Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Today I decided to celebrate the holiday by making my own dark chocolate candy. I made Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. This candy has all natural, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free ingredients. It has less calories than the typical peanut/chocolate butter candy, about ½ the sugar and nearly double the nutritional benefits!

Makes 9 Servings!
Serving Size: 1 candy.

4 TBS. coconut oil, melted
5 TBS. unsweetened coco powder
16 drops of vanilla stevia liquid sweetener
2 TBS. of agave nectar
1 packet (or 32 g) of almond butter, I used Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter (flavor sold exclusively at Whole Foods)

You will also need:
3in. mini cup cake tray and wrappers.


Melt coconut oil. Add coco powder and mix thoroughly. Mix in stevia drops and agave. With a small spoon, add chocolate to each cup (just a small amount to cover the entire bottom of wrapper). Place tray in freezer for about 7 minutes to harden chocolate. Remove from freezer. Squeeze in about a quarter of a teaspoon of almond butter to each cup. Spread the almond butter evenly with spoon or finger. Spoon in the top layer of chocolate to each cup. Place in to refrigerator to firm (about 20 minutes). Serve and enjoy!!

Be Safe!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Soup

One of my favorite things about fall is all of the pumpkin recipes. Because most recipes I seem to come up with tend to be more on the dessert spectrum, I decided to do a soup inspired by Thai flavors for today’s post. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A and fiber. So what is better than thick and creamy soup that you won’t believe is only 170 calories per serving?!

1 onion, chopped.
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped.
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil.
2 ½ cups canned pumpkin.
2 Tbs. tomato paste.
1 Tbs. ginger paste.
3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth.
¾ cup (about ½ a can) of reduced fat coconut milk.
½ lemons, juiced.
1 Tsp. salt (or to taste).
1 tsp ground flax seed (for garnish).

In a large pot, cook the onion in oil until the onion begins to brown. Stir in pumpkin, tomato paste, ginger, garlic and broth and pour into large blender. Blend ingredients until smooth. Add coconut milk, lemon juice and salt and blend again. Pour back into pot and heat ingredients to desired temperature. Pour into bowl and sprinkle flax seeds on top as a garnish. Serve and enjoy!!  


Friday, October 5, 2012

Product Review: Hail Merry® Choco Macaroons

Allergen Info: Gluten-free, made in a facility that processes nuts.
Other info: Vegan, raw.

Hail Merry is a brand falls into the raw, vegan and gluten-free snack category.  I have noticed Hail Merry many times while browsing the aisles in Whole Foods but never really felt inspired to try until I discovered these macaroons.  I have never been a huge fan of macaroons, but these may just be an exception. Although these cookies are made with coconut flakes, they are not as overwhelmed with coconut as the traditional macaroons you may find in the bakery. The dark chocolate is so intense and rich and the cookie so moist, that biting into these cookies feel more like biting into a chocolate truffle or fudgy brownie than a crumbly flaky macaroon. The ingredients in these cookies taste intensely fresh, like they were prepared that very day.
Although the dietetic profile is not terrible, with its relatively low sugar content and 3 grams of fiber as well as high quality ingredients (all from plant source), you may want to be mindful of portion size. Just two of these tiny bite size macaroons contain 130 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat. Please refer back to my post on coconut oil: http://nutritionfixation.blogspot.com/2012/09/about-fats-part-1-olive-oil-vs-coconut.html


Would I purchase again: Yes!!

Palatability Grade: A

Potential for Improvement: I would love to see more flavors!

Dietetic Profile: A (considering they are a cookie)

Overall Grade: A


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Quinoa with Chia Seeds, Feta, and Asparagus

Quinoa (“keen- no- wa”) is one of my favorite foods is quinoa because not only is it good for you, but because it can be cooked and prepared in so many diverse ways. It is sort of like a chameleon in the way it can be prepared simply as plain to a flavorful sauté. It can be baked and served both hot and cold. It is gluten-free (because technically it is a seed) and it is as easy to prepare as rice. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Today I prepared it with asparagus and chia (“chee-ah”) seeds to increase the fiber and ALA omega-3 fatty acids.

Quinoa with Chia Seeds, Feta, and Asparagus

Recipe yields 1 serving.

1 cup of quinoa.
4-5 asparagus spears, steamed and chopped.
½ lemon, juiced.
1 Tbs. olive oil (half will be used for cooking quinoa and the other half will be used for 
1 Tbs. crumbled reduced fat feta cheese.
1-2 Tsp. chia seeds.

Fluffy Quinoa Base

Add 2 cups a water to a medium size pot. Add the 1 cup of quinoa (note: 1 cup uncooked quinoa yields about 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa). Add a dash of salt and ½ Tbs. of olive oil. Bring mixture to a boil (about 5-8 minutes) and then immediately bring down a low heat to a simmer. Place lid on top and simmer for about 10 more minutes. As soon as the water ratio is down to about 10%, fluff quinoa with a fork and place the lid back on for about a minute. Shut the heat off completely and fluff quinoa one more time. Leave the lid on and let the quinoa cool for a few minutes.

Quinoa with Chia Seeds, Feta, and Asparagus

In a bowl, add one cup of cooked quinoa, the rest of the oil, the chia seeds, asparagus, feta, and lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together. Serve hot or cold and enjoy!