Thursday, October 30, 2014

Green Goblin Pizzas for Halloween

This Friday, the kids (and probably you, too!) are going to need something to counterbalance that sugar high.  We’re all for indulging in holiday traditions, so don’t feel bad about letting your kids go on the candy hunt.  It’s a wonderful childhood rite of passage.

If you haven’t seen this Jimmy Kimmel video, you should watch it.  (Warning: it you’re at work right now, you will laugh out loud.)   

But perhaps you can help your kids ration their candy, eating only a few pieces a day?

To distract them from eating all the candy at once, give them other fun Halloween treats to eat.  We were inspired by the spooky white pizzas on Food Network to create a something the kids will love, but also provides some good nutrition.

These Green Goblin Pizzas are made with a whole wheat pizza crust, and then topped with a mixture of spinach and cheese to make the ‘green goblin.’  Green olives make perfect spooky green eyes.  The fiber in the pizza crust combined with the fat in the cheese is a perfect way to keep those blood sugars from spiking, even if it’s eaten with a few (or more) pieces of family.  And the spinach is a fun way to sneak some green vegetables into dinner.

Happy Halloween!

Green Goblin Pizzas

Makes 2 Goblins

1 whole wheat pizza crust, purchased or made from our recipe
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 olives, pit removed

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Divide the pizza crust into 2 equal pizzas.  Shape each piece into a goblin shape.  Place both crusts on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.

Mix together the cheese and spinach and pile on top of the crusts.  Bake the pizzas for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

Remove from oven and place 2 olive halves on the head of the goblin to create eyes.

Enjoy, preferably in costume with the people you love!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Slow-Cooker Recipe Round-Up

When you’re short on time but still want a home cooked meal at the end (or start!) of the day, call upon your slow cooker to help — slow cooking doesn't need a lot of babysitting; it practically does all the work for you! How wonderful is that?

We recently asked some of our blogger friends to share their favorite slow-cooker recipes with us. As you’ll see from the variety of recipes below, your slow-cooker can whip up such diverse dishes —from hearty meatballs to whole grain granola. We hope you enjoy the recipes.

Crockpot Meatballs from Lindsay Livingston of The Lean Green Bean
Packed with protein, these meatballs are perfect for serving over spaghetti but can also be eaten as a post-workout snack or turned into a meatball sub! 

Crockpot Meatballs from The Lean Green Bean

This recipe takes minutes to prepare, and then the slow cooker does the rest of the work for you. Use a lean cut of pork for this dish — the loin — and then add three vegetables: bell pepper, carrot, and onion. The all-natural barbecue sauce adds big flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. Serve on a whole grain burger bun with coleslaw on the side for a family pleasing, nutrient-rich dinner everyone will love.

Pulled Pork Primavera from Meal Makeover Moms

Reasons to love this recipe: you can put it together in 5 minutes.  It stays a little softer in texture, yet still has a crunch. It’s sweet but not too sweet. And it’s hard to burn in the slow cooker (a major plus!).
Homemade Crock-pot Granola from Jen Haugen, Down-to-Earth Dietitian

Chicken Tortilla Soup from Kylie Mitchell of Immaeatthat
This may be the easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup ever!  In the morning, just open some cans, add in a couple chicken breasts and let everything cook nice and slow in your crock-pot throughout the day.  When you get home, dinner is ready to go!

Chicken Tortilla Soup from Immaeatthat

Here’s a perfect easy dish for your next Meatless Monday! You can throw all of these ingredients into a slow cooker and a savory, fragrant meal will great you when you come home at the end of the day.  Serve it with a handful of fresh cilantro and green onions.  Or, let your guests sprinkle with cheese (plant-based or dairy, depending on your preference) and tortilla strips for a hearty dish.
Smoky Lentil Chili from Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Maple Apple Oatmeal from Lisa & McKenzie of Nourish RDs
Simply throw all the ingredients in your slow-cooker before going to bed, and you'll wake up to a hot, balanced breakfast! You can experiment with different combinations of ingredients to make the oatmeal your own.  Swap the apples for figs or dried plums, substitute honey or brown sugar for the maple syrup…the options are endless.

Maple Apple Oatmeal from Nourish RDs

Sweet Potato & Bean Chili from Lisa & McKenzie of Nourish RDs

This chili is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It takes a spin on a traditional chili by using one of our favorite veggies, sweet potatoes. Top your bowl with a dollop of reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt, sliced avocado, or green onions. 

Sweet Potato & Bean Chili from Nourish RDs

What’s your favorite slow cooker dish? We loved to know! Share a link or brief description of the recipe in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Please Join us for a #KidsCookChat Twitter Party on Monday, October 27th at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET !

We’re having a party!  A Twitter party, that is!

Research shows that when families cook together and eat together, the whole family is healthier.  You know how passionate we are about getting kids in the kitchen!  We’ve talked about it before, here , here, here and here.

That’s why we’re having a party! We hope you’ll join us, along with our partners the National Processed Raspberry Council and The Kids Cook Monday for a Twitter party to learn simple ways to cook with your kids!  We’ll all be sharing our best tips and recipes, and you’ll have an opportunity to win some fabulous raspberry-red kitchen prizes, including:

Raspberry Ice 5-Qt Artisan KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Red Kitchen Aid 9-speed hand mixer
Red Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware 8 “ Square Dish
Red Le Creuset Batter Bowl
Red & pink heart-shaped measuring 

Join our Twitter party using #KidsCookChat on Monday, October 27th at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET.   We hope to see you there!

Disclaimer:  We are consulting registered dietitians for the National Processed Raspberry Council.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Roasted Parsnip Fries with Cumin Yogurt Dip

When you work in the food and nutrition industry, it’s funny to think about the things that get you fired up. Recently it’s been spices.

Last month, I was asked to write an article on the health benefits of spices. After finding study upon study indicating the health benefits of these flavor boosters, such as their link to improved glucose control to reduced risk of certain types of cancer to protection against cognitive decline, I’ve been all about promoting spices lately.

I love thinking of your spice cabinet as your own little medicine chest. While there’s certainly no silver bullet when it comes to better health, baby steps really do make a difference. That’s where your spice cabinet comes in. These powerful flavor enhancers are my secret weapon in the kitchen for adding health promoting properties and some serious flavor. Spices from sweet cinnamon to hot pepper to warming cumin can transform any plain meal to something truly mouth-watering. Try adding dill to your Greek yogurt, oregano to your eggs, or nutmeg to your morning smoothie. And don’t forget about herbs either. Mint can transform plain water, basil can enhance your tuna salad, and cilantro is a delicious addition to homemade salsa!

Roasted Parsnip Fries with Cumin Yogurt Dip

These parsnips fries for example are delicious as is with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt but the addition of curry powder and coriander take them to a whole new level. 

We hope you enjoy them!

Roasted Parsnip Fries with Cumin Yogurt Dip

A great accompaniment to homemade hamburgers (or veggie burgers), topped with poached eggs or simply enjoyed as a snack, these flavorful parsnip fries may just become your new favorite side dish! 

Ingredients for Roasted Parsnip Fries
3 parsnips
extra virgin olive oil, a drizzle
coriander, to taste
curry powder, to taste
pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash parsnips well.
3. Cut parsnips into 2” sticks.
4. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with coriander and curry powder. Add a pinch of sea salt on top.
5. Bake in the over for 40-45 minutes, flipping half-way.

Ingredients for Cumin Yogurt Dip
1 cup low-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt 
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon cumin

1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well mixed. 
2. Refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Share your love of raspberries!

We have the sincere pleasure of working with the National Processed Raspberry Council, an organization that represents raspberry growers and importers from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

As two dietitians that love talking about food from both a health standpoint and a taste standpoint (hey, we love good food!), raspberries are easy to talk about.

They pack in a serious amount of fiber per serving – 9 grams per 1 cup to be exact, or about one-third of your daily fiber needs. And while fiber certainly has gained some clout in the world of health professionals for its digestive benefits, scientific research is now booming on fiber’s ability to boost immune health and reduce risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. You can learn more about the health benefits of fiber here. On top of that, raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and supply our bodies with anthocyanins, powerful health-promoting pigments which boast anti-inflammatory properties and are linked with a long list of health benefits such as cancer protection.

Aside from their health properties, raspberries are simply delicious!  Their sweet and tart taste is reminiscent of summer fun, can conjure up happy childhood memories, and is perfectly paired with chocolate, cream, oats, pancakes, and even pumpkin! That’s why we’re so excited to announce that the National Processed Raspberry Council is launching a recipe contest this month.

All you have to do is submit a recipe of a frozen raspberry-inspired appetizer, salad, entree, dessert, and beverage between October 15 – November 15, 2014 for your chance to add a wonderful raspberry-red addition to your kitchen! 

Here’s what you’ll be eligible to win!

One 1st prize winner will receive: A raspberry-red Kitchen Aid counter mixer 

Three 2nd prize winners will receive: A raspberry-red Kitchen Aid hand mixer 

Five 3rd prize winners will receive: A raspberry-red Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware 8 “ Square Dish 

Recipe Contest Guidelines

·       Recipes may be sweet or savory, including breakfast, snacks, beverages, appetizers, side dishes, salads, soups, entrees or desserts. 
·       All recipes must use a minimum of 1 cup of frozen raspberries.
·       Recipes must contain no more than 10 ingredients.
·       All recipes must be original.
·       You may submit more than one recipe.
·       Please submit one picture with your recipe.
·       All recipes and photos must not feature any specific brand of raspberries.
·       Recipes will be judged on use of frozen raspberries, taste, appearance, creativity, and consumer-friendliness.
·       All recipes fitting the above criteria will be featured on the website, crediting the creator of the recipe. 
·       Three winners will be chosen among all the submissions.  Winners will be notified by December 15, 2014.
·       Recipes should be submitted on-line at between October 15 and November 15, 2014. 

For some raspberry inspiration, check out some of our raspberry recipes including:






We can’t wait to see what recipes you share with their online community!

Friday, October 10, 2014

In Celebration of National Pasta Month, Roasted Tomato & Hazelnut Pesto Carbonara

By posting this recipe I am entering a contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest.  I was not compensated for my time.

I know what you’re thinking.  Pasta carbonara is a bacon-and-egg pasta.  Roasted tomato and hazelnut pesto doesn’t sound like carbonara.

There’s a story behind this dish.  Many years ago, I worked on a project in Seattle called Seeds of Compassion, where we brought together leaders in the science and practice of peace to create a multi-generational dialogue about how to practice peace in our schools, businesses, neighborhoods, faith communities, governments and the world.

The project was fast and furious, coming together in a very short time with the dedication of a passionate team of volunteers and visionary leaders.  Working on the Development and Communications team, I have never worked so hard, felt so much emotion, experienced my own limitations or realized my own potential.  It was an intense and transformational experience.

In times of stress like these, we all have comfort food dishes we fall back on—those dishes that fill us up, warm our souls, nourish us.  During my work on Seeds of Compassion, my comfort food was my own healthy version of pasta carbonara.  Created in desperation one night out of an almost-empty refrigerator, the bones of this dish were born—dried whole wheat pasta, eggs, parmesan cheese and leftover vegetables became a lightning-quick fiber- and protein-rich dinner that satisfied me on every level. I ate a version almost every night after that until the project was done.

Since October is National Pasta Month, it seems a good time to share this recipe. 

Anyone who knows me well knows I could eat pasta almost every night.  It’s my ultimate comfort food meal, and one I feel good about eating.  Whole wheat pasta is a good source of fiber, and paired with lots of vegetables and a good source of protein, it’s a complete meal-in-a-bowl. 

Carbonara is my favorite.  Instead of traditional bacon or pancetta, I boost the flavor and nutrition of this pasta with whatever vegetables or herbs I have on hand—roasted broccoli, sautéed kale, grilled zucchini, or fresh spinach or arugula.  Combined with a creamy (but creamless!) egg sauce, the pasta becomes alchemy.  True pasta carbonara is enriched with only eggs—not cream—which adds satisfying protein to the dish as well.

Last week, I was craving carbonara.  I had some oven-dried tomatoes and hazelnut pesto in the freezer, both of which I had made this summer.  I quickly thawed them both and tossed them into the pasta, along with some fresh spinach.  It’s a perfect, nourishing dinner.  Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator to make this healthy, filling, easy and inexpensive comfort food meal.  And then share it with someone you love!

Roasted Tomato & Hazelnut Pesto Carbonara

Serves 6

1 pound dried whole wheat spaghetti or fettuccini
6 whole eggs, preferably organic
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons hazelnut pesto, or a prepared pesto (see recipe, below)
12 oven-dried tomatoes or jarred sun-dried tomatoes (click link for recipe)
2 cups fresh spinach or arugula

Cook pasta in boiling well-salted water for 2 minutes less than package directions.

In the meantime, add the eggs, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and pesto to a large bowl.  Whisk together until very well combined.  Gently whisk in the oven-dried tomatoes.  Add the spinach or arugula.

When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.  Add the drained pasta to the bowl with the egg mixture, stirring well. 

Place the pot the pasta cooked in back on the stove over low heat.  Add ½ cup of the pasta water to the pot, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the pasta and egg mixture to the pot, stirring vigorously for 1 – 2 minutes, until the egg mixture has thickened and the spinach or arugula has wilted.  Add additional reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as desired.

Enjoy, preferably with someone you love!

Hazelnut Pesto

4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Zest of one lemon
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Add basil, hazelnuts, salt, red pepper flakes and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until a paste forms.  With the processor running, pour in the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.  Scrape the mixture into a bowl and then stir in the cheese.  Pour a layer of olive oil over the top and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to four days.  Or, you can freeze it for up to three months.