Wholesome R.D. Mom

Making Nutrition a Way of Life


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Simple 3 ingredient Popsicles

With the warm weather here in North Carolina, my kids have been asking repeatedly for popsicles. Since we make our own popsicles with leftover smoothies I have no problem saying “yes” almost every single time they ask. However, yesterday we ran out of our freezer stash *GASP*!!! So we put a few simple ingredients together in our blender and created a delicious protein packed popsicle with no added sugars (and this time we drank the leftover popsicle mixture). Hope you enjoy this simple summertime “treat.”

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Banana Peach Protein Pops

 

Ingredients:

1 cup plain organic nonfat Greek yogurt
1 ripe banana
2 large peaches, pit removed and roughly cut for easy blending

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until everything is pureed together. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze…….then see if you can wait until they are actually frozen to eat (this is always the hardest part for my kids). Enjoy!

Note: I’m sure you could add a handful of spinach to the blender to add another punch of nutrition without changing the flavor. However, for this round I wanted to change up the color a bit for the kids since most of our smoothie pops are dark (from blueberries) or green (from spinach or kale).


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Homemade Graham Crackers

Who doesn’t love the occasional treat? And now that its summer time the thought of camping enters my mind all the time….the wonderful feeling of not having a care in the world, the closeness of those you love and sticky marshmallow lips from s’mores roasted to perfection. So as a salute to camping and to good ol’ summer fun, my daughter and I created a delicious homemade graham cracker recipe (which we quickly found out is delicious dipped in some warm milk for a night-time snack). One day my growing family will venture out into the wild to camp…..but as for now, with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and one on the way I think we’ll settle for the backyard and our fire pit  🙂

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Homemade Graham Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. oats (processed into a flour in a food processor or blender)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt (I like to use Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • 1/4 c. coconut sugar (this lends a great caramelly taste and can be found at almost any grocery store now)
  • 1/4 c. butter (I use the Kerrygold brand made from grass-fed cows) or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk, use as needed to moisten the dough (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

 

Directions: 

  • Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until they are the consistency of flour
  • Mix the flour, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl until well blended
  • On the stovetop melt the butter or coconut oil with the molasses and stir in the coconut sugar until it dissolves into a uniform mixture and take off the heat.
  • Blend the dry and wet ingredients together until they form a stiff dough.
  • If the dough is too dry you can add a Tbsp of milk but be careful not to make the dough too wet.
  • Place the dough in a covered bowl and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line 2 cookie sheets with unbleached parchment paper
  • Once the dough is cool place half of it on the parchment paper and cover it with a large piece of wax paper for rolling out the dough.
  • Roll the dough out until is is about 1/4 inch or thinner, pull off the wax paper and cut the dough into large or small squares with a pizza cutter.
  • Use a fork to poke some holes in the graham crackers (you can create your own pattern)
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges (which are generally a little thinner). If you like a softer graham cracker you can decrease the amount of time (I tend to like mine crispy)
  • Let them cool completely on the cookie sheets, break apart the crackers on the serated cuts by the pizza cutter and store in an air-tight container.

Trust me, your kids will be screaming for s’more!

 


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No Bake Refrigerator Granola Bars

We just got back from a fantastic road trip to Atlanta where we went to a wonderful aquarium, splashed in the Olympic rings at Centennial Park and had dinner with a dear friend who I had not seen in years. Then we drove up to a log cabin in the Appalachian mountains for some relaxation. There we went gem panning, listened to blue grass music, paid a visit to an alpaca farm, watched cheese being made and enjoyed some small town homemade ice-cream.

Thank goodness my kids are pretty good at traveling in a car because there was lots of driving. We packed a cooler full of nutritious food and had yummy snacks on hand to keep us away from the convenience foods along the way. I wanted to share with you a recipe for No Bake Granola bars that we had made before we left on our trip. It was a hit with the whole family and we will definitely be remaking them again here soon.

Note: feel free to substitute the nuts/seeds and dried fruits with your favorite varieties.

No Bake Refrigerator Granola Bars

adapted from http://www.allergyfreealaska.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. old fashioned oats (you can sub gluten-free oats if need be)
  • 1 c. cashews
  • 1 c. whole almonds
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1 c. dried cherries, chopped (use a variety that has no additives….just cherries. I found mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (use less or even omit if your nuts/seeds are salted)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

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Directions: 

  • Pulse half of the nuts & oats in a food processor or blender until they are a flour consistency (don’t pulse too long or you’ll have nut butter). Pour out the “flour” into a bowl
  • Place remaining nuts, oats and seeds in the food processor/blender and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Mix the chopped nuts with the nut “flour” in a bowl and add the dried cherries (or other fired fruit of your choice), salt and cinnamon.
  • In a small saucepan mix honey, coconut oil, and extracts.  Bring to a boil, take off the burner and add the nut/oat mixture.
  • Press the mixture firmly into an 8×8 pan, lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until set.
  • Pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into bar shapes.
  • Wrap in bars in wax paper and seal with a little tape or a cute sticker 🙂
  • Keep refrigerated (as they will hold their shape a little better).

These granola bars provide a good stabile energy boost from oats, honey and dried fruit when coupled with the healthy fats from the nuts and seeds. I’m thinking these would be a great bar to have pre workout. Yum Yum!


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Mochanana Smoothie

Okay, so I have to admit, I’m a coffee lover! It’s not for the caffeine (as I can’t handle caffeine at all)…….but I absolutely love the taste and flavor. I typically like warm coffee beverages, but in the summer there is nothing more refreshing that a decadent yet healthy Mochanana smoothie. My kids are also in love with this smoothie and always join me in making and sucking it down. Honestly, I never even think to take a picture of this smoothie since it gets devoured so fast. Where is my photographer hubby when I need him? What kind of cool and refreshing healthier beverages do you enjoy in the summer?

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Mochanana Smoothie (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk of choice ( I use either homemade almond milk or Silk’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk……but I think coconut might taste delicious too)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder or dark cocoa powder
  • 2 kid-sized handfuls of organic spinach (or one large adult-sized handful)
  • 10 coffee ice cubes (I cold brew decaf coffee and then pour it into ice cube trays)

Note: if you prefer, you can use 2 tsp instant coffee (I recommend Mount Hagen Organic Coffee Café Decaffeinated) and plain ice cubes. Also, if you use a frozen banana you will only have to add a few ice cubes to the mix (and then you would need to use the instant coffee).

Directions: 

  • Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until there are no spinach particles left to see (I usually place the spinach in first to make sure it all gets blended well).
  • Sip and enjoy the summer warmth!

 


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Southwest Egg Rolls

Today we concocted a super easy and tasty Southwest Egg Roll recipe. We had a lot of fun mixing the ingredients, eating them as we went along, and wrapping the egg rolls up into perfect little packages for consumption. I wasn’t sure how the spices would go over with my kiddos so I complemented the dish with cooling cucumbers and tomatoes and it was a hit! With this healthy meatless meal you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes……..now I like the sound of that 🙂

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Southwest Egg Rolls

This recipe makes about 5 egg rolls so please double the batch if need be.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic refried black beans (ours had a little kick from some jalapeño peppers – if you are using plain refried beans I would try adding a dash of chili powder and ~1 Tbsp of diced chiles, drained or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn, thawed
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded cheese of choice (we used cheddar – I always recommend that you shred your cheese yourself. Not only does it taste and melt better, but then you don’t have any of the extra anti-caking additives)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (or more to taste……I just wanted to make these kid friendly. I love cumin so I would have easily added more)
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 5 egg roll wrappers

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine all of the ingredients (except for the egg roll wrappers) in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Place an egg roll wrapper on a plate (in a diamond fashion) and put about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the middle of the egg roll
  • Get a small bowl of water and wet your pointer finger to trace a line of water on all the borders of the wrapper.
  • Fold the tip closest to you over the filling so it’s snug. Then fold the left and the right corners into the center.

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  • Rolls up the wrap and place it on a greased baking sheet (I used a little avocado oil and then also brushed a tiny bit of the oil on the tops of the egg rolls with a silicone basting brush).
  • Continue this process with the other wraps until the bean mixture is gone.
  • Bake for about 12-15 minutes (turning halfway through) or until lightly brown.
  • Serve warm with a dip of sour cream and salsa or homemade ranch dressing.
  • Stand up and do the happy dance because these are super yummylicious and they were so fun and easy to make!

I’m thinking that chopped bell peppers would have been another great addition to these egg rolls. Mmmmmm…….we’ll definitely be making these again!


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Apple Almond Butter Muffins

We like to have healthy, nutritionally balanced snacks around the house just in case we get a hungry and there is still quite a bit of time before mealtime. So yesterday I was going to make one of our go-to recipes. Unfortunately, I found out that I only had 1/3 cup almond butter when I needed 1 cup. I wasn’t about to let that stop me, so I experimented in the kitchen and came out with some yummy and healthy Apple Almond Butter Muffins that had the kids grabbing for more. These muffins are gluten free and dairy free and I love the nutritional value of the ingredients……….with these muffins you’ve got healthy fats (from the almond butter), very little added sugars and a good amount of protein (from the eggs) and fiber (from the coconut flour)……a perfect balance!

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Apple Almond Butter Muffins (gluten free, dairy free)

these make about 30 mini muffins or ~12 regular-sized muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce – I like to use homemade Crock Pot Cider Applesauce: http://tinyurl.com/qz6um9b
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I used salted)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted (I love this for the fiber content and the fact that a little goes a long way)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or local honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon (I usually use 2 tsp in addition to unsweetened cinnamon/cider applesauce)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine the almond butter, applesauce, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup together in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to the almond butter mixture and stir until blended (wait for a minute or two and then stir again as the coconut flour will absorb the liquid).
  • Use a spoon to scoop the batter into a mini muffin tin lined with unbleached parchment muffin liners (The If You Care baking cups are my favorite as they take a lot of work out of the clean up process and you won’t have to worry about eating your muffin off the wrapper). If making regular-size muffins I typically use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the batter in the liners.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins or about 22 minutes for regular size muffins or until the muffin rims turn a golden color. You can also utilize the toothpick method (put a toothpick in the middle of a muffin and pull it out. If it’s clean then the muffin is done. If the toothpick comes out dirty, with batter on it, the muffins need to cook longer).
  • Allow the muffins to cool and then dig in.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge to snack on when needed.

Try these Apple Almond Butter Muffins with a slather of cream cheese or little chocolate hazelnut butter on the top. Yum!

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How can you help promote healthy eating in your household?

Here are a few tips that have helped my kids begin to understand what it means to eat real food while promoting an intrinsic desire to eat healthy (….well, at least most of the time).

Say Cheesecake

  • Cook your meals at home. When we eat out we are often bombarded with meals that are higher in fat, sugar, salt and calories compared to home-cooked meals. Cooking at home additionally sets an example for kids and provides them with an understanding of where food comes from and how it gets to their plate. Meals that are enjoyed together as a family create a cohesiveness which can carry numerous other health benefits as well. So save your dining out for special occasions….you’ll also notice that you’ll save a lot of money eating at home…..BONUS!!!
  • Involve your kids in the selection, preparation and cooking process (for example: grocery shopping, selecting what goes in their lunchbox, preparing the meals). This process provides a great opportunity for your to teach your children about various foods, where they come from, their nutrition value (or lack there of) and how they affect our bodies.
  • Make healthy foods accessible.…..especially when it comes to snacks. Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain snacks available and accessible for your family so that choosing something healthy is easy. You can do this by pre-washing produce and having it in a bowl on the counter top, prepping 1 oz bags of nuts (1/4 cup) in ziplock snack baggies and having vegetables washed and cut (in a tupperware in the fridge) to munch on at any time. Also, make sure that water is available at all times. Making healthy choices becomes even easier when you make the processed junk food inaccessible and by this I mean: just don’t buy it. Trust me, it may take a little adjustment at first, but soon your child will be grabbing fruit and nuts to snack on.
  • Don’t be a sneaky chef: when using a fruit or veggie in a recipe have your kids help add it to the mix. I have my daughter put 2 big handfuls of spinach into our smoothies because I want her to know that she likes spinach. Additionally, don’t avoid a vegetable just because your child disliked it in a certain way in the past. Rather, try serving it prepared differently: grill it, eat it raw with dip, steam it, roast it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, puree it in a smoothie, grate it and cook it in spagetti sauce, chop it up and sauté it for a frittata…..the possibilities are endless.
  • We use the “one bite” rule at our house when it comes to trying foods. My kids are well aware that if they don’t like something they do not need to eat it. However, it’s important to try new foods so we have them try one bite and if they really don’t like it they can spit it out. This rule eliminates the fear of having to consume something they really dislike and gives them an appreciation for food and a desire to try new things.
  • Avoid the “clean your plate club” and phrases such as “you need to take 4 more bites before you can be excused/have dessert).” Rather, ask if your child’s tummy is full and let them be the judge. Children are quite intuitive to their hunger levels and it is unhealthy to play with their hunger and satiety cues.
  • Food should be eaten at the table (with an exception here and there……for example: my kids love to take their popsicles outside and snack on ingredients during food prep). Additionally, there should be no distractions such as electronics or TV when eating. This is not always easy, but if you make a conscious effort to eat together as a family it becomes second nature.
  • Never use food as a reward or bribe and never withhold food from a child as punishment. This is not always easy, but is very important! Find a way (that works for you and your child) to celebrate accomplishments without food……. such as a trip to a museum, a small tangible toy, a pass to stay up 30 minutes passed bedtime, a movie night (of their choice)…..etc.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to all of the above. However, I formulated these tips based on observing what worked and what didn’t work with my kids. Unfortunately, when I slack on my own principles the ones who suffer most are my children. I owe it to them to cook meals at home, ensure we eat together as a family, keep healthy food readily available, involve them in the whole process and watch them flourish in wisdom and health. One day when my kids grow up and are on their own I hope to look back and say, “I’m so glad I made nutrition and health a priority and set a good example for them to follow.”