Breads & Muffins · Breakfast · Low Calorie

One Bowl Healthier Banana Bread

I’ve basically been making banana bread since I walked outta the womb.

Okay that’s a total lie, but you get the point. I’ve been making naner bread for a loooong time.

My Great Grandma Bessie’s recipe is the only recipe I have ever used. I’ve literally never used another one because I have always been positive that no other recipe can compare.

I’ve toyed with the sacred recipe a few times, but it never stood a chance to the real deal. Until now.

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It’s been a few years since I have attempted to adjust it, trying to making it a touch healthier because – I hate to break it to you Angel *Said in Meredith Blake voice* – a fruit bread does NOT mean a “healthy” bread.  With a few more years of kitchen trial, error, and sheer luck under my belt, I’ve finally got it! And I am so excited to share!

Super moist. Super Naner-y. And healthy enough to not make you feel like you just ate a stick of butter + sugar, yet indulgent enough that you don’t feel like you’re eating cardboard.

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Perfection.

One Bowl Healthier Banana Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf; ~12 slices

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour loaf pan, set aside
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher until uniformly smooth
  3. Using rotary beaters, add in applesauce, eggs and vanilla
  4. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until just combined
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for ~50 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean

Nutrition Info Per Slice: 111 Calories, 1.3g fat, 23g carb, 2.6g protein

Rotary beaters are a MUST in this recipe! Both for nostalgia and the perfect amount of mixin’ action. However, I have, in fact, successfully made it the new-age electric ones (def not as fun!)

ONe Bowl HealthierBanana Bread

Happy Eating!

-C

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Meal Planning

Healthy “Fast Food” – Salad Kits

Summer is finally (almost officially) here and I’m thrilled!! Warm sunshine on your skin and spending the majority of the day outside is just perfection. My only complaint with summer is that it isn’t long enough. Really though, doesn’t it seem like it’s here and gone in the matter of days?!

Since summer seems to go by in the blink of an eye we are always trying to maximize the day to fit in as many summer activities as possible, am I right? It can get super tough to make time to go to the beach or pool, play at the park, walk the dog, mow the lawn AND have a healthy dinner on the table at the end of it all. So, quick, go-to dinners are essential in these warm months to make sure you have more time to enjoy them while they last. My number one go-to “fast food” this time of year are salad kits, and here’s why:

  1. They’re super convenient and quick since they include the veggies, multiple toppings, and dressing all in one
  2. Adding extra lettuce bulks them up to entrée size in a snap
  3. You can add whatever protein source you have on hand and change that up to make it a whole different salad
  4. They’re SUPER affordable

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My favorite kits are from Aldi, and I especially love this Southwest one recently.

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Did you check out that price tag? $2.49! For two dinners I use one salad kit, ½ head of iceberg lettuce, and 12oz boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Total price per dinner? $2.20. When I calculated this I literally almost did a happy dance- I’m dutch, I LOVE a good deal!

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Want more? It takes only about 15 minutes to make this meal. FIFTEEN. Have I sold you on skipping the drive-thru yet?

I’d also like to say that Joe and I are pretty big eaters, so when I say two entrée salads, I am talking two BIG salads, not some wimpy little thing.

It’s pretty much a given that I buy at least one of these kits each week to have on hand for those especially hectic days, when ain’t nobody got time for cooking. They’re also super great options for lunches and make meal prepping those a cinch. Be sure to add these super simple meal solutions to your next grocery list!

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Dinner · Low Fat · Vegetarian & Vegan

Sweet Potato Vodka Sauce Soaked Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Carbs + Vodka = WANT.

Throw in 100% plant based and it gets taken up to NEED.

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I used to get so stressed about Meatless Mondays, which I’ve committed to do  every week, because I felt like it was tough to A.) get a lot of protein and B.) not have beans of some sort on repeat each week. And since, Joe and I are VERY active, it’s important to me that we get enough to help our muscles recover. Over the past few months I started using Banza Pasta which has been a LIFESAVER when it comes to packing in protein, 14g to be exact, plus feel-full fiber (30% of your daily needs!). It’s really a no brainer, so I try to keep a box in the house at all times.

I’ve been really trying to cut down on food waste, and I’ll admit that it’s mostly because I am so frugal, but the whole environment and being a good person stuff counts, too.  So, before I plan my meals for the week I make sure to take a peek at what I already have on hand and what needs to be used. I had the same lonely sweet potato sitting in my produce basket all week and knew it was becoming time to eat it or throw it out. Of course the cheap Dutch girl inside of me told me to use it!

Pureeing vegetables for creamy pasta sauces creates such a healthy alternative to the typical store bought ones that are super high in saturated fat (the bad stuff) and calories, and low in actual nutrients. Then, I decided to make it a Vodka Sauce, because, well, balance right? I also added spinach and mushrooms to bulk up the dish.

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Result? Fab. I topped ours with some grilled tempeh for extra protein and healthy fats.

 Sweet Potato Vodka Sauce Soaked Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Yield: 4 servings 

Ingredients

  • 1 box Banza Pasta- shape of choice
  • ½ medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onions, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup milk of choice*
  • 2 oz Vodka**
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup canned mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp + Dash of salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions

  1. Begin boiling a pot of water and cook Banza according to package directions
  2. Place sweet potato in a medium bowl and fill with water until fully covered and microwave for ~5 minutes, until very soft
  3. While potato is in the microwave, sauté onions and garlic in a small saucepan until onions are translucent***
  4. In a food processor combine drained sweet potato, onions and garlic, milk, vodka and ½ tsp salt and process until smooth, adding water slowly
  5. Pour sauce into a large skillet set to medium high heat and simmer for ~3 minutes, until slightly reduced. Add in pasta and mushrooms, heat through
  6. Fold in spinach, add salt and pepper as desired

Nutrition Information per serving: 264 calories, 4g fat, 41g carbohydrate, 17g protein  

 asta

*I used unsweetened cashew

** HIGHLY recommend Titos Vodka

*** May need to add a few tablespoons of water

 Add this recipe to you meal plan and let me know what you think!

 

Happy eating!

Dinner · Vegetarian & Vegan

Grilled Parmesan Cabbage Steaks

If you’re anything like me you’ve been counting down the days until the long holiday weekend since Monday.

I’m super excited not only for a little break from the daily grind, but to get out of town and explore a new city since my Memorial Day weekend will consist of a little travel to Ashville, North Carolina! I am looking forward to a few days filled with hiking, exploring and, of course, great food.

If you’ve ever been to Ashville and have recommendations send them my way!

Regardless if you are staying home or traveling this weekend, there is a good chance you’ll be enjoying the sweet smell that goes along with grilling, and if you aren’t, well, I would seriously recommend re-thinking your weekend plans. There is nothing that kicks off the summer season quite like a little Mem-Day Grilling- plus the smell is just heavenly.  

Slide over those rib eyes and make room for this

  • low calorie
  • fiber rich
  • MUCH more inexpensive

steak I am about to throw at you. This recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser to vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Yum and a half.

Take a chance, try something different, and let me know what you think!

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Grilled Parmesan Cabbage Steaks

Yield: ~6 steaks

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Dash of salt and pepper

 Directions

  1. Slice cabbage into ~ ½ to 1 inch slices, this will make about 6 slices, or “steaks”.
  2. Brush each steak lightly with olive oil on both sides.
  3. Sprinkle one side of each slice with parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Place steaks on grill for ~3 minutes per side

 Nutrition Information per steak:  59 calories, 2.4g fat, 8.3g carb, 2.9g protein

Lifestyle

Instaperfect

I am not perfect. You are not prefect. No one is perfect.

I love scrolling through Instagram as much as the next person, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t help but think if too much focus is being put on perceived “healthy” food, and a perfectly “fit” lifestyle, and not enough focus on a healthy relationship with food and body image.

It’s easy to feel inferior when every other post is of someone with a rock hard bod drinking a green smoothie. And it’s even easier to spiral those feelings into restrictive eating habits or creating food rules in order to achieve a “healthier” diet or what you think is an “improved” physique.

Now, think about how much time you actually spend on IG. Don’t lie, I know it’s a lot! I’m guilty too. Which can only cause us to further obsess over these feelings of being imperfect, lesser or needing to improve.

Having a healthy relationship with food, body image and self worth is something that I cannot stress enough, not only as a Registered Dietitian, but as a human. I know all too well what it is like to be in that obsessed mind state, which it’s not great (understatement of the year). So, in an effort to spare others from that obsession I want to remind you today that imperfection is reality and is what brings happiness and contentment. Striving for an idea of perfection is impossible, frustrating, demeaning, exhausting, shall I go on???

The next time you scroll through the ‘gram, keep these words of wisdom in mind

  • Use IG for inspiration, don’t try to copy someone else’s diet/lifestyle- one size does not fit all!
  • No one is perfect (lighting and high-waisted compression pants do wonders)
  • IG is not the law, do not believe everything it says or shows (don’t even get me started on some of those nutrition plans out there)
  • It’s about what you do most of the time, not what you do on occasion (i.e. no remorse for the birthday cake you ate yesterday)
  • There is no “good” or “bad” food- all foods fit (see above)
  • Don’t try to fit an image (if you don’t like kale, don’t force yourself to eat it)
  • You’re damn fabulous, don’t compare yourself to anyone else!

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Dinner · Fish & Seafood

Avocado Topped Chili & Brown Sugar Salmon

Like so many people this past weekend, I ate my weight in guac in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Literally, Every. Single. Meal. contained the green goodness.

I had bought salmon to grill for dinner on Saturday- who eats salmon on Cinco de Mayo? Where were the tacos?! Meal planning fail. However, I was determined to make do and add some Mexican flair.

Sweet and spicy, creamy and flaky, the combos in this recipe were spot on. Plus, it’s made on the grill and the flavors are so refreshing, making it the perfect addition to your usual summer time grilling repertoire. I plan on making this one from Cino de Mayo straight till Labor Day.

Enjoy!

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Avocado Topped Chili & Brown Sugar Salmon

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4, 4 oz salmon filets, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 & ½ tsp Garlic powder (divided)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 medium avocado
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • Dash of salt

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium high heat, thaw salmon if needed.
  2. Place salmon onto large sheets of aluminum foil lightly sprayed with non stick spray. Foil should be large enough to create a packet.
  3. In a small bowl combine chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder and brown sugar.
  4. Rub each salmon filet with seasoning mix, folding foil to create packet.
  5. Grill for 12-15 minutes, until easily flakes.
  6. While salmon is cooking, mash avocado and stir in ½ tsp each of garlic and onion powder, plus a dash of salt.
  7. When fish is fully cooked and ready to serve, top with avocado mixture.

Nutrition Information per filet: 230 calories, 11.4g fat, 24.2g protein, 8.5g carbohydrate

Low Carb · Lunch · Soups, Salads, Sandwiches

Simple Avocado, Cherry & Chicken Spinach Salad

I am a very regimented person, I thrive on routine. Ask anyone where I am at a certain time on any day of the week and they could probably tell you what I am doing. Type A personality for you or what? I’ve been trying to be a little more spontaneous and get myself out of my comfort zone. There IS such a thing as too much structure, as much as I hate to say it!

My love for routine usually holds true for my eating habits. Meal planning is great, but in order to have a well balanced diet full of different vitamins and minerals it is important to eat a wide variety of foods. I’ve been on the wrap train for lunches for MONTHS, typically chicken or tuna salad + avocado for healthy fats + lettuce for some crunch and vit/mins. With the warm weather – and knowing I needed to change things up – I opted for a fresh, sweet salad this week… and I am IN LOVE.

This salad is like spring on a plate (or in a Pyrex container, lets be real).  Not only is it SUPER easy to make- Hello, 4 ingredients!!! – It is packed with nutrition- Antioxidants, heart healthy fats, and lean protein. I pair mine with a cheese stick and an apple for a well rounded meal.

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Simple Avocado, Cherry & Chicken Spinach Salad

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw spinach, washed
  • 4 oz canned chicken
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup pitted cherries, roughly chopped (may use fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Assemble in the following order: Spinach, Chicken, Cherries, Avocado
  2. Top with favorite dressing- I used light balsamic

Nutrition Information: 247 calories, 30g protein, 10g fat, 13.5g Carb