Tag Archives: fitfluential

Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans

27 Jan

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Happy New Year!

Better late than never, right?

Maybe that will be the new name of this blog: Healthy Recipes, Better Late Than Never.

I have found myself using the term with a lot of free will these days. The whole work/get-a-life balance mixed with the occassional curve ball has left me appologizing for being tardy or absent more frequently than I’d like to admit. Most of the time when I feel like I am spread very thin in life I get a hankering to push my physical limits. Not sure of the psychology there, but let’s all agree that it’s not worth checking into a mental health clinic. Yet.

Last Saturday with the wheels in my head spinning,  I had a deep longing to get outside for some serious solitude; plug in my headphones, and run. My spirit of adventure and I decided on a trail run at Mount Tamalpais, one that I have never done before.

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Running the trails, amongst the giant redwoods and lush greenery was pretty inspiring. The fact that I never tripped and managed to make it out of the 7 miles or so unharmed was a feat for me. As I am typically pretty klutzy. Pretty klutzy meaning very.

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When I made it to the top of the Steep Ravine I stopped for a snack…. you see where I’m going with this? Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans! And water, so much water.

These pecans are the perfect quick snack, full of protein and quick carbohydrates. The cinnamon and sugar touch is one of my favorite flavor profiles ever, so I am biased in saying that I think they are the perfect treat.

Why you should eat this?

Pecans are full of good, heart healthy fats and fiber. Helping to decrease the overall LDL (bad cholesterol) and promote HDL (good cholesterol). If you are running, hiking, or doing any kind of moderate excercise, pecans are a great anti-inflamatory snack to help speed up muscle repair.  If you are not into physical activivty then just eat these because they are delicious and won’t kill you.

Granola and Flax Crusted Pecans

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar (will try maple syrup another time)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few pinches sea salt
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons water
2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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In a food processor, pulse oats, coconut, ground flax (also added a few slivered almonds), sugar, cinnamon and salt.

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Make sure that you do not totally process this mixture, you want some whole oats left for texture. You don’t want to make this a powder or flour texture.

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In a large bowl, beat the egg white and water until frothy.

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Add pecans to the bowl and coat them very well. VERY WELL. Stir the nuts around in the egg white mixture for a few good turns to ensure that every pecan gets a good amount of moisture, this is how the oat mixture will stick to the pecans and that is the point here guys.

Pour oat mixture into bowl with egg mixture and fold very gently. You will have more oat mixture than pecans, but that is all part of the deliciousness.

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Spread all of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes. Move the pecans around once with a spatula to ensure an even browning for all pecans involved.

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Allow nuts to fully cool. Then break up clusters and store in a tighly sealed container until ready to eat. Or whatever, just eat them straight off of the pan.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

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Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Jam

7 May

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It’s spring. I know where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday I was talking about Pumpkin Pie smoothies. Mmmm pumpkin pie smoothies.

While there are so many things that I love about spring: strawberries and rhubarb are what make it delicious.

The other part of spring that I love, should be no surprise to anyone in the world that knows me: baseball. In particular the World Champion San Francisco Giants. strawberries, rhubarb, and San Francisco Giants make this continuing relationship with life really worth it. I tell ya.

Lookit.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

Two championships in three years. Go Giants.

So this jam. It’s sweet from the strawberries, tart from the rhubarb, and the little bubbly texture from the chia makes it fun. I like to leave mine a little chunky so when people eat it they know what they are eating. Alright, I ate this whole batch by myself, but IN THE FUTURE if I choose to share, people will know what they are eating.

I enjoyed mine with my morning steel-cut oats, spread on some toast with butter, in greek yogurt, and by the spoonful. I would never eat standard jam or jelly by the spoonful because it is SO sweet, but this one tastes like what it really is: fruit. Which makes it heavenly and palatable by the spoonful. As with all of my recipes, let your imagination soar. Looking to the future where there may be a chance this ends up on ice cream.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly easy this is to make. It might be more work than buying a jar of jam, but just barely. If you’ve never made a jam before, no worries! This won’t require canning, keep this in the fridge and use it within two weeks (mine didn’t last that long, no surprise) if you’d like to freeze the jam, let it cool completely and freeze in a Ziploc bag. Then defrost and store in glass.

Why you should eat this? 

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia Seeds can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

Chia seeds are a whole food that can easily be absorbed by the body. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. And sometimes they are used to grow grass like hair on a rendition of Homer Simpson’s head. Don’t use those ones.

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Quickly: strawberries are best when bought organic. They are such a delicate fruit that they really absorb a lot of the chemicals from standard growers. They are also MUCH much more flavorful when organic. Look for farmers markets this time of year to get great deals.

Darling little strawberries are significant in vitamin-C which is a powerful antioxidant. They also contain vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. They are an anti-inflammatory food that has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and improve the regulation of blood sugar to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Strawberry Rhubarb and Chia Jam (Yield: 1 ¼ cups)

  • 1 cup stemmed and diced strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup rhubarb, small dice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

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Dice strawberries and rhubarb to about the same size. Maybe a 1/4 inch each.

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Add all ingredients except the lemon juice  in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.

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Continue to cook for 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice.  Stirring frequently and breaking up any larger pieces of fruit along the way with a spatula.

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When the jam thickens significantly, a spatula will leave a clear path along the bottom of the pan. Like so.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool; jam will thicken as it cools. Spoon cooled jam into a jar. Enjoy as you will and go Giants.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers

11 Feb
Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

Black bean and quinoa patty with avocado and cilantro.

I recently stabbed myself in the hand. Like, a good one. Needed a few stitches and an update on a few vaccinations. My left pinky still does not open all the way.

I won’t get into the story, just know that every day that I do not set myself on fire or slice off a finger is a good day in the kitchen for me. Why am I even telling you about this then? Because I had to delay my Bikram yoga practice. I wasn’t going to take an open wound into a room full of other peoples sweat (read: germ) particles floating thru the almost non-existent air. And no, I did not stab myself in the hand to get out of Bikram yoga (or did I)?

So I went after my run miles with gusto, because I don’t need hands for that.  I’m back to starving all of the time. How does one person cook all day and not find time to sit down for a meal? I am quit the specimen.

The view during my runs. No problem.

The view during my runs. No problem.

These here veggie burgers/patties are so stinking good. I think I ate an entire batch in less than 24 hours. The pain in my arm from all the shots makes the timeline fuzzy…

Anyhow, they are savory and delicious. They are incredible with a big dollop of guacamole, or a few slices of avocado and tomato. You can eat them on top of a salad, sandwiched between a bun like a burger, maybe wrapped in a leaf of romaine: protein style. Even straight out of the pan and over the sink. Did that. One handed.

They also happen to be highly portable. These patties make a great snack or lunch or dinner. You can make a big batch and freeze them, so that you have something  healthy in times of need. I’m totally going to toot my own horn here and say that these are better than any frozen veggie burger I have ever tried. I’ve tried a few.

Why you should eat this? 

Quinoa: learn it, love it. A seed that cooks like a grain, Quinoa is a true superfood (and I hate that term). Quinoa is highly regarded for its protein content, which is about 14% by weight. It is a complete protein making it ideal for those who eat a vegetable based diet (or people who should eat more Quinoa). Its full of fiber, high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium.  For Pete’s sake: whole South American civilizations subsisted off of Quinoa as their main source of nutrition for centuries!

Quinoa cooks at the same 1:2 ratio as rice, but this bionic seed cooks faster. That alone should get you to swap out your brown rice habit for a quinoa one.

Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burgers (Servings: 8-10 patties)

  • 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Diced onion and sun-dried tomato.

Saute onions and sun-dried tomatoes. (The oil from the tomatoes should be enough to saute the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ of the black beans, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Make sure that the onions get a little brown on them. You want that depth of flavor. Believe it.

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Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth.

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Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining black beans. If the mix is dry, add a little water. If it is too watery add more Quinoa. The consistency should ‘hold up’ in the shape of a burger.

Season with salt and pepper, if needed and cool.

Beauties ready to go.

Beauties ready to go.

Shape bean mixture into 8-10 patties, depending on how big or small you’d like them. In order for there to be consistency you can use either a 1/4 or 1/2 cup dry measure to scoop the mix out of the bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are nice and brown.

Serve how you’d like and enjoy!

I will get back to Bikram once my hand heals. I will finish out the package that I bought and get back to you guys about it. Promise.

Trust me. So good,

Nichole

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie

26 Sep

The seasons are changing right?

If I never went outside or didn’t look at a calendar, I would know that it is Fall from the posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about a certain pumpkin spice flavored latte from that one coffee place. People really love that super sweet, cinnamon-y, slightly pumpkin flavored drink.

I’m no fan. Coffee is coffee. Let it be coffee.

What am I a fan of? Well, Fall. And I LOVE me some pumpkin pie. The rich creamy, spicy flavors of a pumpkin pie = pure love. In fact when I make a pumpkin pie (near future), I will post a picture of it and proclaim my love across all social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all of them. Because that is how you show something you really love it.

** Fall in San Francisco is apparently prime surf season. I literally learn something new about this city every day. These guys look like they can use a smoothie.

Recently I read about a pumpkin spice milkshake (by read, I mean I saw it on the menu at a burger joint) and I immediately thought about this as a smoothie. Frankly, these days, the line is really blurry between milkshake and protein smoothie. I have come to really look forward to my smoothies as a treat. I believe that I actually run at a better (faster) pace because I SO look forward to my reward at the end of the run. It’s this kind of rich and creamy deliciousness that has made me a better runner. Quote me on it.

Oh and in case you guys are keeping track – I did really well at the Giant Race. Now I am training for the Nike Women’s marathon on October 14th.

I know, I can’t believe it either.

Why you should eat this?

It’s better than that latte.

Ok, ok, ok. PUMPKIN!! Get it off your porch and into your smoothie.

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, C, and E. Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining healthy, glowing skin! So you can go ahead and use the remaining pumpkin puree on your face. This smoothie is so good, you might want to just rub it all over your face too.

No? Just me?

Rich in B-complex vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. This smoothie is great source of B vitamins for those who eat little to no animal proteins.

What are we waiting for?

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie (Servings: 1 pretty big smoothie)

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (if using vanilla flavored – skip the vanilla extract)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey (can also use agave)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (your choice – I like hemp protein)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

Blend it all together and enjoy! Add more almond milk if you want to loosen the consistency, more spices if you want an extra kick. Get some adventure in your life.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Gluten Free Banana Protein Pancakes

31 Aug

Well, I’m still hungry.

Here is what I came up with last night in a moment of desperation. That moment was about 11-ish. In case you missed my last post (ahem, how dare you) I am training for a half marathon and my metabolism is off the charts.

I know what it feels like to be Michael Phelps. Minus all the gold. Ok, perhaps I just know a little about what it is like to have Michael Phelps’ metabolism. And his long wing span, my arms are really long.

Anyhow, these pancakes are good. They were especially good as a guilt free midnight snack. Don’t limit your pancake consumption to weekend brunches, folks. Live a little. These pancakes are a dense and gooey version of the classic. Banana filled, with a nutty texture, sweet and cinnamon-y. Good. AND good for you. Full of protein, omega 3’s, potassium, fiber, and gluten free.

Golf claps.

I like my pancakes with fruit preserves (jams, jelly, marmalade, you get the idea) and fresh fruit. By all means you can put butter and maple syrup on these … and if the mood stikes you – NUTELLA (food of the gods).

 

Here I had them with guava jelly and almond butter…mmmmm.

Why you should eat these? 

Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent or reduce high blood pressure.

Potassium is also one of the most important electrolytes, which helps to regulate heart function and fluid balance. Very important for athletes (yes, I’m an athlete).

You shouldn’t need more reasons to eat these. Sugar free, gluten free, full of goodness, and so easy.

All you’ll need.

Gluten Free Banana Protein Pancakes (Servings: 6)

  • 2 small bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons oat flour (Can use ANY flour)
  • 3 tablespoons of protein powder (I like Hemp, can use any or none at all)
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Coconut Milk (Can use water, milk, or almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend. Check consistency, depending on the flour you use, you may need a little more liquid. Add in a tablespoon at a time.

 

Heat a pan with oil or butter. I used coconut oil, it is a high heat oil and it imparts a sweet nutty flavor that I like.

Let the pan get hot, then add your batter. Turn down the heat to medium to medium low. The key here is slow and low. Cook on this side for about 7-10 minutes.

 

The pancake will get brown around the edges, then like a normal pancake, they will form small bubbles. Flip.

 

This side will take another 7-10 minutes to cook. Guys, they’re worth the wait.

Serve hot.

Eat happily, brush your teeth, and go to bed. I know I will.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole