Quick Picks

Cookbooks I'm Currently Loving

I think it might be safe to say that I am officially a collector of cookbooks.  I wouldn't say this is as much by choice as it is the fact that my friends and family all know how much I love cooking and so that seems to be the most frequent gift I receive for holidays, Birthdays, etc.  I'm not complaining in the slightest, though, because I do love getting them.  Each book has its own flare, its own twist on a recipe, and with each new book I get new ideas and new excitement to try something new.  

I don't go to many cooking classes and I never went to culinary school, although I did debate about going to culinary school before completing a dietetic internship.  Anyway, with that said, I don't have that official training, but what I do have is a history of experience.  I've always taken on new recipes, as easy or as difficult as they may have been, with a curious excitement and a small pinch of determination - almost like I was facing a new challenge or mastering a new skill in a sport.  Sometimes a recipe would fail and sometimes it would turn out perfectly.  But that's the thing about cooking.  Just like trying to master a new skill, technique or element in a sport or trying to find the solution to a problem at work, even when you fail or hit a dead end, you still learn from that.  You learn what NOT to do and sometimes that is more memorable than when you do something the right way.  So, without culinary school in my foreseeable future, I'll continue to cook from my cookbooks, trying new flavors and techniques and learning as I go.  

With that said I have received some great cookbooks lately.  When I'm not creating my own recipes, I'm learning and drawing inspiration from some of these other books.  Today I'm giving you a list of them so that you have a place to turn to if you ever need new ideas or inspiration.  I enjoy them for unique reasons.  However, I think the common thread is that they contain some fairly simple recipes that don't take a ton of time to prepare and, at the same time, are full of flavor because they use lots of fresh herbs and spices.  So here you go, in no particular order,...

My Favorite Go-To Cookbooks During This Season of Life

 

Love Real Food, by Kathryne Taylor

This has been my most recent cookbook received.  I got it from a friend for my Birthday this year and am loving it.  Yes, it's all vegetarian recipes, but you can easily add meat or fish to any of the dishes if you would like.  If you've been following me on Instagram, you know I've been making a lot of her dishes lately.  So far they are full of flavor and packed with great vegetables.  Some nights my husband and I will have it vegetarian as is and then the next night we'll incorporate the leftovers with grilled chicken, beef or fish.

Some of my favorites?  Her Burrito Bowls,  Roasted Cauliflower, Farro & Arugula Salad w/ Lemony Tahini,  Guacamole with Toasted Pepitas & Chipotles Sauce

LoveRealFood .jpg

The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte

Another gift from a friend, this has some yummy and unique recipes.  I've still got a ways to go, but this book is always in the mix when planning out or getting inspiration for meals in upcoming weeks.

Some of my favorites?  Her Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Couscous, Soba Bowls with Tea-Poached Salmon, and Creamy Millet with Roasted Portobellos

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The Yellow Table, by Anna Watson Carl

This book is fairly new, but has already become a go-to for repeated recipes or for new ones.  Not only am I loving the food, but I also love her story that goes along with it.  Still working through this one as well, but so far I have found a few staples from here that I still put on the menu when I know the week will be crazy.

Some of my favorites?  Her Apricot-Dijon Baked Chicken, Tuscan White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard, Red Quinoa Salad w/ Butternut Squash & Spinach, Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille

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So Easy, by Ellie Krieger

When I tell people about this cookbook it always starts something like, "This got me through grad school".  Often I would get home around 7:00 and be able to throw one of her recipes here together in 30 minutes.  And they were always so good and seriously so easy!  I tested them on my family all the time and had approval from the men and women alike.  I think it looks like my most loved cookbook off the shelf - pages torn, sauce splatters, and, of course, lots of hand-written notes about each of the recipes :)

Some of my favorites?  Her Tomatoe Shrimp & Orzo, Roast Tenderloin with Grainy Mustard, Porcini Crusted Filet Mignon (made this filet for Kyle for his birthday and he LOVED it too)

So Easy.jpg

The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger

This was one of the first cookbooks I started using at the beginning of grad school / my dietetic internship.  She has some dishes here that I still turn to when entertaining or just cooking for myself and my husband.  I've had the book since 2008 and love it even more now that it has all of my notes on pages from meals past - what we loved about a dish and what we would do differently the next time.

Some of my favorites?  Her Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce, Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce, Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

Food You Crave.jpg

Cook Like a Pro, by Ina Garten

Ok, so I might be getting ahead of myself here because this cookbook hasn't actually come out yet.  However, I LOVE her Cook Like a Pro segment on the Food Network and I'm going to see her on her book tour when she comes to Dallas.  I think this is the segment where I found the salmon tacos I make.  She keeps things simple and does a lot of explaining in these episodes.  I can't wait for this one!

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What cookbooks are you currently loving??  I'd love to know!  Always looking for new ideas...

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

6 Granola Bars to Fuel Your Active Day. Allergy - friendly bars included!

My Top Snack Bars.JPG

Question of the day... How many times do you find yourself at the grocery store staring blankly at the walls of "nutrition bars", "sports bars", "energy bars"?  If this has ever been you, I can certainly relate.  They are never ending!  With so. many. choices, and all claiming to be the best it was no surprise to me that I started getting questions from clients, friends and family about which bars to choose.

It technically all started with questions about "good" snacks to to have on-hand throughout the day.  Then these general snack inquiries turned into questions about snack bars more specifically.  People were looking for easy no-prep, no clean-up snacks when time is tight.  The questions then shifted towards not only bars but bars that would be good to have before or after a workout.  Then, I talked with several clients and friends who were looking for bars that met their food allergy restrictions.  After doing my own personal "research" on granola bars to find ones that keep me fueled and energized and after doing some research for clients to find bars that met their specific needs, I created my "go-to" bars that have become pantry staples for my own grab-and-go breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.  Nothing is perfect, in my opinion, and there are certainly other bars out there that I know could be great fueling options. However, out of so many options, these are the ones that positively stand out to me the most.   I like these bars for their nutritional profile and, of course, the taste.  And, it's not only me that likes these bars- friends and family and clients have told me that they tried them and like them as well!

I choose higher protein, higher fiber bars for regular snacks or as a component of meals and I choose lower protein bars with minimal fat and minimal fiber before I exercise.  Why?  Because you want a simpler snack pre-workout.  Yes, protein and fiber and healthy fats are all positive components of a snack bar;  however, these components are often not ideal right before a workout - especially a cardo or high-intensity workout.  Protein, fat and fiber are harder for the body to digest than simpler carbohydrates, making them less optimal right before a workout.  When you eat these components pre-workout you are making your body try and do two things at once:  1) Get energy to your muscles for exercise and 2) Use energy to digest the snack.  Usually one of these suffers, leading either to sluggish workouts or stomach cramps.  

So here are the details on my go-to bars that I keep on-hand and in my pantry to keep me fueled and energized during my active, and sometimes hectic day.  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I decided to write this on my own based on my personal and professional experiences and opinion. Please comment or email me if you have any questions or experiences of your own.  Would love to hear from you!

Happy Fueling!

 

Top 6 Granola Bars to Fuel an Active Day

  KIND Healthy Grain Bars  - Honey Toasted Coconut bar   Nutrition Info   This is currently one of my favorite snack bars.  It's the perfect size to keep hunger off until lunch or dinner time or it makes a great part of a breakfast or lunch.  This bar contains  3 grams of protein ,  2 grams of fiber  and  6 grams of sugar .   Workout Fuel   While I would not eat this bar, the minute before I go out for a run or workout, it's minimal protein, fat (5 grams total), and fiber could still allow me to enjoy it about 30 to 45 minutes or so before a workout (this is my personal experience - every athlete and exerciser is different).  I would definitely choose this bar over one of the nut-filled bars before my run or workout.  Those other bars filled with nuts are also filled with fat and fiber and a little more protein,which, as I mentioned earlier, while fine on its own, may not be the best right before intense physical activity.   Food Allergy Friendly   Many KIND bars are filled with almonds, peanuts, pistachios and more, so I was excited to find this one with that did not contain any nuts or peanuts.  Hurray!  It is processed in a plant that processed peanuts and tree nuts, though, so be careful if this would affect you.

KIND Healthy Grain Bars - Honey Toasted Coconut bar

Nutrition Info

This is currently one of my favorite snack bars.  It's the perfect size to keep hunger off until lunch or dinner time or it makes a great part of a breakfast or lunch.  This bar contains 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar.

Workout Fuel

While I would not eat this bar, the minute before I go out for a run or workout, it's minimal protein, fat (5 grams total), and fiber could still allow me to enjoy it about 30 to 45 minutes or so before a workout (this is my personal experience - every athlete and exerciser is different).  I would definitely choose this bar over one of the nut-filled bars before my run or workout.  Those other bars filled with nuts are also filled with fat and fiber and a little more protein,which, as I mentioned earlier, while fine on its own, may not be the best right before intense physical activity.

Food Allergy Friendly

Many KIND bars are filled with almonds, peanuts, pistachios and more, so I was excited to find this one with that did not contain any nuts or peanuts.  Hurray!  It is processed in a plant that processed peanuts and tree nuts, though, so be careful if this would affect you.

   ENJOY LIFE     Nutrition Info   These particular bars have  3 grams of protein  and  2 grams of fiber , which meet my personal standards for a snack bar.  Plus they have a little fat (mostly healthy fat from the seeds).  They could be a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to tide you over until lunch or dinner.     Workout Fuel   While this bar does contain a little protein and fat and fiber, some may still be fine eating before a workout.  Others may want something a little simpler or if you do choose this as your pre-exercise snack, eat it further out from your workout.   Food Allergy Friendly   These bars are free of the "top eight" allergens, which makes them  nut-free,   peanut-free ,  gluten-free  and  dairy-free  for those with these food allergies.  For more details on the products, visit the website I've linked in the title.

ENJOY LIFE

Nutrition Info

These particular bars have 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, which meet my personal standards for a snack bar.  Plus they have a little fat (mostly healthy fat from the seeds).  They could be a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to tide you over until lunch or dinner.  

Workout Fuel

While this bar does contain a little protein and fat and fiber, some may still be fine eating before a workout.  Others may want something a little simpler or if you do choose this as your pre-exercise snack, eat it further out from your workout.

Food Allergy Friendly

These bars are free of the "top eight" allergens, which makes them nut-free, peanut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free for those with these food allergies.  For more details on the products, visit the website I've linked in the title.

  88 ACRES    Nutrition Info   These are my new favorite find.  I personally like these bars because, depending on the bar, they have anywhere from  3 to 6 grams of protein  per bar and about  3 grams of fiber.   They have about  8 grams of fat , but it's important to note that only 1 of those grams is saturated fat and none of it is trans fat.  This is because the major ingredient in these bars are seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds.  The high seed content adds fat, but mostly "healthy fat" (like  omega 3's , which are found in flax seeds).  This high seed content is also why these bars are higher in protein without having any protein powder added to them (like whey concentrate, etc.).  I also love the simplicity of the ingredients in these bars.  Pretty simple and straight forward.   Workout Fuel   Because of the high fat and higher protein content in these bars, I would take this out of my pre-workout options and keep it as part of a meal ( I love it broken up over yogurt),  a regular snack, or post - exercise snack.  Of course everyone is different, but for many people, that fat and protein could cause stomach cramping during a workout, game or practice. For those reasons it might not be the best bar to grab 15 minutes before a run or high-intensity workout, but still a good option another time of the day.   Food Allergy Friendly   If you read their story you see that a woman without food allergies created these bars because her husband did have food allergies and she wanted something they could both enjoy.  So, although these bars are  nut-free  and  gluten-free , they are made to be enjoyed by everyone!   To learn more about the product and their story, click on the title above!   

88 ACRES

Nutrition Info

These are my new favorite find.  I personally like these bars because, depending on the bar, they have anywhere from 3 to 6 grams of protein per bar and about 3 grams of fiber.  They have about 8 grams of fat, but it's important to note that only 1 of those grams is saturated fat and none of it is trans fat.  This is because the major ingredient in these bars are seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds.  The high seed content adds fat, but mostly "healthy fat" (like omega 3's, which are found in flax seeds).  This high seed content is also why these bars are higher in protein without having any protein powder added to them (like whey concentrate, etc.).  I also love the simplicity of the ingredients in these bars.  Pretty simple and straight forward.

Workout Fuel

Because of the high fat and higher protein content in these bars, I would take this out of my pre-workout options and keep it as part of a meal ( I love it broken up over yogurt),  a regular snack, or post - exercise snack.  Of course everyone is different, but for many people, that fat and protein could cause stomach cramping during a workout, game or practice. For those reasons it might not be the best bar to grab 15 minutes before a run or high-intensity workout, but still a good option another time of the day.

Food Allergy Friendly

If you read their story you see that a woman without food allergies created these bars because her husband did have food allergies and she wanted something they could both enjoy.  So, although these bars are nut-free and gluten-free, they are made to be enjoyed by everyone!   To learn more about the product and their story, click on the title above!

 

  NuGo Slim    Nutrition Info   This is one "protein bar" I have found that (1) actually contains a substantial amount of protein (2) while not being super high in calories, (3) is not packed with sugar OR artificial sweeteners, and (4) tastes good!  These bars have about  17 grams of protein  per bar, about  170 or 180 calories , and about  3 grams of sugar .     Workout Fuel   With so much protein, this would not be the best pre-exercise, especially high intensity exercise, snack.  It could make a good post-exercise snack, specifically after resistance training exercise, or a good part of a breakfast or lunch, when a boost in protein is needed.   Food Allergy Friendly   I recently saw a client who was just diagnosed with several food allergies.  When I went to the Nu Go Nutrition page to check out all of their products, I found that they make bars to accommodate all types of allergies or dietary needs (dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, etc.).  Each bar may vary, so take a close look at the ingredient label.

NuGo Slim

Nutrition Info

This is one "protein bar" I have found that (1) actually contains a substantial amount of protein (2) while not being super high in calories, (3) is not packed with sugar OR artificial sweeteners, and (4) tastes good!  These bars have about 17 grams of protein per bar, about 170 or 180 calories, and about 3 grams of sugar.  

Workout Fuel

With so much protein, this would not be the best pre-exercise, especially high intensity exercise, snack.  It could make a good post-exercise snack, specifically after resistance training exercise, or a good part of a breakfast or lunch, when a boost in protein is needed.

Food Allergy Friendly

I recently saw a client who was just diagnosed with several food allergies.  When I went to the Nu Go Nutrition page to check out all of their products, I found that they make bars to accommodate all types of allergies or dietary needs (dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, etc.).  Each bar may vary, so take a close look at the ingredient label.

  LARABAR    Nutrition Info   The "Original" LARABAR could be a good choice if you are looking for something FILLING.  They have a higher fat content due to their high nut content (which means the majority of the fat is mono and polyunsatured fat vs. saturated fat or trans fat).  They have a little bit of  protein,  about  4 grams per bar  and around  3 grams of fiber  per bar.  They do have a higher sugar content, which is due to the dried fruit that these bars contain.   Workout Fuel   While I wouldn't pick this particular bar variety for a pre-exercise snack, it could be a good addition to a meal or included as another snack, especially for athletes having trouble staying full due to their high energy expenditure.  If looking for more of a pre-workout fuel, the " Fruits & Greens" variety  may be a better choice.  These bars have way  less total fat  (2.5 grams per bar), and sticks to around  2 grams of protein  and  3 grams of fiber  per bar.   Food Allergy Friendly   LARABAR makes varieties that are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan and kosher.  Check their website for more details!

LARABAR

Nutrition Info

The "Original" LARABAR could be a good choice if you are looking for something FILLING.  They have a higher fat content due to their high nut content (which means the majority of the fat is mono and polyunsatured fat vs. saturated fat or trans fat).  They have a little bit of protein, about 4 grams per bar and around 3 grams of fiber per bar.  They do have a higher sugar content, which is due to the dried fruit that these bars contain.

Workout Fuel

While I wouldn't pick this particular bar variety for a pre-exercise snack, it could be a good addition to a meal or included as another snack, especially for athletes having trouble staying full due to their high energy expenditure.

If looking for more of a pre-workout fuel, the "Fruits & Greens" variety may be a better choice.  These bars have way less total fat (2.5 grams per bar), and sticks to around 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per bar.

Food Allergy Friendly

LARABAR makes varieties that are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan and kosher.  Check their website for more details!

  KASHI TLC    Nutrition Info   I discovered these bars years ago because they were one of the bars consistently offered in our hospital cafeteria.  I like these guys because they are a good "snack portion" or a little something extra at a meal.  They have around  6 grams of protein ,  6 grams of sugar,  and  3 grams of fiber  per bar.  Due to the nuts, they also contain poly and monounsaturated fats.   Workout Fuel   Because these particular bars contain a good amount protein, fiber, and fat, for many they are best eaten further out from exercise.  They could make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack or part of a balanced breakfast or lunch.   Food Allergy Friendly   These bars may not be the right pick for friends with food allergies, but if you're food allergy free, they can be a good fueling snack to help get you through your day.

KASHI TLC

Nutrition Info

I discovered these bars years ago because they were one of the bars consistently offered in our hospital cafeteria.  I like these guys because they are a good "snack portion" or a little something extra at a meal.  They have around 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of fiber per bar.  Due to the nuts, they also contain poly and monounsaturated fats.

Workout Fuel

Because these particular bars contain a good amount protein, fiber, and fat, for many they are best eaten further out from exercise.  They could make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack or part of a balanced breakfast or lunch.

Food Allergy Friendly

These bars may not be the right pick for friends with food allergies, but if you're food allergy free, they can be a good fueling snack to help get you through your day.

Balsamic Tomato Ricotta Toast

I can't quite remember when or how I thought this up.  I think it came from a mix of my curiosity regarding ways to incorporate ricotta cheese into recipes, ways to incorporate roasted tomatoes (my new favorite summer ingredient) into more meals, and ways to create fueling, simple, yet still satisfying recipes.  

I started making this about a year ago and it is now one of my favorite quick brunch, lunch or dinner picks!  It's so simple, yet the ingredients give it lots of flavor.  You can dress it up or dress it down, add an extra slice for bigger appetites or decrease portions for small get-together bites.  And, of course, it contains the whole grains, fruits, dairy, protein, fiber, & healthy fat to create a balanced fueling meal to start, get you through or end your busy day.

So here you go, the recipe for my Balsamic Tomato Ricotta Toast.  I hope you find it as quick, and simple, and satisfying as I do :)

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Balsamic Tomato Ricotta Toast

INGREDIENTS:

FOR TOMATOES...

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I often use the "Angel Sweet" tomatoes that I find at Central Market)
  • 2 tablespoon (Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon (tsp.) salt

FOR TOAST...

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread (I love the Flax & Chia Seed bread from Central Market)
  • Optional - 1tsp. EVOO to put on toast before adding other ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. part - skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup roasted cherry tomato mixture (above)

DIRECTIONS.....

 1.  Preheat a broiler on High heat.  2.  In a large mixing bowl combine the tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, & 1/8 tsp. salt and mix well.

1.  Preheat a broiler on High heat.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine the tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, & 1/8 tsp. salt and mix well.

 3.  Line a medium - sized baking sheet with aluminum foil.  4.  Spread the tomato mixture out on the the baking sheet.  5.  Place tomatoes in the broiler and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring about 5 - 7 minutes into cooking.  6.  While the tomatoes cook, toast bread in toaster to desired doneness (or bake in a separate oven from tomatoes                on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes per side).

3.  Line a medium - sized baking sheet with aluminum foil.

4.  Spread the tomato mixture out on the the baking sheet.

5.  Place tomatoes in the broiler and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring about 5 - 7 minutes into cooking.

6.  While the tomatoes cook, toast bread in toaster to desired doneness (or bake in a separate oven from tomatoes         

     on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes per side).

 7.  Once tomatoes are blackened and have begun to burst (about 10 - 15 minutes), remove from the oven.

7.  Once tomatoes are blackened and have begun to burst (about 10 - 15 minutes), remove from the oven.

 8.  Assemble your toast by:        I.   Optional - Drizzle dry toast with about 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil ( I didn't do this when I made it but it              could be good!)        II.  Spread slice of toast with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese        II. Top with about 1/4 cup balsamic roasted tomatoes.    9.  Serve on it's own or with a side of scrambled eggs.  10.  Enjoy!

8.  Assemble your toast by:

      I.   Optional - Drizzle dry toast with about 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil ( I didn't do this when I made it but it

            could be good!)

      II.  Spread slice of toast with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese

      II. Top with about 1/4 cup balsamic roasted tomatoes.  

9.  Serve on it's own or with a side of scrambled eggs.

10.  Enjoy!


BONUS!  WHAT'S IN THIS???

Some of the nutrition bonuses from this dish include...

Tomatoes - Vitamin C | Vitamin A | Potassium | Beta-carotene | Lutein | Lycopene - did you know lycopene becomes more available in the body when the tomatoes are cooked??  AND lycopene is fat-soluble so best eaten with a source of healthy fat.  The olive oil paired with the tomatoes aids in its absorption!

Ricotta Cheese (part - skim) - Protein | Calcium

Flax & Chia Seed Bread  - Omega 3 fatty acids | Fiber | Protein

Olive Oil - Monounsaturated fats | Vitamin E

Fig & Cheddar Turkey Melt

I'm not a huge sandwich girl.  I don't typically pack one for lunch at work or come home on a Saturday and throw one together.  However, I know that sandwiches can be part of a quick and simple, fueling and nutritious meal when on the go and pressed for time, if thrown together correctly.

With that said, this weekend I decided to give the sandwich a try.  I decided to embrace it but embrace it with a twist.  I wanted to escape the every-day turkey on wheat with lettuce, tomato and mustard so I took a minute and thought about some of my favorite ingredients and determined what I already had in my pantry.  It had also just watched a show on the Food Network where the chefs discussed how the key to a great dish is simplicity and so I aimed to follow their guidance and keep the ingredients minimal but still memorable.  And what I came up with, I think, is a win.  It's SUPER simple but the flavors contrast and complement well, supporting those Food Network chef's theory on food simplicity.    The peppery arugula combined with the sharpness from the cheddar cheese are balanced with the touch of sweetness from the fig preserves, and all of this is held together by my favorite bread, the Flax & Chia Seed bread from Central Market, for a sandwich that is, to me, delicious & exciting with every bite. 

So here you go - my Fig & Cheddar Turkey Melt...

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Fig & Cheddar Turkey  Melt

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 slices whole grain bread (I used by favorite bread from Central Market - flax & chia)
  • 2 teaspoons fig preserves
  • 2 ounces deli turkey
  • 1 1/2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh arugula

 

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Toast both slices of bread in a toaster (or in a 350 degree oven, 5 minutes per side).    2.  Add the fig preserves to one side of one slice of the toasted bread.    3.  Add the sliced turkey to the other slice of toasted bread.

1.  Toast both slices of bread in a toaster (or in a 350 degree oven, 5 minutes per side).

2.  Add the fig preserves to one side of one slice of the toasted bread.

3.  Add the sliced turkey to the other slice of toasted bread.

  4.  Place the slice of toasted bread with turkey onto a baking sheet.    5.  Top turkey with the cheese slices, making sure to cover the   turkey with the cheese in an even layer.          (I lined the baking sheet with foil for easier clean-up)

4.  Place the slice of toasted bread with turkey onto a baking sheet.

5.  Top turkey with the cheese slices, making sure to cover the turkey with the cheese in an even layer.

      (I lined the baking sheet with foil for easier clean-up)

  6.  Turn the oven from Bake to Broil (broil on High).    7.  Place the baking sheet in oven & broil for about 3 minutes until cheese is hot & melting over the turkey.

6.  Turn the oven from Bake to Broil (broil on High).

7.  Place the baking sheet in oven & broil for about 3 minutes until cheese is hot & melting over the turkey.

  8.  Remove sandwich half from the oven.    9.  Place heated sandwich half on your serving plate & top with the fresh arugula.    10.  Top arugula with the second slice of bread spread with the fig preserves.

8.  Remove sandwich half from the oven.

9.  Place heated sandwich half on your serving plate & top with the fresh arugula.

10.  Top arugula with the second slice of bread spread with the fig preserves.

  10.  Slice your sandwich, serve and enjoy!!

10.  Slice your sandwich, serve and enjoy!!

BONUS - WHAT'S IN THIS?!?!

Arugula - vitamin K, vitamin A

Turkey -  protein, nicain, vitamin B6, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, selenium

Cheese -  protein, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, riboflavin, vitamin A, zinc, selenium

Dried Figs - potassium, fiber, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese

Bread  - flaxseed = fiber, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, omega 3's                       ;             chia seeds = fiber, omega 3's, protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese

Taylored Pantry Top 10: GRAINS

This year I will be doing different segments on the blog.  There will be various recipes, which I will label as my "Kitchen Concoctions", both those that are crazy simple and those that are a bit more in depth, there will be nutrition information in my "Fun Food Facts" segments and there will be what I will call "Quick Picks", which will range from restaurant finds to grocery list picks.

TODAY, to kick things off, I'm going to introduce my first segment of Quick Picks that I'll be doing to kick of 2017, which I'm calling my Taylored Pantry Top 10's.  In 2016 one of my most frequent requests from clients, friends and busy moms and dads was, "Can you just send me a list of the things I should grab at the store to whip up something quick and healthy?".  Some people simply needed to know what to buy and then they could take it from there.  I realized that, for some, the thought alone of entering the grocery store was overwhelming and so was their biggest obstacle to getting healthy food choices in the home (and thus into work and school lunches).   So, I will be sharing with you a different Top 10 list each week for the next 4 to 5 weeks.  My hope is that it gives you ideas, information and understanding as you enter into this new year and makes it so that on days you are pressed for time, you can run into the store and quickly pick out items to get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table or in the lunchbox that week!  

I will start my Taylored Pantry Top 10's with GRAINS These are the grains that I typically have on-hand in my pantry to help throw together a quick and healthier breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week.  I do not always have all 10 but I usually have about 4 or 5 and I switch it up to keep meals from getting monotonous.  These typically keep pretty well so that I can use them right away for a planned recipe or I can store them and pull them out when in a bind.  Also, please note, I am not working with any of the following brands; these are strictly my preferences based off of experience and label and ingredient reviews.  Other dietitians may have a different Top 10, but here is what has and continues to work for me and for clients that I have worked with in the past.

Happy Fueling!

Taylor

 

Taylored Pantry Top 10:  GRAINS  

Benefits of Grains:  Whole grains are a must for my pantry.  They add fiber, a little protein and complex carbohydrate, along with iron, folate, magnesium and a myriad of other nutrients.  They help keep me fueled for long days, help me recover after intense workouts, and keep me full for days I'm just feeling extra hungry.  Grab some grains and make them a part of your pantry....

  1. OLD FASHIONED ROLLED OATS
    •  Uses:  Oatmeal for breakfast or a snacks | include it in homemade granola bars | include it in homemade cookies | add to casseroles.       
    • My Picks:  I usually grab my oats from the bulk bin at the grocery store.  You can get as much or as little as you want and it is SUPER friendly on the wallet.
  2. WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL (maybe 2 varieties - 1 natural & 1 regular)      
    • Uses:  Easy breakfast served with low-fat milk or yogurt | throw it in a baggie for a snacks on the go | include it in a homemade trail mix.          
    • My Picks:  Barbara's brand Morning Oat Crunch (Original variety) & Spoonfuls (fiber + protein + lower sugar content = winning combo!).  I also love basic plain Cheerios and Quaker Oatmeal Squares (again, fiber + protein + lower in sugar)               
    • To Know:  Many times "Natural" cereals are low in iron because nothing is added to them / they are not fortified during processing (Example:  Quaker Oatmeal Squares contains about 90% daily iron needs while Barbara's Morning Oat Crunch only contains about 10%).  If iron is a concern for you, and your favorite cereals are labeled "natural" (which, be careful - that does NOT mean healthier), you may want to alternate between your favorite "natural" cereal and a regular cereal, mix the two, or switch over completely.  And don't forget to include a source of vitamin C with it (orange juice, strawberries, etc.) for optimal iron absorption!                                                                          
  3. WHOLE GRAIN BREAD    
    • Uses:  Toast in the morning | avocado toast any time :) | sandwiches for lunch or dinner | egg breakfast sandwiches | croutons for salads (once it is a little stale) | French toast | freeze it for later use!
    • My Picks:  I love the whole grain bread by Dave's Killer bread and Central Market's Chia & Flax Seed bread.  The hearty quality and all of the seeds in the bread give it a deep, hearty, nutty flavor when toasted, mmmmmm.     
    • To Know:  Make sure the first ingredient in the Ingredient List says "whole wheat" or "whole grain".  Don't just go off of what it says on the front of the package.                                                                 
  4. WHOLE WHEAT PITA OR FLATBREAD  
    • Uses:  So many possibilities!  Stuff the pita with your favorite sandwich fixings and wrap up for lunch at school, work or on the go | eat it cold or grill it in a panini press for a quick hot dinner sandwich | stuff with scrambled eggs & cheese for a quick breakfast on the go | cut into triangles, drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes for your own baked pita chips | use a whole pita as a pizza crust for individual pizzas and top with marinara and fun toppings before baking in the oven!                              
    • My Picks:  I really don't have a "go-to" for pita bread.  As long as "whole - wheat flour" is that first ingredient, I am good.  Regarding flatbreads & wraps I tend to like the Flat-out flatbread products.  They have a good texture, good flavor and they work well as wraps and flatbread (I use them for my turkey lime avocado wrap - recipe coming soon to the blog).
  5. QUINOA / BULGUR / BARLEY
    • Uses:  Morning hot cereal (quinoa) | the base of a cold lunch salad bowl | a complement to dinner (add in various ingredients like pine nuts, spinach & feta or sun dried tomatoes) | an ingredient in soups & stews.     
    • My Picks:  I also like to get these from the bulk bins at the grocery store.  I can get just what I need and it is usually more budget friendly.                                                                                                                    
  6. WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS       
    • Uses: An easy snack | pair with peanut butter, hummus, or cheese | serve with soup | eat them on their own.    
    • My Picks:  I usually go for Kashi's 7 Grain crackers but I also like Crunchmaster's original crackers (which are gluten - free for those with a gluten allergy or sensitivity) and Mary's Gone Crackers.
  7. WHOLE WHEAT PENNE     
    • Uses:  An easy pasta night (play with the ingredients like marinara sauce or fresh roasted tomatoes & basil or a little lemon, olive oil and capers, yum!) | incorporate into macaroni & cheese | create a cold pasta salad.    
    • To Know:  Whole - wheat pasta can be tougher than white refined pasta.  Try to cook your whole - wheat pasta a bit longer to better reach your desired texture.
  8. POPCORN
    • Uses:  Great snack any time | buy it plain and add your own flavors like grated Parmesan, cinnamon, chili powder, etc. | 3 cups = 1 serving so you get a lot more per serving than a snack of potato chips!
  9. LOWER SUGAR GRANOLA CERAL 
    • Uses:  Easy topping for yogurt in the morning or afternoon snack | topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt (yep, I said ice cream!) | add into unsweetened cereal for a little bite of sweetness.
    • My Picks:  My favorite store-bought is KIND Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flax Seed and I also love making my own when I have time either using the recipe a friend of mine gave me or using the Pumpkin Spice Granola recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte
    • To Know:  a lot of granolas are higher in sugar and are more calorie dense.  I found this one to be a good compromise between nutrition and taste.  But as with all granolas, remember to watch your portions.  Serving sizes are typically smaller for granola than the average dry cereal.
  10. WHOLE GRAIN FROZEN WAFFLES            
    •  Uses:  Fun breakfast for kids ( and adults), you can top with nut butter, fruit, yogurt, or honey.  In a youth (grades K - 5) nutrition & fitness program I have been involved in over the last 3 to 4 years, one of the recipes the kids make is called a "wafflewich".  It is a regular whole - wheat waffle topped with vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and then topped with another waffle (if desired) to create a waffle sandwich.  The kids love it - it has been a hit every year!