Ingredient of the week: Mushrooms

This week I am helping you eat more veggies, rather fungi… Did you know that mushrooms were technically classified as a fungi? Even still mushrooms contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Mushrooms have a “meaty” texture which makes them a great substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes.

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mushrooms

There are many varieties of mushrooms, including white, portabella, oyster, cremini, shitake, chanterelle, and chicken of the woods. Each variety is a little different from the other and some varieties like chicken of the woods are much more expensive than white mushrooms.

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This weeks recipes use cremini, portabella and shitake mushrooms.

Butternut Squash & Pear Pizza

Is there anything worse than buying what you think is a “healthy” frozen pizza from grocery store only to get home and realize that the serving size is ¼ of the pizza. Let’s face it, there is no way you are eating ¼ of that pizza.

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That’s where I come in… with a personal flatbread pizza. You can buy flatbreads at any grocery store, most come in under 100 calories. They are thin, but they make a great pizza crust. I know I have mentioned my dislike of all things tomato including tomato sauce, so I made a butternut squash puree instead.

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The rest of the pizza is topped with a red onion “jam,” mozzarella cheese, and sliced pears. As you can see form my pictures. I made this recipe a few times for the sake of photography. I used both circular and square flatbreads, and fresh and shredded mozzarella. I also topped a few with fresh parsley and scallions. They were all delicious. Do what makes you happy!

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pear and butternut squash pizza

What’s your favorite non traditional pizza toppings?

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Almond Pear Oatmeal Bake

Today I am sharing another naturally sweet breakfast recipe. With the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing in the Northeast, I really need a warm breakfast to help me get out of bed. An oatmeal bake is a great option to eat warm out of the oven but can also be cut into pieces and stored in the refrigerator to enjoy all week long. You could even bring it to work and heat it up to warm you up after your brave the cold!

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Even though pears are the featured ingredient this week, the almonds and almond extract add a lot of flavor that really makes this oatmeal flavor unique. I think almonds and pears are a great flavor combination, I really like almond butter with pears instead of peanut butter.

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How have you been staying warm?

Green Pear Smoothie

Looking to detox after a sugar overload this weekend? Start your morning with this delicious and sweet green pear smoothie. This smoothie is naturally sweetened with pears and figs.

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This green drink is a smoothie and not a juice. Smoothie’s blend whole ingredient whereas juice leaves a by product known as pulp.

Over the years I have read and researched about the benefits of juicing: the main takeaway is always the same. Juicing fruits and vegetables removes all of the fiber. Fiber keeps you full. If you remove all the fiber, the minute you finish your juice you are likely to still be hungry. Proponents of juicing believe that a juice cleanse will detox your body, however your body has this organ, known as the liver, which detoxes your body, specifically your blood of harmful chemicals.

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My personal preference has always been smoothies. They keep me full longer and are a better breakfast or snack for me than a glass of fresh pressed juice. That’s not to say I wouldn’t drink fresh pressed juice, but I am more likely than not going to share smoothie recipes with you.

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Smoothie recipes can still be dairy free and refined sugar free! This recipe uses almond milk instead of regular milk or yogurt. One trick is to freeze almond milk in ice cube trays so you don’t have to add additional ice that waters down the flavor. The smoothie is sweetened with pears and figs and doesn’t require any additional sugar. I would recommend adding one fig at a time. I think the sweetness from one dried fig will be plenty!

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I promise you won’t even tell that there are 2 cups of spinach!

Green Pear Smoothie

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Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Pancakes are another Valentine’s Day essential in my book. Is there anything better than waking up to the smell of warm pancakes on the weekend! (honestly, I wouldn’t know because I am always the one making them). I first made these raspberry chocolate chip pancakes for my boyfriend last Valentine’s Day and they must have been good because we’ve made it to another! I’m telling you these pancakes are that good!

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The chocolate raspberry combination is not only perfect for cupcakes it’s also perfect in pancakes. I find when I am out for brunch and see pancakes on the menu I am looking for this combo but I never see it. Fruit pancakes are great and chocolate chip pancakes are top notch too, but unless you are mixing fruit and chocolate chips together than you haven’t really experienced pancakes.

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The second best part about these pancakes is that 3 pancakes still fit within my nutrition criteria. The Greek yogurt adds great texture to the pancakes without adding any saturated fat. I chose to make the pancakes half and half with whole wheat flour and all purpose flour to please taste buds, but you could certainly make them with all whole wheat flour. The same goes with the pomegranates. If you have them add them! if you don’t the pancakes are still perfect!

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In order to get the heart shape pancakes, I just used a knife to cut a heart shape. If you have large cookie cutters that would work too. For the heart shape butter, I used very small cookie cutters. These steps are of course not necessary but it’s always fun to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.  The pancakes nutrition information do not include butter or syrup, use whatever you prefer but remember butter has a high saturated fat content and syrup is all sugar!

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What’s your favorite pancake combo?

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Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Cocoa Almond Buttercream

So this is one of those recipes that does NOT fit into my nutrition criteria. It’s most definitely a once in a while treat. But Valentine’s day is a good enough excuse for me!

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I think these cupcakes cover all things Valentine’s Day: chocolate, hearts and raspberries (instead of strawberries). And do you need an excuse to add Nutella!

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I have to admit, I love baking for Valentines Day (well actually most holidays) baking for holidays is an excuse to bake. How can you let Valentine’s Day (or New Years or July 4th Thanksgiving, Hannukah or Christmas go by without baking something to celebrate?) The short answer, you just can’t.

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Last year, I made a cake completely covered in conversation hearts. It took me forever and in the end, no one wanted to eat it, because who can really eat all those conversation hearts. I actually think one of my friends commented “cavity mosaic.” So this year I just went straight for the chocolate. I hope you enjoy!

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Watermelon Heart Fruit Kabob

The Superbowl ended less than 12 hours ago but its time to move on to the next holiday! Valentines Day! I am taking a break from ingredient of the week to share a few Valentines Day inspired recipes. Just because I am not sharing an ingredient doesn’t mean this week’s recipes won’t feature fruits or vegetables (well, most of them will ;)).

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Today I am sharing watermelon heart fruit kabobs! Yes, watermelons are not in season and may be hard to find but if you can find them the pink color is perfect for Valentine’s day. Even strawberries aren’t in season in February but since they are synonymous with Valentine’s Day, I went ahead and broke all the rules.

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To make the watermelon hearts, I simply used a cookie cutter. I sliced a baby watermelon into small slices and then used a metal heart shape cookie cutter to cut out hearts. This is a perfect healthy activity to do with kids and a great addition to any meal or snack! I think I will eat these fruit kabobs with yogurt for breakfast!

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Spiralized Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

I can’t believe I still haven’t shared an egg and avocado recipe with you. I jumped on the avocado toast bandwagon and I am still along for the ride. There is simply nothing better than avocado on toast for breakfast lunch dinner and a snack. This recipe takes the egg and avocado breakfast up a notch with a spiralized sweet potato hash.

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Now that I think about it, I guess I am also on the spiralizer bandwagon too. So naturally spiralizer + eggs & avocado is a match made in heaven.

 

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Moral of the story: the recipe really serves one and you should definitely make this for breakfast tomorrow!

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Cheesy Cauliflower Bread

Have you heard… it’s the Superbowl this weekend! I am sure your Facebook, Instagram and every blog you follow has shared with you hundreds of recipes to make for the big game. Well I don’t want to miss out on the fun either… so I am sharing one more!

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Let’s be honest Superbowl food is typically heavy and greasy and loaded with butter and oil. But that’s why we love it, right! This year I wanted to find a happy medium when it comes to a Superbowl recipe, so I am sharing cauliflower cheesy bread. It still has all the flavor of cheesy bread or mozzarella sticks but with cauliflower instead of bread, flour, oil or eggs. The best part is that it couldn’t be easier to make! The recipe is nearly identical to my cauliflower crust pizza so if you loved that recipe you will love this too.

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Actually the best part was that a room full of 20-year-old guys inhaled every last one!

The worst part: I made these for the AFC championship game and the Patriots lost.

 

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I stuck to my theme of one ingredient and I also made honey garlic and buffalo cauliflower bites. While I thought they were delicious, they didn’t go over as well… I am gonna work on them again and share those recipes soon.

When I was shopping for groceries before the AFC game I saw GRONK hot sauce. I had to buy it! I watch most of the games with some very superstitious fans and I felt like the hot sauce could be the thing to help that Pats win, but I guess it just wasn’t our day…

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Cauliflower Cheesy Bread

Who are you rooting for?