Category Archives: Healthy

Guilt-free Chocolate Shake!

and now, a little quiz from A LA CARTE…..

The mouth-watering chocolate milkshake in the photo:
A. is both non-dairy & cholesterol-free
B. is vegan
C. contains only 200 calories
D. tastes as good as it looks
E. All of the above

If you answered “E”, give yourself a star, and have a sip!

The secret to this tasty, healthful shake is Silk brand’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. It’s  available at large grocery stores and I even found it at my Target. Silk’s website has a store locator; just enter your zip code. If your store does not carry it, pester the manager to order it!  It’s quite tasty straight, but extra fab in shakes and dessert recipes. Try it!

Dark Chocolate & Banana Milkshake

1 cup (8 ounces) dark chocolate almond milk
1/2 banana
1/2 cup crushed ice

– Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.

– Serve immediately.

Heather

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Filed under Chocolate, Drinks, Healthy, Shakes & Smoothies, Vegetarian

Back, by POP-ular demand!

Back in April, we ran a post, Pop ‘Til You Drop, that featured a recipe for an addictive snack recipe, Popcorn con Pesto. That post generated so much interest that we thought we should introduce you to another studio favorite from our December shoot for the Popcorn Board. This spicy-hot recipe for Cajun Corn is just perfect for casual summer gatherings where a little southwestern flavor is just the ticket. Serve this with a few frosty Margaritas by the pool… yes, that’s happy snacking!

Recipe courtesy of the Popcorn Board….

Cajun Corn

Makes 2 1/2 quarts

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  1. Pour butter over warm popcorn.
  2. Combine remaining seasonings and sprinkle over popcorn; toss to mix.
  3. For crispy popcorn, bake in 300° oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once.

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Filed under Entertaining, Healthy, Popcorn, Snacks

Nuts About Almonds

Ah, almonds. Natural, blanched, toasted….sliced, chopped, slivered, ground, or whole—all good, so so good!

There are countless ways to cook with almonds. They can be added to  your favorite salads; sprinkled over vegetables; stirred into cake, cookie and muffin batters; used to coat chicken or fish; ground into nut butter; well, the list goes on and on. But, perhaps the simplest and best way to enjoy almonds is as a snack straight from the shell.

Joe keeps a large container of almonds in the studio, and after the three of us “catch up” with a cup of coffee and treats from Stew Leonard’s (believe me, it’s the best part of the day), I head straight to the almonds for a great big handful!

According to the Almond Board of California, almonds are cholesterol-free and just a handful a day may help you maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E,  and a good source of fiber. So why not make your heart happy and pop a few almonds into your mouth each day?  You (and your heart) won’t regret it.

p.s Let me know what your favorite almond recipe is!

Cathy

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Filed under Healthy, Snacks

Make Your Own Granola

What is granola anyway?  Those yummy sweet clumps of crunch.  I never really thought about it until we decided to photograph a healthy breakfast image and developed our own recipe for it.  Granola is typically a mixture of oats, dried fruit, nuts and a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, baked and broken into those “sweet little clumps.”  It can be served as cereal either hot or cold, eaten as a hand-held snack,  or sprinkled over yogurt, ice cream or fruit.

I am a real maple syrup fan, and if it were just for me, I would have developed the recipe using all maple syrup, but I decided it would be better to round out the flavor by using both honey and syrup.

Tips

– Use old-fashioned rolled oats, not quick cooking or steel-cut oats.

– “Add in” ingredients are endless.  Start with the base granola recipe of oats and sweetener, then add your favorite extras.

– Be creative with add-ins and spices! Try dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, apricots, apples, raisins, dates, & pineapple. Also experiment with nuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and candy bits.  Choose from spices such as ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, or ground cardamom.

– Nuts should be added to the oat mixture before baking, as this will toast them, bringing out their flavor.  Dried fruit will taste fresher if added after the granola is baked.  Chocolate chips and candy bits should be added after granola has baked and cooled.

– If adding spices to your granola, add them into the warmed sweetener (honey, maple syrup) before pouring it over the oats.

– Recipe can be made with just honey or just maple syrup depending on your taste buds.

– To store, place cooled granola in a storage container with tight-fitting lid.

Here’s the recipe!

Makes about 7 cups

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup unsweetened shaved coconut

– Preheat oven to 275F. Place oats in large bowl.

– In small microwave safe bowl, microwave  honey, maple syrup and cinnamon on MEDIUM until warm about 15 seconds. Pour over oats and toss until well coated.

– Spread oat mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes just until it starts to turn golden in color.

– Cool in pan on wire rack.  Break into small pieces. Transfer to large bowl and stir in cranberries, apricots and coconut.

– Store in airtight container up to 3 weeks.

Cathy


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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Snacks

Healthy Crock-Pot Oatmeal

My husband Rich and I have been trying to eat healthier.  No more bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for our weekend breakfasts!  I’ve discovered steel-cut oats. I love the texture of the oats—nutty, crunchy, so good ! They are the healthiest variety of oats, but also take the longest to prepare.  Crock-Pot to the rescue!!  Since it’s just the two of us for breakfast, I purchased a small Crock-Pot just for the oats—a 1 1/2 to 2-quart size works great, plus they are inexpensive.  I start the oats the night before and have a healthy breakfast in the AM.  I add lots of good toppings, too!

Tips

– Be sure to spray the inside of the Crock-Pot with vegetable cooking spray.  If not, the oatmeal forms a sticky crusty coating on the sides of the Crock-Pot.
– Add dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pineapple, apricot, apples—the combinations are endless.
– Add nuts, flax seeds, toasted wheat germ, granola—be creative!
– You can also add fresh fruit.  If I do, I get up a little early and add it about 1/2 hour before the oatmeal is done.
– I love adding brown sugar or a touch of maple syrup (okay, so much for being healthy!)
– If you have a large family, use a larger Crock-Pot and double or triple the recipe. To make a smaller amount as in this recipe, it is important to use the right size (smaller) Crock-Pot as specified above.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 2 heaping servings

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– Spray inside of  1 1/2 – 2 quart crockpot with vegetable cooking spray.
– Place all ingredients in Crock-Pot.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

C

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Filed under Breakfast, Crock-Pot, Healthy

Banana Berry Protein Health Shake

I’ll never forget the first Banana Health Shake I enjoyed many years ago at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC. Since then, I’ve often experimented with making my own breakfast smoothies. For me, coming up with the right combo of ingredients was not just about trying to eat healthier & losing a little weight… it really had to taste great, or I wouldn’t go through all the trouble. I discovered that one of the secret ingredients in Ellen’s shakes was toasted wheat germ. It added a bit of crunch to the shake, which I love, and is also an excellent source of vitamin E & folic acid. For fruit, I use bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. The trick is to freeze the fruit before blending, so that your shakes come out thick & cold. I like to prep about a weeks worth of fresh bananas & strawberries, so that I can make a shake in a matter of minutes. For ease, I use Wymann’s Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries. I also add flax oil because of its high concentration of Omega-3’s.  For protein, I use an all-natural vanilla whey powder, and to get my veggies, I add a scoop of Macro Greens “Nutrient Rich Super Food Supplement.” When my photographer friend Francis first suggested I try Macro Greens, I was a bit leery about adding a veggie supplement. But after trying it, I was sold.  So blend away, and by all means, experiment with different ingredient combinations of whatever makes you sing !

Tips:

– For best flavor, allow bananas to ripen thoroughly before freezing.
– Wild blueberries are higher in antioxidants than cultivated blueberries.
– When fruit is out of season, blend in a packet of stevia, or a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the mix.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 1 ( 18 oz. ) serving

1 cup skim milk
1 heaping scoop of vanilla flavored whey protein powder (about 3 tablespoons)
1 level scoop of Macro Greens (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons flax seed oil
1 tablespoon Mother’s Toasted Wheat Germ
1 packet stevia all-natural sweetener – Sweet Leaf or other brand (optional)
3 tablespoons frozen wild blueberries
5-6 strawberries, frozen
1  banana, peeled and frozen

-Place first 5 ingredients, plus sweetener (if using) into blender; blend for about 15 seconds.
-Add frozen fruit; blend until thick and smooth.

Joe

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Filed under Berries, Breakfast, Healthy, Shakes & Smoothies

Mesclun Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s Wednesday and I promised to have the recipe for the White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Well, here it is.

Before I give you the recipe, let me give some of my tips:

What is White Balsamic Vinegar? It is made with white wine
vinegar and grape must (sounds ghastly, but it is actually fresh
grape juice that is pressed from the skins, seeds, and stems of the
grapes.) It is usually used when the color of food will be affected
by using traditional Balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar
is milder and less sweet than regular balsamic.
Can the two vinegars be interchanged? Not really, because of the color
and flavor. It is better to substitute white wine vinegar for white
balsamic vinegar.

– Adding a little prepared mustard to a vinaigrette recipe not only
enhances the flavor but it also adds body.

– An easy way to make salad dressing is to place all ingredients in
a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake away!!!

– Substitute your favorite fresh herb for the rosemary.

Here’s the recipe:
(The vinaigrette recipe will make enough for later use — and it
should because it is so good!)
Dresses 6 salad servings
Makes about 1 cup vinaigrette

Vinaigrette
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

1 package (5-6 oz.) mesclun salad greens or mixed baby greens,
rinsed and dried
1 small yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries

– For vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients. With wire whisk, slowly
beast in olive oil until mixture thickens slightly.
– Toss greens, pepper, onion and cranberries with a few tablespoons
of dressing.
– Refrigerate remaining dressing.

C

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Filed under Healthy, Salad