Guilt-free Whole Wheat Banana Farro Bread

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with farro. It’s a whole grain with a nutty flavor similar to brown rice, but larger and has a more substantial bite. It is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E. I’ll post some farro-centric recipes in the near future, but I thought I’d start with a banana bread that is free of oils and uses primarily fruits to sweeten the batter. The addition of oats with the farro gives this bread a great, satisfying texture.

banana-breadRECIPE: Guilt-free Whole Wheat Banana Farro Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats (2 TBSP reserved)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked farrow
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk (almond, goat, skim or coconut)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl combine banana, applesauce, syrup, egg, milk and vanilla until well mixed. In a separate bowl, add flour, oats, farro, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined, being careful to not overmix. Pour batter into pan, sprinkle the top with oats and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Wrap leftover bread tightly to keep from drying out. Enjoy!

Guilt-free Key Lime Pie with Coconut Graham Cracker Crust

This recipe is another request from my dear friend Lois. Luckily my sister had recently made a healthy version of a key lime pie, so this one wasn’t much work at all – just a few tweaks from her original because I’m not a huge fan of citrus desserts. And I also think she made hers with a ginger snap crust; all I had were graham crackers in my cupboard. This pie is made primarily from non-fat greek yogurt, so it has tons of protein. Plus, the crust is also completely butter-free…so eat up!

RECIPE: Key Lime Pie with Coconut Graham Cracker Crust

pie-crustCRUST: Do this ahead of time.
Put 10 graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until the crackers have turned into crumbs. Slowly drizzle 5 TBSP melted coconut oil into the crumbs. Press into the bottom of a glass pie dish. You can also make with gluten free graham crackers, if you prefer. Pre-bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Put in the freezer for an hour when it comes out of the oven so the crust will be nice, crisp and cold when you pour the filling in.

pie-uncookedFILLING: Stir these ingredients together.

  • 1 cup of nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 can of nonfat sweetened condensed milk (this is just as delicious as the full-fat version, but simply made from skim milk instead)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (depending on how lime-y you like it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

TOPPING: Stir these ingredients together right before serving.

  • 1 1/2 cups of nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 TBSP confectioners sugar
  • zest of a lime (reserve 1/2 tsp for garnish)

DIRECTIONS: When the pie crust is baked and chilled, pour the filling into the crust and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes – it will still be jiggly. Chill pie for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, make the topping and spread an even layer over the pie. Garnish with the reserved lime zest and a slice of lime, if desired. Enjoy!whole-pie

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Peach Syrup

I came up with this recipe one day because I was really tired of the same bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. So instead of pouring the oats into a measuring cup while I was waiting for the water to boil, I threw them into the blender with a couple other things and made a batter. Traditional pancakes have no nutritional value whatsoever – a slurry of cooked white flour slathered in butter and pancake syrup. But this recipe has no flour whatsoever; instead it uses oats for fiber, nuts for protein, hearth-healthy flax seeds topped with homemade peach syrup and a dollup of nonfat greek yogurt for even more protein. Super healthy and really satisfying if you’re craving pancakes but feel guilty veering away from your oatmeal regimen.

blenderRECIPE: Oatmeal Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes with Homemade Peach Syrup

  • 1 cup regular oats
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP flax seeds
  • ¾ cup blueberries (optional)

Put everything in a blender and blend until fairly smooth, like the consistency of pancake batter. Let sit for 15-20 minutes and add another splash or two of almond milk to adjust the consistency. (Because you’re working with raw oats, they will absorb the liquid the first time around and the batter will get thick after sitting for 15 minutes; that’s why you have to adjust the consistency again.) Cook in greased skillet as you would a regular pancake. If you wish, sprinkle with blueberries before flipping. Makes 3 hearty 6-inch pancakes.

syrupTO MAKE THE SYRUP:
The peach syrup pays homage to my Aunt Ginny and her mother, Alice Hendrick. When she was a little girl, her mother gathered all the peach peelings and seeds which were left over from another peach project (such as pies or canning sliced peaches) and put them into a saucepan with a 2-to-1 ratio of sugar to water – just enough to barely cover the peach trimmings.  After simmering for about 2 hours, watching and testing throughout, the syrup is finished when most beautiful color appears, and the taste and consistency follow.

NOTES: Like most homemade syrups, it will be thinner than actual maple. But if you want, you can continue to cook until it gets closer to a candy stage. Instead of white sugar, I recommend using organic raw sugar or maple sugar. I also added a small pinch of salt and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice as I do to any jam or chutney I make.

The peach syrup pairs perfectly with these pancakes, but pure maple syrup and a dab of butter do just fine if that’s what you have. Either way, enjoy!

pancakes

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Mango & Feta

ingredientsMy friend, Geri, brought me the fixins’ for this salad a few months back because she had picked some fresh kale out of her garden that morning. It blew my mind. It’s one of those dishes that each ingredient is independently delicious, but together it’s even better than the sum of its parts. I’ll do my best to be precise, but from what I understand this recipe has evolved like a game of ‘whisper down the alley’ among a group of Santa Fe friends. No one follows a specific recipe so we all have our favorite variations. But the one I’m posting is Geri’s favorite. (Another friend, Allyn, adds shredded carrots to hers.) I actually like it without the fruit and cheese, but honestly I eat it differently almost every time I make it. Here goes.

kaleRECIPE: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Mango & Feta

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (nice and fluffy)
  • 2 cups kale, shredded/chopped into small pieces
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • handful of fresh, chopped herbs (mint, dill, chives, basil – whatever you have)
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of crumbled feta (add as much as you like)

FOR VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar, honey, pure maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
mixedAdd quinoa, kale, mango, fresh herbs, scallions and feta to a large mixing bowl. Shake all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Drizzle the dressing into the salad a bit at a time until it’s to your liking. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

NOTE: When I make this salad, I add a little feta each time I dish it out, rather than in the bowl. The feta taste seems to take over the freshness of the salad as it sits in the fridge. Don’t worry if you don’t eat it all in one sitting – this is even better the next day! And I hear it’s great with blueberries instead of mango. Enjoy!

serving

Kale, Pineapple and Shaved Brussels Sprout Slaw

Have a sweet tooth? This is a great way to enjoy some sweetness accompanied by a mound of superfoods. And if you’ve never tried raw brussels sprouts, now’s your chance to turn your opinion of those dreadful mini boiled cabbages around. This slaw is crunchy, tangy, sweet and it’s filled with a ton of vitamins. Not to mention a satisfying pile of protein-packed cashews on top.

shaved_brusselsRECIPE: Kale, Pineapple and Shaved Brussels Sprout Slaw

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts (cut ends off, chop in half, lay cut-side-down and chop until shredded OR slice them in the food processor)
  • 4-5 large kale leaves (stem removed, cut finely into thin strips)
  • 1/2 ripe pineapple (cut into small chunks)
  • 2 TBSP vinegar (white wine or cider)
  • 1 TBSP dijon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup (if needed, depending on the ripeness and sweetness of the pineapple)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • roasted, unsalted cashews

brussels_kale_pineappleDRESSING AND ASSEMBLY:
Add brussels sprouts, kale and pineapple to a large bowl. Then make the dressing; add these ingredients to a jar with a lid: vinegar, dijon, olive oil, agave nectar and salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Pour half of the dressing over the slaw and toss. Add more dressing until you get it coated to your liking. The amount usually depends on the sweetness of the pineapple. Let the flavors marry for at least 20 minutes. Top each serving with a palmful of chopped cashews. Add a couple extra turns of cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

kale_pineapple_brussel_slaw

Perfect Protein Parfait

For those of you who know a little french, please forgive me for the redundancy of the title. I couldn’t think of a better way to describe assembling your own yogurt treat rather than buying those pre-sweetened, fruit-on-the-bottom, boring single-serve cups. I know they are convenient and I certainly grab them on occasion, but if you have the time – and definitely on a leisurely weekend morning – give this a try. It’s also a perfect afternoon snack if you need a little boost of energy from the protein (over 30 grams to be exact!)

proteinparfait1The base of this recipe is plain greek yogurt  – make sure it’s the thick, greek variety, otherwise you’re missing out on the maximum amount of protein. I suppose you could use vanilla, but I’m a purist when it comes to this parfait. It’s also a super versatile dish, so make it yours or give everyone in your family the option to build their own by changing up the fruit. It’s kind of like picking out their flavor of yogurt off the shelf – only better.

  proteinparfait2RECIPE: Protein Parfait

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fruit (or fruits) of choice; in bite-size pieces
  • pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • granola (homemade, all natural, or gluten-free)
  • sliced almonds

ASSEMBLY:
Layer half of the yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, half the fruit, a liberal sprinkle of granola and almonds. Repeat. Or you can throw it all in a bowl together if you’re eating it at your desk, which is how mine is most often consumed. Today, I had an extremely ripe peach and some local blueberries, so it was extra delicious. Enjoy!

proteinparfait3