Black Lentil Muffins – Made from Leftovers!

I have a confession to make: I love leftovers! Absolutely love them. First of all, they allow me to get creative in the kitchen, which — you guessed it — I love. More than that, though, it’s great to know that I’m using up all of my food because ain’t nobody got time for wasted food.

So when I recently made Chicken Cacciatore and had leftover black beluga lentils and the delicious tomato-y sauce that the chicken was cooked in, I figured — ‘hey, I can make something DELICIOUS with that!’ Combined with a recent discovery of lentil loaf (thanks to my friend/master chef Pam), lentil muffins seemed like a natural choice.

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Did I mention these are incredibly easy to make? And that you can cook up a whole batch and then freeze them for later use? Leftovers of leftovers? Getting crazy here!

Recipe: Italian Black Lentil Muffins

Black beluga lentils can be found at most grocery stores. They are full of protein and fiber as well as anthocyanins (powerful antioxidant compounds). Nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, savory flavor along with protein and B vitamins. Find it at Whole Foods or a health foods store.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked lentils (left over from the night before)
  • 1 cup tomato-based sauce (also leftover from the night before)*
    • If you don’t have leftover sauce, use either pre-made pasta sauce or whip up a quick batch: 1 can no salt added organic diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves garlic – minced, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 2 cups organic arugula
  • Approximately 8 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons juice from jarred Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg
  • pinch red pepper flakes (about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients
  3. Coat muffin pan (for one dozen) with cooking spray. Evenly distribute lentil mixture throughout panImage
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes (until top is crunchy)

*Please note that due to the use of leftover tomato sauce in which chicken was cooked, this recipe is NOT vegetarian. However, if you use pre-made pasta sauce or make your own, you can keep it vegetarian.

 

Enjoy warm or cold, over salad, with eggs or by themselves. These are delicious dipped in hummus as well!

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Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Sweet Corn Salsa {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Contest}

“Wild blueberries, you make my heart sing…”

When I found out that the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) was sponsoring this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge, I could not have been more thrilled. I have long been a lover and proponent of wild blueberries.

I buy organic wild blueberries on the regular at Trader Joe's.

I buy organic wild blueberries on the regular at Trader Joe’s.

Not only do wild blueberries have double the antioxidants of regular, cultivated blueberries, they also have a deeper, richer blue/purple color and contain less water, making them ideal in both sweet and savory recipes.

I’ve been reading Jo Robinson’s “Eating on the Wild Side,” which has taught me that over time, we’ve altered many of our fruits and vegetables to make them larger, change their color or make them easier to store or transport. Sadly, that often comes at the expense of nutrition. But not wild blueberries — they are the same berry that existed 10,000 years ago!

Wild_Blueberry_Avocado_Corn_Salsa

I like to throw frozen wild blueberries into everything from oatmeal to salads to smoothies and Greek yogurt. They also make for great sauces that are perfect for topping seafood, poultry and red meat (veggies and beans too!).

Oh, and the anthocyanins (antioxidant that contributes the deep purple color) found in wild blueberries, along with other nutrients, have potential benefits including brain and heart health, anti-aging and cancer and diabetes prevention, among others.

Here’s a savory take on wild blueberries: in a salsa!

Recipe: Cumin-Dusted Salmon with Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Corn Salsa

The salsa is also fantastic over chicken, beans and lentils, or over greens for a quick and flavorful salad. The jalapeno is optional, depending on how hot you like it. You can also add 1/2 of a red onion to punch it up a bit.

Makes: 4 servings

Salmon_with_Wild_Blueberry_Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound wild salmon filets (cut into four, 4 ounce pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed
  • 3/4 cup organic frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 fresh avocado (preferably California avocado, if available), cubed
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place salmon, skin side down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until salmon is opaque.

Mix remaining ingredients (wild blueberries through jalapeno, if using) to make the salsa. Top salmon filets evenly with salsa.

Nutrition information: 330 calories; 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat); 80 mg cholesterol; 365 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 31 g protein; 10% daily value for vitamin A; 39% daily value for vitamin C (excellent source!); 20% daily value for iron (excellent source!)

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

*I work on behalf of the California Avocado Commission. I was not compensated or asked to include California Avocados — I just really love them. 🙂

Stay tuned for two more delicious wild blueberry recipes to come this week (hint: one includes chocolate and the other, cheese).

Click the icon below for more Recipe ReDux-er Wild Blueberry Recipes.  I want to try them all!!

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Salad: Hangover Cure

Happy 2014, everyone! Did anyone drink several one too many cocktails last night? If you’re like me, you are bumming around today, downing water and watching the Food Network whilst surfing Pinterest for yummy recipes. I call this hungry over.

And while we all want to reach for greasy, cheesy, high-calorie foods, I promise you, it will only make you feel worse. Instead, make sure you HYDRATE, not just with water, but also with fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water — along with vitamins and minerals, which will surely also help you feel better. This recipe for kale and roasted vegetable salad is delicious, will help your hangover and also get 2014 started the healthy way, because we all want to eat better this year, right?

Kale_Vegetable_Salad

Recipe: Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Blue Cheese

The flavored balsamic vinegar in this recipe isn’t crucial, but it’s definitely delicious. I am lucky enough to have  an olive oil and vinegar shop called Oh, Olive in my neighborhood, which has the most amazing infused oils and vinegars. Aged balsamic would also work nicely.

Makes: 2 salads

Ingredients:

  • 4 large, whole carrots
  • 1 medium red onion, cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups kale (arugula or spinach would be great too)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flavored balsamic vinegar* (I used a yummy cinnamon pear from Oh, Olive)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place whole carrots and red onion wedges on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until carrots are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut carrots into match sticks (like those pictured).

Place 2 cups kale on two plates. Top with carrots and red onions, sprinkle with blue cheese and sunflower seeds and drizzle with balsamic.

Kale_Vegetable_Salad

Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year! Cheers!

 

 

Curry Spaghetti Squash with Spiced Greek Yogurt Sauce

The first big snow of the season in Chicago means winter is here (wah, wah) and it’s COLD!

Coldness

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When the weather gets cold, there’s nothing like a spicy curry dish to warm you up. Typical curry dishes can pack on the calories, however, because of heavy coconut milk and lots of butter. So I figured, why not make a lightened-up recipe using curry? This spaghetti squash dish is vegetable-based (vegetarian, in fact), gluten-free and full of flavor. Enjoy!

Curry Spaghetti Squash with Spiced Greek Yogurt Sauce

Curried_spaghettisquash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about 1/4 large squash)
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans (preferably organic, no salt added variety — Whole Foods has a great version)
  • 1/2 cup 2% or full-fat organic (from grass-fed cows) Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp organic raisins
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp organic honey
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Cook spaghetti squash by halving and roasting in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Use a fork to shred squash into “spaghetti.” Mix spaghetti squash with remaining ingredients until well-blended. Serve warm.

Note: you can make the spaghetti squash ahead of time and then heat once you’ve mixed the ingredients (this is what I did)

Curried_spaghetti_squash

Enjoy!

What other cold-weather dishes do you love?

Low Carbohydrate, Low Calorie Pasta

My favorite boss and fellow foodie got me what I believe is the greatest kitchen gadget of all time (lots of hyperboles there): the Spiral Slicer, made by Chef Joyce Chen. This magical thing device essentially can turn any cylindrical vegetable (e.g. zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumbers, etc.) into ribbons or spaghetti. The spiral slicer takes cooking time out of the equation and will save valuable time. Plus, keeping the vegetables raw helps preserve nutrients that can be lost during the cooking process.

It is incredibly easy to use, too (and so is clean up). Just cut your veggie into smaller — no more than 3″ long — pieces, place in the center of the device, put the lid on and turn the lever at the top. Here are some visuals to give you a better idea of how it works:

spiral_slicer

 

vegetable_spaghetti

I would love to show you a picture of the finished product, but since I ate it all while taste testing, AKA stuffing my face, I’ll tell you about it instead.

Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil into the “spaghetti,” add sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese (NO GREEN TUBES — use the good kind!), fresh basil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add in chicken, fish or steak — or garbanzo beans for a vegetarian option — to amp up the protein and satiating factor of the dish.

I’ve also tried it with teriyaki sauce and ginger, topped with grilled salmon, but the sun-dried tomato creation was my favorite.

Regardless, vegetable-based “pasta” is low in carbohydrates and calories, high in fiber and other nutrients and a great new way to get your daily vegetables.

 

What other non-traditional “pastas” have you tried?

 

Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:

Breakfast_Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.

 

 

Breakfast Dilemma Solved

Banana Pumpkin Omelet

Hello and welcome to my new website, danaartinyan.com! I’m excited for a new look and simpler name. And please email me at dana.artinyan.rd@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or post ideas. Thanks!

The Sweet or Savory Breakfast Dilemma

I’m sure you’ve had this happen. You’re at a restaurant or at home trying to decide: do you want the sweet pancakes, waffles or French toast? Or are you in the mood for a delicious omelet (e.g. the savory breakfast option).

I believe I solved this issue today when I made a Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe.” This is basically a sweet omelet. I was inspired by the egg mixture that you dip bread into whilst making French toast. Why couldn’t I make an omelet like this? And before you get grossed out thinking about an omelet with fruit in it, let’s review all of the sweet applications for eggs: the aforementioned French toast, soufflé, meringues, any baked good…

Is it making sense now? Trust me, this was absolutely delicious with just the right amount of natural sweetness from the bananas and cinnamon, yet not overly sweet, which is usually what you find with a waffle, French toast and the like.

Protein Breakfast

Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe”

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg + 1/3 cup egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or about 2 “shakes”)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

Beat egg and egg white with vanilla and cinnamon until fluffy. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a small omelet pan. When oil is melted, add egg mixture to pan. Distribute slices of banana evenly in egg/omelet mixture. Put a lid on it and cook until omelet sets. When omelet is fully cooked, fill it with half of the pumpkin puree. Fold the omelet in half and drizzle remaining pumpkin puree over the top. Sprikle with cinnamon if desired. You can also add a drizzle of honey on top, though I didn’t feel it was necessary.

Pictured with a piece of Manna Cinnamon Date Bread (this stuff is amazing!).

This protein-rich breakfast will keep you full and also satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus it also contains potassium (banana, pumpkin), vitamin A, vitamin C and even a little iron – all from that delicious, fall-like pumpkin.

Banana Pumpkin Omelet

Carrots with Red Wine Reduction + New Website

First off, thank you for stopping by and reading my blog! Shop, Eat, Live Well is getting a new name and moving to a new address, danaartinyan.com, so please check out both my new website as well as the many nutrition services I offer.

Now, onto the food…

The other day, I got a present from my coworker: a whole bag full of colorful baby carrots just picked from her garden. Clearly, she knows the way to my heart!

I absolutely love the look of a baby carrot and wanted to keep them whole and intact to highlight their beauty. Besides being pretty, carrots are an excellent source – 110% of your daily needs in just one carrot – of vitamin A (immune functioning, eye health, anti-oxidant properties) and a good source – 10% of your daily needs – of vitamin C (another powerful anti-oxidant, plus it promotes better skin and improved cardiovascular functioning). Carrots are also low in calories (only 30 calories for a large carrot) and surprisingly low in sugar, despite their natural sweetness.

I wanted to bring this sweetness and also lend a bit of earthiness to the carrots with a red wine reduction sauce over the carrots. I paired with some garbanzo beans to give some protein and fiber, and had quite a delicious and filling (thanks to all that fiber!) meal.

Red Wine-Glazed Carrots

Red Wine-Glazed Baby Carrots:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby carrots with stems intact (I used multi-colored), rinsed/scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt

Directions:

Heat olive oil and minced garlic for about 1 minute. Add carrots and saute for 10 minutes (on medium-high heat). Add wine and remaining ingredients and cook until the red wine has reduced to about 2 Tbsp (will also be thicker).

Serve over grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat or along with beans (garbanzo, pinto, kidney). Would also make a great side dish to white fish, chicken or pork tenderloin.

See you at danaartinyan.com!