Here's the Dish

healthy ANDI licious

Cherry Cocoa Almond Smoothie April 20, 2013

Cherry Cocoa Almond SmoothieCherry Cocoa Almond Smoothie
with vanilla extract & creamy almond butter

Indulge & be fit! Cater to your cocoa craving with this lux fruity creation.


-3/4 cup frozen dark cherries (preferably without added sugar)
– 1 small frozen banana (peel & freeze the night before)
-1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (not “Dutch” processed-if possible as this makes for a milder flavor but strips out some antioxidants)
– 1 tsp almond butter
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (less for a thicker smoothie)
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Peel and freeze the banana at least 4 hours in advance. If you make smoothies often, keep some frozen ready to go.

Blend ingredients until smoothie and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Naturally dairy-free, gluten-free, & soy-free. For a nut-free version swap the almond butter for 1 tsp coconut oil and use coconut milk instead of almond milk. If you’re subbing in coconut milk, opt for the carton variety found in the refrigerated grocery store aisle rather than the higher-fat canned variety.


Blueberry Cornbread Muffins April 19, 2013

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
with a hint of lime


– 1 1/4 cup GF ground cornmeal
– Just under 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 1/2 tbsp honey
– Pinch of sea salt
– 1 egg
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or chilled coconut milk)
– handful of fresh or frozen (de-thawed) blueberries
– juice squeezed from one fresh lime
-olive or canola oil (just enough to lightly coat baking tray)


1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine ingredients in large bowl, mixing well.

2) Lightly coat 8 muffin baking tray spaces with olive or canola oil. You can skip this step if you have a non-stick pan. If you don’t have a muffin baking tray, you can use a regular baking tray and pour the mixture into about 8 muffin foil tins.

3) Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes. Mine only took 15 minutes. Enjoy hot and place the rest in a sealed container to store in the fridge. The muffins are great chilled as well. The perfect spread to compliment: earth balance organic coconut spread + fresh lime juice + light shake of salt. Enjoy!

Note: If you are serving these to individuals with gluten allergies, make sure that you purchase ground corn flour that is clearly labeled as gluten-free. While corn is naturally free of gluten, some unlabeled varieties may be processed in a facility that also processes wheat products. For those without an allergy or intolerance, any cornmeal is fine but go for one with a GF seal if anyone eating the muffins has celiac to be certain there’s no cross-contamination risk. 


South meets Southwest: Black-Eyed Peas & Lime-Seared Steak Soup November 15, 2011

Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens meet Cilantro & Lime

This soup combines elements of the traditional southern black-eyed peas and collard greens soup with southwestern flavors of cilantro and lime. I traded the traditional pork or bacon of the “Hoppin’ John” for some lean cut 100% grass-fed beef marinated in fresh lime juice. The meat here is used as an accent flavor; the black-eyed peas are the stars of this dish. Enjoy throughout the fall and winter but bookmark this dish for January 1st. The recipe makes a wonderful New Year’s Eve dish as black-eyed peas are celebrated by many as a “lucky” food to begin the new year.

Black-Eyed Peas & Lime-Seared Steak Soup
with collard greens & cilantro


  • 1 & 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup frozen chopped collard greens
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 9 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 shallots chopped (optional but suggested)
  • 0.5 lb 100% grass-fed stir-fry beef strips
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh cilantro
  • juice of 2 fresh limes
  • dash of cayenne pepper


The Night Before: Rinse 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas and soak in a large pot for at least 4 hours. I normally leave the beans to soak covered overnight. Place fresh 100% grass-fed beef, sliced thin in a zip-lock bag or container with a full lime’s worth of lime juice. Store in the fridge overnight.

1. Strain soaked black-eyed peas and add to large pot with about 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about an hour stirring occasionally.

2. In a large stir-fry pan, begin searing lime-marinated beef at medium heat.  Crush and chop garlic into thin slices and add about 3 of the 9 cloves to your pan with the beef. Toss in a few rinsed fresh cilantro leaves as well. If you have the optional shallots, chop these and add to your pan. Add 1/4 cup of your vegetable broth (I love Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth- low sodium) to the pan and cover, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until beef is fully cooked.

3. When black-eyed peas have cooked (after simmering for about 60 minutes) strain, rinse, and return to large pan with the remainder of your 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring heat to medium high. Rinse 2 handfuls of cilantro (also known as coriander) thoroughly and add to your soup pan. Also add  1 cup frozen chopped collard greens, the remaining garlic, and the lime juice from the second lime.

4. Stir in beef and spike with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Amply provides enough to serve 4.


Dinner: Stuffed Tomato, Grilled Chicken, Roasted Fingerlings July 23, 2011


Happy 4th of July! July 4, 2011

Red, white & blueberries

Healthy 4th of July Snack Ideas

Celebrate with these colorful snacks that are ripe with flavor and nutrition!

1. Red, White, & Blueberries

Ingredients: Non-fat plain yogurt (FAGE 0% plain Greek is my favorite), organic strawberries, organic frozen blueberries.

2. Blue Corn Chips & Zesty Salsa

Ingredients: Blue corn chips (no salt added) and your favorite salsa.

3.  Watermelon & Feta Salad

Ingredients: Watermelon, feta cheese, red wine vinegar, sweet onion, fresh mint, olive oil, salt & pepper

4. Roasted Tomatoes with Blue Cheese & Bulgar

Ingredients: Fresh tomatoes, bulgar (cracked wheat), blue cheese, chopped shallot. Cut off tops of the tomatoes and roast with shallot slices on top in the oven at 475° for 5 to 7 minutes. Top with cooked bulgar and blue cheese crumbles.

5. Blackberry Sorbet with Fresh Raspberries & Whipped Cream

Ingredients: Blackberry sorbet, raspberries (fresh or frozen), 1 small portion of real whipped cream (about 1 tablespoon). Top whipped cream with a dash of cinnamon.


The Food Project May 11, 2011

How much do you spend on food in a day? In a week? A month? Think about the check last time you ate out at a restaurant. How often do you go out? How much do you think you spend on groceries for a typical week?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor 2009 survey of Consumer Expenditures, the average U.S. consumer spends about 12.4% of salary on food. For those with a large income, this can be quite a generous allowance. For others on a tight budget, food spending can be stressful and challenging.

My Challenge: Create a food plan that meets the U.S. Dietary Guideline standards using only $155/month (roughly 12.4% of minimum wage salary of $8/hour for one month working in Massachusetts 40 hours/week).

So far, I have managed to meet this budget, achieving nearly all of the daily values (DV) for vitamins, minerals, macro-nutrients (carbs, fat, protein) using a 3-day diet average analysis. Two minerals (potassium and iron) were less than 100% but above 90%.

The project continues. You can help if you are interested by taking a 5 minute survey to help me learn more about people’s food buying habits! You can find the survey here: WHAT DO YOU EAT?

Stay tuned for more info about the project!


Healthy Eating in Hodgdon January 25, 2011

The post below is a guest feature from Brent Abel (Tufts ’13), Vice President of Tufts Culinary Society:

Nutrition Tips for Hodgdon: Convenience with Health

With 15 minutes left till your next club meeting and a stomach begging for food, you walk into Hodgdon searching for the most compelling food options that add-up to just the right sum of money. But as you glance at the lines for burritos and Chinese, does good nutritional value always pop into your mind? Here are some quick tips for getting the most at your Hodgdon run, at least nutritionally-speaking:

Mexican: Add refried beans or black beans and sautéed onions and peppers to your creation for a more nutritious meal. Freshly-diced tomato and the pico de gallo can boost the nutritional value of your meal as well.

Chinese: Enhance the nutrition quality by adding a side of vegetables. Though the fried rice has fewer calories and more vitamins, the lower fat and sodium content of white rice make white rice a healthier option as a starch, especially if paired to a side of vegetables.

BBQ: One of the most underrated locations for nutritious, satisfying food. Take advantage of the roasted white meat chicken, baked sweet potato halves, and other fresh options offered daily at this station.

Italian: Look for the daily pasta specials: sometimes they contain a lot of vegetables to offer a healthy Italian option.

Lunches: Do not overlook the delicious daily lunch special that offer lean proteins with tons of vegetables. The fresh mozzarella and tomato half-sandwich is another great option for a nutritious lunch on-the-go.

Sandwiches and Wraps: Choose a wheat roll for a healthy option.  Boost the nutritional value of your creation by adding fresh vegetables like sliced tomato, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, bell peppers, and shredded carrots.

Salads and Soups: Be aware of the hidden fats and sodium in salads, like cheese, olives, canned baby corn, and especially salad dressings. Hearty broth-based soups and chili can be both nutritious and satisfying during the cold winter months.

Drinks: Fruit juices and Gatorade have a lot of sugar. Try Crystal Light to reduce calorie intake or skim milk to bolster the nutritional value of your meal.

Breakfast: Low-fat yogurt and instant oatmeal provide healthy options for a quick breakfast.

Snacks: Opt for extra pieces of fruit and carrots rather than sugary snacks you may regret later on. Packages of sunflower seeds are low in sodium and offer a healthier alternative to chips.

For more information on the nutritional value of foods offered at Hodgdon, check out Tufts Dining Website.