Protein-Packed Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Made With Whole Wheat Crust

Pumpkin pie is essentially the mascot of the month of November – and this recipe will leave all thankful at your Thanksgiving day table! Loaded with beta carotene (which our bodies can convert to vitamin A), protein and fiber, this hearty dessert actually offers up a slice of nutrition! And for about 200 calories per slice, your belly can be thankful, too!

pie

Ingredients (serves 10):

Crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 C canola oil

2 Tbsp 1% milk

3 Tbsp cold water

Pie Filling:

15 oz canned pumpkin puree (about 2 C)

1 large egg

3 large egg whites

1 C dark brown sugar, unpacked

1 Tbsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C 0% plain Greek yogurt

1/4 C 1% milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

Whole wheat crust!

Whole wheat crust!

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients to make the crust in a large mixing bowl (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, canola oil, 1% milk and cold water). Mix ingredients together with a spoon to gather, then use your hands to knead the dough so that all ingredients are well combined.

2. Spray a 9″ diameter pie pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Transfer dough ball to center of pie pan and use your hands to spread the dough evenly, bringing the dough up over the sides and edges of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and egg whites. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar and eggs from smaller bowl. Make sure to smooth any clumps of brown sugar. Add flour, spices, Greek yogurt, milk, honey and vanilla extract to pumpkin mixture and whisk together until well combined.

4. Set aside the batter to thicken. In the meantime, bake the pie crust in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from oven.

5. Fill the pie crust with the pie filling so that the pan is about 3/4 full. There may be extra filling depending on the depth of your pan (you can repurpose this for other treats or mini pies if you’d like!) and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until slightly browned. You can check for doneness using a toothpick (make sure that the toothpick comes out clean when dipped into the center of the pie).

6. Chill pie in the fridge until cold and set – about 4 hours minimum. It may help to store it covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent the pie from absorbing odors from the fridge. After you serve the pie, store in the fridge, covered for up to 3-5 days, or freeze in an airtight container or bag. Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is one slice that is 1/10th of the pie)

Calories 208 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 19 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 217 mg, Calcium 66 mg

Sautéed Scallops

Sautéed Scallops

This dish is packed with lean protein and skimps on a heavy sauce that is traditionally served with scallops. Instead, olive oil, spices and a small amount of butter (or in this case, Smart Balance made with olive oil) create a light coating and add a ton of flavor. I served my scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad (and made enough for leftovers)!

IMG_4526

Ingredients  (serves 2):

12 oz scallops, raw

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

dash  salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp butter (I prefer Smart Balance made with olive oil)

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

All seasoned and ready to cook!

All seasoned and ready to cook!

Directions:

  1. Place the scallops in a medium sized bowl. Add olive oil and spices and mix all ingredients together with a spoon until well combined.
  2. Spray a medium sized pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Add scallops and cook until browned, turning occassionally (about 10 minutes total cooking time, although this may vary).
  3. Add butter and stir scallops. Cook scallops for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked through. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 216 calories, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 56 mg, Carbohydrates 4 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 29 g, Sodium 279 mg, Calcium 41 mg

seared scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad!

seared scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad!

 

Not Your Average Pasta Dish: Whole Wheat Orzo With Veggies And Feta Cheese

Whole Wheat Orzo With Roasted Veggies And Feta Cheese

This whole wheat orzo salad is delicious hot or cold and is a great dish to make ahead for the busy week or for entertaining. At under 250 calories per serving and chock full of  fiber and so many vitamins and minerals, this colorful side dish is a perfect way to enjoy  the season’s best veggies while they’re still available!

IMG_4528

Ingredients (serves 6):

8 oz whole wheat orzo

1 medium zucchini

1 medium yellow squash

1/2 medium onion (I like to use vidalia onions)

1 clove garlic, minced

10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

3 oz reduced-fat feta cheese

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

Roasted veggies!

Roasted veggies!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray
  2. Dice zucchini, yellow squash and onion. Place on baking sheet and add minced garlic, canola oil, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper and salt. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Boil water and cook orzo according to directions on package.
  4. Add tomatoes to roasted vegetables, stir and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are slightly browned and tomatoes are softened.
  5. Drain orzo once cooked. Add olive oil to clean pot and add orzo and vegetables. Add feta cheese and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving

Calories 214 calories, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 10 g, Sodium 397 mg, Calcium 72 mg

I served seared scallops over my orzo salad! That recipe will be posted on FuelMyFIt, too!

I served seared scallops over my orzo salad! That recipe will be posted on FuelMyFIt, too!

1

1

Colorful Coleslaw

Coleslaw with Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Carrots and Sunflower Seeds

This lightened up cole slaw puts red cabbage center stage, and doesn’t cover it up with a thick mayo. Instead, veggies are dressed with lemon juice, red wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with sunflower seeds – rich in healthy, unsaturated fatty acids. It’s a great salad base when topped with a piece of grilled or baked fish, or served as a side on its own!

IMG_4383

Ingredients (yields approximately 8 C, or about 16- half cup servings):

4 C red cabbage, shredded

2 C carrots, shredded

1 large broccoli crown

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 C red wine vinegar

1/2 C lemon juice (or the juice from about 1 1/2 lemons)

1/4 C sunflower seeds, roasted and unsalted

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Cut broccoli crown into florets, rinse and steam until bright green and slightly tender (you can steam them over a pot of boiling water or in the microwave – covered – on high for about 1 minute).
  2. Remove broccoli from microwave and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate, small bowl whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Set aside.
  5. Squeeze broccoli dry with paper towel and chop into tiny pieces. Add broccoli to slaw mixture.
  6. Add salt and pepper and pour dressing over slaw. Add sunflower seeds and mix all ingredients. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 50 calories, Total Fat 4 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 4 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 1 g, Sodium 72 mg, Calcium 23 mg

Greens Smoothie

Greens Smoothie

This has been my new go-to breakfast for busy mornings – you can make it in about 3 minutes or less, or you can even make it the night prior. Even though it’s bright green, don’t let the color scare you away. This smoothie is sweet, nutritious and packed with protein and vitamin C. Also, the vitamin C in pineapple and clementine help your body to absorb the iron present in spinach more readily – talk about a power breakfast. I usually eat 1-2 egg hard boiled eggs or egg whites to increase the protein content, or you can enjoy this smoothie as a mid-day pick-me-up!

IMG_4289

Ingredients (serves 1):

1 cup spinach, packed

1/3 C frozen pineapple chunks (make sure the only ingredient is pineapple – no added sugar or syrup!)

1 clementine, peeled and sectioned

1/2 C plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt

Ready to blend!

Ready to blend!

Directions:

  1. Place spinach all ingredients in blender (I used my Magic Bullet). Blend until well combined (you may need to blend it for about 2 minutes in order to get all of the spinach leaves fully incorporated). How easy was that?! *Note: you can make this overnight and store in your fridge to grab on your way out the door the next morning – just keep it covered.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 137 calories, Total Fat 0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 22 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 14 g, Sodium 68 mg, Calcium 185 mg

This breakfast could be grab-and-go, but it took so little time to make that I just enjoyed it at home!

This breakfast could be grab-and-go, but it took so little time to make that I just enjoyed it at home!

 

 

Presto Pesto!

Homemade Pesto With Basil, Spinach and Walnuts

This homemade pesto incorporates the goodness of spinach (which offers folate, vitamin K and vitamin C) along with omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, which may help to reduce inflammation. While pesto is naturally caloric and a good source of fat, this version is lightened up by using minimal amounts of olive oil and cheese and is lower in sodium than many store-bought brands. I like to make it on a quiet Sunday so that I can have an easy grab-and-go topping for zucchini noodles, pasta or fish after a hectic Monday – it can stay in the fridge for a few days to save some time on days when you are busy.

IMG_4230

Ingredients (yields approximately 1 cup or about 8 two-tablespoon servings):

2 C basil leaves, loosely packed

1 C spinach, tightly packed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 oz shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/4 C)

1/4 C walnuts, chopped (use unsalted or reduced sodium to lower salt content of dish)

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

All set to blend together!

All set to blend together!

Directions:

  1. Wash spinach and basil and pat dry with paper towel, making sure to remove all excess water. Place in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you may need to sweep the sides with a spoon a few times to get all spinach and basil leaves incorporated).
  2. Add minced garlic, cheese, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and about half of the oil to basil spinach mixture in food processor. Secure the lid and turn the food processor to high for about 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining oil, give the mixture a stir, replace the lid of the food processor and continue on high until pesto is smooth. Use as a sauce to accompany your meal or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 102 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 267 mg, Calcium 46 mg

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

Oodles of Zoodles

Zucchini Noodles with Garlic, Oil and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

This spicy veggie dish is a healthy addition to your busy schedule – from prepped to cooked it takes less than 10 minutes! The summer squash is a low-carb, vitamin C-rich alternative to pasta and offers a lighter way to fill up with water and fiber. Serve as a side dish or include lean protein (chicken, shrimp, scallops, etc.)  for a meal.

IMG_4208

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 large zucchini

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less depending on your love for spice!)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice zucchini into thin ribbons (I used my Vegetti tool for this – if you don’t have a tool similar to the Vegetti, you can get this effect by using a vegetable peeler to peel the entire zucchini). Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. Mince garlic clove. Set aside.
  3. Warm olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini noodles with minced garlic. Add spices (salt, pepper and crushed red pepper). Sauté until zucchini is heated through and slightly softened, but do not let the zucchini noodles become very limp. Stir occasionally. Divide amongst two plates and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 90 calories, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 6 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 304 mg, Calcium 29 mg

Just BEET It!

beets

What’s the deal with beet juice? It’s being used as an all natural exercise supplement over recent years, but why?

Beet juice is a great pre-workout drink because it’s ability to enhance oxygen flow to the muscles translates to enhanced fuel utilization through aerobic metabolism (which requires oxygen to break down food into energy that can be used by the body). Enhanced fuel utilization may delay feelings of fatigue, as well as lactic acid buildup (the burning sensation often felt during exercise as a result of anaerobic metabolism), which can lead to stronger workouts.

Nitrate can be converted to nitrite by bacteria located in saliva via the enzymes called nitrate reductases. Nitrite can then be reduced to nitric oxide (NO) by a variety of enzymes, which remain to be the subject of study (and still remain controversial). NO then enhances vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) through signaling via soluble guanylate cyclase, which ultimately allows for increased blood flow and increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles. It should be noted that the existence of oral bacteria is essential for this conversion to occur, and so the use of antibacterial dental products (such as mouthwash or antibacterial gum) is not recommended directly before consuming nitrate-rich foods and beverages.

How do beets (and other veggies) get their nitrates?

While plants may receive small amounts of nitrates from the air and water, the majority of nitrates are usually delivered to the plant from soil. Specifically, nitrogenous sources in the soil can be converted to ammonia, which can then be converted to nitrates by bacteria. The plant can then absorb the nitrates to use for development and growth. High-nitrogen soils now exist in order to enhance nitrate absorption by the plant. Since the majority of nitrates used by the plant come from the soil, fruits and vegetables that grow in the ground (like beets!) generally contain a higher amount of nitrates.

I thought nitrates were bad for me? I’m told to avoid them in meat…

The difference between nitrates in processed meats and those found in fruits and vegetables has to do with other existing compounds in the food. Nitrates can be converted to small amounts of nitrosamines (carcinogenic compounds) in the presence of protein and heat (>300oF). However, fruits and vegetables do not contain the amounts of protein required for this reaction to occur. Additionally, veggies can also be consumed raw, meaning heat is not present, either. Regardless, both protein and heat are required for nitrosamines to form, so nitrates in fruits and veggies are safe.

So how do I use beet juice to my benefit?

Beet juice is generally used as an ergogenic aid (or an exercise supplement) prior to aerobic exercise (running, biking, etc.). Ideally, beet juice should be consumed about 15-30 minutes before the event (whether it is a race or training). This allows time for vasodilation to occur throughout the beginning of the exercise. Always remember to check regulations of your sport if this is not for recreation, to ensure that beet juice is allowed. Also, remember that consumption of beet juice does not guarantee an improvement in training or time – rather, the literature to date suggests that it may benefit the production of nitric oxide, which in turn could promote vasodilation and may lead to less fatigue during a workout.

*beet photo courtesy of: http://www.elizabethrider.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/benefits-of-beets.jpg

Why Your Fridge Should Change With The Seasons

Eating Seasonally

Last week, I developed and promoted a seasonal recipe at Disney ABC as a part of my internship rotation. The recipe was simple, fresh, healthy and most importantly, it was delicious. In fact, it sold out at the company’s cafe that day! While most people were drawn in by the free samples, I got to chat to a number of employees about the benefits of eating seasonally and locally and it was so great to connect with individuals and learn about how other people prioritize nutrition and our environment to promote clean eating (for your body, as well as our home).

Serving up some free samples at Disney ABC!

Serving up some free samples at Disney ABC!

Spreading Local News

Since the recipe and the nutrition news were such a hit, I thought I would share it with all of you! Below are some of the reasons why eating locally and seasonally can be beneficial:

  • Eating seasonally means produce is often more nutritious, since it is at its nutritious peak, and less expensive, since it grows more abundantly  (a win win!)
  • Produce often tastes better when it is in season (which is why that watermelon tastes so amazing in July!)
  • Eating locally is often “greener”, since food spends less time in transit (meaning it takes less fuel to get it to its destination)
  • You can try all of the tasty treasures the season has to offer and learn how to prepare a new food that you wouldn’t typically purchase (bonus – if you purchase from a farmer’s market, they will often answer any questions you may have and explain how to prepare the food)
  • You can grow your own! Summer is a great time to grow cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries!
A close-up of the samples!

A close-up of the samples!

Local Kale Salad With Citrus Vinaigrette:

Kale is a nutrition powerhouse that grows well throughout the year in locations near New York City, since it can thrive in cooler environments, as well as during the summer months. This means that kale is widely available year-round near New York City. Since kale can be grown and sold locally, it is truly a GREEN veggie!

Kale offers a ton of nutrition packed in to each leaf, and comes in a variety of kinds! Make sure to try each variety, including Curly Kale, Ornamental Kale and Dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan Kale)

Kale is a significant source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as calcium and potassium. Also, kale offers a hearty dose of fiber and is nutrient dense – meaning it contains a lot of nutrition for a small amount of calories.

All of the fresh ingredients for this salad (including the kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and lemon juice) were purchased locally – and this salad was a local hit!

IMG_3641

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 C Raw kale leaves, large stems removed

1/4 C cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 large cucumber (about 8″ in length)

1/4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp lemon Juice

½ Tbsp extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp red Wine Vinegar

Dash salt (to taste)

Dash pepper (to taste)

 Directions:

  1. Wash and dry kale. Place in large mixing bowl.
  2. Slice cucumber and cut slices into quarters. Set aside.
  3. Cut tomatoes into small pieces (approximately 1” in diameter). Set aside.
  4. Combine lemon juice, red wine vinegar and oil in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until ingredients are well combined. Pour over kale and use gloved hands to massage the dressing into the kale. The kale should begin to look slightly wilted after about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese to salad. Sprinkle salt and pepper over vegetables and use gloved hands to mix ingredients. Serve chilled.

The Goods: Whats Inside?

Nutrient Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 87 calories, Total Fat 5 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 6 mg, Carbohydrates 9 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 175 mg, Calcium 96 mg

What Else Is In Season Near NYC In The Summer?

Below is a list of other fruits and veggies that will be fresh for summer – so have your pickings!

  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Summer Squash (zucchini, yellow squash)
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Many Herbs

Source:

GrowNYC. What’s Available. GrowNYC Website. 2015. Available at: http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/whatsavailable. Accessed June 8, 2015.

Chilled Quinoa With Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

Chilled Quinoa with Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

I know I’ve given you all a lot of quinoa recipes, but this one is my favorite to date, and is sure to become my new go-to for summer! Not only is this chilled quinoa salad refreshing, but it’s hearty in all of the right places (offering a significant amount of protein and fiber) and low in all of the right places, since it is low in total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium! Also, this vegetarian dish offers complete protein (i.e. all of the body’s essential amino acids) from quinoa and edamame, so it’s great as a main dish or as a smaller portion as hearty side or snack!

IMG_3627

Ingredients (yields about five – 3/4 C servings):

1 C quinoa, dry (rinsed and drained)

2 C water

1/3 C shelled edamame, unsalted (or rinsed and drained to remove excess salt)

1/2 C grated carrots

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, shelled and unsalted

3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped (optional: plus additional for garnish)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

dash salt

dash ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Combine quinoa and water in medium-sized pot and bring to a rapid boil, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow quinoa to absorb the water (this should take about 15 minutes).

2. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring into a large mixing bowl. Add edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, cilantro leaves, salt and pepper.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Drizzle over quinoa salad and mix all ingredients. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves (if desired) and chill in refrigerator until cold (about 2 hours) if serving that same day.

*This dish is great for quick grab-and-go leftovers and keeps well in the fridge for about 5-7 days if sealed in an airtight container!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving ~3/4 C)

Calories 194 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 28 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 9 g, Sodium 44 mg, Calcium 56 mg