That's A Keeper 7

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It's that time again.  My round up of my favorite "keeper" recipes.  I currently have a stack of "to try" recipes that is growing and growing by the day.  I'm obsessed with cooking anything and everything.  A few people recently have offered to be my quality assurance and let's just say that my family is one lucky family!  The other thing I'm obsessed with?  All the new cookbooks:  Vegan For EverybodyOver Easy, and A New Way To Bake - are just my most recent acquisitions.  Yes, there are SO many recipes to try.  I consider it my civic duty to bring you only the BEST of the BEST.  You're welcome.  Here we go:

Oats with Beet Berry Sauce

Overnight Oats is my Jam.  Beets aren't my jam.  But I recently discovered a way even I will beets.  That's right.  You won't even know the beets are in your oats!  Beets for Breakfast!!  Just know your hands will turn pink and your kitchen may or may not look like an episode of Dexter (remember I need a Go Pro watching my every more...I am NOT graceful in the kitchen).  My recipe for overnight oats is simple:  1/2 cup of rolled oats mixed with 1/2 cup of milk (I use skim milk for the extra protein, feel free to use almond milk or whatever alternative milk of your choosing).  The next morning I add this Beet Berry sauce along with the nut butter of my choice.  Heat in the microwave for a little over a minute and voila, your breakfast is served.  Phenomenal.  I do not add any extra sweetener as I've adjusted over time.  You can too.  Believe me -  start reducing how much you use - in no time you'll be adding none.

Broccoli Stem Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

For those that have kids that don't like vegetables, here's a recipe for you! Adults I'm looking at you too!  Yes you!  There are so many different ways to prepare vegetables in all their glorious forms, I find it hard at times to believe my patients when they say they don't like vegetables.  I say keep trying and then hand them a recipe.  While most people might like broccoli, I like this recipe because I'm able to use not only the broccoli crowns but also the stems - yes, this dietitian has thrown away way too many broccoli stems in her life.  Never again!  Less food waste is my goal.  And this recipe helps with that!  It gets better on day 2.

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Orechhiette with Mushrooms, Leeks and Almonds

I'm a vegetarian and recently have been eating more seafood, so technically I'm a pescatarian (more on that later).  this dish is a combination of flavors that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  I haven't been repeating recipes lately, you know because there's so many to try, but this one might need to be repeated this weekend!  The almond, parsley, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese topping?  The BEST - I want to put it on EVERYTHING!  Not only is it gorgeous, but it's SO flavorful.  Make this tonight!  And then let me know why leeks are so expensive - random question, but I need to know.

A Very Good Split Pea Soup

Crock-Pot.  Slow-Cooker.  Whatever you want to call it, they can be a life-saver when it comes to dinner.  When I lived in California I would take mine to work.  I'd start the crock-pot around noon so it'd be done by the time I would be leaving from work.  I didn't have an automatic timer back then, so this was the safest way.  Additionally this was the only way I'd eat meat - fall apart and where I didn't have to chew.  So it did save a lot of time and effort, but flash forward to now and I'm not sure why I still have one.  Enter this recipe.  Easy Split Pea Soup.  I threw everything in the crock-pot on high and three hours later, voila, a few lunches for the week, done.  I froze the rest as it made so much, but it couldn't have been any easier.  Really.  I'll need to find a few more to throw into the rotation.  And just a side-note, I didn't puree mine.  I like a little more texture in my soup and keeping it real, I didn't want to dirty my food processor.  I added some Greek yogurt on top instead of sour cream, creamy protein goodness.

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I started training the first week of September for the Miami Marathon.  Right around the middle of October I randomly spot checked my food intake to make sure I was on the mark getting enough carbohydrates and protein.  As a vegetarian I do still consume milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt, but with all the training I was doing I was not getting enough protein.  I was getting too many carbs and knew I needed to change it up.  I do not use protein powders but do use nuts in any form - nuts, nuts butter, and/or nut "cheese".  If I was tired of nuts I'd default and eat more cheese.  And while that most times helped me get enough protein my saturated fat intake was always too much.  Love cheese, but I was eating WAY too much.  So I decided to include more seafood.  I would eat fish occasionally when eating out, so yes, I'm technically a pescatarian, but I do/did that because many restaurants do NOT understand a balanced vegetarian meal.  Here I was in the thick of it training for this marathon and I wanted to make sure I was fueling my body right and helping to avoid any injuries.  So I decided to include fish three times per week along with my normal vegetarian meals on the other days.  This salmon recipe was on repeat for the first month.  I'd make the sauce for the week and it literally took just 5 minutes broiling on each side.  Quick, life-saving dinner.  But I knew I needed to change it up for boredom's sake.  I prepped the salmon the same way and then mixed it up like a deconstructed sushi bowl.   Didn't have time to roll sushi and brown rice as a complex carbohydrate had been a good fuel source for me.  I felt like I was winning.

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But since it was still my go-to salmon I was starting to get bored.  I'm a vegetarian for a reason, I've never liked the texture of meat, so I was always hesitant to try seafood not only for the texture issue but also because I was worried of the "fishy" taste (or so I thought).  Enter halibut.  Yes, it's pricey and yes, I could have substituted another fish.  But you have to remember I was going for having a good experience with the fish and didn't want to fear that I wouldn't end up liking it.  This recipe by Williams Sonoma is beyond phenomenal.  You'll feel like a gourmet chef it's that good.  I rarely eat out and wanted to treat myself to nourished meals at home during this intense training.   Food for my body and soul. 

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My patients are always telling me they don't have time to cook.  I'm a big fan of meal prep on the weekends.  You set the tone for the week and have key items already prepared so that when it comes down to the weeknights, cooking is a breeze (or at least a little easier).  I typically cook my grains for the week - brown rice, quinoa, whatever grain I'm using for the week.  They heat up just fine, there's no need to be cooking rice every night.  And with this next recipe, it couldn't be any easier.  I make the sauce up on the weekend, so when it comes to dinner, it only take 20 minutes in parchment paper and voila, dinner is done.  I do saute the spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking, but it's the easiest way to get your vegetables in and not have to prepare too much extra.  Lemon-Herb Shrimp Packets - I've made it with fresh herbs and dried herbs and while fresh taste best, the dried ones worked in a pinch.  The best part?  THE easiest clean-up of all my dinners yet!

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During my training I limited my desserts (and alcohol).  While I normally do have something sweet every day, I limit my portion size.  I am a dietitian that eats desserts, in moderation.  I've found that when I do allot for myself to have small amounts here and there it leads to less overeating (at least for me).  As I tell my patients, whether they are salty or sweet people, you have to learn how you are in regards to certain foods.  I get people that will tell me that they are "all or none people" and they prefer to go without desserts as it's too much of a temptation.  I've seen it way too many times that in those restrictive type atmospheres people end up overeating the very foods they were trying so hard to avoid all along.  Again, there's a lot more when it comes to food then just nourishment.  But back to desserts and training.  This was my go-to dessert during training- 4 Ingredient Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs - it made 8 eggs, so I had one for everyday of the week and the extra I ended up sharing.  Don't get me wrong - my birthday and the holidays fell during marathon training so I definitely had cake on my birthday, pumpkin tiramisu on Thanksgiving, and creme brulee on Christmas - but training was 4 months long so there was bound to be some desserts that entered the picture.  This recipe for only having 4 ingredients tastes like a replica of the Reese's eggs and is SO much better for you - minimal added sugar - and it felt like an indulgence.  I wanted to train hard and eat right and these did just the trick.  The best part?  The peanut butter dough is so pliable you can shape it into almost anything.  I made them for Valentine's Day (just forgot to take a picture of them) and made them into hearts.  Delish and way better for you than that other brand!

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So there you have it.  My latest round-up.  Recipes that are keepers in my household.  That is, if I ever repeat a recipe.