Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts

Sunday, September 21, 2014

{Recipe Redux} Get Your Dehydrator On: Fancy Stuffed Dates

Here is a perfect appetizer (or dessert) to bring to your next party, potluck or picnic. Stuffed dates do not need a fork, they do not need to be kept warm, they're vegetarian and can be vegan, they're even gluten free. Just a few minutes of prep and a small number of ingredients are all that are standing between you and a delicious collection of healthy, delicious treats!

 Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket - dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.
Sometimes life is just full steam! It has been a wild and wonderful summer full of weddings and travel, some great contract opportunities, a trip to Vermont as well as the beginning of a new teaching opportunity.
We have all had those months (or years) where it is all you can do to stay ahead of the avalanche. But, life marches on! And with the holiday season approaching quickly, we will need to have some tasty treats up your sleeve that don't require a lot of fuss.
I made four varieties, and the cogs are turning in my brain coming up with more! Almond butter and sea salt? Goat cheese with lemon zest? I think the options here are many! 
The most simple are the dates stuffed with a match-stick sized piece of fresh ginger. For a savory option, I mixed soft goat cheese with freshly minced rosemary. Inspired by the Lake Champlain Aztec chocolate I had the opportunity to try last weekend, I stuffed each date with a whole almond, dipped them in dark chocolate and then sprinkled each with the tiniest amount of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
Tip: look for pitted dried dates - they're easier to work with.
Tip 2: some dates have a slit on the side, making stuffing quite easy. Others, don't. If your dates aren't ready to be stuffed, use a knife and pretend you're opening up an envelope. Easy breasy!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Soft goat cheese
  • Fresh rosemary, minced
  1. Mince rosemary and mix with goat cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon into the center cavity of each date and enjoy. 
Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Maple Syrup
  • Course sea salt (optional)
  1. Mix equal parts cheese and pumpkin.
  2. Stuff 1-2 teaspoons into the center of each date and arrange nicely on your your serving plate.
  3. Drizzle with a bit of maple syrup and sprinkle with sea salt, if you wish.
Ginger Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Fresh ginger
  1. Peel ginger and slice into match stick sized pieces.
  2. Stick one piece of ginger into each date. Trim ends if needed.
Aztec Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Whole almonds
  • Dark chocolate, minced
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Cayenne powder
  1. Melt chocolate in microwave or over double boiler.
  2. Stuff one whole almonds into each date. Dip stuffed dates into chocolate and set onto serving plate.
  3. Lightly sprinkle each date with cinnamon and cayenne powder.
What is your favorite way to enjoy dried dates?

An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fruit "Ice-Creams" more delicious treats

Strawberry-Banana "Ice-cream"

This is such a cool trick! Using frozen fruit and your food processor, we make a ice-cream-like treat that satisfies your sweet tooth without ruining your healthy eating plans!

Low-cal Sundae!
This is a follow up to the original recipe that used only banana; most taste testers loved it, but my dad thought it was too "banana-y", which isn't surprising as it was the only ingredient! For this version, I made two batches; one with half strawberries and half banana, one with banana flavored with cocoa powder and vanilla. I scooped both flavors in a cute dish and topped it like a sundae with sliced strawberries and mini chocolate chips. Delish!

Simply freeze fruit of choice; bananas work well, but so do strawberries, mangoes, peaches and more!

Place fruit in food processor (most blenders won't cut it for this recipe) and puree until smooth and creamy. Some fruits might need a splash of milk, but plain bananas will not. Add flavors if you wish, such as cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract or cinnamon.

Scoop into your dish and add toppings if you like, or enjoy plain!

Freeze fruit
Half-way there!

Creamy and delicious "ice-cream"; thick enough to scoop!

Do you have a food processor in your kitchen? They're such a great tool to have and last for years. This one is well rated on amazon and is Amazon Prime eligible.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Banana "ice-cream"...a low-calorie dessert that actually tastes super!

There are few things more delicious than excellent ice-cream. And with summer's heat, ice-cream is a tempting way to cool off. However, the high number of calories of even a reasonable portion might take you off track from your beach-bod journey. And the whole pint? Don't get me started! What to do?

I was introduced to this ice-cream substitute last summer from my lovely former roommate Kelly. Even though I am a dietitian, I have a huge sweet tooth. When she was telling me about this frozen banana mush as being something worth trying, I had a pretty high level of skepticism. I tried it though and am an official convert; it really is creamy and delicious! This is lovely dessert that tastes like ice-cream but has the calories of one banana. Magic? Pretty much!

What is in a name? In order for the food package to be labeled as ice-cream, it must contain a minimum of 10% milk fat. Fat gives the creamy mouth feel of good ice-cream, but it also bulks up the calories and saturated fat content. Soft serve treats are sometimes lower in fat and calories, but don't have enough fat to be labeled as ice-cream. Search for the work ice-cream on the menu boards and your cone will be melted before you see it; it isn't there!

Banana "ice-cream"

  • 1 frozen banana per person/serving
Optional ingredients and flavors
  • cocoa powder
  • melted chocolate chips
  • cinnamon powder
  • vanilla extract
  • peanut or almond butter

  1. Peel banana and place in plastic bag or reusable container. Freeze until solid (note: if you're trying to hurry things along, slice the banana. More surface area = faster freezing time).

These slices quickly freeze solid

  • Place frozen banana in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy; this will take a few minutes. Scoop down the sides of the bowl to make sure there aren't any lumps! 
Smooth and creamy "ice-cream"!

  • If you're interested in flavors, add 'em! If not, scoop some into your bowl and enjoy! 
  • Cocoa powder and cinnamon added...yum!
  • If you have left overs, scoop it into a container and store in the freezer. For best results, let the frozen "ice-cream" warm up for a few minutes before serving; this will help it be just as creamy.

Kelly has her own lovely blog called Off The Wall; I'd recommend you check it out! She has great recipes for you to try and love!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Decadent dip: balsamic black bean hummus

Hummus, that fabulous middle eastern spread made from chickpeas (also known as garbonzo beans) and tahini is a great dip for raw veggies, whole grain crackers and pita as well as a tasty spread on sandwiches and in wraps. My gripe? Dried beans cost pennies while an 8oz tub of prepared hummus can cost three bucks! If you have a food processor, making hummus at home is a snap.

This is a twist on the classic version using black beans, and replaces the traditional lemon flavor with balsamic vinegar. Grind the beans and seasonings in the food processor until velvety and smooth and voila! You have a sophisticated appetizer for you and your friends (if you can bring yourself to share!).

Added bonuses? This appeals to vegetarians and vegans, and if you choose gluten-free dippers, you can feed this to your gluten-free friends too. Carnivore approved, as well :) 

This packs well for snacks and picnics on the road without risk of spoilage; there is no meat or dairy to worry about spoiling quickly!

Balsamic Black Bean Hummus

  • 2 16-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (or half of one pound of dried beans, cooked until tender)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Load up your food processor with black beans

Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Pinch of salt and lots of fresh pepper...blend for a full 2-3 minutes or until very smooth

Serve with fresh veggies and whole grain crackers!
 I used dried beans to make this recipe. Total cost for about 16 ounces of dip? Less than a dollar! Woot!

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