Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch

Panzanella, a classic Italian salad made with greens and crusty bread, benefit from a hearty (but still healthy) down-south makeover with loads of lettuce, my clean-eats cornbread croutons (with healthier sugar and fat substitutes), small splurge of bacon crumbles and fresh home-style ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt. These southern-inspired swaps have been my little secret to getting teen boys to wolf down first and second servings of salad.

Bacon Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Y’all, I do declare, this Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch is a winner for lunch and dinner. You can even pair it up with grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs if you’d like a little extra protein. Continue reading

Slow Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon

Now that I have eaten #AllTheThings this past month leading up to Christmas, I’m planning a lighter menu for New Year’s Eve. A whole side of salmon is a showy (and amazingly simple) celebratory meal that will make waves with your family and friends ringing in 2017. Wow your crowd with my recipe for Slow-Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon, it’s just as delicious as it is dazzling. Slow is the way to go! Raspberry Dill Salmon Horiz

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3 Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips – Beet, Turmic & Matcha

Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt DipsBrighten up any winter snack situation with these Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips colorized with some of Mother Nature’s most vivid ingredients including beet powder, turmeric powder and matcha tea. No need to go all fake and freaky to create edible rainbow colors for your holiday appetizers and other fun recipes throughout the year. These natural ingredients are superfoods (typically found on the health food, spice and tea aisles) and not only pump up the pigment, but boost nutrition as well!

Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt Dips are a vibrant addition to a holiday party, celebration or for home snacking! Can also be used as salad dressing, or drizzled on sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and more.

While there are lots of additional benefits, beet root powder boosts nitric oxide in your blood (helping circulation, blood pressure and stamina), ground turmeric is a spice that can help to reduce inflammation and lessen the perception of pain, and matcha tea is known to boost the metabolism, calm the mind and help protect against certain cancers.

tumeric-beet-matcha-powder The other beauty of these three Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips is how easy they are to make – I originally created the recipes for Litehouse Foods using first their Homestyle Ranch Dip, then later the OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Dips and finally with Greek yogurt from scratch.  Using prepared dips (found in the refrigerated section of your produce department) is an “almost homemade” shortcut perfect when you need to pull together a party ASAP or at the 11th hour realize you didn’t bring a dish for the office shindig. I feel more than comfortable using the Litehouse Foods brand because they are VERY mindful to keep their products as fresh and preservative as possible.

But, knowing these dips aren’t easy for some of you to find (and that many prefer scratch recipes), I’ve written out the full preparation of the recipes (and then noted how to swap in the prepared dressings if that’s the route you choose). The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen “superfood” ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!

These dips also take sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and steamed veggies to the next level with just a drizzle or dollop! Enjoy and Happy Holidays to Hue!

If you need a visual on the beet powder, ground turmeric and matcha — here are the products I used:

Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt Dips
Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt dips
Print Recipe
The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen "superfood" ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Beet, Turmeric and Match Greek Yogurt Dips
Beet, Turmeric & Matcha Greek Yogurt dips
Print Recipe
The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen "superfood" ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 5 minutes
Instructions
  1. Add Greek yogurt to small bowl. Stir in all ingredients except for optional garnish. Let sit in fridge for an hour to overnight to let flavors mingle. Add garnish before serving.
  2. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies. Can also be used as a sauce or spread for sandwiches, wraps, side dishes, fish, chicken and more.
  3. To make with Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dip or OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, simply use 8 ounces in lieu of the Greek yogurt and spices.
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6 Easy Strawberry + Protein Snack Recipes

Easy Protein and Strawberry Snack Ideasjennifer spartan training up and over cg arenaSchool’s out, sun’s out and guns are out and the skies the limit on all the fun and fit stuff that’s coming up in the next few months!

Not much could be sweeter about summer, except maybe a top-crop snack of strawberries. Strawberries balanced with a bit of protein are the perfect healthy snack to fuel the body for one warm-weather activity to the next.

On their own, strawberries are quite the super food, providing a quality source of simple carbohydrates that the body can turn into quick energy for runs, workouts and even power-thinking! The high fiber and water content found in this fruit creates a feeling of welcomed fullness, while keeping the calorie count low – a single medium strawberry only has 4 calories! Plus, a powerful wallop of vitamin C is packed in strawberries, an antioxidant that can help keep muscles, skin and tissues in tip-top shape – just eight strawberries match the vitamin C in a medium orange.

But often, especially for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, merely munching on a handful of berries alone won’t suffice. Pair up strawberries up with a lean protein source for added nutrients and a few extra calories to feel fuller and more fueled for the most vigorous daily routine. Also, eating a snack of carbohydrates with protein (in a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio) 30 minutes after an intense exercise session will help tired and sore muscles recover more quickly.

Check out these Six Strawberry Protein Snacks that can be made in a snap and will fuel you up for running, workouts, climbing and reaching for the sky!

 

Strawberry Banana Mug Muffin with Core PowerClick here for first recipe Strawberry Banana Protein Mug Muffin (20g protein)

2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust

2 Ingredient Ranch Pizza Dough whole pizza close up - litehouseDitch the delivery guy and make a delicious meal just about as fast as you can say “winner, winner, pizza dinner” 10 times.  Today, I’m sharing a pizza crust recipe that whips up in warp speed – just grab two simple ingredients and give yourself two minutes to create homemade dough that is ready to roll out and pile up with all those favorite toppings.  2 Minute 2 Ingredient Homemade Pizza Crust is an easy dinner solution that packs a little extra protein with Greek yogurt.

2 Ingredient Ranch Pizza Dough LitehouseI originally made this 2-ingredient, 2-topping Pizza Crust Recipe for Litehouse Foods using, their Homestyle Ranch. For Ranch Dressing devotees, the concept was capturing that signature buttermilk and herb flavor and baking it right into the crust – so no dipping, dunking or drizzling required! I must say, that crust was delicious! I’ve also swapped out the Ranch dressing with whole-fat Greek yogurt for a tangy, tasty twist that offers up a bit more protein – a consideration if you are making a veggie pizza.

While you only need 2 minutes to make the pizza crust, you’ll need another 12 minutes for it to bake in the oven, loaded with sauce, cheese, fresh veggies, meats and other toppings your crave. Still, you’re eating homemade pizza in less than 15 minutes and that is definitely faster than delivery! Homemade garlic pizza sauce tastes better, saves money and can be made ahead and frozen for a busy weeknight dinner solution.

You’ll also want to try my DIY Garlic Pizza Sauce, another 2 minute recipe (made in the blender) that will take your pie to a whole ‘nutha level.

tomatoesmozerella in bowl feetWhat fresh toppings do you put on your pizza? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

2 Ingredient 2 Minute Pizza Dough
2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust
Print Recipe
Have a homemade pizza on your plate in less than 15 minutes thanks to this easy recipe for a 2 minute, 2 ingredient crust!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
2 Ingredient 2 Minute Pizza Dough
2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust
Print Recipe
Have a homemade pizza on your plate in less than 15 minutes thanks to this easy recipe for a 2 minute, 2 ingredient crust!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 475 F degrees. Place pizza stone or unrimmed baking sheet in oven to pre-heat.
  2. In medium bowl, add self-rising flour and Greek yogurt, stirring to combine. If mixture seems too sticky, add in more flour a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Plop dough out on liberally floured portable work surface, such as large cutting board or unrimmed baking sheet. Shape into one large ball for a 12” pizza or two smaller balls for personal-sized pizzas.
  4. Use a rolling pin to flatten dough to approximately 1/3” thickness, using fingers to mend any cracks or craggy spots on edges. Add toppings of choice onto uncooked pizza dough (like sauce, cheese, veggies, etc.). Open door of oven and use baking mitt to pull out hot baking sheet. Carefully slide prepped pizza onto hot baking sheet.
  5. Bake in center rack of oven for 12 minutes or until edges golden brown and cheese bubbling on top.
  6. Slice into wedges. Enjoy!
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Spiralized Grapefruit, Avocado & Cucumber Salad + Altra Superior 2.0

Spring has really sprung here in Austin, so naaaaaaturally I’m talking running shoes and spiralized salads.  The bluebonnets are always a sure sign as is the unofficial start of trail running season.Altra Superior 2.0 - Great shoe for trail running. With some off road and Spartan running on my upcoming race calendar, I was excited to try out the Superior 2.0s from Altra Running. Such a light and fast ride for a trail running shoe and I had absolutely no loss of traction on the slightly muddy banked trails, excessing sloshing out of the water crossings, or feet that felt like they had been beat up by race end.  Check the Superior 2.0 out, you will love them for flying down gentle trails to all sorts of gnarly terrain. And, more good news, I placed 3rd  Overall Female in that 10k trail race aptly named “The Maze.”

So, now you know my latest spring shoe obsession, but what about the salad?Cucumber Grapefruit Feta Salad with Avocado Cilantro DressingHow about a Spiralized Cucumber and Grapefruit Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing?!

Spiralized Cucumber Avocado and Grapefruit Salad -- add feta, pecans and whatever else you love! Dressed with a Greek Yogurt Cilantro Avocado Dressing

I used the spiralizer attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer to transform cucumbers into windy ribbons and toss with tart grapefruit segments and other flavorful ingredients like feta cheese, avocado chunks, pecans and cilantro.Kitchenaid Spiralizer Attachment puts a new twist on fruits and vegetables. Great for creating healthy recipes.

It makes a showy salad full of salty-sweet tang, vibrant colors and crunch! To marry the flavors even more, I’ve also used a favorite dressing — OPA by Litehouse Avocado and Cilantro! With a base of Greek yogurt, this dressing is a healthier way to pour rich and creamy flavor atop any salad – or use as a versatile sauce over fish or in your lunch turkey wraps, the possibilities are endless.

Cucumber Grapefruit Salad with Opa Greek Yogurt Cilantro Avocado Dressing

A few tips about the Spiralized Cucumber and Grapefruit Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing:

  • Don’t have a spiralizer? Don’t worry, just quarter and seed the cucumbers lengthwise and then julienne into 2 to 3-inch strips.
  • Don’t skip the draining step after prepping the cucumbers or you’ll end up with excess water pooling in the bottom of your bowl (and eventually making a soggy salad).
  • For convenience, consider using prepared grapefruit segments found in the produce section. Drain off the juice (drink or reserve for another use – see below) and simply toss in the salad. There’s no time-consuming peeling and tedious cutting away of pesky membranes.
  • Before adding avocado chunks to the salad, I like to dunk them in reserved grapefruit juice (or lemon juice) to keep them from oxidizing and browning before serving. This also helps leftovers stay fresh in the refrigerator for another day.

Check out these blogs I’m linking up with today: Check out these blogs I’m linking up with today: The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl , Confessions of a Mother Runner, , Running on Happy

Do you even spirazlize? Hehe, if so, what is your favorite fruit or veggie to turn into twisty goodness?  Did you race this weekend, I’d love to hear the details – XOXO, Jennifer

Cucumber Grapefruit Feta Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing
Grapefruit, Avocado and Cucumber Salad with Cilantro Avocado Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 minutes
Cucumber Grapefruit Feta Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing
Grapefruit, Avocado and Cucumber Salad with Cilantro Avocado Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 15 minutes
Instructions
  1. Process cucumbers in spiralizer and place “noodles” in colander to rinse off seeds.
  2. Let cucumbers sit and drain for several minutes before patting dry with paper towels. Transfer to serving bowl.
  3. Add sliced onion, cilantro, feta, and pecans to salad and toss gently with dressing.
  4. Drain juice from grapefruit (if using packaged) into a small bowl.
  5. Peel and seed avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces and gently dunk in reserved grapefruit juice (or lemon juice) to prevent oxidization.
  6. Add grapefruit segments and avocado to top of salad. Serve with additional cilantro, if desired.
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Yuck to Yes! 6 Clean Eating Mistakes to Avoid

YUCK to YES! Six kinda gross healthy eating issues and how to get past them!You’ve purged the fridge and pantry of processed foods, loaded up on organic foods and free-range proteins, and your produce bin is now a colorful rainbow of Mother Nature’s bounty. It’s a beautiful sight – and congratulations on your road to a healthier lifestyle! However, many of us unwittingly sabotage even the best-laid plans for a healthy diet because it’s either what we were taught to do because “it isn’t pretty,” . . . or, frankly, we’re just a little grossed out.  It’s time to just “get over it” and stop making these healthy eating mistakes!

Don’t scrape off brown stuff off bottom of salmon: Keep healthy fats in your diet by salmon gettyleaving on the brown-grey gunk found on the bottom of salmon.

I’m not talking about the skin (although that’s good for you too), but the soft, gelatinous layer found between the skin and flesh. This brown-grey stuff is the insulating fat for this cold water fish and also where the overwhelming majority of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids are found.

Don’t pour off liquid pooled on top of Greek yogurt: Despite looking like a cloudy mess that should be drained away, this liquid is actually the whey. Whey is comprised mostly of settled water from the yogurt, but it’s also where the protein, potassium, and calcium live! Stirring in the whey before eating your yogurt keeps the protein content in yogurt high, preserves important nutrients and promotes a creamy texture.

Don’t spit out fruit seeds: Despite your mother’s warnings, most fruit seeds are actually quite beneficial for your health (some companies are even selling packaged watermelon seeds to snack on – they’re good! ), containing a boost of important amino acids, vitamins and minerals. You can eat watermelon seeds!For example, watermelon seeds are an abundant source of zinc and the tropical papaya has an enzyme that helps fight parasitic infestation, a common health issue where the fruit is grown (isn’t Mother Nature clever?).  I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to eat every seed in sight, but it’s definitely does no harm to eat a few of them –and, a plant won’t sprout in your stomach!

Don’t peel vegetables:  Stop peeling your vegetables, especially if they are thoroughly scrubbed and washed. Purple Potato PeelNot only does it take a ridiculous amount of time to de-skin produce (like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, carrots, beets and others), peeling also robs your diet of important nutrients. A high concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are lurking on the skin of your favorite vegetables – for example, the levels of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C found on potato skins are much more highly concentrated ounce-for-ounce, than in the rest of the tuber.  However, if you decide to remove the outer layer of vegetables for aesthetic purposes, save the peels and boil  with water for a vegetable stock.

Don’t avoid egg yolks and those “stringy things”: Let’s crack the hype that egg yolks are bad – yes, they contain cholesterol, but recent studies show that eating eggs does not ramp up the risk for heart disease. In fact, the yolk is where the bulk of an eggs super powers reside, packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats that benefit the eyes, brain and remainder of our bodies. Egg ChalazaeAnd, if you’re grossed out by the white stringy things in eggs, don’t be. There is no harm in eating this ropey part of the egg, called chalazae. Chalazae are merely what anchor the yolk to the membrane and are not the beginning of little chick as many think. Egg experts say that the more chalazae you see, the fresher the egg.

Don’t chastise chia seeds over slime:  Chia seeds are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, omega fats, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants – and a good source of protein. However, the number one complaint of this super-food is the slimy texture the sand-sized seeds take on when wet.  Many don’t mind it, but others get the gag reflex. One way to reap the benefits of chia seeds, but avoid the gelatinous goo, is to incorporate a sprinkling of the seeds in smoothies or baked goods.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding - TheFitFork.comOh, and if you’re looking for a chia seed recipe this Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding is one of my favorite healthy treats.

 

 

 

Do you have any tips on healthy eating, maybe some gross stuff that is actually good?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Healthy Protein Challenge Snack – Plenti Greek Yogurt

Plenti Greel Yogurt by Yoplait has 12 grams of protein and makes a satisfying, healthy snack.I know you are all are as busy as me  — sometimes I get so sidetracked with my workouts, kids and errands that I’ve forgotten to eat a meal or nourishing snack (my new favorite Plenti Greek Yogurt, more about that below)– that’s not a good thing and honestly, not even a good way to lose weight (if that is your goal). Whether you are trying to drop a few pounds, maintain weight, or fuel up with extra calories to support a training schedule full of strength-training, yoga, and endurance sports, it’ best eat three balanced meals a day and protein-rich snacks between, if needed.

Bridge Pose

Plenti Greek Yogurt helps fuel my busy, active life that includes yoga, running and CrossFit.

I am a huge Greek yogurt fan – I eat it daily for breakfast and a bedtime snack! Recently, I discovered a new variety called Plentí Yogurt made by Yoplait, a brand I’ve trusted and served to my family for years! What makes Plenti unique and alluringly convenient in my eyes is that it comes pre-packed with loads of the “good stuff” including strained Greek yogurt, fruit, whole grain oats, flax and seeds – all the stuff I love to stir into my plain Greek yogurt but am often too tired or too low on pantry and fridge food to do so!  It comes in eight yummy flavors; you’ll never get bored — Black Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut, Peach, Raspberry, Spiced Apple, Strawberry and Vanilla.

Plenti Greek Yogurt by Yoplait is packed with wholesome goodness and makes a satisfying breakfast, snack or healthy dessert.

Whew, what a relief to know that I can just grab one of the eight Plenti Greek yogurt healthy flavors “as-is” from the fridge for a quick breakfast, post-workout snack or healthy dessert. Because Plenti has 12 grams of protein per serving, it makes a tasty and satisfying snack that boosts my energy so that I can conquer even the most “plentiful” day. I’ve talked lots about the benefits of eating protein and the Protein Challenge on my blog and with television and radio media, and Plenti fits right in.

Protein-Packed Snacks

Add Greek Yogurt to this list! Serving of Plenti Yogurt has 12 grams protein.

I aim to make protein 30 percent of my daily calorie intake, taking in about 25 to 30 grams of protein at each of my three meals and supplementing with two healthy snacks with about 10 to 15 grams of protein each. A growing body of research is suggesting that spreading protein consumption throughout the day (starting with breakfast) can improve cardiovascular health, better address muscle maintenance and growth, and help maintain weight by keeping away those “hangries” that happen when your blood sugar drops and energy level tanks (from eating too many carb-heavy foods).

Plenti Greek YogurtI really encourage you to check out Plenti Greek Yogurt for yourself and also their new, fun Instagram site– this product features a 1:1 protein to sugar ratio (12 grams of each) – now just because I like a higher protein diet doesn’t mean I shun healthy carbs and a small amount of sugar – I need it to provide quick energy for my runs!  Look for Plenti in the dairy section of your market – you’ll smile putting it into your cart knowing that it’s made with lots of wholesome ingredient that will do your body good – it’s also a gluten-free food and also has no gelatin, if these are concerns for you.

What flavor sounds the most delicious to you – Black Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut, Peach, Raspberry, Spiced Apple, Strawberry or Vanilla? Please share in the comments below and also share the most “fun” fitness thing you’ve done this week! XOXO – Jennifer