Cranberry Nut Quick Bread

Cranberry Nut Quick Bread is a festive addition to any holiday table.IMG_3305Have you ever baked something for the very first time, then asked yourself, what have you been waiting for?  My sentiments after baking my inaugural loaf of  cranberry nut quick bread. My family must have felt the same; they polished off this loaf in less than one day!IMG_3310Now, 2 days before Christmas, they’re asking for another. Truth is, it’s so easy to make, anyone can pull it off at the last minute.

The original recipe was on page 54 (yes a carry over from my December Recipe Redux challenge) of the Philadelphia Orchestra Cookbook. Inspired by the Cranberry Marketing  Committee ingredient suggestions for Friendsgiving, I substituted in a small portion of oat flour for some of the all-purpose flour,  pistachios for the walnuts and added ginger (a relative of tumeric). The bread makes a nice last minute gift,  a festive addition to Christmas Eve dinner, or Christmas dessert buffet. Oh, and it is sooo  Santa Claus worthy!!!IMG_3312

Cranberry Nut Bread

makes one loaf

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oatflour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger root
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh whole cranberries

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Grease and flour a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan or a 30cm breadmould.

3. Sift dry ingredients, from flour through ginger, together in a large mixing bowl.

4. In a small bowl whisk egg and add orange juice and oil. Stir to combine.

5. Add orange juice mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

6. Fold in pistachios and cranberries.

7. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.

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Zacaroni and Cheese

This version of  mac & cheese is bursting with veggies making it a healthy entree or side for any day of the week.  Vitamin C+ (2)Disclosure: I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board and I have received free Cabot product as mentioned in this post. I was not expected to write a post and  I was not compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.

Have you ever wondered what’s on page 54 in your favorite cookbook? Well, neither have I, until the Recipe Redux challenged us with this party game. Yes, I did say party, because we’re celebrating the fifty-forth month anniversary of the Recipe Redux! Whoot! Whoot! Our challenge is to recreate a recipe on page 54 or 154  from our nearest cookbook. So I cracked open an old  favorite, gifted to me by my son for Christmas when he was in middle school…IMG_2724(I have always loved this book, especially the wine pairings suggested for each recipe.) Here’s what I found on page 54: IMG_2723 This recipe is actually a divine rendition of macaroni and cheese. Fonduta is made with fontina cheese, milk , egg yolks and butter. Hmm, sounds like a  perfect candidate for a redux!

My lighter version begins with a sauce made with chicken broth, skim milk, butterkin squash (you can use butternut squash , butterkin is a variety of this squash) , and Cabot’s White Oak Cheddar. I combined this sauce  with pasta and zucchini, just as in the original recipe, and why I named it zacaroni & cheese. It gets a finishing touch with with parsely and  panko seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. Here is   the finished product just as it  came out of the oven…IMG_3358
IMG_3367In keeping with my favorite part of  Food & Wine Magazine’s Quick from Scratch Italian Cookbook,  I am going to suggest one of two spirits for enjoying with my zacaroni  & cheese, both Cabot’s wine pick for pairing with White Oak Cheddar: Moscato or  Syrah. Enjoy!

Zacaroni and Cheese

serves 8

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 3 cups butterkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups Cabot white oak cheedar, shredded
  • 1 /2 pound uncooked elbow macarroni
  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced into matchsticks
  • cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1.preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine squash , broth, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium -high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.  Add salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree squash mixture or add hot squash mixute to a blender, securing blender lid on blender and removing center piece of lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening to avoid splatters. Blend until smooth. Place blended squash in a bowl ; stir in White Oak Cheddar.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well . Add pasta and zucchini to cheese mixture. Spread mixture evenly into  a 13 x 9 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over hot pasta. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

5. Bake for  25 min at 375 degrees or until bubbly. Spinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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Wrightsville Beach Jingle Bell Run

IMG_0105-6Sqeezing in another race before the end of 2015. This last weekend it was  the 7th annual Jingle Bell Run to support the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, one of the extraordinary  landmarks on the loop.
IMG_2707 The course was basically ‘the loop’ (2.45 mile of sidewalk built in the heart of Wrightsville Beach) with a small modification to make the 5K distance. I’m partial to the atmosphere of  5K ‘s, particularly because they are significantly family oriented. This one was no different, except that  Saturday’s event looked alot like Christmas. Not so much me, but look at my friends in these adorable outfits! New clothing line for Nike?
IMG_0108 We might have run at the beach, but  a winter wonderland was created with costumes like these ‘stretching’ snowflakes…IMG_0142..sleighs..IMG_2708..Santa?IMG_2705-3
Oh my  you’re  looking  fit!IMG_2711

 Do you remember that fairy tale about runaway food? This family won a prize for their costumes depicting  the characters from the Gingerbread man, originally written in 1875.IMG_2709Hmm… who left these elves  off the shelf?IMG_2710The weather was anything but frightful..blue skys and abundant sunshine. Here I am post run posing with my recovery, banana and a bottle of water.IMG_0140And on the podium receiving my prize for finishing  first in my age division with a overall  time 23:39 and a  7:38 pace. Results, here.

How are you staying fit during the jingle bell season?
IMG_0151

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Eggnog Smoothie Bowl: #SafeNog

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! Eggnog Smoothie Bowl, #safenog via @dianeboydrd
Disclosure: I was asked to participate in  the #SafeNog  consumer campaign for Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs. I was compensated for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

This post is for those of you committed to sticking to your fitness routine and eating right during this festive season. Last year at this time,  I showed you how I stay fit and enjoy the taste of eggnog! Because it’s become  fashionable to eat smoothies with a spoon, I’m thickening up that eggnog recovery smoothie, and  after a bout of exercise, I’m taking  advantage of the anabolic window with this …

IMG_3283

… eggnog smoothie bowl. Each serving provides me with high quality protein important to preserve lean muscle mass (and even stimulate new muscle growth), carbohydrates necessary to get ready for tomorrow’s workout, and  dose of healthy fats for cardiovascular health.  The flavor is authentic because it’s made with fresh ingredients  including roasted chestnuts and fresh, raw eggs.  Now you’re probably asking, Why would someone concerned with health and fitness eat raw eggs? Because of these…

pasteurized-eggs

 

SafeEggs Pasteurized Eggs  makes consumption of raw eggs safe by eliminating any risk of Salmonella without changing the nutrition or flavor.  As a matter of fact, I not only use these in my nog  smoothies, I use them  in all of my favorite egg dishes such as  this version of   Caesar Salad, my  Dutch Pancake , and   Spaghetti n’ Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce.  I also use them in my  favorite holiday baked goods, because I want peace of mind when licking the spoon! (Do you lick the spoon?)

I began using SafeEggs  because they are pasteurized, which is an all-natural, gentle warm bath pasteurization process. I continue to use them because they have a farm fresh taste. Safeeggs  come from chickens that are raised hormone free, antibiotic free and are vegetarian fed. It’s no surprise  that they have earned the Seal of Approval for exceptional flavor and culinary performance from the nation’s largest organization of professional chefs, the American Culinary Federation (ACF). By now your probably asking, where can I buy SafeEggs? Click here for  a store locator.

After your workouts, while you’re spooning this seasonal recovery smoothie, please join me and other foodies in  the Safest Choice Eggnog Campaign  by:

• Participating in online conversations between now and December 24 (using #SafeNog)  to share tips, advice, ask questions, and find recipes.

•  Entering the  Instagram photo contest using #SafeNogPhotoContest on your Instagram photos that are about holiday baking. Contest runs  from Nov 30 to Dec. 14. The winner will receive a eggnog ‘bartender’ kit and will be chosen via random drawing.

 

Eggnog Smoothie Bowl

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1/4 cup steamed and peeled chestnuts (about 12-14)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 SafeEgg Pasteurized Egg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for topping
  • 2 crushed ginger snaps

Instructions

to prepare chestnuts

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

2. Using a knife, score shell of chestnut around 2/3 of the perimeter of the nut.

3. Arrange nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. (The outer shell of the chestnut should open like a clam.) Peel shell along inner membrane. Use immediately or store in a air tight container.

for smoothie bowl

1. Combine chestnuts, milk, yogurt , pasteurized egg, salt and cinnamon in a high powered blender and process until smooth.

2. Pour into 2 bowls. Top with crushed ginger snaps and sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

eggnog smoothie bowl Label2
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Lighter Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serve up comfort and joy with a lighter version of broccoli cheddar soup.Comfort and Joy for anyday of the weekDisclosure: I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board and receive free Cabot cheese mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

I will survive, has become a familiar holiday mantra! It’s one I personally like because it implies lower expectations.  I know it sounds cynical.. bleak.. and gloomy, but when does anything ever work out exactly as planned? If you’re hoping for it, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.   My friend and colleague wrote about this in her healthy aperture blog post where she describes how she makes memories during the weekly grind. Regan makes a good point about being flexible with  your expectations.

So taking Regan’s theme of making the most out of ordinary days, I am sharing a recipe that will bring comfort and joy to any day of the week. My lighter broccoli and cheddar soup is  lactose friendly, lighter than the traditional version, and is a source of fiber important for filling you up, not out.  I served it with a salad for an easy ‘Panera’ night in. May your days be merry and bright and your expectations be spot on!

IMG_3146Lighter Broccoli Cheddar Soup

serves 6

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup nonfat Lactaid milk
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, whites only, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheese, grated

Instructions

1. Add cooked rice and lactaid milk to blender and process until smooth.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add leeks, saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook additional minute. Add broccoli ; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3.Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add rice mixture; simmer 2 minutes. stirring occasionally.

3. Place 2 cups of soup in blender, process until smooth. Return to pan. Add pepper to taste and slowly add cheese, stirring until it melts. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat for later.

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