodium: 236.7 mg


  • 1 small frozen ripe banana, peeled
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter, Smuckers Natural
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (I used Chobani) - great way to reduce added sugar by choosing plain. 
  • 1 scoop Omega-3 Chia Seed - super food that provides omega-3, fiber and protein.  Chia seed absorbs up to 10 times its weight in water which keeps you hydrated and full longer. Chia seed also binds onto cholesterol and blood sugars to prevent blood sugar spikes and may lower bad cholesterol.


Place all the ingredients into the blender, add ice (optional) and blend until smooth.

Add 1/2 - 1 serving of granola to add your whole grain.  Dietitian pick: Erin Bakers granola, found in Hy-Vee HealthMarket section. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Routine for a Better You

Some times life can get so busy that we fall out of our healthy habits and routine, such as gym time or eating breakfast at a table and not in the car... for me, I started making excuses some mornings about why I need to be home with baby Avery.  The gym time started to decrease and I was eating my breakfast in the car.  Although it was a healthy breakfast smoothie or granola bar, it wasn't as enjoyable.  Life seemed to be getting more and more hectic and stressful...

Taking a step back and truly thinking about these unhealthy changes in my life made me realize that in order to be a good mother, I need to take time for myself...I truly believe that if you really want to do something, you can make time for it.  When Avery is up in the morning, I get right over to the gym after she is fed.  My husband watches her and when I come home, I am ready to start my day and truly feel satisfied with what life has to offer me for the day.  I feel more in control and am ready to tackle the day!

Yes, there will be days when eating in the car on the way to work is the only option, but setting aside an extra 30 minutes is sometimes all it takes to be a healthier you.  As a busy mom that works 35 hours a week in addition to graduate school and caring for an 8 month old, there STILL is time ... time to take care of yourself.

Think about one thing you would like to change, whether it be one hour more of sleep, one extra glass of water instead of the pop or a 15 minute power walk....yes, it may be challenging some days but in the end, it is worth it.

Cheers to a better you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avocado: Secret Ingredient in Baking!

What does your plate look like? Do you need some ideas to modify it to improve the nutritional value? Let me give you some tips on how to replace butter, oils, creams with a super fruit, creamy avocado!

California Avocados are in-season April through September but are available all-year round. According to the California Avocado Commission, there are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs. Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins in addition to minerals and "good" fat. One-fifth of an avocado has only 50 calories and includes these key vitamins, minerals and fats:
Monounsaturated fat.... helps to lower bad cholesterol and good replacement for saturated and trans fat
Vitamin K... plays a role in blood clotting, fat-soluble
Folate...promotes healthy cell and tissue development, water-soluble
Potassium...essential for proper function of cells, tissues and organs
Vitamin E... potent antioxidant, fat-soluble
Lutein.... helps to prevent eye disese and helps with maintenance of healthy skin
Magnesium... essential mineral for human nutrition
Vitamin C... antioxidant, required for growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body, water-soluble
Vitamin B6...helps the immune system produce antibodies, water-soluble

All of this in ONE food :-)

Simply reduce half the fat in your favorite baked dessert with equal amounts of fresh avocado and you will increase your fruit intake. By this simple substitution, you just obtained 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with healthy fats! Two tbsp. of avocado has only 50 calories and 2 tbsp. butter equals 204 calories. Re-think your fat!

The recipe for this delicious biscotti secretly uses California avocados as a substitute for butter.

California Avocado, Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti Yields: 32 biscotti cookies
  • 11/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (healthy modification: half whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mashed ripe, fresh California avocado*
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (healthy modification: Stevia, sweetener extracted from a plant)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 Tbsp. low-fat milk
  1. In a small pan, combine cranberries and orange juice. Cover and bring to a boil . Remove from heat, stir in orange peel and let stand until ready to use.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and sugar. Beat for 1 minute until smooth.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, to avocado mixture, beating well until blended. Add vanilla and beat until mixed in.
  5. With beater at medium speed, add flour mixture, one cup at a time, scraping down bowl after each cup. Beat until blended.
  6. Mix in cranberry-orange mixture and pistachio nuts by hand, blending well.
  7. Turn out dough onto lightly floured board. Divide mixture in half. Roll each half on board until lightly coated with flour; form into a 1/2-inch thick and 4-inch wide log. Brush top of each log with milk.
  8. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Transfer logs to cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove logs from oven and place on cooling rack . Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  10. Slice each log into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and arrange slices, cut side up. Bake in 300°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn each cookie over and bake additional 15 minutes; cool. Repeat process with remaining slices. Cool and store in airtight container.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Into Season

The warm weather has finally arrived and grilling season is underway. The traditional hot dog and hamburger are the easy go to choices...how about trying something new this spring season? Let me share some delicious grilling recipes that are tantalizing for your taste buds but also for your health! Also, throw out the standard Koolaids that are packed with sugar and sip on something that hydrates you but also refreshes those taste buds :-)

Grilled eggplant for wood-fired pizzaGrilled Eggplant-Tomato Pizza
Fire-roasting your pizza brings out the delicious flavors in veggies.  Here is a healthy griller pizza that you need to try out!


1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut in 3/4-inch thick slices
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 unbaked 12-inch whole-wheat or regular thin pizza crust
1/4 cup pesto sauce
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
2 ounces (1/2 cup) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, shredded; or feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves


  1. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Grill over a medium-high fire for about 10 minutes until soft and cooked through, turning to brown evenly. Cool slightly.
  2. Place pizza crust on a baking pan. Spread pesto sauce evenly over crust. Arrange grilled eggplant, tomatoes, onion and olives on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Slide uncooked pizza on the grill. Lower the lid.
  3. Grill over indirect heat until the crust golden brown and the cheese melts, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, cut basil leaves into thin strips. Top pizza with basil.

Cooking Note

If you don't have a grill, or prefer to cook inside, use this alternative cooking method: Roast eggplant and bake pizza in a 425°F oven.

Nutrition Information

Serves 6
Calories: 230; Calories from fat: 160
Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 4.5g; Trans fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium 300mg
Total carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary fiber: 5g; Sugars: 4g
Protein: 8g
Source: www.eatright.org

Grilled Pineapple Desssert

Try to grill your fruit this spring and summer for a delicious flavor change!  The heat caramelizes the sugars and brings out the natural fruit juices. Not only does pineapple taste delicious on the grill, but so do plums, peaches, nectarines, pears, apples and bananas. For a quick marinade, use the juice of one lemon, 1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar.  Agave nectar is a low glycemic index choice, ideal for those watching blood sugar control. Add about 1/2 tsp. nutmeg or more if desired.  Stir all together and add in fruit.  Cook anywhere from 2-4 minutes per side until you get the pretty charcoal lines.  Serve with a dollop of whipped topping or light ice cream. 

With the MyPlate system encouraging half of your plates come from fruits and veggies, the grill provides the perfect opportunity to eat plenty of fruits and veggies.  Taking grill foil wrap and filling it with asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms and more is the perfect complement to sirloin steak, grilled chicken and various seafood choices.

For a refreshing spritzer, try this delicious concoction!

Add a shot glass full (1½ ounces) of your favorite 100% fruit juice such as grapefruit, pineapple, orange or pomegranate juice to eight ounces of club soda or sparkling water.  The carbonation makes this beverage very refreshing.