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    Thanksgiving Muffins- So Good You’ll Want to Gobble Them Up!

Thanksgiving Muffins- So Good You’ll Want to Gobble Them Up!

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Now for the important things!

There’s nothing better than a well-executed holiday-themed snack. But sometimes we make sacrifices where health is concerned in order to do that. But lucky for you, we have just the solution.

Are you looking for the perfect snack to make for the class Thanksgiving party or family celebration? You know the snack that features just the right balance between creativity, health, and taste? We’ve got the snack for you!

A few weeks ago, we shared our delicious Autumn Crunch Muffins with you. This week we’re tweaking that recipe a little, whipping up a delicious pumpkin frosting, and showing you how to decorate them like the mascot of Thanksgiving- the turkey!

Gobble gobble.

These are sure to be a hit with everyone, especially the little ones (and their parents!)

Let’s take a second first to talk about this icing. One word- YUM! Okay, two words. YUM and EASY. And also good for you! Did you know that just 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree has 300% of the Vitamin A we need in a day?! Vitamin A is good for all kinds of stuff- it promotes good vision, healthy hair, skin, and nails, and boosts the immune system (Vitamin C isn’t the only super hero around here.) Vitamin A deficiencies are actually the leading cause of night blindness.

If you do the math, you can get all of the Vitamin A you need in a day from less than 1/4 cup of pumpkin. (Have you headed to go get your PSL from Starbucks yet?) (I’m kidding, PSLs don’t even have real [...]

Frankentoast- a scary delicious Halloween treat!

Looking for a yummy, healthy Halloween breakfast or snack for the little ones (and you?) Well we have the perfect thing- Frankentoast!

First of all, Frankentoast’s big star is avocado.

Avocado is so silky and smooth, and so delicious! It can be added to a lot of meals (even smoothies and cake!) since it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it with. I love avocado, egg, and Mexican Quinoa toast for breakfast!

It also has SO many health benefits. It has “good” fat (these are monounsaturated fats) that is associated with cardiovascular health. It also is thought to help with blood sugar control, inflammation, and satiety. Satiety has benefits on weight control because you’re fuller for longer, and may consume less calories later in the day. (But remember- it IS high in fat content, so intake should still be controlled.)

Besides avocado, the other ingredients are whole grain bread, black beans (both good sources of fiber!) and American cheese slices (a great source of calcium to build strong bones.) The fat and fiber content will work to keep you and your kiddo full, while also providing them with a great flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup black beans
American cheese
Whole grain toast

Directions:

1. Toast your bread and smear the avocado slices onto the toast.

2.Mash your black beans with a spoon until they look like this! This was really hard for me, but I bet it will be a lot easier for you, since you’ll probably warm the beans up first. 😉

3. Cut your cheese into 1 inch wide circles for the whites of the eyes.

4. Now place some of the black beans onto the top of the toast, long-ways, to create Frankentoast’s “hair.” (It always grosses me out [...]

Crockpot Mexican Quinoa

CROCK POT RECIPE AHEAD!

The only thing easier than a one pot dinner, is a one CROCK POT dinner. This crock pot Mexican Quinoa dinner is a breeze to throw together, packs in a ton of nutrients, and requires little fuss- perfect for a busy week night, or great to prepare on the weekend to have for snacks and meals throughout the week!

Quinoa is a very nutrient-rich food!

In one cup of cooked quinoa, there are 5 grams of dietary fiber (important for regularity, gut health, and cardiovascular health), 4 grams of fat, and a whopping 8 grams of protein. It also has a significant amount of thiamin, riboflavin, and folate, along with magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc. Magnesium contributes to healthy blood vessels, riboflavin to higher energy levels, and phosphorous to developing healthy bones and teeth. Manganese is also involved in bone formation and calcium absorption. These are just SOME of the benefits that quinoa can offer you.

My favorite part about this crock pot Mexican quinoa dinner, other than its nutrient content of course, is its versatility. You can eat it as a meal, add chicken to get more protein, serve it as a snack or a side, mix it in with eggs or salad, or put it on toast mixed with avocado and cheese. And I’m sure there are plenty of other ways! What great bang for your quinoa buck. 🙂

What you need to make Crock Pot Mexican Quinoa:

2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well**
1 can no sodium added black beans, drained
3/4 can whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 can chick peas, drained
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt

**Quinoa [...]

Autumn Crunch Muffins

As a parent, I feel like you’re always looking for ways to sneak whole, nutritious foods into your little one’s diet. And why wouldn’t you be? The toddler and early school years are such important years in so many areas, and most notably in physical and cognitive development. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your child consumes during these years build the foundation for the rest of their life!

But getting said nutrients into said child, is often times more of a task than we would like- especially if your child isn’t used to it. If your kiddo LOVES veggies, then way to go! If your kid doesn’t- it might not be your fault. We all have natural taste tendencies that we are born into this world with (sugar and fat being two big ones!), and sometimes vegetables just don’t make the cut. Especially when you’re a child and you don’t understand what all of those vegetables can do for you.

So we improvise.

We food sneak. What I mean by this is, we find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into the food we serve our kid, without letting them know it’s in there. Some days your kid just isn’t going to eat a carrot- and that might make for a frustrating meal. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about kids, it’s that they dislike something one day and they love it the next (make up your minds, right?!) But in the meantime, what if you found a way to get them to eat a carrot with them being none the wiser?

That’s exactly what you can do with INDULGE in Nutrition’s Autumn Crunch Muffins.

First of all, who doesn’t love a good muffin? Seriously. People [...]

Makin’ Banana Pancakes

Sometimes busy week day (and lazy weekend) mornings call for a quick, hassle-free breakfast. And sometimes it can still be really delicious and nutritious. Bonus points if it makes your kitchen smell like culinary heaven.

This week at Indulge In Nutrition, we’re bringing you an easy, healthy pancake recipe for a breakfast your family is sure to enjoy- you can even include the little ones to help you make sure the batter is stirred just right. 🙂

Our favorite part of making these healthy pancakes was the fact that we didn’t even have to go to the store to buy and special ingredients. They were all things we had laying around the house (and you are sure to have them, too!)

These healthy pancakes are also FREEZER FRIENDLY! You can whip them up on any day of the week (breakfast for dinner on a Monday night here), let them cool, and then freeze them individually to be popped in the toaster or microwave on a rushed morning.

Ingredients for ~12 Freezer Friendly Healthy Pancakes:

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey

Directions for Freezer Friendly Healthy Pancakes:

Heat a griddle or pan to medium heat.
Measure out all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) into a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix the ingredients. This is a good step for the little ones, as it’s not too messy!
Add the milk, honey, eggs, and melted butter to the dry ingredients.

4. Add the mashed bananas in a little at a time and slowly fold them into the rest of the batter.

Incredible Hulk Juice (or a Clean Green Smoothie for Mom)

If you are subscribed to our INDULGE in Nutrition monthly newsletter you got to read all about National Nutrition Month(NNM) which has been going on throughout the month of March. The theme for NNM this year is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and that is exactly what we have been trying to give you the resources to do! There have been a lot of green things in this kitchen this month- we hope you are loving it. And more importantly, we hope you are teaching your kids to love it!

Before we move on to Easter fun on this blog, we wanted to share one more green recipe! Green smoothies are quick and very easy to personalize. They are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (all in one drink)! Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in this particular smoothie:

Dark, leafy greens: Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale- These all promote good blood clotting, healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The fiber content improves digestive function (hello roughage)! They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve muscle strength, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, detoxify the body, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. They are also good for women hoping to get pregnant (thanks to the folate content).
Green apples: Can lower your risk of chronic diseases, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. It also is very good for your heart!
Celery stalks: Thanks to it antioxidant content, celery can help us have healthy cells, blood vessels, and organs. It reduces inflammation, can be soothing to our nervous system, regulates pH in the body (no one wants to be acidic), and lowers blood pressure and LDL(“bad” cholesterol. And [...]

Honey Gone Green Muffins

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, there’s a GREAT excuse for all of your food to be green- and it’s a good way to get some yummy greens in your little one’s diet. Celebrate the day with tons of green food, and see if you can introduce some new flavors and favorites for your kids.

To help out with that, we’re bringing you another green recipe this week. Last week we made Spinach Pizza Crust! This week, there was so much spinach left over that I decided to use it for Honey Gone Green Muffins! Don’t let the fact that the secret ingredient in these is spinach make you think that they’re not absolutely delicious. It’s similar to a green smoothie, in the fact that the spinach flavor is completely masked. You get all of the health  benefits of the spinach, with no compromise on the taste.

Spinach is a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, and E, magnesium, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc, among others. And being so low in calories (7 calories per cup), makes it very nutrient dense. Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals in this leafy green, it has notable phytonutrient content- phytonutrients are antioxidants that protect against yucky free radicals in the environment, and act as anti-inflammatories and cancer fighting agents.

Long story short (kind of)- it has numerous health benefits, can brighten up a smoothie (or muffin!), makes a beautiful salad, and it’s flavor can easily be masked by other ingredients. If you’re trying to find a new food to experiment with- make it spinach. And try out these Honey Gone Green Muffins while you’re at it!

Recipe for Honey Gone Green Muffins:

Yields 2 dozen mini muffins [...]

Go Green With Your Pizza this St. Patrick’s Day

You know what I love? Pizza. A big, gooey, cheesy, greasy pizza! Dipped in ranch dressing. But pizza isn’t a food you can eat every day. I mean, you can. But what’s that saying about everything being permissible, but not everything being beneficial? Yeah, I think that applies here.

Except, PLOT TWIST:

Spinach Crust Pizza! (Yes, pizza can be healthy!) Similar to cauliflower crust pizza, I give this pizza my official stamp of approval. The crust only has 3 ingredients, and you can personalize the toppings to meet your taste. Another fun idea could be to incorporate a weekly pizza night into your family’s routine. One night a week you bake a couple of healthy crusts, and have a “pizza bar” set up in your kitchen where the little ones can help create, everyone gets to personalize their pizza, and maybe you’ll even discover some new taste preferences in the process.

Your healthy, tasty pizza bar can include anything- different kinds of cheeses, healthy sauces, bell peppers, onions, different cuts of meat, mushrooms, spinach (too much spinach isn’t a thing), avocado, black beans, broccoli- the list goes on and on! Get creative and get cooking!

Spinach crust:

Ingredients:

2 cups of spinach
1 egg
1 8 oz. bag of mixed Italian cheese
Salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs of choice

Directions:

1. In a food processor or good blender, pulse the spinach until it is a smooth paste. I HIGHLY recommend a food processor. The blender takes a little while (trust me), but it can be done. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the spinach is nice, moist, and paste-y.
 
2. Add the egg and seasonings of your choice in- I used salt, pepper, Pizza Seasoning and Herbs de Provence. Pulse some more. Add in [...]

Pasta-Free Spaghetti

At INDULGE in Nutrition, we like to bring you meals that pack in the health benefits, but that don’t take hours of preparation. That’s exactly what this Pasta-Free Zucchini Spaghetti has to offer.

Not only is this bright green member of the squash family a tasty alternative to wheat spaghetti noodles, but it is also full of plenty of nutrients that can have a great impact on your health. Some of those include:

Feeling fuller for longer thanks to the fiber content
Possible weight loss
Healthy skin
Lowered blood pressure
Lower cholesterol
Reduced risk of heart attack and/or stroke
Anti-inflammatory effects on the body- good for joints, the respiratory system, and other inflammatory diseases
Cancer fighting properties

And those are just some of the benefits! You can also bake it, sauté it, eat it on salad, add it to casseroles, or just enjoy it by itself with a nice dip. Today- we’re spiralizing it!

You can find a vegetable spiralizer on Amazon or in most stores- they are affordable, super easy to use, and very useful! Plus, it’s fun!

First you take raw zucchini and stick it in the spiralizer, then just begin twisting. Long “noodles” will start to form. You can pull the zucchini out when your noodles get long enough, and then start over. Two zucchini took me about one minute to spiralize.

Then heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini to the pan and add your seasoning (I used Herbs de Provence and it was magnificent.) Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and bright green.

Remove from heat and add pasta sauce and ground beef for spaghetti, a light alfredo sauce, or a small amount of cheese. OR leave [...]

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

 

 

 

Don’t forget your fresh vegetables when you go to the store to do your Christmas dinner grocery shopping! In the midst of all the cans (cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery- it never ends!), bread, and sweet foods we buy to stock up for Christmas Day, a fresh vegetable tray can be a good change of pace. And this is a veggie tray your little chef will love to help out with! (Just make sure to keep an eye on the tooth picks!)
what you’ll need:

– 3-4 heads of broccoli for the base of your tree

– a handful of cherry tomatoes

– squash or bell peppers, diced

– styrofoam cone, or blocks of styrofoam

– 1 long wooden skewer

– toothpicks

1. If using styrofoam blocks, cut them into the shape of a pyramid.

2. Stick a wooden skewer down the middle to hold everything in place.

3. Trim the heads of broccoli and stick a toothpick in the center of individual florets, as shown, and stick them into the Styrofoam. I found it was easiest to start form the bottom.

 

 

4. After the “tree is done” stick toothpicks into the tree where you want your big “ornaments”(tomatoes) to go. 5. The stick the tomatoes onto the toothpick.

6. Do the same with the squash.

7. I thought it would be a nice touch to add a vegetable star on the top of the tree. (Much easier said than done!) I managed to get a decent looking one with a little trimming.

This can be set in the refrigerator until ready for serving and set with some carrots and cheese cubes for a complete appetizer tray!

Merry Christmas,

Indulge In Nutrition!