Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Whole Grain Apple Crisp

As I started to mention earlier this week, I have been given opportunity to teach a cooking classes with Whole Foods in NOLA!

This past weekend was my first demo and my fruit crisp with whole grain oat crumble was one of the holiday-inspired dishes I designed and prepared. I also made my lighter version of the classic southern sweet potato casserole and was so pleased that they both were hits among the participants & passer-byers!

This dessert is a great option to add to your Thanksgiving treat table as it is super easy to make and can be a delicious way to add some nutrition to your indulgence.

I am a texture person and I particularly love fruit crisps of any sort specifically because of the different textures with the warm, soft fruit and the nutty, oat topping.

This recipe is a lighten version because I'm twisting the amount and type of sugar as well as limiting added fat from the amount and type of butter. I'm also adding fiber and whole grains by choosing oats and oat flour compared to enriched, white, processed flours. You could use whole wheat flour, but for those needing something gluten free, this recipes can suit your needs by using gluten free oats. Just as a nutritional side note- oats are naturally free from gluten, but because they can be packaged in the same facility as other gluten-containing grains there is a risk of cross contamination. So for those with Celiac's disease or others avoiding gluten, a gluten free designation is likely necessary.

Whole Grain Apple Crisp
Serves: 12

3 lb bag of apples
3/4 cup Truvia brown sugar blend
1/4 cup oat flour {simply grind whole rolled oats in a blender or food processor}

For the topping:
1 1/2 cup oat flour 
2/3 cup truvia brown sugar blend 
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup Brummel and Brown margarine

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. 

Slice the apples and toss with brown sugar and flour. 

In a bowl, combine the topping ingredients and crumble onto the apples. Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes.

I used apple here, but you could use almost any type of fruit or even winter squash for this recipe! Cherries would be sweet! A mix of berries in the summer would be light and almost-refreshing! No matter your preference, there's a version perfect for you! Apples & pears together are delicious, especially this time of year, just in time for Thanksgiving!

The countdown is on 'til turkey day! I wish everyone short check-out lines a the grocery store, happy prepping, and little stress in the coming days!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Apple Crunch Gingerbread

It's Saturday morning and that means it's time to sleep in {hopefully, if the little one will let me}, slowly drink my morning coffee, and relish in a delicious muffin or homemade sweet bread of some sort. It's a treat. Perfect for the best morning of the week.

Wait. Wake up. That's just a dream. A dream from my life before baby.

This weekend, however, is a hint of my picture of a perfect Saturday morning. Even better now is that I have a beautiful little baby to actually make it even more perfect!

The reason I'm making a special Saturday post is that another recipe redux has approached and this month's theme {just in time for the holidays} is quick breads. Yum!

The best food on earth, if you ask me. I had so much exciting inspiration to choose from that I had a hard time deciding what I would make, but {drum roll please} I have made a delicious {of course} and healthy quick bread for you this holiday season!

This apple crunch gingerbread as a crunch top like a Panera apple crunch muffin but with a gingerbread-like warmth to get you in the mood for the holidays! The best part, nutritionally, is that it's made with 100% whole wheat flour, no added oil, and less sugar! So here you go my friends, a delicious blend of fall and the holidays in one delicious and always nutritious loaf!

Apple Crunch Gingerbread
Serves: 8-10

2 cups white whole wheat flour {or whole wheat pastry flour}
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup Stevia
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 Tbsp Brummel and Brown or other trans-fat free margarine or butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup Stevia

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a small mixing combine the flour, baking powder, and spices. In a separate bowl, add the eggs, Stevia, and maple syrup and mix well until fully incorporated. Add the Greek yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla extract stir until smooth.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir with a spatula to fully combine. The batter will be somewhat thick.

In a small bowl, add the crunch topping ingredients and combine with a fork.

Pour the batter into the pan and top with the crumb topping.

Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.


This would make a perfect gift this year either by itself or wrapped in a pretty towel & ribbon or pair with some Christmas ornaments or kitchen utensils! 

Have a great weekend, a grateful and delicious Thanksgiving, and the merriest of holidays!



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lighter Sweet Potato Casserole

Let's be honest. This girl from the Midwest had really never even heard of sweet potato casserole until she met her southern gentleman.

The first time I had this was at my mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving the first year after Andrew and I got married the year we became engaged {actually I used to be good at remembering dates like this and now my mommy-brain has other things on my mind}.

Anyways, back to those sweet potatoes, let's just say, for someone who loves sweet potatoes, this is my dish! 

Back up to the early days when Andrew and I were dating and we spent our first Thanksgiving together. It was my first time not being home for turkey day and as I think about it now, I really don't know what we were thinking to be so adventurous to make a big feast, but there's a first for everything, right?  I tried to make this beloved dish of his mom's for him without ever having had it. Of course, I initially tried to make it healthier and it came out completely horrible. Absolutely not appealing and not what he was used to. 

When I actually got the opportunity to watch my MIL prepare this, I learned a valuable lesson of watching as the dish is being created to really get the insider scoop on how to replicate a recipe! The key to this dish is that everything is 'whipped' together with a hand mixer. That way, especially when the ingredients are changed and lightened, you can still get that fluffy, creamy texture that typically would tons of butter and sugar would provide. 

My version is 80% the same, just with some reduction in the sugar and butter content. I also add some fiber and whole grains by using oat flour rather than AP flour.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Makes: about 12 -16 servings 

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes {freshly baked or take a shortcut with canned or frozen}
1/2 cup Stevia 
1/2 cup Brummel and Brown margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup skim milk
For the crumble topping:
1/2 cup Truvia brown sugar blend
1/2 cup oat flour {simply grind whole rolled oats in a blender or food processor}
1/3 cup Brummel and Brown margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Bake the sweet potatoes at 350 for about 1 hour or until cooked through and softened. Scoop out the sweet potato flesh and discard the skins (or keep the skins for added fiber and nutrition). 

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potato, Stevia, margarine, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Beat together with a hand held mixer until everything is well combined.  Pour mixture into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle on top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. 

I actually prepared this dish at my first cooking class this past weekend at Whole Foods. There I explained the many swaps that you could make based on preferences and what's on hand already at our house. You could use all plant- based sweeteners, the blended versions, or real sugar. I use a trans fat free margarine, but you could use coconut oil, butter, or another similar brand if you'd like. Adding some warm, fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice would also be a nice touch! 

I hope you enjoy this and get a chance to make it next week!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Whole Grain Pumpkin Yogurt Waffles with Fruit Syrup & Yogurt Cream

--I received free samples of siggi’s yogurt mentioned in this post.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by siggi’s yogurt and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.--

It's kind of nice that once fall hits, it's a parade of holidays. 

The seemingly back-to-back celebrations make for an fun year, of course, but it totally makes time seem to fly by! While it gives us something to look forward to, those of us with children know just how heartbreaking this is. You'll know what I mean if you're a mom!

Let's think about it though. Labor Day quickly gives way to Halloween which is just a few short weeks 'til Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years is right after. The retail industry would like us to think there's no such thing as Thanksgiving and jump from Halloween til Christmas in of matter of hours, but I digress. 

As much as I love Christmas and all it's glory, I do love me some turkey day! It's all about being grateful for all our many blessings while also enjoying some traditional, once-in-a-year-type of splurge-worthy good food! 

Today I'm sharing a new recipe featuring siggi's yogurt that would be perfect for a your holiday breakfast whether it's for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or Hanukkah or any other upcoming holiday)! Siggi's is made with a few simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar including the flavored varieties! In fact, each cup contains more protein than sugar which is always great to keep us feeling more energized, satisfied, and fuller longer!

Speaking of those nutritional goals, one of the biggest mistakes you can make on turkey day or any other special event day is skipping breakfast and subsequent meals and snacks. Breakfast on Thanksgiving is just as important as any other day, if not more so. So... this waffle recipe seems like a holiday splurge but in reality it's made with whole grain oat flour which provides filling fiber. There isn't any oil added which saves calories and the sugars are kept to basically natural fruit and milk sugars (with the exception of about a teaspoon of maple syrup and any slight sugar added in the siggi's). Of course, the pumpkin will give way to that fall flavor we love and crave this time of year.  

It you're planning ahead, you can make the mix ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge until you want to make the waffles. Most of these ingredients are staples in your pantry or fridge and the recipe is super simple to make! If you don't have a waffle maker, you could easily make these into pancakes and any flavor of siggi's or Polaner can be used to change up the flavors. 

So here you go, my whole grain (& gluten free) holiday waffles perfect for a hearty, healthy, & delicious breakfast this time of year. Come to think about it, these would be a perfect decadent, but delicious & more nutritious holiday dessert!

Whole Grain Pumpkin Yogurt Waffles with Fruit Syrup & Yogurt Cream
Makes: 10-12

2 cups oat flour 
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1- 5 ounce container of siggi's Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pumpkin puree

For the all fruit jam:
1/2 cup Polaner all fruit spread
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the Greek yogurt whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup siggi's pumpkin & spice yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract


In a food processor or blender, process the oats until pulverized into flour. Opt for gluten free oats, if desired.

For the waffles, in two separate bowls combine the dry ingredients and stir together. In the second bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined. Portion some of the batter into your waffle maker and let it do the work. 

For the jam, add the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds until piping hot. Stir with a fork to combine.

For the whipped cream, combine the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and beat on high until the mixture thickens and fluffs like whipped cream.

Dollop the cream and drizzle a desired amount of jam-syrup onto the waffles. Garnish with fresh fruit of choice. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!



P.S. On this day, I want to make a special mention of all those men and women who have served & protected our great nation. We don't say it enough, so thank you!

And, if you like what you see here, you can always connect with me on social media on facebook or instagram (@twistednutrition) or on pinterest (@twistednutrdn).

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fall Favorites

Each year I normally share about a week's worth of new pumpkin recipes. Well, needless to say, I barely have time to write a post once a week so I thought we'd all enjoy a little walk down memory lane of some of my favorite fall recipes!

Whether you're craving something healthy with a pumpkin twist, looking for something with a bit more uniqueness that's still full of fall flavor, or if need some ideas perfect foods for football season, these are all perfect!

So let's get this party rolling --

For football parties

Spicy Chocolate Chili 

This chili has an unexpected but subtle hint of chocolate which throws a nice warmth into all the spice. It's a traditional, but versatile chili that I just love. 

This gumbo is light on the roux, but full on flavor and spice. It's made with chicken sausage without added nitrates or nitrites. Seafood provides the protein base here so it's light on fat and has the added benefit of some vitamins and minerals from the kale. It's delish! Don't count it out just because it's different. 

This recipe used bell peppers in place of chips or tortillas. Simply shred some reduced fat cheese and top with your favorite toppings. Throw it under the broiler to melt the cheese.

This is a lighter dip perfect for whole grain crackers or other veggies. It's great even when the warm weather won't seem to go away, hmm, like the weather this year. 

For pumpkin lovers

One of the easiest ways you can add a healthful dose of pumpkin into your menu is to whip up a batch of pumpkin oatmeal. I'm still loving my original version or the updated coconut version I shared a few weeks ago. 

These are my favorite cheesecake little bites. Whole grain graham cracker crumbs with reduced fat cheese and less sugar- light on all heavier ingredients except the pumpkin flavor and taste, of course! Yum!

Oh me and my weekend french toast obsession. It's a splurge, but doesn't need to be a guilty-indulgence. I always use a 100% whole wheat bread with a homemade quick, lower sugar fruit syrup. It's so easy. Takes 10 minutes and it's perfect for the weekend. 

I just need something crunchy in the afternoon for my snack and popcorn is a perfect whole grain option. It can also be fun to experiment with different ways to add flavor to it! I pop my own to control the fat content and have a perfect lighter afternoon or after dinner snack! 

I need to make these little guys again as they are so moist and delicious. If you beat me to it, send me a batch? I'm always open to gifts. ha!

For the other fall vegetables that we often overlook

A new oat recipe of mine that is a unique way to use up leftover veggies that an still provide a hint of natural sweetness to breakfast.

Just another version of my french toast. Apples, pears, pumpkin, it can last you all season by swapping out the seasonal fruits of choice. 

This is a perfect recipe to add to your Thanksgiving menu! Can you believe it's already November and in a few short weeks the holidays will be here?

And for those of us who need a healthy sweet to end a meal, here's a simply baked apple recipe!

Baked Apples
Serves: 1

Small apple
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp Brummel and Brown Spread (or butter)
2 tsp Stevia brown sugar blend
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the core out of the apple and then place it in a small ramekin and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients with a pastry blender or crumble/mash together with you fingers. Sprinkle this mixture into the center of the apple. It's ok if a little spills over the edge of the apple into the ramekin.

Bake on a cookie sheet for about 30-45 minutes until the apple softened and the oats start to brown.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!



Friday, October 30, 2015

Spicy Chocolate Chili

Fall is the best season, in my opinion, Partly, because of the food!

And one of my favorite fall foods is chili! It's also one of the easiest, tastiest, and most versatile meal I have in my repertoire. Whether your vegetarian, prefer a white chicken chili, or a traditional-style chili, you can adjust the ingredients to suite your liking. It's a perfect slow cooker meal and an ideal make-ahead dish, affordable to feed a crowd, perfect for cool fall days along with football season and Halloween!

This week my church had their annual Chili & Soup Supper and over last weekend The Food Network was all about make-ahead chili for the upcoming trick or treating weekend! Those two things meant that I had chili on the brain!

So I'm bringing you a homemade version with a kick. Twisted to make it leaner without losing flavor.

I'll confess that if I'm in a pinch, I've often used a seasoning packet of chili mix, but I've always wanted to experiment with a homemade combination or herbs and seasoning.

I think I made a fabulous version with chipotle chiles along with chili powder, ground oregano, and cumin. I added a few interesting secret ingredients, too! I hope you enjoy them!

Spicy Chocolate Chili
Serves: 6-8

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
1 large chipotle chili packed in adobo sauce, minced
1 quart tomato juice
1 16-ounce can kidney beans, no salt added
1 16-ounce can black beans, no salt added
1 16-ounce can pinto beans, no salt added
1 10-ounce can diced tomato with lime and cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once heated, quickly saute the onions and garlic, careful not to let anything burn. Add the ground meat of choice (omit if opting for a vegetarian option), and brown until the meat is cooked through.

To the mixture add the tomato juice, beans, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. Omit the coffee and cocoa powder, if you want a more traditional version or do not have the ingredients on hand.

Top with accouterments like
 plain greek yogurt {mine below is spiked with a little more chipotle chiles}
diced avocado
shredded reduced fat cheese or queso fresco
fresh cilantro or parlsey
red onion
freshly squeezed lime

So chili can be your main dish for this weekend, but just in case you need some nutritious-minded treats, a few of my "oldies but goodies" favorites are my pumpkin popcorn, healthier cookie, and chocolate bark. It looks like it'll be raining all day on Halloween so I'll be playing with the baby and making playing in the kitchen! We'll be trick or treating in our own house!

I hope you all have a fun, safe, and tasty Halloween!

Happy weekend everybody!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Roasted Acorn Squash & Nut Oatmeal

It's recipe redux time! This month's challenge is all about nuts! Why are dietitian/nutritionists crazy about nuts? Well, for many reasons! They're comprised of protein, heart-healthy fats, and fiber- all three help to keep us satisfied and feel fuller longer.

Since they are rich in unsaturated fats, we do need to be mindful of portion sizes. One tablespoon of nut butter or two tablespoons of nuts is about 100 calories. Perfect for a snack by themselves or with some fruit or throw them in for some added texture & garnish to salads, oats, or yogurt!

I went through a bunch of fun recipe ideas in my head, but with a couple quick weekend trips to visit family in the last few weeks, I couldn't find the time to really experiment here.  So what's a wife, mother of a 9-month old, full-time career woman, and blogger to do? Twist one of her own quick & easy breakfast staples- of course!

This recipe came to me as I made LEM some roasted acorn squash as one of her new foods recently. She didn't hate it, but she didn't really seem to care for it. So with a bunch leftover and not knowing what to do with it {and a recipe redux to plan for} I thought I'd twist my pumpkin oatmeal recipe by substituting pureed acorn squash and make a heated version of overnight oats.

Acorn squash is one of those other fall foods that we forget about when pumpkin takes all the glory. It has a fond place in my heart as I can recall my mom would roast them in the oven with butter & brown sugar for a simple and tasty dinner on a cool fall night. This is what inspired my new oatmeal recipe. It has a warm cinnamon spice flavor with less added sugar. The peanut butter and pecans help to provide a creaminess and crunch which is always a nice textural element.

Roasted Acorn Squash & Nut Oatmeal 
Makes: 2

1 cup acorn squash puree
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk*
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp peanut butter*
1 Tbsp pecans, chopped*

Roast the acorn squash at 400 degrees for about an hour. Once cooled, puree it in a blender or food processor.

In a portable container such as a mason jar, combine the squash, oats, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. When ready to eat, simply warm in microwave for about 1 minute. Then top with drizzle of peanut butter and chopped pecans.

Special notes: low fat milk such as 1% or skim milk or plain soy milk can be substituted for the almond or cashew milk. Also, any nut or seed butter {cashew, almond, sunflower seed butter} can be used in place of peanut butter if desired, especially if someone has a peanut allergy. Likewise for the chopped pecans, any other nut or seed can be used if you have something else on hand or prefer another nut.

Happy Wednesday!