Why Athletes Should Eat Carrots + Fit, Fast Recipes

Trendy vegetables come and go, but carrots are a perennially popular pick in the produce department! I’m a non-discriminating vegetable lover and would never suggest kicking kale to the curb or saying bye-bye to beets, but these veggies, among other others, have enjoyed more than their fair share of time in the proverbial sun and now seem to be wilting away. But, let’s not forget about the tried-and-true carrot! Why Athletes Should Care about Carrots -- Health benefits that improve performance, recover and overall well being plus some easy, nutritious recipes using carrots.

All ages and all stages love carrots. Babies spoon up pureed carrots, kids munch on crunchy carrot sticks, and even finickiest of foodies can find a gourmet carrot recipe to delight.  Thanks to a host of health benefits and an easy-to-pack profile, this enduring edible also makes the perfect superfood for all types of athletes including runners, triathletes, football players, CrossFitters and other sporty types.  Plus, carrots are filling but are low in calories, with only about 50 calories for a cup of carrot slices or 5-ounces of baby carrots. If still questioning how carrots can help your athletic performance and need some great carrot recipes, read on:

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Colorful Carrot and Pea Tart Recipe + More Spring Brunch Ideas

Colorful Carrot & Pea Tart is an easy but showy addition to your spring celebration brunch or dinner.When I first started dating my husband, I remember an older family friend saying we go together like “peas and carrots.” I wondered what that even meant! But I remembered that classic frozen veggie mix I used to be served as a kid, and it was always peas and carrots –both a little naturally sweet and packed with wholesome goodness, but each very different at the same time – green v,. orange, round vs. square diced, firm vs. soft textured. These similarities and differences pair up like no other – they are the perfect complement to one another, just like the hubs and me.

Colorful Carrot and Pea Tart makes a light lunch or showy addition to your spring brunch.So, in honor of peas and carrots and recently celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary, I’m sharing a harmonious, must-have recipe for your next brunch — Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart. This garden gorgeous recipe is ideal for your spring celebrations including Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, graduations and more.

I’ve used tri-colored baby carrots to kick up the color even more and pre-made puff pastry dough for quick convenience. I’ve kept the creamy layer of my Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart lighter by using reduced-fat dairy products and Opadipity by Litehouse™, a Greek yogurt-based savory dip with fewer calories and less fat than conventional products. Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Also, in keeping with the Peas & Carrots theme, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes that feature peas and/or carrots for a collection on Mode.com.

Check out Pea & Carrot Recipes for Spring

by The Fit Fork at Mode

What is on your menu for Easter weekend? Or, what is your favorite spring vegetable? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

This post is sponsored by Mode.com and Litehouse Foods. All opinions are my own.

Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Colorful Carrot and Pea TArt
Print Recipe
Bring family together for brunch with our gorgeous, garden-fresh tart. The classic combination of English peas and carrots gets a tastefully trendy upgrade for your spring table.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Carrot and Peas Tart is a vibrant addition to your spring brunch, featuring wholesome goodness from the farmer's market.
Colorful Carrot and Pea TArt
Print Recipe
Bring family together for brunch with our gorgeous, garden-fresh tart. The classic combination of English peas and carrots gets a tastefully trendy upgrade for your spring table.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes 5 mintues
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place parchment paper or silicone mat on baking baking sheet and unfold thawed puff pastry dough. Using knife, carefully score ½” inside perimeter without cutting all the way through. Fold sides up and pinch dough at the corners.
  3. Brush dough on top and sides with egg wash. Use tines of fork to slightly puncture dough to prevent puffing while baking.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until turning lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. If still puffed up in center, gently push down with fingers.
  5. Mix together cream cheese, dip, mozzarella cheese, parsley and salt in small bowl. Using spatula, gently spread across bottom of tart crust.
  6. Add olive oil, peas and carrot slices to skillet and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until softening and lightly caramelized. Add on top of cheese layer.
  7. Return tart to 400 F degree oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, taking care that edges don’t over brown.
  8. Cut into squares or wedges and serve with additional OPAdipity.
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Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho – Some Bunny Loves You

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!”  That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer.  Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration.  Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

 

Benefits of Ginger - TheFitFork.comWhen I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!”  That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful  of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits.  Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.

To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste.  A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need.  Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off.  Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -  Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinnersThis recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!

Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot?  Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Instructions
  1. Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water. .
  2. Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
  3. Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
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Apple Cider Bourbon Glazed Carrots + Big Book of Sides #Giveaway

four roses whiskey - thefitforkOther than turkey, nothing says Thanksgiving more than a bottle of full of bourbon in my family. We’ll have that sucker drained in no time — no so much taking shots (okay, maybe a couple), but rather as a spirited ingredient in my holiday menu.

Watch this video of Rick Rodgers, chef and author of The Big Book of Sides, make Bacon, Onion and Bourbon Marmalade –it’s fantastic and versatile enough to spread it on a biscuit or dress a bowl full of warm green beans. Oh, and I’m hosting a giveaway for a copy of The Big Book of Sides, so enter at the bottom of this post.

Based on Rick’s recipe for Pomegranate Glazed Carrots (p. 148 of The Big Book of Sides) and my new found bottle of Four Roses Bourbon, I was inspired to create my own side dish recipe — Apple Cider Bourbon Glazed Carrots.  These carrots are so delicious and make a perfect pairing with your roast turkey or even a juicy steak – and because I’m using coconut (palm) sugar, they are even Paleo-diet friendly. Apple Cider Bourbon Glazed Carrots - side dish recipe from TheFitFork.com

Apple Cider Bourbon Carrots - thefitfork.comBourbon Apple Cider Glazed Carrots Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound carrots, scrubbed and green tops removed
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon coconut (palm) sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

 

  1. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add carrots in single layer and pour in apple cider. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bring sauce to boil over high heat, occasionally stirring to dissolve coconut sugar.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes to soften remove lid and bring heat up to high. Boil until sauce has reduced to a glaze, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with pecans, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.   Serves 4.

So, if you’ve ever struggled with side dish ideas and are tired of the same old mashed potatoes or plain buttered peas, The Big Book of Sides has more than 450 recipes that will add pizzazz and razzamatazz to your holiday plate. Some of the side dish recipes that spoke to me were Chard Puttanesca; Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes;   Farro, Cherry and Feta Salad; and Chipotle Corn Pudding. Enter below for a chance to win a copy of this must-have manual for the home cook – if you can’t wait to win, you can pick up a copy on Amazon.

This post and giveaway is sponsored. I received product and other compensation in exchange for my time; all opinions, editorial comments, content and photographs are my own, unless otherwise noted.

 

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Rah-Rah! Baked Root Veggie Fries Recipe

With basketball season in full swing and the upcoming football finale (I think it’s called the Super Bowl), I’ve been focused on making healthier snacks to go along with our “sit-on-our-rears-and-cheer” spectator status.  Sure, three teen boys and a hungry husband can pack the food away like ravenous linebackers, but WE aren’t the ones out on the court or gridiron burning off the calories! No fake cheese queso or corndogs sullying up the scene at my house; everyone’s eating nutritious yet nom-nom delicious Super Bowl snacks at our party. Why, because I’m the chef AND the ref of this house and what I say goes! I’m sure (heehee) this is just one of the reasons I was recently named one of the Six Healthy Living Bloggers We Love by AllParenting.com!

carrot beet parsnip fires

When I announced we were having “fries” last weekend, I scored big with the kids. But when I served them my healthy swap version (baked carrots, beets and parsnips), one rolled his eyes, one made a gagging gesture and the other gave me the silent treatment. Thank goodness for the delicious creamy dip from Litehouse Food; I was able to coax them into giving these healthy fries a try. And, judging on the fact that they actually cleared the platter clean, I’ll take that as a compliment – although “Sheeze, Whataburger fries would have been better, Mom.”   BUT NOT BETTER FOR YOU!

root vegetables

Carrots, parsnips and beets score big on taste and nutrition when baked into “fries.”

I’m pretty sure you hold your tastes and health to a higher standard than teen boys, so I KNOW you’re going to love this recipe for Rah-Rah! Root Veggie Fries I created for Litehouse Food.

healthy super bowl snacks

Rah-Rah! Baked Root Veggie Fries Recipe

Ingredients

  • Baking Spray
  • ½ lb. beets
  • ½ lb. carrots
  • ½ lb. parsnips
  • ¼ cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. Instantly Fresh Parsley
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Vegetable Dip of choice

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

2. Trim stalks and ends of carrots, parsnips and beets. Use a clean scrub pad to thoroughly clean vegetables; no need to peel.

3. Use a sharp knife to slice vegetables into approximate 3-inch long, fry-sized strips.

4. Add egg whites to a shallow bowl, lightly whisk. Add panko Instantly Fresh Parsley, salt and pepper to another shallow bowl, toss together.

5. Dip vegetable strips into egg whites and then into panko mixture, a few at a time. If needed, lightly pat on panko so as much sticks as possible.

6. Spread out parchment paper on two rimmed baking sheets. Arrange vegetable strips in a single layer.

7. Bake in a 350 F degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until turned golden and crunchy.

8. Remove from oven and serve warm with your choice of dip.

Serves 8.