Category Archives: Real Food Recipes

Super Moist Pumpkin Bars

pumpkin-muffin-bars4

Pumpkins are the eternal symbol of fall and a healthy food, but they’re often transformed into not-so-healthy desserts. New York magazine declared Pumpkin is the New Bacon in their headline several years ago. Aargh! That’s because the minimal amount of pumpkin used (if any) in some of these processed products is usually wrapped in layers of saturated fat (butter), refined carbs (white flour) and sugar.

However, after much ‘tinkering’ in my kitchen, you can enjoy this nutritional all-star. These pumpkin treats are not only quick and easy to make, they’re extremely moist and light in texture (yes, despite being ‘whole grain’). I’ve skimped on the fat and sugar, but not the flavor. Best of all, my cardiac patients and family gave them a huge thumbs up! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (117 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 large eggs (omega-3 fortified)
  • 1 1/3 cups (176 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 cups (488 grams) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 grams) nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) Earth Balance® (Original) natural buttery spread, melted
  • 1/4 cup (63.8 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla bean extract)
  • Date sugar (optional)

Directions:   

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Get Real Food!™ | Go Green ☘

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While deciding what to wear that’s green today, how about thinking of eating some green too?  Here are a some ‘real food’ ideas…

Snacks

Sips

Salads

Sides

Entrées

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Build happy healthy habits that last. 😀

 

Get Real Food!™ | Happy Valentine’s Day!

Julia Child quote_Valentine

Get Real Food!™ 

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.”.  ~Julia Child

SPA Smoothie (Spinach, Peach & Apple)

VitamixAfter investing in my super high-performance Vitamix® blender last year, I realized I haven’t been putting it to good use lately. So… it’s ‘Soup and Smoothie Week’ in my house. Please send me your favorite recipes!

Smoothies are an excellent (sneaky) way to get my teen to swallow his dark leafy greens and flaxseeds. 😀  Here’s one of my simple, teen-tested, smoothies that makes an ideal breakfast, morning boost or power snack. (If the thought of drinking blended spinach makes you say, “Ewww…”, believe me, you won’t even taste it in this recipe. )    Continue reading

♥ Daily Dose | Clams: A Cardiac Superfood

Canned clamsDID YOU KNOW….  clams top the list as a source of vitamin B12? In fact, just one serving of clams (three ounces) has 14 times more vitamin B12 than a fortified breakfast cereal with 100% DV!

100% DV (Daily Value) of a nutrient is based on a 2,000-calorie diet and means a serving of the food contains 100% of your daily needs. This water-soluble vitamin plays a key role in cell metabolism, the formation of blood, and the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. (See ♥ Daily Dose | Vit. B12 Deficiency)

Clams are also an excellent source of heme iron. Believe it or not, they’re right up there with beef liver. Heme iron is found in animal foods and derived from hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen). The body absorbs the most iron from heme sources of iron. Iron is essential due to its oxygen-carrying capacity.

An iron deficiency can impair muscle function, normal function of the nervous and immune systems, and can limit your work capacity during exercise. So, if you have a cardiac condition, it’s important to get enough iron each day. Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) are prone to develop iron deficiency and iron supplementation improves functional status and quality of life.    Continue reading

Quick Quinoa with Wasabi Arugula and Shrimp

Quick QuinoaNeed some healthy fast food? Here’s a high-protein, high fiber dish that you can enjoy as a side, salad or to-go lunch. Why quinoa? It’s protein dense, rich in B vitamins and omega-3 fats which means it’s not only healthy for your heart, but nourishing for your bones and skin. It’s also gluten-free if you’re sensitive to wheat. The frozen red quinoa and brown rice combo is already cooked which makes preparing this power salad simple and quick!   Continue reading

Avocado-Mango Salsa

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Mangos are in peak season, so find ways to include these refreshing tropical fruits in your daily eating plan. They’re filled with nutritious goodness, flavor, and antioxidants.

Here’s why this colorful fruit makes the A-list of Fountain-of-Youth Foods. Pair it with avocados, an amazingly healthy superfood, that’s rich in fiber, healthy fats and phytonutrients and you’ll have a naturally creamy salsa for fresh fish, chicken or tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe avocados, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Juice from 3/4 of a whole lime
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/16 of 1 jalapeño, diced (use more or less based on your desired level of heat)
  • 1 large ripe mango (other than the Honey Mango variety), diced
  • 14 oz. Pineapple-Honey Mango Salsa* (see below)

1. Mix the above ingredients in a medium bowl and serve.

*Pineapple-Honey Mango Salsa (Tastes great on its own!)

  • 4 honey mangos (a.k.a. Manila or Ataulfo Mango), diced
  • 1/4 of 1 small fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1/16 of 1 jalapeño (to taste)
  • 1/4 c. red onions
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 of 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lime

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Look for honey mangos that have some ‘wrinkling’ on the outside. They may look like they’re older, but that’s when they are sweet, creamy in texture, and ripe! Also, if you’re in a hurry, mix in your favorite prepared guacamole (I like Whole Foods’ fresh guacamole) with the fresh mango, jalapeño and Pineapple-Mango Salsa.

Fusilli with Rapini and Roasted Garlic

Rapini / Broccoli RabeWhat is rapini? Also known as broccoli rabe, rapini belongs to the cruciferous, or cabbage, vegetable family and is highly nutritious as well as delicious. It is a cousin to other ‘super-veggies’ that include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, kale, and mustard seeds and is a great source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Being rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals, particularly sulforaphane, these healthy greens have potential anti-cancer properties.

‘Rapini’ is actually a culinary term for the edible leaves, stems, and shoots of cruciferous crops. So you can eat every bit of this plant! This vegetable has thick tender stems, flower buds, and mild peppery leaves. Rapini can have a bitter edge to it which gives it it’s characteristic flavor. The bitterness, however, may vary bunch to bunch and in season, but is toned down when cooked. A long-standing favorite in Italian cuisine, rapini pairs well with pasta and polenta.

Here’s a simple 5-ingredient recipe that makes an easy one-pot entrée or side dish:    Continue reading

Aztec Guacamole (‘Broccamole’)

Looking for an alternative to traditional guacamole? Try this recipe for a tasty spin on the usual. It has great texture with it’s mix of broccoli, avocado, Roma tomatoes, and onions. Best of all, it’s loaded with antioxidants and passes the veggie kid test!

INGREDIENTS:
12 oz. broccoli flowers
1 large avocado, pit removed, flesh scooped out
1 1/2 small limes, juiced
1/8 tsp. or less Hawaiian sea salt
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped (approximately 1/2 bunch)
3/4 c. Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (approximately 1 1/2 tomatoes)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (reserve some seeds)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
A few drops of Cholula® hot sauce (optional)

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Toasted Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Edamame

Toasted Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and EdamameAs a follow-up to the Southwestern-style Quinoa and Black Beans, here’s a nutrient-dense, protein-packed salad to try. It’s fresh in taste, texture and color with a hint of Asian flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, frozen or fresh (41-50 shrimp/pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, shelled
  • 1 c. scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce), reduced-sodium and gluten-free
  • 1 tsp. Aji-Mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning) – can be found in the Asian foods of the supermarket with the rice wine vinegars
  • 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste (optional)

PREPARATION:
1. Place in a mesh strainer and rinse well with water:

  • 1 1/2 c. quinoa, uncooked

2. Toss in medium bowl. Set aside and let marinate.

  • Shrimp, raw (remove shells if necessary)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. Aji-Mirin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced    Continue reading