go green with more veggies

St. Patrick’s day is fast approaching but rather than spending your calories on high sugar low nutrient foods and drinks (hmm I’m calling you out shamrock shake) why not add some of these green recipes into your repertoire?

Let’s start with some ideas for breakfast from some of my favorites recipes shared during last month’s recipe redux!

I love when you can squeeze savory veggies into breakfast, and I’m a huge fan of sauteed veggies with eggs. I love the color combo here especially since the vitamin C in the butternut squash will help boost the absorption of the iron from the kale!

Butternut and Kale Breakfast Bowl

Kale & Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl by The Organic Dietitian

These breakfast cups are so unique and sure to refresh you in the upcoming days of summer! Who says, you can’t have a little breakfast as a dessert, too?!

Green Tea Frozen Yogurt Breakfast Cups by Champagne Nutrition

This savory option takes breakfast bowls to the next level. The picture is so beautiful it looks like a fiesta for breakfast!

Egg, Avocado and Spinach Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl

Egg, Avocado, & Spinach Oatmeal Bowl by My Menu Pal

Here are some of my own favorite recipes to incorporate greens into your morning routine:

eggs cups {perfect for on-the-go}

and

smoothies {definitely a go-to snack or breakfast on warm days}.

Baked Egg Muffins

Green Smoothie  as featured in Molly Kimball’s NOLA.com article

Moving onto snacks- rather than sweets and other treats that won’t hold you over for long, let’s give some veggies that can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and used throughout the week:

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Marinated Veggie Medley Salad as featured in Food & Nutrition

Cucumber Dip 

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Greek Cucumber Hummus Bites 

And, for your meals, make a batch of these recipes and you’ll be good for lunch and dinner for a few days! No worries for those that don’t like leftovers, these only get better with time!

Zucchini Lasagna 

Spicy Chicken & Seafood Green Gumbo  as featured in Ochsner Health System Blog

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Ginger Marinated Lettuce Cup Tacos

Thanks for stopping by and checking out these recipes that’ll have all your friend green with envy of your healthy meal plan!

Enjoy!

xo,

Becca

Ginger Limeade

The weather this year has been so mild  that we’ve had a few days that have felt like spring has come early!  To me that automatically kicks in a craving for refreshing, summery-like beverages!

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Most lemonades -or the like- are just as high, if not higher, than sodas in their sugar content! People think that because it contains lemon juice or other fruit juice, that is “health approved.”  Sadly, this is false. Liquid sugar, really no matter what the source, is almost always on my “skip” list.

You can, however, make a homemade beverages that is healthy! You can control the sugar content by adding less, almost 3/4 less, or using a zero-cal sweetener instead!

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This ginger limeade is made with 4 simple ingredients: water, fresh ginger, limes, and Truvia. It’s a perfect everyday drink or something you can bring to a special occasion like a shower, Easter brunch, or have it as a vacation-inspired mocktail! To me it’s pretty comparable to a booze-free, no sugar added, margarita!

So you’re welcome for this one guys! You can thank me later…

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Ginger Limeade

Ingredients:

6 cups water

1 ginger root, sliced

1/4 cup Truvia

4 limes, juiced

Directions:

In a pot, combine the water, ginger, and Truvia. Bring to a light boil, cover and allow to simmer and steep for 30-60 minutes. Pour in the lime juice and chill until needed. Pour over ice and serve cold. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, fruit of choice, and a slice of lime.

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It’s later, Burt {anyone, anyone}?

xo,

Becca

 

 

Bananas Foster-Style French Toast

I don’t normally post on the weekends.

Typically, it’s my time to relax {well, try to, at least}, spend time with my family, and do as little work as possible. However, it is the time I test out recipes and this weekend it also happens to be time for another recipe redux!

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This month’s theme {break out of breakfast boredom} is perfect for this breakfast-loving rd-mommy!

I post a lot of breakfast recipes because:

  1. I love breakfast food!
  2. Typically, most breakfasts can be really fast & easy recipes.
  3.  I find most people need help with nutritious breakfast options.

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Breakfast is vital to leading a healthful life; it helps to kickstart your metabolism after fasting all night while sleeping, helps fight hunger until your next meal or snack, and also helps with portion control at said meals and snacks.

On the weekends, I love to make something like pancakes, waffles, or french toast like here or here on my original blog site.

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This weekend I am making a twist on a New Orleans classic dessert- bananas foster! It is a perfect treat without the guilt! I use whole grain bread for the fiber and fullness. I don’t use any syrup because instead I use a light dusting of cinnamon and sugar {keeping it to just a teaspoon per serving}! To give it the banana foster flavor, there is mashed banana in the custard mixture. While there isn’t any rum added, there is a cinnamon sugar dusting that gives it a warm, spice flavor.

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Not only are these a healthier option for dessert-loving adults, but these are great for tots too! LEM loved them and I didn’t even feel bad about giving her that little extra sweetness. It’s a perfect chance to expose her to a little sugar so she knows what it tastes like, but can still choose to want to eat the fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and grains mommy gives her!

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Bananas Foster-Style French Toast

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup egg whites

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon half and half

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

12 slices whole grain bread

Directions:

Prepare the custard by combining the eggs, egg whites, bananas, vanilla, half & half, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a nonstick pan to medium low heat. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.

Dip each bread slice in the egg wash, and allow to soak for about 1 minute. Spray the pan with nonstick spray before cooking each slice of bread.

Grill each slice of bread until lightly browned on each side (about 3-4 minutes per side). Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture on each side of the bread as it cooks. Be careful not to burn the bread as the cinnamon sugar mixture will tend to char the bread.

Serve with fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

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Have a wonderful Sunday Funday and get your week started off to the best start you can with this delicious recipe!

xo,

Becca

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Chocolate Almond Coconut Oat Bites

Anything that comes in a mini or baby version always gets that “awe! that’s just so cute!”- factor! Then energy bites  that have taken over pinterest are no different.

I am a huge fan of healthful, energizing, nutritious, satiating snacks, but these little “bites” can be quite high in calories and sugar! –Hence their name: energy = calories– in the nutrition world!

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They can be worked into a healthful meal plan, however. You just need to be mindful and have a strategy.

For example, can you stick to just one and have it as a snack or is it more practical for you to have it as a dessert at the end of a light meal?

Either option can work, just remember my little squares below contain 140 calories, 9 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar, 4 grams protein.

That’s a decent size snack filled with heart healthy & filling fiber, no added sugar except the naturally-occurring sugars in fruits, and satisfying protein and fat.

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Chocolate Almond Coconut Oat Bites

Makes 16-20 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

6 dates

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup flax seed

1/4 cup chia seed

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until well combine. Portion into golfball size and roll into a ball, or spread into an 8×8 baking sheet and cut into squares.

Per serving: 140 calories, 9 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 25 milligrams sodium, 14 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar, 4 grams protein

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Because of the need to be cautious with some of these recipes you may find, I’ll actually be talking about this very topic this Thursday, February 18th at 6pm at the Whole Foods Market on Magazine Street in New Orleans if you’ll be around and want to join!

Not only will I be making this very recipe for participants to sample, but I’ll also be making my versatile and adaptable black bean and mango salad. Both of these recipes are used with almost fully raw ingredients, can be made gluten free, do not have added sugars or refined grains, and are really well balanced, and probably most importantly- wonderfully delicious!

After all, that’s what I’m here to do- provide you with not only nutritious, but delicious recipes! Healthy eating should never have to compromise flavor!

Happy Monday!

xo,

Becca

 

Marinated Vegetable Medley Salad

It’s post-Mardi Gras down here in The Big Easy which means now is the real time that everyone kicks their 2016 resolutions into high gear.

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There are a couple key steps that I find will make your goals more easily attainable:

  1. Planning. Planning. Planning.
  2. Having a plethora of delicious recipes in your arsenal.

This recipe takes care of both these as if you plan your meals ahead of time, make a grocery list, and come home to prepare a few things, you can have this recipe made in now time. The best part is that it gets better and better as it sits. in fact, it should be made a few hours prior to needing it so the flavors can marinate and the veggies can slightly soften.

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I actually shared this recipe before, but it is so good, that I wanted to dedicate an entire post just to it!

I love this recipe because you can literally throw in any vegetables that you like, and you can add as much or as little as you like! You can also use up anything you have in your fridge before it goes bad!

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This recipe is also great because you get all the benefits of raw veggies {all the fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients…} but it tastes so much better than having them on their own. In my opinion, that is!

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Marinated Vegetable Medley Salad

Ingredients:

1 small head of broccoli, chopped

4 leaves of kale, julienne

1/2 bag of shredded carrots

1 cucumber, diced

4 mini sweet peppers, diced

4 green onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar

6 teaspoons honey

pinch of kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Simply combine all the veggies in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, add the oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and drizzle over the veggies.

Toss everything well to combine. Allow to sit, for a few hours, tossing occasionally to redistribute the dressing over the veggies again.

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This dish is great as a vegetable side to your everyday lunch or to bring to parties as another vegetable option! You could even add whole wheat pasta or beans to make it a more substantial part of a meal.

Just because it’s got all the colors of spring & summer in it, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it now! It’s perfect anytime of year!

Thanks for hanging out!

Becca

heart healthy recipes

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It’s a pretty crazy time of year, here!

Parades are in full gear.  Even for little 1 year olds!

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And their parents.

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While we are celebrating Mardi Gras right now in NOLA, the rest of the country is a bit more focused on February being national heart health month.

As someone who eats, sleeps, and breaths nutrition + heart health {especially since I have a strong family-history | risk}, I wanted to share my thoughts on what makes a recipe good for your heart.

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As you can see below, there’s a lot of aspects to keep in mind, in part why good nutrition and eating health can be so complicated and cumbersome.

Simply put the ‘old’ theory of “everything in moderation” really does still stand the test of time. However, for some, that statement is not specific enough for them to actually make changes and improvements in their eating habits & overall lifestyle.

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From my standpoint, a recipe will be heart healthy if it has all of the following–

minimal to no added sugars

a decent amount of fiber coming from whole foods like only 100% whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables, or fruits

as little animal-based saturated fat as possible

mindful portion size

a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamins, and/or minerals

little to no added salt | sodium

no trans fat or hydrogenated oils in any ingredients

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As you can see, it’s not just about the calories or the fat or the salt. It’s also about added sugars, enriched flours, specific types of fats, processed or synthetic ingredients.

Similarly, heart disease risk isn’t just about high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol; it’s also about achieving a health weight, having blood sugars within a normal | healthy range, exercising, obtaining quality & sufficient sleep, not smoking,…

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It’s quite intricate and can be overwhelming if you have multiple areas to improve. Therefore, to make it a little easier, at least in the food & nutrition aspect, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite recipes and resources:

This month in Health and Fitness magazine I shared three of my favorite heart healthy recipes & why– from a remake of spaghetti and meatballs (myth: you can’t have red meat), to a vegetarian or vegan option like NOLA-style red beans, to an ultra quick yet unique fish recipe.

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Speaking of fish, the omega 3’s found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna are loaded with heart health benefits from reducing inflammation, lowering triglycerides, providing an unsaturated source of fat and alternate to saturated fats found in high fat meats and animal products.

Fish is not something that I crave often, but whenever we make it, it somehow always “hits the spot.” My favorite include my fish tacos, salmon with dill yogurt sauce, and my gumbo!

The gumbo will definitely be on our ultra New Orleans-themed dinner menu this week in celebration of Mardi Gras!

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xo,

Becca

coffee talk

One of my favorite activities to catch up with my girlfriends is to go for a walk in the park and then sip on some coffee together {sometimes we throw in some beignets with the coffee}!  I find it promotes wellness for the mind, body, and soul! It’s much needed girl-time and stress relief.

Sometimes {alright, most times} it’s hard to coordinate schedules with local friends let alone find the time to meet up with those far away.  Since we can’t physically get together, I thought we could at least pretend for today!

So grab a warm cup of something nice- coffee, tea, {I won’t judge if you add a little something special in there!} and let’s chit chat!

I’ll share some things about myself here {nutritionally & otherwise} and you can feel free to play along!

Let’s start with something food-related–

 

my anytime go-to dinner:

lemon chicken!  For those needing something fast, tasty, and versatile, this is it! It was on the menu last night when we needed an always- delicious, quick, and no-recipe-needed dinner. It’s my family’s go-to and I’m so grateful the hubster loves it too!

 

currently working on:

improving meal planning, efficiently grocery shopping, and reducing food waste. Some weeks are better than others, but so far we are doing pretty good. I’ll be sharing a weekly meal plan soon! It’s designed for those just-returned-from-vacation-type-of weeks.

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currently loving:

the recent {extra} help my husband has been contributing to housework, dinner prep, grocery shopping, and camp {aka daycare} drop off + pick up!

 

dreaming of:

our future dream home and all the #fixerupper decor I’d love to include! It’s over taking my mind, my pinterest boards, and my Tuesday nights! I’m not much of a tv watcher, but this is a new fave for me. I’ve missed the last couple episodes so #thankgoodness for social media to keep me in the loop with the fabulous photos!

 

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celebrating:

that LEM is successfully sleeping in her own bed through the whole night {minus a few crying spells and minus Monday night with a new tooth coming in battle that resorted us to old ways for one night}! This is a big deal for a year of pretty crummy sleep. I truthfully don’t know how I managed the year. Can you say, “welcome to motherhood?” I guess I passed the initiation…

 

 

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favorite food splurge:

Pizza. duh.

No wait… Mexican!

No! Beignets!

Ah, I can’t pick. Too many favorites I guess. It seems LEM likes a little beignet herself!

 

finally getting the time and motivation to:

update and putt more effort into my beauty regime. Between getting older, pregnancy/lactation hormones, lack of sleep, and stress, I’m starting to feel less like a 24 year old and more like my 30-year old self. Sigh. I’m working on accepting this, but I’vee been told I’m not too good with change.

I’m thinking of a new, quick, working-mommy make-up routine, new hairdo-s, and anti-aging regime. The whole works. Any recommendations?

 

least favorite household chore:

all of it!? But yet, I can’t live without a clean house! Hence, why my earlier comment about the husband helping out is all that more important!

 

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hardest part about being a mom:

working.

 

best part about my job:

those clients that just make your day!

 

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family date night:

take out {see earlier confession of favorite food of Mexican or pizza} or a Friday night trip to Whole Foods! Pretty simple. low key. maybe adding a glass of wine or margarita in there, too!

 

Speaking of, is it Friday, yet? I’m ready for that Friday night family date night!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life as a NOLA-RD-mommy!  Feel free to join in the conversation! I’d love to hear your stresses, struggles, favorite parts of the week | day, you name it!

 

xo,

Becca

 

 

 

Ginger Marinated Tacos

Ginger is not a foreign ingredient to me, but it’s one of those ingredients that I hardly ever cook with and rarely utilize.

I’m always on the lookout for easy recipes, with relatively few ingredients, that can be made fairly quickly no matter what day of the week it is.

If you’ve followed my blog {before at http://TwistedNutritionAndMe.blogspot.com} then you know that I love The Pioneer Woman. She’s sweet, entertaining, and I just love the ranch house!

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This recipe inspiration is again from The Pioneer Woman, and this time it’s her Ginger Steak Salad.

See, my husband loves Chinese food, but it’s just not something I crave. However, I do crave easy, simple, fast recipes that can be quickly adapted for any member in the family without making multiple meals {that’s just not gonna happen, am I right?}!

As a registered dietitian, I’m also looking at the whole picture for recipes. Not just the flour/fiber content, or the sugar, or the fat, but all of it, while still tasting absolutely delicious!

I twisted the original recipe so I wasn’t making a separate marinade and a dressing with very similar ingredients. I also used a leaner cut of meat – if you’re going to have red meat, please get the leanest cut you can like sirloin, filet, flank, etc.  And– I trimmed down on the sodium and the sugar content while beefing up the flavor from ginger and garlic.

I also had to add in my fave flavor of Hispanic cuisine by making these into little tacos! Yum!  See what you think…

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Ginger Marinated Tacos

Ingredients:

1 pound flank {or hanger or skirt steak}

1 tablespoon sherry

2 tablespoon lite soy sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 lime, juiced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Bibb lettuce

cucumber, thinly sliced

mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced

Directions:

In a plastic bag or large glass container, add the flank steak along.

Make the marinade/dressing by adding the sherry, soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar to a mason jar. Shake well.

*Pour one third-half of the dressing onto the steak and allow it to marinade for about an hour.

Sear the meat {about 2 minutes per side} in a hot pan over medium to medium high heat.

When cooked, thinly slice the meat against the grain and serve in lettuce cups with cucumbers and pepper slices. Drizzle with ‘tacos’ with some of the remaining dressing.

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*If you’re in need of a time-saving recipe, simply omit marinating this for an hour and marinate it for as long as you can- 5, 10, 15 minutes? If there’s no time for that, simply pour on the same amount onto the steak while searing.

I obviously used flank steak in this recipe {because I have to cook for my whole family aka husband, who must have meat} but if you’re a pescatarian, you could definitely substitute with fish or shrimp! If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I think marinating and grilling tofu would work wonderfully here!

This recipe is great because it gives  you an at-home Chinese flavor but it is definitely lightened up! You control everything  from the cut of meat, the amount of soy sauce | sodium, the amount of sugar, the amount and types of veggies, and of course, the quality!

If you’re thinking ahead for tomorrow night, it’s a perfect Friday night dinner.

xo,

Becca

 

baby birthday cupcakes

My baby turned ONE yesterday!

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It seems unreal. Just one year ago, on the twelfth of January, she was in just a baby bump one minute and the next she was a breathing, crying, beautiful little baby girl who immediately captured my heart.

If I sit down and really think about it, it’s still unbelievable to believe that I’m even a mom. I still feel like a 20-something woman living her life with a husband and two little doggies.

But when she came into the world {and even before} everything changed. All the work stress, worldly struggles, personal competitiveness, seemed to melt away. It’s not really that they dissolved, but more just didn’t seem as important {at least temporarily}.

All the money, power, & fame in the world can’t compete with being a mom. It’s truly the best job in the world!

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So on her day we celebrated a mommy-daughter day. A day to remember and cherish the magical {albeit painful} moment when she came into the world. We started and ended the celebration with these healthy {rd-mommy-approved} birthday cupcakes that are a take on harvest or morning glory muffins.

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Baby Birthday Cupcakes 

Makes 16 muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 medium bananas, mashed

2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup carrots, shredded

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup dates, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

1 heaping teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare the cupcake pan by either spraying non-stick spray or lining each cup with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, and spices. Mix well.

In a second bowl, combine the mashed bananas, applesauce, carrots, egg, and oil. Stir well to combine.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients. And then fold in the nuts and dried fruit until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix!

Using an ice-cream scoop, portion out the mixture into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Prepare the frosting by combining the yogurt, cream cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dollop the frosting onto the cupcakes once they have fully cooled.

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These cupcakes are perfect for breakfast or snack for kids, toddlers, and older babies! There are no-added sugars {the sweetness simply comes from the fruit} and they are 100% whole grains! Just because I approve of them for my 1-year old {gosh, I’m gonna have to get used to saying that, sigh}, doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious and a perfectly healthy option for adults too!

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I will say that the frosting is definitely not something I’d consider sweet, in fact since there’s no sugar added natural or otherwise, the cinnamon and vanilla are doing all the flavor enhancement there. LEM did not mind it at all, but she does not eat any added sugars {well, at least for the most part}. For those with the need {or want} for something slightly on the sweeter side, my Greek Yogurt Spiced Whipped Cream would be delicious, yet still lower in sugar and definitely more natural.

Note: The frosting ingredients yields enough to frost 6 muffins/cupcakes. The remaining more adult-friendly ones, I’d recommend making more of a crumb or whipped cream topping.

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So if you’re looking for a perfect baby birthday cupcake {or breakfast muffin} these are a perfect fiberous, all-natural, worry-free, mommy-tested, rd-approved option!

Happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, funny, and one year old!

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xo,

Becca

Greek Cucumber Hummus Bites

I’m not much into New Year resolutions. Never really have been.

That’s not to say I’m looking down on others when they have resolutions. Not in the slightest sense.

I guess it’s just my experience and knowing myself that I have to be ready to set a goal for me to actually achieve it.

I’ve also learned {since being with the hubster and his insistent need of sweets} that I’m not the type to call it quits on a particular food group, if we’re speaking of eating or health-related resolutions. I’m more of the girl who lives by moderation. I try to eat nothing but healthy foods 95% of the time, but I do have a sweet tooth myself. So it’s not all the hubs’ fault, I guess.

Whether you’re a New Year Resolution type of person or not, we all need a plethora of options when it comes to healthy snacks. Today I have quite the recipe for you! It’s delicious, crunchy, carb-mindful, fast, & easy!

 

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These cucumber hummus bites are a perfect nod to Greek flavors with the combination of hummus, black olives, roasted red peppers, and/or sun dried tomatoes.

I just love the little antipasto, hummus platters that you can get as appetizers but the carb-y pita bread doesn’t always suit my needs. The cucumber serves as a perfect lower carb & calorie medium for the hummus and accompaniments.

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These are perfect for a weekday snack (albeit messy) or to serve at an upcoming football party! I can’t think about football right now {let alone Mardi Gras} as I’m still getting over the holidays being over. I know, I know. I just love them so much! Plus I miss vacation. I mean, who doesn’t?

Here they are, my Greek-inspired Cucumber Hummus Bites.

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Greek Cucumber Hummus Bites 

Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic

1 can white beans (cannelini), no salt added

juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp liquid from white beans

2 Tbsp Tahini paste

6 dashes Tabasco hot sauce

Directions:

Drain the white beans, reserve some of the liquid.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the garlic until minced. Add the remaining ingredients and process until coarsely or smoothly pureed depending on your preference.

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My hummus is lower in fat that a store bought variety since I’m using less tahini paste {ground sesame seeds}, but the lemon juice provides enough liquid to keep it the creaminess.

You can really use any beans you’d like– I just really like the creamy texture of the white beans. Garbanzo beans is a classic with a bit higher carb content, but black beans would be fun too!

Enjoy these perfect little bites any time of year!

Happy January!

xo,

Becca