“Party Perfect” Hemp Hummus

It’s getting to be that time of year where you’re asked to “bring something” to a get together. Whenever I’m asked this question, I always make sure that it’s something that will be a “safety” food for me- meaning that if there aren’t a lot of other healthy options at the party, I know I can eat what I bring. This hemp hummus is huge hit at parties and get togethers. The hemp seeds add some Omega 3′s, provides fiber and healthy fat to reduce sugar cravings, and adds a delicious nutty flavor to the hummus. We love this hummus because of it’s unique flavor profile, simple instructions, and health promoting ingredients. Check out the recipe below- and be sure to make some extra because this tasty, fiber packed snack keeps in the fridge for up to 10 days!

To learn more about hemp seeds, click here! 

 

"Party Perfect" Hemp Hummus
 
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Cup Garbanzo Beans
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ⅓ and 3 Tbsp Cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 3 Tbsp Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp oregano
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into the food processor or blender and process/blend at high speed until a smooth, creamy consistency is reached.
  2. Add more lemon juice or tahini if hummus is not combining well. Add more garlic and sea salt to taste.
  3. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve with fresh sliced veggies, whole grain or rice crackers, or use as a spread in a wrap or sandwich.
Notes
PN Rx= .5 protein, 1 fat and .5 carb per serving

Preventing the “Holiday Hangover”

Hi everyone!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, ushering in the holiday party season! We know how hard it can be during the holidays to stay on track with a healthy food and exercise plan. When the splurging on treats, big meals and drinking goes a little bit too far it’s all to easy to run into what we call the “holiday hangover.” It can creep up quickly, even after the first few festivities.  You know, the “I’m waking up thinking about sugar” habit starts, the headaches, increased appetite, more frequent colds/sickness from a depressed immune system, and yes…the potential dreaded holiday weight gain.

But! We come bearing good news! Practical Nutrition chatted with Scot and Kara from Channel 3′s Better Connecticut to discuss some simple ways to avoid the hangover (and still enjoy the holidays!). Watch the video below to make this a happy and healthy holiday season!

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Click here to download the recipes and key points featured in the video! 

Click here if you’re interested in joining us for a “Healthy for the Holidays” 10 day cleanse!

As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda

Fast and Filling Fall Snacks!

Hi everyone!

Happy September! Fall is closing in on us quickly…along with the beautiful foliage and harvest foods comes a busier schedule. For most people, running kids around to sports, rushing through meals, and having less time to meal prep on the weekends means their food choices become less healthy. Fortunately, we came up with some easy, tasty, and healthy snacks for the fall. It’s important to make sure you snacks include protein (whey protein powder or eggs), fiber (fruits/vegetables), and healthy fat (avocado or coconut oil) to make sure your blood sugar is nice and steady. By eating a combination of the right nutrients every 3-4 hours, you’ll experience increased energy levels, less sugar cravings, and a better overall mood. Most importantly, you prevent “hanger” (anger brought on by hunger) and keep everyone around you happier as well!

Check out this quick video of some easy snack ideas and have a wonderful start to the new season! Click here for a copy of the recipes featured in the video.

Have a great week!

Ana and Amanda

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)

Hi Everyone!

I have been fortunate enough to get a number of giant zucchinis from a friend’s garden, which has lead to a lot of zucchini recipes. I previously made a delicious zoodles and meatballs recipe here.  This time I decided to make a light zucchini bread and added peaches since I had some I needed to use. It came out fantastic! I hope that anyone that has an abundance of zucchini is getting some use out of these recipes for healthy ways to use it all. I love zucchini bread but it often contains a lot of sugar. Even if it is a healthier option such as raw honey or pure maple syrup, it still all breaks down to sugar and can lead to cravings later on. If you are struggling with sugar cravings or find yourself wanting carbohydrate heavy foods often try taking sugar completely out of your diet. In this recipe I used Stevia, which is actually an herb often called sweet leaf. I only had to use 1 tsp for the entire recipe. You can eat a serving and then be satisfied rather than wanting to eat the whole loaf! I also made mini muffins out of this too, you just cut the cook time in half. Enjoy!

Be well,

Amanda

zucchini bread

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)
 
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp stevia, powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and fruit and mix well. Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Make sure the coconut flour mixes in and break up all those little chunks that form.
  3. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or use a non stick silicone pan. Clean up is super easy and the bread never sticks.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I made a small loaf and some mini muffins out of mine. Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes.
Notes
⅛th of loaf PN Rx: 1 fat, ½ carb

Springtime Super Food (and yummy spring rolls!)

Happy Spring everyone!

For those of you reading this from the East coast, I hope you all have gotten a few moments of solar therapy this past week after a long winter! Seeing the sun shine makes me want to be more active, and it also gets me craving fresher, creative new foods. That’s why I decided to demonstrate how to make Superfood Spring Rolls on Better CT yesterday.

The foods I chose as this year’s “Spring Super Foods” offer your body a broad spectrum of health benefits. To name a few, they are full of nutrients that boost your immune system, help to ward off seasonal allergies, detoxify your body after a long winter, and help slim the waist line to help you get ready for summer! Watch the video below to learn how to incorporate these superfoods into your everyday life by making a simple and tasty Superfood Spring Roll!

  • Citrus: Grapefruits, lemons, or oranges any time of day! Enjoy lemon in your water, grapefruit as a side to your breakfast, or a juice orange for a dessert on a warm day. 
  • Quinoa: Use for cold or hot side dishes, on a salad, or in a Spring Roll!
  • Dandelion Greens: Throw these peppery greens into a salad, in a soup, or in a lunch wrap for an added zing to your meal!
  • Raw Local Honey/Local Bee Pollen: Put in tea, yogurt, smoothies, or enjoy a spoonful raw!
  • Walnut Oil: Use for cold foods only (not for cooking); enjoy its nutty flavor in a dressing or on top of a favorite grain dish such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Asparagus: Grilled, sautéed in a stir-fry, or put in a Spring Roll, asparagus are a hearty spring vegetable full of nutrition that will keep you feeling full for hours!

 

Springtime Superfood Spring Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • The Rolls:
  • 6 large rice wrappers (found in international section at grocery store)
  • ½ Cup (cooked) quinoa (any variety)
  • 6 grilled asparagus (grilled or roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of mixed, Asian, or other type of greens (for "base" of spring roll)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 TBLS fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBLS walnut oil
  • 4 TSP local honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional addition for extra protein)
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBLS Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 TBLS water
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ orange
Instructions
  1. The Rolls:
  2. Combine the quinoa, carrots, and dandelion greens into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the walnut oil, orange juice, chili flakes, sea salt, and honey into a dressing. Whisk briefly and pour over the quinoa salad, tossing gently. Take a spring roll and gently submerge in a shallow bowl of water for 8-10 seconds. Place on a non-stick surface (parchment paper or cutting board) and line with a thin layer of mixed greens, 1 asparagus, and a thin line of the quinoa salad. Gently fold the top half in, followed by the sides, and gently roll until mixture is tight within the spring roll. Cut in half and serve with the sweet chili sauce as a side dip.
  3. Sweet Chili Sauce:
  4. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp.
Notes
PN RX (may vary depending on ingredients)
For 3 rolls (with ingredients indicated in recipe above): 2 free veggies, 1 carb, 1 fat

 

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!

Sometimes I like to have dessert for breakfast! I came up with the Cookie Dough Smoothie the morning after I made “PN Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies” (recipe coming soon!). I woke up wanting to have one of the cookies I made for breakfast. Although they taste good and have very clean ingredients, they don’t have enough protein to be considered a healthy breakfast. So, I decided to make the ingredients into a smoothie to satisfy my craving and give my body the protein it needed to start my day right.

This smoothie contains one of my favorite ingredients: raw cacao nibs (found in the health food section of most grocery stores). Cacao can be found in a powder or solid form, and is an amazing food for your body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original, minimally processed state. If you’re used to sweetened chocolate, like most of us are, it will be a bitter at first, once you are accustomed to its unique flavor profile, just a small handful seems to do the trick in satisfying a chocolate craving. What’s in the raw cacao bean that we love so much?

 

raw cacaoScreen shot 2014-05-16 at 7.10.41 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:

  • By providing minerals that most people are deficient in, raw cacao may help decrease sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Raw cacao promotes a healthy digestive system with all the fiber it adds to the diet
  • Contains “theombromine”, a protein that stimulates the central nervous system, which relaxes smooth muscles and gives the body a gentle boost of energy and feeling of “bliss” we often get from eating chocolate (without the added sugar and ingredients from processed chocolate!)
  • Improves overall mood and may help fight depression due to its ability increase the bioavailability of Serotonin to the brain

Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet "stevia in the raw" or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 TBLS (15 grams worth) unflavored whey protein (we use Standard Process)
  • 2 TBLS raw cacao nibs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (more if you like it icier)
  • ¼ cup water, or more to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until the smoothie has reached your desired consistency. Enjoy!
  2. Note: I usually add spinach and/or another leafy green to my smoothies. Since this is more of a "dessert" smoothies, I decided to leave it out. When I don't get greens in at breakfast, I make sure to be extra conscious of getting them in later in the day!
Notes
PN RX:
1 Protein, 1 Fat, ½ Carb

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese

philly

 

I love recreating some of my favorite foods into healthier versions that provide nutrition but still satisfy a craving. Sometimes even just one meal of processed food and refined carbohydrates can throw you off the wagon and cause a host of sugar cravings, mood swings, headaches, and complete loss of motivation and energy just to name a few. When you are craving something that isn’t going to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and even take away many nutrients during the process of digestion try to make a healthier version. This way you can still enjoy your food but you leave all the nasty side effects of cheat meals behind. I love philly steak and cheese sandwiches and sometimes I want bread but I know how it will make me feel. I picked up some gluten free buns from Trader Joe’s along with some organic shaved steak and raw cheese to make this delicious and satisfying meal. The gluten free buns are still a concentrated source of carbohydrates and more processed than fruits and vegetables so I try to make them a treat but overall this is a great substitution.

 

Gluten Free Philly Steak and Cheese
 
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Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Gluten Free Rolls
  • 1lb Organic Shaved Steak
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 8oz Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Raw Cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add in Worcestershire, hot sauce and garlic powder and mix.
  2. Add in shaved steak and cook until no longer pink but try not to overcook.
  3. Heat up gluten free rolls and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 4oz of shaved steak to each roll with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Place 1oz of cheese on top and heat in oven until melted.
  5. We cut ours in half then put 2oz on each half and a little cheese on top.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

spicy wings

 

I opened a wonderful email from my older sister the other day with this recipe inside. She said that these wings were to die for and that I had to make them. She was right! This recipe is a great substitution for fried hot wings. It is the perfect amount of sweet from the honey and spicy from the chipotle peppers. I made this the other night and they were gone in a day and a half! They are amazing. These would be great to bring to a party or family gathering. Enjoy!

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
 
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Ingredients
  • 3lb Organic Chicken Drumsticks
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ½ cup Raw Honey
  • ½ cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger or 1tsp Dried Ginger
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in adobo minced, plus 1 Tbsp of sauce
  • 1 tbsp Potato Starch
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the chicken. Don't go crazy with the salt, the sauce makes up for it.
  2. Place chicken in glass baking dish.
  3. While oven is preheating, combine all remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until it begins to thicken (about 15 minutes). If it does not thicken you can take 1 tbsp of Potato Starch and mix with 2 tbsp cold water then add to sauce and it will thicken right up.
  4. Toss the chicken in the sauce. You can let these marinate over night or cook right away.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes then flip and bake for another 25 minutes.
Notes
I had about ½-1 cup of sauce left over. You can add this to the chicken as it cooks or save it and make burgers out of it. I also marinated salmon in it and it came out very good! Get creative!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara

Sometimes I crave a good old pasta and marinara sauce dinner! It’s hard to find a recipe that is tasty AND health promoting. Having a bit of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fat is the best way to make sure you leave a meal feeling energized and satisfied. Amanda and I  have been loving this Gluten Free Black Bean/Mung Bean Pasta lately (like most of our suggestions, you can find this pasta in the Gluten Free section at most major grocery stores). This pasta, combined with this clean and simple homemade high protein marinara sauce, is the perfect alternative to the typical “refined” white pasta you grew up on- and will taste better too! Enjoy!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara
 
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Try this quick and easy pasta dish when you're craving pasta or something with an Italian feel! Feel amazing and light after you eat it as it's full of fiber, B Vitamins, and protein!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Bag Black Bean Spaghetti*
  • Sauce:
  • ½ Bag Ming Bean Spaghetti*
  • 6 and ¼ cup water
  • 1 Jar Organic, No Sugar Added Tomato Sauce (made with olive oil)
  • 1 Small Can (6 oz.) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 4 TBLS Italian Seasoning (We like the brand Frontier Organics)
  • ⅛ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Handfuls Organic Spinach
  • 1 Cup Raw Mushrooms
  • 2 TBLS Chopped Garlic (fresh or from the jar)
  • 1 Avocado (for garnish) and Pint Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Baked Free Range Chicken, Chunked
  • Any Other Vegetable You Love!
  • * Find Gluten Free Black Bean or Mung Bean Pasta at most major grocery stores or local health food store!
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in medium pot. In the mean time, combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms in a medium sized skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Allow to sit on stove for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned and softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and spinach to the skillet. Once water is boiling, add dry Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta to the water and allow to boil for about 7-10 minutes until soft, "pasta like" consistency is reached. Drain the pasta when finished and set aside. Allow your sauce ingredients to simmer for about 10 more minutes or until mixture has come to a slow boil, and the spinach has cooked down/is well combined into sauce. Add chicken chunks (or other desired protein) to the sauce until they are warm throughout, and serve over the Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta. Top with chunks of avocado and cherry tomatoes- enjoy!
Notes
PN RX for ¼ of the sauce and 1 Cup Pasta: 2 Carbs, 2 Fat, 1 Veggies, 1 Protein

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!

I just got back from an amazing trip visiting some friends and family on the Big Island of  Hawaii. Eating fresh, local foods and learning about tropical region medicinal foods and herbs were the two main themes. 99% of my food was from a local source or grower. Consistently eating plants grown without the use of chemicals and consuming protein from animals fed their proper diet immediately brings an abundance of  life and energy to your body.  Whether it was coconut oil from local coco’s, a star fruit I picked from the back of my cabin, or an avocado from a friend’s backyard, I was always snacking on a high fiber, life giving treat! One thing I did a lot of over there in between exploring some delicious new foods was surf! I needed a quick, high protein snack for before I jumped in the water so I could maximize my time in the waves (after all, I wanted to get in as much water time as possible after the 15 hour journey from winter in Connecticut!). Breakfast bowls are big in Hawaii, and I’ve actually posted a recipe involving a blueberry smoothie as a base of a breakfast bowl as a post surf meal in the past. But since I didn’t always want to use the blender on this trip, I adapted this simple yet tasty version of a breakfast bowl that all of us can  enjoy back here on the mainland but still bring back the flavors and aloha from the island!

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 11.12.16 PM

A beautiful rainbow on a flat day over a favorite surf spot- Pohoiki’s 2nd Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!
 
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Enjoy this high protein, energizing treat as a snack, breakfast, or frozen as a sweet treat at night!
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (I like Fage brand)
  • ½ Cup Frozen Mango Chunks OR ½ Cup Fresh Organic Papaya
  • 3-4 Sliced Strawberries
  • ¼ Avocado Diced
  • Pinch of Alfalfa Sprouts (get those greens in as much as you can!)
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Local Honey (optional)
  • 2 Scoops Whey Protein (optional- 15 grams protein)
  • 1 TBLS Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Instructions
  1. Put yogurt in bowl (mix in protein powder if you are using it), and top with sliced fruit, sprouts and avocado. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut flakes. Drizzle with honey and enjoy while thinking about a place or person you love!
Notes
** "Dry mix" of cinnamon, coconut flakes, and sea salt can be mixed in advance to save time
*** PN RX: 1 protein (2 if using protein powder), 1 fruit, 1 fat