Macrobalanced 5 Ingredient Pasta Bowl

I may be Italian but I actually quit eating pasta daily when I also ended my committed relationship with flare jeans. Yes, that long ago. Now thanks to companies using different flours to make their pasta, I have reintroduced it back. Many of these new flours take the ordinary pasta and give it a nutrition makeover by adding more vitamins, protein, and fiber. Making it truly more macrobalanced. For the recipe today, I used Banza chickpea pasta for their #BanzaPlus5 challenge to celebrate National Pasta Month. 

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The great aspect of using a chickpea flour versus a whole wheat flour is the chickpea flour adds a big dose of protein and a whole lot of fiber. Both tend to lack in many of my client's diets due to various reasons. I tend to counsel many vegetarians who do not think about protein on their plate and I also counsel meat eaters who forget about a crucial nutrient in their diet and opt for low fiber carbs such as rice, bread, and crackers. 

I love this recipe so much because it was easy and can either be enjoyed hot or put in the fridge to have as a cold pasta salad. 

recipe (serves 4) 

Ingredients: 

-1 8 oz. box of  Banza pasta wheels

-1/2 cup ricotta salata (I used Buf Creamery grass-fed ricotta) 

-2-4 cups spinach 

-1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 

-4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 

-2 Tbsp. avocado oil 

Directions: 

- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season the water with salt liberally. 

- Drop 8 oz. of pasta into the boiling water. Stir occasionally. Make sure to only cook for 6-7 minutes. Then immediately drain the water. Set aside. 

-Grab four bowls to build your pasta bowl. Add to each bowl: 1 cup raw spinach, 1 serving pasta, 1/4 cup cut cherry tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp. avocado oil and 1 oz. of ricotta. 

-Eat room temp or place in the refrigerator for pasta bowls for lunch. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 315 calories, 39 grams carb (15 grams fiber), 17 grams fat, and 21 grams protein.

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Here are some more examples of pasta made balanced. 

Hope this inspires you to have pasta night and bring back the carbs to your Italian dinners. Fiber-rich carbs that is! 

Cauliflower and Nectarine Salad with Toasted Nuts and White Balsamic Dressing

It has been a while friends and I am so sorry for that! The last couple months were filled with craziness from going on vacation, studying for a test, wedding plans, and serving my clients best! My blogging came last to all of those, but don't worry! I see a lot more recipes and posts coming your way! 

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In August, we made a trip to Portland to view the Solar Eclipse and I was super excited because I finally got the chance to make reservations at a restaurant I was hearing so much about, Tusk. The restaurant's menu is built upon Middle Eastern flavors and it is "locally sourced, aggressively seasonal" in their own terms. The main takeaway from this meal is that Tusk will make any eater love vegetables and crave vegetables. My own fiance thinks vegetables are a waste of time and he turned to me and said this meal was the best he has ever had and didn't even care about the meat! Obviously, I was totally in love with the whole experience. If that moment was a person, I would marry it. 

We enjoyed many dishes including their hummus, homemade bread, chicken and lamb kebabs, a vegetable platter with herb dip, and an awesome cauliflower plate that this recipe is inspired by. The dish we had used stone fruit as does this recipe, but since we are coming up to Fall, I think apple or persimmon would work fantastically in this as well. 

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This recipe is amazing and just kept getting better as the days went on. I would say day 2-3 are the best since it allows the cauliflower to marinate in the white balsamic. So delish! The sheep's milk gouda rounds out the dish with a creaminess that pairs so well with the crunchy, tangy vegetables. 

There are a few ways you could make this recipe with different fruits and herbs. Here are my thoughts. Instead of nectarine and cilantro, add in:

  • Green apple, and dill 
  • Persimmon and sage 
  • Pink lady apple and lovage 
  • Bell peppers and cilantro 

recipe (serves 5): 

ingredients: 

-1 large head of purple cauliflower, around 4 cups 

-1/2 cup Padron peppers, chopped  

-1 nectarine, chopped 

-1 cup red onion, julienned

-1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 

-2 oz. (30 grams) shaved sheep's milk gouda *Can omit for less fat and dairy free. 

For the dressing:

-2 fluid ounces  white balsamic vinegar 

-3 fluid ounces avocado oil 

-1 tsp. salt

-1 tsp. onion salt 

-.5 oz. manuka raw honey *I used Wedderspoon

For the toasted nut and seed mix: 

-1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

-1/4 cup Trader Joe's Ancient Grain + Superseed Blend or 1/4 cup mix of quinoa and chia seeds 

-1 Tbsp. avocado oil

-1/4 tsp. cumin 

-1 tsp. everything but the bagel seasoning or sesame seeds 

Directions:

-Start by chopping all of your vegetables and fruit and place in a large bowl: cauliflower, onion, peppers, and nectarine. Top with the cilantro. 

-In a small mason jar, add all of the ingredients for the dressing and shake well. Pour over the salad and mix well. 

-To make the toasted crunchy walnut and seed mix, place a cast iron skillet and place on medium heat. Add the oil and heat to slightly hot. Add the walnuts, super seed mix, and seasonings and mix. Toast for about 4-5 minutes. 

-Let the mix cool to room temperature. Place it on the salad and mix. 

-Top the salad with shaved sheep's milk gouda cheese. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 369 calories, 26 grams carb, 29 grams fat, and 8 grams of protein. 

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Stress Reliever Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Making your Sunday brunch, even more, chill with these protein pancakes. They contain ingredients that have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety so not only it is fun to eat pancakes but you can find zen doing so. This recipe uses Birch Benders Paleo pancake mix which I love! It contains limited ingredients, is high in fiber, and uses monk fruit for a small amount of sweetness! Can't get any better. (#notsponsoredjustlove)

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How do these pancakes help with decreasing stress? 

Now let's talk why these pancakes and help reduce stress. Here are some of the ingredients and what makes them stress-fighters.

  • Chocolate (particularly cacao) 

First, they include chocolate protein powder and nut butter with added cacao powder. There are a few studies, the most recent in 2014 that showed cacao polyphenols have been shown to decrease stress in highly stressed individuals as well as normal healthy individuals. The statistics were most significant with women and at a dose of 40 grams. I am not sure about the ladies reading, but I tend to crave chocolate the most when I am stressed out to the max so maybe my body was telling me something! 

  • Ashwagandha (Withania sonifera) 

Adaptogens are all the rage lately when it comes to increasing energy and decreasing stress. One of these adaptogens is ashwagandha. While hard to find since this year, it can now be easily found in drinks, supplements, and in powdered form. I use a powder form when I can in the diet, and while anxiety can not be cured by just one thing, I found that overall anxiety has decreased. There were also some studies done and it concluded that "all five studies concluded that WS intervention resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales."

  • Seeds (chia, flax, and pumpkin)

Flax seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to help with irritability, fatigue, and can be nice during the time when stress can be the highest. Magnesium can help decrease PMS symptoms which I know can be the times when my stress and anxiety is the highest! 

What are some foods you go to when you are stressed? Are these healthy foods? Share with us! 

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recipe (serves 2) 

Ingredients: 

For the pancakes:

-3/4 cup Birch Benders Paleo pancake mix

-3/4 cup water 

-1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder *I used Thorne Research in Chocolate 

-1 TBSP. chia seeds 

-1/2 Tsp. ashwagandha powder 

For the topping: 

-1 Tsp. chia seeds

-1 Tbsp. chocolate flavored nut butter * I used Nutzo Paleo chocolate nut butter (low sugar!) 

-1/2 banana, sliced 

Directions:

-Place all the pancake ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Do not beat or overmix. 

-Place about 1/4 cup amount of batter on a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the edges have browned and flip. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Do that until you have about 4-5 pancakes. 

-Add the topping you desire, but I added the chia seeds and Nutzo Paleo chocolate seed and nut butter. 

-Enjoy! Eat with 1-2 eggs for extra protein. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 305 calories, 31 grams carb (5 sugar), 15 grams fat, and 17 grams protein. 

MACROBALANCED TIP: This is perfect post-workout meal with having a 2:1 ratio of carb to protein to fuel muscles and store needed glycogen. I love it post barre/spin combo on the weekends!
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High Fiber Cold Asian Noodle Salad

I love noodles and though regular noodles tend to be low in fiber, these Healthy Noodles are full of it and are gluten free, dairy free, and fat-free. With just 25 calories and 4 grams of fiber. This is a  great option for those trying to boost fiber intake and perfect for lunch meal prep. 

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Current daily fiber intake recommendations are 25-30 grams per day for most adults, though the average amount most Americans get is just about half that. One main component of the Macrobalanced diet is meeting these fiber goals as part of the daily carbohydrate goal, so not only is meeting your carbohydrate goals important but also meeting fiber goals. But why is fiber so important? I break it down for you. 

Why is FIBER intake important?

  • Reduces total cholesterol

Soluble fiber, the fiber that absorbs water during digestion, increases stool bulk and reduces total cholesterol. When the soluble fiber binds to and removes bile acids from your body, the amount re-circulated decreases so your liver must use more cholesterol to produce more bile acids, therefore lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body available to make LDL. 

  • Promotes a healthy digestive system and microbiome. 

Insoluble and soluble fiber are both important for a healthy digestive system because soluble fiber helps bring water into the stool decreasing constipation and insoluble fiber does not change structure when digested causing normal and smoother movements of the stool through the bowel. Pre-biotics are also forms of fiber and are necessary for the proliferation of probiotics which develop a healthy gut microbiome. 

  • Help promote healthy blood sugars and decreases the risk of developing diabetes. 

When your meal contains a good dose of soluble fiber, the fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar in the meal causing more steady blood sugar levels. This also helps decrease overall net carbohydrates along with healthy blood sugar levels which decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes. 

Looking to increase fiber intake? Here are some tips! 

Add fruit that is high in fiber to your breakfast. Apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are the best sources. 

Aim for half your plate vegetables. Shoot for some cruciferous vegetables which are some of the highest sources of fiber for veggies. 

Choose products that are high in fiber such as the noodles in this dish. 

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recipe (serves 4) 

Ingredients:

For the salad: 

-2 packages (8 oz. each) Healthy Noodles (can use any Shirataki noodle as well)

-1/2 cup green onion, julienned 

-1 cup Padron peppers, chopped

-4 cups leafy greens 

-8 eggs, hard-boiled eggs 

-1/2 cup carrots 

To make the sauce: 

-1.5 Tbsp. garlic, minced

-2 oz. tamari

-2 oz. white rice vinegar 

-juice of one lime

-2 oz. avocado oil 

-2 tsp. salt 

-1 Tbsp. sesame seed blend 

Optional subs: Can sub the eggs or any protein you would like. A good substitution would be baked tofu. 

Directions: 

-In a large bowl, add the two packages of noodles that have been drained, rinsed, and that has had as much water removed as possible. 

-In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce and mix with a fork. Add to the bowl of the noodles. 

-In four small bowls or Tupperware, add 1 cup lettuce, the mixed noodles (with sauce), green onion, and carrot. Add the eggs, and place in the refrigerator at least overnight. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or sesame seed blend. 

-This is great with a tsp. of chili paste or sriracha. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 353 calories, 16 grams carb (6 grams fiber), 25 grams fat, 16 grams protein. 

 

 

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Thai Curry Egg Salad Cups

Egg salad is one of my go-to proteins when meal prepping for lunch. Recently, I came up this spin that packs so much flavor. 

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For those in a weight loss phase, this is a great go-to because it is low carb and super filling. Each half of the bell pepper takes the role of bread and makes a sweet and crunchy vessel to put the egg salad in.recipe (serves 3) 

Recipe (serves 3)

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

-6 eggs, hard boiled (Linked: How to Make Perfect InstantPot hard boiled eggs) 

-1/4 cup avocado oil mayo

-2 tsp. curry powder

-1 tsp. cayenne pepper 

-juice of one lime 

-3 medium red peppers, cleaned, sliced in half 

Directions:

1. Roughly chop the hard boiled eggs and place in a large bowl. 

2. Add the following: mayo, juice of lime, curry powder, cayenne pepper and mix with the eggs until fully combined. 

3. Place the egg salad into each half of the red pepper. 

NUTRITION FACTS (each serving): 320 calories, 10 grams carb (3 fiber), 26 grams fat, and 14 grams protein. 

Macrobalanaced Tip:  I paired this with a side salad topped with smoked jalapeno sauerkraut. This is a very low carb meal, so if you need more carbohydrate, feel free to add to whole wheat bread and slice the bell pepper to add in to the sandwich. 

 

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No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

Spending over two dollars on a protein bar no more! These homemade protein bars are easy and inexpensive to make. Bigger plus? You control the added ingredients and add in any ingredients you want. One last plus? These are NO BAKE! 

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

These two recipes contain all of the best summer produce that California has to offer. Thanks to my CSA (community shared agriculture) both of these recipes were born. I get inspiration from all the organic produce that comes to my door every week and it makes it easy to show how amazing vegetables (and fruit) can be.  It may just be me, but fresh vegetables straight from a small farm are the best! If you subscribe to any CSA's in your area, comment below with which ones you use! The best way to support these CSA's is to spread the word and share with others. 

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were one of my favorites growing up and to this day I have a huge obsession with peanut butter. Since we are at the height of berry season, I wanted to share something easy to make with strawberries. This recipe is also gluten free and dairy free. Super easy to make in advance for breakfast meal prep. 

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

So happy to post a new Workout Wednesday post because working out has been so much more fun the past couple weeks!  

One reason? A new playlist!

This playlist includes some of favorite jams for the summer and great tempo to run to. 

Another thing that I have been loving is using going outdoors for exercise during the week. I have been sporting tanks and t-shirts during my runs to get some sun, and on Thursday mornings JT, our EXOS coach, has been taking us outside to do our circuit training or sprints. Fresh air and sunshine make it so nice! 

Below check out what I did last week for my workouts and an Home Workout circuit that does not require weights. ENJOY! 

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

This meal is something I totally didn't plan but turned out great. Poaching is a technique I got more familiar with when I was hosting a cooking workshop recently at work. I never realized how easy it was to poach fish which ensures a moist, flaky product. I also used the residual poaching liquid to cook the kale. The residual liquid brought such a nice flavor to the kale. When it comes to fish, I find that I am mostly a salmon gal but I have been starting to try new kinds to broaden my horizons. Weekly, I hop over to my local Whole Foods and choose what wild fish they have on sale. This week it was rockfish which I was excited to try. Rockfish is a flaky white fish, similar to white cod. Whitefish provides many health benefits which I am happy to share.

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

One thing I love about blogging is having a platform to spread education. Today I want to educate you all on something very important for our earth and environment. There are many things we can do as humans in this world to prevent climate change (yes Trump this is a thing) and one thing I try to focus on is reducing food waste. I like to use all fresh foods (less packaging) and I like to utilize every part of the food given to me. This dish I think shows that concept. I received golden beets in my CSA box and where many people might throw away the greens, I see it as an opportunity to get more greens in my day. One less thing being put into the trash, and one less bag of greens I need to supplement my CSA with. To inspire you to reduce food waste, I have some tips on how to do it below. 

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

With Memorial Day coming up, this is a perfect side to bring to a BBQ. It is also perfect for summer meal prep. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that can withhold marinating in a salad dressing without wilting and can actually get better with time. I had it three days in a row for lunch and it never got old. My favorite topping? Tuna! It was a perfect mix of lean protein, fiber, and healthy fats. 

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

This week in the Bay Area has been a scorcher. Currently, a high of 92 degrees as I write this right now. When the weather starts to get warm, I immediately crave post-workout smoothies. There is a method to my madness when it comes to making a Macrobalanced protein smoothie which I will explain below. 

Workout Wednesday: Find the Workout Best for YOU + Weekly Workout Diary

Workout Wednesday: Find the Workout Best for YOU + Weekly Workout Diary

It is no secret that I love to exercise and maybe even the point of too much. Exercise has been in my life consistently for as long I can remember. I had a gym routine by the age of 14 in high school. Some years I had a bad relationship with exercise (i.e. in college I did almost 3 hours a day) and now I have a good relationship with exercise (exercising 6 days a week but no more than 45-90 minutes most days). Though I have a great relationship with it now, I have been struggling with something the past few weeks that is different.

Strawberry Buttermilk Quickbread with Crunchy Granola Topping

Strawberry Buttermilk Quickbread with Crunchy Granola Topping

Adding buttermilk to bread and desserts is a foolproof way to make any baked good tender and moist! This bread was a product of having some leftover buttermilk from making Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (YOLO eat them at least once) and having strawberries that were going to go bad. What turned out was amazing! For my gluten free ladies, instead of all purpose flour, use King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. 

Perfect Roasted Artichokes with Parsley and Olive Dip

Perfect Roasted Artichokes with Parsley and Olive Dip

Health Benefits of Artichokes

  • Very high in antioxidants, rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid. 

  • Have cardio protective properties by helping to decrease cholesterol from the compound, cynarin. Cynarin is seen to naturally lower cholesterol. 

  • Artichokes are GAP diet approved and can help aid digestive health and decrease IBS. 

  • Very high in fiber which aids in weight reduction. 

Workout Wednesday: All About Protein Supplements + Weekly Workout Diary

Workout Wednesday: All About Protein Supplements + Weekly Workout Diary

Happy Humpday! I actually cannot believe it is already Wednesday. With that, we are half way through the week, have you worked out yet? Come up with your goals for the week you want to work on? All things I ask my clients to think about at the beginning of the week. A week without a plan is probably a week without exercise. Determine the day, the time, and the workout. If you plan it out just like your work meetings, it will happen. 

Pretty in Pink: Coconut Flour Strawberry Muffins

Pretty in Pink: Coconut Flour Strawberry Muffins

I hope these pretty pink muffins gain as much attention as the horrible pink drink that debuted this week aka "The Unicorn Frappuccino" from Starbucks. Not to say I am against having treats, but this wouldn't be my treat of choice. It won't kill you though, so don't fret if FoodBabe made you think you were going to. But couldn't we have stopped at Unicorn toast? If you like pink food and aren't looking to have 59 grams of sugar in one sitting (i.e. refer back to Unicorn Frapp nutrition facts), you came to the right place! These babies are naturally pink with the help of some beautiful beet and yogurt puree. These muffins can also be made totally allergy friendly which is a huge plus for all my dairy free, gluten free, paleo, vegetarian, and etc. peeps! 

Workout Wednesday: April Playlist + Free Home Workout

Workout Wednesday: April Playlist + Free Home Workout

Workout Wednesday is back and I am excited to share with you a bunch of amazing things to get you excited for your next workout. A new playlist, what I did for my workout last week for inspo, and an at home workout you can do the moment you wake up!