Want to know how to make meal time easier, more nutritious and with nearly unlimited potential for variety? Meal prep a huge pot of quinoa, the healthy seed. Rather than a big batch of quinoa with seasonings, sauces or veggies already mixed in. Making plain quinoa is like a blank canvas for recipe inspiration as it strikes you, rather than being stuck with a dozen of the same exact pre-made meals in the freezer.
And yes, cooked quinoa can be frozen for timesaving use later! This is a dinner hack you need to add to your arsenal STAT! Read on the get all the “how to” and serving suggestions! 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
This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, but all opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
I never thought I needed a toaster oven and, boy, was I soooo wrong. I changed my mind when recently developed a recipe for Hamilton Beach that would work in their fancy 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door. Honestly, it was my first time using a countertop toaster since back in my childhood days when this is how I made my buttery, cinnamon toast for breakfast! I love the convenience and quick clean up so much, I’m giving away one of these amazing appliances to one of you (enter at bottom of post).
The recipe I made for Hamilton Beach was a single serve breakfast cookie Chocolate Speckled and Seeded Breakfast Cookie, a much healthier option than the sugar and butter on white bread treat I would cook up as a kid. Fresh baked from the toaster oven, this cookie is packed with flavor and nutrition thanks to whole grains, seeds, and just a smattering of chocolate to soothe a sweet tooth. The entire huge cookie has just 268 calories and 16g protein – plus it’s gluten-free and nut-free plus sugar free and dairy-free (if you don’t use the chocolate chips). Get the full recipe on Hamilton Beach Every Day Good Thinkingblog
So, what’s so awesome about a toaster oven? Well, for one thing, it doesn’t heat the whole house up, and that’s a major concern here in Texas! But you still get that fresh-baked, crispy texture on foods that the microwave just can’t deliver – the little slide out tray will accommodate so many healthy food options – broil salmon, roast asparagus, bake eggs, make muffins and, yes, even make toast! It fits four slices of toast or even a 9” pizza! A smaller appliance is also so convenient when just preparing a meal for one or two people and works well in a dorm room, RV, cabin, office kitchen or other places where space is tight. Plus, the 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door has several unique features including a removable roll-top door than makes it super easy to clean up!
If someone says “granola” and do you instantly think sweet, crunchy and . . . spicy? Probably not, but I’m here to share my recipe for Ancho Chile Honey Granola — it might just be the most delicious and versatile granola recipe ever. The secret is a dash of ancho chile powder — don’t worry, ancho chiles (referred to as poblano peppers when fresh) aren’t super hot, they are the sweetest of the dried chiles and most commonly used in authentic Mexican cooking.
Packed with pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, this easy granola recipe is a fantastic way to get the benefits of the heart healthy fats that nuts and seeds offer.It’s lightly sweetened with honey to complement the mild ancho heat.Use the savory-sweet granola to top a tomato salad (as pictured), to add a crunch factor to green salads, atop soups, as a crispy topping on baked fish or chicken — or simply eaten straight out of the container!
Oh, and you’re going to LOVE that it’s super easy to make — just requiring 10 minutes in a skillet on the stove top rather than the lengthy baking of traditional granola recipes. I originally created this recipe for the Living Litehouse Blog at LitehouseFoods.com, check it out — I’m a big fan of their Instantly Fresh Herbs.
Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add honey and stir to combine.
Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes
longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes in skillet. Transfer to air-tight container using spatula to break up any pieces stuck to skillet.
Make salad by slicing tomatoes and sprinkling with yellow bell pepper and cilantro. Top with a dollop of ranch dip and ancho chile honey granola.