Blueberry Picking + 10 Healthy Blueberry Recipes from the Web

Blueberry Picking at Parlee Farms

Gloomy (and thankfully, exaggerated) forecast aside, I started my Sunday with a blueberry picking double date to Parlee Farms, about an hour north of Boston near the New Hampshire Border. The pick-your-own prices were reasonable ($3.99 per pound), which means I now have three pounds of fresh picked, local blueberries to work through (kid stuff compared to Ashley and Josh’s ten-pound haul).

Whether you also have a plethora of fresh blueberries at your disposal, or you just want to take advantage of current sales and seasonal abundance, I’ve gathered up plenty of meal ideas to kickstart your culinary creativity. See below for ten healthy blueberry recipe ideas from around the web…

Ambitious Kitchen Muffins

^^ Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen // I love that this recipe works in whole wheat flour, zucchini (another abundant summer ingredient), and applesauce.

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^^ Turmeric Breakfast Muffins from Green Kitchen Stories // I’ve been dying to try this recipe for months now. These muffins are gluten-free (not what I usually lean towards), but luckily I have whole grain buckwheat flour (and plenty of blueberries!) on hand.

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^^ Peach Blueberry Oatmeal from The Oatmeal Artist // So simple, yet so delicious. I had a similar dish (“slow cooked oats with chefs topping”) at The Willow Rest in Gloucester, MA a few weeks ago, and have been craving this combo ever since.

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^^ Baked Blueberry Oatmeal from Nutmeg Nanny // This oatmeal bake is a tried-and-true recipe in my kitchen. (I’ve featured it here and here).

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^^ Blueberry + Avocado Detox Smoothie from Jillianastasia // When in doubt, throw your berries in a smoothie!

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^^ Berry Zinger Smoothie from The Crunchy Radish // Lemon and ginger can elevate a common berry smoothie into something special.

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^^ Brain Power Salad (Spinach Salad with Salmon, Avocado, and Blueberries) from Gimme Some Oven // Salmon and avocado pair wonderfully with nearly any fruit, but antioxidant filled blueberries keep this “brain food” recipe on theme.

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^^ Grilled Chicken Salad with Feta, Fresh Corn, and Blueberries from The Pioneer Woman // It’s not often that I link to a Pioneer Woman recipe on this site, but the grilled chicken and fresh summer produce are a refreshingly nutritious foundation.

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^^ Blueberry Pizza with Honeyed Goat Cheese and Proscuitto from In Sock Monkey Slippers // I will definitely be using blueberries on a flatbread pizza this week. If things go well, you might even have a recipe post coming your way!

Healthy Cheesecake Made with Greek Yogurt

^^ Lightly Sweetened Greek Yogurt Cheesecake from Kelly Toups // I couldn’t end this list without sharing a recipe from my own collection!

What’s your go-to blueberry recipe?

– Kelly

Recipes on My Radar

While my previous two recipe posts indicate otherwise (here and here), there’s actually a lot more to my diet than just steel cut oatmeal. In fact, in an effort to cook more from cookbooks, I try to make at least 2 or 3 new recipes a week. So today I’m sharing a few of my favorites. Some are new discoveries, some are old standbys, but all are absolutely spectacular!

Curried Lentil Soup

Curried Lentil Soup from Mollie Wizenberg // The Bon Appetit article that accompanied this recipe was required reading for my Food Writing Class, and I have made this recipe MANY times since then. Chickpea puree lends a delightful heartiness to this Eastern Mediterranean inspired soup, making it quite possibly my favorite lentil recipe to date (and that’s saying something)! As you can tell from the multiple Instagrams, warm whole grain toast is the ultimate companion to this meal.

Honey Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yogurt

Honey Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yogurt from Yotam Ottolenghi // There are so many delicious recipes in Plenty More, that I am almost embarrassed to admit that a humble side dish is my favorite. But it’s too good. Thanks to this recipe, I scarfed down 12 large carrots in only two sittings, and then polished off the tupperware of the remaining tahini yogurt dip. Unfortunately for my pale winter skin, I didn’t turn orange. Guess I’ll have to make some more!

Salmon Patties

Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce from Giada de Laurentiis // True story: this recipe singlehandedly got me over my aversion to canned fish. (Giada calls for canned salmon in the cookbook version of this recipe.) Ashley copied down the recipe as soon as we finished eating, which I’m pretty sure is a good sign that dinner was a hit. I made a few substitutions (Kashi Original 7 Grain Crackers instead of Saltines, nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo) but the final result was completely delicious!

100% Whole Wheat Honey Oat Bread

100% Whole Grain Bread from Ashley Higgs // Okay, this recipe isn’t actually new to you. I blogged about it almost exactly a year ago. But in recent weeks I have been on a bread baking kick, and this is the recipe that I use every single time. If you haven’t had a chance to make it yet, consider this a friendly nudge!

What are some of your favorite no-fail recipes?

– Kelly

Recipes on my Radar: Roasted Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

Recipes on my radar: Roasted Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

Winter tomatoes are forgettable at best, but oven roasting these greenhouse-grown rubies can help bring out the sweet flavor that we remember from sunny August days. And naturally, there is no better way to use roasted tomatoes in January than to make tomato soup.

To ease myself back into the Boston tundra (goodbye, 70 degree Houston weather), I made a Roasted Tomato Soup with Sole and Monkfish and paired it with Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

For the soup, I used the Roasted Tomato Soup with Halibut recipe from Giada’s Feel Good Food (this recipe, without the pasta) and replaced the halibut with sole and monkfish, which is what I had on hand. For the sandwich, I used this recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Recipes on my radar: Roasted Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

A grilled cheese sandwich isn’t exactly a health food, but simple swaps in ingredients can make a HUGE difference in nutrition. Hear me out…

A study actually compared the metabolism of a cheese sandwich with whole grain bread and real cheese (Sargento medium Cheddar slices) to a cheese sandwich with white bread and a processed cheese product (Kraft Singles). Scientists found that people expended 50% more energy metabolizing the whole foods version, even though both sandwiches had the same amount of calories and the same ratio of bread to cheese.

Not only does this grilled cheese sandwich boast 100% whole grain bread and real, organic cheese, but it even has green vegetables on the inside! Paired with a nutritious tomato and fish soup, I’ll chalk that up as a sensible dinner.

Recipes on my radar: Roasted Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese with Brussels Sprouts

What are you cooking this week?

– Kelly

Oat Feast

Oat Feast

On a recent trip to New York City, Ashley and I got breakfast at one of my favorite Greenwich Village gems: OatMeals, an oatmeal cafe. Over a delicious bowl of Indian Spiced Oatmeal, filled with raisins, sliced almonds, crystallized ginger, cardamom, vanilla, brown sugar, and coconut milk, Ashley and I had a revelation. We could make these recipes at home. Additionally, our curiosity surrounding savory oats was growing stronger by the minute. And so, Oat Feast was born. A 3 course meal of oatmeal, topped off with an oatmeal stout. Rather than using the OatMeals menu to guide us, we ended up getting all of our recipes from the Oatmeal Artist, my favorite recipe blog.

Appetizer: Sweet Potato and Soyrizo Oatmeal

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Entree: Pizza Porridge

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Dessert: German Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

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While all of the recipes were easy and delicious, the Sweet Potato and Soyrizo Oatmeal was a standout! I highly recommend it as an introduction to savory oats, whether you like oatmeal or not. Rich sweet potato, spicy soyrizo, and creamy avocado were the perfect way to jazz up an unassuming porridge. Have you tried any creative oatmeal recipes lately? Do tell!

– Kelly

Worried about arsenic in rice? Substitute one of these healthy grains!

In light of recent arsenic scares, the Consumers Union recommends no more than 1/4 cup rice (dry) two times per week for adults, and 1.25 times per week for children. (This recommendation applies both to brown rice and white rice.) Do you rely on rice as a dietary staple? If so, this is the perfect time to branch out and try other grains. Out of all of the grains available, I find that farro, barley, and quinoa are the most “rice-like” and work best as rice substitutes.

Ancient Grains

Farro: Farro is an ancient strain of wheat (meaning it’s not gluten-free, for any allergy folks out there) and the grains are a tad larger than rice. Farro has a chewy texture and nutty flavor, similar to brown rice, but turned up a few notches. Because of this unique flavor, farro works well as a stand alone side (fish served on a bed of farro, chicken with a side of farro, etc). Also, farro’s texture lends itself well to grain salads. It stays chewy when served cold, unlike rice, which becomes dry and stale. At the grocery store, look for whole farro (rather than pearled farro) to be sure you’re getting a whole grain.

Barley: Barley (wheat free, but not gluten free) is a bit smaller than rice. It has a neutral flavor, so it works great in mixed dishes (such as stir frys). It is also great in soup (think beef with barley!) and works well with beans. Like rice, it is best served warm. Look for whole barley or hulled barley at the grocery store. While pearled barley is more nutrient dense than a fully refined grain, it is not technically a whole grain because part of the bran has been removed.

Quinoa: Quinoa is like the chambray shirt of ancient grains… it goes with everything! Even though quinoa is actually not very “rice-like” compared to farro and barley, this tiny, gluten free pseudograin can be substituted for rice in many recipes. Warm or cold, sweet or savory, quinoa can be whatever you want it be!

When experimenting with a new ingredient, it is often helpful to start with a recipe. Below are some recipe ideas to get you started:

What is your favorite grain to substitute for rice?

– Kelly

Lentil Love

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This post has been a long time coming. I seem to find myself talking about lentils more and more these days. In fact, I even did an in-depth commodity report on lentils for one of my gastronomy courses. Lentils are my favorite plant based protein source, not just because they are cheap and shelf stable, but because they are so gosh darn versatile! What else makes lentils so special?

  • Unlike other dried legumes, dried lentils DO NOT require an overnight soak. Simply bring lentils and water to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Lentils have tons of protein! According to the USDA food and nutrient database, 1/2 cup of cooked lentils has 9g of protein and 115 calories. Compare that to 7.5g of protein and 114 calories for black beans, 7.5g of protein and 112 calories for red kidney beans, and 8.5g of protein and 95 calories for edamame (all for 1/2 cup cooked).

When I catch myself talking about lentils, I am often surprised at how few people I meet actually have experience cooking with them. People often ask me for lentil recipes, so below, I compiled of a list of my 3 favorites (all healthy, of course!). If you have visited me for an extended period of time, chances are, I have made at least one of these recipes for you. Note that I always buy green lentils, but I hope to experiment with red and black one day soon!

Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato with Lentils

1. Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potato: I created this recipe on a day that my cupboards were particularly bare, and it has since become one of my favorite meals. See here for the recipe.

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2. Lentil Chili: This recipe from Whole Foods Market is incredibly easy and versatile! I always add a can (or 2 ears) of corn for a little bit of sweetness. My finishing touch is a dollop of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt.

sloppy joe

3. Lentil Sloppy Joes: Image and Recipe from Edible Perspective. This vegan recipe from the Edible Perspective is so perfect, that I follow it exactly as it’s written every time. No additions or substitutions necessary. And did I mention that it’s made completely in the slow cooker? Too easy!

Have you caught lentil fever yet? What are some of your favorite lentil recipes?

– Kelly

P.S. I’m not the only one that’s gaga for lentils. Check out this NPR article to learn more about my favorite plant based protein.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica

After 9 seasons, The Office will come to an end next Thursday on NBC. Never has there been a better time to experiment with this sweet, red vegetable, so I rounded up 10 beet recipes from around the web. Serve any of these at your Office finale viewing party, and your guests will be delighted to have a taste of Shrute Farms!

1. Skipped Beet Cocktail from The Daily Meal

2. Beet Greens Smoothie from Inspired RD

Beet Greens Smoothie - InspiredRD.com

3. Roasted Beet Hummus from Whole Living

4. Baked Beet Chips from Women’s Health

Baked Beet Chips

5. Roasted Beet Crostini from Rosemarried

6. Sweet Potato and Beet Hash from The Kitchen Paper

beet and sweet potato hash

7. Beet, Onion, and Chive Flatbread from The Kitchen Paper

8. Beet, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese from BS in the Kitchen

9. Beet and Raspberry Soft Serve from The Healthy Foodie

Beet and Raspberry Soft Serve | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

10. Chocolate Beet Cake from The Law Student’s Wife

Chocolate-Beet-Cake-Recipe | The Law Students Wife

Happy viewing!

– Kelly

Shamrock Tostadas: A Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Meal

Shamrock Tostadas

After seeing so much green at my first Celtic’s game last night, I’m starting to get pretty excited for Saint Patrick’s Day. I have a feeling that Saint Patrick’s day is going to be a pretty big deal here in Boston, but this themed recipe takes me back to my Texas roots. Pinterest inspired me to combine these cute bell pepper shamrocks with one of my favorite vegetarian recipes: Veggie Tostadas. Side note: tostada shells are pretty difficult to locate up here, but I eventually found them at my local Whole Foods Trader Joe’s Shaw’s Star Market.

Shamrock Tostadas

Shamrock Tostadas (inspired by Pinch of Yum & Martha Stewart)

Makes 8 tostadas

Ingredients

  • 8
    tostada shells
  • 1 15-oz can
    refried beans
  • 4 large
    bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 large
    onion
  • 3 small
    green bell peppers
  • 1 cup
    nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon each
    cumin, chili powder, and paprika

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. While the oven is warming up, chop the onion and colorful bell peppers (not the 3 green ones, though) into bite sized pieces.
  2. Put the chopped peppers and onion onto a greased baking sheet and evenly add the cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Then roast in the oven for about 25 minutes. Note- I don’t add any additional oil other than what was used to grease the pan.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, carefully slice the green bell peppers across the middle to create a shamrock shape. It probably won’t take all 3 bell peppers to make 8 slices, but this will allow you to pick the best looking ones. Use the scraps to create a small stem shape for each shamrock.
  4. When the veggies are finished cooking, quickly heat up the can of refried beans according to package instructions.
  5. Assemble your tostada by layering it with about 1/4 cup refried beans, 1/2 cup cooked veggies, 2 tablespoons of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt, and 1 shamrock. Enjoy!

Shamrock Tostadas

Nutrition per Tostada: 166 calories, 2.4g fat (0.3g saturated), 3.8mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 118mg potassium, 30g carbohydrates (4g fiber, 8g sugar), 13.5g protein, 52% Vitamin A, 124% Vitamin C, 14% Calcium, 15% Iron

Nutrition facts were estimated via My Fitness Pal using the following ingredients:

Shamrock tostadas

Oops… forgot to show the refried beans!

Note: I usually eat 2 tostadas with a side, such as a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. Since this meal is very low fat, avocado would be a great addition!

As you probably suspected, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to healthy Saint Patrick’s Day recipes. Check it out and get inspired!

Vegetarian Valentine’s Day

Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad with Parsley, Cumin, and Coriander, and Multigrain Toast

Is it just me, or did Ash Wednesday come particularly early this year? Because I work with students with special diets, because I value plant based diets and their effect on the environment as well as the food system, and because giving up grilled chicken and fish for so long will be a sacrifice, I decided to go vegetarian during Lent. And since the Liturgical Calendar seems to be ahead of itself this year, this means that I am celebrating a Vegetarian Valentine’s Day.

My meal consists of Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad with Parsley, Cumin, and Coriander, and a warm slice of Multigrain Toast.

Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad with Parsley, Cumin, and Coriander, and Multigrain Toast

Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese: I used this recipe from Giada’s new cookbook, Weeknights with Giada. I left out the leek and butter, because I don’t know what a leek is and was too embarrassed to ask at the grocery store (maybe next time). This cookbook has some great looking healthy recipes, and I’m very thankful that my brothers gave it to me for Christmas this year 🙂

Lentil and Pomegranate Salad with Parsley, Cumin, and Coriander: I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest (of course!) It tastes great chilled, and seems like it would be a great dish to bring to a potluck because it would travel so well.

I made both recipes simultaneously, and the whole meal came together in under an hour. Not bad!

– Kelly

 

Butternut Squash Chicken Quesadillas + Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

UPDATED ON 03-09-2014 WITH NEW PHOTOS!

Whole grain quesadilla with butternut squash, kale, chicken, and Monterrey Jack cheese

As soon as I saw this Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadilla recipe from the Pioneer Woman, I knew that I had to give it my own healthy twist. As a newbie to butternut squash, I was also inspired to try a great looking soup recipe (Butternut Squash and Apple) from my Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. For those of you new to Butternut Squash, I highly recommend looking at the Pioneer Woman’s step by step tutorial on how to chop it (easier said than done!). Otherwise, slice it in half and roast it in the oven before attempting to peel & chop (this is my method).

Butternut Squash Chicken Quesadillas

Whole grain quesadilla with chicken, kale, butternut squash, and Monterrey Jack cheese

Healthy whole grain quesadilla with chicken, butternut squash, kale, and Monterrey Jack cheese

I decided to add chicken to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe to make them more filling and protein packed. I also discovered these awesome multigrain tortillas from Trader Joe’s to use. They are pretty large tortillas (nutritionally equivalent to about 2 small slices of whole grain bread), so 1 tortilla folded in half produces 1 quesadilla . Lastly, I oven roasted the butternut squash, rather than pan frying it in butter (for obvious health reasons).

Butternut Squash Chicken Quesadilla (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 large (about 1.5-2 oz)
    whole grain tortilla (such as Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Flour Tortillas with Rolled Oats and Flax Seeds, pictured below)
  • 1/3 cup
    Butternut Squash, cubed and cooked
  • 1/4 cup
    Shredded Chicken (white meat, no skin)
  • 1/3 cup
    Leafy Greens (I have had success with both fresh arugula and frozen kale, both pictured below)
  • 1/4 cup
    Shredded Part skim Mozzarella cheese (gouda or jack would be great too!)

Cooking Directions

  1. Make sure that all of your ingredients are prepared and ready. If you are starting with raw chicken breast, bake it in the oven. Store bought rotisserie chicken would work in this recipe as well. If you are starting with raw butternut squash, I recommend cutting it in half and then oven roasting it, before cutting the squash into small cubes.
  2. Place your tortilla on a nonstick skillet. Fold the tortilla in half to create a crease, and then lay it back open on the skillet.
  3. Layer the greens, butternut squash, chicken and cheese onto one half of the tortilla. Then fold the other half over and hold it closed with your spatula if need be.
  4. Now turn the stove onto medium high heat. Continue holding the quesadilla closed with your spatula if it doesn’t stay shut on its own.
  5. Cook on the same side until the cheese begins to melt. Use the spatula to lift a corner of the quesadilla.
  6. Peek and make sure that the bottom tortilla is sufficiently browned, and then flip the quesadilla onto the other side.
  7. Cook for just a few minutes more to brown the other side.
  8. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately. Serves 1.

Nutrition: 247 calories, 6.3g fat (1g saturated), 30mg cholesterol, 405mg sodium, 267mg potassium, 29g carbohydrates (6g fiber, 2g sugar), 16g protein, 168% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C, 28% Calcium, 10% Iron

Nutrition Facts estimated via My Fitness Pal using ingredients below.

Butternut Squash Chicken Quesadillas

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I followed this recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook (page 221). Unfortunately, my food processor gave out so I had to puree the soup little by little in my knock-off Magic Bullet… quite a lengthy process!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

In the end, it was worth it. I am a huge fan of Ina Garten! Her recipes always turn out delicious, and her TV show has an understated elegance that I can’t get enough of. Coming from her, this soup is surprisingly healthy. I took both the butter & oil down from 2 Tablespoons to 1 Tablespoon, but other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. See below for all of the wholesome ingredients that I used.

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash and Apple Soup: Makes about 12 1-cup servings. Nutrition facts estimated via My Fitness Pal.

Nutrition (per 1 cup serving): 102 calories, 2.2 g fat (0.7g saturated), 8.8mg sodium (I didn’t add salt), 347mg potassium, 20.3g carbohydrates (1g, 11.5g sugar), 1.2g protein, 201% Vitamin A, 28% Vitamin C, 5.4% Calcium, 4.0% Iron

I still have one small butternut squash left. Here are some other recipes that are catching my eye. Which one would you choose?

Check out other seasonal recipes on my Winter Recipes Pinterest page.

-Kelly