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Welcome to The Nutritionist Corner by Clearly Organic!

Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: AWG provides the Nutritionist Corner blogger(s) with free products and compensation for posts.

Chocolate Cupcakes

These all natural cupcakes are the perfect treat for your next event. By skipping the boxed cake mixes you avoid artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and modified food starch. Making your own cake or cupcakes is easy and delicious.

1 1/2 cups Clearly Organic Flour
1 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup water
1/2 coconut oil, liquified
1 teaspoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder to a medium size mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl add water, liquified coconut oil and vinegar. To liquify coconut oil heat in a small sauce pan. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Using an electric hand mixer blend batter until smooth. Pour batter into greased or paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
I like to top my cupcakes with homemade whipped cream and a dollop of almond butter.

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Winter Squash

A sure sign of Fall is the colorful array of winter squash that become available at your local grocery store. These thick skinned vegetables are not only pretty to look at, they are also very nutritious. They deliver a host of different Vitamins including A, C, E and B6. Squash is also an excellent source of carotenoids along with important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Squash is actually a broad term used to describe a number of different vegetables, including pumpkins, zucchini and courgettes. Each individual species has a lot of overlapping characteristics, and they each include dozens of varieties like: acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, just to name a few. In North America we simplify most varieties as summer or winter squash. These classifications are primarily based on when the squash ripens and can be consumed. Most winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the Fall. Winter squash has such a thick exterior it can be stored for several months and eaten during the winter season, hence the name. Now is the time to incorporate a colorful winter squash into your next recipe.

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Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups Clearly Organic Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Olive Oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. In a separate small bowl whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices. Combine flour mixture, pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips. Stir until just combine. Do not over mix. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

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Herbed Quinoa Burger

1/2 cup Clearly Organic Quinoa

1 cup vegetable broth

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 (14 oz) can Clearly Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Clearly Organic Egg

1/4 cup Cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoon Clearly Organic Olive Oil

 

In a small sauce pan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low then cook until broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let quinoa mix cool. In a food processor blend two slices of wheat bread until they are fine bread crumbs. Add chickpeas, egg, cumin, salt and pepper to the food processor.   Pulse blend mixture until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape sides to make sure all ingredients are evenly blended. Remove blades from food processor and form patties with the quinoa mixture, will make about 6 patties. Pour 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan. Brush patties with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and cook in frying pan over medium heat. Let each side lightly brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Herbed Quinoa Burgers are great served over a bed of leafy greens atop warm pita bread. I like adding, tomato, avocado and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for a high protein balanced meal.

Herbed Quinoa Burger Herbed Quinoa Burger
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Why Try Chia Seeds?

Recently we’ve highlighted two recipes, blueberry muffins and oatmeal, that have involved chia seeds. When you saw this unique ingredient on the list you might have thought to yourself-What is that? And where do I get chia seeds? These whole grain seeds have been around for thousands of years. Legend has it that chia seeds were a staple in the diet of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. In fact, the word chia is derived from the Mayan language and means “strength”.

 

I feel that once you try these nutrient dense seeds you will know why the ancients called them strength. These tiny seeds deliver generous amounts of fiber, protein and Omega-3’s in just a one ounce portion (1oz of chia seeds = about 2 Tablespoons). Most chia seeds are also grown organically, so they contain no GMO’s and they are naturally gluten free. You can find chia seeds at most major grocery stores. However, you might have to ask a store employee where they have them located. Most health food stores sell chia seeds from the bulk bins, so you can purchase any desired quantity.

 

The most common uses for chia seeds are in smoothies, baked goods or sprinkled on a salad. I prefer soaking the seeds in advance before adding them to my recipe or smoothie. Some believe soaking the seeds makes the nutrients more accessible by our digestive system. The recipes we’ve posted on our Clearly Organic blog have the soaking process in the directions. If you’ve never tried chia seeds check out our recipes and let us know what you think!

 

Chia Seeds
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Harvest Fruit Dip

8 oz Clearly Organic Cream Cheese, softened
8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
5 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Honey
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until very smooth. Add yogurt, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Continue blending with hand mixture until dip is evenly distributed. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with sliced honey crisp apples and red grapes.

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Improving Your Lunch

Whether you’re packing a lunch for your child to take to school or you’re packing food for yourself at the office it’s easy to fall into the routine of bringing the same thing. Here are a few creative lunch ideas that the whole family will love.

    1. Balance is best. The most nutritious and filling lunches are ones with protein, vegetables and natural carbohydrate from foods like fruit and oats. Some of the classic convince lunch items are still great options. Apple sauce and mixed fruit cups are great ways to add a serving of natural carbohydrate to any lunch. Combine them with a string cheese or a deli meat roll-up and you have a perfect carbohydrate and protein blend.

 

    1. Deli meat roll-up. Take a slice of your favorite cheese and wrap a piece of deli meat around it. You can also place spinach leaves and spicy mustard in the roll-up for an extra kick. I love munster cheese and spinach wrapped with a slice of turkey. Bring two or three of these roll-ups with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a protein packed lunch.

 

    1. Vegetable based pasta salad. In July we had a recipe for Picnic Pasta Salad. The mix included broccoli, peppers, cheese, chicken, Italian sausage, artichoke hearts and more! This delicious blend of wholesome foods combined with Italian dressing is a great lunch selection. You can make it ahead of time, mix & match different vegetables to fit your taste and add variety.

 

  1. Breakfast for lunch. A hard boiled egg with oatmeal is not only a power breakfast but it can be a power lunch as well. Enjoy a hard boiled egg with overnight oats & chia seeds (recipe on blog) and you’ll have energy to make it through a long afternoon.
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Cinnamon Agave Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
5 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Raisins (optional)
1 Clearly Organic Egg
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Agave Nectar
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Almond Milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to a medium size mixing bowl. Cut 5 Tbs of cold butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, two knives or your hands until mixture is crumbly. Whisk together egg, agave nectar and almond milk. Combine egg mixture, raisins and flour mix. Stir until evenly combine. Form dough into disks and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 scones. Serve fresh out of the oven with a teaspoon of jam.

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Nutritionist Corner Recipe: Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries

If you don’t have a Spiralizer this recipe is equally delicious with sweet potatoes that have been cut into chunks or wedges.

2 medium size sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Olive Oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Paprika (optional)
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Garlic Powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spiralize two sweet potatoes. If you don’t have a Spiralizer chop sweet potatoes into rectangular pieces, about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thickness. Place sweet potato pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt pepper and desired seasoning to bowl and toss all of the ingredients until they are equally distributed. Place sweet potato mixture on a greased baking pan. Bake at 400 degree for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your potato. If spiralized 25 to 30 minutes is best. If sweet potato is cut in chunks 35 to 40 minutes. Fries are done when they look slightly crisp around the edges.

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Nutritionist Corner: Picking the Perfect Melon

One of my favorite fruits is watermelon, and late summer is the perfect time to pick one up. With watermelon season also comes cantaloupe and honey dew melons. The high water and electrolyte content in each of these fruits makes them a great food to have on a hot day. When shopping for melons look for fruit that is somewhat firm and symmetrical without soft spots or bruising. Melons should have a sweet smell, and if purchasing a cut melon look for flesh that is bright in color. Melons can ripen on your kitchen counter at room temp for a few days. Once the fruit is cut or chopped store it in an air tight container, in the refrigerator, for up to three days.

Melons are a naturally sweet low calorie food. A wedge of any variety of melon offers a rich source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Fresh or frozen melon pieces offer an excellent alternative to sugary desserts. The juicy sweetness and refreshing nature of melon make it a perfect summer and early fall selection.

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