Category Archives: nutrition

almonds (almond butters)

I have loved almonds for as long as I can remember.  I use them often, grabbing a handful for a quick snack, throwing them slivered into salads and have even used their oil in homemade beauty products.  And now, I have (finally) ground them up and made almond butter!
Lucky for me, there are lots of good reasons to eat almonds.

Three reasons almonds are so good for you.
almonds
1. Heart Health.
There are many reasons almonds are good for your heart.  For one, they are high in healthy fat, which helps maintain good cholesterol levels.  They also have lots of potassium and little sodium, both factors that help regulate blood pressure.  As if that wasn’t enough, the amount of vitamins and minerals in almonds, such as vitamin E and magnesium have also been found to be key players in heart health.
2. Brain Health
Almonds have good levels of things like omega-3’s and vitamin E that have been linked to healthy brain function.  They also contain phenylalanine, which is a chemical linked to cognitive function.
3. Energy
One of the reasons almonds produce energy is because they provide a lot of calories, but there are also high amounts of several vitamins and minerals that play an important role in energy production.  The strong presence of riboflavin, copper and manganese help turn those calories into energy.

simple almond butterSIMPLE ALMOND BUTTER
Ingredients:
Raw Almonds
Salt (optional)


honey maple almond butter

HONEY MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER
Ingredients:
2 cups Raw Almonds
1 teaspoon Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Honey or Maple Syrup (I used 1 T of each)
Sea Salt (optional)
this recipe was inspired bythe post on Alexandra’s Kitchen featuring The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook

cinnamon flax almond butter

CINNAMON FLAX ALMOND BUTTER
Ingredients:

2 cups Raw Almonds
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Flaxseed
Sea Salt (optional)



Directions:

This applies to all of the above 🙂
1. Place almonds in food processor and blend until natural oils begin to come out.  This may take a while, up to 10 minutes!  (be sure to give your almond blender a break)
2. Add other ingredients.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Simple, right?  And so delicious!

Some notes:
~I tried five different pieces of equipment on my journey to making yummy almond butter from a grinder to a small bullet style blender and normal blender to both a small and larger sized food processor.  The conclusion?  Bigger blade and motor equals easier to make almond butter.  I did not get the consistency I wanted from my small (loyal smoothie making) blender.  I did with a normal monster blender, but it was a huge pain to get out and clean out.  The larger food processor worked the best!
~I have seen a lot of recipes where the almonds were toasted first.  I did not do this, but plan to try at some point.
~Refrigeration.  Technically, nut butters are supposed be refrigerated, but it’s frustrating because it does change the texture.  If you plan to use it within the week, however, I say cover it and leave it out.

Yum!  Enjoy!

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oats (peanut butter banana oatmeal bars)

I’ve always enjoyed oatmeal and oatmeal raisin cookies.  I also enjoyed scooping up a huge bag of these whole grains yesterday for less than $2.00.  But even more than this, I thoroughly enjoyed taking the time learn some of the many health benefits to oats.

Three reasons oats are so good for you:
1. Fiber.  They contain a specific type called beta-glucan, which helps keep cholesterol low.  In fact, studies show that when a diet includes the amount of fiber found in one bowl of oatmeal, cholesterol is typically lowered 8%-23%!  This also means dramatically reduced risk for heart disease!
2. Manganese.  Oats have lots of it and it plays lots of healthy roles!  It helps our bodies metabolize  fats and carbohydrates, absorb calcium, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and promote normal nerve function. (just to name a few)
3. Iron.  Of course there are many other great food sources of iron, but there are also many people that are iron deficient and anemic.  It is estimated that around 30% of people do not get enough iron and that number is higher in kids and pregnant women.  Iron is important because our bodies need it to make the protein hemoglobin, which is used to carry oxygen in our blood cells around our body.  So, yeah, pretty important.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OATMEAL BARS

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats (original recipe calls for quick…I used old fashioned)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-2 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

 

 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°
2. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon.
3. Add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg.  Stir together.
4. Add the mashed banana and peanut butter. Combine all of the ingredients.
5. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool Completely.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

These things are great!  They taste like some sort of wonderful lovechild of a peanut butter dipped banana, baked oatmeal, and banana bread.  And for how delicious they taste with no butter or oil, only a small amount of sugar and several healthy ingredients in the mix, it is hard to go wrong! I will definitely make these again.  (next time I will use the metal pan, though.  I used glass and had to bake them much longer)

Recipe source: Rumbly in my Tumbly

kale (green smoothie)

A couple years ago, I didn’t know much about kale and certainly didn’t eat much of it.  Today, I have come to appreciate its incredible nutritional value.
Three reasons to eat Kale:
1.  To fight cancer.  Kale is a superstar in the cancer fight for many reasons.   A major one is that it contains some of the most powerful antioxidants possible, carotenoinds and flavonoids.
2.  For your eyes.    Kale contains both high amounts of beta-carotene, which is beneficial to good vision and lutein, which aids in the prevention of macular degeneration.
3.  For your heart.  Thanks to a healthy dose of fiber, Kale is great for keeping blood pressure down and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Kale has plenty more health benefits, but the first time I tried it, I didn’t like it and I don’t tend to eat what I don’t like.  But then, one magical day at a farmers market, I tried some that had been cooked with garlic and olive oil.  Simple and surprisingly delicious.

In all honesty, I still don’t really like kale as a salad green, but here is another recipe that I love, is easy to make and is packed with health benefits:

GREEN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

2 cups raw Kale

1 Banana, frozen (or not)

1/3 cup Orange Juice

1/4 cup Milk

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (optional)

1 Tablespoon Flaxseed Meal (optional)

1 teaspoon Honey (optional…I add it to fight allergies)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Found the original recipe here  (thanks to pinterest)

wild salmon (maple salmon)

Three reasons your body will love you for eating wild salmon:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids.  These acids are so important because the body cannot make them on its own.  They improve brain function, boost “good” cholesterol, guard against inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease!
2. Vitamins D and B12.  Vitamin D is hard to find in food and, unfortunately, deficiency is common.  One role it plays is to help our bodies absorb calcium.   Vitamin B-12 is important for red blood cell production and proper nerve function.
3. Selenium.  It is a mineral that we need for thyroid function and is a very powerful player for our immune system.

MAPLE SALMON
Made this for dinner last night with fresh salmon and it was delicious.  I was honestly a little apprehensive about the sweet and salty flavor mix, but it balanced out quite nicely.  Will definitely make it again!

Ingredients:

1 pound Salmon

1/2 cup Maple Syrup

3-4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Fresh Ginger, to taste

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic and pepper.
2. Place salmon in glass baking dish and coat with syrup mixture.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning at least once.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
4. Remove salmon from fridge and top with ginger.  Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until salmon is slightly opaque and easily flaked with a fork.

I paired it with roasted red potatoes, my favorite salad (spinach, strawberries, feta, almonds), fresh bread with honey butter and a crisp white wine.  Yum Yum!

Found the original recipe here.

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