Wild Blueberry Pasta with Peas and Microgreens

Pasta Salad with Wild Blueberries

This pasta salad is sure to please all summer long. It’s antioxidant rich, high in fiber, super flavorful, and so pretty to look at!

Pasta Salad with Wild Blueberries

I love cold pasta, especially when the weather gets warmer. It’s the perfect way to highlight the best of what spring and summer has to offer. For this pasta salad I used English peas from Trader Joe’s and my favorite microgreens from Whole Foods. I also snuck in a ton of fiber by using a whole grain Orecchiette. The Orecchiette was a perfect fit because the English peas and Wild Blueberries naturally fall right into the “little ears” of the pasta. If you can’t find those, the shell style pasta would work great, too! Any veggie would also work with this dish, as would your favorite microgreen for the base. The “drunken goat cheese” added a tangy flavor and holds up well being tossed around in the pasta.

Wild Blueberry Pasta with Peas and Microgreens

Hany is not a huge fan of whole grain pasta so it was kind of fun disguising it by stirring in a cup of Wild Blueberries, which turned the unappetizing brown pasta salad into a gorgeous purple!

Wild Blueberry Pasta with Peas and MicrogreensSo the next time you have veggies in your fridge that need cooking (I know you do) just steam ’em up and toss them into a cold pasta salad. Chopped baby spinach or baby kale would be great, as would sauteed asparagus, broccoli, roasted corn, or zucchini. Then just toss it all together with a vinaigrette dressing. So simple and such a great way to use up your produce!

Wild Blueberry Pasta with Peas and Microgreens

I created this pasta salad for the folks over at Wild Blueberries, so head over there by clicking here to get the recipe. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes! Creamy and delicious flapjacks. Made with fun ingredients and lots of love. #breakfast @danielleomar #glutenfree

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

These light and airy Peanut Butter and Banana pancakes are both creamy and delicious with a just a hint of ginger. The perfect way to start any day!

peanut butter and banana pancakes via @danielleomar

I made these peanut butter banana pancakes using cereal. As you may know, I’m not a huge fan of boxed cereal. Unless it’s the kind I make myself, cereal is just not my bag. However, my reason why is likely not what you think.

I created this recipe while visiting the General Mills offices in Minneapolis. It was an Dietitian blogger event. I actually enjoy visiting brands. I learn a lot about their business practices, meet their employees, and see first hand what goes into the making of their products. I also get to ask a ton of questions, often to high level executives of the organization. This trip we got the pleasure of asking the President of Big G Cereals important questions like why can’t they just use less sugar? What does it take to remove the dyes and coloring from their products? What are they doing to address childhood obesity? Is it morally responsible to sell Lucky Charms to kids? As an RD, I feel pretty fortunate for these opportunities.

So here’s what I found out.

General Mills knows a lot about you. They know what kind of eater you want to be and what kind of eater you really are. They know what is important to you when it comes to food and your health and what you want (and don’t want) in your food. They know you like to start your day with a healthy breakfast, but as the day goes on you let your guard down…your choices get a little more decadent. They also know that you don’t practice what you preach. They hear what you say you want, but they see what you actually buy. Needless to say, sales of Lucky Charms are doing just fine.

They blame these food choices on your commitment level, the context or environment in which you are eating, and the high costs of eating healthy. GM takes all of this into account when they sell you food. They have to since their products are in 90% of all US households. Yes, they do more than just cereal. They own that Lara Bar you had for your morning snack and the Annie’s mac and cheese you feed your kids. Check this out, you might be surprised. We were.

So what did I learn on this trip? I learned that GM has been lowering the sugar in their cereals for years and not telling anyone. They did this quietly, on purpose, and nobody really noticed. I kind of admire that. But it may have backfired for them. I don’t think the average mom knows that there’s more sugar in that “healthy” yogurt or granola bar than there is in a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios or even Lucky Charms. Educating parents is so important and I think they may have missed on a real opportunity there.

Personally, I have never thought cereal was the reason we have an obesity epidemic. We were eating Lucky Charms and Trix in the 70s. What’s changed? Not much with the cereal. Except today there’s less sugar in it. Go figure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a big cereal fan. I don’t think it’s a particularly balanced breakfast. Anything I can eat and eat and eat and never really get satisfied is not for me. But I also don’t think we should demonize all cereals for the few that are rotten. Cheerios only has 1 gram of sugar. I bet that’s a lot less than what you’re having now.

banana peanut butter pancakesSo yes, I made these pancakes with cereal. In the Betty Crocker test kitchens to boot! The base is raw rolled oats and peanut butter flavored Cheerios. There’s also some banana in there, ginger powder, protein powder, some flax, more peanut butter, an egg and a few other ingredients. I also learned a great trick from the Betty Crocker kitchen folks. Blend your dry ingredients with your wet ones in the blender and you not only get a perfectly creamy batter, you get perfectly creamy pancakes. And let me tell you, these pancakes are dang good. Cereal and all.

banana peanut butter pancakes

 

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter Multigrain cheerios
  • 1 Tbsp plain protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond milk (can use any milk type)
  • dash sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Then add the mashed banana, vanilla, milk, and peanut butter. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Place the remaining dry ingredients into the blender and add the banana mixture. Blend until well incorporated, do not over-blend.
  3. Heat a griddle or large saute pan to 375°F. Brush griddle with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray.
  4. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.
  5. Serve topped with fresh berries and/or real maple syrup.
http://foodconfidence.com/2015/05/19/peanut-butter-and-banana-pancakes/
ERFYS Cover Credit Jason Houston

Do You Eat Right For Your Sight?

I'm Blogging for Eye Health, #EatRightforYourSight

Today I am blogging to raise awareness of Macular Degeneration. This is a guest post from Mina Fies. She’s my best best friend for over 35 years and Macular Degeneration has affected her life first-hand. Here’s her story.

When I started seeing small dark spots I thought it was the beginning of the end for my sight. I’ve always worried about my eyes. I constantly look for changes in my vision and get exams like clockwork. What’s strange is that I’m not a worrier. I’m pretty good at taking what life dishes out and rolling with it. But when it comes to my sight, all bets are off. I have reason to worry.

My grandmother raised me. All we had was each other and we were thick as thieves. Her favorite thing to do was garden. She’d spend hours and hours in the hot sun tending to her beautiful flowers. As a teenager I would mumble and grumble when spring would arrive because it meant I had to get her bag after bag after bag of hardwood shredded mulch. Those bags were heavy!When she wasn’t tending to her garden you could find her sitting in her favorite chair, knitting her latest quilt. Everyone in the family had a quilt from Grandma. Whenever there was a new great grandchild on the way, she’d get busy making her special gift. Her other interests included baking up delicious treats, reading the latest mystery novel, and watching TV.

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In her mid-80’s she started seeing spots in her vision. Shortly after she was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. In true Grandma fashion she wouldn’t let on how much it affected her. But I know it was devastating. At a time in her life where all she had were her favorite things she was unable to do any the things she loved to do. The hardest part of Macular Degeneration for me was watching the decline in her independence. She was a fiercely independent woman. She was never one to ask her help. She lived alone up until her diagnosis and was proud that she was able to take care of herself. Having to rely on others and not being able to do the things she loved was a double blow. I can’t tell you how many times she’d ask me to take her back to the eye doctor, hoping there was another set of eyeglasses that would help bring things back into focus. We both left those appointments defeated and disappointed.

Eventually Grandma came to terms with her disease, as did I. We made the most of her later years, and she always kept a sense of humor about her no matter what the circumstances. I am forever grateful to have had such an incredibly loving and sensitive woman to raise me and guide me in my life.

As the clock continues to turn on my own life, I often fear the same fate awaits me. I wonder if I will wake up one day to the realization that I may lose my vision and live out my later years suffering the same way Grandma did.

Thankfully, the dark spots I saw that day were nothing to be concerned about and eventually went away. They were not early signs of Macular Degeneration and I have extremely healthy eyes. I am vigilant about my eyes these days. I wear protective sunglasses whenever I’m out in the sun, I eat salmon and leafy greens like they’re medicine, I exercise and take antioxidant supplements. I also stay educated on how to prevent MD. I do this in part for myself and in part in honor of Granny. She would expect nothing less.

Mina Fies is a speaker, writer, business owner, loving friend and wife. You can learn more about her here.


To learn more about MD, visit the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease and the leading cause of vision loss for those aged 55 and older in the United States. It affects more than 10 million Americans. Age-related macular degeneration is damage to or breakdown of the central part of the retina, called the macula. The macula allows us to see clearly and can result in the complete loss of central vision.

Here are three tips to keeping your eyes healthy:

  • Go for color! Darker is better when it comes to your eyes. When you can, choose blueberries, orange peppers, pomegranates, beets, cranberries and purple grapes.

  • Think leafy and dark green. Spinach and collard greens are possibly the most beneficial vegetables for eye health. They are rich in carotenoids, the yellowish pigments that include precursors of Vitamin A, which may delay the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration.

  • Don’t skip the yolk. The dark yellow egg yolk is packed with nutrients you need to protect your eyes: protein, vitamins, and minerals and those powerhouse carotenoids for eye health lutein and zeaxanthin.

The recipe below is included in the cookbook, Eat Right For Your Sight. This cookbook contains simple and delicious recipes using basic ingredients that you very likely have in your kitchen right now.

ERFYS Cover Credit Jason Houston

 

roasted butternut squash and cranberry salad Credit Jason Houston

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad

Serving Size: 4-6

A good source of carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, and folate, butternut squash is also rich in phytochemicals, which convert into antioxidants, thought not only to help prevent macular degeneration, but also to reduce the risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular problems. This is a pretty salad that offers a colorful change of pace with its roasted squash, goat cheese, pecans, and cranberries.

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
  • 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 5-ounce bag baby greens
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, lightly chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Assemble the baby greens, cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese in a salad bowl. Top with the butternut squash. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and extra pepper into a vinaigrette and toss with the salad. Serve immediately.
http://foodconfidence.com/2015/05/14/do-you-eat-right-for-your-sight/

I'm Blogging for Eye Health, #EatRightforYourSight