Crock-Pot Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

Lately I’ve been trying to think outside the box when creating recipes. I’ve used grape juice to marinate carrots and have topped zucchini pasta with a white wine sauce and the results were incredible. This creation is another notch on the creativity belt.

Crock-Pot Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

Since March 1st in National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, this recipes feature my all-time favorite food in a unique way. This Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew is a riff on an African stew, but I was short on time this weekend, so I threw all the ingredients in the crock-pot and hoped for the best. The result is an easy-to-make stew that cooks while you are out and punches you in the mouth with flavor. Plus, the combination of sweet potatoes and peanut butter creates a stew that is rich in healthy carbs, fats and protein for a one-bowl meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.

Crock-Pot Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

Makes 3-4 servings (a serving is about 2 cups)

Ingredients:
3 cups sweet potato, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
4 cups water
chopped peanuts
fresh herbs (such as cilantro or parsley)

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Vegan & Gluten-free Crock-Pot Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

Directions:

In a crockpot, combine the sweet potato, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sea salt, ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, peanut butter and water. Heat on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. Once cooked (the potatoes should be very tender), blend with an immersion blender. Top with chopped peanuts and fresh herbs.

 

Strawberry Basil Whole Grain Crepes

This recipe screams spring in the middle of winter. Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day and National Strawberry Day (February 27),there’s plenty of reasons to pay homage to my favorite berry. Plus, what New Yorker can’t use a little spring in the dead of winter?

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I must admit that I was pretty intimidated at the thought of making crepes at home. That feeling was followed by pleasant surprise at how easy it actually is to make homemade crepes. I’m thrilled at how these turned out.

whole wheat crepes with strawberries

Made with whole wheat flour and filled with just strawberries, basil and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, these are the healthiest crepes around. Plus, the flavors of strawberry, basil and chocolate go together so amazingly well. These crepes tastes so fresh and sweet and won’t weigh you down. Make these for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day or for any brunch that you want to impress guests without too much work.

Whole wheat crepes with strawberries and basil

Makes 8 crepes

Ingredients:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
butter to brush the pan
4 cups strawberries, washed chopped
3 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, washed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sugar

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Whole Wheat Crepes with strawberry and basil

Directions:

  1. To a blender, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, eggs, milk, water and oil. Blend until smooth (about 20-30 seconds). Place the batter in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It will be a very thin consistency.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the skillet is hot before starting the crepes. Brush the skillet lightly with butter and heat for 1 minute. Add about 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet and swirl until the skillet is completely covered with a thin layer or batter. Cook for 1-2 minutes and flip with a spatula. Cook for 1 minute on the other side. The crepe will be slightly browned on each side. Repeat until all the batter is cooked.
  3. When the crepes are cooked, fill each one with 1/2 cup strawberries, 1 teaspoon chopped basil, 1/8 teaspoon cocoa powder and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar. Fold and enjoy!

Welch’s Grape Juice Glazed Carrot Tacos

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Welch’s. I was compensated for my time, but the recipe and opinions are my own. 

As I mentioned yesterday, today starts American Heart Month, otherwise known as every Dietitian’s second favorite month (next to National Nutrition Month in March, of course)! To start off heart month with a bang, I’m showcasing a recipe that uses a heart healthy ingredient– Concord grape juice. Since Concord grapes are a rather rare ingredient, here are 5 things you may not know about these little purple beauties:

  1. The Mighty Concord grape is boldly delicious and nutritious—delivering natural plant nutrients, known as polyphenols.
  2.  Concord grapes provide many of the same polyphenols (or plant nutrients) and heart-health benefits as red wine.
  3.  Concord grapes are harvested and in season during just a few short weeks each fall, plus they don’t travel well – so, it can be hard to find them fresh.
  4. Don’t fear if you can’t find Concord grapes! Nearly 20 years of research says that, thanks to the dark purple Concord grape, 100% Welch’s Grape Juice helps support a healthy heart.
  5. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice is THE way to get the delicious taste and health benefits of the one-of-a-kind Concord grape.

veggie tacos

I have to be honest, I’ve rarely seen Concord grapes in my grocery store. And since I wanted to include the mighty Concord’s heart healthy powers in this recipe, I decided to make my life easier and use Welch’s 100% Grape Juice instead. And I have to say, the sweet and tangy flavor of the grape juice made the perfect glaze for my carrot tacos.

veggie taco

They were so good that I considered just eating the carrots alone, but alas, I like to provide you with a full meal. So, the amazingly delicious Welch’s 100% Grape Juice glazed carrots are combined with a limey mashed black bean and topped with feta, parsley and pumpkin seeds. The combination may sound odd, but I promise you it’s a winner that you will want to eat over and over again.

veggie taco with carrot

Makes 6-8 tacos (2 tacos per serving)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large carrots, washed and cut into 1/3’s (cut the really thick pieces in half)
1 cup black beans
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
8 corn tortillas
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Welch's Grape Juice Glazed Carrot Tacos

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, red wine vinegar, salt and garlic until the oil and vinegar combine.
  3. Place the chopped carrots in a large bowl and pour the grape juice mixture over them. Toss the carrots until they are thoroughly coated with the liquid.
  4. Place the carrots on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork through the carrot. (Do not turn the oven off when the carrots are done- you will need it again.)veggie taco
  5. While the carrots are roasting, combine the black beans, lime juice and cumin in a bowl. Mash with a fork until they are slightly chunky.
  6. When the carrots are roasted, build the tacos. Spread the bean mixture onto the corn tortillas and top each with two pieces of carrot, 1 tablespoon of feta cheese and a few pumpkin seeds. Place in the oven for 3-5 more minutes or until the tortilla is warm. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

 

Turmeric Egg Sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread

Disclosure: I work with Dave’s Killer Bread to help people make healthy food choices.

Did you know that tomorrow starts American Heart Month? Yup, there’s an entire month dedicated to raising awareness for heart health and heart disease–aka the number #1 killer in the United States.

Turmeric Egg Sandwich with Swiss Chard & Feta on Dave's Killer BreadAs a Dietitian, I’m thoroughly embracing this month as a way to promote healthy habits. I’ve even decided to start it a day early with this recipe for heart healthy breakfast. This Turmeric Egg Sandwich contains three ingredients that are guaranteed to keep your ticker happy and healthy:

  • Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Swiss chard

Research has shown that three nutrients are vital to keeping your heart healthy–fiber, omegas and antioxidants. The combination of ingredients in this breakfast sandwich provides plenty of all of these nutrients. Let’s take a deeper look at each component:

Turmeric Egg Sandwich with Swiss Chard & Feta on Dave's Killer Bread

Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds: this organic whole grain bread consists of a mixture of 21 whole grains and seeds. Each slice has 5 grams of fiber (or 20% of your daily value), 5 grams of protein, 250 milligrams of omega-3 (about half the amount you should have in a day), and 22 grams of whole grains. That’s a ton of nutrients for only 120 calories!

Turmeric: I don’t think I can say enough good things about turmeric. Not only is it a beautiful golden color with a peppery flavor, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants and has been associated with fighting cancer and treating arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric Egg Sandwich with Swiss Chard & Feta on Dave's Killer Bread

Swiss chard: I love this leafy green because it’s packed with antioxidants, including Vitamin C to keep your immune system healthy and fight off winter colds. Swiss chard grows best in the winter, and it’s naturally colorful, vibrant and not too chewy.

Turmeric Egg Sandwich with Swiss Chard & Feta on Dave's Killer Bread

If that doesn’t convince you to make this heart healthy breakfast sandwich, I don’t know what will!

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon chili paste
1 cup swiss chard, washed and de-stemmed, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
4 slices Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds
1/4 cup feta cheese

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Turmeric Egg Sandwich with Swiss Chard & Feta on Dave's Killer Bread

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, turmeric and sea salt. Stir until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and add the milk, chili paste and spice mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the swiss chard to the egg mixture and stir.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil to the pan and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the onions to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping continuously. Remove from the heat when finished to avoid overcooking the eggs.
  4. Toast the bread to your preferred doneness.
  5. Divide the egg mixture in half and assemble the sandwiches by placing the egg mixture on the bread and topping with 2 tablespoons of feta cheese (on each sandwich).

Zucchini Pasta, Kale & Chickpeas in a White Wine Sauce

I’ve always been an old soul. That “old soul” mentality carries over into the kitchen too. I tend to stick to my basic cooking utensils and I’m not one to adopt new trendy gadgets, like pressure cookers or spiralizers. But, although I’m about two years behind the trend, I finally decided to give in and ask for a spiralizer for Christmas.

Zucchini Pasta with Kale and Chickpeas in a White Wine Sauce

Holy wow! This thing is amazing and has pretty much changed my life. Now I know why everyone has been talking about spiralizing for the past two years. Of course, I have now spiralized pretty much any vegetable I could get my hands on, but I’m still sticking with an old favorite– zucchini. I like the nice crunch it offers, plus it takes on the flavor of any sauce.

Zucchini Pasta with Kale and Chickpeas in a White Wine Sauce

Speaking of sauce, I added a new simple sauce to my repertoire and, once again, wow! I don’t know why this hasn’t been a staple in my kitchen for years. The tanginess of the lemon pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the wine. Throw in some garlic and parsley and it’s pretty much the easiest, tastiest and most luxurious sauce that you can make in minutes. I added some kale for extra veggies and chickpeas for a bit of protein. You can also add chicken or fish to this delicious dish, and you’ve got a gourmet healthy dinner ready in less than 30 minutes!

Zucchini Pasta with Kale and Chickpeas in a White Wine Sauce

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients 
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups kale (deribbed), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
pepper to taste
1 zucchini, spiralized
1 yellow squash, spiralized
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
parmesan cheese (optional)

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Zucchini Pasta with Kale & Chickpeas in a White Wine Sauce- vegan, gluten-free, healthy

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the oil heat for 1 minute, then add the kale and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and sautee for 5-7 minutes or until kale is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat another large skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini, yellow squash and chickpeas to the simmering white wine sauce. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 more minutes. Add the kale to the pasta and remove from heat. Top with fresh parmesan and enjoy!