I’m a salad eater year ‘round. In fact, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t enjoy some sort of salad and fall is full of hearty possibilities. My Spiralized Green Apple Butternut Squash Salad is super delicious and nourishing, incorporating some of the season’s yummiest picks from the produce department.
Read on to get all the details about this main or side-dish salad that gets you well on your way to eating fruits and veggies for the day. Continue reading →
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. The opinions and text are all mine.
Popcorn makes a super on-the-go snack swap, especially as a replacement for common convenience options like granola bars, chips, and cookies that can be higher sugar and fat. Naturally gluten-free and considered a whole grain, popcorn is high in dietary fiber and low in calories – plus for the visual eater, a serving of popped corn looks like a whole LOT of food! I’m especially fond of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, their Healthy Pop line gets the thumbs up from Weight Watchers and most products are 94% fat-free and have just around 100 calories per serving (give or take) – that’s about 20 calories per cup!
So, y’all know I’m big on getting protein into my snack too! A bag (5 cups) of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn has about 4 grams of protein, which actually surprised me – I thought it would have zip, nada, none! I was wrong, popcorn does have protein! But, I like to pump it up with additional whole food add-ins – especially seeds! Tiny little seeds are powerhouses of nutrition – they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. For example, hulled hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete sources of plant-protein – containing every essential amino acid an fatty acid the body needs for optimal health.
Check out my recipe for Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Pop Corn Balls made with Healthy Pop Kettle Corn hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Instead of a caramel to hold it together like you’d find in a traditional popcorn ball, I’ve whipped up a nutritious binder made from sunflower butter and agave syrup, a low-glycemic index, natural sweetener. This great snack or healthy dessert recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and has no added refined sugar – so enjoy and #haveaJOLLYTIME !
Also, please check out the Healthy Pop Challenge – get a free workout band, enter to win a FitBit Altra and grab coupons for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. I love the idea that they have to workout while waiting for popcorn to pop – even little bursts of exercise add up. Depending on the length of your popping session and microwave settings (plan on an average of 4 minutes), you can get quite a few exercises done. Try these simple exercises in the kitchen while you wait:
Perform each exercise for 1 minute, as many times as you can safely, while you wait for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn to cook:
Overhead band pulls (or pushup against wall, if no band)
Prepare popcorn according to package instructions. Pour in large mixing bowl and let cool.
In small bowl, mix together hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and chia seeds. Set aside.
In small sauce pan, add sunflower seed butter and agave syrup, stir to combine. Bring to medium heat, stirring continuously. Once mixture begins to bubble, keep cooking and stirring for an additional 30 seconds.
Drizzle hot sunflower-agave mixture over popcorn and quickly stir to combine as evenly as possible. Sprinkle in seed mixture into popcorn mixture in about 3 batches, stirring quickly each time to distribute.
Spray 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with baking spray and fill with popcorn mixture. Using a piece of wax paper and hands or back of spoon, press down over entire top to compact firmly.
Cut into 9 squares.
****Or the nut butter of your choice, I love Power Fuel from Nuttzo.com
Cast your net beyond nachos, tacos and enchiladas, my Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash is a yummy Mexican cuisine inspired meal that is guaranteed to reel in compliments. Even though salmon isn’t found anywhere near the mild oceans and seas of Mexico, this seafood-loving culture enjoys fish from around the world – just like we do here in North America. So, it’s salmon for dinner tonight!
This fish and veggie recipe will be a regular in your weeknight dinner routine, it’s as easy as uno, dos, tres! First, spread with your favorite ranch or creamy dressing (I use Cotija Cilantro Ultra Premium Dressing) atop a salmon filet. Second, top salmon with crushed tortilla chips and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and then bake for 12 minutes. While fish is cooking in the oven, a quick skillet of squash comes together in minutes for a speedy yet stunning side dish generically called “calabacitas” — I used Mexican-style zucchini but you can easily substitute with your favorite summer squash such as sunburst or crookneck.
This recipe would also work well with a variety of meatier fish types, just swap for your favorite variety. I get my fish from Sizzlefish.com, they only source the best fish and I love how it’s shipped straight to my door, flash-frozen in perfectly portioned, 4-ounce servings. It terms of protein intake for a healthy lifestyle, 4-ounces of most fish and meat proteins gives you 25g (more or less) of protein – which is the optimal amount for your body to process at any one time. So, no guesswork with how much to eat with here, just open the freezer and grab individually-packaged serving from Sizzlefish. I also love the different “collections” of fish I can order (Paleo Prime Plus my favorite with Coho Salmon, Sokeye Salmon, Wild Gulf Shrimp, Atlantic Scallops, Sable Fish, Cod and Haddock).
Through the end of May, take 10% off your order at SizzleFish.com with the discount code FITFORK10 at checkout.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Add tortilla chips a zip top bag and crush to a coarse consistency with rolling pin. Add peptias to bag, shake to combine, and pour out mixture onto shallow dish.
Pat salmon filets dry with paper towels, place skin side down and sprinkle top with pepper. Brush each top with approximately 1 tablespoon creamy dressing.
One at a time, pick up the salmon filets and press the coated side down into the tortilla chip mixture until evenly coated. Place the salmon tortilla side up on the baking sheet and sprinkle with additional pepitas, lightly pressing them down, if desired. Discard the unused tortilla chip mixture.
Bake for 12 minutes, until the coating is crisp and fish begins to flake when pressed with a fork.
While fish is baking, add olive oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add garlic, squash and bell pepper and sauté, stirring constantly, for approximately 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt, continuing to cook for another 1 minute. Remove from heat and toss with pepitas.
To serve, top salmon with an approximate 1 tablespoon dollop of creamy dressing with a side of the prepared squash.