Avocado Pasta Sauce

Robust Recipe: Avocado Pasta Sauce 

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Avocado pasta sauce? Yes. It is delicious. Avocado is a wonderful source of heart healthy monounsaturated fat that help cholesterol levels come down and your healthy cholesterol go up! Not to mention garlic (crushed) has some great heart healthy benefits as well! Garlic helps open up blood vessels and decrease plaque build up. So serve yourself up a tasty bowl of whole grain pasta (make sure to get your fiber by using whole grain) with avocado sauce!

Ingredients: 

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1-2 avocado

1 handful cherry tomatoes

2-3 garlic cloves

Splash of lemon and lime juice

If you want to add protein to the dish: 2 chicken breast or ~4-6 chicken tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces

Whole grain pasta

Directions: (Easiest directions ever.)

1) Puree avocado, tomatoes, garlic, lemon and lime juice together in food processor.

2) Cook chicken on a non stick pan. I added some lemon juice to the chicken while it was cooking and it gave it a fun zest.

3) Serve over cooked whole grain pasta.

Be sure to share and enjoy!

Justin and I had a contest for presentation….Which one do you like best?!

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Justin’s Bowl?

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My bowl?

Either way, we both ended up loving it!

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Let’s Be Robust!

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Last Minute Egg Burrito

Robust Recipe: Last Minute Egg Burrito 

Ok, I’m telling you we had almost nothing left in our refrigerator and we needed lunch ASAP. So, I scrounged up these ingredients to make a quick, delicious high protein lunch.

So when you need something fast that is going to hold you over, this will definitely work. A bonus is that this burrito works for all three meals of the day!

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Ingredients:

1) 2 whole wheat tortilla

2) 4 eggs

3) 1/2 green pepper ( and whatever other veggies you have- tomatoes, onions, spinach)

4) 10 turkey pepperoni (optional)

5) 1/3 cup pepper jack cheese (or whatever kind you have)

6) cracked pepper

7) 2-4 tbs skim milk

Directions: 

1) Whisk eggs, milk, green pepper (other veggies), turkey pepperoni together.

2) Scramble egg mixture over medium heat until fully cooked.

3) Melt cheese over egg mixture.

4) Warm tortillas in the microwave for ~15 seconds.

5) Make a burrito out of the scrambled egg mixture and tortilla

 

So be sure to share and enjoy!
Let’s Be Robust!

 

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Quinoa Pizza

Robust Recipe: Quinoa Pizza!

I’ve made Quinoa Pizza a few times for different guests we’ve had over for dinner and these individual sized pizzas have been well received. I got the idea for these from a couple different pinterest sites, however have tweaked this particular recipe to my liking.

Being made with quinoa, they are obviously higher in protein and fiber and much lower in fat than your traditional pizza. Therefore are a great alternative to take out! I highly recommend giving them a try!

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Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa (~2 cups cooked)

2-4 tbs fresh basil, chopped (you can also use dried)

2-4 tbs fresh oregano, chopped (you can also used dried)

1 tbs paprika

3/4 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded

2/4 cup onion, chopped

2 eggs

3/4 cup turkey pepperoni, chopped

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Pizza sauce (side)

Directions:

Yields about 10 quinoa pizzas; Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

1) Cook the quinoa (should yield about 2 cups).

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2) Cut up the fresh herbs, turkey pepperoni, onion and shred mozzarella.

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3) Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (cooked quinoa, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion, pepperoni, herbs/spices, eggs).

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4) Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

5) Use a spoon to fill the muffin tin up with the mixture.

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6) Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 min.

7) Enjoy with a side of heated pizza sauce.

Be sure to share and enjoy!

Let’s Be Robust!

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Raspberry Smoothie!

Robust Recipe: Raspberry Smoothie!

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Here is another one folks! This has ~20gm protein so it definitely fills ya up and keeps you satisfied! The kefir and Greek yogurt both have probiotics, vit D and calcium (three important nutrients for our body). Raspberries are high in antioxidants, plant stanols/sterols and fiber.

So break out that blender and make a delicious smoothie!

Ingredients:

~1 cup frozen raspberries

6oz honey flavored Greek yogurt

~2/3 cup raspberry flavored lowfat kefir (you could substitute skim milk, almond milk, soy milk or rice milk- these options do not have as much protein or the probiotics)

Directions:

Use a blender or handheld blender to blend all of these ingredients together until smooth.

Share (if you want) and Enjoy!

Let’s Be Robust!

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Peanut Butter Banana Flax Smoothie

Robust Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Flax Smoothie 

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This is how I started my day today. I literally went to bed last night wanting a banana peanut butter smoothie. So I made my wish come true:) It was delicious and kept me satisfied until lunch time.

This smoothie is a great source of monounsaturated fat, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin D and protein. You’ll have to forgive me though because I didn’t actually measure any of the ingredients, so the following are just guest-a-ments. It’s hard to mess up a smoothie though… 🙂

Ingredients: 

1 large banana

~1 tbs milled flax seed

1 large spoonful of natural peanut butter

~3/4 cup skim milk (you could also use almond, rice, etc…)

~1/2 cup ice (more or less a handful of ice cubes)

Directions: 

Blend all ingredients together (using a blender or handheld blender) and enjoy a nutrient packed breakfast.

Let’s Be Robuts!

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Before, During and After Grocery Shopping Money Saving Tips!

Robust Eating Tip:  Before, During and After Grocery Shopping Money Saving Tips!

Don't be eating all of your cash!

Avoid eating all of your extra cash!

I don’t know about you but when I go to the grocery store hungry I tend to buy a little more than I had planned on (which leads to spending more than I planned on). Not to mention the extra food I tend to buy usually is not on my grocery list and could be categorized as “junk food.” Whoops! Not only adding to my money spent but also to my waist line.

In order to avoid buying those extra calories (A.K.A. losing money) to sit in my house just waiting for me to eat them, I try to follow a few simple grocery shopping tips that I’ve learned to do before I go shopping, while I’m shopping, and after shopping . Hope you find some of these tips helpful to keep to your healthy eating budget for calories and cash!

Here they are:

BEFORE SHOPPING: 

Plan your meals for the week and when you will use leftovers for meals.

Plan to shop 1 time a week.

Correlate fruits and vegetables for the meals you have planned for that week. Make the most out of the produce you buy.

Look for coupons, sales and specials for items you were already planning on buying.

Sign up for free store discount cards.

Make a shopping list based off of the meals you plan on making for that week.

If leftovers are not popular at your house, buy only the amount your family will eat for that week to reduce food waste (aka money wasted).

Make a food budget and stick to it.

Plan to be versatile with the foods you buy. For example, fruit can be used in salads, desserts, sides or as a snack.

DURING SHOPPING:

Do not shop when you are hungry, this will help you stick to your planned shopping list. Eat a healthy snack before you go if you are hungry (example may be, piece of fruit, low-fat yogurt or some veggies and hummus).

Try to shop the outer edge of the grocery store. There are usually more produce and fresh foods there.

Try store brand items, they cost less.

Compare items for the best deal, pay attention to the amount in the package and cost. Look for cost of item per ounce to help you figure out what brand is cheapest.

Sometimes items in “bulk or family packs” cost less.

Check expiration and sell by dates. Buy the freshest food possible so it will last longer.

Buy whole fruits and vegetables not the pre-cut fruit and vegetables. Plan to cut your produce at home and save.

Buy produce when it is in season– See ” Eating Healthy on a Budget” for a list of when fruit and vegetables are in season.

If you are trying something new, buy a small amount just in case you do not like it.

Shop at larger grocery stores instead of small convenience stores.

Avoid that candy, pop and chip isle (and all the extra single items by the check out)!

AFTER SHOPPING: 

Store food right away.

Freeze food to prevent spoiling (meat, fruit, vegetables or bread). Make sure to label and date the item.

Divide food intro individual portions to help portion control and decrease waste.

Use foods with the earliest expiration dates first.

When preparing a meal, double or triple the recipe. Store in containers for 1-2 meals and freeze.

Be creative with extra produce. With leftover fruit, make smoothies. With leftover vegetables make salsa!

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Hope your dinner is cheaper and healthier than Justin’s!

Hope these money-saving tips help you buy smart and healthy! What other money-saving tips do you do while at the grocery store?

Let’s Be Robust!

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Salmon Cakes

Robust Recipe: Salmon Cakes

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Salmon, a wonderful fish with plenty of anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s may help reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other chronic diseases. These salmon cakes also have iron, calcium, protein and even a little fiber! They are easy to make and have a mild salmon flavor that’s very lovable.

Hope you enjoy these delicious and healthy cakes!

Ingredients: 

1 16oz can boneless, pink salmon drained and finely flaked (I have accidentally bought the canned salmon with bone and skin a couple times and it worked fine. You will just have to pick out the bone and skin.  It is kind of a timely process but totally worth it ;)).

3/4 cup dried bread crumbs

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2/3 cup frozen corn kernels

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 tbsp canola oil

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Directions

1) Combine the salmon, bread crumbs, cheese, corn, mayonnaise, egg, and all the spices in a bowl and mix until combined.

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2) Shape the mixture into 8-10 patties (I like to make them smaller, they seem to stay together better) and if you want, coat or lightly sprinkle some extra bread crumbs on the patties.

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3) Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle a little canola oil on the pan. Cook the patties until the bottoms are golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Flip the patties, and cook until golden brown, an additional 4-5 minutes.

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Hope you like the salmon! Be sure to share and enjoy!

Let’s Be Robust!

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White Bean Chicken Chili

Robust Recipe: White Bean Chicken Chili

This soup has been a favorite of my family’s for a while. It’s low in fat, a great source of protein with lean chicken breast and low fat white beans and a great source of fiber. The soup has a unique taste that is sweet yet spicy from the corn and cayenne pepper.

Anyway, I had my parents over for this soup and they loved it. My mom and I were talking about how different each batch turns out, some more spicy or sweet than others.

It’s a great soup to make a large batch and freeze half of it for later and/or store in small containers to take to work for lunch. It’s a perfect soup to stay warm with inside while a cold winter snow storm is blowing outside! So throw all the ingredients in a soup kettle for White Bean Chicken Chili and curl up in a blanket with a book, relax and in a couple of hours you’ll have a great tasting healthy soup!

My wonderful friend Kate made this soup for her "souper bowl" dinner ;)

My wonderful friend Kate made this soup for her “souper bowl” dinner 😉

Ingredients:
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1) 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast

2) 2 cans northern beans, drained and rinsed

3) 16oz package frozen while corn (I used a mix of yellow and white corn)

4) 2 4oz cans green chilies

5) 34oz low sodium, fat free, chicken broth (I only had vegetable broth, it works too!)

6) 1 white onion, chopped

7) 1 TSP cayenne pepper

8) 2 TBS oregano

9) 1 1/2  TSP cumin

10) Fresh cracked pepper to taste

11) Light sour cream

12) Whole grain tortilla chips

Directions: 

1) Cut chicken breasts up into bite size pieces, cook on non-stick pan. Or you could boil the chicken until cooked through and use a kitchen aid mixer to shred the chicken.

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2) Add all ingredients except light sour cream and whole grain chips into soup kettle, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 2 hours.  Or add ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-8 hours or high for 2-4 hours.
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3) Enjoy with dollop of light sour cream and blue chips!
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Be sure to share and enjoy!

Let’s Be Robust!

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Eating Healthy On A Budget

Healthy Eating Tip: Healthy Eating on a Budget

Yeah, it’s true, some healthy foods do cost more than their less healthy counterparts.  Examples being, whole grain breads, pastas and brown rice are usually a little more expensive than buying the refined white versions… Yes I agree, this is stupid.

However, I  often times hear, ” but healthy food is too expensive” when talking about barriers to healthy eating with my patients at work.  After this we then discuss the amount of pop, chips and fast food that are ingested on a regular basis.

So, basically what I gather from our conversations is that people are okay with spending $5 on a bag of chips, $10 for a 12 pack of pop and $4 for a bag of M&Ms but not okay with paying for bananas at 50 cents per pound, carrots for $1 a bag and a box of whole grain pasta for $3.  I am confused…

HELLO!? Pop, chips and fast food are way more expensive and less satisfying than spending 50 cents more on a box of brown rice that will last a few meals…So before I rant any more and get myself into trouble, I’ll just offer some tips on how to save some money at the grocery store while making healthy choices. 🙂

Plan:

It’s huge. When we plan, we are more organized, we buy less and we eat what we buy (less food that gets thrown out!). Therefore we save money. Try planning a week of meals in advance. While you make your weekly meal plan, look in your pantry and cupboards for ingredients you already have. Try using up ingredients you have before buying something new. Then, make a grocery list of things you need and stick to it!

*I have a friend who uses a white board in her kitchen to write down their weekly meal plan. Seems to work great!

White board for planning dinners!

White board for planning dinners!

Items To Skip:

If our main goal is to eat healthy, that means we have to buy the not so healthy foods less frequently in order to be able to buy the more nutrient dense foods more frequently. Right? 😉 And often times those more healthy foods are going to be the foods that aid in weight loss (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein), not the less healthy foods (chips, pop, sweetened beverages, desserts). SO REALLY, it is a win win situation. Lose weight, not your pocket change.

That being said, the items to skip include: pop, chips, packaged desserts, frozen meals, juices, sports drinks, ice cream, candy….I’m sure I’m missing a few but you get the point. In my opinion, those foods are the expensive items in the grocery store.  Not to mention, why pay a higher price for foods that are low in nutritional value?

Shop In Season:

We all know apples are the cheapest in the fall and berries are cheapest in the summer… Enjoy what the season brings.  Eat seasonally and save!

oh so good tasting, good for you and cheap veggies!

oh so good tasting, good for you and cheap veggies!

Here is a list of produce that are cheapest for each season.

Summer: Apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, melon, peaches, cucumbers, corn, green beans, summer squash, tomatoes and zucchini.

Fall: Apples, grapes, pears, pomegranate, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash.

Winter: Grapefruit, kiwi, mandarin oranges, oranges, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash.

Spring: Apricots, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, spinach.

Just saying, these are the foods that are going to be giving you the biggest bang for you buck anyway…They are inexpensive with lots of nutritional value. The best kind of deal out there!

Cheap Protein: 

Protein tends to be some of the more expensive items in the grocery store. The less expensive proteins include: round cuts of meat (round and loin cuts are the leanest cuts), whole chickens(be sure to take off the skin) or buy chicken in bulk and freeze extras. Canned tuna in water, beans, tofu and eggs are some other ideas to keep that change in your pocket and your protein lean.

So remember: plan ahead; skip the less healthy items; buy seasonally; shop for less expensive protein. Hope you can take some of these suggestions next time you grocery shop. Save a little cash and lose a little weight! Not the other way around!

Let’s Be Robust!

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Green Spinach Smoothie (Don’t worry it has fruit, yogurt, and kefir in it too!)

Robust Recipe: Green Spinach Smoothie (Don’t worry it has fruit, yogurt and kefir in it too!)

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My friend Amy Lou, sent me this picture of her robust smoothie! Looks absolutely delicious!!! Thanks Amy!

My friend Amy Lou, sent me this picture of her robust smoothie! Looks absolutely delicious! And what a fun straw!! Thanks Amy!

I was given instructions from one of my favorite people in my life to post a smoothie recipe. So here you go, Bethany :).

Now I know probably everyone knows from pinterest that you can add spinach to your smoothies and NOT TASTE IT! So for the record, I know you already know, but let’s make our smoothies green! 🙂

This particular recipe I used Greek yogurt and kefir (a yogurt type drink), both a great source of probiotics, low lactose and high in protein. I also love to use frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit for smoothies, I know that sounds weird… The reason being when you use fresh you have to add ice and if you have left overs and want to refrigerate the extra it separates and becomes a weird texture. If you use frozen fruit there’s no need to add ice and no weird separating textures.

Okay, so we know this smoothie is nutritious…Just how nutritious? Well, let me share… It is high in probiotics, great for digestive health and helpful for our immune system. It’s high in hunger-curbing protein. How high you ask? A whole 25 grams high! There’s a whopping 5 grams of fiber, and high amounts of calcium, iron and vitamins A, D, K and C. Let’s not forget all the powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and plant stanols the fruit and spinach provide. For you gluten freebies, it’s also without the gluten. Geeewiz! All of that in about 365 calories! Now I’d say that’s 365 calories well spent.

So, here are the measurements to make this easy (I left that out- it’s incredibly easy to make) nutritious and delicious smoothie.

Ingredients:

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1)2 Cups frozen mixed fruit- I used mangoes, strawberries, and peaches
2) 6oz Container Greek yogurt- I used raspberry flavor
3) 3/4 Cup kefir- I used a mix of strawberry and blueberry flavor
4) 1 Overflowing Cup of spinach

Directions:

1) Add all ingredients to blender (I used a “magic bullet” type hand blender)

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2) Blend thoroughly till there are no lumps.

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3) Sip up and ENJOY!

 

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Let’s Be Robust!

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