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: 
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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.

 

3 Ways to Thrive & Stay Sharp in 2018

You’ve survived the holiday season, now it’s time to thrive with wellness into 2018. Here are three ways to get going on the right path. The good news is that even adopting one of these ideas this week will do the body and mind good. So ease into a new habit, and if week one goes well, try another week. If that goes well, try adding another of these tips to your routine.

Eat a green vegetable today.

Broccoli, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and more. Take your pick. Put it in a salad or a smoothie, cook them up in a soup or a saute lightly in olive oil. Adults who ate at least one serving of leafy green vegetables a day kept the brain humming 11 years younger, according to a new study from Tufts University.

Take a brisk 40 minute walk.

The 2013 International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain’s dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease recommend taking this brisk walk every other day. Aerobic exercise helps reduce inflammation and improves blood flow to the brain. It even protects brain cells. There are also heart health and overall weight management reasons to go for that walk. Maybe take it as an opportunity to catch up with a friend or a favorite podcast episode.

Eat more plant protein.

When it comes to protein, it is essential to get enough throughout each day. It can come from many sources, including plant and animal foods. It’s the mix of proteins you eat throughout the day that matter, not what you eat at one sitting. Aim to get some of your protein from plants. Nuts and beans will be your best bet. Almonds and pistachios are the two snack nuts that are highest in protein and fiber, or take your pick from a variety of beans such as black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, split peas, and more. Super healthy whole grains and pseudo-grains like quinoa, sorghum, farro, and barley, also offer up a little plant protein.

Which of these three simple choices will you commit to making today? Let me know in the comments!