Category: Snacks

Low Carb Whipped Cream

whipped cream

I’m a sweet junkie.  I’ll never be able to give up sweets no matter what.  I’ve tried and it’s never worked.  So, in order for me to maintain a carb/sugar level that doesn’t make my Fitness Pal scream I have to come up with alternatives.

When I was pregnant with my second son I had gestational diabetes.  It was awful considering I was also on bed rest due to pre-term labor and blood clots.  Every night before bed I had to eat a snack to maintain my blood sugar levels through the night.  Every night my husband/nurse would bring me strawberries and sugar-free Cool Whip.  We figured out it was the perfect carb/sweet amount I needed to maintain my blood sugar and give me the sugar fix my pregnant body was craving.

If you have ever read the ingredient list on a tub of Cool Whip you know that most of the words are extremely hard to pronounce, a.k.a a chemical storm of ‘ingredients’.  Although I was able to keep my sugar levels down with the sugar substitutes I was trading one evil for another.

Fast forward to now.  I have zero time to put together low-fat/low sugar desserts that will quench my insatiable sweet tooth.  Then it dawned on me, if I cut up a ton of strawberries on Sunday and come up with a low sugar, whole ingredient alternative for the whip cream I used to enjoy I would be set.  Then another light bulb precariously teetered above my chemistry and anatomy swollen brain, I have an Isi whip cream dispenser.  That would aid in the instant gratification need.  So, long story short this super simple quick recipe was born.  Yes, you do need a whip cream dispenser, but trust me it’s worth every penny.

Click the whip cream canister image to be directly taken to amazon to purchase!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Low Carb Whipped Cream
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 10 servings
  • Serving size: ¼ cup
  • Calories: 76
  • Fat: 7.2
  • Saturated fat: 4.8
  • Carbohydrates: 2.5
  • Sugar: 2.5
  • Sodium: 8
  • Protein: 0
  • Cholesterol: 32
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Low Carb Whipped Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 14 oz. whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Instructions
  1. Melt the honey in a microwave safe dish on your melt function or on 10% power for 1 minute or until melted.
  2. Stir in the cream until combined with the honey, add in the vanilla.
  3. Transfer mixture to an Isi whip cream dispense, only filling till max fill line. Screw the lid on tightly then add nitrous canister, screw in tightly.
  4. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until cold.
  5. Shake before dispensing whip cream.

 

Click the whip cream canister image to be directly taken to amazon to purchase!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies

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My favorite cookies growing up were the Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip cookies.  My mom didn’t buy them often but when she did, lunch took on a whole new meaning.  Well let’s be honest, I totally ate them before any of my other lunch box items.  But, lunch was just happier when they were amongst my bologna sandwich and fruit punch.

About a year ago I bought some for old times sake.  I’m not sure what happened but they were not the same.  They were smaller and had an unpleasant after taste.  AKA, they ruined them.  Or I just grew up and my tastes changed.  Not sure which of the two it is, but I do not love them like I did.

Recently I have had a ton of requests for something pumpkin. Mostly for a clean version of any pumpkin comfort food/dessert.  It’s fall so it’s only fair to start receiving these requests, but there is one problem.  I am not a lover of all things pumpkin.  I do not get a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) the day they come out.  I can’t stand pumpkin pie.  The only form of pumpkin I love is my pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and crumb topping.  They are to die for.  But, I am sure if I calculate the calories one would be in the 750 range.

I have a favorite clean cookie that a fellow blogger, Texan Erin conjured up.  They are amazing.  There is no butter, eggs, or grain.  They knocked my socks off the first time I had one.  Not because they were just a good chocolate chip cookie, but because the main ingredient was chick peas.  Yes, beans.  They make having dessert a less guilty experience when there is that much fiber present.

I had a crazy idea of playing with her recipe, making it into a pumpkin cookie.  Instead of the peanut butter I used organic pumpkin puree.  Since pure maple syrup and pumpkin go together like peanut butter and jelly I used it to sweeten the batter.  Plus, the cookies could be labeled purely vegan without the honey.

I used traditional pumpkin spices; cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, to give the cookie a fall type feel.  My favorite part of Erin’s cookie is the melted chocolate strewn throughout.  So instead of a chemical laden chocolate chips I gave Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips a try.  I was extremely hesitant.  I figured it would be obvious they were vegan.  Maybe a weird after taste?  Nothing.  The chips tasted exactly like their GMO filled rivals.

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Fingers crossed I scooped mounds of chocolate chip pumpkin batter on a silpat and popped them into a 350 degree oven.  They had to stay in much longer than the original version, but what emerged from the oven at 25 minutes was firm outside and pillowy soft inside.  It was reminiscent of the soft batch cookies from my childhood, but with a blast of fall goodness.

I had all of the usual picky taste testers try them.  I am happy to announce that even though none of us are pumpkin fans, the cookies were given 4 thumbs up.  2 kids, 2 adults liked them.  The boys had no idea what the ingredients were, but they liked them, and that is all that mattered to me.  Who doesn’t like a good chocolate chip cookie?

The only fair warning I will give you is that 2 out of the 4 of us wanted them crisper on the outside.  That part is up to you.  Flatten them a little after scooping them out and leave them in longer if you want a crispy outside.

Nutritionally these babies are a great choice for an afternoon snack or dessert.  There is only 136 calories, and a high fiber content for two cookies, coming in at 4.2 grams.

For all of you pumpkin lovers I hope this recipe helps kick off the beginning of pumpkin season, I mean fall.  Don’t forget to share this post with your friends.  Hey, they might even make them for you!

        Disclosure:  I was not compensated for any portion of this post.  All opinion are my own.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Soft Batch Cookies
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 20 cookies
  • Serving size: 2 cookies
  • Calories: 136
  • Fat: 5.1
  • Saturated fat: 2.4
  • Carbohydrates: 17.8
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 60.1
  • Fiber: 4.2
  • Protein: 4
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Crisp on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside. A clean, fall version of soft batch cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups chick peas, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup, Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and puree till smooth.
  3. Remove blade from the food processor and stir in chocolate chips. Batter will be moist but should be able to be formed.
  4. Using a melon baller scoop out batter onto a silpat baking sheet, pressing down each mound of dough slightly to form a circle.
  5. Bake for 20 -30 minutes depending on how crisp you prefer the outside.
  6. Let cool on the silpat.
  7. Can be store up to a week in the refrigerator. Or 1 day in a tupperware in a cool dry place.

 

 

Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip

 

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It’s that time of year again.  Football season has made its way into almost every American home.  That means it’s also the time of year where winter weight starts appearing.  Game day food is the culprit for much of the winter weight football lovers and haters gain.  I added ‘haters’ or shall I say I ‘could not care lessers’.  Unless it is USC, I could care less.  So how is it that I can still gain weight during this ‘football widow’ season?  I would rather eat than watch the game.

Before everyone starts giving me a hard time, I have tried to get into football for my husband’s sake.  He’s tried teaching me.  We even did our own Fantasy Football League one year.  I lost interest half way through and admitted defeat.  It’s just not my thing.  Trying to figure out who is injured, who is good/bad, and ugly is a lot of work.

So what is a girl to do that doesn’t want a fatty winter coat?  Bring healthier options.  Lets face it, most people don’t care or think about healthier options when football is involved.  So you are going to have to do it yourself.  Or not.  There is a quote that I love, “Summer bodies are made in the winter”.  Keep that in mind as you attend a multitude of game day parties.

strawberry hot wings

Options, they are plenty.  You can always go with a standard crudite platter (veggies and dip) but I like to fancy up my apps.  You can’t go wrong with my baked Strawberry Hot wings.  Or my Assyrian family recipe for Jajic dip.  But I’d like to introduce you to an upscale, lightened version of the artichoke dip.  I call her Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip.

This spicy, creamy, yet chunky dip is everything I look for in a crowd pleasing appetizer.  I combined lightly caramelized shallots, with garlic, red pepper flakes and a touch of sea salt. Then added the savory combination to goat cheese and 0% greek yogurt.  As if the mixture wasn’t already to do for, I added in chopped artichoke hearts.

I feel compelled to share with you my newest find in the realm of already steamed artichokes.  Raise your hand if you hate veggies in a can.  I raised both, because I hate them that much.  Canned veggies contain added salt, BPA, and sulfites.  Nothing you want in your body if you are trying to eat clean.

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Melissa’s Produce has recently come out with a new way to buy cooked artichokes.  No cans!  The artichokes are steamed then vacuumed sealed and packaged in a cute little box. No nasty chemicals to rinse off.  What I loved the most about the product is there is no chemical after taste, just pure artichoke goodness.  I measured out over a cup of artichoke hearts in the package.  Due to the lack of liquid in the packaging the weight is all artichokes!

I only used half the package in the dip.  I have scrumptious plans for the other half.  Stay tuned.

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.  Artichokes were provided by Melissa’s Produce.  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 32
  • Fat: 2.1
  • Saturated fat: 1.2
  • Carbohydrates: .8
  • Sugar: .5
  • Sodium: 106
  • Protein: 2.5
  • Cholesterol: 3.3
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The perfect solution to your unhealthy game day options. A lightened up, upscale version of traditional artichoke dip.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (I used the bottom of a glass)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz plain goat cheese
  • ⅓ cup 0% plain greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • 1 cup Melissa's Steamed Artichoke Hearts, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan heat the butter or oil
  2. Over medium-low heat sauté the shallots, garlic cloves, salt, and red pepper till the shallots turn a golden brown color. About 10 -15 minutes. Do not over cook them. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, using a fork, smash the goat cheese with the yogurt till combined. Fold in the artichoke hearts.
  4. Add the cooled shallot mixture into the goat cheese mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. Serve with sliced cucumbers or Fig and Olive Crackers from Trader Joe's. They are delicious!

 

 

Lemon Panna Cotta with Dragon Fruit Gelee

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My new kick of trying and making new things continues. I can officially say that panna cotta and dragon fruit can be checked off the list.  I have always wanted to try them.  They both sound so mysterious and foreign to me.  So why not get crazy and try them at the same time!

I’ll be honest, I was not sure what to expect with the dragon fruit. She looked (yes she) so exotic and travelled.  I was scared and excited.  The outside surface looks scaly and feathery.  I needed to open her up and check her out.

The flesh of the fruit is stunning!  Nature’s pallete is simply amazing.  It was the brightest pink I could ever imagine seeing, speckled with seeds reminiscent of a kiwi.  Some varieties has white flesh too.

dragon fruit

What I thought it was going to taste like and what I got were completely different.  I expected a sour, yet sweet, but strong flavor.  In reality it was mild, slightly sweet, with a gentle texture less firm than a kiwi.

I can’t even remember why I thought to pair the dragon fruit with a panna cotta, let alone a lemon panna cotta, but it just sounded refreshing.  It was five thousand degrees outside and I wanted some relief.

What exactly is panna cotta?  Translated from it’s Northern Italian roots it means ‘cooked cream’.  Hmmm.  Well cream doesn’t get along with my stomach very often so I knew I would have to be creative to make it “me” friendly.  In it’s orginal form cream is combined together with sugar, vanilla and gelatin over heat and then sets in the fridge.  It can be served with fruit or plain.  I am so not a plain Jane, I knew the bright dragon fruit would be the perfect accessory for the panna cotta to shine.

Not ever having a panna cotta I had to do some serious research on what I was getting into.  So to the internet I went.  Apparently I am the only one that has never had panna cotta or made it.  There is a plethora of recipes out there.  Not one really screamed to me, so of course I made up my own hodge podge of a billion recipes.

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So lets recap.  I have never made a panna cotta in my life and made up my own recipe for it.  Then I decided to serve it to 3 other very experienced food bloggers at our second Inland Empire Food Bloggers meeting.  Not my brightest moment.  THANK GOD it worked.  Phew.  Although I have nothing to compare it to I thought it was darn good and my fellow bloggers liked it as well.

You will be excited to know that in addition to dragon fruit’s beauty she also has many health benefits; high in vitamin C, full of antioxidants, good fats and protein from the seeds, and 1 gram of fiber per 100g of fruit.

Typically pitaya is grown in South and Central America, Asia and Mexico.  When shopping for this beauty of a fruit look for skin that isn’t blemished and not molded.

Since I chose to make my panna cotta without any dairy this baby is pure vegan, gluten-free and scrumptious.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge to pick the best dragon fruit and make panna cotta, you should go for it.  Speaking of, there is a panna cotta in the fridge with my name on it.  Toodles!

*Disclaimer* I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.  The dragon fruit was supplied by Melissa’s Produce.  To purchase this product and many other incredible products click here.

Lemon Panna Cotta with Dragon Fruit Gelee
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 203
  • Fat: 7.6
  • Saturated fat: 5
  • Unsaturated fat: .3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Sugar: 30
  • Sodium: 44.2
  • Fiber: .4
  • Protein: 3.5
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A bright and tangy dragon fruit gelee tops a light and tart lemon panna cotta.
Ingredients
  • Lemon Panna Cotta
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons, unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup honey (maple syrup for vegans)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon peel, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dragon Fruit Gelee
  • 2 ounces of boiling water (can be done in microwave safe mug)
  • 2 teaspoons, unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ½ dragon fruit, pureed
  • 3 tablespoons honey (maple syrup for vegans)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Lemon Panna Cotta
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over the lemon juice, let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a heavy saucepan until steam forms. Stir the gelatin into the warm mixture till dissolved over low heat.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into ramekins, mason jars or small glasses.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till set.
  6. Dragon Fruit Gelee
  7. Stir the gelatin and water together till dissolved.
  8. In a medium bowl combine the dragon fruit juice, honey, and lemon juice.
  9. Combine the gelatin and dragon fruit mixtures.
  10. Distribute the dragon fruit mixture evenly over each set panna cotta.
  11. Refrigerate till gelee is set, about 4 hours.

 

Chocolate Paleo Energy Bites

energy balls 5I get hungry, a lot.  I eat 3 meals a day but I need daily snacks to hold me over to each meal.  I don’t purchase bad snack options because I know I will eat them if available.  BUT, my lovely husband used to bring tempting devilish snacks into our home.  Chips, donuts, oreos, you name it.  So every now and then I would get a craving for an item on the “Do not eat” list, and go nuts.

Thank goodness in the last month he has decided to come over to the fit side.  Hallelujah!  Every morning he wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to work out, and has cleaned up his diet tremendously.  Needless to say I am incredibly proud of him.

Due to his change in eating, the bad stuff is no longer crossing the threshold into our pantry.  Instead I need to make sure I have snacks for both of us now.  Two hangry people in the afternoon can be dangerous.  I keep the obvious staples, like hard-boiled eggs and hummus on hand, but sometimes that doesn’t quite hit my sweet spot.  My sweet tooth needs to be fed every now and then.

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites hit my sweet spot every time.  Two small bites pack almost 4g of protein, enough carbs (7g) to level your blood sugar.  The good fats and fiber give you a satiated feeling, making the bridge to your next meal a happy one.

The bites last in the fridge for two weeks, but can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Do yourself a favor and make a large batch so you always have a healthy, yet decadent option ready.

energy balls

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Recipe

Serves 12

1 1/2 cups whole almonds

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (can use vegan chips, I love Enjoy Life!)

1/2 cup unsweetened dried flake coconut

2 teaspoons water

Directions:

In a food processor pulse the first 3 ingredients till smooth, but still has some texture.  Add in the water one teaspoon at a time, pulse till combined.

Using a melon baller scoop up the mixture, press mixture firmly, and then roll into a ball.

Refrigerate till firm or freeze till ready to use.  If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating.

 

Nutrition

Servings: 12• Size: 2 bites Calories 124: • Fat 9.5g • Carb: 7.7g • Fiber: 1.6g • Protein: 3.3g • Sugar:  2.6g Sodium: 92.9mg • Cholesterol: 2.2mg

Best 100 Juices for Kids Review + Giveaway

(giveaway has ended)
My children love their morning glass of juice.  It has become a morning ritual that they look forward to.  I am not a huge fan of unnecessary sugar deposited into my kids.  Especially right before they are going to sit in a classroom all day.  But, their pediatrician actually recommended they enjoy one glass in the morning to alleviate morning time hypoglycemia.  So it was easy for this health loving mama to give them their one glass without guilt.  To keep the juice healthy I buy organic apple juice for them, and sometimes I get wild and crazy and pull out orange juice.

A few weeks ago I received a fabulous fellow blogger’s new cook book in the mail, Best 100 Juices  for Kids (The Harvard Common Press).  The fabulous author, Jessica Fisher, writes the popular blogs, Life as Mom, and Good Cheap Eats. Both blogs have been an inspiration for my own blog.  She is witty, brilliant, and gracious.

I was lucky enough to sit next to her at Camp Blogaway last year.  Immediately I liked her.  Shortly after we met, she took me under her wing.  As a new blogger I needed help to make my blog into what it is today.  She gave me the tools to improve my blog without batting an eye.   So when she asked who would like to review her new book, I eagerly shot up my hand.  It was the least I could do after all the help she has given me.

From the moment I cracked open 100 Juices, I was in love.  FishMama openly shares her journey through their family’s eating habit reform.   She talks about her days as a former soda junkie, something I can most definitely relate to.  About how that addiction led to unwanted dental visits for the family.

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There was one line that really grabbed me hook line and sinker in her intro.  She mentions that even though feeding her six children (FishKids) can be expensive, she wanted to make “every bite count”.  I internalized that statement.  Pondered what it meant for the G family, and my two kids.  I got the concept of the book in its entirety, as applied to our life.

After some quick research I found the organic apple juice I was buying from the store contained 15g more sugar than a freshly juiced apples.  Even though I thought I was making a healthy choice for my kids, I was not making every bite count.  Switching to freshly juiced apples would meet that goal.  The 15 g of hidden sugars wouldn’t exist and I would spend less money by making my own.

Even though this was the best choice, would my kids follow suit and drink the fresh concoctions?

I had the boys become official Best 100 Juice taste testers.  To my surprise and joy, they loved it.  Not only did they approve of the recipes, they loved the process of making them.  They are still enjoying the same morning ritual, but it has been improved.  Less sugar, more nutrition.  Just the way I like it.

I like that beyond writing 100 recipes Jessica also added in advice on how to juice on a budget, types of juicers, how to get the most juice out of them, and how to clean them.  Oh, and wonderful tips on making the experience fun for kids.

Among the juices are smoothies, popsicle, sports drinks, fizzy drinks or sparklies, fruit/veg drinks, and slushies too!   Such a fun array of recipes for parents that want their kids to learn healthy eating habits.

I am looking forward to making a new recipe every day of summer break with the boys.  Only 15 more days till that glorious day!  But, who’s counting?

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Recipes from 100 Best Juices for Kids

This is a great recipe for my two boys that are always on the go.  I personally despise the store-bought sports drinks.  Typical ‘ade’ drinks contain two kinds of artificial sugar, artificial flavoring and preservatives. These are not items I want my child rehydrating with. For FishMama’s clean version, I had all the easy pronounce ingredients on-hand.  This is a sports drink I will say YES! to.

Lemon-Lime Sports Ade

Lemon-Lime Sports Drink fishmama

3 1/2 cups water

6 tablespoons Honey Syrup (1 cup honey to 1 cup water, boiled)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1.  In a pitcher, whisk together the water, honey syrup, lemon and lime juices, and salt.

2.  Store in a covered jar or container in the refrigerator.  Serve chilled.

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I want to share one more of her brilliant recipes.  Not only could this be a fun breakfast for the kids, but also for mom and dad.  This fiber and protein filled smoothie will please everyone.  It has three of my favorite ingredients, banana, chocolate and peanut butter.  Yum!

Chocolate & Banana Nut Butter Blast

Chocolate Banana Nut Butter Blast fishmama

Serves 1

1 cup crushed ice

1 small banana, broken into chunks

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon peanut butter or other nut or seed butter of your choice

1.  Place the ice, banana, milk, cocoa powder, and nut or seed butter in the blender cup or pitcher.

2.  Blend until very smooth.

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GIVEAWAY!

best juices book

Do you love these kid approved healthy recipes as much as I do?  I thought you would!  Well you are in luck my friend.  Harvard Common Press is giving away a copy of this incredible book.  To enter follow the rafflecopter link below.

Click here to enter Best 100 Juices for Kids Giveaway!

 

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation to write this post.  All opinions are my own. 

Photo Credit:  Harvard Common Press

Mediterranean Dip a.k.a ‘Jajic’

jajic holiday wordsI am blessed to have grown up with so many cultures being present in my home.  My father is half Assyrian and half Norwegian.  My mother is mostly German, English and Irish.  That makes me a certified mut.

Two of the five heritages, Assyrian and German, were introduced to me and celebrated through food. Poor me, right.  Now as a mom, I am introducing these cultures to my kids, and my husband is introducing their Mexican and Irish side to them through food.  Their palates are culturally diversified.

My Assyrian grandparents lived 7 hours away from me in Turlock, California.  I despised that car trip, but loved the prize at the end of it, grandparents and delicious food.

After the hugs and kisses were given out I always ventured to the kitchen to see what my grandma Helen had started for whatever meal came next.  There were two things about Grandma Helen that were constant.  She loved her chocolate (hid it all over the house) and she was always in the kitchen making something.  I can say with certainty that I have adopted those traits, and carry them on proudly.  Miss you grandma.

Their home was always filled with the smell of middle eastern spices, pickles and olives were served at every meal.  Because they held tight onto the notion that their traditions should be passed onto my generation, I grew up eating what they did.  Lamb dulma, baked long grain rice (riza), meat stews, shish-kebabs, and Cadeh were staples in their home during any celebration.  Jajic, was a dip/spread that was served on occasion, and devoured quickly.  If we were lucky, my grandma would save some in another container to spread on toast in the morning.  I loved that morning treat.

Jajic is simple; cottage cheese, cream cheese, fresh dill, fresh cilantro, and green onions.  You can buy the full fat versions of the cheese or save the calories by purchasing the reduced fat versions.  This is one instance where extra ingredients are not added to compensate for the lack of fat, but always read the labels to double-check.

I’ve talked about how great this dip is, but I haven’t even told you about the all the amazing health benefits.  The fresh dill protects against free radicals and carcinogens, is an antibacterial, and helps prevent bone loss.  Cilantro controls blood sugar, free radicals, and cholesterol.  The dairy adds tons of protein, to keep you fuller longer and build muscles.

Spread it on whole wheat toast, lavasha, dip celery or other veggies in, or use a multi-grain cracker as a vessel to get this protein packed dip tantalizing your taste buds.  Whatever means you choose, make a lot.  You have to have some left for the morning.  It’s tradition, and you can’t go breaking tradition.

Recipe

2 lb. container of cottage cheese ( I use 1%)

1  8 oz. container of cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped finely

1/4 cup green onions, chopped finely

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely

a pinch of sea salt and white pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together.  Chill for 4 hours.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Banana Maple Pudding

chia 2If you aren’t familiar with chia seeds other than the infamous pets, you probably clicked on this post out of sheer curiosity.  I personally was a skeptic at first.  I immediately added them to my mental list of foods that are a hippy gimmick.  I even tried to convince myself that I wasn’t a hippy at heart.  Then I went over my life passions in my head.  Oh yeah, I am part hippy.  I figured I at least owed it to my fellow hippys to try the seeds.  If I didn’t like them, I could move on to something else weird.

Ok, seriously people, they don’t taste like anything.  If you like tapioca, you will like them.  If you don’t like tapioca, grind them up and drink them in a shake, use them like a flour, so on.  There are tons of uses for the nutrient packed seeds.  Here is a short list of benefits these poppy seed like beauties contain:

  • Full of omega-3’s (improves mental performance)
  • High in fiber
  • High in protein
  • High in calcium
  • High in antioxidants
  • Helps with weight loss (gives you a full feeling)
  • Redeuces inflamtion (great for those with arthiritis)
  • Absorbs extra acid (great for reflux sufferers)
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease

With all of these benefits and no taste, I will be adding these to whatever I can.  The reccomended amount for an adult is 2 tablespoons a day.  An easy amount to add to a morning smoothie, shake, eggs, yogurt, cereal, toast, or even sorbet for dessert.  Honestly, I would reccomennd starting off with the recipe below as an introduction.  It’s an easy recipe to make, and tastes amazing!  The chia seeds act as the thickener.  They absorb the liquid and grow 8 times in size.  The gelatenous coating creates the pudding like texture.  The hardest part in making this is waiting for it to thicken.  It will start thickening immediately, but I noticed the greatest consistency 12 hours in.

You can buy these little beauties at your local health food store or by clicking here.

Recipe

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 cups almond mlik

2 tablespoons real maple extract (vanilla works too)

7 tablespoons chia seeds

Mix the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Cover and chill 6 hours.  Serve by itself or with fresh berries.

Servings: 8 • Size: 1/2 cup

Calories: 110 • Fat: 6g • Carb: 13g • Fiber: 7g • Protein: 4g •
Sugar:  4g
Sodium: 53mg • Cholesterol: 0mg