Muffin Makeover

Good Morning!!

Taking advantage of some recent cooler nights and an abundance of fresh blueberries, I decided to bake. I made two recipes from a collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of public health.

The first recipe I experienced tasting at the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives Conference last February. It is full of goodness...soluble fiber in the chickpeas for cholesterol lowering, and healthy fats in the oil. Find the recipe along with a video tutorial here.

I didn't even follow the directions exactly and mine turned out great. I forgot to beat the egg whites separately and then add them at the end. I just made sure to mix the ingredients thoroughly in the food processor. Next time I will take the extra step and beat the egg whites and fold them into the batter. The purpose of that step is to make the muffin lighter.

Puree the chickpeas, oil, juices and zests, egg yolks until smooth. Add sifted ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom) to the chickpeas, stir. Then add ground almonds. Next, you are supposed to whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the batter. (I forgot that part, oops!) scoop batter into muffin papers and top with additional sugar, ground almonds and cardamom. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took longer, and I am wondering if this was written for a convection oven. 

A fun and abundant blueberry picking adventure provided the opportunity to make a healthier blueberry muffin. These muffins are just the right size, not the super large, all white flour, high sugar versions you find in the bakery section of the supermarket or big box stores. 

This recipe from the Culinary Institute of America uses whole wheat flour, almond flour and less sugar than a traditional bakery style muffin, resulting in an overall lower sugar and a higher fiber content. I did not have whole wheat "pastry flour" but instead used whole wheat flour and my tasty treat turned out just fine.  Since this recipe makes about 18 regular sized muffins, I had leftover batter after I made the traditional 12, so I made some mini muffins as well.  If you are looking for a smaller treat, these are a nice couple bites. 

Mix dry ingredients first, then add the blueberries to the dry mixture to help coat the berries with flour so they do not sink to the bottom of the batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first and then add the liquid ingredients and sugar. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and berries but do not overmix. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

For those of you signed up to get my blog delivered straight to your inbox, click here for my last post that due to technical difficulties, did not get sent. You can see my blueberry picking adventure :)

Enjoy in good health!


** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

Go Green For St. Patricks Day!

Cooking Light Magazine,  Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Cooking Light Magazine, Green Pea and Parsley Hummus

Happy St. Patricks Day (a day early)! Seems like a good day to fit more green things into our diet, ones that are actually healthy for us!

Breakfast: How about avocado toast with an egg and green pepper scramble? Avocado is full of good-for-you monounsaturated fat, folate and potassium. 

Snacks: Edamame is the perfect mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat for an afternoon snack, packed with fiber, folate, vitamin K, manganese and potassium. Or try the cooking light Green Pea and Parsley Hummus pictured above, with a variety of veggies.

Lunch: Add a kiwi to the side of your sandwich or salad. One little kiwi packs 100% of our daily requirement for vitamin C! What a great fruit, just slice off the top of one side and you can eat it with a spoon, scooping out the yumminess!  

Dinner: Add some parsley to turkey meatballs for dinner. Parsley is not just a garnish but full of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate. And if you make the hummus above, you will have some on hand for this recipe! A favorite dinner recipe of mine is from Chef Joyce Goldstein presented at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference, Moroccan meatballs. It calls for about 1/2 cup total chopped parsley between the sauce and the meatballs. Check out my Facebook post from May 2016 for the recipe.

Moroccan Meatballs , Chef Joyce Goldstein

Moroccan Meatballs, Chef Joyce Goldstein

Have a great day! Be Well.


** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.

My Favorite Recipe from Napa

As participants of the Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives conference In Napa Valley, CA, we were exposed to hundreds of recipes. This was my favorite. I have never worked with lemongrass before and some of these ingredients can be hard to find. I did not want to wait until I had everything on hand to make this dish so I skipped the thai chilis and added some cayenne pepper to the marinade. I also used regular basil this time. It was still good! Next time I will experience it as written. Click here for a short video on prepping lemongrass.

Using a firm (not extra firm tofu) I take it out of the package and get some of the moisture out of it by placing on paper towels and then putting something heavy on top of it for about 30 minutes. While that is prepping, you can get the lemongrass ready by first chopping it into a much smaller piece and then basically peeling it back until you get to the softer inner part. Then you can chop it and put into a mortar and pestle to pulverize it along with the chilis (not pictured here). After the chilis and lemongrass are pulverized, add the soy sauce, sugar and tumeric and mix well.

tumeic, soy sauce and sugar for the marinade., Onions shallots and garlic for a saucepan.

tumeic, soy sauce and sugar for the marinade., Onions shallots and garlic for a saucepan.

Add the marinade to the sliced tofu (sliced fairly thin) and let it sit for 30 minutes. The marinade is more like a dry rub. It is not supposed to have much liquid. Add the onions, garlic and shallots to a sauce pan with 1 Tbsp oil, seasoned with some salt. The vegetables are not meant to brown,  more like steam. Cook for one minute, covered and then add 1 Tbsp water and continue to cook covered for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft, then set aside.

After the tofu has marinated 30 minutes, it is time to cook in a non stick pan with 2 Tbsp of oil. Make sure the oil is hot and then place the tofu in the pan and cook on both sides until brown and caramelized, (last picture above).

Once the tofu is brown, add the onion mixture and toss to warm and combine with tofu. Add 1/2 of the peanuts and thai basil and then garnish each plate with the rest of the nuts and basil. I served this over brown rice with some steamed broccoli on the side. Enjoy!!

Finding Inspiration in Napa!

Beauty is abundant in Napa Valley

Beauty is abundant in Napa Valley

Hi everyone! I just returned from a 4 day conference in Napa Valley, called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. This conference is a collaboration between the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health. We sat in sessions focusing on the science of health and then how to translate that science into the food that is on our plates through cooking demonstrations and a hands on workshop. It is not very hard to be inspired by the beauty of Napa Valley. It is also easy to get inspiration being surrounded by healthcare professionals and amazing chefs who are committed to improving the lives of others through healthy food. I feel reinvigorated with new motivation and commitment to health for me and my family and for my clients. 

Pictured below with Chef Lars Kronmark. I love how he teaches, 'recipes are a guide!" In the past I would not have made this if I did not have every single item. I did not have the chilis at home so I sprinkled some cayenne pepper for a little heat. This recipe I created with my group in the hands on kitchen session I attended, highlights a whole grain in the brown rice and just enough animal protein. You can add any additional vegetables or greens to your preference. I made this at home since returning and used bok choy, baby bok choy and Lacinato kale. Use what you can find in the vegetable crisper. Easy on the fish sauce and additional salt if you are watching your sodium. I did not even use the ham and it was great. The fried shallots are so yummy! 

There was so much information, too much to share in one post. So here are some of the highlights which will be expanded upon in future posts along with some of my most favorite recipes from the conference!

  • The mediterranean diet with it's emphasis on vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats, in particular olive oil, has many benefits for our health. 
  • The type of dietary fat we choose is important. A recent study from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health showed lower mortality in those who ate more unsaturated fats and higher mortality in those who ate more saturated fats. Read more here
  • In order to eat more vegetables we need to make them delicious and craveable, not just a steamed side of something on our plates.
  • Home cooks eat more healthfully and eat fewer calories than those who dine out.
  • Mindfullness is very important to our overall health and affects our food choices positively when we can be mindful. Conversely, when we are not being mindful with our food, it can have negative effects on our health.
  • Exercise is great of course but it is only a subset of the greater big picture of "activity." Many of us need to work on becoming more active and therefore less sedentary, instead of focusing only on "getting exercise."
Walking back to my car one afternoon.

Walking back to my car one afternoon.

As I was walking back to my car at the end of the conference I started thinking about the 4 days spent here. Funny thing, even though I truly enjoyed my time away, conferences like this can be overwhelming. Because of the sheer amount of information and ideas presented, it can be hard to know where to start when applying to daily life. It's tempting to take all of these recipes and try to add them all in over the next two weeks. A better option is to pick one thing, one idea, one recipe and start there. So I think I will do that! Wanna join me?

** Blog content may not be applicable to your condition. Please discuss individual nutritional needs with Brenda during scheduled visits.