Food

Berry Beet & Tropical Beet Smoothies

In case you haven't noticed, the holidays are here! After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, indulging in a few too many Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Muffins, its time to get back on track with healthy eating habits. This is the time of year where most people's fitness and health goals are thrown out the window, accepting defeat long before Christmas Day is even here. If you are looking to get fit and healthy the worst thing you can do right now is push that off until the New Year. On average, Americans gain 7-10lbs pounds* between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I'm commiting myself to posting healthy recipes you can start enjoying today to help stay fit and healthy. One of my tips for maintaining a healthy diet is incorporating smoothies. I absolutely love smoothies, in fact I have at least one a day.To kick off December, here are TWO smoothie recipes for you to try.

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That’s right! We back on beets! If you saw our very first post for Roasted Beet Hummus you’re familiar with the health benefits of beet. If not, let me quickly recap how awesome these ruby gem’s are: they are packed with nutrients including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. They are a high source of energy, and also natural detoxers. You can read more about there benefits here and even more here.

You get most of a vegetable’s or fruit’s nutrients when you eat them raw, which is why beets are fantastic in juices or smoothies. I haven’t gotten into juicing yet, I prefer smoothies, even if there is more “pulp” because I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything. One of the benefits of eating raw vegetables and fruits is for the fiber so why strain it all out?

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Speaking about waste - I like to use the beet greens as well. Now here me out, I know adding greens to your smoothie seems weird, especially if you haven't made a lot of smoothies before, but I'm telling you they are worth it. Yes, beet root (the red bulb we use) are full with nutrients, but beet greens have their own set of great vitamins and nutriets which help round out the recipe. Beet greens actually have a very mild flavor, so with all the other sweet fruits you are adding to the recipe, you will not taste it! The recipe only calls for a quarter cup of greens, but if you'd like to add more, by all means, bump the quarter cup up to a full cup. If you still are apprehensive about beet greens, try adding baby spinach instead, its slightly sweeter.

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The first recipe is for a Berry Beet Smoothie. I start off with a half of a medium beet, peeled. The juice from beets stain, so when you are peeling you're beet, don't be wearing white. If you don't want you're fingers and hands to get discolored bright pink, be sure to wear some gloves. I go roque, sans gloves, and just get my hands to the sink as soon as I can after peeling and chopping the beet.

As the name implies, I then add a bunch of my favorite berries - a cup of raspberries and a half a cup of blueberries. Frankly, you can really add any combination you like - feel free to sub out for strawberries or blackberries, but keep the total fruit to 1.5-2 cups. I also add a half of a frozen banana. Banana's help to keep you full during the day, so my smoothies almost always have a half to whole banana. Once they are ripe, I chop them up and freeze them. A frozen banana adds some nice texture to the smoothie.

Another key ingredient in a good smoothie, is fat. Yes, I said it, FAT IS GOOD... well, not all fats, but healthy fats, like Omega-3. Flaxseed serves a good fat to add to a smoothie with about about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s in each tablespoon. I usually buy a ground flaxseed from Trader Joe's. I find that the ground version is much easier to incorporate into smoothies. Ground flaxseed is also easier for your body to process so you can absorb more of their nutriets.

Lastly the Beet Berry Smoothie comes together with unsweetened almond milk (which if you follow Mindful Glutton, you know is one of the stables in our fridge). I like how the creaminess of the almond milk balances the acidity and sweetness from the fruit. Depending on the desired consitency and if you add ice to your smoothie, you may need more than a cup. Almond milk is so light in calories you are welcome to add a few more drops, but I usually end up just adding a few extra tablespoons of water if I need to. It wont dilute the flavor whatsoever. Here is a fun picture of the recipe you can post to Pinterest!

Today is a double feature - so here is another recipe you can use that other half of beet for. This is a Tropical Beet Smoothie. I know its December, but when it starts to get cold here in New England, I sometimes like to remind myself of warmer weather. The tropical blend of fruits in this version does the trick.

As with the first recipe, start out with a half of a raw medium beet. Next I add a cup of cubed pineapple and about a half a cup of mango to get those tropical flavors. Pineapple is a very assertive flavor, and does a really great job of masking the beet flavor (although mild to begin with). I also added about a 1/3 cup of raspberries because I had some left over from the Berry Beet Smoothie. Have you heard the phrase "eat the rainbow"? Its the concept that by eating fresh produce, of all different colors, you are getting a great variety of nutriets. Here we have reds, yellows, and oranges (and if you add beet greens/ spinach, green too).

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I use one of three liquids in my smoothies: water, almond milk, or coconut water. Going along with the tropical inspiration, this one uses coconut water. I don't enjoy drinking coconut water straight up (unless its the chocolate flavor), but its a great base for a smoothie. The coconut flavor is really mild. Where the real benefit comes from is the potassium and electrolytes in coconut water. Its incredibly hydrating. Hungover? Drink coconut water. Between the detoxing properties in the beet, and the electrolytes in the coconut water, this smoothie is a perfect way to flush out all the bad toxins after your holiday work party.

The last addition is a half of tablespoon of chia seeds.  You can put in a whole tablespoon, but if you haven't tried chia seeds before, I recommend starting with a half, since they pretty much stay intact after blending. As with flaxseeds, chia seeds are rich with Omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. They will also help you feel full faster, keep you hydrated, and give you lots of energy. Its said that chia seeds were a regular part of the Mayans and Aztecs diets because of the energy and stamina it gives. Warriors were said to eat a handful before going off to battle. So maybe we aren't fighting in any epic battles this season, but extra energy, without having to fill up on a high calorie caffeine drink from your favorite coffee ship is always a win. So here you have another great smoothie recipe in your aresenal. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Berry Beet Smoothie

  • 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1/4 cup beet greens (or spinach)
  • 1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup ice (optional)

 

Tropical Beet Smoothie

  • 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup ice (optional)

Instructions

  • For either recipe, preparing your smoothie is as simple as putting all the ingredients into your blender, and blending until smooth.
  • Be careful as you peel the beet, their juices will stain your clothes. You can choose to wear gloves if you'd like, but I just quickly wash my hands afterward to get the beet juice off.
  • If you are adding ice to give your smoothie more texture, you can add extra water/ice to get the desired consistency.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Bread

Before reading any further, please note there is nothing healthy about this recipe. If there is any time to indulge, its certainly on a holiday, so I baked Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Chip Bread and Muffins.  The original recipe was for bread, but is also the perfect batter for muffins. Pumpkin puree was a great addition to the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for its nutritional value, but here, pumpkin puree serves as an ingredient that will make the bread (or muffins) incredibly moist.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Muffins and Bread from Mindful Glutton
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Muffins and Bread from Mindful Glutton

The first time I made the recipe was in preparation of our annual camping trip to Lake Winnepesauke. My husband, along with the other couple we go with are a little picky so I wasn't sure how they'd like "pumpkin" bread. I warmed a few of the muffins up by the camp fire so when you broke them apart the chocolate chips were gooey again. They were a huge hit. Unfortunately we had an accident with the loaf of bread, and it got soaked with water in the cooler and we had to throw it away.

I've been baking a lot less this year. Its one of the ways I've been watching what I eat. So when I do bake, I invest in the best quality ingredients. The last time I made this recipe we were still getting fresh local organic eggs from our farm share. The taste and quality rival what you can find in a grocery store. With that, I've decided to stick with organic eggs.

I'm also using organic flour, sugar and pumpkin puree. I read and hear a lot of dialog about the pros/cons (or more so contesting of the cons) of organic. Those against organic usually say its too expensive and that any "risks" of non-organic are minimal or over exaggerated. I don't exclusively buy organic, but when I'm presented both options, I usually go towards organic. I'd like to address the argument that organic "is too expensive", it isn't necessarily. I find Trader Joe's has a lot of great organic products at reasonable prices. I also buy little, if any,8 packaged or junk food. If you want to save money at the grocery store, shop the perimeter (fruits, veggies, dairy) - its also healthier. I'm glad to sacrifice the 10 for $10 dollar special on Cheeze-Its for a bag of organic flour. Secondly, even if the pesticides and chemicals in non-organic are so trace to present a threat, why would I want to eat just a little of it? All I know, is that between having a better diet, which consists of more organic food, and working out, my body feels great.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from one I saw on a blog called Two Peas In a Pod. I've tweaked the recipe ever so slightly. I substituted some of the white sugar for brown sugar (just a half of a cup), and I've also substitute water for coffee to get that "latte" flavor.

The original also calls for a cup of canola oil. Canola oil is extremely processed and goes rancid really easy and can act as a carcinogen. I'm still learning ways to substitute out icky products like these with other ingredients so I wasn't able to get rid of it completely. However I found a way to use Greek yogurt to replace some of it. You can use the following method in any of your baking. First, cut the amount of oil in half. Then replace each cup of oil you remove with 3/4 cup greek yogurt. There is only a cup of oil in this recipe, so if I cut that in half, I'd add 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of the yogurt.

 The recipe itself comes together very quickly. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients plus sugar in another. Combine, and stir in the chocolate chips. The original recipe says the batter is enough for 3 loafs of bread, but I believe it would most likely make 2. Today I used the batter to make a dozen muffins plus one good size loaf of bread. I can't decide which one I like better. Fresh out of the oven the muffins develop a beautiful caramelized crust (thanks to the brown sugar) and are perfect with a cup of coffee. But the loaf of bread seems to retain its moistness a bit longer than the muffins and can be enjoyed throughout the week (if it lasts that long). I like baking this, having a slice or two, and leaving it at work or with friends so I'm not tempted to eat the entire loaf. Its truly a favorite of mine.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • .5 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs non fat greek yogurt (if you dont have greek yogurt, just use a full cup of canola oil)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 11oz bags of milk or semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spray the inside of your bread pan with cooking spray and sprinkle some flour on the inside. Shake to distribute the flour (so it sticks to the bottom and sides) and shake out the excess. If you are making muffins you can do the same thing with your muffin tin or line with paper cups.
  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin puree, canola oil, water, coffee, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the entire bag of chocolate chips :)
  • For a loaf of bread, bake 55-60 mins, or until its browned and a toothpick comes out clean. For muffins, bake time is 30-35 mins.
  • Let rest for at least 15 mins before removing from the bread pan.

Nutritional Information

One serving (either one muffin or about a 1-inch slice of the bread): Calories: 301, Carbs: 50, Fat: 11g, Proteins 5g, Sugars: 35g

*Calculated with MyFitnessPal - I weighed a single muffin and slice and determined between the muffins and bread loaf I had 22 servings and divided total calories by that.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m up bright and early to whip up a few things for my family’s Thanksgiving gathering. I sometimes wonder why I even bother because whether we are at my aunt’s house or my mother-in-law’s there is always an abundance, or more accurately, an EXCESS of food. Knowing that the day will consist of overeating and drinking I like to start off days like this with a healthy breakfast. Inspired by the holiday I’ve whipped up a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie that is light in calories (285 to be exact) but will keep you full until your Thanksgiving feast starts!

Pumpkin is much more than the “flavor of the month”, it's an incredible superfood. The orange hue in pumpkin (as well as sweet potatoes and carrots) is beta-carotene, a powerful provitamin known for its supporting eye-health and the immune system.

Another great thing about pumpkin is that its is high in fiber which is great for digestion, but also for helping you feel full longer. One cup of puree has 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein – and only has 80 calories!

You can find pumpkin puree in the baking section of your grocery store in cans or pouches like this one. Be careful not to buy “pumpkin pie filling”.

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I really want something that will hold me over until the afternoon so I'm not craving as many appetizers before the main meal so I'm also including oatmeal and banana. I also add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Flaxseed has a lot of fiber as well as Omega-3. I add it to almost all my breakfast smoothies for extra health benefits.

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A mindful smoothie should always be sweetened naturally, so I'll add a half of a pear. Apples also come to mind when I think of autumn dishes, but I thought it would be too tart for this recipe. I recommend keeping the skin on. The smoothie may be a bit more “pulpy” with it, but studies show the skin of pears contain 3-4 times as many phytonutrients as the flesh. I also add a teaspoon of agave for a little more sweetness.

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The recipe calls for a cup of unsweetened almond milk. If you haven't tried it already, I recommend you do. Compared to regular milk, almond milk is much higher in nutrients and calcium, and much lower in calories. A cup of unsweetened almond milk is just 30-45 calories depending on the brand and flavor. Vanilla flavored almond milk would be perfect for this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, but I usually buy unflavored. A drop or two of vanilla extract will give me the flavor I'm looking for.

Add ice (or freeze the banana) before blending.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 pear, with skin
  • 1/2 banana, preferably frozen
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy)
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp agave or honey
  • .5 tsp vanilla extract (optional, if you use vanilla flavored almond milk you do not need to add vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup ice

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a blender
  • Blend!

Nutritional Information*

One serving: Calories: 285, Carbs: 51g, Fat: 7g, Protien: 8g, Sugars: 23g

Mindful Buffalo Chicken Pita Pockets

There seems to be a misconception out there that healthy versions of meals never taste as good as the original. I beg to differ. I say my Mindful Buffalo Chicken Pita Pockets rival their fried chicken component in terms of flavor. It will absolutely satisfy that craving for spicy buffalo chicken and creamy dressing and even better, has a fraction of the calories and fat. One of my favorite lunches to get at my work’s cafeteria was this Buffalo Chicken Wrap. Crispy Fried Chicken with buffalo sauce and creamy ranch or blue cheese dressing in a soft wrap. I love spicy food and every time this was a special on the menu I’d order it. You’d think because it was a wrap, it would be somewhat of a healthy lunch, but the stats are staggering: Calories: 490, Fat: 25g, Carbs: 48g.

My version has only 300 calories, has less than 6g of fat, 27 carbs, and actually has twice the protein (31g vs 17g) than that Fried Buffalo Chicken Wrap. And to be completely honest, I actually prefer this version.

To make this recipe healthier we have to get rid of the fried chicken and the traditional high calorie and fat dressing. But don’t despair; those are getting swapped out with something just as good.

The cafeteria did offer a grilled version of the wrap, but I never found it as satisfying. For some reason, grilled chicken always comes out dry and unpleasant. For this recipe, instead of grilling chicken, I roast it, which leaves it tender and juicy.

If you are trying to start eating healthier, one thing that helps is to plan some of your meals in advance. For me, Sundays are a great day for this. You can roast a few pounds of chicken breast, shred and store in the fridge about 4 days to have over the course of the week. Chicken is so versatile you can use it in several different meals, or make the same ones over again. (I’m having this Buffalo Chicken Pita Pocket a 2nd day in a row its so good!)

With the roasted shredded chicken made ahead of time, this lunch comes together in a pinch! I roast mine with salt, pepper, a little bit of grapeseed or olive oil for about 30 mins in a 400° oven. Every oven is a little different and the cook time can vary depending on how big your chicken breasts are, so just keep an eye on it and pull it out when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°.

Next comes the dressing. Whether you are on Team Ranch or Blue Cheese, you can easily adapt this creamy dressing to your taste. I start off by mixing 2 heaping tablespoons of non-fat greek yogurt with about 1 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. You can adjust the amount of hot sauce you use, based on your personal preference. I found these to be just the right amount of dressing, but if you want to add a few extra tbs of the non-fat yogurt feel free… each tbs is only about 15 calories. Next I added .05oz of crumbled goat cheese (about 1 tbs). Blue cheese would work too if you prefer, but I happened to have goat cheese on hand. Finally, I diced up some green onions I had on hand to add some color and crunch. Chopped celery is another alternative, but I like the mild onion flavor from the green onion.

I’ve found people to be very polarized about greek-style yogurts. They either love it or hate it. I’ll admit I defiantly didn’t not like greek yogurt for a long time. However, because it can be a great addition to a healthy diet, I started to try different brands and flavors and eventually started to enjoy it. It's still unlikely that I’d eat plain greek  yogurt by the spoonfuls, but as a base for a dipping sauce it is excellent and has made its way as a staple in my refrigerator. If you are on the fence, I urge you to give it another shot with this recipe.  

Back to the recipe… When its time for lunch, heat up 4oz (about a cup) of the shredded chicken and then mix it with your buffalo yogurt dressing and shredded carrots. Fill half a pita pocket and enjoy!

The recipe below is for 2 servings so you can share with another or enjoy it again later in the week!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted shredded chicken
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 large pita pocket, cut in half

Dressing

  • ¼ cup non-fat greek style yogurt
  • 2 tbs your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 oz of crumbled goat or blue cheese (about 2 tbs)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Warm shredded chicken in microwave or oven.
  • Mix yogurt, hot sauce, crumbled cheese and green onions in small bowl.
  • Add warmed chicken and shredded carrots to dressing to evenly coat.
  • Divide chicken and dressing mixture into two halves of the pita bread (or save half for another meal)

Nutritional Information*

Per Serving: Calories: 300, Fat: 5.5g, Carbs: 27g, Protien: 31.6g

*Calculated with MyFitnessPal

Thanksgiving Egg Rolls

'Tis the season where our healthy eating habits tend to go right out the window. With Thanksgiving coming up this week I wanted to create a great appetizer that was on the healthier side. These Thanksgiving Egg Rolls are great made from scratch but can also be a great way to use your leftovers this year!

Most appetizers I see out at family gatherings are carb and fat heavy (and I'm just as guilty of making my fair share of them). We all know the difference between what is and isn't healthy, but who ever goes for the crudite spread at Thanksgiving? Your guests won't have to choose with these baked eggrolls filled with yummy healthy fall inspired ingredients. Just two of them are under 250 calories.

You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey, and being a lean meat, it made a great starting point for the filling of these egg rolls. I had dried cranberries and a fresh green apple on hand and decides I'd incorporate those great fall flavors as well. The tricky part was thinking of a binder. Most party or game-day appetizers I see are filled with shredded or cream cheese, which usually sends the calorie count through the roof.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. They are nutrient rich, have a beautiful orange color that reminds me of autumn, and would be an excellent binder for the egg roll filling. I wanted to keep the ingredient list short, so the only other thing the filling needed was fresh thyme and sage, classic herbs used with poultry.

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For this recipe - I made everything from scratch. I roasted my turkey breast, boiled and mashed the sweet potatoes and added the extras (cranberries, apples, herbs). However, this can easily be adapted to use your Thanksgiving leftovers.

The stuffing comes together in a pinch once the other ingredients are ready. Now comes the fun part, making the egg rolls. Typically you can find egg roll wrappers in the produce section of the grocery store. I choose egg roll wrappers because they are much lighter than using a pastry or pizza dough, and they are extremely easy to work with.

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I placed 3-4 tbs of the filling in each wrapper and rolled per the instructions on the back of the package. At 400° they only take 10-15 mins to bake until crispy.

Finally, any good app needs a dipping sauce so I made a quick Mustard Yogurt sauce mixing a dijon mustard with low-fat greek yogurt and leftover thyme. If you "don't like" greek style yogurt, please give this one a chance. The taste of greek yogurt (especially plain) used to be revolting to me, but when mixed with mustard you wouldn't even guess the base of the dipping sauce was yogurt. You will save a lot of calories so you can leave more room for all those left over desserts.

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Ingredients

Filling

  • 1.5 lbs of turkey breast
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs fresh thyme and chopped sage
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1/2 green apple, finely diced
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup Non-Fat Greek style Yogurt
  • 2 tbs Dijon Mustard (I used Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

Egg rolls

  • 18 Wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg

Instructions

(If you are using leftovers you can skip to the instructions for the filling)

Roasting the Turkey

  • Preheat oven to 375º
  • Put turkey breasts in baking dish or sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add 1tsp of the chopped herbs over the chicken for extra flavor while roasting.
  • Roast 30-40 mins to roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 165º. When ready, remove from oven and cover with foil.

Sweet Potato Mash

  • Peel and dice sweet potatoes.
  • Add to pot and fill with water and bring to boil.
  • Cook for about 15 mins until fork tender. Drain and return to pot.
  • Mash sweet potatoes until there are no more lumps.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

Filling

  • Mix pulled/shredded turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, diced green apple, cranberries and remaining thyme and sage into large bowl.

Assembling and Baking Egg Rolls

  • Preheat oven to 400º
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Add 3-4 tbs of filling to each egg roll wrapper, and roll per instructions on back of package.
  • Place egg rolls on baking sheet. Depending on how much filling you've added, you should get about 18 egg rolls.
  • Beat egg with a tbs of water and use a brush to coat the top of the egg rolls.
  • Bake for 10 mins, turn over, and bake another 5-8 minutes until the edges are crispy.

Dipping Sauce

  • Mix ingredients together in small bowl
  • Preheat oven to 400º

Notes

Nutritional Information*

Serving Size: 2 Egg Rolls, Calories: 222, Fat: 1.7g, Carbs: 32.5

2 tbs Mustard Yogurt Dipping Sauce, Calories: 20, Fat: 0.7g, Carbs: 0.8g

*Calculated with MyFitnessPal

Roasted Beet Hummus

The first post I'll be sharing is a recipe from another blog, Minimalist Baker. I choose to share this recipe for Roasted Beet Hummus because it was this recipe and blog that set me on the road to starting my own food blog. Incorporating beets into a hummus was an exceptionally clever idea and is a great way to introduce a seemingly strange vegetable into you diet.

Earlier this summer, I joined a CSA program with Warner Farms to start incorporating more fresh veggies into my diet. I absolutely loved it. Each week I picked up my farm share, I felt like a contestant on the Food Network show "Chopped", receiving a "mystery box" full of ingredients. I was challenged each week to use all the fresh produce in meals that both myself and husband would enjoy. The farm share really sparked my creativity and fueled my growing passion of cooking.

I knew I'd be receiving lots of vegetables I hadn't tried before. I grew up a pretty picky eater, which was one of the reasons I was struggling to get good nutrition into my diet. When I joined the CSA, I made a commitment to myself to stay open minded and try everything it had to offer. One of the first strange ingredients we got were beets.

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Warner Farms sent out a weekly newsletter and this week they included few recipes to give us ideas how to use our beets. A link to  Minimalist Baker's Roasted Beet Hummus drew me with beautiful photography, capturing the bright pink hue of the hummus off set by the orange carrots and green cucumbers. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I just had to try it for myself.

I explored her site and found it was filled with lots of amazing and simple recipes. She also had another thing that caught my attention, food photography e-courses and blogging resources. I'd taken several photography classes in high school and already considered it to be a hobby of mine, but needed some refreshers along with some food styling tips. The cost of the class was the best $19.99 I spent in a long time. It planted the seeds for this very here food blog!

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While the farm share sparked my creativity with cooking, Minimalist Baker rekindled my interest in photography. The two passions came together serendipitously with this here recipe. It only seemed right I feature it as my first post.

So without further adieu, lets talk about roasted beet hummus!

If you are unfamiliar with beets, to sum it up, they are a root vegetable that come in a variety of colors, but most often, a deep ruby. What a lot of people don't know is that beets are a super food. They are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid. They are excellent at cleansing/detoxifying the body, and are a high source of energy. They are just too good for you not to have if you are looking to have a mindful eating lifestyle.

A great way to introduce yourself to beets is by mixing or blending them with other foods - which makes this recipe perfect. I don't think beets have a very strong taste as it is, but if you are worried about it, the lemon and the garlic in this dish become the most prominent flavors.

Simply, roast a few fresh beets, peel and dice. Add them to a food processor along with garlic, lemon juice and ingredients you'd find in a traditional hummus, like chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste) and olive oil and blend! The end result is a bright and garilc-y hummus perfect for dipping veggies or a spread in a sandwich.

The deep red hues of the beets turn the hummus bright pink making the dish a real show stopper. What a perfect dip for a bridal shower, bachelorette party or baby shower! Impress all you friends and bring it to your next cocktail party.

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 Small Beets, roasted and peeled
  • 2 15oz cans of garbanzo/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 5 garlic cloves (I like mine to have a strong garlic taste)
  • 3-4 tbs tahini
  • About a 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Roast the beets ahead of time. Rinse the beets and cut off the stems. Wrap them in foil and roast in a 375°F oven for 50-60 mins. Let cool before handling and peel with a pairing knife.
  • Add cooled, roasted beets in food processor. Pulse to break up .
  • Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini and blend until smooth.
  • Lastly, slowly drizzle in olive oil, while blending, until you reach the desired consistency.

Nutritional Info per original site

1 serving has Calories: 165 Fat: 12 g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 1.2 g Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 3.4