Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Recap

It’s amazing that 2013 is already coming to a close.

We’ve had such a fun journey over the past year, continuing to partner with companies we truly admire, such as LUNA Bar, the Southern Peanut Growers, the Tomato Products Wellness Council, Nature Box, and most recently, The Red Raspberry Council.

We’ve taught a few cooking classes and workshops…
spread nutrition tips during grocery store tours and on television segments…

shared our (non) diet advice, including ways to eat mindfully, reasons why we love omega-3s, and also answered some nutrition questions.

We expanded our team with our wonderful contributing bloggers, too!

Lisa married the man of her dreams, and McKenzie was so happy and honored to be there by her side.

We experienced cold weather…

and hot weather…

and also ate some delicious real food.

Thank you so much for continuing to be a part of our journey as Nourish RDs. Whether we connect with you through a blog comment, Facebook post, email, phone call, or at an event, we are so humbled and grateful for all the people and connections in our lives. We are so excited for more laughter, dance parties, friendship and good food in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

{Book Club}: Peruvian Power Foods

When I step foot into a library or bookstore, I inevitably end up in the cookbook section. When I travel, I often pack cookbooks for something to read. When I visit my friends and family, you can anticipate me scanning through their collection if I get the opportunity. And I’m sure many food lovers can relate.  Cookbooks have this way of sparking a sense of creativity and ambition.
I was so excited when I recently added a new cookbook to my repertoire: Peruvian Power Foods. Not only it is packed with delicious and healthy recipes, it was developed by an award-winning registered dietitian, Manuel Villacorta. To develop the recipes, Manuel returned to his homeland in Peru to experience 18 of the world’s greatest superfoods in their natural habitat. The result is an inventive recipe collection guaranteed to get anyone out of their cooking slump.

What makes this book so unique is it’s emphasize on nutritionally-packed “power” foods such pichuberry, maca, and kiwicha – staple foods to Peruvians, yet new to many of those in North America. At first I was skeptical that I may not be able to find many ingredients in the book, but I quickly learned that these Peruvian power foods may be purchased in mainstream markets like Bristol Farms, Safeway, Whole Foods and Vons. 

Manuel’s websites, EatingFree and PeruvianPowerFoods also carry a good number of the power foods referenced in the book, so they’re a good starting point, too. 

At the beginning of each chapter, the properties that truly make each “superfood” a nutrient-rich ingredient and worthy of your attention are described. For example, I was so excited to learn that eating 3 ounces of pichuberries may help you reach your daily recommended intake for vitamin D. A serving of this super fruit provides a lofty 39 percent of your daily requirement based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Following each description is a small collection of recipes highlighting each of the power foods as an ingredient. With recipes as creative as Hearty Pichuberry Quinoa Bread and No-Bake Kiwicha Bars, it's difficult to decide a starting point.

It’s also worth mentioning that familiar foods such as avocados, beans, sweet potatoes, and artichokes make appearances in their own chapters. It was fun creating the Peruvian Stuffed Avocados (see recipe below) and the Lima Bean with Choclo and Feta Salad.

Limo Bean with Choclo and Feta Salad

This book is a exciting, unique culinary experience that will not only make your tastebuds happy, the recipes are good for your body, too. And for those that are picking up last minute Christmas gifts, it will make for a fun and festive gift for the food lovers in your life.

 Happy holidays!

Peruvian Stuffed Avocados


2 avocados
½ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup steamed beets
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste


1.      Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pits, and peel off the skin. Set the avocado halves aside.

2.      Combine the quinoa, peas, beets, and lime juice in a bowl and gently fold together until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

3.      Fill the avocados with the quinoa mixture and serve.

Stay tuned for our next book review, Younger Next Week, written by the wonderful registered dietitian, Elisa Zied.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Parties, Oh My!

There are still a few weeks left in the holiday season, so we thought we'd share a few strategies for making healthy, balanced choices during the last of your holiday party marathon.  

Here are our favorite tips:

  • Eat what you really want, first!  You might as well start with the food you most crave and enjoy, because you know you'll eat them anyway.  We do! 
  • Eat small portions.  The first bite is always the best anyway. 
  • Stop just before you feel full.  You can always eat more, if you're still hungry.
  • If you're going to a friend's house, contribute something that you know you'll want to eat.  That way, if the rest of the party food is all pigs in a blanket and artichoke dip, you know you'll have have a good option.  Not that there's anything wrong with artichoke dip, occasionally and in moderation.
  • Enjoy yourself!  Please don't feel guilty about eating your favorite holiday foods.  It's just food.  Having a Christmas cookie doesn't make you a good or bad person.  If you eat a little too much at the party, just choose to eat more vegetables tomorrow. 

This recipe for roasted vegetables with tahini dip is one of our favorites.  Despite being healthy, it's always one of the first things to disappear off the buffet!

We hope you enjoy the holidays with the ones you love.

Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4 – 6

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets *
1 head broccoli, cut into florets*
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon
Spices, if desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and spices, if desired.  Place on a baking sheet and roast in oven 20 - 25 minutes, or until vegetables are golden brown.

*You can substitute any vegetables you like.  Just cut them into pieces of similar size.

Tahini Dip

1 cup unroasted tahini
1 clove garlic, ground to a paste (if desired)
3 – 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste

Add tahini paste to a large bowl.  Add garlic (if using), lemon juice and about ½ teaspoon sea salt.  Whisk together with a fork, making a thick paste.  It will turn a strange color and consistency and you’ll think you’ve ruined it.  Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until the tahini becomes the consistency of a thick sauce.  Taste for lemon and salt and adjust, as desired.  Tahini sauce will keep in the refrigerator for one week.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Coconut Apple Pecan Muffins

At this time of year, we all have a very long to-do list—shopping for Christmas presents, putting up the Christmas decorations, holiday parties, baking…  The list goes on.

One of the ways you can be nice to yourself during the holiday season is to keep healthy, nutritious food on hand, so you’re not tempted by the vending machines or drive through windows.  Stock your fridge with ready-to-eat vegetables and fruits, yogurt, homemade granola, hummus and other healthy snacks.

These Coconut Apple Pecan Muffins make a great fiber- and protein-packed breakfast or snack.  They are delicious on their own, or spread with a little homemade jam.  I made them with coconut oil, just to reinforce the coconut flavor.  But, you can definitely use butter.  If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just mix 1 cup of whole milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice.  It works just fine.  

We hope you enjoy these muffins, and that they help to keep you saneand nourishedover the next few weeks!

Coconut Apple Pecan Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk or, 1 cup whole milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 large apples, grated (peel on)
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease the inside of a 12-muffin cup tin with coconut oil and set aside.

Mix together the flour, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the coconut oil with the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Mix in the buttermilk gently. Stir in the dry ingredients, just until combined.  Be careful not to over mix or the muffins will be dense.  Fold in the apple, pecans and coconut.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.  Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400 degrees, and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Healthy Holiday Baking, A Recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie

Yes, you should eat dessert! 

During this holiday season, you should not feel guilty about enjoying your favorite holiday desserts.  In moderation, of course.  Eat mindfully.  Savor each and every delicious bite. 

You know our advice:  Eat the real thing.  Don’t try to create low-cal, low-sugar, low-fat treats.  They are also low in flavor in low in satisfaction. 

A rule of thumb:  Eat a small portion of what you really wantAnd don’t forget to eat a little broccoli, too.

That being said, there are some ways to sneak some nutrition—and flavor!—into holiday baked goods and desserts. 


·         Use whole wheat pastry flour in baked goods for added fiber and intact nutrients.  Pastry flour has a lower gluten content than all-purpose flour, so it will create tender cookies, quick breads, pancakes, and muffins.  You can also use it to make pie dough, with great results!
·         You can substitute up to ¼ cup of each cup of flour with an alternative flour, like almond meal, hazelnut flour, ground oats, or flaxseed.  Experiment with different blends to create a flavor and texture you like.


First of all, please don’t cook or bake with artificial sweeteners.  Our bodies and brains are too smart to be tricked.  Research shows they are just not satisfying, and when we eat artificial sweeteners, we may end up eating more.  Instead, chose natural sweeteners.

·         Honey has a satisfying, floral flavor that adds moisture to baked goods.  It contains antioxidants and micronutrients that are good for your health. 
·         Maple syrup is naturally made from sugar maple trees, and is useful for baking and flavoring in sauces.
·         Blackstrap molasses is a rich, less-processed sweetener that contains many health-promoting nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
·         Unrefined sugar, or succanat, is made from cane juice and resembles brown sugar.  It is a healthier alternative to refined sweeteners.
·         Brown sugar is another unrefined sugar that adds moisture and tenderness to baked goods.  Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar can be used interchangeably in recipes.


·         For pastry crusts, please don’t use hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Use unsalted butter.  Butter adds great flavor to your dough.  The only trick is not to overwork your dough—that’s what creates a tough crust.  If you’re vegan or avoiding dairy, you can use coconut oil.
·         For baked goods calling for liquid oil, try melted butter, extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil.  You can bake with olive oil with delicious results!


Try using dark chocolate in recipes.  Dark chocolate—at least 70% cocoa content—contains antioxidants and polyphenols.


Winter fruits, including apples, pears, and citrus fruits, are perfect additions to many desserts.  Try fruit crumbles, pies, compotes, or poached fruit.  Leave the skin on for added fiber and antioxidants.  

Here’s a recipe for your holiday table.  It’s not low-cal or low-fat, but it is delicious, with fiber from the whole wheat flour, good fat from the pecans and polyphenols and antioxidants from the dark chocolate.  Enjoy a small piece in the company of the people you love. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Serves 8 - 12

1 pie dough
3 large eggs
¼ cup water, or ¼ cup bourbon
1 ¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup dark chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Whisk together the eggs and water (or bourbon) until very well blended. Add the brown sugar and salt. Blend in the melted butter and vanilla extract.

Place the chocolate and pecans in the pie shell.  Pour the custard filling over the pecans.

Place the pie in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the center of the pie is set, about 60 minutes.  Let cool before slicing.

Pie Dough

Makes enough dough for 2 pies

2 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
½ cup ice water, plus more if needed
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse, until the flour resembles coarse cornmeal. 

Add the water and pulse.  Check the consistency of the dough by squeezing a small amount together between your fingers.  You want the dough to hold together, without being either too wet or too crumbly.  If it's still crumbly, add a little more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

When you get it to the right consistency, shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Put it in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Roll out the dough and shape in pie pan.

Happy Holidays!