breakfast, recipe, snack, workout fuel

Smoothie Bowl 101


I have a certified obsession with smoothie bowls. Take a smoothie and top it with delicious, antioxidant rich toppings, add a dose of protein and your post workout smoothie is ten times better! However, store-bought smoothie bowls are expensive, higher in sugar, and will often charge extra to add protein or greens.

Along with the high price, many store-bought smoothie bowl can have more calories than an ice cream cone or a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. To ensure that I am creating a nutrient dense instead of a calorie dense smoothie bowl, I follow 3 main rules:

  1. Veggies
  2. Protein
  3. Non-juice base

I accomplish this by starting with a water base, 2 heaping handfuls of greens, and addition of a protein source (protein powder, almonds, Greek yogurt). This ensures that my smoothie is nutrient dense, slowing digestion and stabilizing my blood sugars to keep me satisfied until my next meal.

Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 packet frozen acai (I purchased mine at Whole Foods)
  • 2 heaping handfuls spinach/kale or greens of your choice
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/4 c frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 c frozen peaches
  • 1/4 c frozen berries
  • 1/4 piece frozen banana
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 TBS chia seeds + more for topping
  • 1/4 gluten free granola (I’m obsessed with Boulder Granola and Purely Elizabeth granola)
  • Fruit of your choice (since it’s summer, I’m obsessing over peaches and nectarines with berries! YUM)
  • Goji berries, hemp seeds,

Directions

  1. Run acai packet under cool, running water for 20 seconds. Break acai into pieces and add to blender bottle, along with frozen fruit, water, and chia seeds.
  2. Add almond milk by the tablespoon.
  3. Blend smoothie. It should be thicker than a drinkable smoothie. If smoothie mixture is too thick, add more almond milk.
  4. Once blended to desired consistency, pour into a bowl.
  5. Top with granola, and add sliced fresh fruit on top. Sprinkle with goji berries, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.

If you make your own smoothie bowl, experiment with different fruits and toppings. The different combinations are endless and each bowl will be delicious!

Let me know if you make your own smoothie bowl. Tag your smoothie bowl with #karionnutrition on Instagram, I would love to see your creations!

#karionnutrition

baking, breakfast, dietitian, gluten free, nutrition, recipe, snack, training

No Bake Protein Oat Bars

Three day weekends are the best! Especially when they fall on a holiday! This past weekend was filled with beach volleyball, friends, love, and absolutely gorgeous So Cal weather. I won’t go into too much detail (especially as I know the East Coast has been decimated by blizzard after blizzard..sorry New England friends!) BUT I thoroughly enjoyed summer weather and beach cruises this weekend.

Matt works a busy schedule so I try to keep granola bars (<10 g sugar, ❤ g fat, and 3 g fiber/serving- a lofty goal!) and other healthy snack options on hand. Today as he was packing his lunch, said healthy items were no where to be found. So to remedy that situation, I made use of some extra sunflower seed butter and decided to make my own granola bars!

Homemade granola bars are SUPER easy and you can control what ingredients you add. Want more protein? Add nuts or protein powder. Fiber? Chia seeds and oats can provide a soluble solution. They are so customizable that it makes you question why you spent $3.99 on that box of granola bars from TJ’s (which I did once I was done making these!) Plus, have you read the label on a protein bar from health food stores? Most have ingredients you can’t pronounce and aren’t the “clean eats” that most active individuals want to put into their body. Instead of spending the money on store bought granola/protein bars, control the ingredients and make your own! It’s healthier and YOU’RE in charge of the additives!

Everything I used in the bars today, I had on hand- that’s how easy they are! Add your favorite mix ins and experiment with what works for you! It literally took me 10 minutes start to finish to make these!

granola bars

No Bake Protein Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1/2 c pepitas
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (any type, I used whey)
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 2 TBS hemp seeds
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • drizzle of maple syrup
  • almond milk

Directions

  1. Add oats, sunflower seed butter, pepitas, protein powder, chia and hemp seeds, and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Mixture with be very thick.
  2. Add drizzle of maple syrup and a pour of almond milk. Combine mixture. It should begin to form together. If it is too thick to stir, add more almond milk.
  3. Combine until the mixture resembles cookie dough.
  4. Line a 9×9 baking dish with wax paper. Press granola bar mixture into dish. Fold over wax papper and remove from dish
  5. Place in the freezer to hardern for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cut into bars. Store in the freezer/refrigerator or airtight container.
dinner, instagram, recipe, side dish, vegetables

Best Damn Green Beans

Green beans pre-roasting
Green beans pre-roasting

First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I had a relaxing holiday, filled with some indulgences (I made Hershey’s Kisses Christmas blossoms…..) and great time spent with family.

My parents just purchased a house in Chico, California. Chico is a cool, college town an hour and a half north of Sacramento. When I moved to New Hampshire for my internship last year, I envisioned Keene being very similar to Chico. It wasn’t anything like Chico (probably due to the fact that Chico was Los Angeles compared to Keene) but living in Keene has made me appreciate Chico much more. If you are every visiting Northern California, it is definitely worth a stop. Bidwell Park has something for everyone – biking, hiking, swimming, nature and the town has great shopping and dining. Some of my personal favorites are Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe and Three Sixty Ecotique.

My meal from Tea Bar! Tofu bowl with Chipotle Sundried Tomato Hummus!
My meal from Tea Bar! Tofu bowl with Chipotle Sundried Tomato Hummus!

Why do I bring up Chico? Well while in Chico I happened upon an AMAZING farmer’s market. I love going to the farmer’s market and checking out the different stands, discovering new produce and striking up conversation with the farmers. It is one of the BEST ways to support your local economy and the small farms. My dietetic internship at Keene State College had an emphasis on food systems and sustainable agriculture. I was fortunate to work with some very passionate local foodies/RD2Be’s who were very knowledgeable about food systems and I was really able to learn and be more conscious of what I was eating and where it was coming from.

image6

Anyway, at the Chico farmer’s market I blacked out and spent all the cash I brought with me. My senses were overloaded with so many of my favorite things. There were stands of pickled vegetables, homemade lavender almond milk, walnuts that had been picked and shelled FIVE days ago, tons of winter squash, I really could go on. However, the one thing I bought that brings me to some damn good green beans is a small jar of crushed tomatillo peppers. I love all things spicy and stumbled upon a stand where the guy was selling homemade pepper blends. Talk about my kind of place. He had every kind of pepper spice blend a pepper lover like myself could want. I bought one without even sampling and am regretting that I didn’t buy more!

The pepper stand!
The pepper stand!

The spice blend is called the Zing Mix and it is a blend of dried tomatillo and peppers. It is perfect on just about anything. I have a batch of Zing Mix spiced tempeh marinating (recipe on the blog soon!) in the fridge and my green beans were pretty much amazing.

Zing Mix pepper blend
Zing Mix pepper blend

BTW this recipe is my favorite for green beans. Once you make them this way, I guarantee you won’t want to steam, sauté, microwave, etc again! The key is the squeeze of fresh lemon when they come out of the oven!

Best Damn Green Beans 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound trimmed and washed green beans
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tsp Zing Mix (or any mix of dried spices- I love no salt seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, ground chipotle, don’t be afraid to experiment!)
  • 1/2 of fresh lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spread green beans in an even layer on a baking sheet
  3. Drizzle olive oil over green beans
  4. Sprinkle generously with fresh cracked black pepper and add a pinch of sea salt. Sprinkle spice on top
  5. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing green beans half way through. I like my green beans slightly more crispy so I will cook them a bit longer.
  6. Remove from the oven and squeeze half a lemon over green beans
dietitian, recipe, salad, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Easy 5 Ingredient Pickled Japanese Cucumbers

Over the weekend, I went to one of the best burger places in the South Bay, The Standing Room. Instead of getting a delicious burger I got Korean marinated pickles.  I’m weird, but the pickles were delicious and instead of feeling full from a big burger, my gut microbiome was happily singing its way to digestion.

So when I was making my lunch last night, TSR’s Korean pickles were still on my mind. Fermented and pickled vegetables pack a hefty probiotic punch and I thought I’d amp up my gut health another notch with a homemade version.

The salty/sweet/crisp/tart combinations of pickled vegetables are mainstays in cuisines from around the world. Some of my personal favorites are tsukemono (a Japanese variety that I’ve eaten since I was a kid), curtido (Hispanic cultures), and kim chi (Korean)

Pickled and fermented vegetables have a history that dates back to the 7000 BC. Cultures from around the world have used this preservation technique and it has lasted the test of time.  Fermentation works by transforming organic substances into simpler compounds via enzymes. These enzymes release bubbly super powers that turn the flavor train up ten notches while building healthy probiotics along with it. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

This pickled Japanese style cucumbers are a tribute to my Japanese ancestry. My mom makes her own variation and my grandma makes a mean takuan (pickled daikon radish). I also like to add Furikake to my cucumbers. Furikake is a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and sugar. It is typically used as a topping on rice, but I love to add it to musubi, salads, marinades, salad dressings, etc! You can typically find it on the Asian aisle of most major grocery store chains.

Pickled Japanese Cucumbers

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Persian cucumbers (any variety of cucumbers will do), cut into spears and then diced
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Furikake
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. This recipe is one that I typically don’t measure anything. I add vinegar (~1/4 c) than oil (a TBS or so) and then will add furikake and salt to taste.
  2. To add some spice, I will add a Japanese chili pepper blend called Nanami Togarashi. If you can’t find it in stores you can add red pepper flakes.
  3. Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Great as a snack, topping for salads, or a side dish. My favorite way to eat it is with my fingers straight from the tupperware! 😉  

#karionnutrition

 

baking, breakfast, dietetic intern, gluten free, nutrition, RD2Be, recipe, snack

Cranberry Quinoa Power Bars

This recipe makes a delicious heart healthy snack or breakfast option for when you’re on the go. Chock full of omega 3’s, fiber, whole grains, and healthy fats, it’s filled with hearty guilt-free goodness.

Ingredients

  • 2 c cooked quinoa
  • 2 c raw oats
  • ½ c dried cranberries
  • ½ c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ c smooth almond butter
  • ½ c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 c brown rice syrup
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ c ground flaxseed
  • ¼ c chia seeds
  • ¼ c unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

1)     Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2)    Toss all ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine

3)    Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Press into a 8×8 baking dish and put into the oven.

4)   Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

5)    Slice into bars and enjoy. Store in an airtight container.

For a special heart health treat, drizzle with melted dark chocolate! Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties that may have some benefit to reducing blood pressure.