Full Belly Sisters: August 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mango Chia Smoothie Bowl

I do an "Ingredient of the Week" challenge with a group of buddies. Each week, one of us chooses an ingredient and we all have to consume it in some form during the week. Sometimes the ingredients are new to us (I'm looking at you, celeriac). Most of the time, though, it's nothing too exotic. It's really just a fun way for us to include a variety of foods on our tables—to ensure we don't get into a food rut with the same meals, over and over.

Recently, mango—possibly my favorite summer food—was selected one week and chia seeds the following week. I actually eat these both pretty regularly. But for some reason, I rarely put them together. I decided to make a smoothie bowl that highlights the pairing.

Speaking of smoothie bowls, have you entered our Blendtec giveaway yet? Just a couple more days left to enter for your chance to win an amazing, high-powered blender. And then you can make smooth, ice cream-y smoothie bowls like this one! Life is better with a really good blender. And I'm only being slightly hyperbolic with that statement.

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (can substitute orange juice)
  • 3/4 cup plain kefir or drinkable yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds or hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut—some reserved for topping
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Place yogurt, mango, hemp seeds, and coconut in the high-powered blender (or food processor). Blend until smooth. It should be the texture of soft-serve ice cream.

Spoon into a bowl and top with the chia seeds and additional coconut.

This bowl is just a really bright way to start the day. It's also packed with protein, good carbs, probiotics, fiber, omega-3s. Good stuff.

Or try these other smoothie bowls! Almond Joy:

Have you entered the Blendtec giveaway yet? What are you waiting for?


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Grilled Zucchini Parmesan Zummus

Can you guess what Zummus is? I bet you can, food lovers. C'mon, set your minds to it...think of two delicious foods and then put them together. That's right: Zucchini + Hummus = Zummus. 

My buddy Ann—from the fabulous blog Sumptuous Spoonfuls—made a batch of zummus, loved it, and challenged others to make our own versions. She wants to make "zummus" happen. And it's so good and so simple, I bet we can make it the new foodie craze!

I make my Grilled Zucchini throughout the summer—it's simple, tasty, and easy on the wallet. I cook huge platters of it all the time. So, I decided to incorporate some of the leftover grilled zucchini (sans goat cheese and balsamic drizzle) into my zummus. The caramelization you get on the zucchini lends a wonderful smoky, sweet flavor to this dip. If you don't have any grilled zucchini handy, you can certainly substitute some broiled or roasted zucchini for the same effect.

As you've probably noticed, I often make foods with Italian ingredients and flavors. For this zummus, I opted to include Parmesan cheese, in lieu of the traditional tahini used in hummus; the Parmesan adds its own nutty flavor and it pairs wonderfully with the grilled zucchini.

makes about 2 cups
  • 1 cup grilled, roasted, or broiled zucchini slices
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of one large lemon
  • about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste 
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Place the zucchini, chickpeas, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste. Then, continue to process while slowly drizzling in the olive oil until you get the texture you want. It should be very smooth and creamy. Season with additional salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.

Serve in a bowl and top with additional shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with raw veggies for a high-protein, grain-free snack!

For more zummus recipes, check out Sumptuous Spoonfuls' Zucchini Lima Bean Zummus and Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen's Cilantro Zummus!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baked Whole Wheat Breakfast Quesadilla

I know some of your kids have already returned to school. My son's first day (of second grade! When did he get so big?! He's practically a teenager!) isn't for a couple weeks. But I'm already getting into back-to-school mode—like, how am I going to get this kid back on a regular sleeping schedule?!

One thing I've definitely got a handle on is breakfast. So when I was invited through The Daily Meal's Culinary Content Network to participate in the @Johnsonville #backtoschoolbreakfast contest, I knew I had to make some delicious breakfast quesadillas!

These quesadillas are a fun and hearty dish that will give your kids loads of energy throughout the morning. Not only do the quesadillas provide plenty of protein, they've also got fiber and carbs from the whole wheat tortillas, and Vitamin C in all the vegetables. It's a breakfast designed to be playful—but also incredibly satisfying. 

serves 2-4
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (8")
  • 2 breakfast sausage patties (about 3 oz.)
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 1/3 cup chopped veggies (I used a combo of zucchini plus red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 Tablespoons salsa
  • olive oil for the pan and for brushing on the tortillas

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a skillet to medium. Break the sausages into small pieces and place in the heated pan; add scallions and the other vegetables. Cook until the crumbled meat is browned and the veggies have begun to get tender. Remove from the pan to a plate.

Wipe out the pan. Add some olive oil and set over medium-low heat. Pour in the whisked eggs, stir gently until they are set, and remove from the heat.

Brush oil (or use cooking spray) on one side of two of the tortillas; place them, oiled-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Take half the cheese and sprinkle it over the two tortillas. Top that with a layer of eggs on each tortilla, a spoonful of salsa, and the sausage and vegetable mixture. Then top everything with the rest of the cheese. Place the last tortillas on top, press down gently, and then brush the top of the tortillas with oil.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Cut into wedges. Serve with additional chopped scallions and peppers, and with a side of salsa for dipping.

You can get most of this dish prepped ahead of time: chop all the veggies, shred the cheese, brown the meat—heck, you can even scramble the eggs! Then just assemble and bake the quesadillas while the kids are getting dressed for school. Super easy, I promise.

This is one hearty breakfast!

This recipe is a contest entry for a Johnsonville promotion. It is not a sponsored post. 

What do your kids like to eat for breakfast on school days?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cherry Berry Coconut Almond Smoothie Bowl

Have you heard about our amazing Blendtec giveaway? If you've only ever used a regular blender, let me tell you: this fantastic, high-powered Blendtec will totally rock your world! I remember trying to make a smoothie will my old blender—I'd have to almost totally thaw my frozen fruit before I could blend it. Which is sort of a bummer when you want that frozen, frothy smoothie bliss.

In honor of our contest, I created a recipe that celebrates the power of the Blendtec. It crushes frozen fruit and nuts for this smoothie bowl, creating a creamy dish that's wonderful any time of day, whether for breakfast or dessert!

  • 2/3 cup coconut-flavored yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries and cherries*
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw, sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds
  • additional frozen berries, coconut, and almonds for topping

*I used this Very Cherry Berry Blend from Trader Joe's, which consists of frozen cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. It is brilliant.

Add the yogurt, fresh and frozen berries, coconut, and almonds to the blender. (You may notice there's no liquid in the ingredient list, but the fresh berries add enough liquid to get everything going!). Start blending, slowly turning up the power. Blend until the mixture has the texture of frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream.

Scoop out into a bowl. Top the mixture with the hemp seeds and additional berries and cherries, almonds, and coconut.

For all you parents out there who are worrying about what to feed your kids each morning before they head off to school: feed them this! It's sweet and colorful—so the kiddos will dig it—but it's also loaded with protein, probiotics, fiber, calcium, and good carbs. What a wonderful way to start the day, am I right?

You should also try my Almond Joy Smoothie Bowl!

 Have you ever tried a smoothie bowl?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blend Away the Summer with Blendtec Giveaway!


A great group of bloggers have joined together to bring you this Blend Away the Summer with Blendtec Giveaway! This is a Blogger Sponsored Event, which means the bloggers who have joined in this giveaway have donated money to help pay for this Blendtec Designer 625 Blender. You will see the entries of the bloggers on the Rafflecopter who are participating. One lucky reader will win a Blendtec Designer 625 Blender! And the winner will have the choice of 7 colors to choose from! 

Why do you need a high-powered blender? To make amazing foods that you just can't make with a regular blender! You can make everything from ice cream to hot soup.

History of the Blendtec Blender:

Inventor Tom Dickson envisioned the perfect mixer using freshly milled flour from his mill to make wholesome bread in minutes. "When back in the lab, Tom developed an auto-knead feature, enabling the mixer to knead the dough, develop the gluten and turn off automatically when finished. Tom continued to improve the mixer and decided to add a blender with a square jar, rather than the conventional round jar. As Tom expanded his mill and mixer business, new ideas developed. He enhanced the blender and began developing commercial blending machines just as the smoothie era began." You have probably seen the Blendtec videos and heard Blendtec say "We've blended everything from rake handles to golf balls and glow sticks in our test lab - so you can experience years of trouble-free blending." And it is TRUE! 

About the Blendtec Designer 625

Features include: 3.0 peak horsepower motor Illuminated, capacitive touch interface Preprogrammed cycles: Smoothie, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup 6-speed capacitive touch slider + Pulse Illuminated display indicates remaining blend time Illuminated Touch Controls. An intuitive touch screen with easy-to-see icons makes the Designer 625 more versatile and simple to use. It lights up with a single touch, shuts off automatically, and is completely flat so cleaning is as simple as a quick wipe. Six-Speed Touch Slider + Pulse Simply slide your finger left or right to control the motor speed for customized blending. Use Pulse for an added burst of power at any speed. Pre-programmed Blend Cycles No more guesswork! Four preprogrammed custom cycles enable one-touch blending perfection: Smoothie, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, and Hot Soup. 


About the Blendtec Designer 625 Giveaway:

  • This giveaway closes August 31, 2015 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time
  • Open to US only
  • Must be 18+ to enter
  • My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life is responsible for prize shipment
  • Enter on the Rafflecopter Below
a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclaimer: NO compensation was received for the published material in this post. No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are determined by the number of valid entries received. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be emailed via the email address used to enter the contest. New winner(s) will be chosen if original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. Participating bloggers are not responsible for shipment of prize(s). This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. Disclaimer is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Everything Bagel Cheese Burger

We New Yorkers take our bagels very seriously. Every Sunday morning when I was growing up, my parents would go out early and pick up an assortment of fresh bagels, as well as accoutrements, such as various flavors of fresh cream cheeses, lox and whitefish salad (for my mom—the rest of us steered clear), sliced tomatoes and red onion. We'd listen to jazz and each take our favorite section of the newspaper and we'd feast. Every. Sunday. Morning.

It was a wonderful ritual; that was back when I had a teenager's metabolism. As a fortysomething mom with thyroid disease, I feast on bagels much less frequently now. However, I still appreciate a good bagel—especially if it's an everything bagel! Everything is EVERYTHING.

If you're unfamiliar with everything bagels, my friend, you have been missing out. These bad boys are positively saturated in the best of bagel toppings: sesame and poppy seeds, onion and garlic and salt. I recreated these flavor bombs in a homemade spice blend, with a very special secret ingredient that kicks it all up another notch. It's good on everything from baked potatoes to homemade pretzels to dips. And burgers. Yeah, it's really great in burgers.

The only thing that could make it better? Everything Bagel-seasoned cheddar cheese. Yes, such a wondrous thing exists. I discovered it while on vacation. Not only did I snack on it every afternoon, I also brought some home (since it's apparently not sold within 20 miles of my house).

You better believe that cheese went on this burger. So, imagine this savory flavor explosion: everything bagel + everything seasoned burger + everything cheddar cheese. Yeah, that's right, baby. Are you drooling yet?

makes 4 burgers
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Everything Bagel Spice Blend
  • 4 everything bagels, lightly toasted
  • about 4 oz of sliced Everything Bagel Cheddar Cheese (or substitute another cheese—a really sharp cheddar would be great)
  • lettuce, tomato slices, paper-thin red onion, and additional everything spice blend, for topping  
  • mustard, or any condiments you like

Gently combine beef and the everything spice blend, taking care not to overwork the mixture. Shape into patties. Grill (or cook in a skillet) to desired doneness, topping with cheese in the last few minutes of cooking.

Assemble the burgers on the bagels with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Top the burger with an additional sprinkle of the everything spice mix.

It's that quick. This would be a great weeknight dinner during the school year, when time for making a homemade supper is at a premium. These burgers are super kid-friendly—as burgers tend to be!—while offering interesting flavors to please adult palates.

If you don't eat bread (or are just watching your carb intake), you can skip the bagel bun. After all, you've got that delicious everything bagel flavor right in the burger!

Do you love everything bagels as much as I do?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Everything Bagel Spice Blend

Have you ever had an everything bagel? Loaded with seeds, spices, and just the right kick of salt—these bagels are savory and delicious. As far as I'm concerned, everything bagels are EVERYTHING. 

The thing is, I don't eat bagels very much—they're a once-in-a-while treat for me. But now that I make my own Everything Bagel Spice Blend, I can enjoy the umami flavor in, well, everything! You can sprinkle it on homemade pretzels, in dips, on baked potatoes. I will be sharing some of my favorite everything spice recipes, so stay tuned. My Everything Burger will be up tomorrow...mark your calenders, friends! (Just kidding. Sort of).

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed or whole (optional, but recommended)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. You can store the mix on the counter or in a cabinet for a while; I keep it in my refrigerator, to ensure the seeds stay fresher longer (the fats in seeds make them more susceptible to turning rancid).

A word about the fennel seeds: they're not included on most everything bagels. But they do lend a wonderful, warm flavor to this spice mix—especially when using it in meat dishes. I hope you try it!

This mix adds loads of flavor to any dish, of course. But it also provides some healthy fats, protein, and minerals! Plus, it's a great way to broaden your kids' palates, so they are introduced to a variety of flavors and textures.

Where will you sprinkle this spice blend?

This post contains affiliate links, so I make a small commission if you purchase through my links—which helps to keep this blog running. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Italian Stuffed Pepper Soup

I'm going to kick off this post with an admission: I am not a fan of peppers. Never have been, probably never will be. Sure, they make it into my Gazpacho or my Shredded Steak Tacos, but you won't really see me featuring a peppers-heavy dish. That is, until now.

See, my parents are huge fans of stuffed peppers. And, whenever I go to visit, I try to cook up some food for them. My father has Parkinson's and my mom is his primary caretaker—I like to bring them tasty, nutritious, protein-heavy (important for boosting my father's strength), comfort meals that are easily reheated. When I saw a stuffed pepper soup on Aunt Bee's Recipes, I felt inspired to do my own take on the hearty, one-pot meal.

For many of the same reasons that this soup is great for my dad, it's also wonderful for new moms as they recover from childbirth. This budget-friendly dish is loaded with Vitamin C (crucial for healing) from the peppers, zucchini and tomato sauce. The meat and beans provide iron—important after the blood loss of childbirth—and protein, which is vital for rebuilding strength. Plus, this soup freezes and reheats well. Whether you're stocking your own freezer during your pregnancy, or bringing food to a friend that's recently given birth, this is a great dish to make.

Of course, you can cook up this pot of soup in just about 30 minutes. It's an easy weeknight meal for anyone, especially perfect now that the kiddos are headed back to school!

6 servings (about two quarts)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I used red and yellow)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 1/4 cups marinara sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred sauce!)
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth or water
  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (if using canned, drain and rinse)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • additional cheese for topping, optional

Over medium-high heat put the olive oil in a soup pot until hot. Add the beef and onions, as well as some salt and pepper. Once the beef is no longer pink (about five minutes), add the peppers, zucchini, garlic, and red wine. 

Cook for a few minutes until the peppers and zucchini are getting tender. Then add the marinara, fennel seed, and broth or water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and stir in the garbanzo beans. (I know that a lot of people add rice to their stuffed peppers, but I prefer using beans: they still provide energy in the form of carbs, but in a more nutrient-dense way.)

Simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve with additional grated cheese, or perhaps a slice of fresh mozzarella. I used a shredded Italian cheese blend of Fontina, Asiago, Parmesan and Provolone that I found at Trader Joe's and it was wonderful on this soup!

For another great dish to bring to a new mom, try this Spicy Meatball Orzo Soup!

What delicious dishes do you like to bring to new parents or to people recovering from an illness?


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