Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Roman Emperor and asparagus aficionado, Caesar Augustus, had an expression — Velocius quam asparagi conquantur!  Literally it meant “Faster that cooking asparagus,” but the point Augustus was trying to get across to his military minions was “Get going already”! Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Today I’m sharing a no-cook recipe that, by definition, IS FASTER than the already fast task of cooking asparagus. Try my Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa, it comes together in mere minutes and will pass muster with even the pickiest produce eaters!   Continue reading

Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos to Fuel Ninja Leprechauns

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You probably won’t ever find me sitting in a pub downing Guinness or whisky, but I’ll definitely eat! So today, I’m sharing my crazy, tasty spin on traditional tavern food and Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos are featured on my menu! Corned Beef Irish Potato Nachos

Those lucky Irish, with their abundance of potatoes! Spuds make a super great fuel choice for athletes, the complex carbs provide healthy energy to help nail workout and run goals. I did a whole blog post on this that you can check out HERE. Add corned beef from the deli, sharp white cheddar and a bit of cabbage should you care, and these nachos will have your taste buds dancing a jig.  Continue reading

Toasted Coconut, Turmeric and Ginger Overnight Oats

When I wake up, the first two words you’ll usually hear me grumble are “sore” and “hungry”!  I’m almost always in a state of recovery from the previous day’s workout, running low on fuel in my body’s tank and, honestly, a bit foggy because coffee isn’t ready. I need a hearty, healthy, healing breakfast that’s ready to go STAT. A favorite “stumble to the fridge” morning meal is Toasted Coconut, Turmeric & Ginger Overnight OatsToasted Coconut Turmeric and Ginger Overnight Oats are a hearty, healthy and healing breakfast. Perfect for meal prepping and morning meals on the go!

Yes, overnight oats. Before hitting the hay, I dump all the wholesome ingredients in a mason jar, give it a shake, and stick in the fridge. Sometimes I meal prep enough for three days to even cut out that night-time obligation At the crack of dawn, I’ll I have to do is unscrew the lid and spoon into my mouth right out of the jar. Read on to find out just how easy this make-ahead recipe is and how the turmeric and ginger will help you feel fabulous. Continue reading

Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte

Tea is . . . my cup of tea! I love that there are so many varieties available that meet me my body where it is for the day, whether that’s requiring an instant pick-me-up, desperately craving better sleep, or feeling bloated and in need a diet detox. Plus, the world’s most popular beverage, is packed with an abundance of antioxidants (varies on the type of tea) to help boost immunity and optimize overall health and well-being.Preparing Lemongrass Mint Matcha Chia  This month, I’ve been jump-starting my mornings with Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte, it’s a exponentially more wholesome, herbal alternative the carbonated sugar-free energy drinks I sometimes guzzle prebreakfast (we all have vices, people). After just a few sips of this steaming green goodness, I know that the cold weather, shortened daylight levels, and lengthy to-do list are going to be so much more bearable.

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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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Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch + More Healthy Candy Recipes

Apple Walnut Quinoa CrunchReady for a curiously crunchy treat? My recipe for Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch will satisfy sweet crispy cravings while filling you up longer thanks to an unexpected punch of protein from the quinoa and black walnuts– it’s a balanced candy for your “healthy tooth”!

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch is a healthy alternative to peanut brittle candy -- it packs a bit of protein from the ancient grain Quinoa and is dairy-free, gluten-free and made without traditional corn syrup (only a touch of coconut sugar and 100 percent apple cider)I like to eat it straight off the baking sheet or break up into shards of sweetness to top my Greek yogurt.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch on Greek Yogurt

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch made with apple ciderI almost hesitate to even call this easy-to-make recipe “candy,” although it is a take on old-fashioned “nut brittle.” However, the typical peanut brittle or nut brittle uses a boatload of butter, table sugar and corn syrup – gasp! Instead, my healthy candy recipe is packed with wholesome ingredients like 100 percent juice apple cider, ancient grains, dried fruit and nuts, and just a touch of coconut sugar.

I also choose to use Black Walnuts instead of standard english walnuts. Why? The black walnut has the most protien of any tree nut and imparts a more intense, earthy, nutty flavor to recipes. I discovered this news I can definitely use at the Produce Marketing Associations recent Fresh Summit in Orlando when, I auspiciouslly bumped into Hammon Black Walnuts on my way out the door to fly home.

As far as sugars go, coconut sugar (derived from Palm) is a much healthier sweetener in moderation as it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically as traditional sugars. Also, if a concern for you are a loved one, this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

I originally made this recipe for Litehouse Foods and used the Honey Crisp Apple Cider, you can find it in the produce section this time of year. This Cold Pressed, 100 percent pure apple juice has a unique tart taste that is wonderfully balanced with sweet. It’s perfect poured straight from the container, served hot or cold, and also makes a great ingredient in recipes where you would prefer natural sweetness.

Some things to note when making this recipe — you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, your oven temperature may vary affecting the overall cook time. Also, it will be soft when removed from oven — give it plenty of time to set up and harden, stick in the fridge to expidite. If it still doesn’t seem crispy, then you can put it back in the oven for several minutes at a time until done.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - chocolate date candy barsAnother healthier “candy” I’m pulling from the archives to share with you today is my recipe for Sweet Date Chocolate Candy Bar Bites. These are so yummy and I love how the dates provide extra iron in my diet.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein FudgeI also like to make a batch of my Hazlenut Fudge Protein Balls to stash in the freezer and thaw out one at a time to quell my dessert cravings. These no-bake energy bits are ideal for a healthy little dessert or as pre and post workout fuel.

now-foods-ingredients-for-quinoa-crunch-candyIn addition to the Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Litehouse Foods, which you can conveniently find in your market’s produce section this time of year, here are some other ingredients used in my Quinoa Crunch.a

Do you have a “healthy” candy recipe? What is your go-to when you are craving something sweet? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servubgs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking liner as I did)
  2. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa well under cold running water and spread out on a paper towel to dry. This will prevent bitterness.
  3. Add quinoa, walnuts, oats, crumbled dehydrated apples, and salt to small mixing bowl, stirring to combine.
  4. To a small saucepan, 1 ½ cups apple cider and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until volume has been reduced to ½ cup liquid. Add coconut oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Pour apple cider “syrup” over the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly coat. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a uniform layer with a metal spoon. Uniformity in thickness will promote even cooking and keep edges from burning.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan around on the oven rack at the halfway point. When removing from oven, color should be deep golden brown in color. Allow to cool completely so that it hardens up before breaking into bite-sized pieces.
  7. If you realize, after cooling that still soft in the center, you can return it to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye.
  8. Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
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Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

When I’m looking to make a meat-free soup into an entire meal, I have couple non-negotiable. The soup needs to be hearty and thick (as opposed to thin and brothy), it needs to have tons of flavor, and also should have a decent showing of protein.  Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato SoupMy recipe for Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri meets all of these requirements and more — the “more” bonus is that it’s super easy to make and is loaded with healthy carbs to fuel my long runs and intense workouts. Slightly spicy while simultaneously smoky and just a tad sweet, a big hearty bowl of this meat-free, dairy-free, vegan soup will get you warmed up and keep you filled up until the next meal! My serving size is very generous and, sans the chimichurri, has 400 calories, 20 grams of protein, 80g healthy complex carb, 4g fat – plus is very high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Pin this for later!Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup makes a hearty, healthy meal on busy nights. Pureed beans in the soup add extra protein, making this a great meal solution for vegans, vegetarians and those looking to go meatless for the night.

Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes blended into vegetable stock make up the bulk of this super simple soup recipe. Pureed white navy beans have been added for additional protein and fiber and help boost this soup into a full-fledged meal appropriate for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking for a nutritious meatless option. As I mentioned, this is a great go-to soup when I’m carb-loading for winter marathons, Spartan races and other endurance events.

blooming-chipotle-powder-for-sweet-potato-soup-litehouseWhen making this simple soup, a step you don’t want to skip is to “bloom” the chipotle chile powder in the stock pot before adding any of the other soup ingredients. Blooming most spices helps to intensify their depth and complexity — the smoky flavor of ground chipotle pepper really opens up with this front-end method.

I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse Blog using their Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend as a quick fix in both the soup and the quick-fix Cilantro Chimichurri.  I highly recommend this freeze-dried herb product, it’s one of my all-time favorites with multiple uses beyond just guacamole making – try it in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-frys, and skillet dinners. However, if you can’t find the product in your market, I’ve asterisked the recipe with substitutions.

Cilantro ChimichurriThe Cilantro Chimichurri blended up to dress the soup is a bright and vibrant contrast to the more scarf-and-sweater vibe of the hearty soup. Plus, it adds a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil to a soup recipe that is nearly fat-free.  You can also use this Cilantro Chimichurri on drizzled on steak and fish, as a salad dressing, or mixed into Greek yogurt as a dip.

How are you prepping your sweet potatoes this fall? What is your favorite type of soup? What fuels your running the night before? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer 

 

Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
for Soup
for Chimichurri
Servings: main dish servings
Instructions
  1. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/3 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly, discard potato skins. Heat stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chipotle chili powder and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Place undrained beans in blender with approximately ½ cup of chicken broth, pulse until smooth. Add to stock pot.
  3. Scoop sweet potatoes out of skin and add to blender with remaining chicken broth and ¼ cup Guacamole Blend herbs. Process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add mixture to stock pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. If soup seems too thick add additional water or chicken broth to suit preferences.
  4. To prepare Chimichurri, add olive oil, fresh cilantro, Guacamole Blend herbs, lime juice, vinegar and salt to blender. Pulse until mixture coarsely combined.
  5. To serve, scoop soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of Chimichurri.
  6. If you can't find Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use this as substitute: For Soup, instead of 1/4 cup Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic For Chimichurri, instead of 1/4 cup Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic
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3 Ways to Chow a Cherimoya + My #MustHaveBox

Just when I think I’ve tasted every type of fruit and vegetable there is to eat (ever been to Produce Convention), I realize that a tasty treat has slipped past my radar – the Cherimoya. Mark Twain once likened the cherimoya “deliciousness itself!”  – how did I ever miss the memo on this quite large and armored lizard-skinned looking fruit!

Discover easy, tasty ways to eat a Cherimoya (also known as a Custard Apple)

Cherimoya

Once set aside solely for ancient Incan royalty, this “King of Fruit” is still a prized possession – they are delicious and hard to find . . . and usually fairly big-bucks if you do. But, so worth the investment as you will gobble up this healthy treat in a single sitting, especially if you have a friend sitting nearby with a spoon. The flesh inside is amazingly fragrant, soft, sweet and scoopable – there some seeds inside, but they aren’t too hard to flick away.  When selecting afruit, pick a cherimoya that is still green but showing minor signs of turning brown soon. Like an avocado, the fruit is ripened with the flesh yields to a gentle touch. So, if your fruit is still green and hard, let it ripen on the counter for up to three days – or stick in a paper bag to speed the process along.  Check out my friends at Frieda’s for other great Cherimoya Recipes and Tips.

So, my top 3 ways to chow a cherimoya are:

Cherimoya sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg1)  Sprinkle with Spices: Sliced in half and sprinkled with cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and a bit of honey drizzle – I swear it tastes just like apple pie. My kids think it tastes more like a pineapple and banana that got married and laid a big prehistoric egg.  Either way, it’s a taste bud winner – haha!

Pureed Frozen Cherimoya - Smoothie and Meal Pret2) Mixed into Oatmeal: I put chunks or puree of cherimoya in my morning oatmeal.  This is a great way for me to boost up the vitamin C, potassium, and in my fiber in my daily diet. If I find the fruit on sale or can’t eat what I’ve purchased before going too ripe, I simply puree the fruit in the blender with a tiny splash of lemon juice and freeze in heavy-duty zip-top bags (above picture). This will keep in the back of your freezer for 6 months! You can also sub in for 1/2 the oil in baked goods as you would applesauce, pumpkin or another fruit puree.

Apple Cider Cherimoya Smoothie is loaded with fall flavor, fiber, vitamin C and more!

3) Blended into Smoothie: Blending cherimoya with orange juice is traditional but my recipe for Cherimoya Apple Cider Smoothie is super yummy.  I use one of the delicious, cold-pressed, 100% juice apple ciders from Litehouse Foods — so fresh you need to look for it in the produce department!

Directions: Add 2 tablespoons oats to bottom of blender, pulse for a few seconds to grind up. Add ½ cup cherimoya puree (preferably frozen) or fresh chunks, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ½ cup apple cider, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar-free alternative) to blender and blend for 1 minute, adding a few ice cubes to achieve desired consistency. Serves 1.

Must Have Box from POPSUGAR

Also, I want to share with you my favorite little luxury each month – it’s the PopSugar #MustHaveBox from POPSUGAR.  The Must Have Box is a specially-curated monthly subscription that is filled with full-sized products across fashion, beauty, home décor, upscale edibles and more. I absolutely have adored everything that’s come in my monthly box – often they are splurges that I would never buy myself (but am oh-so happy to have) or fabulously off-beat, quirky things that I never knew I needed until I have in my hot little hands – and then I’m hooked!

The Fit Fork - POPSUGAR Must Have Box

Must Have Box from POPSUGARThe October box included a book, Power Your Happy, by POPSUGAR founder Lisa Sugar, a gorgeous umbrella from Henri Bendel (along with a shopping discount card), Dark Drinking Chocolate (by My Cup of Cocoa) and a Rise & Shine Diner Mug (by Morning Culture). The Lalicious Bubble Bath, Revlon Eye Pen and Makeup Eraser Mini really spoke to my girly side, that’s a nice treat when a mom of three boys!  Check out some of the past Must Have Boxes  and sign up for a subscription that suits you – save $5 on your first box with code SHOP5.  Whoohoo!

What is your MUST HAVE this month? Tip me off on your new, most favorite, most awesome find! Oh, and have you ever tried a Cherimoya?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennnifer