Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Pistachios

This sweet treat can be yours in 30 minutes with the help of three simple ingredients: strawberries, dark chocolate, and pistachios. They feel special, yet are surprisingly simple to make. It’s not too late to pick up the three ingredients and make these for someone this weekend (p.s. including for yourself, for some self love and self care this weekend)!

It’s the perfect way to say I love you so much I want you to be healthy, whether you’re enjoying Valentine’s, Galentine’s, American Heart Month, or every day brain health this February.

Main steps:

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Pistachios
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 16 oz strawberries (about 20-25), long-stemmed if available
  • ½ cup heaping pistachio kernels
Instructions
  1. Fill a small pot with about an inch of water and heat over medium-low heat. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat mat, parchment paper, or wax paper.
  2. While you wait for the water to simmer, wash and dry the strawberries, making sure to dry them thoroughly. Roughly chop the pistachios. Optional step: place in a fine mesh strainer and sift out fine dust. Set pistachio pieces aside.
  3. When the water simmers, place a heat-tempered bowl on top of the pot, not touching the water. Lower heat if necessary to keep it at a simmer. Fill the bowl with the chocolate chunks and stir occasionally until it is fully melted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Assemble your treats! Set up an assembly line of strawberries, chocolate, pistachios, and then the baking sheet. Dip a strawberry in the chocolate, twirling to evenly coat, sprinkle with pistachios, then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strawberries. Either chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to force the chocolate to set, or let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to set. Enjoy within 1-2 days.

 

No-bake homemade wild blueberry pistachio granola bars

I asked on Instagram, how can I help? I heard , “simple meal prep ideas, please!”

I’m here for it. For starters, here’s a simple no-bake homemade granola bar recipe that you make once, but will enjoy all week!

It’s simple but not #basic, and you’ll enjoy favors that are delicious and familiar yet on trend, like tahini and date caramel.

Here’s the date caramel just getting started with a handful of dates:

I ended up using 25 deglet dates so that there was enough physical ‘stuff’ to blend, even in my mini-food chopper. This is the date caramel with dates and water – so simple:

Makes about a cup:

Here are all the ingredients. First row: organic oats, lightly salted pistachios, dried wild blueberries, chia seeds; second row: date caramel, tahini, roasted sesame seeds, Maldon salt. 

I put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (the wild blueberries are a little sticky, so not quite dry, but not quite wet either. They went in the big bowl). The small bowl is the date caramel and tahini. The sesame seeds and salt stay on the side until one of the last steps.

As I combined all the “dry” ingredients, I took the opportunity to separate some of the wild blueberries that stuck together.

This date caramel-tahini blend smells and tastes divine:
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Here’s what it looks like after pressing into a lined small sheet pan – you’ll notice it’s a little bumpy:
Here’s what it looks like after I garnished with sesame seeds and salt:

And here’s what it looks like after pressing down with a straight-walled glass (like a Collins glass):

After at least 20 minutes in the freezer, invert the pan and cut into bars, that’s it! I think these would work well as energy balls, too. Instead of 16 bars, I think 32 balls would be good little mini snacks. Maybe I’ll try that next week.
No-bake homemade wild blueberry pistachio granola bars
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5g
  • Unsaturated fat: 4g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 20mg
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Simple, no-bake granola bars that work just as well for a snack as it does for a quick breafkast. These are packed with MIND foods: Whole grains, nuts, berries
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup lightly salted pistachios
  • 1 cup dried wild blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 25 dates (neglet noor or medjool)
  • 5 Tbsp warm water
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp flaky salt (e.g. Maldon)
Instructions
  1. Optional: toast oats (preheat oven to 350F, spread on a large sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, pistachios, blueberries and chia seeds, breaking up any blueberries that may be sticking together.
  3. In a small food processor, make the date caramel: blend dates and water until smooth, pausing periodically to scrape down sides as needed, about 5 minutes total.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the wet ingredients: date caramel and tahini.
  5. Add the date-tahini mix to the large bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix with a silicone spatula until well-incorporated (alternate methods: clean hands, plastic gloved hands).
  6. Spread the mixture evenly in a parchment paper or Silpat-lined small rimmed sheet pan (I used an 8” x 11.5” pan, but 8” x 8” also works)
  7. Cover and freeze for 20 minutes. Gently invert out onto a flat surface and cut into 16 bars. Start by cutting in half lengthwise, then cut across widthwise in half, then cut each half in half two more times (7 cuts widthwise).
  8. Store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place for a few days, a week in the refrigerator, or up to three months in the freezer.

 

Wild Blueberry Holiday Breakfast Crumble

I’ve never been a morning person. Growing up, the few things that would get me out of bed voluntarily included Christmas morning, the first day of school, and my favorite breakfast dishes. One such dish was an apple-cinnamon eggy-pancake-like thing that my mom made in a pie dish, which of course made me feel like I was eating dessert for breakfast.

Now that it’s getting cooler, this kind of warm and cozy breakfast is all I want in life. My version is more of a crumble than a pancake, but the feeling it gives me is the same: it’s something worth rolling out of bed for. My grown-up version includes brain-boosting wild blueberries, whole grain oats, heart-healthy olive oil, and warm holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Once you try it and you see how easy it is to make, it’ll be easy to swap in different season fruit and play around with the topping, too.

 

Start by getting your ingredients together. First, make the topping. Then, make the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned.

Enjoy!

 

Wild Blueberry Holiday Breakfast Crumble
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This warm and cozy breakfast is crowd-pleaser. It includes brain-boosting wild blueberries, whole grain oats, heart-healthy olive oil, and warm holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Once you try it and you see how easy it is to make, it’ll be easy to swap in different season fruit and play around with the topping, too.
Ingredients
For the topping:
  • ½ cup organic rolled oats
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup Swerve granulated “sugar”
  • ¼ cup almond slivers
  • ¼ cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened organic coconut chips
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
For the filling:
  • 1 16-oz bag of frozen wild blueberries (about 3.5 cups)
  • 2 oz dried mission figs (about ⅓ cup lightly packed, or 10-12 small and medium figs), coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 lemon, zest from the whole lemon, juice from half the lemon
  • 1 tsp Watkins baking vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Stir until evenly combined. Add in the olive oil and combine until moistened.
  3. Make the filling. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the blueberries, figs, arrowroot powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir until well combined.
  4. Lightly grease a 9-inch diameter baking dish with olive oil or butter. Add the filling. Add topping evenly over the filling.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Fruit should be bubbling and topping should be browned. If not, let cook another 5 minutes and check again. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
    It’s tasty all on it’s own, but it’d be just as good with a side of yogurt like Siggi’s new lactose-free yogurt.

 

Sunshine Vegan Breakfast Salad

The bright and tangy, yet creamy and rich avocado-lime dressing contrasts with aromatically sweet mango, buttery avocado, raw almonds, and perfect blueberries in this sunshine-inspired breakfast salad. The bed of baby red butter lettuce makes a gentle base. Every bit of this unique breakfast salad sets you up for a great day.

The plant protein in the almonds keep blood sugar even, while the mango and blueberries provide polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to energize you. In recent research on brain health, leafy greens, nuts, berries, and olive oil all helped protect the brain against cognitive decline — and they’re all right here in this morning delight.

MIND diet foods: Leafy greens, olive oil, nuts, berries

 

 

Sunshine Vegan Breakfast Salad
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Salad
Cuisine: Californian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium mango
  • 2 large limes
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 10 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 oz pre-washed baby red butter lettuce (about 6-8 cups, loosely packed)
  • 6 oz organic blueberries (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ cup almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry all produce.
  2. Peel the mango, slice away two large "cheeks" of the mango and slice thinly lengthwise. It ends up being about 1 and ¼ cups loosely packed.
  3. Peel away the green of a lime, avoiding the bitter white pith, and mince (or use a zester) to make 1 tsp of zest (part of one lime), set aside.
  4. Cut the limes in half and juice to make 3 tbsp juice. Save the leftover lime halves.
  5. Cut the avocado in half, discard the seed, and peel away the skin. Use leftover lime halves to squeeze lime juice over the avocado to keep it from browning.
  6. Make the dressing. Using a hand-blender (or small blender/ food processor), combine half the avocado, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil in a tall mixing glass, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 3 oz of dressing.
  7. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, mango, blueberries, and almonds with dressing. Plastic gloves help.
  8. Slice the remaining half of avocado widthwise.
  9. Divide salad and among 4 bowls, about 1-2 cups into each bowl. Top with avocado slices. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired.

 

Strawberrry and Pineapple Plate with Whiskey-Ginger Drizzle

It’s almost spring, it’s almost spring, it’s almost spring!

While I normally think of berries and summer in the same breath, the exception is strawberries. I know they’re available year-round, but in southern California, the best berries from local farms come out in late April, early May. I can’t wait.

The MIND diet calls for berries twice a week. Here’s a simple snack that gets elevated by a fancy drizzle. Honestly, I’d happily eat this with or without the drizzle, but it does add something so special and surprising.

Let me know if you give it a try!

 

Strawberrry and Pineapple Plate with Whiskey-Ginger Drizzle
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp freshly shredded ginger
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple slices
  • 8 strawberries
  • Optional garnishes: pink Himalayan salt, mint
Instructions
  1. Combine whiskey, olive oil, vanilla, ginger, pineapple juice, and a pinch of salt. Let rest for at least 10 minutes, but 30 minutes or more is better.
  2. Arrange pineapple slices and strawberries on a plate, and drizzle liquid mixture over.
  3. Garnish with pink salt and mint leaves, if desired.

 

Fig & Fennel Citrus Salad

This simple salad is aromatic thanks to the fennel, bright thanks to the orange segments, peppery thanks to the arugula, earthy and sweet thanks to the figs, and pleasantly tart and complex thanks to the raspberry-balsamic vinaigrette. There’s no sugar added – or needed – due to all the big vibrant flavors. You’ll enjoy the medley of tastes and textures while meeting your veggie quota for the day (read: fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, and more).

 

 

Recipe

MIND foods: Leafy greens, vegetables, berries, olive oil

Prep: 10-15 min | Cook: 5 min | Total: 15-20 min

Serves: 4

Salad Ingredients

4 cups baby arugula, lightly packed (I used a pre-washed product)

1 medium bulb fennel, stalks trimmed and discarded, reserving fronds

1 medium orange, supreme segments (I used a Tangelo orange)

6 California mission figs, quartered lengthwise (substitute: your favorite fresh fig)

Raspberry Vinaigrette Ingredients

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Reserved orange juice, to taste

 

Method

Wash and dry all fresh produce. Combine all dressing ingredients, except orange juice, in a food processor or blender until smooth; season to taste. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. (You will have extra dressing to enjoy for the rest of the week!) Meanwhile, quarter your fennel bulb. Cut out the tough root and heart with a diagonal slice and discard. Thinly slice the remaining white bulb on the diagonal to make thin strips. To supreme your orange, cut off the top and bottom, then with one flat side down securely on the cutting board, slice away the remaining peel. Cut flesh-only segments out of the orange. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining orange core and reserve. Optional: taste dressing and add orange juice, slowly, to taste.

To plate, toss or gently layer arugula, fennel, fennel fronds, citrus, and figs. Drizzle with dressing. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

Tip: Using a funnel, pour the finished dressing into a squeeze bottle to make it easier to handle.

Tip: Reserve some of the fig pieces, orange segments, and fennel fronds, and place as deliberate garnishes to add appeal to your dish.

Trailblazer: Strawberry Almond BarNana Pop Mix

Trail mix is all about on-the-go snacking, so while I generally favor fresh fruit, when it comes to trail mix, it’s just not in the cards. But my problem is that I find most dried fruit too sweet since all the sugar in fresh form is concentrated down (don’t even get me started on the dried fruit that even adds sugar!). Anyway, I am happy that I’ve found some great dried fruit options that aren’t too sweet.

I recently tried BarNana organic chewy banana bites at a nutrition conference, and it was love at first bite. (This was sort of surprising since the little brown lumps don’t look all that appealing, but give them a try, you might like them, too!). They’re simply dehydrated bananas coated in banana powder so they don’t stick to your fingers (brilliant!). What I like about them is that unlike a lot of dried fruit, they’re not too sweet (my palate doesn’t prefer too much sweetness so this is perfect for me). Same goes for freeze-dried strawberries, actually. They’re pleasantly tart more than anything else. To this mix, almonds and popcorn add volume, crunch, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Freeze-Dried Strawberries, Almonds, Popcorn and Chewy Banana Bites

Prep: 5 min | Total: 5 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups Kroger Simple Truth Freeze-Dried Strawberries (or your preferred brand)
  • 32 almonds (about 1/3 cup)
  • 8 BarNana organic original chewy banana bites

 

Method

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers. If you can find a snack container with two compartments, divide popcorn and almonds into one side, and the dried fruit on the other. This will help prevent soggy popcorn.

 

Nutritional notes: 130 calories per serving, zero added sugars, potassium- and vitamin A-rich, and a good source of fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, nuts, berries

Trailblazer: Goji Matcha Cacao Pop Mix

There is a complex yet delicate herbaliciousness to both goji berries and green tea. Combine them with the pleasant bitter notes in dark chocolate, and you get a lovely nuanced marriage of rhyming flavors. Contrast those flavors with a simple base of popcorn which also adds great texture, volume, and fiber. This polyphenol-powered trail mix has high quality indulgent ingredients, yet keeps them in proportion so you don’t have to worry about going overboard on calories or too many added sugars.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Goji Berries, Matcha Dark Chocolate, and Popcorn

Prep: 2 min | Total: 2 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 4 squares Vosges Super Dark 72% Dark Chocolate with Matcha Green Tea, Spiraling, and Cocoa Nibs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Navitas organic goji berries

 

Directions

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers.

 

Nutritional notes: 100 calories per serving, 3 grams of added sugars, vitamin A-rich, and a good source of potassium and fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, berries

 

Trailblazer: Beet’stachio Goji-Pop Mix

Anyone else notice all the new-fangled trail mixes available on the shelf these days? Premium ingredients come with a premium price. But you can enjoy all the on-trend healthy flavors of the moment, hand-pick your own filling ingredients, and manage your calories and portions, all by doing a little bit of prep work at home. It’s painless, I promise. The hardest part is waiting to get munching.

Recipe

Trail Mix with Beet Chips, Pistachios, Goji Berries and Popcorn

Prep: 2 min | Total: 2 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Boom Chika Pop popcorn (or air-pop your own)
  • 12 Rhythm beet chips (or bake your own)
  • 60 pistachios (about 1/3 cup of kernels)
  • 3 tablespoons Navitas organic goji berries

 

Directions

Divide evenly into 4 resealable snack containers.

 

Nutritional notes: 125 calories per serving, zero added sugars, vitamin A-rich, and a good source of potassium and fiber.

MIND diet foods: Whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries

Summery Farro Salad

The height of summer means stone fruit, and that includes cherries. Deep red cherries add a sweet, mildly tart and bright note to the nutty and earthy base notes of the farro in this whole grain salad. Pickled cucumbers and shallots add another dimension of contrasting flavor, texture, and temperature. The magic is in the medley and how all these flavors play together and in reaction to each other.

 

Recipe

MIND foods: whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries

Prep: 10-15 min | Cook: 15-20 min | Total: 25-35 min

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1.5 cups farro (here’s a 10-minute farro that’s good for busy weeknights)

1 medium-large cucumber, skin peeled in stripes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halved lengthwise again, and chopped (will be 1.5-2 cups when chopped)

2 medium shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (will be about a 1/2 cup loosely packed)

2 large handfuls of fresh red cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (about 30 cherries; will be about 1 cup roughly chopped)

2 T coconut vinegar

1 T fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted pistachios, roughly chopped (reserve a small handful for garnish)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Prepare farro according to package instructions. While farro is cooking, wash, dry and prep all produce. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, shallots and vinegar, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When farro is done cooking, thoroughly drain and then transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Fold in cherries, cucumber-shallot mixture and pistachios just before serving. Top with reserved pistachios. Enjoy.

Tip: Get the kids involved! Have kids wash their hands and help remove thyme leaves and cherry pits.