How to Meal Prep Quinoa + 15 Healthy Recipes

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. How to Meal Prep Quinoa + 15 Recipes

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

Appetizers: 10 Easy and Elegant Ways To Top Crackers

Make a a quick and healthy appetizer platter with these 10 Easy and Elegant Ways to Top Crackers.May and June are party season at our house, maybe even more so that the winter holiday months! With my son’s graduation party and a Father’s Day cookout book-ending a couple family birthday celebrations, book club, and a baby shower, I need lots of easy but elegant entertaining ideas! Plus, you know me – I always want to put a healthy spin on all my appetizer recipe creations.

Finn Crisp Crackers are baked with whole grains and fiber, making them a nutritious foundation for all sorts of toppings.

Nothing more beautiful and brimming with good taste and nutrition than topping FINN CRISP crackers with healthy toppings like low-fat cheeses, fresh fruits and veggies and nuts. I used these delicious thin crispbreads, which are baked with whole grains and fiber, as the foundation for ten different flavor combinations. Choose a sweet topper, a savor topper or a sweet-savory topper – there is a well-dressed cracker for everyone at your party.     

Top Row (left to right)

  • Aged White Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Dried Apricots, Balsamic Syrup
  • Peanut Butter mixed with Soy Sauce and Sriracha, Matchstick Carrots, Minced Red Onion, Shredded Chicken
  • Low-fat Cream Cheese, Halved Blackberries, Fresh Mint
  • Avocado Slice, Garlic Salt, Pickled Jalapenos, Sriracha Sauce
  • Low-Fat Herb Cheese Spread, Marinara Sauce, Roasted Garlic Cloves

Top Row (left to right)

  • Low Fat Cream Cheese, Red Onions Pickled in Beet Juice, Pistachios
  • Mozzarella, Pepperonis, Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips, Granola, Sea Salt
  • Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Pesto Sauce, Sliced Grape Tomatoes
  • Lemon Curd, Blueberries, Mint

These Next Level Cracker Toppings are an easy yet elegant appetizer for a party, celebration or just snacking!The fruit-topped crackers where some of my favorite, but every appetizer was good and not a single one left!

Easy Appetizer -- Crackers with spread and fruit toppings.

Cream Cheese, Blackberries and Mint on Whole Grain Crispbread Blueberry Lemon Curd Crostini

FINN CRISP provided me products to create these recipes, however all content and opinions are my own.

What are your great ideas for creative cracker toppings?

Love a Loaf | Herb Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

you hate me breadBread is not necessarily the enemy. True, some people have Celiac disease and legitimate allergies to gluten and really cannot consume it without serious health repercussions leading to malnutrition. I understand. Recently though, I’ve noticed a wave of worriers, let’s call them gluten alarmists, who won’t touch traditional bread, pasta or other foods containing gluten with a 10-foot pole – in public, anyway. These folks might truly believe they are taking the healthy and virtuous high ground, but little do they realize that some (not all) of the processed gluten-free products marketed to them are filled with more calories, sugars, fillers and carby stuff.  You’re better off just eating the bread or making your own gluten-free goodies (check out this chocolate chip cookie I make for a special kid with allergies).

litehouse jennifer fisher bread and iitalian herb butter panini 700I also don’t have a problem with “carby” stuff – people always think I’m no-carb, low-carb, Paleo diet, Atkins, the Zone or whatever. True, I do typically eat a lower carb and higher protein diet, but not exclusively. I eat a what seems like an elephant’s portion of complex carbs daily in the form of vegetables and fruit, but when I want a sandwich, I eat it on bread. When I eat a burger, I have it on a bun. Okay, sometimes just one side of the bun, I’ll admit – but that’s so I can enjoy the sweet potato fries too! Plus, as an athlete, I require carbs as a quick source of energy – when the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance came out, the authors finally acknowledged that the right carbs have a time and place.

Unless it’s a medical concern, let’s not worry so much about the gluten or the carbs. Instead, the best bet for a long life of living well focuses on a balanced diet that includes an allowance of carbs . . . and this means bread! When choosing breads, select whole grains whenever possible – whole grain products are higher in fiber and other nutrients than their bleached white counterparts and have been shown to play a role in the reduction of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic issues.  I was shocked to find out that only 3 percent of adults and 8 percent of kids are getting the recommended 3 servings of whole grains per day. Even though I already was a fan of whole grain bread, I completely switched over to serving whole wheat pasta and brown rice about five years ago and this just seems normal to the kids now.

Here’s one of my favorite easy, weekday bread treats:

jennifer fisher litehouse herb parm monkey bread

 Herb Parmesan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

  • 2 14-ounce cans “grand” or “jumbo” style refrigerated whole wheat biscuits*
  • 3 Tbsp. Italian Herb Blend*
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely diced fresh garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup butter

1. Cut each biscuit into quarters and separate pieces.

2. Mix all herbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add dough pieces and toss around to coat evenly.

3. Layer pieces in a 9” x 9” baking dish or Bundt pan.

4. In microwave-safe dish, melt butter on and pour over dough pieces.

5. Bake in 375 F degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 *Granted, these are only made with “some” whole wheat flour – but still a good compromise to scratch baking or going with an all bleached and enriched convenience product.

 **I am fond of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh freeze-dried line of herbs and herb blends.